Thursday, December 26, 2019


As part of my job, I have to sit actuarial exams in tandem to working. I sat CM1 and CS1 in April, and CS2 in September (the M stands for Maths and S stands for Statistics). I have had the good fortune of having passed all three exams I sat this year (hence the rather extravagant Christmas present I got myself), but luck was only a small factor in why I was successful. John Lee, who’s expert tutelage I received for the two Statistics modules, played a huge part.

That's not him btw.

His new book, Confessions of an Actuarial Tutor, is a compendium of amusing things that happened to him in his ~20 years of teaching actuarial students. For anyone who’s ever met John, he writes as he speaks: a mixture of gallows humour, self-deprecatory banter, nerdy mathematical jokes and a sprinkle of that unique John Lee eccentricity.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Happiness is the same price as red bottoms.

In a happy sequel to me getting my Gal Gadot piercing, I passed the exam I sat in my September sitting. As I've developed a tendency to treat myself for exam passes (and the substantial toil I put myself through to pass them), I also got myself something for being successful this time. 

Except, whereas a cartilage piercing only costs £30, I levelled up substantially this time, with £495 Louboutins:

Those red soles ❤️

For my next exam pass, I won't be splurging on something quite as extravagant (I'll probably get another ear piercing!), but I just had to get these heels this time. 

I've heard Louboutins, or 'red bottoms', name-dropped in many of my favourite hip-hop or pop songs (whether it be from Iggy Azalea, Cardi B, J-Lo, Ariana Grande or Lizzo), so there's always been a cachet around them. 

My two personal favourite references to Loubies in music is Ariana Grande trilling 'happiness is the same price as red bottoms' in 7 Things, and Jennifer Lopez (who I will be rooting for to win Best Supporting Actress next year for her fierce performance in Hustlers)'s song Louboutins.

And now I finally have a pair of red bottoms to call my own. ❤️

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

My 10 favourite films of 2018 [5-3]

Part 1 of the blog was here! As I've written longer mini-reviews for the top five this year, but don't intend on writing a full review of the first-placed film (like I did last year with Dunkirk #twinksonabeach), I'm going to divide coverage of the top 5 as a 3:2 split!

05. The Favourite

Yorgos Lanthimos made my personal top 5 of 2017 for his deliciously wicked take on the Greek tragedy, The Killing of the Sacred Deer, and he does the business again with another amoral morality tale, although of a very different flavour.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

My 10 favourite films of 2018 [10-6]

I know, I know. 2019 is nearly complete, and I'm only now dropping the favourite films of 2018 blog? In my defence, I have to feel like I really endorse all the films in my top ten to merit writing a blog about them, and, for the most of 2019, I hadn't seen enough 2018 titles which inspired that level of passion.

However, having caught up with some of the titles that came out in 2018 that I wasn't able to catch then, you can now consider me sufficiently enthused! If you're curious about what my 10 to 6 was for 2017, click here (spoiler alert: some Chalamethirst is present).

10. Game Night

Max and Annie, a married couple who are somewhat uninspired by the monotony of their lives, find their weekly Game Night upstaged, when Max's brother Brooks gets fake-kidnapped. Or so they think. As they track him down, they begin to realise that he's truly in jeopardy, and Max, Annie and their group of friends must use their wiles, resourcefulness and knowledge of random trivia to save Brooks.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

OOTD: cocktails in a pop-up bar in Paddington

Shirt: Hawes and Curtis
Trousers: Topshop

I usually find Hawes and Curtis shirts a bit steep, but there was an Easter weekend deal on them (3 for £X, I can't remember how much exactly now), and my credit card was also offering 15% cash back on money spent there. Given that I adore H&C's lovely designs, I took this as a sign that I should stock up on some work shirts!

Sunday, October 06, 2019

TV review: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK season 7 (Netflix)

this review contains spoilers for the final season of OITNB. I've left it quite long after the show dropped before posting this review, in the hope that fans of the show have caught up by now!

The final season of OITNB had a lot of loose plot strands to tie up, including Taystee being given a life sentence for a murder she didn't commit; how Piper acclimatises to life on the outside, whilst her wife Alex is still incarcerated; and Daya being the prison's chief drug pusher, whilst her mother supplies the drugs and her boyfriend, the Head Guard, sneaks them in.

This is a lot to juggle as it is, but OITNB's scope has never been anything less than ambitious, and in keeping with topical issues, the prison has freed up space to house detainees who are on the precipice of being deported. Two of said detainees include Maritza and Blanca, inmates who had been released in previous seasons.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Nice dinner I had last week with work.

As part of a client dinner, my Company prepared this gorgeous and delicious meal last week. It tasted and looked brilliant, so I thought it would be rude not to share pictures of all the courses!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit at the V&A

My friend Joy invited me to the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit at the Victoria & Albert museum, and it was an afternoon very well spent! The gowns were absolutely to die for, and it would be amiss of me not to share some of the sumptuous photos I took!

