Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

#BuzzCutChong – Two Months On

Posted by in A Little Conversation

It’s been two months (and a few days) since I shaved my head for charity – can you believe that? Time. Flies. I thought people might like to see the progress that it’s making, so here are a few quick shots of it growing! Apologies if we follow each other on Instagram, you’ve already seen these my friends ;)

+ 0

Head shave day! It was shaved to a number 1, so it was pretty damn short. In fact, I think my eyebrows were longer than my hair which is a pretty weird thought, actually.

+ 4 days

On bald days we wear pink.

+ 1 week

There was a small triangular patch at the front that started to grow back in a different colour, which was pretty weird. Heh.

+ 3 weeks

Jen had a unicorn party so I sprayed my head with glitter and rocked it.

+ 1 month

At this point it was starting get fluffy, but I still couldn’t really point it in any direction and have it stay there.

+ 6 weeks

At six weeks you take gratuitous selfies, apparently, because you can barely see my hair in this, ha. The different coloured section turned into a strange cow-lick, because that’s always fun for everyone.

+ 2 months

& this is where I’m at now! :) It’s just starting to get to the stage where I can manipulate it, and if I move around a lot in my sleep then it sticks up like a fluffy baby bird in the morning. It looks kinda tall in this photo, I think I have a tendency to mohawk it with my fingers subconsciously, ha.

I’m excited to see how it moves on from here, it’s pretty much at the point now where it looks like a deliberate haircut choice, heh. Next stop, pixie cut!

Life List: Team Chong Supper Club

Posted by in A Little Conversation, Projects, Supper Club

At the beginning of March we threw our first “Secret Supper Club” event – 6 friends, 7 courses, £5 per head. It was so much fun that we’ve done it again a couple of times since then and each time it’s been an absolute blast.

I’m a big fan of food, as is Q (we have our own cooking blog together in fact), and we’ve been to a couple of supper clubs before so hosting one of our own seemed like the next logical step for us. There have been a few niggles along the way (hello to the person who complained to the council about us, btw) and we’re not sure if we want to do it as a full time venture yet, but it’s definitely been a pretty awesome adventure so far :)

(I have “throw regular secret supper clubs” on my Life List, but I haven’t quite figured out yet what counts as regular. Any suggestions?)

If you like food, you’ll probably like this. (If you wanna see the kind of things we cook you can see the menu from the first event here).

We’re planning the next one for the 17th of August. If you want to come (and you should!) then you can sign up here and we’ll send you some details out :) This one is extra special as all proceeds from the night will go towards the head shave fundraising, which means you can feel extra virtuous while stuffing your face. Perfect.

#MiaLovesYellow – A Birthday Thank You

Posted by in A Little Conversation

On my birthday I asked my friends to take photos of yellow things with the hashtag #mialovesyellow, and this is the result! Just want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part – look how pretty all the photos look together! :)

I might start doing this every year, heh.

Life, An Update

Posted by in A Little Conversation, My Life In Lists

I’ve had this post open for so long and all I’ve managed to write is the title. The habit of writing lists has become so ingrained that it’s become a struggle to write anything in long form these days. Oops.

So, where were we last time I wrote something that wasn’t a list? It was a pretty long time ago, I know that!

Things over the last year (?) have been…interesting. My parents split up, subsequently divorced and my dad moved in with someone else and is now engaged to her. My job has evolved, we got a cat, friends have got married, had children – a whole wealth of change has occurred in our little corner and it’s been difficult at times to keep up.

The whole deal with my parents was especially troubling but not something I felt I could really write about because it’s not my life, you know? Navigating our new family dynamic is hard and not always particularly rewarding – maybe we’ll never get there, who knows. My relationship with my mum has strengthened exponentially tho, and I am beyond grateful for that, if nothing else.

I can’t/won’t write any more about it, so let’s focus on the good things, instead. The sunshine, the hours of book reading, the late nights with friends laughing about stupid things. There’s been a lot of Life List activity this year which always makes me happy. I haven’t always managed to make the most of every day, but I’ve damn well made a lot of those days count for something.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen these photos before – for those who don’t, here’s a treat!

Boring Conference IV

We finally made it to the Boring Conference and it was wonderful. So many interest talks and friendly people, I’m so glad that James decided to do another one!

We’ve taken walks around the lake and had picnics in new places. I visited four new cities this year – Gloucester & Swansea with Q, and Wells & Salisbury with Amy and my mum.

Roath Lake – so grateful to have this beautiful spot so close to our house.

Amy & I are the coolest. Obvs.

