Four Explore Magic…

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My husband and I work together, live together and have a lot of mutual hobbies. But because we both work freelance hours, the working part of our lives is often really dominant. And sometimes the lines are blurred, we often get to go out to the theatre, or to stay away for the night due to work; but sometimes we’ll find ourselves, in a really romantic setting…discussing whether we’ve invoiced for last weeks workshop or advertised tomorrow’s session, and we’re constantly planning the courses we run, coming up with ideas etc.

Recently we’ve tried to ensure that we don’t check emails if we’re away for the night, or we try and ignore text messages/FB messages/Twitter notifications. But with many fingers in many different pies between the two of us, it’s almost impossible to avoid it all. We’ve discussed it quite a bit, how do we separate personal and professional life? And how do we ensure we get quality time together as a couple, as a husband and wife?
This week, we answered our own question accidentally. For Holly’s first birthday, we had gone in with my Dad on organising a two day trip to Alton Towers, staying in the hotel for one night in a theme room, with dinner at a fun restaurant where your meals arrive by rollercoaster! 

We to and fro’d on whether to do it, because, our last experience of staying in a hotel with both kids was…tough to say the least!! Neither would go to bed, both kept waking the other up, and my husband and I had to sit in the dark from 7pm…fun fun fun! With one aged 1, and one nearly 3, it had been a while since we’d taken them both away because…it’s a really tiring nightmare! BUT, it’s our last 1st birthday for our children, and we wanted to treat them both to something special so we packed up the car and we held our breath and went for it! 

And it was, the, most, perfect, magical two days we’ve both ever had. A couple of realisations very early on. 

1. The girls are that little bit older now, and both can move about without having to be carried which means we’re out of that really dependant baby stage.

2. The girls are at an age where they’ve started ‘playing’ with each other.

3. Scarlett’s now tall enough to go on all of the toddler rides and with it being Holly’s first time at anywhere like this, she was just filled with delight watching it all, especially loving watching her big sister on things. So there was SO much we could do with them in the park.

4. Their sleep routines are steady enough now that a one off night as a special treat doesn’t disrupt the next few days, and we were therefore able to just play all together in the room, especially as there was a giant polar bear in it..! And then come about 9pm, they easily settled down and we were able to chat quietly before dropping off quite early ourselves thanks to a super active day!

But the main two things we realised, were that, we prioritise supporting our family. So there’s a guilt to ignoring messages or emails or any work related things, even when we’re having quality time together. HOWEVER, our girls are the bigger priority. So when we were with them these couple of days, we ignored work things because they deserve that, and we didn’t feel guilty because THEY are more important. We don’t see ourselves as important enough to ignore work for, but they definitely are! The other main thing is that quality time as a team of four is going into a really magical stage. Both girls are getting to the age where excitement levels are off the chart and seeing their eyes light up, or watching them laugh at a giant puppet, or when they turned around to smile at us to share how excited they are…? OUR.HEARTS.KEPT.BURSTING!!  

We’ve been so busy trying to work out some intellectual reason on how to perfectly balance the various aspects of our lives, we didn’t just see what was right under our noses! Our beautiful children and our family of four.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re not a nightmare sometimes…! Or that it went perfectly smoothly! We had a 1am wake up thanks to Holly who was obviously a bit unsettled with the new surrounding perhaps, and it was 3am before we got back to sleep as it’s much more difficult to settle a baby when you’re trying not to wake her toddler sibling, as well as being ultra aware of other hotel guests! We were extremely lucky with their behaviour, this week we had fantastically behaved children (that is just luck of the drawer, it can so easily go the other way!). But when we left the park today, we still had a mini tears breakdown from Scarlett who wasn’t keen on the idea of going home! We felt the same, but it’s not quite as socially acceptable for us to cry..! And it really didn’t last too long so I almost feel guilty mentioning it, because Scarlett can REALLY tantrum when she puts her mind to it..! 

We’re now back home, and we’re EXHAUSTED, but we somehow feel refreshed..! 

Being the dramatic pair that we are, on the way home, we started getting emotional about what an exciting time of our family life we were going into. We’ve officially passed newborn baby stage, and now we have two little, magical, ridiculous and hilarious children, who for now are also excited to spend time with us! This stage will pass on the blink of an eye, so it’s DEFINITELY worth prioritising.

