Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The best thing about Sats testing

“Eurggghh, we have got a whole day of maths reasoning testing today.” My boy told me this morning.

To which I asked, “What’s maths reasoning?”

“You know Dad, questions like; 
If Jonathon has so many balls, why doesn’t he have so many girlfriends?”

Guess it means essay style answers then.

I love my kid.


Friday, 18 March 2016

Still Living LAGOM with IKEA

We’ve been part of the Live LAGOM project with IKEA since Christmas.  The Live LAGOM project is a sustainability initiative aimed at helping IKEA customers live as they want but by using less.

The Live LAGOM ethos of the right amount is the best amount, is very much a favourite in our home.

We like to think we are a family that operates efficiently, yet without leading a meagre existence or by living life without any luxuries.

And that’s the real point of this project.  Living sustainable isn’t simply cutting out everything but the bare minimum in your life.  It’s more living your life the way you want to, but sparing a thought for how best to do that.

Right from the outset IKEA acknowledged that they will only play a relatively small part in a family’s efforts to be sustainable, and that lots of other factors and parties are at play when negotiating a carbon foot print, or recycling target.

That typed, it’s been surprising how the introduction of relatively inexpensive IKEA products has brought about some significant, yet subtle, changes in our household behaviour.


We are lucky living in Staffordshire that our county council is very environmentally driven.  They provide every household with a huge wheelie bin for all their recycling.  Sorting waste isn’t necessary, as this is all done at the recycling facilities after bins have been emptied.

Prior to this project we had our own wooden crate, located near our domestic waste bin, that we’d fill with our recycling.  Once it was full we’d take it out for decanting into the recycling wheelie bin.

It’s a job I dreaded, as so much recycling stuff is very light, and if the wind was up (like it always seems to be around these rural parts) it was a game to keep all the recycling inside the crate, as I made my way to our wheelie bin.  And because I used to put this job off, the recycling crate would often be brimming with precariously balanced tins, bottles and papers.  Making it even more likely I’d be chasing after our rouge recycling items.

So, quite literally, this beauty from IKEA has changed my life.

It’s perhaps a tad ridiculous to state that a large green recycling bag is life altering.  But it’s made a job, a household chore I used to dread, an absolute breeze.

This recycling bag has replaced the crate, tidied up the process and area completely.  It’s also much bigger, so we can get more in it, and thus I need to make fewer trips outside to the wheelie bin.  Any reluctance I had to recycle has gone, and I’m sure it will mean we end up recycling even more.

There’s lots of other things we’ve done too.


Our Live LAGOM project leader directed us to investigate help from our local water board, and as a result we were sent a free water saving kit.   Which all households are entitled to, yet most are unaware of.

Items were really easy to install.  My son’s extended showers have been much reduced, as he enjoys trying to beat the new shower timer we have.

A few of our taps have become more efficient, and we now flush less water away each time we use our toilets.

Meaning our water consumption will be a lot less than it was this time last year.

All thanks to the Live LAGOM iniative.

Remember, the right amount is best. Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, 12 February 2016

Why are there no baby change facilities for Dads?

During our most recent overnight nephew sitting stint, I was disgusted – in more ways than one, two being the operative number – to find no changing facilities I could use.

There were no baby-changing facilities in the mens toilets.  These were only available in the ladies and the disabled toilet areas.  The disabled area was actually locked, and I hadn’t the right genitals to access the other.

This at a soft-play centre, where you’d have thought men with children wasn’t a unique phenomenon.

I ended up doing a ‘stand up’ change in a gent’s toilet stall.

Not being a regular nappy changer these days, I was under the naïve belief that we’d made progress in accepting that parents come with all shapes and sizes.

I didn’t give it a moment’s thought when I set off to find the baby change facilities.

10 years ago when I was changing nappies all day everyday baby change access was mixed.  I can remember one occasion where I was forced to use the facilities in the ladies toilets, and that I got a very mixed reaction from the females also using the facilities that day.

Get out of the ladies toilets!

Changing a child’s nappy in the wild of Consumerton can be a stressful experience at the best of times, it doesn’t need to be made more blood pressure increasing with accusations of being a pervert.

It’s ridiculous that the world has not moved with the times, but I’m delighted to learn that a fellow parent blogger is doing something about it.

Al, who set up The Dad Network, is so fed up of, erm, crap baby-changing facility access for men, he's started a campaign to get it improved.

Check out his real life experiences with this video.

Finding Dad friendly facilities

He’s also created an interactive map of all dad friendly venues, and dad unfriendly facilities throughout the UK.

You can add any places you find that are dad friendly or unfriendly, and I’ve added mine.

This should end up as a great resource, and also as a great tool to add pressure to for all to operate a better fits all carers model when it comes to installing baby change facilities.

I hope Al’s efforts have a positive outcome and as a result men up and down the country are better able to change nappies when they are out for the day with their little ones.