Monday 28 March 2016

An evening at Veeno...

You all know by now how much I love a good wine tasting, so I was pleased when an invitation to an evening of food and wine at Veeno landed in my inbox recently. Veeno is a cute Italian wine café which quickly became a firm favourite of mine when it opened in August last year on Castle Street in the heart of the business district of Liverpool. Veeno was founded when two Italian guys met by chance in Manchester in 2013. They discovered that they both missed the Italian tradition of the Aperitivo, the ritual of meeting for drinks and Spuntini (platters of nibbles) after work, and the first Veeno store opened later that year, bringing customers the chance to enjoy delicious platters alongside fine Italian wines.


I have popped in to Veeno many times to enjoy some of the impressive family produced Sicilian wines  as well as the Spuntini, platters of Italian food. The wines served are exclusive to Veeno and they are sourced from the family vineyard.
We were welcomed by the team with glasses of prosecco and we took our seats to enjoy a night of wine paired with a selection of Spuntini chosen to complement each wine. 

Huge platters were brought to the table arrayed with cold meats, cheese, olives, oil and bread. The Spuntini at Veeno consist mainly of platters of meats and cheeses which are imported solely from Italian producers.

We commenced proceedings with Tasari Catarratto, this is the house white at Veeno and it is a dreamy easy drinking white with flavours of apricots and honey similar in style to a Pinot Grigio. We ate bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar alongside the Catarratto, the simple flavours of which really offset the wine.

We moved on to Terre di Giumara Inzoli from Sicily which was a dry and fruity white wine paired perfectly with the bread and olive pâté. Moving on to the reds, Frappato Nerello Mascalese was a smooth and spicy treat which was delightful with the salami Milano it was paired with. A full bodied Nero d’Avola was a complex wine with smooth layers, which we enjoyed with glossy wafer thin strips of Parma ham. We learned that palm trees are sometimes planted around the vines so that palm oil nourishes the soil and ameliorates the growing conditions. Cusora crowned off the selection of reds, this is the Veeno spin on a Cabernet Sauvignon a smooth and bold wine which is softer than a French Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine expert Ryan talked us through the wines and he was so knowledgeable, answering all our questions before he kindly treated us to a sample of Cutaja, a special 2013 Nero d’Avola reserve which was a vibrant red full of rich fruit.

The delights of the evening did not end there, as we enjoyed huge slabs of Veeno tiramisu, layers of sweet perfection which went beautifully with Marsala Superiore Riserva which is aged for 5 years to create a syrupy dessert wine. I am not usually a great fan of dessert wines but this was a sensation with plenty of currant flavour and a creamy smoothness which rounded off the evening tasting. We were encouraged to drizzle a little Marsala over the tiramisu, which really enhanced the flavours of the dessert and made it even more indulgent. 

There are so many reasons to visit Veeno, from the boards and platters to the selection of Italian wines and the cosy ambience. I really enjoyed the night and I would recommend a Veeno wine tasting to anyone who enjoys wine and wants to learn more about it in a relaxed and welcoming environment. The wine tastings on offer can accommodate anywhere from two guests to large parties, so there is definitely a Veeno wine tasting to suit everybody.

What do you all think, have you ever visited Veeno and do you like the sound of a relaxed wine tasting which quenches a thirst for knowledge as well as wine?! As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

46 Castle St
L2 7LA

0151 236 1691

Until next time,



Wednesday 23 March 2016

I finally joined YouTube...!

Hi everyone, I hope that you are all well! I just wanted to bring you a slightly different post today to let you all know that I have started a YouTube channel at long last. I love watching YouTube videos especially vlogs, so I am starting my channel with vlogs for now. I think it is a natural progression from the blog and the work I do as a freelance writer...basically anything creative is what I enjoy, so I thought it was high time to take the plunge with YouTube. I am not promising amazing videos with glossy editing as I am very much learning as I go along with this! Please bear in mind this is a work in progress, but I am looking forward to sharing a little about my life and work and some of the restaurant reviews and events I go to. I would really appreciate those of you who wish to subscribe to my channel doing so, and of course I will do likewise if you have a channel too! Check out my first vlogs below and again please bear in mind, this is my chance to show you a little more about me as a person but these are raw vlogs made by me, not professional quality by any means and I do not even have a channel artwork as yet! 

As always, I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. Please like my videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you should wish to!

Until next time,



Thursday 17 March 2016

Dinner at 60 Hope Street...

Hope Street is one of my favourite places in Liverpool, due to the magnificent Georgian architecture which I could happily stare at all day. Another reason I love this area of the city is because it is populated by several rather excellent restaurants. I had already dined at many of them but I had not had the pleasure of dining at 60 Hope Street* before tonight.

The restaurant is an elegant town house style building  and upon walking in, the high ceilings and spacious feeling create an impression of grandeur. We enjoyed thick slices of farmhouse bread and butter as we settled in at our table and soaked up the ambience.

We perused the table d’hôte and à la carte menus, choosing to opt for the table d’hôte. We both chose to start the meal with the wild garlic, Jersey royal and spinach soup which was silky with plenty of subtle and satisfying flavour.

