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Mersey News Live FROM THE HEART OF THE CITY

THIS WEEK

ARTS

LIFESTYLE

Powered by LJMU journalists

October 20 2021

TACKLING THE CURSE OF SPIKING

QUIRKY CROSSING AIMS TO SAVE LIVES

CURTAINS UP AGAIN FOR THE EPSTEIN

TECH GIFT IDEAS FOR UNDER £50

GET YOUR

L L A H

N E ’ E OW

FACE ON


> The quirky pedestrian crossing at Bold Street: p 4-5 © Jack McGahan


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CONTENTS THIS WEEK

4&5 10

4&5 Pedestrians given a safety nudge 6 Looking forward to vegan fair 7 Tackling drink spiking pandemic

LIFE & ARTS 8&9 10 11 12 13 15

New clothing website

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Halloween festival Board game and cereal cafe Five gift ideas under £50 River of Light festival returns Epstein Theatre re-opens

Cover photo © Jaylor Beauty 7

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elcome back to this week’s edition of MerseyNewsLive. As university life gets back into full swing, fresh dangers arrive for students with a worrying increase in the number of people being spiked on nights out. Another potential risk for the people of Liverpool is the number of pedestrian accidents in the city centre. This is being tackled by a new artificial intelligence trial.

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It’s risks and rewards In more welcome news, a historic Liverpool theatre has had its future secured with a new management team taking the reins. As the year draws to a close the festivities begin with a Halloween festival in Sefton Park and the River of Light festival returning. Continuing with the end-of-year celebrations, Christmas is fast approaching so we’ve put together

a list of tech gift ideas for under £50. Looking for something different to do in Liverpool? Check out page 11 to find out more about a café that specialises in cereal and board games! For all exciting local news, be sure to watch out for the latest editions of our magazine which is published every Wednesday. Harley Mullen, lifestyle reporter


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Bold move to nudge city’s pedestrians towards safety Pedestrian collisions in Liverpool which resulted in serious injury or death was the highest in the UK in 2019. The city council has commissioned a new ‘nudge theory’ road safety project to try and combat this issue. ZOE WHEELER found out more

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colourful, pop-art style crossing that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been installed in Liverpool city centre in hopes of reducing pedestrian accidents in the area. Pedestrian collisions in Liverpool which resulted in serious injury or death was the highest in the UK in 2019. Because of this, Liverpool City Council have commissioned a new ‘nudge theory’ road safety project to try and combat collisions and improve general road safety in the area. Baltic Triangle-based behavioural science agency, So-Mo were commissioned by Liverpool City Council and had research funded by the Road Safety Trust to create the brand AI crossing between Hanover Street and Bold Street. Mersey News Live spoke to CEO and founder of So-Mo, Nicola Wass, to find out more about the project and how the data they collect is hoped to bring down pedestrian collisions in the city. Nicola Wass described how the project has been a long time coming

and started a few years ago at Liverpool city council, which included observing 12 collision hotspots. She said: “When we went out to observe those locations what we found were really quite high risk areas that all had pedestrian crossings, seemingly in all of the right desire lines, a place that people will cross, but they weren’t being used.”In order to ensure reliability and assess whether the project has been a success, another crossing has been installed on Prescot Road in Old Swan and a further two in Hull, another university city with similar pedestrian collision accidents. The statistics show that Liverpool rates of death and serious injury for pedestrian crossings in the UK is at a staggering 99 per 100,000 people. After observing the high-risk locations, it became obvious that the crossing in Liverpool city centre became less used during weekends and evenings when members of the public were out under the influence and therefore making less informed decisions. So-Mo kept this in mind when designing the crossing and used

New crossing at Hanover Street. Photo: Zoe Wheeler.

Pedestrian crossing. Photo: Joshua Lawrence via Unsplash.

