Archive for the ‘Trips out’ Category

Big Adventure to Edinburgh

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

For quite some time I’ve been wanting to take Owen down to Edinburgh to catch up with some friends and generally show him off!  Last weekend I finally did it, whilst Bryan took the chance to have some guys over for an xbox weekend.  The Monday was a public holiday so it gave us a nice stretch of 3 days.

Owen was getting excited about our “holidays” and “big adventure”, bless him!  “Mummy and Owen, no Daddy” he also seemed to totally understand which was all promising.

We set off on the Saturday morning and drove south.  First stop, just over the Forth Road Bridge, was my friend Tony’s new house where we were going to meet his new twins and see his horses.  I couldn’t believe the twins were 20 months old already, ridiculous it took me that long to get down there and meet them, but then he hadn’t come up and met my wee one either and he’s 2.5 years!  Anyway we had the grand tour of the house and Owen was introduced to Mac the Shetland Pony, who he thought was rather lovely.
Owen meets Mack

Mac liked Owen so much he asked his Mummy Lesley to give Owen one of his rosettes, which made my wee guy very pleased!!  Playing with the twins, having lunch with the whole family, and meeting the animals was obviously all quite tiring as within 5 minutes of leaving there he looked like this…
Mack gave Owen a rosette, and tired him out!

Next we went to see Lyndsay and Kieron in Balerno, this was the first time Owen had met a lady with “baby in belly” and he thought it was quite exciting, enjoyed seeing the nursery room all ready as well.  He even agreed to giving the baby his buggy which he had been very against when we were at home, even though he never uses it!  “Luckily” I happened to have it in the boot of the car, and he was very happy to hand it over to them before we left.  Unfortunately he wasn’t so happy that we weren’t staying there as he remembered staying there before and went into “Owen’s room” and looked disappointed when I said that it wasn’t!  And so we moved onto our last stop of the day in Musselburgh.

Angela had very kindly cooked some macaroni cheese for Owen’s dinner so he ate that all up and then got ready for bed.  Our friend Louise arrived and I started to worry about whether he would go to bed as it was his first time sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor.  Now I don’t know if it was due to the practice run of him sleeping in it on his bed the previous weekend, or if it was just that the day had been soooo exciting, or if it was the promise we’d go to the zoo if he slept properly….but there he went.  Off to bed and there wasn’t a squeak out of the baby monitor all night!

That left us girlies free to do what we always used to do regularly when we all worked together, outwith work hours of course, we opened the vino, ordered a Chinese meal delivery and got chatting!  We had a really nice night (and yummy dinner!) and then headed off to our beds at a reasonable time as we were all needing energy for the zoo the next day!

Sunday morning we set off to the zoo, meeting another ex colleague Iain and his family Laura, wee Rose and baby Charlotte.  I’d been quite disappointed as earlier in the week I’d heard you needed tickets to see the pandas so had gone onto the website and seen that it was booked up until later in the week.  However when we got there we were offered tickets!  I was told they always keep some for on the day, although apparently we were lucky there were still some left by 10.30 when we arrived!

First we got the zoo bus up to the top of the hill and worked our way round the animals.  Highlights were the baby baboon, baby pigmo hippo, and a spider monkey trying to get Owen’s raisins through the glass!
Pigmy hippo and baby

Owen’s highlight seemed to be playing with Rose (I was assured “I love Rose”), even though just after this photo was taken came the worst bit of the day – he fell face first off the rock and got covered in mud!  Luckily it washed off though and he didn’t notice the bit of blood that appeared on his palm so the tears didn’t last too long.
He looks up to her no end

Iain and Laura’s time spot to see the pandas was earlier than ours so we got a report from them before we went, you only get in for 10 minutes and the time is split between the internal and external or his and her accommodation.  So its sheer luck if you see them at all and if they do much whilst you are there.  I am glad to say that we got to see both of them, and we were lucky enough to see them both moving as well.  We started off inside and Tian Tian was there and eating.  I got in before the crowd and Owen and I got a clear view of her and saw her walking outside before we had to move back and let others see the view of her backside!  Then we went outside and saw her walk round a bit before heading back inside to various cries of “oh no” and the like.
Lady Giant Panda

Next we went round to see Yang Guang who was busy gnawing bamboo.  He didn’t seem to want to do much (didn’t even turn round and wave at his very excited fans!).  After a while he did stand up (cue lots of shrieks) and stretch up to the roof..and then he lay back down and went back to his bamboo!  Just as we were told we had to leave though he stood up and moved down to the ground and walked around.  Suffice to say we had to get yelled at before we moved on!!
Yummy bamboo

We were so lucky with the weather as it was a glorious day, and the 3 kids were all really well behaved all day.  I think we were there 10.30am – 4.15pm and Owen walked most of the day.  When we got home he wanted pasta again so got the leftover mac cheese and then it was such a lovely evening that I took him out to the beach to play in the sand.  We didn’t even wear jackets it was so nice.
Digging at the beach

Again he went straight to bed and straight to sleep, although this time I am pretty sure he was totally exhausted!  Angela and I had a nice quiet night just the 2 of us until it was time for bed – poor Angela had to work the next morning.

Monday the plan was to go to the Advocates Library where I used to work, and pop into the Signet Library to collect some books a nice solicitor had offered me for my library.  However that wasn’t until lunchtime so I decided to continue the weekend’s theme of “animals” and take Owen to Butterfly World.  This also tied in nicely with the fact that he’d come home with green painted highlights in his hair from nursery one night as they had been painting a caterpillar. 
So umm that's a snake huh?

He wasn’t sure about the snakes, and was worried about a couple of “butterfly not happy”s (i.e. dead) but we had a nice time wandering around.  I think he liked the spiders most but he was quite taken by the cocoons as well and I was explaining that was like his Very Hungry Caterpillar book and how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

Afterwards we went to the Dobbies next door and wandered around the pet shop.  Himself may have enjoyed this bit more than the bit I paid for to be honest!!  He named the rabbits and examined the gerbils, hamsters etc.  We even found Nemo in the fish section.  Then we bought some yogurt raisins and went and had a picnic snack next to the playground, after going on the swings and slide of course!

