Thursday, January 5, 2012

Little Clicks for Big Prizes with Railcard

To celebrate the launch of their new Facebook page, Railcard are giving people the chance to win a year’s entry to the UK’s top family attractions – including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, and Sea Life – with their Little Clicks for Big Prizes competition. All you have to do to enter is upload a photo that has been taken by your child and then turn it into a postcard using their postcard generator. Just visit the facebook page and create your own unique postcard for your chance to win a Merlin Annual Pass for a family of four. They are also giving away Railcard gift cards, worth £26 each, for their twenty favourite runners up.
To let Brew Drinking Thinkings know about the competition, Railcard sent us five postcards through the post – each one suggesting a different family friendly destination that they thought Brew Drinking Thinkings would like to visit. Once all five postcards had arrived, Railcard requested that we tell them which our destination of choice was. Once the destination has been chosen, Railcard will send us a family return rail ticket and a child-friendly LEGO camera so that we can visit the destination and enter a postcard into the competition.

Be snappy with your entries though, as the competition closes on Monday 9th January 2012.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rick Stein & The Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting my second home town (during university) Birmingham, host to the BBC Good Food Show Winter. Where the highlight for me was seeing the almighty Rick Stein cook up a storm in the Sainsbury's Super theatre, for demonstration. 

The show was a jam packed day in the large arena at the NEC Birmingham, bustling with shoppers, foodie gourmands and inquisitive cooks. In addition a host of chefs graced the arena, on Wednesday the likes of Stacie Stewart, James Martin, Tom Kerridge, Nathan Outlaw, Monica Galleti and Masterchef Winner Tim Anderson shared their tips and cooking demonstrations.

In the afternoon I had booked to see well known chef Rick Stein, with recipes inspired from his Spain book. Everyone was seated in the theatre (I lucky enough had a second row seat) and get a full view as he was introduced onto stage by Olly Smith, Sommelier and host. 

Rick surprisingly was a slightly nervous cook in front of the audience however he revels in live demos because not only can he 'explain the subtleties of the particular dishes but can also communicate knowledge of raw materials, cooking tips and philosophy of good simple cooking'. 

He mastered in creating some beautiful dishes at the demo, inspired from his love of seafood and as he exclaimed " not using second hand ingredients, preferring to use fresh, really makes that difference". Being in great praise of his cookery school in Padstow, Cornwall an idyllic location to get quality produce and ingredients. 

In awe of his audience he cumbered up a deep dish of Clams with Serrano ham and Oloroso sherry - Almejas Al Jerez and a Chicken in a mildly spiced saffron, pine nut and almond sauce. Simple enough and perfectly keeping the main ingredient of the clams speak to for themselves and the spices of the saffron with almonds and pine nut sauce to infuse together. Two great festive dishes to try over Christmas.

Rick exclaimed, "If you’re cooking for more than four people avoid any cooking that requires pan work i.e. frying or sauteing much better to choose, say, the poaching or roasting of a whole fish or cooking fillets in the oven. You don't want to be cooking in relays!" Some advice I will definitely be taking. 

Rick will be in Australia for Christmas this year, enjoying a seafood platter of "Queensland prawns, barbecued snapper and will probably also fit in a spanner crab" .. It's ok for some! 

With so many suppliers and artisans of fresh Brit produce, ranging from quality home born and bred meats, homemade chutneys, jams, fruit and vegetables under one roof no wonder it took me over two hours to circle the room once. 

With the likes of the Cornish Cheese Co, from Cornwall bringing their “World Cheese Award Supreme Champion” blue cheese, Cotswold Gold, rapeseed oil, from Worcestershire, Woodhouse Farm Leicestershire Meat, Belvoir Fruit Farm Lincolnshire fruity cordials, Napton Water Buffalo from Warwickshire brilliant buffalo burgers, Snowdonia Cheese Co, where I purchased their Amber Mist (cheese laced with whiskey) and The Garlic Farm from the Isle of Wight bringing their range of garlic products. 

Some others included deep flavoured smoked kippers and smokehouse products with all things smoked on display, a smoky lover's heaven. Sorrel and Ginger drink, plenty of antioxidants and pungent, sharp ginger in a bottle, all things 'round' from The Little Round Cake Company, heavenly, mini cakes to satisfy those cravings. 

I did manage to do some celeb chef-spotting, realising I was standing next to an ever smiling and not known for Monica Galleti buying knives, managing to catch Eric Lanlard's baking frenzy on stage, Tim Anderson and Andy Peters taking food enthusiasts step by step through gyoza making. There were plenty of talks, demos and opportunities to try and taste produce and a heavenly environment to be in if this is what floats your boat, so to speak. 

Nabbing up some mini oatcakes from the Oatcake company (which were my loyal snacks while I was on the Candida diet) and The English Providence Sweet Tomato and Chilli chutney, perfect combination I trotted off back to London in anticipation of the Taste of Christmas Festival and many festive food markets to get into the Christmas spirit! 

