Costume Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1′

There be spoilers in costume discussions…

Kurt and Bart had some big shoes to fill when they took over costume design duties from Trish Summerville but Mockingjay is a very different beast from Catching Fire, which was itself noticeably different from The Hunger Games (designed by Judianna Makovsky). Summerville was able to play around with lots of extravagant costumes for scenes in the Capitol and for the victors but Kurt and Bart have certain restrictions working on a film mostly based in District 13.

Katniss

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As with all the inhabitants of District 13, Katniss is provided with a utilitarian costume of grey cargo trousers and a grey shirt. (Oddly this costume is slightly reminiscent of her reaping costume in Catching Fire.) Shown above is her Mockingjay costume designed by Cinna before his death. The costume takes references from real soldier’s armour and is functional as well as interesting. The initial idea behind the Mockingjay costume was as a symbol but it was realised for practical and protective wear. Whenever Katniss has been in the games her “protective wear” was decided by the Capitol and was fairly limited in its effectiveness. This is battle ready. It marks a huge step forward for Katniss and her role in the rebellion.

Katniss-VV

Katniss’s key costume piece is returned to her and remains with her when she and Gale go hunting. Her father’s leather jacket became an iconic piece of clothing for her and solidifies who she is.

Peeta

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Peeta spends most of this film in the Capitol and his costumes reflect that but there is so much more to them than just extravagance. His first appearance is in the white suit we see above. The lines are sharp, minimal and reflect Snow’s roses. The high collar of the shirt is noticeable here but is nothing to compare to the constricting collars yet to come. Peeta’s colours darken as his physical and mental state deteriorates. His gaunt appearance is emphasised with the tightening of the collars. His suits become his own personal straight-jacket.

Gale

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Gale’s costumes follow the standard clothing of District 13 and the soldier’s armour. His shining costume moment comes with Gale’s key scene in District 12. This is one of the most vulnerable moments that we’ve witnessed from Gale and the softness of his costume (seen above) reflects this.

Effie

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Effie’s costumes take on a very different role in this film. The first time we see her she purports to be a political refugee and fights against everything in District 13 (in her mind at least). Once Plutarch gives her purpose to help Katniss she begins to regain her identity through her clothing. Yes she is still limited by the same clothes as everyone else in District 13 but she uses these to her advantage. She is a creative person and creates the new Effie. She still has her high heels and accessories from the Capitol and she uses these to help rebuild herself.

Finnick

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Finnick doesn’t have too much screen time in this film and his costumes are generally limited to hospital clothes and the standard District 13 uniform. But, as with Gale, soft knitwear comes out when he is speaking in the propos. Finnick is not talking as a soldier but a victim of the Capitol. He needs to be sympathetic, sincere and approachable. The public need to believe and trust him. And the style of knitwear flashes back to his first appearance in Catching Fire.

President Snow

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Snow is trying to keep control over Panem. District after District are joining the rebellion and his main weapon (Peeta) hasn’t been put into action yet. He remains dressed in the sharp tailored lines that we have come to expect from him. These suits reflect his power and tight control despite troubling circumstances “moves and counter moves”. There are also many more instances of white roses included throughout the film and Finnick’s revelation makes them all the more disturbing.

Haymitch

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Haymitch enters the film just when Katniss needs him to and after he’s sobered up. For the majority of the film he is dressed in the District 13 uniform with the concession of a grey woollen hat and layers of grey cardigans. Could it be that without alcohol these are the only form of protection he has left? He sported similar jumpers in Catching Fire so the idea of safety in soft wool is not completely ridiculous.

Caesar Flickerman

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We always expect Caesar to be a bright and colourful influence on the film and this time he doesn’t have Effie to compete with. His suits are all fully patterned but there general tone is deeper and richer. There is much less extravagance shown here. This is no time for frivolity and Caesar’s costumes reflect this, even though this may not be instantly visible.

Overall, I was very impressed with the costume design in Mockingjay. The film has a more solemn tone and the costumes needed to reflect that. I’m very interested to see what Kurt and Bart have waiting for Mockingjay, Part 2. The world has entered a much grittier political ground and the historical references in the costumes are great for echoing that.

