THE DAD BLOGGER - Mental and physical health for the man behind the Dad
I’m Daniel and the Dad Blogger is my blog. I offer my opinion on how to keep Dads healthy and happy and how to look after themselves. I share videos and photos of my experience as a Dad of 3 and a dog.
I love my food. Although I get more exercise than the average guy, I do overeat and that leads to weight gain. If the quantity of food I consume remains constant then something else needs to change so that I don’t steadily coat my internal organs with a layer of fat. So I’m always on the lookout for cheats, fitness hacks or alternatives to eat less exercise more.
Silk’n, the global leader in professional aesthetic devices for home use, approached me about trialling their silk’n lipo device. I, of course, was up for that. Silk’n Lipo is a wearable, user-friendly, electronic device for fat reduction.
It works by combining two technologies,
Low LevelLaser Therapy (LLLT) and Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
“EMS is based on the application of electrical pulses through electrodes on the skin, ensuring muscle activity in the treated area. Muscle activity contributes to muscle tone, as well as faster blood circulation and lymphatic activity. EMS stimulates the body’s processes for waste disposal, including fatty contents that leak out of the perforated fat cells. The technology is clinically tested and provides good results.”
“Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in Silk’n Lipo applies laser in a certain wavelength. When applied to adipocyte cells (fat cells) it ensures the perforation of fat cell membranes, causing the fat cells to “leak”. Over time, and with repeated use, fat cells are affected. This results in fat loss in the treated area and a loss of centimetres. LLLT does not hurt. It is safe and non-invasive, and has no adverse side effects. Additionally, you do not have to be under anaesthesia during a LLLT– treatment, unlike invasive procedures like liposuction. LLLT is an excellent, reliable method to reduce the size of the fat cells.”
My trial was to wear it three times a week for 15 minutes per area treated. I concentrated solely on my abdomen doing 15 minutes (there is a timer built in) on my left, front and right. There is a tingling sensation as the EMS stimulates the muscle. You can increase or decrease the intensity by pushing the +/- buttons on the control panel. Be careful though, high intensity is pretty intense! Once you have a comfortable setting you can pretty much get on with something else and let the silk’n lipo to the work. One annoying thing about wearing it is the buzzing noise it makes every minute or so. I’m not sure what that is indicating but it was starting to get to the rest of the family.
So did it work? Well yes, the circumference of my waist reduced by 4cm.
Keep in mind, Silk’n Lipo is not a substitute for good nutrition and regular exercise and there are other factors, your genes, hormones and metabolism that have an effect on your waistline. Ok, it didn’t give me a six pack but undoubtedly, the underlying muscle has been toned. Don’t be put off by the pink colouring of the box and website. Men can wear it too and achieve good results.
Image courtesy of http://www.yokota.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000093318/
We’ve all been there. You get home from school, and you moan about how boring your homework is and kick up a fuss because you don’t want to do any more work. When you become a parent, seeing your children can bring back memories from your own childhood. It may not be all that long ago that you were sat in the same position, complaining that you didn’t have the energy or the inclination to do sums or finish a reading comprehension. As a parent, there are certain rules that you have to follow when it comes to the homework your kids bring back, but there are lots of fun ways of educating your children too. If you’re keen to play a part in the learning process, here are some ideas to give you inspiration.
Role play is a really effective teaching method for kids of all ages. Whether you’ve got toddlers who are learning about going to the doctor or you’ve got slightly older children trying to master mental arithmetic, you can use role play scenarios to help your children learn. Use a pretend shop to encourage your kids to work out how to add up and give appropriate change, or take on the role of an ailing patient to help your child learn about body parts and the names of bones and muscles. It’s much more fun to play a game and spend time with your mum and dad than it is to sit at a table staring at a page. You can adapt the scenario to encourage new skills, and make activities suitable for children of different ages.
Every child looks forward to going on school trips. Outings are a chance to spread your wings away from the classroom and enjoy a different kind of learning experience. As a parent, you can inject the excitement of school trips into your child’s home life, by getting out and about with them. Visit museums, take tours of ancient castles, ships, and churches, go to zoos and wildlife parks and follow nature trails. You can learn about anything and everything on your travels, you’ll be able to spend quality time together, and your child may be much more likely to retain the information they’ve learned. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a great day out. Many museums are free, and you can also take advantage of savings online.
