Blog

Home / Blog - Blog Demo
Follower Focus, Guest Posts

Follower Focus: The Windsors

We have so many fantastic followers on social media. Each and every one of them has an amazing story to tell and we wanted to share some here on thebreakingdad.co.uk. Our first ever Follower Focus is from one of our earliest followers, @WindsorFamLife, an amazing mum of five from Dorset!

I’m Gemma, 40 and a Mum of five from sunny Dorset on the South Coast, married to Darren and together we make up The Windsor Family!

My eldest daughter, Lottie (Charlotte) is 16 and she was diagnosed as having autism in June 2019. My eldest son, James is 15 and was born with Down Syndrome. My youngest son, Ollie (Oliver) is 13 and my youngest two daughters, Emily and Lucy are 7 and 5.

So, if your maths is good, you will have worked out that I had James when I was just 25, which isn’t at all common, as most women that have babies born with Down Syndrome are older mothers.

Darren and I met in 2002 and we had bought our first house together just a year later! A year later again in 2004 we had our first child and in 2005 we got married.

This brings us to December 2005, when we bought our next home and within 2 weeks of moving in we had James!

We didn’t know James had Down Syndrome and at the 12 week scan (which was the day before our wedding) they told me that I had a 1:400 chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome. Not to worry they said, you are very young! So we didn’t think of it again, until the night before I went for my C- section when it suddenly popped into my head! However as quick as the thought was there it was gone again as it was exciting to be meeting our second child.

James was born 5 days before Christmas and as they laid him on my chest in the operating theatre I was going cross eyed looking at his little nose trying to work out whose nose he had as it didn’t look like mine or Darren’s.

In recovery I tried to latch James on for a breast feed but he was so floppy and sleeping, he just wasn’t interested. So the nurse did his baby check on him instead and said to try feeding him again later.

While they did his baby check, a nurse brought me some toast and a drink, so I tucked into that not really watching the baby check but Darren however was watching and later told me they were spending extra time this time compared to our first baby’s check.

A few minutes later, the midwife went off to get a second opinion of another midwife. It was at this point they said they think our baby may have Down Syndrome as he showed several physical characteristics.

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth
  • Small hands and feet
  • A single line across the palm of the hand (palmar crease)
  • Small pinky fingers that sometimes curve toward the thumb
  • Poor muscle tone and loose joints

There are several different characteristics and James had most so they said they would send for a blood test to confirm if he had Down Syndrome but it would be 5 days for the results.

We took one look at him and it was like the penny had dropped! That’s why we couldn’t quite place his little nose, why he couldn’t latch to breastfeed and why he was so sleepy.

They then said he needed warming up and a tube feed of some formula as he hadn’t fed since birth, so they popped him in the hot cot for the night while I was on the ward expressing breastmilk like fury!

I didn’t get to hold him again until the next morning which was really hard. Once I was able to get up and walk I was straight in to see him and it wasn’t long before he was on the ward with me again.

We stayed in hospital for 6 days, which included Christmas Day which was heart wrenching as it was our first Christmas in our new house and our baby girl was at home without her Mummy on Christmas morning.

We came home Boxing Day night once James had finally managed a bottle feed and had his tube removed!

It hit Darren hard the first day he was told James had Down Syndrome and he came home and cried.

For me, it was a case of carrying on being James’ Mummy. He was a baby who needed me. However as the months went on and all my other baby friends’ children hit their milestones, it started to sink in that James had Down Syndrome and what this meant for him. It hit me hard around 6 months – I went onto antidepressants and was at an all time low.

However with time and support, I got better and excited that James is just an absolute superstar!

He is 15 now and has proved to me he can do anything he wants to in life!

If you’d like to share your story, drop us an email on [email protected] and let’s talk!

Want to see some of our top posts?

Evie, Rosie and Tilly baking cakes toogether
Coparenting, Parenting Thoughts

A blended family: All the ingredients

I remember the feeling of sheer dread the first day I introduced Rosie to Evie. The idea of a blended family seemed scary.

Up until that day, I’d been living two lives since separation: Dad and Dan.

In my days with Evie, I’d be focused solely on her from the moment I’d collect her to the moment she went home.

In my days without Evie, I’d just wish the days away until I saw her again.

This phase of my life was a real journey of self-discovery; I’d always been terrible at being alone and then, here I was, alone…a lot.

I found mindfulness and yoga and really focus on finding myself and who I am. Lots of the answers were covered in this post, ‘10 things you should start doing for a happier life‘.

Then I met Rosie.

Things were great from the off and we spent (and still do spend) most of our time together and just enjoying each other’s company.

All-of-a-sudden my life outside of Evie mattered a little more.

You can read more about how Rosie and I met here.

We waited a while until introducing Evie to Rosie. I was so worried because it was uncharted territory. I’d never introduced a child to a new partner before so how would I know I was doing the right thing!?

I spoke to Evie’s mum first and made sure we took things VERY slowly – completely at Evie’s pace.

They met, hit it off beautifully our two little world’s collided.

My introduction to Rosie’s beautiful daughters came soon after and I’ve been blown away by how quickly they’ve become little best buddies.

It’s just so effortless.

We had such a lovely day making cakes together yesterday and life, it seems, is moving in the right direction.

I don’t know when it’ll be the right time to use the ‘blended family’ label, but it certainly feels like it’s not far off.

And you know what? That feels good.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, we made these Butterfly cakes.

Activities

Cardboard Crafts: Cardboard Laptop

We love cardboard crafts. But then, Evie loves playing in my office and pretending to be the ‘Big Bad Boss’ too.

We thought it was time to bring the two together.

Evie always enjoys playing on my computer and I think it’s a fantastic way to encourage computer literacy; it’s such an important aspect of everyday life in 2021.

I don’t know about you, but I spend more time typing than handwriting by a country mile, so I always try to encourage Evie to use a computer where possible.

Evie’s too little for a laptop of her own, so we decided to make one for our imaginary play.

This is a super simple cardboard craft project, but looks really effective.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

You will need:

  • A cardboard box (A shoebox works perfectly here)
  • A craft knife
  • Glue (PVA or Pritt Stick)

1. Mark your your box


The first thing you’ll need to do is mark the shape of your laptop onto your box.

You’re effectively just going to keep two of the sides of the box, but here’s the important bit

You need to keep a small edge around the left, right and top of one of your sides.

This will give the freestanding section the rigidity it needs to stand upright.

2. Cut the box

Scissors are always a safe bet, but I find them tricky to work with when you get to the corners.

Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts when it comes to cutting cardboard.

Personally, I use a craft knife like this one, although please remember to keep it out of reach of your little nippers!

I’ve marked where you’ll need to cut on the diagram below.

Diagram of cut lines on cardboard box
Mark your box and cut, leaving a small edge on one of the sides for support
Diagram showing what laptop should look like when completed
Taking shape!
The box should now look like this.

3. Add a screen

No high-spec laptop is complete without a high definition screen!

Just cut out rectangle from some leftover cardboard (we used the lid of the shoebox), making sure it’s about an inch smaller on all sides.

Use plenty of glue, as expertly demonstrated by Evie, and get sticking.

Moving GIF image of daughter squirting glue on card

4. Add buttons

We were very loose indeed with our buttons and just made them roughly the same size. Depending on how careful you’d like to be, you could measure the buttons out.

