At precisely 7:23pm on Friday 22nd January 1988, I entered the world. 30 years later at the same time, on the same day, I promptly forgot (I’m going to blame the five hours time difference in New York and the horrific jetlag). I’ve always liked acknowledging the time I was born – there’s something quite final about it and the very definite start of something new.
For some reason I thought 30 would come crashing over me like a sudden wave of adulthood, instantly making me a finance pro or a woman very sure with a ten-year plan. Obviously this didn’t happen, because life’s not like that, but I did realise I am already pretty ‘grown-up’ for only being just 30 – for me, this looks like the following: I’m married, I’m a homeowner and I have a brilliant job which I love.
As part of this milestone, I knew I wanted to mark it with something big, but also realistic and completely under my control. Originally I’d thought about doing 30 sporting challenges whilst I’m 30, but to be honest, that’s pretty unachievable (and not to mention, expensive).
So, I decided on what I’m calling 30 For 30.
30 things I’d like to do, see and make happen over the next 12 months, from sporting challenges, to lifestyle changes and everything in between. Some long term and some short term goals. I’ll be coming back to all of these things throughout the year so you can see how these play out.
Check out Part One below and click here for Part Two.
- Use less plastic
Planet Earth’s shocking footage of the world’s plastic problem really hammered this home for me, so this year I’m aiming to do my bit and simply use less plastic – single use plastic to be specific – and take a more proactive approach to recycling. Every little effort counts, so I want to play my part in being a bit kinder to our world.
- See ya, disposable coffee cups
I spend a lot of time travelling with work, and this means I end up in a lot of coffee shops working or picking up coffee on the go. Thankfully now I’ve got my brilliant KeepCup, so there’ll be one less paper or plastic coffee cup harming the environment. I am, however, being completely realistic with this goal and won’t beat myself up if I can’t use a reusable cup. As long as the split works in the favour of the reusable, then I know I’ll be doing something good.
- Me time is essential
And something I don’t often prioritise. I love my own company and I’m not ashamed to say so. This year, I’m going to invest more quality time in me – so when I find myself with precious time alone, I’m not going to spend it getting lost down a social media black hole (which, let’s face it, happens to the best of us) but invest it wisely. I’m thinking simple things such as putting a face mask on (gotta hydrate that skin) to the down-right luxurious (get me to a spa).
- Do more of what you love
My real passions have really fallen by the way side in the past two years. Cooking. Reading. Writing. Singing. Playing the piano. Taking photos. I’m not saying I’ve stopped doing these altogether, but I haven’t dedicated the time and consequently, I’ve been getting frustrated with myself. This kind of sits hand-in-hand with number three, so these passion projects will play out in my me time.
- Read 30 books
This a biggie for me. As a kid, I was pretty much a bookworm (it was all about Goosebumps, Chronicles of Narnia and Girls In Love) but it’s been something I’ve struggled to find real time for and I just haven’t had that urge to read a good book in a long time. That all changed when my mum and sister recommended Clare Mackintosh’s ‘I Let You Go.’ I couldn’t put it down. For someone who works in social media and who’s mind is constantly thinking about 20 different things, I was proud (and surprised) when I basically read this in one sitting. So, I’ve challenged myself to read 30 books over the course of the year and educate my mind. I’ll keep you posted on what’s on the list.
- Buy quality over quantity
Exactly what it says on the tin. But with a bias towards clothes and shoes in particular. Out with the fast fashion, in the quality pieces which are going to last.
- Get over scrolling mindlessly
We’ve all been there. Scroll through Instagram. Onto Twitter. Onto Facebook. Repeat. And all of a sudden it’s 2am and you have to be up for work in four hours. So I’m taking back control, because frankly, it’s a waste of time and I want to reclaim it.
- Get smarter with money management
I’m not a saver. I am firmly a spender. But y’know what? My savings account is looking more than a bit anaemic and we’ve got our sights set on a house. So, to help make me a bit smarter with my incomings and outgoings, I’m trialling two things: Monzo the banking app that tracks your spending (you can track how much money you’ve been spending in Pret… scarier than I imagined) and I’m using it to manage and track my disposable income – the money I’ve set aside each month for meeting up with friends, night outs – paying a certain amount into the Monzo account has stopped me from taking out my usual debit card, so the temptation to spend more hasn’t been there. A winning situation all round. I’m also using Cleo – the AI banking assistant which you can hook up various bank accounts to and which helps identify where you could be making a saving. I’ll report back on how I’m using both soon.
- Swim. It doesn’t have to be far, so just swim
I’ve always found swimming a challenge. I loved it when I was younger, then one incident involving trying to do a backwards roll underwater and getting totally lost in the movement, frankly, got me shook. Since then, I’ve been extremely under confident in the water – scared to put my face in – and this is the year I want to get over it. Part of my job is to inspire people to swim in the open water, so I need to heed some of my own advice. The people I’ve met at Great Swim events are some of the most inspirational people you’ll ever meet – cancer survivors, amputees, astounding men and women in their 70s and 80s just getting out there and doing it – and if they can do it, I most certainly can too. Bring on the water.
- Get on yer bike
Simple. Mix it up. Get out there. Get some miles in the legs. Embrace the bike.
- Complete Ride London 100
Following on from number ten, I’ve been pretty – actually, extremely – lucky to bag a ballot spot in Ride London this year. It’s a 100-mile ride from London to Surrey and back again, all on closed roads. When the Congratulations magazine dropped through the door, I’d kind of forgotten I’d entered the ballot, and to get through on the first go is pretty special and an opportunity I’m not going to waste. I’m not running a marathon this year, so this is the big challenge to keep me on my toes. Prepare your eyes for lots of cycling content here and on my Instagram (apols in advance for the padded shorts).
- Buy the best quality skincare you can afford
You only have one skin to live in, so treat it well. And that’s what I intend to do. The skincare that’s made the recent cut? Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm (and oldie, but a bloody goodie) and Dr Jart’s Ceramidin moisturiser.
- Take and print more photos
I am the actual worst at taking photos, despite having a job which involves very heavily around capturing imagery and video. And when I say this, I mean photos for myself of family, friends, me and my husband. I’m just a bit rubbish at it. My sister on the other hand, is the photo taking queen and always, always get them printed, so I’m taking a leaf out of her book to capture and savour my memories.
- Sit down for dinner at the table
Over Christmas and New Year, we sat down at the table to eat a lot, and it reminded me what a wonderful time to savour it is. I loved sitting down to eat with my family as a kid – some of my most treasured memories are from us four sitting at the table with mum and dad, laughing our heads off or just chatting about what we’d been up to, and want to make some more of those lovely memories please. During the week, we’re in and out like two ships that pass in the night, eating different meals at different times in front of the TV, so weekends are going to become the time when we sit down at the table together, eat, drink, talk and ultimately, make some new memories.
- Visit restaurants and pubs you’ve always wanted to go to
Notes is one of the most frequently used apps on my phone. I use it for pretty much everything. One of my most used is a list of pubs and restaurants that we’ve been dying to eat at for ages, but just haven’t got around to. This year, we’re going to start making a dent in that list. First up? House of Tides in two weeks’ time – my birthday present from Joe (can you tell I’m eeking out my birthday celebrations just a bit…? #sorrynotsorry)