Sunday, 13 January 2019

A Good Start

I’m allowing myself to feel a bit smug this weekend as my first 'proper’ week of 2019 went better than I thought possible. I think I already felt more confident because the first week of the year allowed me to get a lot of rest and recover my strength.

This week was when I returned to volunteering, to the gym, to ‘real life’ again. I volunteered on Monday and Friday, as planned, and got so much work done that I surprised myself. I think having a two-week break from it was exactly what I needed to be able to make a comeback and smash it.

What surprised me more was my sudden motivation to fulfil my exercise goals. I exercised every single day this week - I went to the gym and did my workout (which includes strength training and cardio, using my whole body) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; on Tuesday I did a beginner’s yoga routine and attended physio; and on Thursday I followed an upper body workout video by FitnessBlender.

As a result of this utter madness, I am sore all over and my muscles don’t know what’s hit them. I also appear to have developed tendonitis on the top of my left foot, which is really painful and inconvenient. I’ve used the weekend to rest it and it’s gotten a bit better, so I hope it won’t become an Ongoing Thing. On a more positive note, my abs are sore for the first time in probably my entire life, which means they must’ve been working enough this week to make a difference. I also had an amazing revelation on Friday – I wasn’t absolutely dreading the gym! I won’t lie to you and say I was excited for it, but it’s just become another thing on the ‘to do’ list. Nothing to be alarmed about. And for me that is such a huge step in the right direction. I can only hope that I continue to feel neutral about it. I daren’t hope that I might enjoy it someday.

My new approach to eating has also been successful so far. I eat less at breakfast and lunch, and make sure to have vegetables and protein in my dinner. I have one treat (one piece of chocolate, one Jaffa Cake, etc), but this is only until my Christmas chocolate runs out, and then I won’t be buying more. I am still going to allow myself to have treats every now and then, but I’m being much stricter about it. I’m not counting calories, but I’d honestly be surprised if I was currently eating more than 1500 a day. And I think this, combined with my water intake going up again, is making me feel better already. I’m so incredibly worn out from the busy week, but I feel really proud of myself for being so productive.

At the moment, my naturally pessimistic brain is wondering how long it’ll be until I burn out, but I’m quite happy to ride the wave of feeling accomplished until that happens. Maybe it won’t. I can only hope!

I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing, which is why I decided to post this blog despite continually reminding myself that this is only interesting to me. Writing for an audience isn’t a priority at the moment; writing for myself and getting the writing bug back is my more reasonable goal for now.

Kayleigh x

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ~ 2019 Goals

We're almost two decades into the 21st century, which is both awesome and horrifying. As we all do every New Year, without fail, I've been thinking about the goals I want to aim for in 2019. I've tried to be a bit more realistic than I have been in past years, so hopefully I'll have a lot more success. We'll see.

Get back into (paid) work

This is the big one for 2019. I'm at a point in my recovery where I feel like I can handle getting back to employment. I usually put ‘career’ for this one, but I feel that’s a big ask to go from technically-unemployed to a Real Career in a year. For now, I just want to get back into work doing something I don’t entirely hate and earning real money.

Reach ‘healthy’ BMI (and/or drop 2 dress sizes)

I’m aware that weight loss might not be very significant, as I’ve been going to the gym and building muscle, so I’ve also added dropping dress sizes to this goal. Regardless of weight, my body is changing shape the more exercise I get, and I think that’s how I’m going to gauge my success more than actual weight. Having said that, I do want to reach a healthy BMI as I’ll feel better in myself for it. Mostly I want to be stronger/fitter and increase my self esteem.

Get a tattoo

I have so many ideas, and no clue which one to pick first, but I will keep putting this on my goals list until I do it.

Go to the gym 3 times a week

In June 2018, I started going to the gym (having never set foot in one in my life before that). I was going twice a week where I could manage it. This year I want to step it up to three gym sessions a week, whether that's my general workout or a class. I am also thinking up a mini workout to do at home when I'm not in the gym. When the weather clears, I'll get back to doing my hikes. And of course I'll keep doing the little things like walking wherever and whenever practical, taking stairs instead of lifts, etc.

Save money as much as possible

I’ve learned that I’m actually better at saving money than I thought, so I want to continue the good habit of putting away as much money as I can spare each month. Obviously at the moment, that's not a huge amount but I hope when I get back into work I'll have the opportunity to put a lot more into savings. Then I can use it for things like travel, having my hair done, saving up to move out. All the nice things.

