The Thing Is…Boys Are Full On! with Bree James

Being the only female in a house of boys, it’s a celebration of the XY chromosome most days. I have certainly learnt a lot about the male species since becoming a mother of boys, and there are a lot of things I wish I didn’t learn, but also many I am so pleased I have.

The thing is… little boys are fuuullllll on. I know girls can be too, but from what I have witnessed most girls can sit still whilst watching tv, at a dinner table and when a passenger in the car. I am sure some boys can too, but mine…cannot.

My boys have so much energy they could power a small town. From the time they wake up, until the time they go to bed, they are jumping, wrestling, throwing, play fighting, twitching, jiggling, and any other movement you can think of.

And no matter how much activity they have in a day, you feed them and off they go again.

You cannot take them to the shops without them turning it into a maze, battlefield, or racetrack. It doesn’t matter how much you warn them when you go into the shops that they have to behave, not run and to stay close – they do not. It takes all of a parent’s power to keep their cool whilst copping knowing or judgmental looks at your inability to keep your boys in line in public.

Boys also attempt really dumb things. Getting chills up and down your spine is a daily occurrence – with many of us surprised at how little time we spend in the Emergency Room.

Parents of boys have a special “I feel you” nod we give each other when passing by a chaotic scene.

Boys are really weird too, they love the topics of farts, poop, bottoms, and private parts. If you want to make your boys laugh, it’s really simple. Mention one of the above and you are seriously the funniest human being on the planet. My boys have also recently started naming their farts-why? Because they can.

And don’t get me started on the 3rd leg. From the time boys are born their hands are always on it. My dad used to say he was so poor when he was a kid his mum cut holes in his pockets so he had something to play with. It doesn’t matter if your son has every toy they could ever want, that thing is by far their favorite. As a new mum, I remember the first day of my precious baby being born. It’s a harsh reality that I wasn’t expecting nor knew what to do with and I was horrified. Yes- from the time they are born that happens! And don’t forget to always point it down in a nappy, learnt that the hard way many times…

Noise is another thing you have to live with. Boys are so loud. I know if I ever go away for work and come back it takes a good 24 hours to get used to the noise again.

They talk loud, play loud, fight loud, walk loud, go to the toilet loud, eat loud, everything is loud and it can be so draining.

I know the grunting, sleeping teenage boy stage is just around the corner. So, for now, I am embracing the chaos, gaining grey hairs and mild anxiety from their risk taking, and taking deep breaths knowing they have an amazing dad that I hope they turn out like one day. We’ve just got to get through the next ten years.

You can visit the Bree James website HERE. 





How Do I Set Safe Screen Time Limits for My Children?

Win Win Parenting 

Dear Dr Rosina, How do I set safe screen time limits for my children?

Most parents experience the challenge of limiting their children’s time facing a screen (whether TV, iPad, phone, laptop etc). We know in excess it is harmful for children, however, even as adults we feel the potential addictive nature of technology checking messages, social media alerts or achieving the next level in a game as almost irresistible. So, how can we manage technology within safe limits?

  1. Know the recommended limits for being on a device and share them with your child. 
  2. Help your children understand the many dangers of excessive time facing the screen. 
  3. Have screen-free times and areas. For example: none at mealtimes, before exercise or in bedrooms 90 minutes before sleep.


Read more from Dr Rosina McAlpine HERE. 





Cliffo & Gabi’s Townsville Tonne – Daddy Diary September 2020

Sometimes it comes to me on the toilet. Other times it comes to me just before I drift off to sleep. This time it came to me in the shower. A BRAINWAVE. But this particular brainwave was different. This one was highly personal. So, picture it. Actually, I’m naked in the shower so probably don’t. But anyway, I’m standing there under the hot water after a hectic day. The kids were already bathed and fed so I’m taking my time. I look down at my ever-growing beer belly when the realisation hits me. I need to lose a few covid-kilos ASAP. I’m the biggest I’ve ever been. And using the kids as an excuse for my size has to end. If I’m honest, my size has absolutely nothing to do with anyone other than myself. It’s 100% on me. And as I stand there, I start to think about other Townsvillians, and how surely there must be other people who feel the same way. That’s when the idea strikes like a Big Mac to the face. And it was a doozy.

