Xmas Gift Guide: 4forDads

Dads get a raw deal when it comes to Christmas. Even more so than us Mums I reckon. While generic bath products and fluffy socks will always be used by me, my other half has more than enough novelty mugs and character socks. It’s possible I mentioned last year that my own father continued to receive liquorice allsorts well into the millennium, having said he quite liked them once in 1992.

While my own husband (now a father of 3, Step-Dad of one and soon-to be-Dad to a mini football team) is happy with any food related item, I’m sure he would also like the odd surprise this year. The idea that when you become a Dad you suddenly need ten more pairs or socks or novelty toilet books is laughable. I mean, does fatherhood drain you of all sense of substance and intelligence …… don’t answer that actually, motherhood certainly did that to me in part, but even so, here’s my 4forDads gift guide to inspire you. As always, it follows my mantra 

Something To Wear

The Level Collective: Outdoor suppliers for balanced living*

Not socks! Anything but socks! Or pj bottoms right? I mean to be honest, I think my husband quite likes his Daddy Pig lounge pants but at the same time, being a Dad shouldn’t mean style goes totally out the window. It can be hard though, if you’re a working parent. It’s workwear through the week and comfies at the weekend. But who says comfort and style can’t be combined? As a family, we spend a lot of our time outdoors. The countryside is a free activity and, living in Devon, we like to make the most of the beauty around us. We talk fondly of the future and how, as the children grow, so too can the pace and gradient of our walks. More than once my husband has expressed an interest in working outdoors. Once our final baby is born, we plan to take new steps to change our roles both at home and at work, in the hope of a more balanced life.

Ironically neither of us were ‘outdoorsy’ children but we have come to love the landscape and raise our children to also. From camping to the moors, geocaching to footpaths, standard weekend attire is often practical, warm layers and wellies, hiking boots and waterproofs. It’s not always glamorous and the floor of our utility room often bears the brunt of the mud and slush. But so too does the hot chocolate pot on our return. Back to reality! Back to the commute and back to the routine…. little room for fashion statements but plenty of room for growth. And now there’s a brand able to encapsulate this!

The Level Collective: this UK based outdoor supplier successfully marry style with comfort, designing and creating organic ethical products and clothing which are both durable and sustainable. An affordable alternative to fast fashion! 

We design products for everyday urban & wilderness adventures. Hand crafted in the UK and beyond in collaboration with artists and makers. Inspired by mountains, waves & forests. 

The Level Collective

I love the idea that fatherhood, work and leisure are not just roles in a life, they’re all part of who a person is. Clothing shouldn’t have to conform to one environment, in the same way we too don’t fully conform to being ‘just parents’ or ‘just teachers’ or just ‘homemakers’. And here is a brand that totally gets this! 

The Level Collective Instagram

From boots to beanies, sweaters to tees, the Level Collective has a diverse range of designs and products in stunning earthy tones. And hey! There’s even some tempting socks, if you don’t want to break far from tradition. 

We aim to Live Level – to pursue a balanced life. Where hard graft meets restful connection.  Where urban meets wilderness. To Live Level is to be fair to others and to care for our planet – where freedom meets responsibility. This balance inspires every product we design

Head for the hills sweater

If you’re feeling left out, not to worry, all Level Collective clothing is unisex. So feel free to dip in the other halves’ wardrobe or even build up a collection together?!

Something They Want

Man caves and me time

Ok so what do men want? Or rather Dads? Ask my husband, he would say to sit at home, alone, in his pants and eat a pot noodle. It’s a running joke in our house not only because it’s a kinda ridiculous thought, but also because we both know there’s no way on earth there will ever be time for that. In fact, because my husband is a teacher, he’s rarely home when the children aren’t. Bar Friday morning for an hour when he goes in later and the little one is at preschool. So yes, the Dad in our household has no time at home childfree. 

We all make jokes about having a ‘man cave’ but it’s true, everyone needs a retreat, mine tends to be the bathroom, or rather the bath, for a soak, but  him?! He’s managed to commandeer the garage. Here, he has begun to construct a Warhammer game board, using an old table and some plywood. Middle Earth is beginning to take shape but, it’s winter. It’s cold and the garage is not attached to the house. So what does he want? Well, I’ve searched the web to bring some awesome ‘Dad cave’ products.

As parents we are always striving to make a difference for our children’s future, while not every decision we make as a family is the eco-friendly choice, we very much believe in small steps. So you may also find these articles helpful when it comes to kitting our your Dad cave. 

