Archive for the ‘#projectomg’ Category

2013 – an overview!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


This year has been a busy and fantastic one for us.  We moved house in April to my rainbow’s end little pot of gold as you can see up above!  We are now well settled in, and enjoyed making the most of the gorgeous weather this summer.  We moved to the seaside at just the right time – I can assure you working in a heat wave is more bearable knowing you can go for a paddle when you get home!  Many trips to the beach 2 minutes away have been made, and many picnics there and on the deck area at the front door overlooking the sea!

We had a lovely 10th Wedding Anniversary celebration back in the honeymoon suite at Balbirnie Hotel (where we were married) and during our stay did some key conveyancing transactions with the solicitors!  I wasn’t bothered about my birthday this year, just wanted to get into the house and start living “happily ever after”!  In line with this I somehow totally lost my list of pressies and confused myself so much I never got round to doing thank you letters, so I do apologise for that.  If you missed the whole story of the house I did blog about it and I’ve posted photos on my Flickr.

The house is all I dreamed of and more, never realised how content having sea views would make me – and we lost count of how many times Owen squealed happily “I can see the sea” in the first month!  Even the cats love it as they can now go outside as we’re away from any busy roads, we just cross our fingers they won’t jump off the cliffs!  The house has lots of features that I love: an awesome utility room with proper old Belfast sink and a really useful hose type tap; a lovely bathroom with funky lighting; a great ensuite with a double shower; Owen’s room has tons of storage and fantastic views of the coast; a useful hose under the front decking so you can wash the car; a spare room that we can keep just as a spare room (yes that is your invite!); and 2 decent sized lounges including a perfect space for Firefly, my rocking horse.  I could go on but I don’t want to be a bore/show off!  Unfortunately when we moved in we had 3 quite major problems so we’re working through fixing those things (and paying the associated bills!) but generally speaking we’re all quite happy there.  Bryan doesn’t see it as his “forever house” in the same way I do but I’ve told him if he wants to move he can organise it all next time – if he finds a house we like even more than this one!

Our other news is that Bryan’s firm got bought over at the start of the year by Adept4.  Bryan then got promoted in April and the associated pay rise was perfect timing for our increased mortgage, and has meant finances aren’t as tight as we’d predicted.  Plus for the first time in our relationship he is the Main Breadwinner, so that’s taking some getting used to!  Owen and his Grandda got him an “I’m The Boss” badge for Father’s Day so that reminds me.  Adept4 seem to be a great company, and I’m not just saying that as I’m wearing the gorgeous earrings I got from their Christmas party one Saturday night a couple of weeks ago…which was an awesome Bond themed dinner, in Shropshire!  Was nice to get a night away and I got to drive an MPV for the first time as there were 6 of us travelling down from Aberdeen, nice bit of bonding time for the 3 colleagues/IT geeks.

Owen is growing as only little people do, can’t believe our wee baby is 4 now.  This was him as Joseph in the nursery Christmas Show – he was very diligent in learning his lines (and keeping his star role a secret from his Daddy until the big day!).  He’s very excited about going to GaelicSchool next August and has been learning a few words, we even went to a day course to learn some to speak with him.  We also got invited to a picnic of other families involved with the school so he met a boy who will be in his year and some others from above and below his year.  He is great fun, totally into drawing and Lego at the moment – and collecting shells and other beach “treasure”..  This year he’s had his first trip to England (Bryan had a work BBQ for us to attend), he’s been to Mickey Mouse Rockin’ Road Show, the Turriff Show, Leuchar’s air show, Lion King stage show (with Hillside flatshare reunion lunch, first time since kids born, pic below!) and exhibition, had football coaching at nursery, honed his climbing skills (rocks at the beach as well as in play parks) and been to his first music festival.  The last of these was Strathyre’s first attempt and my parent’s hotel was one of the venues.  Creagan is still on the market unfortunately but the good news is Dad finally applied, and was accepted, to The Master Chefs of Great Britain.

