Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

30 for 30: Give Blood

Posted by in 30 for 30, A Little Conversation, My Life In Lists

This week I ticked off another of my 30 for 30 goals: give blood. I’ve been giving blood semi-regularly for a few years, but I took a break between 2010 and this year (mostly because I was lazy and forgetful, not because I specifically didn’t want to give) so I decided to add it to my list to encourage me to remember to go.

As blood types go mine is fairly rare (fun fact #1: Q and I have exactly the same blood type, B+. Fun fact #2: in my family we have all four blood types: my dad is O, my mum is AB, my sister is A and I’m B :) ) so I know it’s even more important for me to give as there are less people with my blood type to begin with.

It’s hard to impress sometimes how important it is to do – and I know that some of my friends are excluded from being able to give for various reasons, which is a shame but always makes me feel like it’s even more important for me to donate, as someone who is able to do so. I have friends who have had transfusions, when in accidents or during cancer treatment and it genuinely can mean the difference between life and death for a staggering number of people.

Still not convinced? You get free biscuits and squash after you’ve done it. Everyone loves biscuits, right?

If you live in Wales (like I do) then you can find your nearest donation session at the Welsh Blood Service website. If you live elsewhere in the UK (like I used to) you can use the National Blood Service website instead. So you have no excuse not to donate, really. Even if you have a needle phobia, I promise, it really isn’t that bad. If you’ve never given blood then maybe give it a go, huh? What’s the worst that can happen? If you do it for the first time after reading this then let me know and I might send you something nice as a thank you. (I am an excellent gift giver, fyi.) INCENTIVES, YO. 

Life List Update

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Take a holiday that involves a hammock – check

This is the first update I’ve done since December apparently, yikes. I’ve ticked 14 things off my list in the last 9 months, and, er, added 14. Ha. I’ve completed 59 of 221 at the moment, which I think is pretty good going for a list that’s not even three years old.

As always, the more I do the more I think of that I’d like to do and the happier I become at being able to tick of those items. Some of them (like See Paris from the Eiffel tower) have been things I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl, so it’s awesome to finally be able to fulfill them :)

Work continues on the 30 for 30 list, too. I’m three months in with four goals completed so far. Most of the others are in progress tho, and it’s been so much fun re-reading all my favourite books and writing letters to my friends. 30 has been a pretty great year so far!

Completed: 14
Visit Cardiff Castle
Plant a cherry tree
Learn how to do a handstand under water
Eat a pain au chocolat in Paris
Go to an aquarium with Tzevai

Win a pub quiz
Try snorkelling
Do something memorable for my 30th birthday
Buy a house
Buy a waffle iron and make waffles
Buy something wildly frivolous from Habitat
Take a holiday that involves a hammock
Go on a holiday with my friends
See Paris from the Eiffel tower


Learn to poach an egg
Pick an avocado and eat it

Do the Harry Potter studio tour
Complete my 30 for 30 list
Sleep under the stars

Learn how to crochet
Swim a length under water
Learn how to do a handstand under water

Give 50 Kiva loans
Get a Marc Johns illustration as a tattoo
Donate my hair
Shave my head for charity

Visit Stonehenge

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • New yellow jackets
  • Spending time with people who make you laugh
  • Soft butter on warm bread
  • Quiet walks around the lake
  • The smell of tomatoes

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Amy,

Thank you for buying me my first ever pair of Converse, as a 30th birthday present. I’m still not 100% sure I’m lacing them up properly (I am not so much with the fashion) but they were a godsend in Paris and they’re fucking YELLOW, which, of course, instantly makes them the best shoes I own. I love you like butter,

Love Sarah

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

5 Lovely Things From Present & Correct

Posted by in 5 Lovely Things, Projects

This is the fourth post in my “5 Lovely Things…” series and we’re heading back to Etsy to check out Present & Correct.It’s not exactly a massive secret that I like stationery (I love writing letters, lists and birthday cards) so my love for Present & Correct was perhaps a little inevitable. Such pretty stationery, such affordable prices. Most of their pieces are available in limited quantities but it’s okay because all their stuff is ace so if you like one piece you’ll like them all. Yay!

