April 14, 2014

Goodbye Dad

Dad at my 30th Birthday

My Dad passed away on 31st March 2014, aged 75. On Friday 11th April myself and brother Robert both read eulogies at his funeral. The words came easily on paper, but actually getting up there to read this out loud was another thing. I could write stories forever about my Dad, who knows, one day I might. But for now I just want to share what I read a few day ago.


My dad was 45 years old when I was born. I had 30 years of my life with him. People have said this isn’t enough time, and it may not sound like much, but my Dad managed to fit more into these years than I could have ever ask for. He accomplished and lived more moments in 75 years than most, so I don’t feel our time was cut short in any way. In fact I feel privileged this is the life he gave me. Who else got to live their childhood in their Dad's early retirement?

I’m always reminded that when I was born, this cancelled a quick golf trip for my Dad and Rob to Spain. How he ever got the idea of a holiday past my Mam whilst heavily pregnant I’ll never know, but it certainly ended badly for Rob. He should have been living it large that evening, instead he had to make do at The Washington Arms and a baby brother.

One of my earliest memories was actually being given small a plastic golf club, and hitting a ball around the living room for for Mam, Dad, and their friends to watch. Perhaps this was the start of him trying to make me into the Severiano Ballesterios he loved and adored. I was almost named Seve, had my Mam not interjected.

Another early memory was being taken out on his boats in Spain, as I’m sure his friends will remember. First there was Quincey, a variation on "Vincey", next the appropriately named Adam III. Memories of days around the pool with my sister Jackie and husband Chris are still prominent for me now.

In Florida, Dad even let me name his last boat when I was about 9 years old, which I named Dad’s New Toy. We travelled all around Florida on Dad’s New Toy, with Dad captaining the ship, Mam in charge of lassoing ropes where needed, and any help we could get from our new American friends when it came to docking the boat. There’s probably more than one person who ended up with severe rope burns on their hands from trying to hold onto an anchor line while a boat was pulling on the other end. But under strict instruction from my Dad no-one dared let go, isn’t that right Uncle Neal?

When in The States, my brother Rob had sent me a present in the post for my 9th birthday. It was probably English sweets and chocolates, but it also contained a letter he and Kay he meticulously hand written explaining how they missed us. I wish I could go into more detail, but unfortunately this note never saw the light of day as Dad had accidentally thrown it out with the wrapping paper. For a message we never saw, its certainly been talked about a lot these last 21 years.

It’s no secret my Dad loved Golf. He probably took it up later in life than I am old now, but he managed to play both on, and off, around some of the worlds finest golf courses. In 2005, 7, and 9 we even started our own version of the Ryder Cup against four American friends led by his good friend Kevin. This was entitled the Kev-Vin Cup, and has to be the most expensive plastic trophies ever played for in the history of amateur golf. With competitions every two years in Scotland, Florida, and Spain, these are memories I’ll hold to my heart for the rest of my life, and I’m so happy I got to live this with my Dad and brother.

Golf may have led into another area of interest of my Dads life. Fashion. I say he was interested in it, he just didn’t have an eye for it. As my sister in law Kay pointed out, she has never quite seen someone wear so many colours all at once. Spots and stripes were often thrown together, but, he still managed to look very smart is entire life, I'll never forget the ‘clip clop’ noise of his shoes from metal heel and toe clips, he loved that addition to a pair of brogues.

One thing my Dad wasn’t too good at though was cooking. He loved food, the idea of food, even ordering and paying for it, he just couldn't cook. He was always fussy eater too. His granddaughter Tori, my niece, reminded me of a time when she and the other grandkids Abbie and Liam had made a tent in the living room and Granddad decided to make them a cup of tea for breakfast. They all took a sip before spitting it back into the cup again, he’d managed to put salt into the tea instead of sugar. Two spoons to be exact.

Anyone who knew him would agree he was a lover not a fighter. But there was one exception to this I recall. Out with an eight year old Abbie on their bikes by the riverside, two young men nearly ran her over in their car. A 60 something year old Vince confronted the two men at the junction, and slapped the driver so hard, neither of them dared get out of the car. I'm sure Abbie will always remember to day her Granddad came to her rescue.

Its safe to say everyone has a story about my Dad I haven’t heard yet, and I’d love to hear them.

