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Natalie (Liverpool, UK)

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Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know
by Emily Oster
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A godsend for those who want to dig a little deeper, 28 Oct 2013
I have to admit, I'd never heard of this book or the author, but rather stumbled across it whilst browsing the pregnancy and baby section of my local library and it sounded like my kind of thing. As a research biologist, questioning medical and scientific advice pretty much comes naturally, but when it comes to something that is completely new to me, i.e. pregnancy, a little guidance is very welcome.

Having read the book I'm amazed at the amount of warnings routinely given out that are exaggerated or just incorrect. As mentioned by other reviewers, the section that seems to have brought about the most discussion is to do with alcohol and coffee. At the moment this doesn't bother me too much as I can't even look at either, but the fact that the research is out there and has largely been ignored in favour of erring on the side of caution (especially when it comes to alcohol) not only gives pregnant women no credit for being able to make decisions about moderate consumption, but also gives them something else to worry and feel guilty about if the do indulge in a glass of wine. The information here allows the mother to make an informed choice, and actually provides more information than I've seen elsewhere on this subject, not just on amount but also differences with speed of drinking, type of drink and consumption with food. Having just read a review of the book in a newspaper and the subsequent comments the view of some seems to be that anything other than a zero tolerance approach will lead to babies going to hell in a handcart of foetal alcohol syndrome, but whilst that is a serious and avoidable condition, following the suggestions given in this book won't lead to that, nor will any suggestions change the mind of someone who decides they are going to binge drink through their pregnancy.

Personally, the section which interested me most was regarding anomaly screening/testing and especially the miscarriage risk of CVS and amniocentesis. If what it says here is true (I'm going to look on Pubmed for the source paper in a minute) the miscarriage rate of around 1 in 200 is based on a study from the 1970s when the techniques were primitive and flawed maths was used to give us the numbers that are still quoted today. Emily estimates that the risk is around 1 in 800 rather than the 1 in 200 quoted, although looking in my NHS booklet it states that the CVS risk is 1 or 2 in 100 and amnio is 1 in 100. That's a big difference, and something that could easily make the difference between having the test or not. The NHS numbers would also suggest that amnio is the least risky, whereas the book gives the risks between the two as being about the same and suggests that given the increased information provided by CVS, this would be the one to go for. Again, a small piece of information that could completely change some of the important decisions made in pregnancy.

The only thing that bothered me about this, like a few others have mentioned, was the American-specific content. Although a decent job has been done of adapting it to British audiences, some of it isn't really relevant to us but that's something that can't be helped, after all it is based on an American's experiences in the US. Others may not think that it is anything more than a collection of other people's studies - whilst telling my husband, a fellow research scientist, about it, he said "so it's basically just a huge meta-analysis?" - and that's exactly what it is, but for people who don't have the time, knowhow, resources or inclination to carry out such an analysis, this is an invaluable way of getting all of the information packaged in small chunks. Combine that with her obvious skill and expertise in unravelling the numbers and statistics and her experience of going through a recent pregnancy, this is something that every pregnant woman (and her partner) should see before making any of those many important decisions.


Physionics® RKTN01 Back extension bench
Physionics® RKTN01 Back extension bench
Offered by JAGO24 UK
Price: £25.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the price, if you can put it together..., 22 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In common with other reviewers, I think that this is a good, strong bit of kit, especially given the price. The instructions could definitely be made clearer though and the (very slightly) different size bolts could be labelled. I'd recommend measuring them and putting them in little labelled piles before starting as it's easy to get confused! Saying that, it can be put together by one person and once you get the gist of it it's fine. Overall, a good buy.


BLUE 3 METERS LONG USB DATA SYNC CHARGER CABLE LEAD FOR iPhone 4 4S 3G 3GS iPod iPad
BLUE 3 METERS LONG USB DATA SYNC CHARGER CABLE LEAD FOR iPhone 4 4S 3G 3GS iPod iPad
Offered by crazy4fones
Price: £2.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job for an amazing price, 15 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought one of these so I could use my phone in bed whilst charging as the socket is a little too far away. The cable is a little flimsier than the official ones but I've used it most days (including on a PC) and had no problems. Excellent bit of kit for the price, and free delivery, which was extremely quick, is a bonus.


Flow Free
Flow Free
Price: £0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 25 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Flow Free (App)
Been playing this on my iPhone for the past few days so knew how wonderfully simple but addictive it was, but it works so much better on a bigger screen. Brilliant!


L'Oreal Elvive Active Selenium Shampoo 250ml
L'Oreal Elvive Active Selenium Shampoo 250ml

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works better than anything else I've tried, 24 May 2012
I've had a dry, itchy, flaky scalp for as long as I can remember and have tried all kinds on prescription - coal tar (T-Gel) and ketoconazole (Nizoral) amongst them but nothing really works. Recently it got beyond a joke (I was considering never wearing a black top again) and I found the Boots dry scalp shampoo helped a bit, but was expensive and not that great. I then tried a sachet of this that came in a magazine and was hooked straight away. Not only does it stop the itching and almost all of the flaking, it keeps my hair in good condition and cleans it really well- I don't seem to need to wash it as often, which means I don't have to use dry shampoo (which probably exacerbated the condition in the first place). My husband has also used it and found it to work amazingly well, so has ditched his other anti-dandruff shampoo. One word of advice though- as mentioned in other reviews it is hard to get hold of, but the price on here is quite high even before postage. I got some in my local Asda last week on a 2 for £4 offer but it was much cheaper than here even without that. Maybe the shops are starting to stock it again? Either way I will be stocking up.


A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage
A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage
by Joe Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, funny, and not just for Joe Jackson fans, 17 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As I have recently discovered Joe Jackson I thought this would be an interesting insight into the man and his music as I get to know his work. It is, but it is so much more in addition. Interspersed with Joe's self-effacing tale of his journey from a sickly, bullied child (albeit one with an almost prodigious talent) from a council flat in Portsmouth to studying at the Royal Academy of Music and then struggling to become a professional musician and songwriter (and do 'the only thing he was good at') is a sprawling essay on music- how and why it affects people in the way it does, class and its connections (or lack of) to different types of music, and the musician's dilemma of choosing popularity and possible chart success over making less commercial music. Anecdotes about years of gigging around pubs and clubs whilst trying to make enough money to go into the recording studio seem almost quaint given the more recent state of the music industry, but give a real insight into the work that went into 'making it', albeit only 35 years ago. All in all, a touching, funny, fascinating and well written book which will appeal to anyone who loves music.


Feliway Spray 60ml
Feliway Spray 60ml
Price: £15.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Works for timid and stressed cats alike, 6 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Feliway Spray 60ml (Misc.)
I bought the Feliway spray for my blind cat, as we're having a lot of building work done at the moment, which understandably scares her, and have also just got 3 kittens who she hasn't taken kindly to! She was peeing in corners (regular occurence) so we decided to give this a try. Two days before my order arrived we had to move her into an unfamilar room due to the builders, and she immediately became stressed, hardly ate and had vomiting and diarrhoea (she has a delicate stomach at the best of times), but since I sprayed her bed and blanket she seems to have been fine, no dodgy tummy and eating well.

In addition to this, we had my parents' cat staying for a few days. He's extremely nervous and runs away from anyone but my mum and dad, plus he hates travelling, with incidents of crying, peeing and even drooling. He was staying in the same room as my cat so I sprayed his bed too (just a couple of sprays once a day) and he seemed like a different cat - he let other people stroke and handle him, ate all his food and didn't hide. I sprayed the towel to go in his carrier before they took him home yesterday and having just spoken to my mum it seems it worked there too - he settled down and went to sleep during the journey and when they got home he wandered around for a few minutes before going for his tea instead of running away and hiding straight away. It has made such a difference that my mum has asked me to get one for her, and I'm going to order the plug in for when I integrate my cat and kittens, as I'm sure it will help all of them.

