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NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo by KRUPS Coffee Capsule Machine - Orange
NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo by KRUPS Coffee Capsule Machine - Orange
Price: 89.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In the end, it's all about the coffee, not the machine., 30 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've long been eyeing pod machines, havering, wedging, ruminating, should I, shouldn't I, as I continue with my various arcane and sometimes lengthy coffee rituals : French Press, AeroPress, Bialetti/Moka Pot, ibrik for Turkish Coffee, hand grinding with ceramic burr machine for adjustable grind size, good old fashioned jug-and-filter, and even a much loved (dead now, and discontinued) De Longhi hot-water-integral-filter drip through.

So............offered the chance to try the Dolce Gusto, I wasn't going to pass it up.

The machine came with 4 varieties to try : Cappucino (2 pods per drink); Skinny Latte Macchiato (2 pods per drink); Americano; Lungo.

Sadly my coffee loving palate was not impressed.

The cappuccino - this comes with dried milk and sugar in the milk capsule. To my taste buds there is a definite, slightly oily, coated feeling and strange sickly after-taste - which I believe is due to the difference between using fresh frothed milk and dried. But I'm also prepared to concede that as someone who doesn't like dairy this may be because if I had a cappuccino in a coffee bar it would be made with fresh frothed soya milk, not with cows, whether dried or fresh. And that as I like my food and drink as reasonably natural as I can get, the `creamer/dried milk' idea isn't going to work for me

So....to the pod which should be the closest to my normal daily hand crafted brew, the Americano. The coffee used for this, to my palate, lacks subtle tastes. It's bitter,it's flat, it's heavy, unlike the various beans - or even, before I got the grinder, the pre-ground coffees - I used to buy. I like a coffee where layers of flavours unravel as you drink. It's not about the hit of caffeine, it's the flavour.

Having tried 2 of the 4, and found them not pleasant, I didn't want to try the others - the latte macchiato anyway has more dried milk, and even if I found the lungho coffee FAB, I wouldn't want to drink one variety of the same coffee for ever. The Dolce Gusto range is not wide enough (on paper) to offer the different potential flavours of either a particular estate or country's bean, or indeed a blend which is more than just `arabica' or `robusta'

I think, should I ever decide to go down a route for pod machines - because of the freshness of each sealed pod, as opposed to marvellous beans at the end of the packet, the option is going to be something like Nespresso CitiZ and Milk by Magimix M190 Coffee Machine - Limousine Black, in order, to be able to froth fresh `milk' whether of plant or animal origin. There are other positives (later) for the Nespresso for podding, with the negative of course being they are costlier.

The other major problem for me with the Nescafe brand pods is that they cannot be recycled. I don't want to be generating more landfill

There is also no indication whether the coffee itself is fairly traded. This again is something which matters to me

For the machine minded, this is I think a little larger than it needs to be - I think a sleeker shape would have suited the smaller kitchens which many of us have, which are now (well mine is!) a little overcrowded with gadgets, most of which have to take up minimal space AND work for that space.

This machine is 31.3 cm high, 24.5cm wide and 17.8cm deep. Looking at it, I do believe it could have had some size shaved from `the style'

It's a bit noisier than I expected, I have no idea whether it's noisier than other podders or not. It's certainly easy to use, but in the end, it's the coffee that was responsible for my low rating, not the machine

And the discovery of the recycling and fairtrade (or lack of) issues. Nespresso have addressed both issues - pods which can be recycled back to them, mechanisms for this to happen, and coffees (a very wide variety) which are, according to their website, all fairtrade

The machine comes with a useful (if you like the coffee) 10 off voucher for your first order of replacement pods from the Nescafe DolceGusto website if you register your machine online.


Salad Love: How to Create a Lunchtime Salad, Every Weekday, in 20 Minutes or Less
Salad Love: How to Create a Lunchtime Salad, Every Weekday, in 20 Minutes or Less
by David Bez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vegetarians, Vegans and Raw Food Eaters can happily frolic through these pages. Others also made welcome. Five Yums Rating!, 28 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
David Bez's jolly book encouraging healthy, inexpensive, quick at-your-desk made lunches is really well thought out.

