From the Mouths of Babes and Infants…

It was a difficult time, for all of us, when Ellie was so sick & in hospital with her nasty infected chickenpox.

The Mummy was talking to her about it, saying “It was really hard seeing you so sick in hospital, Ellie”

She straight-away replied: “But Mummy, remember the fun we had in the playroom there”.

Wow.

Such wisdom from a 4-year-old!

We can definitely learn a lot from even very young children 🙂

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

Related: The Story Behind the Photo

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The Story Behind the Photo

This was my Silent Sunday Photo on the weekend (many thanks, by the way, to everyone who offered words of support):

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Ellie was in hospital, & on a drip. Neither she nor Jake have ever had to spend time in hospital like this since they were little babies; obviously it’s been a difficult time for all of us.

So why was she there? Continue reading “The Story Behind the Photo”

Outdoor Messy Play!

It’s the best place for it, in my experience. ‘Outdoors’, that is. The clue’s in the name: Messy Play. It’s messy!

It all started with an old tin of Smash* I found in the kitchen cupboard.

It was spotted.

“What’s that, Daddy?”

Such innocent little faces. Such a loaded question. Continue reading “Outdoor Messy Play!”

Fashionable Dad Gear: A Must for Every Dad

OK, so what’s the latest in dad gear? What does every father need… and simply cannot do without? Let’s start with the basics…a diaper bag (or tote) for one, a wallet, comfortable clothes and shoes for keeping up with his kids… and a great watch to top it all off. Moreover, if they happen to look cool, that’s much better. Here is a list of six ‘must haves’ for every dad.

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One – A Great Watch

Sure, your smartphone can give you the proper time. However, when you’re busy running around, trying to get the kids to school on time (or to that last-minute appointment) a watch is really handy.  Why not invest in a quality watch that will last. From the day they start school, until they march across the stage at graduation, you can wear the same smart style. Michael Hill Jewellers is a great example for classic watches like these that stand the test of time.

Two – A Wallet

Another place to make a sensible investment is in a durable wallet. Find one that clips on for extra security. Separate compartments for sorting bills and credit cards also help. Moreover, if the wallet happens to have a section for pictures of the kids…traditional and perfect!

Three – A Tote (Diaper) Bag

Men’s tote bags have taken over the old-school briefcase, (and they don’t have to look like purses). They hold many of the necessities that just can’t be packed into an attaché case. Take diapers, gym shoes, your son’s favourite blanket, extra clothes, biscuits and bottles. Now you can look cool and still carry around everything you might need! Who knows, there may still be room for a laptop!

Four – Good Looking Shoes

Before the children came along, shoes had a completely different meaning. Today you can get the comfort that you need in some truly awesome styles. Just because you’re a dad, doesn’t mean that you can’t be fashionable. From low cut boots and loafers, to dress shoes with extra support, there’s almost no limit to great looks for men (and happening dads). They best part… they can help you keep up with the children!

Five – Comfortable Trousers (and Shirts)

The fashion focus is on men, and the choices are better than ever. So, when it’s time to leave the sweatpants at home, you can go out in style. From jeans and chinos to dress pants, relaxed chic is perfect for any occasion. Pair up any number of hot colours… blue, brown, beige with a button down shirt, jumper or polo shirt and you’re out the door and ready to rock. What’s more, today’s stylish dads really can’t own too many shirts!

Six – Sweaters and Jackets

Sweaters are back and jackets are here with retro style. They’re the perfect add-on to any fashionable outfit. With so much rushing around, from here to there and back… it never hurts to carry along something to pull on, when the weather shifts. Pull on a hat, some shades, and carry a raincoat. Now you’re set for just about anything.

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The secret to being a trendy dad is being prepared. Raising kids is full of surprises, yet when you’ve got just about every situation covered, you can relax and enjoy the ride!

Written in collaboration with MichaelHill.com

Shhhh!

Jake, to me, 1 day last week, in hushed tones:

“Daddy, I love you both: I love Mummy too – but I love you the best”

😀

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Wot So Funee?

Before and After

I’ve been unhappy for some time with the way Jake & Ellie’s toys are stored in the small space I have available. My solution was to buy some IKEA shelves & boxes; then I saw how a friend, a childminder, stored her many toys & games.

She mostly used shelves, that way nearly everything was visible & available.

As with most things in their lives I don’t like to dictate what they do; I like to give them as much choice as I can. It also helps me to be able to find toys when I need to.

So I had a tidy up!
Continue reading “Before and After”

How (Not) to Install & Remove Stairgates: A JallieDaddy DIY Masterclass

Our bouncy little twinnies have been too big & too clever to need stairgates for some time now.