These are my favourites – although trust me, it was bloody hard to narrow it down to five.

“From the desk of…” Rubber Stamps – £7.95

Crown Card – £3.78

Geometry Set Jotters – £5.09

Letterpress Happiness Print – £14.63

(Side note: I am in love with these letterpress notecards – especially the Roly-poly & Custard ones.)

British Cafe Letterpress Notecard Set – £13.04

Not a sponsored post, I just like the store :)

ABCs of Travel

Posted by in A Little Conversation

I’ve had this list saved in my drafts folder ever since Val posted it in December 2011 – OUCH. Luckily, I’ve done a lot of travelling since then, so I have lots of new things I can talk about! :)

A: Age you went on your first international trip: I actually have no idea. We went to France a few times when I was a kid, but I don’t know how old I was the first time I went!

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: I, erm, don’t drink beer. But I had quite a few delicious cocktails in Mexico, if that counts for anything.

C: Cuisine (favorite): Chinese, without a doubt.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: Singapore was fantastic – so clean, so British! Portugal was not so amazing – getting kicked off a train for something that wasn’t your fault will skew an experience slightly, I suppose.

Singapore, 2012

Portugal, 2011

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: Chinese New Year was pretty cool :) We haven’t really experienced many events abroad – I’d love to go to the snow festival in Sapporo tho. One day!

F: Favorite mode of transportation: Train. Planes are too, too frightening.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: Lying somewhere near the sun (not in it, this redhead wasn’t built for heat) reading a book and then slipping into the pool to cool down.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Bali. 40 degrees and above. I burnt like toast.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Mexico was pretty epic but it was a 5 star resort, so, it would have been a bit of a letdown if it’d been anything but, I suppose?

J: Journey that took the longest: Travelling to Australia. 22 hours, three changes, one grandmother threatened with a gun.

K: Keepsake from your travels: Q and I collect snowglobes now from every place we’ve visited together. The tackier the better!

L: Let-down sight, why and where: The Acropolis at Lindos in Rhodes, for being shut after we hiked all the way up that damn hill in the blistering heat. Couldn’t have mentioned the opening times at the bottom, guys?

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: I’m not sure that I have, yet? I love visiting new places but the actual act of travelling between them is not something I love. Unless I’m by a pool with a limitless of guacamole and books to read then I’m always happy to come home.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: This one, where we went on our honeymoon.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Food!

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? 6: Canada, Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia. Bloody Europe and their lack of stampage.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: We missed out on the museum of Erotica in Prague, but we did see the Merlion in Singapore, which was pretty cool.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Chinese New Year is a must (people give you money sometimes, which is a nice added bonus). I also loved snorkelling off the coast of Greece – something I wasn’t expecting to be bothered about but ended up loving.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Food, as long as it’s good.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: We did the Eiffel Tower in Paris recently, which was pretty damn touristy.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Sitting on beach in Mexico, watching the sun come up.

V: Visas, how many and for where? One, for Indonesia. I’m still smarting about that – they charge you to get in and out of the country. Cheeky.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?: I don’t drink wine!

X: eXcellent view and from where? Anywhere tall. The CN Tower in Toronto, The Eiffel Tower in Paris. See also: window seats on planes.

Toronto Skyline

Y: Years spent traveling?: 24, on and off.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: Rugby fans in Wales take the cake for this one.

Let me know if you do this too? I love hearing about the rest of the world. I really need to make more time for travelling. The more of the world I get to see the more of it I want to experience. TRAVEL TO ALL OF THE PLACES.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Free time to blog
  • Strawberry juice
  • New hoodies
  • The first autumn chill
  • Feeling accomplished, post flat pack build

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Paris,

Thank you for allowing me to practice my rusty French, not laughing at my attempts to communicate and for introducing me to your beautiful city. Even tho my feet were killing, your beautiful food and wonderful quirkyness more than made up for it.

