a fail is sometimes a good thing.

Today I’m entering into the last week of my twenties.  I thought about this week a lot last year, as I got ready to turn 29, half way through my self imposed 2-year challenge of ticking off 30 experiences before I have to admit that I am in fact a fully-fledged grown up.  But I’ve not so much as given a second thought to my much deliberated Challenge-30 bucket list recently; if it was an actual list, on an actual piece of paper it would likely have been scrunched up and thrown in the bin.  For a long time it just wasn’t important to me.

But these last couple of days, the achiever in me has looked at the list and shaken her head in disgrace.  I have not managed to tick everything off.  Tut tut tut.

Then I realised I’d turned my bucket list into something it was never supposed to be.  It had became all about achieving success in the challenge, getting it completed.  I’d missed the whole point of it – because I started this thing with the intention of creating opportunities to embrace experiences I’ve not yet lived, not about ticking off some words on a list.




It’s not like at thirty I’d suddenly become unable to live out these fun things! Quite the contrary I’m sure – the older I get the more I thrive on trying new things.  Although I’m all for living for today and (trying to) not stress about what tomorrow brings, I’m kinda ok that I’ll enjoy some of the stuff on my list at 30.  Or 31 or 41.  And the list will only get bigger because I’ll find so much more that I want to try out and enjoy.  I still hold that the idea of a bucket list is a good one, because it gets you thinking about what you’d really like to do that you’ve not done before.  A metaphoric kick up the backside to simply live.  It’s made me realise I need to give myself a break sometimes and let the completer-finisher in me a chance to have a nice ol’ nap.

So I failed my Challenge-30 Bucket List.  And for me, right now, I think that’s a good thing.



When me and The Mother went over to Manchester this weekend, part of the deal was a nice lunch in the Trafford Centre.  I’d been trying to sell the Trafford Centre to her for ages but I knew she wasn’t having any of it.  I wish I could have taken a photo of her face when she walked in.  To be fair the main entrance is pretty impressive and adding on a bonus that I wasn’t going to trail her around a load of clothes shops she was tickled pink.

We settled on a restaurant called Giraffe.  We’d not been before and we both wanted to try something new.  Relaxed atmosphere.  Warm lighting and colour.  Booths for Two.  Nice.

If I’m completely honest, when I first opened the menus I panicked a little when I didn’t see any of the gool ol’ classics.  There was nothing safe.  But I took a deep breath and allowed myself to look through the menu with new eyes.  When I read about the BBQ Chicken & Smoked Cheddar Quesadilla, I knew I had found my lunch.

toasted flour tortilla filled with shredded BBQ chicken, black bean chilli & oozing melted smoked cheddar, served with chipotle aioli & ranchera salsa dips

Oh my life! It’s culinary genius, so simple yet so perfect.  I had high expectations and I have to say that the food delivered.  It was amazing.  Definitely something I couldn’t not eat again.  Sometime soon.

This is definitely a new ‘favourite’ place to eat.  Another challenge from Challenge 30 to be checked off.


One challenge in my Challenge 30 was to knit something other than a scarf.  I was bought a knitting book for beginners, Knitty Gritty By Aneeta Patel and its perfect for working through if you’re as knittingly ignorant as I am was.   My first masterpiece was a baby booty.

And when a baby booty, I really do mean a booty.  I was too excited about moving on to make a second one.  But was easy peasy.   As long as you know a way to decrease stitches it’s a doddle.

Next up was a hat for the girls.  I really loved knitting this, knowing that it would be used, rather than knitting something just for learning.  Although I love Aneeta’s explanations I’m not the biggest fan of some of the patterns.  If I had to I would work through them to learn the various techniques but I’ll probably scout around for similar patterns that are a bit more me.  So about this hat.

I’ve not had the camera nearby to catch a shot of Ruby wearing it because as soon as I’ve managed to slip it onto her head she’s off like flash out into the garden.  And it’s way to cold for me to join her with the camera.

I’ve knitted a couple of other things that i’ll write about and pop up some pictures another time.  Have a look at the knitting category on ther right there and all things knitting will be there.

All is peaceful in the house.  The girls are out at church with The Husband.  He didn’t think I should be there because my back is punishing me for walking around too much on Friday.  So I’m doing as I’m told and curled up on the sofa with a regular pottering around the kitchen.    A perfect morning for knitting.

ice cream.

So one of my challenges in challenge 30 was to make some homemade icecream.  Not quite sure, maybe i was eating some at the time.  But a challenge it was.  A couple of months ago we bought an icecream maker for the kids work at Emmanuel.  Because it was a little bit of a cheapo bargain model I thought I’d better try it out.  Did you know you have to stick most of it in the freezer for ages??? I hadn’t really thought about how it would work but I thought it would be a bit more like – plug it in, mix it up, freeze it through, et voila!