Want a full QWERTY keyboard? You can use this as a guide…

Image showing QWERTY keyboard with key placement

You can stick the buttons using a simple PVA glue, just make sure you get a good covering because they have a tendency to come loose!

Fun with cardboard crafts! Happy girl next to completed cardboard laptop

5. Add accessories

No laptop would be complete without a cardboard mouse to go with it! Wireless, clearly.

Using a few leftover buttons and a little rectangle of card, you can add a little mouse to go with it!

Daughter looking happy next to completed cardboard laptop

Et voila! We hope you enjoyed this very simple cardboard crafts guide for kids.

This is one we really enjoyed and will definitely be doing again!

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our activity guide here for low cost, super fun activities to do with your kids!

Completed laptop made from cardboard

Parenting Thoughts

5 things about parenthood NOTHING can prepare you for

Parenthood is the best, without a shadow of a doubt.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to take it as a given that parenting is the best thing ever.

You’re in safe hands, what you read from here is going to be our little secret. I won’t tell if you won’t…

Now, it’s time to dispense with the niceties about raising kids and…just tell the truth.

It’s bloody difficult.

I don’t know about you, but before I became a Daddy I definitely thought I would be awesome at it.

The following things used to drive me insane:

  • Children who cried on planes and the parents who didn’t ‘deal with it’
  • Parents who plonked phones in front of children at restaurants to keep them quiet
  • Parents who didn’t deal with temper tantrums

I could go on.

“Why don’t you just pull yourself together and just parent!?”

I mean it can’t be that hard, right?

GIF of Gordan Ramsey shouting, "Wrong"

Oh, how wrong I was.

My brother and his wife recently had a baby and by his own admission, it’s been a bit of a shock.

Nothing can truly prepare you for the stress, worry and often despair that children can bring.

I’ve learned so much about myself since becoming a parent.

To be honest, you won’t find most of them in an instruction manual, so I thought I’d share them.

Here goes.

Here are 5 things about parenting that NOTHING can prepare you for.

1. The first few months of parenthood is essentially sleep deprivation torture

Man looking tired and saying he hasn't slept in four years

We’re all patient, positive and happy creatures when we’re well-rested.

The problem is, resting well doesn’t generally come with the territory when a baby comes along.

A newborn baby hasn’t yet learned the sleep manners and protocols we’re so used to and trust me, they’ll let you know about it.

Using their greatest weapon in the battle against restful sleep, your baby will let out a cry that has so efficiently evolved over many thousands of years to be as awful to listen to as possible.

Just as you think you’ve settled them, they’re ready for round two.

…and three.

…and four.

Ever tried running on empty? It sucks.

We get irrational and we get very grumpy.

Those bags under our eyes? They’re now permanent shady little fixtures under what was once a pair of gleaming, bright and wistful eyes.

Data from thousands of men and women shows rest is at its worst three months after birth and could last up to six years.

See you in a few years, sleep. It’s been fun.

The early days are tough for sure, but it gets easier. You can never underestimate the importance of taking time for yourself and should work together as parents to find time to decompress.

I often say you can’t pour from an empty cup and sometimes having five minutes to recharge those batteries is necessary, particularly if you’re not sleeping much!

2. You were woefully under-prepared for parenthood.

Man shaking his head and saying, "I'm not ready"

I remember the first time I got behind the wheel of a car for a driving lesson.

I was terrified.

I’d watched people driving all my life and I’d been in the passenger seat countless times.

But everything looked SO DIFFERENT from the driver’s seat and suddenly the driving instructor’s life was in my hands.

That’s parenting.

I remember holding Evie to my chest for the first time and being so absolutely blown away by the beauty [and horror] of childbirth.

Side note:
There is no time in a man’s life that are more totally redundant as when they watch a woman, surrounded by other women, bring a life into this world.

If you can witness something like that and EVER suggest men are superior to women, you should probably stop existing.

When I held Evie for the first time it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Putting her little [ish…Evie was 9lbs 11 when she was born] arms and legs into her first babygrow, I knew that I was the beginning of a long journey of discovery.

I felt hopelessly ill-equipped for it.

I often talk about parenthood as being like a secret club; you suddenly appreciate how much other parents we know are pretty much just blagging it!

3. Parenthood is EXPENSIVE.

I have never had less money in my life than in the first year after Evie came along.

Pushchairs, cots, bottles, formula, clothes, bibs, dummies and nappies…

…Oh, the nappies.

To be honest, I stopped typing the list because it’s not fair on you as a reader.

The point is, it’s a lot of stuff.

Even now, the biggest proportion of my disposable income goes on Evie by far.

It probably always will.

I’m OK with that.

That said, some of the best fun we ever have together is when we’re finding things to do at home on a budget.

If you’d have told me before I joined the ‘glamourous’ world of parenthood that I’d be making home-made ‘rainbow rice‘ and routinely baking with my little munchkin, I wouldn’t have believed you!

4. You WILL be that annoying parent who posts takes too many photos.

It’s early September.

The glistening summer sun is starting to beat its end-of-season retreat and autumn is on its way.

It’s here.

The kids are going back to school…

You make one fatal mistake.

You open Facebook or Instagram.

All-of-a-sudden, your feed is swamped with pictures of your friend’s child stood uncomfortably, harbouring a forced and uncomfortable-looking, grimace-like smile.

Why? Because it’s an important to parents, for some reason.

I mean, the biggest difference is that they’re wearing a different outfit know as, ‘School Uniform‘.

There they stand in all their generic glory, boasting a pitiful shade of red, blue or green.

Some kids, if they’re really unlucky, wear brown.

You’ll know the ones, they always look like they’ve accidentally stumbled across a time machine that warped them from World War II.

Why does the fact your child is wearing a school uniform for the first time in the school year mean anything at all?

Bad news Brenda, your kid looks the same in that picture as they did yesterday; the key difference being that they’re not wearing the unfortunate outfit you chose for them in the misguided pursuit of stylishness.

“I’ll never be one of those parents who over-shares their child’s meaningless milestones on social media because nobody’s interested.”

I mean, those are words I SAID.

Certainly not words I live by.

From the moment your kid enters this world, every single development is precious.

I’ll level with you.

At this moment in time, I have 37,995 photos stored on Google Photos account.

Screenshot of Google Photos storage with 37,995 photos

I shudder to think how many of those are of Evie.

The first time she opened her eyes, the first time she smiled, the first time she laughed (that was a video in case you’re wondering), the first time she slept on her tummy, the first time she had solid food…

Honestly, it’s ridiculous.

What’s more surprising is I could go back and pinpoint each photograph and when it happened, but I can’t find my car keys and wallet from 10 minutes ago.

Do you want to see the first time Evie went in a swing? No?
Baby daughter uses a swing for the first time

Too late, sorry – it was a milestone and I cared about it, so I shared about it.

After having children, you see that they very quickly become the centre of your universe.

If people don’t want to see it, they’ll soon fall out of your orbit.

Oh and a confession:

Evie’s first day at school was magical.

As a parent, I was absolutely bursting with pride to see my baby all dressed up in her smart little uniform and ready to kickstart her education.

So, Brenda…

Please accept my apologies; I will be posting every year for the foreseeable.

5. You’ve changed.

Children painting a father's feet

Up until the day your child was born, your life was yours.

