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We put photographer Mike McCartney in the frame


LIVERPOOL’S GOT TALENT MD Productions are fierce and fabulous

A cruise down the Manchester Ship Canal

BELLE OF THE BALL Showstopping outfits for every occasion

LET THERE BE LIGHT! We shed light on what’s in store at this year’s LightNight Liverpool

BODYSHAKIN’ 911’s Jimmy is back to give us A Little Bit More...





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04-05 TALK OF THE TOWN City news and gossip



06-07 SHOPPING FOR HER Outfits for all occasions 08 SHOPPING FOR HIM Geography teacher chic




10-11 SALON SPOTLIGHT Anti-aging treatments put to the test



12 FLYING TRAPEZE Get into the swing of a novel way to get fit 13 FIGHTING FIT Boxercise packs a punch

STORIES 0151 330 5035 EMAIL ADVERTISING 0151 330 5039 WEBSITE FOLLOW US twitter@BestofLpool

25 Welcome...

LIVERPOOL ECHO EDITOR Alastair Machray MAGAZINE EDITOR Michelle Rushton DEPUTY EDITOR Katie McLoughlin WRITERS Paul Baker, Sarah Hooley, Sue Kelbrick, Katie McLoughlin and Emma Thompson PHOTOGRAPHY Trinity Mirror photographers FRONT COVER PHOTO Andy LeSauvage DESIGN Vicky Andrews, Colin Harrison COMMERCIAL FEATURES EDITOR Sally Jones SALES MANAGER Ros McGuire

COPYRIGHT Best of Liverpool is published monthly by Trinity Mirror North West and North Wales/ Liverpool ECHO. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.




MAY 13

IT’S MAY and the force is firmly with us. The lighter nights and emergence of sunlight has definitely put a spring in our step. Instead of scurrying home to curl up in front of the fire after a hard day in the office, the team at Best of Liverpool have been venturing out and about to rediscover our surroundings, mostly accompanied with a welcome glass of vino! There’s so much going on this month, what with LightNight Liverpool on May 17, Sound City and the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival – a veritable feast of cultural delights awaits us. Read our guide to what’s on on page 19. It really makes you realise what a wealth of talent there is in the city. For our May issue, Paul meets a man with buckets of ambition, Miguel Deforo, the driving force behind energetic youngsters MD Productions on pages 16-17 and gets a snapshot of what makes photographer Mike McCartney tick on page 23. Meanwhile Sarah relives her youth and boyband crushes as she catches up with Jimmy from 911 on page 18. Actually, we’re quite chuffed with ourselves here at Best of Liverpool Towers after being nominated for supplement of the year in The 2013 Newspaper Awards. We narrowly lost out to a national tabloid which shall remain nameless but we were commended by the judges who described it as “lively” and “interesting” with “excellent production standards.” Well we’ve always said it’s the taking part that counts...! Our social diaries are a whirlwind of weddings and garden parties this summer

so we’ve been planning our outfits. Sue brings us a selection of fabulous frocks for every occasion on pages 6 and 7. And for the menfolk, we bring you Geography teacher chic and a chance to win a styling session with the godfather of style himself, Jeff Banks, no less on page 8. With a special birthday looming (21 again... ahem) myself and the rest of the team are starting to be a little conscious of those fine lines so we test a few anti-aging treatments. Find out how we got on on pages 10-11. In a quest for a more exciting way to exercise, Katie joins the circus, or rather, heads to Mello Mello to discover her inner trapeze artist on page 12, while I get a drilling from boxercise expert Ben Keegan on page 13. And even the little ones are getting in on the action. Sue takes her budding Buddhas for a yoga lesson on page 14. With National Vegetarian Week coming soon, we bring you some tasty veggie recipes on page 24, while carnivore Katie gets a meaty treat on page 27. Emma gets some hot horticultural tips from greenfingered expert Don Billington on page 28, while Sarah whisks her hubby off for a weekend in the Big Smoke on page 30. Keep shining!


14 YOGA BEARS Little ones get physical 15 FAMILY FUN Events at The Atkinson this summer


16-17 HOMEGROWN TALENT MD Productions and comedian Mark Langley 18 THE BIG REUNION We catch up with Jimmy from 911 19 WHAT’S ON Must-do events for May 20-21 LIGHTNIGHT What will be illuminating Liverpool on May 17? 22-23 LOOK/13 FESTIVAL A snapshot of events at Liverpool’s International Photography Festival


24-25 HOME COOKING Vegetarian recipes and spring puddings 26 FOODIE NEWS Bite sized chunks of culinary news 27 RESTAURANT REVIEW A meaty treat at Miller & Carter


28 SHOWTIME FOR DON Expert gardener reveals his plans for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

TRAVEL Michelle Rushton, Best of Liverpool Editor

29 FERRY FASCINATING The Manchester Ship Canal Cruise 30 LONDON CALLING A trip to the Big Smoke

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Talk of the town GIT AWARDS Photo: Gareth Jones


From swish soirées to gatherings, launches and more, Katie McLoughlin and Michelle Rushton take a look at what the city’s glitterati have been up to...

TIME TRAVELLERS TOUCH DOWN AT SPACEPORT A SPECTACULAR celebration of Liverpool’s thriving music scene, the GIT (Getintothis) Award Showcase, took place in the city’s Leaf venue last month. GIT Award 2013 winner Baltic Fleet received the GIT Award trophy from the Quietus editor John Doran and Merseyside music journalist and former Q editor Andrew Harrison. Baltic Fleet is the guise of Paul Fleming, touring keyboardist of Echo & The Bunnymen. The judges believe Towers captured the sprawling vitality of contemporary music and married this to a sonic landscape which is indicative of its birth; Northern working class cities which thrive on industry and making things happen. The Inspiration Award went to The Justice Collective who took a version of He Aint Heavy, He’s My Brother to UK Christmas Number One 2012 with all proceeds going towards Hillsborough Families legal costs in their fight for justice. 15-year-old Tyler Mensah was crowned People’s Choice winner. GIT Award founder, Peter Guy, hailed the night a success, saying: “This is a city with the finest new music - and much of it was here tonight in this room. Roll on The GIT Award 2014.”

ROOM WITH A VIEW FOLLOWING two months’ work and a four-figure sum refurbishment, The Atlantic Tower by Thistle hotel has unveiled its newly refurbished, Vista Bar & Restaurant. General manager Alistair Risk says: “Our Vista Restaurant has always been popular with our great views across the Mersey and the Liver Building, but now we have a product to match.” Set on the first floor of the waterfront hotel, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the restaurant now has a contemporary interior and serves a range of food and drink to suit all palates.

We’re loving... FRESH NEW FLAVOURS SPRING’S a time to embrace fresh new tastes and we’re loving the new a la carte spring menu at Blakes Restaurant in Hard Days Night Hotel. The menu, entitled ‘Here Comes The Sun’, launched this month and features an array of mouth-watering dishes that are perfect for the warmer months, with dishes like scallops with pomegranate dressing, a twist on the classic BLT and African spiced monkfish, served with pak choi and red pepper. For more information on the new menu visit or call 0151 236 1964.



MASQUE COMES OFF NEW VENUE ONE of the city’s best-loved music venues reopened on Friday, April 19 following a multimillion pound refurbishment. Seel Street’s iconic Masque building has been brought into the 21st century with a full modernisation and relaunched last month as The East Village Arts Club, with an MTA Records show on April 19, and an official launch party with the Mystery Jets on April 27. New owners MAMA Group – the company behind Camden’s Jazz Café and Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in East London – have transformed the city venue with a £1.5m refurbishment and the East Village Arts Club will now host arts and cultural events, weekly live shows and club nights within its hallowed walls. East Village Arts Club also has a brand new bar space open late every night and a kitchen serving hand-crafted food. Expect carefully sourced meat for deliciously juicy burgers and melt-in-the-mouth pulled pork, washed down with craft beers from around the world and a selection of classic cocktails – partly inspired by the building’s rich party history, having been the spiritual home of club nights like Circus and Chibuku for years.

A NEW exhibition showing replica Doctor Who costume characters ranging from the 1970s up to the present day will launch at Spaceport on May 4. The Time Travellers exhibition, in association with Hyde Fundraisers, features favourites including life size Daleks, Cybermen, a TARDIS display, a Sontaran and K9 – plus prop weapons and an activity area. Spaceport, based at Seacombe Ferry Terminal in Wirral, hosts the spectacular exhibition throughout the summer, giving sci-fi fans a unique opportunity to experience the creative talents of Hyde Fundraisers in bringing some of the most iconic sci-fi characters to life. The exhibition runs from 4 May until 1 September.

GETTING THE HUMP GOING GAGA over the new arrivals finding their feet at Knowsley Safari Park. After a long hard winter, Keepers at Knowsley recently celebrated the births of a baby Lechwe calf, Pére David Deer calf and an adorable Bactrian Camel calf. The two-humped youngster is the newest addition to the Bactrian camel herd and could grow to two metres tall at the hump. Meanwhile the Pére David Deer breed is listed as extinct in the wild and the unusual Lechwe Calf has been settling in well with the rest of the herd and keeping close to mum during the colder mornings. All together say: “ahhhhh...” Visit

THE SWEET SMELL OF SPRING THIS delicately exotic new fragrance which is just perfect for spring! The limited edition Osmanthus Blossom, created by Jo Malone London, was launched this month with two beautifully decorated cologne bottles – 100ml priced at £76 and a smaller handbag sized 30ml priced £38. The scent captures the essence of the little white flower at its heart with top notes of petitgrain and base notes of cashmere wood complemented by luscious peach, supple leather and orange flower. The result is a fragrance so fresh it reminds you of a walk through an English country garden on a crisp spring morning! For stockists visit

MAY 13 THORNTON HALL SCOOPS A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD THORNTON Hall Hotel & Spa is celebrating being named as Best Luxury Beauty Spa in the UK at the prestigious World Luxury Spa Awards 2013. The hotel and spa was the only North West spa to be shortlisted for the awards, which recognise spas across the globe for their excellent facilities, treatments and customer service. Thornton Hall Hotel has invested a massive £300,000 on new luxury treatment rooms and make-up studios which are due to open in July featuring luxury Rasul treatment rooms – based on a traditional Arabian cleansing ritual using

thermal muds – and a state-of-the-art boutique make-up studio. For more information visit

FELLAINI’S HAIR-RAISING CHALLENGE MAROUANE Fellaini is taking on his most hair-raising challenge yet – to raise thousands of pounds for Everton in the Community. To celebrate the silver anniversary of the Blues’ official charity, Fellaini has committed to dye his famous ‘fro silver – if Evertonians can reach a fundraising target of £25,000. The Belgian international will put his iconic hair in the hands of award-winning celebrity colourist, Josh Wood, to help boost the charity’s jubilee fundraising mission, and he is calling on supporters to back his charity challenge today. “I’ve never done anything like this before but I am happy to help this brilliant charity. It helps so many people and I want to help them too,” says Fellaini.



LIVERPOOL’S favourite charity bear, Suzy Bear from the Roy Castle Lung Foundation, was spotted over the weekend getting a makeover at award-winning salon chain Voodou. The salon visit was in aid of the charity’s Dream Walk which will see 3,000 women taking part dressed in onesies and rollers next month. The charity’s famous mascot was eager to get herself looking the part and popped into Voodou to get her rollers fitted – appearing an hour later looking overjoyed with her new look. The Dream Walk taking place on Friday, May 24 at 8pm, will see Liverpool ladies walking 9k from The ECHO Arena to raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Foundation. Voodou’s founder and managing director, Rob Webb, says: “The walk is going to be such an amazing night. A lot of our staff will be doing the Dream Walk on behalf of the amazing Terry Woosey, who used to manage reception at Voodou for Him, and unfortunately passed away from lung cancer.” Entries for the Dream Walk close on Friday, May 17 and can be filled in online at

repeat customers, he has been described as “exemplary” at the brand’s Made To Measure service where one can get a bespoke suit made starting from £400.

which opened at a special launch at The Domino Gallery at 11 Upper Newington, Liverpool, last Saturday. Peter explains: “The exhibition is very autobiographical and seeing my work on display reminds me of different eras and events in my life. “It’s called The Domino Effect as my life has been a little like a chain reaction with one event setting off another. “My favourite is a painting

LIVERPOOL solicitors Canter Levin & Berg has agreed to be headline sponsor for this year’s Liverpool Rose of Tralee, making it possible for the competition to return in 2013 after two years without a Rose representing Liverpool. The festival searches the world over to find young women who best capture the essence of the famous love song of the same name, incorporating beauty, personality and a unique quality. The Liverpool contest forms part of the wider Rose of Tralee International Festival which has become an international institution in its native Ireland.

The winner of the Liverpool Rose of Tralee – which will be decided at a special event at St Michael’s Irish Centre on May 4 – will go on to represent the City at the International Festival, in County Kerry in August, where she will compete against Roses from all over the world. There is also still time for young ladies to enter the competition. Entrants must be between the age of 18 and 27, be of Irish decent and have no children, and should contact Grace Kelly on 07955209922 or Maureen Morrisson at St Michael’s Irish Centre on 0151 263 1808.


THE DOMINO EFFECT WE all make mistakes but artist Peter Grant has made a fascinating exhibition out of his! After knocking over a bottle of correction fluid over one of his artworks, Peter discovered it created a rather nice effect on the black card his was working on, which led him to produce a series of pictures painted entirely in Tippex! He has now produced an exhibition of 23 of his works entitled The Domino Effect

BIKRAM Yoga Liverpool played host to a weekend dedicated to healthy living recently offering wellness advice and support in aid of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital’s ‘R Charity’. Featuring Bikram Yoga Liverpool along with international food store, Mattas; juicing experts, OhMyGoodness (OMG) and sports therapists, the Body Works, the event was designed to draw together the key components of complete wellness in support of the Royal’s charity. Guests were treated to raw juices and smoothies from OMG and nutritious nibbles from Mattas, who showcased examples of their wide range of superfoods. A complementary Bikram Yoga class was the star of the show attracting record numbers of new students who were invited to enjoy a mini massage from the Body Works following the 90 minute session.


A MAN OF MYSTERY PHIL MCCALL, store manager of the Liverpool High and Mighty store, has won the Mystery Shopper award for customer service at the City Central BID awards. One hundred retail stores were assessed and High and Mighty was one of only 20 that achieved a perfect 100% score. Phil has been with High and Mighty for almost three years and the Liverpool store is one of the brand’s best performing spaces thanks to his excellence and that of his team. As well as his skill for customer service, which frequently earns him

All you need to do is visit fellainifro or text FELI50 with the amount that you would like to donate to 70070, eg: FELI50 £5 to 70070.

called My Last Drink, a pint of Guinness, created after my doctor told me I couldn’t drink it anymore. I savoured every sip!” The exhibition is available to view from 11am to 5pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays and runs until May 24. For more information email

THE 2013 ‘Cannes Do’ event, hosted by Professional Liverpool last month, raised over £10,000 for local children’s hospice Claire House. The half-day lunch event, which brought together over 550 individuals from across the region’s property sector, saw attendees dig deep to help achieve the record-breaking sum. Claire House’s Claire Bear was presented with the cheque by Professional Liverpool’s Stuart Keppie and Andrew Lovelady and English Cities Fund’s Phil Mayall at No 4 St Paul’s Square in Liverpool where the event took place. Tony Langan, area fundraiser at Claire

House, which provides respite, end-oflife and bereavement care for children and young adults with complex medical needs said: “On behalf of all the children who visit Claire House, I would like to say a massive thank you to Professional Liverpool and English Cities Fund. The money raised will help us make a real difference.”


