July 22, 2019

In The Night Garden Live Review

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This week I received some free tickets to go and see In The Night Garden Live at Hull New Theatre.

Why would you do that to yourself? I can hear you ask. The answer is simple. Alice loves In The Night Garden and when Joseph was younger he also loved it.

Being 7 years old, I wasn't sure if Joseph would want to go and see it, but he said would like to go.

In the post this week we received a pack which contained two souvenir activity brochures, two hand puppets (one Iggle Piggle and one Upsy Daisy) and two light-up swirly things, they probably have a more scientific name, but I have no idea what it is.


We decided to go for the Sunday 10am showing as I thought it would be slightly less busy than the 1pm showing. Last year we went to see Bing Live! and we chose the afternoon slot and it was very busy.

Once we arrived we made our way to our seats. We were seated in row K, which was in the middle. Not too close to the front and stuck right at the back. The seats at the theatre are probably the most uncomfortable seats you could ever wish to sit on, but I powered through like the champion I am!

When it first started a few real-life people came on to the stage and I wondered if it would be the same as Bing Live, where it wasn't people in full costumes, it was people operating puppets. This isn't my idea of theatre really. Then they did come out with a small Iggle Piggle puppet. I had my reservations at this point but they were soon put to bed when a full-sized human dressed up in an Iggle Piggle costume came out.

Phew!


Alice kept asking me when Oopsy Daisy was coming on. I didn't know. I could feel the wrath of Alice building. Thankfully she came out after about 15 minutes.

Crisis averted.

The whole story of this performance centred around a funny noise. Iggle Piggle and his friends were trying to find out where it was coming from. All the classics made an appearance, including Makka Pakka and his indiscriminate face washing of people against their will. Thankfully this time, he only did it once, and he asked permission.

The only characters that didn't come out in full costumes where the Ponty Pines and the Tomliboos (or the Tombaloos, as Alice calls them).


I was disappointed not to see a full-sized Ninky Ponk.

Pinky Nonk?

Ninky Nonk, that's it! How could I forget?

In their defence, there's no way a full-sized one could fit in the theatre. There was also the worlds first flying Pinky Ponk! This was pretty impressive (You can check out my Instagram to see a photo of this).

The show lasted just under an hour. Which was probably about right, some children, after around 40 minutes, were starting to get a bit restless. As much as younger kids love this show, I would maybe think twice if you have a child under the age of two.

As much as In The Night Garden probably does most parents heads in, it's great to see the children's faces as the characters come out. The smile on Alice's face made it all worthwhile. If you've never been to a kids show at a theatre before, it's not the same as going to one for adults. There's a ton of noise. Some kids will be crying, some will be shouting with happiness.

It isn't like when you go to the pictures and you're ready to call the cinema police after 6 minutes, because somebody behind you is making more noise opening their packet of fruit pastilles than Glastonbury makes in five days. You'll even see kids dancing in the aisles.

It's great to see that shows like these can bring that kind of happiness to kids in less than an hour.


As I mentioned, Alice really enjoyed it. The smile on her face, seeing her frantically waving at every character, and getting offended when they didn't personally back to her was all worth it. Joseph said he enjoyed it and after all, he is still a kid and we hardly ever go to the theatre so this was something different for him. There's a show on in October called Billionaire Boy by David Walliams and Joseph really enjoys his books, so I think I may have to take him to see that. It would be nice for us two to just go.

There are lots of showing all across the country, running right up to the end of October, so if your child loves In The Night Garden, then it is definitely worth going to see! You can book tickets on their website here.


I was sent free tickets for the purpose of writing this review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review and all thoughts are my own.

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July 12, 2019

Breaking Dad

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On a muggy Friday afternoon after the school run, one man (me) starts to discuss the merits (with himself) of a meth business. The drugs would certainly help get through listening to Alice tell me 756,450 things in 8.2 seconds. Also, the extra few millions of pounds wouldn't go amiss. If Walter White can do it, so can I. The fact I know jack shit about chemistry and drug dealing is only a small obstacle in my brilliant master plan.

The reason I'm thinking about this is because being a dad (or just a parent in general) is hard. Sometimes it feels like the kids are sent to break us. Many things in life just seem to happen to test our patience and even though it may not seem it in my household, since becoming a dad, I've got a lot more patience for things.

I'm soon brought back into the real world when I hear the familiar sound of

"Daaaad!! I've had a huge dump, me wipe my own bum!"

Nooooo!!

You won't break me poo monster, I'm a dad.

