I didn't bother taking a photo on Tuesday, seeing as I tend to get the same items every day (as you may have surmised from the two photos, which basically play like a food version of Spot the Difference).
Something I sampled this week that I wasn't so keen, on the other hand, was strawberry beer:
I needed a beverage to consume whilst I watched Chelsea vs Middlesbrough, and this drink was so vile that I really took my time with it. So at least there was that; that it lasted me the entire match and saved me having to pay for another pint! #SilvaLinings
I've been to several TGI Friday's across the UK (Reading, when my family and I were checking out universities, Bath when I was there doing my undergraduate degree, Wembley for a rendezvous with a shady football hack and Leicester Square just for an impromptu delicious meal one evening), and it's a chain which I have never been disappointed with.
And of course, I wasn't wrong. We were served by a bubbly waitress, who asked us if we were celebrating anything. Although it wasn't the cause of our get-together, I had just passed a critical PhD landmark, and one of the people I was with mentioned this. I didn't expect that to lead to anything, but she very kindly gave me this gorgeous and delicious slice of cake for my troubles!
A few weeks ago, me and my friends from my old work had a much-needed catch-up at Chai Thali. One of my friends, Sarah, had said it was a restaurant that specialized in Indian tapas, at which I was pretty much sold.
I know it took me long enough to compile this list, but I had to wait until Handmaiden got its UK release before I felt my 2016 list (going by US release dates in order to calibrate my list with all the bloggers I love) was well-researched enough.
Three films which ran Aquarius very close were Hell or High Water,Someone to Talk To and Certain Women. They would take 11-13 places on the list, naturally. 14th would go to Peter Berg's Patriots Day, mind, so you can take my recommendations with a pinch of salt.
I had a lot of fun screencap-and-gif-searching for this blog post! The top four, of which three women are in joint second place, has the highest calibre of beautiful women since I started posting this list!
The only difference is, unlike Delevingne and DeHaan, I enjoy gin (with a tonic) and cream soda ordinarily. But sampled together, you get one steaming pile of Bye Felicia. The problem is that the cream soda has quite a mild taste, which does nothing to mask the strength of the gin. And it certainly doesn't complement.
So yes, because these two liquids were an absolute fail working together, I'm going to have to refer to Cream Soda + Gin as 'The Valerian'.
I had a sirloin steak with béarnaise sauce (doesn't sound like me, does it?), and it was succulent, juicy excellence. Although I must admit, I was won over by the meal before I'd even had a bite, such was the cool presentation and the adorable mini-pan which the sauce was served in:
The restaurant also boasted an impressive cocktail selection - I had the One Long Jerry, which was like nothing I'd ever drunk before. It's the restaurant's most distinguished drink, and with the blend of Sailor Jerry spiced rum, Lillet Blanc liqueur, Luxardo Cherry, lemon juice, maple syrup
and thyme, I'm not surprised.
The decor of The Grill on the Market, a charming blend of rustic sofas (downstairs) and more modern padded stools-type decor upstairs, at the bar, meant you could choose an area to sit that suited your preferences/dining arrangements.
I visited The Grill on the Market during a lunchtime when the restaurant was fairly quiet, so the waiter I had brought my food out promptly, and had time to help with drink choices. His style of pastoral care, to give me his opinions but allow complete autonomy of choice, was a far cry from the pushier waiters, who are so thirsty for a tip, they try to force you into having a good time and ordering more. The hard sell never works for me; this more natural, genuine approach which disarmed me of my concerns that I was out of place at such a sophisticated venue, was far more to my liking.
It's not particularly cheap dining here, with the sirloin at £21.75 and £2.50 for the sauce, so I will reserve any future trips here for special occasions only. But the good news is, with the eclectic cocktail menu and steaks bursting with intense flavour, a return trip is definitely on the cards.
I like reviewing restaurants and bars in London; my reviews are compiled here. If you would like me to give some exposure to your restaurant, do email me at email@example.com.
I don't much like my eyes (which are far too small, even for a Chinese person. *sadface*), so I often try to direct attention to the lower part of my face, instead. And that's why I absolutely love lipglosses and lipbalms, because they fulfil this role so well! [example of me parading my cheeky pout].
