The Tooth Fairy’s First Visit


What with all that has been going on, I forgot to mention our first visit from the tooth fairy. Whilst John and I were basking in the sunshine of Brighton over the weekend. Back at home, our clan went for a walk in the woods with our nanny Sindy. And as they had walked for some time, provisions were dispensed on the way home in the guise of chocolate hobnobs, you know, to restore energy levels and all of that. Amritsar’s bottom front left tooth has been loose for around a week. So we were expecting the inevitability of the tooth fairy’s visit, but sadly we were not here for the actual moment of the loss of the tooth. Anyhow, the chocolate hobnob was enough to release the said tooth from Amritsar’s mouth. Sindy immediately texted us with a photo and we stared in awe of the little space at the bottom of her jaw.

Now isn’t there a saying that for every door that closes, a window opens? And for sure there was! Personally, I do t remember a lot about the process of loosing teeth in favour or our second set as a little one, but just behind the hole that has replaced Amritsar’s lost baby tooth is a very pronounced ‘Big Tooth’, that she will live with from this day hence…

John did a grand job sneaking upstairs on Sunday night to replace the tooth under the pillow with a shiny, one pound coin! To be honest, I think she was expecting more, what with inflation. But we are going to have many, many more visits from the tooth fairy over the next few of years of course. So, they will have to accept that one pound is sufficient and we will have to perfect our stealth abilities won’t we?

Frosty Blossoms

I am not talking about a rather busty porn star, rather this mornings weather, here in ‘The Shires’. However the chilly frost soon gave way to a cloudless sky. Tara is presently at film club and Amritsar has joined Sindy and the little ones at the park, to wait until Tara is ready for home at 4pm. The weather is a sweet 17 degrees and the sky is deep blue in its hue. Springtime is edging its way and the local crocus and daffodils are all in full bloom. With a late Easter this year and this early warm spell, I think the daffodils will be but a memory by the time the little ones are enacting their ‘Easter Parade’ at preschool.

We finally got home yesterday at 1.30pm and The guys ran amuck pretty much until bedtime. Sindy had showered the three little ones that morning, so there were just the girls to shower before bed. We both had an early night, given the great time that was had in Brighton at out friends wedding. Thank you both (Victoria and Glen). Hopefully we can meet up and make a weekend of things when the Summer is here proper. It was nice to see Remus’s son Fenton in Brighton as he is part of their family. He’s just as ‘Crazy’ as Remus – for that they have my sincerest admiration. Dalmatians are not an easy breed, but definitely one of the most loveable. Sending big hugs…

The Metropole Brighton

Checked in this afternoon after lunch in a great restaurant in Hassocks called ‘The Fig Tree’. Now about to get some sleep after eating Thai food and drinking white wine. Sindy at home with the children until Sunday morning when we return. John complaining about the smell of the room! I thought it would be a treat to have a smoking room, just for 2 nights, but he’s right it does smell – another reason to quit the habit, though I don’t think that will be possible until the little ones are a bit less stressful and full on. I will tell you all about the wedding tomorrow, so for now, I bid you goodnight.

So, what’s been going on?

Maybe a better title would have been ‘So, what’s NOT been going on? Thor broke his iPad (Kindle Fire), though it’s fixed now. They presently all have their devices (excluding Caleb). I gave in after four small voices wore me down after half an hour of ‘I want my iPad, I want my iPad’, Prior to this they all had digestive biscuits after – you guessed it, half an hour of ‘I want a biscuit, I want a biscuit’. This was just after a half hour chorus of ‘I want some crisps, I want some crisps’ (we don’t do crisps very often). Okay, I won’t bore you with any more rhapsody, but Thor threw an entire cup of orange squash on the kitchen floor and Caleb handed me a squashed piece of poo from his nappy that was lying on the floor beside him, yuk.

I am smelling mushrooms at present. No, not the psilocybin variety, rather chestnut mushrooms drying in the food dehydrator. Pasties for their dinner, so nice and easy today and maybe wedges, better get them in the oven pronto.

