Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Colour 365 – Quarterly Round Up

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

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

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

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

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

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..?

Colour 365 – Quarterly Round Up

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

We’re halfway through the year – can you believe it? 2014 seems to be absolutely rushing by – which means that another three months of the Colour : 365 have been completed, hurrah! The first quarter was pale blue, turquoise and dark blue, this quarter we’ve done dark green, green and yellow (which was obviously my favourite to complete).

Colour365: April 2014 Dark Green

Dark green was boring. Like, so much. I think partly because sometimes it’s hard to decide if a colour is dark green or just regular green and partly because dark green just isn’t a colour that I’m really that into, but this month felt long and I was definitely glad to see the back of it!

Colour 365: May 2014 Green

Green was slightly better – the weather was nicer in May and we took a trip to Italy where there was plenty of lush foliage, so that definitely helped! I was mostly waiting for green to end tho so we could finally get to the start of the brights…

Colour 365: June 2014 YellowYellow, yay! I picked yellow for June as it’s my birthday month and yellow is my happy colour, so it was super fun to spend a whole month yellow spotting. We have an absolute ton of yellow in our house so this month felt super duper easy, always a bonus!

My favourite photo from the month was from the last day, where we gathered a few of our yellow items together. Looking at this makes me so happy!

181/365: Yellow? It's Okay. I Guess.

We’re onto orange now for July, then it’s into red and pink. I’m hoping these months will feel a bit more fun, since the colours are much more distinctive :) We’ll see!

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

Happy 31st Birthday To Me

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

Me on my 30th birthday, at Bristol Aquarium, wearing panda ears. Of course.

So last year I wrote a list of 30 things I wanted to do, to celebrate being 30. The deadline for it was yesterday which means that today is my 31st birthday. Hooray! Happy birthday to me.

Completing my 30 for 30 was such a fun, motivating experience that I’ve decided to write a 31 for 31 this year and do it all over again. If you want to help me tick off any of the items then give me a shout! :)

Here’s to joy. Cheers.

  1. Shave my head for charity
  2. Donate my hair
  3. Read 31 more books from my ‘to read’ pile [0/31]
  4. Re-watch 31 of my favourite films [0/31]
  5. Finish my 100 cheeses [90/100]
  6. No swearing for a day
  7. Finally knit that owl sweater
  8. Learn how to French braid my hair
  9. Swim in a lido
  10. Go UV bowling
  11. Learn how to make delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookies
  12. Donate to 31 charities [0/31]
  13. Ride my bike 10 times [0/10]
  14. Take a ballet class
  15. Take the same walk every month & photograph the changes [0/12]
  16. Visit another European country
  17. Throw the 2nd annual Life List Party
  18. Get up to 40 words a minute in shorthand
  19. Print our family cookbook
  20. Finish the Top Secret Project for Arthur’s 2nd birthday
  21. Sew something I can wear
  22. Host a Team Chong Supper Club to raise money for the head shave
  23. Get the EE Cummings & grace quotes printed for our walls
  24. Eat at 12 new places in Wales [0/12]
  25. Give blood at least once
  26. Swim a length under water
  27. Be debt free
  28. Get my eyes lasered
  29. Send 31 surprise gifts [0/31]
  30. Read a Man Booker prize winner
  31. Make my own jam

I’ll be tracking my progress (of course) – feel free to tune in :)

Ps. Since it’s my birthday and all, if you’d like to donate to my head shave fund raising I would be insanely grateful. I didn’t ask for any presents this year, just donations and avocados – you can never  have too many of either I find.

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.

Why I’m Shaving My Head For Charity

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

A couple of years ago I had a friend called Lisa. She was funny, she was witty, she was a bit a lot of a ray of sunshine and she had cancer. Stupid,  bullshit, twatclacking* cancer.

Lisa-Lynch

She was my friend, and she had cancer, and then she went and bloody died, because cancer is a dick like that. Like, what the hell was it thinking? Didn’t it know how much we all wanted to keep her?

I was so angry that I lost this beautiful girl, so I can’t even begin to imagine how her family felt, her husband, her best friends. Even now, a year later, I still get upset and sad and really, deeply angry every time I think about it.

Sigh.

So. I’m shaving my head on August the 30th. It would have been Lisa’s 35 birthday, which I thought would be a nice tribute to her (& because any excuse to have a gin or four is okay by me). I’m also shaving my head because I think she’d have found it pretty funny (given that she was (self admittedly) incredibly fond of her locks), and I was always trying to make that girl laugh.

My hair is pretty long right now. I haven’t had it cut since September 2012, and I’ll have another six months growth to add before the actual head shave date. For what it’s worth, I like my hair. A lot. It’s swishy and long enough to make a nice top knot, it’s a beautiful colour (probably the first time in my life I’ve ever said that, actually) and it makes me feel girly and, you know, pretty. Of course it does.

Do I think I’ll look good with a shaved head? Do I hell. I think, at best, I’ll look like a baked bean, at worst I’ll look like a boy. Does it matter? Does it fuck. Hair grows (mine grows especially quickly), friends, sadly, do not return from the dead. (Although actually, I’m a bit scared of zombies, so maybe for the better..? I digress…)

If doing this means I can raise some money for some amazing charities to help ensure that if it happens to any of you lot you might get a better chance of survival? Then I am all in. Let’s go.

I’m splitting any money raised between The Royal Marsden, where Lisa had her treatments, Trinity Hospice, who did their utter best to help her feel comfortable and Cancer Research because duh. So please, pleaseplease consider donating. £2, £5, £20. Whatever you can afford would be amazing – I want to raise as much as possible, for and in honour of Lisa.

virginmoneygiving.com/buzzcutchong

& if, post shave, I end up looking half as hot as she did, post hair loss? I’m going to count it as a win.

IMG_0365

Love you, miss you, think of you, bird. Always.

*a special one for all the Lisa fans there, heh.