Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

31 for 31/Life List: Take a Ballet Class

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

When I was a very small child I took ballet classes with my sister. I loved the wraparound cardigans (still do, I should pick up some of those) and the leg warmers and the silky soft shoes. But when the teacher casually remarked that I’d never be tall enough to be a professional ballerina (she was totally right by the way) I lost all interest and stopped going.

Fast forward 26 years and I found myself itching to get back to first position. There’s something calming and disciplined about ballet that I enjoy as a workout – it’s hard but it’s structured. Less panting and running, more holding poses. Presumably this is why I also like yoga and pilates but am less keen on runny jumpy ball sports.

There are a few adult ballet classes in Cardiff (am I the only one who thinks ‘adult ballet’ sounds kind of dirty, btw?) but we plumped for Wonderland Dance Studios (be warned: their website is awful!) as you didn’t have to book and I am big fan of not committing fully to things, apparently.

I roped in Jen and Liz to come with me because I’m too much of a wuss to go on my own (thanks guys!). It was actually a really fun hour although the studio was very, very warm and our temporary teacher decided to take us through a routine which left me feeling as ungainly as a rhino in tap shoes.

However, even when the other people in the class were twirling and pirouetting much more daintily than I was, I was still finding it a fun, joyous experience so I will gladly take that as a win, thank you very much.

I’m not sure if I’ll go back – I don’t want to do it every week and I feel like maybe I wouldn’t see the benefit (or really improve) if I didn’t do it regularly, but it was definitely a fun one to try! ☺️

ps. If you’re wondering about the header photo, it’s from an unexpectedly muddy walk that I took in Cambridge about ten years ago probably. I had to throw my shoes away at the end 😂

31 for 31/Life List: Swim in a Lido

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

Ah, this was such a fun one to tick off! Swimming outdoors is my number one joy and I hardly ever get to do it. There’s something so calming about being in the water and being able to feel the sun on your skin, no?

I added ‘swim in a lido’ to my Life List a little while ago – I knew there was one in Bristol but I had the vague idea that there would be one closer to home, after all, who doesn’t want to swim outdoors?

Turns out the people of Cardiff clearly don’t because there isn’t a lido for miles around (altho they’re redeveloping one in Pontypridd which is re-opening in September) so off I trotted to Bristol instead. I mean, in all honesty it wasn’t that much of a hardship, I got to hang out with Hayles which is always fun and the train journey there was totes easy.

So, Clifton Lido! At £20 a pop for non-members it’s not exactly budget friendly, but it’s a pretty cute place and the staff were charming and friendly throughout. Getting back into the pool after being in the hot tub was an error in hindsight tho – the pool was only 25°C and it was bloody freezing, ha.

While it’s a shame the weather was cloudy and grey (it threatened to rain but didn’t, boo) I still had a lovely time splashing about and chatting about blogging and boys with Hayley. If Cardiff had one of these I’d be in it every day. Who do I petition to get that started?

Swim in a lido was one of my Life List goals. See my full list here!

Life List: Complete a 5K

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

I only added this goal to my Life List recently, but it’s one I’ve been considering for a while. It’s not one I ever thought I’d be able to tick off and honestly, before the start of the year I had very little inclination to achieve it.

Which makes it all the more surprising that last week I ran my first ever 5K. I ran 5 kilometres, in one go, without stopping. It doesn’t sound like much but having reached the age of 31 before I hit that achievement, I’m feeling pretty happy!

First ever 5K

I didn’t mean to do it. I was only on week 8 of Couch to 5K – I was supposed to be running for 28 minutes. Except I’m stubborn and (apparently) competitive (if only with myself) and once I hit 28 minutes I knew I just wanted to get my first 5K out of the way. It’s a big mental hurdle, I think, and I was struggling with the concept of completing it because previously my longest distance was 3.4km and after that I was tired.

I didn’t want to have to go for another run and get to another 28 minutes and then try and run a bit further, I just wanted to get it done. So I did.

I ended up completing it in 40:40 which is pleasing to the eye if not the fastest time on the planet. I still don’t feel like I’m fast enough to run Park Run, but that’s my next goal (that and sub 40!).

I’ve been posting ‘post-run selfies’ on Instagram as motivation (I don’t know why it works, it just does) – come join me there if you want to see a photo of my sweaty face every couple of days. Sounds appealing, right? ;)

2015 Goals: April Round-Up

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

I’m doing 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 April round-up. 

Progress Made – April

  • 200 sugar free days: 22 (56/200)

This is definitely getting easier! I’m down to about one day a week now where I eat refined sugar, so the next step is to cut out other items that have a high sugar content like fruit juice. No sugar is easier when you’re on a calorie controlled diet because I often don’t want to ‘waste’ my calories on something sugary, heh.

  • Exercise 52 times: 15 (66/52) – completed!

