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06-07 SHOPPING FOR HER Fabulous fall fashion 10 SHOPPING FOR HIM Geeks are so chic for A/W 13



08 SIZZLING SCENTS A little reminder of summer 13 SALON SPOTLIGHT Treatments to turn back time




DEPUTY EDITOR Katie McLoughlin

IS it me or is there a slight nip in the air? Autumn must be on its way as The X Factor is on, and being the saddo that I am, it gives me the perfect excuse to stay in on a Saturday and huddle up on the sofa taking sick delight at the terrible auditions. And it is time to banish the shorts to the back of the wardrobe and invest in a brand new wardrobe. Emma brings us a round-up of some of the best trends blowing in for autumn/winter on pages 6-7, while Sue pays homage to the style of the humble geek on page 10. But if you want to savour every last drop of summer, you can enjoy a reminder of warmer times with some fresh fragrances on page 8. And why not bring some sunshine indoors? Sarah recreates an Indian summer in the home and reminds us of balmy breaks in exotic locations with her inspiring interiors on page 30. With a special birthday looming (that’s all I am giving away – it’s rude to ask a lady her age!), I have been feeling a tad frumpy, so I turned to choreographer Miguel Doforo of Britain’s Go Talent fame who has launched an exciting new dance and fitness plan – find out more on page 12. Of course, I can’t hide the tell-tale signs of aging, but I could always cheat! I research some of the latest, cutting edge cosmetic treatments on page 13. We love a good wedding at Best of Liverpool, so for those of you romantic souls who are tying the knot, we unveil some of the region’s finest venues and lots of wonderful ideas to give your wedding the wow factor on pages 14-16.

WRITERS Paul Baker, Sarah Hooley, Sue Kelbrick, Pam Bloom, Katie McLoughlin, Emma Thompson PHOTOGRAPHY Trinity Mirror photographers FRONT COVER PHOTO Gemma Ray / Moore Media DESIGN / SUBS 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.

04-05 TALK OF THE TOWN City news, launches, social events and gossip


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My little boy starts school this week so it’s been an education for me buying everything he needs – from uniform to stationery and lunchbox ideas. Katie has done her homework on school essentials on pages 18-19. And there will be an influx of students starting college and university in the city, so if you’re new to Liverpool, Katie directs you to the hippest hang-outs and cheapest places for student fodder on page 20. Talking of food, we have the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival to whet our appetites this month – we give you a flavour of what’s on the menu on page 21. We also sample some of the city’s finest eateries on pages 22-23 and as it is National Cupcake Week, Sarah brings us one of her yummy creations on page 17. There’s lots going on this month, so Emma has whittled down some of the most exciting events for her what’s on page 24, while Sarah finds out who will be making us laugh at the Liverpool Comedy Festival on page 25. Paul meets rising star Dan Croll on page 26, while Katie quizzes Keith Saha on bringing hip-hop theatre to the Playhouse, on page 27. After all this research and writing, we deserve a break, so Sue heads to Chester on page 28 for some r ‘n’ r in a cool and quirky hotel, while Pam avoids being exterminated at the Dr Who experience in Cardiff. That’s all for now folks, happy September!


12 FIERCE & FABULOUS How to dance your way fit


14-16 MERSEYSIDE MATRIMONIES Inspiration for your big day


18-19 BACK TO SCHOOL Be top of the class in the style stakes


17 SUGAR RUSH We go crazy for cupcakes 20 FRESHERS’ WEEK Student guide to the city 21 FOOD FESTIVALS A feast of culinary delights 22-23 RESTAURANT REVIEWS City eateries put to the taste test


24 WHAT’S ON Things to do by day, by night 25 LINE UP OF LAUGHS Liverpool Comedy Festival 26-27 HOMEGROWN TALENT Dan Croll and Keith Saha


28-29 WEEKEND WONDERS Short breaks in Chester and Cardiff


30 INDIAN SUMMER Bring me sunshine indoors Michelle Rushton, Best of Liverpool Editor

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Talk of the town


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...

SUPER PROUD DAY FOR LIVERPOOL FEAST OF FESTIVALS THE August Bank Holiday weekend saw not one but two mammoth festivals take place – Creamfields and the new Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF). The inaugural LIMF was a huge success, with crowds flocking to the Pier Head and Sefton Park to hear performances by the likes of Chelcee Grimes, Soul II Soul, Deaf School, JLS, Little Mix, Eliza Doolittle and GhostChant to name but a few. Over in Daresbury, meanwhile, dance fest Creamfields held one of the best festivals in its 15-year history. Thousands of festival-goers donned their wellies and headed to Cheshire for the electronic music extravaganza which saw The Prodigy deliver a headline set laden with classic and new music on the main stage, which was bigger and better for the 2013 event. Over 200 artists performed at the three-day dance fest, with highlights including Wire star Idris Elba, Eric Prydz who played a spectacular techno set, Sasha, Groove Armada, George Fitzgerald, Scuba, Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Marco Carola, Seth Troxler, Adam Beyer, Maya Jane Coles and Maceo Plex among others.

SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS AFTER a gobstopping first year in business, Bold Street Sweets celebrated its first birthday in August with a birthday cake – made entirely of sweets! Since opening its doors in August 2012, the quirky sweet store has sold more than 120,000 bags and 15,000 jars of sweets, which equates to a whopping 20 tonnes worth of British classics and American treats! The store, which plans to add two more floors to its Bold Street premises and launch a website, celebrated its first birthday with a party on Saturday, August 31 featuring discounts, giveaways and competitions to win sweet hampers.

COCKTAILS & CANAPES THE great and the good from the celebrity world turned out in force for the opening of the fabulous new Browns bar and restaurant in Liverpool ONE. Spotted at the event were Alex Gerrard, Marcus Collins, members of the cast of Desperate Scousewives and Hollyoaks, and actress Roxanne Pallett, who all enjoyed an array of delicious canapes and fantastic cocktails. Offering ‘simple, classic and freshly prepared food

We’re loving... SUBVERT SEPTEMBER THERE’S nothing Best of Liverpool loves more than giving our dancing shoes an outing, and we can’t wait for Subvert’s September party. Taking place in Revolution, the club night will see Rinse FM star Foamo and hot new DJ talent, Jay Robinson play the Albert Dock venue. A superb talent behind the decks as well as in the studio, Jay is a prolific young star, having released tracks on Ministry of Sound (UK), Southern Fried Records and Trouble & Bass Recordings to anme just a few. Completing the line-up is Subvert’s own Lewis Jardine, making this a party not to be missed. Subvert takes place from 10pm to 4am on Saturday, September 7 at Revolution, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AE.



in elegant surroundings’, Browns already has more than 20 venues throughout the UK and is currently celebrating 40 years in business. Check out lobster nights on Thursdays and family roasts on Sundays, or cocktails any night of the week.

LAST month saw the fourth annual Liverpool Pride take place, with some 75,000 turning out to enjoy the event on Saturday, August 3. The event, which had a superhero theme this year, is said to be the most successful Liverpool Pride to date, with 6,000 people marching in the parade and 20,000 spectators lining the city centre streets. Across the two main festival sites, the Pier Head and Stanley Street, thousands of revellers of all ages soaked up the music and atmosphere, with visitors travelling from as far as Germany, Dubai and even Australia to join in the fun.

Sean Weaver, of Liverpool Pride, says: “This year was without a doubt our best Pride yet, not only did we see our biggest-ever march process through the city with record numbers watching and cheering us on, but both festival sites were jam packed with the local LGBT community, families, friends and supporters alongside LGBT friends and well wishers from all over the country and beyond. It is safe to say Liverpool Pride has firmly established itself as a day for everyone to remember and enjoy, and it is truly representative of the wonderful city we live in.”



LAST year saw the rise of BB creams, and now Origins has launched a new CC cream. The new Smarty Plants™ CC SPF 20 Skin complexion corrector has earned something of a cult following in the Best of Liverpool office as it has an advanced formula which is triggered by environmental factors, like pollition or UV rays, to intuitively protect skin from potential damage. As well as protecting skin, it perfects skin’s surface texture and colour corrects blotchy uneven skin tone. A multitasking cream which is clinically proven to colour correct and brighten skin tone, hydrate skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and create a radiant complexion, Origins’ Smarty Plants™ CC cream is available in Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar and John Lewis, Liverpool ONE, RRP £28 for 40ml.

OSPREY London’s handbag amnesty at McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet. Launched last month, the handbag amnesty means you can do your bit for charity while getting a discount on a brand new Osprey London bag. Bring in any brand of unwanted handbag – new or used – and in turn, receive 20% off a new Osprey London handbag. The donated bags will be sold by the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, raising funds to help it continue providing free, palliative care to the local community, as well as invaluable support to families, friends and carers. Now in its third year, the charity initiative will run throughout September at Osprey London’s store in McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet.



THERE were a few red faces at La Tasca on August 25, as the Queen Square restaurant celebrated a traditional Spanish festival – by throwing tomatoes. The city centre restaurant held a weekend of family and foodie activities over the bank holiday to mark the Spanish festival of La Tomatina, which

HUYTON was in full bloom on Sunday, August 4 as thousands of people flocked to Knowsley Flower Show – the largest free horticultural show in the north west. Over 20,000 people enjoyed an action packed day of fun at the 15th annual Knowsley Flower Show, held in Court Hey Park – the home of the National Wildflower Centre. The stunning floral marquee was a blaze of colour with hundreds of fantastic horticultural displays, while other highlights of the event included performances by H&M Dog Display, Kuk Sool won Martial Arts, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Mersey Morris Men. Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Community and Culture, says, “This year’s flower show was once again a huge success and I’m glad to see so many people turned out to enjoy the North West’s biggest free horticultural event. “The flower show attracts visitors from far and wide and is always a highlight in the Knowsley calendar.”

celebrates the humble tomato. To mark the occasion, customers in La Tasca battled it out to see who could eat the most paella in a ‘Man vs Tomato Paella’ eating competition. As well as the tomato paella eating contest, a host of traditional Spanish activities took place – including tomato throwing!

GLOBAL GOURMET A SOUTH Liverpool restaurant celebrated its first birthday recently and launched a brand new menu to mark the occasion. Michelangelo’s Restaurant, which is within the Blenheim Lakeside Hotel, opposite Sefton Park lake has been serving up central and southern Italian dishes since it opened its doors in July 2012. And now diners can enjoy a taste of more of Europe at this park-side eatery, as the new menu features a variety of other Mediterranean cuisines, as well as contemporary takes on classic British dishes. Chief executive, Conor O’Donovan, says: “We’ve had a fantastic 12 months at the restaurant and there was no better way to celebrate than to look at the menu and give it a whole new look. “We’ve done a lot of market research and discovered that there’s a real need for delicious Spanish inspired cuisine and good hearty English, as well as authentic Italian, in this part of the city. “We have the advantage of being in a really nice setting and we’ve now sourced the best chefs around to offer a truly desirable offering.”

STACKING UP THE CHIPS MARCO’S New York Italian in Hoylake held a special casino-themed event last month, which saw the stylish Wirral venue turn into a pop-up, Las Vegas-style casino complete with roulette and blackjack tables for a night. Thanks to the expertise of Grosvenor Casino New Brighton, guests were invited to try their luck with complimentary chips, and blessed with balmy August sunshine, were able to sit outside in the restaurant’s

beautiful garden, were they were treated to a live acoustic set from local singer, Jade Tremarco, cocktails, and tasty treats from Marco’s delicious BBQ. The restaurant, which is part of the Holiday Inn Express, has recently been relaunched and is becoming somewhat of a hotspot for locals following a series of similar events, including a comedy evening and the relaunch garden party held earlier in the summer.


PURR-FECT CHARITY NIGHT THEY reformed on ITV2’s The Big Reunion, embarked on a sellout tour for the show and now, Liverpool’s Atomic Kitten are to perform at a special charity night, which will raise funds for The Community Link Foundation. A new charity, the foundation helps to improve the lives of those living in communities in Formby, Tarleton, Ormskirk and Southport. It also supports other charities, such as Claire House and Queenscourt Hospice, which provide essential services and support to the community. The Community Link Foundation is hosting a fundraising night in Southport’s Floral Hall on Friday, November 8 which will see the Kittens perform all of their greatest hits. The event will also feature a live DJ set, a silent auction and a three-course meal.

For more information, or details of sponsorship or taking a table, contact Karen Watkins, events and fundraising co-ordinator at The Community Link Foundation, on or 07568 363325.


THOSE sword-swinging, karate-kicking Power Rangers are back on DVD this summer for an action packed finale to the first season. Power Rangers Samurai: The Ultimate Duel is now out on DVD priced £10.99 after the series has been running for an incredible 18 years! The first season reaches its stunning climax with even more explosive super-powered action, as the Power Rangers Samurai take to arms against a host of evil Nighlok, on the path to their biggest challenge yet. The Power Rangers saga surges on and shows no signs of letting up until the world is either destroyed or saved! The DVD also includes two special episodes; ‘Party

Monsters’ in which the Nighlok hold a Halloween party and ‘Christmas Together, Friends Forever’ where the Power Rangers reflect on their first year together. Best of Liverpool has got its karate chopping mitts on five copies of Power Rangers Samurai: The Ultimate Duel to give away to five lucky readers. To be in with a chance of winning once, answer the following question: How many years has the Power Rangers series been running for? Answers on a postcard (including your name and telephone number) to Power Rangers competition, Best of Liverpool, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB. Closing date: Friday, September 20.


Shopping for her

Seasonal fashion fix

Red check biker jacket, £60; joggers, £26; black T-shirt, £12; and necklace, £10, all from Next

Red tartan scarf, £4, from Primark


From animal print and tartan to subtle pinks and greys, Emma Thompson discovers what trends are blowing in this autumn...

Join the tartan army with these Scottish-inspired trends...

