Happy Anniversary

Its official, Dawn of the Dad is now one year old! Woo-Hoo!

Yes that’s right folks, a whole year has passed since my first post, A Trip to the Park, hit the virtual press so to speak. The keen-eyed among you long time readers will have noticed, that it’s had a little face-lift recently, with the edition of a couple of photos. (Finally!)

Obviously, along my journey of the last 12 months, I’ve picked up a couple of tricks that are a must have in the world of blogging.

So what have I learned over the last 365 days?

Firstly, bloggers are awesome! I have found such a wonderful community of people, who are more than happy to help you become all you want to be, and are always on hand with a kind word in the comments box, a share on social media, and even showcase your work on their websites. So a huge thank you to you all! You rock!

The last 8,765 hours have taught me how to use pictures. As the old adage goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and how true it is. The picture not only helps set the scene, it breaks up text, making it less monotonous, and more appealing.

  
Now that your blog post is looking cool and more engaging, you want to keep your audience on your site.

525,948 minutes have also shown me how to use embedded links within my posts. At the end of each post, or within the body of text, you will usually find three links that will take you to other, similar posts that I have written. I also put in links to other sites, which sounds odd, as you want to keep people reading your work. But somehow linking to larger, external sites, you increase traffic to yours, or so I’m told.

31,556,926 seconds later I realise I still have loads to learn, and trying to do all this on top of looking after a threenager all day, is very, very, tiring …

  

If you’ve only just discovered my blog, and you want to get a flavour of what I’m about, then you can’t go far wrong with the following posts.

Possibly one of my favourite posts, A Clockwork Thomas and Friends highlights the pain and suffering a stay at home dad must endure, each and every day.

When I’m not laughing at myself, and my wonderful life, I can be found raising a little cash and a smile for childrens charity. Run Fat Boy… is the latest push for charity, and I can reveal here right now that I am about to sign up for a 1/2 marathon in the spring. Details will be available as and when.

Every now and then I just have to highlight the injustice, and prejudice that seems to be more and more prevalent nowadays. Dads…Our Secret is Out is a little stab at the rampant sexism in the 21st century that boils my blood.

Well, time to raise a glass and watch the next 3.1709791983765 x 10-11 milliseconds fly by.

Till next time droogs, why not check out other great bloggers via the following links.

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The Dad Network
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Run Fat Boy…

So, ‘where the hell have you been?’ I hear you cry.

Well…

The pre-amble

If there’s one thing the birth of my son has made me think about, it has to be my own mortality, and the delicate nature of life for children, even in today’s first world countries. I can’t even begin to imagine the horror of life in the Middle East, although I’m sure, like me, recent photos in the press have left your heart heavy, and your eyes blurry with tears.

Here I am, the wrong side of 40, (yes I know, even I wouldn’t believe it from the photos I post, but it’s true), and I have this awesome little child that relies on me for everything, and how selfish would I be if I upped and keeled over in the next couple of years?

To be fair, I’ve battered and bruised this old shell of mine over the years, and the little fella coming along, has made me think, maybe I should start to worship this crumbling temple, and rebuild it back to its former glory.

Do I go back to the gym? Nah, bored of that, staring at a TV screen watching reruns of Jeremy Kile, while I sweat my proverbial off. I know I’ll get back into trecking up mountains! Get fit, body and mind, with lots of stunning views.

  
Great idea…Problem is…can’t find any…mo-ti-va-t……ion 😔

Then I remembered that warm fuzzy feeling I felt when I raised £155 for The Lullaby Trust earlier this year, and decided there and then that I’m going to raise money for all the children across the globe, who through no fault of there own, are truly suffering, by running. 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, full on marathon, maybe even a few ultras, one day.

  

Damn it! I’m gonna do it for the children of the world that need all the help they can get, and get fit at the same time. As a friend of mine keeps saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, so that’s what I’m doing, in my own little way.

  

The amble

Over the last seven weeks I have spent every spare moment, (and that’s not a lot,) researching, creating, tweaking and running a training regime, to get me off the couch and out on the trail towards my first goal of 5K.

It’s been a lot of hard work, but so much fun, and very rewarding. I have tons of energy and I’ve lost the best part of one and a half stone along the way, so feeling good and looking good!

Now I need the help of my fine community of readers. Yes that’s you! As I stated earlier, I am planning to start running to raise money for children’s charities. The idea is sharing out the money into three pots.

Firstly, one pot will go to a charity local to where I run in an organised event. So if I’m running in Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, or London, the money will go to help children from that particular area.

The second pot will go to a national children’s charity, and the third to an international charity. What I need from you good people, is suggestions of which charities you would like to see me donate to, and why. Just drop a comment on this post, or via the various social media outlets, and I will choose a few.

