Thursday, 30 August 2012

Coffee, cakes and challenges

I received a huge parcel in the post this morning. It was all the extra stuff I had ordered for my Macmillan Coffee Morning. The worlds biggest coffee morning  has taken place to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support every year since 1991 and so far has raised over £60 million. I decided to get involved this year as part of my challenge to raise £1001 for charity.

The official date for this year's event is Friday 28th September. I never do anything the proper way though!! I'm either going to be at work that day or more likely still hobbling about after my knee op. Either way that date isn't going to work. I'm thinking I'll hold my coffee morning towards the end of the October half-term holiday. It'll give me a full week to get all my baking done, I've found some lovely recipes I can't wait to get started on. The exact date and time is still to be decided. I'm hoping to hire a room somewhere as I want to have quite a big event and raise as much money as possible. My house is too small and even if I could squeeze everyone in, I'm thinking Dexter dog and a coffee morning won't mix.

I'm really looking forward to my coffee morning as it combines two of my favourite things - coffee and cakes! Another challenge that will let me enjoy both is to go to every Betty's at least once during the challenge. I've just booked a weekend in York for later in the year so thats two of them I'll be able to cross off the list. We'll be eating at both big Betty's and Little Betty's while we're there - well it'd be rude not to! I'm hoping they'll be on their winter menu when we go so I can have their treacle tart for pudding - yum :-)

It's done nothing but rain here the last few days so I've been getting through loads of coffee, no cake this time though. It's been coffee, cross stitch and films. My cross stitch is coming along slowly but it's starting to look good and I've watched some good films as part of my A-Z challenge. Watched a few that don't count too but I've enjoyed them and thats the main thing.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Bank Holiday Weekend and Getting Things Done

So, it's bank holiday weekend, not really sure how that affects me as I'm off work anyway but it's been a nice chilling weekend with plenty of time to get things done.

I've been a real reading mood this weekend. I managed to finish Angela's Ashes yesterday and then read the entire screenplay of Looking for Eric in one sitting. I loved it! Can't believe I've still not seen the film, definitely one to add to the A-Z film challenge list. I started Still Thinking of You by Adele Parkes yesterday too and I'm about 200 pages into that one.

I've also spent a bit of time with my family tree cross stitch this weekend. I'm not the fastest stitcher in the world but I do enjoy it. This is the biggest project I've ever attempted though and when I look at the size of that fabric it does seem a little bit daunting. I've really enjoyed studying my family tree though and this will be a lovely way to display what I've found so I'm determined to finish it. Still LOADS to do though!

I'm feeling loads better about the A-Z film challenge. The first couple of films I watched were disappointing which put me off a bit. I saw Wallace and Grommit - Curse of the Were-rabbits this afternoon though and loved it. I've never seen any Wallace and Grommit before but now I want to watch them all. After reading Looking for Eric, that's gone on the list. I'm recording a film called Precious tonight and I've also borrowed The Help on dvd. I loved the book so I'm really looking forward to watching the film.
I've been doing more creative writing and planning ready for NaNoWriMo in November. I've also been trying to get organised and plan when I'm going to do some of my challenges that need a bit more organisation. Organisation or patience aren't exactly my strong points though - I just want to do everything NOW!!!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Beating Blood Cancer

Technically the first part of this post isn't related to a challenge I'm doing but it does link in with the second part of the post which is something on the list. It is a challenge, just not for me - but it's my blog and I'm allowed a proud wifey moment every now and again (don't get used to it Dan!!)

This time next week I'll be all on my lonesome. Dan will be getting his head down in a hotel in Sheffield somewhere. An early night ready for the first of his 10k runs. He's challenged himself to run three 10k runs in September - starting with the Great Yorkshire Run on 2nd, then the Salford City 10k on the 9th and finally the Rochdale Kingsway 10k on the 23rd.

