YM Liverpool May 2024

Page 1


Maray review

BOXPARK launch

South African wine

Homeware trends

Actor & comedian on re-embracing his Liverpool roots ahead of Philharmonic show





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design and inspired creativity.

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of YM Liverpool!

First up we bring you my interview with Liverpool-born actor and comedian Peter Serafinowicz as he prepares to bring his business mogul alter ego Brian Butterfield to the Philharmonic Hall this month.

Peter reflects on what he calls a “mad career”, which has featured roles in everything from Star Wars to The Simpsons, and why he loved filming in his hometown for the first time since leaving more than 30 years ago.

On the property front, we highlight the recent transformation of a historic Merseyside building and the John Lewis interiors team shares three homeware trends you need to know about.

Meanwhile, our gardening guru Heather Marsh extols the magic of a bluebell wood that’s right here on our doorstep, Annie S presents her latest fashion picks and we’ve got all the best pics from BOXPARK Liverpool’s highly-anticipated launch weekend.

Finally, our restaurant reviewer checks out the new spring/summer menu at Maray and WineTime Liverpool’s Jon Atkinson profiles a multi-award-winning South African estate.

Until next time!

Editor Lawrence Saunders editor@ymliverpool.com

Design Marten Sealby

ADVERTISING Sales 0151 316 0210 sales@ymliverpool.com

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Remember Me From... You May

Liverpool-born actor, comedian and voice-over artist Peter Serafinowicz made his broadcasting debut on radio in the early ‘90s and has since appeared in everything from The Simpsons and South Park to Shaun of the Dead and Star Wars.

As Peter prepares to bring his business mogul alter ego Brian Butterfield to the Philharmonic Hall this month, we find out which role sticks out the most and how he’s re-embraced his Liverpool roots

words lawrence saunders

Whereabouts in Liverpool did you grow up?

I lived in Belle Vale initially and then moved to Gateacre, right opposite Lee Park, nearly Netherley – ‘nearly Netherley’, that could be an alternative title for the Mad Max movies actually! I spent a lot of time in the area. My mum taught machine knitting at Netherley Comp. She would give us all our dinner and then go and teach the night school students. I did judo there as well, which was partially a way for me to be babysat whilst my mum did the class. It was full of kids I didn’t know. I enjoyed parts of my childhood in Liverpool but some parts not at all – there was a lot of getting my head kicked in! Back then, I didn’t really know how to defend myself and that’s a big part of life in Liverpool.

What was it like being back in Liverpool to film the new Amazon Prime comedy-thriller series Dead Hot?

It was my first time filming in the city since moving away when I was 19, and I just loved it. All of it took me back to when I was younger. We filmed in the summer as well, and it’s really beautiful looking in the summer. I got to sail a boat out of the Albert Dock, which was pretty cool. It was one of those moments of trying to access your teenage self and say, ‘Look at what I’m doing now!’ I’ve still got family there and I come back quite often. And I’m a massive Liverpool FC fan as well. It’s lovely having that connection with Liverpool and I’d love to work there again.

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The characters you play in Dead Hot and Netflix’s The Gentlemen both have strong Liverpool accents. Did you enjoy being able to perform in your ‘natural voice’ again? I loved being able to do it. I just want to do all my roles like that now! You know, when I started acting 30 years ago and came to London, I sort of had to southern-up my accent. I’ve always been an impressionist and changing my voice is something I have the most fun doing but [playing these characters] I feel like I’ve really re-embraced my Liverpool roots.

When you were first starting out did you have to disguise your accent somewhat in order to get jobs?

I don’t know, maybe just a bit. You’re trying to fit in and it sort of wasn’t cool [to have a Liverpool accent] back then. I wanted to expand my vocal repertoire as well, in terms of the different accents that I could do.

I’ve always enjoyed doing that. It frustrated me a lot of the time though that I was locked within the Liverpool or northern English accent rules that I wasn’t aware of. I wanted to be able to flip into a London accent or just a neutral southern accent, and it took a few tricks for me to learn how to do it. It was about wanting to deceive people [laughs]. But I never spoke like my character in The Gentlemen anyway, I knew lots of people back in Liverpool who did though!

Apart from the opportunity to do something in a Liverpool accent, what drew you to Dead Hot and the role of Danny? My agent read it and said, ‘Look, I don’t know what you’re going to make of this, but it’s this crazy crime drama set in Liverpool, and you play a detective who runs into some trouble with a bunch of twentysomethings and a horse’. And I said, ‘That’s right up my street’. Then I found out more about it. Anyway, I read my scenes, and I don’t know if I fully understood it, even while I was filming sometimes. But God, what fun that was to shoot. Everyone had this crazy energy; I just love that there were these scenes that had a rhythm. I’ve never really felt that before. It’s not trying to be anything else; it is totally its own thing. And it’s actually partly quite conventional, it’s a who-done-it, but the rest of it is handled in such an original way. In a nutshell, I just thought It was so refreshing to see something that wasn’t some kind of rehash. It’s got such an original voice.

Can you talk a bit about your character Danny, and his motivations?

I suppose a lot of the people I play are sort of pretending to be something that they aren’t. So Danny sees himself as a shark, and he is powerful and bosses people around but really, he’s just a frightened little boy inside, like everybody. I drew on the tough characters that I used to see around Liverpool, like the older kids. He’s a bit of a wild card, and I encountered a lot of those growing up. I just kind of took elements from each one, you know.

Jones ones. I got a job on Lego City Undercover and Sam and I got to play it together, which was really cool. Later I did another one called Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and I went to a Comic-Con as part of the promotion. I got talking to this Lego designer when I was there and he invited me and my family over to Denmark to visit Billund, the town where Lego was invented. It was brilliant! The Lego museum they have there is just the best!

