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Looking for a little something to keep your evenings busy whilst February’s still being cold and miserable? We’ve teamed up with Paddy Power Slots to bring you this competition to win a copy of Idris Elba’s latest blockbuster The Dark Tower on DVD!

The film is based on the hit literary series by Stephen King, and follows The Gunslinger as he battles with his enemy, The Man in Black to defend The Dark Tower, which holds everything in the Universe together. The film is directed by Danish director Nikolaj Arcel and also stars Matthew McConaughey, Claudia Kim and Vikings star (and now director) Katheryn Winnick. Good luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Fatherhood: Competition – Win “The Dark Tower” on DVD appeared first on The Mediocre Dad.

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I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a movie fan – anybody who has seen our over-sized Blu-ray shelf can probably testify that I like to enjoy a good film (and several bad ones too) more than once.

I like all types of films – from sci-fi to drama and everything in between. But I’d never really been very AFFECTED by the films I watched – films are entertainment, plain and simple, so I rarely got very emotional about films.

All that changed the moment I became a parent, of course – and I suspect a lot of you experienced the same thing. Now I can barely watch an advert for nappies without feeling like I might burst into tears!

Never has this been more obvious than last night, when Sara and I watched the 2016 film ‘Lion’ for the first time. We’ve had it on the shelf for about 4 months, but having heard Chris Evans interviewing Nicole Kidman about it last year (and interview where both parties ended up in tears, live on the radio) I was a little bit wary about diving in.

If you’ve not seen it, here’s the trailer to give you a taste of what to expect:

Lion Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Dev Patel Movie - YouTube

And boy oh boy, was I right. I won’t spoil the film for you, but needless to say the story of a boy who gets separated from his mother and then tries to find her again later in life… it contains all the ingredients for an attack of the waterworks.

All of which got me thinking about other films that I’ve seen as a parent which had an effect on me. I asked around on Facebook and Twitter for other people’s suggestions, many of which I’m sharing below. So if you’re feeling like you need to reconnect with your inner parent, or just in the mood for a good clear-out of the old tear-ducts, stick one of the following on the TV and grab the tissues…

I’ve included a trailer for each suggestion, so that you can get a preview of what you’re letting yourselves in for…

1. Paddington 2

Obviously the first Paddington is just as good a movie, but it’s the Aunt Lucy storyline in the recent sequel that really tugs at the parental heart-strings…

PADDINGTON 2 - Full US Trailer - YouTube

2. Toy Story 3

All of the Toy Story films have been emotional for one reason or another, but the last 20 minutes of third have me in tears every time – particularly the scene with the toys being passed on…

Toy Story 3: Trailer - YouTube

3. Jack & Sarah

Probably one of the lesser-known films on the list, you might have missed this one. Richard E Grant plays a newly-widowed father – which pretty much sets the emotional tone for the film… By the way, this trailer does it no justice at all!

Jack And Sarah Trailer 1995 - YouTube

4. Coco

I don’t know what goes on over at the Pixar studios, as they seem to have the magic formula when it comes to creating movies with heart. I’ve not seen this one yet, but everyone I know who has reported back that it’s a real tear-jerker by the end…

Coco Trailer (2017) | 'Find Your Voice' | Movieclips Trailers - YouTube

5. Tangled

Yet another animated entry on the list – what is it about these kids movies that have us adults reaching for the tissues? The reunion at the end of the movie is a particularly heart-warming moment.

Tangled - Official Trailer 2 - YouTube

6. Inside Out

This is another suggestion from friends that I’ve not actually seen myself, so I shall be adding it to my waiting list. I’m assured it’d make even the most stony-faced parent cry though, particularly if your kids are entering the teenage years…

Inside Out Official Trailer #2 (2015) - Disney Pixar Movie HD - YouTube

7. Boyhood

One of my favourite movies of the past few years, Boyhood contains a whole host of storylines that could leave you moist around the eyes, but the ending in particular always gets me.