I also managed to fit in a whirlwind meet with beautiful Amber Marlow in London, so that was fun. FYI: Taking photos on the tube is harder than it looks…

We’ve had BBQs and many, many games of Cards Against Humanity. We started a fledgling supper club (and ran into a few, hrm, niggles) and spent a lot of time in the kitchen. (Cooking and eating, heh). I also shot a lot of 35mm film. Mmm. 35mm…

I still really love to read other people’s blogs, I am just terrible at writing my own, apparently. We’ve getting back into the DIY swing of things with the house now the days are lighter, so perhaps I’ll do a couple of ‘before & after’ posts about the changes we’ve made.

I am well, I am happy (mostly) and I am still here, I promise. I just really, really, really like writing lists.

Monthly Goals for April & May

Posted by in A Little Conversation, Monthly Goals

5 Goals for April [5/5]

  1. Have a picnic in a new Cardiff park
  2. Leave 10 lovely notes [10/10]
  3. Crochet 3 stripes on Arthur’s blanket [3/3]
  4. Plant some seeds for the garden
  5. Finish the “Build a Simple PHP Application” stage on Treehouse

I completed my April goals, hurrah! Admittedly, we planted out the seeds and tidied up the garden on April 30th, but you know, it still counts. We actually managed to have a picnic on April 1st and then the day after it rained and rained and rained, so I felt quite smug about that. Take that, weather.

Elsewhere the “Simple PHP Application” didn’t seem so simple to me but maybe it’s me who’s simple, who knows, eh? Still, it got done which means I can move onto the next stage – whoop!

5 Goals for May [0/5]

  1. Finish “A Fraction of the Whole” [22%/100%]
  2. No phone browsing before bed (9:30pm cut off) [1/31]
  3. Finish Arthur’s blanket [0/7]
  4. Make two dishes from the Yo! Sushi cookbook [0/2]
  5. Make something with the sewing machine

So, onto May! Two of these are 30 for 30 related (book reading and blanket making), and the rest are just things that I want to be doing, really. I spend so much time on my phone and it’d be nice to step back from it in the evenings and get back into some other hobbies that have fallen by the way side.

We’re off to Italy for a week on Wednesday (it’s a work trip but I’m sure they’ll be some relaxing times). I’m going to take the blanket with me so hopefully they’ll be some progress to report by the time we get back!

Ciao ;)

Vocabulary; Growth Of

Posted by in A Little Conversation

New words – ah. I love them, truly. I highlight them on my Kindle whenever I spot them, and one of my best friends introduces me to a new word or two on an almost daily basis, which is fun. (In a “how do you know all these damn words?” kind of way. I need to read more Wikipedia and less Cyanide and Happiness, clearly).

I also have a ton of words that I can spell and use in context but couldn’t give a definition of if pressed, so I’ve started to collect them. I’m hoping that by writing them out and reading the definitions it might help them to stick. Enjoy!

(There are so many that I’ve actually started a page for them. Here’s a selection of my favourites tho..)

Ascetically n.

A person who renounces material comforts and leads a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion.

“She lived ascetically in a small house all by herself.”

(Not to be confused with Aesthetically.)

Delineation n.
The action of describing or portraying something precisely.

“The artist’s exquisite delineation of costume and jewellery.”

Denouement n.
The final part of a play, film, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

“The film’s denouement was unsatisfying and ambiguous.”

Egregious adj.
Outstandingly bad; shocking.

“Egregious abuses of copyright”
Gregarious adj.

(Of a person) fond of company; sociable.

“He was a popular and gregarious man”

Inimitable adj.
So good or unusual as to be impossible to copy; unique.

“They took the charts by storm with their inimitable style.”

Loquacious adj.
Tending to talk a great deal; talkative.

“Never loquacious, Sarah was now totally lost for words.”

Onerous adj.
(Of a task or responsibility) involving a great deal of effort, trouble, or difficulty.

“He found his duties increasingly onerous.”
Polyglot n.

A person having a speaking, reading, or writing knowledge of several languages.

“Rob was a polyglot.”

Sardonic adj.
Grimly mocking or cynical.

“Starkey attempted a sardonic smile.”

Sartorial adj.
Relating to tailoring, clothes, or style of dress.

“Sartorial elegance.”
Subjugate v.

Bring under domination or control, especially by conquest.

“The invaders had soon subjugated most of the population.”
I’m not the only person who keeps a list of new words – right?

