Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Fine liners
  • Universal charging cables
  • Sitting outdoors under a warm blanket
  • Warming your feet on a radiator
  • Donating books to charity

See the whole list here

31 for 31: Learn How to Make Delicious Cookies

Posted by in 31 for 31, Food Exploits, Projects

I’m a good cook, but a lousy baker. I can just about manage cakes and cupcakes but biscuits and cookies have always alluded me. Since going gluten-free I’ve found it even harder – the science of baking is even more difficult to tame when you’re dealing with tapioca starch and xanthan gum!

Last time I made cookies, this is how they turned out. Not great. I mean, they actually tasted okay but they looked like an absolute mess, ha.

My friend/boss Rob decided to help me out of my biscuit dilemma, and taught me how to make delicious cookies last month. I’ve made them twice now and both times they’ve been great so I’m counting this as a skill learnt! :) Thanks Rob!

Delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

(adapted from David Lebovitz)

  • 60g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 60g dark or light brown sugar
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90g gluten-free flour (I use Dove Farms self raising, usually)
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (Maldon, rock or sea salt is fine. Don’t use table salt!)
  • 100g coarsely chopped dark or milk chocolate

1. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy
2. Add in the egg and the vanilla
3. Stir the flour and salt into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chopped chocolate
4. Cover and chill the batter until firm. It’s preferable to let it rest overnight, apparently, if you can wait that long for delicious cookies. Give it at least 4 hours in the fridge or freezer if you can fit the bowl in
5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
6. Form the cookie dough into balls about the size of a large walnut. Place the balls evenly spaced on the baking sheet, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed
7. Bake the cookies for ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until they look about set, but are not brown
8. Remove from oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then remove them with a spatula to a cooling rack

The only thing left to do after that is eat the delicious cookies. Om nom nom!

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear books I borrow from my friends,

Thanks for strengthening the connection I have with the people I love, even if I means I have to be more careful about folding corners.

Love

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.

My First Year As A Freelancer

Posted by in A Little Conversation

My spiffy looking portfolio. Why yes, I do like yellow. How did you know?

2014 was my first proper year of freelancing. Booking clients, invoicing people, submitting a tax return – all fun stuff. I thought it’d be a fun exercise to share a little bit about what I learnt in my first year as a freelancer, in case any of you are considering taking the plunge! First up, some background.

How I ended up as a freelancer in the first place

I actually fell into it by accident, to be honest. A combination of being unable to find a permanent contract anywhere and a couple of friend’s with small businesses offering me some contract work and boom, there you go, I’m suddenly a freelancer. I’m pretty outgoing so I talk to people a lot, which is also handy for a freelance career. Most of my work comes through word of mouth!

I’ve been dabbling with coding for about 15 years now, and I’ve been online for a loooong time (I am 31, it happens), so even tho my general job skills were based in administration it didn’t feel like too much to transition what I was doing in my spare time (chatting on Twitter and building websites) to my actual job.

What I do, and how I do it

My lovely clients and their lovely logos. Lovely.

I mostly do marketing and social media, and WordPress dev altho I also create content and provide customer service support. Multi-faceted! I’ve always been interested in the internet and building websites, and I’m supremely chatty and people based, so they seemed like a good fit for me.

I don’t have a set in stone routine, but I usually start work at around 10 (altho I do wake up earlier than that, I swear! Ha). I usually work with certain clients on certain days, so I’ll either be doing some marketing stuff or I’ll be working on a website design depending on where in the week I am. I’m a completely paperless operation so everything is done via my laptop, which is pretty sweeet. It means I can work from anywhere in the world, essentially, which is a pretty nice feeling.

I normally stop for lunch at around 1pm and try to take a 45 minute break away from my laptop and my phone. Then it’s back to work until 5 or 6, depending on when Q gets home / how much work I have left.

Sometimes I work in the evenings, but I try not to because it doesn’t feel like a great use of my time and my brain is definitely more tired then.

What I learnt this year

I am good at talking to people and self-motivating but I’m bad at time-management and sticking to one task at a time. 2014 was an interesting year – I definitely made some mistakes (make backups, kids. Seriously), but overall it went well. I built a small core of happy clients who like to tell other people to hire me. They’re really the best.

