Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

As we discussed in Part 2, there are many different types of procrastination patterns and although we do not believe that humans can be labelled we have, for ease, labelled the patterns to help you understand how they work and how we can work together to benefit you.

For those of you who identified that Social Procrastination was an aspect of your behaviour that you wish to change, a good starting point is to analyse whether you have a fear of saying no when it comes to doing a task an acquaintance / friend / work colleague has asked you to do. For those of you who come under the typology category “SF”, you have a greater want to be liked by your peers however this is not limited to just SF personalities. Either way, until you realise that the request is discretionary and learn to say no if you really don’t want to do the favour then it will be inevitable that your delays will occur impacting your social interactions and attracting that which you feared the most – i.e. the disapproval of others. As for impersonal delays such as the late payment of tax bills, overdue library books or RSVPs to invitations, you are again placing yourself between a perpetual tug of war between punctuality and postponement. In addition those of you who socially procrastinate within groups often do so due to concern that your input won’t favourable compare to the others in the group.

For all these social procrastination patterns one needs to escape from the habitual trap, accept responsibilities and act on them showing a sign of maturity and realising that by combating delay you are actually avoiding the disapproval of friends, the fines from the tax office or library, the cold shoulder or lack of invitations for showing up late or not at all, and you show yourself that you are in charge of your emotions and rather than fixating on the small picture, are playing a longer term game resulting in achievement, high accolades and advancement.

To aid you get a grasp on your Social Procrastination, I would like you to take a few minutes to write in your journal about the challenges you find in this area and define a positive and uplifting avenue for change.

  1. Write down you most pressing Social Procrastination challenge.
  2. Name the catalysts you use to avoid completing the challenge.
  3. List the excuses you tell yourself and others to justify not meeting the challenge.
  4. List all the actions you are prepared to take to follow through and meet the next challenge coming your way.

Unlike Social Procrastination, Personal Procrastination occurs when you constantly put self improvement tasks low on your priority list which can in turn be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health. Such justifications for this type of procrastination involve low self-importance, an inaccurate and idealised timeline that there is no rush to improve oneself which inevitably shows that your sense of responsibility towards yourself is heavily diminished. Often clients are resistant to emotional change  due to time constraints or not wanting to delve into the past. It is in this area that much resistance is often noted as some challenges can be both uncomfortable and painful. However by taking the leap to break these fears of emotional insecurities, one can progressively master any type of Personal Procrastination and enhance any self-development and grow in ways you cannot even imagine. As with any procrastination problem the challenge is to start sooner rather than later. I have devised a few questions below for you to work through to get you started to vanquishing the fear and moving that step closer to a life that you will love.

  1. What is your most pressing Personal Procrastination challenge?
  2. What are the consequences for not carrying out the challenge?
  3. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  4. How do you limit yourself in your abilities to progress and what are you losing?
  5. What do you tell yourself to justify not completing the challenge?What are your fears?
  6. What actions will you take today to feel more in charge of your life and gain the benefits of finally meeting the challenge?

In addition to these procrastination patterns there are also a group of Mild Impact Procrastinations. These are important to some people but appear lower on your priority list than they should and more often than not get put off until the next day and so on until they never get done. Such activities seem to be small matters and invariably you will take a calculated risk that they won’t affect you in the long run – often justifying that they will be a waste of time spent on the little things that you think can be done later. Unfortunately it is these little things that can blow up into larger challenges and such accumulations can leaving overwhelmed as they now will all have to be done all at once. To stop Mild Impact Procrastination before it starts a little organisation is needed especially for routine activities. If your personality type is not one to already be making lists it may be a useful activity to introduce this into your routine. Listing each mildly important activity, giving it a due date, allowing you to enjoy ticking them off as they are completed. Each tick that you produce not only shows that you’ve accomplished the activity without undue delay but reinforces that you are kicking your Procrastination habit to the curb and allows you to recognise that taking charge of these smaller aspects of your life will have a major impact on the running of your life as a whole. Again below, I have added a quick exercise for your journal to help you effectively deal with Mild Impact Procrastination which should enviable free up some brain space to more important matters such as Personal or social Procrastination matters.

  1. What is the most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge?
  2. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  3. List all the activities that you need to do regularly but delay.
  4. Write beside these activities a one word answer to justify the delay.
  5. What action will you take to follow through meeting your most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge mentioned in 1?
  6. What actions are you going to take to combat your justifications for delaying the list of activities mentioned in 3.

I hope you take this time to promise yourself that procrastination is worth beating and to acknowledge that you have all the capabilities inside you to rise to the challenge and bring about a change for the better today.

I look forward to working with you in Part 4.

Images reproduced from epicponyz.com and associatedforensic.com

Self Esteem – How to Increase It

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about self esteem. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Self Esteem is actually how we see ourselves, but is so often linked to how we think others see us. How we take in the information presented to us both internally and externally has a major impact on our self esteem. Such understanding of what we need to feel good about ourselves, as provided to us by a typological breakdown, can help how best to tackle the issues that arise out of our perceptions. Self esteem can very easily be dealt with in a type specific manner. I will try and break down some of the aspects for you later in this article, because once you know what drives your self esteem, you will know your buttons and be able to gain control over your emotions.

For those of you who are not familiar on my writings on Typology, I will just clarify the four Temperaments as set out by Myers. If you are unsure about what personality type you are then try this Humanetrics Test. Typologists, myself included, tend to use these temperament categories to simplify the intricate human condition further into a shallower pool of identities, not because we think everyone fits neatly into four boxes but to point out some commonalities like intrinsic drivers. This is only useful when describing some character traits and is by no means an assertion that there are not added complexities at play in the human psyche. Using Temperaments to describe how we relate to our emotions is a good starting point, but reductionism at any level has its drawbacks. There will always be anomalies but more often than not the classification below will be useful for you.

SP’s – also known as Myers Artisans
SJ’s – also known as Myers Guardians
NF’s – also known as Myers Idealists
NT’s – also known as Myers Rationals

The Artisans tend to feel their best foot is forward when others see them as artistic and graceful exuding a sense of effortless freedom. Therefore when they no longer have the grace or poise be it in a fleeting embarrassing moment or a more serious long term illness, you will see such character types start to have their self esteem petals wilt. The fix is the easiest of the four temperaments so help is not far away. The downside is that Artisans tend to be excitable and although can lend an upbeat vibe to those around them with their lively persona, their zest can often be the very cause of a lack of grace or poise momentarily. And, if that doesn’t get the Artisan then the fact that they are also known as the world’s greatest risk takers (the males more so), a mishap of the type to push the self esteem destruct button is also just around the corner. Artisan occupations normally revolve around precision, endurance, strength or timing. These are their intrinsic drives to self-worth. If you are an SP and perhaps in a job that does not allow this, your self esteem could be boosted by taking up a hobby or pastime that helps you display these skills even if only a dance class, workshop, artistic or creative pastime or even an elegant night out. If you have momentarily lost your mojo, seek to increase any activity that plays to your drives and sit back while you effortly and gracefully float back up to the top of your game in a cosy self esteem bubble.

The Guardians on the other hand, aswell as caring about how others perceive them, are more about being impeccable with their word and pride themselves on being thought of as dependable and trustworthy. The typical Guardian male is conscientious whether this is seen with extreme diligence in his profession or in his faithful nature as a husband and father. The female too is often referred to as a loyal wife and mother, normally a fastidious homekeeper who also is found volunteering her time for the school committee for her children, if she is not working often for a worthy cause. Unfortunately, as so much of the SJ self esteem comes from the outside this is often a draw back that they need constant reassurance. The Guardian being such a good caregiver no doubt has a strong inner circle of core friends or family. To combat self esteem issues, it is often useful to turn to such loved ones and ask for help in small ways, something to confirm your worth. Although, this must be used cautiously as external validation should only by acquired in small doses. Perhaps asking your partner to cook you a nice romantic meal or to look after the kids for an hour while you pamper yourself. It is in this moment the SJ needs to use its logical processor and equate that a gift from a non Guardian persona is worth a great boost to their self esteem as the effort afforded to them is given out of love, care and/or respect. If you are an SJ, remember just occassionally you have to help yourself so you can continue helping others but balance that with maintaining integrity in everything you do. Only take on roles you can succeed at for a while, as dependability is key for you when your self esteem takes a knock just concentrate on that you can achieve and gradually increase your obligations as your esteem rises.

The Idealists love to philosophise and hold themselves in highest regard when they are seen as natures true empaths. They inherently feel a natural affinity for how others feel, and will often base their self esteem on how they feel and relate to those closest to them. This can work for a while but as circumstances change or their inner circle respond in unpredictable ways the NF will feel off balance and start to question the relationship, life, their existence and then anything they come into contact with. You can spot an Idealist, as they tend to appear on the surface to only be interested in one close friendship or a select small circle and within those relationships are often heard talking about empathic human relationships. If you fall short of their perception – that self esteem is related to understanding the human condition – they will see that as a flaw, but more importantly when they fall short of their expectation, their belief mechanism takes a huge hit and their self esteem dwindles. Idealists are highly emotional people and their emotions fire off rapidly and then discharge again as rapidly. They do have a good gut feel and pride themselves on this, no doubt this ability comes from the very nature that they are the best type to be able to walk a mile in another’s shoes. If you are an Idealist, then the key to raising your self esteem is in your own self awareness and an understanding that no one can be 100% right about every person, change does happen, nothing is personal and everything is OK just the way it is. Take a step back from the overanalysis of feelings and empathy and regain an inner balance momentarily. Yoga, meditation, relaxation exercises are good for this as is an old fashioned time-out from your daily routine with something that inspires you.