My work is going great, in June I gave my first ever seminar to my peers at the British and Irish Association of Law Librarian’s conference (I go most years).  A lot of work, and nerves, went into it but it seemed to go well, I even repeated it for one of the local law firms.  It was called Working Outside The Box and is about transferable skills.  I’ve also been promoted to Vice Chair of the BIALL Website Committee so that means I’m guaranteed a few more trips to London etc for their meetings!  I’ve been encouraging external hires of our library and in September we had our first wedding, in November our first concert – both of which were great fun.

I’m still writing concert reviews so I get to see gigs for free – in fact one birthday treat was finally getting to see Simple Minds in action, great night!  I’ve also seen Olly Murs, Emile Sande, Midge Ure, Toyah (even got my photo taken with her!), Emma’s Imagination (pic with her too!). Young Kato, Pigeon Detectives (ooh another pic!), Joe Bonamassa, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and local band Little Kicks.  Not forgetting of course CS Buchan’s album launch in the wonderful venue of…my library!  If you’re interested my reviews are online here.  I won 4 tickets to see Strictly Confidential, the dance show about Lisa Riley’s life so had a girly outing and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  Ooh and talking of prizes, I also won an iPad Mini so that’s been very handy for supporting my internet addiction!

Our Christmas Day was just the 3 of us in our new house, then Boxing Day we went to the pantomime with Ray, Nicole, Lucas and Maya.  Having moved to the south of Aberdeen we’ve managed to see more of them this year and our sons seem to be growing up as close as their Dads did, which is nice.  On 27th we were supposed to head down to Fife for my wee cousin’s wedding party as she’s finally home from the States where she got married but unfortunately a couple of members of the family were ill, so I still have that prospect to look forward to.  Instead we went straight to Creagan to have a “Christmas Day” with my parents last Saturday.

Unfortunately Bryan’s Dad is offshore this month but we do see him quite a lot when he’s onshore now which is ace, and at the end of January the 4 of us are going to Old Trafford to see Man U play (thanks Adept4!) so we’re all really excited about that, will be quite an experience I’m sure!

So really 2013 has been a great year for us, hope it suited you too?!

#projectomg – the full story!

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Since August I have been using the hashtag on Twitter of #projectomg and made cryptic comments about what was going on with our whole house move thing.  Well the time has come to tell the whole tale – although it must be said its one of the worst kept secrets I’ve ever had, I was just too excited!

So what was I going on about?  Well if I can take you back a couple of years…July 2011 I believe…some of my friends were in the process of moving houses and were sending me links to ESPC and possible purchases.  One Friday lunchtime I was bored and started surfing our local property site – ASPC.  Now don’t ask me how but I found a house – very unlike what I normally look at, in a place I didn’t really know where it was and had certainly never been, and way out of our budget.  Then I fell in love.

That night I sheepishly mentioned it to hubby.  “Can we afford it?” he asked so I got looking at mortgage calculators and the next morning I phoned some banks.  Eventually…actually I think it was the Monday which was a local holiday so I was off work but the banks were open…I came back with the answer of yes although we’d be skint.  A yes answer provoked himself into looking at the schedule…and ooohing a bit…  I was given permission to arrange a viewing.  I phoned the mobile number on the schedule and it wasn’t recognised, so I had to wait until the Tuesday to phone the selling agent and ask them to arrange a viewing for me.  A couple of phone calls back and forth and finally on the Friday I got a response “they have taken it off the market”.  Well gut response I squealed “noooo, they can’t do that” to which I was assured they could.

