Getting ‘Up to Date’

Well, this diary was predominantly written way before covid hit us. The children were still quite young. So where are we now in their development?

Amritsar and Tara were 9 years old back in March. They are both happy, beautiful girls. And yes, they do fight often… Tara is a bit of a Tomboy, but we can still get Amritsar into a dress on occasion!

Thor (now 7) is a little charmer, and a bit of a dude! They like that word – dude! Then we have Aaliyah, who loves pink, rainbows and unicorns! And she happily gets into a dress at any opportune moment. Then there’s finally Caleb, a good looking chap as it happens, a little too prone to tantrums for my liking however.

Caleb has a few learning and socialising difficulties. We are working out a plan for his future needs with his school at present. The others all seem to be excelling at school, especially sports! Aaliyah would like to return to gymnastics. She gave it up before covid hit, falling out with the coach, who seemingly made a rude comment about her hair of all things!

Amritsar loves netball, Tara football (obviously) and Caleb is undecided on his chosen sport! It’ll come, though they all ran well on their sports day at school last week. I’m not sure about Thor’s chosen sport! He did start football club, like Tara, but doesn’t really know what to do with the ball!

The children’s summer fete was held last weekend and today’s photo is of Thor with his snakey looking face paint! Fun was had by all.

I will remind you that I am known as Dadda in the family, and my partner John is Daddy. Daddy’s work keeps him busy, and home life seems to keep me busy enough! Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner is still a thing! We do eat rather well for sure.

We are at present looking to move house. The children are all growing so fast. Their two rooms on the top floor just don’t seem to be big enough. Amritsar definitely wants her own room, as does Aaliyah. Tara would definitely be happy to kip in with the boys. Though that’s not going to happen. She does get a bit boisterous at times! And definitely leads the two boys astray.

That’s it for now. Oh! I didn’t mention Aaliyah and Caleb’s age. They will be 7 next week on 5th July. Though their party will be held the following weekend. More on that for sure.

A Happy Medium!

Before we found our ‘Family Life’

I was going to name this post ‘Instagram vs Blogging’, but I have settled on ‘A Happy Medium’!

Yesterday, quite randomly, I decided to ‘Google’ myself and was surprised at a little memory that I found… once upon a time my name, ‘Andi Webb’ would have uncovered someone else with this very same name! One lady working for the US department of Education, or maybe an artist who produced a style of art that wasn’t really me!

But yesterday I ‘Googled’ my name and I, yes me, I came up! Well, a couple of the others alongside, but predominantly me. And that made me smile.

Several mentions down, way past my Instagram, my Worldpress, my book, or rather books on Amazon, there is a mention on IMDb, the movie information site, with my name, and that brought back a happy memory! A time when I designed clothes and costume, and worked on wardrobe for a couple of productions. I even made clothing for a few major celebs…

As you know, I tend to go visual nowadays, using Instagram as my main interaction within social media. But today I thought that I would reminisce about my experience yesterday here, on my blog, at Worldpress.

I smiled as my Instagram account Instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife came up first on the search, but then my blog, showing me, that it is relevant, somehow it means something! Then thirdly came my books, as mentioned, on the Amazon platform.

My audiobook of Eighteen Moons came next, then the IMDb mention…

I did enjoy designing clothes. I actually talk about this period of my life in my third book released by ‘My Life Publishing’ in January of this year. The title being ‘Many Moons Before’, the prequel to parenting. You know, I even made clothing for ‘Slash’ of Guns and Roses fame, back in ‘The Day’!

So back to the title of this post, a ‘Happy Medium’? I could not really have relayed what I am saying right now on Instagram! I forget this… I am a writer, a man with a diary… haha, predictive text has just shown me the word diarrhoea! You gotta smile…

I have made many friends on Instagram, several have purchased and reviewed my first book ‘Eighteen Moons’. And for that, I am grateful. But then again, I have made several friends over the years on Worldpress too. I hope you know who you are?

So, I have realised that I truly do want to write, and to do this with any effect, Twitter and Instagram are just not the right medium!

Lol and I can post photos on here too! that’s simply amazing. I’m sorry if they are mostly square…

So, ‘My Big Crazy Family Life’ continues, here at andiwebb.net / diaryofagaydad.net

Right, ‘A Happy Medium’ has indeed been struck! So, what about those photos I have been talking about!

Two Dads
And 5 beautiful children

I just realised!

Being back to blogging, albeit not daily, I just realised that I had reacquainted myself to you lovely people! But I have done very little by way of actually filling this diary with the day to day happenings within my family space!