S x

Film review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 promises a spectacular Part 2

(Picture: Lionsgate)

(Picture: Lionsgate)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 feels very much like the first half of something bigger, but if this is the set up then the pay off is going to be stunning.

Part 1 sees a haunted Katniss Everdeen come to terms with being the face of a revolution, and what that role costs. Meanwhile President Snow tries to crush the movement at every turn as Peeta languishes in the Capitol. Things are getting dark and I don’t just mean the grey jumpsuits everyone is stuck in.

Mockingjay Part 1 swaps the grandeur of the Games for a more intimate, character-driven story arc. We see the Games’ mentally tortuous affect on Katniss, who until this point has been relatively icy about witnessing children killing and being killed by other children. Finnick Odair (a nuanced Sam Claflin) is a broken man worlds away from the preening, sea-shell wearing champion we met in Catching Fire. A franchise this huge needs to take time to remind us of the human story at its core to avoid everything being at surface-level, and thankfully it succeeds.

The upside to scaling back on blockbuster set-pieces is that action sequences, when they happen, have maximum effect. An aerial attack on District 13 is played out entirely through the panicked expressions of those hunkered down underground; a violent, shocking twist at the end hits harder. Yes, it means less bang for your buck and at times I did miss the spectacle of Catching Fire. Part 1 is muted and unrelentingly grim. Even the humour, whether it’s a witty shoot for an advert or a throwaway line to the family cat, is gloomy; jaded.

(Picture: Lionsgate)

(Picture: Lionsgate)

The introduction to District 13 moves the story along nicely, but nearly all of the film takes place there so you never quite get out of the starting block. It doesn’t seem to get going at all until the rescue mission in the final third. However I reckon this is necessary to properly introduce us to President Coin and her world, who I get the impression will be playing a big part in the next chapter. It also gives Gale a chance to be more than the brooding, jilted man in pain, pining over Katniss from a distance. I feel Gale would have been involved in the Panem uprising whether Katniss had volunteered in place of Prim or not.

Speaking of Gale, we’re still no closer to finding out who Katniss wants to be with. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it should be Gale all day, and that’s down to Liam Hemsworth and his brilliantly understated performance. I’d say he was on a level with Jennifer Lawrence for the first time. J-Law, as ever, is utterly watchable and charming – no matter what she does in future Katniss will probably remain one of her greatest ever roles.

I hear that among fans of Suzanne Collins’ books Mockingjay is considered the weakest (I haven’t read them so do let me know if that’s not true), but by no means is Part 1 the weakest film, even if it was created just to get more of our money. As far as I’m concerned Lionsgate can take it.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE

Side note: I ship Haymitch/Effie now.

The Apprentice 2014 Episode 5 – DTSFT Roundup

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Oh, reader – and I say ‘reader’ rather than ‘readers’ because I know there’s only one of you out there *waves* – if you follow me on Twitter (which I know you don’t) you will know I normally live-tweet The Apprentice along with all the other fans. But alas, it was not to be for this episode, and so I missed the delightful antics of our favourite besuited idiots. However, when I got home, my dad promptly told me whose team had won – I mean, what the hell? He followed it with “Ah, but I didn’t tell you who got FIRED, did I?” as if he’d highlighted some hilarious loophole. So I killed him. After a relatively simple clean-up, I was too annoyed to watch the episode and do the roundup that night, so instead I waited until the last bloody minute and made sure it was ready for the day of the next episode. You know, so you can have a recap that you don’t need and won’t read. Whatever, I don’t ever care.

As you all will remember, it was the coach trip task – slightly different from what they’ve had to do before, the memorable London bus tour task being the first and most similar one that comes to mind. Did they do a good job? No, of course not. These people are all terrible, and you should know that by now. Okay, not all of them, but most of them. Let’s look at the roundup to see some reasons why…

The announcer saying “Junction 23 of the M25” as if it was something glamorous

The 70s jet-setting style music when the cars pulled up at the start

And Karen, Lord Sugar and Nick looking like the villainous crew in a trashy action film

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When Daniel used the the analogy of good chess players and lumped himself in with them – nah son, look at your egg-shaped self and calm down

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No joke, Mark is consistently impressive – my dad said from episode one he thought that he was the one to watch, and I think he’s right!

