Monday 25 February 2013

27 Things To Do In The Year I Turn 27…

Inspired by my lovely friend Liz's blog post here, I decided to write my own list of things I've planned to do/achieve this year...27 objectives to meet in the year I turn 27. 

It was really fun to write, my husband helped, and it made me focus more on what ultimately I want to get out of the year ahead. Most of the aims are either in support of my various hobbies, linked with food (my big passion!), socialising, or general all-round happiness. 

Since reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben, and forming a 'Happiness Group' with four good friends, I have been trying to focus on filling my life with more happiness, fun and positivity and clearing out all that drags me down! These aims should help contribute to the 'life makeover' and hopefully will result in a fab year full of wonderful experiences. 

Some are crossed out already as I have either already achieved them in the last couple of months, or begun addressing them, others are still waiting to be crossed off - the idea being that I cross them all off by the end of the year! Hopefully! 

1. Make Scotch eggs from scratch – these were a firm family favourite when I was growing up – My mum makes the yummiest scotch eggs, and they used to be her specialty at family parties. My husband has never tasted a homemade one- so I’d like to have a go so he can try them.

I had a pop at these back in January, and both me and hubby were pleased with the results! They were yummy, but, a lot of fiddling around - so probably not something I'd make too often. Still, it was lots of fun and the results were far superior to any shop-bought version. 

my homemade scotch eggs

2. Go to an authentic American Brunch – one of my local pubs in Bedford called The Burnaby Arms has started arranging pop-up events, and American Brunch is one of them. My husband is a big fan of American food (think pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, biscuits etc) and he’s visited Las Vegas a few times and indulged heavily on the foods available. I however have never been – but love the sound of the very decadent foods. My friend Liz told me all about this event, and asked if we’d like to join her and her lovely hubby, so of course we jumped at the chance. We can’t wait to sample the foods in such great company.

We went to the brunch and had a fab time! The food was delicious, the atmosphere very uplifting and all for a very reasonable price! I would highly recommend these pop-up events to any Bedford locals. 

our american brunch - bacon with maple syrup, scrambled egg and THE BEST french toast I've ever tasted! 

3. Have an afternoon shopping session at St Pancras Int – most definitely the most awesome train station in the UK, I pass through St Pancras regularly on journeys home to visit family and trips to London etc – I’m always rushing through with luggage and a train to catch and never get time to fully immerse myself in the place I love so much. Not only does it hold all of my favourite shops under one roof (Cath Kidston, Fat Face, LK Bennett, The White Company, Paperchase, The Body Shop just to name a few) But it also holds loads of places to eat some amazing foods such as Peyton and Byrne, Le Pain Quotidien, Searcys, and Gelato Mio. So one of my aims this year is to go to St Pancras as a destination in itself for shopping and eating and enjoying!

4. See Wicked the musical again – I saw this show a few times when it first debuted in London, and am looking forward to returning with a fellow fan Liz in March – what a treat!

5. Visit Cornwall – I haven’t been to Cornwall since I was a child, and have many happy memories of exploring the beaches, shops and tearooms when I was small. I’ve wanted to return for ages, I especially want to go with my husband to explore places together. We are holidaying there this Easter with my mum, stepdad and sister, and I can’t WAIT! Looe here we come!

6. Hold a Superbowl Gathering/Party My husband is a big fan of American Football – especially the yearly SuperBowl – he always watches the game, which is aired in UK from 11pm-5am on a Sunday night in March. He always invites his mate Dan over, and they always book the Monday off work. Normally I can’t participate as I need to get up for work, but this year I am on sick leave due to my poorly back, and so can indulge in some Superbowl fun! I’m cooking some American-style foods (BBQ Chicken wings with blue cheese dip, hotdogs, nachos and Mississippi Mud Pie) and sharing them with some good friends. I’m pretty sure the boys will get out the Beer Pong table for a few games as well.

The party was held & we all had a blast! You can read my friend Liz's blog post about it here
bbq chicken wings with blue cheese dip @ my SuperBowl party

Mississippi Mud Pie @ SuperBowl party

7. Learn to Crotchet – Last year I inherited a family friend’s impressive Crotchet wool, hooks and books collection, and I keep meaning to get it all out and have a proper try at learning the craft. A lot of my WI friends are very accomplished at the craft and this year I want to pick their brains and steal their skills.

