30 Before 30 (A Realistic List)

Posted in Writing.

I’m 30 this year. Granted, it’s almost as close to the end of the year as it can be (see below), but it’s still this year. Like most people with an impending ‘milestone’ birthday, I want to mark it in some way. And not just with a massive party, although I’d like one of those too (family, take note).

No, I’d quite like to work my way through a ’30 before 30′ list. And before you say it, I know. They’re cheesy. Like, horribly cringeworthy. “Swim with dolphins”, “do a skydive”, “learn a new language” – earnest pursuits to get out of the way before the big 3-0 hits and you give up life to raise children. That’s how these things usually work.

But I’m not interested in enriching my life or improving my intellect. I want to have fun. So this is my 30 before 30 list. Warning – contains gin, piercings and tattoos (family, take note).

Updates in italics!


1. Get a nose piercing
I’ve wanted one for years and never had the nerve, but now I’m totally ready for a teeny gold stud.
Done! It hurt. A lot. Here’s a pic.

2. Cut my hair off
This is an easy one for me – I’ve had all sorts of hair lengths and colours over the years. It’s time for the extensions to come out!
Done! And here’s the proof

3. Go to a roller derby
I absolutely love rollerskating. I’d love to go watch the Leeds Roller Dolls in action and maybe have a go myself… failing that, a roller disco would be similarly awesome.
Sadly I didn’t do this before turning 30… one for the 31 list!

4. Have a least 10 spa treatments
Because they’re amazing, restorative and so worth the money.

12 in total! Done. 

5. Learn to cook
Ok, so this is a little earnest. And I can cook, but I want to learn more and be better.
I totally lost my way with this around July time and my eating habits descended into Pizza Hut territory. Whoops. 

6. Visit San Francisco
My beautiful friends Adam and Heidi moved to San Fran last year and I’m determined to get out there to see them.

Ok, so I didn’t quite manage it in my 30th year but we’ve booked our flights for May 2016 so I consider this… done!

8. Do a 10+ mile walk
I did a 10 mile walk in 2013 for St Gemma’s Hospice and loved it. Not sure I’m ready for the Three Peaks, so something a little less intense would be great.

I did the 16 mile Yorkshire Three Peaks Valleys walk

9. Go to a gin tasting
I love gin but I’m so set in my ways – Hendrick’s with cucumber or Gordon’s with lemon. I’d love to go to a proper tasting session at Lazy Lounge
in Leeds and mix it up a bit!
I did the Lazy Lounge gin tasting in November and it was super fun… if a bit heavy! Did you know the history of gin is actually quite devastating?!

10. Bake a cake
I literally cannot do this. Every cake I’ve attempted has been a disaster – maybe this will be the year I pull it off?
Gonna be honest – I didn’t even attempt this. But I *did* bake mince pies at Christmas so… progress?

11. Volunteer [updated]
After the election results I’ve felt a real need to be a more active member of my community, so I’m looking into volunteering at my local food bank or at the very least, donating some food.

I set up a monthly donation to Amnesty International, I raised money for Heart UK and I donated lots of food to my local food bank. And I’ve started the ball rolling on a volunteering opportunity for the coming months, so… done AND ongoing!

12. Go on a girls’ holiday
Girls’ holidays are just the best. I’m thinking Ibiza or Dublin.

I went to Lisbon and it was AMAZING! Here’s the vlog and here’s the photo album

13. Do a yoga workshop
I did an ashtanga class for the first time today and it was tough – I think a workshop would help me understand the movements more.
My interest in yoga petered out right around the time I decided Deliciously Ella was bullshit… so I failed on this. Oh well. 

14. Find the perfect jeans
I wear jeans almost every day, and yet I’ve never found my perfect pair. I’d like to go to a specialist denim shop like Donna Ida and treat myself to some designer denim.

They might not be entirely *perfect*, but I rediscovered my love for Joni jeans and now I have three pairs in constant rotation. So I declare this one… done!

15. Try contact lenses
I’ve never worn contact lenses. They freak me out a little. But I’m interested in life without glasses, so…
NOPE. Couldn’t do it. Glasses for life.

30 before 30 ideas

16. Have a night out in Liverpool
I’ve heard it’s great. Any recommendations?
Didn’t manage this one, either!

17. Nurture my nails
I’m really into nails at the moment – I’ve been wearing mine long and more pointed, applying almond oil every night to keep them strong. I want to get them perfect!

