Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Wax and Wane

I've decided to continue these posts until October because it feels pointless to stop now as I'm more than half way through the year. It would however mean I'll miss two or three series towards the end of the 44th anniversary year though.

Back to Wax and Wane, I'm sorry if this review is rather brief but I just simply lost interest in this series quite early on. I also missed a few too many episodes for the whole story to make absolute sense but I just found the series to be over-exaggerated and pointlessly dramatic, the stories felt reused and the characters were all written to be annoying rather than likeable. Just a question, what was the point of the eldest daughter of Lau Siu Ming? For someone so close to the action she got little screen time. Very few actors actually impressed me in this series but in the name of the game I'll list my nominees anyway.

Best Actor
Roger Kwok

To be honest did I think Roger made a great performance worthy of a nomination? No. But considering I haven't really watched an "award winning" performance this year from anybody I'll draught in everybody I can get. Roger's performance was good but he didn't stand out for me but nowadays a solid performance is enough to warrant a nomination from me.

Best Actress
No Nominees

Best Supporting Actor
Lau Siu Ming

Lau Siu Ming is an actor I respect thoroughly and in this series he shined for me, more than anyone else. I think his portrayal was very endearing whilst I felt that a lot of characters lacked emotion or were over-exaggerated Lau Siu Ming found a perfect compromise here.

Oscar Leung

Even though I may have only watched a few scenes with Oscar in it I just find him naturally gravitating to watch. In my opinion he is one of the most talented young B/C line actors on TVBs roster. I enjoyed watching him develop a crush for his "see foo" Toby Leung and then protect her despite knowing that her heart was with Him Law.

Best Supporting Actress
Claire Yiu

Out of all the characters Claire's showed the most depth so maybe that helped her to stand out. Whilst she wasn't fantastic I would call her one of the best of the worst in this series.

Florence Kwok

I think Florence portrayed her character very well. She was believable as a woman who put her life and soul into her family and then I remember the scene where Sunny thought she betrayed him, that was one of the more memorable scenes in this series. I hope Florence continues to film with TVB as she is a great actress.

Most Improved Actor
Him Law

I think Him has improved since the last time I saw him on the TV screen. Out of the whole cast he was one of those that felt natural to me on screen.

I've missed out a lot of big names on this list let me briefly explain. Sunny Chan was decent in a lot of scenes, especially his couple scenes with Florence but then he was too exaggerated and plain annoying when he turned a semi-villain. Ron Ng just doesn't stand out to me, he lacks emotion in my opinion and yet again he was plain annoying. Kate Tsui never annoyed me with her sexpot face but this time it did, her pouting just didn't suit her character. Derek Kwok overacts, he plays the sensible ancient-series type characters best. Finally Chow Chung has just never impressed me, I find the way he says things awkward and contrived.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Miss Hong Kong 2011 (24/07/11)

Sorry about my lack of MHK posts but as there wasn't much going on I didn't feel the need to update you all on my rankings. There has been slight changes to my rankings of the 14 girls but nothing too drastic so here are my rankings.

I'm sorry for the pretty lame graphic but you get the point.

No.5 Rebecca Zhu
5th - 2nd - 1st

Rebecca is the most well rounded contestant of the lot she is relatively eloquent, pretty, has her own talent and has the best body of the bunch my only fear is that she doesn't strike me as an MHK winner or as the Chinese like to put it "冠軍相" e.g. the winner's look. There is no reason for her not to penetrate the Top 5 but once there I don't know if she'll grace the top spots.

No.3 Whitney Hui
2nd - 1st - 2nd

Whitney has been receiving a lot of negative press but I've largely blanked that out because honestly I don't care. What I believe is what is presented to me and Whitney is performing strongly on all segments. Her body is slightly out of proportion but it's nothing major. Out of all the girls she looks the best when all glammed up so should be in hot contention for Miss Photogenic. I do think the bad press will affect her chances, how many rumour queens have managed to win? But she should definitely make the Top 5.

No.7 Sandy Wu
1st - 4th - 3rd

Sandy is a very traditionally pretty looking Hong Kong girl, that alone should do her many favours. She seems to have it all, the height, the look, the style, the poise, the eloquence but I just wonder if her voice is a tad too whiny. I'm nitpicking here in terms of her chances but that's really a serious consideration of mine. However in terms of my rankings she has not overtaken Rebecca or Whitney because she doesn't immediately command attention. If you asked me to bet on a winner now Sandy would be at the top of my list she has the "冠軍相".

No.11 Lisa Lau
4th - 5th - 4th

Lisa has been a favourite of mine ever since the start of the pageant but she hasn't been receiving much attention. To me Lisa is a perfect candidate for MHK, she exudes a natural confidence and elegance and she seems to be poised and eloquent as well. Her short hair also gives her a distinctive edge but her round face might be a slight negative for Chinese judges. She also needs to lose a bit of that elegance and poise and seem a bit more personable from the get go. A dark horse.