I just booked a flight to Hungary on airmiles as I have to have some major dental work on that toothache I mentioned a number of weeks back. Flight £35 and a four star hotel besides the dentist £100 for 2 nights. With the work half the price to here in the U.K., a no brainier really. I will have to return there in a month or two, but maybe john and I can make a mini break out of that and discover a new city together!

Caleb is wandering around the living room without purpose as they are all ignoring him as all are transfixed with their devices. Poor Caleb, he doesn’t know where to focus. Though he has just stuffed Tara’s ‘Elmer’ from Sesame Street fame, behind the television and he is trying to burst Amritsar’s blue balloon. The devil hath work for idle hands…

Oh and did I mention that Thor has contracted ‘shingles’? They all had a very mild form of chicken pox a couple of years ago. It was great, we thought we had gotten that one out of the way early on. Nobody mentioned that it was still possible to get ‘shingles’. I thought that one was only possible to catch in middle age! Oh well, he’s on acyclovir four times daily. I hope the rash looks better before Monday and his return to preschool…

I recently reserved – just in case you couldn’t remember my blog address and this new web address should get you to the same place – I just gave it a go and I found myself looking back at me. Now, why am I sharing this information? I guess because I am thinking about what is in a description? To be honest, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to connect the description of what my blog and diary is, to the website itself. When I ‘google’ Andi Webb, some other person comes up as being with my name! However if I ‘google’ or ‘bing’ diary of a Gay Dad, comes up at the top of the list. And as much as I am okay that my name and spelling of it is shared by a number of people and indeed there are also many gay dads out there who blog, I appreciate that it is my blog that you have come to read!

So, can I take this moment to thank everyone of my readers who take a few moments out of their hectic lives to hear about what’s going on, here in the Shires.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH (more tomorrow).

Spin, Spin, Spin

I did say in an earlier diary entry that I would show you Remus, doing what he does best! And here he is whirling like a Dervish. At present he is sat beside me on the sofa, as is Gracie, looking a lot more chilled. The children have just gone up for a shower with Sindy, before going to bed. Remus has just let out an almighty sigh and is nuzzling his nose into the corner of the sofa. It’s a hard life for a dog isn’t it.

The Sudocrem Incident

So, the big question is, did the peace of earlier last? We are nearing the end of the day and an amnesty has just been granted to the little ones regarding earlier behaviour! I needed to print something from the P.C. In the bedroom. I can’t have been gone for more that ten minutes. But I was recalled to the living room firstly by Amritsar and then a slightly more frantic Tara. ‘The little ones have the sudocrem’ Tara asserted, ‘you must come back down quickly’. I dropped what I was doing and bolted down the stairs with haste. On entering the living room I spied a naked Caleb, his bottom and back smeared with sudocrem (an oily cream used for nappy rash). There had been a half hearted attempt to clean up the mess as baby wipes were scattered aplenty. But there was a good amount of incriminating sudocrem over Thor’s hands, the floor, their large cushion in front of the television, plus smears over chairs and tables alike. Caleb was immediately placed on ‘the thinking chair’, swiftly followed by Thor. Aaliyah looked as guilty as sin. Tara piped up, ‘it was her, it was her that gave Thor the sudocrem’. As the ignition of such an event, she was immediately expelled to her bed. All three were screaming and the girls continued to tell them that they were so, so naughty. To be honest, I had to walk into the hall to catch my breath. Mrs Snodgrass’s Naughty School was mentioned more than once and all three pleaded ‘no Dadda, please – not Mrs Snodgrass’. The boys remained on the chairs for thirty minutes and Aaliyah was finally asked to rejoin them before I explained that they have until bedtime to prove that they can be good. Well almost bedtime now, a few ups and downs, but overall they have made amends. So I am happy that our nanny Sindy is in tomorrow to ask them if they had been good on her day off. We’ll see what they say shall we?

Self Managment

Coming in from the garden earlier, I had quite a surprise! The children were actually managing themselves. Google was playing them an age appropriate song and Thor was stood over her poised to silence her. The dancing came to a stop and they all stood still and giggled. Thor ‘MC’ started up the music once more and they all started dancing and jumping again. Musical statues with no adult intervention. They are growing up so fast – what a cliche!

