Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

2016 as seen by the Robertsons

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

It must be said, that 2016 has been a fabulous year for my wee family. Mostly for the fact that we finally went on the holiday I’ve been dreaming of my whole life, and Bryan and I have spoken about for the 18 years since we met! When we got pregnant we declared the bump would be taken to Disney World when it was old enough, well it spent his 7th birthday in Magic Kingdom and had dinner with Mickey Mouse. Mission accomplished.

Must admit we said we were doing the “once in a lifetime” experience and our budget stretched somewhat accordingly, it was all wonderful and worth the saving up all year. However next time (oops how did that happen?!) we’ll do things differently. Hopefully next time the worst hurricane in a decade won’t delay our departure either, an extra night in Manchester doesn’t really equate with your first night at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. Luckily our ace Travel Counsellor booked us into the same hotel as some friends from home and we met them for dinner, which almost made up for it! The day I’d allocated as traveling from Universal to Disney became a Universal day and we ended up not feeling like we’d missed out much – thank goodness it didn’t mess with my Disney Fast Passes itinerary!

We had a fabulous fortnight, meeting characters and going on rides. Highlights (one day I might blog the extended version!) were Bryan’s face at high fiving Homer Simpson; Owen’s awe stricken face meeting Aladdin; me getting on stage with Captain Jack Sparrow and being sworn in as a pirate; the Star Wars fireworks; Be Our Guest dinner in the Beast’s castle; Owen’s joy at driving a car on Tomorrowland Speedway; watching the animals from our balcony at Animal Kingdom Lodge; Bryan’s excitement at Princess Jasmine calling him Sultan; Merida telling Owen he had to eat 7 cakes that day as it was his 7th birthday, the last of which had his name on the top as he was presented with a specially made birthday cake after dinner that night which Kate, our Travel Counsellor, had ordered for him; Splash Mountain; all being hugged by Chewbacca; Captain America letting Owen help to hold his shield; getting my photo taken with Chip n Dale; Bryan’s goat affection; multiple crêpes in the Food and Drink Festival at Epcot for Owen and getting ”one of each” at the chocolate stall for Mummy! Yes, that really is just some highlights, the whole fortnight was magical and amazing, hence the “next time” phrase starting early in our holiday and continuing today.

First though, Bryan and I will be going to Rome in 2017 as our Travel Counsellor also pointed out a competition her company were running and, one video review of her services later, I won! So we get flights, transfers, 3 nights in a 5 star hotel and tickets to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel! Kate didn’t know I’d won till she attended her company conference and my review was played to her 16,000 colleagues on 3 massive screens, the poor things!!

Bryan’s work is going well, his company merged this year so there are changes afoot. He’s going to be attending more conferences, and in September Owen and I accompanied him to one in Miami! As his company was paying his flights and for a hotel room it seemed a shame not to take the opportunity to go, and we only had to pay for our 2 flights. So we went from never having been to America to going twice in 2 months! The trip was a good practice for long haul flights and dealing with the heat – plus the conference hotel was gorgeous with 3 pools and a beach front so we got lots of swimming done! I may have also gate crashed some of the evening entertainment and got a cuddle with a lemur…

 

All year I’d been saying I should lose weight for Disney but as soon as Bryan mentioned Miami all I could think was the Will Smith video with size zero girls in bikinis. It was great motivation and I lost half a stone before we went, for the first time I can remember I actually enjoy looking in a mirror and in November I even took part in a fashion show for a local dress hire company! I did turn 40 this year, but the distress was distracted by my super chums getting me a Meerkat Moment experience at Edinburgh Zoo, we had a lovely day out with some other chums from down there. For a glorious 30 minutes I was allowed in with the marvellous meerkats, to feed them and pose with them! I also got to meet, and stroke, an armadillo!

Jennie's photos of my Meerkat Moment at Edinburgh Zoo

My work is also going well, external hires of the Library have seen me at a Downton Abbey theme civic ceremony, watching magic shows, listening to great gigs, helping organise a marriage proposal dinner, and being put in a disappearing box by Harry Potter!! I had a work experience student all summer so it was nice to have some company as I’m usually alone in the office – and whilst he was there we finally finished cataloguing the library collection. I also stood down as Chair of the BIALL Website Committee and attended my last of their conferences as the time has come to face up to the fact I’m not really a Librarian anymore.

