Tag Archives: bucket list

Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

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Twiddlemuff and the Art of Knitting

A Twiddlemuff or to Twiddlemuff, that is the question?

Either way you say it, it sounds a little bit “Carry On” doesn’t it?

“Would you care for tea m’Lord?”

“No thanks my good man off for a bit of Twiddlemuff!”

Actually, though that could not be further from the truth.

Until a few months ago I too was totally oblivious to what a Twiddlemuff was. It was only when I had a quick flick through my mum’s WI monthly newsletter (as you do when you have nothing better to do) when I saw a small article that caught my eye. The headline was “Twiddling for Dementia” – and again even the headline raised an eyebrow!

So what is a Twiddlemuff?

It is also known as a Sensory Band or Dementia Sleeve, which are double thickness knitted hand muffs embellished with bits and bobs (such as buttons, ribbons, bells, etc) attached inside and out to provide a stimulation activity for restless hands in patients suffering from dementia.

After reading, a little lightbulb went PING! in my head. Ah, I thought, an opportunity to  knock another item off the old bucket list. The art of knitting.

Now, since I wrote my bucket list (or things to do in my 40s) I have knitted precisely one item. A very small scarf (10 stitches across) in plain knit stitch only which is currently residing on small boy’s toy bunny.

So as you can tell I am not the world’s best knitter, by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought it would give me a chance to practice and hone my skills whilst at the same time doing something worthwhile.

I went to the webpage shown in the magazine article for the pattern which said that I should cast on 28 stitches (easy when you know how, I favour the thumb method myself) and then do stocking stitch. Now clearly when I went to my “The Knitting Book” I must have not had my glasses on because I could have sworn blind that stocking stitch was Knit one Purl one.

This was my result after 5 or 6 rows!

twiddlemuff1

 

 

 

 

 

Disaster!

I could not work out why the darn thing was not getting any longer.

Until, I took a closer look.

When it comes to knitting I am very much a beginner’s beginner. Sure I knew how to do a basic knit stitch, but that still involved my concentrating really hard and sticking my tongue out of the corner of my mouth. Knit one Purl one was causing consternation, purely because having read in my knitting bible that to a do a purl stitch the yarn should be in front of the needles.

And therein lay my problem.

What I was doing between each stitch was actually moving the ball of wool so all I was doing was knotting rather than knitting, which is why the thing wasn’t getting nay longer.

Unravel, throw needles down in despair at how rubbish I am and leave it.

For a few weeks, and then I found another pattern, courtesy of Knit for Peace which seemed a lot simpler to follow, since it said you could use just normal Knit stitch, and then it actually explained stocking stitch.

Clearly I had been wearing my “daft” head (as Worzel would have put it) because stocking stick is knit one row and then purl one row – oh, how much simpler.

So recasting 60 stitches we had Twiddlemuff Part 2.

And after a while my knitting resembled something identifiable:

twiddlemuff2

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, I still had 60 stitches.

Sure, I am still as slow as the proverbial snail, in fact I timed it and it takes me 4 mins and 34 seconds to knit one row – a little bit longer for purl. But I am almost, so very nearly at the end of my ball of wool and it looks quite good.

I think I must have not used a 150g ball of wool, as it is not the required length.

Guess Bunny now has a blanket!

I will buy another ball of wool and start Twiddlemuff Mark 3 – then I can send it off.

I will update you on the progress of the next Twiddlemuff soon.

In the meantime, I’m off to Twiddlemuff!

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Tea at The Ritz

ritz“Things to do in my 40s” Bucket List number 4 – BIG FAT DONE!!!

I thought it was high time I started ticking off some more on my bucket list, so I decided I would treat myself for afternoon tea at The Ritz.  And what better day to go than my birthday 😉

I was very purple. I decided on a lovely frock – blue grey with big purple flowers topped off with a purple shrug (which I had worn for SC’s christening), my purple handbag and a pair of flat ballerina pumps (I did take my heels, but in the end felt more comfortable in flats)

I dropped SC off at school and then hot-footed it up into the big smoke – I’d booked afternoon tea for 11.30, which I suppose technically makes it morning tea 😉 so I had plenty of time to get back for school pick-up.

I was there super early, but got to sit in the foyer soaking up the ambience. It was truly lovely.

Eventually 11:30 arrived and I was shown to my table (for 1) – handily wedged in a corner, so I could sit and watch the world go by whilst I supped tea and read my book (which you could say was my date).ritz1

Oh my gosh! The choice of tea is vast, at least 20 varieties. I was tempted by the Orange Pekoe, but seeing as I haven’t partaken in caffeinated tea for a while I didn’t want to run the risk of getting the caffeine shakes in the middle of one of the poshest hotels in London, so I stuck to my herbal and veered away from Chamomile to Lemon Verbena. It was refreshing on the old palate and made a lovely change.

And don’t you just love it when you get a proper china cup and saucer? Makes the tea taste better I find!

The tea turned up in a silver teapot, with an extra silver jug filled with hot water and a tea strainer – although with the Lemon Verbena there were not many tea leaves, so I couldn’t read my leaves at the end!!!

ritz2Then they brought a cake stand with a plate of sandwiches – the daintiest things. I would love to know how they do them. How come their bread doesn’t squish down when they cut it like mine does when I make SC his packed lunch in the mornings?? There was smoked salmon (scrummy), cucumber (of course), hummus (I got the veggie option), tomato and cheese. And the top of the stand had 5 lovely looking cakes.

So armed with tea, sandwiches, cake and a good book I settled down to enjoy the atmosphere. Then the man started playing the grand piano – a medley of old musical tunes – truly lovely, brought a tear to my eye.

