Summer Events in Folkestone

by The Fly Away American (in Kent), with Jessica Galbraith Thursday, June 13 2013

Did anyone catch the Red Arrows in Folkestone this past weekend? The weather was beautiful, the crowds were large, and the show was magnificent. Well, for the first five minutes. Admittedly I am not much of a plane, car, motorcycle type girl. I really enjoyed the Red Arrows, I did, but my attention span can sometimes fail me. Regardless, I had a fabulous day out with friends. Barbecuing at The Leas Coastal Park is just about my favorite thing in the world. It was windy, but then again- when isn't it? It was really a shame that the city wasn't able to profit from the thousands of people who came out, I seriously considered running down to ASDA and setting up a hot dog stand on the promenade. I would have made a killing

This weekend (Tomorrow through Sunday) Folkestone will be hosting the Folkestone Multicultural Festival, three days of dancing, food, and music representing regions from all over the world. I usually go for the food. Last year, I had the best Nepalese food on the planet- no joke. I have dreams about it sometimes. Not a bad option if you are looking for something to do this weekend. I am always happy to see local events going on, and do my best to show up and support the organizations that put these things together. Here is the schedule for the event: Folkestone Multi-Cultural Festival

Next weekend the inaugural Folkestone Fish Festival will take place. The Whitstable Oyster Festival is my favorite event in Kent all summer, so I am hoping this one in Folkestone really gains some momentum. Many of the local businesses (Rocksalt, yum.) will be down at Folkestone Harbor with stands of food, drinks and random stuff.  I will be attending the South East Airshow next Saturday, but will be down at the Fish Festival on Sunday for the Blessings of the Fishes. I am intrigued to witness the process of blessing a fish. 

I will be all over Kent this summer, but thought I would start off letting you all know what is going on around my neighborhood! 




My top 10 films of 2012

by The Kent film blog, by Lewis Dyson Sunday, December 30 2012

It's that time again and I have taken a look back at the movies I really enjoyed in 2012. This year has been pretty not bad in terms of cinematic fare and it has been really difficult to whittle the list down to just 10. Honourable mentions should go out to Moonrise Kingdom, The Grey and End of Watch which were great but I just could not justify them making the selection. Overall, 2012 has thrown up its share of surprises but also some massive disappointments - Prometheus was a massive let down. But here are the films that I think were the best, in reverse order:

10. Life of Pi

Visually beautiful and probably one of only two movies worth stumping up the extra cash to see in 3D (the other being Avatar). The basic premise - boy cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat  with a Tiger - would be enough to put a lot of people off but the result is totally engaging. There is a level that would probably only be appreciated by spiritual audience members but the story is enough to appeal to people both young and old.

9. The Cabin in the Woods

I really liked this post-modern examination of horror films and I won't say any more because I'm determined not to give away any plot spoilers. All I will say is that although it wasn't massively scary, at least it had a brain.

8. The Hunger Games

AKA Battle Royale for kids. I was really surprised with how good this adaptation of a children's book was and although it was aimed at children the amount of violence is shocking, but this makes the message all the more powerful. It does what all great cautionary sci-fi tales do by showing us a remote yet all too familiar version of our own society - from the satirical look at reality TV to the widening gap between "us" and "them".

7. Skyfall

After the instantly forgettable Quantam of Solace, the Bond franchise returned with a bang this year in a film that seemed to be almost universally liked. With Javier Bardem lending the film his skills and credibility and Director Sam Mendes rediscovering what makes Bond brilliant, it certainly lived up to the hype. Yes, a piece of product placement was never far away, but it was a necessary evil to pull off something this big.

6. Chronicle

Three teenagers gain telekinetic superpowers in this genius sci-fi. Definitely one of the best found footage movies out of the recent spate (although there's not a lot of competition). It was pure wish fulfilment with a nasty twist.

5. The Dark Knight Rises

Before going into this all I could think was, "there is no way it can be better than The Dark Knight". Although I was blown away on the first viewing, my enthusiasm waned slightly second time around. Regardless it's still an epic, thrilling and ambitious comic book classic if it doesn't quite better its predecessor. 