Recently, I have been realising what a mad career I’ve had and how many different worlds I’ve inhabited –and still am!

One of the most popular characters you have played during your career is renowned businessman Brian Butterfield, who made his debut on The Peter Serafinowicz Show back in 2007. With Brian’s Call Of Now tour arriving at the Liverpool Philharmonic this month, are you excited to perform in front of your home crowd?

Since you began acting in the 1990s, you have appeared in a wide range of different films and TV shows. Do any particular jobs or moments stick out when you look back over the last 30 years?

Recently, I have actually been realising what a mad career I’ve had and how many different worlds I’ve inhabited – and still am! For example, I’ve done a few Lego video games. I’d been playing them with my son, Sam, since he was about three years old – the Star Wars and Indiana

I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to doing the Brian show at the Philharmonic. I haven’t performed there since I was in the Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School choir! Brian believes that every failure is just an opportunity to learn a new lesson. Having opened, and closed several businesses, he has learnt over 1,000 lessons and counting. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (for Brian) and he will be sharing his knowledge on all the key elements of business, including information on income tax, something he was unaware of until recently!

Peter will perform as Brian Butterfield at the Liverpool Philharmonic on Tuesday 21 May

INTERVIEW YM Liverpool 5
Renowned businessman Brian Butterfield Peter as Danny in Dead Hot

Entrepreneur turns box room project into seven-figure company in just four years

Liam Quirk launched his SEO agency in May 2020 and now has more than 50 clients

A LIVERPOOL BUSINESS which was founded just four years ago has experienced exponential growth and is set to turn over seven figures in 2024.

Local entrepreneur Liam Quirk started Quirky Digital in May 2020, aged just 23, after spotting a gap in the market for performance-based SEO across the UK.

Quirky Digital specialises in local, national and e-commerce SEO and supports its clients with digital PR, content creation and technical SEO.

Having left school with just three GCSEs, Liam realised he wasn’t best suited to an academic setting. He had a passion for business and was introduced to the world of SEO (search engine optimization) by his uncle.

Over the years, Liam continued to build on his knowledge of SEO and in May 2020 he took the plunge and launched Quirky Digital, all from his parents’ box room.

Liam says: “The day before Boris Johnson announced the first national lockdown, I handed in my notice, used all of the savings I had

and worked from the spare room in my parents’ house to get the business off the ground.”

Quirky Digital now has an office in Oriel Chambers on Water Street and more than 50 clients across various sectors including a significant number in the property industry

The agency is currency working with local estate agents, letting agents, conveyancing solicitors and property investors to help them rank at the top of the search engines.

Alongside working with clients, the fast-growing firm also has its own portfolio of websites in the property sector that the team uses to test new strategies and generate leads.

Quirky Digital is projected to turn over £1.2 million in 2024 and continues to grow through its own SEO strategy, utilising Liam’s prominent personal LinkedIn presence as well as recruiting experienced Liverpool-based non-executive directors who oversee finances, processes and the team to ensure the company grows as smoothly as its client base.

Local law firm honoured as one of UK’s best

Green light for £15m Canning Dock transformation

South dry dock, built in 1765, will become accessible to the public for the first time

NATIONAL MUSEUMS LIVERPOOL (NML) has been granted planning permission to transform Canning Quaysides and Dry Docks into a space for “education, contemplation and recreation”.

The £15 million redevelopment will see the south dry dock become accessible to the public with a new stop wall built behind the existing timber gates and a staircase and lift included to enable visitors to descend into the historic site for the first time.

Plans also feature a twin-lever footbridge from the Royal Albert Dock across to the Canning quayside. The wider public realm will be enhanced with level pathways, an open-air events space, and improvements to the interpretation of items around the site.

Construction work on the designs, which are being led by architects, Asif Khan Studio, and internationally renowned artist, Theaster Gates, are due to start in autumn 2024.

Canning Dock’s history is rooted in Liverpool’s involvement in transatlantic slavery. The graving dock was used to clean and repair ships, including those that were destined to traffic enslaved people across the Atlantic to work.

According to NML, the transformation will bring this history to the public realm and create a space for contemplation of its significance.

The pedestrian bridge linking the Royal Albert Dock with Canning quayside will create a better journey for visitors, and enhance connectivity between the International Slavery Museum, Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, and the wider waterfront.

Paul Crowley & Co Solicitors recognised at prestigious Modern Claims Awards


Paul Crowley & Co Solicitors received high commendation at the 2024 Modern Claims Awards, held at the Titanic Hotel’s Rum Warehouse on 18 April.

The annual event recognises outstanding achievements in the industry, celebrating the rising stars and established professionals in the world of claims. PC&Co’s Personal Injury team stood out as the only law firm to be highly commended at the event, the accolade followed its shortlisting as finalists for the same title across the UK.

Delighted and honoured to receive the prestigious award, the jubilant directors and staff of PC&Co partied on and celebrated until the early hours of the morning.

Julie Jones, head of business development at PC&Co, says: “It’s heartening to see the industry come together to acknowledge talent and innovation.

“To be highly commended in a national awards ceremony that recognises the best across the UK in this specialist field is high praise indeed, and we are thrilled to receive this honour. Against some strong opposition we were delighted to be a chosen finalist, but to receive special recognition and highly commended by the judges was something special.

“This award bears testament to the dedication, hard work and unwavering commitment to excellence that our Personal Injury team exemplifies each and every day to deliver the best outcomes for our clients.”

6 YM Liverpool NEWS
YM Liverpool 7

Social housing disrepair –Consult the legal experts

Social housing tenants should not be living in poor housing conditions, no matter what. If your housing association has neglected or failed to undertake essential repair work, then the solicitors at Paul Crowley & Co can take action. We will ensure the repairs are carried out, as well as recovering compensation for any loss or suffering that you have had to endure as a result of the disrepair

A social housing landlords responsibility

A landlord’s duties and responsibilities for housing are laid down in law through the Landlord And Tenant Act 1985. Before a tenant takes up residence, the landlord should ensure a property must meet all health and safety regulations.

