It’s been two weeks since my last #LittleLoves post and I can’t believe how jam packed that fortnight has felt! With the Blog On conference falling in the middle, it’s felt a bit like it took the first half of this week just to recover from that – Monday was a complete write off, I was so knackered! Luckily, Pickle was too so we mainly just napped together, which made me oh-so-reminiscent of those hazy newborn days. I’ve also realised that there’s not much point me doing a #LittleLoves post every week, and once a fortnight is probably better – mainly because I am SUCH a creature of habit that you’d just end up reading a duplicate post if I were to do it every week. Not much changes in this house! It’s quite shaming how much we do the same thing, day-in-day-out.  I should probably attempt to be a bit more adventurous.

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I’ve been so wrapped up in preparations for Pickle’s upcoming first birthday, that it almost slipped my mind that it’s also Father’s Day soon (Sunday 18th June, if you need a quick reminder – it’s always the third Sunday in June). Since I’ve become a parent, I really appreciate the significance of both Mother’s and Father’s Day. Obviously, I’ve always been super thankful and proud of both of my parents and these days are a good excuse to show them a bit more love and treat them to a nice family experience, but now these holidays (can you call them holidays?) just take on a whole new level of meaning. I get why it’s so important. This year will be the first that LPD isn’t able to celebrate with his own Dad, so even more than his first Father’s Day last year, I really want this year to be as lovely as it can be for him. He deserves lots of treats.

Happy Father's Day with TJ Hughes

With maternity pay long since finished and a bank account that is no longer being replenished by a healthy monthly income, I was worried that it would be perhaps a bit weird to buy LPD his present with our joint account money (that he mainly pays into…) but thankfully, TJ Hughes came to the rescue and offered us the chance to test out some of their Gifts for Men ideas.

I confess: I’m actually really rubbish at buying gifts for LPD. He once remarked that I only ever buy him things that benefit myself too, like days out or DVDs. Which is kind of true but only because I value the memories from experiences more than material things. It’s definitely something I’m trying to combat now that he’s mentioned it, in order to try and reverse his opinion that I’m a selfish present buyer. I’m not sure it’s working yet… especially because I picked him a present from TJ Hughes that we’ll both enjoy: a Wireless Outdoor Speaker.

Akai Wireless Outdoor Speaker

With the weather (FINALLY) picking up, and our first proper family camping trip on the horizon, I thought this would be a very apt present! We love having music on in our house – there’s not a day goes by that I don’t pop a Spotify playlist on and with this outdoor speaker, we can now also enjoy music in the garden and whilst we’re out and about.

Akai Wireless Outdoor Speaker TJ Hughes Gift Idea

Costing only £19.99, I was a bit skeptical about what the sound quality would be like but actually, it’s pretty good! Not quite the same depth of quality as you’d get from a proper stereo but definitely better than cranking up the volume on your iPhone. It’s super easy to set up and can play music via Bluetooth or via an AUX cable/SD card. It recharges using a USB cable, but be warned: it doesn’t come with a mains plug. Luckily, we have a USB mains plug charger thing from Ikea which makes it easy to connect but otherwise, I’d have had to connect it to my laptop to charge which feels like a bit of a faff.

TJ Hughes Gifts for Men

I absolutely adore this photo… you see that look of adoration of LPD’s face? That’s because he’s looking up at Pickle. And that pure look alone is why he deserves to have the most wonderful of Father’s Days. Selfishly, I’m quite looking forward to enjoying a morning cup of tea outside our tent in the future, with some relaxing music in the background.

Paul Smith Essentials 100ml Eau De Toilette

His next gift from TJ Hughes was a Paul Smith fragrance. Now, surely I can’t be blamed of being selfish on this one? I won’t be using this particular gift (although, I suppose I get the benefit of smelling it?). For years, I’ve been buying LPD the same fragrance (Avon Wilderness, in case you’re interested – no expense spared) and so it’s about time to switch things up a little bit. I wouldn’t usually order a fragrance online without being able to smell it first, and I did find it quite difficult to choose between the scents on offer, so I did what you should never do and judged the books by their covers: going for the bottle I liked the look of the most! It’s quite a simple bottle shape, but I thought the line of colour at the bottom made it look quite classy.

Close up of Paul Smith Essential

TJ Hughes Paul Smith Essential

Thankfully, it’s quite a nice scent! I’d say it’s quite heavy so more suited to evening than daywear, although that hasn’t put LPD off using a surprising amount (!) before heading to work. You can’t really go wrong with buying smellies as a present though, can you? It always feels like a treat and especially for parents of babies – there’s always an unsavoury baby smell to cover up!

Stuck for Present Ideas?

If you’re stuck for present ideas, I’d recommend checking out the Gifts for Men section on the TJ Hughes website. There are things to suit all manner of budgets, covering tech-gadgets, clothing, fragrances, kitchen and novelty items, with added benefits of 10% off your first online order and the option for next day delivery if you leave it a bit late. There’s some Gold Plated Playing Cards that caught my eye for a cool present! I reckon my brother might like those, as he sometimes hosts poker nights with his friends… but he’s not a Dad yet so he’ll have to wait until his birthday.

Now to get my thinking cap for something that we can do on Father’s Day to make it a memorable one for LPD. With these gifts, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for nice weather because a big family picnic might be just the ticket! I’m even tempted to create a Spotify playlist especially for the occasion that’s all Daddy-related. Are there many Dad songs out there? Let me know if you can think of any.

Disclaimer: TJ Hughes sent us these items in return for my honest review and to try out their Gifts for Men ideas. All opinions remain my own.

It’s really rare for me to have a day away from Pickle. I don’t often even have a couple of hours away from him, and he still spends most of the night sleeping snuggled up next to me. We’re a little team. A unit. We come as a pair. So I think it threw me a little bit to be at the Blog On conference on my own yesterday. I really wasn’t myself and despite having looked forward to it ever since coming home from my last one in September, I left feeling disappointed in myself.

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Quick! If you’re at a loss of what to do this weekend, I can recommend The Baby Show as a weirdly good day out (not something I ever thought I’d say!). I was invited by Johnson’s Baby to enjoy the exhibition at the NEC Birmingham on Friday 19th May, and really enjoyed myself. After spending a Sunday earlier in the year at the Caravan and Camping Show and being a long time lover of the BBC Good Food Show, it seems I’ve become rather fond of a big buying fayre. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe it’s because I don’t get much chance to get out shopping these days, but either way… having all those major baby related brands under one roof, with the luxury of a mass baby changing area, feeding station and quiet breastfeeding room was a bit of a treat.

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The first year as a new parent is hard – it’s full of the unknown, self doubt and sleep deprivation. It’s a massive life adjustment that takes time, patience and a few tears to get used to, but the right support and friendships can make all the difference.

When I was pregnant, I must have read leaflet after leaflet and magazine articles galore, detailing in oh-so-handy-to-tick-off lists about the things we’d need to buy: 6 x sleepsuits, 5 x baby vests, 2 x cardigans… bed sheets, blankets, bibs… car seat, pram, cot… the lists were never ending. But never once did any of these lists tell me to get myself the thing that I really needed most: mommy friends.

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