Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

December Book Update + 2013 Reading Roundup

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW William Gibson – Spook Country
02. RR Judy Blume – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
03. RR Judy Blume – Blubber
04. NEW Lauren Weisberger – Last Night at Chateau Marmont
05. RR Judy Blume – Starring Sally J Freedman, as Herself
06. NEW Haruki Murakami – After the Quake
07. RR Toby Litt – Exhibitionism
08. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona the Pest
09. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona The Brave
10. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona & Her Father
11. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona & Her Mother
12. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona Quimby, Age 8
13. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona Forever
14. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona’s World
15. NEW Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy
16. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ersatz Elevator
17. NEW Caroline Smailes – Freaks
18. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village

I read a lot of childrens’ books in December because it was like snuggling under a warm duvet after being outside in the cold. I love childrens’ books, a lot. I thought I’d read the whole Ramona series but actually I think I must have just watched the TV series, because these weren’t familiar to me at all. Throw in some Judy Blume and Lemony Snicket and you’ve got yourself a perfect December in my eyes.

On the adult side, I’d forgotten just how good Exhibitionism was – really hoping that Toby Litt releases a new book soon now! Last Night at Chateau Marmont was complete and utter tosh, definitely not worth reading. After the Quake was the usual gentle Murakami weirdness (which I love) and Freaks missed the mark for me for the most part, but I’ve heard good things about Caroline Smailes so I’m willing to give her another shot. Onto the round up! :)

Best of 2013

Best new book in:

January: James Smythe – The Explorer

February: There were no standout new books in February. I only gave two 5* ratings and both of those were to re-reads.

March: March was the same. Lots of 3* ratings – nothing to write home about.

April: Hans Fallada – Alone in Berlin

May: LJ Smith – The Forbidden Game 1-3

June: Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects

July: Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls

August: Jenny Lawson – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

September: David Sedaris – The Santaland Diaries

October: John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

November: Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451

December: The whole Ramona series.

Best book overall:

John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

I zipped through this in a couple of hours. It was beautiful and heartfelt, painful and gut wrenching and ultimately a book I think I’ll re-read again and again. Bravo, John Green. Bravo.

Worst book overall: 

Jonas Jonasson – The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

God I hated this book. My mother liked it, the rest of our book group liked it but I absolutely couldn’t stand it.

Favourite re-read:

The Time Traveler’s Wife. Always.

2013 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 126

Number of new books read: 73

Number of re-reads: 53

Number of pages read: 37,270

5* rated: 20

1* rated: 2

Fiction vs Non-fiction: 125 fiction, 10 non-fiction

Adult vs Childrens': 77 adult books, 49 kids books

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 224.

2013 Review + 2014 Resolutions

Posted by in A Little Conversation, My Life In Lists

It’s the end of 2013, whoop! This year has been so up and down for so many people I know – we bought a house but lost a friend to cancer, my parents got a divorce but then #ChongCat entered our lives… a real swings and roundabouts year for us. I for one am not sorry to see the back of 2013 to be honest. I think I’m taking more positives from it than negatives (phew) and with that in mind, here’s a quick list of some of my favourite moments from this year :)

Favourite moments of 2013

  • Turning 30 (and the amazing day that Q planned for me)

  • Learning to crochet

  • Writing so many more letters
  • Breakfast at Wally’s Coffee Haus
  • Seeing a new European country when we went to Greece (and going on my first holiday with friends!)


  • Hanging out with Sami K not once but twice!
  • Celebrating our anniversary in Paris

The Lourve

  • Hanging out with #TeamHubbard & #TeamGodfrey again
  • Lots of walks around the lake


  • Trips to London to see Mark, Dani, Anna, Tess, Leo, Aaron, Owen, Jess & Amy in one weekend. Phew!
  • Publishing two beautiful issues of Télégramme
  • Trying pole dancing & not sucking that badly ;)

  • Spending time with my BFF for the first time in forever
  • Teaching Amy to play the ukulele and then helping her to complete her 30 songs challenge

  • Getting my first ever freelance clients
  • Sitting with our feet in the paddling pool, reading a book in the sunshine

    • Having so much fun working my way through my 30 for 30 list :)
    • Learning to swim underwater
    • An impromptu trip to Bristol to eat PORKS with Hayley
    • Bringing #ChongCat home

  • Getting given 30 or so avocados for my birthday, ha
  • Playing Cards Against Humanity with my mum and dying with laughter
  • Ice-skating for Q’s birthday
  • #Chongmas

See. So many good things! Putting this post together has made me remember so many fun things and spurred me on to make 2014 even better. Fun! In true Sarah spirit I also made some resolutions at the end of last year, and here’s how I got on with them.

