Tuesday, March 15, 2016
A 24hr winter city guide to Liverpool

A 24hr winter city guide to Liverpool

The lovely people over at Eventbrite gave me the challenge of putting together a 24hr winter city guide for my hometown and of course, I accepted! I've been living and studying in Liverpool now for two years and feel like I can say I know the city very well, and I know some great places to go, too! So sit back and enjoy my city guide, and of course use it for reference when you come on over to the land of Scouse and enjoy what this brilliant city has to offer!

There's no better way to start off a chilly Winter's day than with some tasty food right?! I've been to Leaf countless times so it's safe to say, this place has got my heart. It always has a buzzing atmosphere no matter what day it is. They serve everything from breakfast to brunch to lunch including homemade soup, sandwiches, cake and of course TEA - their mantra being "where there's tea, there's hope"! We got avocado on toast with poached eggs and tomatoes and the American style pancakes (berry compote and syrup omg) for brunch which were both friggin' deliiiiicious (plenty of options for veggie's and vegans fyi). They always deliver excellent service every single time hence why I keep going back. The interior's are so homely and comfy, you'll want to stay for hours!

FACT: Foundation for Art and Creative Technology - 88 Wood Street

Just a stone's throw away from Leaf is probably one of my favourite places in Liverpool. FACT is, as the name describes, a foundation for art and creative technology including exhibitions and several cinemas. You can while away a few hours here seeing a movie, whether that be a current release or a cult classic like Psycho by Mr. Hitchcock. They're currently exhibiting Japanese artist's Ryoichi Kurokawa work until the 12th of June which would be an ideal way to spend your morning out of the chilly cold and immersing yourself in some culture. Downstairs you'll find The Garden at FACT (provided by the same people who brought you Leaf) where you can grab a quick coffee before or after a movie and enjoy the vibrant vibes of the café. Upstairs there is also a bar/lounge area to sit and have a little bevvie as well!

Pictured above is 'The Box', a cozy cinema room with sofas making you feel even more at home. I'd take going to the FACT over the Odeon or any other cinema any day, it's my favourite - you will love the FACT! I promise ya.

Soho's & Dig Vinyl - 80 Bold Street

We're back on Bold Street again! Luckily, Liverpool isn't too big a city, everything is pretty much in walking distance from each other. Anyway, whether you're a lover of vintage clothing, records...or both - then you will love Soho's! Filled with loads of vintage goodies from dresses, to coats to shoes and bags - the shop is head to toe of things to look through and there's also a men's clothing section upstairs with fancy sneakers too. 

Pop down to the basement and you'll discover Dig Vinyl where you'll find every genre of music you can imagine. You can flick through the records discovering new and old favourites - a favourite section of mine being the £1 singles. You can sit and sample a record before buying it and hopefully grab yourself a bargain. After trying out the George McCrae 'Rock Your Baby' album on the record player, I nabbed it straight away for a cheeky £4. A great souvenir to take home and the perfect shop to recommend to vinyl lovers alike!

Mi Vida - 28 Bold Street

A slightly recent addition to the ever expanding shopping/eating district of Bold Street is Mi Vida, a beautiful wee gift shop. This was the first time I've been and I can hand on heart say it's great! There are so many beautiful things to look at, and think "ooh that would look good in my bedroom/kitchen/*insert type of room here*. It's a lovely light and airy shop with wall to wall filled with pretty lettered mugs, greeting cards, home decorations and so on. They also have a great collection of books from Paris street style to Christian Dior and more...great to pick up a souvenir or gift for a loved one!

It goes without saying that Liverpool is all about shopping and fashion so for shopaholics, maybe warn your bank if you're planning to make a visit. Peter's Lane has all the high end brands like Ted Baker, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss and more with a big Beauty Bazaar at the end for make up-aholics (aka. me). Onto Wall Street and you will find even more shops in the outdoor shopping center with Zara, Mango, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, John Lewis and loads more, look on their website for full details here. Liverpool One spans over a very large area of the town center and the town take pride in keeping it looking on top form all the time. You can also wine and dine yourself at Bill's, Pizza Express or Wagamamas - there is literally so much choice, your head may or may not explode with excitement. And my mum wonder's where all my money goes when I live in a place like Liverpool...

