Mark Canvas Holidays, Family Tales, Days Out, Reviews 2 Comments

Altomincio Family Park with Canvas Holidays

altomincio-poolOur trip with Canvas Holidays to Altomincio Family Park near Lake Garda was to be a holiday of firsts. First time on a plane; first time abroad; our first proper holiday as a family.

As we sat in the airport, and in an attempt to avoid Luca’s question about how planes stay in the air (magic?), I asked the boys what they were most looking forward to.

Sonny: “To finally try some proper pasta dishes!”

Harsh. As their stay-at-home dad who’s been cooking pasta twice a week for the past five years I could have been offended.

Luca: “Trying out the Spanish I learnt at school!”

Proof, were it needed, that his passion for languages may be to the detriment of his geography.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Tales of Fatherhood, Family Tales, Activities 2 Comments

Young Dads Collective

As a ‘dad blogger’ you know Fathers Day is approaching when your inbox suddenly becomes swamped by Fathers Day gift guides. The cynical blogger in me reads them as a list of ‘things I was sent for free’, although to be fair, I’m just bitter that the best thing I was offered this year was a ‘Best Dad in the World’ tankard?! One email did suggest a £500 watch but sadly it was just that, a suggestion.

But it does raise serious questions, and not just ‘what child is buying their dad a £500 watch, and more importantly, how do I get myself one of these kids?’

Because when I think back to when I first became a stay-at-home dad, what I really wanted wasn’t a Top Gear toiletry set.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Family Tales 30 Comments

A Very Public Five Count

I’m not one for judging other peoples parenting skills. Well, how can I when as toddlers my boys could turn any public space into a thrash metal moshpit of despair at the drop of a hat … or glove … or raisin.

I’ll always remember one such occasion in a supermarket when a lovely old lady walked over, looked down at Sonny spreadeagled beneath the magazines, then back up at me and said,

“They can be little shits can’t they!”

Words I never would have imagined coming out of her mouth, less still,

“You know, most angelic toddlers turn into teenage pricks. Trust me, it’s so much better that they get their tantrums out of their system early.”

She then crouched over Sonny,

“Right young man, are you going to put that comic back and help your dad with the shopping, or shall we leave you here for the bogeyman?”

Whoa, back up a minute old lady.… Read the full post

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

Operation Alphabet

tower-of-londonLast week we embarked on a top secret mission to London. Code name: Operation Alphabet.

It was based on a book by the same name which had really captured the boys imagination. For those who haven’t read it, all the letters from all the words in all the world live in a postbox under the shadow of Big Ben. To contact them you must find an old fashioned red telephone box, dial six and count to ten slowly, but more on that later.

Our cover story was that we were staying with some friends, visiting a few landmarks and attending a rave at the Ministry of Sound. The perfect foil.

But we needed aliases, and for the purposes of this mission we would now be known as Terry and Jude.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Family Tales 2 Comments

Is It Over Yet?

Christmas_jarIs it over yet?

That’s not a rhetorical question, I genuinely have no idea when the festive period officially ends.

I’m also not sure what the record for consecutive pyjama days is but the kids must surely be close to breaking it by now.

Like a John Lennon bed-in, had his protests been directed at sprouts rather than the Vietnam war, albeit the consequences of Janet eating so many quantum cabbages was every bit as brutal.

I’d like to blame the bad weather for us being housebound, but I’d be lying. Unless I missed storm Laziness and/or Gluttony, in which case it absolutely was.

But it does feel like the festivities have just about run their course.

I’ve cleared a corner of the dining room to act as a half-way house for the Christmas tree on its way back to the loft.… Read the full post

Mark Family Tales 1 Comment

Sticks and Stones and Piles of Ironing

I’ve not blogged for a few weeks. You hadn’t noticed? Shame on you!

I’d like to say this coincides with Janet breaking her ankle, but that would be to suggest my empathy has a shelf life of more than a few days, and we all know that not to be true. Or at least you would if you’d seen her struggling to juggle two crutches, a bowl of soup and a cup of tea, whilst I didn’t so much as look up from my phone.

Now, before you label me as some sort of heinous, uncaring monster, I had offered to help but it was immediately rebuffed, although for the purpose of balance (no pun intended), Janet would like it to be known that this was because she’d still not forgiven me for dropping her in the shower the night before.… Read the full post