The Signet Library had given me permission to park in front of the building to collect my box of books so we parked up and went into the first library of the day.  Owen made me a proud librarian/Mummy by “shhh”ing noticeably!  Then we went through to the Advocates Library and saw some of the folk I used to work with.  A few of us went out for lunch, and we nipped out through the National Library of Scotland, so giving us a hat trick of library visits for the day!  Owen seemed to enjoy Vittorias with a massive ham and cheese panini – and a balloon to take home!  It was nice to catch up with Andrea, my ex boss, and let her see how my wee boy was progressing.  Of course we couldn’t leave for the journey home before Owen took the chance to pace Parliament Hall like the Advocates do!
Pacing Parliament Hall

Heading out of the city I realised we could probably fit in a wee visit to see some relatives too, and luckily my Aunty Kathleen was in.  Owen was excited to meet my cousin Claire’s Dalmation, although not so impressed with his full facial “kisses” and general bounciness!  Hope he never really meets 101 Dalmations at the same time!! 

It was lovely to get home and see Daddy again, and show him the shells and postcard we got for him, but I think we were both ready for bed and then back to our usual routine the next morning!!  Although saying that when I collected Owen from nursery this Friday he told me “I no want go home, I want see Mac horsey”.  If only every weekend could be a fun adventure!!

Easter weekend

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Happy Easter from Owen
So we had a nice weekend.  Bryan doesn’t get public holidays off work and nursery doesn’t shut for Easter so I was a naughty Mum on Friday and sent Owen off to nursery whilst I stayed home.  I had a very busy day cleaning and clearing out the room that Lee had been living in.  The plan is to redecorate it and move Owen in there with all his toys as its bigger than his room, and we want out lounge to stop looking like a toy shop!  I did loads of bits of housework that its difficult to get to do when Owen’s around and then I collected him a bit earlier than usual from nursery. 

They had decorated eggs earlier in the week and were supposed to go out and roll them but unfortunately the weather hadn’t been nice enough so we got the egg to take home instead.
Glittery egg in clay nest, as made by Owen

On the Saturday the boys got haircuts in the morning then we went down to Owen’s Grandda’s house as Lee had collected his 4 kids the day before and brought them up for a visit.  It was lovely to see them all and Owen was very excited to see “cousins – Maz, Blue, Berrie and…ummmm….”.  Not sure why he can’t remember Frankie’s name but we’ll work on that for next time!
Blue and Berrie gave Owen pictures they had coloured in for him

Saturday night I was working…well I’d been asked to write a review for a Steps concert anyway!  I took my pal Jen, or rather she took me, so I got free taxi as well as concert tickets!  Nice!

Sunday morning the 3 of us hit the pool and had a good splash, so that was fun.  Then it was back to the house for lunch, and pudding of Owen’s Easter Egg, a present from my boss. 
Rabbits mummy!
I also gave him his special Easter present from us – a film cell from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (he’s really quite obcessed with “heigh-hos”).  This was taken upstairs immediately and put on his wall. 
Snow White film cell in pride of place on the cool wall
In the afternoon he watched some of the football with his Dad then he and I went to roll his egg.  We were going to go to a wee hill near the high school but it started raining so I pointed out the slope behind the church.  For some reason as we passed the church he pointed to the cross on the top of it so I took the chance to tell him the story of Easter, reminding him about baby Jesus from Christmas and then telling him about the cross and rolling the stone away.  He seemed to take it all in and I felt quite virtuous as we went and rolled our egg, and then again, and again.  Seemingly they were very hard boiled!!  We did manage to get it to crack eventually!
Rolling his egg

It was only when we got back to work yesterday it occured to me I hadn’t got any chocolate eggs myself, the down side to becoming a grown up/Mummy.  Although to be fair my Mum sent us money to get an egg each but we decided to put that money towards lunch with the family on Saturday – much more important!

Hope you had a good Easter too!

Fun in the sun

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

At the weekend I went to Aviemore to meet up with some of my chums.  As it happened we struck it very lucky with the weather and ended up catching the sun (we had been worried we’d get snowed in!).  We were also lucky with our accommodation which was lovely, our chosen activities which were fab, and our company which worked well together as always!  In one weekend we managed to: feed reindeer, eat out, admire a castle on a loch, and have Sunday Lunch on a Steam train.  Oh and apparently my time in the hot tub on the Saturday added up to about 5.5 hours…oops!

All my photos are available at: but here’s some of my favourites!
Their mouths are sooo soft!
One of these beasts isn't a reindeer you know...
Traditional star jump
Babes in the Woods
Girly Sunday Lunch on a Steam Train

And the lesson I learned this weekend? That lying face down across a hot hub is an awesome sensation!
Maria didn't drown

My 2011 in 10 Photos

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Last year I did this same idea and reading back over it now its a lovely overview of the year, although I seem to remember it took me ages to do!  So, the rules – 10 photos from 2011 that I took with no more than 2 of a certain young man who I apparently go on about a bit too much!

Well, I’ve just spent…forever…looking through my photos and trying to pick the right 10.  It’s not easy.  I have managed to pick 10 with which I can demonstrate, explain and summarise my 2011.  However Owen is in 4 of them, I am justifying this by the fact that only 1 of the 4 is a photo of Owen, the other 3 he is just a small part of a photo.  So there.  They are my rules, so I’ll bend them if I want to.

