Mark Tales of Parenting 2 Comments

Fickle Five to Sulky Six

Maybe I’m suffering from selective memory, but I don’t remember having any problem dealing with the terrible twos. The threes were memorable only for their feral grunts, and by the time they’d reached four I’d largely become immune to their insolence due to sleep deprivation.

But more recently I’m finding it hard work, and I’m not too proud to admit that I’m struggling. Really struggling. Struggling to keep a straight face.

I know my reaction isn’t helpful, but is it really my fault that I’m easily amused?

Besides, how are you supposed to react to someone whose ‘worst day ever’ is never more than a request to put their shoes on, away? It would be far more dramatic had their previous ‘worst day ever’ not been yesterday when you asked them to take their shoes off.… Read the full post

Mark Nintendo, Reviews 2 Comments

Super Mario Maker

super-mario-maker-cover-artSomewhere, deep within Nintendo HQ, there’s an echo chamber filled with the anguished cries of gamers like me, who, having lost untold hours days on any number of Super Mario courses created by the genius that is Shigeru Miyamoto, threw down their controller in a sulk of mumbled expletives and decreed it impossible. Or maybe that’s just me?

It’s been thirty years since the release of Super Mario Bros. Thirty years! That’s more exasperated outbursts than I’ve directed at Sonny and Luca combined; which they’ll readily confirm is a lot!

But all those years of torment have been worth it, because with Super Mario Maker, the tables have been turned. With Super Mario Maker, you design the courses. With Super Mario Maker, it’s time to become the tormentor!… Read the full post

Mark Days Out, Reviews Leave a Comment

Manchester Hidden Gems

Richmond-tea-rooms-6I was recently asked if I’d like to contribute to an infographic on the foodie hidden gems of Manchester. I’ll not lie, my first thought was that I was being mocked.

Me? A stay-at-home dad? Eating out?

My culinary adventures mostly involve hiding in the car, wiping the crumbs of a Greggs pasty from my top lip, because heaven forbid I’m caught eating something that hasn’t first been tampered with by the thieving, grubby mitts of Sonny and Luca.

Or my weekly full English breakfast at the local café cholestérol, which, should Janet ask, I’ve not frequented for months. Honestly, I’ve not!

When I declined her offer of a breakfast there a few weeks ago it was because, as she’d suggested, I was watching my waistline.… Read the full post

Mark Activities, Days Out, Family Tales, Tales of Parenting 2 Comments

Culture, Sport and Sand Sandwiches

posing on the beachI’ve not blogged over the summer holidays. I’d like to say it was a self-imposed sabbatical, but that would be ignoring the hours sat sobbing in front of a blank screen calculating how many hours it was until school re-opened.

But the six weeks have been nothing if not educational.

I learnt that playing bad-guys is this seasons “let’s play cars!

It’s a simple premise. Ransack my bedroom under the guise of building a hideout. Fill it with enough artillery to qualify for a seat on NATO. Rampage through the house leaving carnage in your wake. And repeat. Again, and again, and again …..

I’m not saying it was torturous, and turn away now if you don’t like plot spoilers, but the season finale involved me turning a Nerf gun on myself.… Read the full post

Mark Reviews 1 Comment

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

sam-and-dave-dig-a-hole-coverWe’ve reached a difficult stage with our bedtime reading. Sonny wants a lengthier story, Luca still wants a picture book, and if I’m honest, I just want to be done before Great British Bake Off starts.

Keeping everyone happy means our bedtime routine is starting earlier by the day, to the point that I’m now thinking through the logistics of serving them their dinner in the bath.

But every now and then we stumble upon a book that keeps us all happy, and more often than not it involves my favourite illustrator, Jon Klassen.

There’s something magical in the subtlety of Klassen’s drawings that brings the shortest and most simple of sentences bursting to life. And with Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, he does this by the bucket-load (don’t go pardoning that pun now, I’m quite proud of it).… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting 4 Comments

Quest to the Bottom of the Basket

washing basketOn a recent quest to the bottom of the washing basket, I made a remarkable discovery.

Not only could I carbon date my housework from within the mountain of clothes, but also my life.

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying both peaked around 2009.

At the surface is an ever shifting layer of school uniforms, mixed in with a selection of Janet’s clothes that suspiciously always settle near the top. It’s almost as if they’ve been carefully placed there for someone to find?

Digging further I came across a deep layer of clothes from the ‘will definitely need ironing’ period, beneath which was a dense layer of bedding.

Now, it’s at this point my vertigo normally kicks in and I stop burrowing, but for reasons of procrastination, on this particular day I decided to don my head torch, take a deep breath and keep going.… Read the full post