Stepdad Hacks


Last weekend I learned some new techniques to achieve a happy household, many of which included bribes, but hey!, they worked so I thought I would share them:

Teenage girls like to hide themselves in their rooms glued to youtube, snapchat and,

Problem: How to get them out of their bedrooms and socialising with the world

Solution: Turn the electric off upstairs or threaten them with Grandma!

Personal hygiene is such a chore when you are teenager of a certain age, having a shower is precious time away from Caspar Lee and Conor Maynard.

Problem: How to get them in the Shower

Solution: Tell them they will end up smelling like…..’enter name of smelliest pikey you know’ here, or threaten them with Grandma.

You have just slaved over a homemade Lasagne and even gone to the trouble of picking out all the mushrooms and are met with ‘ I’m not hungry…I’m full up on biscuits’

Problem: How to make them eat their dinner you spent hours cooking

Solution: Hide all the treats and contents of the fridge, threaten them with Grandma.

When you need to go to the town to pick up some ‘juice’ for your e-cigarette, but the kids don’t want to come, and one of them is too young to be left alone!

Problem: How to get them to leave the house and come shopping with you.

Solution: Promise them a Footlong in Subway, or threaten them with Grandma.

When you want children to appreciate that music was so much better when there is a dance routine!

Problem: How to make them watch the Steps Live 2011 tour while you practice your dance moves!

 Solution: Tell them that Zoella likes Steps, or threaten them with Grandma.

When they haven’t brushed their teeth for 2 days because it’s way too much effort!

Problem: How to make them brush their teeth

Solution: Make them watch the Goonies and tell them if they don’t wash their teeth, they’ll look like Sloth … or threaten them with Grandma.

When they have French, Biology and ‘Social Science’ homework but the priority is getting through that ‘Friends’ box-set

Problem: How to make them do their homework…

Solution: Early easter egg for the 1st one to finish, or threaten them with Grandma.

When one bedroom looks like Beirut, and the other one looks like Big-Foot has been looting.

Problem: How to make them tidy their room

Solution: Give them a £5 budget for  the Pound shop, or threaten them with Grandma.

When you sit down to watch Ant and Dec’s Saturday night Takeaway and there are three different devices on full volume, playing youtube clips.

Problem: How to make them sit down a watch TV together

Solution: Change the password to the wifi…..or threaten them with Grandma.

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There is no such thing as American-English…there is English and there are mistakes

Let's dothings together!

I am fully expecting a tirade of commentary for this post and I would just like to assure my American friends now that this is nothing personal and I’m a really nice guy really. However since I started blogging and reading other people’s posts from around the world, I can’t help but notice….even more so, how the English language has been diluted and become a little lazy across the water. I won’t apologise for pointing some of these mistakes out, because I live in England, where the English language was originated……so I can.

My motivation for this post all began, when one of my American readers kindly pointed out to me that I had posted an article tagged with the word ‘humour’.

“I think you mean humor” , they said

” No.. I mean humour, that is the Oxford Dictionary spelling of the word, and that is what I meant” I replied.

“Oh ok…is that British -English? they asked.

“No!…. it is English, there is only one version, There is no such thing as American- English…there is English and there are mistakes” I confirmed.

It didn’t go down very well….I’m a tolerant guy, and ordinarily I would never point out the differences in how American people spell words versus how it should be spelled, but I do draw the line at being corrected into dropping vowels that have existed in the English language for hundreds of years.

So just to clear things up….before you have the bare-faced cheek to correct an Englishman on their own language….here are a few common words and grammatical errors that are used differently (correctly) in England:

For the purpose of clarification and  explanation..I will refer to the ‘mistakes’ as ‘American English’, as much as it pains me to write…it will make it easier to understand and point out the differences.

‘American English’ / Mistaken Spelling English
color, humor, neighbor colour, humour, neighbour
fulfill fulfil
center centre
analyze, authorize analyse, authorise
aging ageing
dialog dialogue
anesthesia, anaesthesia

Differences in the use of Prepositions

There are also a few differences between British and ‘American English’ in the use of prepositions. For example: While the British would play in a team, Americans would play on a team. Another example: While the British would go out at the weekend, Americans would go out on the weekend.

Most annoying Pronunciations

Moscow – This is pronounced Moss. Co, not Moss. Cow

Route (pronounced root, not rowt)

Vitamin (the ‘i’ as in little not as in bite)

Aluminium (Its and not

Differences in Verb usage

Americans use the past tense dreamed while in English you would use dreamt in past tense. The same applies to “learned” and “learnt”. Another example of differing past tense spellings for verbs in American and British English is “forecast”. Americans use forecast while in English you would say forecasted in simple past tense.

Time telling in English vs American English

Both nations have a slightly different structure of telling the time. While in English you would say quarter past ten to denote 10:15, it is not uncommon in America to say quarter after or even a quarter after ten.