Boyhood - International Trailer (Universal Pictures) HD - YouTube

8. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Not only is this a brilliantly heart-warming tale, it’s also hilariously funny and far less well-known that it deserves to be. The finale in particular will get you every time.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Sam Neill, Rhys Darby Movie HD - YouTube

9. The Impossible

I guess a film that centres around a tsunami was always going to be an emotional one, but the break-up of the main family adds an extra parental twist of the kleenex, right the way through the film

The Impossible NEW TRAILER (2012) Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts Movie HD - YouTube

10. Logan

Last year’s much-loved Wolverine finale is fairly unique in its inclusion on the list, given that it doesn’t actually feature any parents in the main roles – or not in the traditional sense at least. But boy oh boy…

Logan Trailer #2 (2017) | Movieclips Trailers - YouTube

So those are your starters for 10, but I’m sure there are a tonne of films I’ve missed. Let me know your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet me over on Twitter.

The post Fatherhood: 10 Great Films Guaranteed to make Parents cry appeared first on The Mediocre Dad.

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That time that we took both kids on holiday still, even though one had raging Chicken Pox…

If you’ve not noticed by now, my blog has recently had somewhat of a face-lift. Not only have I got a new (hopefully more usable) look-and-feel, and a little bit of new functionality, I’ve also got an entirely new domain and brand. I am now “The Mediocre Dad”.

I’ve been considering switching things up for a while now, but the New Year finally tipped me over the edge – I had a day off work to make the necessary changes, and had finally decided on a name, so everything fell into place. But why did I bother, I’m sure you’re asking yourself?

Well, first up, “Henry’s Blog” wasn’t a particularly imaginative or descriptive name was it? When I started using this domain I hadn’t really decided on what I wanted to write about, so I kept my options open – but these days I mainly blog about parenting, so it makes sense to make my blog a bit more linked to that topic.

Secondly, it was a bit embarrassing. In the past few years (thanks in part to my job), I’m often introduced to people with “…and he’s also a parent blogger”, which is inevitably followed by “Oh, what’s your blog called?”. Having to tell people – often people who have been told I’m a creative strategist (that’s my title these days) – that all I could come up with was “Henry’s Blog”… well, it wasn’t exactly making me look great, was it?!

But the third and overwhelming reason was this:

I’m a pretty mediocre parent… and that’s fine

Not let me start by saying: this isn’t supposed to be a self-deprecating statement. My parenting skills are fine, and I’m comfortable with what I need to do. But I’m not a superstar parent (or indeed a superstar parent blogger!) and I don’t ever want to pretend that I am. I’m okay at best – pretty mediocre in a fairly average way. Why pretend otherwise?

That time we forgot to take the stockings when we went for Christmas at the grandparents…

I don’t know many parents who claim to be amazing at the job – most of us are just about muddling through, celebrating the little wins and just hoping to get through to the weekend. But if you look at the world of social media – whether that’s Instagram, blogs, YouTube or whatever – you could be forgiven for thinking that perfection is the norm.

That’s not supposed to be a criticism I hasten to add – sadly, feeling like you have to portray a perfect life is one of the most common traps of being an “influencer” online. Mainly because nobody wants to see how crap your dinner is, how ram-shackle your house is or how badly you’re failing at most of life.

But parenting is one area – possibly the only area in life – where there really AREN’T any experts. There’s no degree in parenting, no diploma in nappy changing, no GCSEs in getting a child through to 18 without breaking any bones. Sure, you can be an outstanding child-minder. Or a really great nursery assistant. But (unless I’ve missed something) nobody is a more qualified parent than anyone else.

So why do bloggers like myself feel justified to tell other parents what they should or shouldn’t be doing as a parent?

To be honest, I’ve never felt comfortable writing “advice” posts – mostly because I doubt anyone wants to hear my advice, let alone heed it. That’s why I usually stick to anecdotes, or stories about my experiences with some aspects of parenting that others might find helpful (tongue-ties for instance, or the school appeals process)

When it comes to marking my parenting abilities, I’d probably rate myself a B-, or maybe a C+. Sure, I (along with my wonderful, much more capable wife) have managed to get two children through early childhood without either of them suffering any major disasters. But neither of them are perfect specimens by any stretch of the imagination – and to pretend otherwise would be foolish.

So it made sense to embrace this realisation – and champion it! I’m a mediocre parent at best, and I’m completely fine with that.

