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Dad and I didnt get to go skiing this year, so we decided that as we both have the day off we would go to Milton Keynes Snozone. We booked for 3 hours, we spent the first 1.5 hours skiing which was great and then spent 1 hour snowboarding, which considering we have not been on a snowboard for 8 years we did really well and didnt fall over once. After we went to Nandos for a nice chicken wrap.
We put up our Christmas Trees up today, we put the snow covered tree in the garage and the pine covered tree in the lounge, but then used the decorations for the other trees. It turned out really nice and has made the house feel very festive.
The Vehicle Vision Assist product was nominated for an award at the Motor Trader 2021 Awards, so this evening we went to London to the Grosvenor House London on Park Lane. It is such a lovely venue. The dress code was Black Tie and it was nice to get dressed up again. We didnt win the award, but we had some great food and a great evening.
We started early this morning with breakfast at Costa, before catching the River Bus to Greenwich. I had never been on the river boat and it was amazing, when it speeds up it really knocks you back. We then went on the Emirates Air Line cable car over the River Thames, which gave us great views. We then got the tube back to the hotel to pick up our cases, had lunch at Starbucks and then headed to the Lego store in Leicester Square. We had to queue to get in, but once in there its great. We then headed to Euston and caught the train back home. When arriving back into Ruby there was snow everywhere, not what we were expecting.
Ethan wanted to go to London for his birthday, so we caught an early train from Rugby to Euston. We caught the tube to the Tower Suites by Blue Orchid, which was where we were staying. We dropped our cases off and then went Costa for breakfast. We then caught the tube again to Hamleys as Ethan wanted to have a look round, it was really busy but he enjoyed looking round. We then had a slot booked at the Science Museum so we headed over there. We had a great look round, Ethan enjoyed looking at the cars, planes and space section. We then had some lunch before heading into the Wonderlab, we got to try experiments in friction, sound, light and pullys. Before we left we went to a live session where things got exploded, Ethan loved it. We then headed back to the hotel to check in, as it was Ethans birthday they upgraded his room to one with a view of The Shard, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, it was an amazing room. To finish off the evening we went for a meal at Strada, they gave us a great evening and the food was lovely.
It is Ethans 6th birthday today. It was an early start so that he could open his presents. He had wanted the Lego Lamborghini Sian (42115) for over a year, so we decided we would get him that which he was so excited about. He had a good day at school and then when he had finished he said he would like some crusty cobs for dinner.
After adding the ambilights into the loft i had wanted them in my office, so i ordered a 4m version. I had to take the monitors off the wall, so that i could mount the controller and hide all of the wires. Once i got the software installed the lights worked and they look amazing. I have been playing with different backgrounds to give my office some nice mood lighting.
I have been working on the final bag for a while. I have been working on the digger for 11 months and really wanted to get it finished by Christmas, so i had a big push to get it all complete. Once i had finished it all, i put some batteries in it and tested it out. It is great fun to play with, Ethan really enjoyed it to making it climb up things and scooping up the Lego bits.
Once we had finished with our pumpkins we decided that we would take ours to Burbage Woods so that the animals could eat them. Once we had found a nice place to leave them we had a nice walk around.
Tonight we had bonfire night in our garden. We had a hotdog dinner with chocolate puddings for dessert. We then headed in the garden to enjoy the mini fire, have some sparklers and then set off some fireworks. They looked really good and we all had a great evening.
Now we are going to start going into the office, so I wanted to get my desk setup. I got 2 1080p Dell monitors, webcam, etc. I went into the office early and got it all setup, i tried to make the cabling as neat as i could to keep the clean desk look.
This afternoon we went to the Totally Spooky walk at Rufford Abbey. We first had lunch in the Old Coachhouse, before heading to the adventure playground, we had fun there until it closed at 3pm. It was then our time to go on the spooky walk, it was good reading about all of the potions and seeing all of the models that had been made.
The Cosby people have been busy again knitting a wonderful Halloween display. We went and had a look this evening and it looks fantastic. With the lights on the tree, it looks nice and spooky.
Ethan carved his pumpkins this evening. He scooped all of the insides out of them, Rachel then drew a happy face and then a screaming face. Ethan then cut them out using some little tools. They look really cool! We are going to plant some of the pumpkin seeds and see if we get anything from them.
We had a Halloween party this evening, we had Claire, Luke and Faith over for some party games and pizza. We had fun playing pass the parcel, a treasure hunt and chatting. We had a 40 min powercut which normally would be annoying but we got out the candles out and it made it nice and spooky, the pizza also got delivered which helped cheer everyone up.
The weather wasnt great today, but we still wanted to get out so we decided to go to Burbage Woods for a walk. We had a nice time, such a lovely place to walk around and its nice and relaxing.
We went pumpkin picking today at Malt Kiln Farmshop. They had improved it since the last time i went, adding mats where people walk. Rachel wanted to get a selection of different pumpkins for a display outside our house. It was quite quiet and we had lots of fun.
