Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear #ChongCat,

Thank you for coming back from being missing, unscathed and happy to see us. Next time you annoy me by waking me up at 5am I’ll remember how worried I was when you were gone.

Love

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.

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! :)

The Best Places to Eat in Cardiff – The Chains

Posted by in Food Exploits

Last week I wrote a post on my favourite places to eat in Cardiff. I’ve split it into two posts, the Independents and the Chains, altho I have fairly loose rules for what constitutes a chain! This week it’s the turn of the chains – there are plenty in Cardiff to choose from, but some are definitely better than others.

The Chains*

*I say chain, I mean “has at least one other location outside of Cardiff, usually more.

Wahaca

 St David’s Dewi Sant Cardiff, 7 Bridge Street, Cardiff CF10 2EF | 02921 670 414

Oh, Wahaca. You only moved in recently but your sweet potato taquitos have totally stolen my heart. Their first location outside London, the Cardiff branch of Wahaca is beautiful inside and out and is a great addition to the city centre (if you like Mexican food). Bonus points for the Gluten Free menu they have and the totally amazing hibiscus water.

Bill’s

27-39 Wyndham Arcade, Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1FH | 029 2023 1524

I know some people who find Bill’s a bit hit and miss and while I can understand that I normally enjoy myself, so it’s going on the list. They’re not so  great if you’re going for a GF diet – some of their staff are more knowledgeable than others and their hollandaise sauce inexplicably contains wheat – but the majority of their food is solid, tasty fair. Ignore their breakfasts and go for lunch or dinner, your stomach will thank you.

Mission Buritto

The Friary, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF10 3FA | 029 2022 6677

I am so happy that Cardiff finally has a city centre burrito place, you have no idea. Doubly happy that they also offer rice and salad boxes and that you can basically have as much guacamole as you can fit in the box for a nominal price. I hear their burritos are pretty good, too ;) There’s not a huge amount of eat-in space, which makes it more of a summer eatery for me (burritos are way too messy to eat on the go), but otherwise two thumbs up for Mission Burrito. Nom.

Cosy Club

St David’s Dewi Sant Cardiff, 1 Hills Street, Cardiff CF10 2LE | 029 2022 5998

Cosy Club is another Cardiff chain that has a great Gluten Free menu – hurrah! They’re sometimes a little slow with service, but the food is worth the wait, I promise. They also have an amazing cocktails menu if you’re into that kind of thing (I am 100% into that kind of thing, fyi).

The menu changes fairly regularly and there’s a great selection of tapas, so if you’re a fan of the small dish revolution that seems to be happening everywhere these days then Cosy Club is a good one to check out.

Bangkok Cafe

207 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF11 9AJ | 029 2034 0455

Last but by no means least, we have Bangkok Cafe – purveyors of the best Thai food in Cardiff (in my opinion at least). Technically they were  chain since they also used to have a restaurant in Swansea, but not really a chain chain, if you get what I mean, especially since that venue has now apparently closed. (Sad times for Swansea residents. Move to Cardiff, kids).

I love the food at Bangkok Cafe – it’s fresh, vibrant and pretty reasonably priced. It can be a little on the spicy side so be careful what you order if spice isn’t your thing (it’s not mine either, don’t worry). Fret not tho, there are plenty of things on the menu for non-spice lovers, I urge you to check it out. & maybe take me with you? Thx.

So that’s it – my totally informal, 100% bias guide to eating in Cardiff. Let me know where I should try next! :) I’m looking forward to Five Guys opening next week…

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Whatsapp
  • Being able to apologise with grace
  • Pretty henna patterns
  • Chips for lunch
  • Finding a bookclub pick in a charity shop

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear meditation,

Thank you for being one of the activities that makes my heart feel light. I don’t make time for you very often, but when I do it’s always worth it. Here’s to making more time for you.

Love,

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.

Pay it Forward: Mighty Girl

Posted by in Paying it Forward

Who: Maggie!

Where: mightygirl.com

Why: I love the way Maggie turns a phrase. She’s insightful, fun to read and inspirational in thousands of tiny ways. I mean, obviously I adore her for introducing me to the idea of the Life List, but mostly I like Maggie Mason because she’s really the kind of woman I aspire to be. Kind, strong, wonderful.