Until I decided to try acrylics, I was doing really well on this. The acrylics looked perfect but they did screw up my nails just a lil bit… but I’m back on track now and they’re looking much better, so I think this one is DONE.

18. Get serious about cycling
I’ve dabbled in cycling on and off for the last few years, but I really want to do it properly and cycle to my studio.
I cycled to work for about 3 months over summer and loved it. I’m definitely a fairweather cyclist and my bike’s been in the cellar since September, but I’m planning to get back on it when it’s a little warmer outside. So, done! 

19. Learn to DJ
I’ve done a few ‘sets’ over the years and I love making playlists… I’d never do it professionally, but it’d be good to mix my songs rather than just click ‘next’!
This is the one I’m really annoyed at myself for not even attempting… I did two more ‘sets’ over Christmas and loved it even more, so I’m putting this back on the list for 2016.

20. Explore Scotland
I’d love to go up to Aberdeen and spend more time in beautiful Scotland.

I went to Edinburgh for my 30th and stayed in a completely new part of the city, which was amazing. My favourite trip yet!

21. Get another tattoo
This one’s already in the works – I’m going to Paris in May to get my second piece!
Done and done! Thanks Rebecca for tatt number 2 and 3 x

22. Master lipliner
I wear a lot of red lipstick but I’ve never got the hang of lipliner. This is the year.
Lipliner was massive back in early 2015 and I was all over this trend, but then I decided drawing on my lips every day was way too much faff.

23. Read at least 10 books
Can I sneak a final earnest one in? Don’t tell anyone.
I managed about 7 books last year which is a pathetic attempt. Improvement needed.

24. Attempt flower arranging
I have a vague idea that modern floristry might be what I do when I’m through with this social media game. So maybe a course, or just some practise at home?

I bought lots of flowers and did lots of practise – it all looked very pretty, so consider this one done.

25. Get some office space
This one’s happening quite soon – in April I’m moving my business from its current open desk space into a studio of its very own!

I moved into my studio in July – post coming soon!

26. Go to the ballet (and not to see The Nutcracker)
Ballet is one of the most beautiful things to watch, and I’m lucky to live in the same city as Northern Ballet.
Done – I saw Romeo and Juliet and it was wonderful!

27. Learn how to blend eyeshadow
I’d love to create a perfectly-blended smoky eye – surely YouTube can help me with this?
Getting much better at this after watching loads of Jennie Jenkins videos!

28. Sing karaoke
A few years ago my friends and I were obsessed with Singstar, and I’ve been to my fair share of karaoke bars – there’s nothing like belting out Beyoncé! I’d love to get back into it.

When we went to the Christmas cottage late last year, there was a karaoke machine with a few classic tracks and we had a ball belting them out. Done!

29. See the sunrise over New York City
I want to recreate Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, basically.

Not quite, but as part of our US trip in May we’re visiting NYC and I am determined to do this. So let’s say ‘in progress’.

30. Have afternoon tea at Claridge’s
Wouldn’t that be a great way to spend my 30th birthday?
I missed out on this for my 30th but now I know about Sketch I’m desperate to go. Maybe during my trip to London in March?

things to do before 30th birthday



Sounds like the perfect list.
My 30th was spent being exactly one week post birth of my 4th child. Although of course i wouldn’t have it any other way….but not how id invisaged my big 3 0


Such an amazing list!

For the nose piercing I really could not recommend Luke at Rude Studios enough, he is the only person that me and a lot of my friends will allow near us with a needle! His place is in the city centre, he is lovely.

And the floristry thing, I really really want to give it a go; so if you find a class let me know. I love the idea of opening my own florists one day.

Chloe x


Thank you so much, Chloe! Will definitely go see Luke, Rude Studios is really close to my office so it’s perfect! x


That gin tasting session sounds awesome – I might need to book on one myself! Also, Barcelona is great for a girls holiday – beach, shopping, culture and really cheap cava.

Have fun ticking everything off your list!

Sophie x


Thanks Sophie! We did Barcelona a couple of years ago and it was amazing. Would love to go back! x


I think that this is a really great, really achievable list. Some of the things seem as if they may be a little out there, but they’re still doable and I love it. I wish there were more lists like this out there.


