Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013

TGI Friday's: Cocktails, Tapas & Art ♥ @TGIFridaysUK

On Wednesday night, I had a text from one of my now best friends Rachael (who I actually met through blogging) asking if I wanted to be her plus one to a bloggers 'Live Art & Cocktails' event the next day at @TGIFridaysUK in Manchester. It was a night to celebrate their new range of cocktails - '100 cocktails as 100 unique works of art' as well as their tapas menu and of course I'm not one to turn down free tasters and, most importantly, free cocktails so I jumped at the chance!

I've only ever been to TGI Friday's once before and although the food was great, I have experienced the place it in a whole different way! We were firstly led upstairs to a bar where we were introduced to the event and were told how "they wanted their attendees to represent the cocktails as pieces of art."

Right from the start, Rachael and I could tell that these bartenders weren't just there to serve people their drinks and that be it.. they all had their own cheeky, fun sides yet were hugely knowledgeable about the drinks they were serving and it was a night that they could share their passion. We learnt very quickly that the bartenders know how to mix around 700 different cocktails.. amazing!

TGI's motto // Complimentary Cocktails Card // Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita

The evening was especially to showcase their newer cocktails inspired by American sweets and desserts: Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita, Passionate Rose and Lemon Meringue Pie. We were each allowed three complimentary cocktails and were also told to challenge the bartenders in our choices.. no mojitos! The first drink we both had was the Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita.. who in their right mind would refuse a drink like a strawberry margarita that included popping candy?! It was delicious and I suggest you all try it! - A winner right from the start! We were then told by people walking round to challenge the bartenders as much as we could and this made me realise how much they really know their stuff. The second and third time we were served drinks, I just mentioned some spirits I liked, and got given the most amazing cocktails! Rachael even saw some chocolate flakes behind the bar and her words were "I want something frozen, fruity, with tequila and a chocolate flake!" Amazingly, our barman @fastraksteve managed to come up with something! 

Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita // Fruity Frozen Cocktails (Can't remember the names!!) // Peach Crush

Throughout the evening, we were being served samples from TGI's new tapas menu alongside the cocktails. I would never have thought to go there for tapas but how wrong I was... the food was amazing and I can't wait to go back! - (It's a shame we had to share the food with other bloggers at the event as I'm sure we could easily have filled ourselves up all evening!!)

In between trying to keep myself from eating all the food, we wandered round the event to visit the artists that were there, each producing their own style of art to represent the three newer drinks on the menu. There was Caroline Dowsett, who painted a portrait inspired by the Passionate Rose drink, Millie Connors who made a lemon meringue pie from felt (of which we could take away packs to make a slice!) Lastly, there was Erin Echo who created illustrated Polaroid portraits for the guests based on their Twitter photos! 

Erin Echo // Caroline Dowsett // Millie Connors

As if that wasn't enough, the hugely talented bartenders from TGI's were also demonstrating their talents to the bloggers. A couple of them spent most of their evening showing off their flair bartending skills, of which Rachael had a go and was actually pretty good! Another of the barmen / waiters, Ron, was a magician.. you can find him on twitter @Ronismagic and he completely and utterly stunned us with his magic! I have never been more amazed by a close up magician before and will be telling everyone I'm photographing weddings for to get in touch with him... I just can't even explain how good he is! - You need to see it for yourselves!! (We even got his autograph for when he becomes famous!)
@RonisMagic magician // Rachael & I being wowed by Ron

I just want to say a huge thanks to all the TGI staff & guests for such an enjoyable evening, but also to everyone who organised it. Most of all thanks to Rachael for asking me to be her plus one! I had such a good evening and what I loved most was the genuine care the bartenders had for their guests, that they just wanted us all to have a good time and I loved that their passion for the cocktail menu utterly shone through!

Rachael & I with our first cocktails

I will certainly be visiting TGI's very soon for some more yummy food and cocktails, what a great place!!

(All photos are my own apart from photo of magician - some photos can be found on my instagram - search georgina_balmer_photography)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

How to save money on your Christmas shopping! (The easy way!)

I honestly don't know where this year has gone to, but what I do know is it's almost the time of the year where millions of presents across the country are being given and received! As the John Lewis & Coca-Cola adverts have been aired, I feel as though I am allowed to mention it... Christmas is under 50 days away!! And I'm so excited! However, I do know that a big worry at this time of year is always money... my reason for writing this post.

At this time of year, the shops start to get manic with people suddenly thinking 'I need to start my christmas shopping,' especially at the weekends.. So many people I know resort to internet shopping for this reason. Did you know that internet shopping can actually mean you receive money for free?!

It's all down to this website: Top CashBack

Quite a people I know are wary of these sites but there is nothing to worry about.. you simply follow the link to sign up, and before you go to the website you are intending on shopping on, you just write the name of it into the search box. There's only a few websites I know that haven't been registered on there, but you'd rather spend an extra 10 seconds typing in a website name to save you money, wouldn't you?!

Here's how to save money in a couple steps:
  • Once you've typed the website name into Top CashBack, press search. You will then be shown the website if it is registered on there.

  • If the website is there, then yay! Click 'Cashback' and you will be told what % of your own money you will receive back. 
  • Click 'Get Cashback Now' and you will be transferred to the site you want, the only difference is that Top CashBack will record how much you have spent and automatically work out the amount you'll get back.
  • Each site takes a different amount of time to register the money, but for the time being the amount will be in the 'pending' section of your account.
  • Once it is confirmed, the retailer will get in contact with this website telling them to pay you! It is all automatically done for you so there's nothing you have to worry about or sort out.
  • When the money has been made payable, you can 'pay out' using a number of different methods: Straight into your bank account (which I use), Paypal, or you can get a bit of a bonus if you transfer it into a Love2Shop voucher, Amazon gift certificate and a few others!
And that's it!
Whether you save 40p or £40, every little bit certainly does help! Especially if it means you can save more money than actually going into the shop on the high-street.  Before I signed up to this site I was a bit wary, but after a couple years and hundreds of pounds worth of savings, I haven't looked back! - I've even saved over £40 changing energy providers just going through this website first. So, from buying train tickets, to a domain name for a website, to clothing, see what you can save on!

I hope lots of you manage to save money on things you were going to buy online anyway! Don't forget to let me know how you're getting on.

Happy shopping & saving!

Photography Work

For those of you who don't know, I have a photography business alongside my university course. I have recently updated the newborn photographs on my page and would love if you could take a look.

Please feel free to get in contact if you would like any more information on the photography services I offer!