The gown wore by Ziyi Zhang at the Live for Life premiere... stunning!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

My Gal Gadot piercing

As part of my job, I have to sit professional exams in order to become a qualified actuary. My first sitting for these exams were this April, where I sat two. I was fairly confident that I'd passed Statistics but almost certain that I failed Maths.

So, imagine my euphoria come results day in early July, when I saw my name on the pass list for both exams that I sat! An exam pass is so much more satisfying when you've made peace with yourself that you were going to fail it!

As a treat to myself for all that hard work I put into those passes (I was knee-deep in revision notes all the way through April; I didn't even know certain football matches had happened), I got the top of my ear pierced, as photographed below:

Given how passionate I am about films and film star culture, it should come as no surprise to you that I was inspired to get this cartilage piercing, after seeing it on Gal Gadot:

I'm not so vain and deluded that I consider myself remotely in even the same league as Ms. Gadot, but at least now I have something in common with my own pick for the most gorgeous woman in a 2016 film!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Restaurant review: MAI SUSHI (Kings Cross)

Eat Tokyo is my favourite Japanese restaurant in London. Their dishes are marvellous, so reasonably priced, and their meals are both flavourful and healthy. Because of this, I've dined there over ten times, and it's become my go-to Japanese place when I don't feel like researching other places.

Concerned that Eat Tokyo was becoming my favourite due to my own laziness and inertia, I decided to scope out its competition. As part of my job, I have tutorials for professional actuarial qualifications in Kings Cross, and I saw that Mai Sushi, which has a very salubrious TripAdvisor rank of being a top 1,300 restaurant in over 19,000 in London, was located in the vicinity of where my classes were. Thus, I decided it would be rude not to go there for lunch one day.

To start, I had veggie tempura. It was nice, but for £6.50, the structural integrity of it could have been more precise, robust (John Wick Chapter 2 reference, ehehe). You get roughly the same quantity of food for the same price at Eat Tokyo, and the one at Eat Tokyo is much more satisfying.

There were a few sushi boats on the menu at Mai Sushi. On one of my countless revisits to Eat Tokyo, I had actually tried a boat once, pictured in the centre below:

There's something about a whole lot of sushi, all laid out together, that I just can't resist, and the quality of the salmon at Eat Tokyo is unparalleled.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Restaurant review: CANTINA DEL PONTE (South Bank)

Situated by the riverside are a range of restaurants, which entice traveling commuters in with their fragrant smells and sought-after location. I try to avoid falling into the trap of dining at a place just because it happens to be in the right place at the right time when I'm hungry, but one day last Summer, I gave in. Such were the options available, I thought Cantina del Ponte looked like the best best of the restaurants on offer, and thus, gave it my custom.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Written in black and white

This blog is rated 12A for infrequent strong language.

Last week, in preparation for watching Octavia Spencer get her Gone Girl on in Ma, I watched Black or White. The film itself was extremely forgettable, with aspirations of Oscar glory but not enough quality to realise those dreams, but the thing that did stick out about the film, to me, was this line:

The BBFC have stated in previous podcasts that the 'MF word' is considered a 15-rated term. It's why Eat Pray Love, a PG-rated film in every other sense, was 15.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Bar review: ADVENTURE BAR (Clapham High Street)

Having visited and reviewed the Adventure Bar in Covent Garden, I postulated whether the chain's venues outside of central London were better than the flagship one. The fact that DUSK (a terrific app that allows you have a free drink a night) featured Adventure Bar when I happened to be at Clapham Junction, meant I could put this hypothesis to the test.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

OOTD: My 'Gareth Southgate x City of Stars' look

This look was partly inspired by Gareth Southgate rocking a waistcoat during the World Cup. Although I don't have a waistcoat, I do own this rather fetching sleeveless sweater, which I've paired with a black starry blouse. Thus, due to my compulsive desire to enforce a film reference on everything, this is my Gareth Southgate x City of Stars outfit.

Point of interest, the last time I mixed Gareth Southgate with 'City of Stars', I covered the song, called 'Dear Gareth Southgate'.

Shirt: Warehouse
Sweater vest: Alba Moda
Trousers: John Lewis
Glasses: Red or Dead

Monday, May 27, 2019

8 Things I Learned from the 2018 BBFC Annual Report

This blog is rated 15 for references to violence, sexual violence, and bragging from the author.

The 2018 BBFC Annual Report actually came out a bit earlier this year than we're used to; last year's report dropped on July 19th, whereas 2018's one came almost two month's earlier. However, so switched on are my BBFC-senses that I seemed to anticipate this, as I wrote my prediction blog a few weeks ago!