Most of us love playing games, and kids respond really positively to anything they think will be fun. If you market a learning exercise as a game, you’re likely to get a better reaction. Take the example of your child coming home from school with a list of spellings to learn. That list probably doesn’t fill them with a huge amount of enthusiasm. If this is the case, take those words and use them to form a game the whole family can play. Challenge each other to spell the words correctly, see how many words you can make from the letters in each word, and see who can spell the words in the fastest time. A little healthy competition can increase industry and effort, and rewards are always an incentive for children to try their best.
Some children find it very difficult to remember things they’ve learned. There are many different techniques educators use to make it easier to retain information, and one method is creating rhymes and songs that provide cues and clues. If your child struggles with names or dates, for example, making up a song is a great way to help them memorise and recall that information. Take the example of the order of the planets. It’s quite difficult to think about all those names, let alone which order they come in, and this is where ditties and phrases, like ‘My Very Easy Method Just Sums Up Nine Planets’ come in handy. You can use songs or sayings from your own childhood or be creative and come up with new ideas with your kids.
If you’re a parent, you’re probably keen to do your best to help your child learn and develop. Most of us remember moaning about doing boring homework, but the good news is that learning doesn’t have to be dull. There are lots of ways you can make it fun for your children. Get involved in the learning process and inject some energy and enthusiasm. Play games, set up role play scenarios, and get out and about with your kids.
I did a bit of preparation for the competition but unfortunately, I was not 100% fit on the day. I’ve been having shoulder issues from my day job sitting at a desk and this got progressively worse and on the weekend I had no grip strength and pins and needles in my right hand. Add to this a laceration on the same hand from gardening the day before and I was effectively a limb down for my fight.
Furthermore, I was carrying more weight than I would like. Over Christmas, I had ballooned to over 80kg where my average weight for the last 20 years has been 74kg. So I was struggling with the weight category that I should fight in. Your fighting weight on the day includes your gi and belt which is just over 2kg so I needed to drop to under 80kg to fight in the 82.3kg category or get back down to under 74kg to fight at 76kg. I made weight for the 82.3kg on the day but I was carrying too much body fat. I was competing against very lean and much younger guys in the 82.3kg category.
My weigh in was at 12:20 so I got there a bit early to acclimatise myself and catch up with the guys from my club. I was surprisingly less nervous than I thought I would be. But from watching the other fights I became aware that
Competitors are a lot more aggressive than when ‘sparring from the knees’ at the end of a class.
Although I know a few takedowns, I didn’t really have any defense against them.
I wasn’t prepared for the show of strength and explosive power from some of the fighters.
So, I weighed in and started to warm up. After about 20 mins we were lead out onto the mat and the repecharge started. I had two fights. In the first, I was totally overpowered. The takedown was explosive and quick. I found myself in side control and had no idea how I had transitioned from standing to being on my back. I did my best to escape but just completely burned myself out in doing so. I submitted to a key lock hold which I didn’t find in the least bit uncomfortable. Maybe it was adrenalin but I thought I could’ve continued and tried to escape but there was an audible crack and referee stopped it. Surprisingly no pain so I’m not sure what made the noise.
I was better prepared for my next fight. I tried to slow things down and control the game. I fell to a sloppy takedown/guard pull that my opponent got 2 points for and these were the two points that he won by. I held my guard and I tried for triangles, armbars, and sweeps from guard but nothing was working. In retrospect, I should have just gone 100% for the last minute or 30 secs to get the points to win but there was no clock and I had no one telling me how much time was left in the round.
My advice is to start entering competitions as a white belt. You will get used to the competitive environment and experience some slightly alien ideas like not wearing a rash vest, the referee’s gestures and language (IBJJF rules) to performing in front of an audience. As a white belt competing against other white belts you never have to fight anyone with more than a 12 to 18 months more experience. I’m early stages blue belt so I could’ve been fighting guys that have had their blue belt for years.
I’m so happy I entered and I can’t wait to do another. I learned a lot and I have, at least, got my first competition out of the way. I can take the experience back to my training and onwards to my next competition.
Beanstalk – a literacy charity which recruits, trains and places volunteers in primary schools across England to provide one-to-one support to children who have fallen behind with reading – has revealed 40 children’s books that will be used by the charity’s volunteers to kick-start reading engagement for the children they support.
