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

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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.

Having fun fly boarding by being body positive

This was just going to be a straight forward review of my experience, but I went through some body image stuff in the lead up to going fly boarding and after I’d done it. So I thought I would make it a bit of both!

My sister bought me a voucher to go fly boarding for 30 minutes for last Christmas and Birthday and I admit I was putting it off, because of my swim and all the training I needed to do. However she reminded me and I realised it was starting to get near the expiry date and therefore I could not put it off any longer.

Why was a worried? I was freaking out because of my weight and not having done it before. I had also looked on the website and there was a weight limit and since I have not weighed myself since I took the focus off weight and dieting, I had no idea what I actually weighed. I was feeling good about myself and my clothes fitting well, but this was totally out of my comfort zone. I decided to take my own wetsuit as I knew it fit me and it would take away the awkward bit of selecting a wetsuit when you arrive, which is normally some guy looking at you and then looking at a rack of wetsuit – not the most inspiring time in any process. Also my sister had said she had wished she had taken her own wetsuit when she went last year.

So off we went to Big Crazy at the National Diving and Activity Centre in Chepstow. I was nervous, but on arrival the weather was extremely wet and that meant all the spectators were in the cafe and not wandering around the site, so my audience would be small. They guys from Big Crazy were also amazingly nice and encouraging. I was in a group starting at 3pm and I was the only girl (but I think I was the best out of all of us!) and when we were changed and walked down to the jetty I ended up going first – they asked who had the smallest foot size and I was the only girl!

The rest of the experience can be found in my Go Pro videos below!

 

Side note – I now really really want a Go Pro as I would use it swimming and for other things like this!

I had the most amazingly fun time doing this! I honestly can’t believe I was worried! But since then I’ve begun to understand why and it all about how we think about our bodies and what we think other people think. I look back at the videos and see a woman having fun and being really good at fly boarding the first time. I didn’t look at how I looked in the wetsuit until later, when I realised I hadn’t noticed. I was laughing the whole time (some was a nervous laugh as that is what I do) and focused on making the most of being in the water and doing something different.

I came away form the experience with a new appreciation of what my body is capable of. It also showed me some of the areas I need to work on with how I see myself and giving less of a shit about what other people think. It’s always going to be a journey I think, it won’t end, but I hope to get to a place where it doesn’t matter to me. I’m not going to change how society sees larger bodies, but I can keep doing my bit to prove those bodies are capable of anything!

A couple of weeks after this I went to the doctor as I’ve been struggling in circuits class with light headedness and almost fainting a few times. Its very frustrating and I was worried it was something serious. Again I went into that completely expecting the outcome to be told I needed to lose weight, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The doctor told me I have an athletic resting heart rate and didn’t mention my weight once. We talked about all the endurance swimming I’ve been doing and after testing my heart rates and looking for problems with valves he thinks it’s just that I am not used to the high intensity and I need to start slow and build up so my body can get used to it. It was amazing feeling to come out of the doctors surgery and not feel bad about myself. I know I want to treat myself well and that means dealing with my issues with food by understanding them, not sweeping them under a rug by going on another restriction diet. I am active and strong and want to learn and grow as a person and I need to do that through positive challenges and joy, not punishment!

Life is good and my body is loved and capable of anything!

Learning to love my body

 

  • Skincare – check
  • Make up – check
  • Therapy – check
  • Giving less of a shit – in progress
  • Hair – in progress
  • Clothes – up next
  • Body – up next

Have you ever realised it’s not your voice in your head telling you how you should feel about yourself?

That is exactly what I’ve been working through in therapy and it is truly enlightening.  Especially around the thoughts I have about my body. I find it quite sad I’ve let other people and social pressure dictate how I feel about myself and my body and I’m only just realising I don’t need to care what others think.  I’ve been working on creating identities for the voices in my head, specifically the negative ones, as this is helping me realise they are not my thoughts, but external influences being voiced.

I have a women as the thin, always made up to perfection, weight watchers leader character who provides the fake sincerity and makes everything about diet and appearance. This is the voice we think is helping us and being kind, but is really Professor Umbridge in disguise!

I also have a general type character; a uniformed shouty man who is all about the rules. Nothing is ever good enough for The General and no matter how hard you try you will never be what he wants you to be. It’s also the voice that sends you on the overeating followed by over-exercising cycle. It’s never ending. It’s all criticism and all about power and control. It makes you feel weak and useless.

Both of these voices are not mine. They are the things I’ve heard and learnt from others and think I believe, but really they are at odds with what I really value. Putting names to them allows me to see they are not internal and that I can choose not to listen to them. I’m slowly building another voice that is really from the inside, but I’m yet to fully see that voice as it’s still in the shadows and shyly taking steps out as my confidence grows.

All this history has really taken a toll on how I feel and see my body. I’m so detached from it that I probably wouldn’t recognise it if I saw it in a line up! How crazy is that?

However I’ve been working on this without really realising that is what I was doing. I was thinking about it as positive self-care. But really this goes deeper below my skin and into my being and impacts on how I really feel about myself. I’ve been concentrating on my skincare and make up in recent months to learn what my skin needs and what makes me feel good. I’ve even committed to bulk buying a few products to keep up my new run of consistency in these areas.

Skincare – Balance Me – I love this range as it’s mostly natural and leaves my skin feeling hydrated. I’ve moved away from fearing oils and although I’m not yet spot free yet, I am having fewer breakouts. I think the rest is to do with what foods I’m eating and being active.

