Foley's blogs

Foley's blogs

My blogs

blogging about my books


PersonalPosted by Foley Western Mon, October 17, 2016 15:29:48

Remembering what my father used to say to me; which I have actually found to be true over years, is that Free from all waste and poison, and when no solid food has been taken for some time, one's body functions without obstruction and one feels a surge of vitality through out one's system.

Nowadays some people are beginning to believe that calorie restriction may even elongate/extend life, though this has not be proven.

So it is safe to say that calorie reduction certainly helps one to lose weight and perhaps then feel better within oneself, if it is not overdone for vanity's sake.

People must appreciate we are not all built the same and we cannot all be thin, heck some people who are built succulently naturally, look awful when they lose weight and start to appear gaunt and hollow cheeked.

The right balance has to be struck so we don't send our youngsters the wrong message.

They have to now it is okay to have some flesh on their bones, or to be slightly chubbier than some of their friends, and they are just as beautiful; if not even more beautiful as a result of their feminine curves.

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Four Legged friends

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Mon, June 01, 2015 09:22:57

There is huge attention given to pets and animals these days which is revealing so much deeper understanding of how animals connect well with humans in ways which were never imagined.

A child getting used to having a pet or loving animals will always grow up with valuable attributes which are produced by this unique relationship only reserved for the four or two legged friends.

Having a family pet teaches respect, kindness and sharing as well as the added bonus of alternative entertainment. Ask a child to go to the park, to play football or to swing on the swings and the novelty may wear off, but ask them to come out with the dog and their energy seems unending. The animal ~ child relationship expands their minds to having a friend and also acts as a bridge between how they view the world towards others. It is one of the easiest ways to educate a child in the world of interaction.

Many children will adopt a mothering instinct over the pet, and find comfort petting and stroking it,(in itself a great process of building up calm and secure feelings), some will view it as their own personal friend, something they relate to because in their mind it belongs to them or they can talk to it with no fear of anything but unconditional love in return. Very few children who grow up with pets will become spiteful or cruel towards animals as their own pet will always be in the back of their minds in the event of meeting a new one. The wide variety of pets do not have to stop at dogs or cats, animals do require work and in a normal household may not be a practical addition, but even a goldfish or rabbit, or a hamster can be a suitable alternative. Of course there is also the ability now to take children to animal parks and farms, which proves a great learning experience; if owning your own pet is not a feasible option. There are even websites where owners who need their dogs walked advertise and this can provide exactly the same excitement in a child's life even though it is not their own for most of the time.

Pets and animals encourage children to talk, a child even before they can string sentences will often chat in their own way to a pet or be able to say the names of a favourite animal in a story book. They are not only reactive to their environment but they can also provide a learning experience in their fascinating habits and antics and every parent will know a child's laughter and smile will be one of the greatest gifts and rewards.

Nothing equals the sight of a child running with a dog in a carefree safe environment and a dog or cat can sometimes be the companion to a shy or less confident child encouraging them to talk and express themselves. But the greatest advancement is the development of training animals to help handicapped or emotionally abused children. Charities and societies have been set up to breed and train suitable animals to work with some families to help children in their everyday life and it has proved to be a success. This is also true with some care focussed on the elderly.

There are boundaries of course, animals are in effect wild and have not the ability to sometimes know their strengths or can react in their own way if something upsets them, so care and vigilance is always a requisite. Even the most placid animal sleeping may not be too happy to be woken by an over enthusiastic playmate. Animals need their space too so just piling lots of them into a smaller home thinking it will end up as a harmonious area can be a fragile balance to maintain. A pet should not be bought in haste either, a Christmas or birthday gift may sound a great idea at the time, but care and attention of a pet will become part of the necessary routine and so discussion and pre-thinking is also important.

Children find comfort in relationships and in a world where time is precious and always under pressure, a pet can become a great source of development for a child to understand and find a simple source of happiness and even relaxation. Respecting animals is a lesson for all to learn but this is greatly enhanced if the learning process is a practical one and a pet will always reward back but whatever we teach our children will always be repeated in their thoughts later in life and respect and kindness are fundamentals for everyone to learn.