Up until a few months ago Dan had never run and I'd have laughed at the idea of him doing one 10k run never mind three in a month but he's got really into it and now I know he can do it. He seems to really enjoy it and I think it helps that he's so determined to raise money for this cause.

He's running for leukaemia and lymphoma research, a charity which is very close to his heart since he sadly lost his younger brother Robin to leukaemia as a child. You can have a look at Dan's blog to see his reasons for running. His initial target was to raise £250 which pays for a weeks worth of essential laboratory supplies used to conduct vital research to improve treatments. He's already smashed this target!!! Now he's just aiming to raise as much as he can.

  • £300 pays for a blood cancer patient’s DNA to be screened providing a more accurate diagnosis and helping to guide treatments
  • £1,000 helps to buy sophisticated equipment needed to understand blood cancers

  • So you've had a look at the website and you want to help, what can you do? The quickest and easiest way to help is to sponsor Dan. Those of you who know Dan will know how well he's done to get to this point. When he first said he was going running, my reaction was 'yeah right!' but he's proved me wrong and I'm well proud of him.

    The second thing you could do is some fund raising of your own. If you're a runner they'll send you a very helpful fund raising kit complete with VERY bright running shirt. Loads of people can't run (like me) but there's still loads of things you can do to raise both money and awareness - the only limit is your imagination!

    The third suggestion I have is to register to be a bonemarrow donor. This was something I included on my mission 101 list and I've started the process tonight. I've completed the online application form and now I'm waiting for my spit kit to arrive. They'll test my saliva to find out my tissue type and see if I'm suitable to be a donor.

    Friday, 24 August 2012

    Needed - Film recommendations

    Watch 26 films I've not seen before, one for each letter of the alphabet. Shouldn't be too difficult, after all I've got Netflix and my Cineworld unlimited pass. And I've finally caught up with the world and got a DVD player just as the rest of the world is moving onto blue ray.

    And I suppose it hasn't been difficult but so far it has been disappointing. Started with H the other night and watched High Fidelity. I thought I'd enjoy it as I like Nick Hornby's books (reminds me of my dad, similar anorak tendancies!) and I've enjoyed a few films based on his books before. I hated it though. Just didn't interest me at all and didn't even seem like it was related to the book. I only made it to the end because I'd already logged it on the website.

    Tonight wasn't as bad. I watched Reservoir Dogs. It's one of those films that I always think I've seen but I really haven't. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really know what was going on for most of it. It seemed to jump around and not all be in order so it was a bit confusing. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not great at waching films at home. I sort of get distracted by other things so I really need films I don't need to concentrate on that much.

    So I've still got 24 letters to go people, what do you recommend? I'll watch more or less anything at the cinema but I need ones that don't require concentration at home. Thanks :-)

    Wednesday, 22 August 2012

    Quick update and Operation Beautiful

    So I've not blogged for a few days but that doesn't mean I've not been busy with my challenges. I've got quite a few marked as in progress now, longer term things that I'm not going to complete in a day.

    I've been practicing my touch typing and I'm now up to 34wpm - still below average but a big  improvement on when I started. I've been working on creative writing prompts and getting ideas together for NaNoWriMo in November. I'm really looking forward to that.

    I've been reading books, doing my cross stitch and watching films, all of which are part of a challenge as well as heping me pass the time. I'm writing in my diary every night and I've also started keeping a record of money I spend - just need to find somewhere to hide it now!!

    I've made a start on my operation beautiful challenge today. I love this, it's such a simple idea but it works. Everyone loves being told they look good right?

    The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk. The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other people to find. The point is that
    So the basic idea is that you leave post it notes for strangers to find with positive messages on them. It felt pretty good writing them and I bet it feels great finding them. I think I've challenged myself to leave 20 notes. I've done my first two today and left them in library books.

    Sunday, 19 August 2012

    Write here, right now

    I love writing! Any kind of writing really. These days its my letters to penpals and my diary that I write the most but writing of any kind makes me smile. I'm forever writing lists to help me get organised - but then I lose them! And when I find the time I also like writing stories and poems.

