Monday, July 29, 2013

Restaurant review: HI SUSHI (Covent Garden)

As my little adventure three months ago should illustrate, I bloody love sushi. The idea of paying a fixed amount and then stuffing my face is right up my alley, although at Yo Sushi there was a time constraint.

At Hi Sushi, the restraint is that you can eat as much as you want within reason, that is, you get a huge quantity of everything, more than you could want, and are allowed to make "orders" on top of that. This detracts from the buffet-style quality that Yo Sushi had, but on the upside, the quality of the sushi supplied is noticeably better:

It was a while ago that I went, so unfortunately my memory of the actual names of items is a little hazy. However, in the photo above, I loved everything served other than the brown thing on the left.

In terms of the quality/quantity trade-off, I would say that this place has the beating of Yo Sushi. Prices are about similar in the two, but in Yo Sushi they're fairly brazen about the fact that for £19.50, you won't be tasting any of their premium stuff. Pretty much everything I had to eat in Hi Sushi was premium, carefully crafted and satiated by taste buds wonderfully. 

Thus, it is very probable that I'll be saying Hi to Hi Sushi before I re-say Yo to Yo Sushi.

Grade: A

Saturday, July 27, 2013

She's Electric.

I bought an electric blue-coloured sundress in the GAP sales recently, and was quite keen to show it off on Thursday:

Dress: GAP, £24.99 (originally £39.99)
Shoes: Barratt's, £12 (review)
Bangle: Warehouse, £2
Belt: Primark, £4
Earrings: River Island, £5.99
Sunglasses: a London street stall, £8

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Review.

After the Soap and Glory Thick and Fast mascara leaving me most unimpressed, the brand had saving to do with its Sugar Crush body scrub.

Compared to the Soap and Glory Flake Away, Sugar Crush is much more comfortable. The former was borderline painful on application, whereas the sugar granules of Sugar Crush are altogether finer and softer, and thus, take to the skin much better.
In terms of functionality, however, the Flake Away has Sugar Crush beat. Flake Away not only left my skin feeling totally smooth, but shiny, too. Sugar Crush doesn't really do either, and I'm entirely convinced it washes away dead cells either. Granted, it leaves my legs smelling sweeter and more ready for moisturising, but therein lies the problem: with Flake Away, I could often use that product in isolation, and my legs were ready to be bared. With Sugar Crush, it's imperative that I apply oil/moisturiser on my legs after usage, otherwise my legs still aren't quite presentation ready.
Thus, if I were to purchase another Soap and Glory body scrub, I'd definitely opt for Flake Away. However, having used both and neither being just quite right for me, the next time I buy body scrub, I reckon I'll explore options from another brand altogether.

Grade: C

Monday, July 22, 2013

How to make burger/sandwiches (perfect for Summertime).

1. Bung all the burgers in the grill
I usually do the heat and timing by the instructions on the packaging, but Theo just whacked it on 190 and kept an eye on them, deciding for himself when they were ready
2. Chop the tomatos
I didn't do a very good job here as they were unevenly sized... hopefully they'll be closer in size next time (we'll see)
3. Cook the onions
Theo crushed some garlics into the onions, which made them tastier.
4. Apply honey mustard on the bread
This step was new to me, as I was planning on just having ketchup. But the honey mustard definitely gave the burger a nice kick.
5. Chop up the burgers into a size fitting the bread, and put it into the bread with lettuce and tomatos
Finally, we scopped all the onions into the cracks, added some salt and vinegar crisps, helped ourselves to some homemade lemonade, et viola! The perfect Summertime lunch.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hong Kong Buffet (Chinatown) Review

I usually use 50 words when one will do, but I'll keep this one short: do not go to this place.

I chose it because I had a limited amount of time to catch up with an old friend, and sacrificed quality of restaurant for proximity to where we were standing. From the outset, we could see that the quality of the food wasn't great - all mass produced meat dishes, rice plates and the usual, but beggars can't be choosers and for £9.99 (although it came to £11 because the restaurant helps itself to a £1 service charge, fuck that, the service was horseshit, even by Chinatown's taciturn standards), we couldn't really argue.

Well, that's what we thought. But, £11 is £11, and whilst we weren't paying a lot for the quantity we were getting, it sure as hell skimped on quality. Even sweet and sour chicken, an old favourite of mine and very few Chinese restaurants muck up, just because it's so easy and cheap to produce, tasted awful here. I'm not convinced the chicken was actually chicken, and the sauce that came with it was watered down too. The beef definitely wasn't beef, so there's your false advertising. I piled some chips on my plate, just because I thought "how can you go wrong with chips", but even the English favourite was bastardised by being cooked too dry and they tasted utterly stale.

Quantity, plenty. Quality? None.