I am also thinking of changing the national, and international charities each year, to kind of spread the money around a little; or maybe, depending upon whichever crisis is in need at the time. Your thoughts and input mean a lot to me, so please take a moment to let me know what you think.

The stumble toward a conclusion

I know some of you lovely people are runners yourself, and as I am just starting out, I would like some feedback on how well I’m doing. My 5k PB is currently 28:24. Is this anywhere near an average time? I only ask as I’ve never ran before, EVER! I think it’s damn good, as seven weeks ago it was 40 mins.

Also, I have played about with a couple of running apps, and am interested in which ones you use/prefer.

  
On the start of my last 5k. To the top of the mountain and back!

If you plan on running a local 5, or 10k come the new year, for your favourite local children’s charity and you’d like me to come along, or if you have any ideas that you think could help, give me a shout, I’m keen to get as much money raised as possible. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about the training programme, then let me know. If it’s a resounding thumbs up, I’m happy to create a post all about it.

Time for a week off to let my body relax, and start building a 5 week, 10k programme. Current time to improve upon, 56:53.

Well, take care droogs, chat soon.
Dawn of the Dad.

The Dad Network

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#BeardsForBabies II

As most of you are probably aware, over the last month I have been growing a beard to raise money for the Lullaby Trust, and today, (26th June), is the final day. The day that all involved reveal to the world the fruits of their labour.

 The fresh faced fizzog of your fatherly friend.

Before the big reveal, I must first give a big shout out to all those that got on board, growing facial fuzz, for such a great cause. You guys rock!

But more importantly than all of us scruffy urchins, I’d like to give a huge thank you to all the people that have donated their hard earned cash to help. Even if there was a little persuasion on my part. 😉

 

Through my Just Giving Page, and at work, my friends and family have raised a whopping £155 to date. I am truly overwhelmed by your support. Thank you so much.

If you would like to help, please click the link above and help out. The page will remain active.

For those of you who are new here you can read about what the Lullaby Trust stand for here, and you can read my thoughts about sudden infant death syndrome on my post.

Well, it’s time to cut to the chase, (pun intended), and reveal this years official #BeardsForBabies beard.

I thought I might do something a little special to thank you all for your support, and decided to have a little fun with the beard, so this years official beard is…drumroll please…the mighty mutton chops!

 

Puts me in mind of all those wonderful bare knuckle boxers. Who’s up for some fisticuffs? 😂

The Dad Network
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Day of the Dad

What’s that you say? “Day of the Dad”? Surely you mean “Dawn of the Dad”?

Nope…Day of the Dad. More commonly known as Father’s Day, or in this case in particular, the name of the event I attended on the weekend. 

An informal pre Father’s Day, Father’s Day as it were. A chance to leave the family at home and chill with my peers in the dad blogging world.

The event was the brainchild of Al Ferguson from The Dad Network, and I must say, a bang up job Al. Great idea, great venue, great food, and most importantly great company.

  

Located on the bridge of the Tatershall Castle Riverboat in the little village of London, I got to meet up with a great bunch of dad bloggers, and vloggers, from across the UK, to share a beer, and a few anecdotes about life, kids, and blogging.

  

We had the pleasure of a visit from a couple of reps from The Lullaby Trust, who came down to witness first hand, the wonderful array of beards on show, and chat about the wonderful work they do.

The support for their #BeardsForBabies campaign has been truly amazing within the dad blog community, either that or they’re just a bunch of scruffy oiks! 😉

  
Two weeks growth, and the itching has just about stopped now.


The thing that surprised me most about the day, was the fact that even though there were no kids on board, the dads just couldn’t help but play with the Lego! It had me perplexed right up until the end of the day, when it was revealed that there was a £25 Etsy voucher up for grabs.

  

All in all it was a wonderful day out with a chance to to meet and greet all the great dad blogs I follow, and be introduced to some great bloggers I’d yet to come accross.

If you would like to see what we all got up to at Day of the Dad, there was a film crew on board, and it will be a feature on the Chrissy B show this Friday, for their Father’s Day special.

To all the dads out there, here’s wishing you a great Father’s Day this Sunday, and I hope to meet you all at the next Day of the Dad bash for some more fun! (A little bird tells me it will be June 11 ’16).

Well, until next time droogs, don’t forget to show your support for the Lullaby Trust and all those poor dads with itchy facial hair, mine is here.

Be dobby, smeck grimly, and skvat jeezny by the sharries droogs!

Dohigh.

The Pembrokeshire Coast

Last week we took a well earned break, and introduced the little boy to a traditional British beach holiday.