Lower Key Stage One Titles
Alborough, Jez – Some Dogs Do
Axtell, David – We’re Going on a Lion Hunt
Campbell, Rod – Dear Zoo
Collins, Ross – There’s a Bear on My Chair
Donaldson, Julia – Wriggle and Roar! (Illustrated by Nick Sharratt)
Gannon, Frann Preston – Dave’s Cave
Goodhart, Pippa – You Choose! (Illustrated by Nick Sharratt)
Murphy, Jill – Peace At Last
Parr, Todd – It’s Okay to be Different
Scheffler, Axel – Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Jungle
Upper Key Stage One Titles
Bromley, Nick – Open Very Carefully (Illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne)
Brown, Ruth – A Dark, Dark Tale
Gravett, Emily – Tidy
Gray, Kes – Oi Frog! (Illustrated by Jim Field)
Hoffman, Mary – The Great Big Book of Families (Illustrated by Ros Asquith)
Jarman, Julia – Class Two at the Zoo
Novak, B.J. – The Book With No Pictures
Robinson, Hilary – Mixed Up Fairy Tales (Illustrated by Nick Sharratt)
Tullet, Hervé – Press Here
Willems, Mo – That Is Not a Good Idea!
Lower Key Stage Two Titles
Ahlberg, Allan – The Children Who Smelled a Rat (Illustrated by Katharine McEwen)
Ardagh, Philip – Norman the Norman from Normandy (Illustrated by Tom Morgan Jones)
Baker, Jeannie – Window
Browne, Anthony – Little Beauty
Christopher Wormell – Eric… the hero?
Lobel, Arnold – Frog and Toad are Friends
McNaughton, Colin – Once Upon an Ordinary School Day (Illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura)
Robinson, Hilary – The Big Book of Magical Mix-Ups (Illustrated by Nick Sharratt)
Saunders, Matt – There’s No Such Thing as a Snappenpoop (Illustrated by Matt Saunders)
Willis, Jeanne – Lottie Potter Wants an Otter
Upper Key Stage Two Titles
Ahlberg, Janet and Allan – It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Browne, Anthony – The Tunnel
French, Vivian – The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart (Illustrated by Matt Saunders)
Gaiman, Neil – The Wolves in the Walls (Illustrated by David McKean)
Norriss, Andrew – Archie’s Unbelievably Freaky Week (Illustrated by Hannah Shaw)
Pichon, Liz – The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
Roger, Marie-Sabine – What Are You Playing At?
Rosen, Michael – The Laugh Out Loud Joke Book
1, Ask how they learn best
Talk to them about how they’ve learnt something they’re good at and get them to identify what helped them to learn and remember it. Now ask them how they could use the same strategies to learn the new information. Remember we’re all unique, so don’t force YOUR best methods & techniques on them!
2, Help them make a weekly revision timetable
Don’t just tell them to do it or leave them to get on with it and assume it’ll happen! The more they feel the timetable is ‘their baby’, the more likely they are to follow it. Make sure the timetable fits around their regular commitments so it’s not daunting and overwhelming for them. Otherwise it’ll be impossible for them to stick to it!
3, Break revision sessions into short slots
The brain can only focus 100% for short bursts of time. A good guideline is to use the child’s age as the number of minutes for each timetabled revision slot. I recommend using a timer and make sure they stick to this!
4, Give them timed breaks
This will allow their brain to recover before the next revision slot. I recommend a 5-minute break after each of the first two slots, then a longer break of around 15-20 minutes after every three slots. (Repeat this pattern throughout the whole revision session).
5, Recognise small steps forward
Encourage your child to mark off each successfully completed revision slot (eg with a tick, sticker or stamp). Seeing their progress will motivate them and encourage them to keep going.
6, Acknowledge your child’s stress
It’s easy to dismiss any doubts and fears when your child says things like “This is too much…”, “I can’t do this…”, “I’m going to fail”. Instead, try to validate their feelings. Rather than saying “Don’t be so silly…you’ll be fine!” etc, show them that you understand how they’re feeling. Reflect their emotions back to them by saying something like “So you’re feeling stressed – is that right?” Then follow it up with a solution-focused question such as “What could you do to feel less stressed?”
7, Build their confidence
Attitudes are contagious so be positive, upbeat and let them know you believe 100% they can do it. Encourage your child to see exams as an opportunity to show what they know and can do rather than a threat.
8, Help your child overcome obstacles
If they’re struggling, ask what’s stopping them or getting in the way of their revision. Then ask how they could overcome it. Don’t provide the answers! It has to be THEIR solution. Otherwise, they’re far less likely to take action!
9, Remind them that their revision WILL make a difference
– it’s NEVER too late!
