The shoe dilemma – and the activity you didn’t guess.

Well, it seems no one was willing to take a guess. Perhaps the clue wasn’t big enough.

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Garden cloggies ? .. or .. Flip-flops … perhaps?

So what did I do on Friday ? … I went along at the crisp time of 9am for a golf lesson. Yes, GOLF… well at 60 that seems to me like the sort of activity people might take up. After all my friend (of whom I have spoken before) who took up belly-dancing on her sixtieth was already playing golf.  I have been belly-dancing for YEARS … so this is the the obverse of ‘what crazy thing can I try?’ –  ‘what expected thing can I try?’

Now, those of you who know me will understand when I say I really wasn’t sure what to wear on my feet. I tend to live my life wearing sandals… yes even in the Winter. As I have got older I do not always wear them when it is raining (or when my feet are likely to get wet – as on grass) because this is the only time that my feet ever feel cold and I may be weird but I’m not daft. So my footwear wardrobe consists of flip-flops, everyday sandals, high-heel sandals, hiking sandals, trainer/fitness sandals (trainer type sole – but sandal top – which, incidentally they won’t let you wear in a gym ‘in case you drop something on your toes’ – I stopped going) and then a pair of ‘motor-bike’ style boots for wet weather. For the record I also possess garden cloggies (black with sparkles) and proper farmer-type green wellies (proper mud and all) and hiking boots.

Now, the hiking boots always start off fine… but very soon my feet overheat and, I presume, swell a little, as the boots then become tight and uncomfortably hot. (NB. larger sizes just flop about so not an option) This is the reason I do not ‘do’ trainers either. I thought the cloggies or Wellingtons would be going a bit too far on the casual side.. so ended up wearing the motor-bike style boots. I figured that at least they didn’t have too much of a heel (to damage the green) and they looked respectable.  The other four sensible people on the day wore trainers!

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Jason putting us through our paces – golf course scenery in the background

This is a special introduction course run by Jason, one of the the professional golf coaches, at St Mellion International golf and country club, which is less than 2 miles from where I live and, along with the special offer to try golf, was as good a reason to go there as any. This first morning was not raining, but the grass was wet and there was a chill wind blowing. The golf-course is set in the heart of the Cornish countryside and is a lovely place to spend an hour or so. It was obvious how popular it was as a steady stream of golfers set off on their rounds over the time we were on the practice putting green. For that is what we were to learn the first morning.

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Our class of wanna-be golfers

So, we learnt how to hold the putter. How to putt different distances, 5, 10, 15 and 20 ft. and then how to pace these distances out so when walking from your ball to the hole ( to remove the flag) you could also decide how to hit the ball to putt it the correct distance.

On the way we learnt various gems of golfing etiquette. Just the sort of thing that every newbie needs to know and would, perhaps, fail to ask.

I have to say – I am quite looking forward to my next lesson though may have to find something more conventional to wear on my feet 🙂

Golf does seem to be a very respectable sort of game … I’m wondering whether my main character in the novel I am writing at the moment (A Respectable Life) might be a player of this sport .. if not her, then perhaps her husband. You see, you never know where inspiration can come from or what information you learn on the way may find its way into a novel… the whole of life is good research material 🙂

Any thoughts on Golf and golfing?

or even footwear 🙂

Do share – you know I love to hear from you!

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6 in 60

Six challenges for a Sixtieth year – Not so much a bucket list as a way to make sure I try more, learn more or experience more and different activities as the year goes through, than I managed last year.

OK … so last year (and truth be known the preceding couple of years) were not conducive to doing many new things. I really believe learning new things is life-enhancing in so many ways!

The paddle-boarding was supposed to be one of the 6 in 60 new things to try, but I got too excited about it and jumped the gun trying it out last Autumn and falling for it so much that it formed my major birthday present and some accessories became a few of the other presents too.

I was tempted to still add that one in..but I won’t, I’ll stick to the plan and as I go I’ll be adding the experiences into my blogs.

Now most of these are quite simple or everyday activities. I mean, many of you will have been doing them for years and think them quite ordinary. All it requires to be on my list, however, is for me not to have done the activity, learnt the technique etc, before – ever.DSCF7499

The process has started … to learn to use a camera properly, is one. I am an inveterate ‘point and click’ camera person, relying on my own sense of proportion and trying to get interesting compositions, but understanding next to nothing about light, speeds, exposure, etc.

As it happens my lovely boys and my OH teamed up to get me a rather nice new digital camera at Christmas – one that will allow more than merely a point and click approach. (Daft/nice thing about it is the feel – really solid / serious with nice texture and satisfying sounds) So, though it does have an AUTO mode, I have even more motivation to learn to use a camera properly.

As a reader of the blog you will know that I like to take wildlife photographs – not running cheetahs or exotic birds – more the everyday small wildlife that can go unnoticed, like the slug invasion or the lovely lichens Expect more of that sort but I hope the course will also stretch my subjects of choice as I learn to take quality photographs in many situations.

