Smorgasbord Guest Writer – 50 Losses and 50 Gains


This week Julie Lawford shares some of her experiences during her weight loss process that I am sure will resonate with all of us. We tend to focus on the pounds lost or gained and not on the difference even losing 20lbs or 50lbs can make to us. I remember the first time that I could get in and out of a bath when I had lost 50lbs.

Judith shares the gains that she made when she had lost her first 50lbs and it is a terrific way to not only celebrate the weight you have discarded, but provides the motivation to continue to reach your target weight.

This post was originally shared in March 2016 and I can tell you that having met Julie at the Blogger’s Bash she looks amazing now that she has reached her target weight.

This weekend was a memorable one for me, in weight-loss terms. I’ve now shaken off 50 pounds since I begun my new healthier lifestyle last September. I still have a very long way to go (I’m not quite half-way to my most ambitious goal, since you ask). But at 50 pounds – that’s over 3½ stone or over 22 kilos, depending on your measurement of choice – I’ve just exceeded the most I’ve ever lost on any healthy eating campaign (note the absence of the word ‘diet’) before.

Weirdly, and I don’t want to labour this as it could easily depress me and I don’t want to get depressed… I’m now back to the weight I was when I started the weight loss campaign when I managed to shift what was until yesterday the most I’d ever lost before. But back then (2002) I had crawled to the upper 40’s and couldn’t keep it going. It all went (excuse the pun) belly-up. On that occasion, I’d gone to Weightwatchers, and it was good while it lasted. But as soon as I took my eye off the ‘points’ ball, my weight soared back on. Yes, soared back on at a rate which terrified me and which I could not even begin to understand. In all, I put on an average of 1 pound per week over the next 18 months (and then still more thereafter); a catastrophe from which, after several false starts in the mid noughties, I am only now recovering.

But I don’t want to jump aboard the trauma train. The whole point of this post is to mark an achievement, and highlight some of the many, many wins, gains and benefits that I’ve seen from the loss of this first 50 pounds.

So, here they are, in no particular order – all the ones that spring to mind at least:

  1. I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes
  2. I’m wearing ‘old favourite’ outfits that haven’t fitted me for 8 or 10 years
  3. I’m back to the weight I last carried over 14 years ago
  4. My ankles are pretty again, no more heavy, fluid-filled balloons
  5. I’m wearing high heels again and loving the increased stature and well-being
  6. I can go for a walk without pouring with sweat
  7. I’ve discarded a giant pile of ‘fat clothes’ that I hated having to wear
  8. I’m breathing more deeply, not catching my breath
  9. My resting heart rate has dropped over 10 bpm
  10. My nails are unblemished and healthy
  11. I haven’t had a cold all winter
  12. I can bend and touch my toes
  13. I can see my toes!
  14. My waist and once proud hourglass figure is re-emerging
  15. I’m wearing pretty bras again
  16. Yes, I’ll say it, I feel sexy again
  17. I’m standing straighter and taller
  18. When I pull my tummy in, it actually goes in a bit
  19. I like myself because I feel in control of my eating habits
  20. I feel good when I take exercise
  21. I feel good that I take exercise regularly
  22. I feel great when I get home from taking exercise
  23. I’m relishing many compliments from friends, family and colleagues
  24. I’ve surprised one or two people who haven’t seen me in a while – that’s been fun
  25. My feet have shrunk
  26. My boobs have only shrunk a little
  27. Pilates has become more fun again
  28. I can lie on my stomach and still be able to breathe
  29. I’ve rediscovered vegetables, nuts and seeds
  30. I’m looking forward to warm summer days ahead, not fearing discomfort
  31. I’ve eliminated 99% of added sugar from my life – and totally lost my sweet tooth
  32. I’m able to make healthy, balanced choices in restaurants
  33. I can fit into bucket seats without cutting off the blood supply to my legs
  34. I can sit on folding chairs without worrying they will collapse
  35. I won’t need an extender belt next time I fly
  36. I’ve learned to live without… toast
  37. I’ve discovered I can lose weight and still enjoy butter and cheese
  38. I can wear trousers that do up with buttons and a zip
  39. My favourite dressing gown wraps right around me again
  40. Tight toilet cubicles are no longer an embarrassing challenge
  41. I can buy ordinary clothes at Marks & Spencer
  42. I can buy actual sportswear
  43. I have swimming costumes which hold everything that has to stay… held
  44. My neck is slimmer and necklaces sit so much more comfortably and attractively
  45. My fingers are slimmer and I can wear rings I haven’t worn for years
  46. My wrists are slimmer and I can wear watches and bracelets again
  47. My hips no longer ache when I walk
  48. I can run upstairs
  49. I don’t get acid reflux after evening meals
  50. I no longer worry that I’m slowly killing myself

And a bonus ball…

“Hold yourself to a higher standard, and enjoy the self-esteem that comes with each single, small, disciplined act.” Tony Robbins

… I am indeed enjoying the self-esteem that comes from ‘holding myself to a higher standard’…

What about you. Are you, or have you ever been on a weight-loss, healthy lifestyle journey? If so, what were the most significant gains for you?

My thanks to Julie for sharing this post and as always your feedback and questions are very welcome.

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

The latest review for Singled Out.

Author Julie Lawford and I got chatting originally on twitter where I was envious of her new bookshelves! She had tweeted a photo. On discovering that she had published her debut novel earlier this year, and because I am always nosey where books are concerned, I took a look at its reviews and decided that Singled Out might well be a read for me. I was right – it’s a really good book!

Set on a singles holiday in Turkey, Singled Out is much more than a light beach read. In the very first chapter we meet an anonymous man who is preying on women. We soon learn that he is part of the holiday group, but not which male character he is or which of the female characters are at risk. Lawford deftly presents her story from two perspectives – a straightforward third-person recounting of the tale is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of The Man – and this creates a chillingly creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed trying to pick up clues and then discovering they could be applicable to multiple men. Great writing!

My favourite character is our heroine Brenda with whom I found it easy to empathise. She has a degree of the obligatory tortured soul persona, but is also warm and caring. She loves her food and the frequent descriptions of Turkish cuisine had my mouth watering and almost a plane ticket booked! It is refreshing to read about a woman who is not a stick insect and also not desperately trying to become one, and I liked that she is portrayed as strong, independent and desirable. Jack’s existence is nicely veiled and explored in an intriguing sub-plot.

