Tuesday 28 April 2015

Photo diary, a weekend in Anglesey...

Hi everyone, I hope that you are all having a great week. I have been away for a few days so I thought it would be nice to share my trip with you. Anglesey in Wales will always be a very special place to me. The island is very beautiful, offering a mix of stunning beaches, forests and scenery which is simply breathtaking. I have been going there on holiday for many years, and I find that it is the best place on earth to unwind and just forget about the everyday hustle and bustle of life. I was thrilled to return there on this weekend away and I cannot wait to share it with all of you.There is nothing better than going away for a few days, the excitement of packing and hitting the road is just so much fun. Judging by the amount of luggage I took with me, you would have thought I was going on holiday for three weeks instead of three nights. Typical of me!

We were lucky enough to stay at our friends cottage which is not far from Newborough beach, famous for the beautiful Llanddwyn Island which was once said to be inhabited by Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, You can follow her footsteps across the island and even make a wish at the enchanted well. There is a lovely lighthouse which boasts amazing views over the Menai Straits too, towards the Snowdonia mountain range. The cottage is cosy and quaint with exposed wooden beams, flagstone floors and a wood burning stove.

I made us a cooked breakfast to give us plenty of fuel for a day walking on the beach. Well, if you can't have an indulgent breakfast when you are on holiday when can you?! These sausages were vegetarian and they were so delicious. I love having a long and leisurely breakfast because it is a real treat to spend ages cooking and eating without having to rush.

 This amazing sky was just breathtaking and I could not wait to share it with you all. 

Newborough forest boasts an amazing array of wildlife. We were fortunate enough to see a woodpecker and there are many red squirrels living in the forest, as well as ravens which have the most haunting and beautiful call. It is so soothing to get back to nature when you lead a busy life, and would recommend a trip to Anglesey for anybody in need of some peace and tranquility. 

I love travelling around and exploring places, and there are so many beautiful beaches on the island which just beg you to throw a flask of coffee and a picnic in the car and go off for the day, pulling up at wherever catches your eye! Apart from Llanddwyn beach, my other favourite is called Porth Trecastell or 'Cable Bay'. I love to watch the waves crashing in and there are often surfers and body boarders in the bay. There is a beautiful walk to the top of the cliffs, where you can see right out to sea for miles and visit the Neolithic Barclodiad y Gawres Burial Chamber which has an amazingly spiritual atmosphere. It is simply incredible to think that thousands of years ago people built the burial chamber, and there are carved decorative stones inside.

Porth Trecastell or Cable Bay 
There are ponies roaming Llanddwyn Island which are a delight to see!

Llanddwyn Beach 

 Just one of the captivating sunsets on this trip! After staying out late in the evening, we felt cold and hungry and in need of the only food which does the trick when you need a massive dose of comfort food. Yes, you guessed it, pasta! These three cheese tortellini were delicious and of course, we had to wash our meal down with a bottle of wine too! 

The next day we went for a trip to The Church in the Sea. I love visiting this historic church and it is so picturesque.

The Church in the Sea or St Cwyfan's is situated on a tidal island

The historic Church in the Sea is well worth a visit for the stunning scenery and tranquility.

It was great to spend time just relaxing during the trip, we went on lots of picnics on the beach and we relaxed by reading The Sunday Times whilst sitting on the sand. Bliss! The weekend was over too soon because I had a work event on Monday evening, so we had to leave on Monday afternoon. but we made the most of every second and we cannot wait to return again soon.

 Reading The Times on the beach with a cup of coffee was perfect.

The lighthouse on Llanddwyn Island is so pretty.

So that is all from me for now, have you all been away recently or do you have any exciting travel plans to share with me? I love to read about what you are all up to, so please let me know.
Many thanks for reading this post!

Until next time,


Sunday 19 April 2015

Pizza my heart...

