Tuesday, 21 October 2014

#287: Accept a dare from a complete stranger

I've had this one on The List since the start, but I kept putting off doing it because it was so unknown. The very reason it was on the list was because it could potentially be scary, impossible or terribly embarrassing and would require putting myself out there. I'm fortunate that my Twitter account has become relatively popular, so rather than randomly asking strangers on the street and risking my personal safety, I could at least solicit strangers who follow me on Twitter for ideas behind the safety of my computer screen.
Luckily the first response, while not fun, was doable: do 10 Burpees. For those of you who don't know what a burpee is, you obviously have not been subjected to torture before...but a burpee is a form of repetitive, tedious exercise.

Some of the other dare suggestions I received were:

  • Skydive
  • Walk up to a guy I fancy in a bar, kiss him on the cheek and walk away
  • Accept Jesus as my personal Saviour
  • Lick a wall
  • Learn a new dance
  • Run down the street yelling "I'M HIGH ON LIFE!!!" 

All in all, the suggestions I had were much less daunting than I originally feared. It's another example of how the reality of taking a chance is often a lot less scary and risky than we think it will be.

Photo credit: top 2 photos, Shutterstock

Thursday, 16 October 2014

#286: Feel better about myself

This is a huge one for me and to be honest I'm not sure I really should tick this off the List because it's just such a foreign, fleeting feeling. It comes and goes in such quick bursts I sometimes wonder if the feeling ever really existed or if it was something I just willed/wished for myself so much I made myself believe it was true for a moment.

That said, if ever there was a time where I might be able to achieve this one, I think now is the time. So, (deep breath) I have a confession to make: I'm generally feeling pretty good about myself. There, I said it. It is embarrassing how hard it is to feel like this and how even harder it is to admit. But it's true. Between my new job, my holiday, new new life, my recent burst of activity/exercise that's helped me lose more weight, I am feeling -- if not good -- at least not ashamed of myself which is a huge step for me.
For so many years when I was with my Ex I didn't feel attractive, let alone sexy, funny or wanted. My Ex never complimented me on how I looked. On the contrary, the only comments I used to get were barbs about my clothes, how preppy/untrendy I was, and how maybe 'we' need to lose weight. In the first few months we were together I had heard so many comments about a co-worker my Ex had been in love with and how I'd never compare to her, her style and how she looked that those wounds never really healed, despite 9 years and, eventually, a multitude of 'I do love you, you know' later. (Why I decided to stick around after hearing those comments is a whole other matter...but the saying 'you get the love you think you deserve' was very true for me.)
I'm pleased to say that I'm starting to have glimpses of myself when I think 'not bad', as opposed to the self-loathing, 'you're completely unloveable'. 'Not bad' is really good for me...as good as I can hope for in the circumstances. I'm still learning to be the best version of me I can be (and have a very long way to go) but on a good day, I've learned that best version is not half bad. 

I've also learned that in the future I deserve a whole lot more than 'I do love you, you know'. 

Photo credit: shutterstock

Sunday, 12 October 2014

#285: Have a session with a personal trainer

I'm on holiday, so what on earth am I doing at the gym? I know, right: What's wrong with me?!? What's wrong is that I'm finally feeling good about myself and I have the time to spend on resting up and recovering afterwards. One of the (many) reasons I don't work out at home more often is that I get exhausted very easily. Between my demanding job and generally hectic life, I find it only takes a few days of hard work outs added to my normal life before I'm totally burnt out.

On holiday, however, I have the luxury of recovery time. As much as I'd love to find a way to incorporate working out like this into my life more often, I think it's a step too far for me -- at least at this point in my life. Maybe someday, when my life is a little less demanding, I can handle it. But for now, it's a step too far, even as I feel the pressure to push myself to do it.

