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Ms. Moushka Dickens "mdesnaux" (UK)
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Debs at War: 1939-1945: 1939-45
Debs at War: 1939-1945: 1939-45
by Anne de Courcy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - absolutely fascinating., 21 April 2011
I bought this book about a year ago, after I came across a similar book in the library, then I found this at a well-known bookshop and thought it would be an interesting read.

Well, I was right. From first glance, you think it will be either a "Women at War" book with lots of boring historical information and not much else or a "Debs" book with a passing gloss over their "war efforts".

How refreshing to see that not only were the Debs' lives before the War and their coming out seasons detailed in the first few chapters but then also their War efforts gone into. You could literally see the transformations of these young women, most of whom, had been taught to shoot or fish when they were young doing nothing but weren't expected to amount to much when older, beyond marriage and raising a family. So see their lives blossom into much needed and worthwhile war work which these women enjoyed, relished, looked forward to and missed when it ended really was amazing. Anne De Courcy really covered her chapters well and included just the right snippets/detail to make the book a fascinating page-turner.

Highly recommended.


Dance It Off With Vicky Binns [DVD]
Dance It Off With Vicky Binns [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vicky Binns
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 5.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Really good fun!, 2 Jan 2010
This is my second fitness DVD I've bought so far, the first being Charlie Brooks' one, not long after it came out.

I did write, in my review of Charlie's DVD that I found some of the dance moves a bit hard to follow (they subsequently got easier). However, Charlie and her trainer (Dee Thresher) are slightly annoying after a while and I also wanted more variety, so I saw the reviews on this one and even though it's 2 years old, I like dance, so thought I'd give it a go.

First off, well the trainer and Vicky are great, and not annoying at all. The second thing, the dance moves are really well explained and the trainer goes through them with you and explains them to you or slows them down for you. Take note, Charlie and Dee! I managed to work my way though sections of the DVD (not all of it) and yes, it is hard going, and some of it is repetitive (sp?) but obviously you have to repeat moves in a dance sequence and for them to have an effect on your body. Overall, so far, I'm loving this DVD. It seems far more fun than the other DVD (Charlie's!) and I love dancing and I think I will really stick with this one.

The sections are great, and well explained and the healthy eating section seems sensible and well explained too.

I'd recommend this one to anyone even though it's old. It'd be interesting to know if Vicky has still kept her weight off but well done so far. Very impressed.


Beyond Black
Beyond Black
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.20

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mantel is Magic, 28 Dec 2009
This review is from: Beyond Black (Paperback)
This was my first *proper* Mantel book. Although not my favourite of hers (so far it's Vacant Possession), I found this book amazing, the writing breaks new ground and Mantel is deliciously dark and very humourous.

To the bad reviews - well they obviously either take this far too seriously and also either take the subject matter of child abuse (which I found wasn't delved into too deeply) too seriously and also do it a disservice in not allowing such a sensitive subject to be brought out into the open, like Ms Mantel has done. I do think that Mantel is either a Love or Hate author - there doesn't seem to be much inbetween, so therefore, if you don't love her, then I doubt you'll love her in future either. I also admit that her subject matter (mediums, violence, some of the characters) is sometimes very close to the bone and sometimes can be quite nauseous (I had a few bad dreams whilst reading Beyond Black!) - but the topic and characters certainly make one think, a lot, which I think is great. I haven't come across a writer quite like Mantel.

In the end, I did enjoy Mantel but I did feel the ending somehow dribbled to an inconclusive end. The characters I found were well written and developed very well.

Well worth a read if only for a fascinating insight into the world of mediums - whether you believe in them or not!


Charlie Brooks: Before and After Workout [DVD] [2005]
Charlie Brooks: Before and After Workout [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Charlie Brooks
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: 5.22

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Brooks - Good DVD but can be hard to get into, 8 Sep 2009
I first bought this DVD not long after it came out. I've done aqua and normal aerobics (with mixes of cardio, step, circuit training etc) and also know some dance moves so I should say that although I can be a bit unco-ordinated I know that ultimately I *can* do this type of DVD. The first time round I found myself working my way through the DVD but then let it slip. Then, this summer I found it again and tried to work my way through it. It somewhat gets me down when either I can't do the moves (because they're too fast and don't go through them slowly, once or twice even slowly would be good for me for some of the more complex ones) and if you don't like the idea of pilates or body combat then you're stuffed.

I do like the presenter (Dee Thresher) and Charlie Brooks isn't as annoying as I thought she'd be. I was impressed to learn in an interview with her after she rejoined Eastenders recently that she has kept all her weight off since she made this DVD but she *does* stick to an apparently very strict diet too.

I think maybe for my levels of fitness and/or co-ordination maybe I should concentrate more on this or stick with it. I just thought I'd like to put my review out there.

For the record, I like many others wish that Dee Thresher herself would put out a separate Fitness DVD but I suppose the marketing/PR/advertising people prefer that a celebrity endorses this too, so as to increase sales. I think Dee is very approachable, non-preachy, friendly, etc - a really good fitness instructor who is also very enthusiastic.

Anyway I will start this again and maybe write another review afterwards.

UPDATE - in April 2011!

I have tried this DVD a few times and re-read some of the newer (ie 2010/11) reviews. I must say I agree that if you're not into a) Body Combat and b) Pilates and c) Dance Moves (which ARE complex and quickly run through) etc - then this won't be for you. It also tends to be a quite boring and the music is appalling, very repetitive.

I've checked some other DVDs and think I'll be trying Nadia Sawala's next as that concentrates on one part (high impact). I sort of wish I'd had better feedback to compare this before earlier but like most of was impressed by Charlie's transformation about 6 years ago!


Le Dossier: How to Survive the English!
Le Dossier: How to Survive the English!
by Sarah Long
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.72

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Biased pompous drivel, 19 July 2009
I bought this book on a whim thinking, oh this will be amusing and to be honest, at first, yes it was. However, chapter after chapter involved a slagging off of the English (a few chapters had an *on the other hand* at the back but not all) drawing terrible stereotypes of us which seemed quite vitriolic and not at all nice. I can see why in some cases she could criticise the English but not all of us are the stereotypes and sometimes her criticisms were unjustified and not backed up. It does make you wonder why this hoity-toity Madame actually *chooses* to live in London rather than stay with her horrid husband in gay Paree. Hopefully her husband is one of the bankers in England who've lost their jobs, so he's had to crawl back to Paris dragging the parfait Hortense with him. It made me want to write a similar book about the French but then again, I'm not retaliatory like that and I wouldn't want to stoop to Hortense's foul level. This is a book that I've re-read once but really in horror at how badly Hortense portrays the English. I hope she doesn't write another book but I for one wouldn't buy it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2009 10:00 PM BST


Never Stop Looking
Never Stop Looking
by Sarah Jackman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.02

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read and topic, 21 Jun 2009
This review is from: Never Stop Looking (Paperback)
This was my first Sarah Jackman book and I found it strangely compelling but also a bit hard to get to grips with.

Abbie still believes her husband Nick is still alive, 6 years after he goes missing. She obsessively goes to places he may have been and hands out missing person leaflets and rarely leaves her flat in case Nick returns. Then Owen moves into the other flat in Abbie's house - separated from his wife, with 2 children who come and stay at weekends.

At first, I felt pity for the Abbie character, although it seemed a bit far fetched, I don't personally know anyone who's been abandoned in this way, so her behaviour could be justified. However, her tone, when she described how she met Nick as a teenager, gradually became whiny, pathetic and desparate. When the novel progressed into Nick's gradual abusive and using behaviour of her, I sort of could agree, but found myself again wondering at how a sane person would put up with this rubbish and was hardly surprised events proceeded as they did, in her sad relationship.