Sanjay and Gemma looking like they’re on their way to audition for a Specsavers advert

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“Hever castle is INSANE” Dude, Solomon, chill out

James trying to haggle with the lady from Hever Castle was fantastic.

“How about we-”

“No.”

“How about-”

“No.”

“H-”

“Please leave.”

Daniel always looks like he’s just got off the dance-floor at his younger brother’s wedding

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And I’ll be honest, when Nick said “Daniel, a master salesman, a fat zero” I thought he was just describing Daniel, not talking about sales.

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I think this picture gives an accurate idea of how Sanjay and Gemma each felt through the whole of the task

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I CALLED IT! I TOLD YOU SOLOMON COULDN’T TIE HIS OWN TIE! HE EVEN ASKED IF ANYONE ELSE COULD! YOU FUCKING CRETIN! GET OUT!

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Lauren has been my favourite of the girls in terms of actual competence – she always seems to have her head screwed on, although she’s a bit moany

Sarah would have loved this colour scheme, such a shame she’s not in the game anymore

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Fully expected this chick (name still unknown) to get a headache from the repeated eye-rolling…

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…but it caught on later in the boardroom, inspiring some creepy solo action from Lord Sugar’s left eye…

Serious eye-game from Lord Sugar here, two different directions, well played

…which in turn was eerily reminiscent of this playa from earlier in the show.

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We were all Karen at this point

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Just imagine if she’d actually just gone, “Fuck this, I’m an ACTUAL businesswoman” and just smashed the glass, sent all the customers home in a taxi and just laid into the team.

Dammit Karen, why didn’t you do that instead?

This was actually an intervention that they interrupted, to stop Sebastien (in the centre, wearing his shitty hat and bow-tie combo) from wearing his shitty hat and bow-tie combo.

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But it obviously didn’t work, because as we later saw, his influence rubbed off on Felipe.

*James Ingram voice* SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, BENEATH THE PALE MOONLIIIIGHT

*James Ingram voice*
SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, BENEATH THE PALE MOONLIIIIGHT

“OH IT’S A JOLLY ‘OLIDAY WITH MARY… MARY MAKES THE SUN SHINE BRIGHT”

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Can you believe that at the start of the tour, this was Ariana Grande?

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And by the end of the tour she was DEAD?

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One less, one less problem

How are you going to sit in front of Lord Sugar and tell him you’re “not going to get sucked into it”? That’s what you’re THERE FOR.

“Flannel is for the bathroom, not the boardroom”

Daniel was so bitter that the team didn’t attribute their victory to him hahaha

daniel idiot

“I’d rather win ugly than lose being liked” But Daniel, don’t you see? You’re already ugly, mate.

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Speaking of ugly, Roisin babe, you need to just be aware, come on, you look like a horse confused by a sandwich.

roisin

Sorry but “If Anne Boleyn’s neck had been as thick as you she might still be alive” is my favourite line. Over 500 years old, but sure, still alive.

It’s so obvious that Sanjay got caught up in having fun with James, like when the quiet kid somehow makes friends with the naughty one in class and they both get hyper and can’t calm down until they get in trouble. Except they’re both adults so they just seem like fucking idiots.

Poor Gemma. But don’t feed Lord Sugar that line about “I’m the girl who always almost wins”, you’re just asking to be fired with something like that.

Have you ever seen Nick give such a disgusted to look? Hahaha

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Loved that last little bit at the house where everyone was criticising Daniel, god I want to punch him in his stupid, massive face.

Finally, some more of those sweet sweet filler shots, this time not just London…

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I will be back on time with the posts after the next episode, I promise. What’s that? You don’t give a shit?

Jeeeeeez.

@bythesheetstore

The Apprentice 2014 Episode 4 – DTSFT Roundup

apprentice

 

Guys, guys, you watched it, right? Tell me you watched it. If you haven’t – sod off and come back later when you’re done.

 

Okay, ready?

 

What the hell you guys, TRIPLE ELIMINATION, BABY! Yeah we all suspected there’d be a double again but BAM, three in a row? Nah, none of us expected that. This week’s task was one of those ones where we all reckon we could do a great job, but probably would end up screwing it up the same way the teams did. With ‘Dare to Dine’ competing against ‘Fat Daddy Fitness Hell’, I’m surprised anyone watched the videos (but then again, it was probably sent to all the BBC staff to give them at least a handful of views).

