Category Archives: General


Family Break In The Lake District

Over the past week we’ve been staying in a cabin between Windermere and Ambleside at the Lake District. With us heading to Florida later in the year I wanted to get the kids away during the school holidays so we could all spend some time together before the next term begins.


We stayed at the pretty fantastic 11 Skiptory Lodge on Whitecross Bay which is between Ambleside and Windermere. The accommodation was really great – we like our own space when we’re on holiday and the lodge proved to be a massive hit with all the family. The space was just brilliant – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen and a large decked area with a barbeque and table and chairs. Everything seemed so new in the lodge – it’s kept to such a good standard that we felt like the first visitors. The other thing that really impressed us about the accommodation was that it felt like everything had been thought of; fishing nets for the kids, DVDs about the local area, guides/maps/flyers, umbrellas, kids games, there was even an acoustic guitar to play.

With it being on the grounds of Whitecross Bay holiday park you get access to the pool, marina, shops and park for the kids.

Out And About

After we’d got to grips with the area we managed to fit quite a few things in without it ever seeming like we were rushing around too much. We hired a motor boat and checked out Lake Windermere, walked to the top of Kirkstone Pass, went swimming, climbed at Treetop Trek, went to a waterfall and took a look around the local towns. There were plenty of things to do and we still had enough time to chill out back at the cabin and fire up the barbecue – I’m now a fully fledged grand master of barbecuing in the rain.

British Weather

Speaking of the weather we seemed to get incredibly lucky, throughout the day it was dry but by night the downpours were torrential. Fortunately we were already back at the cabin by the time the rain kicked in and the skies were clear by the time were up and about in the mornings. That said, if you don’t get lucky like we did you’ve kind of just got to go for it and not let it stop you.

We spent a lot of time around Ambleside and it’s surrounding villages, only heading in to the much busier Windermere town centre once during our stay. I’ve got a lot of time for the Lake District, I’ve only been a few times but there always seems to be something to do or see that I wasn’t aware of before. The kids like it because it’s usually pretty activity packed for them and they get to spend a lot of time outdoors. Hugely recommended if you’ve got kids that like a bit of the outdoor life!

The Divine Comedy And Me

A weird thing happened to me today. Last night I decided to record myself playing the Father Ted theme tune on ukulele and post it onto YouTube. I’d spotted the tab a few days back and since I’m a big fan of the show I wanted to have a blast at it.

I got through it on the second take (I messed up the first take right at the end!) and uploaded the video file, gave it a quick tweet from my very new Ukulele Go! Twitter account and thought nothing more of it. Then this morning I got a tweet back from The Divine Comedy (who wrote the song) saying they loved it and had posted it to their Facebook page. I was totally stunned. What a bizarre end to the year!

Teaching Kids Guitar

For the past few weeks I’ve been teaching Ben how to play guitar. I don’t know if your kids are like mine but the last person my kids want showing them how to do something is their own dad. So it’s fair to say it’s been a bit of a battle, but the good news is that it’s really paying off. After the initial steep learning curve that the guitar has, once you can comfortably switch between 3 of 4 chords a lot opens up for you. Continue reading

I Love My Kindle (And I Don’t Even Own One)

For years I stopped reading, I’m not really sure why – just life got in the way I guess, which incidentally is the best excuse for anything ever. Anyway, the point is for probably the best part of a decade I didn’t read a single book.

In truth I did attempt to read a few but I lost my page, I lost the book, I lost interest. It just wasn’t happening. All of that changed when I downloaded the Kindle app to my iPhone. The fact that I can read a book and always have it with me is what keeps me reading. I can pick up the book even if I just have a spare 5 minutes and get through a few pages, I never lose my page. For the most part, I’m probably preaching to the converted here but it’s actually the fact that I read on my phone rather than a Kindle that keeps me reading. When most people learn that I read on my phone, they say that it’s too small or something similar but they will happily read a page on the internet on their phone. It’s exactly the same as why I use my iPhone camera a lot more than I use a regular camera. It’s always there.

I tend to like reading crime books and I have to say that I should probably break out of this a little more often than I do but here’s a list of books I’ve read that I would recommend if you like similar things…

  • The Penal Colony
  • Any of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Books
  • The Hunger Games
  • 11.22.63
  • Life of Pi
  • Shatter
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series

I’ve read loads more but for the large part they’re all crime books that are much of a muchness. I like them but it’s hard to differentiate between them.

Thanks to Kindle and iPhone for getting me reading again!

Crazy About Learning

Maybe its because I’m getting old, but I find myself wanting to learn more and more stuff, at the moment I’m putting a lot of hours into my guitar, skateboarding, 3D, getting better at coding and also improving my drawing.

There’s definitely a process for learning but it’s one that I struggle with. Throughout learning you constantly have to strive for something that you can’t quite achieve yet – whether that’s spending time getting to grips with complex strumming patterns, attempting a trick that you’ve never landed on your skateboard, it doesn’t matter – it has to be something that you can’t already do. It sounds obvious I know, but I’ll explain my difficulty with it… Continue reading