The bucket and spade list


Freelance writing has a tendency to be feast or famine. Some months the most I get to write is a shopping list while others are flooded with work. This month it’s a virtual tsunami and I’ve got to knock over almost 60,000 words in four weeks. Whilst parenting two small demanding nutjobs. Without a net.

I’m yet to find out if that is even possible as I’m foolishly procrastinating by writing this blog post which will add another 800 or so words to the word count. One project that I’m particularly excited about has me exploring (through research) and writing about 64 different destinations around the world. I’ve already traversed South America and much of Asia and am writing this while I take a break from extolling the virtues of Alaska.

For this I blame the aforementioned nutjobs.

You see my biggest little explorer has been both horrified (because I’ve been missing out on all our family weekend fun) and fascinated by the mounds of research and writing  I’ve been doing, and has spent so much time leafing his way through my piles of travel books and brochures that his converse clad feet are itching!  So much so that just as I was about to paddle board through a sea of icebergs in Alaska’s Inside Passage, Raffles handed me this…

Kids bucket list

This is a list of five very important additions to his hilarious “bucket and spade list”, something that I’d almost forgotten about but which you can read all about here. Raffles original list came about after he’d heard the ubiquitous term – sans spade – in conversation, and decided he had to have one. Though his lacks the latter’s morbid connotations and is a list of things he wants to do before he grows up.

Despite his previous concerns about his bucket leaking, two years after creating it nothing seems to have spilled out. Not only can he remember each inclusion clearly, he still wants to do everything on it, with only one small exception. You see, at the age of six he thinks it would be simply ridiculous to climb the Eiffel Tower dressed as Spiderman. “I want to climb it dressed as a Ninja and I’d like a charcuterie board with my cheese when I get to the top.”

Bien sûr, enfant.

Now with his trusty Atlas by his side he’s mapped out five new destinations to add to his list and I, being a curious writerly type, simply had to ask why. His answers…

Alaska –Because I really, really want to see the Northern Lights because they look like magic. I also want to meet a moose and see some polar bears, as long as they don’t eat me.”

I concur, Raffles. Being brutally devoured by a polar bear would be a bit of downer.

Spain – “Only because I want to go to the Tomatino festival to get splattered. I’ve had plenty of practice now and it would be so fun to smash you and daddy in the face with tomatoes”.

Nice. But I suppose it is our turn for a bit of vegetable based physical abuse. But bags not doing the laundry afterwards.

India –Because food, mama. I mean, they’d have so much curry there and I love all the Hindu Gods… especially Hanuman”

Indeed food. And flying monkey Gods. When do we go?

Borneo – “I want to see the cute monkeys with doodles on their faces. And orang-utans too mama, because they remind me of you.”

Right! And your hirsute orange-hued mother wants to spend the afternoon listing you on ebay, son. Oh, and I’ve been there, so can confirm that they’re actually called Proboscis monkeys.

South America“I’d like to go to Peru to hang out with llamas and eat ceviche and also to that weird place in Bolivia that looks like outer space. And to the Galapagos Islands to meet a blue footed boobie because they’re cute and they’re called boobies. But mostly I want to go exploring the Amazon to see cool animals and discover a new civilisation of people who will give me gold and make me their King.”

Whoah!! Aspirational much, dude?

Two cute little ears attached to an even cuter curly little head had been listening in on our conversation and Sugarpuff too is soon pleading to be let in on the bucket and spade list action. I asked her to write down the five places she’d like to go. So she did.

Sugarpuff's bucket and spade list

Fortunately she’s able to translate her three-year old hieroglyphics into the Queen’s English.

Given her age and the fact that she’s currently clad in an ensemble of a purple tutu, candy striped leggings, dragon wings, baby Blundstones  and tattoos she’s inked on herself with biro, I’m pretty much expecting her list to be a rainbow hued list of candylands, fairy parks and quite possibly a little bar hopping on the back of a Harley with the Hells Angels.  But I was wrong.  She’s got far bigger plans…

Arendelle –I want to go to Arendelle to visit Elsa and Anna, mummy.  You know we can because they’ve opened up the gates for ice skating.”

Of friggin’ course! And yes I know they opened up the gates because I saw it in the movie too. About 85,000 times. Hopefully they have a bar with frozen margaritas. If not, the talking snowman gets it.

Amazon –I want to go to the Amazon with Raff. They have anacondas there you know, mama. I think I will take my pink handbag to put treasures in.”

I suppose if one is going to trek through unexplored snake-filled jungle, one does need to accessorise.

Africa –Because there are loads of big kitty cats and doggies there and I could pat them”.

Yes, yes you could. And the “kitty cats” could rip your arms and legs off whilst the doggies, or hyenas as they’re known in those parts, laugh uproariously.

Japan –So we can buy more of those green Kit Kats that I like”.

Ever the consumer! But good thinking, Sugarpuff. I’m with you on the Green Tea Kit Kats.

