It was Robbie Burns who once said “the best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry”, and such it is with dreams and goals sometimes. I’ve been a bit remiss about updating my goals since I turned 30. I completed 17 of 30 before my 30th birthday, which I thought wasn’t too bad! But I resolved that I would continue working on my goals, even though I didn’t hit the deadline, simply because they were important to me.
I’ve since turned 31, and I’m still working on my list. Life isn’t always as straightforward as we set out for it to be, but I think that this adds to its excitement! And just because we don’t meet a deadline, doesn’t mean that the goal is no longer worthy of our time and effort. Too often, I have abandoned something important to me, simply because it didn’t fit in with the timeline I had in mind. So – in the spirit of creating an amazing 2013… and an incredible run-up to turning 32 – I thought I’d give a little update – as much for myself as anyone still out there!
In March 2012, I achieved a goal I set out to complete in 2009 – to take my two youngest sisters to Disneyland. Growing up, my parents often promised to take us to Disneyland, and it was ever to my disappointment that (for various reasons) this didn’t eventuate. When I promised my sisters the trip, I was determined to see it happen. I am incredibly grateful to my parents for supporting me in my vision, which allowed the girls to take their first step into The Big Wide World at 14 and 17 years of age! The trip was wonderful (apart from some pretty hideous doses of flu) and we devoured Disneyland, riding rollercoasters and teacups alike; we delighted in Walmart (bargains galore) and all the interesting new shops to explore; and trekked across the desert for many (maaaaaany!) hours, so as to cast our eyes upon the gloriousness of The Grand Canyon (and it was grand!). All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and one I’ll always remember!
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Okay, I’m not saying I’ve now got a Hollywood smile – not by a long shot and a few thousand euro. (That’s not my mouth in the picture.) But I did recently have laser teeth whitening, so I’m at least a little bit closer.
Actually, I already had a Hollywood smile of sorts. Thanks to my love of red wine, I could have sprung into action as a blood-sucking vampire at a moment’s notice, should the need have arisen. Sadly, though, I was never called on to join the cast of The Vampire Diaries. So I figured I might as well give up and get my fangs whitened.
I was a bit anxious about the process, but it wasn’t traumatic at all. It took about forty-five minutes, and the worst part of it was having a guard in my mouth throughout. But it was uncomfortable rather than scary or painful, and there was no sensation of gagging which is what I feared. I’d have no problem getting it done again when I’ve once more ruined my teeth, as I no doubt will, with black tea and coffee, Indian food and the aforementioned red wine. The hardest part was staying off those things for three days afterwards. My teeth were also very sensitive afterwards, but that had passed by the next day.
So, not quite a Hollywood smile – but maybe off-off-Hollywood.
It’s very quick, relatively painless*, and there are so many discount offers around at the moment, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. I’ve had several sessions, and have more planned. I’ve had it done on my underarms among other places (no, not there, in case you’re wondering), and I love the freedom of not having to bother with waxing anymore.
*Don’t sue me if you disagree! I don’t find it painful, but I’ve never been a screamer when it comes to waxing either, and some people find that torture.
But considering I got this spice rack for Christmas – and I’m not talking about last Christmas or the one before that – I am ridiculously excited to finally have it on my wall. Ditto the Ikea noticeboard I bought on my first visit to the store after it opened in Dublin, and the kitchen rail I’ve had lying around since the kitchen was done up years ago – years!
Even better, I’ve now found a handyman who is coming back for more. There will be shelves! And maybe even a kitchen drawer. Heady stuff indeed. I need to go for a lie down just thinking about it.
I’m not a fan of sugary soft drinks, but somehow I thought ginger beer would be different. I can probably blame Enid Blyton for that – plus the fact that it sounds a bit exotic and sophisticated.
However, it didn’t live up to its promise, and was nowhere near as exciting as it sounded when I was reading about the Famous Five guzzling lashings of it – even though mine had a bit of alcohol in it, which I’m sure theirs didn’t.
I’ve always enjoyed sewing, but I must admit that I get into a panic when sewing with patterns. I tend to like to figure out how something is put together and make it up from there, but now that I’m getting older, I thought it time to overcome my phobia of following craft directions.
Enter Cath Kidston. I often joke that I am dreaming of a Cath Kidston world, so I was delighted to receive all four of her craft books, Sew!, Make!, Patch! and Stitch! as presents for my birthday and Christmas last year. After devouring and delighting in all the different projects I could choose from, I settled on a craft bag from Sew!, to stow my current knitting/crochet projects in as I go (I’m going through a wool phase, you see!).
The pattern I chose was not a traditional packet pattern, but was based on a template for hexagonal pieces (very “old school”!), to be sewn into a patchwork cloth. I had a great deal of fun choosing pretty prints at the local craft store, as well as digging up pieces from my fabric stash, inspired by the lovely vintage-styled prints Cath Kidston uses in the original craft project.
I had a bit of trouble with the handle, so I ended up adjusting the pattern slightly to accommodate a wider wooden handle, and I liked the shape of the hexagons over the lining, rather than under, so I trimmed with pretty blue embroidery cotton and some rosettes, to add icing to the cake! Every part of the project was hand-sewn – something I feel particularly proud of! A labour of love, indeed!
When I was a teenager, my mother nagged and nagged me about reading Agatha Christie’s novels. My mother’s a huge crime buff, and I’m a huge crime buff – it’s practically genetic – but for whatever reason, I never particularly took to her tomes.
Fast forward ten years, to my mid-twenties, and the wonderful re-imagined ITV Miss Marple Mysteries and Poirot series with David Suchet… I was hooked! I couldn’t get enough of the 1920s-1940s, the wonderful dialogue, the more genteel social manners and the murders! (Naturally!)
I decided that if Agatha Christie’s stories made wonderful films, then surely they must be fabulous books… and I began with a wonderful omnibus, gifted to me by my in-laws for Christmas in 2005. After that, my appetite for Christie was voracious, and I set out to read all of her novels – all 79 of the ones she wrote up to 1979! My, but she was proliferous! Next step: to read all her plays and short stories… before I’m 40! (It’ll take that long, I’m certain!)
My favourite is… Well, it’s hard to pick… But I must say that I was particularly surprised by Murder on the Orient Express. I love her wit, her stoicism, her pure British spirit. She was a dame (quite literally), and will always be one of my literary heroes.