CBD oil for Pain Relief & Sleep Problems

CBDoil FibromyalgiaI apologise, I’ve been promising this post for months, and really it’s pretty easy to write, I just didn’t get round to it.

If you have a weird funky illness that gives you pain and sleep problems, the I really recommend CBD oil made from Cannabis oil.

There is no ‘hit’.  Just pain relief and a good 6hrs sleep, sometimes more.  Potentially a slight anxiety reduction as well.

I buy mine from CBD Brothers (The white label cheaper version).  Now I’ve been told that lots of CBD oil sold online is from Hemp oil.  I can’t be sure, but the results are great and they assure everyone that it’s from Cannabis oil.

I’m not fixed.  But I’m functioning, and I’m sure it’s the oil that’s doing it.  I’ve been taking it since September and I get through a bottle about once every 5 weeks.

I have better sleep than I’ve had in years, without any other supplements/herbs (I used to have a huge selection).  I take it 1-2hrs before sleep (it can have a stimulating effect if taken too close to bed time). (I drop under my tongue, held there for about 3 mins).

Then I take it in the morning and I can feel the pain relief within about 10mins.  The couple of times that I’ve forgotten to take it, have really proved how much it reduces my pain levels.

I also have the balm, which I can apply straight to any shooting pains or chronic pain that I get – this is amazing, because those sorts of pains would normally cause me problems for days (shooting pains in my head or arms in particular).  I’ve only bought one lot of the balm and it still has loads left.

How does it work?  Put very simply the theory goes that the CBD oil helps the existing Cannaboid cells in our body that are struggling to get rid of all the nasty stuff (technical term!), as they are already overloaded with Pollution and rubbish diets.  So it’s helping the body to help itself.

What can it work for?  I think anything that is brain or stomach based (where there happen to be lots of these Cannaboid cells.  It’s is suggested that it can therefore help Fibromyalgia, M.E. CFS, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Cancer etc.  Although I have a friend who is a nurse, who has found that some epileptic children who tried it had fevers and sickness (I don’t know where that CBD oil came from) – so as with all things it may not work for everyone.

I don’t know if it can help you, but I think it’s worth trying if you are struggling.  Please let me know in the comments how it goes.
*Gentle hugs*

Sticks and magic

Things to do with sticksIt’s been tough, at times over the past few months.  I’ve been so busy that I was surprised and really chuffed to be asked to remain as an ambassador for the Forestry Commission (which means I get a membership to Wendover woods).

They sent us a lovely pack with a Stick Man book and a few other goodies, which as the kids already love that book, has gone to my salon for the kids there to enjoy on Mummy Mondays.  Julia Donaldson has teamed up with the FC to produce a range of events and activities to tie in with the character and encourage more families to explore the woods.

Do we need ideas and promotions like that?  Ideally no.  But in reality, yes we do.  Life gets busy, we lose our connections, and things like this help us to reconnect to ourselves, our kids and nature.

Check out this amazing post my Mammasaurus about a stick man hide and seek game that she made with the kids; pure magic!  My kids will love this.  Or this one from RedTedArt’s archives on making stickmen; so easy!

In fact my kids LOVE sticks!  Do you have a collection of sticks at your front and back door too (not allowed in the house)?

Nature is a wonderful support to me.  Going for a ‘family walk’ on sunday is one of my favourite things; even when it gets chaotic as often happens with a dog, 2 kids and the ‘do we take scooters, push chairs or bikes – and which one will create less hassle on the way’ decision

Does it work for you too?

Get out there this weekend and have some fun with sticks!


For more information and activity sheets, as well as dates of trails at specific locations please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/stickman.

For a chance to win one of 5 Forestry Commission Stick Man goody bags, simply sign up to receive the Forestry Commission e-newsletter at www.forestry.gov.uk/moreinfo quoting the code STICKMAN.

Stick Man trails are running at the places / dates below, encouraging children to find out more about forests and the importance of wood and trees to their daily lives.:
Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent
23rd November to 30th January
Birches Valley at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire
26th October to 5th January
Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
30th November to 31st January
Delamere Forest, Cheshire
2nd November to 26th January
Grizedale forest, Cumbria
30th November to 31 January
Haldon Forest Park, Exeter
30th November to 31 January
High Lodge, Suffolk
4th November to 31st January
Sherwood Pines, Nottingham
7-8th, 14-15th, 21-22th December and 1st-31st January
Wendover woods, Buckinghamshire
18th November to 29th January
Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
1st December to 31st January
Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
30th November to 31 January
Wyre Forest, Worcestershire
1st November to 31st January


*Disclosure I’ve been given a membership to Wendover woods and am an Ambassador for the Forestry Commission, but I’m basically too busy to do a post unless I really care about something, so you can be sure that I’ve not been influenced by that!