The Fly

Why is it that flies enjoy tormenting us. The window in my kitchen was open a few minutes the other day and a fly got in. It then proceeded to buzz around my general location, no matter where that was in the house,  whether I was eating my tea, watching Love Island Die Hard and even when taking a tom tit. I felt like I was in the episode from Breaking Bad, where the fly is tormenting Walt and Jessie.

I'm sure I heard it buzzing in morse code "I'm coming for you!" as I was sat on the throne. You won't break me fly, I'm a dad.

Takeaway

Dad bods are all the rage at the minute and being the fashionista that I am, I like to keep up with the trends. So, to get myself in dad bod shape quicker, I do enjoy a takeaway. We usually order from Just Eat as its easier, mainly because I don't have to drive to a takeaway. Why would I want to burn calories when I need to power up the dad bod.

When you order through Just Eat, the order goes straight to the particular takeaway and then they prepare and deliver your order. Why is it that they can't get the order correct? Far too many times, we have had an order that has been wrong. I mean, it's right there in front of you on a screen for crying out loud! Do they do it on purpose?

You won't break me dad bod creators, I'm a dad!

Kids 

"Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad"

"Yes?"

"Errr, I forgot"

Goddammit. Thankfully I don't hear the word "Dad" as much as the wife hears the word "Mum"

Anyone else's child ask the same question 32 times after its already been answered? 

How about needing a drink, to go to the toilet, informing us they feel sick, saying their pyjama top is too pink, just as they're getting in bed?

You won't break us kids, I'm a dad.



Dads, you are awesome. I'm always thinking whether I'm doing a good enough as a dad. My kids are fed, healthy, they have a loving home and I love them with all my heart.

Even when Alice does a chocolate snake the size of an actual snake. 

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July 07, 2019

Shindokai Karate Championships in Barnsley

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Last Sunday was a great day for Joseph. He was competing at a karate competition in Barnsley. This is his second competition in four weeks. In his last competition, he won a silver and a bronze medal!

This competition was going to be Joseph's most demanding yet as he was competing in more categories than ever before.

He usually competes in individual kata and individual fighting. He has also sometimes competed in team fighting. This Sunday he was competing in all of the above, AND team kata and pairs kata.
It was definitely going to be a tiring day for him.

A kata is a detailed choreographed pattern of movements. When competing in pairs Kata, both the participants need to complete the moves at the same time.

Joseph had been practising for his pairs kata with his partner Mylo for a few weeks, they would even practice during the week at Mylo's House. After watching them for the first time together at their karate class to how they performed in the competition, I could see a massive improvement. So much so that they came home with the silver medal in the pairs kata section!


In the individual fighting section in Joseph's age category, there were 22 fighters. Joseph wasn't lucky enough to get a bye in any of his rounds so he had hard to work really hard to get onto the medal table. Which he did, he came away with a bronze medal. His fighting has improved massively over the last few months and this can only help his confidence.

Joseph also won another bronze medal on Sunday, this was for team fighting. Team fighting consists of three team members, who fight individually against their opponents. The more wins from their team, the more chance of going through to the next round. For Joseph's fight, he came up against the boy who won a gold medal in the individual fighting category. This boy had also beaten him at another competition a few months ago. 

Needless to say, he was a little apprehensive about facing him (this young boy is very good). Joseph scored the first and then with around 10 seconds left of the fight, he was losing 3-2. Joseph went for it and managed to score a point making the fight finish 3-3. The rules state that in the event of a draw the person to score first wins the fight. Joseph won! 

He couldn't wait to phone me up on the way home and tell me that he beat him. He was so proud of himself and I was too. His Confidence is growing!

All in all, Joseph came away with 3 medals. One silver and two bronze. As you can see from the photo below he was super happy with this.


I love this photo, the sheer delight I can see on his face makes me so happy. I could not be prouder of him and how much he has improved.

We have Sensei Wayne Clark 3rd dan and Sensei Morgan Clarke 2nd dan from the Hull and East Riding karate academy to thank for Joseph's continued improvement!

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May 15, 2019

Tips On Being The Best Dad You Can Be

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I’ve been a dad for a total of seven and a half years now.  I have dealt with many different situations that raising children brings up. Being a dad is daunting, especially a first-time dad. That feeling of utter helplessness when you take your first born home for the very first time will never leave me. Being a dad is also the single most rewarding thing that will ever happen to you. Nothing can fill your life with joy as much as a child. Well, apart from a Ferrari, a Ferrari would bring me a lot of joy. Below is my list of things that I think can help you to be the best dad that you can be. This is all based on my experiences as a parent.

Don’t worry about being a good dad.

You’re doing a great job. They say “women’s intuition” is a great thing. Believe me, you have your own as well. Even if you haven’t read any books or visited any websites on how to be a parent, you will find the way. It does just come naturally.

