For Roo and Rootwo, with love, from Mummy and Daddy.

New Year’s Day walk

We rekindled our New Year’s Day traditional walk around Swanbourne Lake in Arundel. The best bit was lunch in the pub afterwards. We did our best to ignore the kids’ noise until it reached such a crescendo it set off the dogs on the next table. Still, a good time was had by all. The food in the White Swan was fantastic, but the relative poshness of the fish finger sandwich was too much for some, who complained they’d rather a Captain Birdseye original.

Top left: The whole gang, expect the Whites, who took the picture. Top right: The gang, I said “do something silly” Bottom left: Roo, Rootwo and “S” Bottom right: The kids table in a rare moment of peace

Out scooting with my boy

Roo and Katie didn’t fancy braving the cold, so me and Rootwo headed to Mewbrooks for a scoot around the lake.

Opposite: Rootwo with his scooter

Very exciting, obviously

I love this photo of Roo looking less than impressed on the tyre swing. She’s cute.

Opposite: Roo on the tyre swing in Musebrooks play park

Oh boy it’s hammering it down

“Turn it off, Daddy” suggested Rootwo. I wish I could sweetheart.

Opposite: Rootwo leans out of the window to look at the rain

Child labour

I treated myself to the Seafarers expansion for Catan. Rootwo insited on carrying it. “That’s a big box for a small boy,” said a lady as she passed.

Opposite: Rootwo carries a board game in Chichester High Street

Bill’s for lunch

We had a lovely family lunch at Bill’s then to we went to the Novium Museum.

Opposite: Katie and Roo in Bill's


Last day of the Christmas holidays, me and the kids went to Drusillas. It poured, but we have a lovely time.

Top left: Me and the kids on the Cheetah ride Top right: Roo and Rootwo pose in the mouth of a plastic dinosaur Bottom left: A meerkat Bottom right: The kids milk a fake cow


They were a bit grumpy earlier today, but made up for it by being cute and having a cuddle in Rootwo’s bed.

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo in bed together.

Hundreds of cuddly toys

They love cuddly toys. They especially love wallowing in bed with them all.

Opposite: My kids surrounded by soft toys in bed.

Lovely day with friends

We spent the day with Luke, Nell and the boys.

Left: We “treated” the kids to a walk over the railway bridge. Top right: Rootwo and “A” on the swings Bottom right: Rootwo excited about a puddle in the park

She wins

I’m trying my best to get her hooked on boardgames. I think its working.

Opposite: Roo poses over a game of Catan Junior

Me and my boy

Nell took this picture of me and my boy.

Opposite: Me and Rootwo. He’s a gorgeous little man.

Play-Doh cake

Opposite: Roo holding a Play-Doh cake she made

Katie and Lisa: Sea swimmers

Katie and Lisa both lost their dads today, 15 and one year ago respectively. They decided to take a dip in the sea to mark the occasion. After lugging various bits of paraphernalia down to the beach, the ladies stripped down to their bathing suits and were in.

There wasn’t much moaning (or screaming); they just did it. Katie told me later that the cold water shock meant she could hardly breathe, let alone make a sound. I reckon they did a solid 30 seconds of actual swimming before the lure of a warm towel and a hot drink forced them out of the water.

“Well, that was weird,” said Roo as we drove home from the beach.

Top: Katie and Lisa warm up after their swim Bottom: The ladies in the sea

A balmy day in January

There was a smell in the air today, and for once it wasn’t the whiff of people’s chimneys. No, this was the merest suggestion of spring. After the fog cleared, the sun broke through and treated us to balmy 11-degree weather.

We took a walk to the beach, the kids scooting up ahead, briefly pausing to grab a coffee. It was truly glorious down there; I allowed myself a brief moment of fantasy, imagining I was mid-holiday.

Later, I geekily added one of my photos to the BBC Weather Watchers website.

Top left: Sunset over Littlehampton beach Top right: Katie and the kids sitting at a bench outside Edge Bottom left: Roo and Katie chatting Bottom right: Roo throws her arms wide, behind her the glorious sunset.

Lego mega tower

I came in from work to find this normal Wednesday evening activity.

Opposite: Katie holding a lego tower that almost touches the ceiling

Tired, ill children

A tummy bug came-a-knocking.

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo sleeping on the sofa

Hot chocolate at The Beach in Littlehampton

Roo is feeling better so I took her for a treat.

Opposite: Hot chocolate in the foreground with Roo behind.

Katie is unsure

Sláinte Mhath!

Opposite: Katie holding a Haggis

Roo made a book

Roo made a whole book! What a genius.

Opposite: a page from Roo's book: They all made it to the moon. The end.

These kids

They’re adorable, aren’t they.

Opposite: My kids pulling silly faces

Come and play with me, for ever and ever and ever

Opposite: Rootwo running along the coridoor at his Grandmums flat. I rotated the photo slightly to make it more creepy.

