Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

2015 Goals: February 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 February round-up. We were abroad for two weeks but I still managed to make a bit of progress with most of my goals! :)

Progress Made

  • 200 sugar free days: 34/200

Eating sugar free is getting easier the more I do it, so that’s encouraging. Nakd bars are definitely helping to satisfying my cravings for sweet things!

Nakd bars are my new best friends.

 

  • Exercise 52 times: 39/52

I exercised a whopping 18 times while we were in Tunisia. A mix of swimming, yoga, going to the gym, walking and (believe it or not) a camel ride! Exercise, like sugar, is getting easier to bear. I no longer feel 100% resentful towards it, and sometimes I even look forward to it. I guess consistency really is the key!

I’ve slacked off a bit since we returned home (it’s colder here, just) but hopefully March will bring some warmer weather to kick start me again.

Doing some yoga on the beach during our holiday :)

 

  • Clear my ‘to read’ shelf: 4/32

I’m slowly making my way through this although I must admit, I’m really struggling to read physical books again after so many years of reading my Kindle! Ha.

One of my ‘to read shelf’ books that I pretty much hated!

 

  • Read 100 books: 25/100

This is going much easier. I read 11 books while we were away (of course), including the absolutely marvellous Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and equally entrancing The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Thankfully I loved this book club pick. Phew!

 

  • Watch 100 films: 22/100

The hotel had two English movie channels so I racked up a few, including some that were new to me. Whoo!

  • Watch 26 films at the cinema: 4/26

A slow cinema month since we were away but we did fit in Whiplash right at the start and it was glorious.

  • Weigh no more at the end of the year than I did at the start: 2lbs lost (1lb gain from January)

I lost 3lbs in January, and another 1lb before we went away, so I was doing fairly well. Unfortunately, I put on 3lbs while we were away despite all the exercise, sad trombone. Ha. I guess eating chips every day probably wasn’t the smartest move?! :P I’ve lost 1lb of that 3lbs since we’ve been home tho and I’m hoping the other two will drop off now I’m back to my normal eating routine.

Push against my comfort zone

I rode a camel so I’m pretty sure I bloody did this, thank you very much.

Spend less at the supermarket than we did in 2014

So far this year our average is lower and we’re on target. We just need to keep it up! :)

Finish the library

We had a carpenter around to quote us for boxing in our boiler etc, so hopefully we can get on with that part next!

Have more patience

I’ve tried hard to consider things from other people’s points of view in an effort to be more patient with them – altho I did lose my top spectacularly when people kept waking us up while we were away. I never said I’d get it in one go!

Be kind!

I am always kind ;) This month I’ve sent out a few care packages, made more effort to contact my friends and offered support where I thought it would be welcome.

Be productive!

I made a lot of progress on my resolutions and 31 for 31 goals this month. Yay!

No Progress Made

Build a WordPress theme

We were away for two weeks in February, so it’s unsurprising that I didn’t make any progress on this goal. We’re gloriously plan free for March tho, so I’m hoping to make at least a little headway!

I’m also busy trying to complete my outstanding 31 for 31 goals, so those are taking priority over my resolutions at the moment, as the deadline for those is the 27th of June! I’m not doing too badly. I’m not 100% sure I’ll get all of them done, but fingers crossed I can do the majority! :)

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? :)

Life List: Paint EE Cummings on a Wall in Our House

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I am not the world’s biggest poetry fan, but I have long loved ‘I carry your heart’ by ee cummings. When we were deciding on readings for our wedding we wanted to use it, but I’d read it at the wedding of one of my bridesmaids, so in the end we chose ‘I love you much (most beautiful darling)’ instead.

“i love you much (most beautiful darling)

more than anyone on the earth and i
like you better than everything in the sky

—sunlight and singing welcome your coming

although winter may be everywhere
with such a silence and such a darkness
noone can quite begin to guess

(except my life) the true time of year—

and if what calls itself a world should have
the luck to hear such singing (or glimpse such
sunlight as will leap higher than high
through gayer than gayest someone’s heart at your each

nearness) everyone certainly would (my
most beautiful darling) believe in nothing but love”

ee cummings

There is something about it that makes my soul feel joyful. I’ve long wanted to paint an ee cummings poem on my wall (imagining myself doing it with an overhead projector and a tiny paintbrush – such madness, in hindsight), and I always thought it would be ‘I carry your heart’. After the wedding tho, this one seemed more appropriate.

