... You Make Freshly Squeezed Lemonade!
Sadly you may have seen that I have recently been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, a huge blow to me, my family and friends. Unimaginable at best. However, the only thing that I know is to search out the positives and to live and enjoy every moment.
So here it is, Sam's Bucket List.
As of 21/10/2023 - 58 complete, 42 to go!
100 moments, experiences and memories that I want to take with me before I go. If you can help in anyway in making them a reality - please do let me know!
Make Fresh Lemonade, of course!
Fall in love - Done! I met my beautiful husband in 2013 and the rest, as they say, is history!
Get engaged - Done! We got engaged on 25 July 2015 in the grounds of the secret garden as the Ashdown Park Country Club Hotel. James proposed with a Haribo ring… how sweet! Geddit? HA!
Get Married - Done! In front of our family and friends, we tied in the knot at Buxted Park hotel on 26 July 2016. A beatnik day that will stay with me forever.
Have a family - Done! Our family became complete when Little Man came home in the Summer of 2020.
Own a dog - Done! Ralph, our beloved Dachshund arrived in 2017 and we’ve been sausage mad ever since!
Go on safari - Done! As part of our honeymoon we spent four days on safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya. We were exhausted most days with the early starts and late finishes but seeing mother nature in all her glory was just stunning.
Ride a hot air balloon - Done! On day three of our honeymoon we caught a very early morning ride to take a ride in a hot air balloon. Nothing can beat watching the sun rise over the Masai Mara whilst you are a few thousand feet in the air watching the world come to life.
See the Northern Lights - Done! We spent several days in Iceland and one night we were lucky enough to see them.
Run a marathon - Done! I have run the London Marathon in 2014 and 2015. I also walked the Shine Night Walk in 2019.
Watch my friends get married - Done! I watched my beautiful best friend marry and it was truly special day.
Forgive someone - Done! I won't say too much about this, but having forgiven someone has given me strength to accept differences and to move on with what really matters.
Donate blood as a gay man - Done! January 2021 saw me being able to donate, finally after many years of gay men not being able to donate blood.
Experience live theatre - Done! My love of theatre has enabled me to see so much theatre over the years, and for that I am so very thankful. I still aim to watch as much theatre as I can.
Visit New York - Done! I visited NYC in 2014 and 2019 - its a city that you just cannot help falling in love with. I still want to return to experience the magic of NYC once more. It will hold a special place in my heart.
Appear on TV to raise awareness of MND
Go to an Adele concert - I have seen my idol Adele several times and this Summer I get to see her again in Hyde Park!
Learn to drive - Done! 2022 saw me passing my driving test, first time, with only one minor!
Watch the sun set in Guernsey - Done. I’ve spent many times in Guernsey on holiday, but I want to return one final time to reminisce about my time there and to watch the sunsets that are like no other.
Fly first class
Raise £50,000 - I will do everything possible to raise as much as I can in the fight against MND.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz - Done! We enjoyed a lovely festive afternoon tea on New Years Day 2023! Take a look at the photos here.
Write a book - currently in progress!
Throw a party for my family and friends
Visit Las Vegas
Meet/speak to Adele
Create my own cologne so I can be remembered once I'm gone
Holiday on a cruise - In April 2023, we embarked on our first family cruise on board the Disney cruise liner. We had a fantastic time visiting the Caribbean and we would love to cruise again! See some of our photos here.
To have made an impact on others - Done! Apparently my husband said this is done, so I take that means I have made an impact on him. Job Well done!
Take time to appreciate nature - Done! I have found in my darkest days that nature has been very healing and gives a sense of freedom. Definitely never under appreciate Mother Nature.
Go skinny dipping at night
Learn how to play an instrument
Volunteer at a zoo for a day and be a Zoo keeper!
Tell at least one person a day that I love them - Done! Since diagnosis, I have been very open with my feelings and always tell those around me that I love them. I want them to know that, whilst I am still here, not when I am gone!
Complete a random act of kindness with a stranger - Done! In August 2023, I set up my very own bucket list book club. The sole intention of the book club was to send books to people who were kindly able to place books in a place of their choosing. Once the books had been discovered, a small message from me had been left in the book, to share a little joy to the person and a little about my own journey, and to keep raising awareness of MND. You can join the book club here.
Buy a plane ticket the same day it takes off - be spontaneous!
Sleep under the stars
Climb the heavenly stairs
Let go of the past - Done! As they say, we live and learn and with my diagnosis, it has shown me not to hold onto the past, but to look ahead and that continues to be my focus. What once bothered me, no longer does. Perspective, is a wonderful thing.
Plant a tree
Stay At The Plaza Hotel, New York - Done! We visited NYC from 1st - 6th December 2022, and we stayed at The Plaza! Totally lived my Home Alone dreams!
an extra in a TV show or movie - Done! Thanks to people in the know, I spent some time on the set of casualty as a supporting artist for a few days! You will see me in the opening scenes of series 37, episode five!
