Posts

Private Tutoring For Your Children?

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Hey teacher, leave those kids alone! So recently, my son started receiving private tutoring. I know what you are thinking; pushy middle-class parent, leave him alone. I don't blame you, I'd think the same. My son is five and doing well at school. The basics are there and we are proud. Our concern was his handwriting. He knows the letters and numbers, but struggles to write them. A common trait in boys (we're told). In fairness, I don't possess great handwriting either. Perhaps it's my fault? Anyway, a local tutoring firm launched recently. We saw the opportunity to support local business, and our son's learning.  Is Private Tutoring Worth It? It is hard to put a value on your child's education. I pay £20.00 for a half-hour session of learning, on Saturday mornings. I thought extra learning would be a hard sell. He does five days of school, then dad springs this tutoring nonsense on him. Surprisingly he adapted well. This is 1-2-1 tuition, with no distraction

Broken Hearts and Broken Bones

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Breaking Dad, Breaking Bones. Nothing like a bit of physical and mental pain. First my wife's grandfather passed away unexpectedly, which was really sad.  I then went and cracked my rib, ouch. More on this later, but my sides are sore and I'm on prescription pain killers! I try to remain upbeat, when life throws out these challenges. Finding the motivation to write blog posts, becomes tougher.  But that's life, full of unpredictability. The route out of every hole, is always up.   Dealing With Loss Her grandad Robin was a fabulous guy. He could talk forever, but he had the stories. That's the tragic part of loss. You never get to hear their stories, in their words, from their perspective, again. You never get to hear their stories, in their words, from their perspective, again. All loss is tough, but unexpected loss is worse. You aren't prepared for it, and then it comes. But you always have the memories. There's a famous scene in Blade Runner, when Rutger Hauer

Travel: Family Glamping, At Lee Wick Farm

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Daddy, Glampion Of The World. So last weekend, we went glamping. What is glamping? Ah, let me explain. Glamping is the posh version of camping. Basically, camping for tarts. Designed for those who need home comforts. Last weekend we got away. Granted, it wasn't far, or even out of Essex. 'Lee Wick Farm' was the destination, a small farm outside the area of Clacton. Apparently it's one of the UK's top 20 glamp sites. We booked it months ago, and for a while, I doubted it would happen. Then the lockdowns were eased, and Jurassic Park, we were on! Read on, for my glamping experience. What Is Glamping? Glamping means 'glamourous camping'. Unlike a tent, you typically sleep in a cabin (see picture). Facilities vary, but toilets, running water and cooking equipment are common. Glamp David. We had a small microwave, which was useful. Although proudly, I managed to cook dinner on a BBQ. The site provide BBQ starter kits, for around £10.00 ($15.00). The term 'gla

Five Podcasts For Dads & Podfathers

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Are you a Podfather? Make no mistake, podcasts are big business. Everyone is listening to podcasts (it seems), it's a growth area. Big media corporations have spotted the trend. Spotify for example, have spent fortunes buying podcast content. The likes of Joe Rogan, Michelle Obama and Dax Shepard have all joined the stream giant. All tastes are catered for in podcast land. It's niche after niche. We even have podcasts about podcasts.  Today I'll discuss the phenomenon and share my favourite 'Dad' podcasts. Brief History of Podcasts Let me take you on a journey. I've been listening to podcasts since 2004, welcome to the party. In 2004, my favourite podcast was the 'Daily Source Code'. It was presented by former MTV presenter 'Adam Curry'. His podcast was slick and ground-breaking at the time. He revolutionised podcasting, earning the title 'Podfather'. He still podcasts today, on the satirical show ' No Agenda '. Curry is a podcast

Tablet Devices For Kids, Yes or No?

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iDad? Tablets for kids? There's a divisive subject! I wrestled with the dilemma myself. Christmas was nearing, and we suffered a prolonged "sh*t, what can we get him?" moment.  Previously I'd been strict with screen time. Tablets were viewed with cynicism, the lazy approach to parenting. I was not going to be that parent. Along comes Black Friday to tempt me. Before long, there's a Fire tablet in my virtual basket. Hooked like a haddock, on a £50.00 ($65.00) saving. I'm so weak! So how did Amazon break me? Great question, let me mount a defence. Technology Is the Future Most schools use tablets, and even nurseries. Most households have a Fire or iPad device. Friends of your children, will be using them.  Parents (I believe) hold onto a nostalgic belief, that technology is bad. They want their children to enjoy the simpler things, as they once did. I get it, but we have to be real.  Parents hold onto a nostalgic belief, that technology is bad. Nobody wants litt