Lawford’s presentation of people and places makes it easy to envisage what is going on and I know people just like Adele and Veronica. Singled Out is a good crime mystery read that is more about the participants than just the chase. The writing and plot have an interesting splash of originality and this book is definitely a cut above the identikit mainstream norm.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

You can find the previouse guest posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/guest-writer-julie-lawford-health-and-weightloss/

Thanks for dropping in today and I would love it if you would share Julie’s post – Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – FREE book, Invitation to a Party and brilliant writers.


Welcome to the weekly round up and a reminder that What’s in a Name Volume one is FREE until midnight tonight. I am not part of the Kindle family although all my books are formated to be read on Kindles, Nooks and any other devices. So I don’t do the Kindle select promotions. However, most of you know we well enough to email me and that your information is safe.

About the stories

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.

Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.

Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?

The book is available in Mobi (Kindle) Epub (other devices) and pdf for those of you without a reader.

Just email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and I will whisk a copy over to you. I appreciate that many of you have TBRs that rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa… but that is okay and I also have no expectation of a review… unless you really want to!

You can read a number of reviews for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

and the latest review by Paul Andruss which is a story too: http://www.paul-andruss.com/whats-in-a-name-vol-1/

End of Summer Party – August 26th – 28th – all welcome.

I will be roasting showcasing, those bloggers who have been with me since I began Smorgasbord four years ago.. and apart from these guests, I am inviting everyone to chip in with their details in the comments. I have some food and drink (virtually no calories) and there will be some music. I hope you will be able to pop in .

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/smorgasbord-invitation-to-an-end-of-summer-house-party-saturday-26th-to-monday-28th-august/

My secretary Mavis has reminded me that it is time to get on with the round up of the week’s posts that you might have missed.

I am of course very grateful to my guests this week who have provided us with entertaining and interesting posts. Thanks to Anne Casey, Julie Lawford and Carol Taylor who will be with us through the summer and beyond I hope.

William Price King is still on his summer break but I have been sharing a previous series that proved very popular the first time around.. Tony Bennett the ultimate performer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/smorgasbord-summer-jazz-2017-william-price-king-meets-tony-bennett-part-three-the-1960s/

Guest post from poet and song writer Anne Casey talking about the path to the publication of her debut poetry collection. Including her published work in the Irish Times.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/smorgasbord-guest-post-writing-all-the-wrong-things-by-anne-casey/

Julie Lawford continues her summer of lifestyle articles with her top ten tips for maintaining your weight loss.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/my-top-ten-experienced-based-tips-for-sustainable-and-healthy-weightloss-by-julie-lawford/

I was delighted to welcome Carol Taylor to the blog for the first of a collaborative series on my top healthy foods with some wonderful recipes from Carol.. This week delicious ways to prepare the king of fish.. salmon.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/smorgasbord-health-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-salmon-omega-3-on-a-plate/

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/milestones-along-the-way-tradition-and-smoke-signals-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/milestones-along-the-way-100-plants-and-snippets-by-geoff-cronin/

I have posted another one of my entertainment reviews and this time for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/smorgasbord-entertainment-movie-review-king-arthur-legend-of-the-sword-by-sally-cronin-2/

Book Promotion

For the next 12 weeks I am guest posting with a number of fantastic bloggers as part of the Odd Jobs and Characters, What’s in a Name launch series. I am posting the first three and then this Friday, Debby Gies is hosting the first of the guest appearances.. By all accounts she has added some Debby specials to the post so I hope you will head over and check it out.

This week was part one of my adventures as a dental nurse back in the late 1960s…haha.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/odd-jobs-and-characters-the-dental-surgery-part-one-sally-cronin/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-witchlet-book-one-the-magical-chapters-trilogy-by-victoria-zigler/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-a-desolate-hour-point-pleasant-series-by-mae-clair/

Cafe and Bookstore Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-jacqueline-oby-ikocha-and-john-nicholl/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-dan-alatorre-pamela-d-beverly-and-jacquie-biggar/

Air Your Promotions

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-carmen-stefanescu-and-patricia-k-salamone/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-janice-spina-gigi-sedlmayer-and-sally-cronin/

Smorgasbord Short story

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/smorgasbord-short-stories-a-cat-called-by-iris-mick/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-august-7th-2017-sue-vincent-geoff-le-pard-c-s-boyack-and-d-g-kaye/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-8th-august-2017-lucinda-e-clarke-steve-tanham-don-massenzio-and-colleen-chesebro/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-9th-august-2017-susan-toy-annette-rochelle-aben-d-g-kaye-with-tina-frisco-sue-vincent-with-judith-barrow/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-10th-august-2017-story-reading-ape-with-yecheilyah-ysrayl-wendy-scott-with-john-howell-and-jennie-fitzkee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-11th-august-2017-lucinda-e-clarke-debby-gies-free-book-steve-costello-carmen-stefanescu-and-christy-birmingham/

Weekly image and Haiku

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/smorgasbord-poetry-haiku-honouring-feng-shui/

Humour and afternoon videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/the-afternoon-video-the-first-time-i-saw-your-face/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-archives-doctors-dentists-driving-and-double-glazing/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/afternoon-video-archive-theres-a-cat-in-my-bed-dogs-fighting-a-losing-battle/

Thank you for all your support and generosity in sharing.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and hope you will visit again next week.

 

 

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – My Top Ten experienced-based tips for sustainable and #healthy #weightloss by Julie Lawford


Julie Lawford continues her summer of lifestyle articles with her top ten tips on maintaining a steady and healthy weight loss. When you have several stone to lose it is easy to find yourself wandering off the straight and narrow. Everyone is different but these ten strategies will certainly help you keep the focus needed to become healthier.

Following on from my one-year post, here are my personal tips on achieving sustainable and healthy weight-loss. I stress personal, because I’m not a nutritionist or a medical professional, so I’m not qualified in any way to offer advice. These are simply some things that have worked for me over the last year.

I’ve already written about a few of these, and I’ll be covering the rest in more detail in due course. But for now, in no particular order, these things made the greatest difference to me, and contributed to my success-to-date, over the past year:

(1) Build your support network

A coach, a nutritionist, your GP, a slimming club, a friend on the same journey, an on-line community, supportive friends and family. Doing this alone is tougher, so develop your network of supporters, who will guide, encourage and motivate you. People who care about you will want to help and encourage you. They’ll want to see you succeed.

(2) Keep a food diary

A full-disclosure, honest account of everything you eat; not to show anyone, but to acknowledge to yourself what you’re doing. Raising your own awareness of your consumption does, weirdly, help you to avoid the ‘bad stuff’ – even though it’s only you that sees your diary. You can’t kid yourself that you’re staying on-message when your food diary says you munched through a whole bag of tortilla chips for the third night in a row.

