“A father is a biological necessity, but a social accident” (Minden, 1982)

In the western world, fathers have for generations been viewed as playing minor roles in the care of their children. Simultaneously they have been painted as the head of the family, whose main roles in child rearing are that of disciplinarian and bringer of the cheddar.
Fathers are now encouraged to play a more active role in the upbringing of their children. The idea of a good father is no longer simply a money maker or authoritarian figure but one who helps promote moral development, serves as a gender role model, shares the burden of gathering nuts for the winter, nurtures , encourages, and plays an active role in their child’s life.
We learn from those who go before us. How I father is influenced by the ways my dad parented me and how he parented was influenced by how he was parented. Today’s fathers find themselves in a peculiar position. We are the gap between the old style fathers, the fathers who took on more stereotypical models of such as that of money maker, man builder, and the head of the house to the new vision of fatherhood as the dad who gets involved and shares the responsibility.

It is important to remember that father’s now face the challenges and demands fatherhood brings, whilst potentially being caught in a battle between traditional views of fatherhood and new found ideals.

With this we need to ensure that we give a voice to dads. Not to discredit or minimise their experiences but to empower them to talk and encourage them to share their views. New father’s need to know support is there for them when they need it. In that the support needs to be there for them not as an offshoot of mother’s services but tailored to the needs of dad’s. Business owners need to support dads in paternity leave applications. No dad should fear losing their job due to wanting to spend time with their child, or be paid pennies whilst on leave.
To help fathers become what society now wants, we need to change what society offers. Without the support it will never work.

For a really good read on paternity leave check out @youthedaddy blog post here.


Mother’s Day Review: This year was lobster compared to the tuna you served me last year

As the father to young children it is my responsibility to ensure that my wife’s Mother’s Day is a day of celebration. To provide a wonderful, magical experience where she is showered in gifts and relaxation. The aim is to firmly show her how much we as a family appreciate all she does for us. It is the one day a year where Mother’s should be able to sit back, relax and be well and truly pampered. Last year I failed at making the day magical. It was a complete and utter disaster which left the wife feeling unappreciated and let down. You can read how well it went here.

This year I had to step up and get my shit together. The first stage of this was to ensure I did not forget to get a gift. I learnt that gifts are an important part of Mother’s Day and the line ‘don’t get me anything’ is a polite way of saying ‘you better bloody get me something’. I asked the wife what she wanted. A nice nightie she replied. So the hunt began. However not sooner had I started did I receive a message whilst she was out one day saying she had found one and bought it and was going to give it to me to give to her. Kind of takes the magic away a little but at least she was happy with it, she had something she wanted and most importantly she would actually have a gift this year. Winner.

Next task was a card. But again before I had chance to do this, the better half had bought her own card whilst out with Florence and then given these to Florence to hide. That was two tasks sorted. However I knew that I still needed to get her something and to only give her gifts and cards she chose herself would not go down well.
The good folk at Hobbycraft sent me a nice little crafting package to make some Mother’s Day goodies with the kids. And my gosh we had some fun. Hours spent painting, sticking, gluing, colouring generally making a jolly good mess and producing masses of gifts for the Mrs. We made cards, boxes, pictures, many many wonders. We even managed to contain most of the mayhem within the conservatory, except for paint footmarks across the living from carpet. But we created art of the highest quality. You would never know I failed art at GCSE.

The wife has got giddy for plants lately. Real ones. Fake ones. If it is green and potable she is loving it. Our house has been swarmed by plants. She keeps telling me which ones a real and need watering but then the next minute she moves them all around the house and I forget which plants are real and which are fake. Hard to bloody tell. But they look good. So to add to her little collection, the girls bough her a plant each.

One of the most important lessons I took from last years shenanigans is to book a table well in advance otherwise your snookered. This year I booked us a nice table for 4 at Miller & Carter Steakhouse. Job done.