Not all our ‘Four Explore’ holidays will go as well as this one did, we know that. We’ve had enough experience to know how lucky we were with this one, but the moments that made us well up with happiness, pride and joy, are well worth the days that don’t go our way (mostly..I mean who am I kidding, it can be a bloody battlefield some days!). But as we flop down into bed tonight, tiredly giddy from the glow of a fab two days, we’ll toast (a cup of herbal tea…seriously we’re really tired!) to some more magical memories that will follow! 

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Bye Bye Baby Days…

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Jet lag lasts a couple of days usually if you’ve crossed 3-5 time zones. So, in theory, by the 10th March, I definitely should have been back to ‘normal’. However, I am only just getting round to doing normal tasks, in which I mean catching up on emails, getting round to replying to messages I’m behind with. Life remained chaos when I was away and consequently it’s taking me ages to get back on top of it all (HA! As if I’m ever ‘on top of it’, it’s taking me ages to feel like I’m only six feet under it rather than 12..!). So I have written blog posts on the fly but they have remained a lonely word document waiting to be finished and published.

 

Consequently, some of these entries will seem a bit higgildy piggildy as I go back and finish off, but for today, the big news is that my baby is one year old! Baby Holly turned one on the 19th last Sunday, as both kids had been quite poorly swapping bugs back and forth from each other (including a rather gunky conjunctivitis!) we’d gone back and forth on riking booking an event and inviting lots of people only to potentially have to cancel. In the end we decided to go for a meal with immediate family before some more family and some of the girls guideparents popped in throughout the afternoon to see us! We also plan to take both girls to Legoland as we did with Scarlett near her 1st birthday for a birthday day trip when both girls are feeling back to best!

 

We now officially don’t have a baby in the household! Our youngest is fast becoming a toddler. Our eldest starts school next year, in no time at all, we seem to have gone from a young unmarried couple having an “oh my goodness in nine months time we’re going to have a tiny baby,” to a slightly older now married couple having an, “look at our two beautiful little girls both turning into actual little people” (usually followed with… “ok whose turn is it to stop Holly pulling her sisters hair in the buggy..?”

 

It’s made us both very nostalgic, even slightly so for the difficult times! Obviously not the traumatic side of those moments, but we’ve looked back on the long late night drives when I couldn’t sleep (or needed a late night McDonalds milkshake in the case of Scarlett’s pregnancy, or a McDonalds Apple Pie during Holly’s!) and we’d chat endlessly about what it might be like to be parents, what we wanted for them, for us etc etc.. Sitting in the hospital watching little grey blobs dance about on ultrasound machines, the two occasions we found out we were expecting girls. For me really distinctly, despite the fact that both births are blurs because of the epilepsy medication and they were both emergency csections. HOWEVER, I really distinctly remember on both occasions staring into my husbands eyes. Knowing that everything was going to be alright because we were there together, and I was looking into his eyes the first time I heard both my daughters first cry. That’s a memory I will never forget.

 

My girls have changed my life. In so many ways, I get even less sleep now, I get peed on much more than I used to and I have more people grabbing onto my hair/clothes/face than I ever used to! But I’m also more motivated, I have more drive, and my days are even more mental than they were before but kind of brilliant. 

 

In my first ever blog post I mentioned wanting to walk the Great Wall of China with my child but that I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d realise was a bit idealistic after having children. But nearly three years in, having travelled quite a bit with both of them (there’s definitely ways of doing it and ways of DEFINITELY not doing it!), I feel like it’s doable, one day. And so I really hope that one day, both girls in hand I’ll still make that ridiculous idealistic milestone that I somehow set myself!

 

Pathetic pride…

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I am NOT a housewife. That is to say, that I am TERRIBLE at doing housewifey things, I don’t know how to keep on top of house maintenance. I’ve got a PhD for christs sake, so put me at a crime scene and I will really quickly give you the time of death, as well as provide a detailed report on what has happened. But ask me to keep on top of hoovering/various types of cleaning (past washing up), or ask me what type of cleaning agent is used on what and I will stare at you because I don’t know, and who talks about stuff like that? (Yes it’s weirder to talk about anthropology over the dinner table, fine.) 

