For the first time in a long time, I’m genuinely not glad to see the back of this year. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say I’m not looking forward to all the possibilities that 2016 brings, just that to my surprise I’ve actually really enjoyed 2015, and given how it started out that’s the last thing I was expecting.
This time last year I was tucked up on the sofa shying away from all the new year celebrations as normal, only this time I had a very valid excuse – I’d just been diagnosed with Glandular Fever (or Mono). Not only was I still bed bound, I was under strict instructions not to drink alcohol until fully recovered, which by the way would be about 3 months! This news, coupled with the prospect of returning to work to a job I hated in the next couple of days in order to support my baking business didn’t exactly put me in the mood to bust out the party poppers for 2015! Oh, and to make matters worse, in 2015 I would be turning 30….
Fast-forward to December 2015 – well even just to February 2015 and I was well on my way to kicking Glandular Fever’s arse and had just landed a fantastic new job working for an amazing company (who also completely support me baking and encourage me to use them as regular recipe guinea pigs). By the end of September my new role had taken me to Ireland, Scotland, Biarritz and Austria for the first time, and I’d left my twenties well and truly behind me – if this is 30, I can live with it!
Now, I had hoped to do 30 things for my 30th birthday. To ease the pain, my initial plan was to use 2015 and the build up to my birthday to do said 30 things, but as you’ve probably guessed from my travel itinerary, I haven’t exactly had much spare time, so instead I’ve decided to use the whole 12 months of being 30 to do those 30 things. So screw diets and goals and habits – here’s my 30 for 30 completely indulgent and downright selfish things I want to do (and have made a bloody good start on already!) Admittedly I had a head start on some of these earlier in the year, and as you’ll soon tell as you go down the list, my frivolous tastes mean most of these will no doubt roll into 2017, but here goes!
In no particular order…
What I’ve already done
1 Buy birthday Louboutin’s – in celebration of my new job, I bought my first ever pair of Louboutin’s back in March (obviously not without first consulting the Queen of Loub’s, Dita Von Teese first, who gave be some fabulous advice). I’ve now been bitten by the Louboutin bug, and treated myself to my second pair for my 30th birthday – in leopard print, no less!
2 Move out – ok, so there’s nothing like turning 30 and still living with your parents to give you the kick up the arse you need to move out, but it doesn’t exactly help with the practicalities of rent and finding something in budget that isn’t the size of a shoebox! This year my new job has enabled me to finally take the step to move, and do it my way – no roommates! Having unsuccessfully perused the market in 2014 to see what was available, I put pressure on myself to move when I really wasn’t ready, resulting in seeing less than a handful of disappointing properties – it should have been more but most of my initial viewings kept getting cancelled before I could even see how bad they were! In June this year I decided to check out a couple of places with the lowest of expectations, just to see what you could get for your money. I walked into property 2 in the morning and fell in love in seconds, by the afternoon I was signing a lease. I’ve been here 3 months now, and I love it – I probably should work out how the washer/dryer works at some point though, and the oven….
3 Visit Winter Wonderland – I’ve always wondered what all the fuss was about, and quite frankly I’m still wondering. It was nice to experience it once (this time for my mum’s birthday), but you’ve seen one stand, you’ve seen them all. I won’t be bothering in 2016.
4 Try out the latest afternoon teas – for research purposes obviously, I mean I need to add some more reviews to the blog As you all know, I’m a sucker for a good afternoon tea and there were a few on my list I wanted to try including at The Gilbert Scott at St Pancras Renaissance, The Savoy and Hotel Café Royal. Keep an eye out on the blog in 2016 for what I thought of them.
5 Stay at The Savoy – I’ve never really been one for holidays (well, until now), so in the last year I’ve treated myself to little luxury stays in London, staying in some of the city’s most renowned hotels. So, when I decided to treat myself to tickets to see Gypsy, playing at The Savoy Theatre I decided to find myself a bargain (in the long term after all it would be far more economical to stay at the hotel and save money on taxis if I were to stay somewhere else…) Not an experience one can regularly afford to repeat, but one I most definitely will never forget, and I can say I’ve stayed under the same roof as Fred Astaire (sadly not when he was dancing on it).
6 See Gypsy – ever since I started performing burlesque back in 2012, I’ve been dying for the stage musical version of Gypsy to return to the West End, and in 2015 my wish finally came true! I was also lucky enough to interview Gypsy’s son Erik and get his take on the musical coming to London. The stage production starring Imelda Staunton, live from the Savoy Theatre was also aired on BBC Four over Christmas and I can honestly say it’s the best production I’ve ever seen.
7 Celebrate my birthday at Cahoots – Cahoots, a 1940’s London Underground themed speakeasy has long been on my list of places to visit, but each time I’ve been to London I’ve never been able to get a booking. Planning ahead, I managed to get a table for my birthday drinks – great fun. If you visit, make sure you try the gravy and potato sandwich – so wrong, but oh so right!
8 Drink at The Ritz – famed for its art deco bar, The Ritz is another destination on my drinking list. Worth a trip just to check out the powder room.
9 Visit Vegas again – in 2015 I didn’t go on holiday, so I’m making up for it in 2016 with 2 (well 3 actually, I’m squeezing in a Spanish getaway in the summer). My last trip to Vegas didn’t exactly end so well (I wound up nearly dying from a blood clot on my lung), but it was the best holiday of my life and I’ve been desperate to go back ever since. This trip needs its own entire bucket list of things I plan to do….
10 Return to Paris – my Christmas came early this year when I discovered that Dita Von Teese will be appearing with new shows at The Crazy Horse Paris in March 2016, of course I just had to book a trip. Not that one needs an excuse to go to Paris….
11 Experience The Shard – 2015 was the year of The Shard, at least that’s what it feels like. So many of my friends have visited there, and I’m determined to go – I just need to decide on which of the many bars to visit for a cocktail, and of course afternoon tea is a must.
12 Go for more afternoon tea – what would life be without tea? The Dorchester, Claridges and The Connaught are just a few of the places I hope to partake in afternoon tea.
13 Record a song – definitely one of the more random ones on my list, and hardly a treat as the thought of singing in front of anyone terrifies me, but I really want to record a song. I’ve been on a bit of a burlesque and compering hiatus, but I would really love to be able to add singing to my repertoire. I can’t sing a note, but the radio presenter in me thinks there’s a tune in there somewhere that I can put my spin on, so hopefully I’ll be spending a lot more time in the studio in 2016.
14 Read more – I don’t read nearly enough, but my new boudoir has become my little slice of heaven where I can relax and get lost in a book with a cuppa. There are so many classics that I’ve never read, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Great Expectations are just a snippet of books I want to get started on.
15 See the Blackpool Tower Ballroom – I’m no Rita Hayworth, but whist I might not be able to dance in the ballroom, I can certainly have afternoon tea in it!
16 Visit Burgh Island – since moving, my art deco obsession has really cranked up, not least thanks to Agatha Christie and the TV production of And Then There Were None. Burgh Island in Devon was second home to Agatha Christie and boasts an art deco hotel. None of the rooms have TV’s – perfect for getting cracking with those books….
17 Tregothnan tea estate – based in Cornwall, Tregothnan is the only tea estate in the UK, open to the public for special tours. Their reputation is so prestigious that they even export their tea to China!
18 The Orient Express – another one I can blame on Agatha Christie, I’ve wanted to travel on a luxury steam train for several years, and how much more luxury can you get than the Orient Express?! Although I’m not sure how well I’d fair on a 36 hour trip without a bath…
19 Go back to Biarritz – little did I know on my first trip to Biarritz, France in 2015 that it’s renowned for art deco. Absolutely somewhere I want to visit again and discover properly, but perhaps not when I’m working.
20 Visit the Bombay Sapphire distillery – a gin distillery. Need I say more?!
21 Tour a Scottish whiskey distillery – another first for me, in August I visited Scotland for the first time and I would love to go back and see a different part and learn all about Whiskey Galore!
22 Eltham Palace – another art deco gem, Eltham Palace and Gardens is an English Heritage property that I insist each year I will visit and never get around to. I’m pretty sure one of the many magnificent rooms has also been featured in the TV series of Jekyll and Hyde.
23 Attend the ballet or opera – two things I have never done, and I would really like to broaden my cultural awareness and try at least one.
24 Have a spa day – believe it or not, another thing I’ve never done. With the year ahead I have planned though, I think sitting and doing a whole lot of nothing for a day might be in order.
25 See more burlesque – sadly my burlesque break has also unintentionally resulted in a break in seeing shows, as well as performing in them. In 2016 The Savoy, Hippodrome Casino and Café de Paris are among the many venues I want to catch a show at, not to mention fitting in my first London Wonderground experience.
26 Visit a German Christmas market – screw Winter Wonderland, I want to visit an actual German Christmas market, in Germany!
27 See more live music – for someone with their own radio show, I really don’t experience enough live music. Now, I’m not sure I’m ready for a festival, but I want to start seeing more performers, in a perfect world, Paloma Faith (well actually, in a perfect world the performance would be in her bedroom so that I had live music to listen to whilst playing in her closet and trying on her many costumes!)
28 Drinks, darling – I think you all know by now how partial I am to a tipple or two, the 2016 drinking destination list includes Nightjar, Trader Vic’s , Portobello Star, Experimental Cocktail Club, Ladies and Gentlemen and more!
29 Be the hostess with the mostess – I finally have the perfect kitchen for baking and entertaining in, but alas I just haven’t had the time. In 2016 I am determined to host my own Halloween and Christmas parties.
30 See the Cutty Sark – the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, how can it not be worth a visit?!
Man, I’m tired just thinking about 2016
Happy New Year!
The Burly Baker x