Monthly Archive:June 2013

Byadmin

We review: Big Fish Little Fish – a fish for all seasons

We review Big Fish Little Fish on Beaminster Community WebsiteI first meet Alex, Sam and Boopee, more professionally known as Verity (the pooch), after a Sunday evening stroll through Beaminster. My curiosity leads me to the restaurant window, into the entrance hall, and onward towards the counter where a friendly smile bids me welcome. “Just being nosy”, I mention to Sam, as I immediately notice the familiar bottles of Fish Hoek crisp white winking down at me from the shelves behind her.

This is Big Fish Little Fish.

I silently vow to return, once I’ve rinsed the mud off of my wellies, and at least brushed my hair.

Fast forward to Monday evening, 24 June. Time: 17:43. Temperature: somewhere between 12 and 17 degrees with a light SE breeze.

We review Big Fish Little Fish on Beaminster Community WebsiteDen and I trundle through the green doors of Big Fish Little Fish.  Psychologically expecting to see the familiar tables from The Wild Garlic, the only reminder of what went before is the colour of the walls and a beautiful stone wall cradling a wood burning stove. We say a quick hello to Sam and take our seat at one of the tables in the corner of the restaurant.

The layout is somewhat sparse, but promising nonetheless. Flickering candles in glass bowls of glistening river stones adorn each table. Apologies are made for the work-in-progress renovation of the old sash windows but we are comfortable at our table and the aromas from the kitchen already have our stomachs eager to sample the menu. Sam brings the menu to us and we make our choice.

We review Big Fish Little Fish on Beaminster Community WebsiteSam and Alex have been together for just over a year now. Alex, having more than 10 years of head chef experience from the likes of the Browns chain of Bars & Brasseries, as well as the the Bellhouse Hotel, has a passion for food. His face lights up as he talks about the dishes he serves. “We don’t serve Jenga chips here, and lovingly prepare everything ourselves… by hand. No two chips are the same, and we take care to flavour our seafood carefully”. Sam adds that all the food is prepared each day, with an early start. She explains their unique style at leaving the skins of the potatoes on the chips, in order for them to hold their flavour, and more importantly, their warmth, that much longer.

Sam, comes from a guide-dog training background, and excitedly tells us about her precious Verity (known as Boopee to her friends) who holds the fort in the flat upstairs, waiting for the end of evening service. She laughs as she recounts an occasion recently, where Boopee, quite nonchalantly, made her way onto the roof above the restaurant and innocently sat and watched the world go by.

Our starters arrive – I have chosen the Calamari with the homemade aioli, while Den has chosen the hearty pepper and tomato soup du jour, served with a crusty slice of bread.  Sam tells us that the calamari is a favourite at the restaurant. I have no trouble in believing  her. It is seasoned to perfection and the garlic ai

oli makes you want to continue dabbing your fork in, just for a taste, long after the calamari has finished.

The menu is uncomplicated. The focus is on food. As it should be, and I tuck into (perhaps a little too eagerly) my second glass of vino. I silently wonder whether it would be acceptable to have calamari for starters, mains and desserts…. Den smiles and I wonder whether he has read my mind.

Sam also tells us a little about her silver service waitressing days, having served to many a celebrity, and their celebrity wives at VIP receptions. As we tuck into our battered cod, non-jenga, home-prepared chunky chips and fresh crunchy garden peas, I ask Sam and Alex about the ingredients they use.  “We only use local ingredients. Our fish hails from Samways in Bridport, and our potatoes from local suppliers. For non-fish meals, we source our meat from Nick Tett’s family butchers in Beaminster and our vegetables from Fruit & Two Veg, also in Beaminster”.

We review Big Fish Little Fish on Beaminster Community Website“This project has been a huge learning curve for us,” Sam says. “It is a continuous work in progress and we are constantly learning new things – and make improvements as we go. It is anything but finished, and we are excited about where we’re going”. I ask them what their future holds, and the plans they have – and Alex shyly smiles and tells stories about red onion preserves and homemade tartare sauces that he hopes to have for sale on his shelves soon.

Our meal has more than satisfied. Den and I know our fish, but more importantly we know our batter. We know when batter has been neglected, the oil left just one day too long, the soggy bottom of a cod fillet, yet the meal served at Big Fish Little Fish leaves you feeling that it has been carefully and lovingly prepared – and it is clear to see on the smiles of those who place their take away orders, that they feel the same.

As we pay the bill, with our slice of cheesecake (for pud) under our arms, we thank Sam and Alex as we leave – but not before having the chance to meet the infamous Boopee.

Perhaps sub-consciously, when I wonder past Big Fish Little Fish from now on, my eyes may… just maybe… drift upwards, and hopefully, if I’m lucky, I’ll see a black labrador pup, with a bright pink tongue, lying in the sun and smiling down on me.