Thirty minutes after the hour is commonly called half past in both languages. Americans always write digital times with a colon, thus 6:00, whereas Britons often use a point, 6.00.

Differences in use of tenses

In English the present perfect is used to express an action that has occurred in the recent past that has an effect on the present moment. For example: I’ve misplaced my pen. Can you help me find it?

In ‘American English’, the use of the past tense is also permissible: I misplaced my pen. Can you help me find it?  In English, however, using the past tense in this example would be considered incorrect.

Other differences involving the use of the present perfect in British English and simple past in American English include the words alreadyjust and yet.

English: I’ve just had food. Have you finished your homework ?

American English: I just had food. Have you finished your homework already?

English: I’ve already seen that film.

American English  I already saw that film

The most annoying difference and the one that grates on me the most…as it seems to be migrating to the UK.

“Can I get a Cheeseburger please?”

Of course you can get a cheeseburger….but the correct way of asking for one is

“Please may I have a cheeseburger?”

Here is a non-exhaustive list of other differences – so please, before pointing out any mistakes… check the correct English terminology first….sorry (not sorry).

 English American English/ Mistakes
anti-clockwise counter-clockwise
articulated lorry trailer truck
autumn  fall
barrister attorney
bill (restaurant) check
biscuit cookie
block of flats apartment building
Bonnet (Clothing) Hat
bonnet (car) hood
boot trunk
caravan trailer
car park parking lot
chemist’s shop drugstore, pharmacy
chest of drawers dresser, chest of drawers, bureau
chips fries, French fries
the cinema the movies
clothes peg clothespin
coffin casket
crisps potato chips
crossroads intersection; crossroads (rural)
cupboard cupboard (in kitchen); closet (for clothes etc)
diversion detour
drawing-pin thumbtack
drink-driving drunk driving
driving licence driver’s license
dual carriageway divided highway
dummy (for baby) pacifier
dustbin garbage can, trash can
dustman garbage collector
engine engine, motor
estate agent real estate agent
estate car station wagon
film film, movie
flat apartment, flat, studio
flat tyre flat tire
flyover overpass
gearbox (car) transmission
gear-lever gearshift
Girl Guide Girl Scout
ground floor ground/first floor
handbag handbag, purse, shoulder bag
high street main street
holiday vacation
hood (car) convertible top
jam jam, preserves
jug jug, pitcher
juggernaut 18-wheeler
lift elevator
lorry truck, semi, tractor
mad crazy, insane
main road highway
maize corn
maths math
motorbike motorcycle
motorway freeway, expressway
motorway highway, freeway, expressway, interstate highway, interstate




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Wetpaint- Beautiful And Unique Illustrations Your Home Cannot Be Without.

Shortly after I returned from my honeymoon in 2015, a parcel arrived on my doorstep.  I opened it to find a beautifully crafted illustration from my good friend Helen. It now takes pride of place in the drawing room (the lounge). I have known Helen for quite a number of years and have spent many a holiday lapping up the mediterranean sun and sipping cocktails in her company, so this was a truly amazing gift that holds massive sentimental value to me ..and my husband.

So I thought I would spend a moment or two telling you more about Helen and her company ‘Wetpaint‘ so that you can join  the likes of Adele, Lauren Laverne …..and me, and have a personalised masterpiece in your home.

snapshot-me                  personalised-dogs

Wetpaint is the work of illustrator and designer Helen Lang, who lives and works from a rather lovely London studio and spends her time developing her range of personalised prints which she sells through online retailer Not on the High Street. She also works on commercial and advertising projects through her agency Illustration Ltd.


After working in the publishing industry for over 15 years, Helen’s own business “Wetpaint” was finally founded in 2011 and since going freelance her delicately crisp style has been utilised by a number of high profile clients in the UK, Europe and beyond including Boden, Tesco Finest*, Harper Collins, Chipotle, John Lewis, Virgin Trains and the Tate. She has also worked exclusively with John Lewis on a range of product accessories and her illustrations have adorned an array of products over her career including t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards and stationery.

Helens work has been featured on numerous interior, lifestyle, wedding and children’s product blogs as well as publications including the Stylist Magazine, Creative Review & The Independent, Good Homes, Devon Life, Unique Bride & Wedding Ideas Magazine.

In the studio she is fuelled by builders tea, bourbon biscuits, BBC6 music and is very lucky to be able to design and illustrate for a living in between walks with Desmond, her Border Terrier. When she’s not in the studio, you’ll probably find Helen digging in the garden, coveting a real ale, rummaging around a flea market, or trying to find a warmish bit of sea to swim in.


Helen now accepts commissions for beautifully detailed, personalised gift prints, which are all hand finished with delicate typographic details. These make perfect gifts for Weddings, Engagements, Civil Partnerships, Anniversaries, Christenings, Housewarming Gifts as they are all affordably priced (under £20) and very easily framed. She also creates prints for pets and original personalised paintings should you have a slightly bigger budget.