This week I completed module one theory.. and have the task of taking photographs using only the manual mode.  Some results will be forthcoming … and thereby I hope to learn.

On Friday I start the next part of my 6 in 60 … you’ll never guess what it is! I’ll give you a clue – I think of it is archetypical activity for a new 60 year-old …

So what do you think I start trying out on Friday?

Have you a ‘bucket list’ or similar made?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you!

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Easy Wild 60s Cake decor

Ok…. so let’s fess-up… it was my 60th birthday earlier this month! Sixty seems more of a millstone milestone than fifty did. However, I saw it in in much the same way *** dancing.

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CLICK on any picture to get a better look at them!

And I made a cake (ok, not a surprise) but as I did so I thought that the design would suit a 60s party (as in fancy-dress based on the 1960s) as much as for a sixty-year-old. Actually, it really doesn’t matter what age – just as long as big blowsy flowers are suitable to decorate a large number-shaped cake, and these really do not have to be psychedelic colours at all… they could all be pink, or yellow, or blue, or — well you get the idea …..

And I like to share making cake decorations without using lots of fancy equipment – as many people only get to decorate a few cakes and do not want to fork-out for such stuff on a once in a blue moon basis. So here we go…

The easiest way to make a number cake is to buy or borrow a number-shapes cake tin. However, I opted to make mine easier to cover by omitting the ‘holes’ in the centres – so did not use a shaped tin.

I baked a 12 inch square chocolate and vanilla marbled sponge cake. Same recipe as Victoria sandwich (times-ed up) but longer cooking time and slightly lower temperature. The 12 inch cake took 12 eggs. For the chocolate part I melted 400g plain chocolate in the MW and beat it into half of the mixture. TIP: I always weigh-up the eggs, out of their shells, for a Victoria Sandwich… and then use exactly the same weight in caster-sugar, butter (or soft baking margarine) and self-raising flour – thereafter following the traditional recipe.60 cake plan

I also baked an 8″ round very rich fruit cake. as I knew I’d have some people that liked that … or that part of the cake would keep longer if it didn’t get eaten straight-away.60 cake rnd

I used the round cake tin to mark out the curves for the zero and for the tail on the stick of the 6. The parts were glued together onto the cake-board with apricot jam. My plan above actually shows far more waste than I had .. but none of it goes to actual waste — every-bit eagerly eaten up as a pre-taster!! Brush all over with apricot jam and cover with ready-made roll-out icing (but not ready-rolled) – you’ll need a kilo for each number. Roll out on cornflour – not icing sugar – and ‘pick-up’ supporting the icing with a rolling pin to drape and then, gently with a well-cornfloured hand, smooth the icing over the corners and curves first. Trim to fit.

Take the trimmings and work colours into them and some gum-tragacanth. (this is a specialist ingredient, I’m afraid, but my one pot has lasted me YEARS and I decorate quite a lot of cakes. Also, I’d always go with the real thing rather than the chemical substitute – the price difference isn’t huge)

Apart from this you will need a heart shaped cutter (well worth having for all sorts of decoration). I also used a small 5 petal shape cutter (from a selection tin bought at Lakeland) and a press-cutter with similar number of petals. Now I have experimented with other ’round the house items’ and you can use a circle (cut with an apple-corer or a icing writing nozzle)  for the centre of the flowers, decorated by dotting-it with a fork.

Cut five hearts. DSCF7470 Stick them together by dampening with water.DSCF7471  Cut a centre from a contrasting colour, dampen and press down firmly on the petals. DSCF7473 Support on your hand and wash off all cornflour by ‘painting’ with water.DSCF7478

 

 

 

 

Drape into pre-prepared ‘cups’ of aluminium foil (formed over egg boxes). Leave to dry and firm-up in a warm dry place.DSCF7476

When these are dry prepare to decorate by mixing up one-egg-whites worth of royal icing. Arrange the flowers along the cake, leaving the place where the  hole would be blank. Lift each one, squeeze a blob of icing and rearrange the flower on it. DSCF7486DSCF7485 Decorate by making small leaves as done for the Christmas cake (or if you did get that spring shapes collection from Lakeland – use the small oak leaf shape) Drape the leaves between the flowers, fixed with a little icing.

Candles (if you have them) can go in the empty centres – as could a name if required. (six tall slim candles went in the centre of the 6)

Finally hearts were cut and stuck with water all round the numbers like a ribbon to finish off the cake. Hope you like the 60s effect. DSCF7488

 

 

Why do birthdays with a zero on the end feel momentous?

Which was your best (or worst) number to reach and why?

 

Do share, – you know I love to hear from you

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NEHH Winner + Blast from the past – bellydance post

NEHH_Design_Light* * * * * Congratulations * * * * *

…… to Eleanor Beavan as the winner of the signed ‘blog-launch’ copy of the new paperback of Nothing Ever Happens Here! 

