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Recipes from a Normal Mum
Recipes from a Normal Mum
by Holly Bell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond The Great British Bake-Off - a 5 star helping hand with family meals, 31 July 2014
I love this book. For a start I've actually made food from it, unlike some other recipe books which I take off my shelf every now and then to stare at the pictures. Having said that, the food photos in this are delicious looking too. I've taken a peek at Holly Bell's blog since buying it and apparently, the pictures have been taken by the same guy who does Jamie Oliver's books. I guess he knows his stuff.
As Holly was a Great British Bake-Off finalist I expected another baking spin-off book but, after seeing a Telegraph recommendation I was curious enough to give it a go. I'm really pleased that I did, it's just what I needed. Everyday family food that me and my other half can cook, even when we're feeling frazzled. The recipes are simple, easy on the budget and inspiring in little ways (lasagne with sausage and butternut squash, masala lamb chops, cauliflower macaroni cheese, rocky road florentines all went down a treat, clean plates all round). It's written with real heart and humour. Clearly some cherished memories of people and the food that they've inspired (which in turn makes you think of your own). And refreshingly, there's none of the judgment or smugness of 'mum' books. Each chapter gives ideas on the meal moments of life (see below). It's a good buy and a real help. Definitely worth it.
8 Chapters:
- The more the merrier (feeding a family gathering)
- Feeding Goldilocks and baby bear (food that the kids and even big people will crave)
- Dinner for two in a flash (fast and tasty meals when it's just the two of you, with the kids in bed)
- Food for the Great Outdoors (picnics, barbecues or just eating dinner outside in the sun)
- Switching to baking mode (the joy of baking)
- Recipes for Chefs in the making (encouraging kids in the kitchen)
- Children's party food (food that kids actually want to eat and save you stress)
- Presents from the heart (food/drink gifts...if you didn't think you'd ever make your own food gifts, think again. This inspired me to try jam for the first time. Albeit damson not strawberry and rose as shown but I'm feeling that real satisfaction of having made something myself)

Just Draw It!: The Dynamic Drawing Course for Anyone with a Pencil & Paper
Just Draw It!: The Dynamic Drawing Course for Anyone with a Pencil & Paper
by Sam Piyasena
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant!, 2 Feb 2013
This genuinely is a drawing book for anyone. It has just the right balance of theory, enjoyable exercises and recommendations on relevant artists/designers to look up, should you want to. It's also a fun reminder of how much inspiration there is to be found in everyday life and objects. The most refreshing thing about this book is its lack of stuffiness, without dumbing down. Unlike other how to draw books, which I've bought previously, this actually did make me pick up a pencil & draw.

Ready, Steady, Bake!
Ready, Steady, Bake!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The joy of baking, 20 Nov 2012
After religiously watching GBBO since the series first launched, I wasn't surprised to see that 2012 runner-up Holly Bell has turned her baking know-how into easy-to-follow, helpful and delicious recipes. If my family are anything to go by, the banana and gingerbread cupcakes vanished in an afternoon. I'll be working my way through the book to see what else they love. What was more of a surprise and an added bonus is how her stories capture the joy of baking. Made me laugh and think of my own family life moments. A bargain for 77p!

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