We all need goals… Here is mine!

As mentioned in my previous post I hope to use this blog as a motivational tool to make sure I meet some personal targets and goals for 2016 and beyond.   Below are some of those goals and targets:-

To get out of debt by end of 2016. – During the last to years I haven’t done myself any favors when it comes on my finances and “Buy now pay later” became my method of payment.  Well I bought then and I need to pay now so 2016 will be the year of budgeting and paying off so that when 2017 comes along I will be in a position to save save save.

Enter More, Win More? –  I aim to up my competition entries in a bid to win more… Simples!

New job!  – I hope 2016 brings me that career boost I need.  I have worked for my current employer for two years and while I don’t dislike the job I feel I could do better.

Improve my health and happiness. –  During 2015 I piled on the pounds which has affected my stamina.   I am to lose this extra weight and get down to 15 stone by end of the year.

Swimming :- As a child I hated swimming.  I hated the chlorine in the water and I had a thing about dirt in the baths so I would avoid swimming as much as possible.   Now that I am a father I feel embarrassed that I can hardly swim and can enjoy taking my children swimming.  I aim to take lessons to improve my confidence and health.

I am sure there are other things I will achieve in 2016 however if I can achieve at least one from the above list then I will be a better person come 2017!

Daddy and Daughters Day Out – First Football Match!

A few weeks ago my middle daughter said the words that all Daddies have longed to hear,  “Daddy will you take me to a football match?”    I was surprised to hear these words from any of my daughters as, just like their mother they have never shown any interest in the world of sport at all!

 

What had happened was a few months ago I had won tickets to watch the ATP World Tour final (Tennis) at the 02 and had taken the eldest.   My middle daughter therefore felt she was due some daddy daughter time and knew that I love football as much as tennis so decided to ask if we could go.   I mentioned this to a friend that had joined us for Sunday dinner. He is an avid Wolves fan and told me that they were doing a family day when they play Blackpool and would I like to attend with middle D so I jumped at the chance.

 

A few days before the match I started to feel nervous.   This was the first football match that I had attended as a father and I was worried on how she would take it and if we might have to sit next to some idiot with a foul temper and a fouler mouth.   Also the week before the match Sir Jack Hayward the former owner of Wolves had passed away and therefore before that match there was going to be a special memorial for him.

 

We arrived at the match which was packed to the brim with supporters both old and young.   A panic set in as my little girl felt like a dot compared to all these football supporters.

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We entered the ground and sat down in our seats when my daughter said the words all dads dread “ Dad I need the loo!”.  Being a father with three girls means taking your innocent sweet darlings into the dreaded mens toilets which are usually a smelly, wee soden place in which no man or child would want to sit.   Taking your daughter into the mens toilet at a football stadium however is like this but 100 times worse!    We had to queue up and wait for a cubical and then I had to hold her in the air because no child should have to sit on what was available!

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We left the toilet and sat down again and the watched the celebrations of Sir Jack’s life.    The crowd began to sing “ He is one of our own,  Jack Hayward is one of our own” and some balloons were released and then the match began.   Ten minutes into the match my daughter said those dreaded words again “Dad I need another wee!”.   We had to push past all the supporters and make our way to the toilets which this time was deserted and she did her 2nd mid air wee!

 

We sat back down and started to enjoy the match… Well I did!   My daughter spend the first half of the match enjoying her packet of sweets and the 2nd half of the match trying to beat up our friends teenage son while he enjoyed the action.     With the match still 0-0 I noticed a father behind me who had taken his daughter to the match.   He too must had heard those dreaded words and was making his way to the toilets.   I felt sorry for the guy as during that visit Wolves scored a goal and the whole place went mad,   When he returned he looked slightly miffed!
After the match I asked my daughter if she had enjoyed the game which she replied no and that she thought it was lame!    To be fair I doubt I would take her again as I think she was more interested with the singing in the crowd and the sweets than with the football.   Also there was a lot of swearing during the match.  Blackpool have a player called Jamie O’Hara who used to play for Wolves previously and left under very bad terms with the supporters therefore every time he had the ball he was subjected to a load of abuse comparing him to a oversize ladies front bottom!     I love sport and I enjoyed the match even if it wasn’t my beloved Liverpool however I had to accept the fact that just like my wife, my daughters just ain’t the sporting type.

