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BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light Blog

BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light – First Impressions

It’s official – this dad and his little family are heading to Japan later this year! As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the good people over at BabyBjorn very kindly sent us a BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light, to help make our journey as smooth and easy as possible.

Stay tuned for the full review. That will be coming once we have thoroughly put the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light through its paces during our Japan adventures. But as the cot was just delivered on Friday, I thought I would give you my first impressions while they are still fresh in my mind.


Wow, it’s light!

That was the first thing that I thought as the courier handed me the box. I know what a standard portable cot feels like, I’ve lugged one through the streets of Sydney and Brisbane. Trust me when I say that those things can feel very heavy, very quickly. At just 6kg, the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light is not going to weigh you down as you transport it from one place to another.


BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light in bag
The BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light in its carry case

Easy to set up and pack away

The BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light is immediately intuitive to use. It comes in three main parts – the outer carry case, the main cot and the mattress.

The outer carry case is sturdy. It feels as if it can cope with the inevitable beating that it will take from baggage handlers, taxi drivers and from me as I take in on public transport. The other two components fit neatly inside. They are easy to pull out and put back in, but there is also no excess room. It’s a clever design that minimises the overall size of the bag.

The main part of the cot is beautifully designed. As I said before, it’s intuitive to use. Just lift it out of the bag, unfold it, turn it over and the legs drop down. Snap them into place and that’s it!

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that design, after some of the wrestling matches I’ve had with other portable cots! Some of them have extremely complicated connections, that then seem to lock in place before they are supposed to, or that I’ve had trouble getting to lock at all. With the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light, the frame is set up in a matter of seconds. Every time.

The third part of the kit that makes setup and pack-away a breeze is the mattress. This is a really clever piece, which I’ll go into more detail about shortly.

All three of these parts combine to ensure that the process of setting up and packing away is as easy and stress-free as possible, as demonstrated in the promotional video below. I’ll be sure to let you know how much my sleep-deprived-self appreciates that fact when we arrive in Tokyo after an overnight flight.


The mattress/base is a really clever design

If you really don’t care about clever engineering disguised as a simple mattress, skip this part. I really don’t want to bore you, but I have to share this because it impressed me so much! It seems like such a simple thing, but I took a good few minutes out of my day to marvel at the ingenuity of this mattress. It does some really key things, and it does them exceptionally well.

Firstly, it stabilises the cot. The rigid board at the bottom fits perfectly into the space provided. The red anchors slide out through small slits in the base fabric and connect the mattress to the frame – this ensures it stays safely in place.

Secondly, and most importantly, It provides an exceptionally comfortable sleeping surface. I’ll admit it, I’m slightly jealous of Hannah right now. Who knows what the quality of the mattress will be that I’m sleeping on in Japan? At least with Hannah, I know that she’s going to be sleeping in absolute luxury. The mattress actually has three components – the outer case, a rigid base board and a soft foam layer. They work together perfectly to provide exceptional comfort.

Finally, the base folds into three parts to perfectly fit and support the bag. Like I said, It’s simple, but really clever engineering. It means that the bag doesn’t need to be reinforced because it is the firmness of the mattress base which provides the shape. The frame of the cot slides neatly inside the pocket that the mattress and the bag create. It all fits together so well. Once again, no wrestling is required to put it back in!


The three parts to the mattress.

This is a quality product

It is no surprise to me to find that BabyBjorn has made a product of such high quality. One of the first baby items we ever purchased was a BabyBjorn Baby Carrier We (this will also join us to Japan). I was impressed with the quality and thoughtful design of that too.

After I set up the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light, Hannah toddled over for a close inspection. She immediately tried to climb inside, which was a good sign from a kid who is naturally suspicious of new things. The other thing that she did almost immediately was wrap her mouth around the padded fabric on the top of the frame. At that point I was thankful of two things – that BabyBjorn designed all of the fabric to be removable and machine washable, and that they use safe materials that are free of harmful chemicals.

BabyBjorn seem to me to be a company that seeks to make high-quality, user-friendly gear. The BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light appears to be absolutely consistent with this. It is a product that does an exceptional job at the single purpose for which it is designed – to provide a baby/toddler with a safe and comfortable place to sleep when away from home. I’m excited to throw everything that I can at it as we travel through Japan.


BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light Removable Padding
All of the fabric is removable and machine-washable

Stay Tuned…

That’s it for now. As I said at the top, these are my first thoughts about the product. They are based on my initial interactions with it. The real test will come as we travel through Japan. From what I’ve seen of the BabyBjorn Travel Cot so far, I’m very excited to be bringing it with us. I don’t think I could have asked for a more suitable cot for this adventure!


