garden-partyAh, summer garden parties are such a delight. But when you are hosting one, there are a whole lot of things to take care of before the party, mostly grooming the garden. So the party is in a couple of weeks and the garden is in no state. I planted potatoes and sunflowers and mowed the lawn….once!

So safe to say, it is a disaster. Weeding is needed and don’t even get me started on the hedges. So let me just make this clear. I have the kids and a blog and it takes up pretty much all of my day. Naturally I am nervous about the party and decided to hand over the task to Fantastic Services. Life savers, those guys.

Not just gardening but they offer a whole range of services that includes cleaners, builders and pet care takers. It operates from London and the South East mainly but it is now expanding and services are now available in Leeds and Manchester.

Needless to say, we hired them for their gardening services. The men brought their own tools and the job took them four hours. They made wonders happen is an understatement.

Besides the actual work, the company was very responsible overall. They sent an email to remind me of the appointment and a text once the appointment was made. They were supposed to get to my house between 10-11 am but they arrived at 9:50am. Everything was done according to what I had asked for.

The sun had been merciless the day they had come to work. I told them to ask for anything they needed. Three hours in, I went to check on them and asked if they needed anything and one of them said “some water, maybe?” which is when I realized they hadn’t had a drink of water under the scorching sun for three hours.

I got them a jug of water and glasses right away and turned a little red due to my guilt.

When they were done, the hedges were perfectly trimmed, the lawn looked lush and beautiful, the patio was weeded and there were 13 bags of waste. My garden was ready.

Are you thinking about how much they charged me for their services? It cost me £144 but the headache I was saved from was priceless.

Keeping up with my favorite stay at home dads blogs, I came across a piece on how you could tell a guy was a stay at home dad. Needless to say, I was inspired and here is my very own list.

So, I give you five ways by which you can tell I am Brad Pitt. I mean a stay at home dad. I mean a stay at home dad like Brad Pitt (yes, he is one when his wife is away filming).

 

Suntan
Surprised by this one? The sun doesn’t pay these many happy visits to us British too often but this summer had been quite sunny. I spent too much time outside with the kids and therefore, the tan. It is rather impressive and I am wearing it proudly.
Facial hair
This can be found on other daddy blogs but it is not cheated or anything, it’s simply true. Before my second child, I used to be clean shaven but then time is valuable now and I kind of like the stubble. It’s only 3mm in length and looks nice actually.

I have been told that the stubble suits me and people actually complaint when I clean shave. I tried growing a beard and surprisingly it suited me but I do not want to get committed to that look.

 

I can be scatter-brained.
You should see me when I am grocery shopping along with my two precious bundles of joy. My train of thought is interrupted constantly and I am all over the place. I mean the kids get bored during the shopping and play about. This distracts me to keep track and some items that needed to be bought are forgotten.

Well, I am not perfect and I do make grocery shopping blunders often. I’d be gone to buy ingredients to make chicken risotto and I’ll pick up like shoe polish, cling film and apples.

So the wife isn’t always very pleased with having fish fingers for dinner because that was the last resort. My reply in such a scenario is pretty simple. Does she remember to pick up everything on the list when she goes shopping with both the kids, once in 400 years?

 

I am the family’s social secretary
Force of habit perhaps, but when people arrange a gathering they usually talk to my wife about it because according to the stereotype, women are in charge of the family’s social calendar. Well, things are different around our house. We do have a calendar hanging in the kitchen and my wife puts an effort too, but generally I am the who enforces it. Scatter-brain sure but hey, I keep perfect track of where we need to be a year from now.

When I was working for the Age Concern England (ACE) charity it had merged with Help the Aged to create Age UK. They used to campaign for the rights of the elderly.

There was a study conducted that targeted a common problem. Most married men relied on their wives the responsibility to make all social arrangements. If the wife died before the husband, the poor widower would lead a very unsocial life due to loss of confidence or simply because he had been out of practice for too long.

 

Shoes
before I became a dad, trainers were a big no for me. Always sound them too casual. But after my first child was born, I was a man changed. I bought a pair of Merrell trainers and soon enough, those became my “daddy shoes”. So now, I have a few pairs of trainers. Moreover deck shoes are also quite comfortable and can be put on or taken off quickly. Being parents is also about speeding up, well, everything. Trainers and deck shoes are now my day-to-day fashion choice. Ah, how times change.

