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Crofty (Oldham, UK)

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The Phoenix Leadership Programme: Make Your Best Better
The Phoenix Leadership Programme: Make Your Best Better
by John Babb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.82

5.0 out of 5 stars This Is What You Need to Know, 12 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all a confession: I know John, the author so I am not wholly impartial. However this is an honest review.

When I got my copy I was surprised how small it is. I am a leadership and management coach and know just how massive the subject of effective leadership is. Then after reading it a couple of times it dawned on me that John isn't setting out to tell you everything in the world about all of leadership. What he's doing is telling you what you need to be good at if you want to be a good leader. And he does that awesomely well.

The book shows you round the main areas that comprise good leadership and shows you what you need to aim for in terms of excellence in these areas. The book isn't a self-help manual full if exercises (you might be good at lots of leadership and just want to understand how to be a better rounded leader).

This is the book I now use asthe scaffolding to use when I'm helping new leaders get going.


Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes (Hospitality)
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes (Hospitality)
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Book to Graduate To, 21 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
this is the bible for artisan bread making. There is nothing missing and is the default reference work for me whenever I come across a problem or want to try something new.

BUT it is a technical work for the serious bread maker. This the book to work towards after you've got the bug following one of the many other excellent bread writers (Dan Lepard, Andrew Whitley et al).

It's a readable book with lovely anecdotes - if, like me, you are a bread geek.

So, a fabulous book, but make sure it's what you want before you buy.


Gurney: Severn Meadows and Other Songs
Gurney: Severn Meadows and Other Songs
Price: £16.86

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad - Achingly Beatifully Sad, 8 Aug 2009
Gurney: Severn Meadows and Other Songs

I've been watching the BBC 2 programme in which Drum and Bass artist Goldie has a bash at creating classical music. I don't like drum and bass but I did find we shared a love for sad music - I mean really sad, not the way young people mean lame. Goldie talked about how, like me, he loved Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Why do I mention it?

I mention it because Ivor Gurney's songs (and poems for that matter) have that achingly meloncholic beauty that can bring a lump to your throat and yearn for England's loss after WW1 - even more poignant since the recent death of Harry Patch Britain's last survivor.

Gurney doesn't mention the war in these songs, he doesn't have to - they are each poems chosen and set to music by Gurney to represent a beauty and innocence that was lost with the betrayal of WW1, where familiar trusted social orders were smashed to pieces on the battle fields and the countries way of life changed forever.

The setting of the songs - tenor voice and piano are the perfect stark presentation for them, and make them really compelling.

I casually popped the disc into the player for a quick listen only to find myself sat reading the words of each song from start to finish emerging an hour or so later feeling quite moved.

Not for the faint hearted this, nor for anyone who wants cheering up!

But I am looking forward to listening to it in the gloom of an autumn sunset - if you like the sound of that, you'll love it.


In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop
In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop
by Steve Kowit
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.88

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's A Poem In All Of Us...But You Are Not Seeing Mine (yet), 8 Aug 2009
In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop

I write. I write at work - reports, newsletters and such; and I write for pleasure too. I love writing. But poetry intimidates me - not because I think it arty and inaccessible but because it is the ultimate of all of the written arts. It distils writing to the minimum number of words necessary to do the job and presents it in such a way as to get inside your head and do judo.

Consequently I have made only a few attempts to write a poem, and each time have come away from the experience depressed at my clumsy, awkward attempts to express some deep and meaningful experience.

Steve Kowit knows what that is like. He takes you, in a series of interesting and enjoyable exercises, through the process of distilling art from memory. Even the exercises of recovering memories are fascinating as he helps you remember descriptive details of things long forgotten, before helping you to commit them to paper.

Importantly though, the best bit about this book is that it gives you confidence to have a go, and at least have half of an idea whether what you are trying to create is poetry.

However, don't come to this book expecting someone to learn about Pantoums, Sonnets or Villanelles - lessons about strict poetic form are not what this book is about. This is a book to help you stretch your wings and take the first step of the edge of the nest, before deciding whether you want a go at fitting your fledgling poems into a poetic-metrical box.

I loved the book - and keep loving it each time I go back to it.

You're still not seeing my poems though!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2010 6:01 PM BST


Confessions of a Celebrity Psychic: How to Become Rich and Famous as a Fraudulent Psychic Entertainer and Consultant
Confessions of a Celebrity Psychic: How to Become Rich and Famous as a Fraudulent Psychic Entertainer and Consultant
by Jonathan Royle
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sack this man's editor - if he has one!, 15 Feb 2009
I bought this book to unpick some of the tricks and psychology behind people like Derren Brown. It's right to say that the meat of what Royle offers is there: he dishes the dirt on the world of pyschics. But, and it's a big but, his style is like a cross between a teenage diarist and self publicist.

Read it if you can bear it. It won't disappoint you in terms of the information but it really is hard work.

And yes, you could get rich doing what he suggests. But you'd have to lose your conscience first - or do what Derren Brown does so well: admit that all he does is based on trickery - and then still dazzle you with it!


Bialetti Brikka Espresso Maker, 2 cup
Bialetti Brikka Espresso Maker, 2 cup
Offered by 3-Monkeys
Price: £26.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Kitchen Gadget, 15 Feb 2009
I've been using a 2 cup Brikka since November and the manufacturer's hype is right: the way that this little beauty works like a pressure cooker to build up sufficient pressure for a decent crema makes a heap of difference to the taste.

And there's something really satisfying about the whole ritual of making espresso this way that you just don't get from flicking the switch on an electrical gadget.

My little stove-top gem makes better coffee than any other espresso I've tasted.


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