Monday, February 17, 2014

Girlcrush List, 2014.

We are not talking about the horrendous American Hustle love-in that was the BAFTAs last night. I'm delighted 12 Years a Slave won Best Film, because it was comfortably the best movie of 2013 and possibly one of the best of all time, and Barkhad Abdi winning Supporting Actor was awesome. But as for the AH love-in, and to a lesser extent, the Gravity one, the less the said the better.

So, to take my mind off that shambles, it's time for the 2014 edition of my lovely ladies!

10. Taylor Swift (new entrant)
I don't know if it was when I was thinking about the poignancy of the lyrics of Teardrops on my Guitar, or bopping along to I Knew You Were Trouble., that I realised, I really appreciate Swift's failed love life. Because it allows her to write some incredibly perceptive, true pieces of the messiness that is amour, set to her country music surroundings. Furthermore, her music has evolved with time, so that now and then there'll be a trendy smattering of dub step in her ditties, but she never deviates too far from the Nashville roots that served her so well. Plus, despite having legs all the way up to heaven, she doesn't flash her skin that much at all, which for a young woman trying to sell records, is mighty refreshing. Unlike the likes of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift doesn't have to work her ass off trying to shock. She just lets her sweet music do the talking.

09. Lupita Nyong'o (new entrant)

To say I was displeased when Jennifer Lawrence won Supporting Actress at the BAFTAs last night is an understatement. How Lawrence's overbaked caricature of a New Jersey housewife won over Nyong'o's measured, heartbreaking turn as poor abused slave Patsey is a goddamn travesty. Now, the way the precursors have gone, it looks like Jlaw will indeed win her second Oscar in a row, so stealing the crown that is rightfully Lupita's. But no matter who wins the golden statue come March, Lupita owns Jlaw, nay, all of Hollywood, in the fashion stakes. From the moment she rocked up to the Golden Globes in a red cape, to the dazzling emerald ensemble she wore last night, Nyong'o is queen at rocking block colour in a less-is-more approach to high fashion. Oscar or not, this Yale graduate is a brilliant actress with fantastic sartorial choices, and will go far.

08. Sarah Hyland (new entrant)

Famous for playing the bimbo big sister off Modern Family, the most striking part of Sarah Hyland's appearance are her big beautiful eyes. These are complemented with other classical beauty features - button nose, soft cheeks, gorgeous smile, as well as a skinny figure I'd simply kill for, and decent cleavage that is sported proudly throughout the show in a, to quote Phoebe off Friends, "obviously, yet classy way". Hubba bubba.

07. Miranda Kerr (up 3 places)

I like it when strong, attractive women shed themselves of their deadbeat spouses, and when I heard Miranda Kerr had dropped her crap actor of a husband, Orlando Bloom, I loved her even more, so propelling this dime of a lady even higher on my girl crush list. She's all over Mango when I go in, and I think she's the perfect choice for that store, as their outfits are as sleek, classy and chic as Miss Kerr herself. And let's not forget her knockout bod; you don't become a Victoria's Secret model for nothing, after all.

06. Cara Delevingne (new entrant)

Such is Cara's swaggering confidence, that I was surprised to discover she was only 1m 71cm tall. Not that that's short by anyone's standards, but to be a catwalk model you generally have to be 5'8''. That Delevingne could toss out the rulebook shows she had a certain je ne sais quoi that dazzled all the chief designers. Her striking eyebrows remain her most famous attribute, but this sleek-limbed queen also has a tidy body, great skin and beguiling grey-blue eyes, the latter of which reel you in in every photo I've seen of her. Verily I say, in a few years time, she will have displaced Kate Moss as the alpha supermodel.

05. Kristen Stewart (up 2 places)

Poor, beleaguered Kristen. Mocked for her acting, and now, mocked for her poetry, as she bared her soul by revealing some of her scribblings. Granted, it was a little overwrought. A bit try hard. That enjambment tho!!!

Literary pretension aside, verily I say, this list isn't an acting competition, and Stewart's awkward, aloof presence at awards ceremonies and promos is miles away from Anne Hathaway's polished Oscar campaign last year, where she kept insisting repeatedly that she wasn't fussed whether she won or not (she was only convincing herself). Stewart may not be the most likeable, but she is 100% herself, and for that, I thoroughly respect and admire her.

04. Mila Kunis (up 1 place)

Last Friday, in the Wetherspoon's at Victoria Station. I was talking to two of my colleagues about the scene in Black Swan where Mila Kunis goes down on Natalie Portman. "It's really intense", I'd said. "At one point, when she's really getting into it, she looks up from what she's doing and Mila's eyes look SOOOO BIG".