So, as per tradition for the past three years (2015 et 2016 et 2017), here were some notable points I took when devouring the report!

01. Emma knows her BBFC
This was also one of my takeaways from last year's report, and I'm aware it's a bit self-aggrandising to bring it up again, but it's not like me to self-promote, now is it? 😏

In my anticipation blog, I correctly called that Red Sparrow would be the most complained-about film of 2018, followed by Peter Rabbit, Show Dogs, A Northern Soul and Ready Player One. I even correctly predicted that Love, Simon's trailer would get the BBFC complaints.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Film review: AN INSPECTOR CALLS (Guy Hamilton, 1954)

The Birlings, an upper-class family are celebrating the engagement of their daughter to her boyfriend. The patriarch of the Birling family owns many of the factories in their town, and the family certainly act like it. Then comes a knock at the door, with Inspector Poole interrupting their dinner party. He wishes to discuss the suicide of a local girl, Eva Smith, and the part each of the family members played in it. And their wealth isn't going to get them out of the awkward recriminations that will follow.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Second-guessing which films got the BBFC the most complaints in 2018

Every July, comes Christmas time for film classification nerds, when the BBFC drop their annual report. We love to pore over the report, read between the lines at the BBFC’s evasions and obfuscations, and the PDF enriches our appreciation of film classification, whilst teaching us a thing or two about film overall.

As my Oscar predictions show, I’m somewhat keen on predicting film-related things. Thus, using my experiences of the 2018 UK releases I’ve watched, my observations from how people have interacted with the BBFC Twitter account, and word of mouth from others, here be the 2018 UK releases that I think got the BBFC the most feedback last year. Point of clarification: by '2018 UK releases', I refer to films that came out in UK cinemas in 2018. Something like The Favourite, which had a 2018 US release date, came out here in 2019, so wouldn’t count. You can expect to see complaints for that in 2019's BBFC annual report!

01. Red Sparrow
Jennifer Lawrence is wooden af

Sunday, April 21, 2019

OOTD: new haircut

With the sun finally hitting the UK, I decided my long hair of previous was getting too unmanageable, and thus, in trimming it, I've gone from Alicia Vikander in The Light Between Oceans length to Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane length! And, in keeping consistent with the Chastain look, I've duly painted my nails black, like Liz Sloane had!

Dress: Marietta dress from Hobbs
Earrings: Amazon
Glasses: Red or Dead

The Marietta dress is now  the third dress from Hobbs I own (the other two: un et deux). Their dresses are perfect for the kind of aesthetic I'm going for at work: elegant and demure.

I find clothes definitely help with the 'fake it 'til you make it' mentality, by which I mean, even if I'm in a sub-optimal mood, if I'm at least sharply dressed at work, I feel better about myself. This then helps to improve my frame of mind, and how I carry out my work.

Mark Twain absolutely nailed it when he said 'clothes make the man'.

Friday, April 19, 2019


For my Secret Santa this year, I was given the stationery kit below:

As I have to sit professional qualifications as part of my job, I found a perfect use for them: to make notes with, and highlighting the stuff I was reading. In fact, the notes I made for this review were done in the midst of revision, so I could report back on any functionality issues with the stationery as I was using it.

I'll start with the good: aesthetically, the stationery was very pleasing. The faces on the vitamin ballpen are adorable and the design of the syringe highlighters is dinky, with the colour of the ink displayed through the clear acrylic. The overall theme of stationery made in the image of doctor's tools was a neat idea, and visually, the designers pulled it off.

Unfortunately, when it came to usability and practicality, the set fell short. The biros didn't write very well, with the quality of the ink often coming out grainy. This was the case on both the syringe and vitamin ball pens, but it was particularly bothersome on the vitamin pens, due to the needle-thin nib.

In fact, there were a melange of issues with the vitamin ball pen. Firstly, their short, stubby design, whilst certainly resembling that of a cartoon pill, did not make for the most comfortable thing to hold when writing. The material it's made of is also incredibly flimsy, and all of the vitamin pens, without exception, cracked during the time I wrote using them.

The products all have poor longevity. Unsurprisingly, since the vitamins are so small, they don't house much ink. The syringe biros and highlighters also ran out disappointingly soon. On the topic of highlighters,  the blue and purple ones were an eyesore, because they were so dark, they basically covered the writing I wanted highlighting, rather than illuminating them.

Thus, whilst I commend the idea, and think it certainly makes for a cute gift idea, the makers really need to reappraise the materials they use in constructing it, because aside from being pretty to look at, they don't cop up to much as actual stationery.

Grade: E


For more of my stationery reviews, click here! If you have a product you'd like me to review, drop me an email at

Thursday, April 11, 2019

10 Most Attractive Men in a 2018 film

As with all my eye candy lists, the only criteria for being on the list is that the guy has to have been in a 2018 release that I've actually watched! The archive of hotness here.