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THIS WEEK

Pop art style crossing in the city centre, photo: Zoe Wheeler

Whether people like it or understand it, is far less important than whether it changes their behaviour

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cal disorders will share their thoughts on using the crossing as part of the trial.” The pedestrian crossing trial is expected to last two weeks and will take into consideration the data collected along with the feedback from all different types of road users to see whether the trial has helped pedestrians travel about the area more effectively or not. Mrs Wass added: “Whether people like it or understand it, is far less important than whether it changes their behaviour.” If successful, you might expect to see crossings like this popping up over Liverpool but not until the data

“bright colours and bold graphics”. Mrs Wass said: “Those crossings are quite colourful and playful and they’re designed for that group of people in that kind of context.” This trial comes at a time when the footfall in Liverpool has increased as venues have opened as normal and university students have returned to their city accommodation. Mrs Wass took this into consideration, she said: “It’s the young people from universities who are back in the city now who perhaps haven’t had a chance to have a good night out in maybe 18 months and this is about the city saying let’s get everybody back but let’s do it safely.” However, there has been a myriad of mixed responses from road users in Liverpool who have brought forward ideas about a crossing like this could be confusing for visually impaired pedestrians and guide dogs. As part of the two-year research into this project, Mrs Wass said: “One of the things that we did was we had full scale prototypes of earlier versions of the design in a warehouse and we invited various kinds of organisations and road users who are visually and physically impaired down to those and we took on board their comments and a lot of changes were made.” Liverpool City Council have also made a statement on twitter which read: “Local disability groups, particularly the visually impaired community, and those with neurologi-

has been studied over a prolonged length of time. Mrs Wass said: “You would probably want to do a 2nd stage of research; you’d want to leave them in for a longer period of time and collect data of maybe a year because sometimes people do something differently because it’s novel and a difference in their environment.” From artificial intelligence to nudge theory, the success or failure of this road safety trial will be sure to play an important part of how Liverpool will reduce any more pedestrian collisions.

WHAT IS A NUDGE? As Nicola Wass describes it: “A nudge is something that is a small change to the environment in which a choice or decision is made.” In the case of the crossing, the physical environment is changed because the crossing is a physical nudge that has been put into a space. However, it can be a social or psychological context. Nicola added: “Nudges work on an automatic intuitive level which means the only way we can tell whether it works or not is to put it in a real world environment where people are just going about their daily business and not really trying to understand or like it” 5


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The Fair way to learn how to lead a better life By EMMA DUKES

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iverpool’s favourite vegan fair, Live A Better Life (LABL), is coming to Lark Lane next month. The fair, which offers vegan food, health and beauty products, as well as live entertainment, will be held at The Old Police Station on Saturday November 13. LABL are well-known for running vegan fairs at locations across Liverpool since 2013, including St George’s Hall, and will also be hosting a Christmas fair in December. Each event brings in around 3,000 people and the Lark Lane couldn’t be better, with the lane having a reputation across Merseyside for quirky, indepedent businesses, and lots of vegan options. Event manager Emma Cox said “We are delighted to be running our second fair on Lark Lane. “There are a growing number of people in Liverpool who are vegan, vegetarian or on their way to plantbased diet and this event is ideal for people to find more inspiration. “Showcasing the best vegan food and natural products in Liverpool, the Live A Better Life event will be a great day out.”

Treats up for grabs include burgers, pies, noodles and cakes, all made completely plant-based and the fair includes 30 independent stalls, including Sweetiecake, serving homemade baked goods. Cosmetics and toiletries will be available from stalls such as Tropic and The Soap Factory, and spiritual items such as crystals can be purchased from Luna Moon. Entertainment will be provided by Fantasy, a Liverpool based company known for performances inspired by the Golden Era. Fantasy is directed by Kahli Morris, who is also lead performer and choreographer for the majority of shows. Kahli is an LJMU graduate and she also made it to the finals of Ms Galaxy Liverpool 2021. LABL vegan fair and other upcoming vegan events in Liverpool may be great places to start Christmas shopping, with people becoming increasingly aware of the environment and animal testing. All products at LABL events are organic, fairtrade, vegan, cruelty free and ecological and purchases support local, independent businesses.

All images courtsey of Live A Better Life

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What’s on for vegans in Merseyside?

Entry to the fair is £1 per person and free for under 10s and the event runs runs from 10am-4pm. Further details can be found at labl.org.uk or via LABL’s event facebook page.

VeganFest Parbold, October 23rd 2021.

Rainhill Village Vegan Fair, October 24th 2021.

VEGAN Food Walking Tour, October 27th 2021.

Chester Vegan Market, October 30th 2021.

Winters Craft Fair St Helens, November 26th 2021.

LABL Christmas Fair, December 5th 2021.

LABL Vegan Fair, March 26th 2022.