The Rationals are overachievers at the best of times, not content to just have one aspect define their self esteem are often placing the value of themselves on how inventive they have been and how much they feel they have accomplished. These standards are internally set, which gives them a modicum of control over themselves however such standards are often unrealistic, leading to a lack of self esteem. The Rationals do not limit themselves to just the play or work arena, they use every avenue as yet another way to grow, improve, develop, teach increasing the proficiency of themselves and others along the way. The problem is that the Rationals are too self critical compared to the three other categories and sometimes take the hardest hit to their self esteem, not that you would know it because they will only let a few in on their perceived weakness of being anything less than perfect. NT’s are often found in positions of power and the more senior roles within organisations. They are also referred to as Scientists or Strategists so the I variations will gravitate to these positions while the E variants will take the world head on, aiming to lead the leaders. Whether an I or an E, this heirarchy follows NT’s into their personal lives too. The problem with being at the top of any pyramid of rank, is that others will either take pleasure in your temporary set back or not have the ability to lend you the hand necessary to take the first step back to feeling good about yourself. So just as the criticism originated from the NT so does the cure, which is to do what you do best and focus back on learning, teaching and growing. If you have been navel gazing too much then lend a helping hand to someone in need, however if you have been spreading yourself too thin, take time out with a self-help book and start developing another string to your bow.

Whatever type we are, it is clear that all types do suffer the occasional or the more common blow to their self esteem. The best way to remedy that is…

1. Work out your type, find out what makes you tick be it grace, dependability, empathy or achievement.
2. Write a list of the last 10 things you did that showed this aspect of you to its fullest.
3. Take a brief moment out to smile at all you have already achieved, physiology is half the battle to beating psychology.
4. Make an effort to go and do at least one more thing which will increase that part of you today, committing to do this every day until you feel better about yourself.
5. Take a step back from how you view yourself and how others view you and realise that we are all different. We are all the way we are – which is right for us, just the way we are in that moment.
6. Take a deep breath and think how you will feel about the incident in a minute from now, in a month from now, in a year from now, in ten years from now – how important is the perceived ‘mistake’ that just hit your self esteem.
7. Accept yourself and gain a fresh perspective. Realise that it really isn’t as bad as you originally thought, then just let that feeling go and move on.

Thank you to our reader who asked for input on raising self esteem. I hope this article helped.

I look forward to any comments (private messages or below) and as always will endeavour to answer them all.

Movie Review: American Hustle


American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell, who also directed last years critically acclaimed “Silver Linings Playbook,” has struck gold again in the director’s chair with another excellent cast of top notch actors. Hustle is a crime drama comedy loosely based on the Federal Bureau of Investigations(FBI) ABSCAM operation. ABSCAM was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sting operation run from the Bureau’s Hauppauge, Long Island, office in the late 1970s and early ’80s. The FBI, aided by a convicted con-man, videotaped politicians as they were offered bribes by a fictional Middle Eastern sheik in return for various political favors.The investigation ultimately led to the conviction of a United States Senator, six members of the United States House of Representatives, one member of the New Jersey State Senate, members of the Philadelphia City Council, the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, and an inspector for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. Christian Bale plays Irving Rosenfeld. Irving is obsessed with “making a buck.” He gets into the Conman game early as a kid and enters adulthood busting windows of businesses and then offering window repair. Bale loves to get deep inside his characters. So much in this film that he puts on at least 30 pounds of weight and cuts his hair into a balding comb over. Amy Adams plays Sydney Prosser. Sydney is a good looking woman looking to come up in the world. Irving and Sydney meet at a party and become inseparable. Even though Irving is a married man who doesn’t want to leave his crazy wife (Jennifer Lawrence who shines in this role ) for fear of never seeing the adopted son whom he loves. Sydney goes on Irving’s ride so to speak, enhancing Irving’s cons. The ride is good until FBI Agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) catches Irving and Sydney in a loan scam, but offers to release them if Irving can line up additional arrests. The two con artists are forced to set up a sting on corrupt politicians and the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (Jeremy Renner)by agent Di Maso. They bribe the mayor of Camden (Renner), local politicians and a Senator played by one of my favorite character actors Anthony Zerbe (The Omega Man 1971) into believing a rich Sheikh would like to invest in casinos in Atlantic City, NJ (Atlantic City, NJ is a major Casino hub on the East Coast of the United States today). As the con grows the Mafia becomes involved as a necessary part of business. Carmine (Renner) brings the Sheikh to a casino party. Irving is surprised to see that the violent Mobster leader Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro), second-in-command to the infamous Meyer Lansky, is present. One of the most outrageous scenes in the movie unfolds when Irving sees Tellegio at the party. Irving wants no part of meeting with Tellegio. He stays standing on the other side of the room with Carmine, Sydney and the Sheikh. Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), who is already upset that Irving has brought his mistress asks, “Why are afraid of those guys?” (The MOB!) ”They don’t look scary to me.” And struts over to the meanest guys in the room and strikes conversation. She later starts an affair with one of the mobsters and almost gets Irving killed.. Wanting no part of the Mob Irving hatches a con where he hides millions in bribe money from the FBI and says an anonymous source will return the money in exchange for immunity for Irving and Sydney; and to keep them away from the mob. Agent Di Maso’s superiors accept the offer which dashes all Di Maso’s plans to become a famous FBI agent. In the end the mob lets Irving live out his life. Irving and Sydney open a legitimate Art business together and Rosalyn and Irving, divorced, share custody of their son.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org, Trailer courtesy of youtube.com

Complementary Therapies Explained – What is Applied Kinesiology?

Most people know me as a hypnotherapist or life coach, but those who have been reading my current articles on energy therapies will know that my studies also took me through Complementary Therapies amongst other things. In this article I would like to focus on Applied Kinesiology as I have been asked quite a few questions on it lately. It is not something I use often in everyday practice but I do think it has value in the Complementary Therapist’s repertoire.

What is Applied Kinesiology?

Kinesiology comes from the two words Kinesis and Logos meaning motion and discourse respectively. It was discovered by accident when George Goodheart was rubbing a patient’s outer thigh while trying to come up with a solution to relieve severe leg pain symptoms in his client. Remarkably the patient’s pain subsided reminding Dr. Goodheart about Chapman’s work on pressure points leading to further investigations ultimately creating his theories of kinesiology.  Dr Goodheart explains that weak muscles on one side of the body can cause normal opposing muscle to become tight.  From his research believers and practitioners in Applied Kinesiology would expect to find weakness in the opposing muscle to a muscle in spasm and consider the muscle in spasm as the result of a problem not the cause.

Applied Kinesiology works on a similar premise but takes Dr. Goodheart’s work to a different level. It is a form of diagnosis using muscle testing as a primary feedback mechanism to examine the body and it’s functioning. When properly applied, the outcome of an a diagnosis from this school of Applied Kinesiology will determine an alternative form of therapy for the patient, it does this because it draws together the core elements of many complementary therapies and is therefore a main provider of an interdisciplinary approach to health care.

Hypnotherapists, Life Coaches, even Doctors who use applied kinesiology have a distinct advantage over other practitioners as they have specific diagnostic tools to determine the best therapy for the patient be they someone who is sensitive to allergens, someone who needs to break a repeating pattern of psychological reversal or even an injured athlete.

Yes, it is true that Applied Kinesiology tools range from specific muscle treatments designed to normalize muscle activity to treatments designed to aid other damaged tissues like skin, ligaments, tendons and joints. However, this school of complementary medicine is well versed in receiving bad press from some of the scientific community.

According to Wikipedia – “Applied kinesiology (AK) is an alternative medicine method used for diagnosis and determination of therapy. According to practitioners using Applied Kinesiology techniques, it provides feedback on the functional status of the body. Applied Kinesiology is a practice within the realm o alternative medicine and is different from kinesiology which is the scientific study of human movement. AK has been criticized on theoretical and empirical grounds, and characterized as pseudoscience”

More often than not scientists criticise that which they do not know or cannot prove, so it comes as no surprise to me that Applied Kinesiology has had a bad reputation in the scientific community, however there are a strong group of people who believe in its practice and it is arguable, be it a placebo effect or not if something works should we not use it?

It is useful to note here, that Applied kinesiology procedures were never intended to be used as a single method of diagnosis, they are there to aid and enhance standard diagnosis, not replace it. So yes, although a scientist at heart I am pro using anything that can aid the patient get answers that help them on teh journey to a successful and fulfilling life.

So how can we use the information gained from Applied Kinesiology techniques? The applications are numerous however if you are interested please see my upcoming article on Applied Kinesiology’s use in Allergy Testing.

Image reproduced from naturalhealthwellbeing.co.uk

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 2

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Procrastination is an often talked about problem, however the media often trivialise it using it as the butt of many jokes be it in sitcoms, films, talk shows or stand-up comedy. Although entertaining in the moment and often providing comic relief, it does not provide a solution. Unfortunately, such a solution does involve battling your inner demons and we all know this to be unpleasant however the improvement and success you will achieve will hopefully replace any temporary negative concepts you will have to address on the way.

More often than not the biggest negative contender that comes up in my seminars is blame. I stress to my clients and emphasise this here that this series takes a non-blaming view towards the triggers of your procrastination and focuses mainly on areas for positive improvement and advancement. However as we live in a blame ridden society you may have found yourself procrastinating to either avoid or defend social norms or personal standards where “blame culture” is rife. It is a global norm to spend the majority of  our spare time blaming others, blaming ourselves or looking for someone to blame. Blame is in many countries linked to performance which makes up social values and is often is extrapolated to personal worth. The reason this series does not focus on blame is that, whether internalising or externalising blame, such negativity only hinders our self growth distracting ourselves from spending the time more usefully on improving the situation in front of us and taking responsibility for the remedy which is unrelated to the cause or mistake of that situation. In addition, the “blame culture” we often find ourselves in leads us to create justifications which are nothing more than self deceptions that our subconscious uses to avoid the acceptance of personal responsibility. It has no bearing on solving legitimate problems and only allows us to re-focus our energies on small irrelevant details rather than looking at the big picture.

In addition, the use of the word blame seems synonymous with other negative terms such as lazy, careless, stupid and indolent which only puts up our defence barriers which again hinders rather than fixes the problem. In this article we concentrate on using our brain to reason why we procrastinate making sense of our triggers allowing us to positively alter our brain patterns and reactions resulting in a better solution.

