Archive for the ‘Christmas 2012 goodies’ Category

Christmas 2012 goodies, Gifts

‘Tis the season to be legless. We check out St Austell Brewery’s ‘Big Job’ beer

By shinychris on December 20th, 2012

Apart from the occasional strong Belgian beer, I tend to steer clear of really strong beers. While a 6 per cent Abbot Ale from Adnams is acceptable (and very tasty), anything stronger is a sure fire way to guarantee a hangover that would make the end of the world more than welcome. So it was with some trepidation I ‘reviewed’ a 9 per cent bottle of St Austell Brewery’s wonderfully-named ‘Big Job’. Not only is it very strong, it is, as the name suggests, very big – the size of a standard 750ml bottle of wine in fact.

With a price tag of £9.99 it’s definitely not something you are going to quaff a large quantity of either, unless you fancy yourself as some modern day Oliver Reed. The press release says it is packed full of as many Citra and Centennial hops as they could get their hands on and I can quite believe them. This drink is less than subtle. Though I expected it to be quite sweet and syrupy it wasn’t too sickly, but it was most definitely very ‘hoppy’. And though the first few sips went down well enough, I struggled to drink much more than half a pint.

Maybe I’m losing my touch, but think this is definitely an acquired taste. Amazingly, it’s not the strongest beer in St Austell’s line up either. That dubious accolade goes to the Smugglers Gran Cru at 11.5 per cent, though this is much more oaky and toffee flavoured and perhaps more to my taste.  I definitely think I’ll be confining myself to the brewery’s ‘smaller jobs’ from now on such as the very nice and malty  Tribute Ale. You can check out all of the St Austell Brewery’s beers and ciders on their website at

Christmas 2012 goodies, features, Round ups

7 Awesome Alternative Christmas Movies – Die Hard, Gremlins and more!

By Gerald Lynch on December 18th, 2012

What’s your favourite Christmas movie? Miracle on 34th Street? It’s A Wonderful Life? Bah! humbug! I laugh at your sentimentality!

Where are the guns? The explosions? The sex!? I need more drama from my festive flicks!

Here Brandish recommend 7 awesome alternative Christmas movies, each set during the Yuletide period but each often overlooked as a holiday film.

Die Hard

Bruce Willis’ finest hour, Die Hard is set on Christmas Eve. It’s also maybe the greatest action flick of all time, with Willis’ New York cop John McClane taking on a terrorist gang holding an entire tower of people hostage. And not a mince pie in sight. Yippee ki-yay!


Comedy horror film Gremlins all kicks off with an early Christmas present yielding unexpected results. Sure, a little cuddly bear pet thing sounds like a good idea at the time, but when it multiplies into hundreds of deadly little green monsters, you’ll wish you got given safe old socks instead.

Home Alone

OK, so I’m pretty sure you’re all aware that Home Alone is a Christmas flick. I mean, it’s theme tune is one of the most Christmassy tunes of all time ever. The problem is, Home Alone is so good, it’s on the TV all year round, so many of us probably forget that its a Christmas film at all. Throw in the casual child-on-adult uber violence (Macauley Culkin’s Kevin maims, burns and bludgeons hapless burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern repeatedly over the course of the film) and the sort of neglectful parenting that’d make an NSPCC advert look like an episode of Little House On The Prairie and you’ve got a far darker Christmas flick than you perhaps first thought.

Batman Returns

Burton’s Batman always knew how to have fun. The Batman flick that best captured the feeling of the comic books, it’s a wild gothic tale that sees the Catwoman and the Penguin out to ruin the winter holiday. Nothing says Christmas like an army of penguins with missiles strapped to their backs!


Terry Gilliam’s surreal masterpiece Brazil is set over Christmas. No seriously. Double check. There’s no reason for it to be, other than to make the warped foreboding world that star Jonathan Pryce inhabits feel all the more callous. A Kafka-esque tale of a white collar worker’s attempt to correct an administrative error, only to have the whole state gunning for him, is as funny and discomforting as it is insane. One to watch after a few sherries I’d say.

Trading Places

They’ve both had a checkered silver-screen track record since their Trading Places heyday, but for belly laughs with a festive framing, Trading Places has Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. A classic role reversal movie (hobo conman Murphy ends up replacing executive Aykroyd on the board of a Wall Street firm as part of an elaborate prank by a pair of mean spirited zillionaires), this’ll be far funnier than any Christmas special cooked up for the Christmas break by broadcasters.

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Another action flick with a Christmas theme, Geena Davis seems like the perfect housewife, though amnesia has knocked a fair chunk of her memory off kilter. Amnesia, as ever, has clouded the fact that Davis is actually a kick ass assassin, whose skills with a knife see her castrating carrots and gangsters alike. She’s like a hot Jason Bourne, with enough claret spilled on the snow to keep in line with the Christmas colour scheme.

Any alternative Christmas flicks that we’ve missed that you feel deserve a mention? Give us a shout in the comments section below and let us know what you think!

Advertorial, Christmas 2012 goodies

Have an unusual Christmas with Selfridges

By shinychris on November 15th, 2012

Sponsored post

What happens if you put one ballerina, a pair of Pearly Kings and Queens dancing, two shirtless male models by a fir tree, five cute puppies and a Father Christmas with dreadlocks in a studio all themed to swinging Christmassy jazz tunes? The result is not your usual Christmas…

This festive season Selfridges has teamed up with photographer and film maker Bruce Weber for their Christmas ad, which certainly is a non-traditional take on Yuletide. Check out the video below to see what we’re on about, but if you’re looking for an unusual gift for a loved one the famous London department store’s Christmas Gift guide is packed full of extraordinary presents ideas for him, her and the kids to place under the tree this year.

Don’t be a bah humbug, plan your Christmas early!

Christmas 2012 goodies

Brandish Christmas List #1 Roku 2 XS Streaming player

By Stefano on November 12th, 2012

The tech sites tend to bang on a great deal about how the future of telly is smart and that how one day soon all TVs will be able to access the web and deliver not just Facebook and Twitter but also Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more.

But what if you only bought a nice big 42inch LCD set a couple of years ago and don’t fancy upgrading? Well you need an adapter like the Roku 2 XS Streaming player.

This is a small decoder that hooks up to your telly via the HDMI socket and then watch it deliver shed loads of new services. For it to work you need to be able to connect the box to your router or have a fairly reliable and quick wireless connection.

For your investment of a mere £60 (if you buy 2nd hand on Amazon) or £99.99 from elsewhere, you get BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Facebook, Flickr and a load more. This version also includes a few games, but you can buy a more basic box, the LT, which doesn’t have games or full HD and goes for just £50. Roku is a market leader in the US and is constantly adding new services so more may come online over here soon.

If you can bear to wait a little longer then the company’s next generation device is a tiny stick that you plug into your telly. There’s no details on UK launch yet.

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