It’s not just me though. I put the call out to a few other bloggers to prove my point – asking them for examples of times when they’ve been a mediocre parent too. Here are some of my favourite responses:

Whit Honea, author of the Parents Phrase Book

“It’s funny, when you write a book about parenting, people always want to describe you as a ‘parenting expert,’ which, clearly is not the case. What a ridiculous title to claim. I’m just a guy that has made, and continues to make, mistakes, and I hope my lessons can help others. Perfect is boring and certainly overrated.”

Jo Middleton from Slummy Single Mummy

“Oh God, this describes every day of my life for the last 22 years! In practical terms, I think I really only ever strive for ‘good enough’! One thing I’ve learnt over the years as a parent is that no matter how much effort you put into trying to create these perfect memories, they somehow manage to only remember that time you gave them three burnt fish fingers for tea or made them go to school with damp socks.”

Al Ferguson from The Dad Network

“Having just got back from west coast of America, jet lag had sufficiently hit and all I wanted to do was walk in the door and go to bed. But after having left Jen to parent solo for a week I knew I had to take parenting reigns. Utterly shattered but delighted to see Teddy, my parenting that day was mediocre at best. But some days that’s all you can do. And if everyone has gone to bed happy and clean and fed then it’s still a parenting win.”

Simon Ragoonanan from Man vs Pink

“Most school days, getting my daughter out the door on time is more important than how she looks. Things often don’t get done including hair (needs brushing into a pony tail – sometimes the brushing doesn’t happen), shoes (what’s shoe polish?), crumpled dress (what’s an iron?), and general cleanliness (why put on a clean outfit when you’re just going to get paint/mud/whatever on it again). Also, I sometimes spot she’s put her shirt on inside out and figure I’m sure no one will notice.”

Helen Wright from Passport Stamps UK

“Being a travel writer I was determined that having a baby wasn’t going to stop me travelling. My son, Finn is one now and with ten flights in his first 12 months we haven’t done too bad. The one thing I did have to accept is that the type of trip we’d be able to take would be very different to the fun and frivolity of holidays pre-parenting. Evenings spent bar hopping and clubbing until dawn were replaced with early bird dinners or ordering pizza room service and watching the sunset from the hotel room. I thought it would bother me more, but it didn’t. The next day we could still hike, swim, take a road trip and see the sights and we’d get to show our baby too, which made it all the more special. We can no longer do everything we want to, but we can do most things. And that’s okay.”

Carter Gaddis from Dads 4 Change

“Christmas was new. Santa was a force in our lives. The boys were excited to meet the jolly old elf that day at their daycare center. I came along to snap a few shots, to capture the smiles and the glow and the holiday spirit and… nope. Both boys, preschoolers at the time, were having none of it. That guy? THAT guy is Santa? Well, we’re not going anywhere near him. Forget it, dad. And then I grabbed them both, put them on my lap, frantically yelled for Santa to jump in behind us and smiled grimly for the camera. You can see how enthusiastic the boys were about it all. And? That was the BEST photo we got that day. So much for expectations and warm, fuzzy holiday memories…”

Andy Mackay from Dads Sofa

“I have to keep remembering that even though staying home and having a “quiet day” may not make for the most interesting instagram pictures, the Little One does enjoy the occasional day at home with Crisps, Chocolate, and CBeebies.”

Benny Finlay from Daddy Poppins

“Every time I dress the children, apparently. I’m happy that they are clothed. My wife isn’t happy unless they are matching. Doesn’t she know Dads only see in primary colours?”

The post Fatherhood: Why I’m embracing my own parenting mediocrity! appeared first on The Mediocre Dad (formerly Henry's Blog).

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When I was first sent the BenQ e-Reading lamp to review, I was struck with a burst of inspiration. The e-Reading lamp is especially designed to be ideal for desks, making reading from electronic screens a much more pleasant experience.

Now as I’m sure you can guess, we do have a LOT of screens in our house – probably at least a dozen if you count devices like phones and games consoles. So a lamp is definitely a good addition. The only trouble was, our desk is currently pretty tiny, and houses not just 2 screens but the accumulated junk of months of home living. You know the type – letters from schools, Christmas lists, USB sticks, children’s drawings. The detritus of life, basically.

