So decided to move my blog from WordPress.com or org and get myself a fancy new url!
My main aim in 2016 is to become more active on this blog. Now I know I said this in 2015 however I really mean it this time!
Hopefully this blog will become a vessel for me to achieve something in 2016… or 2017… or not :-p
A few months ago I decided to take a leaf out of my wife’s book and try the joys of comping to see what I can win.
Comping is where people enter a large number of competitions on the internet in order to win something.. simples! The idea is that the more competitions you enter then the more likely you will win one of them. I could never be bothered with it before just because it involves a lot of registering to sites which results in a lot of spam in your mailbox plus it can become increasingly boring to enter your details again and again. I had won stuff in the past including tickets to the World Tour Tennis championships in London but I just couldn’t be bothered entering my details again and again.
Around November time I had a little operation so had a bit of free time and was looking for something not too energetic to do to pass the time. The wife’s comping hobby had paid off in a big way and she had won a £399 Yamaha sound bar off a Facebook competition. I couldn’t believe how cool it was when it arrived, It was state of the art and the bass reminded me of being at our local cineplex!
On the back of my wife’s win and the the fact I had all this free time I decided to give it a whirl again and put some effort into it. I went onto the Moneysavingexpert forums as they had a dedicated forum for all comps as well as giving you the time they end and the all important answer’s to any questions needed. I must have entered about 400 competitions in my first two days! I kept checking my email box and facebook and twitter accounts but no “Congratulations” or “You’re a winner!” but i kept going and eventually I had my first win which was a pack of Curry Sauce!
You might be thinking “is that it?” but to me it was still a win and it energized me to keep going. During November and December I won three travel board games from Deichmann shoes christmas competition, Five expensive megableu games, A £200 Debenhams gift card from an Aviva facebook competition and a M&S bubbly choccy santa!
I am afraid I have not been an active comper since January due to work and family commitment however it just shows that in order to win it you need to be in it!
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.
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!
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.
We attended the Good Food Show Summer a few months ago so I have decided to write about my experience and my top four of the fantastic foods we tasted!
Let’s face it the best thing about these types of shows are the free samples and boy there is a lot on offer! One of the samples we tried was Hiver beers. It’s a specialist beer brewed with honey. The beer tastes fantastic, very crisp and goes down a treat while leaving an after taste of honey. I purchased three bottles which I drank during the World Cup however I now wish I had more L
If you like to cook from scratch as I do then sometimes you need good stock cubes or powder to give your meals a bit of flavour. The stocks tubs provided by Essential Cuisine are excellent and this is the second time that we have attended the Good Food show and have gone home with a few pots of stock. You only need a tea spoon so they last surprisingly long and give my homemade Scouse a lovely taste.
The Handmade Scotch Egg Company
These Scotch Eggs were lush! The have different varieties of eggs , too many too choose from but in the end we decided on: Tickled Pink, the eggless imposter which is smoked salmon and cream cheese wrapped in mashed potato. The Old Fart which is egg wrapped in sausage, bacon and beans, The Chieftain which is an egg wrapped in haggis and finally a Ploughman’s which as you guess is egg wrapped in pork, cheese and chutney. The eggs were delicious so we hope they are back again for the winter show.
What’s not to love about sausages! Perfick Pork sell sausages so they were always going to be good in my eyes however they sold an unusual sausage which I fell in love with. Their black pudding and strawberry jam sausages are just to die for and made a fantastic father’s day breakfast this year! All hail the sausage!!
This is just snapshot of a few of the fantastic foods that were on offer at the BBC Good Food Show when we attended but there was a lot more including tons and tons of Toffee Vodka which I found particularly nice! Also on the plus side the wife met Mary Berry…. Which was nice!
Roll on BBC Good Food Show Winter we shall return….
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?
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!
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!
As a treat for the kids before they go back to School we decided to take a trip on the Shakespeare Express! Taking advantage of a Living Social deal we only had to pay £18 for a family return ticket (Jess goes free!) to ride an authentic steam engine from Snow Hill up to Stratford Upon Avon.
Firstly as a guy who grew up with Hornby Train sets I love steam trains! There is something magical about riding on an old fashion engine instead of an electric smarties tube. I also love the fact that the train was manned by elderly volunteers who are spending their retirement caring and attending to the trains they love and grew up with. My kids however did not feel the same way and were clearly bored halfway through the journey!
Less than an hour later we arrived at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and decided to walk down to the center. Our first stop was a shop The Creaky Cauldron which is this fantastic shop and museum filled with all things magical and wonderful. They also serve their own version of butterbeer which tasted lush!
Then we popped into the Christmas Shop which sells all things Christmas every day of the year. It reminded me of a similar shop we went into when we went to York and left me wishing it could be Christmas everyday.
We also stopped off next to the River and near by the Royal Shakespeare Company and had a spot to eat before we made our way back. Alas we did not go into the museum to see Shakespeare’s place of birth or rest however both me and Jo decided that we will make a return trip one day but just the grown ups!