And a pressie for YOU, you and you!

If you’ve read this already, sorry for the repeat post – but, apparently, it didn’t get out to everyone and I really don’t want anyone to miss this opportunity to receive their Christmas present from me 🙂 and I’ve extended the time too, to the twelfth day after Christmas.

I hope you all had a great Christmas – and now things have calmed down a bit here I have decided to give all my readers a present – your choice of one of my e-novels – from me – to you – free 🙂  

It doesn’t matter what kind of e-reader you have or whether you have one at all – you can still request one of my novels and it will be sent to your email address. If you have an e-reader ask for the right type of file for you (mobi for kindles – epub for most other e-readers – or pdf)  if you haven’t an e-reader just ask for a pdf version and you can read it on your computer!

Just go to my other website  annmade.co.uk (BEFORE the 6th Jan 2013) and click into CONTACT ANN – there carefully enter your email address  and request the BOOK TITLE  and the FILE VERSION (MOBI / EPUB /PDF) you would like  – one e-novel free per person as a gift !  [before the twelfth day]

Your choices 🙂

The first time it happened it felt like stumbling across another avenue to an ancient monument, but this one pulled at more than just his head, there was a tightness in his chest, the lights twinkled and flashed inside his mind, the intensity giving Perran a firework of a headache. Following the line – years later in the early nineties – leads him into Liz Hawkey’s ordered life, and together they discover the source of the line.

A story of family, love and loss, Divining the Line brings the ordinary and the extraordinary together into everyday life.

Click here to read the first three Chapters

 

Living in London suddenly becomes too uncomfortable for the attractive Jo Smart and her sixteen year-old son, Alex, after he is beaten up, so when they are offered the chance to take an immediate holiday in a peaceful Cornish town they jump at it. But not all is as peaceful as it seems as they become involved in a murder enquiry, drug raid and abduction.

DI Rick Whittington has also escaped from London and the reminders of the death of his wife and child, and through his investigations finds himself meeting Jo and being drawn into the events surrounding her.

This is a love story set in the early 1990s which combines the historic Cornish love of the sea and smuggling with hard faced twentieth century crime and detection. The perfect blend for a woman’s crime novel.

Click here to read the first three Chapters

 

Faith Warren, married mother of two, is a secretary in a newspaper office. It wasn’t what she’d hoped for, but her dreams of university and becoming an author were lost long ago. Telling stories to entertain her lifelong friend on their journey to work and back is all that is left, until she tells The Story.

The real trouble began with the minor characters, just unfortunate co-incidences, but when do you stop calling them co-incidences and begin to wonder what the hell is going on – and how it can be stopped

Click here to read the first three Chapters

 

Don’t forget to ask for your Christmas pressie of an Ann Foweraker Novel before the twelfth day – January 6th! 

And I’d love to see your review of your choice of my novels too! Please send them to me here on my blog, for inclusion on my website, or post them on my pages on Amazon 😉 (just search for Ann Foweraker in Amazon Books) or do both! 🙂 Thanks, and Happy Christmas!

 

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Chick News & Nature Notes for April

 

Late again, I know (supposed to post this at the end of each month) – so here we go! Lichen with fruiting bodies Can’t resist starting with this out-of-this-world alien-like lichen in full fruiting body form! Wonderful. Please click on the picture to appreciate it in full size!

Next up is those pretty and delicate flowers of this season , the second year in a row where they have been prolific in the hedges around here – I give you the violets!

 

As pretty as these are, everyone knows a violet when they see one, but what about a hairy woodrush. Large patches of these have appeared , not only in the orchard, but also on a damp area of the front lawn. Small, delicate and interesting in shape.

Hairy WoodRush

 

Spotted in amongst the daffodils – a hen pheasant. She went on to lay a clutch of eggs amongst the daffodil stalks in the orchard, not too clever in an area where a labradoodle roams. She’s moved on to a wooded area nearby now

Hen phesant amongst daffodils

And, I know it’s not wild, but above these daffodils is the magnolia, casting its beautiful light.

A quick catch-up on the goat kids.. oh yes — they are still feeding ….

Cute or What?

Our Light Sussex Cockerel

And here’s the chicks’ Daddy (well of some of the chicks now hatched) handsome fellow, isn’t he?

 

some of the chicks in the brooder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s some of the chicks, a total of 31 only this year – lots were not fertile at all.

So great to share some of the nature notes from around our little corner of Cornwall and our smallholding. And so great to share the wonderful Free Draw to Win a Kindle or one of four other prizes including an AnnMade slate cheeseboard and ecopies of my three novels. If you’ve already entered (if not – why not – it only takes a sign-up to this blog) please share the good news and let all your friends and family know so they can enter too.  And good luck to you all – a lucky five people out of just one thousand must win something but there’s only 269 places left as I write, so hurry.