That is all.

03. Selena Gomez (up three places)
What I said previously about how I love it when powerful women ditch their loser spouses? Well Selena Gomez did the mother of all ditches when she rid herself of Justin Bieber, who, it was rumoured, couldn't deal with Gomez's fame and fortune. Well he can shove it, because not only is SG a great screen presence (on TV, movies and on stage), but her baby-faced cuteness is now evolving into something darker, showing hints of a tigress veneer under the innocent smiles. She was the best thing about the shambles that was Spring Breakers, and Come and Get it was one of my jams of 2013. Keep being awesome, Selena.

02. Dianna Agron (non-mover)

Whilst I'd deem some of the other girls on this list as sexy, Dianna Agron will forever be beautiful. She is beauty personified. The epitome of elegance. Pretty blonde hair, those cut-glass cheekbones, plump lips and best of all, her amber eyes, which are Disney-wide and hold my gaze whenever I'm watching her. Now that she's not on Glee, I don't even bother with that crap any more, and only Dianna Agron's loveliness could entice me into parting dollar to watch ballacks like The Family.

01. Lana del Rey (non-mover)

Ohai. My Queen Lana. Hated by many but never bettered, Lana's alternative, kooky charms will never be for everyone, but are fully for me. Her song Young and Beautiful was the only highlight (bar Leonardo DiCaprio) of Baz Lurhmann's messy Great Gatsby remake, and whilst it's been a quiet year for her overall, when she does pop up with songs, they never fail to satiate my appetite - she did a haunting cover of Once Upon a Dream for the upcoming Disney movie Maleficient, which is now top of my most eagerly awaited 2014 releases because of that. I'm hoping 2014 will be a bit busier than last year for Lana on the music front, but even if it isn't, she'll probably top this list next year anyway. She just has that kind of spell over me.

*Frankie Sandford off The Saturdays, a frequent entry on my girl crush list, missed it this year, because, unlike Miranda Kerr and Selena Gomez, she hasn't shed her deadbeat yet.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cake watch: Starbucks carrot cake.

Grade: B+.

2014 BAFTA Predictions.

Seeing as the likes of The Dallas Buyers Club wasn't in contention at all in the nominations, the results tonight will be a bit different from the Oscars, so my predictions have gone with that BAFTA vibe of trying not to mirror their American cousins in every single move.

Best Film: 12 Years a Slave (alternative: Gravity)
Outstanding British Film of the Year: The Selfish Giant (alternative: Gravity)
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity (alternative: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave)
Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (alternative: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (alternative: Judi Dench, Philomena)
Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips (alternative: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave)
Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (alternative: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine)
Original Screenplay: Inside Llewyn Davies (alternative: American Hustle)
^^American Hustle will probably take this one, but I refuse to believe a film that shoddily written could win an award until I see it.
Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave (alternative: The Wolf of Wall Street)
Cinematography: Gravity (alternative: 12 Years a Slave)
Editing: Captain Phillips (alternative: The Wolf of Wall Street)
Production Design: The Great Gatsby (alternative: Behind the Candelbra)
Costume: The Invisible Woman (alternative: The Great Gatsby)
Music: 12 Years a Slave (alternative: The Book Thief)
Makeup/Hair: The Great Gatsby (alternative: The Hobbit 2)
Sound: Rush (alternative: Captain Phillips)
VFX: Gravity (alternative: Iron Man 3)
Foreign Film: The Act of Killing (alternative: Blue is the Warmest Colour)
Animated Film: Frozen (alternative: Monster's University)
Documentary: The Act of Killing (alternative: Tim's Vermeer)
Rising Star Award: Léa Seydoux (alternative: Will Poulter)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Freebie watch: VQ Bloomsbury (valid 'til Valentine's Day)

If you sign up with your email address here, you can pop along to VQ Bloomsbury, which is less than a minute's walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station, for this:

What are you waiting for? It was delicious. And free as a bird!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tea watch: 加多寶 herbal tea.

I got given a crate of 加多寶 herbal teas for Christmas, and have been drinking a can a day. They're very much an acquired taste - my brother had one sip and didn't touch it again, whereas me and my parents love it. It does have a very sweet taste, which appeals to my sweet tooth, but the rest of the  ingredients are all extremely organic and good for you, so you could do much worse than to drink this. The only possible stumbling block is the price (it's considerably pricier than other teas), but if you're looking for a treat, I recommend you give this a go.