KatyPotatie

Byadmin

My #Twitter home, my #Madiba giant, my night of comforted loneliness

Last night, I lay awake. Husband snoring next to me, cat taking up 75% of my side of the bed, iPad resting on my chest.  Twitter page open and, as if robotic, as if programmed, the old familiar swiiiiish PLOP sound keeps me company as I read one tweet after the next, that capture 1 single search term:

#Madiba

Father of our nation. Democratic Giant. Fighter of our Faith. Hero of our human rights. Peace-maker. Peace-keeper.

Tata.

Like most other South Africans in this world, and I’m sure not only South Africans, but supporters all over the world, I spent most of last night with my eyes fixed to news reports and social media discussions. How I longed to be in my home country and feel that same communal spirit we felt as a united people – the day Francois Pienaar held that Rugby World Cup trophy in the air… the day we all, black, white, pink and blue, took to the streets dancing, singing, holding on to each other;  for what that trophy represented, was so much more than just the win at a rugby match. It was so much more than supporting our boys in their green and gold. It represented that for the first time, since our first steps as a democratic and free country, we could stand together – united – legally – and we could celebrate. We could recognise our differences, we could praise our similarities, but most of all, we could celebrate in the knowledge that, as a nation, we had faced what the world had deemed “brink of civil war” and we had stood up, shoved it in the face of the doom-sayers and said, “We are South Africa. Watch us roar!”.

I lay awake reading the tweets. Tears streaming down my already damp cheeks.

  • When the news comes I’ll cry tears of joy 4 being fortunate enough to live during the time of 1 of the most inspiring men in history #madiba
  • Let us not be anxious over what we cannot control,#Madiba our hero, It is well !
  • Don’t think for 1 minute that you only inspired the people of S.Africa, you are an example to the world. Sleep safe #madiba #nelsonmandela
  • I am what i am because of who we all are #ubuntu #madiba
  • 94 years on Earth, 27 years in jail, 4 years as president, legend forever #Madiba

So in this quiet moment of turmoil, and feeling a million miles away from the nation I love, the culture I drink up, my family, my friends – in this quiet turmoil feeling completely alone and insignificant, I took solace in my Twitter community who, where the prognosis was nothing but despair, echoed my dreary heart and broadcasted words of wisdom, celebration, praise, and most of all, gratitude. 

And I felt loved.

Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika.

Listen to this.

Byadmin

We review: The Steak Out – a sizzling comfort with lots to offer.

Fresh Brew Marketing, Beaminster, The Steak Out

Review written for Beaminster Community Website by KatyPotatie

We wander into town looking for a little nook on a Thursday evening that offers us a bite to eat. It’s slightly drizzly outside and the glow of the warm lights from businesses in the square give us a sense of belonging, and welcome.

Fresh Brew Marketing, Beaminster, The Steak OutWe notice a new little glow. A glow from a window that we didn’t expect to be open on a Thursday night. One that we hadn’t really noticed before. The glow emanates from The Steak Out, and the open door bids us welcome. We go inside.

Fresh Brew Marketing, Beaminster, The Steak OutThe Steak Out, previously known as Vicki’s Sandwich Bar & Tea Rooms, in Hogshill street, has had a makeover. The country green has turned into warm shades of chocolatey browns and new menu boards on the wall indicate that there is so much more on offer. We sit down at one of the tables at the window. We like to watch the world go by. The décor is a combination of hushed leather and industrial metal, with an allure of a cigar bar. The licensed bar is beautifully kitted out with a wide selection of things to drink, and well laid-out tables in this relatively small space provide perfectly private and intimate little dining spaces.

Fresh Brew Marketing, Beaminster, The Steak OutAs the candle flickers on our table, we cast our eyes past the local supply of Clipper Teas that are for sale on the shelves beside us, to the Specials Board hanging on the wall. The Steak Out specialises in providing the best quality steaks. Whether you’re partial to some rump (no innuendos intended), or whether it’s a rib-eye that captures your heart – be assured that your tastes will be looked after. If it’s not steak that you’re in the mood for, a variety of other dishes on offer are guaranteed to satisfy too.

We settle on a rib-eye steak (medium rare), and a chicken breast with a bacon & brie cream sauce, a pint of lager and a cider for the lady. We have a chat to Steven Stanners, the owner and chef. We marvel at his culinary experience, having previously run the Greyhound Inn as well as been the chef at Winyards Gap restaurant. He tells us about the challenges of running a restaurant and the paths their lives have taken to develop The Steak Out into the place it is today. He tells us about their popular mid-week roast (£6 for 1-course, £8 for 2-courses), and reassures us that they still continue to provide the same sandwich take-away option as before – making sure that their focus is to attract new clientèle, while at the same time, not alienate their already existing patrons.

Fresh Brew Marketing, Beaminster, The Steak OutThe Steak Out offers a range of mouth-watering breakfasts and lunches too. “If it’s merely a drink that you’re after, then come and have a seat at the bar and enjoy some quiet time”, says Steve, looking out of the window as a gent and his Labrador walk by. Walking through the bar, you enter into another little room. “This is the chill-out area”, he says. Whether you want to sit quietly, enjoy a pint, and watch the rugby, or whether you want to hire this area out for stork parties or kitchen teas – this little room, clad with art by local artists, and comfortable welcoming leather sofas, is perfect if you are looking for a private space.

