DTSFT’s Men Of The Year 2013

Yes indeedy, that time has come around yet again, 2013 is drawing to a close, so it’s time to reflect over the 12 months that have gone DTSFT style – which is OGLE AT SOME HOTTIES.

Here are some fine fellows that got our attention this year (you can also check out our Women of the Year here).

Peter Capaldi

peter capaldi

Never mind The Day Of The Doctor, 2013 was pretty much The Year Of The Doctor, as one of the UK’s longest running TV shows celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was also the year that we found out that Matt Smith was ending his run as The Doctor and Mr. Capaldi was revealed as his successor in an unnecessarily long TV special. Still, he is a fantastic actor (he was brilliant in The Thick Of It and we got to see a bit of him in action in The Time Of The Doctor) and we can’t wait to watch his version of The Doctor when the new series starts next year.

Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans and Lee Pace

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luke evans

lee pace

The second part of The Hobbit trilogy was released in early December, and with it brought some familiar faces as well as some new ones. Beautiful blonde elf Legolas returned and he was more badass then ever, kicking serious hiney whenever he was on screen (for those who have seen it, the fight scene that took place along the river really was something, wasn’t it?) He was also joined by his steely and mysterious father, Thandril, which was played superbly by Lee Pace, and Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman, the ordinary villager who turned out to be pretty nifty with a bow and arrow.

We’ll be seeing more of them in The Hobbit: There And Back Again, which is out next year, and we can’t wait to watch what happens to their characters next.

David Suchet

david suchet

From saying hello to new characters, to saying farewell to long standing ones. 2013 saw the end of the period crime series Poirot, and of course David Suchet, who has been playing the titular character for over 20 years. The moustachioed detective will be truly missed. Au revoir, mon amie!

Tom Hanks and Bakhad Abdi

tom hanks and bakhad abdi

Captain Phillips was released in September, and has been considered to be in the running for an Oscar, and it’s easy to see why. The film is fantastic, with Tom Hanks giving a stunning performance as Captain Phillips, and Bakhad Abdi equally amazing as Abduwali Muse.  They both gave truly Oscar-worthy performances which is why they are on our list this year.

Henry Cavill

henry cavill

A little known film called Man of Steel was released this year and we all (well, 3/4 of us) really enjoyed it, one particularly sexy reason being Jersey boy (and Helen’s husband) Henry Cavill. The man is literally Superman, with his thick black curls, striking blue and eyes and god-like physique, plus he’s got good acting chops to boot. We know he’s playing the lead role in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  and we can’t wait to see his quite frankly f*cking stunning face again.

Ashley Taylor-Dawson

ashley taylor dawson

This year, I did something that I had never done before…I watched Strictly Come Dancing. And it was actually really fun. But the person who stood out most for me was Hollyoaks’ actor Ashley Taylor-Dawson, who I thought was really rather good. I was gutted when he was voted off, and when I found out that he wasn’t on the tour due to conflicting schedules, but if he is in it next year I’m definitely getting a ticket. And isn’t he just gorgeous? We love you, Ashley!

Idris Elba

idris elba

The ruggedly handsome Idris Elba graced our screens as Luther for one last time in the explosive final series (but a movie is in the works) and he’s taken on the powerful role of the late, great Nelson Mandela in Long Walk To Freedom. I also had the opportunity to see him do a DJ set at Love + Liquor earlier this year and he was brilliant. His place on our list is well deserved!

Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy

mads mikkelsen

hugh dancy

There were some excellent TV shows this year, but the one that was on top of the list was Hannibal. It’s a dark, gritty and very, very gory drama that constantly has you at the edge of your seat. The Great Dane Mads Mikkelsen and the dashing Hugh Dancy were both brilliant as the roles of Hannibal Lecter and Dr Will Graham respectively, making their relationship both respectful and obsessive at the same time. As expected, it’s back for a second season next year, and if you haven’t seen the poster for it, go check it out. It’s awesome.

And on a sidenote: look at Mikkelsen’s EPIC VIKING HAIR:

mads mikkelsen epic hair

Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz

jamie foxx and christoph waltz

Django Unchained was my favourite film of 2013, and part of the reason is because of these two. Jamie Foxx was a perfect choice as Django, and as always, Christoph Waltz was fantastic as Dr King Shultz, the dentist turned bounty hunter. The two of them are so cute on and off screen, and not forgetting to mention Waltz’s Oscar win in January, it was a no-brainer to put them on the list!

Guy Pearce

guy 3

Spectacles have never looked sexier. Guy Pearce graced our screens in on of DTSFT’s favourite films of the year, Iron Man 3, as sharp-suited villain Uldrich Killian. And boy did he work those suits (I was also feeling the loafer look…nice touch). He was also inducted onto the HCGI list, which is quite a big accolade round these parts. He definitely is an underrated actor and we hope to see more of him next year.