For more information about the BabyBjorn Travel Cot, or other BabyBjorn products, visit the BabyBjorn website.


Disclosure – BabyBjorn provided Blog Of Dad with this travel cot free of charge, for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the BabyBjorn Travel Cot. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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Bolognese, wooden spoon Blog

World’s Worst Food Blogger – Bolognese

The World’s Worst Food Blogger series of posts is where I share my love of all things edible in a proudly non-Pinterest-worthy way. This particular post is all about the humble bolognese.


Firstly, If you are someone whose authentic Italian Nonna passed down a recipe for the perfect bolognese, then this post is not for you. I can’t compete with what you know and frankly, I’m a little bit jealous! This post isn’t about authentic, traditional food, it’s about quintessential Australian cooking – that is taking the best things from around the world and modifying them to suit your needs.


For me, the needs are simple. Something delicious, cheap, healthy, easy to make and able to be made in bulk. Something that can easily be frozen and taste just as good when it is defrosted. If those needs sound familiar to you, read on…


Ingredients – Bolognese

7 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

1.5kg lean beef mince

500g quality pork mince

Mixed herbs (to taste)

1 butternut pumpkin – finely grated

4 large zucchinis – finely grated

6 carrots – finely grated

2 jars passata

Salt (to taste)

The ingredients for this bolognese are fairly simple, and as I said before, cheap. After much experimenting, they are the ones that I have found to work best together to create a meaty-tasting bolognese that is actually 2/3rds vegetable. Feel free to experiment and tweak for yourself.



1 large stock pot. And I mean large. It needs to hold approximately 7kg of ingredients. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount that you are cooking.

Sharp knives

Chopping board

Large wooden spoon

Food processor (optional)

Make sure that stock pot is large. It needs to hold approximately 7kg of ingredients. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount that you are cooking (but you will then have left for freezing into convenient and tasty instant meals). The food processor is optional. I discussed the merits of buying one in a previous post. In my opinion, for this kind of cooking, a food processor is a valuable tool to have. It dealt with close to 2kg or pumpkin in a matter of seconds. Overall it probably saved me about 20 minutes of preparation time.

Sharp knives are a must for any budding home cook. I would highly recommend acquiring one or two quality general-purpose knives (I was lucky enough to pick up a set of WÜSTHOF knives cheaply from a place that went out of business), but it’s also worth having a couple of ultra-cheap knives that you don’t mind abusing. I purchased a cleaver for $2 from a junk store over ten years ago. It’s by no means the best made knife around (Its plastic handle is warped from a dishwasher incident), but I keep it sharp and it’s perfect for peeling and chopping pumpkin.



Bung the ingredients into the pot, in order, at the start of the day. Put a lid on it, turn the gas down low and let it do its thing. Stir and taste regularly and adjust seasoning to suit your tastes. Normally I wouldn’t add any salt, but a particularly sweet pumpkin meant that a tiny bit was needed to balance the flavours.

Additional benefits of starting early in the day include making the house smell amazing, and being able to sneak regular mouthfuls to ‘check the flavours’.

If you leave it for long enough, the kids won’t be able to tell just how veg-packed this bolognese is. All of that finely grated vegetable breaks down into a deliciously rich and tasty sauce.

Serve with pasta and a mountain of grated cheese.

After feeding the family until they are ready to explode, portion out the remaining food into freeze-able containers. This particular batch made 17 containers-worth (each container holding enough for 2 adults and one toddler). When you need a quick meal, simply boil some pasta, grate some cheese and microwave one of these bad-boys. Add a salad or some steamed veg for extra variety. The magic of this bolognese is that it somehow tastes even better when reheated.

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The Things We Swore They Would Never Do –…

A wise man once told me that opinions are like anuses – everyone has one. This is especially true of parenting. After all, it’s a task that most of us undertake at some point in our lives.


Sifting through the sea of contradicting opinions is one of the ultimate challenges for any new parent. People are only too willing to drop their two-cents, whether solicited or not. This undoubtedly adds to the complexity of parenting, but these are not the opinions of which you should be most wary. The opinions that I believe can cause you the most problems are your own, pre-child ones.

They are the throw-away lines that you used so freely before you actually had any understanding of the complexity of the job. They are the opinions that escape your mouth as “I’d never let my child…”, often uttered as you witness a single snapshot of another family’s life.

I have done it, many times. Too many to count. I think it’s natural to have an idealistic view of how you expect family life to be before you begin, but it is important to understand that the reality rarely meets your expectations.

