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.





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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.


HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN SIGNING A DISCLAIMER?


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.

Ouch!

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.

WOULD YOU BAN YOUR CHILD FROM RISKY THINGS?


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.


IS NO RISK EXPOSURE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE?


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.


GETTING IT RIGHT


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.



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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Why Blackpool Pleasure Beach is brilliant for families

Sometimes your choice of theme park is straight-forward.

You may live on the doorstop of one or have a small group, all around the same age, and height.  All perhaps sharing a common thrill seeker level.

Easy.

But what do you do when your party ranges from 2 years-old to 70 years-young?

When your group contains folks that regard 90mph upside down as a moderate rush, and others that see spinning tea-cups akin to skydiving from the moon without a parachute?

OUR THREE GENERATIONS OF FAMILY AT THE PLEASURE BEACH

You go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach of course.

We had such ‘problem’ over the recent school holiday, and having visited many of the UK’s best theme parks over the years, knew where was going to suit our party, as a collective, best.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a brilliant theme park and really comes into its own when talking of having something for everyone.

There are other great theme parks around the UK but none I’ve found that really do cater for everyone at the same time.

Attractions for every age group, for every height, for every level of adrenaline rush seeker.

WHY BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH SUITS EVERYONE


THREE GENERATIONS OF NEWBOLD ON THE DERBY RACER

Value for money & the non-rider option


Prices are very fair at the Pleasure Beach.  It is one of the few theme parks that still offers much cheaper entry for those just wishing to walk around the park, perhaps just to accompany children enjoying the rides.

And if you just want to take in a single ride or two, you can buy individual tickets rather than wristbands that offer unlimited rides.  Keeps the price down, and you are only paying for what you are riding, or not, as the case may be.

However with Pleasure Beach wristbands offering unlimited rides start at only £17 when booked in advance online, it doesn’t take many rides to get your money’s worth.

Rides for everyone


For the trill seekers, there are the big rides like, errrm, The Big One and Infusion.

Whilst rides like Alice in Wonderland, the Ghost Train and Dodgems should suffice the traditionalists.

In the middle ground there’s the Grand National, Derby Racer and Flying Machines.

For little ones there’s an abundance of rides over at Nicklodeon Land, as well as rides dotted around the park like River Caves and Eddie Stobart’s Convoy Ride.

We enjoyed a good mix, and found that those going on each particular varied.  Each of us took a break at one time or another, rather than any one of use being consistently left holding the bags.


MEMBERS OF ALL THREE GENERATIONS COOLING DOWN ON RUGRATS LOST RIVER


Handy Literature


One of the finest, and most useful, leaflets ever handed to me is this beauty.

HANDY LIST OF ALL PLEASURE BEACH RIDES FOR SMALL CHILDREN


There’s no need to fold out a massive site map, or familiarise yourself with any clever key over-and-over again every time you are evaluating where to go next.

This is a handy list of all the rides without a height restriction, and gave us a quick short-cut to target the rides for our littlest, and most conservative thrill seekers.

They also have a very handy leaflet giving you the height restrictions and ticket requirements for every Pleasure Beach ride.

Site Layout


Blackpool Pleasure Beach is set out cleverly over a relative small and flat site, it is so easy to get from one area or ride to the next, even if you have a tired toddler or indeed, pensioner, in your group.

It’s easy for your kids, or adults, to take turns choosing rides of varying menace on your way around, meaning no one is waiting very long to go on a ride of their choice or thrill level preference.

And it’s not like you have to traipse back and forth over acres and acres, to and from particular areas, wasting your day walking.  We managed to easily keep the whole of our party happy during all of the time on the Pleasure Beach.

Convenience


We drove in from the Lytham side encountering no traffic, despite it being a school holiday, once again parking right underneath The Big One rollercoaster.

Hearing, and seeing, the rollercoaster over your head always whets the appetite, and provides a ridiculously convenient and short walk to the park.

After making the very short walk to the ticket office, we picked up our pre-ordered tickets, and were all inside the park in only a few minutes after parking.  No mean feat for a party of ten including a pushchair (and pensioners).

PARKING UNDERNEATH THE BIG ONE ROLLERCOASTER


Fantastic memories for the whole family


We had an absolutely brilliant day, that is very difficult to put into words, a day not easily forgotten.  Family time at it’s very best.

Hope you and your family get to enjoy the Pleasure Beach soon.

If you want more information and tips for visiting the Pleasure Beach have a browse of all my Blackpool Pleasure Beach posts.

And to see just how much fun we had, take a look at the images below.

THREE GENERATIONS ENJOYING THE RIVER CAVES

FATHER AND SON ABOUT TO CLIMB THE UK's HIGHEST ROLLERCOASTER

STEEPLE CHASE WITH 138 YEARS OF JOCKEY ON ONE HORSE!

KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE HANDLE BARS

GRANDCHILDREN, PARENT & GRANDPARENT ENJOYING THE GRAND NATIONAL

AUNTIE AND NEPHEW REACTING SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT ON THE REVOLUTION


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