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S Riaz "S Riaz" (England)
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Eggs or Anarchy: The remarkable story of the man tasked with the impossible: to feed a nation at war
Eggs or Anarchy: The remarkable story of the man tasked with the impossible: to feed a nation at war
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eggs or Anarchy, 25 May 2017
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In 1939, when war was declared, the United Kingdom imported much of the food it consumed. With ships being needed to transport troops, trade routes dangerous and most of the adult population engaged in war work, it was imperative that someone was in charge of the seemingly impossible task of feeding a nation at war. With forty one million people in Britain, and Northern Ireland, and five hundred and thirty two million in the British Empire, someone had to oversee the purchase, and importation of food, the fair distribution of what was available, increase home grown produce and oversee rationing. On the 3rd April, 1940, seven months into WWII, Fred Marquis, Lord Woolton, was made Minister of Food – his job to feed Britain and her colonies.

Even in the first day, it became clear that Woolton had a hard task on his hand. A man who came from business, he was expected to be a figurehead by his second in command, Sir Henry French, at the Ministry of Foods. With virtually no knowledge of his task, he was duly told he had to give a speech the next day – then handed the speech he had to give. Throwing himself into his job, he refused to parrot the speech written for him. Not for him, the Civil Service ideology, that the officials decided the policies and he just presented and explained them. He wrote, and made, his own speech - ruffling feathers immediately - and then set about his task.

Lord Woolton was a stickler for detail and accuracy, a hard worker, who came from a working class background, with an adoring mother and a happy marriage. He was straight talking; in the early years of the war he offended American visitors, and ministers, alike – as well as having a difficult relationship with Churchill, who fought hard against his attempts to reduce rations. In a way, though, Churchill put checks and balances on Woolton. Woolton was a man who disliked over-eating, who thought people should eat frugally and healthily (indeed the war improved most working class diets and he was passionate about helping improve the nutrition of pregnant women and children in particular), while Churchill moaned and groaned over any attempt to limit foodstuffs.

This is an interesting account of the Ministry of Foods in wartime and of Woolton’s attempts to create a fair system of feeding not only the country, but everyone he was responsible for. He was a man who fought the system to argue that the Home Front was as important as the war overseas and, although there were issues with the Black Market, and distribution, nobody in the country starved – even though rationing continued for many years after the war. Indeed, at one point, Woolton is even suggested as a man who should replace Churchill, when the war was going badly and the Prime Minister not in favour. The book is a little unstructured, but it is a fascinating account of how the war was fought at home, as well as overseas.


Winnie and Wilbur: Broomstick Alert and other stories: 3 books in 1
Winnie and Wilbur: Broomstick Alert and other stories: 3 books in 1
by Laura Owen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winnie and Wilbur: Broomstick Alert and other Stories, 25 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book includes twelve Winnie and Wilbur adventures, which were previously published in the following books – “Whizz Bang Winnie, “ “Winnie Says Cheese,” and “Mini Winnie.” It is worth bearing in mind that, should you already have those books, these will repeat stories. However, if not, this is a bumper collection of 285 pages, lots of quirky black and white illustrations and is ideal for independent reading or as bedtime stories.

Stories included are: Hot Cross Winnie, Winnie Gets Cracking, Broomstick Alert, Whizz-Bang Winnie, Winnie and the Toof Fairy, Itchy Witchy, Winnie’s One-Witch Band, Winnie Says Cheese, Winnie’s Awful Auntie, Winnie Goes Cleaning, Winnie and the Ghost in the Post, Mini Winnie and Finally – some jokes. My daughter has always loved Winnie the Witch and her cat Wilbur and she loved this book. Good value and a fun collection of stories.


Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life
Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life
by Mandie Holgate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fight the Fear, 25 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Subtitled, “How to beat your negative mindset and win in life,” this is a fairly short and easy to read self help book. However, although slim, it contains a lot of information and has lots of strategies and tools to help you deal with situations you are uncomfortable with – whether speaking in public, asking for help, phoning people, setting goals or even taking time out.