I was so engrossed with my book and enjoying my tea that I scarcely noticed that an hour had gone by and the waiter came to replenish my teapot and offer scones.

To be honest, I didn’t eat everything. There was a lot. I was a very good girl and didn’t eat the cakes, but I couldn’t resist the teeny tiny scones – especially as they came hot from the oven with clotted cream and jam.

And I made sure I eked out every single second. As it’s so popular you get an hour and three-quarters and I was not going to leave until 1:15!!! So I made darn sure I made that last cup of tea last 😉

I had a lovely time, I’m glad I can tick it off my list and I would definitely go again. Maybe next time I’ll get to go with a real-live human being instead of a book – but heck, if not I’ll take another book 😉

 

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Things I want to do in 2014 – Half Year Update

Way back in January (doesn’t seem that long ago, this year is whipping by) I set out a list of “Things I want to do in 2014

Progress is, well, slow, to say that very least:

1.  I gave up reading Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. I got through 21% of it, but to be brutally honest, I didn’t care about any of the characters, and when I read a book I want to care about, or be able to relate to at least one of them, and I got completely and utterly bored. Now that may make me ignorant of great literature or stupid for not finding it inspiring, and if that is so, well, so be it. But I would rather not waste any of my 86,400 seconds that I have in a day reading something I find dull, just because it’s something ‘you should read’ – that to me is a waste of life.

2.  Learning to speak Spanish – this is one of the things I am doing, slowly but surely. I have the CD, but I also bought a box set, very reasonably for a bargain £5, which contains CD, phrase books, and a weekly step-by-step guide. I whizzed through week 1, and am now ploughing my way through week 2, food and drink. I am fairly confident now, I can book a table and maybe even order a cup of tea and churros 😉

3.  Learn to play the piano – have started pretending to practise, badly, in an attempt to get SC to do a bit more practise.  It seems to be working. I’m finding his book very good to work through and he’s just learning to put two hands together. This one I fear will be a long drawn out process. I certainly have no grand dreams that I will be a concert pianist, however, I would just like to be able to read the bass line of the music and be able to bash out a tune or two.

4.  Take a singing exam, just for fun – no progress on this, although I have got a singing teacher, just need the funds 😉

5.  Learn to knit and actually knit something – no progress, as yet, still autumn is fast approaching, so there’s time 😉

6.  Go and see Mamma Mia – tried so very hard to get Kids Week tickets for SC and I for this, but I had no luck. Again plenty of time, maybe I’ll treat us later on in the year.

7.  Try to do my exercise DVDs each day – this actually went well during January. However, medical problems and operation forced a cessation of activity.  However, post-operative progress seems to be sufficient for me to be able to resume exercising.  I’m also thinking of starting a ballet class, it’s been too long I fear my muscles will scream in agony!

8.  Train my chimp – have been training my chimp and channelling my good psychopath qualities.  I’ve been working and developing my new business and am ready to launch 😉  Looking forward to new adventures 😉

9.  Try a different soup each week – total failure to date ;-(  maybe I should just try one and tell SC I used a different coloured mud?

10.  Start writing my book – planning in progress.   I have a vague(ish) outline, working on character development and plots.

So there you have it!

Not too horrendous really, considering I still have 6 months of the year to go.  Admittedly, I’m no where near setting the world on fire, but these are things I wanted to do for me. For no one else, just for my own sense of learning something new, finishing something I started and just sometimes for the sheer fun and hell of it 😉

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Bucket List #25 – Eyebrow Threading

Big fat – DONE IT!Eyebrow Threading

I had my eyebrows threaded yesterday.

I was a bit wary after having heard reports from it hurting only slightly less than childbirth to feeling like your eyes were being cut with glass!

I used to have my eyebrows waxed in the very dim and distant past, and I always used to find it disconcerting. It is the only part of you, where you cannot see what is going on with the waxing and you feel like the beautician is going to scalp the eyebrow when it feels like she is tweezing everything to Kingdom Come!

So, I lay down on the couch, breathed deeply and waited…

Whoever said it hurt – LIED!

It was no more painful than waxing, and was over within 5 minutes.

Seriously what is all the fuss about?

I’ll probably go back to waxing, it really did not make much difference – considering the girl who did it still used tweezers to get the stubborn bits out!

Still, at least I can now say I’ve had it done.

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Bucket List – #2 & #24

Very exciting week on the bucket list front.

Have managed to get the lead in the next am-dram musical – yay me! So, that’s another notch on number 2 😉

Obviously I have to duck all the compulsory dagger throwing from people who didn’t get the part for the next few months, but it’s going to be so much fun  and I’m very excited 😉

I worked really hard (probably the hardest I’ve ever done in my life) for this audition. I knew I would be fine with the acting and dancing, but the singing part has always been my weakest area, and one of the songs I needed to hit squarely and start in my belt voice otherwise it would all have gone horribly wrong. I spent the weeks leading up to audition have seven shades of panic about this song and then I had a Eureka! moment, or rather found the most wonderful advice and it worked.

When it came for me to stand up and audition I was confident and for once sang the best I ever have in an audition situation. Literally I could not have sung any better had I tried. I walked away feeling fantastic – and knowing that I couldn’t control the outcome knew I had done my best.

When I found out I had got the part I was over the moon – and SC was made up for me too 😉

And the next bucket list task in progress is learning to swing on a trapeze. I have found a static trapeze class and am going to go in the next fortnight with a couple of mums from school. I shall let you know what it is like. We’re all very excited about it 😉

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