Before and After

When it was just the two of us:

Now we are four & they are two:

Get the picture?

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!



I’ve been memed, not once but twice. I love being memed! So thank you Tom Briggs at Diary of the Dad & Blue at bluebirdsunshine

These are the (combined) rules:

You must post the rules
The only rule of the blog memes is that you don’t talk about the blog memes
Thank the blogger who has awarded you and link back to them.
Post 12 (7) fun facts about yourself in the blog post
Answer the questions the tagger has set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the fellow bloggers you plan to tag
Tag 12 (5) people and link to them on your blog
Let them know you tagged them

It’s just possible that I might have made up 1 of the above rules

OK? Let’s go:

12 Fun Facts

1) “Fun facts about me” is probably an oxymoron

2) I like to use fancy-sounding, often obscure & sometimes completely made-up words to make myself seem more cleverer than I really am.

3) I like irony but I hate ironing

4) I have scars on my left forearm & left knee (bike crash*), right knee (surgery after a rugby injury) & the palm of my left hand (trying to open a can with a staysharp knife). It’s just occurred to me that my scars probably represent my life in microcosm…

5) Somehow, somewhen I my fractured left clavicle (collar-bone) & now have ruptured shoulder tendons as a result. I’ve had this for at least 4 years. It causes acute pain & restricted movement in arm & shoulder, both worsening. I was going to go into a rant about how shitty my local NHS hospital were in taking over a year in diagnosis & then – it appears – deliberately preventing me from having the op I need. And about how I think that this sort of thing is indicative of how the NHS badly needs radical reform, & how I have a deep, intense & entirely justified dislike of NHS Managers & some admin staff.  But then I remembered the ‘fun’ facts thing. So I won’t. Although I was going to refer you back to fact no. 1…

6) I use ‘fun facts about me’ memes to have a moan about my bad shoulder & the failings of the NHS.

Christchurch City (New Zealand) from the Port ...

Christchurch City (New Zealand) from the Port Hills. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7) As well as my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand (yes, the one flattened by the massive earthquakes last year) I have lived in Chicago & Atlanta, USA; Brentwood, Essex; Wood Green, Green Lanes & Lewisham in London; Brighton in Sussex & Erdington, Birmingham. I am also about to move to south Wales from my current home near Birmingham

8) I regularly played club rugby with a bloke who went on to win the Rugby World Cup. Playing in my position, on the wing. And he wasn’t even quick back then! I’ve always thought that it should have been me. I’d hate him with a passion but he seems like a pretty decent bloke.

9) I sort-of hold the New Zealand 100m sprint record for under-14 boys. I always will as they changed the age criteria just after I broke it! 11.7 seconds, in case you’re wondering.

10) I used to write film reviews for a company magazine, & had my own film reviews website back when the word “blog” was just a twinkle in its creators’ eyes.

11) I once spent £100 on a taxi ride from London to Dorset. I was determined to visit my cousin & his family there for Christmas, I didn’t drive & I didn’t know that public transport virtually disappears on Christmas Eve. I think that may have been the best Christmas present that that cabbie ever had!

12) My 2-year-old son can Beat-Box. FACT

12) I am unusually anarchistic in my attitude towards numbered lists. And I believe that any number greater than 12 isn’t really worth bothering with.

*I’d say “bike accident” but it had more to do with stupidity than anything ‘accidental’. I was young…

12 Answers to 12 Questions

1) Where is the most memorable place you’ve ever been? Skinny-dipping with my wife on my birthday in a hot pool in minus 10 degrees on a mountain in Iceland

2) If you could change the end of any film, which would it be and how would you change it?  Mamma Mia. The end should be scrapped entirely. As long as ‘its end’ is defined as starting exactly 1 microsecond after its beginning.

3) What would be your dream job? Getting to scrap the ‘ends’ of really bad films

4) What is your favourite smell? I love the smell of burning celluloid in the morning

5) What is your greatest extravagance? Cream in my coffee. Several times a day. Every day

6) If you could be a condiment, what would you be and why? Salsa. Because people like to say “salsa”

7) Where do you stand on the dunking of biscuits? I stand as close to the biscuits as I can, so I can eat them

8) My colleagues Lee and Fran are being cheeky; which one should I slap? I cannot condone violence of any kind in any way. But you could slip laxatives into their coffees. They are both really annoying

9) What is your favourite scary movie? Mamma Mia. Anything so utterly execrable & yet so popular makes me fear for humanity 😉

10) If you had to read one book from your school days once more, which would it be and why? My head says George Orwell‘s ‘1984’ but I think I’d find it too depressing to have confirmed how accurate were so many of its predictions for our society. I’d go with my heart then & reread ‘Puppet on a Chain’ by Alistair MacLean; because I remember enjoying it.

11) How much of your life did you spend on this meme? For this post I have carried out exhaustive research, both online & at the Library. I have searched my soul, wrung my hands & probed my conscience in anguish over & over again. I have lost track of the vast investments of time & energy I have made in the writing of these words.