Although the advice can be applied to so many life situations, I do feel it is more geared towards work and business. It is about looking for success, dealing with things that are holding you back and how to overcome these problems. Each chapter has sections which look at the fear (i.e. public speaking), examples and exercises, actions and results. So, if you have a particular issue, you can locate that and go straight to that chapter. Lots of this book really resonated with me and issues I have seen in my own workplace – such as hiding behind emails, rather than actually speaking to someone. In other words, it is practical and very useful.

If you are facing issues and feel you need some strategies to overcome it, this is a very useful book. It is also very readable and has lots of strategies that you can put into place. It is not so long that you feel bogged down and is well laid out, so you can negotiate it easily. Overall, I am happy to recommend it and feel it is a useful and interesting book.


Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkimmando of Auschwitz
Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkimmando of Auschwitz
by Shlomo Venezia
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Gas Chambers, 24 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book contains a very important series of interviews with Shlomo Venezia, who was deported, with his family, from Greece and sent to Auschwitz. Shlomo Venezia’s family were originally of Spanish origin. When Jewish citizens were expelled from Spain in 1492, his descendents arrived in Greece, via Italy. His Italian citizenship was important as he was fairly safe while Italians were in Greece – he was, as he says, an Italian ‘above a Jew.’ However, once the Germans arrived in Greece, at the end of 1942, the deportations began.

Shlomo had a hard life even before the war began. His father died when he was young and he had to leave school at twelve to do almost any job he could to make money for his mother and siblings. Indeed, the war really started for him with the Italian invasion of Albania – until then, he and his neighbours had felt distanced from world events. However, once he arrived in Auschwitz, he quickly learnt what his new reality was. Jumping from the high train, he turned to wait to help his mother and sisters down, only to be beaten and separated from them. He never saw his mother, or his young sisters, again.

One of the reasons why this testimony is so important, is that Shlomo worked in the Sonderkommando – isolated from the other prisoners and responsible for working in the Crematorium itself. He is open and honest about his feelings of complicity; even though he obviously had no choice. He felt sullied by death and was intimately involved in the mechanism of death. He had to cut off the hair of female victims. He had to unload those who arrived on trains who were unable to walk to their own death – the elderly, the sick, the handicapped. He was approached by those asking, so poignantly, whether their death would hurt or how long it would take. He became aware that those who arrived from the ghettos, where Jewish people were imprisoned, were far more aware of what would happen than others. One time he even had to witness his father’s cousin enter the gas chamber…

Like so many books about the holocaust, this is a moving memoir and an important testimony. With those who were there – who witnessed these events first hand – growing older, we need to hear their words from themselves. Shlomo Venezia was extremely brave, and honest, in these interviews and they are extremely moving to read.


Pentel P200 Automatic Pencil, 0.5 mm - Black
Pentel P200 Automatic Pencil, 0.5 mm - Black
Price: £4.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentel Automatic Pencil, 24 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Pentel P200 series mechanical pencil has a 0.5mm tip and comes complete with 6 refill leads. This works like all mechanical pencils – you press the tip down to push down the cap so, as you write and wear down the lead of the pencil, you just release more. On the cap that you press, you can remove the metal cap to reveal an eraser. It also has a pocket clip and is shaped like a pen, so you have a grooved finger grip.

This is very much a professional mechanical pencil. It is ideal for precision and accuracy – designed for drawing, drafting or writing. Useful for anyone who wants a pencil for accurate work and very comfortable to hold.


Design Toscano Stacked Turtles Spatter Piped Statue
Design Toscano Stacked Turtles Spatter Piped Statue
Price: £19.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Design Toscano Stacked Turtles Spatter Piped Garden Statue, 24 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a fairly heavy garden statue, which has the ability to either stand alone (the base has four non slip pads at the bottom) or to act as a water feature. There is a small pipe at the bottom, which can attach to a water feature, allowing the turtle at the top to act as a fountain.