I didn’t paint it (it’s a custom vinyl sticker) but I think it still qualifies.

I love it! :)

Completed item #87 from my Life List: paint ee cummings on a wall in our house

Colour 365 – Quarterly Round Up

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Oops, I meant to write this in October and just never made the time! Oh well, better late than never, no? Here’s the third quarter of our Colour 365 – orange, red and pink. These colours were pretty fun to do, much more bright and vibrant than the beginning of the year!

January – March | April – June

Colour 365: July 2014 OrangeJuly was a fun month that involved a trip to Cornwall and some wonderful weather. It wasn’t hard to find orange things to photograph, which is always a bonus!

Colour 365: August 2014 Red

August saw me getting laser eye surgery and then shaving my head for charity, so it was fairly busy! Another fun month to complete, I really have enjoyed doing these bright colours. They’re easier to find as they’re so much more eye-catching, and seem to be more in abundance than blues and greens.

Colour 365: September 2014 Pink

It was our two year wedding anniversary in September, so we took a little spa break to Bluestone to celebrate. We stayed in a studio with a pink door sign (fate!) and felt thoroughly relaxed by the time we got home. That didn’t last long as I was co-ordinating a conference for mid-September, but at least there was a fun unicorn party to end the month on a good note :)

We’re into the final leg of the year now – purple has been completed, silver is almost done and then it’s just gold for December and we are done. I can’t wait to see them all together in a rainbow!

If you want to check out everyone else’s progress (or join in!) then you can see the Flickr group here :)

Life List: Pet A Tiny Owl

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After I shaved my head, we headed down to Gwdihw (pronounced good-e-hue) for a much needed gin. Gwdihw is Welsh for owl, which is appropriate as they happened to have some furry friends from the local owl sanctuary there and you could pet them. For free. I’ve had “pet a tiny owl” on my Life List ever since seeing this amazing video…

so you’d better believe I petted that owl.

I’m not sure if you can tell from my very understated expression, but I was a little bit excited about the prospect ;)

(Thanks again to Amy Davies for the photos! :) )

Life List / 31 for 31: Learn How to French Braid My Hair

Posted by in 31 for 31, My Life In Lists, Projects

I added “learn how to french braid my hair” to my 31 for 31, not really thinking about the fact that I was due to shave my head in August and that my hair probably  wouldn’t be long enough by June 2015 to attempt it. If you’re wondering if I am particularly good at forward planning, I think this is perhaps your answer.

Luckily, I realised ahead of time and french braiding, it turns out, is not that difficult to learn. The photo below was my third attempt – not the tightest by any means but definitely passable as a french braid, right? When (if?*) my hair gets longer again I’ll give it another go, but for now I’m counting this one as completed :)

*Honestly, I am loving the shaved head so much that I am seriously considering keeping it for a while. We’ll see whether winter changes my mind ;)

Life List: See Paris From the Eiffel Tower

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This time last year we were celebrating our one year wedding anniversary* in Paris. I cannot believe I let a whole year go by before writing this – where are my manners?

I’d had “see Paris from the Eiffel Tower” on my Life List since I first wrote it – and in my head in general for years and years before that – so it was super gratifying to finally be able to tick this one off. We had the absolute perfect weather for it, so thank you, Paris, for that. You’re the best.

(click for larger sizes)

Paris is pretty incredible to see from the tower, FWIW. I deliberately didn’t look at my watch as we waited because I didn’t want to know how long we’d queued – it wasn’t about the wait for me. We were there to climb the tower, and that was that.

If you’re in Paris but you’re not sure whether it’s too touristy a thing to do I urge you to do it anyway. It is touristy, but who cares? Just look at that view. 100% worth it.

*Side note, we’ve just celebrated our two year anniversary. Time is flying!

