Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Win 2 Tickets to The Baby Show 2014

The Baby Show - the UK's number one pregnancy and parenting event - returns to London Olympia from 24th to 26th October 2014, showcasing more leading, new and boutique brands than ever before. And The Dad Network is giving away 2 FREE tickets!!!

All you have to do to enter is sign up for The Dad Network's monthly newsletter using the sign up box in the right side bar. Simple! 

Here's some more details of the show itself:

The highly anticipated event will bring together an exciting line up of over 200 companies. This year visitors will be treated to the widest showcase of buggies with experts on hand from iCandy, UPPA Baby and Quinny, all helping parents to find the perfect buggy. New for this year is Cuddle Co’s ‘Green Tom’ - the first stroller to be made from recycled plastic; whilst those in pursuit of an active lifestyle will be impressed by the BOB Revolution which allows parents to skate and run whilst transporting their precious cargo.

Back by popular demand, the Baby London Boutique, showcasing the latest trends, styles and niche design products as well as innovative photographers from the baby world is sure to delight parents. While Bumpkins will be running the ‘Baby Show Stars’ themed competition, where visitors to the stand can enter to win a photo shoot for their baby.

The forthcoming show will host an exciting speaker line up including Professor Robert Winston, Annabel Karmel and Clare Byam-Cook as well as interactive workshops run by The Natal Family.  Visitors can also discover the latest innovations in child safety and travel, watch inspirational catwalk shows and enjoy the return of the hugely popular Mother's Know Best live debate panel.

The Baby Show offers visitors a comprehensive one-stop-shop of parenting essentials and expert advice, whilst providing an enjoyable day out for family and friends.

  1. There is no cash alternative.
  2. The winners will be put in contact with The Baby Show to receive their tickets via email.  
  3. Entries will only be deemed valid if a valid email address is provided.
  4. The winners will be selected at random from all valid subscriptions received by 23:59 on Saturday 30th August 2014.
  5. The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  6. The winner's names might be published on this site.
  7. If you have already subscribed to the newsletter but still wish to enter, please pop me an email via the contact page. 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Sports Dad

The carbon fibre horse - ready for riding!

I like to think of myself as one of the UK's finest amateur athletes. You know, the kind that is perfectly capable of performing to a relatively high standard if they could be bothered; well that's me. I am also very aware that I fall into the 'jack of all trades, master of none' category when it comes to sports. I'm not bad at most things sporting but not 'bloody amazing' at anything. (This for me is a cross I have to bear...regrets of not focusing on one sport and pushing myself hard haunt me on a regular basis.) 

Whether it's road cycling or rock climbing, football or free running, triathlon or tennis, I love it. Being active, travelling at speed (obviously not when I run) and getting the adrenalin pumping from the competitive and risky nature of various sports, is in my blood. 

However, the arrival of the baby places dads like me at a crossroads; a crossroad of considerations. Priorities are changing and popping out for a quick 30km cycle on a summers evening will probably require some forethought and planning at the very least. Or spending a fortune entering various triathlons throughout the season is perhaps a little irresponsible what with the inflation on nappies... 

I have a race coming up in September called Man VS Mountain. It's run by a company called RatRace who organise all kinds of outdoor events throughout the year. (They also have a great shop with pretty good discount!)*

The race, in a nutshell, is 20 miles from sea level at Caernarfon Castle, up one side of Mt Snowdon to the summit and down the other side via a few obstacles such as abseiling, swimming and the 'vertical kilometre.' I'll be chucking on the Salomon running shoes and NorthFace gear and pushing my heavy backside up that mountain! **

Now, I am only 26 and I do some kind of sport relatively often and so consider myself generally quite fit (in comparison to the masses; nearly said 'massives' then...) but even for me, this race does require some kind of training and preparation. There will be nothing worse than travelling to Wales, getting 4 miles up Mt Snowdon and having to be airlifted off to hospital... #embarrassing! 

But training with a 2 week old baby brings a certain level of challenge; namely timing challenges. 

