33 Before 33 ~ The Results

As you may know, if you’ve spent any amount of time following my witterings on this blog, you’ll know that I’m notoriously bad at actually getting things ticked off my birthday lists. It becomes increasingly tough to think of things to include on the list, and then before I know it, the year has gone by, and I haven’t ticked any off!

This year, I managed ten, which is obviously just less than a third. There are some that I got partway through, without managing to complete in full, which is just down to sheer laziness! There are some that were never going to happen, and so I probably should have thought twice about including them!

Biristol Book Jar

I managed Visit Cambridge or Bristol in May, when I went to Bristol for a work event. I fell in love with the tiny bit of the city that I saw outside the marquee I was in, so I’m definitely planning a return trip. Make a book jar was one of the first things I managed, and I was so pleased with how it turned out! I didn’t manage to read any of the books in it, shamefully, but I’m going to have a think about what I want to use it for next; another list of books, I expect, rather than my to-read pile.

Alison Bechdel

I’m so glad that I put Read a Graphic Novel on my list, because I really wanted to discover this previously untapped (on my part, obviously) side of literature. I read Are You My Mother, by Alison Bechdel, which I enjoyed, but found quite hard going. Since then, I’ve read The New York Four by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, which I loved, and I’ve just ordered Alias Volume 1 to read, which is probably more of a comic book than a graphic novel, but I don’t actually know which label is right. Apply for a Game Show was another one I completed way back, when I applied for Two Tribes. I wasn’t successful in my application, sadly!

Highgate Cemetery Movie Doctors

Visit Highgate Cemetery was a rollover from the year before, and I put it back on knowing that my sister and I would actually do it, and we did, in January. It’s definitely worth a visit! I only recently ticked off Have a Photo with Mark Kermode, and I’ve definitely gushed about it enough by now!

Recreate Old Photos Scaffold Piercing

When I put Recreate Some Old Photos on the list, I actually anticipated doing more than just two, but I figure it counts as a win! I want to do some more, so when I go home at Christmas I’ll be taking a look through the albums for some inspiration! Get a Scaffold Piercing is another recent success; so recent that it’s still healing!

Tattoo A Town Called Ugley

Get a Tattoo has been on every birthday list since 29 Before 29 – that’s a long time! I can’t actually believe that I did it; I had a moment the other day where I thought, “Oh yeah, I have a tattoo!” It’s only tiny, but it’s just for me, so it’s perfect. I still love it! And finally, Visit a Town Called Ugley was a summer trip to the tiniest, most non-town town in the world, Ugley in Essex. It was fun, but mainly because I got to see some of my best friends, and Ward Thomas retweeted the photo. Definitely worth it!

So there you have it. Not a very successful year, but I do so enjoy making the list in the first place, and I’ve given up all hope that I’ll ever tick off everything! I’ve finally finished making my 34 Before 34 list, so that will be revealed very soon.

33 Before 33

33 Before 33 ~ Get a scaffold piercing

I decided I wanted a scaffold piercing one day after seeing a lady in Sainsbury’s with one. It looked super cool, and I decided that I wanted one too. I think maybe the whole cool thing was down to more than just the piercing, and I don’t think that by getting one I’m any cooler (I am, after all, sitting here with a blanket on my knees and wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt and Harry Potter socks), but I wanted one all the same.

Putting things on my birthday list is supposed to be motivation to actually do them, but the reality is that I complete very few of them; my record with my birthday lists is terrible. But this was one that I was determined to do, and on 7th November, five days before the deadline, I actually did!


I had it done at Colchester Body Arts, which is where I got my tattoo done earlier in the year (also a 33 Before 33 item!). They are really friendly in there, and that really helps when you’re a slight wimp like me who has trouble talking to people.

I was told that my ears are quite small (‘pixie-like’), so the bar wouldn’t be a long one when it can finally go in (three months after the initial piercing) – you can see from the photo that the two piercings are not that far apart. This doesn’t matter to me, I’m just impatient for the bar to go in! It won’t be until February, and that’s only if the piercings have healed correctly, so I’m just going to have to wait!

When I finally can have the studs replaced and bar put in, I’m after an arrow one, though I like that I’ll be able to change it when I fancy it. I’ve been scrolling through the hashtag on Instagram for inspiration!

The piercings still hurt, the lower of the two more than the other one, but I think a lot of this is to do with the fact that I can’t stop fiddling. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s a compulsion, and no matter how much I tell myself to stop, I can’t. I’m trying to keep them as clean as possible, so they’ll be all nice and healed in three months. I’ll keep you posted!

24. Get a scaffold piercing


The Movie Doctors


Last week I was lucky enough to find myself at the BFI Southbank, watching Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo do their stuff in their guise as the Movie Doctors. I reviewed the book that accompanies their nationwide tour last month; having laughed my way through the book, I knew that I was going to have a similarly fun time at the live show.

I wasn’t disappointed; essentially the show is made up of two men standing on a stage talking about films and having the odd bicker, and when you’re a fan like me, there’s nothing better than this. As with the book, the show set out to cure various different ailments and illnesses, with members of the audience asking for help. From a lady worried about a mid-life crisis (Serial Mom was prescribed, with an accompanying clip); to my lovely friend Chloe who was seeking a cure for shyness – Punch-Drunk Love was recommended, with a disclaimer not to actually smash up any toilets.

The show really works, because Mark and Simon really know their stuff, and are really good at what they do. We even got to watch a short clip of Mary Poppins. This alone made it worth the £16, especially as it was from my favourite part, when the children are up on the rooftops with Mary and Bert, and London in the twilight makes me cry.

Afterwards I had some minor anxiety about meeting Simon and Mark, to get my book signed, mainly because I am so in awe of them, and also because I felt that I wanted to say a lot to them. Mostly I wanted to say thank you (to Mark especially) for tweeting my review of the book, and I wanted to do it eloquently without making an idiot of myself. I also wanted to make a hilarious Foot-Lamberts joke again, as I did in a letter to Wittertainment, and I wanted to say how much I liked the book, and again, this was all to be done in the coolest possible way.

In the end, though none of it was done in a remotely cool way, I managed to say thank you for the tweet, causing Mark and Simon to shake my hand like the gentlemen that they are. Simon commented on my necklace, I got my book signed, they posed for a photo with me, and all in all, it was a pretty amazing way to spend a Tuesday night.





Mark talked all the way through our photo being taken, so there’s none where he’s not pulling this face or similar!

And, for those of you paying attention, I put ‘Have a photo taken with Mark Kermode’ on my 33 Before 33 list a whole year ago, and as this particular evening was two days before my 33rd birthday, I get to tick it off.

18. Have a photo taken with Mark Kermode


33 Before 33 ~ Visit a Town Called Ugley

Of all the things to put on my 33 Before 33 list, visiting a tiny village in Essex with a silly name might seem an odd one. But there is a good reason; one of my favourite bands, Ward Thomas, have a song called A Town Called Ugley, which tells the story of how they once got stuck in Ugley. When my friends and I went to see them last year, we decided to visit Ugley, because it’s not that far away, and take a photo with the sign. Not the coolest way to spend an afternoon, but really, I’m up for doing anything if it involves my best friends!



As expected, ultimately, the trip did just involve parking near the sign, taking a photo, and then not really having much else to do. Ugley isn’t the most exciting place in the world, and though there’s a line in the song that goes “I swear we drove right past the old King’s Head / 25 times or more”, we sadly couldn’t find the old King’s Head. We looked, but the only pub was the Beautiful Ugley Chequers, so we nipped in there for a drink and ended up having a carvery lunch. And very nice it was too!

28. Visit a town called Ugley