Saturday, June 30, 2012

Half the year has gone.

Personal highlight of it? Why, that's easy:

Friday, June 29, 2012

And fall into my arms instead.

A couple of outfits I've worn recently:


Boob tube: £2.50, Primark; skirt: £3, H&M sales; heels: £15, Dorothy Perkins sales, necklace: a friend's

Festival gal

Cardigan: £9.99, H&M, top: £8, Dorothy Perkins sales, jeans: £15, TK Maxx, clutch: £5, originally from River Island, bought in charity shop.

Ladies who lunch

Flowery top: £12.75, Forever 21; cardigan:  £9.99, H&M (exactly the same style as in the previous style).

Heels: as per before, dress: £17, Dorothy Perkins sales, necklace: a gift from Italy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review of A Million Lights (Cheryl)

In a recession, we’ve got to be careful with how we spend our pennies. So Cheryl Cole, now ditching the “Cole” part of her name in an attempt to establish her a r t i s t e credentials, charging £10 for her new album, means that a decision into buying or not buying it should not be entered upon lightly. Or you could just always do as I do, and listen to all her songs on YouTube, which counts as listening to the entire album, which gives me jurisdiction to slag it off.

The album has a few strong points. The single “Call My Name” is produced by David Guetta, and it sounds it. The lyrics are nothing deep (Cheryl Cole’s songs never are) Love Killer – good song due to the beat and her voice is a monotonous crapsack, but such is the vision of Guetta, that he elevates it from average pop fare to something you can really tap your feet to. “I Like It” is breathlessly sexy, and the Lana del Rey penned “Ghetto Baby” (which, by the way, lifts whole chunks from Lana’s “Match Made in Heaven” – there’s your self-plagiarism) oozes swagger, even if Cheryl’s delivery of the lyrics is nothing on Lana’s natural-born-sultriness.

The rest of the album is rather drab. Cheryl’s crappy voice is epitomized on Under the Sun and Sexy Den a Mutha is about the song equivalent of Ashley Cole’s penalty against Italy on Sunday, just sayin. The lyrics of Mechanics of the Heart are extremely saccharine and she sounds as whiny as her interview with Piers Morgan. And in Last One Standing, she shows how weak her voice is. The thing is, unlike Nadine Coyle, who genuinely has a sensational voice, and Nicola Roberts, who has a sweet one, there is absolutely nothing special about Cheryl Cole’s voice. Certainly not meriting a third album, and that’s why she has had to do so much promotion, half-dressed, for “A Million Lights” – it certainly doesn’t sell itself on merit, just noticin’.

Save yourself the money and don’t pay any more to this evil cow (she punches toilet attendants just because she doesn’t like the colour of their skin, just remindin’). Failing that, you can download every single one of her songs from mp3skull, that way, you’ll have all the songs on her album without her being a penny richer. Do it. Grade: F (and that’s being generous, just sayin’)

Ladurée Review (in Harrod’s, SW1X 7XL)

This year, for my birthday, I decided to try somewhere a bit more upmarket than my usual eatery. So my best friend and I got our gladrags on and went to Ladurée, having seen it frequently been namedropped by some people on our Facebooks and wondering what the fuss was all about. Not a whole lot, as it turned out.

Pretty much the second we set foot into Ladurée, I knew it wasn’t for me. I whipped my BlackBerry out to take some photos of the inner décor, as I thought it was cute, and some pissy bint just told me I wasn’t allowed to take photos. What the hell kind of pretentious rule is that? Ladurée is so up itself that one isn’t even allowed to use photography inside the restaurant. What, is the flash on my camera going to damage the paint on the overpriced walls? Just wonderin’.

Once I sat down and saw the menu, however, things got even worse. A fruit salad (which contained about 40p’s worth amount of fruit in, tops) cost £6.80, and those so-called famous macaroons of theirs tasted completely bland; I’ve had far better macaroons from Paris, or even just Waitrose.

My friend had this dessert thing that tasted like something that Sainsbury’s decline to sell because it tastes so bad, and the customer service was ATROCIOUS. My friend and I were both more than appropriately dressed for a place that thinks itself something special, but as soon as the waiters saw our handbags weren’t designer label, in their minds, they prioritised the old, divorced and/or widowed women as more important to wait on, as they saw greater potential for a tip there. And of course they were right; Anna and I didn’t tip a damn penny. Truth be told, you’d have to pay me to go back to this motherfucking shower again. Overloaded with fugly clay models, social climbing people intent on chatting shit about the op-e-rahhhhhh all the way through lunch (yawn), and a menu that offers as little quality as much as it overcharges, even Theo Randell compares favourably to this shithole. I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy.

