A Stay-At-Home Dad’s Netflix Duvet Day

Last week I had manflu was sick. Really really sick (*cough *cough *manflu *cough *cough).

Before being a parent, feeling like that would’ve resulted in calling in sick to work and spending a day or two in bed or on the couch, eating bad food and watching TV between naps.

When you’re an at-home parent of a pre-schooler, calling in sick involves taking industrial strength cold & flu remedies and hoping your kid will give you a break for a change. They rarely do.

However, something wondrous happened. My unwellness coincided with my daughter’s scheduled time at nursery. Normally, I would spend these days catching up with blogging stuff and freelance work, but this week I thought to hell with it… I really need a duvet day, the kind I used to have before being a parent. So I treated myself…

Actually, one thing was different about this duvet day. Netflix. So I took this opportunity to explore some of the content that my daughter can’t watch with me, and my wife won’t watch with me.

Orphan Black (2013-present)


This is one I’ve been meaning to check out for some time. It’s a BBC America sci-fi show about a woman called Sarah Manning, who discovers she has an identical double. This immediately leads to her being thrust into a world of intrigue, deception, violence, death, and some great character led drama. We soon learn that Sarah has many doubles, as she is – surprise surprise – a clone.

Central to the series is an amazing performance from Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany, who plays Sarah Manning and all her doubles with such skill that it is easy to believe they are different people.

The story so far has remained engaging and frequently edge of your seat. Needless to say I am hooked, and shall be checking out the rest of the show when I can – like tonight while my wife’s at the hairdressers. While she does like some sci-fi (such as the amazing Battlestar Galactica), I thought it likely this would be one of those shows that she would end up disengaging with, so having the chance for me to sample it properly was great.

Frank (2014)

Frank StreamTeam-Netflix-Sep-2015

This was a movie I had wanted to see, but my wife already had (on a plane), and thought it was weird. Unenthused, it was never going to be a joint watch.

Inspired by the real life music and comedy persona of Frank Sidebottom, I’d say weird is a fair assessment of the movie, which is also funny, engaging, and rather endearing.

The story follows wannabe musician Jon (played by Domhnall Gleeson, soon to be seen in The Force Awakens), and how he gets involved with Frank and his band. There’s clearly something different about Frank, and it’s not just about the large false head that he wears.

Co-authored by journalist and writer Jon Ronson, who was in Frank’s band in his youth, this is a touching and quirky movie, that does go down a bit of a dark path towards the end.

Battle of Britain (1969)

Battle of Britain-StreamTeam-Netflix-Sep-2015

75 years ago, England was under sustained attack from the Nazi Luftwaffe in what had already been named the Battle of Britain. I’m assuming this is why the movie popped up in the ‘Trending’ category on Netflix. Curious, I took a closer look.

I’m pretty sure I must have seen this as a kid, but it’s a distant memory. A glance at the cast list alone made this movie worthy of a look – one of those epic collections of actors that is unlikely to ever be repeated in the modern era: It includes Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, Trevor Howard, Kenneth More, Edward Fox, Michael Redgrave, and even Ian McShane.

It was actually incredibly moving seeing this part of history depicted on film. I had a real sense of England – my England – being under attack, and had only a glimpse of how it must have felt to see this battle raging in the sky. The all too familiar English landscapes were particularly poignant – especially as one of the locations was a former airfield up the road from me (where Star Wars: Rogue One is currently shooting).

Another aspect that makes this movie worth watching are the incredible aerial sequences. In these pre-CGI days, filmmakers had to rely on models and real vehicles to bring these stories to life. Well, for this movie, over 100 actual planes were used to recreate the aerial battles. There is nothing like seeing sequences celebrating the iconic British warplane the Spitfire on film.

It’s a fairly workmanlike movie, directed by James Bond stalwart Guy Hamilton. But the cast, flying sequences, setting, and historical accuracy make this well worth watching, if only to bring alive Churchill’s famous  quote about the battle:

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.

