Bedtime reading

One hobby I don’t do enough of is reading, at least reading anything that isn’t on a screen. Getting through BuzzFeed and Cracked articles is not exactly in the same league as reading Tolstoy or Steinbeck.

Yet I still read a lot of book, that is not a typo or bad grammar I just seem to read the same thing repeatedly. Anyone with a child will tell you repetition is an integral part of having a toddler. Life with a three-year-old seems to be full of the refrain “again”.

We really want to encourage our kids to appreciate books so they have plenty of them and a bedtime routine that allows for a story. To make sure they read plenty we have bought collections of tales for them to choose. We have the entire box sets of Mr Men and Little Miss, and a compendium of fairy tales. Many books with dinosaurs and a whole range of scatological themed rhymes, not forgetting the essential Dr Seuss. They have plenty to choose from.

Which is why it is frustrating to be rereading the same books for another night. The only positive point of rereading The Gingerbread Man, and spoilers here, is his inevitable doom at the hands of the fox (I wonder if this is the same fox who ‘assisted’ Chicken Licken, Loosey Goosey and co?). It’s a book full of repetition and to read it again and again, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man, is annoying.

It seems to have been the way ever since our progeny developed an opinion. To begin with, I could select whichever book I fancied. In this way I could read the 50 Mr Men series. I would have to fight a wriggle monster but I could still change up the story every night.

Not now. Now the chosen tale is selected by them. I learn that children are amazing, but they are not great with change. Once they have found something they love (In the Night Garden, Leggings, Chocolate) it will be their ‘go to’.

So as soon as a book hits the child’s emotional centre (like Les Miserables would if you were an adult) they put it on the limited rotation of approved texts. This is where The Gingerbread Man sits. It is the latest in a long line of Ten Little Fingers (Review: okay), The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet (Awesome), and The Sailor Dog (Kill me if I have to read it again).

What all these books, and any I read with my children, do is more important than the story. It is the time I get to share with them I cherish. It is important to Me and Mrs G that our children share our love of reading, and I am happy that I can be part of this.

After I have read to them they are allowed to sit on the floor to ‘read’ the book by themselves. A-Rex can’t read but he is learning to retell stories, we can tell he will repeat back the cadence of the tale. If he doesn’t know the story, he can look at the pictures and make it up.

So I read to them time after time, it’s helping them learn. I love it when they look at me and say “again”.


2010-2019 A decade in my life

If the last decade has taught me anything it is that a lot can change in a decade. Not just the tumult that has exploded around the world but in the complete overturning of my personal life in the last quarter of my existence.

2010 seems a lifetime away and due the nature of cell regeneration I am a different person to the one who rang in the Tens (or whatever we agreed to call them). As I begin the Twenties (as we all agree to call them) a reflection on the last ten years seems apt and consistent with the rest of the posts I am seeing on social media!


  • Jobs: Two – Scrivens/Calor
  • Made redundant: Once
  • Relationships: None
  • Breakdowns: One
  • Holidays: Maldives
  • Moved House: To Birmingham
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,508

While the world looks at 2016 as possibly the worst year, the 2010s started off at the bottom. Directionless, made redundant and preparing for a lonely existence. Yet from this the seeds of the decade were born.

I started a job that would indirectly lead to marriage, I learned to cope with the stresses of life and I also started with this thing called ‘blogging’.


  • Jobs: Three -Calor/HSBC/Legal & General
  • Relationships: One
  • Holidays: New York (twice)
  • Engagement ring: Tiffanys
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 895

Single, then in a relationship and finally engaged. All in the space of a year. I moved quick and decisively to lock that down. This is the beginning of the crazy period in life where everything began to happen at once. If 2010 had been the low point, this was the start of the rise.


  • Jobs : ONE! – Legal & General
  • Holidays: China and Maldives
  • Months incapacitated with a stomach bug : One
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,122

A wedding! This is definitely one of the top 3 years of the decade, and one that was remarkably stable. No change of jobs, no change of address. The stability of life was balanced by the instability of my digestive system that couldn’t handle two major holidays in one month.


  • Jobs : Two – Legal & General/nPower
  • Holidays: Kefalonia and New York
  • Moved House: To Coventry
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 686
  • Children: The Feliciraptor

If 2012 was the stable year, then 2013 was the year of mega change. New Jobs, new houses, new children. Also, the last time for years my life would not revolve around poo.


  • Jobs : One – HomeServe
  • Holidays: Berlin, Corfu and New York
  • Ice Cream Whales eaten: Zero
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,066

Maybe it is sleep deprivation or perhaps the comedown from the previous upheaval, but the best I can say about 2014 is that it happened. It must have happened because 2015 came around but other than that there is very little I remember about the midpoint of the decade.


  • Jobs : Two – Homeserve and M&B
  • Holidays: New York
  • Ice Cream Whales eaten: Zero
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,126

Another year, and a rot is setting in. Life is simple, life is easy, Life is boring (as it can be with a toddler). Is this how life will be from now on? It looks like it both personally and globally. 2016 will bring zero changes to everybody’s life.


  • Jobs : Two – M&B and H&B
  • Holidays: None
  • Moved House: To Nuneaton
  • Disappointing Elections: Two
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,536
  • Children: A-Rex

The meltdown. Brexit and Trump. Meanwhile, our Home life is upended with Child 2 and another house move. In the 4 years since life has not calmed down. The previous two years are looking like peak 2010s.


  • Jobs : Two – H&B and Elemis
  • Holidays: Crete
  • Shakespeare plays: Three
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,633

At this point I am grasping for the calming things, so the acquisition of a fancy BBQ and a new obsession is a bright spark. The house is getting full of poo which makes a nice break from the magnolia walls.


  • Jobs : One – Elemis
  • Holidays: Rhodes
  • Where did time go moments: One
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 484

The sure sign that life is progressing is when milestones are hit. The Feliciraptor going to school was one such moment as she didn’t seem old enough to be wearing a uniform and learning to read and write. It is also the moment where I felt like I was a real parent as I had managed to prepare a bundle of bones and muscle for the next stage in life.


  • Jobs : Three – Elemis, Citizens Advice and MRM
  • Holidays: Boston, DisneyLand Paris and Italy
  • Oldest Whiskey drank: 30 years
  • Hours played on Football Manager: 1,612

Finally we come to the end of the decade, and a year where it seemed to be all worth it. We were able to go on the best holidays of the decade, the house was in the best shape it has been and with the kids at their cutest (so far).

If the 2010s have taught me anything it is that you can be totally prepared for nothing and life is going to divert you from every course you imagine.

It will be full of despair and hope, and neither will last long enough to dominate. It is a decade of my lowest lows and highest highs and the first time I have felt like me.

It has been the best ten years of my life.