One of the things I've learned through this process, however, is that while pushing myself sometimes, is great, there's also times I need to just accept certain limitations, be realistic and give myself a break. The fact I'm working out on holiday is going to have to be enough...for now.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Friday, 10 October 2014

#284: Take a Thai cooking class

Since moving to London, I've come to appreciate Thai food and culture much more than when I lived in New York. Along with my interest in learning to cook better, I'm also trying to expand the types of food I can cook at home. I've never attempted to make Thai food at home myself. Knowing this was on the list, I signed up for a Thai Cooking Class the hotel was offering because where better to take a class than in Thailand.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

#283: Return to Thailand

I often get asked what are my favourite things that I've done on my List. With the benefit of hindsight, I'm proud to look back on all that I've done in my new life, both on The List and not. And while trying to limit my favourite things to just a few is hard, I knew straight away that there was one thing that I wanted to do again properly: Go back to the hotel I first went to by myself in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Though I had moved abroad to London without knowing anyone, my trip to Thailand last year was the first time I'd been on a long holiday by myself and it was a fantastic experience. The problem was that I was 3 months out of a 9-year relationship and 1 day after I found out about the affair and lies. So I arrived in paradise -- broken and raw -- in the deepest darkest moments of my break up. Despite this, I had an amazing and life-changing time. 

Recognising that I was a real mess, I made myself a promise on that trip that I'd scrimp, save, borrow and (metaphorically) steal to make sure that I'd return to enjoy the place properly once I had recovered. 

Nearly 2 years on from the initial bombshell, and 18 months from that first trip, I'm happy to report that I've returned to find it as beautiful, peaceful and calming as I remember it the first time. 

Except this time I can enjoy it properly...much like the rest of my life now. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

#282: Ask someone out

Wow, this is a big one for me.  To be honest, I'm not sure it's something I've ever done before, because:
  1. I'd need to find someone intriguing enough to want to get to know better. 
  2. I'd need to know (hope) that they didn't have some habit that while fine/unnoticable in small doses ends up annoying when you spend more time together. (Don't get me wrong, I'm far from perfect and have many - MANY - annoying habits. I'm just looking for someone I enjoy spending a lot of time with, with foibles that don't totally drive me crazy.) 
  3. To ask someone out you have to be bold and strong enough to risk rejection. And until recently I didn't have the strength to take being rejected, but I felt I do now. 
Which is a good thing, because rejection is precisely what I got...and I'm happy to report that I was actually ok with it. While admittedly I was disappointed, I wasn't devastated, angry or hurt. On the contrary, it felt good to be honest and tell someone I liked them. Spending the last 6 months alone has taught me that I'm really happy in my own company and so I'm not going to fall apart just because someone I thought was interesting didn't feel the same way back. Of course it would have been nice to have had a yes, getting turned down was actually probably much better for two reasons. One, I'm not 100% sure I'm ready for a serious relationship (though that's jumping the gun quite a bit here). Dating, possibly, but serious relationship is something I think I should try to avoid for a little while longer. (I still have a goal of 1 year of no serious dating afterall.) Secondly, it was good for me to learn that I can ask someone out and they can reject me, and my world doesn't end. 

Someone, somewhere, sometime may say yes when (not if) I ask again. They may say no. Alternatively, they may even beat me to it and ask me out before I get a chance to ask them (a girl can dream after all!). But my life will go on either way. 
While I struck out on this occasion, it's good to know I have a few more at bats left in me yet. 

Photo credit: wavebreakmedia, bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock

Saturday, 27 September 2014

#280: Pay down my debt

One of the things I'm most proud of achieving in the aftermath of my break-up was that I was able to buy my Ex out of the home we bought jointly, renovated together and lived happily in for 5+ years. No relationship is perfect, and obviously ours had some fundamental problems (which I didn't see at the time), but despite all that I absolutely loved my life and my home was a big reason for that. One of the things that made the initial stages of our split so terrifying and awful was the prospect of not only losing my love, but also losing my home and daily habits associated with it and where I lived.

While I was able to scrimp and stretch every last cent, it also required me to take on more debt. This was an absolute necessity at the time, but the debt is at a level that, long term, I'm not comfortable with. So earlier this year I put a budget together to help keep me on track and start saving enough to pay down meaningful chunks of debt for the next 3 years. I have a long way to go before I'm debt free, but I've passed a significant milestone in reducing the debt load I'm carrying.