HOWEVER. Over the last 24 hours my toddler had been rather violently sick a few times in a few places at home, and if there’s one thing I CAN do, it’s ANYTHING needed to keep my girls safe and well. So today I wiped, and swept, and mopped and scrubbed to try and make the place as germ free as possible. Baby Holly it seems (fingers crossed), just has tummy troubles relating to teething so we’re hoping she won’t catch the nasty vomiting part. 

I will never win any awards for a tidy, spotless house and I will be an eternal and constant disappointment to my parents on that front. BUT today I got the place shining for my daughters, and although this is a pointlessly long post about something most home runners most likely do all the time, I’m a bit bloody proud. (Oh also, housewives and househusbands, you are my HEROES, please teach me all you know). I couldn’t take away how rotten both children were feeling, and that’s horrible, but I was able to sleep on the floor next to Scarlett last night so she didn’t have to wake up and be sick on her own at any point. I have endless cuddles for both of them as they’re both feeling clingy, a bit subdued and generally not quite their bubbly selves. And to protect them, my floor gleamed today.

Worlds Apart…

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My littlest Ladey turns 1 in just over a month, and it occurs to me that I have very little time left with my babies! As if she could read my mind, Holly woke up at 11pm tonight with tooth pain, and so as my husband got an early night ready for a very long day tomorrow, I brought her down, and she and I are now cuddled up on the sofa watching The Crown while she has an extra feed. She’ll fall asleep soon in my arms, and after taking in the smell of her and the cosiness of being cuddled up to her, I’ll head to bed, dropping her off on the way in her cot.
I know I’ll be tired tomorrow. We’ve had a mad 24 hours after a last minute trip to St Ives to go and see family. A bit of a restorative and much needed retreat for us all. We stayed in a beautiful little cottage, and stood by the sea as the waves crashed over the bay. The sea being choppy and the air being so fresh and windy reminded me so much of being a little girl on the beach with my Grandad who taught me how to ‘read’ the sea. I’d forgotten just how therapeutic the ocean can be. For a tiny pocket of time, work stress was a million miles away, I wasn’t writing notes in my phone to monitor any signs of epilepsy, and I wasn’t responding to any emails. I was just surrounded by family, my hair all over the place because of the wind, and the salt spray of the amazing waves drenching us from our daring vantage point. I introduced my two girls to the delightful terror that a choppy sea provides! I’m not ashamed to admit that after the first few moments by the waves I burst into tears. Emotional, happy tears. I felt my shoulders unclench for the first time in, maybe years, and I truly just loved the moments, without anything else or any other worries seeping in. I could almost hear my Grandad saying ‘that’s better girl’. My husband arranged the trip, he knows me better than I know myself sometimes (eurgh, what a cliche..), and not for the first time did it feel a bit like I had been falling and he caught me. 

So I now sit with my beautiful baby, fresh from the little detoxing retreat, and I’ll be tired tomorrow but this little late night cuddle with Holly is very much worth it. After a family discussion, it’s been decided I’m going to be cutting down some of the work I’ve got on my plate. Once the girls are at school I can go back to 60 hour weeks as standard. But for now, instead of taking on the world, I’m going to prioritise my world. A few things are going on a back burner, a few things are being passed on, and I’m going to balance out instead; a little bit of work, a little bit of what I’m passionate about (theatre and charity work primarily), and a lot of family time. 

It’s a decision that in truth I’ve been a bit scared to make. Just as my career was taking off I started a family and the guilt I felt with the family support I had received in gaining my qualifications blindsided me. When I was made redundant last Summer, panic set in as I desperately searched for a new job. I was under the impression that my family would be disappointed or angry if I wasn’t going full steam ahead. As it turns out, they’ve all wanted me to slow down for a while, I was fighting a battle only against my own assumptions! 

I’m NOT a good housewife. Most of what it entails alludes me. Ask me to write 50,000 words, or to analyse various larvae development to measure time of death on a violent crime scene, and I could do it with my eyes closed. But running a household is not a skill I possess. Which doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad wife or mother. I am extremely devoted to my children. I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, but I understand that’s par for the course and one thing I am totally confident in my abilities is how much I love my husband and children. 

Slowing down is not really in my nature(!) but there are not three more special people in this world (or any other that might exist for that matter!) that I would agree to do so for. But importantly I think, (and something I haven’t done before!) is that I’m also doing it for someone I’ve always neglected quite a bit. I’m doing it for me. (Cue huge amount of guilt for even saying so).

