Sunday 31 July 2016

Barista style coffee all day with Nescafe Azera...

Barista style coffee on the go is something that definitely sounds like music to my ears, coffee is a drink which I see as a real treat at any time of the day. It is a pick me up and I find it an oddly soothing ritual to make coffee at home. I make a cup first thing in the morning to wake me up as I go through emails and organise my day and I drink it in the afternoon as I often spend time in coffee shops when I am working. As a writer, coffee is something which I associate with creativity and I love the idea of different coffees which match my mood throughout the course of the day. I was delighted to work with Nestle Azera recently, and I had the chance to sample a range of their Azera coffee. The first thing I loved about these was the eye catching arty designs of the limited edition tins, look out for them in major supermarkets at the moment. Aren't the designs striking? I will definitely be finding another use for these tins when I have worked my way through the coffee! 

In an ideal world I would always be within a short distance of one of my favourite coffee shops, but in reality when I am travelling to different places for work I do not always have time to grab a coffee. The Nescafe 'Coffee to go' cups proved to be the ideal solution and I have relied on these when I have a train journey or an early start. We love to walk by the water in the evening close to where we live too, so these are the ideal drinks to take with us on those evening strolls. The latte variety has a creamy, slightly sweet flavour with a good strength to the coffee too. I liked the Americano also, which had a real depth to it, and they are very easy to make, requiring no more effort than pouring hot water over the powder and giving it a quick stir. The ingenious no-spill lids came in handy too, as I always seem to manage to spill coffee on myself usually! These are a good coffee to take with you when you walk out the door ahead of a busy day and they come in handy for a variety of situations.

The Intenso variety of Azera quickly became my preferred coffee in the morning as I found the full bodied flavour and creamy texture was the perfect thing to give me a much needed burst of energy. When I have been working from home recently, I have enjoyed a cup of Americano in the garden during the afternoon. It is really important to take some time out for yourself during the course of a busy day, so my afternoon coffee is always a nice chance to regroup my thoughts and gather my motivation for the rest of the working day. In the evening, my partner and I have got in to the habit of having a cup of the Espresso variety after dinner, this makes a nice after dinner coffee due to its intense flavour.

What do you all think, have you tried Nescafe Azera and do you like the idea of coffee shop style coffee at home or on the go? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Thursday 28 July 2016

Wine tasting and Pinchos at Roja Pinchos...

Last night I went along to a restaurant which will always be very special to me, Roja Pinchos is located on Berry Street in Liverpool and specialises in Pinchos (also known as Pintxos) and a great selection of wines and gins served in their downstairs Abajo bar. Roja Pinchos was one of the first restaurants I reviewed here on Coco Cami and I have remained good friends with the proprietors Edward and Clare who are very hard working, lovely people. When I received an invitation to the launch of their new wine selection, I knew that I would be in for a treat. After a warm welcome, we headed downstairs to the Abajo. Roja Pinchos has two levels, the restaurant upstairs and the Abajo beneath which is a cool bar which has a hideaway feel to it with low lights, candlelit tables and of course the all important bar area at the back. Wine experts from Matthew Clark Wines were on hand to talk us through the selection for the evening and there was quite an array with a wide spectrum of both red and white Spanish wines to choose from. We started off with white wines and worked our way up to the reds!

We heard all about the origins of the wines and the stories behind each one as well as a little about the tasting notes. These wines are not widely available, which made tasting them even more special. Each wine was accompanied by a selection of Pinchos and we enjoyed brie and onion, date with cream cheese, seafood and meat varieties during the evening as well as an artichoke heart variety and one of my favourites, Manchego cheese topped with quince jelly. The mild and creamy Manchego cheese paired extremely well with the many outstanding wines we sampled during the night.

If you have not tried Pinchos yet, they are essentially similar to tapas the key difference being that they are served on a wooden stick. These are very moreish and they deliver such a wide variety of flavours. These snack style morsels are often served with drinks in bars especially in the Northern region of Spain, and I can see why they are so popular as they make an ideal accompaniment to drinks.

Some of the amazing red wines we tasted included Maquinon Casa Rojo, Contino Rioja and Portia Sierra del duero. The Maquinon was one of my favourites and it has a slightly spicy taste as it is made using the best Garnacha grapes from Priorat in Catalunya. The Contino Rioja was one of the more expensive wines we tried and it had a very deep and rich flavour which paired beautifully with some of the Pinchos. 

It was a great night and we learned so much about wine and each choice complemented the different flavours of the Pinchos, making the wine tasting much more of a gourmet experience. 

I had a wonderful time and it was so nice to catch up with Edward and Clare and to enjoy irresistible Pinchos paired with such an exquisite choice of wines.

