Newest Lifestyle Reviews

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Parenting through the Eyes of a Child: Memoirs of My Childhood by Tabitha Ochekpe Omeiza

4star.jpg Autobiography

Tabitha Ochekpe Omeiza was brought up in Nigeria and came to Britain to study for her A levels when she was 18. Her parents used their savings to give her this opportunity and called it an investment in her future. Now a qualified pharmacist, married and with a child of her own, Tabitha looks back at her childhood and reflects on the way her mother and father raised her. And she gives their parenting top marks. Full review...

Tea Gardens (Britain's Heritage Series) by Twigs Way

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Tea Gardens really began in London in the late 18th century: a trip to Kings Cross or St Pancras was effectively a trip to the country in those days. Men had their coffee houses, but they were not places where women could or would be seen. Tea was introduced to England in the 17th century but it was not until 1784 that the high duty was reduced from 119% to 12½% and tea became the drink of choice for the nation. Until then the working classes had been fuelled largely by cheap gin. Only, where would this beverage be drunk? One answer was the pleasure gardens where the fashionable went to see and be seen: by the mid 1600s tea was also being served in places such as Ranelagh Gardens. Full review...

Personal Stereo by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

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These tiny 'Object Lessons', a range of books which are more like a long-form essay, explore often seemingly mundane items. Personal Stereo packs a lot of information into a small space. Split into three distinct sections: Novelty, Norm, and Nostalgia, 'Novelty' traces the origin of the Sony Walkman, from its conception by two Japanese business men to it becoming a recognised entity on the streets of America. 'Norm' follows on from the universal success of the personal stereo, relating this to the technology which it set the groundwork for, such as the ubiquitous proliferation of MP3s, the iPod, and Smartphones, leading to the eventual downfall in the popularity of the Walkman. Finally, in 'Nostalgia', Tuhus-Dubrow examines our need to hark back to a simpler time, when the personal stereo seemed the height of freedom. Full review...

21 Doors to Happiness: Life Through Travel Experiences and Meditation by Chit Dubey

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I know that I'm not alone in having been brought up to achieve, to look down on those who had different (lesser, it would have been said) aims, but there comes a point in life when you wonder about the point of it all. Do you need to keep on achieving, and if so, why? Many years ago I had a light-bulb moment when I realised that achieving more, having more money, more material possessions didn't make me happy - and surely the point of it all was to be happy? Superficially that sounds very simple: live a life doing only what you want to do and pleasing yourself, but that doesn't bring happiness either. Chit Dubey believes that happiness is inside you and you just need to delve a little deeper to find it. Full review...

Stream Punks by Robert Kyncl and Maany Peyvan

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Robert Kyncl is the Chief Business Officer of YouTube. He has written an exceptionally interesting book about YouTube and his role within it. You don't have to be in your late 40s, or from Eastern Europe, to identify with his childhood recollections of a time when there was nothing on TV, and no other options for entertainment. It's amazing how far we've come – I still remember the hype around channel 5 appearing, and now I have more channels than I could ever watch on Sky and have both Netflix and Amazon Prime, and yet often choose the free (ignoring the adverts bit) alternative of YouTube instead. Kyncl actually worked at Netflix and regular television too, before coming over to YouTube, so he knows the industry well. Full review...

Mr Tambourine Man by Nicholson

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Back in 1965 we heard Mr Tambourine Man by the Byrds on the radio very regularly. Nicholson was thirteen and saw the 45rpm recording of the song in the window of the local music store and would have loved to be able to buy it but didn't have the money. Thirteen-year olds didn't in those days unless it was a birthday or Christmas and you couldn't get a part-time job until you were fifteen. There would be a few of those badly-paid jobs before he finished his A levels and went to New York for three months. It's this trip which Nicholson feels turned him from being a boy into a man and allowed him to see the bigger picture. Full review...

A Bientot... by Roger Moore

4star.jpg Autobiography

The news of the death of Sir Roger Moore in May 2017 came as a great shock: he was one of those people you knew would go on for ever. There was just one small glimmer of light in the sadness - the news that a matter of days before his death he'd delivered the finished manuscript of his book, À bientôt…, to his publishers. Just a few months later a copy landed on my desk and I didn't even bother to look as though I could resist reading it straight away. Full review...