Without further ado, please scroll down for My 2011 in 10 Photos.  This year I present them in chronological order.
Pretty rainbow over my lovebird companions

Photo 1: my beloved Jaffne and a gorgeous rainbow (and that bloke Ahlun who she was hanging around with).  I had various trips south to see Jaffne and we had much fun together as usual.  This lovely day we went for a walk over to Crammond Island and we were just so lucky with the weather – a common theme this year, often had very good luck with lovely weather it must be said.  We went beach combing, ate ice cream and saw many pretty sights.

Steam train compartment

Photo 2: the Robertsons and trains.  Unfortunately baby Maya isn’t in this photo, although she was in Nicole’s belly at the time!  Anyway at Easter we took Lucas and Owen to ride on Thomas the Steam Engine at Brechin.  Owen is quite train obsessed and I hope in the future he will appreciate the awesomeness of his first ever train journey being in a steam train.  It was a hard call as to who enjoyed themselves most that day it must be said – the train was pretty cool!  We spent many happy days playing with Ray, Nicole, Lucas and, since October, Maya. 


Photo 3: Royal Wedding in my work’s library.  I love my library, so much so I talked myself into working on the extra public holiday this year.  Well, I say “work” but our social events are often enjoyable and this was just one of the ones I really enjoyed.  It would be rude to complain about drinking champagne and eating cupcakes at 10am wearing a pretty dress and tiara and watching a wedding with most of the rest of the country (or was that world?!).  It was lovely to share the day with other people who were excited about the wedding, reminded me of when Charles and Diane got married and I watched it with the ladies who worked at the hotel my parents were employed by at the time.

My job was great in 2011, got lots done, got to know some of members much better, had some great events (chocolate tasting, cheese tasting, trip to Pitlochry to see My Fair Lady, farm trip when I got to sit in a John Deere tractor, a BBQ, walking tours of Aberdeen, a quiz, Stuart MacBride author event and, many lunches and dinners.)  Then in November the Society gained its first ever Lady President, this means I have a lady boss – a very keen, enthusiastic lady who is doing great things – and gave me an excuse to wear an Ann Summers outfit to work!  Click the events link above and scroll down to the bottom to see photos!! 

Oh yes, 2011 – the year the doctor told me I had to watch my weight didn’t go any lower – my dream!  I am now a size 10 and most of my clothes hang off me.  Totally awesome.  Obviously I haven’t taken photos of myself really so am cheating mentioning this as its on a link rather than in one of my 10 photos!  But it is important enough to be mentioned, goodness I’ve hated my body most of my life, never realised that the result of childbirth would be that I finally get the figure I’ve always dreamed of!  Anyway, back to the 10 photos.

Owen finds 2 eggs from his Grandparent's new chickens

Photo 4: my folks, their chickens, eggs and Creagan.  My parents got chickens at their restaurant this year, Owen is now really quite obsessed with chickens and eggs.  Ask him what he wants for dinner and the answer is usually “egg”.  He loves going to visit my parents, or just their house and chickens as we did when they were on holiday and we were in charge of the chickens!

One of our visits was for my Dad turning 60, I now have OAP parents – crickey!  For his special occasion we all went to Blair Drummond Safari Park-and we all had an ace time!  I couldn’t believe both my parents thought it was the first time they had seen live meerkats, poor deprived folk.

The scary thing is that at the end of the year my parents sent out a letter to their regulars and family to say that they would be putting Creagan on the market in 2012.  I had, of course, known for a while this was on the cards.  Indeed I have been told I need to move all my stuff out.  This is quite a mission as I still have loads of stuff there.  Obviously I’ve lived without it for a while though but things like my Wade pottery collection, postcard collection and rocking horse are essential – I just don’t know where to put them!  Luckily the property market is an unknown quantity in that it could take 2 weeks or 2 years for Creagan to sell, so I’m not panicking yet.  For those that know my parents, they hope to buy a B&B or place with self catering in Scotland.  They won’t fully retire but need to tone it down a bit as…well, they aren’t getting any younger bless them.  Big news but could take a while before anything happens.

Enjoying the beach

Photo 5: Summer holiday in Carnoustie.  Yes, this is Scotland in the sunny picture.  Bryan and I hadn’t been on holiday together since our honeymoon in 2003 so decided it was about time we did!  I was given the choice of the whole world and told to “just book something” and we ended up self catering in the every exotic Carnoustie.  We had a fabulous time though and traveling with a wee lad it was the best way, just a wee car journey and we could take as much paraphernalia as we needed.  I love my 2 lads and it was amazing to have a week just the 3 of us with no other complications or distractions.  Plus there was a swimming pool at our accommodation so Owen and I went swimming each morning whilst Bryan had a lie in and then during Owen’s afternoon nap, or once he was in bed, I went back for a “proper” swim and Bryan had some alone time.  This arrangement suited all of us very nicely.  We had lots of trips out – St Andrews Aquarium, Camperdown Wildlife Park in Dundee, Arbroath beach and mini railway, Brechin castle centre with its big bouncy cushion type things.  All great fun!

Combine Harvester groupies

Photo 6 – TRACTOR!!  This photo was taken at The Store in Foveran, where we went to a Farm Open Day and Owen and I were ecstatic to have a go in a John Deere tractor and sit in that huge yellow combine harvester.  It was brilliant!  Owen absolutely adores tractors – and as folk who know me have probably found out I love John Deere in particular.  We both had huge smiles all day, and Bryan seemed to enjoy it too, especially the yummy burger.

Dinner in the cemetary

Photo 7 – squirrel in London.  Okay so I just love this photo, the colours of the squirrel and the gravestone.  But also I had a brilliant time that day, several squirrels came over to speak to me and a lovely Australian lady gave me some monkey nuts to feed them in a lovely random act of kindness.  I ended up looking like the mad woman in the park with about 6 of them jumping on and off me and fighting over the nuts – amazing experience.

This photo also signifies my recent move to get more involved professionally.  I joined a committee which has given me the opportunity to go to meetings in London and Birmingham.  I also wrote a blog post for them – and an article for the Scottish Law Librarian’s Group newsletter (but its members only so I can’t share that!).  Feeling quite proud of myself but goodness knows what I can find to keep up with myself this year.

