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5 Effective Car Tips to Ensure a Safe Road Trip

Want to make sure your car is ready for its next road trip? If so, follow the five tips below to ensure everyone you take with you remains safe.

1. Lights

Check your car’s lights. This doesn’t just mean the headlamps and brake lights but the reversing light, the fog lamp and the hazard warning lights, too. You never know when you will need them.

2. Tyre Pressure

Always pump your tyres up before a long trip. You should do this every few times you refuel anyway to help make your car run more efficiently. Under-inflated tyres are bad for road handling. You will not be able to swerve properly if even one of your tyres is partially flat. Furthermore, flat tyres lose traction, especially in wet road conditions, so keep them inflated to the recommended level.

3. Wheel Alignment

Incorrectly aligned wheels cause all sorts of problems. You can drift in your lane or even lose control when you have to brake hard to avoid an object on the road. Lining them up takes a specialist, however, as it’s not something most motorists can do for themselves. If you are not sure where to go for a wheel alignment service, then you can visit Jet Wheel Tyre’s website for more advice.

4. Inspect Your Seatbelts

If there is something that prevents a seat belt from locking properly, then it is of no use and could even cause an injury to a passenger. There again, seatbelts should not be twisted or they can lock in place preventing you from getting out in an emergency. Replace any that are like this or that have frayed sections of webbing.

5. Check Your Oil

Some people never check how much oil they have in their car but it is simply not good to wait for the dashboard indicator to come on to tell you that the car needs more. Oil keeps moving components cool. In hot weather, even modern cars can overheat on longer journeys. Pull out your dipstick when the engine is cool to check the level before heading off on our road trip.

Blended Family
Co-Parenting

We moved in together!

It makes me very, very happy to write this post.

For both of us, starting a new relationship after parental separation was a big deal. There’s so much more to play for when children are involved.

Just over a year after we first introduced the children to each other and 18 months after we got together, we felt like it was time for us all to be under one roof.

The children all get on so beautifully and though so much has changed in the last 12 months, our blended family unit feels stronger than ever.

Everything clicked into place last week for me when Evie told me she wanted Rosie and the girls to move in before Christmas and that she, ‘wouldn’t let me forget it’.

It made me chuckle and it made me feel very happy indeed.

So here’s to the next step of our adventure.

Finally, my house truly feels like our home.

Mandarins in Juice
Parenting Hacks & Tips

Healthy snack hacks for little kids

As a proud father to a beautiful five year old named Evie, I see it as my responsibility to give her the best start in life that I possibly can. 

Parents often talk about the importance of spending time with our children, encouraging them to be inquisitive about the world around them – to learn through play. During the early years, their little brains are processing so much information, assimilating it so it can be applied later. 

For those little brains to work at their best, they need to be fuelled properly. That’s why providing a healthy, balanced diet for our kids is so important. Using just a few little healthy snack hacks, like Dole Mandarins in Juice, you’ll be well on your way. 

But first, what does a balanced diet look like?

The Good Stuff:

Now I’m not a nutritionist, but when it comes to my daughter, I try to give her a healthy mix of the following:

  • Fruit and vegetables: High in vitamins, minerals and fibre and great for promoting good health and digestion, as well as protecting against disease.
  • Protein: Important for so many bodily functions, including the repair and recovery of tissues in the muscles and skin, as well as hair and nails. 
  • Dairy: Helps the development of strong and healthy bones as well as a source of vitamins that help the production of red blood cells.
  • Grains: A source of nutrients including B vitamins, minerals and fibre, which helps them feel fuller for longer.

Balanced Diet Snack Hacks 

Tip #1: Keep it simple:

Evie has always absolutely loved chopped cucumber and cherry tomatoes, so I always keep the fridge stocked so when she’s hungry and fancies a snack, she’s eating as healthily as possible. 

Tip #2: Get smart:

Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit. Disguising vegetables in yummy meals like spaghetti bolognese or soups is a perfect way to make sure your child is getting all the nutrients they need, without the inevitable ‘brussel sprouts are gross’ battle. 

We’ve all been there, right?

Tip #3: Get delicious healthy snacks 

If your children are anything like Evie, they absolutely love anything sweet. One of my biggest pieces of advice is to keep your cupboard full of Dole Mandarins in Juice. They’re made with all natural ingredients and have no added sugar, which makes them a perfect healthy snack for any time of the day, wherever you are. Evie loves these fruit pots because they’re a tasty dessert and I love them because they’re low in calories and count towards one of her five a day. 

Winner! 

OK, I’ll level with you…

I tend to go through quite a few of these myself too! 

