40 Before I’m 40 – Update February 2021

A while ago I wrote a list of 40 things to achieve and do before I turn 40 and so I thought it’s about time I wrote another update to let you know how I’m getting on with that challenge. So here goes!

1 – Get my teeth straightened

In 2018 I got my teeth straightened. It took five and a half months – so much less time that I had expected – and I am now the proud owner of beautiful straight teeth. It was part of a blog collaboration and I found the whole process so emotional. Straightening my teeth has changed how I feel about myself massively and given me so much more confidence. It has changed my life.

Donna Win

2 – Convert our loft – or move house

We decided to convert the loft at the end of 2019. 2020 saw the work pushed back because of the Coronavirus pandemic but in September 2020 the work started, we moved out for a month and then by Christmas it was all done! We now have a beautiful new floor in our home.

3 – Have a Michelin starred meal

4 – Have Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson

5 – Stay at Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield

6 – Do a Try-Dive Scubadive

7 – Go Snorkelling

I learnt to swim in 2018 after doing a residential swimming course in Wales. It gave me confidence in the water that I never had before and taught me to have my face in the water. Once I’d learnt that I was off – and happy to try anything water related so when we went to Florida the following summer I snorkelled for the first time – and loved it.

8 – Go on holiday to somewhere in the Indian Ocean

In the summer holidays 2019 we went to Mauritius and had a pretty fantastic holiday. We got to see humpback whales and spinner dolphins in the wild, went on boat trips, fed giraffes and spent so much time on the beach. It was perfect.

9 – Go on holiday to the Caribbean

10 – Go on a cruise

11 – Go to Lapland

12 – Visit New York

13 – Go to Blackpool

In June 2019 we went to Blackpool for the very first time and had such a fantastic weekend. It was full of sun, arcades and Merlin attractions and we cannot wait to go back. What a wonderful place it is!

14 – Run 5k

15 – Go parasailing

16 – Get fitted for a bra at Rigby & Peller – and buy fancy underwear whilst I’m at it!

I’ve decided against this one on my list as, honestly, I just don’t wear bras anymore and so I don’t feel the need to have a posh one!

17 – Get a cleaner

We got a cleaner at the end of 2017 and it’s pretty much the best investment we have ever made. For a year before that I was juggling working from home, Dave’s shifts and trying to sort the cooking, cleaning and children’s school related stuff between us around work. Dave changed jobs, got a Monday to Friday role, and I knew I couldn’t then do all the housework and family related stuff myself whilst cramming full time working hours into the children’s school days. So we got a cleaner. And it’s such a relief. It’s so much less I have to think about and I just vacate the house when she comes on a Friday morning and come back to a lovely clean house ready for the weekend.

(We currently don’t have a cleaner due to the pandemic and the loft conversion but will be getting one again ASAP!)

18 – Go camping

We aren’t a family that will ever go ‘proper’ camping but we do love to get as close to nature as possible with a glamping trip. The children love sleeping under canvas, hearing cows next to us in the morning and the small and comfort of a log burner. We had our first glamping trips in 2018 with a weekend at Ready Camp in Drayton Manor and a weekend in a yurt in Devon. The children loved it.

19 – Ride in a helicopter

20 – See Ed Sheeran in concert

In August 2019 we finally saw Ed Sheeran in concert – and he was phenomenal! How one man can create such incredible music, sing and engage the audience all by himself is beyond me. I’ve never seen anything like it – it was a show of all shows.

21 – Watch all of the Top 100 Movies

22 – Go to a drive in or open air movie

Summer of 2018 saw us pitch up on the roof of our local shopping centre to watch The Greatest Showman. What an amazing movie. And watching it in the open air as the sun set, with a picnic and a blanket, was just perfect,

23 – Ride in a hot air balloon

24 – Start a Limited Company

25 – Go offline for a whole weekend

Hand in hand with our glamping trips has been going offline. When there’s wifi I will use it but when there isn’t I really love to not check in to work, not scroll aimlessly through social media and just switch off properly, playing board games and having quality time. We’ve done it a few times and it’s always just so lovely.

26 – Get rid of my fear of water – being out of my depth

I prepared for this when I learnt to swim in Wales in 2018 but, even though I knew how to swim I hadn’t been out of my depth. But, when we went to Florida, and found ourselves at Discovery Cove, I realised that to fully experience it I had to get out of my depth. So I pushed myself off some rocks, into water that was at least 10ft deep and I prayed that I could actually swim when I couldn’t touch the bottom. And I could. I was so emotional, so happy and so proud of myself. I think that was a pivotal moment in life for me.

27 – Go on a barge

28 – Have a hair and makeup photoshoot

29 – Go for a Stylist appointment at a department store

30 – Read the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe books

31 – Play Risk

Dave and I played Risk for the first time in years when we were on holiday at Sandybrook at the start of 2020. We decided it was our practice game, to get used to the instructions, and I’m sure many more games will follow. I can’t leave without saying – Dave won.

32 – Teach the children Monopoly

We started playing Junior Monopoly at the start of 2018 but, by the end of the year we had progressed onto ‘Proper-nopoly’ as the children like to call it. It takes a lot more patience and the children need help with when to buy houses and what swaps to make but they really enjoy it and it’s really helped with their maths too!

33 – Stay somewhere with a hot tub

In April 2018 we went to Wales for a week with our lovely friends and the lodge we stayed in had a hot tub. We went in it most evenings and the children even went in it a couple of times under close supervision. It was a great addition to our holiday.

34 – Do GoApe – again

I did GoApe in 2017 with my lovely friend Lauren and really wanted to do it again. So, in 2018 we took the children to do GoApe Junior and had a great time. It was such a new experience for the children and one I’m sure they’ll always remember.

35 – Get my wedding and engagement rings resized

36 – Watch 24

37 – Go to Ireland

38 – Fly in an upgraded cabin class

39 – Do something amazing for our 10th anniversary

For our tenth wedding anniversary we took the children to Rome and had such a fantastic time. We walked our socks off, saw so much, eat so much gelato and really felt like we’d done all there was to do in one of our favourite cities.

40 – Have a birthday party

So there you have it. Lots ticked off and a lot more to tick off too – and just under four years to accomplish as much as possible! Let’s just hope the pandemic winds itself up and we can start going out and doing stuff again.


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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One Comment

  1. I love all of the things you’ve accomplished! I’ve always wanted to learn to swim and dream that I can but haven’t had the daring to do it. Something about being pushed into a pool and needing to be rescued when I was younger. The fear was too great and I didn’t emerge….I’m glad your fear has dissolved and confidence increased. I’d be ecstatic too! Congrats!
    I’d love to go to Ireland and many places in Europe. Sounds lovely.

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