Wow! Disney!

Photo 8 – Disney and our wee man turns 2!  For Owen’s birthday we took him to The Disney Store for his first time.  Strange to think our son managed 2 years of life before making it into the wonderful world of a Disney store, especially as Daddy used to work in them and we are determined to take him to Disneyworld when he’s 5.  Owen was given the choice of the entire store and chose a little Simba teddy, bless him.  We forced him to add a cup to the purchase.

Unfortunately our savings account isn’t growing as well as we’d planned it to ready for our holiday once Owen is 5, but we have time to catch up, hopefully!  I am most determined that it will happen one way or another.  I’ve wanted to go to Florida Disney since I was tiny and now I have a child I have the perfect excuse – plus I don’t want him to grow up without the things I wanted.  Of course he will want different things than the things I wanted but you have to start somewhere and I won’t give up on the concept of us all going to Disneyworld.

We went to Crail

Photo 9 – my lovely gals in Crail.  Isabel, Lorna and Jennie are my special law librarian chums, we have an email based support system and in 2011 we went for 2 brilliant weekends away together.  Relaxing, chatting, eating and a wee bit of drinking and sight seeing.  Just what we all needed.  First weekend was at Loch Tay and ended up with my face painted as a dalmatian, second weekend was near St Andrews and included a dinner of chocolate eggs.  I love these ladies.  Lots.

Grandda Reg and his 'wee boy' Lee

Photo 10 – Bryan’s Dad and brother.  Obviously this photo was Christmas Day – I couldn’t get these macho men to wear silly crowns any other day of the year!  Lee lived with us throughout 2011 which was lovely, Owen totally adores his Uncle Lee – and is quite confused now he’s moving out – but that’s another story.  We invited “the Robertsons” round for Christmas Day and had a lovely time opening presents and eating too much – just as one should on Christmas Day!  We had a few days with them through the year and it was great to be together.  Watching Owen with his grandparents and the reactions they induce in each other is just amazing.

And that was my 2011, hope you enjoyed it too!

2011 round up

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Still being naughty and not blogging much 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):

So 2011, what have you been to me?  Great in the main – or is that just my family that’s great?!  I’m still loving being a Mum although I can’t believe Owen is 2 already.  He’s fascinating right now as he learns new words and meets new things “oooh what’s that?”.  He is super cute and awesomely intelligent (not that I’m biased at all obviously.)  The other day I counted to 5 and then he said “6, 7”.  Of course show him 2 or more of something and its “2” or “more 2” – yes, he’s still learning!  Obsessions seem to be: “heigh ho” – that’s anything to do with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; “yo ho me” – that’s pirates and his shortened version of the song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”; “buk buk egg” – chickens say, so are called, buk buk and he loves collecting their eggs when I take him to Creagan to see his doting Grandparents; and, usually linked to his Dad and Grandda “football” – he could kick and dribble a ball long before he could talk very well.  One thing I hadn’t expected to come with being a parent is the amazing feeling when you watch your husband, parents and in-laws with your wee one and see the effect they have on each other, it overawes me frequently.

Bryan’s brother Lee is still living with us – we even had his 4 kids visit for a while in the summer which was ace.  Owen didn’t sleep very well as he was so excited to see his cousins but they helped with him so it worked out fine – and it was lovely to get some quality time with them.  Lee now has Access Rights sorted but its not easy as they moved to Hastings earlier in the year.

Bryan’s work took on a big new contract so he’s been working hard on that, whilst mine has continued to provide me with a varied and enjoyable social life all in the name of “work”.  I even got a bus trip to Pitlochry Festival Theatre to have lunch and see My Fair Lady in September.  It was so fab I got my parents tickets for their birthdays and they loved it too. 

I can now strike “Join a Committee” off my bucket list.  I have attended meetings in London and Birmingham accordingly and met some lovely people.  I’ve even written an article for a professional journal so may soon be a “published writer” as well.

For the first time since our honeymoon Bryan suggested we have a “summer holiday” together this year.  Given the choice of the whole world…I booked us a week in Carnoustie (east coast of Scotland!).  We had an ace time, with Owen and I making full use of the pool.  We had trips to St Andrews Aquarium, Camperdown Wildlife Park in Dundee, Carnoustie beach, Arbroath beach (and cool miniature railway!) and Brechin Castle centre where they have those huge bouncy pillow things.  And the best bit was…Bryan talked about “our next holiday” – hurrah!

I have toned down my concert going somewhat but still managed: The Script, McFly, The View, Take That, Noah and the Whale, Katy Perry, Bryan Adams and Kasabian.  Theatre wise I saw: Cinderella by Scottish Ballet, History Boys, Avenue Q, Jekyll and Hyde, Sleepless in Seaton (local student show), Thriller, My Fair Lady, Flying Pigs doing The Silence of the Bams and I went to 2 fashion shows!  I also had a lovely couple of weekends away with my “gal pals”, one on Loch Tay and one near St Andrews.  Whilst I was out gallivanting Bryan obviously had some bonding time with Owen – and dedicated a few hours to his Xbox and Playstation addictions. 

As a family we went to see Beauty and The Beast (darling Owen was good as gold for the whole 3 hours in the theatre!) and Disney on Ice – which was amazing.  Other things we did as a family were to take Owen to Edinburgh zoo, a Baby Boogie in a nightclub (actually Daddy didn’t make that one for some reason…), a ride on a steam train made up to look like Thomas the Tank Engine, a steam fair (“tractor” was one of Owen’s first distinguishable words!), a farm open day when we got to sit in a tractor and a combine harvester (not sure who enjoyed that more, him or me!), Christmas tree light turning on carol service, and we went to Blair Drummond safari park with my parents on Dad’s 60th birthday.  Yes, that’s Dad joined Mum in the OAP bracket now – scary!

