Don’t Panic! There’s still time!

 Have YOU done your Christmas shopping?

                      I mean Have You? HAVE YOU? ….  I haven’t!

                                 Indeed – What type of Christmas shopper are you?

DSCF0088Are you a very organised person? Do you buy throughout the year as ideas come to you?

Sad to say – I’m not one of those.

Maybe you are a blitzer – make a list and blitz the shops notching up scores until the whole lot is got?

No, I’m not one of those either.

Maybe you like to sit at the computer in late November or early December and order everything on-line?

Now, I have to admit I’d like to do this. However, if I am stuck for ideas this doesn’t work very well for me – real browsing would be better at triggering ideas.

I have a confession – I do not like shopping.

There, I’ve said it. I know, I know, we women are supposed to like shopping.
But I mean – who says?? No-one asked me!

I do not even like shopping for things, clothes, treats or gifts for MYSELF – let alone any other type of shopping!

A trip to the shops usually has me returning with either something, which I later decide is not the right thing after all, or nothing – except a headache – which I always come back with. (which is why the internet shopping is attractive – don’t usually get a headache doing that)

More than anything – I do not want to go to Plymouth, our nearest metropolis, and trail around the shops there – it is not just Plymouth – I just do not want to trail around shops in any town or city – it is not my thing.

You get the picture – Christmas shopping is not a joyous time for me – though I love to give gifts that I know the other person will actually want and like!

 For the main presents ‘want’ and ‘like’ are the key words to me – however I am now resigned to the fact that I cannot buy what my loved ones will really want and like and make it a surprise. Oh, yes – I forgot to mention that. I really would like presents to be a surprise. A surprise that also happens to really and truly be ‘Just What they Wanted’ … Yeah, right, in my dreams.

And so … no surprises any more for the big stuff – now the esoteric gifts (climbing gear – for instance) is ordered via a link to the precise item, or a description given that cannot be mistaken in any way, for the more usual things.

However, for ‘secondary’ or ‘stocking’ presents I like unique, interesting, different gifts if I can find them to suit the right people – and so, as I said in an earlier blog, I do frequent local quality Craft Fairs – like the one coming up at Upton Cross next weekend. (4th– 6th) where lovely things and beautiful paintings are to be found (as well as my novels) and these have to satisfy my longing to ‘surprise!’

What kind of Christmas Shopper are You?

Are you a woman and like shopping? (or not?)

Do share – you know I love to hear from you.upton cross



Anyone For Cake? How to….

Well! What a weekend. The first Looe Literary Festival was a tremendous success! Plenty of people turned out and took themselves down to this pretty Cornish town on the sea. PLUS it was extra interesting being ‘out of season’. There was a different vibe – and this weekend it was definitely a Literary vibe!

I was delighted to have my very own one hour Author Event slot arranged for me in The Old Boathouse Cafe, on the quay-side facing the river just before it emerges into the sea. My audience had a few extras, a small free draw AND CAKE. DSCF7593

I propped the cake up on my book stand – and, to my surprise, it wasn’t until I went to cut it that some people realised it was a cake!

So I’m going to give you a ‘how I made it’ here 🙂  and I hope you like it as much as others enjoyed eating it!

cooked cake

First I printed off a large picture of the book cover and used this as my template, it meant I needed to cook a cake 12″ by (about) 8″. I happen to have a nice cake tin that allows you to vary its size by inserting two interlocking dividers, with the largest at 12″ x 12″ reducing in size down to 1″ x 1″ (Though you’d probably not use it for that!) You can also make 4 cakes at once, each 6″ square. Anyway – I created the right size cake tin size and made a Victoria sandwich mix that I had calculated would fill it. (in this case cracked the 7 eggs into a jug and weighed the total, then used the exact same weight for the flour, sugar and butter) I dolloped about half of this mixture into the tin, then added 250g melted plain chocolate beating well as it was added to the other half of the mixture, then dolloped this in between the  plain mix, finishing it with a swirling motion to smooth it out then baked it at 180 degrees until cooked (about 35 mins) I wrapped it well and froze the cake.

Now to the decorations. First I mixed about half a teaspoon of gum-tragacanth into about 150g ready-made roll-out icing (Regal-Ice) This means the paste will harden. I rolled it out and carefully cut the rectangle out – placing it on a tray covered with a sheet of cling-film dusted with cornflour, covered lightly, to prevent dust, with greaseproof paper.

I re-rolled the remainder and by resting the paper sheet on top and using a cocktail stick to press on the line, marked out the shapes of all the dark rocks in the picture. DSCF7566DSCF7568

I removed the paper and using the cocktail stick drew lines on the rocks to give them texture. I also cut a long narrow rectangle to put the author name on later. All these I also placed on a tray as before and set them all to dry in a warm place.