Daft Punk

daft punk

Let’s face it, guys. Get Lucky was THE song of 2013. All throughout summer, it was being blasted out from radios, mp3 players, TV adverts and nightclub speakers. And not only did Daft Punk release a brand new song, they released a brand spanking new album to go with it – Random Access Memories (which is pretty good, by the way). It was great to see them back after so many years…here’s hoping there’s a tour of some sort next year.

Artem Chigvintsev, Aljaz Skorjanec, Brendan Cole and Kevin Clifton

artem

aljaz

brendan cole

kevin clifton

As I admitted before, I watched Strictly Come Dancing this year. The Grand Final was a pretty spectacular show, and it was then that I noticed the professional dance partners of the final four (Natalie Gumede, Abbey Clancy, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Susanna Reid). They’re all amazing dancers and absolutely stunning (seriously, these pics don’t do them justice, to be honest). It’s got me in the mood for the next series…and maybe possibly a ticket for the tour…maybe?

Luke Friend

'Thor: The Dark World' World Premiere

Relax – Lukey-Luke is the only reality TV show contestant that will appear on this list. Luke Friend was the underdog on this year’s series of The X Factor, but his unique voice and mad hair saw him get all the way to the finals. His rendition of Seal’s Kiss From A Rose was probably one of the best performances in the show’s ten-year history, and although he had the tendency to ‘Mumford-and-Sons’ everything, he was unlike any other contestant that had ever been on the show. Sadly he finished third, losing out to bland teenager Nicholas MacDonald who will probably fade into obscurity by March. Astounding.

Andy Murray

andy murray

Do we really need to explain why? (But if you’ve been living under a rock, we will explain). He became the first man to Wimbledon in decades! Congratulations, champ!

Happy New Year!

DTSFT Team

Style Icon: Diane Kruger (Part Two)

It’s been a while since a post about anything so I thought we could ease back into it with a look at fashion favourite Diane Kruger leading on from Part One. (I said this would happen…)

diane-kruger-chanel-couture

Wearing Chanel Couture. Kruger has always been a supporter of Chanel who, in turn, have always been a supporter of her. This is an example of why. At first glance the dress is just ok but then you look at the construction and the real beauty of it shines through.

Diane-Kruger-In-Jason-Wu-10th-Annual-InStyle-Summer-Soiree

(Jason Wu) Tuxedo jacket. What am I not going to like here? She’s got the pleated front shirt with a bow tie but before you worry that the outfit is too masculine you have mini shorts and some full on heels. That’s how you mix femininity and masculinity.

Diane-Kruger-In-Jason-Wu-2013-FX-Upfront-Bowling-Event

More Jason Wu. This shows the mixture of volume that evens out a look. We’ve got tapered trousers (ankle length to show off those great heels) with a peplum at the waist (not a big fan of peplums in general unless worn properly – here we have yes), then a flowing blouse. It’s covered up but in no way school marmish or unsexy.

Diane-Kruger-In-Jason-Wu-Jaeger-LeCoultre-Place-Vendome-Boutique-Opening

This may be my favourite thing ever. Jason Wu once again. This jumpsuit plays up to the ’50s vibe (with Kruger’s hair adding to this reference) but the ankle length adds modernity and means that Kruger’s stiletto (’90s vibe) shoes are on full show. Really, for me, this is all about the hair and the bodice section of the jumpsuit.

Diane-Kruger-In-Jenny-Packham-Palme-dOr-Winners-Dinner

Wearing Jenny Packham and the best accessory (*cough* Joshua Jackson *cough*). The dress is unusual in its flow and pattern but I love the way it works. The belt at the waist adds shape and the gathering at the neckline (with only sheer fabric) adds an unexpected subtle sexiness.

Diane-Kruger-In-Prabal-Gurung-Metropolitan-Opera-Season-Opening-Production-Of-Eugene-Onegin

The structure of this Prabal Gurung dress is incredible. The construction makes the dress look almost architectural and the weight of the fabric adds to that. The flashes of red contrasted with the black and white are a great touch (obviously I’m going to like them). This dress is just incredible and I love it.

Diane-Kruger-In-Prabal-Gurung-Nights-In-Monaco-Gala-Fundraiser

Some more Prabal Gurung but this dress couldn’t be more different from the earlier dress. This dress is all about the texture and I am completely fine with the mix of lace, flower embellishment and feathers. This is probably due to the muted colours meaning that the decorations themselves are not too ostentatious… And the feathers are left to dominate the dress – there is a clear “winner” and the rest isn’t competing.

