Break Fast

Oh October, you little fast-moving, autumnal minx! I haven’t written here for the whole month, mostly because I’ve been writing for other things, which of course is good because

  1. I will get paid
  2. It keeps me away from sample sales*
  3. It looks to the objective person that I sort-of kind-of have a freelance-y job.

*It doesn’t entirely keep me away from sample sales, though, because I did manage to go to the Mary Katrantzou one, the Mulberry one, the Bella Freud one and tomorrow I will go to the Erdem one, so let’s just scrap point 2, eh?

And in between all that literary output, I’ve been fasting. Yes, I’ve cut breakfast out so that there’s a 16-hour period from after dinner until lunch the next day where my temple of a body will starve and my insides will eat themselves up and I will do the scrambling, sweaty school run alternating between feeling a bit vomity and then becoming all sharply-minded, like the dying probably do just before some celestial lifts them into the tunnel of everlasting light. My stomach makes loud embarrassing noises of protest and shock and I think I probably stink.  You know that thing when people miss breakfast and they talk to you in a breathy way and you nearly pass out from the gut-rotting stinkiness? That person is now me. I am doing a lot of extra brushing to combat this, concentrating on the lesser-considered areas like the tongue, and drinking water and masses of tea, and talking in a low way so that no one gets a wash of the inside air conditioning, but still. It’s a little worrying.

And why am I fasting, I hear you ask? Well, it’s mostly because even though I get up at 5:40am twice a week (and once on the weekend) to run around half of Hyde Park, and I do a bit of yoga, and I walk for two hours every day to school and back, and even though I recognise carbs for the devil that they are and only eat them if the bread is crusty and expensive enough, and though my portion sizes are now no longer the same amount as a youthful farm worker who has been up since dawn herding sheep would have,  I can’t fit about a third of my clothes. It’s an upper arms/spilling stomach/girthy thighs kind of thing. Where once I thought my tight jeans once made me look a bit Kardashian – curvy and, yes, jutting out at weird angles but in a way that seemed to work, now they take five wearying minutes to get the button done up and then they leave me with red slashes across my midriff for hours and hours. And in those jeans I have to kind of ‘perch’ on a seat, rather than actually ‘sit’. So I figure that fasting will fix everything, although I do wonder about the milk in coffee and what about minty gum to fix the Undigested Food Breath? And eating my fingernails – will all this make the effort null and void?

I was mulling all this over on Saturday when I was at the Soho Hotel for a press screening of Paddington 2 (see how I just casually chucked that in there? Thanks, The London Mother) while I ate all the biscuits in sight and drank all the tea and coffee and then moved on to the marmalade sandwiches in the shape of a 2 (see below) even though I don’t like marmalade:


And then Mark and I found the chocolate croissants and we laid into them. It *was* breakfast, but my fasting thing is only for the weekdays, because that seems to be perfectly scientific and fair. So I was hoovering the children’s food up, and then a whole posse of tidy, groomed women who write style blogs about being a mother AND being stylish AND about buying red jumpers AND about coming along to these things with their two kids AND with their husbands who dress well with elegant beards AND with hair that kind of sits, all blondly, all tonged, with lovely skin and lipstick that didn’t make their noses look even redder around the nostrils, well, they came in and they weren’t at all tubby and they were about ten years younger than me (I know, because I got all stalkery later). And so one of them had two kids and they were being annoying, as mine were, actually being annoying together, and she didn’t seem to notice, and nor did her silver foxy husband. I was very glad that someone else had obnoxious sons who were also sprawling over the Kit Kemp-sourced ‘eclectic’ sofas and smashing the brownie into the ‘edgy’ rugs. But I did also notice that she was wearing a nonchalant t-shirt that her arms and torso didn’t fill up – the t-shirt hung on her and I thought I WANT THAT. I was moaning about this to my running buddy Sarah and she said (and I massively paraphrase to the point of total inaccuracy here:)