#1 Do I go when he's asleep and the wife is resting? What if he wakes? I don't want the wife to have to get up and deal with him as well as everything else she has to do. (Breastfeeding)  

#2 Bath time? Well, I like to bath him so I'd be missing out on bonding time with him. 

#3 Once he's gone to bed? Well, if I'm not thoroughly exhausted from being up all the night before, even training seems to take it's toll at the best of times. Plus, if it's dark, running off road is even harder. And the batteries are dead on the bike lights. 

#4 When he's feeding then? Sounds stupid maybe, but a dads role during feeding is still really important. Encouraging mum and making sure she has what she needs. 

Time seems to go quicker with a baby anyway; so overcoming this challenge is probably harder than actually competing. 

Seriously though, I do believe that it's important that dads spend time thinking about this. We all need our own time, our own space and our own freedom to explore the adventurous side to our nature. It therefore, has to be held in tension with the responsibilities of being a dad. (And a husband but this is the dad network, not the husband network!) 

My (hopeful) aim, is that as I grow into this dad role I manage to hold those 2 things in tension; my passion for adventure through sports and being dad. It will be a skill to carve out appropriate times to train and develop a good 'selection process' on different races. 

Watch this space for more sporting posts including how I get on with Man VS Mountain!

*This is not a sponsored post...sadly...

**Still not a sponsored post... actually crying now... 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The early learning centre's sexist, insulting and stereotypical Facebook picture

Ok... deep breath...

Last night the wife leans over and says, "look at this." She shows me the picture you can see above. I looked a little closer and then realised that it had actually been made, posted and shared by The Early Learning Centre (ELC). I was horrified.

Yes, we get the joke. Ha ha... but it's exactly this kind of thing that dads are constantly up against. And this time it's from, arguably, the UK's biggest baby / children's toy shops. Unbelievable.

I wonder what would have happened if it had been the other way round. Something like this maybe:

To Dad:

Can you fold the pushchair down...?
Can you put the car seat in...?
Can you pack the car for the holiday...?
Can you change the oil for the car...?
I need my cot put together...?
How do you play football...?
I'm stuck on the computer...?
How do you drive...?
I'd like a shelf in my nursery...?

To Mum:

Where's Dad?

The world would have gone mad at them with petitions and demands asking for the CEO's head to be on the chopping block - but because it's about dads... it's ok!

The Early Learning Centre ask, in this post, whether this "sounds right in your house." Maybe it is the case, maybe it isn't. To me that isn't the point; it's the fact that it's a public display of discriminative stereotyping when (a lot) of dads are doing their best for their children. Human beings have strengths and weaknesses that are not dependant upon sex.

And what about single parents? Or same sex parents?

My issue is that it makes implications that dads can't be arsed and just point their children to their mum. That just isn't the case anymore, and until things like this are stopped, we'll continue to have Batman and Robin climbing the houses of parliament. I fear that as long as large companies like ELC continue to pull publicity stunts like this, dads will A) continue to get a bad name for being uninterested, lazy fathers and B) encourage fathers to be uninterested and lazy. It's an ongoing uphill battle to promote the importance of the role of fathers within family life when massive corporations make 2 clicks and spread these kind of things all over the web.

If the ELC wanted to push buttons to cause some controversy, then they have succeeded. On Facebook, it really did split opinion with people agreeing and people renouncing it. I looked a little closer into the Facebook post and found some of the 'renouncers' comments. Here's my favourite:

"This post is like the stuff they sell. Outdated and not in touch with modern parenting." 

I'm sure that ELC wouldn't say they encourage this model of parenting and that they were just asking opinion, but I believe they wanted to cause a stir. Well, this dad is stirred up, irritated and saddened that someone as influential as ELC would post this. Instead of wasting time on social media with this, perhaps ELC could start a campaign to promote fathers?

...Guess that'd cost too much money, time and effort to the suits that sit in a large office somewhere counting £50's.

