Tuesday, 29 March 2011

April & The Movies I Am Looking Forward To {1}

It is not just that I am a big Cinema fan, but movies are also a part of my job. And this is one of the things I love about it: watching all the trailers and checking release dates. I am sorry, but watching it on your flat screen at home, no matter how big that is, is just not the same. Here are the April releases I cannot wait to watch:

HOP - In Cinemas from Fri 1st April
Created by the same guys who came up with "Despicable Me" (if you have not watched it yet, you do not know what you missing family entertainment wise. Shame on you!), what is not to love about the Easter Bunny? He rocks, poops candy and is adorable! My 9 year-old daughter cannot wait to watch this either.

SOURCE CODE - In Cinemas April 1st
So what if this movie sounds like a crash in between "Out of Time" (2003) and "Minority Report" (2002)? Ok, I would not pick Jake Gyllenhaal over Denzel Washington, but over Tom Cruise? Absolutely!!! If you watched him in "Prince of Persia" you know exactly what I am talking about.

RIO - In Cinemas from April 8th  
This animated movie takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do I really have to say any more? This is another one my daughter will be coming to watch with me.

RED RIDING HOOD - In Cinemas Fri 15th April (click here to read more about this film)
This is the movie adaptation of the book which is an adaptation of the fairytale. Lost? No need. Even if you have not read the book (and I have not) the colours, soundtrack and plot should be interesting enough to get you to the cinema. For me, there is also the fact that Max Iron, one of the new favourites to play Jace Wayland on the upcoming movie adaptation of one of my favourite books: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, plays one of the main characters. I want to see if he is really as good as the word on the street.

BEASTLY - In Cinemas Fri 22nd April 
This is another fairytale-to-book-to-film adaptation. And again, although he has fallen from grace ever so slightly, Alex Pettyfer is the fan's favourite to play Jace Wayland. I was not particularly convinced by his performance in "I'm Number Four", so I am giving him another chance. Vanessa Hudgens from "High School Musical" is also one of the main characters in this film and it will be interesting to see if she can pull anything that is not "too Disney". I guess I literally will have to wait and see.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 5 - In Cinemas from April 22nd
This is a salute to all petrol heads and I am not ashamed to say I am one of them. Nothing sexier than a shiny fast machine. But that is not the reason I want to watch this movie. Again, this one is set in Rio de Janeiro and I am keen to find out if they will portray Brazil fairly. Every time I have watched a movie that involves Brazil, my reaction has been: "Where the hell is that suppose to be?". I hope this one will break the mode, because if it does not, not even sexy muscle cars are going to keep me from whinging.

THOR - In Cinemas April 27th 
Ok... Boys... You are just going to have to forgive me, but this is the one movie I do not care about the cast, the plot, the fact that it is based on comic books or the special effects. I am just going to watch it for the eye-candy. As long as that blondie takes his shirt off as many times as possible during this movie, I will gladly buy a ticket. :-) Am I ashamed of it? Am I hell!!! Are you going to tell me my husband watches Catwoman over and over again just to watch Halle Berry's fantastic "acting"? Yeah.... Right.

So there you are! Are you also looking forward to a certain movie this April? Leave your comment by clicking on the comments link below.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Music Mondays - Heavy In Your Arms by Florence and The Machines

Florence and The Machines need no introduction, so how come every time I show one of my friends this track they have never heard it before?

I love Florence's powerful voice and the darkness of the tune and the lyrics. Love here is not a blessing, but a curse. Having said all that, pay attention to the twist at the end... In the simplest way it is what makes it all worthwhile.

This song was also one of the soundtracks for Twilight Eclipse last year and since I managed to find a video with the lyrics on it, I have not written them here. Enjoy!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Book Review - Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

Rhoda has just been dumped by her husband of fifteen years for a man he met on the Internet and she is about to lose everything, so what does she do? She moves back with her Mennonite family.

