Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

101 in 1001 – The End.

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Projects

It’s over. It’s done. 1001 days after I started it, my challenge to complete 101 things is finally over. Did I complete it? Hahahaha. No. No I did not. I got pretty close tho, which is nice. This is the second time I’ve done this but I won’t be signing up for a third – I’ve got enough lists and things going on my in life not to really need it.

Completed goals in September: 3

8. Delete all mp3s I don’t like
FINALLY. All of the mp3s in my iTunes library are rated 3* and above, everything else is gone.

45. Post at least once a week to www.exquisitefunction.com for a year.*
*amended to: reach 250 posts on Falling Forward.
I hit 252. Such an overachiever 😉

82. Nothing from McDonalds for the full 1001 days
I’m amazed that I actually managed to complete this, but I did. I had a McDonalds on the drive home from my sister’s wedding and I’m not going to lie, the fries were awesome. I’ve wanted one every day since then tho, which isn’t the best outcome, ha.

Completed goals overall: 84
Unfinished goals: 17

I don’t think that’s too bad, do you?

101 in 1001: Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Projects

This is it, kids. The last few days of my 101 in 1001 challenge. So, what have I got left to do? Will I manage to tick any more off before the 29th of September rolls around? I’ve managed to do a couple more, thankfully, but I know they’ll be some left by the end of it. Luckily for me, I can just shove the ones I want to keep on my Life List – it’s my life, my list and my damn rules. (Phew.)

Completed Goals:

24. Send a postcard to www.postsecret.com
I didn’t actually create a physical postcard and send it in, but I did make one on the postsecret app and  upload it, so I’m going to tick this one off. No, I’m not going to tell you what it was but I will say it wasn’t directly related to me. Ooh, mystery!

78. Use all of something before buying anything new
I am much, much better at this than I was so I’m going to mark it off as done. I gave away a lot of things that actually didn’t suit me to the Give and Make Up charity recently, and I’ve been trying to use up things that I’ve have lingering for a while. Of course, now I’m unemployed I actually can’t buy anything new, heh, which will presumably help in the long run.

This project has been fun, but hard work. I think I’m going to enjoy my Life List a lot more since it doesn’t really have a deadline and is more about joy. Yay for joy!

101 in 1001: June Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Books, Projects

Completed in June: 4

55. Read all Augusten Burrows books
I finally completed this one by reading Sellevision on the plane out to Portugal. I must admit, I really like Augusten’s style but his books do tend to get a bit samey – they’re all (with the except of Sellevision which is fiction) autobiographies of different points of his life. Very dry, very funny but when you read two or three in a short space of time they tend to merge into one a bit.

80. Paint my toenails more often
I’m going to mark this one as done. They aren’t always pristine but I do remember to paint them every month or so which is a vast increase on what I was doing before. It’s nice to have pretty feet!

43. cycle 5km at the gym once a week for three months. [8/12]
Confession: I didn’t complete this one, exactly. But I did 8 weeks in a row and then I did the 30 Day Shred so I’m going to let myself off because I was exercising, just not on the bike. It’s my list and I’m not doing three more months of this, thanks.

44. Try a new dish once a week for three months [8/12]
The same goes with this one. We tried 8 new things and then got waylaid by parties and holidays. But I think 8 new meals isn’t a bad acheivement. I actually did this once before when I was in Cornwall and got 5 weeks done, so technically I completed it with a rather large gap inbetween…*

This actually means I’ve ticked off all of my ‘Short Term Achievements‘ now which is pretty funny considering I started this list two years ago, ha.

I really don’t know how many more of these I’m going to be able to complete. Five or six maybe but there are definitely some that I won’t. I don’t think I’ve done too badly considering I wrote this list when I was at a completely different point in my life – I’ve managed to get the bulk of it done. Does that mean I qualify for some kind of prize? W

*Yeah, I wouldn’t buy that either but I’m going to stick to it!

101/1001 May 2011 Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Projects

Completed Goals: 2
40. Spend £15 a week for a month (excluding petrol)
I pretty much managed this. To be fair, I excluded food shopping from the list but included lunch food if I bought it out and about. I also didn’t include the £52 I spent on bras but really, bras are essential items when you only own two that fit you properly, right?