Makeup – Hydrating primer and foundation – As I’m not yet clear of acne I’m still using foundation and concealer to cover up blemishes, but I’ve swapped to more hydrating products. Old favourites have had to go as I realised they were drying out my skin and making everything worst. So I’m now a fan of Smashbox Hydrating Primer (although I would like to find a cheaper version) and Kiko Hydrating Foundation.


Make up – Beauty Blender – I am a convert! I love these sponges for applying all forms of makeup. So much so I’ve bought the standard one, the mini ones, the pure one, and the blush one – I know, I know, I’ve bought into the brand! Honestly though the sponges are applying the makeup so well that I am using less product and getting the finish I think is natural and provides coverage. I also bought the cleaner and find that is working well and takes the product off after each use. The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to travel with them as I leave them out to dry, I’m sure I’ll figure it out though!

Therapy – This has been key for me this year to really get under the skin of my disordered eating and relationship with food and people. The only limiting factor for me is the finances and is something I need to consider going forward.

Hair – I’ve finally booked in for a haircut and colour at an actual salon! I’ve neglected my hair for the last 5 years. I’ve just let it grow, then had it cut, then let it grow, and then had it cut again, irregularly I might add. So I finally took the plunge and asked my friends who they see and booked in on their recommendation. I’ve been for a consultation and colour test and have an appointment next month!

Giving less of a shit – This is one that I’ve begun to notice I’m doing without focusing on it. As I’ve been doing my therapy and taking the time and putting the effort into looking after me this feels more and more natural. I feel like I can voice my opinions and not care if someone doesn’t agree or worry that I’ll cave in. I have the right to take up space in this world and is some doesn’t like it, they can fuck off!


There are two areas I would like to work in order to really truly love my body and those are the areas of clothes and actually seeing my body – also crazy right, but not really at the same time. These areas are the two I find the hardest. I haven’t really ever enjoyed clothes shopping as it made me face my discomfort around my body. But I am starting to find this goes hand in hand with giving less of a shit about what others think and my desire to quieten the voices who aren’t really mine. I want to go shopping for clothes that fit and look fantastic on my body exactly as it is. I want to then continue to do that as my body changes with age, whether that is gets smaller or bigger as it doesn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be healthy and will continue to monitor that with my doctor, but if the only problem I have is that I weigh too much and that isn’t impacting on anything else, you know what, I’m going to focus on what makes me content and I hope that will then mean I find equilibrium within my body naturally.

Wandering around Bristol

I’ve said recently I’ve been restless and not quite feeling where I am living. Don’t get me wrong I do love my house and being near all my friends, but there is something about it that is not quite working for me at the moment. It’s too quiet! I love quiet, but also I want to live a full life and love exploring and where I currently am, doesn’t have the things I want on the doorstep. My sister lives in Bristol and I head that way quite a lot and I keep thinking about maybe, possibly, in the future, moving there…

I don’t know for certain, but a big part of me at the moment want to live in a city. I loved Vancouver, Edinburgh and Cardiff, even if I was just there for short amounts of time. I love how you can walk everywhere (pretty much) and there is usually something new happening or to explore every week (maybe month). There is a sense of life to those places. I get the same feeling in Bristol and with my current job that could work as a place to be…

This last weekend my sister and I were meant to go sailing, but the wind was not in a kind mood and we are fair weather sailors, so we changed plans and went out for a walk around Bristol Harbour. We have done this many times, but as it was heavy showers forecast all day we went out expecting to top for coffee and in places all day, and that we did.

First we went to lunch at a new cafe called Mokoko.  I introduced my sister to flat white and the coffee bean menus even though she took the piss out of me for being so interested in coffee! We had a lovely lunch and I would recommend it as a place to go if you’re in the area.

We then started our walk, got about 500m and it poured down so we went into the M-Shed to learn about the history of Bristol. It’s free and it was interesting, but both of us were annoyed that there was no logical flow to the information and instead it was in themes, which was interesting but confusing!

After that we started on our walk again and go a bit further – to the cafe outside the SS Great Britain to be exact! It had started to rain again and we went for a cuppa. As it decided it was going to carry on for an our we decided to into the SS Great Britain as neither of us had actually been inside ever!

I was quite impressed. I loved the being able to walk around the ship and go below into the dry dock. The dry dock was the best part and I found it much more interesting than the reconstructed interior.

When we got to the deck the sun decided to make an appearance and it was beautiful to see colourful Bristol come to life.

Did you know you can get married on this ship?

Nor us! We were wandering around and suddenly there were lots of smartly dressed people heading into the lower deck which was all set out theatre style. It would make a unique setting that is for sure!

We then carried on our walk around the floating harbour, stopping for another coffee when it decided to pour down again and then headed for an early dinner at Pho. I am now obessed with Vietnamese food! I want to learn how to make Pho and rice paper rolls and have already spied that I can get the ingredients I need from my local shop. It was so fresh and filling, but light and tasty all at the same time.

Just one day in Bristol and I explored new things and went to new cafes and restaurants that just isn’t possible where I currently am. I am so tempted, but at the same time I don’t know whether I want to spend the money on moving. I have only just got to a place financially where I can afford to do the trips I want to do (Hello Japan!) and I really don’t want to give that up. I need to think hard about whether I can do both, but it might need to wait until I progress in work a little further. I’m excited to think about it though. I can start creating the future I want now, but only if I know what the future I want looks like. (I haven’t been reading a leadership book at all!!)

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