REACHING 40 can either signal the start of a mid-life crisis or spur you into facing new challenges.

Nurse Diane Smallacombe, who hit the big 4-oh earlier this year, has taken the second option and set herself a list of 40 things to achieve before the end of the year.

Her to-do list includes tackling simple tasks with her family, enjoying new experiences, doing things she’s always wanted to do and a little bit of selfindulgence.

So far she’s ticked off 30 and has just under five months left to complete the other ten.

Since the start of the year, Diane, of Bloomfield Close, Taunton, has had afternoon tea at The Castle Hotel, had a meal at a celebrity chef restaurant (Jamie’s Italian in Cardiff) and eaten something she doesn’t like (coleslaw).

Local challenges have included the heritage and dragon trails, going on a bike ride with husband James and daughters Lily, five, and Amelia, two, running the Race for Life and climbing to the top of St Mary Magdalene Church tower.

Branching out, she’s met a famous person she’d not seen before (presenter Nicky Campbell), who she bumped into by chance at Secret World, been to Wimbledon for the first time and watched Rod Stewart in concert in Taunton.

While attending a flower arranging classes was something she’d always wanted to do, Diane’s tilt at conducting an orchestra is a little bit more bizarre.

“I haven’t got a clue about conducting and can’t read music, but I’m going to give it a go,” she said “I played the recorder at school and did a bit of keyboard, so that might help.”

She added: “A lot of friends and family have suggested some of the things and others are just things I’ve always wanted to do.

“I didn’t want all of them to be costly – there are plenty of things around here such as the heritage trail that are interesting.