An update

Everyone keeps asking me how I am getting on with my 30 things.  And the truth is that I haven’t done anything specifically towards them for ages now.  But I’m a “the journey is more important than the destination” kind of girl, and the reason I’ve not been doing these  things is that I’ve been busy with other challenges.  Sometimes I think life would be a whole lot easier if I stopped giving myself all these challenges and projects, but I can’t see it happening any time soon.

From the original list, I’ve completed 15 of the 30 things, which isn’t bad going.  But I’ve also taken on other challenges.  So, not only did I run in a 10k race, but I did it in fancy dress. And then signed up to a half marathon.  I’m growing my hair long (not exactly challenging, I’ll admit!) but have also quit using shampoo (nine months now and my hair has never been better!).  I had a go at writing a little poem and children’s book, but also wrote a short story.  I was really pleasantly surprised at my writing, though I don’t imagine I’ll do anything more with it.  Giving blood was a really good thing that needed a nudge to do, but will now do as often as I can.  Eating on a budget and as a vegan have both made me look at my diet and make some positive changes.

But for my biggest challenge, I have decided to go and spend a week in November volunteering at the refugee camps in Calais.  I’ve never done anything like it before, and I know that I will only make the tiniest of differences, but my job at Volunteering in Health (and parenting!) has shown me that TIME is worth so much more than money or things.  An hour spent having a chat with someone who’s lonely can make SO much difference to that person’s day and week.  It shows them that someone cares, gives them a chance to share things they need to talk about, and just generally cheers them up.  My plan is to go over and help wherever I’m needed, whether that’s picking up rubbish, sorting donations, distributing food, or building shelters (not sure how helpful I’d be on that front!).  (And don’t worry, I’ve done my research and will be doing it properly, not just rocking up with a van-load of stuff and causing chaos.)  If you’d like to come with me, or help in any way, or if you’ve been and have any advice for me, please get in touch!

Back to my 30 things – out in Calais I hope I might even manage to cross off a couple more items from my list – start a fire, sleep under the stars, don’t use electricity for a whole day, buy dinner for someone less fortunate.

That will leave me with knit/crochet a hat for myself (I might manage that one), draw something I’m proud off, go out rowing, get a tattoo (I know what I want, roughly).  Then there are some that I know I won’t get around to this year, but that’s ok!  I’ve had some fantastic experiences and done some great things this year that I probably wouldn’t have done without having set myself this challenge from the beginning.

Thank you to my lovely friend Jen for giving me a push of inspiration to come back to this blog and review how I’m getting on (better than I thought!) for the first time in ages.  What a year!


It begins…


So we are now officially in 2015 and my 30th year – the pressure begins!  I started the year as I mean to go on – with a run!!  Absolutely unprecedented behaviour!!  This is mainly due to the fact that my friend Jenny had a New Year’s Eve Eve party on my birthday so we were much too hungover for a big fancy dress night out (there is no other kind of New Year in Teignmouth).  Instead we took the boys out for a night walk to do some sparklers, and then snuggled up on the sofa with hot chocolates and a film.

For my birthday we took the boys ice skating for the first time.  I forgot just how much fun it is and am keen to go again as soon as humanly possible (though I think I may find my weekends disappearing with all this activity!).  We also went for lunch at Lemon Jelli in Newton Abbot.sparkler

I am feeling really positive and excited about my thirty things and plans are afoot for many of them already.  This month I will be joining in a Spinathon on the 17th and giving blood on the 19th.  I’m just hoping I don’t lose momentum when I go back to work and reality.


The List

See “The List” page for this in brief.  There are 33 things here so that I have a little bit of freedom if any of them prove to be more of a challenge than I expected.  There is no particular order or end date on any of these, other than 30/12/2015.

Knit or crochet a scarf or hat for myself

At primary school I remember joining a knitting club at lunchtimes and getting absolutely nowhere with it. Through my work I meet all these lovely old ladies who have made hundreds of beautiful blankets. My children have hundreds of gorgeous knitted jumpers made by their grandparents (there’s another thing I want to do – turn all the jumpers they’ve outgrown into cushion covers). Bearing in mind my previous experience, I have set the bar quite low with this one so that I stand a chance of completing it!

Draw a picture that I am proud of enough to hang on my wall

On my hen night we did a life drawing class, which just added to my terminal red face syndrome! I was actually pretty pleased with my drawing and really enjoyed doing it. I’ve talked about doing more drawing, but not quite got round to it.