Finding Balance

Now don’t get me wrong, Evie’s diet certainly isn’t perfect. As parents, we’re under so much pressure to do everything, all the time: Work, keep on top of the house, look after the children and so much more. 

We can’t get it right all the time. In fact, I certainly don’t. 

What we can do though, is make conscious decisions to create healthy habits. Swapping out the unhealthy treats for healthy ones, like Dole Mandarins in Juice for example, is a smart choice for a healthy, happy child. 

And the end result of lots of little smart choices? A well-fuelled little brain that is primed and ready to absorb that big world around them. 

Try Dole Mandarins in Juice for just £1 using this Shopmium link: https://bit.ly/Dolefruitinjuice 

Liked this post? Check out Smol Review: Are they as good as they sound?

Guest Posts

Guest Post: An Unofficial Guide to New Baby Essentials

Getting ready for your baby’s arrival can be overwhelming with all the advice you and your partner will receive. However, there’s no need to fret, as there’s no perfect method to becoming a dad, especially when it comes to your baby’s arrival. Our previous article on Breaking Dad even talks about how you can never truly be prepared for parenthood. And despite society’s expectation that the mother will be the one to usually care for the child, you can definitely take responsibility as well. To help you start caring for your newborn, here are some essentials to start you in the right direction:

Nappies and Hygiene Needs

When your baby’s nappy overflows, you should wash them with a gentle body soap in a washbasin with enough space for you to properly support their head. Speaking of nappies — which are a given, of course — nappy rash cream will come in handy in case your newborn’s skin is sensitive to a certain brand. For covering their small bodies, your baby’s first wardrobe should be a layette set, which consists of a bodysuit, mittens, booties, a bonnet, a sleepsuit, and a receiving blanket.

Feeding needs

Though you may not be the one nursing your baby, you can still feed them expressed breast milk or formula milk when mum is busy or needs to rest. BabyCentre’s feature on baby bottles can benefit you and the baby in different ways. The MAM Easy Start bottles, for instance, are self-sterilising and anti-colic. Your baby will easily take to the teats as well. Meanwhile, the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles have wide teats that make them easy for a baby to take. The Closer to Nature range also includes a steriliser and the Perfect Prep machine, which can make a bottle of formula to an exact temperature.

Travel and Active Day Must-Haves

For going out, you’ll want a pushchair that reclines so your newborn can lie down flat as you go about your daily tasks or take them on walks outside. It would also be a good idea to invest in a pushchair that lets them navigate a multitude of terrains with ease while keeping their baby comfy. With this in mind, iCandy’s pushchairs are designed to be suitable from your child from birth until they are a toddler, allowing parents to go about their day with their child safely wrapped up in quilted fabrics and safety harnesses. And not only can the cot be angled to let them lie flat or face the world, they’re also removable and can function as carriers. It’s equipped with a storage basket where you can put other essentials, such as the nappy bag. Consider getting a body carrier as well, as NetDoctor explains the benefits of babywearing for father and baby bonding. The physical contact and face time you get with the baby, either by wearing them in a sling or being the face they see when you push their pram, will help create a positive and loving relationship between the two of you.

Sleeping Essentials

Some parents prefer to co-sleep, or sleep beside their baby, but this places them at a higher risk of SIDS (the sudden infant death syndrome). This is why the Sleep Foundation recommends that babies sleep in a cot in your bedroom, at least for the first six months. Make sure the cot has a firm mattress along with fitted crib sheets, and a light blanket to keep them cosy. You’ll also need a waterproof mattress cover, as your new baby will have an accident or two along the way.

At the end of the day, bringing up a baby certainly isn’t easy, but these essentials will serve as a helping hand for you and your partner during the early stages of parenthood. When it comes down to it, being a dad is one of the most beautiful roles a person can step into, which is why the preparation and sleepless nights will all be worth it in the long run.

Written exclusively for thebreakingdad.co.uk by Jodi James

Co-Parenting

Featured: 4 Tips for Coping With Separation



We love a business called Amicable and the work they’re doing for those going through separation. They describe their mission as ‘to provide a better, kinder, affordable way to divorce, separate and co-parent’; something that would have benefitted me so much when Evie’s mum and I split.

We’ve been working them for a while and I was even featured as guests on Episode #25 of their, ‘The Divorce Podcast‘.

Recently, I wrote a blog post for them entitled, ‘Four Tips for Coping with Separation’.

You can see an exerpt below, or read the full article here.

“It’s over.”

These two words, when used in the context of a relationship, can have a deep, lasting and upsetting impact on both the person receiving them, as well as the person delivering them. The end of a relationship marks the end of your journey with that other person and, instigator or not, dealing with the fallout and moving on…is tough. Let’s face it, whether you’ve spent weeks, months or years together, unpicking the dying weeds of romantic entanglement is tough, particularly when there stood a blossoming relationship in their place.

