Friday 26 April 2013

Top ten ways to know you have a toddler in the house...

  1. If you are unable to find anything you look in the toddler's toy box and the fridge just to rule them out, but more often than you should you find the thing you were looking for
  2. Nothing (of any importance) is kept below a height of 2.5 feet.
  3. You wash the soap before you use it.
  4. Running out of bananas or raisins is considered an emergency where remedial action is require immediately!
  5. It is hard to find a plate or bowl in your kitchen unless you want to eat off something plastic.
  6. Your favourite DVD boxset is impossible to find as it is buried beneath a large pile of Peppa Pig DVDs.
  7. You need to check there is toilet paper before you sit down on the toilet as a helpful wee soul may have moved it all for you when you weren't looking.
  8. Knowing you need to make a 'phone call during business hours sends a shiver down your spine as you have a sense of dread with regards to the destruction that can be done during even a two minute call.
  9. In order to make a meal you must first hunt down your saucepan which was stolen earlier in the day for a game of make-believe kitchens.
  10. Wherever you look there is a sea of half eaten bits of fruit that were requested then discarded within moments of each other.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

More Food!!

As you can see here Miriam is now starting to enjoy the world of solid food.  I can report, that just like her big sister she LOVES food!

Having not been on solid foods very long most foods are a new experience.  I thought you might like to see what she looked like after her first experience of spinach, she had it tonight with fish and mashed potato.


Monday 22 April 2013


So, here's part 2 of our Scottish holidays. Apologies for the lack of posting at the moment, things are a bit hectic with us - and we have a bit of a backlog of news to work through!

What better way to open a blogpost than with a picture of a teepee? During our time at Granny and Granddad's (Jay's parents), we had a lovely visit to Castle Fraser, where Naomi has a good run around the various outdoor things that they have.

On arrival at Grandma and Granddad's (my parents), I was quite taken by the hot news in the local paper. Yes, it was a gripping read.

Naomi had some good fun with her cousins, and had a few trips to the park in Keig and New Deer. She climbed on this toy all by herself!

Here she is with the little red car I used to play with when I was small. Interesting to note that she can't work the weir pedals inside either! (they go back-and-forward instead of round-and-round)

Playing on my old swing...

I also quite enjoyed Naomi playing with her cousins. A classic example, where I suspect that Naomi's got the better deal:

Now, on to the wedding. My brother Ian and his now wife Christine had a fantastic day, getting married in Fochabers. We'll do a blog post focused on just that once we've got some more pictures through, but for now here's the ones I took. We start with a picture I took at the reception - in case you're worried Ian is only three years younger than me - this picture was taken a long time ago and featured in a selection of embarrassing child pictures all around the church hall. (this was a great idea: straight after the wedding itself there were tea and cakes in the church hall while all the photos were taken, then we headed to the reception hotel in a much more relaxed and not ridiculously hungry state!) I took this one for incorporation into my best man speech, but I didn't have time to include it in the end.

Here is the picture of a standing ovation at my amazing speech. If you were there, you can really appreciate this :)

The packed reception venue, home of some good ceilidh action.

A puzzling arrangement in the shower.What does this button do? My uncle is a plumber and he didn't even know.

Dinner with the Brownlees a day after the wedding. Here's Naomi with a child's portion ice cream. Can she eat it all?


Some great playing on the way home to Loughborough!

Thursday 11 April 2013


Many of you will know that we (and I in particular) have been travelling quite a bit of late. My first trek was in late March, to the EMO2013 conference. (Yes, it's really called that) No papers to present at this one, just a glorious bit of networking and learning about what other people are getting up to. In case you're wondering, EMO is Evolutionary Multi-criterion Optimisation, which is using genetic algorithms to find the trade-off between conflicting goals; a prime example being what I've been up to at Loughborough, finding the trade-offs between cheap, comfortable and energy efficient buildings.

No trekking far afield for this one, just a train up the country to Sheffield. Here's the view from my hotel window, overlooking a tram bridge (some of us like that type of thing...)

The conference was held at the University of Sheffield, a couple of miles from the city centre, so we had to get a bus there at 7:30 each morning, and returned late at night after the sessions were all done.

The conference dinner was at Chatsworth House - very nice! Here's some poor-quality shots of the house's splendour...

This is really the ceiling! An improvement on polystyrene tiles anyway.

On our walk around the house, we were presented with this lovely table setting.

Sadly, it turned out that our dinner was to be served in the stables, though it was still pretty good:

The conference was pretty good, lots of interesting stuff to chew over. Also, at the end of it all, I got a lovely bag to show off:

Super! The one sad part of it all is that it's getting harder to leave all the girls behind. Naomi was very sad that I was gone, and most happy to see me when I returned. As an aside, in an exciting move, Naomi's getting good at doing puzzles!

My next trip was to a wintry Stirling. More on what that was all about later, but for now, here's a shot of the view from the Computing department windows there. Yes, that's the Wallace Monument.

Straight after arriving back from that trip, we then all got in the car and drove back to NE Scotland, for parental visiting and my brother's wedding. Installment one is the trip up, which I think nicely rounds off this post...

An exciting place to eat lunch

A car with Peppa Pig in it. Does life get any better?