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Dad Discovers... Safari Parks

A Love of Cars I'm originally from Essex, and we love cars. So much so that we've figured out how to involve cars in activities that didn't involve them in the first place, and in some cases invented new car-based versions of existing activities. Fancy a meal? Drive-thru McDonalds. Fancy selling some goods? Boot sale. Fancy hooking up with random strangers? Dogging.

So why use up valuable energy trudging round a zoo when you can sit in your car and point at animals through your window? I'm fairly certain that the people of Essex didn't invent the safari, but frankly it's right up our street. What's more (having some Essex blood in him), The Boy LOVES cars. Even more so than animals, so a trip to Woburn Safari Park would clearly be a winner for everyone (especially the pair of 2-year-olds travelling with us).

After arriving at the park and paying to get in, we got The Boy out of his car seat and let him sit on my lap while I drove. Every other parent was do…
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Dad Discovers... Birmingham

Let's all go and spend a day in Birmingham! Said literally no one ever. But being brave and adventurous we leapt into the unknown and became the first family in history to do a day trip to Birmingham. Probably.

In truth, despite having done a lot of international travel I still hadn't visited the UK's second biggest city and had no real idea of what there was to see (other than Brummies). What with it also being the nearest city to us after London, I felt this was a bit shameful and it was time to rectify the situation.
Getting There Fortunately at around the same time we were looking into this, there was a sale on with Virgin Trains and we'd managed to pick up some cheap tickets on a fast train. The Boy LOVES trains, so this was a perfect opportunity to get him on one, whilst not being a long enough journey for him to terrorise everyone on the carriage.

So having arrived at the swanky redeveloped New Street Station, our first destination was Brindley Place, at the he…

Dad Discovers... Moving House

Living in a Box When we moved out of our little London flat into our first house, it seemed huge. It had an upstairs! It had a whole other bedroom! It had a little dining room! And although we quickly filled it up with stuff, it was comfortable.

When we had The Boy we had to get some extra stuff which took up a bit of space, but it wasn't actually too bad. But the older he got, the more stuff we seemed to need, and the more space everything took up. This also went for The Boy himself, who went from needing a space to lie in to a bigger space to crawl in, to an even bigger space to run around like a lunatic. After a couple of years of very careful space management involving storing everything into tiny spaces like a giant game of Tetris, the realisation dawned on us that we'd need a bigger place.
House Hunting Our previous criteria had gone something like - Does it have at least two bedrooms? Can we afford it? Can we easily get to and from work? Is it in a nice area and does i…

Dad Discovers... CBeebies

CBeebies is great. Until you have kids you'll probably never have any cause to watch it, but once you do you'll be thankful for the BBC for creating it. It's brilliant. There are, of course, loads of other kids channels out there from CITV to Nickelodeon, Disney Channel to Baby TV, but most depend on a paid subscription of some kind, are predominantly American in content, and are bursting with adverts. CBeebies on the other hand is free (sort of), has no adverts and can generally be relied upon to serve up several hours of good quality content for your sprog.

Needless to say there's a lot of different programmes out there, but these are my current personal Top 10 CBeebies shows.

10) Justin's House The almost reincarnation of Emu's Pink Windmill Show, hosted by the undisputed king of toddler TV, Justin Fletcher. He pops up all over the place on CBeebies but this one is the most fun.

9) Baby Jake Oh look, this family live in a windmill! Ah, here's each membe…

Dad Discovers... Eating Out

Do you remember eating out in the days before you had kids? Remember how your stupid, naive younger self would just occasionally go out and have a generally pleasant time, eating interesting food and having good conversations with whoever you were with? Well thanks to your darling child, you won't have to deal with the pressure of that kind of spontaneity again for several years.
First Trips Out Our first few weeks of parenthood mainly involved just staring at The Boy like he might explode at any minute. But after a short time we were confident that he was probably OK, was reasonably unlikely to explode, and we started taking him out into the world. This, in hindsight, was a golden time as we took him to all kinds of fun places and showed our friends just how cool we were and how having a baby hadn't changed us. If anything, we figured we could do even more fun things than we did before and at one point even ventured to a festival in the middle of Trafalgar Square where he at…

Dad Discovers... Night Feeding

A Simple Guide to Night Feeding.Prepare a sterilised bottle and a sealed bottle of formula milk ready for feeding. Place next to your bed and congratulate yourself on your outstanding organisational skills before going to sleep.
Get woken up at an indeterminable hour by a baby who unleashes a furious rage within five seconds of opening his eyes.
Frantically pour milk into a bottle and try to delicately screw on the top properly whilst baby’s whole head turns red as he wakes the entire neighbourhood. Fail to do this first time whilst sleep-deprived and the room is in complete darkness.
Baby gets louder and angrier. Try again, but not whilst holding baby as he will likely boot the open bottle all over you and the bed, creating a damp patch that you will then have to sleep in for the rest of the night.
Stick the bottle in the yawning chasm of baby’s gob and try to keep it in whilst baby shoves his hands into his mouth, pushes the bottle away or thrusts his entire body back like he’s been ta…

Dad Discovers... Nappy Changes

First Impressions Think about having a baby and one of the first pictures that pops into your head is a nappy. And then maybe a creeping sense of terror around what's in that nappy. You might have spent a lot of time around kids. You might have had friends or siblings with babies that you've played with or even helped feed. But odds are you never been called on to remove freshly-laid poo from out of their bum crack, and that's just the way you like it.

Well congratulations my friend, you now have a child and you're now responsible for keeping it clean. You're now an officially designated nappy changer, and you're going to have to get your hands dirty. Quite possibly in a literal sense.
The First One It's fair to say that I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare for the first nappy change. In fact apart from a bizarre 10 minutes in an NCT session with a nappy, a baby doll and some Nutella (which has put me off Nutella for a few years) I had zero exp…