yeah i had a look at gammon's page, i couldn't get his board detector or programmer sketch to work, so didn't try his pin9 clock trick.
i have finally managed to get things working (somehow!) and got my 3.3v 8mhz boarduino talking over RF24 to my mega2560 (including 57600baud serial console) i still can't program using arduinoisp or flash a bootloader using the cp2102, but in as long as i can do one thing with each it will do for now.
it seems a lot of people recommend using the pro-mini for 8mhz, but its fuses aren't set to use the internal oscillator, the same it seems for lilypad:
i think that means use an 8mhz external crystal, whereas the following means use the internal oscillator: