We are going to move house soon (if all goes through, fingers crossed, touch wood) and I’m looking forward to having a larger kitchen, our current kitchen is a good size for cooking on your own but it’s not really big enough for cooking as a family and it’s certainly not big enough for all the kitchen gadgets that I absolutely, positively need in order to make mealtimes more technical and science based.

I’ve been spending a lot of time planning for the new kitchen and this post represents my more realistic plans for the new kitchen and I’ve omitted some of the more esoteric, single use gadgets that my wife will never ever let me have…

The Coffee Station

Taking my inspiration from Pinterest, I plan to dedicate a section of the kitchen to a coffee station. Two small children have made coffee a major part of my life and I recently took the decision to reduce the quantity of coffee I consume and improve the quality. I really appreciate a fantastic coffee, and good coffee is worth the effort!


Wall Art

I love this print which can be found here, it will make it the centre piece of the my coffee station.

Coffee print

The Coffee Machine

We have a popular coffee pod machine which will be coming with us and it’s great for quick and easy coffee but I’m now looking to have some fun and practice the art of coffee a little more. I’ve been researching coffee machines and after speaking to a Sage representative at the intu Trafford Centre, I’ve decided that the Sage Barista Express is the machine for me. It offers an inbuilt grinder that delivers the right dose of coffee directly into the portafilter and a thermocoil for heating the water and generating steam for the milk giving me an opportunity to try my hand at latte art. Plus it looks good, I like the brushed stainless steel look, and the reviews are great.


To complete the barista experience, I’ll also be looking to buy a knock box and a stainless steel milk jug. I can’t wait to try and perfect my coffee and latte art!

knock box


The Coffee

We’re big fans of Pact coffee and we currently use their service to provide us with small batch, freshly ground coffee for drinking at work (I use a Hario V60 dripper and my wife has ‘borrowed’ by aeropress), so I can see us adding beans to our subscription as we like the variety that pact gives us.

I’d also like to mimic the espressos served my favourite Manchester coffee houses, so I’ll be buying some Cult of Done espresso as served by Pot Kettle Black and Barnraiser  as served by Grindsmiths and North Tea Power’s Deerhunter house blend.


I’ve always wanted to own a set of Global knives but I’ve been a bit intimidated by the sharpness and precision of their Japanese steel but I think I’m old enough and proficient enough to now invest in some.


Knife Block

As much as I love Globals, being a father to two young boys has made me a little more safety conscious and the Joseph Joseph LockBlock is a locking knife block while prevents little hands from being able to remove the knives.

knife block


Chopping Board

I’m obsessed with Joseph Joseph and their innovative approach to design, so I’ve got my eye on their Index chopping boards which are stylish and space-saving.

Fridge Freezer

We’ll finally have space for an american style fridge freezer, this Samsung one is perfect,  and I’m sure the boy will love being able to access chilled water and ice on demand!




I like the idea of the Drop scales which link to an iPad based recipe app and I think that fits well in my ‘smart home’ strategy (although I’m not sure about the iKettle)


Other stuff

I want to make fresh pasta, so I’m going to need a pasta maker and our pots and pans could do with a refresh, why not leave a comment and give me some recommendations? I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the kitchen and I’ll write reviews of all the items listed above as and when we buy them.

It’s time to hand over to my husband again for a review of the SJCam SJ4000 which we recently purchased for our family, this is not a product we have been given to review.


I love the idea of a GoPro, the design, the durability, the features but mostly I love the marketing, it’s an amazing example of lifestyle marketing, buy a GoPro and you can film yourself surfing, diving, climbing into volcanos and jumping out of helicopters to ski down a mountain.

The only problem is that I don’t really do any of those things and I because I don’t really do any of those things, I could never really justify the purchase of a GoPro.

I know that last year, GoPro launched an entry-level camera at a slightly more justifiable £109.99 but I felt that the compromises made to achieve the price point (no wi-fi, built-in battery and you can’t remove it from the waterproof housing) reduced the camera’s appeal to me, so thought I’d wait until I had suitable justification to buy a higher spec’d one.

A couple of week’s ago, I was reading lifehacker’s roundup of the five best action cameras when I noticed the SJCAM SJ4000 which at $99/£66 seemed like something I could use and not worry too much about it getting lost, stolen or eaten by one of my children. So I set about buying one.


Beware of the clones

The SJCAM SJ4000 is a very popular clone of the GoPro, so popular in fact, it’s attracted it’s own clones and there are numerous cameras of differing (frequently lesser) quality all selling under the SJ4000 name but there are several suppliers of genuine SJ4000s that deliver to the UK.

The Package


The SJ4000 comes with a good collection of mounts to get you started, included with in the box with the camera and battery are;


1 x Waterproof Housing
1 x Quick Release Buckle
1 x Housing Backdoor with Holes
1 x Handlebar Seatpost Pole Mount
1 x Curved Adhesive Mount
1 x Flat Adhesive Mount
1 x 3-Way Pivot Arm Mount
2 x 3M Adhesive Tape
1 x Frame Mount
1 x Quick Release Clip for The Frame
1 x Vertical Quick Release J-Hook Buckle
1 x Universal 1/4″ Camera Tripod Mount
1 x Tripod Mount Adapter
1 x Bandage Set
1 x Stainless Steel Safety Tether
4 x Nylon Cable Ties
1 x Cleaning Cloth
1 x USB Cable
1 x Power Adapter

Overall Impressions

The camera feels solid and well made, as do the mounts although the battery case is a little hard to open, on the front of the camera is the on/off/menu button, on the top is the record / stop / select button. on the right hand side is the up and down buttons, pressing the up button turns on the camera’s wi-fi and shows a screen with the access point name and password. On the left hand side of the camera is the MicroSD slot, micro-usb and micro HDMI ports.