Shopping for her SEW AMBITIOUS

All dressed up Whether it’s a wedding or a garden party, make sure you are the belle of the ball with Sue Kelbrick’s round up of the best outfits for that special summer occasion

Dress by Virgos Lounge, £125, from Boudoir Boutique

MOVE over Stella McCartney. There’s a new fashion designer in town. Meet Denise McConville, born and bred in Liverpool, and causing something of a stir on the fashion scene. Designing under the pseudonym Marjorie McConville, Denise’s designs went down a storm at last year’s Liverpool Fashion Week and one of her dresses even graced the pages of Company magazine. But life hasn’t always been easy for Denise who, as a single mum of two, has spent 20 years working hard to achieve her dream. Denise has never once doubted what she wanted to do though and is following in the footsteps of her mum, who was a highly successful seamstress back in the day, making clothes for all the major high street clothes stores. “I learnt to sew from an early age,” explains Denise. “My mum taught me everything I know in the kitchen at home! I always wanted to be a fashion designer but my mum said it was important for me to know how to sew first. I feel this has given me a really good grounding.” After completing her degree in fashion at JMU, Denise has been making dresses ever since and her styles have proved so popular at one local boutique, that all her designs sold out within a fortnight. She has just finished working on her spring/summer collection, Pastel Pleasures, which showcases Denise’s signature vintage style with a modern twist, and she’s currently putting together a very special capsule collection for the summer proms called Crazy Diamond, made in satin organza and using Swarovski crystals. And back by popular demand, is Denise’s range of festival wear, which is flying off the rails already, in particular her collection of beautiful kimonos. Denise’s designs are almost ethereal, with her beautiful dresses helping to create a flattering and sexy silhouette. It is no wonder that the fashion savvy ladies of Liverpool love her creations so much. So remember the name – Marjorie McConville – you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the not too distant future.



Ruben embellished dress, £99, from Monsoon Lindsay sun dresses, £50, from River Island

Red dress, £34, from Apricot

Prom dress, £55, from Asos

MAY 13 Star byJulien MacDonald, £75, from Debenhams

Summer dress, £50, from Asos


Per Una Speziale dress, £79, from M&S

Autograph dress, £79, from M&S

Phase Eight Sylvia prom dress, RRP £91, from Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

Alisa prom dress, £109, from Monsoon

Limited Collection dress, £39.50, from M&S

IN the words of fashion designer, John Galliano: “To imagine a look without a hat is like imagining an English teapot without a lid.” But unless you are a WAG or have just won the lottery, you are unlikely to be able to afford the price tag that comes with most designer hats. So if you thought you couldn’t afford to wear a fancy designer hat then think again. This is where the girls at Felicity Hat Hire can help. Owners, Hazel and Janet, have a fabulous selection of beautiful hats ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and suitable for any event or occasion, and all are available to hire at affordable prices. Felicity Hat Hire is already the ‘go to’ choice of discerning hat fans in Liverpool, and all the best dressed heads at the Grand National, the Chester Races and even the races in Dubai, were wearing creations from Felicity Hat Hire. And if you think that the hat of your dreams doesn’t exist, then the ladies at Felicity Hat Hire can make it for you. Having studied millinery for a number of years, both Hazel and Janet are highly skilled hat makers, and could certainly give renowned milliner Philip Treacy a run for his money. So what are you waiting for? If you have a special occasion lined up this summer then a visit to Felicity Hat Hire is a must. Visit Felicity Hat Hire, The Rocket Junction, 755c Queens Drive, Liverpool L13 4BS, telephone: 0151 280 1373 or log onto

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Shopping for him

MAY 13


Sartorial Blazer £129, Sartorial Shirt £39.50, Sartorial Tie £19.50, Sartiorial Trousers £45, Tie Pin £9.50, Braces £17.45, Pocket Square £9.50, all from M&S

BOLD NEW LOOK Men’s grey arran cardigan, £29.99, from Blue Inc

Leather elbow pads at the ready, Michelle Rushton goes on a field trip to find out how Geography teacher chic is catching on across the globe A FASHION trend which makes men look like a typical Geography teacher has become the most unlikely success of the year. Sales of tweed jackets, especially those with elbow patches, cord trousers, and cardigans have gone through the roof – and are still rising. Celebrities too have been taking up the style, including Jarvis Cocker, Tinie Tempah, Princes’ William and Harry, Dr Who actor Matt Smith, model David Gandy, TV presenter Rick Edwards and Pixie Lott’s model beau, Oliver Cheshire. Spokesperson for Debenhams, Lizzie Singleton, says: “Sit up at the back and pay attention – Geography teacher chic seems to be the main driving force for sales over the past few months. “After decades of being regarded as the epitome of frump, this unique dress sense has suddenly shot to the top of the class.” Currently up on the year are tweed blazers by nearly 100%, cord trousers, knitwear with elbow patches and the humble brown brogue which has seen sales soar by 134%. Influenced by designers such as Burberry Prorsum, Paul Smith and Prada, the Geography teacher trend was seen across the catwalks.

Debenhams personal shoppers have also seen a hike in requests from men asking how to best achieve the look. Lizzie continues: “Seeing the dress styles favoured by your old Geography teacher suddenly being paraded along the latest catwalks has created a grade 10 earthquake in the fashion world. “The appearance of old fashioned leather elbow pads alone is a major seismic event – everyone thought they had disappeared during the last Ice Age.”


Sartorial blazer, £129, from M&S Outfits from John Rocha at Debenhams

A STYLING SESSION WITH JEFF BANKS AND £250 TO SPEND WIN a styling session with celebrity fashion designer Jeff Banks and £250 to spend at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet. Jeff Banks is one of Britain’s leading menswear designers, with over 40 years of experience in the fashion industry. His range offers quality, tailored products, ensuring an exceptional cut and finish. As well as formalwear, the designer also has a broad range of casualwear including polos, T-shirts, casual shirts, and jeans. He has kindly shared his top stylish tips with our distinguished Best of Liverpool readers: “Match your shoes to your belt – this tip sounds simple but the effect it will have on your outfit is drastic – from shabby to chic in five seconds flat! “A herringbone or tweed suit jacket is a great way to update the white-shirt-and-



VOODOU for Him on Bold Street has been given a make-over just in time for spring. The award-winning salon has undergone some big changes in the past eight weeks, not just in its appearance but also in overall operations. Vicky Hay, art director and salon manager in Voodou’s other Bold Street salon, has been with the company for over 16 years and will now manage the two Bold Street salons together. She explains: “We wanted to add character to the salon as both our stylists and clients have such personality we felt it needed reflecting in the look of the salon. The new style has been the talking point of the salon and all of our clients have been commenting on the look.” The new classic revamp includes library style bookcase wallpaper, new green Chesterfield chairs and bowler hat lighting. The reception area has been moved to give clients a larger seating area and the shop front and signage has been replaced to mirror the ladies’ salon five doors down. The salon has also launched a new mobile phone app which has been a huge success with the gents. The app allows them to book their next haircut at the touch of a button and sends users exclusive offers and deals every week. Plus clients who download the app get money off a haircut when they come into the salon. Vicky adds: “Since we started using iPads in the salon to take bills – and now with the new app – all of our clients are impressed at how hi-tech we are for a salon.” For details on Voodou’s new mobile app check out the website or pop into the new looking Bold Street Salon and get £10 off if you’re a new client.

jeans combo – it’s smart yet stylish with just a hint of geek chic which is all the rage this season. A well-tailored navy suit is a must have in every man’s wardrobe; less formal than the traditional black, navy flatters every skin tone and build, and will last you through most social situations.” Jeff will be visiting McArthurGlen’s Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet on May 18 and is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a styling session and clothing to the value of £250. Readers will be spoilt for choice as the outlet offers over 145 designer and high street fashion brands, with year-round savings of up to 60%.

With a vast range of menswear and womenswear brands including All Saints, Pringle of Scotland, Reiss, Church’s, Nicola Farhi, Joseph, Osprey London, Ted Baker and Kurt Geiger – there really is something for everyone. For a chance of winning this incredible prize, answer the following question: When will celebrity fashion designer, Jeff Banks, be visiting Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet? Send your answers on a postcard to Best of Liverpool, Jeff Banks Competition, Liverpool Post & ECHO, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB. Deadline: Monday, May 13. Terms and conditions *The winner must be available to collect their prize on May 18,2013 at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet and must be willing to have their photo taken for media/social media use.


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Salon spotlight

10 YEARS YOUNGER? It’s never too early to start looking after your skin and with this in mind, the Best of Liverpool team have been testing out the best anti-aging treatments in the city

Katie McLoughlin tries out the Signature Facial, £75, at Enhance Cosmetic Clinic DISCREETLY tucked away in New Zealand House, next to the Newz Bar on Water Street, this clinic offers a range of nonsurgical anti-ageing treatments, including Botox, fillers, Radiesse ‘liquid face lifts’ and TCA chemical peels. For those who want to remain youthful-looking without having an injection, it also has a range of Rodial and Environ facials which deliver short term results, including a Signature Facial, £75, which I put to the test. The 60-minute luxury facial began with the skin being thoroughly cleansed with an olive oil cleanser and hot towels, followed by exfoliation to remove dead cells and brighten the skin. Steam was applied to open pores, which was infused with tailored essential oils (I had a combination of antiseptic tea tree to help tackle a break-out and lavender, which is known for its relaxing properties). The treatment also included facial massage to stimulate blood flow, followed by the application of an intensive collagen mask over the entire face and eye area, which was left on for 10 minutes, and helps to plump up the skin. Next Vitamin A, C and E serums were applied to targeted areas to firm, brighten and nourish the skin, with an Environ moisturiser gently massaged in to complete the facial. Ideal for anyone who wants to plump up their skin and give it a fresh-faced dewy appearance temporarily, the results lasted a few days and I was pleased with both the treatment experience, which was very relaxing, and the results. My skin felt smooth, soft and clear, with improved appearance of fine lines and skin texture for a few days after. As well as its anti-ageing benefits, the facial was tailored to tackle an area of hormonal skin, and the break-out I had at the time of the facial quickly cleared up.

VERDICT: * * * * (4 out of 5) Ideal for a special occasion Enhance Cosmetic Clinic, New Zealand House, 18 Water Street, Liverpool, L2 8TD. Tel: 0151 236 1488

DON’T say we never do anything for you, Best of Liverpool readers. We have taken it upon ourselves to be your guinea pigs and have found the most effective anti-aging facials and treatments in Liverpool – without actually going under the knife of course...

Sue Kelbrick enjoys the new CACI non-surgical lifting facial, £45, or £405 for course of 10, at The House Beauty Spa AS someone who has a very low pain threshold, I am not inclined towards putting myself forward for any kind of voluntary pain. I actually envy people who will put themselves through pain for the sake of beauty and the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ is somewhat lost on me. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived at The House in Allerton for my ‘non-surgical lifting facial’. But I needn’t have worried. My fears turned out to be completely ungrounded – there wasn’t a surgical needle in sight – only a cup of tea to start with while I had a chat with my friendly and knowledgeable beauty therapist, Amy who talked me through the facial to help allay my nerves. Favoured by A-listers such as Jennifer Lopez and Madonna (who are both poster girls for the ‘older’ woman in Hollywood so a very good start in my books), I was reassured to learn that CACI has been well-established in the field of skincare for over 20 years and its facials are backed by solid medical research. The basic premise behind the facial is to ‘reeducate’ the facial muscles so they appear firmer and fine lines and wrinkles softened. That’s the science bit but how does it actually work? Amy started by attaching two cotton buds containing a unique skin firming serum to an electrode gizmo which was connected to the salon’s state-of-the-art CACI Ultra machine. This creates positive and negative currents which send a message to the facial muscles to lift up. I was worried this procedure might hurt but it was absolutely fine and was actually quite relaxing.


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The current is started at a low rate to begin with but as you have more treatments the current is increased to maximise the results. (It is recommended that you have a course of 10 treatments over a few weeks followed by top-up treatments about once a month.) This part of the facial lasted about 25 minutes and was followed by the next stage which concentrates on fine lines and wrinkles. Using an implement called a ‘wrinkle comb’ which uses red light therapy to encourage collagen and to plump up the skin, Amy worked the comb over my skin to try and iron out any lines. This was a bit uncomfortable to start with and felt a bit like pins and needles but you soon get used to the sensation. The third stage of the facial involves going back over the skin again in quick movements to ‘remind’ the facial muscles the position they should be in. This takes around 10 minutes and is followed by the final phase of the facial which is called ‘feathering’. Eye gel is administered around the eyes to help soothe them and then a final layer of lifting cream is applied to finish the process. The whole facial takes around an hour and even though I only had one treatment as opposed to the recommended course of 10, I did feel some real, positive results straight away. My skin definitely looked firmer and I was told that my skin was ‘glowing’ afterwards. Imagine the results after the full course of treatments!

VERDICT: * * * * (4 out of 5)

Ideal for slowing down signs of aging The House, 9 Mather Avenue, Allerton, Liverpool L18 6HE, Tel: 0151 724 4999,

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MAY 13 Carla May experiences ClearLift™ laser treatment, £995 for a course of four, at Epilight New Skin Clinic FEELING my skin looked a little dull, tired and in need of a boost, I decided it was time to talk to the experts. Epilight New Skin Clinic on Rodney Street is renowned for providing cutting edge laser treatments so I thought I would give it a try. The clinic is set in a beautiful Georgian terrace with a glamorous yet homely décor which is very warm and welcoming and not at all stark and clinical as I was expecting.

The staff instantly put me at ease. The treatment started with a consultation about what I wanted to change about my skin. My immediate concerns (aged 39) are that I have open pores and my skin seems to have lost vitality. My laser consultant, Nicky, really was brilliant. She was very warm and personable and her product knowledge was excellent.

