Tuesday, 11 March 2014

30 for Thirty. My Bucket List

It's very nearly my 29th birthday (yay!). I love reading 'life' and wanderlust lists on other blogs. I'm a list making sort of person day to day, so it seemed fitting to create my own list of things I'd love to try and places I'd love to visit before my 30th birthday. 

Here's my "30 for Thirty" list:

  • Explore my own city
  • Pass my advanced open water diving qualification
  • Finally visit Portmerion Village 
  • Make homemade pecan pie
  • Join a book club
  • Learn to ski
  • Knit something 
  • Get a first author research paper accepted for publication
  • Learn how to meditate
  • Visit Anglesey
  • Volunteer my time to a cause that matters to me
  • Learn how to take better photographs
  • Run a 10K
  • Attend a walk through or open air theatre performance
  • Visit Marrakesh
  • See a performance at the Shakespeare Globe in London
  • Eat something I've never tried before
  • Sing in front of a crowd
  • Swim alongside a turtle
  • Re-learn how to play the flute 
  • (Successfully) Make macarons from scratch
  • Stay in the Scottish Highlands
  • Watch an opera
  • Sleep in a cottage by the sea 
  • Host a five course dinner party
  • Take a flower arranging course
  • Dance until sunrise
  • Make a new friend
  • Own a pair of killer court shoes
  • Watch a movie at a drive in theatre

So there it is. 30 things I'd like to try to experience before I turn 30. I'll have a year and a little bit to work my way through as many as I can. I'm not putting pressure on myself. I just wanted to encourage myself to make a little more time for the things I want to experience. It'll make for a fun year and a half, I can tell! 

I'm off to get started... 

Friday, 7 March 2014

A MasterChef Challenge

We're off to CentreParcs for the weekend with my sister-in-law and her husband. We'll eat, drink, spend hours playing board games, complain about saddle sores and, to top it all off, we've booked a session in the AquaSana spa. I can't bloomin' wait. M's mum has set us a MasterChef challenge. We cook one night, they cook the other. The challenge is ON.
We must create two courses and the shopping list ingredients must be the "heros" of the dish. We can include other fresh and store cupboard ingredients and there's no time limit but can't take so long that hungry dinners are left waiting at the table all night.

Our shopping list:
  • lamb
  • coconut milk
  • mushrooms
  • baby corn
  • pistachios
  • cherry tomato
  • pears
  • chocolate
So, grouping the ingredients, our reaction is to create a main dish including lamb, coconut milk, mushrooms, baby corn and tomato, and a dessert dish with the pears, chocolate and pistachios. Although, lots of other possible (some weird and potentially wonderful) combinations are trying to sway us in a different direction.

I'm a dessert girl so my focus has been on the pud. I've found this pistachio, pear and chocolate cake, which looks delicious:
Find the recipe at Alice Bakes A Cake
It has the advantages that I can make it in advance and we'll have cake to spare on Sunday. Then there was this French Pears Belle Helene dish to consider:
Find the recipe at Eat Boutique
I don't think the colours in this image really sell it, but I can imagine the flavours. Soft baked pear. Yum! I liked the look of this more rustic pear and chocolate cake:
Find the recipe at Leena Eats
Or what about something like this served with a baked pear (I'll go with plain and simple pear to get a spoonful of this!)? The issue with this ice cream based one is getting access to a large enough freezer to chill the ice cream maker dish and then store it, once made. If I don't make this for the weekend, it'll definitely be pinned to make this Summer!
Find the recipe at Taste
Then there are these two easy, ready in moments puds which we could easily add pistachios to [1, Pear and chocolate pudding 2. Pears with chocolate sauce]:

Decisions decisions... Are you a MasterChef fan? Have you ever set or been set a similar challenge? What would you cook with this mystery box of ingredients?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Unwritten Bucket List

I'll turn 29 this month. Despite recently watching the Friends episode where Rachel faces her 30th and realising that this once so distant event will be mine to celebrate next year, I've no problem with my age. I quite look forward to what my thirties might hold.

Image via Pinterest

I've written a "bucket list" of things I'd love to try and places I'd love to visit in the run up to my 30th. I'll share this soon. As I thought about what would be on my list I also realised that there's a whole range of experiences I've enjoyed that could be crossed off an unwritten bucket list. Doing this was such a good exercise! It's made me feel very grateful, encouraged me to revisit some amazing memories and photographs, and reminded me how fortunate I am to have had these opportunities. 