Thank you all for your comments and support.

 

 

Blast From The Past

                          Belly dance post – What on earth should I wear?

… it has been a while … and posts do get well and truly buried … so when I was reminded of an very much earlier post this weekend (while talking to someone about joining our belly dance class and what she could wear) – I decided to reprise this post. I have been belly-dancing for about fourteen years now – still LOVING it – never bored with it (unlike exercise classes) yet it offers superb CORE MUSCLE exercise and muscle and joint flexibility with little impact stress.

Think of it like going to a fancy dress party, on a weekly basis, permission to dress up outlandishly in bright swishing colours and fabrics with rings, anklets, bracelets, and bells, and jingly coins – such fun, and that’s before the dancing. Oh, and if you think that this is normal for me, I need to explain that my usual wardrobe consists of, black (black and black) burgundy, cream and a little summer turquoise, jewellery: one wedding ring, one watch.

I know some dance groups are more focused on a ‘look’ than ours, but the eclectic look we have suits us well All sorts of colours and a lots of ‘bling’ and everything from purpose made kit to the opportunistic find at a charity shop or a bric-a-brac stall at the village fair. And it’s ‘Oooo that’s lovely, where did you find it? Or. ‘You been hitting ebay again?’ Or ‘How did you make that?’ when new items turn up in our friends attire.

just a few of my coin beltstwo sarongs and a coin beltFor me, note – not for everyone, but for me the real essential is a coin belt, and for me, again, the jingle-jangly the better. I have amassed a fair number over the years, and my lovely daughter-in-law brought me a stunning range of new coin belts as a gift the last time they came over. Look for a belt that has plenty of overlapping coins on mesh-fabric or tassels that can move easily. Without the coin belt I am never sure of my shimmy, with it I know exactly how it is going!

These I usually wear over swishing long skirts or similar, with other layers of gauzy, sparkly or shiny materials tied around the hips. An interesting way to get a good look is to tie two sarongs (we all have those around don’t we?) one over the other in opposite directions, knotted on the hip (emphasising the hips is good!). Thus, movement on one sarong flashes the colour of the other and gives plenty of room for leg movement. Over this tie a gauzy layer, or just top with a coin-belt in contrasting colour.

Handkerchief style skirts, double layers with lots of points and in pretty fabrics can work well over black leggings, again topped with a contrasting belt.silk skirt

My favourite, a two-tier silk skirt bought in a French street market, with contrasting coin belt, often with gauzy layer over too.

I tend to wear simple black tee-shirts with ¾ sleeves and add bracelets and anklets for any further decoration. Others have finds of sparkly shrugs, tops, and tee-shirts, ear-rings, necklaces and hair-clips.

So, there you have my guide to what to you can wear… easy to put together stuff or specialist. If you are attending your first belly dance evening your teacher will probably have coin belts or even swishy scarves you can borrow, or other members of the group – their bags stuffed with their extras – may offer to lend you the basics for the evening. Beware, collecting interesting belly dance clothes and bits and pieces can get addictive!

Are you a belly dancer?

If so – what are your essentials?

If not – are you tempted to find a class and have a go?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

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NEHH Paperback – out now – Win your copy here

Yes! It’s arrived, lovely glossy covered, real live heft of a paperback version of Nothing Ever Happens Here! And to celebrate I’m sending a signed copy to a randomly selected winner from anyone who comments on today’s blog! So, even if you do not usually, click on the title of the blog on your email so you are ready to write a comment to enter.

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Oh please do click on the photo to see the books in all their glory – the upload limit seems to fuzzy the pictures on the blog itself

The paperback is up on Amazon … with the usual crazy waiting time … this seems to be the case when it first goes on … but it is still exciting to see the Ann Foweraker stable of book-offerings grow.  And, of course it is on AnnMadeBooks too

A book is a book, right? So why does it feel more exciting to launch the paperback even though the ecopy has been out for a while now?

Have you already read NEHH … but still wouldn’t mind winning a paperback copy?

Do comment, you know I love to hear from you and maybe you’ll be the one …

NOW … let the comments commence!

NEHH draw rules:

I’m afraid this draw for a paperback is limited to readers in the UK. (please make sure you use a contactable email in the required box when sending your comment – this is not shown on the blog).

However, if you are one of my overseas readers I’m running a draw especially for you – but for an ebook copy – just add your country after your comment to enter this.

That’s it, enter before midnight Sunday 6th April – I’ll make the draw next Monday 🙂  Happy launch day 🙂

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p.s. Can’t see a comment box?? – zip up to the top – just above the title to where it says how many comments – click – and the box will appear at the end of the blog

pps – Sorry, the comments are not coming up straight away (still) but only when I go in and individually approve them *sigh* .. however, I won’t miss any 🙂

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