The Big Day Checklist

First thing first. Leave mummy to have a lie in. Tick

Make mummy breakfast in bed. Tick

Give mummy presents and cards. Tick

Ask mummy what she wants to do for the day. Tick

Do whatever mummy wants to do. Tick

Make lunch for mummy. Tick

Give mummy time to get ready without interruption and in peace. Failed (hard to stop a 4 year old running up and down the stairs but tried and that surely counts)

Do not argue with mummy on the big day. Failed

Make amends with mummy after the argument by admitting you are an idiot and that you are very sorry. Tick

Go out for a wonderful meal, have an amazing time. Tick

Get home, bath the kids, get them in bed then relax. Tick

Outcome. The wife was happy. Claimed that this year was lobster compared to the tuna I dished up last year.


Qualitative run down of the days events

Kids woke up at 6am. Brought them downstairs to give them breakfast. Left the wife in bed. Gave the kids breakfast. Had a coffee. Watched tele. Then cleaned the kitchen. Had another coffee.
Caffeine kicked in. Felt energised. With the help of the kids laid mummy’s presents out. Began to make breakfast in bed. Scrambled tofu on toast. Yum. When it was ready took it to the wife, who had just woke up. She ate it in bed with Flo. Edith and I ate ours downstairs.
After breakfast the wife came downstairs. Opened her presents. She was happy. Told her we were going out for a meal. She seemed pleased.
Played around in the house. The made lunch. Was not great but everyone ate it. Then the wife started to get ready. Asked to be left in peace. Florence did not conform. She was up and down the stairs. Apologised to wife. She accepted.
Already to go out. Dropped pressies off at mothers and mother in laws. In car had argument with the wife. Cannot remember what about. Tension.
Arrived at Miller & Carter. Apologised. Forgiven. Had a lovely meal. Ate lots. Drank lots. Spent lots. Went home.
At home bathed kids. Got them in bed. They went to sleep. We crashed on the couch. Wife happy.
Jobs a gudden.


I want to go really fast down a big hill, on some skis with my family: Mark Warner Ambassador quest

Fifteen years ago, half my life time, I got on a coach with lots of other teenagers of schooling age, and a few teachers who were there to keep us in check and traveled for 24 hours across Europe. Our destination was Austria. Why were we going? For a week of skiing.

It was one of the most amazing times of my life. I was young, carefree, risk averse and let loose to do all the cool things like black slopes, slaloms and jumps. I promised myself I would go yearly from that point. Unfortunately I did not keep that promise and have not been since.

I have mithered the better half that we should go but it’s never happened. Since we have had kids I have longed to take them, then this winter this dream intensified when Flo tried ice skating for the first time and loved it. In that moment I knew she would love skiing.


So 2018 is hopefully the year the Freckles finally go skiing as a family. As a December baby I feel it will be my treat to myself this year and an extra special christmas and New Year for us all.

Mark Warner holidays specialise in activity holidays for families and providing award winning childcare. It is why I am planning on using them to help me plan this little family adventure. They have it all covered when it comes to creating that fun filled, activity packed holiday for the family whilst also ensuring that christmas and New Year magic does not go missing.


I’m thinking of the festive period simply because christmas and snow go hand in hand in all the films and story books but here in Manchester it’s always a whiteless christmas. Therefore a little of the white stuff for the kids to play in would I am sure put me in the daddy good books. Also New Year in our house usually involves an early night. Being in a beautiful part of the world, in the mountains, I am sure would keep us up until that clock strikes 12.

The sheer thought of being out skiing with the family gets me all giddy and warm inside. The lovely crisp fresh air. The amazing views. Being out in the mountains, experiencing something different. It is what life all is about.

That is why I would love to be a Mark Warner ambassador this sheer and share my family adventure with you.

It’s no laughing matter

There has been a bit of an uproar over a scene in the new Peter Rabbit film where the hero bunny rabbits throw blackberries at the naughty Mr McGregor who has blackerry anaphalaxis and subsequently has a reaction and needs to use an epi-pen.

I imagine this scene is in the film to raise a giggle. But its far from funny. It seems nobody along the production line thought it might not be the best idea to show a scene in which a person’s life threatening condition is exploited to try and raise a smile.

Some people don’t think it’s a big deal. That anyone complaining is just being soft. That it is only a film and they should get over it.

