Friday, 5 June 2015

My Top 5 TV Dads

Hi all,

As it is Father’s Day coming up I thought I would do a post on my Top 5 TV Dads! Television is a hugely popular media, where else can you see a whole range of great day-to-day dad-behaviour?

Over the years I’ve watched A LOT of TV, so it must have sub-consciously affected my behaviour as a dad. I must have seen many on screen dads, and I must have taken some of that in myself and affect how I am as a dad. So when I saw that Currys PC World were looking for bloggers to list their Top TV dads, what better way to do my own small tribute to them?

1. Karl Kennedy


TV Show: Neighbours
Active from: 1987-2015
Played by: Alan Fletcher
Occupation: Doctor (at least he was the last time I watched it, knowing Soaps – he could be anything by now)
Dad to: Mal, Libby, Billy, countless other orphans/step-children/foster kids.
Classic Karl quote: “Of course you can stay here”

Karl is one of longest running dads on TV that I have personally watched. Whenever I think of a stereotypical dad on TV he comes to mind! I always think of him as a good dad, not just to his own children, but because of the many many many other youngsters he has been a father figure to as well over the many years on the show. Him and Susan were always willing to take in anyone and look after them. It’s a dream of many a neighbours fan to go to Australia and meet Karl on the filming set of Neighbours, and get some sage fatherly advice from him! (I’ve been informed the actor Alan Fletcher is very nice as well!)


2. Sandy Cohen


TV Show: The OC
Active from: 2003-2007
Played by: Peter Gallagher
Occupation: Lawyer
Dad to: Seth, Ryan, Sophie
Classic Sandy quote: “If you can't tell your dad, who can you tell?”

I loved watching The OC when I was younger, and Sandy always seemed like the nicest man on the show. Another dad to not only love his own child, but willing to take in and adopt another youngster who needed his help, and always give advice and be kind to all the other teenagers on the show. Funny and likable, but also stern and fair when he needed to be, he is a great example of an on-screen dad. I like how he is always willing to have a sensible discussion with his kids on things and try to see and understand their views/opinions.


3. Michael Bluth


TV Show: Arrested Development
Active from: 2003-2013
Played by: Jason Bateman
Occupation: Property Developer
Dad to: George-Michael, the rest of his dysfunctional family

Classic Michael quote: “Family. Nothing else matters”

One of the funniest shows in recent times, Michael (played by Hollywood star Jason Bateman) is the main character and dad to George-Michael (not that one). One of the main themes of the show is Michael dealing with his dysfunctional family, much to the detriment of his mental health, who in the first episode he decides to stay around on the behalf of his son, who he wants to grow up with a family – as he believes family is important for a young boy. He spends much of the series working hard to make a better living for him, but always has time to spend with his son and be a good father figure. He does seem to spend most of the show also being a father figure to the rest of his family members, who all need looking after as well!


4. Hal Wilkerson


TV Show: Malcolm in the Middle
Active from: 2000-2006
Played by: Bryan Cranston
Occupation: I can’t recall, something in an office!
Dad to: Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, Jamie.

Classic Hal quote: “Malcolm is special? Where do you think that came from?”

A pre-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston made his name in this comedy, where he plays a dad to 4 boys (later on 5). Ouch! Although he was the dad of the family, he was every bit as mischievous and jovial as the boys were, and is more one of them than an authority figure! (The mum Lois was always in charge!). I always remember him being a great dad as he was always able to laugh/cry/play with all his boys, and take part in all their schemes, but then be serious when he finally needed to be. He always reminds me that being a dad is being a dad, but you can be a fun dad at the same time!


5. Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor


TV Show: Home Improvement
Active from: 1991-1999
Played by: Tim Allen
Occupation: TV Show Host
Dad to: Brad, Randy, Mark

Classic Tim quote: “uuuuUUUUUGGHHH”

Another Hollywood Actor, Tim Allen plays the conveniently named Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor, a dad who has his own DIY TV show. He has 3 boys, and throughout the show he is always spending time with them working on crazy schemes that involve his terrible building skills - he always has time to spend with his children trying to help them out. What I like about Tim being a dad, is that he always goes to his neighbour Wilson (himself a great father figure) for advice, even though he doesn’t always admit it! Ultimately he wants the best for his kids and has inspired me to have my own ongoing DIY projects with my son we can work on together when he is older.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

90:10 Hoodie Review a.k.a. COMFORT TIME!