Bez is, as he tells us, not a chef, but he is from Italy, loves food, and works in `creative'. He is also a father, and cares about eating fresh, in season, delicious quality food, both for himself and his small ones. And he has limited time for lunch, taken at his desk. He has chosen the option to prepare a variety of fresh salads, which can be quickly put together in less time than it takes to queue in the local supermarket for a sad sandwich

His art director background is written all over the great presentation, and excellent design of this book.

The recipes are divided into the four seasons, and what is easily available. Some of it involves being a little thoughtful the night before, and cooking a few extra vegetables, grains, pulses (or, okay for those of you that eat the other stuff, putting aside some of the flesh) to become part of your lunch salad.

Forget lettuce, tomato cucumber; tomato, cucumber lettuce; cucumber tomato, lettuce and on, and on, Bez will have you happily assembling all sorts of goodies, - I advise a quick `look inside' the book to whet your imagination, but a few recipes I salivated for at random - yellow pepper, broccoli, chilli and coconut cream; goat's cheese, kale, cucumber and tomatoes; cavalo nero, avocado and sprouted beans.

I can hear those flesh eaters grumbling.............fear not, there is plenty for you. What Bez does is to define each recipe as being Omnivore, Pescatarian, Vegetarian, Vegan or Raw.

Obviously the omnivore is for the everything including animal eater , the pescatarian fish eater and the rest, the vegetarian eats nothing which had a face, but does include dairy or egg, the vegan recipes contains no ingredient from an animal - and the raw will always be an option which is not only vegan but had no heating applied - so for example, it could include sprouted pulses, but not cooked pulses, as protein source (he doesn't include sushi in raw, it belongs, properly, to pescatarian)

But what is absolutely BRILLIANT is that for every recipe he gives an adapted option for one of the other groups. There ARE quite a few omnivore or pescatarian recipes, but only 10 of the omnivore or pescatarian main recipes have an adaptation which is the other flesh based one.

And for those on the most restricted diets of all (the raw food eaters) there are a lot of recipes! So this lovely book gives options for all

Not only are the recipes themselves tempting and delicious, but I particularly love the THOUGHT which Bez has put into it. You can search yourself a recipe in different ways...the index helpfully will give page numbers for, for example, Vegan Main, Vegan alternative and the like - and there is the search by ingredient. Got some pak choi you want to use up? No problem.

Bez `deconstructs' the layers of his salad, so every recipe will have a base (generally a salad leaf, but it might be a grain), then vegetables and or fruit, a protein component, toppings - nuts, seed, and the like, fresh herbs, and finally the dressing - which might be vinaigrette style, pesto style, or creamy style - some 25 varieties of dressing.

And if you run out of ideas and need some more he even has a salad blog called Salad Pride, where you can tiptoe through the garden gathering more goodies for lunch and breakfast!


Bodies of Light
Bodies of Light
Price: 6.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Let us not forget the sisters who struggled before us, 25 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bodies of Light (Kindle Edition)
I'm at a loss to know where to start to adequately praise this excellent, layered novel from Sarah Moss, who has the stunning ability to write novels `about deep and complex stuff' , engage with both the heart and the head, create real, properly dimensional, complex characters, write beautifully and unindulgently, and do all this within the discipline of a pacey narrative drive

Moss's territory is the complex lives of girls and women, caught between their own personal identity, their calling, vocation and creativity, and the counter-pull, whether of a society which limits and curtails women, or the counter-pull imposed by the biology of mothering and the fierce demands of children

I read, some time ago, Moss's last book, Night Waking, which I found brilliant, distressing, disturbing, but for me, there were some irritations, which pulled me back from 5 stars. Night Waking concerned a professional couple, with 2 small children, engaged in their work on a Scottish island. There was the tension of the children, affecting, differently, the mother and the father, with the mother least able to `follow her own star'. That book also twinned a long ago thread from the nineteenth century. And in fact, that thread skeins back to Bodies Of Light, her latest book. Though there is no need to have read the previous one. Except, you might later want to. Or indeed, as I shall do, revisit the earlier one.