What do you think?

(Here's a link to their website if you want to see some 'outdated' toys:

*Mind you, what else should we be expecting from a company who's 'parent' is MOTHERcare?*


Snoozeshade - Product Review

I'll let you in to an embarrassing secret... I'm an avid sleep talker (and walker). Only the other night I was referring to the wife's best friend's mother as Mrs Ferrero Rocher! This in turn keeps the wife up all through the night. So in-between feeding the baby, she's still awake from me. Every morning, I'm in the dog house without knowing why and there is always that small part of me that worries about what I've actually said...

But sleep is so important, especially for babies. That's obvious and I'm not teaching you to suck eggs. It's a fact that newborn babies sleep for up to 18 hours a day, slowly decreasing with increasing age but even some 3 year olds still have a nap at some point during the day. You also get those crazy parents (like me) who keep to a tight routine with regards to sleeping. 11am arrives and it's time to go to sleep. (The baby I mean.) It is the amount of sleep babies require combined with my natural desire to get out of the confinement of the 4 walls I like to call home and into real civilised life that presents an issue. The baby will HAVE to sleep in his pushchair at some point!

Sleeping in the pushchair in itself has 1 main issue: things getting in! A clever contraption made by Snoozeshade however, brilliantly counter acts this issue.

#1 If you've ever tried sleeping, light can be a major contributing factor as to why you can't sleep. Believe me, I've put up curtain after curtain trying to keep light out of our bedroom and still it creeps in. The Snoozeshade does an incredible job of keeping light out. The useful taps around the outside of the material allow you to attach it to almost every part of your pram frame, thus keeping light out.  I did conduct a thorough test by engulfing my head with the Snoozeshade. It was dark.

#2 If you've ever tried a pushchair, irritating yet innocent members of the public is another major contributing factor in preventing sleep. Babies obviously attract people like flies round fox poo, and when they're being poked, pointed, stroked, yelled at, prodded and any other general interference, they simply can't sleep. Snnozeshade is like a force field that no-one, even old people, dare mess with. And the zip on the front was a stroke of genius because for those really persistent pesky people that desperately want a glimpse, they can have just that. A glimpse. A momentary glimpse and nothing more. Perfect!

The Snoozeshade has a few other great qualities that help with other sleep depriving issues:

#1 The material used is well ventilated allowing new air in and old air out. It also let's out any moisture that may build up.

#2 The elastic edging to the Snoozeshade means it will fit round almost any pushchair. Unless you have one of those huge, Range Rover Sport equivalent pushchairs, you'll be fine.

#3 It folds up small so it's easy to pop in the bottom of the pram or a bag.

This product is a necessity for all people who are hoping to leave the house with a baby at some point. Trust me, you won't thank me enough and I tell you, we swear by it. We would't go anywhere without it. In fact, it's so good that the wife and I are mid discussion about whether if I wrap myself up in it at night, my sleep talking will stop! This the ultimate tool to help a baby sleep when you're on the move.

For those reasons, the Snoozeshade receives an official Dad Network star rating of 5 / 5 stars and our award of recommendation.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Snugglebundl - Product Review

Ever watched Dragon's Den? I really like it, especially that Deborah Meaden...I like a strong women! Anyway, Snugglebundle worked their way through the gauntlet of rounds prior, and actually made it onto the program. They came across very well presented, well rehearsed, they knew their figures (something that many do not) and they believed in their products. They hadn't, however, predicted that their biggest hurdle would be the dangly bits between their legs. That's right, the fact they were Dads!

Peter Jones gave them a really hard time about their product based on the fact that they were dads and not mums. Now, I have a good mind to go into all this again, but I have previously posted about this incident and you can read it by clicking here. I said in that other post that I wash't reviewing the product, but this time, I am.