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Do you have a purse full of Loyalty Cards?

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Fri, February 07, 2014 11:55:33

If you tipped your purse out would you be surprised at how may Loyalty Cards you have collected over the years? But do you actually use them to their full potential and do you actually know what it means when you do use them. I think the answer you would come up with would be no to both questions. Don’t worry you are not alone.

With points, rewards and cash-back schemes being offered by all the major department stores, supermarkets and a variety of other big brand chains we need a bag just for all the loyalty cards on offer. Have you ever been behind someone paying for their goods and watch them route for a handful of cards before they find that shops loyalty card. Have you been ‘that’ person? I am guessing you can answer yes to both too.

These are the regular ‘Loyalty Cards’ that have found their way into my purse and out of the eight above two don’t get used, four occasionally, with the other two on a weekly basis. Do I know what perks they can offer me – yes I have a fair idea of most of them. So let’s take a look at the ones that deserve to take up room in my purse.

Boots Advantage Card allows you to collect 4 points for every £1 you spend and the points you accumulate can pay for future purchases. Not a regular Boots shopper but over time my points do build up, and especially around Christmas shopping time and I normally find I can treat myself to a little something special once the New Year starts.

Tesco Clubcard have a variety of options to gain points with purchasing in store and online being the best way to collect points at 1 point per £1 spent. You can also collect points on fuel although you only get 1 point for every £2 you spend. Points are converted into clubcard vouchers and you can use instore, or turn into days out vouchers, cinema tickets, or vouchers to eat out. I think I have used my Tesco Clubcard vouchers for most things and definitely worth collecting if you have children and like the zoo.

Nectar Card works similarly to Boots Advantage Card and can be used in Sainsbury’s, Homebase, Ebay and British Gas. Mine gets used solely for Sainsbury’s where you get 2 points per £1 spent in store and online. Points add up to a cash total with 200 points equalling £1 and my points are being saved to use at Christmas, and something I am sure many customers decide to do.

Costa Coffee allows you to collect five points for every £1 you spend, with each point being worth a penny and can be used for future coffee and cake treats. Whenever a shopping trip is arranged there is always a visit to Costa Coffee, so for me this one has to stay.

Why not take a look at what is in your purse and see if they should stay or go and make room for a loyalty card that is going to be worth carrying around.

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12 Years A Slave

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Tue, January 21, 2014 19:38:08

It seems that one particular British director is not only making headlines but waves in the film industry for his latest film - 12 Years a Slave.

Based on the nineteenth century memoirs of Solomon Northup and adapted by screenwriter John Ridley, the film follows Solomon’s as he goes from being a well-educated family man from New York State to being sold into slavery in the south due to his colour. This type of kidnapping was rife in these times. The film is not an easy watch for even the hardest of souls and if you only decide to watch just one film this year, make it this one. An important story told from first-hand experience dating back centuries. Told with passion, conviction and grace.

Steve McQueen is no ordinary film director, and 2014 looks like it will be the year he makes his mark in the film industry and add to his growing collection of accolades. Awarded the Turner Prize for his artwork, one of the highest awards given to a British visual artist and also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the visual arts, McQueen is regarded as one of the best.

Now it looks like his latest big screen drama production may just allow him to get his hands on the much sought after Oscar, an award most actors, directors, producers would give their last dollar to have amongst their achievements.

So far 12 Years a Slave has won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama and a Critics Choice Award for Best Picture, with Lupita Nyong’o also winning Best Supporting Actress and John Ridley for Best Adapted Screen Play.

It has also notched up 10 BAFTA nominations and 9 Oscar nominations many in the same categories. This film and everyone associated with it will surely be keeping their fingers crossed that the awards keep coming their way.

As for the talented, unassuming British Director, Steve McQueen has certainly cemented a fruitful future amongst the greats of Hollywood and beyond and it has only taken one great film for the world to remember his name. A name they surely won’t forget and one that will hopefully be amongst the nominations once again.