No.14 Hyman Chu
3rd - 3rd - 5th

Hyman has dropped to the second tier because she poses a huge question mark for me. Her stiff lip and pointed nose doesn't always register well on the camera and give her a very Mainland look, her styling upon arrival was what made her stand out but she is slowly fading into the background now. I hope she comes back with a bang soon as she has lots of potential to crack the Top 5.

No.1 Janey Yan
8th - 9th - 6th

Once we move past the Top 5 the remaining girls seem to be contesting for the "Best of the Rest" title, for me anyway. To me Janey is the girl that stands out amongst them because she has the least problems to me. The only thing which agitates me about her is her awfully squeaky and high pitched voice which is grating on me. She is exuding a very girly demeanour at the moment which is not going to win her any awards, she has potential in making it into the Top 5 but she'll need to give off a more sophisticated edge to do so.

No.9 Mayanne Mak
15th - 11th - 7th

Mayanne has been climbing my rankings because I'm attracted to her natural confidence and eloquence. She definitely is not going to win Miss Photogenic but she does have a sweet look, she just needs to work on her angles as she does have some winning angles. The only way she'll make it to the Top 5 is if she impresses the judges with her eloquence and wit.

No.6 Nicole Leung
7th - 7th - 8th

Nicole's USP is her eloquence but it can come off as a bit fake, the way she ends her sentences. She does have naturally pretty angles but her major problem is with her eyes, she'll need to work on that. Though 
a potential Top 5 spot is up for grabs for her I think.

No.13 Gemma Choi
10th - 8th - 9th

Gemma has received a lot of attention due to her assets and her partying pics. She is a decent candidate in general but I think she'll be ultimately left out of the standings because of her weak command of Chinese, her height and her general presence.

No.4 Giselle Lam
9th - 6th - 10th

Giselle is not naturally gifted with photogenic features thus she needs to learn her angles. She should not take any important photos face on because this accentuates her wide face, like many of the other girls she has some very photogenic angles but she often lucks into them. What she needs to do is befriend her stylist so that she is styled accordingly to hide her flaws.

No.2 Iris Kwan
13th - 12th - 11th

Unlike most of the girls directly above her I think Iris can be naturally pretty but she doesn't know her angles and her style ages her. She also needs to lose a bit of fat around her face because these small things are adding up a lot on her features. There is potential here for her to make it into the Top 5 but she'll need to do a  lot of work.

No.15 Wyling Leung
11th - 10th - 12th

Her weak command of Chinese, height and awkward smile alienates me from her. I just find her an awkward add on because she doesn't excel in either the brains or the beauty department.

No.8 Susan Su
12th - 13th - 13th

Besides her gu zheng playing I'm not at all impressed with her, I don't find her particularly attractive and she seems slightly reserved.

No.10 Lena Li
14th - 14th - 14th

Lena hasn't left a good impression on me and the fact that she speaks little to no Cantonese has at once alienated me towards her because I think to qualify as a Miss Hong Kong you really should be able to at least converse in basic Cantonese.

So as we are edging closer to the finals here are my predictions as of 24th July

Winner - 7. Sandy Wu
1st Runner Up - 5. Rebecca Zhu
2nd Runner Up - 6. Nicole Leung
Top 5: 3. Whitney Hui and 1. Janey Yan
Dark horses: 11. Lisa Lau, 9. Mayanne Mak and 2. Iris Kwan

At this moment I think Sandy will win. Besides that I can't really rank the other 4 in the Top 5. I kind of think Rebecca should be in the Top 3 but then the other Top 3 winner is difficult to predict. Nicole has a chance here because of her eloquence, I could equally see Mayanne replacing Nicole in the Top 5. I don't think Whitney will place whilst Janey is a risk. Iris and Lisa's placing will depend on her performance. I think Hyman will be blanked like Queenie Ma was last year. Gemma, Wyling and Lena will be blanked because of their weak command of Chinese and I don't see Giselle or Susan making it either.

It would be a first, I believe, if my Top 3 predictions are correct as I don't remember ever that the winners were of consecutive numbers, we shall wait and see.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

TVB Series

Sorry, I don't have the time to continue with my reviews of each TVB series and since I won't be able to review series after October anyway I thought there wasn't much point for me to continue. I will still follow the TVB awards though.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Final

Well Tom is hired, after pitching his backpain-alleviating chair. Prior to this episode I was undecided but I couldn't see Jim or Helen winning but then I questioned myself on why Lord Sugar would want to work with Tom or Susan. It was only by the boardroom where Tom became the clear winner to me because he'd simply been given the least negative feedback. In all honesty whatever Tom had decided to pitch to Lord Sugar didn't matter because it sounds like they aren't going to work with it for a while.