When these were all dry I mixed food colouring to make the colours I expected to need. I marked out with a pale food-colour pen, the lines for the layers of cliffs in the distance, the sand and the sea. Then I painted these in with the food colours giving the larger areas a water wash before applying the colour as you do for water colours, but otherwise it was a bit like painting by numbers 😉 DSCF7583DSCF7586


The rocks were given a dark wash so that the textures still showed through; all this was left to dry. When the ‘paint’ was dry I assembled the pieces and hand-painted the title with a red food colour.

I cut the top of the defrosted cake and trimmed it to the perfect size then turned it upside down onto a cake-board with a little icing spread on it to prevent it slipping. I rolled out another 200g of Regal Ice and cut 4 pieces long enough to cover all the edges then rolled the rest very thinly and covered the top and sides with this thin layer, held in place by a brushing of heated-up jam. DSCF7585

Three out of the four strips were textured to look like pages, the fourth I hand painted to look like the spine of the book.

NOW! The assembly, The cover was stuck on with icing, as were all the edges… and lo! the book should have been finished. Unfortunately I forgot the extra thickness of the cover when I cut the spine…. and had to add a bit to fill in the gap!! So now you know what to look out for if you do the same .. and I will know for next time too 🙂 DSCF7594 Crop

All in all it may have made my author slot a little different … if you were there – do tell… if you were unable to come .. well I hope to get out and about more next year – maybe to a festival near you! DSCF7604 crop

As always I love to hear your thoughts – do leave a comment 🙂




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 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


What’s in a font? Please let me know!

Time has been flying past and the preparations for Nothing Ever Happens Here to be released as  a paperback has been my major project.  Now, at last, we come to the final design for the cover. The original photograph used is still going to be the same. It was taken in the area that the book is set and says (to me) ‘a holiday on the coast … but with dark foreshadowing’.  So the changes are mainly to do with the lettering. My own name will be as it is on the Paperback version of  The Angel Bug…. so we are left with the words ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’.

Here is the problem. Fonts speak. Just the mere shape, density, texture of a font can create a different feel, a different sense in the mind of the reader.

Here are the current three front runners to occupy the space on the front of the paperback. Please help me choose. (You can click on each picture to enlarge in a separate window)

To help you choose, if you haven’t read the novel already, here is the blurb ….

Crime, romance, smuggling and Cornwall all come together in this light thriller set in the early 1990s

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 inquiry, 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.


So which font fits best, 1, 2, or 3?

Which ‘says’ the right thing to you?

How and why did you make your choice … which may just be a gut feeling?

Do help me out here, you know I love to hear from you … I need to hear from you … Thank YOU!


Three ‘new-fangled-electronicals’ I never thought I’d love so much

1, We’ve just been up country to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday. This meant a round journey of 480 miles in one day.  Arriving home at around quarter to one in the morning I was blessing the ‘dear-old sat-nav’ for a problem-free journey.

Yes, a sat-nav! Yes, I am praising that much maligned steerer of artic lorries into winding, too-narrow lanes and jammer of large trucks around tight corners!

As over time our eyesight changed, being the navigator was becoming fraught with difficulties, what with the swapping between pair of specs to read the map and / or specs to read the road signs.  So our first use of a sat-nav was a real eye-opener. DSCF6972

We first used a (borrowed) sat-nav a number of years ago when taking #3 son to University in Brighton. This meant a long journey across the south coast of Britain, in and around town after town after city, after town. A long journey of roundabouts and bypasses. It worked like a dream … only suggesting a ‘off-course’ route along a piece of road we know so well we had no compunction in ignoring it , and when it gave up trying to turn us round, it soon recalculated and ‘got with us’ again.

Now, I would always like to have a map of the route handy, and to have looked at it before setting off – just because it is wise to know where you are heading in case you get an ‘odd order’ from the sat-nav [Drivers of Large Lorries please note !].  On the last trip the odd order was ‘at the roundabout go straight across and take the first exit’. The first exit was a turning left  immediately upon entering the roundabout (hardly ‘straight-across’) .. straight across was the only other turning and had the benefit of being into the village we were heading for.

So, Saturday, even with a navigator available, the sat-nav took away the stress, but with no navigator on hand – the sat- nav is a perfect god-send and one of those electronic items I never thought I’d love .. but do!