However it is a big deal. It is a life threatening condition and in ‘real’ life people still don’t seem to appreciate how serious it can be.  Flo, our eldest, has dairy and egg anaphalaxis.  The sheer amount of times we have eaten out and people have taken a slack and relaxed approach is ridiculous. Take the Pizza Express waiter slyly removing butter from her plate when we complained and sending it back as if it was a new plate, completely ignorant to the risk of cross contamination. It’s not something to be slack about. People die from anaphylactic reactions. Deaths that can 100% be avoided. People end up suffering life changing injuries as a result of anaphylactic reactions. Again these can be avoided.

So people may get so pissed off when this is exploited for comic value because its far from a funny experience and in fact a major cause of stress, anxiety and fear. Fear for the person with the anaphylaxis but also fear on the part of the parents or loved one of the person with anaphylaxis.  People who watch the film may take the view point that it is not such a big deal. That symptoms can be easily alleviated by sticking an epi-pen in the top of the thigh. The reality is far from different. For one upto 5% of people who have an anaphylactic reaction die. That is 1 in 20 people who have a reaction do not survive. Even after administering the adrenaline people have been known to die or suffer life changing injuries.  Therefore it is now recommended that people with anaphylaxis carry two epi-pens. Another little problem is that people with anaphylaxis quite commonly have asthma. This adds to the seriousness. Administering adrenaline when someone is having an asthma attack and not a anaphylactic reaction is very dangerous even life threatening but the symptoms that present can make it difficult to distinguish what is the cause. Also 78% of people who died following an anaphylactic reaction also had asthma which suggests the links and severity is exceedingly high.


People have died because others have thought it was funny to play a prank by poisoning their food with a known allergan. Many cases like this involve children. Children not taking it seriously because they do not appreciate how serious it is. So what happens when children see this film and see that scene? That it is ok to use an allergy to some sort of advantage or prank because worse case the person can pop a needle in their leg and be fine. Far from it. Also change the rabbits for kids and Mr McGregor for a child and it takes a different picture. I stick my child in a similar situation daily in my head because I fear this may happen to her one day. For instance that a silly little Halloween prank with an egg may have really serious consequences.

I also think it raises the issue about how society is generally ignorant to how difficult managing allergies can be. Take for instance the time we stayed at a hotel and each morning we had to provide our own bread because despite us telling them before and during our stay that we had allergies they couldn’t provide bread. Or how about the cinema who don’t stock butterfree popcorn in any capacity in their theatres. I appreciate that it is difficult but often people with allergies suffer being isolated or marginalised through no fault of their own. Imagine how hard that can feel for a child.

Despite a parents best efforts the child is going to feel anxious at times, feel left out, feel different. Hopefully the parents, family and wider social networks can help mediate this. Ignorance like this scene only aid to downplay the seriousness of the issue and the outpouring of ‘people are just getting soft’ or ‘it is the snowflake generation’ show how society has someway to go.

So to some up. Sony dropped a bollock. I won’t be watching the film. But I hope in some round about way this whole issue has raised more awareness for the good about how anaphylaxis is not a joke.

This is Flo at six months old after two epi-pens, Piriton, steroids and being on a nebuliser. Not such a funny outcome.


The Jord Watch: It’s pronounced Yoad, like Toad but with a Y.

I like my watches. I have a fair few. All shapes, colours and sizes. The collection was nice but it felt a little metal heavy. Then I heard about wooden watches and thought “I fancy some of that” and added one to the collection.

I’ve been rocking this little beauty on the old left wrist.

It’s an absolute dream of a watch. It’s minimalistic, simply doing what it needs to but in style. First off the face looks dashing and handsome. The hands move smoothly, encased majestically below the clear face.

Resting comfortably upon your arm, secure and classy, you will notice how light weight the Hyde is. You don’t have to have bulging biceps and a strong back to lift this masterpiece to eyesight.

The wood is smooth and the ebony colour makes a statement. Being a fashion icon, I like a watch that can handle any occasion, and this timepiece fits the bill.

In summation, the Hyde is sleek, stylish and efficient. It’s perfectly simple in every way. Just how I like life.

