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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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Top Tips for Filming The Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Panasonic Brit Bloggers | Posted on 29-03-2015

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With the Easter holidays upon us – at least for most people! – there’ll no doubt be lots of family fun ahead. If you’re planning to get your camcorder out to save some memories – or even use your mobile phone – take a look at these Top Tips from Panasonic for capturing the best of the action.

Top tips for filming family videos over the Easter holidays

There’s nothing better than a family Easter egg hunt or a spring day out to bring the whole family together. Whether it’s a family trip away or an afternoon jaunt to the park, the school holidays can provide the perfect opportunity to capture some precious moments on film.

But excitable children, unpredictable weather, and you stuck behind the camera don’t always make for the best family video. Here are some top tips from Panasonic’s video expert, Mark Baber, to help you avoid common mistakes.

  1. Get your positioning and angles right

To make sure you’re capturing your children’s faces clearly during that fun-filled Easter egg hunt, crouch down so you’re at their level. A great way to capture children’s merry mayhem without distracting them with your presence is to actively look away from the camcorder or turn your body in a different direction. Look out for camcorders that offer a ‘Level Shot’ function – they’ll automatically correct tilting to avoid wonky shots.

  1. Engage the troops

The most memorable home videos are often the ones which contain unexpected action or little ones’ laugh-out-loud outbursts while playing at home on a rainy day. While the best moments tend to happen naturally, asking non-leading questions like “what are you doing?” or, better still, “what are you about to do next?” can help to achieve video gold. Remember that the microphone is closer to you, so speak quietly or, better still, keep the camcorder on standby and only start recording once you’ve asked the question.

  1. Flex your creative muscles

Make your videos look more fun by using creative effects and filming modes. If you’re on a long car journey, ask the person in the passenger seat to film the view of the road and fast forward this into a timelapse. Or why not try black and white mode to make it look like a silent movie and get the kids to do their best mime artist impressions. Look out Martin Scorcese …

  1. Star in your own movie

If you’re behind the camera, it often means that you don’t appear much in your family videos. A great way to get in on the action is to use a camcorder that can be controlled remotely using a smartphone. For example, with the Panasonic V550 or W750 you can position the camcorder in a corner, join in on the family fun and click record on your smartphone. You can also zoom in and out, check the sound levels and watch the live image all on your trusty phone.

  1. Share the fun

If there’s a family member that can’t join you but you don’t want them to miss out, opt for a camcorder with real-time broadcasting. This function lets you stream live images to anyone around the world with an internet connection. So if someone is stuck at work or lives on the other side of the world, they can still be part of your Easter extravaganza.

  1. Cheat your way to a professional family video

If you’d much rather relax and enjoy the family fun without worrying about camera angles, a pan-tilt cradle can do all the hard work for you. Pop the camcorder on top and it’ll pan the scene, detecting movement to then tilt and zoom in on the action, like your very own cameraman!

We’ve got lots planned for Easter weekend with grandparents playing a major role so I’m hoping to get some great footage thanks to these tips. Keep your eyes peeled!

For more information about Panasonic HD Camcorders, click here.

Review: Panasonic Remote Pan & Tilt Cradle

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Panasonic Brit Bloggers | Posted on 21-01-2015

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I think I’m turning into an even bigger geek than I thought I was. Previously I’d get excited by deliveries of toys for the children to review. I’m known for finding Brabantia washing lines far too exciting. Nowadays I find deliveries from Panasonic massively thrilling. You’ll all hopefully recall my review of the V550 HD camcorder last summer, a camcorder I’d played with during a visit to Panasonic HQ which I was really keen to test out at home. Another highlight from my visit to HQ was without doubt the Pan & Tilt Cradle and so you can imagine my delight when one landed on my doorstep.

PanTiltPanasonicThe Pan & Tilt is a great little accessory. You fix your compatible camcorder to the unit using the screw on the top and you are then able to capture the action without missing any of it yourself. The unit pans a full 180 degrees and can tilt up to 15 degrees which provides you with a pretty wide scope. Using the rather clever Panasonic Image App you can use the WIFI function of the camcorder to operate it remotely, having a full range of functions and options available to you, and being able to direct the action with your smart phone or tablet.