Want to know more? You’re in luck. She’d love to hear from you via her shop or catch up with her on Facebook to discuss an order.

Featured  Articles:

Real Life – By Karen Dunn

10 Things they don’t tell you when you start a Forever Living Business


You may have heard the success stories about people earning a 6  figure salary by setting up a Forever Living Business and working part time hours either alongside their full time jobs or as a main source of income. I was certainly inspired by the countless plethora of Youtube videos that indicated quite aggressively, the promise of financial freedom, 5 Star holidays, a car…blah blah blah.

It’s true that there are some people out there that have succeeded with Forever Living, but believe me, this is a very small minority.

I joined  Forever Living in August last year when my husband was looking for a job, I knew from the very start that it wasn’t going to be a ‘get rich quickly scheme’, but I thought long term, this could have amazing benefits for us. I  have a fairly good head for business and oodles of experience in retail, so I really got to work with setting up my business, getting my name out there and talking to people about the products and the opportunity.

Against the advice of the people around me, who warned that it was a Pyramid scheme and that I was a fool for spending £200 on my starter kit, I boasted that I would be able to prove everyone wrong. However as the months progressed and I failed to even so much as make my money back for the £200 on the box (not to mention all the other hidden costs that they don’t tell you about…which I will explain later). It was apparent that Forever Living is now a saturated marketplace and around 90% of people that have joined, barely break even let alone make any profit from this.

My biggest regret is that I didn’t do some more research before I spent my money….and more regrettably a large amount of my time,  spamming my friends on social media.

Here are the 10 things they don’t tell you;

1 . It pretty much is a Pyramid scheme, the only thing that makes it legal is that you are in possession of a starter kit, so you aren’t just giving your own money away with nothing in return. The first thing that your sponsor will tell you is that not a pyramid scheme, (as this is on the training script that is rammed down your throat when you start.)

2. Your starter kit is not enough to form a product display or run a stall, if you really want to showcase your products to make a sale, then you will have to buy more……a lot more.

3. As well as your £200 box, you are also faced with another number of other expenses that are critical to running your business- examples are as follows

  •  Business Cards- Around £50
  •  Monthly subscription to have a website and online training portal (£10 a month), which is virtually impossible to cancel without signing in blood.
  •  Additional products including the Clean9 detox kit   (heaven forbid you call                             it a detox kit  on social media as the company can get into a lot of trouble, because evidently it’s not proven to be a detox) You will probably spend another £300 on this to get enough stock to hold a product launch or stall
  • Public Liability insurance £20
  • Hiring Stalls at local fairs and events ..£25 a time
  • Facebook Boost to increase your traffic..£30 a month
  • Attending the mandatory Success conference £50

4. It’s definitely not a job you can succeed in part time. I spent about 4 hours every evening, and after 3 months….we had sold one ‘detox plan’ (£109)and a bottle of cream (£14)….no that’s really it.

5. In order to reach your target and get any commission whatsoever, you need to sell about £800 of stock in a 2 month period.

6. The products due to their extortionate margins (the big earners have to earn somehow), are virtually impossible to sell.  Who wants to spend £14 on a bottle of deep heat …oh sorry …deep heat with Aloe Vera in it. If you have rich friends, then you maybe, just maybe in with a chance.

7. There are a number of websites and social media groups that you can use to find stalls and events. (You need to run stalls to build up your customer base and recruit your ‘downline’.) However with so many people doing Forever Living, I was never able to bag a stall because people had booked all the stalls for the whole year. ( I literally had notifications on my mobile everytime an event was uploaded and one of my greedy fellow business owners had bagged it within around 7 seconds).

8. You are trained to lie on social media and make your life so much better than it actually is. You’re encouraged to post inspirational quotes  and photos of you enjoying yourself on holiday all the time, even if that means recycling old holiday pics throughout the year. Also you have to remove everything from social media that has any sort of opinion or negativity.  So basically you have to be a social media robot. Additionally you are encouraged to conjure up stories at your product launches, like how your drinking gels have cured a 95 year old arthritis sufferer that was in a wheelchair ,but is now running the marathon……that sort of thing.

9. Your friends get fed up with you and unfriend you….I was warned of this, but literally I lost about 150 contacts with the constant spamming and invites to launches and events.

10. Forever boasts that it is a generous company and award people on their merits, which is certainly true for any Multi- Level Marketing company. However the high -earners are so obsessed with making money and boasting about how much they have earned ,that they forget those at the bottom of the food chain that need a different level of motivation in terms of training and support….. because there’s certainly no cash flow at this end.

My advice would be to avoid Forever Living ,unless you can commit to it full time, without any need to earn any money in the first few months, and make sure you have a lot of gullible and rich friends that will buy the products…. and keep buying them. The company doesn’t hold an awful lot of integrity or transparency which is why you have to exaggerate the truth to other people, and unless you are extremely lucky (or you poison the other 6000 business owners within your 10 mile radius)…you just won’t make any money.