Abby Lacey

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3/4 of the way there!

The other day, someone asked me in the school playground “How many days?”. I replied perplexed, “How many day ’til what?” and of course what she meant was until I’m 40. I’ve been so busy lately, I had lost track and so I’ve worked it out: today I am 39 & 3/4.

I feel like The List has been left behind a little, so here an update (for me as much as for my readers!):





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GUEST BLOG: “40 B4 40: Yes, Yes, No” by Kasmira Kit

For some time I’ve wanted to have a guest blogger on here; not to take the burden off me, but to share what others are doing for their 40 before 40 lists.

A few weeks ago, whilst searching Twitter and Googling the phrase, I came across Kasmira Kit from Sacramento, California. As well as challenging herself with 40 things, Kasmira already has a super-successful blog called ‘What I wore Today‘. Upon reading I immediately fell in love with her style AND we have a few similar items on our ‘lists’.

So, in the spirit of a challenge, I tweeted Kasmira and outright asked her if she’d like to guest blog for me. She came immediately with a resounding YES, and so here we are today.

Kasmira used the following at as her 10th (yes 10th!) Toastmasters speech (no. 28 of her list).

Enjoy x

Kasmira Kit going pink!

On November 2nd, 2014, almost one year ago, I began my 40 B4 40 project. A sort of last gasp of my youth, I chose 40 adventures to complete in my 39th year. Some were activities I enjoyed in my early years, but had neglected later, like sailing. Some were things I’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t seem to find the time for, like taking a sewing class. Others were feats I was afraid I’d soon be too old to do, like skateboarding. I said “yes” to 40 adventures. And along the way, I found that I said “yes” to much more than 40 adventures. I said “yes” to expanding my comfort zone. I said “yes” to experiences beyond my list. I said “yes” to life. And I had to say, “no,” too.

Early in my project, I came across a quote by Neal Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I took that to heart. Some of my adventures were obvious stretches of my comfort zone. I jumped out of a plane. I rafted down class IV rapids. I learned to stand-up paddle board. The physical stretches, though, were predictable. I never would have expected that my one of my 40 B4 40 adventures, a 365 photo project, would challenge me to get out of my social comfort zone.

A 365 photo project involves taking at least one photo each day for a year. Ideally, this photo is well-composed, meaningful, and represents the day. I’m 344 pictures in and I wouldn’t say that every picture in my set meets this criteria, but on day three of project, I was still feeling ambitious enough to try something out of my ordinary: capturing the old men playing bocce ball at East Portal Park.

I’d seen them at it before. The fenced and locked courts belong to a private club, seemingly made up of only aged men. On a warm, Tuesday afternoon in early November, I was sure to find some of the retirees lobbing balls down the court. I was hoping to snap a few action photos from behind the fence and then beat a hasty retreat before actually having to interact with the strangers.

Bocce ballWhen I arrived, though,the courts were quiet. One man sat on the bench and a second was spinning in circles. I wanted to leave, but I pretended I was someone less socially awkward and asked if they were planning to play. The spinner insisted he only refereed and then the benchwarmer invited me to play. My first instinct was to refuse. The only thing I like less than talking to strangers is playing games. However, duty called, so I said “yes.”

I’m sure I looked silly and I KNOW I played badly. Octavio was well on his way to beating me when two more gentlemen arrived to gawk at the crazy lady playing bocce ball in high heels and short shorts. They gave bocce advice that I didn’t take and I explained my 40 B4 40 project to Octavio. He laughed at my concerns at turning 40. He was 89 and it was the best age he’d been so far. I embraced his live-in-the-moment attitude and belly-flopped in the court to get a close up shot of the bocce balls, looking like like planets on a field of gray, for my 365 photo. I lost a little of my dignity on the bocce ball court, but had a meaningful experience far beyond what I had expected. Saying “yes” to a simple game of bocce ball makes it more likely that I might say “yes” to something even more uncomfortable in the future.

I only listed 40 adventures for my year, but I found that adventure leads only to other adventure. It’s as if each “yes” opens the door to a room with ten more doors and ten more opportunities to say “yes.” Sometimes it was a literal trail of “yes.” My saying “yes” to Toastmasters has so far resulted in a string of “yes” that most recently led to the judges saying “yes” to my husband’s humorous speech in the area contest. The “yes” connection isn’t always that obvious, though. My 40 “yes”s seem to have echoed into the universe and opportunities have reverberated back. Out of the blue, in late February, one of my blogging idols, Indiana Adams, emailed me and asked if I’d like to speak at the final Texas Style Council conference.

