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Paper Mario Color Splash

paper-mario-colour-splash-coverRole-playing and card battle games are genres that have largely past me by, such is my refusal to entertain anything beyond left, right and jump. But as a disciple of all things Mario and a sucker for a kidnapped Princess I’m always prepared to make an exception.

With a talking paint can for company, the basic premise of Paper Mario Color Splash is to restore colour to the land of Prisma Island and find its stolen Big Paint Stars.

What’s most notable when you first start the game is how beautiful the graphics and textures are. The Wii U might not have the processing power of its rivals but that doesn’t stop it turning arts and crafts into gorgeous level designs, doing with paper and cardboard what Yoshi’s Woolly World did so brilliantly with yarn.… Read the full post

Mark Short Stories & Poetry, Tales of Parenting 1 Comment

The Penny Pincher

Strange things are afoot. Tales are emerging of a grim creature intent on frightening children and adults alike. So terrifying it would give a killer clown the willies.

Rumour has it he’s the result of an experiment that went horribly wrong. An ambiguous mix of chemistry and alchemy. One part stay-at-home dad, many parts don’t-make-me-get-a-job.

Some think it the stuff of urban legend. Others claim to have witnessed his devilment first hand. All know him as ‘The Penny Pincher’.

One victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to have experienced his presence on numerous occasions.

Jeanette (not her proper name), takes up the story.

“It was early October. The temperature had dropped into single figures so I went to turn the heating on.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting 10 Comments


I’ve started running. I’d like to say it’s part of a wider health kick or due to a sudden epiphany about my own mortality, but I’d be lying.

Truth is, a couple of weeks ago I lost a race with Luca. Not a proper race, mind. There was no starting gun, agreed finish line or post race drug test.

And if this sounds like I’m making excuses, I’ve barely even started.

He was wearing his PE kit. I was carrying two school bags and a coat. I gave him a head start and he set off running at ‘get set…’

But as anyone watching will tell you, I wasn’t catching him. If anything he was pulling away. And if I’d dropped the bags, which I did consider doing, it was still highly unlikely I would have won.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Fatherhood, Tales of Parenting 4 Comments

Confessions of a House Husband

Not those kind of confessions, get your mind out of the gutter.

If you were expecting this to begin with a rugged plumber knocking at the door I can only apologise. The most excitement you’d get from me in that scenario is if he didn’t condemn our boiler for another year. And if I’m naked it’s only because the kids let him in without telling me. Again.

Seriously, were you really expecting some kind of 70’s style smutty soft porn? Really? I mean, I can give you 70’s style smutty soft porn if that’s what you want…


Happy now? No, didn’t think so.

The confessions I’m talking about involve domesticated deceit. They’re a glimpse into the dark arts of house-husbandry. Secrets that could easily see me shunned in the playground or worse still, ostracised from the SSSP (Secret Society of the Stay-at-home Parent).… Read the full post

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Not Another Back to School Post

Sorry, I lied, it absolutely is another back to school post. What can you do, I called it The Tales of Sonny and Luca. You make your bed, you lie in it.

Sonny started Juniors today, but he’ll not forget his time in infants, not least because those memories are still etched across his tie in gravy.

Luca started Year Two with Sonny’s old teacher. A blessing if judged on his handwriting, less so if judged on his homework.

And whilst Janet was amazed at how much they’d grown over the summer holidays, as the stay-at-home parent responsible for their uniforms I thought it wise not to mention their trousers were fast approaching three-quarter length long before the end of last term.… Read the full post

Mark Activities, Reviews Leave a Comment

Dyson Challenge

dyson-challengeAsk Sonny what job he’d like to have when he’s older and he’ll tell you he wants to be a farmer.

I’ve no idea why, he’s as scared of vegetables and he is animals. Throw in a fascination with zombies and I’m worried his idea of a harvest may involve organs?!

Luca wants to be a stay-at-home dad. Part of me is proud that he sees such merit in my current role, although part of me also worries that he just sees it as an opportunity to watch the entire box-set of Breaking Bad when they take a nap. Not that I did that, obviously, what with being so busy doing … err … stuff?

So when we were invited to an event hosted by Dyson and Currys at Manchester Science and Industry Museum, it seemed the perfect opportunity to broaden their horizons.… Read the full post