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She took several pictures of my skin, zooming right in to highlight any specific areas to concentrate on. Nicky agreed my skin needed a general boost as opposed to any particular ‘problem area’ and prescribed the ClearLift™ laser treatment. She explained the treatment clearly without blinding me with science. The ClearLift™ uses acoustics and thermal depth to stimulate collagen and elastin production and to break down patchy melanin and redness or veins. She advised the effect would be glowing, younger looking skin, which was noticeably firmer and tighter, as well as an improvement in fine lines, small veins, redness and pigment. During the treatment, the laser made a loud slapping noise and I could feel light pin pricks on my skin but it wasn’t painful. After the laser treatment, Nicky applied a soothing and cooling mask called Clear Delight containing ‘Nano peptides’ to help my skin renew and hydrate. Four treatments are advised for an accumulative maximum effect, priced £995. I have seen a definite improvement in my skin. My open pores appear diminished and my skin feels softer and smoother. I have noticed quite a big difference particularly when applying make-up as it seems to glide on and looks much fresher and dewy.

VERDICT: * * * * * (5 out of 5) Ideal for overall skin improvement and tightening Epilight New Skin Clinic, 54 Rodney Street, Liverpool L1 9AD, Tel: 0151 709 0099,

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Michelle Rushton tests the DermaNew HyperbarOx™ treatment, from £40, at Pure Spa and Wellness HAVING the central heating on all winter had wreaked havoc on my skin which had become rather dull, dry and patchy. And as I have a ‘special birthday’ looming, I am becoming more and more conscious of my age and determined to delay those dreaded crows’ feet as long as I can, without having to resort to drastic surgery. A friend recommended I try a facial at Pure Spa and Wellness in Childwall, which specialises in beauty, cosmetic, and wellbeing treatments, so I booked myself in for a well-deserved spot of pampering. As I walked in, I first noticed the fresh scent of aromatherapy oils and the vibrant green chandeliers which had an instantly uplifting effect. Plus the staff were so friendly and welcoming. My therapist Kelly made me a coffee and asked me to fill in a questionnaire about my skin and general health before recommending the salon’s new treatment, DermaNew HyperbarOx™ – the latest celebrity must-have from Beverley Hills. Kelly explained how the treatment combines microdermabrasion and oxygen which removes cell debris and resurfaces skin, reducing fine lines and pore size while delivering 99% pure oxygen into the skin. I felt I was in good hands. She showed me to the treatment room which had a warm, relaxing vibe where I snuggled under the warm towels, soothed by the sounds of birdsong and waterfalls. As she massaged my head, neck and shoulders, I felt the knots unravelling and tension ebbing away and almost nodded off! Kelly worked the microdermabrasion machine around my face in a circular motion. It felt a bit tickly at times and I had to suppress a sneeze or two but it didn’t hurt a bit. She applied a hydrating mask to my parched skin with lavender added to the patchy areas around my nose. As I was just getting over a heavy cold, it really soothed my sinuses. She then massaged my scalp with oils and left me to relax for a while before removing the mask. My skin felt so clean, refreshed and hydrated and it was visibly plumper and smoother. I felt 10 years younger!

VERDICT: * * * * * (5 out of 5) Ideal for a special treat or night out Pure Spa and Wellness, 10 Childwall Abbey Road, Childwall, Liverpool L16 0JN, Tel: 0151 722 3456,

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Roll up, roll up!


You’ll fall head over heels for the latest fitness trend to land in Liverpool, says Katie McLoughlin “THE first rule of trapeze school is that there are no naughty thumbs,” says Lizy Whiting, as we begin a taster session for her latest venture in Mello Mello – a trapeze course. The 26-year-old yoga teacher and trapeze artist is running three-week long trapeze courses in the TiLT Dance Studio, in Mello Mello on Slater Street. And naughty thumbs, it turns out, are when you don’t grip the trapeze bar correctly – which, as you can imagine, is rather important on the trapeze! Lizy Whiting

Photos: James Maloney

The first course ran in April and with more in the pipeline, I went along to see what it was all about. Aimed at beginners, the course teaches people how to mount and dismount the trapeze, as well as some under, on and above the bar routines. “Each course is three weeks long, with a typical class having three to five people in. Each class is between an hour and a half and two hours, and depending on how many people are in the class, we would go through getting on/off, as well as routines like the mermaid, reverse angel and pike,” explains Lizy, who is originally from London but has lived in Liverpool since she was three. “It’s amazing for your core muscles, conditioning every muscle, flexibility and, for women, it’s good for upper arm strength,” says Lizy. “It’s great for confidence building too, and an amazing way to get your heart rate up in like two minutes and not even realise that you’ve done it because it’s so much fun.” Lizy first got the bug for trapeze when she did a course with a friend four years ago. Since then, she’s mastered it and initially started teaching trapeze as part of an informal skills sharing session, which she ran with people who knew acrobatics, gymnastics and the like, the idea being that everyone could teach everyone else how to do something. However, she soon found that everyone wanted to learn how to do the trapeze rather than share a skill with the group, and so decided to launch a three-week beginners’ course dedicated purely to trapeze. The trapeze course is just one of many projects that Lizy is involved with, as she also teaches a hatha yoga class in the TiLT Dance Studio, having practised yoga

for many years and undergone intensive training at the Arhanta Ashram in India last year. “I went to Madara Predesh, in India, last September and did a 200 hour teacher training course for six weeks. We lived in the ashram and practiced from 5.30am to 5.30pm at night, doing a mix of yoga practice, meditating and cleansing rituals,” explains Lizy. As well as the yoga and Trapeze, TiLT rents its dance studio out to other ventures, and a number of classes such as tai chi, mindfulness meditation and nippon kempo boxing, are offered in the studio as a result. TiLT, which Lizy founded with friend and business partner Holly, also has a performance company, named TiLT presents..., which allows them to collaborate and perform with people from across the arts in the city. “Our next TiLT presents... event is on May 17 as part of LightNight,” reveals Lizy. The event, which starts at 8.45pm, will see a trapeze performance take place in a blacked out room in Mello Mello, which will be accompanied by live music from Martin Smith, of local jazz band The Weave, and live video map projections (lights which will follow the trapeze artist’s movements) by Venya Krutivov from the Kazimier. To find out more about the three-week trapeze course, which is priced at £30 or any of TiLT’s other ventures, email or visit the website,




Fighting fit Michelle Rushton finds out why Ben Keegan’s boxercise classes are such a big hit FROM an early age, Ben Keegan from Wallasey, was always interested in boxing and keeping fit. It was while he was serving as a personal development instructor in the British Army that he decided to incorporate boxercise into the daily lives of the regiments. This, he says, not only helped to enhance the troops’ training and development, but was also something which they really enjoyed. Since returning to civilian life after representing his country, Ben says he has developed a real passion for helping people to develop physically and it has become a big part of his life. He founded TKO Boxercise class and has created a fun way to incorporate boxing techniques for clients to develop physically and meet new people at the same time. The pay as you go scheme operated by the experienced military instructor provides people with a safe environment to physically challenge themselves. Ben, 28, who has been running TKO Boxercise since September, says: “Boxercise is a great development programme for all types of people to get fit and meet new people. “Boxercise helps people to lose weight and tone up but also offers people the opportunity to develop their confidence. “Seeing people overcome their shyness is important to me and I have seen tremendous achievements.” TKO Boxercise attracts people of all ages, from

17-years-old to people in their early 50s and all of varying experiences. But the diversity of the people who come to his classes is an element of the job he enjoys the most. He explains: “I feel that it is important for me to meet different people and to understand the ways in which they develop physically. “In the market that I’m in, it is essential that you know as much as possible about your clients so you can provide them with the help they need. “Because there is such a diverse group of people, it is a fantastic opportunity for my clients to build new friendships.” Ben is extremely versatile and works with a wide range of clients, from mums wanting to lose their baby weight, to men relieving stress from everyday life and those who are trying to build the perfect beach body. All abilities are welcome, lessons last one hour and incorporate a unique blend of non contact boxing training, circuit training and cardio training. Ben, who trains clients at The Hut in Leasowe, the home of Wallasey Amateur Boxing Club, adds: “Seeing people develop physically is superb. I get satisfaction knowing that my clients are going away with the training they need to achieve their goals. “The part of the job I enjoy the most is being able to see the positive change in people and helping them to make that change happen.” For more information contact Ben on 07738284167, email or check his Facebook page TKO Boxercise.

ARE you a woman who’d like to get back in the saddle? Knowsley Council has signed up to a project to get more people cycling. The Sky Ride and Breeze schemes train up local people to lead cycle rides on scenic planned routes in the area.  The Sky Ride scheme is for everyone, meanwhile the Breeze programme is aimed at women and organisers are looking for women to lead the rides. The leaders don’t need to be expert cyclists – just enthusiastic and comfortable on a bike and able to commit some time.  They will get free training and a free kit and equipment in return for committing to leading around 12 rides a year locally.  The Breeze training courses take place on Sunday, May 19 at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park in Longview Drive, Huyton.  Visit and click on one of the champions’ stories or email:

EVER fancied having a go on a BMX? Then head down to the world class BMX cycle track at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park in Longview Drive, Huyton. You can now hire the bikes, helmets and safety equipment and get the help of a coach to learn how to improve. It costs just £2 to hire a BMX bike and a helmet and you can also hire the track and equipment for birthday parties. The BMX track is suitable for everyone, although under 13s will need to be accompanied by an adult. There are supervised drop in sessions throughout the week and induction and coaching sessions for beginners on Saturday mornings. Two hour sessions on the BMX Track cost £3 for over 16s and £2 for under 15s. There’s also a cycling velodrome track at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park for accredited cyclists aged eight and over (adults need to supervise under 12s). To find out more about the BMX track or the velodrome, call 0151 443 3540 or log onto and click on facility hire. 



Let’s get phsyical Every parent knows that it’s vital for their kids to be active. Sue Kelbrick checks out some great alternative ways for children to exercise WHEN I was younger I used to practice yoga regularly and I have attended many classes and courses in my time. But as the pressures of everyday life, and juggling work and family commitments have taken over, so my commitment to the virtues of yoga have unfortunately lapsed. So when I heard about a yoga course in Liverpool specifically designed for children, I was delighted to take along my five-year-old daughter, Lauren, to give it a go. Yoga is something I would always encourage my children to do as I’d like to pass on the benefits of this wonderful discipline. But children being children, you can’t make them do anything they don’t want to do, so I was interested to see how the creator of Yoga Bears, Estelle Cartlidge would get co-operation from the kids in the class. Estelle is the founder of Bikram Yoga Liverpool in the city centre. She is a lifelong yoga practitioner who trained with the actual founder of Bikram Yoga, Bikram Choudhury, and is passionate about promoting good health and well being. She believes it’s never too early to start practising yoga, and her two young children, Jasmine, two, and Michael, four, are both already skilled in a number of yoga positions and are a great advert for the practice. Her own children were the inspiration for her latest venture, Yoga Bears, which incorporates the principles and practice of yoga into fun and interactive stories. The aim is not only to encourage children to be active but to improve confidence, engagement and to explore the imagination.

I needn’t have worried about how Estelle was going to keep the children’s attention. By using stories and music to illustrate what she was doing, Estelle was able to get the kids doing yoga without them even realising it.

And so the children’s exercise mats became ‘magic carpets’ and the various poses they were doing involved them pretending to be different wild animals right down to making the right animal noises! One particular move was made to look like a fun party game with the children lying on the floor with their legs up against the wall passing a balloon along the line. It was a really clever way to get them active but also got them interacting with each other at the same time. All the children obviously enjoyed the session and Lauren, in particular, loved doing all the different poses. It’s a great idea for busy mums who find it difficult to fit exercise into their hectic schedules. They can drop their little angels off at their Yoga Bears class and then nip to the studio next door for their own grown-up yoga class – everyone is happy! And Lauren certainly enjoyed her first Yoga Bears session, so much so that she was found practising her yoga poses in her PJs that evening when she was meant to be in bed... l Yoga Bears, Bikram Yoga Liverpool, Focus Building, Great Crosshall Street, Liverpool L3 2AP Telephone: 0151 236 1375 Email: Website:


HERE’S a round up of some other children’s fitness classes with a difference:

Kidilates INCORPORATING pilates moves specifically for children, this fun, 40 minute, physio-led class promotes healthy movement and posture in children. Classes are limited to 10 children and are held in term times after school. Different age groups have different needs and so the classes take into account the developmental stages of each child. The aim of the classes are to promote healthy posture, develop core strength, improve balance and co-ordination and encourage good movement patterns to last a lifetime. The programme is suitable for most children including those diagnosed with movement disorders. Classes are conducted in a safe and secure environment and all teaching and admin staff are CRB checked for added peace of mind. l Kidilates is held at The Physiotherapy Centre, 65 Booker Avenue, Mossley Hill, Liverpool L18 4QZ. Telephone: 0151 724 2060.

Don’t wait

MITCHY TITCH fun and fitness sessions follow a structured exercise routine incorporating yoga inspired stretches for baby, parent and joint exercises. Using music, rhymes and props, the exercises help babies develop both physically and emotionally. The benefits are wide ranging and can help improve sleep patterns, digestion and colic, and boost the immune system, as well as increasing neuromuscular development, fine motor skills and aiding the natural development of movement from birth to walking. The yoga moves are great for adults as well as it tones and strengthens the muscles. It can also help postnatal depression and is known to connect parents and baby helping them to form an even closer bond. l Sessions are held throughout Liverpool, private sessions also available. Visit the website: or telephone: Avril O’Brien 07966 794 712.

Presented by Global Creatures in association with BBC Worldwide Ltd

22-26 May 2013

until they’re




MAY 13 HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE Keeping kids sweet

IT can be hard to find a breakfast which has the right balance of what your little ones need and the taste they love. Well mums will be happy to know Kellogg’s has launched four new lower sugar kids’ cereals with added ‘mummy’ benefits you can feel good about giving them. New Coco Pops Croc Prints, Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes Strawberry, Honey Loops and Honey Pops are made with wholegrain, high in fibre and are a source of Vitamin D (25 per cent of the recommended daily amount). They are also healthy enough to be advertised on children’s TV and are available now in all major supermarkets. Most importantly - kids love the taste of them – so keep them sweet. The cereals are priced from £2.39 to £2.69.