I love how creative Roo is

Opposite: Roo drawing a roads for 5 different coloured plastic cards she's placed on the paper

Sunday dinner

Esther came to visit

Opposite: Family sitting around the dinner table.

Oh, geez kid

He’s loves to unwind a loo roll this one.

Opposite: Rootwo and the loo roll he's unwound all over the bathroom


Roo and Rootwo found some old 3D glasses we’d kept from a cinema trip years ago.

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo wearing 3D glasses and pulling silly faces

Grandma’s birthday

It’s my mom’s birthday, so we went for lunch at Ego, then had some fun in Lichfield park.

Top: Roo posing in the restaurant Bottom: Roo on a bungee trampoline

Before and after

Top: Dad before we fixed the fence Bottom: Dad looking proud of our handiwork after fixing the fence

Roo and I made a pixelblock thing

Opposite: Roo holds our creation in the air.

The old swing I made is still going strong

Opposite: Roo on the swing taken through a fish eye lens

Clip n climb

Opposite: Roo on a climbing wall

We scooted around Mewsbrook Park

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo climbing a tree

Me and the boy built stone castles on the beach

Opposite: Rootwo building a stone castle on the beach

Covid treats

The kids both had Covid, so we brought them a cardboard castle from Hobbycraft; I’m not sure how long it will survive once her brother gets involved.

Opposite: Roo in a cardboard castle

Highdown Gardens

Thankfully, we’re all now testing negative, So we enjoyed a bit of post covid freedom and had a walk around Highdown Gardens

Opposite: katie and the two kids pose in the gardens

Paradise park

Good Friday fun at Paradise Park with friends.

Top: Rootwo sucks on a stick sweet Bottom: Me and the kids on the train

Duck hunt

Phew it was hot again today. Lovely weather for a duck hunt at the Wetlands in Arundel.

Top: Katie and Rootwo Bottom: Rootwo with some ducks

Happy Easter

Top: Roo with a chocolate dog. Bottom: Rootwo with a chocolate train.

Easter Sunday meal

Top: Roo's easter chocolate face. Bottom: The kids, Katie, Grandmum and Paul about to eat our Sunday roast.

Hotham Park

Spent some time in Hotham Park in Bognor this morning. It’s beautiful. We had a ride on the little train and picnicked amongst the trees.

Top: Roo hangs from a climbing frame, her hands and legs wrapped around a wooden pole. Bottom: Katie takes a selfie of her and Jude on the little train in the park

The weird world of the upside-down house

It’s my birthday so Katie organised a day out in Brighton for all of us. This included a visit to the weird upside-down house. “You may feel a little dizzy” warned the lady who sold us the tickets. She wasn’t wrong, Katie and I both felt a bit woozy as our brains struggled to make sense of our surroundings. Rootwo was especially cute trying and failing to walk in a straight line. Of course, the whole point in the upside-down house is to get some photos — hopefully we got a few good ones.

Top left: Me, Katie and the kids hand from the ceiling in the upside down house Top right: Me and Roo bouncing on the bed on the ceiling Bottom left: I hang from a toolbox, Roo hangs from a bike handlebar Bottom right: Roo on the ceiling in the music room

My little girl is seven

How has this this happened? My little girl is seven years old. My dad told me “see the child at seven, see the adult.” If this is true then I’ve no worries; Roo is lovely, caring, fun and beautiful — there are a million more superlatives I could use, perhaps one will do: She’s perfect.

Top left: Roo surveys her presents on the morning of her seventh birthday Top right: My beautiful girl smiling Bottom left: Rootwo, who struggled quite a bit to restrain himself from opening all of Roo’s gifts, in a rare moment of looking ultra cute Bottom right: Katie presents Roo’s cake after her swimming party at The Wave in Littlehampton


We met a few friends at Burpham for a picnic.

Opposite: Khans, Evens and Roos sitting on a picnic blanket. Kam balances a hula-hoop crisp on the tip of his tongue.

A scoot along the beach

Roo was at her first Brownies meet and Rootwo was missing his sister.

Opposite: Rootwo on a swing in the seafront park

Family fun

We went to visit Hannah and Andy and their two boys. Steve made a surprise appearance with his little girl. The kids all played in the garden together.

Opposite: Roo, Rootwo and their second cousins on a trampoline.
“My got my idea”
— Rootwo

While Roo was at Brownies

Rootwo and I played in the park. He was very sweet, I love hanging out with him one on one. He was telling me about how “chocolate scared the birdies and they ran away.”

Opposite: Rootwo on the roundabout

The kids doing all the hard work

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo doing the washing up

The weather is glorious

Roo and I cycled down to the beach and built an epic stone castle.

Opposite: Roo next to her stone castle creation.

Roo’s spy kit

Roo created this spy kit, it contains:

  • A mirror for looking over railings.
  • 2 x glasses for disguises.
  • A rolled-up piece of paper, for looking at things.
  • A notepad and pen.
  • A “Plumber” (ear-bud) for tiny toilets.
  • Emergency balloon.
Top: Roo in her spy gear. Bottom: Roo's spy kit.

