I undertook job in the last few months to try to afford the purchase of a bass and bass gear.
Essentially I want to learn how to play Bass! However I've got fairly small hands so is this a big hindrance?
also could someone recommend a semi-hollow bass guitar thats under £400 ($650) and a good book or something similar to begin with my foray into bass playing?
many thanks.
With the small hands issue, I'd look at basses with thinner necks if it's a REAL problem (i.e. you go to a shop, try say a Squire Jazz and it's still uncomfertable).
Basses within that budget, with thinner necks are stuff like the Ibanez SR series, but shop around and try different basses in the shop to see what feels good for you!

As for books, there are loads out there, but one all rounder that is recommended often on here is the Hal Leonard Complete Bass Method (3 books in 1, make you sure you get the versin with the CD).
But again there are others, aimed at specific genres or styles, so look around, wait and see what others say
Alright cheers mate!
The plan is I'm going to go into town tomoroow look around the music shops and see how the recommended guitars feel, I don't trust the interweb for things like this!
However I have ordered the book thank you! Looks brilliant.
Yeah with buying basses ALWAYS try before you buy. As for the book, enjoy, and I hope you learn a lot!