Profile for Mercian Exile > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mercian Exile
Top Reviewer Ranking: 105,676
Helpful Votes: 34

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mercian Exile

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Plumen 1201010902 B22 9 Watt Baby Plumen Compact Fluorescent Light
Plumen 1201010902 B22 9 Watt Baby Plumen Compact Fluorescent Light
Price: £15.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems a bit pricey for what it is -- more ..., 8 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Seems a bit pricey for what it is -- more attractive than a standard low energy bulb, but not the thing of beauty described by some reviews. But, it has made my hall light more interesting and I no longer feel I have to buy a new light fitting.


BT Duet 210 Corded Telephone - White
BT Duet 210 Corded Telephone - White
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars For some reason the speed dial numbers are lost if the phone is unplugged which is annoying., 8 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK phone. For some reason the speed dial numbers are lost if the phone is unplugged which is annoying.


BT Décor 2500 Corded Telephone with Answer Machine - White
BT Décor 2500 Corded Telephone with Answer Machine - White
Price: £23.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad phone for the money, 8 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not a bad phone for the money. One gripe: the clock and date go back to defaults if the power is cut off. This results in the wrong time and date being recorded for messages.


Stainless Steel Tide and Time Clock
Stainless Steel Tide and Time Clock
Offered by Venture Blue
Price: £34.35

1.0 out of 5 stars Just a waste of money, 8 Aug 2014
Bought this for my husband's birthday in '13. Unfortunately, because we were moving house, it did not get fitted with a battery or hung on the wall until over a year later. It simply does not work. I have no idea if it was always defective or not. Just a waste of money.


Vegetables for Small Gardens
Vegetables for Small Gardens
by Joy Larkcom
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and rare., 18 Feb 2012
Joy Larkcom is the leading UK expert on growing vegetables organically, in a small space. She favours narrow bed production, which involves more initial preparation, but from then on requires less digging and is more productive than the traditional vegetable patch.

The alternative to narrow bed is the square foot method, more popular in North America. Personally, having lived in both continents and used both, I'd recommend the square foot method for the very small back-yard (less than 40" square), while the narrow bed method is ideal for the typical UK back-garden.

"Vegetables FOR Small Gardens", is a later version of Larkcom's first effort which was titled "Vegetables FROM Small Gardens", and a forerunner of "Grow Your Own Vegetables". It is superior to her earlier version in a number of respects, particularly the garden plans. However, copies are hard to come by and expensive, and you'd be better off buying a new copy of "Grow Your Own Vegetables".

I laid out my last UK garden along the lines recommended by Larkcom, and it was generally successful. I was in a cool, upland part of the UK, so some of the vegetables she recommends did not thrive for me. She likes Chinese veggies such as Pak Choi but they don't appeal to me, since I prefer cooking Italian and French cuisine. However, it was easy to adapt her plans to take account of my location and preferences.


The Edible Flower Garden: From Garden to Kitchen - Choosing, Growing and Cooking with Edible Flowers
The Edible Flower Garden: From Garden to Kitchen - Choosing, Growing and Cooking with Edible Flowers
by Kathy Brown
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable addition to any cookery book collection., 17 Feb 2012
I bought this book very cheaply in a sale. At the time, I thought that maybe it would provide me with one or two recipes and then get sent to the charity shop. After all, how much cooking with flowers was I likely to do?

I was wrong. I've used recipes from the book to use flowers from my garden almost every summer since. My favourite recipe is the beetroot and nasturtium salad, which I've been delighting guests with for more than a decade now.

The book is beautifully illustrated.


Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength
Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength
by Roy F. Baumeister
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.22

12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, disappointing, standard format self-help book, 15 Feb 2012
I bought this book because I'd read an enthusiastic review of it in The Guardian newspaper, which made it sound different and interesting. I could not have been more disappointed.

It is a fairly standard American self-help book, written in a chatty colloquial style, which most British readers will find irritating. First there's the "Science has proved that..." stuff related in a folksy anecdotal way: "Baumeister tried to be optimistic. Maybe the study wasn't a failure". Second there are the stories of how minor celebrities, you've never heard of, used the authors recommended techniques to improve their life: "Until that point Carey was a fairly typical victim of information overload, if a celebrity can ever be called typical". That's a guy called Drew Carey, not Jim. Finally there are lots of quotes from sources that Americans will have heard of and esteem, such as the Bible, Benjamin Franklin, or St Augustine.