Photo credit: iQoncept, Creativa Images / Shutterstock

Saturday, 20 September 2014

#277: Be more active

Like a lot of people, as I've gotten older I've become less active than I was in my 20s. Having an office/desk job doesn't help, especially since I can't stand going to the gym.  I long ago realised that I'd be better off using dollar bills as kindling for a fireplace than to use them to pay for a gym membership. No matter what great intentions I had, I've learned that I just wont go regularly enough.

So it was me quite a challenge for me to find a way to tick this one off the list. I realised that the best way for me to start being a little bit more active was to understand how inactive I actually was. The experts recommend that people should take around 10,000 steps each day, so I needed to find out how far off that I was in my normal life.
So I got a fitbit, which is basically a pedometer that I wear on my wrist. I quickly realised that in an average day, if I didn't make any effort, I clocked up around 4500 steps a day -- or around half as many as I should. With this new found knowledge I then started looking at ways I could get more steps in: Getting off the tube a few stops early, walking the long way to meet a friend, parking in the most distant parking spot available, etc. I found that could get me to around 7-8k, but not to the desired 10,000 mark so I for the last 2 months I've been walking the 4.5 miles to or from work a couple of times a week, weather depending. At first it seemed like a really long way, but I've come to enjoy the time it takes me to cover the distance and I feel much better for having done it.

Photo credit: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock

Sunday, 14 September 2014

#274: Understand Formula 1 Racing better

This is another strange one to have on the list, particularly because of the reason why. When my Ex and I were together certain 'in-laws' were huge fans of F1 racing, including my former mother-in-law. Now this woman was not the type I normally would have associated with being a petrol-head, more a rugby and grouse-shooting type than motorsport. The fact she loved it though intrigued me and made me think there must be something interesting about it.

My Ex didn't care for the sport so we didn't watch it much. We'd go for a walk or do something by ourselves.  So when there was a rare occasion when we did watch it, for the life of me I just didn't understand what the hell was going on. It just seemed like grown men going around a track at high speeds with not much happening. Oh how wrong I was.

A relatively new friend is a F1 fan and has had the patience to explain the rules and answer my dumb questions. Like 'What's the DR zone'? I can now appreciate some of the finer nuances and technicalities of the sport and have gotten to know the personalities of the drivers, teams and the drama of the points race.

While I'm unlikely to be glued to the TV for an entire weekend of racing, I can now appreciate the joys of a Sunday afternoon race.

Photo Credit: MrSegui / Shutterstock.com

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

#273: Behave like a 20 year old for a day

Ageing sucks. There I said it. Time has a cruel way of transforming a person from someone they were to someone they are, sometimes without them even realising the changes that take place. Day by day, month by month, year by year subtle changes result in you ending up somewhere you didn't expect. Once I was a young, somewhat irresponsible 20 year old, with my whole future and endless possibilities ahead of me. I blinked, time passed and I've become a (reasonably) responsible adult.

If you told my 20-year-old self what my life would be like now, I think I'd have wanted to shoot myself then and there, for I am generally a quite sensible and reliable adult. *Boring Klaxon* Coupled with a relatively demanding and stressful job, means I find myself refraining from doing things my younger self would have happily dove head first to do. So knowing this was on The List, I went for it and did something I normally would not have...and while I'm glad I did, it's not something I'm going to be making a habit of. There's fun and then there's knowing and being comfortable with oneself and one's situation in life.

I've realised I'm comfortable with who I am today and don't need to go chasing after my youth (too much).  I enjoyed my evening, but I don't want that to be my life. I've been there, done that, got the t-shirts...and long ago given them to good will when cleaning out my closets. I realise there's no need to go back. There was a reason I moved on to begin with.

There's something quite freeing and gratifying about that.

Photo: Dmitry Strizhakov / Shutterstock

Saturday, 6 September 2014

#272: Learn my Blood Type

I've long wanted to find out what my blood type is. It's admittedly a bit of a strange thing to want to do. But considering it's an important part of me, literally, I'm surprised I've made it as long as I have in complete ignorance (though it's not surprising really for my list of ignorances is long and distinguished!).

