BOOK BLOG.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to write a cookbook? Read my blog to find out all about the highs, lows, and taste-testing!

07/02/20

Finally, a week at home!

For the first time since the week of the book launch, I have spent the whole week at home! It’s been fabulous! I spent a few days doing nothing but catching up with all my tv shows and generally being lazy. Since then I have been back at my laptop coming up with a plan for Facebook and Instagram. Trying to make sure that if I have to be away for extended periods again that the page audience won’t suffer from lack of content. And we will still have regular recipes and help and advice going out. 

I have taken onboard some of the criticism that came my way over the last 4 weeks about the page being focussed mainly on all things book related. This, I suppose I should have thought about beforehand but with my operation then Christmas, then Kyle's birthday, New Year etc and then of course we were straight into the book launch. Plus, the page has always reflected what’s going on in our own personal lives as well but now with a larger audience it’s probably time to add a little structure and maybe even get some more help in on the admin side. 

John and I also started to clear out our spare room to make an office / guest room, so I have a desk to sit at and a place to hide from the general household noise when I need to. I had managed to find someone on Facebay giving away a large corner desk with fab storage before Christmas and it has been sitting waiting to be assembled ever since. It was a job I thought would take ages so had been putting it off, but it actually took no time at all. I also found an office chair on Gumtree for £5 and earlier this week a leather futon / sofa bed again for free! I just need to get a few bits and pieces sorted and I should have a lovely new space to work from. I am definitely going to order a canvas with a collage of all the book selfies you guys have sent me.

I did manage to get into the kitchen to film some new videos this week as well and they will be going out next week. They are all for the first week of the meal plan which we sent out to all of you last week. I just need to get them edited now – so that’s my weekend entertainment sorted lol. If you'd still like to download the meal plan, you can get it here!

It was also parent’s night this week! So, that was fun lol. I have also been trying to persuade Kyle to ‘host’ a new feature I'd like to do on the page called ‘Kyle's Cooking’ but as of yet he will only agree to do the cooking and being filmed but not talking. I’ll keep working on him although I foresee this costing me money haha. If you've got any reluctant teens you're trying to get in the kitchen, drop me a message on Facebook! I'd love to hear about them.  

xx Lorna xx

31/01/20

Woman's Hour

Woman's Hour & a surprise visit!

I’m writing this as I am heading home after another busy week! Since my last blog I’ve been to London twice, and I’ve also been in lots of local newspapers and on the radio again.

Last week I travelled down to London on Thursday as I had been invited to take part in the iconic ‘Woman’s Hour’ show on Radio 4. I had no idea what a massive deal that was until I was told almost 4 million people listen to Woman’s Hour DAILY! If I’m completely honest I wish that I hadn’t been told that until after I’d been on LOL!

I had to go along to the BBC Studios in London which was a huge deal as well. I’ve seen pictures of that building in newspapers, magazines and on TV for many, many years so to actually be there was a bit mad! Once inside we were taken up to the green room where we were introduced to the other guests and met the producers. I had time for a quick cup of tea to try and calm my nerves before Jane Garvey came down to meet us. She was very lovely and kind much as you would expect from such an experienced host. 

The usual studios are being renovated so we had to go upstairs for the actual recording. I was very nervous but Jane was so nice and it really just felt like we had a nice little chat and then I was finished! After the show I managed to get a couple of pics with Jane in the studio. I came out to a lot of lovely texts, messages and comments which was reassuring as to be honest, when your taking part you don’t really know how it’s gone until you hear from people who have listened! You can catch the interview here. It was nice to go home for the weekend and have a bit of downtime. I even managed to get along to see my nephew Jordan play football on Saturday afternoon. In between unpacking, washing my clothes and repacking to go away again on Monday 🤦‍♀️ 

I was once again on my way to London. This time to record an interview with Giselle Wainwright who is the editor of the very popular Sun Savers supplement and Facebook page, and the star of their Facebook show. I had been originally asked to do a Skype interview with them but then they asked me to go down and be on the actual show. So that was me back on the road again! I travelled down on Monday afternoon and met up with Kate who has been taking all the pics and video clips for me at all of these media opportunities. We had a quick dinner and then I was off to bed for an early start on Tuesday. 

The studio they use is in the News U.K. building, which is MASSIVE! Again everyone was lovely and I felt very relaxed in their company and in front of the camera. It was less pressure as it was being recorded so if anything went wrong we could re-record but as it was it was fine! If you didn’t get a chance to see the show, you can watch it here. 

