Return to Homepage

Debbie Flint

Riwisi Clever writing pal AJ Pearce wins super Picador deal – Dear Mrs Bird, wartime tale, will get a massive launch!

Picador has won the long awaited debut novel by A J Pearce, Dear Mrs Bird, after a "passionately-fought" seven-publisher auction. A seven-way fight to get the rights to bring this fabulous innovation to the fore!

I’ve known AJ for several years, having met her via our mentor Julie Cohen (see last week’s RiWiSi blog for more info about her and her writing courses!). Julie gave AJ’s first drafts the once-over and she successfully secured Jo Unwin as her agent. Just recently, when I was talking to AJ about my Devon project (where we both attended workshops; more about Devon soon!) she mentioned she was up against it with edits, and having had a tiny glimpse of what’s in store, I was so pleased to hear she’s obviously done such a good job, she’s made the headlines in a big announcement in the new Bookseller industry magazine online! (here)

Francesca Main acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Dear Mrs Bird in a "major" two-book deal struck by Jo Unwin at JULA – her first since Unwin established her fully independent agency.

Translation rights are on the way for Germany (Rowohlt/Kindler), France (Belfond) and Italy (Sperling & Kupfer) and an auction is underway in the USA. Whooo hooo! Further deals are expected imminently, and Conville & Walsh agency will be concluding more at the Frankfurt Book Fair on behalf of JULA.

The book, to be a "super-lead" for Picador, will have a major launch and big budget marketing plan.

Dear Mrs Bird is set in wartime London in 1941. The plot follows protagonist Emmeline Lake who, amid the falling bombs, dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. However, instead she finds herself employed as a typist for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Day magazine. Mrs Bird is so resolutely against any form of Unpleasantness that she dismisses letters from the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted in favour of those who feel their ankles are unsightly or have had trouble untangling a length of wool. But Emmy can’t bear to think of women with genuine fears and worries going unanswered, and soon decides the only thing for it is to write back secretly...

Main said: "I fell head over heels for Dear Mrs Bird, which is the perfect tonic for these troubled times – it’s warm-hearted, poignant and gloriously funny; an utter delight on every page. A J Pearce is a born storyteller and has written a love-letter to friendship, to acts of everyday heroism, and to letter-writing itself. We’re thrilled to welcome her to Picador and can’t wait to start bringing the unforgettable world of Dear Mrs Bird to life."

Jo Unwin said: "Dear Mrs Bird is everything I ever want in a book – it’s funny, sad, and deeply touching.  And A J Pearce is the author we all dream of: seriously good at what she does and ridiculously good fun."

AJ said: "I am beside myself with excitement to be joining Francesca and the incredible team at Picador.  Everyone has been lovely and I know I have found the perfect home for Emmeline and Dear Mrs Bird. Now I really must stop running around shouting PICADOR! at complete strangers."

This last quip is typical of AJ and if you’re like me, you’ll already be earmarking her first novel as a ‘must-read!’

AJ grew up in Hampshire and studied at the University of Sussex. She has worked in magazine publishing and spent 15 years in home entertainment marketing. She now lives in the south of England and works freelance.
Dear Mrs Bird will be a "super-lead" fiction launch for Picador in Spring 2018 with an "extensive" marketing and publicity campaign. How amazing – and hot on the heels of Joanna Cannon’s success, Julie is building up quite a stable of success stories! See last week’s RiWiSi blog to see how you can go to one of her courses.

More from The Bookseller here

Follow lovely AJ on Twitter here.

Other news –

- folly Farm fun When AJ and I attended one of Julie Cohen's previous workshops, we found an unusual student outside... some Pig! 


- more about Julie Cohen's next workshop for authors March 2017 here.

Dear Debbie

I was one of those skinny people who never had to worry about putting on weight, in fact I had trouble keeping my weight up! That was until I hit health problems in my fifties, first of all a bowel obstruction that ended up with a perforated bowel, emergency surgery to save my life and the formation of a permanent colostomy! I then also contracted double pneumonia and pleurisy followed by the onset of Ankylosing Spondylitis (a spine problem that causes extreme pain and limited mobility). Whilst in hospital I lost an awful lot of weight and came out of hospital weighing only 5 and a half stone! I was instructed by my consultant to go home and rest and eat lots of good food. I guess I overdid the eating lots of good food and went way past my previous weight of 9 stone and peaked at 14 stone 6 pounds which for someone who is only 5ft 4in and small framed was way too much and was making my spine problems worse and at annual checkup at my GP I was warned that my weight was causing very high blood pressure and I was on the verge of type 2 diabetes.

I guess that was the wake up call I needed, that and the news that I was going to be a first time granny to twin boys!

I knew you Debbie from QVC but got to know you more on Facebook on the Back to You QVC page. You mentioned Freedom Eating and introduced the Till the Fat Lady Slims books you'd written. It sounded interesting so I bought a copy of book 2.0 for my kindle and started to read it that night. In fact I read it through the night without putting it down! So much of what you wrote made absolute sense.

So mid May this year I decided with nothing to lose but my weight I would give freedom eating a go. It was a bit strange a first, leaving food on my plate ( I was of the generation where you were always expected to clear your plate).

