Mersey News Live 1:9 December 8 2021

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December 8 2021

Date with Destiny: panto with the sci-fi

Check out our list of perfect Christmas gifts The hunt for elves in Allerton




> Liverpool FC legend Jamie Carragher at the Santa Dash: p4&5


CONTENTS THIS WEEK 4&5 Santa Dash 2021 6 On the hunt for elves 7 Return of Winter Arts Market 8 Lowdown on a lockdown 9 Open for (small) business

pg 4 & 5

pg 7

pg 4 & 5


pg 13 pg 13

10&11 Gift ideas from us to you 13 Destiny review 14 Eating out at Christmas 15 Seasonal recipes


hristmas is here at last! We’re finally heading into the holiday season, and joy is everywhere to be found. Lights have been turned on across the country, Secret Santas are starting and everyone is rushing to get their Christmas shopping done in time for the school holidays. In this edition, a group of reporters attended the famous Santa Dash 2021 whilst reporter Saskia Fryer offers readers her review of the panto ‘Destiny’. This edition will briefly touch on

Here come the holidays! whether or not we will be going back into lockdown as well give readers insight into the small businesses that’ll be working hard over Christmas to provide everyone with fantastic services. For those who are excited to cook we have Christmas recipes on p15 and for those who are dreading the fateful turkey, pg14 talks about eating out over the festive period. Struggling with gifts? Pages 10 & 11 offer ten new gift ideas from high-street


stores for all ages and personality types. Or, if you’re just looking for a good read, we have a feature on the ‘Elf Hunt’ on page six. This edition, we wanted to have a little bit of everything for everyone, and we wanted the magazine to be bursting with cheer. Consider this our gift to you. Happy Holidays! Rhiannon Hogarth Lifestyle Reporter




Santa Dash Participants at the start line. Photos by Zoe Wheeler

5,000 Santas in dash


ver 5,000 colourful Santas took to the streets of Liverpool on Sunday to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. The annual 5K Santa Dash, organised by BTR Liverpool, made its comeback this weekend after moving online the year before due to Covid restrictions. The race was officially started by four-year-old Betty and Alder Hey Ambassador, LFC’s Jamie Carragher. Alder Hey patient Betty was born

A sea of red, and blue, Santa’s flocked to Liverpool’s iconic Pier Head to mark the star prematurely and spent the first 13 months of her life at the children’s hospital and is still receiving care from them now. Betty’s mother Karen said: “Betty is our amazing, brave little miracle. She made an impressive entrance into the world at just 23 weeks, weighing only 650g. “She needed neonatal intensive care, where her tiny lungs were supported by a ventilator.” She added: “The teams at Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s Hospital are angels and gave us the greatest

“ They’ve been a big part of my

gift in Betty, but we needed help from both hospitals to save her life. Every single moment of Betty’s life is precious.” Jamie Carragher joined Betty, having shared a similar experience as he spent the first six weeks of his life in Alder Hey’s neonatal ward. MNL spoke to Jamie Carragher about his role as an Alder Hey Ambassador. He said: “They’ve been a big part of my life Alder Hey and that unit basically saved my life a long time ago now and they still do some great work

life, Alder Hey, and that unit basically saved my life

” Jamie Carragher at Liverpool Santa Dash


Little Santas beginning the race at the Pier




Alder Hey patient, Betty, with Jamie Carragher

for charity cash

Santa Hats. Photo: Amr Serag via unsplash.

t of what is thought to be the country’s largest festive 5K run. ZOE WHEELER reports. today.” He added: “That’s why you see young Betty here who’s had a similar experience to myself as a youngster. She’s had great help off Alder Hey.” The Liverpool Santa Dash was created by BTR Race Director, Alan Rothwell, and staged in 2004 for the first time. BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events in Liverpool City Region. Throughout the crowds of Santa’s, the people of Liverpool got creative with their costumes and many rein-


deer’s, grinches, dressed-up dogs and even festive dinosaurs were spotted. As the festive runners made their way to the start line, Mersey News Live spoke to a few of the people taking part in the Christmas themed fun run.