10. Jean Dujardin, Return of the Hero 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

10 Most Attractive Women in a 2018 film

Previous years' eye candies, if you want to inspect my taste! The only constraint on the list is that it has to be someone from a film I've actually watched.

10. Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon (new entrant)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

OOTD: Okay ladies, now let's get in formation

Top: Primark
Earrings: Aldo
Glasses: Red or Dead

The larger-than-life hoops earrings are a homage to Taraji P. Henson as 'Cookie' in Empire. The next film Taraji's appearing in is the female reboot of  What Women Want, Want Men Want, and I will hopefully be seeing that soon! 

As a point of BBFC nerdiness, I find it interesting that the original Mel Gibson film was a PG-13/12A, yet the reboot is embracing the crude adult humour, and has gotten an R and 15, and even a 16 in Ireland. I'm guessing the film's producers have targeted the grown up audience following the success of Girls' Trip. If What Men Want is half as lulzy as Girls Trip, it will be a trip to the cinema well made!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

BAFTA predictions, 2019.

Last year’s BAFTA results were ridiculously disappointing, with them mirroring the Oscars for all four acting categories. This year, I actually feel like they’re going to exercise more independent thought, so, here we go!

Best film: Roma

It’s difficult to call this category this year, as there isn’t an obvious frontrunner. When that’s the case, it’s tempting to apply the ‘predict the most British film’ rule, in which case, I ought to be predicting The Favourite. And indeed, in years where the Best Film race has been a tightly-judged affair, BAFTA have tended to go with the British option (they gave Best Film to Atonement when No Country for Old Men won the Oscar).

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Screen Actor Guild predictions, 2019.

Here are the list of nominations, if you wanted to play prognosticator as well! I'm only predicting the film categories, as, as my Golden Globe predictions showed, I don't know much about TV. Haha.

Best Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Best Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife

^^ With both the leading categories, I feel if Malek and Close win tonight, then they're favourites for the Oscar. Either American Hustle co-star Christian Bale (for Vice) or Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born) could beat Malek, and as for Close, she should be looking out for competition from Lady Gaga and Olivia Colman.

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

If Mahershala Ali wins tonight, he'll be on track to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars twice in three years. The last time we had a double winner in a short space of time was by Christoph Waltz, in 2010 and 2013, for the same category, except he won for acting in two Quentin Tarantino films, playing fairly similar roles [except one was a villain, and the other, a sympathetic character]. Ali has mixed it up with two different directors and two very different roles.

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Vice

The current frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress, Regina King, wasn't nominated for the SAG (apparently there were screener issues) or the BAFTA (who inexplicably chose to nominate Margot Robbie's shameless Oscar-begging as Elizabeth I instead). So that frees up the category for Amy Adams to win tonight, although I feel Rachel Weisz will probably win the BAFTA, thus making the Supporting Actress race quite exciting!

By the way, Amy Adams is also up against Emma Stone in the 'Best Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series' category, for Sharp Objects and Maniac respectively, and I'm predicting/hoping Adams triumphs over Bugeyes there as well!

Best Ensemble: Black Panther

The Favourite and Roma, which led the Oscars with the most nominations this week, didn't get nominated in this category. Instead, we have three films that fared well with audiences (Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians) and BlacKkKlansman and A Star is Born. A Star is Born might be the obvious choice, given I'm not predicting Bradley Cooper or Lady Gaga to win tonight, so it might be a good place to honour them. But I'm gonna predict with my heart and go guess Black Panther - Wakanda forever!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

OOTD: You promised me Kate Spade, but that was last year

Ever since I heard 'No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)' from 3LW when I was ten, I've wanted my own Kate Spade handbag, because it gets name-dropped in the song (I'm very easily influenced when it comes to rap songs mentioning brands, ha). Now, some 18 years on, I've finally been able to treat myself to that very thing. Baby I'ma do right!

Dress: Ted Baker
Handbag: Kate Spade
Earrings: Christmas market stall (Leicester Square)
Cardigan (under handbag): H&M
Glasses: Red or Dead
Nail polish: Essie

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Golden Globe 2019 Predictions

Best Motion Picture, Drama: A Star Is Born
The fact that A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody requested that they compete in the more competitive category (Drama has historically been harder to win than Musical or Comedy) shows the scope of their ambition. 

In the pantheon of category fraud, it’s usually been the other way round, for example last year, Get Out’s producers fraudulently campaigned for it as a ‘Comedy’ because they thought it would maximise their chances of a prize.

So the fact that ASIB and BR volunteered for the harder category demonstrates the belief the producers of the films have in their end products. In A Star is Born’s case, I reckon it will pay off.

Potential spoiler: BlacKkKlansman, very much a film for the moment.