The Snugglebundl blanket is in effect, a blanket with handles. But, that's really quite ingenious when you think about it. Our little boy is now 13 days old and he is sleeping an awful lot; approximately 16 hours a day...the 8 left being the 8 during the night annoyingly! But, moving him from car seat to pushchair and back again and similar kind of 'moves' generally wake him up. His head flops around and he soon wakes up making our job as a parent a little more interesting. The snugglebundl is designed to stop this from happening. They sleep in the blanket and when you need to move the baby, you simply lift up the handles, the blanket supports the baby's head and you move him to the new destination...easy as 1, 2, 4. This blanket makes a lot of things a lot easier and when you have a child, the easier things are the better. Being able to move your baby with ease and without disturbing them is really helpful

There's no denying that the quality of the blanket is great; the material being very soft but I do have some considerations.

#1 It feels weird carrying your baby as if it's a shopping bag! This is not a negative point, more just something that you just need to get used to. A bit like the female referees in the premiership or Simon Cowells wit.

#2 The blankets (when we looked) only come in beige, stripes or polka dots - I'm a man, so I don't really care but a slightly wider choice of colours and design would't have gone a miss.

#3 I was very tempted whilst holding the Snugglebundl to take the theory of centrifugal force to it's limits - I didn't but the urge was massive!

So there you go... in effect, I can't find anything wrong with this product! Maybe Peter Jones should have looked at the product more closely rather than the dangly bits! I'm not saying that he likes to look at mens dangly bits... oh... I'll just stop.

The Snugglebundle is fantastic and works a treat for us, therefore it receives an official Dad Network start rating of 5 / 5 stars and our award of recommendation.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Fears of a New Dad

This is actually me... terrified! 
*I wrote this post before the arrival of our little bundle of joy! Therefore, I thought than rather toss it to the side of the road, I'd use as much of it as it might be relevant to some of you. I have however added an extra sentence under each 'fear' talking about whether or not there was a need to be fearful... Make sense? Good! 

Here we go: 

I think it's common for new dads to have all kinds of genuine fears about being a new dad. Well, I hope they do, because I am positively crapping it! It would probably be fair to say that beneath my manly, calm and collective exterior is a quivering wreck of a man. (Is it OK that I referred to myself as 'manly?' I like to think I am...or at least look it!) 

Assuming that this is common among dads to be, I thought I would write a post about what those fears might be. Be aware, these are my fears and I'm bearing my soul here. Don't laugh at me... 

#1 Will I cope with the labour? 

I know what you're thinking, will I cope with the labour? What about the wife! But, what I mean is whether I'll be able to do the right things at the right time and say the right words. Will I make it worse for her? Will I faint at the sight of a crowning baby head or any number of bodily excretions seeping out from an orifice? Will I be able to encourage her well or not? The labour is a genuine fear! 

- Definitely worth fearing! But, I did cope, just. Seeing the person you love in that much pain is awful. There are no words to prepare you for it. Read this for more perspective

#2 Will I be able to be man warrior, hunter gatherer and powerful protector? (they'd be great names if I were a boxer..."welcome to the ring the man warrior, get the jist) 

Money does come into this; obviously having a baby does increase the outgoings and decreases the income (stupid unpaid paternity leave and ever decreasing maternity leave income)... And it is scary to think whether we'll have enough money to have a good lifestyle and enjoy life etc etc I'll have to start reading The Skint Dad Blog in more depth I reckon! I also want to protect my family and stand up for them. Will this come naturally? I suppose it does for the wife, so why wouldn't it for the children? I want my family to be as secure as Fort Knox (and not the Fort Knox from Die Hard 3...) Financially and safely! Impenetrable and all that.  

- Not worth fearing: this will just happen naturally. The financial thing will just go on throughout your life... But it is for certain that my protective nature has gone through the roof.

#3 Dying

A friend recently said to me, so this technically isn't my fear, that since having a baby he has suddenly developed a great fear of dying! That in turn has now made me fearful of being fearful of dying as a result of having a baby! Work that one out! 

- I'm now terrified of dying... what will happen to the boy if I do? Ahhhh! 

#4 Will having a baby affect my relationship with the wife? 

