Review: Nozstock 2019

We loved the 2019 Nozstock the Hidden Valley music festival. We loved it so much, we’ve put our money were our mouth is (because bloggers tend to find free stuff “brilliant” all the time, don’t they?) and booked our tickets for next year. In fact we booked our tickets as soon as we got back (my wife did it while I unpacked the car).

Let’s take a step back though and talk about the Nozstock Festival. In it’s 21st year, Nozstock continues to be an environmentally conscious boutique festival, set in the rolling Herefordshire countryside on a cattle farm (it used to be a dairy farm but the current generation of farmers weren’t particularly in favour of the early starts).

This years Nozstock festival was a sell out, as was the previous year but even as a sell out, the sprawling site fits the 5,000 or so attendees comfortably, with plenty of space to swing a cat, or more pertinently some of those balls on a bit of string with streamers attached like some of the hipsters seem to like.

Everywhere seems to have a festival now, and the quality of course can be enormously variable. That’s one of the things I like about Nozstock; it’s kept it’s modest size and been happy continuing thus. It’s well organised, doesn’t overstretch either the organisers nor the facilities, and just works.

This years line up had more than a hint of reggae, folk and country about it during the daylight hours, reverting to some banging DJ sets and other more rambunctious acts after dark. My personal highlight was David Rodigan, some middle aged chap in a bright yellow suit I’d never heard of. Fortunately my wife filled me in on who he was (back in the day he was the Kiss FM DJ who introduced Jungle to an unsuspecting mainstream audience). He was absolutely fantastic and one of the key reasons festivals like Nozstock are so vital.

What do I mean by this? Well lets time travel back to 2008, before all this Spotify and Google Play Music stuff was popular. I had 500+ CDs in a rack next to the hi-fi. I usually played about 10 of them and ignored the rest. Even now, I have my playlists and favourite albums on Spotify and that’s pretty much all I listen to. Festivals are a brilliant way of stepping outside your own personal bubble and experiencing something new. Live music really is hard to beat.

Fifi’s personal highlight was the DJ set by Rudimental and if you’ve never seen a 10 year old pogo for over 90 minutes, let me tell you she managed it and was awesome.

Attending a festival as a family is a little different to attending a festival and this is another area that Nozstock shines. The site is sprawling but easily accessible, there are loads of free kids activities, and the food is both nice (not a given) and really reasonably priced. We were pitched in the family camping area, and since it’s policed (they don’t let people in without i) a family and ii) a colour coded family wristband), it was full of families.

There are some parts of the site that cater to EDM enthusiasts, be it jungle, trance or more rave influenced stuff and it was great fun to drop into these areas with the kids and experience an experience that is unlike any other- if you ever do the same, just make sure your kids have ear defenders and you might actually want a pair of foam ear plugs yourself! (And a word to the wise, if you decide to see the Sleaford Mods, which you should, they’re ace, remember they’re about as sweary as it’s possible to get live.)

Nozstock 2020 tickets are already up for sale, and the early bird discounts are too good to ignore, which is why we didn’t, put our money where our mouths were and purchased some tickets, guaranteeing a blooming great weekend of live music and entertainment next year!

10 years. 10 damn long years

A month before the iPhone 3GS was released, and Terminator Salvation was getting roundly trounced by the rebooted Star Trek franchise at the cinema, I decided to buy a domain name. I rather enjoyed puns so thought that a family orientated play on the Boney M song Daddy Cool would be just the ticket. And so Daddacool was given form.

Ten years have passed since I made that decision. The Wild West of the blogging world has given way to the Wolf of Wall St world of online influencers.

Things have changed a lot in ten years. If nothing else, I’m ten years older and about 30 years more tired. People who don’t have kids don’t know what tired really means. I don’t mean that disrespectfully of course, but until you’ve had three children devise a rota to make sure you never get more than 45 minutes continuous sleep, for years on end. Still, in the spirit of celebration (although I’m too tired to properly celebrate), there’s a slide show of some of the highlights I’ve had as a blogger over the past decade. In some instances there is even an overlap of the highlights of being a parent but I’ll leave you to guess which ones those are!