Bodies of Light is set primarily in Manchester and London, between the mid1850s to the 1880s The central family is Alfred Moberley, an artist and craftsman, and his increasingly successful circle, and Elizabeth, his wife, an idealistic Christian woman with a passionate commitment to female rights, to the burgeoning movements to achieve equality of opportunity for women in the field of education, primarily, and also to expose the vicious hypocrisy of the sex trade, criminalising prostitutes but not their clients. Elizabeth and Alfred have two daughters, Alethea and May, whom Elizabeth effectively sacrifices to the cause.

This book is primarily the story of Ally, Alethea, who is raised to do her duty, by a mother who effectively resents and dislikes her, except she is the one who is raised to be the sacrificial victim for the better rights of future generations of women. Ally is one of the first groups of women to train to become doctors, so that women, particularly poor women, should be treated by members of their own sex, respecting their modesty, respecting their vulnerability.

Elizabeth is a deeply unpleasant, sadistic woman, but as a clear demonstration of Moss's subtlety, we meet Elizabeth as she is on the eve of her marriage to Moberley, with his much more expressive, but weaker, nature. What Moss does is to show us Elizabeth's own, steely upbringing, child of another mother wedded to fierce ideas. So one strand which returned for me, again and again, is how difficult might be the lives of the children of idealists, who are prepared to sacrifice not only their own lives, but also the lives of others for the sake of `the future generations'. These are people implacable, made of steel, sometimes without the softness of empathy. Hard people to be around, often, but the people who forge beneficial and forward movements (as well, at times, as retrograde ones) The believers in isms, the ends-justifies-the-meansers.

"And I believe that generations of our sisters yet to be born will thank us for what we give. And indeed what we take from others. There is no principle worth having that does not exact a price. We must recognise the cost of our principles and take responsibility for that cost. We must not deny the consequences of our own actions"

Ally is a complex, damaged character, at times terrifyingly fragile, but she too, has steel. In her case, the steeliness is visited against herself. Her journey is at times unbearable, as is being reminded of the real struggle many made in order to win rights of opportunity for those who came after.

"Just occasionally, she feels herself on the crest of a wave, the weight of water bearing her along. She herself has only a small role, but the fellowship of women is a tide, and it cannot be turned"

But I don't want to make this sound too worthy a read - Moss's craft is that she is a superb novelist, and for the most part paints her characters and her story with complex and beautiful shapes and colours, rather than in big bold cartoon strokes of black and white.

Perhaps nowhere did I get this sense more strongly than in the character of Elizabeth Moberley. I was reminded, in some ways, of the horrible Mrs Jellaby in Dickens' Bleak House, who sacrifices her own children's well-being because she is more concerned with doing philanthropic works. Dickens made Jellaby one of his enjoyably `love to hate and poke fun at' figures. But we never really see her as a real person, and understand her psychology from the inside. We stand outside, watch, judge and, in superiority, laugh at her. Elizabeth, by contrast, hateful as she is, came from somewhere, and Moss makes us empathise and understand the terror of the young mother who did not want to be a mother, and was terrified of her own feelings.

"She woke up thinking of knives, took only porridge for breakfast, because even a butter-knife seemed a bad idea. She is still thinking of knives. The baby is still crying..."

"She is weak. She is slovenly. The baby has defeated her. If she goes out she is afraid she will buy laudanum, and if she stays in the house, there are knives. And fire, and the staircase. And windows high under the gable. The baby cries. She cannot pick it up because of the windows and the staircase, and she cannot walk away because of the4 knives and the laudanum"

I particularly liked the structure of this book, each chapter illustrated in the description and later provenance of a piece of artwork, either painted or crafted by Moberley, or his artist friend, Aubrey West. The painting or crafted object is a capture of the story and subtext of the ensuing chapter.

Google Search was, as ever, of interest

A wonderful, rich, book, which is at the same time an easy to read one, challenging much thinking, much feeling, but without any self-indulgence. Just as her central character, doctor in training Ally, was learning how to be a surgeon, and master the arts of scalpel and suture, so Moss demonstrates equally precision with her pen, knowing what to cut out as well as what to stitch together


Karrimor 2 Bottle Belt[Black/Pink]
Karrimor 2 Bottle Belt[Black/Pink]
Offered by Sports Direct
Price: 8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nifty little gunslinger waterpistol running belt, 25 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm delighted with this excellent idea. I don't like holding things in my hands whilst running as I'm aware that the tension in the muscles of the hand held in contraction as it holds a bottle, radiates up into the muscles of the forearm and upper arm. Not to mention that holding ONE bottle means unequal tension and holding two, for balance, seems excessive.

