Thursday, 30 June 2011

Australia Day 3 - Sydney - Day Trip!

On Day 3 I went to Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Blue Mountains, for me this worked because we only planned to go to Scenic World but if you want to spend more time at the Blue Mountains then you won't have enough time if you go to Featherdale as well.

Two Good Eggs - 148 Goulburn Street
I ordered he tasty breakfast burger and a cup of Flat White. The bread was soft and fluffy but I think the bacon was too crisp. It was a decent breakfast for about AUD 40 (for three). Worth a visit if you are around the area.

Common Ground Cafe - 214 Katoomba Street
I loved this little joint with its nook and cranny seating. We were originally given a very small table but I actually preferred it because it was so cosy! I ordered a chicken burger and a large cup of Not Chocolate. I honestly thought it was a spelling mistake until somebody from a neighbouring table asked what the Not Chocolate was. The food in my opinion is ok not amazing but the atmosphere is what will stay in my memory. Lunch for three was AUD 50 exactly.

Chat Thai - 20 Campbell Street
I'm a little disappointed I gave in and tried Chat Thai rather than Spice I Am, I'm such a pushover. Yet again when we arrived at Chat Thai we had to queue, I think even longer than at Mamak. We were given a seat on the 1st floor so we weren't amidst the crowd. We ordered the Fresh Spring Rolls, Gai Tort, Gaeng Keaw Gai, Pad Siew, Pad Pak, Steamed Rice and I ordered some drink with coconut in it (a must for me) sorry I don't know the name but it's a mint green colour.

The general consensus was that the dishes were on the whole too sweet. The fresh spring rolls weren't that great, the sauce was too sweet for our taste. The Gai Tort (chicken marinated in coconut milk) was better though unmemorable. The Gaeng Keaw Gai (chicken curry) was also rather forgettable. The Pad Siew I remember! It was ok, thought the rice noodles were broken into small pieces. The Pad Pak (seasonal vegetables) yet again didn't leave a lasting impression. The highlight of the meal for me was definitely my drink. The meal cost us around AUD 70, a little steep compared to Mamak.

General Tourist Attractions
Featherdale Wildlife Park - A must see! If you definitely want to see Australian animals then go to Featherdale instead of Sydney Wildlife World. Sydney Wildlife World definitely has its plus points like a larger and more active crocodile and less children running around but for the price you pay at Sydney Wildlife World you don't get to touch the animals whilst Featherdale allows you to touch wallabies, koalas and their farmyard animals.

Scenic World Blue Mountains - A great place to see the Three Sisters but we didn't get to spend as much time there as we wanted. I'd advise you to go in spring rather than winter because it can get rather windy and if you are scared of heights riding across on the Scenic Skyway can be a little frightening when it starts shaking from side to side! Most people seem to focus on their train rides but honestly they are just there to transport you to the main attractions, they did their job and were also quite exciting.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Miss USA 2011 Final

I have finally watched the Miss USA Pageant and thank goodness it all turned out good. Yes I'm very late with my opinions but I'm happy I decided to wait to watch the pageant rather than reading on who placed and what not.

Lets start with Top 16 and they were.
California, Hawaii, Texas, Maryland, Arizona, Utah, South Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, New York, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Maine and New Mexico

It was quite a good selection but where was Massachusetts! She really should have made Top 16. I was also disappointed that Washington, Connecticut and Kentucky didn't make it but I guessed that they wouldn't. Illinois and New Jersey were in my Top 16 list and I thought they were shoo ins but I was wrong! I was quite shocked that Illinois didn't make it because it meant that there were no Black Americans. New Jersey amazed me with her elegance in the prelims so I was shocked she didn't make it. Michigan was another one from my Top 16 that didn't make it, she was always on the verge. I was shocked to see Missouri and Maine make it but they were always outside bets. Whilst I liked New Mexico I didn't think she was Top 16 material, her looks did pale amongst the rest of them and I find her "nursery teacher" voice very annoying. I was over the moon when they called out Utah, I didn't expect that, she's just gorgeous. Overall I predicted 12 out of 16 failing to see Utah, Missouri, Maine and New Mexico. However only 9 of my actual 16 made it but 5 more came from my bubbling under list. Definitely the disappointing omission of the night was Massachusetts.

I found Kelly Osbourne rather annoying but she did speak candidly and truthfully and I do like the inclusion of stage commentary. And was it just me or did Andy Cohen look cross eyed throughout the night.

Here's a moan for you, what was the point of the geographic regions? I thought they were going to chose 4 from each region. Whilst that would have been unfair and annoying it would have made sense but to split the girls into regions and then call them out like usual was rather pointless.

I'm not a fan of Ke$ha but "Blow" suited the swimsuit competition well.
Georgia - I still find her overrated and way too plastic but she performed well imo
Arizona - She faded, possibly because of her height and over feline features
Maine - Sex bomb, uber hot body but a little awkward looking in the face.
Utah - She's gorgeous but she has a very lose walk
Tennessee - She's overrated imo but she did enough to make my Top 8.
Indiana - Her height and proportions sadly failed her
Texas - She has an amazingly queenly presence even though she isn't as photogenic as some.
South Carolina - Her performance was muted but I love her look more and more.
Alabama - She is beautiful but I found the walk a bit tamed.
New York - Gorgeous looking girl but possibly needed a bit more spark.
Hawaii - She is undoubtedly gorgeous but like Utah she lacks the walk.
Florida - A sultry walk but her face looked like it didn't move an inch.
Missouri - Too tamed
California - Gorgeous, she has it all. All the other girls have an ailing weakness but California doesn't
Maryland - Like South Carolina her performance is too muted.
New Mexico - She did well but she lacked facial beauty.

I didn't get the reason for the fan votes, it was pointless and mostly biased. How could New Mexico get 9.8 in swimsuit!

My Top 8 for swimsuit were:
Maine, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, New York, Florida and California

But My Top 8 overall were
Utah, Texas, Alabama, New York, Hawaii, Florida, California and Maryland

So 5 of my Top 8 made it but Utah, New York and Florida missed the cut. Georgia, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and New Mexico were the right choices to cut. I understand why the other three got cut as well but I was slightly shocked Florida did because her walk was amazing. South Carolina, Tennessee and Maine didn't make my Top 8 but I was happy with their placements.

Maine - She didn't stand out with her walk or looks but she was incredibly elegant and sophisticated.
Tennessee - Personally I think it was too much, I think with Evening Gown you should be more understated. However props for being different.
Texas - She just has that aura, she comes out and it's like bam.
South Carolina - I like South Carolina more and more but she just doesn't have that spark on stage
Alabama - I think she was facially gorgeous but I think her gown accentuated her wide frame and the gown was doing all the work for her.
Hawaii - Yet again a lack of a walk cost her but she was gorgeous.
California - She has the package, I just wished they cut those stupid folds in her dress.
Maryland - Nothing worked sadly, she was doomed to fail in that gown, too Southern Belle.