So the thought of setting up (and photographing) this wonderful lamp on the junk-pile that is our desk wasn’t an appetising one, to say the least.

This is the part where the burst of inspiration came in. What other uses could I put a lamp to in our house – more importantly, uses that aren’t currently covered by an existing lamp? Well, I could think of about a dozen – and my plan was to set each up in turn, photograph them and present that as my post. But this is where life got in the way… Here, I’ll explain:

A Lego-sorting light

Now admittedly not everybody needs a light to help them sort out their Lego pieces. Let’s face it – most people probably don’t even sort out their Lego pieces in the first place. But we’re not most people, and we have our Lego (well, my Lego – the kids sadly ignore my lead) sorted into colours. And anybody who knows Lego will know there are quite a few colours. So when we often sit and sort out a new haul of Lego (usually bought from a car boot sale) it can be really useful to have a good light over you – especially for some of the all-too-similar colours. So this would have been ideal for that. But in the period where we’ve had the light, I have somehow managed to not get any new Lego. BUMMER.

A light-box light

Now this is one I actually managed – photo below. Following on from the above, I often end up taking photos of my Lego creations for my Instagram account, and I use a light box for this. Unfortunately though, my light box didn’t come with any lights, so I’ve always had to just muddle through. Thankfully, the BenQ light was perfect for this job, creating (as it does) a really even and natural light. So I’ll definitely be repeating this one in future…

A wicked sewing light

Both of our boys are in the cubs (well, one is a cub and one is a beaver) which means they regularly come home with badges to sew onto their jumpers. In fact, we currently have a pile of 7 different badges that need sewing-on. And having a light to use while sewing them on – a tricky task usually done in the evenings – would be ideal. The only trouble is, the past 2 or 3 weeks that we’ve had the light have also been Christmas party season. Or Carol services. Or school plays. Or any number of other evening engagements. So the sewing kit has remained firmly in the cupboard. Arse, there goes that plan.

An actual e-Reading light

Having finally admitted defeat for my plan to present 12 “alternative” uses for the light, I realised I’d better do the unthinkable. Yes, it was time to tidy the desk. ARGH! 15 hours later, the crud was finally gone – well, gone enough for me not to be afraid of posting a picture anyway. So I setup the light in the place it was supposed to be, and there it has remained ever since. I’m even using it as I write this. The proof is below.

It’s an excellent light, as it happens. It has a swanky touch-control thingy on the top, which allows you to put it into a number of different light-level modes. It’s got a very flexible arm which you can bend into virtually any position, and a very cool curved lamp head, which just looks cool. It also works very nicely as an e-Reading light, providing just the right level of light required to stop me squinting at the screen.

All in all, I’d highly recommend it – though I’d encourage you to carry on where I failed, and try to find some alternative uses for it! If you want to buy one for yourself, you can find it on Amazon, and probably elsewhere too!

The post Fatherhood: Review – BenQ e-Reading Lamp appeared first on The Mediocre Dad (formerly Henry's Blog).

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Children and adults alike love playing with LEGOs. But there’s more about it than just fitting colourful bricks and snazzy designs together. Our friends over at NinjaBrick describe 9 important skills your children can learn from playing with LEGOs.

Who doesn’t love LEGO? They’re colourful, varied, and just plain awesome. But there’s a lot more about LEGOs than just an entertaining afternoon, and in this article, Ninja Brick explore all the ways your children (and even your adults) will benefit from their LEGO time.

  1. Fine motor skills

As a child grows, they need to learn things that adults may think simple. One such thing is the wonderful ability to manipulate things with their hands. Sounds easy? Think again. For a child, that’s a complex skill and one that LEGOs help.

Picking up small pieces, turning them around and fitting them together takes effort, and that’s exactly what LEGO play does. As your children pick up the small pieces and fit them together, they exercise the muscles in their hands and their coordination.

Later, these skills will reflect on other things, such as the ability to write. Preschoolers and very young children benefit from this more than older children, but older children and people with motor skills issues will benefit as well.

  1. Engineering & Math Skills

It’s a fact there’s a fair amount of engineering skills involved in building up with LEGOs. Children (and adults) will quickly learn that certain shapes and constructions are more structurally sound than others, and how to arrange things in such a way that they don’t tip or fall other.

