Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Instagram
  • Maps
  • The mornings getting lighter again
  • Undo buttons
  • Gold embossed book covers

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear shiny floors in shopping centres,

Thank you for being the perfect medium to skid on, late at night, when there’s no-one around. It’s nice to break a few of the rules every now and again.

Love

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.

Pay it Forward: The Amber Show

Posted by in Paying it Forward

Who: Amber!

Me and Amber on a tube in London, in 2014.

Where: www.theambershow.net

Why: Amber Marlow is my people. She’s sassy, she’s smart and she’s super friendly. She knows what she wants and she goes out and gets it – a quality I both admire and adore. Her writing is thoughtful, insightful and, most importantly, funny. More people should read it, so this is me, paying the love forward :)

My favourite posts:

Life List: Catch Fireflies in a Jar on a Summer Night – Check!

“The whole evening felt like someone mending the sail of a sailboat, sewing small tears up in my soul.”

Life List: Hike in Hawaii, Jump Off a Cliff, and Yell “Geronimo!” on the Way Down – Check!

“It wasn’t easier the second time – it might have actually been more difficult because of the fresh memory of the feeling of falling which is, frankly, horrible – but it cemented my bravery. Which is important, because the pursuit of bravery is kind of my thing these days.”

In Which I Disgrace Myself in Public  

“I started to walk to my local bar… and then my body just gave up. Gave in. Betrayed me, on the sidewalk right outside my apartment, thirty fucking years old with rivers pouring down my thighs, out of the back of my heels, and down the street. It was like an out-of-body experience: I literally couldn’t believe it.

And then I laughed. What else was there to do?”

Secret Pizza Word Number 3 Is In Play

“There are now five people that have secret pizza words. I am officially declaring myself a movement starter.”

Celebrate Birthdays Spontaneously

“I carry birthday candles in my purse. […] Because they’re so tiny, they can be jammed in just about anything – more than once they’ve been stuck in the lime of a tequila shot – and since birthdays are right up there with puppies and sex as my favorite things ever, they stayed in my purse for spontaneous, low-key celebrations anywhere.”

Go, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, fall in love with her*.

If you’ve got suggestions of people that you think I’ll love please let me know, I’m always looking for new blogs to follow! :)

*Platonic love only, please ;)

2015 Goals: January Round-Up

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

I thought I’d do a monthly round-up of how my resolutions are going, as a way to encourage me to stay on track and plan goals, rather than leaving everything to the last minute! Here’s my January round-up. We’re abroad for two weeks in February, so it’ll be interesting to see how much that affects my progress! :)

Progress Made

  • 200 sugar free days: 13/200
  • Exercise 52 times: 18/52
  • Clear my ‘to read’ shelf: 2/32
  • Read 100 books: 10/100
  • Watch 100 films: 8/100
  • Watch 26 films at the cinema: 3/26
  • Weigh no more at the end of the year than I did at the start: 3lbs lost

Truth.

One of the ‘to read shelf’ books, done!

Spend less at the supermarket than we did in 2014

I made a super geeky spreadsheet to track our spending and motivate us – so far it’s working! :)

Have more patience

I’m not sure I’ve necessarily had more patience, but I’ve definitely been aware of wanting to be more patient, and trying to put that into place where I can.

A lovely notebook I picked up in TK Maxx, with a gentle reminder.

Be kind!

I hope that I’ve done this! :) It definitely ties in with being more patient, I think. I’ve been trying to give my full attention more when people are speaking, and empathising rather than rushing in with solutions for problems.

Be productive!

I’ve definitely been aware of this goal too. While there was a fair amount of Netflixing in January I also wrote a lot of blog posts and cleaned up various different spaces (physical and digital).

I re-arranged the office to better suit my needs. I still work from bed 90% of the time, but it’s nice to know it’s there ;)

No Progress Made

Finish the library

We’re plotting and planning to move some furniture around, but we haven’t yet got our bums into gear to start anything.

Build a WordPress theme

I feel like I’ve really honed in on an idea of what I want to do with my freelance career, and part of that is improving my WordPress skills. Treehouse has all the resources for me to achieve this one, I just actually need to commit the time and effort to doing it!

Push against my comfort zone

Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve done this or not, which probably means that I haven’t. I guess exercising more kinda counts, but not anywhere near enough to make a big difference. Suggestions are welcome for how to tick this one off!

I feel like I picked smart choices which is helping me stay on track, rather than ambitious lofty goals I had no hope of achieving. My mantra this year is “slow and steady” I think. How are you all getting on with your goals for this year? :)

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Fine liners
  • Universal charging cables
  • Sitting outdoors under a warm blanket
  • Warming your feet on a radiator
  • Donating books to charity

See the whole list here

31 for 31: Learn How to Make Delicious Cookies

Posted by in 31 for 31, Food Exploits, Projects

I’m a good cook, but a lousy baker. I can just about manage cakes and cupcakes but biscuits and cookies have always alluded me. Since going gluten-free I’ve found it even harder – the science of baking is even more difficult to tame when you’re dealing with tapioca starch and xanthan gum!

Last time I made cookies, this is how they turned out. Not great. I mean, they actually tasted okay but they looked like an absolute mess, ha.