All gas and electric supplies must be safety checked by a qualified engineer and water and sanitation must be in good working order. Adequate security should be provided for the property and all paths, boundary walls, gutters etc should be structurally sound.

What is housing disrepair?

Housing disrepair is if the condition of your property has deteriorated through no fault of your own compared to the time when you first moved in.

Housing disrepair can include:

• Damp and mould

• Blocked drains

• Broken windows and doors

• Broken boiler

• Defective roof tiles

Can I claim for housing disrepair damages?

Yes you can, if you have notified your social housing landlord and they have subsequently failed to carry out the repair work then you may be entitled to compensation. Paul Crowley & Co appreciate making a claim against your housing association can feel very intimidating.

Our specialised legal team will follow housing disrepair protocol and issue a formal letter of complaint to your Landlord putting them on notice of the disrepair and giving them a reasonable time to carry out the repairs. The landlord should respond with their proposals within 20 working days. If the landlord fails to act or carry out the repairs, then Paul Crowley & Co will issue legal proceedings on your behalf.

What is the housing disrepair protocol?

The housing disrepair protocol is designed to keep costs down and avoid unnecessary litigation. The protocol promotes the speedy and appropriate carrying out of any remedial works which are the landlord’s responsibility and to ensure that the tenant receives any compensation to which they are entitled. Having successfully represented many tenants’ social housing disrepair claims, our team of compensation claim specialists will be able to provide you with expert legal representation to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

How much compensation can I claim?

We would look to secure maximum compensation for diminution of contents whilst living at the property together with any discomfort and inconvenience you have suffered. We would also seek compensation for any loss or damage of personal property caused by the disrepair. If the living conditions have become uninhabitable, we will look to secure you alternative accommodation whilst the repairs are carried out. If you are in receipt of housing benefit this will not affect the amount of compensation you will receive. To find out how much you could be entitled to, contact the claims experts at Paul Crowley & Co.

No Win, No Fee compensation

Paul Crowley & Co offer a no win, no fee claim for housing disrepair compensation. This is a conditional fee agreement which means Paul Crowley & Co will fund your claim so you will not have to worry about paying any upfront legal costs.

Paul Crowley & Co the housing disrepair legal experts

You will be assigned your own personal housing disrepair solicitor who will guide you through the claims process, keeping you fully informed throughout the progress of your case. To find out if your social housing landlord has breached the terms of their agreement or if you have any questions about making a housing disrepair compensation claim, call Paul Crowley & Co the housing disrepair claims experts and see how we can help you.

If you have a housing disrepair dispute with your social housing landlord, contact us on 0151 264 7363. www.paulcrowley.co.uk
Dan Griffiths Director, Paul Crowley & Co

Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar brings Beckett theatre festival to Liverpool

Beckett: Unbound explores writer’s fascination with communication and technology across a programme of theatre, music, film, dance, photography and discussion


connection to Ireland continues with a four-day festival dedicated to Dublin-born writer Samuel Beckett. The celebration of this iconic playwright is brought to the city by acclaimed Irish actor, director and producer Adrian Dunbar.

Beckett: Unbound comes to Liverpool this summer from 30 May – 2 June 2024 and tickets are on sale now.

The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies is proud to be collaborating with the actor, best known for his role in BBC’s Line of Duty, to present this distinctive festival.

The biennial event explores Beckett’s fascination with communication and technology across a programme of theatre, music, film, dance, photography and discussion. Beckett: Unbound features world premieres and specially commissioned shows staged across Liverpool and Paris.

Highlights include the world premiere of dance performance, Sentient. Renowned Irish choreographer Liz Roche brings this major new full-length work for six dancers, saxophone and ondes Martenot to the Everyman Theatre.

A selection of Beckett’s major stage works will also be presented during the festival.

Toxteth’s atmospheric reservoir will serve as the backdrop for Pas Moi/Not I, Beckett’s notorious monologue performed in both French and English, and renowned radio play All That Fall (performances on Friday 31 May, Saturday 1 May and Sunday 2 May). Beckett’s iconic Krapp’s Last Tape/La Dernière Bande will be performed in French with English subtitles at the University of Liverpool’s Stanley Theatre (performances on Thursday 30 May, Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June).

The festival also features a unique Beckett radio play, Rough for Radio II recorded by inmates at HMP Liverpool and played at the University of Liverpool’s state-of-the-art Tung Auditorium. The festival concludes at The

Tung on Sunday 2 June with a free concert of six contemporary music productions.

Beckett: Unbound is curated by Unreal Cities, a multidisciplinary arts project founded by Adrian (pictured far right) and internationally acclaimed musician and composer Nick Roth (pictured far left), in collaboration with the University’s Institute of Irish Studies, and the University of Notre Dame. The programme follows on from the success of Beckett: Confined in 2022.

Professor Peter Shirlow, director of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, says: “We are thrilled to see the return of the Beckett festival to Liverpool. As in 2022, we will see Beckett staged in the uniquely haunting Toxteth Reservoir as well as in the more orthodox but no less thrilling Everyman Theatre. From the marvellous 1956 radio play All That Fall to the bilingual Not I/Pas Moi, there are riches here for every theatre enthusiast.”

Beckett: Unbound runs from Thursday 30 May until Tuesday 2 June, with performances and shows throughout each day and into the evening at locations across Liverpool. Find out more and book tickets for each event at www.liverpool.ac.uk/beckett

YM Liverpool 9

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YM Liverpool
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YM Liverpool 11
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Furnish That Room From fighter planes to furniture

As Liverpool-based furnishing solutions company Furnish That Room celebrates its 20th year in business, managing director Fran Guinan explains how he went from working on fighter planes to working on some of the North West’s most high-profile residential developments

How did Furnish That Room first come about?