So what are Mennonites? They are usually confused with the Amish people. Easy mistake to make as the Mennonites are a faction of the Amish. Although the earlier are more "liberal" regarding modern living allowing themselves to drive, go to college, use of technology like computers, mobile phones and electricity. However, they are still deeply rooted in their faith. They are not dissimilar to the Quaker's descendants you can come across in the UK today.

Everything basically goes wrong: Janzen gets sick and the surgery she needs ends badly, her husband leaves her, she is involved in a car crash and to top it all off she is about to lose the house her husband insisted on buying and she can no longer afford on her own. It all sounds very sudden and unexpected, almost as if she has been dealt an unfair amount of bad luck, but as you keep reading it becomes clear all the wrong things have been happening for quite a while and she has simply been in denial.

Janzen is a scholar and very fond of her status. No wonder, as she worked hard to get herself there. Admittedly, scholars are not my favorite type of people as they seem to think that their intelligence gives them the right to belittle others. Nick, Janzen’s ex-husband, is a good example of that, although he is a little too polished and trendy for an outright scholar generalization. Holding a Masters Degree or a P.H.D., however, does not make them other than human and, despite her intelligence and education, Janzen has done what a lot of woman in abusive relationships do: denied it was happening. We have the preconception that abuse equals physical abuse when in reality bullying someone emotionally is probably more soul destroying than being physically beaten. 

The other interesting detail about this book is that she spent her life running away from her heritage and her people. I can easily understand why. She just wanted to be "normal" and fit in. A feeling or need she could have developed during her teens when she went to a regular school but was dressed and had to behave like a Mennonite and therefore stood-up like a sore thumb. Having said that, when everything failed and her life went hay-wire they were the ones that not only rescued her, but received her from her broken, scarred state with open arms and no reservations. This is what started her journey returning to her roots and questioning her reasons and views of her heritage. 

This book is really a self-discovery memoir and, for me, it cut quite close to the bone. Since I read for escapism I cannot really say I enjoyed it or that I will be reading it again. As an inspiring writer, however, I think it is beautifully written and her wit is really entertaining. She managed to tell quite a soul destroying story and still make it funny and engaging. In conclusion, an interesting and thought provoking read if you look in between the lines, otherwise an entertaining one. If, like me, you like romance and action packed books... This might not be the book for you, but I cannot deny it is brilliantly written and very funny. 

Book Rating: **
To check the rating system click here.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Twilight: Breaking Dawn's Isle Esme Might Be Demolished

Paraty in Brazil was the location chosen to represent Isle Esme on the upcoming movie adaptation of Breaking Dawn, the fourth installment of the Twilight saga. But what happens when the house now cherished by fans is in danger of being demolished?

Saco do Mamanguá is this idyllic spot near the town of Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is quite literally breath taking and relatively unspoiled so it was no surprise Twilight director Bill Condon decided to shoot there in order to stay true to the original story written by Stephenie Meyer, where Edward and Bella spend their honeymoon on a private island just off the coast of Brazil. 

The house they chose for filming is a typical luxury Brazilian villa, but it was built inside a conservation area. In the past, Brazilian government was very lax regarding its laws on protecting fauna & flora and wealthy Brazilians as well as foreigners have built their villas bigger than they should and overlapping protected land. With Brazil rising into the status of worldwide interest, however, the policies are tighter and protecting conservation areas, endangered species and aborigine tribes are all priorities on the agenda. The Brazilian Congress is also considering a piece of law that will prevent non-nationals from buying vast pieces of land, the idea being to keep areas of interest and natural beauty as well as any natural resources  in Brazilian hands.

Isle Esme's Villa is following the fate of other similar houses and is next on the list of properties being quite literally demolished for not complying with the law. Talk about being taught a lesson!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Out & About - Piccolino

Out for dinner in Clitheroe? Then you must try Piccolino.

One of the newest additions to the Clitheroe food scene, this Italian restaurant brought a lot to the table. The food is delicious, the bar is vibrant and chic and the service is impeccable. I have been here quite a few times now and the food and service are always consistent.

