Archive | August, 2015

The Difficult Second Album

28 Aug

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12 months of pure happiness

On Wednesday my little Llew cub turned one.  This is unbelievable to me.  I know it is a cliché to say that time flies but it feels like just yesterday I went on a family holiday as a trio to Tenby and came home a day early as a foursome after Llew decided to turn up a month before his due date.

In many ways the second child has been a lot easier.  You become a far more relaxed parent due to the experience of the first child.  There has been no second guessing every action.  Every cry isn’t met with a huge amount of panic but rather more of an understanding of what the baby wants.  What is more Llew, I’m sorry to say Gryff, has been a far easier baby.  He has fed better, slept better (in the day at least) and developed quicker.

On the other hand, you really don’t anticipate just how much harder having two is compared to one.  When Gryff came along I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t understand what I used to do with my time now that my days were filled with child focused activities.  Now Llew is here I hark bark to the days of having just one son and think how easy life was.  With the second there just isn’t any let up.  When Llew is asleep Gryff is still there to be entertained, fed, developed.  That is brilliant of course, I love spending time with both boys together and individually, but it can be exhausting.

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A usual ‘relaxing’ day at home. Double daddy attacks.  This will only get worse as they get older!

Time management has certainly become a crucial part of the day.  The importance of family structures and support have also been made abundantly clear to me.  I simply can’t imagine how people take care of children as single parents let alone without the amazing support I get from my parents and my in-laws.  Those people are incredible.

I don’t recall ever being as sleep deprived with Gryff as I have been with Llew.  I get up at 5:20am every day to go to the gym before work and my weekends are always determined by what time the boys get up.  The result of that is that I have probably not slept later than 7:30am in the last 12 months.  Having two means that you never get a late morning.  Added to this that there simply is no downtime and the accumulative impact is one worn out set of parents.

All this of course is the negative stuff.  The positive is that me and my good wife are amazingly lucky to have not just one, but two brilliant people in our lives.  The development of Gryff from having a brother has been phenomenal to watch.  He has radically changed, becoming more outgoing and interactive.  My fears that he could be jealous of a new arrival were instantly forgotten and there is no one that cares or loves Llew as much as his big brother.  Seeing them interact is fantastic and I think a large part of why Llew is up and about walking is down to the fact he constantly wants to chase after, and play with, Gryff.

Over the last three years Gryff has comfortably been my best friend in the world.  Llew is on a joint mantle with him now.  I don’t say that as a throwaway comment but because I genuinely mean it.  They both bring me so much joy.  It really is what life is about.

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These two are becoming best friends

Llew turning one accompanies another Hathway family milestone as Gryff starts school a week Monday.  I am amazingly proud and terrified at the same time.  It feels like my boy is growing up too fast and I am genuinely scared that I can’t control everything he does to make sure he is always happy.

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Just look at those shoes

I know that Gryff is going to love school.  I am biased but he is such a lovely, polite, likable and eager to learn little man.  My only fear is that he is too sensitive.  Gryff takes after his dad in that he is just too soft, bless him.  It is absolutely a quality in him I adore but nonetheless, it isn’t always the strongest attribute for the rough and tumble of school life.  In contrast Llew is as tough as old boots.  I’ve no doubt he will be the one sorting out any disputes involving the brothers in years to come.

Time is passing me by as a father and it upsets me a little.  They are quickly moving from babies to boys and I can already feel myself blinking and missing it all as they become men.  Still, at least then I could get some sleep!

 

 

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CIPR Bursary

19 Aug

Many thanks to the PR Academy who have just announced me as one of the winners of their bursary awards for this year.  The fact that they have had such a high number of applicants this year and that I was considered the most worthy as part of the judging decision is certainly a boost to the ego.  I intend to start the Internal Communications Diploma with them in October.  This will add to the Crisis Communications Diploma that I secured through the CIPR in 2013.

I hate treading water in a professional sense, which is why I have always tried to continue to add qualifications and skills as I go along.  This will be my fifth diploma if, and hopefully when, I achieve it.  As well as the two mentioned above I have also done diplomas in Marketing (CIM); Leadership & management (CMI) and Journalism (LSJ).  As well as these I have also achieved chartered status with the CIM and CMI.

I think another reason for this continued progression is the chip on my shoulder about only gaining a 2:2 at university.  I’ve no illusions about deserving better.  You get out what you put in.  I firmly belive I’d get a 1st today but undoubtedly I went to university too early.  To put it simply I wasn’t mature enough at 18 to appreciate the opportunity I was given.

I don’t necessarily see it as a failure.  I developed personally and made some life long friends.  What’s more I loved my time at uni.  Aberystwyth, belive it or not, remains up there with San Fransisco in the top two places I’ve been in my life.  However, educationally the greatest gift I took from university was the disappointment of a sub-par degree.  It gave me the focus and motivation to add future qualifications, awards and industry recognition to my CV and is possibly the single greatest factor (alongside travelling a little of the world) that has helped me reach where I have on a professional level, as well as shape my standards of work.

Back to the issue at hand.  I am incredibly grateful to the PR Academy for awarding me the bursary.  Without it I would probably have passed up studying towards a new diploma this year.  It is also a real motivational boost that the sector leading body have recognised the achievements I’ve reached in the past and have invested in me for the future.

Onwards and upwards for that next tick on the professional ladder then.

The Next Generation

14 Aug

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My little Llew cub eating a carrot cake bar for babies. The future of the carrot cake diaries is in good hands

Some Thoughts On My Hols

13 Aug

I’ve just come back from two weeks in Spain with the family and thought, at the risk of falling into the buzzfeed-ification of articles that I can’t stand, I’d put some thoughts down into a blog post.

1.  Carrier bags are far better. I’m all for the bag charge here in Wales. It’s a great law. But why can’t we have as good a carrier bags as they have in Spain?

2.  Spanish curbs are huge. You are essentially screwed if you are in a wheelchair or are using (as I was) a pushchair. This goes also for almost all shop entrances as well. Accessibility is not a Spanish strong suit

3.  What is it with those random exercise machines in the parks and at the beach? Some of them encourage the most bizarre physical movements and I can’t believe they are a major factor in physical health!?

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4.  Heat makes babies and children go bonkers grumpy. It took the best part of four days for the Gryffalo to acclimatise

5.  34 degree days mean eating ice cream at 9am is totally acceptable.

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6.  Eating frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream so you can put as much toppings on as you want. I think that’s right anyway.
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7.  Sleeping in a bed with Gryff is a nightmare. Each night was like a wrestling match. Each night my body felt like I lost.

8.  If you have an 11 month old baby he’s guaranteed to spend most of your holiday cutting new teeth. Sleeping or screening
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9.  Zebra crossings mean nothing. It’s just one giant game of run the risk

10.  I’m still confused as to the rights or wrongs of drinking Spanish tap water. Can you?

11.  Spanish supermarkets are free for alls. I felt like I was a competitor in the Hunger Games.

12.  Holiday excess is a real problem. I put on a grand total of 5.4kgs over the past two weeks. Time to hit that winter shred. (I’m doing this wrong ain’t I)

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13.  Raspberry magnums are king of the magnums

14.  Holidays with your kids are amazing. Seeing how much fun they have is life affirming.

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15.  That said they are exhausting. The day I came home was the most in need of a holiday I’ve ever been.