Friday 29 May 2015


Look what Lydia can do now!

She decided to wait until she could do it perfectly, then just got on with it. Wednesday this week: no sitting up. Thursday: sitting up most of the day.

Thursday 14 May 2015


I thought I would do a blog post about the mundane. The regular goings on in the Brownlee household. It's  not as exciting as holiday posts or traveling posts but it is the reality of our every day.

Every morning Naomi is off to nursery and now on a Monday and Thursday Miriam joins her.  Both girls love nursery and having opportunity to do things I wouldn't probably do at home and certainly not with so many friends.

Aside from that mornings are made up from toddler groups, toddler gymnastics, a Bible study for me and an occasional cup of tea!

In the afternoons we get up to all sorts if things so here are some photos of our goings on...

 Having a picnic for dollies...

Just relaxing

Occasionally going places, this is from a big outdoor play area where Naomi was pretending to be a "girl farmer"

and Miriam did bouncing

One of Naomi's friends has recently had her tonsils removed so we made a get well card

snuggles feature heavily in our afternoons

I didn't get any good pictures of this but here are the girls planting sunflower seeds with Daddy

Miriam is playing with our happy land things one rare morning we just stayed at home

I've recently added an outdoor abacus to our garden

occasionally I try and do something for myself, here is Miriam trying to make some weights so she can join in my exercise DVD!

Naomi enjoys colouring (so does Miriam, not pictured below)

This is a screenshot from a game the girls like to play on my phone

Sometimes we go to our friends' houses to play

craft is popular

And also painting

We like to keep it real, though, so this features a bit too often too!

I asked her to wear clothes!

Monday 11 May 2015


Some time ago I took up running and it definitely helps keep me sane during these early years of small children-induced madness!

Naomi has been asking for a while now to come out with me and although I was a bit overwhelmed at first with the idea, I recently got my head into gear and let her come out.

Here we are ready to go (wearing leggings and a T-shirt like Mummy!)

Here we are at the finish "line" (we ran to a sign). Naomi had a blast.

And here is the all important info from my GPS watch!

I am proud that I am doing something healthy and inspiring Naomi to do it too, she's already asked to go out again and I am looking forward to having something I can do with her :-) it won't be long till she is outpacing me!!

Sunday 10 May 2015


My position at the university is currently funded by the DAASE project, and we recently had a 2 day meeting of all the researchers on the project. It's the biggest project I've been involved in, so there were a lot of people to get together! This time was met at on of the other partners, the University of Birmingham. I've been to that campus once before - it's pretty nice (no mountains though) - and the meeting itself was interesting enough. It was mostly a catch-up on what the various universities are working on, and what things we might jointly do over the next year or two. There are several new things that I might be working on as a result. (some very neat stuff to do with automatically improving software so it runs more efficiently).

The only other highlight was that the journey down was "interesting" enough that the train company issued compensation to all the passengers. There was a delay of nearly two hours, followed by some brilliant lack-of-information. Fun!

I was accommodated in a former house on campus that's now essentially a hotel. This is the view from my window - very green for Birmingham!

Part of the campus. Apparently that's the biggest free standing clock tower in the world, all because the universities founder insisted that all universities must have a clock tower.

The clock tower, close-up. In fairness, it is pretty big. That's a two storey building behind it.

Some more nice campus...

...and my overnight accommodation.


So, having had some success selling off the many buggies we had in our garage, we were finally in a position to replace the old double buggy. It's been through several sets of children (we got it second hand, and we think it might in practice have been third-hand), so it was slowly falling to bits. I've repaired several parts myself, so there was an impressive array of oversized bolts and wire holding it together.

About 10 days ago now we took receipt of the new one. All jolly exciting!

Although I did think that the stylish black boxes reminded me of something else. Try comparing the picture and video below.

I didn't have a monkey to add to this shot, so I went for an abstract banana instead.

The finished article...

... which was bizarrely colour coordinated with Jay on this particular day.

Finally, a bit of a round up on some other things we've been up to...

Grandma posted us a few things that we'd left behind folkowing our holiday last month. Of course she couldn't help but include some presents. These are Frozen purses. These went down well.

All my little girls being awesome!

Jay went out for a few hours, and while she was away I had a great time with Naomi and Miriam. Here they are playing one of their card games. This one is essentially a fancy "snap" based on cupcakes. Miriam is surprisingly good at it! (shortly after this in fact, she and I jointly won the game -Naomi was NOT keen on this and the game was not repeated.) The "would you like a cupcake?" from Miriam at the start of the clip is part of the game.

Friday 8 May 2015


I guess most of you are expecting me to say something about this.... did anyone else stay up for the results? I was up until about 4am - at which point Lydia was settling back down from her night time feed.

Obviously I'm pleased with the Scottish results, though have somewhat mixed feelings given the UK-wide result. Maybe some of you will feel differently (either good or bad): but for now I'm just pleased that the local campaign I was involved with in Stirling has been successful. I've been out campaigning a good bit less than I was before the referendum, but did what I could (alongside many others working much harder than me) and it's quite satisfying to see a win come out of it. From the few times I've met Stirling's new MP, he's a good guy, as are many of the new (and indeed many of the outgoing) MPs.

Much as I said in 2011, it's great to see that even in the previously very safe seats people have felt that their vote counted and made a vote for a change, maybe for the first time in their lives. Turnout is up a good few percent on the last general election, and this is also very much a good thing. I hope we can keep this kind of engagement long-term.

Prayer is now needed that all our new representatives can work constructively together for the greater good. We have an interesting few years ahead once again.

Now, on to some work! I've still got a whole Friday of code and paper writing to do. A couple of pints of tea ought to wake me up...

Yes, it's time for the Homer mug again.