34 Before 34 (Part III)

34 Before 34

It’s time to share the final part of my 34 Before 34 list. I’m already making a start on some of the items; I’m loathe to say that I’m hoping this will be my best year ever, but I do plan to try extra hard this year!

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

24. Go to ten museums
I just love going to museums, and not just the big ones in London. I am particularly fond of the small local ones, especially in the villages near to where I live. So I’m going to make a conscious effort to go to more, and any that I go to will count, not just new ones.

25. Film a second a day
I love the idea of filming just one second of my day for a month, and then stitching them all together. Since I saw Chef, in which a character does just that, I decided to give it a go. I’m already partway through December, so we’ll see how that goes, and then I’m planning to continue for the rest of 2016.

26. Go to a theme park
Traditionally, this goes on my What to Do in… list, which I make in lieu of New Year’s Resolutions. But it’s going on my birthday list this year, because I’ve not actually been to a theme park since 2011!

27. Have a driving lesson
I can put it off no longer, it’s time for me to learn to drive. When you have to have a day off work because you have no way of getting in, it’s probably time for things to change. I don’t want to put ‘Learn to drive’ on the list, because the chances are that I’ll need more time than a year to get any good at it, but I have to at least start lessons!

28. See a film outside
This was on my 33 Before 33 list, and I had tickets for an open air cinema, but I didn’t end up going in the end! There are more and more open air cinemas every year, so this shouldn’t be hard to do!

29. See a play at the National Theatre
I went to the National Theatre recently and had a drink in the cafe. While I was there, I went to the toilet just as the plays in each theatre was starting, and I felt a little frisson of excitement, and wished that I was going to see something! They regularly offer reduced tickets, and there are some amazing looking productions coming up, so I’m going to go!

30. Have afternoon tea
I’ve had afternoon tea a couple of times, but it’s not as regular in my life as I would like.

31. Watch ten films from 1982
There are plenty of wonderful films from the year I was born, so I’m going to watch some of them! These will be all films that I haven’t seen before.

32. Read a book for every letter of the alphabet
This was on my list a couple of years ago, when I did it by author’s last name. This time it’s going to be an A-Z based on book title.

33. Have watched 15% of the films from 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
I recently bought this book, which made me realise how many amazing films I haven’t seen. I know it’s a fairly arbitrary list, but I love a list, no matter what it is, so I like being able to tick them off, or be inspired to watch something new. I’m currently at just over 11%, and I’d like to get up to 15%, which means around 40 films from the list.

34. Bake 8 different tray bakes
It’s been ages since I did any baking, or had a baking item on a birthday list. Tray bakes seem fairly easy, but we will see!

Photo used in image courtesy of Stokpic

34 Before 34 (Part II)

34 Before 34

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

12. Knit a blanket
My knitting has taken a real back seat lately; I haven’t done any in ages. In fact, I’ve never really done much at all – I constantly start things or have ideas for things, but don’t actually follow through with them. As there is yet another baby due in my family this year, I’m going to try this one again.

13. Learn to crochet
If I’m honest, I’m not sure that crocheting is for me. It just seems so much more complicated than knitting. But it also seems as though you can create more fun stuff with a crochet hook; I’m always seeing photos of cute animals or Christmas decorations or toys, and I want in on that.

14. Be a healthy/happy weight
I’m not sure I’ve ever made a birthday list that hasn’t had ‘Be a healthy weight’ on it. I’ve never done an awful lot about it, but in the last few months I’ve started to lose some weight, and I’m feeling good about it. I feel happy about the way that I’m doing it, and I feel a bit better about myself. I’m planning a blog post about this very subject, but if I can get to 34 and feel much more comfortable about my body, I’ll call that a win. It won’t really matter what the scales say.

15. Write ten letters to personal heroes
I didn’t get around to doing this last year; I managed one personal hero, and then failed. I don’t have a great deal of confidence that I’ll get around to it this time, either, but I want to give it a go.

16. Run 5K
I keep trying the Couch to 5K programme, but somehow it always gets the better of me. I started it recently with a colleague at work, by going out at lunchtimes, but the cold weather hit and we got discouraged! We’re thinking about starting up again in January, so hopefully by my birthday I’ll have 5K licked!

