Okay, so I know the 30 before 30 bucket-list thing has been done to death! Bear with me. I thought that rather than just ploughing out a list of your bog-standard once in a lifetime experiences (“see the northern lights”, “Swim with dolphins” etc. etc.) I could set myself 30 mini-challenges to complete this year instead. I’m hoping this will make it more of a fun way to document the year as opposed to an anxiety-inducing rush to cram a lifetime’s worth of hopes and dreams into 49 weeks.
Some challenges are bigger and more ambitious than others, but they are all testing in their own way. Here goes:
1) Read all the books that I own but have never read.
Embarrassingly, I have only read about 30% of the books proudly displayed on my meticulously, colour-coordinated bookshelf. I think at 29 it’s about time that I put that right. I’ll count them up and list them in a separate post to review as I go along. There are A LOT! So I may have to switch to audiobook versions for a few of them for the sake of time-saving
2) Pass my driving test.
A challenge I’ve been putting off since I was 17! I did start lessons again last year but, like most things in 2020, my attempt was pretty much blighted by Covid. My test, which was initially booked for January, is now booked towards the end of March. Let’s hope we’re out of tier 4 in time to finish my lessons and finally get this one over and done with!
3) Make it through puppy training and hopefully have a reasonably well-behaved dog at the end of it (or at least one that does its business OUTSIDE).
My cream carpets and white rug (that I have to admit I am particularly partial to) are all relying on success in this one! We’re bringing our baby boy home the first week of February. Stay tuned for major puppy spam.
4) Re-visit one place I’ve been to before but have always wanted to go back to.
The first place that springs to mind is Las Vegas. I went I was 14 for my brother’s wedding, so it doesn’t really count. If you can’t do Vegas in your 20’s then when can you?
5) Visit at least two countries I’ve never been to before.
I’m not sure exactly which countries these will be yet, but I’d like to go to Ireland. It seems ridiculous that in nearly 30 years I’ve never visited one of our closest neighbours!
6) Do a skydive.
This is one I’ve wanted to do for years and wouldn’t have blinked an eyelid at 5 or 6 years ago. However, I think living with ‘Captain Cautious’ has rubbed off on me a bit over the years (James is a “The tea-cups represent an unnecessary degree of danger” level of sissy when it comes to anything adrenaline related)! I’m actually surprisingly nervous but need to regain a bit of my former fearlessness, so I feel like jumping out of a plane is the perfect way to do that.
7) Finish my first manuscript.
I have been writing bits and pieces since the age of about 15, but last year I sat down and started my first genuine attempt at trying to write properly. I’m currently up to about 30,000 words. The challenge is to get to the end (probably around 100,000 words) even if editing it then takes another 2 years!
8) Get at least one paid writing job.
This is the first step in my bigger goal to move over to a full-time career in writing. I’m aware this may be a long and arduous process (especially in the current job climate), so I’m starting off easy. I just want to have done at least one piece of writing by the end of the year that I actually get paid a fee for!
9) Fill all the empty hooks on our walls.
We bought our first flat last year, and since moving in in September, we have been trying to make it look more like home. We’ve done pretty well, but the amount of wall art you need to fill a three-bed flat is actually insane (we’ve never owned wall art before now)! It’s driving me crazy walking around and still seeing all the empty hooks on the walls, so challenge 9 is to make them go away! There are 18 in total, I’ll take pictures and document as we fill them in!
10) Complete the Thames Bridge Challenge.
This is a really cool walking challenge across London that crosses 12 famous London bridges. I got the idea from my parents, who completed it a couple of years ago. James and I will be walking the 25 miles across the city to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital this September.
11) Give Blood.
I know this sounds like a standard ‘bucket list filler’, but it was only last year that I first managed to have a blood test without fainting so for me, this really is a challenge! I promise I will do my best NOT to be more of a hindrance than a help!
12) Post 50+ Blog posts.
I’m currently at 3 so may need to step on the gears a little bit! I’m aiming for at least one a week from now on.
13) Go one month with no refined sugar.
Sweets, chocolate, pudding all out! (Just for one month though, otherwise what’s the point in living).
14) Be able to do at least 10 reps of front squats with 15KG’s.
I started doing resistance training in 2020 (with intermittent enthusiasm). My general goal is just to feel stronger, but I’ve chosen front squats for this challenge because I hate them! When they come up in a class, I quite often put my dumbbells down and pretend that bodyweight squats still count (not kidding anyone). I’m taking part in Izy George’s ‘Strong Body Academy’, which is 6 weeks of building better technique and confidence when lifting weights, specially designed for women (Instagram – @izygeorge). I’m hoping this will help me avoid destroying my back and/or knees whilst doing them, then it’s no excuses!
p.s – I did my first resistance class in a long time this morning WITH 7.5KGS (half the weight of my challenge weights). Now I can barely walk. This may be even more of a challenge than I anticipated!
15) Kick my fast fashion habit.
