Smiley celebrate a Summer of Sport with an exciting new licensing deal

harleybeecroft:

Excited about my new licensing collaboration between Smileyworld & Deutsche Postflag

Originally posted on smileyworldblog:

In 1997, CEO of Smiley Nicolas Loufrani came up with the ingenious concept of transforming national flags into Smiley icons. In 2014, 17 years after this practice was first launched, the national Smiley continues to flourish globally, with several major global Smiley flag campaigns due to launch this year.

Speaking about the concept Loufrani said, “transforming flags into smiley icons is a reminder to people that above all of our nations stands one common humanity for all. Smiley flags are a symbol of peace and happiness, uniting all humans together as one, smiling and winking at each other, whoever they may be and wherever they may come from.”

Smiley flags, remains Smiley’s oldest style guide still in use today and its renaissance could not be better timed. With national flags taking center stage again at the plethora of major international sporting events taking place over the next 2 years, the…

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Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack – Covent Garden

Saturday hubby and I decided to visit Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crab Shack in Covent Garden. With our impending US trip in less than 3 weeks we decided we needed to acclimatise our palates to American Fare. Plus we absolutely love BBQ, Seafood and American cuisine – this place had all 3.

 

We booked a table via TopTable.co.uk for 4pm, when we turned up we were promptly shown to our table. Note: if you have a big butt, lots of shopping or just puffy clothes the tables are tightly packed and you could end up dragging people’s dinner off their tables, or your clothes through their actual dinner. I was lucky that the table next to me was empty – not that I have a big butt mind (see my running posts as proof!)

 

The décor inside was great, very well designed and very in keeping with the crab shack feel, nice touch were the neon lobster signs in cages hanging from the ceiling. Music was a rousing mix of bluegrass, jazzy Americana, not too loud but enough to get your toe tapping.

 

I’d already spent a constructive afternoon before we booked looking at the menu to decide which cocktails to try, I’d whittled it down to 3 and started with the Margarita Slushie that consisted of Cabrito 100% agave white Tequila, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Briottet orange liqueur, lime & white sugar. The tequila had quite a kick, but this was a nice refreshing start.

Hubby started with a Big Easy Larger, which was actually Scottish even with the name Harviestoun Schiehallion.

 

For food we decided to share some Deep Fried Voodoo Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce to start. The sauce was red and this confused me, couldn’t tell what it tasted like as was too scared to try too much in case it was spicy ;)

The prawns were good – juicy & tasty, a great way to start.

 

For main we decided to go seafood, as we do BBQ meat a lot, but we love Crab & Lobster too, so we opted for the Lobster Bake consisting of Half 1½ lb Lobster, Peel ‘n’ Eat Jumbo Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws & New Potatoes cooked in Garlic Sauce, and hubby had Crabshack Combo consisting of Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp, Crab Claws, Mussels, Clams & New Potatoes cooked in Hot ‘n’ Spicy Sauce. We also ordered a side order of Mash & Gravy – just because!

At this point I also ordered my second cocktail – Boozy Juice Calle 23 100% agave white Tequila with Watermelon juice, fresh-pressed at the bar.

 

When the main dish turned up it was a little overwhelming and I was worried I wouldn’t even make a dent. I shouldn’t have been concerned!

Lobster Combo

Lobster Combo

The Jumbo prawns were MASSIVE, the two in the dish would have been a meal in itself. Everything tasted great.

The plastic bibs came in handy given the amount of claws we had to crack.

Phill needs protection!

Phill needs protection!

 

This dish was very reminiscent of paella, but it had new potatoes and it may have been good to offer rice as an option. The potatoes were the only thing I left.

 

 

We demolished the main course easily. Waiting staff were good at emptying the shell bowls, as we filled them to brimming!

 

When it came to dessert the menu was a little limiting with not a lot of choice, but this was a perfect excuse for cocktail number 3.

X-rated shake Grasshopper comprising of Mozart Dry chocolate spirit, Edmond Briottet mint liqueur, milk & chocolate ice cream.

