A letter to my children about marriage and kids

I wanted to write this for some time now talking to you about marriage and kids! I want you to know that there are alternatives to being married and having kids. As we grow we see marriages, children and white picket fences everywhere from our own families, to friends, in movies, in TV… Literally everywhere! It’s instilled in us at a very young age.

I want you to know it’s ok if these are not things that you want in life! It’s ok if you do not want to marry or have children! I am not saying that I wouldn’t love for you to find the love of your life or have amazing grand kids for me to play with, but I don’t believe we were all meant to be married and have children and the pressure created by our culture to have a family is crazy! If you do get married, it’s because that’s what you want and that’s all that matters!

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Something that no one tells you is there are alternatives to life other than settling down, marrying, having children and living in the same house with the white picket fence for the next 25-30 years. Life is about experiences, not what society has made us think what a life well lived is. People are placed in our lives to teach us, to help us grow, and to live life with us as I have been put in to yours.

There are things you can do like travel the world, Spend time with friends, live where you want to, do whatever you want to when you want! Now I am not saying this to discourage you at all! I just want you to know that I am not expecting anything from you except your happiness! I just want you to know that there are alternatives to life and don’t fold if it’s not what you want!

Love Dad

Babblingon’s Beauty Secrets

Shanel (Babblingon) and I met about two years ago when I first started blogging. Over the last two years I have watched her grow her brand quickly as a beauty blogger and soon to be salon owner. In this interview I hit her with questions to find out about her beauty secrets and some of her favourite makeup brands. I hope you enjoy! For more of Babblingon’s beauty secrets make sure to follower her on her blog Babbling On Beauty, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter

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1. Lipstick, Gloss, Lip Stain, Balm, or Lip Liner? I am a fan of Matte lips so anything that gives that effect I love.
2. How do you make your Lipstick / Lip Gloss last longer? I use a Lush lip scrub, use a lip liner and then apply a lipstick/gloss on top.
3. How do you pick a Lip Color that looks good on my skin color? I think Nude colours suits most people.
4. What are some cheap ways to take care of chapped lips? Use a dry toothbrush to scrub lips and apply Vaseline.
5. Favorite drugstore lip product? This is hard one I have so many, off the top of my head Rimmel.
6. Favorite brand name lip product? Again super hard to just say one, I love Mac, Urban Decay and Anasatasia Beverly Hills.
7. Do you usually play up or play down your lips? I like to play my lips up.
8. Eyeliner in Pencil, Gel, or Liquid? I love liquid eyeliners.
9. How do you do a cat eye? With a lot of practice lol.
10. What do you use to remove eye makeup and mascara? I use Lancôme eye makeup remover.
12. Cream or Powder eye shadow? I like to use powder eye shadows.
13. What tricks can you do to make your eyelashes look longer? Layers of Masacara and best of all false eyelashes.
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14. How do you brighten up your eyes? I use eye drops and by using a gold or a white in the corners really brightens the eyes up.
15. What color(s) go with your eyes? I love golds on my eyes.
16. Favorite drugstore eyeliner? Hard one, Maybelline and Nyx.
17. Favorite drugstore eyeshadow? Makeup revolution and Nyx.
18. Favorite drugstore mascara? Maybelline.
20. Favorite brand name eyeliner? Kat Von D tattoo eye liner, The Balm eyeliner, Dior, urban decay. I really don’t have a fav.
21. Favorite brand name eyeshadow? Urban Decay.
22. Favorite brand name mascara? Urban Decay, Dior and Benefit oh and YSL I have a lot that love.
23. Favorite brand name palette? Again too many to mention love Anastatsia, the balm, urban decay.
25. If you can only use one eye makeup product, what would it be? My eyeliner.
I hope you enjoyed this interview of Babblingon and for more beauty tips, tricks and information make sure to follow her!
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So you are going to be mom…

So you are going to be a mom and I am sure you have some or a lot of anxiety about becoming a mom (let you in on a little secret we dads do to). I would really like to emphasize to you that “YOU’VE GOT THIS”! Trust me on that one… Even when your doubting yourself and we all do “YOU’VE GOT THIS”! No matter how frustrated you get, how confused you feel you will always find a way. Your love for your baby will help you more than you realize.