Sure, these are tiny bottles, 170 cl each, but that is just fine for my needs when doing timed runs on a run-walk programme when the short walk sections are not by the drinking taps, where I run

There is also a less girly pink version in yellow - tops of the bottles are coloured. I just didn't like the shade of yellow, so went for that girly pink.

The lids of the bottles are pull for open, push for close, so provided you do push shut, no danger of water leakage. The little holsters hold them well. Drinking is best done by upending and squeezing into the mouth, its 'wet your mouth' rather than gallons to slake the thirst type stuff. Or of course, you could take the top off and drain the bottle

There's a long adjustable waist belt, though, depending on your size, you could I suppose find the bottles not quite where you wanted them, and may need to close the clasp behind, rather than in front, so that the bottles are in the best place.

The belt is completed by a zipped pocket, which apparently would take the ithing with space for headphone wires to pass, if you are a ithing runner. Useful of course for keys and I guess cash for a post run undoing of all the good work coffee and cake.

Reading the one star review, where the buyer got the belt, but not the bottles, I think this must have been a clear error. Bottles are mentioned, bottles I got.

The supplier i got these from, SportsDirect, couriered them quick as a flash


Clara
Clara
by Janice Galloway
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If music be the food of love, play on, 21 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Clara (Paperback)
Janice Galloway's Clara, a biography as fiction of Clara Schumann, born Clara Wieck, pianist and composer, who married Robert Schumann and bore him 8 children, was something of a struggle, for many right reasons, but also, perhaps, a victim of its attempt to write from both an objective perspective, and from a within the mind of both Robert and Clara. Robert Schumann suffered episodes of extreme mental disorder, most possibly bipolar disorder, as his diagnosis at the time recorded periods of extreme and prolonged `melancholia' followed by periodic attacks of `exaltation'. This means that writing `within his mind' becomes remarkably confusing, distressing and jumbled at times.

Galloway has written very well `within the mind of breakdown' before, in her mordant, painful and often very funny The Trick is to Keep Breathing - but this worked in part because the central character of that book had a degree of wit about herself.

Here, the tenor of the book as a whole, despite some fine passionate intensity about music itself, as the major players - Clara, her music teacher father, Schumann, Chopin, Listz, Mendelssohn, Brahms, are all musicians and or composers - is overwhelmingly bleak and full of despair.

I am very admiring of Galloway's writing, most particularly because of her ability to leaven the tragic with a lightness of touch, and, in her own biographical books, a certain cool stoicism.

However, in this book, looked at (as we can't help seeing it) through twenty-first century eyes, through the journey of a century where much has been achieved, primarily by fiercely battling women, to change consciousness, in both women and men in attitudes to women, Clara Wieck, then Schumann's story, filled me with horror, rage, despair. As it should have done, but I wished there had been some more lightness in the telling, and that Galloway had found a less confusing way of narrating, as the shifts between within Robert's mind, within Clara's mind observing Robert, and the overall view of an outside narrator were not always easy to navigate, for this reader.

Briefly, Clara's story is that she was `groomed' as a musical prodigy pianist by her autocratic father, as evidence of his brilliance as a teacher, and evidence of the brilliance of his methods. He also taught Robert Schumann piano. Robert and Clara fell in love and the match was violently and viciously opposed by Wieck. The couple did marry, but Schumann's mental instability was already obvious. Clara was a devoted wife, but she was also a world renowned artist in her own right. Society, even progressive bohemian society had in the main very old fashioned views about the duties of wives and mothers. So, Clara was always on a rack and pulled at from both within her own psyche, within that particular time and place, and from without, by the oppositions of Father and Husband. Even without Robert's mental illness, two highly lauded creative artists within a relationship, within the same field, one male, one female, creates some obvious tensions. Who is the supporter in that relationship, whose creative needs come first, who limits and curtails their own creative needs in order to allow the other to fully flower. Clara Schumann's story has its echoes in other many other places

