Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

friday-thanksDear #TeamMASH,

Thank you for being the type of girls I always wished I was friends with when I was younger. You are smart, kind, creative and best of all – fucking hilarious on a daily basis. I love you guys like family and I’m thankful for that every day. You all rock! Amy, Sarah, Hayley – you are my people. Thanks for giving me a place on the best team on earth and for letting me be the M to your MASH.

TeamMASH!

Love

Sarah

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

Everything Changes

Posted by in A Little Conversation

I feel like this blog is just become an endless update of lists – oops. (I do love a list tho). Here’s what’s been going on over the past few months, in a sort of…list format? You’ll never change me, apparently.

First up, the big news: we’re in the midst of buying a house. Or trying to, at least. It’s a long, mostly boring, often stressful process of which we know little about. People don’t tend to tell you the ins and outs so we’re nearly always in the dark about what we need to do and when we need to do it by. If we ever do actually get to move I’ll be sure to mention it but at the moment it’s all completely up in the air. Fun*. (*Not fun).

Life has been busy but quiet. I’ve had a lot of time to read and to think. We’ve had a big spring clean and given a hell of a lot of stuff to charity – partly because I don’t want to take it all with us when we move and party because the mantra of “have less, do more, be more” seems to have taken up permanent residence in my head.

Have less, do more, be more - Allison Lehman

Copyright Allison Lehman (click through for source)

It’s a nice one, right? I’ve taken a pleasant satisfaction from paring down our stuff to only the things that we actually love and use. Now I need to work on the do more, be more portion. Suggestions gratefully received.

I’m listening to more music than before – new and old – which is a welcome change and something I didn’t even realise I was missing. I’ll put together my new favourites in a playlist at some point because sharing the love is something I’m always willing to do more of :)

I downloaded the Moves app last week and have been so ashamed at my lack of activity, ha. It tracks how many steps you’ve taken (as long as you have your iPhone with you) – so far my personal best is just over 5000 in a day, which is ridiculous. The weather is getting less severe now that spring is finally on it’s way in so I’m going to try and start a lunch time walking routine a few times a week. Bye bye sloth existence – I’ll miss you.

I’m going to leave you with this, which I’m listening to right now and enjoying very much. I have no idea how to end blog posts any more – Twitter and tiny lists of things have got me out of the habit. Must do better…

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Yellow umbrellas
  • New mittens
  • Hotdogs
  • Brightly coloured saucepans
  • A freshly hoovered floor

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Ampersand,

Thanks for being so fun to write. I’ve been trying to do you properly for years but I’ve recently got the hang of it and it makes me so happy. &&&. Ace!

Love

Sarah

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

January Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

I started tracking my books in 2010, after setting myself a target to read 100 books and only just managing it (I finished reading my last book at 10:30pm on New Years Eve, ha).

Last year I only managed 79 books (it galls me that it wasn’t a round number, it really, really does) but I think that’s probably understandable given how busy last year was. I’ve learn that getting a head start on the numbers makes it easier for later in the year so I’ve spent much of January curled up with a good book – not a bad way to spend time in my opinion. So far this year I’ve read:

01. RR JK Rowling – Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire
02. RR JK Rowling – Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
03. RR JK Rowling – Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince
04. RR JK Rowling – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows
05. NEW Jonas Jonasson - The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared
06. NEW Iain Broome – A is For Angelica
07. NEW James Symthe – The Explorer
08. NEW Tina Fey – Bossy Pants
09. NEW Danny Wallace – Awkward Situations for Men
10. RR Audrey Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife
11. NEW James Smythe – The Testimony
12. NEW Haruki Murakami – A Wild Sheep Chase

January was a good month for reading. A nice mix of old and new, my favourite new book was A is For Angelica by Iain Broome. A debut novel that was a fantastic and tense read, I’d definitely say it’s worth checking out. The Explorer by James Smythe is another one to pick up too – gritty and dark and intriguing from the first paragraph. The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared was a book club read and I was the only one who didn’t enjoy it – I thought it was too unbelievable and lacked any genuine emotion but everyone else seemed to enjoy it so maybe I’m just a bit weird?

I’m still working my way through my 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 161. Still a few more to go ;) I’d probably get there quicker if I didn’t re-read so many books but there are some like  The Time Traveler’s Wife that I love to read every year. (I do not even care that people think it’s some sort of sappy love story – it’s probably my favourite book and that’s a pretty high honour given how many I read. If you haven’t read it already, YOU SHOULD. Ahem.)