  • Fancy a nap? Crack on.
  • Want five minutes peace and quiet? Sure thing.
  • Fancy nipping to the gym? Go flex ’til your little heart’s content.

Until you have children, you’re the custodians of your own destiny.

Whatever you fancy doing with your other half this weekend – you can.

[Within reason…we’ve just been plunged into another national lockdown]

Parenthood changes you, permanently. I can’t honestly tell you whether it’s for the better or worse, everybody’s different.

If you have children, see if you can relate:

  • I often look back at the first 27 years of my life and know that I”ll NEVER again underestimate the value of a nap.
  • Snot GROSSES me out, but I’ll regularly wipe it from Evie’s nose with my bare hands so she doesn’t have to be snotty.
  • Being urinated on, farted on, thrown up on and covered in poo…is, unfortunately, par for the course.
  • I HATE sharing food, but Evie can have whatever she wants…even if she decides she doesn’t like it and spits it back onto my plate.
  • I’m VERY GOOD at playing Mums and Dads
  • I’m AWFUL at doing Evie’s hair.
  • I smile KNOWINGLY at new parents who say they’re finding a newborn difficult when they haven’t yet experienced a two-year-old.

As somebody who has yet to or chosen not to have children, you might look at that list and think it sounds horrific…

For the parents reading, you’ll know that all of this stuff contributes to that magical journey we call parenthood.


Never miss a post!

We don’t spam! Your email address will only be used to send new blog posts!

Lifestyle & Adventures

Your Questions, Answered!

A few weeks ago, I asked you to send in questions on through our Instagram stories and, to be honest, I was blown away by the response. 

So first… I’d like to apologise for the time it’s taken to answer them! This whole ‘Parent Blogger’ thing takes quite a lot of time, apparently…

Thanks so much for taking the time to get involved. I’ve linked you all below.

If you see somebody you don’t know, check them out and give them a follow!

Has Evie ever asked questions about why you and her mum are not together?

Evie was only just about 2.5 years old when we separated and so she wasn’t really old enough to understand.

Even when I was with Evie’s mum, I had Evie every other Saturday on my own whilst she was at work, so it was never a really noticeable transition.

The way Evie dealt with the separation was fantastic, I was in absolute awe of her.

It’s amazing how resilient children are and how effectively they can adapt to new environments and surroundings. 

What’s your favourite film?

Oh, tough question. I don’t really have a favourite if I’m honest…

Before lockdown, I used to go to the cinema a lot with my brother and I like A LOT of films for lots of different reasons. I’m a sucker for a comic book or a Star Wars movie though…

*Coughs* Nerd *Coughs*

Have you ever dated someone who doesn’t have kids? 

Of course! I’ve dated a few people without kids, but one of the challenges I found was that they never quite understood how important Evie was to me.

I know it might seem like an obvious statement, but when you’re used to being the priority when you’re dating other people and suddenly you’re not when it comes to me, that can be a bitter pill to swallow…Unless you have children yourself. 

Dating somebody with kids is a balancing act because you always want the person you’re with to feel loved and special, but you also need them to appreciate that you only get a small window of opportunity to raise your kids – I don’t want to waste a second of it. 

What I love about Rosie is that she completely gets it. 

To give you an example, we went to hers a few weeks ago to make mince pies and to be honest, Rosie and I barely spent any time together at all. 

For both of us, the priority was and is making sure the kids are always having a nice time. It usually involves us splitting up between the two older girls and Liza, the youngest. 

When we do finally get a chance to be alone together, it’s all the more special. 

What’s your best quality (or something you’re proud of) as a dad?

I think my best quality is that I am absolutely unwavering in putting my daughter first.

I see my purpose on this Earth as making sure Evie has the most fun-filled, loving and memorable childhood that she can possibly have – Nothing relationship, work or otherwise will ever get in the way. 

Did you ever doubt a bit about having the account public or private?

Yes, for sure. I toyed with the idea of creating a public Instagram account for almost a year before I actually did it. I spent a lot of time researching parenting accounts and realised that SO many people were doing it. 

I’m very careful about the information I publish on the account and take our privacy seriously; it’s something I think about often.

What’s the best thing about a blended family?

Seeing the bond between Evie, Tilly and Liza forming has been absolutely lovely. They already behave like they’re little best friends and play so nicely together – It’s the most rewarding dynamic to watch.

It helps to add an extra dimension to Evie coming over because she gets social interaction with children of a similar age, as well as just time with her old man. 

I also love that Rosie and I have quite a similar approach towards parenting, which is very hands-on. I’ve been able to learn a lot from Rosie and I’d like to think she might have been able to learn from me too.

I think the fact we can work together like that can only enrich Evie’s perspective on life as far as I’m concerned! 

Would you start a podcast too or just focus on YouTube for now? 


You may have noticed recently that I’ve been dabbling with a few different platforms aside from Instagram.

I’m working on developing this website, as well as gradually getting to grips with YouTube; expect more in ’21!

I’d like to ultimately film a YouTube series that can double up as a podcast too, but I’m also conscious that I don’t want to spread myself too thin. 

At the moment, the battle is that I work full-time hours and have Evie just short of 50% of the time…On top of the Instagram, blog, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook etc… I don’t sleep much.

What is the best thing you love about the bond between your new partner and your daughter? 

Oh, I absolutely love it when Evie gives Rosie a big old cuddle when she sees her.

It’s lovely to see how at ease Evie’s become and what a great addition Rosie’s made to both of our lives. 

I recently mentioned in this Instagram Post how Rosie would never try replace Evie’s mum and just love that she sees her role as adding value to Evie’s life, not pretending to be anything she’s not. 

Do you have a goal for the future?

I’d love for Rosie and her girls to move in with us towards the end of 2021.

We’re not in any rush at the moment and, right now, are quite happy to take things slowly.

I have a lot of things I need to do in order to get the house ready for them, so 2021 will be a year of saving and prepping. 

Aside from that, I’d like to keep working on the blog as well as the Instagram and hopefully grow it!

How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a dad? Did you feel ready? 

I was so excited! All I wanted since I could remember was to be a Daddy.

When I found out Evie was on the way, life changed instantly.

I remember feeling surprised at how real she felt already, even though Evie’s mum was only two weeks pregnant.

Evie was the first name that came to mind and although we went through just about every name in the book, Evie always just felt right.

Nothing in my life ever felt more like it was supposed to happen.

Although I never saw separation and co-parenting in my future, my role as a Daddy in Evie’s life has only become more important to me I’ve watched that little lady grow.

If you could give one bit of advice to co-parents, what would it be?

I’m actually in the middle of writing a blog post on co-parenting tips from the lessons I’ve learned; watch this space!

The biggest piece of advice I can give to anybody from personal experience is to strip out all emotion from the situation.

Separation and co-parenting are incredibly emotive subjects. It’s so easy for that delicate parenting balance to be thrown out at the flick of a switch.

If you can take a step back and look at the situation empathetically and truly put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you’ll realise that EVEN IF you think they’re being nasty, they’re probably doing it for the right reasons.

Focus on the intent rather than the outcome and remember that no matter what, your child(ren) MUST come first.

Since making your new relationship public, do you feel that men are judged/criticised more for moving on after a relationship breakdown?

100%! On the day I posted the first picture of Rosie and me, I lost 200 followers overnight.