AS the weather cools it seems we’re spoilt for choice in the fashion world as the catwalk – and shops – are bursting with trends. If you’re looking to make a statement then bold animal print is roaming the streets in herds this autumn, from dresses, skirts and trousers to coats and lingerie, it’s all gone wild. Plus, with a nod to our Scottish neighbours, tartan is back on the rails and giving us the freedom to

stand out in a crowd for all the right reasons. Big, oversized coats are said to be the way to keep warm this season, and even fluffy attire is making an appearance on the catwalk. And, when it comes to the shades of the season, subtle greys, pinks and cobalt blue are the key colours for autumn/winter. With so many trends to choose from, everyone can turn over a new leaf on the style-front this autumn...

Red tartan bag, £335, from Vivienne Westwood at House of Fraser

Full check skirt, £22-£24, from Monsoon

Buckled tartan heel, £18, from Primark

Grey animal print jeans, £45, from Monsoon

Red Herring grey check jumper, £35, from Debenhams

Subtle shades of grey and slate offer a sleek alternative to black this season...


Grey printed top, £32, from Lipsy

Grey embellished cloche hat, £50, from Dickins and Jones at House of Fraser Haggle Grey boots, £99, from Steve Madden

Chloe tweed dress, £69, from Monsoon



Alexis grey jacket, £139, from Scaline London

Karen maxi dress, from £490, from Melissa Odabash

SEPTEMBER 13 Zebra cuff in black and white, £7.99, from Pilot


Animal print faux fur coat, £60, vest, £18, and skinny trousers, £30, from Dorothy Perkins

From faux fur to leopard print, fashion takes its cues from the animal kingdom this season...

Lorder scarf, £29, from Dune

M&S Collection fluffy animal jumper, £35, from Marks and Spencer Zebra print bag, £25, from Next

Black animal print dress, £60, from Wallis

Leopard print suede court shoes, £24.99, from Blue Inc


Shirley, a baby pink prom dress with lace detail, £75, from Eucalyptus Cothing Pink bow-print dress, £38, from Lipsy

Pink leather-look jacket, £37.99, from Internacional

Alvino pink shoes, £79, from Dune

Helix pink shoes, £89, from Dune

Pink heart dress, £40, from Lipsy

Bianca heart wallet, £17, from Accessorize

Lipstick shades are a big hit for autumn/winter 2013 – from bubblegum pink to rich berries – here’s what’s making us smile this season...




Scents of summer The nights are drawing in and there’s a slight autumn nip in the air, but you can hang on to the memory of those hazy heatwaves with these fresh summery fragrances

The Yohji Yamamoto Senses range smells absolutely devine. Prices start from £39 for 30ml, available from

The essence of summer charm, Jo Malone’s new fragrance, Peony & Blush Suede combines the scent of peonies in bloom with the juicy bite of a red apple and the sensuality of soft, blush suede, 100ml, priced £78, from

Philosophy’s best-selling fragrance, Amazing Grace is a beautifully feminine, floral fragrance with an irresistible blend of bergamot; soft, clean muguet blossoms; and lasting musk. Available from the Philosophy counter in Debenhams, Liverpool ONE

Marc Jacobs Honey has a sweet floral scent with fresh top notes of green pear and mandarin that flirt with the feminine heart notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom and peach nectar. And we love the cute bubble bottle with bumbling bees sitting proudly on top! £49.50 for EDP 50ml, from

FABULOUS FRAGRANCES Best of Liverpool sniffs out some exciting new fragrances SADDLE UP


FOR something a little more bracing, Irish Leather is one of those scents that takes you back to icy biting mornings in the Emerald Isle. Containing leather accord, oil of birch, amber accord, plus pink pepper, oil of clary sage, juniper berry, green maté absolute, oil of flouve, iris concrete and tonka bean absolute, it instantly conjures images of saddling up horses in the tack room before galloping away into the lush Irish greenery. This interesting and highly original olfactory experience by Memo Paris is available exclusively at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge and Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols, priced £160 for 75ml.

FOR the menfolk, Ralph Lauren’s new scent, Polo Red is a racy little number. The stunning red bottle takes inspiration from Lauren’s exquisite car collection, from the sleek curves of the bottle to its bold colour. This energising scent within was designed to bring to life passion and performance, with bold heart accords of red sage, hot amber and fragrant coffee beans. Fresh notes of red grapefruit are exposed to reveal a surprising twist including Italian lemon and cranberry. Spicy saffron carries the scent into dizzy heights of masculinity. This new eau de toilette is available now at The Perfume Shop, 40ml at £29.50, 75ml at £38.50and 125ml at £54.50 Visit

BLACK ORCHID TOM Ford’s name is synonymous with style and luxury. The designer seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to making women look and feel good, and since venturing into the world of beauty, Tom Ford make-up and fragrances have earned something of a cult following. A luxurious, sensual fragrance, Tom Ford Black Orchid – the designer’s first signature scent – is an alluring potion of black orchids and spice. The eau de parfum is priced at £70 for 50ml, while the new Tom Ford Black Orchid Hydrating Emulsion, a rich, nourishing body moisturiser lightly scented with the fragrance, is priced at £35 for 150ml. Available from the Tom Ford Beauty counter, in Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar, Liverpool ONE. Visit



Every girl loves to adorn herself with sparkling jewels and now you can enjoy an equally dazzling scent with Be Jeweled by Vera Wang. Flirtatious and energetic, this delicious perfume is mixed with heart notes of passion fruit and peony, topped off with top notes of pomegranate and champagne accord. EDP 30ml, 50ml and 75ml at £33.50, £44.50 and £54.50, from

Packing for a late summer holiday? Forget bulky, full sized products and worrying about excess baggage with Superdry’s Neon Mini Fragrance set, £29.50, from Superdry stores, Debenhams and Boots

SOOTHING SCENTIMENTS SCENTS can really help to change our mood, enhance our well-being and stimulate our minds, bodies and senses. An aromatherapist for over 20 years, this is something Kim Ryan from Liverpool knows only too well so she has launched a new range of ‘Candle Write’ aromatherapy candles to help soothe and lift our spirits. She explains: “Candles help shape an atmosphere, and aromas are a therapy, so I can’t think of a reason why not to infuse the home or office with such uplifting, feel good fragrances! “Creating an ambience with a soft light and relaxing smells, I blend essential oils and fragrances with 100% soy wax.” Kim’s candles contain rose geranium and lavender, African violets or the fresh, soothing scent of honeysuckle and jasmine – but as a lovely twist, they come adorned with wise words to calm the soul, as well as messages of love and amusing anecdotes. Kim has been working closely with witty wordsmith Peter Grant on the wordings which range from “Too hot to candle” to “You get on my wick but I love you.” Kim reveals: “Peter and I have

been friends for a long time. He learned about my candles as I would often give them to my friends as gifts, who gave me the encouragement to leap into a new business venture. “Peter works in a bookshop called Literally...A Bookshop in New Brighton and as a fan of poetry, he kindly offered to write me a few words to compliment my candles – hence Candle Write! “Since then, the ball has been well and truly rolling! There’s a lot going on, and a lot to look forward to!” Kim and Peter are busy planning to launch the candles at the bookshop where they will be available to buy, with some Christmas candles coming out soon. Making ideal gifts, the candles can also be personalised for a loved one. For more details email or visit












ft Ror

Shopping for him


Geek chic

Jacket, shorts and shirt, from a collection at Matalan

Big Bag Theory and other accessories MAKE sure you complete the look with some carefully chosen, geek-friendly accessories...

Sue Kelbrick channels her inner geek and checks out the latest preppy fashion for men

Grey man bag, £35, from Burton

WHETHER you are off to university, going back to college or just looking for a new look for the new season, smart, geeky fashion seems to be high on the agenda. So embrace your inner geek, get out those big specs, and invest in the look that is rocking the high street right now. From chunky sweaters, smart waistcoats, clashing patterned shirts and baseball jackets, to accessorising with braces, preppy man-bags, loafers and brogues – think Adrian Mole for the 21st century and you’ve nailed it... Black bow tie, £12, from Debenhams

Jacket, £23; knitted polo, £12; jeans, £15, and trainers, £8, all from Primark

Braces, £25, from M&S

Shearling effect shoulder panel jumper, red check western shirt, indigo wash Dylan jeans and brown contrast sole brogues, all from River Island

Brown man bag, from a selection at F&F Tesco

Men’s scarf, £18, from Next

Hewett grey wash glasses, £180, from Hardy Amies,

Shawl collar cardigan, £38; check shirt, £25; jeans, £50; rucksack, £22; and loafers, £55, all from Next

Shirt, £99; jumper, £149; and trousers, £99; from the Best of British collection at M&S



Mora caramel glasses, £180, from Hardy Amies,

Brogues, £70, by Jasper Conran at Debenhams Geometric cable v-neck knit, £35, from River Island

Varsity jacket, £45, from a selection at Asos



Health & fitness NEWS IN BRIEF EVOLVE

LEGAL highs are responsible for the deaths of more and more young people. Evolve is a not for profit organisation in Liverpool dedicated to tackling legal highs in the comunity by working with young people and their families to raise awareness on the dangers of volatile substance abuse and provide support and counselling service to all those affected. It is organising a charity fundraising event on Saturday, September 21 at The Gallery on Stanhope Street, Liverpool, from 7.30pm until late. It promises to be an evening of fun and entertainment with celebrity guests The Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels Band – Roy Brandon, Davy Edge, Carl Chase, Suzanne Collins, Eithne Browne, Keith Wilson, Micky Starke, Micky Finn, and more surprise guests. Tickets are £10 on the door.

Fierce & fabulous


IF you’re keen to lose weight and be more physically active, Eat Move Lose could be for you. The programme offers weekly sessions covering personal goal setting, diet advice, portion control, meal planning and small group exercise. Courses run Tuesday evenings from 6-7pm at IM Marsh, Barkhill Road, Liverpool, L18 6BD starting Tuesday, September 10 costing £99 for a six week course. Sessions are delivered by Emma Carder, a registered dietician, and personal trainer Rob Lunn of Diverse Health & Fitness. www.bookwhen/eatmovelose

Miguel Doforo is on a mission to get the city up and dancing. Michelle Rushton grabs her legwarmers to find out more... MIGUEL Doforo is a man on a mission. The choreographer and founder of MD Productions who has thrice led his dance troupe to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent, aims to get adults of a certain age up and dancing. After all, there are always plenty of dance classes available for children and teenagers – but what about those who are the wrong side of 30? Approaching a ‘special birthday’ myself and feeling a little fat and frumpy, my ears pricked up when I heard about Miguel’s new Dance Your Way Fit classes for adults. So I met up the man himself to find out more about his new dance and fitness programme. Looking rather buff and sipping a mineral water, Miguel declares: “I want to get the city up and dancing and looking fierce and fabulous by Christmas.” Miguel has joined forces Vanda Jenkins of Vanda & Co in Woolton and personal trainer Deana Morgan to offer a package of personal training, fitness classes and hair and beauty services. He will also be promoting new health shakes from Body by Vi (apparently huge in America as they help with weight loss and building lean muscle) which he has been sampling himself, hence the ultradefined biceps he is sporting during our interview. Miguel came up with the idea after he was selected to be a dance champion during a government initiative to get more people involved in dance – working alongside the likes of Prince William, Kate Middleton, Arlene Phillips, and more. He discovered that it’s not just the young people who want to shake their booties,



older people get the urge too but they may have lost their confidence or feel too old/ unfit to take part in a dance class. This inspired him to set up classes for an older generation starting on September 11 at Studio 76 in Tuebrook. Miguel reveals: “The classes are open to everyone of all shapes and sizes and dance abilities. It is mainly street dance to great music with a fun and uplifting vibe, from soul and dance to Madonna and Michael Jackson. “I’ll be teaching moves you can do at home, so you can strut your stuff whilst doing the hoovering or ironing. “It’s a great way to have fun, boost confidence and get in shape with help and encouragement that doesn’t stop when the classes end as organisers have also set up support system, giving guidance on all things from diet plans to training activities to help maintain your new healthy lifestyle.” Dance Your Way Fit is just one of a number of projects that Miguel is working on to get people involved in dance. He is also working on Emotions – a 12 month programme to give 50 young people much needed experience in performing arts which will hopefully lead to employment. Miguel will soon be auditioning for his first 50. He says: “They don’t need experience but they do have to have raw energy and passion.” This is something the 35-year-old certainly doesn’t lack. After working with him on BGT, Simon Cowell has been impressed by Miguel’s drive and famously told him: “I wish I could bottle your passion.” Not bad for a lad raised in Netherley who left his local comp with no qualifications and had never set foot in a dance studio, although privately he aspired to follow the footsteps of his idol, Michael Jackson. During a stint in hairdressing at Herbert of Liverpool, Miguel got involved in styling hair shows which led to him staging his first ever fashion show at the Adelphi Hotel – a sell-out.

With a taste for showbiz, Miguel quit hairdressing to set up his own production company. His friends and family thought he’d gone mad but luckily someone believed in him. Miguel remembers: “My New Deal advisor Jill Rothwell said ‘you’ll make this work’ and helped me put together a business plan. MD Productions was born and since then Miguel has taught hundreds of people many of whom have gone on to enjoy careers in dance, as well as staging many shows and supplying dancers, models and actors to some of the biggest shows in the UK. He has created his own dance style, the Doforo technique, teaches college courses and will be touring his Beyoncé themed show, Crazy Right Now to over 300 venues throughout Europe, as well as working on a new show in Liverpool for November – where we might even get a peek of his own fancy footwork. “I haven’t performed myself for years since being involved in BGT and my other projects, admits Miguel. “But my kids miss me dancing and I am looking forward to getting back on stage.” Where does he get all his energy? I am tired just thinking about all the projects Miguel is involved with, but am looking forward to trying his new class and hopefully, a little bit might just rub off on me! Dance Your Way Fit classes take place on Wednesdays at 7pm, at Studio 76 Performing Arts Centre, West Derby Road, Liverpool, L6 9BY. For more details, call 0151 923 6631, email or visit


WITH fun, laughter and colour being what Claire House Children’s Hospice is all about, the charity has launched a bright and messy fundraiser. Sponsored by Liverpool ONE, participants wearing pristine white T-shirts will complete a 5k route around Liverpool’s Sefton Park on Saturday, September 28, being pelted at each kilometre point with plumes of powered (hypoallergenic) paint. Claire House Children’s Hospice provides respite and end-of-life care to children and young people with complex medical conditions as well as support for their families. Splash Dash entry is priced from £7.50.


