Writing my book and joining a Virtual Book Tour ……



Calvin and Hobbes


I very nearly didn’t bother to write this post. This virtual book tour is probably going to end with me, as I don’t know of anyone else writing a book. None of my readers would even know that I was supposed to write this post in the first place. First of all let me explain about the virtual book tour, my lovely friend, who is currently taking a break from blogging, to write her own book, nominated me as one of the next stops on the tour. The idea being that you talk about who nominated you, answer several questions about your own book and then nominate new writers as the next stop on the tour. I have no one to nominate, as I know no other authors or writers. Except for my sister, who is already a published author and writes as Candy Harper and C. J. Harper, for the young adult genre. She’s already working to several deadlines and I won’t burden her further. So that’s it, this virtual book tour stops here with me; but if you are writing or even thinking about writing a book, please do let me know and I will write an extra post to introduce you.

My main reason for not writing this blog is fear (!) I have finished my book and have spent what seems like several decades (ok three very long months) editing it over and over again. I have sent it to a couple of agents and have heard nothing back, zip, nada, nula, niente, not even a whisper. I know I need to send it to several more, I think twelve is generally thought to be a good number. Then perhaps I should consider publishing as an eBook instead. Unfortunately I am almost paralyzed by fear of rejection; but also a fear of having spent eighteen months of my life writing something that I’m passionate about, devoting a lot of time and effort to it, only to be told that I shouldn’t have bothered. I’m sure that the rejection is put in a nicer way, but even the sweetest rejection letter ever written, is still just that: a big fat rejection.

So in my infinite wisdom I have allowed myself to listen to the devil on my shoulder and just not bother sending it out again, because right now I still have a chance. It might be a million to one chance, but a tiny chance is better than no chance at all. To put it simply, I’m just a big fat scaredy cat who can’t handle rejection. It’s not a bad place to live, not putting myself out there for rejection means I’m a lot happier and sadly it’s probably my biggest personal fault. I’m just not very good at handling criticism. I have enough trouble fighting of periodic bouts of depression and or anxiety and I don’t really know why I suffer from those two things. What I do know is rejection can be avoided, if I simply don’t put myself and my book out there.

Of course It’s a silly way to live your life and that’s why I am forcing myself to write this blog. I have procrastinated long and hard and my friend kindly gave me this opportunity. I would be a fool to waste it. It might not help my book in any way shape or form, I don’t think for one moment, that an agent will magically happen upon my blog and find themselves in desperate need of my chick lit book. I am hoping instead it might be a metaphorical kick up the backside and I will finally send my synopsis to several more agents.

In my last post I wrote about my love for the inimitable Joan Rivers. Part of the reason I loved her was because of her fearlessness. Joan Rivers would absolutely have sent her book out the minute it was finished, with no procrastination whatsoever. No doubt she suffered more than one rejection in her life, but it didn’t stop her and she became a legendary comedienne, author, actress, television presenter and much more. So although my hero passed away last week, I can try and take a little inspiration from her. I shall get off of my rather large posterior and bloody well do something with the book, that I spent so many precious minutes writing. So enough wittering, here are my answers to the questions:

WHAT AM I WORKING ON? As you have probably already gathered my book is finished and although I may have to rewrite it entirely, if no one wants to publish it, for now I am happy with it (!) It was written for the Chick lit genre and in a nut shell, it’s about facing up to your fears and not letting other people, or society in general affect the way you live your life.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN MY GENRE? My protagonist is an overweight girl and that is the biggest difference, from many other books in the chick lit genre. Having spent my entire adult life battling weight problems, I was fed up of the heroines in books being so called perfect size ten girls. New studies show; one in every three teenager is overweight in Britain today. I wanted a book that could relate to a part of the population, that is often marginalized or over looked entirely by the media. I wanted to try and address the feelings of inadequacy and despair, that can arise by being constantly bombarded by societies perception of beauty for women. Or in other words slim is beautiful and fat is ugly.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO? I have spent many years as an overweight and unhappy woman. I have tortured myself mentally because I didn’t fit in with societies idea of beauty. Some of my teenage years were spent as a wall flower and I was forever comparing myself unfavourably to my skinnier peers. Boys just don’t tend to date bigger girls, particularly in those ‘oh so self conscious’ middle teen aged years. Naturally I was miserable because I was fat and I ate because I was miserable and it became a vicious circle. I preferred to bury my feelings under a mountain of donuts, rather than talk about them, or god forbid express them in any way. I judged myself far too harshly and I hope that my book might help people who are experiencing the same form of self loathing. Because you know what? Big can be beautiful! Please stick two fingers up at society, don’t hate yourself, instead love yourself for who you are. My heroine Daisy becomes a virtual recluse and comfort eats herself through student life, instead of partying and living life to the fullest. Finally she learns to accept herself for who she is and with the help of a new friend, decides to experience life and everything it has to offer. Metaphorically shaking her fat bottom at anyone foolish enough to try and tell her that big is anything other than beautiful.

