Wednesday, 30 November 2016

10 Things Ive Learned As A New Daddy (Part 21!)

1. A rolling baby will fill you with a weird mix of pride at the fact they've learned a new skill, but also a tremendous amount of fear. As soon as they master this move, you can't be sure that your child will be exactly where you left them... Even if you only look away for a second. I found Mara under the coffee table the other day after I'd looked away to find the TV remote.

2. It's not against the realms of possibility to feel so tired that you think someone has dipped your eyeballs in wasabi paste.

3. If you ever have to change a nappy that requires more than six wipes before you've even removed said nappy, you might need to invest in a therapist.

4. Only as a parent have I ever sat down on the loo and thought, 'yeah, you've earned this...'

5. Now that Mara has learned to grab, and is still drooling like Beethoven, every cuddle feels like I'm being mugged by a dribbling dwarf.

6. Tidying up your home isn't a job you can finish - it's a constant battle. Not only has Caroline gone Amazon daft with Christmas coming up, but the Amazon boxes have also worked out how to pro-create. Thankfully I've got a bigger blue bin being delivered by the council - You know, those same fuck-wits who halved the size of the grey bins.
(This is our downstairs cloakroom because the recycling bin that was emptied TWO days ago is full and I've not had time to schedule in a Tip Trip!)

7. I'll never understand Mara's taste buds. Mara will quite happily munch on a piece of paper that she's grabbed from the sofa, but will kick off if we try to give her some mince & tatties!

8. Having to do a nappy change in front of an audience makes me feel more stressed than I did proposing to Caroline in Santorini. I took that ring with me everywhere we went, and I mean everywhere.
(This was about 4 months after our engagement... Circa 2007!)

9. Mara has been transfixed by Planet Earth 2 and the dulcet tones of Sir David Attenborough. She's also right in to Sofia the First so she might just like the noise and shapes on the TV.

10. We're putting our Christmas tree up this weekend and I can't wait to see Mara's face. After everything that she has been through this year, as well as us with her early arrival, it's  going to make our first family Christmas that little bit more special.

This is her Christmas sack from The Disney Store!

I'm a new dad to Mara, sharing his views on being a modern dad. There's no filter with me, I kinda just tell it how it is. Please click HERE to head to our Facebook page and give us a like, or HERE to head to our Instagram (don't forget to follow us there) and here on Google+!!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Review: The Rad Dad Box

The next big thing appears to be the monthly subscription box.
I've seen loads of them promoted online, mostly geared towards young women and new/pregnant mums. Until recently though, none really catered for guys, dads - more to the point, new dads.
This is where The Rad Dad Box comes in.
Unknown to me, Marie & George, my in-laws, bought me the first box for my birthday after I suggested it as a possible gift (Getting on a bit now, you know!)

After building up a rapport on Instagram with the creator of The Rad Dad Box, Michelle, she asked if I would be interested in reviewing their second box (on sale in December) in exchange for an honest review.
Obviously I jumped at the chance given how good the first one was! Having watched Michelle build a following on Instagram and promote her ideas for her subscription box it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Also, I'm among the first few people in the UK to receive a Rad Dad Box!! I like to think of myself as some sort of trail-blazer, and I'm delighted to be able to introduce this concept to my readers

Simply presented in a box emblazoned with their logo of a Dad & baby penguin, it was great fun to sit with Mara and discover what was inside. 

So what was included in the box? 

North Woods Soap by Suds Bath & Body
A manly smelling soap with a good lather that is all natural and handmade in Minnesota and has the added incentive of being wrapped in a plantable seeded paper "which will produce a bloom of wild flowers when planted." How cool is that? A little Spring project for Mara to grow some flowers!

- Wooden Photo Frame
 A modest wooden photo frame for a 6x4 print that will look great on our staircase photo wall (when I get around to putting all the other photo frames up to create the staircase photo wall!)

- Pop Art Camera
An Andy Warhol-esque camera (old style, with a 35mm film and everything!) that automatically turns your images into a four square, four colour fun image.

- Unitensil by Theo Stewart-Stand
A re-useable fork/knife/spoon set for dads on the go. In my line of work I'm sometimes limited to what I can eat due to a lack of cutlery, usually just sandwiches, I've never fancied eating pasta or a salad with my fingers, so this will make a huge difference to me and my diet! Probably my favourite item in the box.