For me this is a definite “Wow” accessory. The freedom of movement is brilliant, and the resulting field of vision is amazing. The controls are so easy to use and I think it would be a great accessory for families and video bloggers. I know lots of bloggers do video reviews, where they are sat talking to the camera a bit news presenter style. To have your camcorder set up on the pan and tilt in front of you and then to be able to see the images that were being recorded and adjust them accordingly would be really helpful for me. To be able to move side to side, or to zoom in or out of the shot, just by tapping a button of your smart device would provide great freedom.

Families would get lots of use from this accessory. Filming family occasions by making use of the motion sensor and face recognition functions on your camcorder means you’ll get all the memories without missing the event itself. You could even set it up as a security camera for your property, or to keep an eye on your pets whilst you’re at work. It also adds an extra dimension to the baby monitor function of the camcorder, giving you freedom to adjust your view of your – hopefully! – sleeping child without disturbing them.

We’ve been attempting to set the baby monitor function up fully with our camcorder and we’re keen to test it out with the pan and tilt. A few technical problems so far – I will endlessly blame baby brain for this – but fingers crossed I’ll figure out what I’m doing and get some footage of my gorgeous Little Dude sleeping up here soon.


Review: Panasonic HC-V550 Full HD Camcorder

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Panasonic Brit Bloggers, Product Reviews, Tech Review | Posted on 21-08-2014

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As a Panasonic Brit Blogger I was really excited to see what product I’d be reviewing for them after my trip to their headquarters earlier this year. I’d been really impressed by so much of what I saw, but I was not-so-secretly hoping to receive one of their camcorders to test out, so I was thrilled when the brand new V550 HD camcorder arrived on my doorstep.

Right lets start with the technical stuff. The V550 is a full HD camcorder with Intelligent 90x Zoom and Optical 50x Zoom. It comes with 10MP High Sensitivity Sensor and Crystal Engine PRO, and a 28mm wide angle lens. It has image stabilisation and level shot, which all combined makes sure your footage is pin sharp and clear. It has a fold out 3″ touchscreen and is WIFI enabled – which is probably my favourite feature but more on that later.

So what does all that mean? It means the box contains a pretty epic camcorder.

Panasonic Camcorder V550

In the box you’ll find the camcorder itself, your charger, a USB cable, a HDMI cable, and 2 CD’s – one with operating instructions and one with editing software on. Now setting up your camcorder is easy enough. You pop your battery in, stick your memory card in, plug in the charger and ideally leave it to fully charge. If you’re like me and keen to make the most of 5 minutes with both children occupied, you can turn it on straight away and have a quick play!

The power button is located beneath the fold out screen, where you will also find the WIFI button, the HDMI and USB cable sockets, and the battery release button. The first thing I wanted to play with was the WIFI connectivity, so by pressing the WIFI button I was presented with a selection of options on the touchscreen. I’d already got the Panasonic Image App on my phone – available on Android and Apple devices – so I turned that on and followed the on screen instructions. I found the easiest way to ensure a good connection was to use the QR code or WIFI option. With my smart phone the QR code was best as I could use the camera on my phone to connect. With my Android tablet which doesn’t have a camera I had to use the WIFI option and manually type in a password. The QR code method was by far the fastest option, but between my initial play with the camcorder and the next time I had chance to use it I changed phones to a Windows phone and the Panasonic Smart App is on there yet, so I currently have to link it to my camera-less tablet. Once your phone or tablet is linked to the camcorder you can remotely view what your camcorder is pointed at, and you can control it. On its own you can zoom in and out, record footage and take photos. You can also set it up as a home security camera and as a baby monitor. Little Dude is 13 weeks old and we haven’t had to use a monitor with him yet as he’s never left unattended, but I’m really looking forward to testing out this function at length soon. I think the remote access feature is amazing and the App is very usable.

