Tights for Boys

For a long time leading up to winter 2014, Asda and Tesco had become the black holes of BattleKid’s socks. We’d go in with two socks on, and end up at the checkout reduced to one. Needless-to-say, with a baby and full shopping trolley I never went back to try to retrieve the elusive socks. I can imagine there being several of BattleKid’s socks in their lost-and-found boxes.

Now you may be wondering why I didn’t put baby shoes on him. Well, there was no point. They would be kicked off his feet even before we’d left the house. I mentioned this to BattleDad and he simply said “Why don’t you just put tights on him?!”.

What? Tights? On a boy? BattleDad said why not, that he had worn tights as a very young boy and his Mum never had a problem with missing socks. Then, the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense. His feet and legs would stay warm and protected, and he wouldn’t be able to pull them off. No more rogue socks!

Armed with this information, off I went to the shops to get some tights. This is where I came across my stumbling block. Supermarkets like Asda and Tesco all stocked baby tights, but only in colours like baby pink, all catering for girls. There were no tights in colours catering for baby boys.

Eventually, after venturing into Cardiff, I found proper boys tights in Primark (Pennys to all my Irish friends). Bingo! They came as a 3 or 4 pack for £5 and were definitely catered towards the males of the baby population with grey, navy and baby blue amongst a few of the colours in the tights on offer. I had read on the BabyCentre forums to buy the next size up, so I popped 3 packs in size 12-18 months into my basket, and headed to the checkout quite pleased with myself.

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To date they have been an absolute Godsend. The first few times I put them on BattleKid he tried his best to pull them off and looked very confused as the “sock” got longer and longer and yet still wasn’t coming off his feet. His little toes have been kept nice and toasty this winter, and there are no more of his socks being lost in random places around the supermarket. Needless-to-say I will be getting more in a bigger size for next winter!

Have you tried these on your little man? Let me know in the comments below!

One of those days!

Ever felt like you should have just stayed in bed one morning. Well that’s how I feel right now. Apart from getting up, dressed and out the door at home and in the door at work, today feels like it’s been a complete waste of time. And it’s only just gone 3.15pm!

I’ve had an engineer in to look at an instrument that isn’t behaving very well, only to be told it’s a software issue and beyond his knowledge. His advice: have a read of the manual and play around with it. During what free time I ask you? With my boss hounding me for results and fast, and another client job taking up ALL of my lab time at the minute, just when does he think I will have a few hours spare to read a manual!? 

Following on from that I’ve broken two pieces of glassware so far this afternoon, so yeah, I’m have a smashing time in work today if you’ll pardon the pun! Yes it was only one beaker and one clock glass, and yes we have plenty more but I NEVER break glassware in lab. I’m usually very careful with things but not today. 

I also forgot to set my timer on one set of samples so have had to start them all over again as I’ve no idea how long they had been in the oven before I noticed! Really beginning to feel like I should have stayed in bed this morning! That would have been nice! 

Alas, I’ve resorted to a quick blog post over tea break and am eagerly awaiting 4.30 when I can blow this joint and drive home to get my boy. Here’s hoping he’s not too tired and in good form! 

Saving for the Boy

When BattleDad and I took the decision to try for a baby, the one thing I promised myself is that we would start a savings account for them as soon as we could. Even if it was just a few bob each month, it would amount to a nice little sum by the time they turned 18, or whenever we deem it the appropriate time to hand it over to them.

I guess this mentality stems from how my parents handle things financially. They’ve always been savers and always put money away for, in their own words, “a rainy day, just-in-case”. They are by no means rich, nor are they skin-flints. Where money has needed to be spent, they’ve done it wisely and saved where they could. Take the recent home improvements they’ve done. Each room they have redone or redecorated has had at least 3 quotes for those jobs too big for my Dad to do. They enjoy annual holidays to Portugal, a new thing in our family as we never went abroad on holiday as a family before the 2000’s as we  couldn’t afford it, yet even with that they watch what they spend and stick to a daily budget. At home they are also careful with their spending and shop around for things like clothes, food and household goods. Dad is retired but he worked like a dog all his like, and in particular in his 50’s when he spent more time in civil-war Angola than he did in Ireland. He went contracting there to save for his daughter’s university fees. However, Ireland had scraped university fees by the time we came to go which meant our parents managed to retain their hard earned savings and invested it wisely. Mum, on the other hand, still works as she was a late starter when it came to a career other than being a mum. She still enjoys her job and with her wages they are comfortable, but they still save every month.

