Wednesday 8 August 2012

What's in The Hat?

As promised, here is a list and short explanation of the firsts that are in The Hat:
  • Read a book by an author I've always wanted to read - This is what I picked out of The Hat this week and, after much deliberation, I've chosen to read Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent. I do actually have quite a long list of authors and books I want to read but never get round to picking up so I'm not sure why I've chosen this beast of a book to read in a week. But I'm getting through it. 
Ok, so it's two books in one but even half of this monster is
quite a lot to get through in a week
  • Eat something new - I've tried quite a few different foods in my life time. The one that always springs to mind when I think of unusual food experiences is walking round Gatorland in Florida, holding and cooing over the baby alligators, throwing hot dogs to the fully grown crocs and then eating them all in a kids 'gator nuggets' meal. Yum. And then there were the bits in the soup in Cambodia that I initially thought were mushrooms but actually turned out to be some animal's intestines. But, despite such culinary heights as these, there are still plenty of foods I want to try. 
  • Cook for my parents for a week - Living at home, I miss choosing and cooking my own meals. I could just do this anyway but it's so much easier having somebody sort out dinner and cook for you. So I thought I'd be nice (and get to eat exactly what I want to eat) for a week. 
  • Try a new martial art - This is one I am a bit worried about. I tried Ju Jutsu (NOT jujitsu, apparently there's a difference. Who knew?) once in the spirit of finding an activity that my boyfriend and I could take part it together. It all went downhill from the moment I was asked to do a forward roll. But I feel like it would be cool to be a kickass black-belt and there's nothing I won't try in the pursuit of looking even cooler. 
  • Bake a soufflĂ© -  Notoriously     difficult to cook. And, good or bad, I thought the pictures would make a good blog post in themselves. 
  • Knit something - I've wanted to learn how to knit for ages. Started so many scarves when I was younger and never got more than an inch in length.
  • Try a new sport - I've never been one for sporting activity but I'm sure somewhere out there is a sport that is made for me and I would really really enjoy if only I could just find it. All I know is that it's not squash. Or Jujustu. 
  • Perform a random act of kindness - I remember reading about this 'random act of kindness' malarkey quite a while ago and thinking it seemed like a lovely little idea. The kind of lovely little idea you think 'awww' and then do nothing about. But my first post on this blog, and the Aung San Suu Kyi quote, got me thinking about it again. 
  • Go Stargazing - As part of my journalism course, I  considered     writing a feature on the effect of the streetlights going out on stargazers. This idea was swiftly abandoned when I realised that most stargazers don't wait until midnight to go out with their telescopes and nobody does it in the middle of town anyway. But I did speak to these lovely people and got invited along for a look through the observatory telescope, which I had to decline at the time. Not that I necessarily feel the need to visit here to do this challenge, I just want to be able to learn to spot and name one constellation. That's it. 
  • Go veggie for a week - Just always wondered whether I'd miss meat. 
  • Try meditation - Now done and dusted and would like to do again.
  • Give away a book with an inspirational quote inside - I got this idea from The Day Zero Project and I have too many books for my bookshelf. Plus, I also once benefitted from one of those schemes where people leave a book in a random place a few years ago and have said since that I would return the favor at some point. 
Wow, the books in the tree look like the book I'm reading now!
(The bag says FREE BOOK and it was something by Angela Carter. Pretty good find)
  • Meet someone with my name - I've met so many people who say they know somebody with the name of 'Emma Davis' and I've even had the pleasure of meeting an Emma DaviEs. But I've never actually met somebody with my name, which seems weird considering how common a name it is. 
  • Spend a day watching film 'greats' that I have not seen - My youngest brother and my boyfriend keep reacting in horror when I say I have not seen films like The Godfather or Rocky. I studied film as part of my course and uni, so I've seen Citizen Kane, Singing in the Rain and Bonnie and Clyde but I've never seen Indiana Jones, Scarface or Raging Bull. I think I probably need more than a day. 
  • Paint a portrait - I am terrible at practical precision, and I am definitely the worst drawer in my family but I love the idea of creating something you can hang on your wall for years after. I think I might stay away from realism and try something more surrealist (i.e. It's unlikely to look like the person I'm actually painting)
  • Design and name my own cocktail - Again, I just think this would make me a cooler person. Plus I have a cocktail shaker somewhere that I've never ever used. 
  • Write a poem and read it aloud to an audience - Again, this one fills me with a little bit of dread. I considered not putting it in at all. But then I thought the whole point of The Hat is to try something new and take myself outside of my comfort zone. So in it went. Mostly inspired by a poetry and jazz night I went to at Ronnie Scott's while in London. Pretty sure my own audience will not be there.
  • Try a new dance class - I do love dancing and it always makes me feel happy. However, I have all the skill and grace of an elephant so I would like to try a new dance class to see if I can find a dance style I could actually stick at and train myself into becoming nimble and lithe. 
  • Create your own street art - After taking The Alternative London Tour around the East End of London twice this year I feel inspired to leave my mark. 
Just one of hundreds of pieces of artwork around Brick Lane and the
East end of London that you can see on the free tour
  • Stay silent for a day - Not sure why this is appealing to me. Nor how practical is will be. But it's definitely something I've never done before. 
  • Make pasta - Pasta has always seemed to me like something that would grow out of the ground so making it will make me feel a bit like God. 
  • Test drive a car - I was going to have 'Test drive a car that I will never be able to afford' but, at the moment, these both seem like one and the same thing.

And some challenges that I hope to do this year but are not in The Hat:
  • Meet an idol - not sure who the contenders are yet but I think it would be good to meet somebody that I find really inspiring. 
  • Go to a demo/protest/parade - Because there is stuff I feel strongly about and I don't want to miss a chance to try and do something about it. Or, if this fails, a parade would be fun.
  • Spend a day somewhere new in the UK/ in a country I've never been before - This is two separate challenges to try and to fuel my passion for travel. 
  • Get on TV show - Just because I think it would be hilarious (depending on the show, of course)
  • Spend a day in the life of someone who does an occupation you have never considered - like a fire fighter or a dust bin collector. Just to see if I'm missing out. Ok, I probably won't spend it with a dust bin collector. 
  • Something big - you know, like abseiling down the Eiffel tower or bungee jumping off the Gherkin or some other ridiculous feat. 
  • Walk over the bridge - I've felt a need to do this ever since my brother's death but it's never really felt like the right time. 
So there you have everything I will be attempting to do before 2013. Next year I'll come up with a fresh list to take me through until the July. 


  1. Loving some of your ideas Emma! You are really starting to make me think....there are so many things I have been lucky enough to do but there are so many more 'firsts' that I need to do for my sake and for the sake of others - thank you for your blog it is truly inspiring. Lots of love Grace.

  2. I love the "cooking for my parents" idea, although that would have to include George or he might starve lol!
    If you do decide to do the bridge, I would really like to do it with you. xx

    Loving all your ideas xx

    1. Thanks Mum. Lol, yeah, of course I will include George when I cook dinner! And I do want to do the bridge at some point, I just don't know when xx

  3. Bill Bryson's a good read when travelling 'Small town America' which most Americans hate but I found this fat, cynical white guy traveling around America very funny...
    Going to think about a few of these ideas...and perhaps need a few first if I can fit them in -:D... Caroline x

    1. Thanks Caroline :)

      It's a read that's easy to get stuck into. I'm reading the American one, The Lost Continent and it's really funny. Some of the observations sound very familiar, even though I've not been to hardly any of the places he mentions xx

  4. If you were to appear on The Weakest Link you could double this up with another 'first' - slapping an abusive host on TV.