I’m hoping to get back to the seaside with the girls soon, or at least I look forward to getting out and about with them that doesn’t involve being on the way to a meeting, or quick coffee dates in between shifts. I’m certainly not going to become the kind of Mum that starts doing things like making leaf rubbings! But I DO look forward to running around kicking up leaves and getting muddy! 

When the girls are both at school, my health is (touch wood) back to 100%, and I have no good excuse to roll around in the mud anymore, I’ll get back to trying to change the world full time. For now, I look forward to making my girls world as happy as it possibly can be.

Time Travelling…

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I found a letter I wrote myself in the year 2000 today. In clearing out some old stuff, I found a ‘millennium capsule letter’ that I so clearly remember a few of us making! The letter was to me at 30, so technically, I’m nearly 2 years late in finding it! I was 15 at the time, and some of the references are very dated, but it was a nostalgic read, and I think my teenage self would at least be pleased with where life took us! This letter was supposed to be about ‘what was going on in my world at the time’.

I would just like a quick disclaimer at this point to say that I have copied out the letter as close to how I scribbled it out and I apologise for my 15 year old self quoting ‘haha’ so much, must be a nervous teenage thing, I definitely didn’t find that many things comical..! Although it is interesting to see how much detail I go into about the recent crime news, in fact I think there’s a few indicators of where I was headed in life in the below! There were a few other letters in the time capsule about family and friends, and maybe I’ll add a few of the others here in the future. I’m certainly saving them all so that when our daughters reach 15, I’ll suggest they do the same and give them mine (as a warning to not add so many haha’s if nothing else..!). My plan is to now, in the run up to my 32nd birthday, write an updated version of that to add to have a look at again when I’m 45 (or 47 if I forget for a couple of years!), a little look back every 15 years with a few little artefacts to take me right back to a certain point in time, and after having two beautiful little girls, what better time to travel back to!

 

“Hello me! That’s weird, I’ll be a grown up when I next read this (unless I read this in a few days and then lose it) I’m 15 at the moment, about to turn 16, I’m going to the Orient Rendevous for dinner and going to see Saturday Night Fever in the West End which is exciting. I LOVE theatre SOOOO much. I’m hoping to see Scream 3 as well as that’s out just near my birthday which is AWESOME!

I don’t really know what I should write in something like this! The Prime Minister is Tony Blair, and the Queen is the Queen, haha! She’s Elizabeth II. Westlife are number one I think, they’d had a dream for weeks now it seems, maybe they’ll still be number one when I read this back in 2015. 2015!! It sounds so futuristic, it’s when Back to The Future is…in the future.

Where will I be in 2015? Hopefully in love, with a great sex life haha! I’ll be 30, OH MY GOD THIRTY! I might have kids. I hope I have a really cool job, in theatre, or in a hospital as a surgeon maybe, Dr Lade! Haha!

What’s going on at the moment? (I’m just reading the list of questions from our prompt sheet haha!) Well…Harold Shipman will probably still be in prison (if he’s still alive, they all seem to top themselves in prison these days) after being found guilty of murdering FIFTEEN patients in the 90’s the other day, it’ll be interesting if he’s still remembered in the future, hopefully there won’t have been so many more horrific crimes that his will seem irrelevant, hopefully he’ll still be one of the most prolific ones. Women reached the South Pole so 2000 is already off to a great start HOORAY! I’d love to go on a big expedition like that. Although at this point I’d settle for leaving the house and not going to the hospital. Oh yeah THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE 2000 ROOM. I got diagnosed with epilepsy last year and they’re still trying to sort my medication out because before they were concentrating more on accusing me of being a druggie or trying to send me to asylums FUN! Maybe that’s what I’ll do in the future, I’ll cure epilepsy, and send my school teachers to a drug addict asylum haha! Oh ALSO, as no one else seems to know this, the second line in Wamdue Project’s song is ‘Must be the reason why I’m free in my trapped soul’, not ‘free in my trestle’ like SOMEONE said. 1) trestle makes no sense and 2) I used 888 on Teletext when it was on TOTP so HA!