WHAT IS MY WRITING PROCESS? It’s basically verbal diarrhoea in written form! I just write a minimum of 500 words, five days a week and didn’t ever read back, let alone edit, a single word until I had 106 000 words written. Of course I occasionally succumbed to writers block and sometimes to an acute case of ‘lazyitis.’ On the whole this method worked for me, until it came to editing. I nearly cried several hundred times when I realised that I hadn’t always stayed in the same tense throughout the book, my grammar was appalling and my sentences were longer than the great wall of China! Still, it stopped a lot of my procrastinating and I found it a really productive way to get words on the paper. If I stopped to edit along the way I found that I would write the same first page over and over and never write more than 1000 words. This way even though editing was vile; I was astonished and pleased to have actually written an entire book!

Good luck to any writers reading this and please do get in touch if you would like to join this virtual book tour.     



Maintaining my four stone weight loss ……




For a long time I misguidedly believed that maintaining a weight loss would be rather easy and the hard work would come from the diet and exercise. How wrong I was! Of course I also think when you are dieting, you do have to have some belief that it won’t be forever or you won’t get very far with the diet. Let’s face it if someone told you one month into your diet, that you can never ever go back to eating what you like, when you like; you might well be inclined to politely tell them to get lost at the very least….

Unfortunately they would be telling you the truth. At least in my experience. I have found that if I want to keep the weight  loss off, then I have to watch what I eat every single day. Trust me, I have lost large amounts of weight (four or more stone) three times in my life and plenty of smaller amounts and until now, every single time has resulted in the weight piling back on and more often than not, some extra weight too.

So I knew I would need to work hard at keeping the weight off this time. To start with, I went to the gym three or four times a week and that really helped. Unfortunately I no longer have a gym membership and due to my chronic IBS I can’t exercise at all, right now. This lead to a further reduction in how many calories I can consume in one day. Fortunately not exercising also meant a slight reduction in appetite too. Sadly it did nothing for my inner fat girl who was still demanding cakes and crisps.

So, much like my diet, my maintenance eating plan involves eating a small amount of whatever I want. In fact, if I’m honest, probably a good quarter, if not more of my daily calorific intake comes from chocolate, cake, crisps and ice cream. I just have a very small evening meal to compensate and keep the portion sizes of my treats small too. For example, three Cadbury’s Heroes instead of half a box.  Not particularly healthy BUT neither was being four stone overweight. Not to mention all of the emotional problems that stemmed from being a big girl.It’s not easy, always watching exactly what I eat and never allowing myself more, (Christmas and Birthday excepted) but it is far preferable to gaining the weight. 

I love being a slimmer girl, admittedly it doesn’t make you completely happy all of the time. Life has a sneaky way of reminding you that many of your problems remain the same, regardless as to whether you are fat, thin, or the size of a small country. Celebrities can make a fortune from their yo-yo weight battles, sadly the same can’t be said for our finances. But what weight loss can do, is make you feel so much better about yourself.

There are the obvious ways, such as being able to walk into any high street shop and know that as a size 14 there will be something in there that fits. Sadly the same can’t be said as a size 22, when I would go shopping with my best friend in the now defunct Etam. As a size 12 she would get to shop downstairs, while I would take my heavy heart to the plus size section upstairs. Perhaps situating the big girls clothes upstairs was a cunning way to get us to exercise, in reality it was demeaning and embarrassing. Why the sizes couldn’t have all been together, I don’t know. Maybe the brand would still be in business, had they not alienated a large section of their clientele?

My health is perhaps the most important factor in staying a size 14. My fatty liver has disappeared, the fat not the liver that would have been a lb too far! I’m not as tired as I used to be and I can keep up with my active my boys. I also hope that I now set a better example to them, with my more healthy lifestyle. I no longer dread having my picture taken, the chances of my double chin making an unwanted appearance have lessened considerably. Although sadly not gone completely!

That said, this is my choice to be this weight and I loathe the fact that bigger people are sometimes viewed with contempt. Now I have lost weight, I see a different side to people’s attitudes regarding weight.  I hear the way big people are spoken about in a way that I hadn’t been privy to before and to be frank it has royally pissed me off. People almost whisper, when they mention a bigger person and they always seem to assume that the person must have issues with their weight.

