Sunday 14 April 2013

Sunday Sundries: 24 Before 25

Well, here it is children! The post I'm sure we've all been waiting for, where I make a list involving things that are actually pretty easily achieved so I can feel good about achieving them throughout the year. Describing it like that makes it sound kind of like a pointless exercise, I realise, and that is STUPID because I actually find 1) the goal setting very useful, and 2) the things on it are things I actually want to do, and this makes it waaay more likely that I'm going to do them. Basically I should just stop being snarky TOWARDS MYSELF.
I will, JGL. I will.
Anyway! This post is basically going to be a big list and then a bonus list, so I'm not going to keep you in suspense any longer. ONWARDS WITH THE LISTING!

24 Before 25
  1. Go vegan for a month- I want to try it, definitely. Aaaand now I have all these vegany books, I think I kind of have to! Even if it is just, you know, February.
  2. Get a Lush Spa Treatment- I clearly mean, 'save all the money ever and get a Lush Spa treatment'. But I reeeeeally want one.
  3. Take a photo-a-day for a year- I have succeeded with this for 6 days already. This is good. Clearly I will keep this going for always. Definitely.
  4. Learn how not to be scared of my sewing machine- I don't exactly know how to measure success with this. But USING IT would be a start.
  5. Learn all the US State capitals- I don't know why. But I want to.
  6. Re-read Gone With The Wind this summer- This is a disturbingly specific goal, but basically I have only read Gone With The Wind once, and it was in the summer and it was WONDERFUL and I kind of want to recreate that. Which could be impossible, but we'll see.
  7. Attempt to do a Couch-to-5k Thing- Look, everyone ever keeps going 'running is awesome!' and I'm like 'is it..?' but I want to give it a try, and I already have a podcast thing, so. This could be the year of running!
  8. Make at least 1 item of clothing- This is connected to the sewing machine thing.
  9. Look for a new job- It's kind of a policy that I don't put anything on this list where the outcome is not entirely under my control. So GET a new job isn't something I can definitely do, but looking absolutely is. (By looking, I mean looking with further action, obviously. Not just, like, 'oh look, a job!' and that's it!)
  10. Read 20 classics from Classics Club list- Weirdly, this is one of the only goals I failed at from the last list. Must do better this year.
  11. Visit another country- This June, it'll be FOUR YEARS since I left England. This is RIDICULOUS. Action must be taken.
  12. Do a pilgrimage to Wilkie Collins' grave- I'm seriously going to do this. I'm going to wear my best mourning clothes and take a tract to put on the grave. It's going to be AWESOME. And weird.
  13. Have (at least) one internet-free day per week- I actually mean this one, and I mean for EVERYTHING except receiving emails and twitter messages (but no actual reading of ALL OF TWITTER). I think it'll be good for my brain. Probably. *clutches at computer like an addict clutching at her stash.*
  14. Get a tattoo- Might happen this year? I have a really good idea, but almost no courage. We shall see.
  15. Go and see Les Miserables on the stage- SO. I made this list aaages ago, and its final version more than a week ago, but for my birthday my sister bought me a ticket to go and see Les Mis in May! So, I know this one is definitely going to happen! Also that my sister buys awesome presents.
  16. Edit my NaNoWriMo and...
  17. Participate in NaNoWriMo again this year- Honestly, of all the things from last year's list, I think that taking part in NaNoWriMo was one of the best things I did. It feels very very achievementy, and it should because you've written a novel! In a month! Regardless of, you know, goodness... So I'm scared to look at what I wrote, but also I really want to, AND I definitely want to do it again this year.
  18. Try 26 new foods- I've tried more new foods since I stopped eating meat (14 months ago) than I have in maybe my whole life. And, I want to try even more! I don't know exactly which new foods they will be, but aubergine, avocado and blueberries are definitely on my list- and suggestions are totally welcome!
  19. Read some Dickens- I'm really throwing down the gauntlet to myself. But this year could be the year for Dickens. COULD be...
  20. Go somewhere new in England- Going to Yorkshire was a roaring success, so this year somewhere new is definitely in order. And I've never been to Derbyshire OR Kent, guys...
  21. Explore the British Museum- I've only been there twice and once was (I shit you not) so that my sister could get things from the gift shop, and the other was to go to a specific exhibition (about Shakespeare. It was awesome.) so I want to go and have a proper nose around. 
  22. Get rid of some stuff- Just, like, in general. Things I don't use, DVDs I don't watch, books I probably won't read again... That kind of thing. I try to do this as much as possible, anyway, but I'm going to try harder still!
  23. Find a book club to join- SCARY but exciting prospect. I'm on the lookout!
  24. Make 12 new savoury dishes- Last year I made 52 new things (to call them all dishes would be kind) but the VAST majority of them were sweet things. I can make almost nothing that would constitute an actual meal, so... This is kind of important!
You all wanted me to explain EVERY. POINT. didn't you? I know you did. Since this is officially my SIXTH POST THIS WEEK (*bows*) you'd think I'd have run out of steam, but apparently nope! Still, that's why you all love me, right?!

