Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Why I’m Shaving My Head For Charity

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

A couple of years ago I had a friend called Lisa. She was funny, she was witty, she was a bit a lot of a ray of sunshine and she had cancer. Stupid,  bullshit, twatclacking* cancer.


She was my friend, and she had cancer, and then she went and bloody died, because cancer is a dick like that. Like, what the hell was it thinking? Didn’t it know how much we all wanted to keep her?

I was so angry that I lost this beautiful girl, so I can’t even begin to imagine how her family felt, her husband, her best friends. Even now, a year later, I still get upset and sad and really, deeply angry every time I think about it.


So. I’m shaving my head on August the 30th. It would have been Lisa’s 35 birthday, which I thought would be a nice tribute to her (& because any excuse to have a gin or four is okay by me). I’m also shaving my head because I think she’d have found it pretty funny (given that she was (self admittedly) incredibly fond of her locks), and I was always trying to make that girl laugh.

My hair is pretty long right now. I haven’t had it cut since September 2012, and I’ll have another six months growth to add before the actual head shave date. For what it’s worth, I like my hair. A lot. It’s swishy and long enough to make a nice top knot, it’s a beautiful colour (probably the first time in my life I’ve ever said that, actually) and it makes me feel girly and, you know, pretty. Of course it does.

Do I think I’ll look good with a shaved head? Do I hell. I think, at best, I’ll look like a baked bean, at worst I’ll look like a boy. Does it matter? Does it fuck. Hair grows (mine grows especially quickly), friends, sadly, do not return from the dead. (Although actually, I’m a bit scared of zombies, so maybe for the better..? I digress…)

If doing this means I can raise some money for some amazing charities to help ensure that if it happens to any of you lot you might get a better chance of survival? Then I am all in. Let’s go.

I’m splitting any money raised between The Royal Marsden, where Lisa had her treatments, Trinity Hospice, who did their utter best to help her feel comfortable and Cancer Research because duh. So please, pleaseplease consider donating. £2, £5, £20. Whatever you can afford would be amazing – I want to raise as much as possible, for and in honour of Lisa.


& if, post shave, I end up looking half as hot as she did, post hair loss? I’m going to count it as a win.


Love you, miss you, think of you, bird. Always.

*a special one for all the Lisa fans there, heh.

Monthly Goals: February & March Update

Posted by in Monthly Goals, Projects

February is done – blimey! Here’s a recap of the goals I set for myself, and how I did this month.

5 Goals for February [4/5]

  1. See a comedy show
  2. Do 5 days of the 30 Day Shred [5/5]
  3. Finish my portfolio site
  4. Read the remaining books on my ‘30 books I’ve always wanted to read‘ list [4/7]
  5. Make the time to actively keep in touch with friends and family

So, I mostly did well, but I fell down on getting my 30 for 30 books finished, they were were longer than I thought! Still, at least I made a big dent in the pile (and I’m only 60 pages off finishing another one), so I should definitely be able to get the remaining two finished before June :)

5 Goals for March [0/5]

  1. Zero Facebook comments, likes or posts*
  2. Leave 100 blog comments [17/100]
  3. Post 5 recipes on Yum Chong! [0/5]
  4. Make my own cheese
  5. Do at least one stage on Duolingo, 6 days out of 7  [0/27]

*I decided to exclude messages from this, but will aim to only reply and not to initiate contact through Facebook where possible.

March is going to be an interesting month I think – we’ve got quite a few plans, especially at the weekends, plus the next issue of Télégramme is due out and I’ve got a fair bit of freelance work on, so I’m going to have to be careful with my time management if I want to get everything done.

If you’re setting goals for this month too let me know, I’d love to read them! :)

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Writing letters
  • Perfumes that smell like weather
  • Fudge
  • Old episodes of our favourite shows
  • Coming in from the rain

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear WordPress,

Thank you for encouraging developers to create such beautiful themes. It’s always inspiring to be able to put a fresh lick of digital paint on something, especially when it costs nada. Gracias!



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

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Finally watching films we’ve had recorded for ages
  • Stripy wool
  • Blankets
  • BBQ plans
  • Grapes fresh from the fridge

See the whole list here

Monthly Goals: January & February

Posted by in Monthly Goals, Projects

I forgot to write a post about completing my December goals and I forgot to write a post about my January goals full stop (oops) but regardless, I managed to complete them – hurrah! I’ve decided to carry this on for the foreseeable future – it seems to be working! :)

5 Goals for January [5/5]

  1. Shoot two rolls of 35mm film [2/2]
  2. Clear out and tidy my hard drive
  3. Buy a print from a favourite photographer
  4. Meditate 5 times [5/5]
  5. Do the dishes straight after we cook, all month

January was good for the most part – altho I only just snuck in with the films, but at least they got done! I feel like we’re developing some good habits as a result of these – sleeping earlier, doing the dishes so the kitchen is less messy – all good things :)

So, onto my goals for February. As my 30 for 30 deadline starts to loom (I have just under 5 months to complete the remaining 14 goals) I thought I’d add in a couple of goals from there, to help me complete it. The comedy show, finishing my portfolio and reading those books are all my list to be done! Here’s my progress so far:

5 Goals for February [1/5]

  1. See a comedy show
  2. Do 5 days of the 30 Day Shred [2/5]
  3. Finish my portfolio site
  4. Read the remaining books on my ‘30 books I’ve always wanted to read‘ list [2/7]
  5. Make the time to actively keep in touch with friends and family

Q has decided to get in on the 5 goals action this month, whoo hoo! Anyone else care to join us? :)

2014 Goals: Paleo for January

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Go Paleo for January: Done!