The bad news? Separation never gets easier, whether you’re the ‘leaver’ or the ‘left’.

The good news? There are things you can do that’ll help you cope with separation in order to find a path forward towards a life that not only do you want, but you deserve.

1. Embrace your emotions

There are few times in our lives that are more stressful than the dissolution of a relationship. It doesn’t really matter whether you were the ‘leaver’ or the ‘left’, both sides are likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions at some point or another.

Whilst it might feel like you’re trapped in a “glass case of emotion”, to quote the fictional philosophical genius that is, of course, Ron Burgundy, it’s important to acknowledge those feelings instead of hiding from them. You might be feeling bitterly angry, desperately upset, horrendously hurt or furiously focused on a new and unknown future; let me tell you this: All of those feelings are normal and part of the process, so don’t suppress your feelings.

I’ll say that again, louder: Don’t suppress your feelings.

Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with a strong network of supportive people. It’s vital that you feel comfortable enough to let them know how you’re feeling. The good, the bad and the ugly.

A true friend will feel comfortable just…listening. Remember though, if they’re your friend they may feel the urge to try to fix it for you and present ideas and suggestions as to how you can move forward. You might not be ready to heed that advice just yet and that’s absolutely fine. Just gently let them know you appreciate them, but you need them to just hear you right now. If they’ve been through anything similar before, they’ll understand.

In my experience, there are few situations in life lonelier than the immediate aftermath of separation. Nobody else understands the gravity of what you’re going through because they don’t have the same emotional investment in the relationship as you do. Expect there to feel like there’s suddenly a huge void in the place of your relationship – it’s perfectly natural. Let’s face it, after sharing such a significant part of your life with somebody, there’s you’ll need to re-learn how to be ‘single’ and how to be alone.

It’s part of the process. Embrace those feelings by acknowledging that they’re to be expected and you’ll find it infinitely easier to move on.

Like what you’ve read so far?/ Full article continues here

Parenthood

This is Fatherhood.

I love this photo because what I’m doing in this photo is a perfect metaphor for how I see my life as a Daddy.

My role is to stay close-by, offering words of encouragement and choosing my actions carefully so that I can nurture this young lady’s sense of self belief.

Every day I get to see it blossom a little more.

The world is a scary place and fear of failure grips all of us at one point or another… 

“What if I fall?”
“What if it doesn’t go to plan?”
“What if I’m not strong enough?”

For as long as I’m able to, I’ll be there to tell you this…

”Daddy believes in you.”

All you need to do is try.

I’ll always be proud. 
I’ll always reassure you if you get nervous.
I’ll always pick you up again if you fall.

This is Fatherhood.

Adventures

Stop counting the minutes and start seizing the days

Every other week, there’s a gap between Thursday morning and Monday afternoon in which I don’t see Evie. In the early days, I found that stint extremely tough (In fact, there was a 5 day gap until we amended the schedule, which was brutal!).

I’d spend every weekend wishing the time away, wondering what my little girls as up to and wishing above all else that I could be there with her.

I hated it.

Rosie and I both miss our kids terribly during the weekends we get to spend together.

We try to fill every one of those weekends with some sort of adventure so we can stop watching the minutes pass by and start feeling like we’re making the most of every hour we have together.

This weekend we walked across the hills of Mam Tor together, more than 15km and 130 floors.

It’s awesome to share such a similar perspective on life, parenting and our future together, especially having come from relationships in the past in which that wasn’t the case.

Though we both find it very hard when we see families with little girls around Evie, Tilly and Liza’s age because it’s a reminder they’re not sharing those experiences with us, we recognise that for us to raise happy children, we need to be a strong parenting unit together.

Being a co-parent doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you don’t let it. In fact, I think our children are infinitely happier because of it.

Tag someone who needs to hear this today and let’s start celebrating co-parenting, rather than treating it like it’s a parenting failure.

Co-Parenting

Two years of coparenting

The first time I came home with Evie after the separation, I was totally and utterly lost.  I had absolutely no idea what the future would hold, how on earth I was going to deal with it or whether it was even worth fighting for.

I just put on a brave face and tried my best, one day at a time (I think the strained smile in this photo is clear when you know where I was at emotionally at the time). 

Evie was just two and a half years old, she looks so young here. I was absolutely stricken with guilt at the thought of her having to deal with our separation at such an early age.

We all go through hard times in life; it’s part of the journey. 

Remember this: Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. 