I used to referee Roller derby until I fell and shattered my leg! Still in recovery 15 months later, but I really miss skating!


If you do decide to come to Aberdeen I can give you plenty of restaurant/bar/hotel and touristy recommendations if you like! Also am planning a trip to SF for my honeymoon later in the year, all before I’m 30 too.


Love this list as they are all fun and actually achievable. I have 2 and a half years until the big 3-0 and have no interest in learning a language or doing anything that requires a huge amount of effort but tattoos and gin sound great! x


This list is amazing! This is going to sound odd but I see so much of myself in you (I’m only 22) and the sort of person I want to be when I’m older. I have been following your blog for a long time now and I love how genuine your posts are. I really admire all that you have done over the past few years and I cannot wait to see what else you will achieve this year. I hope you tick off everything on your list!


Try No. 3 Gin. It is seriously delicious. I’ve always loved G&T and when this was recommended to me I was dubious it could make that much of a difference to my fav tipple. I was pleasantly surprised and am a complete convert!


You HAVE to come to Liverpool! McGuffies is a must for cocktails and try 81Ltd too – I’ve never been but I’ve heard it’s amazing. It’s a ‘secret’ bar where you have to book first and you get given a code and directions to an unmarked door with a keypad! It appeals to my inner spy haha! xxx


Great list! Pollenca in Mallorca is also a really great place for a girly holiday (beach, sun, markets, sangria etc etc).


You shound have Visit San Francisco right at the top though, and then I guarantee number 2 will quickly become “move to San Francisco”


Yes! Get your nose pierced and get to Dublin! That would be fab! I’m going to be 30 this year too, at the beginning of April – it’s getting very close now! Eeeek! Any recommendations for the few short weeks I have left of being 29?! 🙂

The Procrastinator

My tip for #27 — get a fluffy brush that’s reserved for blending only — no eye shadow allowed on it! I like the Paul Dorf Sheer Crease brush, or the MAC 217 (though Hakuhodo do a cheaper, better version of the 217 if they ship to where you live!)


oh gosh you’re making me want to do all of these! I’ve wanted a tiny nose stud for years, but i’m such a wuss when it comes to anything like that… took me till I was almost 18 to even get my ears pierced..and that’s after passing out twice!!

Louise x


San Fran is the best city, I have just got back from a week working there and simply love it and the lifestyle it offers…and while your there you can go to “In and Out Burger” for a true tast of Cali…and add another Burger to your list! Love the blogs Jen :o)


I got my nose pierced when I was 30 – I love it! This is such a great list, I might nab a few ideas, even though I’m post 30…


What a beautiful list, I love these (and also that they’re pretty realistic aims)! I think one day I should really set myself some goals like this as I’m never even attempting New Year’s resolutions, birthday resolutions are a lot more appealing to me!


Sue F

Love this list! I feel a 35 before 35 list coming on for myself – since I already designated this my Summer Of Fun, it would really only be an autumnal extension! Love that the list ranges from piercings and tattoos to flower arranging 🙂


I so love this! It’s made me want to start my own list. Hopefully if I do it soon (aged 24) there’ll be enough time for everything! If you do make it up to Scotland, you must visit Oban and the Isle of Skye, they’ve been my favourite places to explore up there so far x


On the massages, you need to go to the Lush Spa in Leeds; pricey but seriously worth it.
And for tips on writing more, I signed up for a daily writing prompt earlier this year – they’re everything from the weird and wonderful to just documenting your day – which seriously motivated me.
Love this post!

North of London – Beauty Blog


Why do I love this list so much? Because every other ‘things to do before turning 30’ list, made me feel like I would be incapable of doing anything once I actually turned 30!!! Great list, have fun crossing everything off xo


I really love this list, I hope you manage to get it all crossed off! P.S. LOVING your new hair, you look stunning!

Maria xxx


Lovely and funny list
For my 30 (october) I made a travel to the sunny zanzibar, thonk about it…


I have only recently improved my cake baking by purchasing an oven thermometer! Honestly it really helps as my over is at least 5 degrees hotter than the dial outside indicates – a couple of favourites are Delia’s double lemon drizzle cake with poppy seeds, Apricot Marzipan Cake on th Domestic Sluttery blog (sadly no longer blogging but still viewable) and one I got from a Dawn French novel – Deny’s Whisky Cake – enjoy xx


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