Monday, 15 January 2018

Why sometimes simple is best...

This weekend I had plans to go away on a trip which originally involved flying out from one airport, flying back to a different airport and travelling from one city to another half way through the stay. As much as I was initially looking forward to it, as the trip drew closer, I began to feel the weight of anxiety bearing down on me with alarming intensity. I was so caught up in wanting this trip to be perfect and I was growing increasingly stressed with regard to arranging every little detail in time. On the eve of departure, I ended up asking myself ‘why am I even going on this elaborate trip, when it is causing me so much unhappiness before I have even gone anywhere?’ It just did not feel right, so at the very last minute I decided spontaneously to change the plans completely and in doing so I felt that a huge weight had been lifted from me. Instead of the original, complicated trip which was booked, I made a reservation for the weekend at a cottage in Wales where we stayed last September.


I have travelled so much for work lately anyway, so I felt that a low-key weekend in Wales was exactly what my soul needed. All of this is leading me somewhat laboriously, to the point that sometimes keeping it simple is the very best thing that we can do for ourselves.
Instead of long and complicated travel plans involving planes, cars and trains, we were able to hop in our own car and drive directly to the cottage, with the car loaded with everything we would need for the weekend including a few treats.


The best part was that I felt all the anxiety I had been carrying around for weeks regarding the other trip vanish in a moment and with it came the realisation that we all need to slow down occasionally.
I feel that the nature of life in general has become so fast-paced nowadays and most of us spend our days rushing around, breathlessly hurrying to make sure that we reach meetings on time or in order to finish work by a certain deadline. This is all well and good, but balancing a busy lifestyle coupled with the incessant pressure to check and update social media can make modern life very draining -especially if you work in the creative sphere, when having a strong digital presence is vital to your very livelihood.



With all the demands we have placed on us, and indeed those which we place upon ourselves, it can sometimes feel as if there is no time left over to truly appreciate life. Watching birds take flight from the beach, observing a sailing boat gently swaying from side to side on the emerald waters of the estuary, feeling the kiss of salty sea air on my skin and curling up by the fire with a glass of wine - all of the tiny pleasures I experienced this weekend reminded me of what is truly important in life. We get so caught up in thinking what happened before or what is about to happen next, that the moment we are actually in often gets lost. I needed to slow the whirlwind down, to step away from it however briefly so that I could come back and face the new week with renewed vigour and determination.


At times, the most satisfying act of self-care can be to step back from everything for a couple of days and it can be especially helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed or if you are questioning what to do about something. All in all, the weekend was exactly what I needed and it was very simple which made it so special to me. We walked on the beach, went out for a meal, stopped at a few quiet pubs and absorbed each precious moment spent doing nothing in particular.



What do you all think, do you ever feel the need to step away from the whirlwind of life and what do you like to do to relax when you need to take some time out from everything? I hope you do not mind this introspective post, in fact I hope you will find something to take from it and that it will encourage you to make time for yourself. After all, we give so much of ourselves to others in this fleeting life that we must remember also to give something back to ourselves.

Until next time,

Camille 

xo



Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Thoughts on the end of the year with Daniel Wellington...

The end of the year is a time when many of us can feel a little tired after a busy twelve months, so it is just as well that we have a few days to get together with family and friends over the holidays, when we can relax and recharge. The past few days have been all about good food, drinks and company and I have relished the chance to switch off for a while and to reflect on the highlights of the year. 
I feel as though I have changed so much this year and as I look back and take stock, I realise that I have grown up significantly too. I have travelled regularly for work and the chance to meet so many people and to visit new places has renewed my enthusiasm for life. 


Over the past year, I have learned to let go of the things which were holding me back and now I am more eager than ever to embrace life. I no longer feel guilty about focusing on my goals and I feel so much more at peace since deciding that I want to look forward rather than wasting precious time looking back. All this talk of looking forward brings me again to the passage of time – another year has slipped by and here we are on the cusp of 2018. I do not often share outfits with you these days, but this is a little glimpse of what I often wear on the weekend. I like to be casual but to still look smart and I think this outfit just about manages those aims – I bought this Boohoo wrap coat a while ago and I paired it with my Yeezus t shirt, skinny jeans and ankle boots. 


