Archive for March, 2013

Flipping Egg-cellent!

March 28, 2013 - 2:46 pm No Comments

It doesn’t look like spring as we look out of the office window, and we don’t feel ‘full of the joys of spring’ when walking Chairman Charlie(Dog) and the other Board Members in freezing wind, sleet and snow. BUT, Easter is upon us – so here’s one of Shaken & Stirred‘s Easter Cocktails. Mix it up at home, from ingredients which you will find in most supermarkets… then light the fire, put a good film on and enjoy!

Shaken & Stirred's Chocolate Easter Flip

Shaken & Stirred’s Chocolate Easter Flip

Shaken & Stirred Chocolate Easter Flip
Shaken & Stirred’s Chocolate Easter Flip is a play on a classic ‘flip’, featured in the 1862 ‘Bon-Vivant’s Companion’. Created with delicious dark and intense chocolate liqueur and luxurious cognac, once shaken together with egg and cream the cocktail will have the froth that gives it the ‘Flip’ name. It’s a fabulously extravagant cocktail, perfect as a warming indulgence to sip over Easter – like drinking chocolate Easter eggs!

Ingredients
35ml Cognac
25ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur (or similar)
3 Dashes orange bitters
1 Whole egg
1tsp Caster sugar
25ml Fresh single cream
Orange zest
Grated chocolate

Method
* Shake the first six ingredients together
* Strain into a bowl or egg shaped glass
* Grate over dark chocolate and orange zest
* Garnish

Glass: Bowl or egg shaped glass

Garnish: Add a chocolate ‘matchstick’ as a stirrer

Shaken & Stirred's Chocolate Easter Flip (2)

Shaken & Stirred’s Chocolate Easter Flip

Photography, Cocktails and Mayhem

March 13, 2013 - 6:55 pm 998 Comments

It’s an old saying – but a true one – that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is why, whether the company we are working with is an internationally renowned brand, a small start-up or a local charity, we advise all our clients to ensure they have good photography.

The first step to good photography is a photographer you can trust! At Gecko we have worked with some great photographers, who have created eye-catching images, which have helped our clients to gain editorial coverage in all kinds of media from beauty and the dirt to The Wolverhampton Express and Star, and everything in between!

Last week, we were in Martin Cleveland‘s studio with some of our favourite people creating some fabulous images.

First Tom from Shaken and Stirred, who has created some delicious, new cocktails from simple ingredients, mixed up the first of his scrumptious drinks.

Tom, of Shaken and Stirred, Mixing It Up!

Tom, of Shaken and Stirred, Mixing It Up!

Next up Gecko was in charge of props, styling and art direction. The aim was to create simple, ‘clean’ and effective photography that could be used in both consumer and trade media.

Finally, it was up to our photographer to capture the essence of the new cocktails that Shaken and Stirred has created

Cleveland Photography In The Studio (Sorry taken on iphone and slightly out of focus!

Cleveland Photography In The Studio (Sorry taken on iphone and slightly out of focus!)

Working quickly and efficiently, we managed to shoot eight separate cocktails, for various uses (cut out, styled, quirky angle, etc) in just half a day.

Like one of Shaken and Stirred’s cocktails at times it was Mayhem… but good fun – with some fantastic final results!

Mayhem with Martin Cleveland

Mayhem with Martin Cleveland

Here’s one of the images we created for Shaken and Stirred, The Rhubarb and Custard Sweet Treat – it contains CUSTARD!!!

The Shaken And Stirred Rhubarb and Custard Sweet Treat

The Shaken And Stirred Rhubarb and Custard Sweet Treat

If you’d like to get your products into the media (or create images for your website, newsletters, exhibition stand or really any reason) and would like us to help you with your photography (we know some great photographers and stylists) get in contact, we’d love to hear from you.

For our next post – and our readers delectation – we’ll be posting more images and the recipes for some of Shaken and Stirred’s fabulous cocktails.

