Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

30 For 30 – My Year in Lists

Posted by in 30 for 30, Projects

This time last year I was on the eve of turning 30, and I wrote myself a list of 30 things I wanted to do to celebrate being that old. I’d originally wanted to do a ’30 before 30′ before realising that I only had six months left by the time I thought of it, ha. Some of the things were fun, some were to challenge myself and some were to make other people happy.

I completed my list yesterday, and since my birthday is tmrw I’m pretty pleased that I managed to get everything done within the deadline! I thought I’d do a little run down of each thing (in chronological order of completion), since I didn’t get around to writing blog posts for everything like I’d intended to (oops).

1. Buy a hammock Completed: 27th June 2013

Ah, the hammock of joy. God I love this thing. Q bought me the hammock as part of my birthday surprise and it was the absolute best thing ever :) it gets a lot of use – it’s equally great for snoozing in the sunshine and working from while snuggled under a duvet. Mmm.

2. Buy a set of personalised stationery Completed: 12th July 2013

I have always wanted personalised stationery, so I bit the bullet and bought this beautiful set from Cerulean Press on Etsy. Fun fact: it’s so beautiful that I haven’t had the heart to actually send it to anyone. Oops!

3. Pick 30 recipes for our family cookbook [32/30] Completed: 24th July 2013

We love to cook, so we’re planning on making a cook book of our favourite recipes. We’ve picked them, so now I’ve added “print the family cook book” to the 31 for 31 list :)

4. Donate £100 to charity [£101.75/£100] Completed: 26th September 2013

This was one of the easiest ones to complete – a lot of people fundraising for things and a couple of monthly subscriptions knocked it out in a couple of months.

5. Give blood Completed: 14th October 2013

Another simple one – I was planning on giving blood more than once but then I got a tattoo done in January, so I couldn’t. Oops! I’ve put it on the 31 for 31 again because it’s important to do, and I can.

6. Learn how to make truffles Completed: 6th November 2013

Omm nomm nomm, truffles. Big thanks to Sophie P for buying me the ingredients to make these! The story is on Go Mighty, too.

7. Have another portrait shoot with Q Completed: 10th November 2013

Our lovely pal Amy agreed to take some photos of us and I think they came out really well! :) This is a nice tradition to continue, I’m looking forward to doing it again this year :)

8. Learn how to replicate my favourite M&S salad Completed: 15th November 2013

salad

Goats cheese, Iranian cous cous, lentils, peppers, sundried tomatoes, peas and an amazing garlic, basil and honey dressing. It took me a while to get this but man was it worth it.

9. Make an extra donation to Kiva Completed: 15th November 2013

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 15.46.51

Kiva is one of those charities that I’ve been using for a while – you lend out $25 at a time and then when it’s repaid you can lend it out again. Hence why I’ve invested $53.75 but actually been able to lend $300 :)

10. Take my mum and sister for a spa day Completed: 16th November 2013

I actually didn’t get a photo of us at the spa, ha, but I promise we did go. This photo is from the roof above the pool, which I thought was kind of pretty. We managed to keep it a surprise from my mum and booked it for her birthday weekend so it worked out pretty perfectly! :)

11. Take a pole dancing lesson Completed: 18th November 2013

This was a very fun goal to tick off :) The story is at Go Mighty, if you’re interested :)

12. Upload a solo ukulele cover Completed: 23rd November 2013

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 16.04.23

An aside: it’s practically impossible to grab a still from YouTube where you don’t look like an idiot, apparently. This one was of the hardest goals – I really don’t practice my uke enough and this took about 8 goes, ha. Still, I did it and I don’t think I sucked that badly. Check out those 200 views, too ;)

13. Throw a Life List party Completed: 26th January 2014

I wrote a biiiiig post about this with lots of photos over on Go Mighty, so if you want to read more about it  head over there! We’ll definitely be doing it again and I for one cannot wait :)

14. Sponsor a child in a third world country Completed: 26th January 2014

I did a bit of research and ended up choosing Plan UK as they’re not overly religious and the money goes towards the local community. I’ve already had my first letter from my sponsee, which was a really lovely surprise!

15. See 30 films at the cinema [30/30] Completed: 26th January 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 16.09.21

I managed 52 films at the cinema last year, making good use of my Cineworld Unlimited card. There were some amazing films over the past 12 months, so I’ve added “re-watch 31 of my favourite films” to my 31 for 31 as an excuse to rediscover the magic of a few of them :)

16. See two comedy shows [2/2] Completed: 6th February 2014

We went to watch the final of the WUSA (Wales Unsigned Act) which was lots of fun, then popped back a few months later to see one of the group comedy nights. It’s a good way to see a few comedians at a time!