Being an Italian, this restaurant is very child friendly and if you are lucky you might catch one of the chefs making fresh pasta inside the glass display. My daughter was mesmerized by this process, which is nothing short of a ritual. And while we are talking about fresh pasta... Any authentic Italian restaurant will be proud to tell you they only work with fresh food. Piccolino is no exception.

In the evenings, especially at the weekends, the vibe changes. Like me, a lot of people like to eat here as a starting point for a night out in town and you will find the bar full of smartly dressed grown ups. And girls? I have one for you. Every time I have dined here with a table full of ladies their Italian waiters had their charm turned on to full volume. Talk about feeling special!!! Mind the floor when wearing heels, though, as they are very polished and therefore very slippery. Falling on your bum with your ankles right up in the air like a proud flag flying on the wind will rain on your parade something chronic. I should know!

So here you have it: my review on the best Italian restaurant in town. It will make you walk away saying: Mamma Mia! (I am sorry! I know it sounds cheesy, but I just had to say it! The voices in my head told me to do it! o_0)

Ambient: *****
Price: ££££
Food: *****
Children: Yes
To check the rating system click here.

Moor Lane, Lower Gate
Clitheroe, Lancs. BB7 1BE
Tel: 01200 423 111

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

City of Bones Graphic Novel, Babi Dewet & Me

My new article for Brazilian writer Babi Dewet is up and running! (Click here to read it). You can also read all the other articles I have written for this black-belt blogger by clicking here.

It has been a busy month for The Mortal Instrument (TMI) fans! So far we have seen the release of the first City of Fallen Angel's (TMI #4) book trailer (click here to watch it) as well as video footage of its famous DSAS - Dirty Sexy Alley Scene (click here to watch it), not to mention all the commotion over who will be cast to play Jace Wayland on the upcoming movie version of City of Bones (TMI #1). To top it all off, yesterday, almost as if reading my mind when I wrote the article for Babi Dewet, the author of the books - Cassandra Clare - has released the cover for the first issue of the City of Bones graphic novel.

Here is what Cassandra had to say about the progress of this adaptation:
"Issue 1 is lettered (waiting on tweaks from letterer now and then you'll see it). It is also almost done being coloured and issue 2 is underway. Issue 4 is being adapted and by next week the artist will be halfway through the art on issue 3. Still aiming for winter publication."

Personally, I think Nik Virella, the artist behind the drawings, has done an excellent job. And you?

Monday, 21 March 2011

City of Fallen Angels' DSAS (Dirty Sexy Alley Scene) *Updated with Video*

For months Cassandra Clare has given little snippets of her upcoming book City of Fallen Angels and today she released the video footage of the scene that was apparently too hot to make it to the trailer!

It all started when Cassandra posted as a teaser the scene where Jace and Clary have a good old-fashion snog in an alleyway. The teaser was then hailed the infamous "DSAS" and the rest is history. The only way to watch the video was to follow the DSAS Hunt and them unscramble the letters given in each blog to use it as a password. It took me ages to figure it out! It was WAYLAND. *Duh! Bangs hand on forehead* Anyway... Moving on...

During the hunt you also came across the blog of a new character from the upcoming book: Maureen Brown. It is filled with interesting comments and photos. Once you start cooling down and you can concentrate, take a further look!

If you are curious to know what the fuzz is all about... Here is the teaser from City of Fallen Angels that generated all the noise: 

"The alley and the music all fell away, and there was nothing but her and the rain and Jace, his hands on her. . . He made a noise of surprise, low in his throat, and dug his fingers into the thin fabric of her tights. Not unexpectedly, they ripped, and his wet fingers were suddenly on the bare skin of her legs. Not to be outdone, Clary slid her hands under the hem of his soaked shirt, and let her fingers explore what was underneath: the tight, hot skin over his ribs, the ridges of his abdomen, the scars on his back. This was uncharted territory for her, but it seemed to be driving him crazy: he was moaning softly against her mouth, kissing her harder and harder, as if it would never be enough, not quite enough —"
Yeap! Lady Clare does know how to keep us all coming back for more! When asked on Twitter if she was surprised her fans asked about hot scenes in between the characters Cassandra answered: "Nah! I know my fans have their mind in the gutter.:-)"  With scenes like these, don't we all?