Sunday Roasts available every Sunday at The Egg Cafe.

Vegan Afternoon Punk Tea at The Baltic Social.


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MNL Opinion

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What more do women have to do to protect ourselves? SASKIA FRYER on the recent cases of women being spiked by drugs in Liverpool and what needs to be done

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omen’s safety has been a big topic in conversations amongst politicians and even in schools. Yet, now it has become a much more spoken about issue amongst young female students as a rise in drinks being spiked has appeared. Since the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, it has caused anger from women at how we can’t go about doing as many normal routines compared to men in fear of being attacked. Such as, walking alone in the evening or even getting public transport at night can be daunting. It’s a constant cycle of being told what women should do to protect themselves rather than address the problem itself, which is some men who are misogynistic. What is now causing most women fear, and has done for a long time, is going out to enjoy their social life at clubs and bars and having to remain alert in case their drink will be spiked by drugs, especially ‘date-rape drugs’. Many women on social media have come forward and brought attention to the fact that they have been spiked by injections whilst out. This is incredibly scary and alarming, especially as a young student myself,

who just wants to go out and have fun with their friends. Women and young girls have always been following the rules of making sure to stay with your friends, don’t walk alone at night and cover your drinks when out at bars or clubs. However, a number of women across Liverpool and the rest of the UK have been flooding twitter with images of themselves where they had been injected with drugs. Also, descriptions as to how it affected them and left them in a vulnerable and dangerous state. One twitter user said: “I got spiked by someone I know. I was covered in blood and sick and someone stole my shoes.” There have already been girls who have said they have been spiked in clubs in the Liverpool City Centre for example, Heebie Jeebies and Level have had cases. MerseyNewsLive did contact Level to get their opinion on the issue, yet they did not respond. Two students from Liverpool John Moores expressed how they have been feeling about the recent rise in cases. Beth Lindop said: “My mum has always drilled into me from a young age to watch your drink when you go out. But when you hear from friends of friends and people you know it’s happened to, it really hits home that this is a serious problem.”

‘It really hits

home that this is a serious problem’ Catrin Jones has experienced two of her own friends being spiked, one of them being in Liverpool’s Concert Square: “I’ve had two of my friends spiked in the space of two weeks and also hearing about these stories of girls being injected it makes me really angry because I think of how unfair it is that we can’t really enjoy a night out because of this.” There have even been devices created for those who want to make sure that their drink won’t get spiked. Amazon are selling a ‘Nightcap’ which is a scrunchie with a cap inside which you can put over your drink. It has a hole in it to fit your straw in so you can drink it without people being able to put pills or powders in it. I would be lying if I told you me and my friends weren’t already thinking about investing in this.

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lthough, now with the concern of being injected by a drug, it poses an important question. If women already do everything they can to protect themselves, then what more do we have to do to save ourselves from something like this? It’s exhausting to see one thing after another happening to women who are just trying to live a normal

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life yet are now being made to fear going out at all. Petitions have now been made to help combat certain fears for students. Such as, people are calling for the reinstatement of the night bus services in Liverpool, which use to run hourly before the pandemic hit. This has already received over 2,500 signatures out of 5,000, which is not surprising considering students make the most of the nightlife in Liverpool. Liverpool City Council have already been working on the Safer Streets fund with the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, where the money will be used for safe spaces for people to go to if they feel unsafe. Also, adding more CCTV around bus stops and on public transport. Although, this helps with keeping women safer on the streets, but we need to address the issue of people using drugs to harm, and in most instances, attack women. We want to prevent anyone being spiked, it shouldn’t be happening and should have never been happening. Men and young boys should be taught about misogyny at schools and universities. They should learn from a young age about consent and how to value a woman’s boundaries. Most importantly, they need to have the confidence to call out other men on their predatory behaviour towards women so we can change the narrative of women being victims to these crimes once and for all. • If you have been a victim ofthis crime then call 999 and report it to Merseyside Police


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Some of the clothing Ohuni have available currently on their website

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© Ohuni Clothing

Finding the perfect fit We uncover the trio behind thriving Liverpool clothing business Ohuni DANNIELLE JONES speaks with three friends Anna, Kirsty and Chanceline about their new Liverpool-based clothing website Ohuni Clothing to find out how they began their business, what their inspirations are, their customer values and much more

