Dad Life

I’ve been working on my own house recently, which has given me the opportunity to spend much more time with the kids. This week our youngest was a bit poorly so it’s been a quiet week spent mostly on a sofa under a sleeping toddler – not all bad!

As regular blog readers will know, I’ve taken time out of my building business to do major renovations on my own home at the moment. It’s really exciting as while we’ve lived here for seven years, every day I get to transform the house around us by knocking walls down and building new ones and it’s already feeling really different. We got the plans through for our loft conversion this week but I’ve got the downstairs to do first so won’t be building upwards until the new year. Unfortunately progress has been a bit slow this week as our youngest has been poorly with a bad cold so I’ve had to down tools as when she’s ill, she only wants her Dad. The D.I.Y. column I’m writing for the Press Association is in full swing with a few articles now published and so I’ve now got a section of my website to put them in one place, here. While you’re looking around my website, don’t forget there’s loads of information on what I do here too.

The kitchen’s in a bit of uproar (as you can see from the plastic sheeting in the background above) but we still have a working oven for now. Looking at my building schedule, it looks like we may be without a functioning kitchen over Christmas this year – good job it’s not my turn to make Christmas dinner! I was lucky enough to be given a Firepod pizza oven to try out recently, which will help see us through being without a kitchen. The Firepod is gas-powered and sits on my garden table (see picture at the top of the post), and it came with a pizza stone. We’ve always loved making pizzas at home but after our incredible summer holiday in Italy this year, I really fancied getting a pizza oven for perfecting the thin crusts and crispy bases.

Whenever the kids have friends over for play dates, they always request pizzas for lunch and we’ve found it’s the best way to deal with fussy eaters too, as their friends can choose whichever toppings they like. Heart-shaped pizzas tend to be the order of the day for my daughters and their friends too. While I’m without an oven I’m looking forward to experimenting with the Firepod a bit more to see what else I can use it for.

On Thursday night this week, my wife Sarah and I took our eldest daughter to a special screening of The Princess Bride in Knightsbridge, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the film is being shown in cinemas across the UK tomorrow for one day only, so if you’re as much of a fan of it as me – go along! And if you’ve never seen it before – GO ALONG – as it’s one of the best family films of all time so a great thing to do during half term.

Sarah and I had such a fantastic night with our eldest daughter as we’ve seen the film with her so many times and we were surrounded by real Princess Bride fans so she was able to shout “DROP. YOUR. SWORD!”, “I’m not left-handed either” and recite the famous Inigo Montoya quotes along with everyone else on cue. The private cinema was really posh too so she felt very grown up.

We all had the day off on Friday with an inset day from school too, so the three of us went to Viet Food in Chinatown for late night Vietnamese tapas. Our eldest is my food buddy – she’ll try everything so she’s a pleasure to take out to dinner, especially to Chinatown or Bang Bang Oriental. We bought a load of custard buns from a Chinese patisserie for the journey home too – a really great night.

We’re missing our elder two girls like crazy at the moment as they’re away for half term with Sarah’s cousin, Mum & Grandad in Eindhoven. Sarah’s Grandad Joe was a veteran who liberated Eindhoven so there was a big fun run in his honour today that the kids took part in. Apparently Joe stood on the finish line and hi-fived all the runners who finished. The girls got medals with his face on too, so they’ve had a brilliant time.

Sarah reminded me today that it was four years ago she started persuading me to apply for the Great British Bake Off. There have been so many adventures since, including writing my recipe book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do and you’re just looking for that push, why not give it a go this week – chances are you won’t regret it. Until next time, Happy Baking!

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