Next on the agenda was a train up to Newcastle for a couple of days of meetings about future opportunities. I was staying in a beautiful hotel in Newcastle city centre which had been booked for me. When I checked in the receptionist said ‘you’re in the west wing Madam’ I thought oooo very posh! What I didn’t realise was that it meant I had to walk half a mile to my room 😂😂 I also didn’t bank on 3 hours of bell ringing practise on Wednesday evening 😳😳 

John drove down to meet me on Thursday as I wanted to go and surprise a lovely lady Julie. Julie runs the CardiomyopathyUK support group for Merseyside. John and I both have this condition and it’s how we originally met! I knew that Julie had ordered 2 of my books when they were first released for pre-order. One for herself and one to raffle off for funds for her support group. I promised her that I would find a way to sign them for her. So we drove across to Ellesmere Port and surprised her! It was lovely to see her and her family and meet some of the patients at the group. 

I think that’s pretty much us up to date except to say if you haven’t entered the comp to win your £160 shopping vouchers on Facebook then you better get a move on as it finishes at 11.59pm tonight! All you have to do is look for the pinned post and follow the instructions! Oh and if you haven’t bought a book yet then you should have received a sneaky peek email last week. Make sure to check it out!

xx Lorna xx

17/01/20

Book Collage

1 week after the book launch!

Hi guys - it’s been a week since my book was released and it’s been a bit mad! After all the excitement of doing interviews and being on TV and radio publicising it I came home to my normal life. And then I just had to wait and see how it went. It is very nerve-racking writing something and then putting it out there for people to read. 

I was delighted when people started sharing their book selfies and pics of the book out there on the shelves of supermarkets and book shops. We're running a comp on the Facebook page, which you can find below! I was even more over the moon when I started to get pics of meals people have made from the book. I love these so please keep them coming! 

I also got my first lot of Amazon reviews 😳. This was what I was most terrified about if I’m honest. I was at a meeting months back and someone mentioned Amazon reviews and I almost had a breakdown there and then! "What if it’s sh*t? What if people don’t like it? What if I get a ton of terrible reviews?" Ahhhh meltdown meltdown meltdown lol! Luckily, I needn’t have worried as the majority have been very positive! Phew 🥵 - that being said if you're loving the book, please do go on and leave us a review - 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ of course! 😉 You don't need to have bought the book from Amazon, you can leave a review anyway!

I’ve been approached by a few more media outlets about doing some stuff with them that I’ll announce nearer the time. The BBC Radio Scotland interview I recorded last week went out yesterday and I’ve added the link to listen to the in the Press section of the website if you want to have a listen. I really enjoyed recording the programme and think you’ll enjoy listening to it as well. 

Keep your eye on the weekly magazines, plus Pick Me Up, Bella, Take A Break and OK Mag, who have said they’re going to be running articles this month. We’re still waiting on a date from the Emma Barnett show on Radio 5 Live as to when they are going to run the interview I recorded with them. 

The highlight of my week was definitely getting the sales figures through and finding out I was NUMBER 5 in the official paperback best sellers list this week! And that was only after 3 days’ worth of sales! The chart runs Saturday to Saturday, and we launched on the Thursday, so next week’s chart will give us a full week. I’ve got everything tightly crossed!! Nevertheless, lots of jumping around and squealing excitedly followed that email lol. I had already been keeping a close eye on the Amazon chart that we’d topped as a new release before we launched. We hit top 5 on their best sellers list a couple of times but as it is updated hourly it’s not the indicator of sales. 

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to build our Instagram audience the last week or so as it is a very important platform for us to reach younger people who don’t tend to bother too much with Facebook. We managed to reach the milestone of 10K followers after running a competition to win a Ninja Foodi. The winner was announced on Instagam and Caroline’s Ninja is making its way to her as we speak! 

Talking about the Foodi, I’ve been playing around with mine a lot this week. After getting it for Christmas I hadn’t really had a chance to use it as I’ve been so busy! So, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with it. Click here for my Macaroni Cheese recipe.  

xx Lorna xx

Selfie Comp

06/01/20

FYF Greggs Breakfast Club

As part of the run up to the book launch we wanted to do something for charity, so this morning I opened the new FYF Breakfast Club in St Vincent’s Primary School in Glasgow! As you all know making sure children have food in their tummies is very important to me so when I got the opportunity to team up with the Greggs Foundation and fund a breakfast club for 2 years I was delighted.  

The Greggs Foundation will supply the fresh bread everyday, plus lots of other support and access to grants.

As well as providing the funding for the start up and day-to-day costs, I will be spending some time going into the school and giving mini cooking lessons and budgeting advice to the children and their parents. I’m looking forward to hopefully sharing the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last few years with them!  

If you haven't heard of it, you can find out more about The Greggs Breakfast Club Programme below.

xx Lorna xx

LEARN MORE ABOUT BREAKFAST CLUB!
Breakfast Club
Breakfast Club

02/01/20

I'm in The Sun!

The Sun Serialisation!