A BIKE hire scheme has been launched at Liverpool Central Station to encourage people to get back into cycling. Bike & Go offers rail passengers the opportunity to complete the final phase of their journey by bicycle. This means you can avoid traffic and get to your destination faster and fitter. The annual subscription fee is £10 and cycle hire costs £3.80 for 24 hours, equivalent to an average bus fare. So there’s no excuse not to get on yer bike!


Turning back time Michelle Rushton looks at some of the latest treatments available to aid our quest for eternal youth...

CHANNEL 4 recently broadcast a programme entitled How Not to Get Old investigating the latest scientific developments in the fight against ageing. We Brits spend millions each year on lotions, potions and procedures in an attempt to keep the tell-tale signs of ageing at bay. Fronted by Anna Richardson and Louise Redknapp, the series looked at some of the best treatments on offer to keep everyone looking youthful. One of the treatments Anna put to the test on the programme was Ultherapy – to tighten up her sagging jawline. Intrigued, we spoke to Linda Cunningham, director of Epilight New Skin on Rodney Street, which provides a wide range of cutting edge cosmetic treatments including Ultherapy, to find out how more. Says Linda: “A non-invasive treatment, Ultherapy is an ideal option for those wanting a lift and tightening of the facial tissue, but aren’t ready to undergo surgical treatment or for those wishing to delay surgery and opt for a more natural approach. “It is an effective treatment for tired, baggy or sagging facial skin, Ultherapy specially targets any problem areas such as dropped brows, hooded eyes, eye bags, lost jawline, double chins and lip lines. “The innovative treatment of Ultherapy works by using a regenerative process where focused energy is specially targeted at various depths within the face. This process shrinks, tightens and lifts skin from the foundation up – affecting muscle, tissue and dermis in the SMAS and the sub cutaneous layer of the face. “The result is a stimulated growth of new collagen which helps to restore the natural, more youthful look of the facial contours and skin.”

On the programme, Anna said she was impressed with the results even just a few minutes after having the treatment and could see and feel a visible lift and tightening of her jaw line and chin. She admitted it did hurt a bit but proclaimed it was “well worth it!” Linda explains: “Some patients find parts of the Ultherapy treatment uncomfortable however some definitely do not experience any discomfort. “Our treatment protocols aim to manage any pain elements for the individual, should this be an issue. But in our extensive experience, the pain factor of Ultherapy is not a problem for most patients.” And she stresses Ultherapy is a “process and not an event” and advises that the results build and improve for many months afterwards, even improving for a year, and then have long lasting benefits. She insists: “It’s like putting collagen in the bank, so to speak, so you will age differently. At Epilight New Skin Clinics we recommend reviewing the effects at six months when results are often even more improved. “If you are a suitable candidate, Ultherapy is definitely one of the best, easiest and quickest anti-ageing treatments that you could possibly have. One treatment can take an hour or two, depending on the treatment areas.” As well as Ultherapy, Linda offers a wide range of skin resurfacing lasers and treatments to solve all your


Epilight New Skin Clinic is situated on Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9AD.


Epilight New Skin Clinic prides itself on offering the best non-surgical treatments including new treatments for lifting the face, skin-perfecting technology, body sculpting treatments and much more.


Call 0151 709 0099 or visit

skin problems, including rejuvenation lasers and radio frequency technology. “We specialise in treatments for redness, rosacea, pigmentation, melasma acne, pores, scarring, lines, wrinkles and loose skin. Whatever your skin needs, you can be sure we have a solution for improvement, which is faster and easier than ever before, to keep you looking young and beautiful,” says Linda. “Your treatment is designed and built around your needs and at a price that’s right for you.” She also offers facial threads which are inserted to lift and elevate the skin and, according to Linda, are also a great way to aid the repositioning of the features. Plus, there’s the ‘vampire lift’ or platelet rich plasma therapy (which uses your own stem cells and growth factors from your own blood) and can be delivered alone or with laser or combined with meso therapy to stimulate the cells of the tissue and skin. This switches on functions and makes them behave like younger cells, which has a regenerative effect on the features and skin. Volume replacement therapy restores the lost volume in the mid and lower face. Linda reveals: “It’s a bit like putting the coat hanger back in your face again – it lifts and supports the eight points where we notice the facial droop from lost volume over time and it gives us our more youthful face shape back. “It’s all non invasive and aimed at a natural safer approach to keeping up our appearances.” She also specialises in new painfree hair and tattoo removal and body smoothing, tightening and slimming, such as the Pro Shock Ice which actually destroys fat cells and removes local fat and cellulite, sculpting and slimming those stubborn areas that don’t respond to weight loss or exercise and is great for banishing bingo wings and muffin tops. Linda adds: “After all, often it’s the whole package – face, body health and well being, inside and out that’s important in how well and confident you feel. “Treat yourself as a work of art in progress. As long as you make a start it doesn’t have to be daunting!”

As featured on Channel 4’s How not to look old

Up to Anna says it’s worth it, she is very impressed with her ULTHERA lifted tighten face & jawline 50%off FDA Guaranteed to beat any price for full Ultherapy treatment selected Approved *FREE skin treatment included* Lifting packages Epilight Modality 0151 709 0099 NO DOWNTIME 0% finance NewSkin clinics 54 Rodney Street, Liverpool L1 9AD available GROUNDBREAKING ULTRASOUND TREATMENT Before




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Wedded bliss Planning your big day? The Best of Liverpool team has plenty of inspiration to ensure your wedding has the wow factor

Octavia bridal dress, £595, from BHS

SEPTEMBER 13 CROWNING GLORY WHEN it comes to bridal hair, the stylists at Williams & Coburn Hair Company in Cressington believe it should be classic in style and inspired by the dress and accessories. And they believe in the importance of building a relationship between the bride and hairdresser during the run up to the big day. Salon co-owner, Cheryl Parry, explains: “We offer a full service from the initial consultation up to the wedding and beyond for all our brides. “Following the consultation, your stylist will outline a haircare plan to get the bride’s hair to where it needs to be on the day. We book in regular trims, treatments and colour and prepare a countdown. “At the trial we ask you to bring along a picture of your dress, any hair accessories, veil, and any mood boards or scrap books you have begun or are collecting.  “We often try several styles and take digital photographs which we

keep as a record. Our dedicated bridal administrators keep thorough records and liaise with the bride every step of the way. “We recommend you book your trial as soon as possible in order to begin creating your very special look! Planning your hair is as important as planning your dress.” Call 0151 4276333 or visit


The Big Red Bus Company ‘promote, celebrate, exhibit, inform’

Bring a touch of nostalgia to your special event. We provide top class transport for Weddings, School Proms, Corporate Events, Private Sight Seeing Tours, on our beautiful double decker bus. Wedding Transport with a Vintage Twist Arrive in true style on your wedding day on board our vintage bus. Whilst adding a quirky touch of class, you’ll avoid the worry of parking and driving for guests. Our bus can also be decorated in immaculate detail to match your chosen colour scheme. The newlywed couple can also enjoy their first toast with our on board champagne bar. Make your day a memorable one and book now for the coming wedding season. Be sure to make your wedding photos stand out by customising the destination blinds of the bus with your chosen title. Stand out from the Crowd Promotional Opportunities A bus you definitely won’t miss, we offer a high impact promotional tool for brand advertising. Get your message across by adding Vinyl Sign Writing or Banners along the sides, or even a full bus wrap, or even host on board exhibition. Corporate Extravaganza Is it your job to arrange the office day out or team building event? Look no further, we can provide a unique and nostalgic day with our private sightseeing tours and on board champagne bar. The Big Red Bus Company caters to any kind of function or special day and we strive to bring your ideas to life. Call 0151 224 8396 to plan your Big Day. 14


DON’T miss The Hard Days Night Hotel’s wedding fayre on Sunday, October 20, noon until 4pm. A wide range of specialist wedding exhibitors will be at the North John Street hotel for the event, including bridal wear, car hire, florists, groomwear, gifts and favours, mother of the bride and more. There will also be live entertainment and delicious canapés on offer, courtesy of Blakes Restaurant. Admission is free and there will be a complimentary goodie bag for all of the brides attending. For more information contact the Hard Days Night Hotel’s wedding co-ordinator on 0151 236 1964.

WIN TICKETS TO THE NATIONAL WEDDING SHOW THE National Wedding Show Autumn 2013 takes place at London Earl’s Court from September 27-29 and the Birmingham NEC from October 4-6, featuring thousands of dresses, hundreds of experts and endless inspiration. There will be over 300 wedding experts at the shows specialising in everything from couture dresses, groomswear, cars, favours and stationery to flowers, cakes, honeymoons, photography and much more. Pick up ideas at the catwalk shows or toast your future happiness at The Champagne Bar. Wedding planning has never been easier! For more information visit the National Wedding Show website or call 0844 8740 486.

Best of Liverpool has teamed up with The National Wedding Show to offer 10 lucky readers and their ‘plus one’ a free pair of tickets. To be in with a chance of winning tickets, answer the following question:


Q: Which cities will The National Wedding Show Autumn 2013 be held in? Send your answers on a post card to Best of Liverpool, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB stating your name, address and which venue you wish to visit. Tickets are valid on Friday or Sunday only and are limited to one pair per winner. Closing date: Friday, September 13.

SO INVITING FOR wedding invitations to wow your guests, head to Tatty Lashes. The trendy stationery boutique on Old Hall Street offers an extensive range of wedding invitations, save the dates, table plans, and orders of services, as well as place cards, signs, thank you cards and memory boxes in a variety of styles. In particular we love its retro ‘All You Need Is Love’ range, and luxury pocketfold invites. Plus, the shop has a selection of items for hire including white and red post boxes, a vintage wishing tree, easels and a ‘candy cabinet’. Visit


Say ‘I do’ in Grand style When searching for a historic and unique venue, the celebrated Aintree Racecourse – where drama and legend combine with excellent service – should be on every bride’s shortlist LICENSED for civil ceremonies and civil partnerships for up to 200, Aintree Racecourse offers an abundance of spectacular rooms and suites to accommodate any size celebration, from small and intimate ceremonies up to large scale and Asian weddings for 500 guests. As part of the package, all of the arrangements are in the capable hands of the same team who organise the legendary and illustrious Grand National Festival. Overlooking the winning post, the Valentine’s Suite is spacious yet intimate, with exquisite wooden panelling and a romantic atmosphere. Perfect for smaller ceremonies, the Merryman Suite is flexible enough to accommodate ceremonies for between 10 and 100 guests and offers stunning racecourse views. The elegant and historic Sefton Rooms, located in the County stand, provide a unique and intimate venue for ceremonies up to 60 or a Champagne reception for up to 150. Surrounded by priceless Grand National memorabilia, the Sefton Rooms offer guests a unique experience! Consider a Champagne reception in the unique Old

Left, Chelsea and Phil say “I do” at Aintree Racecourse, and right, newlyweds Leanne and Gerard take a stroll through the legendary racecourse. Photos by Daniel Charles Photography

Weighing Room or Sefton Rooms with another stunning racecourse view suite for a wedding banquet. The possibilities are endless and the true beauty of Aintree can only be experienced by visiting and experiencing the venue and grounds for yourself. With a choice of suites accommodating up to 300 guests and beautiful views across the racecourse, the Princess Royal grandstand offers a self-contained wedding venue together with the Merryman Suite which

can accommodate up to 100 for your civil ceremony or partnership. Opened in 2007, the state-of-the-art suites in the adjacent Lord Sefton and Earl of Derby grandstands are mirror images of each other, and have the capacity to host wedding banquets for up to 500 guests. The stands are also linked by ‘Saddle Bars,’ with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the Parade Ring, making it an ideal location for a Champagne reception.

Aintree offers a range of inclusive wedding packages, including room hire, drinks reception, three course meal, wine and evening buffet as well as various special offers available throughout the year. Call the wedding team on 0151 522 2910 to discuss all the options, or visit for more information.

Perfect Weddings at Aintree Racecourse

WE DO! Choose Aintree for your special day, where drama and history combine to make your dreams come true. Dates available throughout 2013 and 2014.

For more information and to arrange a tour, call 0151 522 2922 or visit

LIMITE D O FFER Half pr compli ice DJ, late b mentar y compli ar licence & me packag ntar y drinks e up availab grade le. T&Cs a pply.

Visit our Wedding Show - Sunday 15th September 2013 11am – 4pm



Aisle be there

The Florrie, and right, the Holiday Inn Express in Hoylake

You’ve found each other, now find the perfect place to celebrate... DOUBLETREE BY HILTON

LOCATED on the corner of Sir Thomas Street and Dale Street, this Grade IIlisted venue is everything the special couple could want – and more! Chandeliers and original mosaic tiled floors all add elegance and sophistication, while sweeping staircases provide the perfect backdrop for those all-important wedding photographs. DoubleTree by Hilton Liverpool can be hired exclusively and offers the overall wedding package, including the wedding ceremony, function rooms catering for up to 220 guests, and 87 bedrooms – as well as a spa for that relaxing pre-wedding day pamper. DoubleTree by Hilton Liverpool opens December 2013. Visit


THIS show-stopping venue offers a unique setting, delicious food courtesy of Marco Pierre White restaurant – Marco’s New York Italian – and stylish accommodation in the 56-bedroom hotel. At just £2,000, the venue’s wedding package includes hire of the stunning Garden Room - an intimate setting which can be tailored to meet your personal needs – cocktail drinks reception for 40 guests, a three-course meal for 40 guests from a classic menu, evening buffet for 80 people, and one balcony room for the bride and groom with Champagne, and top table flowers. Call 0151 632 2073 for more details.