Every time I share something involving her, along with the fact we’re happily building a life together, I get some sort of message or comment that suggests that I shouldn’t post about it.

The thing is, I totally get it.

Lots of mums wouldn’t like it if their ex were to post pictures of their new partner with their children, particularly those who are newly single and haven’t yet been through it.

My ex knows all about Rosie and I was as respectful as I could have possibly been.

I involved my ex in the decision to introduce Evie to Rosie, I took the process very slowly and we placed absolutely no pressure on it whatsoever.

We all have to move on at some point and, so long as Evie is happy, I’m happy.

How do you make sure your child’s education isn’t affected by co-parenting?

I don’t see why co-parenting would impact a child’s education if I’m honest.

The most important thing is that Evie has a supportive and loving environment, whichever home she’s in.

If anything, I think co-parenting benefits Evie because as parents, we each have less time with her for things like reading and homework, so we want to make the most of it! 

As far as Evie’s development goes, seeing Evie progressing and reading her first books fills me with so much happiness. She’s an incredibly bright little lady and all I try to do is reinforce that curiosity to learn with lots of praise.

I have no doubt that Evie’s mum does the same. 

What did you want to become (career-wise) when you were younger?

When I was growing up, I really wanted to be a journalist. I think deep down I just wanted to be Superman but settled on Clark Kent. 

I did some work experience for a newspaper and I HATED it.

I’m sure it’s not all bad, but I didn’t like the way the people stepped on each other to get a story or exploited others for coverage. 

I’ve always been into the design as well as copywriting (the focus of my degree) and I told the Editor at the newspaper that I wanted a career that would allow me to do both.

He told me categorically I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) find a job like that.

I now run a marketing team, take a hands-on approach and routinely get involved in writing, as well as design…every day.

Being able to roll my sleeves up and muck in with the design as well as copywriting has proven one of my greatest career assets.

The joke’s on him. 

How did you know when the time was right to introduce Evie to your girlfriend?

We really took our time with it.

Rosie’s separation was far more recent than mine, so we knew that meeting her children would be much farther in the future.

I wanted to be sure that Rosie and I were going to be staying together. I talked to Evie’s mum about it to make sure she had no issues with it. We’d both agreed early on in the separation that we’d leave it a minimum of three months and from there, we just gauged it. 

First, Rosie came for a day out with Evie and me and took a deliberate back seat (although Evie loved her almost immediately). Then, over time we just gradually increased the contact here and there. 

This whole process took a good few months and we still take it nice and slowly, making sure Rosie and I both get lots of one-on-one time with our respective kids. 

How did you and Evie’s Mum split Christmas?

We alternate each year.

Last year, Evie’s Mum had her on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day until 14:00, at which point I picked her up,

This year, I had Evie until Christmas Day at 14:00, when I dropped her with her Mum. 

Evie’s mum has been great this year and really helped to facilitate a good amount of time with her between us – I really can’t fault her actually.

What did you want for Christmas?

I’m very easy to please, I don’t really need anything.

As cliche as it sounds, it was just the fact that I got to see Evie’s face when she woke up on Christmas Day this year.

That made me a very happy man.

That said, Rosie did surprise me with the most INCREDIBLE present for our first Christmas together.

I’m a bit of a boxing fan and I have a signed picture of Muhammad Ali on my office wall.

I mentioned when we first started dating that I loved it and hoped to get one of Mike Tyson one day.

Rosie remembered it and got me a picture of Mike Tyson’s first Heavyweight Title win against Trevor Berbick.

It was the most thoughtful and generous present I’ve ever been given!

Do you have any festive traditions? 


I wouldn’t say we have any festive traditions outside of the ordinary really.

Of course, the mince pies go out on Christmas Eve and Evie always has some new pyjamas and a little cuddly toy on Christmas Eve in a little Christmas box (This year I had a matching pair…), but otherwise, I’d just say it was all the standard stuff! 

What made you want to start blogging? 

Well, I work in marketing for a living and have written articles for commercial blogs for over 10 years now.

I ran a small blog when I was first starting out, which helped me get my first job and had never really done it since. 

I just love the idea of growing the website to be a platform of information and support for other parents.


Never miss a post!

We don’t spam! Your email address will only be used to send new blog posts!

Parenting Hacks & Tips

A Daddy’s Low Budget Guide to Kids Activities at Home


[Updated 23.12.2020]
Update: Since posting this, the Government have announced the introduction of Tier 4 and a range of additional COVID measures, sadly. This means it’s more important than ever to find indoor activities for kids, and where possible, kids activities at home.

We may have had promising news recently about the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine, we’re not out of the woods yet.

Whilst the majority of children are back at school now, let’s face it – Keeping them occupied whilst at home can be tough sometimes; particularly when funds are running a little low in the run-up towards Christmas!

I thought I’d share some budget-friendly ideas for activities for your children based on what Evie and I got up to during the first nationwide lockdown.

Enjoy!

1. Making Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice Sensory

Although the warm and sunny days of the first lockdown have long since passed, this is a great little activity for kids if you want to to keep them occupied.

The great thing about making rainbow rice is that it’s perfect for sensory play. It’s amazing how much fun you can have with some dyed rice as part of a sensory bin; Evie loved doing this as a two-year-old and she still loves it.

It’s great for developing fine motor skills too.

What you’ll need:
– A few bags of rice
– Plenty of bottles of food colouring
– Sandwich bags
– A large container

Get yourself a sandwich bag for each different food colouring you have and fill them with roughly the same amount of rice (You can weigh it if you like, but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle…).

Add a good amount of a single colour into each of the different bags and tie each one up. We ended up with one bag that was brown, one that was yellow, one that was blue, one green and so on…

Get your kids involved with squeezing the bag and distributing the colour evenly around the bag. Talk to them about the texture and get them to notice how it changes as the bag becomes wet.

Next, leave the rice to dry for around 24 hours and, et voila!

Rainbow rice.

Things you could try:
– Burying a small toy in there and giving them a pastry brush. They aren’t allowed to use anything but the brush to find it – Evie loves this game!
– Separating the rice into colours
– Burying your hands in there and really feeling the texture
– Using an empty metal coffee tin as a rice shaker to make noise

2. Cardboard Laptops

This is a great little activity you can do at home with a leftover shoebox.

You can take a look at our more detailed guide for full instructions, but here’s a quick summary:

What you’ll need:
– A shoebox
– A craft knife
– PVA glue

Simply mark the laptop shape (A full diagram can be found here) and cut it out, making sure to leave a good solid edge on one side to help it stand up.

Glue on your screen and buttons and add a mouse for some extra flare!

3. Cupcake Case Flowers

Easter came and went during lockdown this year, so we used these fancy little copper cupcake cases and made Easter daffodils.

What you’ll need:
– Cupcake cases (Try these!)
– Paint pens (Get ’em here)

Really simple idea, but looks great and makes for a lovely little craft activity if you want to change it up a bit.

Just stick the cupcake down and encourage your child to be as imaginative as possible with the shapes they make.

It’s amazing how much enthusiasm and excitement you can create with your little one with something as simple as a cupcake case.

Things you could try:
– Using the cases as wheels for a car
– Using the cases as eyes for a monster
– Using the cases as the nose of a dog

You get the idea!

