Back in the spring of last year I distinctly remember talking to one of my oldest and closest friends who had recently had their second child. I tentatively quizzed them about how much more difficult it was with two, as opposed to one, and nervously awaited their reply. “It’s actually not much harder” they reliably informed me (for “reliably informed” read “lied through their shameful, hope-enducing teeth”). “It’s much harder to go from no kids to one kid, than it is from one to two”. With each sentence I could feel my shoulders relaxing, a soft and gentle sigh emitting as I slowly sank into what I now know was the falsest of false senses of security.

Truth be told, parts of it can be really challenging, but equally the moments of reward are twice as great. Every parent has their own individual yardstick by which they can measure how tough things sometimes get, and what for one person may be the tiniest of molehills, will always be someone else’s mountain. Such is life.

I guess a good indication of how much busier our lives are nowadays is the fact that Felix – yes we have two kids now! – is now 15 months old and I’m finally sitting down to resurrect my blog for the first time since he was born. Now of course there are many other reasons why it has taken me this long. It could be argued that abject laziness should sit somewhere near the summit of that long list of excuses, but it is what it is.

So here we are. The last 15 months have been incredible in many ways, both figuratively and literally. We’ve welcomed our second child in to the world and given Thea the buddy we’ve always wanted for her. We’ve had our hearts melted as they’ve formed the cutest of relationships and we’ve had those same hearts tested with week-long stays in a children’s hospital. We’ve watched Thea gradually turn into the most intelligent, funny and caring little girl, while at the same time attempting to navigate the tricky waters between toddler tantrums and full-blown pre-schooler meltdowns. It’s been a hell of a ride, and we’re only just at the beginning, with so much more to come. But first, we’ve got some catching up to do.

Over the next few weeks I’ll relate some of our experiences from the past couple of years, from how we finally came out the other side of a long and difficult road to meet Felix, to the mixed emotions that accompanied the day we sent Thea off to school for the first time. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions as I share our story with you all.

Keep your eyes peeled.

As a parent you always hear other parents talk of the “terrible twos” –  that magical age when your adorable little angel descends into the pit of Hades, only to re-emerge as the devil incarnate. Well, I wouldn’t say we’ve reached those levels of stroppiness quite yet, but we’ve certainly seen Thea begin to develop more of an independent… umm… character, lately. There are many theories on how best to deal with these little episodes – we’ve played the negotiator, the disciplinarian, the logical reasoner, and of course, the soft touch at times. Look out for a blog post to follow on the success (or lack thereof!) of these different approaches, but for now, here is a recent Top 10 of Toddler Tantrum reasons that have made us laugh and cry, in equal measures, over the last few weeks…

1. I wouldn’t let her comb the bin lid
2. I politely asked for a cuddle
3. We foolishly suggested that barbecue sauce and raspberry yoghurt is not an acceptable combo
4. Mummy turned her head slightly to put an end to repeated attempts at eye gouging
5. I declined her kind offer to repeatedly slam the living room door in my face
6. I took approximately 6 seconds to choose the next episode of Bing!
7. I asked that there be more than 5mm distance between her nose and the TV
8. I turned the microwave on
9. Mummy wouldn’t let her eat a yoghurt with a fork
10. Mummy wouldn’t let her have peas for breakfast

What other unfathomable meltdowns have you parents witnessed? Let me know in the comments and I’ll collate the best of the bunch.



This weekend, Gem was away in London on her hen do which meant Thea and I would be at home alone together for the first time overnight. I thought I’d keep track of the events during the 30 hours or so where Thea was left to look after Dad all by herself. We started with a lovely breakfast with some of our closest friends before we bid goodbye to the naughty hens and Thea and I headed home…


11:00 : Back from the Hen’s breakfast and into Dad duty mode! Nappy and bottle done and time for Big T to have a little power nap. She manages to time this perfectly with “The 50 Greatest FA Cup Moments” on BBC so Dad gets to relive Giggsy’s legendary glide down the left wing, seeing off the Gooners in the semi-final of ’99!

