Family

How to see Kos in a day!

How to see Kos in a day!

Holidays are so important to us as a family (as they probably are to you as well), we all work hard, be it at school or work and we all look forward to the big summer holiday! 

The past few years have involved a trip to the Spanish mainland, a Canary or Balearic Island, as much as we like them we did start to get bored of these and fancied something different.  This year we went to Kos!  We mainly chose Kos because of it's pretty much guaranteed sunshine in August, as well as good food and awesome sea! 

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Toodle Pip Nanny Pat!

Toodle Pip Nanny Pat!

Some of you may have seen my instagram post recently about my Nan or previous blog post I wrote about my Nan 3 years ago, but sadly my fantastic Nan passed away on Tuesday 7th August.

Whilst writing this I am in Kos, Greece on a family holiday.  My Nan had Dementia and Alzheimers and was diagnosed with this about 4 or 5 years ago.  She had always been independent, living on her own since about 1990 when my Grandad Harry died.

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Are you listening to these Podcasts??

Are you listening to these Podcasts??

I have shared podcasts on here previously that I enjoy listening to, but it has been a while since I last did an update post! 

Some of you know or will have got the gist if you follow me on Instagram that I do a reasonable amount of driving for my job and between audible and podcasts I get through it! If there is any interest in the book Is listen to then perhaps that can be another post, but for now I want to focus on the podcasts I have been listening to lately.

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Marching for my Dad

Marching for my Dad

This post is going to be a little bit all over the place but I hope by the end of it you will understand why and stick with me.

This story starts with this little pin badge, I picked it up a couple of years ago in Marks and Spencers, a couple of pound to support Prostate Cancer UK for their Men United campaign.  Cancer is a right bastard, it has had an impact on so many of my love ones around me but at that time not on my immediate family.  

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February Playlist

February Playlist

If you read my post from the beginning of January where I spoke about music being my happy place I floated the idea of sharing a playlist each month.

Over January I have been creating a small list of some of the songs that I have enjoyed.  There is no scientific method as to how I went about listing these, 

it was a simple as a programme I may have been watching, for this song below, I wouldn't say it is the typical song I would go

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Dads love Disneyland too!

Dads love Disneyland too!

So this post has taken a while for me to put out there as I really didn't know what to focus on.  Looking at my Instagram there is no doubt where we have returned from recently, but incase you are unaware or just don't follow my Instagram, Facebook or twitter then the place I am talking about is Disneyland Paris.

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Preparing for our road trip to Disneyland Paris

Next month will see our first family holiday in over 3 years.  We are all booked up to visit Disneyland Paris at the end of October to celebrate Little Geek's 13th Birthday, which will be when we are there! 

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We planned on turning up at the Euro Tunnel and surprising her as to where we were going, but as so much planning is likely to be needed we decided to tell her recently and include her in the plans, that way she won't miss out on anything we might forget etc

Booking the trip earlier this year I totally underestimated how much prepping is going to be required to ensure we are ready for this trip.

I have actually had to get a notebook and make a numerous lists of things we still need to sort before we go and they include:

  • Making the car ready for the continent
  • Planning our route
  • Ensuring Passports are all up to date (can you believe mine had expired!)
  • Booking restaurants for the duration of the trip.  Luckily when we booked we got a deal including half board and the helpful people at Disney recommend that we book our restaurants ahead of time, something we probably wouldn't have even thought of!
  • Preparing my legs, having a bit of a dodgy left leg I need to get this ready for walking serious distances each day! 
  • Lists..... making lists of what we want to see / do over the 4 days we are there! 

There is much more that needs planning, I have yet to even think about clothes, What is the weather going to be like at the end of October in Paris?

As it is going to be the Little Geeks 13th Birthday on the Saturday, we have been wondering what can we do to make this day extra special?  We have looked at the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show but not sure if she will like this (If anyone has been let me know what you thought!), but what else should we do! More research is required I think.

For now I am going back to researching restaurants, at least 2 fussy eaters out of the 5 of us! 

Oh and settings a reminder in my calendar to get he car serviced before we go! But if there are any seasoned Disneyland Paris travellers out there, be sure to get in touch with all your tips!! 

 

 

Father and daughter time!

Father and daughter time!

I love it when a little plan comes together! 

The bank holiday presented an opportunity for me and little geek to go to Wales and spend some quality father and daughter time, it used to be father and daughters time but the teen ....... oh hang on she is 20 now I cant call her that! (any suggestions for nick names....??) as I was saying the teen used to come with us but that is boring these days! 

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A hard conversation with my daughter...

This past week has been one of highs and lows for our family, we had an amazing week away in Salou, where we met some fantastic people, had plenty to eat and drink and most importantly relax.

We came home to some sad news though, my wonderful Aunty Jane had taken a turn for the worse! For a while now she has been fighting that bitch called Cancer, putting a brave face on at times and always smiling she certainly was a true fighter!  Jane sadly passed on Wednesday night, and now the battle starts for her friends and family as she will be greatly missed by all.  This isn't the place for me to discuss how they are feeling or what they are going through, but no doubt those of you that have lost somebody close to you can imagine how it is for them.