4. Sandwich Bag Painting

Evie absolutely loved this one because she was able to get really involved with the making of it! I still have remnants of the tape stuck to my window…

What you’ll need:
– Sandwich bags (I prefer this kind)
– Washable paints (Any will do)

Fill some ziplock sandwich bags with different coloured paints and stick them to the wall or a window.

We used ours to draw little pictures with our fingers, which is a great way to get them thinking about the formation of shapes and letters.

Evie found it particularly funny when the purple and orange paints merged together to form what she delightfully referred to as, ‘blood’.

It honestly looked like we’d hijacked a blood transfusion bag and stuck it to the wall.

Maybe avoid mixing orange and purple, actually.

What you could try:
– Depending on their age, practise forming letters
– Form shapes and lines in the paint
– Draw faces together
– Mixing colours in the bag and talking about how you made it

5. Pepper Science Experiment

This is s great science experiment for kids.

If you’re looking for educational activities for kids, this is great since it helps to reinforce the importance of washing your hands…

What you’ll need:
– Pepper
– A mixing bowl
– Soap
– Water

Just fill the mixing bowl with water and get your child to put plenty of pepper into it.

Then, get Them to dip their hands into the water and watch how the pepper sticks.

Evie declared that it was, ‘So gross’ at this point and immediately went to the toilet to wash her hands.

Next, get your child to put a little soap on their hands and rub it all over.

Make sure they’re paying attention as they put their finger slowly into the water and then marvel as the pepper dashes away to the sides of the bowl.

Being the nerd that I am, I Googled why this happens – It’s all to do with surface tension. Very clever stuff and worth a try.

6. Make Salt Dough Hand Prints

Making salt dough is a great activity for keeping the kids occupied at various intervals during the day.

What you’ll need:
– 1 cup of salt
– 2 cups of flour
– 3/4 cup of water

To make salt dough, just mix together your salt and flour in a large bowl, then gradually stir in the water.

As the mixture binds together it’ll start to form a doughy consistency which you can mould however you like.

I wanted to make something we could keep, so I got Evie to use the rolling pin and flatten it out before making two big handprints in it.

After that, you need to stick it in the oven at a fairly low heat and just let it dry out.

Because it takes a long time to cook, you can start off in the morning, go and play something else and come back to it later on in the day.

I’m sure you can do it more professionally than we did; we weren’t very scientific with out timings…We just kept checking every now and then, before eventually taking it out when it seemed done ?.

7. Use your Surroundings

Introducing ‘Cushionland’! This one regularly makes an appearance at our house because it’s fun, easy-to-do and safe.

What you’ll need:

– Cushions from the sofa
– Floor space
– A strong reserve when they’re jumping

I love creating a safe environment for Evie to just go wild; even if that means leaping like a lunatic across the room.

The beauty of using your surroundings, if you’re not too precious on keeping your sofa immaculate of course, is that you can create sooo many games off the back of it – ‘The Floor is Lava’ of course being one of the favourites.

Sometimes it’s nice to just throw caution to the wind and have some fun burning off some energy.

8. Make Stamps

Having fun at home doesn’t need to be expensive and you can quite often make use of everyday items around the house. There’s something so rewarding about crafts for kids and Evie always loves it.

What you’ll need:
– Washable paint (Any will do)
– Cardboard Toilet Roll Tubes
– Masking tape

We really love doing little arts and crafts, but sometimes children just need a little push to get creative.

This is great because it focuses on teaching control, whilst reinforcing a little creativity.

9. Make a Sofa Den

What you’ll need:
– A sofa
– A blanket or two
– Some cushions
– Your imagination

This is one of my favourite games as a Daddy. I don’t know why, but there’s something about building a den that I just never seem to grow out of.

I love anything that involves imaginative play because I believe that imagination is the route to creativity and, in my humble opinion, I believe that creative people are successful people.

I want Evie to grow up always thinking outside of the box and challenging the world that is presented in front of her.

As a strong young lady, Evie needs to know that she can change the world if she puts her mind to it.

I know it sounds a little grandiose, but by literally changing our surroundings to suit our games, Evie is learning an extremely valuable lesson – the world is what you make it.

We love building a den and lining up all of Evie’s teddies or Barbies in there; you’ll usually find us in here at some point over a weekend!

10. Make a Pirate Ship

What you’ll need:
– A sofa (or two)
– Materials for the sail (We used an old curtain on a curtain pole)
– A plate for the ship’s steering wheel
– A sword and an eye patch if available
– A phone or tablet (This will become clear)

Pirate ships are a common occurrence in the Betts household and one of my favourite home activities for kids.

We often push the two sofas together and wedge an old curtain pole and curtain vertically to make the sail.

Evie pillages one of her plates from the kitchen drawer as a steering we’ll and will often make me walk the plank if I’ve been naughty (A bench from our kitchen table).

This is a fantastic game for really spurring on your child’s imagination, especially if you use your phone or tablet to play ocean waves in the background.

Let the adventure begin!

11. Have a Bake-Off

Baking Muffins

What you’ll need:
– A muffin or cake making kit

So, you like baking? I’m happy for you. Unfortunately, this is not a skill of mine and it probably never will be.

I’m never going to be Paul Hollywood and my muffins certainly won’t pass with ‘showstopper’ status, but do you know what? I’m not really fussed!

It’s easy to lose sight of the spirit of the activity, which for me is spending quality time with my daughter.

Mixing a few ingredients from a packet is a little lazy on the baking front, but my four-year-old certainly has no concerns about a soggy bottom and to be quite honest, never eats them anyway!

Taking the time to spend time with your munchkin whilst they’re learning that they make things (even with the aid of handy packet-based shortcuts), is a perfect way to encourage curious little learners.

To me, that’s what counts.

12. Get ’em thinking

Himiku Blocks Tower

What you’ll need:
– Himiku Blocks (Get ’em here)

In my opinion, kids learn best when they’re playing. Evie absolutely loves to be challenged and I try my best to encourage a curious, problem-solving attitude.

Himiku Blocks are little wooden shapes that can be stacked high and really get those brain cells going.

Evie will often sit for ages whilst she tries to work out how she can build the tallest tower possible and, to be honest, I quite find myself mulling it over myself!

13. Put ’em to work

What you’ll need:
A sponge
– A bucket
– A dictatorial mindset

Kids these days, huh? They just don’t understand the value of hard work anymore. Evie’s four – It’s about time she learned to contribute to the household…

OK, I’m kidding. I don’t believe in putting children to work, unlike many well-known household consumer brands and their unethically-managed sweatshops, but I do like to involve Evie in activities around the house from time-to-time.

In life, we all have to do things we don’t want to do; whether it’s going to work, doing household chores or for me, exercising.

I believe the secret is finding enjoyment in whatever you do, however much you don’t want to do it.

This is an attitude I’d like to instil into Evie, so we try to think up little games and challenges to make washing the car or doing the gardening more exciting!

Keep checking back! I’m going to add to this list over the coming weeks!

Nawal Houghton Divorce Coach
Guest Posts

Guest Post: Is Narcissism All That Bad?

This is an exciting one for us this week, as Nawal Houghton from Your Divorce Coach has kindly written our first ever guest post on TheBreakingDad.co.uk on a subject I think many people will be interested in – particularly those who are going through separation.

If you’d like to feature as a guest blogger drop me an email.