Fancy some discount head here

For the Jord men’s collection click here

For the ladies collection click here

Much love



<a id=”woodwatches_com_widget_article” ishidden=”1″ title=”Wooden Wrist Watch”>Wooden Wrist Watch</a>



Behind enemy lines: The Manchester City Stadium Tour

In Manchester you support either the blue of Manchester City or the red of Manchester United. We are passionate football folk. You pick your team and you stick with your team.

Sometimes blues and reds get on. Sometimes a red man will meet a blue lady. Sometimes they will date for a while before the red man proposes to the blue lady and they get married. Sometimes they will have children and problems arise as to whether the children should be red’s or blue’s. Sometimes the red man does an amazing thing and goes on a tour of the blues stadium for the greater good of his family and to secure some husband points.

This weekend I, a Manchester United Fan took one for the team and went with my Manchester City fan wife and our children on the Manchester City Stadium tour. I’ve never done a stadium tour before and thought it would be good fun for us all. A nice Sunday family day out.

The rendezvous point for the tour start was in the MCFC Store. True to family form we were late so did not have chance to browse the merchandise which was lucky because I’m pretty sure Florence would have talked me into buying her a new football kit.


In a room at the back of the Store we gathered with other tour embarkers. We were surrounded by pieces of historic MCFC memorabilia. We were then led to a seated area where our guide showed us a video all about the football club and team to get the juices going.


Then the proper tour kicked off. We headed to the stadium and had a mill around the Tunnel Club Hospitality areas. These are the areas where the rich and famous can wine and dine before, during and after the match. It’s a pricey place to eat and drink but you get to meet the players and watch them go out the tunnel so if you’ve got the cash it sounds like a good gig. The place smelt like money.


After this we visited the outside directors seats which were very comfy and come equipped with heated seating. We then headed to the away dressing room which wasn’t much and was very warm. Apparently this is all on purpose to out off the opponent. Put me off. Especially as we visited the home team warm up gym and dressing room and they were something else.


Next on the tour was the pitch side picture opportunity before we took a stroll to the pre match press conference room where I managed to warm Pep’s seat. Felt important sat there.


And that was about it. A 90 minute tour of the stadium complete. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. Nice to have a nosey around and check out the competition. So if you fancy a poke around a football stadium and you are in Manchester I would recommend having a wonder around the Etihad on the official Stadium and Club Tour. Even if you are a red, it’s a good day out.


The team behind the beans: Booths coffee tour

Before kids I rarely drank coffee. Before kids I slept gloriously. So when kids came along and I began to sleep rarely, I took up drinking coffee gloriously.

I have dibbled and I have dabbled with different coffee brands. I have never really settled on a particular coffee or established whether bean is better than ground.

That was until I took a tour of Booths coffee HQ in deepest darkest Preston. Now before we went I was giddy and very excited to see what happened in a coffee roasting and grinding factory and to learn more about the drink that keeps me functional. I was expecting some huge warehouse with hundreds of people, coffee beans all over the show, roasters firing away and the sweet smell of coffee in the air.

What we found was a very nice purposely built building with one roaster and grinder. The team behind the beans was in fact two gents by the names of Peter and Rob, plus the packing team only a few members strong.

It had a real personal feel about the place. The smell of coffee was dancing in the air and we got to see how the coffee was roasted and ground. We got to hold some beans pre roasting and post roasting. We tickled our tastebuds with a variety of different coffees and learnt all about strengths, tastes and smells.

I’m not going to lie to you, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I discovered that strength doesn’t mean more caffeine on the contrary there is less in the stronger stuff. I discovered bean is best. I also found my new favourite coffee which goes by the name of Monsoon Malabar. I love the taste of this cheeky number, but also the fact I’ve met the team who have roasted those beans. Makes it that little bit more personal.

And that’s the main thing I took from our little tour. Booths doesn’t just cater to your food and drink delights but adds that little bit of personal sparkle as well.

Everytime I take a sip of my morning Monsoon Malabar latte I’m whisked away to that magical day I spent on the coffee tour. It makes the fact I’m up at 5am that little bit more bareable.