FINALLY- I think that sometimes I choose books to read that I'm just reading because I think I might not like them so they'll be able to go, or because I've had it for SO LONG, and that when I do that, I avoid the books that I actually REALLY REALLY want to read because, well, I know I'm going to like them, so they can wait. I want to not do that anymore (or at least to have a better balance or something) so here are 24 books that I really really want to read this year, although it's obviously ok if I don't but I really do want to read them at this present moment. For the sake of simplicity, I'll just call it:

24 Books
  1. The Wind Up Bird Chonicle- Haruki Murakami (I'm actually reading this already. And I just figured out that it's making me have the WEIRDEST dreams...)
  2. My Life in France- Julia Child
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking- Joan Didion
  4. Wild- Cheryl Strayed
  5. What Maisie Knew- Henry James
  6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Bronte
  7. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
  8. Fingersmith- Sarah Waters
  9. The Railway Children- E Nesbit
  10. Wicked- Gregory Maguire
  11. Middlemarch- George Eliot
  12. Man Walks Into A Room- Nicole Krauss
  13. When We Were Orphans- Kazuo Ishiguro
  14. What I Loved- Siri Hustvedt
  15. The Fault In Our Stars- John Green
  16. Much Ado About Nothing- William Shakespeare
  17. Wallflower At The Orgy- Nora Ephron
  18. Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
  19. At Home- Bill Bryson
  20. America- Jean Baudrillard
  21. Alias Grace- Margaret Atwood
  22. Little Men- Louisa May Alcott
  23. The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen
  24. Slammerkin- Emma Donoghue
If you made it through both lists, then you are awesome. You get a gold star, and also I give you this Depp-gif of adorableness. You're welcome!


  1. You are so ambitious! It's awesome. I support so many of them, like attempting running (dude it sucks, lol) and OBVS visiting Wilkie's grave and going internet-free once a week and just basically all of it! Part of me wants to make a goal list like this, but I'm already sure that I would pretty much fail it in a major way.

    Also, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wicked were super awesome and I hope you like them.

    1. Noooo, don't say running sucks!! There are a couple of bloggers I follow who are like 'Running is the most amazing ever!' and I'm like 'yeah, I can do it too!' only... I'm not sure I can. But, I'm going to try anyway. *nods bravely*.

      And heyyy, I'm sure you totally wouldn't fail a goals list! The trick is to pick things you really really really want to do (Paying your respects to Wilkie, e.g.) and then, you know, doing them! I feel like actually writing them down just kind of cements some kind of deal with yourself. Or something.

      I'm SO glad you said that, cause my main reason for posting that list was so people could go 'x book is awesome! You'll love it!' and then I can read it and go WOW YOU ARE AWESOME, RECOMMENDER! Such GOOD reasons for things...