Ah yes this word “Narcissism”, it’s everywhere isn’t it? And certainly for me as an expert at divorcing/separating from narcissists, it’s the main reason my clients come to me seeking clarity and strategy in their divorce process.

Some of you may have heard some horrific stories about people having narcissistic parents, members of family, co-workers, bosses and even partners. I am willing to bet that for the most part, all you’ve heard is the bad stuff, I mean all you have to do is Google Narcissism and it’s all bad, bad, bad.

Just in case you don’t know what we are talking about here, Narcissism is a personality disorder where a person has an exaggerated sense of self, a deep need for attention from others and a total lack of empathy amongst a long list of other traits.

I am going to pivot slightly here now.

Narcissism isn’t always bad. There is ‘Healthy Narcissism’.

So hear me out and this may shock you. The vast majority of us are Narcissistic to some degree.

If we weren’t we wouldn’t brush our teeth, go to the hairdresser, go clothes shopping for the latest trends, and other run-of-the-mill daily tasks that we have come to accept as perfectly normal.

This is good, healthy Narcissism.

Healthy Narcissism is related to self-esteem and self-worth.

Narcissism needs to be identified looking on a spectrum.

On one end, you do have the malignant, covert Narcissists who will manipulate, gaslight and abuse you in order to achieve total control over you.

At the other end, there is healthy Narcissism. This is what we need to be conscious of when we talk about Narcissism.

We need to be careful about branding the word around and really try to understand what arena we are talking in and where on the spectrum this Narcissism that you are experiencing is falling on.

We almost need to be Narcissistic in everyday life.

Let’s talk real life. We are currently living in a pandemic. After a shocking rise in mental health cases around the world, the need to feel good is key.

If we are able to experience feeling joyful at these difficult times, then this is an example of when Narcissism is a good thing.

People have come to realise that Narcissism is acceptable to some degree in most aspects of our lives. For example, the need to big ourselves up a bit when we are in job interviews; my goodness we’ll even do this on a date.

Does this mean we are narcissistic? Again, it’s all about where they fall on the spectrum.

If Narcissism allows you to be more self-confident about certain things then again depending on how it is being used, that’s no bad thing.

We can spend hours scrolling through images and videos on the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, is everyone on there Narcissistic?

No, not everyone.

Yes, their selfies are exhausting, the display of perfect faces, bodies and lives hitting us at our core and causing us to come to realise the difference between Real life vs Insta life.

But, what do we know of their stories?

What do we know of their struggle?

There are so many factors we need to consider.

Perhaps what you may consider Narcissism is someone’s personal battle with their self-esteem and what you are seeing is their expression of gratitude.

Maybe if we were grateful about ourselves, would we have the ability to see their actions for something else other than egoism?

So how do I tell the difference?

If we think that we are dealing with someone narcissistic, what do we need to ask ourselves when we are trying to identify if we think we are dealing with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Consider the traits that you are looking at.

When trying to identify whether someone is Narcissistic, look at their behaviour.

What are the traits that you are seeing?

  • Are they verbally abusive? Are they mentally abusive?
  • Are they unable to understand the consequences of their actions?
  • Do they project?
  • Do you feel manipulated?
  • Do you feel unsafe?
  • Do you feel controlled?
  • Does it feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time?

These are all strong red flags and warning signs that you are dealing with a narcissist – And this where I help my clients.

Divorcing a Narcissist is harder than being married to one.

If you need help divorcing or separating from a toxic personality and/or Narcissist, then please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Nawal offers a free 15 minute discovery call and you can check out her Instagram for free daily content.

You can also download of her ‘Top 20 Phrases to use when communicating with a Narcissist’ on her website: www.yourdivorcecoach.org.uk.

Parenting Thoughts

Raising Strong Daughters: Here’s what you must do

It’s no secret that I love being a Daddy. I see raising strong daughters as more than a goal, it’s my responsibility. You should too.

Since having a daughter, I’ve realised that us Dads can play a fundamental role in helping our little girls become the fierce women they deserve to be.

Contents:

1. How to Raise a Self-Confident Daughter
2. Be a Strong Male Figure in Her Life
3. Highlight and Acknowledging Sexism
4. You’ve got a battle on your hands

We’re surrounded by white male privilege. By my very race and gender, I’m a beneficiary. It doesn’t sit quite right with me.

Nothing could have possibly opened my eyes more than the birth of my baby girl.

I love my daughter more than life itself. Becoming a parent taught me the value of family.

More importantly, being there for my daughter has shown me the importance of raising a strong daughter in a world of imbalance.

Kids learn how to view the world from those closest to them. In their early years, it predominantly from their parents.

Meg Meeker’s article, ‘How to raise strong and confident daughters‘ got me thinking.

I want my daughter to grow up with the confidence to challenge society, break down boundaries and be who she wants to be.

Here’s a simple guide on how to raise a daughter for dads.

It’s by no means extensive, but it should start you off.

The motivation?

Helping you teach your daughter to be strong.

To raise a girl who is happy in herself.

To show her that she can be what she wants to be.

How to raise a self-confident daughter

As a father, I don’t want my daughter to be defined by superficial values.

Of course, we all want to look good and liked to be complimented from time-to-time, but it’s not everything.

Women are under more pressure than ever to look good, perhaps even more so than men.

Social media amplifies this obsession even more. I want my little girl to know there’s more to life than looks.

Kindness, decency, resilience and courage should be the yardstick of success when raising a strong girl.

This great article, ‘10 Compliments to Give your Daughter That Have Nothing To Do With Looks‘ is perfect.

Compliment your daughter on traits that really matter.

  • Resilience
  • Courage
  • Intelligence

Make sure they have the confidence to tackle the world around them without being afraid to fail.

Girls are strong.

I’ve been surrounded tough women my whole life. They taught me how to be respectful as a man, as well as how to raise a strong girl.

One of my favourite compliments to give Evie is this:

“You’re so kind.”

Kindness is currency.

A warm heart is a vital foundation in the making of a good parent, an effective employee and one strong little girl.

Of course, kindness can be taken for granted. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith in order to share a happy and fulfilling life.

Be the strong male figure in her life

As a Dad, if you ever finding yourself asking how to raise a strong daughter, there’s a simple answer: Lead by example.

This article for PsychCentral covers the subject perfectly.

I’ve summarised a few of the key points for you:
1. Love her mother

I separated with Evie’s mum a few years ago. Since then, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs.

One thing I’ve NEVER done is criticised my ex in front of Evie.

A little girl needs to learn from an early age that a man should treat a woman with respect.

2. Don’t be afraid of attachment

Don’t underestimate how important it is for your daughter to form an attachment to you.

Spend quality time with them, play games and let them know you love them often with words as well as physical affection. Evie rarely tells me she loves me back and I never force her to.

To me, those gestures of love are investments into an emotional bank account for the future, which hopefully Evie will be able to reinvest into her own children one day.

3. Celebrate her mind

We’ve covered this topic above, but I can’t stress the importance of it enough.

Be honestly enthusiastic and interested in the things she tells you and take time to understand the way she thinks.

For example, Evie’s latest thing is to go,

“Daddy….guess what…”

This is Evie’s little precursor to telling me something that happened in her life that she wants to share with me.

No matter what, I respond with the same enthusiasm and excitement, whether it’s the first time of the day or the fiftieth.

