Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

What I Do When I’m Not Here

Posted by in A Little Conversation

(Alternatively titled: Boom, I’m A Freelancer Now.)

I sort of fell into freelance work. Most of my adult working life was spent sitting in an office, typing things or making spreadsheets or re-arranging meetings for people earning more money than me. I was good at admin, but it didn’t exactly make my heart sing. I could only find temp jobs when I moved to Cardiff originally and the lack of a permanent, stable job did make the move into freelance easier, but it wasn’t a conscious decision until I’d actually already been doing it for about six months. Whoops.

I taught myself how to code when I was a teenager and I’ve loved the web ever since. A friend offered me a job in a small company (Hi, Rob) then someone else offered me some hours and a few more people came to me when they needed some web things doing. So now I work as a freelancer and split my time between a few awesome companies. I mostly write blog posts, noodle about on various social media outlets, market products, sometimes I review cameras and occasionally I’ll create some graphics for a site. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty fun life. I am grateful, I promise.

The most fun bit of my job is the work I do for Cwtch the Bride – a Welsh wedding blog which was set up by our wedding photographer in February of this year. (You can see all the posts I wrote about our wedding here if you’re bothered.) I’ve written over 100 posts for Cwtch (which is kind of crazy when you think about it) so I thought I’d share some of my favourites in case any of you are getting married soon and need some advice :)

Also, it’s nice to be proud of your work and my freelance portfolio is still being created (in the same way they the photographer is never in the photos, the freelancer never writes posts for their own blog, it would seem).

In no particular order:

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 15.04.04

If nothing else, this should teach you that I like to use colons in blog post titles, apparently.

I’ve also recently written a couple of posts for Hayley (of #TeamMASH fame)’s new website for blogging beginners: Bonjour Blogger. If you’re new to blogging I urge you to check it out, there’s some good stuff there! :)

My god that’s a lot of links in one post, isn’t it. Go forth, click, be merry.

Help, I Need Recipe Ideas

Posted by in Food Exploits, My Life In Lists

Laksa Lemak

One of the items on my Life List is make at least one meal from 25 different cuisines. I’m currently up to 20, and I’m stuck. (That photo is our Laksa Lemak recipe – it’s delicious and has become a staple at Chez Chong over the years)

So far we’ve cooked:

  1. Belgian: Carbonnade of beef
  2. Chinese: Egg fried rice (& many others)
  3. Cuban: Lechon asado
  4. French: Tuna nicoise
  5. Greek: Feta and lamb burgers
  6. Hungarian: Pork paprika
  7. Indian: Lamb rogan josh curry
  8. Indonesian: Beef rendang curry
  9. Italian: Tomato, butter & onion pasta sauce
  10. Japanese: Sushi & katsu curry
  11. Korean: Korean sizzling beef
  12. Macanese: Minchi
  13. Malaysian: Laksa lemak
  14. Mexican: Huevos rancheros
  15. Mongolian: Mongolian beef
  16. Moroccan: Tagine
  17. Polish: Golonka
  18. Spanish: Chickpea, chorizo and spinach stew
  19. Thai: French bean and duck thai curry
  20. Vietnamese: Vietnamese lamb shank

Some of those cuisines we’ve embraced and now cook from regularly, which is fun. I have a list of cuisines I’d like to try, but I’m struggling to find traditional recipes for some of them, or recipes where I’d readily be able to access all the ingredients. Putting pineapple and coconut in something and calling it Carribean isn’t going to work here, I think.

These are the cuisines I’m considering but I’m happy to be given other options:

  • Antiguan
  • Austrian
  • Brazillan
  • Carrribean
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • German
  • Irish
  • Lebanese
  • Middle Eastern (I’m not sure if this really counts – does this count?)
  • Russian
  • Swedish
  • Swiss
  • Turkish
  • Welsh

I suppose if I was being really lazy I could say that we already know how to cook English cuisine and probably something American but that feels like a bit of a cop out.