Inevitably, due to my predilection for coating my lips in the stuff, I finished four small tubs of lipbalm recently, so here be brief thoughts and grades for each of them:
Soap & Glory Smooch Operator
I very much have a love/hate relationship with S&G products. When they strive for excellence, their products are better in their field than any of their competitors. When they phone it in, the outcome is bottom of the barrel. This lipbalm, which I got given last April for my birthday and I love so much I only use on nights out and when I'm seeing friends, falls very much in the former camp.
Its ingredients of wild mango butter, vitamin E oil and sweet almond and shea butters make for a lipbalm that is quite sturdy in consistency in the pot, but rubs easily across your lips, and moisturises them very fulfillingly. The feeling of moisture sustains longer than most other lipbalms, and it has an ace smell to go with it. A.
Body Shop Born Lippy - passionberry and strawberry flavours
These lipbalms are softer in texture than the Smooch Operator, and moisturise your lips for slightly less time, so you have to apply it on more frequently. Whereas the Smooch Operator was used purely for social occasions, the two Body Shop ones, had more day-to-day applications.
My feelings about this vary by the two flavours; the strawberry one tasted and smelt too artificial, whereas the passionberry one smelt lush, so much so that it's a nice item to have in your bag just to smell now and then, even if you aren't going to use it.
Vaseline rosy lips: Rose and Almond Oil
Due to its slightly more oily texture and clear(ish) colour, the Vaseline Petroleum jelly is a more versatile product than the other three, which due to their sturdiness (Smooch Operator), or their bright colour (the Body Shop items) can only be used for lipbalms and lipbalms only. The Petroleum jelly can also be used for hand cream, or general moisturiser for parts of the face that are dry.
My only quibble is the smell; whilst not as sickly as the strawberry Body Shop lipbalm, too much of the rose smell gave me a faint headache. I'm currently using the Vaseline Aloe Vera product, which has a more natural smell, and I much favour. B+.
For the rest of my thoughts on fashion/make-up products, click here. If you would like me to review one of your products, or to place a sponsored post on my blog, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
a) Hollywood actresses stealing roles from east Asian actresses who struggle with visibility in film enough as it is (ScarJo, Emma Stone, Tilda Swinton), and
b) white feminists who purport to care about equal rights for women, when all they care about is equal rights for themselves (Jennifer Lawrence, ScarJo, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, the list is endless).
These women would trample over women of colour in a heartbeat if it meant progressing their own (already thriving) careers, yet still want the crown of being ~all inclusive~.
Pre-holiday in Prague, me and the chap hit the town for a steak date. The Groupon deal with which we were dining with was £35 for two steaks (with a side each) and a bottle of wine to share, which, as keen carnivores, we were eager to take advantage of.
Like the LivingSocial deal at Truc Vert, the Amba Hotel was located on one of the sidestreets of Oxford Circus and encouragingly, like the Truc Vert meal, proved to be another online restaurant buy that actually proved to be good value for money.
I watched Get Out this evening. Partly because critics and my friends alike have been raving about it, but mainly because I'm a massive BBFC nerd and I was curious if this typo (a full stop where there should be a comma) would show up on the big screen, before the movie.
Spoiler alert: it did.
Tut tut, BBFC! Not been doing too well recently with all those typos, are we?!
Good movie was good, by the way. Brit Daniel Kaluuya was an ace leading man and Jordan Peele, the comedian, had a surprisingly tight control of the story and plot. Get Out was a horror movie that did not go places I expected it to go. 8/10.
In case you hadn't realised, I nerd out over the BBFC in a major way. The rest of my studious investigation of them here.
I saw this on the Greatest Actress Ever (ahem)'s Instagram:
A sci-fi featuring Dane DeYawn (so called because of those prominent bags under his eyes and his yawn-inducing acting performances) and Upstart Delevingne, to me, just screams Razzie. I can't think of a more sexless couple than DeHaan and Delevingne (other than Dane DeHaan and Felicia Vikander, or Cara Delevingne and Joel Kinnaman).