The accessories I chose were a classic black choker, my Balmain sunglasses, a black chain strap bag and my new Daniel Wellington* classic 40mm Sheffield watch with rose gold details and matching rose gold cuff which is engraved with Daniel Wellington. This classic watch and cuff makes every outfit look so stylish and do not forget that you can use my exclusive personalised discount code COCOCAMI15 to get 15% off purchases at www.danielwellington.com and free shipping and returns are available worldwide too. 




This year, I have tried to be mindful and to be aware of the moment I am in rather than worrying about the past or the future. I have been reading lots of books which have helped to give me a new outlook and I have worked on projects I have enjoyed so much, which I can look back on with contentment in future years. I have even learned to smile more! After all, life is for living and I want to enjoy it for the wonderful and thrilling ride it can be. I am happier than I have been for a long time because I am doing what I love which is writing and I have got to know myself more and tried to stop being so hard on myself all the time. None of us are perfect after all - that is what makes us human. 


Once again, if you feel like treating yourself at the end of the year, you can enjoy 15% off at  www.danielwellington.com using my discount code COCOCAMI15 and there is free shipping and returns worldwide too. I love my Daniel Wellington watch and cuff set and I am excited to wear them more often.


With regard to new year resolutions, I have not made any yet - other than to enjoy every moment! 




I hope that you all had a lovely holiday time and I am wishing you all an amazing 2018. I am stepping in to the new year with shorter, lighter hair and I am feeling refreshed after the break and eager to embrace 2018. There is nothing like a hair cut to make everything feel brand new! 



Thank you very much for supporting me on this blog, I appreciate every single reader and I love sharing my life with you. Have you all made any resolutions and what are your plans for the year ahead? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Here is to the new year! 

Until next time,

Camille 

xo


*This post features items sent to me on a complimentary basis by Daniel Wellington. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Monday, 18 December 2017

A relaxing weekend with Daniel Wellington...

It is beginning to feel a lot more like the festive season is underway and this weekend I went to visit my family. There has been quite a lot of snow recently where they live, so it looked like a winter wonderland when I arrived. I have been looking forward to visiting for a while because I have been away travelling a lot lately and I haven’t had the time to catch up with them as often as I would like. Once again, this got me thinking about the importance of making time for the people we care about, even when life is busy. We did not have anything special planned and sometimes that is exactly what I need – it is good to relax and spend time doing nothing in particular with loved ones occasionally. We gathered around for some hot chocolate and caught up on all our news and then on Saturday evening we had a take away. On Sunday I headed out to do some last minute gift shopping with my Mum wearing my new Daniel Wellington watch and cuff*


If you are still looking for some last minute gift ideas, the Daniel Wellington Christmas bundles come in assorted sets containing either a watch and a cuff or a watch and an additional strap and they make a special gift. Don’t forget that you can use my exclusive personalised discount code COCOCAMI15 to get 15% off purchases at www.danielwellington.com and free shipping and returns are available worldwide too. The Christmas bundles all come in a beautiful black gift box tied with red ribbon for a luxurious feel and I chose a Christmas bundle which contains the classic 40mm Sheffield watch with rose gold and a matching rose gold cuff engraved with Daniel Wellington. 


We went out for a coffee over the weekend too and I got so many compliments on my Daniel Wellington watch. I have fallen in love with it because it goes with my entire wardrobe and it looks so elegant and classic. The large watch dial is definitely my style and I love how the watch looks with the delicate cuff. I teamed the watch and cuff with jeans, t shirt, boots and a teddy bear jacket. A simple black backpack with silver details completed the look. 


