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Reviews Written by
Gabrielle O (London, UK)

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Elizabeth David on Vegetables
Elizabeth David on Vegetables
by Elizabeth David
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive, drool-worthy food writing - a classic, 30 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really enjoy a sort of... narrative, descriptive, mouth-watering approach to food writing. So I suppose that Elizabeth David's style is very much my kind of thing to start with - and that is why I am giving this book five stars.

It doesn't bother me in the least that the quantities are given in the description, or that the book is written in prose rather than bare instructions. I actually really like it. I guess this is also why I love Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries, so if you dislike those too, then perhaps this is not the book for you.

On the visual front, this is obviously intended to be a classic cookbook. It's not flashy or showy, but the photos do give added interest to Elizabeth David's recipes. I'm quite a visual person, and I like this - but the emphasis is very much on the narrative of the recipes and this is very much in keeping with the style of the cooking.

Although I am vegetarian, I prefer an agnostic approach to my cooking inspiration. I am not offended by the suggestion of chicken stock but am happy to replace it with vegetable stock as appropriate. If I know that a recipe is intended to be made with chicken stock, I will probably use a different type of vegetable stock (a more savoury one, if that makes sense, rather than an overtly 'vegetably' one). All in all - one very happy vegetarian here. I love this book. It's beautifully produced, setting off Elizabeth David's classic recipes to great effect.


Pampers New Baby (Mini) Nappies Monthly Pack - Size 2 (240 Nappies)
Pampers New Baby (Mini) Nappies Monthly Pack - Size 2 (240 Nappies)
Price: £27.43

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone seems to recommend Pampers - I can see why, 30 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a newbie I was very surprised by the size of the box that arrived when I ordered this. Who knew that 240 nappies could take up so much space? I guess I'm just lucky these were the newborn size (2) as otherwise it would have been even more alarming. Still, I am glad to have a large storage space to put these as the box is not an insignificant size.

So what's inside? The nappies are packed in sets of 40, with two sets attached. These are a much more handy size for packing away in cupboards. The nappies themselves are high quality. The wetness indicator is a huge bonus when you compare it to cheaper value brands.

I will definitely be buying Pampers again. Despite the higher cost, the quality is good and the bulk pack does make the purchase more economical so this is a good way to go.


Judaism: All That Matters
Judaism: All That Matters
by Keith Kahn-Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Punchy, concise introduction to Judaism, 30 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was a punchy, readable introduction to Judaism - not quite what I was expecting but excellent. Generally speaking this book is more concerned with the cultural and historical aspects of Jewishness than the religious or spiritual (and I suppose this was what surprised me) yet having read it I can understand why these strands are so intertwined.

It left me with a greater understanding of Judaism, and some definite areas that I'd like to follow up and learn more about. For me, I'd have appreciated a little more on the spiritual side of Judaism - but I feel I've had a good concise introduction and the book included some good suggestions of follow up reading, so all in all it was the right place to start. And that, I suppose, is what an 'All That Matters' book should be like.

If this is a representative example of this series of books, I'm most impressed by the quality and writing style. I will look out for other books in the same series in future.


My First Wife
My First Wife
by Jakob Wassermann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and translated, 30 Jun. 2013
This review is from: My First Wife (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thought initially that this was fiction but after googling the author it seems it's largely autobiographical. A beautifully tautly written depiction of a marriage that starts failing almost before it begins. It lays out the back drop from the outset, but the real action of the book begins only when the protagonist falls in love with another woman - Bettina Merck - and starts to seek a separation.

I have no idea why I haven't heard of Jakob Wassermann. His writing is extraordinarily good. Although I can't read German and so am not familiar with the original, I think the strength of this English edition must also be due to the quality of the translation by Michael Hoffman. The writing is taut and lyrical and the subject matter is approached with wry candour.

A beautifully produced book - hardback, with a gorgeous cover design in black and shades of white/cream. Good quality paper. Although I am a happy Kindle convert most of the time, the quality of this book's design and manufacture did make me remember why it's so nice to read a thoughtfully produced print book. This would make a really excellent gift. Just, er, maybe not a wedding gift or anything... :-)


Pipetto Luxury Leather iPad Mini Case - Khaki Brown
Pipetto Luxury Leather iPad Mini Case - Khaki Brown
Price: £69.95

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly gorgeous, high quality, great design, 30 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
... I nearly cried when I had to test this out on my favourite boy's iPad Mini. I only have a big clunky iPad. I used to like it because it had a big screen. Now I look covetously at favourite boy's iPad Mini in its gorgeous Pipetto leather case. Sigh. C'est la vie.

This is a really beautifully designed, high quality, useable bit of kit. I was slightly appalled when I saw the cost of the Pipetto cover, but really impressed by the quality and style of the product itself. There are few fussy little details and the iPad mini fits easily and seamlessly into the case. All of the buttons are easy to access and use. When closed, the case protects the tablet well. More importantly, perhaps, it looks the business. I'm almost tempted to get another case... to protect the beauty of the Pipetto case... but no, that would be madness. And I'm sure the leather cover will weather nicely and any little scuffs and stains will lend it character.

I'm just about to shell out for a bigger Pipetto case for my iPad...


Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus
Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus
by Simon Rimmer
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Girls like pies AND hummus, and hate lazy marketing stereotypes, 30 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although I usually love Simon Rimmer's stuff - especially the vegetarian recipes - this cookbook was a let-down for me. The style is sort of self-consciously 'blokey' and the design is high-visibility but not easy to read or use. The 'home cooking' style of the recipes was down to earth but ultimately not terribly inspiring. Most recipes were for main courses, with few side dishes or soups or salads on offer. The recipes were also heavily meat-based. I should acknowledge that I am vegetarian, so perhaps I should have known that a cookbook with the word 'pies' in the title might be quite meaty (it is). However, I do use and love a lot of omnivorous cookbooks and find the really good ones offer so much inspiration that I can use to adapt recipes to make them vegetarian.

On what is perhaps an irrelevant note, I also hate the lazy gender stereotyping in the title about what men and girls like. I like pies, albeit vegetarian ones, AND hummus thank you very much. And why do men get the grown-up moniker, rather than being called boys, while it's girls rather than women? I don't know, this is probably a silly point to make. But somehow it sums up quite a bit of what I found irritating and unhelpful about this cookbook. Marketing people, do get a grip on your urge to stereotype. It's lazy and it's irritating. Blokey chaps who love meaty home cooking, please feel free to disagree with me here and tell me how wonderful this book is. I am quite willing to accept that it is simply not for me.

On the plus side, I should mention that there is a dedicated vegetarian section and there was some interesting stuff in there. It is somewhat at odds with the ethos of the rest of the cookbook and seems a little out of place, but I guess even meat-pie-loving home-cooking blokes do occasionally want to impress vegetarian guests. There is also a rather divine looking pudding section - this is where I would say this book shines, as the down to earth style really suits comfort food like puddings.


fine-toned ECO -BIRTH BALL SET-antiburst- 55cm -pump & maternity instructions- NEW!!!
fine-toned ECO -BIRTH BALL SET-antiburst- 55cm -pump & maternity instructions- NEW!!!

4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality birthing or gym ball, 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was exactly what I was looking for. I am 5'4" and was concerned that a larger gym ball would be too high for me, so I found this one. 55 cm gym balls turned out to be surprisingly difficult to find, but it's the perfect size.

So, the reasons why I have given this four stars rather than five. As other reviewers have mentioned, the foot pump is pretty flimsy and low quality. However, it got the job done. The other thing that wasn't great were the instructions, which were on a printed A4 sheet of paper and weren't that helpful. I'd really have liked some better instructions, including for how to use the gym ball - yes, there were some small diagrams, but not great ones.

But these are just small things that could be improved. The gym ball itself is great quality - thick, sturdy, and made out of material that grips the floor nicely. I didn't have a problem with the plug, which fit in easily and sat flush with the gym ball. It's easy to use and seems like it will last well. The dark grey metallic colour is kind of fun, and I'm pleased to have found one that's not a girly pastel colour.

Would I buy it again? Actually, yes. A very reasonable price and the foot pump works and the gym ball itself is really excellent quality. A good purchase.


Meeting the English
Meeting the English
by Kate Clanchy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read - but not great literature, 23 May 2013
This review is from: Meeting the English (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A funny, slightly glib novel - a good summer read (I say this despite the unseasonal rain... sigh...). I did enjoy this book, though not as much as I enjoyed Kate Clanchy's more serious previous offering, Antigona and Me.

Engaging and comic, but sometimes a little over-written and heavy on stereotypes.


The Day-by-Day Baby Book
The Day-by-Day Baby Book
by Dr. Ilona Bendefy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really fabulous, comprehensive book, 22 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Very impressed with this. I have enjoyed the DK Day by Day Pregnancy book, and thought this would be similarly helpful and well written. If anything, it is even better.

This is a hefty hardback tome. It's pretty massive - not a commuter's read, that's for sure! It's the kind of thing that you can dip into occasionally as well as reading through. It's full colour and lavishly illustrated with photographs and illustrations on every page. The layout is particularly appealing and manages to pack a huge amount of information on the pages in a really manageable, approachable way.

There are sections about baby development at each age, but also there's general content at the beginning about how to deal with a new baby. Very useful section on changing nappies - I'd been too embarassed to ask friends as this seemed so obvious but it was really good to have some tips and photos! Also other practical stuff. I'm so glad to have read this, although I'm planning to dip into later sections as the time comes.

The writing style is great and not patronising at all, unlike a lot of baby books. I think this would be equally good for a new dad or mum, and it's definitely on my list of really useful baby gifts for friends in future.


Teach Yourself Planning Your Career in a Week
Teach Yourself Planning Your Career in a Week
by Wendy Hirsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise and helpful - a great resource, 21 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thought this was a wonderful book. I have a mixed view of the Teach Yourself series - they seem to alternate between utterly wonderful and cringe-makingly bad. This one is good. It is easy to read, contains sensible advice and exercises for self-reflection, and is structured in a clear and coherent way.

Many careers books are aspirational without being practical. This one starts at the practical end, with clear plans and questions to start the thought process. No, it's not a self-help book - it's more of a helpful toolkit. I much prefer this to the vague, hearty fluffiness found elsewhere. It's refreshing.

With so many exercises and questions for self-reflection, I'd have liked to see an online resource where I could access these as Word documents or quizzes. While I realise that digitising the quizzes might be too expensive for such a reasonably priced book, it would still have been nice to be able to access them as Word documents - as I'm sure the publishers had them at some point - so I could fill them in online etc, or re-use them. I have worked through the book but will probably want to go through the process again at some point in future to re-evaluate and reassess.

Really liked this book, though - a great resource.


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