Dad cave

Google Man Cave and you’ll get 54.9million results (I checked), of amazing looking rooms, sheds and garages filled with an array of toys. For many men the idea of having their own little space, where they can watch sport, play computer games or just sit and drink beer is a dream. Now before you females jump up and down, I googled ‘women cave’ as well, the results were very different and certainly NSFW.

Rugby Badger Ale (4)

The reality of becoming a dad is that our house that once had lots of space, is now filled with toys and other toddler related crap. The garage that once housed my gym, is now over ran with bikes, cars and a deflated paddling pool. I was training this week and mid squat, I look down and see this:


Yeah that’s right, its Winnie the Pooh……in a potty. I dont know how it got there, why it got there, I don’t even know if Winnie the Pooh is potty trained. What I do know is that, its not particularly inspiring to train harder and squat more.

Do I want a place where toddler crap is banned and I don’t have to watch Jungle Book for the 45th time…………hells yeah. My criteria are as follows:

  • No women shit….pink stuff, fluffy stuff, glittery stuff
  • Big ass TV
  • PlayStation
  • Fridge –Stocked with Beer, Cider and Capri Suns
  • Array of snacks, mainly pies and M&M’s
  • Comfy chair
  • Urinal (so much easier for blokes to use)

Badger beer are running a campaign celebrating the British love affair with the garden shed. What better place to put a man cave than a shed. The first of the Ultimate Beer Shed series is this, a rugby themed shed.

I’m a football man so the rugby stuff will have to be replaced but check out that pie oven. Stick some cider and some Capri Suns in the Beer fridge and I’m done (I love Capri Sun’s by the way and I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like them). Lets be honest, I’m going to be hard pressed to get such an extravagant man cave approved by the OH, she runs a pretty tight ship and to be honest most of our garden is taken up by a slide, several toy cars and other assorted toys we couldn’t be arsed to bring inside. Unless Badger Beer could sort me out something on stilts…..Now there’s an idea…like a tree house.

Rugby Badger Ale (3)

A more realistic option is using our 4th bedroom, which we currently use as an office. Its where I do most the filming for my weekly #dadsday vlog, and would need to keep elements of an office, because I also work from home quite a bit. However, a big TV, my PlayStation, a comfy chair and a fridge for beers, I’ve got myself a pretty decent man cave. Maybe I could just start buying stuff slowing, that way the OH wont realise until its done……

Have any of you Dad’s got a man cave??? How does it compare with the Badger’s Ultimate Beer Shed.

Cant wait to see what badger has got in store for the rest of series.

This post is a collaboration with Badger Beer, opinions are my own and I can categorically confirm that I do want a man cave, I like beer and I love pies.

About Badger:

Badger Ales have been brewed in the heart of the Dorset countryside since 1777 byindependent brewers Hall and Woodhouse. They brew a range of quality beers andbelieve in always trying to make beer time as good as it can be – it’s hard earned and should never be ruined by a bad beer. It’s why they put so much care and expertise into making good quality beer that can be enjoyed by all.

Link to YouTube video



Rich at 18

If you’ve read my previous post Scran up north you will know I’m working with the Cumberland Building Society on their #Grinupnorth Campagin, as part of this I was invited into a local branch to talk to one of their advisors. The branch manager Jack Green contacted me and set the meeting up, I also received a text message reminder of the appointment, which was handy because I forgot which branch I was going to.

There are 5 branches in Carlisle, which is unheard of now in terms of Banking, as more and more is pushed online.

I was late, which is fairly typical for me as I regularly miss-judge the time it takes to get a toddler out of the house. But I arrived, was welcomed with a cup of coffee and apologised for the fact I was wearing a t-shirt, which I’m almost certain had mushed banana on.


I wanted to talk about savings…..We started a savings account when Effy was born, we contribute every month to it, along with my parents. The plan is to let this build up and when she’s 18, she can have access to it. It’ll likely work out at approximately £20,000. So although not millions, a fairly decent amount for her to either use towards a house, a car or travelling. Whatever she wants to do with it really, but ideally she won’t decide to spend it all on shoes. When we opened the account, we just wanted something straightforward, and something we could easily pay into.