What’s everyone else reading at the moment? I feel like I’m so far behind on new books, it’s shameful. Recommendations, please! :)

Mementos From The Wedding

Posted by in Projects, Wedding

Our wedding has been featured on Cwtch the Bride – the new Welsh Wedding Blog. I urge you to check it out, the whole site is beautiful and I’m not just saying that because I work for it, heh.

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We have a lot of fantastic memories from our wedding day – Maria did an absolutely incredible job of capturing it all for us. We received almost 1500 photos from her in the end and she shot for 15 hours, amazing! We’ve also amassed a small collection of mementos to help remind of us the day, and I thought some of you might like to see them :)

Wedding Mementos

We bought the plate at the museum gift shop, because we wanted a reminder from the venue (we got married in a maritime museum) and they didn’t sell snow globes which is what we usually collect. The badges were in place of buttonholes – Q wore the S and I wore the T :) The ships wheel was a gift from my uncle, which I thought was a really nice touch :)

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Our thank you cards, designed by the ever wonderful Leni Kauffman, to match our invitations. We had them printed with vistaprint as postcards but I wouldn’t recommend them, really. The service was just okay, the postcards are fine but a non standard size which meant when we printed 6×4 photos to go in with them they didn’t fit inside the envelopes (which I’d already pre-addressed and stamped. Oh well!).

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Lisa and her husband Peter bought us this beautiful print from our Etsy registry (which I highly reccomend, by the way) – the poem on the front is the one we used on our invitations so it was lovely to receive the original inspiration for it.

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My flower managed to survive the night (I cannot say the same for the girl’s flowers, heh) so we’ve stuck it in a vase. I can’t bear to throw it away after all the time Q spent making them!

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Another little souvenir from the museum, little boats – blue for Q and yellow for me (of course).

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Our friend Alice couldn’t make it to the wedding but sent us these beautiful Mr & Mrs forks (as well as some other lovely gifts).

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We made our guestbook ourselves, and asked our friend Adam to illustrate the cover for us, as we couldn’t print straight onto it. He did a fantastic job.

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We put some of our favourite photos from the engagement shoot in it, then added a little envelope for everyone and asked them to write us a note. It was so much fun to open them all, like getting 70 letters all at once! It’s not perfect by any means – the weight of the envelopes means some of the photos got a little crumpled and it doesn’t close without a ribbon holding it shut, but I totally and utterly love it all the same :)

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We also put copies of the readings from the ceremony in to remind us of them.

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I used Leni’s design from our invites to make them, and we also printed larger version to frame and give to the girls as gifts.

Two Become Chong

I also asked Adam to design a film poster as a surprise for Tzevai (the room we got married in looked like a cinema so we had a film theme for the ceremony), which we’re planning on framing and hanging in our new house.

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This tho, is quite possibly my favourite wedding gift, if only for the amount of time, effort and thought that went into making it! Rob, Carrie, Howard and Sam all spent time putting together the story of Pip (our littlest panda) and the wedding. We read it at the reception and I couldn’t stop laughing, it was all fantastic :) This is just a selection of the illustrations they did – they worked so hard on it and it really is fantastic. Thanks guys!

It might be corny to say but it’s nice to be surrounded by the things that remind us of such a happy day. So suck it, haters ;)

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Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Yellow bookmarks
  • Cinema trips
  • Curling up in a duvet on the sofa
  • Unexpected happy post
  • Keeping resolutions

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Nan,

Thanks for introducing me to the world of electric blankets over twenty years ago. Some of my favourite memories of your house are the nights we stayed over and crawled into an already toasty bed. This winter would have been a much harsher beast without mine to keep me snug and warm.

Love

Sarah

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

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Posted by in Food Exploits

I decided to give up wheat and dairy in 2013 because although I love them both they do not seem to be all that fond of me (*sob*). We cook a lot at home and it’s very much been a trial and error process working out what recipes we can adapt and which ones we’ll have to relegate to the back of the recipe folder for now. I haven’t really found a good substitute for cheese or double cream yet (although I’ve finally found some soya single cream so I can make carbonara again, horray!) – it seems far easier to replace wheat than dairy at the moment.

