Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

30 Day BC – Day 14 : An Author Of A Book You Just Don’t Get

Posted by in 30 Day Challenges, Books, Projects

Joint first prize goes to Ian McKellan for Atonement and JD Salinger for Catcher In The Rye. As I’m sure you’re all aware by now they both wrote books that were hyped up to the sky and neither of them lived up to the expectation.

On the flip side I know that some of my favourite authors – namely Douglas Coupland and Haruki Murakami are authors that other people I know have said that they don’t see the big deal with, so I guess it’s all down to personal taste.

I try not to read books from authors that I really don’t like (I mean, I’m not some sort of glutton for punishment). It’s unlikely that I’d pick up anything else that these two have written because my reaction to their books was so against the mainstream opinion.  Sites like Good Reads are great for cataloging but I find that often the reviews and ratings need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Unless absolutely everyone says they hate it I’ll probably give it a go – everyone is different, right?

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Steam,
Thanks for creating such a great canvas for messages on mirrors. The fact that you can make them invisible makes me smile, and I quite like that you’re not permanent. You encourage me to be more creative in the mornings which can never be a bad thing.

Love Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

30 Day BC – Day 13 : A Book That Disturbed You

Posted by in 30 Day Challenges, A Little Conversation, Books, Projects

I am the first to admit that I am an absolute wuss when it comes to scary things. I can’t watch scary movies, I don’t like walking around in the dark and every single damn time I step out of the lift into someone stepping in I jump.  I’m pretty much your standard definition of a scaredy cat so it comes as a great surprise to me how many horror books I read.  I love Stephen King, even tho his books can be so frightening that I often have to delegate them to the ‘day time reading only’ pile.


Q loves Dennis Lehane so when I said I had never read anything by him he gave me a couple to try. He’s written a series with a private detective and I read the first two but I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to stomach the rest. They are..gorey. Quite graphic in their descriptions of horror, something that is easy to avoid in a film but practically impossible in a book if you want to follow the narrative.

I’ll probably give these another go at some point. During the summer. With a blanket to hide under if things get rough..


The End of Alice by A.M Homes was a book recommended to me by an old friend. We have vaguely similar reading tastes, and I knew the premise of the book before I read it (it’s about paedophile, essentially) but it still caught me off guard. It’s written in a very tender, almost loving way – which disturbed me greatly given the contents. There is no doubt that this is a difficult book to read and I felt a little grimey after finishing it, but I think it was a good book none the less. I don’t think I’d read it again, once was really enough.


I just finished reading Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King and it was definitely one of those books that I had to relegate to day time reading. This book is comprised of four stories and although there was actually only one of them that made me shut my eyes the graphic descriptions of a decomposing body stayed with me for days. Thanks Stephen. You’re a gem.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing if a book is disturbing, but I’m glad I don’t stumble across them too often. I have too many nightmares as it is.

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Books, Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Cardiff Central Library,
Thanks for being right next to my house, and on my route home from work. Thanks for employing people who don’t laugh at me when I browse the Judy Blume and Enid Blyton books, even tho I’m almost 28. You’re helping me get towards my goal of 100 books this year and also enabling me to induldge in one of my favourite past times. Also, your book return system is the coolest thing I have ever seen.

Love Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

101 in 1001: Try A New Meal Every Week For Three Months [1/3]

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Food Exploits, Projects

I got stuck in a rut of cooking the same few meals over and over again so I decided to try and broaden my range by cooking something new every week. Some were good, some were bad but all were new to me and I’ve learnt some interesting things along the way :)

Week One
Meal: Mongolian Crispy Lamb
Difficulty: Medium
Notes: Slightly fiddly, but ultimately worth it. Breast of lamb is a cheap cut and is very fatty, so make sure you try and strain off a lot of the fat when reducing the sauce. We couldn’t get the sauce to reduce to a sticky consistancy, no idea why. Maybe adding some sugar next time would help? I forgot to take a picture of this, oops! The flat smelt so good when this was boiling that I actually had to leave and sit outside for a while.
Rating: 4/5