10 years

Different Ways to Look After Your Health

Forget your financial income; your health is your true wealth. Without a clean bill of it, you can’t partake in the everyday activities that you enjoy, and you can’t even make the money you need to get by in life. Quite simply, everything comes back to your health, so you need to look after it if you’re to be the person you want to be and do the things that you want to do in life.

You don’t just have to hit the gym five times a week and diet for months on end in order to be healthy. There are a plethora of different ways to look after your health, and you can find a few of them listed below.

Stay Healthy Even While You’re Enjoying Yourself

When they embark on a bid to better their health, people often think that they are no longer allowed to enjoy themselves. They believe that they cannot go out with their friends of a weekend, and they think that they must opt for carrots and celery in favour of all the delicious foods that they love.

This, however, is a very common misconception. You can remain healthy, even while you’re enjoying yourself. A few things you can do to stay healthy while you enjoy yourself include:

  • Only ever indulging in moderation
  • Treating yourself to a cheat meal or activity at least once a week
  • Embracing the social aspect of eating and drinking, and stop inducing out of boredom
  • Making fulfilling meals out of healthy foods
  • Taking reputable vitamins and nutritional supplements, the likes of which are distributed by swanson.co.uk
  • Growing your own foods in your garden
  • Taking your own drinks to parties

Fun is itself a great medicine. The more you enjoy yourself, the happier and healthier you will be. You shouldn’t, then, go through your whole life without making a bit of time for yourself. When you do decide to have a bit of fun, though, just be sure to take the above advice and so in moderation.

Look After Your Mental Health

Looking after your mental health is just as important a task as looking after your physical health. In fact, the two are so intrinsically linked that, to look after one, you have to tend to the other anyway.

If you continue to allow mental health issues plight your days, not only are you going to make everyday life ten times harder for yourself, but you could also end up heightening your stress levels. That could then lead to all manner of physical problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.

To look after your mental health in the best way possible, you should:

As you now know, looking after yourself doesn’t have to mean slogging away at the gym or eating healthy foods that, quite frankly, make you heave. You can stay healthy while enjoying yourself, and there are ways to tend to your mental health and, in turn, your physical wellbeing.

Fail-safe Father’s Day Gifting with Boots

Fathers Day is a tricky one to deal with as a father of small children, which is why it’s always a good idea to point the family at Boots. It’s a case of balancing what you’d actually like with what is i) affordable and ii) something the kids would actually like to give you. A case in point is I’d quite like a new soldering iron and a stand but that’s not something the kids will actually get any joy in getting for me. Frankly it would just confuse them.

So it needs careful planning to ensure you get something that you want and something that the kids want to give you. It doesn’t always work out though, last year when I gave it the old “just make me a card, that would be perfect, I don’t want anything”, routine I got a cravat. Apparently, I had complimented Matt Berry’s cravat in the amusing film What We Do in the Shadows and that

A cravat. Honestly

was enough of an indication that I should like to own a cravat. Now I’ve written the word cravat four times, I’m beginning to even doubt it’s a word. The time before that when I couldn’t be bothered to come up with something I got a jumper with my twitter profile motto ever so slightly paraphrased.

It’s not that I’m ungrateful; far from it but if people are going to spend the money, they should spend it on something, well, better.

This is where Boots comes in handy. I’m often running through their Christmas gift aisle on Christmas eve, exchanging knowing (and panicked) looks with other men because we all leave our shopping to absolutely the last minute. Which reminds me, it’s our 15th wedding anniversary tomorrow and I simply must get something.

Anyway I digress, the range at Boots for Father’s Day gifts handily solves the issue of cravat vs misspelled jumper as they have plenty in terms of scents, shaving and general pampering stuff to cater for all but the most picky of picky individuals.

If I had to put together an informed yet spontaneous list of some of the groovy things you can get for Father’s Day at Boots, well it would look a little something like this:

So that’s my advice then; chuck your nearest and dearest mini people (and their mum) towards Boots if you can’t decide what to pick up as a gift this Father’s Day. Job done!

Do you find it hard to buy for your Dad on Father’s Day? Well here’s your chance to win something amazing for him! All you have to do is leave a comment below on what you like to do with your Dad on Father’s Day, and what kind of gifts he usually appreciates!