England –I want to go to Gran and Grandad’s house to play”

This too is a lovely idea little one and quite probably the only realistic possibility on your list.

Do your kids have a bucket (and spade) list? 

26 Comments on The bucket and spade list

  1. Deborah
    November 10, 2014 at 10:15 am (9 years ago)

    Good god, what evolved kids you have. Of course I got stuck on the ‘boobies’ in South America assuming they were, well…. you know…

      November 10, 2014 at 11:30 am (9 years ago)

      Evolved? If you saw them at arsenic hour you might think otherwise. And I think you can find both types of ‘boobies’ in South America. Especially around Carnival time 😉

  2. MrsDplus3
    November 10, 2014 at 10:25 am (9 years ago)

    I just adore Sugar puffs list!! That girl knows just what she wants x

      November 10, 2014 at 11:31 am (9 years ago)

      She sure does and she’s not one to budge until she gets it! 😉

  3. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    November 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm (9 years ago)

    Awesome lists! My daughter once asked me if China was on the same planet as Australia. Perhaps she needs a bit more exposure to travel?! 🙂

      November 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm (9 years ago)

      My kids get a bit of a head start with geography as their mum is a travel writer 😉

  4. hugzillablog
    November 10, 2014 at 6:20 pm (9 years ago)

    Bahahhahhahahha! Your kids are so winning at life! Raff is already well on the way to being the King of something. He really needs to marry into royalty with chops like that.

      November 10, 2014 at 7:07 pm (9 years ago)

      Sugarpuff will likely become the benevolent dictator of some small nation with a strong underclass and a good shoe-making industry. She worships her brother so I expect she’ll install him as some kind of symbolic head of state. Or he’ll start a cult. Either way. Winning 😉

  5. Mark Downey - FULLHALFGLASS.COM
    November 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm (9 years ago)

    What does it say about me, when my 50 year old to do list is so similar to your little ones? Good Taste is what immediately springs to mind.

      November 10, 2014 at 7:09 pm (9 years ago)

      Mine isn’t even as exotic as theirs LOL

  6. Lisa
    November 10, 2014 at 9:24 pm (9 years ago)

    Millie desperately wants to go to Sweden. She has been saving her pennies since she was 3 (she had a big setback earlier in the year when we were burgled and her money box was stolen)

      November 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm (9 years ago)

      This breaks my heart and Raffles too. He says he’d be happy to share a few dollars from his pocket money to help her get back her savings. He get’s paid when his mama swears, so he’s loaded. 😉

  7. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    November 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm (9 years ago)

    Adorable!! Okay I don’t often offer to babysit kids but I think Raffles and I could certainly fill out our bucket and spade lists together. And LOL at the doodle monkeys 😛

      November 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm (9 years ago)

      I think you and Raffles might be eating and travelling soul mates Lorraine! 😉

  8. Have A Laugh On Me
    November 10, 2014 at 10:30 pm (9 years ago)

    I thought of you last week and your big task, hope it’s going okay. These bucket lists are fab but not as amazing as to the whys…. smashing tomatoes and his love of Hindu. You are acing motherhood my lovely x Thanks for linking!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm (9 years ago)

      Half way, lovely! But I have to admit the quality of the writing is suffering a little because I have to churn it out so fast. x

  9. Sandra Kelly
    November 10, 2014 at 11:12 pm (9 years ago)

    No way are your adorables only 6yrs and 3 yrs? They’ve been here before… just not to the places on their creative bucket and spades lists! Love love this post 🙂

      November 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm (9 years ago)

      They’re quite worldly and pretty well travelled little people, Sandra. But I’ve always had the suspicion they’ve been here before. Especially the little one, she knows too much!

  10. Amanda Kendle (@amandakendle)
    November 11, 2014 at 10:41 am (9 years ago)

    I cannot tell you how much I love this post!!!! Especially the doodle monkeys.
    Also I think Sugarpuff is writing Korean already 😉

      November 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm (9 years ago)

      Her handwriting intrigues me. It used too look Arabic but just recently it’s morphed into these strange circles and lines. I think she may be an alien.

  11. Malinda (@MBPaperPackages)
    November 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm (9 years ago)

    I LOVE this! So excited to ask my girls tomorrow, what is on their bucket (& spade) list! And yes, ninjas totally climb the eiffel tower – they were doing it last time we were there! (actually they were army or something but they were dressed all in black and climbed straight up the outside of the tower passing all of the tourists!)

      November 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm (9 years ago)

      Seriously!? I’d love to see pictures of that 🙂

  12. Laney
    November 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm (9 years ago)

    Your children sound magic! Will have to test mine out, see what they say. Lovely post.

      November 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm (9 years ago)

      They are magic, Laney. Such imaginative and loopy little souls. 🙂

  13. Alicia - One Mother Hen
    November 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm (9 years ago)

    LOVE the bucket list. ‘The doodle monkeys’, hilarious! Oooh, I like the green kit kats too. Kids have such great imaginations and they will lead you to some fantastic places with their bucket and spade lists. 🙂


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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