Blog more

In my 2018 goals recap, I mentioned that I’d been trying to draft/brain dump ideas for posts. I hope that’ll be helpful towards this goal. I do love blogging, I just feel that I’ve had nothing to write about. I think I need to write more for myself again to get back into the swing of it and actually enjoy myself.

Continue volunteering

While I’m still ‘time rich’ (my dad’s phrase), I want to carry on volunteering. It's really good for my mental health as it gets me out of the house and keeps me busy. It plugs what could have been a huge employment gap, as well as giving me lots of new experiences and skills to add to my CV. Also, I'm attached to my organisation and my fabulous colleagues now, and want to be there for as long as I possibly can.

Read at least 15 books

I've smashed this goal two years running, so I’ve increased it a bit from my usual 12. I’m loath to increase it more in case I end up being a lot busier this year (I hope so!).

Do my Yearly Purge and Laptop Tidy

An annual tradition now. I want to keep up with it because I'm naturally quite untidy, so doing my big clean in the spring keeps me organised and my spaces tidy and pleasant to be in. I also need to sort out my laptop files as they're a mess.

Go on more trips

Local or national, I want to see more of England/Britain. We have so much to explore and see on our little island and while I have less money to go abroad, I think I need to focus on smaller, more reasonable trips. I'll feel so much better for it – I stagnate when I'm stuck in one place all the time.

Go abroad

I really want to do a ‘big’ trip this year, outside of the country. I miss the thrill of travelling, meeting new people, different cultures and cuisine. I may make a rough cost estimate and save toward that as much as I can. I'm at my happiest when I'm travelling so this is always a positive goal for me to strive for.

Continue to track habits etc

I've said it once and I'll say it again - tracking things in a visual way has been so helpful and enlightening for me. It's good to be able to quantify how well/badly I'm doing, look for patterns, and keep on top of my life. At the moment, I'm tracking:

  • Habits (I currently do: waking up at my alarm, hygiene, hydration, exercise, tidying up, to do list, German practice, Swedish practice, reading, no naps, no alcohol, no money spent, no takeaways, take meds and bed by 11pm)
  • Mood/fatigue/pain levels
  • Depression levels (using the PHQ9 as a guide)
  • Spending logs (monthly, to keep an eye on expenses)
  • Savings
  • Weight loss/body measurements

This year I have a general 'rough' weekly diary to scribble everything into, but I'm also creating a bullet journal-style book for all of my tracking. Having it all in one place makes more sense and will make it easier for me to see it all 'at a glance'. I may even make a post showing some of my journal if I'm pleased with how it turns out!

Finish travel scrapbook

I swear this just needs to get out of my life now. I'm getting on for five years since I tried to start this project, enough is enough. I need to get it updated this year so I stop feeling guilty about all my travel bits and bobs just sitting in a bag instead of being presented in the book.

~


I think that's enough to be going on with! What are your goals for 2019? I'd love to hear them!

Kayleigh x

Monday, 31 December 2018

2018 Recap

Another year is over, lads. The swift march of time never relents, and I have an existential crisis every time I stop and think about that. 2018 wasn’t a perfect year for me, but I don’t want to dwell on the crapper aspects in this post. So instead, here are my top 5 Good Things from this year:

1. Gaining a new cousin (my aunt and uncle in Australia had Levi in late November), and two new nephews (Rory and Leo, who were born literally a day apart at the beginning of December). A new life is always so exciting!


2. The family was also expanded pet-wise. Of course, I got my beloved hamster-son Poe for my birthday. We now have, as well as the lovely Reggie who appeared last year, two more dogs in our family – Bakari the whippet, and Wilson the French Bulldog. I love animals!


3. My event highlight of the year was of course the Heroes & Villains fest. I had so much fun and met lots of fab people, as well as all of these fools:


4. I started going to the gym in June. This is still frightening to me, but I’ve stuck with it, and I’m proud of myself for persevering when I really felt like I couldn’t.

5. My mental and physical health are so much better than it was this time last year. I still have a way to go but I’ve been working really hard and have actually seen and felt results this year, which is really positive.

As is tradition, I’m going to recap the goals I set myself for the year, as follows…

✘ Reach a healthy BMI

Didn’t manage this one, of course. I’ve also realised that this will take longer to do now that I’m taking regular exercise and building up my muscles. I actually stopped weighing myself this year, and I feel a lot better for it. I may do a monthly weigh next year, or concentrate more on how my measurements change. Anything that’s better for my mental health and self-esteem.

✘ Build up my blog

Hahahahaha no. I can count my blog posts for this year on my hands. I’m trying to brain-dump thoughts and potential blog topics to create a kind of ‘idea pool’ that I can dip into. But I tell ya, writer’s block is a bitch. I’ve been sloooooowly writing this post for actual months just to have it done in time for the New Year.

