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blogging about my books


Personal Posted on 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.

Four Legged friends

Personal Posted on 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

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.

Do you have a purse full of Loyalty Cards?

Personal Posted on 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.

12 Years A Slave

Personal Posted on 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

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.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Personal Posted on 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

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.

The Great Sports Relief Bake Off

Personal Posted on 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

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.

Santa Claus, Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas

Personal Posted on Tue, December 24, 2013 15:33:09

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.

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?

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.’

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.

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.

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.

Christmas Film Favourites for the Family

Personal Posted on 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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