I am super excited to announce that my book (that still feels weird to say!) is going to be serialised in The Sun newspaper nationally on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of January AND we’ve got a 10 page spread in The Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous magazine! 

This is a massive deal and means that everyone that buys a copy will get to see a taster of the book and hopefully will all be itching to run out and buy the book! 🥳🤣 But more than that, it means people who will benefit from the help and advice will hopefully find our Facebook community!

I’ve obviously known about this for a while and I haven’t been able to say anything which has been a killer lol! 

If you pick up a copy of The Sun any day this week you'll get an exclusive voucher code to buy the book for just £8.49 from WHSmith! That's an absolute bargain if you ask me.

xx Lorna xx

Don't want to miss a beat?

Join my mailing list and be the first to know about exciting book updates, and more!

01/01/20

Big things to come in 2020!

New Year's Resolutions

What’s your New Year’s resolution? To be healthier; more organised; to save money? I can help with all of these! 

Meal planning, writing a shopping list and sticking to a budget mean you always know what is for dinner (organised), you don’t pop to the shops mid-week (saving money) and you don’t buy any ‘junk’ or phone in a takeaway (healthier). But do you know how to meal plan and write a shopping list? Here I will tell you how I do it!

I always start my meal plans on a Sunday because once I’ve decided what, if any, roast we’re having I know what leftovers I’ll have. So, I’ll decide that first. I have two pieces of paper, one for the meal plan and one for the list. And a pencil and eraser. You’ll see why in a minute  

Meal plan

Sunday – roast gammon, cheesy cauliflower and leeks, roast potatoes  

LIST: Gammon joint , Cauliflower (1), Leeks (2), Potatoes (500g), Honey (1 tbsp), Flour (2 tbsps.), Cheese (200g), Butter (30g), Milk (1/2 pint)  

So now I know I’m going to have leftover gammon and I’m making cheese sauce, so I move on to Monday. We had something with potatoes last night so don’t want to repeat ourselves, so I think ok let’s have pasta or rice. We had a cheese sauce so let’s have something in gravy or in a tomato sauce. We had gammon so let’s have chicken or pork or beef! Then I think about what we have on Monday. Am I busy during the day? If so, I might use the slow cooker. Has anyone got an evening activity they need to be at? Does dinner need to be at a certain time? Will people be eating at different times? All important factors in making sure we stick to the meal plan! Let’s say I decided on chicken and chorizo jambalaya...

--

Monday – chicken and chorizo jambalaya  

INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO THE LIST: Chicken breast (1), Chorizo (100g), Onion (2), Red pepper (2), Garlic (1 clove), Cajun spices (2 tbsps.), Chicken stock cubes (2), Tin of chopped tomatoes (1), Rice (300g) 

And so, we move on to Tuesday. No chicken, no tomato sauce, no rice etc what do we have on Tuesday? I have gammon leftovers to use up, so decide on an omelette.

--

Tuesday – omelette, salad, crusty bread  

INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO THE LIST: Lettuce (1/2), Onion (another 1), Spring onions (4), Radish (6), Carrots (2), Tomatoes (2), Cucumber (1/2), Bake at home crusty bread (1), Eggs (6), Cheese (another 200g)

Wednesday is next so what haven’t we had yet? Meat – beef, pork, fish Carb – pasta, noodles

Again, I think about the activities the family have on and decide we’ll have a pork chow mein style stir fry.

--

Wednesday – pork chow mein  

INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO THE LIST: Pork (200g), Stir fry veg pack, Beansprouts, Chinese 5 spice (2 tbsps.), Sweet chilli sauce (2 tbsps.), Sesame oil (2 tbsps.), Soy sauce (2 tbsps.), Noodles (2 nests) 

Next is Thursday and we only really have pasta that hasn’t been used yet, but Thursday night is football training, so I want something that can be cooked earlier and then put in the oven while I’m out. I decide we’ll have lasagne.

--

Thursday – lasagne, sweetcorn  

INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO THE LIST: Mince (200g), Onion (another 1), Carrots (another 2), Italian mixed herbs (2 tbsps.), Worcester sauce (2 tbsps.), Beef stock cubes (2), Flour (another tbsp), Lasagne sheets (6), Red lentils (100g), Cheese (another 100g), Butter (another 15g), Milk (another 1/4 pint), Frozen sweetcorn (200g)  

That takes up to Friday and it’s usually our fakeaway night. As we haven’t had any fish yet this week I decide on fish and chips and mushy peas!

--

Friday – fakeaway chippie

INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO THE LIST: Potatoes (another 500g), Flour (another 8 tbsps) Dried peas (50g), Frozen white fish fillets (4)

Yay Saturday last day of the week! We’ve covered the main meats and carbs, so the world is our oyster so to speak! What have we got on on Saturday? Well it’s a busy day with kids football in the morning and real football in the afternoon. We will be home midday then won’t be back home until 6pm so I want something that I can prep at lunchtime and will be ready when we get in.

