school, reception class

I can’t quite believe this little mite has just finished her first year at school.

Well that was it; the summer holidays have begun and my first born child has completed her first year at school. She’s ending the academic year a very different individual to the one that trotted into that classroom one sunny day last September. I feel a certain sense of sadness because I can see her growing up so terrifyingly fast but at the same time, I’m immensely proud of her. Continue Reading…

Soft waterI have spent most of my life living in hard water areas. Although I’ve seen limescale in kettles and also building up around taps, I never really appreciated just what impact hard water can have on a household. That is until I was introduced to home water system specialist Kinetico. Continue Reading…

Volunteering at school

John Adams —  July 22, 2014 — 2 Comments
school, end of term, dads

This came as a pleasant surprise.

This photo is of a thank you card from the children in my daughter’s class at school. It was sent home with Helen yesterday with a handwritten note because I volunteered in the class up until the Easter break. Continue Reading…

The Shard, Central London, My Sunday Photo

#MySundayPhoto, 20 July 2014. The Shard in Central London

Earlier this week I went to a bloggers’ event in Central London. Getting there involved passing through London Bridge Station. As I left the station I looked up and this is what caught my eye. For a variety of reasons, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Shard, but it does look very majestic from this angle.

There is a filthy secret behind this picture.  Continue Reading…

My wife left the house this morning telling me I must put sun block on the children. I’d have done so anyway but, you know, that’s by-the-by.

The forecast in my area is for a gorgeous 31 degrees celcius today. This is my kind of weather. I love the heat and I’m personally quite happy in 40 degrees. Continue Reading…

school, school holidays, Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper was familiar with the emotion I am presently experiencing.

I’m experiencing an emotion that I haven’t felt in years. It’s a feeling I used to get as a child when I was nearing the end of the school year and knew a long holiday was ahead of me. I’m curious to know, is anybody else with young, school-aged children thinking the same way? Continue Reading…

I’m never too sure what to make of dedicated gift websites. I find they often sell things that you unwrap, smile at, and leave to languish in a cupboard. A quick look at the Dotcomgiftshop site, however, left me feeling quite impressed.

Not only was the range very large, but it wasn’t tat and it all seemed very reasonably priced. There are a number of categories to chose from including wedding gifts, vintage and home and garden.

gifts, gift, Two items caught my eye. One was a sign (see picture). This is the kind of thing I would never, ever usually buy. I thought, however, that placing it in the kitchen might be a subtle and useful way to remind the kids about good table manners.

The other item was a bird house. I let Helen, Daughter Number 1, unwrap this and she fell in love with it instantly. There’s no question, it is the most colourful bird house I have ever seen. As you can see from the picture, it has windows, a door, chimney and flower pots outside.

Birdhouse

There’s just the one comment I’d make about it. It comes with a rope so you can hang it from a tree branch. I haven’t got around to putting ours up yet. I think I’ll use a different fixing as I’m not sure how secure any resident birds would feel in windy weather if it was held in place with a rope.

Don’t let this put you off though. It’s a lovely item and at only £8.95 makes for a very competitively priced gift.

Using the website was pleasant and the goods were well packaged. I would consider using it again.

One final thing to add. Dotcomgiftshop is presently holding a summer sale. You may want to log on sooner rather than later to make the most of the deals on offer.

Environmentalism, green lifestyle, green, environment, education

In an ideal world, I’d be with those guys at the top of that tree. Family life, however, seems to have intervened. Photo credit below.

Before I had a family I would go to enormous effort to lead a green lifestyle. I would attempt to eat seasonal foods and watched food kilometres like a hawk. I’d tear all those little plastic windows out of used envelopes before placing them in the paper recycling. I’d recycle every single piece of food waste, no matter how small.

Now I am a stay at home father with two children and a wife who has an increasingly demanding job. For me, the will exists to reduce my environmental impact, but I don’t make anything like the effort I used to.

I recently wrote a blog post about clearing clutter out of the house. Several boxes and bags of rubbish were studiously taken to the tip and placed in the correct recycling bins.

A couple of very large boxes, however, were not. These were boxes full of the worst kind of junk, mostly from the kitchen.

You can probably relate to the scenario. While clearing up I found myself faced with several junk hot spots in the kitchen. You know, draws or shelves where stuff just got placed and left to languish; old batteries that may or may not be fully charged, random plastic cutlery from a long-forgotten picnic, outdated take-away menus and so on.

I took one look at these junk hot spots and my heart sank. There was no way I could stand there and sort through everything. I’d still be doing it now. It was against my principals, but I simply swept the entire lot into boxes that were subsequently chucked out.

Food recycling is another one I struggle with. We do it, but not as well as we should. This has more to do with the prevalence of foxes in our area. Okay, yes, we are given secure food recycling bins to place waste into. The collection guys, however, are in such a rush the bins kept thrown around and last about two minutes before they get broken and are no longer secure. Leaving out every bit of food would just encourage the foxes and I have enough trouble clearing their muck off our lawn.

To state the obvious, becoming a family of four has also had an enormous impact. We have two kids creating waste and returning home with arts and craft projects from school and nursery. Keeping on top of all this is incredibly tricky.

I do try to lead a green lifestyle and I regularly talk to our eldest daughter about the importance of doing so. I can’t pretend, however, that standards haven’t slipped. They have, and it bothers me. It bothers me a great deal indeed.

What’s your experience? Do you lead a green lifestyle? Do you talk to your children about environmental issues? Are you like me, desperate to do the correct thing but struggling?

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylor Reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0 agreement. See disclosure page for more info and link to the agreement license.

Febreze, giveaway' #drivehappy

My Febreze #drivehappy car kit in situ with some of the items you could win.

I have a strange feeling someone at Febreze has been reading my blog. I recently uploaded a post about how messy the family car is. As if by magic, a Febreze #drivehappy car kit was couriered to me a few days later.

The odour-killing specialist has done some research and discovered that a smelly car is a huge turn off for many Brits. Continue Reading…

#MySundayPhoto, My Sunday Photo, nlogging, photography

#MySundayPhoto 13 July, 2014

This week’s My Sunday Photo is a very simple image. It’s of my youngest daughter Elizabeth (also known as Toddler Adams) playing on a swing at a local park. I believe this type of swing is called a spider swing, but I’m sure someone will correct me if that’s wrong. Continue Reading…