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L. J. Purcell (London)

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I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet
I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet
by Kelly Kill Bensimon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I can make you hot - but I can't help with spelling, 4 Sep 2014
According to Russell Simmons, who wrote the foreword to this silly book, Ms Bensimon is 'constantly instilling strong principals,' in her two daughters. Does this mean that she continually sets her children up with older learned men, which is how Ms Bensimon rose to her HOT model status. (She married, bred with and divorced arch modelizer Gilles Bensimon, a mere 24 years her senior).

As a former editor, this book could have done with realising that 'principal' means head of a learning institution and 'principle' means strong ethical beliefs. Although if you have ever watched Kelly Bensimon being incoherent, narcissistic and out of touch with reality, she probably belongs in an institution, learned or otherwise.

Lakonia Luxurious Single Guest Divan Bed
Lakonia Luxurious Single Guest Divan Bed
Price: £165.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Held together with a staple gun, 4 May 2014
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For a start after sorting out a delivery date, I am phoned and told the van has broken down, and could they deliver on another day? Fine, so I wait in and get another phone call to say the van is outside. Only one man is delivering and the frame is heavy and awkward, impossible for one person to deal with. Luckily my partner is there to help him otherwise, it would be really difficult to get this frame into my house. 'What would you do if I wasn't here?' asks my partner. 'Leave it outside,' says the delivery man.

Get the bed frame and two mattresses inside. Discover that the frame is made of some cheap plywood stuff and the thin damask cover is literally stapled to it with the raw edges flapping about underneath. The bed is meant for my 10 year old daughter but there's no way it would last for more than a couple of years max. And if someone sits heavily on it, or (God forbid) bounces on the bed, it would break. I reckon the raw materials for this bed would not come to more than £50 but I paid £200 for it. Described as a 'luxurious' single guest bed? Do me a favour.

Oh and the letter accompanying this bed from Bed Express wants to check that I've had a good overall 'experiece' and offers their 'complimets'. I'm sending the bed back. Email the company and ask when they are going to collect it. 'They don't know but will phone me the day before.'

In the interests of fairness, the return policy is swift. I phoned on Tuesday 6 May to ask when they were coming to collect their rubbish bed and on Wednesday I received a phone call to say their man would be with me in half an hour. Brownie points for phoning. The guy who turned up was cheerful and friendly.

And Bed Express, if you ever read these reviews: Why do only send one man to deliver and pick up your often VERY HEAVY beds? Stupid question really - to save money. Not only are your beds shoddy, so are your cheapo employment policies.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2014 11:29 AM BST

New Ladies Plain Short Cap Sleeve Casual Long Top Womens Round Crew Stretch Fit Bodycon T-Shirt Dress
New Ladies Plain Short Cap Sleeve Casual Long Top Womens Round Crew Stretch Fit Bodycon T-Shirt Dress
Price: £4.96 - £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent wardrobe staple, 9 Jun 2013
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I'm tall and find it difficult to get good quality basics that don't ride up and leave my stomach on show. Ok in your twenties but not in your forties after two kids. But I don't want sensible 'frump' tops either. So these nicely fitted, stretchy tops or short dresses are perfect. Good colour - (I love burgandy) well fitted and I pop them on over jeans. They are not too tight but snug enough for you to layer them. The only reason I haven't given it a five out of five is I want to see how well they wash and generally last. I hope they do!

Instructions for Happiness and Success*: A step-by-step mind manual for creating the life you choose (*100% Guaranteed)
Instructions for Happiness and Success*: A step-by-step mind manual for creating the life you choose (*100% Guaranteed)
by Susie Pearl
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: £10.39

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another Insidious Manual of Mumbo Jumbo, 8 Mar 2013
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The excellent writer and deconstructionist of all things bull*** Barbara Ehrenreich, says in her book: Smile or Die - How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World, that the dark underbelly of the self-help boom is that if it doesn't work then you only have yourself to blame. Because you didn't believe enough or love enough or in Susie Pearl's case, 'let go of positive outcomes' enough (?)

Instructions for Happiness and Success looks so promising - all sunshine yellow cover and the word 'instructions' in the title, a promise of steps towards, order, things unfolding. In fact it's about the law of attraction, so you visualise what you want and the universe replies. Wow, so all those kids picking up used needles off Bolivian rubbish tips just haven't asked the universe nicely enough. Yes I get that being positive is better than constant negativity but however hard you visualise and at the same time 'let go of positive outcomes' (how?) or leave cash round the house to attract money, if there are no jobs in your field, or 20 people chasing 1 job, there's not a lot the universe can do. Oh and all those who are worrying about paying bills - you are going about it the wrong way guys. 'Looking at debts day in day out will keep you in a downbeat place financially. By allocating a specific time to deal with your bills you will be taking control of your focus and giving yourself the best chance to staying in a good healthy vibration with your money.'