Owen is also doing well at school, although he’s in Primary 3 he now does maths and literacy with the P4-7 class. Usually in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) kids are not introduced to English until P4, but when Owen told his teacher about the Road Dahl and JK Rowling books he’d read in the summer holidays they decided he was probably ready! He is a voracious reader, one Friday night I took him to the public library for new books, as I tucked him into bed I suggested that maybe he could let me sleep a little past 7 in the morning. Bryan and I awoke the next morning at 9.45 and I went through and found he was happily reading – “I’ve finished 2 books so far Mum” he says! It is embarrassing when he asks for help with maths and I have to get a calculator out though! He now goes to a football club after school on a Tuesday and he’s just passed level 2B in swimming classes. Oh and I’ve become a Parent Advisor for Gaelic education in Aberdeen.

I also managed to find myself on the committee for Fèis Obar Dheathain (traditional music tuition and a Gaelic arts experience for young people). We ran an event at the May Festival and a stand alone session in November, now planning a “proper” 3 day event at the February half term. Owen attended both Fèis this year and really enjoyed them so fingers crossed for the next one!

We think we finally have the hot tub settled. It leaks constantly but we’ve had the bathroom floor and walls treated so this shouldn’t cause any problems. We finally got a complete bill from the engineer and got paid up so we no longer have that debt hanging over us. It’s temperamental and will continue to have issues but when it’s working you don’t care, it is a fab thing to sit in…for hours…

I’m still loving my concerts, this year Bryan and I escaped to Glasgow for a weekend at the County 2 Country music festival and I enjoyed wearing cowboy boots! We saw some fab performers and have again bought each other tickets for Christmas so we can go next Spring. For my birthday, my parents took me to see Nashville Live in Glasgow, was the first time I’ve been to a concert with my Dad and a great night. I also had a birthday night out with some chums to see Kathryn Joseph, which was quite an experience! I worked at the Enjoy Music Festival again and was put in charge of the ticket collector team, it was a fun day – and I enjoyed the last few acts once the gates were shut at 9pm! Through Gig Shot website I managed to get free review passes for a few concerts and saw Ronan Keating, Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The View and Newton Faulkner. I also helped at the door of a few gigs my friends organised through their Flares and Seagulls music blog, saw quite a variety of different bands (and got chatted up by a drummer!). Owen was thrilled to come to two Best Girl Athlete concerts in my Library. At the first he got to meet the band, turns out Katie the lead singer went to his school, and the drummer even gave him a go on his drums! He was hanging out in the “green room” with the American bands who were also playing that night and spoke some Gaelic to them, which one in particular appreciated. I won tickets to see Red Hot Chili Peppers down in Glasgow so had a fun road trip with our cousin Nicole who’s quite a fan! I did try to actually buy tickets to see Busted, but a lovely Twitter chum set me up with free ones, with awesome seats that meant we were really close to the boys for 3 songs! We had another family trip to Party at the Palace and enjoyed our beloved Proclaimers again, as well as Gun, Bootleg Beatles and Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5.

I know 2016 hasn’t been as kind to everyone but I hope you had some happy times and go into 2017 with a good bank of memories. Here’s hoping the year ahead treats us all kindly.

2015 summing up time!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

So 2015 has been an exciting year for the Robertsons. Owen has been to his first proper music festival and his first proper concert, much to his Mum’s delight. We were at Party in the Palace in Linlithgow to see Julie Fowlis the Gaelic singer, among others. We took his cousin Lucas with us so that made it more fun.

Owen & Lucas at Party at the Park

I also took him to his first album signing at HMV, where we heard a few songs from, and then met The Shires.

Owen meets The Shires

At the Celebrate Aberdeen festival he had a song dedicated to him by local talent Best Girl Athlete which made him quite happy.  When he learned his alphabet K was for Katy, the lead singer!  He was actually supposed to be at a gig she did in a local cathedral on the night of her 16th birthday but unfortunately he wasn’t well so I had to go without him.  Katy and her Dad Charley were kind enough to send me home with a signed poster for him!

