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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Cool AW16 clothes for boys - tops and sweatshirts edit

Every season I like to look at all the cool clothes coming out for kids. So I've trawled the net, and here's some of the best stuff you can buy for the autumn winter season 2016 for toddlers / younger boys. 

Here we go, in no particular order these all caught my eye.
A fashion edit to suit all budgets...

'Automobili Lamborghini' T shirt. £38 on Child's Play Clothing.
I didn't know Lamborghini did clothes, but this is a fantastic print with the trademark bull. The orange on the navy blue makes it really jump out. Simple, but cool. This is one of those days I wish I was filthy, stinking rich.


'Tom and Jerry' printed sweatshirt. £9.99 by H&M.
I haven't seen any Tom & Jerry stuff in a long time but this is iconic and love the way the blue of the sweatshirt frames their faces and the logo really nicely.


'Lightning Bolt' T shirt. £28 by Paul Smith
If you have the cash to splash, I love the detailing of the different colours inside the bolts. Not that your kid will notice.


'Dog' embroidered pocket top, £3.99 by Zara Kids.
This is a winner, and comes in several colours. Zara Kids is one of my favourite shops because it's so affordable, and this season doesn't disappoint. I want it all!


'Mickey Mouse' long sleeved top, £9.99 by Zara Kids.
Love this one, and it even says 'Mickey Rock Star' on the back in a nice font. I wouldn't normally spend this much on a T shirt for a toddler, but it's tempting.


'Geometric' printed plush sweater. £9.99 by Zara Kids.
Unusual and cool. I'm loving the different shapes and how it's like they are potato prints done by a kid.


'Musical notes' long sleeved T shirt, £4.99 by Zara Kids
Each of the notes is like a band member. Cool. I've really got to get off the Zara website before I spend a fortune, but it's full of great stuff, I'm never disappointed.


'I need my own space' long sleeved top, £3.99 by Zara Kids.
Really good price on this one, you know it's going to be good quality, and there's nice detailing with the 'catstronaut' and rocket patch.


'Tiger' cotton jumper. £6.99 by H&M.
It's a bold print, just like the toddler who will be wearing it. You can't really argue when there's a cool jumper at this price. Love this one.


'Champions' sweatshirt. £6, by Matalan.
You can't tell in the picture, but the material is really cool, kind of gauzy, it looks and feels a lot more expensive than it is. Retro and classy, this one. Proper Americana, the way it should be.


'Hello' T shirt, $19.99, by Threadless.
When Lionel Richie and Where's Wally join forces, you know you're onto a winner.
Threadless is based in America. I've ordered from them before and they have unique designs by artists and graphic designers from all over the world. These then get made into phone cases, clothes and all sorts. You can get this in hoodie format or an adult's T shirt. It's a great website, check it out.


'Karl face' top, £36 on Child's Play Clothing.
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry about this Karl Lagerfeld one, but there's something mesmerising about it, and it's definitely a conversation starter!


'DJ bad boy' sweater, Karl Lagerfeld, £51 on Child's Play Clothing.
I could never justify spending this amount of money on a jumper that I know could be trashed by a toddler in seconds, but it's like it a lot. If your son's name is Karl, then even better, it would be a great present.


'Lion' sweatshirt. £9.99 by H&M.
Love this one. I featured one of their lion T shirts in my last round up, and this one doesn't disappoint either. A very cool print.

Hope you've enjoyed this fashion edit. Please share it if you did.

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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The kids are not alright.

Picture of Bedminster Skate park in Bristol

This is a difficult post to write. It's about society.

Last week I took my son to a skate park in Bristol. Bedminster skate park to be precise. This is right next to a family play park.

He loves being on his balance bike, and I knew this one was big, so he'd have plenty of places to ride.

We got there during the afternoon and it was empty. He had the best time ever, riding fast down the long slope, and then walking his bike up to the top of the hill so he could do it all over again.

It was 15 minutes of father and son heaven on a sunny day.

But then a big group of teenage boys showed up. They started loudly talking, or should I say shouting at each other, all macho. C bombs, F bombs, even a stab bomb. Lad banter. Talking about bitches and fam, and openly smoking a joint.

15 metres away from a three year old boy, and his dad.

It depressed me, it made my blood boil and the hairs on the back of my neck rise up in fury. I wanted to be a scary badass dad who just walked over and said something so violently they ran away, or even just apologised. 

I'd walk on over like Liam Neeson in Taken to give them a bollocking, ready to break necks with swift hand movements if it came to it. I'd say something like this.

"One day, some of you will be dads. And you won't want your kid to see or hear ANY of what I've just had to listen to."

