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  1. Protest March

    February 6, 2017 by Daniel

    Had a really good weekend. Felt like the whole family had a good time and maybe we helped make a small difference in the world too.

    On Saturday there was a protest planned to do with the US President Trump’s ‘Ban’ on immigrants from a few Middle-east countries. Kate and I wanted to take the kids along. The Presidency is something we’ve obviously been discussing lots in our house over the past few months and we thought it was a good opportunity to show the kids about something much bigger than ourselves.

    We had a fun day planned, we went bowling first at All Star Lanes (which Florence won!), had a lovely meal at Almost Famous and then headed over to the protest and managed to meet up with our friends, the Stones (Kate had made her and Florence matching hats which the Stones had on too.

    There was some inspirational speeches and then we marched up Cross St, left on St Mary’s Gate, down Deansgate and then back to Albert Square via John Dalton St. It was so strange chanting and walking down these huge roads in the middle of a Saturday. George was on my shoulders the whole time and I think his favourite chant was ‘You can’t build a wall, your hands are too small’.

    I think it will be the first march of many to come during this Presidency. The President’s actions have consequences, ones wider than many people think. There’s plenty of comments on twitter from people saying ‘Do these people know they are in Manchester?’ Yes of course we know, but this isn’t about ourselves- we’re just doing what we can.


  2. Swimming 

    January 10, 2017 by Daniel

    George moved up to the next class in Swimming this term, the third class. It’s great to see him doing well at it – albeit this class is a little late in the day for him – 6.30pm (we usually go upstairs for bath etc at 7!) but at least I’m home from work to watch. 

    This was the first class: got in at deep end with one round float on each arm, swam to shallow and took off floats. The rest of it was starting to learn front crawl using one of those rectangular shaped floats any swimmer knows well. He looked so much smaller than the rest of his class. I’m not sure of their ages but I’m sure they are at least a year perhaps more. It was funny because in his last class he was always very quick but in this one, they are all much more speedy. 

    His hair got in his eyes a lot and I think he swallowed a lot of water (head up!). 


  3. The Force Awakens

    December 22, 2015 by Daniel

    (I’m going to write about this as if you’ve seen the film, I’ll try not to give too much away but be warned)

    I’m going to write about something every man, woman and their dog is writing about. The New Star Wars film.

    George Lucas always said he saw the series was much bigger than what he did originally. I’m not really sure what the reason for the big gap between the Original trilogy and the Prequel trilogy was, perhaps he just wanted to enjoy life a bit, see if he could get some other things going (Indiana Jones, pretty good side project).

    Anyhoo, he’s probably better not as a front man, but guiding things from a distance. This is a really long way of saying, he did a good thing selling to Disney, they can carry this thing on forever now – I as many do just really love the world of Star Wars, I’m not so big on superheroes and yes whilst the Force is a bit mystical, mostly the stories are just about extraordinary things happening to normal people.

    And so to the new film. I did my best to avoid the publicity for it, I really did. I only watched the teaser trailor, I didn’t want to be encumbered by the visuals too much before I saw it. Then there was the going to see it. With two young children getting out to the cinema is not something we really do.

     

    I was watching fairly carefully to see if J.J. Abrahms had stuck to the conventions of Star Wars, what was the first establishing shot going to be? (because they are all done the same way). That out of the way I was put at ease, this guy knew what he was doing and I should trust him. Maybe he sought that trust a little too hard and could have taken a few more liberties? But overall fine, the films are supposed to “rhyme” after all. It moves things on enough and reintroduces at the same time.

    It’s really all about family and the families of the Original main characters have now intertwined.

    I loved seeing ‘behind the mask’ of a Stormtrooper, we’ve seen a little bit before (but one step removed) in the establishment of the Clone troopers and I’m glad they explained Finn was a different kind of trooper.

     

    Mostly I’m excited for the films to come now, and there won’t be such a long wait for more now. Probably by the time they start coming in quickly George will be ready for them (this one is a bit dark for him yet).


  4. Reaching 30

    June 23, 2015 by Daniel

    Here I am. Thrity.