  2. Haha, #9 made me laugh. A lot. Oh look, a job! Shiny! *snickers*

    I tried #13 last year and I lasted a good... week. I don't really mind though. I've tried to cut down on my internet time WASTING though.

    Oh, I want a tattoo this year! I know what I want and everything, but I can't get it until I'm healthy because I will quite literally die lol. It's like my health motivator!

    I'd also really like to join a bookclub, but I'm scared it will be full of old ladies who will look down their noses at the scared 23 year old. Or at the very least, I won't fit in and it'll still be weird.

    1. Hehehehehe- it's just that when I SAY I'm looking for a job, I'm not always like, doing anything about the jobs I see and could possibly apply for. I JUST HATE THE WHOLE PROCESS SO MUCH!

      Do you know what, that's really what I want to do. I feel like I waste so much time just checking twitter all the time and clicking between facebook-twitter-instagram-back to blog post-back to facebook (And I don't even LIKE facebook!) It's just that something has to give! Totes annoying.

      Awwww, that is an awesome health motivator! I don't even have a good reason for not having got one, it's pretty much just cowardice and a liiittle bit shyness of going 'DRAW THIS ON ME NOW!' But that's definitely less the problem than the fear-of-pain thing.

      I am also scared of these things. BUT I figure that, if I don't like it, I don't have to go back! Because I feel like, what if THOSE people turn out to be MY PEOPLE like the internet people and I can actually hang out with them and stuff? What then?!

    2. Yeah, I know. It's pupillage application time, which involves an 18 page application form and crying a lot. And it's irrelevant anyway, unless you happen to have sucked... umm... know the right people.

      Exactly! I'm the in the library trying to work right now and I must have checked it three times in the last hour. And Twitter. And Pinterest. I waste the most time at night, after I've gone to bed. I sit there for at least an hour, just... clicking. I'm getting better though!

      We should both go at the same time! Like, we'll set a date for the end of summer or something, then we'll go on the same day and compare! That way neither of us will chicken out!!!

      I wonder if there are any specific young people book groups. If not, I wonder if it's worth setting one up?

    3. Pupillage is absolutely a word I don't know, but it SOUNDS really important- the thing is, when you have to fill in a similar sized application form for a job you don't massively want anyway... WHAT IS THE POINT?! (I might be approaching this with the wrong attitude...)

      Anyway! Yes. BAD internet time wasting. I'm tryyying to train myself out of blank-eyed clicking of bookmarks, but... It's REALLY difficult. Life is hard.

      EHRMERGERD, we should actually do that! OR meet in the middle somewhere and get them done together! (I don't know where the middle would be. But I guess in the midlands somewhere. Obviously. Hahahahaa)

      There must be SOME young people book groups. I don't know man, I just have my online book groups and THEY'RE full of young people! My local(ish) Waterstones have a book club that I might go to (I keep missing it, it's really annoying!) cause in March they read Naked Lunch, and for this month they read Cannery Row, which is TOTALLY my jam. So yeah.

  3. Running IS awesome, but you have to push through the un-awesome part at the beginning. Great podcasts definitely help with that. I started running with a Couch to 5k plan, and I really think it's a great way to get going. Running a half hour at a stretch is terrifying, but 90 seconds? Easy peasy. Also, spoiler: I'm posting about running my first 10k tomorrow, so I'm super into this right now. ;)

    If you do #5, you're way ahead of this American! I must have missed that part of elementary school, because I'm still pretty clueless.

    I'm excited to hear about the new savory dishes you make, as I need a lot of inspiration to cook more for myself!

    And great list of books! Wild, The Fault in Our Stars, Alice in Wonderland, The Year of Magical Thinking...all so great!

    (My internet is being wonky, so sorry if this gets posted twice!)

    1. Noooooo Mandy! You are one of my People Who Say Running Is Awesome! (I mean, I realise you said that. But you said all that other stuff too...) I have had the couch to 5k podcast for the LONGEST time, so I definitely need to do it. I'm just lazy and also REALLY BAD at all exercise. But I don't WANT to be!!