Texas Style Council

The Texas Style Council is one of the best loved blog conferences around and I was ecstatic and honored to not only be invited, but be invited to speak! I’ve been blogging for over nine years and had never been to a blog conference. I’ve always wanted to go, but found excuses not to: I had to work or I didn’t have the money or I didn’t know anyone else going. This time, though, presented with Indiana’s “yes” to me, how could I say “no?” I could take two days of vacation and all I had to pay for was the plane ticket and not knowing anyone was an opportunity, not an obstacle. So I went and I spoke and I met amazing women and came home with a notebook of ideas and connections for future adventures of exponential “yes.” I started the year with an idea that these would be my last 40 adventures before I retired to middle-age-hood. Instead, I found that adventures beyond my ken will come to me as long as I keep saying “yes.”

As the “yes”s began rolling off my tongue and echoing back to me, I eventually got to a “yes” capacity. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned over the year is that every “yes” is a “no” to something else. At first, my “no”s were easy. I simply cut the unproductive activities. “No” to television. “No” to manicures. “No” to evenings spent online shopping. I didn’t even realize I was saying “no.” I was too busy saying “yes.” And I said an enthusiastic “yes” to starting a photography business with my husband, Dan. This past spring, we created the LLC, built the website, ordered business cards, bought equipment and planned to spend all our spare time building our photography business. My neighbor, Jessie, was growing her pet grooming business and we partnered on a booth at Petapalooza. She did airbrushing and nail trims. I did complimentary “after” photos of her clients and offered discounted pet portrait sessions. I gathered at least a dozen other names for our mailing list. A couple even approached me to photograph their wedding. We were a success! Next, Dan and I spent an afternoon with his actress coworker, taking headshots. She loved the results. Jessie asked me to work another event. Dan lined up another headshot client. And I realized that I couldn’t work full time, complete my 40 B4 40 project, AND start a photography business. I had to, regretfully, say “no” to Jack Spur Photography. I like to think of it as not really a “no,” but more of a “no for now.” The optimist in me would like to think I could say nothing but “yes,” but the realist knows that I must make choices and that, sometimes, that choice is “no.”Photography

I’m almost 40 and I’m almost done with my 40 B4 40 project, but I’m not done saying “yes” to adventure. I intend to continue some of my 40 B4 40 activities and start “new” ones. I want to compete in a memory contest. I want to take a road trip every month. I want to write a book (or two). I want to start a mobile hair salon. I want to landscape my yard. I want to change careers. I want to be a Big Sister. I want to spend a summer in Yosemite. I want to go back to school. I will say “yes” to some of these. I will say “no” to others. And “no for now” to the rest.

I encourage you to say “yes” to adventure, whether it’s an ambitious bucket list or just a push for one new activity a month. You’ll find exhilaration and satisfaction as you redefine your comfort zone. Your adventures and changed attitude will lead to ever greater possibilities. And you will find your life so enriched that you’ll have your pick of opportunities. Say “yes” to the best and be your best. Yes!

To find out more about Kasmira, please do visit her blog, What I Wore Today (a great read!), follow her on Twitter and check out her 365 Project on Flickr.

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#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

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#40b440 Update

A few of you have been asking how I’m getting on with my list, so I thought I’d share a quick update:


In Progress/Booked:

Yet to start/book:

Not doing very well at (but persevering!):


26. Add a lock to the love lock bridge in Paris

Click on the post-it to find out more

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7. Take part in a charity bike ride – after

One of my favourite parts of my week is my Saturday morning lie in. It normally starts with Dylan coming into bed with us at 8am, Sam or I making a pot of tea (we have a kettle upstairs and make sure we bring cups, teabags and milk up the night before) and then the three of us lazing in bed watching the news, Friends and any other trash TV.

2015-08-29 06.40.23-2This Saturday was different; I got up earlier than I would during the week, crept out of bed, got dressed into my cycling gear and left the house. My bike was already dismantled and in the car so I was ready to drive to Windsor where I caught a train Richmond to take part in Bike Events’ London to Windsor 37 miles ride.