LOVINGLY converted from a lavish private Edwardian residence into an elegant country house hotel, Inglewood Manor is a hidden treasure nestled in 38 acres of grounds amongst the leafy Cheshire countryside. In the summer months, you can stroll through elegant oak-panelled rooms out onto spacious sunlit terraces, overlooking picturesque planted gardens with ponds and

lakes providing an idyllic backdrop to an open-air wedding ceremony on the beautiful stone terrace. For the ultimate in romance, a winter wedding is equally as magical at Inglewood Manor with guests greeted by a roaring open log fire and polished oak panelling helping to create a cosy haven. The hotel boasts 29 luxuriously refurbished and individually styled bedrooms with glorious views of the grounds. Visit


FOR a wedding with a real ‘wow’ factor then check out Oddfellows boutique hotel in the heart of Chester. A stunning period building with cool contemporary styling, Oddfellows is the perfect venue for couples looking for an exclusive and intimate venue for their wedding. The entire first floor at Oddfellows is available for exclusive use for your wedding and with a civil license and private dining for up to 65 guests and The Grown Up Bar and Terrace available for a further 100 guests, everything is covered to ensure you enjoy a wedding day to remember. Visit


THIS Grade II listed building on Mill Street, Liverpool 8, has recently been painstakingly returned to its former glory and is literally bursting at the seams with charm and character. Offering a magical setting for weddings, from the ceremony to the wedding breakfast and right through to the evening do, The Florrie can take care of everything. The Grand Hall, with its dramatic high beamed ceiling and feature picture windows, creates the perfect backdrop for any wedding and the hall can seat up to 250 people for formal dining with a stage and a fully licensed bar also available for the evening entertainment. Visit


ONE of the North West’s premier venues situated within beautiful grounds in the heart of the Wirral countryside. The hotel matches breathtaking beauty with elegant accommodation, boasting a three AA Rosette restaurant with an award-winning luxurious spa. Easy accessible from surrounding areas, Thornton Hall Hotel boasts 63 bedrooms with stunning views of the countryside including a penthouse suite, studio room and recently refurbished character rooms. Executive chef, David Gillmore, of The Lawns restaurant designs elegant bespoke menus featuring locally sourced produce, tailored to each individual wedding. The spa was recently named best luxury spa in the UK. Visit


LOCATED at Liverpool Marina and neighbouring the iconic Liverpool waterfront, this unique venue offers tailormade packages to meet any specific needs. With respected chef Adam Franklin at the helm, the spotlight falls on quality food and excellent service. The venue benefits from extensive outdoor space with integrated bar, showcasing superb panoramic views across the marina. This additional space also gives the wedding hosts the opportunity to recreate a garden party atmosphere, which can continue day through to the evening with a celebratory barbecue or even a hog roast. Yacht Club Liverpool can cater for 160 guests, with a dedicated and experienced team on-hand to take away the stresses of the big day. Visit

Something old, something new? Wonderful wedding accessories BEAU HATS

WHAT do Paloma Faith, Rita Ora, Pippa Middleton, HRH Princess Beatrice and Channel 4’s Best Dressed Female at Ascot 2013 all have in common? A little hat hire boutique in Oxton Village, Wirral! Beau Hats launched in March 2013 and its ‘Beau Belle’ collections have featured in lots of fabulous weddings across the country and overseas. The trendy hat boutique supports up and coming local designers as well as the biggest names in millinery. Owner and founder Chris Pound of Oxton says: “Choosing the right headwear for that special occasion is a huge deal and we can spend up to three hours with a customer before she finds the right piece. But it’s just that personal touch which makes us different and stand out – whether it’s colour matching, a bespoke creation or adding that touch of colour to a pre-made creation – we make it work for you.” To receive 10% off your next hat hire or purchase from some of the biggest designers in British millinery, quote ‘Best of Liverpool’. Visit




STUNNING, gorgeous and beautiful are amongst just a few words a bride would love to hear whispered in her direction on her amazing day. With this in mind, bridal headdress designer Nina Wren has been on a creative mission to design drop dead fabulous headpieces for the bride who wants to stand tall and get noticed! She says: “Sparkles and the twinkling of crystals and diamante are the common feature in my head turning designs, big jewels, twisting and bending in to a stream of little gems dropping softly on to your forehead and hairline has now become a trademark of my work. “A life long lover of the Asiana bridal look (beautiful bejewelled foreheads) I have taken a leaf out of the ‘Asian’ bridal look and adapted it for our Western brideto-be. “This is your only chance to look this amazing, so just go for it, don’t blend away in the beigeness of bridal bogstandardness! “Why be a princess when you can be the Queen ‘B’ with a show piece headdress that will undoubtedly make you feel you’re stunning best?” Visit


ELEGANT Steps is a company passionate about shoes, and has been helping brides to find their perfect wedding day footwear since 2003. Elegant Steps has the knowledge and invaluable experience all brides need to reassure them leading up to their big day. They are well equipped to find the perfect pair of shoes for mothers-in-law, bridesmaids and flower girls. The company has its very own inhouse dyeing service with skilled, highly trained colourists who can match your shoes to the exact colour of your dress. They can even customise your shoes for you to create your very own couture piece, whether you want painted soles, added shoe clips, jewels or crystal embellishment. That means you can have a bespoke pair of shoes unlike any other, made especially for you for your special day. Elegant Steps is based online and also has a store on the Wirral with extremely friendly staff. Why not send them a picture of your wedding dress and see if they can help you find the perfect shoes? Visit


BASED IN Bromborough, Vintage Styler is a treasure trove of unique wedding accessories and jewellery. It was launched in 2010 by bridal make-up artist and hair stylist, Amy Clutterbuck who is inspired by a love of weddings and a passion for unique, individual bridal style. Vintage Styler stocks a vast amount of fabulous products including wedding hair accessories, veils, bags, jewellery, garters and all the finishing touches you need for your big day. The store believes that each and every bride is different and staff encourage and guide each bride to express her own individual style. Amy’s knowledge and experience within the industry ensures each bride is in expert hands. She is well equipped when it comes to choosing the most suitable on trend accessories for bridal hair styles, whether brides are looking for a romantic vintage style or a traditional style with just a hint of vintage in their accessories. Visit

Food & drink


MY CAKEY BAKEY HEART Sweet dreams are made of this, says Sarah Hooley, as she shares a cupcake recipe of her own creation... EVER since Carrie Bradshaw bit into a beautifully iced cupcake some 13 years ago, us Brits have been hooked on their sugary, perfectly piped goodness. And with just 11 days (not that I’m counting) until National Cupcake Week – September 16-22 – it’s the perfect time to don your pinny and get baking! So in honour of the eagerly anticipated event here’s my secret recipe for gorgeous glazed minidoughnut cupcakes. A yummy combination of two of all my time favourite treats – cupcakes and doughnuts – it’s the perfect foodie marriage for sweet-toothed cake lovers. You can make your own mini-doughnuts if you have time, but if not, simply buy a box of the ready made variety and customise at home. It’s a great recipe to make with the kids – enjoy!

GLAZED MINI-DOUGHNUT CUPCAKE Ingredients: l 8oz unsalted butter, softened l 3 tbsp of melted unsalted butter l 8oz caster sugar l 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk l 10oz self-raising flour l 3 1/2 fl oz milk l 1/2 tsp baking powder l 3-4 tsp sugar

Best of Liverpool’s resident baker, Sarah, shows off some of her creations

To decorate: l Box of 12 mini-doughnuts l Hundreds-and-thousands Butter icing l 9oz unsalted butter, softened l 1.5lbs icing sugar, sifted l 3tsp vanilla extract l 6-9 tsp milk Glace icing l 8oz icing sugar l A few drops of boiling water l Pink food colouring Method: l Pre-heat the oven to 160C or gas mark 4. Mix together the softened butter, caster sugar, two eggs, flour, milk and baking powder in a large bowl. l Beat together until you have a smooth, creamy batter. l Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with muffin cases, and fill each one until about two-thirds full with the cake batter. Bake in the oven for approximately 25-35 minutes, or until risen and cooked through. (Tip: gently push a skewer into one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean, the cakes should be ready). l While still warm, brush a little melted butter over each cake then sprinkle with the crushed sugar. To decorate: l As you wait for the cakes to cool, make the butter icing. l Place the butter in the bowl, slowly mix in the sifted icing sugar, and add in the vanilla essence and milk. Fill an icing bag, and pipe in a circular motion on each cupcake (using a circular piping nozzle like Wilton no 12). l To make the glace icing, mix the icing sugar with a few drops of boiling water, and a small amount of pink food colouring. (Tip: A little water goes a long way so add it gradually). l Dip the front of each mini-ring doughnut into the glace icing, and then sprinkle with hundreds of thousands. Put to one side to set. Once dry, place a doughnut on top of each cupcake. Use the remaining glace icing to drizzle over the butter icing.

Cupcake kit

Folklore cake stand, £27.95, from hunkydory home

WE’VE rounded up a few essentials to help inspire any amateur baker....

Pop art superhero cupcake cases and toppers, £4.95, from

Ferris wheel cupcake stand centrepiece, £17, from

Pink enchanted roses and swallows cupcake wraps and toppers, £4.99, from

Giant cupcake tin, £14.95, from

Dalek cupcake wraps and toppers, £9.99, from Lakeland

Circus tent cupcake case, £7.50, from

Monster madness cupcake stand, £7.99, from Ginger Ray

Think Pink Apron, £14, from Debenhams (10% of sales in this range go to Think Pink, Debenhams’ breast cancer charity initiative which supports: Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Campaign and The Think Pink Ribbon Foundation)


Children FALAFEL MUCH more interesting than a cheese butty, falafel is cheap to make and the primary ingredient – chickpeas – are low fat and a rich source of folic acid, which helps to form healthy blood cells. This recipe was created by celebrity chef and BBC Saturday Kitchen host James Martin for Ingredients: l 400g can chickpeas, drained l Half a red onion, finely diced l 3 tbsp vegetable oil l 2 cloves garlic, crushed l 1 tsp mild curry paste l 1 tbsp plain flour l 25g bunch fresh coriander or parsley l Pitta breads l Tomato salsa l Green salad

Smart snacks

BOXING CLEVER FORGET sticking a few butties and a piece of fruit into a Tupperware box, kids’ lunch boxes need to be both practical – with enough compartments to hold everything firmly in place – and visually appealing to little ones. From lunch boxes adorned with their favourite cartoon characters, to pretty floral designs, here are a few ideas... One Direction lunch bag, £7, from Heatons

Method: l Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until it softens, add the garlic and continue cooking on a lower heat for five minutes. Cool slightly. l Place the onion and garlic, chickpeas, curry paste, flour and coriander into a food processor and blitz until the mixture is smooth. Alternatively, place in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. l Divide mixture into 12 small balls the size of a golf ball, flatten slightly. l Fry the falafel in the remaining oil for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden. l Serve in toasted pitta bread with tomato salsa and green salad. Alternatively, try serving with tzatziki or, if you are making the falafel for yourself and want to make it spicier, try adding fresh chilli to the chickpea mixture before cooking.

Compartment lunch boxes, from www.

Banish boring butties and fuel your children’s day with tasty but nutritious lunches, says Katie McLoughlin, as she finds healthy lunch box recipes...

Plastic water bottles, £5, from Paperchase

BAMBINI SALMON PASTA THIS recipe, from Falkner Street deli and eatery, The Quarter, makes for a nutritious lunch or dinner for all the family. Serve as an evening meal for the whole family along with a green salad and garlic bread, or serve on its own for a healthy, filling and tasty lunch to fuel their day. Ingredients: (serves 2 children) l 8 broccoli stalks, blanched l 100g spinach l Half a leek l 50g fresh salmon l 250ml passata l 8 cherry tomatoes, halved l 160g pasta (you can use whichever

type of pasta your kids like best – from spaghetti, as pictured, to fusilli) Method: l Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and pan-fry the salmon for a three to four minutes on each side, until cooked through. l Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, meanwhile, add a teaspoon of olive oil to a saucepan and sweat the leek and garlic on a low light. l When soft, add the passata and bring to the boil then add the blanched broccoli, spinach and cherry tomatoes to the sauce and simmer for 1 minute then add the cooked pasta toss together then serve.

Insulated lunch boxes by Beatrix New York, £29.50, from

SPICY PINTO & BAKED BEAN WRAPS CHEAP, tasty and incredibly nutritious, this recipe contains both canned pinto and baked beans which count towards your five a day and are a good source of iron, fibre and protein. Recipe by James Martin for Ingredients: (serves 4) l 410g can pinto beans, drained l 415g can baked beans l 1 Romano pepper, chopped l 1 red onion, finely diced l 20g fresh coriander l 2 cloves garlic, crushed l 2 tsp cumin seeds l 1 tsp chilli powder or 1 small



red chilli, finely chopped l 1 tbsp oil l 8 tortilla wraps l Sour cream For the salsa: l 1 avocado l Juice of 1 lime l 150g tomatoes, roughly diced Method: l Heat the oil in a wok and fry the onion until soft, add the garlic and fry for a further minute. l Add cumin, fry for one minute, add the chilli powder, chopped coriander stalks, add the pepper and fry together for one minute.