By that time I had been poring over the schedule for a week, reading each tiny detail time and again, memorising all the photos.  I was gutted as I was convinced this was the “forever house” for my family.  I am not one to give up easily when there’s something I really want – anyone who was around when I was trying to get tickets for the MTV awards in Edinburgh will vouch for that, and what an awesome night I finally had when I ended up as a seat filler for the VIPs.  But I digress…

I love the concept “if you don’t ask you don’t get”, and also the Law Of Attraction, and have used them many times over the years.  The more I thought about it the more I thought this could be one of those occassions.  I sat down, picked up a pen, and wrote to the address of this dream house.  I explained I was the viewer they turned down and that I was in love with the house after a week of examining the schedule and so I would appreciate it if they would keep my contact details in case they ever changed their mind.  A mad thing to do perhaps, and certainly no response arrived…

Until 1 year later!  One Friday night after work – 3 August 2012 – I had just settled myself into a seat on the Megabus to Edinburgh for the wedding of my lovely friends David and Becki.  My phone buzzed and I looked down to a text that said we are thinking of putting the house back on the market, are you still interested?  It’s horrid being alone in a public place when you get a possibly life changing text and you can’t tell anyone about it, but oh so exciting!  One text conversation later I had arranged to go and view the house, at last!  At some point I told hubby, can’t really remember that bit.  Luckily after all that time of lusting after the place, all 3 of us liked it when we did get the tour and we expressed an interest but explained our house wasn’t on the market, or ready to be so.  Luckily we had a week’s annual leave with no major plans so off we went and got DIY-tastic and had the necessary surveyor and solicitor visits and got the place on the market.  Obviously I’ve blogged about selling the house, that bit wasn’t a secret for long but we had to try and keep quiet about the house in Newtonhill that we were doing it for in case it wouldn’t work out.

It was a tense few months, trying to sell our house and not knowing if we were taking too long for the Newtonhill house to wait for us.  Every now and then I would text them updates of what was happening and it was fabulous when I could finally text them that we’d sold and they confirmed we could still buy theirs!

Exciting Times

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Last week was our 10 year wedding anniversary and we had a lovely time at Balbirnie celebrating it.  They very kindly upgraded us to the bridal suite which we were in for far too little time on our wedding night!  This time we savoured the 4 poster bed and the huge jacuzzi bath.  We also enjoyed the cocktail menu and Bryan found a new love in a Vesper Martini….  Our evening meal was totally devine and yummy – and my breakfast was good too – complete with Alanis Morrisette album playing in the background.
Happy 10th wedding anniversary us!

Owen also had a great time, on the way down we stopped at Camperdown Wildlife Park in Dundee and met up with my parents.  We went round the animals, had lunch, and then waved the 3 of them off as Granddad drove them to their house to have some quality time without us.
Handing sprog to my folks

We went and joined them at Creagan late in the afternoon on the Friday (fully taking advantage of the free childcare to nip into a cinema to catch a movie on the way!  Wreck It Ralph is fun, just don’t tell Owen we saw the new Disney film without him…).  Mum very kindly gave us the 4 poster room for the night to continue the romantic theme – although not quite the same under the same roof as my folks!

We came back on Saturday in time for Owen’s friend’s birthday party, which was at the Satrosphere and included him being in a bubble!!!
Owen in a bubble!

Anyway the other excitement started last Wednesday – when we got an offer on our house which we felt we could accept.  Lots of phone calls and emails with solicitors and our financial advisor happened over the course of Thursday (including one call I had to stop the bubbles in the jacuzzi for – thank goodness we didn’t have video phones!).  So on Thursday night as well as celebrating 10 years married we were also celebrating (tentatively) that it looked like we had sold our house.  Well today I finally got to do my happy dance as the sale is now official!  Hurrah!!  It took a wee while but we can now head south..hopefully…one step at a time!

I was surrounded by excitement on Tuesday night too, of a very different sort.  I had been asked to write a review for the X Factor tour that was coming to Aberdeen.  Luckily I have a neighbour who is into that sort of thing as its not something I watch so she came with me and we went down to the AECC.  To know any more of the evening please check out my review.

Oh and on Tuesday Owen got his 3 year and 4 month injections and didn’t even cry, what a big brave boy!
Owen's 3 year 4 month jab day with Daddy

1 month down…

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

January is almost over, already.  Really, where does the time go?  So what’s going on with us?  Well Owen seems to have hit the terrible 2s – now that he’s 3!  We’re having a bit of a hard time with him but doing our best to work out why he’s getting upset and to explain to him why his behaviour is sometimes unacceptable.  He does seem to listen, usually, and take it in – and he is very good at saying sorry afterwards!