17. Try yoga
Yoga surrounds my everyday life, due to my job, but I have never down so much as a child’s pose. I really want to give it a go, so I’m planning on giving some videos a go, and then moving on up to a class with real people if I take to it.

18. Learn to play poker
I put this on my list last year, and then did nothing about it. Rather than trying to learn it myself, I’m hoping to convince someone to teach me.

19. Record a podcast
I love listening to podcasts so much; I make sure I have a constant supply of them to listen to, and I love discovering new ones (if you have any suggestions, please shout them at me!). So I thought, if I can come up with something fun, it would be good to try it for myself. I think I’m more suited to this medium than to videos, which I’ve tried before. I even have a germ of an idea, I just have to convince someone to get involved. We’ll see how it goes!

20. Complete a Coursera course
I love Coursera; a website with hundreds of courses that you can study for free. But I’m constantly signing up for them and then not completing them, because I run out of time. So I’m going to find one with a realistic workload, and just do it!

21. Learn every world capital
This is another one that has been on various different lists, but I’ve never actually ticked it off. I know most of the world capitals, but I want to be able to do the whole Sporcle quiz without cheating or getting any wrong.

22. Start a scrapbook/journal/diary
I’m not sure how this is going to go; I want something between a scrapbook, diary and journal. Somewhere I can stick tickets and photos, and write about my deepest feelings. I have the notebook picked out already, so I just have to stick to it, which is easier said than done!

23. Get another tattoo
I finally ticked off ‘get a tattoo’, and now here I am with it on my list again! But I already have plans for my next one, so it’s actually probably a bit of a cheat to have it on again!

Photo used in image courtesy of Stokpic

34 Before 34 (Part I)

34 Before 34

Rather belatedly, given that it’s nearly a month since my birthday, it’s time to unveil my new birthday list. I’m sure that nobody has been waiting on tenterhooks, but it’s something that I very much enjoy doing every year. As is traditional, I’m going to do it over three posts, just because there’s a lot of stuff on here. It’s been tricky to think of 34 things!

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

1. Learn all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody
I’ve always felt envious of the people who know all the words, all the way through, and I want to be one of those people. I know most of the words, it’s just a case of practicing them in the right order. The proof will come, inevitably, in a lip-synced video.

2. Make my own sourdough starter
I just like the idea of having my own starter, ready for making some delicious sourdough bread.

3. Watch all 54 Disney Animation Studio Films
I’ve watched the vast majority of the Disney studio films, but there are some I haven’t seen at all, and some I haven’t seen in ages. I’m going to watch them all, even the ones I’ve seen already. I’m not planning to do it in order, though!

4. Make my bedroom walls look pretty
My bedroom walls currently have nothing on them, and I just want some fun and interesting things on them. Whether that’s prints, photos, posters, or something else, remains to be seen. Though I do have plans for a special poster that I’m collecting in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for that one.

5. Read ten non-fiction books
This one was on my list a couple of days ago, and I managed it, but I still don’t read enough non-fiction. So it’s going back on, and I’m looking forward to it!

6. Have watched all ten films in the Box Office Top Ten
Each week on Wittertainment, they run down the top ten box office films. I have often seen around four or five of them at a time, but I really want to have a week where I’ve seen all ten. It’ll be easier at the start of next year, when all the Oscar films are out, and I will be at the cinema a lot.

7. Teach myself to write legibly with my left hand
Just something fun; I’ve always wanted to be ambidextrous, and I think I can do it if I try hard enough!

8. Watch Breaking Bad
I have never watched Breaking Bad, and for someone who loves television as much as I do, it’s slightly ridiculous. So I’m doing it!

9. Visit Liverpool
I love visiting new British cities, and somehow I’ve never been to Liverpool. I have tentative plans to do it in February or March next year.

10. Do something amazing for charity
Again, this has been on my list before, and I’ve failed at it. This time, I know exactly what I want to do (an abseil), it’s just a case of actually doing it.

11. Enter a writing competition
Another one that I’ve had on a previous list. I really want to do some proper writing this year, and having this as a goal might really help.