10, Get your child to visualise success
Help your child to imagine themselves successfully taking the exam. Ask them to talk you through their ‘mental video’ from entering the exam room to receiving their results. Keep repeating this process to ‘mentally rehearse’ and dramatically increase their chances of success.
by Annie Boate, leading coaching in schools expert and author of A Coaching Revolution out 26th April 2018
Now that Spring has most definitely sprung, for many of us it’s a time to wash and clean away the winter grime and dirt. This Winter, with its snow and ice, was particularly hard on our cars as the cold and road salt takes its toll. Now warmer, drier weather has arrived, the time is right to give your pride and joy some care and attention.
There’s a lot to be said for washing your car yourself as it can give you the opportunity to take a close look at the condition your vehicle is in. The professionals from car care experts, Reep Southern at Dunsfold, share their tips for giving your car a deeper clean than an automatic car wash ever could.
– Take your time
This is important. You don’t want to cause any unintentional damage because you’re rushing to finish.
– Don’t wash your car on a very hot day
Whilst it might be tempting to take the opportunity to contribute to your tan, intense temperatures can affect the products that you are using. Also, hot weather causes water to evaporate more quickly which can leave you with grimy residue on the paintwork.
– Pre-clean your car
Following an all over cold pressure wash, spray a universal cleaner all over. Then working from the bottom up, so as not to dilute the solution, rinse the car thoroughly with the pressure washer to remove as much dirt, mud, and grime as possible. Don’t stand too close to the car, if using a jet washer, as you don’t want to cause any damage to the vehicle.
– Use 2 buckets
Your Dad might have embraced the single bucket and sponge approach but it’s far better to use two. One filled with just water for rinsing and the other with washing solution. And make sure both buckets have a grit guard to catch any bits of debris that might damage the paintwork.
– Pick the right tools for the job
Always use a car washing shampoo; washing up liquid is great for plates but will strip away the wax from your car and could damage the paint. Wash mitts are better than sponges, having been designed to remove the most dirt possible as well as being better for your car’s paintwork. When it comes to drying use either a blower or triple layered microfibre cloths to get a streak-free finish.
– Use a clay bar for some extra TLC
Although your car might look smooth there is a likelihood that the bodywork has some lumps and bumps from grime that has bonded to the paintwork. Add some shampoo to a clay bar which will act as a lubricant and then run the bar across the bodywork. This will remove any stubborn dirt and imperfections.
– Wash the windows inside and out
Use two microfibre cloths, one for cleaning and the other for polishing. Avoid household window sprays, because they contain ammonia instead, opt for either good old water or a specialist car glass cleaner. Remember to wind the windows down so as not to miss cleaning the top part.
– Look after the wheels and the wheel arches
This area can see a big build-up of mud, grime and harmful road salt following cold, icy weather. After power washing, use shampoo with sponges and brushes to ensure no grime remains. Do choose your products carefully though, making sure they are specially formulated for your type of wheel. If you’re not sure what to use, go for an acid-free PH neutral aluminium wheel cleaner.
So there you go. A few tips that will take your car washing skills up a level. Hope this helps!
Once I saw Oprah’s post on Instagram. Inspired by Andra Day and Common’s song “Stand up for something”, she posted “I stand up for kindness”. I thought:
“Why don’t we, men, dads, uncles, brothers, etc. stand up for an effective fatherhood?”
Moreover, you don’t have to be a father to exercise fathering. Later, I’ll explain why. Also, I will provide some actionable tips on how to be an effective father.
Every single day we see people standing up for something that matters to them. It’s the greatest asset of democracy, to my mind. Thus, standing for an effective fatherhood is worth attention as well.
Mass media reminds us that sometimes we fail our wives, daughters, sisters or people we are responsible for. I don’t want to blame the mankind but sometimes we need to do things better.
Why being a father does not always mean being a biological one?
To answer this question, I’d like to refer to Jennifer Anniston’s quote when she was asked why she didn’t have kids: “You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering—dogs, friends, friends’ children”. In other words, mothering as well as fathering is more determined by the attitude and your ability to take responsibility for somebody else’s life rather than a biological participation in a human procreation. Therefore, you can be a father to your students, your female coworkers, even to your elderly parents by taking care, inspiring, uplifting, motivating, giving direction, being there, supporting.
I am a dad of 3 lovely kids, twins and a teenager. We adopted our teen daughter when she was 5. My wife and I thought we were ready to share our love with another human being. At that time, I decided I would be the best dad ever. Since then I missed out lots of school events of hers but she still thinks I am the best dad ever. It looks like an effective fatherhood is much more than that. The only way to be better is to try better. So, here’s what I do to be a good father.