Add the pinto and baked beans; simmer gently for five to 10 minutes until the beans are combined. l To make the salsa, peel and destone the avocado, chop into chunks and place in a small bowl, squeeze over the lime juice to prevent browning. Add tomatoes and chopped coriander leaves and stir ingredients together. l Serve with wraps and sour cream. Hints and tips: The pinto filling tastes just as good on toast too, try serving as a tasty snack. The pinto bean mixture also freezes well, just reheat in a microwave. l

Smash 3D lunch boxes, £12.96, from

Robotics snack set, £7, from Paperchase


Back to school


Buy the best quality leather school shoes that you can afford, your little ones will be wearing them all day, every day. And, if you buy a quality pair they’re more likely to last the year. l Whatever you’re buying – be it a sports kit, shoes, a shirt, skirt or trousers – make sure they try them on and they fit correctly. l Trousers and skirts with special stain-resistant coatings are now widely available – and perfect for kids who tend to come home with their uniform splattered in paint, mud and half their lunch. l Tempted to buy a blazer two sizes too big so it lasts a year or two? You could, but bear in mind that by the time they grow into it, it may be looking a little worse for wear – so it may prove a false economy. Best to buy a blazer with a bit of room for manoeuvre, but not so ridiculously big it swamps them. l

September heralds the start of a new school year, but the cost of buying the obligatory school threads can be an education if you’re not a savvy shopper. We show you how to kit them out for another year without breaking the bank... Value girls’ school skirts, pack of two, £7£19, from John Lewis

O’Neill backpack, RRP £29.99, outlet price £19.99, from McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

Value boys’ trousers, pack of two, £7-£13, from John Lewis

Cargo shorts, from £6; easy iron shirts, pack of two from £5; pure cotton jumper, from £4; leather riptape school shoes, from £22; and cotton rich school socks, from £5, from Marks & Spencer

Name tapes, £7-£9, from John Lewis

Furby deluxe stationary set, £4, from Heatons

Trousers, (two pack) from £7; short sleeve shirt, (two pack) from £4; crew neck sweatshirt, from £3; and sporty shoe, £12, from Dunnes Stores

Knit skirt, from £6; blouse, (two pack) from £8; ankle socks, (five pack) £2.50; and patent shoes, £8.50, from Dunnes Stores

Kids’ swimming/PE bags, £14.99, from

Monsters flat pencil case, £5, from Paperchase

Clarks girl’s Daisy Dust shoes, RRP £32, outlet price £21.99, from McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

‘Rosa’ girl’s school shoes, £34.95, from

Double breasted pinafore, from £8.50; long sleeve blouse (two pack), from £3.50; Velcro strap shoe, £8.50; ruffle socks (three pack), £3; from Dunnes Stores


Freshers’ Week


FRESHERS’ week. It’s a time of copious clubbing, meeting new faces and finding your feet in the new city that is to be your home for the next three plus years.


And, while lectures don’t generally begin for a few weeks, some may say the real learning begins now. After all, getting to grips with a new city and knowing where to go

FOR fantastic food on a frugal budget, check out The Brink, on Parr Street. A dry bar and social enterprise, The Brink opened in 2011 and serves locally sourced fresh food and an imaginative array of nonalcoholic drinks. Drinks range from freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices, to nonalcoholic cocktails and smoothies. When it comes to food, the menu features full English breakfasts (£5.50) or American pancakes (£2) to start your day. Lunch on home-made soup with focaccia (£2.95) or home-made hummus with roast peppers, almonds and bread (£2.75), while mains feature the likes of a mixed salad board (£5.25), home-made quarter pounder burger (£6.95) or a Sunday roast dinner (£6.95). There’s also a daily special main course, dubbed The Brink Bargain, which is priced at just £3.95 each day. Visit or Tweet @ BrinkLiverpool for more information. The Brink, Parr Street



is an important part of getting the most out of student life. Here are Best of Liverpool’s essential places to eat, drink, shop and socialise for students...

The Shipping Forecast


As Liverpool prepares to welcome a new influx of students this month, Katie McLoughlin takes a look at what the city has to offer its scholarly new residents...

HOME to a smorgasbord of studenty bars which attract a young, trendy crowd and have student loan-friendly prices, Hardman Street, Berry Street and Seel Street are the best places for students to hit the town. On Hardman Street you’ll find the likes of student bar Bumper, The Magnet and Baa Bar. Walk to the end of Hardman Street, past the Bombed Out Church, and you’ll be on Berry Street. Popular with students and locals alike, Berry Street is home to bar/pizzeria TriBeCa, and whiskey and gin bar, Berry & Rye. Cross the road and you’ll find Seel Street, which is home to The Kazimier Garden, Salt Dog Slims (steins of beer, amazing margaritas and chilli dogs – need we say more?!); tikki bar, Aloha and the East Village Arts Club (home of club nights like Circus and Chibuku). Also worth a gander in this vicinity are The Shipping Forecast on Slater Street; Hannah’s Bar, on Leece Street; and The Pilgrim, a basement bar with student-friendly prices on Pilgrim Street. At the other end of town, clubbers should also check out Subvert, a new dance night held in Revolution on the Albert Dock, which has a night this Saturday.


INDEPENDENT cinema and art gallery, FACT is a popular student haunt for two reasons. Firstly, the food in its Garden Room café is delish. Secondly, you can see films for free at FACT if you’re a part of the Slackers’ Club. Set up by E4 and Picturehouse Cinemas, the free-to-join club offers members the chance to attend special screenings every month – from new E4 shows to classic movies and even previews of yet-to-be-released films. And the best part is, the screenings are free! This month, the Slackers’ Club will screen a film adaptation of best-selling novel, About How I Live Now, on September 25 – before the film goes on general release. Tickets are free, visit FACT’s box office on Wood Street, call 0871 902 5747 or log onto for details.

The Kazimier Garden

Leaf Bar on Bold Street


A MECCA for students, those who want something a bit different and the city’s hipster crowd, Bold Street is a treasure trove of vintage shops, independent quirky little shops, cafés, bars and galleries. Pop into Bold Street Sweets for retro and American treats; peruse the extensive shelves in Matta’s for ethnic ingredients to spice up frugal meals; enjoy a spot of people watching in trendy tea bar, Leaf; get your barnet done at achingly-hip hairdressers, Voodou, and browse the likes of Resurrection, Little Red Vintage and Petticoat Lane for vintage attire, as well as one of a kind finds by up-and-coming local designers.

Bold Street


About How I Live Now @ FACT

UNFAMILIAR with Liverpool? Well, as a new, honorary Scouser, it’s your civic duty to become acquainted with the city’s landmarks. First things first, get yourself down to the Three Graces – The Royal Liver Building (upon which you’ll see the original Liver Bird), Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building. You’ll find the Three Graces on the Pier Head, with another of the city’s main spots – the Albert Dock, just a bit further up the road. The Albert Dock is home to Tate Liverpool, The Beatles’ Story, Merseyside Maritime Museum and a myriad of bars and restaurants.

Food & drink

Feast on this

SEPTEMBER 13 Aiden Byrne

Katie McLoughlin looks at what’s on the menu for this year’s Liverpool Food & Drink festival... NOW in its sixth year, Liverpool Food & Drink Festival is set to take place this month. The festival kicks off on September 7-8, when some 40,000 foodies will flock to Sefton Park to get their grub at the two-day launch event. Following on from his appearance at last year’s event, Michelin-starred Wirral chef Aiden Byrne is one of a number of culinary stars appearing at the launch weekend, with TV chef, Gizzi Erskine, from Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin; Reggae Reggae sauce founder, Levi Roots; and food writer Stefan Gates also on the bill for the Sefton Park event. As well as live cookery demonstrations from celebrity chefs, the launch weekend will feature master classes, a beer festival with 50 different real ales and ciders, a Champagne bar and live music. The festival will also have a dedicated children’s area with a Junior Chefs’ Academy, a pop-up restaurant from acclaimed city caterers, Pickled Walnut, and an Edible Garden where you can learn how to grow your own from gardening experts at Speke Hall. Plus, there’ll be themed areas including a Chocolate Garden; a whole new area dedicated to street food – especially Mexican and Thai street food; and a seafood area, where you can tuck a wave of oceanic delights while listening to live jazz, watch an oyster opening masterclass or enjoy a freshly caught oyster with a glass of fizz at the oyster bar. Also, there will be a market place packed full of specialist food and drink producers, and festival-goers can sample delectable offerings from over 100 local restaurants, bars and cafés exhibiting at the event.

Ham carving at Lunya

Levi Roots

Gizzi Erskine

Following the launch weekend, a week of special events will take place at venues around the city. Highlights of the festival week include a wine tasting event at Sefton Park Palm House on September 11, a gastronomic trip through Northern Spain at The London Carriage Works on September 12 and a Spanish ham carving masterclass at Lunya, also on September 12. Tickets start from £5 online and entry is free for children (under 14). or follow @livfooddrink on Twitter for more information.

PORT SUNLIGHT HAS NEW RECIPE FOR SUCCESS THIS month also sees Wirral foodies give their taste-buds a treat, as Port Sunlight Festival takes place on September 21-22. Replacing the historic village’s usual summer and winter food fayres, the new Port Sunlight Festival will feature over 100 regional food and craft producers, a chef demonstration stage, vintage entertainment and children’s rides, a fun dog show, live music and a vintage and classic car display. “The festival is our most ambitious event to date,” says Lionel Bolland, chief executive of the Port Sunlight Village Trust, which organises the event. “We’re planning a two-day bonanza with a heavy emphasis on food, family fun and entertainment.” For more information visit

WIN LIVERPOOL FOOD FESTIVAL TICKETS! WITH all the ingredients for a fantastic event, Liverpool Food & Drink Festival will see a host of celebrity chefs and over 160 local chefs cook up a feast in the heart of Sefton Park on September 7-8. The festival is one of the biggest events of its kind in the country – and one lucky reader could win tickets to the launch weekend event, along with dinner for two at Alma de Cuba, an associate sponsor of Liverpool Food and Drink Festival. To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the question below: Q. Where does the launch weekend for Liverpool Food & Drink Festival take place?

Send your answer to: – including your name and daytime telephone number. Closing date for entries: Noon on Friday, September 6, 2013. The winner will be notified by phone on September 6.


Food & drink

Passion on a plate Emma Thompson samples the spirit of Catalonia at award-winning restaurant Lunya IN true Spanish style, there were people enjoying alfresco dining in the sun when we arrived at Lunya, a Catalonian fusion restaurant and deli in Liverpool ONE. With enticing aromas beckoning us in, I was keen to taste what this highly-recommended Spanish restaurant had to offer. I’d already taken a peek online at the vast menu and was already trying to decide what to have before we were seated in the upstairs area. Joining me was my partner and our 18-month old son Ben who quickly took a liking to our very friendly waitress. After opting for an essential glass of wine (it was Friday after all, and the other half was driving), it was time to choose so we decided on a couple of tapas dishes to start then a sharing dish of paella. Our first tapas choice was the Pluma Iberica (Spanish pork from acorn-fed pigs). I’ve never tasted anything like

it before, it was so tender and succulent, it just melted in your mouth. The caramelised onion and roasted shallot puree that came with the dish was also gorgeous – I was disappointed I had to share it! It came slightly pink in the middle, but that suited out tastes and we scraped the board clean. Next was the Gambas Pil Pil (king prawns in chilli, garlic and vanilla) this was one of my partner’s favourite dishes when we visited Spain. These perfectly cooked prawns with a slight heat from the chilli brought back happy holiday memories. It was a great choice and he loved every mouthful. We also tried (and devoured) the calamari in Estrella Damm batter. Delivered on a slate board, the squid was well cooked with a nice crispy batter. We chose meatballs and fries from the varied children’s menu for Ben. A typical 18-month-old, Ben can be quite fussy. He cleared the fries no problem but only ate one meatball so of course I had to help him out! The home-made, chunky, beef meatballs came in a rich tomato sauce with a taste of chorizo, they were delicious

and had plenty of flavour. In between courses, Ben wanted to have a little toddle round which gave us a chance to glance around this converted 18th century warehouse which was dotted with unusual and fun artwork and sculptures hanging from the high ceilings. Then a big dish of mixed paella, containing chicken, mussels, squid and prawns, arrived in a hot pan which kept it warm while we leisurely made our way through the contents. It was one of the best paellas we’ve ever had. It had a rich, creamy texture with plenty of flavour and, a first, I even tried a mussel but I’m still to be convinced, so my partner happily enjoyed the mussels as we shared the rest. Ready to say “we’re too full for pudding,” the dessert menu appeared and, well, it seemed rude not to. A tempting white chocolate cheesecake with chilli infused raspberries arrived for my partner. It was so smooth and absolutely gorgeous with a delicious crumbly base. I opted for Leche Frita, a traditional Spanish dessert. The firm, sweet milk/custard style pudding was encased in a warm fried sugar and cinnamon coated shell and came with a fruit compote – yum! I loved it – sweet and creamy with a zing from the fruit compote, it was everything dessert should be, delicious! As Ben was getting tired it was time to go, but we scanned the impressive deli on the way out and vowed to return to Lunya soon to pick up some deli treats and will definitely be dining there again! Lunya, 18-20 College Lane, Liverpool One, L1 3DS, call 0151 706 9770, or visit

MAGIC MOMENTS . . . IT’S not every day you get married, so when our colleague, Pam, announced that she was getting wed to her beau, Tony, the Best of Liverpool crew decided it was time to celebrate (any excuse!). So we booked ourselves in for a ‘hen’ lunch at Moments, a shiny new brasserie in Liverpool ONE, formerly known as Café Sports Express. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a half-hearted relaunch of the same venue. Go­ne are the banks of televisions and the bachelor-pad decor and in their place, there are ornate mirrors, glamorous pictures and an all-together more sophisticated ambience. Throw in an extensive menu, a selection of fabulous desserts and a range of Champagne cocktails, and you have the recipe for one seriously stylish venue. In typical British style, our plans for eating on the outside terrace were scuppered by rain clouds, but we were quickly offered a table inside, and as we took our seats, we were served with a lovely glass of Moet.