My Psychosis Story: A Story of Fear and Hope Through Adversity by Emmanuel Owusu

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My Psychosis Story recounts Emmanuel Owusu's journey into and eventually out of psychosis. In late 2014, during a visit home for Christmas, he found himself exhausted, anxious and unable to sleep. Symptoms persisted and soon he was suffering from noise sensitivity and intense headaches. Various visits to A&E failed to diagnose a physical cause. Things deteriorated further and possible diagnoses of anxiety and post traumatic concussion were suggested. And still things got worse. Eventually, Owusu's condition deteriorated so far that he was suffering from delusions and hallucinations. An ambulance was called and he was detained - sectioned - under the Mental Health Act in 2015. Full review...

Mind of a Survivor by Megan Hine

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Megan Hine is probably the type of person that you'd want with you in a crisis situation. Cool, calm and capable; this survival expert is equally at home in desert, mountain, tundra and jungle environments. She's navigated her way around some of the most inhospitable regions on the planet and survived to tell the tale. But just what is it that makes some people more capable in a survival situation than others? Physical fitness? Bushcraft skills? Experience? Whilst all of these are important, Hine argues that attitude is one of the most important factors in survival. In this book, she examines how the right mindset can mean the difference between life and death when isolated in the wilderness. Full review...

The Kitchen Garden (Britain's Heritage Series) by Caroline Ikin

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I love visiting country houses, but you can keep the interiors and the flower gardens - what interests me is the kitchen garden: seeing one which has been restored to its former glory is a real treat, as was Britain's Heritage: The Country Garden when it landed on my desk. There was no longer any need to guess at the work that had been done: here was the history complete with glorious illustrations as well as some wonderful advertisements. Canary Guano. For Greenhouse and garden. Perfectly clean. May be used by a lady. is still making me giggle. Full review...

Cracking the Obesity Crisis by Veronica M McNally

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Any weight-related book, whether one that considers issues from a medical or sociological perspective, or one that provides advice on how to eat well or lose weight, whose opening pages feature fat people are basically insecure, unhappy people trapped inside very unattractive bodies, Islamic people however are at an advantage as they do Ramadan and they are not overweight, there is hope for overweight and obese people, but I don’t see a way back for the clinically aid [sic] morbidly obese and my personal favourite: as women’s hands are smooth and soft in many cases, females would be useful behind soldiers to be there as assistants to men quickly reloading magazines of bullets speedily, any such book needs to provide an awful lot of valuable content in the pages that follow to have a chance of redeeming itself. Full review...

This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire

4star.jpg Lifestyle

Love is love, but at the same time love is changing, the way we find it, the way we express it, the way we walk away from things. You can change a Facebook status and tell the entire world the ins and outs of your relationship, you can meet people online, you can conduct long distance relationships in much more real time than in the past when you had to rely on the postman to deliver your heartfelt, handwritten note. This book, a compilation of letters and other contributions, explores what love is in the 21st century. It's certainly international – there were 15,000 submissions from over 100 countries – and it's also touching, funny, frustrating and all those other things. Full review...

Grandpa Diet and Diabetes by Laura Williams

4star.jpg For Sharing

Nick's Mum is an accident and emergency nurse and life can get a bit hectic at times, particularly when she has to arrange for someone to look after Nick and his twin sister Emma. One day in the school holidays Grandpa had the pleasure of looking after the kids and Nick thought this was cool. Grandpa used to be a bit of a rocker, you see, and that's the sort of music he always has playing. He might have a stick but Nick sure that he doesn't really need it - it's there just in case. He does have a problem though and Mum explains it by saying that Grandpa has to eat at the right time every day because he has diabetes. Full review...

Allotments (Britain's Heritage Series) by Twigs Way

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Allotments came about originally from the enclosure of land, primarily for sheep pasture. Fearing that the enclosures would leave peasants unable to feed themselves, Elizabeth I issued an act requiring all new cottages to have four acres of ground, something which has been honoured more by history than by Elizabeth's contemporaries. It was the first in a long line of legislation with that aim in mind - which largely failed to achieve their aims. Full review...

