Saturday, 12 December 2015


We start with two (actually three including non-visible ones) tired girls on the way back from a hard morning at IKEA*...

Naomi in particular has been asking to keep some toys in her room so she can have a bit of personal space. For this to happen we had to remove the futon (so story reading is a bit more uncomfortable) and we replaced it with some drawers to keep toys and dressing up things in. We also took the chance to get a wardrobe for the increasingly impressive range of dresses that the girls have - and for occasional visits of the Narnian variety.

Of course, the best part with such things is in the construction, and both Naomi and Miriam were very helpful. They were more than capable of sorting out the right widgets given a picture of what was needed, and screwing on the feet.

Some reaching may be required.

Almost there...

You might notice that we've taken the bold step of accepting a houseful of girls now, and colouring items accordingly.

Miriam helped too,!

They even shared the responsibilities

The finished product. They're pretty good!

*other self-assembly furniture stores exist, though not as many as there used to be. No, we're not on commission. Have you tried the Swedish Meatballs?

Sunday, 6 December 2015


So a little while back Microsoft gave me some free use of their cloud computing facilities - which I used for the work on airports and aircraft taxiing. They seem to have liked what I did, so they wanted to make a blogpost and a video about it. They also wanted to do filming with the people I worked with in Nottingham and at Manchester airport, so it worked out much simpler for me to visit Nottingham rather than having their team from Seattle touring the length of Britain.

This meant that a couple of weeks ago I had a wee trip back to the East Midlands, and since I was there anyway I took a quick detour to Loughborough University to catch up with some work there.

Night 1 (after a much-delayed flight from Edinburgh) was at the glamorous Travelodge - Nottingham EM Airport Donington Park M1. Take in that lovely view from my window!

I hired a car for all the back-and-forth around EM. That 183 is the total miles that the car has done! I have *never* driven a car this new.

The second night I stayed in Nottingham at the P&J Hotel (residents of anywhere in the north of Scotland will get why this was a bit odd). Certainly a bit more character! Actually quite a nice place to stay.

Part of the "character" was the long winding route to my room! I do like places like that.

This path runs along most of the buildings at the University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus, where Computer Science is located. I walked along this many times until we got enough shots on camera of me walking.

The ever-impressive Lufbra Civil engineering building.

My hire car. I've included this just because I liked the carful of beer next to it! You'd think it was a student car park or something.

As someone used to being on the other side of the camera (albeit a few years back now) the filing was a strange experience. For one thing, I have never worn makeup before! We also spent a long time with me looking busy in front of a computer and looking busily engaged in conversation. The video will appear in the next month or so - depending on how nicely I come over I'll maybe post it when it's online!

It was also great to catch up with a few folk at LU again too. Hopefully next time I'll have enough time for a trip into the town to see some non-uni friends - sorry it was such a flying visit this time.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


is the magic number!

Miriam is now THREE. She makes sure you know it whenever she can. We spread the festivities over two days, her actual birthday and a party a couple of days before...

Tricolour jelly in preparation for the party

The problem with doing excellent cakes is that Jay needs to do a better one every year!

Party food!

Party games!
Miriam and Connie trying our her new doctor set

Dr. Brownlee will see you now.

More party food!

Early morning presents on the real birthday

"I like firefighters!" Miriam and Naomi then proceeded to use the megaphone (which actually works by the way) to warm everyone to "STAND BACK FROM THE FIRE" for several days following.
More train tracks - the day really can't get any better.

Fun times had by all.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Feeling proud

I have deliberated over the sharing of this, but I am so proud of Naomi I have decided a bit of bragging about her is in order.

Friday last week was Children in Need day and Naomi's school did various things to raise money. Naomi went to school in her pyjamas and bought some pudsey ears. Unbeknownst to me, there was a colouring competition on the day and Naomi (who is incredibly good at colouring) won the competition, quite impressive when you consider the *whole* school was involved.  She won a big tub of Heroes chocolates and was excited to show me when she came out. (Although the camera couldn't capture this amongst the distraction of being at a friend's house.)