Now here is the famous video: P.S. You might need a cold shower after this...

Music Mondays - Playing God by Paramore

Paramore is one of my favourite bands. It is not heavy rock, but it is angry enough not to be pop. Their lyrics are solid and meaningful, not to mention the amazing front vocalist Hayley Williams - this little lady with a punch of a voice and attitude.

Like millions of fans, I am waiting to see what the future holds for the band now that its original guitarist and drummer - the Farro brothers - have left. *sniffs* It will be interesting to see if any new members will come on board and if they will bring something new to Paramore's style.

"Playing God" is part of their latest album and I like it because it talks about the type of people I dislike the most: the judgemental, hypocritical type that usually judges everyone else for sins they commit themselves. In Brazil we have a funny pearl of wisdom about these people... You know how when you see the devil in cartoons it is usually depicted with a tail and horns... Well, in Brazil we say "You're sitting on your tail to point out someone else's". I know! A little random, but hey-ho.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fair Trade Fashion Fabulous

Annie Greenabelle

When my friend Katy asked me if I would help her organize a fashion show with only Fair Trade labels she thought it was great to have someone on board who had some experience in Fashion. I thought: "Dear Lord, how am I going to do this?"


I have to admit that back then I said yes more out of loyalty to my word than of excitement for the prospects. As far as I was concerned, after working in designer fashion for a while, Fair Trade was tatty odd coloured t-shirts. That was until my lovely friend opened my eyes to Fair Trade fabulousness and introduced me to People Tree, Bibico and Annie Greenabelle. And guess what? The tees rock! 

People Tree by Emma Watson

So I am now a fair trade convert. I am not saying I have gone completely fair trade. Old habits die hard and I am not a big believer on label loyalty. You have to wear what suits you and makes you feel comfortable. Here is my fashion fact: Fidgeting with a dress all the time or walking like a duck on heels that are just NOT you... kind of defeats the point completely. And make no mistake, they DO notice you only look great if standing perfectly still. But if you can find what you like while helping other people... Why not?

Don't take my worth for it, though. See for yourself! Click on the links below each image to have a proper look. Go on... You know you want to. :-)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Out & About - Cheesie Tchaikovsky

By now you might have already guessed the Ribble Valley is a hot bed of artisan food producers and retailers. So I would like to introduce you to another of these little gems: Cheesie Tchaikovsky.

This cheese specialist and delicatessen is located at Lee Carter House, off Castle Street in the town center. Unfortunately, if you do not know the town well, it can go amiss. The easier way to access it is through Lowergate Car Park. If you take the steps towards the back you will see a courtyard surrounded by gorgeous colourful terrace houses and Cheesie Tchaikovsky is to your left on the corner. As a matter of fact, you should be able to see it from the car park down below.

Ideal for a coffee with friends, a light lunch or what I like most: a coffee and a quiet moment with a book, this little deli is gorgeous and they will do their best to accommodate you. On sunny days they also offer a couple of small tables outside for those of us who are sun worshippers. Menu wise... They have some of the usual suspects as well as some interesting combinations - like the Fig Salad. Do bare in mind, however, that they only offer a light menu as this is a deli, not a restaurant. Talking about that... Why not take home some of the olives and cheese stuffed peppers as an ideal dinner party nibble? And you cannot leave without checking out some of cheese! Jan, the owner, offers the best of local, British and continental Artisan cheeses and it is, after all, their speciality. Try some of the blue cheeses on digestive biscuits. It is just "finger-lickable".

