Sunday, 29 July 2012

This blog is no longer...

We will still be posting, it's just that the blog will now be part of our new website (coming to a screen near you on Monday 30th July!).

To keep reading this blog, just click HERE or paste this url into your browser: http://beyondchocolate.co.uk/about-us/blog/

See you there!

Monday, 23 July 2012

New Website

You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet on the Beyond Chocolate blog in recent weeks. Most of our energy and attention has been going to creating our new website. We are so excited about it. We have wanted a new website for a couple of years now and finally we have one which will reflect what we do, will be easy to update and manage and which looks pretty (well, we think!).

We are launching it, all being well, fingers crossed and all that, at the end of this week and we'd love your comments and feedback. If there's anything you can't find or that doesn't make sense, or doesn't work, do drop us a line (there's a contact form on the website or you can email me at sophie[at]beyondchocolate.co.uk. There are bound to be some hiccups at the beginning and we'd love your help to get them ironed out asap.

This blog will also be on our new webiste. The webiste will have the same url as the current one www.beyondchocolate.co.uk and the blog will be part of the webiste - so this one will still be online for a while but all new posts will be on our new website.

The Chocolate Fairies are also off for a bit of sunshine and rest at the end of the month, we'll be flying off to Italy for a few weeks and we'll be positing and keeping in touch from there.

So, watch this space... we're nearly there. And thanks for your patience, normal blog posting will resume very soon!

Brave or foolish?

Writing the Overeating Dialogues with Kirsty and Abbi has been such laughter filled, challenging and creative process and together, we've done it, we now have a fully formed, well rounded, rather lovely script. Well, they have written it and we've tried our hardest to squeeze in a song or a rap, or a little dance but sadly (and sensibly) we're sticking with dialogue!

Three generous, 'up for a laugh and a new experience' women have joined our little company and will be stepping up on stage on the 3rd November as actors. We would love a couple more women to join us.

Right now I feel scared and excited in equal measure. If I listen to my scornful, know it all of a gremlin I imagine making a fool of myself, looking like an amateur, getting it wrong, in public, in front of my friends, my family and Beyond Chocolaters. I tell myself that I am both crazy and arrogant to think we can pull it off with panache. I start to wish I'd never had the idea... Of course, my know it all gremlin would say that... Typical. Luckily I don't have to listen to that bollocks. I tell it to bog off and when I've shut it up, I remind myself that what I (and the others) am doing is brave and daring thing. That by speaking up and taking a risk, we may well empower countless others to do the same, I remind myself that I am willing to look a fool when it comes to my passions and my beliefs. I am prepared to go out on a limb, risk criticism and disdain and that there is no shame in getting it wrong, in being imperfect, nothing to be gained for protecting myself from failure. I am willing to take the risk and to have fun and enjoy myself in the process. It's a bit like engaging in an extreme sport. You wouldn't catch me dead bungee jumping but I imagine that the thrill and the fear I would feel would be something akin to what I'm experiencing now. We're taking a huge leap of faith and I am confident that it will be exhilarating.

Have I put you off yet? Oops! That wasn't supposed to be the point of this post at all...

Fancy joining us? Go on, you know you want to. This is our final call! It will be fun and challenging and such an achievement. I am still pinching myself to believe that we are really doing this. That we have taken an idea, a dream, a vision, and with the help and support of Abbi and Kirsty and the Beyond Chocolate community we are turning it into a reality.

There won't be pages and pages of lines to learn. The roles are all pretty much equal, no main parts and small ones and none of them are very onerous or difficult. There are even some roles with no lines at all. The commitment we'd need from you is to be available all day and evening on 3rd November for the performances and then on the following dates for rehearsals in London:

Tues 18, 25 Sept, 2, 9,16, 23 Oct, 7-10pm and  all day on 27 Oct  for tech and dress rehearsals 11am -  6pm

Some of the rehearsals will be in NW3 and some in W6 - we'll be arranging lifts to and from tube stations and proving dinner and cake :)

Get in touch with me as soon as possible  if you'd like to take part or if you want to find out more. sophie[at]beyondchocolate.co.uk

Friday, 6 July 2012

Swimsuit Season

It's swimsuit season again. Not that you'd guess if you step outdoors into the pouring rain! But for those of us off to sunnier climes at some point in the next couple of months, making sure we have light, cool, skimpyish clothes and swimwear we feel good in can be stressful and frustrating. Warning: I'm in the mood for a bit of a rant.

