Another year in the life of @MiniGirlGeek and @spaghettifi (January – March 2014)


Jan 3rd: Starting the year as he means to go on, Dan makes a Marathon shield on the CNC machine at Fablab (under supervision obvs!) One of several ‘extreme homework’s you’ll see this year…

Jan 6th-17th: Many of you won’t realise that I want to be an animator when I grow up, so for two weeks in January I went away on a training course whilst my amazing mum looked after the kids – sadly I haven’t had a chance to do anything more for the entire year but for now, here’s my knight in shining armour…


Feb 1st: Amy in a Manchester Evening News article: Talking Digital


Feb 4th: Skills for the 21st Century Summit 2014 at The RSA in London. We managed a whistle-stop tour of London on route from the hotel to The RSA…

We found Richard Arkwright‘s blue plaque when we sneaked out at lunchtime

photo 2

In the afternoon Amy was on a panel (from 1hr 14min)

Later she swapped ideas with Zach Sims from Codecademy (we had already met the very lovely Leng Lee a few months earlier)

The highlight of the day for me though, was hearing Lord David Puttnam describing his far from ideal school days  it seems that little has changed at grammar schools in the past 60yrs, but it gave me hope for the future…

Here’s the live drawings from the day – I wonder if they’ve been made into one of those RSA Animate videos?!

Feb 11th: Digital Skills Festival. Dan did himself proud when speaking on behalf of CodeClub at Manchester Town Hall. He’s never spoken in front of so many people before, but he’s a firm believer in whatever his sister can do, he can too! 🙂

Speech in progress with @stevieflow and @laurakirsop on hand for moral support

Online article here:

Storify of tweets

Feb 22nd: For part of her Product Design GCSE Amy made a Hedgehog House / Garden seat on the CNC at Fablab (more of that later but here’s the work in progress…)

Feb 25th: Dan’s second ‘extreme homework’ of the year – a Motte and Bailey model made with his friend Alex (LEDs and Arduino were added later!)


 Finished save for the electronics!

Feb 27th: Raspberry Jamboree 2014 (a two day celebration of all things Raspberry Pi, organised by the truly awesome Alan ‘@teknoteacher‘ O’Donohoe)

For the six weeks prior to this day I was full-time preparing for a single 2hr  party. As soon as the animation course was over, every waking hour was spent on this!  I won’t bore you with my hundreds of tweets regarding Raspberry Pi swag but you can always search the hashtag #rjamboree if you *really* want a reminder of my stress levels! Just one photo of my car will give you an idea though – I really didn’t think that it would all fit in! Thanks to the kids and @gbaman1 for helping with the preparations; @ciseco @ragworm @pimoroni for the GPIO boards and laser cutting of badges etc!

First things first though, Amy’s talk (once I’d dragged her away from the @3Doodler stand!)

Link to the talk here:

and if you’ve not seen the one from 2013, here’s that one too:

So after that it was all hands on deck for the party. @t_mac_p took Dan to Fablab for another urgent ‘extreme homework’ (more of that later) and I roped *everybody* else I could find into stuffing bags with goodies and attaching LEDs and batteries onto perspex badges – even @cyntech1 @clivebeale & @raspitv got involved! 😉


@redian84 brought me hot chocolate, @mruktechreviews and @heeedt were in charge of the bags, @craigargh, @boeeerb, @fortyfourMu @hwayoung all made Raspberry Pi based party games, lots of people had brought biscuits and cakes for the Bake-Off competition, @stecks face-painted and the teenage attendees helped with packaging up all the pass-the-parcels… but all I remember is utter chaos and Carl! A special mention must go to @fortoffee for being my wingman – we’d never met before but I appreciated all his help on the day.  He brought along a Pi-based snake game (still soldering it on the day!), he brought baking for the competition, he kept checking I was OK; basically he was (is!) a superstar! Thank you, Carl 🙂

Here a few videos, pics & blogposts from the day:







At the end of the evening @whaleygeek had arranged for Amy to be awarded with a surprise IET education award 🙂

IET award

Needless to say, I am very grateful for all the support I received from everybody (apologies if I’ve missed you out, it is 4am!) but these lovely sponsors made it all possible, so please keep them in mind when you’re shopping for Pi kit! 😀



March 1st: Raspberry Jamboree Hackday at Edge Hill University (arranged by the wonderful @dawnhewitson) By this point I was utterly exhausted and didn’t venture far away from Raspberry Pi-ro room.

This room full of kids coding Minecraft with real TNT explosions outside the window c/o @fortyfourMu @proogs @t_mac_p @tommarkpreston aka the @raspberrypiface team. Here’s a video

March 4th: Dan finished the Extreme homework #3, Where is God?

Video here:

March 4th: This @proogs fella is a bad influence – explosives and Space Team within 3 days of each other? He needs to meet @bobdotstone ! 😉



March 11th:  #DigitalTeapot14 – a day of workshops, panels and networking aimed at women interested in careers in the Creative Digital sector at The Sharp Project. Another attempt by myself to improve my employability status but sadly nothing came of it. I had to leave early to look after the kids so I missed the networking event with my local animation company. On the plus side it was great to see my good friend Kath from @FettleAnimation though 🙂

March 23rd: My birthday treat was a trip to the National Media Museum in Bradford where we played lots of retro video games and watched Lotte Reiniger films & The Clangers 🙂

March 26th: A very busy day!

Live interview on BBC Radio Manchester; MediaCity, Salford

Followed by meeting The Princess Royal at Fablab Manchester

March 27th: Write up in the Manchester Evening News newspaper about The Princess Royal’s visit to Fablab.


Mar 30th: Mother’s Day was spent with grandparents on an Anglesey beach making a sand hedgehog 🙂

Phew! That’s a quarter of a year done! Further instalments may be some time… :/


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