New Skills and Lifetime Achievements

It feels like a lifetime ago since I had the time to sit and write a post. I've been so consumed in doing a good job teaching in challenging and unique circumstances, getting used to new regulations, new strategies and sometimes daily changes it's really no wonder I've had little time to pause and consider aspirations.

It's funny that this happened to be the next section of my bucket list I wanted to blog about, as over the past 4 and a half weeks I certainly feel I've learned some new skills and had to grow in my resilience and ability to cope with change (as a rule rapid changes stress me out). Hopefully, once my work-life balances out again I'll get more opportunities to seek out some of these opportunities...

452. Vote in an election.

Next time I'll do a sneaky selfie with my voting card - I always exercise my right to vote and have done since I was 18 years old although I'm still not quite sure of the correct etiquette, a bit like a library, I feel I'm not allowed to talk and quietly whisper my address to the voting attendants. (I also have to check a billion times that I've done a cross in the correct box!)

453. Graduate from University.

I have had the absolute pleasure of celebrating two graduations. Each one was totally different but the total sense of achievement is something that just sticks with you and makes the hours ploughed into working hard so very worth it. My first graduation was from the University of Nottingham in 2012 where I received my undergraduate 2,1 (Hons) degree in Animal Science. My second graduation was held in 2017 when I obtained my PGCE in Secondary Science (my teaching qualification). Each degree gave me so much joy and helped me grow as a person - I genuinely love learning new things. Now here I am 3 years on and now a "Subject Specialist" supporting trainee teachers with teaching secondary Science!

454. Give a toast/speech.

I've not got a picture of me giving the speech but I did say a few words to toast my friends who we threw the surprise 25th birthday party for. Each had so far had such a crummy year that we wanted to get their loved ones together to celebrate and I wanted to take a moment to tell them what they meant to us all and to officially wish them happy birthday. (I also had to give a leaving speech when I left my position at my first school to train officially as a teacher).

455. Teach a class.

I'm a teacher... done and done. I taught 3 of them the day I typed this section, 2 double lessons, which consisted of two hours with my year 11 group learning about homeostasis and controlling blood-glucose levels, 2 hours teaching the nitrogen cycle to year 9 and an hour at the end of the day doing a bit of revision with my year 8 class before they sat their test on classification. This is a video of me in action (a recording done at home, no kids, so that my students could assess their work for the week as they were working remotely due to covid-19).

456. Speak publicly in front of 1000+ people (whole school assembly).

457. Be in the local newspaper.

I know mum must have the clipping somewhere I was in the local paper with two of my friends Lisa and Chris back in 2001 as we raised money to help aid people caught in the Gujarat Earthquake in January of that year. It's a really distinct picture as we're all dressed up in our World Book Day costumes (I have a paper mâché BFG head!)

458. Learn to drive.

Obviously, I'm not able to take photographs of myself driving, however I did find a few taken on a couple of different occasions which my friends took for me. I passed my test back in August 2009 and have been driving for the past 11 years. I've had two bumps, one minor, one leading to my car being written off and me being checked over in hospital and one speeding fine (I took the course rather than the points) apart from that though, I have a pretty good track record - my friends frequently joke it's like being driven by an old lady (I'm just careful!) and I have to say it's one of the best skills I've learnt, I love driving.

459. Drive on the other side of the road.

460. Complete a NaNoWriMo in time.

461. Publish a piece of writing.

462. Get a celebrity autograph.

When I was 16 I was properly into the Carry On film franchise and actually attended an event being held at Pinewood studios with my sister Emma and our Grandad who was amazing giving us the confidence to ask for autographs from some of the Carry On actors and actresses. We had the pleasure of meeting Jack Douglas (pictured) but we also got to meet Shirley Eaton, Angela Douglas and Fenella Fielding. It was an amazing afternoon and made even better by visiting the famous studios, seeing where not only Carry On films were set but also many other films from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bond Films, Alien, Little Shop of Horrors etc. etc.

463. Learn to play a song on an instrument.

I did actually learn the clarinet in my first few years of secondary school and although I hit a bit of a wall with it I did learnt to play it enough to pass my Grade 1 exam in it.