The Anxiety-Elimination System by Nicos Nicolaou

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Nick Nicolau suffered a major panic attack and was told by his doctor that he would need medication to control the attacks and that there wasn't much more that he could do - apart that was, from going home to sleep. The next morning he had another attack which he could neither stop nor control and before long was having panic attacks every day and developed generalised anxiety and phobias. After a great deal of work and research he discovered how to control his anxiety - and now he helps others to do the same. No one is born with a chemical imbalance in the brain and genes do not determine behaviour. The proof of the efficacy of his system is that through the course of a particularly challenging life event - his divorce - he didn't slip back into inappropriate anxiety. Full review...

Eat With Pleasure by Akon Margaret Kalu

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When you think about a certified nutrition coach you probably imagine someone who is going to be very strict with you about what you should or shouldn't be eating. You visualise someone who will insist that you eat worthy (and probably tasteless) food and completely avoid those foods which you really love. Gone will be the bar of chocolate and possibly even the mug of coffee which gets you going in the morning. It was particularly refreshing and something of a relief to encounter Akon Margaret Kalu - certified nutrition coach and food blogger at www.therealakon.co.uk. She's outspoken. She believes that the occasional treat does you no harm so long as you don't make it a regular habit. In fact you're better having a small, occasional, indulgent snack than resisting and finally giving into cravings and binging. In other words, she lives in the real world with the rest of us imperfect beings. Full review...

Say Yes to New Opportunities! by Ruth Pearson

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Ruth Pearson was deputy head of her school and was studying for a Masters degree when she suffered an emotional breakdown as a result of the stresses of the job. The breakdown was so severe that she was afraid to return to the classroom, but rather than sitting back and letting the circumstances overwhelm her she allowed what had happened to become a catalyst which would help her to change her life. In Say Yes to New Opportunities she shares what she learned from the experience. To come back from this situation requires strength, honesty and a sense of purpose, all of which Pearson demonstrates quite clearly throughout this book. Full review...

Confessions of Modern Women by Spadge Whittaker

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She's back! Huzzah! Do you remember when Spadge Whittaker faced her (and our) deepest fears? We loved the way she did that. EXCEPT FOR THE SPIDERS.

This time, Spadge has turned her attention to what it means to be a modern woman in twenty-first century, digital Britain. Full review...

Tiny Campsites: 80 Perfect Little Places to Pitch by Dixe Wills

4.5star.jpg Travel

I've often been put off the idea of camping by the thought of large, soul-less campsites, often populated by people who want to party late into the night. I much prefer camping to mean something - a feeling of being somewhere special, of being able to be at one with nature. But the trouble is, where do you find these gems? Well, Tiny Campsites will provide you with eighty perfect little places to pitch your tent. Full review...

Dress (with) sense: The Practical Guide to a Conscious Closet by Redress

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

Not too long ago I didn't have any problems with clothes. They were just about all black and I wore them until they dropped off my back - and then I used what I could of the material for other purposes. I had this lovely little clothes shop in Ilkley (it says 'Oxfam' over the door) when I needed to restock. Clothes were simple. Then I encountered the lovely Numba Pinkerton and suddenly I had colour in my life: not all of it could be had from Oxfam. Sometimes I might even be buying new clothes. I needed help and more advice, because it really isn't as simple as just walking into the nearest department store. Full review...

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Dr Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr Elissa Epel

5star.jpg Popular Science

I have lived my life determined not to age: I see nothing aspirational in the dependence of old age, whether it be on other people, government in all its forms or the NHS. I'm prepared to put effort into this: it's not the cosmetic image of youth I seek, but rather the ability to do as I do now - running a business, regularly walking for miles in our glorious countryside and enjoying life - for as long as possible. So far it's working out, but what else could I do and why does this work for some people and not for others? Full review...