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Chocolate Sponge Cake

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Sun, January 19, 2014 19:21:39

Last week the nation was treated to four ‘charity’ bake offs for Sport Relief and a little something to keep the loyal followers happy. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood pulled apart, literally, the celebrity bakes whilst viewers watched, laughed, cringed and cheered at the screen.

It really got me thinking of baking and one particular cake that seemed to be a big feature – The Chocolate Sponge Cake. So I thought it would be a great idea to share Mary Berry’s own recipe for the perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake and see if there are any potential bakers amongst you.

Preparation Time: 30 to 60 minutes - Cooking Time: 30 to 60 minutes – Serves: 8





50g/2oz cocoa powder

6 tbsp boiling water

3 free-range eggs

4 tbsp milk

175g/6oz self-raising flour

1 rounded tsp baking powder

100g/10oz natural caster sugar

For the icing and filling:

150g/5oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

150ml/5fl apricot jam

Icing sugar, to dust

Preparation method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with baking parchment.

2. Put the cocoa powder and boiling water into a large bowl and mix well to make a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and beat again until combines. This can also be done in a food processor, but take care not to over whisk. Divide the cake mixture between the prepared tins. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin.

3. Meanwhile, for the icing and filling, measure the chocolate and cream together in a bowl and stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water for about 10 minutes, or until melted. Stir from time to time. Set aside and leave until cool and almost set.

4. Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely. Spread the tops of each cake with apricot jam. Fill the cakes with half of the icing and spread the remainder on top. Draw large “S” shapes over the cake with a palatte knife to give a swirl effect. Dust with icing sugar and serve in slices.

Perfect to serve with a nice pot of tea, or a freshly brewed cup of coffee when you visitors, or as a dessert accompanied with custard, cream or ice cream.

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The Great Sports Relief Bake Off

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Tue, January 07, 2014 19:27:20

It seems there is definitely a new trend going around the TV circuit – the celebrity induced challenge; dancing, the jungle, skating, diving and now baking. We’ve not long said goodbye 2013 and I’m A Celebrity….Get Me Out of Here and Strictly Come Dancing, when 2014 kicks in with Splash and Dancing on Ice. Next week it’s the turn of The Great Sports Relief Bake Off.

Starting Monday 13th January, the first of four programmes will see a host of celebrities taking part in The Great Sport Relief Bake Off to help raise money for the sporting stars of the future. In each televised programme four different celebrities will battle it out in the kitchen, at the end of which a star baker will be crowned. Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are back to keep an eye on the hopefuls, and are sure to attract the viewing public. Regular presenter Sue Perkins is minus her usual sidekick Mel and will be joined by guest hosts Omid Djalili, Ed Byrne and Jo Brand and between the two funny women there is sure to be a few laughs had, and not just at the baking disasters.

Amongst the 16 celebrities there are a mixture of actresses, sports personalities, singers and presenters but which one also has some hidden talent when it comes to mouth-watering cakes, puddings and desserts.

Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner will take a turn on the other side of the table and be receiving instead of giving at the hands of the two professional bakers. Rochelle Humes will be hoping her baking turns out better than her dancing after her unsuccessful turn on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. Cricketer Michael Vaughan and cyclist Victoria Pendleton will also be hoping their baking lives up to their dancing skills, as both lasted until weeks eight (Victoria) and nine (Michael) on Strictly Come Dancing in the 2012 series. If the other contenders prove pretty bad they might just be in with a chance.

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, impressionist Alistair McGowan, presenter Johnny Vaughan, and Desert Island Disc host Kirsty Young also join the wife of Comic Relief boss Richard Curtis, Emma Freud. Out of the five of them one of them must be a dab hand in the kitchen? Or is that just when it’s time to wash up?

Singers Michael Ball and Jamelia, and actresses Doon Mackichan, Samantha Bond and Jane Horrocks will be donning their apron and hoping to pull out a little something special when the clock signals it is time to bake. With Bonnie Wright swapping the wand she waved about as Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films for a wooden spoon. She be wanting to turn her competition into fluffy bunnies to disguise how bad her baking really is?