Charmed, I’m sure

FANTASIA OF FAMILY FUN From fairytales and humongous vegetables to waving felines, children will be enchanted by theatrical goings on at The Atkinson this summer... SOUTHPORT’S brand new multi-purpose arts venue, The Atkinson, is hosting a strong programme of family friendly fun for spring/ summer 2013. With terrific treats including fairytales, waving felines and even humongous vegetables, the venue is set to keep kids (and big kids) utterly entertained in May, June and July. This month, children can look forward to Hiccup Theatre’s brand new version of the classic fairytale Rumplestiltskin on May 18. With puppetry, live music and mischievous storytelling, this magical show by awardwinning writer, Mick Kenny, will have you on the edge of your seat. The Krazy Kat Theatre Company bring their sign language art creation The Waving Cat of Japan to the Atkinson on Friday, May 24. The lavishly designed show uses Bunraku puppet- style theatrical fantasy, mixing in traditional Japanese images borrowed from the ‘Noh’ and ‘Kabuki’ theatre. On May 29, Topsy Turvy Theatre arrive with Ruby Flew Too, the heartwarming tale of a little duckling struggling to find her feet. With live theatre, stunning scenery, beautiful

handmade puppets and original music, this high energy visually captivating show is a treat for the whole family. Following their smash-hit show, Andy and Mike’s… Big Box of Bananas, dynamic duo Andy Day and Mike James visit The Atkinson on June 2 with a time machine! The pair bring their trademark infectious energy and irrepressible sense of fun and promise to make the new show – Andy and Mike’s Tick Tock Time Machine – a treat for the whole family. Later on in June and July, families can look forward to lots more shows including The Enormous Turnip, Shiny, Knick Knack and Dad Doo, My Brother The Robot and much more. l To book, call 01704 533 333 or visit

EVERYONE loves pretty things. But the latest range of hand-made jewellery from Charmed by Allison, is more than just pretty. It could save lives. Charmed by Allison has produced a selection of beautiful bracelets for children which incorporate gorgeous sparkly beads and jewels with vital information such as the name of a particular allergy or life-threatening condition the child may suffer with, or the telephone number of the child’s parent. And the best bit is that because the jewellery is so attractive children don’t mind wearing it, so whereas before parents struggled to get their children to wear medical bracelets, their kids actually enjoy wearing them now, which in turn could ultimately save their life. Charmed by Allison is an emporium for all things bling from hand-made jewellery for children and adults, to sunglasses, picture frames, mobile phone cases, headbands, and much more. And for aspiring young jewellery makers out there, Charmed by Allison hosts regular jewellery workshops. Charmed by Allison: 51 Picton Road, Wavertree L15 4LF, telephone: 07749 394220

Blooming lovely

SPRING has finally sprung in Sefton Park and local photographer, Kelly O’Connor of Kelly Photography, is offering families the opportunity to have a fabulous photo shoot using the beautiful daffodils in bloom as the backdrop. Included in the package is an initial telephone consultation, a one to two hour photo shoot in Sefton Park, 20-30 edited images available for viewing and five professional photographic prints for you to take home with other products available to order. And all for the bargain introductory price of £75 (usual price £100). Even better, Kelly will be contributing £5 to Marie Curie for every photo shoot she does. Telephone 07974 215288 or email

Happy birthday Spot!

SPOT’S Birthday Party returns to the stage for a revival of David Wood’s adaptation of Eric Hill’s original story. This celebration – the perfect introduction to theatre for young children – will be at the Liverpool Playhouse from Thursday, May 9 to Saturday, May 11. Children and parents will be invited to join in the fun with music and songs, games and stories and are encouraged to arrive at the theatre dressed for a party, bringing a home-made birthday card for Spot, in a show that will have theatrical magic to capture everyone’s imagination. Tickets cost £12-£14 for adults and £8-£10 for under 16s. To book, call the box office on 0151 709 4776 or visit



Homegrown talent Miguel Doforo

LIVERPOOL'S GOT TALENT Twice semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent, Liverpool dance troupe MD Productions are aiming to make it third time lucky. Paul Baker caught up with choreographer Miguel Doforo to find out more... MIGUEL Doforo is not a man who gives up easily on a dream. Without having attended a dance class in his life he has successfully choreographed countless shows and performances on stages across the world. He’s even taken his dancers onto perhaps the most daunting stage of all, in front of the judges of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. Raised in Netherley, he taught himself the moves that would bring him success by copying his heroes Michael and Janet Jackson, Madonna and Prince. At the age of 17 he put on his first show at Liverpool’s Neptune (now Epstein) Theatre. What he lacks in formal training or qualifications, he makes up for in guts and passion. And he’s certainly not lacking in ability, as has been proven by the success of his MD Productions dance troupe who twice reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent. This year, Miguel and his young group of Merseyside dancers are giving it one last try – one last attempt to woo Cowell and company, and be crowned champions of Britain’s Got Talent. Still, Simon Cowell’s not the only one interested in MD Productions these days. When I catch up with Miguel he’s taking a break from filming a documentary for the BBC’s InsideOut programme called ‘Kensington to Dubai’, after he’d been asked to take his recent Beyonce-themed dance show out to the Middle East. Miguel joins the judges at Liverpool Unites in Dance

So things seem to be going very well for the group, but what about Britain’s Got Talent, how’s that going? “It should be good,” says Miguel. “I’m excited, hoping we do well.” But why did he want to face those dreaded judges again for a third time? “Just because I wanted to do something different and we were rehearsing for the Beyonce show and there was a piece where I thought, ‘Wow, I’d like to do a little version of that and take it to an audition.’ “You know I probably wouldn’t have gone again for the fact that we’ve [already] been on, but it was just so different to what we’ve done in the past. I thought let’s give it a chance,

we might be third time lucky.” So will this third appearance be the troupe’s final attempt to win the series? “There’s no story for fourth time lucky is there, really? Right now I’d say no. But I’d advise absolutely anyone to go to the audition because, one, the experience is amazing and, two, the platform is beyond, so I’d advise anyone to go but I’m hoping that third time we’ll go all the way, so I don’t have to go again!” Miguel reckons the reason MD Productions have succeeded on the show in the past is down to the sheer effort his dancers put into it. “They [the judges] always say it’s MD Productions perform at the ECHO Arena



MAY 13 MD Productions at the John Smith's Grand National

the raw talent and the energy that we have, and that we come with something different. I just think we give it our all and when we audition that just comes across.” I ask Miguel what he can tell us about this year’s audition and the dances they’ve put together. He’s understandably tight-lipped when I ask if he can explain more about the routine. “I’m allowed to say that I’ve auditioned for the third time and we’re excited, but I can’t [say more]. If we say anything we’d be out the show. They’ll let me say the concept is ‘Fierce and Fabulous’.” So far, so intriguing. While Miguel can’t reveal more about the performance itself, he is happy to give his opinion on the judges themselves. “They’re all people that we respect in the industry,” he says. “To get to audition in front of them is amazing and, obviously, Simon Cowell is someone I aspire to be like, so to get to be around him is amazing for me. “I’ve got a new project at the minute that I would love him to be patron of. I’m going to have to wait until after the TV show has happened and then speak to him about that, but I’ve got an initiative that we’re setting up in Liverpool. “The mission statement that we’re using is ‘bottle your passion’ and that’s what he said when we were on the show last time, ‘I wish I could bottle your passion.’ So I’m kind of wanting them to use that as the mission statement and get him to be patron of it.” The initiative, it turns out, is a notfor-profit company that Miguel wants

Comedian Mark Langley with Ali Noor from The Spice Lounge

to use to launch a project close to his heart called Emotions. He’s looking to run a year-long project for 50 people from Liverpool who might feel they can’t easily access creative arts such as dance or music, or drawing or fashion design, for example. At the end of the project everyone will get a qualification for completing it. But it doesn’t end there. “The idea will be about everyone bringing their passion together and bottling it,” says Miguel. “And then at the end of the 12 months we want to put on a spectacle at the Empire.” Miguel’s looking for sponsorship and funding now with the aim of putting on a two hour show of mixed arts that starts as a blank canvas on a screen and, by the end of the show, the canvas will have been painted in, depending on what happens during the performance and the emotions that have been shown. “The canvas will represent all the different people who’ve been in the show,” explains Miguel. “Obviously people have social issues, racial issues, sexuality issues. Everyone’s a blank canvas, but as life goes on different things happen... “We’ll be tackling gun and knife crime, drug abuse. It’s got everything, singing, dancing, acting, the BBC are filming this as well.” It certainly seems a very worthwhile project and one which could really benefit the city. Best of luck then to Miguel and MD Productions, both in winning Britain’s Got Talent 2013 and bringing his exciting Emotions project to life!

Miguel with dancers from MD Productions Photo: David Munn

Comedy and curry Local funnyman Mark Langley gives a great impression of Liverpool during his new sightseeing tour of the city... LIVERPOOL comedian Mark Langley does some fantastic impressions of Scouse celebrities. And now he will be bringing his characters to life on a new sightseeing tour which takes visitors on a hysterical trip around the city. Launching on May 4, the Comedy Coach Tour will allow people to laugh their way around Liverpool - arguably the home of comedy - during an hour long trip around some of the city’s most interesting locations. Guests will enjoy a welcome glass of Bucks Fizz - or orange juice - at the popular Spice Lounge restaurant at the Albert Dock, before boarding the coach for a rib-tickling, laugh-a-minute tour around the city, complete with comic impressions, tall tales and plenty of wry wit. Providing the hilarious commentary during the tour will be local stand up, Mark Langley, who is well known among Liverpool’s comedy scene. Mark, who has gigged extensively throughout the country, and during his time worked with the likes of Jason Manford and John Bishop, will be performing his repertoire during the tour including belly-aching impressions of local personalities, including football stars and The Beatles. The brainchild of Comedy Coach Tour is Tom Moss, a musical impresario from West Derby, who comes from a family of entertainers (there have been seven professional comedians in his family, and his mother was once a magician’s assistant!). Tom adds: “This is something my family and I have wanted to bring to Liverpool for a very long time. What better way to enjoy the stories, sights and the Scouse accent than through a comic’s take on this amazing city?!” The tour buses are supplied by Liverpool-based, Maghull Coaches, the company who invested in tourism very early on with Liverpool’s first sightseeing bus, The Liverpool City Explorer. Mark explains: “It will be a satirical take on the history of Liverpool, with lots of impressions including famous Scousers from Steve Gerrard and Leonard Rossiter

to Gerry Marsden as we go down Mathew Street.” After listening to some of Mark’s impressions during my interview, I can vouch for the fact that Mark is a gifted mimic. He reveals: “I’ve been impersonating people since childhood from Frank Spencer to Worzel Gummidge and always wanted to be a comedian and impressionist. “I told my teachers and they just laughed, which was a good start I suppose, but I didn’t really know how to get into it professionally, so I chose to study drama and completed a youth training scheme at age of 17. It was the only one in the country at the time so we had lots of young people from all over the country coming up to Liverpool - from Cockneys to Geordies – which helped me hone my accents!” He admits: “I found the drama very helpful as I was terrified of getting up on a stage but I did my LAMDA acting exams and a few plays at The Unity and got more and more confident.” Mark braved his first stand up comedy gig at the age of 28 at the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club in Manchester where many other comedians have cut their comic teeth, which secured him gigs with comedy greats such as John Bishop and Steve Coogan and taught him how to deal with hecklers. “I didn’t like being heckled at first,” he confides, “I was too aggressive with them at first but am much gentler now! “Going on stage first is a very tough spot, if the compère doesn’t warm the audience up properly, it can be hard and I’ve seen some get thrown off, you need a skilled compère to warm them up.” Now Mark is a confident stand up and a regular on the sportsman’s dinner circuit, especially at Liverpool and Everton and has often shocked the players with his accurate impersonations of them! So if you fancy a good laugh, book yourself onto the Comedy Coach Tour and why not pop back to The Spice Lounge afterwards? Comedy and a curry is the perfect combination! For more information visit



Homegrown talent

Someone call 911... From boybands and breakdancing to bodyshakin’, Sarah Hooley catches up with Jimmy Constable from 911... SINCE the first episode of smash-hit reality TV programme The Big Reunion aired earlier this year, it’s fair to say that life’s been a bit of a whirlwind for popstar Jimmy Constable. The singer, originally from Liverpool, makes up one third of boyband 911 who first hit the charts in 1996. And, following the ITV2 show’s huge success, the band are now about to embark on a collaborative UK tour – coming to the ECHO Arena next Wednesday, May 8. So, how are preparations with fellow bandmates Lee Brennan and Simon ‘Spike’ Dawbarn going? “Rehearsals are going really well,” the 41-year-old says with a laugh. “Lee, Spike and I said it had to be all or nothing, so the break-dancing and dance tricks are all in there. We may be older this time round, but we’ve still got the moves! “My average [rehearsal] day is a bit different now though because I’m married with three kids,” he continues. “So although there is a lot of work involved for The Big Reunion tour, my wife and I are juggling being parents. I still do lots of every day ‘normal’ things like the school run, gym and just being a dad.” For those who have been living under a rock, reality documentary series The Big Reunion brought together some of pop’s best-loved bands from the 90s and early noughties for a concert at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. The line-up included, 5ive (minus member Jay), Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Liberty X, 911, Honeyz and Blue. And, with the show’s mix of tears, tantrums, and painfully honest interviews – not to mention Andi Peters’ genius narration – it became an instant hit. Unsurprisingly, demand for the show to go on tour was huge as fans of the bands jostled to get their slice of pop-nostalgia. “We’ve had an amazing response from the show,” Jimmy says. “The TV series was ITV2’s highest-rated programme in five years, and The Big Reunion tour in May has pretty much sold out. Our new four-date arena tour in December has also sold out, and we’re making a new album due to demand so we are very happy indeed! “Being back with the lads is very easy. We have a great friendship, and can be open about everything.

“Our workload’s not as hectic this time round so we can enjoy it more.” He adds: “We strangely get on with everyone in the other bands too, mainly because we’re all a lot older and wiser. Everyone seems more laid-back which is nice. Most of the talk is about our kids! The lads from 5ive can be on an ego trip at times though, but they will be brought down if it gets out of hand!” Jimmy, who was born in Toxteth, is also extremely excited about performing in his native city. “Coming home to Liverpool is the one show I’m most looking forward to,” he says. “When 911 were doing our arena tours back in the day we had to do Manchester, as the ECHO Arena wasn’t built. So I’m thrilled we can play a big arena in Liverpool at last!

“When 911 were doing our arena tours back in the day we had to do Manchester, as the ECHO Arena wasn’t built. So I’m thrilled we can play a big arena in Liverpool at last!” “I was born on Mozart Street in Toxteth,” he adds fondly, “and moved around from Wavertree to Halewood so I spent most of my late teens in clubs like Fallows, Hippodrome and [the ones around] Concert Square. “A lot has changed over the years, but Spike and I used to be the dancers on the City FM roadshows before the band, so there are lots of really enjoyable memories for me. Liverpool people are so friendly and down to earth, it’s a great city with fantastic people.” Jimmy, who co-founded 911 with Spike back in 1995, was at the time working as a dancer on late night music show The Hit Man and Her. A short while later the duo were joined by baby-faced singer Lee Brennan,

Jimmy with fellow 911 band members, Lee and Spike Image by Andy LeSauvage

Jimmy Constable Image by Andy LeSauvage

and signed by Virgin Records with whom they scored their first top 10 hit – Don’t Make Me Wait. The likes of Bodyshakin’, More Than A Woman and chart-topper A Little Bit More quickly followed, and the band went on to score 10 consecutive top 10 hits, as well as becoming one of the biggest selling tour acts in the UK during that period. And that’s not all – they enjoyed world-wide success with huge fan-bases in Asia where their records went platinum more than 20 times. Jimmy recalls some of their highlights. “It’s things like playing stadiums of 60,000 people in Singapore, going to the Brits, experiencing four years of sell-out arena tours, and flying round the world. Even though we didn’t always get much chance to see each country because we were always so busy working!” Pop stardom wasn’t without its pitfalls though, and Jimmy who, in the past, has had well-documented battles with depression, alcohol and drugs is the first to admit there were low points. However, this time round, the star is confident things will be different. “I personally don’t have any reservations,” Jimmy says earnestly. “It’s great to be given a second chance in the business, and we feel very lucky. We’re all looking forward to the tour and meeting old and new fans. We’re currently writing a new album as well, and after The Big Reunion Tour we will be going to Asia and touring there – putting on our own 911 tour, as well as doing lots of radio, TV and promotions. And solo-wise we may even do some reality TV. Who knows?” So with the future looking bright, Jimmy leaves his fans with this parting message: “For all those coming to see us, I’d just like to say a huge thank you, and 911 look forward to giving you an exciting, lively show like the old days! I can’t wait to embrace the Liverpool culture and air again. There is nowhere in the world like Liverpool, and it will always be my home.” l For news or to book personal meet and greets with

Jimmy visit The Big Reunion is at the ECHO Arena on Wednesday, May 8. To buy tickets, visit



MAY 13 Paul Baker checks his diary to find out what’s happening in May...


5 LIVE IN LIVERPOOL BBC Radio 5 live’s Big Day Out 2013 takes place at the ECHO Arena on Saturday, June 1. Colin Murray Hosted by sports broadcasters, Colin Murray and Mark Chapman, alongside former Premier League footballer, Robbie Savage, the event is being billed as the station’s biggest ever outside broadcast. The event will be broadcast live on the radio and will feature the sports shows, Fighting Talk and 606, before an exclusive set from Scottish rockers Primal Scream. Colin Murray will host Fighting Talk with regulars Justin Moorhouse, John Rawling and Bob Mills, while 606 will be presented by Mark Chapman and Robbie Savage. Visit or

RESURRECTION FESTIVAL TRUE to its name, Resurrection Festival is back, returning for its second year running. The multi-arts festival, led by students from Liverpool Community College, presents a celebration of local emerging talent and aims to showcase the diverse creativity of the city. Running from May 24-26 at the Black-E arts centre next to Liverpool’s China Town arch, this year a highlight will be a performance from Britain’s Got Talent stars MD Productions & Rare Liverpool. Expect a cultural catwalk, local bands and musicians, a comedy show and vintage fair. There will be creative workshops, a silent disco, make-overs and more. There are still lots of exciting announcements to come! Find out more on Twitter: @resfest123



OUR very own Tate gallery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and from May 17-27 a display at the gallery will reflect on the past quarter century and look towards the gallery’s future. Tate Liverpool is also to unveil a major re-hang of its collection displays this summer, opening in May and later in July. Called ‘DLA Piper Series: Constellations’ it explores the impact of major works from the Tate collection on art history by placing them at the heart of nine ‘constellations’ of artworks. Including over 100 works from the collection, many never seen before in Liverpool, the displays will reveal the many different narratives that link the artworks together. Visit

WILL DRAW FOR MONEY FROM May 3-19 the East Village Arts Club on Liverpool’s Seel Street hosts an exhibition from Glasgowbased artist Barry Neeson. Neeson uses elements of graffiti, tattoo flash and comic illustration to achieve an explosion of medias and styles. His work explores playfulness and corruption, mixing tattoo flash with Pantone markers. He works on canvas and paper; with acrylic and spray paint; in polymer clay and razorblades. Entry is free and the cafe-bar is open from 11am. Visit



YOUR best to see Lynne Fitzgerald’s new show. If you liked ‘Four Girls and a Caravan’ or ‘Desperate Scousewives: The Play’ then you won’t want to miss Psychic Sybil. Starring Lynne and regular cohorts Bernie Foley and Suzanne Collins, expect hilarious hauntings and spooky silliness to tickle your funny bone at St Helens Theatre Royal, until May 5.

AND get tickets for Rutherford & Son at the Playhouse Theatre this month. Northern Broadsides returns to Liverpool with an adaptation of this powerful domestic drama under world renowned director Jonathan Miller, from May 21-25.



TV historian Dan Snow when he lectures at Merseyside Maritime Museum as part of the Battle of the Atlantic commemorations. The TV presenter will talk about Liverpool’s pivotal role in the campaign at sea with a free lecture on Saturday, May 25, from 2-3pm.

TO attend Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (formerly Arabic) as it returns to the city for its 12th festival. Expect work from Arab artists in a host of genres, including music, theatre, art, exhibitions, food, film and dance. Join a culturally rich collection of talented artists from across the Arab world when the festival begins on May 17.



IT’S here at last, our musical summer can begin in earnest, the city’s first big music festival of the year is upon us. Stealing Sheep This year, Sound City underlines its commitment to emerging talent by presenting a staggering 360 acts in over 25 venues across three days and nights, starting today and ending on Saturday, May 4. Highlights include Noah And The Whale, Dexys, The Walkmen, Everything Everything, Delphic, Dutch Uncles, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Stealing Sheep and Wave Machines. A three day pass will get you into all the shows! Don’t miss it.


THE UK tour of the international smash hit musical, based on the popular 90s Australian movie, rolls into town from May 20-25. Priscilla stars Jason Donovan, reprising the role he pioneered when the show first opened in the West End. Expect a heart warming and uplifting adventure at the Liverpool Empire with a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dancefloor favourites including It’s Raining Men, Say a Little Prayer and Go West.

Picture by Paul Coltas


DENNIS Potter’s seminal play Blue Remembered Hills comes to the Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday 14 to Saturday, May 18. The classic and ground-breaking Playhouse drama tells a story of children and childhood which still speaks to our fractious, changing world almost 20 years after Potter’s death. This charming and profound play captures the writer’s humanity, wicked humour and his fierce intolerance of ordinary cruelty.


ONE of the most critically and commercially successful artists of all time, Mark Knopfler hits the ECHO Arena on May 19, 2013. As the frontman of Dire Straits, Knopfler enjoyed worldwide success. He was recently presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Ivor Novello Awards (the UK’s highest songwriting accolade) and his current tour totals 72 shows across 25 European countries. Knopfler will be playing songs from new album Privateering – his eighth solo studio record, and his first double album in 35 years of recording – along with many of his old classics. Don’t miss this chance to see one of the greatest guitarists around play Liverpool.

TICKETS FOR BIRDS OF A FEATHER N I W IT’S been a while, but the birds are back! Birds of a Feather was one of the hit BBC comedies of the 1990s and, after sellout performances last year, the show’s stars Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph will be bringing their live show to the Liverpool Empire this month. The show continues the misadventures of sisters Sharon Theodopolopoudos and Tracy Stubbs, along with their man-eating neighbour, Dorien Green. Don’t miss the chance to find out what the characters have been up to for the last 10 years or so. The show is on at the Liverpool Empire, May 7-11. For a chance to win one of three pairs of tickets to see the show on the opening night answer the following question:

What is the name of the man-eating neighbour in Birds of a Feather? The tickets are for Tuesday night’s performance so please email your answer and contact telephone number to: paul. stating Birds of a Feather in the subject box. Winners will be notified by phone on the morning of Tuesday, May 7.



LIGHT FANTASTIC With over 130 free events taking place for this year’s LightNight, Sarah Hooley discovers what will be illuminating Liverpool on Friday, May 17.... Photos: Colin Lane

Get involved – adults AT the awe-inspiring Anglican Cathedral enjoy a walk around its candle-lit labyrinths (8pm-11pm); take part in a craft bombing extravaganza in BBC Radio Merseyside (5.30pm-7.30pm); or join award-winning choir, Sense of Sound, in an exciting a cappella singing experience at The Bluecoat. There’s also a drawing workshop at Bridewell Studios and Gallery (4pm9pm); free swing dance classes at Live Wire Dance Studio (7pm-12am); and a late night Ceilidh in St George’s Hall from 9pm-11pm (£1 donation on the door). And don’t miss the vintage games night at The Brink on Parr Street, where you’re invited to play childhood games from the 70s/80s between 4pm7.30pm. There’ll be music from the era, and a free glass of cream soda or a dandelion and burdock float!

Get involved – kids ON THE STREETS Pier Head Samba Party! DANCE your way to the Pier Head and join the huge gathering of Samba drummers to start LightNight in style. The line-up includes Anfield Samba Kids, and the extraordinarily talented Beatlife who will bring together a selection of their most experienced drummers to create a sound spectacular. It’s also a great opportunity to wave off the magnificent Queen Mary 2 as she leaves Liverpool on her travels. The Pier Head Samba Party! is on from 5pm – 6pm.

city including The Bluecoat, Camp and Furnace, Walker Art Gallery, LEAF, St George’s Hall and the Museum of Liverpool. On Friday May 17 there will be a number of special events planned for LightNight, including a moving exhibition by world renowned photographer, Rankin at the Walker Art Gallery (4pm-10pm). LOOK/13 runs until June 15. See pages 22-23 to find out more. Photo: Jason Roberts

IT’S well worth letting your little ones stay up past their bedtime for this exciting night! A prosthetic make-up artist will be on hand at the Museum of Liverpool to apply gory wounds to children between 4pm-8pm. Plus, the museum’s children’s gallery – Little Liverpool – will be opening for a special late night session at 6pm. The Walker Art Gallery will also be opening its children’s gallery – Big Art for Little Artists – with costumes, puppets, stories and hands-on crafts for the under eights between 4pm-7.30pm.

Light Projections Photo: Jason Roberts

THERE’LL be three, large-scale light projections by new media artist Andy McKeown across the city. The first – Do you remember this photo of me... – will be a gigantic photo wall streaming local portrait photos at George’s Dock Building, Pier Head. The second projection – Synapse – will create mesmerising patterns of white light over the building at 1 Bridgewater Street. And, lastly – Fragments – will wrap the Oratory at the Anglican Cathedral in stained glass fragments like a shimmering kaleidoscope. The projections will be on from 9.30pm-12am. Other: Brouhaha International will be offering a taste of what’s to come ahead of its annual carnival with a city centre procession (4pm-5.30pm); and, there will be a one-off audio visual performance by artists, Sam Wiehl, Rob Strachan, and Alex Spiers at FACT (9.30pm-10.30pm).

EXHIBITIONS LOOK/13 THIS year’s LightNight also coincides with the launch of international photography festival, LOOK/13. The event, now in its second edition, will take place at venues across the



Liverpool Art Month A NUMBER of events will also be taking place for Liverpool Art Month, which runs throughout May too. At the Grand Hall, in the Albert Dock, see work by the four short-listed artists for this year’s Liverpool Art Prize (4pm-8pm). In Arena Studios and Gallery on Parliament Street see 30 new drawings by Liverpoolbased painter, Paul Bywater, and take a look at the past, present and possible future of no. 40-42 Slater Street – currently home to Mello Mello – from 4pm-12am. Other: over at the Baltic Bakehouse food, art and music will come together to take you on a trip down memory lane (4pm-12am); and, check out the local arts, crafts and fashion businesses who set up with help from The Women’s Organisation at The 54, St James Street (6pm-8.30pm).

MAY 13 LightNight will see the reopening of the Central Library in Liverpool

Food glorious food IF you fancy a bite to eat on LightNight, make a beeline for the Food & Drink Festival at Exchange Flags Square (behind the town hall) on May 17 and 18. The festival, held in conjunction with LightNight, will feature a mix of stalls from some of Liverpool’s best places to dine, drink and stay. Be it barbecued steaks from Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse & Restaurant to Strawberry Fields cocktails from Hard Days Night Hotel to name just a few, it’s a must for foodies. Plus, there’ll be music and singers from RARE studio bringing the cobbled square to life! The food and drink festival is on from 11am to 9pm on Friday, and 11am to 5pm on Saturday.

Open Studios


Central Library

Liverpool Town Hall EXPLORE the beautiful Grade I listed surroundings of Liverpool Town Hall, and enjoy performances from community theatre groups (4pm-10pm). The line-up includes, Valley Community Theatre who will be exploring the people and history of Netherley and Belle Vale (6pm and 7.30pm); Acting Up which uses movement, drama and Makaton to explore friendship (6.20pm and 7.50pm); extracts from 20 Stories High’s new show (6.40pm and 8.10pm); and, a turn from Liverpool Playwrights (7pm and 8.30pm).

AS part of LightNight a number of the city’s creative studios will be opening their doors to the public. From meeting local artists at Hub (6pm-10pm), and exploring the nooks and crannies at Arena Studios and Gallery on Parliament Street (6pm9pm), to helping to produce a music video at Vizea Sound on Hope Street (6pm-10pm), it’s a great chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.

Anglican Cathedral

Anglican Cathedral RECHARGE your spiritual batteries at the Anglican Cathedral. The evening starts with a beautiful performance led by the Cathedral Choir in the Choral Evensong (5.30pm-6pm); followed by short performances in Awesome & Intimate (6.30pm-9pm). Lastly, the Liverpool Suzuki Violin Group – aged four to 18 – will perform a selection of well known classics, including songs by the Beatles (6.30pm-7pm and 7.30pm-8pm). Other: enjoy a series of historical performances and demonstrations at the Museum of Liverpool (4pm-8pm); and, join China Pearl for a night of shared memories and Chinese arts at The Women’s Organisation (7.30pm-9pm).

WORDS & DEBATE Official Re-Opening of Central Library BE one of the first people to see inside the beautifully restored Central Library on William Brown Street. From the stunning Hornby Library to the new children’s library and roof terrace, the library will proudly be showing off its new look following two years of restoration. On LightNight there’ll also be a spell-binding light and sound projection that will see the bookshelves come to life (10pm-12am, projections from 9.15pm).

Current Puns: Music and Whimsical Wordplay SOME of the most talented writers, musicians and entertainers in Merseyside will be teaming up for an evening of puns and whimsy in Gourmet Coffee, Exchange Flags (7.30pm-10pm). The evening – presented by BeSpoken and Literally... – will feature Steve MacFarlane, Billy Hui and Peter Grant, along with storyteller Cathy Roberts and special guests. There’s also a raffle, bar and food. The evening will be raising money for the

Whitechapel Homeless Centre. Other: listen to some of Merseyside’s finest musicians discuss their videos at FACT (7pm-8pm); visit the Athenaeum’s famous library stocked with some 60,000 items (tickets £3, 6pm-9pm); and discover the many goings on as part of literary festival In Other Words.

WALKS & TOURS What Lies Beneath IF you’ve always fancied being a paranormal investigator, now’s your chance! For one night only, you can explore one of Liverpool’s most haunted locations beneath Lime Street. Reported to be the site of many spooky goings on, dare you arm yourself with scientific equipment, and brave this subterranean underworld? Over 18s only. The event starts at the Head of Steam, and runs at 7.30pm-9.30pm and 10pm-12am.