For this matter everybody's proposal was flawed in some sort of way it was just about who Lord Sugar thought he could work with. Here's my take on the four proposals.

Helen's proposal was flawed to say the least. Her business proposal sounded like a glorified PA or what the show called a concierge service. I don't know how many similar type of companies there are but I find the business concept highly flawed in that you ask someone to do things for you. But the biggest flaw in her proposal was that she was starting this from scratch, to start up a company like this you need connections, besides connections with Greggs Bakery I don't see where Helen can head with this. In a desperate attempt to curry favour with Lord Sugar she hinted on another plan of a homemade cakes bakery shop... lets just say Helen had lost the plot.

Overall Helen is a great employee but I'm not 100% sure she'll be a great employer.

Susan worked too her strengths in pitching her line of beauty products but I was slightly disappointed on the creativity aspect. Essentially Susan's business is the most conventional out of the four, there's a clear market and structure to the business but the problem with her plan is the competition she faces and that to make it big £250,000 is clearly not enough for where Lord Sugar wants the product to go. Susan is an entrepreneur but her assumptions that her product will make it big in the first year after having sold her products on market stalls, with success, is a bit naive. But on the bright side Lord Sugar has hinted on a possible collaboration between the two as he sets his sights on battling with the likes of L'Oreal, Clinique, Lancome etc etc.

Jim's idea was interesting but where was the business? More confusingly I only understood it was an e-learning service, what was it actually about? The simple thing is Jim's idea wasn't really an entrepreneurial pursuit and therefore not what Lord Sugar wanted. Lord Sugar also is a "product" orientated person so Jim's idea was never going to make it for him especially when Jim said he initially thought the company would not be for profit.

So our winner, what was his plan? A backpain alleviating chair plus service. To be honest the service sounded awfully odd and then when he talked about the chair being able to monitor your back stress everything started to get a bit confusing. I don't think the chair idea had anything to do with his win, what allowed Tom to win was his ability and personality and the fact that he had a successful product already sealed the deal for Lord Sugar especially after he knew how Tom got the Walmart contract. Tom's chair idea would take years to establish, does Lord Sugar want to be associated with something like that? I said that I knew he would win once they were in the boardroom but his business plan did alienate me when they were being interviewed.

In general I was very happy with this series as it brought us a lot of classic Apprentice moments and the final result was ok. Junior Apprentice will be on later in the year supposedly but I'm slightly worried they might burn out if there's two Apprentices in one year. Anyway it was a great series and I hope you enjoyed my weekly commentary.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Episode 11+12

Another week and another task but I actually enjoyed watching these "business partner" hopefuls starting up their own fast food shop, you can't really call them Apprentices anymore can you.

After last weeks episode I gave a particularly bad review of some of the contestants but I have turned a 180, I think my utter disappointment last week led to me playing favouritism a bit too much. In fact I honestly can't guess who will win this. I don't really like Jim, he still creeps me out, but I wouldn't mind him winning which probably led me to believe he was the favourite, at this moment to me he actually looks to have the least chance of winning! I'm so indecisive! I think the main Achilles Heal for Jim is his lack of creativity, for Susan it's her maturity, for Tom it's his grit and for Helen it's her business mentality. Each candidate could win for different reasons and added to that is a new prize of being a business partner with Lord Sugar making the guessing all the more difficult. Whilst I still am not on board the "Helen is going to win" train I think there's a possibility now, unlike what I've said in previous weeks. People are upping Susan but I just don't know. Basically my head says it must be Helen, like everybody else, but my heart says the other three. But wouldn't it be so boring if Helen won?

Anyway onto this episode. I loved the idea of British (pie) fast food. I recently went to Australia and saw Pie Face but I don't think I've seen anything similar in the UK. I think Helen and Tom's Mypy idea was interesting, I liked the concept. Now lets break the whole thing down. I think the idea of mini pies is doable especially for fast food as everything is ready made and the great thing is you can mix and match and create funky combo names... sorry my "creative" side is going on. That's the main part of this task, the longevity of the actual business and Mypy does have potential but now I want to talk about what they actually did. The store looked plain boring and the logo was even more boring, I just don't understand where Tom's creative side went. And why were they dressed like flight attendants? And Helen's line of "Have you ever eaten 100% British before" was rather jarring. Finally why did they go with the plastic plates which made the whole thing more "British Airways!" Details wise I would like there to have been a reason for calling something Nightingale or Columbus (lol) rather than just giving mash a name, it could be genius when thought through but at the moment it seems a bit slapdash. Mypy was a great idea I just didn't like what I saw on the show.

