Book Reviews




When I first saw Rebecca’s book on her stall at Easton Community Centre, my first impulse was to go up to her and shout “no it’s not!” Having endured a gruelling seven months on an anti-candida diet a couple of years ago with an extremely limited and rigid diet, fun was the last word I’d use.

However, after glancing through her beautifully produced publication, my mouth started to salivate and I admitted to her that if I’d had this book to refer to, my combat of a candida infection would have been much easier, quicker and with far more delicious food than the standard two or three recipes that I relied on.

Rebecca is a co-survivor of candida too. This is where the natural balance of this organism within our bodies is disrupted causing an overgrowth which can lead to many problems such as dizziness and exhaustion, headaches, cystitis, thrush, colitis, anxiety and depression to mention a few. Things that can cause this to happen are stress, the contraceptive pill, anti-biotics and steroids. Unfortunately there’s no quick fix for this infection and it has to be treated on four fronts – killing the overgrowth with a strict diet excluding dairy, alcohol, sugar, wheat, fruit, non-organic meat, yeast products, bread, white rice and pasta, cheese and mushrooms. As well as taking a variety of anti-fungals; pro-biotics and giving your body the rest it needs to fight this tenacious beastie.

Rebecca was so dismayed at the lack of help and information available to sufferers that she designed and created this beautiful cook book which also contains other invaluable information on supplements and stress- free shopping on her own initiative.

It’s a gorgeous glossy book with 100 delicious recipes and meal ideas to help starve the candida and to help you recover your health. They are all free from wheat, dairy, gluten, fruit, alcohol, yeast and fermented products. The recipes are all easy to follow and illustrated by the most scrumptious and sumptuous photos guaranteed to get your taste buds revving with desire.

I also found the basic recipes for passata, pesto and mayonnaise extremely useful as you have to prepare so many basics yourself. Most processed foods have added sugar in them and you’ll be shocked when you start reading the labels at how much has this added ingredient.

I made my own baked beans over the weekend which was delicious especially with extra paprika and the aubergine roast would have been amazing if I hadn’t cremated the aubergine so much! Tonight I’m dining on carrot and butter bean soup which is hearty, healthy and perfect for a cold winter’s night. Millet and tofu scramble will be on the menu tomorrow and later in the week I’m conjuring up the black bean jambalaya.

I’m so grateful to Rebecca for creating this beautiful book. It’s packed full of useful tips and the ideal survival guide for someone healing this infection. I applaud her on behalf of all “yeasties” everywhere for her imaginative recipes and the drive and determination in getting this book out there. Just don’t go looking for the desert section!


The blurb on the back of this book does this book a bit of an injustice as it focuses on the sex and drug fuelled party scene in London’s east end in the 1990’s. Sure the first quarter dwells on the abundant creativity fired by the free party scene and the substances that stimulated it along with the subsequent extinguishing of those flames of freedom by the criminal “injustice” bill, but this intriguing story develops into so much more.

Initially I found it difficult to identify with the main protagonist. I’m reading this with the benefit of a couple of decades of hindsight under my belt and it all felt a bit irrelevant to me now. But as in life, the book evolves into unexpected directions drawing the reader further in. Without giving it away, the quest to exist financially whilst remaining true to yourself and your dreams without succumbing to the corporate treadmill is something that rings true in the lives of many I know who have chosen less conventional career paths.

Together with family and relationship problems, festie funand the integrity of friendships make this into an absorbing and realistic story told with warmth, sensitivity and humour. It’s a story that could easily belong to one of my friends and in the end delivered way more than it promised.

MAKING MORE OF BEANS & PEAS… By Patricia Harbottle, Peter Chadwick & Elisabeth Winkler.