464. Learn to say hello in 10 languages.

I've only learned 6 greetings so far (that I can remember without prompting) Hello - English, bonjour - French, Hallo/Guten Tag - German, Buongiorno - Italian, Hola - Spanish, Kalimera - Greek

465. Learn to say thank you in 10 languages.

Only 5 of these in my brain:

Thank you - English, merci - French, danke - German, grazie - Italian, gracias - Spanish,

466. Take an IQ test.

I'll accept a score of above average/bright - it certainly kept me preoccupied through a tough time in May when I lost a pet.

467. Take an EQ test.

468. Have my personality assessed.

This one was just scary. We did it at work to help us reflect on how we work within our school community and to help us appreciate our strengths and areas on which we could improve. I read through this document and didn't disagree with a single part of it. It even made me notice a few little traits I have that I wasn't consciously aware of.

469. Prepare a will.

470. Make a handmade gift.

I sent my friend Aimee one of my hand-painted mini canvases for her birthday. She's always wanted to go to New Zealand and for some reason this scene got me thinking of that kind of trip.

471. Make homemade soap.

472. Try out some dancing lessons.

473. Learn to play the piano (to Grade 4 standard).

474. Paint a picture I am proud to display.

From some cruder first attempts I think my painting skills have definitely sharpened back up and I do have a couple of these little canvases dotted mainly in our craft room. I sent the island one to my friend Aimee for her birthday so hopefully it's something she's proud to display too.

475. Enter art into a competition/exhibit.

476. Have a go at singing in a choir.

I'm really missing my choir sessions at the moment, which ended temporarily due to COVID-19. This was my little village choir a number of years ago (2012 I believe) singing for the Pensioner Christmas Dinner in our village hall.

477. Perform in front of an audience (singing or acting).

The Christmas concerts weren't the only ones we did as a choir, although they were my favourites. We actually did this sing out outside in our local protected wildlife centre to encourage visitors to it's opening.

478. Attend a floristry course.

479. Design a website.

You're on it. Of course Wix makes the job really easy but it still takes time to maintain and build in content. I actually produced my first website at age 14 when I wanted to make a site dedicated to a series of films I was really passionate about at the time. Of course I didn't really understand copyright law or anything like that and I'm not sure it exists anymore, but my skills have definitely improved over the past 16 years.

480. Make a bird feeder

481. Make a hedgehog cafe for the garden

482. Make a bee hotel.

483. Learn to knit something basic.

484. Learn to sew (cross stitch).

My Mum taught me to cross stitch back when I was about 8 years old. I remember we had a really bad gale and the weather was too horrible to go anywhere so the first thing I stitched was a bookmark. I used to stay with my Grandparents in the Summer too and used to do Cross Stitch with my Nanna, not really sewing at all for about 10 years. However in the past year Cross Stitch is something I have picked back up (when I have the time... rarely) and I am working on an adorable rabbit pattern my fiancé, Ben bought for me as it looked like my pet rabbit, Harry.

485. Have a go at felting.

I've bought myself a set and I'm ready to go over Christmas!

486. Have a go at diamond painting.

487. Fold 100 origami cranes and give them to the special people in my life.

488. Learn how to play poker.

489. Learn to juggle.

490. Have a go at jewellery making.

We stayed in a holiday place that offered loads of cool activities you could sign up to and try out for my Uncle's 60th Birthday. Jewellery making we paid a little extra for (for the materials) but it was really good fun - I'm showing off the fancy necklace I made (I also made matching earrings) and you can see my sister Emma's pretty red and black necklace just in the foreground.

491. Learn to pick a lock.

492. Learn first aid.

This was something I was lucky enough to learn as part of a staff development day in the first school I worked in back in 2014. We had a day learning first aid for children and as an addition in my teacher training year (2017) I learned how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator).

493. Build a house of playing cards

I'm really pleased I managed to find a photograph of me mid-build - I love building houses of cards particularly when I'm on holiday, I find the challenge really takes my mind off of worries.This photo was taken during a trip to Tenerife in 2012.

494. Complete the martial arts bottle cap challenge.

I really enjoyed being given this unique little challenge by our Martial Arts instructor, who had been told about it through Social Media ( Ben filmed this one for me - it really helped me learn how to perform a precise hook kick.

495. Learn how to change a tyre.

496. Sit on a jury.

497. Experience weightlessness.

498. Learn a magic trick.

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