Now we move onto Caraca's, Jim, Susan and Natasha. Oh how I love the name Caraca's because it has nothing to do with Mexico, Maracas might have been but Caracas is definitely not. Anyway I think Jim lacked a business not just a business model. In all honesty what was different or unique or interesting about what he was serving? What did he actually do in the kitchen as well? Why did they need to make so many things? Why didn't he consider this and why didn't anyone tell him? The only thing Jim's team had was a decent logo and a better storefront than Mypy. I would much rather walk into a clichéd restaurant than walk into a BA lounge. Jim's utter inability to actually run the whole thing was further shown when he messed up the calculations stating 60 times 7 equals £4800. But honestly to me I don't think 60 customers in two hours with an average spend of £7 is too low, yes in rush hour the figures might be different but equalling it out and being a start up business I think it sounds about right even though it only means £420 in two hours.

What I do love about the Apprentice is how they simplify things so much e.g. when Helen was talking about profit margins but was there any consideration of other costs like staff, maintenance, running etc. I know it would be foolish to go into these costs for a two day task but I'd just be interested in what they actually think they would make.

Quote of the Week
Lord Sugar: It's a bit like me saying I've got a degree in first aid right but I'll see someone dying on the street and say "Sorry I haven't don it for ten years" so I'm going to leave him alone

My favourite is still Susan and I would love to see her win. Her story is just so amazing and she will be such a role model to kids wanting to start their own business. I also wouldn't mind seeing Jim win. If Tom won I'd be half interested because all I've been hearing lately is his failed business concept whilst if Helen won I would just role my eyes. At the moment though the odds feel like Helen-Tom-Susan-Jim but bookies think Tom-Susan-Helen-Jim!

I was rather harsh on Helen last week, I do see a lot of good things about her, she'll be a great employee to anybody but I don't know about her as the boss, she'll work hard and do her best but I can't see her being a successful businessperson. I was also quite harsh on Tom but I think he needs to be led rather than lead. Jim lacks the creativity to actually start a business and I think he's a better salesperson. Finally we have Susan, I really want to know more about her skincare company but at the moment based on ability to do well she does seem the best candidate.

Anyway I'm so excited for Sunday, so annoyed I'll be late in watching the show.

Who will win?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Episode 10

First of all before I say anything else I want to voice my disapproval on next week being another task. I was so looking forward to interviews but now I have to wait another week (or more). I've seen enough of this bunch of five performing, I know their strengths and weaknesses, I just want the series to conclude now!

To be honest this was one of the most boring episodes ever, the drama was so entertaining this year until this episode. The more I watch the 5 the more I feel that we have a pretty weak bunch here. And is their poor performance the reason for another task? Here's an assessment of the "Not-so-Fabulous Five.

Helen Louise Milligan
Yes she may have the records but does she have what Lord Sugar is looking for? I personally think no. Records are always nice to have but sometimes you have to look behind that. Just because she had a 9-0 winning streak until this task doesn't mean she helped win the task and the sales records might be strong but in the end there's not much substance in a few "monopoly styled" numbers. I find Helen's style very clinical and cold. Some may compare her organisation skills with Stella last year but I don't think she has the same gut instinct. A lot of her "risks" are just lucky mistakes. The more I watch her the more I feel she's just got Lady Luck on her side because I don't see anything past the records. I don't see her winning and this episode reaffirmed that because Helen doesn't have the fundamental business instinct that Lord Sugar usually looks for.

Natasha Scribbins
Why is she still here? I underestimated her because I thought she would be long gone. In fact if anyone is lucky it's Natasha because she has scraped through being taken into the boardroom. I'm sure the next time Natasha lands in the BR she'll be fired nearly instantly. Has she proved her worth? I don't remember or see any particular strengths and this episode she looked defeated and out of her depth. The only praise I remember she got was directing a decent commercial but besides that where is her gut business acumen? Why is she even still in the Top 5? Does she have something special that we haven't been able to see? It's seems like next episode the teams will be Natasha, Susan Vs Helen, Tom and Jim. Personally I think the boys should lead the teams because they've only led once each. I would love to see Tom + Natasha Vs Jim + Susan + Helen. Interesting fact all three of the girls have a 2-0 PM record though I don't believe Helen and Natasha's most recent wins were worthy hence Lord Sugar defaulting Natasha's treat - which leads me to say this is the first time a winning team can also be considered a losing team and it was all led by Natasha.

Susan Ma
Some of you may think I'm biased but whilst Susan acts and sometimes speaks immaturely you've got to praise her gut business acumen in comparison to the likes of Natasha or even Helen. I personally believe she has more going for her than Natasha or Helen to win this but then again I really can't imagine her winning either. What Susan needs is a bit more experience and a way to reaffirm her teams respect towards her. I was shocked to find out that all the other candidates remaining are 9 years or more older than her, which is probably why she is losing respect because they see her as a little girl and a weak mouse (as Jim said). Lord Sugar isn't stupid, is he going to award £250,000 to the youngest candidate he's ever crowned? I really doubt it. For Susan it's all about maturity and please never say "that's so unfair" again.

