Quaffable or Full-Bodied?

Given the amount of bottles up for grabs in our #whatifxmas competition (you can enter here), we are talking a lot about wine in the office these days.

And of course there’s always one smart cookie in the corner to come up with adjectives we have never heard of before! So we thought we would create a dummy guide to describing wine; we hope you find it useful!

When talking about the smell of a wine in general, use aroma or bouquet.

If a wine is a bit too sweet, it is somewhat more complementary to say it’s rich.

If its colour is very clear with no cloudiness, just say it is brilliant.

When a red is full of flavours and nearly velvety, you can call it unctuous.

If in doubt you are usually fine referring to anything from the fruit bowl (or the seasoning rack actually): wines can be plumy, peppery, herbaceous or even berrylike.

And of course we have all tried wines that were not that good (they usually felt even worse the morning after). If you want to be diplomatic about it, there are many adjectives to describe a wine without hurting your host’s feelings:

  • tart instead of ‘super acidic, it’s like vinegar mixed with lemon juice’
  • lean instead of ‘not much flavour, it’s just alcoholic squash’
  • earthy instead of ‘woody, this has stayed in the barrel for too long’
  • astringent instead of ‘this is just cheap plonk that doesn’t really taste of anything’

Of course, pick your audience so you don’t become the smart cookie in the corner when speaking so sophistically!

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Regardless of how you describe it, do you prefer red or white?

What if you could say it in a tweet?

This week is all about words. Characters actually. 140 of them to be precise. You got it, we’re running the competition on Twitter.

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It could not be easier to enter: just tell us your Christmas wish starting your tweet with What if, and don’t forget to use #whatifxmas and @joebrowns.

It can be quirky. It can be daring. For sure it will be good fun. What if you won a city break in Paris? #whatifxmas @joebrowns

Joe Browns Christmas competition #whatifxmas – details can be found here.

Want to know who won last week? Check it out here>

Un café, s’il vous plait

The top prize in our #whatifxmas competition is a fabulous city break in Paris: 3 nights in a four-star hotel and transport (flights or Eurostar), courtesy of The Travel Club and K+K Hotel Cayré. Don’t miss out and enter here.

The hotel is very central, in the trendy 7th quarter and here are Parisian gems to discover nearby.

Museums: if you like impressionists, a must-see is L’Orangerie where you will discover ‘Les Nymphéas’, one of Monet’s sumptuous collections. The artist painted water lilies at different time of the day and the small gallery takes you on an idyllic journey through romantic gardens. We strongly recommend you pre-book as it has small capacity and the queues can be long. http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/

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Where to eat: le marché St-Germain is a stone-throw away from the hotel and has an array of bistrots and restaurants offering good value for money in a traditional atmosphere. Marché Saint-Germain, 14, rue Lobineau. Just walk down Boulevard St Germain from the hotel and you will find the market square on your right-hand side.

Where to drink: you are surrounded by world-famous cafés where that are perfect to spot intellectuals, journalists and, you know, tourists. Head to Les Deux Magots (6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés) or Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain) for a somewhat overpriced drink but a guaranteed true Parisian experience.

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Have you ever been to Paris and what did you think?

Who’s on Pinterest?

Our Christmas competition continues! This week you can enter on Pinterest. Have some fun creating boards and check out our unusual Christmas tree board too – there are some stunningly atypical looks.

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Find out how to enter here and don’t forget that you can get additional entries when placing an order before December 10th 2014.

Joe Browns Christmas competition #whatifxmas – details can be found here.

 

Get ready to party!

We’ve teamed up with The Fragrance Shop to offer you the chance to win the ultimate going out kit: £150 Joe Browns vouchers + £150 of selected fragrances.

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Enter the competition here>

Whether you opt for a party dress or a sequined blouse with leggings, it definitely is time to treat yourself to a lovely party outfit.

Gentlemen, don’t feel left out! Put on your favourite pair of jeans, pick the ultimate floral shirt and you’re good to go.

So, put your best playlist on, turn up the volume and use your hairdryer as a mic – all there is to do is paint the town red.

What’s your perfect night out?

Tis’ the Season…

… to let loose and be crackers! You can smell orange and cinnamon everywhere, pretty lights start appearing on the streets and it feels like calories do not count. It can only mean one thing: it’s time to have fun with the Joe Browns #whatifxmas competition.

This year we have officially lost the plot (more than we usually do!). And we are giving you the chance to take part in our Christmas competition for a chance to win one of 10 amazing crackers!

There are fabulous prizes up for grabs, including a city break in Paris (3 nights, 4* hotel, transport: the works. And we are even throwing in £250 worth of Joe Browns vouchers so you can pack your trolley case with lovely new stuff).

This is offered in partnership with The Travel Club.

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Other prizes include one of four cases of wine and a whopping year’s supply of wine, courtesy of Naked Wines. This is a bit like advent calendars; don’t drink it all on the first day!

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We also have two mouth-watering prizes from Gousto: festive food delivered to your door for a stress-free time in the kitchen.

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Finally, there’s a massive £500 Joe Browns voucher up for grabs as well as the ultimate loungewear bundle including onesies, slipper socks and winter warmers.

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All you have to do to enter is place an order between November 4th and December 10th 2014 or join in the fun every week to maximise your chances!

See this week’s crackers challenge here>

 

What if Christmas really was crackers this year?

We’re letting you in on the act

We’ve had a lot of fun shooting our Christmas collection this year. Winter is great because it covers gorgeous partywear for the girls, dapper blazers for the guys, super comfy onesies to lounge around the house and warm coats for long walks in the countryside.

So when it came to organising a shoot, we had plenty to go at!

Everyone turned up in an uber-cool vintage car. A few merry drinks at the local pubs allowed us to take picture-perfect postcard-style shots. Everyone in their Christmas jumpers: it was like a family portrait!

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They were off to the woods in the afternoon, hiding behind the trees and jumping around because, after all, Christmas is the time to be a child again.

Then it was time for serious business: PARTY. The girls got ready in their party dresses while the guys put their best shirt on (we particularly like this very Christmassy one).

They had food outside, danced on the table and enjoyed every minute – we certainly did.

Premier Man Southbay  Premier Man Southbay

 

Watch our behind the scene video:

 

And don’t forget to take part in our #whatifxmas competition. This week (w/c 3/11/14) all you have to do is watch the video and answer a simple question. Easy. Find out more here.

 

Beef Bourguignon recipe (or “Boeuf” to French it up)

It is getting seriously chilly out there and there’s no better winter warmer than a hearty dish to share with your friends and family.

If, like us, the loose link you have to a celebrity chef is the swearing and sipping a glass of wine while cooking, this is the recipe for you!

 

We particularly like this recipe because:

1) even the less experienced of us can impress everyone (we swear: it’s ea-sy),

2) it can be made the day before as it’s actually even better when reheated.

 

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What you need (serves 4):

  • Goose fat (yes you can use olive oil or butter but we seriously recommend getting a jar of the stuff – it adds the French je ne sais quoi).
  • Beef (ah, obviously!). Don’t go for premium sirloin but it is equally worth not penny-pinching as ultimately this will make the dish. Good quality braising steak or shin is a good option. Around 600 grams cut into large chunks.
  • 5 shallots and 2 garlic gloves (peeled and sliced, if we must specify).
  • About 20 (1 small pack) chestnut mushrooms (even if you’re not keen on mushrooms, add them anyway. They will melt into the sauce and add flavour).
  • 1 pack of lardons (smoked if you want).
  • 1 bouquet garni (now this is posh French for herbs. You can buy them ready made in what looks like a teabag, just remember to remove it from the finished dish before serving).
  • 1 spoon of tomato purée (the fun bit is to squeeze it out of the tube!).
  • And the most important: WINE. A full bottle of it (it will not taste strong, promise). Again, not a 1976 vintage but we would not recommend a cheap plonk as the taste of the sauce will depend on it. Go for Burgundy to be truthful to the recipe, or any full-bodied red could do.

Method:

  • Season some flour with salt and pepper in a large container (with lid). Add the meat, put the lid on and shake.
  • Use a large sauce pan that can go into the oven.
  • Heat up 1 spoon of goose fat and fry the meat so it is brown all over (you may have to do this in batches, adding more fat if necessary).
  • Leave the meat to the side and fry the shallots, garlic, mushrooms, lardons and tomato purée in the same pan.
  • Add the meat back in, pour the wine over and add a glass of water (just so it nearly covers the meat). Put the magic teabag / bouquet garni into the liquid and bring to the boil. Scrap the bottom of the pan to get all the flavours going.
  • Create a lid out of foil and make a hole in the middle so steam can escape off the pan. The foil should rest on the meat (not the top of the pan).
  • Heat the oven to 150C (fan) or 130C (gas) and cook for 3 hours, checking from time to time that the sauce has not fully disappeared.

 

You can either serve when ready or reheat the day after, it is even better!

Perfect with tagliatelle, boiled potatoes that you mix into the sauce or venture into making a mash from scratch (it is not difficult: peel potatoes, boil them, drain, mash and add copious amounts of butter, cream and milk).

When you bite into a super-tender piece that melts in the mouth, it will all be worth it.

Let us know how it goes!

 

AW14 Menswear Collection

Adele our menswear buyer reveals all about the new Autumn range

I’m really proud of how the collection has turned out this season and I really believe it underpins the Joe Browns ‘love life’ attitude, with something to fit every man’s needs, combining all the best things in life!

Why follow trends when you can set your own? If you’re sick of wearing the same old boring clothing then don’t worry – the new collection has it all covered off.

Based on all our favourite pastimes – we just love the freedom of bikes, music and the great outdoors  -you’ll find the range has a bit of something for all life’s adventures.

It’s full of timeless clothing for real men – with an eclectic mix of relaxed tailoring and comfortable casuals – all with the usual Joe Browns twists, including quirky prints and great detailing

Many items have a slightly ‘lived in’ feel, giving you great versatility to easily dress items up or down.  The ‘washed and worn’ element is great for a relaxed, confident feel – great for a chilled-out occasion.