Ride on a sleeper train - Done! This was so much fun to do, we had a beautiful weekend in Edinburgh.
Set a world record
Go to the ballet at Christmas - Done! James and I went to the Royal Opera House one Christmas Eve to watch The Nutcracker. We had a great time and the atmosphere of the ballet is unforgettable.
Ask those who know me, what are there favourite memories of our time together? Done! I asked my family and friends to share some of their memories of our time and whilst most of them appears to relate to my younger 'drinking days', it was a lovely wander down memory lane.
Get to know our neighbours - Done! We consider that we're very lucky to know our neighbours well.
Have a family photo shoot - Done! We've very kindly been gifted three photography sessions.
Fly a kite! - Done! We recently spent a week in Devon and I got to fly my kite up on Dartmoor. I loved it, what an experience! See my pictures here!
Make a scrapbook with mementos and souvenirs
Plan my own funeral - Done!
Ride in a limo
Play a prank on someone
Get a makeover!
Get my upper ear pierced - done!
Have a bonfire at night, with my people sat around singing songs or recalling memories of their lifetime
Have a song request played on radio - Done! Thanks to the lovely team at Coronation Street, they heard about my bucket list and were able to arrange with Zoe Ball's BBC Radio 2 breakfast show for me to have three songs played, live on an air! Zoe was super nice and shared with everybody, details of my fundraising and passion for raising awareness. You can listen here.
Watch a film with a live orchestra - Done! My friend Claire booked us in to see Titanic at the Royal Albert Hall and we loved it, with a live orchestra playing.
Leave a message in a random place for a stranger to find - Done! Thanks to those who are taking part in my bucket list book club, there are going to be roughly 70 books spread across the globe, just waiting to be discovered!
Give an heirloom to somebody I love
Watch the sunrise in a beautiful place - we have been lucky to have travelled well, to countries including Antigua, Zanzibar, Kenya, St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, New York and Mauritius.
Have my 15 minutes of fame!
Pay for a strangers drink
Say yes to everything for a day
Write to 5 people that have inspired me
Donate to an animal shelter
Have Christmas Day in the Summer
Wish upon a star
Complete a 365 day photo project
Eat fish and chips on a seaside pier - Done! We went for a day out to Hastings recently and so I got to enjoy my fish & chips. A memory savoured!
Go to a night at the Proms at The Royal Albert Hall - Done! James & I saw Cynthia Erivo at the Proms and she didn't disappoint. What an experience!
Watch a Christmas Panto
Get driven round Brands Hatch or Silverstone - Done! Huge thanks to the MND Association for organising a track day, so I got the chance to be a passenger in a racing car at Brands Hatch!
Try a battered Mars bar - Done! I enjoyed this whilst in Edinburgh, what a delicious treat!
Visit John O' Groats and Lands End - Done! We had lots of family holidays when I was a child and I was lucky enough to visit both ends of the UK!
Go to a silent disco
Watch a theatre show every day for a week! Done! I had a very busy week in June and saw 8 shows in a week, loved it!
Have a movie, snacks and PJ night with friends
Pick a fun thing from my childhood to do with Little Man
Eat homemade burgers (you know who you are!) - Done! 19/3/22 - I got to enjoy my lovely burgers, made by my dear friend. Loved them many moons ago and love them still. Take a look at them here!
Have breakfast in bed with Hubster
Make a bucket list - Done!
Recreate a childhood photo
Visit my childhood homes - Done! A walk down memory lane one afternoon with Little Man, showing him where I grew up. A nice memory to keep hold of.
Travel on the Orient Express
Have a self portrait - In Summer 2023, I had a self portrait captured by the superbly talented Estelle, who captured the following image.
Climb the O2 - done! Along with my chums we climbed The O2 and had a great time. Although in true style I fell over after coming off and hit my head cutting my head open! A trip to A&E and 4 stitches later I was good to go!
Go to a theme park for the day - Done! We took Little Man to Legoland for the weekend and we had a fantastic time away!
Create a blog - Done! I’m so very proud of the blog that I created to document our adoption journey, and also life with Little Man.
Feed the ducks with Little Man - Done! 19/3/22 - we spent a lovely day at Leeds Castle with friend and beautiful boys. Little Man loved feeding the ducks!
Write a poem inspired by my life - Done! My poem 'Memories' is available to read here.
Go fruit picking
Have a Christmas movie marathon
Adopt an animal - Done! I had some lovely this post this week (16/3/22) and it was a lovely surprise when I saw that I had very kindly been gifted an adoption a WWF Panda by somebody. Thank you!
Write a letter to somebody I haven’t spoken to in 5 and 10 years
Change my hair colour!- Done! I'd always wanted to dye my hair but never had the confidence. 19th December 2022 changed all that - we both went platinum!
Leave an unexpected tip for someone - Done! Whilst in Edinburgh I was blown away by the service of a waitress and so I chose to give her an unexpected tip.
Help someone tick something off their bucket list - Done! James always wanted to dye his hair, so we both went platinum!
. Finally...... complete my bucket list!