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he coronavirus pandemic has cast a shadow over the UK since it began - however, the countless lockdowns and time spent indoors gave some people a lightbulb moment and many businesses were created as a result. This was the case for three friends Kirsty, Chanceline and Anna who decided to set up their own Liverpool Based online clothing company Ohuni Clothing after they realised that spending so much time shopping online was only being met with difficulty and disappointment. The three girls came up with their business in June when they realised they were spending more time buying clothes online than in person. Online shopping was on the increase due to shops being shut because of the pandemic, but the trio were constantly finding that they were being misled by the adverts on screen. This gave them an idea and they decided to take the matter into their own hands and so they set up their own local online shop for finding the perfect items through your phone, without the worry that they will not appear equally perfect when delivered. Chanceline told MNL: “From our own personal experiences when buying clothes online and on a budget, we found that clothes would come and look nothing like the pictures and so we hand-picked our items to ensure quality. No see-through dresses from us!” Kirsty added: “We decided to wait until we could go and see the clothes before we bought them as one of the most important things to us is the quality and we didn’t want to order something that looks good online and then it be a disappointment to our customers.”

most people are doing their shopping online these days.” Their business uses social media pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote their upcoming clothing lines, and the girls also explained how they work with local upcoming influencers and people to give their brand a personal touch and build strong relationships with the surrounding community, which is one of their business’s main values. Anna explained: “We like to give back to our community and show our appreciation for the support we get by running giveaways and competitions etc.” Kirsty added: “We are person centred and people orientated, customer satisfaction is paramount for us, and I think sometimes with big brands this can be lost from a customer perspective. “We want to have fun with our business and build a trusted community around our brand. There are so many big brands out there that when you buy from them you feel like a number, but we wanted to provide a friendly service and community through our company.” Their brand continues to grow, with their social media pages’ numbers increasing daily. When asked about their plans and ideas for the future, they said: “You will have to wait and see. Watch out for our socials!” The business is currently primarily online, and the girls have no short-term plans to open a physical shop, however if their popularity increases who knows what will happen next.

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Shopping online has risen since the pandemic begun. Photo Credit: Pickawood on Unsplash

“We want to have fun with our business and build a trusted community around our brand.”

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he three girls began their journey when they met at work and became friends. Anna told MNL how since meeting they have all gone on to have separate jobs which they work at alongside running their business, and that helps balance their workload for their website. She explained: “We have since all moved on to different career paths and because of this, we split the work between each other which is great because if one of us has a really busy week ahead we know orders will be fulfilled and our social media will always be maintained for our business.” They went on to explain how setting up a business in the pandemic came with some issues such as meeting and finding suppliers for clothing and shooting promotion photos. Kirsty said: “We have been doing all of our business calls remotely which has been an adjustment, but it does help that

“We like to give back to our community and show our appreciation for the support we get by running giveaways and competitions etc.” 9

Black Leather Skirt and purple milkmaid top are amongst the items available on their website © Ohuni Clothing.


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Halloween pumpkins by Louise Lemoine.

Spooky Welly Walk returns to Sefton Park The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is hosting a 2-mile, Halloween themed “Spooky Welly Walk” for children with games, giveaways and street performances along the route. By LOUISE LEMOINE

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efton Park is set to be transformed into a “spooky” sight this October - all in the spirit of fundraising. The event will run from 11am-5pm on Saturday October 23 and attendees are encouraged to dress in their spookiest attire. To attend the event, tickets must be booked in advance as there will be no tickets available on the day. Each ticket will be assigned a time slot of your choice, the Foundation recommends allocating two hours to complete the walk due to the activities along the way. Fundraisers have made the decision to make tickets non-refundable, due to the money raised going towards lung cancer research and helping the patients and families of those living with lung cancer. The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has raised millions for essential lung cancer research. Their aim is to support: “everyone affected by lung cancer- from diagnosis, through treatment, living with the disease and end of life care. […] We do all this so those diagnosed can live well with lung cancer for as long as possible.” Although the event is being set up as a fun day out for children and their parents, the Foundation have also

