Progress Update – One year to go!
I’m pleased to report that good progress has been made since my progress update this time last year (halfway through). At that point I had completed 20 challenges and had 20 left. This year I have completed a further 10, so I am now 30 down, 10 to go. One year left – it’s looking very achievable.
The challenges I have completed in the last year are: visiting the Hay Festival, watching a professional cricket match, seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, making my own perfume, taking an evening class, swimming in a hot pool in Iceland, spending a day spoiling my Mum, having a Brazilian wax, putting a bet on in a betting shop and finishing reading the BBC Top 100 books. I’ve also visited two more English UNESCO World Heritage sites – Ironbridge Gorge and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.
The Hay Festival was a revelation – I haven’t enjoyed anything so much for a long time. It was so wonderful to be back in an environment where I really felt the joy of learning. It’s a festival I will definitely return to in the future. My Ironbridge Gorge visit brought to life some of the history I learnt at school, and I was once again reminded that although I love to travel, it’s also worth spending time being a tourist at home. Iceland delivered not only the hot pools but also the amazing experience of the Aurora Borealis, which I count myself very lucky to have seen.
My adult education course of Chinese and Thai cookery introduced me to new ingredients and methods and has significantly broadened my repertoire in terms of the meals I cook at home. Usefully, it’s also given me the basics of an Asian storecupboard which means I am now able to prepare some seriously tasty food very quickly. Ideal for avoiding boredom in my midweek meals.
My 48 recipes challenge has also taken me in a new direction as I joined Clandestine Cake Club so I’ve been getting into baking in a big way. It’s noticeable that there are far more sweet recipes this year than there have been in the previous two years and I’ve also been getting bolder. This year I’ve tried souffles, dough, macarons and laminated doughs, all of which I was a bit scared of before. Most of them have worked really well. I love making bread and am now baking my own bread when I entertain as much as I can. Usually time for the proving is more of a challenge than the process of creating of the dough. My macarons need more work though – my first set were perfect but my second set left a lot to be desired!
So now I have one year to complete the remaining 10 challenges. Of these, two are ongoing. I shall be continuing with my 48 recipes challenge – only 12 to go now, and I have two UNESCO sites left: Durham Castle and Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall. I already have a plan to visit those in October. The remaining eight challenges are: eat a Michelin starred restaurant (this will hopefully be part of my 40th birthday celebrations), host a murder mystery dinner party (I know who my guests are going to be, it’s just a case of finding a date we can all do), make and wear an item of clothing (more challenging this one, I think it might be a winter project), ride on a motorbike, spend a day at the races, take a professional make up lesson, to watch a Japanese tea ceremony being performed (I’m travelling in Japan at the moment, watch this space!), and finally to help a stranger with a random act of kindness. In the last three years no opportunities to be the good Samaritan have presented themselves so I might need to look for something more structured to do. Any ideas welcomed…