What if we could we find at least 100 locals willing to do the same? All it would take is 100 of us to lose 10 kilos each over 10 weeks and as a collective Townsville would lose a tonne. AN ENTIRE TONNE.

I discussed this idea with my wife. As always Michelle couldn’t have been more supportive. Sign me up she cried. After getting the tick of approval from my radio co-host Gabi the idea hit paper for the first time. “Cliffo & Gabi’s Townsville Tonne” was born.

We launched the project at 8am on a Monday morning hoping to get 100 locals signed up in 2 weeks. We got 100 in less than 45 minutes. And from there it hasn’t stopped. At time of printing more than 500 have signed up to our battle against the bulge. And it’s not slowing down. Together we’re going to lose an entire tonne.

So here we go Townsville. My wine has been replaced with water and my burgers with burpees. And hopefully before too long I will have a body my wife, my kids and most importantly – I can be proud of. This goes for all of our Townsville Tonners. Together let’s lose a tonne!

Hit 103.1 Townsville

Head to Pakmag Townsville on Facebook to check out a super cute video starring Cliffo and his daughter.

Matilda answers questions about her Dad with hilarious results. You could try asking your child the same questions about their Dad and film it for Father’s Day as a special and fun surprise. Share your video with us. We’d love to see it. #PakMag share.


What does your Dad do for a job?

What makes your Dad happy?

How old do you think your Dad is?

What is he good at?

What do you think he gets up to when you’re not around?

If your dad was a superhero- which superhero (or cartoon character) would he be? Why?

What’s his favourite thing to eat?

What makes your Dad sad?

What’s your favourite thing to do with your dad?

How does he make you laugh?

What is he not very good at?

What is something he always says?

Why do you love your Dad?

How do you know he loves you?

Read more Daddy Diary stories from Cliffo HERE. 

Visit hit103.1 HERE. 






The Importance of Inclusive and Adaptive Clothing

Most of us without a disability wake up, get dressed in a couple of minutes and go about our day as usual, whether it’s to work or school or somewhere else. But we tend to forget that even the fact that we can dress with ease is a privilege. It is not as simple for those with disabilities. This is just another small thing that we don’t normally have to think twice about, because clothes are made for our bodies. And, it seems, our bodies only. The brand EveryHuman knows how important it is to have inclusive clothing for people with a disability. And, now they have a range of clothes that only keeps growing. Dressing yourself or your children when you have a disability can be a major challenge. In fact, 1 in 5 Australians have a disability. That’s quite a lot of people who could benefit from inclusive and adaptive clothing!

EveryHuman also knows that even when you can find adaptive clothing, it’s often not stylish. As Australia and New Zealand’s first online adaptive fashion retailer, they recognise how important it is to feel good in what you wear and not have to choose between ease or comfort and style. Everyone should be able to dress easily and look great while doing it.  

Recently they have extended the brands on offer, introducing four new kids brands that are each focused on inclusive and adaptive clothing for the little ones.

The brand has introduced Bibulous, a small Australian business offering quick drying bibs. Then there is Inc Kid, perfect for even the coolest kids. Hickies are tie-free laces that can turn any shoes into a hands-free slip on! Lastly, the brand Appaman will also be available on EveryHuman’s website soon.

EveryHuman founder, Matthew Skerritt, believes everyone with a disability should have the same choice as any able bodied person out there. “But I saw a problem, where fashion and disability didn’t go hand in hand. Yet, there is every reason they should. What I do know is how I feel when I put on a nice pair of pants, shirt and jacket. I feel confident, have a bounce in my step and feel like I can tackle the world. My friends with disabilities are no different,” he says.

“People with disabilities should have the exact same choice as an able bodied person. Rather than adapting to clothes, EveryHuman is now offering fashion that adapts to them.”

You can view the awesome new clothing available here.







Raising Your Child with Faith and Values

Regardless of an individual’s or family’s religious beliefs, we all want to raise our children with a strong moral foundation. Parenting is a tough job. You can trust it’s going to be a little ‘trial and error’. There’s also a whole lot of ‘leading by example’ to help your child learn to become a responsible, caring, resilient and happy adult.