Pure shit. Grade: F.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meeting the Queen.

As you may have noticed by now, this film/footballer/food/whatever it is that I actually blog about blogger has an insane girlcrush on Miss Lana del Rey. I just adore her, I think she’s flawless, and her songs incredibally haunting and beautiful. I was fortunate enough to win tickets to Lovebox, held last weekend, of which she performed on the Sunday gig. And my my, she was incredible.

Lana has been criticized for being a poor performer live in the flesh, and from her rocky start on Blue Jeans, I can now see that 90% of that comes from nerves. As she first came on looking beautiful in a simple but effective combination of apricot blouse and skirt and converse trainers, you could tell she was panic stricken. But the trendy east London crowd in Victoria Park, rife with hipsters for whom Lana del Rey is exactly their cuppa tea, adored her, and we enthusiastically chanted her name throughout, which you could see totally built up her confidence. As such, her rendition of Born to Die was better than that of Blue Jeans and she truly reached her zenith on her most famous Video Games, which she sang beautifully. Furthermore, I detected a cheeky smirk on her face as she sang “I’m in his favourite sundress, watching me get undressed, take that body downturn”, so it’s not unlikely that she was having a fleeting moment of nostalgia at the man and the moment that inspired that lyric.

Disappointingly for me, she didn’t perform Off to the Races or This is What Makes us Girls, which are my two favourite songs from her, and I would have loved to see her deliver live. However, her performances of Summertime Sadness and Million Dollar Man more than made up for it. In the former, she belted it out with gusto as well as giving a truly melodic rendition of the “think I’ll miss you forever” refrain, which I never appreciated before but now cannot get enough of, and when she sang Million Dollar Man, she transformed into an incredible sultry jazz singer and gave the song such a blues vibe that it wouldn’t be out of place in a downturn club in Brooklyn somewhere. Overall, having watched my goddess reach glacial heights up close and personal, I can safely say that she is no fraud. She has satisfied my thirst, and then some. Lana del Rey IS my Rey. <3

(Lovebox was an incredible experience, other highs included the Goddess Grace Jones hula hooping as she sang, and Patrick Woolf's sublime energy. T'riffic times.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ruby Blue (WC2H 7RN)

Smack bang in the middle of London’s Leicester Square is Ruby Blue, a nightclub-bar-restaurant hybrid. With bouncers standing outside and Vegas-esque lights luring you in, there’s something rather daunting about waiting to go in as your name is being checked off a reservation list. But once you’re in there, it’s a very personable place, where the staff are friendly and genuinely go out of their way to help you (I needed to find a mains somewhere to charge up my iPod and one waitress was more than obliging – a very nice touch because in other parts of central London if you were to say “where can I charge up my iPod?” you would be met by nothing but a derisive stare).

The food itself is nothing special; I ordered Thai green chicken curry, and the rice was stale and the chicken wasn’t particularly well-cooked either. The placing of prawn crackers on my plate led me to think that the chefs had gotten Chinese and Thai people mixed up with each other. The “Surf and Turf”, one of Ruby Blue’s featured dishes, a big-ass steak meal, was more of a hit, which tasted very good indeed. But where Ruby Blue really excelled wasn’t in its culinary skills, but its drinks. 5-8pm on a Friday is Happy Hour, when all drinks are half price, and I would recommend that you go along then to take advantage of this deal, for some of their cocktails are out of this world. The Cream Cake was my personal favourite, a delightful blend of cream and Bailey’s. It was a potent drink; I was getting drunk – but the clever thing is I didn’t even notice due to the deliciousness of the drink. And that, to me, is the sign of a great cocktail.

One final thing to say is that whilst from the outside, Ruby Blue likes to give the impression of being some exclusive club for VIP, once you get in there, you notice that this isn’t the case at all. The people watching the England game yesterday were dressed in normal chav attire and the atmosphere inside the bar (really pub) area of Ruby Blue was no different than that from your local pub. It just so happened that the prices would considerably higher. Overall, it was a fun place to be with friends, but somewhat let down by thinking itself to be better than it really was. B- / C+

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sound quality so good, it's out of this world.