But in this day and age, anything can happen. They were aggressive. Troubled. 

Father, 34, stabbed in skate park, in front of his son. Would that be my headline?

So I said to the kid, gently, "It's going to be time to sleep soon. You must be tired!"

"Oh! But I love being here! I want to stay longer!"

"OK. Just one more go."

And down the ramp he went, turning his bike in a circle with the noise of his feet in the concrete skidding him back towards the ramp again. Laughing, smiling, unaware. 

"Again, again. One more time."

"OK. But be quick."

And he did. The shouting, swearing and showing off continued nearby.

"Time to go. The naughty man might put a ticket on our car."

I scooped him up in my arms, and off we went.

As I got to the car nearby a woman staggered out of a shop, yelling, and went over to another car right by ours.

Incoherent through drugs and her own life troubles she just shouted at the driver inside who wasn't letting her in for whatever reason. She used terrible language, oblivious that this was a street where families lived, or just not giving a single F bomb.

I got him in the car. I tried to be cheerful, I said, "That woman was a bad woman. She was shouting in the street. It was very rude of her to do that. We don't like people who shout like that."

"I don't ever want to be like that woman. I want to be like you, dad."

Kind words, son.

I don't know what the point of this post is really, other than to say when I grew up I was respectful of other people. I cared if people thought I was out of order, or a nuisance. 

What does this say about the society we live in now? Have you experienced it too?

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

#DotsRaiseLots for RNIB.

My own dad, now sadly passed away, lost his eye when he was a kid to a toy bow and arrow. It affected him greatly in his early life and he was bullied about it. He used to joke that as a fast bowler his glass eye would sometimes pop out and land on the cricket pitch during his more ferocious deliveries! He never complained, but it must have been hard living the majority of his life with one eye.

So it goes without saying, I’m really excited to be working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People! RNIB is the leading UK charity supporting people with sight loss.

Making bead bracelets to raise money for RNIB - dots raise lots

You’ll soon start to see the hashtag #DotsRaiseLots and it’s because braille has an extremely positive impact on the lives of the people the charity works closely with.

It’s a brilliant idea for a fundraising campaign because there are so many fun activities you can do with dots as a theme. You could even host a bead bracelet making party like we did…

If you’d like to get involved, here are some top tips: https://www.rnib.org.uk/dots-raise-lots

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Passive aggression at a party by the Unlikely Dad - The DadRage Club™

I realised that I spend a lot of time writing about my inner dad rage demons, so I recently asked for other furious fathers out there to send me their tales of paternal anger management for a series on this site called The DadRage Club™.

Tom at The Unlikely Dad hasn't disappointed with this story!

Tom, with his son Kai.
I'm a very relaxed guy. I don't like aggression and I steer away from any drama. I just don't have the time or energy for it. Simple life, please! But if the right buttons are pushed, it can be a different story.

Being a dad hasn't really changed my attitude much. If anything, it's given me more reason to chill and just accept things. Like that my son is of course going to make a huge mess with his morning porridge all over my just-steamed floor or pull other children's hair and slap them in the face... we've all been on the receiving end of a kid punch haven't we?

However... my internal calm was slightly disjointed recently.

We were at my best friend's daughter's 3rd birthday party. It was in their garden with sand pits, play house, a slide, magic garden trail... kids everywhere basically!

My boy is 2 and a half and very active, you don't get a minutes peace. During the party I couldn't find him for a minute so I searched the play house. I found him in there with a set of triplet girls (oh god... already having flash forwards to 16 years time!!) All three girls were wearing prescription glasses and I saw him holding a pair. The girl he had taken them from was just sat there looking at him. I politely asked him to give them back. He did. And that was that. Or so I thought...

Later on in the party I saw the same girl (or maybe it was one of the other 2? I really couldn't tell) again just sat stationary as he had hold of a pair of glasses. I certainly don't encourage such behaviour but also accept this is all very age appropriate. Before I could get to him I saw that he was trying to snap them. And the triplet's dad swooped on in there, got on my son's level and pointed at him and told him off. 'NO... leave those!!' He said, in a voice you knew he used to tell his own daughters off.

Inside, I exploded with rage. Then I remembered where I was and who I was. No way was I going to make a scene at my best friend's house on such a lovely day. But I marched over, picked my son up and said 'Hey hey hey what's going on here?'

The dad was acting all nonchalant like he hadn't said anything (maybe my super-extra-macho sudden appearance scared him?? Maybe not...) It may have been wrong/childish but I refused to apologise and just explained the usual 'oh you know, it's all age appropriate' and 'boys will be boys' and that luckily there was no damage. All I really wanted to say was "Maybe tell your girls to take back their glasses next time, they are almost twice his age...!" Did they think my son was some kind of scary giant towering over them stealing their glasses? (That may explain why they froze in fear). If it happens again, girls... just take your glasses back.