Our house is still on the market – wanna buy it?  We’ve already had 5 lots of viewers this year and another 1 coming tonight so that’s promising, just need 1 of them to buy it now!  Must admit I’ve had enough of living in a decluttered and tidy environment, I want a home again!  Still our day will come.  It’s interesting seeing who’s looked at the home report as we get regular updates of who’s been looking at it, so tempting to email them all and say “buy it!  And if not please tell me why not in case its something we can fix before the next person looks at it!”  One viewer was kind enough to give our solicitor some feedback but it was that he wanted a garage, so not sure why he came to see a house without a garage – its not like the pictures make it look like the garden is big enough to build one!  Ah well, his loss of our lovely house, just means someone else gets the joy of living here…anyone for a viewing?

Work is going fine, except today and yesterday when I’ve been off sick.  Caught some horrid coldy virus thing – fluctuating temperature, sore head, feeling sick, achy all over.  Yesterday I barely had the energy to lift my head from the pillow but today I’ve even managed a shower and getting dressed (luckily as we have viewing booked!).  So back to work tomorrow!  Unfortunately I missed a fundraising dinner we’d arranged last night at The Courtyard – http://www.thecourtyardaberdeen.co.uk/ – in aid of The Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research http://www.euanmacdonaldcentre.com/home.html but I was happy to count up this morning over £1000 was raised so that’s fabulous!  Apparently the dinner and cookery demonstration were fabulous – would have been lost on me last night, I barely managed 3 forkfulls of spagetti bolonaise!

Other than that not a lot to report – oh Bryan got photo editing software for Christmas and may have been playing with it…
Owen

And we may have enjoyed the recent snow…
Snow angel!

2012 round up

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Still being naughty and not blogging much (yes I said the same last year!) so thought I could share the letter I sent with Christmas cards as a bit of a round up of last year (may edit it a bit to allow for public consumption):

Time to recap our year, and looking back it’s been a good one on the whole! Hope 2012 was good to you too?

After 14 months of living with us Lee moved out in January, Owen found it hard to get used to his uncle not being around all the time at first but now just enjoys the visits when we do see him – plus Owen moved into the bigger room once it was free again so that’s much better for him. Unfortunately Lee is probably moving to England next year to be closer to his kids, can’t blame him but we will all miss him.

Our main news really is that our house is on the market – fancy it? http://www.aspc.co.uk/cgi-bin/public/SINGLE?ID=302308 After almost 6 years in Bridge of Don we’ve decided it would be more practical to be on the south side of the city (and I’m hoping for sea views!). The plan is to be closer to various important people in our lives, although we will miss our BOD friends and hope they won’t be strangers once they do finally get rid of us!

Our decision on location hasn’t needed to be affected by the location of good schools as we also made the huge decision to send Owen to Gaelic School once the time comes. The research into bilingual education shows amazing results and we want to give him the best opportunity we can, plus the unit has quite small classes and a community feel with the families all getting together for various social events throughout the year. Also they provide transport so it doesn’t matter where we live he’ll get safely transported.

Owen is now 3 and a proper little chap, no more ickle baby that’s for sure! He still loves pirates, his cats and Snow White and the 7 Dwarves (luckily that’s Aberdeen’s main panto this year so we went to that on the 23rd!).
Excited party boy!

He had his first proper birthday party in October, insisted on wearing his suit for it – the photo above that I took of him appeared in the Press and Journal in a feature that won us a canvas version of it! We took him to his first football match at Pittodrie – Manchester United v Aberdeen. I was a bit worried as it started at his bedtime but he managed fine, was lovely watching him with his Dad and Grandda enjoying the game. He is in the Pre School class at nursery and loves helping the Ladies, and us, with things like laying the table. His manners are also very good – I have been told off for having my elbows on the table, and even Granny was told off for eating with her mouth full! Down point of the year was chicken pox, but at least that’s over with, oh and a trip to A&E when he tripped at nursery and cut his forehead, luckily they were able to just glue it back together.