Tom Pellereau
Lord Sugar likes Tom but honestly what has he shown on the show besides his ability to talk and examine things after they have actually happened. Whilst Tom is likeable and I by no means doubt his credibility as an inventor I think he's just too booksmart and not streetsmart enough. Tom could win but it'd be only because of the failure of everybody around him. Throughout the show he has shown he's not a leader and doesn't take initiative, which is vital for a business person. I think he should stick with the creative.

Jim Eastwood
Jim has managed to survive after a near escape from Lord Sugar a few weeks ago and in my opinion he has dug himself out as the favourite to win. What Jim has is an overall grasp of what is necessary to win, his main strength being his selling ability and his leadership qualities. However I do not think Jim fits into the mould of Apprentice winners that well but for now he looks to be the strongest left and I'd be shocked if he didn't make it to the Final 2.

I'm really gunning for a Susan Vs Jim Top 2 but I can honestly see anybody making the Top 2 besides Natasha (or maybe she'll surprise me for the nth time). It's such a difficult series to predict because nobody really stands out. Don't try to convince me Helen's records are enough for her to stand out, they're all make believe anyway, I'd be much more interested in hard cash which I think is what Lord Sugar is looking for.

This episode really did convince me that this bunch is possibly the weakest yet, why on earth did Melody and Helen (supposedly the star of the show) go to Poundland to sell £50 watches? Why did they go to a hardware store to sell duvets? I'm honestly baffled. And how could Helen honestly think that selling to retailers was a good idea? She was simply blinded by her success and wanted "big" money but yet again I argue luck led her to securing deals however I do give her credit for speaking professionally in the booster seat task but not on the biscuits one. What was funniest was when Helen bought all the duvet covers to then find out the retailer was closed! I do agree that Melody told her to do so but I highly doubt Helen understood the importance of selling to the public which reaffirms my suspicions that she is not a leader but needs to be lead.

What Lord Sugar has been banging on about throughout this series is taking risks and I highly doubt Natasha, Tom or Helen will successfully do that in the real business world.

The highlight of this episode was when Jim went to the O2 and I got to see my college where I did my Foundation Art Diploma - if only I stayed later everyday I may have got to see them in "action" - or lack of.

And finally Helen loses, thank god!

I also resent Natasha for blaming Susan for the failure of the task because what she is doing following everyone else's direction of "lets pick on Susan". In what way was she acting childish on the day? Did she honestly think she was hard to control? Sometimes I get it when they pick on Susan but it's just becoming a habit and everybody is acting like a playground bully towards her. I think that's one reason why I like to stick up for her, she gets too much negative for what she actually does.

In such an uninteresting episode the best quote I could find was...

Tom: Melody runs a business which unsurprising is all to do with talking... (laughs) and to be honest none of us really understand what it is that you do.

I sadly feel the same way, shame I can't be bothered to download You're Fired where that'll probably be the first topic because my broadband is so slow! Sorry for being a "broken record"!

It's quite interesting that Lord Sugar actually felt regretful to see Melody leave, I wonder if Susan was on their team would she have been fired instead.

Anyway see you next week for another task.

Monday, 4 July 2011

My Australian Top 5

I do plan on writing reviews for my trip to Melbourne but for now I'm going to tell you my five favourite eateries from my holiday to Australia.

To start us off those that just missed the cut.
8th - Charlie and Co's
7th - Bills
6th - Makoto Sushi Bar

Common Ground Cafe

For me it wasn't about the food, it was about finding a unique and cosy hideaway in the midst of harsh winter winds up at the Blue Mountains. I'm not saying the food isn't good, on the contrary it's very decent and there are a few gems such as the Not Chocolate and my cousin's recommendations of the Open Sandwich and Soup of the Day.

A quick question to any Australians reading this, why are there so many bearded waiters in Australia?

Pancakes on The Rocks

I may cry over how sick of food I felt after not even finishing my Aussie Sunrise but Pancakes on the Rocks was one of my most memorable meals in Sydney not only for its shear size. It's carbs paradise, a dieter's nightmare, a child's fantasy... it's all my dreams and nightmares rolled into one. It's also the only place we went to twice so I couldn't honestly leave it off the list - despite me feeling slightly sick from writing about my experience.


For me a good dining experience is not only about the food, it's about the whole experience. I love the fact that Yu-U is awkward and low-key, I loved it even more that their "main door" was in repair and we had to ring a bell, wait and then be lead into a narrow corridor to enter the dining area. The whole experience is so different from what you'd expect to see from a leading Melbourne restaurant. And you can't forget about the food, some of the most authentic Japanese cuisine you'll find outside Japan. Their attention to detail is impeccable to the point that even a fussy, Japan-loving, Hong Kong local (who has tasted many a Japanese restaurant) can't wait to go again.

