How to make a fully operational Beef and Guinness Death Star Pie

This Death Star pie recipe is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods.

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“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of a tasty meat pie” – Darth Vader

Ok, that’s possibly overstating it, but this dad went to Iceland with the challenge of creating a Star Wars pie. To be fair, it was a challenge I set myself, as a way to use some of Iceland’s frozen meat produce to make a pie for British Pie Week.

Continue reading How to make a fully operational Beef and Guinness Death Star Pie

If you loved La La Land, here’s six films you should watch next

If you’re a fan of writer/director Damien Chazelle’s love letter to Los Angeles, La La Land, there are whole host of influential films you should probably check out too. Continue reading If you loved La La Land, here’s six films you should watch next

Taking my daughter to her first comic shop (#MySundayPhoto)

An important part in any geek parent’s life – taking their kid to a comic shop for the first time. Continue reading Taking my daughter to her first comic shop (#MySundayPhoto)

Geek clothes for girls (and boys) from Character.com

Finding geek clothes for girls is something that’s always been an ongoing quest of mine.  As our daughter wears a lot character/graphic clothing, I was keen to check out the Character.com clothing website. They’re an online shop that sell – you guessed it – character clothes, for both kids and adults. Continue reading Geek clothes for girls (and boys) from Character.com

Mattel’s ‘Dads Who Play Barbie’ campaign

Mattel approached me to be part of their ‘Dads Who Play Barbie’ campaign, and I was happy to do so. As the stay-at-home dad of a little girl, I am well versed in playing dolls with my daughter (though only a couple of them are actual Barbies). Continue reading Mattel’s ‘Dads Who Play Barbie’ campaign

LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Batgirl’s Batjet (41230)

As far as I’m concerned, this Batgirl’s Batjet LEGO set justifies the entire existence of the DC Super Hero Girls brand. Continue reading LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Batgirl’s Batjet (41230)

Review: It’s not just ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’. It’s Batgirl’s as well.

There are many reasons to love The LEGO Batman Movie. It’s funny, it continues the irreverent approach of The LEGO Movie, Will Arnett’s performance as the caped crusader is as terrific as in that movie (all Donald Trump’s tweets should be read in this voice), and it’s a Batman film that we can actually take our children to see.

But another reason I love it, is that it features Batgirl. Continue reading Review: It’s not just ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’. It’s Batgirl’s as well.

LEGO Female Superheroes have finally broken the plastic ceiling

With the arrival of DC Super Hero Girls LEGO, alongside increasing numbers of LEGO Female Superheroes minifigures in the regular Marvel and DC Superheroes line, 2017 is the year that female LEGO superheroes finally shatter the plastic brick ceiling. Continue reading LEGO Female Superheroes have finally broken the plastic ceiling

Celebrating Disney Princesses of Colour

I want to celebrate some Disney Princesses…of colour. Continue reading Celebrating Disney Princesses of Colour

Be like Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back

To me, this is the defining image of Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. Continue reading Be like Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back

Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service at the Southwark Playhouse

An utterly delightful Christmas treat for us this year was seeing this stage adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service at the Southwark Playhouse in London. Continue reading Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service at the Southwark Playhouse

We should all be the Wonder Woman of the party

Like a doomsday device counting down to zero, I have awaited my daughter’s embrace of Princess Culture with dread. Continue reading We should all be the Wonder Woman of the party

Does the world need pink and blue globes?

Spotted these in a high street shop this week. One globe is as you would expect – blue oceans, green and brown landmasses. The other is pink.

It may not say ‘boy’ and ‘girl’, but there can’t be any doubt that this is the intention. Continue reading Does the world need pink and blue globes?

Reinventing Princesses: The League of Extraordinary Ladies

Me: “What did you do at school today?”

4yo: “Played princesses.”

Now, this answer should horrify me. I hate princesses, and their pastel domination of our girls’ childhoods. As a brand, they represent everything I don’t want for my daughter.

But I was curious, as I had a suspicion it might not be what I feared. Continue reading Reinventing Princesses: The League of Extraordinary Ladies

She passed the Fake Geek Girl test. But she shouldn’t have to.

My 4-year-old daughter likes pink. She likes Frozen. She likes My Little Pony. But she also likes green. She also likes superheroes. She also likes Star Wars. Continue reading She passed the Fake Geek Girl test. But she shouldn’t have to.

The British Royal Family and the problem with Princesses

We were watching an event on TV recently, and I noticed William and Kate, aka the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, our future King and Queen, in the audience. Continue reading The British Royal Family and the problem with Princesses

Superheroes are for Girls (and Boys)

When my daughter was about 2-years-old, on a trip to the local soft play centre a rather confused looking older boy asked me “Is she a boy or a girl?” about my daughter.

Resisting the urge to point out he’d already answered his question I simply replied “She’s a girl.”

“Why is she wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt then?” he retorted. Continue reading Superheroes are for Girls (and Boys)

Female Empowerment: Raising a Confident Girl

I took our daughter to London’s Science Museum. It’s one of those places that we had always intended to take her to repeatedly. Knowing that many girls are dissuaded from an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing), the Science Museum was going to be a key way to encourage it.

