Over the last couple of days I've been getting my head round the challenge ahead and realise that time is most definitely not my friend! At this stage, certain challenges seem nigh on impossible - I'm fairly sure that I'm not going to get to meet the Queen and have serious reservations about getting to Glastonbury given that I haven't even registered for tickets.
However, as any one that knows me will tell you, I've never been one to shirk a challenge and have already made some decent progress in my bid to get under way with as many challenges as I can.
Challenge 7: Read 30 books
I made a start on this yesterday when I downloaded my first book, George R R Martin's A Clash of Kings, the second instalment of his Game of Thrones series. At 600+ pages, it's perhaps not the brightest of books to choose when you've got another 29 to read before 7th October 2014 (a rate of a book every 11.8 days) but I really enjoyed the first book in the series and want to read all of them as part of the challenge.
I'm not the quickest of readers but have made pretty decent progress with the chunks of time I've had and according to my Kindle I've read 22% so far.
Challenge 3: Grow a real beard
After consultation with my girlfriend, Lauren, it was agreed that I made a start on this one as soon as possible so that I could complete the challenge and have it shaved off before wedding season next year. Previous attempts to grow any kind of facial furniture have been feeble at best but even I'm confident that I can grow something resembling a beard in 6 months.
So this evening I shaved for the last time and set up an Instagram account where I will be posting daily updates of my attempt to grow a beard. Here's a picture of me having my last shave:
Challenge 23: Win at least £10 on the National Lottery
I have never won so much as £10 on the lottery and most likely never will despite the fact that I now have 104 opportunities to do so by buying a ticket for every draw between now and my birthday next year. I haven't worked out a tactic yet on whether to stick with the same numbers each time in the hope that in 104 attempts they are bound to come up once or spice it up a little bit by picking numbers at random each time. However, I did buy my first lottery ticket for Saturday's draw today and these are the numbers:
Challenge 26: Meet 30 other people called Andy Jackson
I fired off my Facebook messages to my first volley of Andy Jackson's today, each of whom are based in the UK. Three have accepted my friend requests and one has already agreed in principle to meet me. The only stumbling block is that this particular Andy Jackson lives up North. However, we have agreed to meet up in Liverpool at a date as yet TBC. I'd like to thank Andy for being the first to agree to take part and hope that his example will get the ball rolling...
Challenge 29: Bulk up to have a body like Ryan Gosling
Besides meeting the Queen and climbing Kilimanjaro, this is perhaps my toughest challenge of the lot. I am super skinny and have never been able to put on weight and, as the picture above demonstrates, air brush or no air brush I have a lot of work to do.
I'm going to give it a go, however, and made my first visit to the weights section of the gym in quite some time to get started. I'm pretty sure Gosling can bench press 35 kg with his little finger but it was a start. I even managed to put away a protein shake.
That's as far as I've got on the Challenge front so far but I'm pretty happy with the start that I've made. The most important Challenge on the list, is, of course, raising the £30,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research which is the only one out of my control.
You can help me achieve this one by donating today.
Thanks for all your support. Together we will beat blood cancer.