My predictions for the year 2015? Errrrrr….probably some old people who are currently alive now will be dead (RIP!). More babies will be born, maybe a couple of mine BAH! Umm I dunno, it’s very hard to tell. I hope crimes will be less because we’ll be able to catch them quicker and prove they did it better than now. Hopefully there’ll be less diseases because cures will be found (bye bye epilepsy, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!). Hopefully Harry Potter will be happily living with Sirius in a quiet life in the future haha! The next book will hopefully be out soon, I think it would stress me right out that every term I got harassed by Voldy, WHAT ABOUT HARRYS EXAMS haha! Otherwise, eurgh it’s hard to know, I’m not mystic meg! I doubt Tony Blair will still be prime minister although the Queen might not still be OH MY GOD I hope the Queens not dead! Long live the Queen haha! Maybe by 2015 Emma Thwaites may have gotten over the fact that Take That split up although probably not haha!

What am I into? Horror films OBVIOUSLY. Blair Witch Project came out last year and was like, the new exorcist because people were throwing up after seeing it. I nearly did but only because of the CRAZY camera shit! Deep Blue Sea is a personal favourite, it’s a bit ridiculous MUTANT SHARKS ARE THE KILLERS haha! But it was pretty cool. Jodie thinks The Mummy is a horror film but it’s like a kids film haha! It’s been quite a good year for horror films I suppose. Terror Firmer, Carrie 2 (haha!), House on Haunted Hill. I’m big into Friends again now that EMILY WALTHAM HAS GONE! Finally. Eurgh. I still think Ross is a dick but Emily was so annoying and made English people look so uptight. It’d be cool if there was a British version of Friends, London’s Burning isn’t really good enough! Maybe I’ll write one but with YOUNG people in it instead of the Last of the Summer Wine rubbish that is basically what UK shows are. I’m into Spice Girls OBVIOUSLY! Girl Power haha! Hopefully I’ll see them in concert sometime, that would be AMAZING! Hopefully by 2015 girls will all be nicer to each other. I LOVE the Eurovision Song Contest which Dave Collinson says proves I’m a loser but I DON’T CARE haha, Eurovision for life! I really hope I get to see it live someday, but not when it comes back to the UK, somewhere exciting (and not Ireland who ALWAYS wins, except last year when Israel won for OBVIOUS reasons). I love computer games, CHRISTOPHER AND I COMPLETED DAY OF THE TENTACLE AND MANIAC MANSION, yeah we’re heroes. Oh and murder mysterys, we did one for Katy Whiteheads birthday last year and it was amazing, we went all round Cheltenham following clues before having a Chinese Takeaway for tea. I hope I’ll still be doing stuff like that.

Umm anything else? Oh yeah the Y2K bug didn’t kill all computers, so there’s that. I’m not allergic to tuna, that was obviously just wishful thinking.

My hopes for the future? I’ve already said really, successful, married, in love, great sex life, lots of travelling, lots of theatre, maybe be the surgeon that cures epilepsy and receive some kind of Nobel Peace prize and the ladies who went to the South Pole and I will do talks on being inspiring women haha! Might not be able to have children so I’m going to adopt, someone will have to continue my legacy haha! Oh and I REALLY hope I get to be in a horror film, or write one, or in some way be involved with horror films in my spare time. Maybe I’ll be creepy horror film girl but I’m creepy weird girl most of the time anyway so I may as well love it! Hopefully mine and Katy’s screenplay ‘Rest In Pieces’ will be made! Ummm I hope sashes are in fashion, haha, I don’t know why I just really like sashes, makes me feel like a clever superhero or something I suppose. We wore one in debating, not house debating it wasn’t our year to do that so a few of us did a gameshow version of one. I didn’t take part I just wrote and hosted it haha!

Soooooooooooooooooo, that’s where things are in the year 2000! Seeeeeee you again in 2015 where I’ll be living with aliens, having pills for meals and having a dramatic death in a horror film! Oh God, can you imagine if I AM dead! And my kids are tearfully reading this? Or if I die before adopting children and my husband is reading this, DARLING IM SURE I LOVE YOU AND ILL MISS YOU! Or if I die before meeting the love of my life!!!!!! Maybe I’ll start going to church again JUST IN CASE! Haha NOT. See you in the future Dani!”

Dramatic Darkness…

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Just after Christmas, my husband and I had a terrifying journey when the lights on the car suddenly went and decided to go! Terrifying because we were on a very dark country road at the time. Luckily the girls weren’t with us so they didn’t get to hear our pathetic screams and hear the language we used when trying to desperately find a place to safely pull over!

