2017 Bucket List

2017 (Diary from Asda) - Emma's Picture Postcards

I wrote a wordy review last week of my general experiences of 2016 and intentions for 2017, but here’s more of a precise look back at what I fancied doing last year and forward to my plans for this year.  I’ve never really been a New Year’s Resolutions kind of girl, but I couldn’t function without my daily to-do list and I enjoy expanding that to a longer term, no pressure list of fun things I’d like to do.

The 2016 Bucket List (full post here)

What I did that was on the list:

– Went to Skye and Eilean Donan Castle.  These were everything I’d dreamed, and a lovely long-weekend trip.

– Trained for and ran Race for Life in June.  Not only that, but I actually kept it up and then ran the Dandara 5k in September, too.  A bit more on this below, but I really enjoyed running more frequently.  I must admit, I’m a fair weather runner, but I did get out there as soon as spring started to show its face in 2016 and am keen to get back to it soon.

– Did some decorating.  I did take pictures as promised, but I think I was having camera troubles at the time and they’re all fuzzy except for this one, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that we did a good job 🙂  We each have our own little home office in this house and each one is suited to our own tastes now so we’re contented little bees!

Emma's Picture Postcards

Extra things I did:

– became self-employed and started two new jobs.  After a few fiascos and with the offshore industry looking less and less of a wise place to be, I was keen, verging on desperate, to get a job with either the NHS or one of the local universities or councils.  Meanwhile, I decided to see if I could turn my hand to transcription and started freelancing for a company based in London.  As it turns out, I absolutely love it!  I then did find a part-time job at one of the unis, so I’m now splitting my time between the two.  At risk of jinxing it, I’m finding it an absolutely perfect balance.  Both jobs are interesting but in different ways and have their own challenges and rewards.  I find three days in the office the perfect amount of social interaction, while the remaining four days I can set my own schedule of when I want to work, sleep or do other things.  The harder I work at the freelance work, the more I earn, and on the other hand, while of course I’m conscientious in my office job, I can rest easy knowing that I have that secure income each month.

– got into some decent routines.  I got myself a Fitbit in the Black Friday sales in 2015, and realised that the end of the year is a good time for me to establish myself in a routine and feel a little bit rebellious for not doing it in January 😉  It’s helped motivate me to walk a lot more and I upped that into running in the warmer months, plus I’ve kept up my habit of going to at least one or two gym classes a week.  It also helped me work out what sleep routine works best for me, and I’ve realised I’m a real early bird.  I feel best when I’m in bed by 10 and up at 6 – this doesn’t always happen, but it’s the aim, and the difference in how I feel is enough to make sure I keep vaguely to that schedule, even if it does end up being an hour or two later that my sleep starts and finishes.  I’ve learned that I absolutely have to stick to 6-8 hours of sleep though, because if I get more than that, I feel awful and sluggish all day, and if I consistently get less, it’s a one-way ticket to a migraine.  I’ve also been tracking (and upping) my water intake and feel so much better for that too.

– as well as those health-related routines, I’ve gotten into a good routine for keeping myself organised.  I’ve always been a big fan of lists, and for a while now I’ve been writing a daily to-do list with absolutely everything I have to remember on it.  Often this includes everything right down to showering and eating lunch, because it’s not unheard of for 3pm to come and I suddenly realise the reason I’m so light-headed is that I haven’t eaten!  It felt a little bit daft at first, but it really works for me.  It also helped me when I was job-hunting to be able to quickly and easily look back to see what jobs I’d applied for, and to be able to tell James what I’d been up to when he came home from work.  It’s so easy for a well-meant “What did you do today?” to be taken the wrong way when you’re feeling sensitive and dependent!

The 2017 Bucket List

Things I didn’t get to in 2016 but am carrying forward to 2017:

– a trip up Cairngorm mountain on the funicular railway.  A vague plan is already in the works for this, so watch this space!

– Blair Drummond Safari Park

– Edinburgh Zoo

– the Kelpies

New items:

– Footdee – it’s absolutely ridiculous that I’ve lived in Aberdeen for eleven years and never been to one of its most picturesque locations.  Thankfully I righted this wrong the other day and you will soon see the photo evidence!

Footdee, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

– introduce James to my Kiwi friends.  One of my favourite people in the world is a young lady named Erin.  Long story short, she’s from New Zealand, we met in Germany, and she currently lives in the UK.  I’ve seen quite a bit of her and her husband over the last few years, but it’s never worked out for them to meet James – either he’s been away for work, or I’ve visited them while on father-daughter trips to London, etc.  It’s reached the point that there’s a running joke that James doesn’t exist, so I’m hoping to get them up for another visit this year and make the myth a reality.  I may even take them to Loch Ness to look for Nessie too 😉

– explore a new European city (Prague / Venice) or rediscover one I visited in my youth (Paris / Amsterdam / Budapest).  These are the current suggestions but we’ll see.  Europe is our oyster 🙂

– send (and make???) Christmas cards!  This one is non-negotiable, even if I have to start preparing in January 😀

– Last but most random: go to Clatt.  When my gran was a young mum (I’m not sure, but I believe when my dad’s eldest sister was a toddler, so before my dad was even a twinkle in her eye) she lived in a tiny village in Aberdeenshire called Clatt.   She’s always asking me if I’ve been yet, and I haven’t because honestly I think it probably is the definition of a one-horse town, but I actually looked it up the other day and it’s not as far away as I thought, so I’m going to take a little road trip some time soon and take some photos, just because it would tickle her.