95. Lose enough weight to fit into my FCUK dress
I can finally fit into this dress after FIVE YEARS of staring at it hanging in the wardrobe. This is my favourite dress.  (I love it more than I love my wedding dress but shh, don’t tell it). A combination of hitting the gym, swimming, 9 weeks of Weight Watchers and 20 days of The 30 Day Shred have enabled me to finally get back into this. Don’t get me wrong,  I couldn’t eat a meal in it without dying, but at least I can do the zip up. That’s a start, right?

The rest of the goals I worked on this month were ongoing, with a couple that will hopefully come to an end in June. Huzzah! I’m looking forward to the end of this project,  it’ll be nice to be able to relax for  bit and not have so many time based deadlines looming.

101 in 1001: Try A New Meal Every Week For Three Months [1/3]

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Food Exploits, Projects

I got stuck in a rut of cooking the same few meals over and over again so I decided to try and broaden my range by cooking something new every week. Some were good, some were bad but all were new to me and I’ve learnt some interesting things along the way :)

Week One
Meal: Mongolian Crispy Lamb
Difficulty: Medium
Notes: Slightly fiddly, but ultimately worth it. Breast of lamb is a cheap cut and is very fatty, so make sure you try and strain off a lot of the fat when reducing the sauce. We couldn’t get the sauce to reduce to a sticky consistancy, no idea why. Maybe adding some sugar next time would help? I forgot to take a picture of this, oops! The flat smelt so good when this was boiling that I actually had to leave and sit outside for a while.
Rating: 4/5

Week Two
Meal: Pad Thai
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: Next time we won’t use cayenne pepper. My portion was phenomenally spicy due to a ladling error (er, I poured too much sauce on) but Q said his was nice enough. I think fresh chilli would probably be less intense. The prawns were lovely tho. I also forgot to take a photo of this one. My mouth was burning too much for me to focus.
Rating: 3/5

Week Three 

Meal: Huevos Rancheros
Difficulty: Super Easy
Notes: We cooked the eggs for a little too long and the yolks had gone hard. (That bright white bit in the photo is the egg in case you can’t tell, heh). I didn’t mind it but I think Q would have preferred them soft. This would probably be nice with some chorizo and fried potatoes. Nom. This was also an incredibly cheap meal, which is great when it’s pre-pay day and the cupboard is almost empty!
Rating: 4/5

Week Four

Meal: Laksa Lemak
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: This turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never made a malaysian curry before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect but this one came out silky and smooth and full of flavour. You basically make a spice paste of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli then bung in some coconut milk and tumeric, boil away for a while then throw in some rice noodles and a generous squeeze of lime. It felt healthy and lasted for days which is always an unexpected bonus. I would definitely recommend this one.
Rating: 5/5

101 in 1001 – April Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Books, Projects

I’m almost surprised that there are so many things left to do (and so little time to do it in!) but I think that’s really just because there are some things that are harder to do than others. The travelling for example. It’s unlikely I’m going to get to New York before September but I might be able to make it to Greece. I won’t kick myself too hard if I don’t complete all 101 things – the whole idea of this was just to ‘do more’ and you certainly can’t say that I haven’t done that.

Completed this month: 5

32. Bake my own bread
Q and I baked a loaf of wholemeal spelt bread, and it was decidedly tasty. Much softer than loaves I’ve made in the past, which is a bonus result.

84. Go to the gym 20 times [20/20]
This was originally “Get 20 hrs on Wii Fit” but I left my Wii Fit behind when I moved out of my parents house so I changed it to fit my circumstances. It took me three and a half months to achieve 20 visits to the gym, which I know is not fantastic. Given that I have been a pure couch potato my entire life tho, it’s a small but significant change.

85. Go running
Since I have been attending the gym I thought I’d give the treadmill a go and…well. It’s really not for me. I can jog for a kilometre without stopping (which I don’t think is awful and is certainly far better than before) but I just don’t enjoy jogging. Really, I have no need to run and that makes it hard to do. However, I am enjoying the cross trainer, the bike and the rowing machine so I will still be getting my cardio workout, fear not. It looks like Q will be running the Cardiff Half Marathon without me tho. Sorry love.

57. Read all Terry Pratchett books
I had three of his books left to read when I started this month. I managed to find two in the library but Carpe Jugulum was nowhere to be seen. Lucky for me, The Cowboy is a massive Pratchett fan and an obsessive book hoarder. He came down to see me at the weekend and I polished off the book a few days before the end of the month. Phew! 