I can't wait to hate-watch it and tear it to pieces on my blog. 🎬
In the theme of throwing shade at films I've not yet seen, I believe The Big Short is about to have its title stripped as the Most Smug Film of All-Time:
The trailer for Ben Wheatley (director of my pick for the worst film of last year, High-Rise)'s insufferable-looking crime caper was the most wannabe Tarantino thing ever. Just a lot of shooting in a warehouse, Sharlto Copley being incomprehensible and lame banter between caricatures.
Happy Hump Day! I realised that I enjoy making these shallow lists (and going search for gifs and pngs of evidence of Hollywood stars' gorgeousness) that I will make it a Wednesday Hump Day tradition. A list every week. 2015's ladies list, and 2016's men and women, for those who care to peruse.
The only constraint on the list is that I have to have actually watched the performance which I'm listing.
Bungled away down one of the hectic Oxford Circus sidestreets is French restaurant Truc Vert. I went last November using a LivingSocial deal but amazingly, it bucked the trend set by their rival deal site, Groupon, in that dining at Truc Vert was actually a positive experience!
Truc Vert has elegant European-style furnishings but graciously, unlike Hawksmoor, say, isn’t so over-ornate that the decorations feel ominous.
Out of tune singing is out of tune, and clunky guitar-playing is clunky, but at least it's not quite as embarrassing as the other two Emma's, Watson and Stone.
That was the first take, so a bit rubbish. I preferred this audio recording, but annoyingly, couldn't upload it as a video, so if you're not too bored, give that superior version a listen. 😎
I saw Beauty and the Beast on Thursday, and whilst being predictably bored by Emma Watson's blank, passionless face in all her scenes, actually quite enjoyed it. Some of the musical numbers were very entertaining, especially 'Gaston', a song which aptly sums up the mentality of the vast majority of clown guys who I've had the misfortune of having gone on dates with in London.
You know, for a newspaper who loves to lecture their readership about racial stereotyping (in a case of timing you couldn't make up, just four days ago they ran this hectoring piece about Asian stereotypes), you'd think they'd bother to learn the difference between Japanese films:
The caption pertains to A Silent Voice. Yet the image is a still from Your Name. I guess all Japanese animes look the same to Guardian sub-editors.
Perhaps of Guardian writers focused on say, actually doing the research they're paid to do, rather than preaching piously or shagging about, they wouldn't have made such a mistake. Just suggesting.
This isn't the first time they've confused two compatriots, with embarrassing circumstances. In their tribute to the passed away Cruyff, they published a photo of Rob Rensenbrink:
I’m slowly starting to get the hang of buying tapas from Groupon. Whereas when you buy cocktail deals, the fact that it’s a deal doesn’t restrict you to having just a subsection of the drinks menu comprising of the cheapest, most basic drinks, but instead, let you order any drink you wish (as testified to by my pleasant experiences drinking at The Escapologist and Adventure Bar).
However, when you buy tapas deals from Groupon, such as The Cuban in Camden (one of the worst run places I’ve had the misfortune of having visited), which purported to have a RRP of the price of nine full dishes, actually only provided the diner to the most minute, insufficient quantities. Salvador and Amanda is another agonising case where a restaurant has two separate menus for their regular customers, and the plebs who dared to show up with a deal.
Emma Watson has been working overtime recently in an attempt to quell rumours about her being too much of a diva to get the lead in La La Land, even saying 'I couldn't care less if I won an Oscar if I didn't feel the film I made said something'.
Whatever helps you sleep at night, sweetie.
Still, I guess she couldn't do La La Land, what with her busy schedule giving shite talks about white feminism.
Another newspaper cutting that attests to my theory that Po-faced Watson is an absolute diva who is completely inability to take a joke:
Budapest may often be overlooked by travelers; however, it is a worthy rival to other major European gateways. Likewise, it is affordable so even those who are on a budget can have fun in the capital of Hungary. Discover its special sites others don’t know about!
1. Open Book Fountain
The street of Imre Henszlmann features a nice area for walks and dates with matches you’ve met on a real russian dating. The fountain represents itself a large marble tome with its “pages” (imitated by water) being turned by some secret force. Such an original design is supposed to preserve the image of a printed book for next generations.
2. Michael Jackson Memorial Tree
The King of Pop was actually a frequent guest in Budapest. Nearby the luxurious Kempinski Hotel, where the singer stayed many times, there is a park hosting one special tree. Its stem is covered with photos and flowers that dedicated Michael Jackson’s fans constantly bring.
