May 30, 2013

Weight loss: Wardrobe Therapy

To look at, Sally-ann Moffat is intimidating. She is beautiful and very well dressed in a funky style that is all her own. But that's what she teaches - to find your own style. Once she starts talking you realise how committed she is to helping you reach your personal best. That's high praise but it's true.

In my last post I mentioned how this journey isn't just about weight loss, it's about finding a new me. It's pointless to only work on one part of yourself as all the other parts will keep cropping up. I thought I was just looking for someone to help me sort through the clothes I had and take me shopping for more. What I found was something completely different that I didn't even realise was exactly what I needed.

When I first met Sally-ann she challenged me and I wanted to run away. But it was a good thing. Once I got past my internal set backs we got on great. Years ago I met with a stylist who threw out half my wardrobe and told me sternly what I could and couldn't wear. Sally-ann did none of that. She resurrected items I hadn't worn for years, encouraging me to see them in a new light. On top of that we talked about what my clothes said about me as well as what I would like them to say.

After the wardrobe therapy came retail therapy. It was an eye opener. Usually, shopping makes me frustrated and upset but I really enjoyed the time with Sally-ann and I have enjoyed shopping since. Like with my wardrobe she encouraged me to see shops, the clothing they held, and myself in them differently.

I've never been thin so I never felt that fashion was for me. There are parts of my body that I like but clothing has been more about covering up than revealing who I am. Working with Sally-ann helped me to realise that fashion is not just the pervue of models. I found that I could enjoy shopping, enjoy dressing up, even enjoy the way I look.

I've had so many compliments on the way I'm dressing even several saying I've lost weight which I don't think are due to the scales.

You can find out more about Sally-ann and her work on her website, Facebook or Twitter. Look out for her companion piece soon!

Special thanks to: Kiwi Pole Fitness

May 24, 2013

The God Boy

The best word I can find to describe The God Boy is disturbing. It makes you wriggle in your seat and stays with you long after, but maybe I identified with it more than others. A Catholic upbringing in small town New Zealand in the 1950's doesn't seem that far removed from my own in the 1980's. What's right, what's wrong and what the neighbours see are often in conflict.

I have not read the novel (by Ian Cross) which the play is based on. It has been compared to Catcher in the Rye and is lauded as a New Zealand classic. With a juvenile narrator it called to mind, for me, To Kill a Mockingbird; so much of the story must be understood in the places between the narration. The books were only three years apart in publication so a lot of the societal norms would have been similar also.

George Fenn did an amazing job as the protagonist Jimmy. I have no idea how he managed to remember so many lines! The whole show necessarily hinged on his performance. With a single look he portrayed such innocence, such faith that it was heartbreaking to watch the story unfold around him.
A single look portrays such innocence. Courtesy of Stagecraft
I saw the show with a friend who was probably more upset by the subject matter than me but came out of it wondering what the point was. There is only a blink of action, the story is not fast paced, there is in fact little of what people expect from entertainment today. But what there is is thought provoking and heart wrenching. If you want simple entertainment than perhaps this isn't the show for you but if you want something that makes you feel, for the characters, for your own (lost) innocence then check this play out. I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on the performance.

Performances: 22-25 May  8 pm, Sunday 26th 3 pm, 28-29 May 6.30 pm, 30 May-1 June 8 pm
You can buy tickets here $22
You can find out more about this production here

May 21, 2013

Pretty Brutal

Pretty Brutal screened last week in Wellington as part of the Documentary Edge Festival. The film follows three players from Pirate City Rollers, New Zealand's first Roller Derby team, across a year (advertised incorrectly as their first year). I was disappointed that the film maker, Monica De Alwis wasn't at the screening to field questions although two different people apologised for her.

This documentary reminded me what it was like to be passionate about Roller Derby. It's about the drama, the pageantry and a little bit about the violence...and the sport of course. The poster sums it up well; the closeness amongst players but the brutality of the sport.

The graphics throughout were impressive; vintage cut out women, a scoreboard with a little ship for each team and an explanation of the game that morphs into play itself (you can see that on the preview). These were probably part of the reason that it took Monica six years to get this off the ground, that and creating a storyline from hours of footage. She does a great job, the story is compelling. Although she follows three players the one that stands out is Pieces of Hate. I don't think this was intentional just that Hate steals the show.

