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doublegone (scotland)
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Made in India: Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
Made in India: Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
by Meera Sodha
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Madhur and Anjum...there's a new curry kid on the block., 14 Dec 2014
This is an outstanding Indian Cookery book. The recipes are fantastic. The instructions are detailed and precise. So many books are not and it drives me nuts! I need to know how hot, for how long, lid on or off.....she never lets you down.

Everything here is foolproof and most recipes contain ingredients you'll find in a small supermarket anywhere in the UK. A few items are more exotic but the results so good they are definitely worth the effort of tracking down.

I really recommend the pickles and chutneys. The mango chutney and garlic pickle in particular are sensational. I keep giving jars to friends and they go into raptures about it.

There's a good balance of veggie to fish to meat.

I have a lot of Indian cookbooks and this is one of the very best. Beats a lot of the big name writers hands down.


My Friend Cayla
My Friend Cayla
Price: £39.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neat idea but imaginary play may be more fun., 19 Nov 2014
This review is from: My Friend Cayla (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Don't buy this unless you have a smartphone or tablet that connects to the internet!

If you do, you download the app to your device and then link the doll to it via bluetooth.

Its a neat idea, when it works. We found it only worked about half the time, whether the signal wasn't good enough or you didn't ask your question clearly enough.

The app is easy to use. Some features don't need an internet connection, eg playing games but children will want to ask it questions and we found ours became a little frustrated.

She has a necklace that glows when she is ready for a question. You need to hold her fairly close so the microphone picks up your question.

You have to manage the child's expectation. They may think they are going to have a conversation with Cayla but that is not the case unfortunately.

So long as you understand how the doll works and her limitations, she is reasonably good fun. I was left wondering if a plain dolly and the child's imagination might be a better combination though.


ESSENTIAL FOODS Nautical Living Dog Food, 12.5 kg
ESSENTIAL FOODS Nautical Living Dog Food, 12.5 kg
Price: £46.75

5.0 out of 5 stars A five paw score in our house., 8 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is difficult to know how to review this kind of thing. The dogs aren't able to give me their thoughts in detail. :)

There are two of them and one of them can be fussy when presented with new food. They both went about this with enthusiasm though and always finish the lot.

It looks to have all the right nutrients and they are thriving on it.

From my point of view, the only thing I can say is that it smells quite fishy, but I don't expect dog chow to be fragrant.

Very nutritious, convenient to store food that the dogs love to eat. What more can I say?


Ultrasport Men's Seamless Thermo Base Layer - Black, XX-Large
Ultrasport Men's Seamless Thermo Base Layer - Black, XX-Large
Price: £69.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Warm and breathable., 13 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a change from my usual Helly Hansen base-layer choice.

A top and bottom combo that I use for tough outdoor activities, or day-to-day winter underwear, and for sleeping in on those particularly cold nights.

I found it very comfortable and it does everything I would ask - keeps me warm, and is breathable to keep me dry.

Some things about it puzzle me or seem irrelevant however. First of all that pattern. When you put it on you feel like a minor superhero with all those muscle patterns on it. They don't serve any purpose. They don't bother me but some people might feel a bit silly.

The blurb makes great claims that the garments are seamless. This is not the case. There are loads of seams. They don't bother me but they are there. I have never found seams on any base layer to be a problem.

The washing instructions appear on the garments, for instance across the wasteband of the bottoms so that there is no label. Fair enough but again, I have never had a problem with labels in a base layer.

Happy enough with this base layer set but do feel they might be inventing problems to solve. Might be just a tad pricey.


Leitz Wow A4 Ruled Notebook - Metallic Pink
Leitz Wow A4 Ruled Notebook - Metallic Pink
Price: £8.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Am I missing something here?, 13 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No idea why the company thinks people will pay this much for a notebook like this.

I don't mind paying more for an especially beautiful or luxurious notebook like a Moleskine or similar, but this one has me at a loss. It is a perfectly servicable but ordinary lined notebook offered at a luxury price the spec just does not justify. You could walk into any stationers and pick up something similar for a third of the price.

Ringbound lined paper between two plastic covers. Inside the front there is a flimsly plastic ruler. Inside the back a plastic pocket.

The colour is not metallic. It is just pink


Vax Dual Power Total Home Carpet Cleaner
Vax Dual Power Total Home Carpet Cleaner
Price: £129.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Totally rejuvenated carpets - no fuss., 13 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A simple and affordable carpet cleaner from the ever-dependable Vax people. I found this light and easy to use. Very pleased with the results, if a little mortified by the colour of the used water!

Easy to carry from room to room and up and down the stairs. The dual rotating brushbars lift stubborn, deep down dirt from your carpets. The twin tanks separate clean water from dirty water, and it is easy to fill and empty.

This cleaner features a 30 cm wide path nozzle enables you to get into awkward areas without moving furniture. It comes with a pre-treatment kit for a concentrated clean of tough stains before you wash. It also features a long reach hose for cleaning stairs without carrying the machine.

Delighted with this. Carpets totally rejuvenated.


I Really Hate My Job [DVD]
I Really Hate My Job [DVD]
Dvd ~ Neve Campbell
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Straight to video and with good reason, 2 Oct 2014
This review is from: I Really Hate My Job [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Despite a marvellous talented cast I found this 2007 movie rather tedious and laboured. I think the main reason is that the script is dialogue-heavy and far too pleased with itself. They have set out to make a breezy little comedy with heart but fallen well short.

Five women work a stressful night in a Soho cafe. All have other hopes and dreams - the novelist, the actress, the revolutionary...but are confined together in their less than galmorous day jobs.