72. Cash out £40 on www.onepoll.com again
This was originally “Make £50 on www.slicethepie.com” because it used to be an easy way to make money but they changed the earning threshold and I got quite bored of it. So I changed it to cashing out on Onepoll again, which I did this month. Whoo for free money.

5 achieved, several to go. If I can get to 85 completed I think I’ll be happy. Here’s hoping!

101 in 1001 – March Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Projects

This month I managed to tick off a couple of long term goals, which is always a pleasure. I’m coming into the final stretch with this project – all the stuff I have left to do has been left for a reason – but I’m hoping I’m going to find some final motivation to get it finished in time.

Completed Goals: 6
41. Make packed lunches for Chris and I myself every day for a month
My original goal included my boyfriend at the time, since I made this list in 2009 (gosh how long ago that feels now!). I modified it this year and have just completed 30 days in a row of bringing my own food to work. I’ve saved a lot of money and I’m probably eating a little healthier because of it. However, I am looking forward to my next Burger King A LOT. Nom.

63. See at least two live bands
I finally got to see Elbow live and they were incredible. So now I can tick this off and never have to go and see another gig again. Yay!

77. Use Tesco’s online more
We live in a flat above a shopping centre, so getting Tesco’s to deliver to us has sometimes been problematic, heh. Most of the time tho it works okay and I am definitely better at not picking up pork pies and ferrero rocher when I’m not actually in the supermarket. Score.

89. Try and pay off one of my credit cards
I am going to count this as done because I’ve actually paid off about half of my debt from the original £14,000 I had when I started this list. I’ve moved the money around a lot, but I’ve definitely paid some off. So take that, Virgin Money, you bunch of utter fuck muppets. I beat your system, now fuck off and die*. Thx!

50. Pay off my car
Yay! It took three years but I finally paid off my car. & then promptly sold it about two weeks later because I don’t need a car in Cardiff and we only have one parking space anyway. But I still paid it off!

93. Have a work girly night
Technically it wasn’t with the work girls, but since I like my friends more than the people I work with, having a girly night with them was much more fun.

Total completed: 63/101
Days remaining: 183

*Virgin Money are now on the list. Along with Darren Aronovsky and Danny Boyle for making films that gave me nightmares and Zurich Car Insurance for being tossers.

One Day Like This

Posted by in 101 in 1001, A Little Conversation, Projects

Tonight I finally get to tick off item number 63 on my 101 in 1001: See at least two live bands. I know it doesn’t seem like such an arduous task, and perhaps two is a laughable number for a three year project but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready?

 I don’t like live music.

Now, before you stone me to death for my bare faced ignorance let me explain. I like bands, I like music, I like songs. I do not like crowds, loud noises and being trodden upon. Being 5ft 2” normally means that at whatever gig I am at I am liable to either a) not be able to see or b) be smacked in the face. & also, I have had terrible experiences at live gigs. They’re just not my favourite things in the world.

I actually put it on my list for that very reason – because I don’t like doing it. One of my best friends is obsessed with live music and it’d be nice to be able to be a (n admittedly quite far away) gig buddy if the need ever arose. I went to see Los Campesinos! in February of last year, in a small gig in my home town believe it or not. The music was fun and I got to introduce my sister and her fiancé to the wonder that is My Year In Lists (a song obviously close to my own heart, heh) and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed – the song that contains my most favourite lyrics in the world, ever:

I taught myself the only way to vaguely get along in love
Is to like the other
slightly less than you get in return
I keep feeling like I’m
being. under. cut 

I also got accidentally punched in the face (with my glasses on, double yay!) by an over exuberant fan. You see? Live gigs + sarahmia = a dangerous combination.

But tonight I am willing to throw all that to one side and embrace the live music because tonight it’s Elbow and damn if I haven’t been waiting for this gig my entire life. (I’m just hoping they play my favourite songs otherwise I may well end up crying). I think it’s probably not an understatement when I say that Elbow are my favourite band of all time.

My actual favourite tracks come mostly from their B Sides, that I fell upon by accident long after their release. If you are new to Elbow, I suggest you listen to these five tracks. (Narrowing it down to five was hard).