I love the minimalist style of this watch and I am looking forward to wearing it over the holiday season and next year. There are lots of gift sets to choose from on the Daniel Wellington website and you can customise your own gift set too and at the moment you can choose two favourites and get 10% off. Shop the gift sets here: https://www.danielwellington.com/uk/create-gift-set/


I invested in a few last minute gifts this weekend and I always try to buy a few bottles of champagne for people as an easy gift idea. 



What do you all think, did you have a good weekend and are you ready for the holidays? Would you like to spoil somebody with a Daniel Wellington watch or cuff and who would you gift them to? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,

Camille

xo




*This post features items sent to me on a complimentary basis by Daniel Wellington. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The perfect gift with Daniel Wellington...

Can you believe that Christmas is already just around the corner? This year seems to have gone so quickly and I have done so many things which I will remember for the rest of my life, such as travelling to five amazing countries to write travel features. Along the way, I have met some lovely people and had so many wonderful moments to treasure. Time is such a relative concept and I wear a Daniel Wellington* watch every day so that I am on time for all those important events and special occasions. I was delighted to receive a Daniel Wellington Christmas bundle in the post recently and you can use my exclusive personalised discount code COCOCAMI15 to get 15% off purchases at www.danielwellington.com  and free shipping and returns are available worldwide too.


This is a time of year to reflect and to look back at all we have done during the year, but also to look forward at the promise of a new year. The thought of a new year is always exciting to me, a blank canvas of twelve months full of possibilities is an exhilarating thought – but of course, before then there is time to celebrate with family over the holidays.


The Daniel Wellington Christmas bundles come in assorted sets, containing either a watch and a cuff or a watch and an additional strap, which all come in a beautiful black gift box tied with red ribbon, for a luxurious feel. My Christmas bundle contains the classic 40mm Sheffield watch with rose gold and a matching rose gold cuff engraved with Daniel Wellington. I will be wearing these constantly over the festive season and beyond as they make every outfit look so polished.


These gift sets are the perfect present for somebody special and the timeless elegance of a Daniel Wellington watch looks great on everybody. I relied on my Daniel Wellington watch to make sure I was on time for so many flights this year and I never travel without mine! They are just such a must-have accessory and the matching rose gold cuff is sleek and simple. I love to stack the watch and the cuff together, for that Instagram worthy look!


Have you done your holiday shopping yet? I am that sort of person who leaves it all until the last minute so I definitely need to go Christmas shopping soon! There are lots of offers on the Daniel Wellington website over the holiday season, so be sure to take a look. These bundles are a great gift idea and a classic watch is an accessory which will never go out of fashion.
What do you all think, would you like to spoil somebody with a Daniel Wellington watch or cuff and who would you gift them to? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,

Camille

xo




*This post features items sent to me on a complimentary basis by Daniel Wellington. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Reasons to be grateful...

Don’t you find that when you are grateful for what you already have, more and more things to be grateful about seem to naturally flow in to your life? It may surprise you to learn that I am an avid believer in the Law of Attraction and I have read quite a few key books on the topic such as The Secret and The Magic. It is fascinating because it has a solid scientific basis – as we know every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so the more grateful and happy we feel, the more we magnetise circumstances in to our lives for which to be grateful. Obviously, that is a very brief overview of the topic, but just the other day I was thinking about this again and remembering how important it is to practice gratitude. I have just come back from a trip to Verona which I was so fortunate to go on and I was so happy to have the experience, in fact I have travelled so much this year and I find travel such a positive experience which broadens my horizons. No sooner do I return from one trip than I am daydreaming about where I will travel to next. Travel is a big thing I am grateful for this year, but there are so many smaller things to be grateful for in the course of a day too. Here, I thought I would share with you some of the things I am grateful for, which make me feel content. Curling up with a good cup of tea is definitely something which makes me smile and I recently discovered Clipper Tea thanks to the team at Kilpatrick PR who sent me some to try.