8. Finish off knitting and sewing projects – I am a serial crafter, and sometimes start projects that I don’t get round to finishing. This year I’d like to persevere and finish some of these half-done craft attempts. I intend on finishing my beginners sewing machine course with lovely Janet over at Kitchen Table Sewing in March and this should help me to finish some outstanding projects.

9. Join the Clandestine Cake Club & go to various events I first heard about the CCC a few months ago and thought it was a great idea – meet fellow cake lovers in a secret location, bring cake, eat cake, speak cake, take cake home. …What more do I need to say? 

I joined the lovely Clandestine cake ladies last week and posted about my first meet with them here.

10. Visit drinkshopdo – Another one that Liz has inspired! She told me about this nugget of gorgeousness in London and ever since I heard about the café come craft shop come workshop I have wanted to visit. I must do this. Last year I visited the wonderful Sew Over It in London and had a ball, so I imagine drinkshopdo will have the same effect on me.

11.  Join in with Bedford’s ‘Cash Mob’ - I’ve been desperate to join fellow Bedfordian’s in a monthly Cash Mob, which began three months ago, and finally joined in during February’s meet – the premise is that locals meet up in the town centre on a proposed Saturday each month with £5 of their own money which they are willing to spend. Kayte Judge (who is the brains behind Cash Mob) then chooses a nominated independent store out of the hat, and all Cash Mobbers go fourth and spend their £5 in that store. The idea being that as an individual shopper perhaps we cant make too much of a difference to the state of our High Street, but if the community club together we can support our local independent businesses and boost their revenue. So far, the shops that have been ‘cash mobbed’ have included Rose Tinted Vintage, The Arcadia Sweet Shop and Goldings. This month was Goldings on the High Street, and about 40-50 people turned up on this wet day to support this gem of a local business. I bought myself an awesome single cupcake holder (for transporting a single cupcake without it getting squashed – perfect for lunches!) and lovely set of foil chocolate wrappers for my chocolate-making habit.  It was great feeling to know that as a community we had boosted their daily revenue by at least £250, and no doubt introduced the shop to people who had never visited before (like me!).

my purchases from Feb's Cash Mob

12. Go to Claridges for afternoon tea – I was a massive fan of the BBC TV show ‘Inside Claridges’, ever since it aired I’ve been desperate to visit for afternoon tea. I’m hoping to go for my 27th birthday in October.

13. Visit St Helena’s in Elstow for our First Wedding Anniversary – This is an amazing restaurant in Bedfordshire that I’ve visited once before. Once isn’t enough as far as I’m concerned and I’m eager to return. Hopefully hubby and I will go to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in mid-August.

14. Visit Harry Potter Experience in Watford – I’m a massive Potter fan! We have a huge connection with the Potter dynasty as my auntie was the head of make up on all of the Harry Potter films. This meant I was lucky enough to be an extra in one of the films (Philosopher’s Stone) as well as meet all the cast and crew. Having the inside access was a huge part of my childhood, and I’d love to re-visit the memories by visiting the recently opened ‘experience’ in Watford.

hilarious claim to fame - the red arrow is pointing to my head! LOL

15. Go to Cadbury’s World – this one is self-explanatory. Chocolate. Enough said.

16. Make a hand raised pork pie – Okay, so Paul Hollywood makes it look easy, but I’m yet to have a go at hot water pastry or hand-raising a pie. This is something I’ve been meaning to have a go at for ages. This year I will do it.

17. Read ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo – I am a massive fan of the musical production, and new film version of this heart-wrenching story. I have been singing the songs since I was a teenager (‘On My Own’ was my GCSE Music performance piece back in 2002) but I have never ever managed to read the book from cover to cover. I have started it hundreds of times, but always given up as it’s a hard and wordy read – but I am determined that in my 27th year I will start and finish the whole novel.

18. Arrange a Picnic in the Park event with Liz – Liz and I currently run Scone Roses WI together, and we’re always trying to think of new fun ideas and events to run. She came up with this corker – a mass picnic in a local park for anyone who wants to join in – I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into arranging this for the summer!

19. Go to Calzone & Co in Bedford I keep hearing good things about this new Italian restaurant which opened in my favourite part of town (the embankment) late last year … must visit by the end of the year.