My Top 4 for Evening Gown were
Tennessee, Texas, Hawaii and California

To me only Texas and California performed the others survived on other merits. So I did get 3 out of 4 with Alabama being the "shock" tbh I understood why she would have scored highly. However my sentimental Top 4 were Texas, South Carolina, Hawaii and California.

Another change I hated was the group elimination. Firstly at Top 16 it was pointless, it made the results so predictable by eliminating a group of 4 girls. I would much rather have them be called one by one or one against one. And then at Top 8 it infuriated me because Group 1 had three whilst Group 2 had one. It made the elimination in Group 1 so uninteresting and the survival of Group 2 so predictable because Alyssa had to make the Top 4 surely! I really hoped the Final 4 would be Group 2 but then when they changed it I was rather disappointed that only California would make it from Group 2. I was slightly disappointed that Tennessee represented the blondes because I prefer Maryland and South Carolina but Tennessee did out perform them. Alabama looked gorgeous throughout the night but she shouldn't have made the Top 4 in my opinion.

California - I think her answer was slightly too indecisive, it was more like part of a conversation than an answer. She didn't structure her answer well but I think what was good was that she showed personality and wasn't afraid to speak her mind even though she was unsure about her thoughts. She showed charisma more than anything else.

Tennessee - I'm not liking her "bitchy" persona and to be honest I think she didn't present the answer well, she looked like she just jumped out of something like "Mean Girls" her answer was confusing to me but she said it with conviction.

Texas - I think it was a difficult question to get right but she did well, she showed personality and answered with poise.

Alabama - Quite a generic answer, it was basically tailor made for her but she didn't sell her answer.

I was shocked that Texas came 4th, even thought I was quite sure Alyssa would win it meant that I had no back up. Thank god California did win because Tennessee will not be a contender at Miss Universe.

Just a little interesting fact for you, whilst this might be the year with 5 Brittany's the A's win it this year with 6 of the Top 8's first names beginning with A (Alyssa, Ashley, Ana, Angela, another Ashley and Allyn - wow a lot of alliteration there).

MUO has a lot to learn, changes are good but some of the changes they made were pointless. I can see 16-8-4 working well after the viewers get use to it but the group eliminations do not work at all. Also please do not let the audience vote in a contestant because they normally fail on the first hurdle. However it was good that they didn't show scores any more but please get rid of the fan scores. Don't let Trump chose 5 or 6 of the girls, possibly MUO could chose a few as a whole but not Trump himself. Honestly I think Trump can do whatever he wishes but what's the point of sending in girls who failed in the first hurdle to then fail again? Also I would like to start seeing girls progress to the Top 4 because of overall merit not based on the success or failure of one round e.g. 16 girls start with Swimsuit then Evening Gown, then they get eliminated to Top 8. The Top 8 get a short interview process, more personal and fun then from overall scores get to the Top 4 where they get one final question and then the judges can chose from the 4 who should win. But now because they've got higher ratings they'll probably never change it.

Anyway it's been a fun few weeks and hopefully Alyssa will perform as well at Miss Universe.

Australia Day 2 - Sydney - Oh how I love the sea

Sydney Fish Market
We woke up early on day 2 just for Sydney Fish Market. Upon arrival I was slightly stunned by the scale of it; it was tiny! Well as the second largest fish market in the world I was expecting much more and also 90% of the visitors were Chinese! As I love to research every place I go to thoroughly before I knew the most famous places were De Costi, Christie's and Doyles. In the end we brought food exclusively from Christie's. We ate a Lobster Mornay, Rock Oysters and a massive Alaskan King Crab leg. We spent around AUD 50 per person here, easily the most expensive meal we had in Sydney. The lobster Mornay was lovely but I wished there was more lobster. Personally I'm not an oyster fan and the ones I had at Christie's didn't convert me whilst the huge Crab leg was silky sweet however a little on the icy side. If you're hugely into seafood then have a look but if you're not I'd give it a miss.

Manly Wharf Hotel - The Harbour Bar - East Esplanade Manly 2095
The sulky spoilt brat in me really wanted to try Garfish but then I was outvoted. Instead we chose the Harbour Bar. I ordered fish and chips, something you've got to try in Sydney I think. The place is huge possibly because it's a modern beer hall, so we did feel a little odd being one of few customers. The fish and chips came much larger than expected, I honestly didn't expect to be served two pieces of fish. The fish, which was beer battered, was smooth and tender. This is probably the best battered fish I've had since I normally only go to the local chippy for Fish and Chips. But the meal had one huge ailing point and that was the salt. I don't know whether it's my taste buds not handling salt well, I don't like putting salt in my chips anyway, but I came out of the meal feeling I drank a salt pot, my tongue was sore throughout the day. Yet again our meal came to around AUD 40~45.

Mamak - 15 Goulburn Street
Be prepared to wait, in fact be prepared to wait at most established restaurants in Sydney. Mamak is possibly Sydney's most lauded budget Asian restaurant so we had to go try. We ordered the Roti Canai, Roti Kaya, a dozen Chicken Satays and a Maggi Goreng. I also ordered the Iced Tea. But honestly what you order doesn't matter as long as you order their speciality, it's all in the Roti. The other dishes were decent but nothing astounding but the Roti's were one of the highlights of my trip. I loved the buttery flavour of the Roti Canai, the original. It was soft to the touch and made even better with the sauce. I was slightly hesitant on ordering a sweet roti but how wrong I was! The Roti Kaya was lovely as a desert or an entree. The sweetness of the coconut and the pandan fitted perfectly with the roti. I have very little recollection of anything else we ordered because the roti's blew the other dishes away but honestly I'd come back to Sydney just for them. The meal came to around AUD 40-45 but we could have ordered more.

General Tourist Attractions
Sydney Opera House - Absolutely the icon of Sydney and a beautiful building from all angles, however I must say the building looks "grander" from afar.

Manly Ferry - An absolute must for the views, if you buy a Mymulti pass you can take as many ferries as you'd like within the zones you chose. The views are better in the morning imo but if you've got a lot of do in Manly then it's also worth a trip back to see the night lights.

Sydney Customs House - the green thing's gone (really tempted to put a sad smilie face here) but the city model is still a beautiful attraction to behold.

Pictures hopefully coming soon...

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Episode 8

I'm back! Thank goodness I got to watch this episode before episode 9 where we'll get very close to the Top 5. This was a very interesting episode, not really for the task itself but for assessing the personalities of each candidate. Melody finally showed her true colours which we all knew were in her. Call her a tigress or a sly fox I think she showed wit and hunger and like Lord Sugar that's what I like about her. She single-handedly won orders for Logic and they'd have stood a better chance if she also lead the pitch to the main retailer. Yes she showed selfishness but she's in it to win it, what did Tom and Natasha do? Tom's sole excuse was that Melody didn't do what he asked her to do which was credible but then Tom should have been more decisive as PM and not let Melody push him over and honestly he could have found the information for himself. If he had more wit he would have thought, "this is the sole brand Lord Sugar has given us, this must be big therefore I need to ask for more".