There were a few things I managed to consume - the noodles weren't horrific, but then again, if any place in Chinatown can't cook noodles then I really do worry for them. And the pineapples were nice (but the mango cubes were not, so don't even think about it.) As for the service, well. I'm Chinese myself, so I know better than anyone that Chinese people be not the nicest. I don't expect decent service of any kind when I walk into a Chinaman restaurant, unless I'm with my father, because then the waiters bend over backwards in the hope that he'll hook them up with a job (troll, keep dreamin' sunshines). So I'm not naive; I didn't expect miracles. But when I asked for a top-up of water, this Chinese woman rolled her eyes at me and muttered "one minute" in the tersest of tones. Charming!

Still, when you work in a shack as joyless as Hong Kong Buffet, it's no wonder that she takes her anger at life out at the punters. Working in Hong Kong Buffet, one of the worst restaurants I've ever been to in my entire life, would be enough to drive any waitress to drink, or worse.

Grade: F

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sensationail starter kit review

I got this kit last year and whenever I want to give a long-lasting, quality finish on my fingernails, I use it. The packaging says your nails will stay unchipped for up to 2 weeks, and unusually, this product actually did what the advertising promised.

My favourite part of the kit is the LED lamp, which looks so cute when switched on!

The bright pink light is reminiscent of those that you get in a fancy salon, and it's actually functional as well, reducing the drying time of nail polishes considerably. I use this lamp when I'm applying other nail varnishes as well and its cut drying time (my least favourite part of applying nail polish) on them all.

The finish on my nails looks fantastic - I would have taken photos but my application was embarrassingly sloppy - but when done properly, they actually do look salon-worthy. I love this kit because it means I can give the impression of having my nails done professionally when I've really just done it to myself ;)

Grade: A

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Trip round Harrod's in 2012.

Last Summer, me and a friend went round Harrod's and basically took photos of everything we liked the look of. A few snaps:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The search for London's best breakfast: Frankie and Benny's.

I love breakfast. It's my favourite meal of the day, so I've decided to conflate my love of breakfast, eating out and taking photos by trialing the full English breakfasts at various restaurants/diners across London before finding my dream one.

The above breakfast was about £5 at Frankie and Benny's, an American-style diner which does a mean dessert, with a little bit more for a tea. My least favourite item was the bubble, which I found pretty tasteless, but the eggs were runny, as I like them, and the streaky bacon was a dream. Overall, I finished everything on my plate in a pretty rapid time, so my first venture into breakfast tasting this Summer sure wasn't a bad one.

Grade: A-

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Family trip to ASK (and unneccessary usage of flash)


The one photo resembling a decent picture - no overuse of flash ;)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Restaurant review: Hong Kong Bistro (Bath)

I'd heard lots of positive things from my peers about Hong King Bistro, but didn't visit until after my exams in late May. And the experience was so brilliant that I took my mother back!

The plate that was recommended to me was the Pad Thai (pictured above), which was a mixture of everything I love about oriental food, which was dosed out in generous portions. The Pad Thai is Hong Kong Bistro's most famous dish, and for good reason; it's a combination of all the flavours I love. I love dim sum as much as the next person, but at times when you want a plate just to yourself, no sharing, I'd definitely recommend Hong Kong Bistro, which definitely doesn't skimp on size.

The prices are reasonable, other than starters:

Both plates pictured above were about £4-5 each, which, given that they could be eaten in about two bites, doesn't exactly represent the most worthwhile value for money. However, the satay chicken was wonderful to taste; I loved the sauce!

On my second visit to Hong Kong Bistro, I had a mixed-seafood type dish, which tasted great, so much so that I even wolfed down all the mushrooms - an ingredient I'm not usually that fond of. I love prawn dishes and they were used in abundance, which definitely helped. The thick noodles complemented the fish and vegetable a treat as well.

With plenty of space and discrete staff who don't pester you, Hong Kong Bistro is definitely one of the finer restaurants in Bath. If the starters were a bit cheaper, it'd be pretty much near perfect.

Grade: B+/A-

Fragrance review: CK IN2U HER (Calvin Klein)

Eau de toilette is, by definition, a diluted form of perfume. Considering I live my life very much by the mantra “go hard or go home”, then, it would appear that the very essence of Eau de Toilette would imply it wasn’t for me.

Well, yes and no. Calvin Klein scents are absolutely to-die-for (Calvin Klein’s Euphoria, which I’d received as a gift in the Summer of 2010, is one of my favourites in a very saturated market), so even at weaker concentration, CKIn2U doesn’t smell bad by any stretch of the imagination. 

As a subtle day spritz, I think it’s fantastic – appropriately sweet-smelling without being completely overpowering.

It’s hard to describe the precise scent of CKIn2U, but it definitely has the ingredients of the familiar floral smell of many other Eau de Toilettes, with an oriental musky twist. On closer sniff, I detected just the faintest whiff of vanilla as well, which I love.

As far as presentation goes, I’ve seen better (in terms of favourites, I’d have to pick out Marc Jacob’s Daisy bottle as the standout in the presentation department), but you do get a very generous portion for your money: 50ml. 