I have composed a list of things I think you should know (yes I know I am a dad writing this, but I have three kids and been down the road of becoming a first time parent lol). It can be overwhelming I won’t lie about that especially the first one because your learning and doing your best and sometimes even though it doesn’t feel you are, trust me you are!

  • Other people may be experts on looking after their own child, but not yours. Only you know your child that intimately.
  • The tiredness will end! Even when it feels like you will never sleep again for more than an hour at a time a day will come when your baby sleeps longer!
  • If you’re unhappy, your baby will be unhappy. If you’re happy, your baby will be happy. Even babies feel your moods.
  • Everything will be ok! Just trust your gut instincts.
  • You are going to feel so overwhelmed with love that you may cry (I did with all three)!

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  • Getting your baby on a schedule straight out of the gate… Who cares… Cuddle and snuggle your baby all you want to! It really is just a blink of an eye before they become toddlers, so just love and cuddle your baby!
  • There will be lots of times when the baby is crying and you don’t know why. That’s ok, babies cry. Sometimes they are trying to communicate something, but often they are releasing their emotions. It happens even to us adults!
  • Do not get caught up trying to be the perfect mother. There is no such thing. In order to be the best mother to your baby, all you have to do is try your best.
  • Take time for yourself. It is absolutely crucial that you take time for yourself on a daily basis. even if it’s just for 10 minutes trust me you will feel a difference.
  • Most of all and I can’t say this enough! Enjoy all the little moments you can (I know that they all can’t be the best moments)! You will never regret even bad moments (later on in life you will probably laugh at a lot of them and wish you could feel all those ups and downs again).

Becoming a mom will be your biggest moment in your life (trust me on that one… Becoming a dad was mine)! Try not to stress to much about the things that happen that maybe didn’t turn out so well or beat yourself up over what you should have done! Just take it all in because down the road the memories you have more than likely will make you laugh or shake your head with a smile. All the moments good or bad you will treasure forever!

Things haven’t really changed…

In the last week I have had some conversations with a four men single and married and come to realize that things have not really changed! I asked a few simple questions (they all know I write a parent blog and have read it) and I didn’t ask any other dad bloggers because I wanted the see the reactions and the answers from men that are not part of the blogging world.

The answers I am providing below are just an overall consensus of the answers I was given… surprising to me they all ended up at the same conclusion with different words, but the same answers. I didn’t try and discuss with them as I didn’t want to pollute the answers that were given to me.

  1. Would you stay at home with the kids if the opportunity was given to you? I was quite shocked this day in age at the answers I received. Overall the answers were no only if I had too would I! When I asked why? the answers were simple… I couldn’t do it! Staying home with the kids I couldn’t do it as I need my time!
  2. Would you or do you have expectations of your wife/girlfriend if she was or does stay at home? This one really surprised me as they all expected for everything to be done for them i.e. cooking, cleaning you know the drill! when I asked why? Because I go to work and bring the money home, I am tired and think because that’s her job as I go to mine.
  3. What if your wife/girlfriend was to go to work because she needed her time out of the house? This answer shocked me the most! I would still expect the things in the house to be done because she’s making a choice to go to work!

So as not to pollute your answers I am not going to go on about my thoughts on the answers I was given. I want to hear from the rest of you! You can answer the questions I posed to these men or you can give me your thoughts on the answers I had received from them. I am writing another post with my thoughts on this!

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Being a parent is hard AF!

It is true… Being a parent is HARD AF! The challenges that come with parenting at times can be overwhelming and hard to swallow. There are times that your child/children will push your buttons and make you want to run away screaming (kids get good at learning what makes you cringe, now if they put that much effort in to studying lol). The older they get and the closer they become to being full blown adults the harder it gets.