Sadly, some seem incapable of accepting big people CAN be happy with the way they look. They wonder what has caused the weight gain and happily gossip as to why some people never seem to lose any weight. Others assume that they must be lazy and attribute any shyness to their weight. If an invitation to a social occasion is declined, it is assumed that it is because the person is self conscious about their weight (maybe they are just busy!)  I once even heard someone declare that a person possessed a caustic sense of humour, simply because she was over weight!

The terribly sad thing is, these were the very things that I feared people were saying about me as a size 22. It has shocked me to hear that it does indeed happen. Of course for every small minded person, there are dozens more that don’t give two hoots about the way people look – thank goodness. Not least because the odds are that one day, my currently restrained inner fat girl, will gain the upper hand and I will give into my piggy nature. So please don’t be judgmental of bigger people, being fat is currently not for me, but it may well be again one day and I will still just be me.




Are weight loss diets ever really successful?



Having battled my weight for over twenty years, I’m finally hoping I may have conquered it once and for all.That said even if I remain at my current weight for the next twenty years, I’m not sure I will ever stop fighting my inner fat girl. I’m an addict in plain terms and an addiction to food is not an easy one to admit too. People often assume that an overeater is simply greedy and are unaware of the often complex emotional issues involved. Don’t get me wrong, for me, there is definitely greed involved as well. I LOVE MY FOOD! That said, I admit that I often use it as an emotional crutch as well. If I’m feeling sad or depressed I comfort eat and conversely even if I’m as happy as Larry. (Larry most definitely did not have weight issues, or he wouldn’t so happy all of the time!) I will celebrate with a nice big cream cake. So I’m well aware that my weight struggles are probably a lifelong battle.

Fortunately things have got a little easier after losing over four stone in weight. Life still has it’s many and varied ups and downs, but on the whole I do feel a lot better about myself. I am no longer depressed about the way I look and it really does make me happy to fit into size 14 clothes. That may make me seem a little shallow, but it’s something I have strived to achieve for a very long time and I want to enjoy my small victory. I really do hope that this time, I will manage to keep the weight off.

I’m hoping one of the main reasons, will be because I have done everything a little bit differently this time around. I’m a bit of a diet veteran, you name it and I have probably tried it. From Atkins to Weight Watchers, the Rotation diet to Slim Fast shakes and everything in between. I’ve even tried prescription pills, those marvellous little pills also known as Orlistat. Actually I’m being highly sarcastic when I use the word marvellous, because despite two months of regular pill taking and strict adherence to a low fat diet, guess how much weight I lost? Well it certainly wasn’t the promised 1-2lbs a week, nope it was zero! All that effort and dicing with the most unpleasant side effects, I’ll let you Google those …. Suffice to say I would NOT recommend those pills to anyone.




I’ve even invented my own diets, perhaps the least successful being the Mint Diet. I was probably around 17 and finding it hard to give up on sweet treats. So in my infinite wisdom I thought, why give them up at all? Why not just give up every other food group instead?! So I did, I carefully measured out 800 calories worth of Murray Mints and 400 calories of Imperial mints. Divided all of the mints into three ‘meals’ and that’s all I ate(!) You probably won’t be surprised to learn that after 36 hours and with a huge headache, I ran screaming to the nearest McDonalds. Not my finest dieting moment. It did however, teach me something, although it took over  twenty years for me to figure it out.

I had it a little bit right with the sweets, because every time I have denied myself something, I would fall off of the dieting wagon and right back into overeating again. So it was time to try a diet that didn’t exclude any of the major food groups, but did include a small amount of whatever I was craving. For a long time it was Magnum ice creams, the basic ones are around 270 cals each. So I ate one every single day on my diet, until I got fed up and switched to a small piece of chocolate fudge cake. I also LOVE Kettle Chips or Tyrrells crisps, so I would eat a quarter bag of the sharing bag size every day. Not very healthy but then weighing 15.7 stone was even less healthy.

So I stuck to 1500 cals every day and included treats. I also took into account my inner greedy girl and ate little and often. That way I never went too long without eating and for a little piggy that’s always a good thing! I learnt from the Orlistat pills that I needed to shock my body into losing weight. It’s a sad fact that your body actually battles to keep you at a certain weight. Great if you weigh 10st not so great when you weigh a lot more! So I decided to exercise. It probably won’t come as a surprise for you to learn that I previously viewed exercise as diets’ evil twin brother. That said it was marginally less evil, I knew I would rather exercise than give up my Magnum every day. So I went to the gym five days a week for an hour of really intense cardio exercise. I researched everything I could, about the best way to lose weight through exercise. I wouldn’t allow myself to miss out a certain machine, even if I hated it – yes I’m talking about you Mr Treadmill. In short I worked my rather large butt off.