My main course of gnocchi with creamed leeks, wild mushroom, rocket and pine nuts was excellent. The gnocchi were at once crispy and fluffy whilst the wild mushroom added smoky and meaty flavour and the creamed leeks brought in a smoothness which contrasted with the crunch of pine nuts and peppery rocket.

My dining companion had Lancashire chicken breast with Lyonnaise potatoes, apple and red chard and mustard dressing which was a sophisticated dish with tender chicken, golden crispy potatoes and a zesty bite from the apple and earthiness from the red chard.

On to dessert and of course we had to succumb, especially since I had already earmarked the chocolate fondant I noticed on the specials menu. It was a fait accompli as soon as I spied the fondant on the menu that I would order it, although I was tempted by the deep fried jam sandwich with carnation milk ice cream which sounded fun and intriguing with a vaguely retro slant. Oh well, next time for that one! I chose well as the chocolate fondant with caramel ice cream was simply divine, I know it is a cliché to call a dessert indulgent but this was sin on a plate and I was not looking for redemption as my spoon met the rivers of chocolate sauce, smooth ice cream and meringue textures. Wow is all I am saying.

My dining companion looked on in envy at my fondant so I swapped him a little of my dessert for a taste of his dark chocolate tart with coconut sorbet and passionfruit curd. I had assumed that nothing could live up to the divinity of the fondant but how wrong could I have been, the dark chocolate tart ascended to equally celestial heights with a crunchy base, rich chocolate topping and tropical explosion from the coconut and passionfruit. This was a stunning plate evocative of palm trees and distant shores.

We declined coffee and we relaxed for a while whilst I uploaded several envy inducing images of the food to social media. 60 Hope Street is a treat, a restaurant where food, service and interior design are all equally good. Flavour profiles are well matched and it is clear to see a lot of thought has gone in to menu development with so many great options using seasonal and local produce. The wine lists are equally pleasing and there was a selection of dessert wines on offer too, such as the outstanding 2010 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. I cannot think of a thing I would change about this charming and refined restaurant which has echoes of a bygone era, something of a rare treasure in this hectic modern day world.

60 Hope Street 

 L1 9BZ

So that is all from me for now, what do you all think, would you like to dine in the grandiose surroundings of 60 Hope Street and which of these dishes would you like to try first? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



I was invited to dine at 60 Hope Street, The meal was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Meeting Charlotte Tilbury...

It is always great to get the chance to do something a little different and last week I was thrilled to receive an invitation to meet none other than Charlotte Tilbury at the unveiling of her second Project Confidence video. Project Confidence is designed to reflect the core values of the brand, showing essentially that all women can have their own red carpet moment and use make up to feel amazing.

The press event was held at John Lewis in Liverpool One and I went along feeling excited at the thought of meeting this inspirational make-up artist who has long been world renowned and who has worked with international stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Penelope Cruz as well as practically every high profile model, magazine and photographer you can think of.

We were whisked in through the side entrance and taken upstairs to a private room which was set up with a huge table decorated with displays of amazing Charlotte Tilbury make up products. Talk about eye candy! The Charlotte Tilbury team were on hand ready to demonstrate the products which are gorgeously packaged in a vintage style fit to adorn the dressing table of any silver screen starlet.

Vases of roses decorated the room and there was a table of delicious treats on hand including dainty sandwiches, cakes and macarons to keep us going. There was a sense of anticipation in the room as we helped ourselves to a drink and gathered at the table, eager to meet the lady herself. Before long, Charlotte swept in to the room and we were all thrilled to meet her in person as she greeted each of us personally and took her place at the head of the table. 

The screening of the second Project Confidence video was so enjoyable, the concept behind it is all about empowering people through make up. In this case the video was centered on making bride Claire feel beautiful and confident for her wedding day, by giving her and her future Mother in Law Yvonne a makeover on the big day. The whole ethos of Project Confidence is that if you look good you will feel good and thus the world will react to you more positively due to this innate confidence. It was fascinating to further examine how much make up can have an impact on our self-esteem. Speaking personally, make up definitely makes me feel better and I always feel more capable and ready to face the world when I am wearing it. I think of make up as a form of armour, and even when you may not be feeling your best you can transform yourself with the help of a few key products and present a more confident version of yourself to the world.

After unveiling the video, Charlotte spoke extensively about how much make up can have an impact on our self-confidence and how it is much more than just superficial. Hearing her speak about her products and the development process for them was so inspirational and there was a great creative energy around her. We were given the chance to ask questions after she had talked us through some of the most popular products in her range (that will be all of them, then!) and she was so funny and interesting. We were told all about how each look is developed with a particular make up look in mind such as the Dolce Vita look inspired by stars like Penelope Cruz and Uptown Girl inspired by the classic look of stars such as Grace Kelly.