✘ Get a tattoo

A couple of things held me back from this one. Finances and my own indecision, mainly. One day I might finally be able to achieve this goal, but it is not this day.

✘ Start forging a career

This year, I have been employed all year, just not paid. Voluntary work has really been a saviour, and I’ve put in hundreds of hours. I’ve learned loads and added a heap of new skills and experiences to my CV. So I didn’t start a career this year, but I still think I did some important work towards getting there.

✔ Save money

Because I don’t have a huge amount of money at the moment, it’s not really practical or easy to save up. But I’ve managed to get a little bisschen of money into my savings account, which is better than nothing.

✔ Build up my wardrobe

I feel like I achieved this goal as best as I could, financially. I have some more clothes, shoes and accessories now. I plan to continue with this, as wearing things that I like really boosts my mood and confidence.

✔ Read at least 12 books

Once again, I absolutely smashed this target and read 19 books! Despite being a lot busier than last year, I still managed to read a lot (and I’m not counting articles and other things that I’ve read that don’t qualify as a ‘book’) and learn more. And because I know you’re dying to hear what I’ve been reading, here’s a list:

Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers
Jaws by Peter Benchley
More Fool Me by Stephen Fry
The Fireman by Joe Hill
The Witches Within Westminster by Peter Buckland
Disease and History by Frederick F. Cartwright & Michael Biddiss
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
From Here To Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley
Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Mindhunter by John Douglas & Mark Olshaker
• Books 1-4 of the Surviving the Evacuation series (London, Wasteland, Family and Unsafe Haven) by Frank Tayell
The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories
The Century Girls by Tessa Dunlop

✔ Do my Yearly Purge

I actually did this on time this year! I usually like to do the Yearly Purge around March (because springtime I guess), and this year I started and finished it in that month. After it took so long to do last year, I’m pleased. I also expanded my stuff to my ‘lounge’ (used to be little brother’s bedroom, but is now a spare room/my office) so I have more space to spread out and keep things neat.

✔ Pay off my overdraft

I did it! I am so incredibly pleased with myself; I cleared £1500 in just over a year when I didn’t have much of an income. I feel a lot less burdened now that I know that’s done with, and now I have no debt (except student loans but who even counts that).

✔ Take better care of myself

I have definitely been doing this. For a start, I joined the gym in June, which is completely out of character and weird. I already feel a bit of a difference, mostly in my strength, and friends and family say my shape is changing and toning up (can I just lose this beach ball stomach pls?). I’ve kept up with hydration and eating right, but I haven’t sacrificed the small treats and pleasures in life. I’m also just being kinder overall to myself, instead of holding me up to ridiculous standards that I can’t meet. My recovery has come along in leaps this year, and I’m finally feeling the difference.

✔ Go abroad at least once

Does Wales count? I know it’s technically a different country, but it’s also part of overall Britain. So it’s pretty contended whether that counts as ‘abroad’. Even so, that was a lovely holiday with my brother Ryan, his partner Aaron, Aaron’s friend Xenia, and her little boy Ziggy. It was nice to get away, and we were blessed with good weather for most of the week. I can’t thank Ryan and Aaron enough for thinking to invite me and forbidding me from giving them money for it. They’re too cute.

✔ Continue to track habits etc

Still doin’ it. It’s actually really helpful and I’m going to continue – not just next year, but probably for the foreseeable future. I feel so much more organised, and it’s good for me to have these things all written in one place to ground myself and have a visual representation of how well or badly things are going. I also started a symptom diary in an attempt to identify triggers for symptoms, or even just a pattern.

✔ Continue learning

I never stop, man. Even if it’s something small like a new word, I always try to learn new things. My volunteering has been a huge source of learning this year, especially since joining the HR team as an administrator. It’s definitely given me some transferable skills for when I’m back in paid employment. Aside from that, my biggest learning things have been studying exercise and muscles (anatomy and how they work/develop), and also starting to learn Swedish (I find it has similarities to both English and German, so I clicked with it almost straight away).

✘ Bake regularly

Nope, not nearly enough. I baked mostly things that I’ve already done/written about. I really need to start challenging myself again with this. I’m also trying to plan what to bake far in advance, as that gives me time to prepare and know what I’m doing.

✘ Get to 6000 followers

I find that people on twitter are really fickle and a lot of people just want a follow back, or they unfollow you immediately. Unless you’re ridiculously funny (which I am, obviously, but no one appreciates genius my pals), you don’t gain organic followers that easily. I find with social media, though, I’ve definitely stopped with the whole ‘GAIN ALL THE FOLLOWERS’ mentality. I’m much happier just doing my own thing and enjoying it instead of making it into a chore to be agonised over. And if people like what I post, that’s an added bonus!