Smoking’s bad mmmkay…

This month it’s Stoptober which is another way the government is trying to encourage people to give up smoking.    It’s been nearly 7 years since I gave up the evil weed and I honestly have to say I have never looked back!

I started smoking when I was 14 as my mother was a chain smoker and I had regular access to them.    When you’re 14 everything changes, you start doing stupid things in the vain hope of attracting girls and at the time I thought smoking would make the girls come running!   As the years went on my smoking habit stopped being a way to impress the ladies and more of something I needed to get me through the day.   If I was stressed then I would have a fag, Tired then I’d have a fag,   bored then bring on the fags!

Roll on February 2008 and I faced a choice which would shape my future.  I was due to get married in October and I wanted to give my bride to be the wedding she deserved however things like big white dresses, fancy cars, Chocolate fountains, posh balloons and DJ’s cost money and with my £6 a day habit I was having difficulty meeting the deadline.   Something had to give so I smoked my last cigarette and destroyed the rest in the packet and started my journey to phlegm free lungs.

I decided not to use any nicotine replacement patches or gum as they had never worked for me in the past and decided if I was going to do this then I needed to go cold turkey.   The first week was hell!    At one point I called my wife to be pleading for her to give me the go ahead to smoke!   Then came the point of no return for me and the reason why I have never picked up a fag since.    I became very ill with a fever and vomiting.   My views are that I suffered the same illness as drug addicts and alcoholics suffer when they go cold turkey.  This is why I will never smoke again as the fear going through that illness keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Since I have given up smoking a number of things have improved in my life.   Firstly my lungs have improved and I notice that I seem less prone to chest infections than I use to be.   My health has also increased and so has my weight! My finances have improved as I am saving about £200 a month and I don’t smell like an ashtray which is always nice!

The best thing however is the knowledge that my children will never be brought up in a smokey environment the way I was and hopefully they will never be encouraged to take up the dreaded weed.

Choosing Secondary School but which one?

Ok so my eldest is in her sixth year at primary school which means, as parents we have the hard task of deciding what senior school to send our daughter.

It only seems like yesterday that we were walking her into Nursery and then reception and now we will have to walk her into her senior school and her journey to adulthood. However an important decision needs to be made and we need to decide which school to send her to.

There are four main candidates at the moment:-

School Number 1 – It’s a school with Christian values and has connections to the church in which we married.   It requires a small bus journey to attend but the school offer a free bus service. The school got average scores on Ofsted which advised it needs improvements however it’s a school in which some of her friends will be attending.

School Number 2 – Is a little further a foot however it has good reviews.  It’s a catholic school however the drawback is that none of her school friends are going to this school.

School Number 3 – It’s quite far away, in fact it’s a whole motorway junction away however Ofsted advise this is an outstanding school.  One of our friends is looking at sending their son to this school so she wouldn’t be alone however she would have to get two buses to this school.

School number 4 – This is the school that all her friends are going too however it’s basically Chav High.  Has a reputation of being underachieving and did not score high on Ofsted however she could walk to school and she would have all her friends.

You see the dilemma we have!  Do we go for School 1 or 2 which are average schools but near and she might have some friends following her up.   Do we go for School 3 which is an outstanding school however there it’s not guaranteed she will a place and its quite far or do we send her to School 4 who is a bit pants but means she will have all her primary school friends!   If I am honest School 4 is out and School 3 appeals however does she want to leave her friends and how safe would she be traveling to school 3?    It’s a decision we both dread however we will attend the open days and check these schools out and hope that we make the right decision for our daughters future.

The Children Love…. Happyland!

When buying the kids toys I have three rules.  Rule one will they play with it,  Rule two will they break it and rule 3 does it cost a lot?

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Happyland ticks all these boxes!   Over the years our children have acquired so many Happyland figures and sets that we now have four boxes full!     The kids love to get each box out and set up play towns and villages.  Sometimes it will be the Happyland Castle being attacked by the Happyland Dinosaur or other times the Happyland train might be visiting the Happyland Rocket or Treehouse!

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Mum loves them because our daughters play with them together regardless of the age difference and I love them because it frees the TV up so I can play my trusty Xbox!   However in the end both mum and dad eventually join in the fun!