Well, we finally got round to it – motivated by knowing our chances to do this mid-week term time were lessening every day. Soon she’ll be at school and we’ll be locked into the holiday/weekend museum crush. Continue reading Female Empowerment: Raising a Confident Girl

In My Little Pony, Feminism as well as Friendship is Magic

For as long as I’ve been blogging about being a parent raising a daughter in the shadow of princess culture, I’ve had online feedback suggesting I check out the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon (aka MLP:FiM).

At first, I ignored them. What were they thinking? These people clearly didn’t understand I wanted to show my daughter content with themes of female empowerment and self-confidence; to find stories and characters that didn’t patronise young girls; that had imaginative female led tales of action and adventure yet with stimulating and thought provoking scenarios. My Little Pony was surely part of the problem – not the solution. Continue reading In My Little Pony, Feminism as well as Friendship is Magic

How Disney’s Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) Tackles Race and Gender Inequality

Do you want to have an age appropriate talk with your child about prejudice, discrimination, and identity politics – but don’t know where to begin? Well, show them Zootropolis (aka Zootopia in the US) and talk about that. Continue reading How Disney’s Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) Tackles Race and Gender Inequality

Two Dads’ Hopes For Their Daughters’ Future

For International Women’s Day, Oxfam approached me with an intriguing proposition. Knowing that I often write about my hopes and aspirations for our daughter, and the potential barriers in her way because of her gender, they put me in touch with another dad of a little girl.

He is Alex Namusokwe (37), who is the father of Ethel (7). They live in rural Zambia, about 200 km from Zambia’s capital Lusaka. Continue reading Two Dads’ Hopes For Their Daughters’ Future

Some Dads DO Babysit. It’s All That’s Expected of Us

This time last year, there were a flurry of stories about my daughter and I published around the world. A US writer spotted an angle for a “sweet article about (my) daughter’s outfits”, and that got noticed by the likes of The Independent & Metro in UK, Buzzfeed and ABC News in US, and then various outlets across the globe. Radio and TV appearances followed. Perhaps you are reading this because you started following my blog after coming across one of those.

The premise was basically I was an at-home parent letting my (then) 3-year-old daughter choose what she wears every morning. And the outfits were kinda cool and not traditionally ‘girly’.

When I asked, the writers of those articles told me the same thing – what made this story ‘a story’ was the fact that I was a dad of a daughter.

While it was nice to bask in the mostly supportive comments (US conservatives aside – yikes), the fact people were reacting strongly to it highlighted an issue we have with parenting.

Is dad all there is?

Continue reading Some Dads DO Babysit. It’s All That’s Expected of Us

Female Star Wars Characters: The Importance of a lady X-Wing pilot

Here’s a game for you. Try and find a female pilot in the original Star Wars trilogy. Is there one in Star Wars? Nope. The Empire Strikes Back. Nope. Return of the Jedi? Yes! Well, kind of. Continue reading Female Star Wars Characters: The Importance of a lady X-Wing pilot

Lottie, a Doll to Inspire Our Little Girls

Lottie Dolls, little girl playing with dolls,My daughter has various dolls – Barbie, Cindy, some Phantom Menace Padme Amidalas, a Princess Leia, and a 90’s Storm (that I randomly found boxed at a local charity shop for £2). But I think she has found her favourite one yet – the Lottie doll. Continue reading Lottie, a Doll to Inspire Our Little Girls

Planning ahead: Saving for your child’s nest egg with an Orbis Access JISA

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Orbis Access.

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Having a nest egg can only make life easier, especially when buying your first house.

It’s likely that the single biggest expense any of us will ever undertake is buying property. It costs so much we usually have to borrow the funds to do so. And even then, we still need access to a big chunk of cash to pay the deposit – 5% if you’re lucky, but more likely 10-20% of the value of the property.

We have been late getting on the property ladder, and pulling together the deposit required accessing a myriad of funds, including a forgotten foreign pension and some very generous family. It clearly would have been easier if I had a pot of cash set aside for this event.

We can’t turn back time, but we can try and set our daughter up to be in a better position than we were – by saving for her nest egg now.

A great option for building a nest egg is a Junior ISA (JISA). As well as being tax-efficient (although this depends on your individual circumstances and may change over time), the money cannot be accessed until your child turns 18. After that of course, you need to persuade them to continue saving – or at least to avoid blowing it all on a luxury holiday!

Saving for your child’s nest egg with Orbis Access

Orbis Access have a great JISA offer this tax season. Firstly, they will waive any management fees on any money invested in the first 12 months of opening an account.

In addition, if you open a JISA with them before 30 April 2017, they will match your first investment – up to £100. This promotion also includes JISA and Child Trust Fund transfers into Orbis Access accounts opened in the promo period.

Find out more about the Orbis Access Junior ISA fee-free offer and £100 matching offer here.

The old adage of turning pennies into pounds couldn’t be more true when it comes to investing for our kids future, and that includes saving for your child’s nest egg. Just bear in mind that when investing, the value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could end up with less than you put in, which means your capital is at risk.