Well, Aaliyah has only just hugged Remus, our Dalmatian and told him that she loves him. She is now skipping around the living room with Tara.

We are planning on going out shortly! To a local retail park to buy some ‘stuff’ at Pound Land! More, Chinese made, plastic tat, that will inevitably find its way to the bin. Especially if Caleb gets his hands on it!

A couple of Christmases ago he ripped the heads off of all 5 animal ‘squishies’ they had been given, over a 24hr period! He is still so very bad when it comes to breaking things. He makes it his mission to fidget with something until it gives / breaks.

He is presently watching ‘Siren Head’ on YouTube, on the television, with Thor! I’m not really sure if it is age appropriate! We will wait and see on that score.

Daddy has just gathered wood and kindling for a log fire that we shall light on our return home.

Tara and Amritsar are presently hugging daddy, or have they actually taken over playing daddy’s iPad? Hmmmh…

Aaliyah now doing art in the kitchen, and I? Well, I am resting on the sofa after having just served up a lunch of Sausage, mash and peas! I think that we are ordering ‘Chinese’ tonight! We only order takeaways about once a month! Last time it was Indian. Tandoori King Prawns… heaven, though a little too red looking I remember! Why do they do that?

I might give you an update on Thursday as it is my Birthday! Hoorah. I am not making a birthday cake this year, rather a pile of chocolate brownies with embedded Oreo cookies and roasted hazelnuts! Damn those hazelnuts took ages to blanch, peel and roast! Note to oneself! Buy pre done in the future! Like dressing a crab! I have learned that life is too short!

Happy Valentine’s all for tomorrow! If you celebrate it, that is! I think we are doing cards and a nice dinner of Alaskan Spider Crab and homemade triple cooked Chips / Fries… bliss!

Earlier in the day Daddy and Dadda are watching Tara play football for the school team. They are in the county quarter finals you know! Last week they won in all 4 matches they played to qualify! Fingers crossed that they are triumphant.

A very jubilant Tara last week!

More from the ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’ soon…

The Wolf Moon 🌙 and a Return to My Diary

With Monday’s full moon in 2 days, the Wolf Moon, and the first full moon of 2022, I return to my ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’!!!

This will be the 16th full moon since I stopped my regular diary record in October of 2020.

With all of the children so established in their Monday to Friday schooling, I ask myself, will I have enough content for this diary blog? And the short answer is yes!

Our weekends are always so full of fun and the joys and the dramas of living a big crazy family life…

At this point, I should say sorry for not contributing more to my ‘high days and holidays’ promise to sharing something to this diary these last sixteen moons.

So with that said and done! Expect to see me in your feeds a little more often. And I will make you a deal! If spending this absent time from blogging in getting to grips with Instagram has taught me anything! I sincerely promise you – if you send a blog post of mine a like, I will courteously respond to your blog by reading your latest post and liking it in return. The same can be said about comments! If you comment on my post, I will respond by paying you with the very same attention and commenting back on your latest post.

It will be great to get reacquainted with you all. And hopefully our friendships will blossom once again…

My first entry on diaryofagaydad.net is a happy one as it is Daddy’s (John’s) birthday today. We have just enjoyed Birthday Cake in the kitchen and the children are all now settled and watching a movie. Sindy our nanny is still with us you will be happy to know. And she is very kindly coming in this evening to babysit, allowing Daddy and Dadda to venture out for a meal at one of our favourite local restaurants.

An update on that tomorrow perhaps. It’s lovely to be back guys.

So, now can I finally take this moment to say ‘Wishing you all a wonderful 2022’ and let us all continue to dare to dream…

My Final Diary Entry, At Least For Now!

It is with some regret that on the 2nd anniversary of my diary blog diaryofagaydad.net, I have to explain, that after these past 24 months of sharing the ups and downs of parenthood, my musings on this forum have (for now) come to an end. I will of course leave the archive online and intact if you ever chose to relive the ups and the downs of 2 years of parenting five small children?

A message from a fellow blogger tonight that ‘I am bored’, has lead me to the conclusion that it is now time to step away!

No pictures, no finale, no fanfare, just goodbye for now my friends…

On other social media such as Facebook, I do not post often. But if you found any part of my blog something positive to muse over (btw predictive text just flashed up ‘pissup’ lol) just search ‘Andi Webb London’ and I will surely follow you back!

The other option is Instagram of course! http://www.instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

I am certainly considering ‘Diary of a a gay Dad, the teenage years’ though 4+ years away at this point! Another time altogether, maybe it will be a great time for us both to catchup once again.

Thank you for listening these last 2 years, thank you for being there and ultimately thank you for caring. I am very happy to know you.