Do you like taking photographs of nature – what was your favourite picture of? I love to hear all your comments.

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Life, death and losing weight.

I know the title sounds dramatic  – but week 14 of my FWT? odyssey has been just that.

The other half was away for a week and then everything began to go wrong. Fair enough, Monday was set to be a busy day before I had even started as quite a few orders had come in over the weekend, I had to carry out some important household repairs and had a Poetry meeting in the afternoon and WI committee meeting in the evening.

Luckily I had taken time out on Sunday to get most of the orders packed so when I received an email that told me I had to get to a shop, which had stocked my annmade slate-ware on a sale or return basis, some 13 miles away within the hour to collect the remaining goods as they had gone bankrupt, I was able to put the parcels in the car and set off immediately.

The goods collected and the parcels posted I just had time to check on the livestock before getting lunch ready. All was well. After working on making a shower waterproof and fixing a few other items I headed off for Poetry meeting and arrived back a few hours later to find that one of the nanny goats had produced two kids. Early.  Just dropped them and moved on. She wasn’t interested in them, despite their pitiful bleats – and they were so small, but I thought that perhaps this type of goats had much smaller kids. Grabbed up, rubbed dry, cuddled to get them warm, placed in the straw ready in a house, my 85 year old father and I then tried to lure their mother with tasty tidbits out of the field, away from the herd, and into the goat-house. She really didn’t want to come! She didn’t want to leave the others.

Eventually we got her into the house and by kneeling on the floor and supporting the kid with my hand under its small body, its spindly legs seemingly unable to hold it up, I managed to get the stronger of the two kids to suckle (The nanny was not keen on this either, kept flicking her leg out at the kid) The other was too weak to suckle – so a small amount of milk was squeezed from her mother’s tiny teats into a syringe and squirted into this baby goat’s mouth.

This to be repeated at intervals until it had enough strength to have a go at suckling with support.

Now you have to understand that we have kept goats successfully for over 25 years – just different goats – larger ones, milking goats with large teats that are easy to milk! We know how to look after goats, but this mother wasn’t keen on being a mother and even needed the distraction of food to allow her youngsters to feed.

I kept this routine up until by the third day she started standing to let them feed, they were both strong enough to get a feed and they seemed to be able to feed themselves having both been observed doing just that. I was confident that they were going to make it after all!

The next morning the weaker of the two was found dead. Well, this happens, if you keep livestock you have to expect some casualties (as a farmer friend of my father’s used to warn). The second kid would have a better chance, I thought, and so was shaken when my husband found this one cold and dead the following morning as well. Perhaps they were never destined to make it and who knows, perhaps their mother knew this from the start, but you can’t help feeling saddened.

On a happier note the other goats have produced since and we now have four very pretty goat kids to show for it, two nannys, two billys, and I can now see that those first kids were very undersized compared to some of the later progeny. Here are two of them, a girl and a boy – about 2 days old!

 

And as for ‘losing weight’ well,  this should be the week 14 round-up!

All in all, I really didn’t have any time to spare to write up my meals or my exercises before I fell exhausted into bed gone midnight. In fact, as this goat drama coincided with a family drama (where my father fell over and hurt his back, meaning I had to take over the night care for my mother on top of running the household and my slate business), I was so run off my feet that I didn’t even have time to do the exercises on those first three days (though I did plenty of exercise involving running around with half bales of hay and straw, and 25kg sacks of animal feed). However, I did get back on track and the results on Sunday morning showed another 1lb drop and half an inch off both measurements at waist level. So, my apologies to my cheerleaders for the lack of up-dates, but we are still on track, yay!

My thanks go to those lovely people who kept re-tweeting and sharing the wonderful Win a KINDLE draw that I am running on this blog especially on the days I had time only to make an odd tweet about it late at night. Please keep sharing!

Have you had times when everything seems to whirl out of control, how did you keep on track? I love to hear your comments!

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A Sweet Treat – Pavlova

Sweet, dessert, pudding, whatever you like to call it, is the topping-off of a good meal. Carefully chosen to balance the type of meal preceding it, it can be a delight … and so very, very tempting, because one thing they nearly all have in common is a high carbohydrate content.  Still, don’t you find that  no matter how filling the main meal was, there still seems to be room for the sweet treat? (in our pudding stomach 🙂 ) And my favourite – the Pavlova – is no exception.