BattleMum takes after her mum, in that I am a bargain hunter and not having my finances in order does not still well with me. I try to save money where I can but still enjoy the odd indulgence or two like some new clothes/shoes (don’t tell BattleDad about the shoes), and also a nice holiday each year. But when it comes to BattleKid, BattleDad and I want to give him everything we possibly can, and that includes a nest egg for when he comes of age. It will either cover his university fees so he comes out with a degree debt-free as I did, or he can put it towards a deposit on a house if he takes another route into a career path. However, he is not going to know about it until we think he is responsible enough to use it appropriately, so don’t go blabbing reader when he’s older haha!

With that in mind, I opened a bank account in BattleKid’s name last April and we started saving the maximum we could. We have a monthly standing order set up so money goes in and with it not linked to our own bank account, we don’t see it nor even think about it. So much so that when I checked the balance on BattleKid’s account in-branch recently, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the balance read back to me. As long as we are in the position to do so, we will keep saving into his account, and by the time he is 18, on the same monthly amount, he will have a very nice nest-egg to get him started in life.

I also want to ensure we teach him the value of money and that it takes hard work and effort to earn it. For this I have opened a separate account in his name with another bank for BattleKid, in which I currently deposit things like:

  • Money he receives from family and friends for his birthday and Christmas.
  • Money from his little silver bear money box in his room. I put £1 coins in this, as and when I think about it, and bank the money when it gets full.
  • Money from our coin jar. We have an empty jar at home which we throw our loose change into. Again, I count this out when it gets full and I’ve now taken to banking it into BattleKid’s other account.

Although this account isn’t saved into regularly, it has a nice little starting balance to it so far, and it is one which I plan to give BattleKid access to before he is 18 so that he can learn about saving and managing money. I want him to learn the way I did when I was younger. My parents provided everything for us but there was a limit to it. For instance, when I was 14 or 15 I wanted trendy runners (trainers), not the cheaper ones we were usually bought by Mum and Dad. However, with 4 children, they simply couldn’t afford the £60 price tag for one pair for one child. So I was told if I wanted them I would have to pay for them myself. How was I meant to do that? We got a small allowance from our aunts and uncles (Dad’s unmarried siblings) but I’d be saving forever for them!

So, with help from Mum, I got myself a little babysitting job. almost every Saturday night for 4-5 hours, i’d babysit two lovely girls and I started earning £7 per night to add to my allowance. I saved for three months and I had enough I bought my first pair of branded trainers, a pair of Reebok Hexalite runners. And I LOVED them! I wore them to death until they literally feel apart about 4 years later!

But my parents did the right thing in teaching me to save for what I wanted. I saved for all my own branded runners and clothes after that, while still appreciating the things my parents still bought for me. And that is my hope for BattleKid. He’ll get an allowance from us when he starts helping out at home and we will encourage him to save his money towards things he really wants. We’ll encourage him to save at home or in his bank account when he’s old enough, and when he has saved up, he can buy things he wants for himself.

We also want to encourage him to shop around for the best price or for bargains. As mentioned I’m a bargain hunter and BattleDad and I both shop around for good prices, me more so but BattleDad is getting better at it. i must be rubbing off on him haha! But hopefully BattleKid will learn from us and follow in our footsteps.

There are other things BattleDad and I are doing or plan to do in the future to ensure a good start in life for BattleKid, but what we’ve done so far is a good starting point either way I think. Have you started saving for your little one(s)? Do you plan to if you haven’t had a chance yet? All it takes is to visit the bank you have an account with, and their birth certificate, and it can be set up in a few minutes. From there you can save regularly, or as and when you can afford to, but it will all add up in the long term. You never know, you might be able to cover their university fees or give me them a start towards the deposit for their own home. Now wouldn’t that be nice.

17th March 2015 – Lovely Evening

Last night I had a really lovely evening with BattleKid. When I say evening I mean 1.5 hours. I picked him up as usual at 5.30pm from nursery to a chorus of “thank you’s” for all the St. Patrick’s Day treats I’d dropped in with him that morning for the staff. Now I should explain that BattleKid is often tired and cranky when I pick him up in the evenings but there was none of his usual whingy cried yesterday.

As it was still a lovely evening when we got home, I kept him in his coat, put him in his trike for only the second time and off we set with BattleDog #2 for a quick walk. It could only be quick as it started turning quite chilly but the three of us really enjoyed it. And I’ve discovered that BattleDog #2 has graduated from walking-to-heel with the pram to walking-to-heel with the boy on his trike. Thick as thieves! 

