40 before 40: progress report #1

St Chrischona TV tower

Since it is somehow 13th March already, which makes it exactly 5 months until my birthday and the end of year one of my 40 before 40, I thought I would give you a little progress report. Not that I’ve done much in the seven months since my last birthday, but I do have a few things to report on.

Number 2: Beat Jan at mini golf

Jan always beats me at mini golf and I was determined to beat him at least once. Amazingly, I actually managed this just a couple of weeks after starting the challenge. You can read about it here.

Number 5: Read the rest of the books from the BBC Big Read that I didn’t manage before turning 35

At the start I had 63 left to read and since last August I have finished five of them. Outlander, Trainspotting, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Woman in White and The World According to Garp.

Number 14: Read a book published in each year of my life ( =one book each from 1983 until 2023)

So far I have read books from 20 years, which is almost half (I need 41 in total). You can see them all here. Of course I have read multiple books for some years, but only the first one counts.

Number 16: Try 10 foods or dishes that I haven’t had before

I ate veal kidneys in Yverdon-le- Bains. Admittedly by accident because Jan didn’t know the French word for kidney so I only knew I was getting veal something. But it still counts!

Number 22: Visit a new place in Switzerland for each letter of my first name

So far, I have visited four – Burgdorf, Einsiedeln, Lugano and Yverdon-les-Bains. Not in that order. I actually went to Yverdon-les-Bains first. Nothing like beginning at the end 😉

So only one thing actually crossed off but quite a few in progress. Not a bad start. Obviously I won’t be able to complete number 14 until the year I turn 40 because I can’t read books that haven’t even been published yet 😉 but hopefully I will have a few more things completed the next time I check in… whenever that might be.

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2019 goals

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Random photo of healthy looking food because it seemed fitting…

Yes, I’m late jumping on this bandwagon because it’s taken me this long to decide on most of my goals for the year. Also, how is it that we’re an entire week into the New Year already? (For the record, I initially typed 2018 in the title so clearly my brain hasn’t caught up yet). My goals fall into three basic categories: reading, cleaning and healthy eating. Here they are:

Reading goals

  • Read 100 books (Good Reads challenge goal). Of these:
    • 10 should be non-fiction
    • 12 should be from the BBC Big Read list
    • 20 should have been on my to-read list before 2019 started

Cleaning goals

  • Deep clean once per month. To include:
    • Cleaning the bathrooms including mopping floors
    • Cleaning the kitchen including mopping floor and cleaning the oven (bolded because I will clean that damn oven regularly if it kills me! Gah.)
    • Changing bedding
    • Dusting
    • Hoovering, taking away recycling, etc. as needed (although I do those things regularly anyway)

Healthy eating goals

  • Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and veg on at least 3 days per week
  • Have nuts/fruit as snacks instead of chocolate and crisps
  • A maximum of 2 cups of black tea per day
  • Drink at least 2 pint glasses of water per day

My one other goal/wish/hope for 2019 is, of course, to get pregnant again and this time actually get a baby at the end of it, but that one is kind of out of my hands (thanks useless body!) and therefore doesn’t really belong here.

I won’t ask what your goals are because I feel like everyone who isn’t me actually managed to decide and post theirs before the year was a whole week old!

40 before 40: Beat Jan at mini-golf

Hello friends! Well, I didn’t expect to be able to tell you this soon that I had crossed something off my 40 before 40 list (and actually I’m posting this late since it happened nearly 2 weeks ago!).

The Sunday before last Jan and I decided to go and play mini-golf. Before we left, he remarked that I should really practice against someone else if I wanted to eventually beat him because if I only play him he also gets a chance to improve every time. As it happened, on this particular day I actually did better than usual (which still isn’t particularly good, as you will see – but only one 7!) and he was having kind of a bad day and so, most unexpectedly, I won!

Photographic evidence:

minigolf

So, one goal down, 39 to go…

35 before 35 – the results

6-tea+candles

It has been three whole days since I turned 35 so I suppose you could say this post is late. I’ve been trying to think how to write it. After all, there’s not much point in just re-listing all the things I had planned to do when you can just check the master list here and see all the things I have an haven’t done. So, instead, a summary:

Out of 35 goals, I completed 18. That means I did not complete 17… so I did just over half. Of those I didn’t complete, I only read 21 out of 50 non-fiction books, so less than half for that one, but I read 69 out of 132 books for the BBC Big Read, meaning I managed more than half for that one and only have another 63 left to read before I turn 40.

