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Lessons learned from an unconventional upbringing

I’ve heard a lot of guff spoken about the importance of the traditional nuclear family unit, usually from right wingers. I remember this from Iain Duncan Smith in 2009:
“We now know that children suffer hugely if they don’t get the balance of two parents in their upbringing. Those with two parents are less likely to take drugs, more likely to do well at school, more likely to get jobs.” Hmm... I’m not so sure myself. I was raised by a single mum. Not only that, but a single mum with a serious heroin habit. And miraculously, I have a well-paid job, a degree (albeit in the performing arts) and not even the slightest hint of a drug habit, yet! I’m not even sure that the notion of a traditional family unit even exists anymore. In fact, in my experience, one-parent families are just as likely to produce bright, intelligent and emotionally stable children as other clans are. ...

Don’t be another Crouch End parent

For those of you not part of the sneering, metropolitan elite, Crouch End is a much sought-after hamlet of north London, and home to many solvent, middle class, bohemian families. And as such, it exhibits some of the most extreme examples of attachment parenting anywhere in the UK. The one single event neatly encapsulates the area's unique combination of insouciant parents and entitled children. My wife and I were having Sunday lunch recently in a pub called The Maynard Arms – think battered, overstuffed Chesterfield sofas, original timber flooring, and a single wilting gerbera in an old milk bottle on all the tables. Anyway, in keeping with the rest of the décor, there’s also a working upright piano in the corner – how authentic. This particular afternoon, the place was heaving and an unfortunate couple had been seated on a hastily assembled table next to the piano. ...

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When Jamie Oliver met Dandy Dad

So it’s official – I belong to the blogosphere. Be careful what you wish for hey?! I started this blog three months ago, largely as a reaction to the poor quality of the mummy blogger content that I was editing for my clients, but also because I thought that it would be funny to talk about pocket squares and tweed blazers instead of weaning and sleep training. Fast forward a few months and an invite arrives in my inbox from the lovely people at the Huffington Post asking if I’d like to be part of a blogger discussion panel on parenting, chaired by Jamie Oliver. ...

5 things you’re told you need that you don’t

Checklists – how bloody organised. Unfortunately, you’ll have to make loads of them when your baby is born. Between mumsnet, midwives, your parents and the NHS website, you’ll have a list as long as your arm of essential items you have to buy. Some will be invaluable, others will be as useful as Captain Hook at a gynecologists' convention. ...

Dandy Dad’s dose of reality

At the end of summer last year, a few weeks before my daughter was born (and with a particularly hubristic flourish) I wrote an article in the Guardian stating categorically that I wouldn’t trade in my life as an urban peacock to suddenly become ‘dadcore’, along with its comfortable and practical accoutrements like selvedge jeans, hoodies, trainers and (heaven forbid) baby harnesses. Well, six months down the line, and a week after being forced to throw away my favourite pair of Crockett and Jones loafers after getting green (yes it was racing green) baby shit on them, I have to hold my hands up and say I was wrong. I was SO wrong. ...

Should I join the 1%?

Having a full blown row with your partner in front of your baby is reprehensible but sadly sometimes inevitable. And in the heat of a particularly virulent argument, you’ll often hear my wife and I return to this tired parenting trope: “This place is a mess; you do NOTHING around the house to help!” “Give me a chance I’m knackered, I’ve been at work all day!” “I’d LOVE to go back to work. At least I’d actually get a lunch break! Try looking after a bloody baby all day; you’ll see what tired really means!” “I’d love to!” “Yeah right, you’d last a week!” ...

“Coming down the pub?”

There are only two kinds of people in this world...those with kids, and those without. It’s very simple. Either you’re a sleepless drone who’s merely a slave to a tiny dictator…or you don’t have children.

When a man is tired of London…he moves to Chesham

My wife and I sat down last night and decided, quite rightly, that it’s ‘insania’ for us to be paying £1,500 each month towards our landlady’s mortgage. And for what? For the pleasure of living in a small 1st floor, 2 bed flat with a sliver of a kitchen and disagreeable neighbours? So that we can say we live in Muswell Hill and enjoy the raised eyebrows of other Londoners who live in less salubrious areas and are quietly impressed with our postcode? All this and not even a f*cking tube station? Where do I sign up I hear you ask?! Moving to London all those years ago was a lifestyle choice. Quite rightly, one should take full advantage of everything that this ugly beautiful city can offer; the social life, the culture, the career ladder, the like-minded people, the energy, the history blah blah. Basically, who doesn’t want to drink overpriced craft beer in a pop-up bar located in one of the bleakest parts of south east London? ...

Dandy Dad’s Essentials: The Bank Holiday Don Draper look

As my moniker would suggest, I’m not really into casual wear. I don’t really do jeans or hoodies. Casual for me might mean not wearing a tie clip or sporting a pair of Jack Purcell with my chinos instead of loafers (well, sometimes you’ve just got to cut loose). However, with the onset of summer, there are certain concessions a foppish father simply has to make, no matter how much it irks him. Obviously layering is out, as is anything woollen – unless you want to sweat uncontrollably or look like you’re taking part in the Tweed Run. Therefore, a more stripped-back approach is warranted, but dandy dads, please choose your weapons carefully. ...

How to feed your baby

Quite frankly, I've always been a bit rubbish at feeding Martha, as you can probably tell from these pics... However, looks like my wife has the best technique; just mimic the facial expressions of your baby, that'll help the medicine go down!…