When we got home we let BattleDog #1 in and went about hanging the wash that had finished. BattleKid helped as only he knows how by ragging the clothes horse and pulling off the hung clothes from the lower bars. This normally annoys me but not last night. 

We then went upstairs and had some fun playtime in his room before getting him into his pyjamas. We had giggles and loves and a bit more practising of his 3-4 step walking. After this we got a bottle ready with BattleKid pointing and saying “ta” until it was ready. As he drank it down in my arms in the sitting room he sank deeper and heavier into my arms, until it was finished and he was asleep. I love this time together on the sofa, him snoring gently, me kissing his soft forehead. 

Yesterday was particularly lovely as he didn’t come out of nursery too crabby or overtired. He was in great form and we had a lovely time together before bedtime. It’s a rare thing on nursery days and I’d like more of it please! As I zipped him into his grobag and kissed him goodnight from mum and Dad, I couldn’t help but smile at the little snores coming from my perfect little boy!

Board Game Geeks

BattleDad and I have been keen gamers for many years. BattleDad started with the likes of Warhammer table-top games and progressed to Rainbox 6 and Everquest on the pc. It was Everquest BattleDad introduced me to and it was Everquest 2 that really caught me games-wise. When I finally stopped playing EQ2 a few years ago I was a pretty well kitted level 90 Defiler and, if I’m honest, I really miss going harvesting in the likes of the Feerrott with her! However, EQ2 took up a lot of our time and we decided to quit to spend more time together, face-to-face.

Our gaming days have been resurrected recently with friends of ours introducing us to the thrills of board games. Now this may not sound very exciting to some of you but these aren’t your run-of-the-mill games like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble. These are very varied, each with something unique to catch our attention.

One of the first we were introduced to was Ticket To Ride, a game where you must move from one city to another by building your trains along tracks. It sounds ridiculous but it’s so good! You keep your starting and finishing destinations secret and you can block other players by gaining single tracks between cities that they themselves may need for their route. It is very much a strategy game but very good fun.

Ticket to Ride Image

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Another game our friends have introduced us to is Pandemic, a game where you play as a team against the board trying to cure diseases and prevent outbreaks around the world. So far, as a 4-player, we have yet to beat the board on easy mode. And we have also yet to delve into the expansion packs for this game. Yet it is a regular on our playlist for games nights!

Pandemic Board Game image

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One of my favourites is Takenoko. In this game, you build bamboo fields, attempting to match shapes on your player cards to the fields on the board. You must also grow bamboo to collect before the panda can it eat to gain points, or you can make the panda eat bamboo for you, also to gain points. It sounds childish but again it is a game of strategy and lots of fun, especially with 4 of you.

Takenoko Board game image

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Recently said friends brought along a card game for games night. “Card game?” I hear you say. Yes, but again Dominion is a good one. As S (the female half) said “if you had asked me if I fancied playing a card game, I’d have said no way”, but again it’s quite good fun. You build up your cards with player and money cards to gain victory cards, and the player with the most points in victory cards wins. Simple. Not so, as there are some cards that will scupper your opponents and these can come in very handy for getting you ahead! It is such a good game that BattleDad and I bought 2 of the 10 deck building games and once we get sufficiently comfortable with them we plan to buy more of the expansions. This is also one of the few new games we play that is quite short at around 30 minutes per game. Nice and short for a quick game after dinner at the weekend.

Dominion Board Game image

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Our pile of games in our snug room is growing in size, particularly when W&S come to visit with new games for us to try. Our games pile currently includes:

  • Dominion x2
  • Pandemic x4
  • Takenoko
  • Ticket to Ride 10TH Anniversary + Asia map
  • Carcassone Big Box
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Galaxy Truckers (yet to play)

It also helps that we’ve bought many they have introduced us to so that previously played games don’t need to be ferried between our homes!

I never imagined BattleDad and I would get into board games like we have, but we thoroughly enjoy games nights with W&S and, as mentioned, have even taken to bringing out Dominion for a quick game after dinner. I’m looking forward to seeing what they introduce us to next!

And on the subject of looking forward, I am eagerly awaiting the release of Everquest Next, if only for a look around the new look world of Norrath. I certainly won’t be getting into the seriousness of raiding with a guild again.

See, gamer geeks!

 

*All games are available to buy via most game stores, both retail and online, and also through Amazon as linked in this post.