12) Was it worth it, or do you hate me now? My life will never now be the same! And yes I do, but only on Mondays.

12 questions for the next victims participants to answer. 

1) Would you describe yourself as a ‘glass half-full’, ‘glass half-empty’, ‘just grateful to have a glass’ or ‘why isn’t this glass chrystal? And full of Cristal?’ type of person? And why?

2) How important to you in your blog writing is correct grammar, punctuation & spelling?

3) Jedward: Evolutionary throwback or the future of mankind?

4) While writing this post I came to see that my life could be, somewhat crudely,  summarised by my scars. Have you had any unusual insights into your life recently, & if so what? (That question almost sounds as if it could have come straight out of ‘Blind Date’. Sorry).

5) What are your pet hates?

6) What in your life most brings you joy?

7) Do you move around a lot, like me, or have you mainly lived in the same place?

8) Do you have a “It shoulda been me!” story? And if so, what is it?

9) What is your main claim to fame?

10) How long have you been blogging & what prompted you to start?

11) What is the most extravagant purchase you’ve ever made, not counting house or car?

12) If you were to enter Britain’s Got Talent what would your talent be?

You’re ‘It’!

If you feel that you have better things to do with your time I fully understand, & I apologise if you’ve already been tagged or even made a post for any of the memes that seem to be going around at the moment.

So, my Dirty Dozen:

Here Come the Girls
Not Just Another Blog
daddy of two blog
Trouble Doubled
Chronicles of a Reluctant Housedad
Dad Who Writes
The Crumby Mummy

So go for it! It’s quite fun, honestly. And I’m looking forward to reading what you come up with 🙂

Flying Solo, in the Dark

Getting the twins off to sleep on Saturday night was…a bit different.

We’d given the Mummy a night pass; she was out having dinner with a friend, or some such frippery. Between the two of us we’d got as far as getting us all into bed together, as they still co-sleep.

Usually the Mummy is in the middle sandwiched between children, with me on the side reading stories. After they’ve finished their milk & seem settled enough I’ll get up & sing a song* while slowly turning down the light. I then sneak out while quietly saying goodnight to each of them & she stays with them until they’re soundly asleep before getting back up herself.

Tonight however roles were reversed. I was on my own, in centre stage where the Mummy usually is. She’d read the stories, turned off the light & made the Daddy’s exit. I was flying solo! In the dark…

Jake at least did seem a bit unsettled. He grizzled for quite a while, probably 10-15 minutes, them went into a stint of ‘Tree Fu Tom‘ magic spell-casting.

This basically involves raising the arms in the air, pushing them quickly out in front of you & shouting “Eh, Eh, Go!”.  Again. And again. And again. He’d been doing this a lot between bath & being dressed for bed, but in front of the mirror so he could admire his smooth moves.

Now children learning by repetition is fine, but not when Daddy is trying to get them to sleep. And he wants to get up & watch the rugby. That he hadn’t been able to during the day when it was shown live. And that he had already accidentally seen the result of earlier despite trying hard not to due to a fleeting glance at twitter. Grrrr….

By this time Ellie was fast asleep. The ‘Tree Fu Tom’ sleep spell I was throwing in Jake’s direction had rebounded onto her, obviously. Ellie falling asleep is usually a cue for Jake to point it out to us, often loudly: “Lellie: aleep!”. Also to Ellie: she clearly is unaware of the fact that she is asleep & obviously needs to know. This is always followed by “Shhh, Ellie is sleeping”s, & carries on until he seems satisfied that everyone has been thoroughly briefed on his sister’s current status.

So he chatted & moved around a bit more, probably for another 10-15 minutes, but thankfully soon calmed down, settled under his “banky” (trans.: “blanket”), snuggled on my shoulder & –  again after a while – fell asleep. I snoozed too then & when I thought he was unconscious enough very carefully extricated myself & crept out.

I actually managed to watch all of the rugby I was hoping to, & I was still busying myself with that vital work when the Mummy came back. Suitably impressed, I might add. With me, that is, not the rugby. Although that was great too…

So one up for the Dads, I say! Getting two toddlers to sleep by yourself? Yes: it can be done!

* the CBeebies goodnight song, if you must know. “The time has come to say goodnight, to say sleep tight ’til the morning light….”

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

Viva La Difference: I Get Around

Back in November I did a ‘What’s Been Happening Over the Last 6 Months While I Haven’t Been Making Proper Posts’ post called “This Blog is Pointless“.  It was about how much the twins had changed in that time, with lots of pictures of course.

I said there “It just goes to show that babies, even twins, develop at very different rates & in different ways. In fact, that’s probably a subject for another post…”. And I always meant to do it, just haven’t had/made the opportunity.

Well, as I will probably have inscribed on my tombstone, “better late then never”. So this, dear reader, is that post.

For the first 3-4 months of their lives they couldn’t do much else but lie on their backs. In July, at about 4 months,  they started rolling onto their fronts. After that they gradually found themselves able to lie on their sides, then move around by rolling.

