Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

The Warm Yellow Light

Posted by in A Little Conversation

— Conor Oberst, American indie folk singer/songwriter

Something to aspire to.

Side note: I couldn’t find a decent source for this image – Tumblr and Pinterest pervaded – if it’s yours let me know!

Picking Prints for the Library

Posted by in Books, My Life In Lists

Wait, you don’t have a library?

In all seriousness, we are very fortunate to have been able to buy a house large enough for me to indulge my childhood dreams. I’ve wanted my own library for as long as I can remember, and we’ve been working hard since we moved in to turn this dusty, neglected box room into a cosy, joyous haven.

The bulk of the renovation is done – we’ve removed the silver (!) paint from the skirting boards, stripped the stripy wallpaper and swapped out the hideous boiler cupboard for something much more unobtrusive. The bookshelves are in and we’ve even managed to decide on and buy a cosy chair so all that’s left now is a new ceiling light and some artwork to make it feel more personal.

Enter: the dilemma! Etsy is my go-to for affordable, unique art, since I made a promise to myself a few years ago that I wouldn’t buy any more ‘generic’ art and I’ve largely stuck to that. Which is great! But also terrible, because it means that choosing art is so much harder because there is so much of it and it would all look great on my walls. #firstworldproblems.

With that in mind, here are six prints that I’m considering. We only have room (and a budget), realistically, for one or two but I’m struggling to narrow it down.

Obviously I like the Ernest Hemmingway quote because yellow. But I think I’m leaning towards Jorge and Albert. (Related: where are the book quotes by women, please?)

Little help?

31 for 31 – My Year In Lists

Posted by in 31 for 31, My Life In Lists, Projects

Well gosh, hasn’t it been a long time since I completed my 31 for 31. I fell off the blogging wagon big time and I’m still not really sure why. In general life has been pretty stable but my motivation for all things has been lacking of late and it’s starting to show in every facet.

Still. As good Mr Frost says, the only way out is through, right? I wrote this waaaay back in June and it’s bothered me ever since that I didn’t get around to posting it, so here you go. 31 things I did to celebrate being 31, presented without commentary because if I have to write something about each one it will never, never get published.

Re-set / Re-align / Re-start

Here’s to trying to climb out of ruts.

1. Make my own jam Completed 11th July 2014 

2. Get my eyes lasered Completed 11th August 2014

3. Host a Team Chong Supper Club to raise money for the head shave Completed 17th August 2014

4. Learn how to French braid my hair Completed 27th August 2014

5. Shave my head for charity Completed 30th August 2014

6. Donate my hair Completed 30th August 2014


7. Finish my 100 cheeses Completed 6th September 2014

8. Give blood at least once Completed 6th October 2014

9. Eat at 12 new places in Wales Completed 10th October 2014

10.Read a Man Booker prize winner Completed 20th November 2014

11. Finish the Top Secret Project for Arthur Completed 2nd December 2014

12. Re-watch 31 of my favourite films Completed 10th December 2014

13. learn how to make delicious gluten free cookies Completed 14th January 2015

14. No swearing for a day Completed 2nd February 2015

15. Visit another European country / tick off another continent Completed 11th February 2015

16. Swim a length under water Completed 12th February 2015

17. Read 31 more books I’ve been meaning to read forever Completed 6th March 2015

18. Sew something I can wear Completed 21st March 2015

19. Donate to 31 charities Completed 9th April 2015

20. Send 31 surprise gifts Completed 18th April 2015

21. Take a ballet class Completed 23rd April 2015

22. Finally Knit that owl sweater Completed 26th April 2015

23. Go UV bowling Completed 2nd May 2015

24. Get the EE Cummings & Grace quotes printed for our wall Completed 8th May 2015

25. Print our family cookbook Completed 7th June 2015

26. Complete the British Sign Language online course Completed 9th June 2015

27. Be debt free Completed 12th June 2015

28. Swim in a lido Completed 12th June 2015

29. Take the same walk every month & photograph the changes Completed 14th June 2015

30. Complete Couch to 5K Completed 16th June 2015

31. Throw the 2nd annual Life List Party Completed 20th June 2015

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Candles that smell like apple pie
  • Silly games to while away the time
  • Yellow bookshelves
  • Dim sum with friends
  • Tidying

See a list of my favourite Grace in Small Things here. What’s on your list this week?

Ps. I know it’s been a long time since I posted! Still around just struggling a little to find the balance while work is busy. Not a terrible problem to have, for sure.

Happy 32nd Birthday To Me

Posted by in A Little Conversation

It’s my birthday! Yay! Hopefully as you read this I will be eating a large Belgian waffle in Brussels, exploring and enjoying the break.

Contrary to my last couple of birthdays, I’ve decided not to write a 32 for 32 this year. My 31 for 31 was fun, but not quite as fun as my 30 for 30 and I definitely don’t want to get caught in a loop of doing things just because I have to rather than because I want to.

Instead, I’ve decided to pick 12 things from my Life List that I want to try to achieve or meaningfully work towards this year. If I don’t complete them, that’s okay. I need to learn to give myself fluid deadlines. So, here’s my list for the forthcoming year:

Things to do as a 32 year old:

1.Taste 100 cocktails

I’m on 87 already, so this one should be fairly do-able!

2. Read all the ‘Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction’ winning and shortlisted books

I don’t think I’ll get all of these done this year (there are over 100 shortlisted books alone and I’ve read very few of them), but I’d like to make a sizeable dent in the list and hopefully discover some wonderful new female authors along the way.