Life List / 31 for 31: Shave My Head For Charity

Posted by in 31 for 31, My Life In Lists, Projects

WELL. Where do I even start with this one?! Yesterday was an absolute roller coaster of a day (much emotions,  so feelings). As most of you are probably well aware, for the last 18 months or so I’ve been planning to shave my head to raise money for charity and honour my friend, Lisa, who sadly died last year from cancer. I wrote about it all here, if you’re interested.

I decided to split the money I raised between three charities: The Royal Marsden Hospital, who treated Lisa, Trinity Hospice, who looked after her and Cancer Research UK because, well, obviously. I also decided to donate my hair to the Little Princess Trust, so that someone else could benefit from it. It was 21 inches when it was cut and weighed 163 grams so hopefully they’ll be able to make a really nice wig!

Yesterday was Lisa’s birthday, so I decided that it’d be as good a present as any to shave my head on the same day. I actually am pretty happy with the results (people keep telling me I have a nice shaped head, who knew?) so that’s an added bonus!

I have a few thanks I’d like to give:

  • first of all, to Toni and Guy, Cardiff for kindly shaving my head for free and to Leaon especially for doing an absolutely fantastic job!
  • to Amy, for taking such wonderful photos of the event (all of the shots below were taken by her and are fabulous!)
  • and lastly to Q, for being so supportive and for doing a decent job when you buzzed off the last section! :D
  • (oh, and shout out to the woman next to me who looked so miserable the entire time: girl you made me laugh and laugh)

To everyone who has donated so far: thank you. You have no idea how much it means to me that so many people came together to support me – it really is a wonderful feeling and makes this whole endeavour completely and utterly worth it. You are all fantastic. Have a biscuit.

As of writing this post I’ve raised almost £3000 (if you include Gift Aid) which is. Well. Incredible, really. I’m going to leave the fundraising page open for a couple of months, so if you’d like to sponsor me retrospectively (or you were waiting for evidence that I actually did it before parting with your cold, hard cash ;) ) then you can do so here:

uk.virginmoneygiving.com/buzzcutchong

Tidy.

31 for 31: Get My Eyes Lasered

Posted by in 31 for 31, My Life In Lists, Projects

glasses

Goodbye, old friends. I no longer need your help because I had laser eye surgery on the 11th of August (after booking in a mere three weeks before!) :D

I think actually that was kind of helpful because it gave me less time to be scared after reading the terms and conditions (otherwise known as the “If you die it’s not our fault” document).

I ummed and ahhed about adding this to my 31 for 31 list, but eventually decided to include it because #yolo. It’s been on my Life List for years but I’ve always put it off, so I figured giving myself a deadline would be the final push I needed to get it done. Yes, it was expensive (I paid £2400 in the end, I had a £500 off voucher) but also totally, totally worth it. There were, however, a couple of surprises that I wish I had known about before hand…

Things they do not tell you when you get your eyes lasered:

  1. You have to sleep in googles. For a week.
  2. These googles won’t fit over the bridge of your nose and it’ll drive you so crazy that you give up by the fourth night and just sleep unguarded #renegade
  3. “Mild discomfort” can sometimes translate to “holy hell I think my eyes are burning out of my face”
  4. Your eyes might look a bit zombified for a few weeks, because there’ll be a line of blood around the laser cut site
  5. You can taste the eyedrops they give you.
  6. Nothing you eat will mask that taste, in the slightest. It is disgusting.
  7. You can’t wear eye make up for a week, either. My pale little redhead eyelashes were not pleased about this.

 

You do, however, get to buy My Little Pony sunglasses, so it sort of evens out. I’m not going to lie, the actual procedure was pretty freaky, and the first 6 hours or so were hell, but they’re healing well and I can see, you guys. No more double pairs of glasses to watch 3D films, no more squinting in the swimming pool, no more keeping my glasses clean. I am so, so happy!

If you’re thinking about getting it done and want to ask any questions then fire away, I’m happy to disclose all the gory* details ;)

*Just kidding! It wasn’t that bad, I promise! Wait, where are you going..?

Life List: Team Chong Supper Club

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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.