Hi all,

My first blog post for a while, I had taken a short break but I am back online and have some exciting things coming up soon! First of all I wanted to share with you a review of an excellent hoodie from a clothing company called 90:10, here is their website and I urge you to check it out: 


So I was recently emailed by a nice chap called Dan Glatman, who started the company a while back, asking me if I would like to review one of their hoodies. Obviously being a massive fan of hoodies, I was intrigued and so checked out the website to see what I thought. After a look at the clothes and reading a bit about the company, I can tell you it was right up my street! So I emailed back Dan and we got chatting, and he was kind enough to send me out one of their hoodies to try out. Here it is being modelled by The Invisible Man:


I shall tell you how I got on in a second, first of all here is a bit of a biog about 90:10 from Dan himself and how it came to be:

90:10 is a new and exciting brand for men who consider themselves to be 90% Grown up and 10% not. Encapsulated within the brand's message is some recognition for a guy for getting his act together but at the same time reminding him that that this doesn't mean that he is now over the hill...far from it! We all have responsibilities but I don't accept that just because I am no longer a teenager or in my early 20's at college, I have lost the ability to have fun or have forgotten how to enjoy myself...Far from it! This is what a guy is expressing about himself if he wears 90:10. For the lion's share of the time, we all have to take life seriously but not all the time!  My vision is to marry humorous and innovative branding to stylish and great quality clothing delivered to the customer at the right price in an environmentally responsible way.
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People will interpret 90:10 in different ways and how it applies to them and that is all part of the fun. The intention is to start a positive and light hearted conversation with men by demonstrating that the brand cares about the same things that they care about.

90:10's routes are steeped in humour as it was born out of a merry conversation in a pub!

So when I heard that 90:10 was born out a pub conversation I thought that this is a guy and a company I can understand! I have had several pub conversations that have led to various escapades over the years, everything from ending up with me becoming a Lord (genuinely, I own land in Cumbria and I have Lord as my title on my Nectar card), to committing myself to eating nothing but 30 fish fingers a day for a whole week (fishy). I’m not a huge brand person normally, but after reading about 90:10 and speaking to Dan, I loved the whole concept and something about it spoke to me as a Man-Child (and lover of comfy clothes), so I was happy to get behind it and support a smaller business, and especially one that prides itself on being responsible and sustainable within the textiles industry.

For the review I was sent a Navy Blue “Signature” Embroidered Pullover Hoodie. I chose a Medium fit, as the website guide stated the Medium was a normal fit (not extra-fitted or baggy etc). Here is me wearing it in my kitchen.


The first thing I noticed about this was how comfy the material was! I can tell you it’s made of 100% organic cotton, and it feels amazing! Almost suede-like in its softness. It feels so comfy actually that it's resulted in me telling people to touch my arms whenever I have worn it to show them how it feels, with the results coming back as ‘Oooohs’, ‘Ahhhs’ and one ‘Is this material magic?’

The fit on it is brilliant as well, the Medium is a perfect size for me, so I’m glad I looked at the size guide on the website as it was just right. It’s not too baggy and any smaller it wouldn’t fit me.
It’s not a very thick hoodie, so I wasn’t sure how it would hold up in the cold, but I’ve pretty much been wearing it every night since I have got it and it’s been great. I’ve never been sweating in it, but it has always kept me warm, and I have even done a few quick supermarket runs out in the cold without needing my normal big winter coat.

It has a hood with drawstrings which are made of proper thick white material, and not cheapy white string like on some lesser-hoodies, so it can take some proper hood tightening when windy. There is also a small 90:10 embroidered logo on the chest, and it has a kangaroo pouch for your hands/car keys/Dairy Milk at the front. It’s also worth pointing out that my wife mentioned she loved the hoodie and especially the colour, as Navy suits me and it made me look slim and handsome (comfy AND attractive, bonus!).




Because it’s fitted well and not huge thick material, I have been using it for all sorts – lounging around, doing house jobs, going out to the shops, going to the pub etc, and I feel like I'm just wearing a really comfy warm t-shirt. I’ve never been doing something where I felt I needed to take it off – so it’s a real everyday hoodie to wear – but smart enough that you could wear it out and not feel a scruff. I even wore it without a t-shirt a couple of times and it was still really comfy. I’ve actually pretty much just been wearing it for an entire week solid!

If like me you have started running in the cold weather, or do other outside activity, I think it would be pretty good to exercise in due to the light weight of it, and the fact it does keep you warm. I haven’t done any in mine yet as I don’t want to get it all sweaty! But I can imagine in the (slightly) warmer months ahead I would happily wear just the hoodie while running.