17. Design and build my freelance portfolio website Completed: 23rd February 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 16.13.53

I wrote about this one on Go Mighty – it took me a while but I’m so glad I added this to the list, it pushed me to actually get my shit sorted and now I’ve got lots of lovely clients to show for it. Yay!

18. Write 30 letters [30/30] Completed: 23rd February 2014

I wrote about this one on Go Mighty, too. It was a lot of fun, but I haven’t written many letters since! Must rectify that :)

19. Re-read 30 of my favourite books [30/30] Completed: 18th March 2014

Ah, The Time Traveler’s Wife. I re-read this every year and it gets better every time. The rest of the books were fun to re-read too, like slipping into a warm bath on a chilly day. Books – you are the best.

20. Visit two new UK cities [4/2] Completed: 22nd March 2014
1.Gloucester

A quick overnight trip with Q – altho we probably could have done Gloucester in an afternoon and not missed much, it’s pretty small!

2. Swansea

I went to Swansea with my Mum and Q, who went to uni there. We had a giant rack of ribs for lunch, popped into the waterfront museum and then had a Joe’s ice-cream and a wander over to the Mumbles :)

3. Wells

Then Mum, Amy and I took a mini road trip to Wells, Stonehenge and Salisbury which was a lot of fun! Lots of cathedrals, unsurprisingly.

4. Salisbury

We managed to hit Stonehenge just as the sun was setting – it was kind of magical you guys.

21. Pay off one of my credit cards Completed: 2nd April 2014

Done done done! I’m actually only about £600 away from being completely debt free now, which is a WONDERFUL feeling.

22. Read 30 books I’ve always wanted to read [30/30] Completed: 5th May 2014

This was a fun/torturous one to complete – I inadvertently left the longest books to the end, ha. Some of them were a complete waste of time *cough* The Memory Keepers Daughter* but I did also read some lovely books, so it balanced out nicely in the end :)

23. Shoot 12 rolls of 35mm film [12/12] Completed: 12th May 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 15.40.23

This was so much fun to complete! You can see the highlights from all 12 rolls here, it’s really made me want to shoot more 35mm and less digital in general. 35mm is so dreamy.

24. Buy prints from 10 of my favourite artists [10/10] Completed: 22nd May 2014

I bought prints from:

  1. Dianne Tanner
  2. Amber Marlow
  3. Sarah Anne Wharton Kuln
  4. Ben Jones
  5. Laina Briedis
  6. Mike Stimpson
  7. Deborah Cardinal
  8. Sami Kelsh
  9. Leni Kauffman
  10. Amy Walters

And I strongly suggest you do too. It’s so lovely to have a house full of original artwork :)

25. See a West End musical Completed: 1st June 2014

We saw Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre (Q bought me theatre vouchers as one of my 30th birthday presents) and it was just magical. The set was unbelievable, so clever :)

26. Leave 30 lovely notes for strangers [30/30] Completed: 1st June 2014

This was one of the more interesting challenges of the year – I enjoyed writing them but finding places to put them proved a little challenging! For the most part I don’t know what happened to them but I did notice this tweet about one of them, which was kind of nice!

27. Crochet a blanket for Arthur Completed: 9th June 2014

This was definitely a challenging goal but equally as rewarding. Sophie gave me a quick couple of lessons and after an aborted granny square version (who wants to sew in all those ends?!) I settled on this easier, stripy version and the good news is that my nephew really liked it. Now I just need to make one for #Chongcat as he took quite the shine to it too ;) )

28. Play laser quest Completed: 21st June 2014

This. was. awesome. Eight of us made it down to Barry Island Quasar (hell, you’ve got to do these things in style, right?) and played two games on one of the hottest days of the year so far. I was absolutely rubbish (seriously, I was the worst player in both games, lol) but it was so much fun that I totally don’t care.

29. Have a picnic in two Cardiff parks we’ve not visited before [2/2] Completed: 24th June 2014
1. Heath Park

Q and I made it to Heath Park on the 1st of April and then it rained and rained and rained for the next few days so I felt quite smug about fitting it in! It was nice although we did get continuous bothered by all the dogs who wanted a slice of our awesome picnic action, heh.

2. Victoria Park

Kate, Chris, Arthur and I headed to Victoria Park after a tip-off from Amy that there was a paddling pool for toddlers. It was a big hit with Arthur and it was definitely nice to dip my toes in on a warm day!

30. Go swimming 30 times  [30/30] Completed: 25th June 2014

There was one point where I didn’t think I was going to get this goal completed and it made me so angry about missing out on one item that I stepped up my game and finally completed this one two days before my deadline. This is a photo of the beautiful pool we had in Greece in August – I didn’t actually count any of my swims from the holiday since I didn’t measure the distances, but I did swim every day so I probably should have!

So, that’s it! My 30 for 30 was a whole heap of fun, I’m fully expecting my 31 for 31 to be even more so :) Yay, lists!

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.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Fresh kiwi fruit
  • Coral coloured shoes
  • Flat ground
  • Meeting online friends in person
  • X-Men geek outs

See the full list here.

Monthly Goals for May & June

Posted by in Monthly Goals, Projects

5 Goals for May [3/5]

  1. Finish “A Fraction of the Whole [100%/100%]
  2. No phone browsing before bed (9:30pm cut off)
  3. Finish Arthur’s blanket [5.5/7]
  4. Make two dishes from the Yo! Sushi cookbook [3/2]
  5. Make something with the sewing machine

Sooo..May. May was a tough month. I left it way too late to get everything done, I think, which meant I was rushing at the end and didn’t give myself enough time to finish Arthur’s blanket, boo! The no phone browsing thing was a complete wash too – I kept forgetting that I wasn’t supposed to be using it, oops.

I did, however, finish my book (the last new book on my 30 for 30 list), made three dishes from the Yo! Sushi cookbook which were all delicious and made a headband on the sewing machine from Tilly Walnes’ excellent book – Love At First Stitch. I’m excited to try the pyjama bottoms pattern now! :)

5 Goals for June [0/5]

  1. Have 25 meat free days [6/25]
  2. No phone browsing before bed (9:30pm cut off)
  3. Try 5:2 for a month
  4. Complete my 30 for 30!
  5. Read 10 books written by women [1/10]

I’ve added no phone browsing back to this month’s goals since I failed so dismally last month – it’s going a little better this month at least! It’s my birthday at the end of the month which means the end of the 30 for 30 list I wrote myself last year, eep. It’s been so much fun that I’ve written myself a 31 for 31 to continue on the tradition, but I do still have a few things left (I need to swim 6 times, have a picnic in a new park and play Laserquest). If I don’t manage it I know I’ll be annoyed, so that’s good motivation to get everything done! :)

I’ve also decided to try 5:2 for a month (for those who don’t know what that is: you have two days a week with a 500 calorie intake limit) and reduce my meat intake because not knowing where the animals I eat come from / how they’re treated is starting to bother me.

Lastly, I’ve added ‘read 10 books written by women’ because it’s one of my challenges this year to read more books written by women than men and I’m hovering on the cusp with 44%! :)

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Stephen King,

Thank you for writing books that I can only read during daylight hours – it’s good to have boundaries.

Love

Sarah

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

Monthly Goals for April & May

Posted by in A Little Conversation, Monthly Goals

5 Goals for April [5/5]

  1. Have a picnic in a new Cardiff park
  2. Leave 10 lovely notes [10/10]
  3. Crochet 3 stripes on Arthur’s blanket [3/3]
  4. Plant some seeds for the garden
  5. Finish the “Build a Simple PHP Application” stage on Treehouse

I completed my April goals, hurrah! Admittedly, we planted out the seeds and tidied up the garden on April 30th, but you know, it still counts. We actually managed to have a picnic on April 1st and then the day after it rained and rained and rained, so I felt quite smug about that. Take that, weather.

Elsewhere the “Simple PHP Application” didn’t seem so simple to me but maybe it’s me who’s simple, who knows, eh? Still, it got done which means I can move onto the next stage – whoop!

5 Goals for May [0/5]

  1. Finish “A Fraction of the Whole” [22%/100%]
  2. No phone browsing before bed (9:30pm cut off) [1/31]
  3. Finish Arthur’s blanket [0/7]
  4. Make two dishes from the Yo! Sushi cookbook [0/2]
  5. Make something with the sewing machine

So, onto May! Two of these are 30 for 30 related (book reading and blanket making), and the rest are just things that I want to be doing, really. I spend so much time on my phone and it’d be nice to step back from it in the evenings and get back into some other hobbies that have fallen by the way side.

We’re off to Italy for a week on Wednesday (it’s a work trip but I’m sure they’ll be some relaxing times). I’m going to take the blanket with me so hopefully they’ll be some progress to report by the time we get back!

Ciao ;)

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Wi-Fi,

Thanks for helping me to connect to the world, wherever I am in it. I find it immensely comforting to know that I never really have to be alone if I haven’t chosen to be.

Love

Sarah

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

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear John Lewis,

Thank you for making a feather pillow that fixed my sleep issues. Even tho #ChongCat likes to eat the feathers, I still think it worked out for the best.

Love Sarah

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

  • Winning a quiz
  • Bank holidays
  • Mango juice
  • Buttercups
  • Framing favourite photos

See the full list here.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Clean fingernails
  • Unexpected post
  • Days off
  • Making a friend laugh
  • Rediscovering old favourite TV shows

See the full list here.