I wish I could say this is the first person that my family has lost to breast cancer, but sadly it is not, my wife's aunt also lost her battle 5 years ago after a very similar long and brave fight.  Now this leads on to the difficult conversation with my daughter, in this case the youngest.

She was very fond of both aunts.  Jane lived with near my parents, and loved visiting them, not just to see their lovely golden retriever but also to see Steve, Jane and the family, she also used to seeAngie a fair amount, she lived in Wales and Little Geek spent many a summer with her and her Nan, as Little Geek was so young when Angie dies she didn't really understand what had happened truly until the day of the funeral.

Little Geek had been amazing during Angie's illness and we thought she would be ok at the funeral, but we were so so wrong and as soon as she see Angie's coffin she went to pieces.  It was a big regret and in hindsight we should not have let her go.

Little Geek is older now, and so mature for her age that we have a tough choice to make.  She completely understood what Jane had gone through and is adamant that she wants to go to Jane's funeral and pay her respects and spend time with the family.  This time around we have been more open with her about what Jane had been going through as well as confirming that there is nothing wrong with expressing her feelings and showing emotion.

It is one of the hardest things I have had to do telling her  that Jane has passed (but only a fraction of what my uncle and his immediate family are going though), it was like a sucker punch hearing her sob when I told her that Jane had died, knowing that she was upset for Jane but also for my uncle and his family, and no doubt reliving some of the hurt from Angie dying.

There is no easy way to tell a child that somebody close to them has died, but there are a number of steps that we have found that helps:

  • Behonest - Children can often pick up on feelings and know when something is wrong
  • Encourage questions - Children are always inquisitive and we have encouraged Little Geek to ask questions especially if there is something she is unsure of or confused by, this is often a good way to understand what is going on inside their head! 
  • Support - Be it hugs, cuddles, this all helps make them feel included.

We will have to talk more to her over the next few days about what to expect at the funeral and the emotional rollercoaster that they are before we make a final decision about if she can go but to be honest at the moment Mel and I are split about whether it is right for her to go.

I know none of this is rocket science but if it helps just one other parent with a child going through the same thing then I will be happy! 

If anyone wants to ask any questions but not in such a public way feel free to get in contact through my Twitter or Facebook.




Puberty: Its Tough....

Puberty: Its Tough....

I feel like a bit of a peace keeper at the moment! The little one is going through changes that mean she is not so little anymore! 

It feels like every day I see an old picture of her and am astonished by how much she has changed in a year! She is growing so tall but its not just that, her moods have become erratic, more so than her sisters (from what I remember) although Ash is always in a bloody mood (Joking Ash!)

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Reading to your kids? My suggestions

Reading to your kids? My suggestions

Both of my girls are too grown up to let me read to them now!  Ashleigh... well being 19 you could imagine the response I would get if I suggest it!   Katy every now and then would probably still let me, but when they were young I had my favourites just as much as they did! 

A staple for when your first start out reading has to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book most people from my generation (if not before) and all the others since have been reading this book, an excellent story that grips little ones! 

 

 

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A little story about my Nan!

A little story about my Nan!

A lot of people think their Nan is the best in the world... Without sounding arrogant I know mine is!  

Let me tell you a little story about my Nan or as I still call her Nanny Pat!   Born in North London back in 1927 she was one of the lucky ones to survive the war, working in factories during this time and going on  towards the end to marry my Grandad (who was also lucky) in 1944!

This would be the start of my fairly large family, they went on to have 7 children (my fabulous Aunts and Uncles), who in turn went on to have many children and grandchildren themselves, I have lost count how many cousins I have but we must be near the 50 mark by now including my cousins kids! 

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I have a family goal...

Ok from the start lets get one thing clear... In this instance the family is excluding the teenager as I have no hope in hell of getting her to join in with this goal!  

The goal is to go camping and eventually buy a tent.... Yes doesn't sound like much of a goal but it's a step in the right direction.

Let me give this a little context! As a child I was very very lucky to travel a fair amount, mainly down to the fact that we had a caravan and would travel all over the UK and parts of Europe! 

Credit:  Gopal Vijayaraghavan  / Flickr

Credit: Gopal Vijayaraghavan / Flickr

Now I don't want a caravan, I would love a camper van but funds would never stretch to that so a great alternative is the tent!  It's a cheap and effective way to get away for weekends and short breaks as a family and spend some time together!  

My plan is once we have the tent (plus a load of kit) to start exploring the UK initially and show the good wife how much fun it can be!  She is used to the finer things in life and can't think of anything worse than a sleeping bag and not a proper bed! 

 The UK is a fantastic country and I have not explored it enough in recent years!! I also feel that we have this great country and its a crime not to explore it more! 

Now what I want to know is how can I get the family as excited for it as I am??

What tips would you give to newbie campers?? 

If I succeed in my goal I will share my how we get on and hopefully build up a guide for new  wanna be campers!! 

Hopefully it won't turn out like a new episode of carry on camping!