We know children are sponges and soak in everything they are exposed to; whether positive or negative. Helping children identify the difference between the positive and negative influences they encounter in the media, online, at school, from friends etc, will enable them to choose people and experiences that will benefit them and their future selves.

Developing a moral compass takes time. It’s the result of the outcome or consequences of the choices made every single day, no matter how small those decisions may seem. Each small act, is part of the larger picture and becomes part of their moral fibre. Reinforcing how important making the right decision is – is so important, because each of them, will ultimately determine the person they will become.This is where faith and values can help. 

How does teaching my child about faith and values help?

In a recent McCrindle survey, “99% of Australians believe it is important to teach values to Australian school students’”. Additionally, more than four in five (84%) believe that Christian heritage has been influential in shaping the values that we teach children. 

I was born into a religious family, so I knelt in personal prayer morning and night. We prayed at the dinner table and we went to church on Sunday. I also attended scripture study classes daily and attended conferences, camps and events with the church community I was part of. Even though I’m no longer active in the practice of my faith, I would still consider myself a spiritual person. I am very grateful for the lessons I learned, the faith and values I was raised with, and the friends and examples I had throughout my childhood and adolescence.

After being assigned numerous talks in Sunday meetings, I learned public speaking. I also learned it through reading the scriptures aloud in a group setting, becoming a Sunday school teacher and preparing lessons for my class.

There was also a camping program I participated in and could ace ‘Survivor’ with the skills I picked up. On top of this, I participated in a personal development program in my youth which centred around the values of faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works and integrity. Undertaking service projects and activities to develop these qualities in myself has shaped who I am today.

I remember one ANZAC Day, as a teenager, I was serving a returned serviceman during a diggers breakfast. He said he wanted to meet my parents, “because they must be pretty special considering how I turned out. They did a good job of raising you”. This meant the world to me. There is no better feeling than knowing ‘you are doing life right’. It was also a reminder that my actions were a reflection not just of ourselves, but our families.

What is spirituality and what are the benefits of Faith?

Regardless of whether you practice religion or not, we can all be ‘people of love’, ‘people of faith’ and ‘people of values’.  Your children may ask why their friends attend church and you don’t? Be open in your response, you could explain that ‘churches, synagogues and mosques are places where people are able to worship formally. It’s a place to do this with a community of other people who believe the same things they do. Some people feel you can find ‘God’ anywhere – in nature or even in your bedroom! That’s what prayers are for.’ But it’s also important to remind our children that every family is different. Remind them that is okay and all choices are equally valid.

Associate professor of psychology Lisa Miller states; “when it comes to spirituality, we parents are just our kids’ ambassadors. We can show them around, but we don’t need to know everything.”

In her research she found that children who develop a sense of a “loving higher power or a guiding force – whether they call it God, the creator, Allah or simply ‘universe’ – are 50 percent less likely to suffer from substance abuse as teens and 80 percent less likely to suffer major depression. Another study found that children who are ‘spiritual’, tend to be happier individuals overall.  Having a sense of something greater than themselves, enhanced their personal sense of meaning and purpose. It also reinforced their connections to other people and their community.

What is a Value?

Values are both what you hold dear and what you think it’s important to be. Family, education, democracy and equal rights are examples of things you may ‘hold dear’. Compassion, honesty, hard-working and kind are all important qualities ‘to be.’ Overall, parents are the primary source for children’s values. So, if you haven’t thought about what your values are, it may be time to identify them for yourself and also for your family.

Teaching Children Values

Every day presents opportunities to teach children about values. When you notice a desirable value in action – point it out. Do this whether your child is the person doing it, or someone you are observing. The funny thing about having a quality is – you also learn how to recognise it in others. Helping children discern the kinds of people they want to have in their lives. The most important lesson though is being the kind of person that you would want to spend time with.

Start young

Values are present in even the fairy tales/ stories you read with your children. Ask your child what they ‘learned’ in the book. It could be that the good guy won, but only after a few hardships or failures. Or the principle of ‘reaping what you sow’- or in other words, ‘getting what you give.’ Another valuable lesson and running theme is that of the need for love in a person’s life (giving and receiving.)