(3) Weigh yourself daily

Going from weekly to daily weigh-ins was a big breakthrough for me. You become aware of how your body behaves – and misbehaves. Days when you think you should have lost, you gain; and days when you’ve scoffed like a pig, you lose. But however those scales confound you, you only have 24 hours to go until the next weigh-in – that’s not a lot of time to go off-the-rails, definitely salvageable. Take your 7 daily weigh-ins and divide by 7, for a weekly average. If you’re generally staying on-track, even if the daily chart looks like a roller-coaster, your weekly average figures should be heading steadily and encouragingly downward.

(4) Give up sweet stuff

I’ve said a lot before about giving up added sugar – check out the post and the links. It’s made a huge difference to me, in so many ways. I’m not just talking about sweets and cakes either; I’d urge you to become more aware of how much sugar (in all its guises) is hidden in the everyday products you consume. I guarantee you’ll find it where you don’t expect it, and you’ll be surprised – shocked – at how much you get through without realising. If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, this is a particularly vital step.

(5) Minimise simple/white carbs

I haven’t gone totally low carb, but I have dramatically reduced, to almost zero, my intake of bread, pasta, white rice and potatoes. I thought it would result in extremes of hunger, but it doesn’t – really doesn’t! You lose the insulin/glucose ‘spikes’ which kick-off the hunger pangs. Your body rebalances, and your gut is grateful. I waved a not-so-fond farewell to bloating, heartburn and acid reflux too, when I ditched these lumpen ingredients.

(6) portion control

Whatever you think you should be eating, reduce it. Portion sizes have exploded in recent years and we’re all far too accustomed to accepting huge plates, stacked high, and ploughing our way through obscene quantities. The easiest way to lose weight is to eat less. If smaller amounts of food look meagre, serve yourself on a smaller plate, or a bowl. Serve half of what you believe you want, and return to the pot only if you are genuinely still hungry when you’ve finished your smaller portion.

(7) Plan an exercise schedule

Time does not automatically free itself. In ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ world, tomorrow never comes. If you struggle to commit to exercise, as I do, you’ll appreciate the structure of a schedule. I recently came across a neat idea – the ‘3, 2, 1’ approach. You pick three types of exercise; one you do three times a week (for me, that’s a good long or fast walk, for cardio, general wellbeing and the pleasure of fresh air); one you do twice a week (for me, a serious Pilates session for core strength and posture), and one you do once a week (for me, swimming with a friend, cardio again, also sociable). The idea is to inject some variety, to exercise your whole body, and keep you engaged with the whole idea of exercise. I’m far from perfect when it comes to exercising regularly, but I take the view that whatever you do, it’s better than doing nothing. We don’t have to all be gym-bunnies and marathon runners, do we?

(8) stop EATing YOUR EMOTIONS

One of the first things my Vitality Healthy Lifestyle Coach helped me with, was learning to reward myself – and conversely, comfort myself – with things that don’t involve food. I used to eat for comfort, and eat for reward, neither of which was helpful. Find things you appreciate – a massage perhaps, fresh flowers for your home, scented candles, an hour browsing a magazine, a film or DVD, music, a cosy curl-up in an armchair with a good book, a chat on the phone with a friend – just a few which work for me.

(9) Acknowledge your achievements

I’ve blogged about mini-milestones before. When you’re on a long weight-loss journey, it’s important to acknowledge your progress towards the bigger goal. Seeing yourself tick these milestones off, one by one, is very motivating. Learn to appreciate the benefits you’re experiencing beyond pounds/kilos too. Compliments from friends, the pleasure of buying clothes a size smaller, how your more slender body feels and moves – all these things and more can gift you energy and positivity for the next phase.

(10) POSITIVE VISUALISATION

It’s a powerful motivator, when you can visualise yourself as the more slender, more active, more energetic, more toned, healthier person you seek to become. I couldn’t do it at first – it seemed so far away and… impossible. But as the pounds began to fall away, and I began to imagine I might actually stay with my new healthy lifestyle, not fall off the wagon for good and all, it began to be easier to see myself as the person I wanted to become.

When you visualise, make it very real. Imagine not just what you look like. Focus on what you feel like, what you’re doing, how you’re moving, what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, where you are, what work you’re doing, who you’re with, and how happy you are. Make a home movie in your head and let the picture become very vivid and colourful, full of energy and vitality. If you’re a writer – write it! Write the story of your future self. It’s a bit of a psychological exercise, and it doesn’t come naturally for most of us, but it is worth doing. I wrote my visualisation and it sounded crazy, months ago. Not so crazy now though.

Like I said, I’m not qualified, and I’m not an expert. These approaches have become part of my healthy/weight-loss strategy, along with great bucket-loads of patience.

Weight that’s taken two decades to arrive, doesn’t depart in a few weeks. But it does let go eventually – so don’t lose faith in yourself.

©Julie Lawford 2017

 

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

The latest review for Singled Out.

Author Julie Lawford and I got chatting originally on twitter where I was envious of her new bookshelves! She had tweeted a photo. On discovering that she had published her debut novel earlier this year, and because I am always nosey where books are concerned, I took a look at its reviews and decided that Singled Out might well be a read for me. I was right – it’s a really good book!

Set on a singles holiday in Turkey, Singled Out is much more than a light beach read. In the very first chapter we meet an anonymous man who is preying on women. We soon learn that he is part of the holiday group, but not which male character he is or which of the female characters are at risk. Lawford deftly presents her story from two perspectives – a straightforward third-person recounting of the tale is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of The Man – and this creates a chillingly creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed trying to pick up clues and then discovering they could be applicable to multiple men. Great writing!

My favourite character is our heroine Brenda with whom I found it easy to empathise. She has a degree of the obligatory tortured soul persona, but is also warm and caring. She loves her food and the frequent descriptions of Turkish cuisine had my mouth watering and almost a plane ticket booked! It is refreshing to read about a woman who is not a stick insect and also not desperately trying to become one, and I liked that she is portrayed as strong, independent and desirable. Jack’s existence is nicely veiled and explored in an intriguing sub-plot.

Lawford’s presentation of people and places makes it easy to envisage what is going on and I know people just like Adele and Veronica. Singled Out is a good crime mystery read that is more about the participants than just the chase. The writing and plot have an interesting splash of originality and this book is definitely a cut above the identikit mainstream norm.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

You can find the previouse guest posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/guest-writer-julie-lawford-health-and-weightloss/

Thanks for dropping in today and I would love it if you would share Julie’s post – Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Tony Bennett, Houdini and Doyle, Bad Habits, Childhood and Greece


Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. As you know I recommend that you do not sign up for notifications about my posts.. it would drive you crazy.. but you might like to put Sunday in your diary for a pop in.