The reality of parenting: the escape to freedom

At the minute Edith refuses to stay sleep. It’s been an on going saga driven I think by her two front teeth descending. Getting out of her bedroom when she does eventually give in is problematic.

Once she is asleep I find myself sprawled out on the floor, arm squeezed between the bars of her cot, hoping that when I do eventually build up the courage to take my arm off her back she does not wake.

But that’s only the beginning of the escape. For once my hand rises off her back and she remains asleep, then starts the tricky retreat back through the bars, knowing the faintest of touches could lead to the quietest of noises yet still loud enough to cause her to wake.

Even if by some miracle my arm escapes the clutches of the cot, fear cannot be abandoned and caution must remain. The movement of my bodily position, from the horizontal to the vertical may disturb her slumber, as my joints and ligaments reposition and allow me to rise.

And dam this body of mine which is plagued by clicky joints, most noticeably my ankles, for even when I am arose I cannot exit with carefree abandon, for fear of a creek from my troublesome bones.

And if my ankles remain silent or their creeks go undetected, there is the problem of the squeaky floor board. Only through experience do I know the route of quietest passage, from the side of the cot to the door. Should I complete this fearful journey and make it to the cusp of freedom, I may stumble at the final hurdle. The door. This barrier between me and the outside world may piss on my parade if it squeaks or floods the room with unwelcome light. Therefore with hope in my heart, and a just passable route, a leap of faith must be took to set my body free.

Yep so that’s pretty much my evenings.

The reality of parenting: Sometimes I fuck up

I missed Florence’s first day of school last week as we both started our new adventures on the same day. I felt a massive amount of guilt about this and although I know she is unlikely to remember this, I will remember.

As the week progressed I felt a strain in our relationship. I was missing her. I was also feeling guilty for leaving every morning before she went to school and getting back well into the bedtime routine. From what the wife was telling me, Flo was also missing me which just added to my guilty feelings.

It all came to a head on Wednesday when we had a nightime battle. She was being a bugger with me and I did not handle it well at all. It left me feeling pretty shit.

Basically I was feeling guilty for not being there, I was missing her and some part of me felt she was pissed off at me. That night I just wanted a nice relaxing time with her where we chatted and cuddled before she feel asleep. I wanted to feel like she was my friend still. So when she began messing about and playing up it tapped into how I was feeling and instead of handling it in a positive way I did the complete opposite and created a worse situation and left Flo and I both feeling shit.

I felt awful that night and the next morning until Flo woke up and came downstairs and said sorry to me. It nearly broke my heart. I apologised to her as well and we had a big cuddle and things have been a lot better since.

Thinking back on it now we both probably just wanted the same thing; to have a chat and cuddle because we missed each other but we were tired, had both had a busy few days, adjusting to a and just went about it all wrong.

And I think that’s often the cause of a lot of problems in a number of relationships. We want the same things we just go about it the wrong way. Either because we are feeling shitty or guilty or whatever or just communicate things in the wrong way. It’s not because we are awful people.

When it does happen don’t beat yourself up to much. Be compassionate towards yourself, say sorry when you get chance and to sweeten any apology, chocolates are always a good idea.

Review: Cosatto Hubbub Isofix Car Seat

Car seat shopping. Easy right? Is it buggery. It is hard graft looking for the perfect car seat. You have hundreds of options from dozens of different brands. It can be a thankless task. Let me set a little scenario for you.

You may have penciled in new car seat shopping for this weekend. Alternatively you may have woken up, rolled over to your other half and informed them that Little Shirley or Little Jimmy needs a new car seat and thus spontaneously created your plans for the day. If it’s pre-planned or spontaneous, heading into any retailer who sells a car seat without having done the leg work (research) is a dangerous game. You will be met by lots of options and you will probably leave without purchasing a seat,  nursing a hangover headache created without the night before fun and have the desire to swing by the solicitors to pick up some divorce papers.  Little Jimmy / little Shirley won’t leave happy either, as they probably won’t have behaved in a manner which justifies giving them the chocolate they cried for all the time you were lifting car seats on and off shelves and fastening them in and out of.