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant

Thank every single Chinese deity, you don't need to go to Hong Kong to find a good Cantonese Restaurant. Though there were hits and misses in terms of food the sole fact that the steamed barramundi they dished out was as good as any Hong Kong eatery put Golden Century straight onto my list. It was amazing to see how busy the place was, if you consider that it must be around five times the size of Chat Thai. They also gave complimentary desserts and fruits which left us wanting more despite literally needing an emergency unit to relieve us of the amount we ate.


To be No.1 nothing matters more than being memorable and Mamak was the most memorable of the lot simply for its roti. Not all our dishes were hits and the overall dining experience may not stack up to some other places but the fact that I'm revelling to go to Sydney just to try their rotis again is sentiment to how much I love this place. I just hope someone can recommend me a good roti place in London and Hong Kong or I might go bankrupt from the flight journeys to Sydney.

And to round it all off my Must-eats when travelling to Australia, of course to start us off...

Mamak's Roti's
Simples - as many an Australian waiter tended to say to us...

Fish and Chips (anywhere where it's good!)
If made good the fish is divine.

Pancakes (or hotcakes) for breakfast
I am not limiting you to Pancakes on the Rocks

Wagyu Burgers
The idea of wagyu put into a burger simply makes this a must eat.

Happy dining!

Sunday, 3 July 2011


I am so happy for Djokovic, I had him as No.2 favourite for the title this year but he exceeded my expectations and beat Nadal in the Wimbledon final. He hasn't lost to Nadal this year 5 out of 5. I wonder if he'll sustain his form? A 48-1 record is amazing, I wonder what his w/l will be at the end of the year. I think now his next major goal should be to tackle the dominance of Nadal at Roland Garros since we know he can win Grand Slams besides at the Australian Open.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Petra Kvitova wins Wimledon!

Whilst I thought it was possible I'm still in slight shock to see Petra Kvitova winning Wimbledon and a slam before Wozniacki and Azarenka - they better watch out because Kvitova could make No.1 soon!

The Apprentice UK Season 7 Episode 9

Sorry for the late post, yet again I blame my 0.66kbps connection. This was a very interesting episode because for the first time I honestly had no clue who was going to be fired. The thing was however bad Zoe's team performed I was expecting to see Helen's team lose for the first time because of how random their product was but I guess I'm no expert.

So Zoe is out, my dark horse of the competition. I did see her as a potential winner but I guess Lord Sugar couldn't accept that she got no orders but works in the food industry. I found it quite amusing that supposedly Zoe is now in allegiance with Susan, said by Melody and by Zoe herself saying that she'd be more comfortable working with Suzie, because I thought they were at loggerheads. However Susan's quote reaffirmed my suspicions.

Susan: I'm feeling really confident about today, got a few ideas about the biscuits erm that I'm hoping Zoe will like. When it comes to making biscuits I think we will be on roughly the same level but on a personal level she's one of the bitchiest and most backstabbing people I've ever met (all whilst doing her makeup)

absolutely hilarious.

Personally I thought BixMix was a better product overall. I think their packaging was better, their concept was better and their teamwork better but for some odd reason Special Stars won, obviously I don't know how the product tasted. Firstly not trying to insult Helen's team but honestly where did Special Stars come from? It's so cheap. Then the biscuits looked even cheaper. The packaging didn't really stand out. And then the awful tag line "Any time is treat time" not only was that contradictory to their concept of an after school treat but it also sounded like a dog treat! For some reason Asda loved it and ordered 800,000 units. I thought the Asda women looked so comical throughout the show and that they weren't impressed with anything but obviously not.

Helen's winning streak is frightening me. In logic there is no reason why Helen should lose because she has been on the winning side of every task and lead her team to a record breaking amount of sales but her passiveness just doesn't seem to be the type Lord Sugar is looking for. I'm not saying she's not going to win but if Lord Sugar finds a decent "aggressive" style candidate then I'm sure he'll go for them rather than Helen.

The quote of the week is sadly not a quote and I can't even quote it but it's the roleplay Melody and Tom (then Zoe) acted out to the buyers. It was one of the most classic Apprentice moments, it was just so awkward.

What was maybe a little shocking, for me, was Sainsbury's, Asda... Waitrose. I was nearly 100% sure it would be Tesco. Maybe that's just me. I think they should have targeted to a high end, mid end and low end supermarket.

I'm still in a bit of shock that Helen's team didn't lose because their idea was awful. I guess Asda isn't my type of supermarket. I was screaming "How" a million times at the screen. I see that the fundamental problem of BixMix is the lack of target market but I don't see how Special Stars is better than it.

But bye bye Zoe - finally no more bitchfights and monotone sounds.