And for those that I am not connected to on other social media platforms, good bye and take care.

Two Years on Worldpress

A moment ago I opened the Worldpress app and to my surprise I found a ‘Happy 2 Year Anniversary’ text!

Has it really been 2 whole years!

I started blogging back then in order to have a presence on social media. A diary blog seemed like a great idea to help promote my recently finished manuscript entitled ‘Eighteen Moons’. So my ‘diary of a gay dad’ began.

At first I was just blogging out there into the ether. I then shared to my Facebook page and attracted a few readers from there! Not many likes at all but I noted a readership after a few months of 39.

I joined Twitter so that I could share my blog to that platform and later on Instagram!

I thank Twitter for bringing many of my current readers. You know who you are! And I thank you for sticking with the ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’.

I have since stopped sharing to Facebook! And if any of my Facebook friends are still reading this, then I believe that you are indeed true friends.

As you know my mojo has waned in recent weeks. The blog didn’t really sell any books but a couple and I would like to thank the few of you who have enjoyed the story of ‘Eighteen Moons’.

Also did you know that there was a follow up book called ‘Thirteen Moons More’ a kind of ‘who we are now’ opposed to the ‘how we became’ of the original book. Both are available on the Amazon platform. The latter book is a kind of edit of the first 11 months of this diary! A time when thirteen moons passed!

But for now, two years on, the diary of a gay dad continues! So, Happy anniversary to me today! Two years hey! Who’d have thought it.

I thank you for your support.

Fungi Friend or Foe

Our return from holiday saw our lawn littered with various autumnal fungi. Yellow boletes were in abundance, one variety edible…

Another quite poisonous!

If a blue hue appears after cutting or breaking! Steer clear, not good to eat!

I ended up binning the lot sadly, I just couldn’t get John in on the idea that the edible ones might just taste nice!

All destined for the bin!

Though on the other hand I also found a good amount of field mushrooms in the orchard!

I enjoyed these fried in butter on a piece of sourdough toast!

John on the other hand went for the shop purchased chestnut mushrooms. Also very tasty however.

On the subject of foraging still. My blackberry jelly that I made yesterday has set to perfection overnight. The recipe is certainly to follow!

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Well, being a man of relatively few words nowadays, I have chosen to highlight another ‘Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner’.

Mind you, we have dined out thrice in these last 2 weeks or so! Fine dining in the Egyptian inspired tent at the Vineyard near Newbury amongst other gastronomic destinations that are not too far away from us in ‘The Shires’.

Always a memory of the years we holidayed on the ‘Costa del Sol’. Spanish Tortilla and Frits.

Though on this occasion, some of Dadda’s Triple cooked Chips!

A family staple of Red Shrimp Bisque, fine beans and boiled potatoes.

A Beef and Mushroom pie is always a good idea! Hold the milk or beaten egg on the pie topping. For that extra special, slightly blistered effect, brush with double cream before baking!

Spaghetti and Dadda’s meatballs are always well appreciated!

As you know, we love green beans and this dish of Lebanese green beans were an amazing side dish to Dadda’s Moroccan lamb (not pictured).

How do you serve Trout? I prefer simply.

Lamb filet with Dauphinois potatoes is worth pushing the boat out for. Though I should have used that pun on the previous Trout entry! Elevated of course with Dadda’s home made mint jelly. A condiment of pure bliss.

That’s all for now! The children are all well and today we are enjoying the garden in sunshine. There is talk about bike riding in a bit! Did I mention that both Aaliyah and Thor have started bike riding without stabilisers! Well done both of them.

Dadda Gets Jammin’

What couldn’t be more seasonal at the moment than apricots? As golden as those sunny days that we had throughout April and May, with the reddish hue of sundown. The weather, a little greyer now that meteorological summer has arrived, so today I thought that we needed something to brighten us all up!

Golden Apricot Jam

Ingredients:

1.5kg Apricots

100ml Lemon Juice

1.5kg Sugar

Method:

Halve and de-seed your apricots, then quarter and place in a large saucepan.

Add your lemon juice and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Your pulp is now ready for you to get Jammin’!

Add your sugar and stir in. Bring back to the boil. This may take several minutes.

You may have noted that I do not use apple pulp in this recipe! The truth is that apricots contain tons of pectin, the stuff that makes jam gel. You simply don’t need any booster.

Boil for 10 minutes. Once again, stirring occasionally. The stirring motion will help dissipate some of the bubbles. You could add a little butter also to help, but I don’t think it is necessary. If you keep the froth at bay, I just do the skimming at the end of the cooking. You do not want micro bubbles in your jam jars, do you? If you want a smoother jam, use a potato masher (very carefully) at this point to break up those larger pieces.