 

The night we got back, the bathroom light went. Weird we thought, but not exactly something to go into record books. The day after the landing light blew. ‘Maybe there’s something wrong with the circuit’ my Dad suggested, so a few days later, we asked a friend in the know to have a little look for us. No, nothing wrong with the circuits. That’s a relief, and the whole incident remained a coincidental mystery.

 

Just as we relaxed the dining room lights went, one by one, over three days (three bulbs). In the meantime the replacement bulb we’d put in the landing (we hadn’t got to the bathroom light yet as it needs a ladder to get there, so we’ve been having romantic candlelit baths…and romantic candlelit trips to the toilet..!) blew again with the lightbulb bounding creepily down the stairs…

 

It was at this point it felt like we were at the beginning of some kind of creepy movie. Although we managed to persuade ourselves we were too imaginative for our own good.

 

BUT THEN!! Tonight a bulb went in the lounge, in the five bulb chandelier…followed by a second one going shortly after. Now if all these bulbs had been installed at the same time we may put it down to eerily similar shelf lives of bulbs but not only were they all installed at different times, there were a mixture of energy saving and normal bulbs throughout the house. And the landing one blew just 24 hours after we’d replaced it.

 

So as we are both HIGHLY dramatic, we were starting to suspect paranormal activity..!

 

(DISCLAIMER: We are both intelligent people and we know that most likely this is all still down to coincidence but Goddamit let us play!)

 

We’re not going to set up video cameras because as the films have educated us, videoing them is a sure fire way of cranking up the paranormal activity straight up to a level ten! We’re also not going to do a Ouija board just yet as that similarly tends to end badly in the films. HOWEVER, as it is quite an old house, we decided to look into the history of the house and whether anything has ever happened here.

 

As we all know, chances are, there’s nothing. But my husband and I do love a good mystery, so as our lightbulbs are desperate for a bit of drama, we decided to see if we can attach any to them! Our limited research so far of the paranormal history of the road is that a lovely lady who worked in a bakery on the roundabout very near out house, died, in the hospital up the road, under no suspicious circumstances, with no associated paranormal activity recorded. So it looks like it’s up to the two of us to write our own version of events at home with fingers crossed that we have better luck with lightbulbs for the rest of 2017!

 

32 While 32…

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I turn the grand old age of 32 in a month. And as I’m a big fan of lists, I’ve written a little list of 32 things I’m going to achieve in the year I turn 32. My last post touched on why I’m not a huge fan of New Year as being ‘the time’ for new starts and being when every fresh start must take place. But I have to admit, on my birthday I tend to have a look back at what I’ve achieved in the last 12 months and have a little think about where I hope to get to in the following 12 months.

Six months before turning 30, my husband and I wrote a list of ’30 things to do before turning 30’, we did…well pretty appallingly really(!) but we wrote the list just after Scarlett was born, and frankly, we were a bit naïve and most of the list was affected by the arrival of our beloved Scarlett and the chaos and second pregnancy and little Holly that followed! Therefore, this year, I’m going back to that list first to pick up any that we didn’t do or to alter them accordingly (with the power of hindsight now we’re parents!). As we won’t be having any more children, we at least know that there’ll be no more pregnancies to work our progress round.

The original list (edited with how far we got with it) is posted at the bottom of this post if of interest!

All in all, we weren’t particularly successful with getting through my original list..!! Who knew having two very young children, establishing and growing a family business and carrying on with a career would keep us so busy…!! So my new list will contain quite a few repeats with a few new goals thrown in for good measure!