Sorry to be so predictable, but you all know by now that I cannot resist a good (or bad!) pun. 'Pizza my heart' seemed like an appropriate title for this post, because feeling a little world weary after a busy week, my partner and I headed out for the ultimate comfort food. Yes, naturally I mean pizza. Is there any better cure for the blues than a plate of cheese-topped perfection? Whenever I visit an Italian restaurant, I always pretend to study the menu with a great deal of attention, taking my time to deliberate over the various options. In truth however, my order is usually a fait accompli before I even consult the menu. It just has to be pizza! We headed to our local Piccolino on Cook Street in Liverpool for a late lunch, and a little much needed relaxation. To start our meal, we ordered a hand-stretched, wood fired garlic bread, topped with Fontina and Buffalo mozzarella. This was a great note to begin things on, with the delicious bread dripping in herb infused oil and the layers of melted cheese firing an arrow straight through my jaded heart! Feeling revived, I sipped my chilled Chardonnay and waited for the pizza to arrive!

I had ordered the Pollo Parmigiana, a delicious wood fired pizza topped with ripe and sweet tomatoes, chicken, mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil.This was a sensation of comforting flavours and the crispy wood fired crust was a doughy pillow of happiness! My partner had the Quattro Salami, a tasty delight of Finocchiona, Milano, soppressata & ‘Nduja salami topped with melted mozzarella.

 As usual, we feigned horror at the thought of dessert, before quickly deciding on the Torta al Limoncello (Limoncello cheesecake) and the Tortino al cioccolato (warm chocolate fondant & caramel ice cream). We each ate half and I began with the chocolate fondant, the sensational rivers of warm melted chocolate were exquisite with the cool tang of salted caramel ice cream. Suffice to say I was reluctant to relinquish the other half, but I was somewhat pacified when I bit into the deliciously refreshing Limoncello cheesecake, the perfect counterbalance to the gooey decadence of the chocolate fondant. The cheesecake was lighter than air and pleasantly zesty, atop a crunchy biscuit base.

After a brief pause, we rounded off our meal with espresso and a latte, which were made from rich Illy coffee. Delicious! We wandered off just in time to see a beautiful sunset at the waterfront, which I managed to get a photograph of to share with you all.

 I would recommend Piccolino to anybody who loves rustic Italian food, they have a great range of 
meat, fish and vegetarian options...not to mention those incredible wood fired pizzas! The service is efficient and friendly and the interior of the restaurants is chic and modern. We had a simply lovely time, which is why Piccolino is always such a firm favourite of ours.

So that is a little update from me, what have you all been up to lately? Remember I love to read your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post! 

Until next time,




14a Cook Street, Liverpool, L2 9QU
 0151 236 2555

Thursday 16 April 2015

Spring has sprung...

Don't you just love it when the first hint of spring is in the air? Birds are singing, the sun is shining and flowers are gradually coming into bloom. So, it is only fitting that I celebrate this onset of springtime by wearing a very seasonal outfit of...head to toe black. Yes, I know...not very bright or breezy, but when it comes to fashion you lovely readers know by now that I am rather partial to the darkest hue. It hides a multitude of sins, looks effortlessly chic and has a mysterious air to it that I just love. So, having rather neglected the style side of things lately I thought I would share with you what I wore today for an afternoon of meetings and restaurant visits. This all black ensemble consisted mainly of good old Primark, I swear by their high-waisted skinny jeans (so flattering!) and this sleeveless jacket I purchased there recently is so elegant and looks like a piece I saw in Zara but without the hefty price tag. Oh and yes, in case you were wondering I was absolutely freezing, but I am happy to suffer in the name of fashion....!


 Suffice to say that the  weather did not fall into the springtime theme of this post, and the wind was steadily blowing a gale as I tried to get some suitable pictures taken. Hashtag blogger problems! Ah, the positively Mediterranean weather of April in England is almost too hot to handle! The windy weather  meant that the floppy hat did not make the final cut of this outfit, but it looked cute for photographic purposes. I do love a good floppy felt hat to add that certain je ne sais quoi to a look.

