The Napa Valley, California

A month ago, my fiancé and I went on holiday to California, to a family wedding in the Napa valley and then to spend time with friends in San Francisco.

The wineries were beautiful. Could of happily spent days wandering around the vines and the gardens. Here are a few of the shots that I took whilst there.

Frog’s Leap

Silver Oak


Moving again…

Today is my first day back in the London ThoughtWorks office since I started here nearly 4 years ago. I have just transferred back here from the Chicago ThoughtWorks office.

It’s pretty crazy being back in the UK. I’ve been away for over 3 years now, and much longer since I lived in England proper. It took me a few days to figure out which way to look while crossing the road, how to use chip and pin payment and that left over coins actually are worth something so I should figure out what they all are. People may think that I’m crazy but I missed the food here too…

I’m quite the nomad at heart, and Chicago (at 2 years) is the longest that I’ve lived anywhere since I was 16. So it was time to move on. Tim spent time at TW UK 3 years ago and loves London and I am new here!

One of the great things about TW is that you have the opportunity to move around. So far London, Calgary, Chicago and now back to London. My TW network is ever growing and it’s nice to bump into people I know all over the world, and pretty much everyone I meet knows someone that I know, so it’s normally easy to start up a conversation.

I was quite sad leaving Chicago, I’ve made some great friends and have really come along professionally too. It almost feels like I’m starting a new school coming to TW UK. However it’s been great to spend some more time already with the other half, as right now I’m not travelling every week, and I look forward to making lots of new friends and exploring London.

My first project will have me commuting to Sutton (Surrey) every day, so I’m hoping that will give me more time for blogging and reading etc. that I really missed while driving to Peoria once a week.

Hopefully we’ve found a place to live. Pictures will come once we’ve moved in. We’ll be in the Angel Islington area.

Spring time comes to Chicago

The last week has been beautiful in Chicago Mid 20’s (mid 70’s for you Fahrenheit folk) and gorgeous sun.  Thankfully Tim and I made it out to the park this afternoon after doing lots of sorting of our apartment ready to move in a couple of weeks. One cobbled together awesome picnic from Fox and Obel later and we were ON.

Pictures taken in PFC Milton Olive Park by Navy Pier in Chicago.


Ski/Snowboard iPhone Apps : EpicMix and Ski Tracks


I was in Vail last weekend, not only was the snow great and the weather awesome, I was excited to try out EpicMix. As a geek I love a good app, and I also love a good graph and I definitely love skiing.

EpicMix tracks your activity on the mountain using an RFID chip in your ski pass. At the base of each lift your ski pass will be picked up and your activity logged. You can then view your activity on the website or on the accompanying iPhone and Android Apps. You earn pins for your achievements and there are hundreds to unlock. It also tracks your vertical feet skied based on the lifts that you used. New for this year too (although I didn’t try it), was that you could use one of the on mountain photographers to capture images or you around the mountain that are automatically added to your account.

I thought it was pretty awesome, and a great start towards tracking your activity on the mountain. Cons for me are that it doesn’t track which slopes you skied, just the lifts that you road, it could do with integration with your phones GPS, and also that it took 4 or 5 hours to sync to my phone from the time I actually skied. I’m sure it will improve over time… if they need a developer…;-)

EpicMix covers the Vail family of resorts, Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Heavenly, Northstar and Keystone.

Get on iTunes here:


Ski Tracks

Ski Tracks I discovered a couple of seasons ago. The premise is similar, tracking your journey around the mountain, although instead of RFID in uses GPS, and instead of being a social media platform it is more of a stats app.

It tracks where you skied on a Google Map and shows you your max speed, altitudes, metres skied etc. You launch the app and it runs in your pocket, it integrates with the iPod too. On my 3Gs it drains the battery pretty bad but I’ve heard from others with newer iPhones that this isn’t the case for them.

The accuracy is pretty decent, and my brother and I had a lot of fun with this one, trying to beat our max speed and seeing just how much of the mountain that we’d covered that day. It goes into a lot of detail and you can see a run-by-run breakdown of where you skied.

An obvious advantage over EpicMix is that you can use this anywhere and not just an enabled resorts.

Get on iTunes here:

Photography: Composition Workshop

A few weeks ago I bought a Groupon for a photography class on Composition in Chicago through the Digital Photo Academy. We spent the morning walking around Millenium Park looking for shots. It was a beautiful day for it. Didn’t feel like I got as much out of it as the other two classes I’ve done. But it was still nice.

Here are a few of mine: