37 Before 37

37 Before 37

Now that I’ve turned 36, it’s time for me to unveil my next birthday list. In case you don’t know, each year, just after my birthday, I make a list of things I want to achieve by the time my next birthday rolls around. I’m notoriously bad at it, I rarely tick more than a few things off each list, but I persist anyway because I really like making the lists, and by this point, the list is kind of central to my blog!

Unbelievably, 37 Before 37 is my tenth list! As I mentioned last year, each year gets harder and harder, as I have to think of one new thing for the list. I tend to look around the internet for inspiration, but the problem there is that many people make grand lists of big life events that they want to achieve, and my lists aren’t about marriage, houses, babies, etc. They are about the little things that make life a little more interesting!

So here’s this year’s list. Some are a bit silly (e.g. get drunk – on the list because I don’t really drink any more but it’s fun to sometimes have too much!), but I’m going to try hard again to get them done!

  • Tick off three incomplete items from previous lists
  • Watch ten films based on Shakespeare plays
  • Watch ten animated non-Disney films
  • Read all the Poirot books
  • Finish three cross-stitches
  • Knit a blanket
  • Go to Paris
  • Do something amazing for Hannah’s 30th birthday
  • Re-read Lord of the Rings
  • Buy a car
  • Set up a home writing space
  • Get a National Trust or English Heritage membership
  • Have a day out with my sisters
  • Watch 52 films by women (written or directed)
  • Go to ten new-to-me vegan restaurants
  • Have watched ten foreign-language films from this list
  • Bake eight cakes
  • Complete an online screenwriting course
  • Go to the theatre
  • Learn to play my ukulele
  • Have a regular yoga practice
  • Go on five weekends away
  • Start an IGTV channel
  • Establish and stick to a morning skincare routine
  • Feature five Essex Loves interviews
  • Enter a writing competition
  • Earn money from my blog
  • Photograph fifty new blue plaques
  • Re-design my blog
  • Finish watching E.R. and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Listen to 12 audiobooks
  • Get drunk
  • Use 12 new vegan/cruelty-free items
  • Go to a live recording of a podcast
  • Rewatch The West Wing
  • Go to a boot sale
  • Watch all previously unwatched Steven Spielberg-directed films

By the way, if you’re wondering how I got on with 36 Before 36. a round up post is on its way, but time was ticking away and I thought I’d better get 37 Before 37 up and running so I could make a start!

36 Before 36

36 Before 36

It’s time to unveil my new birthday list! For the unitiated amongst you, I’ve been writing a birthday list since the year I turned 28. I pick a number of things that I would like to achieve between my birthdays, and inevitably fail to cross a large number of them off…

Unbelievably, this is my ninth list! It gets harder and harder every year, because of course, the number increases by one every time I make the lists! But I’m pretty pleased with this year’s goals.

It’s been a bit delayed, due to the fractured wrist that I have had to deal with, so I now have only a little over 11 months to complete these goals. But I’m nothing if not a tryer!

  • Visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library.
  • Watch a film for every year I’ve been alive (1982-2018).
  • Keep a bullet journal.
  • Film a second a day for three months.
  • Record a podcast.
  • Send 12 Postcrossing postcards.
  • Go to Bath.
  • Get a third tattoo.
  • Go to Ballie Ballerson.
  • Get a piercing.
  • Climb the O2.
  • Visit Sky Garden.
  • Give blood.
  • Cook one new recipe a month.
  • Read five from The Book of Forgotten Authors.
  • Work on my family tree.
  • Visit five new museums.
  • Read five Christmas books.
  • Increase my Instagram following by 15% (currently at 518)
  • Send birthday presents/cards to all my family members and friends.
  • Buy five poetry books.
  • Volunteer.
  • Plan something amazing for my sister’s 50th birthday.
  • Have watched 30 from the BFI 100 Thrillers to See Before You Die list.
  • Read all ten from the Guardian Top 10 books on Rural America.
  • Read all ten from the Guardian Top 10 modern epistolary novels.
  • Take a trip to a new town or city every month with Hannah.
  • Bake ten cakes.
  • Meet up with my teenage best friend.
  • Start a newsletter.
  • Take a driving test.
  • Buy no new clothes for an entire month.
  • Ask twenty people to recommend a book, and read them all.
  • Attend a film festival.
  • Leave the country for a holiday or mini-break.
  • Re-decorate my bedroom.

Wish me luck!


35 Before 35 Part III


{Part I} {Part II} {Part III}

26. Read more diverse authors
I very rarely include anything quite so vague on my birthday list – this is the kind of thing that can usually be found on my New Year’s in-lieu-of-resolutions list. But I didn’t want to put ‘Read xx amounts of books by people of colour’, because it didn’t feel right. Instead, in an attempt to diversity my reading, I’m going to try and seek out, in the first place, non-white authors, and I’ll have to judge at the end of the year if I can tick it off. (I know, by the way, that diversity doesn’t just apply to skin colour, but I think that this is the area in which my reading is most in need of a shake-up.)

27. Read ten novels on which films are based
This has been on a list before, but funnily enough, I didn’t tick it off (the sheer number of things over the years that I haven’t ticked off is astonishing). I’m going for it again, and I am hoping to include some books which have big screen adaptations on their way.