The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and we were treated like royalty. No spending hours agonising over the menu for us. Instead, we were treated to plate after plate of delicious, freshly prepared food, which gave us a taste of pretty much everything on the eclectic Moments menu. To start, there were light and flavoursome fish goujons, delicious prawns in batter, mouth-watering garlic bread and an array of crunchy vegetables and dips. Silence descended around the table as the team got stuck in and the empty plates which were cleared away a few minutes later were testament to how tasty the food was. No sooner had we digested our starters when another flurry of plates arrived at our table and we tucked into a veritable feast. From homemade pizzas with all kinds of generous toppings, vegetable and halloumi skewers, a Cajun chicken salad to a simply delicious pulled pork burger, tender steak and marinated pork with apple sauce and light and fluffy rice, we all agreed that the food was cooked to

perfection. As the venue claims to specialise in luxury desserts, it didn’t seem right not to sample the dessert menu. Again we were treated to a selection of some of the most attractive puddings on the menu which included old schoolstyle desserts inspired by the likes of the banana split, Black Forest gateau and even egg nog. All talk of diets went out of the window as the first dessert arrived at the table and everyone declared them to be ‘delicious’. To round off our fabulous lunch, we hens (including honorary hen, Paul) toasted Pam and her hubby to be, and started planning our next visit... Moments, 10 Thomas Steer Way, Liverpool ONE, Liverpool, L1 8LW, telephone 0151 706 7440


All White on the night Paul Baker samples the food, music and ambience of Marco Pierre White’s city centre steakhouse MARCO Pierre White, the first celebrity chef. The youngest English chef to gain three Michelin stars. He’s said to be an uncompromising, no nonsense figure who handed back his Michelin Stars and retired from the kitchen to become a successful restaurateur. On a sunny Friday evening I took the short stroll from our office on Old Hall Street to see if White’s Mersey venture, MPW Steakhouse, Bar & Grill lives up to its celebrity billing. Part of the boutique Hotel Indigo on Chapel Street, it enjoys an open plan setting to the rear of the hotel’s lobby. The lobby itself feels contemporary and quite stylish but not too flashy, and the restaurant fits this feel well. My guest and I were shown to a comfortable table against the wall, from where we could people watch and enjoy the ambience. Friday night brought with it a full restaurant, where diners chatted amiably to the strains of an acoustic guitarist/ singer – a regular Friday draw. High ceilings and unusual egg-shaped lights mix well to give the space the relaxed vibe that’s required. Custard yellow walls and seating hint at a fun, less stuffy, vibe than you might expect. Photos of White himself don the walls, and items like his signature steak knives

are a nice touch. And yes, despite his rarefied past working for Albert and Michel Roux, and Raymond Blanc, this is a proper steakhouse with the slabs of meat proudly front and centre on the menu and on the plate. After starting with Champagne (on offer to pre-7pm Friday diners, apparently) we made our selections. The a la carte menu offers a good choice of food – it’s up to you if you want the frills or not. So if you want fish you could opt simply for fried haddock and chips – or you could choose a fillet of smoked haddock, poached egg, new potatoes and beurre blanc. There’s belly pork, or calves’ livers and bacon on the menu, but then there’s also chicken Kiev or beef burger. Heck, there’s even a selection of pies on there! While there’s something for everyone on the main menu, I found the choice of starters less broad, and didn’t really spot anything I fancied. In the end I plumped for the crispy fried calamari with sauce tartare. It was a gamble, as I’d not tried this dish before, but it seems squid rings isn’t the dish for me. The batter was nice and lightly cooked, but the rings themselves were chewier than I’d imagined. My guest chose better with the pottage of mussels Billy. She was pleasantly surprised by this mussel soup, which was

A True Italian Experience

Francos THE BEST IN ITALIAN FOOD 0151 236 3375

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

Express Lunch Menu

Special Reduced Priced Lunch Options - Mon-Fri Only

unlike anything she’d had before – a big thumbs up. The service from the waiting staff was friendly and polite, while the maitre’d was particularly attentive and happy to explain menu options and ingredients. For my main, I was torn between the belly pork Marco Polo and roast rump of lamb à la dijonnaise, opting for the latter. It proved a fine choice, rich and cooked pink, accompanied by pomme dauphinoise – a stacked slab of fluffy potato – and green beans on the side. As it’s a steak house, one of us had to try the steak – my guest opting for the 8oz, 28day aged, fillet which she professed to be “gorgeous”. It was cooked medium with a watercress top. The pepper sauce was rich with brandy and the accompanying chips were cooked in a beef dripping and came served in a small copper pot, which was a fun touch. Our wine choice was the delicious and smooth French Rare Vineyards Malbec which had delicious vanilla flavours, but really we were spoiled for choice on the wine front with so many excellent options available. Before dessert we opted to take our time to enjoy our drinks and listen to the live music that graces the restaurant every Friday. Called Unplugged Fridays it’s a

nice addition to the evening, with chilled out acoustic versions of popular tunes from a young male singer. We enjoyed covers of Paul Simon songs, The Jam, Crowded House, Neil Young, The Beatles and loads more. This combined with the bottle of Champagne for £20 offer seems a good way of attracting the post-work crowd of a Friday night. We rounded our meal off with the Box Tree Eton Mess, an homage to the restaurant where White learnt his trade, and the blackcurrant sorbet with an assortment of berries. The two desserts were duly and happily shared, the messy but classy Eton Mess came in a Manhattan-style cocktail glass and was that wonderful blend of cream and meringue that never fails to delight. The sorbet, looked wonderful, like some great frozen beetroot, and the fruit flavours really popped and exploded in the mouth. A superb cleanser for the palate. We retired from our evening at Mr White’s convenience both sated and entertained, which is really not a bad result from a Friday night on the town. MPW Steakhouse, Bar & Grill, 10 Chapel Street, Liverpool, L3 9AG. Telephone 0151 559 0555 or visit

Evening Menu

Special Menu available ever y evening £ 20.95 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


What’s on Emma Thompson discovers there’s plenty to keep you busy this September...



THE Florrie, a stunning Grade II listed building, is a fantastic community space and on Saturday, September 14, there’s a family indoor garden party from 2pm until 4pm. Admission is free and the event is part of Heritage Month when guests are invited into the Grand Hall for family fun. There will be storytelling and drama workshops, a teddy bears’ picnic, lawn games, arts and crafts for the kids and much more. Then on September 21, from 11am, is the Florrie craft fair with exquisite stalls including print makers, beautifully crafted textiles and handmade jewellery, vintage gifts, plus craft tables for the kids and music from harpist, Stan Ambrose. Call 0151 727 2323, email or visit for details.


EVERY Sunday until September 22 the Albert Dock is hosting the Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) Pop Up Gallery. Held in association with Purple Revolver, from noon to 7pm, the dock continues the city’s LIMF celebration and will feature artwork and photography from a range of talents. These include Liverpool-based photographers, Mark McNulty and Marc D Lewis; floral artist, Joseph Massie; local sculptor, Terry McGunigle, who has been

commissioned to create a 16ft by 8ft replica of Mount Rushmore, with the presidents’ faces replaced with those of The Beatles; and illustrator Elliot Chinnock, who along with Massie, will showcase a small-scale replica of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.


THE Open Eye Gallery at Mann Island pays tribute to the work of Liverpool-born photojournalist Tim HetheringPhoto: Tim Hetherington/ Magnum Photos ton with the exhibition, You Never See Them Like This. From September 6 to November 25, the photography and film exhibition will show images published in Tim’s acclaimed book – Infidel (Chris Boot Ltd, London 2010). The photos offer an intimate insight into the lives of American soldiers in conflict but beyond the action of war, with almost 30 of Hetherington’s photographs reproduced in varying scale. Visit or call 0151 236 6768 for details.


CAPSTAN’S Grand Bazaar will be hosting an urban market event in Haus Warehouse on Greenland Street, Liverpool on Sunday, September 15. From 10.30am to 4pm, there’ll be stalls from local independent businesses and artisans offering a truly diverse range of the best our region has to offer. There will be art and crafts, local produce, vintage clothes and handmade goods. Check out for details.

Valentine Brothers Photo: Andrew Teebay


TWO Liverpool bands tipped for big futures – the fantastic MiC Lowry and the brilliant Valentine Brothers – are taking to the stage this month. On Sunday, September 22, the nightclub Envi, on Fleet Street, Liverpool will be presenting the Future Stars event from 2pm. MiC LOWRY is a five-piece boy band who were runners up in MTV’s Brand New Unsigned competition and have recently started recording original material written by Liverpool singer/songwriter Esco Williams. Also performing are The Valentine Brothers, three brothers from Liverpool who are quickly gaining more notoriety for their musical talent. The trio played the 02 Academy in June 2013 and made history as the youngest acoustic band to headline the venue. Visit for details.


ST George’s Hall, along with Liverpool’s Lovehistory, is hosting a massive murder mystery event based on real historic Liverpool cases. Taking place in the magnificent Grand Hall on Friday, September 13, there will be around 250 guests treated to a threecourse meal while they witness Liverpool’s



YOUR bit for charity on September 27 as the Liverpool Empire Theatre hosts a Macmillan Coffee Morning. As part of Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, the theatre will be raising money in memory of Bernie Nolan who lost her battle with cancer in July. Everyone is welcome to come along from 11am to 3pm, when there will be tea, coffee, cake and biscuits available in return for a donation. There will also be a silent auction, a raffle, and hopefully a few local celebs!

AND swap your clothes at the Music and Vintage Festival and Clothes Swap on Saturday, September 28 at the Bluecoat on School Lane, Liverpool. From 10am to 4pm, there will be over 50 hand selected exhibitors featuring custom made and retro clothing, jewellery and gifts, plus live bands inspired by the vintage era. A highlight is the huge clothes swap; bring your unwanted clothes and swap them for something completely new/cost free with other like minded fashionistas! You can bring up to five items to swap which are in excellent condition. Tickets cost £5.

MUST SEE... THE Tour of Britain, Stage Three of the UK’s biggest cycle race, at Knowsley Safari Park on September 17. Over 100 of the world’s top cyclists will be competing against the clock in an individual time trial, which starts and finishes at Knowsley Safari Park. Celebrating 10 years of The Tour of Britain, it starts at noon, and cyclists follow a 10 mile course through Knowsley. Residents, schools and businesses are invited to join in and welcome the national cycle race.



MUST REMEMBER... THE legend that is Rod Stewart as he comes to the ECHO Arena on September 17. Bringing his Time Tour to the city Rod is set to showcase songs from his first album of new material in almost 20 years, Time. In addition to six new tracks, the tour will include classic hits such as; You Wear It Well, Maggie May, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy, Baby Jane and more. or call the ECHO Arena box office on 0844 8000 400.


most notorious murders of the Victorian era. A team of 12 professional actors representing characters from real life Liverpool murder cases will do their best to misguide, deceive and obscure the truth. Guests will question and interrogate each character and eventually name the perpetrator. The evening will run from 7pm to 10.30pm with an optional later bar available, costumes are encouraged. Tickets (including three course meal) are £38 per person (no booking fee). or call 0844 800 0410.


WITH groundbreaking choreography the hugely successful musical stage show, West Side Story, is coming to the Liverpool Empire Theatre from September 24 to 28. Based on Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and explores the rivalry between two teenage gangs; one white, the other Puerto Rican. When Tony falls in love with Maria, the sister of the rival gang’s leader, so begins a fatal journey overshadowed by violence and hatred. For tickets visit the Empire box office on the corner of London Road and Lime Street, Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 6pm, log on to or call 0844 871 3017.


THIS hilarious new comedy show at the Epstein Theatre puts the fun back into funeral as Bon Voyage is a final farewell party to remember! Starring Lindzie Germaine and Mickey Finn, Bon Voyage has everything you would expect at a good knees-up; music, bevvies, a buffet and even a jukebox to really make the good times roll. This farewell party is for a much-loved husband, father and friend, Rocky. Hosted by Rocky’s lovely wife Maggie and charming daughter Lisa, the chaos ensues with party guests. Rocky would be having the time of his life if it weren’t for one small fact – he is dead! And you are among the guests invited to attend his funeral to wish him a final Bon Voyage! Bon Voyage is on at the Epstein Theatre on Hanover Street from September 10 to 14. Tickets cost £15 and concessions £12.50, doors open at 7.30pm, call 0844 888 4411, visit or book in person at the theatre box office (open 2-6pm Monday to Saturday).

Best of Liverpool has three pairs of tickets to give away to see Bon Voyage on September 10, for a chance to win answer the following question: Who is the funeral for in the show Bon Voyage? Email your answer to with Bon Voyage in the subject box and include your name and phone number. Deadline for entries: September 8. One entry per person.

Comedy Festival

Comedy kings


Sarah Hooley gets her laughing gear around this year’s’s Liverpool Comedy Festival... THE city’s annual comedy festival is back once again with a side-splittingly funny line-up of top comedians this month. Now in its 12th year, the festival – on from September 26 to October 6 – boasts a chortle-tastic schedule of comedy gigs, plays, readings, quizzes, films and much much more. And, with some of the UK’s biggest and best up-and-coming acts making an appearance, the festival is tipped to be the cause of much mega-loling over its 11 day period. Amongst its headline acts include awardwinning Scotsman Daniel Sloss at the Slaughterhouse on Tuesday, October 1; and Bill Bailey who’ll be bringing his brand new show, Daniel Sloss Qualmpeddler to the Philharmonic Hall on Friday, October 4.

Local talent Jake Mills

DUBBED the ‘next big thing’ by the BBC, Jake Mills will be back at the festival for the fourth year running. The 24-year-old is a regular on the stand-up circuit and started performing as a teenager after taking part in The Comedy Trust’s Funny Business course. At the same time as studying for a degree in journalism, he then gigged his way around some of the UK’s top comedy clubs becoming a firm favourite thanks to his trademark laugh-out-loud observational humour. Don’t miss his latest show - Waitin’ On A Sunny Day - which discusses the highs and lows of a young comic waiting for his big break at Baa Bar on Hardman Street, Sunday, September 29. Tickets cost £6.