But gradually I learnt to listen to the signals from my body, about when I was hungry, what I really wanted to eat and more importantly when I was full.

It was a revelation that I didn't have to eat until I was bloated and uncomfortable! I discovered a love of vegetables, stopped having sugar in tea and coffee, no more fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, crisps. I started by not having sugar in tea or coffee, no fruit squash, no fizzy drinks and no tinned soup, sauces or ketchup. It's the hidden sugars you've really got to watch out for so I decided no processed foods at alland now I'm cooking from scratch.

As a result I've just lost 2 stone 1 pound as at October 1st 2016. I still want to lose another 2 stone and – this time –

I know I will do it.

This isn't a diet, this is a way of life now.

I'm no longer taking blood pressure medication and I'm no longer pre diabetic, my skin looks better and I've definitely got more energy.

But unlike any other time in my life, I definitely feel I can do it! All thanks toDebbie, freedom eating and going sugar free. Started this new way of looking at food mid May and now I'm here in October 2 stone lighter, never thought I could lose weight because I do have mobility issues … thanks to you Debbie and TTFLs group!


I'll have a look for a fat picture (eek!) but I became very camera shy.



Thanks so much to June for sharing her testimonial with us and on the TTFLS Facebook group - do come join us! Click here.

It's so inspirational to others too isn't it? Especially others who have disabilities, like June has experienced. But at least, as she says herself, she's avoided being pre-diabetic. Which is particularly important at the moment, given the awful programme on the other night focussing on the nation's diabetes explosion. And with all the sugar people are eating, it's no wonder. There are some scary facts about sugar consumption, diabetics, and the burgeoning costs on the health service. Here's the link to see the show the other night - be prepared for graphic scenes of surgery tho.

Read this scaryy report - truly, go read it - especially if you feel you need sweet stuff every day.

watch the diabetes show Diabetes - the hidden killer - on BBC panorama on iplayer , or on catch up here.

And for those who have no idea where to begin on giving up or cutting back on sugar? Here's my blog I refer people to all the time.

go here to read Aids on cutting back on Sugar.

It's so worth doing - it gets us all, if we're not careful don't worry. But don't think you've failed if you go by the wayside - after all, with TTFLS we say 'the wayside is part of the journey, just don't set up camp there. And with Freedom Eating it will guide you through how to do just as June and countless others have - break free from food Prison - you just have to get the book and begin.

find all my till the Fat lady slims books here.

Have a great week!




Published in Back to You

Well this week was a week full of highs and lows that's for sure!

One of the highs was being asked to help spread the word about my lovely mate Linda Magistris's new charity the Good Grief Trust.

I've written a whole blog about being asked to become a patron of the umbrella charity for people who are bereaved, and Linda's own story is a touching one - you can see her interview on BBC Breakfast here too - click here.

Plus this week as you may know if you're a regular, we said goodbye to lovely Patchy dog. It was time, as her body was giving out and it was just not fair any more to keep her anguished as she could no longer stand and kept falling over hitting herself, bless her. I've done a little tribut to my lovely old Grey dog and it's here on this website - do go hear about some of my favourite memories of this funny, loving, 15 year old labrador who I took care of her whole life. go here.

It's never nice when you say goodbye to anyone, so I guess it was ironic to be asked to help a bereavement charity in the same week as I lost poor Patchy dog. But Gracie and Daisy are as mischievous as ever and keeping me company. I was a bit zonked to be honest, on the day it happened and slept from 11.30pm till 9.30am - if you know me, you'll know how unusual that is! Still she's with her mummy Holly now, and out of pain, so I'm glad for the tim I had with dear Patch.

other news -

Book of the week - my book blog is all about the Day of Second Chances audiobook and how you can get tips from some top authors here.

Do remember to watch BBC1 at 4pm this Sunday for the Kate humble Medical Detection Dogs #lifeline appeal - more about it here.

A special Till the Fat Lady Slims update - how June M lost 2 stone since May using Freedom Eating system and how she avoided diabetes - more here.

And do go to my QVC blog which will appear here on Friday pm for more about the latest trip to Devon and more about the new 'project' - but never fear - all will be revealed on the next newsletter on this page of my website next week! Exciting!

have a great week!



ps - to get  my special Early Bird order links for selected QVC deals, before they go on air, click here (if any are active)

to keep in touch on my social media, click here

to find out about all my novels, short stories and non-fiction click here


Published in Debbie's News
4 October 2016

RIP Patchy Dog.

This week, my lovely Patchy Dog fell asleep for the last time and it was - as these things always are - a sad occasion. Poor thing really had had enough, so it was only fair not to put her through any more distress, since she couldn't make it round the garden any more as her back legs had given out and her swollen tum indicated , as the vet said, that old age or something more sinister, was overtaking her little body and she became skin and bone.

But Patchy was 15 and she really had a good life.

This was Patchy last year when I first moved into new house.

She was no trouble, nearly all her life never had anything seriously wrong with her - apart from a cut paw - and was a pleasure to spend my last 15 years with.

she was one of eight puppies born to Holly - who only died two years ago - longevity runs in the family. Being prolific doesn't tho', as Holly never had any more litters, and Patch only had three pups, by caesarean. But she was a good mum and that was the only time she became alpha dog, keeping Holly in her place whilst her pups were at home!