Pieces of Hate corrects some errors about the documentary on her Facebook page; the league actually started in February 2006 not 2007 and there were "a lot more people who worked their arse off for pcr in the beginning that deserved more air time" (sic). From the looks of her page she's keeping herself busying taking training sessions up and down the country. Anecdotally I've heard that she was very busy at the first National Roller Derby tournament last year bench managing and coaching several of the newer teams.

I really enjoyed this documentary and would recommend it to any derby enthusiast. I was surprised to only recongise two players at the screening I attended. It's a shame that this wasn't completed earlier when it was more relevant although now there are so many leagues throughout the country there are more potential viewers. I think a follow-on documentary about the evolution of the sport and the split between Pirates and Auckland City to create the first intraleague only team would be well received.

You can see the preview for the documentary here
You can like Pieces of Hate on her official fan page on Facebook
The film has a website and Facebook

May 20, 2013

Alexander Sparrow: One Night Stand

I looked forward to Alexander Sparrow’s comedy gig. I always enjoy hearing material a new comedian has to offer, and I was intrigued how Kitty O'Shea’s intimate venue would work for the show.

The gig was upstairs in the small, quaint space creating a comfortable and intimate setting. I think more comedians should perform here, as long as it is a small audience or it could easily become crowded.

Alexander Sparrow was clearly nervous at times, but had the support of his friends and family, taking up the majority of the audience (as he pointed out throughout the evening). He had a strong and confident stage presence most of the time and certainly doesn't have a problem with being the centre of attention. The first 15 minutes of the show was a stumble of words guiding us to shout and cheer as Alex introduced himself to a wave of applause. This could have worked better had he approached it with more clarity and confidence. The material he used flowed well, it was a shame that he lost his place, got distracted by his friends in the crowd, and repeated himself as much as he did. The polish will come with practice and make this a better show.

The set had me giggling at the local flavour focusing on student life, blanket man and the stereotyped bracket of Upper Hutt, poking fun at their toothless grins and lack of hygiene. Although it was a little harsh, it had the crowd entertained and I must admit brought a smile to my face also. Most of the material was nothing I hadn't heard before. It was aimed at a young, student based demographic. I would have loved to have heard a few quips that would appeal to a wider target market rather than countless tales about the supermarket job he hates, the theatre degree he is studying and how this adds nothing to society. One or two jokes about these topics would have been funny, but the show seemed to repeat itself, going back to a) he was a theatre student and b) he worked in a supermarket.

It grew a little tiresome by the end of the hour. The ending was definitely the highlight as nerves seemed to evaporate and Alex did a fantastic impersonation of a clubbing scene in Wellington. If this had been the opening, or the focus of his show, I would have been falling off my chair. Focusing on impressions is where his strengths lie. I hope to see a full set of his silly gyrating antics at a later date. I would certainly head along to see that!

I believe that practice and life experience only improve comedians’ material. Often a good set is built on a range of sketches the comedian has developed and tweaked over a number of years. With this practice I believe Alex will be a comedian everyone will be talking about. For his first hour show, I think he did well in such an intimate setting, and hope that he pursues this form of creative expression.  Keep up the good work Alexander Sparrow!

May 16, 2013

Weight Loss: Personal Trainer

I feel incredibly lucky that Julia from Kiwi Pole Fitness and Kaos has agreed to be my personal trainer. Julia is an amazing pole dancing teacher and performer as well as a qualified personal trainer. I'm going through some major upheavals in my personal life and the great thing about Julia is that she gets it, she's been there. Working with her feels like she is more my life coach than just my personal trainer.

We've been working together a month or so and starting things off slowly. We haven't done any of the stuff that I think of doing with a personal trainer - no exercising, no yelling. It helps that Julia knows me quite well so probably knows how best to handle me. I've been tracking my mood, food and exercise. This helps me to identify my own behaviours and take responsibility for them.