Grade: B

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Models Own Eyelash Curler Review

I bought these last week, when, at the peak of my despair over the fugliness of my eyes, I resorted to desperate measures: the medieval torture device-lookalike that is the eyelash curler.
To this items credit, it didn’t gouge my eyes out, which is why I’d been evading them for many a year, and after watching a few YouTube tutorials I immediately picked up how they worked. Furthermore, the hot pink handles of the product are what set it apart for me from the cheaper but dull-looking Boots own-brand, and the more expensive and sophisticated looking No.7 version of the item.
My main gripe with the product is a pretty big one, and that is of functionality. I did what the tutorials said: slotted my eyelashes into the gap and help it up for 30 seconds, and my eyelashes did not curl. At all. Now, it would be harsh to fault that entirely with the product because my eyelashes, like my hair, are the most stubbornly straight little buggers in the universe and I sort of knew before even buying the product that eyelash curlers would make very little difference. But I didn’t know they’d make none whatsoever. So really, the process of me “curling” my eyelashes proved to be nothing other than a Placebo effect that costs £6. My eyelashes are, and are doomed forever to be, irredeemably small and ugly.
Grade: C/D

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Evaluation of my other mascaras.

When it comes to applying mascara, I have the requisite resolve, but sadly not the manual dexterity. So I didn't give up after my experiment on Monday with the appalling Soap and Glory product, and instead turned my attentions to my other three mascaras.

Rimmel Sexy Curves
The brush for this mascara has a rubber-like quality, which I didn't like very much as I thought it felt flimsy against my eyelashes. However, in its favour, the three bumps across the brush ensures all areas of the eyelash are covered. Something else I liked about this product was, whilst it may not necessarily have lengthened my eyelashes by much, it definitely worked to separate them all.

Maybelline Collosal Volum' Express
I've been using this mascara all through my university years, but as I don't use mascara that much, there's still a fair bit in the tube. This mascara has served me very well; easy to apply and effective, its only shortcoming is that it does cause a bit of mess occasionally, but as I gained more practice at applying mascara, I became more accustomed to it.

Build It Mascara

I can't actually remember what brand this mascara is, as I got it with a magazine and sadly the lettering has worn off. You use it in two steps: first, apply the white part to lengthen your eyelashes, and then the black part to tint it, and for extra volume on top. The shape of both the brushes mean it isn't terribly easy to work with, but the two stages of application does give it the edge over competitors.

So all in all, none of these are perfect, but they're all a darn sight better than the woeful Soap and Glory mascara. My voyage to apply mascara properly hasn't ended... yet.

Graduation nails.

Our graduation robes are the standard black, but the sashes/ribbons down them are yellow and green, so I thought I'd paint my nails accordingly.

Thankfully, as I have quite the arsenal of nail polish colours, I didn't need to buy any new colours to fulfil this, instead drawing on supplies from existing reserves:

Colours: Rimmel London in Green Grass, Missguided Mislead (free with magazine years ago) and The Works topcoat
I painted four nails yellow, with the ring finger green:
I'm undecided about this. As you can see, the Missguided nail polish has sparkles in it, where the green is just a solid block of colour. I actually have Rimmel London in a similar shade to the yellow, but just without sparkles, and I figure I probably should have gone for continuity.
Oh well, what's done is done, I ain't removing it! :p

Monday, July 01, 2013

Soap and Glory's Thick & Fast Mascara Review.

My eyes are small, bordering on non-existant. Usually in photos, I'm able to disguise this by hiding them behind sunglasses. However, this isn't really an option for graduation (or at least, I'd bloody hope not; imagine how bizarre I'd look strutting up on stage to accept my certificate in a pair of shades), so I've had to resort to more conventional eye-opening tricks of the trade. The standard one, of course, is mascara, but my success with the sooty-eyed-eyelash-lengthener has left me a state resembling the bear of my homeland in the past, so it was no surprise that I approached this product with trepidation.

Relatively inexperienced with mascara I may be, but even I knew enough about them to realise that this was a complete dud of a product. As aforementioned, my eyes & eyelashes are already woefully short, so you could argue that this product doesn't have a whole lot to worth it. But them, the counter argument is, as my eyelashes are so short, you would think any impact, however small, would be noticeable.
Well, the only real impact this item made on my eyelashes were that they made each individual hair stick together, which was definitely not what I was going for. The formula was extremely, extremely clumpy and came out in solid clots. Furthermore, its longevity was equally woeful. I tried this one, then stayed in my bedroom and red a chapter of a book, and then inspected my eyes, by the time which I noticed that what infinitesimal difference it made previously had worn off, leaving black marks under my eyelids instead. Definitely not the effect I was after.
I won't even go into the side effects of how application of this mascara made my eyes water, and various other horror stories it incurred. I'm a big fan of Soap and Glory skincare items, so thought it was a safe bet to pay £10 on this mascara. As it turned out, I was conned by the name and the pretty packaging; money down the drain. Never again.
Grade: F