Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Friday Thanks

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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).

Love

Sarah

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.

Books: January Update!

Posted by in Books, Projects

1. RR David Levithan – The Lover’s Dictionary
2. NEW Stephen King – Joyland
3. NEW Douglas Coupland – Worst. Person. Ever.
4. NEW Tom Holt – Someone Like Me
5. NEW F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
6. NEW Patrick Ness – The Crane Wife
7. NEW William Gibson – Johnny Mnemonic
8. NEW Haruki Murakami – The Elephant Vanishes
9. NEW Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
10. RR Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie [30 for 30]
11. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 08 The Hostile Hospital
12. NEW Jennifer E Smith – You Are Here
13. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 09 The Carnivorous Carnival
14. NEW Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 10 The Slippery Slope
15. NEW Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 11 The Grim Grotto
16. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 12 The Penultimate Peril
17. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 13 The End
18. RR Audrey Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife [30 for 30]
19. NEW Jon McGregor – This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
20. NEW David Levithan – Every Day
21. NEW Ernest Hemingway – Big Two-Hearted River
22. NEW Matt Haig – The Dead Fathers Club
23. NEW Janet Evanovich – Takedown Twenty
24. NEW John Steinbeck – The Pearl
25. NEW Joe Hill & Stephen King – Throttle
26. NEW Truman Capote – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
27. NEW Alice Munro – Away From Her
28. NEW Julie Otsuka – The Buddha in the Attic
29. NEW Muriel Spark – The Driver’s Seat
30. NEW Muriel Spark – The Abbess of Crewe
31. NEW Truman Capote – Summer Crossing

So! I inadvertently set myself a crazy challenge in January to read a book a day, because I read three in three days and then I was on a streak and I didn’t want to quit… (did I mention I am stubborn? I am stubborn). So yes, I read 31 books in January and if you’d asked me if it was possible to do it I would have said no, which shows you just how little faith I have in my own abilities I guess. Next step, the world!

My friend Lola challenged me mid-way through January to read more books by women than men in 2014, to which I said a resounding “HELL YES”. I cannot name enough amazing female authors and that definitely needs to change.

Away from Her The Buddha in the Attic were two completely different books but both fantastic, as was The Driver’s Seat (although deeply disturbing with it). I also re-read the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events and discovered that I actually hadn’t read them all – bonus. The Graveyard Book was fantastic, as was Joyland. Johnny Mnemonic and The Dead Father’s Club less so.

I also managed to tick off two more from my ‘30 for 30 favourite re-reads‘, so now I only have one more to go, whoo hoo! I do want to try to read more new books than re-reads this year tho, I’m never going to reach my 1000 new books if I keep on just re-reading my favourites ;)

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 248.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things

  • Completing the first month of the Colour:365 project
  • Hosting a successful Life List party
  • Cats who come home
  • Fountain pens
  • The first sugary drink after a month of abstinence

See the full list here

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Getting over the hiccups
  • Cats who purr when you pet them
  • Waking up without an alarm clock
  • Upgraded Kindles
  • Saucisson

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Subway,

Thanks for having a ridiculous offer where it’s cheaper for me to buy a salad and a bottle of water than just a salad on its own. Any excuse to come in and load up on gherkins and ranch dressing is a-okay by me.

Love

Sarah

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

Favourite Films of 2013

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Because we each have a Cineworld Unlimited card, Q and I watch a lot of films. We managed to rack up 52 visits to the cinema in 2013, and I watched another 30 films at home on top of that. I have a goal on my Life List to watch 500 new to me movies, so I’m slowly working my way towards that.

I thought I’d do a top 5 round up of my favourite new releases of 2013, just so I can look back on this at some point and think “oh yeah, I really should watch that again…”

5. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2

This was so good. So good! It was utterly adorable, had plenty of amazing food based puns and was just generally good all round fun. The perfect feel good cartoon, I think.

4. Despicable Me 2

Along with 75% of the population I have a massive soft spot for the minions, so it’s probably not surprising that this made it onto the list. Add in the fact that there was a nacho had with a lake of guacamole and I was totally sold. (Also, where can I get one of those, please?)

3. This is 40

We actually watched this twice and it was just as funny the second time around. I’m growing to love Paul Rudd – I’ve been fond of him since the good old Clueless days but he’s definitely coming into his own now that’s he’s older. Perfect.

=1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

It was so hard to pick between these two that I’ve pussied out and declared them joint winners of 2013 – sorry! We saw a preview of Walter Mitty a month before it was released and I just absolutely adored it. Beautiful soundtrack? Check. 35mm film love? Check? Super cute Ben Stiller actually acting and not just being goofy? Check.

In the same way that Eternal Sunshine gave us a new side of Jim Carey, I think Walter Mitty finally allowed Ben Stiller to break away from the cheap comedy characters he’s probably most well known for. An absolutely delight from start to finish and a must, must, must watch.

=1. The Way, Way Back

I loved this film so hard, you guys. So hard. What is it that I love so much about films where comedy players step out of them comfort zones? Eternal Sushine,Walter Mitty and now this, with Steve Carrell playing, well, an asshole to be honest. But so well! Bravo, Steve. Bravo.

This little film was awkward and intense but full of small joyous victories and tiny moments of triumph. It’s also the film that turned Sam Rockwell from an ‘eh’ to a ‘more please’ for me, so yay for that too.

I’m looking forward to what 2014 is going to offer. It’s probably going to be the last year that we keep out Unlimited cards so we’re definitely going to have to make the most of them!

Life List: Get a Marc Johns Illustration as a Tattoo

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Check! :) I bought the print of this “Seek out the joy” illustration ages ago and have wanted it as a tattoo ever since. Marc is incredibly cool about people getting tattoos of his work so I added it to my Life List thinking it would be fun to check it off one day.

I have seven other tattoos already, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – I find them a bit addictive? The more I get done the more I think of that I’d love to have so I’m sure this won’t be my last one but for now I think it’s definitely my favourite :) (It’s on my upper, inner left arm in case anyone can’t work it out!)

Here’s to the joy, right?

 

Life List: Buy a Pair of Cats Eye Glasses

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Check :) Aren’t they cute? I won them in a competition on Hayley’s blog so while I technically didn’t buy them I’m still ticking this off. I’m actually hoping that this will be the last year that I wear glasses, bring on the laser eye surgery in 2015!

If anyone is wondering they’re Victoria in Marmalade by London Retro, and were kindly provided by My Optique. Thanks so much you guys!

December Book Update + 2013 Reading Roundup

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW William Gibson – Spook Country
02. RR Judy Blume – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
03. RR Judy Blume – Blubber
04. NEW Lauren Weisberger – Last Night at Chateau Marmont
05. RR Judy Blume – Starring Sally J Freedman, as Herself
06. NEW Haruki Murakami – After the Quake
07. RR Toby Litt – Exhibitionism
08. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona the Pest
09. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona The Brave
10. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona & Her Father
11. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona & Her Mother
12. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona Quimby, Age 8
13. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona Forever
14. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona’s World
15. NEW Lemony Snicket - A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy
16. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ersatz Elevator
17. NEW Caroline Smailes – Freaks
18. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village

I read a lot of childrens’ books in December because it was like snuggling under a warm duvet after being outside in the cold. I love childrens’ books, a lot. I thought I’d read the whole Ramona series but actually I think I must have just watched the TV series, because these weren’t familiar to me at all. Throw in some Judy Blume and Lemony Snicket and you’ve got yourself a perfect December in my eyes.

On the adult side, I’d forgotten just how good Exhibitionism was – really hoping that Toby Litt releases a new book soon now! Last Night at Chateau Marmont was complete and utter tosh, definitely not worth reading. After the Quake was the usual gentle Murakami weirdness (which I love) and Freaks missed the mark for me for the most part, but I’ve heard good things about Caroline Smailes so I’m willing to give her another shot. Onto the round up! :)

Best of 2013

Best new book in:

January: James Smythe - The Explorer

February: There were no standout new books in February. I only gave two 5* ratings and both of those were to re-reads.

March: March was the same. Lots of 3* ratings – nothing to write home about.

April: Hans Fallada – Alone in Berlin

May: LJ Smith – The Forbidden Game 1-3

June: Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects

July: Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls

August: Jenny Lawson – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

September: David Sedaris – The Santaland Diaries

October: John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

November: Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451

December: The whole Ramona series.

Best book overall:

John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

I zipped through this in a couple of hours. It was beautiful and heartfelt, painful and gut wrenching and ultimately a book I think I’ll re-read again and again. Bravo, John Green. Bravo.

Worst book overall: 

Jonas Jonasson - The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

God I hated this book. My mother liked it, the rest of our book group liked it but I absolutely couldn’t stand it.

Favourite re-read:

The Time Traveler’s Wife. Always.

2013 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 126

Number of new books read: 73

Number of re-reads: 53

Number of pages read: 37,270

5* rated: 20

1* rated: 2

Fiction vs Non-fiction: 125 fiction, 10 non-fiction

Adult vs Childrens’: 77 adult books, 49 kids books

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 224.