Trip Planning: Japan and the Cats

So what happens with Merry and Pippin while I go off on holiday?

They get spoilt rotten I bet!

The terrors as I affectionately call them to their faces are very lucky that at the moment they get to stay at home in their own space while I go off adventuring. I have a friend who comes to stay to enjoy some solitude and fun away from normal life for a bit. While they stay they feed, play with, and look after the cats. I’m sure this is much better for them than moving them about, but also financially for me this works out really well. I’ll be coming back in a couple of days and I’m sure they will have learnt some new trips and have a slightly different routine that they will try and train me to keep up (they wish!) and will ignore me for a few days before they work out they’re stuck with me again. I’m sure they love me, but at the same time I’m sure they enjoy be spoilt everyday too!

I think I’ll be okay to keep this arrangement for the next year or so, but them will likely have to look for a cattery to house them in for the longer trips or if I go away over Christmas. I like them to have contact with people more than just someone popping into feed them, but I don’t know anyone else who would move in for a couple of weeks and who I trust, which is greatly important.

I always miss them when I’m away, but I am not looking forward to recovering from jet-lag this weekend with two demanding terrors running around the house!

Trip Packing: Japan Edition


I’m off to Japan tomorrow and I am so excited! This trip has been planned for over a year, which also means I’ve been in my current job a year, so I can’t keep calling it my new job! This past weekend I started packing and only now have my everyday things to pack tomorrow morning. My cat sitter is all set up and they will be spoilt while I’m away I’m sure.

I decided to go for the autumn ancient and modern Japan trip with Exodus because I thought it would be cooler, but I juts looked at the weather and it’s hot!

What is this???

I’ve had to rethink everything I was planning to take as jeans and t-shirts and jackets are not going to work. I’ve had to find some last minute summer clothes in the sale, which was super lucky as everywhere now has winter stuff only!

So what I am taking for a 16 day trip to Japan?


  • Linen trousers
  • Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Lightweight cardigans
  • Smart top
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Hoodie (wearing)
  • Underwears (bras/socks/knickers)
  • Pyjamas
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Walking Trainers (wearing)
  • Lounge pants (wearing)
  • Lightwight trainers
  • Slip on trainers
  • Ankle supports


  • Deodarant
  • Shampoo/Condition
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Makeup (minimal)
  • Hairspray
  • Facewash
  • Moisturiser
  • Suncream
  • Face cloth
  • First aid kit essentials
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush
  • Makeup sponges & cleaner
  • Pain tablets & gel

Other Stuff:

  • Passport
  • Insurance
  • Wallet – cash/cards
  • iPhone, headphones & charger
  • Kindle & cable
  • Camera, lens & charger
  • Notebook & pens
  • Guidebook
  • Lightweight handbag
  • Backpack
  • Suitcase
  • Golf ball (for heel pain)
  • Waterproof inner bag

I’ve pretty much packed everything and I am surprised at how light my suitcase is. I’ve put some clothes in my hand luggage in case my suitcase goes missing. I still have plenty of room for souvenirs and I already have a few ideas of what I want to look out for.

I Am Sherlocked

This past weekend I took a trip to east London to go to the Sherlocked Convention. I decided to go earlier in the year and was planning to just do the same as I did at the LFCC by getting a standard entry ticket and seeing what is was all about. I changed my mind the week before as it was announced Benedict Cumberbatch was attending and would be doing a talk so I signed up and paid extra to attend a couple of different talks.

I got to the Excel Centre just before 10am and it was fairly quiet. There were quite a few things on at the centre and Sherlocked took up one stage, with an extra one for queuing for the talks. It’s fair to say it was a small event! It didn’t feel crowded at all and when I got there I totally understood why they offered package passes as there was not much there to do apart from meet the guests for autographs and photos. There were only a couple of stalls selling things and all the other events on at the centre were pay for entry. I wish I had taken a book to kill time between talks, but never mind, I’m still learning.

They did have a section of the costumes from the show, which were fab to see, especially THE COAT!! I would very much like a coat like this, but that suited me just as much as it does Sherlock and that would survive more than one winter. One day I will buy myself a very expensive and well-made coat!

The other costumes were mainly from the Abominable Bride.

I decided not to get any autographs or photos with the guests, but did capture glimpses of them as they were escorted to the places they needed to be. I got to see Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton as they headed for photos. Then Yasmine Akram and Alistair Petrie walked through the padcast recording I was watching. Then after his photos of the Victorian set I caught sight of Benedict Cumberbatch heading backstage!

The main things I decided to do was go to a few of the talks by the guests. I paid extra for the talks by Mark Gatiss and Benedict Cumberbatch and then went to the Molly talk for free.

Mark Gatiss was so lovely and funny. He didn’t give anything away about the next series, but you could tell he was thoroughly excited for everyone to watch it. I love the character of Mycroft as the extreme and lazy version of Sherlock. I recently re-watched the first series and suddenly thought they made it as though he might be Moriarty and he confirmed it during the Q&A (not asked by me though). I loved the fact Mark told us he loves Christmas Pudding and the scene in the Abominable Bride did put him off for a bit, but he had fun being the more original character from the books. If I go again I think I would get a photo/autograph with him as I think he puts everyone at ease.

