Daddy and Munchkin Blog
Seriously, Take Kids Camping!

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Some of my best childhood memories came from the camping trips I had with my Grandparents and Mum. We would find a good site, pitch up, get the croquet and games out, play endless garden games and relax. It was childhood at its best.

Ready or not, I’m coming to find you! – Hide and seek camping style!

It’s something I always wanted to pass to Munchkin. This year, Nanny and Grandad were already planning to go to a local site so we joined them for a one-night trail run. The short, it was fantastic, so seriously, take kids camping!

The sky’s awake so I’m awake!

As a parent, we often worry about our child sleeping well. So the thought of camping in the summer with an early sunrise and sharply rising tent temperatures was enough to add a bit of fear with taking Munchkin camping.

Going to a local site eased the fear a little. If worst came to the worse we could escape home in the middle of the night and return the next morning.

So, we put our fears aside. Bought him his own character airbed and a new Paw patrol nightlight and took familiar things like his pillow, duvet and favourite bed toy from home. We made sure we had long walks, lots of activity and a little bit of a later night after a late takeaway dinner.

The result: he slept through undisturbed until morning.

kids camping
Phew. Out light a light switch.

Home away from home

To make him feel at home and included, we made sure whatever we had, he had. He had his own little camping chair so he could sit around the firepit with us, and his own personal airbed. We let him help with activities such as pumping up his bed, helping with the washing up and building the tent – he especially loved the mallet, offering to help hammer in the pegs. We took a good selection of toys which could be used outside and garden games. Ensuring he never got bored.

Playing like at home

We also take his tablet with Amazon kids+ (I’ve review that here). This was good whilst we pottered around getting food ready and for his usual bedtime routine with a few stories.


For great days out with young children see our reviews of Hobbledown and National Trust properties ➡️


Affordable holidaying

The most important thing, especially with the current cost of living crisis, is that camping can be affordable. You can pick up a good sized tent for a family of 3 or 4 for under £50 and pay a quarter of what is it for a low budget hotel room for the pitch. There’s a bit of prepayment for things like chairs and airbeds, but at this time of the year you can find cheap camping stuff everywhere, for example, we picked up our foldable chairs for a little over a tenner and borrowed other bits from my parents. It was obviously more pricey this time, but will make an affordable getaway next time and the next…

A reasonably priced tent for us three. Oh and a car to store everything else

The trial run

As it was Munchkin’s first time a we opted for this as a trial run for future camping.

The reason for a short trial run of camping was two-fold. Firstly we needed to see if Munchkin would sleep. Second, we needed to see what items we needed and inevitably you will forget something the first few times! Like any holiday, imagine going away and forgetting the baby milk, or a favourite cuddly toy!

Prepare for all weather

In the UK we all know we can experience all four seasons in one day. We went in June.

Summer is probably the hardest as you never know what you are going to get. So pack the sun cream and shorts, the coat for the cooler evenings and the wellies and waterproofs if it rains. Plus, plenty of spares if they get muddy or wet. Be overprepared.


Given this was just our trial run I imagine ill update it over the trips to come.

Do you have any advice on camping with kids?

Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Anticipation 2021

As we approach Summer and the potential end of “lockdown” and our journey on the “road map” out of the restrictions, we must all be feeling a slight wave of trepidation.

I am luckily not a nervous type of person, with no history of depression, so I have got through the last year relatively unscarred mentally. I am keen to get back to normal, with obvious care at all times, to meeting family and friends, be it in the garden. I have already started observing the weather forecast with great interest, but as us British know, it can be very unpredictable.  

My main area of concern is going back to the theatre or a trip to London. Last year we had lots of tickets booked for various events, which were obviously all postponed, so as from July, we have our first night out at the theatre. This means close contact with strangers, and although I should have my full vaccine cover by then, it is a worry.

My other worry would be my Mum. She is generally well at the moment, showing no signs of her progressive lung cancer. I want to get her out to see her friends, enjoy her garden, just generally have fun and be happy. So project Mum, is my priority, starting with lunch in the garden, then with family, as soon as possible.

My retirement with Brad, was obviously not as planned. We had the first 18 months organised with gin afternoon teas, a tour of England and Scotland, other camping weekends and a once in a lifetime trip to three countries in Asia, as well as the countless theatre shows. These fun events peppered our new life together without the daily grind of going to work and to help get used to seeing much more of each other. To be honest, I feel that I see him about the same, as I still am quite busy. I have my wonderful day looking after munchkin, I see and help Mum 3-4 times a week and I now help supervise a community fridge, one morning a week. This takes in donations from the public, or shops with produce reaching sell-by dates. This is available for anyone to come in and to take as needed.  So our marriage, in retirement and “lockdown” has survived and we look forward to our future together.