As always I am very grateful for those who have shared their thoughts, words and wisdom with us this week. William Price King, Paul Andruss, Julie Lawford, Kevin Morris and Ali Isaac

I have had some adventures of the dental kind this week having fractured a molar.. We had not signed up with a dentist as yet but were recommended to go to one in nearby Arklow.. You can always tell how good a dentist is by sitting in a waiting room. If people have their head in their hands are sweating it is not a good sign.. In this case everyone was enjoying a banter and talking about the weather.. I was reassured. Having been on the other side of the dentist chair over 40 years ago and witnessed some of the treatments then available you might understand why I am still nervous of going for an appointment.

I need not have been worried. Despite barely any of the tooth left, the dentist fitted me in for an appointment within two days because she did not want to leave me with a loose filling whilst she went on holiday. She took out the old filling painlessly and rebuilt it painstakingly… with composite. I am delighted to have found such a great practice and will be returning when needed.

The weather has turned autumnal and conkers are already on the trees. We have had a dry if cloudy summer and I take heart knowing that here in Ireland September can be a glorious month. In the meantime I may be getting the boots back out of their summer hibernation.. they have only been in there for six weeks…

Anyway on with the round up and thank you very much for your continued support.. It means the world to me.

Summer Jazz with William Price King

Whilst William is away on his summer break I will be reposting the series featuring the amazing Tony Bennett who is still performing in his 90s.

Here he is with The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/smorgasbord-summer-jazz-2017-william-price-king-meets-tony-bennett-part-two-the-1950s/

Writer in Residence

Thomas the Rhymer

This week Paul Andruss takes us behind the scenes of the real life relationship between two megastars of their day.. Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.. Expect the unexpected with The Dream Team.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/writer-in-residence-doyle-and-houdini-the-dream-team-by-paul-andruss/

A reminder that you can enjoy the full book of essays by Horatio Grin (AKA Paul Andruss) with bonus features FREE by emailing me.. Details in the post.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/free-book-fairies-the-hidden-history-by-horatio-grin/

Guest writer Julie Lawford Summer of Lifestyle posts

We all develop bad habits over time and this includes with our diet. Julie Lawford takes us through some strategies to make changes that benefit us.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/smorgasbord-guest-writer-what-we-repeatedly-do-by-julie-lawford/

Guest post Kevin Morris

Kevin  Morris is celebrating the release of his latest poetry collection, My Old Clock I Wind with a guest post on his childhood.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/smorgasbord-guest-post-my-school-days-by-poet-and-author-kevin-morris/

Milestones along the Way by Goeff Cronin

I new serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s books with Milestones along the Way.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/milestones-along-the-way-the-bed-to-beat-all-and-rural-electrification-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/milestones-along-the-way-the-banks-of-the-suir-by-geoff-cronin/

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Guest Ali Isaac

Ali takes us to the heat of Greece in this heart warming story of a mother and daughter preparing for the future and letting go of the past.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/authors-in-the-sun-aphrodites-rock-by-ali-isaac/

Book Promotion

Over the next three months I will be posting a new series Odd Jobs and Characters to celebrate my latest short story collection in ebook and a printed edition containing both volumes of What’s in a Name? The first three posts are on my blog and then the other twelve are being featured on some wonderful writer’s blogs..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/writing-short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-by-sally-cronin/

Smorgasbord Reblogs

These are stand alone reblogs for certain bloggers who have something a little extra that I would like to share.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/smorgasbord-reblog-the-story-of-my-life-writing-prompts-memoir-by-d-g-kaye/

Finn Mac Cool

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/smorgasbord-reblog-fevered-threads-by-paul-andruss/

Jessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/smorgasbord-reblog-the-best-independent-bookshop-in-london-by-jessica-norrie/

Just a reminder that all promotions for bloggers and authors on Smorgasbord are FREE… I can offer to showcase your work in front of nearly 30,000 across the blog and social media and give you regular updates every few weeks.

The only thing that I ask is that you participate by responding to comments of those who have taken the time to make them, and to share across your own blog and networks. This also involves responding to those who share on Twitter as I tag you in any retweets. Most who share on Twitter are authors themselves and are part of a very supportive community who welcome new members.

It does make a huge difference to the response. Not just for the initial promotion but those that follow. People buy people first..

A great example of participation this week was Vashti Quiroz-Vega whose enthusiasm for promoting her New on the Shelves post resulted in over 150 views and 50 retweets.. I did a quick count up of the number of followers who retweeted the post or the original tweet. Vashti’s book had the potential to be seen by half a million readers. Of course this does not necessarily correspond with books sold or downloaded but those people now firmly have Vashti on their radar.

As an author I love providing this promotional opportunity but it is a collaboration.

Here is how you can join over 200 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

A warm welcome to two new authors to the bookstore this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-curse-of-time-by-m-j-mallon/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-fall-of-lilith-fantasy-angels-series-by-vashti-quiroz-vega/

Author Update

Some new releases and great reviews for those already on the shelves of the bookstore.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-d-g-kaye-adele-marie-park-and-malia-ann-haberman/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-nicholas-rinth-charles-e-yallowitz-and-hugh-w-roberts/

Air Your Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-balroop-singh-c-s-boyack-and-lindy-rorke/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/smorgasbord-promotion-air-your-reviews-teagan-riordain-geneviene-effrosyni-moschoudi/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Some of the wonderful blog posts I have read this week.. Sorry not to be able to showcase everyone.. but you can always send me a link for your most recent post for me to share.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-july-31st-2017-story-reading-ape-ritu-bhathal-terri-webster-schrandt-and-david-m-prosser/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-august-1st-2017-kosher-kitchen-jennie-fitzkee-sue-vincent-darlene-foster-and-debby-gies/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-august-2nd-balroop-singh-marcia-meara-ali-isaac-and-christy-birmingham/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-3rd-august-2017-charles-yallowitz-jane-sturgeon-nicholas-rossis-c-s-boyack-and-lisa-burton/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-august-4th-2017-ian-hutson-ritu-bhathal-teri-polen-and-lucinda-e-clarke/

Smorgasbord Short Stories

A wonderful story from Ali Isaac which takes to a Greek Island and sunshine.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/authors-in-the-sun-aphrodites-rock-by-ali-isaac/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/the-afternoon-video-revisited-guess-who-rules-the-roost-it-is-not-the-cat/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-expect-the-unexpected/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/the-afternoon-video-a-family-of-elephants-against-the-world/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-confusion-reigns/

Weekly image and Haiku

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/weekly-image-and-haiku-cold-winds-plaything/

Thank you again for joining me here on Smorgasbord.. Keep an eye open during the week for a new interview series beginning in September in the Sunday Morning slot.

