July 12, 2012


No meat, no fish, no fowl, no dairy, no eggs…but all the fruit and nuts and vegetables and herbs and spices and nut milks and bean curds and pulses and grains and funghi and oils and breads and noodles and pastries and fillings and tarts and cakes and pastas and sauces and gravies and nut butters and fruit spreads and juices and cordials and wines and beers and teas and fresh roasted coffee beans and bakes and roasts and fries and…and…and…and…Lord, I could add more!

I’m 57, a vegan, a model, a portrait artist, stupidly proud mother of a grown up son, and wife to a wonderful ToyBoy.

Please scroll down for my blog posts (you can subscribe by email by clicking “Sign me up” on the right hand menu or at the bottom of the page or you can just pop by) and do come back for more.

PS: I’m sorry I don’t always respond to your comments and emails but please believe I read them all and they make a big difference to me. Thank you xx

May 17, 2018

Ebooks, Ereaders and Epubar…

I don’t usually write reviews on this blog. At most I recommend or simply praise an ingredient, gadget or product, but this is a review because this product deserves it.

I read at every available moment in many different formats, the irony being that I have little time to write much about books on here. I used to be a purist about books…if it’s not a book then it’s not a book! Then, some years ago I bought my husband a Kindle and I was hooked. (Yes, it was his but seemed to be in my hands a great deal so he bought one for me). I still love books…the feel, the smell, the absolute joy of them is unbeatable but for many reasons, for me the Kindle is essential.

I have various reading apps on various devices but nothing beats the Kindle screen, especially for someone like me whose migraines can be caused by bright reflections from a ‘phone or tablet. So, over the years I’ve used software to convert the ebooks I want to read to a format compatible with the Kindle. It’s often been a slow, tedious process but not now. Now I have discovered Epubor Ultimate.

Epubor Ultimate is the easiest, fastest converter I have used and the most versatile. The trial version is the full version with no features disabled but only converts 20% of the ebook to .txt format. Clever, huh? But that 20% is enough to show you how well it works. Don’t be put off by missing graphics or strange codes and formatting; with the unrestricted version these are just perfect.


On the left, the trial text version, on the right the full version of the same page
both on Kindle Paperwhite.


On the left the trial text version, on the right the full version of the same page
both on Kindle Paperwhite.



Once installed and opened, it automatically finds the eBooks on your computer and connected devices and displays them in the tabs on the left.




Drag the title you want to convert, (who doesn’t love the ease of drag and drop?) instantly removing the DRM, which often blocks conversion.


Epubor2If you double click on the book, you have the option to edit the meta data,
details such as title and author.



Next, select the type of file you need from the drop-down menu, click on the convert button and job done, in seconds! A window will open showing the the contents of the Ultimate folder, including the converted file. This is where you will take the file from to add to your device.


 The choices are ePub, Mobi, azw3, PDF, and Txt.
If you have a Kindle Paperwhite running the latest firmware, covert to a MOBI file, email to your kindle account and download that way, otherwise the dictionary won’t work!


Plug your device into your computer and it appears in the tab menu on the left (it even detects the Kindle model). If you click that tab you will see all the titles on the device. Also, a window showing its contents will open. If the Ultimate folder window is not  open already, click “+Add” at the top of the screen and a window will open. In the file named Ultimate are your converted ebooks. Simply drag and drop (still loving that!) into the Kindle window…put them in the Documents folder or you won’t be able to see them on your Kindle. And that’s it…couldn’t be easier.

I have only converted one file at a time but I understand Epubor Ultimate can batch convert with similar ease.

The interface is clear, uncluttered and user friendly. It’s the fastest converter I have used and whilst I have had no need for technical support, from what I’ve seen, it is excellent.

I have reviewed this with regard to the Kindle but it is compatible with the Nook, Kobo, Adobe Digital Editions. I believe other eReaders can be detected.

Once again, I generally do not endorse a product, not even for a freebie, but this one for me was worth a mention. Bibliophiles will be happy readers with this. Me? I’m going to put my feet up with a pot of tea and a good eBook.

Epubor Ultimate

Epubor Website



May 3, 2018

Rocks, pebbles and bones

Yesterday I had a “follow up” dexa-scan, to check my bone density as one of the chemo drugs I had and one of the drugs I still take have a tendency to ravage it. I’m pretty certain “follow up” meant annual or bi-annual…it’s been five years but hey ho! I’m also pretty certain all is well as I also take drugs to counteract the ravaging. The nurse was amazed that I weighed exactly the same as five years ago and thinking about it, I was wearing the same jeans and hoodie so that must have helped.

Whilst at the hospital I hid (not too well as I wanted them to be found) a couple of pebbles I had painted. This morning I’m up in the clouds as this photograph was posted on the Love on the Rocks Facebook page.


This is why I do it. This was first pebble I have hidden
and the first to be found. It feels wonderful :o)



If you find the other one or any others,
(there a so many people doing this)
please do post a photograph.