Caleb ripped off his nappy earlier, thinking that I wouldn’t notice. But Aaliyah shouted ‘Dadda, Dadda, Caleb took his nappy off’, one of them always reports on the other if they are being naughty.

No Sindy today and so far, no major dramas. We are all at the table doing drawing and stencilling at present. Thor is drawing treasure chests and Aaliyah is screaming for more paper. Amritsar is now screaming at Aaliyah for drawing on her book. I spoke too soon didn’t I?

Moon Bathing

I believe that tomorrow night is the full moon at its peak for this month. However given the cloudless skies in the Shires this evening, I have just spent the last twenty minutes, taking the time to admire its evocative glare. Here in the crystal clarity of the countryside, with the lack of artificial light, the garden is illuminated with a frenzy of sparkles, that is dreamlike in its lustre. The woodland beyond has taken on a magical, almost fairylike feel. Okay, I’ve finished my cigarette now and I am heading back inside for a glass of white wine.

John was home a bit late, we enjoyed yet another Indian meal and the children enjoyed toad in the hole – ‘why is it not called sausage in the hole’ Tara remarked! And dessert was apple strudel with double cream. This they have asserted, would be acceptable every night of the week. Hmmmm – we’ll see about that!

Everyone happy here, as I hope you out there are. But if you are not entrapped by the glare of the city, spend a minute out there and moon bathe for a few moments. It can be very contemplative.

Birthday Boy

Sorry for my absence of four days. No major disturbances or an awful lot to shout about really. Though that being said, we (John and I) went out in London on Friday night – a surprise meal to celebrate my birthday, that is in fact today. We grabbed the number 9 bus and headed for the Aldwych. By the time we stopped on the Strand, I guessed that it had to be ‘The Savoy’ we were dining at. So, thank you John for the special treat, the food was great. We didn’t celebrate Valentines Day on Valentine’s Day! Shame on us for not. But we chose to celebrate it last night with a seafood feast. Please note the picture above. Tara practiced a new word and insisted on me videoing it ‘Langoustines’, she got there in the end. Please note the video below! I am now looking forward to Birthday cake. It’s a hard life. And thank you to anyone who Facebooked me their birthday wishes. I promise to be back tomorrow with another diary update.

The Boys New Haircuts

Now, don’t they look smart? Thor is loving his more manly look and Caleb doesn’t seem too bothered about loosing some of the length at the back. It seemed a shame to cut too much off from his curly locks, but some day I think we will just have to bite the bullet, as I think he still regards himself as a girl. This last week or so he has both been referring to himself as a ‘she’ and asserting how much he likes the colour pink. Thor was telling the teachers at preschool that he likes dressing up as a girl and wearing Tara’s nickers. This might just be the reason that he is continually shedding his nappy, with or without poo inside. This transgression might happen when they are up on their floor without an adult present, but it certainly does not bode well with John or myself downstairs. It’s difficult to know what to think. But thanks to Thor, all of the women at preschool are now well aware of the situation. Maybe those golden, curly locks, days are numbered…

What’s on the Menu Then?

Now if you are a regular indulger in my diary, this will be just a recap. But if you have recently found ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’, then I have this to say! ‘Man can not live by bread alone’ and ‘let them eat cake’! Well, not really as I don’t bake that many cakes, just birthday ones and the occasional collaboration with the children making cupcakes (and very occasionally with chocolate). Let us create a positive spin on ‘Man can not live by bread alone’, of course I should have quoted the politically correct saying of ‘WE can not live by bread alone’.

Okay, I love to cook and I always cook in batches, I freeze two thirds of what I prepare in two separate containers and eat the other third on the day that it is produced. So many dishes lend themselves to the ‘table d’hote’ idea (go on, google it). You probably make some of these yourself at home. Bolognese sauce, cooked for at least two hours is a must and easily transformes into a chilli con carne with the addition of red kidney beans and some chilli sauce (I use the Sriracha one from Thailand). If you use Dolmio sauce, the one with extra garlic is acceptable. But do try and make your sauce from scratch, it’s just too simple (try to find the time, it is also a lot cheaper). You might also remember that I only cook with basmati rice (and I only make it in the microwave).