Dads in charge

While the girls were away, the boys took the kids for a picnic. It was nice to hang with friends, we ate food, explored the little wooded area and played on the park.

Top: Our many children at Mewsbrook Park. Bottom: The children playing in the woods.

A birthday party at Fishers Farm

One of Roo’s friends had a birthday party at Fishers Farm. It was lovely for A’s mummies to invite Rootwo along, too.

Fishers Farm did a brilliant job of entertaining and feeding the children. All the kids had a fantastic time!

Top left: Roo sitting on a horse. Top right: Katie holds the reigns of a tiny pony that Rootwo is sitting on in an oversize helmet. He kept saying, “It’s very wobbly, Mummy.” Bottom left: Rootwo looks at the camera while the other kids enjoy their lunch in the party room at Fishers Farm. Bottom right: Roo on the high-ropes course. It's extremely safe with its all-empcopasing nets, but I did manage to put my hand in some bird poop.

Center Parcs day one

We’re finally on holiday. What a treat to have some time off work to decompress. I find it’s only when you stop you realise that the stress monster has been visiting.

Rootwo had a difficult morning, he was tired and probably feeling a bit ignored as we packed the car. He was sparked out within minutes of leaving home and slept most of the two hour journey. He woke a much happier boy and, after parking the car, we all made the happy walk to the Plaza.

Today, we explored for a bit and played in the parks. Later, after chucking stuff into the lodge, we went swimming. Roo’s now tall enough to ride everything. She had great fun on the Typhoon and Rapids.

Now Katie’s reading and I’m enjoying a beer as we wait for our curry. And… Relax.

Left: Katie, Roo and Rootwo look down at the camera from a piece of play equipment in the park. Top right: Roo and Rootwo with child sized trollies in the ParcMarket. Bottom right: Roo and Rootwo pose under a tunnel through a plastic Christmas tree.

Center Parcs day two

After a somewhat unsettled night thanks to Rootwo and a noisy bed cover, we were running late for Rootwo’s mini trek adventure. Center Parcs at Longleat is big, but it’s surprising how quick you can get from one side to the other when pushing a buggy at full pelt down a hill. As a prize for his trekking, Rootwo was awarded with a cuddly fox toy. He was very sweet this evening introducing the newcomer to his other toys in bed.

It was then Roo’s turn for some climbing fun. She spent a sweaty hour on the indoor climbing wall. I think this is the first time I’ve seen her make it all the way to the top. Afterwards, we had a spot of lunch at the sports bar then Roo and I played on the static-shock-tastic play park. “You’re right Daddy, those slides do give you a big bang up the bum” she said after descending the largest slide.

We regrouped back at the lodge and I took the opportunity to go for a run while Rootwo was finishing his nap.

After dinner, we swam and slide and rode the water rides. Finally, two very tired children headed to bed at 9:30 pm. We’d better get a lay-in tomorrow.

Top: Rootwo on the mini treck adventure. Bottom: Roo spreads her arms wide while standing on a tree stump in the forest.

Center Parcs day three

Our last full day here started in typical Roobottom style with me and Roo running so we wouldn’t be late for our activity. “Baby Owls” was totally worth the effort. As the, um, owl wrangler(?) explained; the name is misleading as it’s an owl session for babies and the owls themselves are fully grown. However, he did actually have a baby owl. It was bloody massive with piercing yellow eyes. The clack of its powerful beak made me rather glad it couldn’t yet fly. The other owls were magnificent as they flew over our heads. We learned that only one species of owl says “who” and that owls are three times as successful at hunting as lions. We even got a demonstration of one little guy’s running technique. Apparently he’d been clocked sprinting at 13 mph.

Then, Roo and I met Rootwo and Katie in the playground, then we let them spend their birthday money in the toy shop. Rootwo immediately decided on a cuddly dinosaur. Rootwo took her time and eventually settled on a Dalmatian that she later named “Hero” when it softened Rootwo’s landing after he fell of a chair.

Later, we went swimming. “Swimming makes me feel happy, Mummy,” said Rootwo. Afterwards, we ate ice cream in the Plaza and rode the train. Before finally heading home for Pizza and bedtime. Phew!

Top left: Roo and Rootwo with the new toys in the Park Market's mini trollies Top right: Katie and the kids enjoying an ice cream after swimming. Bottom left: Rootwo was fascinated by the array of diffent nappies and pull-ups on offer in the Park Market Bottom right: Roo and Rootwo on the Land Train

Center Parcs day four

After a morning mooching around play parks and eating sandwiches from the Park Market, we let the kids choose something from the sweet shop.

As we left, it started to pour. “Time to go” said Katie. The rain made us feel slightly less sad to leave.

“What was your favourite part?” Asked Katie in the car on the drive home.

