30 Before 30: My Year Long Bucket List

I always was pretty driven by food. 


On Sunday morning, I woke to the sound of the kettle boiling and tin foil rustling in the kitchen downstairs. Most people might have been expecting a cup of tea and breakfast in bed, but I knew differently - my husband traditionally wraps every present he buys me in tin foil, ever since Smithy's proclamation of 'you just scrunch and go' in the Gavin and Stacy Christmas Special made us laugh years ago.

He came upstairs a few minutes later, with a cup of tea and a handful of cards and presents (two of which came wrapped in foil!) I opened a new backpack, some notebooks, a voucher for the best ever plant centre, the cutest little pin badge from Oh No Rachio and Harry Eastwood's new book which I've been coveting for a while. D also bought me a monthly subscription to the Cocoa Runners chocolate tasting club which is super exciting as we've been buying more high quality chocolate in the last few months and this looks like a great way to try some of the best bars!

The rest of the day was spent with my family at Snape Maltings in Suffolk at the annual Aldeburgh Food Festival which we've been to for the past seven years. It always falls around my birthday and for the last two years we've gone on my birthday itself which always makes it a little more special (and means a few extra treats!)

This birthday is an odd one for me. Usually the passing of time and my increasing age doesn't bother me in the slightest, but I feel a bit different this year. Not 'bothered' exactly, but aware. Aware that this is the last year of my twenties, and that to be thirty will in some way mark the end of my youth. I remember my parents being thirty, and I suppose I expected to have children myself by the time I got to the end of my third decade. My Mum is 28 in this photo, and I was 4.

(I think we can all agree that the duffle coat is quite excellent, and I'm pretty sure Mum still has those pink gloves somewhere!)

Of course, we still have a year in which to make that happen, and me rational brain knows it really doesn't matter when or how we become parents, but it's funny how I feel like its some sort of deadline. With that feeling in mind, I thought it might me helpful to set myself some goals that are separate from those things in my life I can't control, to ensure I make the most of this final year of being twenty-something! I've written a list of thirty things to do before I'm thirty. Some of them are big things that will take some planning and commitment, and some of them are simple things that I've been meaning to do forever and am determined to finally tick off!

So here goes, thirty things to do before I turn thirty. (Just a warning - it's rather long so you might want to grab some snacks at this point)

1: Run 10k

I used to love running, and would easily run 5k in the evening as a way to switch off after work. When I hurt my back though I couldn't do anything that caused any sort of impact and my general fitness pretty quickly tailed off! Now I've changed jobs and started strengthening my back with lots of yoga and pilates I can finally run and actually enjoy it again! I'm slowly working my way back up to 5k, but I'd love to be able to run a full ten kilometres.

2. Eat a cinnamon bun in Sweden

Unless Sweden has a sudden cinnamon shortage, this one should be super easy as we're off to Stockholm for a few days next month and I can't blooming wait - we've never been on a plane together so we're super excited for our first little adventure abroad.

3. Finish decorating the house

We're slowly working our way through the mammoth task that is decorating our house, and the aim of the game is to be totally finished, including the kitchen and bathroom, by this time next year! We'll hopefully have the rest of the house done well before then, but obviously the kitchen and bathroom are going to be rather more pricey so we're allowing ourselves a little longer for those.

4. Write a paid blog post.

I've been blogging for a long time now, and I've been lucky enough to be sent some lovely things and be invited to some wonderful events because of it, but I'm yet to actually earn any money. I feel a bit, icky, talking about money but I would love to start doing some paid content so that I can eventually spend more time working on The Salted Tail and start to turn it into a real life magazine!

5. Drive a fast car

This is fairly self explanatory - I want to get safely strapped in to a crazy fast car and drive as fast as I can around a track!

6. Be self sufficient in bread

We've recently stopped buying meat from the supermarket, and next on the list is bread. We really don't buy that much supermarket bread anyway, but the aim is to make it all at home, save for the odd artisan loaf if something catches our eye! The first step will be to revive my sourdough starter 'Herbert' who has been hibernating in the fridge for quite some time now!

7. Wear a completely DIY outfit

Sewing clothes is something that's always fascinated me - turning a two dimensional piece of fabric into a real life item of clothing is just so magical. I've made a few bits in the past, some baby bloomers and fancy dress costumes but never anything I've regularly worn. I bought a couple of Tilly and The Buttons patterns at The Great British Sewing Bee Live last week though so I think they'll be my starting point.

8. Write a recipe book in November

This is a challenge D set me inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. D has challenged me to write not a novel, but a recipe book. So, I'll hopefully be testing and writing a recipe a day throughout November, and (with any luck) I might share it all with you too!

9: See a West End Show

In my nearly three decades, I have only seen three West End shows: Starlight Express, Matilda and The Cursed Child. I think it's high time I added another to the list - I've got my eye on The Lion King

10: Go on a yoga retreat or do some yoga teaching training

I wouldn't even say I love yoga, it goes deeper than that. I need it in my life in order to function, and when I let it slip out of my routine I definitely know about it. Unfortunately it's not always that easy to fit a class into my week and I feel like I need to delve a bit further than my current home practice...watch this space for that!

11: Drink homemade kombucha everyday

I love kombucha, and it's one of the could-be-faddy health crazes that I've actually got on board with. However, at around £3 a bottle its really not cheap and I'm told it's really easy to make at home. My sister bought me a book all about it for my birthday so expect a bubbling jar of fermenting tea to appear in my kitchen any day now!

12: Learn to properly blow dry my hair

This one sounds simple. It's not! If anyone has any must have tools to get a salon-esq blow dry without getting a round brush caught in your hair, completely numb arms or such a sweaty face that you need another shower, do please let me know!