I have to say it's been surprisingly difficult for me to find out and tick this one off. I went to the Doctor last year for an unrelated matter and asked my GP what it was. Apparently they don't have it on record (um...slightly concerning, but that's a different matter). But because they only run blood tests when something is medically necessary, he couldn't help me. Thwarted, I thought I was going to have to wait until something was seriously wrong with me to find out...and so I was happy to stay in the dark as long as possible.

One thing I didn't realise, however, was that one of the benefits of signing up to be a blood donor is that they test you and give you a card with your name and blood type on it.

So a few weeks after I donated blood, I received my report and card in the mail. I got a B+, which I was slightly disappointed about because I thought with the extra effort I put in, I might have scored higher.  ;-) But I'm glad I passed the test. :-)

Photo credit: petr73, prixel creative / Shutterstock

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

#271: Join a book club / Literary Salon

I enjoy reading but as an adult I have found I rarely make the time to read books in my day to day life. I tend to bring a stack of books with me on holiday and binge read, only to come back to the real world and not pick up a book again until my next plane journey.  Th trouble is I can rarely commit to keep one day a week free as work, and other life, obligations often intrude and take precedent.

So I was really excited when a friend said she was organising a book club (technically she called it a 'literary salon', but close enough). I jumped at the chance, especially since the first book was Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe. It's a classic, but not one that I actually had read before. As a unique and complex book, it was fantastic to be able to dissect a text like I used to when I was at school...except this time wine was flowing as well as conversation.

Here's hoping I can continue to make time for it.

Friday, 29 August 2014

#270: Give Blood

Now this truly is something I've been meaning to do for years. I tried to give blood years ago in New York, but my iron levels were low on the day so I wasn't allowed. This time however, I'm happy to say I was successful! It so easy to do. Sign up today:
If you're in the UK: www.blood.co.uk.
If you're in the US: www.redcrossblood.org

Monday, 25 August 2014

#269: Get a fish tank

Why, you might ask? Why would a grown up get a fish tank? I don't know and am kind of asking myself the same question. All I know is that I've been thinking/talking about getting one for years, but my Ex was not interested...and if my Ex was not interested that meant that it didn't happen.

I had a fish tank when I was a kid and I liked it. Cleaning it was a bit of a faff, but I remember overall liking having the tank. Over the last few years I've been spending some time in places that have big fish tanks and I've been mesmerized. I've found the time spent really relaxing...and if I can be relaxed in my dentist's waiting room then surely that must mean I'd be even more relaxed in my own home. At least this is my hope.

Now I just need to wait 2 weeks to put the fish in.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

#268: Learn how to make a Martini

Readers of this blog will know that I enjoy a nice cocktail or two. As a consequence, I have a number of drink-related items on The List, from wine tasting to drinking at The Savoy, to having Martinis at The Dukes. I used to bartend to make extra cash when I was in college and I have been known to bring my cocktail shaker with me to a party to be able to make a cosmo, mojito, margarita and the like. I do enjoy a nice martini, but despite this bartending background, I'd never actually made a martini before. I always found them so mysterious: Dirty/Twist, Shaken/Stirred, Dry/Wet, Vodka/Gin...there are so many different variations I never really understood what it all meant before or how to make them.  I thought it was about time I learned.

So when I read about how the Royal Academy was holding a Martini exhibition, where you could have a martini masterclass/tasting after, I thought that was a perfect way to tick this off the list.
Our bartender Jon was amazing. He talked us through the history of the drink, described the different variations of martinis, and then gave us 3 rounds to try and taste: 1-Dry, Stirred. 2-Wet, Shaken. 3-Reverse Vesper, Shaken.

After the class we also tried a smokey martini, which is made with 15ml of Aldbeg whiskey. By that point in time I was feeling no pain and was wondering why my drink wasn't served in the larger glass on the bar...Thank goodness it wasn't or I may not have made it home!

Friday, 22 August 2014

#267: Not date for 6 months

Having achieved my goal of not dating for 3 months in June, I've now made it to 6 months without going on a single date. Not only have I not been looking to date, in the odd circumstance that someone has expressed an interest, I've politely declined. This is a very big step for me for a number of reasons.