The account we have at the moment pays 1.50% interest, which although gives us a little bit, isn’t great really in the long term. One of jack’s first questions was, are we planning to withdraw from it…….we aren’t. This is Effy’s account and not a little pot for us to dip into when we want a holiday or a weekend away. On this basis we are better using Cash Junior ISA, which although does not allow withdrawals, gives us a much better rate. Over an 18yr period, that could make a big difference as the account balance grows. On the Effy’s 18th birthday, the account will be transferred to a Cash ISA with instant access and the Effy will be able to make withdrawals. To open an account like this is fairly straightforward, book an appointment by contacting a local branch or using the online system. Turn up without banana on your t-shirt (this isn’t actually stipulated by the Cumberland) and provide some ID and proof of address.

We also talked more generally about the ethos of The Cumberland. I spoke about this in my weekly vlog No Drone Zone, I even sing the catchy advert they used to do on TV and local radio (skip to 13:50, to hear my rendition). The Cumberland value their local customers. They are also extremely proud of the customer service they provide and their bank account customers are the happiest in the UK according to research undertaken by Fairer Finance. You will struggle to find a person in Carlisle who hasn’t held a Cumberland Building Society account at some point in their lives, they are as well-known as Cumberland Sausage ‘up north’. What was clear from my meeting with Jack was that this focus on customer service and large number of local branches is at the heart of the business. This doesn’t mean they can’t offer the same type of services that everyone has come to expect from large, worldwide banks:

  • Online appointment booking
  • Contactless debit cards
  • Internet banking
  • Mobile Banking app
  • Pay2mobile (mobile payment system like Barclays Pingit)
  • Free Card use abroad (On The Cumberland Plus account)

I could go on but check out their website for all the services offered.

The Cumberland has 34 branches located across Cumbria and North Lancashire offering mortgages, savings, current accounts and home insurance. It was named ‘Best Regional Building Society’ for a third year at the 2017 Mortgage Finance Gazette awards. Its businesses like this who make the ‘north’ a great place to live. I’m proud to be from Cumbria and will continue to #grinupnorth

This post has been completed in collaboration with The Cumberland . This article should not be relied upon when making investment decisions. Always obtain financial advice.





Men’s Health Week

Right gents….lets openly admit to the world….we are absolutely shit at looking after ourselves. Since my mam stopped making my Doctor’s appointments, I’ve just kind of hoped I don’t die. My general rule of thumb is to ignore it and hope it goes away. I’ve been lucky and on the whole, this has served me well. It’s purely by chance that I’ve not become seriously ill or needed any specialist treatment or care. I’m not a medical professional by any stretch of the imagination. I’m very aware that “ignore it” is absolutely terrible advice. I’m pretty certain no doctor has ever said “ok Mr Dadupnorth, you’ve broke your leg, it needs operated on and you’ll be in plaster for 3 months…..but I tell you what, we’re not going to bother, we’ll just ignore it, from now on I’ll be ignoring you and you certainly shouldn’t tell you wife about it….Goodbye hop-along”. I know people criticise the NHS (I don’t its bloody amazing), but hospital’s and GP’s dont just ignore stuff.

If Effy gets ill I will google frantically what her symptoms are and will make no hesitation to take her to the doctors. We’ve had 2am trips to A&E and I generally feel I’m very observant about her health. I’m the same with my OH, I’m much more careful about other people’s health than I’ am with my own. I’ve passed the 30 mark now and I generally think my body is able to cope with less. I do get ill more, I can’t play football without warming up and I can’t just eat what I want. I need to not only take care of my daughter but myself.

Men’s Health week runs every year from 12-18th June, the aim of which is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. I’m clearly not the only bloke who chooses to ignore and hide away from health problems. If I was, Men’s health week wouldn’t be needed. Perhaps just a strongly worded email sent directly to me, to tell me to stop acting like a dick and take better care. Preventable illness and diseases should not go untreated or unsupported but let’s be honest, they do. Men like me, choose not to make that phone call or appointment. I’ve wrote about Mental health in my blog post The Struggle and the reluctnace to seek out support is the same as with any physcial health issue.

Is it laziness or pride or embarrassment? Well let me tell you a little secret. Tena men contacted me and asked if would share this infographic on social media:

Tena-Men-Infographic-Chosen-Route-Square-FINALYou know what my first reaction was…..Not a chance, that’s embarrassing and surely doesn’t even affect men too much. Not exactly what I said, because I talk much more Cumbrian than that but that was the general gist. And there it is, for me, the exact reason men don’t bother going to the doctor, don’t bother checking themselves, don’t bother telling their partner if they are worried, don’t bother talking to their mates about a lump they’ve found…….Embarrassment.

I looked up Urine leakage in men and according to the Tena website, it happens to 1 in 4 men* making it a very common occurrence. Tena has a whole range of products and support to help find the right treatment and stay in control. Tena also offer a free sample pack which you can order online and get delivered discreetly.