Here’s the roundup:

I’m going to start off with my favourite thing that has happened so far in this series, and is in my top 3 moments of all time of anything happening ever. Daniel woke up and banged his head on the side of the bed.

bang head

Do you even realise how funny this is? Hahahaha

Solomon asking Felipe to do his tie for him. Is it that he physically cannot do it for himself, or is he just so lazy? Either way, Felipe is too cute for doing it for him.

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But Solomon is totally the man for the job. He’s the internet man, you see.

"That's right, Lord Sugar. You see, it's about ethics in gaming journalism"

“That’s right, Lord Sugar. You see, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism, and…”

Ella being TOTALLY CLEAR AND ALSO GOOD AT FILM THINGS

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Ella’s line of ‘I am me, I am Ella Jade’. Why do people think it’s such a cool thing to say stuff like “I’m just being me” or “I’m the only one of me”? Shut the hell up. Shut up. That’s basic common sense, not some special thing you’ve come up with to show how unique and extraordinary you are. Everyone is different, so shut up forever.

Cheeky little Felipe and his mole face, putting his ‘Fat Daddy’ idea into place with his self-deprecating self.  Also, how harsh is it that no-one looked bothered by the Fat Daddy concept other than the Geordie lass? (Still working on a nameless basis here because they’re all so powerfully forgettable)

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No, Felipe, you’re just MySpace-more-to-love

Over on the other team, check out the genius ideas on their chart. ‘Cafe Culanary’ is my favourite – remember, brightest minds in Britain here. Also, you can almost hear the conversations behind each of the suggestions.

“Blind Food, like blind-fold, get it?”

“James, why don’t you sit down and have your Cheesestring, yeah mate?”

“Okay Sally-man”

“It’s Solomon”

“Sommolon?”

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Sanjay, I think that banana is inflated enough, take your mouth off it.

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I like the crossover with the cameraman from a Scooby Doo episode. Zoinks!

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Not a real job. Nope.

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This picture looks like one of those random photos taken at a nightclub where a drunk business woman has bumped into her boyfriend’s younger brother, who is out on the lash with the rugby society from uni

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Look out, it’s a Bantersaurus! HILARIOUS!

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This delicious looking cartoon burger, what the hell is wrong with me?

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One true highlight of this episode was Steven’s truly cringe-inducing, rambling pitch – from his practice run to the real thing, it was just so long-winded and repetitive, it’s no wonder they weren’t successful. Here are some screenshots of his truly glorious nonsense:

Steven 1 steven 2 Steven 3 Steven 4

 Team Tenacity apparently recreating The Graduate, if this weirdly framed shot is anything to go by…

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Lord Sugar’s reaction to the Dare To Dine video, which was the same as everyone else’s…

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I thought it was very sweet of Lord Sugar to make this comment to Felipe:

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As it would have been easy for him to make some snarky fat-joke or mean comment. I also liked that these next two shots which followed directly the comment – it’s clear that James has totally misunderstood what Lord Sugar just said.

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Ultimately, Team Summit won with their dire Dare to Dine video, leaving Ella Jade and her teammates on Tenacity to head to the Bridge Cafe and await their fate. Steven had his strategy sorted. Claws in, cat:

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Lord Sugar had the chance to get a bit cheeky in the boardroom…

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And Ella Jade did bring him back, along with Sarah. After some fantastic bickering, lots of bitchy talking over one another and raised voices, the amazing triple elimination happened:

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Ella Jade’s last look through the door after not so gracefully accepting her fate – “Please Lord Sugar, I’ll learn from this, I promise, I’ll be so good, I’ll eat all my vegetables, please” – was superb, almost cinematic in its tragedy.

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There’s your documentary, mate

 

Finishing off this post with what little London p-0-r-n there was:

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To be brutally honest, the episode itself wasn’t up to  The Apprentice’s usual standard until the end, where it saved an otherwise mediocre episode. Next week is the coach trip task, where the teams will have to create London bus rides for tourists – this was the task where Stuart and Chris fell out and acted like total dickheads a few series back, so you know it’s going to be a good one…

 

@bythesheetstore

The Apprentice 2014 Episode 3 – DTSFT Roundup

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I didn’t do episode 2. I apologise. I will fix this. For now – wake up and smell the candles, it’s episode 3 of The Apprentice.