For me, Puttanesca is the royalty of Italian sauces. My personal favorite. The other pasta sauces we eat regularly are home made carbonara (ham, mushroom, Parmesan, garlic, double cream and seasoning), all thinly sliced, or the other option is using smoked salmon instead of ham.  This is one of the most amazing pasta dishes you will ever enjoy. I am presuming you like smoked salmon, that is. You don’t need a lot of salmon, but like carbonara, watch you don’t dry out the sauce once you add it to the cooked pasta! Use a little full fat milk (not cream) to thin it down slightly if you are a little wary of overindulgence.

These things don’t take up a lot of your time. That is with regards physical work. And regarding the length of time to cook a basic bolognaise made with minced beef, just simmer the sauce on the lowest heat, with the lid on and try not to leave the house (lol)! The other option available is to use minced pork. Perfectly cooked within thirty minutes. The final Italian essentials in this house are those meatballs that I make again and again. I have several recipes for them at this point. Don’t buy those factory made pellets from the supermarket, put in some real ingredients and say to people ‘I made this’! With  cooking the sauce yourself, there comes a certain pride. These dishes are very basic, easily made and enjoyed by both the children and us adults alike.

John really loves his meat and two veg, being Irish and all, so there is always a roast dinner on the menu every week, usually on a Sunday with us all participating. Just one tip for the roast potatoes and that is the meat juices and some of the fat. Just make sure you smash the potatoes about a bit for a lighter, fluffier result. It’s only once a week, so indulge yourself.

There is always an Indian meal in our average week. Both for us grown ups and for the children. There are so many recipes I could talk about, but the main advice is to make what you like but cook out those spices long enough to turn the strength of them into pure sweetness, whichever spice combo you use. Don’t forget the holy trinity (fresh garlic, ginger and chilli). Tomato and onions will sweeten your sauce to perfection.

Other Asian based flavors served up on a more or less weekly basis are those from Thailand and China. I love these sweet and sour flavor combinations. I pretty much get creative with Thai food. And as for Chinese food, I backward engineer from those at the Chinese takeaway. I really have to take a deeper look at Vietnamese cuisine. Note to one self!

Lastly, we all deserve moments of elevation. And I love to cook with fish and shellfish. Most weeks I throw together something that both John and I will enjoy as a real treat. Lobster Thermidor or ‘Coquille Saint Jaques Mornay’ sound a little bit too fancy, even the French word ‘mornay’ (with cheese) kind of makes it sound extremely complex. But take a fresh look at these French classics. Just dress a good cheese sauce over your cooked fish or shellfish and voila! It just sounds too simple doesn’t it! Use a whisk whilst making your sauce to avoid lumps and use plenty of mature cheddar cheese, plus a teaspoon of English mustard (I wouldn’t bother using gruyere). Plenty of mature cheddar, both in the sauce and on the top before you blitz in the oven for twenty five minutes. Serve with oven French fries or home made chips. I love to scrape off the dark, crystalised bit around the edge of the dish – wow, so tasty! You can always substitute good quality prawns if Lobster meat or scallops are not available. A small tip – Canadian lobster is always available before Christmas at just six pounds each. I always stock up the freezer when the going is good. Another small tip – whatever your thoughts about shopping at Iceland supermarket. Their frozen fish is definitely worth the trip. The Argentinian red prawn and scallops are certainly worthy… Oh! And invest in a few ‘Au Gratin’ dishes if you want to serve up something that looks like you ordered it in a quality restaurant.

Of course the children eat what just the children eat as well. But this entry in my blog couldn’t possibly showcase baked beans and a jacket potato with grated cheese on top, surely not! Albeit a very tasty, nutritious and cost effective meal!

