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

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*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.

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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

Guardians of the Galaxy review: Marvel’s latest chapter is not quite out of this world

Guardians of the Galaxy sees pilot/dudebro Peter Quill become the object of a manhunt when he steals an orb belonging to the feared Ronan the Accuser. When he finds out the orb has the potential to destroy millions of innocent lives, he teams up with a gang of outcasts to bring Ronan down.

After the deserved success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I was expecting big things from this, and it delivered on some fronts but not on others.

Quill and the gang are not well known, so there’s a strong sense of freedom to Gunn’s directing. He has been allowed to tell the kind of story he wants to tell without having to worry too much about pandying to the stalwart fans of the comics. He gets rid of the angst that we’ve come to expect from superhero movies lately, and the result is a fun and frothy space opera packed with wit (a throwaway semen joke is especially lol-worthy), but unfortunately that means moments we’re supposed to take seriously, like Drax’s pretty heartbreaking back story, tend to lose their edge.

Visually, it’s a treat.  Director James Gunn immerses you in his incredibly beautiful, bright and bonkers universe which you sort of wish actually existed. Like all good sci-fi movies, this has a water-tight, well established world with it’s own rules, peoples…and alcohol, realised in great detail. Plus, the CGI is seamless and it’s never not cool to see hundreds of one-person spaceships get fried.

Quill’s a player, but Chris Pratt is loveable enough to stop him from being a complete douchecanoe. Gamora is a brilliant female character, which we know Zoe Saldana excels at; but Rocket and Groot (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively) steal the show as the trigger-happy, oddball double act. Most-surprising performance goes to former wrestler Dave Batista. WWE stars can be cringe on the big screen, but if The Animal is serious about a film career, it could take off.

Marvel need to put in work on their villains, though.  WHERE IS THE THREAT? Lee Pace and Karen Gillan are solid actors who were wasted in this movie. Nebula is badass, but only briefly; and while Pace gets a delightfully grim murder scene early on, his potentially defining moment gets invalidated in seconds, albeit in a funny way.

Guardians of the Galaxy is n bombastic popcorn movie with an 80s vibe that people old enough to remember Spaceballs first coming out will appreciate. Those who don’t might feel like they’ve missed something – and I include myself in that. I grew up with Discmans and The Backstreet Boys. Maybe it’s a generational thing? Or maybe my post-Cap 2 expectations were too high…

THREE OUT OF FIVE*

*Yeah, that score is kinda subject to change. At the screening we were denied the after-credits sequence, so I’m planning on watching GotG again so I can see it.

Saturday Special: Courgette and Cinnamon Muffins

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“Cinnamon and WHAT?” I hear you cry.

“Stahp yo’ cryin’,” I reply. “And it’s cinnamon and courgette.”

The courgette in this delightful sweet treat works exactly how carrot does in a carrot cake. It’s not immediately obvious, but it adds a certain sweetness and almost creamy texture to them that really does work. So if you’re looking for something intriguing and delicious to whip up and amaze your friends with then give these a go.

Here’s how you make them (the recipe is from my go-to book for anything cakey and awesome, ‘Annie Bell’s Baking Bible’):

You will need:

225g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

100g golden caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting

200ml whole milk

1 medium egg

75g unsalted butter, melted

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

125g coarsely grated courgette

75g raisins

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and arrange 8-10 muffin cases inside a muffin tray (silicone muffin cases would be perfect for this, as recommended by my fellow DTSFTers, or you can use regular cupcake cases and put them on a baking tray, like I did).

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, 100g sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix.

3. Whisk the milk, egg and butter with the lemon zest in a medium-sized bowl, then stir in the courgette and raisins.

4. Put the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and loosely combine – the mixture should be wet but lumpy.

5. Divide the mixture equally between the muffin/cupcake cases and sprinkle some more sugar and cinnamon on the top to give them a golden look and a nice crunch and put in the oven. You can check if they’re cooked by sticking a knife in the middle of one, but here’s the difference – if it comes out slightly wet still, it’s cooked. You want them to be slightly underdone to give them that ooey-gooeyness.

Bon appetito!

Hannah

 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Andy Serkis + sweet CGI – James Franco = very, very good

 

Years have passed after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and an outbreak of simian flu has smoked a large percentage of the human race. The apes exist in peace in their own realm, but trouble starts when a group of human survivors venture into their territory in search of electricity.

DOTPOTA runs a lot deeper than just a simple humans vs apes story. Apes are not the enemy, but neither are humans. Gary Oldman’s character is hell bent on wiping the animals out, while on the apes’ side Caesar (an astonishing performance from Andy Serkis yet again) has to contend with the hateful and violent Koba (Toby Kebbell, also astonishing). It’s these nuances that keep the story grounded among the monkeys-on-horseback setpieces.

Much like he did with Cloverfield, director Matt Reeves succeeds at creating a decaying, imposing and desolate world that is also plausible. He’s also great with large-scale destruction of civilisations without overdoing the explosions, which makes the chaos in the third act much more effective.

The clip that aired during the World Cup semi final, of Koba shooting a man in the face, drew complaints from parents for a reason. The tone veers sharply and seamlessly from sci-fi/action to chilling horror. That is in no way a criticism.

There has been talk of how hardly any female characters feature in the film (some interesting points are made in both of these articles – thanks, Sophia!) and to be honest, while watching I got swept away by the brilliance of the film and I didn’t notice. Looking back on it however, it should have been glaringly obvious. In terms of women we have Keri Russell’s Ellie, and Caesar’s other half Cornelia who, as Vulture rightfully points out, you don’t even know is called Cornelia unless you IMDB that shizz later.

The most disheartening thing about it is that the lack of female characters was not intentional – it just sorta happened. Reeves himself has admitted he doesn’t know why DOTPOTA contains hardly any women and that’s sad. Female characters wasn’t even something that came up in discussion, and that’s a problem most films still have. Dudes are the default. This isn’t to take anything away from this movie – I loved it – but there’s room for improvement should a sequel go into production (which it hopefully will).

I’ll finish on a positive note. This is going to sound flowery, but there’s a great message here about judging people on their good and bad qualities as individuals instead of lumping everyone together with sweeping generalisations. Also there’s a baby ape in it and it’s soooooooooooo cute.

FIVE OUT OF FIVE

Saturday Special: Gorgeously Golden Peanut Butter Cookies

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Excuse the mess…

 

Long time no speak.

So here’s a cookie (BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT) recipe from Nigella Lawson’s website, which I understand to be a ‘community recipe’, and thus not by the lady herself. Nevertheless, these tasty treats are so delicious that you’d enter into a battle to the death with your own mother just to have the last one.

 

Taken from the website:

Ingredients

50g soft light brown sugar

50g caster sugar

50unsalted butter (soft)

1 medium egg

teaspoon honey

teaspoon vanilla

200g peanut butter crunchy

100plain flour

teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

teaspoon salt