✘ Finish travel scrapbook

When will my motivation return from the war? The travel scrapbook is in its fourth year and counting, and I still haven’t even started sticking in stuff from my New York trip in 2014. The scrapbook continues to sit there, mocking me and my procrastination.

~

I would say my goals were about half-and-half this year. I knew some of them probably wouldn’t be achieved, but I’m happy with what I managed to do. I just have to keep going, and try to be better.

Happy New Year!

Kayleigh x

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest 2018 - Sunday

Once again, I took advantage of the copious croissants at the hotel breakfast buffet. I drank a bunch of orange juice and thieved more Babybels. I checked out of the hotel, but left my backpack in the luggage room so I was unencumbered by it during the day. Originally, I planned to go out to Highgate Cemetery to wander and take some totally gothic photos, but the Northern Line was partially down and I was just too tired to deal with a million rail replacement buses.

So, using the pass that Adam/Harvey Bullock had given me the day before, I decided to go back to the con. Holly and Ali were really excited when I told them that I was heading over, which made me feel like I'd made the right decision. I waited for them to arrive and drifted around, looking around at the cosplayers. I saw the COOLEST Negasonic Teenage Warhead - this girl honestly looked exactly like her, so amazing! When my pals arrived, they were dressed as Jonathan 'Scarecrow' Crane and Jervis 'Mad Hatter' Tetch, and looked brilliant!

I made a snap decision to go and see Robin again, simply because I won't see him for another year (at least). Ali joined me in the queue. We got to the table as Robin was grabbing a tissue. He said, "I'm gonna blow my nose." and I was like 'um ok, you do that'. He said, "We're old friends now, so I can do this in front of you." I said, "Yeah, we go way back." and made his manager man laugh. He asked what we'd been up to last night, and I told him all about the lovely Italian restaurant we visited. Ali and I regaled him about Holly leaving her bag at Cory's table the day before, and let him know that he was going to have a photo op with her, Cory, and Ali shortly. He said, "I'll say 'where's your fuckin' bag?'" and we all fell about laughing. I asked Robin if he'd make a little video for Caz, who had asked me if that could be done. Of course he obliged, being the nicest man ever. She's still not over it!

My foot was hurting because of the falling-apart boots and the Nightmare Blister, and Ali's feet were hurting from her shoes the previous day, so we were grumbling and Robin said, "Aww, so you're just limping everywhere?" I said, "Yes, it's entirely your fault." and he said, "It's ok, we'll all limp into the future together!" I then explained that I hadn't liked the nice selfie we took on Saturday - "It's nothing to do with you, you look gorgeous but I look really weird and miserable. I'd like a photo where I look like I actually want to be here, instead of like 'oh yeah, just taking photos with this guy I hate'." and made Robin laugh again. We took another nice one and another ugly one.

He told me I'm beautiful (lol u blind) and gave me a great big hug before I left. His manager collared me and said, "I like your jacket, has Robin seen it?" (I was wearing my Banned umbrella cardigan) and Robin said, "I was just checking that out! It's beautiful!" I said, "Well, it'd better be, it cost thirty quid." His manager said, "You should come to America, something like that'd cost $100!" I quipped, "Well I can't go to America because I've spent all my money on him." and pointed at Robin, who looked sufficiently guilty. I added, "You're wurf it though." and then left, both of us blowing kisses and saying 'love you' to each other. Why is he so nice and fab ALL THE TIME?


Ali popped to the ladies' and Holly and I were loitering at Brandon Routh's table so Holly could eye him. A man who was working at the con was loving Holly's costume and chatting to us about our weekend. He pretended to become hypnotised by Holly's pocket watch, and accidentally walked into a passing man, which was extremely hilarious.

Holly and Ali had their photo op not long after that. I decided to just walk in with them, and somehow wasn't stopped. Sean passed us because he'd just done his photos ops, and I waved at him like the Queen, which made him laugh. I said, "Oh, I love Sean." and Holly asked, "Would you die for him?" (I've recently gotten into the habit of saying I'd die for people and things, and she'd picked up on this the day before), which I totally would. I saw the amazing Negasonic Teenage Warhead again, and pointed her out to my pals as I'd been raving about her earlier. We got her attention and told her how cool she looked. We also saw Cory go by to get to the photo ops, and I commentated, "Ah yes, here comes a long man.. He has sunglasses on, what a douchebag." You must understand that the meaner I am about someone, the more fond I am of them.