Roja Pinchos
50 Berry St,
L1 4JQ

0151 378 9563

What do you all think, do you like the idea of a wine tasting evening paired with Pinchos and have you ever eaten Pinchos before? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

 Until next time, 



Sunday 24 July 2016

Current favourites...

I have had so much food and drink content to share with you lately, that it has been a while since I have brought you a roundup of some of my current favourites. Every once in a while I like to tell you about the things I have been loving lately, and there have been a few products recently which I use most days. I am sure you can recall the many times I have raved on about Batiste dry shampoo and I was recently sent the original edition to try which I actually had not used before. With a light and subtle fragrance this is the ideal hair treat to take on weekends away or to festivals, adding volume and life to greasy hair when you haven’t got the time to wash it. I use Batiste dry shampoo most days to add volume before giving my hair a quick backcomb at the roots, it never fails to give my hair a little more life which can only be a good thing when I am rushing here and there during the course of the day. I got two Sinful Colors nail polishes from Superdrug, Boom Boom which is a hot pink and Rise & Shine which is a beautiful sea green. These polishes are long lasting and easy to apply, plus I love the colours and I have been wearing the pink one daily since I got these. 

Unfortunately, the lack of sunshine and free time this summer means that I have not got much of a tan, so I fall back on my favourite Dove summer glow with subtle gradual tanners which is my absolute wonder product during the summer, a tan which you really cannot go wrong with which I always apply the night before an event. It develops quickly too. I also purchased the Derma Spa Summer Revived body lotion with self-tanners also by Dove. I love this too and it has slightly more of a luxurious feel than the original Dove summer glow.

When it comes to skincare I try to listen to my Mum and she tells me off for using cleansing wipes to remove my make up because they strip your skin and make it dry, of course as with all parental advice I nod and agree but usually ignore the words of wisdom and use cleansing wipes anyway so I needed a product to restore much needed moisture to my skin. I have just discovered something which definitely helps to give my skin that highly coveted youthful glow, step forward Charlotte’s Magic Cream which I was given at a Charlotte Tilbury press event. This cream certainly lives up to its name with a magic formula filled with collagen boosting ingredients including floral oils. It promises to instantly transform tired, dull skin and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the results. Several recent deadlines have left me burning the candle at both ends and my weary skin was rejuvenated by this cream which sinks straight into skin and provides a smooth base for make-up.

 Teapigs Matcha on the go sachets are a great energy booster to make Matcha lattes and smoothies with and I have been loving this product of late, which gives me a much needed spring in my step. Vita Coco sent me some goodies and I am in love with the extra virgin 100% raw cold pressed organic coconut oil, which is so versatile and can be used for cooking or as a multipurpose beauty product suitable as a moisturiser and hair conditioner.

My mum and I went to the Body Shop during our recent stay in York and she treated me to their limited edition Pina Colada body butter which is so rich and the tropical scent of the pineapple and coconut extracts it is filled with make it smell good enough to eat. I have included two last minute additions to this blog post, I got this book on my birthday, I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers. I have only read the first couple of chapters, but it already has me gripped with beautiful prose and a page turning plot.

I also got this Original Source lime and coconut milk shower milk, I love the fragrance and it seems very moisturising, definitely a new favourite as I love the combination of ingredients.

What do you all think, do you like the sound of any of these products and let me know what items you like at the moment. As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time, 



Wednesday 20 July 2016

The launch of Be At One Liverpool...

Several great new places have opened recently in Liverpool, adding to the excellent bar and restaurant scene in the city. Last week I was excited to go along to the launch of the new cocktail bar Be At One, located on Seel Street which is populated with some great bars. Be At One already have multiple locations across the UK, they are cocktail bars which blend cool and contemporary interior design with well thought out menus. My first impression was one of fun as soon as I saw the neon sign proclaiming ‘pop in’ at the entrance and I went to have a look at the open terrace, which is adorned with high tables and colourful metal stools.

I can never resist a good Pornstar Martini, so we commenced our evening with a round of those, mixed to perfection by one of the expert bartenders who all had big smiles on their faces throughout the evening and they periodically broke in to song too! 

The space was already bustling with partygoers admiring the aesthetic and perusing the menus which offer a wide selection of drinks from the familiar to the more intriguing options such as the imaginatively named Beetroot Retox; pomegranate juice, beetroot juice, raspberry purée and agave syrup. Candlelit tables wrap around the bar area and a ‘pop life’ neon sign draws the eye above a row of leather booths. I had a good look through the menu which features an ingenious wheel to help you decide which drink to order based on what ingredients you like in your cocktails. 

I also like the fact that the Be At One menus are illustrated with photographs so you know exactly what your drink will look like before ordering it. There are so many mouth-watering options to choose from including the Popster, butterscotch schnapps blended with sweet and salty popcorn and ice cream then garnished with more popcorn, a definite must for fans of sweeter cocktails.

