Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Christmas,

Thanks for being six months after my birthday – it’s nice to have a symmetrical chuck of time between receiving presents plus it means I get to have my birthday in the sun (sometimes, at least). I always appreciate you more by the time you roll around again because of it :)

Love

Sarah

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

The Big Three Oh

Posted by in 30 for 30, A Little Conversation, Projects

Q & I on my 29th birthday, riding the carousel in Cardiff Bay during our engagement shoot (shot by Maria Farrelly)

It’s my 30th birthday today – hurrah! 30 is a traditionally funny time and I know a lot of people are / were bothered by it, but I’ve decided to just be delighted instead because that’s way more fun.

This mindset shift partly came about after my beautiful friend Lisa died in March this year at the heart-wrenching age of 33. I promised myself that I’d never again berate getting older, or moan about my birthday – instead I will celebrate this wonderful life I have and the endless opportunities for more joy. More! All of it, please. What else is there to life, really, when you think about it?

With that in mind (and because it’s what I do best) I wrote a list. A lot of people write ’30 before 30′ lists but last year was a busy one and by the time I got myself ready to think about it I only had 5 months of being 29 left. So instead I have decided to do a ’30 for 30′ list – 30 things to celebrate being 30 years old :) Here it is!

30 for 30

  1. Buy a hammock (I have wanted one for so long! Now we finally have a garden there’s nothing stopping me)
  2. Have a picnic in two Cardiff parks we’ve not visited before
  3. Learn how to make truffles
  4. Visit two new UK cities
  5. Play laser quest (I’ve never played and it looks like fun!)
  6. See a West End musical
  7. Leave 30 lovely notes for strangers
  8. Read 30 books I’ve always wanted to read
  9. Crochet a blanket for Arthur
  10. Give blood (twice if I can but at least once)
  11. Take a pole dancing lesson
  12. Throw a Life List party (Admit it, you want to come to this, right?)
  13. Re-read 30 of my favourite books
  14. Buy a set of personalised stationery
  15. Make an extra donation to Kiva
  16. Donate £100 to charity
  17. See two comedy shows
  18. Have another portrait shoot with Q
  19. See 30 films at the cinema
  20. Sponsor a child in a third world country
  21. Pay off one of my credit cards
  22. Pick 30 recipes for our family cookbook
  23. Learn how to replicate my favourite M&S salad (It has lentils and goat’s cheese and this wonderful mint dressing and I’d like to make it every day, please)
  24. Write 30 letters (hands up if you want one! :) )
  25. Buy prints from 10 of my favourite photographers
  26. Take my mum and sister for a spa day
  27. Shoot 12 rolls of 35mm film
  28. Upload a solo ukulele cover
  29. Go swimming 30 times (because I love it, not because I think I should!)
  30. Design and build my freelance portfolio website

Ta da! There’s quite a nice mix on there I think. Things for me, things for others, things to help improve myself and things to do for fun :) I’m looking forward to spending the year really focusing on the joy.

I’ll keep it updated over the course of the year – fingers crossed by this time next year they’ll be a big cross through all of them! :)

30 for 30: Read 30 Books I’ve Always Wanted To

Posted by in 30 for 30, Projects

I’m planning a 30 for 30 list (more on that later) and as part of it I’m going to try and read 30 books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to.

This list doesn’t include a lot of classics, even tho I haven’t read many of them, because I don’t really like the books traditionally labelled as classics. So fuck it, I’m going to read books mostly written in the last 10 years and I’m going to enjoy them (I hope) ;)

1. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
2. A Fraction of the Whole – Steve Toltz (recommended by Amy)
3. The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling
4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne
5. The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits – Emma Donoghue
6. Random Acts of Kindness – Danny Wallace
7. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
8. Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
9. 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

 

10. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
11. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith (recommended by Ellie)
12. The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes
13. Before I Die by Jenny Downham (recommended by Giles)
14. Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years Later – Francine Pascal
15. Our Tragic Universe – Scarlett Thomas
16. Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan – Bruce Feiler
17. Death: A Life – George Pendle
18. Ghostwritten – David Mitchell

19. Anne of Avonlea – L.M. Montgomery
20. Anne of the Island – L.M. Montgomery
21. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
22. The Radleys – Matt Haig
23. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) – Jenny Lawson
24. You Take it From Here – Pamela Ribon
25. Instructions for a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell
26. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
27. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didon

28. ‘Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
29. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed
30. The Machine – James Smythe

If you’ve read any of them do let me know! :) I might swap some out of I find it really difficult to get hold of them, but I’m really hoping that by doing this I’ll be able to make a big dent in my ‘to read’ pile on Goodreads which is currently at a ridiculous 145. Oops.

30 for 30: Re-Read 30 of My Favourite Books

Posted by in 30 for 30, A Little Conversation, Books, Projects

Since I’m turning 30 soon I’ve decided to do a ’30 for 30′ list. I’ll post the full list on my birthday but one of them will definitely be Re-read 30 of my favourite books. These all got 4 or 5 stars the first time around – some are ones I read every year and some are just books I loved. I’m so looking forward to this!