For those of you interested in the science behind the theory, your pre-frontal cortex is responsible for the reasoning aspect of your personality. It is here that you override the brain’s defence mechanisms setting off a protective element to avoid discomfort, hurt or upset. Such an element can be in the form of procrastination.

Below I have highlighted some of the more common procrastination patterns so that you can identify which areas of your life you would like to work on to overcome your brain’s diversion tactics to discomfort.

  • Behavioural Procrastination – having great ideas and plans that never get off the ground and/or a to-do list that never gets quite finished.
  • Deadline Procrastination – often receiving final reminders for your bills or only just making deadlines set by your boss.
  • Decision-making Procrastination – constantly second guessing yourself, deferring making decisions and/or having trouble making the simplest of choices even down to a restaurant menu.
  • Habitual Procrastination – you mean well yet time just seems to pass you by and deadlines arrive before you even realise it.
  • Health Procrastination – not attending the gym even though you’ve paid for membership or feeling overly stress yet not taking time out to relax.
  • Hinderance Procrastination – making people wait in a passive aggressive way or delaying them or yourself.
  • Lateness Procrastination– showing up late for appointments and lacking the ability to be on time even if you want to be.
  • Organisational Procrastination – finding it hard to write down clear, measurable and achievable goals, lacking in plans and living in clutter.
  • Personal Procrastination – knowing you have bad habits but never getting round to breaking them, delaying facing up to problems and having the feeling that you are drifting through life.
  • Social Procrastination – delaying others with a lack of commitment to being your word, inconveniencing others by causing delay, expecting people to accommodate you when you’re late.
  • General Procrastination – you are unable to fulfill your responsibilities, you waste too much time, often under-delivering, do not stick to your priorities, start assignments at the last minute, find ways to extend deadlines, put things off that you’re not passionate about and rarely seem to get things done on time.

Reading the above procrastination patterns, work out which ones strike a chord with you and note them down for later on in our series where I will give you coping strategies for each type of behavioural pattern.

I will also look at the catalysts for the above procrastination patterns which include avoidance, fear of failure, mood, perfectionism, diversion tactics, discomfort aversion, self doubts, low self-esteem, overwhelming information, time management and readiness to change.

After reading this article I would like you to write down your top three procrastination patterns and the catalysts that you feel drive you towards avoiding responsibility. Throughout the series you will become familiar with procrastination forms and styles and the more you learn about these patterns the easier it will be for you to reprogram your habitual responses to your catalysts turning what you previously viewed as procrastination into efficiency.

I look forward to working with you to overcoming your procrastination.

Images reproduced from sherrymalcolm.com and zazzle.ca

Free Therapy with Sloan Sheridan-Williams

Sloan Sheridan-Williams is a uniquely talented Life Coach helping you with dating & relationships, anxiety, depression, infertility, weight management, self esteem issues, sports performance, public speaking, exam nerves, addictions, phobias and much more.

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Navtivity 3: Dude Where’s my Donkey?

Nativity 3
Nativity 3: Dude Where’s My Donkey? Is the next sequel in this particular franchise. This time starring Martin Clunes and Catherine Tate among the stars.

This really is about a donkey. New teacher Mr Shepherd (Clunes) gets kicked by a donkey and loses his memory. The movie is about finding this particular donkey and getting Shepherd back with his fiancée. Using musical routines to try and get his memory back. Hmm.

I honestly don’t know why they made this. Are we to be inflicted every year from now on?

It also shows schools as unstable, in that teaching assistants should be heavily supervised as Mr Desmond Poppy (Martin Wooton) is still there. By now it’s getting creepy. In the real world, Mr Poppy would not keep his job. On a serious note, I’m not happy that a grown man is being paid to act like an idiot, while most of us are working all hours just to get by.

The kids seem to be just extras; minions to Mr Poppy, and I’m sure some of the songs were recycled from its predecessors.

Despite a good cast list, the script was so limp, even a soggy salad would be more appealing. The main issue is there’s nothing really for the adults to enjoy. Family films need to appeal to Mums and Dads too. Young children won’t be going by themselves after all!

Also this is slightly longer which is confusing, the target audience is obviously young kids, there’s not really enough action to keep them focused for over 100mins+.

It seemed improvised on the spot, there was no indication there was a script. It couldn’t have been planned. You cannot do this. A plan is required for movies, otherwise you lose your way. You need a proper storyline and a sensible plot. (The writer should get detention!)

Hopefully this has ended the Nativity series for good and we won’t have a fourth edition next year.

This picture was missing a lot more than a donkey!

1/10 from me.

Image reproduced from plazadorchester.com
Trailer reproduced from Entertainment One UK.

TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Seeds”


The good part of the episode: the Mexico City chase scene.

The most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Seeds, is a mixed affair. The episode is divided into two subplots; one of which is fairly interesting and well-written. The second subplot is indicative of everything that is wrong with the show since it began airing: a dull and predictable mystery that is mired with bland characters engaging in cringe-worthy “witty banter”. Overall, this is a dull episode that is so ineptly written and directed that a plot-point that should completely change the direction of the entire series is negated to the background. Most annoyingly of all, Seeds continues in the show’s tradition of reinventing the fictional S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation (made famous by the Iron Man films and The Avengers) from a morally questionable paramilitary group into a “big happy family” free of complexity or subterfuge. Instead of taking the interesting option and creating a show featuring a small team of heroic and dedicated agents butting heads against their dubious superiors, the producers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. prefer to present a Manichean, morally black-and-white television show in which the line between heroes and villains couldn’t be clearer; a monstrous missed opportunity to tell compelling procedural drama within a fantastic fictional world.

The more interesting of the two subplots concerns Agents Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May (Ming-La Wen) tracking a former S.H.I.E.L.D. operative through the streets of Mexico City. These sequences feature engaging dialogue, important personal development for the characters, a well-choreographed fight scene and even the return of “Lola”; Coulson’s flying car. The dialogue between Coulson and May is sharp and interesting as they debate recent events in the show’s history (such as Coulson’s “return from the dead”). Both actors are clearly having fun with their characters, exhibiting a level of camaraderie that is totally believable. After a short but fun chase sequence, Coulson and May discover important information relating to the childhood of Skye (Chloe Bennet). Skye’s involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. since her first appearance has been motivated by the desire to find out about her birth parents; it has been one of the two mysteries that has driven the show since the pilot (the second being the recently resolved mystery of Coulson’s resurrection). The fact that her origins are now revealed should be a huge turning point for her character and for the show. Admittedly, the scene during which Coulson explains the truth to Skye is very well shot and edited; instead of watching Coulson retell the story of her origins, the audience is simply shown Skye’s increasingly distraught face set to music. It is an intensely powerful moment in a show that has had so few of these. It is shocking that this incredibly important revelation is predominantly overlooked in favour of the episode’s second plot-line; Fitz and Simmons going back to school.

Everything about the second subplot reeks of the ineptitude that so defines Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It is poorly written, poorly acted and poorly executed in every way. Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are requested to return to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s training academy in order to solve a series of bizarre attacks on students involving sudden outbreaks of ice. Soon, they become convinced that someone is attempting to kill off the academy’s students for their own sinister ends (the villain of the episode is finally revealed to be a drastically re-imagined version of a Marvel Comics character called “Blizzard”). Everything about the sequences at S.H.I.E.L.D. academy is inept. The academy is supposed to be a top secret facility that trains superhumanly intelligent adolescents; it looks like a high school or university campus. The once sinister and shadowy S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation now has its own high school, complete with a secret nightclub run by the students. There’s a “nerdy” loner student (with a secret lab in his dorm room ceiling) and a “cool” popular student who aces every test. The dissonance between S.H.I.E.L.D. as it has appeared previously (the sinister military force) and S.H.I.E.L.D. as it appears now (super-scientist Hogwarts) is staggering. Even for a spy show set in a world with superheroes, it just all feels so silly. To use 1990’s television as a comparison, it would be like the cast of The X-Files visiting the cast of Dawson’s Creek.

Perhaps it is unfair to criticise the performances of the cast, considering the material that they are working with, but many of the teenage and 20-something student characters are portrayed by terrible actors. Chloe Bennet is never very impressive as Skye, but compared to some of the student characters in this episode, she deserves an Oscar. The only positive thing that can be said of this episode is that it finds a clever way to tie its events to the recent “Polar Vortex” that has gripped North America (it is insinuated that the true cause of December 2013’s bad weather was the ice machine from this episode). After a marked improvement in the overall quality of the last few episodes, it is most disappointing to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. return to its usual mediocre state. Perhaps now that the lingering plot mysteries have all been resolved (aside from the identity of the show’s villain, the Clairvoyant), things can finally progress towards a more exciting finale. Right now, however, this doesn’t seem very likely.

Image from blogs.wjs.com

Film Review: Mandela – Long Walk To Freedom

Mandela Long Walk To Freedom“Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” had a lot of expectation surrounded it because of its subject. That was before the untimely death of Nelson Mandela and the world started mourning the passing of one of history’s greatest heroes. And yet, despite the opportunity before the filmmakers to try and find the real Mandela, they opt to go down a more sympathetic route and create a rather conventional biopic.

Anyone who is aware of Mandela’s life will know that some parts, particularly in his younger years, are less than desirable. When he first became leader of the ANC, he instigated bombings on public buildings and riots in the streets. He claimed not to be a violent man while carrying a gun. He neglected his first wife and committed adultery. While these events are addressed, they pass by quickly and without question. At no point does anyone go up to him and suggest that his course of action is wrong. It is a missed opportunity that this film didn’t take the time to examine this part of his life a little more, considering his transformation from armed protester to messenger of peace is the most interesting aspect of his life.

When it comes to a central role like this, the only actor you can really think of who can provide the right amount of gravitas is someone like Idris Elba. His tall and strong build makes him stand out from the people around him. When he joins in a boycott of the bus services started by his friend, he literally towers over the rest of the protesters. You fully believe that Elba can enter and have the full attention of the room without even saying a word.