Why is it that if a woman needs a bikini top with a decent amount of support in a cup size larger than a C, we have to pay more for our swimwear and can't just pop into any old high street shop and pick up a bikini or one one piece for £19.99 like all the smaller busted women out there? I've been into every single shop and scoured the websites online and I am so annoyed to find that the only costumes that fit me a) cost far more than the non-cup size ones and b) seem to come in gross, ugly, flowery fabrics more suitable for my great grandmother c) don't provide good comfort - halter necks, when you have a big bust, are not great. My neck gets quite tired of holding my bosoms up all morning!

Have you ever tried to buy a bikini with a 32E top? The cheapest one I could find (apart from M&S where none of them appealed to me at all) was £64. £64!!!! From Bravissimo. That's crazy. And I didn't even like it, the colours and pattern were garish and far too bright. I loved a stripy one I saw in a high street shop for £20 but even the size 16 top (two tiny little triangles attached to a string no thicker than a shoe lace) barely covered me.

I have had this problem since I was 15 years old. I can still remember the horrible shopping trips to buy me swimwear with my mother, and sadly, infuriatingly, very little has changed.

Why is it that women with larger breasts are not catered for? I don't get it. Is there not a market out there for attractive swimsuits in large sizes? But then, I know it's the same for all clothes in larger sizes. There is so little choice, so little available. A few retailers include the larger sizes in their collections but walk into most high street shops or designer stores and you'll be lucky to find anything above a size 16.

Surely this is an untapped market? How is it that some clever entrepreneur hasn't cottoned on the fact that women of all sizes need to dress and like to dress well? Is it just that designers are all prejudiced or that there's no way to get investment or support to create attractive clothes and swimwear that fit all women, not just slim ones?

I am utterly fed up. I want to go and buy myself a pretty bikini which fits me well without having to spend a fortune. As it stands I have to make do; with colours I don't like and shapes that don't suit me - and all at a ridiculous price.

I would love to hear your experience of buying swimwear and if anyone has any great shops or websites where you can buy affordable and attractive ones in a 32E, do let me know.

The Beyond Chocolate Principles

Audrey, Clare and I have been working tirelessly for the last couple of months, to create our brand new website, which will be launching at the end of this month. In the process we've been writing about Beyond Chocolate and Beyond Temptation. We’ve been creating pages called: What’s it all about, How does it work etc. Writing about that now has really made me think. It's been over 10 years now since we first started and sometimes, my life of dieting and stressing about my weight just seems light years away.

When I look at the list of Beyond Chocoate principles, I can barely remember a time in my life when they were not simply a part of me, a way of life, second nature. They just seem so obvious to me these days that it can be a challenge to remember what it's like not to tune-in, not to eat when I'm hungry and not to eat what I want. I do have a foggy recollection of pushing myself into punishing exercise routines (which I'd give up within days) and I can certainly remover all the diets and the soul destroying overeating, but it's amazing to realise that today I feel good about the way I eat and the way I look without much though or effort.

It has taken a huge amount of effort over the years though to get to this place. And it's not that I don't struggle at all, just that my struggles and challenges are different. Now that I have the basics under my belt without a second thought, my focus is on making sure that the food choices I make really contribute to my overall health and well being. I continue to explore different ways of moving my body, in ways that really work for me. I love walking and I walk regularly and I still haven't quite found a way of stretching or strengthening my muscles and stung supple that really works for me. I've tried various forms of yoga and pilates and nothing quite fits the bill. I'm still exploring. And, without the basic principles under my belt and years of practice and effort, I don't think I'd be in a position to think about what I want to eat and how I want to move without feeling deprived and diety and falling into the all or nothing trap.

I can't stress enough how valuable the principles have been and still are. While to begin with using them was contrived and deliberate, they really have just become a part of me now.