The train was full of cyclists; from a commuter with his £1800 Brompton that he was convinced was super quick despite having teeny tiny wheels, to a pair of 60+ ladies who chatted about doing the ride before and finishing at 4pm because they’d stopped for coffee at every refreshment stop, and even had lunch along the way!

Once at Richmond Green, the event seemed well organised and we all queued up in order to start at 9am on the dot. To my delight (being one that can’t abide lateness), I was in the first 30 to start at 8.50!

mapThe first mile or so was slow-paced, past the river and out of Richmond heading to Twickenham. Once through the traffic my competitive spirit kicked in and I found myself overtaking other riders and heading out with the big boys of the pack (granted I was slip-streaming them, but that’s the whole idea, isn’t it?).

By the time I hit Sunbury (after passing the wonderful Hampton Court Palace), I was in my element but this was short-lived as I lost the pack and started to slow down a little. I noticed that my tyres were a little flat and decided that I should take a break at the next refreshment stop.

I continued to the Four Horseshoes at Chobham, where I ordered a well deserved coffee and one of the race marshalls kindly sorted my tyres. After 15 minutes, I hit the road again with a new-found energy.

Now with over 23 miles done, cyclists were appearing around all corners, I overtook some and was overtaken by others, and lost a little of my competitive spirit resigning myself to simply finishing the route.

I went through Egham and hit Englefield Green knowing that I was really on the home straight. I flew down Crimp Hill, (at 30mph!), through Old Windsor and onto the Datchet Road. It was 11.30am and I knew I couldn’t be far from the finish.

2015-08-29 11.46.19-1At 11.43am I crossed the finish line having completed 38.81 miles and 2 hours and 32 minutes of cycling. Before me were 3 or 4 male cyclists and I thought I was mistaken. I asked a marshal if anyone else had been through and they said no – this meant that I was the first woman, and the fifth-ish person, to finish the 37 miler!

I was in shock and still am. I didn’t have a chip and no one was noting finishing times; for someone like me this is a nightmare! As I said before in “Why does my ego get in the way?”, I am a competitive so and so, and I need recognition. It’s not a trait I enjoy suffering from, but I suffer all the same.

So, for now, you’ll have to take my word for it; I won! And even if I didn’t, I think nearly 39 miles in two and a half hours, if pretty good!certificate

yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.

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A very happy camper – part 2

bodiamThe following morning, with heavy heads from a little too much rose, we headed to the medieval Bodiam Castle. Being a wonderfully warm and sunny day (I think the best day of the year), the sight of the castle was incredible – an archetypal 14th century moated castle.

After a rummage through the gift shop, and quick pitstop at the cafe, we walked through the grounds of the castle seeing authentic silversmiths and armourers working in a medieval village and then came across archery tuition – 40 arrows for £15; how could we say no?

Having done a little archery before; firstly in the back garden (where I could quite easily have killed a passer by with my flying arrow) and secondly in France with Vincent, a hyper-active activity leader at Parc de Ferbois, but not really had a proper lesson.

The tutor was amazing – he taught Sam, D and me, one by one, pulling our arms, tweaking our hips and generally moulding us to get us in the right position. Whether it was luck or just good teaching, I managed to hit the bullseye (the golden circle), a boar’s bum and a deer in leg!

Bodiam Castle (15)

Afterwards we headed to the towers where, having climbed steep and narrow spiral staircases, we reached the views over the beautiful Weald of Kent.

Finally, tired and hungry, we popped over the road to The Castle Inn for a spot of lunch before driving back to the campsite for… more rose!

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#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.

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A very happy camper – part 1

camp lacey

Camp Lacey!

On a sunny Friday afternoon, we bravely (or stupidly) drove round the M25 to the little village of Goudhurst in Kent. We were heading for Bedgebury Camping just outside the village; a Cool Camping-recommended site billed as: “Spacious, chilled-out camping with plenty of outdoor attractions nearby” and it didn’t disappoint.

Having stocked up on supplies on the way, we set up camp and before we knew it were tucking into barbecued sausages and chicken, and a chilled glass of rose. Dylan had (for the first time ever) bravely approached a boy of similar age and said, “Hey dude, what’s your name?” only to then disappear for the rest of the evening with Dude AKA Daniel.

