Tuesday, 1 March 2016

26 before 27


It's my birthday today!!

I'm still partly in denial about turning 27 as I'm particularly feeling my age this year but hey...

Every year I try and put together a list of things I want to do that year. Some are trivial, some are meaningful, some are brand new things I want to do, some are things I want to do more or less of. The idea is to pick as many things as your age that year, so in this case, 26 things I wanted to do while I was still 26. And, as I put this post together, I'm quite impressed at how 26 went. Here's hoping 27 is even better!

Here is my list of 26 things that I wanted to do before I turned 27.

1. Crochet a full-sized blanket
Done! Blog post here.
handmade crochet blanket neutral earth tones

2. Learn to cross-stitch
Done! Blog post here.
cross stitch beginner learn nordic pattern

3. Learn to knit
Done! Well, just! My mom started teaching me to knit weekend-before-last and I'm joining her (and her coworkers) in knitting scarves for local children.
learn to knit

4. Cook a 4-course meal for my friends
Done! I had a few of my best friends over for a Christmas dinner at the end of last year and tried my hand at cooking a formal gourmet dinner (and season appropriate - no gross traditional food, only fresh summery goodness!).
christmas dinner party

5. Go cherry picking
Done! Blog post here
cherry picking

6. Wear dresses more often
Done! In fact, after realizing I had only worn dresses for the first 10 days of 2016, I tried to see how far I could go - and I went through January and February, wearing a dress every single day! Now that the cooler weather is coming I may pull out my jeans again, but I'm sure as hell going to continue to live the dress life (which means enjoying all my long-sleeved dresses!) (Although note to self: check the wind forecast before deciding which dress to wear!)
waterfront table mountain cape town dress

7. Donate blood at least twice
I registered to donate blood just before my birthday last year and managed to donate blood three times since, yay! (As often as WP Blood came to the varsity.) Now to keep it up every year.
donate blood

8. Try feuerzangenbowle
Before you say "wtf?", here's a wiki link. My dad used to do this with his friends when I was a kid and I wanted to give it a go for my own. Basically, you make a pot of mulled wine, suspend a sugarloaf over it, soak the sugarloaf in rum and set it on fire, letting the molten goodness drip into the wine. You end up with the greatest winter drink of all time, plus an evening's entertainment. New winter tradition set - highly recommended!

9. Go to a university formal dance
Yeah, in my 9th year of tertiary study during my 4th degree, I went to a uni formal! A few friends and I went to the Science Faculty's Senior Dance. Admittedly, by "senior" they mean final year undergraduates and honours students, but we decided to take that literally and be the most senior people there.
science faculty ball formal dance

10. Learn to play poker
Done! Got a few friends together for a "poker night", where one of my friends taught us the basics of how to play Texas Hold 'Em! And we also learnt that we are too old to drink a bottle of gin and a bottle of vodka between five people on a week night. Hangovers are the primary reason getting old sucks.
playing card rose fascinator

11. Surpass 150 000 blog page views

12. Dye my hair dark
After three years of bright blonde, and a two year process of growing out that blonde, I finally had long hair that was entirely uncoloured and unprocessed. I've always been a bit bored by my natural dark blonde/ light brown colour so I went back to dyeing it dark and I'm loving it!
long dark straight hair

13. Start drinking fresh-pressed juice
I never used to drink fruit juice, not since I was a toddler. I've always preferred to drink water (I don't even drink fruity cocktails). Lately however, the availability of fresh-pressed juices at farmers markets has made me curious. My current fave is lemon and apple with a heavy dose of ginger. I also like beetroot juices, again with lots of ginger. I like that these juices are not sugary sweet, now to try my hand at green juice!
fresh juice lemon

14. Don't drink coffee
I stopped drinking coffee when I went on anti-anxiety meds in December 2014 and after three months, I realized I didn't miss it anymore. For someone who could drink 6-8 cups of coffee a day, that's a big deal. I decided to try quitting coffee permanently - and since then I've had a total of 1 cup of coffee the entire year! (When a coworker made a cup for me as a "thank you" and I felt it would be rude to say no.) I no longer crave a cup of coffee to be functional in the mornings, I no longer have shaky hands in the lab and I have significantly fewer panic/anxiety attacks, even though I haven't take meds since March!