It is believed that the dessert we know as the Pavlova was created in honour of the Russian ballet dancer Ann Pavlova when on a tour of New Zealand in the 1920s (though Australia hotly contests this, claiming to be the nation that hosted this culinary naming)

It is one of my favourite desserts and a long time ago I found a virtually fool-proof method of making them which has become much appreciated in the family as when I make them I usually make 3 bases at a time (well, if you have the oven on you may as well fill it up, and they do keep quite well in a sealed cake tub) and this means more than one meal-time gets this treat.  These Pavlovas are also brilliant for when you have a horde of people round – each one cutting into 8 generous servings. Best when the fruit is in season – so choose in-season brightly coloured soft or softish fruit when you can (hard fruit, like sliced apple, just doesn’t sit as well with this dessert)

9 inch pavlova on 30 cm dia annmade octagonal slate cake plate

Ann’s Pavlova ( or Vacherin  – not the cheese!)  

This  looks like meringue but it is really an adaptation I have made of a Vacherin – which is a type of meringue made with icing sugar (usually whisked once, but over hot water – my method seems to work just as well and be less of a bother)

Makes a 9 inch Pavlova base or 40 half mini meringues

2 egg whites

4 oz of sieved icing sugar.

Method

Whisk the egg whites until in stiff peaks.

Sieve the icing sugar and add to the whipped whites.

Whisk again until the mixture returns to stiff peaks

Either scoop into a piping bag and pipe small meringues onto a  greased baking sheet  (makes about 40 halves)

Or line the base of a 9” sandwich tin and grease the sides (or line a baking tray , draw a 9” diameter  circle, grease the sheet, spread or pipe the mixture over the area of the circle – adding a little more towards the rim.

Bake at 160 C or 140 C fan oven or Gas mk 3 (until palest fawn)

15- 20 mins for the small

1 ½  – 2 hours for Pavlova

Allow to cool gradually – I usually turn the oven off and allow it to cool before removing the pavlova bases.

To decorate use either 4 – 8 oz Cornish Clotted Cream or whip at least a quarter pint of Double Cream (taking care not to make too thick – nor runny) and spread evenly and thickly over the top.  Decorate with slices of soft / softish, fruits.

For mini-meringues. Whisk 1/4 pint double cream, place in piping tube with rosette nozzle. Pipe on one half – squeeze lightly as you stick the other half on.

Hope you find this recipe works well for you too!

Food is such an important part of our lives, it brings back memories, it can brighten our day or it can be a drudge and a scourge. How people eat and what they eat can help set scenes in novels too, can tell y0u a lot about the character without spelling it out. Take this excerpt from my novel Some Kind of Synchrony

The unexpected aroma of pizza, unmistakable in its amalgam of cooked cheese and oregano, stopped her for a moment, standing in her own hall, a rabbit poised for flight.  Then Andy appeared, filling the kitchen doorway.           

       ‘Thought I heard the door,’ he said and turned back into the kitchen.  Faith grabbed up the shopping bag and her handbag, pushed the door shut with the vigour it required, and followed him.  Two large size Pizzas stood on the table, one with the lid flopped back and a ragged wedge missing.  Andy held the remains of this piece in his fingers as he lounged against the worktop.  ‘Thought we’d have a pizza tonight – got the kids a video out too,’ he smiled, shoved the thick crust into his mouth and chewed contentedly, wiping his fingers on his jeans then folding his arms. 

I hope it’s painted a picture of Andy for you – to read the first three chapters of this book, and my others, free in PDF  just click here

And back to sweet treats. I hope you’ve all entered my Win a KINDLE draw if eligible – and let all your friends know so they can enter too! As for the Pavlova –  like I said, it is my favourite (and probably my downfall last week in FWT?),   so what is your favourite sweet treat – do let me know!

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What do you get after Week of Feasting? FWT? Week 12

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t quite a whole week of feasting, but when you eat out or eat rather too well for four days out of seven it sure begins to feel like all you have done is eat … rather too well.

As you’ll know if you have been following FWT? I’ve been doing this blog since a few weeks after I started keeping a record on the drop-down pages, from Jan 1st 2012, weighing in at 12 stone and deciding to DO something about it. I am far too busy with my business annmade slateware, and my novel-writing, to take time out to visit a gym or run around the roads, so this is my solution, less than 15 mins of resistance weight training a day and some stretching and aerobics (max half an hour) yes – that’s it, Not Dieting – though not overeating (supposedly) and keeping an eye on the carbohydrate consumption. All details on the drop down pages from Fat Woman Thinning?