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This post is an advertised collaboration with Boots but all thoughts are my own

I think any relevance I had died a while back

I have a 7 year old who patiently explains to me that if something is sick, it’s actually good, while my 10 year old bolts from the room if anyone actually mentions sick or does a throaty cough.

I’m not sure what, if anything, this means but I know it means I’m getting left behind by the modern age. It’s bad enough half the time when I get a blank response from quoting a TV show or movie at work I realise the person I’m quoting it at wasn’t born when the show was first broadcast.

Getting old is inevitable though, getting irrelevant shouldn’t be so I guess I need to up my game a bit!

Broad(band)ly speaking, it’s time to switch supplier

Dig a trench outside my house? Id rather you didn’t…

The latest round of price rises from our broadband provider, along with a rather snotty tone when I phoned and politely asked why I was being penalised for being loyal (I hate complaining or trying to get a “deal” on the phone, it’s just so un-British) have been the final straw and now I’m looking for a new broadband supplier!

Basically I was paying £50 a month extra for less in my overall package than someone who was going to be a new customer and that didn’t impress me much. Less so when the chap in the call centre explained the concept of discounted offers to new customers subsidised by existing customers to me like I was a 12 year old.

We’ve been with our current supplier almost 12 years, mostly as a result of a fault in the line that our old supplier was going to attempt to stiff us for fixing. There was a fault and the broadband kept dropping. It was either in the house or outside. If it was inside the house, it was our look out to fix, if it was outside they’d pick up the bill. The problem was the engineer was only going to check outside the house and if he didn’t find the fault, it’d cost us a £150 call out fee and the thing still wouldn’t have been fixed. Without wanting to get too technical, I’d plugged the modem router straight into the master socket and it still didn’t work, so the fault was outside. But if the engineer didn’t find it, either through incompetence or something else, we’d have had to pay. It definitely wasn’t worth the risk, so when it came down to it, we switched supplier and they sorted it all out as part of the install process- hurrah!

But what started off as a good value package has slowly crept up as I’ve subsidised all the deals for new customers over the last 10+ years and now it’s time to be on our merry way. The problem is I don’t really know where to start; I’m well up on my tech but this isn’t something I’ve had to look at so I’m a bit stumped. Fortunately there are plenty of comparison sites now where you can find broadband and phone deals now days, and often you can pick up a freebie too. The one I’m currently looking at comes with a John Lewis gift card that will be handy come our wedding anniversary next month.

Some of the comparison sites out there nicely highlight any offers that available, which is great. I’m certainly not going to leave it as long to switch suppliers again, if I’m going to be penalised for my loyalty, what price loyalty?

Where To Take The Kids This Summer

The summer is always a great time of year and a good chance to have some fun with your kids. With no school to worry about, you can take them away and find fun things to do, which will bring you all closer together and create new memories together. You do not necessarily have to take them on a two-week summer vacation somewhere exotic, as there are lots of places in and around the UK where you can go for just a short trip. So, if you want this to be an unforgettable summer for your kids then read on for a few suggestions.

France

France is a great option for a short summer break because you get all the excitement of going overseas yet it is easy, cheap and stress-free. Hiring a home for a week in France where you can chill out by the pool and relax can be a holiday that everyone enjoys.

Cornwall

Cornwall is a fantastic estimation for kids in the summer as it really comes to life during the warmer months and there are all kinds of things to see and do. Cornwall has beautiful beaches, water sports, cool towns, peaceful villages and amazing natural surroundings so it is hard to get bored on a trip here. You can hire a cottage from places like Portscatho Holidays which will give you a home away from home and a great base for exploring the area.

London

A day trip to London is a great idea during summer because the capital has so much to offer and there will always be special events happening so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. You can also chill out in the many great parks found throughout London and see all of the main tourist spots. London can, obviously, get busy during the summer so you need to plan your day in advance and think about how you will get around.

Portsmouth

There are many terrific coastal cities to take the kids to during their summer holidays and Portsmouth is certainly one of the best. In addition to the beach, Portsmouth also has a rich maritime history which can be fascinating to discover at places like the HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum as well as many other highlights.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is, unquestionably, one of the UK’s finest cities and a lovely place to explore during the summer on a short break. The hilly Scottish capital has many attractions to see, such as the Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat and the medieval Old Town. There is also a lovely atmosphere in Edinburgh which makes it a good place simply for strolling the streets and soaking up the atmosphere.