Patch, her mum Holly plus Daisy and Gracie aged about one, circa 2011.

My kids Brad and Lauren recall Patch fondly, knowing she was a bit batty! She loved playing with the pups Gracie and Daisy when they arrived, and was a kind, generous playmate. She loved her toys, and could usually be seen with a plastic something or other in her mouth, although Daisy thought it was her job to decimate them, Patch would keep walking round with the remnants in her mouth.


One really funny memory I had of Patch was once whilst drying her with the only thing I had to hand - an old white dressing gown - and she tried to escape through the sleeve. Her nose and eyes reached the end and she was flopping around like a seal for a while - Brad and Lauren and I were killing ourselves laughing! That was when we were at our house in Home Meadow around 2002 or 3. Brad left home for uni in 2005. Seems a million years ago. And Patchy was there through it all.

Patch was a favourite with the people who visited - Mr back of my tandem my ex, and my pal sharon's lad Lewis amongst others, both thought Patch was great.

Patch was always a happy soul, always there with a waggy tail and never miserable, or unhappy. Always the delta-dog, never the alpha, she loved life and will be sorely missed.

RIP Patchy.




Published in Debbie's News

How amazing and how thrilled was I to be asked to help spread the word about this new support system for the bereaved.

The Good Grief Trust has some superb aims, and my pal Linda Magistris, who you may remember from the vintage tea rooms/supper/fete we did in the summer, says the following -

"The Good Grief Trust Fundraising update: We are delighted to say that at 6pm today our National Fundraising Campaign will be going LIVE. If you are able to make a donation, no matter how small and join us in this ambitious project to work towards our goals, we would be very grateful.

This initiative to change the face of bereavement in the UK is on a National scale and it will therefore need significant funding, so we are able to set up this new Charity, ensure it reaches everyone across the whole of the country and we are able to achieve our objectives; These are our main aims;

1) To develop The Good Grief Guide .com - a new fully comprehensive Support Website for the UK.

2) To develop a strategy (i.e. new Bereavement 'Pack') to find every person in the UK, via hospitals, hospices, Police, Funeral Directors, Care Homes & Clergy, who is bereaved and signpost them to targeted help and support as quickly as possible.

3) To work with Health professionals to bring together best practice across the country, sharing successful, innovative projects so that both the health service and the public can benefit from a fresh new approach to bereavement services.

4) To bring all bereavement charities, services and organisations under the one umbrella, for simple, easy access, providing practical help, advice and support in the early days, through to offering hope for the future with a wealth of inspiring ideas, services and ongoing support.

We intend for our virtual hand of friendship to reach those who need it most, whether the loss was a friend, sibling, partner, grandparent or child and no matter when the loss happened, grief is something we take with us for always.
Thank you so much. Linda x

Linda sadly lost her soulmate Graham and found herself bereft of support. She says it made her realise how needed an umbrella group was. Read her story on the Go fund Me page below - where you'll also see her launch video on BBC Breakfast from September 2016.


 The Good Grief Trust was recently launched on BBC Breakfast on Graham's 2nd anniversary - we aim to be the UK's 1st National Charity to bring all bereavement services under the one umbrella.

Over the coming months I will feature updates here on my charity page about the Good Grief Trust too.

Links below to start reading what they say and how you can join in - 


twitter - @goodgrieftrust

Go Fund Me page - and Linda's video from TV appeal Sept 2016 -

Published in My Charity

Medical Detection Dogs on the BBC 9th October -

#bbclifeline no less! Watch out for fellow ambassador Kate Humble presenting the next charity appeal on 9th October – She’ll be telling the charity’s story, from seven year old Archie, whose dog Domino alerts him to life-threatening changes in his blood sugar levels, to the research work the charity is pioneering into early prostate cancer detection.

 More here.


Xmas Cards!

Here are this year’s Xmas cards – look no further!

And how amazing are these designs? Wonderful Xmas cards which will be a joy to give out to people I still give cards to.


If you’d like to get some, go here, and know that you’ll be supporting my fave amazing charity MDD.

Published in My Charity

Penni Rowe, my latest fab success story says – “I am intolerant to gluten, but with all that temptation out there, when I go for a meal out or Christmas food I slip and have blips. This can leave me bloated and sometimes feeling not to good, it makes my tummy unwell, some people might relate.
Though I did use to be a Linda (guise of Freedom Eater – see book 3.0 avail online) when I first started the freedom eating, I just couldn't get my head around not feeling full, it was all I ever knew, didn't quite understand that feeling of satisfied. So the first few weeks I did the 5.2 as well as the freedom eating.
Then one day whilst I was sitting alone actually at the table I was eating at tuna salad, it's what my body felt like etc, and I just let out as great big sigh. That was it, that's when it clicked for me, since then it's all come together and I've gone from a size 18 to a size 12 – so glad - woo hoo, a true life changer!”

This is one of the latest updates posted on Facebook on my Till the Fat Lady Slims group (join it here THe above is the snippet I featured on my new QVC blog, but here's the rest.