Take a dramatic black and white photograph – started

I love taking photos – since having kids and an iphone I don’t think a day has passed where I haven’t taken a photo several photos. We have got a proper camera now but I haven’t quite got my head around all the different settings so I mostly use it on auto mode. I love colour, so black and white is a real challenge for me.

Write a children’s book – started! and done!

When I told people I was doing this challenge, several suggested I write a Children’s Book. They all seemed to have an awful lot of confidence in my ability to do this, but I’m not so sure!! Time will tell…

Start a fire – done!

Despite doing a lot of camping in my time, and growing up with an open fire as our only source of heat, I haven’t ever started a fire by myself. This is a skill I want to pass on to my boys – I reckon if they can start a fire and play the guitar or piano they will do ok in life (with girls at least). You’ll notice that learning an instrument isn’t on my list and there is good reason for this!

Write a poem for Steve – done!

Steve proposed to me by getting one of my favourite songs (Oregon Girl by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin) personalised and recorded. Granted, most of the work was done by the band, but I think Steve deserves for me to reciprocate the effort with a love poem. I don’t have much any faith in my ability to do this well, but we’ll see how it goes!

Get something published – done!

Back in my primary school days, I wrote a short story about playing on Shaldon Beach, which got published in the Parish Magazine. In November the charity I work for was featured in Devon Life, along with a photo I took. But for this, I want something a bit more purposeful to be published, somewhere. Think this is probably going to be my toughest challenge.

Learn to count from 1 to 10 in ten languages

As much as I wish they did, languages just don’t come that naturally to me. I’ve done Spanish A Level and some immersion courses in Spain, but my Spanish is shocking. Like, really bloody terrible. But I think learning something simple in several languages is achievable and something I’d like to do with my boys. I can do English, Spanish, and French already. For my challenge I will be learning Czech, Sign Language (you don’t just hold up the right number of fingers – I checked!), Japanese, German, Finnish, Danish, Portuguese.

Make and wear a dress – done!

I have had a go at this once before and it didn’t go so well. This time I think I’ll use an actual pattern and do it properly! I have made a skirt that became a staple item for two summers, so there is some hope for me yet.

Write a blog – done – you’re reading it!

I hope to update this blog once a week-ish, so this should be a pretty easy one to achieve!

Run a 10k race – signed up! done it!

When I was at school I used to enter the Cross Country Race and the 1500m on Sports Day, based more on the fact that I was the only sucker in the class who would agree to it than on my talent. In 2012 I entered Race for Life in Paignton, which is 5k, and finished in about 35 minutes. I didn’t do any training for it and even had to borrow a friend’s trainers on the day as I didn’t own any. In 2014 I started doing a bit of running, mainly as an opportunity to listen to my music in peace! I usually do about 5k and I’m still doing it in 35 minutes.

Go out rowing

A bunch of my friends bought a Siene Boat and race once a fortnight through the summer. Unsurprisingly given my lack of fitness and co-ordination they haven’t hassled me to join them! I can appreciate how lovely it must be out on the open water on a calm evening watching the sun set, sometimes even seeing dolphins, but nice as that sounds, it also sounds like hard work, cold, and that I’d get a sore bum. But I’m going to give it a go anyway and see if I can be swayed.

Climb to the top of the Boulder Bunker

The Boulder Bunker is a climbing bouldering centre in Torquay. It’s not that high, but you don’t have ropes. Oscar (my five year old) can climb to the top, but needs help getting down. I make it to about halfway and freak out about how I’m going to get back down, but I want to overcome this and make it to the top.

Enter a Spinathon – done!

My parents love cycling. My Mum and Stepdad met in a cycling group. Some of my strongest childhood memories are of cycling. Like the time we were at the Turf Locks and Dad told me to “Look at that”, so I turned around on the back of his bike and got my feet caught up in the spokes. Or the time my younger brother learnt to ride without stabilisers before I did. Or the time we got new bikes for Christmas and went for a mega bike ride in the rain on Boxing Day. Or the time my brother rode his BMX on what was clearly a mountain bike ride, and fell off his bike and had to go to hospital (though not before we stopped off at Trago). Therefore me and cycling do not get on. At all. The charity I work for is holding a Sponsored Spinathon on 17th January at Finlake so I am going to enter that. If you’d like to enter, or to sponsor me, get in touch.

