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The Ultimate Christmas Film List

15 Dec

Wondering what to watch this Christmas holiday? Here’s my list of Christmas favourites, and the good news is they’re all available to stream on either Amazon Instant Video, UK Netflix, or Now TV! Enjoy!

 

Home Alone (on Amazon Instant Video)

home alone

 

Die Hard (on NOW TV)

die hard

 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (on UK Netflix and Amazon Instant Video)

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Love Actually (on UK Netflix)

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The Nightmare Before Christmas (on UK Netflix)

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Jingle All The Way (on UK Netflix)

jingle-all-the-way

 

Scrooged (on UK Netflix)

scrooged

 

Elf (on NOW TV)

elf

 

It’s A Wonderful Life (Amazon Instant Video)

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The MTV EMAs 2014

13 Nov

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I was lucky enough to be invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Glasgow at the weekend, for the annual MTV Europe Music Awards. Scotland has been host to the EMA’s (now in it’s 20th year) only once before, and this year promised to be the best yet.

With performances from Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, U2 and Slash, MTV were set to make it an International affair, featuring not only the latest pop acts to top the charts, but also some of the most successful Rock icons of the 20th Century.

An event like this was worth getting up at an unsociable time on a Sunday morning – I was up and out of the door just after 5am. After a swift security check and a smooth flight (got to love domestic flights), we arrived in Glasgow around 10am and headed straight to our hotel to check in. It was then time to collect our wristbands and tickets (for the main event and the pre-party) and get ready.

 

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The mail out to attendees stated that we would be standing on a raised platform close to the awards stage, so we should prepare to be on camera and dress to impress! My friend and I sensibly chose dresses that we’re both glamorous yet comfortable, and most importantly, weren’t completely weather inappropriate (it was around 4 degrees in Glasgow at the time).

 

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At 5pm we were transported to the Glasgow Science Centre, where the official pre-party was taking place. Drinks and food were provided, and there were several photo booths (with props) to make the most of – which, of course, we did.

 

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A short walk across the bridge and we were at the venue for the main event, the SSE Hydro – the Hydro is ranked in the top five busiest indoor entertainment arenas in the world alongside such iconic venues as Madison Square Garden in New York and The O2 in London.

Once inside – this was our view. We were in the VIP area right next to the awards stage, giving us prime location to spot and snap the host, Her Minajesty, and the other award presenters (including Jena Malone, David Hasselhoff and Jourdan Dunne).

 

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We were given wristbands to wear and were told that they would be lighting up at some point during the event. As Enrique Iglesias appeared on stage, it all became clear that the audience were going to be part of his stage performance, and the venue lit up in thousands of colourful dancing lights – all changing colour in sync with each other, and in time with the music!

 

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For those of you that missed the awards, here are the winners:

  • Best Video – Katy Perry ‘Dark Horse’
  • Best Female – Arianna Grande
  • Best Male – Justin Bieber
  • Best Pop – One Direction
  • Biggest Fans Award – One Direction
  • Best Look – Katy Perry
  • Global Icon Award – Ozzy Osbourne
  • Best Song – ‘Problem’ Arianna Grande
  • Best Rock – Linkin Park
  • Best Hip-Hop – Nicki Minaj
  • Best Worldwide Act – Zhou Bichang
  • Best Alternative – Thirty Seconds To Mars
  • Best New Act – 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Best Electronic – Calvin Harris
  • Best World Stage Performance – Enrique Iglesias
  • Best Song with a Message – ‘Pretty Hurts’ Beyonce

 

We were so excited to be given the chance to attend the EMAs and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Fingers crossed I get to go next year – after all it will be hosted in Italy. Milan, here I come!

 

 

Something for the Weekend

7 Nov

This week has been a busy one – I’ve mostly been preparing for my trip to Glasgow for the MTV EMA Awards this weekend (which is very exciting), so didn’t have chance to post the Weekly Viral Vaccine. In it’s place I’ve put together a little ‘Something for the weekend’ – a couple of juicy links to keep you entertained when you’re on the bus or waiting for a friend at the pub.

Enjoy!