Number 27 on my list, spend the night in a wine barrel, I’m just not that bothered about any more and number 3, learn Spanish, was a silly goal anyway. What does “learn Spanish” even mean… how much would I have had to learn in order to consider it complete? For number 33, have a poem published, I can say I tried. I submitted three poems to a competition and not one of them got through. Not even an honourable mention. I was quite proud of one of them as well! Oh well, their loss… right? 😉

Overall, I am very pleased with what I did manage to do. The main goal was to be able to look back when I turned 35 and be able to say I have done things with my life… I have read, learned, travelled and had experiences. And I can certainly say that! I may not have managed to see the Northern Lights (yet) but I did visit not just one but two new continents (overachiever ;-)) having travelled to both Taiwan and New Zealand in the past 5 years. Drinking champagne in Champagne and seeing three World Cup rugby matches were fantastic experiences and 69 BBC Big Read books isn’t bad considering the length of some of them (looking at you Anna Karenina). Now on to 40 before 40! I have a feeling the next five years are going to be interesting whatever happens with my list 😉

Taiwan
View of Sun Moon Lake from Wen Wu Temple, Taiwan

The final 15 things to do before I turn 40

With my 35th birthday (and thus the end of my 35 before 35 challenge) exactly one month away, I thought it was time I posted the third and final part of my 40 before 40 list. Part one is here, with the first 15 items, and part two is here with 10 more. That leaves 15 for me to reveal today.

Bird

  1. Get a dog
  2. See the Northern Lights (rolled over from the last list)
  3. See a play on the Seebühne (floating stage) at the Bregenzer Festspiele.
  4. Make chicken Kiev – you can’t get them here and surely it can’t be that hard?
  5. Get the tattoo I’ve been planning for a while – first I have to find a decent tattooist and someone who can draw it for me!
  6. Bake and decorate a cake
  7. Read The Canterbury Tales – my grandma bought this for Jan a few years ago and neither of us has even looked at it yet!
  8. Get a new dining table – we currently have 2 IKEA cheapy ones, which are fine (except that one has been on the balcony and is looking rather weathered!) but by the time I’m 40 I want to own a half-decent table!
  9. Remove all my books from my dad’s house, either by having my dad take them to charity shops or bringing them to Switzerland. I usually bring a few over every time I visit. By the time I reach 40 I hope to have completed the process!
  10. Bring my doll’s house over from England. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to do this but it’s mine and I want it!
  11. Go whale watching – this was on my last list and I still want to do it!
  12. Take a trip to the Farne Isalands. I haven’t been since I was a kid and I’ve been meaning to take Jan for years.
  13. Get to my goal weight… but I’m not telling you what that is 😉 I will say that I am 7 kg above it right now.
  14. Take an in-person course or join a group – it doesn’t matter what as long as it’s something that makes me get out there and interact with actual people. (Scary!)
  15. … I am leaving the final one open for now. If anyone has any suggestions please tell me in the comments (not bungee jumping). Otherwise I will definitely think of something to put here at some point.

2015 goals

I mentioned a few days ago that I was working on a list of resolutions, or goals, for the year. I know traditionally you’re supposed to have resolutions all ready to go from the 1st of January so you can start making yourself feel bad immediately 😉 but I decided not to do that this year. A few of mine are more goals for after we move anyway, rather than for 2015. Others I already had in mind at the end of last year and have actually started working on. And now, without further ado, I shall get on with it…