4. Treat all adult women the way you want your daughter to be treated someday

If you want to know how to raise strong daughters as a Dad, there’s something incredibly simple you can do: Treat women the way you want your daughter to be treated.

Your attitude towards women is a direct reflection on how your daughter will come to view herself.

Take every opportunity you can to SHOW her that she deserves respect, support and love.

Highlighting and acknowledging sexism

There are so many confusing double-standards in today’s society.

For example, assertive men are considered favourable, but assertive women are typically dismissed as rude or abrasive.

In this study, Ramesh Neir talks about how fairytales and traditional storytelling even reinforces gender bias.

It talks about how more than one study showed that most of children’s literature was dominated by male figures.

No surprises there.

What was more concerning was how the girls were “portrayed as acted upon rather than active”. Objects or supporting roles, basically.

The message: Adventures are for men, not women.

I hate that.

Where are the female role models? Who will teach girls to aspire to something more?

Our children should be ready to take on the world and be whatever or whoever they want to be.

Telling stories that continually emphasise these gender roles is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t get me wrong…There has been a definite shift.

Let it go.

Disney’s Frozen definitely helps to dismantle some of these traditional damsels in distress stories.

They deliberately steered clear of power-hungry evil witches or relying on handsome princes to save the day.

That’s a lesson on how to raise daughters in my book.

Take this point with a pinch of salt.

What I’m NOT doing, is telling you that your children CAN’T read classic tales.

Just be aware of those gender roles and remind your daughter to challenge them.

It’ll pay dividends in her development.

Raising Daughters Meme

You’ve got a battle on your hands

If you really want to know how to raise a good daughter, you need to encourage them to be themselves.

Teach them to be the person they want to be unapologetically, unconditionally and unwaveringly.

I’m going to share some bad news with you though…

If you get it right, she’s going to push your buttons, test the boundaries and challenge the rules, particularly during the teen years…so I’m told.

Perfect.

Your little girl needs to understand that her opinion matters.

She needs to know her voice is heard.

You definitely won’t always agree with her.

In fact, she’ll probably drive you up the wall.

Be patient, it’s a sacrifice you’re going to have to be to make.

What do you get in return?

You’ll have guided your little lady through her life, imbued with the sense of self-worth that she deserves.

Want your daughter to take a leap of faith and be who she wants to be? Y

You need to be there to catch her.

No matter what.

That’s what I plan to do with Evie.

Like what you read? Check out some of our other recent posts too!
In-Depth Review: KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dolls House
My top 10 parenting rules to live by for 2021
The importance of taking time for yourself

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse
Parenting Hacks & Tips, Reviews

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dolls House | An In-Depth Review

The Kidkraft Majestic Mansion is a sturdy, well-built dolls house that is guaranteed to leave a massive smile on your little one’s face.

Evie has now owned hers from for a whole year and she still enjoys playing with it as much as ever. 

My biggest frustration is that buying alternative furniture has proven quite difficult and it’d be nice to be able to switch it up from time to time. 

I can’t recommend this product enough. 

You can pick yours up from Amazon for around £180. 

About the Dolls House (The technical stuff) 

The fully assembled dolls house comes to about four and a half feet tall. The exact measurements 132.1cm x 35.5 cm x 135.9cm – It’s huge! 

To put it into perspective, Evie needs a step to be able to see into the baby doll’s attic room, which means she’ll be able to get plenty of use out of it over the next few years. 

Because of its size, there’s easily space for more than one child to play with it side by side too.

The house comes with 34 pieces of well-crafted wooden furniture including a piano, grandfather clock, bed, bedside tables and more lots more. We regularly play ‘moving house’, a simple game that involves removing all of the furniture and putting it back in its new place somewhere else in the house.

There are eight rooms are spread across four floors and perhaps most impressive of all is the working life for the dolls to move between levels. 

The house is designed for ‘12 inch dolls’, which is the standard Barbie or equivalent brand size. 

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse

Putting the KidKraft Majestic Mansion together 

Although it took a little bit of time, assembling the dolls house was nice and straightforward. 

There were numbered stickers on every separate piece and the instructions were nice and clear. 

All-in, I’d say it took slightly more than an hour to put together, with the help of my brother – I’d recommend having somebody else with you whilst you do just to help you hold bits together.

The dolls house comes with wall fixings and I would strongly advise you to not waste any time in fixing it to the wall. Because the house is tall, Evie has tried on a few occasions to pull herself a little higher to see the attic, which of course means that she places all her weight at the top.

That terrifies me but is easily prevented.

Build Quality 

The Kidkraft Mansion is surprisingly well-built. 

I really like how the panels are already pre-covered with nice little prints, which clearly and easily signify what each room is surprised to be – Evie’s favourite has to be the living room for sure! 

For me, what stands out on the Majestic Mansion is the great level of attention they’ve paid to the little details throughout the house.

The garage doors open and close nicely and can fit Evie’s Barbie car in it perfectly. The little pieces of wooden furniture look great; I particularly love the piano! 

Read some of our most popular posts here:
Low budget activities for kids: Cardboard laptop
5 things about parenthood NOTHING can prepare you for
Our Top 10 Parenting Rules to Live By

Overview

I bought the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion for Evie a year ago now and it’s been a mainstay of our playroom ever since.

Because the dolls house is so big, we can easily sit together and play and, unfortunately for my bank balance, we’ve gradually added to our Barbie collection to keep play fresh and exciting. 

The lovely design and sturdy build quality mean that it makes for a lovely feature in the room and as a daddy, just gives me such a lovely feeling every time we go in there to play. 

For me, parenting is all about creating memories for your kids. You never know quite what will stick and what will be forgotten. 

That’s why I like to create as many special moments for her as Evie as possible. 

Whether she remembers it or not as she grows up, I know that I’ll never forget the look on Evie’s face the moment she first saw the dollhouse. 

It’s something that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. 

You can watch the moment she saw it for the first time below. 

So all-in-all, the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion is a fantastic product that is well-priced, well-made and now…well-played with. 

You can get this perfect wooden dolls house here

Some of the common questions about the KidKraft Majestic Mansion: 

Does the dollhouse come with decorations and stickers?
Yes, every room is nicely decorated with pre-installed stickers. 

Which dolls should I use for it? 
The dollhouse is designed for 12-inch dolls like Barbies or LOLs. 

Does the dollhouse come flat-packed?
Yes, the dollhouse comes flat-packed in a box weighing 29kg and measuring 104cm x 62cm x 24cm. Assembly took around an hour, although I’d allow for more.

Does the price include furniture for the dollhouse?
You’ll get 34 pieces of furniture included when you order the dollhouse


Never miss a post!

We don’t spam! Your email address will only be used to send new blog posts!

Parenting Thoughts

My top 10 parenting rules to live by for 2021

Nobody’s perfect. It doesn’t matter how hard you try; you’re probably going to get it wrong sometimes. ⁣⁣⁣

If you’re anything like me, you’ll second guess yourself when you see how other people choose to bring up their children too. ⁣⁣⁣

Let’s stop just a minute. If you remember one thing today about good parenting, it’s that you can only try your best. ⁣⁣⁣

⁣⁣I try to stick to some rules when it comes to bringing up Evie. 

Full disclosure: I haven’t always been good at these, it’s taken a lot of practice and I’m STILL learning every day.