Living With Depression by Nick Weatherhogg

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Nick Weatherhogg has been diagnosed as suffering from severe depression. Many of you will be nodding wisely and thinking that you know how he feels: but there are two points he wants to make here. You don't know how he feels. This is his depression and only he knows what it feels like - if he's able to think or express how he's feeling. The other point is that there's a big difference between feeling depressed and being depressed - fepression and bepression as he terms them. He's right: I've been there. My feelings, my experience will have been different, but I do know that it was hellish. He describes the experience as a mental state in which your brain regularly and consistently lies to you. Full review...

Web to Success by Jo Bird

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

Jo Bird (illustrator, designer and… errr.. .wall tattooist) had a lightbulb moment about positive thinking, self-improvement and success. The road to an improved self isn't linear in a 'change this thing and all will be fine' way; it's a web that connects and intersects several paths and subjects that can be summarised under three headings. All successful people (socially as much as professionally) know about self-awareness, personal development and emotional awareness. After having a shot at principles of self-improvement herself, Jo shares the fruit of her experience across a wealth of fields to make one heck of a self-help book. Full review...

Vietnamese Voices by Mary Ellen Guiney

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Mary Ellen Guiney has been diagnosed at various times with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. The resulting treatment of choice is the conventional western medicine approach and drug regimens that brought with them unpleasant side-effects. Determined to find a better way of symptom control, using her biochemical background, Mary Ellen begins to investigate alternative eastern medicine and therapies in addition to looking at the effect of nutrition and exercise. The results are here: this is Mary Ellen's story written in her own words. Full review...

My Brain Is Out Of Control by Patrick Mbaya

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Dr Patrick Mbaya was enjoying life as a consultant psychiatrist, husband and father. His career was going well and he enjoyed making ill people better. His marriage was solid and fulfilling and his two children were exploring their potential, often through the uplifting power of music. Life was good. But then... Full review...

Lean Gains by Jonathan S Lee

4star.jpg Sport

I don't often begin a book by telling you what it isn't but in this case I think it's important. If you're a fairly sedentary person or a casual sportsman or woman looking to shed a few pounds then you won't get the best out of this book. You'll find some good advice about diet, but I'm afraid that much of it is going to go over your head. Of course you could always take up a sport seriously... On the other hand, if you are a serious sportsman then you could find that the advice in Lean Gains could lift you up to the next level of performance. Full review...

Hollywood Beauty: Vintage Secrets by Laura Slater

4star.jpg Lifestyle

I have vivid memories from my youth of seeing the Hollywood beauties on the television or at the cinema and wishing that I could look like that and - of course, no matter how I tried, I never could. The look of Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Ava Gardner and Sofia Loren always eluded me. To begin with, I lacked knowledge. Despite being reasonably petite my oblong face was never going to look anything like Audrey Hepburn's. I lacked quite a few of Brigitte Bardot's attributes too. Gradually, I realised that developing my own style was the best way to go, but I'll confess that there are still elements of the stars' looks which I'd love to copy. That's where Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty comes in. Full review...

A Food Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure: 6 Simple Steps by Yuchi Yang

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Yuchi Yang has been a registered dietitian for over twenty years and she's allowing us the benefit of her knowledge to help us to reduce our blood pressure without taking medication, although she does stress that if you are taking medication you shouldn't stop doing so without consulting your doctor. You can reduce your BP in six steps, which are actually a lot simpler than they sound. Does it work? Yes, it does: I've been eating this way for more than two years and I've gone from having 'very worrying' blood pressure readings to getting a smile when they're taken and being told that my BP is perfectly normal - and that's without taking medication of any sort. Full review...

The Mock Olympian by Michael Long

4star.jpg Sport

It started with an idle conversation just before the 2012 London Olympics: Michael Long's friend Sarah gave him a book as part of his birthday present. It was Time Out's guide to the history of the Olympics and it covered each of the summer Olympics in chronological order from the inaugural games in Athens in 1896. Sarah's boyfriend James commented that with all the running Michael did, he'd probably have run in most of the Olympic cities. Although Long had done a goodly number of runs, bike rides and triathlons he'd only competed in two of the twenty three cities - London and Athens. Now most of us would have left it at that, but that's not the Michael Long you're going to come to know and love. He saw it as a challenge and what's more he blogged about it and then wrote this book. Full review...