I did a degree in product design and ended up at British Aerospace (BAe), working as a design engineer on fighter planes. But I always wanted to go back into the product design side of things, with a bias on furniture. I bought some furniture at trade price through my brother’s company and saw a business opportunity. I launched Furnish That Room (FTR) in 2004, whilst I was still at BAe, and for a while, I was juggling the two jobs but FTR soon took over and I haven’t looked back since. Initially, FTR was set up as a retail website for the public but we began receiving lots of enquiries from developers who wanted us to go in and do volume installations at their properties. We altered the business model to service that industry and haven’t really looked

back. We still have customers today, 20 years later, who were with us on day one.

What service does FTR offer to its clients?

We’re basically a one-stop shop. When we go into a property, the kitchen, the bathrooms and all the flooring are in. We do everything else – the loose furniture, fitted furniture, lighting, rugs, cushions,

blinds, curtains, beds, electricals, white goods and much more. Whatever we can do to help the owner of the property, we will do it. We provide this service to a range of different clients including property developers, landlords, estate agents and serviced accommodation companies. Our job is to ensure that the first person who views one of our client’s properties, buys or rents it. After the job is finished, we are there on the replenishment side as well, for example, if someone needs a new mattress we will be there the next day to deliver.

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How do you make sure clients stay with you after the initial installation process is complete?

Repeat custom is everything and once we get a customer, we very rarely lose them. That is probably down to me and my approach – making sure everything is done right and if it’s not right, I want to know why and how we fix it. With the show flats for example, they’ve got to be absolutely perfect, so I’m still really hands on about being there and making sure all is right. If we don’t do a job properly, why would the customer come back to us? You have to make sure you have people on side long-term. Our staff are very much on the same page. We’re a close-knit team.

Are there any projects FTR has worked on that you are particularly proud of?

Over the years we have worked on a huge number of high-profile developments across the North West region. Recently, here in Liverpool, we have been furnishing some really high-end stand-out developments that really have made a huge difference to the ever-growing skyline of our great city. Parliament Square is one of them, whereby we are

“Legacie has worked with Furnish That Room since 2017 and completed thousands of units together. Fran and the team go above and beyond and they are a great member of our supply chain.”
John Morley, CEO of Legacie

currently in the process of completing the final phase of nearly 500 fully furnished apartments. The Eight building is another site we are proud to have been involved with, where we furnished all 127 apartments and also assisted with all the public area furniture. Both sites are at a very high standard and are always fully occupied by tenants who see no need to move elsewhere.

What major challenges has the business faced over the last 20 years and how did you overcome them? We set up in 2004 and things were going really well until the crash in 2008. It pulled the rug out from under our feet and for the next three or four years it wasn’t easy. We kept everybody on but it really made us think more cautiously about how we ran the business once things started to pick up again. Perhaps we were slightly too cautious when it came to growth, and maybe we should have just gone for it, but it’s natural to be wary when you have lost your entire revenue stream over the course of a month.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we furnished properties for the Ministry of

Defence. It was particularly challenging as manufacturing was closed but we still got the job done. Brexit impacted us as well of course. Tens of thousands of truck drivers left the UK and that massively affected our ability to get stock delivered.

However, one of the biggest challenges we have faced in recent years was the blockage of the Suez Canal in 2021. We had stock on container ships that couldn’t get through but tenants were moving into properties so we had to find a way. You try to prepare yourself for every eventuality but sometimes you get hit with a curve ball and you have to take a step back and work out how to fix the problem. We want our customers to see us as a reliable partner in their business who always does what we can to get the job done.

Looking to the future, what are your plans for FTR?

We want to build on the success we’ve had and make sure we are around for another 20 years. From our diverse product range, full delivery and installation offering through to our excellent aftercare service, we will always keep improving every aspect of our offering.

Tel. 0151 486 5149
14 YM Liverpool

Maray Dockside

plates | ££ | Unit 4, Britannia Pavillion, Albert Dock, L3 4AD

Sometimes in life, things just sneak up on you. In our city, I’ve found it’s best to keep both eyes peeled or a restaurant that you’ve never heard of will sprout not just one but two locations on either side of town and before you know it you’re trapped! Enter Maray, founded in 2014 and inspired by the cultural melting pot of Marais, Paris, it boasts a collection of fine wines and Middle Eastern flavours. As someone who’s never experienced a crumb of Middle Eastern cuisine, it seemed the perfect opportunity to visit Maray’s Albert Dock site when I heard its new spring/ summer menu had just been launched.

Sitting on the south side of the Albert Dock, Maray is surprisingly compact but the huge glass frontage and wonderful view allow it to breathe and never feel claustrophobic. The atmosphere feels relaxed and casual but you can tell this place is run with a tight efficiency. The excellent manager, Jenny, took our order before gliding effortlessly to another table with a warm smile and a box of ingredients to ensure that no one had any dietary issues.

The Cauliflower Bhajis arrived first and after a satisfying crunch, released a flavour as wonderful as it was complex.

The staff recommended two to three plates per person and who were we to argue? The Cauliflower Bhajis (£6) arrived first and after a satisfying crunch, released a flavour as wonderful as it was complex. On a bed of red pepper dip, the suggestion of coconut was subtle and perfectly balanced, the chilis less so. As a spice wimp, it did feel like having a delicious sparkler in my mouth. Luckily I’d ordered the Smacked Cucumber (£6.75). The cool slices were refreshing and the labneh cream cheese, infused with garlic, came to my rescue.