This week, the two teams of plebs have to create and sell a fragranced candles, a task that seems easy enough – vanilla, round jar, little box, fuck it, sorted – but of course, this is The Apprentice and these bastards will find a way to make it look like the most difficult thing in the world.  Despite a few hiccups, Katie led her team well with a clear interest in the products, while over on Roisin’s team it seemed like everyone just wanted the whole thing to be over.

Personally I quite like candles, but try to get me to buy one on the street for more than the pitiful change in my pocket and we’re going to have a problem.  Here’s the roundup:

This outtake from 'When A Stranger Calls'

This outtake from ‘When A Stranger Calls’

Katie: “I buy reed diffusers, candles, plug-ins, I do do that”

 

What are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

What are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I liked the bit where they made sure everyone knows just how few scented candles there are on offer

candle collage

“Everyone says I wanna go back to the beach, I miss the smell” I have never said that

Sarah trying to slyly get the conversation round to lemons again “People like food smells” and later “What about LEMONISE? It’s a made up word”. Hopefully after next week she’ll change her lemony ways. I doubt it though.

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This outtake from the episode of GIRLs where they had an office in a taxi:

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Nick’s powerful face

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“Whether you like it or not”

“Whether you like it or not”

When Katie asked the sub-team to ask Sarah to be quiet because “She’s making no sense”

When we had to keep staring at what looked like pee

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These two women who are so far off the radar that I keep forgetting they’re even contestants

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This great shot of Nurun and Lindsay when Karen was calling them both weak links

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I hate Daniel, okay? Stephen totally saved that pitch with his offer, and Daniel accused him of  ruining the pitch with his interjection, even though the interjection WAS what saved the pitch. FUCK OFF DANIEL. Like I said on Twitter, he’s the guy who’ll try to be charming and buy you and a drink, and when you politely decline, he’ll call you a bitch.

And how about Mr 9 out of 10 for attractiveness over here?

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I feel sorry for the delivery people who have to say “Delivery for Team Tenacity/Summit”

Of course Roisin loves the smell of linen, especially after Snow White changes all the bed sheets down at the cottage

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Sorry not sorry

This look from Bianca, which showed just how much faith she had in James’s ability to price things up.

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Would you buy an expensive candle from a bloke in a waistcoat? Shut up.

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Ugh, Sarah is so deliberately unhelpful sometimes, look at her body language, she’s so shit. Also, don’t call other women bossy when they’re just being in control of the project, you idiot.

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James looking unimpressed with Nurun and Lindsay’s attempt at co-ordinating their outfits.

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Karen SCHOOLING James on his RRP shit

Sarah lurking while the others made sales, then trying to convince the others that the price was too high – we’ve found the villains so early on in this series, you guys

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I loved how everyone on team Summit was just going round selling the candles at whatever price they could think of, amazing

When Roisin’s team so rudely took a phonecall while trying to close a sale – we were all Karen in that moment

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Lindsay’s pulled

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Lord Sugar seemed to think that the candle looked like a glass full of custard – I would legit pay £35 for a glass of custard, because that shit is delicious.

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“Nevermind aloe vera, sounds like it’s goodbye Sarah”

I think we all wanted team Tenacity to take their leftover candles to the spa with them and try to sell them there

Of the bodies they could have shown being massaged, they chose Daniel and Felipe instead of Steven. Out-fucking-rageous.

Roisin’s face

This is the face of dreadful realisation

This is the face of dreadful realisation

James repeatedly interrupting actually gave me high blood pressure, just shut the hell up you prick

Then this beautiful moment of stretching

The FUCK are you doing fam?

The FUCK are you doing fam?

“I don’t trade in London, I’m from Peterborough” Best. Line. Ever.

Mr 9 our of 10′s face when Lindsay was talking herself out of a job

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Why was yer man rolling his t-shirt sleeves up? Ain’t no gunshow here.