I decide on butternut squash and chicken stew in the slow cooker and I’ll put the potatoes in too so that we can eat as soon as we get home.

--

Saturday – slow cooker butternut squash and chicken stew

INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO THE LIST: Chicken breast (another 3), Potatoes (another 500g), Onion (another 2), Red pepper (another 1), Flour (another tbsp), Garlic (another clove), Butternut squash

Now you’re finished right? Noooo you’re not! Take your list and go into the kitchen. Look in the fridge, the freezer, the cupboard and if you have any items on the list, rub them out! You’ve got a half bag of flour - rub it off the list. There are 4 chicken breasts in the freezer - rub them off the list. You bought honey the last time you cooked a gammon joint - rub it off the list! And so on.

Now you’re ready to go shopping! Just don’t forget the list lol 😂

BUT if that all seems like too much work you could always just buy my book where I have already done it all for you! 

xx Lorna xx

26/12/19

Christmas Leftovers

Christmas leftovers 

I’ve never understood why people are upset, confused or annoyed when they have leftovers from Christmas dinner. I LOVE leftovers! In fact, if I’m honest I often enjoy them more than the dinner in the first place! 

My Boxing Day would be ruined if I didn’t have enough leftover potatoes and veg to make bubble and squeak! I usually have mine with a poached or fried egg on top 🥰🥰🥰🥰 delicious!!! And if, and it’s a big if, there is any stuffing left, I can quite easily devour it cold. It tastes exactly like Haslet because basically that is what it is lol.

As for the turkey leftovers well, let me tell you a story! You all know that my daughter Ayla is 26 and living in her own home this year. Although she is coming home for Christmas thank goodness. But she phoned me the other night and we were chatting away and she said "We didn’t really have a lot of leftovers at Christmas, did we? I mean I’ve never had turkey curry!" - and then she laughed. 

And then I laughed because we have ALWAYS had leftovers! I just used the turkey in recipes that I’d usually use chicken in and never told them. So, they have in fact had turkey chow mein, turkey pie, turkey jambalaya etc etc and they’ve never noticed because leftovers don’t have to be boring! Or repetitive! And if you have so much you can’t eat in time then portion it up and wrap very well and freeze it! 

Oh, and don’t forget to boil your bones up for stock. If you have veg left, you can make a tasty soup or use the stock to make gravy for a pie! And your leftover deserts? You can send them to me 😉😆😂 

xx Lorna xx

20/12/19

Christmas dinner for £20

Christmas Dinner for £20 🎄

This year I decided to do a traditional Christmas dinner for £20 as a bit of a challenge to myself. And of course to try and help those who couldn’t afford to splash out a small fortune. 

The first thing I had to do was source the cheapest turkey I could! Luckily I managed to find one for £5.99 in Farmfoods. Every Christmas dinner needs stuffing but I am not a fan of the packet mixes. I knew from previous experience that sausage meat is expensive at this time of year so I looked for cheaper sausages that we could squeeze out their skins. Then I would need pigs in blankets which for some reason are also ridiculously expensive so I sourced some cocktail sausages and some streaky bacon and added them to my list! 

I knew I still needed veg but I decided to look at a starter first. My budget would have stretched to prawn cocktail but wouldn’t have left much for pudding and I know a lot of kids aren’t fans of prawns so I went with lentil soup. I was a bit concerned people would think it too boring for Christmas so I decided to make some fun Santa bread to go with it. I sourced a cheese and onion bread mix and went out and bought one to try it out! I thought it was pretty neat and my daughter loved it so I added that to my list and menu! 

For pud I could have gone for a cheap shop cheesecake or gateaux but I wanted something traditional and so I found myself thinking about and then deciding on a trifle. I added my ingredients to my list and was pleased to see I had enough money left for my veg! 

I wanted to film myself making all the food for a book promo so I headed off to a studio kitchen with my glamorous assistant Kate who was in charge of the filming and photography!mI knocked up the soup easily enough and even managed a better Santa than my first attempt. He was delicious btw especially when dipped into my tasty soup! 

The main course went by without a hitch and I remembered a tip from a friend a few years ago when we were discussing potatoes for roasting. She pointed out that chefs usually advise you to use a ‘floury’ potato which are generally more expensive but after par boiling and draining cheaper potatoes all you have to do is sprinkle a little flour on them when your roughing them up a bit and they work a treat! 