Helen is worrying me, my head says there's absolutely no reason for her to lose but my gut instinct is that she needs to have a big big fail or it'll be random to fire her. Honestly eight in a row, breaking Liz's record and never getting any negative feedback, how is that possible on The Apprentice? Like how I didn't think Liz would win on her season I'm thinking the same for Helen, they actually look quite similar as well! I think ultimately Lord Sugar doesn't see the grit he's looking for in Helen. She might have won if the job was still an apprentice but as a business partner I think she'll fall short.

I think whatever happens next week Natasha will be near the chopping block. I think Lord Sugar has seen enough and wants her gone. I don't see Helen going nine in a row as her record was mentioned close to the end of episode 8, which never bodes well. I still think Tom has something in him to make it to Top 5, it really depends on what he does on the next episode. Susan is on the edge for Top 5 but ultimately she'll implode at interviews. Jim could go both ways but I still see him as a Top 5 candidate. To be honest besides Natasha I see any of the six losing out before Top 5, I think everyone has the potential to win here besides Natasha!

I hate how they are editing out Susan to be rather immature, yes she has her moments but then a lot of the times she is just misunderstood. I think Nick is the one holding Susan in but actually she has the best PM record out of the bunch.

I'm intrigued why Lord Sugar set the two teams up with one sole massive retailer, the task basically pivoted on that pitch but none of them seemed to really understand the importance of it.

I do think Tom's products had potential even though I detested them, the teapot lamp is not a product whilst the living postcards looked cheap, but he failed to pitch them well. Those niche products could have done really well with the places Melody set up for them and I could easily see the major French retailer stocking them up.

Susan's products were more mass market, no less easy or difficult to sell imo. But obviously the stack up seat was the win or lose for the team. What I failed to understand was why Jim and Zoe didn't set up more appointments with childcare retailers and mobile phone shops for them. To be honest at this moment Zoe really doesn't impress me, she has the fire in her belly but she hasn't shown any initiative or talent for a long time.

My favourites at the moment are still Melody and Susan. Susan because she doesn't show any attitude but still has that gut instinct for business whilst Melody for an entirely different reason because she does have an attitude but it works! Yes she failed to see the potential in a product but haven't they all failed somewhere sometime? If she was the PM then she'd be responsible but ultimately it was Tom's decision because he also viewed the products.

Helen is up at third for me, she just needs to be a bit more risky and less perfect. Yes we live in a world where perfect is not actually perfect! Then Tom straddles far away at 4th whilst Jim and Natasha follow closely behind. Zoe obviously my least liked contestant because she is a spoilt brat.

I think Helen has to be the favourite to win but Lord Sugar is loving Melody's feisty-ness. She is reminding me a lot of Paloma last year who I also favoured. She just needs to keep her mouth at bay (unlike Paloma) to avoid being fired for having a nasty attitude. Jim and Tom are now looking more like outside bets every day whilst I still think Zoe is the dark horse. But I'd obviously like to see an Asian winner!

But honestly I think most Tom fans need to step back into reality, he hasn't shown any use yet. Yes he has a gut instinct but he never uses it and is too indecisive, how could he honestly decide their biggest pitch of the day from rock paper scissors! This leads neatly onto my quote of the week...

Natasha - Ok so I present to you our teapot. It's actually made from bone china, which is traditionally used in England for tea and scones and English dinner parties and it's the type of thing you'd walk into somebodies home and you'd say "Goodness me that's fantastic," it's really really unique so we feel that it would be a fashion icon.

I put my head in my hands when she said scones and tea are made from bone china! No preparation whatsoever.

In the end Venture beat Logic 228,669 to 11,705 - an absolute annihilation.

Oh I didn't talk about Leon, yeah he was out of his depth and his excuse of not speaking French was never going to go down well with Lord Sugar and a close second for quote of the week goes to Lord Sugar actually...

Lord Sugar - Hold on Tom, this is a momentous moment cause Leon is talking, so shut up for a minute - lol.

Now I wait with baited breath for the next episode tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Australia Day 1 - Sydney - Walking until my legs drop off

I'm back from my nine day trip to Australia and have a tonne of reviews for you! As I don't see myself going back to Sydney or Melbourne any time soon, not because I don't like the place but because it's so expensive, I'm going to do a long post of reviews for each day.

As a side note this is not a review but if you go to Sydney be wary of the strict security at the airport, the staff are mostly quite rude as well! Don't walk too fast or you'll be checked, don't speak too fast or you'll be checked, always smile until your jaws hurt or you'll be checked - just a word of warning.

Anyway onto the reviews...

Pancakes on the Rocks - 4 Hickson Road
We went to the original store for breakfast, NOTE the shop is inside the Metcalfe Arcade on the first floor, but it was remarkably easy to find from Circular Quay.

I ordered the Aussie Sunrise having read amazing reviews but foolishly rejected the offer of free tapwater, which I surrendered to later. I was pretty stumped when I saw the size of the dish! How in the world was I supposed to finish this for breakfast. My motto for food has always been "eat what you are served", I just hate wasting food but even I was challenged by this. Disregarding the sheer size of my challenge the pancakes were gorgeously done and soft and springy to the touch but maybe too rich considering there were two. I did like the combination of scrambled eggs, bacon, pineapple and bananas but everything was just served half a portion too much.

I hate to say it but I didn't finish the pancakes! Don't even consider ordering the Aussie Sunrise unless you are starving because there are options which have less food. It was about AUD 40-45 for three, which we soon learned would be about normal price for any meal in Sydney.

Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet - Shop 1 8688 Dixon Street
We came here upon recommendation but I myself wasn't too keen. I've read a lot of reviews that Mother Chu is basically a haunt for cheap food rather than good food. I'm a bit fuzzy on what we ordered but we ordered the Xiao Long Bao, Pork Dumplings, Yau Tiao wrapped in another bread thing~, stir fried vegetables, Beef Pancakes and Beef Tendon Noodles. Nothing really stood out, the lauded Yau Tiao wasn't that amazing to me and the XLB weren't what I was expecting. My memory doesn't go that far to remembering what the noodles tasted like so all in all I wouldn't really recommend this place if you are looking for the best in Sydney. Meal for three was around AUD 45-50.

Meetfresh - 13 Goulburn Street
A lovely spot at the front of Chinatown, there were a lot of people queuing here so we decided to jump in as well. There were a lot of flavours and textures in my pot (Herbal Jelly 4) and it was nice and cheap at AUD 5.50.

General Tourist Attractions

Harbour Bridge - Extremely breathtaking, any tourist should walk the bridge to see the views and walk under and around it to experience the sheer size of the structure.