This is mostly for my record so I can keep track of what we’ve tried, but I’ll try and write up some of these recipes soon for anyone who’s also trying something similar. If anyone has any favourite wheat free and dairy free recipes feel free to share, we haven’t got a large stock at the moment and I’m getting bored of salad ;)

Wheat free and dairy free recipes we have successfully made:
Chocolate chunk brownies
French onion soup
Cherry jam and apple crumble
Pizza dough
Walnut and rocket pesto
Chocolate mousse

Wheat free and dairy free recipes that were a bit of a disaster:
Bread (so many times. Sigh)
Bread rolls
Cookies
Whipped coconut cream (apparently it’s supposed to be just like double cream but it bloody wasn’t for me and I was pissed)

I’ve got a whole board of wheat free food to try, and I recently bought this wheat free and dairy free cookbook so hopefully we’ll be able to find a few more things to add to our repertoire. I must admit, I thought it’d be harder to give them up (it always has been before) but this year I think it finally clicked – the only person who can do for me is me. If I want to feel better I need to avoid the foods that make me feel bad, instead of knowing that and then eating them anyway.

Well gosh, wasn’t this dull? Sorry kidlets.  My blog my rules ;)

Our Wedding – Ceremony & Reception

Posted by in A Little Conversation, Projects, Wedding

Our wedding has been featured on Cwtch the Bride – the new Welsh Wedding Blog. I urge you to check it out, the whole site is beautiful and I’m not just saying that because I work for it, heh.

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This is probably the slowest wedding recap in history (we’ve been married for almost 5 months, oy!) but here we go, onto the 3rd wedding post – the ceremony and the reception! :) These are mostly for me to be honest to be able to remember the day and what we did, so feel free to skip over if you’re not that into weddings, I won’t be offended, promise. (As always, all the photos in these posts are thanks to our amazing photographer, Maria Farrelly. Thanks Maria!)

Ring Bearer: Instead of having our best man as our ring bearer we had our pet panda, Eric. We tied the rings to his paw with yellow ribbon and sat him at the front of the theatre, ready for his big moment! Definitely less stressful that having a child or a real animal holding onto them ;)

Eric the panda - our ring bearer

Music: The bridesmaids walked in to You and Me by Penny and the Quarters and I walked in to a violin piece by Bernard Fanning. We walked out to Hold My Head Above the Water by Quiet Company.

Vows: We wrote our own vows and I was really nervous that I was going to be too emotional to say mine as I knew I was going second. Q was actually banking on me crying as he had a line in his vows about that, which I obviously didn’t know about at the time but lucky for him I was tearing up a little! Having our panda Eric as the ring bearer was great too, as he got a good laugh from the crowd and our registrar really got into the spirit of things with us :)

Vows - crying Vows - Q laughing First kiss as Mr & Mrs Chong!

Confetti: The venue asked us not to use confetti in our reception room – it’s so close to the balcony and makes an almighty mess, apparently. Instead we gave everyone party poppers in their order of service bags with the intention of popping them as we walked out of the ceremony. We changed our minds at the last minute, opting to pop them somewhere with better light, which meant all our guests had to wait about an hour while we had some couples photos done on our own, sorry guys ;)

(I couldn’t bear how ugly the labels were so I printed up some with our names and the wedding date to cover them up!)

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Favours: Our favours were homegrown wild poppy seeds courtesy of my parent’s garden, some bubbles and lottery tickets presented in lai-see (red envelopes given at Chinese New Year, as a nod to Q’s Chinese heritage). We tucked them into little pockets made from sheet music to echo our invitations, which had the same thing.

Our wedding favours
Our wedding favours - a winning scratchcard Our wedding favours - a losing scratchcard

Speeches: Tze and I decided to do a joint speech but didn’t really plan what we wanted to say past who we were going to thank and give gifts too. It seemed to go down well tho, so that’s a plus! :)

Joint wedding speechTom (our best man)’s speech was definitely funnier than ours, although he did make us a cocktail that I have no desire to drink again so he loses points for that ;)

Wedding speech - best man

First Dance: It took us a while to pick a first dance – for a few months it was going to be I’m Yours by Jason Mraz – but we eventually settled on Heart of Life by John Mayer because it’s pretty and (more importantly) short. I am not a lover of slow dancing and it was sort of excruciating having everyone watch us making a slow, shuffling circle around the dance floor, heh.

First dance First dance
The End: Our last song was Grace Under Pressure by Elbow (my favourite song, I have the title tattooed on my foot as a reminder to have more grace!) and it was my absolute favourite moment from the wedding. We twirled together laughing as our friends and family formed a circle around us and it culminated in a massive group hug, Maria included, recording it all for us. It gave me goosebumps to watch the video back :)

Group shot(our group shot, complete with yellow heart shaped balloons :) )

There are actually two more wedding related posts that I have lined up, but this is the last of the recaps so you can breath a sigh of relief if weddings really don’t float you boat. Falling Foward will be back to it’s regularly scheduled programming of lists, lists and more lists in no time ;)