“My liked parks, climbing and Center Parcs” said Rootwo. “No! My liked scooting the best.”

Everyone’s a critic.

Roo liked the slides, the rapids and Typhoon in the swimming pool.

Left: Katie and the kids pretending to look sad outside our lodge just as we left. Top right: Rootwo looks through the steps of a climbing frame. Bottom right: Me and the kids on a quadruple-seater swing. Roo is mining for nose gold.


We had a picnic up at Burpham with Esther and girls.

Top left: Me, Katie and the kids with Esther, Grandmum and the cousins. Top right: Roo and A. I took loads of shots of them and Roo was scoffing a biscuit in every one. Bottom left: Katie and the kids under a tree. We took shelter after a sundden down pour. Bottom right: My boy with a nappy on his head.

Ferring Country Centre

We went to Ferring Country Centre with some of Roo’s childcare friends.

Left: Roo and Rootwo and their friends on a giant deckchair. Top right: Roo and Rootwo and their friends on a large basket swing. Bottom right: Friends on a bench. I said, “pull a silly face”.

Pick your own

Opposite: Rootwo picking Strawberries.

Playing games

I Introduced Roo to another game from my youth called “Scoop!” I love this game mainly because of the mechanical telephone.

Opposite: Roo, smiling, playing Scoop! with the Today newspaper.

Gruffalo trail in Cannock Chase

Top left: Roo and Rootwo clambering over a wooden snake statue and generally giving it what for. Top right: Roo sitting on a wooden fox statue Bottom left: Rootwo looks up at the mouse from the Gruffalo. Bottom right: The Gruffalo with his terrible claws.

Chasewater Railway

This morning we braved the wet weather and took a ride on a steam train at the Chasewater Railway. Originally, the line was used to transport coal from the local Cannock Chase Colliery. All that remains today is four miles of track that circumnavigates the reservoir. Me and my Dad had a great time geeking out over the boiler, but I think Roo and Rootwo were less impressed.

Left: A proper old boiler: A steam train stands at the platform at Chasewater Heaths Station. Top right: Roo, ladylike, on her seat in the first class carriage. Bottom right: My family in the first class carriage.
“My going to gun you, Daddy.”
— Rootwo

Roo made her Brownie promise

She remembered all the words; I felt very proud of my little lady this evening.

Top: Roo makes her Brownie promise Bottom: Brown Owl pins a Guiding badge onto Roo’s t-shirt

Oh boy, the wind

Rootwo has chicken pox so we needed an activity away from others. It was sunny, so the beach was an obvious choice. It was so crazy windy—which was perfect for the kite surfers—but not so great for erecting a beach shelter.

Opposite: Us lot on Littlehampton seafront.

A nice comfy bench

While Katie took the Chickenpox-covered Rootwo out in the car, Roo and I did some exploring on the beach. Then she wanted to take some photos in the park. “There’s a nice comfy bench there, Daddy, for you to rest.” I watched her take pictures of the flowers, experimenting with different camera settings. Then sat enraptured as she proudly showed me the images she’d taken.

I wish there were some way to make my children understand how I feel about them. Words don’t cut it. I’m proud of how wonderful, thoughtful, kind, and funny she is.

Left: Roo, taking pictures with her Kidizoom camera Top right: Roo on the beach. She’d dug a long trench with a shell. Bottom right: Roo up a tree: On the walk to the beach, just behind the crazy golf, there are some great trees for climbing.

Pox watch

I’ve taken a few mornings off this week to look after Rootwo—who has Chickenpox. Yesterday we were stuck and home, and it was hard work. Honestly, as wonderful as they are, kids can be less than delightful sometimes. So today, I decided to take him to Climping beach. As I had hoped, it was utterly deserted—aside from a couple of dogs and their humans. We found a clear spot of sand and spent a happy hour-or-so chucking stone into the sea and making sand castles.

Left: Me and Rootwo, blue sky and stone beach behind us. His face is covered in chickenpox spots. Top right: Rootwo throwing stones into the sea Bottom right: Rootwo is sitting in his car seat wearing a cap that’s too big for him.

Solo parenting

Katie’s been away and I’ve been looking after the kids. I took them to Drusillas. I had such a fun day with them. They were both so delightful. Roo was helpful looking out for Rootwo and pushing the push chair when I carried him at the end. We went on ALL the rides. Some of them twice. He also went down the biggest slide there. No fear at all. Very proud of both of them today.

Top: Roo and Rootwo on the cheetah ride Bottom: Roo and Rootwo in the mouth of a dinosaur
“My got a bit of a big tummy, like Daddy”
— Rootwo
“You’re a sandwich and I’m butter cheese!”
— Rootwo

IOW day one

We’re on holiday! We’re staying for a week in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. Today, we explored the town and beach while we waited to get into our holiday home. Randomly, Rootwo and I bumped into Claire (a college from my days at HMRC) and her husband, Drew. It was a lovely surprise.