So with that in mind, and as I am a generous soul who likes to share his helpful tips and worldly experience, I will make your life easier, save your marriage and help your little one get jacked up on chocolate. For below is a review for the car seat that you will purchase after reading the words that I have written. You probably won’t even have to leave your house because you will be so convinced you will order online by clicking here.

Lets crack on.


Can my kid get a ticket to ride?

Absolutely providing your child weighs in at between 9kg to 36kg, or approx 9 months to 12 years in age terms. The Hubbub is a group 1,2,3 car seat meaning it grows with your child and does it without any fuss or removal of any big lumpy bits.  The headrest has 6 positions which are easy to move between thanks to a little click and pull action, whilst the 2 part reversible seat liner offers a supportive snuggle.  When we were setting up for Flo, who is almost 4,  it was easy peasy to get the positioning just right and when I interrogated her she reported, free of duress, that she was very comfy and snug.

Will they be able to twist and shout?

Every child appears to have this little Houdini side to them wear they can wiggle free from a seemingly impossible situation with brazen disregard for the safety and their parents heart health. Your child’s days of slipping those arms out of their car seat are over, as long as they are sitting in this car seat that is, thanks to the Brand New Cosatto Anti-Escape System that the Hubbub is fitted with. I asked Flo to try and break free and she didn’t manage it and she wiggles her way out of many a situation. I had made sure it was all nice a snug around her before asking her to escape. She also advised me that she was happy and it did not feel to tight which was comforting. My experience of other car seats we have had, is that she has been uncomfortable when all buckled up. This then creates the problem of hearing a child shout at you for the duration of your journey that the car seat is too tight.  So the anti-escape system also saves you from that little nightmare. So whilst they will be able to shout at you about other things being uncomfortable in their car seat will not be on of them.


Day tripper

We are blessed with two beautiful children, two parental cars, two sets of  grandparents who also own their own grandparent taxi’s and not enough financial clout to buy car seats for all. As a result we do a lot of car seat juggling. The Hubbub is a car seat jugglers dream. Unlike some car seats, it is not cumbersome or oddly shaped, meaning your back and paintwork remain intact. The universal ISOFIX allows you to click in and go, no seatbelts, no stress. You also get a lot of ISOFIX bar to play with and it stay’s nice and sturdy meaning you are not left trying to battle the ISOFIX system whilst hunting for the bar hidden under the car seat.

Every little thing

As well as the major features above, and the side impact protection, its the little extra touches that make the Hubbub a stand out car seat.  There is a top tether anchor strap which gives that added little bit of security. The quick release harness button means you want be battling to set your offspring free. It comes with really convenient storage pockets to hide the straps whilst not compromising the look.  The comfy seat liners can be removed easily to wash, and it also features very comfy padded arm rests. All these allow your little one to ride in safety and comfort.

Mailman, bring me no more blues

Let’s face it the mailman usually brings us rubbish, boring nonsense. Well that won’t be the case when he delivers your Hubbub car seat. For when you take delivery and crack open the box, you will be met by vibrant colour, exciting your eyes and stimulating your pleasure center. Unlike it’s competitors, the Hubbub screams creativity, excitement and zest for life. Cosatto bring their personality to this bad boy, as they do with all their baby products,  and it is a joy to behold. You have 6 looks to chose from. All colourful, all beautiful, all rejecting dullness. We have the magic unicorn look to match the double pram we have. Catching a glimpse of this colourful little number in my rear view mirror whilst ensuring Flo is still alive is a pleasant little treat on my eyes and brings a smile to my face.


Money (That’s what I want)

The business end. The bit that probably gets you nervous. Will you have to remortgage the house to buy the Hubbub? At £194.95 it falls on the good side of £200.  When you consider how long your sprog can use the car seat for you are looking at approximately £16 a year. Not bad. You also get a 4 year guarantee, which you cannot shake your head at.

From me to you

In summation, this car seat has and does everything you would hope for from a car seat. It is packed with excellent safety features. It is comfortable. It is easily washable. It grows with your child. It is well priced. It is also full of personality and brings a bit of fun and happiness. And we can all do with more of that.

Find it here in all its glory. 

Much love