We packed all of the bags this morning and got the car loaded up by 10am. Ethan and I then took a ride to the main car park to drop our bikes off before going swimming in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise for a few hours. We went to Starbucks for lunch and then went to the Adventure Golf for 18 Holes of crazy golf. We headed to the park afterwards and had a treat on the beach. It started to rain so we decided to head home as it was after 4pm at this point.
This morning Ethan and I went for a swim at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, we spent quite a bit of time in the outside pool which was lovely. We then met Rachel and Joy to have lunch at Starbucks before going to the Country Club for Tots Go Wild, which was walking around looking for bugs and animals that live in the forest. We then went to Family Putting. We then went to Halloween Broomstick Making which Rachel really enjoyed, Ethan had fun decorating it, named it Greeny and had fun. In the evening we went back to Bella Italia and I had a lovely lasagne.
We had a nice nights sleep and after some breakfast we headed to the trees for Ethan to do Mini Trek, he is at the height limit for it, but he really enjoyed it. We then headed to Mini Crossbows, in which Ethan got to shoot a mini cross bow with suction darts at different targets. After he got used to it he really enjoyed it. We had lunch at Starbucks and then went to the Treasure Trail meeting point. Ethan and I did the Treasure Trail on our bikes and Rachel and Joy did it walking. Ethan and I beat them and did it within 1 hour 30 mins. In the evening we had dinner at Café Rouge which was nice. We then played Football Pool, which we had never tried before but it was really good fun.
We set off about 11am this morning and drove to Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, we had to take 2 cars so we could take mine and Ethans bikes, so i was in my car alone. It only took 1 hour 15 mins to get there and once we had parked the car we went for a Starbucks. After that we went to do some Pottery Painting, Ethan decided he wanted to paint a truck with a tree in the back, so we all got involved. Ethan and I went swimming at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise for a few hours which was great. After walking to find the lodge, we dropped our swimming kit off and went for dinner at Bella Italia. I had an early night as the day had took it our of me.
Its my birthday! 38 today, that sounds old. Ethan made me a great cake, which is covered in all my favourite Cadburys chocolate. I got some great gifts including a painting by Ethan, a Lego set of London and a Lego Porsche 911 RSR, set 42096 which i am looking forward to building.
Rachel took me to Cadburys World for a birthday treat today. We went to Costa for brunch on the way and i had a cheese and beans toastie which was lovely. When we got to Cadburys World the smell of the chocolate hits you as soon as you get out the car, it smells amazing. We had a nice time touring the factory, we had been before but hearing all about the history was still interesting. Ethan and I had fun on the outdoor play area and we also ate quite a bit of chocolate.
Last time we had a power cut the UPS i had gave up. I got a Tripp Lite 1500 VA as a replacement and it was really easy to fit only taking 10 mins. I connected the USB to my server and now the UPS shows up as a battery in windows so i can set the server to shutdown if the battery gets to low.
I have had 2 Nest thermostats since December last year and I have finally got round to getting them installed. I was going to have ago myself, but after seeing the spaghetti wiring that is in the airing cupboard i decided to get a professional to fit them. He got them fitted within a few hours and adding them to the app was easy. I like the option to have the time show when walking near them.
This evening we attended the LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards at the National Space Centre. The Assist product was nominated in the Innovation in Technology category. There was some great products being showcased, but sadly we didnt win but it was a great evening out.
I have made some progress on the Magic Mirror. I have updated to the 8Gb Pi 4 model that i have attached a cooling fan to. I have then got a slimline 240v to USB-C converter to power the Pi. I got a new power supply for the monitor which is inline and not on the plug, i then combined all this with a Meross smart switch. I made these changes so that i could just have 1 cable coming out of the mirror for power and everything else is self contained behind the mirror. I now need to setup the Magic Mirror software on the new Pi and test out the video streaming.
Tonight we went to the International Convention Centre for the AM Online Awards. Assist was nominated in the Best New Product and Service category. It was a black tie event and it was nice to get dressed up for the evening. We didnt win the award, but we were really happy to have made it through to the final. We had a great evening, the food was amazing and we also enjoyed the entertainment. It was a late evening, but the Jurys Inn hotel was only a few mins walk away.
I have always liked the ambilights on the Philips TVs and was looking into alternatives. I found some individually addressable RGB light strips that when combined with the AmbiBox software would take an average of the colour and change the LED to be that colour. I added the strip which had 116 LEDs on to the back of the TV and the results are amazing, it make everything really immersive. You have to set games to be borderless windowed and then the colours can be worked out. The lights refresh at 25FPS and look amazing.
Rachel used to go to St Nicholas Park in Warwick as a child and we decided to take Ethan today. We were really lucky with the weather, so we stopped off at M&S on the way to get food for a picnic. When we arrived, we managed to get a parking space after driving around for a while. We first sat down for a picnic and then we went and played mini golf at the Golden Putter. The course was really good and we had lots of fun playing. After this we went to the outdoor pool which Ethan had a great time in. Ethan and I then walked along the stream which was nice to cool us down. We played on the park before getting an ice cream and heading home.