Comedy Coach Tour LAUGH your way around Liverpool with the new sightseeing Comedy Coach Tour. The trip, which departs from the Albert Dock, starts with a glass of bucks fizz, before embarking on a hilarious journey around the city. Special LightNight tickets cost £12.60, and trips will run at 6pm and 8pm. Visit Other: take a twilight tour of the Anglican Cathedral’s tower (5.30pm-10.30pm); enjoy a free, 45 minute historic walking tour around the Commercial District (from 4.30pm); and join Shiverpool for a special visit to the secret garden of Hope Street (7pm).

LATE NIGHT BUS TRAVEL If you’re travelling between events on Friday May 17 there will be a free, hop on, hop off LightNight bus. To see the route, times, and stops visit the website

For a full listing of events, visit


Look/ 13

The LOOK of Liverpool by Tom Wood

International photography festival LOOK/13 returns to the city this month and this year Liverpool is in the lens. Paul Baker peers a little closer.

EVERYONE’S a photographer these days and everyone’s an exhibitor. And just as taking snaps is no longer reserved for holidays and weddings, looking at them is not just something you do each Christmas when mum gets the family album out. While technology was busy making cameras so compact they would become part of our phones, the simultaneous rise of the internet and social networking has allowed people to upload and share the products of their happy snapping instantly and with a potentially worldwide audience.

with a vision that is still with me today.” It’s not only local photographers, those connected with Liverpool, or even just UK artists on display though. LOOK/13 is one of the leading international photography festivals and as such will be bringing together international emerging talent alongside influential and established photographers whose images are known around the globe. Hopefully while the festival is on you’ll be able to get out and visit some of the city’s fantastic galleries and art spaces and make your own mind up about the images presented there.

Double Take: portraits from The Keith Medley archive

Drape 8 by Eva Stenram Aintree, Ladies’ Day 2012 by Colin McPherson, chair of the LOOK board

by Tanya Habjouqa

With this in mind, it’s interesting to consider what makes a photograph artistically worthwhile. What makes them worthy of rising higher than the pages of Facebook and into a smart frame on a gallery wall? Well, you can see for yourself this month at venues across the city as LOOK/13, Liverpool’s International Photography Festival, kicks off on Liverpool Light Night, May 17, with four weeks’ worth of exhibitions and events celebrating the art of the photograph. Short School Haka by Charles Fréger

says: “I began my career in photography in Liverpool, 25 years ago. Back then Liverpool had a fantastic rock scene, there was war on the streets and huge political change happening across the city. All of these factors have set me up by Rob Bremner

Whether or not you were born and bred in the city, whether you moved here to live or work, the festival aims to ask, ‘what does Liverpool mean to you?’; ‘who do you think you are?’; and ‘what does it really mean to be made in Liverpool?’ Who knows, it might change the way you look at yourself, your city, and your own approach to taking and sharing photographs.

In particular, the festival will be aiming the lens inwards to frame the city and its inhabitants. The festival launches at Camp and Furnace with a display of the best photographic work submitted in response to the concept ‘Made in Liverpool.’ The best of the images will be selected by judges Laura Davis, arts editor of Liverpool Post, along with John Stoddart, celebrity photographer, who

Feeling inspired by LOOK/13? WHETHER you’re a keen amateur or a complete novice, if you fancy getting into photography, improving your camera skills, or want to share your photographs with other enthusiasts, joining a local photographic society is a great starting point. Such groups cater for a range of abilities, so whether you’re a point-and-shoot beginner or a tripod-toting professional, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. The societies generally set out a range of seasonal activities, from talks by successful photographers, to competitions and trips. Plus, you’ll have the chance to show your images and have them appreciated and discussed by fellow enthusiasts. It’s a superb way to improve your pictures and help bring out the photographer within you. There’s no shortage of these camera clubs in the local area so it



should be easy to find a group near you: Birkenhead Photographic Association, Bebington Photographic Society, Crosby Camera Club, Formby Photo Group, Heswall Photographic Society, Hoylake Photographic Society, Liverpool Chinatown Photographic Society, Maghull Photography Club, South Liverpool Photographic Society, Southport Photographic Society, St Helens Camera Club, Wallasey Amateur Photographic Society,

MAY 13

LOOK/13 HIGHLIGHTS THERE’S loads to gaze at during the festival, but don’t miss these exhibitions... THE Walker Art Gallery will be hosting three exhibitions including a major new project by internationallyrenowned photographer Rankin. ALIVE: In the Face of Death, presents us with newlycommissioned portraits of people who know they are running out of time. Also on show will be Double Take, featuring high street studio portraits of Merseysiders from the 1960s. Each sitter was shot twice using the same glass-plate negative, resulting in a compellingly eerie series of duos. And don’t miss their other exhibition which presents early and largely unseen work by two of Britain’s most known and loved photographers, Tom Wood and Martin Parr, mainly shot in Merseyside in the late 1970s and early 80s. OPEN Eye Gallery is Liverpool’s dedicated photography space, so you know they’re going to have some festival treats in store. They’ll host the first UK solo exhibition by the French photographer Charles Fréger. Fréger’s portrait projects examine the performance of group identity through a carnivalesque array of costume and ritual while exploring the mythological figure of the ‘Wild Man’. Another intriguing addition is the first full solo presentation of Eva Stenram’s ‘Drape’ project. Using found erotic photos from the 1960s, Stenram has manipulated and transformed them into unsettling, disarming, and comedic images. THE Bluecoat will be presenting work from two of the founding fathers of photography, August Sander (1876-1964) and Arthur Fellig – aka Weegee – (18991968). Their styles of realism and portraiture help set the scene for the entire festival. Also in the gallery, don’t miss ‘I exist (in some way)’ which will feature work by 11 artists exploring identity in the contemporary Arab world, while Adam Lee’s ‘Identity Documents’ looks at what is revealed about people through their bookshelves. THERE’S more to see at the Victoria Gallery & Museum, including a working Chinese tearoom; Wolstenholme Creative Space, presenting colour portraits and landscapes by local photographer Rob Bremner; Art & Design Academy (Liverpool John Moores University); The Caravan Gallery; Liverpool One; and the Museum of Liverpool.

Life through a lens With LOOK/13 International Photography Festival taking place this month, Paul Baker talks to Mike McCartney about his lifelong love of photography

IT’S not often you get mistaken for a rock legend. Okay, Mike McCartney’s tongue might have been lodged firmly in his cheek, but this is how our conversation started: “Hi, is that Mike?”; “Yes, Mike speaking,”; “Hello, it’s Paul from the ECHO,”; “I thought Paul was in New York making an album?”; “Erm, not that Paul...!” Mike certainly qualifies as a Liverpool legend in his own right, but he doesn’t hide his Beatles links either, mentioning “our kid” (though Mike’s actually the younger brother), and working with Scorsese on the George Harrison documentary, for example. Mike’s Twitter account is a recent revelation to him where he tries to post a photograph a day and stay in touch with an army of followers including other photographers, musicians and stars. As he tells me, “I’m a good name dropper, but not as good as Pete Price.” It’s another Peter who has set the interview up, ex-ECHO scribe Peter Grant, also gifted in the name-dropper stakes, whose partner Cathy Roberts has opened a book shop in New Brighton called Literally. Mike will be doing a talk there on May 8, about his passion for writing, photography and the imagination. A renowned photographer, Mike also enjoyed musical success throughout the 1960s and 70s as part of Liverpool collective The Scaffold, alongside Roger McGough and John Gorman. He prides himself on the power of his imagination to bring his art to life. “Oh yes, I’ve got a vivid imagination,” he says. “The great thing about life is that you’ve lived it for so long, when you say things everything relates to something else. So all you do is open your mouth. I mean you couldn’t invent half the stuff that comes out my mouth... “It’s the actuality of life, it’s the fascination of what happens every day. And that’s the reality of living in my head, it’s the stuff that comes out every now and then. But I never know what’s going to come out!” With LOOK/13 Liverpool International Photography Festival happening this month, it seemed particularly fortuitous to get the opportunity to grill Mike about his career in photography. A keen snapper throughout his life he is

rarely without a camera. Indeed, Beatles manager Brian Epstein is said to have referred to Mike as ‘Flash Harry’ due to his habit for taking pictures of the band during the 1960s. I asked Mike how he first got into photography. “I first came to be a photographer in Forthlin Road in Liverpool. Long story short, the real thing that got me into photography was trying to take some seagulls flying over our house – which has now become a National Trust shrine. “Then mum died in that house and three Liverpool working class men were living in there, and of course money was...well we didn’t have any! Taking photographs on the family Kodak Brownie box camera was simply not allowed. You only did that at weddings, funerals or 21sts, you know – important occasions.

Photo: Tony Mallon

“So I nicked the family box camera from mum and dad’s room upstairs, went out to the garden, and took photos of these seagulls. Then when I got them back from the chemist I could only see these little tiny dots on the print, and I suddenly thought, ‘Oh God, there’s more to photography than meets the eye.’ So I got on the 86 bus, went up to Allerton library, and got all the books out on photography.” Mike got his own camera during a school trip to Cologne, but says he really got started after Paul brought back a nice camera from playing in Hamburg, influenced by the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, whom he met there. “When I got this Rollei Magic camera, it was 2 and a quarter square negs [negatives], so I was able to get these little dishes, and I had something called a developer, and a fixer, and a washer, and do all that, and do my own little negs first and then little prints. My dryer was a string across my room with hairdressing

clips. I was in a ladies’ barber called Andre Barnard’s with Louis Collins and Jimmy Tarbuck, and I would put up my prints and hang the negs with hairdressing clips from Andre Barnard’s. And then cut them up and then print these tiny little squares. “And I always know when they’re from Forthlin Road and when they’re from that era, cos when you look at the prints you can see the little marks of the hairdressing clips.” Mike tells me that his favourite place to take photos of the city is from Birkenhead, shooting over the river. “They’re the best views of Liverpool,” he says. “The ever changing face of Liverpool.” But what does he think makes a great photo? “If you’re at an exhibition, it’s the ones that make you stop. That’s all there is to it.” Mike recalls an experience from the 60s, in New York with The Scaffold where a photograph made him stop. He still recalls the moment vividly. “We’d been to see a Claes Oldenburg exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim museum. Walking out, and on the right hand side, was a room full of black and white photographs and I didn’t know who the hell it was. “It said the name Bill Brandt outside, but at that time I had never heard of him. I saw a photograph on the wall and I thought, ‘Is that Francis Bacon?’ So I went in and it was Bacon – he’d shot him in Primrose Hill – and so it had made me stop.” Mike lives in Wirral now, but he continues to be inspired by Liverpool, by the city, but most of all by photography itself. “You never know where your picture is. That’s why in Liverpool, photographs are waiting to be taken. The big thing is to do it, don’t talk about it. “For years one of my biggest things to tell, particularly to young people, was thank God for digital cameras, thank God for iPhones. Because that will simply lead you in to pinhole cameras, what is a photograph, how it works, basic principles, and then you might develop and print your own like I did in Forthlin Road.” See Mike in person at Literally, 9 Atherton Street, New Brighton, on May 8, from 6.30pm. You can see his photos by following him on Twitter: @_MikeMcCartney_


Food & drink

Go green IT’S not rocket science. Going veggie is surprisingly simple. That’s the message being given out by the Vegetarian Society who are challenging people to go veggie for a week between May 20 and 26. It might be easier than you think and you may find that once you go veggie, you never go back... And what’s not to love? Not only is being vegetarian better for the environment, but a well-balanced veggie diet is well known for a wide range of health benefits.

Picture: Jason Roberts

It’s National Vegetarian Week from May 20-26 and Sue Kelbrick is green with envy

MUSHROOM STROGANOFF Picture courtesy of Vegetarian Society

Research has shown that vegetarians suffer less heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, various cancers, diverticular disease, bowel disorders, gall stones, kidney stones, and osteoporosis. Check out these delicious recipes created by members of the Vegetarian Society. You don’t have to be vegetarian to eat them but be warned – they are so delicious they may turn even the most voracious of carnivores into a committed veggie.

From farm to fork With food provenance more important than ever, Sue Kelbrick looks at how we can improve the traceability of our food

Mello Mello LIVERPOOL’S best known and coolest veggie hangout, Mello Mello, describes itself as a specialist vegetarian/vegan/gluten free restaurant which basically means it serves delicious veggie food all day in a brilliant venue with a relaxed and chilled out ambience. Mello Mello is run as a not-for-profit community organisation which aims to promote grass roots arts and music so whether you are veggie or not, there’s always loads going on there and it’s simply a great place to see and be seen. Mello Mello, 40-42 Slater Street, Ropewalks, Liverpool, L1 4BX.

RECENT bad press surrounding the origins, and indeed, the identity, of certain meats, has highlighted more than ever the importance of knowing where our food comes from. Not only is it vital for us to be kept informed about the origins of our food for health reasons, but by ensuring our food is sourced as locally as possible, it is also a way for us to try and reduce our carbon footprint. All very well in principle, but how do you actually put this into practice? There are a few simple ways that you can ensure you are getting locally sourced food, and an added bonus is that, not only are you supporting your local food producers, but you are getting great tasting food as well. It’s a no brainer!

The Egg Cafe DON’T be fooled by its humble exterior. The Egg Cafe is something of a Liverpool institution having served hearty vegetarian food to hungry Scousers for many years. Located in a lovely loft space within an old Victorian warehouse, the cafe offers panoramic views of the city centre to enjoy while tucking into a gorgeous veggie breakfast or delicious roast dinner. As well as being one of Liverpool’s best-loved vegetarian restaurants, The Egg is also an independent art gallery – Eggspace – and a popular meeting place. The Egg Cafe,16 Newington, Liverpool, L1 4ED.

Green Days SITUATED in the ever-popular and bohemian Lark Lane area of south Liverpool, Green Days is a regular haunt for veggies and non-veggies alike. It is worth taking a trek up the steep and windy stairs for the bird’s eye view of Lark Lane it offers at the top, as well as a tasty menu of veggie offerings to take you through from breakfast to lunch and to afternoon tea and beyond. Green Days, 13a Lark Lane, Liverpool, L17 8UW.



of the highest quality, and ensures that you can find out straight from the horse’s mouth (as it were) where the produce has come from. Look at

Think outside the box

INVESTING in a weekly veg box from your local supplier means that you get fresh, organic, in-season fruit and vegetables to order. A great way to ensure you get your five a day! Visit or

Market forces Shop local

INSTEAD of hitting the supermarket, try your local shops instead. High street greengrocers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers are struggling these days due to competition from the big supermarkets, but their produce is often

THERE are loads of farmers’ markets held regularly all over the region so find out where your nearest one is and check it out. Or if you can’t wait that long, then check out a farm shop near you. Not only will you find lots of ingredients you’ve never seen before, you are guaranteed high quality, locally sourced food. Try or

Ingredients: l 1 tbsp olive oil l 250g mushrooms, sliced l 2 shallots, chopped l 1 red pepper, chopped l 2 cloves garlic, crushed l 250ml vegetable stock l 1/2 tsp dried, crushed chillies l 110g basmati rice l 200ml soya single cream l Ground black pepper, to taste Method: l Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then add the mushrooms, shallots and red pepper. Cook until they soften and most of the liquid has disappeared. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. l Add the vegetable stock and chillies to the frying pan. Cook for 7 minutes, until about half of the liquid has reduced. l Whilst the stroganoff is cooking, begin to cook the rice according to packet instructions. l Add the cream and a generous amount of pepper to the stroganoff, then simmer for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently. l Once cooked, spoon out the rice onto plates and spoon the stroganoff on top. l Enjoy with garlic bread.