The Rocks - I think if you were to go go on the weekend when the markets are open but if you are only here to see the architecture then it's a quick detour from the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Aquarium - I wasn't really stunned but they do have a huge stingray and a cute manatee. There are a few interesting exhibitions but nothing really amazes me.

Sydney Wildlife World - Located just next to Sydney Aquarium but for some reason much less well advertised I think. I enjoyed seeing the wallabies, crocodiles and koalas which are quintessentially Australian to me but the price is a little more expensive.

Darling Harbour - A must visit at night to see the sparkling night lights reflected on the bay, an absolutely breathtaking view.

Chinatown - Pretty small and inactive, I was rather disappointed because it's nowhere near as bustling as London or New York.

WARNING! I don't know if it's just my lack of research but I was looking forward to eating at Plan B for the Wagyu Burgers and Sausage Roll only to realise that Becasse had closed the operation and moved everything to Westfield whilst doing so they cut Plan B and now only have a bakery. I haven't seen a post on the internet about this so I thought I'll warn people who might fall in the same trap.

Be patient for my following posts, I have the whole summer to write them!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Miss USA 2011 - Final Update

I'm back with Miss USA fever! It's so close! Sadly I will not be able to watch the live telecast so you'll just have to watch it without me! You will not believe how long it took for me to watch the preliminaries. With only 0.66mbps I struggled to even load the nbc ustream playback so I had to suffer the lower quality of youtube and still wait 20 minutes for each 12-13 minute segment to load. It has literally taken me a whole day to watch it.

Anyway with the preliminaries over surely our favourites are all set but first here's a short summary of my thoughts on the prelim.

I think these 15 did the best in Evening Gown, in no particular order - I will change it to Top 16 for my final faves.

Texas, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, South Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts, Alabama and California.

Whilst for Swimsuit these were my Top 15.

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Arizona, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Washington, Georgia, Nebraska, Utah and Maine

Overall my Top 15 from preliminaries were;

California, Texas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Alabama, New York, Tennessee, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Washington

Phew, now with that over the way here are my final favourites ranking. Sorry I'm rushing this.

My Miss USA 2011: California - Alyssa Campanella
She's simply the best for the job

Her 1st Runner Up: Hawaii - Angela Byrd
She is stunning and unique. She has to make it in the Top 16 or I'll faint

Her 2nd Runner Up: Texas - Ana Rodriguez
She has that aura of a beauty queen, despite not being the most photogenic she has the goods to deliver

Her 3rd Runner Up: Massachusetts - Alida D'Angona
With a striking face and brains to match she should definitely make the Top 4

Top 8
Maryland - Allyn Rose
Washington - Angelina Kayyalaynen
Arizona - Brittany Dawn Brannon
Connecticut - Regina Turner

Maryland is a true American beauty, she just needs to brush up on her performance. Washington is unique and has bundles of personality, she also has the upside of looking like a latina but also being European. Arizona still has it whilst Connecticut is beautiful and has good stage chops as well.

Maryland disappointed me in the prelims but she is naturally photogenic. If she loses her evening gown and dons something less "southern belle" I think she'll do better.

Washington impressed me with her sheer passion and eloquence. Her racial ambiguity is something I adore but I'm not sure Miss USA will.

Some people have written Arizona off but I still like her, she is a little short in stature but she still could make the Top 16.

Connecticut has been a dark horse throughout this competition, she hasn't had that much press and her interview video alienated a lot of supporters but she redeemed herself in the prelims I think.

Top 16
Illinois - Angela Sparrow
Utah - Jamie Lynn Crandall
South Carolina - Courtney Turner
Indiana - Jillian Wunderlich
Tennessee - Ashley Durham
Kentucky - Kia Hampton
Michigan - Channing Pierce
New Jersey - Julianna White

Illinois has a banging body and beautiful smile. Utah is a sentimental fave but I just want to shake her until she gets it! South Carolina is strong but over rated. Indiana is a decent Top 16, Tennessee has finally broken back into the top whilst Kentucky has been a slight disappointment. Michigan is refreshing but a time bomb whilst New Jersey is elegant and sexy.

Bubbling Under
New York - Amber Collins
Mississippi - Keeley Patterson
District of Columbia - Heather Swann
Florida - Lisette Garcia
Alabama - Madeline Mitchell
Pennsylvania - Amber-Joi Watkins
Georgia - Kaylin Reque
Kansas - Jaymie Stokes
Wyoming - Kaitlyn Davis
Missouri - Hope Driskill

Florida has pierced a lot of peoples Top 4 but I'm still reserved about her, a good performance in the finals could make me change my mind. Whilst I think Georgia is a bit too plastic for my liking but I see she has a good energy on stage.

Then there is the pack all fighting for the Top 24 spots. I honestly like most of the delegates this year. I only have 7 girls I'd not want to see in the Top 16 those are...

Rhode Island - Kate McCaughey
She's too short and isn't memorable

Vermont - Lauren Carter

New Hampshire - LacyJane Folger
Sadly something just doesn't resonate

Iowa - Rebecca Goldsmith
I'm not liking her hypersexface looks

South Dakota - Chandra Rae Burnham
Lose the soccer mum bob

Wisconsin - Jordan Marie Morkin
She just gives me the teen vibe

North Dakota - Brandi Lynn Schoenberg
I'm just not keen.

Anyway I leave you with what I think will happen tomorrow.

Top 16
Arizona - Brittany Dawn Brannon
Indiana - Jillian Wunderlich
New Jersey - Julianna White
District of Columbia - Heather Swann
Alabama - Madeline Mitchell
Georgia - Kaylin Reque
New York - Amber Collins
Illinois - Angela Sparrow

Top 8
Texas - Ana Rodriguez
Maryland - Allyn Rose
Tennessee - Ashley Durham
Hawaii - Angela Byrd

Top 4
South Carolina - Courtney Turner
Florida - Lissette Garcia
Massachusetts - Alida D'Angona

California - Alyssa Campanella

I almost don't trust my judgement because there aren't that many blondes. I'm just thinking on terms of who will do well in each stage. If swimsuit is first I think those 8 girls under my Top 16 will fall over the rest I have listed. For the Top 4 I'm going on the basis of hair colour actually! I'm quite convinced there'll be a blonde whilst maximum of one dark haired girl so from logic those 4 seem the most likely considering their evening gown performance as well. I still think Alyssa is going to win it but I'm not saying it's not impossible for a shock to occur.

However I know there are bound to be some shocks and this looks almost too perfect. I think Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, Idaho and New Mexico have potential to make a few tremors (these 5 are not on any of my lists).

I only have one hour to go before I head to the airport so sadly I won't be able to make this post pretty but I've read posts that girls will be split into 4 groups and eliminations progress from there :S I don't get it yet but hopefully it'll all turn out for the better.

Wimbledon 2011: Draw

I'm currently working on another post so sadly this will have to be relatively short and lacking in depth because I'm going to Sydney tomorrow but here are my two cents.