There's a twist in the tale at the end, which sort of gives you faith in the characters but on the whole, predictable tat which could be written by a high school student.

It was an interesting subject, tackled well, but I found it just lacked substance and came across as quite pathetic. Who knows, maybe this was the purpose?! I have no other Jackman book to compare against, which is why, despite not being overly impressed, I'd like to read another book of hers.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2009 5:51 PM GMT


Second Skin
Second Skin
by Wendy Perriam
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Perriam, 16 April 2009
This review is from: Second Skin (Paperback)
This was my first Perriam read. I found it utterly compelling and a fascinating and amusing insight into widowhood, motherhood and starting over. Ms Perriam in all her books seems to take all the preconcieved ideas about *women* and shake them up, hard! No surprise here that I have re-read this book time after time and rushed to find more wonderful Wendy Perriam novels.

Fantastic.


The Happy Housewife
The Happy Housewife
by Heleen van Royen
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, hilarious - intelligent and funny *chick lit*., 21 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Happy Housewife (Paperback)
I first bought this book, it must have been when I was 30, approx 6 years ago, and I bought it as a holiday read for a holiday with my then boyfriend. Kids were on the horizon then, they still are now, even though I don't have them. I just thought, from the book-store shelf this was *throwaway chick lit*. How wrong I was! This is a detailed, intelligent, sensitive, funny and insightful story about a happy housewife whose luxury lifestyle is turned upside-down by the arrival of her baby son. Although the experiences which actually happened to Lea, our heroine, are, I'm sure, a bit far-fetched, I'm sure they do happen. Also, the author also dealt very well with the post natal depression/madness that Lea suffered, and having suffered from depression myself, I could see how it could maybe escalate after having a baby.

This was a definite pageturner, which I would recommend, it deserves it's tag of being a best-seller in Holland and I was thrilled to discover that the author has brought out a new book about a year or so ago which I intend to read.


The Editor's Wife
The Editor's Wife
by Clare Chambers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.74

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her previous books!, 13 July 2008
This review is from: The Editor's Wife (Paperback)
Having discovered 'In A Good Light' by chance in a charity shop, devoured it and been exceedingly impressed with the characters and story of that book and also of 'Learning to Swim' I was looking forward to a novel in a similar vein from Ms Chambers.

Oh, sadly what a disappointment! I suppose a book which has a Daily Mail Book Club Choice sticker on it in the bookshop should have given me some advance warning of the trite that lay within its pages.

I found the content lacking in depth, the story although complex seemed meaningless and even more so unbelievable than the previous 2 books I had read and the characters I didn't care about in the least. I found this book lacked the bite of the others I had read, the characters lacked their humour and the story I found not to be so gripping. I found myself longing to either finish the book or to cast it aside unfinished.

Sadly this book will go to the charity shop too.


Trinny & Susannah The Survival Guide: A Woman's Secret Weapon for Getting Through The Year
Trinny & Susannah The Survival Guide: A Woman's Secret Weapon for Getting Through The Year
by Trinny Woodall
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book with handy hits, 10 July 2008
I had thought Trinny and Susannah had had their day, boy was I wrong! I picked this book up, on a whim, for myself and prepared to be preached to, a bit like in their clothes books (even though I enjoyed those too!).

But it is great, full of handy hints, brilliant even for a single lady without children like myself. T & S advise you things you really should know yourself, but as a busy, city dwelling lady, easily forget or never get round to doing.

The Survival Guide wasn't in the style of their other books, well it was in a way but more in a matter of fact way, I don't know, the tone seemed different to the other books. Didn't treat you as though you were a bit dim like the clothes books could tend to do!

The book covers all eventualities to packing for a holiday, present giving advice, first aid etc and tons of tips I had never heard of. All in their handy and cheerful yellow book!

My best friend in America who does have 2 daughters and husband is getting a copy of this for her birthday but I would gladly purchase for other females and would love to receive it as a present!

Highly recommended.


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