The Braised Carrots (£9) with black garlic tahini and sour grapes were pleasant and not overpowering. I’d recommend the Lamb Skewer (£13) but be warned it’s a dish that demands attention. Being slightly tough, the skewer won’t give up easily, however, the flavour is worth the battle, even my partner, who doesn’t like lamb, had to concede to its deliciousness.

This is when we noticed Maray’s marvellous ability to convert the culinary obstinate. I’ve never liked halloumi, I don’t like the flavour or the texture, and usually can’t get it off my plate quickly enough. However, Maray’s Halloumi (£9) helped me see the light. Served on a Zaalouk, a Moroccan eggplant and tomato salad, it was superb.

When ordering the Baklava Cheesecake (£7.5), don’t say balaclava cheesecake or you’ll get a funny look from your server and your partner will disown you (not that I did that). My first cheesecake experience was nearly perfect. The presentation was flawless,

pistachio and roses were laid on a slice of cream anglaise cheesecake. It belonged at a wedding reception.

The Medjool date is known as ‘the fruit of kings’ and after the Medjool Date Bread and Butter Pudding (£7.5) arrived, I realised exactly why. The spoonful that my partner reluctantly allowed me to steal was soft, creamy, buttery and dipped in the accompanying date and caramel sauce with a little ice cream.

If you’ve not had tapas before you might assume it could be slightly irritating, each dish being served when it’s ready, but as we’d finished one plate and lost ourselves talking about the decor, the next plate’s arrival became a pleasant surprise. With the intimate environment and the sharing of food, Maray is the perfect choice for a first date but make sure you both order the same dessert or it could be your last.

YM Liverpool 15
Restaurant review


Historic Merseyside building transformed into luxury apartments


A GRADE II-LISTED MERSEYSIDE BUILDING is set to welcome its first tenants after a £4 million transformation by local developer Nicholson Group.

The Beecham’s Building on Westfield Street, St Helens is the former headquarters of the Beecham pharmaceutical company, once a major employer in the town. The building dates back to the 1880s and was the first factory in the world built specifically to produce medicine.

Nicholson Residence is a mixed-use scheme containing 18 residential apartments (seven one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units) and ground floor commercial space.

The development also includes a resident’s only gym and a gated parking area to the rear accommodating 17 car, cycle and motorcycle spaces.

One of the building’s stand-out features is a clock designed by Beecham’s Building architect H.V. Krolow in 1887. Nicholson Group is working to restore the workings of the clock alongside local historian and author Mary Presland.

Mary, who has published many books on St Helens, is excited to see the rejuvenation of Beecham’s Building given her interest in the town’s industrial past.

Paul Nicholson, CEO of Nicholson Group, says: “This magnificent building has been rejuvenated by our highly skilled and dedicated team after lying dormant, enabling it to become a place in which to live and work.

“As the building is Grade II-listed, we sought the advice of heritage experts to ensure we protected the fabric, characteristics and features of both the exterior and interior of the property.

“It was a real mixture of obstacles to overcome but we are delighted with the outcome.

“We wanted this to be a real signature project and some of the apartments are nearing 2,000 sq ft, designed specifically for discerning professionals.”

For more information visit nicholsonresidences.com

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18 YM Liverpool

The Oliver King Foundation urges businesses to install life-saving defibrillators

Liverpool charity wants to see the devices become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in public buildings


which last year won its fight for access to defibrillators to be mandatory in every state-run UK school are urging more North West businesses to install the lifesaving devices.

The Oliver King (OK) Foundation was launched by Mark and Joanne King in 2012 following the death of their son Oliver from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) – a hidden heart condition which kills between 12-20 young people each week.

The OK Foundation began campaigning for a change in legislation, with Mark personally delivering 6,200 life-saving defibrillators and training to schools and organisations across the country.

Mark King continues to provide life-saving defibrillators and awareness training to businesses across the country. The sessions, which take 90 minutes to complete and can accommodate groups of any size, have recently

We want to ensure defibrillators are installed in public spaces across the North West, and eventually the entire country.

been used by businesses such as The Jamie Carragher 23 Foundation, Liverpool Football Club, Rainbow Restoration, Steven Gerrard Academy and The Robbie Fowler Academy.

Mark also offers free defibrillators to families in need as The OK Foundation sets a new long-term goal of making defibrillators as commonplace as fire extinguishers in public buildings.

The OK Foundation is also aiming to open an ECG testing and wellness centre offering free testing for 14-35 year olds and supporting individuals and families whose lives have been affected by a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

At the time of writing, The OK Foundation is aware of at least 73 lives saved from its campaigning and defibrillator installations.

Mark King, founder of The OK Foundation, says: “I know how important awareness training is to use life–saving defibrillators. If you are able to use a defibrillator in a fast, safe and confident manner, you massively improve the chances of saving a life in an emergency.

“We want to ensure defibrillators are installed in public spaces across the North West, and eventually the entire country, with people of all ages confident in using the equipment, which will be achieved with the right training.

“If you or your business would like to find out more, do not hesitate to contact The Oliver King Foundation and we will be in

touch to arrange a visit.

“The awareness training is engaging, informative and will leave all employees confident if presented with an unfolding emergency.”

To enquire about defibrillator and awareness training with Mark King please contact info@ theoliverkingfoundation.co.uk

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Bergsig Estate Eastern promise at the

Jon Atkinson profiles a multi-award-winning South African winery with conservation and sustainability at its heart

SOUTH AFRICA HAS A PROUD WINEMAKING heritage dating back well over 400 years. This, coupled with its predominantly Mediterranean climate (at least in the main wine lands area around Cape Town), allows for wines that sit somewhere in between the classic, food-friendly style of Europe and the riper, more fruit-driven style usually associated with the Southern Hemisphere.