Top: Roo shades the sun from her eyes aboard the Isle of Wight ferry. Bottom: Roo and Rootwo burying Toby the teddy on Ventnor beach

IOW day two

We’re all feeling a little tired after a brilliant day at Blackgang Chine. Roo’s favorite part was the rollercoaster and water slides. Rootwo was a bit miffed he was too little for most of the rides but loved the dinosaurs and underwater world.

Top left: The kids stand on the feet of a giant pirate statue Top right: Roo and Rootwo admire a dinosaur Bottom left: The kids hold hands in the underwater kingdom Bottom right: Roo preaching from the pulpit in the church in the unfortunately named “Cowboy Town”

IOW day three

After a slow start we drove across the island to the Needles. Katie and Roo went on the cable car while Rootwo and I played dinosaur golf. The Needles attraction felt over commercialised and overpriced. So, of course we paid through the nose for several crappy glass jars full of sand.

On the way home we visited Isle of Wight Pearl and Rootwo dressed as the queen.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on Ventnor beach. Later, Claire and Drew came round for drinks.

Left: Roo with a medal to proove she'd been on the cable car Top right: Katie and the kids fill tiny glass jars with sand Bottom right: Her Majesty

IOW day four

We had a fun-packed day at Robin Hill. This place is fantastic! The kids loved all the amazing playgrounds, slides, miniature houses, and, of course, the toboggan run.

Top left: I told Roo that the music she could hear was coming from a genetically modified flower. She does not look convinced. Top right: Me and the kids playing on a wooden digger Bottom left: Roo and Rootwo looking cute on a stone carved bench Bottom right: Rootwo disappearing into a net tunnel

IOW day five

We really ramped up the exhaustion level today with not one, but two trips out. This morning Rootwo and I had some fun at Tapnell Farm. This place was great, with loads of stuff to do for the little man. Katie and Roo had an adventure in the water park.

After a rest back at our holiday home, we headed to Blackgang Chine for their summer party. The kids absolutely loved the park at night, especially the underwater world which was magical lit up. But, the piece de resistance was the foam party. We got soaked!

The kids didn’t take much convincing to go to bed this evening.

Left: Katie and Rootwo watching the pirates launch bubbles at hundreds of excited kids Top right: Rootwo stands next to a painted cow at Tapnell Park Bottom right: Rootwo sits in the middle of foam chaos

IOW day six

In contrast to yesterday we had a reasonably calm day. This morning I ran around the many hills of Ventnor. This was a brilliant way to explore the beautiful coastal path.

Later, we drove to Ryde to pick up Grandmum (who literally had a ticket to Ryde). She’s staying with us for a night.

We visited the Garlic farm. Their food looked incredible, but it wasn’t the right environment for a lively two year old. So we decamped to the Isle of Wight Donkey sanctuary. Roo really enjoyed trying to spot and tick-off all 120 donkeys and ponies.

We had dinner at the Spyglass Inn back in Ventnor. This quirky pub has decent enough food and an incredible view over the bay.

Left: Katie, Grandmum and the kids enjoying an ice cream at the donkey sanctuary Top right: The Spyglass Inn life buoy with the bay in the background Bottom right: Us lot eating at the spyglass inn

IOW day seven

We went to Sandown beach. It was hot enough for the sand to burn our feet. Roo made a friend and they dug a big hole and played in the sea. Of course, Rootwo joined in and set about trying to collapse the hole.

Later, after dropping Grandmum at Ryde, we finally went to Crave Ice Cream parlor in Ventnor. It was worth the wait!

Top left: Rootwo on the beach at Sandown Top right: Crystal clear waters and golden sands. Bottom left: Rootwo in a hole as deep as he is tall. Bottom right: I treated myself to a double scoop and flake.

IOW day eight

We packed it all in today. In the morning, a cat that Roo had dubbed “Isle” came to visit. It was cute watching Roo and Rootwo cuddling with Isle until it pounced on a lizard and ate it.

We felt sad to leave our holiday home, but spending time at Robin Hill helped. Thankfully, today there was no queue for the toboggan run. It was great fun hurtling down the hill at speed. Unfortunately, Roo and I hurtled a little too fast and I took the skin off various body parts when we tipped over. Luckily my bulk protected Roo who escaped unharmed.

All too soon it was time to leave. We tried to get an earlier boat but alas, all we’re fully booked. We went to Ryde to find somewhere to eat and ended up in Subway.

We’ve had a brilliant holiday here, I’m sure we’ll be back!

Top left: Our home for the week “Tara” in Ventnor Top right: Roo and Rootwo stroking the cat they called “Isle” Bottom left: The view of the ocean from our holiday home Bottom right: The kids on the nets (again) at Robin Hill

Me and Roo went ape in Cannock Chase

Opposite: Roo on one of the crossings

Minibeast Safari at The Wolseley Centre

Minibeast Safari at The Wolseley Centre. We had a lovely time waving nets at grass and shaking trees looking for bugs.