28. Start writing my novel
This has been on just about every list since I started making them, but of course, it doesn’t happen because I’m the laziest person you could ever wish to know. For my birthday I received a workbook that promises to help me, so with the seed of the idea that I have for a story, I’m hoping to give it a go very soon!

29. Visit ten bookshops
Another one that has been on the list before, and I made a good start on it, but didn’t tick it off. Bookshops are my happy place, so it’s no chore to visit them and blog about them.

30. Visit Westminster Abbey
I’ve never been to Westminster Abbey, despite my dad working there from time to time. I’m going to do it this year, I promise!

31. Visit Bognor Regis
I have a very good friend who lives in Bognor, and has done for some time, and yet I still haven’t been to see her. Time for a visit to the seaside.

32. Go to five book events
I love book events, big or small, so whether it’s a local library talk about a book, or a big book launch, I’m hoping to fit in at least five over the next twelve months.

33. Film a second a day
I tried this last year, and got as far as blogging about December and January, and filming February and uploading it but never blogging about it. They are amongst my favourite things to watch, a real snapshot into my world, and I wish I had kept up with it. So I’m adding it to this year’s list again, in the hope that I can keep up with it.

34. Visit Gold Hill
I have rather a lot of ‘Go to…’ items on this year’s list, but this is a last-minute one that changed locations three times before I settled! Gold Hill is in Shaftesbury, which is in Dorset, and it’s most famous as the ‘Hovis Hill’ (from the advert), but it’s also where my granddad was born, and despite this amazing familial connection, I’ve never been (unlike most of the rest of my family). So I’m determined to head there this year, even if it’s for a fleeting visit.

35. Complete a cross-stitch 
This has been on my list before, and I’ve ticked it off before, but I want to do it again. I love cross stitching, I just need to be realistic about my ambitions – I tend to think too big and then never find the time to complete them!

So that’s my full list – there are rather a lot of repeats from previous years, but thinking of 35 things is really, really hard! I say it every year, but I’m really hoping that this year I’ll get through a few more. We will see; I’ll keep you updated!


35 Before 35 Part I


With an efficiency that surprises even me, I am here to share the first part of my 35 Before 35 list! I always separate the list into a number of posts, because I think it makes it a little more interesting – I like to waffle a little bit about the reasons for my choices, and that would make the whole 35 in one post a little long!

{Part I} {Part II} {Part III}

1. Dye my hair
To anyone who knows me, this may seem a bit of an odd one – my hair is dyed, and has been for years. But I really want to get it to a colour that I love, and not just the same old red-for-a-while, dark-for-a-while. I would like to dip my toes in the pastel trend, or maybe go for the increasingly popular grey – I’ll have to see!

2. Visit ten cinemas
I go to the cinema fairly regularly (or at least I usually do – travel woes are causing issues at the moment). But that’s to my local multiplex, and I’d really like to explore some of the other cinemas around the country. Let me know what your favourite cinemas are!

3. Go on a date
I put this on my list a couple of years ago, but never achieved it (shocker), so I thought I’d give it another go.

4. Go to Berlin
This is quite ambitious, but my friend Hannah and I have made tentative plans for a city break in Berlin next year, so I hope putting it on my list will encourage me to do it!

5. Record a podcast
Again, this was on last year’s list, but I’ve repeated it because it nearly happened, yet didn’t quite come off!

6. Take a driving test
‘Pass a driving test’ feels a little too ambitious, so I’m going with taking one, and hoping I pass!

7. Get new glasses
I desperately need to have an eye test, firstly because I think my prescription has changed rather drastically, and also because I really, really want new glasses!

8. Go to Canterbury
I have been to Canterbury once, to visit a friend at university, and I really liked it. I now have another friend at university there, and I want to go back!

9. Get a third tattoo
I’ve actually achieved my tattoo goals for the last two years, so the odds are good, though my next tattoo plans are a little bit more ambitious this time around, so I need to save up!

10. Photograph 50 Blue Plaques
I love Blue Plaques, and I always try to take photos of them when I see them, but this is a concentrated effort to find them! I have a very handy app that I forget is on my phone, but I’m going to be using it to find them when I’m in London.

11. Compile a top 50 songs list
A little while ago I tried to list my favourite 50 songs, but didn’t get very far. It’s a constantly changing list, but I’d like to try and make it at some point this year!

12. Throw a Gilmore Girls party
This is just a little bit of a cheat, as I already have a Gilmore Girls party planned. Actually, ‘party’ is probably overstating it a little, as it’s more of a gathering. But it’s Gilmore Girls-themed, and it will involve watching the new episodes, eating lots of food, dressing as characters, and having fun. A party it shall be.

13. Listen to an album a week
Another musical goal! I don’t listen to much music at all these days, save what I hear on the radio. When I do listen to Spotify, it’s usually playlists, so I thought it was time to discover more albums! I’m planning on listening to albums, old and new, and doing a blog post each week about them. We’ll see how that turns out – I’m notoriously useless when it comes to series of any kind on this blog!

That’s the first instalment of 35 Before 35, check back tomorrow for the next bunch!