No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday, 12 May 2014


Monday, 12th May 2014
I can now manage three proper chin-ups! Albeit I don’t quite straighten my arms between each one. But I’m happy with that. Only 17 to go!

HIIT. 2 PBs today. My record, set a month or so ago, was 30 seconds for my 10 widths of the small exercise pool I use. Today I did the first one in 29 seconds – and repeated that for the 2nd stint! I then dropped to 33 seconds for the third run.

Saturday, 10th May 2014
4 sets of 15-20 reps of my 9 exercises. I’m doing 20 reps of my two-handed exercises, and also left-handed and right-handed swings. I’m finding the lifts are still a bit of a struggle, although I hope to increase these to 20 by the end of this month.

Weight-bearing exercises:
4 sets 20 press-ups – as below
Chin-ups. Since I can now do one complete chin-up, GymBoffin has advised me to do one of these - slowly x 4, with 2 minute intervals in between – for the next couple of weeks. I’ll gradually try and up the number of these. (See 12th May update! J )
Plank. 4 x 60 seconds.

I do the kettlebell and weight-bearing exercises on alternate days.

Thursday 3rd April 2014 
Two weeks or so ago, I graduated from 3 sets of daily exercise to 4 sets - both kettlebell and weight-bearing (on alternate days). And this morning I purchased the kb upgrade I've been promising myself for when I reached this level.

I did envisage going from a 3kg kb to a 5kg - only to discover that they were only sold in multiples of 3kg. So, to my surprise, I've come away with a 6kg kettlebell!

I've had a tentative go at swinging it around and manhandling it, and decided that, not wishing to strain anything, I'll drop down to half (ten) or even a quarter (five) of the number of times I carry out an exercise, and build up from there. 

I've been complimented on my improved physique in recent weeks, and, just this morning, I was told that my posture was much better nowadays!

Another change to my routine is that instead of carrying out 20 reps of my press ups - which, up to now have been xfit ones (where you lie on the floor and push yourself up - taking your hands off the floor each time) - I'll try and do several proper press ups, lowering myself down as far as I can, but not touching the floor, first. Then gradually increase those over the coming weeks. 

My long-term goal is to beat my very fit son in the number of press ups in a minute. I'm hoping that, since he doesn't know he's in a competition, I'll take him by surprise - and whop his ass!

Saturday 18th Jan 2014
I've just discovered I've grown back the inch I lost as I aged! I shall create a separate post to explain this - but I'm now back at 5' 7" (my younger height) after being 5'6" for many years. Purely as a result of starting pull-up exercises 7 weeks ago at the end of November. Look out for the link.

Thursday 16th Jan 2014

Here's my version of the kettlebell 2-handed swing. I shall ask Mumsnet's very own gym bunny, BCF, to critique my technique - and she's not known for pulling her punches, quite the reverse.

Not much change to my exercise routine - except that I now do 3 x 45second planks - and I can now lift myself about 15cm whilst doing my chin-ups.

Saturday 4th Jan 2014
When I first looked at IF, I came across several blogs which, whilst extolling the virtues of IF, also emphasised strength training - specifically weightlifting: Martin Berkham - IF and weight-lifting Mark Sisson - The Primal Blueprint Brad Pilon - blogging on IF since 2006 Todd Becker and Hormesis

(All these blogs are well worth perusing - they contain a wealth of info, most of it freely offered.)

I did nothing about this, rationalising that these blogs reflected the particular interests of the blogger. 

However, I've now been practicing IF for almost 2 years, and I've recently added strength building exercises to that regime - inspired, it has to be said, by the womenfolk on the Mumsnet 5:2 threads.

Here's my programme so far:
Back exercises: I had a problem with my back, many years ago, so, since then I’ve been doing two daily exercises to prevent a recurrence:
I lie on my back on the floor with my knees bent and do 100 curls while keeping my lower back on the floor – arms out in front
And then I do the reverse – I lie on my front and bring my head and shoulders up whilst keeping my hips on the floor.

Up until I retired – over 20 years ago, now – I cycled to work, in summer reaching about 120 miles a week – so I was pretty fit.

I joined a gym for a few years – mainly treadmill and cross-trainer.

Then I gained access to a small swimming pool – I spend about 30 minutes a day in there. Some swimming, but mainly I run (jog?) around the pool (in 1.25m of water) 100 times – took me 12 mins 52 seconds the other day, a PB. And I spend 5 minutes going back and forth the length (4 metres) of the pool – my PB with this one is 62 lengths.

At the end of November, I started to look at home-based strength building exercises and came across 5 exercises that can be done at home (4 if you ignore the lunges that are not recommended for anyone with knee problems.)

This was my programme for today:
30 secs plank          x 3 (PB 90secs – I could do more)
20 push ups         x 3
20 squats                  x 3
10 Pull-ups – about 3-4cm         x 3 
(I do these on the stairs overhang. When I began, it was all I could do to hang there for about 5 seconds)

I’d only been doing these exercises for a couple of weeks when I began to notice a difference – I have a heavy portable oven, which I’ve always needed help to move. Not any more, I can handle it myself, now!

Then, once again inspired by Mumsnet, I asked for and received a 3KG kettlebell for Christmas, and I’m building up an exercise routine with this.

This is where I am, ATM:
20 ‘steering wheel’ reps        x 2
2 handed swing x 20 x 2
Sumo deadlift x 20         x 2
Swing x 20 L        x 2
Swing x 20 R         x 2
Clean and jerk L x 20 x 2
Clean and jerk R x 20        x 2

I keep a record of all this on a Word file - and I’m building up to 4 sets of each. Time of day, apart from my morning swim, is variable, whenever I can fit it all in! 

As well as all this, I’ve been looking at the health benefits of cold showers and, after a very tentative beginning, I can now manage over 3 minutes under cold water. Not sure if it’s making any difference, but apparently it takes several weeks before you feel the benefits.

One last thing – I try and do 20 minutes a day bladder muscle exercise. I soon know if I’ve let this one slip – I find myself getting up for the loo in the middle of the night!

I have to say that I’m as fit now as I’ve ever been – I feel like a 40-year-old, a fit 40-year-old. But, since I've only been weight training for a few weeks, I put that down mainly to fasting. 

And confirmation of this is that my age is apparently 47 according to AgeFit, and my Vo2Max is 45! So that’s about 30 years I’ve got in hand.

I haven’t got into HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) yet – tried it with running on the spot, but my knee joints protested – just as they did 30-odd years ago (which is why I got the bike in the first place). 


  1. Good for you, Paul! Exercise knows no age limits, and it's great to see you can even beat some people who are half your age! Not only is your regimen impressive, but it seems you're achieving your goal of feeling and being healthy. Truly, that should be everyone's main reason on working out. Thanks for sharing!

    Ari Maccabi @ Infighting Training Centers

  2. Thanks for those lovely comments, Ari. I must admit to being as surprised as anyone that I can actually become muscular at my age! And I've no intention of stopping anytime soon. :)