Albert snuggling up against me in the hoodie.

I would say the only downside is when I did take it off one night, the next morning my cat had fallen asleep on it and used it as a bed. So I would recommend hanging it up if you have pets unless you are willing to share it (I’m not, that’s why I have work trousers for the cat to sleep on – not my nice clothes!)

I would recommend you have a look and see what else 90:10 has to offer. They also do t-shirts, other styles of hoodies, zip-ups and normal sweatshirts. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them in the future to see how the brand grows. It’s also worth checking out the descriptions of the items, there is a 90 section (grown-up) that gives you all the normal information like material used and sizes etc, and a 10 section (the NOT) that gives you info that you probably want to know more – eg good for lounging in/comfy as you like etc. that is probably how a good mate would describe it to you.

Here is a selection of some of the other products they have:





Overall I was so pleased with the hoodie, I love wearing something so comfy. It’s priced at £42 online, which I think is a great price for an extremely comfy, well made hoodie from a company with a great ethos that you can wear every day. I’ve been chatting to Dan back and forth and really appreciate and understand what he is trying to do and what he’s done with 90:10 so far, it’s hit a chord with me. He’s even given me some running tips and marathon advice! So I would definitely recommend checking it out. The website is below. Dan has kindly agreed for any readers that want to get something from the site, that a 20% discount is available by using the code ‘BLOG’ upon checkout. Awesome!


Finally, one of the perks of wearing a hoodie for me is that I always have at the back of my mind a tickling thought that I’m basically Rocky Balboa, so no shots of me wearing a hoodie would be complete without a standard Rocky Pose below. ADDRRRRIIIAANNNNN!!!!



Disclaimer: I was sent a 90:10 hoodie for the purpose of this review, all words and opinions are my own. I’d probably be writing a review on the hoodie anyway though, as I am proper pleased with it!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My Dream Nursery

Leading on from one of my past posts about Albert’s nursery, I came across a competition being run recently by www.littlestuff.co.uk, asking bloggers to put together their ‘Dream Room’. Basically if you could have unlimited cash and wanted to put together your ultimate dream room, what would be in it? Obviously I am hugely proud of Albert’s nursery, but I did have to scale down the plans somewhat (on account of me not being mega rich), so my dream room would be the ultimate Bedroom for him. So now I have chosen Bedroom as a theme and got to daydreaming on what I would put in it, I have come up with the following. I have gone for a Jungle theme, what do you think?


I have started at the John Lewis website www.johnlewis.com, with this Jungle Wallpaper. I would do every wall in it to start the Jungle theme off. It can be found here for £78 a roll.


Next I would get some Bamboo Blinds for the window from www.englishblinds.co.uk here to get that classic Jungle hut look. Using an estimate window size, I’d have them custom made for around £160.


To finish the decorating I would buy some Army Camo Nets and fix them to the ceiling to make it look like you are under a jungle canopy, they sell it here at www.surplusandoutdoors.com at £7.99 per net, and I would probably need 4-5 for our room.


Now the initial decorating is done, I fancy some lighting! We can't have a realistic camp fire like in the real jungle, so Banjado do some nice bamboo style lampshades and lamps for the wall, they are on Amazon here and here for £58.50 and £25.80 respectively.





To finish the decorating off and really tie the room together, how about a nice grass style rug? This one here is from the excellently named Land of Rugs at www.landofrugs.com, and the largest one is priced at £249.95.



I now I need some furniture, so I found this funky Safari Jeep Bed from www.houzz.com at around $420 (plus shipping from America to England I imagine!). It would be great for a child to pretend they are on Safari in!


We would need some storage as well, so have opted for something like these bamboo storage cabinets here and here from www.furnishinghomes.co.uk. It's actually bathroom furniture but I think it would fit in well here. It's priced at £101.63 and £50.53.





As this would be a room for Albert to grow up in, just while he is younger I would like some more children-y things, so I like the look of this colourful Jungle Bookcase from www.tesco.com, it’s £104 at the moment. Ideal for keeping Jungle explorer supplies on.


Next to the bookcase would be this great Jungle themed chair and stool from Argos at £169.99.


For extra relaxing when Albert is a bit older, this really funky company called Toer do a brillaint grass style hammock, it's 364 euros. Every room needs a hammock!


To finish the little chill out corner, I would have a fake plant (wouldn’t want to risk a real one with a chomping toddler!), they do a good jungle looking plant here at www.greatgardensonline.com for £40, so I would probably have 2-3 of these.