I also love the character of Molly. It looks as though she takes a lot of shit from Sherlock, but you can tell they care about each other in their own ways and would go to many lengths to protect each other. I also love her fashion choices on the show and wish I had a quirky sense of style. Louise Brealey talked about getting to dress up as boy for the Abominable Bride and had fun with the wig and mustache.

The busiest talk of the day was that for Benedict Cumberbatch.  I’m glad I went, but it was quite costly for the time compared to the other talks. It was fun to here him talk about playing Sherlock and his relationship with the other actors and characters. He also mentioned Dr Strange and his loyalty to Sherlock and trying to fit everything in. It was funny that he talked about Sherlocks hair and that in the Abominable Bride it was so nice just to slick it all back and not have to worry about the curls!

I came home from this convention feeling a bit low. it was interesting and fun, but at the same time I felt very alone and began wondering if conventions are really for me. I didn’t meet anyone to chat to like I did at the LFCC and after a 3 hour drive home I found I wanted to share my experience, but couldn’t think of anyone who has my love of the show. The staff at the convention were excellent and it was well organised for the bits I did, but the people there were not as friendly as compared to LFCC, which was a shame. I think I was also having confidence issues that day. I tried to shake myself out of it by taking selfies, but felt so self-conscious that I didn’t have fun and let go. That is also why I think I don’t want to meet the guests as I am no confident in myself at the moment. This is something I want to work on before I go to another convention as I think I do want to meet a few people and I want to enjoy it!

So what did I learn from this experience?

  • Take a book to kill time while queuing or in between things you’ve booked
  • For this event take advantage the package deals to get better value for money
  • Try to ‘meet’ people before going to events so I can find people to chat to while there

Overall a fun experience and a well organised and fairly quiet convention. I would recommend this if you’re a fan of the show. I would also look out for other fandom specific conventions in the future.

Challenging my rules


I’ve been working through Intuitive Eating for the last 6 months or so and it is making a huge difference in how I think about myself and food. Therapy is also helping a great deal as I am actually talking about what I really think and not being distracted by other people’s opinions. I am finding I am beginning to listen to myself first. I am starting to ignore the media and supposedly well-intentioned people who just want to help. I am doing the research and listening to what my gut, heart and head are telling me. It’s hard work, but I feel so much freedom at the same time.

I have been working hard on noticing and trying to ditch the diet mentality. It still rears it’s ugly head with automatic thoughts, but I don’t let it control me. I’ve also been working on honouring my hunger, which again is a work in progress as I have used food as a coping mechanism for so long that it won’t change overnight, so each step is important. The next two principles about Making peace with Food and Challenging the Food Police is where I have been concentrating lately.

Through therapy I have begun to notice, understand and challenge the rules I live by that are not my own. They have been embedded within in throughout my life and no longer serve a purpose and actually cause me more harm then good. Many of my rules are from my parents and this isn’t about blaming them, it is about understanding that those were their rules, but they do not have to be mine. They grew up in a different time and are not going to change, but I don’t have to live by them anymore, I can find my own or throw them all out the window.

In my work I have found a couple of things that have really had an impact on my binge eating behaviour and my lack of trust in myself around food – the idea of waste and the rule of not having it in the house. Both of these enable binge eating behaviour and eat into my self-esteem by encouraging negative thinking about food and myself, both diet and behaviours. I have completely lost the ability to trust myself around food as I have lived by rules that have reinforced that I cannot be trusted around food. At the same time I have been living by rules that mean I cannot waste food and so I have been eating it all in order not to waste it or have it in the house. So confusing!


So I have been challenging these rules, but buying things in large amount and keeping them in the house. This has been my list so far:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Fresh bread
  • Full fat yogurt and milk
  • Biscuits
  • Alcohol

I have binged, but the majority of time I forget they are there until I fancy something. I have given myself permission to break those rules and prove to myself I can trust myself. I taken them off the banned list and therefore reduced their appeal. It’s been liberating!

Ignoring people is the harder part for me and in the past comments about food or weight have knocked my self-esteem out the park. But now I am trying to give less of shit about other people. I listen to myself and make my own choices, then bat other people’s opinions away. I’m keeping it simple and having a few prepared lines to respond to people with such as ‘and I’m really looking forward to eating it’ in a sweetly innocent tone or being a bit stronger and challenging them by asking ‘why does it matter to you what I eat?’. It’s an interesting process at the moment and does depend on how I feel about myself at the time. Sometimes though I am just choosing not to acknowledge the matter at all – such as my rant on twitter about the random old man in the supermarket who tried to encourage me to ignore the chocolate aisle – and for me that is re-enforcing within myself that I do not have to conform or agree with societal standard or stereotypes, and instead I can say fuck off!

It’s a long journey, but I feel in a really good place with it all. It will take time and I am so glad I have taken the focus off weight loss and just focusing on being the best me I can be and loving myself exactly as I am so much so that I threw the scales out! I’ve also been buying clothes that fit and throwing out the ones that don’t. I want to feel good and that is what I am going to do and anyone who doesn’t want me to feel good can go on their way and stay out of my life. Simple.

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