I love the smooth taste of Clipper Tea and one of my favourite things to do is make a big mug of it, light a candle and curl up to read a book. Even during the evening when I am working on my laptop I make a mug of tea and take it upstairs with me to enjoy while I write. The Everyday Gold Tea is a luxurious blend of the finest teas selected from Kenya, Assam and Ceylon which results in a slightly malty flavour from the Assam while the Ceylon adds a fragrant, citrus note. Overall this tea has such a satisfying and rich taste.


I love taking a cup of the Clipper Everyday Organic Tea with me on a walk. I decant it in to a portable coffee cup and off I go. This variety is a refreshing and full-bodied blend of quality black teas, sourced from organic tea gardens and it is the perfect tea to take on my walk. Walks are another thing which I am grateful for in life - we live close to a marine lake and I try to walk around that at least once per day as it is a nice easy walk and the views over the water are beautiful. I find that walks in the fresh air make me feel more focused on whatever tasks I have to do during that day.


We have several pets which live at my parents place, our cat Iona, our dog Minnie, our horse Jock and our sheep Nelson. They are a source of such joy in my life and I love spending time with them when I go home to the Peak District. They have amazing personalities and they are so loving. Something else to be so grateful for, in fact when I start really looking at life I have so much to be thankful for. Of course, since I am a food writer I have to mention food too. Food is something I am  grateful for because not only has my love of food led me to my dream job as a writer, but also because I just love eating! I am always planning my next meal and I love cooking and eating out so food occupies a big place in my heart. Another thing I love is reading and I am always grateful for the time to bury myself in the pages of a good book. I love the author Phil Rickman, his Merrily Watkins series is so well written and his characterisation is some of the best I have ever come across. I also love the thriller writer Lucy Whitehouse and the historical fiction author Barbara Erskine who both write amazing books. So there you have it, a few of the everyday things I am grateful for.



I hope that you enjoy this gratitude themed post featuring Clipper Tea. I love to make lists of everything I am grateful for because it makes me focus on the good in life and it always puts me in a great mood.

What do you all think, have you tried Clipper Tea and which of these blends would you choose? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,

Camille 

xo




With thanks to Kilpatrick PR and Clipper Tea for the samples featured in this post. 

Friday, 24 November 2017

An evening at Bistrot Pierre...

Bistrot Pierre in Southport opened recently and this week I went along to dine there. I always like visiting Southport and the new Bistrot Pierre* is situated right in the centre of the town on the bustling Lord Street. Large windows, an elegant bar area and art lining the walls gives the restaurant an air of timeless glamour and we were warmly welcomed and seated at the window where we could watch the world go by. The interior design succeeds in conjuring up an authentic atmosphere, with polished wood and mirrors evoking Parisian bistro charm.


We were presented with two baskets of fresh bread with French butter and the wholemeal bread was crusty and light while the white bread was warm from the oven -both tasted delicious with the lightly salted butter. The vibrant atmosphere of the restaurant immediately brightened our mood on such a rainy November night and we sipped the fruity house rosé as we decided what to order.
There was a good range of starters on the menu and I decided on the fritôts de calamars, lightly spiced crispy fried squid with roasted garlic mayonnaise. The calamari was served in a generous portion and the golden, crunchy batter and the subtle squid flavour were complemented by the tangy aioli.


My dining companion decided on the crottin de chèvre for his starter and the creamy baked goats’ cheese with toasted walnuts, marinated beetroot, chicory, watercress and grain mustard dressing showed off a wealth of flavours which worked well together.


For the main course, my dining companion opted for the Entrecôte, 9oz rib eye steak served with dressed leaves, French fries and green peppercorn and brandy sauce. All the steaks at Bistrot Pierre are prime pasture-fed Scottish beef matured for at least 21 days and the steak was succulent while the sides rounded off this classic meal.



I decided on the croquettes de poisson and the fish cake was well seasoned with an appealing smoky flavour complemented by sautéed spinach, soft poached egg and hollandaise sauce. This was a hearty and satisfying main course and roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables made the ideal accompaniments.