You will want to make the most out of the summer holidays and show the kids a good time during their time off school. You do not always have to jet off on a lengthy summer vacation and there are many great places to visit in and around the UK with the above are just a few options to consider.

Score a Goal: How setting goals can improve your life

Sick of the 9-5 slog? Tired of feeling like you are on a hamster wheel with the same routine day-in-day-out? When you are working hard to support your family, it can be easy to feel like life is slipping away, and you are not making the most of it. You have financial obligations, family obligations and demands on your time everywhere that you turn. There often feels like there is little time to enjoy life.

How can you inject some fun back into the mundane, and reconnect with the person that you are without the stresses and strains? They are still there; they just needs waking up!

Goal setting is not exclusive to the workplace. Goals are a great way to give you direction and the feeling that you are proactively working towards something. Without a goal, you will feel like a boat on the sea without a rudder – just floating wherever the tide takes you.

So, spend some time to set yourself realistic goals. A family holiday to a long-haul destination of your dreams, lose a set weight, or maybe you want to move to a larger house within two years? Set yourself a measurable goal and work backwards from it to identify the steps that you need to take to achieve it.  Here are three areas that you can set goals in.

  • Work

Work takes up most of your working day, and so it is crucial that you do something that brings in the money but also makes you feel satisfied and fulfilled. When you are in the same role for some time, it can start to feel like double maths.

When was the last time that you had a serious conversation with your managers about career progression and other opportunities within the business? You need to be in control of your career path, and not just wait for prospects to find you.

If the conversation does not provide you with positive steps to take, it may be time to look for a new role with another company. A new position or job with another company will give you fresh challenges and spark your motivation.

  • Education

You may have left education many moons ago, and thought that you’d seen the back of it, but learning something new is one of the best ways to transform your life. Plus, it can be an ideal opportunity to open the gateways to a new career.

There are so many subjects that are offered through online learning, that there will be something to interest you. OriGym Courses – https://origympersonaltrainercourses.co.uk/course/level-3-personal-trainer for personal trainers, counselling courses, health and safety, the list is endless, but first, you need to identify what interests you.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to learn for fun or for work?
  • How much time can you devote each week to your studies?
  • Do you want to develop a specific skill?

Your answers will shape the type of course that you should choose.

  • Hobbies

You may feel that there are just not enough hours in the day to commit to another demand of your time, but having a goal focused hobby can benefit all other aspects of your life.

  • Hobbies boost your confidence and self-esteem. When you see how you have progressed in a hobby and can feel improvement, you start to feel good about yourself.
  • Hobbies expose you to new perceptions. Typically, hobbies are social, and when you meet new people, you are open to new and differing points of view. You’ll be challenged and agreed, both of which can change your world view.
  • Hobbies make you interesting! You will have something else to talk and think about other than work and home life.
  • Hobbies relieve stress. If you feel like life is a rat race and overwhelming, the chances are high that you are experiencing stress. When you are taking part in a hobby, you have the chance to relax and escape responsibilities, work and chores – even for just a short while. You will find that you are better equipped to deal with challenges and obstacles if you have this time to switch off. Your brain acts like a muscle and needs downtime too.

Hobbies are a great way to challenge yourself, learn to be patient, be resilient, and above all else, achieve what you set out to do. These are experiences that enrich all aspects of life. If your current hobby doesn’t challenge you, you will not be benefitting from it, so why not try something new? Explore different hobbies and find your tribe.

Goal setting is a great way to kick-start your life and give you purpose. Don’t fall into the trap of being unrealistic – acknowledge your weaknesses and play for your strengths and enjoy achieving your goals.

Is your car prepared for the summer?

It’s not just bright orange super cars that need a bit of TLC

We put a lot of emphasis on safe motoring over the winter months because it’s dark, the weather is miserable and conditions are difficult. Some motorists who do more mileage than I do even go as far as changing to winter tyres.

Plenty of the high street tyre shops and garages even offer free winter check ups to make sure your cars not going to be a hazard caused by something you could have easily remedied.