Back to the moon for good

Will we make it ‘Back to the moon for good’?

Space manAt the end of the last half-term we took a very excited Curly Headed Boy (nearly 8) and Little Dimples (3.5) to the National Space Centre in Leicester for the first time for the launch of ‘Back to the moon for good’.

Honestly I had absolutely no idea what on earth the launch was about!  But I’d wanted to go to the space centre for years, so when they contacted us to go and have a look we jumped at the chance.

Some people suggested that possibly the kids were still a little too young for it all.


Did they like it?

When we first got there the excitement did make it a bit manic; eventually some tough words slowed CHB down and at last we could enjoy it.

The secret is: take your time.

If you rush around you will miss bits, as there are loads of fascinating things to see and do for all the ages.  But if running around too fast means that it just becomes a crazy stress situation.

Review national space centreOur favourite was ‘The Rocket Tower’ – the 1960’s room was really funny, and they got to pretend to be in a rocket that was taking off.

I loved ‘The Planets’ – I feel that my knowledge of them is really shaky and I’d love to know more.

Little Dimples was too short to go in the simulator, which CHB loved; but I didn’t mind as I saw a few people coming out very very queasy from there!

We didn’t get to any of the presentations or activities, there was already so much to do.

I think however young they are, they really gained some understanding of the history of space travel so far for mankind, in a really fun way.

The only problem was that I had obviously mis-sold it and LD cried at the end because we hadn’t actually gone into space!


Back to the moon for good

Back to the moon for goodAt the end of the day we went into the ‘Planetarium’ for the ‘Back to the moon for good’ presentation.


It’s all about the ‘Google Luna XPRIZE’ for $30million for the first PRIVATE team to send something to the moon, that is then capable of travelling 500 meters and sending back pictures.

The ramifications are HUGE because by doing this on a budget with no government involvement, the imagination is amazing as to how people are getting round the problems.  They are sure to create things that we will then be able to use elsewhere as well.

I left really inspired and hope that we get lots more media coverage of all the different teams and their machines.

It’s REALLY exciting what they are trying to do.


* Disclosure: we were given a family ticket to go to the space centre, but honestly we would have gone eventually anyway.  I’m really chuffed that we got to see the back to the moon for good show though.





New Cousin

Can a Samsung SSD be installed by a 7 year old boy?

New Cousin
New Cousin!


The people at Samsung asked me if I would like to install an SSD (Solid State Hard Drive) into my MacBook Pro to show how easy it is.  With my schedule being tight I asked Curly Headed Boy if he fancied it instead (as the Big Hairy Northern One was jumping up and down in excitement about an SSD – apparently they are faster and he’d been looking to get one).

Of course CHB was right up for it,  so I’m going to pass over my blog to Curly Headed Boy and his ‘new’ cousin Jonny or ‘His Trusty Side Kick’.

As an aside before you watch the VERY funny video (even if you care nothing for computers), don’t you think it is lovely how ‘the trusty side kick’ has been accepted by CHB and Little Dimples (he’s a ‘new’ cousin despite being 23 as one of my brother’s has just got married).  Jon arrived on friday, and was launched upon by two very excited children immediately and they didn’t let go until monday morning (they are currently in mourning!).

For any geeks in you there is also a video of the difference in boot time with and without the SSD (ooooh!).

So over to the boys:


Samsung SSD instructions
Samsung SSD instructions

When Samsung offered to provide one of their top of the line SSD drives for us to review the offer was very tempting. Claims of faster boot-up times, file searches, app starts-ups, less downtime and lower power usage.  It all looked good.

But in a MacBook Pro?

After some reading and discussion, the decision was yes.  Having finished the reading the process to replace a hard drive in a MacBook Pro wasn’t complicated.  But could a 7 year old open a MacBook Pro, remove the old Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and put in a new Solid State Drive (SSD)? That was the challenge I put to curly headed boy. I may have mentioned he risked Christmas if it went wrong (as you will see!).

The only tools required to do the job are a screwdriver and a torx driver. Oh and a 7yr old prepared to risk Christmas!

The steps involved are
1.    Format SSD to Mac OS
2.    Clone the original HDD
3.    Remove the old HDD
4.    Install the new SSD


Step 1. Format SSD to Mac OS

The new drive was connected to the MacBook Pro using a USB/SATA cable. After a minute the new drive showed up but it was not recognized and needed formatting. Open up disk utility and erase the drive reformatting to Mac OS.  This took a few minutes.