I feel so desperately sad when I look around me and see so many women still caught in the diet trap, still looking for the miracle that will make them thin, still hating their bodies, still blaming themselves for not being able to stick to the eating plan. I feel furious when I see the mixed messages in the media about body size. I am frustrate to the point of bursting when I read about  the obesity crisis and there appears to be a complete lack of understanding or care about what it's really like to struggle with weight gain and overeating. The platitude and judgements about the 'problem'  are insulting and so damaging and rainy aren't helping anyone.

I am so, so glad that there we have a growing team of Chocolate Fairies ready to offer women real solutions, hope and freedom from the tyranny of dieting. There's a one day workshop in London on September 22nd where Sarah, a very experienced Chocolate Fairy will take you through the principles one by one so you know exactly how to experiment and work with them and there are more workshops on their way around the country.  There’s Gretel in Norwich (who many of you will know as she often writes wonderful posts for this blog), and Chocolate Fairy, Ella, in Lewis who will soon be running an 8 week Beyond Chocolate course and Sonia down the road in Brighton who will be running workshops all over East Sussex. There will be half day and one day workshops available in Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Worcester and Solihull run by Trish and Suze, Wendy will be running workshops in the East Midlands (and in Devon and Cornwall,  if there’s demand) and Joyce will be running more workshops in London too. They will all be on our new website very soon with more to come. So, if you want to experience the principles first hand, book yourself onto one of their workshops. If you look at the testimonials on our webiste, you'll see just how wonderful a day the workshop is.

Have you ever thought of becoming a Chocolate Fairy? Of being part of the solution? We still have a few spaces on the next Fairy Training. Do think about it, women all over the country need empowerment, freedom, hope and balance when it comes to their relationship with food and their bodies, and there aren't many places they can find those things. At Fairy HQ we'll keep working tirelessly to make sure they can.

More actors wanted!

The script is almost complete, we have a theatre and a date - all we really need is more actors!

On November 3rd 2012 we'll be putting on a performance of the Overeating Dialogues. We want to talk about what it's really like. We want to the world to know that women who overeat are not lazy or greedy or stupid (any more than women who don't!). We want to debunk the myths and speak up, and our short play - written by two Beyond Chocoaters - based on our new book, Beyond Temptation is brave, bold, moving and funny.

We are looking for a few more women (thank you to those of you who have already said YES) who would love to get up on stage. There aren't pages and pages of lines to learn. You can take on a small part or a bigger role - none of them are very onerous or difficult. There can even be some roles with no lines at all. The commitment we'd need from you is to be available all day and evening on 3rd November for the two performances and then on the following dates for rehearsals in London:

Tues 18, 25 Sept, 2, 9, 16, 23, 30  Oct 7-10pm  and Saturday 27 Oct 11am to 6pm

Some of the rehearsals will take place in W6 and some in Camden (dinner provided :)

And, if you can make it next Tuesday 17th July, we’re getting together in W6 at 7pm that would be great, but it’s not essential.

So far the our evenings with Kirsty and Abbi, creating this play, have been such a lot of fun, with lots of laughter and discussion and good food of course.




Please get in touch with me as soon as possible if you'd like to take part or if you want to find out more. You can email me sophie@beyondchocolate.co.uk or call me on 07904125997

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Beyond Chocolate on Kindle


We are delighted to announce that Beyond Chocolate is now available on Kindle. Yay!! You can pre-order it from today and it will be on sale from 12th July 2012.

I swore blind that I wouldn't ever have a Kindle. I love books. Real books. Paper and ink and colourful book covers. I love the smell of a real book, the feel of it, I love everything about real, live books.

It was my birthday last week and my gift, from my husband, was a Kindle. I asked for it, tentatively, preparing to hate it. Well, not so. I LOVE it. More than that, right now I am in love with it. We went on holiday for a week and it was amazing to be able to take several books with me, and they all fitted into my handbag. Usually I spend ages deliberating which ones to take. This time I could take them all. I love the feel of it. I love how light it is. I love how easy it is to hold, how I can prop it up against the side of my bedside table to read at night - hands free. I love the Gelaskins cover that makes it look beautiful and means I don't pick up my son's by mistake. It really is wonderful. And honestly, I'm not on comission!

Beyond Temptation will be available on Kindle too, as soon as it's released on 6th September.

I am offically no longer a Luddite.