Lockdown Likes

Since lockdown started the internet has been flooded with recommendations for films, TV shows, music and podcasts to help you while away the hours. In attempt to join the masses here are mine…….

Film

The Invisible Man -this film was slated by some people so we were put off watching it at first. However, we actually really enjoyed it. A women leaves her abusive partner and he then takes his own life. As she builds her future she starts to experience strange occurrences leading her to believe he may not actually be dead……

1917 – a spectacular film about two soldiers sent on a mission to deliver a message which will stop men walking into a massacre. Beautifully shot and extremely brutal in places it illustrates the horrors of trench life in the Great War.

Contagion – Greg chose to watch this on my birthday! It was spookily accurate considering the current situation, a bit too close to home at times showing how easy it is for a pandemic to take hold.

Sorry We Missed You – if you liked ‘I, Daniel Blake’ this film (also by Ken Loach)  is very powerful. It tells the story of a hard working family trying to make ends meet and illustrates the stress this puts on them all. Tough going at times but chillingly realistic.

JoJo Rabbit – I absolutely loved this comedy but I know not everyone did! A young boy growing up in Nazi Germany discovers a Jewish girl being hidden in his home. As a devoted follower of Hitler JoJo is torn – should he tell the party or try to help her putting himself and his family at risk?

TV

This Is Us – I have lost whole weekends binge watching this and I have zero regrets. Following the life of Jack and Rebecca as they adopt 3 babies it flicks backwards and forwards through their lives. It isn’t overly sentimental which I love, it is funny and heartbreaking and totally addictive, I really can’t recommend it enough.

The Great – absolutely not suitable for kids this TV show is very loosely based on Catherine the Great. It is filthy, hilarious and disturbing. Put it this way; I will never cut the top off a lemon and not think of her.

Gangs of London -incredibly violent ( the opening scene shows someone hanging off a building and being set on fire) this 10 parter tells the story of the struggle for power amongst different gangs in London and will make your life feel terribly mundane.

Upload I rarely like anything even vaguely sci – fi but this was pretty good.  Based on the idea that when you die you can be ‘uploaded’ to another dimension and still stay in touch with those left on earth. Funny, quirky but with some pretty big questions about technology and mortality it is a bit like Black Mirror.

Afterlife II – Ricky can do no wrong in this series. A follow on from series one Tony continues to come to terms with life after the death of his wife. One minute you will think he is an absolute dick but then you’ll cry your eyes out when you realise how much he is still hurting.

Little Fires Everywhere  – I haven’t read the book so I can’t do a comparison but I enjoyed the TV show. Following the lives of two women and their families it deals with issues such as racism, adoption, women’s rights, identity and how people struggle to fit into society.

Unorthodox – a four parter following a young Jewish women from an ultra orthodox community in the US who flees her arranged marriage to start a new life in Berlin. It has Berlin in it, of course I am going to love it!

Music ( by Greg)

The Clash – London Calling – A band I haven’t really listened to before so it has been great getting into this album. My favourite song is ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’

Chris Cornell – The Best of Chris Cornell – Great to see this artists tunes all in one album. Listen to ‘Loud Love’ loud.

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac – A classic album that I am revisiting. ‘Go Your Own Way’ is such a great tune.

Why Me, Why Now – Liam Gallagher – A great second solo album by Liam featuring my favourite song ‘Once’.

Tears Roll Down – Tears for Fears – Some 80’s pop nostalgia including ‘Head Over Heels’ from the awesome Donnie Darko.

Podcast

Making The Cut – Davina McCall and Michael Douglas (not that one) chatting about everything and anything. I love listening to them both reviewing such a huge variety of things and getting very distracted along the way!

Chasing Cosby – I never really knew much about this case but the evidence put forward in the trail against Bill Crosby, and discussed on this show, is utterly shocking.

My Dad Wrote A Porno  – absolutely one to listen to with your headphones in. Follow Belinda as she works her way through the world of Steels Pots and Pans. Honestly, if you want a laugh this is for you.  

True Spies – I have just started listening to this and I am enjoying it so far. Using interviews from real life agents and their cases it makes me think how bizarre peoples lives are.

Casefile – still my absolute number 1 podcast. Well researched and presented they cover a huge range of crimes across different time periods and countries. If you like true crime you’ll love this.

If you’ve watched / listened to some of these recommendations I’d love to know what you thought. Plus, anything you think I’d enjoy please send me a message!

Keep safe, look after yourselves and each other 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting our brunch strategy back: The Four Seasons, Shenzhen

When we lived in Doha we brunched a lot, on reflection maybe we brunched too much if that’s possible! In Cairo we didn’t brunch at all, yes we had lunch out on a Friday usually at our favourite  place but it wasn’t ‘brunch’. We’ve now been in Shenzhen for 3 months and things are finally settling down so we decided it was time to check out the brunch offerings near where we live in Futian. 