Opposite: Katie tries to catch bugs in a net while the kids look on

We had a bit of a nothing day hanging at Grandma and Grandad’s house

It hot! Too hot to be bothered with going out. So we played games in the garden all day.

Home tomorrow for four final nights in our old house before we move on Monday.

Opposite: Dad pushing Rootwo on the swing

Painting in the garden

Opposite: Rootwo looks delighted to have paint on his hands.

Golden boy

Golden boy! After a traffic-heavy drive home Rootwo was itching to go to the park. Way past his bedtime of course, but it’s hot and he’s not going to be sleeping anytime soon. So we parked the sea end and scooted to the play park. I love these times just me and him.

Opposite: Rootwo, the sun lighting up his face with a golden glow, in mewsbrook playground.

First of many

We’re moving house. I packed a few things; but a man is coming to do the bulk of the work tomorrow. It’s strange to think we’ve only got a few nights left in the house where we’ve spent so much of our lives.

Opposite: Some packing boxes.

Out for breakfast

While a man packs our house.

Opposite: Roo gives a thumbs up, Rootwo pours his drink into a glass in Establo in Rustington
“Ooo… My got muscles like a skeleton.”
— Rootwo

Packing day

I’d highly recommend a packing service when moving house. We had a lovely day out while a nice man put all our stuff into boxes.

Top left: Katie and the kids on the little train at Amberley Top right: Rootwo placing an important call Bottom left: Rootwo: miniature train driver Bottom right: Rootwo on play train

Enjoying a final night in the old garden

Happy memories. Feeling a bit emotional.

Opposite: My shed lit up at night.

A fun day with friends

We hung out with friends at Whiteways woods. Later, me Kam and Luke had a drink on the beach.

Left: Rootwo and S Top right: Kids gatheted under a tree Bottom right: Kam, me and Luke

We moved

We moved! I’m knackered, everything is new and weird.

Top left: Roo in her old room, empty now after the packers had done their work. Top right: Me, my arms stretched wide in the removals lorry Bottom left: Katie gives the V sign in the removals lorry Bottom right: Katie helps Roo open the door to our new house

Tennis fun with Roo

Opposite: I said “do an action shot”. She's cute.

Beach boy

Katie took Roo to a party and I took Rootwo to the beach. It’s lovely to live close enough to just wander down whenever we feel like it. We dug a hole, then he wanted me to bury him in it.

Opposite: Rootwo, burried in the sand

Shaun’s 40th

We had a lovely day at Shaun and Hannah’s in Seaford at Shaun’s birthday party.

Opposite: Rootwo and his cousins


They played so nicely together this morning. Pretending to camp, catch fish and cook a stew.

Opposite: Roo and two sitting on a bench cooking their stew.

Party in the field

Arun Church is 50 this year. We went to their party in the field.


My boy is three

We (or, rather, Katie) hired a bouncy castle and organised (one helluva) party. It was fun hosting in the new house—we’re really lucky to have all this space.

Happy birthday son. You’re a whirlwind of cute my crazy little man. We love you very much.

Top left: My boy blowing out the candles on his birthday cake Top right: Roo and Rootwo climb on the bouncy castle we hired for the occasion Bottom left: Rootwo at the top of the slide Bottom right: Rootwo looking at a birthday card. He was very cute opening all his cards before his presents this morning.

It’s Katie’s birthday

It’s Katie’s birthday! We went to the Wetlands. Later we had a takeaway and watched Bad Sisters.

Left: Katie and the kids cuddling on a wooden throne Top right: Roo raises her arms and looks up at the sky; looking impossibly cute and cool Bottom right: Roo and Rootwo watching the diving ducks next to a perspex window that lets you see underwater.

Karrie’s back from Australia

It was nice to see Karrie, who’s back from Australia for a visit for the first time in four years.

Opposite: Katie’s family pose by Littlehampton’s long bench.

Hanging with Luke, Nell and the boys

We had a relaxed day with Luke, Nell and their boys. After a sunny—but windy—Parkrun, the girls set off in search of a McDonald’s breakfast and returned with lunch instead. Later we dismantled and remantled a table, did a tip run and ate delicious cakes.

Opposite: Rootwo, A and C pursue a brochure full of toys, each pointing excitedly to their favourites.

Jumpin’ Fun

We went to Jumpin’ Fun in Burges Hill.

Opposite: Katie and Roo hold up balls as if they were huge eye-balls

A weekend with Grandma and Grandad

We spent a weekend with Grandma and Grandad and put the kids to work clearing the leaves from the garden.

Left: Roo and two help grandad clear the leaves from the garden Top right: Rootwo wearing grandad's hat Bottom right: Roo wearing grandad's hat, which reads "Head Gardener"

Brighton day out

It’s half term so we treated Roo to a day out in Brighton without her brother.