Cheesie Tchaikovsky is a quiet spot. I have never been here when it is busy so, if you like busy buzzing atmosphere, this might not be the place for you. But if you want a little bit of peace to read your book, have a good cup of coffee or tea with a sweet something on the side or have a good catch up with friends... Voilà! Pop by, say hi to the girls and enjoy!

Ambient: ****
Price: £££
Food: *****
Children: Yes
To check the rating system click here.

Cheesie Tchaikovsky
Lee Carter House, Off Castle Street
Clitheroe, Lancs. BB7 2BX
Tel: 01200 428 366

Friday, 18 March 2011

Cool Adverts - The Tipp-Ex Bear Hunter

Have you seen the Tipp-Ex Advert on YouTube? It is hilarious. Take a look and type anything on the white box. Really funny and a fantastic viral marketing strategy from Tipp-Ex. Whoever thought of it is a Marketing genius! :-)

Credit: Thanks Gemma for showing it to me. I've been laughing about it ever since!


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Book Review - Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

Darkest Mercy is the fifth and final book of Melissa Marr's series: Wicked Lovely. Faerie politics, betrayals, lust, love, death and war... So how do you end a high-profile five book saga?

I love Melissa's books. With such an amazing plot and set of characters, covers to make you drool and titles to entice curiosity on the most skeptical... how could you resist?  If you have read the other four books, please skip the descriptions below to the review at the bottom, but if you have not read them.... Read on for a quick spoiler free "fill me in":

Wicked Lovely is the first book of the series and it introduces you to plot as well as the four main characters: Ash (Aislinn), a mortal gifted with the sight, she can see the world of faeries and she does not like them or her gift. Unfortunately for her, the Summer King,  Keenan, has decided she is destined to be his next queen and the one who will end his curse. Unfortunately for him, Ash is already in love with Seth, a mortal who would do anything to help and save his best friend. And there is Donia, Keenan's love interest, who has also been cursed with him and is now part of the Winter Court and therefore out of his reach. While Keenan pursues Ash in the hope of saving his court, his enemy and mother - the Winter Queen - does what she can to prevent it from happening. While this book introduces you to four faerie courts it concentrates on the fickle, carefree, volatile and pleasure worshipping Summer Court and the more reserved, faithful and passionate Winter Court. (read my full review by clicking here)


Ink Exchange, the second book, continues the story and follows Ash as she tries to find her bearings with her new gifts and keep everyone she loves around her. While it continues from where Wicked Lovely left off, it also introduces you to Leslie, a mortal connected to the Dark King, Irial, by a mystical tattoo and loved by the ex-Dark Court and now Summer King advisor: Niall. Through this second love triangle you get to explore the cruel, violent and tempting Dark Court. You also get to see Keenan, the Summer King, at his most manipulative. (click here for my full review)

Next comes Fragile Eternity. When Seth realizes that to stay in Ash's life being a mortal is just not good enough he accepts assistant from the worse possible faery, Discord, who takes him to the High Queen in hopes she will kill him and spark a war in between the courts. Desperate with grief over Seth's disappearance Ash seeks comfort on her wolf-disguised-as-lamb king: Keenan. And the conflict in between the courts deepens. Fragile Eternity also introduces you to the regal, logical, utopian and completely dispassionate High Court. (Read my full review here)

Then you have Radiant Shadows. This is where everything gets complicated and you are introduced to the new threat that was lurking on the background biding her time. You also get introduced to a new love triangle while the story moves on for all the characters. Sorry I am being so vague, but I do not want to spoil the endings and twists if you have not read the books. (Again, full review here)

Ok... *takes deep breath* We finally made it to Darkest Mercy where all the fairy courts are about to engage in war when Discord plots to overthrow the new Dark King and everything gets turned on its head.