And finally…

Monsters University (2013)


All things must come to an end, and so did my time alone on the couch. I finally dosed up on cold remedies and picked up my daughter from nursery. But I still had a few hours of lone parenting ahead, so the couch day continued, and upon returning home, my daughter and I settled down to watch Monsters University, a prequel to Pixar’s Monsters Inc. (which had been my daughter’s first film – we put it on because one weekend we were all sick, and watching a movie was the last resort).

It was a nice idea to follow up Monster Inc. with a prequel – a sort of ‘Mike and Sully Begins’. They start out as rivals, but of course become friends.

It was fine. It lacks the greatness of a Toy Story sequel, female characters hardly get a look in amongst the new creatures, and it lacks the clarity of the original’s reversal of the ‘monster in the closet’ scenario. But the characters remained engaging, the animation is inventive, and it was a fun way for my daughter and I to interact without too much physical effort from me. So I’ll take that as a win.


This month we have also been alternating between Narcos and Orange is the New Black, both of which remain great.


Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam program. Our household receives free Netflix for a year and I post about how our family uses the service.

If any of these grab your attention, please head over to Netflix to check them out.

You Baby Me Mummy

Does Caring Make a Man Stronger?

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Dove Men+Care


This week I received a package of goodies from Dove Men+Care, with this challenge put before me: Dare to Care.

While some men may balk at the suggestion they are caring, I would venture that even those who don’t exhibit this side of their personality are likely hiding it. For many, it doesn’t fit with a traditional view of masculinity and they may be uncomfortable to be seen stepping outside of that. Perhaps for them, it does take great strength to do that.

For me, this was an easy challenge to accept. As a father and primary carer for our daughter, caring is part of my day-to-day existence. My desire to care for her was one of the reasons I became a stay-at-home dad in the first place. I kiss and cuddle my daughter all the time. I tell her I love her daily. She responds, in true Han Solo style, with “I know”. She calls it our little joke.

Dove Men+Care, Dare to Care, Care Makes a Man Stronger
For me to ‘Dare to Care’

The Dove Men+Care package contained a selection of their products for me (to care for myself), plus a range of items to administer care to others – all nicely packaged up in a First Aid case.

Care Makes a Man Stronger

The items to care for others included things any parent will use regularly.

A packet of issues is an essential item in my parenting arsenal. I foolishly thought the advent of summer would mean less colds, but I think my daughter has had more of them over this mild season, plus occasional hay fever. These were also good for wiping chocolate off her face and hands on a cinema visit this week.

Dove Men+Care
Our Lottie Doll needed care for grazed knee

Something that also happens a lot in summer, because of bare legs and more running around outside, are scratches and scrapes. The pack of plasters that was included will definitely come in handy. In the past I have also offered them when other children have been injured nearby (like this instance, when a mum was very grateful). We didn’t use them this particular week, but my daughter often plays out scenarios with her dolls when they graze their knee and require a plaster, as she did this week.

We haven’t had to call on the Rescue Remedy yet (wine has a similar effect though), and the Starbucks Card is also unused – but we’ll hopefully use that when out with a fellow parent and child in the remaining summer weeks. I need to work out who to send the 10 Thank You cards to. Lots of people to thank when you’re a parent!

Dare to Care (for myself)

Dove Men+Care

For me, there was the Dove Men+Care Hydrate+ moisturising products. These were great for me because:

  • I have really dry skin
  • I’m dark so that dry skin really shows on me
  • We live in an area with some or the hardest water in the country which makes it all worse.

The Hydration Balance body and face wash was a welcome change from our household’s usual citrus fragranced shower gel, and it did leave my skin feeling noticeably less dry afterwards.

The Ultra Hydrating Cream was great to have, as another moisturiser is always welcome to have around – especially one that stays effective for as long as this (it says 24 hours on the jar).

Ever since a trip to a fancy Mayfair barber, I’ve always kept my shaving routine old school, e.g.. using a badger hair shaving brush to apply lathered foam. The Shave Cream was an interesting change. The moisturising cream removed the need to apply post-shave treatments to the skin, and the shave was pretty smooth too.

So thanks for all the goodies Dove Men + Care. I have and will continue to Dare to Care – for both others and myself.

Does caring make a man stronger? Please join the conversation by commenting below.