I just kind of floated into the photo 'studio' and no one stopped me when I explained I was Holly and Ali's 'bag lady' and would just sidle through. Robin spotted me and blew so many kisses, which I returned with interest. He's so cute, and I will never get over it. They got into their chosen photo position, and Holly asked Cory to be hypnotised by her. He suddenly started Acting, and was really convincingly dead-eyed and slumped over. It was pretty amazing to witness, and their photo came out so brilliantly!

Coming out of the photo op section, we again saw Andelle and Adam and had a catch-up with them about their day. I thanked Adam profusely for the pass he gave me as I was having so much fun. I told them about seeing Robin again and Ali chimed in, "Yeah I was kind of worried he was gonna, like, abduct you." which I honestly wouldn't have had a problem with. We also wandered around the lovely stalls at the con - I was Very Skint by this point, so I didn't buy anything but there was a limited edition Pennywise Funko that I would have died for. Maybe someday I'll obtain him. Holly got a couple of cute pairs of earrings and was informed that there was a 3 for 2 deal on, so she let me pick something for myself! It was so kind of her, and I got a black pendant with a green Riddler question mark on it. So, so cute! The man at the stall also gave us a lollipop each, which soon became a running joke with Holly and I because I ended up holding her lolly a thousand times as she took photos with people. It was hilarious after a while.

We saw the people we'd met the day before, and took some more mad photos, as well as with some new people we'd met. We also saw the one and only Jim Gordon cosplayer of the weekend, who looked amazing. They had the Ben McKenzie 'yikes face' completely down, and it cracked me up. A significant amount of time was spent all yelling "GCPD!!" at each other. One of our favourites was a guy who was dressed as Scarecrow, complete with a noose around his neck. We'd seen him wandering around the day before, and had to approach him again to take photos and tell him how cool he was.


Ali was leaning against this dividing wall thing that Cory's table was behind. She leaned a bit too hard and it MOVED. We were all screaming and laughing because she could have squished Cory, which would have been hilarious of course. Holly wanted a version of their photo op printed out, so we went to a stall that was doing printouts of people's photos (really good idea, actually - they must've made a killing). While up there, we looked down onto the main floor to spot our friends and we saw a dinosaur randomly walking/dancing around. It was someone in one of those dinosaur suits, and it was so entertaining. The printing place also had some digital artwork on the walls and Holly was agonising over a Deadpool piece. I eventually convinced her by yelling, "Nihilism is good! Get the Deadpool poster!"

We eventually had to leave the con because we were all heading home that evening. I went back to the Hilton with Holly and Ali so they could grab their bags, as we needed the same train for a couple of stops. As Holly emptied and re-packed her entire suitcase, I heard a pair of German people discussing something, and eavesdropped because I like to practice listening to native speakers to improve my own German. I figured that they needed a restroom and quickly said, "Oh, did you need a bathroom?" then directed them to the nearest one. They were really grateful, and I felt like a Really Nice Person.

When I'd said goodbye to my pals, it was really sad because we'd had such a blast and we don't really get to see each other normally (though we're hoping to see Venom together later this year - yaaaaas Tom Hardy). I told them I adored them a million times, then hopped off of the train. I picked up the Backpack of Holding from my hotel and got over to Victoria. I had a McDonald's and read on my phone to pass the time until my coach was due.

The ride home was equally as painless as the journey out. I felt so content and pleasantly sleepy. Reflecting on the weekend, I felt really happy because I could notice the difference between this year and last year. Last year, I was in the midst of my horrible depression and I was quieter, not really acting like myself. It was a testament to how well I've done with recovery so far that I was so much more like my usual self, charming people and making everyone laugh. I enjoyed everything so much more, and was more determined and able to get to all of the guests I wanted to meet this time. I'm also so full of love for Holly and Ali, who were just fab, hyping me up and keeping me company. They kept saying that they loved having me around, which is always such a nice thing to hear. Their presence helped to make this year's HVFF a million times more fun and exciting, I adore them!


When I finally got home, exhausted and happy, the Nightmare Blister had gotten bigger. On that pretty disgusting note, my London trip ends. I miss the city already, as I always do. Here's a link to the HVFF website, by the way!

Kayleigh x

Monday, 28 May 2018

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest 2018 - Saturday

Just gonna pre-warn anyone reading this: This is ridiculously long and excitable. Also, if you haven't seen all of Gotham season 4, there may be little spoilers ahead.