      Is #5 even a thing they teach you at school?! Cause I know hardly any English counties because they NEVER teach that here. But aaaanyway, I know all the states (on a good day) so it is time to learn state capitals for some reason!

      Coooooking! You can do it! Etc etc. I really hope I do more than 12, actually, but that's just the goal number (52 was too many last time. So I'm being kind to myself this year ;) ). Possssibly I'll take pictures and things and include them in Sunday Sundries posts! We shall see.

      YAY FOR GOOD BOOKS! They're pretty much the books I own that I want to read the most, so I'm excited that I've given myself permission! Or, whatever I've done! Hehe.

      ALSO- re your below comment, I really haven't ever had avocado! I have had guacamole and I liked it, so I'm faiirly sure I'm going to like avocado itself! The deal with my never having had it is that my mum doesn't like it, and baaasically that means she never buys it, and so never feeds it to her children. Being a grown up now, (HA) I probably need to try some of the things she never gave me hahaha!

  4. Oooohhhh and I wanted to've never had avocado?! You're making this Californian's brain explode! I would eat it on absolutely everything. My favorite. You're so lucky to get to try it for the first time! ;)

  5. Running... I started going for jogs in the morning 3 times a week, not that I can actually jog for more than a few minutes at a time, but it's nice just to be outside, and see all the old people out for their morning walks and hear the birds sing :D I've tried doing C25K before, but I couldn't deal with the music on the podcasts, so I'm doing my own version now, where I run until I feel like I need to walk, then walk until I just about feel that I can run again, and it seems to be going well!

    I can't believe that you've never had aubergine, avocado and blueberries!!! They're all delicious! Mmmmmmmm!

    The wind up bird chronicle is one of my favourite Murakami books <3 I re-read it last year in Japanese, it was awesome. It's a bit gruesome at times though.

    I'm trying to figure out a list of 27 things to do before I'm 28, but I can only think of 10 or so, hehe. Hmm..!!!

    1. That... Yeah, that sounds like a good way to run! And awww, that sounds SO AMAZING (I'm in a Japanese state of mind again. Just thought you should know...) I've been walking to and from work a lot lately, and it's really nice seeing the other people who are out walking and feeling all solidarity-ish with them!

      I know right?! I'm ridiculous. Until last year I'd never had asparagus, and now it's about my FAVOURITE food! So this is obviously what I'm hoping will happen this year :)

      Jennyyyyy, I just finished it today, and OMG! So. Good. I have no idea how I'm going to review it AT ALL, but OMG! I especially liked that it was probably the least sad of his books that I've read so far, so that was awesome! (Not that it didn't have sad bits. But it was more like "WOAH THIS IS WEIRD" than "I want to DIE because everything is terrible."

      When's your birthday?? I'm sure you still have time! This list did take, like, from the start of the year to make! (I mean, I didn't spend ALL that time on it. But it did take that long to come up with that many things!)

    2. The only problem with the birdsong and stuff is is that you kind of have to go out reaaaally early (I go at 5.30, hehe), but as long as you can force yourself to get up, it's nice! :)

      You'd never had asparagus?! Wow, that's kind of insane too! Mmmm, asparagus :D

      Hehe, my reaction to it the first time I read it was pretty much WOAH THIS IS WEIRD but I LOVE IT! <3 <3 <3 hehe. Reading it in Japanese was awesome too, because although I don't think Murakami books lose that much in translation, it forces me to read slowly, so I was reading it for about 4 months, and it was nice to spend that much time with a book.

      My birthday is on Thursday!!! I'll try to come up with some stuff! I'm going to be stupidly busy at work this week though, so I'm not sure that my brain will be able to cope with thinking when I get home, hehe. Maybe I'll give myself the weekend as well :) And permission to put really stupid things on it, hehe.

    3. Woooooah... That's reaaally pretty early. But STILL- once you get used to getting up at a crazy person time, it's all good right?!