While this doesn’t mean little Timmy will go on to be an engineer, it’ll still provide life-long skills. LEGO play certainly encourages children to think in a three-dimensional world, with different materials and shapes. It also helps children learn basic geometry, and how pieces of different sizes and shapes fit (or don’t) together.

The intuitive learning will help them later with math. A careful parent might want to use power functions to teach basic physics as well, such as work with levers and gears, even without the numbers and formulas!

This is true even for children with cognitive disabilities.  A study by the University of Alberta shows that children with severe cognitive disability performed best when presented with a LEGO robot (“roverbot”), even in unstructured play. This helped researchers assess their true cognitive skills better than standard testing.

  1. Creativity

A bucket of assorted LEGO pieces is a world full of possibilities. Unlike a more traditional puzzle, there are no firm rules on what can or can’t be done. While sets encourage following instructions to a goal, this doesn’t mean the child can’t exercise her creativity in making their visions come true.

This is wonderful because it allows the child to learn how to think and pursue goals in different ways. Whether using pieces of a certain colour for a certain desired effect or using different types of pieces to accomplish a goal, this freedom of choice will certainly encourage creative solutions to accomplish a vision, a skill to be carried throughout their life.

AmputeeOT: My Legoleg - amputee prosthetic leg made with Lego bricks (legos) - YouTube

This isn’t limited to building, either. The minifigures and other elements that often accompany LEGO sets also encourage the child to create full stories and scenarios, which is, of course, great for their imagination!

  1. Perseverance

Failure is also a part of learning, and everyone who’s played with LEGOs knows this sometimes happens. Whether it’s a build breaking apart by accident, or a project that didn’t work out so well, sometimes things go wrong.

For many young children, failure is a frustration. But LEGO play encourages them to try again, something different and better. Because LEGOs are so engaging, children feel encouraged to do it again, or change things around.

This helps them learn that failure isn’t the end of the world and that they can always build again — whether it’s something else, or the same thing in a different way.

  1. Teamwork & Social Skills

LEGO doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Many sets are better enjoyed in a family — and here, it’s good to share tasks, learn about teamwork and how to divide a problem to solve it. In a school setting, many children will learn to band together to build something great, which is a wonderful encouragement for teamwork.

This is also useful for autistic children. Studies show that LEGO encourages social interaction in high-functioning autistic children. This is also a benefit to disabled children, who learn through a common ground how to socialize and interact and even solve their daily life problems together.

  1. Thinking outside the box

Many sets come with instructions. A smart parent can use this as a teaching moment.

Instructions-reading will help with literacy, but also show a child how instructions can help you accomplish a goal faster — and how and when we can deviate from them while keeping the same, or similar, results. Even better is encouraging children to recreate results their own way — without instructions.


Researchers found that college-age students who built LEGOs without instructions performed best in creative solutions tests such as the paperclip test (finding different ways to use a paperclip) than students who used instructions.

Sometimes, the instructions may suggest something and you can see a better solution. It’s something to think about, that they are not absolute guidelines! This sort of divergent thinking also helps when it comes to deciding what to build and how to build, and the many different ways one can learn to build the same thing.

  1. Spatial skills

Spatial skills are the ability to see and rotate a shape with your mind’s eyes. This includes accurately judging distances as well as projecting a full form from a given image. Children who play with LEGO develop this skill a lot easier. As they play and build, they develop the skill to see the full image in their heads. This grows especially after building something by following a blueprint or image model.

Working with blocks such as LEGOs help children identify and divide problems into many parts, which them come together to form full, realized pictures. While there is no absolute evidence whether the improvement comes from play or whether children with such skills are more attracted to that sort of play, there is some evidence that such play helps the child develop said skills and improve them in both speed and accuracy.

This also works with adults: many actual engineers use LEGOs and similar building blocks to proof ideas before a project goes out into the real world.

  1. Confidence


This might seem unrelated, but the sense of accomplishment after building something can greatly improve your child’s confidence. This relates to how accomplishing goals give us a positive feedback, which in turn encourages us to pursue further goals. Original creation or planned set, the confidence earned from accomplishing that goal persists.