2013 resolutions!

Face my fears

I totally did this! I faced my fear of heights by taking a trapeze class. I faced my fear of looking like an idiot (and thus never doing things in case I look like an idiot) by uploading a solo ukulele cover, and by taking a pole dancing class (which was awesome). I faced my fear of flying by getting on another 4 flights (even tho I did freak out a bit when they put us near the emergency exit. Oops).

I did try to push myself to try new things this year, and to push through when I felt like I wanted to turn around and hide under the duvet. I think it’ll always be a work in progress but I’m definitely better :)

No alcohol for a year

I did this too! Every person I told, without exception, made a skeptical face like giving up alcohol was completely unthinkable, but I personally didn’t find it hard at all. I don’t drink a lot anyway so that’s probably part of it (and I don’t enjoy beer or wine), but this was probably the easiest goal of the four to complete.

That being said – I am looking forward to cracking this bad boy open in 2014.

More joy!

I definitely did this. I’m much more in tune with the things I know will make me happy now (lists, yellow things, avocados, reading) and also happier to tell people if I don’t like doing something. You like bowling? Great! I’m genuinely glad for you but I’m not going to come with you because I really, really hate it.

I tried hard not to put myself in situations where I knew going in that I probably wouldn’t like it, even when there was social pressure to attend. I’m hoping that I managed to pull this off without offending any of my friends but they’d be more qualified to confirm that statement than I am, heh.

Plus, look at that giant list up there! FULL. OF. JOY.

Less gossip

I failed at this. Boo. I did okay for a little while but mostly I was a gossipy gossipy gossip. Oops! Why is this so hard? I feel like gossip is used as social currency almost and that’s definitely something I want to work towards removing from my life. Oh well, you can but try, right?


So. 2013 was (mostly) full of win in my opinion. So what about 2014? Well…

2014 resolutions!

Year of code

I have a subscription to Treehouse but I haven’t used it for a while. Oops. I’d love to be more confident with coding in a couple of different languages by the end of the year – I might as well get on it since I have the subscription, right? :)

Colour 365

I last completed a 365 in 2008/2009 (although I attempted one in 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, too…). I barely pick up my digital camera any more, so I’ve decided to do a 365 in 2014, with a broader subject matter than the last one, which was a self-portrait 365. Brutal. This time around I’m going to pick a different colour every month and every photo must feature that colour. I think it’ll look awesome at the end of the year! :)

Wheat free – all year

I need to make a change with my diet. I’m forever eating things even tho I know they’re bad for me and then regretting it afterwards, so in 2014 I’m cutting out all wheat related items. Bye bye, pizza! I’ll miss you!

Paleo in January

Since I’m already going to be wheat free I figure it’s not going to be too much more of a step to go Paleo for a while. I’d love to do Paleo for the whole year but I know it’s going to be difficult so I’m going to take it month by month and see how I get on!

Less phone more face

I spend way more time than I’d like glued to my phone, so in 2014 I’d like to spend more time interacting with people face to face. Putting my phone away during dinner, trying to quit Facebook, no browsing the internet in bed.

PHEW. Who’s excited for 2014? Because I totally, totally am! :D Yay!

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • A hot shower for the first time in days
  • Getting really into a new TV series
  • Spending a giftcard
  • Apple juice
  • Yellow baubles

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear hot water,

Thanks for feeling extra luxurious after being missing for a few days while we had our new boiler installed. That first hot shower was incredible.



See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Amazing water pressure
  • Time to reflect
  • Neatly wrapped presents
  • Pudding jumpers
  • Making plans with your oldest (and dearest) friends

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Feather Duvet,

Thank you for no longer kick starting Q’s allergies. You’re my favourite duvet to sleep under and I’m so glad that I don’t have to choose between you and my husband – it wouldn’t have been an easy pick.



See other Friday Thanks here or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

Télégramme Magazine – Issue 6

Posted by in Projects, Télégramme

We’ve come a long way, Télégramme and I. From issue one, with it’s scrappy layout and terrible fonts to issue six, with it’s sunny yellow theme and (I think) clean, elegant design.