12:10 : Poor form – Thea is still snoozing through Football Focus. We will have words about this later. If she thinks she’s getting out of the FA Cup final and the Premiership Rugby Final today then she’s sorely mistaken. Tiny Pop is going for a burton this afternoon :p

13:00 : Decided to wake the kraken and bring the little monkey downstairs for some lunch. Today’s tasty treat is a chicken and sweetcorn pouch from Ella’s Kitchen (Click here for product info). She loves this range and they are so handy when you’re out and about. Normally Mummy makes things from scratch but Daddy is in charge/feeling lazy today! A little fromage frais for dessert and we’re all set for playtime on the rug, enjoying the buildup to the big game. I’ve gone for Benteke to score first with a shock 3-2 Villa win but Thea keeps banging on about how Wenger is due some silverware. I guess we’ll see…

14:30 : We’ve temporarily put our differences aside about the FA Cup and now we’re dual-screening. I’m on the sofa watching Bath vs Saracens on the Mac and Thea is chilling in the Jumperoo (find it on Amazon here), engrossed by Justin’s House on CBeebies.

16:25 : Disappointing result for Bath in the rugby. Thea’s such a fair-weather fan – she’s off for another nap!

17:00 : Bath time! After a splash around in the tub it’s time for a quick play with Mummy’s hair dryer. Hmm… Thea is now sporting a rather fetching Van de Graaff generator look. Ah well, let’s hope it returns to normal before Mummy gets back! Anyway, Thea is more concerned about being in her PJs before the FA Cup final kicks off – mission accomplished!

19:15 : Last bottle of the night (for Thea at least) has been sunk and she is now tucked up in bed, drifting off to the soothing sounds of our neighbours cheering on the Gunners. Just realised I’m still watching Tiny Pop. Babar is the man.

22:10 : Takeaway pizza has been demolished and Thea is sound asleep. She has stirred a couple of times but as usual once her dummy is popped back in she immediately drifts off again. Time for me to hop into bed and catch up on House Of Cards. Got a feeling I’ll be sleeping very light tonight.

03:30 : Quick check on the sleeping monkey. All good in dreamland. Back to bed for Daddy.

03:59 : Sounds like someone has lost their dummy. If only that was all I needed to get a solid 11 hours kip every night! Back in it goes and the “zzzzzzz” starts before the bedroom door is even closed.

06:30 : Seems like Thea is kindly giving Daddy a lay-in. Well I suppose it is a Sunday.

06:40 : I spoke too soon. Two loud sneezes from across the hall, followed by a combination of what can only be described as some Exorcist-like gargling, quality raspberry blowing, and a few little songs, signals the end of the lay-in.

09:10 : Uh-oh! Seems like we drifted off again and now we’ve overslept. It’s now half past Weetabix o’clock. Don’t tell mummy!

10:30 : Just sung the Babar theme tune for the 112th time in 24 hours. It really can’t be that funny, surely?

11:00 : Couldn’t get to the remote before Justin’s House started. Ah for fff… Although she’s actually waving back to Justin which is hilarious 🙂

12:00 : Impromptu and greatly appreciated visit from Great Nan brings a smile to Thea’s face. It’s nice for her to hear a different voice and get some Nan cuddles.

12:30 : Lunch time. On the menu for her ladyship is spaghetti bolognese with a hint of cheese, yes hint. Ooh get you with your hint of cheese. Followed by a strawberry Petit Filous. Dad’s lunch is a glass of squash with two budget headache pills. I reckon they come with a hint of ibruprofen as they don’t seem to be even taking the edge off it Maybe it’s the continual string of Disney’s Greatest Hits that Spotify is blasting out. I got those Bare Necessities down tight.