Honestly, to me Melissa is a genius. The sheer size and complexity of this story is mind boggling! It is not just that by the time you read Darkest Mercy there are about seven faerie courts involved - each with its set of regents, hierarchy and followers - but the fact that she manages to give each of them, and I do not mean just the courts but every character within them, very defined characteristics, personality and interests. Not to mention the politics in between the courts, which... closely resembles real life politics: lies, manipulation, misleading, good intentions behind devious means and worse.  As an inspiring writer, creating a story filled with so many characters that are all so different seems like a damn tall order, but Melissa manages it beautifully. 

Is Darkest Mercy the best book of the saga? I am not sure. Then again, I cannot see the story ending any other way. Be prepared to run for the tissues. 

What amazes me the most about this series, though, is Melissa's contrasts: beauty is sickening, cold is passionate, perfection is boring, cruelty is noble and death is merciful. The tittles to her books are a good hint of how she operates. Every first impression you have of any situation and any character gets thrown right out of window as you get to know them better, to the point that after all the lies, deceits, deaths and love affairs you cannot really dislike any of them, apart from Discord. Keenan is the typical example for me. Through his manipulations, misleading and lies I can say I did not like him from the very beginning and was hoping he would pay for his ways. In Darkest Mercy, however, you will discover a little more about him and I found myself hoping he would also have his shot at true love and happiness. How do you go from wishing a character's death throughout the first four books to cheering for him at the very last one? *scratches head in confusion*

Ultimately, for me, these books are also about human nature, as every court is the embodiment of a facet of human personality, and the fact that true happiness can only be found when a balance in between all those is achieved. I would most highly recommend this series to anyone. 

"Let Melissa Marr take through alluring romances, heart-stopping danger and sinister intrigues. Step into a world of shadows and desire - into the world of Faerie."

OUT OF CURIOSITY: Represented on the covers of the books are some of the key characters: Wicked Lovely - Ash, Ink Exchange - Leslie, Fragile Eternity - Sorcha, Radiant Shadows - Ani, Darkest Mercy - Donia. Even here Marr shows her contrasts: Ash, the Summer Queen, holds a frozen flower and Donia, the Winter Queen, holds a blossoming sunlit one.

To check the rating system click here.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The One Behind Lauren Kate's Fallen Book Covers

A Brazilian artist is behind the beautiful covers of Lauren Kate's Fallen series. So who is she?

I am willing to bet that, if you have not read them, you have at least come across Lauren Kate's books: Fallen and Torment. That is because they are simply everywhere! Self-confessed "dark artist", Metal music lover and Goth girl Fernanda Brusi is the Brazilian behind their well-known and beautiful covers. Her art has won her, and Lauren Kate's books for that matter, Best Covers in a Series and Best Paranormal YA Cover with Torment in the 2010 Urban Fantasy Cover Art Awards. Passion, the third book of the series, releases in June with yet another of Brusi's pieces as its introduction.  

I love the dark, smart sensuality of Brusi's work and the way it manages to be timeless and elegant in a way I did not think Gothic could be. To see more of her amazing art click here. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Music Monday - River Flows in You by Yiruma

I love pianos. As a matter of fact, I wish I could play it. While I cannot, South Korean Yiruma is not only a fantastic pianist but also an amazing composer. His music is full of feeling and very inspirational. I love it for moments of writing or meditation. Having said all that, I would not recommend it if you are already upset. Trust me, he would make you cry buckets full! 

What I love the most about his tunes is that it is modern enough, if you are not into classical music, but not quite pop so you still get that inspirational, relaxed feeling like your mind has been raised to some higher level. "River Flows in You" is my favourite. It was also one of the fan's favourites for being the song Edward writes Bella in Twilight. I hope you enjoy it!  

OUR OF CURIOSITY: "Yiruma" is the stage name of "I Ru-ma" and it means "accomplishment" in Korean.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Mortal Instruments Jewellery by Vivi Hebel

Jewellery designer Vivi Hebel has developed a gorgeous range inspired by Cassandra Clare's books. How could I resist? Simple. I didn't.