The week began as usual with Sunday, which I have noted before is quite food- heavy, right from the fry-up of egg, bacon, mushrooms and tomato followed by (thin) toast butter and marmalade – through a full traditional English Roast dinner with dessert to follow! yep – that’s a full foody day. So when I add to that a meal out with friends on Tuesday evening of a well-endowed mixed grill, even with restricting the chips to 6 [ok – yes – they were large chips 🙁 ] and that after having eaten a main meal at lunch time (though no tea)

As if this were not enough, Wednesday being my parents 59th wedding anniversary we took them out for lunch. I chose wisely – I thought, chicken breast wrapped in bacon and topped with a slab of melted brie. With plenty of salad, a few carrots, calabrese and 2 small new potatoes. Then I came unstuck  as I plumped (get it) for a pavlova! (enough sugar in that to launch a space rocket)

Which brings me to this weekend… family .. I mean FAMILY down for the anniversary. Lunch (mid afternoon type) for 20, Turkey, salmon en croute, new potatoes, calabrese, salad,.. followed by Pavlova (yes I know – but if I say so myself I do make a very nice pavlova) and Mille feuille, and Anniversary cake ( a chocolate and vanilla marbled sponge cake – iced) and clotted cream.

 

Oh and then a wide range of cheeses to select from with crackers and grapes.……

 

 

BTW – all photos of food on Slate – show annmade slate products.

So am I surprised that I did not show any weight loss this week?

No, not really. Especially as, though I kept up most of my weights I had missed more aerobic and stretching sessions than I had completed.

So – still at 10 stone 9lbs.

Waist measurements ?  Well, as you would expect, on the relaxed measurement – no change….. BUT  to my amazement …..

on the pulled in tight measurement  HALF and INCH loss. Now every time I ‘pull in’ as TIGHT as I can .. so last week would have been pulled in tight, I can assure you ..

yet half an inch .. yes I double checked.

I shall hang on to that measurement as a sign! And make sure next week is 1, normal in eating pattern, and 2, well exercised.

Ok, then cheerleaders .. I’d love to hear you comments on this week!

And don’t forget to enter (and tell everyone else to enter) my free and easy-to-enter Win a KINDLE competition – all the details HERE   – don’t leave it too late – only 1,000 allowed to enter – then it must be drawn!

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Fat Woman Thinning? ‘Don’t count your chickens…’

If you are new to the FWT? blog-posts, welcome to Fat Woman Thinning? – a 52 week blog, which I started as pages to keep myself on-track and so my ‘primary cheerleaders’ (my sons) could keep up with my progress. Then about 5 weeks ago, I felt brave enough to post it as a blog!  If you are one of my new cheerleaders ! Yay! Great to see you again!

What you’ll find here is the distilled notes from my daily log of everything I eat, exercise I do, thoughts and excuses the lot. Losing weight after menopause turned out to be a whole different game to losing weight before. What worked then, didn’t work now. A new strategy had to be found and as a very busy woman I didn’t have time to spend on long gym sessions or runs or cycles. This had to be manageable!  If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to read the first 3 chapters in pdf !

Sunday morning first thing each week I weigh myself and measure my waist (level with the belly button) nude. This is my benchmark and so we start with Sunday 19th February…

Sun: No, didn’t do the aerobics this evening — sleep catch-up required! Oh? What do you mean that is no excuse?!

“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD 

Mon: I’m wondering if it might be an idea to photograph each meal (and snack) next week as evidence ….. ? (note – already forgotten to do this – perhaps next week?)

Tue: 4 pancakes with lemon and sugar ! Too Many!!Felt bloated for the rest of the evening – but hey – it is Shrove Tuesday!

Definitely my ‘hardest’ day on the resistance training – my legs are always trembling by the time I finish and I can feel my heart thumping and as to perspiration… won’t go there – just say ‘time for a shower!’

Wed: Only just got the weight session done half hour before the aerobics. This is not how I like to do it – but on Weds I am off to the market too early to do it before and this afternoon I was busy with making a bespoke clock and this evening with cutting and stapling the WI programme ready to distribute tomorrow.

Thur: Actually got the blog I was writing up and on line — hence running very late for last exercise of the evening – but having been to belly dance I think it qualifies! (yeah… but other weeks I have done both)

Fri: Snatch with the 10 kg plates was getting a bit long-winded as I gained strength so I have upped it to 15 kg – I think this is a bit of a jump but it was what I could find lying around in the barn, ie: two 7.5 kg plates. However, as I managed over 20 both time I think this was right decision. After all part of this whole thing is not to take too much of my time! However, my arms are all of a tremble still as I try to type this – have had to go back and correct so many typos!!