I do recommend this strongly, despite my reservations about the narrative voice, and my wish that Galloway had made the journey a little more high speed, rather than stopping at every station, and sometimes waiting around before starting again. I wasn't quite as surrendered to every moment, every page, as I usually am with her writing


BRITA Fill&Go Water Filter Bottle Incl. 4 Filter Discs - Green
BRITA Fill&Go Water Filter Bottle Incl. 4 Filter Discs - Green
Price: 10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars I can't exactly say it sucks, but........, 20 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a beautifully designed water bottle if visual appeal is what you are after, I certainly like looking at it, but am not that convinced its stylish appearance is matched by impeccable practicality.

I have a much smaller, trimmer portable metal bottle, which I fill from the kitchen top BRITA Elemaris Meter Cool Black Water Filter Jug (which I'm very satisfied with) on my way out, and can pop it into my handbag. It isn't the prettiest bottle in the universe, but provided I screw the top on tightly it can tip upside down in the bottomless caverns of my handbags, and not leak. Sure. It is not a portable filter bottle itself

Having gazed my fill at this Brita, which looks lovely on the kitchen top, it was a little disappointing to find - it's quite a big, wide, long bottle for all that its capacity is barely more than my existing workhorse bottle. In fact, as someone with small hands, I need two hands to hold this.

With the filter (which must be changed, say Brita, weekly (so count the added cost of that) soaked as per instructions, I began to drink via the integral straw. You have to suck quite hard. Now I'm sure this is a useful workout for the buccinator muscles, but I wasn't particularly aware I needed to develop them. And somehow, on stopping sucking small drips of water trickle down.

So I thought I'd try the other method - remove straw and tip head back. Now curiously, without the straw, and with the filter still in place, water came quite slowly out of the lip - but still managed to slightly leak. And I found if I wanted to get the water in more satisfying amounts I had to ....suck, though not as strongly as with the straw in place.

For hygiene, you obviously need to wash your bottle out daily, but, of course, if that means you want to wash the straw or especially the lip - you'll need to take the filter out first.

So - in the end, far too much faff, hard work sucking, wiping the drips, and the expense of the filters. The bottle will end up being used, like my dinky, practical metal bottle, filled before going out from the kitchen Brita, as a second/spare bottle.

Either that, or I'll just look at the sleek lines of the thing, as it slowly gathers dust.

I have decided that tap water when out and about in this country ain't going to kill me.

5 stars as objet d'art. 2 stars for object to use


Gourmet Perle Country Medley in Jelly 12 x 85 g, Pack of 4, Total 48 Pouches
Gourmet Perle Country Medley in Jelly 12 x 85 g, Pack of 4, Total 48 Pouches
Price: 17.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Savagely gelled with the beasts, 20 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this when it was on a good offer especially with subscribe and save.

However - I've discovered what turns it from okay to must have for the resident felines. Unlike the gravied versions which need hoicking out with a fork to get every last piece, the block of jellied meat slides easily and cleanly out of the packet.

If I break up the block with a fork, this is eaten appreciatively - but if I just leave it in its big jellied block, it is savagely and voraciously engaged with. The thought occurred that leaving it large might be a 'wilder' experience as it would be a bit more unruly and move as those sharp canines tried to get purchase and might make for more enjoyment

We aim to please our feline companion animals, and, oh my gosh, my 'I wonder if' experiment hit the inner hunter of the fireside fluffies. The lip smacking, the noisy voracious eating, the clean bowls and the maintenance of interest until the bowls were empty told a happy story


Listening to Scent
Listening to Scent
by Jennifer Peace Rhind
Edition: Cards
Price: 15.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Olfactory deconstruction so fine that I could smell the odours in my mind. Very scented heaven!, 19 July 2014
This review is from: Listening to Scent (Cards)
I read Jennifer Peace Rhind's book on olfaction and natural perfumery, and became almost dizzy with delight.

I did not need to be told from the author's profile at the end of the book, that she has been deeply involved in a journey with aromatics, and with the essential oils and absolutes as aromatics in particular, for many many years. Her absolute knowledge from experience, as much as from her own studies and reading of other texts on the subject, is absolutely obvious.

And, as important to me as depth knowledge and creative thinking on a subject are - Rhind is also a clear and inspiring writer.

