The number 1 on my #18for 2018 was to learn to kayak. I started in May and loved it but forgot to blog of my experience as it happened over a period of time. It was our heat wave summer so it was a perfect activity. I started with 1:1 tuition from an amazing teacher and got so much information on technique, tides, conditions etc.. that I quickly felt I had the confidence to kayak. The tutor rowed next to me and was so clear and precise in his instructions on technique and how not to fall in that I relaxed and relished every moment. Without a doubt his teaching made this challenge so much fun and achievable, I fell in love with the sport this summer and although I stuck to the safety of the river this summer, next year’s #19for2019 may include a kayak trip across our bay. I’m excited about the prospect of more kayaking next summer, I loved the simplicity of rowing along a river, admiring the river life and feeling the warmth of the sun reflecting off the water, it was blissful.
Its been a while since I posted a #18for2018 update however I haven’t forgotten about my project its just that many items are works in progress. For example, I’ve read 20 books this year of which 3 have been 5 star reads according to my Good Reads account where I have been writing a review for each book. I’ve been playing some summer sports; cricket and rounders have been ticked off but I want to include more. I’m running to a schedule and have a kayak lesson booked for next week, so am feeling confident to meet these although the distance may need to be changed. The ones on wearing a pretty pair of heeled shoes and to look after my feet are a little more difficult since my diagnosis of arthritis in my right foot but I’m looking to be creative here too, I have a new pair of sparkly flip flops, which along with pumps are the only shoes I can wear in comfort at present! I am still confident that I will complete my list this year.
However today I have one of my #18for 2018 to tick off and report on #12 Go to a roller disco. When I created my list for 2018, it was about doing something fun, something different or simply getting out of my comfort zone. I chose the roller disco because I’ve grown up watching the American movies where they go to such discos and they look fun. I often go to the Christmas ice rinks which pop up in December and can skate my way around the rink with a quiet confidence so I decided that I wanted to try a roller disco, different skates but a similar style I predicted. I was wrong! As soon I laced up my boots and stood up, I wobbled, you can walk fairly easily balanced on the blade of an ice skate, the four wheels of a skate don’t allow you to do this! It was at this point, I realised that it was probably 30 years since I had last worn roller skates. For the first few circuits Little Man and I clung to the side but we did grew more confident, daring and determined as we progressed, Little Miss was superb from her first steps! It was so good to see how Little Man started frustrated and angry and was dabbing and dancing by the end, one of my happiest memories of the trip will be to us dancing (upper body only as we were never perfected twists and turns on the skates) to Upton Funk, it was one of those in the moment occasions, a shared joy.
At the end of last year, I was really disappointed to learn that many of the make up brands which I loved were selling their products in China. This meant that whilst the British versions were cruelty free, the companies were testing on animals to follow Chinese regulations and I no longer felt comfortable using their products.
This year I have spent time researching cruelty free make up brands so that I can have a make up bag which contains products I am comfortable wearing. I prefer a subtle make up look, so I like muted colours and just a little gloss or colour. I had hoped to go to a large department store and have a look at some of the premium ranges such as Charlotte Tilbury, Kat Von D and Bare Minerals whose products I have been lusting after online, but its been a busy few months so I’ve only been able to shop in smaller, local shops. My big rediscovery was the Body Shop, now they are no longer owned by L’Oréal and have gone back to their original values it was quite exciting to explore the shop and I did buy a number of products here (sadly dewberry shower gel, my teenage favourite has been discontinued) I’m impressed by the quality of the Body Shop foundation and the eye shadow palette of natural shades suits me beautifully. Another range I found locally was the US brand Pacifica, the lip tint in Guava Berry is perfect for work.
I am not one of those women who has a brimming make up bag, I buy a few quality products and use them to create a natural and simple look. I am relieved that my make up bag is now cruelty free again and another #18for 2018 is ticked off. It has been one of the 18 that may seem a little frivolous but was done for the right reasons and has made me happy.
At the end of December, I listened to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project. Her subject was about creating a #18for2018 and encouraging her audience to create a list of 18 things to do in 2018 to make them happy. Its not resolutions but simply tasks to make you happy, it could be finally ticking off something mundane but essential that you keep putting off, or trying something exciting and new. I created my list and this month have been mainly planning as many are summer based activities. Its not just been research as I have booked tickets to see Wicked in October for number 8, have dates for the kayaking course and have bought some new make up this month. For me, the list is not simply about doing something but getting the buzz and satisfaction of planning and looking forward.