This is a deliciously produced book of ideas on how to make vegetables more interesting. It contains information on the nutritional value of vegetables and bean and peas in particular; advice on organic gardening and cost-cutting. The recipes are hugely variable – they’re not all vegetarian, but they’re all easily laid out and easy to read in clear sections. It contains a wonderful selection of really interesting and imaginative recipes and I would never have imagined that something as mundane as broad beans could be jazzed up to take centre stage on the plate. Vegetables are definitely not a sideline in this book. The pea and bean frittata was simple to make and refreshingly different although don’t use rice milk instead of dairy milk – it gave it a bit of an odd taste! And the recipe for taze fasul or green bean stew from Turkey was gorgeous.   I added a few extra ingredients and made it more of a main course which worked really well. I even loved the little stories that went with some of the recipes – adding to the feel that I was peeking into someone’s family recipe book. Delightful.


In this semi-autobiographical tale, Anaiya tempts the reader into the intriguing adventure undertaken by the hot-blooded Scarlett O’Shea who quests to meet her beloved before her 40th birthday and to satisfy the yearning to be together in sacred union.

I savoured this deliciously warm, funny and courageous story with much relish. There was much I could connect with on many levels – the desire for love and connection on an emotional and spiritual level as well as the physical; the healing of past heartbreak and dismantling of protective armour and the love and support of an amazing best friend.

It’s a beautifully written roller coaster of a ride that even induced a few tears in this cynical, hard bitten blogger and could quite possibly have restored my faith in love. Anaiya lays down the gauntlet as she invites her readers to find the courage and strength of heart to undertake their own pilgrimage to love and help birth a new level of conscious relating and intimacy.

As a true spiritual warrior, she has not omitted the messy stuff but has been courageous in exposing her vulnerabilities and show how we can take wisdom from our shadow selves and gently guide them back into the light.


This maybe an oldie but it’s still a goodie. First printed in 1988 by the guy who went on to direct the fabulously dark film “Hellraiser”, Weaveworld is a phenomenally fantastical creation that twists from the urban jungle of contemporary Liverpool to the concealed world of the magical Fugue and the struggle of it’s occupants to survive despite the ominous  threats that promise to overwhelm it. The characters are brilliantly created with the fine detail that is in evidence in every aspect of this story.  It’s an original story that echoes the age old paradigm of good v bad, light v dark. And it’s easy to see where Clive Barker gets his celluloid inspiration from with plotlines and creatures here ripped straight from the darkest depths of hell. I loved this book and was completely gripped by it, finishing the 722 pages in a week. My only criticism was a slight case of reader fatigue when the story shifted yet again to another place and another thread. After so much magic, mystery, and mayhem in the story so far, I felt a little overloaded, but it was worth continuing to reach the judicious yet deliciously  warped finale.

Wild – An Elemental Journey – by Jay Griffiths – Penguin 

I love reading and when I first picked up this book it frustrated me as I couldn’t devour the words with my usual speed and voracity. Every word and every line in this book has been exquisitely crafted and meticulously researched. Wild is a cross between a travel and a nature book with a healthy dose of historical and cultural material. I can imagine the vexation of bookshop marketers as they struggle to place it into one section of their ordered shelves. This book reflects its wild content and refuses to be fenced and controlled into neat classifications.

Wild needs to be read slowly, there is so much in every line to digest that it cannot be zoomed through, to do so would be highly dis-respectful to the author. Jay Griffiths has documented a truly amazing journey which takes her through the South American jungles where she drinks Ayawaska with shaman to whale hunting with the Innuit at the very top of the planet, back down to the endless Indonesian oceans, the arid Australian outback and the challenges of the West Papuan highlands.

She skilfully weaves multi-layered narratives on indigenous culture, the shameful legacy of empire, botany, mental health and modernity with poetic skill and dizzy-ing detail as her journey through wild time and space progresses. I loved this book and salute the quality of research and writing. I mean how could you not love a book with this beauty hidden in its pages…”Pods of whales sing, jamming away for a lifetime, singing the truest blues, the mind of the ocean sung in ultramarine jazz, a true rhapsody in blue, in turquoise, a rhapsody in azure”.


2 Responses to Book Reviews

  1. Elisabeth says:

    Thanks, Sarah Scarlett, for lovely review.

    Very pleased to say the books (two published in a series of four) now have their very own website…

  2. Pingback: Awakening Soulful Sexuality – Shekinashram, Glastonbury, Somerset | Vivacityradio's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s