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. 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Sampling the New York afternoon tea at NYL Restaurant...

I love afternoon tea as a treat once in a while and the New York Afternoon
Tea* at the NYL Restaurant at Aloft Hotel in Liverpool is something I have been hearing a lot about lately, so I was delighted to sample it recently. I love the interior design of NYL Restaurant which conjures up New York cool with its sweeping bar area, high ceilings and plush booth tables.


After a warm welcome I settled in at a spacious booth, where I was immediately served iced water – a simple touch, but one which I always appreciate when dining out. The New York inspired afternoon tea is available with Suki tea or Starbucks coffee and you can upgrade to a glass of Prosecco or a cocktail as an extra treat.



I decided on a glass of chilled Prosecco and I also sipped a smooth Starbucks coffee as I was served the towering afternoon tea which was a sight to behold, stacked with three tiers of savoury and sweet goodies.


The only dilemma was where to begin and I decided to start with the savoury selection of tasty sandwiches including smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese and tarragon, BBQ pulled pork sesame slider, Caprese with buffalo mozzarella, sundried tomato and basil oil on ciabatta and Rueben with pastrami, pickled cucumber and Dijon mustard on rye bread. All the sandwiches were delicious and my personal favourite was the Caprese, which had a balance of subtle flavours from the tangy tomato, creamy mozzarella and basil oil.


Next I progressed to the sweet treats of chocolate hot dog (dark chocolate rolled ganache, brioche bun, banana cream and fruit coulis) apple pie donut rolled in cinnamon sugar, chocolate chip cookies, lemon cheesecake and macaroons which are always a favourite of mine.


Of course, no afternoon tea is complete without scones and NYL Restaurant did not disappoint with their fluffy freshly baked blueberry scones served with clotted cream and jam which were a satisfying treat to round off the afternoon.


This afternoon tea definitely delivers on New York ambience and the plush surroundings of NYL Restaurant are always a lovely place to dine. This would be a perfect way to celebrate with friends or family at this time of year. New York Afternoon Tea at NYL Restaurant at Aloft Hotel is available Friday - Sunday from 12pm – 5pm. Booking is essential. Vegetarian options available upon request. Afternoon tea with Suki Tea or Starbucks coffee - £17.50 per person. Upgrade with a glass of Prosecco - £22.50 per person. Upgrade with a Liverpool Collection cocktail - £25 per person.





NYL Restaurant and Bar
The Royal Insurance Building

1 North John Street
Liverpool
 L2 5QW

0151 294 4069



What do you all think, do you like the sound of a New York themed afternoon tea and which of these cakes and sandwiches would you try first? 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 review the New York afternoon tea, this was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 


Sunday, 19 November 2017

The new menu at Stanley's Bar and Grill...

Stanley’s Bar and Grill at Titanic Hotel Liverpool has recently unveiled a new autumn menu and I was fortunate enough to be invited to a dinner to celebrate the new menu launch last week. We settled in at a long table overlooking the open kitchen which takes centre stage in the restaurant, which has a contemporary interior design incorporating the original features of this historic building such as high ceilings and exposed brick walls. 


We enjoyed a welcome cocktail of white port and tonic,a refreshing drink which was a pleasant way to start the evening and the ideal alternative to gin and tonic. As we perused the menu Executive Chef Bradley Lean came to talk us through the dishes, and his passion for culinary creativity was obvious as he outlined his inspiration for the new seasonal flavours and his preference for sourcing produce locally. The menu includes an impressive array of sophisticated dishes such as seared scallops with butternut squash, sage butter and pine nut granola alongside classics including 28 day dry aged steaks and beer battered fish with triple cooked chips.


I selected the parmesan risotto cakes for my starter - the golden crumb gave way to a fluffy risotto filling and the parmesan was complemented by a hint of smoked bacon and a drizzle of smoky house barbecue sauce.


We were treated to another round of cocktails next, this time garnished with popping candy which added an air of fun to the evening before we progressed to the main course.


I chose the spinach and poached egg tart with creamed mushrooms and truffle hollandaise, a vegetarian dish which showed creative flair and the rich truffle hollandaise contrasted well with the light filo and the poached egg. The 28 day dry aged steaks, beer battered fish and chips and the duck breast all proved popular choices on our table and the generous portion sizes were a hit all round.


We moved on to a smoky cocktail before dessert, inspired by an Old Fashioned but made with Kraken rum rather than whisky, this was another winner and the ideal cocktail to round off the evening.



On to dessert and sticky toffee pudding caught my eye before I decided on the chocolate torte with orange de fruit and orange sorbet, an enticing dish which saw the intensity of the chocolate offset by the zesty burst of the orange de fruit and sorbet, while the shards of chocolate were a nice finishing touch.