Elba does a superb job charting the different stages of his life. When he’s young, passionate and womanising, he comes across smooth and oozing confidence. When starts leading the ANC down a more violent route, you can see the pain that he’s feeling. Every bomb plays on his conscience, but he knows it’s the only way he and his people can get attention. When he’s in prison, he becomes a mournful man who struggles to deal with the fact that the lives of his loved ones are continuing while he has to spend the rest of his life on pause. He rallies his friends together to try and get their prison guards to respect them. Even when facing life imprisonment he continues to fight. Then finally, we see the elderly statesman trying to bring the violence to an end so then all South Africans can live in peace. Because of his screen presence, Elba looks somewhat presidential all the way throughout.

Because of Elba being so enigmatic as the leading man, it’s easy to forget about the wonderful performance put in by Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela. When we first meet her, she is a gentle and supporting woman trying to help her boyfriend and then husband in any way she can. When Mandela is sent to prison, Winnie realises that the fight for freedom must go on and she takes over the reigns as his successor. Throughout Mandela’s time in prison, she continues to fight, using violence whenever it is necessary. When Mandela is released and wants to negotiate some form of peace, it’s understandable that Winnie disagrees with him. She’s been fighting with her bare hands for years only for her more highly regarded husband to tell her his initial plan of action was wrong.

Winnie can’t quite understand where this sudden change of philosophy has come from, and the problem is neither can the audience. The film aches with the pain of trying to make Mandela’s transformation seem natural while still ticking off the milestones, but it isn’t able to do that. It is genuinely hard to grasp his transition when he becomes an instigator of peace.

The final scene however is very affecting. The sense of achievement during this moment is a little overwhelming. There’s no denying that Mandela lived an amazing life that should be celebrated, and that is why this film aims to do nothing more than pay homage to the man in good faith. You can’t shake the feeling though that someone like Mandela deserves a little more examination. It was a long walk to freedom for Madiba. Unfortunately in this case, the walk may be too long.

Image reproduced from imdb.com
Video reproduced from YouTube / MOVIECLIPS Trailers

Dating Etiquette – Keeping Your Man

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about dating etiquette. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Now you have got your man, the next important step is to keep him which means traversing the potential minefields such as meeting his friends, going on your first mini-break, meeting the parents and behaviour in public.

Meeting His Friends

Although many of us are delighted to reach the stage where our man wants to show us off to his friends, once the euphoria has worn off we realise that the first meeting is akin to being thrown into shark-infested water – worse still – without a life jacket! This is an important time for you as while being flattered you can also use this time to scope out your new beau and judge him by the company that he keeps. The first thing to remember is that males are generally guarded with their pack so any invitation shows that you’ve already made it to the next stage.

If his group is mainly male your chat will require slight adaptation minimising all talk of girlie pinks and purples and leaving feelings and emotions at home. Men in general when they are not fire gazing and communicating with a series of grunts tend to banter in an effort to display their wits and their ego. If you try to compete on their level, your one-liners will seem slightly ambitious therefore it is important to be yourself along with a charming smile and a demeanour that you’re easy to be with.

The best tactic is to remain your beau’s shadow every now and again disarming his friends with an indirect complement. They are unlikely to be used to this and they will begin to start a rapport with you.

Remember his friends are not as interested in you as your girlfriends would be in him. Men are far more direct and their humour may even make you the butt of their jokes. The best way to navigate this situation is to not over-think it, respond always in humour and take nothing personally. In addition when meeting his friends, spend more time mingling with them than hanging off his arm like a lost puppy dog. If there is a female friend in his group, suppress any territorial urges you may have and whatever you do don’t compare yourself to her or criticise her to him. The female friend appears to wield much power so often people advise to get them on side, however the best tactic is to treat them like one of the boys and genuinely not notice their gender or let them influence your behaviour thus keeping the power at all times.

Men often criticise and jest their friends, do not be drawn into this trap by joining in with the banter, as the outsider it is possible to cause offence even if you are only agreeing with what others say.

Make sure you meet his friends before he meets yours. It is imperative that you have confidence in your relationship and that there are no cracks that niggle as your girlfriends will pick up on these as quick as a duck takes to water.

As for where and when, if possible choose to meet for drinks as this is less pressured than dinner.

The Mini-Break

Once you’ve made it past meeting the friends it won’t be long before he pops the question – not the proposal – but “do you want to go away for the weekend?”.

Just like the Scouts motto “Be Prepared”, the mini-break is a test drive to whether you can spend 24/7 together in close proximity so it is important to be fully organised enabling you to look good at all times. The trick here is to travel light as you are only equipped with one weekend bag so some location research and weather checks are the order of the day. Make sure you implement an underwear and grooming session before your weekend away and pack a book or local guide-book so you busy yourself up for when and if as most men do he needs some space.

It is traditional for the men to choose the destination of the mini-break and take control. If you are expecting Cannes but end up getting Brighton remember that it is only polite to express the same amount of excitement and enthusiasm as your beau will have put careful thought into your mini-break. Although as in the first part of this series we explain that etiquette dictates that you are not a girl who is easy to get, once you’ve got your man you should now become a woman who is easy to be around. Wherever you go, take in the local culture, restaurants and nightlife and be sure to supply many indirect compliments to his choice of venue and attractions. It is during this period that the focus is entirely on the two of you and rather than falling into the trap of being the perfect housewife and making your man happy, this is an important time to ask yourself whether you enjoy his company, whether he makes you happy, and whether you have just gift wrapped this relationship or is it the real thing.

As for money, in this modern day and age people find it acceptable to go Dutch. Etiquette still dictates that the person who invited the other on a mini-break should pay however as the guest it is only polite to offer to pay for a round of drinks here and there, a pub lunch and maybe a cab ride or two back to the hotel. If you are unequally matched financially then it is perfectly acceptable to have a conversation about who will pay for what before you embark on the trip.

Most importantly keep the mini-break light, fluffy and full of laughter and although little niggles may crop up along the way it is important to ask yourself if it is important to be right or enjoy your holiday.

Meeting the Parents

This part of the relationship can be the biggest minefield of them all so much so that there is a comedy along the same lines starring Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and Teri Polo. No doubt your encounter will not be as hair-raising as displayed in this film but to guide you on your way ask your other half for a little information about his parents in advance. Typical questions to ask would include:

  • Are they strict or relaxed?
  • What dress code is expected?
  • Will dinner be cosy in the family room or a more formal dining affair for 20 people?
  • What topics of conversation should be avoided at all costs?
  • What individual subjects are each member of the family interested in?

As for dress code, conservative and elegant wins every time, make sure you are comfortable and ready for any occasion packing both a smart and casual outfit if you are staying over.

On greeting the parents it is important to use their title and surname until they invite you to use their first name. It is also the order of the day to take a present – a decent bottle of wine or a plant is acceptable however the more original and personal you can make the gift the better. If the family includes a grandparent or a sibling, it is also good practice to take a token present for them as well.

There is a fine balance between acting like one of the family by mucking in and stepping on the toes of your boyfriend’s mother. Therefore offer to help with domestic chores but defer to the mother, showing that you know your place and that she is ruler of the domestic household. As your boyfriend may be very relaxed at his parent’s home remember that when following his lead you should always increase the formality by a couple of notches, i.e. just because he drinks a few glasses of wine at dinner doesn’t mean that you should.

Over lunch or dinner, do not be a wallflower and enjoy an interesting debate with reasoning but avoid controversy at all costs. During such debate never complain about the injustices of your life or wax lyrical about those less privileged going through hardships in Third World countries. Likewise do not throw out gushing compliments towards the family as it will appear creepy and insincere.

If the parents house is big enough to accommodate you sleeping in different rooms, although it is common knowledge that you have spent at least a night together before meeting the parents, the accepted protocol is to ask for separate rooms.

On leaving thank each member of the family in turn for a wonderful stay and follow it up with a thank you letter within five days of your visit making sure you mention every member of the family present in your thank you note.

Again make sure you have met his parents before introducing him to yours, and when such time comes make sure you prep him with family oddities and off-limits behaviour so that he too can make a good impression with your parents.

Well done on getting this far in coupledom, however remember that it is easy to lose friends and alienate people by giving up much of your previous life and relying on your boyfriend. Make sure to strike an even balance of maintaining your respective lives, not taking each other for granted, restraining from public displays of affection and respecting each others privacy. At this stage above all trust and honesty is the most important part.

Good luck with your relationship. If you have any further questions or comments please leave them below.

Images reproduced from videojug.com, thebestsexetiquette.wordpress.com and blog.okcupid.com

Extraterrestrial – 2014 film

Extraterrestrial - 2014 film
Extraterrestrial (2014 film) was another ‘alien visitor to Earth’ type films. This one featured a lonely cabin and secluded woods.

A group of friends discover a crashed saucer (as you do in the woods) and find one of the aliens spying on them (which is fair as the alien maybe shy – and with this motley bunch – I’d check them out first.)

They overreact and kill the alien which results in the surviving aliens finding out and extracting revenge on the humans.

As if aliens, who could build massive space vehicles wouldn’t have smaller craft or better yet – er, shields?! Even have personal shields to protect the crew. Were we supposed to think they came from Planet Clueless?

I think this is another director, one Colin Minihan, who has a few issues to sort out and rather than go for counselling, the public have to put up with their latent anger.

The aliens depicted in this film were just delinquents. One would hope space travel might just give a more evolved sensibility. No such luck with this species.

I really didn’t see the point to any of it. Just as well it wasn’t Chewbacca who fell in some snow, then we could’ve had a weird Yeti movie.

Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter films – Cormac McLaggen) was the only face I recognised. With this offering, ‘down the dark path is he following!’ (Now no wonder the alien was spying on them – he was really thinking – ‘wow, it’s that guy from Harry Potter!’)

