augmented reality 3D book

I love the idea of being the best at something

augmented reality 3D bookIt’s not that I’m ambitious; or maybe I am.  But I love the idea of being the best at something.

I was always a ‘generalist’ at school.  A bit of a geek, good at everything, but not ‘the best’ at anything, so that’s probably where it comes from.

I think this is why I love the fun behind the Guinness World Records and the idea that anyone could be a record holder.

The lovely people at GWR (and they are amazingly lovely, full of enthusiasm for what they say is ‘the best job in the world’) invited the kids and me to a party to celebrate their new 2013 book.

Curly Headed Boy adores this book and got loads of brownie points at school for taking it in for show and tell.  It’s really clever, not only does it have the typical loads of records, but it BRINGS THEM TO LIFE literally using an app you can put on your phone so that the images appear in 3D or ‘augmented reality‘ as they call it.  It’s seriously weird, it’s like beneath your phone is a great big dinosaur, scary shark or little dwarf.

With Curly Headed Boy’s reading really beginning to take off (he’s nearly 7), this is the perfect book to encourage him to take on more complicated pages with more information in them.

Plus it has the added bonus of encouraging him to think that there is always something that we can be the best at.  In fact the gorgeous Liz from Violet Posy‘s hubby actually made a record on the day balancing cups!

Little Dimples is addicted to their cup balancing game and spookily good at it, despite being only 2.5yrs old.  I just need to explain to her that she must stop pouring her apple juice into the cups though.  You can nearly see her in the picture above, not daunted at all by the idea that a big shark was swimming over her head; bet she would scare a shark in real life!

Did you know that there are about 30-40,000 records in total?  They only manage to put about 4000 in the book, so each year there is a different theme, so it’s always worth looking at the new book each year.

So if you are looking for christmas or birthday presents for kids that don’t involve loads of plastic tat, and broaden their horizons about what they might achieve in their lives, then I can really recommend this book.


Disclosure: I was given a book a few months ago, and my expenses to go to the event were paid for, along with lunch and a voucher to spend at the Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre afterwards.  This in no way affects my opinions, although I have to say that they are really lovely people!


Great books for mums

Books That Can Help When You Feel Overwhelmed Or Are Depressed

Great books for mums dealing with depressionCan a book help you if you are stressed or overwhelmed or depressed?

Yes, it totally can.  BUT it’s always sensible to mix being self-reliant with a bit of involvement from other people; so reading a great book doesn’t mean that sometimes we might need someone else’s help as well; wether that’s a chat with a mate, or a session with a professional.

There are some amazing books out there based on both solid theory and practical testing, which really work when dealing with emotional or mental health.

There are also some shockingly awful ones, that might sound impressive, but should be avoided with a barge pole.


What to avoid

Anything that mentions the word ‘Happy‘ – it’s not possible to be happy all the time, you will drive yourself crazy.

Anything that mentions becoming more ‘Positive‘ – although balancing ‘negative’ thinking with some ‘positive’ is wise, you can’t be positive all the time

Anyone offering world peace – yep, that’s not going to happen either.  Philosophically speaking, true spirituality/religion will match science; and we will always have a duality in this world of ours.

Anyone mentioning the ‘Law of Attraction‘ – at least 90% of these people don’t understand the full law and think that by focussing on what you want you will only attract those positive things into your life.

Anyone suggesting they can quickly or completely fix you and that you’ll never have to do anything about it again – yep, that’s just not the way the world works; they are probably actually very well meaning, but naive.

Books that really helped me

I have a HUGE bookshelf full of books on health, personal development, therapy and spirituality even after several massive culls.  However, a small number of books have been crucial to my life.  I’m listing them in order of reading, rather than priority:

Dr Phil Mcgraw

Life Strategies – He might not suit everyone, but this short, pragmatic, straight talking book was a real help to me a long time ago and I think his ‘rules’ help us ‘romantics’ to get a firmer grip on reality and how life actually is.