Here is the list of things I may have put on a bucket list and can cross off before I turn 29:
  1. Fall in love I fell head over heels in love with M when we met in 2004
  2. Complete a PhD Doctor, doctor...
  3. Love my own pet My home was made complete by my gorgeous tabby cat, Jacques, who had to be put to sleep last August. We now have two adorable kitten rascals, Lottie and Bruce.
  4. Dive in the Maldives I learnt to dive at Kuramathi on honeymoon in 2011.
  5. Ride a camel at sunset in the desert Tunisa 2005. My first holiday with M.
  6. Love and be loved by my family and friends
  7. Visit Walt Disney World six times  Yes, six times! I'm a Disney girl and a big roller coaster fan.
  8. Go on a girls only holiday We've been to Amsterdam and Spain and had several UK hen adventures. We're planning another Spanish trip to celebrate our 30th's in Barcelona.
  9. Cry with happiness at a friend's wedding More than once!
  10. Watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon A favourite family holiday moment, captured in a treasured photograph of me and my dad. 
  11. Eat Malay street food in a thunderstorm Summer 2013. A perfect memory, even the soaking wet clothes we had to walk around in afterwards
  12. Camp at a festival Greenman and IndieTracks, but would love to add more to the list.
  13. Sleep under the stars On the last night at camp, after working for the Summer as a camp counsellor in America in 2004.
  14. Drive abroad The Mijas road in Costa del Sol is hairy. It wasn't a calm drive.
  15. Chase the Northern Lights in Iceland During our Iceland trip in January 2012.
  16. Own a designer handbag At the bottom of my wardrobe, wrapped in their little dustbags, is a very beautiful (but barely ever used for fear of marking) tan Miu Miu handbag and a little sparkly Miu Miu clutch, both bought with a healthy discount while working part time at a flashy designer store. I also treated myself to a beautiful black Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot to Handle hobo in Singapore last Summer and I think it's been my most used handbag ever. 
  17. Travel to a Christmas Market I sipped mulled wine and browsed stalls in snowy Nuremberg in 2012.  
  18. Own my own house "Our house, in the middle of the street"
  19. InterRail around Europe Summer 2005
  20. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant We celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a meal at Holbeck Ghyll in the Lake District. 
  21. Ride in the back of a pick up truck down an American highway Summer 2004
  22. Learn how to cook Thai food in Thailand This was one of the first things we did when we arrived in Bangkok last Summer.
  23. See a West End show Love a good show! So far, Blood Brothers, Wicked (twice), Lion King, Dirty Dancing, and booked to see Miss Saigon in July.
  24. Kiss on the top of the Eiffel Tower October 2012
  25. Have a picnic in Central Park I can remember what we ate, too. A pastrami and pickle sandwich, Lays potato chips, New York cheesecake and a can of Mountain Dew. How cliche...
  26. Visit the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur Summer 2013
  27. Watch jazz in New Orleans On two separate visits
  28. Admire the ruins at Sigiriya We travelled around Sri Lanka as part of our honeymoon and Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was one of my favourite stops.
  29. Bathe in the Blue Lagoon Another highlight of my trip to Iceland in 2012.

There's countless other things that could have gone on this list, some smaller and others larger. If life's about making memories, this list reminds me how many precious ones I've already made. I shared the list with M before posting and we realised how many of these amazing memories we'd made together. It turns out that reflecting can be just as satisfying as dreaming.

Monday, 3 March 2014

"If we took a holiday": Summer 2014

I am a more than a little bit excited about this year's holiday plans. We've been saving pennies with the hope of travelling for a few weeks this Summer around Bali and the Gilis, exploring, eating and diving. Flights are now booked. It's time to get planning!

The plan:
Bali: We hope to spend some time on Bali's South coast, avoiding the main areas of Kuta, perhaps staying in Seminyak and/or Sanur, travelling to Ubud, heading North to trek Mount Batur and, after some time in the Gili islands, a few days diving from Nusa Lembongan.
Image source
Gili Islands: Until recently, I didn't know that these three islands off the coast of Lombok even existed. Now I dream about them daily. My best friend, who is just about to arrive back in the UK after what sounds like the most fantastic travel adventure, told me about her dive trips in the Gilis over Skype and her stories sold these paradise islands to me almost immediately. No cars; only bicycles and horse drawn carts. Add to that some sun kissed sandy beaches, lush vegetation, beautiful reefs, and perhaps the biggest draw: the almost certainty of meeting this fella, or at least one of his distant relatives.
Mr Turtle, waiting for our arrival. Image source
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three islands and seems to have a reputation as being the party island of the three. Gili Meno and Gili Air are smaller and quieter. We've not decided yet whether to split our time between the islands, or base ourselves at a quieter spot in Gili T and take a boat across to Gili Meno and Gili Air for a day visit. All three islands look breathtaking and dive reviewers rave about their underwater environment. I'm very excited.

Image. Gili Air
I love a good spreadsheet and I'm starting to build up a list of possible experiences and 'must visits'. Have you visited Bali or the Gili islands? Any recommendations?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...