This month was definitely a better month for exercise than March! I carried on with Couch to 5K (I’m now on week four using this app, if anyone is interested), took a ballet class and did some walking too. Next month I want to get back to swimming as I really miss it, and get some more toning/strengthening exercises in. Q is a fully qualified personal trainer now, so I really have no excuse ;)

I’ve actually hit my ‘exercise 52 times’ target, but obviously I’m not going to stop exercising. It was definitely a good motivator tho!

  • Clear my ‘to read’ shelf: 7 (13/48)

I made a big effort to read more books from my to-read shelf this month and it paid off. I did, however, buy a few more books so, er, there’s still quite a lot to get through. This is a recurring theme – I might have to put myself on a book ban for May! Ha.

  • Read 100 books: 13 (45/100)

Almost halfway with this goal now, always a nice feeling. The readathon helped as I read four books in one day, but overall it’s been a pretty solid month for reading!

  • Watch 100 films: 10 (47/100)

I didn’t watch many films this month – a few things on Netflix but nothing special or really of note. Ho hum.

  • Watch 26 films at the cinema: 1 (8/26)

This month was shocking for cinema films. There’s been a real dearth of things we want to watch lately – we went to see Woman in Gold which was okay but other than that, zip. Boo.

  • Weigh no more at the end of the year than I did at the start: -2lbs (-8lbs overall)

I lost less weight this month but that’s okay. Slow and steady and all that jazz. I took my measurements again and I’ve lost 8.25 inches in total since January 1st and I will take that, thank you. I’m still calorie counting, still exercising, still being mindful of what I put into my body.

It’s a funny thing, really. I’ve always known these things are good for me but it’s still a mystery to me why they’re so easy to ignore in favour of something that I know is not. My mindset is changing, tho.

In the same way that it took a while for my brain to click into “no gluten”, I think healthy eating + exercise will take a little bit longer, but I definitely feel happier, healthier and brighter and that’s making it easier to carry on.

Push against my comfort zone

I ran eight times this month, outdoors, on the street. I also ran on a treadmill in a shop full of people and I didn’t want to do it but it was fine. (Learn that lesson, kiddo.) I took a ballet class even tho I haven’t done ballet for about 25 years and it was fun – my comfort zone is definitely expanding, little by little.

Spend less at the supermarket than we did in 2014

Tick tick tick. Buying less “treat” stuff is certainly helping, but mostly just being aware in the first place is keeping us in check.

Be kind!

Lots of surprise gifts given this month. Tick!

Be productive!

(side note: I never thought I’d post so many photos of myself looking stupid on this blog, ha)

I ticked a few things off my 31 for 31 this month (like donating to 31 charities, going to a ballet class, finally knitting the owl sweater and giving 31 surprise gifts) so I’m counting this as done. We did spend quite a lot of our evenings mainlining Community on Netflix but I also did a lot of knitting and blog post writing at the same time, so I think that’s okay.

Finish the library

After the disappearing carpenter didn’t reappear we started the search over again. Seriously – why is it so hard to find tradesmen who will turn up on time and, y’know, actually do the work you want to pay them for?! We’ve had another quote but it’s fairly expensive and now I’m in a quandary. Do we try and find someone cheaper or just suck it up and use the guy we know will actually do the work?

Build a WordPress theme

I made a tiny bit of progress with this, hand coding a landing page for a client and learning some new techniques along the way. I also changed up the layout of this site slightly which always helps me to learn how WordPress deals with CSS changes. I need to throw myself into this one, I think, it’s not going to be easy to learn in dribs and drabs.

Have more patience

This month has been less stressful in a lot of respects which has helped with the patience endeavour. Clearly what I need to learn are techniques for dealing with impatience when I’m not feeling 100% since those are the time when I need patience the most!


Life List: Win a Game of Chess

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Check! (Little chess pun for you there. Ba-dom-cha.)

Q & I playing chess, on our bed, using a laptop as a tray. #classy

Technically neither of us noticed Q’s king sitting all exposed and in danger, so I did kind of swoop in and win without putting him in check first. We looked up the rules (he insisted ;) ) and it turns out saying check is a courtesy but not a requirement, so I’m going to class this one as complete! Ha.

It’d be nice to win a game that wasn’t a total fluke, of course. I’ll keep trying. Anyone want to play?

Life List: Find Grace in 500 Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, My Life In Lists, Projects

I’ve had this goal on my list for a few years now. I’ve been writing Grace in Small Things posts since October 2009 (gosh!) and I honestly think it’s been so good for me to practice gratitude on a regular basis. I hit 500 a while ago, but as I looked through the list I realised I had a fair few duplicates (the perils of writing them weekly I suppose) so I cleaned out the dupes and waited to hit 500 originals before ticking it off.

At a quick glance it looks like the things that make me happiest are the weather, ways to regulate my temperature, food and laughing. Which sounds completely and utterly perfect to me.

