Well, here we are, Happy 30th Birthday to me!
Back last May, I set myself 30 challenges. They were meant to be fun and to encourage me to make the last year of being in my twenties a bit of an adventure. How did I do? Let’s have a look, shall we?
1. Read 30 books that are new to me – DONE! I actually read many more than 30, but the first 30, I listed here with an out-of-5 star rating and any that I reviewed are linked as well. (I think the 30th on the list, I read in January and I’ve read another 26 since that one according to GoodReads!!)
- Second Lives by Scott K. Andrews, 4*
- One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton, 5*
- Release by Patrick Ness, 5*
- 1984 by George Orwell, 3*
- Animal Farm by George Orwell, 3.5*
- The Last Wild by Piers Torday, 5*
- Kook by Chris Vick, 4.5*
- Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel, 2.5*
- Power Game by Christine Feehan, 3*
- Coping With Life After Stroke by Dr. Mareeni Raymond, 4*
- Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, 5*
- The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan, 4*
- The Hunter’s Kind by Rebecca Levene, 4*
- Here I Stand by Amnesty International (Various Authors), 5*
- SweetFreak by Sophie McKenzie, 3*
- S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett, 5*
- Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine, 5*
- The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw, 4*
- One Of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín, 5*
- Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaranovitch, 5*
- The House Of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd, 3*
- Life On The Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers, 4*
- Death In The Stars by Frances Brody, 4*
- Night Of Cake And Puppets by Laini Taylor, 5*
- Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill, 4*
- La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, 5*
- Turtles All The Way Down by John Green, 4*
- What Does This Button Do? An Autobiography by Bruce Dickinson, 5*
- After The Quake by Haruki Murakami, 4*
2. Watch 30 films that are new to me – DONE! I watched the last one last week so I cut it a bit fine, but there we go. I like to think it is a varied mix, and not all of them were great, but I watched 30 new movies!
- Speed (1994), 4.5*
- Captain America: Civil War (2016), 4*
- Clue (1985), 4.5*
- Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016), 4*
- Below Her Mouth (2016), 2.5*
- Wonder Woman (2017), 4*
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), 4*
- Cars 3 (2017), 4*
- Lego Batman (2017), 2*
- Nerve (2016), 4*
- Moana (2016), 4*
- xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017), 3.5*
- Baywatch (2017), 4.5*
- Pixels (2015), 4*
- Wind River (2017), 3*
- Kubo & The Two Strings (2016), 3.5*
- Rogue One (2016), 5*
- The Last Jedi (2017), 5*
- Jack Frost (1998), 3*
- Shaun the Sheep (2004), 4*
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), 5*
- Kingsman – The Golden Circle (2017), 4*
- King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017), 4*
- The Secret Life Of Pets (2016), 3.5*
- Love, Simon (2018), 5*
- Inside Out (2015), 3.5*
- Jurassic World (2015), 5*
- Ready Player One (2018), 4*
- The Greatest Showman (2018), 3.5*
- The Jungle Book (2016), 4*
3. Acquire Scrabble and teach the kids to play it – DONE! Arthur is still a bit young and isn’t keen but Tori is getting the hang of it and even beat Caius once!
Arthur made a kite at Beavers and we took it to the park on the next windy day and flew it together!
5. Learn To Sail – DONE! I didn’t fall in or anything!
RYA Level 1 – Passed!
6. Visit 10 new-to-me National Trust/English Heritage properties/estates/sites – DONE! Another one I actually over-achieved on because visiting new places has become a welcome habit. We are enjoying exploring our local history and natural areas – and some of our less local ones, too! I hope to keep this up and continue our adventures.
- Haughmond Abbey, English Heritage
- Acton Burnell Castle, English Heritage
- Wenlock Edge, National Trust
- Shugborough Estate, National Trust
- Buildwas Abbey, English Heritage
- Wenlock Priory, English Heritage
- Benthall Hall, National Trust
- Cantlop Bridge, English Heritage
- Beeston Castle, English Heritage
- Clun Castle, English Heritage
7. Have/book a spa day – DONE! Well, I have been given permission to count this as done but we haven’t actually booked it yet because we are waiting to align calendars. However, my mum, sister and I will be going on a spa day to celebrate my 30th, my sister’s 40th and my Mum’s birthday which is in the same week as my sister’s.
8. Visit Hawkestone Park and climb to the top of the tower & cross the scary bridge – DONE! Another last minute one, I did this last week and featured it on last week’s Top 5 Friday post. I even saw a peregrine falcon which made my day!