When they are babies even though it’s their way of letting you know that they need something or somethings not right with them it’s their crying. It’s the fact that the crying is happening and you can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with them? Between the noise and your frustration after a long period of this it can be enough to break you down for two reasons one being it just breaks you emotionally and the other because you really hate not knowing whats, going on with them?

Everyone calls it the terrible two’s, but let’s be honest here it’s really the terrible toddler years (insert I am laughing so hard I’m crying emoji here) lol! This is the time they explore and (supposed) learn their limits! When I think back the one that got me was when they learned the word “NO”… Seriously did you just say “NO” to me?

Then there’s the oh about 5 – 12 years range (at least for me anyways) that things seem to level out and yes there is the push and pull of normal everyday life. Sometimes a day is a struggle, but mostly it levels out and you have your good days and your bad, good days out numbering the bad!

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Then one day around the age of 12ish… Things change and they start changing and puberty hits! Oh my god what an emotional roller coaster that can be… Literally over the moon happy one second and the next your waiting for their head to start turning in circles like that girl from poltergeist (if you haven’t reached puberty in your house yet, buckle up it can be a bumpy road at times)!

What gets you in this age is this is when they really start finding themselves and who they really are and as a parent we can sometimes aggravate the situation because we don’t like a personality trait they are trying on for size and they do try on all the possible personality traits that there are! for me the worst one was the “I don’t care I’m an ass” one because they truly become one and dealing with that one can be uhmmmm let’s say challenging as you try and have a conversation with them about school and they get agitated which turns in to a heated conversation that they don’t like and all of a sudden they turn and walk away on you and you hear the words “fuck off” muttered (but not to muttered)! I can’t even explain what you feel as a parent!

Over all though the good out numbers the bad vastly! We tend to remember the bad days a lot more vividly because hey they were first or our emotions that day really took over and we remember how they made us feel! I wouldn’t change a thing though now that I have been through all this as it brought them around to the awesome children I have now (Olivia is still young so I will have to update this later on in life and right now she is completely adorable!). So yes being a parent is HARD AF, but nothing will fulfill like being a parent!

Done having kids? Get your vasectomy done!

I had mine done (actually it was done twice) and to be honest it’s not as bad as you would imagine! The first time I went in I was mentally prepared and good with it. I walked in to the doctors office and waited to be called in. I was called in and put the robe on laid back on the table and the doctor started to prep me using that weird coloured cleanser they use before surgery. He then told me he was going to administer the local anesthetic and I would feel some sharp pinches and he was right I did! It was a little uncomfortable, but not as painful as I had imagined in the first place.

As the doctor continued he was filling me in as he went along and said if you feel any pain let me know. he then made the incision (which isn’t that long of one less than 1″) and I was good. He then hooked the first tube and I had actually felt a bit of pain as he did and I let him know. He then administered the maximum amount of local anesthetic he could as an out patient. I was still all good at this point. As he pulled the first tube out and then proceeded to clamp the tube all I can remember was me letting out a scream and about a minute later coming out of the fog I was in.

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At this point he had said that I had passed out for a minute and that we couldn’t do the vasectomy that day. as he cleaned me up and sent me home. We were talking and something I had never really thought about was when I would go to the dentist and they would be be working on my teeth I would always have a bit of pain. Well it was discovered that my body blocks local anesthetic.  There were two poor guys waiting in the waiting room who had very terrified looks in their eyes and I smiled as best as I could as I hobbled out the door.

I remember well that after that I really did not want to try and get it done after that (really I was thinking “fuck this I am not getting it done” and yes in those words as it hurts!) and it took a little while for me to come around to doing it again. This time however I was to go in to the hospital for what they call day surgery so they could administer more of the local anesthetic. When I went in for my last and final operation I had an anesthesiologist and was hooked up to a vitals monitor (big production for such an easy operation) and all went well.