Rafael Nadal will have a relatively simple first three rounds I believe. None of those names besides Tommy Haas really stand out on grass but Haas is near the end of his career really. For some reason instinct tells me to look out for Ryan Sweeting though Andujar will be a tough opponent. Del Potro is stationed as a potential fourth round opponent but Gilles Simon is in the way.

A weaker field makes up a potential QF opponent for Nadal with Fish, Verdasco and Berdych the main names. However none of them have played well recently.

Andy Murray has a few dark spots to look out for but they shouldn't be too much of a hindrance. Ljubicic, Cilic, Gasquet and Wawrinka are his main threats. However if he is to make the semis he might have Monfils or Roddick, potentially much tougher opponents.

Roger Federer has been handed a rather simple draw. His draw is dotted with clay court specialists like Ferrer and Almagro. His biggest threat might be Tsonga though I'll wait to see his form.

Whilst Djokovic has some potential dangers but it all lies down to Robin Soderling as I don't think any of the other players can beat him yet.

On the men's I think we'll be seeing Federer taking another Wimbledon but Djokovic shouldn't be far behind, it'll be interesting seeing where Djokovic is at on Federer's favourite surface. Murray has potential to make it whilst I don't see Nadal doing another double this time.

The women's side should be more interesting with the inclusion of the William's sisters. What makes it better is that both lost last week in their return so they aren't necessarily guaranteed the win but it is very well possible.

I'm going to keep this short btw. Section 1 I can only see Cibulkova breaking Wozniacki, but Goerges has beaten her twice this year already so...

Sharapova will be an obvious favourite. Stosur who played well last week will be her main opponent. Safarova and Peng can also do some damage.

Na Li is seeded 3rd here, could she do a double? She has an ok draw early on with most journalists agreeing that Sabine Lisicki could do damage. I don't see Ivanovic or Radwanska making a move though. Bartoli is stationed next to Serena, could be interesting because Bartoli has the potential to do some damage with her win at Eastbourne. Maria Kirilenko is also somebody to look out for.

Will Schiavone go out in Round 1 like last year? She has Jelena Dokic in Round 1 and could see Makarova, Peer or Petkovic. If she manages to survive that she has a few dangers lurking beneath. Pavlyuchenkova, Hantuchova and Azarenka are all thirsty to do some damage here.

Finally we have a pretty tough draw in Sections 7 and 8 with Kvitova, Wickmayer, Kuznetsova, V. Williams and Zvonareva all looking to do well here.

I really don't want to predict the winner because there are so many what ifs.

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Episode 7

I'm a bit late on this episode because I'm currently abroad and it's incredibly hard to actually watch something with 0.66mbps, I can't imagine how I survived before with dial up.

This was another very good episode because it gave us quite a few memorable lines. Lets just lay it down now Natasha lead Logic and produced a lads mag called 'Covered' whilst Jim lead Venture and produced an over 60s magazine called... wait for it... 'Hip Replacement', yeah I'll get onto the names later.

Firstly lets talk about Logic. I think it's interesting how Natasha went straight into the lads mag, she's quite the "ladette" herself so it's quite amusing seeing her push it with Melody, Tom and Helen. Leon himself put himself out there as a regular lads mag reader now here's the deal, the clients basically laughed at them for being sleazy-nineties and that they didn't understand the "21st guy" but then surely Leon should have seen the problem, or does it mean that Leon is a sleazy perve... hmmm...

Quote of the Week:
Talking to over 60s at a focus group
Glenn: Humour. I mean I don't know whether you guys take any notice of that, whether it's the difference between you picking it up or not. (and then the looks from the over 60s plus Nick).

I think Glenn meant no harm but sadly he got lost in translation and caused quite an embarrassing and rather derogatory moment which basically was the headline for the whole project.

But what was even better was a conversation that went on this episode, which sadly does not fit as a quote so we now have... Conversation of the Week!

After the focus group Glenn and Susan are on the phone to Jim and Zoe talking about the direction of the magazine and name.
Susan: For the young oldies,
Glenn: For the young at heart,
Susan: For the young hearted,
Glenn: For the young at heart,
Susan: For the old looking young hearted, I don't know....
Glenn: No, I think for the young at heart,
Susan: Yeah, or just...
Zoe: How about something to do with being hip, like be hip... hip replacement.
... Jim thinking...
Jim: Zoe's thought of a good one, Hip Replacement.
Glenn: Yeah, Hip Replacement, I like that.
Susan: (smells something funny)
Glenn: Yes we've found a common ground there.
Susan: I'm just thinking is that a bit of a sensitive topic.
Glenn: No I don't think it is.
Susan: You don't think so?
Jim: All agreed on hip replacement, say aye
Glenn: Aye
Susan: Ok
Jim: Is that an aye Susie?
Susan: uh, not but I'm happy to support it, no problem at all.

That conversation was the most amusing and frustrating thing of this episode. How could Zoe even think of Hip Replacement and how could Jim and Glenn back it so gladly, and why doesn't Susan just voice her concerns louder even if it's just to make a scene so that she's heard.

It's interesting that Jim raised the point of Susie being meek, I don't think she's meek and mousey but she struggles to argue against the likes of Jim. She speaks a lot of truth but is generally not capable of conveying it to the group that comes with experience as a communicator. I'm expecting Susan to really get on the reigns now because she has done this a few times now, not getting heard. However that's exactly what is happening with Tom but for some reason he manages to sail through without people like Jim using it against him, hmm... Sadly I think Susan is just an easy target.

Honestly I love how Natasha managed to pull the lads mag concept through and how Helen and Tom were cringing and how Melody was cringing but up for it! I loved every expression from Melody regarding lads mags like when Leon said "how to blow your load" and then Melody looking quite worriedly at Leon. Ok in all honesty I have no idea what makes a good lads mag because I don't read them, never had, all I remember is that the "cool" guys in secondary school smuggled it into school and were all sniggering at it at the back of class or the school coach so honestly if I was in Natasha's team I'd probably be happy with putting "How to blow your load" in the magazine, maybe this point should have been caught upon by Leon who actually reads them. Rather than go down the idea of Zoo and Nuts maybe it would have been better to go with a general male target audience and do something more akin to Esquire

Now I'm onto Hip Replacement. The other team came up with a decent name but how did Venture settle for Hip Replacement. Zoe's logic was that it's about 'Hip' as in cool and hip hop, replacement being not only replacing the old with the new but also a play on words - how? All I read from that is the medical procedure that over 60s might need! It is rather condescending and ironic how the magazine was trying to say oldies are hip also but then teach them how to make a phone call. I understand where they are coming from but it's totally the wrong market. I accept quite a lot of over 60s don't really use much technology but if you're producing a magazine aiming at those over 60s who're young at heart do you really need a "how to make a phone call column". Maybe talk about texting but be more specific like "Ways to avoid long texts" - just off the top of my head.

