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Peppermint Patty "monabee" (England)

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The Towers of Trebizond (Flamingo)
The Towers of Trebizond (Flamingo)
by Rose Macaulay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to love this book. But., 28 July 2016
I read this book on the strength of its opening line, which is truly fabulous, and I wanted to love everything that follows but this book did nothing for me. The narrative never 'caught' for me and I was never fully engaged by any of the characters. I was not brought up under the shadow of religion, so I'm afraid that all the religious detail (which underpins the story) was lost on me and I did not care enough about what was going on to do any background research. I felt that to be truly tickled by the cunning humour of this book, some knowledge of Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism is needed, although I know that there are reviewers that disagree with this. I also found the writing rather heavy to read, without the lightness of touch of, say, Nancy Mitford, Stella Gibbons or Dodie Smith. This is clearly a book that is much loved and admired by many. I did find much to admire in it (there is a lot of wit and superlative descriptive passages), but sadly nothing to love.

The Travel Combo Mat (Aegean Grey)
The Travel Combo Mat (Aegean Grey)

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, high-quality travel mat, 18 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I recently bought the Sunset print of this mat. It no longer seems to be available, so I'm even more happy that I got mine when I did as it was that particular design that sold me. I wasn't disappointed; the image is beautiful and not at all cheap-looking. I love the feel and length of this mat. During slower (non-sweaty) flows I sometimes have to stop to re-spray for grip; this doesn't bother me at all but I mention it as it may drive others crazy. At the moment I have been using it at home, on top of my regular mat, and I am looking forward to folding it up and taking it away with me somewhere. Like other reviewers, I don't think it will be quite thick enough on a hard floor for some positions but that is the payoff for a 'travel' mat versus a regular one. I find it to be extremely comfortable for meditation and savasana.

Tracy Anderson Method [DVD]
Tracy Anderson Method [DVD]
Price: £14.97

210 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, available for purchase in the UK!, 9 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Tracy Anderson Method [DVD] (DVD)
It's about time Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout became available over here, as it was designed to be used in tandem with her dance cardio workout. But for those people who really couldn't get on with her cardio method (although I am a huge fan), don't be put off from trying this workout if you're looking to inject some variety into your standard non-aerobic routines.

This workout is excellent: Anderson uses exercises and movements that have traditionally not been used in standard workouts. Forget lunges, squats and push-ups--you won't see them here. Instead you use very precise movements which are almost like a fusion of ballet, Pilates and Callanetics (for those who remember Callan Pinkney from the 80's and early 90's!). It is intensive and challenging but I find it very relaxing to do at the same time because you're not throwing yourself around. And unlike the cardio routine, you only need a minimum amount of room. It does take some getting used to, and Anderson doesn't score that highly on the instructional and even repetition of exercises on both sides of the body, but if you're sensible and used to working out, you really can 'modulate' the workout to work for you. And the arm section is incredible: I have never done an arm workout like it. This section--with and without weights--is worth the cost of the DVD alone. And the bottom line is that if you're willing to give time to it, and its upkeep, this routine works. Or at least, it works for me. After reaching a kind of stasis over the last couple of years, even exercising vigorously three times a week, I had half-resigned myself to living with a figure I wasn't too comfy with. Anderson's DVD's (I own both her cardio DVD's and this and her post-pregnancy DVD) have completely revitalised my workouts and my body shape. I can finally get back into clothes that have been too tight for three years (and more), and the feeling is incredible. I finally feel as though I own my body again. And that, surely, is the whole point of a truly successful workout.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2010 8:52 AM BST

Madonna & Gwyneth's Personal Trainer - The Tracy Anderson Method Dance Cardio Workout [DVD]
Madonna & Gwyneth's Personal Trainer - The Tracy Anderson Method Dance Cardio Workout [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tracy Anderson Method
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.78

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A workout that really works, 28 Jun. 2009
I agree with all the reviews that criticize Tracy's instructional technique, but this is definitely a workout that yields results--although it requires persistence and patience. But when have quick fixes ever produced long-lasting results?

The workouts I use are Cindy Crawford's and Elle McPherson's routines; all brilliant, but only Elle's contains some cardio work, and I wanted to add something on that would really make me feel I've exercised. I cannot bear the usual military-style cardio workouts, with jumping jack after jumping jack, grapevine after grapevine, punching the air shouting one! two! three! four! And I really don't like my DVD instructors yelling at me, pretending that they're my personal trainer.

When I first got this workout, I thought: I'm never going to be able to do this. I am NOT a dancer and have never taken dance classes. The method I used was to simply follow one instructional at a time after completing a workout, moving on to the next instructional after mastering the last one. I knew that I would lose heart if I just tried to learn the whole thing in one go. The feeling that comes when each routine finally clicks into place is amazing. I have now mastered the first 6 routines (out of 8). I have been doing the first 4 routines at the end of my workout to give myself a really good 20 to 30 minute cardio session. Once I've mastered the last two routines, I intend to rotate them as two 20 to 30 minute cardio sessions.

Like the previous reviewer, I recommend following the instructional segments from behind as it's far less confusing. And as I am nowhere at Tracy's fitness levels or speed, I don't follow the DVD; I simply plug in my ipod and move at my own pace, which means that although I am going a lot more slowly, I am executing all the moves thoroughly. I find this way of doing cardio so much more enjoyable than the mindless foot stomping that's usually involved.

I purchased her mat workout as well, and I have been doing it in conjunction with this DVD for four weeks now: I can now fit into clothes that I haven't been able to wear in over TWO YEARS. And that is without dieting. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Tracy's teaching method, the fact is that if you know how to exercise, and if you're careful and aware of your own body's limits, then her form of exercise really does deliver results. I have since bought her original dance cardio workout to give me some more routines to eventually master, and I have also ordered her post-pregnancy workout via her website--this is meant to be even tougher than her already-effective mat routine.