Celebrate Aberdeen festival - day 2, 2015

We also attended the free outdoor stage at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival of American root music. The most thoughtful festival I’ve ever been to – when it started to rain they brought round a box of umbrellas, much to Owen’s delight! He and I also did the Strathyre Music Festival again, including a drumming workshop which he really enjoyed. The lad was truely spoilt at the Proclaimers too, not only did we manage to get invited back stage to meet Craig and Charlie, but the support act Daniel Meade and the Flying Mules had apparently seen on social media that it was Owen’s first proper concert and dedicated a song to him!!

The Proclaimers at AECC

Another amazing experience he had was being invited into the kitchen of The Courtyard restaurant. He helped Chris Toner the owner, butcher a shoulder of lamb and cook some and then his highlight was sticking a knife into a lobster’s brain!! He wasn’t so keen on eating it afterwards though so I had to help him!

Chef in the kitchen at The Courtyard amazing experience

Our “summer holiday” this year was to the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. Parents spend the week in lectures whilst the kids got to do crafts, sports, archery and even tried canoeing – another enjoyable first for Owen! On the Thursday night there was a ceilidh for all the families and we were shocked to find out that each class had to sing a song! My class did the Hokey Cokey whilst Bryan’s did a more serious number – and there was another first as he stood up in front of everyone with the microphone and introduced his class’ performance! I’d wondered why he was quite so nervous! The college is in a gorgeous location and had a good canteen, although we did escape to a local restaurant one night as a family treat. Luckily the weather was quite agreeable, we even missed a monsoon in Aberdeen that had shopping centres and the airport closed due to flooding!

Sabhal mor ostaig - Fèis an Eilein / Skye Fest

Owen’s Gaelic is doing well, now in P2 he’s reading with the year above and does maths exercises with them too. In the first week back he got a Good Kid Call for helping the new P1s, another lovely benefit of composite classes.  We helped out on the Gaelic education stall at the Aberdeen Highland Games too.  The boy is obcessed with maths, he complained during the summer when I dropped him at Holiday Club that he just wanted to go to lessons and learn more maths! Luckily Asda had Star Wars themed maths books that kept him happy till the teachers returned! We went to see his Christmas Carol Service last week, he’d been working hard learning his lines and even covered for his classmate who was off sick on the day. His swimming lessons are also going well and he moves into the next class up in the new year. He also goes to Gaelic Youth Club every week which he really enjoys.  We did try street drumming for a while this year, which we both enjoyed, but the timing of it didn’t really work out and we had to give it up.

School certificates

Work wise, Bryan’s is going well and we’re both now used to his trips to the Manchester office. In fact this update was written on the flight to and from his Christmas party down there! My work has been crazy busy, with the external hires of the library really taking off. We’ve had gin tastings, meetings, quizzes, dinner’s, lunches, seminars, photo shoots, and parties galore! Only one wedding this year but next year we have 4 booked including our first same sex, and first themed wedding! They are lovely chaps and going for Downton Abbey theme so that should be an amazing day! End of January we have a concert for a local music promoter so fingers crossed that goes well and leads to more. Actually a local musician, Oliver Richards recorded some music videos in the library this year to promote himself for a world tour next year – “Live at the Library”, most exciting!

My boys continue to be football crazy, following Manchester United and Aberdeen FC. Not been to many games but watched a few on TV and Owen reads the local paper’s The Score every Monday night when we get home! He also trades football cards with his school mates – and spends hours arranging the cards into teams or positions or whatever! For his 6th birthday he wanted an AFC strip and football party – which seemed to please everyone (once we persuaded him he didn’t need to restrict invitations to those who love and are good at football!).

Birthday Cake!

As well as enjoying the aforementioned live music with my family I did some extras without them. The most amazing was that I won front row tickets to see U2! As soon as I heard I texted my cousin Dave to ask if I was going “with or without you”. So we met up in Glasgow the weekend before his 40th and had an amazing night out. I’d not told him we were also getting in the Hydro Club Bar, we felt like proper VIPs! The next day my folks took us out for lunch, bringing along Dave’s brother Tony as a surprise (he was in Scotland on a course!). Special times!