Anything would be better than this tripe. I don’t think I’ve seen such a badly made alien film since War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise. How could they come up with something worse??? What’s the world coming to?

1/10 from me.

Image reproduced from imdb.com
Trailer reproduced from Movie Trailers

Film Review: The Batchelorette

The Bachelorette
The Batchelorette is a movie about a hen party essentially. Two of my favourite people were listed Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman 1-3) and James Marsden (X Men – Superman Returns) so I wanted to see it. It has been compared against another movie called Bridesmaids. As I haven’t seen that one I can’t say. I can say this offering was a let down.

This movie never really took off for me. It was very crude and unpolished. The motley gang were very shallow, high on drugs and very immoral. It was hard to view them as a gang I would cheer for.

Becky (Rebel Wilson) is getting married. Regan (Dunst) isn’t happy as she wanted to be married first. But she’ll still be matron of honour/chief bridesmaid etc. At the engagement dinner some cousins do an awkward dance routine and the speeches are ruined when Gena (Lizzy Caplan) reveals Becky is bulimic.

Gena also loves her ex, but acts likes she hates him. This is highlighted when she sees him with a younger girl. Of course there’s the inevitable mishap when the three main girls Regan, Gena and Katie (Isla Fisher) play with the wedding dress. You get three guesses whether or not something happens… Of course something happens! This becomes the focus of the movie from then on.

The trouble is you can see the gags a mile off. Three drunk and high on drug girls playing with a special dress? Nothing’s going to happen? I don’t think so.

Also the constant swearing and general rudeness they display to each other does nothing to endear them. One of the scenes was Katie not remembering a guy from high school? Also Katie announces during the speeches someone has stolen her phone. She’s a hard core party girl high and drunk. So it’s hard to feel any sympathy for her when she gets into trouble and passes out.

The immoral behaviour as they start sleeping around with each other was confusing and the movie became split as a result. Even the men were disgraceful. Trevor Graham (Marsden) was like Tony DiNozzo from NCIS’s worse cousin!

Gena’s ex Clyde (Adam Scott) is in love with her – but why? Really? Gena’s a total mess! He’d have been better dating Becky’s mother! I did not like Gena (Lizzy Caplan) at all!

What was the director trying to achieve? It’s not enough to have a string of random incidents with a swear word every minute. That’s not humour. That’s the easy road.

Stealing someone’s wallet, then a phone. Smacking people. If I got treated that way I would not hang around, that’s for sure. Yet these people just came back for more!

I do think they are the prefect advert for what happens if you party hard everyday. Sort like a New Year’s movie you can use to improve your life.

I am disappointed by the direction, this could’ve been funny and a joy to watch. But sadly I just couldn’t like any of them. No, not a single character!

1/10 from me because of this. I usually like at least somebody! But if I saw any of these people in a bar – I’d head straight out!

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from Movie Trailers

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 1

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Procrastination affects us all – it is not only the stack of unopened mail, the size 8 garments hanging in your wardrobe when you’re now a size 12, that phone call you dread but know you should make or that deadline imposed on you by your boss that is creeping up on you; but more often than not procrastination involves beneficial or exciting activities that have slipped down your list of priorities. Such activities include going to the gym more, combating a phobia, taking up a new sport or hobby, meeting up with old friends, or even a pamper day with just you time.

It may help you to know that 9 in 10 people procrastinate in at least one area of their life and research from the late 90s shows that as much as 20% of successful business people still squander away their time procrastinating and an enormous 60% of university students do the same.

I have written this series to help diminish your procrastination impulses allowing you to take charge of your life furthering your achievement of everything you not only desire but deserve as well. Procrastination can affect all ages from all walks of life however the coping strategies that I have set out throughout the series will not only educate you but provide you with options and choices in assisting you to minimise if not eradicate the effect that procrastination has on your life.

Please make sure you follow the exercises in this series in the order they are presented, practice each technique until it becomes routine and then, and only then, begin on the next.

Procrastination simply means to put off something until tomorrow, it comes from the Latin pro meaning forward and crastinate which means tomorrow; however for most of us tomorrow never comes and we spend our lives needlessly postponing, delaying and avoiding that which we should have done today. Procrastination itself is comprised of two components – the first part is an impulse to delay normally governed by mood or anxiety and the second part comes from your inner critic which reassures you that your reasoning for delay is acceptable. Therefore one can look at procrastination as having both an active and passive phase, however these phases in themselves often take more brain power and time than if we had carried out the original activity. This in turn makes us operate ineffectively which for some people can result in negative consequences.

You may have heard that the best solution to overcome procrastination is to simply jump in with both feet and action the task now. More often than not this is simple to say but much harder to do. Such advice is rarely sufficient in breaking the procrastination habit because of its many complex features. The first and best step to overcoming procrastination is acceptance that you have a problem and a positive intention to establish control over such. To assist you in the first step towards breaking your procrastination habit follow this 6-step process as bullet pointed below.

  • Stop and take stock of the Big Picture goal then break the task ahead into baby steps and action only the very first goal
  • Resist the urge to deviate from the list of steps that you created in step 1 and re-affirm that you are committed to completing the task
  • Reflect on those inner voices creating excuses and justifications to not complete the task and accept that your subconscious is trying to help you but again re-affirm your commitment to carrying out the task.
  • Use logic and reasoning to understand that the justifications and excuses in step 3 or just a delay tactic and counteract this with three positive statements about why you need to finish the task and how it will feel to have stuck by your word.
  • Review the baby steps needed to complete your task and once you have completed the first one set the rest in motion.
  • Reward yourself by completing any procrastination tactic only when you have completed all steps of your original task.

Through these self-regulating actions you will train yourself to overcome procrastination. Do not be too hard on yourself as even with this technique improvements of 10% each time you employ the technique means that you are well on your way to progressive mastery over procrastination.

In the meantime, for those procrastination moments that you have yet to get a handle on, it would be useful for you to diarise in a journal what they are so that we can analyse them later during this series. The questions to ask yourself in the journal are:

  • What activity have I put off?
  • Why have I delayed this activity?
  • What was my feeling during the delay?
  • What were my thoughts when I first put off my task?
  • What were my justifications after I entered the cycle of procrastination?
  • What was my outcome?

These journal exercises have been used by thousands of clients and although time-consuming are a surprisingly effective way to pattern interrupt the automatic procrastination processes thus enabling you a better understanding of why you do what you do and the triggers behind it.

The overall objective from this exercise is to move away from subjective action and see beyond your automatic processes and allow you with the aid from information gathering exercises later in the series to create an action plan finally curbing your procrastination.

It is really important during these exercises not to be too hard on yourself, often procrastinators are either highly sensitive people or often put in situations where they are blamed. Such environments put people in positions where they self-label themselves “stupid”, “slow” or “less than” which only increases negative feelings such as humiliation and low self-esteem.

Do make sure that you re-affirm to yourself while following this series that procrastination is no more than a habit, it is not something that you intentionally created, it took hold gradually over time and likewise takes time and effort to reverse. You are not alone in being a procrastinator however you are already on your first step to overcoming this challenging part of your life.

Before we finish this article, I’d like you to write out three action steps that you can take now to help you on your way, whether that is buying a journal, becoming more aware of your feelings and thoughts, taking half an hour out once a week to follow the series or listing the reasons that cause you to procrastinate.

I look forward to working with you throughout this series.

Images reproduced from edwardrecommends.com, deviantart.com and fromseremban2melaka.blogspot.com

¡Que rico! Tapas

A review of Cambridge-based ¡Que rico! Tapas

Two years ago, Estefania Led Ramos left Spain and made what she planned to be a temporary move to Cambridge to improve her English.

Deciding she rather liked the city, however, she gave up a career in journalism and communications to set up a catering business, ¡Que rico! Tapas.

As any foodie worth their manchego will know, tapas are small plates of simple, often finger food traditionally served in Andalusian bodegas - a little something to snack on with your copita of sherry.

¡Que rico! translates as “delicious” and is generally applied to food, but can also be used of people – in the same way that we talk of “yummy mummies”.

The business idea behind ¡Que rico! Tapas is three-fold:

– an at-home catering service

– catering for meetings and business lunches

– cooking events.

Estefania invited the CWB household to try her at-home service and turned up one evening with a Mary Poppins bag full of goodies and a handful of printed menus. After half an hour in our kitchen, she called up to say that dinner was ready.

I did not have any sherries to hand, but dug out a selection of southern Rhône wines from the newly-renamed appellation of Grignan-Les-Adhemar to see how they would match.

We started with an appropriately autumnal chestnut soup and mushrooms.

The first time I have had chestnuts in a soup, this was thick, rich and creamy – and disappeared very quickly; the mushrooms (sourced from Cambridge market) were also delicious, adding a contrast of flavour.

Next was a more well-known favorite – Spanish omelette with bread and olive oil.

Not so much an omelette in the familiar sense, this was more a potato cake, sweetened with onions, held together with egg and cooked to toasty perfection on both sides; pure comfort food for autumn.

Chicken croquetas were little pieces of chicken in a sauce, coated with batter and deep fried, reflecting the origins of tapas as often a way to use up left-overs.

The wine for all the lighter tapas was a Viognier from Domaine de Montine – citrussy and zesty with some sweet spice and floral honey aromas, it stood up well to the rich sweetness of the dishes.

The meatballs in almond sauce was exactly as described – hand-made, lean meatballs with a sauce made from oloroso sherry and nibbed almonds.

The two reds struggled a little with this dish – it is not quite either white-wine or red-wine food, but would have matched perfectly with a dry oloroso.

Traditional Spanish food is big on meat, but the final savoury course was Piquillo’s peppers stuffed with mushrooms and served with a sour-cream sauce – sweet, concentrated peppers, earthy mushrooms and a creamy sauce.

Estefania explained that the peppers are first roasted over an open fire, then peeled and stuffed with mushrooms held together with a flour-and-milk paste.

After five generous courses of delicious food, a refreshing lemon sorbet to finsh was the perfect way to end the meal – it came with a gin and tonic gelatine and juniper berries.

