Let your daughter date

You’ve all seen the memes, photos and ridiculous “rules for dating my daughter” crap that gets posted, retweeted and shared all over the internet. Most include some idiot holding a gun or a list of rules that includes things like “I Don’t mind going back to Jail”. To see the ridiculousness in all its glory have a look at this Google search “dad daughter dating” and look at some of the images.

I’ve even joked about Effy dating my mates son’s, but let me be clear I completely disagree with this whole mentality. I don’t find them funny and when people say to me, “I bet you’ll be like that when Effy is older” I can assure you…I won’t. Effy is 18 months old, I’ve got a long time before I need to worry about this. Nevertheless she will get to the age where she starts taking an interest in dating. This might be girls, it might boys…I don’t really care. For the purpose of this post I’m going to say boys, purely because I can’t be arsed to type boy or girl every time. This isn’t a subliminal hate against same sex relationships, I’m just lazy. Whatever age it is, I will not be a dick about it and will give her the same advice my dad gave me “just be careful”.

Anyone who reads this blog who actually knows me and has known me for a number of years. Will know at a point in my life, I was exactly the type of lad that I wouldn’t want Effy to come home with. This is a parenting blog so I won’t go into too much detail but I was a complete arse. I worked in pubs, drank far too much and thought I was untouchable. I acted like a tool and treated women badly. Don’t read too much into that, I wasn’t violent, or doing anything illegal. I was just an 18yr lad, living in my own house, working in a pub and enjoying attention I got. After a few years I realised that I couldn’t live that lifestyle forever. I also live in a small city, so you actually can’t get away with being a prick for too long, before it catches up with. I stopped drinking, went to uni and started acting like the type of lad; I would like Effy to come home with.

The point of reciting that little story about my past is that, I know Effy will make mistakes; I know she will meet and date some utter barmpots but I trust her to ultimately make the right choice…..I did. No one forced me to stop drinking and stop been a dick, I made that decision myself when I was ready. My mam and Dad supported me throughout, despite not agreeing with my lifestyle, they left me to it. They brought me up in the right way and we will do the same with Effy. We will teach her about safe sex, we will teach her about relationships and teach her what’s right and what’s wrong…..The rest is up to her. I know what lads are like and I know she will get hurt but sometimes you need that, to know what’s good. We’ll be there to pick up the pieces and help her realise it’s not all bad and things will work out.

One thing I want her to do much more than I ever did with my parents, is to talk…talk when she’s sad, talk when she’s happy, talk when she’s worried. I still don’t really talk and it infuriates my OH. I want Effy to feel comfortable with either of us, to talk about absolutely anything. Nothing is out of bounds and if she wants to talk about periods with me…that’s fine, I’ll read about it on the internet then pretend I know what I’m talking about. I will never ever say to her……”you need to talk to your mam about that.”

The day that Effy brings home her first boyfriend, I won’t be acting like an SAS hardman. I’ll be polite and make him feel comfortable in our home. Unless he supports Liverpool, then he can fuck off.

Would love to hear your thoughts…..is it different for boys??

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5 tips for when your toddler starts walking

This is bit of a follow on post from my critically acclaimed post 5 tips when your baby start crawling (it wasn’t actually critically acclaimed at all, think there was only about 5 people read it)…..Anyway Effy starting waking just before Christmas (yeah I know, it’s taken me 4 months to write this). We weren’t sure when she was going to walk to be honest, she didn’t really seem arsed with it, was quite happy crawling and been carried. She then just set off 1 day and that was her toddling around like a drunken baby giraffe (I’m aware giraffes are extremely unlikely to ever be drunk).

1, Quickly accept that they will fall over – it will happen, it’s impossible to prevent, it’s very unlikely they will actually hurt themselves. Unless you want to physically wrap them in cotton wool and make them wear a helmet then you need to quickly deal with the fact they might fall and bump into things. My OH still struggles with this and will still follow Effy round repeatedly saying careful. I’m yet to see any evidence that suggests Effy understands what careful means.

2, You’ll be forced into buying shit shoes – Apparently in the UK, Clarks have the monopoly on first shoes. Don’t know if they’ve got a deal with maternity wards but as soon we told people Effy was walking. Everyone said the same thing “you’ll have to go to Clarks to get shoes”, I’ve no idea why. We went along with it anyway and watched a lovely shop assistant wrestle with Effy to try and measure her feet. The option of shoe was then pretty shit but given it was winter we got her some boots, apparently they are called cruisers. All I know is that Effy learned very quickly how to take them off, so they mainly cruised onto the floor of the car.