Hi Debbie,
Hmm were do I start, I would say the one thing I have always been blessed with is my weight when I was younger. Throughout my later teens, 20's, and 30's I have always been able to get away with in hindsight when I look back, eating rubbish and very little exercise. In fact the only exercise involved in my life back then was my day to day life style!
At 20 years of age I was a little bit crazy had moved to the city of Liverpool from a small town called Wigan, hoping for the highlife (plus my job was here working for customs and excise). I was young and slim and never at this age really went past the weight of 8 stone plus a few pounds, diets were everywhere I'd grown up with them having a glamouros mum and an older sister but luckily for me id never tried a diet, then things started to change I got pregnant!
After having a beautiful son Kristian, I was soon unfortunately became a single parent and having experienced this has its positives yet also some negatives. For example money can be tight, time isn't on your side and it can be exghusting. looking back I ate rubbish again, I comfort ate, oven meals filled my fridge and freezer with take aways in between for our treats.
Blimmy what I have learnt now about the food I use to put into my body, but more importantly into my son, I won't feed it to my dogs honestly but I wasn't educated back then.
So my son is now 3 years and I was still the same weight up and down a couple of lbs or 3 like I have always done and then when I was 24 yrs my mum died of breast cancer which spread to her lymph nodes.
I was devastated, I really didn't know how to cope and much of that year I can't seem to remember its all a misty phase, I think our body and mind seems to do things like this to protect us, and I went into a delayed depression of grief after around 9 months.
I soon became physically sick also I had something wrong with my digestive system and couldn't use the toilet, my GP kept telling me it was 'Irritable Bowl' and as I had the weight of the world on my shoulders I just went with it, my heart knew there was more to this.
I was grieving my mum so I didn't want to eat but I was also avoiding using the loo, boy it hurt me so much, did I have cancer too? I was now 7 stone and they found out the problem was a 'fissure' the GP called it, I was only young and scared didn't know what that was. Though straining I'd torn myself and had to go into hospital for a operation to get it sewn up, oh how humiliating! I was devastated lol.
Soon after all this was sorted I was back on my feet again and putting my weight back on pretty quickly, getting back to being a mum and socialising. Bascially eating and drinking lots of sugar, salt, caffine, alcohol, wheat and lactose, all foods I do my best to steer clear of now.
My life was never the same, I longed to have my mum around and somehow found being a single parent harder without her help. I would have ups and downs and when I was down I would self medicate with a nice glass of what ever and lots of savouries like a 7 bags of crips, nuts and a kebab when I could afford it (eww lol) luckily I was never a chocolate girl.
I was now coming to the back end of my twenties and it had been a rocky road since moving to Liverpool, I had also chosen in hindsight unhealthy relationships with men since my mum died as I now think I didn't want to be alone. Then the day before my 30th birthday I had arranged to met up with friends in the city centre, I remember it being cold as it was November but I woke up with that chilly feeling inside. I felt not quite right, quite stiff and ill very light headish. I tried to put it off, it was my birthday the next day I had no time to be sick (again) but it got worse.
Around 3 hours later I was sectioned in a small room all alone in a Liverpool hospital with meningitis, gutted. How did that happen? I was fine yesterday! It was at this stage in my life I felt a sense my physical body and I became detatched. Had I abused it or disrespected it so much it became so sick many times and I hadn't listened. I'd always been 'unconfident' had a low 'self esteem' so never nurtured myself in any way shape or form, never been good to Penni.
 I was in hospital for a week but was to learn that it took over 5 years for my immune system and physical body to completly heal.
From then I had to have a platelet transfusion, as my blood wouldn't clot, lumber punchers (horrid) my hair fell out and grew back curly plus epilepsy and no more children.
So I'm now 34 at home mum, much, much better and still around the same weight still never dieting. Ironically watching Qvc a lot and Alison Young is completely fascinating me, I love all beauty anyway and she inspires me to enrole at college to train as a beauty therapist. Liverpool is full of girls loving their beauty I can do this.
I quicky got into the whole beauty world and that's when my first experience of a diet was 'The Atkins' I wouldn't mind but I wasn't overweight or even 9 stone just got caught up in the crowd mentality I guess. Awful, boring and bland diet and I soon came off it as I got stick in the pub drinking sparkling water, but I did loose weight, only to put it back on as soon as I ate normally. Very unhealthy.
As I finished college and luckily went straight into a great job in the city centre I think I compensated with not working for so long with my ill health and wanted to work long hours. I loved having something that was mine, I now had a sense of belonging a different role other than mum or daughter and no-one could touch me.
This was so important to me, that I didn't realise though I was a very strong woman in some ways I was also vulnerable and sensitive and frightened of loss. For some unknown reason I had fallen into a top spa with famous faces around Liverpool and that self doubt kept creeping in, so I was extremely hard on myself working all hours god sent and hardly ate a healthy meal.
Then one day I started to wake up extremely fatigued, putting down to my job and being a single mum I just carried on. Then it got worse, plus I ached with bad headaches. My fingers started to hurt when I did facials and my back muscles killed with any massage, I refused to stop, how could I let this job go, but I had to it got too bad to work.
I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrom M.E, and even then I worked for nearly a further 4 years. I was now suffering physically and mentally as I had depression too.
I finally gave up work and felt as though my life had ended, my whole career gone! I had no help, I went to see a counsellor and he told me he didn't believe in it. A doctor said it was all just in my head and another one said to me, just accept it, this will be your life now! wow amazing the health care had such a negaitive respose to some thing.
This was the biggest battle I ever faced, I had lost so much and was slowly loosing much more too, because I couldn't do daily things or socialise all but one of my friends disappeared. I had no relationship, I couldn't see a future, my body again wasn't my own, we had become detatched. Had I let my physical body down or the other way around? So I just ate an ate then ate some more!
I could on a good day get out of bed, I couldn't go out, maybe travel in the car somewhere. I had to have help washing my hair and I had to bath as a shower was standing and that became too difficult. On really bad days I was bed bound and had to crawl to the loo.
