23 Before 23 – The Review

For those of you who have been with my blog for a while, you will know that for the last few years I have done a challenge every year, setting the same number of goals as the age I will be on my next birthday. Last year I turned 23, so after my 22nd birthday, I set my 23 before 23 goals. As we all know, 2014 was absolute chaos for me, so I didn’t end up dedicating any time to my goals at all! However, I am going to review them all the same, but I’m not expecting any spectacular results!

1. Make a dress – This one is still on the list! I’m ashamed to think of how long I have had the supplies ready and just not made any progress with it! It is a little more tricky now, as never having made clothes before, I want my Mum to help me through the steps to make sure I’m doing everything right (Mum’s know best of course!) but now that I have moved out, we haven’t yet managed to arrange a day when she can come over and help me through it! I’m hoping to get a day arranged soon though so I can make a start on all of the dressmaking projects I have in mind!

2. Complete 10 cross stitch projects – Looking back at this, ten projects was probably rather ambitious! At the beginning of the year I was on a bit of a roll and manage to complete 4 projects, which you can see in my 2014 Project Gallery, and at the end of the year I went on to finish my Once Upon A Time Sampler and my Liberty kit, which can be seen in my 2015 Cross Stitch Projects post. I don’t think I completed anything in between that I haven’t included, so I’m going to say that I managed 6, which I don’t actually think is that bad! This year there is no way I will achieve 10 as the projects I am working on are so big. However, if I can finish all of the projects that I have got planned for this year, I will be very happy to call that an achievement.


3. Read 20 books of my choiceΒ – Again, 20 was far too ambitious for last year when I was still studying and moving/starting a new job. It is probably much more achievable this year, but last year I only managed 13. In all fairness, I wasn’t actually that far away and I do feel incredibly impressed with how much reading I did! Not long after I moved I got into the habit of reading on the bus to and from work and I raced through 7 books in two weeks, but then I was just ready for a break from reading after spending 4 years doing nothing else! This year I am setting myself a reading goal, but I am being less strict about it. I want to get back into the habit of reading for fun, not because I have to, so I am taking part in a reading challenge with some colleagues from work (I will post about it shortly) but it is simply just for fun and I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t manage to read all of the books.

4. Learn to knit socks – Another one that is still on my list! In 2014 I hardly touched any knitting. I am still part way through a scarf that I am knitting, but it is still hidden among the remaining boxes that are still yet to be unpacked after the move (I know, I know…) I have seen some beautiful knitted sock patterns that I am so eager to try, but I feel like for now I need to refresh and develop my knitting skills before I attempt anything too complex.

5. Make a quilt – I really, really thought this one would be crossed off. And it will be as soon as it is possible to finish it. Everything is ready and cut for the quilt, I just need to buy the wadding and sew it together. Although, it appears that my ready-and-waiting quilt is hiding in the same place as my knitted scarf…I haven’t yet encountered it in a bag since we moved last June…

6. Knit a jumper – Again, this is another project that I am absolutely dying to try, and I have picked out many projects that I want to complete, but my knitting skills just aren’t up to scratch yet. Maybe with a bit of practice this year, my knitting may be up to the challenge next year.

7. Get a job – Miraculously, this was the first one crossed off my list! Like any graduate, leaving University was a daunting thing and I was desperate to find a job to transition into as soon as possible because I knew that the longer the gap I took, the harder it would be to get into work. James had found out in January 2014 that he would be starting work in West Yorkshire in June when he finished University, so that narrowed down my search area…I just didn’t know what I was looking for! I tried applying for a few jobs in the area and had quite a few interviews, but I was amazed when the first one that I was offered was the one that I wanted the most! It was a pretty quick turnaround. I finished my taught classes at University, then worked one last week in my job at Waterstone’s. We got the keys to our house on the Friday, I worked my last shift at Waterstone’s on the Saturday, properly moved in on the Sunday then started my new job on the Monday! All the while I still had 3 months of MA dissertation writing ahead of me! Working full-time and writing my dissertation was really hard work but I’m so glad that I could do it that way and get stuck into my job straight after University. I absolutely love my job and I’m so pleased that everything worked out!

8. Go self-hosting – Obviously this one didn’t happen, and it is clear that 2014 wasn’t the right time for this to happen. In truth, I don’t think that 2015 will be the year either, but I do want to grow my little blog into a much bigger project. This year I am going to focus on putting more time into my blog and really working out what it is I want to achieve with it. Maybe 2016 will be the year to self host my blog? But for now, I’m enjoying it as a hobby again and having rekindling the friendships that I have made through blogging.

9. Make more handmade gifts – So this didn’t happen in 2014, but I did make an active start on this on the 4th January 2015…does that count? Now that I am getting into a regular routine around work and I am no longer studying I am finding so much more time to craft and I have already made a massive head start on crafting gifts for Mother’s Day, Christmas and Birthdays. I didn’t actually set this as a goal this year, but over the last few years I seem to have found that many ideas for gifts that I’ve not had chance to do, I simply got stuck into them as soon as I did find the time without even thinking. I am aiming to craft as many homemade presents as possible this year and I do have a lot planned for Christmas, so hopefully 2015 will be a year of handmade gifts!