Friday Evening – went to ladies night in – making some lovely jewellery followed by supper – yummm, celery, fennel, carrot and dips. Selection of cheeses. Thin piece of focaccia bread. small bunch grapes. Dried fruit salad and clotted cream (yum) 2 glasses alcoholic ginger punch. Sounds ok .. but it was on top of a Tea – which, in hindsight, I should have just skipped in favour of a nibble to maintain levels. PLUS I was too late home to do aerobics 🙁 after all that extra food too – not looking good for Sunday’s weigh in at this rate!

Sat: Still feeling bloated and lumpy…. not keen to see the results tomorrow really.

RESULTS

Hmmm, last week I was planning what I would treat myself with when I reached the 11 st. mark …. well this is known as counting your chickens (before they hatch) … As here I am and still at the 11st 1 lb. so no move there then 🙁 What about the measurements? – well the relaxed remained the same… but the pulled in waist measurement was down half an inch.

OK, so not very much – but a move, and it is now that I wish I was also measuring other areas, like just beneath the bust – this week I have started having to do my bra-strap up on the next set of hooks in – as this area has definitely reduced and was becoming loose on the hooks setting I usually use. I also noticed (as did some friends I hadn’t seen for a couple of weeks) that my face has ‘planes’ not just rounded. I know, I know, I do worry a little that the face will become haggard – you know the old saying – there comes an age when you have to choose between figure and face. Well, I am hoping that the facial exercises (that are part of my half hour stretching and aerobics) combined with a little two minute face-massage with a light baby lotion before bed, may help prevent the haggard look. This, of course, remains to be seen.

Having popped all my week’s notes in here I don’t think I have to look too far to see what was different in this week in regards to foods consumed and exercises done. This is where the record really helps – as I can pinpoint the difference and what I need to do to remedy it.

Just LOOK at it!  TOO MANY pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (I ought to have limited myself a bit eh? – not cut them out altogether but been more sensible – after all I felt bloated – so not a good sign.

Then extra food intake again on Friday night – it was so yummy, but I ought to have guessed Carolyn’s ‘a few simple nibbles’ would be sumptuous and tempting’ (I did resist the absolutely gorgeous looking cheesy scones – somehow!)

Then I see I skipped 2 whole sets of aerobics and stretching and the stretching part of another evening. Hmm, pretty obvious isn’t it what happened. Yet there was movement, and there is definitely other changes.. so .. on to next week with renewed vigour and conscientiousness over the exercises. (Not withstanding, the item on sleep is also relevant and then, of course, some of it may be that some of the fat was replaced by muscle weight, it could be the ‘fault’ of upping the weights in a variety of areas … I shall consult #3 son on this!

In the meantime the end of the month is coming up fast and with that the next set of photos – and they will tell their own tale.

Motto for next week – ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ and after my last post on will-power perhaps I should add ‘pride comes before a fall’ ? LOL 🙂

What is your reaction to a disappointment or set back. Give in – or get back out there and fight it? Love to hear from you folks!

Sharing:

Fat Woman Thinning? Week 6 Round-Up

If you are new to the FWT? blog-posts, welcome to Fat Woman Thinning? – a 52 week blog, which I started as pages to keep myself on-track and so my ‘primary cheerleaders’ (my sons) could keep up with my progress. Then four weeks ago, I felt brave enough to post it as a blog!  If you are one of my new cheerleaders ! Yay! Great to see you again!

What you’ll find here is the distilled notes from my daily log of everything I eat, exercise I do, thoughts and excuses the lot. Losing weight after menopause turned out to be a whole different game to losing weight before. What worked then, didn’t work now. A new stretegy had to be found and as a very busy woman I didn’t have time to spend on long gym sessions or runs or cycles. This had to be manageable!  If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website  where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf !

Sunday morning first thing each week I weigh myself and measure my waist (level with the belly button) nude. This is my benchmark and so we start with Sunday 5th February…

Son No. 3s birthday today! And my next weigh-in. Well! 11.3 (another 2lb drop – I know, I know, I can hardly believe it myself – when you look at the food eaten! – see week5 page from FWT)  🙂 that’s 71.6 kg for those of you in metric and 157lbs for those of you who think that way. This is a total of 11 lbs drop since the start.

Waist measurement (taken level with the belly-button) is now 41.5 inches relaxed(105cm)  and 38 inches ( 97 cm) pulled in tight. that’s and inch and a half down on the pulled in tight measurement from last week and that’s 4 inches down from the first week I measure (week 2)  Do I sound pleased? You bet I do!

Notes: 5th Feb  Feeling good about the progress so far – hope the positive feeling can be maintained when the results are not so dramatic

Notes: 6th Feb By the way the ‘beetroot’ I keep referring to in my food list is not the dark red – makes-everything- else-pink- kind. It is a stripy beetroot (Some small ones cut up in this veggie picture above) that is great cooked anyway you’d cook carrot and looks real pretty too (yes, we grow them ourselves) .  Unless I write ‘pickled beetroot’ then it IS the dark red ones – that I’ve pickled!