Eckart Tolle, author of this game-changer of a book called, ‘The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’, writes, “As soon as you honour the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love – even the most simple action” 

When bad things happen, people are often bitter or resentful towards the person(s) or that caused it. When the future suddenly seems uncertain, we tend to believe the striving for more will lead to happiness. 

The truth is that you can only control this very moment. What you do RIGHT THIS SECOND is the only thing that really matters – everything else is a distraction.

You can AIM for those bigger things, but you must work towards them day-by-day by knocking off smaller objectives and goals. 

You can LEARN from past events, but you mustn’t let them consume you because they’ve already happened and nothing will change it. 

This strained smile was the face of a parent brimming with uncertainty, until I learned to let go of it all and focus on the only thing that really mattered: Making my daughter smile, one day at a time, until I can’t do it anymore.

What a difficult few years it’s been, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because it made me who I am today: A proud father to the most beautiful little girl I could have ever imagined. 

Me and my daughter sat in the car
Parenthood

A Typical Day in the Life of a Not-so-typical Daddy and his Daughter

Before this blog existed, we used to post all of our content (and still post the majority of it) on our Instagram account (Go follow us if you don’t already!).

402 posts and 12.4k followers later, we often get asked to about creating a ‘Day in the life’ article or video. I’ve thought about it for a while, but never quite managed to get around to it for one main reason: No two days are ever the same for us.

If you’re here from Instagram, you may or may not notice that I rarely post more than once to our grid per day; occasionally a little more through stories here and there and, depending on whether I’m feeling particularly inspired, I may even throw in a feel reels for good measure.

The point is, those images and videos are such a small snapshot into the many hours we spend together. They’re honest and reflective posts that try to share an insight into how we view the world and our experiences of coparenting, but they’re not all-encompassing.

So here goes… Last Saturday felt about as close to a typical day we could get, so I thought I’d share it.

That said, it was still pretty random.

Time to wake up

“Daddy!”… “Daaaaddy” … “Daaaaaaaaaddy!”…

06:25. Dazed and confused. I stir from my restful slumber to hear my darling child calling me from downstairs. I live in a townhouse and my bedroom is on the top floor, Evie’s bedroom is on the first.

I call back in a croaky voice, “Come upstairs sweetheart, we can have a snuggle and put the tele on”.

Silence for ten seconds or so; it feels like a lifetime.

“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddy! Come and get me!”.

The morning pilgrimage from my bed, down the stairs and into Evie’s room, just so she can clamber clumsily onto me, blanket in one hand me, drink in the other, ready to make the return trip.

Evie’s getting heavy; especially when my body is still half-asleep.

We set up base in my bed and have a cuddle and stick the TV on. I’ll usually try to steal a few extra winks, although I never get to more than four, let alone forty.

Breakfast

After we’ve relaxed in bed until what I consider a suitable time for breakfast (usually between 07:00 and 07:30), I’ll take Evie’s breakfast order.

You see, Hotel Daddy is a five star destination and, though I swore I’d never do it, Evie has somehow enrolled in the all-inclusive room service scheme.

Once I’ve taken the order, I’ll pop downstairs and get Evie her usual:

  • Toast with a smattering of peanut butter or jam
  • A children’s multi-vitamin sweet
  • An ensemble of blueberries and diligently halved grapes
  • An Innocent smoothie

This girl knows how to live.

I have a coffee.

Service is delivered on a highly masculine lap tray…Pink with unicorns, naturally.

Don’t judge me.

Digital Games

Evie really loves playing games on her iPad recently, she’s just gotten to an age that she can actually do it, which is really nice to watch.

People often talk about devices as the devil, but I believe if moderated and managed carefully, they’re an engaging way to teach your children how to solve problems.

Within half an hour we’d made ice cream, created pies, raced horses, collected Lego coins, given Barbie a makeover and tended to our dragon.

As a kid, some of my favourite memories with my Dad and two brothers were spent playing Mario Kart 64 or Goldeneye on the N64.

We joked, we strategised, we commanded, we conquered.

I appreciate this time with Evie because it’s a great opportunity to develop the way we communicate too.

The game itself doesn’t really matter. The important factor here is having a shared goal and talking together as we achieve it.

Evie and I giggled for ages today whilst she put chocolate icing on a cake that look remarkably like human excrement.

‘Poo pie’ was born.

Those little moments are the best (Why do children find ‘poo’ so hilarious?!).

Playroom fun

After I whizzed upstairs for a quick shower, we went to the playroom and lined up all of her Lego sets on the floor.

Promptly after setting them out all nicely, Evie changed her mind about playing with them and we started playing Mums and Dads instead.

…I then moved all of the Lego sets into the bathroom so we didn’t trip on them – such is the life of a parent.