Two matters hover over proceedings in a bid to create some kind of dramatic tension - the impending arrival of a famous actor who has booked a table, and the increasingly regular appearance of rats in the restaurant. Meanwhile the characters collide into each other, usually in pairs or trios, exchanging far too trite philisophical observations. Subtle it is not. I welcomed the arrival of each rat with some relief as at least the writer could not put preposterous words in its mouth.

A waste of excellent actors. Not funny enough. I advise a wide berth.


Mother India at Home: Recipes Pictures Stories
Mother India at Home: Recipes Pictures Stories
by Monir Mohammed
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just give us the recipes!, 29 Sep 2014
This is a beautifully put together book and the following review is going to seem a bit mean spirited. I don't mean it to be but I am frustrated by its lack of focus, and the fact that its usefulness is compromised so much by its form. It is over-elaborate, over-expensive, over-fancy and ill-suited to the task of being a practical cookery book. In short - JUST GIVE US THE RECIPES!

Mother India and related restaurants are a byword for excellence in Scottish Indian food. There is no doubting of that. I, like many others I am sure, approached this book with the singleminded intent of having me some of that fabulous food from my own hob. The book has other ideas. The book also wants to give you a family/business history over several decades, and show you some nice photography by a friend of the restaurateur. So take note of the sub-title: "Recipes - Pictures - Stories", They are not kidding!

The recipes themselves are generally good. There is a slightly annoying lack of precision at times. We are often told to do things for "a few minutes". This is slapdash to me. Either tell me exact time to fry or simmer or whatever, or tell me what to look for to know the time is up. Most home cooks will use tinned chickpeas over dried, so it would be useful to have amounts given for these and not just a dried weight.

The recipes come in a wide variety from traditional classics through to those with a modern twist. There is a good balance of meat and veggie too. The recipes if contained in a smaller, cheaper more robust book would receive four or four and half grateful stars from me.

But as I say, there is also considerable space given over to the restaurant history, and the photography.

Monir Mohammed tells in some detail the story of his efforts in the restaurant business, through triumphs, bankruptcy, shifting locations and tastes. It is reasonably interesting but not compelling, The photography is perhaps the oddest bolt-on. Martin's Gray's images cover not just the restaurants and their staff, but the cities where they are located in the widest sense. I realise the chef feels it appropriate to set this book about his businesses in the wider context of their communities but it seems to me that many readers might prefer more curry and fewer snaps of people in parks or on tenement streets.

It might seem churlish to mark down this book for looking so good and having high production values, but I want cook books to be made for the rigours of the kitchen, not the coffee table. Its so pretty you worry about getting it splashed and spattered.

The high watermark for me when it comes to restaurants sharing their recipes, is Prashad Cookbook: Indian Vegetarian Cooking . Mrs Patel gives a foolproof blow by blow account of how to make exceptional food. I wish Mr Mohammed had done the same.


Yoga For Dummies
Yoga For Dummies
by Larry Payne PhD
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

3.0 out of 5 stars A good overview but less than essential, 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: Yoga For Dummies (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book offers a good overview of the most commonly offered yoga practices and styles. It is not, and does not try to be a substitute for an in the flesh class with a knowledgeable teacher. Do you need it if you have a good teacher? Probably not. But it is still an informative read.

The guide centres on the various disciplies of physical "Hatha" yoga, including Iyengar and Astanga, the names we often hear in the UK.

Dummies titles often offer online resources to complement the book. In my experience these can be really excellent and sometimes make the book itself redundant. Or they can be a pointless add-on. This one is somewhere in between nodding towards pointless. The online material comes in three chunks. First there is what they call a cheat-sheet, with lots of short tips. In previous editions of the book this actually came in a sheet at the front of the volume. Online or in the flesh, it is nothign special. Then there are a series of extra online short essays. They don't add much. Finally there are ten videos which take you through some of the moves in the book visually. These are helpful but in truth the internet is full of such usefull little movies without you having to buy a book like this. Irritatingly, you have to go to three different website locations to track down these online extras. It would make more sense to have them all accessible from one Yoga page.

Some Dummies titles come in a UK edition so when they recommend organisations or resources you are pointed somewhere appropriate to your location. Unfortunately that isn't the case here. Much of the advice on where to go and what to pay is US focused.

This might all sound like damning through faint praise and I don't mean it to be. There are good descriptions of a good many yoga poses, and the book sets things in a wider context of history and philosophy. But it must be said, this is far from essential reading.

On a side note, it is good to see that the Dummies series has now dropped the cartoons at the start of each chapter. They weren't funny and they added nothing.


Banjo for Dummies
Banjo for Dummies
by Bill Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview for the beginner., 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: Banjo for Dummies (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book gives a good general overview for the beginner 5-string banjoist. Its not going to be your lasting guide for more than a few months.

Exercises and tunes are presented in tablature format with video and audio tracks available online. The bulk of the book covers other stuff though, like chosing a style, what to look for when buying, maintenance, players to listen to - that sort of thing. The best thing about the book is the online material. It really is excellent and you might do as well to ignore the book and just follow the videos.

Most people will find their feet with a book like this and then know if they wanted to pursue a more specialist line - Scruggs style or clawhammer. Books specific to those individual styles will take you on a lot further.

There are lots of different styles of banjo and different ways of playing them. This book actually covers only the various styles of playing a five string banjo, so if you are interested in Irish traditional music on a tenor banjo or strumming along to trad jazz on a bigger four-string - THIS BOOK WON'T HELP YOU AT ALL.

Glad to see the "Dummies" series dispensing with the cartoons before each chapter. They were never funny and added nothing.


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