15. Walk 5km every day
One of my main goals for this year was to be more active instead of spending my whole day sitting at my desk. I started using an activity tracker on my phone and, after calibrating it, have used it every day for a year. I haven't quite been able to get to 10 000 steps every day, but I'm getting there. Averaging from 1 March last year, I've walked an average of 5.13 km a day so yay! (In daily activity - not once did I put on a pair of takkies and go for a walk/jog/run. Maybe that's how to step it up for next year once the PhD is over...)

16. Continue to grow my hair out to at least mid-back (55 cm from crown of head)
Done! I've always been a bob / above the shoulders girl when it comes to my hair and it's been a bit fun experimenting with long hair. I'm now at 60cm from crown to ends and am in need of a slight trim before trying to waist length.

17. Start scrapbooking or smashbooking
Done! After years of failing to scrapbook, I decided to combine scrapbooking with journalling and to have a scrapbook-y journal. (Blog posts on this coming up soon! Just need to take the photos.)

18. Visit a new province of SA
Done! Ticked off Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Only North West and Limpopo to go...

19. Visit the Kruger National Park
Done! A blog post on my first visit is here.
kruger national park elephants

20. Minimize clutter of excess products with Project Pan - try pan 100 products in one year
Done! I got rid of at least 50 products (unused things to charity, swatched/barely used makeup to friends) and I started Project Pan, blog posts on that here.

21. Read at least one book a week
Done! I read 78 books in the last year.

22. Finalize my retention of nationality paperwork
Done! And in advance of the deadline (my 28th birthday, ie 10 years after turning 19) too!

23. Give a lecture on social media
Done! I gave a lecture on using Twitter as a scientist (and building your online identity) in the Stellenbosch University JS Gericke Library as part of Research Week 2015!

24. Stay up all night
I'm not a night owl. I can't sleep past 7am and if I don't get my 7-8 hours sleep I don't function as a human being. But for one crazy night, I stayed up all night with my friends and it was awesome. And then when I crashed at 5:30am, it took me 36 hours to return to normality. (Again, hangovers suck.) But the memories were worth it.

25. Attend a hot yoga class
In the nick of time, I did this last night! (A group of 4 of us went as moral support for each other!) And, now I know that, although I love yoga, hot yoga is not for me. The yoga itself was fine but the high heat/humidity combined with my low blood pressure (~90/60) isn't for me. But, I survived, I sweated it out and now I'll be sticking to yoga at ambient conditions (like, in my pajamas in my bedroom ;) haha!).

26. Finish my PhD
Sadly, this one wasn't done on time as - between struggling with depression and anxiety, and the fact that sometimes no matter how hard you try some experiments just don't work - I haven't quite gotten enough research done to write a thesis yet. But hopefully I should be done in the lab in a month or so, and then I can start writing up so I should be done this year, finally! Look for this one on my list next year!


  1. Love it! definatly want to try the Feuerzangenbowle!
    Good luck with green juice its quite something to stomach. Love ginger fresh juices as well at beet juices! So yummy!
    I wish you all the best with your PhD.

    And finally HAPPY BIRTHDAY <3 I hope its a magical one

  2. Wow, I really want to try out the Feuerzangenbowle (please note I had to copy and paste that, hahahaha!), it sounds divine! I also found that a lot of caffeine affected my anxiety attacks, and I don't really drink as much coffee or tea as I used to. I also manage to fall asleep a heck of a lot easier nowadays, whereas before I was a terrible insomniac. My lack of sleep used to make me drink more coffee, and then I'd feel more anxious, so it's a vicious cycle!

  3. This post is awesome, I love it that you kept track of last year's list and did an update, you're inspiring me to do exactly the same :-)
    I feel so proud when I see cross stitching. My mom's house is full of framed cross stitching pictures on the walls, and no one ever knows quite what it is. I think it's a lovely form of art which is sadly not practiced so often anymore. Well done!!


    A massive WELL DONE on your list - very impressive.

    I hope that the year ahead will be even better.


Thank you for taking the time to visit Whimsy Is Forever! I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.