Evie really shone as ‘Mummy’, though my role as ’Daddy’ felt a little type-cast if I’m honest. Nonetheless, I soldiered on, took my baby and put her in the trolly and took her to the play shop.

Evie embraced a duality of roles, opting to play as both Mummy in the play kitchen cooking dinner and shopkeeper.

I loaded the trolly with a lovely selection of wooden fruits and vegetables and went to pay. I was told sharply that I didn’t have enough food and that I needed to buy more (by either Mummy or the shopkeeper at this stage, it wasn’t clear).

I felt conflicted at this point as depending on the character, the behaviour was either highly believable maternal behaviour or wildly unacceptable customer service.

Nonetheless, we continued and, after our shopping trip, it was time for ‘the party’.

Evie, dolly and I played ‘Shut up and dance with me’ by Walk the Moon and danced in the playroom, across the landing and into Evie’s bedroom until the party ended…approximately three renditions of the song later.

McDonalds

As has become our alternating weekend custom since the pandemic struck, we hopped in the car and headed to McDonalds.

We always go through the “Drive Thru” (So American huh?), and Evie always has a chicken nugget Happy Meal. I grab something and then we drive around the corner and park up in the local retail park.

At this point, we usually wedge the iPad in the open glove box lid and watch Netflix together whilst we eat. Again, something I would have told you would never happen in a million years when I was a parent, but look…here we are.

Today we watched Ben and Holly.

It was also glorious.

Supermarket

As it was Mother’s Day yesterday, we decided to whizz to Tescos so we could buy ingredients to make Evie’s Mummy a chocolate cake.

I’m a big believer of making a fuss of your child’s other parent even if you are separated because it’s important they respect and value everything the other parent does for them.

I will be posting about this subject in more depth over the next few days.

Anyway, back to the shopping trip…

When you see people on Instagram, you don’t often see the mundane daily tasks that they have to do, right? It always makes me laugh. How boring Instagram would be if it was an accurate reflection of actual life instead of a carefully curated portfolio of amateur photography.

We find we what need in and amongst the chaos.

Evie loves to push the trolley. Fast.

Today she only rams one person and has three near misses.

Progress.

Cake Making

We make a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream and just about every type of sprinkle you can think of.

Although I help Evie when she needs me to, I very much just give her instructions and leave her to it.

The kitchen is an absolute wreck by the time we’re finished and the cake decoration is, erm, very good for a four year old.

Eating Hail Stones

OK look, if you speak to most people I know, they’d tell you that I’m fairly impulsive in my decision-making.

It starts hammering down with hail so I do what seems like the obvious thing to do…

Open the patio doors, hold out my hand and catch some hail stones.

We eat them.

Evie finds this really funny, which of course…I find really funny.

We step up our game by sticking our open-mouthed faces out of the patio doors and trying to catch them on our tongues.

Yeah, I don’t know why we did it either, but it was fun.

Clothing Alterations

Shortly after we sample the sky’s finest falling balls of ice, Evie notices that she has a little hole near her shin on her pink tights.

I grab the hole and rip it to make it even bigger.

Evie stares at me, eyes wide and jaw on the floor.

“DADDY! You just BROKE my TIGHTS!”, she exclaims.

“Err, I think you’ll find you broke them. I just broke them more”, I reply.

Evie finds this so funny that I think she’s going to have an accident.

It’s amazing the fun you can have with the most innocuous little things. Evie takes her tights off and we precede to cut the feet off of them to make these weird-looking leggings.

Evie puts them back on and then struts around the house in them for a good ten minutes before we eventually lose interest.

The remains of those tights are currently on one of Evie’s dollies; I’ve been instructed to keep them.

Santa’s Sleeping Bag

We have a double sleeping bag from when Rosie and I went camping last summer. You know, after the first lockdown when lockdown rules were partially lifted, but just before the next lockdown where they were reinstated.

Evie absolutely loves this sleeping bag for some reason.

We’re having a chilled five minutes when she decides she wants to get in the sleeping bag and lay on the sofa.

I oblige and help her find the entrance of the bag so she can slide her legs in.

Don’t ask me why, but I decide it would be funny to lift the sleeping bag vertically as close to the ceiling as possible.

Evie sinks to the bottom of it, lost deep in the darkness .

All I hear was Evie’s dirty little giggle as she dangles, suspended ever-so-slightly off the floor. That infectious laugh is a clear sign we’ve found a new game…So we got going.

Before long, the sleeping bag has become Santa’s toy sack and Evie has ‘snuck’ into it.

She hides patiently in there and until I come into the room, pick her up and swing her onto the sofa.

Laughter ensues and we reset.

The game lasts many rounds.

I love random games like that.