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – What we repeatedly do… by Julie Lawford


Julie Lawford continues her summer of lifestyle articles with a post on how positive change involves examining what you are currently doing, identifying habits that are self-destructive, and moving forward by developing healthier options.

I’ve come to appreciate that the weight-loss I want to achieve must be a by-product of whole-life lifestyle change. It’s not a project which has an end date, after which normal service (peanut butter on toast for breakfast, crisps and chocolate bars for dinner etc) can be resumed. I know that sounds obvious, but for lifetime overweighters like me, this change cannot be about being on a diet. This suggests that one day, one is no longer on a diet.

Whether we like it or not, our new healthy eating habits cannot be a temporary regime. They must become our permanent lifestyle – they must be what we do all the time, how we cook all the time, how we shop all the time, what we eat all the time, what we decline all the time.

So this time, rather than following rules, counting points and being on a diet, I’ve focused on layering on the healthy habits; nailing one habit, then adding another, and another, and another, and keeping at them until they become my normal, default position. For me, it’s not been an all-or-nothing game (which approach dieters are inclined to take, making massive changes all at once, often with disappointing outcomes). It’s been a measured, one-step-at-a-time approach.

It’s said, variously, that it takes 28, 60 or 90 days to embed a new habit. I don’t know which number is the right one but I do know that those good behaviours that at first require extraordinary reserves of self-control and self-discipline, do eventually seep into your psyche and attain the status of ‘habit’.

Like the 3-mile turning circle of an ocean-going liner, I’ve taken my time, but now I’m most assuredly going in the direction I want, with a host of healthy new habits on-board.

These are some of the habits to which I’ve laid claim over the last six months. They doubtless sound perfectly mundane to people of normal weight, but for me, each one has begun with a conscious effort, self-discipline and a determination to succeed, before it has become part of my new healthier lifestyle:

Cutting down and then eliminating added/refined sugar from my diet – this is The Big One, and I confess, I’m very, very proud of myself that I seem to have mastered this

  • Restricting my intake of pasta, bread, potatoes and white rice to very small portions and very rare occasions – after sugar, this is about restricting my intake of simple carbohydrates to a very minimal level. We can all live without so much of this pappy, bloaty dietary filler
  • Eating more, and a greater variety of vegetables
  • Incorporating nuts and seeds into meals
  • Cutting out processed poke-and-ping ready-meals
  • Taking the time to cook meals from scratch
  • Making healthy rather than indulgent choices in restaurants
  • Going for a walk outdoors at least 5 days a week
  • Taking every practical opportunity to walk rather than use the car.

Things I’m working on right now include:

  • Eating less cured meat and less cheese – my outstanding foodie weaknesses!
  • Standing up at my desk for periods of the day – following last week’s precarious tower of oddments, I’ve purchased a cunning device which raises my keyboard to precisely the right height whilst also folding up to nothing when not required.

Payoffs from my new habits have been immense. Quite apart from the 47 pound lost (so far), my resting heart rate has dropped by over 10bpm and my tolerance for exercise has risen; I no longer suffer from water retention due to sluggish circulation; I’m more alert and never bloated; night-time bouts of acid reflux are history; my posture is better, I’m standing taller, walking straighter and am properly aligned from foot to knee to hip, so all sorts of niggling aches and pains have gone. I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes and I can wear killer heels again without my feet imploding. I don’t know about the state of my insides yet as I haven’t been to the GP for blood tests and all that stuff. I’m saving that one as a special treat for when I clear 50 pounds.

It’s hard, when you begin to make long overdue changes with a view to getting healthier, especially if this involves trying to lose weight. Everything seems so far off, and the challenges seem so towering. The most helpful approach for me has been to not try and do it all at once, but to nail one or two habits at a time, gaining strength from small successes, which then power the next round of changes, where still more effort and determination is required.

It won’t be for everyone, but it’s working for me.

©Julie Lawford 2017

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

The latest review for Singled Out.

Most definitely for those who enjoy a book with an uncomfortable edge, ‘Singled Out’ is one of the most striking novels I’ve encountered in a very long time. With its short chapters, punchy dialogue, intriguing characterisation and wonderful descriptive passages, it’d make a terrific vacation read. And it’ll haunt your reflections long after the final page has been turned.

It is also one of the bravest pieces of writing to have come my way in a long time. In a masterful opening scene, Lawford leaves her readers in no doubt about her ability to grasp material that many writers would avoid, and bring it to the page without reservation. Those who choose to stay the course won’t regret their decision, but should be aware that this narrative demands to be treated with the respect it deserves. Lawford’s pen doesn’t pull any punches. Her ability to write certain scenes from the male perspective is, quite simply, astonishing.

But who is the male in question? From the moment the opening scene strikes home, the reader is faced with a gripping quest to solve this burning question. It is here that Lawford’s talent really comes into its own. She weaves a complex tale with disarming ease and leads her readers from twist to turn with effortless skill, and at a gentle pace offering deceptive comfort to the unaware (until the next shock comes their way). This is writing as a craft.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

You can find the previouse guest posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/guest-writer-julie-lawford-health-and-weightloss/

Thanks for dropping in today and I would love it if you would share Julie’s post – Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Post – The Power of Positive Affirmations by Julie Lawford


Julie Lawford continues the series of guest posts on health and weight loss through the summer with the benefits of positive affirmations. I found how useful this was at the start of my own weight loss journey. And it is interesting that Julie too was influenced by Anthony Robbins. David and I completed his Life Mastery series between 1996 and 1998.

In late 2001 a redundancy on top of a hideously damaging relationship caused me to stop and take stock of my life. Self-improvement guru Anthony Robbins was all over the place at the time and his book Awaken the Giant Within made a big impression on me. I invested hours in his audio programmes too – he’s a little OTT in places, but for me, it was a case of right concepts, right attitudes, right time.

As a direct result of the approach I learned and the self-improvement tools I took on-board, I took the plunge, stopped looking for another job and established myself as a freelancer – something I’d always thought I would enjoy (and still enjoy, 14 years later). I made a commitment to business networking (which has proved to be a wise and fruitful engagement over the years). For a while to supplement my income, I took up a direct/home-selling ‘business’ (Weekenders ladies clothing, now sadly demised), through which I learned how incredibly supportive my friends and family were prepared to be; I totally shook up my attitude to men and relationships too; I joined Weightwatchers – and I lost 50lbs. Anthony Robbins – I owe ya!