It’s odd isn’t it that we don’t do the same come the summer? We’ve not had a great deal of rain recently but over the weekend we had a torrential downpour. Afterwards the roads were really greasy, dangerous even, especially with a rear wheel drive two-seater (I was in my wife’s Fiat 124, which doesn’t have a slip differential at the back). Likewise the multitude of insects I destroyed over the bank holiday weekend required as much screen wash as I used four months ago getting the salt they gritted the road with off.

What I’m saying basically is we probably should put just as much effort into making sure our cars are roadworthy when the weather takes a turn for the better. Fortunately when you take your car in for a service or an MOT they check the tyres to ensure that they’re road legal but that that doesn’t stop you for checking a few obvious things yourself. If your car doesn’t have swanky tire pressure sensors, you should regularly check the tyre pressure and check for any bulges or abnormalities in the tyres themselves.

You don’t need to have a super car to take an interest in the mechanical running of your car, and with only a few mm of the tyres in contact with the road surface at any one time, they’re sort of important! When I did my track day, which included the orange monster at the top of the post, it was at one of the sites Everyman Racing using just outside Northampton. As well as doing track days for super cars, a lot of these sites also do bring your own car days, which is exciting. The tyre squeal from a Civic going through a hairpin feels every bit as exciting as driving a Porsche (honest)! There are actually a lot of race tracks around Northampton, so it would probably make sense to get your tyres checked and maybe consider  getting robust tyres in Northampton at the best rates only from Calmac Tyres. Why not visit their autocentre today!

I had a rather dangerous issue with a tyre once, when I clipped a kerb in the Yorkshire Dales. It slightly cracked my plastic hubcap but more importantly it destroyed the tyre in a way that wasn’t obvious to me immediately but would have been immediately apparent to a trained tyre technician. All that was visible was a slight bulge in the sidewall of the tyre. Fortunately before I loaded the car and drove the 200+ miles home, I decided to take it up to cruising speed with just me in it. I say fortunately, because I suffered a blow out- the tyre literally exploded- on the motorway. I had a quick lesson (and a bit of a telling off!) from the breakdown cover chap who came to fix it about how tyres are made (there’s a lot more metal in there than I realised), which led me to an understanding of how much we need to look after our tyres.

 

Kids and tyre safety

One of the most important parts of a car is often the part that we pay little attention to. If the car’s making a funny noise or seems slow in acceleration, we tend to pop down to the garage and ensure that a mechanic runs his eye over it. If it’s in warranty, that’s a cheap fix (hopefully), if it’s an older car, well it still needs fixing. The one thing we don’t tend to spend an enormous amount of time thinking about is the tyres. It’s odd when you think of it though isn’t it? The tyres are the one point of contact our car actually has with the road and often it’s only when the MOT flags up an issue with the tread depth that we get excited enough to even think about them.

As parents though we have a bit more of a responsibility don’t we? For example there’s not much point in replacing worn out brake pads if the tyres aren’t going to give you much grip in the first instance.

I’m reaching the stage now where I’m looking to change my company car. My Honda Civic was good enough with three kids aged 4-9 when I got it three years ago but by the time it’s replacement is due to go back, the kids will be 10-15 and that needs something all together larger.

Earlier on today I was organising test drives for the three I’ve whittled it down to- the Peugeot 5008, the Citreon C5 Aircross and the Toyota Rav4. I’m veering towards the Peugeot at the moment because it has an extra row of pop up seats in the boot that I can stick whichever child needs a bit of peace and quiet. It obviously helps that it’s won the large SUV of the year award too.

We used to have a Rav4 years ago and it was like travelling in a big cosy armchair but it’s probably not going to be big enough, unlike the Peugeot which is plenty large enough. Of course when you get a bigger car with softer suspension it can be harder to spot if the tyres have degraded until it’s potentially too late. It is absolutely mandatory to have the right tyres fitted to your own vehicle type. There are many tyre garages who can do this for you. Let’s say If you choose Peugeot tyres from Point S you can be sure that the tyres are a good match for your car which is important when you’ve got kids in the back, each trying to incite the other two to nuclear war. It’s one less thing to worry about isn’t it?