Week Two
Meal: Pad Thai
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: Next time we won’t use cayenne pepper. My portion was phenomenally spicy due to a ladling error (er, I poured too much sauce on) but Q said his was nice enough. I think fresh chilli would probably be less intense. The prawns were lovely tho. I also forgot to take a photo of this one. My mouth was burning too much for me to focus.
Rating: 3/5

Week Three 

Meal: Huevos Rancheros
Difficulty: Super Easy
Notes: We cooked the eggs for a little too long and the yolks had gone hard. (That bright white bit in the photo is the egg in case you can’t tell, heh). I didn’t mind it but I think Q would have preferred them soft. This would probably be nice with some chorizo and fried potatoes. Nom. This was also an incredibly cheap meal, which is great when it’s pre-pay day and the cupboard is almost empty!
Rating: 4/5

Week Four

Meal: Laksa Lemak
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: This turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never made a malaysian curry before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect but this one came out silky and smooth and full of flavour. You basically make a spice paste of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli then bung in some coconut milk and tumeric, boil away for a while then throw in some rice noodles and a generous squeeze of lime. It felt healthy and lasted for days which is always an unexpected bonus. I would definitely recommend this one.
Rating: 5/5

30 Day BC – Day 12 : A Book You Think Should Be Made Into A Film

Posted by in 30 Day Challenges, Books, Projects

This is a bit of a tough one for me. I don’t really want my favourite books to be made into films because what if they’re no good? However, if they can promise not to change things too much then my choices would be:

The Discwold Series by Terry Pratchett.
I know some of the Discworld books have already been made into a mini tv series but I think they’ve got great potential for the big screen. Can you imagine the budget needed tho?

A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
I really wish they had made the rest of the Lemony Snicket books into films as well because I really enjoyed the first one (which encompassed the first three books I think) altho there are rumours a sequel could be stop motion animation which I’m not sure I’d enjoy as much.

Any Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovitch.
Stephanie Plum might be a good character to see in a film; a slightly ditzy, New Jersey bounty hunter. It has potential to be funny. I think I’d worry they were going to make it too slapstick or intentionally funny tho, rather than the subtle humour that Evanovitch runs through the series.

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King.
There are plans for this in the works and oh god I’m so excited but oh god I’m so worried because I love these books.  I beg of you, Stephen. Please don’t let them fuck it up.

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan.
There have been rumours going around about this book becoming a film for so long that I’ve actually given up all hope of it becoming real. Ewan Magreggor and Daniel Craig have both been linked to it but the plans seem to have fizzled out, which is a shame because this is one that

I think the rest of my books are too precious to be turned into films. I’d rather keep them as I imagine them, thanks.


Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Pimento Stuffed Olives,
Thank you for being one of the best foods to eat out straight from a jar. There is something about you slight trashiness (like cheese in a can and sausages from a tin) that makes you one of my favourite guilty pleasures. Don’t tell the fancy olives, but I like you best of all.

Love Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

101 in 1001 – April Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Books, Projects

I’m almost surprised that there are so many things left to do (and so little time to do it in!) but I think that’s really just because there are some things that are harder to do than others. The travelling for example. It’s unlikely I’m going to get to New York before September but I might be able to make it to Greece. I won’t kick myself too hard if I don’t complete all 101 things – the whole idea of this was just to ‘do more’ and you certainly can’t say that I haven’t done that.

Completed this month: 5

32. Bake my own bread
Q and I baked a loaf of wholemeal spelt bread, and it was decidedly tasty. Much softer than loaves I’ve made in the past, which is a bonus result.