We also ordered sides of Dauphinoise potatoes and French beans with toasted almond flakes, great dishes for sharing.



On to dessert and my dining companion ordered the café gourmand – a selection of desserts served with or without espresso. The berry macaroon, chocolate brownie, caramel profiterole and vanilla ice cream on an almond crumble were all equally tempting and I loved this dessert taster plate idea – which of course we chose to have served with espresso.


I deliberated between a few options before settling on the délice au chocolat, a rich chocolate brownie served with warm pouring chocolate sauce and salted caramel ice cream. No words are needed other than ‘wow’ this was so indulgent and perfect for a chocolate lover.


We had a lovely evening dining at Bistrot Pierre and I was impressed by the excellent food and service as well as the warm ambience, which added up to a superb experience. This is a welcome addition to the Southport restaurant scene and I hope to visit again in the near future; this is a good choice for casual dining in a relaxed environment and there is an array of dishes on the menu. 



Bistrot Pierre

377-385 
Lord St
Southport 
PR9 0AG




What do you all think, do you like the sound of this French inspired bistro and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,

Camille 

xo

*I was invited to try Bistrot Pierre, this meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Sampling the new menu at The Club House...

It is always a pleasure to dine at The Club House* in Liverpool, which brings the beach house style of the Hamptons to the centre of the city, with a cool design which features a dazzling chandelier made from reclaimed glass and lots of vintage ephemera on the walls. They have just added more dishes to the menu and I went there for dinner earlier this week to see what was new. We settled in and immediately ordered some nibbles to share. First up, the farmhouse loaf served with chicken gravy which proved to be a great choice as the crusty bread was still warm and it was a delight dipped in to the chicken gravy.


We also went for an order of Nocellara olives with a citrus and chilli marinade and the juicy olives were the perfect accompaniment to our drinks.


My dining companion is unable to resist a good burger and he choose the Lancashire cheese burger (which is new to the menu) which was perfectly cooked, while the toppings of smoked streaky bacon, Shorrocks 2-year aged Lancashire cheese and tangy homemade tomato jam brought out the flavour of the burger and the seeded brioche bun was light and fluffy. No further adornment was needed other than a pile of crispy seasoned fries.



Meanwhile, I was drawn to the beer battered fish and chips - a true classic which I never get bored of. For me, the enjoyment of fish and chips depends on each component being done well and this plate excelled, with everything cooked just right. The flaky fish was encased in golden beer batter made with speciality home brewed ale, while the minted peas, tartare sauce and generous portion of fries made this the ideal comfort food for a chilly November night.


We also added a portion of sweet potato fries to our order to share, not that we needed them! There is a good array of side orders on offer at The Club House such as Forbe's salad, house chips with truffle, garlic, rosemary and Berkswell cheese and raw vegetable couscous.


On to dessert and another classic I can rarely resist is sticky toffee pudding, so I ordered that as soon as I saw it on the menu. The sponge was light and springy and the rich toffee sauce was sublime against the vanilla ice cream. It is easy to see why sticky toffee pudding retains its popularity when you taste one like this.


My dining companion went for the cheese board, laden with a selection of cheeses including local ones. The Long Clawson Stilton, Berkswell hard ewes' milk cheese and Shorrock's two year aged Lancashire were served with celery, fig chutney and cheese biscuits and not a morsel remained - the ultimate seal of approval!


It was another lovely evening at The Club House and we enjoyed the meal and the relaxed atmosphere. It is always pleasant to dine here and with plenty of new dishes on the menu, now is the ideal time to try this popular restaurant and bar.



The Club House 
Chavasse Park
Liverpool One 
Liverpool 

L2 9SQ

0151 709 5366


What do you all think, do you like the sound of The Club House and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,

Camille 

xo 

*I was invited to try the new menu at The Club House, this meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.