    I don’t know why but it seems quite a milestone and I had a fabulous time celebrating it. Kate surprised me to a trip to Paris, having arranged for the kids to stay in Morecambe with her parents.

    We flew Ryanair to Paris-Beauvais and were staying in an 4th floor apartment for 2 nights basically in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Fantastic! We had such a great time, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy travelling.
    The first evening after getting in an recovering we had a walk around the immediate area with the aim of finding somewhere to eat. We wound up on Place Joffre, walking past Ecole Militaire and Champ de Mars (with it’s square trees!) eventually going into L’Ogre.
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    What a place to happen onto! The food was fantastic, same goes for the wine! I had Entrecote and a Montepeyroux red.

    We walked back to the apartment past the Eiffel tower which was lit up beautifully.

    What a way to spend your 30th!

    The next day we had tried to get up earlyish but took advantage of a child free lie in. I went out to get pastries and coffee and then we left to walk around Paris for the day. We’d looked at pre-booked tickets for the Tower the night before but discovered we were to late for that so we thought we’d go along and see how it went.

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    We arrived at the tower and started queuing around 10. By 10.30 we were in and up!

    Amazing view, I only had a distant memory of going with school – 1999 I think.

    Afterwards we continued walking along the Seine, diverting as we saw something interesting. We had lunch on the steps of Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, passed the Grand palais and place de la concorde carrying on through Tuileries Garden up to the Louvre. We’d been told that’s way to much to just ‘pop in’ to so resolved to look properly another time. We then headed north to the Pomidou centre, stopping for an iced coffee and some shopping.

    After that we went to Notre Dame, some more gift shopping and caught the Metro from Saint Michel to Invalides (eventually anyways – went the wrong direction for 2 stops!).

    For our evening meal we caught the Metro after a nice walk from the apartment to Assemblée Nationale up to Abbesses, which we hadn’t realised was pretty high up – which meant lots of steps up to the surface! We wandered around a little bit and found ourselves at La Cave a Jojo and ate three courses, sharing a Boeuf Bourguignon (and of course a bottle of red!).

     

    The next morning we did a little more browsing and shopping on Av. des Champs-Élysées, and then caught the Metro sorrowfully from George V to Porte Maillot where there is a big shopping centre and our coach to the airport was leaving from.

     

    What a fantastic city, we packed a lot in – but there was so so much more we didn’t even attempt to do. I can’t wait for the next time – lot’s of other places to go on the list too though!


  5. George is 3

    March 20, 2015 by Daniel

    gbarnacles

    Time flies really doesn’t it!
    It’s George’s third birthday. It’s been another amazing year – he’s come on so well. Recently it seems his confidence has really gone up – he’s now speaking much more to adults. He’s determined to do lots for himself, standing up wee’s etc.
    He’s really into a few things at the moment, Pirates & Octonauts mostly.

    For his birthday itself we’re going to the zoo and then tomorrow (Saturday) we’re having a party at home with an ‘Under the Sea/Octonauts’ theme.

    Happy Birthday George!

    Gat3


  6. George & The Cinema

    August 15, 2014 by Daniel

    This was so much fun, he’s asking lots about going again. Which makes me very happy.

     

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    We went to see Planes Fire & Rescue, obviously he loved the first one so we knew he’d like it. Just wasn’t sure whether it would overwhelm him or not.


  7. Camping Trip

    July 28, 2014 by Daniel

    Just got back from an Epic 9-night camping trip.

    We started off with Sling Dads camp in Staffordshire, then camped for the week in Hereford ending up in Oxfordshire for Natural Mamas Big Camp.

    We had a great time, it’s pretty tough camping with a toddler and a newborn actually, not enough pairs of hands, etc but it was really lovely.

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  8. Trialling a Firespiral

    July 9, 2014 by Daniel

    We had a lovely weekend this past one, a day out in Manchester and then a bit of walking around the neighbourhood on Sunday.
    We were lucky enough to have been lent a couple of wraps to try out, lichen sand 100% cotton birch trees and an Indigo Cyano 50% linen seafoam, both by Firespiral.