This is true. The wife and I are inseparable. If I could I would actually live in her pocket and if I could choose it would either be her 'back' pocket or 'chest' pocket...catching my drift? But seriously, having a baby is going to eat into our time together something drastic and that time is so precious to me. What if I loose that time and it starts damaging our relationship? I have taken steps towards dealing with this: we've booked in the grandparents every Wednesday evening from birth, so we can have a date night. Up here for thinking, down there for dancing! 

- This fear is in your own hands. The fear has certainly made me pro-active though and I've already made plans for our first date night / date 2 hours.

#5 Will I get shunned to one side because it's physically impossible to dispense milk from my breasts...despite them becoming more moob-like by the day! 

I want to be involved as much as possible, but there are times when I just won't be. Not necessarily breast feeding, I can still sit with them both and bond etc but it is a fear that I'll be at work all day and miss out on things and therefore learn things slower...which brings me on to my next fear nicely. 

- Not worth me fearing, but that's because my wife is amazing and included me every step of the way. She's even been so kind as to wake me to 'watch' the 2am feed!

#6 I have no idea what the hell I'm doing! 

I know there isn't a manual and I'm sure that mums fear this as well. But how do you pick up a baby? How do you bath a baby? How do you clothe a baby? How do you feed a baby? How do you talk to a baby? How durable is a baby? When should they sleep? When should they wake? What if they cry? Nappies? Will I be able to stop them crying? 

How do you learn all this stuff? I can see myself now asking my wife everything. Is it OK to pick him up darling? I know I shouldn't, and I hope I don't but it is a fear. I guess my best thought is that couples should approach it together and learn together, allowing each other to try things and get things wrong. 

- Definitely worth fearing. I still have no idea what I'm doing and learning in the deep end. The good thing, the baby hasn't read the manual, and so does't know which way round the nappy goes either. 

#7 Will I be a good dad? 

A big fear, probably of all dads to ever grace the planet with their presence...but really a daft one. What is a good dad? A question that has many different answers. Will I be a good dad, all I know is that I will do my best and when I balls up, I'll try again. I think that is what makes a good dad, so maybe this isn't a fear after all. 

- I'm fairly confident that this will remain a fear my whole life. 

#8 Will I ever see the inside of a pub again? 

I hope so and I think so but I guess less so... I learnt the other day though, that the local curry house now delivers beer with a curry so really, I don't have much need to a pub anyway. 

- Your destiny is in your own hands. Do you dare raise the subject of your baby's head and wetting stuff? 

#9 Will I get my wifes attention? 

I have to admit that there are times when I want my wifes attention, but not getting it, I'll do something naughty... streak or break something or wind her up by poking her. Now, I'm going to have to contend with a gorgeous, cute, sweet ball of baby. Will I ever get her attention again? Maybe I need to get down the gym to turn the 1 pack into 6 and the moobs into pecks! That'll grab her attention. 

- Amazing wife: I must be doing something right, because I still get lots of attention. Worth fearing though - it will heighten your desire to make sure your fears don't happen. 

#10 Lack of sleep makes my wife cranky and I can't cope when she's cranky!

Not the most diplomatic way of putting it, but I guess sleep deprivation for everyone concerned is a fear. 

- Fear it & deal with it! 

#11 I might have to do some housework!

Jokes...I do lot's as it is... *ahem* 

So there you go... some real fears from a real new dad to be. Resonating with anyone? 

*Just to add, the fears don't outweigh the excitement...I think 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Bushbaby Cocoon Carrier - Product Review

Since the dawn of age carrying our babies has been second nature. There is a natural instinct to want to hold your children close to you. Even in today's world millions of people choose to carry their children in slings. Personally, I can understand this. I think that there is nothing more intimate than carrying your children close to you. I know that there are occasions when a pushchair is needed, but I'm a strong advocate for using carriers more frequently. 