This year, as last, we visited the Pembrokeshire coast, staying at the excellent White Gate Caravan Park. This five star rated park is set in the quiet, and aptly named Pleasant Valley, and is mere minutes away from the coast and sandcastle heaven.

Our hosts, John, Charlotte, and their lovely little boy made us feel welcome from the get go, and were more than happy to help us achieve the perfect holiday experience, letting us know what is going on in the area. They definitely deserve the five stars they have been rated.

A visit to Pembrokeshire would be incomplete without a visit to at least one of the fifteen castles in the area. Last year we visited Manorbier, a sort of a trip down memory lane from my boyhood. This year we visited the daddy of them all Pembroke Castle.

  

You can imagine the excitement for a little boy, running around this massive castle, exploring all the little nooks and crannies. There is also lots to entertain older children, and adults alike, as the castle comes to life to explain its rich history.

The British weather being what it is, you can always expect a drop or three of rain, even in June, and this week was no exception. Luckily for us it was only the first couple of mornings, so it didn’t dampen our spirits.

  

With the rain freshly cleared up, off we trotted to Anna Ryder Richardson’s Manor House Wildlife Park, to visit the rhinos, and tigers. Unfortunately, the Sumatran cats aren’t yet at the park, but there are still plenty of other animals, to keep the little ones entertained, including lots of lovely meerkats trying to sell insurance to the visitors.

With the sun now out, complete with hat, (hip hip hooray,) we got to hit the beaches! Starting from left to right, along our little bit of coastline, we have Tenby, Saundersfoot, Wiseman’s Bridge, (our closest to White Gate,) Amroth, Marros, and Pendine. They are all beautiful beaches, and depending on which you chose, you can have all the hustle and bustle of Tenby, or you can have the beach to yourself at Marros.

As with all beach holidays it’s not just the bucket and spade that’s compulsory!

  

As you can imagine a week of sun sea and sand, meant that we HAVE to eat ice cream, CONSTANTLY! It’s the law, don’t you know.

No matter how much fun you can have at the seaside, (and we had lots!) it still wasn’t the crowning jewel of our holiday, oh no, that prize goes to Folly Farm.

  

When it comes to farm parks, I’ve seen more than my fair share over the last two years, but all pale in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, in the eyes of a two year old they are all wonderful places where bunnies can be petted, and soft play areas are as big as football pitches, (in their eyes), but Folly Farm goes that one step farther and appeals to the child buried deep within the hearts of us parents. 

I know for a fact that most dads would jump on this little digger in the sand pit, alongside their toddler and dig holes. Across the other side of the path at Folly Farm is dad heaven.
 

Once little Harry has learned how to milk a goat, why not show him how this little family feed.

   

And if your family tire of watching the zebra and giraffe graze, or the penguins swimming around under water, then I guess you could take in the adventure playground that IS the size of a football pitch.

  

If you manage to do all that, and still have energy/time left in the day, then the indoor fairground is worth a visit. Some of Britain’s oldest steam powered carousels, waltzers, and ghost trains, are not only on display, but you can ride them to your hearts content.

   

     

Dotted around this large fairground, you can find a hall of mirrors, hook the duck, rifle ranges, and all the old stall games your grandparents would remember playing in their youth.

All in all, I’d say that in our busy week in Pembrokeshire, we only covered about a third of all the activities available.

Bare in mind that most things are off the agenda with a toddler, due to age, or height restrictions, and you can start to imagine what fun can truly be achieved with the likes of roller coasters and lazer quests or paintball.

I think there will be many more visits to this area over the next 20 years, and we will never tire of it!

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Crazy Baby Names

Have you missed me while I’ve been on holiday? Or rather have you missed this weeks adventures with JB? More on that next week. 

For those of you needing a fix, fear not. There is a brand new post of mine out there in the Blogosphere. Sure it’s a little late from my usual Friday, but as the saying goes, ‘it’s better late than tarred and feathered’ ?!

This week I am the guest blogger on Honest Mum’s online parenting magazine! (Truly honoured, thanks Viki). Each month Viki features a dad blogger in her brilliant #WhosTheDaddy series, and this month it’s my turn to be Ray Winstone, so if you see me with a sock in my hand, you’d better avoid me like the plague.

Go take a look and send some love Viki’s way.

Don’t forget, this month I am raising money for the Lullaby Trust via growing #BeardsForBabies and you can donate on my Just Giving page. Don’t forget to tick the Gift Aid box so that a further 20% is added to your donation.


This is my freshly shaven head and chin, and you can follow my progress into beardy-weirdness via my InstagramTwitter, or Facebook accounts.

Here’s me a week later trying to look thoughtful. I know, I know…

  

…still, it’s for a good cause so please, please, please, click the Just Giving link above to help bereaved families with their loss.

Well, as Porky Pig is fond of saying “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”