I actually managed to get my ass up with more than enough time, which is unusual. So I got ready quite leisurely. Similarly to last year, I had a meltdown with my eyeliner, but eventually got it to a 'that'll do' point. I had breakfast at the hotel, as it was included in my room rate. I ate a couple of lovely croissants, drank apple juice, and then took a handful of Babybels to stash in my bag for snacking purposes.

This year, I had to use a different entrance as I'd talked to accessibility services about my knee pain and collapse last year. They were so brilliant and gave me a 'place in line' card. Essentially, I go up to the staff at a guest I want to see and ask them to write down a time for me to return to the table, depending on approximately how long the queues will take. Then I can stay mobile, or sit and rest, instead of standing in the queue the whole time. Gonna just pause the storytelling here to say that the disability service and volunteers at the con were fantastic. They were all so helpful and made my experience at the con so much easier and less painful. I enjoyed myself 100% more and didn't have a collapse this year! So a big thanks to everyone who worked at the con and made it perfect for me.

There was a bit of waiting around until we got into the building to a 'quiet room' (which was not quiet because everyone was so excited). I got chatting to a Scottish lady called Jane and her son. They were really nice and helped pass the time in the quiet room, until we were finally let loose on the con. Luckily, on my way to the quiet room, I'd walked across the con floor and knew exactly where the Gotham cast's tables were. Of course, I beelined straight for Robin's table. I decided to wait for this one because it was the beginning of the day, and I was at the front of the general admission queue. There was a cool guy behind me who got his ear talked off by me while we waited.

Robin was a delight, as he always is. When I got to him, he immediately said, "I love your hair!" I replied, "You said that last year." and he said, "I did? ... I DID." before quickly adding "Well, it's still true, I love your hair!" Nice save. I said, "Well, you're consistent Robin, I'll give you that." which made him laugh. He liked the top I was wearing because it had umbrellas on it. His management guy asked if I'd like him to take a snap of us. I explained that I'd rather take a selfie because I am particular about my photo angles and 'this face doesn't help itself' - Robin said, "Oh STAWP." and pushed my shoulder. So I pushed his shoulder back and said, "YOU stawp!" and this continued for some time. I informed him that I'm left-handed so needed to be on his left to take the photos. He exclaimed that he was also left-handed, and I told him that all the best people are. We took a couple of photos and he very graciously did an ugly one too:


I was doing a '1 Second Everyday' thing for May, and asked Robin if he'd be in my second for that day, which of course he said yes because he's fab (I posted the month's montage on Instagram). Afterwards, I thanked him profusely and said, "You're such a sunshine kid and I just want to buy you the fruitiest cocktail." he said, "I wish!" and I joked that I'd come by and drop off £20 so he could grab one. He wanted another hug before I left and said, "Ahh, you're adorable." which is hilarious coming from him, the most adorable person ever. I told him that I usually get 'terrifying' or 'gloomy', so I was stepping up in the world. Always leave 'em laughing, my pals.

Holly and Ali had arrived while I was talking to Robin, so I went to them when I was done. They immediately wanted to know what we talked about and to see the photos, and Ali said, "He looked like he was having the time of his life talking to you!" which, let's be real, he probably was because I'm charming and wonderful (jk). We wandered around the con for a while and chilled together. Holly and I made a daring mission to a cupcake stand that looked delightful and got a whole box of cupcakes (well, 4 cupcakes, a brownie, and a slab of fudge). They were glittery, and so delicious! I ate my two cakes way too quickly.


I was due to see Cory, but his photo op ran over and he got collared by media, so I quickly got a return time for Sean and Drew while I was waiting. I figured I could see them both before the panel at 3pm.

I greeted Sean with a huge hug and he said, "Oh, hello there!" He also liked my top, and asked if Robin had seen it. I told him he had and that 'it's only a Primark shirt, Sean'. He said, "It looks GOOD on you though." Oy. I told him that my Mum said hi again, and he told me to 'send her my love'. He's such a gent. We went to take selfies and I asked if he could maybe hunch a bit because he's very tall compared to me. He bent his knees until he was even shorter than me, which was hilarious. We took a lovely picture, then I explained, "So, I'm doing a thing where I'm asking everyone to do ugly faces with me, and Robin's was really good-" Guys, I didn't even need to ask. Sean just said, "Right!" and immediately pulled a face, making everyone in the queue who could see us laugh. It was magnificent.


