In the beginning..

Having a little festive break, back soon. Here’s where it all began…



I suppose best start at the beginning. I am a first time father in Northern Ireland with a 6 month old daughter. I recently joined the exclusive club of the 2% of eligible fathers who take additional paternity leave (APL),according to BBC news. I can verify from the confused looks I got and still get when talking about APL that the 2% may actually be an overestimate, there is just so little information freely out there for fathers considering this.

I started to think shortly before starting APL about what  could I do to occupy myself and my mind when I get the odd half hour here and there throughout the day and Thought…………………. I`ll start a blog! Primarily I`ll be focusing on APL and my experiences around work, friends, lifestyle and routine but I`ll also looking at my journey from the day the little lady was born…

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The complexities and pitfalls of choosing a name for your baby..


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Having been recently inspired by a blog by Dad Life below I began to think about the journey to naming a child, Dad Life looks at the different names we acquire as we grow through life and what this entails, I started right from the start. So you are going to be parents, “any […]

The complexities and pitfalls of choosing a name for your baby..

Having been recently inspired by a blog by Dad Life below I began to think about the journey to naming a child,

Dad Life looks at the different names we acquire as we grow through life and what this entails, I started right from the start. So you are going to be parents, “any names in mind” is usually one of the first questions. Then the process of choosing sometimes follows a course similar to this,

You gather your own thoughts with your partner and keep them private, after all your child is going to be stuck with your choice for all of their lives.

People give you their ideas on what they think is a great name for your child (sometimes welcome, sometimes not)

People may tell you that you may wish to choose a family name i.e. grandfather, aunt, deceased relative etc….( again may not be welcome by all and can add pressure to you at a stressful enough time)

You get confused by all of the above and buy books (This one confuses and frustrates me, why do you need a book for inspiration for something so personal!?!?)

For my part I had two extra complications, myself and my wife. I work for a huge retailer and have encountered many, many great and not so great people along the way. What I  find is that I like the names of the good people (honest, hard working, genuine) and am not keen on the names of people who I have had bad experiences with, maybe have given me grief, been dismissed etc..

My wife being a teacher for many years associates children`s names with past pupils, again some maybe bring back not so great memories!!

Taking all of this into consideration really helped us bring our list down to the bare minimum, and even that took plenty of negotiation between us. We were lucky in that we felt our baby really suited the name we had chosen when she arrived, some people change when they actually see the baby.

My advice is simple, take all of the advice you can and read what you may but ultimately make YOUR own mind up free from friends and extended family, after all this is now YOUR family 🙂


Helping the needy with food

Great story of helping the needy at Christmas, saw this on the local news website… Well done that man..

Belfast Food Man's Blog

The BFM was walking through the Christmas Market a couple of weeks ago and I spoke to a lot of Traders especially Carl from A Taste of The Tropics, serving delicious Jamaican food, about what happened to the food at the end of the night. They all said it was binned and Carl asked me if I could do something about it.

I along with a few other blogging friends did want to help over the Christmas period, but I thought why not help the needy and less fortunate now,between today and when the market closes on 21st December.

I was in the market yesterday and just so happened to pop into the management office where I met Norman, a real nice chap and Alan Hartwell the MD of Marketplace Europe. I gave my pitch and in the words of Lord Sugar I was hired. I fixed up a meeting…

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On Flying Time; Can We Do Anything to Slow it Down?

Excellently written piece, thought provoking..


Time Flies. When you’re having fun? When you’re standing still? Having babies? In love? You’ve heard the longstanding adage before. What does it mean to you? And the bigger question is: What can you do to slow it down? To me, time is moving at lightning speed. One day, I was welcoming the summer sun in my mesh-covered beach chair, listening to the squawk of seagulls at a late June sundown.  The next day, it was December. Just like that. As we get older, that phrase “time flies” takes on a meaning of greater significance. With the blink of an eye, years transpire and we suddenly find ourselves older versions of what we used to be, with more responsibility and with less, well, time.  Time is flying – and we are chasing it with everything we’ve got.

Do you remember summer vacations when we were kids? From…

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Babies and the day to day complications you don`t think about!


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Hi, having been the stay at home parent now for some weeks I have made several observations about now having a baby which I had never thought about. We all know the big changes which occur for example your sleep time is now dictated by a little person, your eating habits go out the window and your social life, well it just ends (temporarily).

But as I brought my little one to see her grandparents over the weekend I realised that even small chores are a lot more complicated. My mum phoned and asked me to bring her in some milk, no problem I thought I will go to the shop at the end of her street and get it. But wait I now have a baby, do I carry her in (shes 7 months now and not easy to carry for a long period)? Do I carry her in her car seat? In the end I dropped her at her grandparents and went to the shop hence giving me a break and them some quality time.

I then reflected back on other experiences over the past while, for example whilst out buying a shirt for a Christmas party I picked the one I liked quite quickly ( I am male and packed shops in early December don’t appeal to me), got the size and thought lets quickly try it on and off we go. But wait what about the pram and baby?? Too embarrassed to ask and not wanting to look foolish I just bought the size I thought was right and thankfully it fitted. (Here she is thinking, “you actually paid money for that shirt?!?”)

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Another example is the petrol station, do you bring her into the shop to pay when finished refueling, I have seen people leaving babies in cars and paying, didn’t appeal to me. Now I ensure I go to the stations which have a pay at pump facility.

One thing which has helped though is home shopping. We just order on the computer and go to the store and load the car up without worrying about what to do with the baby in the backseat. That was up until last week when they didn`t have some of the items I needed that day. What to do? Well I had no pram with me as I needed the boot space for the groceries, the little one was sleeping soundly and I needed a few things. Rather than try to put her into one of those uncomfortable looking baby trolleys and risk waking her I decided to lift the car seat and put her in a trolley and away we went. I did get some strange looks but she slept straight through so crisis averted.

I know there must be many other small daily occurrences waiting to happen in the coming weeks, some of you must have had the similar experiences so please feel free to share them and give me a bit of pre warning…….

Thanks for reading


One month of blogging – Five things i have learned so far

Some great tips here for new bloggers…

The UnsimpleLife

So i started my blogging journey a month ago now. So i thought i would recap on where i started and what i have learned to date. Maybe this will assist some of you out there who are just starting out like me. In the first few days i read alot of things online about tips for starting out, some good, some really not applicable to me. I wasted time thinking about things i don’t really need to, just yet. This might save you some time. 🙂

I am not sure what a ‘successful’ blog is meant to look like at this point, but i am pretty proud of myself. A month ago i had an idea, and month on i have this blog. I have been lucky enough to now have 33 followers and i am averaging about 40 views a day. Thank yo to everyone who has…

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A bell, a bauble and a baby at Christmas!


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What a magical day yesterday as we saw the delight on our Daughters face as she saw the Christmas tree at home for the first time. She even had her own special bauble and bell  to place on the tree and being the clever girl she is she picked where she wanted them (down around her height!).

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What a great day and I feel brilliant knowing that we made the right decision for me to go on to additional paternity leave at this time. Personally I cant wait for Christmas to be magical again this year as we see it all through Sarah`s eyes on her first year. She even got to put the fairy on the top of the tree 🙂

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After all the hard work it was time to relax with a  book before bed.

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Now we just need to be careful as to how she flips around on the floor (not crawling yet but its only a matter of time) in case she pulls the tree down! Ho Ho Ho…….