Spend a night under the stars

I have spent my fair share of nights under the stars, but usually because I’m at a festival or party or something, which doesn’t necessarily count. For this I want to do it Bear Grylls style (though I’ll be taking proper food with me) and be properly prepared for it.

Climb Mount Snowdon

No particular reason for this one, it’s straight off a suggested Bucket List. But it’s a good one for some mother-daughter bonding time.

Walk the Templer Way – done!

This is the 18 mile walk from Haytor (on Dartmoor) to Teignmouth. It conveniently ends at one of my favourite pubs. I’ve done it in bits before, carrying one or other of the boys in a sling as I go, but I haven’t done the whole thing.

Complete the Topsham Ten

Ten pubs, ten pints. I have done this before nearly ten years ago for a friend’s birthday, but I broke the rules by drinking things other than pints, so I really need to do this one again properly.

Through a dart at a map and go there, no matter where it is

We’re all too stuck in our ways and don’t spend enough time exploring new places, so this should be an interesting one and a good family day out.

Finish a crossword

Pretty simple in theory, but I never do crosswords or sudoku or anything like that.

Get a tattoo

I have got a small tattoo on my foot already, but would really like another. I’ve no idea what, but I plan to get it on my 30th Birthday as a memento of completing my 30 things.

Read 100 Years of Solitude – started

I spent a couple of weeks in Sevilla in 2008, where I met a girl who recommended this book to me. She said she wanted to read it in its original Spanish, which I thought seemed like a good goal. I bought the book (in English) so I could get a feel for the story before attempting it in Spanish (I’ve read Harry Potter in Spanish but it was easy as I know the story inside out). Anyway, I still haven’t managed to finish it, even in English. But it’s time for that to change!

Finish writing my 5 year diary

My brother in law James bought me a five year diary for Christmas just before I was 25. I have written in it (near enough) daily since then, and it finishes on my 30th Birthday. This challenge is simply to keep it up till the end. And then hopefully he’ll buy me a new one for 30-35 (hint hint James)!

Donate Blood – done!

When I was about 15 I got really ill and the doctor thought I might have Glandular Fever. I had to have a blood test to find out (we never heard back about the results and eventually I got better so who knows what it was. I was ill enough to be off school which says a lot with my Mum!) and it made me so faint and awful that I have been reluctant to give blood. However I have had blood tests with being pregnant and those were fine, so it’s time to man up!

Go vegan for a week – done!

I have been vegetarian since birth (so are my boys (but not my husband)) but I love cheese (who doesn’t) and yoghurt and milk and chocolate… I agree with the idea of veganism but this one is going to be tough for me! Recipe suggestions welcomed.

Blag something for free

I have managed to get some good things donated by local businesses for charity events, but this needs to be something for ME. If you run a business and want to donate something to me, then make this one easy and give me something!

Use no electricity for a full day

This also means no gas, and no car. So no hot shower, no cup of tea, no TV, no hair straighteners, no hot meal (unless I cook it on the fire that I build myself!), no lights except candles, nothing out of the fridge, no phone, etc etc. Really the only way to do it properly would be to go camping or something, but it will be more of a challenge at home.

Eat for £1 a day for a week – started! done!

I eat a lot. It takes approximately one week at a new workplace for people to understand this about me. This is going to be hard work. But I plan for the hard work to be in creative cooking rather than going hungry. Suggestions welcome (pasta and chopped tomatoes anyone?).

Grow my hair long – done!

In theory this doesn’t take too much effort, but in practice I have hellishly thick hair that needs regular cuts. I will hold back as much as possible and see how long I can get my hair!

Buy dinner for someone less fortunate

In my job, working with isolated elderly people, I spend a lot of time meeting people who are “less fortunate”. I haven’t decided how I want to play this one yet – I could take them food to their house, take them out to dinner etc. I will wait until I meet someone who I think will really benefit from it.

Finish Off My Bump Cast

When I was pregnant with Charlie I made a cast of my (mahoosive) bump.  I love it to bits, but of course I never quite finished it off.  So I’m giving myself a year to get my ass in gear and do it.

Write a Will

Tozers Solicitors waive the fee for a simple will, in return for a donation to Volunteering in Health, so I’ve really got no excuse.

Get a Pension

Now that I’m almost 30 there’s no denying I am a grown up, so it’s time to sort out some kind of pension.  Also my Brother in Law (the one that gave me the diary) is a Financial Advisor, so again, so excuse.

Not on the list, but considered….

Jumping off the cliff at Spitchwick

I’ve never done it and I am just too much of a wuss to do it now!