By 10pm we were enjoying the brilliant night sky with (more rose and) my first ever campfire.


Having previously run pubs with fireplaces, you’d think I could start a fire dead easily, but alas, I always managed to find someone to do this for me (never one to get my hands dirty unless absolutely necessary!). Sam guided me through the process of it and actually it really is very easy (I even made one uninstructed the following night which roared like a lion!!).

Come back to find out about my experience with a deer, a boar and an golden circle!

yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.

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39. Lunch in Little Venice

Last Thursday the boy and I had a day together. I’d promised him a trip to London Zoo but knowing we’d be up in the Big Smoke, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to complete another one of my #40b440.

I had two choices: 25. Drink Champagne at Searcy’s St Pancras or 39. Have lunch in Little Venice

Knowing I’d be in BIG trouble if I went to Searcy’s without Sam, we opted for Little Venice.

Taking the tube from Paddington, we got off one stop north at Warwick Avenue and walked the tree-lined road towards Maida Vale, passing the lovely townhouses.

2015-08-20 13.24.47        2015-08-20 11.59.27   
We already felt like we were out of the City and back in the ‘burbs but on crossing the canal we spotted Rembrandt Gardens and Little Venice itself.

Following lunch at The Waterside Cafe, a floating barge serving delicious omelettes and sandwiches, we took a stroll down Delamere Terrace taking in the houseboats and their cats and dogs, before heading back on the tube to the zoo.

Jason's TripLittle Venice restaurant Little Venice Little Venice Waterside Cafe Little Venice boat cat

Coming next: A very happy camper!

yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.

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27. Karaoke!

I did it! I got up and sang not one, but two songs.

Granted it was in France. Granted one of them was with my 6 year old son, but I did it.

I’m not going to say much about the experience, as I’ll let the videos do the talking, but some it up as: jelly legs, butterflies and in need of a stiff drink afterwards!


(P.S. NSFW!!)



yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.

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4. Go to the Opera

Last night I lost my virginity – my opera virginity!

On the hottest day of the year, I was pleased to be spending the evening in an air-conditioned cinema watching ENO’s live streaming of Carmen.


Picture courtesy of English National Opera website

I had always envisaged the opera as that scene from Pretty Woman but on a night out in Reading, it was less ball gown and tiara and more shorts and flip flops!

I know I sound like an ignoramus, but it took some time for me to get my head round the ‘no dialogue, just singing’ thing – which was probably not helped but my contempt of musical theatre (caused by over-exposure during my teenage years!). Once I ‘got it’ though, I found myself really drawn into the macho, dark atmosphere.

Despite being in a cinema, you really felt you were part of the Coliseum’s audience (helped no doubt by the HD transmission); so much so, that when the actual audience applauded and gave a standing ovation, I found it very difficult not to join in!

So, from opera virgin to (hopefully) opera regular although I’m more than happy to keep it local and go to the cinema with air con, popcorn and subtitles!

For more information on ENO’s Opera at the Cinema, visit:

yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.

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Writer’s Block

28465536_sI haven’t written for a couple of weeks, not because of I’ve busy, but because I genuinely have had writer’s block.

I keep trying to think of topics to write on, and then dismiss them; do you really want to know about every single scab of Dylan’s chickenpox? Do you really want to hear the social media storm of ‘Cat in a Van’ (if you are friends with me on Facebook, you’ll have been bored to tears by the tale!)? Do you want to know what fun I had at the weekend? No, I didn’t think so.

This blog is meant to be based on my #40b440 achievements and in the last couple of weeks, they have, I must admit, been pretty run of the mill.

I’ve done my 15. Practice yoga every day (albeit, sometimes just before I go to bed when a quick sun salutation and savasana are the only things I can muster the energy to do), I’m still struggling with 31. Once a week make a meal from from of our many cookbooks and still trying 34. Take the stairs at every opportunity!


The only big milestone I’ve completed is 1. Change a bike tyre but I can’t write a whole, interesting blog about getting a puncture, coming home and being taught to change a tyre!

So I need some inspiration. I need to blog-search and, so that’s what i’m going to do. If you have any ideas, links, thoughts, do let me know: or comment here!

yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

You can also sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.