Step 2. Clone the original HDD

The cloning was completed using Carbon Copy Cloner (http://www.bombich.com) and was a simple process.  Download the software, select the source, select the destination and press go.  Copy time is about 1GB a minute, so the cloning process can be lengthy if the original drive is quite full. This cloning went without a hitch again using the USB/SATA cable.


Steps 3. & 4. Install

Was a case of handing the drive over to curly headed boy. In his own style he then proceeded to follow the instructions.

The whole process from start to finish took about 3 hours as the donor hard drive was not that full and the majority of the time was the cloning. At the end of the video the new machine is booted and to the relief of everyone worked fine first time.

(There was a slight glitch as the instructions were for a PC and we didn’t have a torx driver).



The claims will only be realized over time, but initial impressions are very positive.  The first claim of faster bootup can be tested easily here as we have two identical MacBook Pro’s (well they were until the SSD was installed)

As can be seen the SSD is 5 seconds quicker which is a great start for the new SSD.  The biggest change is in the start time for things like email etc, which are now pretty immediate.

I’m expecting it to be more resilient, especially with the hard wear that the lap tops get, and something that is very hard disk intensive e.g. video or image processing will be faster.

Curly headed boy is over the moon with his first installation and Christmas has been saved!  (No, of course we wouldn’t have cancelled Christmas!).

Update: The Big hairy northern one did a fresh install (big time difference) and a shorter version of Curly Headed Boy, check out his post here:


*Disclosure – we were given a Samsung SSD worth around £400 for the review, but our opinions are our own.

Omaha Beach in Normandy

How to go on holidays with more than two children and not pay a fortune

Omaha Beach in Normandy
Omaha Beach

No one warns people when they have more than two children that suddenly there will be huge problems with holidays.

A couple of years ago we went to Cyrpus in one of those studio apart-hotels.  We met a lovely family with 3 children.  They could easily have fitted into the studio, but that was against the rules, so they had to rent two, live in one, and could only afford one week because of the extra cost.

I know, I know, some of you will be all like ‘well they decided to have 3,4 or 5 kids’.  Yes, I know, but some people are really brave/good at the whole kids thing.  Or they make mistakes.  Whatever reason, they need holidays more than the rest of us less brave 1 or 2 children families!

I know that you can rent a villa, but that doesn’t really work for me as there is no entertainment and my kids want other kids to play with.

I remember trying to google for affordable holidays for families and getting totally mind boggled with all the options that didn’t really seem to make it easy for a family.

But I have a solution if you are looking for one ….


A holiday in a luxury mobile home with Siblu in France

These guys are the perfect solution and luckily I can speak from personal experience because they sent my family and I off to review them last year.

Ferries are much easier than planes for a large family to keep their eyes on everyone.

Plus you get all the ‘normal’ facilities like kids clubs, pools, beaches (some are right on the beach, for some there is a drive) and entertainment.

The only difference is that you aren’t in an actual hotel or apartment, but spread out a little more with your own little site and caravan.

You can go for an active holiday in Normandy with a short drive like we did, or drive a few hours further south for a hot holiday.

And they don’t charge you ridiculous amounts because you happen to have an extra child, in fact you just pay for the van which can house up to 6 or 8 people.  (If you can afford it, go for one with a big terrace, I think it really helps with children).

A holiday for 2 weeks, including the ferry trip would have set us back LESS than Butlins or Center Parcs last year, and although it was cheap it wasn’t tacky and horrid at all; which was my big fear.

I think that they are a fabulous option for families in these recession hit times, and once tried they will realise that there is no reason to go back to the more expensive holidays they used to have.


Here are all my other posts about Siblu:

An adventure in Normandy: my official review of Domainne De Litteau

What would have happened if Germany had won WW2: a review of the american Omaha cemetery

Which is best going by Ferry or Plane? A review of the ferry trip to Siblu


Disclosure: The lovely Siblu people are sending me off to Britmums this year, which I am extremely grateful for.  So they did ask that I write a couple of posts about them in return.  Seems only fair, and luckily not difficult to do as we had such a lovely time there. 




How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

The importance of encouraging our children to be their ‘own people’

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

This is my review of Chapter 4 of ‘How to Talk so kids listen’ about ‘encouraging autonomy’.

This is an interesting chapter for me after Curly Headed Boy asked me a few months ago “when are you ever going to let me out on my own”.  As a 13yr old boy was killed on the crossing near school at Christmas my answer was very nearly “never ever ever ever”.

But despite that I’ve always been very keen on not over-helping him so that he can gain confidence in himself and learn from his own mistakes.