Shower Time

Evie has recently decided that she absolutely loves the shower in my en suite. Bath time is no more.

We cart a selection of Evie’s Barbies, an octopus sponge, shampoo, body wash, a fishing rod and a plastic poo upstairs.

The poo is from a game Evie got for Christmas called, ‘Fish for Floaters’.

The premise is fairly self-explanatory, but in case you’re in any doubt,.. You use the fishing rod to catch any floating plastic poo in the water.

Nice.

Evie usually asks for five more minutes at least five more times. Based on my recent post about living a more sustainable life, the length of time Evie spends in the shower will definitely need to be addressed.

She eventually emerges from the shower all red-faced and hot because she’s effectively created a little steam room over the course of the time she’s in there.

We towel her off, get pyjamas on and dry and brush hair.

Barbies

I give Evie another 10 minutes (which inevitably turns into 20) to play with her Barbies in the play room.

Evie often likes to say that Rosie and I are in ‘true love’ and that we’re going to ‘get married’ (A statement she finds hilarious).

Today, for the first time actually, she decided that her bride and groom Barbies would be Rosie and I and the children would be Evie, Tilly and Liza.

We get in our carriage and rode to the KidKraft Dolls House (You can read our detailed review here), where Evie put all of the girls to bed nicely in a bed each.

Daddy was left to sleep on a sofa with a good 40% of his body hanging over the end.

Typical.

Story Time

Reading is an incredibly important part of our routine when Evie is with me. We never skip story time.

Aside from the fact I get far too into telling the stories at bedtime, especially when it’s just me and Evie, I love story time because it’s our opportunity to not only have a cuddle, but to use our imagination and expand our vocabulary.

Well, Evie’s vocabulary (I don’t want to sound like I’ve got a big head, but I knew most of the words already).

I know right? Subtle brag.

Cuddles and TV

After Evie’s brushed her teeth, I usually let Evie watch one episode of something longer and one episode of something shorter as a little bonus.

On this evening, we finish with two episodes of Ben and Holly and two episodes of Hey Duggee (I have a shorter weekend with Evie because she’s going back to her Mum’s for Mother’s Day…so I want to make the most of our time together).

In writing this, I realise just how circular our daily routine is, which in many ways is lovely.

We make lots of time for cuddles and ‘chill out’ time in and amongst the total random madness that fills the rest of the day.

Bedtime

After the sleep negotiations have taken place and I’ve managed to talk Evie down from her stance of, ‘Sleep isn’t fun’, we always have a little chat about the day before sleep.

As she lays in her bed, I’ll usually stroke her hair and we’ll talk about all of the things that happened that day.

I think this five minutes is so crucial because it helps us both to focus in on just how much we did, as well how much we laughed.

This mindful practice of reflecting on the day is something I want to instil in Evie early on, particularly before she reaches her teenage years and life gets all-the-more confusing.

If Evie can take five minutes every day to just process and understand the day that went before, it’ll help her attack the next day with positivity, enthusiasm and appreciation.

I hope.

After our little chat, I give Evie a kiss and a cuddle and Evie scrabbles to think about anything and everything she can possibly ask me to prolong bedtime.

Today she asked me why the roof was on top of the house. I nearly fell for it before realising it was all part of her master plan to extend bedtime.

“Nunite sweetheart, love you.”


The next morning…

“Daaaaaaaaaaddy!”…

Sustainable Family

Sustainable Family: How we plan to live a more sustainable lifestyle

It seems that everywhere you look these days, sustainability is a hot topic. I read this stat and it really caught my attention:

If Earth’s history is compared to a calendar year: Modern human has existed for about 37 minutes. One third of Earth’s natural resources has been consumed in the last 0.2 seconds (by modern humans).

The World Counts

That’s shocking.

Humans impact the environment is so many ways with things like overpopulation, burning fossil fuels, deforestation and over-farming…to name just a few.

We’re altering the planet and triggering climate change and soil erosion, as well as reducing the air quality and causing countless premature deaths.

I mean, just look at the counter and you can see the clock is ticking…

It’s scary to think that my daughter could live to see the end of rain forests, which would mean:

  • Almost 50% of the world’s plant, animal and microorganism species would be destroyed
  • The climate would shift, causing monger dry spells and widespread flooding
  • 5 to 6 times more greenhouse gases would be released into the atmosphere

The list goes on…

So, what is sustainable living?

Wind Farm

Put simply, sustainable living is about minimising your impact on the Earth and its resources by making smart decisions about the energy you use and the products you consume.

The way humans have used the planet’s resources is causing damage to the environment, which will have far-reaching consequences for future generations.