4 years of not working and the CFS getting it claws into me I was now over 11 stone,i had never weighed this much and it was showing everywhere, even my rings didn't fit me anymore.
 I'd had enough of it all, I had tried lots but nothing had worked, and being house bound and in pain you have a tendency to reach for the crips or the chocolate rather than the kale or cottage cheese (they're my new snacks).
I knew I was getting bigger as each year ticked by and I had to keep throwing clothes away in order to fit into the new ones, the size 10 and 12 had gone when I'd stopped working, now 2012 the size 14 were being replaced by size 16 and my tops are a size 18+ as my stomach is extremely bloated I look 9 months pregnant! Plus I had gone from a 34 c bra to a 38 DD, but even that was tight so I'd stick to Ahh bra's instead. So I get even more depressed and eat more.
2013 I decide to fight this battle head on, if the NHS has done all they can then I won't give up. I found a clinic in London, 'The Optimum Health Clinic' they educated me enormously around the illness, learning what is going on inside my anatonmy not just about the symtoms, but I still wasn't free from this.
Then another event in London 'I can do it' completely changed my life. I went there as I am a massive fan of Dr Wayne Dyer's work and he was talking, (it was here I met Debbie and Craig from QVC) though I felt very ill, it did do me the world of good. Then someone I knew nothing about came on the stage Phil Parker, he spoke about 'The Lightning Process' and how it can help people suffering with CFS. Well it does, and it did. It was amazing and for me a miracle.
Though I was free of this horrid illness, I was now left with, muscle waste, weak joints and osteoporosis. Each time I went to visit the gym (as now I was determined to get back to the weight I was, as had a fighter in me), I came home with pain that shouldn't be there. So it was far too soon for that type of exercise, I had to take it slow.
I became very impatient I had lost years of my life and my career and I just needed to live some kind of life again. I had qualified as a CBT therapist so this was my new career, box ticked, but being over weight was out of hand, it was making me unhealthy. It seemed like every time id read a magazine or pop the tv on they were reminding me too in some way shape or form, I have to say it got me down.
Then in 2015 my partner said he would do a diet with me, we started in the feburary and it lasted for 12 weeks, you would detox for 2. Though I learnt a lot about foods and myself I only lost 3 lbs and became even more down especially watching him loose lots of weight and another diet not working for me. I got down to 10 11ibs, but then very soon after I was 11, 4 lbs.
A year on in 2016 i'd bought your book 'Till the fat Lady Slims', now I already had his on kindle, but as I had now joined the wonderful facebook group and followed many peoples success stories and tons of they're hints and tips I figured to buy the paper back as this wold be much better for me to keep referring to when needed, I was right.
I decided to refresh my brain and read the book again, as the first time I'd read it was in Tenerife about 3 years ago. I am not sure why, probably because I was ready and really absorbed the book and didn't give up initially, but everything this time has clicked, fallen into place and I now listen to my body, 'loud and clear'.
In fact its no longer a concious thing it just happens, you know when youre learning to drive, you have to think about every little move do then what comes next. Once you pass it just all flows naturally, you don't need to think about it right. So that's how my eating has become, apart from thinking what do I feel like eating.
Plus and its really hard to explain this unless you've experienced I do feel a sense of freedom. I don't feel locked in that 3 meals a day plan, eat all your plate, or even a full sandwich. It feels fantasic and powerful be able to leave for later.
I drink a pint of water every morning, strangely that's the one thing I really miss if for some reason  I have to do without, yet I struggled with it at the beginning. I often have a cup of boiled lemon water to hand but as im pottering about on my day off or getting ready for work with my clients it can be midday before I'm hungry, my tummy or mind hasn't even spoke to me about food. I have now got out the habit of just having a breakfast because they say you should, it never suited me ever! I've also got out the habit of bingeing. If I get hungry before dinner time after I have drunk my water I will have a smoothie as I feel I can get tons of neutritons included here and they're filling too.
A typical lunch for me would be some cottage cheese or mackerel or even a bowl with tuna and salad, I will eat some then when I experience that sigh of satisfaction i'll stop, but I know I can go back to it anytime im hungry.
Tea time at my house for me is totally different, I no longer have a full plate and even what's on it I don't always finish. I will always have a big glass of water 15mins before my meals, you'll be amazed what a difference this makes, as lots of times your body is thirsty not hungry.
I try to stay away from caffine, sugar, wheat, lactose, red meat, too much salt and too much alcohol. I did cut them all out completely for a few months and don't buy them but now if I'm out or on holiday I will treat myself. Yet there are many times when I do, and my body just is not happy one bit!!
I have most definitely been eating incorrectly all my adult life, if its following a routine, fitting in, stuffing food down me quickly on the go. Eating confiniant rubbish, not chewing, not stopping even when I'm full. Then eating snacks on top of being full!! Comfort eating to supress hurt, I just never listened ever to my physical body, even when I was so ill so many times over.
It is now just over 6 months and I am still loosing weight. I love the famous Tiana b Lace dress and treated myself when we went away at new year 2016 to a size 18, yes I wore it with control underwear as it wouldn't fit over my hips properly if I didn't. Around June 2016 Qvc had a one time only, it was the dress, I knew my size 18 was too big so I quickly ordered a 16, it arrived, but too big!! Luckily they changed it for me, fantastic I now have my favourite dress that fits me in a size 14. September I try it on, you guessed it too big, I now need a size 12!
So NSV I have gone from a size 18 to 12 in just over 6 months. I was very good with the type of foods I ate, still am but now I will treat myself and have clear alcohol when I'm socialising. Though I haven't missed alcohol one bit, loosing this weight is like loosing my baggage and that for me compensates for everything I've cut out my diet, the more problems life threw at me, the more weight I gained.
Freedom eating is really about freedom for me personally, I now choose what I want to eat and the way I eat. I love it this way, and could never go back. I'm not without anything, I'm educated with foods and what suits me personally to maintain my health, as I am healthy now. Plus I still sit at the dinner table with family and eat the same meals, no diet meals for me any more or for a certain amount of time. This is a way of life, my life, so I can maintain my weight loss and stay confident, happy and healthy. I love it.
Thank you Debbie it truly has changed my life x