      I KNOW! I think the deal with asparagus was that my dad doesn't like it, so my mum's always been like 'well, if I'm the only one who'll eat it, what's the point?' But OMG it's so good!

      Woooooooow, that's a long time to spend on a book! I actually had to, not rush finishing it, exactly, but kind of HAD to know what was going to happen, as well as... I think reading Murakami makes me a bit odd in the brain, as in I walk along and think that things are a little bit off and weird like I'm LIVING in his book and that's probably not a good state of mind to be in for too long haha! ALSO there is a new Murakami coming out soon, I believe? I will be SO jealous of you while I'm waiting for the translation. Just so you know!!

      Oh WOW, that's so soon! Happy nearly birthday! You totally have time to make a list (if you want to, obvs!) cause, you know, you have a year to do all this stuff, so losing a week or so isn't a big deal! And you haaave to put stupid things on it, definitely- and stupidly easy things, too. Then it's AWESOME when you actually do them :)

    4. It is good!!! Hehe. It's only half an hour earlier than I normally get up, so it's not that big a deal for me though.

      Hehe, the new Murakami came out on Friday... :D I have to finish 1Q84 before I can read it, but I'm EXCITED! :D

      Thank you! Hehe. I shall put many stupid and stupidly easy things on the list :D Yay!!!

  6. Gosh, there is so much stuff here. Where to start?

    Firstly, that's truly ambitious.

    Secondly, if you're receiving emails and tweets, it's not *really* an internet free day, right? so you might need to either tweak that or admit your addiction. either way.

    regarding your yearning to learn state capitals: what if, instead, i taught you the name of all 50 states in alphabetical order, all to be sung to the tune of Turkey In the Straw? Much more fun, right?

    1. The way I feel about emails and tweets is that, like, I don't want to stop getting texts and stuff and I classify them as the same kind of thing? The stuff that really takes up my time is like constantly checking twitter and instagram, whereas I hardly look at my emails. I mean, I see your point, but still. I'm ok with it.

      I WANT TO LEARN THIS! I mean, I don't even know how Turkey In The Straw goes! But I WANT TO! (Still going to learn the state capitals though. It's a pretty awesome goal ;) )

    2. I WILL TEACH IT TO YOU. For really realz, as the teenager who lives in my house might say. I think Turkey In the Straw is some sort of quintessential square dance or polka tune. Most Americans know the tune without knowing the name of the tune. I can't guess whether most folks in the UK would know it, though.

      Do you know the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous? I kinda love it in a campy way and there's a scene where KIrsten Dunst's character has to name all of the capitals of the US in alphabetical order by state name. That might be a good place to start your, ahem, research.

    3. I HAVE seen Drop Dead Gorgeous! I watched it quiiite a few times when I was younger, but we only had it on video and I think it got donated to something... But I should tooootally do some 'research' and watch it! I have a map of the US on my wardrobe door and it has the state capitals on it so... There's that too!

      Have just investigated Turkey in the Straw (youtube) and I kiiind of know the start of the tune but then not the second bit? (It's reaaaaally difficult to explain without listening to it together!) But it's vaguely familiar anyway. I'm glad we had this chat.

  7. Dude, good luck with the state capitals. I've been living in said states my whole life and I barely know any of them. PLUS ye olde Americans were kind of annoying in naming the capitals -- for instance, you would think that Charleston would be the capital of South Carolina, but NO it is the capital of West Virginia. Who's heard of Charleston, WV? Exactly no one.

    Also, I look forward to hearing about Wilkie's grave! I wish I could make the pilgrimage with you...

    1. DID I know that Charleston was in South Carolina though? I did not. I just know the dance. Ok, this could be harder than I thought... It's weird to me that, like, neither LA or San Francisco are the capital of California, or that NYC isn't the capital of NY, and Chicago isn't the capital of Illinois... I'm just like, what are you doing, America?! Madness. *shakes head sadly*

      Raynaaaaa, come over here and we can pilgrimage together! I totally need someone to go with, because otherwise how am I going to take pictures, exactly? And NO ONE ELSE will understand...