    I've always liked the idea of writing a book but kind of dismissed it as something other people do. I heard about NaNoWriMo from a penpal in America and decided to add it to the list. It seemed like a good way to finally have a go at writing a book without any real pressure for it to perfect.

    NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month but its actually an international thing. The idea is to write an entire novel in one month. It's more about quantity than quality at this stage, you can always go back and redraft at the end of the challenge.

    To be a winner of NaNoWriMo you have to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I've worked out thats 1666.7 words a day which at my new improved typing speed of 31wpm (still not great, but improving) is 54 minutes typing each day. According to the rules, you can't start writing your story until 12.01am on the 1st November but you can do planning and research before then so this weekend I've registered for the competition and made a start on my planning. I've found a great website which has been really useful for ideas and knowing just where to start.

    I also decided that while I was thinking about writing I'd make a start on another challenge which is to write using 25 of the prompts at They probably won't make it in to the story I write in November but they'll be a good way of getting me into the writing habit and the more I write the better a writer I'll become. Can't wait to get started in November!

    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    How fast can I type this?

    So today I thought I'd make a start on learning to touch type. My mam can do it and it always amazes me the way her fingers just whizz over the keys while shes having a chat and not even looking but it still manages to say what it should say. I'd love to be able to do that!

    I'm not a TERRRIBLE typist. I get by with a rough idea of where most of the letters are and mainly two fingers although I sometimes really adventurous and use my middle fingers aswell. Decided to see just how bad I was before I got on with the lessons. Found an online test to do and this was my result;

    Your speed was: 24wpm.

    You made 3 mistakes, your mistakes are shown in bold text:

    I Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus. This-that-and-the-other, for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles, who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as
    'Cladius the Idiot', or 'That Claudius, or 'Claudius the Stammerer', or 'Clau-Clau-Claudius' or at best as 'Poor Uncle Claudius', am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, I suddenly found myself caught in the 'golden predicament'

    Apparently an average typing speed is 40 wpm and good is anything above that. It looks like I've got a lot of work to do then especially as that test wasn't touch typed - it was just me plodding away at the keys in my own unique way.

    I decided to start simple so I worked through some exercises on the bbc schools website. Alright so I'm 32 years old, not 8 but it started at the very beginning and worked up in tiny little steps. I didn't even know that those tiny ridges on the f and j keys were there to help you position your hands for typing but I do now. The bbc exercises were a good introduction if you can get past all the singing animals and I worked through all twelve exercises this morning.

    I've now moved onto another website where I'm trying to improve my speed and my accuracy. I've not done much on there yet. I'm currently up to level 3 with a speed of 25 wpm and 99% accuracy. Not a great improvement in speed but I've managed to improve my speed in a day and I'm more accurate. Plus that is now a proper touch typing speed rather than me scanning the keyboard all the time. Hopefully if I keep working through the brown bear exercises I'll improve my speed and get to the stage where I can do a proper typing course - after that these updates will be a doddle :-)

    Wednesday, 15 August 2012

    Curry Night :-)

    Me and Dan love eating out. We try to go out for something to eat whenever one of us gets paid. We like all different kinds of food but we do tend to stick to the same few restaurants that we keep going back to. That's why I decided to add try 10 new restaurants in my city as one of my challenges.

    I got started tonight with a nice easy one - Desi Lounge. It's an indian restaurant and I can't believe we haven't been before. We love a good curry and it's so close - we managed to walk there in about five minutes even with me still on crutches.

    I'd thought that it would be quiet with it being a wet Wednesday night but it was pretty busy, always a good sign. It seemed like a lot of the customers were regulars too, another good sign - after all you're not going to keep going back to somewhere thats no good.

    It was really hard to decide what to have because everything looked gorgeous. In the end I decided on the tandoori mix starter. It had chicken tikka, shish kebab, lamb chops and king prawns. It all came on a sizzler with onions and peppers and it was really gorgeous. Dan's starter was lovely too, some kind of chick pea and potato thing.

