Sunday, August 02, 2015

Over-accessorised outfit for a football match of the day.

Shirt: Chelsea megastore (with Cahill 24 on the back, in case you were wondering)
Hoop earrings: New Look
Skirt: hand-me-down from a friend
Lolita sunglasses: Moschino (one of the two items of designer label things I own!)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Outfit of the Day that I wore to drink an insane banana-and-Nutella milkshake in The Diner yesterday:

Blue vest top: Topshop
White vest top: Jane Norman
Hoop earrings: Debenham's

First Day of the Month Pedantry

I was flipping through the latest issue of Empire and noticed these two discrepencies:

 As someone who knows the BBFC website like the back of my hand, I could tell straight away that something was awry. Trainwreck is actually a 15, not a 12A, and Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation, which I saw on Thursday and reviewed, is a 12A, not a PG.

I like pointing out random film classification-related mistakes because I like to think all that time I spend on the BBFC website is put to good use, amirite?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation review

On the hunt for the elusive ‘Syndicate’ in London, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, admirably unfatigued) realises that they’re onto him, and not only that, they’re three steps ahead of him at his own game. At the same time, the C.I.A. (led by Alec Baldwin, terrifically uptight) have reached the end of their tether with the unorthodox methods and messy results of the IMF, leading them to shut them down. Which leaves Ethan with no support, hunted, and seeking the head of the terrorist organisation, hoping to shut them down before they shut him down. Mission Impossible, indeed.

I’ve seen the first three of the Mission: Impossible movies but not the critically acclaimed Ghost Protocol, which is a shame because I love me some Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg. Fortunately, they reprise their roles in Rogue Nation, and with some aplomb. Renner is the king of finely walking that thin line between surly and charismatic (and look how pretty!!!), and Simon Pegg, whilst he appears in a few too unfunny ‘comedies’ for my liking, was born to play the comedy sidekick that he does here, and the bromance between him and Cruise carries extremely well on screen. In another Summer action blockbuster I watched a few weeks ago, Ant-man, Michael Peña served a similar role, and he, too, lit up the screen whenever he was on. It’s no coincidence that I was amused and entertained by M:I5 and Ant-man throughout.

The story is, as with Fast and Furious 7, flimsier than a Victoria Secret bikini and a barely-veiled excuse to line up noisy action sequence upon action sequence. But, as with F&F7, the action sequences themselves are so thrilling, and so textured, so bombastic, that as soon as the film started and we were launched into Cruise jumping onto a moving plane, I was just hooked. The introduction of Rebecca Ferguson as a British undercover spy who Hunt may or may not be able to trust, was an inspired piece of casting: at 31, she’s still great to look at (dat lime green dress at the opera), but she’s considerably more experienced than the naïve ingénue, and as such, much more believable in her kick-ass role. The fight scenes where she and Cruise collaborated to beat up the baddies were incredibly satisfying. A cameo by Tom Hollander as the Prime Minister also made for a diverting watch.

Overall, Mission: Impossible -  Rogue Nation raised the bar for action films; I wasn’t able to keep my eyes off the screen. Excitement buzzed in every frame, from an adrenaline-pumping motorcycle chase, to Cruise jumping into a security system immersed deep underwater with only 3 minutes worth of oxygen and an extremely tense finale sat around a London cafe. Furthermore, whilst in the three M:I movies I’ve seen, I definitely didn’t doubt Hunt’s dedication to the cause for defending his country, a pleasant addition in Rogue Nation was the lengths he went to to protect his friend Benji. I know I’ve already used the word ‘bromance’ in this review, but the bickering and banter between Cruise and Pegg was a delight to watch, and added some much-needed levity between all the life-risking.

I’ve namedropped a few 2015 action movies in this review, so one more can’t hurt. Sam Mendes’ follow-up to his last James Bond movie, Spectre, is out in October, and the trailer has me salivating, not least because the movie boasts the rather beautiful Léa Seydoux playing a doctor. If that lives up to the previews, then 2015 is going to be the most illustrious year for action movies since… I don’t even know when. Thrilling stuff!