expressed their intentions to introduce children to the importance of fundraising for good causes. There is no fundraising requirement for those attending but the fundraisers are asking each child aims to fundraise £50 for the cause, there are prizes up for grabs for those who meet the £50 target. Parents can set up a fundraising page for their child online. Many charities have had their fundraising campaigns impacted by the pandemic, in 2020 the Foundations “Spooky Welly Walk” was held online. Parents were able to donate to the Foundation by purchasing an “Adventure Walk Pack”, that included virtual exercises and a walking route for families to take in their own social bubbles. This year, the foundation said: “Your donations and support at this time means so much to our charity, the patients and families that are living with lung cancer.” Tickets cost £6 each for adults and children or there is the option to purchase a family ticket (which includes two adults and two children) for £20. Children under the age of two go free and pets are allowed- even in costume! You can find tickets for the fundraiser at: https://roycastle.org/ get-involved/events/20065-2/

Photo by Jon Butte

rworth on Unsplas

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We do all this so those diagnosed can live well with lung cancer for as long as possible

Sefton Park Palmhouse Photo by Bob Coyne on Unsplash

The MNL podcast is here LISTEN TO THE LATEST NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE MNL TEAM

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Cereal thriller: getting on board with unique cafe Smithdown Road’s ‘Tiny Ricks Café’ describes itself as the UK’s only Cereal & board game café. With a multitude of cereals and board games to choose from, it’s a unique experience for all ages to enjoy. By LOUISE LEMOINE

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A glimpse at the board game selection at Tiny Ricks Cafe.

Cereals at Tiny Ricks Cafe.

Shelves packed with international cereals.

iny Ricks Café boasts an eye-catching worldwide selection of cereals and board games which the owners, Poppy Pembleton and Cliff Jenkinson, claim to have tried and tested out personally. Novel cafes in the city such as the Cat Café on Bold Street have proven to be a hit with customers and Tiny Ricks is no exception! Originally situated in the basement of Grand Central Hall on Renshaw Street, the café relocated to Smithdown Road in 2018. The area is well-known for its independent businesses, with records claiming that between 1905 and 1910 there were over 50 diverse types of businesses and small industries on the road alone. Although there is a niche market for board games and cereal enthusiasts alike, the nostalgia and joy of playing board games with family and friends has benefitted the independent business. Customers can play any of the hundreds of games out on the shelves with a charge of £2 an hour per player with a spend cap of £5. Poppy and Cliff, who are passionate about all the board games they have in their café, are also on hand to give advice on which games are good for groups or families and to settle any Monopoly disputes. Pre-pandemic, there was also the option to rent board games from the café and take them home with you. National and local lockdowns brought their own challenges for a business thriving off interaction. They documented on their social media platforms how

Game of Scrabble.

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disappointed they were to have to close for a lengthy period and how they had to turn to takeaway only confectionaries. They also explained how when re-opening, board games that were played would then be quarantined for three days to try to minimize the spread of viruses, but this also meant fewer games on the shelves for customers. If customers are feeling brave, they can try to take on the cafes Cereal Challenge which has its own leaderboard. Competitors take on twelve cereal bowls which are chosen by Poppy and Cliff, if all bowls are completed within an hour, they make it onto the champions leader board and there is no charge for taking on the challenge if you succeed. The challenge has some attention on social media and on YouTube by “competitive eaters” who are always looking for new foodie challenges to take on. The menu focuses on the massive selection of international cereals, there are pre-selected combinations to choose from or there is the option to create a selection of cereals completely unique to your choices. There are other options for non-cereal lovers ranging from toasties to noodles to lattes. Open four days a week, the venue also allows for group bookings for parties and clubs to book in, all enquiries can be made through Tiny Rick’s social media accounts. Customers can also book through Tiny Rick’s social media accounts, a deposit is taken but is deducted from the final fee, walk-in customers are welcomed but it is best to book to avoid disappointment!

Photos © Louise Lemoine


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Christmas countdown to tech gifts for under £50 With concerns over supply of your favourite Christmas goodies, we believe it is time to give you some (relatively) early suggestions for gifts and gadgets that your friends and family may love this Christmas. By DANNY BALL

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Apple Airtag- Price: £29.99. Do you have that one friend or family member that would lose their head if it wasn’t screwed on? Well, this one is for you! These small tracker-like devices can be attached to almost anything with ease including keys and phones. The Airtag uses the ‘Find My’ lost-andfound network to find any of your lost devices or items - this is available on most Apple devices Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera- Price: £49.99. Do you like physical media? Being able to capture memories? We have a treat for you. The printomatic allows you create sentimental keepsakes almost instantly; using Kodak Zink photo paper to print your photos in one minute. The Printomatic is also an ideal gift for any budding photographers of any age, it is sleek, simple and easy to use.