aking part in the fun run for a second time Cugsey who was running in honour of his friends who had recently passed away. He said: “I’ve actually put some money towards Macmillan and Cancer Research for three friends, two of which have died very recently.” The 66-year-old was passionate about finding a cure for cancer, he added: “I’m wearing a Scottish flag and an English flag because she was a Scottish lady who died and there’s an English girl who’s just had a double mastectomy a couple of weeks ago and there’s a taxi driver down my road who’s just died.” Some other participants chose to compete with friends after missing the dash last year due to Covid. Avid athlete Lee has taken part in many 5Ks in his lifetime and was excited to get into the festive spirit with his friends. He said: “I did it years ago when we got the world record but it’s been a while since I’ve done that now so I’m delighted to be back here today.” He added: “We’ll get round it will be a gentle plod the main thing is we’re here with mates because we


missed out last year so we’re just buzzing to be back.” Phoebe, 32, was excited to take part in the event again. She said: “This isn’t my first Santa Dash but I’m really excited to run and raise lots of money for Alder Hey, I think they’re a really good charity and are doing some amazing work” Anne, 50, said: “I’m not much of a runner but I wanted to take part in this event because it’s a nice thing

to do with friends whilst also raising money for a wonderful cause.” She added: “After the last year with Covid and everything else it’s nice to be able to come together, raise money for charity and get into the festive spirit.” The Santa Dash has raised £10,000 for Alder Hey’s Children Charity, donations can be made here: https:// santadashah.

A group of friends ready to complete the Santa Dash




Elf and Seek! Over the weekend a festive-themed fundraiser took place to help raise money to bring the festive cheer to patients across Liverpool University Hospitals, as DANNIELLE JONES reports


isitors to a Mossley Hill golf club were faced with a charitable challenge over the weekend - trying to seek out Santa’s missing elves. Christmas is well and truly under way, and to mark the festive season a wide range of festive themed events have been taking place over Merseyside recently. Among them includes the Liverpool University Hospitals Charity Elf Hunt. The festive-themed treasure hunt took place over the weekend in a bid to raise money for the Liverpool University Hospitals. It was organised by the Hospitals Trust Charity, R Charity, and took place on the grounds of Allerton Manor Golf Club over the weekend. Guests who took part were greeted by a welcome snowfall show before they followed the treasure trail to search for the hidden elves in a bid to ‘return them to Santa’. Loren Slade, communications assistant for Liverpool University Hospitals Trust, told MNL about the event, saying: “Our Elf Hunt is the perfect Christmas event for the whole family. O

n entry guests were greeted by a magical snowfall before following the trail to find the 15 hidden elves. “Once guests found them all they were presented with a certificate and prize and along the route as well as searching for the elves there was a chance for visitors to write a letter to Santa and when they were finished a warm hot chocolate was waiting for them at the end along with Santa himself.”

It’s great to be able to host family events again and we hope that our elf hunt brought a lot of Christmas Tickets - which were £9.50 per child and £1 donation per adult - also provided visitors with a variety of arts and craft activities to take part in as well as some festive-themed games including ‘Elf off the shelf’ to excite all the family.

Guests had to find all the elves to winprize. Photo Credit: Louise Smith on Unsplash The funds raised from the event are to help provide patients at the hospitals with a feeling of a ‘normal’ Christmas. Loren told MNL: “This year all the funds raised from the event will ensure that all our patients across Broadgreen, The Royal and Aintree Hospitals have a gift to open on Christmas morning and we hope that this small gesture will bring a little joy at such a worrying time for our patients.”


he event almost sold out with over 1,200 children and 2,000 adults scheduled to attend over the two days. Loren added: “Overall our numbers are more than previous events however due to the pandemic we had to reduce numbers, so we added an extra day on the Sunday so that it ran over two days.” Covid-19 is again making headlines with cases climbing in the UK after the new Omicron variant was

detected in the Uk and in Liverpool recently, but Loren explained that measures were in place to keep visitors safe at the event which was also held outdoors to reduce the risks. She also told us how she thinks events like this are key to help bring the Christmas cheer during the pandemic currently, adding: “It’s great to be able to host family events again and we hope that our elf hunt brought a lot of Christmas cheer.” The fundraiser is the first festive themed event by the R Charity this year, and will be followed by their Charity Christmas Bauble Appeal. Loren explained: “We have our hospital Christmas Bauble Appeal coming up where patients, family members and staff can donate and place a bauble on our Christmas trees across the hospital sites.” The money raised from this will also go towards the fundraising for Christmas gifts for patients during the festive season.

The Charity also have their Christmas Bauble Appeal coming up. Photo Credit: Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

Visitors also got write a letter to santa and even got to visit him at the end and take a photograph. Photo Credit: Srikanta H. U on Unsplash 6



Cathedral hosts festive arts fayre



iverpool’s Anglican Cathedral was transformed into a hub of festive fun over the weekend when it played host to Open Culture’s annual Winter Arts Market. More than 60 local independent artists peddled their wares in the Cathedral’s breathtaking surroundings on Friday and Saturday. Open Culture strive to nurture and support the arts in Merseyside and staged the first Winter Arts Market at St George’s Hall in December 2009. Over the last decade, the market has cemented itself as a staple in the Christmas calendars of shoppers and small business owners on Merseyside. There was a vast array of items on offer, including vibrant jewelry from Wise Fig, tasty treats from plantbased bakery Jostle, and eco-friendly wax melts from Bay Lake Apothecary. Another of the stallholders in attendance was Alex Fletcher; a Wirral-based artist who crafts stunning oil paintings focusing on both Everton and Liverpool football clubs. “It’s really good to be here,” Alex told MNL. “We started last year with a small stall in Birkenhead so to actually be in the Cathedral now is amazing. The likes of this compared to other things we’ve done is huge.” A graduate of the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, Alex began selling his work at the end of the first national lockdown in 2020.

“My friend Sam runs his own clothing brand called Street Art AC and so he approached me about doing an oil painting and getting it put on to T-shirts,” Alex said. “The idea was that we’d just sell these on match days and flog them as and when we could. We did prints of them as well which sold out within four days, so following that we decided to start doing market stalls.” After his work proved a success at a number of markets at Birkenhead’s Woodside Ferry Terminal, Alex secured a stall at the Cathedral’s Sum-

It’s always nice to see what people are creating year on year


The Cathedral was decked out with a giant tree

difficult in terms of getting people to see the artwork but, in a way, it was a bit of a blessing for me because it gave me time to work on my paintings and really focus on setting up my own business.”


lex wasn’t the only artist displaying his work at the market. Graphic designer Mark Adamson, one half of duo Things By Us, has been a regular stallholder at the event for a number of years. “We make original, unique art prints,” Mark told MNL. “From typography to animals and all sorts of things. A lot of them are risographs, some are screen printed and we also do things like linocuts. “As well as prints we have things like notebooks, greetings cards and enamel pins – all made and designed by ourselves.” Mark and his partner Abigail Sinclair, otherwise known as Abe,

have been partners in life for around nine years and partners in business for half of that. The creative couple also co-ordinate the popular Liverpool Print Fair but find the Winter Arts Market to be a particularly enjoyable date in their diaries. “It’s amazing,” Mark said. “We’ve been coming here for about six or seven years now. “Both the summer and winter arts markets are always great. There’s lots of different types of sellers attending and so it’s always nice to see what people are creating year on year.” In addition to the Arts Market, the cathedral has a plethora of festive events coming up for those looking to get into the Christmas spirit. The venue will play host to BBC Radio Merseyside’s annual carol concert this Friday, whilst the ever-popular Family Nativity will make its return on December 12.

mer Arts Market earlier this year. Alex said: “The event in the summer was just incredible. “There were constantly people coming up and we got a really good response to everything.” He added: “With Covid, it has been

Hordes of festive shoppers flocked to the market. Photos: Beth Lindop 7

Alex Fletcher (top) and Mark Adamson (above) showcased their work




‘Tis the season for a festive lockdown MNL OPINION

LOUISE LEMOINE reports on the possibility of a Christmas lockdown and the reactions from Liverpool residents


ith Coronavirus cases climbing, Omicron is the Christmas gift nobody wanted - but maybe should have expected. As of writing, the UK has recorded a total of 90 new cases of the Omicron variant over the past 24 hours, with a total of 51,459 new infections recorded across the UK. In Liverpool, there has been one confirmed case of the Omicron variant. The Government is waiting to see if the reintroduction of masks and the push for people to get their third and fourth booster jabs will have an effect on the new ‘super variant’. An announcement on the fate of Christmas is expected on December 18th. As a part-time store assistant in Liverpool, I have seen first-hand the public’s reactions to social distancing measures throughout the pandemic. Last weekend marked the beginning of the December Christmas rush, yet it seemed as though Coronavirus was a distant memory, the ghost of Christmas’ passed. Reimposed restrictions are not being taken seriously, and it is understandable why. People are fed up hearing about Coronavirus, to wear masks and wash their hands. Some weren’t even aware that the announcement of the return of restrictions had occurred. People hate lockdowns because they impede their freedom. People dislike being told to ‘wear a mask’ or ‘get jabbed’ because they don’t feel like they need to. But for the people who do need to, the new variant is worrying and means a Christmas shielding for their safety after another year of limited contact with family and friends. Speaking to MNL Marie Scott, a retired nurse waiting for her second booster jab, feels that the new variant is not being taken seriously enough in Liverpool and spoke about how she hopes for a lockdown this Christmas. She said: “I’ve had to isolate most of the year for my own safety and my husbands. I’m just as fed up as everyone else. People around here don’t take the virus seriously. I’m waiting for my fourth jab whilst people can’t even be bothered to put a mask on.” Liverpool’s student community is also divided on the possibility of a Christmas lockdown. Liverpool John Moores student Mark Jones, feels that people won’t stick to restrictions this time around, saying: “I don’t think there should be a Christmas lockdown. I don’t think it would change people’s plans. Because we’ve been out of lockdown so long, I don’t think that people would stick to these restrictions, I know I wouldn’t.” On the other side of the fence, Catie Williams,

student at Hope University, said that: “With cases rising and new variants starting to spread it seems inevitable of a lockdown whether that is done in parts or one big one.” Christmas is a time of togetherness, with family and friends joining together, exactly the type of environment where a virus can thrive. It would be an unpopular move by Johnson’s government to cancel Christmas, almost every sector of the economy would be impacted and many households disgruntled. Sumera Rashid, who has recently began working from home for her job at a bank, said: “I think we will most likely go into lockdown during the holidays because that’s when families get together so there’s a higher risk of people contracting it.” She also shared her personal views against a Christmas lockdown: “Personally I think we shouldn’t be in a lockdown on Christmas because a lot of people have had to stay away from their families for the duration of Covid to protect themselves so it would be nice if they could spend one day with their loved ones.”


ockdowns and restrictions come with a heavy price, affecting the economy, disrupting society and damaging mental health around the nation. David Rose, a 35 year old self-employed builder, spoke about his experiences of previous lockdowns and why he is against a Christmas lockdown: “I can’t do another lockdown. I’m still not over the others, mentally and in terms of money I mean. I lost my job in the first one (lockdown) and I’ve been getting by with odd jobs. We can’t be scared of a virus forever.” Others in the city feel that although we might not be at the stage of a national lockdown, some restrictions could slow down the spread and bring cases of the virus down. Chris Higgins, a cleaner in the city, supports the idea of some restrictions being reintroduced, as long as they do not affect day to day life. He said: “I feel like the number of deaths isn’t high enough to warrant a full on lockdown but I suppose some restrictions to limit the number of new cases wouldn’t be so bad.” Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in people with no travel history have been confirmed around the UK, meaning the new variant is now being transmitted through communities. Across England, Scotland and Wales there are now 261 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant. The former prime minister, Theresa May addressed parliament yesterday saying the Government should recognise the UK needs to learn to live with waves of the virus, rather than “starting and stopping” when variants emerge.

Background by Sincerely Media via Unsplash

However, with a lack of data and knowledge on the full impacts of the new variant, is ignorance truly bliss? It seems as though the Government is biding its time and crossing their fingers that people are following mandates set out at the start of the month to save Christmas.


he problem is, they’re not. Previous lockdowns have shown that if restrictions were implemented sooner, the impacts could have been minimised, lives lost could have been avoided. The Director of Public Health Liverpool, Matthew Ashton, gave his reaction to the new variant saying that: “Omicron is a new variant we have more work to do to understand how easily this can be transmitted, and how well vaccines work to protect against it. In the meantime, it is important that we all play our part to slow its spread and transmission by keeping COVID-safe.” The Health Secretary went on to explain how the new Omicron variant may have a shorter window between infection and infectiousness than other variants and that he was not aware of anybody being admitted to hospital with the new variant. Posing the question, how long will it be? The fate of Christmas rests on the December 18th announcement when the Prime Minister is expected o set out guidance following evidence of whether the existing measures have made a difference in terms of bringing cases down.

Photos by Louise Lemoine 8




A monetary miracle: the businesses benefiting from an open season By ARCHIE COLLYER


s we know, the world has been gripped in a global pandemic of unprecedented levels While this grip has loosened and tightened over the past two years, no sector of business has felt this grip - and, more importantly, the grip on their wallets - more than small businesses. One such small business that will be revelling in this important and open festive season is Lovelocks, a quaint and cosy café in St George’s Quarter. Renowned as a quiet safe space for people to feel comfortable and secluded from the harsh and hustling city that surrounds it, Lovelocks was one of the many small businesses that have felt the harsh hand of Covid-19 restrictions over the past few years. The need to move locations and being closed for over a year were merely the tip of the iceberg of issues that Lovelocks, and most small busi-

nesses in Liverpool, have faced. MNL spoke to Erin, a Barista at Lovelocks, about what being open this Christmas means to the café: ‘’I think finally being able to open up for Christmas is a huge thing for us. With the last year, and us moving location, not to mention being closed for almost a year, it’s been hard on all of us you know. “We really want to offer a safe space here for everyone, and not everyone can go home during Christmas so we want to offer a comforting experience for people throughout the month, it’s really important for us.’’ The UK witnessed many small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) close over the past 24 months, with some never re-opening. According to the Office for National Statistics in a report on the impact of the pandemic on British business, since June 2020, 2.7% of British businesses have permanently closed and stopped trading.