She was very good at sharing some with her friends and the we took the rest home.

Over the weekend I had asked if she shared them with her class, she was sad to tell me there hadn't been time and so she hadn't been able to, although she had wanted to. I asked if she would like to take some to school to share on Monday but made it clear she didn't have to.

She carefully counted out one for each of her class mates but she wanted to do two each, I helped her count out another but showed her how few this left for her but she was adamant that she wanted her friends to be happy and not to be left out.  By the time she had them counted she only had about five left for herself (having eaten a few before) but she was really happy to do it.

Really proud of how responsible she was with her prize, letting Miriam have some, making sure the one she chose for Lydia was suitable for a baby and sharing such a large proportion with her class. She's a good wee kid. Well done Naomi!

Monday, 9 November 2015

My darling Miriam

It's your turn! It's your birthday today and here are some words, right from my heart, to you.

Miriam you are a joy, and utter delight. You love potter about and whenever we ask you something you run off to do it with the beautiful refrain of "okay". Nothing is a problem and everything is okay. That is, of course, till it's not! You have an iron will, you know what you want and nothing will get in your way. I love this about you, you are very sure of yourself. I hope and pray that no-one that will break your spirit. That you maintain your sense of self and stay sure of your place in the world. It probably would be worth learning to tell others what you want with a little less screaming though, you have a very loud scream! I suspect it's a side effect of making yourself heard of the energy of your big sister and demands of the baby, though!

I love watching you play with your sisters, particularly Naomi. The two of you play these beautiful games of imaginary play that are wonderful to watch. You play doctors, or princesses, or Mummies, or pretend to play outside when you can't get out for some reason.  You love dressing up too. Princesses are a favourite, along with your "clip clops" (plastic dressing up shoes). But doctors, pirates, cats, anything will do.

pirate Miriam
You are so comfortable in your own skin.  You miss Naomi while she's at school but you are happy to play by yourself, making up a story with our Peppa pig characters or our dolls house, or our happy land thing, making up adventures for the to go on and places for the to visit.

You are patient, oh so patient. You will sit and do a puzzle, you will sit and colour in, you will sit and look at a book. I am learning not to take advantage of this. To not busy myself with jobs while you amuse yourself but to take the time to sit down with you and play or read a story. You are a lot of fun. I really enjoy playing games with you. I will miss you lots while you are at nursery from next week!

Your bring joy to a room by playing, or dancing, or singing. You love all things musical. I suspect in time you will learn and instrument and it will bring you and others joy, the way it did for me when I was a child.  I hope you learn from my mistake, though, and choose something smaller than a 'cello! Whatever you choose, though, you will do it well. You like to see a task through, and complete it diligently. This character trait will serve you well in life. I am proud you have it.

I am praying,as your grow older, that you will always know how beautiful you are. You are stunning, but not just in your looks, but also in your personality and character. It is very easy to be proud to be your Mummy. You make my job look easy, helping you grow up is really all my privilege.  I will continue to pray that you keep growing up into a beautiful girl and then woman. I pray that your understanding of who God is will deepen, that you will learn to love Jesus for yourself, although you already love to dance for Him. I love to watch you dance for Him, it brings joy to my heart.

I love you, Miriam. I am excited for what you might become in the next year and beyond. Keep being you.

This is my prayer for you as you grow from Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lydia was one!

Well, I guess she still is, but we had a fun day celebrating her birthday. Here's some photos from the day.

The beautiful birthday girl!

We had a few friends round after school to help celebrate, here the chaos!

Sharing her toys


More food!
 Opening presents :-)

More presents after Daddy came home


Chocolate resulting in the cream cardigan being removed

Very appreciative of this present which Lydia got to sample a few hours after me.

The mess after everyone had gone

Order restored