32 THINGS TO DO IN THE YEAR I TURN 32

  1. Visit Stonehenge – seriously, we’ll get there!
  2. Attend an ancient English festival (my hope is that this year we’ll be able to make the Newent Onion Fayre!)
  3. Perform some music live together in some capacity.
  4. Work abroad (I’m due to in February so hopefully this one should be easy to achieve!)
  5. Put together my second book in follow up to the first, even if I don’t yet publish either.
  6. Do some volunteering abroad.
  7. Have a family photoshoot with my side of the family.
  8. Go skinny dipping (just with my husband I think for that one!)
  9. See a show on Broadway.
  10. Run a paranormal event.
  11. Buy a pair of thigh high boots (not kinky boots, more hippy in style, go back to my boho fashion roots and have a bit of fun with fashion..!)
  12. Host a murder mystery dinner party or two (it’s tough to cut it down to 6-8 guests!)
  13. Attend some kind of cookery lesson, thinking perhaps sushi…
  14. Get involved in a campaign or similar (that I’m not already part of or working towards) about something I believe in.
  15. Go to Paint it Pottery.
  16. Go on a canal boat trip.
  17. Do something VIP, whether it be travelling first class or getting a box at the theatre or something to make an event that bit fancy.
  18. Attend an awards ceremony (I have tickets to one in January so this one will likely be the first to be ticked off an I’m very excited!)
  19. Go away for a romantic night away with my husband (we received a voucher for a Christmas present to do so, so this also should be doable!).
  20. Go paintballing.
  21. Go to and take part in a secret escape room.
  22. Attend a Comic Con, preferably in Cosplay.
  23. See a psychic or attend a séance or something similar.
  24. Go somewhere snowy on a group ski/snowboard holiday (this is hopefully in the planning!)
  25. Go to Thermae Bath Spa.
  26. Celebrate my Mum’s 60th birthday (she turned 60 just before Holly was born and I would normally be the one to have arranged something special but I wasn’t really in the right state to do anything last year sadly so it had to be postponed for a year)
  27. Set & achieve a fitness goal (similar to the swimming challenge I did in September where I swam 2km, not necessarily a swimming one but something to push myself physically).
  28. Make a music video (just for fun but because WHY NOT!)
  29. Get another piece of art (I got a piece of Jack Vettriano art for Christmas which I LOVE and I’d really like to get a second piece to finish off our lounge)
  30. Be involved in some kind of comedy in some kind of way (I’ve been reminiscing recently from some shows I was part of years ago and it made me miss doing something like that, it won’t necessarily be something big but it’s be great to flex those muscles again).
  31. Choose a primary school for Scarlett.
  32. Reserve Holly’s place at the same nursery.

Some entries a bit more extravagant than others, some ultimately more doable than others, but what fun would it be if it was all going to be easy! As last time, we may not succeed with all of them, and we may change our minds on some but that is all part of the adventure. I turn 32 in just over a month on the 5th February which means I have just about 13 months to work through the list, I’ll try and update throughout the next year or so and we’ll have to wait and see whether we do a bit better than our last effort of 18 out of 30!

 

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The 30 Before 30 List…

STILL NOT DONE 1- Visit Stonehenge

DONE (with one charity event becoming an annual tradition of ours!) 2- Take part in a charity sporting event together

DONE AT HOME A LOT WITH A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY SONG WRITTEN AND RECORDED FOR MY BROTHER IN LAWS 30TH BIRTHDAY BUT STILL NOT IN PUBLIC 3- Perform music live together (me singing, Tom playing an instrument, something we do at home a lot but never have done in public together…because of fear!)

STILL NOT DONE ALTHOUGH WE HAVE NOW GOT THREE KITS! 4- Host a murder mystery evening (I love these and have done them before, now I have a baby I suspect it’ll be slightly less raucous!)

DONE A FEW TIMES, NEXT TO PLAY MAP ROULETTE EXTREME (go to an airport or train station, get a ticket to the first journey on the board) 5- Play map roulette (pack the car, grab a map, close our eyes, stick a pin in it, most likely miss the map and yelp in pain, eventually hit a random location and head on off!)

STILL NOT DONE! 6- Do a dance class together (dance style not yet specified, suggestions welcome, maybe we’ll try a few!)

WE’VE ATTENDED SEVERAL 7- Attend a dinner/ball (the last one we went to we organised which was slightly more stressful!)

DONE AND SOMETHING WE WANT TO DO MORE OF AS A FAMILY IN 2017 8- Do some volunteering

DONE AND WE HAVE A TRIO OF COMIC COVERS 9- Create a piece of artwork

ABSOLUTELY DONE A FEW TIMES! 10- Have a movie marathon day (movies to be pre selected, day will be suitably accompanied with snacks and all are welcome to join us)

NOT DONE AND WE HAVEN’T TRIED VIKKI’S POLE EITHER! 11- Try pole dancing (we may wimp out of a class but Vikki assures us she has a home based pole we can try!)