Then things changed. Around late October, at about 7 1/2 months, Ellie started sitting up by herself. Jake would stay sitting if plonked on his bum but couldn’t do it himself.

Then Ellie started crawling.

Then, on November 4th, she stood up. She managed to pull herself up in her cot to a standing position by leaning on the rail. I still remember how shocked I was.

Poor little Jake,  (I say ‘little’; he weighs a ton compared to Ellie),  was still lying on his belly, kicking his little legs, arms outstretched,  & rocking vigourously while hyperventilating. He then seemed to get a bit confused as to why he wasn’t moving! He seemed quite happy about it, & to be honest, it was really funny to watch – so none of us minded.

Well it works in the swimming pool doesn't it?!

Ellie then, quite frankly, just started showing off. She started trying to climb, bear-walking style:

If the Daddy won't move to Eleanor, Eleanor will move to the Daddy

Every time she spotted an open door she would zoom towards it with incredible acceleration, with a determination that would flatter an Olympic athlete:

Held back from the Abyss by the Hand of Mum

She could support herself with 1 hand while trying to take a step:

"Look, Ma - one hand!"

She even tried to climb into the TV (& it looks like rugby presenter Simon Lazenby has a new fan…):

"Don't go towards the light!"

This is how it was at the time: at a music / play group while Jake was rolling around noisily trying to nick other babies’ toys, Ellie was sitting quietly on a cushion, looking like ‘butter wouldn’t melt’. Then the leader turned off the music;  she straight away jumped up & crawled right across the room at top speed to yell at the tape player. I guess she was enjoying the music! Afterwards, by the way, just as the music stopped again Jake – right on cue – blew a huge raspberry. Not such a fan then, I guess.

Then, just before Christmas, Something Changed. Maybe Ellie went just that little bit too far with her Gangsta-stylee pants exposing taunt

"These young people! Why do they have to wear their trousers so low? How do they even walk?!"

Whatever it was Jake just suddenly seemed to get fed up with Ellie getting around so quickly & easily while he could only twist & roll. So he started to sit himself up:

See: The World's Youngest Strongman!


"Oh no you don't - this toy's mine!"

And finally (“Anything you can do I can do better!”) pull himself up to a standing position:

Howdy neighbour!

It seems amazing to me that twin babies born only 2 minutes apart can develop at such different rates.

After being behind for so long Jake has now clearly pulled ahead. He’s now very good at opening doors that aren’t properly shut: which lead to The Great Escape. But that’s for another post & another time, I think 🙂

Title courtesy of The Beach Boys. And France

Training With The Stars


Some of you may have read my post "I'm Not Fat, I'm Sympathetically Pregnant!" from way back in February. Briefly, while my wife was pregnant I looked a bit as if I was too. And as far as I’m concerned I had a damn good excuse!

Now that the twins have turned up my ‘baby weight’ has mostly gone too: carrying two increasingly heavy little people up & down stairs many times every day will do that to you!

You may have noticed that I said “mostly”. Raising these little guys is wonderful but can also be pretty stressful at times. Being drunk in charge of babies is, for me, a big No-No; and given that I often suffer from baby-induced sleep-deprivation more than a bevvy or 2 is just likely to send me off to sleep. And the sweet-tooth that reared its sugary head & pumped up my belly (apologies for the slightly unpleasant mixed metaphor) during my Sympathetic Pregnancy remains. So these days during times of stress the bar I’m more likely to make a bee-line for is a chocolate one.

In short, I could still do with a bit of toning-up. And, yes, this is looking like me keeping another New Year’s Resolution that I haven’t actually made…

FHM's Bionic magazine

So it was by a happy coincidence that this month’s issue of FHM comes with a free Bionic magazine, packed with tips for getting fit the easy way from some of Britain & the world’s top sportsmen. England & Leicester rugby star Toby Flood; arguably the best footballer in the world, Barcelona & Argentina’s Lionel Messi; & Britain’s best Mixed Martial Arts fighter Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, to name a few, all share their secrets.

I couldn’t help but notice though that World Champion Heptathlete Jessica Ennis is also on hand for a personal training session. Those who know me well should already realise which of those I’d choose for some 1-on-1 training! Her 9-point guide to fitness is really down-to-earth & something that anyone, me included, can fit into a busy day in some form or other. She's also particularly good with the mental, as well as the physical, side of getting fitter. Her guide is already pinned to my wall…

So if you fancy getting fit with with Toby, Lionel, The Count, Jessica & other top athletes FHM is out now, also including features on Skins, career advice, lesbian ballerina sex (yes, really) & smartphone addiction.(I wonder if they’d read my post about Twittadiction?). You can get £1 off by ordering online; for more information go see Nicole.  🙂


£1 off FHM
£1 off FHM

This is a Sponsored Post.,  All the words in it however – even the big ones – are my own. If I don't like it I don't write it!

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