It’s the weekend! Andy’s jukebox #8

Bit quiet this week on the blogging front. All my family have been very focused on my wife’s book launch. Which is fair enough, as achievements go it is pretty epic.

I did stumble across these guys though who both have an excellent name and make excellent music.

If you haven’t checked it out already you can find my wife’s book on Amazon here.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Devils Look Like Angels

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An awesome wife, mother and now published author!

Awesome

I am so proud of my wife today. Not only is she incredible at the wife thing, an amazing mum to our three children and the best friend I have, today she adds the life long dream of writing a book to that list.

What makes this even more awesome is that she wrote the book in the year we had our third child, so had more than enough to do as it was. Most of the early drafts were written between 4-6am after F’s last feed of the night and before the older ones woke for the day. That alone blows my mind away.

Some of you may know her as Mummy Tries (she has a pretty ace blog too), I know her as Reneé, my love and my biggest inspiration.

The book is called Become the Best You: Make Peace with the Past and Break the Cycle of Dysfunction. If there is any part of your life you wish were a little better, I encourage you to check it out, buy it, read it and share the links with all your friends.

There is something in this book for everyone. It’s available on Amazon here.

Linking up

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It’s (nearly) the weekend! Andy’s jukebox #7 (the Andy as a pre & early teenager edition)

Music changed for me massively shortly before my 12th birthday. We had moved house and my dad decided he wanted to upgrade his stereo, which meant I got the old one – now I had a CD player.

Unfortunately I still had no CDs so spoke to my older brother about what was worth getting. He suggested I get a copy Nevermind by some band called Nirvana. I did and it blew my little pre-teen mind.

Shortly after a school friend introduced me to Metallica and at that point the perfect three way relationship was born.

I was pissed off but didn’t know why and they sounded pissed off too – it was a match made in heaven. I became deeply attached to these bands and their songs. There were others around the periphery but none were played as frequently or loudly as Metallica and Nirvana.

I know this is not unique to me. There were loads of pissed off teenagers listening to these bands. My point is that listening to their music helped me deal with the grumpy, confusing and somewhat miserable pre and mid teen years.

This is exactly the kind of experience I want my children to have, not one based in teenage misery, but one where they have a connection to the music deeper than liking Harry Style’s hair.

My musical tastes started rapidly broadening aged 15/16 and onwards but I would still come back to these two. I still do today if I’m in a slightly darker mood – there’s something comforting about those songs. Just last weekend after an especially shitty week at work I found myself in a foul mood. A quick run through Nevermind and Master of Puppets sorted me right out.

How about you? What bands shaped your early listening years? Are there any that you still go back to?

Metallica – Blackened (What a way to start a gig!)

Nirvana – Breed (Live a Reading 1992)

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Becoming a healthy inspiration – building a home gym

I wrote a few weeks ago about sneaking extra walking into your day as a way to get fitter. I think it’s a great way to start but eventually you will run out of extra steps you can feasibly add to your day.

To carry on making progress you will need to find another way to add a little more exercise each day. I think the simplest way to do this is to create a micro gym at home. It does not need to be complicated or expensive, the equipment you actually need to get started is minimal. You can have a very worthwhile and useful home gym with only these items:

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That round thing is a kettlebell. You don’t actually need one those, just something heavy to press, row, squat and swing. To be honest a dumbbell set would probably be better, it’s just kettlebells are all I have so that’s what I took a picture of. The other bit if kit is a doorway pull up bar for hanging off and pull ups. Add push ups and you’re set.

The total investment will be around ¬£50. That’s less than a month’s gym membership with the bonus that it’s always open and no one else sweats on the equipment.

That’s it, no more is needed for now. Use these in a sensible way a few times a week and good things will happen. Make it hard enough to count but easy enough to be able come back another day. Consistency will give you way more than beating yourself into the ground. This is an investment in your health, an easy workout done 3-4 times a week for years will pay far bigger dividends than a monster one that you can’t sustain beyond week one.

How about you, do you have any tips for busy parents wanting to keep in shape? How do you for exercise into your day?

Dad Creek

Techie toys, talking and respect

I love technology. I’m writing this on my phone sat on a train travelling to work, impossible without the joys of technology and the internet.

But it’s not all good. Using my own experience as an example, we do seem to suffer from ‘notification mindset’ where everything requires immediate attention. The result is attempts at pointless multitasking, sometimes conflicting with basic manners and respect.

This is not helped in our house by the huge number of ‘tasks’ created by three children and the fact we both have blogs to fill and Twitter about.

Example: I’m going to start talking to you while switching on the blender even though you’re upstairs in the shower.

Well that’s just not going to work is it?

Granted that is an extreme (and made up) example but my point is that while we were multi tasking we were also complaining that our children’s communication was not as good as it used to be.

Person 1: They don’t bloody listen to a word I say
Person 2: Sorry what was that? I was reading something on my phone.

I’m sure we’ve all done it, started a conversation and then drifted off into phoneland – but, honestly, isn’t that just totally bloody rude? I still do it and I think so.

We realised that to expect respectful communication from our children we must communicate in a way to that shows respect. So we set a little mini-rule to prioritise face-to-face conversations over virtual ones, and that you have to see and look at the person you are talking to before you speak. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world but sometimes that is what gets lost in the midst of children, chores and other stuff.

It’s all part of teaching the little people to treat each other with respect and have a healthy relationship with technology.

Do we do it all the time? Of course not, we’re not perfect and sometime shouting “Throw some socks!” up the stairs is necessary.

What about you? Do you see this in your home? How do you juggle the draw of blogs, Twitter and the like?

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