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.

With our upcoming camping trip in mind, and a lifetime of holidays to Wales under my belt, I know the importance of a good waterproof all year around! There’s nothing worse than being caught out in the rain unprepared and spending the rest of the day feeling soggy. Apologies for the pun, but it really puts a dampener on things. (Ha ha ha). So when November Rain got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing their range of One Size Fits All ponchos, I leaped at the chance.

Typically, since I’ve had the poncho, it’s been really lovely weather (Sod’s Law!) so I’ve not had much chance to put it through it’s waterproof paces, and I did feel a bit of a wally putting it on for the sake of some review photos in the park on what felt like the sunniest day EVER – although it did come in handy to quickly throw on whilst we packed up our car for our Bluestone holiday. It wasn’t proper raining but that fine misty drizzle that I find super annoying. You can always count on rain for a Bank Holiday.

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As we had to drive past Beckett’s Farm on Easter Saturday on our way to mac Birmingham to see Elmer, it made perfect sense to drop by and say hello to the baby animals they have there. The Easter holiday animals at Beckett’s Farm are somewhat legendary around here, and although we attempted to go last year, we were foiled at the first hurdle as none of us had the right cash to get in and they weren’t accepting card payments. So this year, LPD and I went armed with a handful of cash (although, for only £1 per person and under 1s going in free, not much cash was required!) and a camera to capture Pickle’s first farmyard encounter.

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I really loved sharing last week’s ordinary moment of Pickle’s first experience of the swing, so couldn’t resist sharing this week’s ordinary moment too. If you follow me on social media, you’ll have been inundated on Wednesday with posts celebrating my first time running with the pushchair – I even uploaded a video to Facebook! It’s such a tiny little thing, but just taking the plunge and going on my first run made me feel on top of the world.

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I’ve been doing a lot of blog soul searching recently, thinking a little more about what kind of place I’d like it to be and who it’s for. You may have noticed I’ve started to categorise my posts now into three main topics: culture, crafts and countryside and I’m hoping to have a bit more of a local focus (so good news for all you West Midlands/Worcestershire readers!). BUT, I also want to stay true to the reason I started this blog in the first place, a way for me to document and capture all those easily forgotten moments: the every day bits that might not sound like much, but can be the most wonderful highlight in a dreary day.

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