While that number may not seem like a significant amount, research briefing for Parliament in January stated that there were 6m private sector businesses operating in the UK, which would mean that in the past two years roughly 162,000 businesses in the UK have closed their doors and services for good; and that does not even account for the 7.3% of businesses that are temporarily closed, which equates to another 438,000 applied to the same figure.


ith so much doom and gloom surrounding businesses in the UK, including the government’s gradual withdrawal of financial aid to pandemic-stricken enterprises, it would


be hard to understate the importance of a Christmas, for many the most celebrated holiday of the year, where people will happily spend their hardearned money to spread charity and joy to people around them - businesses included. Christmas is a time of giving, whether that be to the disadvantaged, members of family or just that person on the street you waved Merry Christmas to. This year above all others, it’s important that we give that same level of love and compassion to the businesses that keep communities and cultures together - and prevent them from becoming yet another worrying statistic in the demise of small businesses in Britain




The best gift ideas ... from us, to you W

ith Christmas fast approaching, people are starting to get themselves into a muddle trying to find the right gifts for all of their friends and family. We thought we’d help by bringing you the best bundles and ideas for your loved ones this season. Wrap up, grab a cup of coffee, and flick through this section. Circle your favourites and give yourself an easier time this Christmas.


A Self Chilling Mug With summer hapening at least once a year, someone you know might benefit from a self chilling mug. Sold at places like Tesco, the mug is surrounded by freezable cubes, meaning your drink will stay icy for longer without any risks of diluting it! Cool, right?

Make Your Own Cheese Kit

Tobbie The Robot

Everyone loves a bit of DIY around the holidays, so why not have it involve something everyone loves: cheese! Available at retailers such as Tesco, it’s the perfect gift for any of your tang-loving friends.

Tobbie is the best kind of pet to get your kids this Christmas without any of the downsides; no mess, no real food and all the fun! Tobbie is available from retailers such as Smyths Toys and Menkind.

Toilet Bowl Light A Drone

Who doesn’t want to have fancy lights on their toilet? Toilet bowl light strips are available at retailers such as Menkind and will provide an interesting way to show your love this Christmas.

What Christmas gift list would this be without us mentioning a drone at least once? You can get these things at most retailers for varying prices. Great for your artistic friends, filmmakers or even your kids.





The World’s Smallest BBQ This one is pretty self explanatory. Despite it only really being able to cook one thing at a time, the tiny contraption is definitely a funny one, and will put a smile on the face of whoever gets it this year.

A Self Stirring Mug Grinch Breakfast Set

Who else hates stirring their coffee, tea or anything else? Well, these mugs do it for you. Places such as Menkin offer different variations, such as a Harry Potter themed, self stirring cauldron. Perfect for kids or, really, anyone who wants a hot drink this Christmas!

This is the perfect gift for any of your friends or family who are known as the party pooper during the holidays. Available at Tesco.

Alcoholic Poker Sets Poker is a great game for the adults, and mixing in alcohol can only make it better. With themed packs available at Tesco, this is an amazing gift for your older siblings or parents, too!

Make Your Own Gin What about making your own colourchanging gin, too? Available at Tesco, you can now make your own gin that changes colour as you stir and mix it. Similar to the poker sets, this is perfect for your older friends.


Background image: © Artboard Studio on Unsplash



Chester Zoo’s lanterns, Photo by Maia Noden


Cheshire Oaks designer outlet, Photo by: Maia Noden

Magical spots to visit and get you in the festive spirit


he endless activities across Cheshire will get you in the Christmas spirit. From the Chester Zoo illuminations to the Christmas shopping in Cheshire Oaks, it is the perfect opportunity for families in the big run up to Christmas. Even if you just fancy a stroll down through the merry city centre take a detour along the oldest and largest two-mile city walls. Cheshire has plenty to make it a Christmas you remember!

Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

And for all the shopping lovers, you have one of the largest shopping centres in the UK to shop for all your Christmas gifts this year. You will not be stuck for choice with 145 stores in the outlet including, Nike, Armani, and Hot chocolat. Not forgetting the huge Ralph Lauren with all outlet prices. If you need to take a break you have the Christmas village to relax in with a drink in one of the hunts or even visit one of the many restaurants on the Outlet. The Christmas village in Cheshire Oaks has plenty for the kids as the carousel wheel overlooks the UK’s largest Christmas tree. The designer outlet is located just

Get into the Christmas spirit this winter with the magical experiences in Chester and the surrounding areas. MAIA NODEN reports on the top four attractions to visit outside if Chester in Ellesmere Port open seven days a week. Monday to Friday the outlet is open 9am-10pm, Saturday 9am-9pm and Sunday 9am6pm all for the Christmas period.

Chester Christmas Markets

Take a trip down the centre of Chester where the traditional Christmas markets await. The wooden chalet stalls are filled with food, handmade crafts, stocking fillers and more! The market is a magical experience for everyone open from November 18 to December 22. The location of the market is in the Town Hall Square just opposite the Chester Cathedral are open seven days a week.

and Christmas characters. If you are not hungry, grab a hot chocolate to keep yourself warm watching the illuminations. The lights run from November 12 to December 23. Adult tickets start from just £13 with children aged 2 and under entering free of charge. To book your ticket, visit the link below: the-lanterns-2021?_

Chester Zoo Lanterns

The magical lanterns have been a huge return to one of the UK’s largest zoos this winter. The perfect occasion for the kids as the zoo is transformed into a ‘spectacular wonderland’. Take a bite to eat from their Christmas menu, whilst being surrounded by the enchanting animal lanterns


Chester Catherdral Christmas Tree Festival

Venture through the gardens of the catherdral where the annual Christmas tree festival begins. The Christmas trees are all decorated by local schools and businesses in support of local charities, which will be displayed up until January 4. Follow the nativity trail around the catherdral for its ninth year as the majestic atmosphere brings loved ones together.




Date with Destiny gives panto a time travel twist ‘Destiny’: The Black-E Review by SASKIA FRYER


re you familiar with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk - but set in a sci-fi setting? No, me neither, but the recent production of ‘Destiny’ has brought a whole new meaning to pantomime with its quirky show based on the classic tale. Firstly, we begin the show in the year of 2034 at the Time Travel Centre. Our lead scientists, Dr Destiny Sinclair and Fate Lewis, are working on their Quantum X 5000 experiment, a top-secret project where they managed to prove that time travel is possible. Although, faced with the criticisms from those around her, she constantly feels the need to prove her theory. This causes our protagonist to step in the project’s accelerator where she vanished from the Centre and awakes to find herself in the 1700’s. Having little to no recognition of where or who she is, she luckily is visited by her trusted companion, Fate, who is still able to communicate to her as a hologram. Her destiny (pardon the pun) is to now help people and put things right, starting with our classic hero Jack and his magic beans. Destiny carries on guiding Jack and his family on the right path to gaining their immense fortune from the top of the beanstalk. However, it wouldn’t be a great panto without the menacing villain, Dr Reigns along with her sidekick Skye McFly and her scary invention called Flesh creep. This is a family fun adventure which ensures there will be laughter, joyful

songs throughout and the all-important phrase of a panto, “They’re behind you!” The pantomime was performed in the historic Black-E arts and community centre in Liverpool. This helped give a festive feel to the evening as me and my friend walked through the grand entrance to the building. As we entered the theatre, we were surprised to see how there were no props on the stage, only a projector screen on the back wall. At this point I was worried that the show wouldn’t be as exciting and vibrant as pantomimes tend to be, but it did not disappoint. The show started with an uplifting song including all the cast on stage, ‘The show must go on’, it was a powerful start to the evening which presented the cast of all ages taking in turns to sing a solo. After a powerful intro, we were

gradually introduced to our main characters through each scene. The two that really stood out to me was the auntie, Dame Velma Robinson and her nephew Dougal who provided the comedic value through out. Velma, who was dressed in a bright pink sparkly dress with feathers hanging from it, made her presence known on stage with her cheeky one liners and witty gags which kept the show light-hearted.


atching the dynamic between our onstage sweethearts, Destiny and Jack, was a fun development to watch. They both sang their hearts out to romantic pop classics and even a song from the musical Frozen, ‘Love is an open door’, which got everyone singing along, especially the youngest in the audience. Though there may have not been much detail or props on stage, this

was hardly noticeable when the cast showcased their creative outfits. Ranging from an 80s disco jumpsuit full of sparkles right through to the unique metallic space dress that Fate wore. It’s no surprise that I was envious of the colourful outfits seen onstage. My only criticism would be that some of the scenes were quite long, with some children in the audience who seemed to struggle to keep up with the scientific terminology being described throughout. Apart from that, the comedy and enthusiasm from the whole cast made a great performance and led to a standing ovation for an ensemble made up of professional and nontrained performers.