Orbitsound T9

As a someone who frequents all manner of pubs to watch matches, little and large, one thing that I always find is that, depending on where you stand in relation to the speakers (pubs usually have two or four speakers around the corners of the room), you rarely experience the optimal sound experience due to being further away from one speaker than the other. Furthermore, from my own experience of handling sound systems, I have noticed that the size of the speaker is by no means any kind of indication of the quality of the sound it produces; bigger most certainly does not equal better. And indeed, the adage of good things coming in small packages is epitomized with Orbitsound’s T9 creation, an absolutely charming and canny little sound bar of dimensions merely 300 x 94 x 94mm. Looking at the thing, (you can gauge the size of the sound bar in relation to the TV, it’s very compact and stylishly designed), you would be amazed at the quality of sound produced. I had the pleasure of watching it in action for the England vs France match, and the quality of the sound produced by one tiny Sound bar would trump that of any modern large speaker that you see in pubs. I was seriously taken aback by the flawlessly dynamic and clear quality of the sound produced – and by such a small machine!

The Orbitsound T9 is more than just a pretty face, with practical features, allowing the user to charge iPod as well, thus doubling up as an iPod dock too. The exciting thing about the Orbitsound T9 sound bar is that it allows small TVs and portable screens to generate an astounding quality – matching that of a cinema speaker. The small size means that the sound bar is also easily portable – meaning you can bring such fabulous sound with you all around. As a student who knows a thing or two about the importance of minimizing clutter when free space is sparse, the Orbitsound T9 soundbar is one of the most impressive and useful inventions to have come out for a long time.

(The T9 soundbar will be on retail from mid July this year. Go along to John Lewis and other selected stores to test it out, and you’ll see I wasn’t exaggerating!)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

5 Brief Cinema Reviews.

Men In Black 3
The third instalment of the terrifically fun sci-fi action series, although this time round Tommy Lee Jones does not feature that match, and his younger re-incarnation in the form of Josh Brolin does. Will Smith does the Will Smith thing better than anyone else and he and Brolin have terrific chemistry (better, arguably, than Smith and Lee Jones do), and the plot itself is very well-thought out and entertaining. There was a twist at the end which unexpectedly drew a tear from me, and the villain Boris is played with gusto by Jemaine Clement. Oh and there’s even time for a fabulous cameo by Nicole Scherzinger at the start! Great fun, recommended. B+.

What to Expect when You’re Expecting
The main draw to this pregnancy themed romcom is, obviously, the glittering cast. Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Jennifer Lopez, Mr Schue off Glee, Dennis Quaid, Anna Kendrick, as well as Chace Crawford for some serious swoon points and Cheryl Cole in a camero so poor that you almost wish she'd stick to singing - then you remember what she sings like. The inter-weaving plotlines regarding various families trying to have a baby in Atlanta (as well as Diaz and Morrison’s plot strand in California) go quite well, and there are some well-done tonal modulations (Anna Kendrick is radiant, as ever.) However, the subplot with the “dad club” run by Chris Rock is just extremely irritating; we’re supposed to believe those fathers have ~swagger? It doesn’t work. Furthermore, I found myself engaged in the plots with differing degrees (Kendrick/Crawford: a lot, Diaz/Morrison: not at all). It’s a romantic comedy that tries to be serious but doesn’t even get the jokes right. C.

The Dictator
Ahhhh, now this WAS funny!! Bruno was a serious mishap in Sacha Baron Cohen’s attempt to re-reach Borat levels of hilarity, but in The Dictator, he’s found his mojo again. He plays General Aladeen, a despotic and rather crazy and deluded dictator of a fictional country. He goes to New York to tear up a peace treaty, aided by his right hand man Ben Kingsley (who is secretly plotting his death). In his botched torture (the failed torture is carried out by cinema’s original loser, John C Reilly), he escapes and finds salvation in Anna Faris’ organic food shop. As with Borat and Bruno, there is no limits to the people who The Dictator offends. But I guess that’s why I found it so funny. Furthermore, unlike Borat, there is an actual plot, an actual adventure, which makes The Dictator marginally more interesting than its predecessor. Plus you just have to pay the admission price to see Cohen and Ben Kingsley snog. B.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
A delightfully entertaining mishmash of superhero characters featuring Robert Downey Jr’s self absorbed Tony Stark (Iron Man), Chris Evans’ earnest Steve Rogers (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo’s calm Bruce Banner (the Incredible Hulk) and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. There’s witty repartee aplenty (one line that had us all guffawing in the audience was “We need a plan of attack!” “I’ve got a plan – attack”) and the visuals are to die for, not to mention the finale showdown in New York, which features some eye-watering CGI and chase sequences. Emotionally, I was left wanting, but from a Hollywood Blockbuster, Avengers is as entertaining as they come, with a truly delicious villain in the form of rising British star Tom Hiddlestone. B+

