The truth is it’s been last thing on my list in probably the one time in my life sharing my feelings would have probably helped but I just wanted to switch off and be with my family and friends.

In November, one of my best friends lost his battle with a brain tumour and my world shut down around me. The one person above everyone else that wanted for nothing, gave everything and achieved so much. At such a young age, it made me evaluate my life and those around me. The last thing I wanted to do was write my feelings because it hurt so much and still does.

In a few days time, I’m going to be attending the funeral of one of my oldest friend’s mum who treated me like a son in my late teens. Someone that lived life to the full and ultimately left behind my friend, a brother from another mother.

So sorry that I’ve not been around. I’ve been spending time with my family, enjoying weekends climbing over inflatable obstacle courses or chasing the dog round the house when I’m not working.

Life is too short to not make the most of it.

#AD Hollands Pie

‘Twas the Pie Before Christmas

Festive Fuel for a Pie Loving Wiganer – Also Available in Vegetarian!

Hollands pie finder

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town,

I was searching for a Pie but none I could find.
The shops were so busy and car parks so full, 
My belly so empty with nothing at all!

The aisle I did walk with a basket in tow, 
my head held high going row to row.
When all of a sudden, what did I see, 
a Cheese and Onion treat just waiting for me.
 
The elbows came out, I lunged for the pie,
I tipped over trolleys and let out a sigh.
For the Hollands Pie was now in my grasp,
I needed some gravy and barm cake so fast!

I live in Wigan and pies are our calling,

for Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast in the morning.

With pie in hand, gravy and barm, 

I fetch a few more, it couldn’t do harm.

 

I head to the house, microwave, 2 minutes they’re in, 

I cut open a barm, mix gravy and ping!

Too hot to handle, I put on to my plate,

 

the pie smells amazing isn’t it great.

I pour over gravy, thick and plenty,
and close up the barm cake and countdown from 20.
Taking a big bite, the pie’s getting eaten, 
it won’t be long before hunger is beaten.
I finish the lot and have an idea, 
it’s nearly the 25th, Christmas is near.
We’ve been good this year the big man will come, 
no more sherry and milk in his tum.

We’ll prepare a pie, meat and potato, 

or something vegetarian to take home for later.

Dropping those presents all around the world,

fuelled by pie, you’ll do Wigan proud!

Hope you liked my pie poem dedicated to Hollands for their #HollandsComfortFood campaign for the release of their Wyke Farms Cheesy Pies. 

Their deep fill mature cheddar cheese & onion pies are literally flying off the shelves, with this frozen number now high on the list. As meat free diets continue to increase, those lovers of pastry based produce don’t need to give up on a good pie.

Just 5 minutes in the microwave from frozen, it’s a great way to get your pie on!

If you’re looking for a Hollands Pie, use our pie finder below and don’t settle for second best!

Hollands Pie Finder

#AD This post was sponsored by Hollands but the poem was entirelly mine, so hopefully you loved it 🙂 The views are always honest and the pies were delicious.

DOROTHY’S REVIEWS

PULL MY FINGER GAME

#AD REVIEW OF THE FUNNIEST FARTING MONKEY GAME ONLINE!

ORDER ONLINE for £13.49

I’m a big kid, if you know me you’ll know this is 100% true.

Fart jokes and “you smell” is the most common interaction between Dorothy and I and especially Knock Knock, who’s there, you smell up, you smell up who? You get the rest 🙂

So if I were to choose a toy for my little angel, you guessed it, something that’d make grannies toes curl is right up there.

Thankfully, there is such a toy.

As a 12 year old boy on scout camp learning about “pull my finger” to now, Mr Buster the farting monkey is just what the doctor called for.

A hilarious game with just enough humour to keep the little ones entertained for hours where you spin the wheel to determine how many times you get to pull this cheeky monkey’s finger. The more you pull the bigger his butt gets.

You get two different monkey butts with differing inflation size and as you reach it’s limit, PARRP, Mr Buster let’s one rip.

Hilarious!

Designed for children ages 4 and over, I’m sure this is due to the strength you need to pull the finger. Dorothy managed it just fine. Many times.

You’ll be in tears as once the monkey bum is inflated, it’ll let out a little parp!

There’s only one problem. How do you tell your toddler that asking people to pull your finger is not socially acceptable, while laughing with tears in your eyes.

 

#AD The Pull My Finger game was gifted to us to review which we always do honestly. The link at the top is non-affiliated but it’s the best price I could find.

OUR PARENTING ISSUES WITH

Co-Sleeping & No-Sleeping

PLEASE SEND HELP!