Byron Katie

‘Loving What Is’ – Byron created a method called ‘The Work’ which is 4 simple questions and brilliant at dealing with some of the stresses about how people behave in our lives.  I find it particularly useful from a Mum’s perspective and having only read the book (I haven’t had sessions from practitioners of ‘The work’) I can apply what she calls the ‘turn around’ to probably 80% of irritations.

Dr John F Demartini

Many books – this guy is my mentor, and I’ve studied with him for 10yrs now.  He has studied more than anyone else in this field and created a great methodology for resolving stress and trauma.  The most important part of his philosophy is the power of gratitude.  The only problem with his work practically speaking is that if you are a busy mum juggling many things, his books might be a little too complex and challenging to start off with.  They are definitely a good place to end up though.  If you are into what makes people tick, then I would go for ‘The Heart of Love’.  For an introduction into gratitude ‘The Gratitude Effect’ is great.  For a full on introduction to his methodology go for ‘The Breakthrough Experience’ (but expect to find it challenging).

Rhonda Byrne

The Secret – I watched the DVD, which I think is better than the book.  I would add a HUGE health warning to it as it has loads of all the things that I said you should avoid.  However, it was a brilliant pick-me-up at a time when I really needed one, and being a DVD it really gets the message across that there is a lot we can control about how we think about life.

William Whitecloud

The Magicians Way – I love the simplicity of this book and the way that it is woven into a story, which makes it subtle and recommended to re-read.

Julia Cameron

The Artists Way – I’ve only just started doing this, but one aspect that she recommends I’d funnily enough also recommended in my book (she calls it the ‘morning pages’, whereas I had a section about writing our problems down).  It’s a 3 month course you do yourself and is both therapeutic and also great for anyone who wants to improve the creativity in their lives.  Personally I would do it in a group or with a mate and not on your own.  A friend of mine who studied counselling for years said that she got more from this course than everything she had done previously, which is a huge testimonial.


Can Depression Really Go Away?

When I say ‘help’, what do I mean?  Do I mean, ‘improve’, ‘change’ or ‘fix’?

I was involved in an interesting talk about this on a Facebook group the other day (which inspired me to at last write this post).  It’s an interesting quandary; to give depression enough importance for it to be tackled and dealt with effectively, without giving it too much power and suggesting that it has to rule our lives forever.  Remember that the stats suggest that 1 in 4 of us will at some point struggle with our emotional and mental health, but there is a huge range a difference in the types.

The difficultly is that the symptoms of depression make it tough for sufferers to have the energy to get help.  Then they have to find enough energy to get the right kind of help.  It does often feel like a lottery as to who does and doesn’t get good help and can be a hard slog.  It can be a lot quicker to get help privately than via the NHS, but it can be a minefield to find a good therapist privately and understand all the different options.

So can depression ever really go away?  Or is that only possible if you have a lighter form of it?

From my experience both personally in my life and having specialised for a many years with helping people with serious mental health issues I would say the answer is neither ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

For some people the depression might be a fleeting thing caused by life events, which once they have received some help, will recede probably never to return.

For others of us who succumb more frequently due to habits in the way that we think and see life, we might have to have considerable help in the beginning, but over the years become more and more capable of managing ourselves and the blips; therefore only having to touch in with external help every now and again.  So it’s more that we learn to make sure we stay above the red line and know the warning signs of trouble coming so can get help more quickly.

For those were it extends to chemical imbalances, it is still possible to get it under control, but practically speaking there is more work to be done, and I’m not sure that standard treatment for mental health will really get people as far as some alternative therapies, which of course have the downside of being private.

So yes, I think at the very least it can be managed and improved, it might even appear to ‘go away’.  But I for me it doesn’t feel as though I could now go off and forget to drink water, eat healthily, exercise, and manage my life and thoughts carefully.  I don’t mind having to do those things as they have other benefits to the quality of my life, but I couldn’t stop.  Maybe in another 10yrs it will be different; I hardly ever remember that I smoked for 10yrs having been ‘clean’ for over 15yrs now.  Perhaps I will gain greater trust in my system to maintain itself as the years go by.

Whatever your particular situation, just remember that you are not alone, there’s nothing to feel guilty for, look after yourself physically as much as you can, get some help and don’t put up with sub-standard help or prejudiced attitudes.

If you have a favourite book that has helped you, I’d love it if you would post it below, or a blog post about books that you enjoyed.

Or if you try any of these books, please do let me know and if you have any questions about them I’m always here.



Canvas Pictures

Great Mothers / Fathers Day or Grandparent or Photographer Present

Canvas PicturesGreat canvas pictures of the family


I know that shopping for Mums, Dads, Grandparents or Photographers is difficult, so I reckon you’re going to love this idea; Photos on canvas.

I love having photos of the family around; I think it reminds us of happy times when we are exhausted and it stops me from panicking that I’ve forgotten about their childhood because I have a regular reminder.  Normally I go for framed photo’s though.

The big hairy northern one is getting quite good at his landscape photography now a days too, and we’ve been looking for a place to print a couple of them off as pictures for our lounge and kitchen, but many options were really expensive.


A couple of days ago I received the MOST GORGEOUS canvas print of this picture of Little Dimples at the Jubillee from Hello Canvas.


I know their canvases are good because a few years ago the big hairy northern one ordered one for his work, which looks nice, but hasn’t really kept the lovely colours of the original picture.  I must admit I thought it was a bit of a waste of money.  When I said yes to Hello Canvas it was more because then it would be fair to have canvas pictures of both of the kids on the wall together.


Ironically it is so good that I’ve had to go and order another one myself of Curly Headed Boy with his Lorax face painting on, because even he said ‘Why is her picture better than mine?’; out of the mouthes of babes heh!

(That happens to me a lot with the free things I get to review.  I normally charge to review, but if it’s something I want I’ll waive the fee.  I’m going to have to start charging a ‘your stuff is too nice to review and will make me go shopping afterwards’ fee!).


The good news is the price!  The HUGE (probably a bit too big) one they sent us was 20×28 inches and is only £29.  If you wanted a big one of the family, that would be great, or if you have a gorgeous photo you’d like printed for your wall, then it would be a good size.

Otherwise I’d definitely go for a smaller one.

I think they make perfect presents for family and loved ones.


I’d love to know if you like having photos around the house?  Have you tried these types of canvas prints, or do you prefer an electronic photo frame that rotates through lots of pictures?



Would you take back a present, or is it mean and rude?


For years I have taken the attitude that the Big Hairy Northern Hubby knew something I didn’t when buying me presents, and that given time if they didn’t quite hit the spot immediately, their purpose would become clear.  Not sure that quite worked with the model of the Star Ship Enterprise, but with most things it did.  He has always been very generous and ‘its the thought that counts’ right?

Well, this year I’ve taken a difficult and much harder decision.  To take back about 80% of what I was given.  We’d agreed to not spend much on each other, and were very careful on the kids, but clearly once out shopping with the extremely eager Curly Headed Boy all restraint was off.

Normally I would probably have found someone with bigger hands for the running gloves (I have freakishly small hands).  I’d have kept the big dressing gown as a spare and gone out and bought the little short one I really wanted.  More importantly I would have waited for the purpose to come clear for the very expensive snow boots, big fluffy hat, ear muffs, gloves and matching hat.  But, I’d forgotten to mention something quite important to hubby;  I don’t have a winter coat that fits me (apart from one that would work in the arctic, but would kill me in a shop), and I was really struggling with clothes having lost 2 stone this year and needing a lot of clothes.

So I made the very difficult decision to take it back (still keeping the gorgeous PJ’s and bracelet, so it wasn’t all wrong).  I felt guilty at not buying as much as him.  When I worked out how much he’d spent I felt angry and worried about the coming months living on a budget while he looks for work.  I was furious with the snooty woman in the shop that would only give me a credit note for most of the stuff.  I was even more furious a couple of days ago when I tried to sell the credit note she gave me and found that she had taken a ‘fee’ without informing me (got to look into the legalities of that).

I’m hoping that the hairy one is OK with the change in my present keeping/giving back behaviour, because I actually feel much better about it now after a week or so (I started writing this blog post last week but didn’t get a chance to post it).

My lessons learnt are:

  1. Don’t buy from small shops without checking about refunds
  2. Take stuff back quickly, some shops have a deadline of 2 weeks
  3. Taking it back in the sales is fab; you get more bang for your buck!
  4. Although uncomfortable admitting a present isn’t right, it’s worth taking it back
  5. Don’t give people a present that’s too generous, it can make them feel guilty
  6. Don’t give people a present that is more than was agreed on, it makes them feel uncomfortable, not full of glow at your generosity

Did you take any presents back this year?  Where you lucky and got fab ones, or did you get some doozies?  Have you had that experience where someone has given you much more than you were expecting and you felt guilty?


Beware the refunds policy when buying presents

I know this post is a bit late for christmas, but there is all the birthday’s next year and Christmas in 12 months time.

Basically, BEWARE buying presents for people without being sure of the refunds policy, especially if it’s not a big name shop you are buying from.  You may end up only being able to get a credit note, exchange or even worse, nothing at all.

Also, if you do want to take things back, get your butt going, because you might be running out of time; I ran into that problem after one of my birthday’s, thanks Swarosky; not shopping with you again after being your biggest fan ever.

The Money Saving Expert has a great summary of our legal rights in this summary of refunds policies.

In these harder financial times, it might be difficult for small businesses to survive, but what they need to understand is that customer service is the key to our choice of where to shop, and so is making sure that we have security on our expenditure.

Today I was able to take back a dressing gown to Next from the hairy northern one, just because it was too long and I’d asked for a short one.  Thirty minutes later I took back a dressing gown for Little Dimples that I’d just bought in the sales, because I’d found a much more suitable one in Sainsburies.  That makes Next a safe bet when it comes to presents or buying things for my family.

Compare this please to the snooty, back tempered woman in ‘Its all about sports‘, which is a shop selling snow and sports kit near Willows farm.  Her face said it all when I walked in with the big fluffy snow boots, hat, gloves, bag and ear muffs that I’d been given for christmas from my family.  At no point in the buying of all that stuff by the Big hairy northern husband and Curly headed boy had the sales assistant said ‘I assume you aren’t buying this for yourself, so be warned that we don’t give refunds’.  There was no sign.  There is nothing on their website.  It’s unclear as to wether you’d get a refund if you returned something bought on the internet from them in their terms and conditions.  But she is perfectly within her rights to self-righteously think I’m lucky that they give a credit note.

Well honey (yes, that is meant to be patronising), at some point I’ll spend that credit note, and when hubby is has a job again and I have money to spend I won’t be coming to you, and I’ll be making sure that all my friends know how ‘helpful’ you were as well.  Oh and I’ll be reposting this blog post next Christmas too.

Update 2013:
I have just been back to this shop to spend my credit note.  I was surprised to find that the woman who had given me the impression she was one of the owners, was in actual fact not, and no longer works there.  I feel a bit guilty now, because I really should have complained properly and given the owner the right to reply.
What I can say is that I bought a FABULOUS coat, that will really help with my Fibromyalgia, so I’m really chuffed.  The owner was a lovely man and both him and the assistant were tremendously helpful.
I still lost out on the fact that I discovered when looking at the receipt that she had not refunded me the total on the credit note, but had taken a percentage off – argh, not worth worrying about!


Have you encountered shops that only give credit notes for things clearly bought as christmas or birthday presents?  Please do share here and add a comment!  And remember when buying from smaller shops or places you don’t often go to check their refunds policy.


Please name and shame below if you have had the problem yourself.

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

15 Top Tips: Oh No It’s Christmas, how do I stop gaining loads of weight!

It’s Christmas!

But don’t panic about your weight!

For a start, if you gain a few pounds, you can easily shed them quickly afterwards, so it’s really not worth stressing about.  (so if that’s all you needed to hear, you are welcome to pop off and have an egg nog now!).

But lets say there is a special reason why you would like to continue to lose weight over Christmas, or at least not put on weight. How are you going to do it?


Here Are Fifteen Top Tips For Not Putting On Weight At Christmas:


Christmas dinner really isn’t that bad for you, I remember one year I actually lost weight over Christmas.  Just follow the basic rules that I talk about in what to eat for example:

  1. Use a small plate; you can always fill up if you want some more later
  2. Balance your plate: 1 portion (size of your palm) of protein i.e. Turkey, 1 portion of potatoes/stuffing, and half a plate of veg and sprouts.
  3. Dessert: Just have one, not three!
  4. Mince Pies: are a must but not needed straight after dinner, and you don’t need a whole pack.
  5. Christmas Cake: Don’t have a piece the size of a large boot
  6. Crisps: Balance with healthy dips like humous or guacamole and carrots, cucumber, cauliflower and broccoli
  7. Make the most of the cake, pies and crisps; they can probably be a meal in themselves, so if you plan them at the right time, you might not need much else if you’ve had a massive meal that day.  Add nuts to balance the sugar in the cake, some seedless clementines, or some cheese and biscuits (with a glass of port of course!).


  1. Put Food Away: My problem with alcohol is not the calories in the alcohol, but that I’m a nibbler drinker; i.e. I stuff my face when I drink and lose all sense of discernment about what I’m going to eat!  So put those nibbles/crisps etc away after an hour!
  2. Use Mixers: Hang overs are the worst, so add fizzy water to your wine (or lemonade), or drink water in between each drink.
  3. Have ‘dry days’: Have days off from drinking during the Christmas holiday, plan them now!
  4. Be prepared: Get some sports drinks or Resolve in for the next day (heh, I’m all about responsible drinking, but it’s a big likelihood that you’ll have a hangover at some point, especially if you’re a weakling like me when it comes to alcohol).


  1. Sort out your diary and ‘book in’ your exercise, so that you definitely can fit it in.
  2. Think ‘out of the box’ to get your exercise done; maybe you can try something else that fits in more easily, like playing on the Wii/Xbox, or a family swim, or a bike ride with the kids
  3. Everyone loves a walk when it’s cold outside and we’re full of Christmas dinner; get out for a 15 min walk each day, run after the kids on their new bikes or scooters, play football with the new ball.
  4. One day of slobbing is fine, just don’t do it for a fortnight!

Most of all, have a fabulous time, use your common sense and don’t freak out about it!

If you’d like more help in the New Year, come and join my guys in our campaign to get healthy and fit for 2012.



Fancy Making Sure You Get All My Tips OR Never Miss one and get the Free Chapter on How to Get Fit, Healthy and Slim?

ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL END OF 2012 (Edition 2 will not have the chapter as there is a whole book on it’s way!)

Buy my Amazon Best Selling book ‘The Mummy Whisperer’s Six Steps To A Sparkling You And Enjoying Being a Mum’ – from only 99p (read on a a computer, phone, iPad or Kindle, and in 2012 paperback).  Click here for more info.



Competition and What on earth to buy the relatives who has everything?

Do you need ideas for those difficult presents?  Well I have two ways of helping you in this post: Ideas and a competition for a fabulous £100 hamper.  (Actually I recommend keeping the hamper or giving it to me, and buying the presents!).

What I’d really like to say to the men ‘who never need anything’ or ‘who have everything’ is, PLEASE STOP BUYING STUFF FROM SEPTEMBER ONWARDS, so that we have a chance of finding something to buy for you!

Or there’s the ‘Oh I prefer to give at christmas, I don’t need anything in return’ thingy; yeh whatever, I know you, I know you are going to turn up with a lovely, well thought through little gift for me and I’m going to feel really guilty!

But I have a solution!!  Oh yes I have!  (Ok relatives, please now go and read something else!).

If you have a really rich relative, then blow them away by winning this fabulous hamper from Interflora worth £100 and giving it to them by leaving a comment below (see more details about competition entry at the end).  Or as I suggested, keep it for yourself – you can always invite them over for Christmas dinner.

There are lots more Christmas Hampers here, which go from a much more affordable £19.99.  Personally I like the Christmas biscuit tin, but then I love tins or boxes of any kind as you’ll know if you’ve read my de-cluttering posts!  Or the christmas cracker packed with chocolates would suit me too.

For my in-laws I reckon the ‘Luxury Breakfast tray’ is gorgeous and definitely something that you know people would use.  I have a little irish granny help me with looking after Little Dimples who the ‘Christmas Cracker’ at £60 would work as I know she loves champagne and she’s been a really special person, so worth it.

If you have a friend, wife, sister or sister-in-law to buy for then they have a whole section called ‘gifts for her’.  My favourite is the box (remember what I said about boxes/tins) with gorgeous hand cream, candle and shower gel.  Or there is a box of personalised cup cakes, which look gorgeous and since my son’s party I’ve been a big fan of cupcakes.  I didn’t realise that Inter-flora did anything other than flowers (of course there are flowers too, if you want to be more traditional).

Lastly if you love watching Kirstie Allsopp, but are actually pretty craft-challenged or maybe just don’t have time like me then you can buy your wreaths all ready made.  They are quite expensive for parents cutting costs at christmas, but the little festive outdoor barrel would look really pretty on our porch and would be a lot more tasteful than the huge box of lights that the big hairy northern one is about to get out of the loft (yep he is one of those, but I have drawn the limit at a Santa running across the roof).

Right now onto the best bit of this post, Inter flora have kindly sponsored this post and offered that fabulous hamper worth £100.  That’s a pretty big part of the christmas lunch bill off your expenses list, so apply now and then be kind and tell your friends to apply; so that Santa brings you a present too for being such a good Mummy (or Daddy!).

The closing date is Thursday Dec 8th at midnight – any entries after then will not count – and the results will be released first thing on Friday 9th.  So you have less than a week to enter, because I wanted to make sure there is time for the hamper to get to you.


Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Get Healthy, Fit and Lose Weight Easily In time for Christmas or Summer

Do you fancy getting healthy, fit and maybe a bit slimmer?

Without rubbish diets, fads, or boring exercise routines?

It’s totally possible, it’s just that it wouldn’t make good TV or newspaper articles or expensive weight loss regimes if everyone knew how!

I blogged all 2011 about losing weight.  Pre-children I struggled for years before I understood how easy it could be to lose weight and went from a size 18 to a 10.  By blogging about it post-children I motivated myself, shared it with everyone else and birthed a new book.

My first objective was to hit a healthy weight, which meant losing 1 stone, then to get fitter, which meant another 1/2 stone.  Then I decided to go for slimmer, which was a final 1/2 stone; it was just so that I felt more comfortable and didn’t bulge over my trousers etc.

By the way; I actually don’t think that weight makes us unattractive.  I strongly believe that we can all be beautiful, whatever size we are.

However, we are also Mums, and there is no doubt about the fact that if we are over weight it makes our daily lives more tiring and it will shorten our lives.  So I can’t bring myself to encourage a Mum to stay overweight.

At the same time, NO I DON’T JUDGE YOU FOR BEING OVERWEIGHT.  Of course I don’t.  I struggled with my weight for years because of my Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and I didn’t lose it quickly after having kids either.

There is definitely a right time and a right place for losing weight.  If this is the time and place for you, then I’ve got a plan for you!!!!

If you have struggled it’s for two reasons:

  1. Lack of knowledge on how to do it.
  2. Not knowing how to get so motivated that it is easy
Well I can solve both of those really easily.

The Plan

So if you are up for it, here is the plan …..

