25 before 25.

On Tuesday I turned 24.
Turning another year older is always a terrifying thought, especially once you're past all those milestones, like being old enough to drive, vote and drink (not all at the same time, of course). There's always that wondering of what are you doing/what have you done/what are you going to do? And regardless of your age, there will always be someone reminding you that they are older than you, as if it's some sort of competition. In fact they are probably being reminded by someone older than them, that they are not as old as them. It's a never ending chain.

I've come across a few of these "x before x" blog posts and so I wanted to make my own. I love making "to do" lists; they make me feel so much more productive when I eventually get to cross something off!
Having lived in London for nearly 2 years, there are so many things I have wanted to do/visit/see but never got around to doing. As well as that there are also many craft projects I always think about doing but they never get very far off the ground, and the rest are things I've always said I want to do but haven't ever done. There is a definite theme here...

So, before my next birthday, here are 25 things I aim to do:

  1.  See the deer in Richmond Park

  2.  Crochet at least 100 granny squares
  3.  Buy flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market
  4.  Make macarons
  5.  Visit Edinburgh
  6.  Give blood
  7.  Knit a scarf
  8.  Go to Kensington Palace
  9.  Have afternoon tea 
10Go on the Harry Potter Studio Tour
11.  See Wicked The Musical
12.  Visit a new country
13.  Complete "The Alphabetical Prop Project" project
14.  Design at least 1 new card a month
15.  Make some homemade gifts for Christmas
16.  Visit Highclere Castle
17.  Give a new lease of life to an old piece of furniture
18.  Open an ISA and put something in it every week
19.  Do the couch to 5k challenge
20.  Design & create a cross-stitch
21.  Spend a day at Hampton Court
22.  Complete The 30 Day Shred
23.  Grow a plant from seed
24.  Make a Manx log cabin quilt
25.  Do a tandem sky dive

Let's see how we get on... :-)

In Dublin's Fair City...

...where girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone...

Last May Andrew and myself escaped to Dublin, Ireland for a couple of days as part of my Birthday present. I'd been to Dublin previously on a school art trip but this was Andrew's first time in Ireland, and as his maternal Grandfather grew up in Dublin he was quite excited.

Guinness Time
Ha'penny Bridge
The Bakehouse
Food is something both of us are very passionate about, and whenever we are planning to go anywhere, the first thing Andrew does is look for great places to eat.
On our first night in Dublin, he found The Bakehouse.
The Bakehouse is located on Bachelor's Walk, just a short walk from the Ha'penny Bridge, overlooking the River Liffey. It was here that we both experienced one of the greatest dishes we have ever tried. A pottage (a thick soup or stew - in this case a beef stew) served in a bread bowl. A bowl of bread. An edible bowl made of bread. The Best. Thing. Ever!

Beef stew in a bread bowl. Amazing.
I definitely recommend paying The Bakehouse a visit if you're ever in Dublin and having the beef stew in a bread bowl! I am yet to find anywhere else with anything quite like it.
Leprechaun Museum / Tayto car

Green Irish post box / The Spire of Dublin on O'Connell Street
There is a rich art & music culture in Dublin, and it is so easy to explore by foot, every corner you turn presents you with something new to see or listen to.
Just off Temple Bar
The Temple Bar / Temple Bar

Trinity College
Andrew was very eager to visit Trinity College in Dublin as it has such a beautiful campus. He also originally thought that his Grandpa had attended there when training to be a Doctor, but it turned out that in those days Trinity College was predominantly Protestant, so Andrew's Grandpa, as a Catholic, attended University College Dublin instead. As he is now 95 years old, this was a long long time ago.
Trinity College / Sphere Within Sphere
Scones & postcards at Brother Hubbard
Another food related place we fell in love with whilst in Dublin, so much so we visited them twice, was Brother Hubbard - a little friendly independent cafe on Capel Street. They had the most amazing selection of cakes, and their coffee was divine! I especially loved their scones with orange blossom butter. Mmmm... We would recommend visiting them too! If you like cakes & good coffee! (Who doesn't?)!
Lovely - The Guinness Storehouse
Everyone's Irish on March 17th / The Guinness Academy
Of course, you can't really visit Dublin without a visit to The Guinness Storehouse and although it's not the cheapest day out, it is a great day out! The price of the ticket includes a pint of Guinness, which you can choose to either redeem in one of the bars or opt to pour your own. We excitedly opted to pour our own at The Guinness Academy where you even get a certificate afterwards, because there certainly is an art to pouring a pint of Guinness!
A pint of Guinness / St. James's Gate Brewery
Brewers' Dining Hall
Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square
We were really lucky with the weather while in Dublin; every day of our trip was glorious sunshine and we completely fell in love with the city. It's Celtic charm reminded us so much of home.
If you ever get the chance to visit Dublin, I highly recommend it! And I hope that in some small way my blog post has provided you with a few ideas of what to do/see/eat. Well, mostly eat... Enjoy :-)

Molly Malone on Grafton Street
The Samuel Beckett Bridge