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Elizabeth David on Vegetables
Elizabeth David on Vegetables
by Elizabeth David
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and useful book, 23 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first Elizabeth David cookbook that I have used and I ordered it because I wanted to be more creative when it comes to cooking veg! Although I'm not a vegetarian, this book almost converted me to becoming meat-free. I was so inspired by the recipes and cannot believe I hadn't (up until now) discovered the joys of Elizabeth David's writing.
The book is divided into the following sections: 1. soups, 2. small dishes, 3. salads, 4. pasta, gnocchi and polenta, 5. rice, beans and lentils, 6. main dishes, 7. breads and 8. desserts.
I was most impressed with the main dishes section because this is where I lack the most imagination in the kitchen. The main dishes section also solved the problem of not knowing what to cook for vegetarians coming to dinner. Recipes in this section that I have tried so far include: chard in cream sauce, tian of courgettes and asparagus tart. The tomato and pumpkin gratin looks amazing and I'm looking forward to trying this one next. The small dishes section is also very useful and has already provided me with some wonderful side dishes to accompany meat. As for desserts, the chocolate and almond cake is unbelievably good!
My only (small) criticism is that the photos don't have captions, so I wasn't always sure which recipes the pictures went with.
The book has a slight retro feel to it and it reminds me of my mother's cookbooks from the '80s in terms of style. I like the way the recipes are written out long hand rather than in bullet points for the method, this felt cosy and comforting rather than rushing through the kitchen trying to deliver a meal in less than 30 mins. Having said that, the recipes I have tried so far didn't take ages to make, it just feels like the book has a laid back tone to it which I enjoy. Overall the book is a delight and a staple for my kitchen.


Philips SatinSoft HP6522/01 Wet & Dry Epilator with Shaving Attachment and Exfoliation Brush
Philips SatinSoft HP6522/01 Wet & Dry Epilator with Shaving Attachment and Exfoliation Brush
Price: £49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good all-rounder, 23 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What I love about Philips is their consistency with quality. This SatinSoft total body epilator is no exception and this must be the fourth or fifth Philips epilator I've used. There aren't a huge number of differences between this model and the last and I do think that Philips try and cram a bit too much in to what is essentially a great stand-alone device. Personally don't bother using the body brush that you get with it and the extra attachment heads could be quite handy. But the main plus for me is that it epilates superbly to the point where once a month is sufficient for me not to worry even in summer. I find that it doesn't shave as well as it epilates, having said that it still does a good job of it even in the shower. My only real gripe is that you need to plug it in and wait for it to charge. What I preferred about previous models of Philips epilators is that you could plug it in, switch it on and use. I find the rechargeable part a faff, but I suppose that's because of the wet/dry mechanism. I like the fact that the plug attachment is for a normal mains plug use rather than a shaving point attachment, as some other brands only include a shaving plug attachment and not a mains one. Buy this is you want a robust, good quality epilator that will last.


Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found
Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found
by Cheryl Strayed
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional rollercoaster (in a good way), 24 Dec 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I absolutely loved this book. I can't remember the last time I had a book that I couldn't put down, I read Wild in one weekend. I knew a little bit about Cheryl Strayed from an interview with Oprah and honestly, I thought that I'd be delving into another self-help book dressed up as an autobiography. But I was pleased to find an absence of personal development spiel. It's not a complete autobiography, Wild focuses on a particularly difficult phase of the author's life centering around the death of her mother and the subsequent journey she embarks upon to ultimately 'sort herself out' after turning to class A drugs and dead-end relationships. The journey she takes is across the mountains of the Pacific Crest Trail.

What I love about the book is the way the author was able to engage with me, the reader. She details her journey with such authenticity and honesty that I found myself crying quite a few times as I read the book. This is highly unusual for me. It's not that I felt I was on the journey with her, I just felt like I caught a very real glimpse into what she was genuinely feeling and at times this was heart-breaking to read. Equally there were times when I wanted to jump up and down with joy when she had climbed each summit and this is what made me love the book so much, the way the author could connect with her audience so strongly whether she was elated or depressed. To say this book is an inspiration is a bit of a disservice because it is so much more than that. I don't feel the urge to up and leave my life to climb a mountain range, but I do feel compelled to look at the difficult parts of life differently and take comfort in someone else's bravery and triumph. Wild is extraordinarily raw and courageous and as far from self-indulgent as you can imagine.


The New Jewelers: Desirable | Collectable | Contemporary
The New Jewelers: Desirable | Collectable | Contemporary
by Olivier Dupon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Frivolous superficial fun, 17 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
How can I describe this book in a nutshell? A micro snapshot of contemporary jewellery designer-makers from around the world.

I can't help but feel that the author went for quantity over quality and tried to ram as many jewellers as possible into this book. It skims the surface of each jeweller with lots of photos but only about half a page about each designer that includes a very mini bio, the odd quote and a sentence or two about what their sources of inspiration are. There is very little intellectual content compared to New Directions in Jewellery I & II and this is what surprised and disappointed me. I prefer books that have fewer artists/designers but delve a little deeper into their thought processes and points of reference, because I find it fascinating. This book is a pretty bit of fluff that will look beautiful on a coffee table but no more than that.

It hadn't any reviews when I got the book so I was a little misinformed about what this book might offer, hence my disappointment. That obviously doesn't make the book bad in any way, I just find it about as in depth as a magazine. That said, the jewellery is very beautiful and a joy to look at, but that is all this book really offers, which in my mind makes it totally overpriced. You can buy much better books for far less that are much more inspiring.


Sage One For Dummies
Sage One For Dummies
by Jane Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good instruction manual, 8 May 2012
This review is from: Sage One For Dummies (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I write this review as someone who has just started up a business for the first time and is getting to grips with the world of Sage accounting. I set up Sage One online because I liked the idea of being able to access it from anywhere. However when I logged on the first few times there were so many new areas to learn that I felt overwhelmed and just avoided using the programme for a long while. That's when the 'dummies' book for Sage One came in.
Not having used any Dummies books before, the title attracted me and I thought it would be a foolproof way of learning how to use Sage One and so far it has really helped me. It is literally a step by step guide from helping you to register and log on, to helping you use the programme to record supplier invoices. I'm sure not everyone will need the book in order to use Sage One and had I persevered I think I could have guessed my way through the tabs and hoped for the best. But the book has saved me so much time and effort. It has been the perfect instruction manual to accompany the programme and I now feel confident using it rather than baffled.
So far the areas of Sage One that the book has demystified for me are:
-Profit and loss report
-Viewing invoice settings
-Creating a VAT return
There are screen shots and diagrams accompanying the text so you can actually see what the author is referring to.
The book helps you get the most out of the programme. For example, I don't think I would have found out myself that you can record batch payments to pay multiple invoices in one go because it wasn't obvious to me how to do this initially. But this has been really useful and I may or may not have stumbled upon this when trying to navigate myself round the programme. Best of all, having the book handy means I don't have to remember everything and can easily refer back to a section when I need to.

Two tiny annoyances (and the reasons I haven't given 5 stars) are simply because of the distracting typeface used for the titles and the bunched up layout. It seems as if they are trying to cram as much information as they can into as few pages as possible which makes it a tiring read.

Overall, this book is definitely worth having if you're a Sage novice who doesn't want to spend even more time at the computer trying to figure it all out yourself.


Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
by Nigella Lawson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.00

399 of 421 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a rehash, 6 Sep 2010
OK, let's start with what I love about this book: It's beautifully written, it has amazing photos of the food, it's presented immaculately and the recipes cater for most tastes.
The biggest plus point for me is the fact that the recipes seems so well tried and tested. I am a big Nigella fan and have all her books and I can honestly say that I have never, ever been let down by one of her recipes. As with all Nigella's books, the recipes in Kitchen are easy to follow, with accurate quantities, extremely helpful hints and encouraging chit-chat along the way.
Since getting the book last week I decided to try some of the recipes from it: Tarragon chicken, smoked haddock my mother's way, speedy scaloppine with rapid roastini, chocolate chip bread pudding, maple pecan bundt cake and blondies. These all turned out well (even if they didn't look as good as the pictures) and I would cook them again.
The book is 500 pages long and has 190 recipes, accompanied by some really beautiful photos. Nigella's writing style (friendly-chit-chat-by-the-stove) is one of the best things about this book, and I read it through once, before I started cooking from it. This was a hopeful start before I went back through it to earmark the recipes I wanted to try. And this is where I started to feel disappointed (and also where I duck for cover).......
I had a touch of deja vu: the layout, the type of recipes included (comfort, quick, children's, baking, cocktails) and also the type of ingredients used (chilli sauce, pasta, spices, rice, mirin). In fact I would say this book has a predominantly south east Asian and Italian bent. There's nothing wrong with this, other than it all seems very over-familiar and done several times before in her previous books. Yes, on one hand this could be a good thing because you know what you're going to get. But I was hoping for something a bit more "Wow". Dare I say it, but to me, Kitchen seems a little bland. Apart from the six recipes that I tried over the past few days (see above) there weren't many more that I really fancied trying. I went through it a few times, hoping for more inspiration and also hoping to add more post-it notes reminding me of the recipes I want to try. I found a handful at best which was very disappointing.
It's almost like some sort of "Best of Nigella". It's got a bit of all her previous books thrown in and packaged very glossily. For this reason alone I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't already own a Nigella cookbook and wants to try her style of cooking. But for me it is just a rehash. A tired format that I suppose I have just become bored with. I don't think it's her best work and I don't think I will be using it as much as her other books.
I say this very reluctantly, but for me, Kitchen is an uninspiring regurgitation that looks very pretty but is mundanely average.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 24, 2012 7:47 AM BST


Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl
Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl
by Xanthe Milton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.20

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cynic converted!!!, 29 April 2010
I must admit, when I saw this book on the shelves of my local book shop, I rolled my eyes, sneered and thought "Not another frilly cupcake book", surely the world does not need another one!! And I moved on to the next aisle with my nose in the air.

The following week I was in the supermarket and again I saw this book stacked up in piles but with one propped open.....so I had a peek.....

It's like a fantasy baking adventure from cover to cover. A cross between the mad-hatters tea party, a 'sparkled-up' Brothers Grimm fairytale and walking through an old fashioned fairground in a sugary stupor!
It is completely OTT, fluffy, ridiculously fun, whimsical, kitsch, tongue in cheek, a wee bit titilating, slightly surreal and gloriously girly!! Pure kitchen escapism. It completely sucked me in. And yes, it's only really about cupcakes.

It could so easily be just a coffee table book that's rarely actually used, but I'm pleased to say that it is a joy to bake from too.
The book is divided into seasonal chapters with a separate party section.
There is an anecdotal introduction to each chapter. The recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs of the cakes and bakes. And yes, there are photos of the author dressed up as fairytale characters. You'll either love this or hate it, but my advice is not to take it too seriously and just go along with the spirit of the book!
So far I have tried the french toast cupcakes, lemon & elderflower cupcakes, carrot cookie creams, easter nest cupcakes, pistachio lime cupcakes, maple pecan cookies, fruit and nut cookies and the chocolate chunk traybake.
I'm pleased to say that the recipes worked out well and tasted really delicious. They've obviously been well-tested.
Do make sure you follow the instructions in using muffin size paper cases rather than the smaller traditional fairy cake cases. I ran out half way through and so used fairy cake ones. I had loads of batter left and the icing really didn't work with the smaller sized cases.
I can't say that I'll make everything in the book. The spooky ghost cakes and bonfire cupcakes look way too fiddly for me. I also really need to work on my icing techniques because mine do not look anywhere near as good as they do in the book. But there does seem to be something for everyone and I think children and adults would all be delighted in eating anything from here!

I really tried not to like "Eat me" and absolutely tried to convince myself that I didn't need another baking book. But I have been impressed enough to buy it for several friends as it makes a beautiful gift. Yep, I am weak-willed for the cute and sugary and this book broke my resolve.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2014 11:05 PM BST


The Perfect Afternoon Tea Book: Create the Perfect Teatime Celebration with 80 Classic Tea-time Treats
The Perfect Afternoon Tea Book: Create the Perfect Teatime Celebration with 80 Classic Tea-time Treats
by Antony Wild
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Traditional, simple baking, 26 April 2010
This reminds me of baking books that my grandmother used (Finer Cooking with Mcdougalls springs to mind!) This is the type of book that would have done quite well before the popularity of the cupcake took on epic proportions.

The recipes are simple, straightforward, traditional, gimmick free and no-frills. There isn't anything original in there, but I really do think that sponges in various forms have been re-worked to death now (and I say this as someone who LOVES Hummingbird, Primrose, Cookiegirl et al). This book strips it all back to basics, which might seem boring to some, but is refreshing in a lot of ways.
Is it trendy? No. Is it something that National Trust shops might sell? Yes!!! (Who knows maybe it's already on their shelves).

The book contains recipes for: teabreads, sandwiches (!!) pastries, biscuits, cakes and jams. It's not a coffee table book to show off with, but I personally think it's delightfully retro. Maybe even quaint.
The reason I haven't given it five stars is because at the beginning, there is a chapter about the history of afternoon tea; how to make the perfect cup of tea and tea etiquette. Whilst the book is about afternoon tea, I found this chapter staid and long-winded. A more concise intro with a few more recipes added to the book instead, would have been preferable.

I bought the book for the following recipes:
Fat rascals, coconut macaroons, chocolate chip walnut cake, sticky gingerbread, battenberg, buttermilk scones and soul cakes.
The recipes work well and the instructions are easy to follow.
There are over seventy recipes in the book, including: leek and bacon tarts, potted cheese, salmon mousse, barm brack, curd tart, Tinker's cakes and victoria sponge.
If you want to backlash against all the band-wagon jumping, over-iced, sparkly, mini-portioned cake books, then this is the one for you. It will stand the test of time and be used for years to come. The type of baking that will never go out of fashion!!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2011 9:10 AM BST


Undine
Undine
by Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bewitching, beguiling and beautiful, 28 Feb 2010
This review is from: Undine (Paperback)
I stumbled upon this beautiful book after being set a `folklore and superstition' brief for an art project. I started Googling mermaid stories and was desperately hoping there would be something other than Hans Christian Andersen's `Little Mermaid' (as lovely as it is). Thankfully I found Undine.
It's a short story written in the 19th century and therefore the language is somewhat outmoded. Despite this, it's still an easy read and its old-fashioned narrative does add to the `knights and elves of yore' spirit of the story.
It's the kind of folktale that you can imagine passing on to other generations, short enough to memorise and recount without needing the book.
In short, it's about how a German knight meets a fisherman's daughter who turns out to be a mermaid (or water sprite) and the story unfolds from there.
It reminds me of Blue Beard and The Red Shoes, the kind of ever-so-slightly dangersome fairy tale that thrills and enchants but also has innocence, tragedy and peril in varying measures!
It is a wonderful story.
The only reason I haven't given it 5 stars is because this particular edition looks like Wildside Press (who printed it) have literally just got a copy of the original, scanned it, not retouched it at all (as there are some faded sections of text) and bound it.
I suppose this lends a certain charm and I imagine they wanted to maintain some of the features of the original book, but overall it looks a little amateurish.
I bought this particular edition because of the Arthur Rackham illustrations, I am a big fan of his art work. It is a real shame that the reproductions of his prints are quite low-quality in this book. Again it looks like they have just been quickly photocopied or scanned in. But having said that, it is lovely having his whimsical pictures alongside such a darkly magical tale. And even though they look more like etchings, they are still a fitting visual accompaniment to the book. So please don't let this put you off because it is a wonderful and captivating fairytale that I would recommend for children and adults alike.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2010 10:27 AM BST


The Art of Jewellery Design: From Idea to Reality (Jewellery)
The Art of Jewellery Design: From Idea to Reality (Jewellery)
by Elizabeth Olver
Edition: Hardcover

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for first year jewellery students, 15 July 2009
I am a BA (hons) Jewellery student and I bought this book before I applied for the course as I had NO DESIGN BACKGROUND AT ALL!! I had some drawing skills and had been making some jewellery before but design was an alien language at this point! And as a mature student I knew I needed some basic grasp of design before my interview/portfolio.
This book was invaluable at helping me get to grips with jewellery design, from my (very) basic level upwards. I used the book systematically and faithfully going through it all carefully and using all the tips. And by the end of the book, I had enough theoretical knowledge to accompany my fabrications and get me through onto the degree course, without having to do a foundation year first.
Put it this way, I went from having biro-drawn scribbles with no thought behind them, to a clear understanding of the elements of design and the process itself. And by the end of the book I had managed to produce a reasonable sketch book of ideas and designs that showed some understanding of what I was trying to achieve!!!
Not only that but it has helped me during my course, as I refer back to it if I become a bit stuck trying to get my ideas out.
This book is perfect for the beginner to intermediate jewellery designer/maker. It does assume that you have some basic jewellery making skills to begin with (in order to understand some of the terms). If you are a third year student or above, this book will seem a little too elementary I think.
The book is purely about the jewellery design process and elements of design. It is NOT a 'how to make jewellery' book.
There are pictures and examples of designer's own drawings and photos of finished pieces of work.
The book is an easy read and helps you think more laterally. Liz Olver writes really well and her instructions are easy to follow. I feel that this book has really helped me translate the chaotic ideas I had in my mind on to paper and into reality.
A must for all first year jewellery students!


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