Huzzah! :) Did we fall off the wagon a bit? A little. There was a black cherry cider at a weekend away with our favourite friends, a tub of marshmallow ice-cream after a particularly difficult Monday and the “I really should test these before I take them to work” salted caramel brownie, oops. I also ate peas and sweetcorn because I forgot they were a legume and a grain respectively – oh well!

The Good

Our first Paleo meal of the month

Paleo was interesting. Since I’ve spent the past few years trying to get into a wheat free, dairy free lifestyle and I spent 2013 abstaining from alcohol completely I wasn’t anticipating Paleo to be too much of a challenge, and in that respect I was proved right. I just had to cut out rice and wheat free pasta and flour from my diet and I was pretty much there. I’m also super thankful that I don’t drink tea or coffee, as I think that would have made the month substantially harder.

So did it help? Sure! I slept better and for longer – small things didn’t wake me up as often which is great for someone like me whose sleep schedule can be quite broken and erratic at times. In addition to that I found that after I got over the first few days of sugar cravings I generally had more energy during the day, which was useful. I also lost 5lbs over the month without adding any extra exercise in, although that wasn’t my main motivation in trialling it.

Also, the kale chips were pretty badass.

The Bad

Paleo is expensive to follow, there is no way around that. Having to bulk up on veg to replace the missing carbs means spending a lot more money on fresh veg than we were previously, and we also spent extra on things like meat and eggs which are always more expensive than your cheap carbs like rice and pasta.

I missed sugar constantly through the month – not entirely sure what that says about my diet but nothing good presumably. However, the cravings weren’t insane, thankfully, and I only suffered one headache early on in the month, so not too bad overall.

The Ugly

Sometimes Paleo food is not filling and you find yourself hungry but not wanting to eat another sodding clementine. Lunches were a particular struggle when I was away from the house and even with access to a full cupboard it was still hard to motivate myself to cook something for one. Salad would be a great option but it wasn’t what I fancied in January, really.

Also, eating out was relatively tough and we had to relax our rules a bit for fear of being those people (“Can you make sure my sauce isn’t made with butter or milk or cream or wheat or cornflour or or or” Christ).

Will we carry on?

Q’s inventive chicken, brazil nut and spinach fritters

No. Not quite. We’re planning on following Primal during the week now (Primal allows for high fat dairy like cheese, butter, cream and greek yoghurt, making it a slightly easier version of Paleo) and not being too strict on ourselves at the weekend. I’m still doing wheat free for 2014, but it’ll be nice to have some wheat free pasta or wheat free bread occasionally – it’s hard (and expensive!) to stick to a life without carbs indefinitely! Plus I’d really like some gin every now and again please.

Overall tho Paleo was a very positive experience and I’m really glad we gave it a shot. Having a buddy to do it with really helped to keep me motivated, so thanks, Q for being willing to try it with me!

If anyone is thinking of trying it and wants to ask some questions then please feel free to get in touch and I’ll do my best to answer them for you! :)

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Projects

  • Days off work
  • Grapes
  • Getting a book delivered straight to the Kindle
  • Planning new ideas
  • Surname based hashtags

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks

Dear Fanta,

Thanks for being extra delicious after a month of not being able to drink you on Paleo. Your sugary goodness warms my heart (and gives me a rush, ha).



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

Life List: Throw A Life List Party

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Last week I ticked off one of my 30 for 30 goals (which was also a Life List goal): throw a Life List party! Inspired by Camp Mighty, I decided to create something on a slightly smaller scale…

The basic idea was that we would get a group of our friends together, have them teach each other skills and create Life Lists, and then try and tick a few goals off the lists if we could. It was so much fun – we ended up with 20 students and a crazy 25 classes, which is why I had to devise a timetable system to keep everything on track:

I also put together some goodie bags that had a notebook and pencil, a postcard, some stickers and some sweets for everyone to keep them going throughout the day. All of the tags said something nice on the reverse, because who wouldn’t want to read that, right? :)

Our decorations were…decidedly homemade. Ha. (Excuse the steaminess, it’s just because our windows are rubbish!)

It was a genuinely awesome weekend – people came from London and Cornwall to attend (including my mum and my aunt, which was ace) and everyone seemed to have a really good time – I was so proud of them all by the end!

It was really nice to see everyone embracing the Life List way of life too, hopefully they’ll all keep it up. We’re planning on making it an annual thing – next year we’ll be focusing more on completing goals while at the party (there wasn’t as much of that this year as I’d have liked).

I could write about this forever but I won’t because it would be boring to everyone but me, so I’ll just leave some pictures of the various classes. Thanks to Lou, Jen & Liz for taking them!

Jess tried her hand at learning some sewing basics, taught by my mum:

Rob taught a class on how to make macarons:

Jen taught a few of us the basics of singing and breathing – here’s Howard, Amy and Rob enjoying themselves immensely:

Rob also taught introductory German:

I taught a class in how to find more joy, using this awesome handout from Do What You Love:

We had class lists dotted around the house for people to refer to:

Mum also taught people how to make Cornish pasties (I’m pretty sure they were declared delicious!):

I taught Carrie, Catrin & Liz how to crochet (altho my lesson was somewhat haphazard..):

Sophie taught Jen how to crochet and was much better at it!:

I did however teach Sophie and Liz how to play the ukulele:

Amy taught two shorthand classes: (this says “thank you for teaching us”)

Jen also taught us how to read music:

Howard taught a class on how to use Photoshop:

Amy also taught people how to use their digital cameras:

and how to make cake pops (she’s multitalented, that one!):

& I taught two classes on how to write a Life List and how to be awesome at organising: 

Q also taught a few classes (basic guitar chords, intro to HTML & CSS and how to solve a rubik’s cube) but I don’t have photos of those, boo! I do however have this super cute video of Liz learning piano chords. Big thanks to Aaron for teaching PHP basics as well :)

Oh, and #ChongCat was there too. Of course.