As a father of two, being a dad to Beth from the age of 6 meant that Mrs P had pretty much sorted the whole sleeping thing. She had her own bedroom and despite the odd goodnight book reading, having to tell her to turn the lights off and laugh as she read under the covers in torchlight.

Things are very different now with Dorothy though and it’s starting to become very tiring, in more sense than one.

You see Dorothy has a reluctance to sleep in her own bed and has taken up residence in our bed and it’s been nearly three and a half years, and it doesn’t look like it’s changing soon.

 

I wrote about this a long time ago when I wrote sleeping with the Monsters here: https://www.fourseasonsdad.com/2018/12/10/sleeping-with-the-monsters/ I tried my best with sleeping on the floor with Dorothy to keep away the ‘Monsters!’ I confirmed there were no monsters there but unfortunately I found the good ol’ bad back easily enough.

Unfortunately there is a few mixed messages coming from our little princess, the dark, monsters still, general noise from outside and of course the shadows! Oh how the shadows really cause a stir!

So we’re in a predicament that really doesn’t suit our family life or wedded life!

Mrs D who’s struggling with her Elos Danlos Syndrome, really needs a lot of support with her hips and sleeping two adults and a pro-active octopus in one double bed doesn’t make for a peaceful night’s sleep. For anyone apart from the octopus!

This whole debacle starts at bedtime where one of us will take her up and settle down with quite a few times, we’ll also drift off. Throughout the night there’s a whole load of kicking, wake-ups for drinks and the occasional middle of the night wee journey (not just me!)

 

So we’re stuck. We don’t just want to put her in her bedroom and hear her cry herself to sleep. We also don’t want her to do anything that’s going to make her frightened and to go asleep scared to death. I know when I was a youngen I was so scared of the dark and my parents had no quarrels watching horror films. This would cause me endless nights of hiding under the duvet.

It’s not a bit of the parenting past something I want to pass on.

So what do you think we can do? Have you suffered from the same issue or have any suggestions! I think bribery may be our only choice.

SHARING FUN WITH FRIENDS

SEALIFE CENTRE MANCHESTER

A Lovely Review from Pip and Blossom

Who doesn’t love the Sea!

One of the joys of having your own blog and getting invited to awesome places is sharing them with friends and this is no different. Our first write up by Pip and Blossom is of one of our favourite days out in Manchester at the Sea Life Centre, Trafford Centre.

 

I love the SeaLife Centre, Manchester. We’ve been before and I was made up to be given the chance to visit again.

 

Despite the centre being quite crowded over the summer holidays, it was still a relatively calm experience getting into the centre. The staff were exceptionally helpful and friendly, even when Pip was the only one who wanted a photograph taken in front of a green screen. Here’s a tip for the future, green screen photos don’t work when you’re wearing a green dress!

There’s a certain underwater, dreamlike quality as you step into the first room. The first attraction is a talk about sea turtles, this was amazing, the man working there is very engaging and the children were held spellbound as they watched the turtle lay her eggs in the sand. It’s a wonderful start to the whole experience.

 

It’s a wonderful place to visit with small children, there are tunnels and viewing spaces created at just the right sizes for them to crawl into and hide in. There is an ethereal blue light which flows throughout the building and this, coupled with the giant viewing windows, really gives the feeling of being underwater. Despite having a treasure hunt sheet the children were just too fascinated by the sealife, and who wouldn’t be? 

We even met a mermaid! There was only a slight disappointment that we couldn’t see the mermaid show, as we visited on a weekday, but that was soon forgotten. 

The SeaLife Centre isn’t just a beautiful place to visit, it’s also really informative. There are displays on plastic waste, and on all the marine life they have within the aquarium. 

They also have a soft play area, which we did brave, but only for a few minutes. No matter where you are there is nothing fun about soft play in summer! Unless you’re two of course.

It was warm, and there were a lot of people in the centre (which is to be expected in the summer holidays). They managed this well however, and it never felt overcrowded or overwhelmingly hot. The downside is that there’s not a lot of room to get about, so if you can possibly leave the pram in the car or at home then do so. There’s also nowhere to eat in SeaLife, so take that into consideration when you’re planning your visit.

 

We had an amazing afternoon and want to thank the Sea Life Centre and Phill for giving us the opportunity to review. Take into account what we’ve mentioned and have a great time!

 

I Got Hacked – BAD!

Let me take you back to the start of my blogging world which actually takes you back to my dear wife Rachel’s blog Vintage Folly about 8/9 years ago. Vintage Folly is no more and nearly Corporate Dad, Marvellous Mrs P, my business sites and this glorious blog was about to be lost to hackers determined to re-direct our visitors, corrupt our files, and our blogging hosts didn’t want to know about it.

The Impact On Our Websites

We were literally considering giving everything up for good. All those years spent building, sharing our thoughts and dreams, lost in an instant, not knowing how and what to do that’ll actually work.

What Did Our Hosts Do?

Bear in mind I’d prepaid our hosts for two years, with boosted Private Servers and full backups. They wanted to charge me, £249 per website, just to wind back the servers. They weren’t going to clean the sites. They just recommended changing all passwords (which I did all the time!)

The hosting company sounded like they cared but didn’t really follow through. We first recognised the problem when Vintage Folly was running really slow and 1000s of processes were running every hour. Once discovering the first website had issues, they reset the server and everything kinda worked.. The second time I had to completely rebuild the site from scratch. 6 years worth of work and all I had was unlinked images and a PHP database. They said to me that there was no way the malwear could get through to my other sites, which were on the same server. NOTE TO SELF. If your house is on fire and you live in a terrace, chances are your neighbours will get burnt too. Just like that, all the websites got infected. I mean all of them, without nothing that we could solve, didn’t know the fault and they didn’t want to help.

What Did 34SP.com Do?

We met 34SP at BlogOn in 2018 and it was the usual meeting with any hosting provider. Let me show you how it went.

  • We can sort your website

  • We’ll get rid off all the malware

  • We’ll have you up and running very quickly

  • It won’t cost you anything to transfer and you can get a free trial.

  • I can’t remember much past that!

It Felt Like the Same BS which I've Heard Before!

I’m not going to lie it didn’t sound like anything new. Just the same old BS that you get told when anyone wants to sell to you. Red flags were going off. However we literally didn’t have any choice. Our blog views were massively getting hit, Google had flagged a site as BAD and we were at the end of our tethers. Really what did we have to lose?

They Went and Did What They Said They Were Going to Do!

I’m not being paid to write this but they bloody went and done it. All of it! I had someone called Keith ask me for my server details and he did the rest. On transfer they cleaned all of the websites, it wasn’t a pain in the backside (apart from me not telling them about a subdomain whops!), and it was all done in staged moments throughout the week. Oh without me losing anything! 

I’m not joking they saved my sanity, hundreds if not thousands of pounds worth of additional costs and most of all the websites are running a dream.

They’re running so fast I can make the website look like I want to. Image driven gorgeousness!

Thank Your 34SP.com

We owe you a lot and I want to say a massive thank you to Liam, Daniel, Alex and of Course Keith. Thank you for BlogOn for inviting them to attend the awesome event the first time and saving my blogging life. Literal blog saving but most of all, keeping the business websites up, working and keeping food on the table.

This was not a paid for article, I bloody love these guys! Please share the article with anyone looking for hosting support and advice. 

WANT TO KNOW MORE? CLICK THE BELOW AND SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR A FREE TRIAL. I GET NOTHING FOR THIS JUST REWARDING A GREAT TEAM.

I’VE BEEN CLONED AGAIN!

WHAT’S THE POINT?

Protecting my Intellectual Property

Follow my PROPER Instagram account

I’m getting serious P***ED off now!

I understand that creating an online life is interesting to others, and sharing personal events, feelings and thoughts can be read by others when I share it. I get that and that is why I started this and why I hope others enjoy reading my content. But there’s a line and it’s been crossed, many times and I’ve really had enough and it is going to ruin some content.

Let me explain more what this picture on the right means.

Twice my social media accounts have been copied and not only are they using my picture for the social media profile, but this profile above used pictures of me and my daughter to pretend they were an amazing dad. Now just imagine that for a second.

Take away all the personal feeling about someone using my pictures, of me and my daughter. Now think about the reasons why someone would do this? Why would you use a profile of someone elses dad/daughter relationship?

It’s frightening to think about why someone would do this and I’ve got a couple of stories for you that have happened to me over the past year or so. Two seperate women have contacted my wife to say that my profile picture has been used on dating sites to try and con these women out of money.  WTF! 

Now I’m flattered that they saw my image and felt that it could be used to con women, however these poor ladies that have either been duped or conned makes me really sad. 

So what am I going to do?

The first thing I’ve done is to watermark all of my new images and I hate doing it. The pictures weren’t created to be watermarked to send people back to my sites. They were created to create joy, share our event or the feelings that we shared in moments of extreme joy. I’m also seriously going to have to think about the photos I put online in future. I’ve activated a no right click on Corporate Dad blog however, we all know a screenshot can always be taken so it’s no real way of stopping anyone.

 

So this is something that I’ve been going through at the moment and at one point I got so frustated I considered just stopping. Now bear in mind I’ve got very few followers and views compared to others so I can only image what they are going through and level of copyright and social account cloning..