Get out as soon as you can after the baby is born.

There may be many reasons as to why you might not be able to go out shortly after having a child but, as soon as you are able to, go out. Even if it is just a quick 15 minute walk around the block. Go out with your child and try and get some normality back to your lives, everything will start to feel easier after your first trip out.

Take the night feeds.

If your partner isn’t breastfeeding then take the night feeds. If they express then also, take the feed.  I took a lot of the night feeds with our children, especially our second child, Alice. My wife had a C-section and so needed to rest for a few weeks after it. I took all the night feeds for several weeks and as much as it is tiring, it is a great time to bond with your child. Yes, they are tired and sometimes go back to sleep whilst drinking their milk but this is time I would have missed out on if I was asleep. Especially as I am a full time working dad and my wife is a stay at home mum.

Give them cuddles. Lots of cuddles.

Cuddles make everyone feel better, right? There is nothing better than cuddling your child, especially when they are old enough to come and cuddle you first. Always make time for a quick cuddle, it can only take a few seconds and will mean the world to you and your child.

Go with your gut.

Don’t ignore your feelings on things, it is your child, if you feel something isn’t right then do something about it. This doesn’t just apply to worrying things. There will be plenty of people close to you trying to give you advice on very specific things. By all means, you can listen to their advice but if feel something different, go with your choice.


Enjoy parenting. It goes too quick.

Lots of people say, “enjoy it while it lasts”. There’s a reason for this. Time really does fly with children. I can’t believe my son is 7 years old now. I can still remember taking him home and waking up every few minutes to check he was still breathing.  Don’t spend too much time working, your children need you. Enjoy the time you have to spend with them.

Be there for your children.

Growing up is hard. Children have so many things to learn. They can be very hard work but we should always be there for them, to comfort them, and to guide them. It is so much better to be remembered as the parent who was there for them, than the parent who didn’t have time for them.

Get some sleep.

People say “sleep when the baby sleeps”. This isn’t really practical when there are a million things to do around the house but you can at least attempt to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Go to bed around 10 pm. This one is obviously a hard one. This is all very dependent on how your child is. I was lucky that my children were pretty regular with their feeds, usually every 4 hours. Don’t stretch yourself to thin, you’re no good to anyone if you can hardly function because of a lack of sleep.


Have a date night.

If you can, try and schedule a date night with your partner. Being away from the kids together, even if it is only for a few hours can really help your sanity. We don’t really have anyone who can babysit often for us to do this but on the few occasions we have gone out together, it has been great. If there’s no way you can go out together, go out with your friends. Take it in turns, one of you goes out one week and one the next, have a few weeks off and then do it again. Just being able to go out and let off a bit of steam will be helpful for everyone in the long run.


May 10, 2019

Family Sues Holiday Park After Wind Keeps Them Up All Night

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A family from Hull is suing a local holiday park, as their holiday was “ruined by the noise of the wind on the caravan roof.” They claim they “didn’t sleep a wink” during their weekend stay.

Joe a father of 3 who told us he has never seen an episode of Games Of Thrones, and surprisingly, doesn’t do cross fit (we only assume this as he didn’t immediately tell us upon our arrival) said “The wind was ridiculous, who decides to put a holiday camp near the sea were everyone knows it will be windier?”

The irony of everyone knowing that it is windier near the sea and then still going on holiday there seemed to be lost on Joe.

“The wind was that bad I couldn’t even hear the sound of my own farts.”

We contacted the holiday park in question and the responded to Joe’s claim about his holiday being ruined.

They said “we are aware of a gentleman’s dissatisfaction with his stay recently due to it being a bit windy. We had received no complaints from the person in question whilst he was staying here with us. The first we are hearing of an impending lawsuit is through this very newspaper. Sadly, as much as we would like to have special weather producing powers, we don’t and we cannot be held accountable for said weather.”

We were unable to get a photo of Joe and his family today due to Joe currently being enrolled in a “Get your compo face newspaper ready in seconds” course at the local college. “I’m not prepared to break the compo face oath I took before I started this course, I still have 3 lessons left!” Joe told us.

This reporter can tell you though, the course is clearly working its magic so far, Joe had a perfect arms folded stance. He does however need to work on his pet lip and sad eyes.

Joe’s wife, Alix, said that she cannot wait to spend the compensation on a Jacuzzi for their back garden and some new sandals for the dog.

Joe plans to get in contact with his solicitor this week to begin legal proceedings against the holiday park.

I think you better call Saul, Joe.

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March 18, 2019

Does your height cause issues when buying clothes?

