Last minute Father’s Day gifts

With the girls still being a bit young to buy their own gifts when it comes to birthdays, Christmas etc, it’s still up to Gem and I to do the honours. When it comes to Mother’s Day, I seem to have attracted a reputation for being a bit rubbish at it, which is entirely unjustified. I’m pretty sure this comes from Gem’s first couple of Mother’s Days, which were spent travelling back from Dubai and Lincolnshire respectively.

Not exactly the luxury pampering experience you might want, but it’s not my fault our travel plans coincided with such an important day, or that my wonderful idea of picking up gifts in Dubai duty free backfired a little because we didn’t have as much time to kill in the airport as I’d thought. Still, though, I’ve not forgotten one yet, so that’s good, right?

There have, however, been one or two last minute purchases over the years – the sort of “oh, that date is this Sunday? Really???” last minute purchase we’ve all done on occasion.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Father’s Day is this Sunday coming, and I’m sure Gem has things well in hand. The girls have certainly let slip enough information to let me know that there are plans afoot, although I have no idea what. I thought I’d jot a few ideas down here anyway, though, just in case they’re required. You never know…

Beer/Whisky

WhiskyI was into craft beer before it was fashionable, but it’s good of everyone else to catch up because it means more choice for me. My only complaint is that all the good shops in Glasgow have been on the other side of the city, but that’s now changed with the opening of Drygate in the East End. I’ve yet to visit, but the range of beers behind the bar and in the shop looks impressive, as does the food. In fact, I wonder if we have any lunch plans on Sunday…

Whisky is something my father-in-law got me into, and I’m very glad he did. Like him, I tend to go for the Islay whiskies like Laphroaig and Lagavulin, but more recently I’ve developed a fondness for the Highland region too, with Macallan Gold and Ardmore being two of my most recent discoveries. Whisky stocks are quite low at the moment, but to be honest a nice bottle never goes amiss!

Cycling gear

Trek hybrid bike

If I’ve learned one thing in the last year, it’s that cycling requires lots of stuff. Most of mine has been picked up on the cheap, and with summer now on its way, I’m realising I could do with some extra tops/shorts to throw into the rotation – the current crop are starting to smell a bit, no matter how many times they’ve been washed. Sports Direct have a decent range of cycling tops and shorts, and I’ve been happy with previous purchases from their Muddy Fox range, so would have no qualms acquiring more.

Failing that, some running socks wouldn’t go amiss either!

Music

Gemma’s one failing when it comes to Father’s Day came in 2010, when part of my present was an IOU for Slash’s first album, which four years later I’m still waiting on. These days I’m more likely to stream something on Spotify, or download it from iTunes though, so some kind of voucher is probably the way to go

So there you have it – some last minute gift ideas that would make me (and I’m sure many other dads) happy. Although to be honest, I’ll be delighted just getting a lie-in followed by a day with my three favourite girls. :)

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!

I’ve got all the riches, baby, one man can claim

Sisters!

With Sunday coming being Father’s Day – at least here in the UK – I thought it would be nice to write about my two beautiful daughters, and what it’s like being their dad. I will warn you, this could get nauseating, so if you’ve got a weak stomach, it might be worth looking away now!

Megan is the youngest of our little’uns, recently reaching the ripe old age of three months, and has already developed the most beautiful smile, which we get to see an awful lot of, which is an absolute joy. Significantly less joyful though, is when she’s not happy – my goodness can that girl scream. I’m no expert, but I have been in the company of a few babies in recent years, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard one as loud and piercing as our Megan. Honestly, it has to be heard to be believed, but that girl has an amazing pair of lungs in there.

Fortunately she’s generally a very contented baby, which means we get a lot more smiles than crying (I was going to write “tears” there, but those are only just starting to come in so that wouldn’t have been right). She’s a lot calmer than her older sister was, and has been since she was born, which is a bit of relief – our worst nightmare was that Heather turned out to be the quiet one!

Speaking of Heather, she’s now two and a half, and is definitely a little girl rather than a baby or even a toddler. The changes we’ve seen in her since Megan was born are quite incredible. Three months ago she was a great communicator with an expansive vocabulary, but still only used fragments of two or three words at a time. Now she uses full sentences, and by full I mean full. Last week she told me “I can’t get dressed yet, Mummy told me Megan is sleeping in my room”. That’s pretty impressive.

As is her grasp of technology – I really need to write about that at some point, because it constantly amazes us what she’s capable of doing. And her memory… in the last few weeks it’s been like something new got switched on, because her powers of recall have increased beyond belief, remembering not just things that happened recently, but stuff that happened months or even years ago – when that happens me and Gem just look at each other, jaws slack, and think “how?”.

Yes, she can be challenging – ignoring us when we ask her to do something is a particular frustration, and she’s ALWAYS a flight risk – but the life that springs out of her, (I swear that the word “boisterous” was invented just to describe her) and the smiles it puts on the faces of everyone who meets her more than compensates.

So that’s our two girls, but what’s it like being their dad? A lot of fun is the short answer, but I think that needs some qualification. We’re quite a traditional family in a lot of ways – I work five days a week, while Gem stays home with the girls three days out of five (all five just now, thanks to maternity leave!). So I miss out on a lot of the tantrums, spilled food/water and stress of having to juggle looking after two kids and a house. And I haven’t yet had to remove stinky poo from anything except a nappy! Instead, I get to be fun Daddy, who (almost) always has time to play and is more than willing to join in, whether it’s doing silly voices (Daddy Robot is a real favourite), jumping like a frog, or singing “Winkle roses” (Ring a Ring o’ Roses) while going round in circles in the kitchen.

The downside to that, of course, is that I rarely get to see any of the firsts – leaving the house within an hour of us all getting up, and getting home an hour before bedtime means the odds are always in favour of those happening when I’m out. But it just makes the firsts I do get, like Megan’s first giggle, even more precious. And if, like tonight, I do something straight after work, it means I don’t see my girls for a whole day, which can be tough (Heather said as I was leaving this morning “see you when you get home”… :( )

On balance, though, I think the good outweighs the bad, and I definitely think I have a much easier ride than Gem does (although whether I should admit that to the world is a different story – more chores coming my way I think!).

Being a dad is awesome, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Now, bring on the lie-in and the presents…

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!