Thursday, 8 September 2016

Winning at Wedding Anniversary Gifts

First of all, you’re winning if you can remember.

Luckily this year we booked a family holiday - I was reminded with mild frequency - that was to commence on our wedding anniversary.

How could I forget?

I made a note on our airport-parking voucher to be sure.

Well that was the first part done, now the second and infinitely more difficult part, to procure the correct amount of gift and romance.


My wonderful wife has an infinite amount of desirable qualities, but is an absolute pig to get presents for.

She doesn’t like waste, and major waste is a present she isn’t going to use, and while pretending she likes surprises the only real surprise she likes is the one she gets when I’ve actually listened to what she said and have followed instructions.

But none of that stops me going ‘off list’ and getting her something I think she’ll like.  Or at least not return.

What is romance?

Apparently I’m not romantic.  And I agree, I’ve not taken a test but I may actually be anti-romantic.  Shove your flowers and chocolates as far as up your SPA experience as you can.

I’m more a ‘sarcastic post-it note in the cream cracker tub’ kinda guy.

However I have my moments.

It was our second wedding anniversary this year and tradition dictates that the theme for making two orbits of the sun married is cotton.

There’s a list of wedding anniversary themes right up to 100.

So with the theme set, in one of the rare moments I switch from transmit to receive mode, I also managed to recall the wife has been vocalising a desire for a new posh jumper or hoodie.

I made four from two and two.


Airport car parking bus stops are where the real romance happens.

She absolutely loves her Wifey sweatshirt from Malcolm & Gerald.  It’s top quality, and 100% cotton, which fitted the bill for our wedding theme.

But I think they may be even more popular as wedding gifts.

There’s the added quirk that you can personalise yours with a wedding date printed under the rear collar of the jumper.

Cute, but also a great regular subtle reminder for me.  As she’ll be wearing it lots.

And I basically spend my life following her around.

Rocking Malcolm & Gerald on the beach

I will take all the credit for this, though I should really send some to the hard-working Al Ferguson of The Dad Network.  As basically a picture of his lovely wife in the same jumper prompted me to add it to memory.

So I win this year on the wedding anniversary gift front.  Mind, it is only scoring an equaliser.  Wifey bought tickets (paper) to an open-air screening of Stand by Me last July.  I got to drink beer, eat burgers and posh popcorn whilst watching one of my favourite films.  I was trailing badly on the anniversary gift front.

Its honours even, 1 – 1, going into 2017, with all to play for.  However my odds of eventual victory may be higher than of Leicester City celebrating their next Premier League title win on Mars.

However I will be basking in this victory for a few orbits of the sun yet.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Major Daddy Blogger Influence

Never let it be typed, or muttered at a blogging marketing convention for that matter, that Daddy Bloggers have no relevance.

On Friday night, at precisely 11pm (BST Time), the unthinkable happened.

My watch broke.

A video posted by Ian Newbold (@newbyian) on

Having shared the news I was instantly inundated with several, not several hundred, not several thousand, not even several millions of views, comments and re-wotsits.  I literally had several interactions with the world-at-large via Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Mindful that I'd advised the world that I was going to be in the market for a brand new Casio F-91W - the watch of champions - I quickly set about reserving one for collection the following day.

Argos indeed took note.

And my reservation.

So on Saturday, after notifying our home insurer of the temporary need to use my posh watch away from the house, I set off to get my brand new everyday timepiece.

A photo posted by Ian Newbold (@newbyian) on

All was going swimmingly, reservation number was effortlessly entered into the Argos pay & collect system, and I'd got my payment card handy.

But I'd massively underestimated my influence as a half-arsed Daddy Blogger.

The price had shot up to £8.99! That's nearly 30% to those of you working at the expected standard in Key Stage 2 mathematics.

A few daft tweets and the machine had taken note, going all Bobby Axlerod on my ass.

I wasn't having it though, so I prepared my full 'don't-you-know-who-I-am?' mode, and caught the attention of a human being in the employment of Argos.

As it happens she recognised my mental health issues me straight away.

She came up with some ruse that Argos had just re-launched its catalogue and thus had revised some of its prices.  But we all obviously know the real reason for this price hike, blatant opportunism of a social media powerhouse.

However as she was happy with the evidence contained in my reservation email obviously a fan, she happily overrode the system and I'm now the proud owner of my 9th Casio F-91W.

A photo posted by Ian Newbold (@newbyian) on

The only confusion now is how much to insure it for?

But the more important point to stress, and I will be stressing this at an annoying frequency, is the power of Daddy Bloggers.  Just imagine if I was actually any good at it?

P.S. I wish I could say that no Casios were harmed in the making of this blog post, but the evidence above is damning.  Sorry for any distress caused by the moving video footage.  A helpline is under consideration.


Friday, 8 July 2016

What’s a healthy amount of risk for children?

Managing a child’s risk, and teaching them to manage their own is a massive part of parenting.  There’s so many things to be exposed to as a human being, physical dangers as well as those pesky modern online bad boys.

On the parental risk-o-meter scale, I’m not entirely sure where I fall.

Fall being a very apt word here.

I’m not a maverick who will ask my child to barrel roll out of my car to conclude a school run, but nor am I likely to place a fireguard around a tepid radiator.

So, that’s that cleared up then.


I’ve signed injury disclaimers for myself, and for my child a good few times.  At high-rope courses, for taking a go-kart around an indoor circuit and for parties at bouncy-castle-trampoline type places.

Can’t say I’m blasé about them, I do take a minute to read them through, but then again I’m not sure I think about them too deeply.  No one really wants to think about what may happen if things go wrong, do they?

Then this happened.


Max , my 11 year-old boy, was at a trampoline park, but before he even made it to the trampolines, he took a fall on the warm-up gym equipment.

A seemingly innocuous fall, taken similar countless times without injury, left him with his wrist, or forearm, broken in two places.

Not pleasant.


I must say the care he received at accident and emergency was superb.  As was his general attitude and how he coped with the pain, and the need for them to manipulate the bones back into place before putting him in a cast.

It was an eye-opening experience, and a very difficult one to watch your child go through, but he made me very proud at the same time.

What was also very interesting was the number of hospital staff that were critical of the number of injuries they see from the same local venue.  The worst being someone suffering a broken back.

And while Max got his post plaster x-ray done, another girl passed us with a suspected broken ankle from the same place.

“We’ve banned all our kids from going,” one nurse told me.

I must say the centre's kind offer of a refund and a free return wasn’t one I felt immediately good about.

It’s unlikely I’ll send him again, and I’m unsure he’ll want to go again given the injury and the inconvenience it has put him to.


Max apologies several times, to several parties, for his injury.  I reassured him, as did others, there was no need to apologise, that accidents happen and that he wasn’t to blame.  No one was, really.

We also talked about if he’d done all he could to minimise his risk.  Did he take a second to make sure his footing, or of where he may land if he fell and what he may learn going forward?

Mindful not to get him to blame himself, I thought it important to point out that while he may decide to never approach a similar situation again, he may be better off still approaching similar situations yet with a revised approach, that while considering risk didn’t take the fun out of it.

My fear being that by being put off completely, as well as missing out on experiences, complacency eventually could lead him to think there wasn’t risk in anything he still did.  Like walking along a pavement, going up or down stairs or even crossing a road.  Everyday things that have, so far, not resulted in any injuries.


It’s hard to let a child fall, but to be there to mend, put back together and assist in their journey of learning is a privilege.

I can only hope, like parents the world over, that I am guiding him in a way that helps, and that our chances of being back in an accident & emergency departments are smaller than they were before.