  • Honda The Other Side – this incredible video allows you to switch between two stories with the click of the ‘R’ key. Beautifully (and meticulously) shot, it will have you watching again and again to see the different sides of the story.
  • The Motherlode of Deliciously Disturbing and Disgusting VHS Horror Art – naturally!
  • The John Lewis Christmas TV Ad Recut – the internet has been inundated with comments and tweets about Super-Agency Adam&Eve DDB’s newest heart-melting festive ad, but I always have more of a soft spot for the parodies – this one is winning by a country mile. Introducing The Babadook recut:
  • All the Best Fake Commercials from the Movies, in One Amazing Supercut – some of these are awesome!

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The Walking Dead Returns: Season 5 and issue #100

29 Sep

**Spoiler alert – some potential spoilers below**

I’ve always been a huge fan of Zombies, and I never imagined when I picked up my first copy of The Walking Dead Graphic Novel 6 years ago, that it would become one of the biggest US TV genre shows around. The Graphic Novel truly is un-put-downable, and with a new volume being released every 6 months, we’re now on volume 21, and things are beginning to get very interesting indeed.

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Fans of the Comic and the TV show will know just how different the show is to the original source material, which is one of the reasons I love it so much – not knowing where they will divert from the story or come back to it. You’ve got completely new characters, such as Daryl, who don’t appear in the Comic, then you have some major story developments (such as Rick’s missing hand) being given to other characters (Merle).

Watch the trailer for season 5 below.

From the trailer we see the folks at Terminus showing their true, seedy colours. The original group are tied up and look like they might be in trouble, and with the tag line for the series being ‘hunt or be hunted’, we may well see the introduction of the cannibalistic group the ‘Hunters’, that appear in the Comics.

For those of us that love the comics, there are some characters and jaw-dropping moments that we would love to see take place on the show. Two of my new favourite characters (just for being so polarised and equally enigmatic) Ezekiel and Negan, I really hope to make a dramatic entrance pretty early on in the series, to really make things go off with a bang. These are without a doubt two of the most interesting characters of the entire Comic series – natural sworn enemies, each with his own signature accessory (Ezekiel with his pet Tiger, Shiva and Negan with his weapon of choice Lucille, whom he treats more like a lover than an object).

Negan Ezekiel

Issue #100 is full of catastrophe, and I’m sure some of the stories will be woven into season 5. Without giving too much away, the main questions on people’s lips will be: Who will be at the mercy of Negan and Lucille? Will Carl lose an eye? (unlikely due to the special FX complications), and when will the cannibals appear and in what guise? (could they be the residents of Terminus?)

We’ve got less than two weeks to wait until Rick and the gang are back on our screens, so gather your melee weapons, sit back and get ready to enjoy the ride.

Tune in to The Walking Dead Season 5 premiere at 9pm on Monday 13th October on FOX (Now TV/ Sky)

Girl vs Food – ep. 1

9 Apr

I was recently introduced to the epic Man vs Food (thanks to my awesome friend Lauren) – a programme where each week, food lover Adam Richman travels the US to try out some of the biggest and best oversized restaurant specials in order to set new records and generally feel good about himself for clearing his plate, no matter how high it was piled to start off with. I know how he feels.

The main problem with watching his show on a regular basis (which seems to be on every day on Dave) is that it always makes me really hungry, despite the fact that he fails a lot of the challenges set and makes himself quite ill. Mind you, I knew I wasn’t quite right when I first watched Supersize Me – I’m pretty sure that was designed to put people off fast food (those that overdo it, anyway) but the first thing I did after it finished? Headed straight to McDonald’s!

This Adam Richman guy sure knows his stuff and you only have to watch him for 30 seconds to see how passionate he is about food. After moving down to London and being introduced to the delights of Meat Liquor, Bodean’s and the like, and then experiencing the incomparable barbecued meats of Texas, I realised that I am someone who definitely appreciates a good meal – as well as being curious when it comes to vast quanitites of food or giant portions. I don’t know what it is about it, but it just fascinates me. I can trace this back to my first and only (although I’m determined that’s not the end of it) attempt at making giant confectionary. Allow me to introduce my embarrassing internet debut on PIMP THAT SNACK:

Then came the Hellraiser marathon night at a friend’s place, where I ordered the biggest takeaway pizza available with all the toppings (to share with my fella). Here’s a picture of the beast (well, the box it came in) that is the Romino’s 18 inch Special (touted as ‘The biggest pizza in town!’):

We got through most of it (left around 3 slices I think), but man did I feel bad for not polishing it off.

Next up came the first, real Girl vs Food challenge. The occasion was Davo’s Birthday, the place? Ciao Bella in Bloomsbury, the food?

