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Mrs N. (London, UK)

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Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania
Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania
by Mike Ormsby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.18

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, ambiguous, patronising..., 3 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all I must say I was quite excited when I saw this book. I thought that I finally found a nice, humorous collection of short stories illustrating Romania, my home country. I'll start with the good parts (which will justify the one star):
- The stories of the book are realistic and do portray SOME of the Romanian traditions or behaviours.
- Vocabulary used is quite rich, which makes the flow of the story pleasant and the book very easy to read.

That was about it with the positives, now here's my criticism:
- It is very unclear what type of reader this book is addressed to. I initially thought that it is aimed at tourists visiting Romania. Wrong (I hope)! It mentions several Romanian words/sayings with no translation or explanation of the concept (i.e. capra vecinului = neighbour's goat. If you've never heard of this concept you'll have no clue what it is about). It makes no relevant references for the first time tourist to Romania.
- There are several stories relating to Romanians working abroad. Again, with no particular relevance, especially to someone who is about to visit Romania.
- Unfortunately I've also noticed a couple of spelling mistakes, i.e. "Dynamo" instead of the correct spelling of "Dinamo", referring to one of the most successful Romanian football teams. (It's a football team Mr Ormsby, not a magician!)
- Approximately 80% of the Romanians in Mr Ormsby's stories are portrayed negatively. If I've never been to Romania and I hear about children abusing dogs, mature women sticking gum under seats, bureaucracy, taxi drivers ripping off foreigners, reckless driving, indifference to anyone else's needs, not being able to get a bar seat without bribing the waiter etc. I'd probably do everything I can to steer clear of Romania.
What about the kindness of people, amazing food (that only has a couple of minor references in this book), merriness, Bucharest's great nightlife, UNESCO protected reservation of Danube Delta and the other unique natural wonders of Romania??
- Most of the stories have a patronising air, which made me feel really uncomfortable and angry.

Yes, there is bureaucracy and maybe a more individualistic mentality, but bear in mind that Romania got rid of communism only 26 yrs ago so the average middle aged person will have been brought up in communism. That's what they know and still practise to an extent. That doesn't mean that this defines Romania to the core.
I, as a Romanian, feel embarrassed with this book. I feel angry, hurt and patronised.

To me, this book is a pointless collection of 2 paged stories that give Romania a bad image. I hope you don't waste your time as I did.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2014 2:00 PM BST


TePe Interdental Brush Pink 0.4mm Pack of 6
TePe Interdental Brush Pink 0.4mm Pack of 6
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Best option for cleaning, 6 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I only started using TePe brushes a few months ago and as the gaps between my teeth are not too wide, the pink brushes are perfect for me. Only now did I realise how much residue was still between my teeth as floss is too thin for many of the gaps. My teeth now feel much cleaner and the Tepe brushes are very easy to use. The pack comes with a handy cap to cover the brush you're using (so maybe you can also take it with you when out at work etc). Also, the price here is lower than any other offered by high street chains.


VTech Nursery Rhymes Book
VTech Nursery Rhymes Book
Price: £7.26

5.0 out of 5 stars on and on, 6 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book when my son was 6 months old. I thought it will probably sit on a shelf for a few months but he enjoyed it straight away. 10 weeks later he still plays with it on a daily basis. As this is my first child I didn't know any nursery rhymes but the VTech book tought us both quite a few. As it is made of plastic I think it is particularly useful for babies as they like chewing everything and the traditional book would get spoilt. The lights and songs are very attractive too, but the only downside is that you can't control them. As there is no off button or volume control you can not instantly stop the music. However, I use it at home and only have one child so it works fine for me.
I also bought the nursery rhymes book for my friends' children and they enjoyed it too!


The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Little Learning Library
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Little Learning Library
by Eric Carle
Edition: Board book
Price: £3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars colourful and cute, 6 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the Little Learning Library because I liked the idea of having a compact bunch of books with the basic information for a baby. Because of the vibrant colours my son also loves playing with them at 8 months old. Children around the age of 12-24 months might benefit from it more, but it can certainly be an educational tool for babies too.
The pages are very sturdy so they won't be easily torn. The cube keeps all books in place so they are also ideal for small spaces.


