Here, you can read all about me, and learn a little bit about my relationship with Heidi. If you’re interested in working with me, or just want to chat about any of the topics I write about, my email address is [email protected]
This is a longer version that I did with the Yorkshire Evening Post and takes the form of a Q&A session. Hopefully it tells you a bit more about me and makes you realise that there is a real person behind the blog!! Here it is:
Our family consists of myself, Matthew, 34 and Heidi, aged 5. We live in Birstall and I have been separated from Heidi’s mum since she was 8 months old. I am a chartered accountant who works in the NHS. In my spare time I run the Leeds Dad blog where I write about days out, parenting and travel.
I initially set up the blog as a way of dealing with the separation from Heidi after amazing weekends. We have always travelled and explored and it was an avenue to reminisce. At some point, I want to be able to show the site to Heidi and talk about the amazing things that we did together. Unlike other bloggers, it isn’t about me, it is about “us”.
What are your top tips for getting children to do what you ask?
Bribery!! It’s very difficult to be rational with a little child and you have to talk in a currency that they understand. Usually that is lollies and extra play time!! On a more serious note, getting down to their level really does help and takes away some stress and anxiety.
What family task takes you the longest?
Definitely breakfast time. I am often torn between letting Heidi have a bit longer in bed or making sure she eats all of her breakfast. If only she would go to sleep when I asked her to, we wouldn’t have that issue!!
What’s the weirdest thing your children have done/brought home/done to your house?
I think that it was when Heidi was toilet training and after seeing myself use the toilet a few times, she wanted to give it a go herself….standing up!!! She was quite insistent and it is safe to say that the results were not ideal!!
Have your children ever really, really surprised you? How and why?
I think the confidence that Heidi shows every day amazes me. I am not particularly outgoing in person but she doesn’t have any limits and is such a chatterbox. This probably comes from going out and about so much, and if I am being honest, I am a little jealous of her for it!!
What’s the most bizarre thing you have found yourself saying since having kids?
I don’t think I have said bizarre things, but more the bizarre voices that I have developed since having Heidi. She loves hand puppets and we have a small army of puppets, all of which have a different voice – including a crocodile which sounds very much like Boris Johnson!!
What’s the funniest thing your children have ever said/done?
We had been out all day with friends and were having tea in a pizza chain. The waitress asked the children if they wanted water and Heidi calmly said “I need plenty of water because I have a water infection”. As you can imagine, the waitress didn’t know what to say!
Mini moan – what really gets your goat?
Baby change facilities. Please make sure that they are in the men’s toilets as well as the ladies’ and generally make sure that they are clean, including the bins!
What’s your favourite family day out?
If we could only go to one place in Leeds for a day out, it would be the Rainbow Factory in Farnley. Heidi’s imagination developed so much from going there and I will happily spend all day in Heidi’s school holiday watching her do activity after activity with the staff. Sadly, she is getting so independent that she doesn’t want me to help!
What hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy as a family and separately?
We love travelling together and love spending weekends in London – showing a young child round the capital city is a very special thing. Closer to home, we love doing science experiments, whilst it is a bit of fun, it is also very educational and Heidi is bit like a sponge – she takes in so much information
What’s the hardest thing about being a parent?
I have been very lucky that Heidi has always slept very well so I can’t give the standard answer of a lack of sleep! For my circumstances, it is saying goodbye when Heidi goes back to her mum. The blog was born was a way of self-therapy to deal with the separation.
What’s a typical evening for the grown-ups once the children are in bed?
Usually it is either checking up on social media or doing a bit of blogging. I’m usually too tired from a full day at work to do much else!!
What is Leeds’ most family-friendly restaurant and why?
It might be stretching the boundaries of Leeds, but Billy Bob’s Parlour is a really good restaurant in its own right, but the play areas are amazing. Additional bonus if you can get a table in the yellow bus!
What’s the best thing about weekends and why?
Freedom! We aren’t watching the clock about when we have to get up and go to bed and don’t have to rush. However, when we get up and dressed, we don’t stop until it’s bedtime.
What is your most treasured memory?
We had our first daddy-daughter holiday to Jamaica and I was carrying Heidi onto our connecting flight in Atlanta, the Bob Marley song “Three Little Birds” was being played. It was an emotional moment as it had taken a lot of effort to be able to get into a position to go on an overseas holiday together.
What’s the number one thing you would change about Leeds?
I would want the city centre to become even more child friendly, particularly at weekends. Child Friendly Leeds do so much good work, especially over this summer, and I’d love for them to be given the opportunity to make an even bigger difference.
What’s the children’s favourite food/meal?
Her favourite is Sweet and Sour Chicken Cantonese style from the local Chinese takeaway on a Saturday evening!
What’s your top penny-pinching tip?
The Friends and Family railcard is such good value for money. You can make your money back even if you just go on a family trip to London.
One family member’s proudest achievement?
Heidi got 100% attendance at school in her Reception year and whilst some of that is down to luck, it also shows her resilience and determination, which I am most proud of.
What one item can you not live without?
My phone! It is always right next to me and I probably use it a little too much.
What can your children not live without?
Her right thumb! Heidi has always been a thumb sucker and her right thumb has soothed her on so many different occasions.
Child’s favourite song/artist?
Heidi’s favourite song/artist, that would be any Bob Marley song. After our holiday to Jamaica, she gained a love for the reggae genre, but especially the song “Buffalo Soldier”.