Fabulously 2 concert photographers now ask me to write reviews for them so I’ve managed several concerts without denting our finances (saving for a bigger house obviously!). My parents got me tickets to see Madonna in Edinburgh so that is one big name off my Need To See List, I have also seen this year: The Wanted, Steps (urgh!), Hue and Cry, Charlie Simpson, Twin Atlantic, The Proclaimers, Lionel Richie and Jools Holland with KT Tunstall.

Work wise we’re both at the same places, I have had an article and a blog post published this year and I presented a seminar at my work on Social Networking, which went well. Next year I am going to be a speaker at the big Law Librarian’s conference I go to every year (this year was Belfast, next year is Glasgow). Not sure why I thought that was a good idea to apply for but will look good on my LinkedIn profile if it goes well! I’ve waitressed at a couple of events too, good to keep my hand in, and I do miss the team work and yummy food associated therein! The wages for that help me justify my now 6 monthly habit of a weekend away with 3 special gal pals, this year it was Aviemore where we fed reindeer and Pitlochry where we enjoyed the Enchanted Forest – oh and both cabins had hot tubs – lush!

Through my work, and networking efforts with Aberdeen PA, a lovely hotel called Fairmont St Andrews gave me a voucher for a night’s bed and breakfast so we decided it would be rude not to use it. It was the first time we’ve left Owen somewhere over night and I’m not sure who enjoyed it most – him or my parents! Luckily they had no problems – and we had a lovely evening with a superb meal in the Fairmont’s Esperante restaurant. We did the taster menu which seemed to have a high wine to food ratio, good we didn’t have far to go afterwards! Waking up seeing the sea from our bedroom was good house selling motivation it must be said.

Family wise – my parent’s house/business is on the market and they celebrated 40 years married in July! Quite an achievement. Talking of marriage, my wee cousin Sarah emigrated and married a Texan, we managed a family get together at Creagan before she went and a historic photo was taken of all the cousins, their parents and offspring. Not very often we manage that!

So all in all, a good year for me I think!  Roll on 2013…and fingers crossed we sell our house soon!

Busy making decisions

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Anyone who knows us will know we’re not great at making decisions.  Recently however we have made some HUGE decisions (hence being too busy thinking to blog much!).

One is a bit self explanatory:
Buy our house!

Yes, we have put our house on the market!  Full details online if you’re interested/nosy.  People keep asking why, and where we’re going.  Well, obviously we have to sell our house first but the plan is to move to the south of Aberdeen, hopefully with a view of the sea.  When we moved to Aberdeen 5 and a half years ago we chose Bridge of Don as it was a nice area, we had 2 lots of friends there and it was the right side of the city for visiting much of Bryan’s family.  Since then 1 couple moved away, Bryan’s Mum passed away, and Bryan’s brother and his partner split up and she moved to England with all our nieces and nephews.  Most of our weekends away are to Edinburgh or visit my parents (i.e. south) and Bryan’s Dad, favourite cousin and my Great Aunt and Fairy Godmother are all in Portlethan or Stonehaven.  So south makes sense.  Hopefully if we move out of the city we’ll also get more for our money, I really miss the second loo we had in our last flat for example!  We will miss Bridge of Don and all the ace friends we’ve made there but we’re not going too far away – and I really won’t be lying if potential buyers ask if we have any problems with the neighbours and I answer “no, they are all ace, couldn’t ask for a nicer street full!”

The other big decision we’ve made is about that wee man that we love so much.  We have decided we would like him to have a bilingual education and to that end he will be getting registered with the local Gaelic unit at Gilcomstoun Primary School when its time for him to start school.  We went and had a tour and were impressed by the facilities there plus the research we’ve done into the benefits of learning another language whilst young showed great results.  We’re going to try and introduce him to a bit more Gaelic over the next 2 years, he already knows the lullaby I sing him and we’ve been using some of the resources on Gaelic4Parents.

So there, that’s our update!  Oh – and here’s the wee man himself just in case you’ve missed him!
Today is tie day