Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

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

Droplets

  • 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

Sharp

  • 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

Snorkelling

  • 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

Autumn

  • 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

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

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

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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!