So who is going next week? I'm starting to see the possibility of Natasha staying until Top 5 as they painted her in a decent light this week. It's honestly a level playing field but Tom is probably on his last chance as he hasn't performed but Lord Sugar likes him. Saying that I think Natasha or Susan are in the biggest danger of leaving next week with Tom another possibility. I can't imagine Helen going and for some reason I think Jim is a sure Top 5. Melody started to grate on me this episode but Zoe's outbursts were out of line. 

There are things I like and hate about each of the candidates. Helen is nice and passive but boring. Jim is a smooth talker but is so creepy. Susan is funny to watch but also a bit childish. Natasha is such a ladette but she needs to go. Melody has potential but she pushes her own idea till no end and finally Tom is the wacky inventor but he has been a big fail up to now. I honestly don't know who'll win. The obvious answer would be to go with Helen but wouldn't it be a bit disappointing to see a candidate dominate from start to finish, she's also pretty unmemorable unlike similar candidates like Stella last year who had some sort of interesting story.

Well I can't wait for next weeks episode to see who loses out before the interviews.

Djokovic NO.1

I read about this yesterday but my awfully slow internet connection meant I wasn't able to share my joy. I am so happy that Djokovic finally grabs the No.1 spot, next year will be difficult but I'm sure Djokovic will get better and better. 

So it's Nadal Vs Djokovic and Sharapova Vs Kvitova. I hope Djokovic wins it because I don't want to see Nadal making another double. Djokovic and Sharapova to win! Though I can equally see Nadal and Kvitova making the headlines.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Australia Day 5 - Sydney - Last day in Sydney

Our last day in Sydney, at this point I can't believe it went so quickly.

Bills - 433 Liverpool Street
It's never easy to impress my dad and my equally uncompromising cousin and Bills didn't either. I must admit it did take about 30 minutes for the food to actually come but I did like the Ricotta Hotcakes because they weren't sickly rich but had a nice consistency and sweetness to them. My dad had the salmon with sourdough dish which I found odd because he's not a fan of cold food. I also ordered a cup of hot chocolate which I found very nice, especially watching the chocolate chips melt slowly. Maybe they did not like the place because it was a slight trek here but personally I thought it wasn't as bad as they had insisted. The food was ok, the price a bit steep but  I loved the relaxed atmosphere of the place. Meal for three was around AUD 60.

About the long wait I think it was because there wasn't enough sourdough for my dad's dish so they had to get it delivered or something because we saw a brown paper bag being delivered into the kitchen and as my dad was sitting right next to the kitchen door he saw the chefs taking out bread from it.

Charlie and Co's + Din Tai Fung - Westfield Food Court
Why did we land here? Well originally I wanted to go to Plan B, desperately wanting to try the Wagyu burger, but after finding an empty shop and Becasse's website stating they had moved to Westfield Floor 5 we headed here. Once there we only found Becasse Bakery and the actual Becasse, we asked the Bakery staff and they regretfully told us that they no longer make Wagyu Burgers - nooooooooo.... and they directed us to Charlie and Co's on the other side of the food court. Damn, Charlie and Co's is 6 dollars more expensive btw.

As we only wanted to try the burger me and my dad split it in two and ordered two batches of Xiao Long Bao from Din Tai Fung. We had been advised not to go to Din Tai Fung because the Hong Kong branch is much better.

The Wagyu Burger was very tasty, the beef patty soft and moist but would I have known better? Probably not. The Xiao Long Bao was decent, not as bad as my relatives painted it out to be but yes I'd say the Hong Kong branch is better.

Oh I also ordered a Lychee Black Tea with Coconut Jelly from Chatime, I regretted this decision instantly because it didn't taste nice. Next time I'll try it in Hong Kong.

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant - 393 Sussex Street
Our last meal in Sydney, we had to eat Chinese! Golden Century being one of the best of the bunch. We were quite impressed with it all actually. I loved the bustling dining hall, which was huge but still full! Seeing as this was a Seafood Restaurant we immediately decided to order some fish, which they had tons of but all quite expensive. We settled on the Barramundi. We also ordered a chicken claypot bowl (not 100% what it is), another bowl with aubergine, a scallops with green beans dish and some greens.

The Barramundi was the highlight of the meal, I absolutely love steamed fish when it's made well and this was done to Cantonese perfection. The fish was fresh and steamed to just the right amount. It's essential for the fish to be fresh and cleaned well for it to taste right, sadly it's quite rare to find in the UK. The claypot dishes were nice, the chicken was better though. The aubergine one was a bit random. The greens were also cooked well. The scallop however were a bit forgettable. If there was one negative I'd say it was the amount of oil put into the dishes but that might be the price to pay for good Cantonese food. Filled to the brim already we were also served complimentary desserts and fruits, an almond dessert and a few small bites as well as a tangerine each. The almond dessert (can't think of an english name equivalent) was lovely - even better as it was free but for AUD 120 you expect something thrown in. Definitely if you're looking for Chinese food in Sydney consider Golden Century.

