2013 In Review

It’s January 2014 and the last 12 months have been crazy.

In short, I started the year as a lowly undergrad in a wee Scottish city. Now, I work on the 22nd floor designing the financial services of the future for one of largest international financial institutions.

So here is what the last 12 months have been.

January 2013

  • Dissertation due first week back of term, which is a long way from being complete.
  • The conceptual phase of my Honours Project is now well and truly over, and now I know what I need to design and build, but I haven’t started yet.

February 2013

  • Phew, dissertation behind me and now I’m full speed ahead working on my Honours Project.
  • Design is well underway.
  • I’m a few weeks into learning Ruby on Rails – this ain’t gonna be easy.
  • Mk. 1 prototype due at the end of the month. I’ve got a design, and a very basic technical concept, but the two are very far apart.

March 2013

  • Mk. 1 Prototype went down well.
  • Mk. 2 Prototype due at the end of the month.
  • Design and Development now coming together so my Mk. 1 design, now is realised technically and it’s working!

April 2013

  • I’ve been coding like crazy. Regularly pulling 4AM’s, and getting straight back into the studio the next morning for a 10AM start.
  • Long term tiredness is starting to get to me.
  • Perfect timing for three nights in Amsterdam with Madeleine. (Thank you Secret Escapes for your 5-Star hotel and complimentary bottle of beer at the bar!)
  • Back in Dundee – AGH! So much to do!
  • Film 1-minute video for my Honours Project – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV5QiZLFc8o (I love film making, but I just wanted to keep coding at this point)
  • Degree Show planning now also in full swing.
  • Preparing for my VIVA!!!!!!

May 2013

  • VIVA Preperation is all I can think about. Writing and practising presentation on as many as people as I can get to listen. (Thanks Michael!)
  • VIVA week! Agh!!
  • VIVA over. Somehow I forget to take in my key prop…wow. Still managed to get a laugh out of the panel though. They were great, very interested in what I had to say, and it really felt like the work paid off.
  • Silicon Milkroundabout weekend after the VIVA’s. No time to celebrate, onto the train to London to find a job.
  • Met a LOAD of great people in London.
  • Straight back to Dundee to face external examiner, Rory Hamilton. Also went very well, and was a great chat. (Dundee-London-Dundee in one weekend is a lot of traveling)
  • D-Day. Degree Marks are in.
  • Emails and calls start coming in from Silicon Milkroundabout – looks like I’m going straight back to London for some interviews!
  • DEGREE SHOW! Friday night was awesome – the only day I was there.
  • Head back to London. Four interviews in three days.
  • Two great full time offers from great London start ups. I turn them down to take an internship at Citymapper – awesome choice!

June 2013

  • Move to London and start my internship with Citymapper.
  • Back to Dundee AGAIN for my Graduation. What a party, with the best people.
  • Back to London for good (or so I thought)

July 2013

  • New Designers – three days of unimaginable heat in a massive greenhouse.
  • I met Lee, Pete, & David from Barclays – my journey into the world of banking begins.
  • Met even more potential employers at New Designers.
  • Back to my internship at Citymapper.
  • Interviews begin again for after my internship.

August 2013

  • A solid month of work in the INSANE London heat. Too hot to work on a number of occasions.
  • Accept an offer from Barclays to become a Service & Interaction Designer in the Design Office.
  • Made short video with Citymapper for a competition with the MTA (Citymapper won, netting over $20,000 in prize money)

September 2013

  • Starting at Barclays!
  • crazy month of working on all sorts of awesome work which I can’t yet talk about on here. But trust me, it’s cool.
  • 1CP (One Churchill Place, Barclays Canary Wharf HQ) is air conditioned. Never have I ever been so grateful for air conditioning.

October 2013

  • Back to Edinburgh for Fiona & Tom’s Wedding – the first of what I’m sure will be many friends weddings to come. What a special day.
  • I joined the Gym and starting rowing in the morning before work most days.
  • New got a new washing machine after the last one tried to explode.

November 2013

  • Madeleine bought an iPad Air after waiting for three years to buy one, and I can’t even leave the shop without getting jealous and having to buy one also. Oops.

December 2013

  • Back to Dundee! My boss Lee and I are invited back by to Dundee as Gurus for the 4th years to help them along the way with their projects. So strange to be on the other side of the table, but it was great to be back, and I hope with the lat year so fresh in my mind, I was able to give some useful insight.
  • Our flight returning from Dundee to London City Airport broke down on the runway seconds before lift off, thus incurring one very long journey back to London the next morning, via a stay at Edinburgh Airport, and a very early flight. Boss was not impressed.
  • Back to Edinburgh for Christmas and New Year.
  • Band reunion/night out/dinner/cocktails. What a night.
  • NEW YEAR! Kitchen Celidh my best friends. Best end to the year.


Wow…I hadn’t realised so much had happened. How on earth am I going to top that this year?!?!


Starting the Year off Beautifully

This year I was lucky enough to begin 2014 with my closest friends in the most beautiful part of the world – The Scottish Highlands.

Having only recently returned from what feels like a life time in New Zealand, Tobi & Lynsay shared with Madeleine and I four fantastic days of relaxation, catching up, and celebration.

Shortly after ringing in the Hogmany at a house party, where we had the best spontaneous kitchen-celidh I have ever experienced, we loaded up the car and drove North to the Ardverikie Estate – home of the Monarch of the Glen (a TV show before my time, but my mum loved it!).

The estate is private and closed to the public, with 50,000 acres to explore when renting one of the holiday homes, like the cottage we rented. The drive up the A9 and into the estate was fantastic. Tobi and I both love driving, so this alone was a great start to the holiday for us.

The Estate

Rowan Brae is a beautiful six-room cottage in the heart of the estate, with all the home comforts we could have ever needed.

Rowan Brae


The Cairngorms have long been one of my favourite places in the world. The astonishing natural beauty, peace, and closeness to Edinburgh has made it a place I always find tough to leave. This break wasn’t about hitting any Munros, or bagging any tourist hot spots. It was just about getting away, catching up, and relaxing. And boy did we!

We spent our days driving around the Cairngorms, or wandering through gentle paths. There were some incredible views along the way, particularly Loch Laggan which the estate runs along.

Loch LagganAvimore is a place we all love, so visiting was a must too. We took the day to walk round Loch Morlich where we experienced some truly awesome weather. I do miss the Scottish elements in London. It’s just not the same.

Loch Morlich

Lynsay & Maddy at Loch MorlichI really couldn’t have asked for much more in a holiday. We were only away for three nights, but this long overdue holiday was absolutely perfect.

I can’t wait until our next adventure, Monopoly on the table, and Whiskey by the fire.

The QuopleF