if you've read my books, available on Amazon HERE, maybe you'd like to join the group, and do let me know your story too.

Penni Rowe made me so proud this week and has done a wonderful testimonial about how it's changed her life. Freedom Eating really works to break you out of food prison - even if you've been in there your whole life! 

Keep me informed!

More on the TTFLS tab above!

best wishes



Published in Back to You

And another atmospheric, drama-filled one from Jean Fullerton's 1940s district nurse series! 

Well maybe it's because my head's been full of vintage this and retro that lately, but I really fancied listening to this audiobook next, after recommending her latest from the Connie series a few weeks ago. I'd actually not read this one, instead I'd already ploughed through the Nurse Millie books, so it was lovely to hear how Jean interweaves the two nurse's tales together.

I'm finding I'm loving the contemporary touches - like references to what they eat and drink, how they travel, news of the day, even interactions between women and men. It's so well done, honestly - really worth a read.

For Nurse Connie Byrne the end of the war signals the beginning of a new chapter and as the revelries go on around the city, Connie's mind is on another celebration that she'll be able to arrange - the wedding to her sweetheart, Charlie, set to take place as soon as he arrives home. But when Connie meets Charlie off the train at London Bridge, she finds that his homecoming isn't quite going to go according to plan.

From one reviewer -

"This is a page-turning saga in which we meet memorable characters, and learn a lot about nursing in 1945. Connie Byrne is a determined, staunch and upright young woman facing a demanding job, and a difficult relationship with a fiance who has returned from the war with a shock in store for her. Charlie is convincingly plausible as the unreliable and self-seeking fiance, with looks to melt your heart, and Connie's nursing friends are real individuals not just cardboard cut-outs. Connie's journey up the ladder of the nursing profession is a difficult one, but the book does not shy away from the sexism of the times, and from the harsh realities of life in the East End of London for poorer communities.
The interest in this novel is in immersing yourself in another time and period, and in the pre-NHS nursing system, all lovingly evoked by the author."

Get Fetch Nurse Millie from Amazon here - click here


other news -

- cool ideas for bookshelves - you've never seen anything till you've seen these! Which is your fave? I love the idea of thw swinging newston's cradle-type ones, but I think the star , well, outshines the rest! click here to see them, great pics. 

Beginners’ Guide And if you’re a complete beginner and want to self-publish, my basic guide can be found here - beginner's tips for self-publishing - a summary of info, sites and links to help you on your way. Including my guest blog on prestigious industry website,, Go here to read more.

Archives Don’t forget to check out the other archives (to the left) for even more fabulous hints, tips, links and blogs.

Best wishes



My books - For the full list of my fiction and non fiction novels, novellas, short stories - info and links to buy them just go here. or see below.

As usual, here’s the round up of my own titles! I’d appreciate a review on Amazon (go here) and Goodreads (go here)! Enjoy! x

eBooks - all available on Amazon – paperback or eBook (kindle or kindle app or kindle on PC or Mac)

paperbacks – five fiction titles all available in paperback – via Amazon – see below.




HAWAIIAN TRILOGY (2013/4) – romantic fiction in either steamy or PG options!

Book 1 Hawaiian Escape Steamy or Hawaiian Escape PG, the prequel to Hawaiian Affair - is now available on Amazon in eBook or paperback in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).

Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!