The evening showcased the range of tempting dishes on the new menu, which offers something for everyone. For casual dining in stylish surroundings Stanley’s Bar and Grill is not to be missed and be sure to sample the tempting choice of cocktails too!


Stanley's Bar and Grill
Titanic Hotel 
Stanley Dock
Regent Road
Liverpool
L30AN



What do you all think, do you like the sound of the new menu at Stanley's Bar and Grill 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

Monday, 13 November 2017

A luxury break in the Lake District at Ees Wyke Hotel...

The Lake District is an area of such outstanding beauty that it has inspired poets, writers and artists to create some of the greatest works ever known and the sense of peace the landscape evokes is immediate. I often holidayed in the Lake District as a child, but I have not been there for quite some time, so I was delighted to get the opportunity to review Ees Wyke Hotel* this weekend. 
This Georgian country house hotel is set in a stunning location in the village of Near Sawrey, surrounded by beautiful countryside overlooking Esthwaite Water. 



The house is refined and stylish and after a warm welcome from charming owner Richard Lee, we were shown to our en-suite room which had magnificent sweeping views of the lake. Our room was bright and spacious and it was furnished with both contemporary and antique items as well as every convenience for a comfortable stay, such as Penhaligons toiletries, tea and coffee and a decanter of sherry which showed a real eye for attention to detail.


 After settling in to our room, we went for a stroll to soak up the views across the water to the soaring Langdale Pikes and the treetops of Grizedale Forest, before driving to nearby Ambleside, a charming town full of cosy pubs, shops and restaurants.


Later, we headed back to get ready for dinner. Throughout Ees Wyke Hotel, sophisticated antique furnishings emphasise the historic appeal of the building, while the comfortable lounge areas are a great place to relax by the fire or to read one of the many books on the local area.


The restaurant has been recommended by the Good Food Guide as well as being awarded an AA Rosette and winning an award for its breakfasts, so we knew we were in for a treat.


My starter of seared scallops were succulent and perfectly cooked, with a balsamic glaze and tangy tomatoes and this dish showcased exactly why scallops are such a popular dish.


My dining companion enjoyed a starter of rolled black and white pudding with a haggis centre, glazed with veal jus, which was rich and hearty with a deep meaty flavour and a poached egg topping.


My fillet of sea bass was excellent, cooked to flaky perfection with a zesty Oriental style slaw of ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onion which perfectly offset the fish while roast potatoes, Chantenay carrots and green beans rounded off this delightful main course. 


My dining companion equally enjoyed his local lamb, cooked pink and tender with seasonal vegetables and jus which shone with simple flavours which worked well together. 


My dining companion chose the fresh fruit dessert, which was light and irresistible with accompaniments of vanilla ice cream and sabayon sauce glazed under the grill. There was a cheeseboard available too, served with a variety of regional cheeses. 


I can never resist sticky toffee pudding and this was springy and light with a silky hot butterscotch sauce - a true classic dessert. Overall this was an outstanding meal which illustrated exactly why the restaurant at Ees Wyke has received such acclaim. 


After dinner, we retired to the lounge for coffee and petit fours next to the roaring fire, which ended the evening on a relaxing note as we chatted with our dinner companions long in to the evening. 


The next morning, we headed downstairs to sample the award winning breakfast, feeling well rested after a peaceful night. There was a huge table in the centre of the dining room laden with cereals, fruit, yogurt and pastries as well as a huge casserole dish of porridge served with whisky and cream.


It only took one glance to see why the breakfast here is award winning and from now on I think I can only eat porridge with a drizzle of whisky and cream as this was so indulgent!


We enjoyed an array of toast and pastries before placing our orders for hot breakfast dishes, and my perfectly cooked poached eggs on toast were the ideal way to start the day, while my dining companion ordered bacon, sausage and fried bread with tomatoes. All the produce is locally sourced where possible and the sausages from Jonathon at Cartmel Valley Game and bacon from RB Woodhall were very tasty according to my dining companion.



The gargantuan breakfast spread really set us up for the day and after breakfast, we set off to explore the grounds again. Ees Wyke benefits from lake shore access via a pathway through the fields and the 45 minute walk down to the lake and back is not to be missed during your stay.



This hotel is a real find - Ees Wyke is a timeless and elegant country house which combines peaceful surroundings and exceptional views with top notch hospitality and food – if you are looking for a luxury country hotel for an autumn escape I would say that this is just the place to book in to and I look forward to returning in the future! The hotel owner is happy to take bookings directly and you can reserve a room over the phone or via their website.




Ees Wyke Hotel
Near Sawrey, 
Ambleside 
LA22 0JZ

015394 36393



What do you all think, do you like the sound of Ees Wyke and have you visited the Lake District? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,

Camille 

xo

*We were guests of Ees Wyke and this stay was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.