It suppose it’s one of those crap things that happen when you become an online influencer.

 

For peace of mind, that account has been reported and taken down completely.

OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS REVIEW

BLUESTONE WALES

NATIONAL PARK RESORT

Pembrokeshire’s Leading Holiday Resort and Water Park

When your year passes you by, it's important to take some family time

2019 has been a challenging year for a number of reasons. From the new company that I’ve started with a good friend (working every hour possible) following a redundancy late 2018 to Mrs P finally being diagnosed with Ehlers-danlos Syndrome restricting what we can do, when we have time together.

While this is all happening, the world doesn’t stop turning and the young ones don’t stop growing and that’s the time when life can pass you by. Bluestone Wales is then our saviour for the summer, if not year, giving us the break that we needed, when we needed it and best of all. Bringing best friends along too.

Bluetone’s Pembrokeshire Resort, incorporates their Blue Lagoon Water Park, Wellness Spa, Camp Smokey, Adventure Centre, Steep Ravine and a gorgeous Lake.

Let’s tell you about it!

Accomodation

With two families and three children all under 9 years old, we needed room, lots of it and we wasn’t dissapointed. Arriving at Bluestone, their intelligent waiting system means a quick reception and you’ll be on your way into the park in no time. With the resort being a no-drive zone, you get the opportunity to bring your car round to the accomodation the first time however, it’s also a one way site so really listen to the host on how to get there. It’s a big park! With four bedrooms, our cabin in Preseli View 

Blue Lagoon Water Park - Biomass Heated

Heated by award winning bio mass, the Blue Lagoon Water Park is literally the most beautiful park I’ve seen, the warmest water’s I’ve ever swam in and of course something for everyone. If you’ve not prepared for a family swim, the included in your ticket Water Park provides swim nappies FOC for the little ones. There’s also a fully stocked shop with something for everyone from swimsuits to goggles and everything in between. The Blue Lagoon has some exceptional flumes, whirlpools and some huge waves. There’s rapids and of course a gated area for the young ones to play safe, in their own very warm confined area which was also fun for me too :). I wish I could show you inside however for privacy sake, I couldn’t take any pictures.

Adventure Centre

On the weekend that we were there, we had one amazing day of weather in which we manged to take some beautiful pictures from Tenby and the resort however it did rain quite a lot on a few of the days. While this would generally have been horrific, we had the amazing Blue Lagoon but there was also the impressive Adventure Centre with one of my favourite things to do, Mini Golf!

Obviously I don’t need to tell you to watch out for the bunkers, but if golf isn’t your thing then there’s bouncy castles, arcades and a really impressive treetop structure with rope bridges and views across the whole centre. For those more daring there’s indoor zip wires and climbing, but as an overweight dad, it wasn’t for me 🙂

Around the Resort

Taking a young family and friends to a resort, there has to be a bar (check), shops (check), parks (check) but we also wanted outdoor space for adventures and we weren’t dissapointed.

Our Time in Pembrokeshire

We had an amazing time at Bluestone and it was the base that we needed to enjoy not only the resort and it’s awesome facilities, but to also travel around especially to see friends nearby and to visit Tenby and it’s beautiful beach. Bluestone gave us the opportunity to come and review for the weekend and we’re eternally grateful. The resort came with free access to the adventure centre and blue lagoon, but there were also so many activities to do on site I can’t wait to go back, and hopefully the sun will shine throughout. As the children get older, we hope to get them involved in archery and the high ropes course. But for now, I’ll just relish the fact I can win at Mini Golf 🙂

 

If you’d like to find out more about Bluestone visit their website here: https://www.bluestonewales.com/

WHAT DID WE THINK

TIMBER FESTIVAL 2019

A FAMILY EVENT WHICH CHILDREN CAN ENJOY TOO

CONTACT ME
MORE ABOUT TIMBER

Let me paint the picture for you!

There’s a weekend’s worth of food, camping equipment and a few fruit based drinks all loaded in the car. Oh there’s children too, Dottie 3 and Bethany 16 and we were ready to go to Timber Festival.

But the question we all had prior, who had the most fun? YOU DECIDE

For the uninitated, Timber Festival is an amazing Family orientated festival in Derbyshire, aimed at those who feel at one with nature, care for our environment and are open to new cultures and experiences. If you’ve read my previous blogs or saw the pictures from when we went to Just So Festival in 2017,  you’ll know that we love the outdoors. You’ll also know that experiencing new things is in our top 10 things to do and we so did.