All our plans have been on hold, and not cancelled and we already have booked a camping trip in May locally and our UK tour is back on for July. (do I sound famous!) So despite some anticipation, I am ready for the rest of 2021.

Thanks for reading, how are you feeling about the road map out of restrictions? Drop me a comment below.

Nanny of Munchkin

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Never Having Second thoughts

My Life Choices

A post by Nanny of Munchkin

As I approach a rather big birthday, I can look back on my career and feel rather pleased with how things went, would I have done anything different? Absolutely not.

I knew from the age of 11 that I wanted to be nurse, followed by a career in midwifery and never even considered another occupation. I choose my ‘O’ levels accordingly and applied at the age of 15. I was given a place on the course, dependent on my exam results, to commence when I was close to 18. This was not a life choice, it was an absolute given.

In May 1979 I started and had a hard working, but rewarding 3 years of training, with a really lovely group of people, some who I am still friends with today. Training was very practical in those days, you learnt on the job and was never supernumerary. As a second year student you could be in charge on a night shift which would never be heard of today. It was scary at times, but being thrown in the deep end was a quick way to learn.

After qualifying in 1982, I spent 1 year on a medical ward and the next 23 years on a paediatric unit. I loved working with babies and children and liked the variety of specialities, medicine, surgery, orthopaedics, urology etc.

The great thing about nursing was that when I had my family, I could work part-time nights so maintaining a career, with little time away from my children.

In 2006, came my first major life choice. I decided to leave my job to start training in midwifery, to follow my original career plan. For many reasons this did not work out and six months later, I was unemployed.

I found a job within 3-4 weeks and this became the best job I ever had. I started work at a local Walk-In-Centre and spent 12 very happy years there, with again, many lovely colleagues. I had returned to a job where patients had a huge variety of conditions, with expanded my knowledge immensely. Each shift was interesting and though hard work, time would fly by. So, although midwifery did not work out, it led to greater things and the highlight of my career.

The responsibility increased over the years and the staff changed. Some shifts became overwhelming and the pressure increased, so I decided to try another change of career to a less challenging role and returned to the local hospital to work in a day clinic. Generally it was a good move and I enjoyed the work, but some of the staff were not very friendly and after one year, I decided to take early retirement.

This was a huge decision, as I would loose a large amount of my pension, but after waying up the pros and cons I finally left in 2019.

Again this worked out for the best, with my Dads rapidly deteriorating health, I was on hand for both my parents as needed. Today, I still look after my Mum, although my Dad has now passed away.

So after 40 years of working for the NHS, I feel I have done my bit. My career has been interesting and when it came to opting for a different pathway, it always worked out for the best, no second thoughts required.

Thanks for reading,

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If Only I Knew

If only I knew, what this be job would be,

Call it carer, childminder or just Nanny

An early start, always mindful, it can be quite a long day

But payed in kisses and cuddles, the very best way.


You hear people say, it’s the best job in the world

Their smiling happy faces, do prove this

Knowing, they know, you will always love them

When you hand them back with a wave and a kiss.


If only I knew, what I would feel, to see that little face

Such an overwhelming desire to hold and treasure

The feeling of love was just so strong

This little bundle could do no wrong.


So he grows and explores and is always changing

He smiles and talks and is so entertaining

If only I knew what becoming a Nan would be

The highlight of an already wonderful life for me.

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Just in case you were wondering…

Just in case you were wondering…

I felt compelled to write a few words about what I was up to at the moment, obviously no fantastic holidays abroad, no day trips to London or theatre experiences to talk about, but I have been busy!

Tuesdays are just so special, looking after the munchkin. He is so full of energy and so funny. He picks up songs and actions so easily and literally copies a lot of what I do and say. We have a little walk out in the morning to the park and to go puddle hunting! He chatters non stop, listens for the planes and trains, points out birds and dogs and hands me many stones and wet leaves. My son is working from home, at the moment, so I see him too, which is great. We go out again, in the pushchair, in the afternoon, to give his Dad a bit more peace to work in.

I see my mum regularly and this involves a little cleaning and getting her shopping. This has also involved getting her new fencing and a shed, sorting out other sheds, rooms and cupboards, buying various household items, doing her online banking and bills. There is always something that needs replacing or looking into.

The gym has been a blessing, but now it is closed again, I am back to walking, as long as it is not raining. My husband and I practice on our guitars regularly and a bottle of wine occasionally accompanies us! I have done some baking, but that always involves calories, so have tried pickling onions and homemade coleslaw. We do tend to watch tele in the evenings and old episodes of “task master” has kept us entertained.

That almost sums up life, at the moment. Longing for the chance to see friends and family on a regular basis and the possibility of a normal life seems to be almost there.

Thanks for reading,


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Living In the Present

When you start to gain followers, or you are even simply posting or chatting to your friends, its easy to be hooked to our devices. Even before having Munchkin, I’d use my phone as a comfort blanket, allowing me to avoid conversation at ease when I felt uncomfortable.

