Silent Sunday: 2013-06-30

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This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Following the leader(s)

Facebook banner for the only boy in the houseThirteen short months ago I started this blog, as a way to record the life and times of our family as our two beautiful girls grew. Obviously I could have done this in other ways, but we’ve got lots of friends scattered all over the world, some of whom (shock! horror!) don’t use social networks, and I thought it would be a good way of keeping them up to speed with our lives.

Little did I know what I was letting myself in for!

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have noticed product reviews and the odd sponsored post creeping in over the last few months. That’s something I never expected, or went out of my way to encourage, but it’s something I’m happy to have taken on board, and I hope some of those posts have proven useful to others.

According to an article in last week’s Independent, dad bloggers are on the rise and are apparently the “next big advertising demographic”, so I expect the offers will continue coming in. What I do need to do – and I think I’m getting better at it – is not saying yes to everything, and only working with brands and products that make sense for our family.

What all of that means, though, is that this blogging lark is becoming a bit more serious than I originally imagined, and consequently I’m having to treat it a bit more seriously. And I figure the best way to do that is to follow the example of the many bloggers I’ve come to know over the last year or so – they’re quite a friendly and sociable bunch!

Which is why this week I’ve given the blog its very own Facebook page. Which is where you come in – I’d really appreciate it if you would like the page. As well as making me feel popular, and who wouldn’t want to do that, it will also be a good way of knowing when new stuff appears on here. Which you can then read. And make me feel even more popular.

It’s not all about the ego, honest!

I’ve also set up an Instagram account, which you’re free to follow too, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with that if I’m completely honest. Share pictures I suppose. There’s one there already, celebrating #BeardDay!

I’ve learnt a lot in the last thirteen months, made some friends and had a lot of fun. Hopefully that’s the way it stays.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

It’s the end of the world as we know it

Heather's first day of nursery, and last week

I’ve been writing a lot recently about changes, and today one of those changes actually happened: it was Heather’s last ever day at nursery. Sadly we weren’t there for this momentous occasion, but both Gem and I were able to attend yesterday’s summer show yesterday. Working full time, I’ve not made it to as many of the nursery events as Gem has, but I’m so glad I got to this one because it was absolutely fantastic.

The show consisted of a series of songs that the kids have learned through the year, each led by a different group of five or six kids dressed to suit that song. Heather’s group were dressed as flower fairies, and sang a song about sticks, something that linked into the art project they’ve been involved in all year. She was a busy girl, though, because as well as singing that, she also had a line in the short drama (also linked to the art project) and even bought a currant bun from the baker’s shop during another group’s song.

The highlight, though, was the finale, which was introduced as a song the kids had been practising all year especially for Mr Reid, the retiring headmaster. After one round of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the kids all yelled “KIDDING!” at the top of their voices… and started dancing to Gangnam Style! Hilarious, and a perfect counterpoint to the slideshow we were shown afterwards, once the kids had taken their bows and gone to get changed, which was a series of photos taken throughout the year.

I think someone must have been chopping onions in the school kitchen, because there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. And yes, there was a wee tear in my eyes too!

There were more tears when I got in from work today, and asked Heather how it felt to no longer be a nursery girl. When she burst into floods of tears I was quite taken aback – she’s been really excited about going to school after the summer, but I guess it never occurred to her that this would also mean no more nursery. I felt a bit bad, but how was I to know?

So that’s the story of the last couple of days. Maybe not the end of the world, but definitely the end of an era. And I’m sure we’ll all be fine.

Especially Heather.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Silent Sunday: 2013-06-23

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This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Sponsored Post: BakingMad.com

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Anyone who knows us knows that amazing things come out of our kitchen with amazing regularity. Rarely are these wonderful creations my doing, I should point out, for I am married to a veritable culinary genius who can whip up an incredible meal in the time it takes me to find and open a recipe book, never mind pick out something I think I can make.

And it’s not just meals, either, Gem is also becoming quite the master baker, and several of her offerings have featured on the Sunday Baking Club blog.

So when BakingMad.com got in touch with me, and asked me to make one of their recipes I jumped at the chance – it would be my turn to shine for a change! I also knew that Gem would approve, because BakingMad.com is a site she’s used in the past. And there was so much to choose from: sconescupcake recipes and even cheesecake recipes!

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In the end I actually ended up baking some peanut butter cookies not from the website but from recipe book they sent me. I say I did the baking… I did have a kitchen full of helpers, although mysteriously most of them vanished when it came time to wash up. And Gem stayed there to offer advice and assistance as required. Which I’m pleased to say wasn’t much – maybe I’m better at this baking business than I think!

The cookies were delicious. So good, in fact, we gave some to my dad as part of his Father’s Day present, and the rest didn’t last very long at all – not with all those helpers to feed! Definitely a hit though, and something I expect we’ll be making for years to come.

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Bakingmad.com supplied a goodie bag of ingredients and a recipe book in return for this post. All words, pictures and opinions are my own.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!