The Bushbaby carrier is one of many carriers on the market, but from what I've seen, it stands apart significantly. I've tried a number of carriers out and a good, easy to use one isn't as easy to find as you might think. In the traditional Dad Network fashion, I thought I'd simplify this by using a list:

The good bits

#1 I pulled this carrier out the packet, looked at the picture and put it straight on. It's not a tangled mess of clips, buckles and straps to get twisted. It really is very simple to use. 

#2 The 'pod' that holds the baby is firm and well padded. It feels secure and protective. Some have just a thin bit of material that makes you feel uneasy. This is not one of them! 

#3 That same pod attaches and detaches very easily. It means that you can put the baby in the pod and clip it in securely on your own. It also means that if you don't want to wake the baby up when you take him out, you can. You simply unattach the pod and lay it down with the baby still in it. I tried this and it worked fine. 

Something to consider

#1 I found that as I walked the pod slipped down a bit. This could be solved by simply tightening the straps at the back, but you'd need to carry a few times before getting the adjustments right. When I took it off, I had to loosen the straps, which meant that I lost my 'settings.' The next time I used it, I had to try and guess how tight to have them. 

I love baby carriers and often use one round the house. This one is brilliant. When I spoke with the company they even said that one had been purchased to be used for HRH Prince George... If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me! 

The Bushbaby Carrier receives an official Dad Network star rating of 5 / 5 and wins our award of recommendation. 


Monday, 11 August 2014

How to Photograph a Baby

It's no secret that dads tend to consider themselves a dab hand at almost everything. We've either done it before, seen someone do it or reckon we'll pick it up quickly. In truth, we're pretty shoddy at most things except perhaps 1 or 2 hobbies we particularly enjoy. 

And based on the new "silent Sunday photo" movement combined with the rise in power of Instagram, it's also no secret that dads like to think they're especially good at capturing those special moments on camera: photography I guess you could call it. We like to take pictures, turn them into black and white and put them on the wall, often on a canvas print. There's nothing wrong with this but, I for one, would like to know a few tips to improve my amateurish excursion into the world of photography. Baby photography is a growing hobby amongst parents and one that can either go very well or pretty horrendously. 

We recently had the opportunity to have some 'bump & baby' pictures taken (which is also a new craze in the world of pregnant women) by a fantastic photographer. Obviously, she had a relatively easy job considering the subjects are so beautiful... But I took the opportunity to pick her brains for some top tips on how to take pictures of our little ones; newborn photos, bump photos and photos of children. Here's what she had to say about it: 

1) What made you want to become a photographer?

I've always loved taking pictures (from pics of my soft toy monkey hanging in trees when I was little to taking pictures of our pets) but my Grandad was a keen amateur photographer; my Mum told me how he used to dress her & my aunt up to take portrait shots. He passed away when I was 18 & I inherited all of his cameras, lenses & developing equipment. It all took off from there really as I started photographing my boyfriend's band & loved it, then went on to photographing some of my Dad's bands. From there I went to college & then University.

2) Tell us a bit about the work you do?

As I mentioned above I began taking photographs of musicians but then fell pregnant with my son, Josh, in 2011 & found it harder to get to gigs. I did go to one but was too scared of being in the press pit & thinking I was damaging my son's ears (I think all that music was the start of his love for music!) I naturally started taking more photographs of Josh & decided I didn't want to go back to my full time job & thought I should try just going freelance & expand my photographic repertoire. I started taking photos of my post natal group's babies & from there contacted NCT Bumps & Babies and went along to a few sessions with my little studio set up. It grew from there really. I loved photographing little ones, they are all so cute & such little characters from so early on.

3) Have you noticed that bump photo shoots are becoming increasingly popular recently? Why do you think this is? 