⁣⁣⁣Parenting is a journey, and using these rules is great for setting limits and making sure I can be the best possible role model for my little lady.

Read some of our most popular posts here:

Low budget activities for kids: Cardboard laptop
5 things about parenthood NOTHING can prepare you for
In-Depth Review: KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dolls House

Be patient; they’re just testing boundaries⁣⁣⁣

I wanted to start with this one because trust me, if there’s one thing you’re going to need as a parent of young children, it’s patience! 

Most parents find that their darling little bundles of joys are incredibly skilful when it comes to testing your patience. Your child is growing and learning about the world around them. 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that your little one just doesn’t quite understand how to interact with the world around them, so what you think is bad behaviour could be their little way of learning what is acceptable and what isn’t.  

I’ve certainly learned that in order to get good behaviour out of Evie, I need to be patient – very patient. 

The more patient I’ve been in terms of my parenting style, the better Evie responds to me. 

Struggling to be patient? Read this great article from EmpoweringParents.com.  

Use positive and supportive language⁣⁣⁣

When it comes to discipline, finding a balance can be tough. We all want to be relaxed parents, but after a stressful day, that all-important patience can start to dwindle. 

Using negative language, phrases like “Don’t do this”, “Stop doing that” can actually have a negative impact on your child’s behaviour too. 

In this great article from Parenting from the Heart Blog, Alana talks about how you can swap some common negative language for more positive ones: 

Instead of:Try using: 
Don’t run Walk, please
Stop touching your sister Hands to yourself
Don’t throw toys Please keep your toys on the ground
Stop interruptingI can see you want to talk to me. Wait one moment, please. 
Leave him alone Come over here and play.
Don’t hitOnly gentle touches, please
Stop yellingQuiet voice, please. 

What I like about this approach, and try to take with Evie, is that you shift your focus toward teaching your child how they should behave, rather than chastising them for how they shouldn’t. 

Be tirelessly enthusiastic⁣⁣⁣

I’ve never been a big believer in speaking to your children in a different way to how you would speak to an adult. I’m never going to be one of those dads who speaks to his children in baby voices or uses silly words for things; it doesn’t help your child learn. 

With that in mind, something I will always do is show boundless enthusiasm towards Evie. It doesn’t matter what she’s telling me, I’ll always consciously make an effort to sound as interested and excited as possible, irrespective of the day I’ve had or how stressed I’m feeling. 

There’s a reason for that…

To me, good parenting skills come from the ability to build a great relationship with your child. I often see parents when we’re out on days out barking orders at their kids or only half listening and I imagine how that parent would feel if the same thing happened to them at work or when they’re talking to their friends. 

Single parenthood has really helped me to hone that skill. Since our traditional family life came to an end, it’s helped me to appreciate and cherish the time more than ever because I understand that our time together is always on a countdown until I have to take Evie back to her mum’s. 

Taking a step back even further, our children grow up so fast. The bottom line is that they won’t be little forever. As they grow older, they’re going to face more complex and challenging issues with school, relationships and work. 

I want Evie to be able to always come to me and know that  I’ll be enthusiastic and interested.

Listen, don’t lecture⁣⁣⁣

By the time most of us come to having children, we’re lucky enough to have been on this earth rather a few years. I’ve now had almost 32 of them and in that time I’ve made many, many mistakes that have helped me to become the person I am today. 

We have to be able to allow our children to do the same. If Evie is anything like me, which she certainly is this far, all that’ll happen if I was to slip into ‘naggy parent’ mode is that she’d push back and do exactly the opposite of what I’d told her to. 

Children need to be able to learn and, even if there are behaviour problems, they need to be able to express their feelings so that you can guide them supportively rather than dictate.

Be consistent ⁣⁣⁣

There are very few aspects of life in general in that don’t benefit from consistency. Whether it’s training at the gym, performing at work, keeping in touch with friends – You name it, people just like reliability. 

I harp on about consistency all the time when it comes to parenting because nothing is more crucial when young people are learning the boundaries than knowing what the expected outcome is. 

For example, imagine if day to day you’re nice and calm when your little one decides they don’t want to eat their dinner, but one day you’re in a bad mood and lose your temper, they won’t understand. 

Likewise, if you have rules in place at home and you sometimes relent on them, they’ll always try their luck. A good example of this might be bedtime – If your child cries when you put them down to bed one night and you go to get them, they will no doubt try it again another night to get the same response…just in case

Shower them with love ⁣⁣⁣

As parents, we all want our children to feel as safe, secure and loved as possible, right? Having a solid foundation helps to instil a sense of confidence in our children, as well as a feeling of self-belief. 

I don’t know about you, but I certainly love to feel loved and I want Evie to feel that too. 

There are so many ways you can show your child some love, but I think this great article explains it far better than I can. 

Create clear rules and expectations⁣

I covered this a little earlier when I talked about the importance of consistency. Setting very clear rules and boundaries is crucial if you want to help your child develop into a well-rounded little human. 

Very often you’ll see parents swerve on a pendulum between either trying to be their child’s best friend or being the military disciplinarian. We’re all guilty of making mistakes on that front – I certainly have. 

You can look at rule setting in terms of 5 Cs: Clarity, consistency, communication, caring and creation. 

You can read this great article from Psych Central for more detail here, but in summary: 

Clarity
Being clear when you set rules, limits and boundaries for your children

Consistency
As we talked about earlier, being predictable in your response so your child knows what to expect

Communication
Talk about the reason why certain rules are in place to help them to understand

Caring
Use positive language and reinforcement to encourage good behaviours

Creation:
Encourage your child to feel that they have a responsibility for their own behaviour

Don’t take things personally ⁣⁣⁣

Trust me, there will be times when your child is downright brutal. Don’t take it to heart, they just haven’t learned how to filter out their thoughts yet. 

As they grow, it’s our job to teach them the social skills to be able to realise that saying, “You look really fat today” probably isn’t a good idea in the long run.

Show rather than tell ⁣⁣⁣

Effective parenting is about demonstrating how to behave, rather than telling. One of the greatest gifts for me about raising a child is getting to be the person who teaches Evie how the world around her works by spending time with her

There’s a great quote by John C. Maxwell that says, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”. 

As a parent, it’s time you take the lead.

Celebrate effort, not just success⁣⁣⁣

In life, we’re not always going to win. To be honest, that’s not even the important part – The effort is what counts. Fear of failure is something we learn as we get older and become more mindful of silly feelings like embarrassment or pride. 

The beautiful thing about children is that they don’t have any of those problems because they haven’t learned them yet. 

If they fall, they get back up and try again and if they make a mistake, they move on. 

I believe that embracing and learning from mistakes is the secret sauce to success in everything you do

Nothing is more damaging to a person than holding on to the past, dwelling on mistakes and being bitter about what should have happened. 

I believe in encouraging children to embrace their mistakes and move on. It teaches them resilience, which is great for their mental health.

⁣Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post! If you think I missed anything, drop a comment below and let me know! 

Whilst you’re here, why not read some of our popular posts:


Never miss a post!

We don’t spam! Your email address will only be used to send new blog posts!

1 2 3
About Us

Thanks so much for taking the time to read our posts. If you’d like to know a little bit more about us, just click the button below.

Find out more
Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to get the latest content right to your inbox!

We'll only use your email for news relating to the Breaking Dad

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound