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Cassandra (London UK)

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Can't Smack, Won't Smack
Can't Smack, Won't Smack
by Noel Janis-Norton
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent advice for parents, 28 Aug 2012
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I really like Noel Jarvis Norton's ideas. Her work through the Calmer Easier Happier parenting method is well known, and the free talks and parenting classes are excellent; she advises parents on how to create solid, workable routines for their children, building on predictability & a safe structure for them, so that discipline in the traditional way will be usually redundant. I have found Jarvis Norton's methods ('don't ask twice', in particular, but also 'talk throughs' and other ideas) very useful: they really work and involve real respect for both parents and children, putting you as a parent in charge without using arrogance or aggression towards the child.

If you want to find out more about her methods, she's really published a book called 'Calmer easier happier parenting' which is the best, more detailed account of her methods so far.

This book is an older one; it also contains most of her main ideas, the structure of her parenting method, which serves as very good background for anyone who's troubled about losing control, having anger outbursts & sometimes smacking. You'll find, if you follow the wider framework that Jarvis Norton suggests, you'll end up losing your temper far less often if at all. But in this book she also has an excellent section on smacking and the arguments pro & con, which I found interesting & made good food for thought.

All in all, excellent, down to earth ideas about parenting, a refreshing change from the more fashionable (but often one-dimensional) approaches that are currently all the rage, such as attachment parenting or strict behaviourist / routine approaches. Jarvis Norton combines the best from various methods, and has a solid understanding of child development and children-parent dynamics.


No! I Don't Want to Join a Bookclub
No! I Don't Want to Join a Bookclub
by Virginia Ironside
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad. An easy read for the over-60s, 28 Aug 2012
This isn't bad. We're used to reading rom-coms (or we could call them: chick lit, though I hate the term) aimed at the mid-30s or even mid-20s. This is a book in the same category, a light, easy read, but centred on the life of a 60 year old, Marie. The book contains plenty of funny comments about that age and to me (a not yet quite 40 year old) it was enlightening, actually quite useful to read in order to think about that age (that I do hope to reach).

The protagonist is Marie, a just-turned-60-year-old, who is funny & quite likeable. She declares herself 'over sex', that part of her life is now behind her, and she (delightfully) focuses instead on her new grandson, Gene, who she comes to adore & thoroughly enjoy. Some of the passages on Gene were just lovely in terms of how a grandparent can enjoy a baby in a way that usually a parent cannot.

What I liked less was the fact that towards the end of the book (spoiler alert!) there's the predictable romance on the horizon; that could be avoided to make it a bit more original, but as a rom com it also works OK.

All in all, not bad for an easy read that you'll probably finish in a couple of days. Not great literature by any means, but not bad for what it is.


No S Diet: No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds, Except on Days That Start with S
No S Diet: No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds, Except on Days That Start with S
by Reinhard Engels and Ben Kallen
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way of living, not diet, 15 Jun 2010
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This is a fantastically sane, simple, common sense way of eating and actually: way of living. And the even better thing, it works. Granted, the NoS diet is not a quick loss diet program, but as any serial dieter knows, crash diets simply don't work, it's so common to lose & then put on all weight afterwards. When I started NoS (a year ago) I was 'burnt' by serial diets for years, and I can't describe the sanity it's added to my life. It's as if a burden has been lifted off me which I didn't even know I was carrying.

The premise of the diet is very simple: No seconds, no snacks, no sugar except (sometimes) on days that start with S (sundays, saturdays, special days e.g. holidays / birthdays). What could be simpler?

For those who are interested, please visit the NoS diet online forum, absolutely free & open to all, and (again) the most sane space for eating advice that I've found anywhere on the internet.

This book is highly recommended & I'm surprised it's not more famous than it is.


I Like it Like That
I Like it Like That
by Claire Calman
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars quite good fun, 3 Aug 2002
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This review is from: I Like it Like That (Paperback)
After finishing "Love is a four-letter-word" in a matter of hours, I immediately ordered Claire Calman's other books. "I like it like that" was the one I got to first, & in many ways it didn't disappoint. But if I were to be honest, I'd have to agree with other reviewers- "Love is a four-letter-word" is a little bit better. And I think, for a very simple reason: Bella & Will are both drawn really clarly in that book, with us knowing them well when we get to the last page. On the other hand, here, in "I like it like that", we get to know Georgia, Ellen & the whole family well...but not Leo or Stephen.

OK, the story: Georgia is a counsellor, lives in a tinier-than-tiny flat in London, has a great big noisy, chaotic but lovely family & a fiance who's the complete opposite: Stephen is uptight, pretentious, bossy, predictable, organized & tidy & worst of all boring. Georgia is also a perfectionist & a tidiness-freak, but apart from that, I couldn't really see (during the whole book) what on earth she found in Stephen, especially after she'd met Leo the Wonderful. That's basically why I felt the 2 men (as another reviewer mentioned) were kind of like plot devices. Not that this makes the book less enjoyable. It's just that "Love is a four-letter-word" was much more special.

What's really good about this book is Georgia's family. Georgia, Ellen & Matt have lost their mother when they were 10, & since then Georgia has kind of taken up the role of being the perfect, mother-like one (that explains her relationship with her younger sister). The book describes, in wonderful detail, the complicated relationship between Georgia & Ellen, & also between Georgia & her long-gone mother. These relationships are the strength of the book, & yes, of course, also the relationship between Georgia & Leo. Which, for my taste, develops in maddeningly slow pace, for no reason whatsoever (& Stephen doesn't count as a reason).

This kind of book is pure, undiluted fun & Claire Calman will go on writing, I hope, for years & years, giving us books such as these for those long, gloomy, rainy days.


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