That evening I was pumped full of Tylenol and was off to a BBQ at a friends house and was nursing cold beers as I kept them cooling my uhmmmm uncomfortable situation. I will admit however that it’s a painful operation to have as you feel like you had the worst ever kick in the nuts ever in your life. It took me about 10 days for that feeling to go away totally.

Just remember though guys I wouldn’t complain at all as we have it easy! We never experience child birth and I an sure this is low scale pain compared to what a woman goes through to have a baby!  So if your done having kids get your vasectomy done it’s the least you can do! I had mine done twice!

 

 

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Skin care products I use and love

For me it’s always been a bit of a struggle to find products that work well with my skin. I have always had sensitive skin and shaving has always irritated it. I have tried what feels like every shave cream product under the sun. Recently I have found Pharmaskincare shaving gel and i love it! When I shave it allows the razor to do it”s job without the razor burn I normally would get which is a huge bonus for me. No more bumpy itchy skin.

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The facial scrub I have fallen in love with. Most of the facial scrubs I have used over the years have dried my skin out too much and in some cases left it red and scaly. The facial scrub from Pharmaskincare is wonderful to use and does a great job of keeping my skin feeling clean and fresh.

the after shave lotion is fantastic and after I shave, shower and scrub it feels so good to apply the after shave lotion and it leaves my skin feeling hydrated and soft. I highly recommend Pharmaskincare products. By the way they also have products for the ladies as well!

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Celebrating EVERY milestone – A NICU journey. (Guest Post Pudding and Chops)

I remember it clearly, “pregnant 2-3 weeks”. That was it I was pregnant, I was going to have a baby. Although I was quite aware of statistics of not making it to 12 weeks I was over the moon, I started reading up everything I could. Week by week I marvelled at the size of my tiny baby growing inside of me, a poppy seed, an almond, an avocado, I was amazed at what was developing day by day, neural connections, specialisation of cells into tissues and organs – it was a biological dream for me to try and follow.

We prepped for what furniture to buy, what colour scheme to have, we deliberated over what pram would be the comfiest and most practical, we spent hours reading through names books whilst sat in coffee shops throwing suggestions about, crossing off and finalising our list.

Not once did we consider I wouldn’t make it to full term.

It’s not the start to parenting we imagined having our first born child 11 weeks premature. I had a feeling in the back of my mind a week before I had my eldest son, I had done some research on preterm labour, yet I hoped that this was just my overactive imagination and that it would be something that would never become a reality – but it did.

I never expected to start my life as a mum sitting alone in a room, devoid of company and comfort as I sat with no baby in my arms. A hive of activity of consultants and nurses, the neonatal team bustling with incubators, intubation tubes and machines and then suddenly silence.

My first moments as a mother I hobbled to the shower numb from what had just happened – had I really just had a baby? Was he ok? Will he survive? I held onto the wall of the bathroom and cried as the shower washed away the remnants of after birth – was this it?

Hours ticked by before I could see my son for the first time, I felt like I was existing in a state of limbo, not able to celebrate, not able to mourn – I didn’t know how to feel. I glimpsed at my baby inside the incubator, intubated, wired up. This tiny frail baby, all downy skin and bone yet perfectly formed. I remember my heart stopping and feeling like it had been squeezed, my breathe was taken away as I awaited the first of many reports;

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“He’s doing well, he’s a strong one and a good weight” smiled the nurse

At 2lb 15oz and intubated I found it hard to fathom what she meant by doing well, but soon I came to realise that actually he was doing well. Around me were babies so much tinier than mine, born so much earlier as well. The look of anguish and worry of every parents face as they stared into their little plastic box that contained their baby was palpable across the room. You could tell the newbies as they stood too anxious to move, whilst the experienced ones went about their business conducting the ‘cares’ of their baby, simple wipe downs across the eyes with a damp cotton ball, wiping away the dried out saliva from the corners of their lips, negotiating the wires whilst changing a nappy. This was the parenting journey that we were on. This is how we started being a parent.