4. Argo

Ben Affleck reminded us he is not just the guy who played Daredevil once; he's also a really talented filmmaker with efforts like Gone Baby Gone, The Town and now this under his belt. At times hilarious and then nerve-shreddingly tense, this was another universally adored surprise - and rightfully so. 

3. Avengers Assemble

How do you condense half a dozen separate characters and their back stories into two hours and still make a compelling and engaging narrative of your own? Ask Joss Whedon because what he pulled off in this film is no mean feat. Funny, crowd-pleasing moments are peppered into exciting, spectacular set pieces. For once, someone got Hulk spot on.

2. The Raid

If you haven't seen this Indonesian martial arts action film then make sure you check it out. A simple yet perfectly executed action movie with balletic fight scenes and good old fashioned thrills without the obtrusive CGI. Just pure fun.

1. Looper

This deserves top spot because it felt like there was something to it. It's one of those films that will leave you constantly questioning and having debates with your friends about for days afterwards. Star Joseph Gordon-Levitt perfectly captures his character as a young Bruce Willis perfectly. Like Inception before it, Looper respects its audience's intelligence while not getting carried away, maintaining a compelling story and thrilling action scenes.

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Categories: Food

The end is nigh...probably

by The Kent film blog, by Lewis Dyson Tuesday, December 18 2012

Three trailers were shown for the first time this week for post-apocalyptic sci-fi films. Ironically all of them are being released after the world is supposed to end on Friday.

Pacific Rim, After Earth, and Oblivion are all out next year and it seems as if destroying most of the world's population will be the in theme for filmmakers in 2013. 

Of the three, Pacific Rim, easily looks like it will be the best. Directed by the Hobbit-spurning Guillermo Del Toro, the film is set in a future where a portal between dimensions has appeared in the middle of The Pacific Ocean, through which sky-scraper sized monsters emerge to destroy the planet. Humanity fights back by creating huge robots piloted by pairs of soldiers. I was sold on the concept alone but the trailer makes it look like Transformers meets Godzilla - but actually good. 

Oblivion stars Tom Cruise as some kind of engineer who returns to Earth after it has been destroyed in a war with aliens. It could go either way but certainly seems worth a watch when it comes out next year.

M Night Shyamalan's efforts have been on a downward trajectory in terms of quality since Unbreakable, which is why his latest, After Earth, should probably be approached with caution. Then again it stars Will Smith and his son Jaden as on-screen father and son exploring a desolate earth so maybe their charisma alone will make up for it.

The trend is reminiscent of the handful of scorched-earth, Armageddon sci-fis that came out a few years ago around the same time - The Road, The Book of Eli and Terminator Salvation to name a few. Perhaps those films reflected the bleak mood of the time; if so, then it seems we are still slightly obsessed with the end of the world.

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Categories: Food

Life’s too short to live on lettuce alone

by Nikki's world, with Nikki White Tuesday, February 14 2012
Telling a woman she’s too fat is never a good idea. Even saying she’s a little too fat won’t soften the blow.

Fair enough, Karl Lagerfeld has spent his life in a world where people are obsessed with being stick-thin, and telling a girl she needs to shift a few pounds is all part of the job.

But picking on Adele just isn’t on. Mr Lagerfeld may love the skinny-minny body, but it isn’t for all of us.

Of course I’d love to be a size 10, but the last time I fitted into something that small, I was still a teenager.

The only way I’m ever going to get back to that size is if I give up booze, chocolate and pasta and live on lettuce – life is just too short.

I love good food and if it means I tip the scales higher than some, then so be it.

Of course, I’m more careful these days than I was in the past – I’m conscious that my cholesterol level is higher than it should be and I do my best to eat reasonably healthily during the week, but it’s still fish and veg that I love. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it.

But come the weekends, I’ll tuck into whatever I want (or whatever’s available – have you tried getting a salad at a football match?)