At the end of the event, we were lucky enough to be given an amazing goody bag laden with Charlotte Tilbury products. It was so good to meet her and I felt really inspired by the insight given in to how much make up is a powerful tool in making people feel confident and ready to face anything. “Give a woman the right make up and she can conquer the world” Charlotte commented and I have to say I agree! There is definitely a link between looking great and feeling as though you can handle any challenges life throws at you and this is the reason why I love make up. Charlotte’s passion for her brand really shone through during the press event and it was great to hear about the way the different products in the range had been developed. The highlight of the event was of course the chance to meet Charlotte and she is warm, kind and incredibly humble despite her success. Being around her really inspired me to pursue my goals.

It was great to attend the launch of the second Project Confidence. What do you all think of the idea that make up is a powerful tool in the quest for confidence and have you ever tried any Charlotte Tilbury products? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading  this post.

Until next time,



Sunday 13 March 2016

A weekend break at The Richmond...

Things have been very busy with work lately, so when an invitation arrived for a relaxing weekend getaway to The Richmond*  in Liverpool, I was so excited. The grandiose building is located on Hatton Garden right in the city centre and we arrived on Saturday afternoon ready to enjoy a well deserved break from everything at the four star hotel and spa.
The first impression created by the historic building is one of timeless elegance and when you step inside this theme continues, with lofty ceilings and a contemporary interior design aesthetic. We were checked in by the friendly reception team and given our key card before we took the lift to the fourth floor. Through another door, there was a little staircase which led to our room and we had a pleasant surprise when we walked in to find that a full suite awaited us! Exploring the light and bright apartment space with everything we could possibly need on hand, I already knew we would have a lovely time.

The spacious living area came furnished with a dining table and chairs as well as a fully equipped kitchenette with fridge, oven, flat screen television and a comfortable sofa. Sliding doors drew back to reveal a private outdoor terrace with table and chairs, which was a wonderful added bonus. The bathroom was spacious with a bath and shower as well as mini travel sized toiletries. As for the bedroom itself, a huge comfortable bed dominated the space as well as another flat screen television and a separate desk area, which was the perfect place for catching up on a couple of emails.

After we had been to the shops to get some essentials we made a light lunch and opened the bottle of chilled Prosecco which had been left in the fridge for us. Lunch on the balcony was so relaxing and it was a pleasant way to begin our stay as we enjoyed the fresh air and even a little sunshine. It felt so good just to unwind and it made me realise how busy I have been lately.
After lunch we decided to go shopping, well I decided to go shopping is probably a more accurate way of putting it! After making a few purchases and stopping for a quick coffee and cake, we headed to the supermarket to get some goodies ahead of a relaxing evening in the hotel suite.

After going shopping for another bottle of sparkling wine, some pizza and nibbles we were all set. I was so happy upon getting back to the hotel to think of a whole night of relaxation. I soaked in the bath with a glass of bubbly and then we settled on the sofa to watch a couple of movies on the flat screen before having a nightcap on the balcony and heading off to sleep. Side note, the bed was so comfortable and I had one of the best nights of sleep ever. Bliss. 

The only problem with the luxurious suite was that I just did not want to leave! It felt so good to have plenty of space to move around in and there was everything you could possibly  need on hand including tea, coffee and biscuits as well as a full room service menu which was available from the R Brasserie downstairs. 

The next day we were up bright and early, we welcomed another sunny day with coffee and orange juice on the terrace before heading downstairs to have breakfast in the R Brasserie. The breakfast buffet was so good and there was a huge array of options on offer including cereal, fruit, yoghurt and cooked breakfast items. I had eggs, hash browns and baked beans as well as some toast whilst my partner had sausage and bacon with his choices. We settled down for a feast to give us fuel before we headed off for a morning stroll and a little more shopping.

Later on in the afternoon we headed back to The Richmond to enjoy afternoon tea in the R Brasserie restaurant. We were spoiled with a selection of homemade fruit scones with clotted cream and jam, handmade chocolates, mini doughnuts and finger sandwiches filled with ham and mustard, cucumber and smoked salmon and tuna pâté. The scones were delicious smothered with cream and jam and the finger sandwiches were dainty and tasty. I sipped a glass of Chardonnay as we were treated to live music from the pianist who played a selection of tunes on the baby grand piano. Afternoon tea was a perfect way to round off our stay at The Richmond. 

So that is all from me for now, I had an amazing time at The Richmond this weekend and I feel more relaxed than I have in a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel, it has everything in terms of stylish design and a central location and the choice of rooms and apartments means there is an accommodation option to suit everybody. I loved having our own kitchen facilities too as this meant that we were able to make food and drinks when we wanted to. I think this is an ideal way to stay in the city as having an apartment suite means that you can alternate between eating out or in. This hotel has a distinctive feel of classic grandeur and it is super to see such a magnificent building have new life breathed in to it as a hotel. I left feeling my spirits had been raised by this little 'holiday at home' getaway and it really is true what they say, a change is as good as a rest! This is a great choice for either a weekend break or a longer stay in the city centre. 

The Richmond 
24 Hatton Garden, 
L3 2AN

What do you all think, would you like to relax in one of the luxurious suites at The Richmond and what do you think of the idea of a fully equipped apartment suite? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post! 

Until next time,



I was invited to stay at The Richmond, my stay was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.