We are very proud to import wines from Bergsig Estate which can be found in the up-and-coming W.O (Wine of Origin) of Breedekloof; a magnificently scenic region in the foothills of two mountain ranges – Hex River and Drakenstein. It is about one and a half hour’s drive east-northeast of Cape Town. Being further away from the coast, one would expect a significantly warmer climate, but at the eastern entrance to the historic Bainskloof Pass, where the farm is located, the

valley narrows creating a funnel effect cooling the summer breezes which coupled with the relatively high altitude, cold winters with snow through to spring and rainfall with additional meltwater from the mountains, makes for an excellent wine-growing environment.

Bergsig, meaning ‘mountain view’, was founded in 1843 and is still owned by the Lategan family, with De Wet Lategan, the sixth-generation winemaker here. Being an estate, all of their wines are made from grapes grown on the property, with no fruit bought in. Whilst not officially organic, the vineyards are farmed as sustainably as possible and are IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) certified, not just in terms of striving for optimal grape quality, but also in terms of conservation, which is very much at the heart of all that they do here right across the 437 hectares, encompassing mountain, valley and river.

Bergsig Gewurztraminer 2023 (12%) As a variety, Gewurztraminer is synonymous with Alsace in eastern France, although its name is Germanic and to complicate matters further, it is thought to have originated from the town of Tramin in South Tyrol, Italy! Being an (extremely) aromatic variety, it tends to fare best in relatively cool climates, and with the fruit having a naturally high sugar content, most wines usually have a little sweetness to them. This delightful example is pale straw in appearance, with silver-gold tints and surprisingly high viscosity. A fresh, fragrant nose and crisp, fresh and just off-dry in the mouth with a vibrant acidity. £10.75

Bergsig ‘Barrel Fermented’ Chardonnay 2022 (13%) Chardonnay is still, statistically, one of the most popular white grape varieties. At its best (and most expensive) from Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, Chardonnay is an incredibly accommodating variety and can be grown pretty much anywhere. This cracker from Bergsig was fermented and then aged for six months in 300-litre oak barrels before bottling. Deep straw/pale gold in colour with silver tints and medium+ viscosity. A rich, leesy nose with a bright, lemon and pineapple fruit with hints of lanolin and delicate vanilla oak. Broad, creamy mouth feel with a tang of acidity, ripe orchard fruits and toasty oakiness with good length and a rich, creamy finish. £11.95

Bergsig Pinotage 2020 (14.5%) Once upon a time, Pinotage was very much a Marmite variety, with a small but loyal following. Nowadays, with improved winemaking techniques, the textbook aromas of ‘burned rubber’ are largely a thing of the past. Pinotage is a uniquely South African variety, that is technically a hybrid, that is it was ‘invented’ in the mid-1920s by Abraham Perold, professor of viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch. This example one sits at the more robust end of the spectrum; a powerful, full-bodied red with masses of rich, aromatic plum and spicy dark berry fruit with a sweet oakiness and firm, ripe tannins. Very much a food wine, it works well with spicy dishes or barbequed food. £13.25

Bergsig Cape LBV 2018 (17%) Some cute marketing here as ‘Port’ (which to all intents and purposes is what this is) can only be called thus if it was produced in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Although Bergsig does grow Touriga Nacional, Portugal’s signature red grape, this is made from Tinta Barroca, another well-established Port variety. A most inviting, garnet-red in appearance, with warming fruitcake richness on the nose with Morello cherry, sandalwood and Clove aromas. It is a little richer and sweeter than its Portuguese cousin, with flavours of blueberries, Kirsch and marzipan making it an excellent pairing with chocolate-based desserts. It also works well with full-flavoured blue cheese and is a shoe-in with Christmas cake/pudding! £18.50



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Homeware trends

WITH ALL THE POSITIVITY of spring, there’s no time like now to add simple upgrades to your home. Right now, all eyes are on blue – in navy, sky blue and every shade in between. In your kitchen, in your bedroom, on your walls, on your coffee table. And the styles that we’re loving most? Modern and classic, both special in their own way.



Think brighter tones, unexpected textures and strong silhouettes. Anything mushroom is having a moment whilst patterned rugs have got bolder and lighting is having a serious makeover.

Heritage classics you’ll love forever, modern pieces that give any space an instant upgrade and this season’s blue crush – these are the three home trends to know now Gingham Check Cushion £20

Spring is about new beginnings, lighter and brighter days, blowing off the cobwebs and saying hi to a new season. If you’re not ready to go all in, start with a mug, gingham cushions, a tablecloth, or some pillowcases. And if you want to go all in? We’re obsessed with pretty printed Aria wallpaper, bedding, and maybe even a fresh lick of paint…


Tried and tested pieces, with a twist.

Think dark wood, crockery with subtle designs, and big sofas, tables and armchairs. Pick up characterful bedside furniture like a two-drawer Bobbin cabinet, anything with a scalloped edge such as an acacia wood coffee table, and a lust-worthy armchair that you’ll still be relaxing in years from now. Note, a dash of terracotta goes so well against sky blue.

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Stoneware Mug
table lamp
£749 Scalloped
£6 Modern chandelier

Labour MP praises local property firm for ‘imaginative’ church conversion project

EW Developments has retained a number of original features including a 130-year-old organ

ALabour MP has praised a Liverpool-based property firm for its work to convert a Waterloo church into 10 luxury apartments.

Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, visited St John’s Church, which has been recently transformed by EW Developments.

EW retained a number of original features including the pulpit, stained glass windows and a 130-year-old organ, which was expertly refurbished and now stands in the building’s communal area.

Built in 1865 on the island at the end of St John’s Road, the church was a focal point of the local community for more than 100 years before the congregation relocated to new premises on Picton Road in 2006.

Several of the new one and twobedroom apartments feature stained glass windows overlooking the dining area, as well as en suite bathrooms and a secret mezzanine room especially designed by EW, which is owned by James Winters and Rob Edwards.

