#blogclub

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photo by Black Heart Creatives

Today marks a year since the very first #blogclub. Apparently I’ve never written about it here, which is weird since it was such a big part of last year so thought it was about time.

A few years ago, I was thinking “hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have a regular meetup with some awesome bloggers where you can just talk about blogging and not have other peoples eyes glaze over”. Because it’s me, I never really did anything about it, but the idea didn’t go away.

When she was working at Viral Ad Network, Sophie contacted me to see if I was interested in having YouTube ads on Bonjour, Blogger! Since I wouldn’t click on those ads, I didn’t think anyone else would, so it wouldn’t be worth having them on my site, but we got chatting, and ended up creating #blogclub.

We’ve had a few meetups but the thing that I’m really happy about is building up the little group of Bristol bloggers. On Friday, Sophie, Lily, Lyzi and I headed to Emily’s house for spag bol, booze and a lot of talking and it was excellent! It was what I wanted to do all those years ago when I started the UK Bloggers Map – so thank you everyone who has supported #blogclub in someway in 2014 – I’m already looking forward to doing many more this year!

Thanksgiving at Goldbrick House

I’ve talked quite a few times about how I love Thanksgiving, so when I saw Goldbrick House were doing a Thanksgiving themed Fabulous Food Club this year, I had to go.

Potted brisket of beef, marinated and braised in beer on sour dough toast and BBQ relish. So good! @goldbrickhouse

A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on

Pears wrapped in streaky bacon with maple syrup dressing, roasted pecans and blue cheese @goldbrickhouse A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on

Blackened salmon with gumbo @goldbrickhouse

A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on

Blueberry sorbet @goldbrickhouse – I could eat so much of this!

A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on

Finally, pumpkin pie with cinnamon popcorn ice cream @goldbrickhouse A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on

Although it wasn’t the traditional Thanksgiving meal I was expecting, it was really good, and with a glass of wine included in the £25 ticket, it’s excellent value for money.

In Here, It’s Always Friday…

With the super sad (but exciting for her!) news that SJ is moving this month to San Francisco, we’re all feeling like we need to squish in as much quality Bristol blogger babe time in with her as possible. The invite from TGI Friday’s Cabot Circus to come and check out their new menu items couldn’t have appeared in my inbox at a better time. We met Lily and Lyzi there and had to try some of their cocktails…the barman asked us what sort of thing we liked to drink and then chose something for us. I ended up with a Tokyo Iced Tea – essentially the same as a Long Island Iced Tea, but with Midori instead of gin, and lemonade instead of coke. SO GOOD.

Hayley and SJ at TGI Friday's Bristol by www.paulgroomphotography.co.uk

Much nicer photo than any of the others in this post of me and SJ by Paul Groom

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TGI’s in Cabot was a bit of a surprise to me when it opened. When I heard the news that it was opening, I was wondering which restaurant was closing, because there didn’t seem to be any space available, but all of a sudden, a beautiful, huge restaurant suddenly appeared in the space that was once a tiny temporary place for the Calendar Shop.

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Sipping cocktails, and gossiping more than people who saw each other the night before really needed to, we grabbed a table and pored over the special new menu items – Cabot Circus is one of the few branches that are trying out these new items, and if they’re popular, then everywhere else will get them!

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It was difficult to choose, even with just a few items, but TGI’s had thought of that and had plates on display so you could have a look…

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The top row are the starters – l-r, hot wings, bruschetta, Jack Daniels pork belly, and Jack Daniels beef chilli nachos. Bottom row, l-r are two of the mains – the deep south grill and the Warrior burger

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My starter was pretty easy to choose – I went for the Jack Daniels coated pork belly (of course), and it was delicious. The last time I went to TGI’s was (ashamedly) about 10 years ago when I worked for a Whitbread company and would abuse my discount by requesting ALL the JD sauce for my chicken, so it was nice to see it on the menu still!

Lyzi and Lily went for the hot wings, and SJ went for bruschetta (which was so yum, I had to steal a little bit!)

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Our mains came out quickly, and I started to get the Fear. You know, that fear when you’ve ordered something and it’s much bigger than you expected? The Warrior burger is essentially two burgers stacked on top of each other – and I’m not meaning in a Big Mac way, it is literally two burgers with all the toppings staked together. Erk.

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I tried to figure out how to eat it. Face first?

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Try to hold it all together and shove it in my face?

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SJ went for the much more lady like knife and fork way, despite the debate previously about eating burgers with cutlery

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Lyzi and Lily both went for the hot dog, which came on top of a bucket of chips. Deceptively small looking!

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We battled through the mountains of meat, but couldn’t quite manage it! We had such a fun evening though, thank you TGI’s! We’re already looking at having our next Bristol bloggy meal meetup (meat up?) there!