I wouldn’t leave the gym unless I was tomato red in the face (sometimes even a fetching shade of purple) and sweating profusely. I was too shy to attend gym classes, I didn’t want to be the big girl who couldn’t keep up with anyone. Until one day a lovely fitness trainer told me to stop being so silly and attend a half hour spin class. The studio was dark and I could hide away in the corner and because after three months I had lost a stone and a half I finally felt confident enough to give it a go …..

This isn’t the end of my weight loss story, but I’m approaching 1000 words and don’t want to bore anyone too much. So I will post again in the not too distant future. I’m not vain enough to think that my story is particularly unusual or exciting enough to be of interest to many people, but I hope someone might find it a help. I also took great inspiration from other dieters, whilst on my diet and hopefully someone might find this useful. If there is one thing I regret about this diet, it’s that I didn’t do it a long time ago.

My big fat weight loss story.


diet   Being a stay at home Mum has had a massive impact on my weight. I’m a greedy girl and was struggling with my weight before I had children, but never went above  size 16. After having children, food was always around and became a treat/reward to terrible effect.

Two and a half years ago I wrote the following post:

To diet or not to diet? That is the question….. I guess the answer, unfortunately is diet! My recent diagnosis of a non alcoholic fatty liver, is making me feel it’s time to shift a few pounds, or preferably a few stone! I have been battling my weight for well over 20 years now. I would like to say that it is post baby weight, that stuck around; but that would make me a big fat fibber. Since my late teens, my love of food and a greedy nature, has meant I have been on what feels like a permanent diet. Not a very successful one, or there would be no need for this post. I have been all the dress sizes under the sun, from a size 22 at my biggest to a 14 at my smallest and hit every size in-between more than once….

I have just returned from a two-week holiday in Devon, where I probably ate enough to gain a fatty kidney! (NB not sure if a fatty kidney is something that is likely or not? But who knew a liver could be fat?) Anyway it is now day 2 of my diet and I am officially STARVING! I am addicted to watching Living TVs ‘The Biggest Loser’ and have decided that a low-calorie diet and lots of exercise is the way to go. I find it extremely inspiring that the guys and gals on this program, can lose serious amounts of weight in such a short space of time. And yes I am hoping it will work for me too (!)

The only one thing that seriously bugs me about the show, is the fact that none of the contestants ever moan that they are hungry. Sadly for my husband, that is all I have done for the last 36 hours of this diet. I am so hungry that it is a good job that the kids are back at school tomorrow or I might just eat one of them! So here we go guys, what shall we say 2 stone in 2 months or is the hunger making me a tad delirious?! Will keep you posted ……

Blogging is a wonderful way to look back at your life and I’m delighted to say that amazingly, my diet  was a success and for once I did indeed lose the weight! It took me a year to shed nearly five stone and a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way. I have also managed to keep most of the weight off for the last eighteen months.  Due to ill health and the ever soaring cost of gym memberships. I have stopped going to the gym and exercising daily. I’m hoping to get back into exercising because it really was an amazing weight loss tool and I couldn’t recommend it more. It also has a lot of obvious health benefits too.

Since I have been maintaining my weight loss I think I have probably gained around a half a stone, mainly from stopping exercising. I couldn’t say for definite because I have thrown away my bathroom scales! I still can’t quite believe that I have no clue what I weigh, at a guess I would go for around the 11 stone mark and as I started at 15.7 stone I’m delighted with that number. That said I threw away the scales because I no longer want my life to be ruled by that set of numbers. You know the ones, that stare up accusingly at you and ALWAYS make you feel bad. Instead I rely on my clothes size to keep me on the straight and narrow. I have dresses in a size 12 if they have stretch, but without the stretch, it’s a size 14 for me. Having been a size 22, I’m pretty happy with a 14. Actually that’s an understatement, I’m EXTREMELY happy!

Usually I pile all the weight straight back on, so I’m pleased that so far I have kept the weight off. There is still a very greedy girl inside of me. I think, or rather I know, if I deprived her of all delicious treats she would win the battle. I would end up eating a mountain of forbidden foods, just to keep her quiet. This way, we are both happy, I realise that too many people a size 14 is not slim. To me it’s amazing, a testament to finally conquering my demons and loving my curves. In my next post I will blog about how I lost the weight.


diet 2