13:20 : Not sure the yoghurt quite cut the mustard. I’m currently dancing around the kitchen dancing to Phil Collins’ classic from the Tarzan soundtrack “Son of Man” while Thea gets into the spirit of it by devouring a plastic monkey. Life has certainly changed. I remember when Sunday afternoons were spent nowhere else apart from The Hob, accompanied by blackjack vodka, Bee Sting and Atreyu, with a nutritious accompaniment of Nobby’s Nuts. But I wouldn’t change this for the world. Come on Phil, let’s have another…

16:30 : Mummy just called. She’s leaving the big smoke and heading home. Time to get this place looking ship shape. Thea conveniently decides it’s time for a nap. Always bloody shirking the chores, that one…

Dad out.


Over the last few months, one of the many difficult choices we’ve had to make as we prepare for our wedding at the end of July, has been how to choose the photographer. As with everything on the big day, you only get one chance to get it right, so it wasn’t a decision we made lightly. After many hours of painstaking research, Gem found someone who was not only within our budget but also whose style we really liked. After making contact with Paolo he suggested that we meet up and chat about our ideas and also have a mini photoshoot with Thea, so that we could get used to working with him.

One major hurdle we’re going to have to get over before the wedding is that neither of us really like being in front of the camera, but Paolo made us feel really comfortable and urged us to relax and have some fun. We spent almost two hours chatting and doing the shoot in a place that we both love, and where had one of our first dates – Parade Gardens, Bath

We couldn’t be happier with the results – a selection of which speak for themselves below – and are very much looking forward to having Paolo document our special day in a couple of months…. Roll on July!

Six months ago today we were both ensconced in a small corner of the maternity ward at the RUH, delirious with a mixture of sheer joy and utter exhaustion, after having welcomed our little girl into the world. It really is crazy how quickly the time has gone since then. Everyone tells you to make sure you savour every moment because they grow up so fast, and while it’s not a case of not believing them, you tend to take those comments with a pinch of salt…. right up until the point you realise that they are growing up so fast!

When she was born she seemed not much bigger than my hand, with a mass of dark brown hair and a cute little nose that mirrored her mummy. To this first time father she appeared so fragile, and every cuddle in those first few days came bundled with a scary sensation that I might somehow break her.

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Since then she has changed so much. At the moment it seems that every day brings something new – a different chuckle, a different facial expression, a new way of getting both of her feet into her mouth at the same time – all helping to give our little one her very own personality. Seeing her discover different foods over the last couple of weeks has been priceless – the introduction of broccoli was a personal favourite…

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Today we visited my Dad and his partner for lunch, and as we dined on homemade burgers, goats cheese and watercress quiche and salad, Thea demolished the end of a banana, propped up in her little red Bumbo seat at the end of the table. She is so at home with people that she doesn’t see every day, and when my Dad holds her it makes me reflect on parenting in a totally different way. It sounds like a cliché, but as with most clichés it is very much true that when you have your own children you finally understand your parents. The sacrifices they have made, the unconditional love they have given you without a second thought, the stress, worry and heartache you must have caused them over the years – it all just clicks.

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For the last six months I’ve done my utmost to be a good Dad to Thea and a support for Gem, who has been nothing short of incredible. Her dedication to our little girl is amazing, and the unassuming, undemanding, unconditional love she has for Thea is the main reason why we have such a happy little munchkin. If I can ever become half as good a Dad, as she is a Mum, I will be happy.

Happy half-Birthday Thea, and Happy Easter to you all…..

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As far back as January, when we learned it would be three of us opening up our stockings on Christmas morning this year, we knew that the festive season would be extra special this time around. As I have found with a great many things since Thea arrived, those traditions that you’re so used to experiencing the same way, year in year out, suddenly take on a whole new significance when you have a little one in tow. I’ve never really been one to have to have the biggest pile of presents under the tree to be happy, but this year I even managed to forget that I had any to open, I was that wrapped up in watching Thea receive gift after generous gift from friends and family. Albeit oblivious to the procession of prezzies and swelling of our usual collection of cards from around the world, she certainly enjoyed the toys once they were out of their packages, and looks simply adorable in all the cute clothes that she was given.