9. Complete 3 hand-made cards – DONE! Made & given to people as well.
10. Make 3 new-to-me cocktails – DONE! I made a Tom Collins, a Sea Breeze and a Floradora Cooler.
11. Cycle 50 miles in total (not all at once!) NOPE! I definitely covered the distance on foot… but definitely didn’t do it on the bike!
Final total: 11 miles
12. Eat out at 10 different places – DONE! I didn’t count fast-food places like Maccy’s, but anything else was game.
- River Thai, Shrewsbury
- Linkwood Lodge, Elgin
- The Featherbed, Shrewsbury
- The Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh
- The Gingerbread Man, Market Drayton
- Foodsion, Market Drayton
- The Black Swan, in Derbyshire somewhere…
- The Red Lion, Market Drayton
- The Hippodrome, Market Drayton
- Battlefield 1403, Shrewsbury
13. Eat something I have grown myself. – DONE! Spring onions grown and consumed! (Actually, we are still eating them as they went a bit crazy!)
14. Try a new exercise class – DONE! I didn’t go again in the end because it got cancelled, but I will go again if I get the chance!
Clubbercize! It was awesome, I’m going again!
15. Enter a virtual race, raise money for charity & get a funky medal. – DONE! TWICE!!
- I have signed up to do either 5k, 10k or half marathon distance either running, walking or hiking during the month of June 2017 in aid of The Stroke Association.
- On June 3rd I completed a hike around and over Brown Clee Hill that was a little over 10km. (I took Caius with me, it was fun.)
- Funky Super Mario medal received!
- Signed up for a second 10k hike in November with my Mum!
- November walk done.
- Funky Direwolf medal received!
16. Make 5 new-to-me savoury recipes – DONE! Actually made more than 5 but sort of forgot to record them all.
- Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Green Beans (and chicken nuggets to appease the kids!)
- Sang Choi Bao Turkey
- Campfire Stew (forgot to take a photo!)
- Brazilian-Style Fried Rice Cakes
- Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta Bake
17. Make 5 new-to-me sweet recipes – DONE!
- Old English Jumbles
- Slow Cooker Brownie Cake
- Gruffalo Cake!
- Vegan Biscuits – so good I made them twice!
- Elderflower Cordial (This was actually horrible & a bit of a disaster but I made it!)
18. Swim in the sea – DONE!
I swam in the sea in Malta! There were fish and super creepy… metal things on the sea floor (sea defences? I have no idea but they scared me!)
19. Be a book fairy 3 times – DONE!
- London Euston Station Platform, The Breadwinner
- Euston Square Platform, Power Game
- Market Drayton Bus Station, The Little Shop Of Happily Ever After
20. Blog every day for a month – DONE! I enjoyed this one more than I expected. I’m not organised enough to keep it up though.
February 2018. Every. Single. Day. DONE!
21. Complete at least one of my colouring/puzzle books from cover to cover – DONE! Dot-to-dots make me cross-eyed after a while…!
22. Host a dinner party – DONE!
Hosted Christmas dinner for 7!!
23. Stay in 3 different hotels – DONE! 5*, 2*, 3* – I’m not that fussy!
- Radisson Blu, Golden Sands, Malta
- Comfotel Grn, Shepherds Bush Road, London
- Leonardo Hotel, Edinburgh
24. Get my ear pierced again (I have always wanted it doing at the top on the ear that sticks out more. It stands out anyway so I may as well decorate it, right?) – NOPE! I stood outside the place and looked at my reflection in the window and decided that, actually, I don’t think I’m that bothered about it any more. And didn’t go in.
25. Volunteer at an event – DONE!
- Joined the committee for the local Scout group!
- Helped at Market Drayton 10k
26. Complete a High-Ropes course – DONE! Another not-actually-done-but-agreed-to-do-with-someone one that I have been told I can tick off. Watch this space!
27. Knit myself something! – DONE! Meet Wilbur the piglet.
28. Get A Job – DONE! …nothing in the rules said I had to keep the job forever…
Started working at a Gingerbread Factory in November ’17
29. Go to the theatre – DONE! Took my Mum to our local theatre to see a show.
Night At The Musicals, Theatre Severn, 25/06/2017
30. Have a birthday party! – DONE! …ish. We are having a party for my birthday, Tori’s birthday, Caius’ birthday, Caius’ Mum’s birthday, er, a couple of someone else’s birthdays, our housewarming, celebrating Caius starting a new job… it is organised and was originally going to be before my birthday but people couldn’t make it so it is now happening afterwards but I’m still counting it.
I make that 28 out of 30 in total (25 if you don’t think I can count the organised-but-not-done-yet ones) and I’m pretty pleased with that. I’ve tried new things, been to new places and faced a few fears – now I’d better go and update all those social media profiles to ‘thirty-something’, hadn’t I?