So came the momentous moment – a real “our 2 little babies aren’t little babies any more!” milestone actually – when it came to remove them.

The bottom one was fine. When I removed the top one however there was this:

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There’s a HOLE! A big one! In my WALL!

To be honest, I’m not really sure what happened.

I blame the kids. Or the Government.

The dog ate my spanner?

It’s possible, I suppose, that I may have fastened it on a little too tightly….

I ought to get around to filling it up  – with plaster, probably – and painting it.

After this though I’m a little scared to touch it!

And just in case you are still in need of my expert DIY advice, here’s how NOT to fix a broken shed door:

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Happy housefixing!

This is my entry for my DIY confession to Polesdirect.com’s ‘Changing Attitudes and Values’ DIY Blogger Challenge.

 

 

The Saga of the Climbing Frame

Our intentions were good.

For Jake & Ellie’s birthday – back in early March – we bought them a fantastic climbing frame. We thought they’d love it!

Unfortunately we hadn’t quite thought it through…

The garden in the new house is a good size but when we looked at the space the thing needed we realised that it just wasn’t big enough!

At first we thought we’d have to knock down the very useful shed & rip out most of the beautiful flower garden just to fit it in!

After a lot of head-scratching & measuring with bits of string we finally found  a place it could go without too much damage, leaving both the shed & the flowers intact. We just needed to have a lot of the paving & a small tree ripped out & replaced with turf.

Then – almost inevitably –  we had many problems finding a contractor to do the work. It must have been about half a dozen of them who looked at the work, said they’d get back in touch – then didn’t.

Finally I found a good guy who could do the work at a reasonable price. He said he would talk to us before starting work: he didn’t! Instead he let himself in while no-one was there & ripped out ALL of the paving, not just the bits we wanted taken out! He took out, for instance, the back patio we use for eating outside, the area outside the side door, & a border we wanted left in.

We came back to a garden that looked like a bombsite: my wife was devastated! All the paving stones had been ripped out & put into big piles that looked like slag-heaps!

In the doom & gloom, cue Mr Brightside!

Jake noticed that one brick had been left sitting all by itself in the middle of the Plain of Desolation, and said:

“Well, at least he still left one.”

Fantastic! We all laughed: what a great way of lifting the edge off of a sad situation!

Sometime it needs the innocent & happy outlook of a small child to give us jaded grown-ups some perspective!

1-DSCN1000Happily the contractor came back promptly & was able to restore the paving he took out in error, & install the turf. The garden now looks great & we hope to have the shiny new climbing frame up & running very soon!

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Wot So Funee?

Trouble Sleeping?

1-DSCN0993I’ve had a bit of this lately: circumstances, sort of thing.

Fortunately I’ve come across a meditation music app that really helps!

It’s called ‘Soothing Sounds’ & is available for your Android phone or tablet.

Does it work? Yes: this app is great!

I often get myself off to sleep with a ‘Mellow’ playlist on my ‘phone. This is good, but the playlist wasn’t designed for that & more often than not songs come up that are a bit too lively & delay the process. I also use TV, although I know I shouldn’t; it’s generally been shown to be a bad idea. I’m often woken up in the middle of the night by noisy ads or a bright screen.

This however works ‘like a charm’, & I’ve been using it regularly ever since I downloaded it.
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It has a large variety of relaxing ambient sounds to choose from: for instance beach, binaural, birds, crickets, frogs, a ticking clock, a heartbeat, rain, a rainforest, flowing water, a Tibetan bowl, whalesong, white noise, wind & a some ‘new-age’ style music.

Each sound is configurable: you change both volume & intensity.

You can select each sound individually or in groups of up to 10;  you can then save any of the groups you create for later use.

I found it was as fun to play around with as it is useful as a sleep-aid!

I do have a couple of minor quibbles however. The app is quite big, & if you’re like me & have a budget ‘phone with limited memory you may struggle to find space for it.

I also had trouble getting the options to work. You can set silence, alarm & wake-up timers but I found the keys unresponsive.

To be honest I’ve had similar trouble with other apps so it may well be my ‘phone’s fault. If not it just needs a simple patch.

I usually charge my ‘phone overnight anyway so I’ve often just left it on all night. It’s actually pretty good to wake up to!

The bottom line however: it works, it’s fun & it costs spare change, so I can recommend it!

In my experience anything that helps you sleep when you’re having trouble dropping off is worth it, & ‘Soothing Sounds’ does exactly that.

Review written in collaboration with Lost Ego Studios