The only way in which it varies from the standard format is that it is mercifully short on anecdotes about ordinary Americans of the "Dale, an auto-parts salesman from Dullsville Alabama, could never understand why his inbox was so full." variety.

At the end of the day it all pads out a few well-known truths that you could read for free on the pages of a calender or as cracker mottos.

Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Eat a good breakfast. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Plan ahead. Etcetera, etcetera.

At least the cover hype for the book doesn't make the standard claim that it will change your life.

Finishing the book was a test of my willpower, and I failed it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2012 8:56 PM GMT


Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond
Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond
by Chris Crowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A so-so self help book, 7 Jan 2012
There seems to be a rule that any self-help book with a blurb that says it "could change your life", won't do that, but might contain a few good tips, and this book is no exception.

My main criticism is that the authors make a healthy lifestyle seem so tough and demanding, and also expensive. If you are the kind of person able and willing to lead the recommended life-style, then you are probably already in possession of the information in the book. If not, then the book is likely to put you off trying to get fit.

Three of the seven rules, and most of the book, are about exercise. It is aimed at a readership of comfortably off middle-aged Americans and so advises joining a gym, taking up sports such as skiing, buying the best equipment, and giving yourself targets and rewards such as walking tours in exotic places and skiing holidays in Aspe; so tough luck, if you are on a low income and can't afford anything more than the pensioner discount at the swimming baths.

The authors' recommendations for weight lifting exercise twice a week is fairly moderate, but their recommendation for aerobic exercise, 4 days a week, with a goal of high-endurance aerobics of 85% of max heart rate for 45 minutes, is at the high end of current recommendations, particularly since this is advice for older adults.

However, you can get equally good advice for free, by looking at a website such as nhs.uk, but without the folksy anecdotes and lengthy scientific explanations.

Their advice on diet (the rule "quit eating crap") is less satisfactory. On the one hand they suggest that you should not diet to lose weight, because dieting doesn't work. But then they suggest that you find out the calorie content of the food you eat, keep a note of what you are eating, and if you are trying to lose weight, eat fewer calories than you need. Well, that sounds a lot like dieting to me.

And their advice about diet is extreme. They think you should go a lot further than just cutting out the chocolate bars and cheeseburgers, and avoid all the "whites": flour, bread, rice and pasta. And, you can stop aiming for "five a day" and go for nine instead. There are points in the book when they seem to be bragging about how unpleasant and spartan their healthy diet is; for example Chris tells a tale of how marauding squirrels ate the packaging on his healthy crackers, but left the contents. The question is how long most people would be able to keep up this kind of diet before returning to their old eating habits? It is probably better to start trying for 5 a day and keeping starchy foods down to 20% of each meal.

The rest of the book is really just a collection of tips on how to lead a mentally healthy lifestyle, which most of us will have come across elsewhere. Exercise is good for depression. Keeping up social contacts is good for your health. Take care of your finances. Nurture your self esteem.

I bought this book because I'm sixty in 2012, and it was January and I'd made a resolution to go to the gym more often. I wanted a book to give me motivation, but I wish I hadn't chosen this one. The only change it has made to my life is that I've ordered a heart monitor. I'm not convinced that I actually need one (the authors insist it is essential), but it will be fun to show off at my older adults aerobics class.


La Varenne Pratique
La Varenne Pratique
by Ann Willan
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Also published as Readers Digest Guide, 30 Aug 2010
This review is from: La Varenne Pratique (Hardcover)
This is an absolutely fantastic cookbook that I'd recommend to anyone. However, it has also been published as La Varenne Pratique. I made the mistake of buying a copy of each, which was an expensive mistake.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2011 7:57 PM GMT


Complete Guide to Cookery
Complete Guide to Cookery
by Anne Willan
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is La Varenne Pratique, 30 Aug 2010
This is a truly great cookbook and I'd recommend it to any serious cook.

But, it has also been published as La Varenne Pratique. As a fan of Anne Willan I bought both books before I realised they were duplicates.


Page: 1 | 2