So will it be a case of soggy puddings and flour clouds or will we get to see some real bakers appear before our very eyes. Only one way to find out – set your TV for 8.30pm, BBC2, Monday 13th to Thursday 16th January 2014.

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Santa Claus, Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Tue, December 24, 2013 15:33:09

Tonight households across the world will be full of very excited children leaving out glasses of milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeers, hoping that when they wake up in the morning he has left them presents.

Santa is known by many names – Santa, Father Christmas, Santa Claus and the one that is believed to be behind the tradition of gift-giving, Saint Nicholas himself. The legendary bishop was well known for being generous to the poor and was once believed to have thrown gold coins through the windows of a poor family’s home so they were able to get their daughters married. Is this also where the tale of Santa entering homes, as if by magic, and leaving presents under the tree comes from?

Santa Claus is believed to get from house to house by sleigh pulled by flying reindeers; Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, who are based on the reindeers used in the 1823 poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ (originally known as ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’). It is also why reindeers have become as popular a Christmas symbol as Santa Claus and Christmas Trees. Rudolph, has since joined the list of Santa’s reindeers due to the increasing popularity of the Christmas song ‘Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer.’

As for the way Santa looks we can thank the painter Moritz Schwind who based Santa on the character of Winter, who appeared as an old man with a long beard and this image has been associated with Santa. The suit he wore was depicted in either red, green or brown with no one colour used more than the others. When Coca Cola used the image of Santa Claus for their Christmas advertising in the 1930s, they made his suit red with a white trim and since then it has always been red and white.

Today children all around the world can send letters to Santa Claus at the North Pole, sing about Rudolph his red nosed reindeer and Dancer and Prancer and leave their stockings at the end of their beds or over the fireplace hoping when they wake up they will be filled with presents. Christmas is a magical time when you believe in Father Christmas.

Whichever tale you believe as to how Santa Claus came about or why he is dressed the way he is not what matter, as Santa Claus is only one thing that makes Christmas a special time, along with quality time with family and friends, giving gifts of love and remembering all those less fortunate in the world.

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Christmas Film Favourites for the Family

PersonalPosted by Foley Western Sat, December 21, 2013 16:25:21

It’s the weekend before Christmas and the TV is full of Christmassy things to watch, especially when it comes to films. Do you have a family tradition that you follow each year? Or do you just take pot luck when the family decide to sit down together and watch a Christmas film? There are tons of films with a Christmas theme loved and watched by many, and below is two of the favourites and if you haven’t seen one, or all of them, you could always add them to your list of films to watch over the festive period.

First up is Home Alone, which, since its release in 1990 has been a firm favourite with families and not just at Christmas. We see eight year old Kevin McCallister being left home alone when his family sleep-in on the morning of their trip to Paris, France and in the hurry miscount heads. On the prowl are two wannabe burglars who target the McCallisters but don’t expect to come up against Kevin. Very funny scenes from start to finish and of course, there is a happy ending too.

If you loved Home Alone, you can follow Kevin again over Christmas in Home Alone 2, with him at least getting to the airport and on a plane, but instead of Hawaii with his family, he ends up in New York City. The two wannabe burglars turn up again and of course, are outwitted by the quick thinking Kevin. Just as funny as the first one and you will be guaranteed to feel warm and fuzzy near the end of the film.

Jack Frost is another favourite, but might just bring a tear to your eyes. Michael Keaton plays Jack Frost, lead singer of the band ‘The Jack Frost Band’ who keeps letting his family down. On realising his mistakes he heads home from an important gig but heads into a bad storm and dies instantly when his car crashes. A year after his death, Jack’s young son Charlie makes a snowman that looks like his father, or as much as he can remember of his and plays the ‘magical’ harmonica Jack gave him. The snowman comes alive with Jack’s spirit and the film sees both father and son spending time together and Jack teaching his young son some of the values of life he hadn’t managed to whilst alive. A lovely film.


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