Grade: A-

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Junk food watch: Trilogy meal, KFC

These were available over the Christmas period, and I have to say, they are a lot better value for money than the Zinger Meal, which costs the same price, £5.99. Roll on Christmas just for these tbh.

Grade: A

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Fish and Chip watch: Work Canteen.

Scampi and chips with tartar sauce and peas.

Grade: B (I love scampi, but the peas were dry, which was a massive disappointment)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

2 Guns.

Yesterday, Chelsea took away Manchester City's illustrious home record at the Etihad with a classy and thoroughly well-deserved win. Gary Cahill was one of the most head-turning players on the pitch, second only to Eden Hazard, who pwned Zabaleta and made Demichelis look like a buffoon (yet The Guardian only deigned Hazard 100th in the world, there's your dumbassery), and I thought I'd celebrate the top, top win with a cheeky pic spam of his top, top arms.

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You get a cheeky bit of Eden bod in this one too *___*

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Exactly how I felt last night, Gaz.

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As thick as tree trunks *__*

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I took this one myself at a Champions League home game when he was warming up just a few yards in front of me. The temptation to run onto the pitch was overwhelming, believe me.

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It's not just his arms that are lush. DAT PHYSIQUE. (Although this game was when we lost away to Juve, and Di Matteo was sacked, so perhaps I shouldn't be celebrating it so much). ;___;

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Lucky Ivanovic, s'all I'm saying'.

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Those arms wrapped around Mata (who I'm still gutted we sold, btw. But that's a rant for another day...)

And again, lucky Ivanovic. *___*

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Gary Cahill and John Terry. Also known as #GERRY

PS. He's better than Vincent Kompany, just announcin'.

Meal Deal watch: the Co-op.

Drink, sandwich and snack: £3.

I've tried an expansive range of Meal Deals, and in terms of value for money, the Co-op one blows its competition out of the water. You get a wide selection of sandwiches and pastas and salads to choose from, though in terms of stifling your hunger, you simply must have the BLT, which is both generous with its quantities of bacon and sauces. Unlike other Meal Deals, energy drinks are included in the drink options, which is a perfect pick-me-up for my afternoon lectures. And the snack selection is great too; I vary between getting the healthy option (pineapples or other fruit), and the caramel shortbread, which tastes like heaven.

The best part is, often, the price of the individual components will touch six quid! A total bargain, and more than suffices for a healthy lunch (well, healthier than my other option, which is to go to Maccy D's ;) ). Love this Meal Deal.

Grade: A

Sunday, February 02, 2014

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Café Richoux (Mayfair)

A brief walk away from Bond Street Tube station is this delightful French patisserie and café, which I cannot recommend enough. Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, dinner or lunch you’re after, you’d do well to give this place a visit.

As it was early afternoon that I went there, I figured it wasn’t too late for an eggs benedict. The last time I had an eggs benedict in a restaurant was in Smollensky’s back in September 2012. I’d thought that was pretty fantastic, but the Richoux one just blew it out of the water. I’d requested to have the eggs soft, as runny eggs with the yolk all yellow is one of my favourite things to consume. They’d cooked it to that level, and better. And the salmon that was served with it was brilliant as well – no Sainsbury’s salmon there. At £12.95, the dish wasn’t cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for here, and that is quality, quality, quality. Even the salad on the side was perfect; the little sprinkle of balsamic on top elevated it above the usual bog standard out-of-the-pack rabbit food.

For dessert, I had three macaroons, chocolate, vanilla and lavendar. Pretty much a given considering we were in a French café. However, since my nightmare experience in the unbelievably pretentious and up-its-own-arse Ladurée, I’ve approached macaroons with some trepidation. Fortunately, the macaroons here actually tasted good. So light I felt like I was floating, yet conversely, deliciously creamy. The lavender in particular, was a delight, both because of the rarity of the flavour, and also the blend of biscuit and filling.

As you may have noticed, I am generally quite a grumpy food-blogger. If I’ve shelled out for a meal and the slightest thing goes wrong, I’ll remember it and jot it down so I can bitch about the restaurant’s shortcomings on my blog with the venom of the deadliest snake. That's just how this Chinalady rolls. However, I genuinely do not have a single gripe with Café Richoux. Tasty, elegant dishes, and a great vibe, this is exactly how French dining in London should be. Simply put, everything Ladurée aspires to, and fails to be.

Grade: A

Junk food watch: Zinger Meal, KFC.

Zinger meal with chips, two pieces of chicken and one side (gravy, always gravy!), £5.99, KFC.

Grade: B+