  1. Make an effort to get out in the fresh air more. This will be especially important after we move, when I will be working from and won’t even have my daily commute to get me out of the house, but it would have been on my list even if we were staying in Karlsruhe. I spend far too much of my time sitting around at home or in the pub, which may be fun but it’s no good for my health! This year I want to make more of an effort to get outside and enjoy the fresh air… especially when it’s sunny! I waste so many beautiful weekends lolling around in my PJs. If I’m going to avoid the housework anyway, I might as well avoid it somewhere where it isn’t staring me in the face! Also, once I move I will no longer have to leave the house to go to work, so I’m going to have to make a real effort to at least go for a quick walk every day to avoid going mad!
  2. Get more exercise. By which I mean get any exercise at all! Apart from when we’re visiting a city, which always involves a lot of walking, my only exercise consists of bringing the shopping home from the supermarket and walking to the pub. That’s something I’m determined to change this year. I’m sure my health (and my giant backside!) will thank me in the end.
  3. Throw away less food. I’m afraid I have to confess that a lot of what I buy either goes out of date or turns green before I actually get round to using it. Not only is this a terrible waste of resources and the exact opposite of environmentally friendly… it’s also not exactly good for my bank balance. I want to stop wasting food anyway because of the first two points, but the money aspect will become a very real problem once we move and start having to pay Swiss prices for things. It’s time to start paying attention to what’s in my fridge and actually using food up in time!
  4. Save money. Which mostly means curbing my Amazon habit (cheap books are my greatest weakness!) and avoiding buying clothes that I don’t actually need just because they have cute animals on them. Switzerland has a much higher cost of living than Germany and I’ll still be earning the same wage! Saving desperately needs to happen.
  5. Once we move, make an effort to get out and meet people. I am terrible with people I don’t know, especially large groups of people I don’t know. In Switzerland, I’m not going to know anybody and it’s not as though I can make new friends through work. My natural instinct would be to hole up in the flat with my cross stitch and my blog, but I’ve done that before and it was a horribly lonely existence. Making friends as an adult is hard, but I know I need to do it if I’m going to be happy in my new home. Obviously I’m not expecting to find a whole new group of friends straight away, but I want to at least be able to say I tried!
  6. Read 70 books. This is a goal I’ve set for myself on Good Reads, and normally I would say “easy-peasy”! But after March I will no longer be commuting every day, which means I’m actually going to have to purposely make time to read. Wish me luck!
  7. And finally, a goal for the first three months of 2015… i.e. the time I have left in Karlsruhe. While I’m still here, I want to make an effort to visit all those places I’ve been meaning to check out for ages, as well as revisiting places that I enjoyed once but never went back to. Among other things, I need to have high tea at Sukie’s, drink cocktails at Kofferaum again and try the Portuguese restaurant that’s supposed to be really good. And of course it would be nice if we could win one more pub quiz before we go!

I think that’s it. Seven seems like a lot of goals for one year, but I think they’re all realistic enough. Here’s to a fabulous 2015!

2014 resolution recap

We’re already a week into 2015 and I’m only just getting round to recapping my resolutions from last year! Oh well, the new year doesn’t properly start until I’m back at work anyway, and while I was technically back on Monday, yesterday was another holiday in Germany so I’m only just starting to get back into a routine now. That’s my excuse anyway 😉 So how did I do on last year’s resolutions? Well, I actually only made three, and I managed to stick to them all. Here’s a recap:

  1. Travel more. I wanted to at least make an effort to go on day trips, and I managed that plus much, much more, spending time in 8 different countries over the course of 2014! Taiwan and Vienna were just two of the bigger trips I took, with a few day trips to France (Colmar), Switzerland (Basel) and some new-to-me German towns (Bad Bergzabern) thrown into the mix as well.
  2. Keep not biting my nails. Most of my nails are still not long because they insist on splitting, getting caught on things and just generally being annoying. But I can honestly say I haven’t bitten any of them off. Success!
  3. Enjoy the time I have with my boyfriend and stop worrying so much about the future. It’s difficult for me not to worry about the future… I need to know that what I have right now isn’t all there is! But I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of living in the moment and not nagging about what’s next. And no sooner did I manage to starting living in the moment than something came up that meant Jan had to make a decision about our future together anyway. Oh universe, you’re such a tease!

So that’s three resolutions made and three kept. I do have a number of goals for this year, but I’m still busy finalising and thinking about them, so you’re just going to have to wait for that post – by which time I’m sure you’ll all be completely sick of resolution posts anyway so you’ll most likely never even read mine ;-). Oh well, c’est la vie as the French would say.