3, Don’t ditch the pram – Toddlers have really little legs, you will need to wrestle your toddler into a pram, when they get tired. Effy was obsessed with walking everywhere but her little legs would be guaranteed to get tired in a very short space of time. She wouldn’t want to walk anymore but would she frig want to go into her pram….if someone offered me a seat when I was tired I can guarantee I wouldn’t cry or make a scene. We actually bought a smaller buggy but we still pretty much take it everywhere, even if it’s just used to carry my snacks.

4, They sprint everywhere – Seriously…..she never stops sprinting. For no reason, just random sprinting round the house, in the garden, at the park, anywhere really. Toddler sprint races should actually be a thing, I’d rather watch that than Usain Bolt win every time.

5, Don’t go mad with baby proofing – A lot of people will disagree with this one, and I’m not suggesting letting your toddler have a go in the cleaning cupboard and drink bleach. What I’m getting at is that if you read all of the advice on the internet; you will lock every cupboard, secure every item, install laser beams and hire 2 full time safety inspectors. We barely bothered doing anything. We locked the cleaning cupboard and that’s about it. She gets in all the other cupboards, empties them, laughs about it, then we put it back. She hasn’t killed herself with a box of cereal or eaten a sieve so it’s all good. For us, we want her to explore and play/discover with different things.

Anyone got any other tips to share?? I was super excited when she could walk, felt like a really huge milestone had been reached. Also never realised how tall she was.

New job, new Vlog

I started a new job this week, I won’t go into too much detail about it because I like to keep that part of my life separate, but I’m excited by the prospect of a new challenge. One big thing that I now have is greater flexibility in terms of my work hours. Basically I’m going to be working full time hours over 4 days. This will give me something I have always wanted…..a day off that’s just me and Effy. My plan is to vlog these days and share via my youtube channel every week. I will share more when I post the first video, will likely be a few weeks after the Easter holidays. I watch a lot of vlogs, some brilliant ones some absolutely terrible ones. One thing I can guarantee is that I will avoid the really boring, everyday stuff like a trip round Tesco or a car journey….I hate watching that in vlogs and usually skip through it. I want my vlogs to be about the little adventures me and Effy go on, when it’s just us two. It will also be a way for my OH to see what we get up to, because she thinks I’ll just sit and play Fifa all day. Carlisle and the Lake District are amazing places to live and I want to get out and explore as much as possible. If there is anyone with any suggestions about places to visit, let me know. Obviously it needs to be in reason and achievable within 1 day. Any vlogging tips also welcome??

Over the next 12 months I’m also hoping to dedicate more time to the blog generally and other ideas I’ve got. I look at some bloggers and they churn out posts quicker than the Daily Mail churns out hate. It baffles me, but fair play to them. I will never be one of them bloggers, I’ll carry on chucking out posts whenever I feel like it or someone pays me. However I’m amazed what I have achieved in my half arsed year of blogging. With a greater focus and the addition of the vlog, I’m excited about the next 12 months.


Stay tuned for more updates,

2 years gone

It’s 3yrs today……I miss him loads.

dadupnorth

Quite a personal post this one but I got a lot out of writing it so here goes……..Its 2 years today since my Granda passed away, a lot has changed in 2 years, most significantly being 6 months ago when Effy was born. I think for this reason, the anniversary of his death will be particularly hard this year. I spoke at his funeral, which it an odd way, I actually enjoyed. It was nice to talk about him and was nice to make people laugh on his behalf, because he had done that his whole life.

This picture was taken about 2 weeks before he died, it was their 60th wedding anniversary and is one of my favourite pictures ever Me and my brother grew up spending a lot of time with grandma and granda, looking back we spent a lot of time in his car, waiting for grandma…

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Boobs Glorious Boobs

This isn’t a smutty magazine article about boobs, it’s about the much discussed and much debated topic of breastfeeding and newborn feeding. Obviously I don’t have breasts but I do have a baby and thought a Dads perspective on the topic might be of interest.


I feel I should say from the onset that Effy has been exclusively formula fed from day 1….we’ve had a lot of arsey responses to this, but before anyone judges, stops reading or sends me a breastfeeding leaflet….read on.
Breastfeeding has never really been something I’ve thought about. I rarely notice women doing it in Cafés/restaurants and to be totally honest, I don’t really care. I don’t even know if I was breastfed, I’d phone my Mam to ask but she’ll likely want me to do a job for her and I can’t be bothered. Around about last February time (2015), we found out my OH was pregnant. From the day we started having contact with health professionals, the topic of breastfeeding was thrust into my face. I vividly remember the midwife’s waiting room; the walls were covered with posters proclaiming the unbelievable health benefits of breastfeeding. I don’t doubt a lot of research has been done on the topic and millions of pounds spent, but I felt like some of the claims were farfetched and alarmist. Anyway as the pregnancy rattled on, we talked about what our options were and what we felt most comfortable with. I purposely say ‘we’ because it really was a joint discussion. Along with which pram to buy and whether to find out the sex…..we decided………Breastfeed. Not because of the overwhelming pressure, leaflets, posters, emails, forums, newspaper articles, other parents, midwives or doctors but because we wanted to.