    For mains we shared lamb haandi, meat thali, pilau rice and nan bread and again it was all lovely. Trying somewhere new was definitely a success, we've got a gorgeous place right on our doorstep. We'll be going back, seems silly to travel for a curry when this place is so close. But even though I'm looking forward to going back I'm excited about finding new places to try. Any recommendations in Manchester, give me a shout

    Tuesday, 14 August 2012

    Dotty's not daft!!

    One of the challenges on my list is to do an IQ test. I'm convinced I'm actually a lot cleverer than a lot of people give me credit for. Just because I'm a little bit (ok a lot!) dizzy doesn't mean I'm thick!

    To tick it off on my list I want to do a proper timed test organised by Mensa or something like that but as I was bored today I decided to have a mess about on some of the free IQ tests you can do online.

    I scored an IQ of 127! Not quite a genius but pretty impressive I thought.  I decided to do a bit of research into what a 'good' IQ is and this is what I found

    Lewis Terman (1916) developed the original notion of IQ and proposed this scale for classifying IQ scores:
    Over 140 - Genius or near genius
    120 - 140 - Very superior intelligence
    110 - 119 - Superior intelligence
    90 - 109 - Normal or average intelligence

    So there you have it - Dotty's not daft!!! In fact I have very superior intelligence. Bit of brain training before I do my real test and I'll be up there with the Mensa crowd :-)
    And next time you're thinking I'm a dizzy one, just remember it's my superior intelligence shining through!!!


    Sunday, 12 August 2012

    Long lazy Sunday and helping the hungry

    Chilling day at home today. Not been on any great adventures, I guess that will come later in the challenge. It's been a lovely day though. Lots of coffee, my books and my stitching. Both of which will help me with challenges although today it was more about them just being relaxing and fun.

    I've also become slightly addicted to the free rice game. I didn't know about this website until I signed up for the 101 things challenge but its good fun and helping people at the same time. Basically its a multiple choice quiz game and for every answer you get right 10 grains of rice are donated to hungry people around the world. I wasn't too sure about it at first but it's run by the united nations world food programme. It's competely free to play and it does seem that by playing you are genuinally helping.

    "Freerice is not sitting on a pile of rice. You and other Freerice players earn it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works: when you play the game, sponsor banners appear on the bottom of your screen for every correct answer that you choose. The money generated by these banners is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people."

    My aim is to have donated 1,000,000 grains of rice by the end of the 1001 days. Two days in and I've already donated 7280.

    I've been able to tick off another challenge today as Kerry has started her own 101 in 1001 list. Also I've got my very first follower on here (thanks Dan!) so thats another one underway. I think I've worked out how to add a follow button now to make it easier for you all. So if you're reading - please click!!

    Saturday, 11 August 2012

    And we're off!!

    Well after spending ages compiling my list, today was finally day one of my challenge. I've not got off to a bad start. According to the day zero website I've completed 1% so far. I've completed two tasks but I've got quite a few marked down as in progress. I'm really excited to get started on the rest.

    I started off by writing my letter to myself to open at the end of the 1001 days. That was always going to be my first task.It just seemed to make sense to start by writing the letter and end the whole thing by reading it. It was a bit srange writing to myself nearly three years in the future, especially as I have no idea how I'll have gone on with all the challenges. Kept it positive though - by the time I'm reading that letter I WILL have completed all the challenges!

    The other task I've completed is one that matters a bit more. I've signed up to become an organ donor. It's one of those things I've always meant to do but just never got around to. Stupid really once I realised how quick and easy it was, there really is no excuse for not having done it sooner. It only took about two minutes (if that).

    According to their website you're more likely to need a transplant than to be a donor. You can sign up to by going to

    Friday, 10 August 2012

    Finally Finished!!!

