Wednesday, 29 October 2014

#168: Kiss in the rain

kiss me

There's something about kissing in the rain that's so romantic. Again, not something that I thought I'd do again.

Photo: bostankorkulugu / flickr

Saturday, 25 October 2014

#167: Go on holiday with someone special

Now you may have been wondering who the 'we' is I occasionally have mentioned. Well, I have a little confession to make: I met someone speed dating (see number 20) and while we've been taking things relatively slowly, we have been officially seeing each other since the spring. I haven't wanted to mention it on the blog because a) I don't want to jinx it and b) the blog is about the list not necessarily about my love life.

There are a few things I put on my list, like 'go away on holiday with someone special', that I honestly thought would never ever happen, ever again ... let alone in 2013. I was convinced when I wrote the list that this was one I would never cross off. That I was a dried-up, has-been destined for a life alone with my cats, going on holiday by myself for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Bottom Photo: Alan Bailey / Shutterstock

Thursday, 23 October 2014

#166: Go Tubing

For those of you not familiar with tubing, it's quite simple: Blow up an inflatable tube and drag it (and multiple other ones) behind a speed boat at full speed. It's like water skiing except with other people along side ping ponging into you. You have to hold on tight to keep from being bounced overboard, though I found it helps if your backside is large enough to wedge yourself securely into the tube (like mine!). I think it was the first time in my life that I was thankful for having a bigger bum because I was firmly wedged in and not as likely to go flying.

But I still had to hold on tight when we went around the curves. It was like Newton's Cradle, smashing into another tube and sending it flying out across the wake only to have it return to hit you back out across the wake yourself. 
Newtons cradle
So much fun!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

#165: Go water skiing

Like sailing, I haven't been water skiing (or snow skiing for that matter) in some time. They say that once you've learned it's like riding a bike -- you get right up. I suppose it depends on what your definition of up is, as I face planted on my first attempt.

Ultimately I did get up on the skis and had so much fun I went again and again for the rest of the holiday.

#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

Monday, 20 October 2014

#164: Go Sailing

I haven't sailed since I was around 16 years old, which was why I put this one on the list. The sea was warm and inviting with just enough wind to make sailing fun but not scary. A very peaceful afternoon spent adrift in the Caribbean. Lots of time to think about and appreciate how lucky I actually am.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

#163: Have a reflexology treatment

While a full body message is a wonderful treat, I find reflexology even more relaxing and soothing. I'm on holiday and everyone here has been raving about them, so when in Rome...

Photo credit: Coka / Shutterstock

Saturday, 18 October 2014

#162: Go Snorkeling

As I mentioned in my previous post on trying to SCUBA dive, while I'm not a fan of pure swimming, I really enjoy swimming with fish. I'm not a great swimmer and to be honest when I tried Scuba, I found that my tendency to panic when my head is under water didn't subside when I was hooked up to oxygen. The class was a lot of fun, but I realised I'm happier when I can raise my head and breathe actual air. I can go snorkelling and enjoy most of what I'd get from proper diving, just not is such exotic locations like deep shipwrecks/etc.  Keep me close to shore thanks! It works just fine with my tendency towards boat sickness as well.

So we spent a few hours bobbing on the surface with big and little fish. Certainly beats being behind a desk at the office.

Friday, 17 October 2014

#161: Take a Scuba lesson

I've long heard stories from friends who've gone diving in exotic places and thought that would be something I'd REALLY like to do. Trying SCUBA is thus not only on my Break Up List but it's also a lifetime Bucket List item as well.

Swimming with tropical fish (but not in a Godfather 'Luca Brasi swims with the fishes' kind of way) has always seemed so peaceful and calming, but I have never done anything other than snorkel before. Being on top of the water was one thing, but swimming at depth along side the fish seemed even more exciting. One of the big reasons we chose to stay where we did was because they had free 'Discover Scuba' classes, where they teach you the Scuba basics and then take you out on a supervised open water dive in the reefs near the hotel, all of which would count towards getting a PADI license, should you like it enough to get fully certified.  It was a perfect way to tick this hard to achieve item off this year's list.