I did once drop a few dress sizes, but it was the stress over a relationship break-up. I looked good, but I was utterly miserable. So I’m with Adele – life is for living.

Speaking of Adele, that girl was one of my bad decisions. She played Maidstone’s Big Weekend in 2008 and was first on the bill on Sunday.

Having worked until 2am that morning, I’d slept in and thought I’d give her a miss. What a mistake that was.

Still, not as big a mistake as a friend of mine, who turned down the chance to interview the umpteenth up-and-coming boy band to play a Gillingham nightclub. Yep, it was Take That.

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Categories: Food

Chip in for the celebrations

by The What's On blog, with Chris Price Tuesday, February 8 2011

You can have them with fish, sausages, steak or on their own. They taste divine in a butty and are a symbol of British cuisine.

The humble chip is a staple in the diet of the majority of families in the UK. Eight out of 10 households in this country buy frozen oven chips each year and fish and chips is the nation's favourite takeaway meal, outselling Indian food two to one.

So to honour these thickly cut strips of fried potato (not those thin and unsatisfying french fries you darn Americans) someone at the chip loving organisation Love Chips has had the brilliant idea of creating National Chip Week.

It takes place from Monday, February 21 to Sunday, February 27 and we will be covering the event in What's On, which is where you come in.

Let us know where your favourite place to grab a takeaway portion of chips is or what is your favourite fish and chip restaurant. Do you have any favourite chip recipes? Do you like to eat yours with something unusual or do you have a special name for chip dishes (apparently if you ask for a Snozzsup in Glasgow you get a fish and chip supper rather than a smack in the mouth.)

Health freaks do not fear - apparently a portion of chips contains nine times more vitamin C than a slice of pizza and has just 60 per cent of the calories found in sweet-and-sour chicken, egg-fried rice or a portion of vegetable spring rolls. 

So let us know what your chip secrets are and grab your chip map of Kent in next week's What's On. Email or join the debate on our facebook page at


Intrepid Focus magazine reporter Helen Geraghty (or as I refer to her, the nice lady who sits next to me at work) has taken some time out of her tightly packed schedule to go to the cinema and see a film with her children.

Here is what she thought of Disney's new flick Tangled:

A kids' film that is watchable for mummy too, is a rare gift. I was just getting my head down to snooze through Tangled, the latest offering from the omnipresent Disney, when a small child in the front row started to scream " mummy, mummy I don't like it" again and again.

 My interest aroused, I opened my eyes and found this film starts off in a pretty dark way, with a dear little animated baby princess with huge green eyes being snatched at midnight from her little crib by a witchy kind of woman who wants to use her hair to stay young for ever, or something.

Wow, the screaming doubled in pace, panic was setting in down the front, but my daughters' ten and eight, and me, were now well into it.

This film has nothing at all to do with the rather dull tale of Rapunzel, which you could actually tell in 30 seconds.

The hero, a thief, Flynn Rider actually gets stabbed. Rapunzel has 70 feet of hair which glows when she sings and she spends a lot of the film swinging around in it until Flynn shows some rare commonsense and they tie it up in a plait. Phew.

The old hag, who has some serious issues as regards growing old gracefully dies in a gruesome fall from the tower. And the scene where the star-crossed lovers both nearly drown in a black cave filling up with water is the stuff of proper nightmares.

We all sat in a row and pretended not to cry when Rapunzel, hair all gone, suddenly realises she can save poor Flynn just with a little magic tear and brings him back to life. Of course it all ends happily when Rapunzel spots her green eyes exactly match those of her mother, the queen, who has never stopped hunting for her. If only child abductions would all end so peaceably.  

I don't know what happened to the small screaming person. Probably passed out.

Hip hip hooray and ten stars, or whatever.

The spring edition of Focus magazine comes out the week ending Friday, February 25 in the Kent Messenger, Medway Messenger, Gravesend Messenger, Dartford Messenger, Kentish Express and Kentish Gazette.

Categories: General | Film | Food

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