My favourite posts:

Life List How To: One Way to Start

I realized how many things I genuinely love that I rarely do. For example, I thought about times I’d experienced joy, and I kept coming back to swimming. I particularly love swimming in natural bodies of water, and I almost never do it. This is ridiculous because we have a cabin a block from a river. Apparently I’ve been denying myself joy because it’s too much of a pain. Joy gets too much sand in the car.

Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

I pulled it from the shelf of a bookshop in Seattle, read the first page, continued reading to the counter, read it from the register, down the stairs, ran into the doorjamb, and kept reading up the street.

Don’t Be Rude, Part II, Relationships

Because, my love, upfront is painful when you’re on the receiving end. It’s easier to give a persistent fellow your number and ignore a ringing phone than it is to tell him that he’s old enough to be your father.

Answers

So instead of waiting for answers that seek to diminish our common humanity, let’s to turn to one another and reaffirm it. None of us is helpless. We can help just by being good to each other, maybe a little better than usual.

Packing Light: Palm Springs, Maternity Edition

I try to pack PJs I can wear out if I need to, and these are good by the pool. For romping.

Follow Maggie on Twitter, if that’s your thing. She’s great!

If you’ve got suggestions of people that you think I’ll love please let me know, I’m always looking for new blogs to follow! :)

The Best Places to Eat in Cardiff – The Independents

Posted by in Food Exploits

I’ve lived in Cardiff for just over four years, and in that time I’ve had the chance to eat at over 50 restaurants, cafes, diners and eateries. (Yes, I count. You should not be in any way surprised by this by now.)

I thought it’d be fun to put together a list of my favourite places to eat in Cardiff, for people who’ve never been, or haven’t visited for a long time. If anywhere is missing from here it’s probably because I haven’t eaten there yet (an idea for another list, perhaps!).

I’ve split it into two posts, the Independents and the Chains, altho I have fairly loose rules for what constitutes a chain!

First up:

The Independents

The Potted Pig

27 High Street (underneath Zizzi), Cardiff, CF10 1PU | 02920 224 817

Situated in a former bank vault, The Potted Pig is my all-time favourite place to eat in Cardiff. Not only is the food delicious, but the lunch menu is reasonable, the Sunday roast is out of this world and they have 21 different types of gin behind the bar. Sold.

Best for: Sunday lunch or a boozy lunch meeting.

Riverside Cantonese

44 Tudor Street, Riverside, Cardiff, CF11 6AH | 02920 372 163

My second favourite place to eat in Cardiff – Riverside restaurant is just outside the city centre (in Riverside, funnily enough) but it’s only a 7 minute walk from the train station, so still a reasonable place to grab lunch if you’re in town. Riverside is a Chinese restaurant but the magic lies in their Dim Sum menu, so make sure you visit between 12-5pm to partake.

This is where we eat with Q’s dad when he comes over from Macau. If that’s not a good enough recommendation I don’t know what is!

Best for: Eating so much dim sim you have to roll yourself home, while still getting change from a twenty.

The New York Deli

20 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB | 02920 388 388

Nestled in the High Street Arcade, the New York Deli is practically a Cardiff institution. Giant hoagies (a soft baguette to you and me) filled with all manner of fun like salt beef, pickles and swiss cheese (the Rueben is my favourite in case you haven’t guessed), you can also get salads, soups and bagels if you want something a little less gut busting. The menu is diverse and flexible, so don’t be afraid to substitute or go completely off piste. Their Christmas bagel is particularly amazing and, best of all, the sell Snapple. Hurrah!

Best for: MEAT. They have vegetarian food and it’s good, but their meaty fillings are superb. (Wait, that sounds rude…)

Wally’s Kaffeehaus

38-46 Royal Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AE | 029 2022 9265

Wally’s is great for buying lots of strange, intriguing foreign foods that you want but don’t necessarily need. If that sounds like a negative, it’s not – I love all of their products with a (perhaps) slightly unhealthy obsession with their chorizo. Mm.

They also have a coffee house, tucked away up the stairs where the breakfasts are filling but light. There’s a slant towards Austrian food and it’s great, so if you’re a fan of sausage (watch it) then I’d really suggest you give it a try one day. Their hot chocolate is also top notch.

Best for: A lazy breakfast, people watching over the Royal Arcade.

The Corner House

25 Caroline St, Cardiff CF10 1FF | 029 2022 8628

The Corner House is one of those places that we don’t eat at often, but when we do it’s good. It used to be our local of sorts before we moved house, and we’d often stop in with friends to grab a drink or two – they have a nice cocktails list and offer mulled cider in the winter, a Mia fave.