I think Venture's loss came from two main reasons, one the name and two the pitch to Carat. Firstly I believe the name Hip Replacement at once put their concept in a bad place, that's why Glenn's pitch to Mediacom worked better because they didn't start with the name. Whilst the name boils down to Zoe, Jim and Glenn backed it 100%, in that situation 3 to 1 I think Susan was helpless and even if she argued her point it probably wouldn't have been heard. Secondly I think Carat like to think of themselves as quite "hip" so "Hip Replacement" was something they would never want to touch but then Jim not even negotiating with them meant they lost a lucrative deal because they offered Logic £60,000 compared to Venture's £0. 

Overall the margin was Logic: £76,500 - Venture: £25,850. The win mainly solely due to Carat. Overall the blame lies nearly exclusively on Jim this week because he failed to understand the problem with Hip Replacement - don't blame Susan for not being able to argue you down because this has happened more than once before - and because he was adamant with not giving a discount to Carat, an absolute no no for a start up business. And contrary to what some thought it had barely anything to do with the cover lacking "hip factor" because I believe all the publishers were willing to give a little "fake" money out. However on an overall basis Glenn hadn't produced anything special and did need to go.

What I liked about this episode is how I learnt that supposedly "Lads" nowadays are more educated and less sleazy and that the 'Lads Mag' market is slowly going down the drain - it's good to know that in a few years time I won't be categorised as a sleazy lad.

So Helen has seven wins out of seven! hmmm... Could this be a blessing or could it break her considering Lord Sugar doesn't really know her. My favourites are still Melody and Susan with Tom and Helen amongst my likes. Natasha is starting to climb back up the board and Leon is less annoying than he once was. Jim has fallen from grace because he annoyingly manipulative nature which is starting to grate on me and how he hasn't performed since the early stages. Zoe is still my least liked contestant. At this stage I think Leon, Melody, Helen, Tom and Zoe are the most likely Top 5. I think Natasha could make it as she's exceeded my expectations but I'm still unsure. Jim is on a thin line but has the potential to get back into Lord Sugar's good books whilst Susan's fate will lie solely on next week, if she performs she's through because she has Nick's backing but if not she's out.

Next week I won't be able to watch the episode because I'm in Australia till the following Wednesday but I'll try to catch up on my review asap.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Lei Garden, Causeway Bay

For a year or two I've wanted to try Lei Yuan (Lei Garden) because it got quite a good review from the Michelin guide. However I was fully aware that two of the restaurants were Michelin starred whilst another two were Bib Gourmands but Causeway Bay was not on the list of six (in the 2009 book anyway). However not having my trusty guide in hand we decided to try this branch anyway.

Why was I so attracted to eating here? Maybe because we've been rejected twice by the branch at IFC without a booking. This time they did ask us about a booking but as we were rather early they had quite a lot of empty tables. It was eerily quiet, we were not the only ones there, the small hall had at least five tables being occupied when we were seated but you could hear a pin drop - the room did start to get louder around 7. Whilst there was not a single moment where I was made to feel inadequate with my dress code, jeans and a t-shirt I did feel that the occasion required a suit. Before I start listing what I ate I just need to advise you - ask for a menu! There was a tiny little menu in a circular 'device' but I'm sure that wasn't the actual one but before we had time to ask for one we were ambushed by the floor manager keen to help with an order. He was very nice though but I just wished we had asked for a menu! This brings me onto the service. The floor manager was very pleasant and accommodating but the other waiters seemed efficiently bland, they did their job but like robots, I was just looking for a genuine smile.

This is going to be a challenge but I'll try my best to tell you what I actually ate! We were enticed to order a soup, my dad educated me on it and I think it's a red bean soup boiled with fish and pork - sorry for the rather vague description. We also ordered the Sha Cha Chicken, Heen Choi in a clear broth and a small steamed Snapper, though I'm not 100% sure what type of Snapper (fish) but it was 11 ounces.

We were served the chicken first which was very good. The meat was tender and moist and was complimented very well with the Sha Cha sauce. It was a bit of a wait until the fish and greens arrived. The snapper was delicious, what I come to expect from any good Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong serving any sort of snapper, however it might have been a second undercooked as it stuck slightly to the bone. The Heen Choi was cooked just right so it was not chewy at all but retained that freshness you expect from well cooked Chinese vegetables, the broth complimenting very well with the taste of it all. The boiled rice however was slightly too dry i.e. a bit overcooked, though still acceptable. The soup was fantastic! Ok I haven't drunk much soup besides my dad's but it was definitely amongst the best I've had.

At this point I'm just thinking, please don't break the bank. I was apprehensive that my dad had chosen to order without a menu and my fears were realised when the bill came back at $780~. OK, it doesn't break the bank but if you know my dad you'll know to even charge him £20 per person for a meal is a tough job but $780 is over £30! And in Hong Kong he's expecting to pay more around the £10-£15 region. I personally was expecting $5-600 but when I come to think of it we did order soup and fresh fish. My dad quietly accepted but I have a feeling he won't be coming back! I, however, thought it was a very good meal and that is the impression I got from my dad until the bill came but at $7-800 I think it might not be worth a revisit because it's more than double the price of what we usually pay in Hong Kong - if there is a next time we'll definitely think twice before ordering seafood and soup.

So my verdict is, Lei Garden serves traditional Chinese cuisine to a decent standard, I highly doubt you'll get a dud of a meal but at the price band it is at I think it's not somewhere you'd want to go every day. Try the more famous branches but be sure to book.

Hoi Tin Garden Restaurant, Yuen Long

I always enjoy choosing between the many different Cantonese restaurants to get some breakfast dim sum. Hoi Tin has been one of the regular places I go to because it's one of the closest to my flat and serves decent  dim sum, it's also nice that the place is generally clean. But on this occasion we were severely disappointed.

We ordered, wait is there even any point? That's because we only got two dishes out of five. The first two came swiftly but after waiting another twenty minutes we found out that the kitchen was in disarray and other diners orders were also in a mess. Ok I guess that's understandable so we waited, and waited, and waited. All the other tables around us managed to get there food but not us! We complained a few times but they didn't know how to respond besides going into the kitchen again and again with no response. After 90 minutes of waiting we had enough and left. Not before my dad paid the bill, which I think really should have been discounted because two dishes for $50~ is a rip off for HK prices. Nobody came to tell us why or offer us something else, we were just left there to wait.

I'll probably give Hoi Tin another chance but we'll definitely steer clear of the place for a while. If this is any consolation the things we did get, the chicken and mushroom rice pot and the shiu mai, actually tasted quite nice.

Nice Invitation, Yuen Long

My first meal in Hong Kong 2011! Yes guys I'm back and in Hong Kong and yes the restaurant is called Nice Invitation. This is actually the eighth consecutive year I've gone to Hong Kong for the summer so most of the places I'm reviewing will be of places I've already tried. Oh and btw I live in Yuen Long so you're going to see a lot of Yuen Long even though most tourists probably won't even go there!