3. Ecseri Flea Market
How about a treasure hunt? I bet Ecseri is one of the most amazing flea markets throughout Europe. Check out books, paintings, jewelry, retro photos, clothes, and lots of other vintage stuff. And yes, you are free to haggle!
4. Sugar! Shop
Well, it is basically a candy shop and a café offering a dazzling variety of exclusive sweets. Apart from this, it’s located in Paulay Street, right next to Andrassy Avenue – the best-known boulevard in Budapest. So you will instantly get to the city’s main sites from here.
5. Garden of Philosophy
The famous Gellert Hill by the Danube is full or notable spots. However, not so many visitors know about this green area featuring the fine statues of the human history’s prominent figures (like Abraham, Buddha, Hammurabi etc.). The sculptures are intended to represent the entire evolution of our culture.
6. Cave Church
Speaking about Gellert Hill, I should mention one more interesting spot there. The tiny monastery is set inside the natural system of caves also referred to as Saint Ivan’s Cave. Though it was built in the early 20th century, it contains a couple of important relics and has the unique architecture.
7. House of Hungarian Art Nouveau
If you are in love with the Secession style – or just love antiques – Budapest will give it all to you. One of its greatest buildings used to be the house of Bedő family constructed in 1903. Nowadays, it hosts the impressive collection of exhibits as well as different art events. There is also a café on the ground floor.
8. Red Ruin Bar
Although communism never existed in its literal form, Eastern Europe still bears the imprint of socialism. In Budapest, they prefer approaching it with humor: Red Ruin is a fancy themed pub dedicated to this philosophical movement. The interior combines pop art with propaganda esthetics and red is the main color here. Another good thing – the prices are low.
“Marry in haste and repent at leisure”, you must have heard your parents using this proverb. The thing is that most parents want their children to slow down when it comes to marriage and make sure that they have chosen the right partner first. And this is quite reasonable, as it is important not to rush the marriage if you don’t want to split up.
Not only the above-mentioned wisdom but also recently conducted studies prove that couples who rush the marriage are more likely to split up. Thus, experts from Utah University came to the conclusion that couples who get married at the age of 28 – 32 have the lowest possibility of divorce.
I’ve gone off Ryan Gosling because I still have ear damage from his singing, Dev Patel’s bad acting in Lion put me off him and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, whilst being an absolute babe in real-life and the best husband ever to his lucky wife, played a vile character in Nocturnal Animals, hence their omissions from the list.
I prefer Margot Robbie not covered in white facepaint and acting like a deranged loon, and Rooney Mara’s character in Lion was pure bleh, so neither of my go-to girlcrushes make it on this year’s list, bizarrely.
Obviously my list might differ slightly from your average bloke's, but I’m rating these ladies’ attractiveness with a female gaze [or so I like to think].
Continuing with my reviews of bars and restaurants in the Covent Garden is Adventure Bar, which boasts a healthy menu of creative drinks and generous Happy Hours. I probably saved a bit more money than I would have spent in the presence of Happy Hour, with a Groupon voucher that entitled the buyer to six cocktails for £24.
Unlike some other Groupon deals which restrict you in the choice of food and drink you can buy with your voucher, this deal was valid on all the cocktails. An Old Fashioned and 50 Shades of Earl Grey were the first drinks sampled:
I’ve had mixed fortunes when it comes to burger joints in London. Places like Tommi’s Burger Joint and Prime Burger were so awful I wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy, and other venues which don’t specialise in burgers, seem to treat them as an afterthought (Maxwell’s Bar and Grill, be ashamed. Be very ashamed). Still, due to the sheer majesty of the burgers I’ve had such as Bird, I still haven’t up hope in the capital’s ability to produce delicious burgers just yet.
Byron definitely delivered on the burger front. I had the Smoky burger, with the meat cooked medium rare, and that, along with all the ingredients (mature cheddar, streaky bacon, crispy onions, shredded iceberg, pickles and smoked chilli) rendered this a verifiable feast for the taste buds. You know it was tasty because normally I would object to paying £10 for a burger and no sides, but in this case, I feel the money was well spent. The way all the ingredients complemented each other and bought out the succulence of the steak… heaven.