Tag Archives: Fun

Bridesmaid Body Positivity

I’ve been thinking a lot about body positivity lately and have Ben enjoying following amazing women on various social media platforms. But I still get really self conscious about my own body and appearance. I’ve also been putting my own mind to test recently as I was a bridesmaid at my best friends wedding. I always really wanted to do it for her and had fun arranging the hen do, but the bit that always. Oncerned me was finding the dress and then being comfortable in it all day.

I’m not one for wearing dresses at all. I just never feel comfortable in them. I tried on quite a few dresses when searching for my bridesmaid dress. I chose the one below as I liked the shape I saw reflected back in the mirror. I was also comfortable as it did not restrict my movement at all and I could easily sit down.  However I still felt very self conscious the whole time I was in it. It took a few drinks for me to enjoy dancing with my friends.

It wasn’t until after that I realised I didn’t get many photos of myself during the day. The one above and the one below were just as we finished getting ready. I prefer the photo above as I feel very forced posing in the one below. I would like to work on being able to look at photos of myself and not automatically look for the flaws I see. I want to look at them and see the happiness and other emotions and remember the moment. A work in progress for sure.

I did buy myself some shapewear to wear under the dress and actually I found it really good. I didn’t go for a tight, suck it all in thing, but rather something that slight smoothed the lines and had shorts as I hate tights! I didn’t buy the shapewear for anyone but myself. I wanted it to let me forget my flaws for the day and feel better about being in photos. I definitely noticed a difference as I didn’t feel I was holding everything in all day. I found I relaxed more than I would normally in a dress. It allowed me to enjoy myself freely.


I loved being my friends bridesmaid. It was an honour and I am so happy for her and her husband.


But I am the last single girl in the group. Another friend from school just got engaged and it’s stirred up feelings. This has made me feel a bit odd recently and I’ve been talking about it to my therapist. It’s not that I’m lonely or looking for a relationship. At some times I really think I don’t want one. I love being independent and selfish and wonder how I would fit in being in a relationship. I’m not sure how I’m feeling at the moment and just know it’s something I need to explore. I truly believe you don’t need to be in a relationship to be whole…

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.

Henley Bridge to Bridge Marathon Swim

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I undertook my swimming challenge for this year and I still can’t quite believe I did it!

Last November I signed up for the Henley Bridge to Bridge Marathon swim. This a 14km swim from Henley to Marlow. My swim coach took part in 2015 and decided to get a team together and make it a social event for 2016. This meant we could train together and set up days when we would all do long distance swims so we wouldn’t be alone.

It was a long journey of training, but it actually kept me going through a time where I really could have given up swimming. I gave up pool swimming and solely focused on the open water swimming. It made huge difference to my mental strength to just focus on the one thing. Taking the pressure off made it much easier to enjoy the journey. I also changed waves so I could swim in the middle one, rather than the faster one – best decision ever!

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It was a very early start on Sunday 8th August – 4am to be exact! I drove to a friends house so we could then car share to Henley. We arrived at Henley at 6am and registered, waited for the group to arrive and got ready. This is where my nerves started to kick in and I focused on thinking about swimming at my own pace and making it to the end.

The sign in the photo below was from the very start and it was a great reminder of what the event was really about. We didn’t need to worry about time as it wasn’t a race. it was run as a sportive and all focused on getting everyone to the finish.

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The swim we split into 4 stages with 3 feed stops at the locks. The first stage was 4km, then 6km, then 1.5km, then 2.5km. Each feed stop had drinks and a variety of food. Hand sanitiser and extra vaseline was provided and you had a to walk at least 100m from the exit to the entry points.

The fist 4km was easy and the stop came up to surprise me. It was a very busy section as everyone in the one wave started together. It meant getting clear water was hard and I lost the two friends I was swimming with (we caught each other at the stop) so I just focused on swimming steady and trying to notice where we were on the river. I felt good for this section.

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The second section was the big one – 6km non-stop. it’s the furthest I’ve swam non-stop and I was surprised at how good I felt. The river changed as we swam along. We passed green fields and very big houses and felt like there was no one else around. When we got in at this section we were asked to keep to groups with a kayak, but there was a steady stream of people that they didn’t make anyone wait to start (they did in the slower wave I was told). There were a couple of points along this route where you could have taken the wrong split, but the kayakers with us were great and kept us on course the whole way. My friend got cramp around 4km in and we pauseda minute, but got going again and this is where my arms started to feel it. My friend picked up speed and I started to slow, but we worked well together and kept going.

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We stopped for a little longer at the next stop to make sure we had the energy and were hydrated. I topped up the vaseline around my neck and then was ready to go. We had to cross the river and walk across an island before getting back in at quite rocky point, but the flow of the weir was a nice push off to start the last 4 km. I found this stage the hardest as my arms ached and it was not quite long enough to find my rhythm after the 6km stretch. Mentally I had to work hard here and kept focused on even arm strokes and moving forward. My friend was able to lose me here, but we caught each other at the last stop.

