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Mr. J. Horsfall (sheffield, uk)
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The Kitchen Diaries
The Kitchen Diaries
by Nigel Slater
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, 5 May 2010
This review is from: The Kitchen Diaries (Hardcover)
This is a great book, part food diary, part recipe book. It has loads of ideas for meals, some are vague descriptions of what Nigel ate (but interesting nonetheless) others are more formal recipes. Although as with all Nigel Slater books he is sometimes vague about timing/temperature/quantity; but this is a good point for me. It allows you to play with the recipes and take them as inspiration rather than a straightjacket. Even if you take out all the slightly vague bits there are still loads of very good recipes (worth buying still).

As with all recipe books some of the recipes I do again and again, others I try just once. But there are some great recipes in here. Nigel's style isn't restricted to one genre of food, he has lots of european style food (Italian, French, British, etc), but some Thai and Indian type recipes as well as much more.

If you like a more formal cook book, but still like the homely style of Nigel Slater try Tender vol. 1. It has recipes in order of the main vegetable used in it (it isn't a vegetarian book by any means), so is good for seasonal cooking, and each recipe is written in a more formal style.

I love Nigel Slater's recipes, and would highly recommend this book.


Draper 31696 Sharpening Stone and Box
Draper 31696 Sharpening Stone and Box
Price: £8.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for tools, 2 May 2010
This is a tool sharpening stone, and is good for that. I also use it for my knife (not kitchen ones though), which I want a better edge on. It is ok, but not as good as some other implements/stones. It is good for removing nicks and chips, but with axes etc a file may be useful.

At home this is the only sharpening implement I have at the moment and it works fine (although I will no doubt get a file and knife sharpening block at some point).


The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
by Alain de Botton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great look at the world of work, 12 April 2010
I like de Botton's books, and I really enjoyed this one too. It's not hard going philosophy, but more of a situationist look at the world. It revolves around a number of 'case studies' including a biscuit factory, a multinational accountacy firm and an entrepreneur fair; and takes you through de Botton's thought process and points out the intricacies of life. It does bring in philosophical ideas and comments on the things being seen, but not in a polemic and dogmatic way. It does nudge you to a certain way of thinking, but doesn't overpower you and allows you to decide for your self if the world of work has gone wrong.

It is very easy to read and is complemented by a number of photos about the journey de Botton takes (so it isn't 336 pages of writing, it's somewhere between 2/3 and 1/2 that probably). I enjoyed the photos, although they are very 'documentary' in style and not beautiful without the text to accompany them (which helps you appreciate them).

Overall a good book, not excellent, but worth reading if you have enjoyed de Botton before.


Spear & Jackson Traditional Dutch Hoe
Spear & Jackson Traditional Dutch Hoe
Price: £21.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice looking hoe, 11 April 2010
This is a very well made hoe, and is attractive to look at. It does what you want and is stainless steel so cleans off easily. It is cheaper on Amazon than in the shops, but you could go and have a look next time you are in a big DIY shop to make sure it is what you are after.

This hoe needs sharpening when you get it (so a file or sharpening stone will be needed, but you need this to keep it sharp anyway).


Spear & Jackson Traditional Digging Spade
Spear & Jackson Traditional Digging Spade
Price: £23.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality, good price, 11 April 2010
I've seen this spade in the shops for much more, so I was pleased with the price. It is a good quality spade, and gooding looking too. The stainless metalwork really does make cleaning off the sticky clay I have on my allotment easier.

There's not much else to say. Maybe if you were tall (I'm 5'8") it would be a bit short for you, but anyone within 4-6" of me would be fine (smaller people might want the smaller border spade). As I had seen it in large DIY chains already I knew it felt nice to handle and was the right size.


Lastolite 30cm Round Reflector - Silver/White
Lastolite 30cm Round Reflector - Silver/White

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful bit of kit for a wandering photographer, 11 April 2010
It packs down small and is light, so fit well in my bag or even a large pocket. It is very useful for close up work, for example when photographing spring flowers in a wood where light can be awkward. I guess it could be useful for impromptu portraits in the field, but lets be honest its a bit small for real studio work.

Very good for the price (feels like it will last, I've only had it a couple of months though) and useful for macro work of wildflowers etc. And a cheap way to make your photos better.


The Essential Allotment Guide: How to Get the Best out of Your Plot
The Essential Allotment Guide: How to Get the Best out of Your Plot
by John Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, good price, 5 April 2010
This book doesn't have all the glossy pictures of other new gardening books, just black and white line drawings. But it doesn't suffer for it (in fact many of the glossy books are more centred on image than advice).

Because of the lack of photos the book is cheaper to produce and sell; so the price is good. It has good advice about allotments and things you are likely to grow. The advice is clear and useful, which is what you want.


The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience (Transition Guides)
The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience (Transition Guides)
by Rob Hopkins
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good guide on how to start your own Transition, 29 Mar. 2010
This book is a guide to how to start a transition movement to change your local area to make it more resilient to peak oil and climate change. It is not a polemic full of facts and figures on these two problems.

The book largely focuses on the successes and failures of other Transitions (often Totnes is the main example, but there is a lot about Kinsale and other places too). It gives practical guidance on how to start or enagage with a Transition movement.

It is good at what it sets out to do, but will not suit everyone who is interested in this area. The recommended reading list is comprehesive and useful, perhaps the books listed there would suit many individuals more (hence 3 stars, although if you are an activist really thinking about starting a movement for change this is a 4 star book).


Collins Complete British Mushrooms and Toadstools: The essential photograph guide to Britain's fungi (Collins Complete Guides)
Collins Complete British Mushrooms and Toadstools: The essential photograph guide to Britain's fungi (Collins Complete Guides)
by Paul Sterry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Good field guide, 29 Mar. 2010
This is a good field guide sized book. It also has a good coverage of species, so you are more likely to find out what you are looking for.

However, because of it's size and number of species covered, the number of photos of detail and the written description are slightly less than in Phillips or Jordan. These are generally too large and cumbersome as field guides though. So if you are keen to identify most things that you find you will need one or both of these as reference at home/in your car to supplement the Collins book.

On the whole a very good book, a good bridge between some of the more beginner books and those that are more comprehensive.


Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate
Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but some areas lacking, 10 Dec. 2009
I got this as a cheaper alternative to Photoshop, and it is very useful. I like it for those few tools (burn/dodge for example) that other free programmes (or the one I got with my Canon camera) lack.

But after a couple of weeks of messing about with it it doesn't do all i want it to. For example being able to recreate a graduated filter effect.

So it is good, and I will continue to use it. But it lacks some of the features of PS. If you are doing fairly basic fixes it is excellent though.


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