Vivi H, as she is known, is the official bling designer for not only The Mortal Instruments series, but also Cassandra's new trilogy Infernal Devices and you will notice that her pieces were used by the actors taking part on the City of Fallen Angels photo shoot (click here to see the photos) and its highly anticipated book trailer (click here to watch it). Here are my favourite pieces:

Isabelle's Ruby Necklace - I actually have one! Next on my list is the Nephilim Wing Ring and how could I resist Jessamine's Parasol Pendant?
For more information on Vivi H'sThe Mortal Instruments & Infernal Devices jewellery range or to shop online click here.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Out & About - Yu & You

Do you like Chinese? Add a little cocktail, some fantastic music and you have Yu & You.

This restaurant is most certainly NOT your regular Chinese. It is not just that the food is gorgeous, the cocktail list dangerously enticing and it is full of atmosphere, but it is also sophisticated and cool. The best nights are Saturdays when they host a guest DJ. You can have your Chinese and then boogie the night away while tasting some amazing cocktails. But beware! Saturdays are usually fully booked so you must book in advance. 

The menu also caters for every taste. If you are an adventurous soul there are some interesting combinations on the food and cocktail menu for you but if, like me, you know what you like, you can still play it safe. While they are child friendly I would not recommend it for children younger than twelve. This restaurant is too sophisticated and expensive to bring a young child. Trust me, I've tried!!! If, however, you are bringing a little one they do have an early seating at 6.30pm which will get you fed and out before everyone starts hitting the bar. Otherwise, week nights are always a good option. You must also be prepared to part with some cash. Yu & You is not a cheap date, but it is definitely worth the money. At least Gordon Ramsey, an International Celebrity Chef, seemed to think so when he awarded it "Gordon Ramsey's Chinese Restaurant of the Year" in 2010.

"Crispy Wan Ton and Beef in Blackbean Sauce with Soft Noodles for me, please. Oh!Could I also have a Mojito? Thanks."

Ambient: *****
Price: £££££
Food: *****
Children: Older children or only particular times and/or days of the week
To check the rating system click here.

Yu & You
500 Longsight Road, Copster Green
Blackburn, Lancashire BB1 9EU
Tel: 01254 247 111

Thursday, 10 March 2011

"Are we equals?" Campaign with Daniel Craig

This video has a very powerful message and I could not have said it better myself. Please watch and reflect upon it. Quite frankly, I cannot believe this still happens on the 21st Century. And girls... Pass the message along. We need to stick together on this one.

Brazilian Carnival and Party Spirit

Brazilians are famous for their party animal spirit and dancing. And it is true. We do love a good time and we love to dance and be merry. 

My dad taught me how to dance and my daughter is learning from my brother, my sister and me. Our little family gatherings always end up being informal spontaneous parties turned samba & salsa lessons for my little one. Yes, Brazilians are very family orientated and our children are usually involved in all our parties so when I was little the question was never if I was invited to an event, but rather what I was going to wear for it. Back home we joke that "Brazilians can dance in funerals and laugh at their own disgrace and misery."

There is no better example of the Brazilian easy cheer and party spirit than our Carnival - a week long party bonanza always taking place just before Ash Wednesday. This is when we all, independent of our class, work, finances, background, colour and age take a week off to celebrate being Brazilians either by partying the night away or relaxing with family and friends. For some that is the only relief from a very harsh reality as the difference in between the rich and the poor, although improved over the last few years, it is still pretty much a big contrast.

Carnival is a national celebration, but make no mistake, we take it very seriously. Especially if one is a supporter of a samba school. Such schools will usually plan, rehearse and prepare for the next Carnival pretty much from the moment the last one finishes. It is also very competitive and a school performing on the Sambodramo (the Carnival's catwalk and purpose built venue) is judged on everything from creativity, being on the run on time, their songs lyrics, their fancy dress and allegoric cars to their choreography while performing. It is though heart breaking business and most people do it out of loyalty and passion for the tradition and their school. The winner this year won by a mere 1.4 points!

