Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: sponsored post

Fathers day dreams

The older I get the more I come to realise that I’m like my dad, for starters I’ve inherited his wonderful baldness genes but I also have the same silly sense of humour. The lady of the manor is often telling me that a particular facial expression or voice is exactly like him which can only mean one thing; he’s a comedy genius.

Now while that does of course make him awesome it’s not why I think he’s a hero, if you want to find that out then give this short video a watch. It’s a little video about why I think my dad is a hero and what some of his father’s day dreams are. Ignore the slightly abrupt end to the video, my phone battery died so I lost the last few seconds and had to crop it. Also note the video bombing from Bracken about half way through!.

So now you know where my fitness obsession comes from, I bet you can imagine what happens when all my brothers and my dad get together! If you’d like to be in with the chance of making your dad’s dreams come true courtesy of those lovely people at Braun then all you need to do is upload your own video to YouTube.

Simply record a short video about why your dad is a hero and what his father’s day dreams are, tag it with the hashtags #FathersDayDreams and #Braun and upload to YouTube. Simply really. If you don’t want to do a video you can also tweet them using the same hashtags.

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Disclosure – this is a sponsored post and was produced in association with Braun.

Ground to a halt

This is a sponsored post

Espresso machine

I am a coffee addict, nothing unusual in that what with being a parent to small children and all. Most weekends when at home it means that our cafetière is in almost constant use brewing another cup of the black fuel. We do have an espresso machine (a proper one, none of this capsule nonsense) but to be honest most of the time I can’t be bothered with it. I like my coffee strong and black but want a long drink and not a shot of espresso so a cafetière fits the bill perfectly.

However the downside of this habit is a rather healthy supply of coffee grounds. My mum insists you should never throw them down the sink as it may block the drain, she instead tips them down the toilet. I find this all a bit weird if I’m honest and stick with playing drain roulette.

However this week my number was up, instead of water nicely trickling down the plug hole it sat in an ever growing pool. You could almost hear it laughing at me, what an idiot it was saying. Now of course Dyno can fix blocked drains, but I’m a man, I have to give it a go myself first right?

So I wielded a vast array of kitchen utensils, pushing handles down the plug hole trying to shift what was down there. With no plunger in my toolbox I even tried using my hand as a makeshift plunger bu (surprisingly) no success.

I then Googled drain unblocking ideas. Apparently mixing baking powder and vinegar together then tipping the mixture down the sink can work. Not in my case, although my sink did now smell of some sort of weird pickled cake. Potentially better than the gone off egg smell most blockages seem to smell of.

In the end I resigned myself to using the drain cleaning services from Dyno. I’m still not going to tip my coffee grounds down the toilet though.

Fun (hopefully) in the sun

This is a sponsored post.

With 2 small children and a dog our holiday planning generally involves anywhere you can drive to. Last year we had 2 weeks in Bordeaux which is probably at the maximum distance we’ll drive, it was about 7 hours of driving in France which is plenty long enough with a toddler. But the convenience of being able to pack everything you need and not worry about luggage allowances always wins out for me. I also think that the UK itself is too often overlooked and considered a second choice for a family holiday.

Bracken on Barbury castle 13Mar13This year we have 2 glorious weeks in Scotland planned, there may be the small event of my race (have I mentioned the little one day race I’m doing?!) happening on the middle weekend that dictated the holiday somewhat. But I also have family in Scotland and spent many summer holidays up there having adventures and building dams in streams.

I’m hoping Matilda and Henry enjoy it just as much, they certainly like the outdoors already and of course Bracken will be right at home up there. We’ve rented a cottage in the middle of nowhere and plan to spend our days walking and exploring before heading home for dinner next to the log fire.

In fact as a little detour, the inspiration for both getting a springer and calling him Bracken was my mum’s cousin in Scotland how had a cocker spaniel called Bracken when we were growing up. It’ll be fun to take our Bracken up to meet them so they can see what effect that had on me as a child.

We generally try to avoid trips away during the school holidays, taking advantage of that while we still can. July and August may in theory be the ‘summer’ months but why not relax on September breaks when the children are all back in school and the weather is still warm? Although I do remember a certain camping trip to the Lake District in early September one year with the lady of the manor where it rained for the first 4 days and that was truly miserable. We then had 3 days of glorious sunshine and blue sky but it wasn’t quite enough to wipe the memories of being constantly wet.

Of course if you can’t wait for September for your break there is always the opportunity for some summer bank holiday fun out and about, perhaps a long weekend next to the sea or simply staying at home and visiting the traditional beer festival?

So what have you got planned for your summer holiday this year? Anyone else with small children or no children have a September holiday?


The Green deal

This is a sponsored post, I was paid a fee to write it but all words here are my own.

Now that the lady of the manor has now officially quit her job and become a full time stay at home mum we’ve become laser focused on our regular outgoings. We have enough money to survive on each month but of course anywhere we can save on cost means more money to spend elsewhere.

Aside from our mortgage our gas and electric bill is the biggest outgoing we have each month and while we can do some simple things like switching lights off, long term there are bigger changes we could make. Things like insulation, double glazing and energy efficient boilers but these can of course all be expensive.

This is why the government has recently launched the green scheme which allows you to make improvements to your home to make it more energy efficient and pay off the cost through your utility bills. No cost up front to you as the home owner but all the benefits of a more energy efficient home. The scheme is set up to ensure that any energy savings will be worth more than the cost of the improvements.


Having read through the Green deal information I can already see areas we could improve our home. We definitely can increase the insulation in our loft which has the barest minimum level of insulation in there currently, something which we felt during those cold months of spring. Our heating system is also in need of upgrading, something we knew when we bought the house but something we need to save up to change.

The British gas green deal is British Gas’s offering under the government scheme, they can offer a home assessment to survey your home and advise on what energy saving improvements can be made. You can find out more details by visiting the British Gas website or calling 0800 107 2750.


Cash in the attic

This is a sponsored post and contains content that has been paid for, however I really do have such a dreadful DVD collection

We moved house 3 months ago now, everything is unpacked apart from 5 boxes. These 5 remaining boxes contain books (no book shelf yet) and a pile of CD’s and DVD’s that I’m not sure we even used once in the 3 years we lived in our previous house.

Add to that the fact that I’ve just replaced our PS3 with a Raspberry Pi to act as our media hub removing the last CD/DVD drive in the house and the chances of those boxes seeing the light of day any time soon is slim.

There is a pristine full box set of all Friends series, a Beverley Callard workout DVD (who doesn’t love a retro workout?), a Jamie Cullum Live at Blenheim Palace DVD where you can just spot me and the lady of the manor in the audience at 32 minutes and 18 seconds and the jewel in the crown Family Man the greatest rom com of all time.

Pile of CD'sWe could of course just leave them tucked away in the cupboard under the stairs until we move house again at some point in the future and realise that we still have them. Or we could have a go at selling DVD’s for cash at Music Magpie.

A quick scan of the barcode with their app and you can find out how much your DVD’s are worth. Pretty simple really. Print off the postage label and watch as the cash comes in. The same applies to CD’s and even clothes.

Which is useful as I have an impressive collection of CD’s from my teenage years that I can’t remember the last time I played. Plus I’m sure the lady of the manor’s wardrobe is looking a bit full and could do with thinning out a little….

Perhaps I can raise enough to buy a Sonos music system to stream from my Raspberry Pi?