  1. Focus and Patience

Building something often takes time, and the more complex the build, the more patience and time it takes. This is why LEGO is a great way to improve the focus and patience of your children. As they plan and focus on an outcome, they’re learning about effort and how to be patient to accomplish their goals.

These are just some of the benefits — it all depends on the children and adults involved, and the creativity involved as well. Whether it’s in early robotics classes or simply a relaxed tradition in family, building with LEGOs is a worthy and educational pursuit for many.

The post Guest Post – 9 important skills your children learn from LEGO appeared first on The Mediocre Dad (formerly Henry's Blog).

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In the UK, we love our subcultures, they’ve always been a part of life. It started in the 50s and 60s and it’s still as important today. One of the largest yet most controversial subcultures that is still going strong today, is the Football Casual. A lot of people will think of it as Football Hooligans, but there is a lot more to it these days, it has always been about the fashion and the clothes and today that’s made more obvious with football violence have been pushed even further to the margins. Today men associate with casual culture because they love the clothes and love being connected and identified as a football fan.

It all started way back in the 1950s when football fans started to embrace the popular fashion of the Teddy Boy culture. Football is traditionally a working class sport, and a lot of the fans connected with the anti-establishment nature of the culture.  That connection stayed with the terraces through the 60s until it was replaced with the skinhead movement.

It was a turbulent time for football casuals, skinhead clothing is easily identifiable and the Police began to target them, even before they got to the grounds. Plus football fans didn’t necessarily share the same political views of the skinheads, and of course, being a casual is multi-cultural.

The football casuals were crying out for their own sense of identity. Each club has their own fan groups, but other than that, there is no higher being, that make universal decisions for the group. Finally they forged their own identity in the late 70s and it’s thanks to Liverpool FC.

During the late 70s, the Liverpool team were kings of Europe. Year after year, they went all across Europe beating the best teams in all the top leagues. As the team conquered Europe, they were followed by their fans. It’s those fans that were the catalyst for the football casual we have today.

Whilst travelling across Europe, the liverpool fans would pick up clothes at all the Boutiques around Europe, and then wear them back home on the terraces as a way of showing others that they were die hard fans. They specifically picked up brands you could only get in Europe, that hadn’t made their way to the UK besides the odd boutique in London perhaps.

If you had a Lacoste Polo, that was really only available in Europe, it showed other fans that you were a die hard fan that followed your club over land and sea. A badge of honour, or a uniform.  Motifs like the Lacoste crocodile became instantly recognizable. Other fans began to copy them and not just fans for other clubs playing in Europe, especially northern fans. Londoners were the last to follow, they always so “the north” as a little backwards, so were late jumping onto the football casual bandwagon.

This is the football casual as we know it today. All through the 80s it just grew and grew, but a lot of fans were still reluctant to embrace it because they didn’t want to be associated with football violence. Then. moving into the 90s the Police started a massive crackdown to wipe out football violence, especially around the grounds on match day.

As the violence was pushed the margins, more and more guys felt comfortable embracing the football casual fashion. They love football and being a fan of their club, an almost tribal identity and wearing specifical designer clothes allowed them to show than connection, and still look fashionable. It’s also a style that can be easily blended into everyday life,  unlike other subculture like skinheads, or goths.

Which brings us to the present day.  In 2016, over 13 million people went to football matches. More and more of them have embraced the casual culture. You’ll find brands such as Lacoste and Stone Island, C.P Company and Lyle & Scott in abundance. Fred Perry and Diadora are still cool. But there’s also been some new brands, launched off the back of the culture like Eighties Casuals and Weekend Offender.

The culture is no longer associated with violence, or at least the hooligan element is vastly outnumbered by those who just love football and wear the clothes to show others of that connection. The Football casual is only about football and the clothes. Is it not time for a new image?

The post Guest Post – A short history of ‘Football casual’ fashion appeared first on The Mediocre Dad (formerly Henry's Blog).

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If I asked you how much you know about Carbon Monoxide, chances are you’d probably give a very similar answer to me. Namely: not a heck of a lot.

Apart from the basics I learned in GCSE science, I know that we have a couple of basic Carbon Monoxide detectors in our house, which our landlord insisted upon, and that the fact we have a log fire means we’re at more risk from this elusive gas.