However, I have recently had the realisation, when I think about Munchkin’s future, that while having a phone may be essential for him one day, we want him to prefer to play a game with us, read a book or get outside.

It is also stark when you have a look at that bit in your settings which monitors your app usage. I’m not going to say a number of hours I saw in mine, but, I can tell you I was shocked. Oh instagram, you are rather addictive.

One thing I realised, it that even if I put put only three to five stories in a day, I’d do them as they happened, then respond to responses instantly. This could take a lot of time, and that was time I was not then spending with Munchkin. It made no difference to take the photos and videos, then post later when I’m not missing the next thing. Particularly, when with a child, that next thing could be their first word, or first steps or any of the thousands of little but exciting developments they gain in their first two years.

Also, notifications don’t expire. You don’t miss something because you didn’t pick up your phone when it just buzzed. The notification will be sitting there later waiting just as it does when it comes through the first time. And 99 percent of the time, that message can wait, as the point of instant messaging is, messaging, not constant conversation-ing.

If you really need help avoiding you device, see if your phone has a built in focus mode, or download an app such as Freedom, or Forest, which let’s a hypothetical forest grow for all period of time you’ve saved. I found my phones focus mode has helped working from home.

So, I guess I’m sort of writing this as my pledge. To be the best Hubby and Daddy I can be all the time and stop Instagram (other social media devils are available) stealing me away from being in the moment.

Thanks for reading,

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The Return to Not Quite Normal

When the letter to return to work arrived my heart sank, whilst many may have struggled with lockdown and restrictions, we have relished in the bonus time together with our little Munchkin. If you have had a hard time, I am sorry and don’t worry, for that I feel very guilty.

But with a 15 month old at the start of furlough, we got to spend so much precious extra time together. I was luckily furloughed on full pay and Natalie had a lot to do to support her children she teaches, but could do a lot at home with us as well.

However, this time came to an end when I returned to my normal place of work, even if not for my normal job. And thats where the lack of normality begins. My hours are different and the job is different. We have queued to arrive at work, and to leave at home time and my closest friends are still working from home. Though that said, its been good to form bonds and develop friendships with those I haven’t had chance to before.

For Munchkin, he has returned to nursery this week ending his dream 6 months with Daddy and then Mummy. We have done, and developed, so much over this time, but it will be great for him to be back with kids his age to play and build friendships with. This is now the start of the stark difference from the nice and relaxed, peaceful furlough time to the mad rush again from home to nursery to work and back.

We finally started walking

The alleviation of lockdown has meant it has also been nice to visit family again, without staying garden bound and feeling like we shouldn’t even use the bathroom. Although, we are still far from the times of hugs and proper contact. Luckily for the Nanny’s, the return to nursery also means the return to Nanny childcare days. That’ll be good for them and Munchkin both. I know for sure its been very hard not seeing him properly for so long.

So while everything is different, let’s enjoy this time before the inevitable ‘second spike’ we have been warned of, which could be on the horizon. Though, let’s hope it doesn’t happen. As much as I enjoyed furlough, I dont think the country can afford to do it again…

To all those still suffering from anything Covid related, me and Munchkin are sending socially distance digital hugs.

Thanks for reading,

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You Choose The Title

Well the first thing you will notice is the title, or lack of! I thought of ‘The right time to die’, ‘A fantastic father and family’ and ‘A challenging time with Corona virus’ and nothing felt quite right. Choosing a title can be one of the hardest things with these posts, I generally like catchy titles, but probably this time, catchy was not needed. My son has already written an eloquently, heart warming piece about losing his Grandad, so I will try to put my perspective on losing a loved one. I am also aware that we have all had enough doom and gloom recently, so as always, I will try to seek out some positives.

My Dad really was the most amazing, intelligent, funny and lovable man you could meet. My sister and I grew up with little spare money, but family times were so precious and valuable. My Dad seemed to know something about everything. We constantly learnt new facts and skills and a local trip out would be an adventure. He helped us when we both bought our homes with garden projects, electric and plumbing issues, he must have saved us hundreds of pounds!

Although he had health issues and had skipped dying, on at least four occasions! He would come across as fit and capable and was still driving last December. He was managing all household duties and looking after my Mum. He deteriated quite rapidly in the last few weeks and became frail and vulnerable with developing dementia. We were just at the point of getting carers in when he died. He would have hated to be cared for and we knew he was frustrated with his lack of memory. It was distressing to see him like this and I know, sadly, this was the right time for him to pass away.

I now look after my mum and she is probably fed up seeing just me, but due to the lockdown, my face was one of the few she could safely see. I am gradually sorting out her affairs, which has been trying to say the least. Getting to speak to people in banking, pensions and utilities is time consuming and some people are not at all sympathetic. Plus, you get told conflicting information, so it can be very confusing. There is still lots to do, but there is no real hurry.