I have a small water feature in my garden and I swopped the top of this with this statue, which was extremely easy to fit and worked well. The statue is in the style of a stone, on which three turtles sit – one on top of the other. The colours are dark green and stone grey, with good detailing on the turtles shells and limbs.

This has become a real favourite with my daughter and young niece and nephew, who really like the three, clambering turtles and have given them names. I personally think this is a well made, sturdy and attractive fountain feature, which will also look nice as a garden ornament. Also, it is quite safe – there are no sharp pieces or jagged edges for little hands to hurt themselves on.


10-Minute Tests for 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning: 3D and Spatial Ages 10-11 (Book 2) - CEM Test
10-Minute Tests for 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning: 3D and Spatial Ages 10-11 (Book 2) - CEM Test
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10-Minute Tests for 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning, 23 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a CGP workbook for Non-Verbal Reasoning: 3D and Spatial Ten Minute Tests (Book 2) for the CEM (Durham University) test for the 11+. It is aimed at ages 10-11 and contains 31 ten minute tests, plus 10 pages of puzzles. The idea behind the CEM tests is that are supposed to be ‘tutor proof’ and so these tests ask questions such as: ‘Work out which of the 3D shapes can be made from the net,’ ‘Work out which option is the 3D figure viewed from the left,’ ‘Which of the four cubes can be made from the net,’ ‘Work out which option shows the figure on the left when folded along the dotted line.’ There are lots of questions involving 3D shapes, rotation, nets, etc. These are actually very difficult indeed and lots of practice is necessary to see what the question is asking and how best to approach it. It might be best to get some blocks, or paper, at first, and demonstrate in real terms, before expecting children to be able to tackle such abstract questions on paper.

Whether the CEM actually achieves its objectives is debatable – a 2014 study of Buckinghamshire schools, which brought in the CEM test in selective schools to try to address the perceived imbalance , found they have actually seen a drop in the number of state school children passing the 11+ compared to private school pupils. Obviously, that is one study and it is still fairly new compared to the previously widely used GL assessment tests, but the introduction of the CEM has caused a lot of parental panic – not least as Durham University do not sell past papers.

However, many publishers have now produced CEM workbooks, based on the type of questions children have reported answering in the tests. If your child is taking the 11+ then check with the schools you are interested in, whether they will taking the CEM test first. If so, then this will give a lot of worthwhile practice. Answers are included at the back of the book (they can be neatly pulled out) and there is also a useful progress chart. Well designed, with useful ‘bite size’ ten minute tests, this is an excellent workbook and is very well laid out.


10-Minute Tests for 11+ Verbal Reasoning Ages 10-11 (Book 2) - CEM Test
10-Minute Tests for 11+ Verbal Reasoning Ages 10-11 (Book 2) - CEM Test
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10-Minute Tests for 11+ Verbal Reasoning, 23 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a CGP workbook for Verbal Reasoning: Ten Minute Tests (Book 2) for the CEM (Durham University) test for the 11+. It is aimed at ages 10-11 and contains 32 ten minute tests, plus 6 pages of puzzles. The idea behind the CEM tests is that are supposed to be ‘tutor proof’ and so these questions rely on comprehension, vocabulary, synonyms, etc. Tests include short comprehension passages, choosing the correct words to complete a passage, opposite words, rearranging the words in a sentence and other such questions that involve children understanding meaning and context.

Whether the CEM actually achieves its objectives is debatable – a 2014 study of Buckinghamshire schools, which brought in the CEM test in selective schools to try to address the perceived imbalance , found they have actually seen a drop in the number of state school children passing the 11+ compared to private school pupils. Obviously, that is one study and it is still fairly new compared to the previously widely used GL assessment tests, but the introduction of the CEM has caused a lot of parental panic – not least as Durham University do not sell past papers.

