Survival of the Fitbit-est

It’s raining outside. Not just raining: pouring down. It’s been doing that for 24 hours. The rest of the country is being washed out to sea and the DIY fanatic next door seems to be building something…

So I’m going out for a walk.

No, I’m not going to get wet. I’m going to get drenched. Soaked by the time I reach the pub on the corner. My coat’s still wet from the dog walk and my waterproof shoes aren’t anymore.

But I’m going. Because I owe it to my wife.

It’s the least I can do.

Rewind the clock 24 hours. [Read more…]

Once More Into the Sea…

It was time to show the boys who was boss. Time for them to learn there was no substitute for experience…

True, the last time we’d played any sort of video game I’d been fired for incompetence. And my brief skirmishes with Call of Duty hadn’t been hugely successful. At least if you’re one of those dull people who define success as killing the enemy, not your own men.

But time had moved on. The boys were older. No longer with the razor sharp reactions of a 12 year old. And I was even wiser. Plus I couldn’t possibly be as useless as last time. Could I? [Read more…]

The BiBs – ‘BestDad’ makes the shortlist…

The votes have been counted in the first round of the BritMums ‘Brilliance in Blogging’ Awards (the BiBs as my teenage children remorselessly point out) and I’m delighted to say that ‘Best Dad’ has been shortlisted in three categories:

Fresh Voice – for new blogs

Laugh – like, duh…

And (gulp) Outstanding

The process now is simple – the four blogs with the most votes in each category make it through to the final, where they’re joined by two more chosen by BritMums.

So yet again I’m doing what I don’t like doing, and asking for your support. This attractive link lets you vote. The form just needs your name, e-mail and a few ticks in the appropriate places. And that’s it – if I make it through to the final, it’s down to the judges…

As always, thank you for your support. I really do appreciate it.

MAD Blog Awards 2013 – the Final

The nominations are in, the votes have been counted and the finalists announced.

And, to my absolute delight, the ‘Best Dad’ blog is through to the finals in two categories – Best New Blog and Best Writer.

Before I drop a gentle hint about voting for the blog, I just want to say thank you for all the nominations, messages and feedback. ‘Best Dad’ has only been live for a little over six months and the response in that time has been fantastic. Actually, several degrees beyond fantastic…

So to everyone that engages with the blog and comments on a regular basis, thank you.

But enough aimless chit-chat. Here’s the link to this year’s voting: if you’d vote for ‘Best Dad’ I’d be enormously grateful.

However, I’d be even more grateful if you’d read all the blogs before you vote. Yes, I want people to vote for me – but I want them to vote because they genuinely think that ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ has the best writing, or is the best new blog.

‘Best Dad’ will always stand or fall on the quality of the writing. I don’t want to win because I have the most friends on Facebook, the cutest kid holding a ‘Vote for my Mum/Dad’ placard, or because I’ve spelt out ‘vote for me’ in toast.

So there you go. I’d like to win, but I’d like to win for the right reasons.

Tea, Toast and a Bottle of Gin

Somewhere out there a Dad is lounging around, sipping a cold beer and feeling pretty smug. Yep, not been a bad year. Rescued the kids from a burning building. Cured teenage daughter’s temper. Raised a million quid for children’s charities. And he might – mistakenly – be looking forward to pocketing the ‘Dad of the Year’ Award.

Sorry, mate. It was all wrapped up on Friday. Something so amazing happened that all your daring rescues, your behavioural breakthroughs, your thousand mile charity walks pale into insignificance. [Read more…]

The MAD Blog Awards 2013

Tuesday February 19th – nominations for this year’s MAD Blog Awards closed last night (long after my bedtime…)

I simply have no idea whether ‘Best Dad’ has enough nominations to make it to the final five in any of the categories. Whatever the result though, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who supported the blog – you have been several degrees beyond lovely.