I said my goodbyes, and went over to Drew's queue. One of the volunteers ticked off Drew's name on my card and I said, "Oh, can you tick off Sean's name too, cause I've done him now." She reflexively muttered that she'd do Sean, and we fell about laughing. There was a girl chatting to Drew when I got up there, and she seemed a bit flustered. When she was done taking selfies, she started walking off without her signed photo and can of Arizona iced tea. Drew started saying, "Hey.. Hey!" to her and I blurted out, "OMG, DON'T FORGET YOUR TEA." Luckily, she came back and retrieved her things and Drew was laughing at me saying, "Yeah, forget the signed photo! Your tea!" I was a bit embarrassed because I don't think I did any favours for the English Stereotype.

The first thing I said to Drew was, "I'm gonna miss yoooooou!" (with my hands cupped around my mouth so I didn't spoil anything for anyone). He admitted that he was gutted about Butch's death, but still did the brave-face actor thing, where they say they're still happy they got the opportunity etc. He asked where I'm from and I couldn't bring myself to say the name of my horrible town, so I said, "Oh.. Southwest.. Just over the bridge from Wales, really. But don't think I'm Welsh." He laughed, but then I remembered that Erin Richards is Welsh, so that was another awkward bit for me. I told him I was in dire straits because my Mum is watching Gotham as it airs in the UK, so she's way behind. I said, "I just want to talk to her about it, it's so annoying!" He commiserated with me about how difficult that was. I then added, "I'm going to spoil it for mother." and made him laugh again. He was so incredibly animated and excited all day, and it was really uplifting and funny to hear his booming voice and laugh throughout the con. We got into selfie business (I actually let him take them because he's tall enough to get a ~good angle~), and I said, "Now you have to do an ugly one." he said, "But.. I'm so pretty!" but he did a great job anyway.


I finally managed to see Cory after that. The guy in front of me gave him a really cool drawing that he'd made. It took Cory a few seconds, then he was like, "Wait, you drew this?? Fucking HELL!" and raved about it. I asked him to show me it, and it really was a cool drawing. I wish I could draw, man. Of course I scolded Cory a little bit for having to cancel last year, but only gently. He's really cute and quiet in real life, it took me by surprise. He let me give him a hug (had to tiptoe though because he is a giraffe), and I said I was there for selfies. "Oh my GAWSH, let's take a selfie." Cory memed rather outdatedly. As with Sean, I asked if he could bend his knees a bit because he's so tall - Cory bent his knees slowly with a really benign smile on his face and it made me laugh way too much. We took a cute photo, then I said, "So I've been asking everyone to make ugly faces.. Robin is currently winning, so you have to beat him." I hadn't actually decided who had won at that point but I wanted to coax out any competitive spirit he had. He made a gallant effort, though I am annoyed about my weird Slenderman arm in the photos.


I was later asked by my pals about the first photo of us "Why is he, like, gazing at you?" I think it's his listening face, as I was telling him about the ugly selfies at this point, while snapping away indiscriminately.

Holly, Ali and I popped back to their hotel so Ali could change her shoes and so we could all sit down and recharge a little bit before the Gotham panel was due to start. I'm glad they were staying so close to the Olympia, it was nice to sit on a comfy bed instead of the floor for a while. On the way back to the con, we spotted Sean outside having a cig. He was surrounded by staff but we still took our time drifting past making hearts with our hands.

As we were attempting to barrel into the panel, we got talking to some Gotham cosplayers who were really funny and nice. One of them had a plush penguin with a tie on, and it was so adorable. I informed them that we'd just seen Sean outside and said, "He was smoking, and he was smoking if you know what I mean." I'm so funny I can't even stand it.

The panel was great, of course. They're all so funny and cute. This year we actually managed to get seats and I went and stood in the mic line with Holly so she could ask a question (so I had a good view of the panel). My favourite bits were Drew complimenting the person typing the closed captions as they spoke and trying to bamboozle them: "Batman. Bumblebee...... Antidisestablishmentarianism.", some girls losing their minds when Cory put his arm around Robin, and Cory singing Like A Virgin.


The last Gotham cast member I had to see was David, so I got to his line sharpish and was told I could go straight in as it wasn't busy again yet. Ali waited with me in line so she could say hi to him too. I'm glad she was there, otherwise I'd have had no one to scream to when my Mum called and informed me that I'm going to be an auntie again! I was about ready to burst into tears - such a great piece of news while I'm having an amazing day!

Also in the queue, we met two cool people called Andelle and Adam - she was dressed as a femme!Penguin and he was Harvey Bullock. They looked amazing, and were super fun to talk to. They appear again throughout the weekend.