However, many publishers have now produced CEM workbooks, based on the type of questions children have reported answering in the tests. If your child is taking the 11+ then check with the schools you are interested in, whether they will taking the CEM test first. If so, then this will give a lot of worthwhile practice. Answers are included at the back of the book (they can be neatly pulled out) and there is also a useful progress chart. Well designed, with useful ‘bite size’ ten minute tests, this is an excellent workbook and is very well laid out.


Fundamentals of Care: A Textbook for Health and Social Care Assistants
Fundamentals of Care: A Textbook for Health and Social Care Assistants
by Ian Peate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentals of Care, 23 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The College I work in offers courses in Health and Social Care and so I was interested to look at this textbook. I would say this is a good, introductory textbook for health care assistants, social care support workers and assistant practitioners . It is designed mostly for those taking the newly introduced mandatory Care Certificate, although, obviously, it is not just for students and is useful for anyone with an interest in the area.

The book has eighteen chapters: Health and social care provision in the UK, Working with others, teamwork, understanding your role, Your personal development, Duty of care, Equality and diversity, Working in a person-centred way, Communication, Privacy and dignity, Fluids and nutrition, Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability, Safeguarding adults, Safeguarding children, Basic life support, Health and safety, Handling information, Infection prevention and control and Questions you always wanted to ask. This is well laid out, very clear, with practical guidance on issues that those working in the area might come across and suggestions of how to improve as a carer and become more confident, as well as career suggestions. Overall, a very useful book.


The Ice
The Ice
by Laline Paull
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ice, 22 May 2017
This review is from: The Ice (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This novel is set in the near future, with a strong environmental message. The crux of the story is the relationship between Sean Cawson, an ambitious businessman who has risen from nothing to become a success under his mentor, Joe Kingsmith, and his old friend, the environmentalist, Tom Harding. The novel begins with a cruise to look for polar bears; the passengers wealthy and disappointed by the lack of sightings. In order to try to locate a bear for the high-paying passengers, the ship goes closer to shore and the passengers spy a body, washed out of the Midgard glacier. The body is that of Tom Harding, who died after he and Sean were trapped in an ice cave some years before.

The novel then goes back and forth in time – with the present storyline looking at the inquest, examining how and why Tom died – and the back story involving an investment into the exclusive Midgard Lodge, purchased by Sean, Joe Kingsmith, Sean’s then mistress, Martine, an investor with the fantastic name of Radiance Young, and Tom. . Sean involved Tom as his interest in protecting the Arctic was seen as a way of placating the sellers of the environmentally vulnerable location. There are also personal problems, as Sean’s marriage breaks down and he becomes estranged from his daughter, Rosie.

Although I enjoyed this book, I did feel that it became bogged down in parts. From the very beginning, we feel that Sean is a very conflicted, and tortured, character. He is enticed and swayed into doing things he is not comfortable with in the pursuit of profit and the promise of an appearance in the Honour’s list. However, he also became friends with Tom through a shared obsession with the Arctic – ‘the last frontier the world had to offer, before space.’ He had to combine this love of the place with the fact that he wanted to make money through Midgard Lodge, a luxury retreat for those who valued discretion. With guests including businessmen, politicians and others with things to hide, this obviously involved turning a blind eye to bringing unethical people together at times.

Sean is obviously also unsatisfied in his relationship with Martine. He is unwilling to fully commit himself and still hankers after his old life and the marriage to Gail, which he left behind. However, frankly, his constant guilt and the fact that virtually everyone seems to think he is to blame for something, even if they are not sure what, becomes quite wearing. The story progresses, but, at times, you feel a little as though you are wading through snow yourself. The author does not fully use the Arctic setting and the characters are a little too defined as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ This book has a message about the environment, and also about issues, such as greed, loyalty and corruption. I enjoyed much about it, but I think the storyline was not as gripping as I had hoped. If I could, I would give this a 3.5.


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