It has kept me busy, in a time when you can not go to the gym, eat out and see family and friends. I have also occupied myself with jigsaws, our family quiz, guitar playing and family online games. I have missed my children and of course the “Munchkin” terribly and in a time when you want an extra cuddle, you have to do without. (Husband’s cuddles are still frequent, I hasten to add!) although I have missed the munchkin development, I am so pleased my son and daughter-in-law, got to experience it all. I do worry, that he will not really know who I am anymore, but I am sure when we see each other regularly, he will know exactly who all his Nanas are again. We have done WhatsApp phone calls a few times with my mum as well, so he knows half our faces at least!

My Dad loved family, try to not say in a Phil Mitchell voice! and I know his love and closeness to us all, will continue with us for always and we will pass on these values to our little ones.

The positives are that we did not lose my Dad early in his life, or to this wretched virus. My sister and I were with him in hospital, the evening before he died. Something which has been taken away from many, many people. We do not always say the three little words to parents and older children, but actions speak volumes and my Dad knew what he meant to all of us and he was so proud of the fact we all lived nearby and saw each other regularly.

People have learnt to care for strangers in these strange and sad times and shown enormous acts of kindness. I hope this is not forgotten in the future when we get back to normal. I hope other people have reconnected with past friends of long-lost relatives too.

Let’s continue to put others first, keep smiling and love your family, that is just what my Dad would say too.

Thanks for reading,

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A ‘magical’ first Christmas

Christmas for Munchkin really began early December when the tree entered the house. He’s always been mesmerised by nature and now there was a tree standing in his living room. Then came the shiny decorations, tinsel and most importantly, the lights. Woooah!

All the rest of the lights went up around the house and then you could tell he had an air of ‘I could certainly get used to this’ although in photos it could be seen as total fear.

The look of enjoyment of this Christmas thing… or was it a look of fear?

To continue the build up of magic, the week before Christmas me and Nanny took him to a garden centre. The look of his face as we saw the singing characters, the bright flashing trees and fake snow. He had no idea what was going on, but we knew he loved it.

The three day extravaganza (Christmas Eve to Boxing day) came around but then also did the joys of hand, foot and mouth for Munchkin. What a time for this! Not only were we worried about it ruining his first Christmas experience, we also had to live in fear about catching it ourselves!

The rosy cheeks of hand foot and mouth

On Christmas Eve we went to Auntie Nicole’s and Uncle James’. He had his first round of presents. Whilst cute to watch him open then, it took forever. But still ate like a champ considering the sores around his mouth.

Christmas Day was at Natalie’s parents. Whilst Munchkin felt a little more rough with his hand foot and mouth, and we felt rough with the alcohol and lack of sleep from a late night Christmas eve, we all powered through the mountains of food and hours of games and had a bloomin’ good day as expected.

We hosted boxing day. I pre-empted by thinking how tired I get when I don’t have a baby by boxing day so suggested we split the prep and cooking with my family. This was wise. By now, Munchkin was confused, what was this all about? More wrapped toys?!

By the end of day three and after three days of hand foot and mouth, we were all exhausted. Luckily we were all off work and nursery was yet to begin so had a good few days to recover.

Thanks for reading,

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The Best Job in the World. A Nanny.

A post by Nanny

Well it’s been a month of me (Munchkin’s Nanny) looking after munchkin. I am only doing one day a week as amazingly I seem to have become very busy since I retired! I worked for the NHS for 40 years but decided last spring that I had had enough. I lost a large percentage of my pension, to retire 7 years early, but decided that to leave the stress behind was worth it. I finished work early November, but was not needed by my son and daughter-in-law, to look after the Munchkin, until January.

Me and the Munchkin on his first birthday

My husband and I have joined the gym and are going twice a week religiously. Yes, we need to lose weight and get fitter, but we need to keep busy and have new interests. I will venture into the yoga and aqua fit classes at some point, but swimming and the treadmill have been my first priorities.

My dad has also been quite poorly, so I now have some planned time to help my parents, as well as the frequent GP, clinic, optician appointments that are needed. How did I have time to work..!

Back to the Munchkin!! My heart literally leaps to see that fluffy little head and sleepy eyes when he wakes up in the morning. There is the routine of meals, bottles and naps but in between we read books, play and create a mess. He can be so funny with his little ways, clapping and dancing to the music, well rocking on his bottom!

Yes, it is long day as mainly 10-11 hours, but well worth it. We were going for walks the last few weeks, but it’s felt a little cold, for me not him, with not much to see. We’ve now found a local music and play group for two hours in the morning.

Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not. As I said, It’s the best job in the world.

Thanks for reading,

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