The mezzanine room is reached by entering a hidden doorway amongst the kitchen panels, with stairs leading to a spacious floor above. The complex also features car parking and a communal garden.

The St John’s project follows EW’s successful conversion of Our Lady of Good Help Church in Wavertree into 16 luxury apartments in 2023. In 2019 it transformed an abandoned Victorian building in Kirkdale into the popular Phoenix Hotel.

Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle, says: “It is brilliant to see St John’s Church

reinvigorated by James and Rob at EW Developments, rescuing a vacant site and bringing a historic building back to life in such an imaginative and productive way after almost two decades of decay.

“I am thrilled that such a lovely heritage building is being developed constructively, allowing new memories to be made in the

“I am thrilled that such a lovely heritage building is being developed constructively, allowing new memories to be made.”

Waterloo area, especially at a site which obviously holds a lot of history for so many families in the area.

“I am especially pleased by EW Developments’ commitment to restoring original features of the church – such as the organ and stained glass windows – which makes this site a stand-out development in North Liverpool.

“I am excited to follow the progress of James and Rob, who are both from Bootle, as they continue to breathe fresh life into the city through their unique and exciting developments.”

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Thousands flock to BOXPARK Liverpool for opening weekend

All-day dining and events space officially opened its doors with a weekend of live entertainment enjoyed by more than 2,500 from across the city

CELEBRATIONS KICKED OFF at the Cains Brewery Village venue with a VIP launch night on Thursday 19 April featuring performances from Rebecca Ferguson, Mic Lowry, Aystar, Femme Fatale and some of Liverpool’s hottest DJs. The event was attended by local businesses, MPs and celebrities including world champion boxer Natasha Jonas and reality TV stars.

Speaking during the launch night, Rebecca Ferguson said: “I think we can all agree this place is going to do wonders for Liverpool

and the Baltic Triangle – I feel very lucky to be the first scouser to perform here and it’s time to throw a proper party tonight.”

Simon Champion, CEO at BOXPARK Liverpool, added: “It is an important moment as we celebrated the launch of our first venture outside of London.

“We have been welcomed with open arms by the city and we look forward to continuing to bring world-class entertainment to the city of Liverpool.”

BOXPARK Liverpool officially opened

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We have been welcomed with open arms by the city and we look forward to continuing to bring world-class entertainment to the city of Liverpool.

to the public on Friday with a secret unannounced gig from local band The Mysertines. The night also included talent from both near and far with performances from The Cheap Thrills, Ant Chandler and Tom Rogan. Saturday headliners included Girl’s Don’t Sync, Mele and Enzo is Burning.

The opening weekend came to a close with the In Demand Radio family festival, which combined the latest chart hits, R&B and old skool anthems with dishes from the eight food traders on site.

BOXPARK has agreed a 15-year lease with Cains Brewery Village and will focus on championing local independent businesses, through its extensive food and entertainment offering, investing more than £5m into the Baltic Triangle and expecting to bring 150 new jobs to the local community.

Founded in 2011, BOXPARK has evolved from being the world’s first pop-up mall to one of London’s most high-profile branded dining, leisure and retail developments with three sites in Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley.

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Brantones awarded Football For Change ‘champion’ status

The affordable housing developer has been a major supporter of the charity since 2022

Affordable housing developer, Brantones, has been awarded Football For Change ‘champion’ status after helping the charitable initiative with its fundraising efforts.

The Liverpool-based business, which delivers supported housing solutions for people who need them most, started supporting Football For Change in 2022.

This year, the company became a headline sponsor of the annual lunch which was attended by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jamie Carragher.

Football For Change was launched in 2021 by Alexander-Arnold, Carragher and Connor Coady. It has since been backed by Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham as well as stars including Gary Neville, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Peter Crouch and Beth Mead.

“This is an incredible initiative for an extremely important cause and we are thrilled to be given Football For Change champion status.”

The initiative brings together sports and business leaders to help NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people find education and employment opportunities, as well as helping others from underprivileged communities achieve their full potential. The organisation also supports young people who may have been affected by crime to help turn their lives around.

The 2024 fundraising lunch, hosted at Liverpool’s Royal Liver Building, saw Alexander-Arnold and Carragher team up for an exclusive ‘in conversation with’, where the two discussed the Liverpool star’s trophy-laden career and his future in football.

Football For Change, which is managed by the Communities Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside, has raised more than £1.1 million since 2021. It has provided grants to organisations and charities across the country including the Liverpool FC Foundation, Everton in the Community, The Inclusive Hub and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

Lee Birkett, Brantones director, says: “This is an incredible initiative for an extremely important cause and we are thrilled to be given Football For Change champion status.

“The work Football For Change does will have a profound impact on the lives of so many vulnerable children and young people across the UK and we are proud to be able to do our bit and support this cause.”

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Feeling blue

EVEN AS I WRITE THIS on the first day of May, the month known as the gateway to summer, the weather is still being rather sluggish warming up. But they do say ‘ne’er cast a clout till May be out’ (clout means coat in this instance), so take heed as that’s often the case.

No matter, May Day is traditionally celebrated all over Europe with festivities originating in ancient Rome as a way of paying homage to Flora, goddess of flowers, fertility and the vitality of spring.

Out in the garden, I’ve masses of work to do but it’s seeing a small clump of dainty bluebells that distracts me and reminds me of the magnificent spectacle we get to enjoy every spring here in Liverpool.

From early April to mid-May, Speke Hall’s ancient woodlands are transformed into a magical blue haven of serene natural beauty by the flowering of the bluebell. A wondrous sight indeed and as the lesser famous Brontë sister Anne once wrote: ‘There is a silent eloquence in every wild bluebell that fills my softened heart with bliss’. How perfectly put.