When it came to the trifle I’ll admit to being a little scared as it had been ages since I made one but it came together perfectly. Tinned fruit cocktail, jelly crystals, custard powder, dream topping and some sprinkles for the top! After Kate had laid it all out pretty we put out a shout to the office downstairs to come up and help themselves! I was happy to here everyone tucking in and enjoying my food. I heard the roast potatoes described as immense and one of the guys, whilst shovelling trifle in his mouth said ‘John is a lucky man. I love trifle’ 😂😂 

After cleaning up my job was done but Kate’s wasn’t. She did a marvellous job of editing the videos which is very time consuming! And the wonderful ladies at Orion (my book publishers) designed a Christmas for £20 download - there's a link below to get it for free!  

xx Lorna xx

13/12/19

Book signing!

Book signing in London!

Can you imagine my excitement as I headed down to London this week to actually see my book for the first time? I travelled down on Tuesday night as I had to be at the warehouse on Wednesday morning. It’s a long old train journey from Glasgow when you are absolutely BUZZING lol!

I always feel like a country bumpkin when I go to London! It’s so busy and people are always in so much of a rush. I was booked into a hotel near Paddington station as that’s where I was leaving from next morning. When I had looked at hotels I couldn’t believe how expensive they were. The one I was booked in was pretty grim to be honest 😳 and it wasn’t the cheapest either lol Don’t get me wrong the bed was clean but the window wouldn’t shut properly and the curtain was hanging off! I joked to Kate that if we sell £1 million books next time we’re staying at the Hilton haha.

Wednesday morning I was up bright and early and couldn’t wait to get to the warehouse. We had to get a train down to Didcot in Oxfordshire where we met the lovely Francesca who is the PR lady from Orion and then we got a taxi to the distribution centre. I was amazed at the size of the place! It was huge. 

I could hardly contain my excitement. And I was also a bit scared. What if I didn’t like it? Which of course was really silly because I had signed it all off but still the trepidation was there! When we arrived we got taken up to a room and there was a huge table with 500 books sitting in piles. I think if I had been there by myself I might have shed a tear. But I wasn’t there by myself so I managed to contain my emotions. 

It was very strange to see something that I’d written looking so professional and shiny. I don’t think I can go into how I really feel as I think that perhaps if I open the flood gates I won’t be able to stop bubbling 😭 🤣

Anyway, I signed the 500 copies and I was desperate to have one but I wasn’t allowed as those ones were for Waterstones! 😳 Francesca had brought one from the office for me but had ended up giving it away to someone in regards to an exciting opportunity that I can’t tell you about yet! (you'll be buzzing once I announce this one!) She promised to send one to my house tho! But it did mean I had to leave them all behind once I’d signed them which was a bit sad.

We all headed back into central London and as Kate and I had a couple of hours to spare we decided to go to Covent Garden for a wee wander around and grab some dinner. It was all very Christmassy and nice 🎄 I was heading back to Newcastle for some more meetings for the rest of the week so finally got to my hotel at 10.30pm. It was a much nicer hotel this time thankfully!

I had to be up early the next morning as I was getting picked up at 8am 😱 so it was pretty much straight to bed for me. What a long emotional day! 

xx Lorna xx

05/12/19

Christmas Card

Why isn't the book out for Christmas?

Hey folks!  

When I signed the book deal I was initially disappointed that it wouldn’t be out for Christmas so I asked ‘why?’ It was explained to me that: a) there wasn’t really enough time to get it written, photographed and published to the best standard b) there are so many cookbooks released at Christmas that there is a chance it would get lost among them c) the press are so full at that time of year that we would struggle to get any TV / radio / newspaper coverage, and - d) January is when people start to look at their finances, diet etc and make resolutions to be better this year!  

As the book is laid out as an 8 week meal plan with shopping list and recipes it really is ideal to start fresh after the festive period when life settles down again. It is full of top tips, money saving advice as well as easy to follow and easy to cook recipes that are family friendly. I wanted the book to be more than a recipe book. I wanted it to teach the readers how to change the way they shop, cook and feed their family. By following the 8 week plan you will change your habits and become more savvy when it comes to buying in bulk, using your leftovers, reducing waste and bulking out meals with grains and vegetables. I hope you will be amazed and delighted with the savings you can make whilst still eating healthy home made meals 3 times a day!  

When we announced the deal, the first (well mainly the second after OMG well done) thing people said was ‘why isn’t it out for Christmas? I want to buy one for my .......... or I want to ask someone to buy it for me?’ I completely understood the urge to buy the book as a gift for people or to ask people to buy it for you so I came up with the idea of a downloadable Christmas card. This way you can print it off and give to your recipient on Christmas Day to let them know that their book will be dropping through their letterbox on the 9th of January - probably around the same time as their December bank statement and credit card bills 😳🤣 and if that’s not a reason to start saving money then what is? Lol! The links to download are below!

