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Summer Holidays – The British Weather Lottery

Summer Holiday in North Devon

They say the definition of insanity is;

“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Every year I holiday with the kids in Britain, used to be St Ives every year for 12 years. Now it’s just me and the kids I like to mix it up and go different places. Inevitably it is South West or Wales, as they are easy to get to. This year it was North Devon, and this year the British weather played up to everyone’s stereotype of a “British Summer” and was a mixed bag. At least we all have something to talk about – us Brits love talking weather!

I took the kids camping (those who have read my previous entries will know that I had to forgo the Campervan dream, and bought a tent and a Mini Cooper S instead. Still, the tent has paid for itself already, after 2 holidays. The kids seem to love it.

Westmouth Cove, near Ilfracombe, was the destination. The beginning of July had seen the country basking under a heatwave, and the Summer holidays were looking promising. All the papers, in that annual way they do were promising a “Summer of 76”.  The jet stream had other plans, and did its annoying shift that it sometimes does in Summer, which basically meant that from day 1 of the School holidays it just threw whatever weather was sitting in the North Atlantic at us. Hence, a weather lottery. Weather apps looked like fruit machines, constantly spinning. There was me hoping for 3 Suns to line up – and it was wind, rain, sun, in random order. One friend canceled his holiday to Devon looking at the week ahead. I had no choice. It was all booked. Thanks to the weather the stress began to set in. Oh, look, two sunny days, no, 3, no, 1, no, 2 again. Every time I looked it displayed something else.

I busily looked at a mix of indoor activities, crossed my fingers and off we went. We had the sunshine, showers, torrential rain, gale force winds and we survived it all, even losing the canopy in 40 mph winds (metal sheared in half). I had to go out into the storm at 4am in the morning and try and gather in what remained of the canopy in the storm. (Kids slept through all of this!)

We had glorious beach days, went bodyboarding, Stand Up Paddle boarding, exploring, rock pooling, old fashioned adventure parks, trampolining, and most importantly a bunch of memories and experiences, thanks to the British weather.

…. but next year, definitely going abroad. (probably…)

 

 

Challenge the Kids – Camping and Snowdon Expedition

Ok, I don’t want to sound like one of those Dads that organise camping trips that no one really wants to go on. But holidays are expensive, and in early spring, you need a plan. Since my “Let’s Buy A Campervan” dream died due to financial constraints, I thought I’d but a family tent instead (and sporty little Mini Cooper S – but that is a different story).

What was meant to be a cheap holiday rapidly began to become expensive as I bought every bit of camping equipment known to man. But I want to do things right. The plan was to visit Snowdonia National Park – and set some challenges for the kids *(and me). These were:

  1. Climb Snowdon – Let’s not forget Oscar is only 7, and Freya is on verge of being a “moany” teenager. But what’s life without a challenge.
  2. Take the Plummet Challenge – a step off a 100ft platform in Zip Fforest
  3. Europe’s Largest Zip Wire Zone – Zip World
  4. Get the kids to love camping.

So with the restriction of a tiny Mini storage capacity we managed to fit in all the equipment, walking boots and camping gear fit for an attempt on Everest.

On the expedition up Snowdon (“expedition” makes it sound like Everest attempt!) Freya was complaining just 10 minutes into the walk. But with a bit of Kendal Mint Cake, and gentle persuasion (plus lying about how far left to go…) we pushed on.

Needless to say, I’m super proud of my kids, as despite promising them we would take train down from summit, we ended up walking down. It was more than 10 mile hike up and down the mountain, and 8 hour expedition.

Pulve – Is This Food Replacement Drink a Rival to Huel

On my continual search for new meal replacement drinks, I have a new one to review, by the name of Pulve. For all intensive purposes it is a HUEL wannabe. But maybe that is being harsh, so I thought I’d give it a road test, as on paper it is marginally cheaper than the HUEL – which I am a big fan of. Anyho… here is my little video. Enjoy.

I’ve started my gaming channel

Not to be out done by my kids, I’ve started my own gaming channel. I’ve realised that right now, this late 40 something is becoming a bit of a gamer. I actively encourage my kids to game, and have set up their own gaming channels for them so they can be like their Youtube heroes, DAN TDM and Stampycat.

Being a bit socila media savvy – I know that in order to be a success they need to constantly supply the chain, and record lots of gaming videos, and get them on YouTube. It is all about consistency and regualrity. But I sometimes sense myself becoming a “pushy” parent of the YouTube generation. It is not the stage I’m trying to push them on to, but YouTube. Sometimes they’re not in the mood to make a video, and would rather just play the games. I mean, they play ALOT, so there is plenty of time for them to record a quick video.

Anyway, frustrated at trying to live my life vicariously through them, I decided I’ll do my own gaming channel, and start uploading videos on a regualar basis. Since UNRAVEL and the adventures of little Yarny is my game of choice for now, and since I’ve worked out how to record my Xbox One game play.  Now it is a case of getting more views and subscribers than my kids – the game is on!

Here are the first 2 levels of Unravel (please LIKE and SUBSCRIBE):

Gaming Kids – What Have I Done?

Happy New Year. I went to bed at 3.50am last night. Was I living it large for NYE celebrations? No, I was editing videos for my kids. You see I have in my head that my kids will be gaming Youtubers. I want them to be ready and confident for the multi-media and social media world. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or it’s just me living my life vicariously through them both.

For Xmas I bought us* (honestly, it is for the three of us!) a gaming laptop, capable of playing pc games and making gaming videos. These tend to be a little more expensive than your average laptop. Well, they both have made their first proper gaming videos using the laptop, and after watching the New Year come in, I said I’d edit the videos.