Now logic would tell you to include video footage within my review wouldn’t it? Well sadly I’m not going to do that for this review. To be honest the only footage I have is of Little Dude sleeping and that’s not really fascinating to anyone but me, and doesn’t do the camera justice I’m sure. There will be further reviews of this camera throughout the year as I show off its recording skill as well as its baby monitor function. I’m also keen to provide readers with what they want so if you have any questions about any of the camera’s features or functions let me know and I’ll do my best to help you out.

This is a quality little camera, which fits snugly in your hand. Its extremely versatile and I think it would be perfect for filming holidays, family events, as well as brilliant for all you vloggers out there. During my time as a Panasonic Brit Blogger I am going to put this to the test as best I can so expect footage galore to appear on the blog soon. Get your requests in now!

The Panasonic V550 is available now from all good electrical retailers, as well as direct from Panasonic.

I’m A Panasonic Brit Blogger!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Panasonic Brit Bloggers | Posted on 24-03-2014

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Those eagle eyed amongst you will no doubt have spotted the shiny new badge which made an appearance on my blog recently, announcing that I’m a Panasonic Brit Blogger. Like many of you I applied to join the team at last years Brit Mums Live and was so excited to hear back from them at the start of the year saying that I’d been chosen to be part of their cameras and camcorders group. Well a couple of weeks ago myself and nine other bloggers were invited to get together at Panasonic’s rather posh head offices in Bracknell, to meet one another and the Panasonic team, and get our hands on some of new releases for 2014.

As you can imagine there is some amazing kit on the way this year but for me there were two highlights that I think would be most use to our little family. First up is this little cutie.
panasonic ft25 sussexmummy

Whilst this might look like a regular compact camera it is much more than that. The FT25 is one of Panasonic’s “tough” compacts. Its designed for active users, and is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. Now whilst this is pitched at people that want to go scuba diving or mountain climbing I think this would make a great camera for families with young children. Imagine you’re on holiday at the beach, or walking through some muddy woods on a day out, or anywhere really and your little one wants to take a photo. You’re not likely to hand over your camera – I have a Lumix Bridge camera that Little Man has used but I certainly wouldn’t let him do so outside. You could literally chuck this at your child and let them carry on. If they drop it in a puddle, the sea, a sandy beach or onto the floor it won’t break. Water wont get in, and neither will sand. What’s more your children have a better chance of taking some decent shots. It’s a 16 megapixel camera with a battery life of around 250 photos. The perfect accompaniment to any family break or day out.

My other highlight was one of the camcorders, one that is of particular interest to me in the months ahead.
panasonic w850 sussexmummyThis is the W850 camcorder, and describing it as “clever” just doesn’t do it justice. As you can probably spot from the image on the right it has TWO cameras, so you record two scenes at the same time with both displaying on the fold out window. Handy for anyone who tends to miss the action, or if you want to record the action as well as your reaction. Cool huh? But for me, that’s not the best bit. The camcorder has a series of modes, one of which is the Baby Monitor Mode. With the help of this mode – and the very impressive night vision – you can set this camcorder up in your babies’ room to watch them as they sleep. A remote pan and tilt cradle is also available to give you full control of where the camcorder points. But how does it work as a monitor? Thanks to the wonder of WIFI. You simply connect the camcorder to your smartphone or tablet – using the free to download and widely available Panasonic Image App – and set up your notifications to go off if your baby makes a noise or wakes. You can even talk to your baby via the camcorder so if they simply need a bit of verbal reassurance you don’t need to move. For me this is a really exciting piece of kit, and one that I loved playing about with on the day.

Now as I mentioned there are nine other bloggers joining me on this little journey with Panasonic, and you can find them listed below. Do head over to their blogs are read their insights into the day and their favourite products. There’s even a few photos of giant pigeons to be found if you look hard enough.

My fellow Panasonic Brit Bloggers are:
Leyla from This Day I Love
Danielle from Blog By Baby
Cat from Yellow Days
Laura from The Life & Times of The Working Mum
Jacinta from Jacintaz3
Lotte from Berice Baby
Michelle from The Purple Pumpkin Blog
Angela from This Is Life
Nadine from Juggle Mum

Panasonic covered my travel expenses for the day and provided me with the imagery above. The opinions are my own.