Overall, This is a great little camera for the money, the included mounts mean that, as long as you have a microSD card ready, you can get started filming interesting stuff straight away. The LCD screen on the back is decent enough and lets you frame your shots, cutting out after a few minutes to save power but after a few day’s use you get a good enough understanding of where to point the camera without having to use the screen, so I’m not sure about the long-term benefits of the screen.

The video quality is great in good light, reducing in quality when the light fades or you start videoing indoors, nighttime footage is pretty poor quality but you can still make out what you’re trying to film. The auto exposure isn’t the fastest and the camera sometimes take’s a while to correct itself when the light changes and in most cases the video white balance seems to be a little cool and on the blue side.

The camera has a time-lapse function which takes 1 frame of footage every 3, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds, results from this are very good.

Video is recorded at 1080p (full HD) @ 30 frames per second by default and can be set to 720p @ 30 or 60fps (which isn’t a true 60 frames per second, rather than record 60 unique frames per second, it each frame twice, so it’s more like 30fps x2)

When inside the waterproof case; sound is practically non-existent with the camera’s microphone only picking up knocks and vibrations affecting the case itself, there’s no easy way to add an external microphone, so take into account if you’re considering buying this camera but since all GoPro style videos have a banging techno soundtrack this shouldn’t be an issue, right?

The firmware on the camera isn’t the greatest and it took me a while to understand how to navigate the menu structure and change the settings but if you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to fiddle then the default 1080p@30 fps should be fine for you.

The Wi-Fi built into the camera acts as a wireless access point that you can connect your Android phone / tablet or iPhone / iPad to, then you can use the SJCAM app to act as a remote screen for the camera, start and stop recoding, alter settings and transfer video from the camera to your phone.

Battery life is fairly disappointing with the camera only running for a couple of hours using the supplied battery, fortunately it is removable and additional batteries can be bought pretty cheaper from all the usual places.

The supplied mounts are useful and the SJCAM uses the same mounting method as the GoPro, so there’s many additional mounting options available, I picked up a carry case and a party bag of mounts for about £25, allowing me to strap the camera to my wrist, my chest or mount it to my head (which I’m not sure I can do in public).



For £67, I knew that I’d be making some compromises over a more expensive GoPro and I strongly feel that the positives of this camera more than outweigh the negatives, but when looking at cheaper alternatives to popular devices you always need to do your homework and know exactly what those compromises are otherwise you run the risk of being disappointed.

I’m very happy with the camera and it will suit our family nicely and will allow us to record holidays, bike rides and all the kind of things that you’d worry about exposing your phone or video camera to.

Although if I ever jump out of a helicopter and ski down a mountain, I’m definitely buying a GoPro.

Daddy decided he wanted in on the blogging action so I asked if he’d like to do a guest post here and there. He agreed and set about writing his first post, which is below! Thanks Daddy!

The Cbeebies fun day at MediaCity, Salford Quays… Pffft, it was alright I suppose.

What? Are you still here? Do I need to pad this blog post out a bit? Well, here goes…

So, it was a Daddy day for The Boy, previous Daddy days had taken the form of Kids Club cinema visits, trips to Ikea and train journeys into Wigan and Manchester but today we decided to try something special.

We had applied for CBeebies Pantomime tickets when they were advertised, we were sadly unsuccessful but we did make a note of the fun day and events planned taking place in MediaCity for the weekend of the pantomime, and when Mummy and Flixster had made plans for Saturday, I knew that this would make a memorable Daddy day for The Boy.

After chasing The Boy around the house with his clothes for a little while until he finally agreed to get dressed, we got in the car and set off. As there were a few events on at the Quays and we were late setting off, we parked at Ladywell and took the tram to MediaCity.


After a short journey and a good press of the button to open the tram doors, we got off the tram in MediaCity and followed the stream of parents and children who were heading into the CBeebies Fun Day.

The first thing that caught our eye was the pirate ship where they were giving tours and reading stories.



We had a look in the tents which offered a variety of activities and then headed towards the stage where Dr. Ranj from ‘Get Well Soon’ was on stage.


We watched for a little while before The Boy took us into the Lowry Theatre and up the escalator where we looked at Andy Gott’s brilliant BAFTA portraits exhibition (well, I looked, The Boy ran around and looked out of the window).

The Boy then wanted to go for a walk, so we went over the bridge before ‘tiredy’ legs struck and The Boy wanted picking up, carrying and while I was at it, could I get him some lunch too.

We went into the Lowry Outlet Mall and went up to the food court for lunch, then once we’d finished we had a quick look around the Mall and spotted Great British Bake Off runner up Richard Burr having a coffee with his family.

Once we’d finished in the Mall, we had a look for the famous Blue Peter Garden (it’s smaller than I thought it would be) and explored a couple of the BBC buildings, mainly the ones with automatic or revolving doors, as he loves doors!


After a little more running around, we got back onto the tram and headed to the car, after a couple of minutes driving, The Boy’s conversation faded and when I turned around to look at him, he was fast asleep……