Top left: Roo wearing glow-in-the-dark glasses surrounded by glow-in-the-dark underwater creatures at Glowballs Top right: Roo enjoying some pizza in PizzaExpress Bottom left: Roo and Katie clinging to the celing in the upside down house Bottom right: All of us hanging off the celing on the upside down house

Littlehampton Bonfire Parade

Its the 70th anniversary of the Littlehampton bonfire parade.

Left: The huge bonfire on Littlehampton seafront Top right: A load of fellas on parade with some sticks which are on fire Bottom right: The boy watches the parade on my shoulders

Like that scene from E.T.

He loves being buried in his soft toys.

Opposite: Rootwo sitting among his toys

At the Aldingbourne

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo on a giant chair.

Tube Head

Opposite: Roo wearing a set of platic tubes around her head

Remembrance Day Parade

We all went to watch Roo walk alongside her Brownies troupe in the Rustington remembrance parade.

Opposite: Roo in her Brownie uniform.

Esther, Paul and the girls are here for the weekend

We had lunch at the World’s End with Bill and Anne. Later, we celebrated Paul’s birthday with a dance party in the conservatory.

Top left: A makes Rootwo laugh at lunch Top right: Paul surveys his cake Bottom left: Katie made a tiny fisherman for the top of the cake Bottom right: The kids with sparklers in the garden

Greetings Aliens

Roo made a set of binoculars for aliens, and wrote them a message in their alien language.

Opposite: Roo holds a mask she's made to her face. It has three eye holes.

Amberley Museum

Roo and Katie went to the cinema, Rootwo and I went on the bus at Amberley Museum. Wild times.

Opposite: Rootwo on the bus. He wore his bike helmet all day. No, we don't know why, either.

Warming up at the beach café.

Top: Roo with a cuddly donkey waiting for drinks. Bottom: Rootwo with a cheesy smile


Opposite: A hand-drawn Christmas dinosaur

We put up the Christmas tree

Opposite: Roo hangs decorations on the tree while Rootwo—who has slidden himself under the tree like a mechanic under a car—adjusts something unseen at the base of the tree.

Come on guys

Not cool.

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo literally climbing the walls

Roo is off to her Brownie Troop Christmas party

Opposite: Roo smiling. She's wearing a party dress and a little santa hat.

Hanging out with the boy

Opposite: Rootwo combing his hair and pulling a silly face. He's wearing his favorite dinosaur jumper.

We all went for a walk to the park

There was thick ice in the lake. Someone had thrown a traffic cone on top, presumably to confuse the ducks.

Opposite: Pedalos stuck in the frozen waters of mewsbrook lake

Roo was in the church Christmas thing

Top: Roo, mid dance. Bottom: Rootwo, delighted to finally make it on stage.

Fishers Farm

Left: Roo and Rootwo pose in the festive scene that Fishers Farm had created to advertise for free on Instagram Top right: Rootwo blows a raspberry while Roo looks on in quietly disguised horror. Bottom right: Roo and Rootwo on the train ride

Cousins are here for Christmas

We have some very excited kids who love to spend time with their cousins.

Opposite: I reads a book to Rootwo who's sat on her lap.

Christmas number one

This year we’re doing multiple Christmas’ with family. This morning we opened a few presents then enjoyed a spaghetti Bolognese for lunch. Later, we braved the wind for a walk on the beach.

Top left: The kids around the tree Top right: Lunch! Bottom left: Rootwo opens a gift Bottom right: Esther and the kids on the beach

It’s Christmas Eve

After a bath the kids dressed in matching PJs. God damn they’re cute. We love you two SO much.

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo in matching PJs

It’s Christmas morning

The kids did well, not waking until 7:30. They took turns opening their gifts from Santa.

Opposite: Roo and Rootwo surrounded by gifts on our bed,

Christmas Day number two

This morning we went to church where the kids showed their new toys. Then I cooked lunch and we opened our presents. Rootwo was tricky later on. Merry Christmas!

Top left: The kids showing off their gifts Top right: Sitting down to lunch Bottom left: Roo had a brilliant day. Bottom right: Playing the cracker game

Christmas number three

Top: Dad, Katie and the kids listening to Grandma Bottom: Roo in an old Jester costume my mom made for me when i was 8

We all went to Twycross Zoo

We all went to Twycross Zoo! It wouldn’t be Christmas time without a trip to the Zoo with my mom and dad. It was cold but dry. We had a lovely time. Rootwo was obsessed with the big Gorilla.

Top left: Roo and Rootwo at the entrance to the Gruffalo Trail Top right: The kids in a ski gondola Bottom left: Rootwo in the buggy. His sunglasses are on the outside of his wolly hat, making him look extra special Bottom right: A Gorilla

Little Street

While Katie and Roo went Ice Skating, me and the boy went to Little Street. He loved all of it, but he spent a load of time building a wall and then riding a police bike around and around.