As I am our family chef, my daily updates will continue to enlighten you regarding what’s on the menu, but please allow me to advise, if it sounds tasty reading about it on this blog, maybe give it a go at home yourself… Bon appetite

Love It or Hate It

I have harked on about food again and again. And do you know what? Eating is a pleasure, not a chore! I firmly believe that allowing children to be picky and awkward at the dinner table is denying that child the true right to choose from life’s bounty of flavours and variety in later life. There are those out there with young children who take the easy option. It is hard not to, I know we lead busy lives and it’s just easier to let little ‘Freddy’ or ‘Freya’ refuse to eat certain items. Our children have all done it with various food stuffs. Cheese, peas, mushrooms, tomatoes have all been refused at some point or another. But I stick to my guns. They have to at least try it and swallow. They have been exposed to pretty much all foods from an early age. Olives are a family favourite, liked as much as the occasional packet of crisps. They just go through cycles of like and dislike. Thor is the worst from our bunch. He loves cheese, he hates cheese. The same can be said with his relationship with ham, even sliced chicken or pate. But as strong as his opposition, he finally voices his love of that item. At present he loves cheese and often tells me ‘I love cheddar Dadda’, but last month he would refuse to eat a cheese sandwich, even with branston pickle. Funny boy is Thor.

I am going to have a think and later today write down exactly what we do eat as a family. Also what John and I enjoy eating. I have mentioned a number of things that we eat on a regular basis. They’ll be at the top of the list for sure.

Smoothies and Sweeties

And popcorn to boot. John not around this afternoon, so to keep the not so famous five focussed, unlike this mornings crazy goings on, I thought a more structured approach might be in order. Bagels for lunch then a couple of movies with sugared popcorn. Some dancing with the Beatles (Help album), summer berry smoothies and a sausage, pea and mash dinner, with the remaining celebrations chocolates (from Christmas) for dessert. Mind you having left them to write this in the kitchen, the tempo has risen a few levels and the sound of their running and screaming can be heard. There is laughter however, though I am just waiting for the eventual shouts and screams of someone falling over or just getting a bit angry. The worst scenario at present is Amritsar shouting that Tara has pinched her! It seems to happen again and again. Of course they are friends again soon enough. Thor seems to think that he is a small baby every now and then, saying that he is not Thor, rather a little baby called Mee! I’m not sure how that arose, but there we have it. I will finish on that note, get mashing those potatoes and find a picture of Thor to amuse you with that I took earlier when he relaxed back with his second bowl of popcorn, sat on the pew in the kitchen. That pew is actually where John and I met! Rather it came from the Coleherne Pub in Earls Court. It sat for a number of years on the hallowed ground where we first started talking. I purchased it from the then manager of the pub, Barry. Paid a hundred and fifty quid for it all those years ago, a lot of money. Probably worth twenty pounds at auction today, but it has a lot of history and means a lot to us.

Five Go Wild

I am sat in the kitchen, having come down later this morning. John had cooked them pancakes. At present the children are running past me completely naked! Daddy is upstairs getting clothes, however they have (excluding Thor) all offed their Pyjamas and are running loops around me through the living room, kitchen, hall, again and again, doing laps. Thor is now playing ‘The Wolf’ and they are all screaming. Caleb has pee’d on the floor.

being the ring leader, Tara has been asked to clean up Caleb’s pee! They have both attempted to do so with kitchen roll. I have now just asked them to wash their hands. Daddy has come down with today’s clothing and things have become a little more sedate. The sofa cushions are all amassed on the floor so there is nowhere for an adult to sit in there. As much as I feel like going back up the stairs and lie on the bed, I am now off to rearrange the sofas.

Will update you later!

Spaghetti Heads



It’s not yet lunchtime, but we’ve had our ups and one or two downs as well. Pretty standard stuff I guess. Amritsar has been in quite the ‘mood’ but did cheer up when I helped both Tara and herself stitch together their alien hand puppets brought home from school as a weekend project. I taught them ‘blanket stitch’ and probably did a little too much sewing on their  behalf. Now with regards lunch, with an abundance of puttanesca in the freezer, guess what we are having with the spaghetti? Better get it on to boil in a moment, though I just had a thought! Toddler pics of spaghetti lunches, please note today’s pictures! Yes things are certainly looking up… Weekends are a little less chaotic nowadays, which is well deserved as parents I hope. They used to stress me out, but with the terrible twos well behind us and the troublesome threes dissipating, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Vineyard