Their menu has moved more towards upmarket British classics recently, which is a move I wholeheartedly approve of, although steer clear of the deep fried halloumi, Sarah wasn’t a fan!

Best for: Drinks that turn into dinner that turns into ordering two puddings each.

Cafe Citta

4 Church Street, Cardiff CF10 1BG | 029 2022 4040

Cafe Citta is a firm favourite with my (half-Italian) boss, so I’m surprised that it took me so long to eat there. In fairness, we’d tried a couple of times before only to be turned away at the door – Cafe Citta is really, really tiny so try and go at a quiet time or book ahead if possible.

The food is delicious without being pretentious  – hearty Italian fair (you’ll find all the usual pizzas and pastas here) but far, far better than anything Pizza Express and Prezzo have to offer.

Surprisingly, there’s also some quite decent food for gluten free eaters like myself – I had the aubergine bake and it was amazing.

 Best for: Cosy, authentic Italian food.

Madame Fromage

18 Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BW | 029 2064 4888

If you live in Cardiff, love cheese and haven’t been to Madam Fromage yet then I really don’t know what to do with you. Tucked inside Castle Arcade, they have a wonderful cheese counter full to the brim with local and international offerings. They also have a tiny cafe, where you can orders platters of their beautiful cheeses. Do this often, they are delicious.

Best for: Indulging your love of weird cheeses.

Pen Y Lan Pantry

72 Kimberley Road, Cardiff, CF23 5DN | 07854724980

Pen Y Lan Pantry is situated a couple of miles outside Cardiff City centre, but is on plenty of bus routes so don’t be afraid to go exploring for it one day. They offer a great selection of artisanal cheeses and meats, with homemade cakes and pies thrown in for good measure. It’s quite a small venue, but it’s full of charm and they even have a small shop section if you’re feeling inclined to recreate their goodies at home.

Best for: A quiet brunch when you’re tired of the city.

Y Mochyn Du

Sophia Close, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF11 9HW | 029 2037 1599

Y Mochyn Du is another one that’s a little bit outside the city centre but don’t let that put you off. It’s a bilingual pub, with Welsh speaking staff and menus so it’s a great place to go if you want to practice your Cymraeg! :) Their food is also delicious, especially the Sunday roast. Trust.

Best for: Practising your Welsh while stuffing your face.

Truffles

2-3 Church Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF10 1BG | 029 2021 0242

Truffles is one of those places that seems to have been in Cardiff since the dawn of time (in reality it’s been around since the 80s I think) and it doesn’t seem to have changed much since it was first opened. I like that tho – there is something wildly comforting about the lack of pretension at Truffles. The menu is honest and traditional, their roast is another one to seek out if you’re visiting / hungover (or both). It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it’ll be worth it, trust me.

Best for: Time travelling to the 80s (in a good way).

This post ended up way longer than I expected, ha. Look out for the 2nd part in the next few days, featuring the so called ‘chains’ of Cardiff. They’re still good, I promise.

In the meantime, let me know where else I should be eating – I’m a big fan of food in case you haven’t noticed ;)

Cheer Up Monday

Posted by in A Little Conversation

Need another round of Cheer Up Monday? Well okay then. Six things to make you smile, coming up.

First of all, let’s all collectively ‘aww’ at this tiny horse! Amazing. Like Li’l Sebastian (spoilers under that link, beware!), only li’ller. (H/T: @hayles)

Second: My friend Amy took this pretty photo of some blossom, which was a nice reminder that Spring is here. Yay!

Third: Sleeping Totoro is my new spirit animal. (Also, if Totoro is your jam check out this super cute tutorial for making a Totoro bag)

Fourth: If you like hot men/& or men who can dance, then the trailing for Magic Mike XXL should do it for you. It definitely cheers me up, anyhow ;) Yay, casual objectification!

Fifth:  If you are feeling overwhelmed, Cookie Monster has some sound advice:

Sixth: & if you’re struggling with mean people, so does Dita Von Teese:

So go and enjoy your day, because the only opinion of yourself you should care about is yours. Mwah!

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • The satisfaction of running down a pen
  • Sunshine, always
  • Finishing a crossword book
  • New card games
  • Silly team hashtags

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Moleskines,

Thanks for being such nice notebooks to write in. I know some people think you’re a little pretentious (it’s okay, I used to be one of them), but actually sometimes it’s nice to splash out on things that make you feel good when you use them. Self care comes in all forms, right?

Love,

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here.