10. Attempt soap making – I did this! Granted, it was after my 23rd birthday but it is my list so I can make up the rules…right? If you read my Mother’s Day post, you will have seen that I used a soap making kit that James got me for Christmas to make some lavender and lemongrass soaps for Mother’s Day presents. It was really fun making soaps and it is a craft that I definitely want to explore some more. I am hoping to make some more soaps as part of my handmade Christmas present list!


11. Craft with my stash – Again, this is one that has happened more this year now that studying is over and I am getting into a regular routine around work. So far at the beginning of this year I have worked through a backlog of craft kits that I had stacking up, and I am now moving onto the projects that I have all the supplies for, but I have never got round to starting/finishing. Now that I have time to craft, I have been on a mission to craft as much as I possibly can, using all of the supplies that I have. I have taken to collecting together a pile of projects that need completing, then working through them and restocking the pile once it is empty. Furthermore, I haven’t actually bought that many crafting supplies since I moved! I have treated myself to the odd supply here and there, and the occasional guilty trip to Hobbycraft, but overall I haven’t felt a massive desire to buy more craft supplies. When I didn’t have time to craft, I indulged by buying things with the desire to do them, but now that I have time to complete projects, I don’t feel the need to buy further supplies! I have bought a few supplies for the new crafts that I have been trying, but overall I am doing well at curbing my desire to buy more craft supplies, and working my way through the supplies that I already have…a pretty good outcome all round then!

12. Go ice skating – This one was probably the easiest one on the list and yet somehow we didn’t even manage this! As we were both studying our final year of University, with moving and new jobs loomed, we just never managed to find the time to do this one. Particularly as I was working both weekend days before we moved to save enough money for the house, free time just didn’t exist! Once we moved we never actually got round to locating our nearest ice rink but I would like to visit it as soon as we locate it! Unfortunately I can’t do a lot of ice skating as I have dodgy ankles that struggle in the skates for an extended period of time, but I do feel like I am overdue a visit!

13. Have a clear out – Now, this one definitely happened when I packed everything up to move, and then happened again as I unpacked…and now it needs doing again! Like being organised, this is one of those goals that just constantly needs repeating every few months. I’m definitely feeling the itch to start ‘spring cleaning’ as the new addition of Christmas presents and bits and bobs that we have collected since we moved is definitely starting to feel suffocating. When we moved a lot of people donated things to us such as kitchen appliances and furniture, but it is about time that we realistically assess what we actually need. We really appreciate everything that we were given but it definitely feels the right time to consider how many teaspoons/teapots/unused appliances we actually need…

14. Dedicate more time to my blog – Surely the less said on this one the better? Clearly this didn’t happen; my break was so much longer than I anticipated! But I’ve put it behind me now and I’m powering on with regular posting!

15. Get the most out of my camera – Another one that didn’t happen! I have so many books on how to use the model of camera that I own, as well as books on photo editing and Photoshop that I really want to put to good use but I just haven’t had chance yet! I’m not sure when this will happen but hopefully it will be soon as I am using my camera more again for my blog photos!

16. Take a photo a day – I did surprisingly well at this one and made it through over 50% of the year, but at the time that I was writing my dissertation and working I gave up on it. Between work and study there was very little of interest going on in my life so my daily photos became photos of my tea every night! It got to the point when I felt like I was taking photos of the sake of it rather than documenting things that really meant something to me so it just didn’t feel worthwhile anymore. I still take a lot of photos and use Instagram almost daily, but not because I’m forced to but because I want to – which is much more fun really!

17. Enter 3 writing competitions – I did enter one writing competition but that was it. After writing my dissertation, writing wasn’t really that fun and I just wanted a break! I haven’t done any creative writing recently but maybe I will at some point this year…I may just wait and see with this one!

18. Read the complete Sherlock Holmes – I failed miserably with this one…I didn’t manage to read any! Having finished my Masters after studying literature for 4 years, I am still enjoying reading, but I’m enjoying not having to do it all the time! Having taken the pressure off reading it is becoming more enjoyable again, so for now I’m just having fun picking up whichever book I choose and making the most of not being constrained to reading set books. I will get round to Sherlock Holmes but for a change I am reading books that have been written in the last 100 years!

19. Maintain my ‘new year’ jar – This one failed too! I made a good start but around the time of moving house and starting my job it got neglected. I have opted not to do the jar this year after failing the last two years running, and instead I have a One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory BookΒ that my pen pal in the US sent me. So far I have been keeping up with this really well and filling it in every night as I go to bed. I’m more optimistic that this method will work for me and I am confident this one will see the year out!