The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things…yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the lost of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants

The Guardian

The start of a more sustainable lifestyle

I’d be the first to admit that I’m certainly not the most environmentally aware.

Up until the last fear years or so, I’d always dismissed the damage we’re doing to the environment as ‘unimportant’ because compared to big corporations and titans of industry, there wasn’t much little ol’ me could do to swing the needle on climate change.

Becoming a parent changes you I think. Well, it certainly did for me.

When my daughter was born, suddenly future generations really mattered. I realise now how selfishly I’d look at the world, worrying only about what was directly relevant to me.

That dynamic changes dramatically when a child is born because you’re no longer living your life for just you – you’re suddenly preparing for the future you want your child to have.

I want my daughter to grow up in a world that has rainforests, not had them. And, I want her children…and her children’s children, to live long and happy lives on a planet we can sustain for many, many generations to come.

Baby steps

So here it is, the first step on what will be a long journey of learning I’m sure.

Opened box of Smol laundry capsules with capsules pouring out


I started last year by making the shift to Smol Laundry and dishwasher tablets, which are an eco-friendly, plastic and cruelty free alternative to your traditional household brand.

You can read our full review here.

Smol tablets are delivered in slick cardboard packaging and the delivery frequency is calculated based on your actual usage, which is a great way to ensure you only buy what you need.

Not exactly going to transform the world, but it’s a start.

Over the next few months/years I’ll be sharing our journey to live a more sustainable and environmentally friendly life as a family.

Our guiding rules

Of course there are so many ways we can live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

These will be our starting focuses and, although it’ll take time, it’ll be so worth it in the end.

1. Save Energy

One of the easiest ways to use less energy and reduce your carbon emissions is to simply switch things off that you aren’t using.

For example, some simple things that’ll make a big difference are:

  • Turning down the thermostat more often
  • Using energy efficient lightbulbs
  • Using energy efficient appliances
  • Switching off plug sockets that we’re not using
  • Hanging clothes out to dry instead of using the tumble dryer

2. Use Reusable Alternatives

Single-use plastics are everywhere. They’re cheap, easy to produce and have been used in recent years on everything from shopping bags, coffee cup lids, water bottles, straws and so much more.

Some stats you need to know:

  • Over 40% of total plastic usage is for packaging
  • Almost 500 billion plastic bags are used each year
  • In the last ten years, we’ve made more plastic than during the whole of the last century
  • 14% of all litter comes from drink containers

According to Plastic Oceans, 10 million tons of plastic is dumped into the sea every year, which has a devastating impact on wildlife.

It takes decades (if not more) for plastics to biodegrade and when it’s consumed by marine life, it can have a knock-on impact on humans too.

The toxins in the plastic can be passed through to humans when we eat seafood, causing hormonal abnormalities and developmental problems.

Instead of using single-use plastics, we plan to make the switch to reusable products where possible.

Some things we plan to try (If we’re not doing it already):

  • Paper Straws
  • Paper and card packaging and coffee cups (Ideally FSC certified so it’s from managed and sustainable woodlands)
  • Reusable sealable containers rather than cling film
  • Bamboo toothbrushes

3. Use Renewable Energy

Using renewable energy where possible is a great way to reduce carbon emissions.

For example, making the shift to an electric car instead of a petrol or diesel-fuelled one is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment!

I currently drive a diesel car and I plan to make the change to an electric vehicle in just a few months; I’ll be share our experience!

The clock is ticking too, in November 2020 the Government announced that new petrol and diesel cars and vans will no longer be sold in the UK after 2030.

4. Recycle, recycle, recycle

According to WorldBank, by 2050 global waste will increase by 70%. Waste has a huge negative impact on the environment and when rubbish ends up in landfill sites, it produces harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses.

By being making an effort to recycle as much as possible, less raw materials are needed to make new things which eat away at the planet’s natural resources.

5. Conserve water

In the UK, we’re very lucky to have 24/7 access to safe and clean drinking water. Lots of people take having water for granted, but the water supply is becoming more and more unpredictable.

Did you know that 12 out of the 23 water companies in England were rated as being under serious water stress in 2020?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average household in the UK uses around 330 litres of water every day.

Here are some things I’m going to try this year:

  • Instead of taking baths (I love a bath), I’m going to take short showers instead where I can
  • Turning off the tap whilst we’re brushing our teeth
  • Using the dishwasher less or filling it as full as possible
  • Always fill this washing machine to get the best use of the water
  • Installing a water butt in the garden so we can water the plants

6. Buy Fair Trade products

Choosing to buy Fairtrade certified products means farmers and suppliers get a better deal and more stability in terms of what they earn, which allows them to care for and educate their families better.