I'm sorry I'm not actually sure about some of the dish names but I'll do my best to describe them. We ordered Tung Choi with Fish Sauce, some sort of Chicken clay pot dish which had shiitake and pork crackling (we ordered it because of the rather odd name and because we thought the pork crackling was fish stomach, which we love). My dad also randomly ordered Fish Maw with Abalone and Duck's Feet, I'm just stating the ingredients but it's a pretty well known dish.

The Tung Choi was very nice, it's actually pretty sad to think about how an average Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong is as good as a good Cantonese restaurant in England. The chicken clay pot was interesting, a pretty weird concoction but rather tasty. The chicken, though mostly bone, was very tasty but I just wished there was more sauce. The fish maw/abalone/duck's feet dish (lets just call it FAD - creative ain't I) was pretty poor. It was a speciality dish which they serve per portion but the fish maw was chewy, the abalone tough and the duck's feet rather tasteless and they charged $68 per serving! To make it even worse they didn't even serve it on China, it was on these cheap plates. We also ordered two bowls of boiled rice btw.

The service was pretty average, the general consensus is don't expect service in Yuen Long. It's more local based so the regular customers get a lot of attention and chit chat whilst the "foreigners" get the basics. However the waitresses kept chit chatting amongst themselves next to our table which was a bit irritating.

The meal came up to about $300. I don't have much to love or hate about the restaurant in general, it was a pretty standard Cantonese meal with nothing out of this world but everything generally made decently, though the FAD was very disappointing.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Miss Hong Kong 2011 (14/06/11)

I haven't posted about MHK in a while and as I'm heading to the land of Miss Hong Kong I thought I'd give you an update of my opinions. Sorry as I'm getting on a plane tomorrow I'm being lazy and not attaching any photos.

No.12 Gwen Wang has withdrawn from the pageant, that's a real shame as she was a decent contender who had the potential to break into my Top 5. There will be no replacement - which is even more disappointing because it would have been great to see the 'Myolie Wu' lookalike back.

Basically at the moment the girls are in three groups to me; the leading, the chasing and the drowning.
The leading pack consists of; 3. Whitney, 5. Rebecca, 14. Hyman, 7. Sandy and 11. Lisa
The chasing pack consists of; 4. Giselle, 6. Nicole, 13. Gemma, 1. Janey and 15. Wyling
The drowning pack consists of; 9. Mayanne, 2. Iris, 8. Susan and 10. Lena

From recent videos 4. Giselle, 6. Nicole, 9. Mayanne and 14. Hyman impressed me with their eloquence - expect to see them in TVB soon after! Sandy's voice however is like a cute Cutie Mui! Lena is way too 'Mainland' for my liking. Whilst Gemma and Wyling's Chinese is not very good.

My favourite is Whitney, even though she has been receiving bad press I normally blank it out and solely focus on the delegates performance. Rebecca is also gaining steam. Hyman has surprised me on all fronts with her height, beauty and eloquence. Sandy has been a bit behind the scenes lately so has fallen to 4th - and she strikes me as more of a MHK from the 90s. Lisa looks strong also.

Giselle's eloquence is the main factor for her pushing into 6th place with Nicole also showing off good speaking skills. Gemma is getting prettier by the day whilst Janey is starting to lag and her voice is too cutesy. Wyling needs a makeover.

Mayanne's good communication skills and sweet face are starting to become endearing - look out Wyling you're 10th spot is in danger. Iris is actually quite pretty, as I said before she reminds me of Anita Yuen, but she needs to work on her image and angles. Susan is not impressing me much whilst Lena is just not what I want from MHK.

See you in a few days time.

Imperial China, London Chinatown - Take 2

I don't normally post about second goings to restaurants unless it was massively different in standard but in this case I'm posting about dinner rather than dim sum so I think it's worth a repost.

Imperial China is one of my favourite Chinatown joints because it serves decent dim sum, at affordable prices and they place care in their surroundings but never have I been to Imperial China for dinner, ok I lied I went there once for a wedding banquet but that's entirely different.

As a group of five we ordered spare ribs, grilled dumplings, salt and chilli squid, roast duck, Gai Lan in oyster sauce, Tung Choi in garlic sauce and being true to Asian cuisine five bowls of boiled rice. Actually we also ordered the Singapore fried Vermicelli but that got left off the order, though it was a blessing in disguise because we were full from the six plates.

What I loved about the meal was that everything was piping hot! If you've read my blog posts you'll know that I'm a devil for hotness when it's supposed to be hot. Then there were some downfalls. The spare ribs didn't impress, I've had better at takeaways who charge much less! However it was piping hot but it was only four bones! The squid had it's good and bad points. The squid itself was of a good texture but it was covered in a very thick batter, I think a lighter batter would have done it wonders. The duck did taste lovely, tender and juicy, though it was besotted with fat bits and rather measly for £13. The dumplings were ok, but not something I'd consider ordering for dinner. The highlights of the meal were probably the greens. Both were cooked just right, the gai lan was crunchy and flavoursome and the tung choi was also just right with a mild hint of garlic. The boiled rice was a great compliment also.

The bill came to exactly £80 for 5, which isn't bad I guess for dinner but we were expecting less than £15 per person. There were highlights and lowlights about the meal but I think it was generally adequate. The service was also very friendly because we did spend ages looking at the menu but they were still very pleasant to talk to. Would I go here for dinner again? It's a difficult one but because there is so much choice in Chinatown I'll probably only be returning here for dinner in quite a few years time.

Oh and an unrelated comment, I'll be going to Hong Kong and Australia soon so for the first time you'll see posts outside of England!

Taro, Brewer Street

Dying for some Japanese we made a detour to Piccadily Circus to visit Taro which I've always wanted to visit. It was a Monday lunch so it was quite busy but we got seated immediately. Having had three char siu baos already I wasn't keen on getting anymore carbs so I reluctantly chose sushi over the lauded bento boxes. I ordered the Eel handroll, I just love handrolls!, one sweet prawn, one prawn, one eel and I can't remember the last one but it was all white and glistened. We also got a plate of gyozas to share and I got a pineapple juice.

Luckily one of my friends didn't seem keen on eating so I got to try their prawn tempura as well which wasn't much to write home about. It was nice but had quite a lot of panko. I didn't like the gyoza because there was a slight bad taste to the pork. Onto the sushi. The handroll was ok though the nori was a bit chewy rather than crunchy. The eel however was amazingly tasty and juicy - the highlight of the meal, the eel sushi as well. The sushi was made decently though I still encountered a broken sushi which is never a happy sight when half of your rice is swirling in soya sauce mixed with wasabi. The prawn sushi tasted ok, I did however really like the taste of the sweet prawn sushi.