Though this book is particularly geared towards those who may be interested in, or are already, making natural perfumes and perfumery products, it will also be of deep interest to those who are involved in the therapeutic side of working with the essential oils. Despite my own relationship over many years with those oils therapeutically, I was absolutely delighted to find that Rhind was teaching me new information here.

Even for those who primarily are working therapeutically, aesthetic blending may well be part of the mix, particularly when working with clients whose prime reason for treatment is dis-ease presenting in psyche, or with causes from psyche, or those with chronic conditions, where the feel-good hedonic aspect of those oils will absolutely need to be considered.

Rhind explains very clearly the complex physiology and psychology of olfaction, how and why odour has its effects. However, the main thrust of her book is like spending time with a wonderful, creative educator who teaches practitioners of artistic disciplines - the book de-constructs the creation of perfumes, and, best of all, presents the aspiring (or experienced!) perfumer with a really in-depth programme for developing and refining their olfactory sensitivities, both in systematic, left brain ways, with wonderfully structured exercises, and with right brain, creative, playful, olfaction-as-meditation exercises.

What I am particularly enthused with in her writing is the absolute sense of generosity and empowerment which shines out. She is not laying down rigid formulaic monkey-see, monkey-do, she does that wonderful thing of giving the reader a brilliant tool box, the understanding of what the tools can and cannot do, and then says, metaphorically - go make, explore, learn from your own experience.

There is an excellent amount of safety information, specific information about chemistry in each of the oils and absolutes mentioned, to keep perfumers aware of cautions which may be needed, skin sensitivity issues and the like.

I particularly appreciated the information on the aromatic profiles of individual chemical constituents, in isolation. Many of us with familiarity with the oils and absolutes may not have encountered that wide a palette of each component as a stand-alone, so, I am looking forward, from descriptions of the odour notes of the isolate, and my own knowledge of essential oil chemistry, to tease apart the full odour of a particular botanical

Her book is meticulously and brilliantly referenced, with academic thoroughness, and gives those who want to find out more left brain stuff the detailed information to find it

I was absolutely delighted to get offered this as an ARC from the publishers, Singing Dragon, via NetGalley. And just a word on Singing Dragon - they have a great and growing reputation as publishers of books in the complementary medicine field which are thorough, serious, innovative, sensible texts. To be honest, the fact that Rhind's book is published by Singing Dragon let me know in advance this was going to be a good `un!

I'm not quite sure why it comes up in the format 'cards' - I got it as digital download


Essential Oils: Learn How to Use the Power of Essential Oils for Aromatherapy, Weight Loss, Stress Relief and Beauty (FREE Book Offer): Aromatherapy, Beauty, Coconut Oil
Essential Oils: Learn How to Use the Power of Essential Oils for Aromatherapy, Weight Loss, Stress Relief and Beauty (FREE Book Offer): Aromatherapy, Beauty, Coconut Oil
Price: 1.53

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with errors, some nonsensical, some dangerous, 16 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I never normally respond to requests to review self-published books. I made an exception for this one, as this is an area I know a fair amount about, having worked in this field for many years. I am always interested in new writing on the subject. A lot of books on the essential oils are pure tosh, cutting and pasting same old same old errors, but there really are also books which are well written, well researched, ground-breaking, presenting new information, educative, useful, practical and inspiring.

This is none of those desired attributes. Literally every page of this mercifully short book (70 pages) was awash with nonsense.

Just to share a few - the poorly researched inaccuracies, contradictions and plain bizarre and nonsensical, to start

First - use of aromatherapy for weight loss - clearly this is designed as an inaccurate selling point. Dear review reader, you really are not going to lose weight with essential oils. To be fair to Ms Jacobs she does in this section come vaguely clean and talk about how people may comfort eat in stress and the feel-good factor of aromatherapy is certainly de-stressing, but `using the power of essential oils for weight loss' is decidedly economical with the truth

I have no idea at all what the author means by saying `the best way to work with oils until they are in a pliable consistency is to heat them' Essential oils (as opposed to solvent extracted aromatic extracts in concrete form which are NOT essential oils) are LIQUID. They come in glass bottles with dripper inserts. Heat DAMAGES (degrades) essential oils

