“ Genre: House / Garden „
'Trade Secrets: Everything you will ever need to know about everything' is based on the popular BBC series of the same name. I did not watch the series and only picked up the book because my husband had left it on the side of the bath. I was so inspired by it that I came straight on here to write my first proper book review. So here goes...
The four authors have interviewed people from around the country in businesses of all kinds to compile a list of each one's trade secrets. The tips are listed under each trade and those who supplied the tips are named alongside. The trades are presented in alphabetical order for ease of use.
There are many trades included in the book but a small selection include: Ambassadors, Bakers, Cat Breeders, Dentists, Furniture Repairers, Lanscape Gardeners, Midwives, Naturists, Pigeon Fanciers, Public Speakers, Scout Leaders, Swimming Teachers, Undertakers, Vets and White Witches. This list shows just how varied the book is and I am sure everyone who reads it will be able to find something of interest within its pages.
Some tips are extremely useful and some you will know already; some you will find funny and others you will outrightly disagree with. If nothing else, the book is entertaining to dip into and at its best, it will provide you with a life-changing tip that will save you hours. I am hooked!
FAVOURITE THREE TIPS
I am listing below my personal best tips from the book, to give some idea about the diversity of the advice. It also shows how simply the tips are presented, which is excellent for ease of reference and also if you are just browsing through its pages for entertainment.
From the gardening section: 'Stop slugs and snails in their tracks. Smear petroleum jelly on the rim of a flowerpot to stop your plants getting attacked.' (I will definitely be trying this out. After losing four of my eight tomato plants to slugs and snails this year, I gave in and used slug pellets. I went down the following morning and nearly cried when I saw the snail graveyard. I felt so cruel. This tip will definitely ease my conscience and be kinder on our little slimy friends!)
From the midwife section: Avoid going to hospital too early, 'once contractions begin, try setting yourself a little task to finish before you leave.' (I think this is an excellent idea, especially for someone like me who is very impatient and likely to become frustrated stuck in hospital during a long labour. After reading this I have decided if the contractions are far apart, I will sit down and write my baby a letter about how I am feeling about meeting him/her before I make my way to hospital. This will pass some time and also provide a lovely gift that I can give to the baby when it is old enough.)
Voice Coaches: 'Breath is the energy of communication'. (I tend to be quite nervous when I speak during meetings and so talk quickly to get it over with and then start repeating myself because I know I have talked too quickly and so I don't think I've made my point well enough. Breathing is a good tip. It will slow me down, keep me calm and make my arguments seem far more intelligent than they are!)
SUMMARY & USEFUL INFORMATION
The book is written by Meg Sanders, Annie Ashworth, Katherine Lapworth and Alexandra Fraser. The forward explains that the book's purpose is to give ideas on how to 'do those little jobs in life more effectively and efficiently'. The book certainly fulfills this criteria but in my opinion goes much further. It gives you ideas about creative DIY and crafts and entertaining children that I certainly would never have thought of. There are over 5000 tips from specialists around the country.
Published by Maverick.
It is available in hardback at £16 and paperback at £8.
I always tried to tune in when Trade Secrets was on the box and when the book to accompany the series finally came out, I was delighted to be able to get a copy, albeit a paperback version for my bookshelf. You see although I've seen quite a few of the programmes, when you're me, the tips are quickly forgotten, so it's far better to be able to have the book to close to hand to refer to. Now although in the main there are just four ladies who put this book together, Meg Sanders, Annie Ashworth, Katherine Lapworth and Alexandra Fraser,although everybody who donated their expertise gets a credit in the column next to their own category; for instance, if you take look at say, Dentists, you will find the name Clare Baines from the British Dental Association. That being said the previously mentioned gang of four certainly deserve the credit for scouring the country collecting tried and tested tips and trade secrets from people who use them every day in over 150 trades and professions from accountants to wine merchants, to furniture repairers to bodyguards just to give a few examples. If you want to know how to do something it's probably in here as there are more than 5,000 hints and tips. In fact the subtitle of the book is 'Everything You Will Ever Need To Know About Anything', so there you go. Not only do I find the book very useful for things like stain removal, cleaning or gardening tips, but it's also quite entertaining in parts, for instance one of the tips from a pest controller is: Keep foxes out of the garden by spreading lion dung around the edges. You don't have to collect it yourself, just ask at the local zoo! But more often than not, the ideas in here are much more useful and you end up thinking 'What a good idea', or 'I'll have to try that' or something similar maybe. I should point out that it's not just for the ladies; the whole family can make use of this book.
As I said earlier, there are tips from over 150 professions so if your children need some idea on looking after their wee pets, or maybe you and your spouse want to do some decorating or car maintenance etc, there is a wealth of help and advice to suit you all. Set out in alphabetical order, most of the tips are short and to the point, which makes sense as it makes room for a lot of information over the 350 or so pages. There aren't any pictures as such, just the odd line drawing which serve no use really other than to use as page markers when flicking through, or just to brighten up the pages a little and make it look a bit more appealing perhaps, who knows? I bought my book for just £1 as a special offer when joining a book club, but I believe it costs around a whopping £16 for the hardback version and just £8 for the paperback version that I've got. I have to say that I certainly wouldn't have paid that much for it myself, but then again I am a tightwad! On the whole I'm very pleased with it and I'm sure I'll find very useful for years to come.
One of BBC2's conspicuous successes of the last four years has been the ten minute slot called Trade Secrets created and produced by Maverick Television. Each week seasoned professionals from key occupations give hints and tips developed through a lifetime of doing the job. Each tip uses material everyone has around the house and either saves money or costs nothing. The book will contain over 5000 hints and tips (an additional 2000 from the first edition). Each series of tips will come from an individual who will be mentioned and the book will be divided into subjects. There will be sixty line drawings in a second colour to illustrate entries as appropriate and a comprehensive cross-referenced index.