  8. I have pretty much said 'yes, that sounds awesome' to every goal you've made. Firstly...a pilgrimage to Wilkie's grave?! Um, WOW. Make sure you wear a mourning veil, do it old school. You should definitely take up running. I think everyone should take up running. I know I'm biased but the whole wind in your hair, ground under your feet, pounding tunes in your ears thing really gets me going. Tattoos are amazing (and not as painful as people make out). Book clubs are alcoholic and fun. Avocado is the bees knees.

    Regarding the Shakespeare exhibition...was that the one last year? If so, that was hella awesome. In fact the BM in general is just babe-tastic. So many old things.

    Basically, I am very excited (aren't I always?) for you and I wish you a ton of luck (particularly with the whole state capitals thing).

    1. I want to do a proper mourning situation for Wilkie. I think he deserves it. I really WANT to be a runner, I'm just like, not so good with the exercise pain and like the feeling of 'the burn'. Mostly I'm just like 'OUCH, that burns!' But Imma try, anyway. Tattoos are awesome, and also, you have some? I'm going to have to force you into doing a post on them because I MUST SEE EVERYONE'S TATTOOS ALWAYS! Avocadooooo! (I ran out of sentences. Words will have to do.)

      YES that was totally the Shakespeare exhibition I went to! It WAS awesome, except for THE 400 YEAR OLD EYE that made me forget everything I'd seen in the rest of the exhibition. *shudder*

      Thank you! Especially for your excitement :)

  9. So I totally read this whole thing, & what stuck with me was that wait, you've never had blueberries before? Those would be a new food? Go get yourself some blueberries, ma'am!

    Also happy birthday, and what an awesome list :)

    1. I know right?! I feel like I might have had a bit of blueberry muffin once maybe? But if I did, that's not a fair test of anything because I really hate cooked fruit! Madness!

      Thank youuu!

  10. I love this idea, although I guess I should make a 26 before 27 because I doubt I can finish any sort of list before the end of this month when I turn 26!

    I think I would like to do the couch to 5k ... maybe seems like a lot of that running thing. I completely understand the more desserts than dinners thing. My husband always teases me that the only recipes I keep are for sweet things. Personally, I think it's the way to go. :)

    1. Yeah, no, you definitely don't have enough time for that. But I enthusiastically encourage the 26 before 27 list!

      i really just find baking things way easier than savoury things, plus I have most of the ingredients all ready and waiting whereas for like MEAL things I have to buy loads of new stuff and it's all just like MLEUUUUUGH effort. Plus, you know, cake is awesome!

  11. I love love love your goals! Ok, first off, Les Mis is absolutely incredible on the stage. Must see! I've always wanted to do a spa day too! And I'm going to be in Atlanta for something this fall, so I decided to re-read GWTW this summer too!!!! If you're going to try Dickens for the first time I'd recommend Great Expectations as a good place to start.

    1. Aw, thanks man! I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE LES MIS!! I don't think I could BE more excited! And awwww, book buddies! GWTW is amaaaazing so I'm so excited! And and and Great Expectations is one of the only Dickens books I own, so... Maybe I will read it first! We shall see.

  12. Such a fantastic list! I'm inspired :) Good luck!! Ooh ooh for Alice in all time fave.

  13. OMG, if you have never had avocados or blueberries, you are in for a seriously awesome treat (in completely different ways). They are fantastic!! Blueberries in the summer are absolutely amazing. Avocados with eggs and an english muffin in the morning are really great, too!

    I recently started running (well, several months ago) and I think my advice would be - do it OUTSIDE. I absolutely despise running on a treadmill and I get exhausted and sweaty so fast and hate it. And then I run outside and it is SO much better and the time passes much better/faster as well. I won't say that I LOVE running, but on a crisp, bright day, it's nicer than being in a gym. Just start slow so you don't get horrible shin splints :-P