Energy efficient free-standing heating options

Best Nespresso-compatible pods for 2019

Though I joke about retreating from the family, my husband is really building his set not just for himself, but to share with his children. I guess even when you have time alone, your priorities never change, which is why everyone deserves a place to escape to…. and hopefully, it won’t be long before my husband can store the mini figures in there too, so they’re not strewn all around the kitchen! 

Something They Need

Hot Smoked: BBQ Hot Smoking Kit

I’ve touched on wanting time alone, and being outside. So let’s be honest, I often wonder if my husband’s love of the outdoors stems from those few hours once a week in the summer, when he can mow the lawn, childfree! I mean, the warmer weather does open up your possibilities for freedom as a parent, or, given we like to get out in all weathers, perhaps I should clarify and say it opens up the children’s entertainment options, giving you a little more time to relax. 

This is something we all need

Judges Choice Gift of the Year 2019 and Winner in two Gift of the Year 2019 categories * This BBQ Hot Smoking Kit is an ideal pack for you to experiment with the tastes and techniques of hot smoking on your charcoal or gas barbecue

Hot Smoked
hot smoked

In general, my husband is the chef in our house. It wasn’t always that way but somehow it’s evolved (probably all those hours that I’ve spend nursing babies). We get a subscription food box delivered weekly, providing 4/7 of our main meals; it’s lovely to have such variety and fresh food delivered. And with less waste, we do feel it’s also great value. From this, my husband has developed an enjoyment of cooking. While I’m a throw it together kind of person, he’s meticulous, often crafting lovely dinners for us all. The only times I help are special occasions and in summer, when salads and pasta are called for during family bbqs and that’s what makes the ‘need gift’ so appealing.

So what is hot smoke exactly? Well, an art I’m told. It combines flavoured wood with heat to enable budding foodies and chefs to smoke their meat in a whole new way, creating a taste sensation and unique meal for all the family.

The hot smoked kit includes the following, making it the perfect ‘dip your toe in gift’ for those wanting to up their bbq skills:

Three bags of wood chips in oak, cherry & beech, approx 200g

Stainless steel smoker box and 50g jar of Spicy BBQ Rub

24 pages of food smoking recipes

Supplied in kraft gift box with printed sleeve

Now I know what you’re saying; bbq gift? Not the immediate choice for Xmas? But actually what we all need as parents is a little bit of hope! Hope of some ‘me time’; hope that we can still have hobbies and interests outside of being Mum or Dad and for us, hope that, once the beautiful festivities of Xmas are out the way and dreary January gives way to an exciting new person joining our family…… the sleepless nights and endless nappy changes of the newborn stage will lead to a glorious summer as a complete family of 7!! 

Something To Read

Storigraphic: personalised ‘Hey You’ book*

In my previous gift guide for extended family, I discussed the perils of choosing a book for family members and, while I’d assume living with someone would mean you stand a better chance of picking something they will actually read, it’s still shaky ground. Unless an avid consumer of one particular author you may still get it wrong.

In our household, my husband’s tastes are mainly non-fiction. Warhammer rule books aside, we are talking historical journals and analysis; I would have zero clue where to start. So, while other products in this guide focus on that elusive balance between parenthood and self care, here’s a chance for the little ones to show some appreciation.

Our personalised books narrate and illustrate stories of love and friendship. Give them as gifts for a life-changing moment, a celebration, a thank you, an important question, a pick-me-up for when times are hard or simply to bring a smile.


Storigraphic’s ‘Hey You’ book is a modern, sleek and heartwarming gift this Xmas. With a choice of colours and personalisation options, it’s the ideal book for Dads to simply say ‘thank you’.

Not only is this gift a feel good, with beautiful words and stunning retro-style graphics, it’s also sustainable: each sale also gives back to others. As a team, Storygraphic champion kindness. 

With every book bought by our wonderful customers, 5% of the net profit will be donated to charity. This year, our chosen charity is Crisis. This national organisation supports people across England, Scotland and Wales directly out of homelessness, and campaigns for the national and local changes needed to resolve it for good. Find out more about their plan to end homelessnessacross Great Britain


With Black Friday and Christmas just around the corner, the website has a number of deals available to anyone wanting to create a book for a loved one. There’s also multi-offers, enabling you to spread the love a little more this festive season. And, as a thank you! Storigraphic are offering a special discount of 10% off when you use the code JOY10.

JOY10 for 10% off

So there we have it, the balancing act of parenthood and gift ideas for modern hands-on Dads. It’s rather apt that next weeks guide represents one of the most challenging times we will ever go through….. the teen years… 

4forteens will focus on the female market! See you next week, when it will actually be December!!!!! 

*some items were gifted for review purposes but all thoughts my own

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