Thanks to the lovely Jay, Sundays have become synonymous with photography for much of the blogging community and I just wanted to write a post with both words and pictures about how I feel about it all. I’m the first to admit that I’m not very good at photography, but I love my camera and I enjoy snapping away, trying to improve my (lack of) skills. One of my favourite settings on my camera is the macro. I don’t know if it harks back to when I was a kid and I got bought a microscope, but I have a fascination with seeing the minute, almost cellular detail on small things. Also, I have absolutely terrible eyesight, relying on very thick glasses or contact lenses at all times, so maybe being able to see fine detail is like a little luxury to me.

Anyway, I was hanging the washing out earlier and this little dude landed on my vest….

I love the way some insects have markings that look like a face! Sure, it’s not David Bailey stuff, but I was proud of the shot, I had to get my head between the lines in the washing line to get it and I think it was worth it. I was going to save it and use it for next weeks Silent Sunday, but we’ve got Sausage’s birthday next Saturday and I’m almost certain that’s going to give me more than enough Silent Sunday material, so I thought I’d get it in early!

If any of you have any awesome photography hints or tips for me, I’d love to hear them. I was on the verge of buying an expensive DSLR but was advised by lots of people to improve my photography with my compact before spending a ton on new equipment. So, along with my blogging, working, parenting, wifeing, degreeing and, you know, having time to breathe in and out, I plan to get better with my camera. Oh, and I’m thinking about taking a cake decorating course too, but that’s another post for another day.

Parenting · Personal

A Matter of Perception.

Isn’t it amazing how your kids can completely change the way you look at things, without even meaning to, how their wide-eyed wonder at the most mundane item can alter your perception? Yesterday, while we were walking along the street, Sausage and I walked past a particularly unkempt garden outside a block of flats. Most people would turn their nose up at the laziness of the council or the impact that the garden had on the look of the rest of the street. Most adult people. My daughter exclaimed, with genuine delight, “Mummy, look at all of those fluffy flowers! Aren’t they beautiful?“. Obviously the flowers in question were dandelion clock, which the majority of people would consider a weed and a pest, but my daughter looked at them with her eyes and her heart, unaffected by social convention, and found them beautiful. That, right there, is the answer to world peace, I’m sure of it.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to look at things in the same way. It’s like therapy. Take the time to see the beauty in things and the world really will start to look like a better place. Or at least, that’s the theory. It’s like that thing where they say if you force yourself to smile, even if you don’t mean it, it releases certain hormones and will eventually actually make you feel genuinely happy. If I take the time to view things through the eyes of my daughter, the world will seem like a different place. Instead of moaning about the rain, look at the beautiful shapes in the clouds, or the way the rain makes everything look shiny and new. Instead of being cross when the foxes rip the bin bags up and I have to pick up the semi-rotting detritus, think about the fact that the fox and maybe some fox babies managed to have a lovely dinner and won’t go hungry tonight.

And I’ve found that if I FORCE myself to do it, like stand in front of a pile of rubbish and make myself think of something nice to say about it, it starts to come more naturally at other times. Maybe it’s like cognitive behavioural therapy, I’m kind of retraining my brain, but if you can walk along the street and have ten positive thoughts rather than 15 negative ones, surely that would make a vast difference to your day and your mood? And in turn, an upturn in your mood might mean you don’t snap at your kid for something which is quite minor, or you might smile at a stranger in the street and make them realise that neighbourliness and community spirit isn’t dead. All quite minor things that could have a cumulative effect and make the world a better place.

And it all started with fluffy flowers.

All About ME! · Opinion · Review

What Would You Do?

Since I started Mum’s the Word back in October of last year, I’ve been sent some really fab products to try out and I can honestly say that I’ve not had a bad word to say about any of them. All of my reviews have been pretty positive, but they’ve always been honest (anyone who read this review that I did for BDT will know that I don’t pull my punches if I think something is crap). I take my time, use a product extensively before writing about it and always try to give a well-researched and balanced opinion.

But what do you do when you receive a product that’s so dire that it doesn’t even do what it says on the box? I could quite easily write a review about how it claimed to last five days, but barely lasted two hours, but would this be the right thing to do? My Mum taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all, but then surely a negative review is just as useful to my readers as a positive one? I certainly wouldn’t want any of you to waste your money on this product. I also risk alienating the PR who sent me the item, with whom I’ve built a good relationship over the months but firstly, I’m only being honest and secondly, this blog means more to me than a few free products.

What would you do, readers? Would you name and shame without a second thought, would you email the PR and tell them that you couldn’t possibly say anything positive and ask them what you should do, or would you just keep schtum and hope no one remembers that they sent you the damn things in the first place?

I have to say, my instinct is to tell you all. I’m often at my funniest and most entertaining when I’m being scathing about something, and I have a shit load of scathing things to say about this one. I know a lot of my fellow bloggers have been or are in PR, so what would you want me to do, if you were looking at it from the other side of the coin?

If any of you have any advice, I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, do me a favour and don’t buy any new beauty products…I may be sharing a very off-putting story very soon!


Small Steps…

This is obviously not me....but it will be one day.

So, I’m not going to do what I’ve done before. I won’t put my vital statistics out here for all to see, it’s not productive so it’s pointless. But today, I made a small step toward my goal. I used our new treadmill for the first time, and not only did I do 15 minutes of brisk walking, but I did 5 whole minutes of actual jogging. Now, I’m sure all of you healthy, amazing people who run 5km every day are scoffing at my minor burst of energy, but this is a big deal to me. I am totally unfit, and I surprised myself by even managing to jog for five minutes, I thought I’d manage about 2 before my lungs exploded, but once I found my stride it was easier than I thought it would be.

I also wore my Zaggora HotPants for the first time and I noticed more than one benefit. Aside from the fact, and I’m sorry to have to share this, but I definitely, *ahem* sweated more in the areas that the HotPants covered, which just shows that the fat and cellulite burning magic is in action, one of the other things I liked is that they seem to hold everything in. If you’ve ever been overweight and tried to exercise, you’ll do that there’s an unpleasant and off-putting jiggle that tends to happen if you go over a gentle canter, but the HotPants really eliminated this and gave me the confidence to go for it.

Oh, and a little tip? The HotPants have very specific washing instructions, but if you take them in the shower with you after your workout, turn them inside out and rinse them out with some mild shampoo, then hang them over the shower curtain rail it makes keeping them clean super simple (That’s not endorsed by Zaggora by the way, just my own tip, I’ll probably find out that I’m perishing the material by doing that, when my hulking great ass bursts out of the seams, mid-workout!).

I’m hoping this is the start of something good, and you never know, if I start to see decent results I may just share my new stats with you! (Oh, and if you want some HotPants for yourself, I have a voucher for anyone who wants it giving you 10% off, just comment below and let me know)