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I'm 6 foot 3 and I currently weigh *cough* seventeen and a half stone. I wear a size 12 shoe and I have quite broad feet. Needless to say, I have issues finding clothes that fit me sometimes. I mainly have issues with the length of clothes, most are too short or if they are long enough, they end up being too wide so it looks like I'm wearing a tent.



Jacamo is a men's fashion website, you may have seen the adverts on Sky TV before and during some TV shows. If you are yourself tall or a larger size than what most high street stores stock, then Jacamo seems to be the ideal place to shop. They go up to size 5XL in clothes and a size 15 in shoes. They stock well-known brands such as Adidas, Jack Jones, Timberland, Under Armour, Lyle & Scott and many more.


First up is the aviator jacket, this comes with a detachable collar. This isn't something I would generally go for but I thought id give it a try. It fits really nice and it comes in a "long length" which I went for here. The jacket is shinier in the flesh than what you see on the website. This jacket wouldn't particularly keep you warm on a winters day but as its getting warmer, this jacket is going to be a great addition to my wardrobe. 

The Chelsea boots are probably my favourite out of everything I have tried. I love tan coloured shoes and these fit perfectly. They are a wide fit which, easy to put on and very comfy to walk in. They will be great for any weddings we have to attend or I can simply wear them to work every day.


The next two things I ordered where the red and black check shirt and black jeans. I was able to get the shirt in a "long" fit and the jeans were available in a 35-inch leg. I have never been able to find any trousers or jeans with legs longer than a 34 inch, so being able to choose a 35-inch leg was a welcome change. That extra inch really does make a difference. Ahem. 

The shirt fits perfectly, I ordered it in an XL, which is my normal size. I ordered a 38-inch waist for the jeans. All of the other jeans I own are a 38-inch waist and for the majority of them, I don't need a belt. For these jeans from Jacamo, I will need a belt. It would possibly be worth getting the size lower than you normally do. I think if I had gone for the 36-inch waist they would have fit perfectly. They are really comfy but they definitely need to be washed before wearing. They do state this on the labels as the colour of them could transfer onto other clothes or furniture.


The Jack Jones jumper is my favourite item of clothing. You will definitely need a size a bigger than what you usually order as the XL I ordered was too small. I have now received the XXL and it the fit is much better. This jumper is ideal for a trip to the pub with your mates. Which is where it will be going next week! This jumper doesn't come in a "long" fit but that didn't matter, once I had the right size the fit was fine and it was more than long enough.

Would I shop with Jacamo?


I was sent these items for the purpose of the review and I was very happy with the products. Being able to choose a long fit or a wide fit for shoes gives me more choice than I can get in the shops. I will definitely be buying from Jacamo in the future.

If your husband, father, brother etc have a birthday coming up and you're stuck for an idea then you should definitely give the Jacamo website a look over, you are sure to find something great. 


For the purposes of this review, Jacamo sent me these clothes free of charge. All opinions are my own.









January 29, 2019

How To Avoid A Speeding Fine

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We pretty much all do it. You're in the car, you have the music on and you're sat there getting your Mariah Carey on, and you're creeping further past the speed limit.



Then, FLASH! 

You've been caught by a speed camera or the fuzz.

Shit!

The Penalty

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 and 3 points on your licence.

You will receive a letter titled "notice of intended prosecution" and a "172 notice" within 14 days of you breaking the law (you disgusting human being). The section 172 notice must be sent back within 28 days informing the police who was driving. Once this has been sent back you will receive a fixed penalty notice.

When receiving a FPN you can either pleas guilty or not guilty. If you please guilty you will have to pay £100 and have 3 points added to your licence unless you're given the option to go on a speed awareness course.

You'll only be given the option of attending a course if it's your first offence or you've not been on a course in 3 years.

If you plead not guilty you will have to go to court but you run the risk of being fined more and getting more penalty points if found guilty. The amount of the fine is usually a percentage of your weekly wage.

How to avoid a Speeding fine.

Speeding fines and courses are a pain in the arse. I've been on a course and it was boring, but, it was obviously, totally my fault.  

There is one very easy way you can avoid a speeding fine. It doesn't take any extra effort but it is 100% effective. Scroll down for the answer...



Don't Speed








January 18, 2019

First Aid Tips For Parents

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We all know that children can be quite clumsy sometimes and get into a lot of scrapes. They will often need some kind of first aid. Do you as parents, know exactly what to do? The below first aid information can also be used to treat adults. You might just need to apply more pressure etc depending on the injury.



