Book Covers, Fish and Chips and More…

This week in pictures…

Three runners cross the start line at the Paisley 10k

Put your hands in the air just like you just don’t care… (I’m on the right).

Completed the Paisley 10k. With a slower time than I did for the 10k I ran at the start of June (1.03 as opposed to 1 hour 58 seconds), HOW, HOW, HOW? (#Emails organisers to double check they measured the route right#) Weirdly, I felt much more comfortable than I did back in June as the day was a lot cooler and the course flatter. Hey ho!

And still a feeling at the end of it akin to “Feck! For the half-marathon next month, I’ll have to do all this again and then some…”

fish and chips McMAte fish and chips to celebrate. Well, battered fish and mushy peas, anyway. My Fitbit told me the run used up 590 calories. Usually, I’m a low-carb gal, but my glycogen-starved muscles shrieked carbs loudly by the end of my run. And battered fish expertly cooked and doused in salt and malt vinegar is a glorious thing. McMonagles claims to be the world’s first sail-thru fish and chip restaurant.

AT VERSIONSSorted out the cover for Artists Town, my forthcoming book. It’s beautiful, hmm? Jennifer Underwood did the cover for me. Now, to decide on a release date and hope it recoups its costs. And persuades people to buy some of my other books.

fruit and nutBought some fruit and nut. Not that I’m going to eat it…* This week marked the eighth anniversary of my dad’s death and one of his favourite things to eat was Cadbury’s fruit and nut.

As food is often one of the things that brings us together – as family, as couples, as friends, as neighbours – it has always seemed appropriate for my family and I to mark the occasion this way. My sister and her kids did it with sausages, beans and mash.

a ginger and white cat sitting on a window sill Welcomed a new part-time resident. Meet Mr Biggles, whose ‘home’ if you can ever call one place a cat’s home, is two doors up from us. Of late, he’s taken to spending increasing amounts of time Chez Baird-Birnie.

His official residence contains two adults, one other cat, three kids and a dog, so perhaps he likes the peace and quiet of our house?

How’s your week been? And where the best place for fish and chips near you?

 

*Well, a weak moment might happen at some point later next week…

 

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The Right Hand DOES Know What The Left Is Doing…

hands landscape

When I was debating the decision to leave my office job and try to make it in the scary world of freelancing/novel writing, I undertook a session of NLP.

NLP – or to give its formal title, neural linguistic programming – looks at the ways our minds work. A lot of people use NLP for issues such as overeating as many of us are guilty of reaching for the choccie when times are tough. Realistically, that rather scrumptious bar of fruit and nut isn’t going to bring your ex-boyfriend back, make your boss nicer to you or result in your kiddiewinkles suddenly developing well-behaved tendencies*.

I did it because I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision, especially as I finally made the decision on a Monday. I mean, office workers don’t routinely arrive at work on a Monday morning and feel the urge to quit, hmm?! There have been plenty of dodgy decisions in my past often fuelled by excessive wine consumption. I tell myself mistakes are the best way to learn…** Anyhoos, I met up with the trainer (Steven Terris at Synapse Personal Performance) and we did an exercise called Parts Integration.

[SPOILER ALERT!! If you plan to use NLP yourself, look away now.]

Parts Integration involves you holding out your hands, closing your eyes and picturing a person, say in one hand (usually the less dominant hand) and using the other hand as a ‘voice’ telling the right hand why your decision is the right one. My pesky right hand kept coming up with reasons not to quit my job. Money reasons mainly.

My NLP practitioner kept badgering away at me – come on, come on what does your right hand need to know? The left voice almost shouted: “I DON’T KNOW!!! Flip’s sake, I just want to never work in an office again and spend my summers typing away on my laptop, mooching around in the garden and baking high-sugar items!”

But then the left voice thought up more valid reasons; reasons that made sense and sounded well-thought out.

Gradually – and without me really being aware of it – my hands drifted together until they were touching. And voila, the left hand had persuaded the right that leaving my secure (ish), comfortably-paid job was the right thing to do.

*I know; I was gutted when I found out the deluxe family bar of Dairy Milk fruit and nut can’t do this.

**These days, my policy is to hide my credit card from myself when looking at skincare websites online.

Call Myself a Gourmand?

Let’s talk wedding menus.

A bride (oh, and groom of course) should surely eat exactly what she wants on the day of her nuptials, would you agree? Given that the typical bride has probably spent several weeks, if not months beforehand in the land of culinary denial (the tyrannical kingdom which bans the deep-fried and interesting, exiles the cocoa and sugar gorgeous goodies and absolutely forbids what the French so prettily call le fromage), the wedding breakfast* should surely be absolute indulgence?**

For all my pretensions to gourmet sophistication, possibly my idea of heaven would be this:

  • Starter – salt and vinegar Kettle Chips with home-made cheese and chive dip
  • Main course – Beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas and bread & butter
  • Pudding – Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut and/or Morrison’s butterscotch chocolate.

Yum! As most diets these days hold back on the carbs, naturally let loose from the strict reins of wedding weight watch, the bride guzzles potatoes, bread and chocolate by the pound load, accompanied by a goodly serving of saturated fat.

Do I redeem my gourmand credentials by serving this refined selection with the finest Prosecco and a good brandy to match the choccie?

But seriously… Seriously, we’re not yet at the stage of dictating our wedding menu choice to the hotel so the serious wedding breakfast menu is a blog for another day…

 

 

*Why oh why is it called ‘wedding breakfast’? Given that there aren’t many weddings I’ve ever been to where you eat this meal before 1pm?

**My proposed photographer tells me you’d be surprised how many about-to-be brides he snaps on the morning of their wedding getting stuck into a Gregg’s sausage roll…