It definitely played on my mind a little afterwards. Purely because I would never have it in my mind to speak to another person's child in that way. But I also have to empathise with the dad. He has had to fork out for three (if not six?) pairs of glasses for his beautiful daughters. No way is he letting a little monster break them! I get it, it's not cheap raising these babies.

Our kids are our angels. But we aren't stupid... we know they mess up, we know they can be the ones biting, kicking, breaking glasses. But if you are ever tempted to discipline my child? Just don't, or next time I may just get feral.

Thanks very much for sharing Tom! And if any other dads out there would like to get involved, you can email me, dadsdiaryblog at gmail dot com!

Friday, 23 September 2016

The DadRage Club™

I realised that I have a switch that can be flicked by complete strangers to get my dad rage simmering in seconds. I used to be quite shy, but now I'm ready to flip my lid in public at a moment's notice it seems, and it all 'boils' down to wanting to protect my son from any idiot the planet offers him.

It's happened a few times, for example the incident when he was naked on the beach, in the cold and rain, and I received DisapprovingLooks™.

But I was reminded of my inner rage demon on Wednesday in London when I managed to disturb the peaceful surroundings of a Lebanese mezze restaurant near the Natural History Museum with a furious onslaught at an IdiotWhoClearlyDeservedIt™.

If you'd like to know what happened you can read this post on Facebook, and please 'like' my page if you don't already...

But the point of this blog, is that it's great to know I'm not the only angry dad out there!

So I need YOU, fellow furious father bloggers!

I am inviting you to email me your stories about your most colossal dad rage moments in history, and I will post them all as part of a series, The DadRage Club™.

Give me your best meltdown story, warts and all, tell me how you roasted a stranger who deserved it, or when you made an absolute chump of yourself in public. Hit me! Not literally please, calm down dear...

Over to you! *To the tune of Kill Bill.*

(My email is dadsdiaryblog at gmail dot com)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Inspirational dads: an interview with a real life shaman

Imagine my shock when after writing about the curious tale of Gary the shaman 'exorcising' my childhood packed lunches, a real life shaman saw my tweet about it and said, "Cool story, bro." What are the chances of that?!

I'm fascinated by things like this, and his Twitter bio said that not only was he a shaman, but also an artist, and a gay dad. So this is how I met Daniel McIlvenny-Cox.

I thought this would be a brilliant interview, to learn more about him. Here goes...

Picture of Daniel McIlvenny-Cox, the bearded Shaman

Daniel, why are you a shaman?
I guess I should start at the beginning. I decided to become a shaman after a healing with a Peruvian shaman. I had suffered mental health issues for decades before, after a concoction of pills, hours of counselling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, nothing much seemed to shift the grief within me. I was always interested in alternative therapies and tried crystal healing, reiki and acupuncture too.

I decided to see a shaman. Chris Waters of Spirit of the Inca, based in Reading, is a shaman of Peruvian tradition (otherwise known as a Paqo, or Mystic). Within two hours I was skipping down the road laughing, my friends didn’t even recognise me. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

Wow! How did you learn to become an 'official' shaman then?
It took a few years for me to answer the Call, then a couple of years of training (official training anyway, because we never stop learning). For example, the Medicine Wheel, where we learn to heal our own wounds, and gain the tools to heal others.

This is Daniel McIlvenny-Cox's Mesa, a crucial tool in my healing work.  It's a bundle of sacred stones called 'Kuya', held within a holy Peruvian cloth.
This is my Mesa, a crucial tool in my healing work.  It's a bundle of sacred stones called 'Kuya', held within a holy Peruvian cloth.
The Munay Ki rites, are a set of nine sacred rites that transform your DNA at a soul level from Homo Sapiens to our future self, 10,000 years from now, Homoluminous. Shadow working, where we work, heal and listen to our shadow selves, the dark parts of our selves we are ashamed of, and the golden parts we have never claimed. And finally, working with the Mythic.

Daniel McIlvenny Cox, the Bearded Shaman, performing a sacred fire ceremony
This is me performing a sacred fire ceremony.
This is where we walk within the mythic realms, understanding our story at a mythic level. It’s intense, it’s emotional (and that's an understatement.) It’s only for the brave, it’s powerful, transfomational, beautiful and like coming home. It’s an aspect of me now.