VEGETABLE CURRY A TASTY and healthy meat-free dish, using dried soya mince. Ingredients: l 110g dried soya mince l 1 medium sized potato, peeled and cubed l 1 pint vegetable stock l 1 large onion, chopped l 2 tbsp vegetable oil l 4 tsp curry powder l 1 apple, peeled and grated l 2 cloves garlic, crushed l 1 tbsp tomato puree l 50g frozen peas l A small handful of spinach, shredded (optional)

Method: l Place the soya mince, potato and stock in a saucepan. l Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the onion in the oil until soft, add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring. l Add the apple, garlic and tomato puree and cook, stirring for a further minute. l Pour the soya mince mixture into the onion mixture and stir together. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the peas. l If using spinach, stir into the curry for the last 5 minutes of cooking time and allow to wilt. l Serve with rice.

Picture courtesy of Vegetarian Society

MAY 13

Sweet treats for spring


Celebrate the longer days and warmer weather by making these simple and delicious homemade cakes, says Michelle Rushton, as she finds recipes to put a spring in your step...(all recipes courtesy of Wright’s Baking)

LEMON WHOOPIE PIES THESE light and lemony whoopie pies are the perfect way to welcome the start of alfresco dining. Once filled they will keep for 24 hours.

THESE fruity little cuties are the perfect way to put you in the mood for a bright, relaxing summer and you could almost count them towards one of your five a day!

Ingredients: For the cake: l 500g Wright’s Madeira Cake Mix l 150g sour cream l 1 lemon (remove pips and cut into pieces) l 60ml (4 tbsp) vegetable oil

Ingredients: For the cake: l 500g Wright’s Carrot Cake Mix l 200ml water l 227g tin pineapple chunks (drained and chopped) l Walnuts (chopped) l 60ml oil

For the filling: l 150g white marshmallows l 35ml milk l 85g unsalted butter (softened) For the topping: l 100g icing sugar l Juice and zest from 1 lemon Method: l Place the lemon pieces into a food processor and blend to a pulp. l Place the cake mix, lemon pulp, sour cream and vegetable oil into a bowl and beat for 1-2 minutes to form a smooth batter. l Using a wide piping nozzle or spoon, pipe or spoon the mixture onto a large

lined baking tray in walnut size balls, about 3-4cm (1-2 inches) apart. l Bake in a preheated oven 180°C (360°F, Gas Mark 4) for 10-12 minutes until soft and springy on top. l Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring onto a wire tray. l For the filling, heat the milk and marshmallow in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until smooth. Then leave to cool.

Beat the butter until soft and creamy and then gradually blend into the marshmallow mixture until smooth. l Sandwich two whoopie cakes together with a tablespoon of the filling. l For the topping, mix the icing sugar, with enough lemon juice together to achieve a smooth icing onto each whoopie pie and decorate with the lemon zest. l Cool slightly before serving and remove the skewers for smaller children. l

LIME, MANGO AND CRANBERRY CAKE Ingredients: For the cake: l 500g Wright’s Madeira Cake Mix l 1 large mango (diced) l 75g dried cranberries l Juice and zest of 2 limes l 50g plain flour l 200ml water l 60ml oil For the icing: l 100g icing sugar l Lime juice from half to one lime

THIS delicious lime, mango and cranberry cake is perfect for welcoming British summer time. It is best served under summer skies with cold cranberry or mango juice and a slice of lime!

A True Italian Experience



For the topping: l Zest of 1 lime Method (makes 1 cake – 12 portions)

Early Doors Menu Tuesday-Friday 5.30pm - 7pm only

Express Lunch Menu

Special Reduced Priced Lunch Options - Mon-Fri Only

Place the cake mix, lime zest, lime juice, flour, water and oil into a bowl. Mix together to form a smooth batter. Add the diced mango and cranberries and mix well. l Pour into a well greased or prelined (2lb) loaf tin. l Bake in a lower half or a preheated oven 170C (340F, Gas Mark 3-4) for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. l Remove from a tin after 5 minutes and cool on a wire tray. l For the icing, mix the icing sugar with the lime juice to form a smooth paste and then pour over the top of the cake. l Finally, sprinkle over the icing with the grated lime zest. l

For the topping: l 100g icing sugar l 150g cream cheese l 85g unsalted butter (softened) l 1/2 tsp vanilla extract For the decoration: l 12 very thin slices fresh pineapple Method (makes 12 cakes) l Place the cake mix, water and oil into a bowl and mix to form a smooth batter beating for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chopped pineapple and walnuts. l Line a standard 12 hole muffin tray tin with muffin cases. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases. l Bake in a preheated oven 180C (360F, Gas Mark 5) for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch. l Allow to cool completely before decorating. l Place the pineapple slices in a single layer on a wire rack over an oven tray. l Place in a preheated oven 120C (250F, Gas Mark 1) and allow to dry in the oven for approximately 1 hour. l Remove immediately and shape over a egg cup or carton, pinching in the centre to create a flower shape and then allow to dry. l Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract. l Beat until smooth and creamy for about 4-5 minutes with an electric whisk or machine. Do not over beat or the mixture may become runny. l Spread the topping onto each of the cupcakes and then place a pineapple flower in the middle on top.

Evening Menu

Special Menu available every evening £19.95 inc Half Bottle of House Wine per couple

Francos Restaurant is situated at 48a Castle Street in the heart of Liverpool. Open daily for lunch and dinner - until 11pm on Saturdays


Food and drink

Light bites

BENEVOLENT BRINKSTERS THE BRINK, Liverpool’s first ‘dry bar’ in Parr St, has launched yet another heartfelt initiative. Customers can now purchase a number of teas or coffees alongside their own drinks. The extra drinks that have been bought will then be ‘suspended’ and offered at a later date to members of the community who cannot afford to buy a drink themselves. The Brink is a revolutionary social venture which, since its opening in September 2011, has become a thriving community hub for people in recovery. The venue works closely with Action on Addiction’s SHARP Liverpool treatment centre and offers a supportive social environment for recovering addicts, as well as a relaxing alternative space for members of the public.

Michelle Rushton and Katie McLoughlin bring you some snippets of food and drink news from around the region

HILTON HOTEL LAUNCH HILTON Hotel recently launched a new dining concept called ‘Cinema Supper Club @The Exchange’. The hotel unveiled its brand new menu, and new look restaurant whilst showing old fashion classic black and white movies. Popcorn was served as guests sat down to dinner and diners were given cinema style torches to read their menus, as well as sweetie jars full of goodies to nibble on as they enjoyed the old movies. Following dinner, guests enjoyed live music in the hotel’s popular PIMA Bar.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT ORGANISERS of Liverpool Food & Drink Festival have announced the dates for the popular annual foodie event. Now in its sixth year, the festival will return to Sefton Park with a huge open-air culinary celebration on September 7-8. As well as the weekend-long launch in Sefton Park, the festival will include a weeklong programme of food and drink festivities at venues around the city. More than 60 producers and 100 chefs from the city’s bars, cafés and restaurants have already committed to taking part in this year’s Liverpool Food & Drink Festival, including Lunya, Bistro Qui and Alma de Cuba. More details are yet to be announced, but Best of Liverpool hears there will be plenty on the menu for 2013, including the introduction of new themed areas at the launch event. or follow @livfooddrink on Twitter.




Photo: Luke Trevaskis

A NEW bar and eatery opened in the heart of the business district with a VIP launch event on April 11. Just a hop, skip and jump from Best of Liverpool Towers on Old Hall Street, City Wine Bar & Kitchen is the brainchild of entrepreneur Jaf Siddiqi, co-founder of the successful Viva Brazil chain of restaurants, which has a restaurant on Castle Street. Decorated in an informal but cosy style, City Wine Bar will serve wines and cocktails in its bar area, which is made from reclaimed tree logs and old relics. Its food menu, meanwhile, features home-cooked, classic dishes given a Liverpool twist, ranging from small plates to deli planks, large plates and grills.

Barbera d’Alba DOC Raimonda (Fontanafredda 2010), with traditional Italian orange and lemon semolina cake served with Moscato d’Asti, Moncucco DOCG (Fontanafredda 2011) for dessert. Alice says: “The Piemonte region of Italy is an area that I’ve been looking forward to bringing to Il Forno’s Wine Evenings for some time. ” The next Wine Evening in Il Forno is on Tuesday, May 21 from 7pm onwards. Places are limited and pre-booking is required, call 0151 709 4002 for details.

TASTING THE WAY TO PIEMONTE... DUKE Street Italian restaurant, Il Forno launched its 2013 Wine Evenings recently, with wine consultant Alice Anastasiou hosting the event. Guests at Il Forno’s inaugural wine event of the year were treated to a gourmet five-course meal specially created for the occasion by head chef Paolo Cillo, with wines from the northern Italian region of Piemonte carefully matched to each course by wine consultant, Alice. Alice provided insight throughout the evening into each wine, enhancing the appreciation and understanding of wine from the Piemonte region of Italy. The well-attended event saw guests feast on wild rabbit, wild boar and venison to start, with lamb shank, cheek of veal and home-made Agnolotti pasta filled with Italian sausage for mains. The food was served with wines such as Soldate La Spumante Brut (La Scolca 2006), Gavi di Gavi DOCG (Fontanafredda 2011) and

THE Living Room is launching a new ‘Eat with Your Eyes’ dining concept set to revolutionise eating out this month. Turning traditional presentation ideas on their head, the exclusive bar and restaurant on Victoria Street has created a new theatrical way of dining. The Living Room’s chefs are utilising props such as fish bowls, miniature BBQs and traditional clay plant pots to serve meals. Presentation does not come at the expense of quality, with a British fusion menu which takes well-loved British classics and splices them with exotic and unusual flavours from the far-flung corners of the world – from Bury black pudding ‘donuts’ to sushi-inspired slider burgers, while flavours such as wasabi and harissa give many of its dishes a distinctively exotic twist. There’s also a new range of sharers – all with a real ‘wow factor’ perfect for enjoying with friends and a great talking point. For more information visit

THE BOTANIST ALBERT Dock Liverpool has agreed a deal with pub operator, New World Pubco, to convert a 5,000 sq/ft unit into one of its successful Botanist brand venues. Located within the Britannia Pavilion, a 19th century Grade I listed former warehouse building at the dock, the new venue will be a welcome addition to Albert Dock’s already diverse restaurant scene. Botanist pubs are well known for bringing a huge selection of bottled beers and ciders from around the world, cask-conditioned real ales and a selection of the finest Champagnes and cocktails to the table, plus a rustic delistyle food menu including barbecue and rotisserie dishes. Work is due to start on the new Botanist at the dock site within the next few weeks, with an opening planned for the summer. For more information visit

NEW EVENTS COMPANY FOR PICKLED WALNUT PICKLED Walnut, one of the North West’s leading catering specialists, has just announced the launch of a new events company. The Wirral-based company has joined forces with award-winning Mike Hughes, former marketing manager with the Northwest Regional Development Agency, to launch Pickled Walnut Events. The new venture was revealed before an audience of more than 400 people at Pickled Walnut’s spectacular ‘Taste of the North’ event at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral last month. Mike, from Southport, has joined the Pickled Walnut team with a wealth of experience in event management. During his career he was instrumental in promoting the Olympics in the North West and organised many events around Liverpool’s Capital of Culture Year. Pickled Walnut catering was established seven years ago and now employs over 20 people. The company has been responsible for many high profile events as well as the Taste of the North, which has taken place for the last four years at prestigious venues. Guests at last month’s event enjoyed a fabulous six- course meal showcasing Pickled Walnut’s skills, suppliers and brand, as well as top class entertainment.

SPEEDQUIZZING A CONTEMPORARY take on the Great British pub quiz has arrived at Jamie Carragher’s Cafe Sports England. Quiz lovers are packing into the popular family restaurant on Stanley Street to take part in the new and interactive smartphone speedquizzing revolution. Gone is the traditional pen and paper as teams download the Cafe Sports England app to enjoy a night of trivia fun by using their mobile phones to take part in the quick-fire game show style quiz. The venue is the first in Liverpool to introduce the high-tech quiz and it’s already proving a real hit – even football legend Jamie Carragher himself and a few of his Liverpool teammates, competed against teams from across Merseyside at the quiz launch last month. The speediness of the game makes it impossible for teams to cheat as there is no time to search for answers because of the game’s quick-fire nature. Hosted by Radio City DJ Simon Ross, SpeedQuizzing at Cafe Sports England takes place on the first Thursday of the month. Teams can win top cash prizes, have some fun and enjoy the great food and drink available from the hearty Cafe Sports England menu. People wanting to take part in the new quiz can book their place by calling Cafe Sports England on 0151 239 5070.

MAY 13

Let’s meat again Katie McLoughlin enjoys a meal well done at Miller & Carter

THEY say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so after inflicting vegan meals onto my better half during a short-lived foray into veganism, I decided to treat him to a meal of man-size proportions – after all, there are only so many chickpeas a man can eat in support of his girlfriend’s latest diet fad. And so we headed to Miller & Carter. A steak-house on the Albert Dock, the restaurant was bustling when we arrived at 7pm on a Saturday night. Pleasantly packed, it had a relaxed ambience and no sooner had we taken our seats at a candle-lit table overlooking the dock, we felt settled and were happily perusing the menu with a glass of the house white, a crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, in hand. Laden with such meaty delights as steaks, racks of ribs and gourmet burgers, with sides like seasoned fries, mac and cheese, and even lobster tail, Miller & Carter’s menu is, to my eye, designed to appeal to male sensibilities and my boyfriend’s eyes lit up as he scanned the extensive array of carniverous meals on offer. Starters include the likes of Chargrilled Barbecue Chicken Wings with barbecue and blue cheese dips (£5.50); Crispy Calamari (£6.75) and a Sharing Platter (£12.95). A huge starter featuring grilled flat mushrooms with goats’ cheese, mini Gloucester Old Spot sausages, mini open cheese burgers, chicken wings, roasted red pepper and bread sticks with a dip, the platter sounded delicious. It also sounded incredibly large and we decided that even Adam Richmond of Man v Food fame couldn’t manage both such a substantial starter and a steak. Rather than run the risk of spoiling our mains, we went for something a little less humongous. My starter of Grilled Flat Mushrooms (£4.95) was delicious, with three juicy mushrooms topped with melted goats’ cheese, tomato and spinach; while my partner’s Black Pearl Scallops (£8.50), featured three succulent scallops beautifully presented on a bed of black pudding with crispy pancetta. When it came to the main event, there was no question as to what my boyfriend would choose – a 12oz ribeye steak (£19.95) having been selected before we’d even got there (he’d read the menu online, so excited was he at the prospect of a steak for tea, rather than chickpeas again). Ben Levene, an assistant manager at the restaurant, explained that their steaks are sourced directly from West Country farms and matured for at least 28-days for the fullest flavour.