Now to get a bit fun! As this is a dream room, obviously it will have a Soft Slide. What better than an elephant design? When Albert is older we can remove it from the room, and put it in my bedroom instead. They sell for £100 over at www.implay.co.uk


To make the room extra jungle like, I have found this Funky Fish Tank over at www.petplanet.co.uk for £50. There are 3 tanks that sort of waterfall into each other. We’d get some fish for it as well obviously! (just not Piranhas like the real jungle).


On the water theme, what can be more jungle like than an Indoor Waterfall? This indoor one is around £300 from www.primrose.co.uk . Soothing splashy sounds at night.


To finish off the room, I found some great Melissa and Doug stuffed animal toys to dot around, from www.melissaanddoug.com. A tiger, giraffe, elephant, cheetah, zebra, alligator, orangutan and lion. Why not! I would definitely hang the orangutan from the ceiling! They are about $60-$100 each and then some for the shipping.









And that is about it for my dream jungle room I would design for my son. What do you think?

Good to be Home Dream Room Competition

Friday, 25 July 2014

Our New Door to Narnia!



Recently I have been on a bit of a DIY binge, I like being creative and making things so am always on the look-out for a new project. As soon as I have finished something I always want to have something else on the horizon that I can mull around in my brain and work out how to fit it all together etc, I should have been an engineer or a Lego tester! What I really like about being creative is that you can put your own spin on something, and make it unique to you. I love having my house full of things I have made that nobody else has.



What really excites me is when I have an idea for something that can benefit Albert as well, and fire up his imagination. A few weeks ago something popped in my brain and an idea just appeared out of nowhere, I actually can’t even remember how I came up with it! I was just on the sofa chatting with my wife and I just sort of thought of it. Immediately my brain was racing and I started thinking of all the possibilities of where I could take it. Now a month down the line it’s all done so I thought I would share it with you. Are you ready?



I have built my very own entrance to Narnia, Harry Potter inspired, floating door over the stairs!





Originally we had a little shelf over our stairs that just had a clock on. But that space was so big and empty, I wanted to put something there. I can’t for the life of me figure up how I came up with a door, but I did. I scouted around for old doors, and eventually my mum and step-dad had one on an old shed they were throwing out. Here it is:


It was pretty old and manky, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted the door to have character. I sanded it down and cleaned it, repaired all the broken bits and reinforced it where it was weak.



Next I decided that I wanted the door to look a bit old fashioned, so I brought a lion’s head door knocker, some black hinges, letterbox and handle in a sort of gothic style. I thought it would be pretty cool to have the letterbox actually work so I jigsawed a rectangle in the door so it would fit in. Next I jigsawed out a diamond shape for the door window. I didn’t have any glass for it, so I used a sheet of grey Perspex which I fit on the back with glue. Here is the plan of the door, before and after cutting.





Next I wanted to paint it a bright colour. My wife Lucy’s favourite colour is mustard, so we chose a Farrow and Ball gloss called Babouche, and I had painted a few coats of it. As this was a door on a wall, and not actually being used, I didn’t bother with a primer as nobody would be getting that close or ever touching it so I wasn’t too bothered about the finish being perfect.



Here is the door drying in my shed after painting.

 
 

Once the coats had dried, I had screwed on all the fixtures and fitted on the Perspex. The numbers we chose, 21 ¾ because 21 is our house number, and the ¾ is an homage to the 9 ¾ train platform to Hogwarts at King's Cross St Pancras.




The door was now done, and I needed to fix it up on the wall. The shelf isn’t particularly heavy duty so I didn’t want to balance a door on it and have it be unsafe, as no doubt it would fall off in the middle of the night and crush someone. So I screwed some plugs into the wall and fixed some wood boards on. Then I glued the door onto the boards and screwed through the door into them. (all that was easier said than done by myself). The door is going nowhere now! I hung off it to be sure and it took my weight. Finally I put in a board of wood I painted black underneath as a step.

And that’s my very own floating door to Narnia! 
 



I like the look on people’s faces when they realise there is a door above the stairs they can’t get to, and it really fills up that space above the stairs. I hope it inspires Albert and gets his imagination going. I’ll say to him if he is good then he can get to Narnia through it when he is older! If he wants I can get the step ladder out and even post a letter to Santa through the letterbox (although the letter would just be in the gap between the door and the wall - shhhhh). So what do you think?




Oh I almost forgot, I had one more thing I added to the door to make it extra cool. When it gets dark, you can make it do this...