The positive thinking industry is worth billions and plays insidiously on our fears that we somehow attract bad things into our lives. Lost your job? Nothing to do with capitalism or the fact that the CEO has decided that one person can do two or three people's jobs. No it's all down to YOUR ATTITUDE. It stops people thinking about collective action because they are too busy blaming themselves. Do yourselves a favour people. Save your money and go to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy instead.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2014 8:15 AM BST

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Eat Whinge Blub, 3 Oct 2011
Eat Pray Love is the monologue of a Neurotic American Princess ("Liz") in her mid thirties. The first few chapters background the rest of the book, a confessional that tells how she is miserable in her marriage because she can't find herself. Now if she were a man she might buy a motorbike, squeeze into tight jeans or start chasing his secretary, but because this is a woman having a spiritual and existential crisis, we're meant to take her woes very very seriously.

I'm not unsympathetic to the miseries of finding yourself in a relationship where outwardly everything is ok, but you feel like you're dying on the inside. I thought for a short time, that this book might be an up to date version of the Gloria Steinham 'problem that has no name'. You know - when a woman lies next to her husband and thinks, 'Is this it?' And yes, I'm sure that a lot of men feel the same way.

But this writer needs to work much harder at convincing us that it's not all a giant, indulgent hissy fit. As I mentioned, imagine if a man wrote a spiritual journey of discovering his inner teenager? He could call it Eat, Drink, Shag. A bit of wry introspection or robust humour wouldn't come amiss either. It's very hard to feel sorry for someone who has money and choices and can take a year off.

Naturally, our heroine resolves to leave her husband. Her husband isn't keen but no matter as she has already met a yoga teacher! I had a male yoga teacher once. They nearly always have ponytails. Not attractive. But Liz doesn't mind because he's deep innit?

But divorce negotiations do drag on, leaving Liz, once again, crying and wailing. And David gets fed up and leaves her. So she goes on a year's holiday to cheer herself up. Where she meets more deep people, falls in love and eats carbs.

Oh for God sake. There is a good book in here struggling to get out, but it's SO INDULGENT. And for all her 'finding hereself' Ms Gilbert is constantly defining herself through a man, or turning a man into a project. Of course it's a bestseller though because its soupy sentimentality and fuggy self-help speak, talks directly to the Oprah generation, who like their spiritual truths in bullet points.

Read Jane Bussman's The Worst Date Ever, instead. It's much funnier and far more moving.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary and deserves a wide readership, 2 Oct 2011
One of the many reasons to dislike the Catholic Church, apart from the obvious, is its romanticisation of poverty and suffering, particularly when it comes to the (mostly miserable) lives of its saints. This hideous dichotomy is made abundantly clear in Aileen La Tourette's wonderful account of the real life of one of its most famous saints, little Maria Goretti. There is a 'catholicisation' of Maria on the back cover, rosy cheeked, white skinned, a pretty scarf holding back the lush, curly hair. Poor and innocent but not in an ugly way. And on the front cover of the book is a photo of the real Maria Goretti, short, stunted with hunger and poverty, lice ridden hair, barefoot and loaded down with panniers. Like a child donkey.

A dead child donkey because before she reached her thirteenth birthday, a boy called Alessandro who was living with her family tried to rape her, and when she refused, he stabbed her over and over with a corn cutter. She was operated on without anaesthetic and died a few days later. Thirty five years after her death, the Pope needed a 'symbol' of purity to stop young Italian girls from falling into bed with the handsome American soldiers parading through the country. He chose the dead Maria, who suddenly became a symbol of holy purity, scrubbed up and sanctified in record time. But who was the real Maria?

It sounds grim but La Tourette digs through the saintly mumbo jumbo to find the real Maria Goretti, a hugely intelligent, pious and brave girl who is watching her mother from somewhere else, bemused and irritated at the way her real life has been twisted to suit the political machinations of the Catholic Church where it's better to be lying dead with multiple stab wounds than 'give in' to rape. We are taken through the her life and that of the boy Alessandro who after the murder, was 'encouraged' to say he had a 'vision' of Maria who forgave him, even though he saw no such thing. And despite the subject matter, the prose is so spare and lucid, that I read the book in one sitting.

Nexons Cassette Adaptor with Retractable Cable
Nexons Cassette Adaptor with Retractable Cable

1.0 out of 5 stars Great - if you want to listen to White Noise, 15 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I plugged it in carefully - made sure it was the right way up, plugged in my fully charged ipod and . . . .nothing. No wait - when I turned the sound RIGHT UP I could hear the song very very very faintly, over a thick layer of white noise.

Total and utter waste of money. And to get the box open - it's like trying to get into the Pentagon such is the amount of thick plastic to cut through so I can't even send it back.

Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Hardcover

50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A big fat crunchy knockout of a book, 4 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Wolf Hall (Hardcover)
Set during the 1520s to 1540s during Henry VIII's break with Rome, the story charts the rise of Thomas Cromwell, a clever, charismatic man from a terrible abusive childhood, who rises to a powerful position in Tudor politics. After the death of his beloved Wolsey, he becomes even closer to the King and tries to facilitate a divorce between Katharine of Aragon and Henry, so the King can marry Anne Boleyn and produce the longed for heir.