Paul Smith

AWARD-winning comedian, Paul Smith is already a favourite in Liverpool with a permanent spot as resident compere at the Hot Water Comedy Club. Starting his comedy career in 2006, the funny-man instantly stood out from the crowd being crowned Liverpool New Comedian of the Year. He then went on to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is back at this year’s Liverpool Comedy Festival by popular demand. His solo show Halfway Through My Autobiography Volume 1 - will be at The Crown, Lime Street on Thursday, October 3. Tickets cost £5.

Canadian stand-up Tony Law will also be tickling funny bones with his sometimes shouty (but always brilliantly absurd) humour at the Kazimier on Wednesday, October 2. Plus, there’ll be Tony Law performances from comedy stalwarts like Sam Avery, Keith Carter (September 26 at the Slaughterhouse), Dave Twentyman (September 29 at Baa Bar Hardman Street), Keith Carter Jamie Sutherland (The Crown on October 2) and Chris Cairns (October 3 at the Slaughterhouse). Of course, the festival is an excellent platform for some of the country’s most exciting new

Adam Rowe

SCOUSE comic, Adam Rowe went from taking his first steps on stage in 2010 to being a full time comedian in just two years. Now the stand-up is one of the region’s most in demand acts, best known for his affable nature, and often honest, stories. In 2011 he was crowned Hot Water Comedy Club’s Liverpool Comedian of the Year, and is natural at entertaining crowds with his comic brilliance. His latest show - My Life is Full of D**kheads - will be at The Crown on Lime Street on Thursday, September 26. Tickets cost £5.

Callum Oakley

AFTER wowing audiences on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent last year, Callum Oakley’s star is well and truly rising. Callum, from Moreton, made it through to the semi-final of the show and is now on course for becoming a big name on the comedy circuit. Still just 17 years old, the teen stand-up has continued to hone his act and is back to entertain crowds this year. While on the ITV talent show Callum won over a legion of celeb fans including judge, David Walliams who said of him: “I’ve never seen a stand up comic so young and so brilliant,” and Sam Avery, who described him as “a natural choice” for the festival. Catch Callum and friends perform at House, Bold Street on Thursday, September 26.


comics to showcase their talents too. Past newbies have included the likes of Russell Howard, Sarah Millican and John Bishop with this year offering a whole heap of local acts tipped for stardom. In particular, keep an eye out for Paul Smith, Callum Oakley, Jake Mills, Adam Rowe and Chris McCausland (see profiles). For the first time The Comedy Trust – which organises the festival – has also been working with ministers at the Baptist Church, and you can see the Baptist Ministers’ Funny Business Show at the Royal Court on Saturday, October 5. Sam Avery, creative director of The Comedy Trust, and one of the city’s finest funnymen, says: “We are very excited about this year’s Liverpool Comedy Festival. “As ever we’ll be featuring the best in comedy from TV and the international circuit, plus showcasing the cream of local acts from age 11 upwards. I can’t remember the Liverpool Sam Avery comedy scene being as vibrant and exciting as it is in 2013 so this year looks set to be our best yet.” Other notable events at the festival, include’s Best of the Fest show at the Royal Court which stars top comics Jo Caulfield, Steve Shanyaski, Chris McCausland and Sam Avery on September 29; If Joe Lycett Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It at Baa Bar Hardman Street on September 30; and Simon Munnery at The Kazimier on October 3. Don’t miss the Worst of Rawhide Raw at Baa Bar on Hardman Street either. The show, which takes place on October 2, will see six of the worst comedians that have (briefly) set foot on the RAW stage return for one more performance. For details on the shows and tickets, or to see a full line-up visit the website

FOR a feast of fun and laughter, head to Literally...A Bookshop in New Brighton on October 2. BeSpoken Storytelling presents Peter Grant and partners in rhyme for an evening of puns, poems, punchlines and songs entitled Why I’ll Never Win Masterchef. It will be the fourth event for the former ECHO journalist turned writer, artist, poet, playwright (let’s face it – all round creative genius!) as part of the Liverpool Comedy Festival. This time he has taken the virtual zebra crossing across the Mersey, and there may be special guests... according to mood swings. Storyteller Cathy Roberts will also be on hand to entertain with her music and fabulous tales of felines. Tickets cost £5 (including refreshments). Proceeds go to special charities. 7pm start with pre-scripted encore. Literally...A Bookshop is based at 6 Atherton Street, New Brighton, CH45 2NY. Email Literallybooks@gmail. com for more information.

*RISING STAR* Chris McCausland IF you haven’t heard of Chris McCausland yet, it’s only a matter of time before you do. Originally from West Derby, the comedian is a world-class act having worked alongside the likes of Jimmy Carr and Miranda Hart on shows for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. One of the only blind professional comedians in the UK, Chris is loved for his original brand of observational humour and regularly performs at the UK’s top venues like London’s world-famous Comedy Store in the West End. He’s also starred in numerous series’ of The Comedy Store for Comedy Central. Don’t miss your chance to see him perform live as part of the’s Best of the Fest show at the Royal Court on September 29.


Homegrown talent Photo: Amelia Karlsen

DAN OF MANY TALENTS Paul Baker meets exciting new singer/songwriter Dan Croll to talk LIPA, Macca and making it



Dan tells me he’s been allowed to take a week off from the never ending rounds of touring and recording to enjoy a holiday with his family in Cornwall. His mum, dad and sister are all Scousers, but Dan and his brother were born in Stoke. Still, his ties to the city run deep. “It was just me and my little brother who were born in Stoke,” he explains. “My dad was working there at the time, so it’s just like me, my brother and this massive Scouse family. “So you know – even though we were educated in Stoke, every weekend we were brought to Liverpool to be with family, so it felt like I was raised over in Everton. I moved to Liverpool after college, to go to uni at LIPA, and I’ve been here since.”

Photo: Andrew Ellis

IT’S been a while since Liverpool has been able to celebrate a new singer/songwriter with real talent coming out of the city to make global waves. But the stars seem to have aligned for Dan Croll. Last month he dropped into the city he calls home to launch his new single In/Out onto a crowd already very much in the know about Dan. This 23-year-old musician really hit the ground running upon launching his solo career during the final year of a very successful time at LIPA. Signed to Turn First Records, he released his debut single last year, following it up with two more in 2013. He’s been playlisted on 6Music, Radio 1 and XFM, with a Radio 1 Live Lounge session to come later this month. While at LIPA, he was hand-picked to enjoy a personal songwriting lesson with the LIPA king Sir Paul McCartney (more on that later) and also won a national Songwriter of the Year award from the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. Dan’s already been recognised within the city, nominated for this year’s GIT Award by the ECHO’s very own eagle-eared music blogger, Peter Guy. And yes, it’s fair to say the internet’s music bloggers are going slightly crazy about Dan, gaining him notice across the globe. The next step is to live up to all that potential. Did I mention this guy was 23? I caught up with Dan at Leaf, on Bold Street. He’s enjoying a short break in Liverpool having just played a homecoming gig, but he reveals he doesn’t get the chance to come home too often these days. “It’s not often that I really get to play Liverpool. I think that’s like my own choice in a way because I don’t want to over play a city... I’ve always managed to give myself a bit of time between Liverpool gigs.” Trying to put your finger on what style of music Dan plays is tough. There’s a sound there, bright, poppy, certainly catchy, yet it’s danceable and indie-friendly too. He’s interested in the great songwriters of the past but wants a sound that will excite listeners today. “Influences wise – people like Paul Simon and Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, a lot of old school songwriters really. As for my style, I kind of take all of that on board, and then I suppose try and put my own modern twist on it. “I’ve got this album coming out in January – it’s going to be a lot of jumping around between tracks that have a folk inspiration, to electronic, to R&B, all kinds of stuff. It’s one thing recording it, but bringing it to the live environment I’ve got my best mates in the band who like to put their twist on it.”

Dan’s route to a musical career was not a straightforward one and there were some painful forks in the road that led him to make a go of the music. “I was never really aiming for a career as a musician back then,” he reveals of his youth in Stoke. “I was focussed on my rugby. I was playing to a pretty high level, that was going to be my main career, near England standard. “It doesn’t seem like it,” he says gesturing to his slim physique. “I was playing for Midlands. So it wasn’t until 16-17 that I started to write my own music. I broke my leg and it really just ended my sporting career. So I had to think of something else to do really.” Dan explains that he comes from a musical family and there were always instruments in the house, but he had never really thought about taking music seriously. “I always enjoyed it but it wasn’t until I broke my leg and I had to move my bedroom downstairs into the room where we had the piano and guitar. I was down

there for a year – it was a really bad break – and just started to realise that I could give this a go.” Dan got into LIPA on the strength of his voice, but the fact that he could also play trumpet, piano, drums and guitar, really helped him to make the most of his time at LIPA and enjoy his session with another multiinstrumentalist – Paul McCartney. Already showing signs of rock’n’roll nonchalance, Dan caught a bus from London to Liverpool through the night to make his meeting with Macca. Arriving in the city at 6am he got a couple of hours’ shut eye before making his appointment at 10am! “I walked up to LIPA, went into that room and I was sat with just my acoustic guitar and a piano. I’m just very tired and in a bit of a haze thinking ‘is this real?’, and then Paul McCartney walks in with his guitar, dead chilled out and dead nice and we just spent about 45 minutes together, me and him, just chatting and playing a few songs together. “He’s very good at instruments. The fact that I was playing my songs to him, within 20-30 seconds he’d learnt it on guitar and was playing along and harmonising. So it was an incredible time and he really loved the songs and couldn’t really think of much to do to them, which is a big compliment.” So what’s next for Dan? “We’re about to hit a lot of touring,” says Dan of his October tour of America, UK dates supporting the band Bastille, and huge European tour leading him up to Christmas. His record label have streamed him up a few levels so that in future he’ll be releasing on Decca records’ Deram label. It was once the home of David Bowie and Cat Stevens, but they re-opened the label for Dan. No pressure there then! January will see the release of his debut album and then the merry-go-round should start again, only faster. “There’s a potential collaboration on the cards which would be pretty life-changing,” he teases. Who could it be? Daft Punk? George Michael? Macca himself? Dan won’t say. “Only because I don’t want to jinx it,” he continues. “You know, it’s on the brink of happening. If it happens it will be life changing, if not then I know that that person has listened to my music and that makes me feel good!” Whatever comes of this, it seems certain that Dan will be making some pretty big waves over the next year or so. As one of the city’s new breed of young singer/ songwriters let’s hope Dan Croll is the first of many to surf into the big time.


Dancing to a different beat Katie McLoughlin meets Keith Saha – the man bringing hip hop theatre to the city’s historic Playhouse Theatre... “EVERYBODY’S got a story to tell and they’ve got their own way of telling it,” says Keith Saha, the Liverpool writer and director who is bringing the very contemporary art of hip hop theatre to the very Victorian setting of the Liverpool Playhouse this month. Hip hop theatre, he tells me, uses all five elements of hip hop – lyricism (rap or spoken word), music (turntablism/ beatboxing), street art, movement and knowledge of self – to create a piece of theatre which not only stars young people but engages them. “It’s about how you introduce those elements to theatre to tell a story”, explains Keith, whose latest play – Melody Loses Her Mojo – is at the Liverpool Playhouse this month. Produced by 20 Stories High, the Toxteth-based youth theatre company which Keith co-founded in 2006, Melody Loses Her Mojo will explore the issues faced by young people in care in a way that they will relate to. “We’re trying to explore new art forms, but also trying to break down some of those preconceptions of what hip hop is,” explains Keith. “A lot of traditional theatre-going audiences might think it’s quite misogynistic, homophobic or interested in the bling culture, so we want to introduce a more positive side and show them that hip hop can be conscious and poetic.” And that’s what 20 Stories High is all about – making hard-hitting theatre by young people, for young people, which challenges the institution of traditional theatre. “For me, theatre is still predominantly a middle class pursuit and not enough

stories are being told in the theatre that represent young people,” says Keith. “I think nationally most youth theatre is still white and middle class and we wanted to make it culturally diverse and inclusive. We set the company up in Liverpool and started with small ambitions touring schools and small scale venues. And, over the last six or seven years, it’s grown and we’ve had lots of different opportunities to come to places like the Playhouse.” Melody Loses Her Mojo is the first show that the award-winning 20 Stories High has staged at the Playhouse, after thrilling audiences at the Everyman in 2010 with Ghost Boy. The play will open at the Williamson Square theatre on September 20 and run until September 28, before embarking on a national tour. Based on Keith’s own experiences of the care system, as well as other real life examples, the play uses elements of hop hop, including spoken word, music, dance, puppetry and street art to tell the story of teenager Melody and her fiveyear-old sister Harmony, who are taken into care and split up. Two years in the making, the play explores the forms of hip hop theatre and puppetry and the issues faced by young people in care, as Keith explains: “I wanted to explore themes about young people who’ve been looked after by social services. It had been part of my experience growing up. We’d also been working with lots of young people who had been looked after, with our theatre company, and there had been lots of stories in the papers about siblings being separated. The play is based on

Photo: Gareth Jones

"There’s something quite anarchic about it because we’ve got a beatboxer, a cellist, three spoken word artists and puppeteers, so I suppose we see it like a rave arriving in a stately home and coming, setting up and going ‘look we’re here!’"