I’m very aware that a person who grows up dependent on another ends up feeling helpless, worthless, resentful, frustrated and angry.

Plus that being and overly supportive parent often creates a child who is an easy mark for bullies at school (not the only reason, but one of them).

In the book they recommend:

1) Letting the child make choices (clothes are a good example of that)

2) Showing respect for your child’s struggle (i.e. don’t rescue them, give them tips)

3) Don’t ask too many questions

4) Don’t rush to answer questions (e.g. ask ‘what do you think’)

5) Encourage them to use sources outside the home (i.e. other people/children or the internet)

6) Don’t take away hope


The only one I take issue with is ‘Don’t ask too many questions’.  A few more questions from my parents would have shown that I was bullied from 4-17 at school, and that I made decisions based on assumptions that were wrong.

For example I didn’t do French/German for A level because I thought it meant I would HAVE to travel and that my responsibility was to care for my elderly parents (both rubbish ideas).

I think it’s more about asking when they are in the mood e.g. at dinner time or bedtime (CHB becomes a very talkative little boy at bedtime; funny that!).

I’m not sure that answering without taking away hope is wise when CHB makes plans to become a werewolf either; but I did what they suggested and just asked him to talk about it, rather than saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Perhaps some reality is important to stop our kids becoming X Factor rejects.  But I get what they mean; after all anything is possible.

We have had a REALLY interesting conversation in the last 2 weeks though.  CHB asked me “Daddy doesn’t believe in werewolves, does that mean I can’t believe in them?”.  I’m so glad he asked, as I was able to explain that there will always be things that our loved ones don’t agree with and THAT IS OK.

Funnily enough we repeated the conversation about Skylanders the other day as he had spent some of his birthday money on one.  I explained that Daddy totally understood and agreed with the idea, but that I was worried that he would wish he had saved it for something else as he has a few now.  But that just because I wasn’t keen, didn’t mean he shouldn’t spend his OWN money on it.


Other tips they have are:

1) Let them own their own bodies (i.e. stop fussy over them)

2) Stay out of the Minutiae of a Child’s life (i.e. get off their back)

3) Don’t talk about them infront of them

4) Let them answer for themselves

5) Show respect for your child’s eventual readiness (i.e. explain that everything comes with time)

6) Watch out for too many ‘Nos’


Instead of No try:

1) Give information (see previous reviews)

2) Accept feelings (see previous)

3) Describe the problem (see previous)

4) Substitue a ‘yes’ (i.e. when it will be possible)

5) Give yourself time to think

I don’t think that this chapter is as ground breaking as the others, but maybe it’s just much more basic about stuff that we often forget.  What do you think?

I wonder how I will do in a few months time when the whole summer conversation happens again, and CHB wants to play outside without us watching.


Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch1: The importance of not disagreeing with their feelings

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch3: What to do when punishment or more discipline isn’t working 

Why I started reading the book. 


How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

What on earth to do when increasing the discipline isn’t helping?

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

So I’m onto the ‘important’ chapter of ‘How to Talk So Kids Listen’, which is ‘Alternatives to punishment’.

This is the chapter that got me interested, because as I said, Curly Headed Boy turning 7 has been tricky.  Initially we succumbed to the fear that we hadn’t been clear enough with him and he ‘should be learning to behave by now’ etc etc.  But that just increased the anger, defiance and overall shouting levels in the house.

I’m not a fan of smacking, although sorely tempted!  We hadn’t really used ‘time out’ much apart from as purely a calming down mechanism.  We had associated ‘treats’ like TV, computer, chocolate snack etc to good behaviour that has to be earned.  But we’d started to have to ‘take away’ things when we couldn’t get through to CHB and we seemed to just not be getting through to him at all.

So far chapter 1 about stopping disagreeing with our kids feelings and chapter 2 on how to get them to do what we want, has made a big difference in my relationship with both kids.

Alternatives To Punishment

The idea seems to be instead of being a doormat or being too punitive, finding a way to be assertive and fair.

Here is what they suggest:

1) Point out ways to be helpful: i.e. what you want them to do, rather than what you don’t want them to do

2) Express your disapproval without being mean: i.e. don’t use the word ‘you’ (see previous chapter reviews)

3) State your expectations: what you want them to be doing

4) Show the child how to make amends: e.g. clear up the mess

5) Offer a choice: e.g. behave nicely or I split you two up (dinner time!)