So there you have it folks, five ways you can tell I am a stay at home dad. Do let me know what you think and tell me about your experience as a stay at home dad or mom.

There have been thousands of times we appreciate what women do for us. Yes, top of my head I can think of many times I appreciated what all the women in my life do for us but I didn’t fully believe this from the bottom of my heart till I understood the importance of it all after getting married to my beautiful wife. Since the tag Before I had a Husband is trending, I thought I should get in on it too.

So, here it goes. If you are reading this my love, know I mean every word. .

Before I had a wife:

  • Never had I imagined I’d meet anyone special enough to share my life
  • Never did I think someone so special would have my children
  • Never did I think someone would support me in every walk of life
  • Never did I think I could be someone’s constant support and other half
  • I knew but didn’t really know what women go through to bring a child in this world
  • And you did that for ME
  • Never did I know how money, a better job and career could fall meaningless for a family of my own
  • I did not know what to do with my life till I found you
  • Unsure of life, I let myself indulge in the lifestyle not so suitable for a guy in his thirties
  • I need someone who could keep me from the physical stress the doctor warned me about
  • I wanted a constant and family and faith
  • My entertainment was the four channels my medieval television received
  • My house was tidy but my life was incomplete
  • And then you came along and made it look so easy

beer-belly22How many of you missed sweet summer? Lounging lazily about the beach or pool with a drink sure is a luxury and my favorite thing to do. As summer approaches, the guys can’t wait to get in there swimwear but it’s not so easy for all of us. The famous beer belly prevents us from getting into our swimwear and gets in the way of enjoying summertime. You have probably read a hundred articles on weight loss, but you only need to know this one thing that you probably already know. The belly isn’t going to lose itself and it takes a ton of will power to lose it. So step up and lose the beer belly. Here’s how:

 

1. Start burning fat

Weight loss is directly linked to burning fat and burning fat is directly linked to weight loss. Let this be your mantra and guide you. According to experts, at least invest 75 hours a week in aerobic exercises and should be done rigorously. By rigorous, I mean the hardest your body can take. Once you get out of breathe and your heart starts racing, the level is achieved.

Get a gym membership or a DVD to guide you. If you can spare a budget for weight loss, then a personal trainer is your best option. If not, then take up jogging and home exercises. There are apps available on play store that can help you too with your exercise routines. Works with both, Android and iOS. You can view workout videos and exercise tips both that will help you tone up.

2. Get on your bike

Everybody knows biking can play a big role in your quest of losing weight. It works the abdominal muscles and targets the beer belly directly. So this is what you need to do. Cycle hard for five minutes straight and then slow down for three minutes. Whether you get on the road or use a stationary bike is entirely up to you. It will also tone your legs so you are getting at that perfect beach body.

3. Work your abs at every opportunity

losing weight needs real commitment and you need to seize every opportunity. Always be on the lookout to do some simple abdominal exercises.

Here is something you can try. Lie on your back on the floor and put your feet and legs in the air and cycle on an imaginary bike. To increase level of difficulty, put your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders. Crunches are also a great way to lose belly fat.

4. Change your lifestyle

you could hire a trainer, go on a strict diet for a couple of months and lose your belly but once you go back to your old lifestyle, the belly and fat will crawl their way back in. Lifestyle change is a serious part of losing weight and has to be maintained for as long as, well, forever. You have to keep moving about and limit your alcohol intake. Watch what foods you put in your body and quit smoking. If you are thinking about a crash diet then you need to know all that’s going to do is put your body in starvation mode and drain you of all your energy. Switch to fruits, vegetables and lean meats and take 20% fat of our calorie allowance. More importantly, say no to junk foods.

Ever heard of stress eating? When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol which results in the hunger pangs. These hunger pangs make you reach for that cake or pizza. So to lose weight you need to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, be relaxed or learn some relaxation techniques and stay hydrated.

Sure reading this has made you want to give up, but trust me the six pack will be worth it.