Okay, I’m not a restaurant or food critic, though I am a bit of a foodie if truth be known. It’s funny isn’t it! When you are a couple together for a number of years, so often you end up ordering the same dishes. Not through blind laziness, ‘I’ll have the same as him’, rather your pallets are just so in tune. We both ordered the same for all three courses. You have to smile. It has in fact been two years since our last visit to the Michelin stared Vineyard. My birthday two years ago lead to a major disappointment there when the chef had chosen to substitute a dish serving a very ‘blue’ filet of lamb with saddle! Yes the toughness of ‘rump’ really does not lend itself to being served almost raw. I did make a complaint and in fairness they did comp my main course, but it was untouched, excusing the three mouthfuls of meat. But leaving in haste as we did, the bill still came to two hundred pounds as there was zero understanding of just how the celebratory meal was a complete wash out. I had but eaten a rather wispy smoked salmon starter and a few mouthfuls of inedible meat, obviously Johns enjoyment of the celebration had been marred, so we just decided to not return. Though here we are, almost two years later and we returned and had a very pleasant meal, though portion wise, a little meagre. The carbs were non existent, that is if one did not include the two portions of very tasty home made bread rolls that were served. A final bill of two hundred and forty pounds made us consider things. And to be honest, the atmosphere was not sufficient to compel us to rush back. Service (front of house) was very good, but sadly the menu was lacking in That ‘something dynamic’ you would expect with a restaurant prizing itself on its level of quality.

P.s. On the greater visual stimuli of the environment , the prints / engravings on the walls should certainly be reconsidered! This is just my own personal opinion and is not meant to offend the restaurants design team…

Tooth Ache and Fine Dining

Well the title says it all. A final drilling and filling of my upper left wisdom tooth and here, four days later, the underlying root is throbbing away merrily. Our babysitter Nikki is about to arrive and here I sit, the children rampaging away upstairs and we are soon to head off to dine at the Vineyard. Popped a couple of paracetamol and now hoping for the best. I will keep this blog short as John is about to arrive home, as is Nikki about to ring that door bell. I think I need to drink wine to numb the pain. Maybe an update later. Bon appetite…

Birthday Card

I received my first birthday card this morning. There’s an Irish postal Mark so I think it is from Granny and Granddad in Dublin. Thank you Hazel and Michael. I think John and I are going out next weekend to celebrate it and we are going to do cake with the children on Sunday afternoon. Tara, Aaliyah and Amritsar are going to help our nanny Sindy bake it! Amritsar and Tara’s Birthday is coming up too at the end of March. I did some shopping for their big day today as I managed to escape the house as all are either at school or preschool until 3.15pm on a Thursday. Overall happy with the bits and bobs purchased. My own gift (from John) however is a days wage for a Chippie to come and rebuild a chunky mahogany coffee table. The gift is at my request. Another rip off purchase I made on eBay that fell to bits in a flash. Two hundred pounds splashed out on an antique table that fell apart. Don’t get me going – some of the rubbish available on eBay is scandalous. The table is basically four cut down snooker table legs that were badly screwed into a mahogany top. Some antique dealers attempt to botch together something from bits they had lying around. These kinds of things might look good in the photographs, but there you go, enough said. I miss the old brass coffee table. It was circular with a hole in the middle. It was a hand made Indian style with brass rivets in it (Victorian arts and crafts). Only problem was that the sheet brass started coming up and became a bit of a health and safety issue with the children. Luckily we were spared any cut fingers – it had to go, but it did look well in the living room. Safety above style sadly. I remember when auntie Sara’s two were little. She padded every surface with foam pipe cladding and removed everything from the living room. I do get it, but I have so many memories involving our old brass coffee table involving all of our children. They used it as a house, a castle, a car, even a flying saucer. Plus we stashed the sea of toys inside of it at the end of each day. I am a lot happier that we no longer do toys in the living room. It’s good to feel like an adult again. Just one of the sacrifices in the early years we all make.