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!

Birthday Club 2019

I’ve decided to try again with a Birthday Club – it worked really well a couple of years ago, but then I dropped the ball on it last year, despite encouraging people to sign up! So I’m going to try again…


The rules are simple. Send me an email with the details below, and I’ll pair you up with another person. You can then buy a gift, or a small selection of gifts, up to a value of £10-£12, before postage, and send it off in time for their birthday. They’ll then do the same for you!

Email me – itydarling@gmail.com – with the following information:

  • Name
  • Postal address
  • Date of birthday
  • Age (if you want to share!)
  • Likes and dislikes, including allergies

Closing date for entries is 2nd December, and I’ll endeavour to get people paired off by 9th December, so that anyone paired with an early January birthday will have plenty of time. I’ll also try and send a reminder email a week or so before your partner’s birthday, in case you’re as unorganised as me!

Birthday Club

Having done a couple of Secret Santas this year, I came up with the idea that it might be nice to do a similar sort of thing for birthdays. I know people’s birthdays are a little more spread throughout the year, but I think it could still work!


I think the easiest way to make this work is to ask people to sign up, and to partner them with another person. You buy a small selection of gifts for that person (based on some information they give you about themselves), and post them off, ready to open on their birthday. I would say that a reasonable amount to spend is £10-£12, before postage.

So, if you would like to join in, please email me with the following information:

  • Full name and address
  • Birthday (including year if you are happy to disclose your age!)
  • Likes and dislikes (including allergies)
  • If you’re willing to post outside of the UK (we may not have any international participants, but it’s open to anyone who wants to join in!)

I will then pair people up and let you know who you are buying for! I’m going to put a closing date on this of 30th December, in the hope that nobody who signs up has a birthday in the first couple of days of January. If you do, but you’d still like to play, you may have to accept a slightly belated present!

I will also endeavour to send a little reminder a couple of weeks before the birthday of the person you are buying for, just in case anyone is as disorganised as I usually am!

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!


mirror2 movie-doctors2

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!

img_2513 yoga1

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!

image1 IMG_6030.jpg
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!