It's a big fat crunchy book, which amply demonstrates that people were completely different then, not just in the obvious way of dressing and living but how they thought. Many were prepared to endure a terrible death rather than betray their faith. In one telling scene, Cromwell deeply sympathises with a Lutheran scholar who has been sentenced to be burned at the stake, and he arranges for him to be transferred to another prison, bribing the guards and telling the prisoner 'it would be a terrible shame if you escaped as you could get across the river where you'd find a boat waiting for you'. But when the guards return, they find the prisoner standing calmly where he was left.

Two of the many things that stood out about this book. Firstly Thomas More does not come across as the gentle humanist of Robert Bolt's A Man for all Seasons. Instead he is a repellent torturer who is secretly in love with his own daughter Margaret and treats his wife with utter contempt. His famous speech: 'I do none harm, I think none harm. If this be not enough to keep a man alive . . ' is met with an aghast 'You DO none harm?' by Cromwell who has witnessed the sadistic pleasure More takes in torturing anyone who does not share his religious beliefs. Secondly, Henry VIII is not the obese buffoon of recent imaginings but instead, a thoughtful, deeply religious man, who Cromwell admires. The sheer fascination of Anne for Henry is deeply believable too - it was never just a matter of her refusing to sleep with him.

The only reason I didn't give the book a five out of five is it's slightly abrupt ending as More goes headlong towards his martyrdom. Anne has just given birth to Elizabeth but her swift decline from total power to being at the centre of a pornographic court plot which lead to her unjust trial and execution, has not yet begun. I feel almost certain a sequel is in the offing. I hope so. This was a meticulously researched and beautifully written book which made me realise how historical reputations can be built up (as with Thomas More) with no justification, or unfairly maligned (as with Cromwell himself)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2010 1:07 PM BST

Words Can Describe
Words Can Describe
by Abi Grant
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning book. Read it., 1 Aug 2009
This review is from: Words Can Describe (Paperback)
Reviewers will often try to categorise books. There are self-help books, memoirs, horror stories, autobiography. This extraordinary book is all the above but to describe it as an amalgamation is wrong because over and above categorisation, it is simply, purely brilliant. And as books are categorised, so unfortunately Abi Grant must be sick and tired of being described as `brave.' But she is, and phenomenally so. Sixteen years ago, a successful writer, she woke in her own bedroom to a nightmare scenario. A man named Greig Strachan followed her home, climbed in a window and attacked her, intent on rape. With jaw dropping courage she fought him off, and then ran to the upstairs flat, face streaming with blood. But he was then unknown to the police, so after weeks of investigation, the case faded, while Abi's own life began to fall apart. And then fifteen years later, just as she was starting to get her life together again, the single fingerprint found in her flat was matched and the now cold case reopened.

I was totally gripped by this book. Although having every reason to, Abi writes without a shred of self-pity. Instead her prose is sharp, elegant and occasionally had me snorting with shocked laughter. At the police station in a state of shock she says: `It was when he started strangling me that I realised it wasn't a social call'. Swept along by her powerful voice, you will cheer for her. There is also a section at the end offering wise and pithy advice for anyone who has been attacked and has to negotiate the minefield of the legal system. An absolute must read for anyone who has been affected by rape or sexual assault, and considering the wretched rape conviction rate in the UK, there will be many.

A stunning book. Read it.

What Every Man Should Know About Being a Dad (Parent and Child)
What Every Man Should Know About Being a Dad (Parent and Child)
by David Cohen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely book, full of wit and wisdom, 21 July 2009
Back in the 1980s, David Cohen wrote a piece in The Observer suggesting that fathers could and should take a more active role in the care of their children. Katherine Whitehorn (surpisingly) objected to this heretical notion arguing that it might reduce the only area of power in which women traditionally held domain. A strangely and self-defeating attitude from a working mother - that women should hold on to their 'mummy martyr' crown at all costs in case dad steps in and shows himself to be - what? Good at being a dad? Who does this serve except the pernicious myth that parenting is a mysterious gift bestowed only on the female sex, instead of the truth, which is that men can be equally good at parenting, given half a chance.

It's all changed now, and being a dad in the 21st century is about far more than providing a paycheck and being a distant disciplinarian. Dads today are told to be emotionally involved. The trouble is, as David Cohen points out, that most men find the prospect of fatherhood far more daunting than they would care to admit. And there is a woeful lack of proper, accessible information available for dads. Either it's all laddish anecdotes, or er . . that's it really. But Cohen a psychologist, writer, film maker, father and step-dad covers the areas that dads really need to know about, in a friendly and anecdotal way - history of fathering, fears of the new father, pregnancy, child development, the step family, sex after babies, how to be a weekend dad, right up to the moment when the child leaves home (usually about 38 given the current economic climate). Written with warmth, humour and authority, Cohen wears his psychological authority lightly and writes with passion and good humour.

That article in the Observer proved that Cohen was ahead of his time in terms of the importance of the fathering, but here in the 21st century with partners and children demanding so much more of fathers he is right in step.

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