The Toys in the Doctor’s Surgery Waiting Room

I had always looked on toys in the doctor’s surgery with disgust. I would never let my child play with them I used to say quietly to myself as I watched children play with the same toys that have sat in the same corner of the surgery waiting room for the past ten years. Just imagine how filthy they are! Imagine how many sick and grubby little fingers have been touching them already. To be honest, the thought of going anywhere near them made me feel a little ill.


Yesterday, we took Hannah to the doctor. She was suffering from what turned out to be conjunctivitis – highly contagious conjunctivitis.

We entered the room and sat down. I sat on the chair and Hannah sat patiently in my lap. She looked around the room and took in the various elements. Her eyes stopped for a while on the television, something that is still very much a novelty for Hannah as we have avoided giving her any screen time at home (yes, I did say I would never let my baby watch the television. So far I have stuck to that one).

After a while, Hannah became bored of the American chat show on the screen and she began scanning the room again. She looked at posters and pamphlets, until eventually her eyes came to rest on the lime-green plastic object in the corner of the room – the toy bucket.


The battle begins…

I still have no idea how Hannah knew what it was, but she definitely knew. Almost immediately she grew restless. Her little legs kicked out and she twisted her body in the usual “let me down” manner. She had a goal in mind – a target that she suddenly had to reach.

Elderly eyes swivelled in the waiting room. A show was about to begin and they would be damned if they were going to miss the fun in their otherwise dull excursion. It was obvious that a battle of willpower was under way – my determination to keep Hannah from the box of disease, and Hannah’s determination to play.


Resigned to defeat

Hannah, of course, had the upper hand. An enthusiastic wail from her and I had to let go. No-one likes to be the parent in the middle of a waiting room commotion, and I’m no exception. To my advantage, Hannah didn’t know that she had this power. She’s never been in the situation where she has had to unleash it, as episodes of public crankiness are few and far between. But I could feel the wail building inside her. I knew I had lost. In that moment I had made the choice – I had become the parent who disgusted me so much in my pre-children days. I had become the parent who let his child play with the toys in the doctor’s surgery waiting room.

I placed her on the floor. I’m sure I gave a head-to-toe shudder as her tiny feet began to carry her towards the dreaded bucket of doom (or fun, depending on by whose viewpoint you look at it).


Saved by an angel

Just then, a voice like an angel from heaven called out “Hannah?”

It was the doctor. It was our turn to see her.

Before Hannah could reach the bucket, I scooped her up into my arms. “Time to see the doctor,” I told her.

It took a moment for it to sink in, but not too long. Hannah’s focus was already onto the next issue – the strange lady in the white coat who seemed entirely too interested in poking and prodding her. But that adventure is a story for another day.


Until next time…

One thing is for sure, Hannah has an excellent memory. I have no doubt that the next time we set foot in that doctor’s surgery waiting room, Hannah’s entire being will become devoted to reaching the bucket. At that moment, I will have little choice but to give in and let her play with the toys. Hopefully, when that time comes, Hannah will not be carrying anything highly contagious. More importantly, hopefully neither will have the last kid to touch them…

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knuckles, blood, wall Blog

Ten Things I’ve Learnt Today – Knuckles

For today’s post, I thought I would pass on a few words of wisdom. I learnt these ten knuckles-related facts the hard way, so that you don’t have to…


  1. Knuckles graze easily when scraped on concrete stairs.
  2. Grazed knuckles bleed. A lot.
  3. Bleeding knuckles should be tended to immediately, not left to deal with after the cleaning is done.
  4. Eventually, blood from a grazed knuckle will find its way onto the white wall.
  5. Blood should be cleaned off white walls immediately. Under no circumstances should it be left to dry a little bit while you go to find a camera because you think it will make a good photo for a blog post.
  6. Photos of knuckle-blood stained walls don’t make for good blog post photos.
  7. Babies WILL wake up from naps and immediately demand to be attended to at the exact moment that you are trying to remove dried-on blood from a wall. You really should have done something about the still-bleeding knuckle earlier.
  8. Band-Aids don’t stay stuck when placed on knuckles.
  9. I may never finish sweeping the stairs.
  10. Sweeping stairs is a crap job.
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Dad jokes, joke Blog

How to Spot a Dad Joke

Something strange happens to many men at a certain point in their lives. It’s not so much to do with age as it is with mentality.

For me, I began to notice it several months before Hannah was born. It was a subtle, yet significant change to my persona, to my psyche. I started seeing the world in a slightly different way, as if things had ’tilted’ slightly. Different things became amusing. I began to hear words in different ways. Phrases began to escape my mouth, without filtration. It became clear to Emma, long before it was clear to me – I had begun to tell dad jokes.