Top: Rootwo looks excited by the wall he's built Bottom: Rootwo dressed as a Police officer riding a police bike.

We emerged from Covid into a strange new world. This was 2022.


The early months of 2022 were ugly. Grey and cold.

It’s easy to forget how much Covid dominated our lives at the start of the year. Even though Plan B was in full effect, some people (including me) were at the end of their ropes with punitive lockdown rules. Masks were still a fact of everyday life, and dirty looks for those who chose not to wear them were commonplace. Of course, I complied but was secretly desperate to escape this tyranny. Thankfully, the government lifted Plan B measures on 27 January.

On the homefront, we started 2022 as we always do with a walk around Swanbourne lake in Arundel with friends. I love this tradition, and I love these people. We need to spend more time with them.

Our friends pose for the camera during our annual New Year’s Day walk around Swanbourne Lake in Arundel.

But in the east of Europe, something dark was brewing. In the closing days of February, Russia started its “special military operation” in Ukraine. A grinding, bitter drawn-out war ensued. Selfishly, I worried about a nuclear war.

My mom had spent some time in the hospital at the start of the year but seemed to be recovering well. However, when we went to visit my parents for my mom’s birthday, it was clear something wasn’t right.

In early March, mom started an extended stay in the hospital. Not that we knew it yet, but she had a rare four-in-a-million disease called dermatomyositis. Over the following months, she was prodded and poked with all manner of investigation so that the doctors could give us a diagnosis. All the while, her condition deteriorated to the point where she could barely move. In her own words, she felt “like shit.”

The NHS is an extraordinary institution, but it’s only once caught in its various pathways that you see how truly broken it is. We were passed from one professional to another with little information transfer. The professionals relied on my dad and me to fill in the blanks in their handover notes. My mom would have found it completely impossible to navigate alone.


After recovering from a bout of Covid, I drove to the Midlands to visit my mom in the hospital. I distracted myself from overthinking by walking and became fascinated with my hometown.

I turned 42, and we spent the day in Brighton with my family. Roo turned seven, and she partied with her friends at the local pool.

Me, Katie and the kids hanging from the ceiling in the upside-down house in Brighton.

At work, the project I was working on for DLUHC drew to a close. It was somewhat of a surprise to pass our beta assessment. In retrospect, of course, we were always going to pass. Our phenomenal team had worked hard to make the service simple. I’m also incredibly thankful that the project allowed me to finally work with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

No year would be complete without a family trip to Center Parcs. This year we spent four glorious days in Longleat Forest.


Summer started with a bang! Well, for Katie, at least. She spent a long weekend in Morroco with friends while I solo parented.

Later that same month, the weather in the UK went nuts. The thermometer topped out at 40°C, far hotter than Morroco only a week before. For us, it meant enduring several uncomfortable nights, but it was far more serious for some.

Thankfully, the heat had subsided when we boarded the ferry bound for the Isle of Wight. Even though it is on our doorstep, we’d never holidayed on the island before. I loved this holiday. The kids had a brilliant time; therefore, we had a brilliant time, too.

From the Isle of Wight, we drove to my parents. My mom was finally out of the hospital, and spending time with them was fantastic.

We returned home for a final few nights. Four days later, we moved house. Finally! From the first offer until completion took almost two years. In contrast to the slog of actually buying the house, the move went smoothly. We’d paid the removal company to pack our old house. This service is indispensable for an easier life when moving; anything that makes the process easier is worth every penny. That said, I don’t want to move house often. Without our brilliant friends—who helped by unpacking most of our stuff—I think we’d still be living out of boxes now.


We settled into our new house, but everything felt new and weird. Roo especially struggled with missing her old house. Katie and I didn’t move as kids, so we don’t know how best to help her. We paid a decorator to repaint their rooms so they’d feel like they had their own space. Rootwo thought we were still on holiday and kept asking when we would return home. Bless them. It’ll take a while.

I went to the Guardians of the Galaxy Secret Cinema in London with Luke and Tom.

Paul and I took our annual cycling trip. This year we navigated train and ferry to the Isle of Wight, where we schlepped up and down mountainous hills to a caravan park in Bembridge.

In October, Rootwo was three. We took full advantage of a bigger house and garden a threw a party. We hired a bouncy castle, and Katie made all kinds of dinosaur-themed food. Later that evening, some of our new neighbours came around, and I tried to ride on top of the bouncy castle as it inflated.

Rootwo blows out the candles on his third birthday cake while Katie looks on.

The weather remained warm into late autumn. This was just as well, given that energy prices rose sharply. Then, in early December, the weather turned, and Britain froze.

We spent Christmas with family. It was lovely to spend time with my parents. What a year they’ve had. I’m happy to report that my mom is doing much better and could even enjoy our traditional festive visit to the zoo.

Congratulations son

Opposite: Roo looks on as Rootwo looks down at his big belly. He's shoved a ball down into his onesie.
❤ Family Roo