Writing this book has given me the chance to reach people I can’t reach through Facebook. People who, I believe, would benefit from my tips and advice like you guys have.  

If you preorder a copy now for a limited time from Waterstones you will get a signed copy too!

Pre-order a signed copy from Waterstones here.

Pre-order from Amazon here.  

xx Lorna xx

Download my Christmas card!

Choose your version, print it out, and give it to whoever you've ordered the book for on Christmas Day!

DOUBLE SIDED PRINT OUT 

SINGLE SIDED PRINT OUT 

07/11/19

Photoshoot

"Behind the Scenes" 

We finished the last blog with the ‘front end’ being signed off and the last 70 recipes being sent over for approval. This went much the same way as the first 30 had gone with a lot of edits and then more edits and further edits lol  

Meanwhile the photo shoot had started in London and I was still at home in Scotland worrying myself grey haired! When the first lot of pictures came through I had a panic as there was one or two I thought weren’t right. But all credit to everyone involved that they listened to me and agreed with me and basically calmed me down. We were all just finding our feet with this book and some trial and error was expected!  

I was travelling to London the following week to go to the photo shoot which I was super excited about until I got an email saying ‘bring a nice top and your apron as we may take a few shots of you on the day’ 😳😳😳 Oh no was my initial thought! Like most 40 something mums the thought of getting my picture taken was anything but exciting!  

I got the train to London at 05.40 the following Monday. Carly met me at Euston and we jumped in a cab to the shoot. It was being held in a studio down a little lane behind some houses. It was an amazing little hidden cobbled street! I was given such a warm welcome by everyone there! I met Anna, the food tech and her assistant Sophie, And Lucie who was running the shoot and the photographer Andrew. There was also a lady called Nadira there who is a hair and make up person and was there to ‘do me up’. At this point the shoot had been running for 3 days and they had already cooked all the breakfasts and a few of the home baking items so it was nice to hear the team saying they had very much enjoyed eating what had been made already!  

Anna and Sophie were busy in the kitchen and I got my hair and make up done whilst chatting to Andrew and Lucie. They were excellent at answering all my questions and showing me some of the pictures they’d already taken. It was fascinating to watch the process once the food was ready. They would all discuss what plate, bowl or dish to put it on. Then whether there should be an accessory in the picture. What angle it should be photographed at. Whether it was exactly symmetrical or not! Then Andrew was up on his ladder taking pictures which would appear on a computer monitor. Lucie would then spend a few minutes looking at the shot with no expression before giving her approval or not! Andrew had forewarned me of her poker face lol.  

Then it was my turn to get photographed. I was very nervous but Andrew was very good at making me feel relaxed. He was talking to me and making me laugh and distracting me all whilst snapping away. And whilst he was doing that Lucie was taking pictures with her camera for ‘behind the scenes’ shots! It was chaotic but fun! And between shots Nadira was over fixing my hair and powdering my face. I felt like a movie star! After a while Izzy arrived from the Orion offices and lots of jokes were made about her always arriving just before everyone sat down for lunch! We had a lunch of some of the food from the shoot and then everyone got back to work while I probably got in the way and asked too many questions!  

Late afternoon Francesca who is the Orion PR person for the book arrived so that her and I could have a chat. She wanted to know about FYF and how it all started and I blethered away for a while. She said it was all helpful to her when it comes to promoting the book. And that was it for the first day! My luggage and I got a cab back to my hotel. I was so tired that after check in I wandered to the express supermarket at the end of the street and bought a sandwich and some snacks. When I got back to the hotel I fell asleep on top of the bed still in my clothes!  

xx Lorna xx

Don't want to miss a beat?

Join my mailing list and be the first to know about exciting book updates, and more!

31/10/2019

Zola

What even is a food stylist?!

Hi everyone! Blog post 4 is here, and it's getting soooo real now! Thankfully I've got my dog Zola to help, isn't she gorgeous?? ❤️

The next thing the publisher wanted finalised was the ‘front end’. Basically, the bit at the beginning that introduces me and explains what the book intends to do. And a section with all the tips and tricks in it. And a section entitled ‘so let’s get started’ that has some staples / basics that recur throughout the book.  

We started off with the ‘story’ from the book proposal. We added bits and then took out bits, then we added more bits and took out other bits and basically Carly and I played table tennis with it for a couple of days until I could recite it by memory, so we sent that off to the publisher for her to look at. I was on my laptop so much that Zola, my German Shepherd was trying to help me!

Meanwhile we were told that the photo shoot was provisionally booked for the 9th September. So, we had to make arrangements for me to go down for a couple of days. Initially I was surprised to hear that they get a food tech in to cook the meals, a food stylist in to make them look pretty for the pictures and of course a photographer as well to actually take the pictures. It was such a big operation!  

