Saturday, March 29, 2008

Congratulations to young Palace starlet Lee Hills

Name: Lee Hills
Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 03/04/1990
Height: 5' 10" (179cm)
Weight: 11st 11lbs (75.0kg)
Clubs: Oldham (loan), Colchester (loan)
Position: Defender

Lee Hills
Wickes Young Apprentice of the Year Award 2008 - 3rd Place

The energetic left back made his full debut for Palace, aged 17, against Watford in October 2007.

Lee was educated at Whitgift School in South Croydon and joined the Wimbledon academy at the age of nine.

Five years later he left for Arsenal but the move didn't work out, paving the way for him to join Palace.

Lee gets up and down the pitch well to support the attack and can also play at centre back. His defending has also improved since his arrival at the club and he is one of the fittest players in the squad.

His first team value was underlined on January 8 2008 when he signed his first professional contract for a period of two-and-a-half years.

Hills scored his first professional goal as a left winger at Bristol City the following month and came third in the Wickes Young Apprentice of the Year Award 2008, earning the academy £2,000 in the process.

Friday, March 21, 2008

London BAR King - 'Apartment 195'

The King's Road is not an area I venture to very often, so when a pal of mine who had recently moved to the swish SW3 area of town asked me if I'd like to go there for 'house-warming drinks,' I was understandably more than happy to oblige.

But as the new pad was in the midst of some serious re-decoration, and was for want of a better word (and not mine) - a tip, I immediately had visions of an evening sitting on bare floors, supping from tins of Stella sporadically washed down with cashew nuts and black olives, whilst circumnavigating an assortment of building rigging.

I was therefore refreshingly pleased and relieved when asked to join for refreshments at 'Apartment 195.'

I was reliably told that it was the best bar in the area, and by all accounts is the place to be seen, until someone comes up with something even more daringly extravagant.

So I left work in The City on a 'school night' and headed for the heart of Chelsea.

Set on the first floor of a listed building overlooking King's Road, on arrival at 'Apartment 195' you need to press a buzzer to gain admittance, access is through a discreet entrance thus giving the impression that you are entering an elite members-only bar, but without the doorlist and the attitude.
In fact the welcome could be best described as extremely pleasant and accommodating.

The staff were friendly, not snooty and the other customers had come to relax and chat, not eye up what everyone else is wearing.
The lounge music was audible but not in a way as to interfere with your conversation.

Inside 'Apartment 195' is an upmarket cocktail and wine bar.
The main room features an open fireplace, huge Victorian bay windows and high ceilings, offset by the centrepiece - a six metre polished copper bar.

The walls are dark purple and adorned with contemporary art, and the chocolate brown leather settees and slate tables makes the setting more akin to a classy drawing room than a bar.

It is designed to look like a smoking salon in a gentleman's club, not that there was a smoking jacket or Cuban Havana in sight, not nowadays anyhow!

There are three rooms that are connected via different corridors and stairways making it feel all quite exciting and mysterious.

/The Lounge - the main room is big, comfortable and stylish with subdued lighting, which can accommodate in the region of 100 people.

/The Salon - overlooking Chelsea's most famous beer garden, is smaller and more intimate than the lounge. Elegant leather sofas are coupled with antique furniture and accommodates up to 25 people.

/The TV Room - is the ultimate chill out room. The great thing about the tv room is that it is off the main lounge, so it's there if you want it, but not in your face like so many big screen places.
Two retro style sofas arranged around a big screen, make this the ideal room for a 'night in'. A cosy area for up to 8 people.

There is a fantastic cocktail list, classic to contemporary or even alcohol free - all shaken up by attractive bar staff, great champagne, a large selection of fine wines, premium spirits and bottled beers.

The drinking is all about the cocktails. There are some 40 or so to choose from.
There is also a London-themed cocktail list which pays tribute to London's history and it's popular landmark's with such gems as Big Ben, The Changing Of The Guard, The London Eye and Speaker's Corner.
I kicked off the evening with a Lapin Kulta bottled beer and followed it up with a couple of cocktails including a classic Mojito and an 'Apartment 195' favourite, a Chinese Mule, a lime infused sake mixed with vodka, coriander, ginger and topped with ginger beer. Sublime!

Eating does not play a lead role but they do offer a delightful selection of canapes, such as Oriental Duck Pancakes, Serrano Ham Wrapped Figs, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagels and Chilli Crab Cakes, if your booking a private function.

Available to hire, 'Apartment 195' makes for a cracking venue in which to host any day event, meeting or private party.

My Thoughts:

Cocktails to-die-for.
Relaxed almost seductive atmosphere, stylish milieu.
Great for an after work tipple or an informal party.
Frequented by a predominantly classy professional crowd.
Acceptably priced for the area.
Excellent service, with an attractive all-female staff behind the bar - need I go on!

Once you have experienced 'Apartment 195' for the first time you WILL be back!

Cocktails: from £7 each.
Wine: from £15 per bottle (£5 a glass).
Champagne: from £37 per bottle (£7.50 a glass).

'Apartment 195' is located on: 195-197 Kings Road, Chelsea,
London SW3 5ED.
Nearest tube: Sloane Square or South Kensington.
Opening Times: Mon to Sat: 4pm-11pm, Sun: 4pm-10.30pm
Dress: Smart casual, (leave the trainers at home)
Tel no: 020 7351 5195
Available to hire for private parties.
Credit cards: Amex, Mastercard, Visa.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Drop Dead Gorgeous Brazilian WAG - with a C.P.F.C connection!

Now on the face of it, one would not normally associate the words 'International Fashion Model' and 'wife of a former Crystal Palace journeyman' in the same sentence.
And, when the footballer in question was candidly speaking, an inept, bungling, ham-fisted waste of space, you have to ask yourself how on earth did someone as monumentally rubbish as Nicola Ventola cop off with someone as gorgeous as Kartika Luyet.

Ventola, as Palace fans will remember was signed on a season-long loan from Italian giants Inter in August 2004, but had his season wrecked by injury.
As a result he made only three appearances, all from the bench. His solitary goal for the London Club - against Southampton on 7th May 2005, in the penultimate game of the season - would have kept the Eagles in the Premier League if they had not conceded a last minute equalizer.
And that was the end of Nicola Ventola's foray into English football, with his then manager Iain Dowie dispatching him back from whence he came - namely Italy, where he joined Atalanta for two seasons before moving on to his current club Torino in 2007.

It could be argued that had Ventola's goal kept Palace up, his name might have been etched in CPFC history for ever! However it didn't, there was to be no happy ending and so it is now simply inconsequential.

Kartika Luyet was born in Rio, Brazil to Malaysian and Swiss parents. She moved to Europe at 16, spent five years in France before moving to Italy, where she became something of a star by featuring in advertising campaigns for Fiat and appearing regularly on television.

Along with fellow Brazilian 'stunnas' Adriana Lima and Gisele Bundchen, she soon became a regular feature of the Italian celebrity circuit.

At the time the buck-toothed Brazilian superstar Ronaldo, well renowned for scoring as often on the pitch as off it, fancied a piece of the action with fellow Brazilian 'hotty' Kartika - but Ronaldo made a big mistake when invited to a fancy bash being laid on by Armarni in Milan.

He in turn invited along a young Italian under-21 teammate - one Nicola Ventola and as they say in Hollywood.........'The Rest is History.'

Saturday, March 01, 2008