Some of my favourites:

  • Empty streets, in the early morning sun
  • Receiving surprise post
  • Crunching on new snow
  • The warmth of putting on a jumper when the air is chilly
  • Dipping your feet in the sea

Signs In The Sand

  • Chips soaked in vinegar
  • Putting on a pair of brand new socks
  • Snuggling in a duvet on a cold day
  • The sound of rain on the balcony


  • Soft, salty, perfectly ripe blue cheese
  • Working through the fear
  • Falling into bed when you’re exhausted
  • The feeling of relief after you put down something heavy
  • Shoes covered in glitter


  • Running your wrists under the cold tap
  • Staying up late to read a good book
  • Enjoying something you thought you wouldn’t
  • The reassuring sound of the Minolta shutter
  • Swimming in the sunshine


  • Hair long enough to put in a ponytail
  • Holding hands
  • Running your fingers through wet hair
  • Tape dispensers
  • Any song with a harp in it

  • Offensively neon jumpers
  • Finally reading books that have been on the ‘to read’ list for years
  • Indoor picnics
  • A really good pair of tweezers
  • The first autumn chill


  • Learning new words
  • Amazing water pressure
  • Cats who purr when you pet them
  • Working from the hammock

33/365: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

  • Opening a brand new jar of something
  • Laughing with my mum
  • Quiet moments of peace
  • Adding more hot water to a bath
  • Salt and lemon on everything

32/365: Grit Your Teeth

I can wholeheartedly say that starting this practice was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m not going to stop, of course, but I’m going to stop counting them.

Let me know if you write a Grace in Small Things list, I love to read them! :)

2015 Goals: March 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 March round-up. 

Progress Made – March

  • 200 sugar free days: 20 (54/200)

Nakd bars are basically getting me through this. £37 for 98 bars!

I made a good dent in this one this month and I’m on target for the rest of the year. We’ve got rid of the majority of the sugary crap in our house now, so it’s far easier not to mindless snack on it! :)

  • Exercise 52 times: 10 (49/52)

My very red face after doing the first run of the Couch to 5K programme.

March was bad for exercise – the weather made me want to hibernate and ignore everything so that’s pretty much what I did. I did go on a few walks and I did the first run from the Couch to 5K programme, but overall it was pretty lacklustre and I could have done better!

  • Clear my ‘to read’ shelf: 1 (/34)

Um. Paper books are boring to read when you have a Kindle, apparently. Holding books open with two hands? Urgh. I managed to read one book from my to-read shelf but I actually read the Kindle version of it, ha, which I’m pretty sure is cheating. Also, I bought more books. Oops.

  • Read 100 books: 7 (32/100)

March was a poor month for reading in general actually, but that’s okay, I can’t read 31 books every month. Sometimes it ebbs and flows, right?

  • Watch 100 films: 15 (37/100)

I’ve started watching films on Netflix while I work so my film count was pretty decent this month (the film quality, however, not so much. Ha).

  • Watch 26 films at the cinema: 3 (7/26)

We saw Big Hero 6, X + Y and Focus at the cinema. Focus was only so so but Big Hero 6 and X + Y were wonderful. See them if you can.

  • Weigh no more at the end of the year than I did at the start: -4lbs (-6lbs overall)

In a totally boring turn of events I’ve started a calorie controlled diet and it’s working. Yawn. I mean, that’s great and all but by god is it dull.

Push against my comfort zone

Did I do this in March? I don’t know, actually. I went to some doctors appointments that I didn’t really want to go to, and had a few frank conversations with people but, eh. It was a minimal effort at best.

Spend less at the supermarket than we did in 2014

£41 of food that only cost us £7.80. God bless you, Morrisons and your barmy 9p reductions.

So far we’ve slashed what we spent last year from an average of £274 a month to £156 a month. Go us! Now we just have to keep it up, heh.

Be kind!

I sent out a few surprise packages this month which was fun for me and hopefully nice for the recipients.

Be productive!

This wonky cutting became a pair of pyjamas!

I made progress on the 31 for 31 list this month, ticking off one big item (sew something I can wear) and doing a lot of work on a few others. So yeah, I’m going to count this as achieved this month!

Knitting the owl sweater. Still.

No Progress Made

Finish the library

Carpenters apparently aren’t fond of replying to follow up emails. Who knew! We did get rid of the dark bookcase we had stashed in the corner, but other than that the library is still languishing, half finished. Sigh!

Build a WordPress theme

The less said about this the better, I think. Moving on!

Have more patience

Oh lord, I don’t know what’s happening but I think I’ve actually been less patient this month than before. I’m losing my temper a lot, snapping and stressed by all manner of things. So. That’s super fun.


How are you all getting on with your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you finding your enthusiasm for them is starting to wain or are you still raring to go? I think I could do with some renewed motivation for April! :)

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


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

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

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