Lunch at the Ubiquitous Chip

I also saw my theme tune – Stupid Girl by Garbage – live again. They played Usher Hall in Edinburgh and it was a wonderful and unique experience, including Shirley Manson’s Dad making a surprise visit to the stage.  Support was the most enjoyable Dutch Uncles.  I reviewed X Factor Live Tour again and Simply Red, requested that one as Natalie Imbruglia was supporting but they were both great. My friend George put on his first gig so I manned the door and enjoyed being part of the whole thing. Met the Media Whores and enjoyed Rumtumtartar and Life on Standby. I also worked at 2 dance music festivals in the city, wages paid for some of my other tickets, and I got to hear various acts in the process: Sasha, KatyB, Pendulum DJ set and Darius Syrossian. Also saw Prodigy supported by Public Enemy, The Answer supported by Bad Touch and the Picture Books, Jack Savoretti, Placebo supported by Mirror Trap.  Also seeing Texas next weekend.  Bryan and I also attended the Energy Ball this year as guests of the John Clark Motors Group and saw an amazing band called Swanband, from Paris.  A very good year for me musically!

We had a few family outings to various events: Scottish Ballet doing The Nutcracker, Aberdeen v Dundee at Pittordrie, Dr Bunhead’s science show, we saw a modern dance show called Windibops, we went to a Frozen Tea Party, we were VIP guests at the relaunch of our local Brewsters play area, an anniversary tour and ceilidh at my high school, a Shorts and Shades party, Farm Open Day at The Store, and Owen took part in a Super Heroes School.  There was a Gaelic kids day out to Crathes Castle when we went on the steam train, as well as a tubing session and Mud Pies with them – bbq-ing marshmallows and building tree houses! We also took Owen and Maya to Disney on Ice when it was in town.

Happy Mother's Day to me! Rink side at Disney on Ice and we've stolen a Princess to join us

Bryan and Owen had some “man time” at a Rumbling Romans and Wicked Warriors event at a local castle (click arrows at side of picture to see the full album photo album!).

Rumbling Romans & Wicked Warriors at Castle Fraser

We have my parents coming for Christmas, they are looking after Owen for the week between school and my work closing. On the 25th we have various members of Bryan’s side joining us although unfortunately his Dad will be offshore. Bryan and I have treated ourselves to tickets for County 2 Country music festival in Glasgow in March as our Christmas presents to each other so are looking forward to that.

Next year I have to face turning 40 and we’ve declared its finally time we made it to Disney Florida after all these years of wanting to go, so all being well next years round up will just be pictures of Mickey et al.! In the meantime we have even more saving up to do!

Hope 2015 has been kind to you and that you have a wonderful Christmas.

Help a library!

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

As you may have noticed I recently did a book review for Prattsburg Free Library, way off in America.  I did mention it here.

Anyway the whole idea behind this project is to get people interested and interacting.  Obviously people local to the library would be their key audience as they want people to visit the library.  As a variation to the book review idea we wondered if we could get some postcards from around the world to do an exhibition with.  It can be of your home town, or where you’re on holiday.  What would be really great would be if you could write a quick book review on the back, although I think anything (polite!) you’d like to write about books would be much appreciated.  That way the exhibition can have pictures from the front of the postcards and our words of wisdom from the back of the postcards and it should end up looking awesome!

It will only cost you a few minutes, a postcard and stamp, and will be much appreciated.  The address to send it to is:

Prattsburg Free Library

PO Box 426
26 Main Street
Prattsburgh
NY 14873

Their website is: http://prattsburgfreelibrary.org/

Yours hopefully!  Please share this onto anyone you think might be willing to join in

 

Step 1: Buy a Postcard

Step 1 - buy a postcard

Step 2: Write the postcard

Step 2 - write the postcard

Step 3: Buy postage stamp and stick it on

Step 4: Choose a book, I went for something local, and write a review of it

Finally chose a book for my postcard book review project

Step 5: Post it!

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?!

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

So it’s my 7 year anniversary at work, the longest I’ve ever stayed in a job by far. I am the Executive Secretary and Librarian for the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen.

maria-2013

When I took the job it was an opportunity to reach my personal goal of moving back to Aberdeen.  I was frustrated to start with, as I wasn’t using my Librarianship degree.  In fact I even applied for some other jobs and had a couple of interviews.  As time has gone on though I’ve developed the role and recently I’ve found myself faltering when I’ve gone to say my usual “I left my dream job in Edinburgh”.  I did absolutely love being Reader Services Librarian at the Advocates Library and it fulfilled the librarian side of me, but now I love my job at the Society and it fulfils me as a person.