Health wise the boys are good.  Owen was at the hospital again about his eye, he was born with an underdeveloped tear duct and we’ve been keeping an eye on it but it was deemed unworthy of putting him through an operation, thankfully.  It seems to have got better since then too so hopefully we’ll just be able to cancel next year’s appointment when it comes and forget all about it!  I am finally happy about my weight and body – not something I expected to happen after having a baby, but something I am doing my best to enjoy to the full.  I even wore a mini skirt recently – and I bought shorts this summer!  I’ve had some health issues but it’s nothing unusual after giving birth and getting older apparently! 

Talking of birth – Bryan’s cousin Ray and his wife Nicole now have a boy and a girl – perfect set.  I’ve managed to have a few lovely baby cuddles with Maya – and its ace watching Lucas and Owen interacting with each other. 

Hope this finds you and yours well, and that any 2011 was good to you too.

Fab weekend

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Well that’s it, Dad is now 60.  And what a lovely weekend we had which included helping him celebrate.  Obviously any 3 day weekend such as we had is an awesome thing, but we really did well this one!

Saturday we went for a walk to the scrublands round from our house and enjoyed the sunshine.  There are many photos, especially of Owen inspecting a bug, if you wish to see them.  My favourite has to be this one though…

Sunday we were to drive down to my parents place, so we stopped off en route at Camperdown Wildlife Park in Dundee to see the beasties.  Again there are several photos of my own and of Bryan’s.  We even had a picnic lunch in the sun.
My chaps

Owen decided it was time he learnt how to use one of these camera things so I didn’t get to take as many as I might have done normally!
Camperdown - Owen learns to use a camera

Anyway then it was down to Creagan and have dinner with my folks.  Dad had cooked us roast chicken and Owen looked a little concerned when I said it was chicken and then pointed out the window to the chicken run…  He ate mostly mashed potato it must be said!

The next morning, after checking the chickens for eggs and finding one which Grandad wrapped carefully for him to take home for tea, we all headed to Blair Drummond Safari Park.  There we had a fab and lovely time looking at more beasties.  Can you believe neither of my parents can remember ever having seen a real live meerkat before?!  The poor deprived folks!  Of course Owen’s favourite bit was splashing in the puddles, typical boy!  Again several photos, and a video of him splashing are available.
Wee boy, big umbrella, wet Grandad

And I’m happy to report that my folks liked their pressies – last night they were at Pitlochry Theatre to see My Fair Lady, Mum was allowed her pressie a few days early to fit in with performances!  Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I did when I had to go for work recently.   And who wouldn’t like a canvas of Owen and his Grandad?!
My chaps admire themselves

Feeling old

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

On Monday my Dad turns 60 (regardless of what he says about being 21…).  Then next Saturday my Mum reaches 64.

Obviously their birthday’s are theirs, and I do hope they have lovely celebrations.  But still.  I’m taking this personally.  I’m going to have “OAP” parents.  Add to this the fact that my darling little baby Owen turns 2 on 18th October (already?!) and I’m feeling rather old.  Certainly can’t deny being a grown up now can I?!  Even had a conversation with one of my friends about giving up my stupidgirl tag.  I can’t bear that obviously but I did discuss it.

That’s really all I have to say on the topic, just that its scary, getting old.  Of course the greys don’t help trying to deny it.  So I dyed my hair this week.  Oops.  Colour was a bit darker than usual, I now have pretty much black hair.  Which it must be said I have always wanted to try.  I just didn’t mean to do it just before 2 important functions at my work and then going to visit my parents.  Actually it was probably kinda fitting for the first function as we had the crime author Stuart MacBride into the library to do an author event for us.  He has nothing against the colour black.  Last night though was the President’s Dinner at my work, lots of VIPs from organisations around the city, including the Lord Provost.  I bet he didn’t like my hair.  Oops.

Dad won’t like it either when we go down to support him in his old age…I mean celebrate his birthday!  Ah well, such is life.

I am very excited about our impending visit though, we’re going down on Sunday so we will wake up with him (not literally obviously) on his 60th birthday.  SIXTY!!  The plan is that we have a family day out to Blair Drummond Safari Park so fingers crossed the weather lets us do just that.  I used to go every year when I was wee as we got a free family pass in exchange for having their brochures in the hotel.  I hadn’t been for years until this summer when I went with some fellow Law Librarians.  We had a fab time and I went home with my face painted as a dalmation…
Dalmation me!

Anyway I know you don’t care about me, so here’s the update on Owen…
He’s doing great, can count to 2, speaking lots of words now, obcessed with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Hi ho being frequent words on his lips!), loves cars, tractors, our cats, flirting with girls. He is really intelligent, last week I told him we were going to see his Grandda at lunchtime, he pointed to Bryan and said Dadda’s Dadda – which is right. It wasn’t a fluke either as back home that night he pointed to the football strip Reg bought him and that he was wearing proudly and said Dadda’s Dadda again!

Last time I took him to my parents’ place we drove down at his bedtime, the plan being to let him sleep in the car then quietly transfer him into a bed at their house. However I got out the car to find he’d woken up and was saying “Grandad” very excitedly. We’d got him and all the bags into the house and the monitors set up when he realised he shouldn’t be awake and started crying, but as soon as he was put into bed he rolled over mid cry and went to sleep! Bless him!
Owen and his Grandad

Anyway lunchtime over so will shut up for now, but will try and report back after the weekend!


Sunday, July 31st, 2011

We are just back from Bryan and I’s first proper holiday together since our honeymoon eight years ago.  Given the choice of anywhere I wanted I chose self catering in Carnoustie and as you can see we had a whale of a time!  My photos and videos are online here.  ADDITION – Bryan’s photos are now available too!!