2013 Review + 2014 Resolutions

Posted by in A Little Conversation, My Life In Lists

It’s the end of 2013, whoop! This year has been so up and down for so many people I know – we bought a house but lost a friend to cancer, my parents got a divorce but then #ChongCat entered our lives… a real swings and roundabouts year for us. I for one am not sorry to see the back of 2013 to be honest. I think I’m taking more positives from it than negatives (phew) and with that in mind, here’s a quick list of some of my favourite moments from this year :)

Favourite moments of 2013

  • Turning 30 (and the amazing day that Q planned for me)

  • Learning to crochet

  • Writing so many more letters
  • Breakfast at Wally’s Coffee Haus
  • Seeing a new European country when we went to Greece (and going on my first holiday with friends!)

Snorkelling

  • Hanging out with Sami K not once but twice!
  • Celebrating our anniversary in Paris

The Lourve

  • Hanging out with #TeamHubbard & #TeamGodfrey again
  • Lots of walks around the lake

Envy

  • Trips to London to see Mark, Dani, Anna, Tess, Leo, Aaron, Owen, Jess & Amy in one weekend. Phew!
  • Publishing two beautiful issues of Télégramme
  • Trying pole dancing & not sucking that badly ;)

  • Spending time with my BFF for the first time in forever
  • Teaching Amy to play the ukulele and then helping her to complete her 30 songs challenge

  • Getting my first ever freelance clients
  • Sitting with our feet in the paddling pool, reading a book in the sunshine

    • Having so much fun working my way through my 30 for 30 list :)
    • Learning to swim underwater
    • An impromptu trip to Bristol to eat PORKS with Hayley
    • Bringing #ChongCat home

  • Getting given 30 or so avocados for my birthday, ha
  • Playing Cards Against Humanity with my mum and dying with laughter
  • Ice-skating for Q’s birthday
  • #Chongmas

See. So many good things! Putting this post together has made me remember so many fun things and spurred me on to make 2014 even better. Fun! In true Sarah spirit I also made some resolutions at the end of last year, and here’s how I got on with them.

2013 resolutions!

Face my fears

I totally did this! I faced my fear of heights by taking a trapeze class. I faced my fear of looking like an idiot (and thus never doing things in case I look like an idiot) by uploading a solo ukulele cover, and by taking a pole dancing class (which was awesome). I faced my fear of flying by getting on another 4 flights (even tho I did freak out a bit when they put us near the emergency exit. Oops).

I did try to push myself to try new things this year, and to push through when I felt like I wanted to turn around and hide under the duvet. I think it’ll always be a work in progress but I’m definitely better :)

No alcohol for a year

I did this too! Every person I told, without exception, made a skeptical face like giving up alcohol was completely unthinkable, but I personally didn’t find it hard at all. I don’t drink a lot anyway so that’s probably part of it (and I don’t enjoy beer or wine), but this was probably the easiest goal of the four to complete.

That being said – I am looking forward to cracking this bad boy open in 2014.

More joy!

I definitely did this. I’m much more in tune with the things I know will make me happy now (lists, yellow things, avocados, reading) and also happier to tell people if I don’t like doing something. You like bowling? Great! I’m genuinely glad for you but I’m not going to come with you because I really, really hate it.

I tried hard not to put myself in situations where I knew going in that I probably wouldn’t like it, even when there was social pressure to attend. I’m hoping that I managed to pull this off without offending any of my friends but they’d be more qualified to confirm that statement than I am, heh.

Plus, look at that giant list up there! FULL. OF. JOY.

Less gossip

I failed at this. Boo. I did okay for a little while but mostly I was a gossipy gossipy gossip. Oops! Why is this so hard? I feel like gossip is used as social currency almost and that’s definitely something I want to work towards removing from my life. Oh well, you can but try, right?

-

So. 2013 was (mostly) full of win in my opinion. So what about 2014? Well…

2014 resolutions!

Year of code

I have a subscription to Treehouse but I haven’t used it for a while. Oops. I’d love to be more confident with coding in a couple of different languages by the end of the year – I might as well get on it since I have the subscription, right? :)

Colour 365

I last completed a 365 in 2008/2009 (although I attempted one in 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, too…). I barely pick up my digital camera any more, so I’ve decided to do a 365 in 2014, with a broader subject matter than the last one, which was a self-portrait 365. Brutal. This time around I’m going to pick a different colour every month and every photo must feature that colour. I think it’ll look awesome at the end of the year! :)

Wheat free – all year

I need to make a change with my diet. I’m forever eating things even tho I know they’re bad for me and then regretting it afterwards, so in 2014 I’m cutting out all wheat related items. Bye bye, pizza! I’ll miss you!