I had a Bramble on the terrace, a blend of Beefeater Gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup
and crème de mure served over crushed ice. When it comes to gin based cocktails, I always find that a Bramble is a refreshing choice for summer. 

The whole place has an enticing feel to it with suspended lighting, faux grass on the wall and monochrome tiling adding to the effervescent atmosphere which abounds at Be At One. I had a refreshing Tom Collins and we relaxed with our drinks on the bustling terrace. 

Be At One is sure to be a massive hit on the Liverpool bar scene, with a stylish interior design aesthetic and one of the most extensive cocktail menus I have ever seen, offering everything from an Almond Mocha to a classic Vesper. I have a feeling this will be one of my favourite new places to relax with an evening drink from now on.

Be At One 
13-21 Seel Street 
L1 4AU

What do you all think, do you like the idea of a bar which combines cool interiors with a vast selection of cocktails? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Sunday 17 July 2016

Summer cocktail tasting at Santa Maluco...

You know the words ‘cocktail’ and ‘tasting’ in the same sentence always grab my attention, so I felt very fortunate to be invited along for a private cocktail tasting at Santa Maluco on Friday. I shared with you in a previous post that Santa Maluco is one of Liverpool’s hottest new hang outs serving a divine list of cocktails and wood-fired pizza by the slice rodizio style. I love the light and bright feel to the space, which has a vibrant colour scheme and an elongated bar area surrounded by large tables which create a convivial ambience. After a warm welcome, I settled in for my first cocktail of the evening, the Sao Paulo Spritz which is a long and cooling drink which consists of Cachaca, Aperol, Rhubarb, orange juice and prosecco poured over ice and garnished with lime. This conjured up a sun drenched terrace in Brazil, the perfect summer drink.

 Next it was on to the Caipirinha, a Brazilian classic which most of us are familiar with, this was zesty and refreshing without being too sharp and the blend of Cachaça, sugar and fresh lime muddled together is hard to beat when it comes to a simple cocktail which works well. By this point I was getting in to my cocktail tasting groove and the bar was beginning to fill up with people popping in after work for some pizza and drinks. 

I was treated to the next cocktail of the evening, a Bacon Maple Old Fashioned, made with bacon rinsed bourbon, maple syrup and bitters. Even though I am not much of a Bourbon drinker, I always enjoy an old fashioned, which is a smoky and elegant drink evocative of wood panelled drawing rooms and roaring log fires.

The thought of a daiquiri of any kind always makes me think of sunny evenings and even though the skies were overcast, the Blueberry Daiquiri brought the summer vibes right to me with a blend of rum, lime, blueberry liqueur, blueberry syrup and a garnish of fresh blueberries. This cooling cocktail is blended with ice, creating a chilled drink which would pair well with a slice of spicy pizza.

Last but not least, I had the chance to try one of the legendary $5 Dollar Shakes, a sweet mixture of vodka, Chambord, milk, blueberry jam and ice cream. Topped with fresh cream and served in a milk bottle this is a fun cocktail which was an instant hit with me, delivering a nice balance of flavour and enough sweetness to make this a perfect dessert cocktail.

There is a cocktail on the menu to appeal to eveyrbody at Santa Maluco, with a wide selection from new takes on classic drinks to the 'project blender' selection including those irresistible frozen daiquiris. After all of those delicious cocktails, my partner arrived and we moved from the bar to a table for two where we ordered a pizza for dinner, with half Margherita and half Cinco Quejo toppings. 

A gigantic thin and crispy wood-fired pizza was the ideal way to complete the evening at Santa Maluco and it was a voyage of discovery to taste some of their signature cocktails, taking me from the hazy sunset of Sao Paulo to the American diner style fun of the $5 Dollar Shake. 

Which of these cocktails would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Santa Maluco 
2 Castle Street 

Until; next time, 



Saturday 16 July 2016

Taking the Matcha challenge with Teapigs...

I think nowadays many of us lead such a hectic lifestyle that our health can take a back seat. Rushing here and there, work and having a social life too can contribute to feeling drained and lacking in energy. The idea of a handy way of feeling a little bit more energised is definitely appealing to me, so I was intrigued when I received a box of goodies from Teapigs recently. Matcha is something I have heard a lot about lately, it is made from 100% green tea leaves, grown under shade to increase their chlorophyll content and ground into a fine powder. The best part of this is that it is so easy to add to drinks such as juices, smoothies and hot and cold water. It is often drunk as a hot tea too, which is the most traditional way of drinking this. You can even add it to snacks such as yoghurt or cereal, making it convenient to have at any time when you sit down to eat or drink. Teapigs asked me to take the Matcha Challenge, taking Matcha every day for two weeks in a variety of recipes from mocktails to smoothies. 

