Brighter life list

In lesson number 30, I talk about my plan to ‘gift’ back to all those who have – through beautiful heart-felt words, texts, cards, smiles, flowers, pre-surgery chocolate, books, thoughts, prayers, flickering candles – helped fill my heart, my head, my stomach and my shelves. I’m still smiling, and I certainly know why.

Part of my plan involves spending more time with the people I love – and doing more of the things I love.

This is no bucket list – as my consultant says, we’re aiming for the grand old age of 92! This is a public declaration of all the things I know I want to do, but have always found an excuse to push down the list. They’re not ground-breaking. They’re not all particularly special. But, they mean something to me. By posting them on my blog (and adding to them over time), I want you to help me tick them off. Please add to the list (if you know me better than I know myself), or join me on an adventure if you want to tick it off too. Don’t judge me, some things, like hoping for world peace are a given!

1)  Have an engagement party (top of the list for obvious reasons)

2)  Plan a wedding (obvious again, full head of hair required, no encouragement needed)

3)  Make my own crumpets (I have the crumpet rings and Paul Hollywood’s book telling me how)

2014-08-15 17.15.18

4)  Travel to the Amalfi Coast (recommendations for itineraries and places to stay most welcome)

5)  Raise more than £10,000 for breast cancer charities (will take a while, but will give it my best shot). This is for starters!

Getting there! £2,280 so far!


6)  Do the London Moonwalk (linked to 4) but not this year. Chemo first!)

7)  Do the Blenheim Palace Pink Ribbonwalk (see above)

8)  Stay in a treehouse (love the idea)

9)  Walk around the Olympic Park (didn’t make it when the Games were on. Opening properly in April) COMPLETED AUGUST 12 2014

10)  Ride the Emirates line (it’s so close to my house it would be a crime not to)

11)  Swim at the Olympic Park (20 minutes away and I love swimming. Can’t wait for the scars and immune system to play ball)

12)  Travel to Lapland (what Christmas lover wouldn’t want to?)

13)  Make my own piece of clothing from scratch (have sewing machine, just need to work out how to use it)

14)  Climb Ben Nevis (three peaks would be great, if the leg allows)

15)  Write a book

16)  Get published (article, book, agony aunt letter, not fussy) COMPLETED (YAY)

runningblogGuardian August 2014

photo copyBonmarche magazine August 2014

boobetteBoobette blog October 2014

Positive ThinkingDPS-1 Townswoman magazine October 2014

Was filmed for BBC news on Monday 20 October 2014 after Lynda Bellingham sadly passed away.

Was mentioned by my amazing friend Jess in an interview, in the lead up to her TedX talk:

17)  Stand on a cliff with no hair on my head (it’s only coming off once). COMPLETED MONDAY 28 JULY 2014


18)  Make my own lip balm (need a lot currently, have the kit) COMPLETED 16 NOV 2014

2014-11-16 19.30.28

19)  Make my own wedding cake (linked to 1), but already have a plan)

20)  Eat at The Fat Duck (have eaten up the road, so close)

21)  Buy a new sofa (not as easy as you might think) OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW JUNE 2014
2014-06-04 21.37.30
2014-08-15 13.08.13

22)  Grow my own Gerberas (such a beautiful beautiful flower)

23)  Make proper lemonade (again simple, have the bottle)

24)  Stay at Center Parcs (one free weekend = sorted. Missed a fab hen do there once. Always wanted to try)

25)  Make my own kitchen chair cushions and window bench cushions (open to good fabric recommendations)

26)  Watch The Lion King

27)  Fill our gardens with Alliums (the bulbs are in, let’s just hope they flower this year) COMPLETED MAY 2014

2014-05-10 17.35.03

28) Visit the Greenwich Planetarium (walk by it most months and have always felt like going in)

29) Visit a reclamation yard (just because)

30) Buy a whole salmon at Christmas and fillet it into pieces (random, I know, but surprisingly good value and would put my fish skills to good use)

31) Make a ferment (started once, forgot to feed it and turn the radiator up) COMPLETED AUGUST 28 2014 – HERE’S THE FIRST SOURDOUGH LOAF


32) Make wine (not sure it would rival my favourite red, but how bad can it be?)

33) Dance more! My lovely friend Myra has offered to accompany/teach me the basics of forro, samba, salsa, kuduru, swing/rock n roll, merengue. Can’t wait to get started.

34) Enjoy a beautiful carol service in the Capital (never have, always seem to miss the boat)

35) Take a trip on the Orient Express (now it’s on the list, I just need to book it) COMPLETED MAY 23 2014

2014-05-23 15.28.332014-05-23 16.14.08

36) Get a little person to show you how to play (according to a close friend, I will never look back)

37) Eat at the Martin Wishart restaurant on Loch Lomand and try the tasting menu. Then come and stay with John and Penny. Challenge our girls to a game of pool and stage a bake off!

38) Learn to enjoy lunch (it often just gets missed because it is a little unfulfilling)

39) Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon (every year I imagine being sat in Centre Court. Have never applied)

40) Watch Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre in London (for an English graduate, the fact I haven’t is unforgivable) COMPLETE ON TUESDAY 7 OCTOBER

2014-10-07 19.17.11 2014-10-07 19.06.31


41) Visit the Royal Albert Hall (just to go inside would be a treat, but a concert would be even better) COMPLETED ON WED 17 SEPT 2014
2014-09-10 19.05.31

42) Make mulled wine (instead of drinking everyone else’s)

43) Make a cake for Test Match Special (will my baked goods ever make it onto the radio?) COMPLETED ON 16 AUGUST 2014, but stopped by security, even though Aggers wanted it and tweeted me! May have to try again.

2014-08-16 16.36.56

44) Visit Kew Gardens (The Treetop walkway is top of the list)

45) Conquer the Macaroon (or Macaron). It is my baking nemesis.

46) Make sausage rolls COMPLETED ON 22 October 2014

2014-10-22 12.07.35

47) Make piccallili

48) Watch Book of Mormon

49) Watch Forbidden Broadway COMPLETED 15 NOV 2014

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50) Watch Cats

51) Learn how to wrap things properly

52) Carve a pumpkin (never done it! Bit ashamed) COMPLETED 1 Nov 2014


53) Visit the HMS Belfast (my great uncle was an engineer on it during the Korean War) COMPLETED 2 Nov 2014


54) Go up The Shard (the Gong bar is better because you get food/drink as well as a view for the price of a ticket) COMPLETED 3 Nov 2014


To be continued…

Anything to add? A challenge perhaps?


11 thoughts on “Brighter life list

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  2. Jane Ainscow

    What a great idea, Jackie. I’m going to start putting together my list. For 34 Breast Cancer Care usually do a Carols by Candlelight – last year at St Paul’s.

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