2, It seems this next is called a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) or DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Whatever it is called and whatever version you have, it is that thing that records the programmes you would otherwise have to miss – so you can watch them when you have time (and there isn’t anything else worth watching anyway) and does a few other very useful tricks besides.

You  may have gathered that I tend to be a bit busy… and that I also go to a number of different groups and clubs (plus committee meetings for some ) and so the few items I  actually want to watch are often on the wrong time for me to be there to watch them.

So to have something that will record them… and more to the point, be programmable so that I can set it to record them in advance (before I even know that I am going to be unavailable to watch them) is another great gadget that I really didn’t think I was too bothered about .. but find that I am! Add to that the facility to save time by skipping the ads when viewing, and to ‘pause’ live programmes when interrupted (as happens more often that you’d think) and I’m in love.


3, The last one probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you all. It is my ereader.  I, like a lot of people I know, LIKE BOOKS.. and I do mean I like real paper books, but I LOVE my ereader. OK, so mine is a kindle – but they are all essentially the same – a way to carry hundreds of  books in a slim, light-weight package, that slips into the back of your handbag (so it is always handy when you find you have the odd ten minutes to read) or so you can carry all your possible holiday reading easily and read the fattest and heaviest of tomes without making your hand ache with holding it!

What is more – I have mine set on a larger font (and sideways) so that I do not have to find my specs to read!! YAY! Another blessing ! I love my ereader!

Do you have all or any of these gadgets? Do you hate them or love them?

What ‘new-fangled-electronicals’ have you fallen for despite early misgivings?

Come on, don’t be shy .. do share – you know we all want to know 🙂



And a pressie for YOU!

I hope you all had a great Christmas day! Our household was full – two sons home, plus one girlfriend, two sets of aunts and uncles and of course my husband and parents, all making eleven for the day ( and for today – boxing day)

So, now it’s calmed down a bit and I only have the boxing day lunch to make ( a huge turkey and gammon pie with loads of leeks, carrots and other veg in it ) 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 (BEFORE the end of 2012) 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 New Year]

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 New Year! 

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!



Of Damsels and Dragons – Nature notes for July

At last some sun.. even though we had to get almost three-quarters the way through July to get it!  I’m going to start by letting you all know what the answer was to the picture quiz in last month’s Nature Notes. Here is the same spray now …. 

The answer was Kiwi Fruit !! And I shall be sending ecopies of Some Kind of Synchrony to all three who guessed correctly! The fruit still have got quite a way to grow but you can see what they are already.

And if you are here looking for the results of my Win a Kindle draw (drawn 10th July) click Here

While back in the pond things have been stirring and the dragonfly larvae have been crawling out of the pond to breakout of their last larval skin and turn into dragonflies. I spotted this ‘case’ still clinging to the pond plant it climbed out on.  The dragon fly larvae have been described as the ‘tiger of the pond’ as they are fierce predators taking down tadpoles and small fish. Some years there have been huge numbers in our pond but in recent years they have been few and far between. Perhaps this year is the start of another rise in population. Watch out tadpoles! 

Meanwhile the more delicate cousins of the dragonflies, the damselflies, were making sure there would be other types of larvae in the pond too – here two of the common Large Red damsel fly, mating. You’ll really have to click on the picture to see them clearly in their attractive red livery.

You just have to see this! One morning I was called out to the patio with  ‘Come and look in the dog’s bowl!’   The dog has a plastic water bowl out on the patio – to try to persuade her not the drink the water from the dishes under the patio pots (doesn’t work – she still prefers this water to clean fresh stuff) and, there, sitting in her half-full water bowl was …… a newt!

I guess he thought he’d found a nice personal little pond of his own. Now this is a good twenty metres from the main pond, needless to say he was transported to the pond in the bowl and released, before the dog came looking for a drink!

In the flora in July we’ve moved into some delicate purples, the meadow Cranesbill ( in the geranium family)   and the Self-heal ( Prunella vulgaris). The latter small plant so called because it is used in herbal medicine as a poultice for wounds and abrasions and as an infusion for sore throats and more. This year it has grown in profusion looking quite pretty amongst the grass.

This week’s picture quiz is this ‘common’ beastie which I didn’t recognise who, along with his brothers and sisters, was destroying one of the perennial plants in our front border. Do you know what it is? First correct answer will win an ecopy of Nothing Ever Happens Here (as a pdf)




And for my FWT? cheerleaders – weight is now 9st. 11.5 lbs – yes – that’s down a whole pound this week! Full details on the drop-down for week 30

Lastly – a series of sunsets from one evening in July – not sure I’ve seen such a stripey sky before. How about you? do you just love sunsets – have to get the camera out to capture them?  I love to hear from you !








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