Of course occasions such as Christmas tend to spawn a plethora of themed clothing for both adults and kids alike, and there was no way we were going to miss the opportunity to get some embarrassment ammunition for future events such as 16th birthday parties, or when her first boyfriend comes to meet the parents. There was the Santa’s Little Helper costume (click here for previous post), a podgy Christmas pudding top, and some cute Fair Isle leggings, but my favourite has to be the mini Santa outfit which we used as the picture for our first Xmas message to friends and family.


I think we have had more visitors this year than ever before, although I um under no illusion that they were coming to see us! Both Gem and I are so grateful for all the love and support that we have received this year. From the moment we announced we were expecting, our friends and family have been nothing short of amazing and if you are one of them, and are reading this, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We have got quite a lot going on in our lives right now, both good and not so good, but times like these help you put things into perspective and realise how lucky you are. Seeing my Dad bounce my little girl on his knee and the sheer, uncomplicated, unadulterated joy on both their faces is something I’ll always remember.


Even though we’ve all been struck down with miserable colds over the last week, the mood in the house has remained cheerful throughout – the fun starting at 8am on Christmas morning when Thea finally woke from her slumber and joined the party with a Xmas selfie…


There were six of us around the table for Christmas dinner while Thea caught up on some well-earned sleep, and over the following few days we managed to see lots of family and friends. I’ve always had a relatively small amount of family members near at Christmas time but that has changed since being with Gem, and I thoroughly enjoyed a Christmas with a real family feel to it. I think this year will always have a special place in our hearts as our first Christmas as a three, and I know I will remember it for many years to come.




Wow! Where have the last 8 weeks gone? It seems like only a few days ago that we were bringing Thea back from the hospital and standing in the doorway of our lounge, staring at each other with a look of “what the hell do we do now?” slapped right across our faces. Since then it has been quite a journey, with new experiences coming thick and fast, every one of them opening my eyes just a little more to what it means to be a parent. This morning Thea and I spent our first morning alone together as Gem headed off to terrorise the highways and byways of Wiltshire in a driving lesson. Originally I had planned this post to be just about this experience – the first time in 38 years that I had been solely responsible for someone so small and dependant. I guess I had built it up in my head as being something that would be traumatic rather than enjoyable, but the reality of it was that I loved sharing those two hours with the little one we’ve come to affectionately refer to as Chunk. It is genuinely amazing how she can raise my spirits, even at the lowest of lows.

When Gem returned, with both her and the driving instructor unscathed, we decided to bring a little Christmas cheer to the house and set off for Allington Farm Shop to get our tree. Normally we have an artificial one which is great, but for Thea’s first festive season we decided the real deal was the way to go. After successfully conquering the logistics of transporting 2 adults, 1 baby in a car seat, 2 bags of shopping, a buggy and a 7 ft spruce in a T reg Golf, it was time to decorate.

To be fair, I left it to the experts and Thea enjoyed watching Mummy illuminate the spiky branches, totally mesmerised by the flashing lights. After the peppermint candy canes had been hung and the final bauble was gently swinging away, came the moment we’d been waiting for as I “helped” Thea place her first ever decoration – the star on the top of the tree that will now be our little tradition every year.

Gem has done an amazing job of making it Christmassy in here – bunting, baubles, wreath, pine cones and scented candles are all all serving as a welcome distraction. It really does feel festive, albeit only 4 days into December.

Xmas tree

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So now we begin the countdown. It’s strange, it has been a long time since Christmas seemed this important to me. The last few years have been different – since Gem and I got together it has definitely taken on more significance, but this year even more so. I’m looking forward to the 25th, and I can’t pretend that a large part of it isn’t down to being able to see Thea wear this again…


As adults we tend to experience new things for the first time with less and less frequency as the years advance. Certainly for me a lot of those groundbreaking rites of passage are distant, hazy memories, locked away somewhere in the cobwebbed recesses of my brain. My first holiday, my first love, the first time I got drunk, the first time I lost someone. The finite details of these incredibly significant life events may well be softer around the edges with every passing year, tucked away under skin and bone and a rapidly greying mop of spiky hair, but the feelings they created are still as sharp as ever.

