It's been some weeks now since my family moved back to the UK whilst I see out my contract working in Germany having moved into a block of rooms similar to that of a Premier Inn, Holiday Inn or other such budget hotel. I had a George Foreman grill, but having set the fire alarm off twice by using it, I binned it. As a result, the large fridge freezer was only being used to hold microwave meals and cans of diet coke, both of which I'm finding I can't afford in the current climate, particularly when I can have a 2 course lunch and a 3 course dinner cooked for me, with no washing up, for the combined cost of €4.18. The problem is, having been unable to afford supplementation, or bulk loads of meat and now with no-where to store or cook it, I have noticed a dramatic affect on my body. Now, by being frugal with my money and being forced to seek alternatives to home cooked meals, I am left eating whatever the catering contractor deems is suitable for me, with absolutely no knowledge of what is going into my meals. The results have been horrible, particularly for someone with my goals.
The magnets themselves were of a really good quality, now obviously the quality of them will be determined by the original photograph, at least in part anyway. But I thought the print quality was exceptional. There was no pixelation or blurring. There was no colour bleed or edging and I was really impressed and...well...the magnets worked. They were smaller than expected at 50x65mm and 0.75mm thick, and I'm not sure if there is an option to get bigger sizes, but as magnets go they are a really practical size and they hold a decent amount of weight as well. For £9.50 for a sheet of 9 magnets, I think they would make excellent gifts for grandparents, particularly ones like on my in-law's side who actually collect fridge magnets. To summarise, the magnets do exactly what they say on the tin, are of a good quality and would make a great one time gift for a relative. For what they are, I think £9.50 is a tiny bit over priced, but this cost clearly offsets the worldwide free delivery hook. Take a look and decide for yourself, but remember to use the code DAD125 to get a 25% discount.
I'm a little bit of a deep thinker. Sometimes I'm guilty of overanalysing things and reading something complex within a simplistic idea. Dreams fascinate me. I know that dreams are a manifestation of our mind continuing to work long after we have gone to sleep and the images are the result of us subconsciously playing with thoughts that linger on our minds. They are also the brain's way of deciphering the events of the day and coming to terms with your experiences. As I sit here at half past 3 in the morning having woken from what was quite possibly one of the weirdest dreams I have ever had, and while I believe it was just my brain metaphorically dumping its garbage all in one go, I do have some idea of what it all means. Or maybe I'm just making the events fit the facts through the vision of hindsight; none the less I felt compelled to put it down in writing before I forgot it, plus having just had a can of diet coke, and no matter how cold and refreshing it was, I don't think I'm getting back to sleep so may as well do something to occupy my time.
Blogging as a parent is predominantly filled with mum bloggers. The inescapably huge Britmums, Netmums, Mumsnet and many others, all create an environment that mums are the only people with anything worth saying on parenting, simply by the use of the word 'mum' in the title. They do however embrace dads. I am an active member of all 3 organisations and have never once felt ostracised or inadequate, just because I'm a dad, the same can't be said for dropping kids off at school, but that's a different story. My point is, that much like women trying to break into professional football, the change of men being accepted into parenting societies is glacial. It is organisations like LoveAllDads that lead the way in championing all men as parents and those who choose to become stay at home dads, and in return we should support it and all of the other organisations that work so hard on our behalf. One way you can show your support is by voting for your favourite daddy blogger in the LoveAllDads awards. Anyone can nominate, but the person you nominate has to be a daddy blogger, except in the Best Non Dad Blog 2014 award. Read more to find out how to nominate your favourite daddy blogger with LoveAllDads.
#MySundayPhoto on 7 Sep 14 is of my beautiful wife Vikki having a breakfast at Café Rouge in Covent Garden having just watched Matilda the night before. Today is our 7th wedding anniversary and I couldn't be more delighted that this extraordinarily wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, courageous, strong woman had chosen to spend the rest of her life with me. We have our ups and downs, we argue, we fight, and life isn't always rosy, but the love I feel from and for her runs deep. We are almost complete opposites, yet we fit, we click and we work. In the words of the walrus of love, she is truly my first, my last my everything.
On 7 Sep 2007, Vikki and I got married. We always knew we would get married, from the first moments we shared together and even though the odds (and her family) were against the relationship at first, 7 years and 2 kids later, we are stronger than ever and I think her family like me. We met whilst I was leaving the Army (I rejoined again some time later). The trade I joined didn't pay to teach you how to drive, so before going into civilian life I decided to enrol on an intensive driving course in Chester. On arrival at the farmhouse where I would be staying for the duration of the course, a young 18 year old girl, wearing far too much make up and big black hair wrapped in a big collared fur gilet answered the door. Despite the makeup and the 4 inch eye lashes, when she smiled a smile so big it showed all of her teeth and her little nose crinkled, I was completely in awe. The other students who had already arrived were heading into the village to get a drink and get to know one another and she invited me to join them. By the end of that night I knew I would love this girl for the rest of my life. Needless to say, 2 kids and plenty of ups and downs later, we are stronger than ever. I love you Vikki, with all of my heart, but here are 7 things that I have learned about marriage along the way.
This is the kids learning about the Dam Busters on the Mohnesee Dam. The kids did really well, there was loads of walking and me trying to make bouncing bombs and big aeroplanes sound exciting. The scenery was gorgeous and I wished I had something better than an iPhone 4 to take photos with. Mind you if I did, I wouldn't know how to use it. A photography course is desperately needed! #MySundayPhoto
Whenever I look into her eyes, I just melt and I want to wrap her in my arms and never let go and I get an overwhelming sense of love. When I look into the eyes of my son, I get the same feeling of love, but there's excitement too. I am eager to show him the world and what it has to offer, to let him go on adventures and be a better wiser man for it, but in the same breath I want to protect my daughter from it. I am scared of letting her go and I'm hoping that I'm not alone in feeling this fear and as my daughter gets older I need to start fighting my instincts to protect her all the time. I just hope that when she does get hurt, I can find the right words to console her and when she doesn't need words, I hope that I can just be there for her.
I was at my mistress gym doing an extremely half hearted workout, so I took two minutes to scan who else was in the gym with me. It didn't take me long to identify almost every stereotype of gym goer that I know, so I thought I would I would share them with you. Bear in mind that all of these people were actually in the gym with me. Do you see yourself in this list, or can you add to it?
In addition to my goals for the year, I have also undertaken the concept of the #fitdadchallenge. It's not a fad diet plan, or fitness regime, it's just getting up and doing more in order that I've got more energy to spend on my kids. Too many times I've got home from work, slumped on the sofa and whilst the kids are excited to see me, I come out with the inevitable, "Not now kids, Daddy just wants to rest a little." The problem is that this began to become the norm and even at weekends I'd struggle to find the energy to invest in fun time with them. I'd half heartedly indulge in play time fantasy, but I began to notice that the amount of time I could play chase or be a horse or dance along to the Spice Girls got less and less, whilst the time spent on the sofa watching TV got more and more. Enough was enough and I decided to try and make more time for them.