I also signed up to learn how to be A Coach. Yes, I was one of those 40-something, change-your-life coaches who were spewed out of pseudo ‘colleges’ set up overnight to ride the crest of an undeniably profitable (for the ‘colleges’) self-improvement wave. I bought the hype, I admit it – but on a personal level, it wasn’t a bad decision, just one which didn’t ultimately lead where I’d hoped it would.

Perhaps a little naively, I envisaged I would move away from marketing – a career I have some aptitude for, but in which I had arrived rather more by accident than design. When I stood up at business networking groups to try and interest people in coaching (just as the ‘colleges’ said you should), I would give my potted history, explaining I’d come from a background of sales/marketing and copywriting… I’d watch people’s eyes glaze over. Afterwards, every time, one or two would come up to me and quietly ask if I was still taking marketing work. After a while, I stopped trying to swim upstream and concentrated my energy back where it would deliver the most consistent results. I left coaching behind – although if I’m honest its techniques still feature, if a little surreptitiously, in the way I work with some of my marketing clients.

But some valuable principles of coaching and self-improvement stuck with me. And one of these is the general point of this post: Positive Affirmations.

“Adopting healthy diet and exercise habits is exciting and fulfilling”

Yes, Positive Affirmations is my Thought for Today, and I’m sorry I took so long getting to it. And I know some people think that affirmations are a bit kooky, a bit new-age (and that’s a really old phrase these days!), but I’m a believer. Affirmations are all about adjusting your thinking – seeing yourself as the person you want to be. Affirmations help to remind your subconscious at odd moments throughout the day, that you choose to see yourself differently, and it had better start backing you up!

“I enjoy walking in the fresh air”

Affirmations, for those who don’t know, are short, positive phrases and sentences that are about the person you seek to be, and the habits and attitudes you seek to live by. When you write them, you word them in the present tense, as if you’re already there. That’s the way they work. Then you post them in whatever place or places you pass through every day – maybe your bathroom mirror, your fridge, your desk, your car – places where they will catch your eye every now and again, but always, always be doing their work on you, whether you notice them or not.

“Preparing good and healthy food is a celebration”

I have four above my desk at present. I put them there when I embarked on my healthy lifestyle gig back in September. Yesterday as I read them, I realised how much they have altered my thinking and supported the changes I’m making. A few simple words, that’s all – and their power is immense.

“I enjoy the feeling of getting moving”

Affirmations can help you think more positively and become more resourceful; they can help change your attitude to so many things, not just diet and exercise. If you ever want to try them yourself, you can find out more about writing good affirmations all over the internet or on the self-improvement bookshelves.

As a wordsmith myself, I love affirmations and I celebrate the life-altering power that their few simple words can have.

©JulieLawford 2017

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

The latest review for Singled Out.

Most definitely for those who enjoy a book with an uncomfortable edge, ‘Singled Out’ is one of the most striking novels I’ve encountered in a very long time. With its short chapters, punchy dialogue, intriguing characterisation and wonderful descriptive passages, it’d make a terrific vacation read. And it’ll haunt your reflections long after the final page has been turned.

It is also one of the bravest pieces of writing to have come my way in a long time. In a masterful opening scene, Lawford leaves her readers in no doubt about her ability to grasp material that many writers would avoid, and bring it to the page without reservation. Those who choose to stay the course won’t regret their decision, but should be aware that this narrative demands to be treated with the respect it deserves. Lawford’s pen doesn’t pull any punches. Her ability to write certain scenes from the male perspective is, quite simply, astonishing.

But who is the male in question? From the moment the opening scene strikes home, the reader is faced with a gripping quest to solve this burning question. It is here that Lawford’s talent really comes into its own. She weaves a complex tale with disarming ease and leads her readers from twist to turn with effortless skill, and at a gentle pace offering deceptive comfort to the unaware (until the next shock comes their way). This is writing as a craft.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

You can find the previouse guest posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/guest-writer-julie-lawford-health-and-weightloss/

Thanks for dropping in today and I would love it if you would share Julie’s post – Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Julie Lawford – Left/Write: On being a Southpaw


As part of a series of health posts over the summer Julie Lawford explores the differences between those of us who are right and left-handed. Previously posted on Julie’s blog.

Left/Write: On being a Southpaw by Julie Lawford

I’ve never mentioned it before on my blog, but, in common with only around 10-12% of people, I’m left-handed.

At school, I was tormented for my left-handedness – but never by fellow pupils. My junior school was overseen by a psychotic headmaster with Victorian attitudes and a bullying streak that would have seen him shamed in today’s education system. In the 1960’s, the fact that he would, scarlet-faced with explosive rage, blood-vessels bursting from his neck, physically terrorise pupils who fell short of his most exacting standards, was considered acceptable. Parents did not feel burdened to look beyond the high academic standards the school achieved.

The curse of cursive

This terrifying man would teach Penmanship to classes of 8-11 year olds.

My problems arrived as we graduated from pencils to an antiquated pen-and-inkwell combination – his view being that everyone should be able to master the skill of writing in traditional cursive style, using a pen and ink. We were each allocated a wooden pen holder and a single pen nib. Our desks held inkwells in the top right-hand corner. We would all dread our Penmanship lessons – they were terrifying for anyone with even slightly ham-fisted handwriting.

As a left-hander, my fear was intensified by the helplessness of my situation. For a left-hander, it’s all but impossible to use a pen-and-ink without smudging every line and spattering your paper with ink. As a right-hander working from left to right across the page, you’re pulling your pen along, and the ink flows smoothly out from the tip of the nib. With a left hander, the pen is pushed. It catches the paper, it pings and splashes. And, as your writing hand follows immediately in the wake of wet ink, you bear the added trial of having to avoid smudging every word as you write it across the page. I failed, time and again, to produce work of the required standard and was repeatedly pilloried for my shortcomings. I was made to feel there was something deficient about me, because I’d been born left-handed.

We’re a sinister bunch

My old headmaster’s persecution of lefties isn’t without precedent. At various times in history, left-handedness has been seen as some pretty dreadful things: the mark of the devil and a sign of neurosis or criminality for example. The word sinister, as in… creepy, disturbing, evil, menacing… is the Latin word for left. And in olde English, the word left arises from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means weak or broken. Even in modern language the bias lingers; a left-handed compliment is actually a criticism or insult.

Ambi… ambi… what?

Like many left-handers, I have some right-handed and some ambidextrous behaviours (no smirking in the back row please).

As a child, sport worked mostly in my favour. I played hockey right-handed, due to the lack of left-handed hockey sticks back in the 1970’s. I played tennis with a racket in my left hand but could do a quick swap to my right hand when a left-handed backhand was out of reach.