I was told that the reason for a food tech to cook them is that it counts as an independent layer of testing to make sure that the recipes work! And I’m not a charlatan 😂The food stylists’ job is to make them look nice on the plate but don’t worry there is no ‘cheating’! No glue in the mashed potatoes or plastic chips allowed lol.

They will cook 5 or 6 recipes a day and of the 100 recipes in the book they will photograph about half. So, the shoot will be on for approx. 10 days. I’d love to be there every day but obviously it’s expensive to stay in London, I have my family to look after and having me on set might slow things down and mean they spend too much time double checking everything with me! It’s so funny to hear that because I am more than likely going to be worried that they hate my work 😂😂  

While we were waiting on confirmation of the date so I could book travel arrangements, we heard back from the publisher about the ‘front end’. She had made a few edits which we were mainly happy with and so we accepted them and sent it straight on back along with the last 70 recipes! 

xx Lorna xx

Don't want to miss a beat?

Join my mailing list and be the first to know about exciting book updates, and more!

21/10/2019

FYF Blog 3 - publishing plan
FYF Blog 3 - gite in France

Finding 4G in France.

Hi guys - back again for blog number 3! We finished the last blog off with us temporarily knocking Jamie Oliver off the Amazon top sellers list, but after all the excitement had died down, the contracts were signed, and the book announced it was time for Carly and I to get it written! I already had a very rough draft that I had to edit., and we had to decide on a layout. I also had to finalise all the recipes and triple test them.

I was getting pretty stressed about the magnitude of what I had to do and the timescales I had to do them in. Although the book isn’t being released until 9th of January it has to go to print at the beginning of October. Which means the photo shoot has to be early September which meant the recipes have to be exactly right and accepted by the publisher by the end of August!

John and I decided to get away for a week or so while Kyle was at Scout Camp. The idea was without the distraction of day-to -day life at home I would be able to get my head down and write what still needed to be written. I spent ages looking for a holiday home in France that would fulfill our needs. Mainly somewhere private, that was quiet, that accepted pets and had WiFi. Eventually I settled on a lovely little gite and off we went.  

And whilst the gite was indeed lovely we discovered that it didn’t have WiFi and had extremely limited 3G and phone signal! Luckily it didn’t affect us too much. I managed to sit and type up my work and then once a day we would head out to somewhere with 4G and I would send my emails. Although one night we had to go back out again later to deal with something and John parked up in the middle of the next village along while I was emailing and Hotlapping. Next thing a French woman tapped the car window asking if we needed help! I had to try and explain that we were not in fact casing the village but just trying to get internet signal 😂.

By the time we came home I had the bones of the book tied down and we were ready to start editing everything to make it look like a book, and not just a bunch of ramblings by a crazy person 😉!

I headed down to London the following week to get to finally meet the team at Orion. I met up with Carly and Lauren (PR lady) at Euston and we got a black cab up to their offices. I was very nervous about meeting all these high flyers, but they quickly put me at ease. Everyone was lovely! They discussed the PR plan and the marketing plan, and I was very impressed! We had emailed the publisher a copy of the meal plan the week before so we went over her thoughts and by the time we left the offices I had quite a lot to think about.

What she explained was that there is no such thing as not being able to please everyone in the publishing world. And that was exactly what we had to do. She said there would be FB followers who would buy the book because they’ve already bought into the idea. She said there would be people who would follow the plan exactly, people who would follow it loosely and people who would just buy it for the recipes. And we had to write a book that all of them would be happy with! I must admit on the train back that night I felt a huge pressure. I had a wobble! What if by trying to please everyone we end up pleasing no one? What if everyone hates it? No one buys it and it ends up being £2 in the bargain bucket by the end of January 🤦‍♀️ 😳.

I had to pull myself together quickly as we had agreed to send in the first batch of recipes a few days later. So, I did my first edit, sent it to Carly, she did an edit, sent it back to me. We sent that one to the publisher, she did an edit, sent it to the food tech, she did an edit. They sent it back to Carly, she sent it to me, I accepted some edits, sent it back to Carly, she sent it back to them. And back and forth and back and forth it went!

Have you ever read something so many times you can’t see it anymore? This was how I felt! I had a couple of melt downs! I will admit that a few sweary words were uttered by me! However, Carly was fantastic! She calmed me down and explained this always happens. It is a normal part of the process and we would get there.

Finally, I had what I named on my laptop ‘Orion final copy’ of the first 30 recipes and I emailed it to Carly. She checked it over and sent it to the Publisher. And we waited. She came back and there was NO edits! Woo hoo! What a relief! Only another 70 recipes to go ha-ha.

xx Lorna xx

Don't want to miss a beat?

Join my mailing list and be the first to know about exciting book updates, and more!