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Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot air brush: Price: £33.99- It is difficult to really give a breakdown of this product because it does what is says on the tin; cuts out the fuss and dries your hair in less time than it would usually take. However, this version when compared to others on the market is much more reasonably priced. Revlon also claims it causes less damage to hair compared to other hair dryers. Amazon Echo Dot- 4th gen. Price: £29.99.- Alexa and the Echo dot seem to have taken over our lives in the past couple of years and this is not a trend that is slowing down anytime soon. The sleek smart speaker produces both smooth and consistent vocals and is compact enough to use anywhere in the home. In short, Amazon technology is always a safe bet.

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Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer and Mug Set: game-changer Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer and Mug Set- Price: £39.99.Well… this could be a gamechanger! I did not know these products existed before this list and now I am tempted to get myself a gift. If you are a tea or coffee addict (like me) you know how frustrating it can be when you lose track of time and your drink of choice goes cold. This allows you to rewarm your drinks with ease; the stainless steel device contains a heating element that goes up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit,

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Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera: Easy to use

which means you can customize the temperature of your beverage to anywhere between 77 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

3 3)Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot air brush: Good value

1 Amazon Echo Dot: safe bet Apple Airtag: Keep track of your kit

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Let there be light!

Popular festival returns to dazzle the city By BETH LINDOP

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he River of Light festival promises to provide the perfect antidote to those dark, autumn nights as it returns to illuminate Liverpool this week. The festival proved a huge hit earlier this year when over 120,000 people visited the city’s iconic waterfront to take in the temporary addition of 11 dazzling art installations. Significantly, the light trail was launched on March 23 – a year on from the beginning of the first national lockdown – as a beacon of hope and a powerful symbol of the brighter days ahead. Seven months on, with the city tentatively establishing a new normal, the River of Light is back with 12 new installations to enthrall the people of Merseyside. Running from this Friday (October 22) until November 7, this free, reimagined light trail will align itself with the theme of ‘Rhythm of the Light’. The selected artworks will create a 2km trail that aims to illustrate Liverpool’s unique and illustrious musical heritage. One piece that will be on display is ‘The Pool’, a giant field of light comprising of over 100 interactive LED platforms. In addition to the touch-responsive platforms – which, when walked on, create incredible colourful light effects – the artwork will be accompanied by a specially curated, atmospheric soundtrack. “The sculpture that will be in Liverpool has had many lives, but it was born in 2008,” artist Jen Lewin told Mersey News Live. “The work has travelled to hundreds of exhibitions around the world. It’s been quite a loved and prolific sculpture and it’s visited all these different kinds of communities,

from Beijing to Singapore, to Australia, to all over Europe and parts of the US.” The sculpture, which will be showcased in Liverpool One’s Chavasse Park, was inspired by Australian tidal pools and was developed by Lewin using mesh-network technology and custom code. Whilst ‘The Pool’ has travelled to over 60 exhibition venues in more than 20 countries, it’s the first time that the piece will be on display in Merseyside.

Being part of a festival that is trying to create this connected experience is an honour

throughout the US and also one in Japan.” She continued: “We were able to come up with ways to create an outdoor exhibition that allowed people to be outside in a socially-distanced way, which was actually really special to me because I was able to create these opportunities for people that could be safe.” Certainly, the River of Light festival provides a fantastic opportunity for Merseyside residents to gather together to celebrate the vibrancy and vitality of the city’s streets. “That’s really the heart and soul of my work,” Lewin said. “This idea of bringing people together, creating this unified experience and creating a moment of joy and play. I think one of the things that we missed so much during this time was the delightfulness of being together and being able to have a playful experience together.” In addition to ‘The Pool’, the 17-night event will see a whole host of other installations including ‘Liverpool love of my life’ by Scouse native Chila Kumari Singh Burman and The Kazimier’s stained glass sensation ‘Fly By Night’. With so many brilliant works on display, its no surprise that anticipation is building amongst both artists and spectators for what is fast becoming one of the city’s cultural highlights. “Being part of a festival that is trying to create this connected experience is an honour,” said Lewin. “I think everyone should be really excited.”