Freya aka Gaming With Freya has found a new friend on Minecraft.net, and they are well into the various games on offer, and have even built a hotel in the Minevast server. Oscar aka Oscarbot is obsessed with Roblox. Now I can’t them off the thing, and have to ration the usage. When I say ration, I mean I start off with 30 min chunks, but they become hours.  We’ve have tears and tantrums, the threat of denial of access. Currently Freya owes Oscar 4 hours game time … and counting. Meanwhile, I’m happy to stick with the Xbox.

Healthy Competition

To up the ante I have decided to pit them against each other, by posting their videos on YouTube at the same time, to see who will get the most views. Let the games commence! It is a double edge sword, as I want to promote some healthy and friendly competition, but Freya is at age where the thought of being beaten in any game by her little brother is a night mare. Here are their first offerings:

Please like, subscribe and support them.

What is Huel?

I love the typeface they use for HUEL. If you read my blog, you know I am a sucker for a bit of psued0-science/marketing and a new food fad. (see my post on Bullet Proof Coffee). Huel is one of those things that ticks the boxes, minamilst graphics, cool design and a science behind it.

So what is HUEL?- or “Human Fuel” (see what they did there!). Huel is described by the makers as a “nutritionally complete food” designed for people with hectic lives who want to make sure they are meeting the right nutritional needs, without the hassle of cooking and all that boring stuff. HUEL comes in a powdered form, you add to water, blitz – and pow! A complete nutritionally rich meal in liquid form. It was developed by James Collier BSc (Hons), RNutr.

Huel is a nutritionally complete food that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need plus at least 100% of the European Union’s “Daily Recommended Amounts” of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. So you know you won’t be deficient in any essential nutrients.*

(*www.huel.com)

I worry about what I eat sometimes, and I am a busy guy (sort of). So this sounded like something right up my street. Ensuring I get all nutritional needs in an easy to digest form. Don’t get me wrong, I like my food, but sometimes, when you are in a hurry, or the cupboard is bare … you know, you can’t be bothered, sometimes seeing food purely as a fuel, the Huel seems like the ideal delivery system.

Huel is not unique, and there are other variants like Soylent, but HUEL is from the UK, and seems the most organically sourced. So I thought I’d give a trial sample a go. (you can see my results in the video below).

How HUEL Fits into my lifestyle

Having tried it, I decided to take the plunge and order a standard size delivery (which is about 28 meals). It comes in 2 large bags, can store for ages, so is really handy. The initial idea was to just use it to replace my lunch time meals at work and save money at the same time. Calorie wise, it is about same as a shop bought sandwich, but nutritionally much healthier for you. Cost approx £1.69 (as opposed to spending £4-£5 on a sandwich meal). Initially I was a bit self conscious making up a HUEL at work, but not many people seem that bothered, and now it is the norm. It is easy to do, and the shaker worked better than I expected.

Soon I found myself having for breakfast and dinner on some days – complete HUEL only days. That was never the intention, but it was becoming such a convenience. Saved me doing a shop for half the week.  I have a strange week, in which half of it I have the kids with me, and the other half I don’t, so when they are not around, HUEL is handy. I can get on with serious things like studying* (or playing Minecraft on the Xbox) – without interruption, HUEL by my side.

My Life on Huel

Now I have adjusted my lifestyle a bit, and try to limit HUEL to lunch at work (which was the original intention) and the occasional “running late for work” breakfast on the go. I have tried cooking with it (yes, ironically there are recipes, which seems to undermine the idea of not having to cook!). I made cookies with the kids, who said they were “ok”, yet managed to eat the whole batch fairly quickly. I have even added a shot of coffee to a morning HUEL, which was very tasty and gave me a caffeine shot.

I enjoy my food, have a nice cooked breakfast at weekends, take the kids out for pizza etc, but know I always have a supply or HUEL in the cupboard, and on those lazy, can’t be bothered to cook days, am still getting all my nutritional needs.

If you are interested in trying HUEL – then you can get a discount off your first order (I earn a fiver of my next delivery if you click through this link). GET £5 OFF YOUR FIRST HUEL ORDER HERE

Bulletproof Coffee convert

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

Ok, I admit it, I do love a foody fad! You may have heard of the idea of putting butter into coffee… (bear with me), it is not as bad as you think. Bulletproof Coffee is a big thing from the West Coast (where else), made popular by the Bulletproof Exec, Dave Asprey.  It is nothing new, in terms of cultures have been adding butter or ghee to drinks like tea for 1000 of years (as it is pretty hard to keep milk fresh!).  What Dave Asprey has done is build some science and marketing around it, and voila, big business.

Who is the Bulletproof Exec?

Dave Asprey is all about hacking the body (i.e. re-programming, not cutting up!!!) with diet, food, exercise. All based round “sound” scientific principles. Well, I am a sucker for all that marketing guff, and I have bought into it, and even bought his “special” refined coffee and XCT Oil (think refined Coconut Oil).

Anyway, here are some videos I made all about it, and my experience experimenting. I’m drinking a brew as I type this (like some sort of trendy hipster – without the beard). It works for me, and I do get a sense of feeling charged for the day.

So finally I went and did it

I have been thinking about “owning” my own web real estate for sometime, a blog I can call my own. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve started loads of blogs, in various niches…..(in fact I set up 2 today for the local community)  but I’be never done one that is all about ME. Why should you care? I’m not sure, but hopefully there are some things here that might resonate, as a parent, gamer, forty-(ahem)-something guy. No it’s not a midlife crisis … just my first blog post.