‘Yes, we all know those women but groomed t-shirt-wearing and tidiness with the tonging and the correctly-toned lipstick and clean trainers just aren’t your thing. Your thing is different. It is fine and, well, you.’ And I really liked that. What a bloody relief to be me. In fact, here’s me being me in an Uber, photographed by Rebecca, an actual photographer who also takes portraits of models and people like Edward Enninful:


Here are the children at Portobello after massive burgers and chips:


And mid-term break, with the leaves and the nearly-teen, who miraculously doesn’t have his big headphones on so he can pretend we are all dead – instead, he’s playing with his brother and that, my friends, makes me forgive him for being a total hormonal pest:


Pumpkin gathering and hay bale sliding at Crockford Bridge Farm:


And a triumphant photo of the return of Magic after he got out and went missing for a night. We searched and searched and put up posters and fretted and told the world to look out for him, and we missed him and we worried and the next day, we got a call from a vet in Hendon 12 miles away to say they had him. It turns out his penchant for sneaking out the front gate when the kids are otherwise engaged (putting cobwebs up on our front door and displaying their pumpkins) got him all the way around the block, to the rubbish bins, out onto the road, and then into the van of someone who didn’t want to see him squashed.


He was a little bit off with us when he got home. Perhaps he had tasted the freedom of the open road and preferred it to a life on the couch? Perhaps the guy in Hendon was nicer with bigger portion sizes? Anyway, he’s back and things are back to normal – no one wants to walk him and the kids still cry if I ask them to pick up his poo.


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8 Responses to Break Fast

  1. mrsp84 says:

    Thank God you got your dawg back – what a horrible thing to happen! The group photo of your boys is ace too x

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you! It looks as though my biggest kid is cranky but he was actually totally into the carving. And the little one, after queuing for a really long time to buy his tiny useless pumpkin, lost it immediately *head in hands*

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m doing the intermittent fasting too… I only eat between 11am and 5pm. Lost about two stone so far but it nearly kills me some mornings when I wake up just wanting a bacon bap and a mug of something delicious. I can totally relate to the obnoxious stomach growling …in fact I can hear growling now as I eye the slow moving arms of the clock…bring on 11 o’clock 🍳🥐🥞🥓🍔🍕🌭🥙🌮( I had no idea there were so many food emoji’s ! )

    • theharridan says:

      I’ve lost NOTHING! I was losing hope…you think it really works? You’ve spurred me on, mate!

      • Jennifer says:

        compared to me you are a slender whippet and so perhaps it will just take longer to see results… also be careful not to then overeat later in day to compensate for missed breakfast ! I usually do overnight oats with fruit at 11am and then a meal at about 3 or 4 pm and I’m done for day. So far it’s working and I haven’t killed anyone whilst being ‘hangry’ 😆😆😆😆

  3. Patience says:

    I’m also doing intermittent fasting for about two months and I’ve lost about a net of 8-9 pounds. It’s hard to quantify exactly because your weight fluctuates a lot between eat days and fast days, but the trend is definitely downward. On my fast days, I allow myself a cup of lovely coffee with half and half and sugar, but otherwise eat nothing else. That’s three days/week. I just eat normally on the other four days. In my opinion, this is way easier than forbidding certain foods or trying to subsist on tiny meals and being hungry all the time.

    • theharridan says:

      So, by intermittent, do you mean you do it for a bit then go back to normal and then resume the fasting? Or will it be something you always have to keep on doing? Also I STILL WEIGHT THE SAME! It’s very disheartening

      • Jennifer says:

        There are lots of ways to intermittent fast … like I only eat during a ‘window’ of 6 hours each day and eat absolutely nothing outside that window. Some people fast for a whole day at a time or more… just find what what works in your lifestyle. For me, I can schedule social engagements during my window of eating so I don’t feel left out. There is a lot on YouTube about intermittent fasting and even one meal a day … that’s where I learned about it

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