 

Other Christmas shows worth seeing this year 1. Rick Wakeman - The Not Quite As Grumpy As Last Xmas Tour: Rick Wakeman is bringing a fun festive musical show to St George’s Hall. In his solo show he will play superb tracks from artists including; Beatles and David Bowie. This event is not one to be missed. You’ll want to witness the great piano music and have a night filled with music with a touch of humour. Monday 22 December. 7:30 - 9pm

2. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall - Spirit of Christmas: Christmas begins with the beautiful sounds of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra followed by other talented Liverpudlian musicians who are bringing joy to the city. With the beautiful sounds of classic Christmas carols being played, you won’t be dissappointed.

Top right and Bottom left pictures of the cast of Destiny. Photo credit: City Entertainment group

Friday 17 December - Thursday 23 December 7:30





Enjoy these meat-free seasonal taste sensations Still need to book your work Christmas do but not sure where caters for your veggie and vegan colleagues? EMMA DUKES has eight recommendations perfect for you.


Duke Street Market

Comprised of several different independent kitchens, Duke Street Market is the perfect place for people who can’t decide between a curry or a roast. With a simple QR code scan, you can order from different vendors and mix and match with what you fancy. All of the vegan options from each restaurant can be found under the ‘vegan’ section, with CAHITA offering some of the greatest sweet potato fries with their special seasoning, and Ginger serving up the best katsu curry. There’s a huge selection of cocktails – or mocktails for those of you who still have to work the following day – and hot drinks with a selection of plantbased milks. Operating on mainly a ‘walk-in’ basis, it’s great for smaller parties who want to throw a do last minute, but this year, DSM is also taking bookings for bigger groups.



Located on the beautiful Albert Docks, or bustling Bold Street, Maray offers an array of mezze and small plates, and the option to order from a vegan menu. Offering the likes of falafel, disco cauliflower and bahjis – there’s something for everyone. Christmas parties have a set menu for £27 per person, or £33 per person with dessert, including a ‘christmas mezze’ and any two small plates per person, including seven vegan options. Cocktail offerings include the famous, ‘agent cooper’, a mix of vodka, coffee, chocolate and hazelnut or the classic ‘aperol spritz.’



With several different branches across Liverpool, Mowgli is a favourite for many locals. Perfect for bringing a team closer together, Mowgli is about trying different Indian foods and sharing small plates. Known for its ‘chat bombs’ – which are also available vegan – this is the place to go if you want to experience healthy, authentic, and exciting Indian cuisine. Christmas dos are £29.95 per person and include chat bombs and a glass of bubbles on arrival, a ‘street chat’ dish each and a ‘tiffin box’ each

as well as dessert. Mowgli have a huge drinks menu with unique cocktails such as ‘sweet delhi diazepam’, a blend of gin, raspberries, ginger and passion fruit and even have their vegan beers and wines labelled as such.



Zizzi is in the heart of Liverpool One and has been a go to for many vegans, being one of the first chains to offer brilliant vegan options. The three course, Merry Set Menu, is £22.95 per person, leaving room for a few extra drinks. Although options are limited – as with many set menus – they’re definitely not boring. Bruschetta is the only vegan starter option, for a main you can choose from delicious pizzas such as ‘hot and spicy jackfruit’, or a classic lentil ragu. Dessert is again limited to one vegan option, but it’s a winner, a creamy coconut, raspberry, and chocolate slice with strawberry sorbet. Cocktails are handily labelled as veggie or vegan and the ‘raspberry and mint mashup’ is a must-try.


Pizza Express

Continuing with the Italian options, up next is Pizza Express. Also located in Liverpool One, the much-loved restaurant is offering, ‘The Five Course of Christmas,’ a fived course tasing menu, for £24.95 per person. Each person can choose an appetiser, such as slow-roasted tomatoes, all of which are vegan, as well as dough balls to share (just ask these to be made vegan). Next are starters, although the listed items are not vegan, ask your waiter and they are more than happy to make something suitable. The main meal is pizza, with an indulgent pine nut white pizza for you vegans out there, finished with an orange and carrot cake for dessert. Although this menu is more limited than others we’ve seen this year, Pizza Express caters really well for vegans so if in doubt, book without the set menu.