10/10/2019

FYF BLOG 2

Number 1 in Hot New Releases!

Hi guys and welcome to my second blog. If you’re new to this site, or you missed the first blog you can read it here. Last time we covered me meeting the book agent, writing a proposal and then finding out we had been offered a deal!

After finding out we had been offered a book deal and an exciting evening celebrating with my family, I had a call with Carly and she told me that publishers had gotten into a bit of a bidding war over the book, eventually it was won by a company called Orion. Carly told me how great the team were, so that put my mind at rest a little however I was a mix of excited / terrified and stunned! In fact, to be perfectly honest I still am!  

The hardest bit about the next few weeks was keeping it all a secret! I wasn’t allowed to say anything until the contracts were all signed, and the press release written and agreed! Although I had forgotten to push this point with Kyle who spent the next day at school telling anyone who would listen that his mum had a book deal 😂😂 oops lol  

Carly went off on holiday for 10 days and all went relatively quiet, so I was left in sort of limbo. I think at certain points I wasn’t even sure it was all real and kept expecting someone to say ‘no actually they’ve changed their minds’ 😳 How could it be that I was going to write a book? I’m just a normal mum! I don’t think I really slept until Carly was home and the contracts had been checked over and we were ready to sign.  

The contract stated that the release date would be 9th January 2020 and at first, I was a little disappointed! I had hoped it would be out by Christmas as I saw that as a huge market. When I questioned it though I was told that hundreds of books get released in December and that we would get lost in amongst them. It’s not an ideal time to release a first book especially if you’re not a well-known name. Publicity wise it’s hard to get space in newspapers and magazines and almost impossible to get on TV and unless we can get good coverage in the media we won’t sell many books! And if we don’t sell many books then it will all have been for nothing! And nobody wants that to happen! ‘You only get one chance to write your first book’  

A couple of weeks later we were ready to announce it to the world! And it was all set up to take pre orders on Amazon. I was dying to tell the FYF community and gauge the reaction, but I was also so nervous that I barely slept a wink the night before! Finally, the day arrived, and we put out the announcement and pre order link on our social media and the publishers put it out on theirs.  

I was delighted with the community’s response and so was the publisher when we temporarily knocked Jamie Oliver off the top of the Amazon best sellers list!  

xx Lorna xx

Don't want to miss a beat?

Join my mailing list and be the first to know about exciting book updates, and more!

20/09/2019

FYF Book Proposal

Where it all began...

I’ve been asked by quite a lot of you about the whole writing a book process and I know lots of you are as excited as me by it. So I thought I would share my experiences with you.

Ever since the early days of the Facebook page people have said ‘you should write a book’ and now I have! So how did it all come about? 

Well last year I met a PR woman who works in London when I was doing some interviews to publicise the page. She put me in touch with a friend of hers who is a book agent. I went down to London to meet her and tell her my story and discuss writing a ‘cook book’. I still wasn’t 100% sure. As I explained to her my thoughts were "why would anyone buy a book of my recipes? I don’t cook fancy food, just ‘family favourites’". I used to walk into a supermarket or book shop and look at all the cool books and think ok so there are diet books, quick books, fancy books, budget books. I didn’t really see a gap in the market. But when I thought about what made me different I realised it was a combination of the recipes and the budget. 

The first thing people usually ask when they find the page is ‘how do I feed my family for £20 a week’ so I decided that is what needed to go in the book. If I was going to do it then I had to do a meal plan, a shopping list, all the tips I’ve learned and then the recipes. I explained my idea to the book agent and she loved it! We started working together on a proposal to send round to different publishers. Carly (book agent) was at a book fair a few weeks later and spoke to some publishers and they asked for the proposal to be sent to them which was very encouraging. I then had to basically come up with the first rough draft of the content of the book while Carly pulled together the ‘story’ part of the proposal based on the conversations her and I had.

Eventually we had a final draft of what we wanted to send out, so we sent it off to a graphic designer to make it all look pretty and appealing. And pretty and appealing it did look when we got it back! The next part was the scary part. Sending it out to the publishers and then just having to sit back and wait! I was so scared no one was going to bite. But also determined that it had to be the way I wanted it, or I wasn’t interested. I said to Carly "I’d rather write no book than a shit book!" and so we waited with baited-breath and fingers tightly crossed while the auction took place. A couple of nights later I was on my way home from Kyle's Scout award ceremony and I found out we had a final deal. Queue much excitement from me and Kyle and Ayla who were in the car! I couldn’t believe it!!

 xx Lorna xx

Get your copy of my cookbook!

Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller! The complete guide to feeding your family for £20 a week.

ORDER YOURS NOW

Get your copy of my cookbook!

Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller! The complete guide to feeding your family for £20 a week.

PRE-ORDER NOW