Considering the proficiency of Lewin’s work, its little wonder that Culture Liverpool reached out to seek her involvement in the River of Light. “We were immediately aligned with the vision of the festival, and it seemed like a really good fit,” she enthused. “The team there has just been a pleasure to work with which also really matters.” The festival comes after a difficult period for many artists; however, New York-based Lewin has managed to navigate the past 18 months pretty auspiciously. She said: “The pandemic has absolutely impacted my work, but I think one of the lucky aspects of what I do is that my temporary work is all outdoors, so I actually had several really successful large exhibitions

Photos by Jasmin Johnson 13

Follow the trail... • • • • •

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Dance Together (Lucid Creates) - Canning Dock Quayside Fly By Night (The Kazimier) - Pier Head The Pool (Jen Lewin) Chavasse Park Wave (Squidsoup) - Thomas Steers Way Liverpool Love of My Life (Chila Kumari Singh Burman) - Liverpool Town Hall Limelight: Saturday Night (Sans Facon) - Derby Square Iconic Site (Sans Facon) Albert Dock Singularity (Squidsoup) Mann Island Basin Spriteworks (Pastle Castles and The Kazimier) - Pier Head Trumpet Flowers (Amigo and Amigo) - Exchange Flags Square Light Piano 2.0 XL (Kleurbleur) - Mann Island Sonic Runway (Rob Jensen & Warren Trezevant) - The Strand


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Panto takes centre stage at theatre back from brink The future of the historic Epstein Theatre has been secured. HARLEY MULLEN spoke to one of the new managers Bill Elms to find out more

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t’s curtains up! After 19 months of silence on the stage, The Epstein Theatre is under brand new management and is finally ready to re-open its doors to audiences. The historic Hanover Street venue is entering a fresh chapter with new management team Bill Elms, Chantelle Nolan and Jane Joseph collaborating to take the reins. These experienced Liverpool producers already have exciting plans to entertain. Public relations and marketing entrepreneur Bill, now the Artistic and Communications Director at Epstein Entertainments Ltd, told MerseyNewsLive: “The theatre has had a history of pantomime over the years and what better way to open than with a Christmas show, ensuring that we offer the opportunity for families to keep to their Christmas tradition of their annual theatre trip at Christmas and our young and future audiences seeing a production first. “ He added: “We are now planning our programme from January 2022, and we have some very exciting

productions in the pipeline.  We hope audiences come back in their droves and experience live theatre in one of Liverpool’s cultural gems.” The theatre originally opened in 1913, and its rich history plants it firmly in the hearts of many people throughout Merseyside. Last year with the Covid-19 pandemic causing problems worldwide, the theatre industry was hit particularly hard and it was reported that 70% of theatres in the UK faced permament closure. However, the Epstein theatre was already facing issues of its own long before this. In December 2017 the former operators of the theatre had gone into administration meaning that right up until the closure of the theatre during the pandemic, it was being run by administrators. As part of the team that has managed to secure the future of this treasure, Bill said: ”This is a building that has very special memories for so many people throughout its 108-year history, I feel honoured to have been selected to be part of securing and strengthening its future and hopefully

New managers Chantelle Nolan, Bill Elms and Jane Joseph creating many more memories.” The theatre will remain operating under the same name and will continue to run a mixed programme of events. Bill, who is still as passionate about the theatre as when he first started over 30 years ago, said: “What excites me is new writing, new productions and championing local talent.  “Having created Liverpool Theatre Festival last year I am amazed at the ever-growing talent in our city and across the region. I love the idea of providing the platform to premiere new work as well as programming more established performers and productions.”

There is a place for this venue in our city and I think it will be a very special place.

CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME NOT TO MISS! The first live performance since the closure of the venue in March 2020 will be family favourite ‘Beauty and The Beast’. This Christmas panto will begin 16th December 2021 and run until 9th January 2022 with tickets starting at £15. Starring in the panto is actor Ben Richards (pictured) who is well known for his West End appearances and TV roles such as Hollyoaks, Holby City and The Bill. He said: “I am really pleased to be back on stage in Liverpool and looking forward to a great panto run to mark the exciting reopening of the Epstein Theatre.” The Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street

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