Las Iguanas

Las Iguanas is the place to go for authentic Latin American food and bottomless brunch and

should definitely be considered for your Christmas do. Offering bottomless brunch every day other than Christmas Day, you can have a boozy midday do, or stick to their ‘Christmas Anytime’ menu. Three courses on the set menu are £26.95 per person, or 2 courses for £21.95, with ‘totopos’ corn chips on arrival. Starters include cheesy ‘nachos navidad’ and tomato and red pepper soup, which can both be made vegan friendly. Main course options include ‘fajita stacks’ or ‘asado verduras’ which can again be made vegan, and dessert is a coconut brulee. A drink on arrival is an extra £3.95, and you can choose from prosecco, corona or a mango mimosa.

Festive cocktails at Zizzi. Image by


Down The Hatch

A little hidden gem on Duke Street, Down the Hatch are known for their fully veggie and vegan menu and are loved amongst the vegan community. Although they don’t have a Christmas set menu, they are offering a range of Christmassy meals including the ‘mindless Christmas indulgence’, consisting of a stuffing patty, cranberry apple slaw, roasties and gravy. Cocktails are 2 for £12 all day every day and Down the Hatch might be the place for you to show your non-vegan pals how great the food is.


The Alchemist

Known for the most Instagram-worthy cocktails, The Alchemist not only has a brilliant set menu for Christmas, but also a range of festive drinks. The ‘All That Glitters’ set menu is £30 per person for two courses and a cocktail, or £35 for three courses and a cocktail. Cocktails aren’t labelled as veggie or vegan but, all ingredients are listed and the ‘Damson in Distress’ is the one to pick. The menu is more limited than others we’ve mentioned, but The Alchemist is one of the fancier options that promises glitz and glamour as well as a delicious ‘wild mushroom and truffle risotto’ for your main and ‘tofu rice crackers’ to start. Dessert choices are mango or blood orange gelato.


Christmas at Maray.

Image by

Selection of loaded fries at Mowgli. Image by Emma Dukes.






Gingerbread Men Cookies

Ingredients: - 225g plain flour - ½ tsp salt - 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda - 1 heaped tsp ground ginger - ½ tsp cinnamon - 50g unsalted butter - 100g soft brown sugar - 100g golden syrup

Casey Cahe on

Is it even Christmas if you don’t have Gingerbread men cookies? With this recipe you can use this versatile dough to make gingerbread men and any other desired festive shapes.


Stuffed Cherry Peppers This is the perfect last minute party nibble and it only takes 10 minutes to make.

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/ gas 5 then sieve flour, salt, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl. Heat all other ingredients in a saucepan until dissolved to make a sugar mixture. Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then mix it into the dry ingredients and chill in the fridge for 30 mins to form dough. Now all that’s left is to stamp out the gingerbread men and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Ingredients: - Asparagus - Rocket - Crumbled feta cheese - Drained pickled cherry peppers Chop the asparagus and then mix in with the crumbled feta and rocket. Use the mixture to stuff the cherry peppers and serve. This recipe let’s you get creative as you can stuff cherry peppers with anything else that yopu want.

pl Vino Li on Uns




TIP: Cream cheese is a great alyternative for crumbled feta cheese.


Warm Cheese and Onion Cups

A very quick vegetarian canapé recipe. Ingredients: - 4 medium free-range eggs - 4 finely sliced spring onions - 150g grated mature cheddar - 1 tsp good quality mayonnaise - 30 croustade shells - Paprika



Vegan ‘Smoked Salmon’ Toasts A great alternative to classic smoked salmon canapés.

Boil the eggs for eight minutes, then shell and roughly chop. Then in a bowl mix the eggs, cheddar, onions, mustard and mayonnaise. Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/ gas 6. Fill the croustade shells with 1 tsp of the mixture each. Bake the cups for 10 minutes and serve.


Annie Spratt on Un

Ingredients: - 2 large carrots - 1 ½ tbsp flaky sea salt - 2 lapsang soushong teabags - Slices of toasted baguette - Vegan cream cheese - Sesame seeds Cut the carrots into small ribbons Boil water in a saucepan and add the carrot ribbons, salt and teabags. Remove from heat and leave to steep for 20 minutes. Spread the vegan cream cheese on the baguette slices. Top each slice with a few carrot ribbons, seasoning and some sesame seeds.


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Dockside view © Zoe Wheeler

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