Psychologist, Sherrie Campbell identified seven values to raising exceptional children. You may like to take these on as your values, or add a few of your own. Her list included teamwork, self-care, seeing possibilities where others see problems, motivation, time management, accepting responsibility and kindness.

Helping children believe in something ‘bigger than themselves’, and live up to – helps them ‘think big’ for themselves and become the best version of who they are.

It also helps them believe there is something ‘very powerful’ in their corner. This in turn gives them greater faith in their own abilities, and power when they feel vulnerable. Leaning into that in times of crisis has indeed, helped many people overcome great hardships, myself included. Yes. our values and beliefs may change throughout our lives, but the foundation for who we will become starts when we are born, and with you.

Story By Bec Dent 

Read more parenting blogs here. 





Shave Dollars Off Your Energy Bill with Smart Household Appliances

With many Aussies still working from home on a full-time or part-time basis, looming bill shock may be anticipated. For those mindful of the spike in energy usage, everyday household appliances may be the power-draining items to look out for. With around 30 per cent of total household energy consumption coming from appliances, it can pay to check the energy star rating.

You might think you are saving money by not purchasing new appliances. However, an old fridge in the garage or dated washing machine may be using more energy than you think – and eating a hole through your wallet along the way.

If you are wondering how much you can save on your energy bill by having a more efficient appliance, we have calculated the amount saved on a five-star model compared with a three-star model using the Energy Rating Calculator.

For example, a three-star rated, two-door 400L fridge and freezer costs $106.44 annually to run, while a similar model with a five-star energy rating costs $63.11. This could see you save $43.33 annually and more than $400 over ten years.

Star rating
Annual running cost
Annual savings by using five-star model


3 stars



5 stars



3 stars



5 stars


Washing machine

3 stars



5 stars



3 stars






3 stars



5 stars


*All savings are indicative, based on an average Queensland electricity rate of 26.2 c/kWh and using the default sizes and number of uses as set by the Energy Rating Calculator for each appliance.

= $178.27 in total


To avoid throwing unnecessary dollars toward your energy bill, be sure to check the star rating on your common household items. It’s a good idea to understand how the energy usage works on appliances. If you find you need an upgrade, it pays to know how the energy rating system works and what’s behind each of the stars on the label so you can make informed purchases. Most appliances are rated out of six stars, with the most advanced models being rated out of 10. Each star indicates how much energy the appliance uses, which can then be compared with other models of the same size or similar capacity.

To help Aussies reduce their power bill, below are four tips for reducing energy consumption on common household appliances.

  1. Set your fridge between three and four degrees Celsius to conserve energy. By keeping your fridge at this optimal temperature, it will not have to work as hard to stay cool. Anything below this mark will use an extra five per cent of energy. The same scale applies to freezers, which should be set between -15 and -18 degrees Celsius.
  2. Wash with cold water and use the clothesline. Depending on what model of washing machine you have, a hot water cycle uses approximately 50-80 per cent more energy than cold water. Instead of using the dryer, use the clothesline where possible for zero energy cost – particularly in the warmer months where clothes can dry naturally in just a few hours.
  3. Use the dishwasher sparingly. Reduce the number of times that you run your dishwasher each week by only doing a load when it is full. To further conserve energy, open the door to let utensils dry instead of using the drying cycle. Hot water is also a major energy-sucker, so make sure you set the temperature to as low as possible and use cold water if you are pre-rinsing your dishes.
  4. Downsize your TV screen. With the average Aussie home having two or more televisions,[4] choosing a smaller model that is more energy-efficient can help reduce household bills. The type of screen also contributes to energy consumption, with LED and LCDs using less electricity than plasma screens.

It is recommended that Aussies compare energy providers to double-check whether they are on the best plan from their energy provider or if they can cut costs even further by switching. To find a plan that suits your needs the most, free online comparison websites like this compare usage rates and plans from the country’s top providers.

About the Author

Abigail Koch is a household savings expert at Compare the Market. Abigail provides her expertise on various ways Aussies can reduce their bills and household expenses. Having a young family herself, Abigail is passionate about empowering consumers to seek out the best providers and insurance policies to suit their lifestyle and needs. For more information about how to compare and switch energy plans, banking products and insurance policies, visit


Learn more ways to save money here.