Love Sarah

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

September Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW David Sedaris – The Santaland Diaries [book club]
02. RR William Gibson – Pattern Recognition [30 for 30]
03. NEW James Smythe – The Machine [30 for 30]
04. RR Bill Bryson – The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid [30 for 30]
05. NEW Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of the Island [30 for 30]
06. NEW Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter – The Long War
07. NEW Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking [30 for 30]
08. RR Terry Pratchett – Reaper Man [30 for 30]
09. RR Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus [30 for 30]
10. NEW Emma Donahue – The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits [30 for 30]
11. NEW Cheryl Strayed – Wild [30 for 30]
12. RR Philip Pullman – The Northern Lights [30 for 30]
13. RR Philip Pullman – The Subtle Knife [30 for 30]

September was a solid month for reading. We jetted off to Paris for our anniversary and then spent four days in Devon with nothing to do but read, which, not gonna lie, was pretty glorious. The Santaland Diaries is the bookclub pick for December, but it came already so I read it out of sync. Very dark, very amusing and pleasingly short.

The Year of Magical Thinking was a lesson in grief and loss, as was Wild. Two very different schools of thinking which have left me with a lot to digest. Both would be good to re-read later, I think. The Long War was  bit of a disappointment, if I’m honest. It just felt like it didn’t go anywhere – no tension, no drama. A shame. Last and definitely least was The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits which I didn’t enjoy in the slightest. That’ll teach me to add books to my list without reading what they’re about, I suppose!

Our library finally has a bed (to snuggle up on) and bookshelves so hopefully the winter reading tally will continue on at a good pace. I’m aiming to break 100 books in October – we’ll see! :)

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 205.

August Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. RR Douglas Coupland – Hey Nostradamus [30 for 30]
02. NEW Stephen King – ‘Salem’s Lot [30 for 30]
03. NEW Francine Pascal – Sweet Valley Confidential [30 for 30]
04. NEW Jenny Downham – Before I Die [30 for 30]
05. RR Jon McGregor – If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things [30 for 30]
06. NEW Jenny Lawson – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened [30 for 30]
07. NEW Matt Haig – The Radleys [30 for 30]
08. NEW Jennifer E Smith – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight [30 for 30]
09. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 01 A Bad Beginning [30 for 30]
10. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 02 The Reptile Room
11. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 03 The Wide Window
12. RR Judy Blume – Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
13. NEW Judy Blume – Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
14. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 04 The Miserable Mill
15. NEW Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse Five [30 for 30]
16. RR Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables [30 for 30]
17. RR Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games [30 for 30]
18. RR Terry Pratchett – The Colour of Magic [30 for 30]
19. NEW John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas [30 for 30]
21. RR Suzanne Collins – Catching Fire [30 for 30]
22. RR Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay [30 for 30]
23. NEW Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Avonlea [30 for 30]

Oof, bit late with the August update! I blame the two holidays we took in September (fancy) and the huge, huge amount of work we’ve been doing in the house. We’re almost done tho, so at least the end is in sight.

I managed an epic 23 books this month and ticked quite a few off my 30 for 30 lists too which is always a bonus. My favourite new book this month was without a doubt Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, which had me genuinely laughing out loud multiple times during reading. Sweet Valley Confidential was an absolute mess (perhaps unsurprisingly) and Salem’s Lot didn’t feel very King-like, although it was nice to finally piece together the story that continues on into The Dark Tower series, which are some of my favourites.

I re-read a lot of Lemony Snicket – they’re comfort read books, really, nice to pick up in between heavier reads. & I finally cried at the end of The Hunger Games trilogy, which I didn’t do the first time around. September is almost finished – I haven’t managed quite as many books but I’m definitely going to hit 100 before the end of the year, which is always pleasing :)

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and at the end of August I was up to 198.