Some statistics about Fairtrade from Friends of the Earth:

  • There are no 1.65 million farmers and workers in Fairtrade certified producer organisations
  • There are 1,226 Fairtrade producer organisations across 74 countries in total
  • One quarter of all Faitrade workers are women
  • 26% of workers spent their Fairtrade premiums on education

I’ve never really taken much notice of Fairtrade products before and this year I plan to make a more conscious effort to make the switch – particularly for things like wine, tea, rice, orange juice, coffee, sugar and bananas.

8. Reducing Food Waste

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

Households are reportedly to blame for 53% of all food waste in Europe and when we waste food, all of the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it goes to waste too.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, up to 11% of all greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system could be reduced if we stopped wasting food.

Some things I want to do more of this year:

  • Planning meals to make sure we buy more efficiently
  • Freezing food
  • Using leftovers as ingredients for new meals
  • Composting food waste rather than throwing it away

9. Wear sustainable clothing

The global fashion industry is believed to be responsible for 10% of all global carbon emissions.

‘Fast Fashion’ is the term used for mass-producing at low prices, which requires a huge amount of energy and resources.

Aside from the waste that Fast Fashion causes, the harmful toxic fabric dyes and chemicals can enter and contaminate fresh water supplies too.

More and more brands are taking an ethical and sustainable stance on clothing production.

For example, I buy my shoes from Vivobarefoot who create shoes using a eco-friendly materials that are natural, recycled, durable and locally sourced.

More content on this to follow!

10. Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Cleaning products often contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Some can pollute streams and rivers, and others may take a long time to break down.

Some cleaning products contains chemicals may be ingested by wildlife, which in turn may be consumed by us, causing health problems and even birth defects.

This year I plan to make the switch to ethically sourced, biodegradable cleaning products that are less impactful on the environment.

11. Eat less meat

I’ve always been a big meat eater, but the production of meat is a huge contributor to climate change.

The meat and dairy industry accounts for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases and the conversion of land for beef and animal feed production is a leading cause of deforestation in tropical regions like the Amazon.

I plan on making a conscious effort to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy products over time because, based on the facts, it seems hard to justify, right?

Side note: If you haven’t seen it already, check out ‘Kiss the Ground’ on Netflix. It’s a great documentary that gives an insight into short-sighted farming practices and the use of pesticides.

12. Go paperless

It’s amazing how far technology has come in the last few decades, and yet we still waste so much paper.

I don’t know about you, but I have a few drawers that are stacked FULL of old letters, receipts and other things that I keep just in case I need them again in future.

Getting letters and receipts emailed to you rather than posted is the easiest way to reduce the amount of paper you use almost immediately. Having it in your inbox means you can quickly search for any important documents too!

There are so many apps and tools out there designed to help remove the need for paper altogether. From ‘task list’, notepads, eBooks and so much more.

Note: It’s not always possible to get rid of all paper and sometimes it’s nice to sit and read a real book. I just plan to be a little more considered in how I use paper.

13. Grow your own produce where possible

Growing your own food has a whole range of health benefits and it also helps to reduce the need for pesticides that contribute to water and air pollution.

Because you’re not buying your produce from a supermarket, you can reduce the amount of plastic needed for packaging (although lots of supermarkets are making an effort to reduce their plastic usage), as well as the amount of fossil fuels used to transport it.

I’m not lucky enough to have a large garden, so being able to grow all of the produce I need just isn’t going realistic. That said, I plan to plant some herbs and a small amount of vegetables to help contribute to a bit of a reduction!

14. Donate rather than dispose

As children grow up, their toys and clothes change with them. Sometimes it seems like my daughter has her toys for no more than a few months before she’s bored of them and onto the next interest.

Plastic is used in so many toys and where possible, I plan to donate as much as possible to avoid any unwanted items going into landfill.

If those items can be used, re-used and re-used again by other children, then we can reduce waste.

Likewise, where possible I try to source Evie second-hand toys to save the items going into the bin!

15. Spend more time outside

OK, this is a bit of a wild card, but hear me out.

This year I plan on spending as much time in the countryside as possible.

It’s difficult to feel a connection to the planet you’re trying to save when you’re surrounded by an urban concrete jungle or sat inside in front of a TV.

There are so many green areas that are surprisingly close by and by spending more time outside enjoying nature as it was intended, the impact we’re having on it is that much harder to ignore!

What next?

Over the coming weeks, months and potentially years, we’ll be sharing our journey to living a more sustainable life and we’d love to hear your stories, advice and tips on how to do it!

To reiterate what I said at the beginning of this post, my current lifestyle is nowhere near good enough for somebody who wants to have less of a negative impact on the world.

But hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?

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