6) Take action: i.e. don’t just threaten, do something about it and follow through

7) Allow the child to experience the consequences of their misbehaviour: e.g. because you were so naughty on the dog walk yesterday, I’m not bringing you today


I’m less convinced about ‘offering a choice’.  I remember an epic tantrum from Little Dimples when I explained she could either go in the pushchair or hold my hand as we were on a busy St Albans street.  She proceeded to throw herself on the pavement and scream for what felt like an hour, whilst I was powerless to do anything and apart from stand there as people with disapproving stares walked by.  I’d forgotten there was that THIRD option; create mayhem!  Obviously it’s only going to work where they don’t think of that clever 3rd option.

I like No7; so often punishments are totally unconnected from the misbehaviour.  It makes sense for the child to understand consequences of their actions, rather than punishment.

I know from personal family experience that use of the cane at school did not stop a child from being naughty; it’s more that the child looked on it like an excuse to do it again, because they could be ‘absolved’ by the caning.  Did you know that a large percentage of parents who use physical punishment, find the children turning on them when they are big enough?

My parents were much older than most and very strict with me.  I’m not sure that being well behaved out of fear is the way to go either.  If possible, I would prefer that our kids behaved well because they respect and love us; with only a dash of fear ;o)

From my training I know that ‘sorry’ doesn’t mean ‘I’m gutted I did it, I won’t do it again’, it more likely means either ‘I’m gutted I was caught’.  I teach my kids to say ‘sorry’ because society expects it, but I also know that it means very little.


Problem Solving

For more complicated problems they suggest a Problem solving approach.

1) Talk about your child’s feelings (see chapter 1)

2) Talk about your feelings and needs (see chapter 2)

3) Brainstorm together to find a mutually agreeable solution by ..

4) Writing down ALL ideas without evaluating first

5) Then agreeing on which suggestions you like/dislike and which you plan to follow through on

6) Don’t permit the child to blame or accuse you or anyone else at any point

Remember to chose a time that works for both of you to discuss it; there is no point trying when either CHB or LD are in a mood.

I really liked this statement “I’m not interesting in blaming anyone for what happened in the past. I am interested in seeing an improvement in the future”; I’m really sure that taking responsibility for their part in how their lives turns out is a REALLY important thing for our kids to learn for a healthy future.  Responsibility is very different from blame; it’s something that we can do something about.

Now this one I haven’t tried yet, so it will be interesting to see how it works, especially as it’s meant to help with problems between siblings.  At the moment it seems that if the Big Hairy Northern One and I happen to both be busy doing chores, the kids will ALWAYS kick off.


Have you been trying out the ideas in my summaries over the past few weeks?  I’d love to know if it has made a difference for you and if you’ve bought the book now?

Don’t forget to add a link in the comments if you have reviewed this book too.

Next week is ‘encouraging autonomy’; no problem of that with Little Dimples!


Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch1: The importance of not disagreeing with their feelings

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch4: Encouraging independence in our children

Why I started reading the book. 


Samsung Galaxy Camera

Do we really need a separate Camera from our phone camera?

Samsung Galaxy Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera


We have a big first here ladies and gents.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Samsung to see if I would like to go and review the Samsung Galaxy camera in Berlin with about 50 other bloggers.  Now I’m having a bit of a rest at the moment, plus Little Dimples isn’t quite up to Mummy going away for that long yet (potentially neither am I).

However, the Big Hairy Northern One (BNHO) is a HUGE lover of camera’s, and knows a tonne more than I do, so when I suggested he go in my place, Samsung wisely took the opportunity to take someone who actually knew a thing of two.

So without further ado may I introduce to you the Big Hairy Northern One!


Hi there,

Hairy Northern One here back from my recent escapades in Berlin as the roving reporter for the Mummy Whisperer.  There is have a review of the Camera from a technical perspective over on Daddycraft but how does the camera function for a Mummy?



Samsung Galaxy Camera back
Samsung Galaxy Camera back

Q. How quickly does it start up (I miss lots of video and photo opportunities because my phone takes so long to switch).

Once initially started the camera is ready to shoot in a second, so not as fast as an iPhone but a great deal quicker than a DSLR. It takes a second or so for the lens to initialise but providing the camera is left in standby mode, it’s quite snappy. Zooming the 21x picture is very quick making it very useful at snapping that not so near action.

Update from MW: My iPhone is older than the BHNO, so the speed is actually about the same 


Q. Would the photos be better quality than on my iPhone 4?

Yes, significantly, the images are twice the size of the iPhone 5. That’s a load more detail making a great picture.


Q. How would it manage in a dark room to video school assemblies or take photos?

I believe very well indeed, there are a few specific modes designed specifically to make use of low lights, these are quickly selected using the MODE button on the back screen and take all the guesswork out of getting the shots. Plus there is a manual mode that gives you full control of both Aperture down to 2.8 (the lower the number the more light enters the camera, so dark room, need a low number) and ISO (higher numbers read light quicker, but do produce speckles on the images, called noise,  the higher you go)

Update from MW: what he means is there is a thingy you can choose to make it work in a dark room



Samsung Galaxy Camera zoom
Samsung Galaxy Camera zoom

Q. Is it easy to sort out that ‘red eye’ thing?

Drink less, eyes will be fine in the morning.  Oh sorry the picture red-eye. Yes. On camera capability along with less likelyhood in the first place. There is also the ability to remove red-eye and do some quite useful post production editing… Not quite photoshop but really gives you some creative options to make your shots stand out.

Update from MW: Ha Ha, chance would be a fine thing!


Q. Does the auto flash work well?

A. Never ask anyone aspiring to be a photographer if an internal flash works well… This one works better than most, it has good range and will bring out the details in very low light. As with all built in straight on flashes it will create very ‘flat’ pictures if the subject is too close, or nothing at all if its too far away.


Q. Does it have 100’s of really confusing settings I will never use?

Yep, but also a handful of very accessible ones you will use constantly.  As you get more adventurous you may go looking for the more confusing ones.  The confusing ones are safely tucked in under a few layers of menus. Note: don’t let hairy northern one use the camera without returning the settings to auto… Or you may get slow I video instead of speedy action at the sink.

Update from MW: Yes, the BHNO got shouted at for fiddling with what has quickly become MY camera!  No the settings are pretty easy to understand and select.



Q. How far away can it take photos?  (I have lots of photos of dots, that looked perfectly big enough through the viewer!). 

It has a 21x optical zoom… That’s 21x more than the iPhone 😉 this image may help. Or to put it another way more than twice the zoom I have with that really big lens on my Canon!

Update from MW: Now you understand that the BHNO and I speak very different languages!  What he means is, ‘Yes you should be able to take a much better picture of the kids at the other end of the garden about 30ft away than you used to be able to’.

Samsung Galaxy Long Distance
Samsung Galaxy Long Distance


Q. How does it do with photo’s inside?

Superb, especially in auto mode. There are so many trade-offs shooting indoors due to lack of light and often the speed of movement of the little folk.  The Auto mode appears to have hit good compromises in the shots so far, impressive.


Q. Does it look really breakable?

It’s not light, but feels well built. Little Dinples proof… I doubt it. It  is sturdy, which helps when you are holding it. LD has messed around with it and even in her tiny paws she held it well.


Q. Will it fit in my handbag, or will I need a bigger bag (shopping opportunity?)

It will fit fine in any handbag, possibly even a clutch. However recognising the seriousness of the question, I would suggest acquiring some new examples of varying types to be sure.

Update from MW: Probably not quite handbagable unless I remove significant important things like Filofaxes that keep me having a vague clue about life. 


Q. How easy is it to send to twitter, facebook and instagram

Easier than I could possibly have thought, it’s on screen, click and go… Once you have ‘connected’ the device to your social media empire it’s a simple click. A feature I haven’t yet figured out is how to share to multiple places at the same time yet…

Update from MW: My biggest peeve was that it took so long to set up and I HAD to add a google plus account in order to connect to facebook and twitter.  That’s just ridiculous in my view.  I have a big problem with the fact that by mistake I ended up with 2 google accounts and I can’t combine them together, which is making my OCD, fibro-fogged brain very unhappy and often causes mistakes when I log into the wrong one.  Because of this camera I had to bite the bullet and actually create a google+ profile and I wasn’t pleased about it. 


Q. How do I get the photos on my computer (I presume it wont use the iCloud?)

The camera can be taught to auto drop everything into a DropBox or Google+ and auto syncs. The DropBox is already on your Mac so the images show up immediately.



So there you go. This is a true bloggers camera. Taking pictures that pass the quality test for just keeping memories  and also spicing up your blogs. I would say JellyBean aside (which works well here) it’s a great camera for you… That I can borrow occasionally 😉



And back to me.  Thanks big Hairy Northern One!

So my quick review of it is:

I expected to say ‘hmm that’s nice, but I have a phone camera, so lets be sensible and put it on eBay’ as it’s worth £399 new.

In fact within a very short period of time I was saying ‘oooohhh that’s a good picture’ and thinking it was definitely my new toy.  The pictures are SO MUCH BETTER, and it’s SO EASY TO TAKE them, that as a Mum I can’t resist the idea of having better pictures of my kids.

Plus it can do slow-motion video; how cool is that!  Just imagine, slo-mo of the kids doing their silly stuff.  I’m going to have so much fun with this, I’m like a kid in a candy shop.

The other funky feature which is great for anyone wanting to shoot family shots or groups of kids, is that there is a mode where you can shoot a pile of photos and then swap the heads around.  Perfect.  So when Grandpa happens to only open his eyes on the shot when one of the kids is sticking their tongue out, you can combine heads from two photos.

The photo’s are FAB, much better than my camera, so I’m now officially a big fan.

Here is a comparison to give you an idea.  Little Dimples made the BHNO buy me pink roses covered in glitter.  The photo from my iPhone doesn’t show the glitter at all and the rose is a weird purple colour.  Whereas the Samsung photo is great, it basically looks really ‘real’.

Pink Rose iPhone
Pink Rose iPhone
Pink Sparkly Rose
Samsung Rose


Little Dimples offered to model for you to see the difference as well:

Photo of Little girl with iPhone
Here is my castle with the iPhone


Little girl with the Samsung Galaxy camera
Here is my castle with the Samsung


My Instagram and blog photos are going to be so much better from now on!


Have you ended up buying a camera as well as the one on your phone?  Which one did you get?


UPDATE: If you have a problem with Google+ because your youtube account is separate from your Analytics, Feedburner or Webmaster tools, then check out this post from my mate Mediocre Mum.

Disclosure: We were given a Samsung Galaxy Camera and The Big Hairy Northern One was sent to Berlin to meet up with loads of other bloggers to celebrate their #LifesAPhoto competition.  However, our views are our own.


How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

Do we have a bad habit of confusing our kids so they don’t know what they are feeling?

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

The first book in my long list I’m going to review is:

How to Talk so your kids will Listen and Listen to kids will talk‘ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

To help me, I’m going to do an in depth review of each chapter, and then at the end of the 6-12 weeks it takes, I’ll write up how we did (if it’s good enough and worth keeping going of course!).  Hopefully that will be helpful to you guys too?

There are Six Steps:

1) Helping Children Deal with their feelings

2) Engaging Cooperation

3) Alternatives To Punishment

4) Encouraging Autonomy

5) Praise

6) Freeing Children From Playing Roles

7) Putting It All Together

My first reaction on reading it was that it feels like a brilliant book, although I have some reservations, after all is it really possible to NOT punish a child?  After all, surely consequences are important?  Plus, what happens when they grow up and suddenly go to prison (OK, slightly extreme worry there!).

I can’t believe I didn’t know about it before though as it’s been around for 30yrs; is it like some extremely well kept secret?


Three important things to remember when reading it:

They don’t expect you to be able to do these all the time; they themselves were human and know that we are too.

The objective is to make sure our children aren’t damaged by our words

It’s NOT about being calm all the time; in fact expressing how you FEEL is important, just not blaming or accusing them for it.


Although they say to read each chapter and do the exercises before moving on, I disagree.  Read the whole thing, then go back and do it step by step.  They have added extra bits after each decade and they are really interesting, plus they give added ideas on how to implement it and clear up misunderstandings.


So onto my review of chapter 1:


1) Helping Children Deal With Their Feelings

This chapter I totally LOVE.

They talk about the fact that we keep telling the kids that they DON’T feel like xyz, which must have a big effect on their ability to know themselves as they get older and deal with their emotions.

For example:

Curly Headed Boy: ‘I hate her’ (talking about his sister Little Dimples).

Me: ‘Of course you don’t, you love her’


Thinking about it, I think I’ve been told for years how to think and feel.  In fact I’m sometimes a bit confused about who I really am.

The other day the Big Hairy Northern One and I had an argument and at one point he said ‘that’s not what you are angry about, it’s something else’ and I totally flipped (see, we are a totally normal couple).  I now understand how come; because he was doing exactly what they talk about here and I hate second guessing myself; don’t we all?


Even when we don’t disagree with how they feel, apparently we try too hard to help them, rather than let them find their own solution.

They suggest that instead we try just listening and saying ‘mmmm’,  and show that we understand how they feel instead.  Apparently, they will often find their own solutions?

There are 8 options that we apparently tend to take:

1. Denial of feelings: ‘you don’t need to be so upset with her’

2. Philosophical: ‘sisters are like that’

3. Advice: ‘Maybe if you didn’t ignore her, she wouldn’t hit you’

4. Questions: ‘What do you think caused her to hit you?’

5. Defence of the other person: ‘I can see why she hit you’

6. Pity: ‘Oh dear, it must be awful to have a sister.’

7. Amateur Psychoanalysist: ‘Has it ever occured to you that you aren’t angry with her, but yourself?’

8. Empathetic Response: ‘It must be frustrating to have your little sister always wanting your attention when you are busy.’

They are suggesting that we should go for No 8 and be empathetic, just feeding back that we understand how they feel.

I do see what they mean that when we are being ‘helpful’ it’s not always so useful.  Being an agony aunt type of person I’ve definitely tried all the options they suggest are less helpful.  But, I’m not so sure that they will find their own solutions; that maybe because I have a tendency to ‘advise’ ouch!

I don’t quite agree with them on this, maybe if (8) doesn’t allow them to find their own solution, I would still use 2-7; but I’m definitely avoiding (1) as much as possible from now on, and only resorting to using the others after trying to use an empathetic response.  Yep, I’m definitely ‘feeling some resistance’ to this one!


So to help with their feelings we are apparently meant to:

1) Listen with full attention (i.e. put the phone down)

2) Acknowledge their feelings e.g. ‘mmmm’

3) Give the feelings a name e.g. ‘You are feeling angry and frustrated?’

4) Give them their wishes in fantasy if it’s about something they can’t have (do a bit of make believe ‘I wish I could send her to the moon for you to have a break for a bit!’).


They do appreciate that we can’t just go along with our kids hitting each other etc!  In that case they suggest empathising and then limiting their actions e.g. ‘I can see how angry you got with her, tell her what you want with your words, rather than pushing her’.

Remember it’s empathising, not agreeing with, so it’s not me agreeing with him disliking her.

If the kids say something horrid like ‘I hate you’, you don’t have to just sit there and take it, you can still say ‘I didn’t like hearing that, if you’re angry tell me in another way so that I can help’.

It also has a great tip of letting kids draw their feelings, especially young ones, or kids that have problems with dealing with their emotions.

I’ve briefly tried it so far and I can definitely say that:

It fails when I’m tired!

It worked amazingly on the ‘about to kick off the biggest tantrum known to mankind on way to school run’ with Little Dimples.

It some times works between the kids to stop it look like I favour one or the other.

It’s great to know that it’s not my job to make my kids happy; especially as I know they can’t be happy all the time, so it would be an impossible task.

It’s definitely worth spending some more effort on.


I’ll let you know more at the end of the 6 weeks (or more if it takes longer; you know what life is like!).

In the mean time I’d love to know if you have done a review of this book or what you think about it?


Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch3: What to do when punishment or more discipline isn’t working 

Ch4: Encouraging independence in our children

Why I started reading the book. 


Kids love Dens

Great Toy For Imaginative Outside Play For Boys and TomBoys

Several months ago I was sent the most amazing thing for Curly Headed Boy to review the ‘Ultimate Dangerous Den Kit‘ from Battle Box.

OMG was I the best Mummy in the world for this old blogging marlarkey when it turned up!

Luckily for me they are incredibly nice people as well, and they have never nagged me once knowing I had my Fibromyalgia diagnosis and was taking some time out.

I’m hoping that this review catches those people still making the most of new year sales, or with presents to buy in January and February; such a difficult time just after Christmas.

Ours came with:

  • Camouflage Tarpaulin
  • Steel pegs
  • Strong cord
  • Wooden Mallet
  • Danger Mines sign
  • Den Bags
  • Union Jack Flag
  • Camouflage net
  • Go Wild! Book – 101 things to do outside before you grow up
  • Backpack
  • Help for heroes chocolate bar
  • Playing Cards


So several months on what do I think about it?

It’s a great present that will last for years and get used by both Curly Headed Boy and my tomboy Little Dimples (3).

I love anything that battles the lure of the computer game and gets the kids outside.

Plus we found that Dens can be made inside, so it can be used all year round.

I remember making Dens as a kid and mine love them just as much as I do, but there are times when a couple of pillows just don’t work, and this is perfect.

If you can’t afford the ultimate Den Kit that I was sent, then I would go for the Essential Camping Kit as a great alternative and maybe get someone else to buy the hefty backpack in the ‘create your own kit’ section.

Before this I had tried to make a sort of Den that went over the Kitchen table; ahem, it didn’t really work out, especially as they kept bumping their heads on the table.  So this kit has saved several bumped heads and tears!

If you have a ‘big boy’ who doesn’t really need a den, check out their battle boxes for all their ‘special things’.

 But let me show you what the kids thought ….

Kids love Dens
Very chuffed!


Ultimate den kit
In it’s full glory


Making a Den Inside
Dens work inside too!


My one complaint?  It made Christmas shopping really hard this year for me and Santa!


Disclosure: Battlebox sent me a den kit to review, but that doesn’t affect my opinions of the kit, and I would seriously have considered buying one myself.