So gents…..Whether it’s a persistent cough, odd lump, constant headache or a bit of leakage…..stop been a dick, stop being embarrassed and get it checked out.

* Based on survey conducted by SCA in 2012, with men over 40 in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Russia and Mexico by SCA. Data on file not published. Statistic taken from the Tena Men website.

Britains next top vlogger

Short post but in case you’ve missed my constant self-promotion on Twitter and instagram, I’m on my way to vlogging stardom 😂😂😂

Not entirely sure if I’ve got the face or voice for video but, I have begun a weekly series of vlogs which will focus on my day off with Effy. May need to add subtitles for my Cumbria accent and it turns out I scratch my face a lot, but I’m actually enjoying filming and editing them. Watch the first video ‘No Drone Zone’ to find out more details about why I’ve started them, but basically; I’ve got a new job and now work full time hours over 4 days instead of 5. I get a day off through the week (usually a Monday) to spend with Effy. I’ve always wanted a day which is just me and Effy, I know I could do this on a weekend, when my OH is off but I would then be missing out on spending time with her and as a family. As I’m ultra cool and modern, I’ve titled the series #dadsday. Have a look at the Dadupnorth Youtube channel, where you can watch first 2 episodes. Would love for you to subscribe, comment and like videos. Unless you think they’re shit, then just move on and watch something else.

Would love for other dads to get involved and tag me in their #dadsday. Doesn’t have to be a video, could be a blog post or photo. Anything really, just tag #dadsday and @dadupnorthblog on Instagram and twitter and I’ll share.


Scran up north

Im working with the Cumberland Building Society on their #grinupnorth campaign. When approached, I was super excited about getting involved in a campaign that celebrated what the ‘north’ has to offer. I’m not named dadupnorth by coincidence. I live in Carlisle, was born in Carlisle and have a ‘proper’ Cumbrian accent. Cumbria really is a great place to live…We put gravy on chips, don’t care if it rains and produced 1/3 of 90’s pop band 911 (Google them…some absolute pop classics). There are 2 parts to this campaign. Part one, which is this post is all about one of my favourite places to visit in Cumbria. Part two which I will do another post on, will discuss my visit to one of their local advisor’s to talk about financial planning.

So……one of my favourite places in Cumbria, is Dutch Uncle. A restaurant which sits in the heart of Carlisle’s beautiful historic quarter. This is away from an area of town which is saturated with pubs and Italian restaurants. Historically Carlisle hasn’t exactly been the mecca for fine cuisine and it certainly hasn’t embraced national food trends. Go back 5/6 years and the city centre had an abundance of average Italian restaurants, which were all pretty identical. There was also a lot of pubs, where you could get a burger and a pint for £6 or some scampi if you were lucky. It wasn’t all bad, outside the city centre there was and still are some brilliant gastro pubs, restaurants and hotels, serving unbelievable food. Nevertheless for me….the city centre was lacking. Lacking choice, lacking something new and lacking any originality.

In 2014, The Dutch uncle was born…Created by Sam Norman, a local lad and already the owner of the hugely successful Shabby Scholar, which is located in the same Carlyle Court. 2 years earlier the Shabby scholar brought a modernised version of tapas to Carlisle. Dutch Uncle introduced artisan food, made with fresh, local ingredients. Sam and his chefs change the menu every month and his bar staff create some unbelievable cocktails. It’s the type of place you go and genuinely feel looked after, not pestered to drink more, order more and check every chip tastes ok, but looked after. He has a remarkable eye for style and Dutch Uncles décor is fitting to the style of food it serves. Its rustic, fashionable and quirky. There is an open kitchen, which for me is always a brave design choice. The chefs have no where to hide and cant just open a packet of turkey twizzlers, stick them on a plate with a bit of parsley and charge £12. This is proper food, cooked well, served well and constantly evolving. Restaurants often fall into the trap of not making changes and sticking with what they know. The Dutch Uncle takes pride in not doing this. Month by month you get something different, the food and drink moves with the seasons and the trends.

One of the reasons I wanted to feature the Dutch Uncle and Sam, is to highlight what he as an individual has done for the city. As I’ve mentioned, pre Shabby Scholar and pre Dutch Uncle, Carlisle was behind the times. Sam is not only passionate about food, but he is passionate about Carlisle as a city. He developed the Never Stop Moving initiative which offers employability training for young people in the local area. He is constantly open to change and evolution, he epitomises that the north has a lot to offer and as a city we can compete with the big boys.