A British bluebell wood is a classic component of our country’s woodland landscape and heritage, diminishing maybe, but many of

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Heather Marsh on the magic of a bluebell wood that’s right here on our doorstep Bluebell wood, Speke Hall

Protecting our native bluebell

English bluebells are a protected species in the UK and it’s against the law to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy them.

Avoid growing the Spanish bluebell, especially near bluebell woods and ancient woodlands. Even in your own garden, remember it can be very invasive and cansoon outstay its welcome.

them are now protected and thankfully still with us. Other countries have bluebells but not many can replicate that quintessential ‘blue carpet’ to rival those of the UK.

Originally known as Le Clough and mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1066, the woodlands at Speke are far older than the hall itself. Preserved and maintained by The National Trust, the woodlands are one of the UK’s most precious yet vulnerable assets. The British bluebell is considered a classic wildflower but even so, everything about its existence is carefully managed. Speaking to one of the woodland’s most experienced rangers at Speke Hall, I was told that it is essential to monitor the woodland canopy of the bluebells if they are to flower successfully. Too dense and the bluebells will drown in the darkness below whilst too much sunlight results in them being scorched. Each spring the bluebells begin nature’s race against time to soak up the light in order to feed their bulbs for the next year. This is why it’s so important not to pick bluebells, as it can take years of recovery for them to flower again. I was also told about the newly installed footpaths all funded by donations. These do so much to help the conservation of the flowers by allowing visitors to walk through the woods – taking in the whole experience without trampling on and damaging the flowers. The paths are also wheelchair friendly. Like so much that’s affected by climate change, I was told that over the next 20 years, it will become rarer to see a native bluebell wood and that’s why the one at Speke Hall is so precious. Preserving and maintaining these woodlands for generations to come is up to us all. The National Trust aims to continue lovingly restoring and protecting these woodlands forever, all we must do is support them and that couldn’t be easier. Everyone who visits Speke Hall is contributing to the cost of preserving and maintaining these special woodlands.

The Hyacinthoides non scripta or common (English) bluebell is the dainty species that carpets so many of our woodlands and accounts for half of the world’s bluebell population. English bluebells are typically deep violet-blue in colour, with a sweet scent. The small tubular

bell-like flowers are borne on just one side of an arching stem – all-important distinguishing characteristics to bear in mind as the Spanish bluebell isn’t too dissimilar. Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) are much bigger in size with bell flowers growing on every side of a very upright stem. They are also unscented, have wide strap-shaped leaves and are typically pale blue in colour. Hardy, robust and very easy to grow, the Spanish bluebell is invasive, spreading easily by both seed and bulb. As I’ve found after inheriting them years ago in my own garden, they are deep-rooted with large established clumps that make them almost impossible to control or get rid of. Spanish bluebells crossbreed with English bluebells, resulting in the hybrids being the most commonly grown bluebells in British gardens today. These hybrids are so prolific that they seriously endanger the future of our own native bluebell and particularly ancient bluebell woods like Speke. Vigorously out-competing the common species, these hybrids dilute or even eliminate the original characteristics of our native bluebell –changing their genetic makeup forever.

National Trust –Speke Hall, Garden and Estate

If you want to experience the magical spectacle of natural beauty for yourself, why not visit Speke Hall’s ancient Bluebell Woods.

Opening times Monday –Sunday, 10:30-17:00

The Walk, Speke, Liverpool L24 1XD

Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) English bluebell
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We hand select materials from around the world ensuring only quality products are produced in our own factory in Widnes.

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Events not to be missed over the next four weeks

Infinite Encounters, Liverpool Cathedral

10 May–2 June

Upside Down House heading to Liverpool ONE

The UK’s first ‘inverted experience’ is a hybrid of street art and experiential entertainment

A UNIQUE MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS which offers visitors the chance to capture memorable and surreal photos is coming to Liverpool ONE.

Building works will start this month and the construction team will follow the same concept as for the rest of the Upside Down Houses across the country with quirky and unique interior design.

The red and white exterior colours have been purposely selected to stay on brand with the image of Liverpool ONE.

The interior has been designed with an open plan layout, to allow customers to move around the illusional experience and capture the best content possible.

The makeover of the Liverpool House has been designed by the Upside Down House Creative Team, introducing new areas that have never been seen previously.

Only at Upside Down House Liverpool, visitors will have the exclusive opportunity to immerse themselves in the clouds of Candy Land and to play a retro Pac-Man arcade game, upside down.

Alex Barbary, national business development manager at Upside Down House UK, says: “We’re very excited to be arriving in the vibrant city of Liverpool, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the fantastic line-up at Liverpool ONE.”

Upside Down House at Liverpool ONE will be situated next door to Byron Burger and opposite the Hilton Hotel.

The UK’s first Upside Down House was built in 2018 in Bournemouth and there are currently 11 houses open across the country.

A Liverpool landmark becomes home to an exciting and captivating group exhibition that promises to bring every sense to life through art. Infinite Encounters invites visitors to interact and enjoy an experience of sound, sight, touch, smell and even taste, conjuring wonder through public participation.

10 May Irvine Welsh: 30 Years of Trainspotting, Philharmonic Hall

11 May Eric Clapton, M&S Bank Arena

17-18 May Rhod Gilbert & The Giant Grapefruit, Liverpool Empire

21 May An Evening with Alison Steadman, Liverpool Everyman

4 June Gary Numan, O2 Academy Liverpool

Gaia at Birkenhead Park

28-30 May

Organised as a part of the Wirral Borough of Culture 2024 programme, Birkenhead Park will showcase the artwork ‘Gaia’ created by Luke Jerram. The floating planet Earth replica measures seven metres across and slowly rotates like our Earth, allowing visitors to experience a detailed view of its surface based on 120dpi NASA imagery.

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