This coming Sunday will mark 2 weeks since little Thea entered, and in doing so, completely changed, our lives. From the moment she arrived she has been giving me so many brand new experiences that have taken their place at the forefront of this ever-expanding bank of recollections. As a new parent it is tempting to document every little thing that your baby does, and indeed we will almost certainly continue to do just that for the rest of her life, but I just wanted to reflect on a few things that stand out from the last couple of weeks.

I guess what strikes me the most is the incredible contrast of emotions that such a minute little person can evoke. The first time she smiled just floored me. Now some people will say it was wind, some argue that actually there is no defined reason why they smile at such a young age. The fact is I couldn’t care less. The way her little face lit up just took my breath away and as I stood there alone in the soft evening light, cradling her in my arms, I just couldn’t stifle my own grin and quietly chuckled away, waiting for the next one.


But to say that every emotion she pulls out of me is positive would be untrue. As someone who has no experience with looking after little ones, no previous practice with siblings, I tend to worry a lot about whether whatever she is doing is normal, if she is ok. The other night I experienced a first that will stick in my mind just as strongly as the first smile and will surely be the first of many. Asleep in the swing, I was sitting next to her, every now and again stroking her hand and staring at her chest to make sure it was moving up and down, you know, like it should when you breathe! Every little movement she made was a reassuring sign that things were good, and that I could go back to watching the TV for another couple of minutes before the urge to check on her again became to much to resist. The next little prod I gave her garnered no response, nor did the next one a few seconds later. When the third one was met with the same reaction, my heart jumped into my throat and my mind raced to what might be happening and what I should do next. Seconds later of course it became obvious that everything was absolutely fine and she made a face as if to say “Oh for God’s sake man up and leave me alone!”, but I will never forget those 5 seconds of sheer terror as long as I live. I should point out that I am getting better at not worrying – at least I’m trying to! It’s every parent’s duty I suppose and a skill that must be learned.

The first cuddle, the first cry, the first hilarious fart followed closely by the very first nappy I’ve ever changed. The first time (of many) that I stared at her resting in Gem’s arms, both of them in their own little world. The first time I fed her, the first time she almost choked on her milk… the list goes on and on. From the delivery suite and back to our home, this past fortnight has been filled with the highest highs and also some of the most stressful moments I can remember. One first after another, the new experiences keep coming thick and fast.

The journey has begun, and long may it continue.





It was back in January of this year when my future got flipped upside down and I knew my life was going to change forever. (n.b. :  I did not get shipped out to Bel Air by my Aunt). There we were, sat around the coffee table in front of the TV, eating our dinner – just a regular evening like any other. As I devoured the mouthwatering morsels in front of me, some space began to clear on my plate. At this point it is worth mentioning that my fiancée had been acting a little strangely that evening, disappearing upstairs for a few minutes here and there, and wearing a cheeky look on her face. This in itself is not unusual, but deep inside I just knew that something was up…

Ok, so back to the meal. As I popped a particularly generous forkful of food into my grateful mouth, I spotted something strange on the plate. There were some black lines hiding underneath the broccoli and as I swept the veggies aside I felt that surge of adrenalin that perhaps only those who have experienced this may fully understand…

Yes, this was how I found out I WAS GOING TO BE A DAD! Amazingly, I managed to not choke on a carrot and just stared wide-eyed across the sofa to my better half, who was shaking, giggling and giddy with excitement, as was I. She had always said that when this moment happened she would find a novel way of telling me and that she did.

It had been a long road for us to get to this point. Not as long or as arduous as some we know, I might add, but a journey that had tested us nonetheless. Tested us and also brought us closer together and made us stronger.

We sat back on the sofa, held each other and began to wonder about what the next 9 months, and many more years to come, might have in store.