#35at35quest : The second update – is it too late to make a Christmas cake?

#35at35quest: A second update - Is it too late to make a Christmas cake?
My grandad’s handwritten list of Christmas cake ingredients

Most Wednesday mornings, I listen to the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft as I get ready.  Today I almost choked on my toothpaste as I heard them talk about their eighteen for 2018 idea, inspired by a listener’s thirty-five for their thirty-fifth.

Thirty-five for their thirty-fifth!  That’s what I’m doing too!  

As I explained in my original post, when my friend Catherine at Midlands Minimalist told me about her husband’s fiftieth birthday resolution to do fifty things, I set myself a quest to complete thirty-five activities between my thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth birthdays (19th July 2017 to 2018).

In turn, by the time of my first update, others had also taken up the baton and setting themselves their own version of this challenge.

Unlike the other Happier listener who created a thirty-five at thirty-five list, who cleverly planned a great mix of activities and new habits that would enhance her happiness, mine are a random and idiosyncratic selection.  I’ll bear her thinking in mind for when it comes to #36at36quest!

Here’s an update on how my #35at35quest is going

  1. Read Middlemarch. 

 

 

As my thirty-fifth birthday approached, I felt haunted by the many things I thought I’d have done by now.  I’m not talking about major life events but smaller activities that just seem to have slipped by, like finally getting round to finishing Middlemarch (I’ve read the first hundred pages two or three times).  This feels particularly pressing as George Eliot and I are from the same home town and I’ve always felt some strange connection to her for that reason (and being born in hospital named after her).

I bought a copy with the book token that I received for my birthday.  Good quick progress!  Alas it’s been sitting next to my bed gathering dust since then.

2. Try colonic irrigation.  

Because why not?

Maybe this is a good treatment to try post-Christmas indulgence.  Add to January to do list.

3. Try craniosacral therapy.  

Another ‘because why not?’.  Another with no progress.

4. Visit Paris alone.

My partner gifted me the Eurostar for my birthday but I’ve yet to get round to booking it.  There’s a theme developing…

Visit a Greek island - done || 35 at 35 quest: my second update - is it too late to make a Christmas cake?
Oia, Santorini, Greece

5. Visit a Greek island

Spent a heavenly week in Santorini at the end of September.

6.  Hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak

Ticket booked, going in May.

7.  Watch The First Monday In May.

Hardly a film classic but hey, this is my list!  And this one is now completed.  When I was ill and bored last week, I snuggled up on the sofa and popped this on.  A great insight into the powerful world of high end fashion, culture and publishing, but mildly disheartening watching all the beautiful people while feeling snotty, sweaty and generally gross.

8. Go to St. Ives in Cornwall.  

People have recommended the Minack Theatre and St Michael’s Mount while I’m down there.  A springtime trip, I think.

9. Travel to Stockholm.  

A family friend has conveniently moved there!  I’ve asked for Swedish krona for Christmas and will be heading over early in the new year.

10.  Try African food.

Another with no progress.  I’m going to take up the tip from the Happier podcast and print the list out and pop it somewhere I’ll see it so that I won’t forget what I want to do!

11.  Revisit Warwick Castle for the first time since 1990.

It’s a major historic site just twenty miles from where I grew up and now live again but I haven’t been since a school trip when I was seven.  I’m going to look out for special offers for entry in the new year.

12.  Swing across monkey bars.

From the start, I predicted that this is the most likely not to be achieved.  Still looking that way.

13.  Drive a sports car.  

Thanks to the FCA Group, I spent a happy week in the summer cruising round in a beautiful Fiat 124 Spider.  Huge fun!  I loved it and felt like Elizabeth Taylor the entire time.  Little Niece and Nephew loved it too!

14.  Get a Margaret Dabbs pedicure.

The *ultimate* treat for feet – and one to schedule for when the weather begins to warm up and sandals come out again.

15.  Get a photo at Land’s End.

See number eight.  Will tick the two boxes off together.

16.  Visit Bristol.

This British city seems to have everything going for it, including a vibrant arts and culture scene.  I’m embarassed that I’ve never been , not least because I’ve good friends who live there.

#35at35quest: A second update - Is it too late to make a Christmas cake?

17.  Make a Christmas cake using my grandad’s recipe.

My grandad was a baker and the last proper cake he made was for my christening in 1983.  I have a handwritten copy of his recipe for making a Christmas cake but it’s now 13th December.  Is it too late to make a Christmas cake?!

18.  Learn some German.

Haven’t done this but am learning Swedish thanks to the Memrise app!  Useful for #9.

19.  Go up the Shard.

20.  Visit the British Museum for the first time since 1997. Shocking, I know.

I walk past both of these on at least a monthly basis yet have still failed to go in either building.  However my partner and I are planning a day trip to London between Christmas and New Year so hoping to get two big ticks then!

21.  See Stonehenge.

To do on the way to or from #16.

22.  Learn to make Florentines.  

A friend who is a great baker has offered to show me how.  I wonder if she has time in the next week or so…

23.  Read a book on Korean history.

I wrote this before the current nuclear crisis kicked off.  It feels a bit too terrifying now.