Winning Fundraiser For West Berks Mencap

March 12, 2013 - 2:32 pm 1,029 Comments
West Berks Mencap

West Berks Mencap The Scene Is Set

Following a fabulous day of fun and fundraising on Friday, 1st March everyone at West Berkshire Mencap was happy after a successful day at the charity’s annual Corporate Race Day. Now the money has been counted they are even more delighted having raised an amazing £24,000, double the amount raised in recent years. A fabulous boost in such difficult times, West Berks Mencap would like to thank everyone who supported the sell-out event!

West Berks Mencap Race Day Guests Are Ready For Fun and Fundraising

West Berks Mencap Race Day Guests Are Ready For Fun and Fundraising

Cuts to West Berkshire Mencap’s funding by West Berkshire Council of some £64,000 over two years may have left a huge hole in its budget, but supporters, volunteers and everyone at this much needed local charity, are doing all they can to ensure the effects are kept to a minimum. So, it is particularly great news that the annual Corporate Race Day was such a huge success. Although the weather wasn’t the cheerful Spring day guests, including Sir Chay and Lady Blyth, Bill Turnbull and Lorraine Chase, had hoped for, the room at Newbury Racecourse was filled with happy faces. After mingling with a glass of bubbly, the guests found their tables and were invited to join in with a pre-lunch game of heads and tales! Then along with top tips for the afternoon’s races, there was a raffle and an auction. The auction and raffle included a visit to BBC Breakfast and a tour with Bill Turnbull, a tasting lunch at the Vineyard Stockcross, a tour of Park House Stables, a stay at the Rickety Bridge Country House in South Africa, a signed copy of Pippa Middleton’s book, a meal for two at the Dundas Arms and a floral display.

Bill Turnbull, Lady Blyth, Sir Chay Blyth, Leila Ferguson and Linda Tillotson at WB Mencap Race Day

Bill Turnbull, Lady Blyth, Sir Chay Blyth, Leila Ferguson and Linda Tillotson at WB Mencap Race Day

We sent out a press release with a quote from the CEO, to reiterate the main news story:
“We were thrilled by the amount of support West Berkshire Mencap received for the event, both locally and nationally, and that people understood that West Berkshire Mencap is a local charity that has to raise its own money,” commented Leila Ferguson, CEO of West Berkshire Mencap. “I heard several people say how brilliant it was to have such fun raising money for such a lovely, local charity. This year we were pleased the event sold out and even more so that we have already sold some tables for next year. We are completely amazed that we have raised £24,000, which is simply fantastic in such difficult economic times! And, to top everything off, we were really delighted that at the event Lorraine Chase agreed to become one of our patrons.”

Gecko with Leila Ferguson, CEO of WB Mencap

Gecko with Leila Ferguson, CEO of WB Mencap

We’ve worked with West Berks Mencap for sometime now, and enjoy visiting their annual Corporate Race Day, where we look after the journalists and photographers. We ensure they get the images they want and speak to the right people. This year we had a great turn out from our local media, and editorial is still coming in. In fact, Leila was interviewed by one of our local radio stations, Breeze Newbury yesterday. http://newbury.thebreeze.com/ and the local newspapers have both covered the event too.

On the day the editor of one of the charity’s local magazine’s joined us, and talked to a number of the guests including the BBC Breakfast Presenter (who we discovered is absolutely charming to work with) and West Berkshire Mencap’s Family Advisor, Gill Leech. Here’s the piece they put live: The Buzz Magazine

One of the other guests was Trustee Paul Pointer (who is a local accountant and knows all about the charity’s budget!) So, we ensured there was a quote from him too:
“This year West Berks Mencap needs to do more fundraising than ever, so it’s fantastic news that our corporate race day was so successful. Raising such a huge sum of money is a boost to everyone, not just to funds” said Paul Pointer, Trustee. “We’d particularly like to thank all the local companies who were involved whether they came on the day, bought one of the incredible prizes in the auction or simply donated something for the raffle. We appreciate all the support we receive from local businesses. If there are companies who want to get involved next year, or buy tickets early, they should contact West Berkshire Mencap centre on 01635 41464”.

The Geckos would like to thank the lovely Jo Pratt (TV Chef, who has just launched a book called The Madhouse Cookbook!) and our friends at award winning restaurant The Vineyard Stockcross, who provided fabulous prizes which helped to raise funds for the charity.