Notes: 7th Feb  1 hour goat wrestling (hoof trimming) felt like I’d had a workout before I’d even started any exercises today!

Notes: 8th Feb   Not a good day for sensible eating — def overdid the plain chocolate — I have excuses – but knowing it was VERY cold, that it was market morning – so was early breakfast and therefore a long time to lunch, that it was WI meeting and the biscuit looked soo nice… – just won’t cut any ice with you– will it?

Notes: 9th Feb   Good day for both sensible eating and exercising! Yay! Hour and a quarter Belly Dance in addition to exercises

Notes: 10th Feb  Very nice evening meal at friends …  just managed to do the exercises afterwards before bed! Good job I’m not dieting – it means that when we go out to eat I don’t have to be fussy – just sensible with my choices. Knowing this really helps with creating a positive feeling about losing weight this way.

Notes: 11th Feb Early night – no, I didn’t get my half hour of aerobic exercises done – but sleep and proper rest is also important in the grand scheme of things.

My ‘primary’ cheerleaders have already given this weeks weight loss report a thumbs-up. But I realised that it seems a bit crazy to have the notes (or indeed on the pages the food intake and exercises ) following the result from the previous week.

SO, I am now going to post the weigh-in and measurements taken this very Sunday morning – as in following the week you’ve just seen. Next week will therefore End with the results – I think it’ll make more sense in the long-run, hope you think so too.

Sunday 12th February (weigh-in to end week 6)

Weight this morning was 11.2  (that’s 156 lbs) or 71.4 kg and the measurements are . .  Relaxed : 40 inches (102 cm) An inch and a half down!) and Pulled-in: 37 inches (95cm) That’s a whole inch down! 

ok, so, a pound only .. but I will post that message son#2 sent me again   “a pound a week is over 50lbs a year – and that is awesome!” There that makes me feel more positive! 🙂

* * * * * * TO BE CONTINUED * * * * * *

What are your favourite foods that you just HAVE to eat now and again whether you are on diet or not? Do you find that big sign ‘DON’T EAT THIS’ just calls to you  …. Eat me! Eat meeee!  Do share – I really love to hear from you all and thanks for all the support and encouragement I have been receiving along the way!

 

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Fat Woman Thinning? – with links to weights exercises

Welcome to week 5 of my fat woman thinning? blog – if you are new to this you need to know that I first just kept this as a log on the pages – to motivate myself and so my ‘cheerleaders’ that is my sons, could see how I was getting on.Then a few weeks ago I got brave enough to post it all as a blog – join me on the journey – join me as a cheerleader – I love to hear from you – please do post a comment or a question.

I had to do something, menopause seemed to have changed the way my body dealt with things – my usual way of maintaining my weight no longer worked and the weight crept on… and on. So, now I am using resistance weights as well as some aerobic and stretching, and watching what I eat (writing everything down as well) – but Not Dieting!

Also, I don’t go to a gym.  I don’t have time to spend getting there, nor the inclination to flaunt my lumpy body in front of others, so I have worked out what I can do at home and it doesn’t take long – the weights never more than 15 mins and the aerobics and stretching is worked to follow a strict half hour of music. So, where have I got to, where has it got me – lets see . . . . .

29/1 – week 5 of 52 week blog

Another Sunday, another weigh and measure session. Well, have to say I was both delighted and surprised. A 2lb drop in weight and a reduction in measurement (belly-button height and level) So that’s 11st 5lbs (72.2 kg or 156 lbs) and relaxed waist of 42 inches (108 cm ) – that’s a half inch smaller, and pulled in a measurement of 40.5 inches (103 cm) but the weird thing is, as I pull the muscles of my stomach in now the belly button rises up my body (as it were) meaning that the level measurement rises up the worst bulge on the top of my hips a bit – so this is a whole inch down of last week

Notes: for 29th

Have a look at this page for instructions and a small video for Lateral Raises  http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidLateral/DBLateralRaise.html  And on these pages for Triceps extensions  http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBLyingTriExt.html  Which I prefer to do or  http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBOneArmTriExt.html  if you prefer to be stading

Notes: for 30th

Instructions and video link for Snatch is here   http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/OlympicLifts/Snatch.html  but like I say I use just one 10kg plate – and hold it with both hands on the rim – lifting it from rim resting on floor to high – as if I was trying to hang it on a peg at full arm stretch for me. As always bending the knees and keeping the back straight.