To match with this refreshing and slightly bitter dish, I pulled out a bottle of well-chilled Rutherglen Muscat from Stanton and Killeen. I had found the wine a little syrupy and overpowering with mince pies, but well-chilled and faced with the bitterness of the juniper berries, it came into its own.

¡Que rico! Tapas is the latest in a series of innovative food businesses to set up in Cambridge – as the growth of the Mill Road Winter Fair, Eat Cambridge and Cambridge Food and Wine Society have shown, there is definitely a burgeoning interest in superior food in the city and ¡Que rico! Tapas deserves to do well.

Estefania’s food was one of the best meals I have had in a long time – the dishes are simple and traditional and do not aspire to the sort of achingly-hip, knowingly-ironic cleverness that you may find in some of Cambridge’s more edgy restaurants.

For there is only so much too-cool-for-school food that I can take; a diet of foamed vegetables and trios of deconstructed whatevers may have an initial wow factor, but for me becomes tedious – like a day of back-to-back motivational speakers.

And, after a busy weekend day of various fairs and ferrying children to activities, to be served six courses of simple but perfectly-judged, utterly faultless and delicious food in the comfort of our own home by an enthusiastic, accomplished (and very child-friendly) chef was a delight.

If and when Cambridge gets its first sherry bar, I just hope someone approaches ¡Que rico! Tapas to provide the food.

Other related articles

Hidalgo Sherry Dinner With Cambridge Wine Merchants at The Punter

Inder’s Kitchen

Pavitt’s Pies


¡Que rico! Tapas – website, twitter, facebook

TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Magical Place”

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "The Magical Place" -- Coulson uncovers vital information about the mystery of his death, but, with Centipede out for blood, this knowledge may come at the cost of one of the team on MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., TUESDAY, JANUARY 7 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ron Tom) CHLOE BENNET

Skye (Chloe Bennet) dresses as May (Ming-Na Wen) in this confused and meandering episode.

The episode The Magical Place marks the return to TV for the troubled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Since the show’s pilot episode, it has struggled to connect with audiences (as evidenced by its lower-than-expected ratings in the US and UK); transforming it from a sure-fire premise for a great genre TV show into a bad joke. It is unlikely that at this stage, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can recover its squandered potential. Perhaps the most tragic irony of all is that the last few episodes of the show have actually been marked improvements. Many of the problematic aspects of the early episodes (poor dialogue writing, confused politics and sub-par special effects) were rather suddenly rectified. These positive changes may be an example of “too little, too late”. The Magical Place probably represents the final chance the show has to gain new viewers. Marketing for the episode has touted the fact that audiences will finally discover the secret of Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) miraculous resurrection; the event that kick-started the first story arc of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Unfortunately, when the ultimate truth, the mystery that has been alluded to and teased throughout the entire season is finally revealed, the most likely response from viewers is… “That’s it?”

The episode begins with Coulson being held prisoner by the Centipede organisation, the sinister dark counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D.. Under orders from their off-screen leader, military strategist Edison Po (Cullen Douglas) and Centipede recruiter Raina (Ruth Negga) attempt to break Coulson’s mind in order to discover how it was that he was able to come back from the dead. Meanwhile, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team are scrambling to find Coulson with the assistance of their superior, Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows, reprising her role from an earlier episode). When Skye (Chloe Bennet) is deemed to be a security risk, she is forbidden from assisting in the hunt for Coulson and so ventures out on her own in the hopes of rescuing him. Both Skye and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ultimately converge on a 50s-era nuclear testing site (complete with mock buildings and mannequins) where they must survive attacks by Centipede-modified superhumans in order to rescue Coulson.

For every great idea that this episode introduces, it squanders several others. Interesting implications are made about the relationship between Skye and May (Ming-Na Wen); their interactions with each other remain problematic and prickly, yet when separated from each other, both women demonstrate their admiration for each other. This fascinating mother/daughter dynamic could have been the basis for an episode in and of itself. Instead it is mostly utilised as an excuse for Chloe Bennet to dress up as a “sexy badass” agent. In the episode’s first half, it appears that the writers are intending to present a darker side of Fitz (Ian De Caestecker); the usually squeamish Fitz freely talks about harming innocent people if it means getting Coulson back. However, this plot point is not really resolved or even properly addressed. It feels as if the writers of the episode became bored with the concept and dropped it. A smuggler of alien technology (technology left over from the events of The Avengers) is briefly introduced, only to disappear from the plot as soon as he’s provided the team with the info they required. This character (played by Aiden Turner) could have been a great recurring villain; a slimy opportunist who is profiting from the bizarre events of the show’s cinematic counterparts. However, it seems unlikely that this character will reappear. One could easily believe that the show’s creators had several partially-completed script ideas and that they chose to mesh them all together in order to pass the time until the dramatic reveal at the end.

Said dramatic reveal is the greatest missed opportunity of all; Coulson’s resurrection. For months, episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have dropped subtle hints that the official version of Coulson’s return from the dead, that he was successfully resuscitated and that he then recuperated in Tahiti, was a lie. The episode’s title, The Magical Place, refers to the recurring line Coulson has said in each episode when his time in Tahiti is addressed— “It’s a magical place!”

It was clear to any viewer paying attention that “Tahiti” was some kind of implanted false memory, created to prevent Coulson from remembering how he really returned from the dead. Genre television shows thrive on mystery (the extreme popularity of Lost was in no small part due to its emphasis on mystery; the fact that many of the show’s mysteries were not revealed in the series finale was considered a betrayal by many of the show’s fans) and one would expect the “Tahiti” revelation to be suitably shocking and rewarding; something that would alter the character dynamic in the show and would justify continuing to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Instead, the big reveal feels entirely irrelevant. Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was announced, the internet has abounded with fascinating theories about Coulson’s return from the grave. Fans have speculated everything from alien magic (something that exists in the S.H.I.E.L.D. universe) to Coulson being some kind of artificial intelligence (a robotic antagonist will be appearing in 2015’s Avengers 2). The explanation that the writers have selected is the most boring and the least sense-making; a revelation that won’t change Coulson as a character or his relationship to the other characters. The Magical Place is certainly not the worst episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but it may be the most disappointing.

Image from hollywood.com

Dating Etiquette – Getting Your Man

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about finding Mr Right. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and visit www.sloansw.com

In this day and age, dating is often referred to as romantic roulette. It is a careful balancing game of either acting demure yet approachable so that the old-fashioned man can ride in on his metaphorical white horse sweeping the girl off her feet or instead taking charge of the situation living my the philosophy of “she who dares wins” and making the moves herself.

The dating game is not easy however the best outcomes normally occur when you work through the unspoken dating etiquette rules to attract your desired object of affection’s attention.

The first thing to note is that the impulsive female can send most decent boys running scared leaving only the men who want to rack you up as a notch on their bedpost so subtlety is the name of the game; a flirtatious glance, a subtle approach and the exchange of business cards puts the ball firmly in the boy’s court to phone you. Waiting might be hard but even in this day and age calling the guy first is a big no-no.

The best way to become noticed is to choose your company carefully. Preferably downsize the group to just two or three people. Master the art of looking popular yet relaxed, catch the eye of the gentleman you wish to pursue and hold his gaze and smile sweetly. In a perfect world, the guy should approach you but in the modern world so many females approach men that they have become lazy.

If you feel able to approach him directly, strike up a natural conversation and avoid chat up lines at all costs. Keep the conversation short and sweet, make an excuse to leave and if they have not asked for your number then it is perfectly acceptable to say “I’m sorry I have to go and join my friends now. It’ll be fun to meet up some time. Would you like to swap numbers?”. If he takes your number and does not call, chalk this up to experience and move on. If however he gives you his number yet doesn’t take yours, call once leaving a message and leave the rest up to him.

If this goes swimmingly then you should by now have discussed your first date. The correct etiquette is that whoever asked for the date takes care of the booking, the venue, the time and the dress code.

More often than not the man will choose dinner and drinks so make sure you dress appropriately for the restaurant chosen. No matter how fancy the restaurant, power hair-dos and bold make-up are not the order of the day. A girl next door natural look is more appropriate and enchanting. As for dress code, go for elegant and sophisticated showing minimal skin but use textures such as silk or chiffon to bring out your best qualities. Remember to focus on the upper half of your body including accessorising as this will be on display more than the rest of you.

Being five minutes late is acceptable but any more looks pretty arrogant. On arrival, the gentleman should already be there and to lighten the mood go straight in breaking the ice with a peck on the cheek.

Once you are seated and have ordered, keep your conversation nice and fluffy. Avoid talking about marriage, children, work difficulties and the like remembering at all times that he is your date and not your therapist. A successful date will include engaging conversation on art, culture, life and hobbies. Remember men like to advertise their success as a form of status, even if you are a career woman resist the urge to reply in kind again keeping the conversation light. If the conversation feels stilted, use this time to ask the man questions that you know you have in common, do not be put off if he doesn’t return the questions just use this opportunity to give your own point-of-view to avoid the conversation becoming too one-sided.

If you are not interested in your date then going Dutch is the universal sign to keep things in the friends zone. If however you are interested in a second date, the correct etiquette is for the invited to pay the bill. During this moment set up a silent smiling eye look with a genuine thank you followed up by an additional thank you by text or e-mail the next day.

For those of you playing it cool, you should end your first date there however in this modern day and age many dates end up in the one night stand. If you like the guy, etiquette dictates that no matter how attracted you are to him you should at least hold out until the third date. However as a consenting adult if you choose to go back to his place or vice versa, do be prepared that this may be interpreted as a no strings attached encounter.

If a one night stand is what you’ve decided to do, remember that any dark alley gropery is not lady-like and also don’t force taxi drivers to endure any indiscretions. Once home remember it’s never too late to change your mind but if you don’t then reduce your expectations for a long term prospect although never say never.