We were staying at a lovely converted stables that had a sports centre next door so most every morning but one Owen and I went for a swim after breakfast.  Most afternoons I went for a “proper swim” as well, and occassionally jumped in the sauna or spa bath.  One morning Bryan even got up in time for a swim with us which was a nice treat for Owen.

Each afternoon we did a different activity, we were really lucky with the weather – the only times it rained were during the night or the Thursday – when we’d arranged to go to Edinburgh to meet up with some friends and meet a 3 week old baby so we were going to be inside anyway!

Owen and I are excited!

So we travelled down on the Saturday, via Charleton Fruit Farm near Montrose.  Had an ice cream and a play.  Once we checked into our accommodation Owen took a nap, I unpacked and Bryan found the nearest Tesco and got us stocked up.

Sunday it only seemed right to hit Carnoustie beach.  We paddled, built a sand castle, played in the park, and enjoyed the sunshine.

Helping with sand castle

Monday was a bit cloudy so we headed for St Andrew’s Aquarium where we had great fun waving at each and every fish and beastie.  Owen tried to copy a seal’s flipper movements which amused me a lot!

Owen liked St Andrew's Aquarium!

The next day we headed for Camperdown Park in Dundee which has a Wildlife Centre.  Now we have passed signs for this many, many times and I wish we had been sooner as its ace!  Will certainly be stopping off there in the future, either just for a run around in the huge play park or to visit the animals again.  I was disappointed to find that the elephant I’d seen mentioned on the website was only a sculputure but all the other animals were cool!  Even the wolves got up to see us, and Owen was quite taken with the brown bears.  We were slighty scared by a skunk who looked a bit dead but on close inspection he was just having a very deep sleep in the sun!! 

Sunbathing skunk

The next day we were all a bit skunked…so we had a quiet day flopping around the house, kicking footballs around the disused tennis court, and doing not much else.  Then in the late afternoon we went back to Carnoustie beach and had a lovely time at the play park.

Loving swings

Thursday, as I mentioned, we went into Edinburgh and met up with our friends Iain and Laura and their daughters.  We all had lunch and then Owen and Rose were set loose in a soft play area.  Then it was back to the Young household for a visit from Kieron and Lyndsay and a good catch up with all their news as well.  It was lovely to see them all – especially the tiny wee baby who I was allowed to hold a couple of times!

Sweet dreams

Friday we were obviously running out of time so managed to do two different destinations!  It was also the day Owen said “no!” to the swimming pool in the morning.  First we went to Crombie Country Park and had a nice walk looking for nature, most of which Owen scared away in his noisy ways!!

Striding out with Dad at Crombie Country Park

Then it was home for lunch before we headed to Arbroath to see what their beach entertainments were like – and they were glorious!!  A huge paddling pool, a play park and….a miniature railway!  Obviously we HAD to take Owen on it.

Mummy may have liked the train as much as Owen...Fun in the sun

That night we were going to get an Indian meal from a take away we’d been told about but we decided to have a leftovers meal instead to eat up all the bits and pieces in the fridge.  It was an odd mix but rather satisfying nonetheless!

Saturday was home time, but not before one last stop off!  I had often noticed Brechin Castle Centre from the road when passing so it was finally time to explore it.  Unfortunately when we got there we were firmly told there were to be no picnics and there were no animals anymore – but on the upside it was free to enter!  Inside we found those huge bouncy cushion-like things which proved to be quite entertaining for rather a while!  Owen was also excited to get to sit on a tractor and pet a cow! 

There's something on my leg!Owen strokes a cow!Happy wee boy!

We had our picnic in the car, with ice creams for pudding, and then headed for home.  Bryan and I agreed it had been a sucessfully enjoyable holiday for all of us, just a shame it wasn’t longer!  The only thing we hadn’t done that we had planned to was to spend a rainy afternoon at the cinema for Cars 2 – but we certainly enjoyed the sunshine in its place, and we can always do that now we’re home! 

Owen spent the afternoon re-acquainting himself with his toys and books before heading happily to his own bed.  After which Bryan, Lee and I enjoyed a Pizza Hut with beers, ice cream and a good movie.  There’s no place like home!

Spot the difference

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

So tonight I head off to Newcastle for the BIALL conference.  Can’t believe that’s been me back at work a whole year since maternity leave!  And yes, I was jammy enough to spend my first couple of days “back at work” at a conference in the lovely location of Brighton!  Anyway I thought it would be fun to take the same photo this morning as I left Owen at nursery as we did when I said bye to him last year.  And here they are for you to spot the difference….

2011 1 year on
2010 Leaving Owen at nursery before I go to Brighton!

My 2010 in 10 Photos

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Okay, so I have totally stolen this idea from someone else but his is cool so I wanted to copy him.  Someone posted a link to his blog post on Twitter and I liked it so decided to nick the idea, but I’m so rude I also forgot who posted the link and where the blog post was.  If someone would like to remind me I will give full credit, but in the mean time – here is my year in 10 photos. 

First off I would like to say that although this sounds like a great idea, its actually a really hard thing to do!  Especially when (a) you take as many photos as I do and (b) your husband says you’re allowed a maximum of 2 of your beloved baby Owen around whom your life revolves.  I was tempted to cheat and use photos of things to do with Owen but not of Owen (ie his report card from nursery the day he took his first unaided steps there) but I knew that was cheating so I have tried not to do that.  Although I’m not promising his name won’t appear in my reasons for choosing certain photos, but this is my blog and I’ll bend the rules if I want to!  I was going to do the photos in chronological order but I think as I’ve just used the O word several times we’ll start with him and take it from there!