Issue six featured five fantastic photographers:  Joe St PierreFabrizio MingarelliTuane EggersIrina Munteanu and Roslyn Julia :) It also featured themes: Golden Hour, Open Space and The Sea. If issue four was the concrete issue (all stark lines and empty buildings) and issue five was focused on people then issue six is without a doubt a celebration of nature.

It’s a labour of love to work on Télégramme, something I’ve made no bones about in the past. But I do it because I love it and I’m so happy that people seem to enjoy it.

If you like photography, especially 35mm photography then I urge you to follow the Télégramme magazine blog (when you’re done reading the latest issue, of course). I don’t update it as often as I’d like, but it has more of the same things you’d find in the magazine, so is worth checking out if photos are your thing.

There’s a mailing list now too, so if you’d like to know when the next issue is out then all you have to do is sign up here.

Phew. I’ve already started work on the next issue (which is going to be lilac, fancy) which makes a change from taking five months off and then rushing it in the last three weeks. Ha!

Monthly Goals: December

Posted by in Monthly Goals, Projects

In November I set 5 goals for myself. I’ve been finding myself constantly swimming uphill lately – forever with a large list of things I “must make time for” but never actually seem to manage to. So I wrote myself a small list, of things I felt should be a priority for me.

I managed to tick off four of those five things (and I only missed the last item “go on 5 walks” by one walk, so that’s not so bad), so I’ve decided to carry it on for December.

5 Goals for December

  1. Exercise five times*
  2. Leave five ‘lovely notes for strangers’
  3. Try three new recipes
  4. Watch one ‘classic’ film I’ve never seen
  5. Crochet 15 granny squares

I’ve set up a page for my monthly goals, so if you want to see how I’m doing you can check in here at any time, I’ll keep it updated as I tick things off.

Does anyone else find that they’re much more productive when they’re working to a list? I know some people find them a little oppressive but I always find it super useful :)

*I originally had this as ‘swim 5 times’ before realising that the pool we use closes on the 21st of December for the holidays. Oops!

(I’m aware that I’m midway through December already, I meant to post this earlier but didn’t make the time. The irony is not lost on me).

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Fairy lights
  • Sentimental pieces of jewellery
  • Birthdays
  • Getting a roll of film back
  • Snuggly jumpers

See the whole list here

November Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW Mitch Albom – Have a Little Faith
02. NEW Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451 [November goals]
03. NEW Jojo Moyes – Honeymoon in Paris
04. RR Scarlett Thomas – The End of Mr Y [30 for 30]
05. RR Christopher Pike – Road to Nowhere
06. RR Christopher Pike – The Visitor
07. RR Francine Pascal – My Mother Was Never a Kid
08. RR Francine Pascal – My First Love & Other Disasters
09. RR Francine Pascal – Love & Betrayal & Hold The Mayo [30 for 30]

November was a funny month for reading. I didn’t finish a book until almost mid-way through the month (which is unusual for me) but it picked up towards the end after a visit home to my mother and the collection of all my old Point Horror books, ha.

I’m coming to the end of my 30 for 30 reading lists, meaning that only the big and hard to source books are left, eek. I ordered these Francine Pascal books and books two and three came a week before the first one, which was a little torturous. I only have 11 left to read (meaning I’ve read 49 of them since the end of June, gosh) and I’m looking forward most to re-reading The Time Traveler’s Wife in January – it is my favourite book after all.

I loved those Christopher Pike books when I was younger but sadly they didn’t live up to my memories – very few books you read as a teenager do I suppose. The Victoria Martin Trilogy was a happy exception to the rule – I remember loving this more that the Sweet Valley series when I was growing up and it was a delight to re-read them (I powered through all three in two days, so eager was I for a reminisce).

Elsewhere Scarlett Thomas is still baffling me even with a second read of The End of My Y (although I think PopCo is still my favourite of hers), Mitch Albom seems to be back on form (I much prefer his non-fiction writing, apparently) and Fahrenheit 451 wasn’t at all what I was expecting but was really rather fantastic.

I hit my 100 books target in November, so I upped it to 110 just to keep me on my toes. I’m up to 108 already so I’m fairly sure I’ll make it but you never know ;)

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 212.