The first thing David said to me after the initial greeting was that he liked my top. I told him that Sean had said the same thing, and that 'you two should be the last people to like this top!'. Ali said, "Oh shush, it's nice." and I said, "It was six pounds. SIX POUNDS, ALI." and David was laughing about my fervor. I let him know that Douchebag Auction Bruce (S04E03 They Who Hide Behind Masks) was one of my favourite Gotham bits of all time, and how brilliantly funny he was. He was so kind and charming and confident, which enrages me because he's so young. At his age, I was both foolish and annoying (still am, a bit).

I explained the ugly face marathon to him and as I went to ask if he'd partake, David said, "If you want ugly... That's what you're gonna get. I'm just warning ya." I told him it had better be really gruesome because I had some strong contenders already. We went to take a selfie and I said, "Can you turn and face the light, Batman?" because the lighting was really iffy. He did so while I observed, rather obviously, "You're so very tall." We took a nice one, and I said, "Right, now the ugly one?" to which he became very competitive and excited, shouting, "I WILL BE THE BEST. I'M GONNA WIN THIS." It was so funny, he's such a sweetie. I went to leave without hugging him, and he put his arms out to hug me. So adorable! And the top lad gave Ali a big hug too!


Before David, I'd gotten a return time for Robin's queue again because Ali had some Dreamies that she wanted to give him to take home to his cat. So after our conversation with Mini Bruce Wayne, we went to see Robin. He said "Hey again, my love!!" when he saw me and swooped upon me for a hug. He said a big hello to Ali and hugged her, and she handed him the cat treats. He said "Dreamies!? EXCELLENT. Finn'll love them!" He was so happy about them. I said, "They are technically for Finn, but if you really want to eat 'em there's no judgement here. Eat 'em with your Penguin biscuits." (someone had brought him a whole packet of Penguin bars, which was genius), and he was laughing, saying he'd be eating cat treats on the plane home.

Ali had her adorable selfies with Robin, then invited me to be in one. I said, "I have a problem with other people taking my photo." but Ali insisted, and Robin reached over and grabbed me around the waist to pull me to his other side saying, "We want you in the photo!" After that, Ali and I got a big, rather sweaty hug from him and he said, "SO good to see you again, darling, have a LOVELY weekend!" I don't think I've ever met anybody as sweet and sunshiney as him.


Ali and I were hanging out near Cory's table because Holly was queueing to see him, and Andelle and Adam reappeared! Andelle gave me a little umbrella pin that she'd made. It was a 'Pengy Award'; she'd made a bunch of them to give to Robin and also to Penguin cosplayers, but she let me have an honorary one, which was beautiful. Adam gave me a spare 2-day pass that he had, in case I wanted to go to the con again on Sunday (spoiler alert: I totally did). That was SO nice of him, the two of them really made my weekend.

Holly came over and was showing us the photo she got with Cory. Ali said, "Um, where's your bag?" and Holly almost died with embarrassment, realising she'd left it at Cory's table. She went back to retrieve it while we all hooted at her.

We also met other cosplayers, including a picnic!Ed and Kristen Kringle who looked absolutely brilliant. A magnificent and manic photo session ensued, which was so much fun. Everyone was so nice and excited.


When we left the con, we popped back to the Hilton so that Holly and Ali could change out of their costumes (I still maintain that they should've gone to dinner in cosplay). In the lift was us, some American guy, and a lady with a cane. The American guy was asking us all about what we were wearing and where we'd been. When the lady stepped out of the elevator, the guy said, "God, I thought she was with you and I was about to ask if her cane was part of her costume. I'm glad I didn't!" I was like "Good shout, Man-Who-Looks-Like-David-Lynch." and we went on our way.

We perused Google Maps for nearby eateries, deciding not to repeat last year and do Pizza Express. We found a little place called Cacciari's, and it was absolutely lovely. Proper Bologna-style food. I had a lasagne, Holly had some salmon, and Ali had pasta and pesto. We were all sufficiently impressed by the food. Ali had a panna cotta for dessert, while Holly and I settled for a Limoncello shot each. It was such a nice meal, the atmosphere was chill, and the staff were friendly and attentive. Definitely recommend!

After I bid goodnight to my pals, I had a really nice walk back to the in the balmy night. I was full of love for my friends, for the con, and for London. I was surprised when I got into the lobby, though - they usually played generic peaceful music, but for some reason they were playing Swalla by Jason Derulo. It was really jarring and made me laugh way too much.

Back in my hotel room I discovered that my boots had begun to fall apart again (second pair in three months, bah) and that a huge, gross blister had formed on the side of my heel. No bueno. I got into bed just as an amazing thunderstorm started up. It went on for ages, and I was curled up in bed watching it out of the window. Awesome!

This is the l-o-n-g-e-s-t post in the whole world. I am so not sorry.

Kayleigh x