Her remark that you can test the purity of an essential oil by putting a drop on `construction paper' - does she mean a smell strip, a blotter? - and that if it `quickly evaporates and does not leave a residue or a noticeable blotch its content are (sic) pure' is plain daft. Some essential oils are dark in colour - and there will be a very obvious `blotch' by virtue of that. It is also absolutely possible for essential oils to be `cut' or adulterated with other essential oils or indeed with individual synthesised chemical constituents in order to produce an aromatic profile (for example to meet the needs of the perfume industry) `Lavender' might for example have additional linalyl acetate added to increase the fruity-floral ester note - `blotch' would however not be seen as this is not a coloured oil or compound.

She says `this test would not work with absolutes, like myrrh and patchouli' Myrrh and patchouli are most commonly available as essential oils, not absolutes.

When she moves on to giving `profiles' of carrier oils, what on EARTH does she mean in singling out (only) Apricot Kernel as having a 'Texture which is usually non-irritating' (?!) this implies that all the other oils, by default, must have an irritating texture. So what is this unusually irritating texture which, in her book, Apricot Kernel might have.

Has the author ever used essential oils, I wonder. If she has, how on EARTH could she possibly say essential oils, for topical use, should be mixed and diluted with `a carrier oil or WATER solution. Essential oils are primarily hydrophobic, and do not dissolve in water! Later she talks about adding up to 6 drops of essential oils in 2-3 teaspoons of carrier oil........or WATER (again) and gives instructions (dreadful) on how to massage `evenly all over the body' This again could be dangerously irritant both to the skin of the receiver and the giver, as the essential oil drops will not be dissolved in water but effectively applied neat to the skin of receiver and giver. She even continues her water idiocy in instructions for facial massage. Ouch.

Ms Jacobs purports to instruct her readers to be able to make 'essential oils right in your own home' - including, as a basic item, carrier oil. Now, anyone with ANY knowledge of the subject understands the definition of an essential oil, whether in the aromatherapy, herbal, perfumery or pharmaceutical field to be a liquid extracted by DISTILLATION or EXPRESSION from a single botanical species. Sorry to disappoint her readers who may believe they are now making essential oils from the method described in this book, but what you are making is an INFUSED oil. Infused oils are extremely useful, and it is these which the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were using (rather than the essential oils Ms Jacobs claims)- in fact, for the amateur, infused oils are a much safer option (particularly if they are taking their usage instructions from this book)

As for the 'single botanical species' stuff, the importance of botanicals never appears to cross Ms Jacobs' mind

Then we come to the really dangerous stuff - this book talks about ingesting essential oils. Sure, every time we chop ginger root, pick thyme and mint from our gardens we are ingesting essential oils - but there is a huge difference between the tiny amount of essential oil in a centimetre of ginger root and the concentrated result of distilling that root to produce the essential oil, each drop of which is highly concentrated.

She says that if the oils are to be ingested they should be take `in small drops mixed with another liquid such as water' DO NOT DO THIS. As mentioned earlier, essential oils do not dissolve in water, and depending on the oil used. tongue, oesophagus, throat could be burned.

What on earth is meant by the nonsensical, and possibly dangerous instruction for using essential oils in the bath `The dosage you should be looking for is up to ten drops or 2 teaspoons or oil directly into the warm bathwater' There are some very obvious unchecked typos here which COULD have someone believing they could put two teaspoons of essential oils into the bath - especially as the following paragraph in her text actually does say `the following oils should be kept to a maximum of only two teaspoons'...................various oilsmentioned, including clove. Clove bud essential oil is rich in a particular phenolic compound, eugenol, which is strongly irritant to the skin

Dear reader, I can assure you that if you put 2 teaspoons of clove oil, or ginger, or black pepper, or aniseed into the bath you will visit horrific burns upon yourself, especially to delicate areas of your body.

This book is not only nonsensical - but utterly dangerous,

I have given some (and there are many more) examples of `dangerous' Now we come to ultimate nonsense - half way through the book is one of those charts where `essential oils you can use to treat named conditions' are cited. I wonder just which plant yields essential oil of PanAway, which the author says is an essential oil which can be used for arthritis

Other non-existent essential oils are the `essential oils' (according to this section of Jacob's book) of Deep Relief, Aroma Siez, Melrose, Purification, Thieves, Raven, RC, Di-Gize, Peace & Calming, Dragon Time, Valor.......the lists go on.