THE CALZONE CHALLENGE – sounds pretty standard right? Davo’s best mate, a regular at the restaurant dared me to order the Calzone, warning me that it would be bigger than my own head – looking at the price (which seemed very reasonable for something  that could possibly dwarf my head) I confidently ordered the tame sounding dish and didn’t think any more of it…

…That was, until it arrived

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My face must have been a picture – never in my life had I seen anything quite so ridiculously huge for one person to eat. I was then very aware that everyone at the table was staring at this Italian monstrosity and then at me with very distinctive ‘there’s no way she’s going to eat all that!’ looks. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I quietened down, quickly planned a strategy in my head and set to work on the beast.

I was in the Cal-zone – I hardly spoke to anyone during the course of the meal; finishing this bad boy off was going to require all of my concentration. I knew the closer I got to finishing it, the more people were talking about it until the last few forkfuls inspired cheers and claps from the table to spur me on!

So surprised was the owner of the restaurant that someone of my size could finish such a huge dish (with no help whatsoever!) that my sheer determination was rewarded with an Easter Egg – how lovely!!

Amazingly, after all that I still had room for a Panna Cotta dessert! 🙂

Keep an eye out for my next Girl vs Food challenge and let me know if you have any suggestions! Also, if you’re near the Bloomsbury area, check out Ciao Bella, a lovely, family-run authentic Italian restaurant with great food – not all monstrously huge portions either! I’ll definitely be heading back there again.

Fizzbin: The Alternative Christmas Card Game

12 Dec

Forget Operation, Charades, Poker, or even Skyrim on Xbox – all you need this Christmas is Fizzbin (stay with me, people). Invented by Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek – The Original Series, Episode 49: A Piece of the Action as a means of escape for him and his team (how very resourceful!)

 

“It’s a game played on Beta Antares IV. It’s a real game, a man’s game. Of course, it’s probably a little bit beyond you: It requires intelligence. The cards on Beta Antares are a little different, but not too different”.

So here are the rules for the most complex card game you’ll ever play, courtesy of Andy Joy:

Ideal number of players – 4

  • Six cards are dealt out to all players, except to the dealer and the player on his left, who get seven. The second cards of the dealer and the player on the left are turned face up
  • The player on the dealer’s left gets the first turn, and then play proceeds counter-clockwise around the table. There is one discard pile for each player (placed in front of the player). To play, you may draw from any one of the four discard piles, or you may draw from the stack of remaining cards.
  • If the card you draw is a king or a two, you may draw again, unless it is night, in which case the rule applies for a queen or a four only.
  • If you draw a queen or a four during the day (or a king or a two at night), you must discard it to your pile.
  • After you have drawn your card(s) and you have discarded the queen or four or king or two (if necessary), you must discard another card to any one of the four piles.
  • If you drew from the stack, you may discard that card. If you drew from a discard pile, you must keep that card (though you can discard it on your next turn if you wish).
  • Play continues until the stack is exhausted. At that time, the cards of all players are revealed and compared by the following scale:Royal Fizzbin:The best hand. It consists of a king and a two (or a queen and a four at night), and any two pairs of aces, jacks, or sevens.Full Fizzbin:Second best. It is a king and a two (or a queen and a four at night), and any one pair of aces, jacks, or sevens.Three-Quarters Fizzbin:

    Next best. It is a three, five, six, eight, nine and ten, all red, except at night when they must be all black.

    Half Fizzbin:

    Lowest hand that can win. Consists of any pair of sevens, jacks or aces.

    Shronk:

    The worst hand of all. It is three or four of a kind. Automatically loses, no matter what anybody else has.

After the hands are compared, the winner gets to be dealer and the loser has to exchange places with the person on the winner’s left (winner doesn’t have to move!) thus becoming the dealer’s left player. If no winner or loser, players stay where they are. The cards are then reshuffled and dealt again.
Players are encouraged to add new rules to Fizzbin and create their own variations of the game. <— I will when I get my head around these rules!

BAM, that’s how you have a good time!

If all that is too much for your tiny brains to take on board, or perhaps card games aren’t your bag, may I suggest the almighty (but shamefully underground take on a classic) Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock?

All you have to remember, courtesy of the brilliant Sheldon Cooper, is:

Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vapourizes rock, and as it always has – rock crushes scissors = HOURS of fun (and possible hand cramps)…