Updated: Jul 19, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic certainly has been a thought-provoking experience. In some respects it's taken a lot of the activities I would usually fill my life with (the gym, theatre shows, family time, socialising with friends) and removed them giving me some headspace.
One of the things I've truly been reflecting on is my loved ones and how much I miss them. Sure, I see Mum and Dad walk past our house (we live in the same village) and we talk to each other across the river, and I've video called friends and played online Dungeons and Dragons with my sister Em and her partner Simon, but true interaction has been quite void. I miss just giving people hugs (thankfully I have Ben to fill that quota).
Anyway, what I truly realised was that this is perhaps one of the most important parts of my Bucket List. Those special people we spend our lives with, reaching milestones together and spending quality time with each other. I am looking forward to doing more with my dear friends and family once life gradually falls back into feeling a bit more normal.
260. Receive a bunch of flowers out of the blue.
On my 21st birthday I received a knock on the door mid-afternoon and opened it to be handed a surprise bunch of flowers from Mum and Dad, which I hadn’t expected since I was due to see them a couple of weeks later as I was going home to celebrate my birthday and to watch a show. Although it was technically for my birthday it still felt as exciting and lovely as if I’d received them out of the blue. Years later, I’d received flowers out of the blue from Ben and my dear friend Lisa too, who is one of the most thoughtful people I know.
261. Put together the family tree. 262. Create a scavenger hunt for loved ones. 263. Have a “girls-only” weekend away with Mum and Emma. 264. Spend a day with Dad and Emma building a giant sandcastle.
This was a mad day, it was part of my 30th birthday surprise from Mum and Dad (my birthday is in March to give you some context). We pulled in at a local beach and I started laughing, I love the beach... but it was March. Mum knew about my bucket list (I put this one on my 30 before 30 list too) so she bought me a bucket and spade and Dad, Em and I got to work, just like happy childhood days. After initially chuckling at us, everyone else joined in and as a family we decided it had been too long since we'd built a sandcastle together and since we only managed to stick at it for an hour (it was cold) we thought when days got warmer we'd have a second go at this.
265. Play a round of golf with Dad.
Technically we didn't make the round. In true style typical of our family we got lost and missed some holes. Also, we played in Florida in August and the heat started to get to us - we needed a pit stop. So technically we managed 7 out of 9 holes. I consider that a win, especially when you see me play golf...
266. Recreate a childhood picture. 267. Move out of my parent’s house.
What I loved about our moving day is the rollercoaster of emotions. We were excited (and exhausted by the end of the day), Mum and Dad bought us doughnuts to keep us going and Ben's parents bought us dinner to celebrate. There was also a sadness and finality to it too, I had officially left home. We got a lot of help from family though, everyone pitched in (Ben's Mum and Dad helped on moving day two), which was really, well, moving!
268. Receive a Valentine’s day card.
Growing up I never had a boyfriend, I just wasn't the type of girl that teenage boys are interested in. I'm an oddball, focused, driven and geeky young lady (I was also overweight with curly hair, glasses and braces, so not exactly beating men away with a stick). I'm so pleased that I waited for the right man to come along though, I don't regret a thing. All my Valentine's cards are from Ben and that makes them so incredibly special to me, every one of them.
269. Experience a first kiss.
How many people can honestly say they are choosing to spend their life with their first love? I waited until I was 24 years old to go on my very first date with Ben, but he was so very worth the wait. We had a lovely dinner and shared our first (of many) kiss.
270. Get told “I love you”
Ben never fails to find the right thing to say. This card made me smile all day.
271. Tell a man I love him and mean it.
I love writing essays in cards, I'm not one for really suppressing how I feel about someone. I am very much in love with Ben.
272. Slow dance with someone. 273. Sleep under the stars with a loved one 274. Shared a bath/shower with someone I loved.
Like owning a matching set of underwear, you'll have to take my word on this.
275. Fall asleep and wake up next to a man I’m in love with.
Ben actually snapped this one morning, bleary eyed but happy. It's the best feeling in the world.
276. Have a romantic weekend away with a loved one.
Perhaps not a typical "romantic" weekend away but for me showing our love for each other is about spending quality time together and this weekend was just for us. I drove us to London where we'd booked a hotel for the night as part of a joint Christmas present to each other. On the Saturday we explored the Tower of London and had dinner in the Hard Rock Cafe and the Sunday was the main bit of our trip - we spent the day the the Harry Potter studios in London after we'd watched the films together and I'd finished reading the series to Ben.
277. Cover the bed in rose petals. 278. Get a couples’ massage. 279. Kiss in the rain. 280. Stay up all night talking. 281. Recreate our first date.
We're a soppy pair. We do this every year on the anniversary of our first date together. We return to "The White Willow" the pub where we had our first dinner date and even request the same table we shared on our first date. The only real difference is the outfits and the fact we arrive together.
282. Don’t take each other for granted – have a date night every month.
Yes, we've even had a couple of dates during lockdown. We had breakfast outside on our Anniversary and went for a peaceful walk along the river. We also had a fire pit and s'mores night one evening after doing some wedding planning.