- Donut Rattle by Cheengoo
A hand crocheted rattle made by artisans in China who are paid a fair wage for their work
Aside from the fuzzy cardboard packaging inside the box, this is definitely Mara's favourite item, she has played with it every day since our Rad Dad Box arrived.

- My Dad Loves Me Board Book
A simple board book to read to Mara featuring an array of dad animals and their babies illustrated with all the ways a dad shows his love to his children. Perfect for teaching different animals and actions.

- Sloth Bib from Fred & Friends
An awesome bib with a happy sloth sewn on the front. Mara was sick on it literally moments after we tried it on her, I think this means she liked it...

- Fatherhood Comic by Milk Rice Comics
A sweet depiction of parenting observations. This one shows Tummy Time between a dad and baby.

- The Rad Dad Badge
The *famous* Rad Dad Badge! I can't wait to pin this to Mara's changing bag when we head out for our Dadurday adventures! Dadurday is every Saturday that I'm not working, Mara and I head out on our own and go shopping or visiting friends and family. As she gets older, these daddy/daughter days will become more elaborate and adventurous!

(Click the link where highlighted and it will take you directly to the products page.)

Any of my readers, fellow mum & dad bloggers, Instagrammers or really anyone looking for something that's just that little bit different to give as a gift should look no further than the Rad Dad Box, and as an added incentive you can enter the coupon code MARA at checkout to bag 
yourself and extra 10% off purchases.

I'm a new dad to Mara, sharing his views on being a modern dad. There's no filter with me, I kinda just tell it how it is. Please click HERE to head to our Facebook page and give us a like, or HERE to head to our Instagram (don't forget to follow us there) and here on Google+!!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

10 Things Ive Learned As A New Daddy (Part 20)

1. There is nothing that makes you feel more like a dad than scheduling in a trip to the tip on a weekend.

2. When Caroline dresses Mara for the day she picks the prettiest outfit. When I dress her, she wears whatever goes on and comes off easiest. "Mark, why is she wearing that dress? We're only nipping to Lidl."
*Clearly not Mara!

3. Peppa Pig is a wee cow.

4. A five month old kicking you in the balls is funny. A nine month old has the potential to cause damage.

5. It's hard to enjoy every moment of parenthood when you feel like an extra from The Walking Dead.

6. I'm not in any way qualified as a doctor, but I'm pretty sure the average human body requires more than 30 minutes sleep.

7. The "aeroplane spoon trick" works an absolute treat when Mara thinks she's had enough to eat. Food flying towards her face with a "nnneeeeeeooooooowwwww" noise always makes her laugh and the spoon flies in! When I try it on myself, my hand/eye coordination goes right out the the window and dinner lands on my face.

8. I've never taken drugs but I have watched 10 minutes of In The Night Garden with Mara and I think that is as close I'll ever get to a bad trip.

9. It is possible to be so tired when you're having a cup of tea and a biscuit at work, that you drop said biscuit and automatically call it a b****rd.

10. Nine months in, Mara still has a bit of a Velcro head, all fuzzy, BUT she has these two hairs that stick out the side of her head like an aerial. They're about two inches long, wirey and funny as hell!

I'm a new dad to Mara, sharing his views on being a modern dad. There's no filter with me, I kinda just tell it how it is. Please click HERE to head to our Facebook page and give us a like, or HERE to head to our Instagram (don't forget to follow us there) and here on Google+!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Thoughts Of A First Time Dad Has Been Nominated For An Award!

I started writing my blog when Caroline fell pregnant last year and with all the napping and baby growing I had a fair bit of free time on my hands.

The main reasons behind me starting my blog:

1. I was shit scared and incredibly excited in equal measure about becoming a dad and writing a blog seemed like a better idea than going to the gym at the time, cutting the grass or doing the rest of the laundry from our trip to Las Vegas.

2. I thought it would be a great idea to document the pregnancy, and Mara growing up, so that she could look back over it when she's older and show her (potential) therapist where her (potential) issues stem from.