What are your dreams for this year?

2016 Bucket List

Kings Chapel, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

So I’m the kind of person who, when I know something might happen, subconsciously talks myself around to it, to the extent that I sometimes convince myself it’s definitely happening. James’s contract at Aberdeen University is due to finish in April, and although his supervisor was working on securing a big grant to hopefully keep him on, he’d mentioned that if that didn’t work out, he’d look at a couple of other opportunities – at the opposite end of the UK.

Aberdeen is our home – I’ve lived here for ten years now, and James for five, and we bought our house here two years ago. We have really good friends here, and it’s a nice place to live – just the right size of city, big enough that it has all you need, but small enough that it still has a sense of community, plus I love being by the sea – although I’m the first to admit that being this far north, in a city built mostly out of grey granite, can be pretty depressing in winter.

All that said, we were keen to stay in Aberdeen if possible, not least because James absolutely loves his job and department, but we weren’t against the idea of moving. My job is currently based from home anyway, and there are more opportunities in my line of work in the major English cities. The weather would be better, and we wouldn’t have to work out which major airport was most convenient to transfer via when going on holiday, because we’d be near some of them… Safe to say, in the back of my mind, I’d come round to the idea and was kinda looking forward to a fresh start.

You guessed it – the grant was secured, James had an interview, and we are 100% definitely in Aberdeen for the next four years. Haha. I am happy about it, and very proud of him, and it’s great to have the security of knowing exactly where we’ll be. But to make it seem a little extra shiny, I decided to make a bucket list for this year, to make the most of being close to the lovely things Scotland has to offer!

  1. Edinburgh Zoo. I visited Edinburgh Zoo so many times as a child, and I don’t have a single tiny negative memory about it. I absolutely love it, and it’s been too long since I’ve been back. Nothing will stop me making a trip this year.
  2. Blair Drummond Safari Park. On the other hand, I have never been to a safari park, despite the fact that there’s a really good one a couple of hours away. This looks like such a fun day out so I really hope to make it happen in the summer.
  3. Race for Life. I’ve done the Baker Hughes 10K twice with work colleagues, the first time with very little training and the second with more. I’m planning to sign up for Race for Life to get me back into doing some cardio (and of course because I love the cause!) but I think I might stick to the 5K this time so I’m not quite so crippled afterwards! I’ve been really inspired by Lucy in the Clouds’s “13 x 13” Challenge so am looking forward to getting my trainers on when the weather gets a little warmer.
  4. Skye. When my mum was little, she and her parents and siblings used to go to the little Highland town of Gairloch regularly, and when I was a teenager she took us on holiday there, and we were instantly hooked. We’ve been back so many times since, both all together as a family and separately. As much as I love visiting new places around the world, a trip to Gairloch will always be at the top of my getaway wishlist, and there’s nowhere else that makes me feel so calm. The Highlands have so many beautiful places though, and across the water from Gairloch is the spectacular Isle of Skye, and I’d love to finally make it over there to explore.
  5. Eilean Donan Castle. And conveniently located on the way to Skye, is Eilean Donan Castle – you know the one, it’s pinned about 1,000 times a day on Pinterest.
  6. CairnGorm Mountain. I actually listed “Cairngorms National Park” originally, but looking at the map I’ve actually visited the park quite a few times without really realising it – taking clients to the distilleries in Granton-on-Spey and Tomintoul this summer; a day white water rafting near Aviemore; a hen weekend in a cottage at Glenlivet; a road trip to Ballater a couple of years ago. The main thing I have in mind though is a trip on the Funicular Railway, which I didn’t know existed until my parents went there this summer. The scenery is spectacular from the road, but I’d like to go up the mountain and see it from above.
  7. The Kelpies. A giant road-side sculpture which I’ve so far only been able to admire in photos. I’m hoping to take a detour to see them next time I drive home to visit my family in the Scottish Borders.
  8. Decorate! We were really lucky to find our house as it was in great condition, and we haven’t had to do much to it apart from some minor repairs to the roof and guttering, replacing the boiler, oven and a chunk of fence. We really need to get some painting done though. I’ve never done any decorating before and didn’t really know where to start, but when my mum asked if there was anything I wanted for Christmas, I jokingly asked her to come up and help, and to my surprise she said yes! So hopefully with her help we’ll soon have some shiny new rooms – I’ll take before and after pictures 🙂

What’s on your bucket list for this year?