2013 – an overview!

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?!

4th BIALL since Owen!

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…

Traditional pre Biall conference pic

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

1 year on

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!

Birthday fun

April 4th, 2013

Getting old isn’t fun but life is what you make it so I used it, and moving, as an excuse to have a night out with the girls.  It turned into one of those AWESOME nights that you know you will all remember for ages – and as we bumped into a photographer we even have a memory of it!
Me and the pretty girls

Photo by http://www.danielmcavoyphoto.co.uk/

We had a nice meal out, then a drink in Orchid and then off to our beloved Club Tropicana for some 80s dancing.  Bad planning being out the night the clocks spring forward but never mind hey?!

On Monday I then got another birthday treat as I finally got to see Simple Minds in concert.  I’ve wanted to see them ever since they lived round the glen from me and we used to pass in the car and I’d try and peek in the windows of the recording studio they had overlooking Loch Earn.  Jim Kerr, the lead singer, even ate at my parent’s restaurant a couple of times but I always had to be somewhere else.  Anyway that was an ace night, as I have reviewed at: http://www.game-shot.com/index2.php#/info1/1/

My birthday wasn’t that special a day, I was working and then had the usual routine of getting Owen home, fed and bedded.  It was special in that I had so many lovely texts, Facebook messages, Tweets and emails from my super friends and family.  I am a very lucky girl.  Two lovely ladies even came and kept me company at lunchtime which was good, I do like a good natter!  Then in the evening Bryan went off and met our friend Steve, who managed to find us 2 unwanted sofas for our new house.  So they have been moved into Steve’s garage ready for when we get the keys.  Bryan brought home a photo of them and they look ace so that’s an awesome birthday present to get!!

I really wasn’t bothered about celebrating my birthday this year, the excitment will come later this month when we move house, but I still felt special – especially when Bryan presented me with a yummy Bournville Brioche and Butter Pudding after dinner – YUMMY!!!

BIALL conference

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

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!

#projectomg – the full story!

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!

Little drops of happiness

March 4th, 2013

The current time is quite stressful.  We have sold our house, but not yet confirmed a purchase of somewhere to move into.  Our cat had a recurrence of his stress induced cystitis after a flood of viewers (and associated cleaning) so has been unwell.  Our house has been smelly after the ill beast peed everywhere.  Bryan has changes going on at work.

I’m glad to say that Benson seems quite better now *touch wood* and after a weekend with a Rug Doctor and some Flash the house is smelling better too.

I also am pleased to announce that one of my random photos has been used by a publisher in Amsterdam for their guide to Edinburgh.  If you would like to see it as published go to: http://www.cityzapper.nl/Edinburgh/Koffie%20en%20lunch/papii

Another lovely thing that happened at the weekend is that my lovely Nirvana Spa representative friend was looking for guinea pigs for some new make up techniques she’s been trained in so I volunteered and she came over and “did my face” for want of a better term!  This is the before and after, I think its quite obvious which is which!
Before and after Mii Mineral makeover - Nirvana Spa
Before and after Mii Mineral makeover - Nirvana Spa

Add to that the fact that Mickey Mouse is coming to town and I got Owen and I seats for it and you have to admit there are still reasons to smile!  (but shhhh, not told the boy about that one yet!)

Exciting Times

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

Quite an achievement

February 7th, 2013

Next week we celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe its been so many years, it really feels like quite an achievement.  Anyway I found the letter I wrote on returning from our honeymoon, all about our special day and the following holiday.  I thought I should share it – so here it is – Wedding letter.

Here’s a picture of us on our special day, and there’s more on my flickr if you want a nosy.
Happily married

So what are we doing to celebrate?  Well when we were on honeymoon, we were sat on the beach in Jamaica and said that we would have to go back for our 10 year wedding anniversary.  However life moves on, now we have a 3 year old and a house on the market and it just wouldn’t be feasible for us to go back.  An alternative was hard to imagine but my beloved managed to come up with a most excellent plan – we’re going back to Balbirnie House where we got married for a night’s dinner, bed and breakfast.

I can’t wait – for the night away or the rest of our life together, I am so lucky to have found my Prince.

1 month down…

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…

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