I decided that I wanted to complete at least one item fully in January so took one of the easier tasks and chose to bake a soufflé. First of all it might seem quite a random task, but to me a soufflé is always one of those dishes spoken about in revered tones, something seemingly quite technical with the potential to go wrong (dramatically) I love being in the kitchen and experimenting with new dishes, I can do pies from scratch, mix delicate flavours, cook a risotto just so but the confidence to bake a soufflé had always eluded me.
I am one of those people who likes to be prepared, so I researched a number of different recipes to see the different ways in which to make a soufflé. I read some advice and got some handy hints to stop the disasters, I quickly learnt that the number 1 rule was not to open the oven during the cooking. I chose to make the soufflé as a Saturday evening meal, as the afternoons are normally pretty relaxed at home, giving me the time to potter in the kitchen, to listen to the radio and be relaxed. To me this is part of the project too, creating a happy place whilst you complete the task. The soufflé itself was pretty easy to prepare, I am all for dividing a recipe into little stages. The bit I was dreading most was whisking the egg whites to a perfect state and then combining with the remaining ingredients. Fortunately, this went smoothly and there was a real sensory delight in seeing the transformation from egg white to white soft peaks. I was exceptionally good at not opening the oven, despite the temptation and I was delighted with the result, the soufflé rose and stayed risen until served. It was delicious, a soft, light main with green vegetables, even my most hardened food critic and picky eater enjoyed it.
My soufflé did give me a happy vibe, I enjoyed browsing my cookbooks for a recipe, being in my kitchen and baking a meal which my family enjoyed. Some times the simplest tasks bring a simple happiness and joy.
I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions but with social media awash with resolutions and bucket lists I thought this year I would think of 18 things I would really like to do in 2018, I’ve seen it mentioned in a few posts, @glasgowmummy is a great example so thanks to the creative genius, Gretchen Rubin behind the idea. Some will take an hour to do, others months, some are for fun, some serious, some I’ll do alone, some with others. Here’s my list and I hope to provide updates randomly throughout the year of my progress.
- Learn to kayak. We live at the sea and I’m always envious of those kayaking in the bay, now Little Man has been a few times its time for me to learn how to do it so I can go out with him on the water too.
- Bake a soufflé. I’ve never made one and fancy a cookery challenge.
- Read some amazing books. I’m not looking to read a set number, but just books which are brilliant and allow me to lose myself in the story.
- Train well and run a half marathon. I’m planning an October half marathon so I can train seriously in the Spring and summer. I’ve done half marathons before but its 5 years since my last and I want to do one in my 40s.
- Wear a pair of pretty heeled shoes. Depending on the season and activity, I will be wearing one of these, Converse pumps in a variety of colours, boots, flip flops or running shoes. Stepping out of my comfort zone here!
- Have a cruelty free make up bag. Since learning the devastating news that my favourite brands are no longer cruelty free because as they now test on animals to allow their products to be sold in China, my make up will become cruelty free this year.
- Plan a trip to London for the children. They’ve seen so many images of London that its now time to take them and show them the sights. We’ll do the tube, red buses, see Big Ben etc..
- Go the theatre. I miss seeing the big shows and musicals so this year I will go and see a show and be wowed by live theatre again.
- Meet up with old friends. There’s a group of old work colleagues whom I haven’t seen for years and in every Christmas card we vow to meet up, so I’m finally going to organise it and do it.
- Play rounders or another summer sport. Rounders, tennis I love them but never play, that will change in 2018.
- Look after my feet. I walk a lot and am always on my feet but never treat them as I should, this year its foot massages, peppermint cream and filing away the hard skin (TMI!)
- Go to a roller disco. This is so random, but I really fancy going to a roller disco so on to the list it goes!
- Invest in a warm, winter coat.
- Make something simple on my sewing machine. I use my machine but want to do something on it that I’ve never tried before, a skirt?
- Be more creative with the photos on my blog. Its difficult when you write anonymously there’s no people to brighten up my blog, so I’ll try some more interesting still life shots.
- Swing on the high ropes. Again this is something the children want to do and secretly me too.
- Do one scary but exhilarating thing. I have no idea what yet…
- Have a holiday inspired nail art manicure. I look at Pinterest and see so many nice holiday nails. Before our holidays this year I’m going to have something a little bit different done!
Wish me luck on something that I hope will inspire me, invigorate me, develop new skills and will help bring the sparkles to 2018.