1. We play “good-bad things” at the dinner table.
Every day I ask my kids what was bad and good this day in their life. I ask what they are thankful for and what they’d like to improve. I delve into details. They feel that every effort they make, every strive matter to me.
2. I recommend reading books and then we discuss it together. Margaret Thatcher’s father did the same. They used to take books at the local library and discuss them afterward. This is how her dad cultivated an independent and critical thinking.
3. I respect their right for privacy but I set rules.
I am quite aware of what’s going on online: online predators, cyberbullying, sexting. So, we agreed on my using parental control app to check on them from time to time. (There are lots of them on the market: Kidgy, ESET, Norton, etc.)
4. I suggest inviting their friends to our house.
This is so powerful. My teen daughter feels I accept and respect her way of choosing the social environment. To me, that’s the way to be her “body” to be able to give advice on relationships.
5. We plan their future education, personal development, growth. We discuss books to buy, courses to attend, tuition, etc. We encourage our kids to do more than the current educational system suggests.
6. We turn to a family therapist when we feel it’s time to tackle a sore subject.
For example, we asked a practitioner how to talk about the child sexting and got some useful tips.
7. I have some helpful resources to address.
I keep in mind Crisis Call Center and LifeTime Crisis Chat. I hope they will never come in handy but it’s better to be equipped.
8. We agreed on discussing everything with no stigma or judgments.
Thus, they feel a complete acceptance and unconditional love. Even if I find something inadmissible, the best way to convey it is from the position of a friend, not a judge.
The best way to stand up for an effective fatherhood is to live up to its values. Dr. Steve Maraboli once said “Today’s man should do more than just talk; he should act. He should do more than just promise; he should deliver.” However, men also should stick together to spread and fuel the idea of an effective fatherhood.
Guest Post by Jerome Simas. Jerome is an e-safety expert and a freelance writer. He is also the father of 3, twins and teen daughter. He has a excellent blog at https://www.parentmap.com
I’m very excited about this. I have entered a BJJ competition. This is close to where I live and I hear that it is a really well organised event and a good competition to enter if it’s your first.
As this is my first competition, I’m not expecting to do well but I hope that I can enjoy it and take away some great experience. My excuse for not entering a competition before now was that I never felt ready to compete. I always had an excuse. But now I realise that the first step is just to fill in the form and enter. This is the biggest hurdle to get over. I can now prepare as best I can before the event and whatever happens between now and the day will happen.
People say that in competition you never lose. You either win or learn. I read somewhere that 1 minute fighting in a competition is worth 1 hour in a class. If this is true, I wish I had entered before now, perhaps as a white belt. Now I’m a blue belt I am competing against other blue belts and this includes seasoned competitors with many stripes on their blue belt. I also have a huge age disadvantage. The age category I fall into is Masters which starts at 35 years old. That may give my opponents a huge age advantage.
Another factor to consider is that I am competing in a weight category that is slightly over my base weight. My fault, I am heavier than I’d like to be but I’m working on getting that under control. At the moment, I am fighting at 82kg but that includes my gi and belt.
I’ll try to post as much as I can over the next few weeks. This will be a great way of recording my progress. So I’m looking forward to the day and I know that a lot of the guys from my club will be there competing themselves or just to offer support. It should be fun!
I love micro wallets! Check out my 2017 roundup here. But there is a new kid on the block. Precise down to the micro-millimetre, waterproof and with designs by leading worldwide artists I introduce to you the Micro Wallet from paperwallet.com
I personally think it is a great fit for Dads that are out about since it is very small, comfortable and waterproof. With the amount of stuff you need to carry just to take the kids out for the day, every millimetre counts. The Microwallet is so slim and light that it exaggerates how heavy a bundle of cards and cash can be. It holds up to 8 cards which, for me, is 5 more than is needed day to day.
Not only is it very neat it is showcasing 7 brand new designs by cutting-edge artists worldwide. Not only that, on their Kickstarter page a portion of every pledge will go to support the artists collaborating with them.
I watched Anthony Bourdain The Layover Dublin and wanted to visit the Restaurants and Bars he visits. I’m from Dublin so I was surprised to see new places as well as some established favourites. Anthony Bourdain finds that Dublin’s food scene is keeping up with its famed drinking scene. From sweetbreads and lamb to a home-cooked bowl of pork stew, Tony covers all of what Dublin does best in a few short hours.