Beef has had something of a bad reputation of late, but at Miller & Carter they take pride in being able to source their steaks from farm to fork, and the Ashdale beef used for their steaks is reared exclusively for the restaurant chain. Being something of a novice when it comes to the merits of different cuts, I asked Ben’s advice between the seven different steaks on the menu. Rump, he explained, is the lowest class of steak because of where the muscle

is on the cow, but tasty none-the-less. At the other end of the spectrum, fillet steak comes from the muscle along the spine and because it’s constantly being used, it’s tender and regarded as one of the best cuts. Ribeye is moist as it’s marbled with fat, while those on the bone, like T-bone and Porterhouse, have a distinct flavour and succulence, but can be tricky to cook. My dalliance with veganism being extremely shortlived, I went for an 8oz fillet steak (£22.95) which, Ben advised, is best cooked rare as it has no fat on it and can dry out if cooked too long. With our steaks selected, our next task was to navigate our way through the seemingly never-ending array of accompaniments on offer. All steaks come complete with parsley butter, a slice of onion loaf, seasoned fries or jacket potato plus an iceberg lettuce wedge with dressing and a steak sauce. With some six steak sauces and four lettuce wedge dressings to choose between, plus extras like Half Rack Barbecue Ribs (£7.50), Chicken & Chorizo Skewer (£5) and Grilled Half Lobster Tail (£5) to accompany your steak, there’s certainly no shortage of ways to tailor your meal to your liking. After much deliberation, I went for a blue cheese sauce on my fillet, with garlic and chive mayo on my lettuce, while my boyfriend plumped for buttery béarnaise on his rump, with Stilton and blue cheese on his lettuce wedge. And, for a final decadent touch, we both had a grilled half lobster tail with our steaks. The service was quick, the portions generous and both steaks were perfectly cooked, succulent and full of flavour. The lobster tail was equally delicious, although somewhat lacking in the garlic and herb butter described on the menu. With our stomachs fit to bursting, dessert was out of the question. And I feared that if I dared to indulge my exceedingly sweet tooth with the Banoffee Pie (£5.25) or Chocolate Brownie (£5.95), I would very quickly resemble the exploding, greedy man in the fabled ‘just one wafer thin mint’ Monty Python sketch. So, happily full and with conversation flowing freely thanks to the informal, cosy ambience and very quaffable wine, we left this Albert Dock eatery as a night-cap on the docks beckoned. Miller & Carter: Atlantic Pavilion and Anchor Hall, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AF, tel: 0151 707 7877,


Homes & gardens

Cream of the crop Don Billington, who has won gold for his displays at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, shares his horticultural tips with Emma Thompson... GOLD medal winning gardener, Don Billington, is keeping his plans for this month’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show tightly under wraps. Although he has revealed he will be unveiling his new plant at the show, which takes place from May 21 to 25. “Preparations for Chelsea started at the end of last year – it’s always good to go with something new,” says Don, who specialises in growing and exhibiting tropical plants, mainly from the Bromeliads family (which includes the pineapple!). “I go to Holland in November each year to the Hortifair, which is an exhibition of all the latest trends and new ideas in horticulture, and where new plants are shown for the first time. “For the Chelsea Flower Show 2012 I introduced a new plant called Tillandsia ‘Samantha’, a plant whose parents originate from Mexico and was bred by Pamela Hyatt of Bird Rock Tropical California. This plant went on to win the Glass Tulip award, the houseplant equivalent of the Oscars!” he says proudly. Don, who hails from Maghull, has been involved in horticulture since leaving school and worked for over 30 years in parks and gardens, mostly in the greenhouses and collections at Liverpool City Council, including Calderstones and Croxteth Hall’s walled garden. It was in 2011 that he built up his own business in horticultural services and exhibits at RHS flower shows across the country. Don continues: “I’ve now got a new plant for the Chelsea Flower Show ‘Plant of the Year’ but I’m keeping it under wraps until the show. “The plant design itself is near completion and I am lucky to be able to work on the design at the Lydiate Barn Nursery and Garden Centre. This is also where the three National Collections that I hold will be going on permanent display and open for public viewing from Saturday, St Cecilia’s Infants School pupil Nathan Daniel cannot quite believe the size of one of the flowers belonging to Merseyside gardener Don Billington Photo: James Maloney



GARDENERS’ TOYS MAKE gardening even more enjoyable with some funky accessories to help you do the job! Koziol Camilla raspberry red watering can, £13.75, from

Cuppa Please kneepad, £4.99, from Ladies’ garden gloves, £1, from Tesco

Don Billington with presenter of TV show Gardeners’ World Carol Klein at Chelsea Flower Show 2012

May 4. For the May Bank Holiday weekend entry to the collection will be free.” He adds: “Although I have been lucky to be awarded two gold medals at Chelsea, I still believe that it is not the awards you get but the opportunity to display at Chelsea. It is, to me, the Olympic games of flower shows and it’s great to be able to be a part of it.” Also on Friday, May 3, is National Flower Arranging Day and Don, along with local flower clubs, will be holding a special day at Lydiate Barn Nursery where he will be demonstrating the Art of Floral Design. In the meantime, Don has kindly offered to share his greenfingered advice and tips with Best of Liverpool... St Cecilia’s Infants School pupil Ellie Gibbons has a sniff at one of Don’s flowers Photo: James Maloney

Don’s advice and tips GARDENS in May should be looking bright and beautiful with new growth bursting forth and it’s a time when you should start to see signs of life amongst the shrubs and early flowering plants. After the long cold, wet winter and the equally cold spring, it is only now we can see what made it through the winter and what didn’t. In the garden, clear away dead and decaying debris that can foster over wintering bugs and treat weeds that start making their presence felt. That old saying: “one year’s seeding is seven year’s weeding” certainly rings true if you left weeds last year to flower and seed.

New stocks of summer bulbs, perennials and shrubs are all coming in to garden centres now so you can replace any dead plants. Old favourites like geraniums, agapanthus, begonias and petunias have new varieties being introduced this year by growers that should be making their way in to garden centres.

Indoor plants FOR those that have limited or no space outside, it can be rewarding to grow something exotic inside that looks good and lasts a long time. The family of Bromeliads, of which the pineapple is the most well known, has a vast array of varieties with vibrant colours to brighten an indoor space. In modern settings these plants can form great displays and because many of them can be attached to branches the methods of displaying them are only limited by your imagination. Their natural habitat is South America on the trees in the jungle. They have a ‘tank’ in the middle of the plant that should be kept with water in and in their natural environment this sometimes provides a pool for brightly coloured poisonous frogs that inhabit those areas to breed in. The good news is they don’t need to be repotted into bigger pots as they take up the majority of their nutrients through the central ‘tank’ water and their root system is limited. One of the larger plants I have grown has little or no roots and is only sold in a pot for stability! With any plants my top tip has to be to look where the plant comes from and try to recreate its natural environment. The Bromeliads for example like to be in good light but not direct sun as they live below the canopy in the jungle so strong light tends to scorch the leaves. They like the heat but also high humidity so in dry atmospheres a light misting is beneficial. l Visit Don’s website to view or purchase a selection of tropical plants.

Help! I Need Somebody plant pot, £18, from

V&A rose print gardening tool set, £19.99, from Mushroom ornament, £6, from Tesco Direct

Engraved slate plant marker,£9.99,

Have A Beer gardening set, £6.95, from

The Hot Pot BBQ is the ingenious combination of a potted plant and BBQ in one single package, £99, from


MAY 13


Take a trip down memory lane and hop aboard Mersey Ferries’ fascinating Manchester Ship Canal Cruise to unlock the secrets of a magnificent waterway A TRIP aboard the Manchester Ship Canal Cruise offers a heritage day out with a difference, taking in over 100 years worth of history along the 35 mile stretch, passing through locks and under bridges mostly unchanged since they were built over a century ago. Marvel at the historic buildings, industry, fields, houses and the wide open space of the Mersey estuary surrounded by nature’s beauty and tranquility. The journey offers an awe-inspiring sense of how the canal’s construction shaped forever the cities, and the people, of Liverpool, Manchester and the North West of England – linking the counties of Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. For many, the Manchester Ship Canal was a place of work, from the gangers who originally carved out the canal to sailors aboard ships carrying cotton from America to feed the bustling mills of Manchester. But for lots of people, the canal holds vivid youthful memories of adventure

Black and white photos taken in the 1960s, kindly supplied by Joan Southern

and excitement. American wartime ships would often pass up and down the canal, prompting excited local children to flock to the locks and call up for foreign sweets, chocolate and fruit to

be thrown from the decks. “Any gum chum?” the children would call to the passing American sailors in the hope their bounty would be fortunate enough to make it to land. The Manchester Ship Canal Cruise sails from Liverpool and Salford Quays and on most cruises there’s also an additional opportunity to enjoy a two and a half hour stopover before return transfer by bus. These stopovers allow time to take in the sights, have a bite to eat, do a little shopping or simply enjoy the culture.

You can visit The Lowry, Imperial War Museum, or Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford Quays home of Media City; the U-boat Story at Woodside, with its real German WWII U-534 submarine; or Liverpool’s central attractions and Albert Docks. Once you’ve finished your day of cruising you will return to your point of departure by dedicated bus transfer. l 2013 sailing dates are now available. Visit or call 0151 330 1444 for more details.

Battle of the Atlantic, 70th Anniversary Commemorations COMMEMORATING the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, there will be a whole host of events on the River Mersey between May 24 and 28. Naval vessels from different countries including Europe, Russia, Canada and America will visit Liverpool for this event that will be the final time The Battle of the Atlantic is commemorated. Mersey Ferries will be running additional sailings during the Battle of the Atlantic celebrations! Most cruises will include a live commentary. Check for more details.



MAY 13 Our hotel – the five-star One Aldwych

The Lobby Bar in One Aldwych Photo: Jason Roberts

London calling

Carnaby Street Photo: Marcin Plonka

Sarah Hooley discovers why Carnaby still rocks...



Sweet-tooths satisfied, we made our way back to our hotel – the One Aldwych. Chic and understated, yet outlandishly luxurious, the five-star hotel sits in the heart of Covent Garden and couldn’t be better located for exploring the city by foot. Our room, a deluxe, boasted a large HD TV, sunken bath, fresh flowers, fluffy robes and slippers, as well as what turned out to be the world’s comfiest bed. And, had we not already made plans for the evening we’d have happily spent the entire night in the hotel’s two restaurants, bar, in-house cinema and health club (which boasts a mesmerising 18m pool with underwater music). As it happened though we’d arranged to visit wine bar, Dalla Terra, and Mexican restaurant, Cantina Laredo, in St Martin’s Courtyard. Opened two years ago, the courtyard is a stylish shopping and dining destination, and enjoys a peaceful location tucked just off one of the main streets in Covent Garden. Beginning our evening at Dalla Terra we quaffed a few glasses of prosecco before making our way to Cantina Laredo for dinner. Twice named as the best Mexican restaurant in London, the eatery is famed for its fresh guacamole (made at your table)

Flat Iron restaurant in Carnaby


and yummy margaritas which we can certainly vouch for. Not ready to call it a night, my other half and I strolled over to private members’ club, Crazy Bear, for a nightcap. The plush club, which offers 24-hour memberships for tourists, is accessed via a ‘secret door’ marked only by a bear claw and has a great cocktail menu. The next morning, following a peaceful night’s sleep (the hotel’s triple glazing is a Godsend) we tucked into a lavish breakfast, before exploring Covent Garden. The area – which dates back to Roman times – is a fusion of craft stalls, street theatre, and designer and high street shops like Ted Baker, True Religion and Chanel, centred around a historic market building and lively piazza. There’s also no end of cafes and restaurants in the area, and I’d highly recommend Bill’s, back in St Martin’s Courtyard. With its shabby chic décor, chilled out vibe and tasty food, it’s great for a spot of lunch. Once our plates were cleared we headed to Relax, a tranquil day spa located opposite Bill’s for a spot of pampering. Tranquil and sumptuous, my husband and I both opted for a full body massage, and an hour later

we emerged feeling refreshed and revived. For our final evening we were keen to remain chilled out and made our way to Flat Iron, a trendy steak restaurant in Carnaby for dinner. Opened a few months ago, the bijou restaurant only offers one main course and one special, but boy are they good! It also has mini-cleavers instead of steak knives, and a cocktail and doughnut bar in the basement. Need I say more?! The following morning we began the day with another delicious breakfast, and there was just time for a leisurely stroll along the South Bank before checking out and heading for Euston. And, as we sank back in our seats on the train, my husband and I unanimously agreed that it was the best weekend we’d ever had in London. From the shopping in Carnaby to the trendy restaurants and the luxurious surrounding of our hotel, it was one of those rare, serendipitous occasions when everything comes together. Needless to say we’re already planning our next trip... Visit or Photo: Simon Harvey Photography

FROM scouring the rails in Topshop to splurging a week’s wages in Selfridges, my shopping trips to London tend to be fairly predictable. So, when I stumbled across Carnaby on my last sojourn in the capital, I couldn’t believe it had been hiding under my nose all these years. A lively village in the middle of London, Carnaby is a mix of 13 cobbled streets lined with brightly coloured boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants. Its centre – the iconic Carnaby Street – was the spiritual home of fashion and music during the swinging 60s. And, it’s hard to believe this eclectic area is a mere five minute walk from the frenzy of Oxford Street and Regent Street. Our first impression, as my husband and I strolled along its pleasantly uncrowded roads, was how friendly and full of bonhomie it seemed. People smiled at us! More than once! In London! It was also, much to our delight, packed with a fantastic array of shops like Lucy in Disguise, Liberty, Barbour Heritage, and 60s vintage clothing store, The Face – many of which offer designer, or limited edition items not available elsewhere in the UK – a big draw for my label-junkie husband. And, judging by the raft of trendy musotypes flitting in and out of the area, it’s clearly one of the city’s hippest shopping destinations. Our favourite place, however, had to be Choccywoccydodah. The shop, for those not familiar with it, specialises in bespoke cakes and the skilled chocolatiers make the most beautifully, extravagant creations. It also has a cafe on the first floor, and we couldn’t resist trying their deliciously gooey Chocolate Dipping Pot.

Bill’s Café in St Martin’s Courtyard

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Best of Liverpool Magazine - May 2013  

Best of Liverpool Magazine, featuring fashion, places, faces, food, beauty, homes, travel and what's on in Merseyside