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Oh and finally, more London p-o-r-n

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It was as if this week was an architecture special, old and new. Glorious.

See you next week for the roundup, if my spine is okay after all the cringing…

@bythesheetstore

I also write here

The Apprentice 2014 Episode 1 – DTSFT Roundup

apprentice

*Michael Jackson thrust* A-hee-heeeeee! The Apprentice is back, shamon-uh!

Sorry about that, just overcome with excitement right now because the only reality show worth watching is finally back. Yes, the BBC has finally brought back The Apprentice, and you just know it’s going to deliver. With an assortment of completely batty contestants, relatively simple tasks made to look impossibly difficult, and all the stunning panoramic shots of London you could possibly want, we’ve got several weeks ahead of us of furious tweeting and abnormal crushes on cocky men in suits. Although to be honest, none of the male contestants have struck me as being Miles-worthy…

The first task was something of a tribute to all the sales tasks that have gone before in the previous ten years (yes, TEN YEARS) of The Apprentice. Tasked to pick from a selection of products and then sell, sell, sell, the teams made the least out of their choices; flogging bags of potatoes to chippies, choosing T-shirts and then not even bothering to try to sell them, creating hipster hot dogs that no-body ASKED FOR, WHAT’S WRONG WITH MUSTARD? WHO ASKS FOR GUACAM- you know what? No. No, you won’t get my blood pressure up, Summit. Ah yes, Summit and Decadence, which sound more like the names of budget holiday packages than team names for business-people. You couldn’t make it up – except that they did.   It’s going to be a good series, you guys. I’m going to apologise in advance for 1) this being a bit late and 2) the screenshots having the play button and progress bar; the iPlayer download brings up those things as soon as you try to do a screen capture, so I’ll get better pictures for the next episodes.

So, as ever, here’s the roundup….

The arrogance of the contestants was ever presence, including Quasimodo here punching above his weight

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“9 out of 10 for attractiveness”? To be fair, he’s actually quite beautiful for a horse

Am I the only one who thinks that Scott’s ears are freakishly low down on his head? I bet he can hear his own chewing really loudly

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I bet you are, babe

White Jackie Brown wannabe rolling out the worst cliche ever

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But you couldn’t sell a bog brush to a penguin, could you? Loser.

And this unwanted twist on the “there’s no ‘i’ in team” nonsense

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Interesting to note that without those five ‘i’s, you’re left with an anagram of ‘dull, bland cavern‘, which is an apt description for Daniel.

When the girls were schooled by Sarah on the important aspects of business (although, there’s no reason why looking good can’t be a priority along with your career – let’s not be too judgemental, ladies)

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Steven’s hissy fits in the car and boardroom, love it

The girls trying to sell some crappy cleaning products to the zoo, in the most bizarre pitch – “We thought it would be great for you to buy them from us”

This fucking mug trying to get his 5 seconds of fame

HAHAHA! Banter, mate, with a capital 'B' - which also stands for 'bastard', as in 'fuck off, you bastard'

HAHAHA! Banter, mate, with a capital ‘B’ – which also stands for ‘bastard’, as in ‘fuck off, you bastard’

Decadence demonstrating professional conduct in front of their customers

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When this woman didn’t know how many sheep she had. “About 80%”?? That’s just plain bad shepherding.

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Also, that obviously means you live on a farm, so having lots of animals isn't impressive, it's just WHAT HAPPENS ON FARMS

Also, that obviously means you live on a farm, so having lots of animals isn’t impressive, it’s just WHAT HAPPENS ON FARMS

Sarah’s lemon agenda

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…which prompted this DIAMOND tweet from our very own Hannah

The giant inflatable man that somehow came to life, bought some shit clothes and managed to become a contestant

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Sports nutrition = A GIANT BEANSTALK

"Yah, I was assistant manager at a GNC"

“Yeah, I was assistant manager at a GNC”

Why bother with sensible shoes when you can jump from a car wearing stilettos and risk breaking your ankle? Idiot.

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This first episode was a good one for exasperated facial expressions…

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“I’m saying nothing” eye-rolls…

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And some serious tongue-biting and “Oh fuck no” jaw-clenching from Steven…

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I am his biggest fan right now

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“Fine” *internally raging*

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Jesus, take the wheel

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They’re HATERS, Steve.