Interesting! So what are some of the recent 'gigs' you've had?
I work with many types of people, with various issues; child abuse, domestic abuse, neglect, drug addiction, depression, soul loss, relationship issues and of course death. I would say most if not all my clients have left transformed in some way, for the better. I have done house clearings before, that’s pretty weird. Sending ‘ghosts’ home is actually quite emotional and beautiful, though sometimes it’s a little frightening. It depends on the client, and by client I mean the departed one who's stuck.

How do you advertise your services?

All of my clients come to me purely through word of mouth.

What's been your proudest shamanic moment?
Chipping away at a wall someone has created around them, seeing them come out, just for a moment, and experience freedom and light and life. When there is a breakthrough, when I open up and we share our tears together, that is when I am my proudest.

Aside from this interview, what are your most frequently asked annoying questions?
I am an adoptive dad, a gay dad, so obviously I was expecting the Spanish Inquisition when it came to being gay and wanting to adopt. At the adoption panel, being gay was not even discussed, being a shaman was. “Tell me,” one panel member asked, “when you are going into a trance like state, do you use drugs? Herbal or otherwise? And if you do, how long are you unconscious for? Where will the child be at the moment of incoherence?”
I was a little pissed at the question to be honest, more so at the lack of research and lack of consideration of asking me first. No, I don’t use drugs. Nag Champa incense is a lovely smell, but apart from Palo Santo wood which I use to clean the energy field and Aqua de Florida for blessing and cleaning, I use no drugs of any kind.

We do go into a light trance, but I am fully aware of the room etc. We shaman travel to the other world to see what’s going on in your soul, past lives, old wounding’s etc. We may use a drum, or like me, a rattle, maybe whistling.

When the whole crew has knowledge of self but still likes to get down - funny meme featuring Jesus and Shiva
...It sounds like the adoption panel was picturing a scene like this!
What's your house like? I'm curious about the house of a shaman!
I think people think I live in a dark forest, or on the edge of a mountain, a witch’s cottage full dried herbs and pickled creatures. I live near Reading in Theale, a suburban village. My husband is responsible for the look, it’s a mixture of gentleman chic and toddler bedlam. I tend to hide all his toys under the stairs when clients come a knocking!

So tell me about how you found it adopting a child?
As I said earlier, I am a gay dad, me and my partner Tom have been together for fifteen years and married for five. We decided to adopt about two years ago, we actually found the process really easy and straight forward, in total it took nine months from, “Hi, we’d like to adopt!” to, “Oh fuck, I have shit on my forehead!” so the same amount of time for a straight couple I guess.

Picture of Daniel McIlvenny-Cox the bearded shaman with his son Kai and husband Tom
(From L-R) Daniel, Kai and Tom.
Nice pic! So how old was Kai when you adopted him?
Kai was 10 months old when I first saw his profile, then 14 months when he finally arrived home.

What's he like?
He’s two and a half now and equal portions of angel and demon! Laughing one minute, crying the next. Just like me!

How have you found it, what have been the most challenging things about fatherhood?
I did a LOT of shamanic work, before and during, working with the mythic helped a lot I think. I stepped into fatherhood away from fear and loss, and the night of a fire ceremony that was held in honour of our new stories, my son was being born. That’s the power of our work.

Being a gay dad is no different from being a straight one, I was the stay at home dad for a year, it was tough, isolating, massively rewarding and something I will always remember.

Picture of Daniel McIlvenny-Cox the bearded shaman, with his son Kai
Daniel and Kai.
I think the most challenging thing I faced was that I am quite selfish. I love time to myself to Be, to meditate, to do shamanic work, see clients, write, work out, or paint.

Finding time to do even one of those things is hard, but I try to bend time, (mastery over time is another shamanic power) and I can find time to do something. Besides, my son loves to sleep, lucky me!

Tell me about your art, and your creative side.
I am a yet-to-be-published writer, I write stories that are spiritually enlightening, yet entertaining and real. For example I just finished a story about a young girl’s journey through death to transformation from child abuse to adulthood and love.

I am also an artist, again I guess the mythic and mystical is my inspiration, a lot of it is from my shamanic journeying to the under or upper worlds, they are fascinating to say the least.

Painting by Daniel McIlvenny-Cox the Bearded Shaman, of One of my ceremonial pieces, depicting Pachamama, Andean earth Goddess, with a still life of my Mesa. This is from a collection I am doing for an exhibition based on the sacred rites of passage to becoming Paqo, shaman mystic.
One of my ceremonial pieces, depicting Pachamama, Andean earth Goddess, with a still life of my Mesa. This is from a collection I am doing for an exhibition based on the sacred rites of passage to becoming Paqo, shaman mystic.
Wow, that's amazing!
I have recently struggled to class myself as an artist, I thought I was a shamanic artist, or maybe a visionary, but they didn’t sit right. I saw myself a bit like an Iconographer but I am not exactly a Christian, so after a discussion with a fellow traveller, I realised I am a ceremonial artist. I call the image to appear, I call the presence of whatever I am drawing, painting, creating, I open sacred space and it manifests itself.