After the act, it is polite to get to know your conquest under the guise of shedding a little more meaning and memorability to the encounter however if this is obviously not appropriate then steal yourself away, make your excuses, depart with a good reason and hold your head up high as you leave. If he has come back to yours, the polite thing to do is offer him breakfast however, if he declines, let him do the chasing and consider that an end to the encounter.

If however you have made it passed the third date and it is inevitable that both of you wish to take the budding relationship to the next level it is perfectly acceptable after the third date to act on your feelings. Make sure you look amazing for the date, apply some scent to your pulse points and ensure your underwear is stylish and sophisticated. In these modern times it is perfectly acceptable to pack a toothbrush, clean underwear and condoms in your handbag.

Prior to having sex, etiquette dictates that communication is paramount and this means that you should feel free enough to speak about contraception, sexual health, sexual preferences and your feelings.

Remember at all times that it is perfectly acceptable to have a change of heart but if this is not the case keep up the humour quotient and expect that any first time sexual relationship may be clumsy and/or mind-blowing, so manage your expectations.

Also ensure that if you do share your house with a flatmate that you remember that discretion is important. Having already built rapport with your potential boyfriend, any need to do a mad dash in the morning should not be present in either of you however good or bad the previous night went. It is a crucial part of the dating process to spend the first morning after together even if either of you are slightly out of your comfort zones. This can be as simple as relaxing over breakfast and the morning papers or going out to grab an early brunch. Some couples prefer to spend the whole day together however it is also acceptable to manufacture a prior engagement to give yourself some space to decide what you really want. The overall messgae here is to be good company, avoid being clingy and definitely do not overstay your welcome. It is common practice for the man to chase the next day and at all costs do not be the first to contact once you’ve left.

Obviously there are many variations of the above model but the take home message is to be easy to be with, fun to talk to, to choose when you’re ready to have sex unrelated to peer pressure and don’t chase the guy.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to send them to us through the Questions & Answers page and have at http://datingreviewer.org/victoriabrides-review/


Happy dating!

Images reproduced from visualphotos.com, blog.badoo.com, thebestsexetiquette.wordpress.com, blog.okcupid.com, fabsugar.com, collegecandy.com

Film Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug is the second instalment of the trilogy. It starts with Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellin) meeting Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) in The Prancing Pony pub in Bree. They require a burglar which leads them to Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman).

Fast forward 12 months, and they are on the run from the Orcs who have been chasing them from the first film. They find a house but the owner is a shape shifting bear! When he’s a man you have a chance of talking to him, but as Gandalf said; ‘the bear is unpredictable.’ Telling me!

The group win the man over and he gives them ponies to speed them on their way. But they have to let them go in order to go through Mirkwood. Gandalf leaves the group when he begins to suspect the evil spirit called ‘The Necromancer’ might be something even deadlier.

A big fight with spiders living in the wood makes Bilbo loose his ring. The one ring that he got from Gollum, that can make the wearer invisible but its evil consumes you. However it’s slower on Hobbits. Bilbo’s struggle is nicely captured as he fights the ring but cannot bear to part with it at the same time.

Elves appear, enter Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) . They battle the spiders. Kili (Aidan Turner) the dwarf fancies Tauriel. But the Elves capture the Dwarves, as Dwarves and Elves are enemies. It’s up to Bilbo to rescue them from prison and soon they are fighting for survival on a raging river!

The Orcs have made an alliance with the Necromancer. This can only spell doom for our band of heroes.

From the CGI, and you do get to see Smuag the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), to the character driven plots. This film has everything. Gandalf and some of the dwarves bring humour. There’s plenty of action, the raging river scene is one of the best.
There’s also a hint of romance between Kili and Tauriel.

There’s an epic battle between Gandalf and the Necromancer which is just eye popping. There is a deadly secret that Gandalf uncovers but will he live to tell the tale?

Sir Ian McKellen is superb as Gandalf. I absolutely love him. I prefer his Gandalf to Harry Potter’s Dumbledore.

I did not notice the time and this is like all the other Lord of the Rings films near three hours long. But the time is justified. I feel things aren’t left out due to time constraints. And it makes the film so much better for it. A polished affair with Peter Jackson still ruling as director.

As a prequel, you get to see how things lead up to Lord of the Rings. Everything is covered and it enhances the whole movie. A well deserved 10/10 from me. I can’t wait for part three!
Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from StreamingTrailer.

Film Review: Dom Hemingway

Dom Hemingway
Dom Hemingway stars Jude Law and is surprisingly better than it looks. There’s not many films that rely on a central role, it usually happens mostly in superhero films. But Jude Law is charismatic enough to keep the interest.

He plays the title character, Dom is a man incarcerated for keeping quiet. Now released he wants to collect what he thinks he’s owed. Jude pulls out all the stops to portray a brutal but charming rogue. Some actors are really lucky to do any role, some actors have the talent to carry a poor script – Jude Law has both.

The plot is very loose, it’s just a run of events. Showing how the character deals with things and using whatever he can to achieve a result. Now normally with no actual ‘real’ plot most films would flounder within ten minutes. Despite the lack of a particular single goal – this ticks along nicely. I was drawn into Dom’s struggle and dilemmas. I wasn’t noticing the time or who else was in the cinema.

Richard E Grant stars as his sidekick, trying to keep order and failing miserably! The swearing was excessive but it’s a movie about gangsters and violence – they aren’t going to Granny Mae’s tea party – so bear that in mind.

Dom is a very angry fellow after being locked away for twelve years so he’s not going to say , “Dear old chap, I do declare my feelings of hostility towards you are most founded!”

With his wife dead and daughter leaving him, he’s boiling and ready to unleash on anyone who gets in his way!

I have developed a respect for this actor, he did such a good job with an average script. Perhaps with a deeper dialogue and exploration of relationships might’ve made this a better movie, certainly more of a classic, than gung-ho.

Still it did the job and I’m awarding 7/10 for this. It’s a vehicle for Jude Law. Those who don’t like him might have trouble though.

Image reproduced from richard-e-grant.com
Trailer reproduced from joblomovienetwork.

Wine of The Month – December 2013

With Christmas and the end of the year hoving into view, it’s time to think about celebratory wines.

With that in mind, we have fizz (and plenty of it) in the form of a couple of guest wines. WineTrust 100 make a welcome return, and we have the wines of local resident Eugene Lismonde who set up a vineyard in South West France near his wife’s childhood home.

To start – fizz

Taltarni Tache 2010 (£18, WineTrust 100) from cool-climate regions of Australia, a very classical, elegant and composed Champagne-style fizz – pale salmon pink, restrained yeasty-citrus nose; ripe white pear and white peach with redcurrant. Assertive, well-structured, linear acidity and leesiness. Savoury persistence on the finish

Really poised and precise, it is drinking nicely now, but will repay a few years’ cellaring.

Tour de Belfort Crémant de Bordeaux Brut (£12.50, Tour de Belfort) Bordelais grapes, but Champenois method; elegant, crisp and refreshing and as good as many an entry-level Champagne.

The main event – Christmas Dinner

Henri Clos Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 (£24.99, Joseph Barnes Wines) Combining New Zealand freshness and precision with classical European elegance – ripe, pure red fruits, elegance and a lick of oak. This is really lovely and worth every penny.

Domaine de Vedilhan Serica Viognier (£10.49, Bacchanalia) a Languedoc Viognier that sees a bit of time in oak; stone fruits and creaminess that will match well with roast turkey.

Go on then, just one more mince pie

Stanton & Killeen Rutherglen Muscat (£13.49 per half bottle, Noel Young Wines) solera-method Aussie sticky, this is a dark orangey-mahogany colour and very syrupy. Very full on so won’t be phased by mince pies and Christmas pudding. Serve lightly chilled to emphasis the freshness.

Henriques & Henriques Bual Madeira 10yo (£18.99 per 50cl bottle, Cambridge Wine Merchants) delicious raisins, mixed fruit, roasted nuts and sweet spices – but with a refreshing acidity, a sort of Christmas pudding in a glass

Goes best on Christmas Day after you’ve stuffed yourself with turkey and sprouts, had your Christmas pudding and you can’t face another mince pie; sip whilst staring contentedly into the fire – or watching the Dr Who Christmas Special as the Daleks try and conquer the universe again


Cambridge Wine Merchants – website

Joseph Barnes Wines – website

Noel Young Wines – website

Tour de Belfort – website, twitter

Wine Trust 100 – website, twitter

Main image credit: http://www.mrwallpaper.com/wallpapers/Winter-Snowman.jpg

The Bitch and The Brainiac: Celebrity Big Brother 2014

We’ve discovered a new cartoon series on YouTube called The Bitch and The Brainiac.

This witty ascerbic analysis of hot topics and celebrity news launched the pilot episode with the two characters discussing Celebrity Big Brother 2014.

The Bitch is an sharp tongued Guy About Town who says it as he sees it with hilarious commentary about this year’s CBB contestants and their fame-hungry antics.

The Brainiac is an classy psychologist who analyses the celebrities behaviour to deliver expert interpretation and predictions of how the game playing will turn out.

We don’t know who is behind these two unique new social commentators but we can’t wait for the next episode of this hilarious yet thought-provoking new show.

Film Review: Seduced and Abandoned

Seduced and Abandoned 2013
Seduced and Abandoned is a different kind of film. The stars are playing themselves whist they try and secure investors for their film.

Alec Baldwin and Ryan Gosling feature. It was very interesting to see how money is raised and ideas sold. Although it is not movie magic, it was watchable. There was a large element of slapdash-ness with very little structure. I think where it struggled was the incompleteness of it.

Having big names isn’t enough. The chats of some of the actors were not enough to warrant them being included in a film. I would be inclined put them as an extra with DVD when it comes out. When Harry Met Sally did this sort of thing, they had the right mix of people with interesting stories. That warranted screen time, the ones with this film were not as fascinating.

I was very shocked by the amount of hustling that seemed to be going on. There hardly seemed to any movie making going on. It was all marketing, chats and deals. More like the world of politics. Although the amount of times this was emphasised was unnecessary. If this is really what goes on every time a film is proposed – I can only assume that’s why some dreadful entrants get made!

The amount of money needed was a lot, but then most films these days will cost a lot. Sign of the times, that movie goers want to be wowed, they won’t settle for cheap tricks or salt shakers being used as sci-fi scanning devices! It was sad that if they can’t get the backing, the films don’t get made. It made me wonder what great films were devised but never saw the light of day because no one would pay for it.

A lot of the film’s good points are down to the chemistry between Baldwin and James Toback trying to secure the funds for their vision. I won’t say what! But these two had a good banter and charm to make me want to see how it went and turned out.

Plus the whole idea is refreshing; a movie about movie making! It makes a change of the usual action/monster film assaulting our cinemas. I just think a lot of people will struggle to stay with the film all the way through. The best films have a great plot, from start to finish – like Lord of the Rings.

I will award 6/10 as there was many good bits but just more cohesion and action needed and less narrating.

Image reproduced from impawards.com
Trailer reproduced from Soda Pictures.

Movie Preview: 12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave12 Years a Slave” is a powerful, sobering retelling of the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup, a New York free born negro who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery given a slave name and whipped and beaten and made to toil in the cotton and sugar cane fields of Louisiana.

For 12 long years Solomon worked on plantations in Louisiana before his release. Chiwetel Ejiofor gives one of his absolute best performances as Solomon Northup. Solomon is shipped to New Orleans, Louisiana where he is given the name Platt. He’s beaten to force him to conceal his true identity. Platt is initially sold to plantation owner William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is a relatively kind master.

He helps Ford engineer a waterway for transporting logs swiftly downstream. After a racist carpenter resents and tries to kill Platt he is sold away for his protection to Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Epps is a cruel master. Solomon spends the rest of his slavery under Epps cruel ownership. Whippings and threats become commonplace. While working on a building on the plantation Solomon meets a Canadian laborer by the name of Bass (Brad Pitt). Bass expresses his displeasure in the ownership of another human being. This convinces Northup to confide in Bass. Northup asks Bass to get a letter to his friends. He is freed thereafter.

The movie is driven by excellent acting. Fassbender is the essence of evil. The scenes of slavery are violent and emotional but you can’t turn away.

Image reproduced from Wikipedia.org

Film Review: Thor – Dark World

Thor - Dark World
Thor – Dark World is the next Marvel sequel to be made and what an adventure it is! There’s many a familiar face with the return of Thor, Jane, Loki (yes him again!), Odin, Frigga and Dr Eric Selvig to name but a few. New characters are to be found with the new enemies.

Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) has another battle on his hands, a foe thought destroyed a long time ago, has survived – escaping destruction by suspended animation. Now he’s been awoken and wants to destroy the universe.

For the eighth film in the Avengers series, the continuing story is surprisingly fresh and gripping. Thor’s human love interest Dr Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has something called the Aether placed inside her. To protect her Thor brings her to Asgard. Now his father goes up the wall. A human in Asgard???

But dark forces gather to get her and this makes Thor consider help from his half brother Loki. Whose on trial for starting a war on Earth (Avengers Assemble movie 2012). Also getting a bigger role is the gate keeper Heimdall, who guards the bridge and those leaving/arriving to Asgard.

The visual effects are splendid and there’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. The chemistry not only between Hemsworth and Portman, but the entire cast resonates. Making you believe in the complicated relationships and why Thor would even think about asking Loki, let alone actually do it! That’s why it’s believable.

The script is dazzling as the CGI. Asgard is a picturesque city to live in. Jane is the one not sure how to act, being in Asgard. This was clever, as in the first Thor had to learn human ways.

My only concern with this franchise is how will they keep the interest going? The next Avengers Assemble is out in 2015, I believe. It will be very interesting in how we’ll still be looking forward to Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Capt. America in a couple of years time.

But for now, myself included, they revel in glory. It was a splendid ride. So this is why I’m awarding 9/10. Just one off as I don’t like Loki. (He’s no JR Ewing.)

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from Marvel Entertainment.

Can Hypnosis Help Me?

London Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about hypnosis. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Thank you very much for your question. We often get asked if hypnosis can deal with this type of health issue so I thought it best to clarify what hypnosis can help with, what life coaching can help with, and when it’s time to seek a different therapist.

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that allows you to understand how the subconscious or unconscious communicates with your conscious mind and how it does most things for your protection – although its idea of protection is sometimes very different to what you actually need.

The types of things that hypnosis works well with are things like:- Weight Loss, Stop Smoking, Fears and Phobias, Eating Disorders, Stress, IBS, Interview Nerves, Exam Nerves, Addictions, Self Confidence & Self Esteem, and Infertility to name just a few.

On the other hand, life coaching deals with the conscious mind taking you into a new chapter of your life and leaving the old one behind. It is very good for letting go of ex-boyfriends, work colleagues you no longer get on with, and painful memories that belong in the past.

At its best, life coaching can help you achieve a life you both desire and deserve whilst all the time breaking things down into manageable, easy to complete tasks. A good life coach can explain your personality type, work on your intrinsic drives and create coping strategies incorporating all their tried and tested techniques to help you attain each and every one of your goals.

In relation to your question about whether hypnosis is clinically effective, I would highlight a quote from the Royal Society of Medicine which states:

“A wealth of scientific evidence has emerged in the last decade relating to the scientific basis of mind and body interactions. This has allowed for a neurologically plausible model of hypnosis to be developed which aids our understanding of the role of hypnosis in health and enhances the clinically effectiveness of hypnosis.”

It is excellent that we have seen hypnotherapy be recognised by a body of such standing as the Royal Society of Medicine and hypnosis can be useful for a lot of your complaints apart from your muscle complaint of Repetitive Strain Injury.

I would like to highlight here that Bowen Technique therapists across the country are now conducting a study into treatment of this particular type of injury. If you are interested in being treated by a Bowen Technique therapist, log on to www.bowen-therapy.com and you will be able to find a practitioner taking part in the study near you.

As for the other conditions you mentioned, it would be really useful for you to see either a hypnotherapist particularly trained in clinical hypnosis and/or a life coach.

Unfortunately until hypnotherapists are more widely recognised, which hopefully will come very soon after the Royal Society of Medicine’s acknowledgement, we are not able to offer any treatment on the NHS. You can get referrals from some NHS doctors but you do not need them. Saying this, a note from your doctor is very useful if dealing with a clinical hypnotherapist.

I am sorry that I can’t see all clients unless they are located in London or Cambridge but I will e-mail you personally to give you details of other therapists in your area.

For anyone else wanting to try hypnosis or life coaching, more information can be found at www.baileybradmore.com.

Image reproduced from spiritcharmers.co.uk

Life Coach London Sloan Sheridan-Williams – Podcasts

Life Coach London born Sloan Sheridan-Williams is offering free advice through her podcast Get In The Zone With Sloan making coaching accessible to as many people as possible. Often quoted in the press Sloan is a talented life coach London based (but see clients all over the world) who brings the best out of her clients.

Some of her podcasts have been transcribed into videos of the Life Coach London. To see videos from a top Life Coach London born Sloan, go to her YouTube Channel Sloan Life Coach London or see a sample of her life coaching videos below.


Life Coach London Sloan Sheridan-Williams



Sloan Sheridan-Williams: A Top Life Coach that gets results.

Sloan is currently known for her work as one of the leading “diagnostitians in the complementary therapy world” She is known for having the fastest results in the shortest time. Life Coach London Sloan often tackles problems that have yet to be solved by others. The top life coach London Sloan achieves this by bringing together a wealth of experience from over a decade of practice. Sloan is unique in the fact that she has trained in so many different areas using their diversity to fix problems that a single qualified practitioner may not be able to address.

Sloan was originally known in her capacity as an experienced therapist and life coach London based.

Call today to find out more and book your first session. Life Coach London Sloan is for you


  • You feel at cross roads
  • You’re not sure about which path to take.
  • Your life feels as if you are caged you in.
  • You want the control back in your life
  • You feel you make the wrong choices.
  • You want to stop people pleasing.
  • You procrastinate
  • You need to manage your time
  • You feel you have gone off course.
  • You want that promotion at work
  • You don’t know how to achieve your goals
  • You are in a bad relationship
  • You want to become your ideal weight

Life coach London Sloan might not be able to whisk you away to Hawaii in your lunch break, but she does make you feel as relaxed & rejuvenated as if you had.

London Life Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams – YouTube

London Life Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams is offering free advice through her videos making coaching accessible to as many people as possible. Often quoted in the press Sloan is a talented London life coach who brings the best out of her clients.

To see more videos from London Life Coach Sloan, go to her YouTube Channel Sloan London Life Coach or see a sample of her London life coach videos below.



Sloan Sheridan-Williams: A Top Life Coach that gets results.

London life coach Sloan is currently known for her work as one of the leading “diagnostitians in the complementary therapy world” She is known for having the fastest results in the shortest time. London life coach Sloan often tackles problems that have yet to be solved by others. One of the top London life coach Sloan achieves this by bringing together a wealth of experience from over a decade of practice. Sloan is unique in the fact that she has trained in so many different areas using their diversity to fix problems that a single qualified London life coach may not be able to address.

London Life Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams

London life coach Sloan was originally known in her capacity as an experienced therapist and London life coach for over a decade.

Call today to find out more and book your first session with top yet affordable London life coach.

London life coach Sloan is for you


  • You feel at cross roads
  • You’re not sure about which path to take.
  • Your life feels as if you are caged you in.
  • You want the control back in your life
  • You feel you make the wrong choices.
  • You want to stop people pleasing.
  • You procrastinate
  • You need to manage your time
  • You feel you have gone off course.
  • You want that promotion at work
  • You don’t know how to achieve your goals
  • You are in a bad relationship
  • You want to become your ideal weight

London life coach Sloan might not be able to whisk you away to Hawaii in your lunch break, but she does make you feel as relaxed & rejuvenated as if you had.