The information you read here is based on my own knowledge from first aid courses I have attended and backed up by information from the Red Cross website. This list is by no means exhaustive and should only be used as a guide, some of this may not be 100% medical advice as it may be based on my own real-life experiences. After all, we don't always have a first aid kit etc to hand. If you are ever unsure about anything you should always call 999 or the local non-emergency number.

First Aid for a baby or child who is bleeding heavily.

You will need to put pressure on the wound with whatever you can, a bandage, T-shirt, anything really, as long as it is clean. This will help the blood to clot and stop the bleeding. Call 999 or ask someone else to whilst you keep pressure on the wound until help arrives. If the cut is on their arm, raise the arm above the head to help slow the blood flow to the wound.

If the blood soaks through the bandage (or whatever you have used as a bandage), add more bandages rather than removing/replacing the soaked through the bandage. If there is something sticking out of the wound, do not take it out! It is helping to stop the blood from leaving the body. Wrap bandages etc around the protruding object is possible. 

Do not wash the wound as it may make it bleed more. You can wash minor cuts and grazes to get the dirt out but not a cut that is bleeding heavily. 


First Aid for a child who has a burn.

Cool the burn under running water for ten minutes, this will reduce the pain, swelling and also the risk of scarring. Once the burn has been cooled, cover it with clingfilm (a clean plastic bag will do if you dont have any). It won't stick to the burn. Do not cover it with cloth eg bandages or clothing as this could stick to the burn.

If anything is stuck to the wound do not attempt to remove it as you will cause more damage. Do not put any oils on the burn. Do not put ice on the burn in an attempt to cool it quicker, it could damage the skin.

I know that when I have burnt my self, on the oven mostly (nothing major) running it under a cold tap usually works fine. There is a pain for a while afterwards but nothing that isn't manageable. If you start to see scarring or blistering then I would definitely medical advice once you have cooled the burn.

First Aid for a baby who is choking.

Hold the baby face down along your thigh with the head lower than their bum. Hit between the shoulder blades with the palm of your hand five times. If this does not dislodge the whatever is in the babies throat then you will need to perform chest thrusts.

Turn the baby over so they are facing upwards, place two fingers on the middle of their chest, just below the nipples and push sharply down up to five times. 

If this doesn't work, dial 999 and continue with the cycle of back blows and chest thrusts.

The level of force you will need to use will be dependant on your size and that of your baby. It needs to be enough that it will cause vibrations in the airway which will then hopefully dislodge the item. 

Do not perform the Heimlich manoeuvre (abdominal thrusts) on a baby. Do not put your fingers inside your babies mouth, you may end up pushing the item further down and doing more damage, however, if you can clearly see the object and feel you can get it out safely, then do so.

Thankfully, I have never had to deal with this myself and I hope I never do.

First Aid for a child who is choking.

If a child/adult is choking, ask them to cough. If they can't then you need to perform the five back blows mentioned above. If this doesn't work then you will need to start abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around the waist, making a fist with one hand and cupping it with the other, pull inwards and upwards above the belly button. Do this five times. If this doesnt work, call 999 and continue with the back blows and abdominal thrusts.

First Aid for a baby or child with a fever.

A fever is classed as a temperature above 37°c, have hot flushed skin and may be sweating. A child may have a temperature but could complain if being cold and look pale. They may also complain of a headache. 

You should check their temperature by using a thermometer. A moderate fever may not be harmful but anything over 39°c can be dangerous. You need to reduce the temperature by removing excess clothing and giving them plenty of water or juice.

We have had to have Alice sent to the hospital in an ambulance before on doctors orders due to severe temperature, after a few hours in the hospital it had gone down and was due to her having a bad case of tonsillitis. She was almost lifeless when laid on her mum in the doctor's surgery, if your child is ever like this, I would say go to the hospital immediately.

Do not cover them with anything that can make them hotter. Give the baby/child the recommended does of paracetomol. Do not put your child in a cold bath or shower as this could drop their temperature to quick and could cause hypothermia. 

You should seek medical advice if a baby less than 6 months old has a temperature above 38°c. You should seek medical advice for children over 6 months if their temperature goes above 39°c.

First Aid for a child who has a nose bleed.

Pinch the bottom part of the nose (soft part) and get the child to lean forward, ask them to breathe through their mouth. You should pinch the nose for ten mnutes. If the bleeding lasts for more than half an hour, you should seek medial advice. 

Do not tilt the head back as the blood could go into another airway. The nose could very well bleed again shortly after if the child picks their nose (which is probably, very likely, or it is with my kids at least) or if they bang it again. If this happens then follow the process above.



The Red Cross has an app that you can download for your phones to help and give you advice in most first aid situations.











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