3. Publish 10 issues of Telegramme [8/10]

I’ve published 8 issues of Télégramme so far and I’m thinking that 10 might be a good place to stop. It’s a big job every issue and while I love doing it there are so many other things that I’d like to learn/do/see. I might keep the blog up, I might not. I am undecided as of yet!

4. Learn how to poach an egg

I still can’t do this but it really cannot be that hard, lots of people do it all the time.

5. Develop a good meditation practice

I feel like this would be so good for me.

6. Learn a card trick

Because don’t you think it would be fun?

7. Learn how to reverse park

You are an adult, Sarah, this skill would be useful to you.

8. Buy a set of chefs knives

This is kind of a cheat one since I only need a bread knife to complete our set, heh.

9. Go down the big slide in Roath Park

Because slide.

10. See the sunset/sunrise in 15 countries with Q [2/15]

It’d be nice to tick off another couple of sunsets and sunrises, since that means we’ll have been able to travel somewhere new, and I like to travel. We’re in Brussels as you read this so maybe I’ll catch one there!

11. Visit every city in the UK

I like visiting people, I like little road trips and I like not having to get on a plane so this goal is perfect for me. Maybe Scotland this year, I’ve only been once before, when I was a teenager, and I really don’t remember much about it.

12. Complete the French course on Duolingo

I’m not sure I’ll finish this but I’d like to be a hell of a lot closer than I am now. Oui?

So there you have it. I’ve ticked eleven things off my Life List so far in 2015 so 12 in a year seems fairly doable but really, if I don’t complete them I think I’ll be okay.

I actually often forget that the joy of the goal is also in the journey towards it. This year I’m going to make an effort to keep that at the forefront.

Happy birthday, me.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Sushi
  • Long, swishy maxi skirts
  • Nice dreams about rain
  • Making travel plans
  • New bedding

See a list of my favourite Grace in Small Things here. What’s on your list this week?

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear tattoos,

Thank you for giving me something amazing to look at, a way to express myself and an urge to create. Strange how so much can come from a splash of ink, but every time I see an amazing tattoo it makes me want to up my creative game. Here’s to finding inspiration everywhere, right?



See the full list here.

31 for 31/Life List: Take a Ballet Class

Posted by in 31 for 31, My Life In Lists, Projects

When I was a very small child I took ballet classes with my sister. I loved the wraparound cardigans (still do, I should pick up some of those) and the leg warmers and the silky soft shoes. But when the teacher casually remarked that I’d never be tall enough to be a professional ballerina (she was totally right by the way) I lost all interest and stopped going.

Fast forward 26 years and I found myself itching to get back to first position. There’s something calming and disciplined about ballet that I enjoy as a workout – it’s hard but it’s structured. Less panting and running, more holding poses. Presumably this is why I also like yoga and pilates but am less keen on runny jumpy ball sports.

There are a few adult ballet classes in Cardiff (am I the only one who thinks ‘adult ballet’ sounds kind of dirty, btw?) but we plumped for Wonderland Dance Studios (be warned: their website is awful!) as you didn’t have to book and I am big fan of not committing fully to things, apparently.

I roped in Jen and Liz to come with me because I’m too much of a wuss to go on my own (thanks guys!). It was actually a really fun hour although the studio was very, very warm and our temporary teacher decided to take us through a routine which left me feeling as ungainly as a rhino in tap shoes.

However, even when the other people in the class were twirling and pirouetting much more daintily than I was, I was still finding it a fun, joyous experience so I will gladly take that as a win, thank you very much.

I’m not sure if I’ll go back – I don’t want to do it every week and I feel like maybe I wouldn’t see the benefit (or really improve) if I didn’t do it regularly, but it was definitely a fun one to try! ☺️

ps. If you’re wondering about the header photo, it’s from an unexpectedly muddy walk that I took in Cambridge about ten years ago probably. I had to throw my shoes away at the end 😂

31 for 31/Life List: Swim in a Lido

Posted by in 31 for 31, My Life In Lists, Projects

Ah, this was such a fun one to tick off! Swimming outdoors is my number one joy and I hardly ever get to do it. There’s something so calming about being in the water and being able to feel the sun on your skin, no?

I added ‘swim in a lido’ to my Life List a little while ago – I knew there was one in Bristol but I had the vague idea that there would be one closer to home, after all, who doesn’t want to swim outdoors?

Turns out the people of Cardiff clearly don’t because there isn’t a lido for miles around (altho they’re redeveloping one in Pontypridd which is re-opening in September) so off I trotted to Bristol instead. I mean, in all honesty it wasn’t that much of a hardship, I got to hang out with Hayles which is always fun and the train journey there was totes easy.

So, Clifton Lido! At £20 a pop for non-members it’s not exactly budget friendly, but it’s a pretty cute place and the staff were charming and friendly throughout. Getting back into the pool after being in the hot tub was an error in hindsight tho – the pool was only 25°C and it was bloody freezing, ha.

While it’s a shame the weather was cloudy and grey (it threatened to rain but didn’t, boo) I still had a lovely time splashing about and chatting about blogging and boys with Hayley. If Cardiff had one of these I’d be in it every day. Who do I petition to get that started?

Swim in a lido was one of my Life List goals. See my full list here!

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Warm, still nights
  • Bobby pins
  • Ice cold apple juice
  • Coral lipstick
  • Mute functions

See a list of my favourite Grace in Small Things here. What’s on your list this week?