I have been loving the new Batiste* Eden dry shampoo lately too, this floral edition has a beautiful springtime scent and it keeps your hair gorgeously scented and volumised throughout the day.
What have you all been up to lately? Remember, I love to read your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



This item was sent to me for review on a complimentary basis. All opinions expressed are my own and honest. 

Saturday 11 April 2015

Dinner at The Lawns restaurant...

As I mentioned in my last post, as part of our lovely stay at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa we were lucky enough to dine at The Lawns * restaurant where we enjoyed an amazing tasting menu from the wonderful chef Matt Worswick who is aspiring to gain a Michelin Star here, having already held one when only in the infancy of his career. His prowess for creating wonderful dishes which marry exquisite flavour combinations is renowned. The Lawns Restaurant has an impressive three AA Rosettes and we were warmly welcomed by the restaurant manager James, who offered us a seat in the chic bar area whilst we perused the menu prior to dinner.
We were immediately brought two glasses of excellent brut champagne which was dry and crisp. Alongside the champagne were perfectly presented canapés of Lavoche cracker, horseradish foam, pickled pear and a dish of deliciously bitter marinated olives. We were so busy talking that we didn't really look at the menu, but we were already fixed on the idea of trying the tasting menu, since I had heard all about what a glittering showcase the tasting menu is of Matt’s culinary expertise.
 After our champagne we were whisked to a huge table at the head of the restaurant, affording us a wonderful view of the room. James explained to us that the amazing room was formerly a ballroom of Thornton Hall and I could certainly imagine why. The stunning Milanese chandeliers above lend a tremendous glamour against the backdrop of the carved wood panelling and ceiling and the simply magnificent fireplace. Also dominating the room was the cheese trolley which I had heard all about! I hadn't even tasted the Amuse-Bouche yet I was already thinking of the cheese course. Typical! Before long we were presented with a delightful slate of three miniature loaves of freshly baked bread served with exquisite Abernethy butter, churned in the hills of County Down Ireland. The loaves were farmhouse, granary and onion with onion seed. We broke them apart eagerly and they crumbled away without protest in the way that only freshly baked bread can. This is what bread should be like and it does wonders for the soul as well as the taste buds when swathed in a generous chunk of Abernethy butter!

The Amuse Bouche was an excellent artichoke ragout with artichoke crisps, cep mushrooms and parmesan foam. This was a superb start to the meal and the soft and slightly sweet flavour of the artichoke contrasted beautifully with the rich parmesan foam. We ordered an excellent bottle of chilled Chardonnay and as we sipped the sharp and dry wine, the stars twinkled in the inky sky outside and the dining room began to fill with the contented chatter of other diners who like us were eager to enjoy the superb food. The first course looked and tasted perfect, a wild mushroom tortellini was filled with crisp barley and the veal reduction and truffle oil it was accompanied by were sublimely decadent. The pasta of the tortellini was the best I have ever tasted and it simply melted in the mouth. The crispy barley meanwhile added a superb crunch of texture.

The artichoke Amuse-Bouche.

Mushroom Tortellini.

The next course was seared Scottish scallop with charred leek purée, maple glazed chicken wing and chicken 'crackling'. This was again genius as the tender and light scallop was offset by the mild onion like flavour of the leek and followed by the wonderfully sweet punch of the maple glazed chicken wing. The chicken crackling again added a wonderful texture.

Seared Scottish scallop.

Next we had an intermediate course of chicken and ham hock terrine, swede textures and cumin mayonnaise. This chilled terrine was a perfect counterbalance to the other dishes, it cleansed the palate and I loved the woody and nutty flavour of the swede against the terrine.

                                                        The chicken and ham terrine.