A horrendous 27hr labour later, an exhausted OH and some complications, we decided…….formula. Shit happens people, we had to make a quick decision. New-born daughter (Effy) wasn’t going to wait while we weighed up the pro’s and cons again. Fair play to the midwife’s they didn’t pressure us, we did what we felt was right and what we felt comfortable with. It transpired later that my OH didn’t produce any milk so we had to stick with formula and you know what….it’s worked for us.

After some time to reflect we were happy with our decision and Effy was happy that she was been fed, end of story……Nope, as I said before we’ve had a lot of negativity when people have noticed she isn’t breastfed. A GP openly criticised our decision, family members have judged us and a random women in a cafe asked why. I feel quite passionately that how we feed Effy, is no one else’s business but ours. She’s our child and we will decide what’s best for her. I’ve got quite defensive at times when asked but the approach of most people has tended to be quite judgemental. She’s 8 months old now (She’s 17months now) and is developing perfectly normally. If she gets obese in later life, it won’t be because she wasn’t breastfed but because she ate too much cake.
So……a Dad’s perspective of breastfeeding and new-born feeding……Your baby will need fed, do what you feel comfortable doing and accept things don’t always go according to plan or the posters on a midwife’s wall.
I wrote this post a while ago for Everythings Rosie and George newborn feeding series. The topic of newborn and toddler feeding seems to be discussed, argued and debated pretty much every day on the internet. Along with infant vaccination its a subject which gets the most reaction on the social media and forums. Everyone’s got an opinion and some more than others are happy to shoot people down who may have a different view. I never actually posted the above on my blog and now we are firmly at the toddler stage, it felt like a good time to revisit it feeding.
Effy continued to be exclusively formula fed up until 6 months when we started introducing solids. We have stuck to a fairly basic principle when it comes to her eating…..she eats what we eat. Yes there’s been times she hasn’t and times we have bought whatever baby/toddler food is available. There has also been times she’s ate cereal of the floor (because that’s what she wanted to do). One thing we did change, at around the 12 month mark was her formula. To be honest I didn’t know formula for toddlers existed but we tried her on cow’s milk and she was having non of it. We have gradually fazed out the formula and she is now pretty much only having cow’s milk before bed. Having the option of toddler formula meant she could make this transition in her own time, whilst still getting all the goodness.

 

My perpesttive in relation to feeding has remained the same throughout the last 17 months, so much so I’m going to repeat what I said in my Boobs Glorious Boobs post: Your baby/toddler will need fed, do what you feel comfortable doing and accept things don’t always go according to plan or the posters on a midwife’s wall.

Kidloland Review

So before I start I want to clearly set my stall out; “Technology and children” seems to be a constantly debated topic, everyone’s an expert and everyone thinks their way is the right way. When I was young, if you sat to close to the TV you got square eyes, now every child that picks up an IPad is socially incapable. I don’t really want to contribute to the debate, I’ll leave that Mumsnet. All I will say is; I love technology and all benefits it brings, yes I appreciate the risks but I will not be hiding Effy away from tech, I want her to embrace it as a learning and entertainment and social tool……Not solely relay on it but embrace it…..There that’s that done. (by the way, I haven’t got square eyes and I sat pretty close the TV as a child)

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely people from Kidloland, and was asked if id be interested in checking out their app and giving my honest review. Initially I was hesitate, Effy was only 1 in September, she’s still pretty young and has never really used Apps before. She likes to look at photos of herself on our phones and Ipad but that’s about it. Again we haven’t discouraged her using tech, she’s just never really seemed interested. She prefers to read books or put sieve’s on her head.

There’s no explanation for this photo, she gets the sieve herself and she sits watching TV with it on her head.

Anyway I checked out the website, read all the positive reviews and looked at what was included in the app that we would actually use. Effy’s talking is really starting to develop so when I spotted the phonics section, I thought that would be a really useful tool for us. On that basis I accepted the kind offer of a 1 years subscription (usual price £29.95, there is a free version of the app but it is obviously limited).
First thing I’ll say about the app, is that it looks lovely, the colours are brilliantly bright and bold but not to offensive on the eyes. The content is broken down into sections: Nursery rhymes, Stories, Phonics, Songs, Games, Learn to trace, Surprises, Chopping monsters, Popping time, Colouring time, Activities, Early learning, Create and play, Animal Kingdom, Vehicles, Fruits and vegetables, Numbers, Bedtime, Colours and shapes and Christmas.


