Jump on it!

Who remembers space hoppers?! (It’s OK; you don’t have to admit it if you don’t want to.) 

The good news for those of us who do – whether we’ll admit it or not – is that they seem to be making a comeback!

And for those who don’t – read on! (Hint: they’re great.)

I was delighted to receive from the fine people at confused.com not 1 but 2 great space hoppers – complete with natty pumps –  as part of their #Jumponit campaign.

Jake and Ellie were very excited about this, and also were determined, as ever, to do as much as they could themselves.

So, first step: Pump it up!

It was fun! but then we had a bit of a surprise:

Even so, we were pumped and ready to go, so there was nothing else for it but to head out & test-drive our new bouncy toys!
Fair warning: some of this was filmed by a 5-year-old boy. He did his best…)

I love how Jake tried to make his hopper smaller by trying to let some air out! And I’d forgotten just how much fun a good bounce in a space-hopper is!

Also: I’d like to point out, please, that there was a storm here the night before. My garden is messier than usual, honest…

As you can see we had a lot of fun, thanks to confused.com: Jump on it!

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6 Reasons Why You Should Get Started on Your Dream House Today!

It is good to have dreams, but at some point you have to take steps to make your dreams come true. Whether it is a big home on a large plot of land, a flat in the middle of London, or a modest cabin on the edge of a nature reserve, now is the time to find your dream home. If you have been dreaming about the home of your future, why not take steps to make your dream a reality?
dream house
1. If you don’t start now, you might never start.         

Sure, it’s easier to sit back and be content with what you have. Maybe you are renting and you are simply complacent, paying the mortgage off for your landlord. The time to start reaching for your dream home is now. You will never be any younger or more motivated than you are today to start the process of getting into your dream home. Start investing in your own future by finding a property you love and making it your own.

2. Mortgage rates are at an all time low.    

Mortgage rates are incredibly low throughout the world and in Australia, rates are as low as 2%. With the expectation that home prices will remain stable and economic growth will occur in 2014, Australia is a great place to find your dream home and make your dreams come true. With the help of 1300 Home Loan you can own the home of you have always wanted. The only place for mortgage rates to go is up and as rates go up, home affordability goes down.

3. It is still a strong buyer’s market.            

Prices are stable throughout the world and buyer’s still have an advantage just about anywhere over home sellers. The markets have enough supply unless you are looking in a city such as London, and with lower mortgage rates homebuyers can purchase homes that were once considered above their means.

4. Foreclosures are still going strong.

Homeowners are still trying to get out of bad mortgages and are unable to keep their large homes. You will be able to get a better home for your money, but not for long. The rate of foreclosures is expected to decrease as the market continues to stabilize and the economy remains in a pattern of growth.

5. Confidence in continued economic growth is high.

No matter how you look at it, economic growth is happening and is expected to continue. We’ve all been living in a period of economic decline for years and the economy is taking a turn for the better. Home prices are low and only expected to rise. Job security is strengthening for employed workers and most experts agree that now is the time to buy for the best return in your investment over the years.

6. DIY Home Restoration and Interior Design Is Easier Than Ever

Whether you are tuned into HGTV or regularly check websites like Fine Home Building, the knowledge is out there on how to do redesign projects and make the changes you want for your dream home. It will save you money, so if you’re holding back because of a few thousand dollars, you can make up the money when it comes to the design aspect of your home.

dream home 1

My personal circumstances have changed dramatically recently – more on this later! – so this is particularly relevant to me at the moment.

Written in collaboration with David Taylor, a finance writer from Leeds, England, who also spends time in Melbourne, Australia.

A Taste of Spring!

What a strange day it was yesterday!

For the first time in months, a) it wasn’t raining, b) there wasn’t much wind, c) it wasn’t too cold, & d) there was that strange stuff about that I remember referring to as “Sunshine”!

We had a ton of things to do at home but we knew that the weather wasn’t supposed to last so we made the most of it & headed out for the some Fun in the Sun!
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Memories, Old & New

Blog posts can take many forms. There are quick ones, funny ones, photo posts, wordy posts, posts for others.

Then there are those posts where you write from the heart, when you feel moved enough that you have something you really want to say.”Blackberries” was one of those posts.

Those first 2 years in what I still think of as our home, when I was with Jake & Ellie nearly all the time, weren’t without their difficulties but hold so many precious memories. Like picking blackberries together.
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Blackberries

DSCF3876For the first 2 years of your lives we all lived together in our big house in the Midlands. The “big old house”, with the big old garden.

You don’t remember it. I do.

I remember how I was your full-time, stay-at-home Daddy. For your first year with Mummy, and for your second year by myself when Mummy went back to work, with reduced hours.

034I remember it all so well. You don’t.
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The Name of the Game

Jake has ‘a bit of a thing’ for gaming.

The games he wants to play on my PC, the Mummy’s laptop. my (now broken) iPod or our recently purchased Hudl are mostly aimed at older children & adults.

He’s actually pretty good at many of them – he’s amazed us with his computer skills actually – but inevitably gets frustrated when he crashes for the nth time & has to start again, or when he gets to a level that he just can’t finish.

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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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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?

It’s confession time:

I have a bald spot.

I’ve had it for a long time. It’s mine, & it’s going nowhere!

Well, OK: it’s probably going outwards. A bit. Maybe.

It’s not exactly uncommon; I see it in a lot of men.

That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it though.

Yes, I’ve tried that regain stuff: it didn’t work & it left a stain on the pillow. So not only was I unhappy with it but my wife wasn’t too thrilled either.

The thing is, from the front you can’t see it. So as most mirrors I look in show me front on, when I view my ugly mug there I look up top & think “Yes, what a fine head of hair!”. Conveniently forgetting that’s there a big patch of skin back there out of sight.

I do find though that there’s nothing like being outside in the rain without a brolly to jog my memory….

So the other day Jake was sitting on the arm of the sofa, next to me.

Looking down on my head.

“Daddy, why have you got a hole in your head?”

Yes, Jake: thank you for the reminder.

I explained as best as I could.

“So when I’m bigger I’ll have a hole in my head like you Daddy?”

“Yes, Jake: you might.”

He actually seemed pleased about it!

Ah, the innocence of youth….

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What happens when you give the ‘phone to a 3-year-old

Jake & Ellie both love their Nanny – my wife’s Mum – and enjoy talking to her on the ‘phone.

Jake – ever the joker – is quite brief these days: usually just a shouted “Hello, Goodbye!” before running off.

Ellie however likes to ‘chat’, although I only ever get to hear one side of the conversation.

Here’s a recent one:

“Hi!”

“Yeah”, smiling & nodding.

“Yeah”

“Yeah”

“Oh yeah!”

“Yeah”

“She has hair on her legs”

(At this point the Mummy turned a funny colour, made a strange noise & nearly said ‘a rude word’, muttering something like “you have to be so careful what you say…”)*

“Yeah”

“Yeah”

“OK!”, skipping off innocently.

It’s – as they say – good to talk!

Just maybe not so much in the hearing of young children…

* We think she was talking about a girl at pre-school, by the way

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