Londoneer: HostelBookers Christmas Advent Calendar Competition

I do love finding out about fun competitions and this is a good one from HostelBookers, with the added bonus of having a seasonal Christmas theme 🙂

The company, who you may know offer a service for booking budget accommodation in London and elsewhere, are running a 24 day Christmas giveaway in the form of an advent calendar which runs all the way up to Christmas Eve. Prizes on offer include free stays in London youth hostels, an iPad, Sony digital cameras, shopping vouchers and more besides!

All you have to do to enter the competition is to look out for a daily question posted on the HostelBookers Facebook page and email your answer to [email protected] Each day over Advent there will be a different question that will test your knowledge of different Christmas traditions across the world. There’ll also be some photo competitions popping up on the site over the month, so keep your smartphone or camera close by so that you can get your entries in quickly. You can find out all of the details and enter the competitions on…

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Book Readings By Arachne Press @ Crow On The Hill, Whitechapel Ideas Store & Keats House This Month

Arachne Press, publishers of London-themed short story collections Stations & London Lies (the first of which I reviewed recently) are hosting three free book reading events across London this month:

On Thursday 10 January several of the authors of Stations will be reading their stories at Crystal Palace’s specialist bookseller Crow On The Hill from 7pm with additional readings from London Lies – the bookshop is an appropriate venue given that no less than three of the short stories in Stations make mention of the local park. A week later on 17 January the Whitechapel Ideas Store will feature an evening of readings of the Stations stories that have an East End twist, from 6pm.

To mark the launch of Lovers’ Lies, the latest publication from Arachne Press, at the end of this month there will be a special celebration in the wonderful Keats House in Hampstead on Sunday 27 January. Special readings from the new stories will be presented and visitors to the event will be able to pick up signed copies of the book, as well as gaining access to the house itself – arrive at 2.30pm to participate.

Finally, to mark LGBT History Month, which falls on February each year, Arachne writers Cherry Potts, Paula Read and actors Gloria Sanders, Sarah Feathers and Will Everett will be dramatising passages from their Lesbian and Gay themed stories and those by Jessica Lott and Catherine Sharpe at a celebratory event at the Deptford Lounge from 7pm on Monday 11 February.

Follow Arachne Press on Twitter for updates about these special events.…

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Sampling The Spanish Dining Experience With Richard Bigg At Camino Puerto Del Canario

Earlier this week I was a guest of one of London’s taste-makers, the ‘self-proclaimed Hispanophile’ Richard Bigg (who runs London’s three Camino restaurants and bars as well as being the co-owner of Brick Lane’s Big Chill bar) for a dinner at his Westferry outlet, Camino Puerto del Canario.

That’s not where our evening started however, as Richard joined us on the Thames Clipper at Embankment pier, with the sherry (bottles of Manzanilla and Amontillado) starting to flow as soon as the engines kicked into life. Conveniently, Camino is located just next door to the Canary Wharf river pier over on the western edge of the Isle of Dogs, so the river service is probably the most convenient (and a rather special) way to get there.

With all the decor in the venue sourced from the home country, this space overlooking the river really does feel like a little part of Spain – if you avert your eyes from the glittering spire of The Shard off on the horizon you could be in a trendy restaurant anywhere from Bilbao to Seville, and that description definitely applies to the food!

Dishes that arrived at our table during the evening included tiny pots of Sopa De Alcachofa (Jerusalem artichoke soup with oxtail and truffle oil), light-as-a-feather Croquetas De Jamon (Serrano ham croquettes), spicy little Pimientos De Padron (sautĂ©ed green peppers with sea salt) and one of my all-time tapas favourites, a buttery bowl of Arroz Negro (black callaspara rice flavoured with cuttlefish and squid ink).…

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