It’s simply a case of scrolling through and choosing what section you want. Honestly the amount of content within these sections is ridiculous. We’ve only had the app for about a week and it would be impossible to have had a chance to check everything out. We originally felt the phonics section would be the most beneifical for us and to be completely honest that’s what we have mainly  stuck to. I suspect over the next few months we will be able to delve a little deeper and let Effy explore the other sections, but at the minute…Phonics has been a winner.

Again its broken down into subsections and categorised in alphabetical order. Within each letter, there is several songs, that actively encourage the correct pronunciation. there is then a little game at the end, which again actively encourages the correct pronunciation. Its lovely to sit with Effy and hear her follow along saying A, A, A,….Apple and then attempt to play the game at the end. I’ll be honest, she’s not exactly subtle with her touch (takes after her mam), so she sill needs reminded that the screen doesn’t need punched repeatedly.

I suspect each letter follows the same pattern, we haven’t worked our way to the end of the alphabet yet. We might need to skip to W, because her auntie is called Wendy and she’s highly offended that she’s the only family member who’s name Effy cant say yet. We’ve suggested she changes her name to Apple but she’s not keen.

Its a shame we haven’t been able to use the app fully yet because the phonics sections really is brilliant and it’s exactly what we were hoping for. For those that disagree with technology for kids, you should sit and listen to Effy learning, interacting and developing because of an App. She will still use books and we will still engage and teach in exactly the same way as we do……All we have now is an additional tool.


One slight downside we found is that first time round all the content needs to be downloaded, once you’ve done this its stored and easily accessible, but without internet access this obviously cant be done. I don’t think there is a way to access non-downloaded content offline. Not a big issue but worth noting.

Links to the app are below, please check it out, I would love to know what you think.

Android

IOS

Amazon

This review was written by me and represents my honest opinion of the product. If it was crap I would say its crap.  Kidloland contacted me and proved me with a free subscription, in exchange for an honest post.

Dadscaping

This isn’t a post about how to shave your nether regions into an elaborate design for valentines day. If your looking for that sort of advice, I’m really not your man. Also if you haven’t heard the term ‘Manscaping’, the title will not make any sense, so I suggest you Google that first and head back to read the rest.

In my Dad’s heyday, his idea of grooming was a splash of Brut aftershave, a short back and sides haircut and a quick comb of his tash. Fast forward my lifetime of 31 years and things are very different. If you Google “Modern man” you get an actual website called themodernman.co.uk which provides a huge range of hair, skin and shaving products. This isn’t a plug or endorsement of their website, but it perfectly proves my point that male grooming, male fashion and male skin care has not only come along way. Its become an actual thing, an actual industry and an actual way of life for regular blokes. I can’t stress enough how quickly this shift in society has happened.

16 years ago I left school, I went to a fairly rough comprehensive school, it was not the place to make a fashion statements. You conformed to the norm or got the piss taken out of you, I opted for conformity. Leaving school and going a different path to most of my friends at 16, made me realise I could wear whatever the fuck I wanted…..so I did. I didn’t start wearing high heels or anything too experimental, I just stopped caring what people thought.…. I grew my hair and I suppose started to find my identity. The shackles of conformity were realised and I embraced it. For me this is what the “modern man” tag has done for blokes up and down the country. Its normal for blokes to moisturise, spend money on hair products and not just shave their beards but precision trim them. This has opened the market for companies to create and design products specifically for this purpose. Hair clippers do not resemble sheep shears anymore. Just look at these mens hair clippers from Panasonic……professional clippers for the everyday bloke. Yes they are on the pricey side at over £100, but men are happy to pay this and use their disposable income to look good. I’ve always spent a bit of money of trimmers/clippers and shavers. I know its not for everyone but I absolutely hate chest hair and I’ve always found these types of products to be ideal for keeping myself ship shape and tidy.

Need a trim

I wrote a post a while ago about 5 ways I’ve changed since becoming a dad, 1 of these was Dress sense, I described my own dress sense as low maintenance, in terms of clothing this is true. I’m not striving to be different anymore, I know what looks good on me and I stick with it. My grooming routine has largely remained the same since becoming a dad, although I now have considerably less time, or a 1yr old hanging off my leg while I’m doing my hair. I still spend money on hair products, I still dadscape and I still make sure when I walk out of the door, I look decent.

The increased popularity of male grooming has pushed companies and businesses to make the decent products, designed specifically for men. Websites like The Modern Man and products like the mens hair clippers, highlight perfectly that men now have choice. Product choice and a freedom to choose exactly how they want to look.

N.B. This is a collaborative post written with Panasonic