Last time I checked ‘Best Dad’ had been nominated in six different categories plus the overall award. I mentioned this to my beloved daughter, who was not slow to point out that my nomination for best ‘Fashion and Beauty’ blog was mysteriously absent. “Have they never seen you in that green shirt, Dad? Are they blind?”

Thank you again for the nominations. And now we wait…

And around 10pm on Thursday March 7th came the news. Brilliant! ‘Best Dad’ is through to the finals in two categories – Best New Blog and Best Writing. I’ll let you know about the voting as soon as it is announced and the Awards Ceremony – gulp – will be in September. So six months to look like George Clooney… Rumours that I will be joining a gym and typing the words ‘plastic surgery’ into Google are entirely accurate.

The Dishwasher Depression

There was a hole in our kitchen. And more worryingly, a hole in our life. The dishwasher was being taken into intensive care. The man with van and bag of tools sucked in his breath, shook his head and muttered, “I’ll do me best, but I’m not promising or ’owt.”

Which was fine. Assuming you could convince yourself it was the middle of July and wouldn’t a light salad, eaten in the garden off a paper plate, be lovely? But the hall was decked, the tree was lit – and I hadn’t started my Christmas shopping. Therefore it was obviously Friday 21st December.

Christmas without a dishwasher loomed. The Mayans had been right all along – except that our world would end not with a bang, but with the loss of a domestic appliance.

Waving goodbye to the dishwasher did not bode well for domestic bliss over the Christmas period. You could hear the town’s divorce lawyers salivating. Any minute now and they’d be pitching tents in the front garden. [Read more…]

Sits Vac

’Twas the week before Christmas – and I spent it applying for jobs.

No, no, not for me. I’m long past the stage where the words ‘totally’ and  ‘unemployable’ were stamped on my personnel file. For one of my children. I seem to have become Tom’s agent. Ten per cent of all his future earnings? Dream on, mate. You clearly don’t have a teenage son.

As you may remember, young Master Nine-brains-but-can’t-tidy-his-bedroom is studying engineering. And the university have ordered him to gain some practical experience in the summer holidays. Which means applying now.

Sadly, the type of brain that gets excited by the stresses in a suspension bridge is not the type of brain that writes an engaging letter to an employer. “So you can do that, Dad.” [Read more…]

Vote for Best Dad!!

Update: 7th January 2013

The result of the UK’s Funniest Blog Award has been announced and ‘Best Dad’ has finished… second.

And I have mixed emotions. Second is irritatingly close to winning. ‘Close, but no cigar’ as the cliché goes. Plus there was a prize for winning – a Samsung Chromebook. Carelessly I told Jessica this. Regular readers will be able to guess the rest…

On the other hand, finishing 2nd with a blog I’ve only been promoting for three months is something I’m seriously proud of. In mid-October ‘Best Dad’ had 25 followers on Twitter – now we’re up to 750 (compared to 24,000 for the winning blog). Over the last three months I’ve ‘met’ some brilliant and lovely people who’ve been funny, wise, helpful, supportive (and thirsty) in equal measure. I count them as genuine friends.

So thank you to everyone who voted – and I hope you go on being entertained by the Best Dad Blog. Not very long now and Jessica starts her exams – so you may notice a few on the subject of stress… [Read more…]

Bottom Set for Maths

As a Dad, I’ve gone through various rites of passage. The first time Jessica gave me advice on what not to wear – “Daddy, there are dead people with more fashion sense than you:” the first time one of my children rolled home drunk and, nine short weeks ago, dropping Tom off at university.

Sadly, Thursday night saw another one. Another sign of Dad’s declining powers – Ben’s Year 9 homework.

This is where I’m up to with school. Languages, not good. Sciences, hanging on by my fingertips, but only thanks to Wikipedia. Geography? Mercifully Ben couldn’t see the point once we bought a SatNav.

English? I’m never going to struggle with that. History? Should be OK for a while. Which leaves Maths…where I thought I could cope quite adequately until the end of Year 9.

Apparently not. [Read more…]