You’ll find great contrasting styling in our tailoring that simply oozes personality. Check out the Mix it Up Blazer, £89.95 and matching waistcoat, £42.95 for a really smart tweed fabric with a fabulous blue check and a fun contrast lining.

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We’ve also introduced some true English eccentric touches such as mix and match buttons and trims, as well as funky pull out linings into our blazer pockets in quirky, fun fabrics – so now there’s no need to buy a handkerchief when you’ve got one already built in!

There’s a grungy element to parts of our collection too with the introduction of some really rich fabrics and genuine leathers which also add a touch of attitude.

Finally take a look at the tees – we’ve some great bike-themed styles and Steve McQueen, Che Guevara and Bob Marley even make a guest appearance this season!

Choosing a couple of my favourite items from the collection was really hard (as I of course love it all :-) ), but, if pushed, I‘d have to single out the new Complete The Look Blazer (£79.95) which gives our humble blazer a funky twist. For the maximum in versatility, the knitted insert collar is detachable, so it’s perfect for dressing up or down. I also love our Cut About Check Shirt (£39.95). It’s extremely wearable and will carry you through the seasons and there’s certainly nothing dull about it – it’s a great key item for livening up your winter wardrobe! (And bound to stir up some comments from the lads down the pub!).

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Joe Browns isn’t just about clothing it’s about attitude, an attitude towards how you live your life. We wanted to create something special something that allows you to make the most of your passions, living a free and fun-filled life.  Hopefully we’ve achieved this in Autumn 2014.

Adele, Head of Menswear

Watch our menswear video:

 

Here’s a few behind the scenes shots, on location at Dalby Forest situated on the southern slopes of the North York Moors. (We like to keep it local!)

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Shangri-la!

For all you lovers of all things bright and colourful, we have just the thing for you! Say hello to Shangri-la – complete with the flavours of a bold bright mystical land, brimming with colour and radiating the wonderful exotic orient. Free spirited, intriguing, stunning! This collection is jam- packed with South East Asian opulence and we sent Caroline from our buying team to visit this magical place, gathering inspiration (here’s some snaps) taking in all the sights, sounds and smells to then weave through our new collection. The result? An eclectic zing of fresh lime and vibrant pink, contrasting with earthy, deeper tones of midnight teal, faded berry and buddha blue – wow!

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The unconformity of this colour palette is super fun, exploding with the vibrancy and diversity of South Asian celebration and culture. This collection incorporates a range of classic East Asian motifs, unique hand drawn designs, clashing mosaic scarf prints, and of course there’s plenty of Joe Browns twists including fun detailing and fabulous quality additions.

This is a truly quirky collection full of adventure and fun, for those who dare to be different! It’s a great way to express your love for travel, your individuality and your lust for life through your clothing! The vibrant fabrics and unique patterns are wonderfully courageous, and the silhouettes, shapes and mix and match designs mean there’s something to suit every body shape! From authentic textured knits to bright separates, playful prints and really vivid timeless pieces, we have a little bit of something special to suit everyone’s needs and budgets!

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Watch our Shangri-la video:

 

 

Our Personal Favourites…

“My Shangri-la favourite has to be the utterly unique Shangri la tunic, as worn this week by the lovely Rebecca Wheatley on The Wright Stuff. (See pic) Its vivid colour palette blends perfectly with the more earthy tones and bright splashes of crimson and the unique design was inspired by the striking Himalayan landscape, creating a fabulously eclectic jersey tunic. For an affordable £29.95 this is a fabulous piece that you won’t find on the high street. Dress it up with some of our beautiful basic leggings and a statement necklace for a nice meal or drinks. Alternatively dress it down with a classic pair of our Boot Cut Beauty Denim Jeans at and Suede Summertime boots. No matter how you style your utterly unique Shangri-la tunic you’re bound to be complimented on its unique array of contrasting fabrics and fabulous Joe Browns detailing in the form of a cute love heart button and colourful embroidery.” Holly, Marketing Department

Marketing Pick   Marketing pick

“After being lucky enough to travel around South East Asia, and creating this season’s Shangri-la theme, I would have to pick the Unique Utopian Dress in Multi £39.95 as my favourite piece from this collection. The dazzling print itself was inspired by the tropical fauna which I saw on my travels. This dress certainly has the feel good factor, with the use of bright tropical colours and print, it is the epitome of Shangri-la, and can be easily dressed up with our Fun and Fabulous Heels £34.95 on a night out. Alternatively, dress it down through the day with a pair of our Beautiful Corsage Wedge Boots £44.95 and our Super Springy Scarf at £14.95 for a look that will carry you right through autumn/winter. It’s definitely worth spending that little bit more to create such a diverse, timeless look” Caroline, Buying Department

Dressed Up

Buyers Pick Buyers Pick

Dressed Down

Buyers Pick Buyers Pick

 

Get involved – Tell us your favourite Shangri-la piece!