First of all, I don't like saying no or letting people down and so I find it difficult to turn down a date because I worry I'm going to hurt someone's feelings. I can appreciate the courage it takes to admit to someone that you like them and/or want to get to know them better. I'm incredibly shy myself underneath it all and find it really difficult to ask someone out, so I do truly appreciate it when someone has the courage to ask me out. Also, I generally have pretty low self esteem. I don't understand why someone would like me and I'm SO NOT used to being liked and fancied, that as a result I sometimes end up spending too much time with the wrong people because I don't think anyone else would ever want me.

It's only taken me 40 years to realise that:
A) I can be genuinely flattered by being asked out, but also let someone down gently, at the same time.
B) I can be likeable at times (when I'm not being stubborn, difficult or generally a pain in the ass).
C) When I put some effort in, I have the potential to be attractive to a small subset of people occasionally.
D) I deserve to be with someone who treats me well, who loves me and who I'm madly in love with as well.

My self-imposed moratorium on dating has also allowed me to make some great new friends and to build up a life outside of being in a couple. I feel like I'm in a great place where I have a good idea what I want and don't want, as well as what I deserve, and I don't want to get involved with someone unless it really feels right. Of course there's a danger that I'm going to be too cautious and see warning signs where none exist, but if that means I stay single for an extended period of time then I'm ok with that too.

Now that I've ticked this off the list, I may go on an occasional date -- after all there are some interesting and attractive people out there.  However, I'm not going out of my way for a date. I'll only go if it really feels right.

My next goal on this theme is to not get into a serious relationship for a year...so only 6 more months to go for that!

Photo credit: Manuel Fernandes / Shutterstock

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

#266: Play the Lottery

There are not many people in this world who wouldn't be happy to win the Lottery. The problem is so few people actually do win. Because the odds are not good, I have a better chance of being killed by lightening (not just merely being struck by lightening) than winning, I don't usually play on a regular basis. When the amount in question becomes so substantial that I and my extended family could live comfortably without having to work again (in non-charitable jobs at least) I will sometimes take a punt.

With this one on the list and the jackpot at £45m, I thought I'd give it a go. You have to be in it to win it, right?

As you can see by the circled numbers I matched, I obviously won't be quitting my job tomorrow. *Sigh* I guess I can console myself with stories about how winning the lottery ruined these people's lives...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

#265: Go to the Beach ... Camden Beach

For me, nothing beats hanging out in a beach chair, cocktail in hand relaxing with friends. It's a key part of summer that allows me to store up goodwill for the cold, rainy winter ahead. Living in a city sometimes means that certain rights of passage, like going to the beach, are missed however.

Not necessarily anymore. A few years ago a local venue, The Roundhouse, started turning it's parking lot into a makeshift beach, complete with deck chairs and tiki bars. While I've been before, I wanted to go back again. It was a really enjoyable time.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

#264: Walk 10 miles

Regular readers will understand how infrequently I 'properly' exercise. I've been able to keep the weight I've lost off for the most part, but it's a struggle. So I know I really need to actively work out more. I know, I know, I know...but I'm sorry Nike, I just don't do it.

In an effort to try to at least be more aware of how sedentary I can be, I got myself a wearable activity tracker...basically it's a pedometer built into a bracelet that wireless tracks and reports how many steps I do and how far I walk. After a few days of wearing it, I was shocked at how little I moved in a day. No wonder it took so long to tick this off the list!

But with my handy new gadget helping to spur me on, I was finally able to tick this one off. Next step(s) to run 10 miles...but that will take a lot more time and training.

Photo credit: Timothy Passmore / Shutterstock

Sunday, 10 August 2014

#263: Go to Selfridges' Roof Terrace

Selfridges is an iconic department store. Located in the heart of London it's rooftop garden boasts lovely views. During the summer they do something interesting with the space. A few years ago, they had a miniature golf course there...but that came and went before I had a chance to check it out.
So when summer rolled around this year I vowed I wouldn't let another summer go without seeing it.