84. Go to the gym 20 times [20/20]
This was originally “Get 20 hrs on Wii Fit” but I left my Wii Fit behind when I moved out of my parents house so I changed it to fit my circumstances. It took me three and a half months to achieve 20 visits to the gym, which I know is not fantastic. Given that I have been a pure couch potato my entire life tho, it’s a small but significant change.

85. Go running
Since I have been attending the gym I thought I’d give the treadmill a go and…well. It’s really not for me. I can jog for a kilometre without stopping (which I don’t think is awful and is certainly far better than before) but I just don’t enjoy jogging. Really, I have no need to run and that makes it hard to do. However, I am enjoying the cross trainer, the bike and the rowing machine so I will still be getting my cardio workout, fear not. It looks like Q will be running the Cardiff Half Marathon without me tho. Sorry love.

57. Read all Terry Pratchett books
I had three of his books left to read when I started this month. I managed to find two in the library but Carpe Jugulum was nowhere to be seen. Lucky for me, The Cowboy is a massive Pratchett fan and an obsessive book hoarder. He came down to see me at the weekend and I polished off the book a few days before the end of the month. Phew! 

72. Cash out £40 on www.onepoll.com again
This was originally “Make £50 on www.slicethepie.com” because it used to be an easy way to make money but they changed the earning threshold and I got quite bored of it. So I changed it to cashing out on Onepoll again, which I did this month. Whoo for free money.

5 achieved, several to go. If I can get to 85 completed I think I’ll be happy. Here’s hoping!

Wednesday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Nail Files,
Thank you for being such a satisfying solution to an irritating problem. Without you I would have ragged nails because we all know how difficult nail scissors are to use left handed. Thank you for bringing that moment of fulfilment into my life, for being portable and for being safe to stow in my hand luggage.

Love Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

Books! 2011 – April Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

Read in April: 20
29. RR: Third Year In Malory Towers – Enid Blyton
30. RR: Last Term At Malory Towers – Enid Blyton
31. NEW: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen – Janet Evanovitch
32. NEW: The Ruling Class – Francine Pascal
33. NEW: Men At Work – Mike Gayle
34. NEW: Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
35. NEW: Seeing Me Naked – Liza Palmer
36. NEW: A Wolf At The Table – Augusten Burroughs
37. NEW: Dry – Augusten Burroughs
38. NEW: The Last Hero – Terry Pratchett
39. NEW: Nation – Terry Pratchett
40. NEW: Birthday Stories – Haruki Murakami
41. NEW: Sleeping Arrangements – Madeleine Wickham
42. NEW: Magical Thinking – Augusten Burroughs
43. NEW: Carpe Jugulum – Terry Pratchett
44. NEW: The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde
45. NEW: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
46. RR: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
47. NEW: Then Again, Maybe I Won’t – Judy Blume
48. RR: As Long As We’re Together – Judy Blume

Favourite book read this month:
I really enjoyed Dry by Augusten Burroughs. I think he’s the type of writer you either like or you don’t but I quite enjoy his acerbic wit and cynical observations. Dry tells the story of his enforced 30 day stint in rehab for alcoholism and the subsequent changes in his life.  I also found myself really enjoying Nation by Terry Pratchett. Having read all his other books I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this departure from his normal style but I thought it was sweet and well written. Definitely different to Discworld, but no worse off for that.

I finally finished reading all of Terry Pratchett’s books (yay!) and had a bit of a dip into my childhood with some Judy Blume books. It’s amazing how much of them I had actually comitted to memory – there were bits I could recite almost word for word. I’m not going to feel too bad about it, they were all over 150 pages each!

Least favourite book read this month:
The Ruling Class by Francine Pascal was a pretty poor effort, to be honest. Given how much I loved the Sweet Valley High Books when I was a kid (and I did, unashamedly) I was surprised at how shockingingly awful the writing was in this. Like a poor man’s Mean Girls, without the revelation at the end. Avoid.

I read: 16 new books in April and 4 re-reads, bring my life list wish of reading 1000 new books up to: 44/1000.