Following on from the diary was little things I had been neglecting about myself; looking after myself, making space my own. And then finding some exercise that I could enjoy, be passionate about. I've started ballet classes with a scary Russian woman who yells at me (I found the yelling!). It's not exactly difficult but the positions feel a little like contortion. I enjoy how beautiful it feels; each movement starts with my arm fluttering from my side. But it's also hard, my feet and legs hurt every time  My teacher wants me to go twice a week but basically I don't want to, she was insistent so I'm not sure how long I will continue with ballet. But, I did find the class and have actually attended, so that's something. I hope in the future to motivate myself to go back to pole dancing  too (there goes my last New Years resolution).

The best thing about working with Julia is that she understands what I'm working on isn't just about losing weight; it's about finding me, whoever that turns out to be (more about that in my next post).

Other updates:
- I've met with a new dietitian and discovered that I haven't gained any weight (93.1kg) since my first appointment about 6 months ago
- After meeting with a specialist my medication has been reduced so hopefully I will start to see some weight loss soon (if you don't remember, my medication makes me put on weight and won't let my body release it either)

Coming up:
- I'll tell you about my time with Sally-Ann Moffat doing wardrobe therapy
- (and later) you'll get to read about the course of weight loss treatments I'm undergoing

Special thanks to: Kiwi Pole Fitness

If you are interested in personal training from Julia you can contact her through either of her studios

May 5, 2013

The Wellington Wedding Show May 2013

It always amazes me the amount of planning and preparation involved in organising a wedding. It is all in the details - or so I am told. Being in the bridal industry myself, I often hear about wedding plans from the brides as I am creating their perfect custom Wedding dress. What an overwhelming experience for them all.

The Wellington Wedding Show is a stand alone event, which matures and blossoms each year. The stalls display a wide range of tips and packages from hair, makeup, manicures and honeymoons to venue decorations, cakes, on-site babysitters, and of course wedding dresses. There was even a dance floor and a photo booth in a vintage caravan! The event is well organised, and professional. All of the stalls have helpful assistants to give you information, in a friendly manner without making you feel poached or harassed.

The stalls are exquisitely laid out, and show a unique take on their particular business. For me the stall that looked most impressive was called White Ribbon Weddings. The company focuses on the decorations at the event, as shown in the images below. Very impressive (but with a high price tag to match!).

Another stall that caught my eye was for an idea for wedding favors. They are always tricky! It adds up quickly, and such a small token for the person to take away. This year, Unicef have launched a wedding inspired gift card for each table setting saying what has been donated on behalf of the Bride and Groom. The package deals include Polio vaccines, school supplies and mosquito nets to name a few. If you are going down this road, I would recommend a gift pack per table rather than per place settling as it would add up pretty quickly. The Unicef wedding favors are called 'We Do', as shown below.
Overall, the Wellington Wedding Show was a huge success. If you are planning a wedding it is a good place to start for an overview of how it all works. The entry fee for an adult is $18, which I think is well worth it.

Zowie Dee Bridals top wedding picks of the day include:

The Photographer: Jo Moore Photographer. (I went to a wedding she worked on a few weeks ago, and the photos look beautiful)

The Details: Vintage and Pretty. For everything cute and retro from cake and candy to china jars and lantern pagodas to parasols and curios.

Wedding Venue: Boomrock. (Extravagant, but who doesn't want to fly in by helicopter to a beautiful remote and intimate venue?)

Lashes for the ladies: Lush Lashes - Semi permanent eyelash extensions lasting up to 6 weeks. They make such a difference in photos!

Wedding Favours: Unicef's 'We Do' package. Visit the website link to learn more:

Venue Decorations: White Ribbon Weddings. Although the packages are a little on the pricey side, if the budget is looking good, I think it's worth the investment. What a breath taking visual for photos!

Florist: Woodstock Florists. Their flower arrangements are always impressive, big, bold and beautiful bouquets custom designed for you.

Hair and Makeup: Penny Rose. I will be working with Penny Rose at an upcoming bridal event I am hosting. They are not only fantastic value, but also good at what they do. The staff are accommodating and approachable.

The Dresses: Zowie Dee Custom Made Designs. This is my company, which I must recommend. I have 10 years experience in the bridal industry and work with each client to make sure they enjoy their special day with a dress fits their personality and vision.