24.  Master a song on the guitar.

I was thinking possibly Take Me Home Country Roads as this was the first song I learnt on it when I was a teenager.  I just need to pick up a guitar.  The one in our living room would suffice.

25.  Rebuild my emergency savings pot.

Hmm, no progress again.  The perils of trying to build up a career as a freelancer!

26.  Try a pickled egg.  

This item provoked more reaction than any other on the list.  Pickled eggs divide opinion!  A friend kindly supplied the goods, a fancy Chinese spiced version.  It was tasty.

I’m building up to try one of the eyeball looking ones from a chip shop as I don’t imagine that they’d be as refined.

27.  Learn the proper names for clouds.

Another reason to print the list off and leave it somewhere prominent.  I’d totally forgotten about this.

28.  Come off all my mental health medication.

A big tick for this one.  I am now off all my medication having gone cold turkey about a month ago.  I definitely DO NOT recommend this course of action.  Not a good idea.

29.  Visit a Japanese garden in autumn.  

My family friend who has moved to Sweden bought me a voucher for this.  We had a lovely afternoon out in October visiting this oriental corner of Lincolnshire.

30.  Go to a fun fair.  

Why is it so difficult to do things that we want to do?!

31.  Learn to use a sewing machine.  

Despite two generous offers of help with this, I haven’t done anything about it.  Retrieving the machine from under the bed might help.

32.  Visit the Lake District for the first time in twenty years.

Another one to be scheduled.  Looks like the next seven months are going to be busy with weekends away!

33.  Have a day out in Leicester.

I live about fifteen miles from this city and haven’t been there for several years, and even then only to a work event at the university.  Maybe another day out for between Christmas and New Year.

34.  Clear out Google Photos.  

2014, 2015 and 2016 are sorted.  A strangely satisfying task!

35.  Get a ninety minute massage.

I wish.

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#35at35quest : The first update

Who’d have guessed that on the day I told the world that I wanted to try a pickled egg, I’d also visit the Sarson’s factory & be given a vat of pickling vinegar?  

I may only be 35 years and one day, but I’m already blown away by the response to the #35at35quest that I posted about yesterday.

The concept of setting a number of goals related to the year of your age has gone global, having been taken up in Australia as well as being considered by some readers nearer to my home in UK.

I’ve also received offers of help in completing the tasks, and doors have opened with others too – so here is my first update on progress:

  1. Read Middlemarch.  I’ll use the book token received for my birthday to buy my own copy.
  2. Try colonic irrigation.  Because why not?
  3. Try craniosacral therapy.  Ditto.
  4. Visit Paris alone.  The Eurostar is a birthday gift from my partner.
  5. Visit a Greek island. Holiday already booked 🙂
  6. Hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak. Ticket already booked 🙂
  7. Watch The First Monday In May. Hardly a film classic but hey, this is my list!
  8. Go to St. Ives in Cornwall.  People have recommended the Minack Theatre and St Michael’s Mount while I’m down there.
  9. Travel to Stockholm.  Family friend is moving there in August.  How useful of her!
  10. Try African food.
  11. Revisit Warwick Castle for the first time since 1990.
  12. Swing across monkey bars. This is the most likely not to be achieved.
  13. Drive a sports car.  Next week I’m testing an Abarth 595, although I’m not restricting my goal to this one car!
  14. Get a Margaret Dabbs pedicure.
  15. Get a photo at Land’s End. Ties in nicely with number eight!
  16. Visit Bristol.
  17. Make a Christmas cake using my grandad’s recipe.
  18. Learn some German.
  19. Go up the Shard.
  20. Visit the British Museum for the first time since 1997. Shocking, I know.
  21. See Stonehenge.
  22. Learn to make Florentines.  A friend who is a great baker has offered to show me how.
  23. Read a book on Korean history.
  24. Master a song on the guitar. Possibly Take Me Home Country Roads as this was the first song I learnt on it when I was a teenager.
  25. Rebuild my emergency savings pot.
  26. Try a pickled egg.  A friend’s husband may be able to supply the goods, &/or I could make my own using the pickling vinegar that Sarson’s kindly gave me during my birthday press trip!
  27. Learn the proper names for clouds.
  28. Come off all my mental health medication.
  29. Visit a Japanese garden in autumn.  The family friend conveniently moving to Stockholm has bought me two tickets for this very thing!
  30. Go to a fun fair.  There’s one in my home town this weekend!
  31. Learn to use a sewing machine.  An IG friend has offered to teach me – and I can combine a visit to her with my trip to Bristol.
  32. Visit the Lake District for the first time in twenty years.
  33. Have a day out in Leicester.
  34. Clear out Google Photos.  I’ve already started on this!
  35. Get a ninety minute massage.

No doubt I’ll explain more about my reasoning as I chart my success (or otherwise) across the year – but feel free to ask if you’re particularly intrigued by any of them!  And I’d love to hear if you have any burning ambitions of a similar scale.  Where have you always wanted to visit?  What have you always wanted to learn?  Is there any food that you fancy trying?

Here’s to the rest of the year progressing so well!

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Deadline for completion: 19th July 2018