If your plans of writing a book, taking up new hobbies, or passing on essential life skills to your loved ones during lockdown haven’t quite become reality, you’re not alone. While life stays busy, even in self-isolation, blogger Ian Northeast is sharing quick fix meals for the family over at Dad’s Delicious Dinners.
How did you originally get started with writing about parenting?
My blog started as a personal recipe book. I was attempting to bring new recipes to the dinner table and wanted somewhere I could store them for future use. I started to share these recipes with friends and family and then it then dawned on me that other families may find them useful as well.
The blog evolved fairly quickly and I started to share my take on parenting. Within a year, it had developed into what it is today.
What’s your favourite thing to post about and why?
I love to write about the things we do as a family, anything from playing games to camping trips or holidays. It is interesting to see the content change as the kids grow up. I’m also not shy to write about more in depth topics such as dealing with teenagers who like to push boundaries or learning about body changes with my nine-year-old daughter. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that other families may find it helpful.
How have you had to change your approach to blogging, or your content, during the COVID-19 crisis?
As lockdown was announced, I had this romantic idea that I could teach the kids some life skills. Changing a car tyre, loading a washing machine, making things out of wood, etc. I also thought to myself that I could finally finish the book I’m writing.
In reality, the first few weeks were a mix of chaos and mess. Home learning, fitting work and blogging in, housework and of course cooking. Eventually we found a happy medium and we all settled into a relatively normal routine.
Realising I probably wasn’t alone with this, I decided to create some easy, quick recipes with easy to source ingredients. I also ran a back to basics campaign, with bread making, pasta making and lots of other things that the kids loved to help with.
As time settled, we did manage to fit in some of the life skill stuff, so I even managed a few articles about our bird table creation and other similar bits.
How will lockdown have changed the way those co-parenting view their family duties and how they share responsibilities? Will we see more men embracing being stay at home dads?
If we can take just one thing from this crisis, I honestly hope it is that more workplaces take a different view on flexible working. Allowing parents to be home with their family more. Being a single dad, I get to be with my kids a lot. It has been lovely hearing about and seeing other dads, who may only have limited time with the kids normally, embrace this period.
How would you recommend parents currently struggling with working from home with their family duties deal with the difficulties?
This has been the hardest part of the lockdown. I work for myself and also help out with a non-profit social enterprise, together with keeping my blog up to date. So, finding that happy space where they and my family life worked together took some time. However, I decided early on that the kids should be my number one priority. If needed, the rest could wait. So yeah, blog posts were often published a few days later than planned and I did lose out on some earning potential with my day job. But, during this weird and often stressful period, I wanted to make sure the kids knew I was around for them at all times.
Best no-fuss stress-free family meal for busy times?
The kids’ favourite recipe on my blog is my chicken shish kebab recipe. It takes very little time to prepare and tastes amazing. It is also a lot healthier than the takeaway version.
Other than that, I use my slow cooker a lot. It’s great to be able to chuck everything in it first thing in the morning and then come dinner time, you have a delicious meal.
For PR and brands looking to work with you and your blog/website, how would you prefer they approach you and with what kind of content?
I am more than happy to work with PRs and brands, either via my social media or posts/articles on the blog and brand ambassador roles. I will be happy to discuss any content, as long as it fits within my current content. The best way to connect with me is by email.
What other blogs do you check out regularly (whether parenting-related or not)?
I follow a wide range of other bloggers. I was fortunate enough to meet Zoey and Kelly from Our Transitional Life at last year’s Online Influence Awards. Their blog is truly inspirational, so I try not to miss any of their new posts. I also love the writing style and content that Enda over at Endastories creates, too.