Then there was the learning of musical instruments. I could cope with the piano but when it came to the clarinet I had to sit and grip it between my knees, as my stronger arm, my left, was at the top of the instrument, not the bottom, making it feel too unstable to hold. But I was okay with the guitar. I know some left-handed guitar players invert their strings and play with the neck of their guitar to the right, but I learned right-handed (the ‘normal’ way) and that seemed to work for me.

My mother once tried to teach me knitting, and when I couldn’t naturally grasp the required motions, she found a left-handed friend to teach me. I went from working left-to-right (or perhaps it was the other way around) to swapping entirely but neither approach felt right. I would start in one direction, then put down my needles, and pick them up again and set off in the other direction. The results were confusing and to this day, I’ve never managed to get to grips with knitting.

Whilst I use a knife and fork combo in the traditional way (fork to the left, knife to the right), I use a spoon in my left hand. I try to avoid desserts which require two utensils because using a spoon in my right hand makes me look like a toddler shovelling mush into my mouth – not pretty at all.

I used to wear a watch on my left wrist, because that’s what everyone does, but it gets in the way as I write, catching on the edge of the desk and being generally uncomfortable, so nowadays, I hardly ever wear a watch at all.

Puzzlingly for some, I use a computer mouse in my right hand. But I have a tendency to put cards in envelopes in such a way that when a right-handed person pulls them out, they’re upside-down.

What about the… who?

We left-handers have never mobilised like other minorities. We don’t have pressure groups and alliances, annual marches or colourful branding. We haven’t bemoaned the unfairness or bias we encounter. We just get on with it.

But the truth is, when it comes to industrial design, the southpaws of this world are frequently forgotten, with handles, buttons, switches and levers favouring the right-handed community.

Many smaller tools are designed for right-handers – scissors, can openers, vegetable peelers, serrated kitchen knives for example. It’s thanks to shops like http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk that those left-handers who struggle more than I do with right-handed cutting implements have somewhere to go to find tools that work for them. Many left-handers just make do with the right-handed versions and adapt their techniques – as do I.

As a paper crafter, it’s tricky to cut stuff out neatly with my set of precision right-handed scissors, because I can’t actually see the line I’m cutting. But I’ve got used to how right-handed scissors work in my hands, and where I need to line up to cut and I wonder, if I ever took hold of a pair of left-handed scissors, whether I would be able to adapt.

I saw an article today in the news about some new open-plan office ‘pods’ designed to give people privacy and a sense of insulation as they worked in open-plan environments. You can see them here. I thought they were a fascinating concept, but it was immediately obvious that these pods are designed for right-handers. I scanned the promotional material but I couldn’t see any reference to a reversed version for left-handers.

But it’s not all bad

Although this is disputed (ahem… perhaps by all those right-handers), left-handers are supposed to be more introverted, intelligent and creative. Far be it for me to disagree. Apparently in left-handed people the connections between right and left brain are faster, meaning – apparently – that we can deal more effectively with multiple stimuli. That sounds nice, whatever it means.

The worlds of art, music, drama and literature are filled with left-handers. There’s a great list of 1000 left-handers Here including all manner of famous names, and a few infamous ones too.

The list of left-handed presidents of the USA is disproportionate (eight out of 44) and includes Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, Bill Clinton and, latest to join the list, Barack Obama. And space is disproportionately southpaw too – one in four Apollo astronauts were left-handed.

But because this is (mostly) a blog about writing, I’m giving special mention to a few left-handed authors: Douglas Adams, Lewis Carroll, Franz Kafka, Mark Twain and H G Wells.

Are you a Southpaw?

I’m curious. Statistically, 10-12% of the readers of this blog will also be left-handed. Are your experiences the same as mine? Have you grappled with anything in this right-handed world – implements, skills or activities? Have you found ways around those challenges?

If you’re an author (right or left-handed), have you ever written a character to be specifically left-handed? And if so, why?

I’d love to open up the comments section for all things left-handed and have a lively debate, so please, do share.

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

About the book

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

Thank you to Julie for this insight into living in a world with a right-handed bias.. and we would love to hear about your experiences. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – The Bitter Truth about a Sweet Tooth by Julie Lawford


I am delighted to welcome author Julie Lawford to the blog to share some of her extensive archived of health posts. The first post is close to my heart… and shares Julie’s own experiences with sugar and some of the recent findings on this sweet and addictive invader.

For decades, losing weight has been all about cutting fat. ‘Official’ health guidelines directed us to ditch the full-fat milk in favour of semi- or better still, skimmed milk. Butter was demonised and we were told it was better for us to smear synthetic spreads across our bread. Low fat products filled the supermarket shelves and most of us were unaware that once the fat was excluded, in order to endow them with any taste, they had been packed full of… sugar. How is any of that better for us?

You’ll probably be aware that the official guidelines have recently undergone a seismic shift. Fats – especially good fats are IN, and sugar – despite the protestations of the food industry – is now OUT. Sugar has been rebranded the biggest dietary evil of our time.

Let me pin my colours to the mast here. I believe this to be absolutely true.

I’m not presenting myself as an expert on the matter. But I’ve been persuaded of the arguments and benefits by reading and learning from sources such as:

  • Pure, White and Deadly: How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it; by John Yudkin
  •  Sugar – The Bitter Truth; a lecture available here on YouTube, given by Robert Lustig
  • Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth About Sugar, Obesity and Disease; by Robert Lustig
  • Action On Sugar (website here) and Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra (website here)

The arguments are, believe me, compelling. Sugar rewards you emotionally, but does nothing for your body, and it was undoubtedly a major factor in my weight gain – and that’s not even taking into account the whole diabetes issue and a host of other damaging outcomes. The information is all out there – Google it.

Some time ago I had already significantly reduced my intake of chocolate, mainly because I realised I was addicted and was consuming far too much on a far too regular basis. I know. I know. People think I’m mad, but for the last three years, I’ve eaten chocolate at only two times of the year, for a couple of weeks at Christmas and Easter. Four months ago, along with a host of other dietary changes, I resolved to cut it out altogether. I took the decision not to re-introduce it for Christmas 2015. I’d enjoyed having those two indulgent periods of the year to look forward to, but they had rarely lived up to expectations and I’d become aware that for me, chocolate no longer filled the emotional hole it was supposed to fill.

Cutting it out resulted in a substantial reduction in my sugar intake, but it wasn’t enough. I don’t like sweet pastries and I don’t crave cakes particularly, but I have a weakness for biscuits/cookies, sweet cereals and a variety of confectionary. I had the killer Sweet Tooth.