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

Photo used in image courtesy of Jessica Diamond via Creative Commons

What to do in 2015

Happy New Year! I hope your festive season was a good one, and that you are excited about the year ahead. I’m not really a fan of New Year’s Eve, but I love the fresh feeling of the new year, the idea that the whole year is ahead of us and the hope of achieving lots. As you may know, if you have read this blog for a while, I don’t make resolutions, but I do have a list of regular goals that I hope to achieve each year, as well as some extras that change year-on-year. I know that not everyone agrees with the idea of making resolutions or setting goals, but for me it’s another excuse to make a list (I do love a list), and they are things that are genuinely ongoing throughout the year.

So without further ado, and with a brief roundup as to how I did with last year’s goals, here is my list.

Go to a music concert/gig: I love seeing and hearing live music, so this is on the list to make sure that I do it at least once. In 2014, I was lucky enough to see a lot of live music, for me at least! I went to the Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall with my dad, I saw The Shires twice, the second time they were co-touring with Ward Thomas, who I had also seen at Radio 2 in Hyde Park! I also went to The Big Gig, a Guiding event, where I saw lots of people, but most excitingly, Little Mix. And I saw The Gaslight Anthem in November at Alexandra Palace. I don’t know if 2015 will be quite so full, but I’m definitely hoping to see Ward Thomas again, at the very least!

Go to the theatre: When I made my list last year, I knew that I was going to see Derren Brown, and I said that as it was taking place in the theatre, I was going to count it. I am counting it as crossed off, but I know really that it’s a bit of a cheat, because although obviously I loved it, when I wrote ‘Go to the theatre’, I meant to see a play or a musical. I would love to cross it off properly next year, because I do so love the theatre. I have a £35 Ticketmaster voucher that I’ve never used, so maybe I’ll just go ahead and book something!

Go to a comedy gig: This has been on my lists for years, and I’ve never actually done it! It shouldn’t be that hard, and maybe I’ll use the aforementioned voucher for this one instead!

Go to a theme park: I think I had been to a theme park every year for about five, right up until I started making these new year’s lists, and since then, I haven’t been to one! I am definitely going to try and do this one next year. All I have to do is get Anna on board, and that’s easy.

Go to a stately home:  Still one that I haven’t managed since I started making the lists. I already know where I want to go (Audley End, which is local, and Chatsworth, which is not), but I won’t be surprised if I don’t end up doing it.

Read 75 books: I haven’t had a chance to round up the results of my 2014 books, but I’m really pleased that I managed it, just! I finished my 75th book on 30th December, so look out for the round up in the next couple of days. I’m sticking with 75 again this year, because I know that I can do it, and I know that I shouldn’t make it such a chore by leaving it until the end of the year to read a fifth of the books!

Watch 52 films: When I first starting setting myself a film goal, I chose 52 because I thought it was easily achievable – one a week. As it turns out, now, it’s a goal that I surpass every year, and in 2014 I went way over, watching 73. The temptation is obviously to up the total, and aim for 75, or 100, but I’m reluctant to do that, because I don’t want to fail. So I’ll stick to 52, and see what happens this year, and then I’ll reassess next year! My 2014 film round up will be coming soon.

So there you have my main seven goals for 2015; these are the goals that stick around every year, because they are the things that I always want to have as part of my year. But every year there are a few that I like to throw in as extras. Last year, I wanted to take more photographs, blog more, spread the blog love, declutter, and keep a diary. I didn’t keep a diary (I never do), I didn’t declutter (but that goal has made it onto my 33 Before 33 list), and I didn’t spread the blog love as much as I could have. I think I probably did blog more, I feel at least that my blogging was more organised and had a better structure to it. I did take more photographs as well, as I completed a Project 365 for the first time ever! (Of course, I’ll be doing a post to round up all my photos from the year, too.)

For 2015, there are just a few more things to add to my list.