This will most likely happen to you too. But fear not. Becoming a dad joker is a thing to embrace. It’s an adult milestone. Don’t fight it, enjoy it.

I’ve put together this guide to spotting dad jokes. It also contains some fine examples of the kinds of jokes you can expect to begin telling. Feel free to use them and to adapt them. No-one owns dad jokes, they belong to the universe*.


Sure-fire ways to know if you’re telling a Dad Joke:

The joke involves a pun

Often, it is based around a homophone, or around a word that sounds like a phrase with totally different meaning. Dad jokers are particularly good at this.


dad joke

Nobody laughs, except you

Indicators that you’ve just told a quality dad joke include an eyeroll by the Mrs or a groan from a child. Extreme dad jokers are sometimes even pre-empted by a “no dad, please don’t”, squealed by a child frantically searching for a normal upbringing.

Meanwhile, you find the joke that you’ve just uttered so amusing that a large grin has spread across your face. If it is particularly funny, you may even allow a large belly laugh to escape.

dad joke, bored

dad joke

A strong feeling of déjà vu

Have we been here before? Yes. Many, many times. Your wife didn’t laugh the first time you told her the joke and she sure as hell isn’t going to laugh the tenth time you say it. Dad jokers have a tendency to try and wear down their audience through repetition. It doesn’t work. Ever. But they try anyway.

dad joke, jokes


dad jokes, joke

Other dads find it funny

If you are unsure of whether you are about to tell a dad joke, quickly run it past the dads on Twitter. If they express amusement at what you have said, be warned. You are about to tell a dad joke. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it, in fact the nature of dad jokers most likely compels you to tell it. If you’re lucky, the Twitter dads will respond to your dad joke with a smorgasbord of their own. This will provide you with a whole day’s worth of material to try out on the family.


Dad jokes, joke

Dad jokes, joke

That’s it from me. For more fantastic dad jokes, I suggest you head on over to a few of my favourite dad-bloggers and check out their fine collections:

Daddy Poppins – Dad Jokes

Virtual Wombat – 20 Eyebrow Raising Dad Jokes – Tumble Weeds Guaranteed

*Jokes may actually belong to people. If any of these jokes belong to you from a legal perspective, please let me know and I’ll remove them immediately.

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No Longer My Little Baby Girl

To my darling daughter,

I have come to realise something recently. It’s something that makes me feel slightly sad. Yet at the same time, it’s uplifting, exciting. I have come to realise that you are no longer my little baby girl.

I feel sadness because for the past 16 months, a tiny little helpless baby has been my whole world. I’ve adored you, I’ve soaked in your precious little features. I’ve watched and admired every little change, every development, every milestone. I’ve held you and talked to you, I’ve sung to you and played with you. All the while, you were my baby.

Now, quite clearly, you are not my baby. You are a toddler. A little girl who is very quickly growing. You have boundless energy, creativity, opinions and independence. You are in control and able to communicate your likes and your displeasure. This is all wonderful, it truly is! But a part of me will always hold dear the precious first few months of your life.

While I think back fondly to the incredible little baby you were, I also deeply love the toddler who you’ve become. You amaze me every day with something new. You freely share your smiles and laughter, and every time you do, it brightens up the world. You find pleasure in little things and you appear to enjoy the funny side of life! I hope that sticks with you as you grow. The world is already far too full of serious people doing serious things with serious looks on their faces. People who wouldn’t spot a joke if it fell on them like a grand piano – cartoon-style. But the world is a fun place and a funny place. It is yours to enjoy.

You are a great communicator. You make it clear what you want and when you want it. You are not afraid to ask for things or to put forward your opinion. Never be afraid to do these things. You express enjoyment, wonder and displeasure in the most clear ways. And you listen. I’ve never seen someone concentrate so intently on my face when I speak to them as you do. You want so much to understand every word that I say.

You love to move. The development of walking has opened up your little world and you take full advantage of it. You walk whenever you get the chance and you have no problem with covering large distances. You’ve even started moving very quickly. I feel that running is not far away.

One of your favourite things to do now that you are a toddler is read books. You climb up into my lap, on the chair in your room and you demand that I lift you up. Your eyes dart across the shelf until you find a book that takes your fancy. Your little hand shoots out and firmly grasps your prize. I lower you back into my lap and together we explore the book. Sometimes I read it to you from cover to cover. Other times you flick through the pages and we discuss the pictures. You know all sorts of animals and the sound that they make (although you still have trouble spotting the bees, even though you know what sound they make). Often, when one book is done, the request for a second is loud and immediate.