The food industry in Carlisle is a better place, since Sam pushed against the constraints of normality. He gave the north and Carlisle something to grin about #grinupnorth

If you don’t live up north or even the UK, you might not have heard of the Cumberland Building Society, quick summary: Established in 1850, The Cumberland has 34 branches located across Cumbria and North Lancashire offering mortgages, savings, current accounts and home insurance. It was named ‘Best Regional Building Society’ for a third year at the 2017 Mortgage Finance Gazette. They have a clear passion for all things local and pride themselves on offering excellent customer service; online, over the phone or in one of their branches.
This post has been completed in collobaration with the Cumberland Building Society

All photos used are credited to Sam Norman and used with his permission. 

Let your daughter date

You’ve all seen the memes, photos and ridiculous “rules for dating my daughter” crap that gets posted, retweeted and shared all over the internet. Most include some idiot holding a gun or a list of rules that includes things like “I Don’t mind going back to Jail”. To see the ridiculousness in all its glory have a look at this Google search “dad daughter dating” and look at some of the images.

I’ve even joked about Effy dating my mates son’s, but let me be clear I completely disagree with this whole mentality. I don’t find them funny and when people say to me, “I bet you’ll be like that when Effy is older” I can assure you…I won’t. Effy is 18 months old, I’ve got a long time before I need to worry about this. Nevertheless she will get to the age where she starts taking an interest in dating. This might be girls, it might boys…I don’t really care. For the purpose of this post I’m going to say boys, purely because I can’t be arsed to type boy or girl every time. This isn’t a subliminal hate against same sex relationships, I’m just lazy. Whatever age it is, I will not be a dick about it and will give her the same advice my dad gave me “just be careful”.

Anyone who reads this blog who actually knows me and has known me for a number of years. Will know at a point in my life, I was exactly the type of lad that I wouldn’t want Effy to come home with. This is a parenting blog so I won’t go into too much detail but I was a complete arse. I worked in pubs, drank far too much and thought I was untouchable. I acted like a tool and treated women badly. Don’t read too much into that, I wasn’t violent, or doing anything illegal. I was just an 18yr lad, living in my own house, working in a pub and enjoying attention I got. After a few years I realised that I couldn’t live that lifestyle forever. I also live in a small city, so you actually can’t get away with being a prick for too long, before it catches up with. I stopped drinking, went to uni and started acting like the type of lad; I would like Effy to come home with.

The point of reciting that little story about my past is that, I know Effy will make mistakes; I know she will meet and date some utter barmpots but I trust her to ultimately make the right choice…..I did. No one forced me to stop drinking and stop been a dick, I made that decision myself when I was ready. My mam and Dad supported me throughout, despite not agreeing with my lifestyle, they left me to it. They brought me up in the right way and we will do the same with Effy. We will teach her about safe sex, we will teach her about relationships and teach her what’s right and what’s wrong…..The rest is up to her. I know what lads are like and I know she will get hurt but sometimes you need that, to know what’s good. We’ll be there to pick up the pieces and help her realise it’s not all bad and things will work out.

One thing I want her to do much more than I ever did with my parents, is to talk…talk when she’s sad, talk when she’s happy, talk when she’s worried. I still don’t really talk and it infuriates my OH. I want Effy to feel comfortable with either of us, to talk about absolutely anything. Nothing is out of bounds and if she wants to talk about periods with me…that’s fine, I’ll read about it on the internet then pretend I know what I’m talking about. I will never ever say to her……”you need to talk to your mam about that.”

The day that Effy brings home her first boyfriend, I won’t be acting like an SAS hardman. I’ll be polite and make him feel comfortable in our home. Unless he supports Liverpool, then he can fuck off.

Would love to hear your thoughts… it different for boys??

Brilliant blog posts on

5 tips for when your toddler starts walking

This is bit of a follow on post from my critically acclaimed post 5 tips when your baby start crawling (it wasn’t actually critically acclaimed at all, think there was only about 5 people read it)…..Anyway Effy starting waking just before Christmas (yeah I know, it’s taken me 4 months to write this). We weren’t sure when she was going to walk to be honest, she didn’t really seem arsed with it, was quite happy crawling and been carried. She then just set off 1 day and that was her toddling around like a drunken baby giraffe (I’m aware giraffes are extremely unlikely to ever be drunk).