SoA Library

I have a lovely law library to cherish, plus I get to organise and run events. I’ve always been the one to arrange nights out, help on social committees etc so this suits me well. Plus growing up in a Restaurant with Accommodation I’m used to laying tables, discussing menus, greeting guests.  Now we are also encouraging external hire of the library and we’ve had our first wedding (ceremony and reception) and concert in the library. I was involved in organising both and was present start to finish and can honestly say both dates are up there in my top 10 amazing days of my life.  Hard work but so enjoyable and satisfying!

I have often joked that I don’t have a pension or health insurance but I get enough free meals and left overs that it equals out.  In truth I doubt there are many jobs that an employee is as well treated as I am, I’m well paid and given frequent thanks and praise for what I do, plus they are flexible when I have requests like attending my son’s nativity.  Owen and Bryan are both accepted as part of the Society’s family and are welcomed at events from time to time. Owen loves coming to the library and sometimes helps me clear up after a Library Lunch, his favourite job is blowing out the candles.. although he’s always keen to clear up left over tablet too…

It’s not all perfect obviously but there’s certainly more days that I think “right, off to work” rather than “urgh can’t I stay under the duvet”.  I’ve always said that I had to do a job that makes me happy, we spend too large a proportion of our lives working not to, so I consider myself very lucky to have this position.  I wouldn’t cope well in a boring repetitive job and thrive on the constant chain of new challenges, it’s rare that you get 2 days the same!

It’s an unusual job in many ways: I work in an office by myself, with occasional visits from the other employee, the caretaker; I attend and participate in most of the events I arrange, getting to play hostess and getting paid to do fun things like go to the theatre or have lunch with our lovely members; I’m paid a full time salary for almost part time hours (library hours 9.30-1, 2-4 but then cover all events too); and, my boss changes every year.  I’m governed by a Management Committee and every November there’s a new Junior Vice President who’s selected, then becomes Senior VP, and then President. At least I know 2 years in advance who my boss will be and can start breaking them i….I mean getting an idea of how to work best with them. One incumbent made me promise to stay for at least 4 years to cover their time before accepting the role, which I still take as a huge compliment – and hopefully they didn’t regret it!

The people are lovely (mostly!).  Obviously the Society’s members are all solicitors, or retired solicitors.  I also try to look after our annuitants – widows of deceased members who joined the annuity fund.  Then there’s the people who hire the library, speakers who agree to come and give seminars, and our permanent tenants – the Scottish Courts.  It’s interesting working with a variety of people, but reassuring to have the known faces of members.  They’ve all accepted me with open arms and they are appreciative of my efforts, which is satisfying. Recently I sent out an email about a new room hire information sheet I’d worked on with a lovely photographer and I got an email back acknowledging my efforts.  Not that “thank you” or “good job” emails are unusual in my inbox but this one really meant a lot as he referred to Dorothea Bruce who used to have my job and left large boots to fill when she retired.  Many people have told me stories about her and she will never be forgotten at the Society so to be told she’d probably approve of developments since I joined seems high praise indeed.

So what have I achieved in 7 years?  That’s a hard question to answer properly as I work with the Management Committee so many of the achievements are team efforts.  However I have spearheaded and been most instrumental in some things, such as the planning, creation and maintenance of a website.  This gives a set place for members to find details of all our events, for prospective members to find out about membership and for members of the public to find out a bit more about us, our members, or our venue for hire.

When I started there was a spreadsheet with some details of the items in our extensive law library.  I’m working through adding locations so you can actually find things if wanted and we now have a searchable online catalogue (of the key texts and one day it will be everything).  I’ve also rearranged the textbooks so they are all together and in proper alphabetical order, and I currently have a work experience library student creating a See Also reference document to accompany the collection.

There is now a job manual with instructions for the key tasks – and one day I will get more regular duties covered!  I’ve developed and trained a team of cover staff so the library is still open in my absence (holidays, professional leave and sickness).

When I started all payments in and out were made by cash or cheque.  We now use BACS, DD and Standing Orders which streamlines procedures and ensures bills are paid promptly, it also saves postage, waiting for a counter signatory to come by, and trips to the bank.  I think this is especially great when it comes to our annuitants as some of them are less mobile so now the money goes straight into their bank account and they don’t need to get someone to pay the cheque in for them.