Sometimes you eat as much as I do! Your palate is fairly diverse, although you do have a tendency to favour carbs and dairy. You have excellent spoon control, although sometimes you try to fit far too much into your tiny mouth at once! I love sitting down with you and mum at meal time. I hope that as you grow, dinner will be a time to sit as a family and talk about all manner of things.

My darling girl, know that I loved the baby that you were, and the toddler that you are. Know that together we have created incredible memories, and that I appreciate every second that I have with you in the present. Little one, know that I look forward to the wide expanse of the future and all that it may hold for you. You may no longer be my little baby girl, but I will always be your dad.



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Skin Cancer and the Boiled Lolly

The scourge of skin cancer in Australia

Skin cancer is a devastating reality of life in Australia. We have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to Sun Smart Victoria, 2 in 3 of us will be diagnosed with a form of skin cancer by the age of 70, and skin cancers account for more than 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year.

These statistics are huge, and I believe most Australians are vaguely aware of them. We have now had several decades of sun-smart programs, ad campaigns, lessons in schools and highly visible posters in doctor’s surgeries, warning us of the dangers and compelling us to Slip Slop Slap (and in more recent years Seek Slide).



Because of the significant possibility of developing skin cancer, I visit my local skin doctor on an annual basis. Last week my phone beeped with an alert. It informed me that it was once again time for my check-up.

Ten minutes of discomfort

Going to the skin doctor is a strange experience – it is mildly uncomfortable for several reasons. At the forefront of my mind is that I may go home with slightly less of me than I had when I entered. This is because on several occasions my doctor has removed suspicious-looking growths for further analysis. The removal of such growths isn’t overly painful, just a quick local anaesthetic, a bit of scalpel work then a couple of stiches to hold you back together again. The whole thing takes about ten minutes.

But there are other aspects of visiting the skin doctor that make it uncomfortable too. On my last visit the doctor ushered me into a room, where he asked me to strip down to my underwear. He then left the room. I assume he does this to provide a sense of privacy while undressing, but I don’t quite get it. I know that in the end he’s just going to see me in my jocks anyway. If anything, it just adds to the sense of discomfort, because inevitably I end up standing around in nothing but my y-fronts, waiting for his return.

I’m also never quite sure whether I’m supposed to be sitting down, standing, or lying on the surgical bed ready for my examination. I was mid-way through pondering this question when the doctor returned. As a result, he caught me in a semi-squatting position – mid sit.

As he lifted each side of my underwear to check for signs of arse-skin cancer, he lamented the political career of poor ol’ Gough.

He entered the room, quickly glanced at my file, then launched into a monologue about dead Australian Prime Ministers. This threw me a bit, as I was expecting the usual ‘How’s your family?’ small talk that health professionals usually seem to stick with. At the same time, his eyes started darting across my body. For the briefest of moments he would hold his magnifying glass up to a curiosity, assess it, then move on to the next. All the while he continued with his speech about politicians of the past.

Every now and then he threw in an instruction – lift your arm, turn around, lie on the bed. But the main focus of thought appeared to be his chosen topic. As I lay face down on the bed, the doctor waxed lyrical about Gough Whitlam and his It’s Time election slogan. As he lifted each side of my underwear to check for signs of arse-skin cancer, he lamented the political career of poor ol’ Gough.

By this point in the examination I had become quite engrossed in the doctor’s monologue. He had taken me on a journey through some fascinating and some poignant moments of Australian history. I waited eagerly for the moral, the purpose of the good doctor’s story, but instead his voice just trailed off…

“The good news is that I won’t have to chop you today,” the doc declared. “Put your clothes back on, see you next year.”

I sat up, hoping that the doctor would provide some closure to his story.  But as I turned around, all that I was left with was the ‘click’ of the door through which he had made a quick escape. By the time I was buckling my belt, I could hear the doctor’s voice in the next room. He was already talking to his next patient. I can only imagine what interesting, yet ultimately pointless story he had begun. It dawned on me that his story had been nothing but a distraction. It was merely something to take my mind off the awkwardness of the situation, to reduce my nerves about what may be found.

The moral of the story…

I put on the rest of my clothes and headed to the counter. I looked at the ubiquitous bowl of boiled lollies on the counter, which I normally ignore. But this time I gave a wry smile and picked one up. Suddenly, the lolly had assumed great significance. It’s message to me was simple – The discomfort is minor, the consequences are real, so suck it up.


I looked at the receptionist and asked her to book me an appointment for the same time next year.

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