I will still stick to my Cindy and Elle workouts as I love them and I have learned that it's important to rotate any workout; and I will definitely be adding Tracy to this rota. Her exercises really seem to kick-start the body into getting itself into shape.

The Beginner's Guide to Writing A Novel: 4th edition
The Beginner's Guide to Writing A Novel: 4th edition
by Marina Oliver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, but not the best of the rest, 14 Nov. 2007
Whilst this guide to writing *is* helpful and clearly laid out, it isn't particularly inspiring. Books on the same subject by other writers, such as Rosemary Aitken and Marge Piercy, are much stronger on the motivational front, and much more effective (I think) in giving one the confidence to pick up a pen.

Oliver might have written a beginner's guide, but there is almost no advice regarding the difficulty of writing at all; I'm not certain how a would-be writer's ambition could possibly be strengthened by Oliver's suggestion that writer's block could simply be down to "laziness", before stating that "many professionals say writer's block doesn't exist."

There are passages in here which are also downright strange. She tells the student to build up character profiles, including background events, such as "a childhood illness or accident...or their beliefs and attitudes" before making the pointless comment that "In films continuity staff do this." As someone who does work in the film industry, I can tell you that continuity staff do *not* do this. And why bother making this point at all?

In another section dealing with grammar and punctuation, Oliver tells us that some teachers insist that grammar is of no importance, that it is the imagination which is everything, and that these teachers have "missed the point". I'm not sure what teachers she's referring to. I certainly never had any teachers who encouraged me to sacrifice correct grammar, punctuation and spelling at the altar of my imagination.

Although the layout is uncomplicated, I did find it a bit odd (like the sequences above). One chapter, for example, combines the rules for manuscript layout with advice on vocabulary and dialogue; another chapter incorporates the problem of finding a title for your novel with the question of narrative viewpoints. There doesn't seem to be any logical segueway in the chapters.

If I appear overly-negative, it's only because I feel that I have been lucky enough to read books that are so much better, much more actively encouraging, and genuinely inspiring. Oliver's book just felt rather flat to me, full of pointers, some of which were helpful, and some which were mystifying ("Don't let a pregnancy continue for two years"). I read this book to give myself a kind of refresher course, really; and in that sense, it succeeds. But I wouldn't use it as a practical day-to-day workbook.

Writing a Novel: A Practical Guide
Writing a Novel: A Practical Guide
by Rosemary Aitken
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Precise, and Practical, 23 May 2007
I am still working my way through this book, but am finding it extremely useful. Don't be put off by the rather staid and methodical layout: this is a book that has been carefully put together as a no-nonsense practical guide. Having only ever read books by writers like Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg, who concentrate more on 'How to free your inner writer', I wanted something that was more of a workbook and a study guide. This book delivers exactly what the title promises, and from a successful, established novelist to boot. Aitken covers all the basics - characters, plotting, themes, dialogue, tenses - using a combination of advice, technical notes, and deceptively challenging 'Try It And See' exercises. Most important of all, Aitken gives you no rules; rather, this is a solid foundation that explains exactly what a novel should do and how it gets there, brick by brick, touching on all genres and a wide variety of methods. The premise of Aitken's book is this: that once you thoroughly understand the building blocks and how to use them efficiently alongside your imagination, you will be able to give yourself the freedom to write fluently and (hopefully!) well.

Highly recommended.

Walk on the Moon [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Walk on the Moon [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by Moref Designs
Price: £7.69

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rites of passage story - for a mother and a daughter, 7 Feb. 2004
Set in the summer of '69, coinciding with Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, this delicate and moving film centres around Pearl (Diane Lane), who heads off on the regular family holiday with her two children, leaving behind her loving husband Marty (Liev Schreiber), who cannot escape his work commitments and must follow later. Content, but emotionally trapped and suffocated by an early marriage as well as the middle-class restraints of the era, she is seduced by a wandering salesman (Viggo Mortensen) and the physical and emotional freedom his lifestyle offers. Through him she manages, fleetingly, to live a life dreamt of but never lived. But real life is not a dream, and infinitely more complex.
The story is simple, and one that has been told many times, exploring a stultifying and ordinary life which is rendered extraordinary by the entrance of a mysterious and charismatic stranger. What makes this film special is the attention paid to characterisation. All the performances are superb, imbued with a wistful melancholy and a sharp humour culled from a sympathetic script and sensitive direction. Anna Paquin is uncomfortably believable as Lane's troubled and troublesome daughter Alison struggling her way through adolescence. The one slightly hackneyed aspect is Marty's mother, who accompanies them on holiday. Although Tovah Feldshuh is a powerful actress, the character as written is a borderline stereotype of the all-knowing, all-seeing, hard-working Jewish mother. What is most impressive, however, is the way the film succeeds in eliciting sympathy for all its characters. Pearl's emotional confusion rings real and true. Mortensen's contribution is like the cherry on top of the icing on the cake. Handsome, cool and mysterious, he is the perfect fantasy made flesh. Yet by the end of the film, sincere in his affection for Pearl, he becomes more than a mere symptom or symbol. But it is Liev Schreiber's performance that is the real tour-de-force here; as the cuckolded husband determined to support and protect those he loves, he is portrayed so sympathetically and so tenderly that his presence not only underscores the entire film, but somehow manages to make Pearl's plight even more heartfelt.
This film certainly deserved more of an outing than a trip into local video stores, and I for one wish it were also available on Region 2 DVD. It's a film to re-watch and enjoy during quiet and pensive moments.

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