Anyhow, once I’d squished up the fish fingers and made room for the thing in the freezer, all I had to do was make up the recipe.  This is a prime example of my impulsive nature.  The ice cream maker was getting good’n cold within half an hour of getting back from the shops.  Then realised I had no cream.  You might find it interesting to know that cream is quite an integral player in ice cream.  For some reason I couldn’t get back out to the shops but I did found a recipe using custard.  I was jumping for joy when I found an old can of Ambrosia at the back of the cupboard.  I mixed everything up and put it in the now-freezing tub to watch it churn into lovely iced-goodness.  When it was ready I was positively jumping around at the sheer thought that I’d made my own ice cream.  I could start selling it and will become the girl who makes that amazing ice cream.  everyone will want to be my friend.  Maybe this was my calling, my purpose in life, my destiny.  Maybe I’d be up there with HäagenDazs and Ben and Jerry.

I soon found that this wasn’t to be.  The ice-cream I’d made was…well it was frozen custard.  Stupid recipe for people trying to make icecream without cream.

Added later: It wasn’t all bad.  A few days later I tried out respberry sorbet and it was fabulous darling.  Maybe sorbet is the way forward, my purpose in life, my destiny…

lists, knitting and jetlag.

There’s way too much swirling around my brain, that I know if I try and unravel it all tonight we’ll be left with a big mess.  So I’ll reign it in and make a list and systematically work through what I want to put into words.  Lists.  I would not function without them.

I have scratched of five more ‘things’ I wanted to experience/accomplish before I turn 30.  I will write about them soon.  I’ve put them on my list.  I’ve popped a new category on the right there so when are posted you should find them all there.  I’ve not scratched off ‘having a whole morning to my self’ – which is weird since I’ve hardly ‘done’ anything for over four months.  There have been plenty of mornings I have been alone with no expectations laid on my except to take my medication.  It kinda seems trivial now.  but for the sake of all mums who know exactly how precious a morning ‘off’ is i’m keeping it up there, and I look forward to enjoying such a morning when I’m not in a haze of medication and pain.

Yesterday I took my mum to a huge craft show in manchester for her *cough cough*th birthday.  It made me feel a bit sad that I halfed the average age.  Not because I felt self conscious but because the reputation of the word ‘craft’  has massively suffered with my generation.  It makes people think of chintz and sticking ugly pictures on foam and then making it into a card.  I mean, it still makes me laugh at myself a little now that I get such a kick out of knitting.  But that’s ok.

I can’t remember if I’m already mentioned it but we’re in the middle of a very slow process of re-modelling our kitchen.  We’re at the point now where much of our wall is bare of plaster.  Next stop getting it skimmed and then I can really start thinking about decorating.

There is an anticipation buzzing around this house because we know that the Canadian section of the Stewards are in England.  In Lancashire.  Just around the corner!!!  Tomorrow we’ll be meeting Charlotte, my niece, for the first time (not counting skype). The girls can’t wait to play with their cousin and they’ll be making sure there’ll be no peace for napping at the wrong time.  Our solution to jetlag.



challenge 30

Thirty seems to be a universal milestone. There are things people expect to have expereinced by the time they get to the big 3-0. So on the bandwagon I’m- a jumping.

Today I turn 28. I have two years – 24 months to stumble through my list.

A lot of things you’d imagine on such a list like, I’ve already been blessed to experience. Fall in love? Check. Have you heart broken? Check. Pull an all nighter? Check. Own a house? Get married? Have kids? Check Check Check.

I don’t say this lightly. I don’t say it arrogantly. I say it gratefully. Even having my heart broken was character building…!

I’m also reluctant to put pipe dreams on here if I know there’s no way I’ll be able to see them come to reality. I’d love to go to America. I’d love to get to Canada to see part of my family there. But right now they’re beyond my grasp. God is bigger than my circumstances though, so if He see’s fit, I’ll let you know!

So here’s it is. My humble list. My Challenge 30.

1. Do something that scares me

2. Grow and eat my own potatoes

3. visit a day spa

4. Have whole morning to myself with nothing to ‘do’

5. Work through every Friends episode from start to finish (not all in one sitting!)

6. Climb ‘The Ben’

7. Visit Peppa Pig World!!!

8. Learn to do something I couldn’t do before.

9. Sew something on a machine from scratch

10. Have my blogs to date printed to have on my bookshelf

11. Complete challenge 52. (twice???)

12. Read every book of the bible

13. Revisit Les Miserables in London’s West End

14. Master Photoshop

15. Go looking for the loch ness monster

16. Watch steel magnolias

17. Take the family on a train ride

18. Watch the star wars films

19. Go to the top of Blackpool tower (or the eiffel would do)

20. Learn to play a song on the guitar

21. Discover a new ‘favourite’ place to eat

22. Bake someone a cake for no particular reason

23. Take the kids camping

24. Watch the spiderman films

25. Make homemade icecream

26. Watch a sunrise

27. Have Afternoon Tea At Betty’s

28. Watch the matrix films

29. Knit something other than a scarf

30. Go to Disney