I’m Amie, and I’m an online shopping addict. I don’t even want to know what I spend yearly (or monthly for that matter) on clothes that, let’s be honest, I probably will hardly ever wear. I NEED (for the sake of the environment as much as my bank balance) to learn to buy less (much less!), of better quality and wear for longer! To make it quantifiable, I’m limiting myself to a maximum of one item every 2 months (or 6 a year).
16) Makeover our downstairs terrace area.
Another home makeover challenge. I’m not sure how to describe the strange bunker-like terrace area outside our bedroom, but at the moment it’s pretty stark. So the challenge is to, at a minimum, make it nice to look at and, at best, actually create a useable space.
17) Take an advanced scuba course and/or do a night dive.
I’ve left this open as two option because it will come down to where we are and how long for, but either way, I’d love to be a better diver by the end of the year.
18) Use and review all my hair and beauty products.
Until the middle of last year, I worked in a hairdressing salon and was always given products to sample. I also have a bit of a propensity for beauty products in general. I’m now at the stage where I have a bathroom cabinet, and 3 draws full of hair and beauty products, some of which I’ve never even tried! I’d like to, not all get through and try out as many as possible, but also write more beauty reviews. I’m aiming for at least one post a month based on product reviews!
19) Go on ‘The Leap of Faith’ at Aquaventure, Dubai.
The Leap of Faith is a nine-storey high, near-vertical kamikaze waterslide that shoots you out through an aquarium filled with sharks. It looks amazing, and again I would have done this one without thinking a few years back. However ‘Captain Cautious’ (along with painful memories of killer wedgies from similar rides elsewhere) have struck again, and I’ve always found excuses until now to skip this one out! Time to take the plunge (literally) wedgie or no wedgie.
20) Watch all 8 Harry Potter films back-to-back.
I’m a massive HP fan (primarily of the books but I’m okay with the films too). Somehow I have never done this before. Seems like as good a challenge as any to take on at 29.
21) Complete a 30-day hot yoga challenge.
I started one of these whilst at university but caught a nasty cold on about day 26 and had to quit. Those of you who don’t do hot yoga and have never heard of this before, it’s essentially: go to yoga. Go every day. Do that for 30 days. Simple as that.
22) Take a snowboarding lesson.
I skied a fair bit as a teenager before I had a skiing accident and ended up having surgery on my knee (I haven’t been back on the slopes since I was 16). I have always wanted to try snowboarding (because they just look so much cooler than skiers- sorry!). However, I’ve been told the first week or so of learning is a cold and bitter hell of bruised bums and battered knees. I’ve therefore decided to do it anyway. It might just be a lesson at an indoor slope, (it doesn’t look like we’re likely to get much of a ski season between now and April). Still, at least I’ll be able to make up my own mind on all the hell stuff and will be prepared if we do manage to go next year!
23) Cycle coast to coast.
My big brother did the coast to coast challenge a few years back (he did it walking, solo and wild camping- I will be avoiding all three of these things) so this one is inspired by him. I’m dragging James along for the ride, because lets’ face it, I need him to do the navigating!
24) Learn how to make macaroons (properly).
I’ve tried to make macaroons twice in my life. In an unexpected streak beginner’s luck, the first time they were amazing! I then went around telling everyone I could make really good macaroons, only to try again and end up with soggy splodges. I haven’t tried again since.
25) Get my boating licence.
James has slowly been introducing me to the world of boats over the last 8 years. In the UK you don’t need a boating licence (it’s the only country in Europe that doesn’t require you to have one), so I’ve had some experience in the driving seat. It would be great to hire and drive a speed boat when travelling though, so both James and I will be doing our RYA Power Boat Level 2 as challenge no 25.
26) One month with no Deliveroo (or other takeaway provider …).
I have a feeling this is one that James will not be participating in! We get Deliveroo A-LOT (I’m talking up to 5 times a week), so this will definitely be challenging.
27) Climb Scafell Pike with my bestie.
After coercing James into doing at least 3 of the above challenges with me, I’m very thankful that someone else has valiantly jumped in and agreed to keep me company! Thank you Laura, you really are the best! (By the way, I did try and persuade her to do the three peaks challenge instead but that was an outright ‘hell no’).
28) Have a go at flyboarding.
I’ve been eyeing this up for a while but have a feeling its probably deceptively hard! Will let you know very soon…
29) Do an off-road quad bike safari.
This one is pretty much an excuse to drag my whole group of friends into doing a challenge with me on our trip to Crete in May. (Our first trip away together for 10 years – organising this trip has been a 10-year-long challenge in itself!). But still, the last time I tried to drive a quad bike, I crashed it immediately. I then had to be driven around by my younger brother, I was about 12, and he was about 10. This was highly humiliating.
30) Visit London’s 13 oldest pubs in one day.
I wanted to do one that involved seeing more of London, and our pubs have got to be some of our best assets as a city! Also, a great excuse for a summer booze-up once we’re allowed out of the house again!