Top Five Songs You Should Listen To Right Now:

  1. Grace Under Pressure [Cast of Thousands]
  2. An Imagined Affair [Leaders of the Free World]
  3. Fugitive Motel [Cast of Thousands]
  4. Great Expectations [Leaders of the Free World]
  5. Lippy Kids [Build A Rocket Boys]

My Favourite Tracks Of All Time:

  1. Stumble [Asleep in the Back, B Side]
  2. Lucky With Disease [Newborn EP – I think]
  3. Puncture Repair [Leaders of the Free World]
  4. Mexican Stand Off [Leaders of the Free World]
  5. My Everthere [Leaders of the Free World]

To say I am excited is a massive, massive understatement. So, if you’re listening, @guy_garvey, Please play the above and in return I promise I will sing along to every single word.

101 in 1001 – December & January Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Projects

I forgot to update over December but I didn’t end up doing much in the end anyway. Oops? My 101 in 1001 ends in September this year (I won’t lie, I am super looking forward to eating my first MacDonalds, sad as that seems) so if I want to get anywhere close to completing it I need to crack on. Here’s what I’ve managed in the past two months:

December: 1 Completed
66. Buy all Christmas presents by the end of November
I’m going to mark this as done even tho technically it was a couple of days into December before everything was paid for. I knew exactly what I wanted to get everyone by the end of November and that combined with the wonder that is internet shopping made this years festive season a much more relaxed affair than usual.

January: 3 Completed
26. Watch “Running With Scissors”
Such a weird, kooky film. But I love it all the same.

99. Travel to Prague
Q and I went to Prague for four days at the beginning of the month and it was lovely :) Lovely to have a break together, lovely to see a new city and lovely to finally tick this one off my list!

23. Pass on at least 5 recipes
Since Q and I have been living together we’ve been sharing recipes back and forth so I’m going to class this one as completed :)

Wish me luck for the remaining tasks? I think I’m going to struggle!

101 in 1001 – November Update

Posted by in 101 in 1001, Projects

Gosh it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I must admit that 101 in 1001 has kind of fallen off my radar in the past few months. The trouble with writing a list with such a far away end date is that things are liable to change before you get to the finish and things you thought you’d want to do you no longer care about.

I know that I won’t complete this list, but I don’t think it’s been a waste of time. I’ve learnt some new skills, had some fun experiences and I do genuinely think that it’s encouraged me to do more things instead of watching tv and vegging out in front of the internet every night*.

So! What have I completed recently?

Well, I think I can definitely tick off 4. De clutter. When I moved to Cardiff I pretty much jettisoned all of the things I thought I needed but actually never used. There’s still some stuff at my parents house that I need to go through but I’m definitely a lot better than I was and I think that will continue. Yay me.

62. Try and sell as much as possible before giving it away – I don’t own that much stuff that I can sell any more. I did a few car boots sales, put a bunch of stuff on livejournal and ebay and eventually just gave it away. It felt good to get rid of all of the crap I’ve been carrying around for so long.

94. Wear my contact lenses more – I wore them a few times but I binned them in the move because I just don’t get on with them. I like the freedom of wearing them, but putting them in and taking them out and the cost just doesn’t suit me at all. Still, at least I know that now, right?

67. Organise and shred paperwork – I did all of this before I left. I love throwing away paperwork I no longer need. It’s so rewarding. I’m much more of top of this now, too, which is a nice bonus.

69. Keep the bedroom inhabitable – Q and I are actually fairly good at this. The biggest culprit is clothes but that’s mainly due to a lack of storage :)

That’s 5 things I can knock off, which I think is okay, really :)

Things I won’t be doing:

76. Try and start a regular poker tournament – I’m gonna whisper this one. I don’t, er, like poker. The ex boyfriend enjoyed it and I thought it’d be good to learn but actually I find it kinda boring, so bye!

77. Use Tesco’s online more – we live in a weird building that the Tesco van would probably struggle to get into, so for now we’re just going to the supermarket. That’s okay tho, it’s fun :)

84. Get 20 hrs on wii fit – I don’t own a wii fit anymore. I’m probably doing slightly more exercise than before tho so it’s not all bad.

93. Have a work girly night – I have no job, I have no girls. If I get a job with girls I like I reserve the right to bring this one back in.
46. Teach Chris to play cribbage – well obviously since we’re not together and we don’t talk to each other I won’t be doing this one. Ha.

54. Re-design www.exquisitefunction.com – the site is gone. *sigh*

*Now I just do it most nights 😉