The meal cost me about £13-£14 which is slightly expensive for my liking especially considering my rather small order compared to a full on bento box pig out (which didn't all go down well with my friends who ordered bento boxes). I guess my opinion on this place is "all-right", I'm not begging to go there soon nor would I avoid it. I still haven't found an amazing sushi place in London, Yoshino and Japan Centre takeout only do sushi rolls. Really want to put a sad emoticon here but I'll refrain. The search continues...

Mooli's, Frith Street

I personally don't like Indian food, at least Indian fast food in England but with so many high praises I thought maybe I should try Mooli's, especially with my Indian-food loving friend for company. Wary that Indian food can be spicy I spent some time tossing up between the beef or the goat but the potatoes tipped it for the goat, though I was fully aware there were two chilli symbols next to the goat. In anticipation of its spiciness and intense sweating thereof I decided to add an extra Mango lassi, though for £2.50 I expected to get a bigger cup.

As the store was rather busy we headed for the nearby park to devour our Moolis. The Mooli was bigger than expected but I was rather disappointed by it to be frank. Firstly I found the roti to be rather plain, I was expecting a strong buttery flavour. The filling was nice though I expected more variety of flavours rather than the sole oniony, cumin spice, I may not be a connoisseur of Indian food but I feel that most Indian dishes seem to recycle the same flavours. I was also hugely let down by the supposed spice, I would probably hesitate even to give this one chilli rating, though I did enjoy it more because of the mild spice. The mango lassi on the other hand was divine, the hint of ginger gave it the extra zing, but for £2.50 it is rather dear.

Overall I'm not enamoured by Mooli's I didn't dislike it but I didn't fall head over heals for it like so many bloggers have. For £8 it's a slightly expensive fast food but still cheaper than sitting for a meal at a nearby restaurant on Frith Street. Would I go again? Probably if I was pushed by my Indian-food loving friend, who btw loved it! Next time I might try the beef just for the coconut.

Friday, 10 June 2011

My Sister of Eternal Flower

I'm pretty disappointed by the low ratings of My Sister of Eternal Flower because it is a decent series, in fact it is one of my favourites this year - though that isn't saying much. This year TVB has produced a lot of ok series, the good thing is that the quality on the whole is higher but there hasn't been any breakthrough series which I guess has rendered viewers bored of the similar plot lines. What My Sister of Eternal Flower has done well is keep it simple. TVB regularly confuses the audience with intricate but random plots however Eternal Flower stuck with a simple romcom storyline for a mentally disabled person. The story however is a bit bland with a very predictable story but lacking a strong backbone. The story basically is about a rich boy and a mentally disabled girl, they dislike each other at first but then fall in love but then they reach a hurdle however their love is so strong they overcome that in the end - yeah it has been done over and over in some sort of way. The plot doesn't really have a strong backbone to it; a story needs an intro, a problem and a resolution but I'm not sure the problem was interesting enough.

I don't think this is a copy of Square Pegs. I don't understand why viewers can't look pass the fact that the main character is a mentally disabled person. Just because the main character share a common trait doesn't make them the same at all. Charmaine's acting did have similarities to Roger but then I feel that there were definitely differences and variations when you watch the two. The main criticism I have would be why the stylists decided to give Charmaine a bob cut which was very similar to Roger's thus sparking comparisons. To me there's no problem learning from another actor but to say Charmaine copied Roger is going a bit too far.

Overall I enjoyed the series but I felt the direction of the last 5 episodes could have been better, I found the initial story much more interesting than the conclusion, as always with TVB series. However the series definitely deserved more recognition than it received. In my honest opinion I felt that the acting was better than the story here which is why I stuck with it and enjoyed it because the chemistry between the actors was there.

Best Actor
Raymond Lam

I honestly think if this series fared better Raymond could have a shot with My Sister of Eternal Flower, btw who in the world named it My Sister of Eternal Flower, it sounds very awkward. I think Raymond performed very well in this series acting as the spoilt rich boy at first and then slowly realising his faults. His portrayal was actually very realistic. I really do think it's time for Raymond to win the Best Actor award because out of those that haven't won it yet Raymond is definitely leading the race.

Best Actress
Charmaine Sheh

Say what you will but Charmaine did a very good job as Sister Fa. I think once you realise the story and character are not copies of Square Pegs and Ah Wong you'll begin to appreciate how well Charmaine actually portrayed a mentally disabled girl, I was most impressed with her hand gestures but I do agree her eyes could have shown more innocence. BTW I'm not a Charmaine fan. My favourite Charmaine moment was when Raymond first left the Fa house and Charmaine was saying bye bye to him from the balcony; Charmaine was so realistic in that scene. However there were areas where Charmaine could have improved on.

Best Supporting Actor
Pierre Ngo

Pierre Ngo did a decent job here but I felt rather lost about his character. What I did like was how the series didn't really have a villain because Pierre never really was a baddie, he just did a few questionable things but I think most would understand his motives. However I really wanted him to die, not that I hated him it's just that when he was diagnosed with being at the final stages of cancer I just thought "Please don't make it a happy, I survived, ending" it sounds pretty harsh but TVB has done this a lot. The plot really didn't exploit or educate the viewer as to why Pierre Ngo even needed to have cancer, it was just an obstacle which wasn't fully fledged out, it was pretty pointless tbh. 

Best Supporting Actress
Yoyo Chen

Another "supposed" baddie which I actually liked. I don't think Yoyo did much wrong, everything she did was quite natural in my opinion, in fact at times I was rooting for her. She did very well in this series but I feel there were some moments where emotions weren't truly realised. However I think it's time Yoyo gets a different type of role, she's always acting as the vixen though arguably this character was different I did actually think Yoyo was a great match for Raymond, if this was real life, and she didn't nothing wrong in the first 15 episodes of the series.

Toby Leung

I'm not a Toby fan but I liked Toby in this series, her portrayal was by on large very natural but I'm still slightly put off by the way she talks.

Catherine Chau

Whilst I think Charmaine did a better job as a mentally disabled character I think Catherine had her moments in the spotlight as well. She wasn't outperformed by Charmaine but they played off each other quite well. I think this series needed Catherine's character and she had very good chemistry with Charmaine.

Best Couple
Charmaine Sheh and Raymond Lam

This was no doubt the highlight of this series, I loved their chemistry when Raymond didn't know he loved Charmaine but Charmaine was always there for him. I admit once Raymond fell in love with Charmaine there were times it felt a little awkward but overall I think the relationship was very sweet.

Most Improved Actor
Jazz Lam

Jazz Lam is starting to get a few decent roles under his belt and I think he deserves some recognition because he does fill a gap in the TVB market.

Most Improved Actress
No Nominees

Favourite Male Character
No Nominees

Favourite Female Character
Charmaine Sheh

She was simply adorable.

Best Chemistry
The Fa Family

It was very nice seeing the three because they did have a decent chemistry and it was great that they each had their scenes with each other because sometimes TVB likes to only focus on two characters and neglect the third.