This year they turned the space into a pop-up restaurant from my new favourite local restaurant, Q grill. American BBQ at it's London best, Q Grill opened in Camden in March 2014 and I fell in love with it. With Summer's end approaching surprisingly quickly I knew my window to do this one was closing fast. Unfortunately it was raining when I went (as usual for British summer) so the views weren't quite the same, but it was a fun evening.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

#262: Rent out my spare room

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I really struggled to buy my Ex out of the house. At the time, the idea of losing my home as well as my love and my life was more than I thought I could handle. Luckily, I was able to arrange the financing required, but it wasn't without pain. While I do enjoy an occasional splurge, I've always been fairly frugal with money because I know how hard and long I work to earn it. Living without any safety net of savings makes me uncomfortable and so I wanted to find ways to top up the coffers a bit more quickly and efficiently.

One of those ways was to rent my spare/guest room out. So I finally arranged for someone to stay in my flat, for a limited amount of time, earning a bit of cash to put towards an emergency fund. I've had to make some costly repairs and other improvements before the place could be considered habitable for a paid renter, but I hope to be in a more comfortable financial position going forward.

Photo credit: Photpixel / Shutterstock

Sunday, 3 August 2014

#261: Catch up on latest TV series / Binge watch a Boxset

Sometimes when you're in a relationship, your other half isn't interested in watching the same kinds of things you are. This means there are whole series or sporting events that you miss. My Ex and I had pretty similar tastes in TV shows, to be fair, but there were still some notable exceptions. For my List, I had made a note to catch up on the key ones I missed over the years.

What I've found since making the List, however, is that there are also times when I intend to watch that new 'must-see' show but I've been so busy and otherwise engaged that I've just plain missed it on my own accord. Life gets in the way. As it should.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but being single I actually haven't been watching TV very much, if at all. This is a great thing, in theory, as I've been out enjoying and living life. Entire popular TV series have come (and many cases gone) without me seeing them: Mad Men to True Blood; Modern Family to Orange is the New Black; different X Factor, Great British Bake off and Real Housewives series.

While on the one hand this is laudable, I've found that there's only so long that I can be so disconnected from key cultural interests without the unintended consequence of actually feeling quite isolated from modern society. I've found watercooler moments and ice-breaking small talk are much harder without such common, safe topics of conversation. When my new friends and coworkers banter about this show or that, I have nothing to add to the conversation but blank stares and idle curiosity.
So with the aim to get through at least one of the key series everyone around me seems to be talking about, I packed myself away to binge-watch Orange is the New Black, and have been sucked into NetFlix as a result.

As the seasons turn and with Autumn and Winter on the horizon, I suspect I'll be able to tick off many more series in months to come.

Photo credit: Zastolskiy Victor / Shutterstock

Thursday, 31 July 2014

#259: Support local theatre

Not all theatre is put on in the West End. There is some interesting, if not flat out challenging, theatre being produced and shown at local theatres, spaces and warehouses across London every night of the week, of which I have until recently seen none. I'm usually too secluded in my own little bubble and generally don't have a clue about contemporary drama and visual arts. So with this on my list, I endeavoured to go to some more 'out there' things. I'm finding that generally I'm not a fan, but that's because I like what I'm familiar with. Attending out of the ordinary plays/drama/events, challenges me and my perception of what art is and while I may not like the play, I do like the challenge of it and feel better for having tried to push my boundaries so that next time it's not quite so unfamiliar.

Monday, 28 July 2014

#258: Go to Hampstead Ponds

Hampstead Heath Ponds are a series of three fresh water ponds (women's, men's and mixed) in the massive park that is Hampstead Heath. In the summer the ponds are a lovely way to relax and cool down when the weather is hot. It's been almost 10 years since I last visited the ponds. It felt almost like going to the beach, in the middle of a city. Since I live around the corner, there's no excuse for me not to come more often. I hope it won't be another 10 years before I return.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

#257: Do shots out of an ice sculpture

I know, I know, I know. This really is childish and must stop. Luckily, I've ticked this one off the list now so it doesn't have to be done again any time soon.