Diane-Kruger-In-Prabal-Gurung-Tiffany-Co-Dinner

More Prabal Gurung and more embellishment. This time it’s all about sequins in varying strength. The layering of sequins adds a texture to the dress, necessary due to it’s basic shift dress cut, and adds further interest. Also, because of the sequins used, the dress never strays into cheap “sequin dress” territory – this isn’t something you’d be able to casually pick up on the high street. Add the sexy nature of the sheer base fabric revealing itself at the sleeves and the hem? J’adore.

Diane-Kruger-in-Vionnet

Vionnet is always a winner. Always. At first glance the dress looks very restrained with its simple shape until you realise that the blue lace on the skirt is just that. Lace. This slight touch of edginess brings this dress to modernity while still referencing the drape that made Vionnet so famous in the ’30s. Plus that blue is perfect.

diane-kruger-jason-wu-met-gala

Before Angelina’s leg there was Kruger’s. I know which I prefer. Jason Wu at the Met Costume Gala is a complete winner. We have more embellishment but again it is perfectly executed. The embellishment on the bodice (skin-tight bodice) contrasts beautifully with the flow of the long black skirt. The slit in said skirt then contrasts perfectly with the covered up bodice. (Yes, it’s a nude coloured bodice but Kruger never feels “exposed” here in any way.) The dress is super sexy but also, as you’d expect from Kruger, classy as hell.

S x

Saturday Special: French Apple Cake

It’s been a while…

This recipe for French Apple Cake was taken from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible.

Screen shot 2013-12-20 at 19.35.57

The cake worked pretty well (and disappeared in stomachs fairly quickly) and is really easy to make. The most time consuming part is peeling and coring the apples. This was the second time I’ve made this cake and I noticed a few niggles this time around – my own man-made niggles I might add.

1) I put in a little too much rum. I know, who would’ve known such a thing was possible? (It is. Eating a piece of cake at 10am and sensing alcohol is a little bit unsettling…)

2) The apples we had around for this time were a little small… Last time the apple slices on the top of the cake barely fit on. This time? Not an issue. So just be aware of buying reasonable sized eating apples and not just settling for whatever apples you have lying around. Minor failing.

Apart from that, the cake was brilliant and I would recommend making it.

French Apple Cake

Sorry for the lame photo – it was the last slice!

S x

52 Books in 2013 – November Update

Let me start by saying that I caved and bought a Kindle this month, because they were on offer, because I’m tired of reading e-books on my laptop, and because I am a weak human being.  I can’t be arsed with the whole “oh but paperbacks meeeeehhhhhhhh I love the feel of a book and Kindles are-” shut up, fools.  A book is a book is a book – whether you read it on paper, on a eReader, or listen to it on an audiobook, the story matters, not the format. This month’s selection of books was kind of a mixed bunch, so here are my reviews.

Book 43: Private London – James Patterson and Mark Pearson

private londonIf you’re a fan of unnecessary plot twists, frequent over-the-top macho boasting, and poorly conceived, one-dimensional characters, then this is the book for you.

Yes, this offering from James Patterson’s factory is one of the worst book I’ve read this year.  The ‘Private’ series revolves around a private investigation firm with branches around the world, which employs some of the world’s most elite and connected ex-military and police officers, not to mention tech-geeks and intelligence personnel.  They’re hired by the rich and famous to take on jobs that require brute force, and in ‘Private London’, Dan Carter is tasked with finding and rescuing a kidnapped girl.  Carter is such an insufferable narrator – he describes his own looks, which no-one does in real life and is an incredibly lazy thing to do.  He also details his gym routine, which plenty of people do in real life and is an incredibly boring thing to do. The chapters, which average around 3 pages each and mostly end with a cliffhanger or a sentence like “I knew something bad was about to go down”.  There are plenty of poorly constructed moments of dialogue, where Carter throws out cringeworthy lines that seem like the kind of thing Alan Partridge would come up with after the moment has passed.  And the constant checking in with ‘Jack Morgan’, head of Private, seems to parallel the process (in my eyes) that Mark Pearson must have undergone – London-based writer checking in with the big dog, James Patterson, as he takes the reigns on this branch of his franchise.  He didn’t do a very good job, and the book is wholly unsatisfying and pretentious.  Made me cringe more than once.

Book 44: Franklin D Roosevelt by Roy Jenkins
fdrBit of non-fiction now, with a biography of FDR which touches on his early life, career and death. It’s straightforward enough, although at times it jumps back and forth a bit – one moment we’re in 1932, then we’re in 1944, then we’ve jumped back again to the 1930s.  There isn’t much for me to say about this book, other than I really enjoyed learning more about FDR’s life and influences; I’d first studied him briefly during an American History elective at university, and I was fascinated by all the New Deal and post-war topics, and reading about it from the perspective of a man rising through the ranks in the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt made for an interesting break, especially after the mind-numbing banality of the previous reading choice.  As this book is part of a series on the American presidents, I might be tempted to read some of the other titles if I can find them.