1, Quickly accept that they will fall over – it will happen, it’s impossible to prevent, it’s very unlikely they will actually hurt themselves. Unless you want to physically wrap them in cotton wool and make them wear a helmet then you need to quickly deal with the fact they might fall and bump into things. My OH still struggles with this and will still follow Effy round repeatedly saying careful. I’m yet to see any evidence that suggests Effy understands what careful means.

2, You’ll be forced into buying shit shoes – Apparently in the UK, Clarks have the monopoly on first shoes. Don’t know if they’ve got a deal with maternity wards but as soon we told people Effy was walking. Everyone said the same thing “you’ll have to go to Clarks to get shoes”, I’ve no idea why. We went along with it anyway and watched a lovely shop assistant wrestle with Effy to try and measure her feet. The option of shoe was then pretty shit but given it was winter we got her some boots, apparently they are called cruisers. All I know is that Effy learned very quickly how to take them off, so they mainly cruised onto the floor of the car.

3, Don’t ditch the pram – Toddlers have really little legs, you will need to wrestle your toddler into a pram, when they get tired. Effy was obsessed with walking everywhere but her little legs would be guaranteed to get tired in a very short space of time. She wouldn’t want to walk anymore but would she frig want to go into her pram….if someone offered me a seat when I was tired I can guarantee I wouldn’t cry or make a scene. We actually bought a smaller buggy but we still pretty much take it everywhere, even if it’s just used to carry my snacks.

4, They sprint everywhere – Seriously…..she never stops sprinting. For no reason, just random sprinting round the house, in the garden, at the park, anywhere really. Toddler sprint races should actually be a thing, I’d rather watch that than Usain Bolt win every time.

5, Don’t go mad with baby proofing – A lot of people will disagree with this one, and I’m not suggesting letting your toddler have a go in the cleaning cupboard and drink bleach. What I’m getting at is that if you read all of the advice on the internet; you will lock every cupboard, secure every item, install laser beams and hire 2 full time safety inspectors. We barely bothered doing anything. We locked the cleaning cupboard and that’s about it. She gets in all the other cupboards, empties them, laughs about it, then we put it back. She hasn’t killed herself with a box of cereal or eaten a sieve so it’s all good. For us, we want her to explore and play/discover with different things.

Anyone got any other tips to share?? I was super excited when she could walk, felt like a really huge milestone had been reached. Also never realised how tall she was.

New job, new Vlog

I started a new job this week, I won’t go into too much detail about it because I like to keep that part of my life separate, but I’m excited by the prospect of a new challenge. One big thing that I now have is greater flexibility in terms of my work hours. Basically I’m going to be working full time hours over 4 days. This will give me something I have always wanted…..a day off that’s just me and Effy. My plan is to vlog these days and share via my youtube channel every week. I will share more when I post the first video, will likely be a few weeks after the Easter holidays. I watch a lot of vlogs, some brilliant ones some absolutely terrible ones. One thing I can guarantee is that I will avoid the really boring, everyday stuff like a trip round Tesco or a car journey….I hate watching that in vlogs and usually skip through it. I want my vlogs to be about the little adventures me and Effy go on, when it’s just us two. It will also be a way for my OH to see what we get up to, because she thinks I’ll just sit and play Fifa all day. Carlisle and the Lake District are amazing places to live and I want to get out and explore as much as possible. If there is anyone with any suggestions about places to visit, let me know. Obviously it needs to be in reason and achievable within 1 day. Any vlogging tips also welcome??

Over the next 12 months I’m also hoping to dedicate more time to the blog generally and other ideas I’ve got. I look at some bloggers and they churn out posts quicker than the Daily Mail churns out hate. It baffles me, but fair play to them. I will never be one of them bloggers, I’ll carry on chucking out posts whenever I feel like it or someone pays me. However I’m amazed what I have achieved in my half arsed year of blogging. With a greater focus and the addition of the vlog, I’m excited about the next 12 months.

Stay tuned for more updates,

2 years gone

It’s 3yrs today……I miss him loads.


Quite a personal post this one but I got a lot out of writing it so here goes……..Its 2 years today since my Granda passed away, a lot has changed in 2 years, most significantly being 6 months ago when Effy was born. I think for this reason, the anniversary of his death will be particularly hard this year. I spoke at his funeral, which it an odd way, I actually enjoyed. It was nice to talk about him and was nice to make people laugh on his behalf, because he had done that his whole life.

This picture was taken about 2 weeks before he died, it was their 60th wedding anniversary and is one of my favourite pictures ever Me and my brother grew up spending a lot of time with grandma and granda, looking back we spent a lot of time in his car, waiting for grandma…

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