13: Go to an abattoir

I've been interested in the welfare of the meat I buy and eat for a long time, and since watching Jamie's Italian Escape years ago when he realised that if he was prepared to eat an animal he should really be prepared to kill it, I've felt the need to see the process of killing an animal for food right through from beginning to end. I don't think it will change my opinion on eating meat but I feel like it's something I want to witness. There are a couple of interesting articles about other peoples experiences of visiting abattoirs here and here

14: Go hunting or fishing

On a similar note to number 13, I'd like to complete the whole circle myself. I'm not suggesting that I'd like to go and kill a cow and butcher it, more go hunting for pheasants or fishing for fish to eat. Again - if I'm prepared to eat an animal, I think I should prepared to carry out the whole process myself. I've plucked and gutted various game birds before, but haven't ever taken the life of an animal in order to eat it and I just feel it's something I need to do in order to face up to what it really means to eat something that was once living.

15: Visit Kew Gardens

Ah, a nice, simple, easy to achieve one! It always looks lovely there, and I cant get enough of plants, so it's on the list!

16: Go foraging

I've picked my fair share of blackberries in the past, but that's pretty much where my foraging knowledge ends. I remember once a friend of ours finding cob nuts while we were out walking and thinking they were the most delicious thing ever, but I don't think I've ever eaten them since. I'd love to know more about which bits of hedgerow are edible, and maybe experiment with some natural dye techniques too!

17: Watch the sun rise over the sea

Pretty self explanatory, and requiring nothing but the willpower to actually get out of bed early enough!

18: Finish something knitted

I had some knitting lessons earlier this year which I loved, and I immediately bought wool and patterns and needles and had grand plans to knit all sorts of things. Alas, after knitting the world's most simple hat, I've done nothing more about it so I must get the needles out again!

19: Get dance lessons

I've been wanting to get ballet lessons for ages and I've decided this is the year!

20: Do some ceramics

I used to live in the ceramics studio while I was at uni, and I haven't really done any since. A couple of new places that run classes have opened up in Norwich recently and once I've been inducted I'll be able to go to their open studio sessions. If nothing else, at least I'll be able to make some planters for all the houseplants that keep finding their way into the house!  

21: Go to Ardingly Antiques Market

Every time I see someone posting that they're at Ardingly Antiques Market I have a serious 'fear of missing out' situation. It always look so good and we've never actually organised ourselves enough to get there - again, this is the year!

22: Cook an entire meal over an open fire

We have a fire pit but we've never really used it. Prompted by Tom Herbert's new book, and all the amazing campfire cooking we watched a couple of weekends ago at The Good Life Experience I'm feeling inspired to make the most of our outdoor space and cook something beyond the usual barbecue fare.

23: Go gleaning

Gleaning caught my attention after it was discussed on Jamie and Jimmy's Friday night feast. In essence it's collecting surplus crops from fields after the main harvest has been done, thus collecting perfectly good, edible and nutritious food for charities who then distribute it to people in need. The amount of produce rejected by supermarkets is absolutely shocking so this is something I definitely want to get involved with. You can read more here.

24: Sleep outside for charity

On a similar note, I have plans to do the Sleep-Out next year in aid of the Benjamin Foundation.

25: Set up a little free library

Ever since I wrote this post about little free libraries I've wanted to start one. I think it's such a great idea, a way of sharing the books you love, creating a community and also finding new books to read. We have a really large front garden that we could definitely set one up in, and lots of books that are destined for a car-boot sale but that could be just as easily used to start a little library. I love the idea of a mini kids-height library too.

26: Hold a conversation in Italian

I've been saying I'm going to learn Italian for years. I'd love to take a class but to begin with I'm going to use the Duolingo app to try and grasp the basics. My knowledge so far is based on Jamie Oliver's Italian exploits so I know a few herbs and how to say thank you - but thats about it! (This is also the third mention of Jamie Oliver in this list - do you think I've got a problem?)

27: Go wine tasting

Apart from knowing that I quite like Rioja, and that the white zinfandel I used to drink at uni now tastes more like melted ice pops, I don't really know anything about wine. Given that we've really got into coffee tasting, and more recently chocolate, wine seems the next logical step.

28: Do a gallery trip on my own

I've always been really happy in my own company, and I think there's something lovely about visiting somewhere completely on your own and at your own pace. I'm planning to go down to London, maybe overnight if I'm feeling extra indulgent but probably just for the day, to wander round some galleries, take some photos and probably spend a bit too long in Papersmiths.

29: Visit Borough Market

Although in London, this one won't be a solo mission because D would never forgive me if I went without him!

30: Explore a new UK city

We're a bit guilty of going back to places we know we like so I'd definitely like to explore somewhere new in the nest year. I'm thinking that either Bristol or Bath look like good choices - what do you reckon? Is your home-city a must visit?


Phew! There we have it, 30 things to accomplish before my 30th birthday. If you've made it this far then congratulations, it was a long one! Who knows what else what else we might get up to in the next year, time will indeed tell!  



  1. Oh, a kids height library - you have to do that! Love this - looking forward to hearing about how it all pans out! X

  2. Such an interesting and exciting list Eleanor! Not that I'd expect anything dull from you. I can highly recommend a visit to Bath. A beautiful place with plenty of history and amazing architecture. Love reading your blog. Xxx

  3. I cannot get enough of the West End either. the Lion King is great, but (if you like South Park) I would highly recomend Book of Mormon! And I live in London and do solo, day long visits to the Victoria & Albert Museum (I just go in, start walking, and before I know it they are closing down!)