I just hope she doesn’t blow it on buying some limited edition LEGO! It’s the sort of thing I would do – so I really need to instil more money sense in my daughter.

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This post was produced in collaboration with Orbis Access and has been approved for issue in the United Kingdom by Orbis Access (UK) Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Find out more about the Orbis Access Junior ISA fee-free offer and £100 matching offer here.

DC Super Hero Girls LEGO Bumblebee Helicopter Set (41234)

Bumblebee might not be a superhero you’ve heard of before (I certainly hadn’t), but I’m glad that she has been included in the DC Super Hero Girls line up as she adds some much needed ethnic diversity to the range.

Created 30 years ago, she is in fact DC’s first ever African-American female superhero – and now she has her own LEGO set.

DC Super Hero Girls LEGO Bumblebee Helicopter is one of the smaller sets in the line. You get the helicopter, a strongbox, 2 ‘Kryptomites’ and of course BumbleBee herself.

LEGO Bumblebee Helicopter 41234

The LEGO Friends style minifigure is probably the highlight of the set. It’s great for my daughter to have a woman (or girl) of colour, but the figure is also has a bright and vivid look. I especially like the blonde streak in her hair – looks like honeycomb! The figure also has plastic wings that attach around the waist and neck.

The helicopter was an easy build for our 5-year-old daughter. I did have to ask myself why a character with wings needed a machine to fly! Anyway, the finished copter has some nice bee/honey details, twin propellers, and the ubiquitous stud shooters.

This is a fine little set, but one that is probably best purchased alongside another set, rather than on its own. But as another female superhero added to the LEGO line – and a woman of colour – it’s a very welcome addition.

DC Super Hero Girls LEGO Bumblebee Helicopter Set (41234) has an RRP of £11.99. We were provided with a set free of charge for the purposes of this review.

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The LEGO Batman Movie “The Joker Notorious Lowrider” set (70906)

The LEGO Batman Movie is a fusion of two of our favourite things, namely LEGO and Batman. And one of the best things about it are the awesome sets that have been designed for the film and tie-in toys (or perhaps it’s the other way round – who knows).

Of all the sets I saw pre-release, “The Joker Notorious Lowrider” was the one I wanted us to have above all others. The car is basically a Joker-mobile, but in a quirky style befitting of the clown prince of crime.

For the overall design, the car is a very effective model of a lowrider car, with lots of bling design elements combining well with the Joker’s distinctive colours. It also has missile launcher hidden in the boot and a mechanism to make the car rise up and lower down as befitting a classic lowrider.

Another big plus for me – this is a female minifigure dominated set. You get three minifigures with this – The Joker of course, but also Harley Quinn and Batgirl (whose purple outfit coordinates perfectly with this Jokermobile).

The LEGO Batman Movie The Joker Notorious Lowrider set (70906) packshot

The suggested age for this is 8-14, and while I am sure it would be breeze for kids in that age range, our 5-year-old daughter did really well needing only a little assistance from me.

This is one of those sets that I hope never gets broken up and dispersed into the big LEGO box in the sky (well, living room) but I guess that’s not really in the spirit of LEGO, so when the day comes that the kid decides it’s time to go – I’ll try not to shed a tear…

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The LEGO Batman Movie “The Joker Notorious Lowrider” set (70906) has an RRP of £54.99. We were sent a review sample by LEGO for the purposes of this review.

DC Super Hero Girls LEGO Lashina Tank set (41233)

Lashina is a DC character I had never heard of before,  but she has been included in the DC Super Hero Girls line of toys – and has her own stand-alone LEGO set.

She is in fact an established character, created by comic book legend Jack Kirby in the seventies. Seen in various guises over the years, she is now part of the DC Super Hero Girls – but as one of the few villains.

This is a smaller set than most of the others, and features Lashina, her tank, Krypto (aka Superdog), and his kennel. Yes, Krypto is also a legitimate DC character, who first appeared in the fifties.

Despite it’s small size, it’s still a moderately challenging build for a younger child. The tank is an ok design, with a cage at the back for poor old Krypto, plus stud shooters and mechanical claws/pincers at the front.

Krypto’s kennel has all kinds of paraphernalia on it, but the standout feature of the whole set for me is the Krypto minifigure. Our daughter was very taken with it, and really didn’t like the character of Lashina for locking up the poor dog.

Frankly, there is more than a hint of bondage around Lashina, what with her black outfit, straps and most notably her whip – but kids won’t see that.

As a stand-alone set, this is fine – but it really works best as a companion set to Super Hero High, as it’s great to pair Krypto with Supergirl, and it gives Lena Luthor another villain to team up with against the DC Super Hero Girls.

My enthusiasm for the DC Super Hero Girls LEGO line continues, as here we have a toy aimed primarily for girls – where the most pinkish thing about the set are some magenta coloured bricks.

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The DC Super Hero Girls LEGO Lashina Tank set has an RRP of £11.99. We were sent one by LEGO for the purposes of this review.