Cycling: Embracing The Bike, Tour de Dad

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I like to ride my bicycle. Cycling has enjoyed a surge in popularity of late. According to sources, the pandemic generated an additional £1bn of UK bike sale s  (Forbes, 2021). What the Wiggins is going on? Bike rides were a large part of my youth. Back then, I had the freedom to roam and explore. I feel for kids, who've lost this freeness and adventure. Social media connected us, then convinced parents that the world was unsafe. You can't fart without it hitting Twitter. Plenty of my friendships were cemented over bike rides. Think of the movie 'Stand By Me', on bikes, with less Corey Feldman and corpses. Until last year, I hadn't rode for twenty years. Now I'm back in the saddle, making up for lost time. This post is about my journey back into cycling.  Getting Into Bikes Again   So since shifting lockdown pounds, I have been maintaining my fitness. As it happened, my 40th year came at the right time. The good wife treated me to a hybrid bike, which was not ch

Studying For A Degree, With A Family

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University challenge! Unlike many, I didn't go to university after school. Armed with average grades, I concluded that I lacked brains. Plenty of intelligent people drop-out of university, what chance would I have? Why demonstrate my stupidity on a grandiose scale? So I dismissed the pipe-dream and moved on.  As it turned out, this was rubbish. I was stupid, but only for doubting myself. Learning is a long-game and nobody is defined by poor grades, or achievements in school.  I recall one teacher describing me as a "constant daydreamer". That part was correct, I dreamt of not being in his class. Naturally I felt pigeon holed as a "non-academic". As I progressed through my twenties and early thirties, I could not shake the feeling. I had "unfinished business" in academia and something to prove. So in 2014, I had a mad moment and enrolled for a degree programme. Five years later, aged 38, I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business & Management, at the

DIY Projects: Getting Creative and Making Stuff

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This is not a drill. Time for a bit of "show and tell". In this post I share some of my DIY projects and creative moments.  I love to create, repurpose and upcycle things. My wife is cut from similar cloth, and together we embrace it. Our house is full of creative pieces and practical DIY projects. I suppose we are habitually built this way! The purpose of this post is to throw out some ideas and get you thinking. The Internet is a fine place for creative inspiration, such as sites like Pinterest and Etsy. Creativity exists in us all, it just needs coercing out. How To Get Creative Many people claim they lack creativity, but I don't buy it. Dismissing your creativity, is falsely declaring you don't possess ideas. We all have ideas and we all see opportunity. Us creative types just act on it and follow it through.  Dismissing your creativity, is falsely declaring you don't possess ideas.  Ideas should not remain ideas, get them out and share with the world. I love

Learning Guitar: How And Why You Should

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We rock tonight! I have played guitar for years and once again, my six-stringed friend is keeping me sane. Studies have shown that playing instruments can prevent diseases like Alzheimer's, by boosting cognitive abilities. Guitar is effectively brain training, and a way to sharpen your reflexes. Progressing through the early phases of learning is hugely enjoyable. Nobody turns into Jimi Hendrix over night (or ever), but with consistency, a decent standard is possible in six months. As hobbies go, it doesn't have to be pricey. I own a few expensive guitars, but there are brilliant guitars under £200 ($275). If that's too much, explore the second-hand market where bargains are plentiful. Mental Health Benefits My early twenties were perhaps the more challenging moments of my life. My family had moved back to Essex and I felt a little lost in the world. I was stumbling through temporary jobs, not knowing what I wanted from life and lacking motivation. This period lasted a coup

Why We Should Embrace The 'Staycation'

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I won't be needing this! I didn't get a summer break last year. The Algarve in Portugal was booked, but plans were soon obliterated by Coronavirus. I felt cheated, because I was deserving of a break and it was cruelly snatched. In the UK, foreign trips are illegal (at present). That's correct, you can be jailed for taking a package holiday. Imagine it,  "Sir, I am arresting you on suspicion of sunning yourself in Spain, you do not have to say anything but,..........nice tan".  I get it, I understand it, I just don't like it! Realistically, foreign travel won't return for a while. Summer breaks are important, because people need something to look forward to. It has been a tedious year of lockdowns and chaos. If you stayed sane and didn't lose your mind, you did well. Faced with fewer options, what is the answer? Staycation obviously! Deciding Where To Go My wife is meticulous when it comes to researching summer breaks. She'll scour the review sites