By Selina Periampillai

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marc Jacobs: Dakota Fanning campaign banned in UK

It is only a mere few months since, our previous fashion writer, Nikki Lennon wrote an article for BDT on the Jack Willis' fashion scandal that was deemed too risqué for public eyes. 

Marc Jacobs is the latest designer to have their ads deemed unsuitable, as the British Advertising Standards Authority has banned UK use of the current Dakota Fanning Oh Lola! advertisements. 

It is reported that the ASA acknowledge Dokota Fanning to be 17, however it is not clear within the images that she is of the age of consent. This is conjunction with her short, sheer dress and a suggestively-placed oversized perfume bottle, has led the Agency believe that the campaign has done enough to be deemed to sexualise a child. 

Coty, the Marc Jacob's perfume manufacturer defended the campaign, according to the Guardian, by saying that the ad showed no 'private body parts or sexual activity'. In addition, the model was in no way 'inappropriately sexualised' nor was she under-age. 

It is no secret that Jacob's is a huge fan of Dakota Fanning; the child-star famously modelled his range at the young age of 12 years-old. Is this ASA decision more than it seems? Is it time for designers to stop targeting children and turning them into adults before their time?  What are your views on this particular campaign?

Dakota Fanning for Marc Jacobs Spring 2007

All I want for Christmas is... a TOPSHOP hamper!

Yes, you read that right; the high street fashion retailer, TOPSHOP's latest announcement means that it won't just be mince pies and bevvy that are making the hamper-cut this year. 

From 13 November until 24 December 2011 customer's can say 'goodbye' to Christmas shopping stress as the TOPSHOP style advisors, at selected stores, handpick items for the hampers in accordance with the buyers instruction. Customers must spend a minimum of £200, however the total cost will vary depending on the value of the hamper. But when all you have to do is pick it up, surely this is a god-send for anyone who is close to a devoted fashionista?

Following the buyer's once over, each item is individually gift-wrapped and boxed up like treasure ready for the grand opening on Christmas morning. 

Sounds like a BDT dream come true. Will this be going on your list this year? Are you lucky enough to be receiving one? We want to hear from you. Contact BDT with your TOPSHOP hamper pics and story.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Harry Potter: a final farewell

2 December 2011 is due to go down in UK film history as the day millions of fans say their final farewells to a treasured ten-year cinematic relationship. As Harry Potter enthusiasts frantically pre-order the last and final DVD release in time for Christmas, they are also preparing to sit and appreciate the characters which have been (and will continue to be) held so fondly in all of our hearts. 

It was this morning that E! Entertainment released an exclusive video of the stars' reactions to the Harry Potter completion. For those devoted fans who sat in the cinema at midnight screenings cheering, sobbing and whooping this video only brings the emotion closer to home and strengthens the rapport the producers, directors and cast have so successfully built with their audience. 

Here's to a truly magical ten years and we must remember, as Jo so warmly consoled;
'The stories we love best do live in us forever. So, whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.'

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How BDT did Halloween

The BDT ladies and their mini BDTers went crazy for Halloween this year. Take a look at how we celebrated the spooky season. We'd love to know how you celebrated too! Get it touch and share your photos and stories - who knows, we might even publish a few. 

Mini BDTers get their spook on

Mini Managing Deputy BDTer

Mini Media Manager BDTer with Mini Managing Director BDTer

Mini Travel & Culture BDTers

Big BDTers get their spook on

Steph Saunders

Steph Saunders

Emily Isaac

Hannah Wallbanks (centre)

Rebecca Evans and JoJo Kirtley

Carrie Ann Walton
Ali Bunn

Treats, not tricks

Tricks, not treats

Pumpkin Carving

Roxanne Wells & family

Roxanne Wells & family

Ali Bunn & family

Steph Saunders & family

Baby Loves Disco - Spookathon

BDT Halloween Baking and Making

Roxanne Wells & family

Rebecca Evans & family

Roxanne Wells & family

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TOPSHOP launches denim section


We're big fans of the ol'TOPSHOP over at BDT and their public announcement that they will be launching an online denim section is just what we wanted to hear. 

Finding a pair of jeans that fits your bum (without making it look like you're the pick of the bunch during baboon mating season) while finding the right cut for your shape and height is definitely a skill. Said skill is one we are more than happy to leave in the hands of the style gurus over at

Just announced on the brand's facebook page:
Every girl should own a truly great pair of jeans but if you're anything like us, you'll know that finding the pair you can’t live without may be easier said than done. Lucky for all of us, it won't be anymore! Tomorrow, we're launching our brand new denim area on 

If you have any denim wobbles or worries, let them be heard at the TOPSHOP live Style Q&A which will be help on TOPSHOP's blog tomorrow afternoon from 13:00hrs - 14:00hrs GMT.

We cannot wait! Just in time for winter denim shopping. Score Arcadia, score.