283. Go on a double date.
I think there's something really special about spending time together as couples. I'm really lucky, Ben and I get on with the partners of all my close friends so double dating is a fun option we do every few months. This one was a joint National Trust trip to Coleton Fishacre in Devon.
284. Host a couples’ games night.
Does this count as a date night? Here we hosted a curry night followed by a few games. We're just settling down to "Zombicide" with our dear friends Lisa and Billy as well as my sister Em and the lovely Simon (whose game we're playing).
285. Get engaged.
I've just Scrapbooked our engagement and I never get bored thinking about it. Ben picked one of my favourite rides in Disney World, Spaceship Earth, which I wanted to share with him because it's got a beautiful room where your vehicle is like a satellite orbiting the Earth while stars sparkle around you. He realised this was exactly why I loved this ride (as well as it being a history lesson about communication and me being a massive nerd) and whispered in my ear if I'd marry him. I'm not the coolest cucumber, he caught me off guard, so I whispered back "yes please" as I accepted my ring, beaming from ear to ear. What was really special about this day was that we had an intimate moment together but since it was a family holiday I got to celebrate with Mum, Dad, Emma, Simon and Matthew!
286. Host an engagement party.
Since we got engaged abroad we wanted the chance to celebrate properly with the rest of our loved ones when we got back without leaving it too long. So we went with it and organised an Engagement Party in October, which had to mostly take place outside as our house is way too small. We spent the day cleaning and preparing the house, ordering in lost of food and drink for family and friends alike. We even had a fire pit and sparklers! It was a truly special evening for us both and lovely to share with our loved ones.
287. Attend a wedding fayre.
We've actually attended a few wedding fayres, but this is the first one we went to. It's really helpful with the daunting task of planning to have lots of suppliers in one space to talk to and get information from. It's also just really enjoyable to feel engaged and to refer to myself as the "bride-to-be" it's still not really sunk in yet.
288. Have a bridal shower. 289. Have a hen party thrown for me. 290. Get married to my soul mate. 291. Reach my 40th Wedding anniversary. 292. See where Ben grew up (Wales, York) 293. Take Ben on a tour of where I grew up.
294. Get dressed up for a lunch date with Ben 295. Write to my loved ones and tell them how much they mean to me. 296. Make a calendar with my own photos.
I do this every year and have done for the last 10 or so years (as well as creating one with Emma for our grandparents every Christmas). There's something truly uplifting about pulling my coat and shoes on while glancing at smiling faces of my loved ones (sadly we couldn't do a lot of the events we had planned on here).
297. Attend a hen party.
I've had the good fortune of being invited to and attending 7 different hen parties! Every single one of them has been different too. The first one I went to was an old University flatmate of mine, Gen's. We did cocktail making and danced the night away in her hometown of Chester. Amy's was second (another University flatmate), this time we did life drawing, dancing and a bridal shower the next day, this time in York and Scarborough≈ her hometown. Hen party 3 was in my hometown, an old schoolfriend, Hayley who had a nice dinner and dancing. Vicki is a friend we made through film nights at Lisa's, she had a weekend away in Bath with celebrations before in the hotel, a stripper (quite memorable!) and dancing. Katie is another old school friend, she went to Edinburgh so we did the Edinburgh dungeons and castle as well as having a fancy dinner and night out. My cousin Katy had an activity filled day too, we did laser tag, trampolining and dinner out before partying and finally Tracy (an old friend's Mum) had hers at an outdoor 80's festival, Lets Rock Exeter. All unique and all enormous fun!
298. Be a bridesmaid.
I've had the pleasure of being a bridesmaid twice in my adult life. Hayley asked me to be her bridesmaid in 2015 in a beautiful church service with reception locally. It was a beautiful day and she's still happily married to Will. My cousin Katy has also been happily married to Tom since 2016. Her ceremony took place in a beautiful venue in Sussex (where she lives) and Emma and I were honoured to be among a number of bridesmaids.
299. Be a maid of honour for someone. 300. Organise a hen party.
We helped Katy's maid of honour on this one as she's a busy self-employed dog groomer so we did the admin and putting together of her amazing ideas. We helped out by collecting money and ordering decorations and T-shirts and doing a little bit of baking for the day. Katy is a massive Disney fan so we made sure her Hen Party was fully Disney-themed designing cupcakes and cookies to represent princesses.
301. Watch all of my close friends get married. 302. Attend a baby shower.
This was back in 2016 for my friend Hayley's first born, Evelyn. We had buffet food and played baby themed games - a lovely evening and a really nice way to celebrate her first baby. (You can just about see the back of my head on the right, I'm in the pink jumper with the glasses).
303. Go to a baby scan.
304. Be a Godmother.
This really is a true honour for me. I'm not really a baby person but Matilda (Hayley's second) is a truly lovely little girl, like her sister Evelyn. Her christening took place in June 2019 and I had the honour of carrying her into the church. She's growing so fast as well! I spoke to Hayley over video chat while we're stuck in lockdown and got to see some of Matilda and Evelyn's antics.