Based on research put together by the lovely people at npower, who have an awesome CO hub dedicated to this stuff, it seems like a lot of other people are pretty clueless about it too – which is a bit of a worry when you consider that Carbon Monoxide can be deadly.

To help spread awareness of this invisible killer, npower have asked me to share their research with my readers. But because they know that research can sometimes be a little bit boring to read, they’ve sweetened the deal and offered up an awesome competition prize for me to give away. More on that later…

Last year, npower asked children around the country to draw an illustration of what they think Carbon Dioxide would look like if it wasn’t invisible – and you can see some of their entries below!

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a sweet competition prize up for grabs. Before you enter, though, you might want to take a look at the very comprehensive infographic npower have put together to share their research findings…! Once you’ve digested the facts, scroll down and take a look at the competition details!

So, now we all know how dangerous Carbon Monoxide can be, doubtless you’ll want to do something about it. The easiest solution is to have a Carbon Monoxide detector installed, either via the local fire brigade, your landlord or just from the shops.

One lucky reader, however, could win the next generation of CO detectors – namely, a Nest Smoke detector and alarm. Not content with being a talking smoke alarm, the Nest detector monitors your CO levels too, and will alert you if there’s a problem. Cool huh?!

So how do you go about winning this cool prize, huh? Well, it couldn’t be simpler – just answer the question below!


Contest by Rewards Fuel.

This competition, and the article itself, are a paid collaboration with npower. All words are my own.

Good luck!

The post Fatherhood: Win a Nest Smoke Detector with npower appeared first on The Mediocre Dad (formerly Henry's Blog).

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As I occasionally mention when starting off my better reviews, the novelty of having a brand asking whether they can send me their product to try still hasn’t worn off, 6 years in. And when that brand happens to make beer, this is especially true. Who doesn’t want to try beer?!

But when the email mentioned Hofmeister as the beer in question, I must admit to being more than a little dubious. You see, I’m very familiar with the product – or at least I was.

Just under 20 years ago (god, now I feel old) when I was starting University, Hofmeister was quite a popular beer. Well, I say popular – perhaps well-known is a better description.

If I tell you that my personal nickname for the beer was “Trough-meister”, you might get a feeling for why. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a terrible beer. But the fact that it was often sold to students on “£1 a pint” deals probably tells you what you need to know – we’re not talking fancy drinking here.

So when the nice lady from the PR agency mentioned Hofmeister, the memories came flooding back. To add to the nostalgia, here’s a picture of what I looked like in those days – I may well even be drinking a pint of Hofmeister, who’s to know…

Thankfully, I needn’t have worried – it turns out the Hofmeister of 2017 is a completely different beer to the one of my youth. And I’m pleased to tell you: it tastes lovely.

I can tell you this with some certainty, because I got sent a crate of beer last week, and I’ve already drunk them all… oops! My only excuse is that they were extremely drinkable and I’ve had a very long week!

Curious about the resurrection, I did a bit of Googling. Turns out the original version of Hofmeister was axed in 2003 (not long after I finished uni… coincidence?!). 14 years later, it has been resurrected by a completely different brewery, in a completely new style.

The new beer is a Bavarian Helles lager – similar to your classic Pilsners, but not the same. It’s slow-brewed which means it takes longer to make than other lagers, which is usually a good sign.

It’s a nice sensible 5% ABV, and is apparently best served with a decent head on.

I tried pouring the head correctly a number of times, but I think I might still need more practise. Better head out to buy some more – just in the name of practise, you understand…!

If you want to try a case for yourself, head over to http://bit.ly/buyhofmeister – You can get a case of 12 for £19.99 or a case of 24 for £39.99 and, for a limited time, you can also get free delivery if you enter the code FTBHOF17 at checkout.

Want to win a crate for yourself?

Whilst I know I’m no beer connoisseur, my review may well have left you itching to try a crate for yourself – and luckily, I have one to give away!

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning one is complete the competition form below – it’s fairly self explanatory, and I’ll leave it open for a week.

All entrants must be over 18 years of age, and based in the United Kingdom. By entering you are agreeing to these conditions.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Fatherhood: Review – Hassle the Hof(meister) appeared first on The Mediocre Dad (formerly Henry's Blog).

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