NOT DONE, BUT I WILL TRY TO ACHIEVE THIS IN 2017! 12- Face my fear at Birdland and feed the penguins (with head keeper Ali’s help!)

I HAD AN AUDITION THAT I SADLY HAD TO CANCEL LAST YEAR SO ILL TRY AND GET BACK TO IT! 13- Appear on a gameshow (assisted by gameshow experts Stuart & Ali)

I DID AND IT WASN’T NICE!! 14- Eat a pot noodle sandwich (as pointed out by Matt – not acceptable after you’rE thirty and neither of us has ever done this!)

WE’VE HAD TWO WEEKENDS THERE AND ANOTHER ONE PLANNED! 15- Have a weekend in Tom’s honourary homeland Scotland (hopefully including visits to see Toms honourary countrymen!)

DONE AND IT WAS SURPRISINGLY TASTY! 16- Try a deep fried mars bar (well…when in Scotland…!)

DONE AND WE’VE HAD SOME AMAZING FOOD SINCE 17- Go to a foreign restaurant and order stuff we’ve never tried/can’t pronounce (recommendations welcome)

RIDICULOUSLY WE HAVEN’T DONE THIS YET 18- Attend an ancient English festival (along the lines of the Newent onion fayre etc)

WE’VE DONE A FEW DIFFERENT EVENTS AND THIS YEAR WILL BE ORGANISING A COUPLE OF OUR OWN WITH A FRIEND! 19- Go ghost hunting (on an official hunt, guided by a knowledgable friend…or rogue! One suspects October will be best for this!)

WE MET THE LOVELY SANDI TOKSVIG, JOE WILKINSON AND KATHY BURKE. 20- Meet a celebrity (a bit of luck may have to feature in this one!)

WE HAD TICKETS TO A COUPLE OF PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL EVENTS, BOTH OF WHICH WE SADLY HAD TO CANCEL DUE TO ILLNESS, WE DID GO TO A JOHN WILLIAMS CONCERT AND AN OPERA SO THOSE COUNT..? HOWEVER, I’VE GOT TICKETS TO TWO FOR 2017! 21- Attend a live music event

WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE GETTING BUT AS I WAS BREASTFEEDING AND/OR PREGNANT, ITS HAD TO WAIT! 22- Get a tattoo (cue an angry email from my Father in 3…2…1..!)

NOT YET! 23- Go for a cookery lesson

WE HAD ONE WITH MY HUSBANDS SIDE OF THE FAMILY BUT WE ARE STILL YET TO ORGANISE ONE WITH MY SIDE SO WE’LL HAVE TO TRY AND SORT THAT THIS YEAR, ESPECIALLY AS MY BROTHER AND HIS FIANCEE GOT ENGAGED! 24- Have a family photoshoot (we have a huge family so the more the merrier but I suspect it will only include parents & siblings if we even manage to co-ordinate that when we’re all free!)

WE WENT ON THE POLAR EXPRESS WHICH WAS AMAZING ALTHOUGH STILL YET TO GO ON ONE IN LOCAL TODDINGTON. 25- Go on a steam train (either just a journey or make the most of one of the events they run)

WE DID INDEED AND AT LEAST THREE OF THEM WERE VERY SPECIAL TO US. 26- Complete 5 random acts of kindness

STILL HAVEN’T, WE’RE NEVER QUITE SURE WHEN TO GET THE SLOES! 27- Make Sloe Gin

VERY SADLY, WE STIL HAVEN’T DONE THIS FOR EITHER WHICH MAKES ME VERY SAD. BIG FAMILY EVENTS HAVE PROVEN NOT TO BE EASY TO SORT THOUGH – WE MAY HAVE TO JUST DO A VERY SMALL PRIVATE ONE! 28- Arrange & have a baby naming ceremony for Scarlett (more complicated than it sounds!)

WE DID START ONE BUT ARE YET TO HAVE LIVE PERFORMANCE! 29- Start a band (this must include more than just the two of us and at least one live performance, band member volunteers welcome!)

THIS WAS A SECRET CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY WHICH WE WENT ON AND WE’VE HAD A CHRISTMASTIME HOLIDAY EVERY YEAR SINCE SO IT’S BECOME A BIT OF A TRADITION! 30- Secret number 30!

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