  • Have a meat-free day a week: I work with a lot of vegetarians and vegans, and while I am under no pressure to change my diet, I thought I would give it a go. I don’t want to be a vegetarian, but I do like the idea of experimenting with my meals, and changing up what I eat. It can only be healthier too, because I’m much more likely to cook something yummy than shove something in the oven. We’ll see how it goes!
  • Keep a diary/journal: I know what I said up there, it never happens. But I do so love the idea of diaries, and I love reading back on ones that I have managed to write in the past, so I’m going to give it another go. I’m also planning on resurrecting my journal, which is where I keep photos, articles, tickets and the suchlike. I love reading back on old journals too, so it’s definitely worth my while doing it.
  • Organise my photographs: This extends to sorting out (and backing up) digital files, and getting some photos printed and into albums. I know it’s a cliché to say it, but I do hate that there is a dearth of printed photographs from recent years in my family collection, especially when there are so, so many from years gone by.
  • Explore Essex: I know that if you aren’t from Essex, you might be scoffing right now, thinking that there’s no more to this county than Brentwood high street and the Sugar Hut, but that’s just not true. There’s some beautiful villages in Essex, and I’d love to see more of them. I’m going to spend some time looking around and taking some photographs of them.

In lieu of resolutions, these are the things I want to do throughout the year, things that bring me joy and fun and just make my life a little more fun! Do you make resolutions?

33 Before 33 (Part III)

Having shared the first two instalments of my 33 Before 33, I can now reveal the final eleven!

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

23. Recreate some old photos
It’s quite the thing to recreate old photos – take a photo from years ago, and wearing the same clothes, take the same photo in the same location. In my case, it’s easy enough to do, it’s just a case of actually doing it. My sisters are keen too, so we just need to pick some photos and get to work!

24. Get a scaffold piercing
I’ve wanted another piercing for a while, as I only have my earlobes done. I spotted someone with a scaffold (or industrial) piercing, and decided I wanted one, but did nothing about it, so figured if I put it on my list, it might actually get done!

25. Learn to play poker
After finally learning chess, I wanted to put another game on this year’s list, and frankly, Backgammon was never going to be an option. But poker should be easy enough to learn; I already have a basic knowledge of the hands, so I just need to learn about betting!

26. Get a mention from every Radio 2 DJ
You know, it wouldn’t feel right not to have some sort of Radio 2 related item on my list. As far as I can tell, there are around 23 DJs who could conceivably mention me, and though I’ve had mentions from a couple of them already (Simon Mayo, Janice Long, Michael Ball, Steve Wright), I will be starting afresh and trying for mentions from everyone within the next year. Some will be easier than others!

27. Get a tattoo
This is one of those items that has been on multiple lists; every year I think I’m just going to do it, and every year I fail. I know what I want, so I really hope it happens this year, but I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t.

28. Visit a town called Ugley
Ugley is a town in Essex, and there is a Ward Thomas song about it, so I want to go and visit, take a photo of me by the sign, and tweet it to Ward Thomas. I told Anna, Jen and Hannah that I was putting it on my list, and we’re now planning a roadtrip in the New Year.

29. Learn the ukulele
I have a ukulele, but I’ve never learnt to play anything on it! I tried to learn the chords and got disheartened when I wasn’t very good at it. A win for this would be just learning one song, so we’ll see how it goes!

30. Volunteer
This was on last year’s list, and didn’t happen. I have ideas for what I want to do, but I’m not sure how feasible they are. We’ll see!

31. Be a healthy weight
This has been on every list since the beginning of time. It’s boring, but it’s necessary.

32. Visit Westminster Abbey
Visiting Westminster Abbey appears on every list too, simply because I can’t believe that I haven’t been. Especially when you consider that my dad regularly does work for Westminster Abbey. He’s taking me this year, I’m going to make him.

33. Ride a horse
Now technically this wasn’t going to be on this year’s list, because it was on last year’s and didn’t happen. Then my friend Jen texted me and said that she would take me out riding, and because I was already having second thoughts about an item on the original list, I didn’t to swap them, as there’s a chance that this might actually happen. And I do love the idea of horse riding, even if I’m slightly scared of horses.

So there you have it – all 33 items have been unveiled, and it’s time to start work on them! I’m much more confident with this year’s list, I’ve already got some things planned, and while I’m sure I won’t get them all done, I’m going to try really hard. I would ideally like to get two thirds crossed off!

I’ll be adding a page at the top of the page, and I’ll be adding the list to the side of the page, as I usually do. I’d love to hear what you think of my list, and if you have any tips or ideas about anything, please let me know! I need all the help I can get!