Grade: B+/A-

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Restaurant review: Tierra Peru (Angel)

I booked a Groupon deal to try out the seven-course tasting menu at Tierra Peru. By my count, that makes it the first Peruvian restaurant I’ve ever been to. In terms of ease of using the Groupon deal:

- I called up in advance to book a session a few weeks before the time we actually went, and the only permissible time windows were 6pm and 8pm, which was inconvenient for me given it was a Friday and we wouldn’t have gotten to the venue from work in time.
- The time slots available on the weekend were more suitable to my schedule, so the second time I tried to arrange a session, was more successful.
- About 50% of the Groupon/LivingSocial deals I try out stick a tip on at the end of the meal, so I wasn’t surprised when they tacked one on. However, the value of the tip was 12.5%: more than the service merited.

As for the deal, there were some non-entities (starters were a tasteless mound of rice), but overall, they were a culinary delight. My favourites were the cheese balls, the potatoes and the prawns (the latter of which there was lamentably little of). My least favourite plate was the pork, and I would have liked less of the chickpeas for some more meat instead.

Another shortcoming over dining at Tierra Peru was a bottle of Inca Kola was £5 for a big bottle, when it didn’t come with ice and tasted far too warm for my liking. Overall, I enjoyed the dining experience there, but for the price of Groupon, the tip and the drink, there didn’t seem to be much in the way of discount.

Grade: B

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review of two karaoke places (The Old School Yard, China City)

I’m quite a big fan of karaoke, and am looking to test out various places in London, then let y’all know my thoughts on them, so if there’s anywhere dire, you don’t have to do that to yourself!

The Old School Yard (Borough)
The place was relatively easy to find, just a quick walk from Borough tube station. The room we were given was a very generous size, so everyone had place to sit down, dump their bags, with there still being plenty of space left over, and the décor was relatively well-maintained, which is more than can be said of other places I’ve been (Bloomsbury Bowling Lane). The song-list was totally modern (One Direction, check. Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, check. Wrecking Ball, check) and facilities extremely easy to operate, and I particularly liked the addition of a cute disco ball in the room to add ambience. If you go during Happy Hour (6pm-8pm), you can get cocktails for £4.50, and they represent decent value for money because after two Long Island Ice teas I was singing loudly and freely with abandon. My trip to the Old School Yard is my favourite memory of going to karaoke; singing out-of-tune and joyfully with my girlfriends was just the greatest fun, and as you can probably see in this photo, I had the time of my life!
Grade: A

China City (Chinatown)

China City is the first place in London where the deposit for the karaoke went on our food, so in essence, the karaoke came free with the food. As a restaurant, there’s definitely better places in Chinatown. The food was overpriced (probably to earn back the cost of operating the karaoke) and over-oily, and, whilst the people I was with didn’t complain that much, I think that was because a few of them didn’t eat Chinese food regularly. I do, and there are several places in Chinatown that outshine China City. The waiters were also very surly and rolled their eyes at me when I asked for serviettes, but that’s nothing new for a Chinese restaurant.

But in terms of karaoke, I can’t fault it. The song-list was up to date and had all the songs that I love jamming to – Fancy, Kanye West, One Direction, and I had a jolly time doing so. The slight downside of having karaoke whilst we had our dinner were that lots of people were reluctant to get up from the dinner table to sing. In fact, the most disappointing factor about this visit was that we were with some self-absorbed preeners who were far more interested in laughing at the bad way I was singing during karaoke than joining in themselves. The popular cheerleader schtick ain't fooling anyone, you're not in high school any more, sweetheart. (My ex, who was there at the time, chose to act aloof and refused to sing. Should have known then that we weren't a good fit). But I won’t let that cloud my opinion of China City. The food wasn’t the best, but I know that with the right company, I could have had a fantastic time here.
Grade: B+ 

If you have a karaoke place you'd like me to review, send me an email at