You see it’s not quite what we imagine when we set out to have a baby, but when faced with NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) or SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) you just have to deal with the cards you have been dealt and hope that you can make it out the other side as quickly as possible so you can join all the ‘normal’ parents out there. It feels like life is on hold until you can finally celebrate the real milestones – but in reality that’s not the case, we as NICU parents have so much to celebrate and we do celebrate every single day; coming of CPAP or no longer being intubated, becoming drug free and no longer needing caffeine, putting on weight and finally becoming “chubby” at 3lb whatever, wearing those first teeny tiny outfits and finally waving good bye to the wonderful doctors and nurses and letting the doors of NICU close behind you for the last time as you finally take your baby home.

I remember the moment when I was told we could ‘room in’, that moment of elation when you KNEW you on the cusp of going home, those first couple of nights just you and your baby, still in the security of the hospital but together as parent and child should be…and then we were free.

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I wanted to put our time in NICU behind us as quickly as possible and finally become a ‘real’ mum, but you see it never leaves you. Yes, memories fade and many more happy memories are made but NICU never really leaves you, that start to being a parent is forever engrained within you. You feel so isolated, alone, a wannabe ‘normal’ parent peering into the real world desperate to join in. But it shouldn’t feel like that, so despite it being three years since I experienced NICU with my eldest son and then again 19 months later with my youngest, I wanted to create something to help parents feel part of the normal parenting world.

You’ve seen all the rosy milestone cards celebrating the whimsical moments of smiling for the first time, sitting up, crawling et cetera, we’ve even got our own set of funny alternative ones over at Pudding & Chops,

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But what I really wanted to create was something special. Introducing NICU milestone cards by Pudding & Chops.

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Each pack contains 30 individually designed cards celebrating many of the milestones that premature and sick babies may go through.

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Each set is individually wrapped in tissue paper and packaged inside a gorgeous Kraft box, a brilliant way to keep and store your cards. These are retailing at £14.95 and can be purchased from our Etsy store.

But it doesn’t just stop there!

In order to support as many parents and babies as possible, we at Pudding & Chops have partnered with Bliss, the leading national charity for babies born premature or sick. We are supporting Bliss’ vision that every baby born premature or sick in the UK has the best chance of survival and quality of life. For every pack of cards sold we will be donating £2.50 for more information please visit us www.puddingandchops.com

 

We hope that our cards reach as many parents as possible and bring a smile during the hard times, but ultimately we aim to help every NICU parent feel part of the parenting world right from the start.

A letter to my sons “Don’t judge a woman by her looks”

As you get older and you start to go out to parties, meet new people and I am sure meet young ladies I feel compelled to talk to you about meeting these young ladies and how I hope you approach them.

I know that physical attraction is a must at first because she has to grab your attention, but remember physical attraction only goes so far. The young ladies you meet as you go out and start exploring what you like in a personality and what you don’t like will have a lasting impact on you and them.

My best advice I can give you is ” don’t make a decision about a lady based on her looks alone, eventually you have to talk to those looks and you better like what those looks have to say or there’s nothing!”. Now you are probably wondering what exactly do I mean when I say that? I mean that what she has to say has to have substance for you. You can’t base what you like about her solely on her looks.

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When you meet these young ladies it may be at  a party or out with friends and you most likely will have a good time. You will enjoy the moment, but what happens the next day if you exchange phone numbers and now you have to get real person?

You have to remember this young lady is in the same boat as you, you may be physically attractive to her, but you also have to have substance for her! She has to like the person you are. Again and this is for you “eventually she has to talk to those looks and she better like what you have to say or there is nothing!”.

Take your time and get to know her. Get to know who she is by asking questions, volunteer information about you and who you are, but most of all never judge a woman by her looks alone you may be missing the love of your life because of it!

Love dad