Teapigs kindly sent me all the items I needed to do the challenge, the parcel contained Matcha sachets, an Aerolatte whisk, recipes and the challenge sheet with all the details.
I got organised adding the Matcha to drinks and snacks over the 14 days and it was so easy to make a variety of drinks with it but my favourite was definitely the Matcha latte. After a morning working from home I whisked up a Matcha latte with one of the sachets so I could have a break. 

Simply place ½ a teaspoon of Matcha powder into a latte glass or cup. Add a little milk and whisk, then top with hot milk. You can use almond milk, coconut milk, soya or dairy and add a little honey or agave to the drink to sweeten it. I settled down in the garden to read and sip my Matcha latte, which tasted refreshing and creamy. I did see a little spike in my energy levels over the 14 day Matcha challenge and I will be adding it to drinks whenever I can from now on as it is such a convenient way to be a little bit healthier. I often have late nights due to deadlines and events, so this is a quick and fuss-free way to give my energy a boost which fits in with my lifestyle. I also like the fact that the taste is not overpowering as I sometimes find that green tea can be too bitter, so I was happy to find that Matcha is not bitter at all. 

What do you all think, have you heard about the Matcha craze and have you tried any Matcha drinks yet?

As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Wednesday 13 July 2016

Pizza and cocktails at Santa Maluco...

I do not usually come straight home from an event and start writing about it, but I have just got back from a fun new venue that I cannot wait to share with you all so there is no time like the present. Santa Maluco is a new Rodizio style pizzeria and cocktail bar located on the corner of Castle Street in Liverpool, in the shadow of the Town Hall. The Rodizio style of dining (essentially an 'all you can eat' concept where the food keeps arriving) usually consists of meat, so it is interesting to see this Brazilian style of eating applied to pizza. Eating pizza by the slice in this way is popular in Brazil and this is a fresh new concept which aims to rewrite the rule book in Castle Street, offering a more informal style of experience revolving around a variety of wood-fired pizzas as well as a list of delectable cocktails.

The venue has a slightly industrial feel with metal light fixtures and a sweeping bar area flanked by the pizza oven, beyond which a large wall is dominated by a custom artwork. Guests were greeted on arrival by a refreshing cocktail which was a blend of Aperol and prosecco, then it was time to sit down and enjoy some pizza. Rodizio is an informal style of dining where servers roam the floor with pizzas which you can partake of by the slice, tables are adorned with spinning signs so that you can signal when you are full or when you want to have more pizza.

The whole ambience was fun and the music was tuned up as the space filled up with guests. I sipped a dry white wine as slice after slice of pizza was delivered to the table. All the pizzas are Southern Italian style, thin crust and wood-fired making them extra crispy and hard to resist. We sampled carbonara, what the duck (shredded duck, spring onions, cucumber and char sui), Portuguesa (ham, onions, hard boiled egg, olives and oregano) surf and turf (topside beef, chilli prawns, green pesto and spinach) and margherita. All of the pizzas were irresistible and my favourite of the night was the cinco queijo, with gorgonzola, mozzarella, pecorino, parmesan and requeijao sauce this was a dream for me as I am slightly obsessed with cheese! The pizza tasted so authentic, with a thin and crispy base and a generous amount of toppings.

Later, talented Brazilian samba dancers from Viva Brasil Samba raised the roof and we settled back for another round of drinks, there is an extensive selection of cocktails, wine and beer available but special mention must go to the ‘$5 dollar shake’, a blend of vodka, Chambord, milk, blueberry jam and ice cream this is an indulgent treat not to be missed.

I think that Santa Maluco will be a welcome addition to the restaurant and bar scene around Castle Street, bringing a totally new dining destination to the business district of the city. You can go for the full Rodizio experience (a continuous flow of pizza until you are full) or just pop in for a couple of slices. With a wide variety of pizzas and drinks to please everyone, I am sure this place will be bursting at the seams…much as I was after so much pizza!

Director Matthew Farrell, one of the partners behind the independent group Graffiti Spirits who already operate city centre bars Santa Chupitos, El Bandito, Salt Dog Slims, 81 Ltd and their ‘smokehouse and cocktails’ venue Slim’s Pork Chop Express witnessed guests enjoying signature cocktails and a touch of Brazilian Rodizio with their Neapolitan pizza. He said: “We’re really grateful to all of our guests for the turn out last night. We’ve been overwhelmed on social media thanking us and commenting on our unique brand of cocktails and wood-fired pizza. To be fair, the evening couldn’t have gone any better. The entertainment provided by Viva Brasil and Katumba Bloco made for a great spectacle and our team were first class looking after more than 200 guests.”

Santa Maluco 
2 Castle Street 

What do you all think, do you like the idea of a Rodizio style pizza and cocktail bar? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,