Shuiwei, Futian

My initial search for a weekend brunch was pretty disappointing, I messaged a few hotels and they didn’t get back to me. This is something I find really bizarre, hotels promoting their restaurants but not responding to inquiries. Anyway, as I was just about to give up, the Four Seasons shared some of their restaurant details online and responded to my brunch inquiry within just a couple of minutes. Top job FS Shenzhen! They advised me to buy brunch via We Chat as it would give me a pretty significant discount paying 498RMB per person (for those of you who like a price comparison that’s about 254QR/56GBP so slightly less than the prices we used to pay in the Middle East). Saturday arrived and so did the eternal brunch question – breakfast or no breakfast? We opted for no breakfast which was a wise decision. After a quick selfie we Didi’d to the Four Seasons and headed upstairs to Foo Restaurant.

Our apartment complex in Shuiwei

It definitely had the ‘Four Seasons feel’. From the décor in muted browns, grey and cream, the lovely art work and flowers to the smiley, welcoming staff. I had requested a quiet table and we were given a recessed booth which was perfect.

Four Season Shenzhen Foo Restaurant

The staff pointed out the various food sections – seafood, a live noodle station, outside BBQ, sushi and sashimi, eastern and western dishes, the dessert section and an icecream stand. We placed our drinks order and immediately headed for the seafood.

There was an array of lobster, crab, mussles, and prawns complimented by a selection of salads.

Seafood Four Seasons Shenzhen
Saturday brunch, Four Seasons Shenzhen

After about 30 minutes of trying to get as much meat as I could out of 1 crab leg Greg commented that I had lost my brunch strategy; I was out of practice and he was right. The lunchtime sitting is 2hr 30min, I hadn’t maximized my eating potential. Sticking with seafood we headed to the sushi and sashimi kitchen. The selection was fairly small but wow, it was such good quality, especially the salmon sashimi. Greg loved the octopus but I wasn’t convinced. I had an unfortunate incident with an octopus in Spain which has kind of put me off them. 

Sushi, Four Seasons Shenzhen
Seafood plate, Four Seasons Shenzhen
Sashimi, Four Seasons Shenzhen

Greg then decided to try the live noodle station – this is where I think his brunch strategy went wrong. In my opinion we can get noodles anywhere in Futian and I make them at home all the time, plus they are really filling. They were tasty and the serving was huge but he also agreed that it was too early to be carbing up.

Noodle station, Four Seasons Shenzhen

Meanwhile I was busy tucking into fresh oysters which had been brought over to our table. Luckily for me Greg isn’t a big oyster fan so I got the serving to myself. With a lovely glass of white wine we were definitely enjoying this brunch. 

Oyster platter, Four Seasons Shenzhen
Oysters- yay or nay?

Half way through the noodle eating a trolley with different cuts of beef arrived! I am not sure what we tried as our Mandarin isn’t that great yet but it was so tender and juicy with a lovely tangy BBQ sauce. Greg asked her to come back so he could have seconds but we never saw her again much to his disappointment!

Carvery trolley, Four Seasons Shenzhen

By now we were getting full and had to be more selective in our food choices. I had eyed up a delicious looking mediterranen mackerel dish and Greg fancied the BBQ. The mackerel tasted every bit as good as it looked. 

Mackerel, Saturday brunch

The BBQ outside offered meat, fish and vegetables cooked over Jack Daniels infused chips. Cooked to order Greg chose a rack of lamb ribs, the fat had been rendered down until it was crispy and the lamb was a little pink with a hint of JD smokiness. 

BBQ, Four Seasons Shenzhen

 With our attention turning to dessert (mainly for research purposes you understand) we were given a complimentary red velvet cake which is one of the hotels signature dishes. I pretty much demolished that while Greg tried out the macrons and eclairs. By now we were absolutely full and a bit tipsy. 

Red velvet, Four Seasons Shenzhen
Dessert selection, Four Seasons Shenzhen

The Four Seasons was a great introduction to brunch in China and I am looking forward to trying out other places so I can make some comparisons and get my brunch strategy back. For me it was exactly the standard and quality I have come to love and expect from the Four Seasons brand both in terms of the quality of the food, abience and service. No, it didn’t have the traditional Middle East Friday brunch buzz, there were no fishbowls or peg games, it is more relaxed and refined than many brunches I have been to but that’s fine with me. 

Doha brunches

What to expect: For Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch Foo restaurant offers a buffet priced 588 + 15% service charge and is inclusive of free flow house wines, Prosecco, beer, juices, coffee and teas. Children aged 5 and below eat free and 6-12yrs receive a 50% discount. There is a seperate children’s area where they have their own buffet and entertainment including a clown! The dress code is smart casual and you can expect friendly, efficient service and an array of top quality dishes.