Snow White and the Huntsman
Oh dearrr. So dull was this film that it took me a good 120 minutes to realise that Chris Hemsworth, who played Thor in Avengers, was the Huntsman in this film, trololololo. Yeah, I was just massively disappointed, especially as the trailer had made this film look epic. My brother pointed out, quite fairly, that one of the biggest failures of the film was that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is supposed to be more beautiful than Ravena (Charlize Theron), and pretty as Stewart is, Charlize Theron is infinitely more beautiful than her, particularly with the fabulous outfits, hair and make-up she sports in this film. Aside from that I was just utterly bored, there were a few action sequences worth a damn but it all seemed rather out of place in a film based on a fairytale. I wasn’t even piqued by the set of Ray Winstone and Eddie Marsdan as dwalves, that’s how dull this film was. F.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

10 Players I'm Looking Forward to Watching in the Euros.

01. Petr Cech (Czech Republic, Chelsea)
Cech’s start to the season for Chelsea was rocky under the clueless tutelage of Andre Village-Idiot and the Portuguese’s fondness for the high line, which left Cech hopelessly exposed. Lo and behold, AVB was sacked and Chelsea re-found their swagger, and one of those who’s performances contrasted most (Tony) starkly with that of their earlier ones is Petr Cech, who finished the season on the highest high possible, making three fabulous penalty saves in the Champions League final. An intelligent, measured man (easily the smartest of the Chelsea squad no matter what Lampard likes to think :p), Petr Cech is one of the few of the Chelsea team who actually keeps himself out of trouble. However, in times of diversity this season, Cech has showed a lion-hearted gutsiness one wouldn’t have expected from a man so soft-spoken that has cemented himself in fans’ hearts, he has captained the team eight times (mainly due to injuries to Terry and AVB’s continual feud with Lampard) and his flawless performance in the CL final is a redemptive example of good things coming to those who wait.

02. Juan Mata (Spain, Chelsea)
Unlike his Chelsea teammate Cech, Mata did not cover himself in glory in the penalty shoot-out in the CL final, being the only Chelsea player who missed his. That he went first purely heaped pressure onto his teammates. But fortunately, that saved penalty did not mata. Juan Mata did not deserve that kind of anguish, for his has been Chelsea’s shining light this season; often when our performances have sucked (and there have been plenty of those), Juan Mata still conjured moments of magic to make our performances seem passable. The diminutive Spaniard has settled into the Chelsea set-up fabulously, being the only one who can coax semi-decent turns from his compatriot Torres, and it makes me mouth water to contemplate how he and Chelsea new boy Eden Hazard will link up when the premier league starts again.

03. Ashley Cole (England, Chelsea)
The player that football fans love to hate, it has been suggested that hecklers simply spur Ashley Cole on to train harder, and play better. A stupendous performance in the CL final that was only blighted by his momentarily lapse of concentration to allow Muller to score (though an argument could be made that he did so because he had half an eye on babysitting David Luiz, who was nursing a hamstring injury throughout), Ashley Cole was the epitome of concentration, agility and skill. He made tackles and interceptions with considerable ease and in the absence of John Terry, had the dual task of marshalling a Chelsea defence that included both centrebacks recovering from long-term spells out injured. He did all these jobs – and more – scoring a crucial penalty that bought the scores level to 3-3, meaning that whilst the haters wept, Cole merely smirked smugly and strutted around on the pitch with his CL medal. As Jamie Foxx and Justin Timberlake might say, you lookin’ at a winner.

04. Luka Modric (Croatia, Tottenham)

05. Joe Hart (England, Man City)

06. Shay Given (Ireland, Aston Villa)

07. David Silva (Spain, Man City)

08. Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine, Dynamo Kyiv)

09. Scott Parker (England, Tottenham)

10. Richard Dunne (Ireland, Aston Villa)

And 5 players who will sorely be missed :

01. Peter Crouch (England, Stoke) Hodgson didn’t pick him #Hodgsonout

02. Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea) injured himself in training :(

03. Gary Cahill (England, Chelsea) Injured in a collision with Joe Hart after being pushed by Dries Mertens. URGH

04. Marko Marin (Germany, Chelsea) Not selected. Hmmm.

05. Adam Johnson & Micah Richards (England, Man City) Hodgson didn’t pick them. #hmmmm