So! I’m turning to you. Do you have any tried and tested tasty recipes that I can borrow to help finish off my list? :)

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • Sea salt
  • New series’ of favourite TV shows
  • Looking through old photographs
  • Non regulation cinema snacks (Sandwiches! Sushi!)
  • Calculators

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Daschunds,

Thanks for being so adorable, and for having hypoallergenic fur. Also thanks for being such an awesome vehicle for my “dogs dressed as food” dreams. I can’t wait to own one of you – you bet I’ll be ordering a hotdog costume at the same time.

Love Sarah

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

30 for 30: Give Blood

Posted by in 30 for 30, A Little Conversation, My Life In Lists

This week I ticked off another of my 30 for 30 goals: give blood. I’ve been giving blood semi-regularly for a few years, but I took a break between 2010 and this year (mostly because I was lazy and forgetful, not because I specifically didn’t want to give) so I decided to add it to my list to encourage me to remember to go.

As blood types go mine is fairly rare (fun fact #1: Q and I have exactly the same blood type, B+. Fun fact #2: in my family we have all four blood types: my dad is O, my mum is AB, my sister is A and I’m B :) ) so I know it’s even more important for me to give as there are less people with my blood type to begin with.

It’s hard to impress sometimes how important it is to do – and I know that some of my friends are excluded from being able to give for various reasons, which is a shame but always makes me feel like it’s even more important for me to donate, as someone who is able to do so. I have friends who have had transfusions, when in accidents or during cancer treatment and it genuinely can mean the difference between life and death for a staggering number of people.

Still not convinced? You get free biscuits and squash after you’ve done it. Everyone loves biscuits, right?

If you live in Wales (like I do) then you can find your nearest donation session at the Welsh Blood Service website. If you live elsewhere in the UK (like I used to) you can use the National Blood Service website instead. So you have no excuse not to donate, really. Even if you have a needle phobia, I promise, it really isn’t that bad. If you’ve never given blood then maybe give it a go, huh? What’s the worst that can happen? If you do it for the first time after reading this then let me know and I might send you something nice as a thank you. (I am an excellent gift giver, fyi.) INCENTIVES, YO. 

Life List Update

Posted by in My Life In Lists, Projects

Take a holiday that involves a hammock – check

This is the first update I’ve done since December apparently, yikes. I’ve ticked 14 things off my list in the last 9 months, and, er, added 14. Ha. I’ve completed 59 of 221 at the moment, which I think is pretty good going for a list that’s not even three years old.

As always, the more I do the more I think of that I’d like to do and the happier I become at being able to tick of those items. Some of them (like See Paris from the Eiffel tower) have been things I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl, so it’s awesome to finally be able to fulfill them :)

Work continues on the 30 for 30 list, too. I’m three months in with four goals completed so far. Most of the others are in progress tho, and it’s been so much fun re-reading all my favourite books and writing letters to my friends. 30 has been a pretty great year so far!

Completed: 14
Visit Cardiff Castle
Plant a cherry tree
Learn how to do a handstand under water
Eat a pain au chocolat in Paris
Go to an aquarium with Tzevai

Win a pub quiz
Try snorkelling
Do something memorable for my 30th birthday
Buy a house
Buy a waffle iron and make waffles
Buy something wildly frivolous from Habitat
Take a holiday that involves a hammock
Go on a holiday with my friends
See Paris from the Eiffel tower

Added:

Food:
Learn to poach an egg
Pick an avocado and eat it

Fun:
Do the Harry Potter studio tour
Complete my 30 for 30 list
Sleep under the stars

Learning:
Learn how to crochet
Swim a length under water
Learn how to do a handstand under water

Life:
Give 50 Kiva loans
Get a Marc Johns illustration as a tattoo
Donate my hair
Shave my head for charity

Travel:
Visit Stonehenge

Grace in Small Things

Posted by in Grace In Small Things, Projects

  • New yellow jackets
  • Spending time with people who make you laugh
  • Soft butter on warm bread
  • Quiet walks around the lake
  • The smell of tomatoes

See the whole list here

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Amy,

Thank you for buying me my first ever pair of Converse, as a 30th birthday present. I’m still not 100% sure I’m lacing them up properly (I am not so much with the fashion) but they were a godsend in Paris and they’re fucking YELLOW, which, of course, instantly makes them the best shoes I own. I love you like butter,

Love Sarah

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

5 Lovely Things From Present & Correct

Posted by in 5 Lovely Things, Projects

This is the fourth post in my “5 Lovely Things…” series and we’re heading back to Etsy to check out Present & Correct.It’s not exactly a massive secret that I like stationery (I love writing letters, lists and birthday cards) so my love for Present & Correct was perhaps a little inevitable. Such pretty stationery, such affordable prices. Most of their pieces are available in limited quantities but it’s okay because all their stuff is ace so if you like one piece you’ll like them all. Yay!