Timber Festival felt like a grown up, adult led version of Just So Festival which was absolutely perfect for me. I love Just So Festival so having more adult things to do, amazing real ale’s (shout out to the bar staff), but also real adult themes and talks. It’s not very often that you get absolutely enthralled listening to Phil Jupitus talk about nature, his love of music and hidden beaches in Scotland. See what I mean!

But it’s not just adult only fun, we had everything from hand whittled marble runs that took our breaths away, crazy musicians playing all sorts of instruments both conventional and imaginary, up and coming artists at the stage through to Yoga and audio hypnosis. I know right!

Camping and festival fun is something that can be fraught with difficulties especially when you want to take everything from home with you so you have all the creature comforts. (Mrs P did of course haha). This was an extremely stress free weekend for us. While there was a few hills to navigate through the event, walking was split up with shows, campfires and of course amazing food stalls.

Personally, big shout out to Mr Bushcraft. What other festival will give you a place to learn how to cook on an open fire, creating fire from traditional methods and then get to eat the food after. Winner winner!

When in Manchester, you gotta visit the Northern Quarter

ENJOYING A NIGHT IN THE

NORTHERN QUARTER

Sugar Junction
Pie & Ale
Matt & phred's
Cane & Grain

When you visit Manchester for a bit of food and a few drinks, there’s so many choices it’s unbelievable.

Wether you’re going all dressed up with a trip to Spinningfields or an alternative/quirky/cool night out to the Northern Quarter you gotta know where’s good! 

Living in Wigan. Mrs P and I got a train into Manchester’s Picadilly station to try out some of the suggestions from our Mancunian friends and we were not dissapointed! We wished we could have got a hotel or a serviced apartment in Manchester, but unfortunately as it was a school night, we had to behave 🙂

Sugar Junction - Tib Street, M4 1LG

We started off in Sugar Junction (as Mrs P was out shopping and fancied a fruit tea and cake). Having had a bit of a bad train journey thanks to some imbeciles running on the tracks, then getting caught up in traffic and the cab driver suggesting I walk, I never intended to grab a beer here. But I did and it was great. They only server one brand on pump, Asahi, but that was more than enough. Cold and as refreshing as I remembered last time I had one. It’s not usually available so that was a right little treat to start the night!

Pie and Ale - 47 Lever St, M1 1FN

As I’d had a train journey that lasted a lot longer than expected, it was now time to eat and when a friend suggests a restaurant with two of your favourite words in it, you just have to! Now I’m not one for themed/over the top restaurants.

They generally do ok food and ok drink, not both. However, this place was just what the doctor ordered. As an honorary Wiganer (I gave myself that title), if there’s a pie on the menu chances are I’m having it. This didn’t dissapoint one bit on either the ale or the pie front.

With an amazing selection of ale’s on tap, I couldn’t decide what to have so I chose three! It was a great idea as experiencing something new is always on the cards. The pie was Steak and Ale (standard) and it just hit the spot. I even ate the mash potatoes and ordered a side of mushy peas too. Mrs P didn’t like the ale but tucked into a beautiful little elderflower cider. Something for everyone!

Matt and Phreds - 64 Tibs Street, M4 1LW

Classed as a Jazz club, it should also be known as the home of the drinks deals. Where else offers 2 cocktails for a very happy hour price or, a free pizza if you order two drinks. Winner winner!

We stayed for a few cocktails and despite their generous offers the cocktails weren’t lacking. None of this because it’s a deal you get less. We just left before a jazz group arrived as we wanted to get a few drinks in at Cane and Grain. Matt and Phreds was a chilled club with seats and if you’re there at the right time, live Jazz and potentially free pizza. One not to be missed.

Cane and Grain - 49-51 Thomas St, M4 1NA

A bar that’s everything for everyone and I wasn’t dissapointed.

Lots of friends recommended we visit Cane and Grain and we can see why. Secret bar on the first floor, a studio union feel on the ground and then a tiki bar situated up top. Having had a few drinks already I wanted to move onto something a little stronger and I was immediately drawn to my favourite cocktail. But slightly different.

A coca cola take on an Old Fashioned with a Cola Bottle to make that Sugar Syrup pop! it so did too. The staff were great and having chatted to them for a while they suggested heading up to Science and Industry, their eccentric hideaway bar. Complete with squirrel light fittings, chesterfields and elegant decor, it’s a must for that slightly posher drink.

As with all great things, they must come to an end and our night out in Manchester’s Northern Quarter was no exception. When we aren’t staying out there are train times to take into consideration so be sure to check that you can get home 🙂

We had an awesome time, met some great people, had a good laugh and found out a little bit more about the city we love. The spending money was gifted to us by Hotels.com as part of our collaboration however as always, this review and post is all my own views and work.