He just needs a mug of tea and he’ll be the real life Kermit meme

But there was also my favourite thing from The Apprentice – shot of London as the sun sets and rises. Nothing glows like it.

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I’m not 100% (or 100 out of 100, in terms of sheep) what the next episode is about, but let’s be real – it’s going to be a banger no matter what…

@bythesheetstore

I also write here

Saturday Special: Don’t Bother, It’s Nut-Ella Worth The Hassle

I’m going to be honest with you here.

You know that bit in ‘Liar, Liar’ where Jim Carrey is shouting at the judge and he goes “I HOLD MYSELF IN CONTEMPT, WHY SHOULD YOU BE ANY DIFFERENT?” – that was me after completing this god-forsaken task.  This is the stupidest recipe I’ve ever tried (apart from the vegan cheesecake… but we don’t speak of that dark time any more, it’s too painful).

Pinterest is a wonderful place – full of ideas for DIY, beauty, and especially recipes. One that kept popping up from people I follow is how to make your own Nutella; great, I thought, I could make a nutty chocolate spread with a different nut, since hazelnuts can be pricey, we always have almonds, and my brother doesn’t like hazelnuts. These recipes always say that there are other varieties of nuts that you can use, including almonds, so I decided that this would be the day I tried to make my own all-natural Nutella. More like nut-HELL-a, amirite?? Oh wait, I haven’t explained everything yet, that won’t make sense – it follows on from the recipe.

It’s a super simple recipe, to be fair. Two ingredients:

  • One cup ‘bittersweet chocolate chips’ (guys, dark chocolate chopped up will work fine too)
  • One cup almonds (or hazelnuts if you want)

 Lego jar optional.

Photo on 30-08-2014 at 11.40

 

And all you need is a food processor.  The impossibly simple steps, as guided by various websites, are:

  • Roast the nuts for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Take the still warm nuts and put them in the food processor or mini chopper, processing for 5-10 minutes – you might have to periodically stop to push the almonds down the side of the processor.
  • Once the consistency resembles a nut butter (think along the lines of smooth peanut butter), add the chocolate chips and and process again until it’s all combined completely.

 

So easy, right? WRONG.

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Here’s what they don’t tell you:

One cup of nuts is actually quite a lot, and nuts aren’t really all that cheap or low in calories – I should add that this recipe is touted as a ‘healthy’ and ‘clean’ version of Nutella. Calorie for calorie, a one tablespoon serving of this recipe is exactly the same as shop-bought Nutella.

‘Process for 5 to 10 minutes’? Pardon my French, but fuck the fuck off. Let me tell you something – if you’re in need of this ‘Nutella’ on short notice and you can’t go down the shops, you’d better have some kind of industrial strength food processor because the only thing that took 5 to 10 minutes were the breaks I had to take in order to let my mini chopper cool down and stop from over-heating. Yes, my friends, to give you an idea of how long it took for ONE CUP of almonds to process down into a nut butter consistency, I watched THREE episodes of Desperate Housewives (don’t judge me, don’t you dare judge me) and had to get my laptop charger (sure, that’s more to do with the battery-draining nature of Netflix, but it makes the whole thing more dramatic, doesn’t it?).  It stays in the crumby, powdery stage for absolutely ages, and it really doesn’t seem like you’re getting anywhere until after a really, really long time. I did some checking around before hand, plenty of people said that a mini-chopper would be fine, but they were obviously big fat liars with stupid faces because I would bet money on my mini chopper being able to process paving slabs into custard quicker than getting these almonds down to a nut butter.

 

Paving slabs would probably taste better, too

Paving slabs would probably taste better, too

 

Finally, just no. No. It’s not like Nutella.  You know that smooth, delicious, oh-god-if-I-eat-the-whole-jar-I’ll-regret-it-and-if-I-don’t-I’ll-regret-it-more, magically quality that Nutella has? Yeah this doesn’t have that. At all.

 

I want to formally apologise to you all, for letting you down by forsaking Nutella. And I want to apologise to Nutella. If a representative could please send me 100 jars as a means of communicating that they have accepted my apology, that’d be great.

 

@bythesheetstore

I also write stuff here and here