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  • Valentine Warner competition

    Tue, 07 Jul 2009 09:53

    In What to Eat Now: More Please!, Valentine Warner explores the ingredients and flavours of Spring and Summer food.

    Eating seasonally ties in with the zeitgeist of contemporary society and, with Valentine as our guide, we can explore the bounty of our natural larder.

    Valentine has been described by many as the new Jamie Oliver and, just like Jamie, he shares an intense passion and enthusiasm for food and, like Jamie, he is destined to change the way a whole generation think about what they eat.

    Valentine is not only a great chef, but a very talented artist. So, this month, I'm giving away an exclusive, signed Val Warner illustration...

    This is an original piece of artwork which is hand drawn by Val himself. So, how can you get your hands on this fantastic prize?

    All you need to do is answer this very simple question: Valentine Warner grew up on a farm in which British county?

    Send your answers to me (editor AT with the subject line of "Valentine Warner competition". Competition closes end of August. And winner will be announced early September.

    And please, please don't try to leave your answer as a comment on the blog: I'll just have to delete it if you do!

  • More tweet to win winners

    Tue, 16 Jun 2009 03:39

    Right then, time again to go through the recent winners of our Tweet to win competition.

    O'Reilly have recently published The Twitter Book which is a really great crib for how businesses and individuals can get the most out of the now hugely popular micro-blogging service. So, each day of late, I've been asking our Twitter followers to do a Twitter-based task -- and the winners gets a fab, limited edition O'Reilly Moleskine notebook...

    Of course, if you want to join in, you'll need to follow us on Twitter here:

    Right, now for the recent winners:

    On Friday (12th June), I asked: who are Twitter's three founders? and @AJAshworth told me the answer was Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey.

    On Thursday (11th June), I asked: who the most popular twitter user is and @WalterMitty007 tweeted back: "Well, @BarackObama has the most friends, but @aplusk has the most followers."

    On Wednesday, I said: is a nice site, but is there better? but no-one had any exciting journal fansites to tell me about!

    On Tuesday, I asked: Celebrity Deathmatch: who wins John Donne versus Samuel Johnson. Answer that makes me giggle most wins!! and @popelizbet answered: "john donne -- man can wield a spiky accent mark in deadly style."

    On Monday, I asked: 140 is an abundant number and a harmonic divisor number. It is also a square pyramidal number - what on earth is one of them then!? and @beedle82 told me "It is the sum of the squares of the first seven integers."

    On Friday 5th June, I asked About 140 years ago, what is often claimed to be the earliest picture of a UFO was taken -- where was that photo taken!? and @djcosta1977 told me: "Mount Washington, New Hampshire, first UFO picture."

    On Thursday 4th June, I asked 140 years ago, what did John Wesley Hyatt patent? and @danworth answered correctly that it was Celluloid.

    We'll get those moleskines sent out very soon: well done the winners!


  • Save Bletchley Park

    Thu, 11 Jun 2009 04:31


    People: we need to Save Bletchley Park!

    The museum and associated projects at Bletchley Park are in dire need of funding. Historic buildings are crumbling and need restoration. Despite its historical importance it receives no ongoing public funding and is urgently seeking donations. The iconic Victorian Mansion alone requires somewhere in the region of £1,000,000 for repairs and some of the symbolic Codebreaking Huts are in a desperate state of decay.

    We owe it to both ourselves and to the men and women who served there to preserve Bletchley Park for our generation and the next, as computer users, citizens of the free world and simply as human beings.

    And why link to The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science and Technology Come Alive? Because publishers O'Reilly are giving 50p from each copy that they sell in the UK to the Save Bletchley Park trust. Oh, and it's a pretty fab book too, btw!


  • June's two free ebooks

    Thu, 04 Jun 2009 04:50

    This month we are giving away another two free ebooks: Tom Reynolds' More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea (the follow-up to his hugely successful Blood, Sweat and Tea) and City-Lit: London:

    Tom Reynolds is an ambulance worker. On any given day he can be attacked by strangers, sworn at by motorists, puked on, covered in blood and other much more unpleasant substances. He could help to deliver a baby in the morning and witness the last moments of a dying man in the afternoon. He deals with road accidents, knife attacks, domestic violence, drug overdoses, neglect and suffering. Tom blogs about his experiences at the end of each shift. His Random Acts of Reality website has a huge following with over 30,000 visitors every day. In his second book based on his blog, he is tired, he is frustrated and he is more angry than ever, but he still manages to capture the moving, heartwarming and inspirational moments that happen alongside the chaos.

    Download More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea or buy the book.

    London is the world's most happening, most exciting and most diverse city. From Roman stronghold and capital of the British Empire to financial powerhouse and city of the 2012 Olympics, London has always looked to the past and the future. No one reflects this complexity better than London's writers, whether home-grown, adopted or simply visiting. City-Lit: London offers us the best ever writing on this amazing city with over sixty dazzling writers. Join them as Will Self gets inside the head of a London cabby; Jan Morris flies in to Heathrow; Monica Ali smells the curry on Brick Lane; Alan Bennett gives us a ride in the Queen's carriage; Xiaolu Guo enjoys a greasy spoon cafe in Hackney; Helen Simpson takes us for a stroll on Hampstead Heath; Beryl Bainbridge attends Dr Johnson's funeral in Westminster Abbey; Virginia Woolf goes shopping in Oxford Street; and Dostoyevsky strolls down the Haymarket.

    Download City-Lit: London or buy the book.

  • Cool Camping quiz

    Thu, 04 Jun 2009 04:48

    Fancy winning some really cool camping gear? Well, we've teamed up with our friends from the ultra cool Punk Publishing and with our pals at Cotswold Outdoor to offer the winner of our latest competition a great prize fit for a summer of camping fun.

    First prize comprises an easy to assemble two person tent, a picnic set and two fold away chairs, as well as a complete set of eight Cool Camping titles. Two runners-up will also receive the complete set of the brilliant Cool Camping books.

    So, what are you waiting for? Just answer the following questions and send the answers to me in an email entitled "Cool Camping quiz answers" to editor AT

    The questions:

    1. Barbara Windsor starred in which famous comedy camping film?

    a. Camp It Up
    b. Hi-De-Hi
    c. Carry On Camping

    2. Which keen camper and teddy of the survival world has just been made Chief Scout?

    a. Teddy Roosevelt
    b. Bear Grylls
    c. Pudsey the Bear

    3. What is traditionally toasted over campfires as a sweet treat?

    a. cup cakes
    b. eggs
    c. marshmallows

    4. A small, one-person tent traditionally used by hikers is known as a...

    a. marquee
    b. bivouac
    c. caravan

    5. According to a recent poll, the number of people going camping this year has...

    a. doubled
    b. quadrupled
    c. gone down

    6. Which is the largest UK festival?

    a. Latitude
    b. The Secret Garden Party
    c. Glastonbury

    7. Approximately how many people in the UK choose camping as their choice of holiday each year?

    a. 500,000
    b. 900,000
    c. 1.2 million

    8. One of the very first known campsites Cunningham Camp in Howstrake, Isle of Man. When did it open:

    a. 1894
    b. 1924
    c. 1874

    The competition closes 10th July and is open to UK residents only. The winners will be announced on the blog in the middle of that month.

    Oh, and please, please don't leave your answers as comments on the blog -- if you do, I'll just have to delete them!

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