    I think the colour of the Lichen Sand would be great for more formal occasions, but also for Summery days like we had at the weekend. It was very supportive more so than the Cyano was even however that one being Linen does need a bit more breaking in. It’s difficult to understand how it’s done but all Firespirals arrive much softer than others it seems, so you can get going straight away.

    It was a pretty warm day for Manchester but neither felt too hot especially the Lichen Sand, which seems to have been made for Summery days and we were carrying our newborn all day and the toddler quite a bit.

    I’m not much of a wrapper, but when I get the chance I love it, I’m getting the hang of the fwcc with our newborn (with help from Hold Close!), we’d skipped straight to back carries with our first but I found the Birch Trees Sage very easy to fwcc with.

    All in all it enabled us to have a full weekend around the city, we got the train in and had no trouble getting around and there’s just that special feeling you have of being close to your kids, responding to what they are interested in looking at and being able to react to it.

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  9. Florence

    June 19, 2014 by Daniel

    On the 26th of May, our daughter Florence Emmeline was born at North Manchester General.
    It was a beautiful labour, starting on the Friday night going away, coming back again and finally we went into hospital on the Monday (after going in Sunday night and home again as things weren’t happening). Kate didn’t quite get the midwife led unit she wanted but was able to have a lovely room in the labour ward instead which was for all intents and purposes exactly the same (except the ‘equipment’ was less well hidden).
    We got in around 11 o’clock and Florence was born at 1.28pm in the pool.
    Kate’s labour was so different to her first with George, she wasn’t being monitored, she wasn’t on ‘the drip’ and needed no pain relief. She didn’t even use gas & air, just breathing techniques and a strong grip on my hand with some massage before she got into the pool.
    Kate said that the pool really helped her and I think she would recommend it to anyone.

    Florence had a great start and did much better with feeding in the first weeks than George did. But about a week in we found that she was still losing weight so we needed to start ‘topping her up’. So the routine of pumping and sterilising began after a quick trip to Mothercare to get some essential replacement valves for the breast pump. We were topping her up 1 Fl Oz every 3 hours. The suspect also that she has a slight tongue tie, but we weren’t convinced that was a major contributor to the problem, it was more just that we make kids that don’t put on weight to start with – at the next weigh in she was expected to put on between 40-80g, she put on 140g.

    Due to the top ups routine I took a third week off of work, having only planned the two ‘statutory’ weeks and leaving a bit of leave in reserve. But it was obvious Kate or I weren’t ready for me to return. I write this 4 days into my first week back. It’s been a stretch I think – another child certainly makes time management even more difficult – but I think things are going well. We are still figuring out how to juggle a toddler and a newborn, getting the evening routine done without issue is going to take some more practice. George seems to want only Mummy as he falls asleep at the moment which is frustrating as Kate is tied up with other things. George has only let me put him to sleep a handful of times since Christmas and I’m left feeling like I’m not doing enough otherwise or something wrong. It’s just getting the ‘handoff’ timed right so that’s Florence is settled and George hasn’t gotten too worked up.

    We’ve managed a trip out to the Zoo which was a lovely day and this week we went out for my birthday to Bowl. Both times were really fun.


  10. Now I Am 2

    March 20, 2014 by Daniel

    I can’t believe we’re here already (I know, I know, I’m probably going to say this every year). My boy is now two years old.
    He’s gone from this
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    To this
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    In a Year?! At his birthday last year he was juuuust about walking around.

    He left ‘babydom’ and hit full toddler around the end of Summer 2013. Now it’s March and he’s 2 we’re into proper sentences, he sleeps in his own room – for pretty much most of the night. We’re well into potty training – he’s mostly there but has the odd off day.
    We think that’s he’s very aware of the imminent arrival of a brother or sister. I’m sure he’s going to make a great brother. Recently both Kate and I have been a bit under the weather and he’s been very caring toward us, asking if we are OK.

    We’re going to the Zoo for the day and having a party with his friends and family on Saturday – it’s going to be a train theme – He adores Chuggington (although it’s fast being eclipsed by Pixar’s Cars or Planes depending on his mood).