34 Before 34 ~ The Results

Yesterday I turned 34, and as such, the deadline for my birthday challenge has now come and gone. It’s most unlike me to be rounding things up so soon after my birthday, but in all honesty, it’s not going to take too long – I did very badly!

In all the time I’ve been doing birthday lists (34 Before 34 is my eighth list!), I’ve always done badly, never ever ticking off even as many as half. It gets harder every year, because obviously I have to add another item, and I’ve gone from 28 when I started, to 35 on my next list. But making the list and trying to tick things off is almost as much fun as actually doing them (I say this every year), so despite my failure each year, as long as I blog, I’ll be making a birthday list!


There are a couple of ticked off items that haven’t had their own blog post, as I just didn’t get around to it! One is Knit a Blanket; something I actually ticked off months and months ago, in March. Back then my niece was expecting the little baby that we now know and love as Peggie, and I decided to knit her a blanket for her nursery. I was really pleased with how it turned out – the chevron pattern is lovely and I loved the colours that I chose!


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Another one I haven’t written about yet is Make my bedroom walls look pretty – and I am not sure that I have quite achieved it to my own satisfaction, but it’s so close that I’m ticking it off! I have a poster that I bought from one of those photo apps (I can’t remember which one) of some Instagram photos – until Peggie was born it had a photo of just about every member of my family, plus most friends and their offspring. I’ve also got a mirror in my bedroom that is adorned by various bits and pieces, photos, patches, and other things I love. And then, of course, I have a signed Movie Doctors posters taking pride of place on the wall – it’s genuinely one of my most prized possessions! I also have a Harry Potter print that I received from Janet in last year’s Thrifty Swap and although it’s perched on a stack of records, it’s not on the wall yet. It will be soon though – my walls are a work in progress!

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I ticked off Go to Liverpool in August, when I headed up there for a weekend. I really loved the city, and I’m so glad that this was one of the few that I did tick off from my list, because it’s a fairly big one. I have also ticked off Try yoga, even though it was pretty much just a couple of days before I let it slip again.

Start a scrapbook/journal/diary is only really something that I’ve been able to tick off recently, and it’s my favourite thing currently – it’s exactly what I want it to be and it’s not often I can say that about something creative in my life! Get another tattoo was another thing that could so easily have slipped past without being ticked off – it took me years to get the first one and then no time at all to get the second one. My Mary Poppins tattoo has faded somewhat since this photo was taken, but I still love it!


Another one that I ticked off some time ago but only blogged about last week was Go to a theme park – I went to Thorpe Park in June with my friends and had a lovely time!

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Finally, I did Have a driving lesson, in fact I had several, but I’m on a break from learning at the moment, due to issues with my instructor. This break has gone on for too long, I need to pull my finger out! And as I mentioned, I ticked off Have afternoon tea earlier in the year when my sisters and I went out with my niece tea and cake in lieu of a baby shower, when she was expecting the beautiful Peggie.

So that’s that – I managed a paltry nine! My best achievement is 12, back during the heady days of 31 Before 31 – I wonder if I’ll ever beat it! My plans for 35 Before 35 are already taking shape, and I’m hoping to have the full list up by the end of next week, so I can get started on them straight away. Thinking of 35 things is a challenge, so if you have any ideas, let me know!


34 Before 34 ~ Start a Scrapbook/Journal/Diary

Writing a diary is something that I constantly wish I did more. If I could speak to my ten-year-old self, the one thing I would tell her is to never stop writing in her diary. I have lots of diaries that I wrote in for a few weeks, and I just love reading back on them, but I wish they went on for longer.

But it’s never too late, so I’m always trying to start again! At the start of the year I started a traditional diary that my sister bought me for Christmas, but I’ve struggled with keeping up with that. Then, when I was in Liverpool earlier in the year, I picked up a lovely notebook in TK Maxx, and decided to make it my journal.


I have always wanted to keep a journal like the ones I see in American films, full of photos and drawings and writing and scribbles. I kept a journal about ten years ago for about a year, and it’s one of my favourite things to look back on. Writing this has made me realise that it’s still at my dad’s house, so I must retrieve it so I can have another flick through it!


So my new journal was originally going to be something similar to that one; words, photos and things like tickets and postcards. But then I started looking through the #bujo hashtag on Instagram. For anyone who doesn’t know, bujo is a portmanteau for bullet journal, the newest craze amongst those who journal. It’s kind of a cross between a to-do list and a diary, and it uses bullet points, hence ‘bullet journal’.