    Yay!!!! I've finally finished my list of challenges. I really didn't think it would be so hard to think of 101 things I wanted to do but it's taken me ages. Luckily Dan, Kerry and Dan's friend Simon helped out with some good suggestions. I had lots of suggestions from other people too but only sensible ones made it onto the list!!!

    So now my list is complete I can't wait to get started. Day one of my challenge is tomorrow which means I finish on 9th May 2015. It sounds like so far away at the moment but I bet it will fly by. I wonder how many of my challenges I'll manage to complete by then. I'm going to do my very best to make sure I do them all. I've got some nice days out in there as well as doing a lot for other people. And if I complete all those fitness tasks I'm going to be looking GOOD!!!

    I'll write more about the challenges and why I wanted to do them as I complete them but before I get started, here's a few highlights from the list

    The BIG challenge - Walk the Pennine Way
    Dan has no faith in me with this one. I don't think it's my ability to do the walk thats bothering him. It's more he knows how bad my organisational skills are, and a trip like that takes lots of organising. It's something I really want to do though so I'm determined to prove him wrong.

    The SILLY challenge - Have my photo taken with 100 people named Dave
    Everybody knows a Dave right? How difficult can it be?

    The YUMMY challenge - Eat every flavour of Haagan Dazs
    Ice cream is my number one comfort food. Time to try out some new flavours.

    The READING challenge - Read my height in books
    I love to read but I think this might be one of the few times I'm glad to be a midget!

    The SOPPY challenge - Write my husband a love letter
    I don't do soppy. I am probably the least soppy person I know. But Dan's great, maybe I should let him know.

    Monday, 6 August 2012

    In need of inspiration

    I really want to get started with my mission 101 but I decided I wasn't going to start anything until my list was complete. That way I get the whole 1001 days to complete every challenge.

    I didn't think it would be so difficult to come up with my list of things to do. I really thought there would be LOADS of things I wanted to do. And there is - but unfortunately there isn't an endless pot of money to pay for them all. I'm trying to keep it realistic, affordable and achievable.

    So I'm up to almost 70 and I'm stuck. Yeah, I'd love to go to Disney but its probably not gonna happen in the next 2.7 (something like that anyway) years. A lottery win would be nice, but its not something I can control so its not going on the list. I could really do with some suggestions. Have a look at what I've got already - it's up there at the top of the page! - to get an idea of the kind of thing I'm looking for. Really want to get my list done so I can get on with my challenges.

    Sunday, 5 August 2012

    Mission 101 - What it is and why I'm doing it.

    I'm currently off work with a knee injury. Been off a good few weeks now and getting bored. In fact, I'm going stir crazy. There are so many things I can't do and it's driving me mad. I'm spending my days sitting on the settee thinking of things I want to do but can't. I keep saying to myself "I'll do that once my knee's sorted".

    My husband Dan has recently started running and has been writing a blog about it. Me being me, now Dan's got a blog I want one too! I realised I didn't actually have anything to blog about :-(

    So I'm sat at home bored, feeling sorry for myself and wanting to blog when I saw my penpal Ella mentioning Mission 101 a lot on facebook. It sounded really interesting but I didn't really know much about it. After a quick google I found this website and registered straight away. It seemed like a good way of making sure I do all those things I'm going to do once my knee is right and it'll give me something to blog about too!!!

    Basically the idea is you set yourself 101 challenges and you have 1001 days to complete them. Sounds simple right! Well thats what I thought until I actually sat down to make my list. I soon realised that thinking of 101 challenges is a challenge in itself. I think I'm up to about 50 now. I'm trying to keep the balance between huge challenges that will take lots of time, organisation and money, smaller things that are more easily achieved but still a challenge, challenges that will help me, challenges that will help others and selfish challenges which are just things I want to do. I'm struggling now though so all sensible ish suggestions will be gratefully received. I'm not going to start my 1001 days or any of my challenges until my list is complete so I need inspiration!