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 56, 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

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!

October 31, 2016

Ooh, baby, baby…

Oh my goodness…I’ve only gone and done it!
My Baby Gorilla drawing won first prize in the Ruddocks of Lincoln Annual Art Exhibition. Chuffed doesn’t cover it. The prize, of course, is wonderful but the recognition is beyond words. Thank you so much to this year’s judge, Toni Watts.
The little chap’s WIP video is now here


Also, four years ago I heard about The Spires and Steeples Challenge, a walk (or run if you’re mad!) of 26.75 miles across Lincolnshire countryside. At the time I was in the middle of chemotherapy so it was not going to happen but this year, TB and I blooming well did it. The heavens opened and the fields and footpaths were slippery, squishy and in places like quick sand but we did it…in 9 hours 46 minutes. I feel like King of the World.

This was pretty much the only dry path.
See how nicely coordinated we are, Frodo and me?

April 7, 2016

Back at it…

I’m drawing again and it feels good.

Click here to take a peek!

 I also have new string to my bow and a new website here

You can’t keep an old bird down  ;o)