Similarly most of our communications are done electronically so members are kept up to date by email. We have separate mailing lists for different interests, eg social events, seminars, court practitioners, new professionals.  AGM paperwork used to get posted out at great cost in postage, time and trees, now only 30 of them get posted, the other 300 are sent electronically.  A few clicks rather than hours of photocopying and envelope stuffing!

We have a self serve coffee shop that members can use and this covers the cost, and gets more use out of, the Press and Journal – which I need to check each day for deaths of members or their partners.  Cheery!

One thing I’m very proud of – as it’s been complimented by members and a similar organisation to ours set up a mirror service in their city – is my Will Search service.  Basically if someone dies in Scotland their family needs to know where their will is (drawer in house or solicitor).  If it’s not known they then need to make reasonable efforts to find it before dealing with the estate of their loved one.  I believe in England there’s a central database which makes a lot of sense and I urge Scottish people to ensure their family knows where their will is, just in case.  Anyway after a few enquiries it dawned on me that the Society was a central organisation that could assist with this in Aberdeen.  After discussion with the Management Committee I emailed round our members and asked for a contact from each firm that could check for any wills I was asked for, I then set up a mailing list of these contacts and put a list on our website and any requests get emailed round, saving a lot of time and effort and covering all the main firms in Aberdeen.

I have also presented a seminar on transferable skills (text available here and slides here) to the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians and been part of their Web Committee.  Both scary steps to take but great things to add to a Professional Achievements list.

All that and I now have an awesome 4 year old son and my forever house with sea views. Thanks Aberdeen, so glad we came back!

4th BIALL since Owen!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

It’s the time of year again when I have to tear myself away from my family and head off to my librarians conference!  I can’t believe its the 4th time I’ve left Owen for the annual event, time really does fly!

Every year I’ve got Bryan to take a photo of Owen and I outside nursery so here is the set so far…

2013
Traditional pre Biall conference pic

2012
Third year I've left Owen at nursery to leave for BIALL conference

2011
1 year on

2010
Leaving Owen at nursery before I go to Brighton!

Yes I do seem to always wear the same jackets *sigh* and you can tell the year’s I flew as I had my Mr T t-shirt on for those, just off to Glasgow this year though so just a train trip!  The big scary thing this year is that I am actually speaking at the conference rather than just attending, not sure why I thought it was a good idea but there we are, Friday morning at 11.30 please pray for me!  At least I’m well prepared, I think… and hubby and boss have both approved the content..just hope the 58 people booked for the session don’t fall asleep!  You can follow the conference on Twitter under #biall2013 if you so wish to!

BIALL conference

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Most years I go to the BIALL conference – British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.  Two years ago I even joined one of their committees and now help with their Website.

This year I have taken another big step in the world of professional Librarians and I am actually going to be a speaker at the conference!  It’s a plenary session so hopefully the other 2 sessions will be far more interesting and I won’t have to stand up in front of too many people!!  I have presented seminars before, in my last job I did the Devil training.  Sounds fun huh?  Devils are trainee advocates and I taught them about using the library, and the electronic resources available through the library.  In my current job I presented a seminar on Social Networking, the papers for which are on our website, there’s the talk itself and the slides that accompanied it.

Anyway if you fancy a nosy at what I’m doing in June the details are on the conference pages of the website: My session at BIALL

 

Some links and news

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

My review of Olly Murs at the AECC is now online – http://www.game-shot.com/index2.php#/info1/1/

Hubby’s firm has been taken over and he gets described as “talented and motivated” – http://www.aberdeenbusinessnews.co.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1329:adept4-takes-over-aberdeen-it-firm-k10-solutions-in-six-figure-deal&Itemid=648

My Dad has finally applied to, and been accepted by, The Master Chefs of Great Britain, my Mum and I are very proud – http://www.masterchefs.co.uk/

My parent’s hotel is going to be a venue for their local music festival – http://robroycountry.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/strathyres-1st-music-festival-june-1-2.html?m=1

Happy days!  Meanwhile I’m busy planning for our move next month, and 5 days of homelessness.  It’s all go!

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!

Professional writings

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Today the BIALL Blog features a post by me!  I wrote this blogpost about my attendance at the BIALL conference (most years in June).

Funnily enough it was published the same day as the lovely Management Committee at my work gave me permission to attend this year’s conference.  Belfast, here I come!