We went for lunch with our friends Liz and Baz after the Cash Mob event in Feb, and made the most of their pizza & a drink for £5 deal! We're still yet to try a calzone though, so i'm sure will be returning before long! 

20. Visit and support local independent shops more frequently – this is an aspiration I have been holding for a couple of years now, but what with busy work lives and convenience taking over I’ve been finding it hard to shop this way. This year I want to take a conscious step away from all-things-convenient and start supporting the great local shops we have in Bedford such as Gunns Bakery, Lingers the Butchers, The Cheese Kitchen deli, Foods of Italy, The Cottage Bakery, RoseTinted Vintage, Goldings, Fancy, The Arcadia Sweetshop and many more I’m yet to discover!

21. Redecorate the small spare room in preparation for our new arrival – If you’re a family member, friend, or regular blog-reader you’ll know that Liam and I are expecting our first baby in August. We need to redecorate our small spare room so as it can become the baby’s nursery. I can’t wait to get stuck into this project! We have already bought some awesome wallpaper designed by Quentin Blake, and a chest of drawers from Ikea to match the daybed that will be staying in the nursery room. We have inherited a beautiful antique cot from my dad (which my not-so-baby brother also used as a wee one!) - so the room is a work in progress. Once the wallpaper is up it's just a case of purchasing those last minute pretties to finish it off. 

Our awesome wallpaper for the nursery - Cockatoos by Quentin Blake.

22. Partake in some Random Acts of Kindness – I have blogged about this idea here and here in the past and this year I am determined to deliver some random acts of kindness to the special people in my life. So…watch this space…it might just be you!

23. Hand make/ hand bake giftsThis year’s goal is to try and hand make or hand bake at least one aspect of every gift I give. I have begun this already – I made a paper cut card for my brother’s birthday on January 1st 2013, and I hand baked a Chocolate, Espresso and Bourbon cake for my Father-in-Law’s birthday at the end of Jan. I’ve at least started with the best of intentions.

the homemade cake for my father-in-laws birthday - recipe here

24. Lose my post baby weight – for those of you who know me you’ll know I have always been a ‘big girl’ and struggled with my weight. But back in September 2011 I embarked on a weight-loss journey that saw me losing over 3 stones in weight. This was a huge achievement for me, and was hard work, but with a mixture of calorie counting and a LOT of walking I achieved my weight-loss goal. My main reason for losing the weight was because I wanted to start a family, and knew this would mean further weight gain. I also wanted to avoid the complications obesity brings to pregnancy and motherhood. Once our little bundle arrives I want to work hard to return to my pre-pregnancy weight, and hopefully shift more than I put on in pregnancy. I might finally get down to the sought-after (by me) size 14.

25. Make swimming part of my weekly routine – Exercise is important for me to keep my weight down, my mind clear and to support my love of food! However, since my back injury it has been increasingly harder to find exercise that is do-able and comfortable. Swimming is by far the best. The difficulty for me is that I don’t drive, and both of Bedford’s swimming pools are a good 40 minute or more walk away (I’m not really meant to walk more than 20 mins at a time due to my injury) … but once hubby is driving (which should be really soon) I’d like to build a weekly swim into my routine.

26. Develop some art work and branding for my blogthis is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, and I’m hoping I can work in collaboration with one of my best friends and awesome artist Carmi Latham to come up with some catchy artwork (logo, header, title art) for the blog. I want to give it a more personal touch & capture the essence of the blog visually for my readers.

I have now completed this- with the help of my wonderful friend Carmi who designed the branding for me! 

27. Eat an original Bedfordshire Clanger – a Clanger is a pasty style pastry that originates from Bedford – it combines sweet and savoury by having a meat filling in one end, and a fruit one in the other. Gunns Bakery in the town centre is one of the last places in Bedfordshire that still make and sell these little beauties, and I’m ashamed to say that after having lived in Bedford for 8 years now, I am still yet to try one. So next time I'm in town i plan to head to Gunns for lunch with the hubby in tow - and who knows, I might even be inspired to bake one myself! 

So...thats my list! :-)

Has anyone else got a similar list? 

What do you want to achieve this year? 

I'd love to hear some of your goals, so feel free to comment or do a linked post on your blog! 

Big love

Lucy xxx