My friend/boss Rob decided to help me out of my biscuit dilemma, and taught me how to make delicious cookies last month. I’ve made them twice now and both times they’ve been great so I’m counting this as a skill learnt! :) Thanks Rob!

Delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

(adapted from David Lebovitz)

  • 60g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 60g dark or light brown sugar
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90g gluten-free flour (I use Dove Farms self raising, usually)
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (Maldon, rock or sea salt is fine. Don’t use table salt!)
  • 100g coarsely chopped dark or milk chocolate

1. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy
2. Add in the egg and the vanilla
3. Stir the flour and salt into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chopped chocolate
4. Cover and chill the batter until firm. It’s preferable to let it rest overnight, apparently, if you can wait that long for delicious cookies. Give it at least 4 hours in the fridge or freezer if you can fit the bowl in
5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
6. Form the cookie dough into balls about the size of a large walnut. Place the balls evenly spaced on the baking sheet, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed
7. Bake the cookies for ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until they look about set, but are not brown
8. Remove from oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then remove them with a spatula to a cooling rack

The only thing left to do after that is eat the delicious cookies. Om nom nom!

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear books I borrow from my friends,

Thanks for strengthening the connection I have with the people I love, even if I means I have to be more careful about folding corners.

Love

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.

My First Year As A Freelancer

Posted by in A Little Conversation

My spiffy looking portfolio. Why yes, I do like yellow. How did you know?

2014 was my first proper year of freelancing. Booking clients, invoicing people, submitting a tax return – all fun stuff. I thought it’d be a fun exercise to share a little bit about what I learnt in my first year as a freelancer, in case any of you are considering taking the plunge! First up, some background.

How I ended up as a freelancer in the first place

I actually fell into it by accident, to be honest. A combination of being unable to find a permanent contract anywhere and a couple of friend’s with small businesses offering me some contract work and boom, there you go, I’m suddenly a freelancer. I’m pretty outgoing so I talk to people a lot, which is also handy for a freelance career. Most of my work comes through word of mouth!

I’ve been dabbling with coding for about 15 years now, and I’ve been online for a loooong time (I am 31, it happens), so even tho my general job skills were based in administration it didn’t feel like too much to transition what I was doing in my spare time (chatting on Twitter and building websites) to my actual job.

What I do, and how I do it

My lovely clients and their lovely logos. Lovely.

I mostly do marketing and social media, and WordPress dev altho I also create content and provide customer service support. Multi-faceted! I’ve always been interested in the internet and building websites, and I’m supremely chatty and people based, so they seemed like a good fit for me.

I don’t have a set in stone routine, but I usually start work at around 10 (altho I do wake up earlier than that, I swear! Ha). I usually work with certain clients on certain days, so I’ll either be doing some marketing stuff or I’ll be working on a website design depending on where in the week I am. I’m a completely paperless operation so everything is done via my laptop, which is pretty sweeet. It means I can work from anywhere in the world, essentially, which is a pretty nice feeling.

I normally stop for lunch at around 1pm and try to take a 45 minute break away from my laptop and my phone. Then it’s back to work until 5 or 6, depending on when Q gets home / how much work I have left.

Sometimes I work in the evenings, but I try not to because it doesn’t feel like a great use of my time and my brain is definitely more tired then.

What I learnt this year

I am good at talking to people and self-motivating but I’m bad at time-management and sticking to one task at a time. 2014 was an interesting year – I definitely made some mistakes (make backups, kids. Seriously), but overall it went well. I built a small core of happy clients who like to tell other people to hire me. They’re really the best.

Pros of being a freelancer

  • You set your own hours
  • You can work from home
  • You’re in charge of what you do (mostly!)
  • You can work for people who have the same ethos as you
  • You get to set your own prices

Cons of being a freelancer

  • The hours can be irregular
  • It can be pretty isolating
  • The fear that you don’t have anyone to fall back on
  • You have to motivate yourself, constantly, forever. No-one else will be around to do it for you
  • Some months you will have money, some months you won’t

The future

One of my favourite sites I did last year – Costa Sister Productions

I really want to move more towards WordPress dev (themes and bespoke stuff next!) and maybe an app or two? Who knows. The world is my proverbial oyster, really.

Tools for freelancers

If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, these are some of the tools that I use on a daily basis that you might find useful.

  • Toggl – for time tracking
  • Trello – for organising your stuff
  • Debitoor – I use this for my invoicing and it works a treat
  • WeTransfer – for sending big files that are too large for email
  • Copy – like Dropbox, but with a way bigger allowance (if you sign up via my link we both get an extra 5GB! Nice.)

They’re all free tools (some have premium options), which is nice if you’re just starting out as you can see what works for you before you commit to anything.

I also use Treehouse to learn new coding languages and skills, and while it’s not free I do think it’s worth it!

Honestly, I would recommend freelancing if you’re sick of your job and want to try working for yourself. It’s an interesting process and it won’t suit everyone, but I really think that it suits me well :) Here’s to 2015!

Cheer Up Monday

Posted by in A Little Conversation

Apropos of nothing, here are some cute photos from the internet, in case you need cheering up. (Click through for links to original sources)



 

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

See the whole list here