The Story of the LEGO Brick

This is guest post by Alex Johnson

LEGO Company is on the mission of ‘inspiring the builders of tomorrow’, while many dream to work for their offices full of slides and wonder.

The LEGO Company are no strangers to allowing people to see what goes on inside their organisation. With the hit LEGO movie released in February 2014 and their new ‘Brickumentry’, the LEGO group are bigger than ever. While their gender neutral playsets has been developing since 1974, LEGO has reached a peak of their gender neutrality with their new playsets of female scientists.

Most recently they allowed Channel 4 into their head offices and factories in Denmark in a documentary called ‘The Secret World of Lego’, a programme that showed millions of viewers how the LEGO brick has changed the lives of many children and adults.


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Top Tips for Travelling in London with a Baby

This is a guest post in collaboration with Kira Browdy

It wouldn’t be surprising if, despite having a hankering for visiting the Big Smoke, you decide to put it off for a while if you have a baby. The sheer thought of travelling to the city with a pushchair and a young baby is enough to drive you to despair, never mind navigating the Tube and pushing a buggy around the crammed-to-bursting roads. However, it needn’t be so daunting. If you fancied staying overnight (after all, there’s far too much to do for one day, and an overnight stay will undoubtedly reduce the stress levels a little), staying at Travelodge can provide you with a pleasant stay, while the family size rooms will ensure that you and your baby have plenty of room in which to relax. As for the other aspects of your stay, here are some great tips to guarantee that you’ll leave the city having had a great time, with your sanity still intact.
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How to Get Through a Car Breakdown With Young Children

I’m speaking from experience here! I had the great misfortune of breaking down 3x in 2 weeks at Christmas, each time having to be rescued by the AA.

The 3rd time was the most concerning as I had Jake & Ellie with me. We were heading off to soft play in the Astra, & it just didn’t feel right: its usual acceleration just wasn’t there. It felt suspiciously like the little car did before its clutch failed (breakdown #1). Unfortunately I was right.

They’d fallen asleep anyway, & I decided to turn around & go back home. There was a hill though;  a long one. Try as we might the car just wouldn’t make it! The best I could do was to stop on the hard shoulder of a dual carriageway, just past the slip road. Hazard lights on, of course.

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Live Streaming Event from ESPN

Calling all sports fans!

It may be cold & miserable at the moment but at least sports fans like me can get to enjoy our seasonal interests: traditional fare like football & rugby, newer or ‘Extreme’ sports like snowboarding, & of course winter sports like skiing.

Gearing up for the Winter Olympics broadcaster ESPN has launched live streaming on XGames, a site featuring athletes in a number of winter & extreme sports.

For instance US Olympic Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg taking calls from fans via Skype, or this live video – which I particularly enjoyed – where skiier Tom Wallisch chatted with fans, & was asked & answered some really good, & quite technical, questions by them.

To be honest I haven’t come across anything much like this before, & it’s pretty impressive!

The marriage of technology & sport, & the immediate access by fans to their sporting heroes that web 2.0 enables I think is pretty amazing.

Many of the athletes are from the USA, but there are also many others from across the globe, & the site covers a variety of international sports, including skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, skiing, BMX, rally driving & MotoX.

What these athletes can do is astonishing, & it’s brilliant to be able to have the chance to speak to them live, & to hear them talking so personally & openly about how they do what they do, & about their lives as world-class sportsmen & women.

It’s amazing to someone like me who grew up before the Internet, smartphones & Skype that such instant access to such top athletes is even possible.

As the Winter Olympics approaches events like this are a great way of building the excitement: a fantastic resource!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions & words – even the long ones – are my own

You Can’t Resist the Call of the Nerf!

This is a guest post in collaboration with one of our partners, toy expert James Stanley

Children and toys go together like eggs and ham. Each child always has his or her favorite plaything that goes everywhere with them and for a time becomes their whole world.

This close attachment to a toy means that the child will often take it to bed with them, or play with it while parents are busy and this is why it’s vital for a toy to be safe. We’re not just talking about hidden spikes, or loose buttons that can present a choking hazard, but about the actual operation of the toy too. Most children’s toys are safe for unsupervised play, but there are also some that will need adult supervision.

A good example of a toy for your little boy that is relatively safe but would still be better with adult supervision is a Nerf gun. With the Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster you’ll need to make sure your children don’t fire darts at each other’s eyes, or at Granny’s priceless thimble collection. You’ll also be teaching them how to take aim properly and hit targets!

This gun takes fake shootouts up a notch or two, as the Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster can fire its darts up to 100 feet away, which will help your boy to hone his sharpshooting skills. It’s designed for outdoor use, as you might imagine, and you really should be on hand to make sure your children aim at sensible targets and start to develop a respect for guns.

People often complain that children don’t spend enough time outdoors these days, and that they’re cosseted and over-protected from everyday thrills and spills. This is one good reason to get a trampoline set up at the bottom of the garden. Not only are trampolines amazingly good fun, but bouncing up and down on them teaches a variety of balancing and coordination skills, as well as building muscle and improving circulation. There are lots of reports about broken wrists, however, and many people won’t consider having a trampoline because of this, but if you have a safety net around it, and make sure the children don’t overcrowd the trampoline and start body slamming, everyone should have fun.

Far-Out Bowling Bag Designs to Help You Stand Out

This is a sponsored guest post by Michelle from bowlingshoes.com & bowlingbags.com. As you can see she knows a lot about bowling & associated bowling accessories! Whether or not you bowl regularly  – or if you’re like me ‘when you can’ – it’s a great article & fun to read.

A bowling ball can be something unique and original. Many people who take bowling very seriously have custom-made balls which feature a design that expresses their individuality and personality. However, nobody says you have to stop there. You can go further by using bowling ball bags that feature the same kind of crazy, wacky or simply funny design. Here are a few ideas.

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The Mercedes CLA: A Daddy Vehicle with Style

This is a guest post written especially for “Whiskey For Aftershave”  by auto expert David Newman.  You can read more about him below.

Remember your very first car? Remember how you felt about it and loved the fact that it was yours?

Things sure change when you are a dad. Now, buying a car isn’t so much about what you want, but what will work with a young family. You need to strike that balance between practicality and your desire for that stylish, good looking, sexy, high performance, eye-catching vehicle. There may only be one letter difference in the two words, but after all, being dad is not being dead.
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It will be Christmas soon…

Christmas in the post-War United States
Photo credit: Wikipedia

It will soon be Christmas!

You may have noticed.

As I think so many of us are, I’m very mixed about Christmas.

There are things I love – especially since becoming a Dad – but there are also

Things I Hate: 
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School, Work & Me

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click to enlarge

School – even pre-school – changes things!

In April Jake & Ellie started pre-school on a trial basis for a few hours & a few days a week; this term they’re there for the full 5 days.

We’ve been exercising our option of taking them out at 1.15 rather than the full day to 3.30 but now they’re actually asking to stay on!
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The Joys of Being Comfortable

In what now feels like a former life – the one before I became a stay-at-home / hands-on Dad – I used to go out to work, a lot of the time to work in an office.

I did the usual.

I carried a briefcase. I’m not really sure why: most of the time it only contained a newspaper & (sometimes) my lunch.

I had shiny black shoes. When it was cold I wore a big, thick overcoat. When it rained I carried a black umbrella & wore a (usually beige) raincoat.

No bowler hat though – what do you take me for?!
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