Paleo in January

Since I’m already going to be wheat free I figure it’s not going to be too much more of a step to go Paleo for a while. I’d love to do Paleo for the whole year but I know it’s going to be difficult so I’m going to take it month by month and see how I get on!

Less phone more face

I spend way more time than I’d like glued to my phone, so in 2014 I’d like to spend more time interacting with people face to face. Putting my phone away during dinner, trying to quit Facebook, no browsing the internet in bed.

PHEW. Who’s excited for 2014? Because I totally, totally am! :D Yay!

Festive Fancies

Posted by in A Little Conversation

Alternatively titled: I’d like to be a Christmas pudding, please.

I don’t know where this (what can only reasonably be called an) obsession came from. Honestly. I like Christmas pudding but it’s not my favourite part about Christmas by a long shot. All of a sudden tho the shops seem to be full of amazing novelty goods and more than anything they are full of Christmas puddings and I want in.

So I thought I’d put together a little list of the favourite pudding related items I’ve found, in case you fancied getting in on a slice of the action with me. Let’s be pudding chums together!

First up, this gorgeous set found on Etsy. Sigh. Etsy is the best for all things gift related, I’ve found. Most of my Christmas stuff has come from there this year! Christmas pudding brooch: £7 & earrings: £6 from Ginger Pickle

 

Next up, an amazing Christmas pudding scarf: £7.99 & hoodie: £10 from New Look. Confession: I bought this hoodie the other day (at full price although it’s now in the sale, curses!) it’s so snuggly I might never take it off. Except that would be disgusting, so maybe I should buy two so I always have one to wear…? No…?

Everyone knows I am a magpie for sparkles, so it should be no surprise that this Christmas pudding hair clip: £13 from Janine Basil is right up my sparkly, glittery street.

Christmas pudding socks: £4.99 from ASOS. Novelty socks! Yay!

I actually won one of these amazing christmas pudding necklaces: £15 from Black Heart Creatives. It’s massive! (As Hayley put when I sent her a photo of it “go big or go home”. Quite.)

Q & I decided to start a new family Christmas tradition: new matching Christmas jumpers every year. I’ve got the hoodie (above) and he’s going to grab this bad boy. Christmas pudding jumper: £14 from ASDA Direct. We will match and it will be glorious and people will think we are weird and I simply Will. Not. Care.

& last but not least I’d really like a pair of these Christmas pudding slippers: £10 from ASDA Direct.

PHEW. See – aren’t they all amazing? Don’t you want to be a pudding now, too? #TeamPUDDING 2013!

 

What I Do When I’m Not Here

Posted by in A Little Conversation

(Alternatively titled: Boom, I’m A Freelancer Now.)

I sort of fell into freelance work. Most of my adult working life was spent sitting in an office, typing things or making spreadsheets or re-arranging meetings for people earning more money than me. I was good at admin, but it didn’t exactly make my heart sing. I could only find temp jobs when I moved to Cardiff originally and the lack of a permanent, stable job did make the move into freelance easier, but it wasn’t a conscious decision until I’d actually already been doing it for about six months. Whoops.

I taught myself how to code when I was a teenager and I’ve loved the web ever since. A friend offered me a job in a small company (Hi, Rob) then someone else offered me some hours and a few more people came to me when they needed some web things doing. So now I work as a freelancer and split my time between a few awesome companies. I mostly write blog posts, noodle about on various social media outlets, market products, sometimes I review cameras and occasionally I’ll create some graphics for a site. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty fun life. I am grateful, I promise.

The most fun bit of my job is the work I do for Cwtch the Bride – a Welsh wedding blog which was set up by our wedding photographer in February of this year. (You can see all the posts I wrote about our wedding here if you’re bothered.) I’ve written over 100 posts for Cwtch (which is kind of crazy when you think about it) so I thought I’d share some of my favourites in case any of you are getting married soon and need some advice :)

Also, it’s nice to be proud of your work and my freelance portfolio is still being created (in the same way they the photographer is never in the photos, the freelancer never writes posts for their own blog, it would seem).

In no particular order:

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 15.04.04

If nothing else, this should teach you that I like to use colons in blog post titles, apparently.

I’ve also recently written a couple of posts for Hayley (of #TeamMASH fame)’s new website for blogging beginners: Bonjour Blogger. If you’re new to blogging I urge you to check it out, there’s some good stuff there! :)

My god that’s a lot of links in one post, isn’t it. Go forth, click, be merry.

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.