That's me that is

Photo 1 – Owen!  Yes this year my life revolved very much around this little chap.  I had the first 6 months off work on maternity leave to look after him and try and work out this being a Mum thing.  I’ve had an amazing time watching him grow and develop: from the first tooth, to the first time he stood up clutching at the coffee table, to his first toddle.  He started nursery in June and loves it, he started solid food in March and loves it even more!  He can now give hugs and kisses, put things in the bin, stroke the cats nicely, say a few words, shake/nod his head meaning no/yes, say “uh-oh” when he does something naughty (so hard to keep a straight face) and he loves books.  He sleeps well most of the time, smiles a lot and is generally amazing and wonderful.  Everyone told me that a baby changes your life and that idea used to scare me but I’m glad I came round to it as the love you have for your own wee person is just phenomenal, and the resulting deeper love you have for the man that made it possible and is there by your side through it all is just about as fantastic.  I think the other important “parenting” lesson I’ve learnt is that there is no right way.  Every baby and parent and situation is different and once you accept that life gets a lot easier.  Online social networking sites are great in this as well, I met some fab Mums when Owen and I were on maternity leave and able to go to things like Kids & Co and Mainly Music groups at the church but once I went back to work I didn’t have the chance to do these things.  However I had added several of the Mums as friends on Facebookand now I can keep in touch with all the lovely ladies, and get advice on things from time to time from them or other parents I’ve met online.  So hurrah for all my Twitter and Facebook buddies – thank you!

I picked this particular photo as it was an idea I nicked (yes I do that a lot, sorry!) from a free PixiFotophoto shoot at Mothercare, so as well as being of the wee man it signifies all the free stuff you can get when you have a baby: from the benefits the government give you, to the things like Bounty packs of “useful items” they hope you’ll then buy lots of (well done Petit Filous, that worked with us!).  Also the building blocks were borrowed from Lucas, Ray and Nicole’s little boy.  Borrowing his stuff is also something we do a lot, and something we really appreciate.  Babies grow out of clothes and toys so quickly so being able to use someone else’s is a wonderful thing.  Lucas lends us lots of his things and its wonderful to have access to his “cast offs”!  We are also very lucky in having fab friends and neighbours who pass us lots of toys and clothes as well, save us a fortune!  And once we’ve finished with them we can pass them onto one of our friends with a smaller baby and save them money too.

Anyway, enough about Owen, there must be more to life…?!

Dad catches a guinea pig for Owen to see

Photo 2 – my parents, the proud Grandparents!  This photo was taken in February when Owen (oops did I mention him again?!) and I went and spent a week with my parents.  We had a lovely holiday: going to Auchingarrich Wildlife Park and stroking various animals, going to Loch Katrine for a walk, going to a local fete so Mum could show off her grandson to the locals, just chilling out and smiling at Owen!  The best bit was that my parents weren’t working, they were able to just enjoy themselves and our company.  So nice to see them out the house doing “normal” things.

As for the guinea pig, well a certain young man loves animals and points whenever we are out for a walk and see a dog.  He can make a Woof noise and the other day was looking at a pig picture and Oinked!  Bless him! 

But yes, grandparents.  Mine will only have one grandchild as I am an only child and so will Owen be, so it was predicted they might be a bit doting, which they seem to be fulfilling nicely!  Bryan’s Mum unfortunately died at Easter due to a brain tumour, so Owen only met her once before going to her funeral and sadly won’t remember her.  Although he does see photos of her regularly so won’t forget her any more than the rest of us.  Bryan’s Dad and his wife Sasina see Owen fairly regularly and every time he seems to get a present as well as lots of cuddles – so obviously Reg hasn’t tired of grandchildren even though Owen is his fifth!

Cinnamon toast I requested this morning

Photo 3 – food!  As anyone who follows my flickr page knows, I occasionally photograph nice food before I eat it.  This is partly due to my intense love of food and partly due to participating in an online group collecting photos of food (good excuse I thought!).  Anyway I chose this photo to represent the ones I’ve taken in the past year as it was tasty, pretty, and made by my own pet chef Bryan!  This year he has made some yummy things (I particularly liked when he went through a phase of trying to make the perfect chocolate cake) and his kitchen talents have grown somewhat.  I am happily taste testing anything he passes in my direction. 

So that takes me to another hidden meaning behind a photo – its ironic given Bryan’s developing cooking skills that 2010 should be the year that I finally make it down under 10 stone.  I think I’ve hated my weight since my early teens and had several issues to go with that along the way.  Today I’m not toying with making a New Year Resolution to myself to loose weight, for the first time in a long time.  Its such a lovely feeling.  As is standing on the scales any morning I want and them not hitting double figures.  As to how I managed this, well, I’m not sure!  I’d got down to 10 stone 4 before getting pregnant with Owen and I lost most of the pregnancy weight through birth and breastfeeding, as you do with first babies.  Then I think its been a combination of trying to juggle work, housework and mothering – just carrying around a 2 stone little boy is good exercise never mind the fact you are always on the go.  Think the main thing was some of the germs he brought me home from nursery though – one week I had a sickness bug, two weeks later diarrhea and then three weeks after that we all had the winter vomiting virus.  Just the last one made me loose 3 pounds overnight!!  Anyway, however it happened I love it – just need to get sale shopping for some new clothes as my size 14 wardrobe just hangs off me now  *cheesy grin*!  The day of the AGM at work I realised my trousers were actually indecent so I had to run to M&S at lunchtime and buy some size 12 trousers ready for the meeting that evening!

THe Hillside Posse and resulting kiddies

Photo 4 – friends!  This group is the majority of the Hillside Posse who we lived with in Edinburgh when we went to visit in May, Ray and Nicole being the other couple that came out of that flat share.  We miss all our friends from Edinburgh now we live in Aberdeen and we didn’t manage to see these ones much in 2010 unfortunately.  We did however have a lovely weekend with them at Creagan in November when my parents went on holiday and asked us to house-sit.  Nice getting to use a hotel as self catering!  And Bryan had quite a fun time in the big kitchen too – we had a lovely 3 course dinner on the Friday night!  During the weekend we also found out that Iain and Laura were giving Rose a new brother or sister in June (ish).  Lovely news!  We’re obviously “that age”, most of our friends have or are having babies and a few joined the crowd in 2010 – including two sets of twins, one to my cousin Dave and his wife Bec and the other set to my friend Tony and his wife.  Unfortunately I still haven’t met either set but I have seen lots of photos!