The last stage was started by a jump into the river after a lock and staying out the way of the boats. It was around 11ish at the time and there were many more boats on the river than the rest of the time. Also we were heading into Marlow so the it was generally much busier on the towpath and the river itself. This stage was easier in a way because I knew it was the last, but it was also hard, because it was the last 2km of a 14km swim! I focused again on keeping steady and getting to the end. Energy wise I was, just tired, but my arms were struggling a lot by this point. I definitely could have done some extra conditioning training in the run up!

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I was so happy at the end. One because it was over and also because I had done it! I had swam the farthest I’ve ever swum (and probably ever will). It was also much sunnier than when we started and I knew I would be able to relax for a couple of hours waiting for the others to all finish before heading home.

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While we were waiting in the glorious sunshine we talked about what other swims we would like to do. Our coach will probably put another team to together for this event next year, but I don’t think I want to do it two years running. I would come and support though as I think it would be a lovely walk along the river to follow the swimmers. Instead we were thinking about Coniston in the Lake District. That could be a fun trip!

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I would recommend this swim to anyone doing long distance swimming. It was fun and really well organised. The feed stops were well stocked and the volunteers at each one were super helpful. The kayakers and start/finish crews were also amazing!

As long as you put in the training and do not underestimate the distance or the mental requirements of this type of swimming then you will absolutely fine. I stuck to feeding as I did in my training, which mainly involved gels and chocolate to take away the taste of the gels. That works for me, and take time to figure our what works for you. Some people didn’t feed, others used what was at the stops, and others used fruit and nut bars only. As everyone has a wear a tow float I found it easy to carry what I needed and it got lighter as you swam further.

Training wise I progressed from swimming around 3km a time to regularly swimming 5km, with longer swims of 7km to 11km every couple of weeks. I didn’t have a set plan in the end, but rather worked out what I needed to get to and fitted into my schedule as well as making sure I took part in the group long swims.

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Overall this was a fantastic day and a great achievement for me. If you fancy doing it go to the Henley Swim website and sign up for 2017! They also do shorter swims, including one that end at a pub with the medal being a bottle opener – open water swimming is for everyone!

Getting my geek on

This year I decided to make my first visit to the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia. I’ve been following a lot of people on Twitter for the past couple of years who always seem to have a fantastic time and I thought I would give it a go. I decided to wear my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child t-shirt!

I bought a ticket that allowed early access to the YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention), which I’m told was a much shorter queue than the standard entry. I got off the tube and was directed in the opposite direction than everyone else and headed to the YALC entrance on Hammersmith Road and got in the queue around 8:30am. The queue was fun and everyone was talking to each other. I was by a lovely group of ladies who were all there by them selves like me and it was nice to then bump into them at odd points the rest of the day. The doors opened at 9am and I was through the doors and in the convention by 9:30am.

The YALC was held up on the top floor and although it said you would not be able to get into the LFCC part until 10am, there didn’t seem to be any restrictions in place once you were inside. I got the elevator up (as I didn’t know where the stair were) with the girls I queued with and we went straight upstairs.

My first impression was that is was spaced out and much quieter than expected. I picked up a programme and decided to go sit in on the first panel of the day at YALC. It was all about rebellion in YA and it made me decide to buy a book I wasn’t planning on, but because the author spoke so enthusiastically and was super fun I decided to give it a go (I later ended up queuing to get it signed and it made me extra happy).

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I then decided to head down to the LFCC on the bottom floors. This was much busier, but still not as full as I expected. I had a good wander around looking at stalls, figuring out what areas were for signing and photographs and really just getting a feel for what it was all about. I went with no plans, I just wanted to see everything I could and get a feel for if I would want to go back next year to do it properly. 

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There were lots of fun stalls selling all sorts of film and comic related things. I ended up buying a Hobbit Hole doors necklace (I’ve been looking at one online for ages, but never bought it). I really wanted Rivendell Cider and the Prancing Pony t-shirts below, but as I had just recently bought two Harry Potter t-shirts I decided to take a photo and add to the list of future purchases. I otherwise kept it quite light in purchases and only bought 3 books and some sushi.

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My t-shirt was a great conversation starter as I wandered around as people wanted to know what I thought of the play. I was so relieved as I was nervous about wearing it for some reason, but it turned out great, the only downside was the Harry Potter Party was on the Sunday and I was only there on the Saturday! The main theme of the convention was the release of Suicide Squad and the place was decorated with banners and they had the original costumes on display (which for some reason I totally forgot to take photos of when I wandered round it). There were lots of people dressed as Harley Quinn in a variety of forms. All the cosplay I saw was amazing and so much fun. The effort everyone puts in amazes me and it made me appreciate it so much more getting to see so many different people in person. I don’t know if I’ll ever go cosplay, but it certainly inspired me to think differently about what could be possible.