These are my favourites – although trust me, it was bloody hard to narrow it down to five.

“From the desk of…” Rubber Stamps – £7.95

Crown Card – £3.78

Geometry Set Jotters – £5.09

Letterpress Happiness Print – £14.63

(Side note: I am in love with these letterpress notecards – especially the Roly-poly & Custard ones.)

British Cafe Letterpress Notecard Set – £13.04

Not a sponsored post, I just like the store :)

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ABCs of Travel

Posted by in A Little Conversation

I’ve had this list saved in my drafts folder ever since Val posted it in December 2011 – OUCH. Luckily, I’ve done a lot of travelling since then, so I have lots of new things I can talk about! :)

A: Age you went on your first international trip: I actually have no idea. We went to France a few times when I was a kid, but I don’t know how old I was the first time I went!

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: I, erm, don’t drink beer. But I had quite a few delicious cocktails in Mexico, if that counts for anything.

C: Cuisine (favorite): Chinese, without a doubt.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: Singapore was fantastic – so clean, so British! Portugal was not so amazing – getting kicked off a train for something that wasn’t your fault will skew an experience slightly, I suppose.

Singapore, 2012

Portugal, 2011

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: Chinese New Year was pretty cool :) We haven’t really experienced many events abroad – I’d love to go to the snow festival in Sapporo tho. One day!

F: Favorite mode of transportation: Train. Planes are too, too frightening.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: Lying somewhere near the sun (not in it, this redhead wasn’t built for heat) reading a book and then slipping into the pool to cool down.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Bali. 40 degrees and above. I burnt like toast.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Mexico was pretty epic but it was a 5 star resort, so, it would have been a bit of a letdown if it’d been anything but, I suppose?

J: Journey that took the longest: Travelling to Australia. 22 hours, three changes, one grandmother threatened with a gun.

K: Keepsake from your travels: Q and I collect snowglobes now from every place we’ve visited together. The tackier the better!

L: Let-down sight, why and where: The Acropolis at Lindos in Rhodes, for being shut after we hiked all the way up that damn hill in the blistering heat. Couldn’t have mentioned the opening times at the bottom, guys?

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: I’m not sure that I have, yet? I love visiting new places but the actual act of travelling between them is not something I love. Unless I’m by a pool with a limitless of guacamole and books to read then I’m always happy to come home.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: This one, where we went on our honeymoon.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Food!

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? 6: Canada, Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia. Bloody Europe and their lack of stampage.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: We missed out on the museum of Erotica in Prague, but we did see the Merlion in Singapore, which was pretty cool.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Chinese New Year is a must (people give you money sometimes, which is a nice added bonus). I also loved snorkelling off the coast of Greece – something I wasn’t expecting to be bothered about but ended up loving.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Food, as long as it’s good.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: We did the Eiffel Tower in Paris recently, which was pretty damn touristy.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Sitting on beach in Mexico, watching the sun come up.

V: Visas, how many and for where? One, for Indonesia. I’m still smarting about that – they charge you to get in and out of the country. Cheeky.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?: I don’t drink wine!

X: eXcellent view and from where? Anywhere tall. The CN Tower in Toronto, The Eiffel Tower in Paris. See also: window seats on planes.

Toronto Skyline

Y: Years spent traveling?: 24, on and off.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: Rugby fans in Wales take the cake for this one.

Let me know if you do this too? I love hearing about the rest of the world. I really need to make more time for travelling. The more of the world I get to see the more of it I want to experience. TRAVEL TO ALL OF THE PLACES.