Book 45: On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

chesil beachRecommended by a friend as it is relatively short and quite funny in places, this is the second book of McEwan’s that I’ve ever read – the first being Enduring Love – and I loved it; I’m so impressed at how well he constructs characters and stories out of minor events and their consequences.  Set in the early 1920s, On Chesil Beach focuses on newlyweds Florence and Edward, who are both virgins on their wedding night.  The two approach the night with their own fears and apprehensions – Edward worrying that he might not perform and that his dormant angry streak might rear its ugly head, Florence disgusted by the mechanics of intercourse. With their own backgrounds revealed over the course of the book and their different upbringings explored and contrasted in the short space of under 200 pages, there is a lot to take in but it is beautifully rendered by McEwan.  There’s a kind of slapstick, dry comedy to the whole thing – the awkward way that Florence tries to be seductive, the inner thoughts of the two characters in contrast to what is actually going on – but there are also a number of hints that Florence’s apprehension might be a result of something sinister happening in her childhood; it’s not explicitly described, but I’m so sure that McEwan didn’t mention those many trips that Florence took with her father as just simple background information.  I love how on the surface this book seems like a sort of odd-couple, straight-forward novel about the pressure of ‘the first time’, but there’s that undercurrent of darkness behind both characters, and there are no flashy twists or explosions – just a brilliant story, well told.

Book 46: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

postman twiceI’ve never seen the film but I’ve heard of it, it seems like so many books and films of that time were about wives plotting to kill or dispose of their husbands with a handsome, dangerous newcomer.  And that’s more or less the plot of The Postman Always Rings Twice, at least at the start.  Frank, a drifter with a dubious past, arrives at a roadside diner and quickly makes friends with the owner Nick, aka ‘The Greek’, who gives him a job.  There is an instant attraction between Frank and Cora, Nick’s wife, and the two start seeing one another behind his back.  When their first plot to kill Nick in the bathtub and make it look like an accident is thwarted by a power-cut, a passing police officer seems suspicious so the two cool things off for a while.  When they make their second attempt on Nick’s life, that’s when things really start to pick up, and we meet more characters who wouldn’t look out of place in a film noir classic.  There’s murder, blackmail, back-stabbing –  a whole lot packed into a fairly short book.  I wouldn’t say it was a particularly challenging read, and it reminded me a lot of Jim Thompson’s ‘The Killer Inside Me’ because of its blunt descriptions of the sex and violence, and the timely sexism towards the women – although with that said, Cora is  often depicted as having a strong grasp on her own sexuality, knowing what she wants from Frank and going after it from the start.  Plus, it doesn’t end with everybody getting what they want, and I love that in a novel!

Book 47: Ur by Stephen King

Ur_Stephen_KingY’all know that I love me some Stephen King, and I always will, but Mr King – FOR SHAME.  He said he didn’t write this Kindle-only exclusive novella for the money, but I can’t bring myself to believe that.  I mean, if he wrote the book as a way of celebrating and embracing the direction that books are taking by becoming up to date in a digital world, I can’t understand why he would feel the need to litter the text with so many frequent references to how easy the Kindle is to use, and describing the Amazon logo, and referencing ‘Amazon, the website where the Kindle can be bought’.  Apparently the book was written after a request from Amazon, and I admire that Stephen King has been able to embrace the changes in publishing but I really felt kind of dirty after reading this.  Every few pages there’d be a bit that was obviously written to meet specifications laid out by Amazon, I’d put money on there having been an agreement that the words ‘Kindle’ and ‘Amazon’ needed to occur a certain number of times.

As for the actual story, it’s not half bad.  Typical Stephen King fare, dabbling in other worldly supernatural elements, some references to his other works (The Dark Tower), and of course with a writer/booklover for a protagonist.  When Wesley Smith orders a Kindle following the break-up of his relationship, a pink one arrives despite them only being available in white (at the time, anyway – since then I think there’s been new gen models in black and grey).  On further inspection the device isn’t what he first thought it would be, and after playing around with it a little he discovers that there are alternate ‘urs’, supposedly universes parallel to this one, in which authors have lived longer and written more books.  Wesley finds new books by Hemingway and Poe, and realises there are millions of ‘urs’ each with a different collection by these authors.  But when he accesses one of the other functions, it throws everything up in the air and Wesley has to decide whether or not to use his new information to interfere with the sequence of events yet to come, without knowing what the penalty for breaking ‘Paradox Laws’ might be.

The idea of alternate universes where beloved authors were alive long enough to complete more books is pretty cool, and I wish I could actually find out what happens in ‘Cortland’s Dogs’, one of the new Hemingway titles that Wesley discovers in an alternate ur.  But the product placement that kept popping up was off-putting and marred the whole experience for me.

Just one month left, and 5 books to go!  Can I do it?  I bloody hope so.