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The downstairs area became busier as the day went on and also warmed up with more people and warmer weather outside. After I had had my fill I went back upstairs and it still felt very peaceful in YALC. It was busier, but there was still lots of space to find a space to sit and chill out for a bit. I then saw Alwyn Hamilton still had a queue for booking signing and as I bought her book after the panel in the morning I decided to go for an autograph.

Alwyn was super nice and even after three hours of signings was talking to every single person about their day. She loved my t-shirt and asked if I was staying for the party as she was going to the Hufflepuff team captain and I was super sad I couldn’t make it. I started reading the book in the queue and was honest when she asked what I thought of the book as I said I was inspired to try it out after hearing the panel and she was super nice and hoped I enjoyed it. There is a sequel in the works as well so I’ll let you know how I get on.

Overall I had a pretty fantastic day. I enjoyed taking the day out to indulge in my geekness and join a community doing the same. I was nervous to go, but once I was there I felt like I fitted in no problem. I definitely want to go back and next time for more than one day (maybe even all three) and fully immerse myself into it. I would want to go to more panels and maybe a workshop in YALC and get some autographs and/or photos with my favourite stars in LFCC. I would love to meet people from Buffy and Angel or LOTR. I would want to feel more part of the weekend rather than just a flying visit. So I’ve jotted down some things for me to remember for next time!

Things I learnt for a future visit:

  • Take drinks and a flask of coffee – made it much more enjoyable to just stop when you wanted without having to search out drink stops
  • Comfy clothes and shoes – it wasn’t that hot the day I went, but it got warmed inside
  • Take lots of cash (within budgets of course)
  • Be prepared to queue a lot – make new friends in the queues!
  • Look at the programme for everything first and plan what I want to do and see
  • Stay over local to the venue (note for any convention!)
  • Take more photos! With people!

I’m looking forward to next year already 🙂

Wandering around Snowdonia

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The Location!

A couple of weeks ago I got to go on a trip with work to Snowdonia. A beautiful and extraordinary place in North Wales. I stayed in Betws-y-coed in the Conwy Valley and thought of as the gateway to Snowdonia. I’ve visited here a number of times and fall more in love with the place each and every visit. It’s small, vibrant and peaceful. The locals are friendly and all the visitors I’ve met have been the same.

I stayed a lovely B&B just outside the village called Aberconwy B&B, which was within walking distance of the main area across the stunning Sappers Suspension Bridge built in 1930.

I took the time to practice my photography while I was away as I had time to myself during the evenings. I loved the bridge and the graveyard of St Michael’s Church just beyond and have been using my editing skills to improve the photos. The bridge and the graveyard are my favourite.

As it was out of the main tourist season it was very quiet in the evenings. The pubs and restaurants were busy, but everywhere else was peaceful and calm. The train station was a great photo opportunity as o one else was around.

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The Walking!

My work visit meant I got to go walking in a different area to anywhere I’ve walked before. It was just north of Betws-y-coed, and on land I wouldn’t have been sure was open to access, but I learnt that most areas are and as long as you respect the land it’s okay to explore beyond the paths.

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We stuck to the lower slopes of the area as we were looking at habitats across the land. It was fascinating to learn about this as its central to my work, but I am not a land or farming expert.

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There are some beautiful structures hidden away that suddenly pop in to view as you are walking a long. Farm houses, upland ponds, bridges, across streams, stone walls, views across to Snowdonia, all beautiful and part of the landscape.

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Also lots of sheep who watched us as we passed, but did not come near to say hello. We didn’t see another soul while out walking all day. We stuck to a Nation Trust path in places and wandered off the beaten track on others, but didn’t see anyone else in the area. It made a nice change to walking up Snowdon as that can be super busy that you never get away from people. I loved the peace and details you could pick up by being a  small group in a big landscape. It gave a different perspective on the area and I felt small, but in a good way. A way that tells me the world is an amazing place that will continue on without us if needs be. We impact it in so many ways and when you see nature fighting back or doing things despite our interference it is truly inspiring.

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The Food!

You cannot talk about Wales without talking about the food. It was amazing as always. Much of it locally sourced and even getting a picnic for lunch from the local bakery was a wonderful experience. The B&B served an amazing breakfast and recommended the bakery for my lunch needs.

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I ate at the local pub one night and then found a fairly newly opened pizza place that has a proper wood fired stone oven. Good quality food is becoming so important to me nowadays. I was able to sit and not rush and really enjoy the moment of being away from home and free from normal responsibilities for a couple of days.

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I totally recommend visiting North Wales and I hope to visit many more times to explore different areas. You have to visit Snowdon, but also make sure you get away from the main tourist honeypot areas to explore hidden places that are beautiful in different ways.

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