Dad, I’ll never forget you, you were almost invincible.


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November 19, 2013

Ginger & Black Pepper Scotch


Laura recently had the idea to infuse whisky for her friends engagement party. The process of infusing whisky is a simple enough process. Simply find a recipe that suits your taste, and a jar big enough to hold said beverage.

A few days later (or 6 for luck), we had a scotch packing a punch of ginger and black pepper. But with all alcohol, the content in half the prize. We drink with our eyes. Well, designers do anyway. Given I set myself under a week to get this all together, I think we pulled off a rather convincing package and very personal engagement gift.

The bottle is a reused Sipsmith Gin bottle from my birthday. Brown paper from the good people at Paperback in London. Fonts a combination of Lost Type Co-op and No. Seven Script from Fenotype. Lastly, twine from Ebay and sealing wax from Amazon.

I wish I could say the big wax dipping factory not to close to Edinburgh helped out with this, but they wouldn't supply me with anything less than a kilogram. So, individual candles were melted down in the end and dipped in a one-off chance to get it right. Just don't use a pot you want for something else again.

Hats off to Laura for the idea, I merely put it together.

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May 9, 2013

David's stag in the Highlands


Having just come back from David and Fi's Wedding (#davidandfi), I'm a little behind on the posts here. So bear with me while I rattle through a few pictures from the stag.

At the end of March, us six city boys headed up to the lower Highlands for a long weekend of drinking, shooting, and excessive amounts of tweed. It's got to said, tweed offers zero insulation or protection from the elements, but we certainly looked bad good. Pitlochry didn't know what hit it that snowy evening.

Words can't even begin to describe how cold it was up the hill during our clay pigeon shooting. I didn't know if the camera was functioning, I couldn't feel my fingers or the trigger. Luckily beautiful light is all you need sometimes. Even in the howling sleet, with wearing dress shoes on fresh snow, somehow I managed to get these pictures.

You can see all the pictures on my Flickr.







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February 26, 2013

EyeToons baby


I thought I'd share a great little book that dropped through the post this week. EyeToons (say it right, don't get sued) is the brainshild of Six Creative aka Ian Traynor, a fellow designer from Edinburgh. As one of the launching projects on the UK Kickstarter, Ian secured the job and went on the produce this marvellous little product.

The concept is simple, guess the song title and artist by the illustration alone. Ian has rendered a stagering amount of these clever, quirky, and genuinely heart warming illustrations that have kept me puzzler all week trying to guess what the heck song I'm looking at. Thank god the answers are in the back.

The books illustrations are simply great, restraining away from unnecessary textures or filters so currently found online. A simple uncoated paper provides enough texture without having to add this falsely.



But wait there's more

Who doesn't love a good email newsletter? Unfortunately the art of the newsletter has fallen down by the wayside by companies who should know better. The EyeToons emails are a shining example of brilliant copy writing, inforgraphics, animated gifs (they're coming back in a big way in case you didn't know) and most importantly use bright yellow.

Check out 'The Infographic Issue' which was my particular favourite.

I could have quite happily photographed the entire book, but that would be giving it away, so you'll have to make do with two of my favourite pages. Can you guess what they are?

Buy the book

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February 14, 2013

Krispy Kreme comes to Edinburgh


By the time I've posted this, hopefully the doughnut craze that has swept the city has subsided. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts opened miles outside in of Edinburgh and has consistently caused massive traffic jams to an already troubled part of the bypass, but hey, at least it for something enjoyable for once.

Luckily Cait caught on invite to the opening party a few days earlier, so we headed there bellies rumbling on Monday evening. Hats off to the planner for this evening. Never before have I wanted to stay somewhere for so long on sugary delights and coffee alone. Being located at Hermiston Gait, I'll still never really understand why, driving is the only option. Eric even mentioned, its difficult to walk there is you're already at Hermiston Gait, but I guess they're going for a certain demographic.



Dip that doughnut





Krispy Kreme Production

Krispy Kreme Dozen

This was one of the few boxes we left with. For my taste to be honest this is all a little sweet, the kind of sweet that makes your teeth tingle and want a toothbrush. But as far as a slice of Americana goes in Edinburgh goes, well done Krispy Kreme!

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