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 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

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

#160: Read a mindless book for fun: Bridget Jones

I'm on holiday and my trip corresponded with the release of the new Bridget Jones book at the airport bookshop. I couldn't think of a better book to read to tick this one off the list. A good beach read. Mindless fun.

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

#159: Try a Hopi Ear Candle treatment

I like to occasionally try new/alternative treatments and, unlike Reiki -- I'm not going to pay to have someone hover their hands over me while I lay on a table, the ear candle idea intrigued me, especially because I have slight ear/hearing issues.

Originating from the Native American Indian tribe called the Hopis, this technique uses a cotton tube impregnated with a selection of herbs and is inserted in the ear and lit. It was created to draw out impurities and relieve pressure in the head and sinuses. It's suppose to also be good at relieving jet lag and ear problems.

It probably doesn't do anything at all, but it was a relaxing hour, which in itself was a pleasant relief.

Photo Credit: Kzenon / 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.

#158: Ride in a helicopter

Wow! Now this is what I'm talking about! When I put my list together I had some easy things, some boring things and some exciting things. Ride in a helicopter was clearly one of the exciting things on the list, but I highly doubted I'd be able to actually do. But it stuck out as one of the things that would be a lot of fun to do, so when I was looking into what to do and where to go on holiday and found a place that offered a (relatively) cheap and quick Copter transfer from the airport, I bit that fishing line faster than a starving Marlin.
It was a quick 10 minute ride from the airport in St Lucia to the heliport in Castries, flying past the Pitons and over the rainforest and banana plantations. It was not only an amazing way to start our holiday but was also a great way to see the island as the sun was setting. If only we could afford to do it for the return journey as well! For our return we have a sick-inducing 2-3 hour bus ride in front of us, but that's what we need to do to allow us to do the 'copter ride.
I'm flying high (and very lucky)...What a way to start a holiday!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

#157: Read a business book

Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. I know. How boring? Well, that's precisely why this was on the list. It's a bit like eating vegetables when you're a kid: you know it's something that's good for you, but just don't want to do it RIGHT then. With my school days behind me, I know it'd be good for me to keep learning, or at least refresh the meagre skills I do have, by reading a 'business' book every now and then.

Ick. I know it was good for me. But I'm glad it's not something I'll do more often. But there. It's done.

PS: Apparently there's a book about business books. Wow. THAT must be thrilling reading. 

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. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

#156: Go to a book reading: Jennifer Saunders' Bonkers

When I started the year I put 'Go to a Book Reading' on my list because I thought it was something that I could do to get me out of the house and out in the world again by doing something cultural and intelligent. Fast forward 10 months and this has been a task that seems to be taunting me. I'm sure there have been some good books out there this year, but short of going to Hay festival in May (which I missed), I haven't been able to find any book readings for something intellectual but fun. So looking at Royal Festival Hall's programme, I bit the bullet and got tickets for some friends and I to go see Clare Balding interview Jennifer Saunders about her new book, Bonkers.

Book reading: done. Fun night out with friends: Complete.

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

Thursday, 2 October 2014

#155: Ride in a Police car

I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking when I put this one on my list. I think I had in mind somehow being out late at night and chatting (flirting?) to a nice, cute, officer to get my lazy ass a ride home after dinner. What I didn't have in mind was getting into a police car to scour the neighbourhood searching for the thief who snatched my handbag off the table in front of me and ran. (Note: My handbag is nothing special; it was just a opportunist taking a chance.)

Luckily I got my handbag and all of it's contents back, minus £60 cash in my wallet. So looking at it positively, it cost me £60 not to have to get a new license, cancel my credit cards, get a new passport (it was in my bag!), etc.

AND I got that ride home with the cute officer after all.

Photo Credit: Pres Panayotov /