Book 3 Hawaiian Retreat - Helen's Story - Just click this link to see steamy version. Paperback also available

DIARY OF A WANNABE SHOPPING CHANNEL PRESENTER – a stand alone story – Bridget Jones meets Alan Partridge meets Eddie Murphy in ‘Holy Man’ –click here to buy Ebook on amazon, and click here to buy paperback.



‘When Dreams Return’ (2014) – spooky romantic short story – when Chelle’s pal Sara gets her to conjure up her ideal man with a full moon magic spell, she gets more than she bargained for… also appears in Hocus Pocus anthology.

The Valentine’s Surprise (2010) is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!

And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.

Also – for Hallowe’en – an anthology of short spooky stories by 13 authors including many new shorts and my When Dreams Return in paperback! Hocus Pocus ’14 – ebook or paperback.

'Battle of the Exes', written for Valentine's Day 2015, features in 'Roses are Red' anthology of six short stories on Amazon ebook and paperback too.


Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.

Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon

Go here to get its predecessor (read 2.0 first) Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the When diet on amazon

So it turns out I've got a thing - it's called EPP and it's a proper 'thing.' All my life I've had to stay out of the sun, as regulars will know if you recall my blog from early July when I had to report that my 'skin had flared up' during the Rochester Castle fundraising bodyblade wobble in Kent. What happens is that if my skin is over-exposed it feels like it's on fire, even though nothing shows on the outside. Then it starts to itch as well, and then it swells up and the skin gets super tight. It takes around two days to go down.


When I was on a skiing hol once using a balaclava, the skin in between my eyes swelled up and my eyes were like slits. When I stupidly used a sunbed aged around 22 I had the most horrendous reaction my rings needed to be cut off my fingers. And apart from one occasion, I've never been able to do normal things in the sun. When I was a kid I had to shelter away from the sun, I felt like my needs were never made a priority as I just had to make the best of it and bought comics and books and sweets and sat away from everyone else and rarely went in the sea. (the pic above is when I was about 9, that's me behind the deck chairs in the shade. Poor Debbie.) My family know this, and just take it for granted, and so did I, until this year.

I'd been genning up on how gut bacteria affects everything and remembered that the only time I felt like I could go in the sun was, yes, with my regular triple whammy of high once a day spf, plus L-tyrosine tablets (they work on the melanin from the inside out) and tan accelerator (it works on the melanin from the outside in) BUT I'd also been vegan for three months and was eating clean for another seven before I went to Cyprus for my brother's wedding. It was the first and so far only time I've been able to be in the pool with my kids on a summer holiday. So maybe there's a connection with nutrition. So I went to see a specialist.

The dermatologist called Dr Flohr, at Guildford Nuffield, asked me a very pertinent question. Why was this the first time I'd ever come to an expert? I was stumped by that. Have you ever had it where you just accept that's the way life is and have stopped questioning it? I guess that was me. It had been part of me, my reality, for so long, it didn't really occur to me to challenge it, it was just sensitive photosensitive skin, right? Till the gut thing. So here I was. And he looked me in the eye and said 'I think you've got this.'

It was EPP.

Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) is one of a group of genetic diseases called the porphyrias. EPP is due to an inherited deficiency of the enzyme ferrochelatase. Reduced activity of this enzyme causes a build-up of the chemical protoporphyrin in the skin; resulting in photosensitivity i.e. the skin is damaged by light. There is no known cure, but you can reduce the photosensitivity with certain supplementation of enzymes etc. More here.

He swung the monitor round and showed me the page and I read words that resonated so strongly they of course could be writing about me. I was shocked. “First symptoms usually appear in infancy or early childhood and present as an uncomfortable or painful burning sensation of the skin after sun exposure. It occurs most often on the tops of the hands and feet, face and ears. In most cases visible changes to the skin are mild. The affected skin may become red and swollen and blistered.”

But at least I don’t now have the worst version of the condition – “Later there are pitted scars and sometimes crusty thickened skin, particularly over the cheeks, nose and knuckles of the hands.” Although I used to get a nose scab every summer when I was young. Plus my knuckles are not attractive – nor are my hands – I always said I have man’s hands, my dad’s hands, and now I know why. Hence you’ll often see me on jewellery shows using whole hand shots rather than close ups of my hands with the jewellery on. Don’t suppose you’ve ever noticed but that’s why. When the condition flares, after the swelling starts going down again and the burning dissipates, I’m left with a rough, sensation-deprived surface on my knuckles in particular. God, now I know why.

If this is indeed what I have, and it seems as though it is, then I’m rare.

The treatment possibilities include –

Lifelong photosensitivity is the major problem for EPP uncomplicated by liver disease, which about 10% may go on to get due to the protoporphyrin build up.

  • The obvious stuff I already do, eg avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight and wear protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats. Sunscreens, especially formulations containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that reflect visible light. (I told the doctor about tan accelerators which he hadn’t heard about, I don’t think, and when I said Ultrasun he nodded his head.)
  • Consider tinting windows.
  • Other strong sources of light may also cause symptoms, including fluorescent and halogen lights. (I’ve had this before and thought I must be imagining things.)