Evening ride

Photo 5 – Brighton carousel!  In June I had to go back to work after maternity leave.  I managed to organise it that my first day back at work I was actually at a conference in Brighton.  The downside was that after spending all my time with Owen I was going to be away from him for several days, the upside was that I have several Twitter friends and they were lovely enough to agree to having a night out on the Saturday night as my conference finished at lunchtime.  It meant staying away from Owen an extra night, but I knew he’d be fine with Daddy!  It was actually a good way of going “cold turkey” from him ready to go to work the following week, leaving him at nursery for eight hours was nothing!  The conference was also shock treatment to get my brain working again ready for thinking of Society matters rather than mushy banana and dirty nappies!  The night out with Twitter folks was great fun and proved that it is possible to meet some lovely people online, some of them I’d been speaking to for over a year so I was quite sure I knew them well enough to know they weren’t the stereotypical axe wielding maniacs your Dad warned you about meeting online!

Oh, and I went on the carousel on Brighton beach with Law Librarian friends during the day and Twitter folks in the evening.  I do love carousels after all!

T in the Park 2010 - Mumford and Sons

Photo 6 – T in the Park / Mumford and Sons!  Being a terrible mother, obviously, I left Owen with his Dad for another weekend in July and went to my beloved T in the Park music festival with my chum Lydia.  We had perfect accommodation as my poor cousin hadn’t sold her flat and was kind enough to let us use it so we had showers and a kettle – much better than the campsite in the muddy field with all the drunken folks!  It was the only concert I attended in 2010 which is a big weird for me (I’ve got 3 tickets so far for 2011 so don’t cry for me) but it was fab.  Especially Mumford and Sons, as shown, think Bryan and I have almost worn out their CD as we listen to it so much.

Pristine white

Photo 7 – abandoned stuff!  Again, if you follow my flickr pages you will have seen various pictures of random abandoned items.  You may have thought “what is she up to?”.  Or you may be @sianz or @special_noodles and know that I am just trying to be a bit creative and have been inspired by your work!  It’s amazing seeing what people leave lying around – and what they throw out, and sometimes these things can make quite cool photos, nice change from fluffy kittens and chubby babies anyway.  Also, it makes you walk around with your eyes wide open, you never know where you might see the next thing for the collection – makes walking to work far more interesting!

Away oot!

Photo 8 – weekend with Jennie!  Ah yes, so I left Owen with Daddy – again!  This time I had a weekend in Edinburgh with my chum Jennie.  Saturday was shopping all day – with a lunch break to meet up with our friends Lorna and David…and then a pub break to meet up with Kieron and Lyndsay (from photo 4!)..and then back to the shops again.  Then we took Lorna home, got her dolled up and went back to Jennie’s and we got dolled up before we hit George Street (for a while anyway, shopping is tiring!).  Was nice to just chill out and be girly. 

Jennie and I made a pact when we left Edinburgh that we would try to see each other every 3 months, obviously that’s not always possible but we do what we can!  She was in Brighton for the night out as well and we spent the Sunday together afterwards, but usually we take it in turns to visit each other.  Poor lass, one time she was up she ended up hoovering my entire house for me and another I was ill so she ended up just sending me back to bed every time I surfaced.  Hopefully in 2011 I can be as fabby a friend to her as she has been to me in 2010..if she dares see me again that is!

I am outnumbered by mens!

Photo 9 – my lovely Robertson boys!  Okay so Benson and the one who’s name starts with O whom I’m not to mention too much aren’t in this photo but my year has been very much about this lot of chaps.  Obviously Bryan is my hubby and I love him very much and I think this has grown somewhat over the past year watching him with our son.  George and Benson have been our cats for almost 4 years now and are very much part of the family, they are ace with Owen and very accepting of all they have to put up with from him.  Lee has always been Bryan’s brother (obviously!) but the last couple of months he’s been staying with us and we’ve been enjoying having him around and having the chance to get to know him better.  I also love it when he brings my nieces and nephews to visit – they were one of the main reasons we moved up here after all, we’re just hopeless at arranging to go visiting ourselves so this way we can be our usual lazy selves but still get to see them all!  Boxing Day was lovely as Lee and the kids were here, as were Reg and Sasina, and we all swapped gifts and then played with all the toys all afternoon – just what Christmas is about!

Growing up in a hotel I feel more comfortable with a fully loaded sofa, and when its with such lovely chaps one can’t help but thank one’s lucky stars.

And so to my last photo of 2010, which just has to be of…

Sun rise on Boxing Day

Photo 10 – snow!  Yes 2010 has definitely been the year for snow, I think we had it up to March and then it came back in November and stayed.  I don’t know anyone who was left “dreaming of a white Christmas” and I think I was one of the only ones that was genuinely sad when it thawed.  I almost got upset about it when it looked like I wouldn’t see my parents for Christmas but then Dad phoned and said they could come to us as we couldn’t risk being stuck in a snow drift with a baby in the car, so they came up on 23rd and spent Christmas Eve with Owen and I.  We did our present giving in the morning before Bryan went to work so it meant we got pressies early too – woohoo!! 

This photo was taken from the house on Boxing Day morning as the sun was rising in gorgeous colours.  Aberdeen gets some gorgeous sun rises it must be said, another reason why I love it.  I also love the area where we live, happy surburban life so this photo signifies that as well.

So that’s it, my 2010 in 10 photos (with apologies if I mentioned Owen too often…oops, I just did it again didn’t I…?!).  I kinda feel there should have been a photo of my beloved iPhone4, without which my 2010 would not have contained as much photography or social networking, and it would have been a sad, sad place…