an amalgamation of lots of different people’s stories. “I wanted to write a piece which not only had young people as the protagonists, but also shone a light on some of the bigger political questions that were happening. At the same time, I wanted to explore the form of hip hop theatre and puppetry. We’d just done Ghost Boy at the Everyman, so I wanted to extend that and have more puppetry elements in this show.” Building on what 20 Stories High did with Ghost Boy, Melody Loses Her Mojo will feature a range of different puppetry styles, as Keith explains: “We’ve got more traditional puppetry, the Mojo in the title is actually a little monster rucksack that belongs to Melody, which was given to her by her sister. Her sister, Harmony, is played by another kind of puppet, and then there’s a surprise in act two when we’re playing with different forms of puppetry. The best way to explain it, without giving too much away, is that the puppet becomes an extension of the dancer’s body.” As well as introducing a new generation of theatre-goers to one of the city’s oldest theatres, Melody Loses Her Mojo will also introduce youth culture and hip hop to the historic theatre. “I think there’s something quite anarchic about it because we’ve got a beatboxer, a cellist, three spoken word artists and puppeteers, so I suppose we see it like a rave arriving in a stately home and coming, setting up and going ‘look we’re here!’” laughs Keith. “We’ve had long conversations about how we fit into this beautiful, chocolate

20 Stories High is building on its puppetry experience in Ghost Boy

Keith Saha; left, the artwork for Melody Loses Her Mojo

box pretty, Victorian theatre and how, as artists, we will fit into that space,” he says. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with that.” As well as playing with the idea of bringing hip hop to a historic venue, there will also be a few surprises in the interval and after the show, courtesy of the participation strand of 20 Stories High. “Our participation manager has been working with groups of local hip hop artists and young people who are creating their own pieces and response to the play. They’re creating pieces of hip hop theatre and post-show jams at lots of the events [on the tour], and our artists in the play are going to be collaborating with local artists on postshow jams.” With each group of young people creating their own response to play, the post-show jams will be different at each venue on the play’s national tour. So what can audiences in the Playhouse expect? “There’ll be a post-show jam on September 24 hosted by our theatre actors company and YEP,” reveals Keith. “We’ve got local urban artists like MiC Lowry and Esco Williams coming and performing. They’re looking at doing stuff in the atrium bar space and outside in Williamson Square as well. “We’re really looking at young people taking over the building for the week, even in that post-show jam, it’s really about taking over the whole theatre,” enthuses Keith. Young people are integral to everything that 20 Stories High does, after all everybody has a story to tell. But the real art is in the telling, and with their ability not just to engage young people – but give them a voice and platform of their own – 20 Stories High make it look like child’s play. Melody Loses Her Mojo (suitable for ages 13+) is at the Liverpool Playhouse, on September 20-28. Tickets are priced £10-£20, available from the Playhouse’s box office in Williamson Square, by calling 0151 709 4776 or online at the website




The Odd Couple

Sue Kelbrick makes sure rain doesn’t stop play as she takes her fellow to an impressive boutique hotel in the heart of the chic city of Chester WITH true British predictability, the minute myself and my other half set off for our night away at Oddfellows boutique hotel in Chester, the heavens opened and it poured down all the way and pretty much the entire time we were there. Bear in mind this inclement weather was immediately preceded by the longest spell of unbroken dry weather for nearly 40 years and the words ‘just our luck’ spring to mind. However, we didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits, we just shook off our umbrellas and checked in. Don’t let the traditional exterior of Oddfellows fool you. Despite the period-style architecture of the building on the outside, inside, the décor is brilliantly eccentric helping to create a cool, quirky and contemporary ambience. Once we had checked in, we were given a quick tour of the hotel by the helpful and friendly, Ryan, and we quickly came to the conclusion that the hotel had the real ‘wow’ factor. From the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party room, complete with an upside down table and chair on the ceiling, to the opulent surroundings of the upstairs Grown Up Bar, which boasts a fabulous outside terrace, Oddfellows is truly a sight to behold. It is no surprise to learn that the hotel recently received the honour of being included in the Mr and Mrs Smith boutique hotel collection. As we were shown to our room, we walked through the gorgeous Secret Garden, a brilliant outdoor space with a bar area and room for eating and drinking, and in the (quite likely!) event of rain, there is even an electronicallycontrolled canopy to ensure that you can quaff your cocktails without getting soaked.



Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were shown our room, the stunning Douglas Duplex suite, an amazingly stylish space. This split-level suite offers a contemporary seating area and en-suite shower room downstairs, with steps leading to a dramatic mezzanine bedroom which includes a magnificent free-standing bath. After a quick freshen up, we made our way downstairs where we had an aperitif at the bar before being seated at our table in The Garden restaurant, a Mediterranean-inspired eatery that offers a simple but stylish menu. We couldn’t wait to get stuck in and the only difficulty was making a choice. After much gnashing of teeth, I opted

for scallops with mango, ricotta ravioli and garden mint while Ben, my dining partner, went for seared yellow-fin tuna with cannellinis, fried squid, basil and tomato press. Both dishes were divine, with the flavours simply melting in the mouth. We were very excited about our main dishes and after a quick chat between courses, silence descended once again as we tucked in. I was treated to a delicious dish of cod with red lentil puree, fennel and sorrel pesto and Ben selected osso bucco Milanese with orange, saffron and gremalata. Again, we both raved about our meals, with my cod light and delicate and perfectly complemented by the lentil puree, fennel and pesto, while the veal shank just fell off the bone with the zesty flavours of orange, saffron and gremalata gently infused into the dish. It seemed criminal not to peruse the dessert menu, and before we knew it, we’d ordered a cherry bakewell with amaretto ice cream for Ben and a caramelised peach tatin with honey and frozen yoghurt for me. The cherry bakewell was declared ‘fantastic’ with me echoing the same sentiment after I had my dessert. After a quick nightcap we retired to our quarters where we had a great night’s sleep in our sumptuous bed.

But the luxury didn’t end there. After a beautiful full English breakfast in The Secret Garden, we walked the few minutes to Oddfellows’ sister hotel, The Chester Grosvenor, a beautiful Grade II listed hotel which is something of an institution in Chester. Ben browsed round the hotel’s gorgeous chocolate emporium, Rococo, (its first venture ouside London), and sampled some amazing chocolates that even Willy Wonka would have been proud of, while I headed up to the hotel’s luxurious salon. Here, I was treated to a blissful Darphin firming facial and massage. Lasting an hour, the treatment left me feeling like I was floating on air and my skin felt incredibly soft and smooth, and definitely firmer too. Not even the prospect of a rain-soaked journey back to Liverpool could faze me after such a heavenly experience. Oddfellows, 20 Lower Bridge Street, Chester, CH1 1RS Email: Tel: 01244 895 700 Website: The Chester Grosvenor, Eastgate St, Chester CH1 1LT Telephone: 01244 324 024 Website:



An alien adventure Pam Bloom takes a short journey through space and time to another world....well, Cardiff THE three Daleks scanned us as soon as we entered their ship, eye stalks waggling threateningly, and declared us “inferior humans”. Scared, we cowered together as they bore down on us and, in their curiously harsh and unemotional voices, announced they were going to exterminate us. This scenario may sound like a nightmare, but it was actually a dream come true for my daughter and myself, who were visiting the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff as part of a special package organised by the city’s Park Plaza Hotel. Standing proudly on the edge of Cardiff Bay, the Dr Who Experience opened just a year ago close to the BBC Wales studios, where the popular sci-fi series – this year celebrating its 50th anniversary – is produced. After taking an interactive journey through time and space in the company of the Doctor himself, flying the TARDIS and facing some of his better-known enemies, fans emerge into an extensive exhibition which includes plenty of original aliens, costumes and props from the show. Being huge fans of the programme, my daughter Annabel and I were thrilled to get up close to the Doctor’s sonic screwdrivers and baby crib, and even coming face-to-face with the Face of Boe! Sadly, due to the atrocious weather on the day we arrived, we were unable to explore the Bay around the attraction – Annabel, 11, announced one heavy shower was “the rainiest rain in the history of rain” – and were forced to head back to the hotel, which is in the city centre, a stone’s throw from Cardiff Castle. One of the Welsh capital’s most exclusive four star hotels, the Park

The castle’s clock tower

© Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales

The Millennium Centre

Plaza Cardiff opened in 2005 and offers 129 stylish rooms, conference facilities, a pool, gym, treatment rooms and the award-winning Laguna Kitchen and Bar. Our large room was supposed to be a twin but included a huge and comfy bed big enough to hold a party in, as well as a sofa bed, the usual flat-screen TV, safe, tea and coffee making facilities aplenty (free biscuits, yum) and mini-bar (not to be touched, daughter!) Annabel decided to have a swim in the pool before dinner, so as a non-swimmer I sat rather awkwardly on one of the sun beds around the edge and watched while she splashed around, dodging several serious-looking adults doing lengths. Unfortunately the spa bath was out of order, and the steam room not suitable for children, so after a while we headed back upstairs to change for dinner. The Laguna Kitchen and Bar proved to be something of a triumph. Although not included in the hotel’s Dr Who package, (see below) the meal was well worth splashing out on. Not usually able to make three courses, I nevertheless enjoyed a delicious chicken liver parfait followed by Aylesbury duck breast with mash, and strawberry bavorois for dessert, while the young person went for carrot and celery sticks with hummous,

Margarita pizza and American pancakes from the imaginative child’s menu. Before heading back on the train the following day, we just had to visit Cardiff Castle, which takes you back in time 2,000 years in a fashion Dr Who would be proud of. Sitting slap bang in the middle of the city centre, the castle contains an odd but pleasing mixture of buildings from different periods of history, from Roman ruins to the Norman keep, accessed via a steep staircase, and the magnificent castle apartments, built in the 19th century as a fairytale ‘medieval’ home for the Third Marquess of Bute. In a neat tie-in for our short trip, the castle – like much of the city – has been used as a backdrop for the filming of Dr Who. And as you can also book location and studio tours in the city, it’s a sure bet we’ll be back soon. That’s if we escape being exterminated.

FANCY getting away from it all? Somewhere not a million miles away but far enough from the big smoke? Then a new holiday experience could be the breath of fresh air that you need. Celticos, in partnership with Golygfa Gwydyr, has launched a new tourism service in North Wales providing bespoke tours designed to give visitors a true taste of Welsh rural life outside of the hustle and bustle of the current major tourist destinations. Tourists will have the opportunity to experience first-hand how people live and work in Snowdonia and find out about traditional local skills and what gives the people of this area a sense of connectedness to the land, a pride of place and cultural heritage. The life of Welsh hill farmers is unique and challenging, a tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation for hundreds of years. The two day tour will include pick up from designated accommodation providers in Llandudno, Conwy and the Lower Conwy Valley and the services of a local personal guide. A highlight of the tour will include a visit to meet celebrity farmer Gareth Wyn Jones on his hill farm, who will enthral guests with his entertaining tales of the beauty and hardship of hill farming in Snowdonia – a way of life where agriculture, livestock and the cycle of the seasons are ingrained. You can witness the skill in handling heavy horses, tacking up and harrowing, sheep dog handling and traditional fencing, hedge laying and gate making. Take in the breathtaking scenery of Snowdonia, Anglesey and the Menai Strait and sample home-grown Welsh local produce at its finest. For more details visit or call 01492 642110 Celebrity farmer Gareth Wyn Jones

THE Park Plaza Cardiff Dr Who package includes one night’s accommodation, full Welsh breakfast, tickets to the Dr Who Experience, and full use of the pool, steam room, spa bath and gym. The price is £145 based on two people sharing a room. Tel: 02920 111 101.




SEPTEMBER 13 Bloom cushion (sulphur), £25; plain lambswool throw (cassis), £60; Easycare Egyptian cotton bedlinen (white), from £22; single duvet cover; Ella bedlinen (pink), from £10; standard pillowcase; Isla throw (teal), £100; Moda bedspread (magenta), £35, from John Lewis

Selection of cushions, from Marks & Spencer

INDIAN SUMMER Mellow yellows, earthy browns and jewel-like pinks and turquoises – bring the summer sun into your home with these gorgeous Indian-inspired interiors, says Sarah Hooley... NOW, we at Best of Liverpool don’t know about you, but after a few glorious months of sunshine, we’re desperate to cling to those lazy, hazy summer days. And these Indian-inspired home furnishings are perfect for doing just that. A rich fusion of vibrant colours, intricate patterns and beautiful fabrics, opt for bright pinks, shimmering turquoises, burnt oranges, terracotas, deep teals and sparkling golds that instantly conjure up images of exotic, sun soaked places far, far away.

Traditional Indian interior design is all about opulence and creating a sense of vibrancy with an emphasis on detailed accessories, a fusion of textures, and exotic woods. Think brightly coloured cushions, gold gilt mirrors, rosewood furniture and softly glowing lights draped in white silk, fit for a maharaja. Even better, these bejewelled colours feature highly in many of this autumn/winter’s home trends so it’s also perfectly placed to carry you through the next few months too.

Decorated elephant figure, £129, from

Indian lantern, £38, from Berry Red Riviera tea light holder on tray (set of three), £39.99, from

Scarlett scatter cushion, £65, from

Axminster woven ‘Fusion’ balance rug (red), £329, from Kelaty

Karma wall mirror, £280, The French Bedroom Company

Indian summer pouffe with embroidery, £95, from JasmineWay

Embossed metal chest of drawers, £185, from Out There Interiors



Fearne Cotton Melrose chair, £499, from

Taupe wooden sitting Buddha on a cream wooden stand by Parlane, £95, from

“Grab a ticket whilst you can!” WhatsOnStage

30 November

The Auditorium at Echo Arena ft Rory Taylor & Natasha Hamlton WWW.ECHOARENA.COM


Sunday Express 18.08.2013






Based on a conception by JEROME ROBBINS



Originally produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by arrangement with Roger L. Stevens

Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM Entire original production directed

and choreographed by



Tue 24–Sat 28 Sep 2013


0844 871 3017** *Phone and online bookings incur per ticket booking fees, and a transaction fee. No fees for groups or in person bookings

‘DAZZLES ANEW' Times 14.08.2013

Best of Liverpool Magazine - September 2013