Life in the United Kingdom: a guide for new residents
Life in the United Kingdom: a guide for new residents
by Great Britain: Home Office
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.04

5.0 out of 5 stars well rounded, 6 Aug 2013
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This book is basically all you need to pass the test. As long as you have carefully read ALL the information you are guaranteed to pass the test. It has a lot more information than the previous versions, so it is also more difficult. The chapters are arranged according to the timeline, so if read as a history book it might be easier to assimilate.


OXO Tot Snack Disk (Aqua)
OXO Tot Snack Disk (Aqua)
Offered by Liams Bargains UK
Price: £2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars on the go, 6 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been using the snack disk since I started weaning because I hated having open bags of snacks in my bag. I found the OXO disk sturdy, roomy and its lid has a very good grip. Initially it looked rather small but I can fit about 7 rice cakes in it, which is more than enough for my baby. At this stage (my son is 8 months old) it is perfect for when we're on the go. Anytime we're out I now have the snack disk with me. It is compact, light and very handy!


Secure-A-Toy, ORANGE-GOLD
Secure-A-Toy, ORANGE-GOLD
Offered by Compac Industries
Price: £3.79

5.0 out of 5 stars just what I needed, 2 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the 2 secure-a-toy straps when my son (now 7 months old) started throwing the toys out of the buggy. This has been one of the most useful purchases so far. Even Sophie the giraffe is now securely attached to the buggy. The colours are lovely and vibrant and what's even better is that there are several caps along the strap so it can easily be adjusted to any toy. My son even likes chewing the strap itself, but threads don't come out of it and it doesn't hurt his gums either. Now, it's not infallible, because with a bit of determination my son does manage to open the caps and release the toy, but overall I found it to be of great help. I also attach it to my changing bag when I need to take along some toys and I haven't got the buggy.


Lamaze Activity Spiral
Lamaze Activity Spiral
Price: £10.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the buggy bar, 15 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My son is now 6 1/2 months and for about 4-5 weeks he's been in the stroller version of his pram. He loves sitting up and looking around but gets bored easily so the activity spiral comes in handy every time. He loves playing with it and especially reaching for the teething toys. This keeps him entertained for hours when I go out shopping.

It is also very easy to put on and it's the only toy I know for sure he won't lose!

I am definitely a Lamaze fan now!


Tommee Tippee Explora Weaning Kit (Blue)
Tommee Tippee Explora Weaning Kit (Blue)
Price: £10.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best baby purchases, 15 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this weaning kit when my son was 5 months and started exploring purees and solids. It arrived quickly and well packaged, then every item I was taking out was a pleasant surprise!
The training sippy cup was perfect for my baby as the free flowing one overwhelmed him initially. Later on he also liked chewing on its rubbery tip.
The soft tip spoons are ideal for first purees because everything is soft and I found it made an easier transition from exclusively breast feeding to spoon feeding. My son also liked playing with these spoons and even biting the soft tip (with no danger to his gums and later emerging teeth).
The bigger pot is ideal for travel as the spoon fits securely in the lid compartment so there's no need for plastic bags to protect the spoon etc. It is also big enough to keep 2 portions (at least until baby is about 7-8months).
The two storage pots are the best I've bought as they have a non-slip base! I now use them when I'm feeding my son and should I forget one of them on his tray they are not flying off so easily.

Overall, this has been one of my best baby purchases so I'd definitely recommend it!


Vital Baby Food Pots (Blue, 4-Pack)
Vital Baby Food Pots (Blue, 4-Pack)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Handy, 15 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these when my son was 5 months old and he started exploring purees and solids. They are a good, ergonomic shape and the lid stays on firmly. I found them very handy as I cook vegetables in bulk then freeze them in individual pots to later mix them for different meals. These food pots are microwave, fridge and freezer safe. They are also stackable (great for small spaces).
My son is now 6 1/2 months and this pot is the perfect size for his meals. He has a full pot for lunch or dinner.

The only flaw of these pots is that the bottom is not non-slip. In terms of food storage, they are certainly 5*, but as I now use them to feed my son I have to be careful not to leave a pot on his tray because he'll definitely knock it down. I also have some food pots of a different brand that have a non-slip bottom and I found that very handy.


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