This jam does not need a lot of cooking. All that pectin makes this jam gel quickly. You will notice the drips from your spoon look thick and gelatinous. Perfect!

Sterilise your jars, ladle and jam funnel in your dishwasher. And carefully fill to the obligatory 8mm below the lid. Seal tightly and return jars to a large saucepan or steamer. Cover completely with hot water (if boiling) and boil for 20 minutes. Cool and dry off. I noted that 3kg (ish) of ingredients yielded 2.3kg of jam.

As a child and into my adulthood I did not like apricot jam at all. But then again, that was the shop brought stuff, so I’m not so surprised! However, these jars of homemade amber sunshine really could turn the humble apricots harshest critic into a lover. It certainly did with me! Amazing on heavily buttered, freshly baked bread.

Dadda Get’s Jammin’ Summer Berry Daiquiri Jelly

Dadda’s Jam. Well, what can I say! Did you know that I was secretly writing a book? Maybe you read that diary entry when I explained that, or maybe you did not! It all started last autumn when I completed my second book, ‘Thirteen Moons More’. I thought to myself, well what next? Oh, I had better just explain that ‘Thirteen Moons More’ is a follow on from my original book called ‘Eighteen Moons’, the story of how my amazing family came to be. It is the non fiction account (timeline) of our struggles to become a family, fighting both bureaucracy and prejudice in both Britain and India, then onto Thailand and Nepal.

‘Thirteen Moons More’ is an edit from my first 11 months of keeping my diary. Essentially a time leading up to our youngest three fledging the nest and starting school. Within that time 13 moons passed. This is the story of just who we are today! ‘My Big Crazy Family Life’ in a nutshell… Oh! That also happens to be our Instagram name!

www.instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

So, what was Dadda going to do next! Of course I continued my blog, but within its posts I began to get Jammin’ on a regular basis. So to all intents and purposes, Dadda Get’s Jammin’ was born. A recipe book on jam making and preserves unlike any other! When is a recipe book not quite a recipe book? You will find out a little later on.

Not only are my recipes on thoroughly modern jam making going to be present, but also my thoughts, a little wit and a good slice of my family’s day to day, crazy goings on.

Last October saw my first official jam recipe appear on my blog, ‘Ginger and Spiced Pumpkin’. And since then, every now and then, I have sneaked in the occasional Dadda Get’s Jammin’ slot. So, hopefully before the next ‘Spiced Pumpkin’ season is upon us, I will have enough material to edit and sculpt into my third publication! And you don’t have to think too hard regards the name.

Dadda Get’s Jammin’ of course.

Today’s mouthwatering treat is inspired by a recent post, Summer Berry Daiquiri. But this time rather than add the well set summer Berry jelly to the daiquiri, I’m making the jelly into the daiquiri. Another inspired combo is born.

Ingredients:

1Kg Summer Berries

200g Apple Pulp

1Kg Sugar

150ml lime Juice

2 large shots of dark rum

Method:

Sterilise your jam jars, ladle and jam funnel in your dishwasher.

Amass you’re summer berries or, as I did, open my 1Kg bag of frozen mixed berries. The bag contained raspberries, blackberries, black currants, red currents and blueberries.

In a large saucepan add your lime juice, apple pulp and your berries. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Cook for 5 minutes.

As this is a jelly, you will need to pass the fruit through a sieve at this point. Discard the pith and add the juice/pulp back to your pan. Add your sugar and boil for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t leave the room! Stir occasionally. Your jelly will start to show signs of a set when the liquid starts to fall in clumps, not drips. The mixture will become more velvet like in its appearance. I think that I have told you this before!

Not too much apple pulp in this recipe as black currents and red currents have tons of naturally occurring pectin. You may remember that I do not use shop purchased pectin in any of ‘Dadda’s Jam’.

Splash or splosh in the booze and stir.

Carefully ladle your jam into your jars and close the lids tightly. Re-sterilise in a large saucepan, covering the lids with boiling water or place in a steamer for around 20 minutes. Then leave to cool.

When jam tastes this good, enjoy it on warm, buttered baguette as soon as humanly possible!

Dadda’s Cocktails! The Summer Berry Daiquiri

And guess what? The only thing you need is one of Dadda’s Jams! And there are so many to choose from!

Now here’s the deal! To your blender, add a good slug of dark rum. Add a similar volume of lime (or lemon) juice and maybe 10 ice cubes. Finally complete with 2 large dessert spoons of Dadda’s jam. In this case, summer berry. Blitz until a sorbet like consistency is achieved.

Put your feet up and relax.