20. Get an article published – When i first wrote this goal I wasn’t really sure what kind of article I wanted to produce but in the end it just didn’t happen anyway. After spending the majority of the year planning and writing my dissertation I simply steered clear of writing anything after that! I do want to get back into writing more and my poor neglected blog is my starting place! Going forward I do want to get back into having small articles and creative writing pieces published elsewhere, but for now i am very happy just catching up with my little blog!

21. Create a creative space – This one has sort of happened. We decided to move into a two bedroom house when we moved, and the spare room is now undeniably turning into a craft room! James still very adamantly calls it ‘the office’ but the tiny computer desk in one corner is definitely being outnumbered by all of the craft resources that are surrounding it! The room is still half filled with the yet-to-be-unpacked boxes, so it isn’t completely transformed into my craft haven just yet, but it is definitely well on the way!


22. Get organised – Again, this one is a bit of a ‘sort of’ one. Inevitably with moving, I had a huge clear out during packing then a massive organizing spree when unpacking, but we have now been in the house for almost 9 months and it is starting to need another run through. There are some items that still stubbornly refuse to find the perfect home in our house, so another thorough sort and de-clutter will be on the way shortly! I’m pretty certain this is one of those goals that is only ever going to last for a matter of weeks before you need to start all over again!

23. Spend more time with James – This one has inevitable happened now that me and James live together and I am loving every minute of it. It is amazing to get to spend every evening and weekend together, and we are really enjoying discovering new activities and places together. Hopefully as the weather starts to improve we will be able to get out and about more to explore our local area (right now weekends involve hibernating and crafting mostly!) so that we can find new places to visit on our weekends. Last November we also had our first holiday abroad together to Paris, and we already have short breaks planned for this year to London, the Yorkshire Dales and (possibly) Berlin!

So overall not the most successful of years! Although still not as bad as I thought it would be! This year me and James have done something a little different when it comes to our annual goals, so keep your eyes posted for some information on that soon!

Do you make yearly goals? Do you take them seriously or set them just for fun?


19 thoughts on “23 Before 23 – The Review

  1. sewingbutterfly says:

    I have 40 before 30 as my list, as I turned 27 last birthday i have just under 3 years to conplete mine! I love the idea of doing yearly ones though πŸ™‚

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Ooh that’s a good idea! I like the idea of setting long-term goals! I may have to remember that one πŸ˜‰ Yearly ones are fun but as you get older trying to think of enough and complete them all in one year must get very tricky!

  2. gladeridercrafts says:

    I also did a 23 before 23 thing (well, it’s still going- I’m about half way through mine). I love all the ones you’ve chosen, and it’s given me some inspiration for next time πŸ™‚ I would have to say though, that I personally thing that your dissertation totally counts as a writing competition!

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Ooh good luck with your goals! I imagine you’ll do much better than me! I’m glad I’ve given you some inspiration…I find coming up with enough ideas the trickiest bit! Haha yeah I seem to forget about those 20,000 words that I spent 6 months planning and 3 months writing! I think that is an achievement in itself! (Even if I say so myself…)

  3. Kay says:

    I’m doing 30 before 30 this year, though it’s technically 26 before 30 at the moment *shrugs* sure I’ll think of more to add haha! Sometimes though, life gets in the way, you still achieved loads given that you had such a busy year!

  4. empress27 says:

    Wow, you’re doing well, some great goals there. I just finished sewing a skirt and I wore it to work today (I’m a teacher). I want to do some more sewing as it is such a buzz wearing something you have made. As for the socks you want to make, I found the most amazing sock pattern ever – two at a time socks! I thought, oh wow, I’ll never do that, but I’ve now made two pairs using that technique and it’s so quick.
    Amazing tutorials with loads of photos. Looking forward to seeing you complete some more goals. I wrote what I wanted to do this year on the first day of this year… I’m not sure I have completed any yet, haha. Good Luck!

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Ooh thanks for the link! I’ll have to take a look! My absolute dream would be to have a wardrobe full of handmade clothes and a drawer full of handmade socks but I fear that may be unrealistic! Good luck with your goals! There is nothing more satisfying than crossing things off the list!

  5. Ginny says:

    Wow, that is a hefty list. The things that you haven’t done, you can put on the next one and that will be one less thing to think of. I wish you all the success in the world on getting your next list done. I don’t make lists for the year, but when I am feeling overwhelmed with things that need doing, I do make lists. There is a great feeling when I cross something off of my list.

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Yes it is useful to roll them over because it is so hard to think of enough ideas! I have opted for a different challenge this year though! I’ll post about it shortly πŸ™‚ Haha I’m such an avid lister! I have various lists all over the place! It is the most satisfying feeling crossing something off!

      • Ginny says:

        Lists are fun and it is most satisfying to cross things off that are done. And a visual of accomplishment. I’d make a birthday list, but there is probably no way I could do 52 things before my 52nd birthday. They would all have to be small things, LOL

      • Hannah Ackroyd says:

        Haha one a week? That would certainly keep you busy! I don’t think I could think of 52, 23 was a struggle! Would be lovely to be able to spend all of your time working towards 52 goals though πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s