General Tourist Attractions
Bondi Beach - A must during any season, even in Winter you won't feel awkward because it's not cold and you still see a lot of surfers and tourists around. The beach is beautiful and the vistas amazing. Be sure to head up to Ben Buckler Point (about 5 minutes from the beach) in the winter months where you might catch a glimpse of a whale like we did.

Paddington Reservoir Gardens - We only arrived at night so the place was a little spooky but I'm sure it's a very attractive resting spot in the morning.

King's Cross - It's quite odd to see this side of Sydney in such an unabashed setting. It has a different feel to the likes of Soho in UK, I don't know how to describe it.

Australia Day 4 - Sydney - Shopping in the CBD

A lot of browsing and I finally landed on a jacket I liked! But honestly prices in Sydney are not cheap! Go to Hong Kong instead but if you still want to go the Pitt Street Mall area should have enough to fill a day and I loved the atmosphere there, a shoppers' oasis. 

Marigold - 683 George Street Level 5
Having heard that Marigold churns out some of the best Dim Sum in Sydney I was quite excited to visit the place because Sydney has to be one of the largest cities with a foreign Chinese presence. By accident I had wrongly read their opening times, expecting them to open at 9am rather than 10 thus we arrived at 10.01 and were greeted by an empty dining hall, great! Service was therefore quite intrusive, the waitresses asking us every 5 minutes or so what we'd like to eat. We were spared about 10 minutes later and from then about every 10 minutes or so another table of diners arrived until about 11 where there were 6 or 7 tables, though dwarfed by the size of the place. Onto the food. The spare ribs and chicken feet were very good. The black bean spare ribs were not chewy but soft and succulent whilst the chicken feet were tasty and steamed till everything would melt in your mouth. The next two dishes were much less well received by us. The Char Siu Cheung Fun was near abysmal, the cheung fun was in shreds, possibly the worst Cheung Fun I've seen. The Lo Bat Go (white radish cakes) were a bit too salty and devoid of any ingredients besides radish. Finally we ordered a chicken clay pot rice which was huge! Filled us up very quickly. Oh we also ordered Xiao Mai which was ok.

The meal came to about AUD 50, slightly expensive for two people. There were highlights and lowlights but I liked the traditional trolleys filled with dim sum, which are disappearing everywhere, however it does restrict what you eat. Only advice, don't come a 10am!

Sydney Tower 360 Buffet - Above Westfield
We went more for the views, our logic was that as we're going up the tower anyway why not have lunch there  instead. It meant that we paid AUD 49.50 instead of AUD 25 plus lunch, so about the same price but we saved precious shopping time.

The food wasn't too interesting the highlight, in terms of food for me, being the passionfruit ice cream. But obviously the views were the ultimate highlight. It was however a sunny day so it was slightly stuffy up there when facing the sun. I also got to try Kangaroo, which wasn't that nice.

Makoto Sushi Bar - 119 Liverpool Street
I literally had to drag two uncompromising Asians to this restaurant because one of them wanted to go to Wagaya and the other has never liked sushi. I honestly don't know how to impress them and sadly Makoto Sushi Bar didn't. I ordered the prawn tempura, eel hand roll, dragon roll, dolphin roll, spider roll, prawn nigiri, eel nigiri and (another nigiri I can't remember) to share between two whilst my "sick" cousin, who wanted to go to Wagaya, only ordered a bowl of Tempura Udon. Personally I liked the sushi. The sushi rice was firm and chewy - nothing feel apart. The hand roll was also lovely, with the nori being light and crispy - which I have not found in the UK. The rolls were very interesting, and very big! Taste wise I don't remember much. The tempura wasn't that great in my opinion. My cousin who had the Udon thought the place wasn't that great, well I don't know how he could compare when he only ate udon, which isn't their speciality, oh well. I can't remember the price exactly but I think it was around AUD 50-60.

Pancakes on the Rocks - Darling Harbour
Miraculously my sick cousin looked very energetic once we arrived at our second helping of Pancakes on the Rocks. We had wanted to try the desert varieties of Pancakes on the Rocks and after recommendations that the Darling Harbour branch was better we headed there for some evening desert. We ordered two to share between three, the Devil's Delight but with Crepes and the Strawberry Patch. This time around the pancakes were still great but maybe because of the extra sweetness I found the dessert a bit too sickly sweet. The Devil's Delight with Crepes however was much easier to swallow, though the crepes weren't as amazing as the pancakes the dessert was tastier, to me anyway, because of the lower carb intake! I also ordered Pineapple Juice which was extremely sour, in hindsight perfect for the sickly sweet deserts.