Excellent product, gets a massive paws up from our cats!


Luxico White Frosted Privacy Glass Window Film (76cm x 1 metre - 10 metres) (76cm x 2m)
Luxico White Frosted Privacy Glass Window Film (76cm x 1 metre - 10 metres) (76cm x 2m)
Offered by Evowrap
Price: £18.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much easier than it looks, 1 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the film for two clear bathroom windows. It arrived within 2 days (normal postage) and was well packaged in a sturdy cardboard tube. I expected the film to be difficult to handle and hard to stick without getting bubbles underneath, but it was surprisingly easy, although it helps to have an assistant, especially when dealing with a large piece. As others have said, a sharp knife, long ruler and some form of cutting board are preferable to scissors for getting a straight edge - I used a stanley knife and a piece of hardboard and got a good edge to it. One word of caution is that elsewhere it was recommended that an overlap is left at the edges to allow for shrinkage; I found this was fine when the overlap was side to side as was the case on one of my windows, but it if was top to bottom as it was on the other window then it doesn't stick properly in the corners. I ended up trimming the top and bottom, spraying a little more slip solution underneath and re-squegeeing and that sorted it out.

The result - two professional-looking frosted windows in less than 30 minutes. Highly recommended.


Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: From Pig to Twig
Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: From Pig to Twig
by India Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough read, if not entirely honest, 4 July 2011
As others have said, this is basically a rehash of Atkins and numerous other low carb diets that have been around for years, just written in a chummy, all girls together tone. It is an enjoyable enough read and the diet certainly works if you like it and can stay on it long term- personally I couldn't face looking at any more meat, cheese or cream after the first few weeks (and I was eating a variety of foods, including vegetables, every day). So:

Pros: - You do lose weight, at least in the beginning
- Reduces sugar/carb cravings after the first few days

Cons: - As others have said, it basically lies by omission. Throughout the first two weeks it keeps reminding you that although this phase is strict, it is only for 14 days, you can have chocolate next week etc etc. when actually it only lasts for 2 weeks if you have less that a stone to lose, otherwise it continues for as long as it takes to get that last stone in sight. They tell you what they want you to know first and put the truth in the small print- obviously written by journalists...
- India's middle class, jolly hockey sticks tone grated on me- they tend to have this ridiculous notion that everyone can afford to buy free range chicken from Waitrose and stupidly expensive cosmetics that can only be found in Chelsea. They also seem to assume that we all have time to cook sausages for 25 minutes on each side every morning, but reality isn't like that for most people. Tis true you can adapt it for you own circumstances, but having a quick plate of cold meat and cheese wears pretty thin after a while.
- I'm not convinced by the advocacy of Splenda, nor by being allowed slimlime tonic but no other diet drinks. Fair enough, I despise Diet Coke too (the idea and the product) but can't see how it could be of any real harm with an occasional vodka - how is slimline tonic any better?

I'm not going to get into the whole 'how healthy is a low carb diet in the long term' argument- as a biologist I actually think it's probably a fairly safe bet, however my better half, who has a PhD in obesity biochemistry, wouldn't go near them.

If you do like the idea of this, I would suggest using the forum, pig2twig, as the ladies there are extremely supportive and Bee's recipes are good, just don't expect to see India or Neris on there any more. Personally if I were to follow a low carb diet again it would be Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint but if you do decide to follow this, good luck and I hope it works for you.


TeckNet MT-096 Apple FM Transmitter For Apple iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4G,
TeckNet MT-096 Apple FM Transmitter For Apple iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4G,
Offered by SPEEDY GOAL LIMITED
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin, 26 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Really can't fault this item- cheap, quick and easy to set up, excellent sound quality and even comes with a car charger so it doesn't drain your iPod battery - excellent little product.


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