But I’ll be looking into taking some of these for sure – maybe my vegan time included lots of carrots!:-

  • Oral beta-carotene (a food precursor of vitamin A found naturally in tomatoes and carrots) is thought to help reduce photosensitivity in some people. The dose for children is 30 to 150mg per day (1 to 5, 30-mg capsules) and for adults it is 30 to 300mg (1 to 10, 30-mg capsules).
  • Cysteine 500mg twice daily reduces photosensitivity
  • Colestyramine reduces photosensitivity and hepatic protoporphyrin content.
  • Narrowband UVB phototherapy increases melanin content and induces skin thickening so may reduce sun sensitivity.
  • Afamelanotide, an α-melanocyte stimulating hormone given by subcutaneous implantation, has been reported to provide good clinical effectiveness and safety in EPP. It is approved under exceptional circumstances by the European Medicines Agency for treatment of EPP (October 2014).

So there you go. And there I go. So now I am being referred to the country’s foremost expert , a colleague of Dr Flohr, who apparently did his doctorate in THIS SUBJECT!

I feel a bit weird since it’s like suddenly I’m not so strange, there are others like me out there. I spoke with a mate who has IIH and who felt exactly as I felt when she was first diagnosed. It’s not something to be proud of  cos everyone wishes they were ‘normal.’ BUT it feels relief to know there’s a course of action. I will keep you informed.

Best wishes



 ps coming soon - the latest update from my Till the Fat Lady Slims group - some super before and afters, stories and NSVs (non scales victories!)




Published in Back to You


Book of the Week –

One of my top authors has a convenient backlist which I am working my way through on audiobook and I’ve reached the last one, one of her earliest, ‘The Ballroom Class.’ It’s still good though. Lucy’s writing always pulls me in right away, with gripping openings or compelling family situations we can identify with, and develops from there. This one features several couples and their own dramas, as they try to solve them using weekly dance classes.

Lauren and Chris are getting married, and Lauren's dreaming of a fairytale wedding with a first dance to make Cinderella proud. Not wanting to be shown up on the dancefloor, her parents Bridget and Frank have come along too. They normally never put a foot wrong, but Bridget's got a secret that could trip them up unexpectedly. Meanwhile Katie and Ross are looking for a quick-fix solution to their failing marriage even though neither is quite sure who's leading who anymore.

As friendships form over the foxtrot, the rumba rocks relationships, and the tango leads to true love, all the students in the Ballroom Class are about to face the music and dance...

From Olivia on amazon:
There are plenty of laughs to be had from bride-to-be Lauren’s over-the-top wedding plans but, be warned, this novel also had me sobbing on a train. Lucy Dillon writes with such heart, you can’t help caring for her characters. A treat from beginning to end.

Well done that lady!

Go here to pre-order her new one out on December the first – All I Ever Wanted – can’t wait!


Other news –
- The Shortlist for the new Mann Booker Prize – if you follow each year’s offerings, go here to see the new ones and choose yourself some new reads!
- OK so ~Xmas references time… The ‘Normal British Christmas’ is up on Amazon, here, celebrating the different and daft ways we mark the season of goodwill


Beginners’ Guide And if you’re a complete beginner and want to self-publish, my basic guide can be found here - beginner's tips for self-publishing - a summary of info, sites and links to help you on your way. Including my guest blog on prestigious industry website,, Go here to read more.

Archives Don’t forget to check out the other archives (to the left) for even more fabulous hints, tips, links and blogs. 

Best wishes



My books - For the full list of my fiction and non fiction novels, novellas, short stories - info and links to buy them just go here. or see below.

As usual, here’s the round up of my own titles! I’d appreciate a review on Amazon (go here) and Goodreads (go here)! Enjoy! x

eBooks  - all available on Amazon – paperback or eBook (kindle or kindle app or kindle on PC or Mac)

paperbacks – five fiction titles all available in paperback – via Amazon – see below.





HAWAIIAN TRILOGY (2013/4) – romantic fiction in either steamy or PG options!

Book 1 Hawaiian Escape Steamy or Hawaiian Escape PG, the prequel to Hawaiian Affair - is now available on Amazon in eBook or paperback in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).

Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher  available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!

Book 3 Hawaiian Retreat - Helen's Story - Just click this link to see steamy version. Paperback also available

  DIARY OF A WANNABE SHOPPING CHANNEL PRESENTER – a stand alone story – Bridget Jones meets Alan Partridge meets Eddie Murphy in ‘Holy Man’ –click here to buy Ebook on amazon, and click here to buy paperback



 ‘When Dreams Return’ (2014) – spooky romantic short story – when Chelle’s pal Sara gets her to conjure up her ideal man with a full moon magic spell, she gets more than she bargained for… also appears in Hocus Pocus anthology.

The Valentine’s Surprise (2010) is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!

And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.

 Also – for Hallowe’en – an anthology of short spooky stories by 13 authors including many new shorts and my When Dreams Return in paperback! Hocus Pocus ’14 – ebook or paperback.

 'Battle of the Exes', written for Valentine's Day 2015, features in 'Roses are Red' anthology of six short stories on Amazon ebook and paperback too.


 Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.

 Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon

Go here to get its predecessor (read 2.0 first) Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the When diet on amazon