The second seafood dish was a perfectly cooked Red Mullet, Parmesan gnocchi, squid, basil oil, black olive purée and crumb. I do not know where to start with this as it was a revelation. The Red Mullet flaked perfectly on the fork, it takes a real skill to cook fish to such perfection and the Parmesan gnocchi and the sweet yet savoury basil oil really brought out the flavour of the fish. The slight bitterness of the black olive purée and crumb brought out the richness of the other flavours and the tender squid brought a wonderful texture to the dish .

Red Mullet with Parmesan Gnocchi.

It was time for the fifth course and we were delighted to see the beautifully presented Rose Veal, confit potato, onion purée and Morel mushrooms set before us atop the pristine white tablecloth. The veal was cooked to succulent perfection and the confit potato and onion purée added a lovely contrast which did not overwhelm the meat.  The Morel mushrooms were rich and earthy in flavour and they added a fairytale element to the dish with their honeycomb texture and cone-like shape.

Rose Veal with confit potatoes.

What an incredible selection of savoury courses we had enjoyed and it was time for a symphony of sweet to round things off. The first of two desserts was pineapple cheesecake, sorbet & roast pineapple with coconut gel. Just wow, this was everything a dessert should be, the rich cheesecake was sweet but not overly so, with a beautiful tang added by the roast pineapple and a tropical note from the delightful coconut gel. A sorbet added lightness and refreshing qualities. Suddenly I was on a desert island soaking up the sun on a white sand beach fringed with palm trees. This was such an evocative dish, which immediately brought sunny shores to the elegant and refined restaurant dining room. Bravo Matt, bravo.

Pineapple cheesecake with coconut gel.

The second dessert arrived, and I thought it couldn't possibly equal the first, but how wrong can one be? An exquisite soufflé of raspberry with elderflower sorbet and elderflower granola was a delight to the senses. The use of elderflower in this dessert was a maverick and genius touch which I had not encountered before which was simply wonderful. The soufflé was pillow like, and within its lighter than air castle, delightfully tangy raspberries awaited. The harmony between the sharp raspberries and the sweet, heady and fragrant elderflower was just divine and summer had suddenly arrived on this innocent little plate. This was served with an excellent dessert wine, the sweetness of which drew out the purity of the elderflower sorbet.

Raspberry soufflé with elderflower sorbet and elderflower granola.

Instead of having cheese before dessert, we saved the best until last and despite (pretend) howls of protest to the lovely James that we were full, we acquiesced after a split second and watched in awe as he talked us through each one (from memory!) of the vast selection of cheese on offer.
We opted for Taupiniere, a sharp yet soft goat's cheese, mild and creamy Lancashire Bomb, Isle of Mull cheddar, mature Saint Maur goat's cheese and the more daring blue-veined Montbriac and the highly-prized Epoisses de Bourgogne which is made in the tiny village of Epoisses in France and beloved of cheese enthusiasts. Once a favourite of Napoleon, Epoisses is famed for its strong odour yet creamy taste, indeed it smells so strong that it has been banned from public transport in France!   A selection of crispy crackers and nutty bread, truffle honey and various jellies complemented the cheese perfectly.

 The amazing array of cheese, yet James new the description of each one off by heart! 

Petit Fours.

After that there was even a further treat in store of wonderful handmade petit fours, such as fudge made from the Irish butter and salted caramel truffles  That was it; we were finally at an end of this lavish meal which in fact cannot simply be called a meal as this does not do it justice. What we had was an experience, one which I will never forget. This goes way beyond simply eating, although the wondrous food was indeed the star of the show and the finesse and execution of the dishes was a marvel. The excellent service and vast knowledge of restaurant manager James and his team were a joy to experience, as was the refined setting of the restaurant. Every detail was perfect and each dish was simply a work of art. Thank you so much to Chef Matt Worswick for allowing us to experience such a decadent culinary tour de force and to James and the team for making our evening so special.

Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa
Neston Road
Thornton Hough 
0151 336 3938

What do you all think, would you like to experience the fine dining of Chef Matt Worswick at The Lawns? Remember I love to read your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



I was kindly invited to review The Lawns restaurant therefore our meal was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and honest.