According to Ms Jacobs' explanation at the start of her chart these are some of the 'more common essential oils' You would be hard pressed to manage to find a herbalist, aromatherapist or natural medicines practitioner who had ever heard of the essential oil of the Di-Gize, Dragon Time or Valor plant! Clearly, stuff has been unthinkingly cut and pasted from some company selling blended products with these names.

I am sorry to so savagely and unremittingly attack a piece of writing, but this is a completely irresponsible, ignorant of the subject, AND POTENTIALLY HARMFUL if the advice is followed, book.

I am not a writer of aromatherapy books myself, so, dear reader, this savagely critical review of the worst book about aromatherapy I have ever read, is not written with any agenda other than to stop you harming yourself.

I did some further research of my own, because of some growing suspicions I had around the citing of 'essential oils' of Di-Gize etc. Those suspicions were well founded, as they took me to the site of a particular purveyor of essential oils. The lead body for aromatherapy in the States, NAHA, National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists has long been cautioning against irresponsible use of oils, and there is specific mention of this company and its methods Go to NAHA's website, look at the explore aromatherapy button and the sub-menu Safety. There are equal concerns about this by the lead aromatherapy organisations in this country.

The essential oils CAN of course be used extremely well by people who want to help their health and well-being, who are not trained professionals, and there are many well written books out there which are helpful and accurate, giving clear guidelines and instructions. Educators and Practitioners in this country who have written interesting and useful books include the following: Books The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Ann Worwood The Essential Guide to Oils (Essential Guides)Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy I have chosen some books which are useful for lay people wishing to learn enough to treat themselves with the oils - SAFELY and PROPERLY

I was sent, unsolicited, a request to download this for free in return for 'an honest review'


The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains
The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fireside dark storytelling rendered even more magical, 15 July 2014
"I am old now, or at least, I am no longer young, and everything I see reminds me of something else I've seen, such that I see nothing for the first time. A bonny girl, her head fiery-red, reminds me only of another hundred such lasses, and their mothers, and what they were as they grew, and what they looked like when they died. It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things"

Fabulous weaver of weird and wonderful stories for adults and children Neil Gaiman wrote this short story/novella The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, which was published in a collection of creepy dark stories: Stories: All New Tales, by Headline, back in 2010.

Then this story by Gaiman developed another life, when he was invited to read his story aloud, and with projected artwork by Eddie Campbell, with a musical underscore by FourPlay String Quartet at the graphic Festival at Sydney Opera House.

Now Headline have reduced the experience back down to the individual reading experience - a book, a story on the page, that artwork, condensed into a wonderful weaving of seductive and dark words, sensuous and sometimes scary images, and the tactile experience of silky, glossy pages, hardcover, slightly textured titling. The book as craft, art, and beautiful object as well as wondrous words and a story like some well-honed myth, handed down through generations.

This is a journey through the Highlands, a journey made by two stern men, both with hidden secrets. The un-named narrator is a small fierce man. His companion, Calum MacInnes, is a tall, gaunt one. And there appears to be distrust of the other, from both sides, as they set out to find hidden gold which may be cursed

Artist Eddie Campbell's artworks are gorgeous, and varied in style, ranging from graphic, solid broad-brush stroked figures which are almost cartoon in simplicity, to some lovely part-shaded, part outline, suggestions of shapes, which appear to flicker out from misty, pastel backgrounds. I particularly like the fact that the textured background Campbell must originally have used is visible, a wash across all pages, so that the use of colour is subtle and varied.

This is really not a book to get on ereader - the subtlety of texture, the vibrancy of colour and shape need to be appreciated in the larger size of a book's pages.

I was extremely fortunate to be offered this by Headline, as a review copy.

My only regret is that I missed knowing about this book till a few days after Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell and Foursquare repeated the performed event of the story. Seeing these illustrations stage sized, having the author read his tale aloud and with the underscore, sitting rapt with others whilst this played out, must have been a magnificent occasion


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