The colours, vibrancy, feathers, sparkle and energy of it all is mesmerizing and exhilarating! If you have never watched Carnival... here is a taster for you, but before I go I need to say: Well done Beija-Flor for winning this year.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

City of Fallen Angels Trailer

I finally received the news I have been waiting all day to hear: Cassandra Clare has released the first trailer for City of Fallen Angels!!!

Yes, I did say the FIRST. That is because two other trailers are on their way AND some additional material. Gosh! You are spoiling your fans Cassandra... And we love it!

The first trailer is a recap on what happened on the last book; the second is an introduction to City of Fallen Angels and the third will have a scene from the new book. I am hoping is the alley scene. *big mischievous smile* Without further ado here is the first trailer:

City of Fallen Angels releases on April 5th.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day - Tamara Lempicka

Today is International Women's Day so let’s give a big hug to all the beautiful wives, lovers, friends, domestic goddesses, sisters, mothers, grandmothers etc... Who are the queens of multitasking and emotional wisdom. I know I could not have done without my friends, mother and sisters. So let’s celebrate the female talent for being anything from a magic laundry basket (yep boys you know this one, that little basket you put your dirty clothes into and they reappear clean inside your wardrobe) to sexy goddesses! Love to you all the girlies! <3

As part of International Women's Day I would like to introduce and celebrate Art Deco queen Tamara Lempicka. I love her paintings! The sharp lines, the colours and the way that, even if you do not like them, you cannot help but look at them. 

Lempicka was born in Poland, but moved to Russia after her parents' divorce when she was only fifteen. It was from there that she had to flee to Paris to escape the Russian Revolution and it was in Paris she started developing her painting. Well know for liking purity of colour and having clean, precise, elegant lines to her stroke, she added sensuality to the cool Art Deco movement. Later in life she moved to America where her social life and painting made her "the first female artist to be a glamour star". 

What I love the most about Lempicka is the fact she was unafraid. She was bold, controversial, scandalous and rebellious, yet she managed to win everyone’s hearts. She fought for and did what she wanted when she wanted. That kind of determination on a women back on the early 1900s and after World War 1 is something to admire. But, make no mistake, she was no sweet smelling rose and she was ever so slightly deluded by fame and fortune, somewhat ruthless as well as well known for neglecting her only child. Not quite the "qualities" I would like to possess.

Whatever people thought of her then and whatever we think of her now, she achieved what she wanted to achieve and lived her life the way she wanted to live. That made her a pure example of girl power. Not only that, but her paintings have also immortalized her. How is that for an aim in life, hey girls?

In The Mail {4} - Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

I am so excited! *jumps with glee* Look what I got in the post!!! My copy of Darkest Mercy, the last book of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. Everything I am reading is now on hold until I finish this baby and the review will follow as soon as.

"The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless." by Goodreads.

Monday, 7 March 2011

City of Fallen Angels Posters

Cassandra Clare has revealed a couple of the posters she is taking with her on her City of Fallen Angels Tour. I love the play on light & dark and I cannot wait to get my hands on this book as this is one of my favourite series. So what do you think?

Music Mondays - Translation of Saber Amar by Paralamas do Sucesso

"Paralamas do Sucesso" is one of my favourite Brazilian bands and I would easily compare them to Coldplay, although they have been going for much longer. 

Originally founded on the 70s, Paralamas do Sucesso are also known as one of the original "Big Four" bands of Brazilian Rock. Its current formation has been together since 1982, the year I was born. "Saber Amar" (Knowing How to Love) is one of my favourite songs and it was on the charts around the time I came over to the UK in 1999 so it marks an important moment for me. The lyrics are just beautiful and the melody is just so relaxing and catchy I cannot help but dance along. Here is the translation for you. What do you think?

OUT OF CURIOSITY: Paralamas is a play on the word "Para-lamas" which is what you call a car bumper in Portuguese, so the translation for the name of the band would be "Success Bumpers". For more information on Paralamas do Sucesso click here.

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