1) Like my facebook page, so you can keep in touch.  Plus I’ve created a Facebook group because it’s always easier to do these things together: ‘Mummy Whisperers Easy Weight Loss’, so join this group.  Don’t worry if you are using other slimming plans or in other groups, I don’t require you to be faithful to only me ;o)


2) Read my tips: Weight Loss Tips and Healthy Eating For Rubbish cooks and eventually Exercise Tips


3) Watch my 15 minute video that explains why it seems that weight loss is tricky and how to make sure that you are so motivated to lose weight that it is easy.


4) Write your goal in the facebook group under the document ‘Whats your goal 2013’


5) Do the exercise I discussed in the video and wrote up in this blog post.


6) Use the group to update us on your progress, get a kick up the butt from people who understand, and ask questions.


7) Remember there are my other pages on getting more energy, and exercise tips.


Update January 2012:

Having become infuriated with the rubbish on the TV and in the media about how to lose weight, I’ve decided to write up all my information in a book ‘Get Healthy, Fit and Slim the Easy and Fun way’: It will be out soon, but in the meantime help yourself to all my blog posts and get a head start!


Update January 2013

I am now facing an additional challenge of trying to maintain weight having been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and lose weight that I’ve put on due to the drugs from the doctors.  So I’ve been a little quiet on the facebook group and it has delayed me getting my book published.  But I will be BACK very soon!


Update March 2013

Right, the odds may be against me, but I’m ready to tackle this, who is with me?!!


Thank You Letters that don’t put your kids off forever

I have a mental block with posting things.  I know I have.  I know where it came from too!

I can see my Dad on the other side of the dining room table nagging me AGAIN about whether I have sent the Thank you letters for my presents.  I have a touch (ok, maybe a lot!) of stubbornness in me, so every nag delayed every card being written and sent.  The cards were probably written promptly, but they were always delayed in being sent, and since then everything I’ve ever posted has been terribly late.

The dichotomy is that I’m really keen on saying thank you, and on being grateful for life, not just presents.  Curly Headed Boy and I run through a list of what we can say ‘Thank you’ for every night, and it is a great way of relaxing him, bringing the day to an end, and helping to reduce the 4-5yr old tendency of complaining about what they don’t have.

So I’m keen on thank you letters.  I write a list of what presents arrive as they are unpacked, especially during the crazy birthday party mahem that ensues when you have invited tonnes of people to a party.  So I’m always able to make sure that people get a proper thank you card.  Curly Headed Boy also likes to make cards, so I often buy blank ones which are there whenever he wants them.

However, we’ve been tired this Christmas.  There’s been a lot to do.  I only just managed to get the Christmas cards out, and there was no letter this year, and some cards were delayed by lack of stamps.  Curly Headed Boy was not looking forward to going back to school, so anything that smacks of similarity to school work is extremely unpopular.  So I was faced with how to get thank you cards done, and not instil in him the same problem with the post!

This is what I came up with:

He loves drawing and practicing writing, so he gets to make a picture (you probably can’t see the book, train, teddy and christmas tree!), Big Hairy Northern Hubby likes taking and printing photos, and I just need to slap myself a couple of times to get them into an envelope and the hubby posts: a family effort and RESULT!

Try to remember to encourage your kids to do things in a way that makes sense to them, rather than just ‘because you should’.  I know it’s easier to say ‘because you should’, and there is always a time and place for that.  But, it can make longer term problems for you; I’m sure my Dad would agree with me if he was around!  So if you are still struggling to get the thank you cards done, have a think of an alternative way, that gets the message across, makes the giver feel cared for, but is also fun for your kids.  Hows about a picture you email, or a video, or a phone call where they describe why they liked the present?

(By the way, there will be a free webinar in February which will teach you more about understanding your values, and how different they are from your family’s, so you might like to subscribe to my blog or newsletter or both, to make sure you don’t miss out.  You get a free online course at the moment if you subscribe to my newsletter, which will teach you all about your values as well.  I’ll be removing the offer at the end of January, so get it whilst it’s there!).