Ah… biscuits/cookies… If I had them in the house, I would easily eat 4 or 5 with every cup of coffee. When I stopped buying them, there were days when I would prowl the kitchen looking for something – anything – sweet to plug the gap. But that passes fairly quickly, although I do recall squeezing spoons of toffee sauce one evening! But the truth is, the less of the sweet stuff you have around you, the easier it is not to consume it. And once the cravings diminish, you’ll be amazed, and you’ll wonder how sugar ever had such a hold over you.

There were two sweet things that hung about for a little longer… (1) I struggled with a nice, healthy bowl of porridge – I couldn’t enjoy it without a big squeeze of Golden Syrup and (2) I was still consuming sweetened yoghurts. Neither of these seemed particularly bad to me (it’s amazing how you can delude yourself, isn’t it?) – after all, I was eating porridge, and yoghurt, wasn’t I? But they had to go. Now I can enjoy porridge with a sprinkle of salt (yes, really!) and some blueberries or banana, and I’ve replaced sweetened yoghurts with my favourite creamy indulgence – Fage Greek Style (ahem, full fat) yoghurt, packed with friendly bacteria, which is utterly sublime.

What surprised me most was how both my compulsion and my taste for sweet things has gone. I don’t miss anything – and that amazes me. Cravings disappeared quickly and on the one or two occasions when I’ve had a small taste of sweet, out of politeness or because I didn’t want to be too pedantic about it, I’ve found the taste… not pleasant. Sweet is now… too sweet. That, my friends, is massive – the fact that once you’re no longer slamming your taste-buds with a tsunami of sugar, they don’t cry out for it, and when they get it, they don’t much like it any more. Massive.

It’s become so obvious to me that we are trained from childhood and endlessly influenced by advertising and the media, to crave sugar and regard sweet things as treats. Now there are savouries which I regard as treats – although my goal is to ‘treat’ myself with other things, not edibles. But, as they say, it’s a journey.

I would encourage anybody to take a run at this. Like any addiction, it’s tough at first, but eliminating sugar has so many positive effects on the body, that it’s worth persisting.

I’m not, as I mentioned, totally pedantic about it. My focus was on eliminating the main sweetened food groups – cakes, biscuits, breads, cereals, confectionary, deserts, sweetened drinks and fruit juices (but NOT whole fruit) – and avoiding added sugar in processed or ready meals, mainly by avoiding processed or ready meals. Doh. If there is sugar here and there, as there is, say, in salad dressings and other condiments, I’m content to overlook this. But at a guess, I believe I must have eliminated 95% or more of added sugar from my life, and I’m happy with this.

The anti-sugar lobby began to find its voice last year. Now it must demand that food manufacturers lower the quantity of sugar in their products – and it can’t do that without support from the general public. It’s bound to take some time. I would urge you not to wait for the food industry to catch up. By far the easiest way to reduce your own sugar intake immediately is to turn you back on those highly sweetened products.

Oh, and one small piece of advice. If you decide to begin this process, don’t just put or throw away the sweet stuff in your cupboards… douse it with washing-up liquid first!

©Julie Lawford 2016

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

One of the reviews for Singled Out.

Most definitely for those who enjoy a book with an uncomfortable edge, ‘Singled Out’ is one of the most striking novels I’ve encountered in a very long time. With its short chapters, punchy dialogue, intriguing characterisation and wonderful descriptive passages, it’d make a terrific holiday read. And it’ll haunt your reflections long after the final page has been turned.

It is also one of the bravest pieces of writing to have come my way in a long time. In a masterful opening scene, Lawford leaves her readers in no doubt about her ability to grasp material that many writers would avoid, and bring it to the page without reservation. Those who choose to stay the course won’t regret their decision, but should be aware that this narrative demands to be treated with the respect it deserves. Lawford’s pen doesn’t pull any punches. Her ability to write certain scenes from the male perspective is, quite simply, astonishing.

But who is the male in question? From the moment the opening scene strikes home, the reader is faced with a gripping quest to solve this burning question. It is here that Lawford’s talent really comes into its own. She weaves a complex tale with disarming ease and leads her readers from twist to turn with effortless skill, and at a gentle pace offering deceptive comfort to the unaware (until the next shock comes their way). This is writing as a craft.

Lawford also offers her readers a polished, professional product. Its cover is atmospheric and the patience of a careful edit is evident on every page. On rare occasions I come across a novel that restores my faith in contemporary fiction. ‘Singled Out’ is one such title. I’ll never forget it.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

My thanks to Julie for her post and please let us have your feedback about your relationship with sugar and all things sweet. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Singled Out by Julie Lawford


Please welcome a new author to the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore. Julie Lawford is author of Singled Out set on an idyllic slice of Turkish coastline, but all is not as it seems.

About the book

There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

Two of the reviews for the book

Singled Out explores the relationships that develop between a group of people on a singles’ vacation in Turkey. Brenda, a fantastic character and my new favorite heroine (such a cool lady!), forays out on her own for the trip while dealing with a personal issue she must come to terms with. But her life soon becomes intertwined with the others at the vacation resort, and she finds herself caught up in something she’d rather not be. What follows is a great combination of who-dunit and psychological suspense.

The writing in this debut novel is impressive with descriptions so rich, you’ll feel like you’re touring, sunbathing, and feasting on delicious meals in Turkey yourself. Mystery cloaks every page, and answers are doled out in a page-turning manner. But a caution to sensitive readers–the subject matter deals with sexual assault (that’s not a spoiler as the opening scene depicts this) and misogyny, sometimes in quite graphic detail. Normally I would shy away from material like that, but I felt comfortable in the author’s hands given the strong female lead who carries the novel, and the important message that’s unveiled.

An impressive debut novel for fans of psychological suspense. I look forward to more of this author’s work.

Don’t let the fact that this is Julie Lawford’s debut fiction novel fool you… this lady truly knows how to write! Not only does she demonstrate a brilliant grasp of the English language but the entire book is beautifully written with fantastic descriptive passages that will transport you to the sights, sounds, tastes and fragrances of Turkey, where this story takes place.

I had other stuff to take care of today, but did it get done? Not a chance. I was locked away with ‘Singled Out’ until I finally finished it, wishing there was already a sequel. The way she writes her characters throughout the book is nothing short of masterful and I have a new favourite heroine in Brenda Bouverie; the twists in her personal tale made my jaw drop. I seriously can hardly wait for Lawford’s next book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford/dp/1505207517

Read more reviews and follow Julie Lawford on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13411991.Julie_Lawford

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.

Website: https://julielawford.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieLawford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawford.1
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielawford/

Thank you for dropping in and please feel free to comment and share thanks Sally