Steven uses only British 21-day matured steak and sources local ingredients for his dishes as far as possible.

Phil Collins lulls us along as we tuck into the meal put before us. The steak, cooked perfectly, is a welcome tummy-warmer to accompany an ice cold cider and we disappear into a food-euphoria for a little while. The chicken is cooked to perfectly and accompanied by fresh seasonal vegetables. Servings are not shy, and the accompaniment of side dishes will more than fill most diners.

The Steak Out is open daily from 8:00am – 5:00pm, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, service extends well into the evening for those looking for a place to have dinner.

We walk out into the Beaminster evening air. We feel satisfied. Full. But most of all, we feel that we’ve been with friends. Welcomed and appreciated. We make our way, drunk on good food, back home to catch our latest favourite episode of Mad Dogs.

(KatyPotatie)

Byadmin

I want my website to be number 1 on a Google Search… but how?

We recently had a conversation with a friend who is planning a huge finale to a great festival in our town. The gist of the conversation centered around a few tips to get their website recognised and found on search engines.

These were some of the tips we gave them

1: CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT
How SEO works is that search engines trawl the internet looking at common words that people search for. They capture the search terms, along with the URLs of the websites, of those search terms. The more content that is used from one URL, the more the search engine thinks, “ah! This URL / Site must be important if there is a lot of traffic to and from the website – ie, there are lots of people using it”. So the more it recognises the URL in a search, the more relevance it will apply, and the higher the ranking in the results.

So, to do that, you need to create content. You need to be posting relevant STUFF to the website, using a few key words that pretty much points to your website, on a regular basis and people need to be visiting the website.

There are a number of ways that you can do this:
– blog : A Blog allows you to constantly write info / updates etc onto your website and generate new content as often as you like!
– social media traffic with all references back to your website: Ensure that all your tweets and posts point back to pages within your website.
– effective Search Engine Optimisation application that sits on your website – where you are able to enter key terms that you think people would use to find your website.

2: Piggy Back off others
If you don’t have the time to spend on constantly sitting on the website and updating it with info, then another quick way to generate some traffic to your website is to piggy back off others. Have as many businesses / people as possible, share a link on their website that points back to yours.  You can encourage them to put something on their website by writing a little press release or an article for them – that they can simply copy and paste onto theirs. Ensure that you are on all community websites, and blogs, and newspaper sites etc, event calendars etc. It all helps in the trawling process – giving the Search Engines bigger reason to think that your site is important.

3: SEO Search terms
Ensure that your SEO terms are mentioned in your website as often as possible. (Esp in the opening paragraphs of any articles / pages you use). Ensure that whatever web administration you use, eg Joomla! , WordPress etc – all have a plugin installed that allows you to capture the necessary Metadata (keywords, descriptions etc).

4: Social Media
Marketing is largely online – the entire community is moving online – and trends in business certainly reflect that – advertising rates are going down rapidly and advertisers often struggle to meet quota as people believe in online presence much more than printed presence for many services. So, where Social Media helps is to generate additional search hits that point back to your website. Ie: when you tweet, you include a link to your website, when you put something on Facebook, you put a link to your website. The more people clicking on the link and going through to your website, the higher the interest and therefore the higher the rankings.

I used an example of a local community website that we developed recently. Having only launched the website 3 months ago, the struggle to have it discovered by leading Search Engines was number 1 on our priority list. Our vision was to use it as a portal into the village where locals as well as visitors could find news items, business information and more. The only reason why we have moved up the chain so quickly in these 3 months, is because we are CONSTANTLY posting new news articles…. so the content on the website is being renewed on a daily basis. We’re also then telling people via Twitter and Facebook, when there is a new news article, and we post the link to the website.
The number of unique visitors to the website (daily) has gone up from 10 a day, to now an average of 62 NEW and UNIQUE users every day. So word is spreading. And that’s only because we are adding and adding and adding content to the website.

If you are thinking that you may need some help with your SEO, or your website, why not give us a call.

Byadmin

Are your URLs SEO-friendly?

Quick tip of the day: 

Are the URLs on your website SEO-friendly?

ie: Do they read as a whole of lot gobble-di-gook, or do they actually make sense?

We are surprised at how often we come across websites where the URLs of each of the pages read something like this:

www.freshbrewmarketing.com/AB?12223-23AC/%455tr/89…. etc etc etc.

Where they could read as simple as:

www.freshbrewmarketing.com/services

Remember, the art of SEO is about making your website ‘findable’. Who’s going to find you, if your address is made up of a bunch of letters and numbers?

Didn’t think so.

Making the change is usually as simple as ticking a simple option in your website back-end system. (Assuming that your website is current, and up to date).

And if you’re still confused, why not get in touch and we’ll help you through it.