Note: This would not have been the first choice of sculpture I'd have selected for this task...but it's not every day that the chance to do an ice sculpture shot comes around so I had to work with what I was given. Beggars can't be choosers. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

#256: Drive a Porsche

I've had my List going for a little while now and from the beginning this was one that had always been near the top of things I wanted to do. I have never driven a proper sports car before and for some reason I have had a real desire to see what driving a Porsche is like. I even went so far as to book one of those 'driving day experiences' last year to be able to tick this one off, but something came up and I wasn't able to attend in the end.
I was telling an acquaintance about my List and the dwindling items left on it for me to do and mentioned that driving a Porsche was still something I hadn't achieved. In a act of bravery (or stupidity), she kindly offered to let me drive her own Porsche! I did hesitate and originally turned the generous offer down as I was afraid I'd wreck the thing, but knowing this was a big one on my list that I didn't really have too many opportunities to do I had to say yes! It was just too good an opportunity to turn down. So down went the roof top, up went the music and off I went enjoying lovely summer weather in London in a very fine ride.

The verdict: It certainly was a lot of fun to drive and I'm very lucky to have even been able to sit behind the wheel let alone drive it, but driving on city roads it was hard to take full advantage of the power and speed. Frankly I came away very happy to have done it, but also happy with my 7 year old car...which I realised is perfect for me and my London lifestyle. So I came away happy and content on many levels after this one!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

#255: Wear an outrageous costume

Hell must have frozen over: I wore an 'Abba' metallic magenta onesie in public! Now, I'm normally a quiet, reserved person who does everything I can to avoid the limelight or being the centre of attention and in the aftermath of my breakup, or frankly even during the 9 years I was dating my Ex, I would NEVER have felt confident enough to do/wear something like this in private, let alone out in public. And even if I had, my Ex would have shamed me so much with 'not cool' looks and comments to wipe out any bit of fun I might have found dressing up so outlandishly. I've been working up to doing something like this for a little while, building my confidence bit by bit but there was really nothing I could do to truly prepare for being out in public other than just completely throw myself into the spirit and not care that I make an ass out of my myself. So doing this was a real departure for me and something that shows how seriously far I've come in my new life. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

#254: Be part of a Flash mob

A friend had a birthday coming up and she has done a fair bit of flash mobbing herself...so what better way to tick this one off the list than by being in a surprise flashmob for her party? The rule was for everyone to party at the bar as usual until Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 came on. When it reached the chorus, everyone -- except the birthday girl -- would do a choreographed dance routine to surprise her. I'm not sure we were the slickest flashmob ever done, but it was a real laugh...and certainly surprised the birthday girl.

Photo credit: Elena Dijour / Shutterstock.com

Friday, 18 July 2014

#253: Eat a Twinkie

As a kid, I used to love Hostess Twinkies (and loved a Hostess Cupcake even more!). It's been years/decades since I last had one and I thought back on my childhood and things that I enjoyed and I wondered whether or not a Twinkie would still have the same effect on me. Living in London, it's impossible to find Twinkies (probably because they wouldn't qualify as real food product under UK regulations) so I was really lucky a friend gave me a package not just of Twinkies, but of other American snacks as well. I have to say, while there's nothing seemingly real about a Twinkie, eating one still brought me back to that childhood place and made me happy... 

...But then again that might have been the impact of the preservatives and sugar high from eating it. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

#252: Go to St Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral is one of London's most famous and historical landmarks. It was built by Sir Christopher Wren in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London and has dominated the London skyline for more than 300 years since. Climb the 259 steps up the dome and you will find the Whispering Gallery, which runs around the inside of the Dome. It gets its name from a charming quirk in its construction which makes a whisper against its walls audible on the opposite side.

While I work just down the road, the last time I was actually in the church was when I visited London with my family when I was 16, so this has been a long overdue item. I found a Women in Leadership event, which just happened to be held in St. Paul's, as you do. So when I found that out, I immediately signed up. As an American, certain things about London will always amaze me, and St Paul's is one of them.
As they say, when you're bored of London, you're bored of life.

Top Photo: QQ7 / Shutterstock

Saturday, 5 July 2014

#251: Do Jell-O shots

Jello Shots. Why are they on The List? This was one item on the list that firmly fell into the "Things I used to do when out having fun, but haven't done in a while' bucket. I'm sure it was the company more than the Jelly shots, but I certainly had a fun evening!