1. Girlfriend in a Coma – Douglas Coupland
2. Rules of Civility – Amor Towles
3. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
4. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
5. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things – Jon McGregor
6. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
7. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
8. The Wind Up Bird Chronicles – Haruki Murakami
9. Tilly Mint & The Dodo – Berlie Doherty

 

10. The End of Mr Y – Scarlett Thomas
11. Love & Betrayal & Hold The Mayo – Francine Pascal
12. The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson
13. Pattern Recognition – William Gibson
14. Submarine – Joe Dunthorne
15. Journey Into Space – Toby Litt
16. The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket
17. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
18. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

 

19. Duma Key – Stephen King
20. Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
21. The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman
22. The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
23. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
24. Hey Nostradamus – Douglas Coupland
25. Life After God – Douglas Coupland
26. The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett
27. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett

 

28. The Hand That First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell
29. Tuesday’s With Morrie – Mitch Albom
30. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffennegger

Like pulling on the snuggliest pair of pyjamas I own :)

April & May Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

It turns out that I never got around to posting April’s book update (unsurprising, since there are only two books on it) so I thought I’d combine April and May into one handy post. You’re welcome.

April

01. NEW Hans Fallada – Alone in Berlin
02. NEW David Levithan – Boy Meets Boy

Oh boy, April was a slow month. We had a whirlwind few weeks where we weren’t sure if we’d be moving house or having to start the whole search all over again, which ate a lot of my time. Thankfully, it all worked out okay in the end but I really didn’t get a lot of reading done. Oops. Alone in Berlin was haunting, but definitely worth a read. Boy Meets Boy was sweet, but reminded me a little too much of Generation X by Douglas Coupland to be a good enough stand alone.

May

01. NEW Heather Armstrong – It Sucked & Then I Cried
02. NEW Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist
03. NEW Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being A Wallflower
04. NEW LJ Smith – The Forbidden Game
05. NEW Haruki Murakami – After Dark

May was another quiet book month, it would seem. I need some new book inspiration I think, so hit me up with your recommendations! The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been on my to-read list forever, but I found the book to be a little flat after watching the film last year (which will teach me to watch the film first I suppose). I enjoyed The Reluctant Fundamentalist (a book group pick) right up until the last page, and After Dark was just as bonkers as the rest of Murakami’s offerings, but in an enjoyable way at least. The Forbidden Game is technically a trilogy – I read the first book when I was a teenager but could never find the other two. It’s part of the Point Horror series, but I think it stands up as an adult novel too. Go, read!

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 181.

Life List Update: Big News

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

*drum roll*

We bought a house. It took over six months of searching, solicitor wrangling (and several moments of being close to estate agent strangling) but we finally did it: we bought a whole house, just for us. It was one of the goals I first wrote on my Life List and now I’ve finally been able to tick it off because we moved into our new place a fortnight ago. (Eee!) You’re all welcome to come visit – we’ll provide the BBQ if you bring the meat. Deal?

We have bricks, and mortar, and dubious built in wardrobes. We have gorgeous (original) parquet flooring, a temperamental central heating system and a hell of a lot of wallpaper, but at least we no longer have that glittery toilet seat. We ripped that sucker right out – I’m not interested in partying in my downstairs bathroom, thank you very much. (No matter how many disco balls Hayley sends us).

pip

It was the most stressful thing we’ve been through (so far) and there were definitely times when I didn’t think we were going to make it to the other side. One of my main weaknesses is anxiety over not being in control, and we had zero control over this whole situation which led to a lot of tears, worry and comfort eating of brownie tray bakes.

Now we’re finally in I can breathe a sigh of relief – there’s a lot of work to be done (way more than we anticipated) but at least the decisions we make now will be ours, not someone else’s. We can work to our own timescale, and know roughly what’s going to happen, when it will (hopefully) happen and how much it’ll cost us. (The answer is always “too much” if you’re wondering).

Would I recommend either of our estate agents? (We bought from one and sold via another, making it even more complex). As people they’re probably nice, but no, no I wouldn’t. They evaded questions, often contradicted each other and drove me around the bend. Our solicitor, on the other hand, was great – couldn’t recommend him more. He was the only person in this process who felt like he was helping us, and for that I will forever be grateful.

We’ve gone from a one bedroom flat in the city centre to a four bedroom house in the suburbs, which is quite the transition. We’re getting there slowly – there is good light here, which helps, and a sense of potential. Buying a house – not so much fun. Building a home together, however? Pretty fucking awesome.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • A fixed watch strap
  • Being woken up by the sunlight
  • Learning new ukulele songs with a fellow enthusiast
  • Finally using up food we’ve had for ages
  • New episodes of favourite TV shows

See the whole list here

5 Lovely Things From Oh My Clumsy Heart

Posted by in 5 Lovely Things, Projects

This is the third post in my ‘5 Lovely Things From…‘ series. Today it’s the turn of Sophie Davies :)

I’ve loved Sophie’s jewellery for the longest time. I especially adore the Grace necklace below, as it’s a favourite name of mine. Her pieces are beautifully delicate, but sturdy enough to wear every day if you’d like to (and why wouldn’t you?).

Double bonus, if you sign up to Sophie’s mailing list (in the top right hand corner) you get 10% discount for life. Lovely!

Frances Citrine Necklace – Oh My Clumsy Heart £20.00

Dachshund Silhouette Brooch

Dachshund Silhouette Brooch – Oh My Clumsy Heart £8

Small Gold Triangle Necklace – Oh My Clumsy Heart £15.00

Grace Gold Eternity Necklace – Oh My Clumsy Heart £25.00

Small Dot Necklace – Oh My Clumsy Heart £15.00

PS. This isn’t a sponsored post, I just really like the store :)

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Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Cute socks
  • Fanta
  • Purging our possessions
  • Offensively neon jumpers
  • Red lipstick that lasts

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear cherry blossom,

Thank you for being the definitive sign that spring is finally here. I wish you could stick around for longer, but instead I’ll appreciate you for the few fleeting weeks that you’re here – you’re the best part of spring by far.

Love

Sarah

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