My new notebook doesn’t have a dotted grid, it’s lined, so it’s not a bullet journal. But the photos on Instagram of other people’s journals are all so pretty that I wanted to replicate them to an certain extent, while still keeping it as somewhere to record all the fun things I have done. Where bullet journals tend to be full of to-do lists, mine tends to just tends to be full of thoughts and photos and the odd quote that I love.


It’s my favourite thing to do at the moment. I have bought pens and washi tape and stickers, and I’m just really enjoying filling it up. It’s beginning to resemble the type of journal I have always wanted – slightly messy and unplanned. I’m really pleased with it!

22. Start a scrapbook/journal/diary


34 Before 34 ~ Go to a theme park



I used to put ‘go to a theme park’ on my New Year’s list – the one I made in lieu of resolutions – because I love theme parks but hardly ever go to them. I stopped doing that in 2016, but I did add ‘go to a theme park’ on my birthday list, and I’m pleased to say that it’s one I actually achieved!


We went to Thorpe Park in June, we being Anna, Vicky, Jen, Hannah, and Laura. Laura is a friend from work who, apart from Hannah, didn’t know the others. Once we’d got past the initial is-everyone-going-to-like-each-other awkwardness (of course they did, they are all friends with me and I only like cool people), we headed off for a day of fun!

Thorpe Park isn’t overly far from where I live, so it doesn’t take too long to get there – no need to stay overnight anywhere, just a short way around the M25. Choosing a day in June should have meant not worrying too much about the weather, but of course, it did, because it rained rather a lot.

One of the reasons that we chose Thorpe Park is that we wanted to try out Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, but despite the fact that it was due to be open by the time we went, it was delayed, and we couldn’t go on it. It was annoying, but it’s just an excuse to go back at some point!

We bought a Fastrack pass for some of the bigger rides, because frankly there’s no point in going to a theme park and paying all that money if you have to queue all day. We went for the Extreme one, which gave us fast access to Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, and X. In all honesty I’m not sure why we went for that one, because they aren’t the best selection of rides, but in the end it didn’t matter, because due to the inclement weather, rides were not working, and were closed, so we ended up getting replacements for different things. In the end, I think we ended up much better off than we would have been if it hadn’t been raining.


My favourite ride of the day was The Swarm, which I believe is one of their newer ones. The website describes it as the UK’s first winged rollercoaster, and it’s such a lot of fun! It’s set up as a crash site, of what, you’re not entirely sure, but there’s a definite alien/apocalypse feel to it, and we had a lot of fun taking photos! We ended up going on the ride twice, and I’d have happily done it another couple of times. I loved it!


All in all it was a quite fabulous day, and it reminded me why we used to make going to a theme park an annual event – I think it’s time to reinstate that habit!


26. Go to a theme park


34 Before 34 ~ Have a driving lesson

‘Have a driving lesson’ was laughed at by more than one person when I revealed by 34 Before 34 list, who all suggested that I could probably be a little more ambitious. But I didn’t want to put ‘Learn to Drive’, because who knows how long that’s going to take me after my first lesson? I know my own limitations, and I tried to manage my expectations!

And all this leads me to being able to tick off this item, because I have had a driving lesson. In fact, I’ve had eight lessons – sixteen hours in total, and I passed my theory test. If all had been well, I think I would have possibly been able to take my test by the end of the year, or certainly in the new year, and I may even have passed.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, I ended up not really getting on very well with my instructor. I was always going to struggle with being in a small enclosed space with a stranger once a week – I don’t do well with polite conversation and I’m about as awkward as it’s possible for a person to be, but I know that I have to get over that in order to learn to drive. And I did, for the most part. But it constantly felt as though my instructor was pressuring me to take a test within a certain number of hours, and this meant that he regularly asked me to take more than one lesson a week (something I couldn’t afford to do), or have a three-hour lesson (something I really didn’t want to do!).


I think maybe given that I was learning with him through Red Driving School meant that he maybe had his own targets to meet. This did nothing for me, however, in terms of feeling comfortable. So in the end, I cut and run, and haven’t actually got around to restarting with someone else yet. I didn’t have time throughout October, but now I really need to pull my finger out, because I did feel as though it was gradually starting to go in, and I don’t want to have lost all the progress I made! Also, I only have two years to pass from the date I passed my theory test, and I really don’t want to have to take that again.

So I can cross it off for now, and I am thinking that I would ideally like to have passed by this time next year, so maybe my 35 Before 35 will include something to reflect that!

27. Have a driving lesson