This was delicious but it pushed me offer the edge from being pleasantly full to stuffed and I couldn’t finish it.

 

At just over £100 for a starter, 2 mains + a side, & 3 drinks each it wasn’t bad value. If I hadn’t had the cocktails it would have been super value, but not as fun!

 

Definitely plan to go back as there were lots of other exciting dishes to try – I have my eye on the Taste-O-Rama!

 

Note: if one of your male party need the toilet they may be gone for some time, apparently it’s halfway to china or something ;)

 

Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crab Shack is located at 12 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA

Telephone 020 3728 4888

For reservations only – email coventgarden@bigeasy.co.uk

 

Opening hours
Monday to Wednesday
Restaurant 12 noon – 11.30pm
Bar bites until 12am

Thursday to Saturdays

Restaurant 12 noon – 12.30am

Bar bites until 1am

Sunday 12 noon – 11pm

How to boost your running confidence 1 month before a marathon!

This is not a scientific result, and has no research to back it up.
I simply ran a personal best at Paddock Wood half marathon yesterday, and now I feel epic!

I managed to shave 10 mins off last years time, and having looked back over my races just realised that’s how much I beat my PB by. I thought I’d done a half in 2hrs 2mins before but must have dreamt it. Go me!

This is a massive confidence boost for the Big Sur Marathon in 4 weeks, and with two 20 mile races under my belt I’m going to set myself a target for the marathon, despite the fact that the thought of going another 6miles is still daunting.
I’m putting it out there! I could be disappointed but I’m going to try and go sub 4hrs 45mins.

BRING IT ON!

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte – Recipe

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte (Recipe from BBC Good Food)

Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte (Recipe from BBC Good Food) Must try harder on the decorating ;)

 

Last week I made my favourite, and easy, chocolate extravaganza for Band of Bakers chocolate event.

This is such a simple recipe and involves no baking. That means there is less chance of errors!

Recipe comes from BBC Good Food, and I pretty much followed it to a T, except with the chocolates on top – they always get snaffled before I have a chance to put them on top ;)

Ingredients:

175g digestive biscuits
85g butter, melted
397g can caramel (we used Carnation caramel)
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to serve
300g plain chocolate (70% solids), broken into chunks
600ml tub double cream
25g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
salted caramel chocolates, to decorate (find them in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s or Marks & Spencer)
single cream, to serve (optional)

 

Method:

1. Line the base of a deep, round 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a circle of baking parchment. Line the sides with one long strip that comes just above the sides of the tin – staple or paper clip where the strip overlaps to hold it in place.

2. Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag or bowl with the end of a rolling pin. Stir into the melted butter, then evenly press into the bottom of the tin. Chill for 10 mins.

3. Reserve 2 tbsp of the caramel. Stir the sea salt into the remainder and spoon into the centre of the biscuit base. Gently spread so the base is evenly covered but a visible 1-2cm border of biscuit remains around the edge. Chill for 20 mins while you make the chocolate layer.

4. Gently melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir 1 tbsp of the cream into the reserved caramel, then cover and chill until ready to decorate. Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat but leave the bowl where it is, and gradually stir in the remaining cream until you have a smooth, shiny, thick chocolate sauce. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in with the vanilla extract. Lift off the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 mins.

5. Ladle or pour the chocolate mixture around the edge of the torte first, so it fills the biscuit border, sealing the caramel in the centre. Then ladle or pour in the rest and gently shake to smooth the surface. Chill for at least 5 hrs or up to 24 hours until firm.

6. Remove the torte from the tin, then carefully peel off the strip of paper and transfer to a serving plate. Dot the chocolates on top. Spoon the reserved caramel-cream mixture into a small food or freezer bag. Snip off the tiniest tip of the corner to make a very small opening, then squiggle lines of caramel over the top. Chill until ready to serve. Scatter with a pinch or two of sea salt before serving, then thinly slice. Eat with a drizzle of single cream, if you like.