But sometimes to relax I just doodle the fuck out of something!

Original art by Daniel McIlvenny-Cox, the bearded shaman. A piece depicting the healers of the world, past, present and future.
This piece depicts the healers of the world, past and present, and future.
Incredible! So if people reading this want to reach out, how can they find you?
I have yet to finish my proper website, but if you want to find me, you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest under The Bearded Shaman #thebeardedshaman - do say hi!

I love to meet new people and if you are local to the Reading or Theale area I am here as your friendly neighbourhood shaman! In Lak’etch, it means ‘I am another you’ in Quechua, the language of the Q'ero people of the Andes, the linage I am now blessed to be joined with as Paqo.

I also have a blog, if you're interested in reading it -

Thanks very much to Daniel McIlvenny-Cox for this, aka Shaman, aka Dadda.

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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Review of the JORD Sawyer luxury wooden watch. Otherwise known as the Dadgasm.

When I became a dad blogger I didn't really know what to expect, I'd write some sentimental waffle that made people laugh but potentially get some perks one day as well.

The reality is, I haven't had many perks. I've been offered plenty of chocolate teapots and electric toothpicks along the way, but I'd never had anything that made me do a toddlersqueal.

So when JORD contacted me asking me to review one of their watches, I'll be honest, I thought it was a joke. It seemed too good to be true...

I'm extremely fussy about watches. The last watch I owned was a Nixon about 10 years ago. But when I looked at the JORD website I had a serious job choosing a watch to review because they're all great.

Here are some of my favourites from the Delmar and Fieldcrest series.

Picture of JORD Delmar and Fieldcrest watches dark sandalwood and bamboo

Picture of JORD wooden fieldcrest series watches in green sandalwood and maple

I like these because they're attractively priced and would make a great Christmas gift or Father's Day present without breaking the bank too much. I like the simplicity of the design; they make a big statement with the wooden strap, and the faces still add interest where you'd get people commenting on them. These watches are more about letting the wooden strap do the talking, and there's a lot to be said for that.

But, having agonised over what watch to choose, I fell in love with the Sawyer model, in Zebrawood and Obsidian.

Picture of JORD Sawyer series luxury wooden watch with zebrawood strap and obsidian face

No doubt about it, it's a stunner.

I loved detailing on the strap with 5 lines, and different thicknesses of the links. Also, I'd never heard of this type of wood and let's be honest it looked cool. Very fracking cool, in fact. The obsidian face with all the gold details and the bold JORD lettering. Sexy!

So I eagerly sent back my email to the helpful guy there, trying not to sound too aroused in case he changed his mind.

What I liked about the service - I measured my wrist so they could remove a few links and make it perfect for me, and also I loved the automatic email I got telling me it was on its way. I've ordered a few things from the States before, and it's nice to have reassurance, and tracking to let you know where it is. What I liked about JORD's emails about the delivery was that it made me feel like ordering a wooden watch from them was a memorable event.

When it arrived...

It was presented in a beautiful wooden box, giving it a touch of class. As soon as I opened it, it was instant love, with the watch wrapped around a hessian cushion. All these details made it a unique experience.

It's barely left my wrist since.
 Here's what I love about it:-
  • It's sexy! No two ways about it. It's lovely to look at.
  • People really stare at it; I notice this happening all the time.
  • People don't just stare, they give compliments about it.
  • It feels light on my wrist.
  • It suits my fashion style. 

Wait, my fashion style?

OK that's embarrassing, you'll want me to describe this. My fashion style can be described as pretty relaxed. "Grew up in Cornwall, did a bit of skateboarding once, and when he's at work he works in a digital agency, so wears nice casual shirts or T shirts."

This watch goes with everything.

Example: Barbour jumper covered in toddler snot, battered Vans shoes, skinny Lee jeans.

A photo posted by Dad's Diary (@dadsdiary) on

Thanks very much, JORD. Loving this watch.

Next up: Do you fancy winning a $75 gift token with Dad's Diary?
Click here: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/dadsdiary
All you have to do is put your first name and email in this form to join their mailing list:

Even if you don't win, you'll get a $20 voucher which can be redeemed against a future purchase. Go for it, good luck!

Contest ends on 25th September 2016.

Luxury Wood Watch