The sit-ups I am sure you are familiar with but here they are anyway: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/RectusAbdominis/BWSitUp.html  No I don’t have the fancy bench for this either – and I don’t like the way the guy in the video has linked his fingers behind his neck – this could result in you pulling your neck especially when it gets tough. It is better to rest your fingers against the side of your neck just below the ears (When you get to this stage – for the first week  the only way I could get a sit-up going was to throw my arms forward towards my knees to get the momentum to even lift off the floor!!)

Notes: for 31st

Squats I do with the ‘safety net’ of a computer chair set to the lowest setting – which means that if I sat on it at that level my knees are slightly higher than my hips – I do the squats so that my bottom just touches the edge of the chair – it tells me I have sunk low enough and stops me feeling that I might fall over backwards! I use 2 dumbells, propped on a towel over my shoulders rather than a bar and weights. See the instructions and small video for Squats here   http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BBSquat.html

I do Lunges standing on an old duvet. I had the irrational fear that I might hurt my knee as it went down, and this reassured me.  As I lunge across the width of the duvet, and being 5′ 3″ I have a smallish stride, it also find it gives me an ‘aim’ for my step forward part of the lunge. If my back foot in just inside one edge then my front foot just stays on the duvet – this gives a ‘stride’ of 3ft 9inches (1m14cm) from toe of front foot to heel of back foot, which is a decent stride for a shorty! Lunge instructions and video here:   http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BWLunge.html

Notes: for 1st Feb

Exercises for today may be found at these sites. I prefer to do the triceps extensions in the lying down mode (doesn’t hurt my elbow or shoulder this way)

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBLyingTriExt.html

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBOneArmTriExt.html

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidAnterior/DBFrontRaise.html

Second set of photographs to be taken today – still not put them up on the site – working out how they can be kept from filtering out onto the general internet. What I notice, however, is that there appears to be more folds and sagging as the tightness begins to leave certain parts of my body. I hope my skin has retained some of its elasticity from before and can return to fitting the new me I hope to find by the end of these 52 weeks.

Notes: for 2nd

Here are the exercises for Thursday – I do the bicep curls using both arms at the same time and the ‘rotation’ of the arm from side on to flat on works more muscles.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Biceps/DBCurl.html

And this is the wrist curl, which is good for buildin gup strength for climbing ( so I am told) and as I want to learn a bit of climbing this shoud be useful.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/WristFlexors/DBWristCurl.html   I also do these simultaneously.

Notes: for 3rd

Here are the exercises for today; As I have said previously i use just one ‘plate’ weight of 10 kg for the snatch an lift it from floor to high, as if trying to place on a hook in front of me as high a I can reach

Snatch : http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Obliques/BWTwistingSitUp.html

Twist-sit-ups : http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Obliques/BWTwistingSitUp.html

Notes: for 4th

Here are the links to these exercises, the squats was shown once already but it’s here anyway :

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BBSquat.html

And the step-ups I am stepping 10 inch step and was taking far too long (over 100 steps) to get to fail point – so this time I tried to carry extra weights. Here is the exercise link:  http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BWStepUp.html

Well, what will tomorrow bring – weigh-in and measure time!!

Full details are on the drop down pages from the Fat Woman Thinning? header on the crossbar.

Your comments or questions are very welcome, I really want to hear from you, and if you ‘d like to know what I do that makes me too busy to travel to a gym then take a look at annmade.co.uk where you will also find my Novels:  Nothing Ever Happens Here, Divining the Line, and Some Kind of Synchrony .. click here to read the first 3 chapters in pdf.

 

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas day has come and gone and I have just a few minutes to write before the second wave of visitors. Today we will be one more for lunch at 12 as my brother, his wife, my niece, nephew and his wife arrive! So before they do I’d just like to share a few photos and pictures with you. The Dog had a new toy under the tree, a squeaky space-hopper. Now she has never had a squeaky toy before (can’t usually stand them myself) but this is meant to be one of her outdoor toys and it has gone down a bomb with her, Not sure if she likes the squeak or is trying to find out what is inside the thing that wants to get out, but she has found it great fun!

As anyone who comes to this blog via AnnMade will know AnnMade makes slate plates and this year we used slates for our starter of smoked salmon and prawns, and before serving I took a few quick snaps – looks yummy doesn’t it?

As usual out Christmas cake wasn’t quite a typical snow scene (though I have done some with snow on). I decided to do a map of the world with places marked where people with us over the Christmas break had immediate family. Though I had planned this earlier I ended up doing the final bits on Christmas eve with Son #3s girlfriend helping make the masses of holly leaves. The result was quite effective though hastily finished. Tasted good!

