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E. M. Jones (Somerset, UK)

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Potty Training Girls
Potty Training Girls
by Dr Caroline Fertleman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, flexible and successful!, 9 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Potty Training Girls (Paperback)
I bought this book as my daughter was nearing her third birthday and showing no real interest in potty training. However, I began to realise it was perhaps my lack of knowledge of the whole subject that was holding her back. I didn't really know how to go about it and decided I needed a book - this was the first I came across.

My husband and I both care for my daughter part time (he does more during the working week) so we needed an approach we could both use and that we could fit around caring for our one-year-old son and also running two freelance businesses. This book sounded perfect, with its relaxed and flexible approach - and it was.

It answers all sorts of questions that might crop up - how to deal with going out (once you get to that stage), night training (not tried that part yet) and is a very quick read, which was essential. As soon as I'd read it I understood where I had been lacking (it sounds daft, but I hadn't really thought about what 'training' actually meant, expecting her to just magically pick up the process, as books not written specifically on this subject seem to suggest will happen).

It took between two and three weeks for her to become completely confident without a nappy during the day, including going out and about and short trips in the car. It's revolutionised all our lives! I expect we all would have got there in the end without this book, but it made the whole process so calm, easy and non-intimidating. I would recommend it to anyone and will definitely be reading the boys' version when the time comes!

The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days
The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days
by Tarek Malouf
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looks delicious, tastes almost as good, 8 May 2011
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I bought this book after getting into cake making in a big way... I'm interested in experimenting with all kinds of cakes and had recently bought 'British Baking' by Peyton and Byrne so was keen to compare it with a more American approach. Also this book just looked so good I had to try it. It can't be faulted on presentation. It looks beautiful and as you flick through it makes you want to try and cook everything in it (mind you I do fear for my waistline if I do). I've tried a few recipes so far and have had varying degrees of success. To be honest I just don't get 'red velvet cupcakes' (supposedly a best-seller in the shops) - they turned out just as in the photo but I wasn't sure about the taste. However, this might be my British palate rebelling at the idea of putting a whole bottle of red food colouring into a recipe... I just wasn't brought up that way. On the other hand, 'black and white cheesecake squares' were truly ecstatic (if potentially deadly). I can't wait to try more and would definitely recommend this book to cake enthusiasts.

So You Think You Know About Britain?
So You Think You Know About Britain?
by Professor Danny Dorling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading!, 3 May 2011
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I devoured this book in a few days; I found it pretty unputdownable. This might seem strange for a book which other reviewers have dismissed as a bunch of statistics. However, the statistics (and yes, there are quite a lot) are not simply there for the fun of it, but instead come together to put forward a compelling and at times impassioned argument for how we can at least start to think about how British society works, how it fails, and how it could be changed for the better. There's a lot in here that I personally liked from a socialist/left wing point of view - I can see that many (sadly) might find it too radical or difficult to swallow in that respect. But somebody needs to be saying these things: a fairer society would clearly benefit everyone. Thank you to the author for saying it so eloquently, and backed up by such wide-ranging research.

Whatever your political viewpoint or sympathies, this is worth reading if only for the way it questions received opinion on the important issues that face this country (and others). Things are not always what you think they are or what the media want you to think they are. As the book says in its conclusion, 'For this country to be changed for the better, we must all get to know it better.' I think reading this book is a great place to start.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2011 12:31 PM GMT

The First to Know: How Hipsters and Mavericks Shape the Zeitgeist
The First to Know: How Hipsters and Mavericks Shape the Zeitgeist
by Lida Hujic
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant and enlightening, 14 Feb. 2011
This is a huge book - not just in terms of size (it's long and extraordinarily detailed throughout) but also in terms of ambition. It's about subjects that will interest many people (perhaps we all find the idea of being cool, at the cutting edge, and in the know intriguing to some extent, even if we don't live that way ourselves). Its narrative spans two decades (the 1990s and the noughties) and includes personal anecdotes from MTV parties, to Bosnia, to exclusive club nights in Shoreditch which contextualise the author's main argument (well-researched and thoroughly referenced throughout) tracing the trajectory of 'cool' and 'hip' - from their underground starting points to going mainstream and eventually selling out. It explains how trends rise, spread and fall in a repeating, cyclical fashion.

If you enjoyed The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, then this book draws on some of the ideas expressed there, but expands on them, putting forward the argument that at this point in the history of hip, parents are now cooler than their children - which challenges popular belief and probably quite a lot of marketers' preconceptions, too. This idea is returned to throughout the book and develops as a central theme.

The thing I really enjoyed about this book was that it was so hard to categorise. Unlike most books that get published, it's more than one thing, defiantly so, and therefore quite hard to pin down. It doesn't patronise the reader. It's personal, yes, but it's also academic and analytical. It's part historical (and contemporary) account, but it's also an impassioned appeal against the culture of homogenisation that threatens to engulf our creative industries.

Most of all, I'd recommend it as a good read. It's engagingly written and if you've got any interest in popular culture there'll be something (or someone) in there for you. It'll also get you thinking about where creative innovation really comes from (and it's perhaps not always where the media lead us to believe it comes from)... And where it might pop up next.

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