I have only just started including bump shoots in my packages as one of my wedding clients contacted me to say she was pregnant & wanted a monthly shoot to show her bump growing which is going to be printed & framed as one long picture. I've really enjoyed her shoots, we are hoping to squeeze one last shoot in before her due date, so excited to see the final result. It's something I really wish I had done when I was pregnant. It is such a special time in a lady's' life to be completely changing shape & growing another life and possibly something you may only go through once. I haven't forgotten what it felt like to be pregnant & have this little wriggler kicking away but I think to have it captured in a photograph which shows the love between mother and bump is something you can really treasure.

4) What’s your favourite thing about photographing babies and children?

I love photographing babies, they are so cute when they are curled up, peacefully sleeping and completely oblivious to what is happening. It's such an amazing privilege to be invited in to someone's home to photograph their little bundle of joy when they are so tiny & brand new! I like to take my time & really make mummy, daddy & baby feel completely relaxed so we can get the most natural shots. Toddlers & children are always great fun to photograph as you never know what they are going to do next! Occasionally you get the ones that aren't really up for it but I always carry on as long as everyone is happy & try to keep it fun as what I see through my camera is different to what parents see & 9 times out of 10 they will be surprised as they hadn't spotted the smile.

5) What’s the trickiest thing about photographing babies and children?

So far I've only had positive experiences with newborns, they are always a little messy but as long as I'm prepared with plenty of blankets, muslins & mattress protectors it's never a problem. Older children can sometimes be tricky as if they don't want to do it they really don't want to do it! I will try & think of something to keep them happy or introduce props or their favourite toy but there's no point forcing the issue. I like pictures to be as natural as possible whether in a studio set up or on location, the more relaxed I can be the better it is for the child.

6) So many parents are taking their babies to get photographed by professionals now, what tips / suggestions / advice would you give parents who are just about to get their baby snapped? 

Just be clear; if you have something in particular in mind to let the photographer know. Personally I will always try & capture what each client is after but if they don't really mind I try to show examples of what we can do. The main thing is to not worry about anything, it should be a fun, enjoyable experience so if you little one doesn't want to do it don't get stressed out, always know when they've had enough & don't push it.

7) And what about if parents are taking the pics themselves, what tips would you give to them to get good quality snaps? 

If you are taking pics of a newborn try & find a nice big window so you have lots of natural, soft light. If you have a digital slr use a wide aperture & focus on the eye, also good using a wide aperture for the close up hand and feet shots as long as you make sure you are focusing on the correct point. With children...depending on the time of year get outside, find long grass, puddles, piles of leaves & have fun!

8) Can you show us your favourite 3 pictures you’ve taken recently and tell us why you like them?

It's so hard to choose a favourite newborn shot as they are all so cute but I'd say it has to be this one. She looks so snuggly & peaceful, it reminds me of when I used to watch Josh sleeping when he was tiny (which I still do!) 

This shot has to be my favourite child photo so far, just reminds me of long summer evenings being carefree when you are a child, interested in the tiniest things in nature which we probably take for granted now.

It's probably an obvious choice but I am so happy with this photo! I really wanted a dream-like, angelic photograph showing the love between mother & bump and am so happy with the results. As I said if you have an idea of what you want that's great, but also leaving it up to the photographer can also be great as they can get creative!

Amazing! Loads of great tips and hints to taking great photographs of children and newborns. If you want to see more of Kirsty's work then click here for her website. You can also follow her on twitter and Facebook


Saturday, 9 August 2014

THE best newborn baby picture ever!

It brings me great joy to unveil to you all THE best newborn baby picture ever taken. In fact, I would go as far as saying no one could even rival it! It's an amazing baby pic!

Make sure you take a really close look...

Is this a mandatory / standard 'Dad initiation?'


Friday, 8 August 2014

The Dad Network in the media

The Dad Network is steadily building up quite a presence in the media; well, maybe that's a bit of a grand description but last month we were on the radio and featured on Tots100 as well as the previous appearances in magazines and now next month we feature in another magazine.

The Dad Network is featuring in next months issue of Families First.

Keep an eye on the media section of the blog for every new opportunity that finds itself in our backyard.

Also, if you would like The Dad Network to feature in your publication then please get in touch via the contact page.

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