And in the New Year I shall be editing my latest novel, ‘The Angel Bug’ as I have heard back from Tim Smit of the Eden Project and he is happy to be featured as the only real person in the novel – so I am ready to move forward now with this. Look forward to publication in the spring. And if you have a new kindle (or other e-reader) and you’d like to feed it with my current novels you’ll find them all on AnnMade Books where you can have a New Year present of All 3 for just £5!*

So today is the great Turkey and Ham pie day, and I must away to make the rough-puff pastry. Here’s wishing you all a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

How did your Christmas go? What are your hopes for the New Year?

*(Offer until End Jan. Extra paid refunded)

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And breathe…

Just taking the chance to breathe.
The last few weeks have been quite manic in this household and with the business. You see, selling on the internet means a lot of packaging and posting at this time of year, and I am not complaining, was even quite concerned in October and early November as sales were very slow getting going.

Those of you who have come to this blog via annmade.co.uk know that I make and sell slate-ware. All sorts of items made from slate.

I got into working with slate in a rather roundabout way. Our lovely 16th century house had a thatched roof. A roof that we had totally replaced twice in the, then, twenty two years we had been here, and the second time using the more expensive and usually more durable water reed, hoping for at least 25 years from it. Alas, it was rotting on the roof in twelve and we applied to be able to change the roof back to slate. Yes, back to slate. I had evidence that the house was only thatched in 1954, so, though the house was now listed, it wasn’t an original feature. What is more as I did more research it turned out that this was exactly the problem. The angle so the roof had not been altered to be right for thatch which needs a steeper roof for the rain to drip from end to end of the reed and thence off on to the ground, rather than having a chance to soak in bringing all the problems with it that we were encountering.

Thatch on a shallow pitch roof gets wet and stays wet, moss and lichens grow, insects take up residence, birds scratch at it to get the insects, more wet gets into, the broken bits of reed break down, seeds start to grow in it. We had reed, grass and a tree trying to grow on the roof.

Eventually we were given permission to get it returned to slate and then had to find a suitable slate for the job. This was a task that I was set and took myself off to a slate supplier to look at different slates and try to find something that would look good on an old property, something that also matched the lighter grey slate slabs that surround the front of the house and form the path to the front door, slate which I suspected to be local.
Eventually I found a slate I liked, colour was a good match and the variation in the slates meant that even when new there was an irregularity to it, giving a aged feel to the results.
However, along the way I handles and looked at lots of types of slate, I asked the slate merchant how slates were cut to form the straight edge on one side and the broken edge on the other and was shown a hand-held slate guillotine. The tool on the far right in this photo:
I was hooked. I loved this material and began to think of items I could make from it to start a small business. I had recently taken an early retirement from teaching (in an inner-city comprehensive) and was looking for an enterprise.

I began making items in slate and items in fabric, adding repoussed aluminium work later and started by selling at craft markets. I had already thought of the name annmade, but thought that every Ann would have thought of it and there wouldn’t be a decent web-address going (and indeed there are a lot of annmades out there – but most had added their specialism into their name, like annmadeart, annmadecards etc) – so to my delight I found annmade.co.uk available and snaffled it immediately as at that time I was doing many things, not just slate.

I am lucky to have two sons whose business is making wonderful websites, (and now much more) and after a while they found time to create a website for me and annmade.co.uk began to take off.
With many innovations and experimentations I created the annmade range of slate plates and slate cheeseboards. I asked an environmental health officer to test my resulting product and the results were very good.

I was already selling to hotels and restaurants when I had a call from a TV company making The Great British Menu. It was all hush, hush, as ordering the 120 Quattro slate plates (my smallest size plates) would have given away the results of the finals, but that was how my slate plates first made their way on to TV. The following year they made lots of appearances in the different heats as chef after chef used them to display starters, desserts and even a fish course.

Last year I had another call, this time from Channel 4, the TV company had a request, from chef Richard Corrigan, for 7 of my Standard-pro slate plates for his new programme, Cookery School, where they appeared twice when it was screened this spring.

Annmade slate plates and cheeseboards have found themselves sent as far as Chicago and Connecticut in the USA, and Adelaide in Australia, and in hotels from the furthest reaches of the Highlands to The Berkley in London as well as to hundreds of individuals all over the UK and Europe.

So, breathe……

…… and get ready for the Christmas rush on the home front…. Only eleven for Christmas day this year .. but I have the cake made (Same recipe as used for My Nephews wedding cake * see blog) – maturing in the freezer (if not yet iced) , mince pies made and frozen, pickles in the pantry (except the red-cabbage – need to do that) … oh but .. not got the decorations up yet … nor made the door wreath … or finished the shopping … oh oh …

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