April 4, 2018

Not that kind of girl…

Instead of working, I’ve been messing around, (as you do and anyway, that’s what I do best) and I was intrigued by the difference in reversed images. This is something of which  I’ve always had to be wary when drawing portraits. I’ve always thought photographs didn’t look like me but I guess they do, they just don’t look like me in the mirror. (Also, in the mirror I look 35, maybe 40, not 56!)

This isn’t a new realisation but it acted as a very efficient displacment activity. One of the above old birds is me and the other is em. Both are sporting their new “Seize the Grey” hair.

GreyProgNearly all the old dye has grown out…
another six months should see it gone.

Images aside, how others perceive us is very different from our own view of ourselves. Never forget that, it’ll save a lot of time, frustration and misunderstanding. No-one wants to live in a cheesey romcom movie. “But I thought you were that kind of girl…”


December 1, 2017


Just to let you know, I got to the end of my jar of muesli and had a bowl full of dust but I ate it anyway.
It does not work like fairy dust…I am still not a princess.


You’re welcome


November 9, 2017

Letrozole, sunlight and socks

Every day I take a small selection of drugs, all cancer treatment related. One of them, Letrozole, has many side efects, several of which I experience, but one of which is pretty rare. One in a thousand patients suffer this rare affliction and I am soooooo flipping special that I am one in a thousand.

I have developed an allergy to bright sunlight, all year round, indoors and out! I’m ok if it’s cloudy but if the sun actually shines on me, whether directly or through a window, I’m on fire…the pain is really rather something. So I have replaced my love of a strappy vests with long sleeved t-shirts, jeans, leggings, long swishy skirts or short skirts with thick black tights or thigh high socks. Sandals have become boots (because socks and sandals have no place in my world!). My hair has to cover the tops of my ears or I wear a hat. I have also learned that not all colours block the sun, so it’s lucky I already have a wardrobe full of black and navy. My face seems immune (probably due the make-up without which I don’t leave the house) and my fingers seems a little less sensitive but thank goodness for antihistamine tablets…they don’t stop it but they make it less painful.

But after dark…oh, that’s when I shine and dance naked across the fields


September 5, 2017


My garden is only 12 feet wide and 30 feet long and paved.
I wanted wildlife in it so a few months ago I bought a bird feeding station
and have just bought a second one and now have 16 feeders.


It’s been a gradual process but regular vistors now include House Sparrows, Starlings, Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Wood Pigeons, Stock Doves, Collared Doves, a Robin, a Chaffinch, Hedgehogs, a squirrel, a mouse, slugs and snails. And yesterday, briefly and probably never to be repeated, an Osprey!


I’m chuffed to bits to have my own little Nature Reserve.


June 26, 2017

Peas, pied and poppies…

TB and I walked nine miles yesterday.
It was a beautiful day and he took some lovely photographs en route.

June 14, 2017

Foxes, dogs and sunshine…

During my cancer treatment I received so much support from many people, some of whom I’ve never met. My gratitude knows no bounds and as I’ve always been a big believer in paying it forward, every year I draw four or five portraits in aid of charities.

So far this year I have given three (Waltham Forest Cat Protection, The Fox Project, Boston Pilgrim Stroke Unit) and have two more scheduled (Lincolnshire Dog Rescue and The National Fox Welfare Society). Take a look here

It’s not entirely selfless. It makes me feel I am giving something back and that is a good, good feeling. So, on this beautiful sunny morning I am smiling like a mad thing as I trawl through photographs of foxes and dogs. Life’s pretty darn fine!



June 12, 2017

Crumpet and the Fox Project

This portrait of Crumpet, drawn by my good self, is being auctioned
in aid of the Fox Project.
(And here’s their Facebook Page)
The outside measurement of the frame are 54.5cm x 44.5cm.
Crumpet’s story and how to bid are below.

Crump 3ACrump Frame

Crumpet is the smallest adult fox that The Fox Project have had in, in a long time, weighing in at just 2.76kg.
Crumpet has front leg deformations and is possibly mildly brain damaged.
It was decided that for her own safety, she could not be released back
into the outside world, so she’s gone to someone that The Fox Project knows who takes non-releasable foxes and now lives with three others in a very large, naturalistic run.

Bids can be place here on Bren Hopping’s Fund Raising Page

Go, people, bid…let’s do Crumpet proud.

May 5, 2017

Couch to 5K…

Today I told Sarah Millican to f*ck off!

She kep telling me to run. Every 90 seconds she told me to run…and I did.

I’ve downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K app and have just survived the first run of week one. I chose Sarah to bully me. Thank you TB for running with me at the slowest pace known to man, woman or beast :)

I’m a seasoned walker but now it’s time to run.
TB was a triathlete so he can already do that running thing and cycling and swimming. Really though, walking and running will do for me.

Go me!