Pros of being a freelancer

  • You set your own hours
  • You can work from home
  • You’re in charge of what you do (mostly!)
  • You can work for people who have the same ethos as you
  • You get to set your own prices

Cons of being a freelancer

  • The hours can be irregular
  • It can be pretty isolating
  • The fear that you don’t have anyone to fall back on
  • You have to motivate yourself, constantly, forever. No-one else will be around to do it for you
  • Some months you will have money, some months you won’t

The future

One of my favourite sites I did last year – Costa Sister Productions

I really want to move more towards WordPress dev (themes and bespoke stuff next!) and maybe an app or two? Who knows. The world is my proverbial oyster, really.

Tools for freelancers

If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, these are some of the tools that I use on a daily basis that you might find useful.

  • Toggl – for time tracking
  • Trello – for organising your stuff
  • Debitoor – I use this for my invoicing and it works a treat
  • WeTransfer – for sending big files that are too large for email
  • Copy – like Dropbox, but with a way bigger allowance (if you sign up via my link we both get an extra 5GB! Nice.)

They’re all free tools (some have premium options), which is nice if you’re just starting out as you can see what works for you before you commit to anything.

I also use Treehouse to learn new coding languages and skills, and while it’s not free I do think it’s worth it!

Honestly, I would recommend freelancing if you’re sick of your job and want to try working for yourself. It’s an interesting process and it won’t suit everyone, but I really think that it suits me well :) Here’s to 2015!

Cheer Up Monday

Posted by in A Little Conversation

Apropos of nothing, here are some cute photos from the internet, in case you need cheering up. (Click through for links to original sources)



 

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear long car journeys,

Thanks for the opportunity for some uninterrupted thinking time. Concentrating on one thing allows me to really get introspective – I work out something new every time I’m alone on the road.

Love

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.

31 for 31: Make My Own Jam

Posted by in 31 for 31, Food Exploits, Projects

One of my 31 for 31 goals was to make my own jam.This was actually the first goal I ticked off the list, waaaay back in July, ha. I just forgot to, um, blog about it for a while. Oops?

I’ve always loved the idea of bottling and preserving my own foods, but wimped out every time the recipe got to the ‘now sterilise the jars’ bit. I’m not even sure why, really, it’s not like sterilising jars is at all difficult – I think I just got snagged on it and convinced myself it was way more difficult than it was!

My mum had some rhubarb in her garden, so rhubarb jam it was. It’s ridiculously simple really – boil up a load of fruit and sugar and shove it in a jar. Jam tarts optional, but delicious. Still, knowing how easy it is has boosted my confidence with preserves. Next stop, marmalade…

Colour 365: The Final Quarter

Posted by in Projects

I thought I’d do the final roundup of my colour 365 posts, since I did all the rest! :)

Colour 365: October 2014 PurpleOctober was purple, which was a bit of a challenging month. For some reason we just don’t have a huge amount of purple in the house,  so some of my photos are….kind of crap. I think the lint roller is probably the worst one, ha!

Colour 365: November 2014 SilverSilver was a fun month. I decided to apply the same filter to all of my photos, because I really like it when the collages look uniform. I promise that all the items were silver in colour ;)

Colour 365: December 2014 GoldGold! Finale month! Christmas! Thank goodness for Christmas, so many of these photos are of Christmas decoration and gifts which made it a hell of a lot easier to complete, ha. I particular liked my final shot, which was ‘2015’ spelled out in Ferrero Rochers.

My absolute favourite photo of the year was this one tho, perhaps unsurprisingly:

181/365: Yellow? It's Okay. I Guess.Mm. So pretty…

Colour 365: The Whole Rainbow

 Annnnnd here they all are together. (I know I posted this on my resolutions post, but look, it’s really pretty.) I was so happy that a) I managed to complete the year and b) that they looked so awesome when i put them all together!

I think that might be my 365 pot spent tho. Two is enough for anyone in one lifetime, this shit is exhausting.

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

See the whole list here