What I didn't expect to happen was:

1. That people would be interested in reading about our life. I mean, there are thousands upon thousands of parent blogs out there and I thought mine would get lost amongst them. 7000+ readers later, I'm still being proved wrong.

2. That so many people would contact me with so many lovely message of support, tips, opportunites and parenting hacks. I've built up a large group of fellow bloggers & Instagrammers I'm delighted to call friends.

3. That I'd ever be nominated for an actual award!

Its crazy, but I've been nominated to be entered in to the UK Blog Awards 2017 in the Parenting and photography categories. Thank you so much you wonderful person you, but you didn't leave your name on the online nomination form so I can't thank you personally.

Apparently, the next thing that happens is that next month all the nominees are entered into a public vote, so I'll be calling upon you all again soon to get your votes in.
I'm pretty sure this is the same way they work out the winners of the Grammy's or something, beg people to vote for them.

What I'm asking is,  if you've enjoyed reading about our family's journey over the last 16 months, and are looking forward to continuing to follow us,  I'd be really, really grateful if  you could take a minute out of your day to vote for me when the time comes between December 5th and December 19th 2016.
The finalists of each category are announced on January 2nd 2017 with the winners announced on 21st April 2017.

Once I know more details, I'll be sure to inform you all
Thanks for everything folks, from the bottom of my heart and our never empty laundry bin!

Thank you for reading our blog and for getting to the bottom of this begging letter,
I couldn't have done this without you, or Mara's endless stream of material!

Mark, Caroline & Mara from Thoughts Of A First Time Dad.


I'm a new dad to Mara, sharing his views on being a modern dad. There's no filter with me, I kinda just tell it how it is. Please click HERE to head to our Facebook page and give us a like, or HERE to head to our Instagram (don't forget to follow us there) and here on Google+!!

Friday, 4 November 2016

10 Things Ive Learned As A New Daddy (Part 19)

1. Putting shoes on Mara is pointless. She has this whole Sandie Shaw thing going on where she would rather be barefoot and proper kicks off if Caz or I try to put shoes on her. Plus, it just makes you late after you've put them back on her for the sixth time.

2. Toys that make a noise and don't have an off button can fuck right off. Granny Marie bought Mara this Lamaze bunny ball thing that giggles and says "WooHoo" and "Yippee" when its knocked or thrown around, but Mara was sick on it so it got chucked in the washing machine. It came out not working, so a couple of weeks later another arrives in the post! So a few weeks ago I took Mara to Glasgow for some Disney store adventures, and saw this bunny ball in the back of the car and stupidly gave her it thinking it was the duff one. Wrong. As soon as I hit the motorway she started kicking it around her car seat. I spent 40 minutes listening to it the whole way along the road and was demented by the time we got home. These toy developers have a lot to answer for IMO!

3. Those of you who don't have kids and complain about lack of sleep and being exhausted can kiss my big, tired arse!

4. Stacking Cups... Great for babies, brings out their destructive side when they manage to knock them down. Pain in the tits for adults who have to find them all after they've been scattered and rebuild them over and over again!

5. Elvis is getting more inquisitive of Mara these days and then instantly regrets it when she grabs at his ears unexpectedly. Poor bunny.

6. Memories of the first time we took Mara swimming on holiday still haunt me. Caz looked great in her swimming costume, Mara was totally nonchalant about the entire experience, walking into the cold water I looked like a Bond girl in reverse - only with hairier legs and bigger tits.

7. Caroline is going for the "Make everything seem as real as possible effect" with Mara's rocking horse. Its currently sitting in the living room wearing one of her bras as blinkers.

8. I want to dress Mara up as a pumpkin every day after seeing her at Halloween. She was so cute.
Tell you what though, when did the jokes kids tell when they come guising get so shit?

"Knock, Knock"
"Who's there?"
"You who?"

9. The Tommee Tippee Sangenic Nappy Bin provides you with your very own nappy anaconda to wrestle with every other day. Today is that day. *Voms in mouth a little*

10. Every day, Tiny Toes melts my heart a little more with her emerging personality. I love watching her try to work things out and giggling away at the slightest thing. She is always smiling. And now she's doubled her proper words bank, we now have mummy to go along with last months dada!