It wouldn't be a proper visit to Liverpool without a trip to the Albert Docks now would it! No matter what the weather, it's always the most beautiful place to see in Liverpool. You can walk along the riverside and enjoy the laaavely views of the Mersey! Try and make sure the seagulls don't steal your chips though.

I have to pinch myself (well, not really) to realise how lucky I am to live in a city that has a Tate gallery in it! There are always great things going on here and of course, plenty to see. If it's a little bit miserable outside, the Tate is the perfect place to while away a few hours getting lost in some weird and wonderful art. The majority of the exhibitions are all completely free, apart from when there are special exhibitions.  

They currently have a Matisse exhibition running till the 2nd of May as well as an Art Gym till the 31st of March. Me and my friend went to explore the Art Gym out of curiosity, initially a little worried we may be a bit too old for that kind of thing, but we were told it was for anyone of all ages. I felt like a kid again whilst making origami and exploring all the fun activities they had organised. They have classes and events running everyday till the end of the program including how to make a pinhole camera and zine making. They have a cinema as well as a cafe all on the same floor and loads of fun things to mess around with and get your creative juices flowing, and bring out the inner kid in you. Give it a go!

ZiferblatUnit 7, The Colonnades, Albert Dock

After all that kidding around, we needed to recharge our batteries and just like fate, we stumbled across Ziferblat - a unique, pay per minute coffee house! It may seem a little bizarre, but a totally great concept right?! On arrival everything's explained and it's all quite simple. You're charged 8p per minute but you can eat as many cakes, biscuits, cereal, toast etc. as you want and drink as many cups of coffee, tea and juice as you want and use the free wifi - my kinda place! Of course, I got a liiiittle carried away, not gonna lie, one of my famous mantra's being "get my money's worth", so of course grabbed as many biscuits as my plate would hold. It felt like being in someone's giant living room and helping yourself to their food, books, board games and piano and it was such a cool experience, I would highly recommend!

The Freij Wheel, The Wheel of Liverpool - Keel Wharf

We thought a great way to end the day would be by getting the best view over Liverpool that there is on offer - on Liverpool's very own London Eye! It cost £7.50 for us students and we were taken round a total of 4 times. It's stopped once to give you a bit more time to take in the stunning views, a little nerve wracking but I think even my mum would be able to do it, and she doesn't like heights, fyi. At this point, the sun was just setting over the Mersey (ohhh how romantic) so the views were pretty breathtaking! You can see as far as the Metropolitan and Liverpool cathedral, see the tops of the Liver buildings poking out the top alongside the baby skyscrapers and see the Albert Docks from a birds eye view.

(Fantastic) photos by the fantastic, Xie Qin Gru!

No doubt you'll be hungry at the end of this day of exploring - luckily there are bazillions of amazing independent restaurants scattered all over Liverpool so either way, you'll have plenty to choose from. And if after all that you still have energy, maybe pop on down to Heebie Jeebie's for a boogie or grab some cocktails at Chaophraya!

That's a wrap for my 24hr Winter City Guide in Liverpool. This day out planning the guide reminded me again how amazing this city is and how much I love it and how lucky I feel to live here. It's said to be one of the friendliest cities in the world, and I can't argue with that - I definitely feel at home here and in great, welcoming company. I encourage everyone to visit one day and give some of the things I listed a try! You will love it.

Eventbrite is the ideal place to start planning your own event in your hometown, just get started here
Saturday, March 12, 2016
The Film Club #2

The Film Club #2

Welcome to the film club! Here are the films I've been loving the past month that I want to share with you...

Inside Out

I may be approaching the big 2-1 but that's no reason to stop watching Pixar and Disney films! Inside Out is for everyone of any age and so, so cleverly made. The film explores the life of Riley, an 11 year old hockey enthusiast. We see how she is controlled by her emotions, who are living characters in her head - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The film explains mental health in a way understandable to the younger generation, and teaches you that without being open about your sadness, you can't have joy - that joy and sadness go hand in hand. A totally inspiring film, so innovative and is a must watch, especially for young pre-teens to teenagers growing up.


Brooklyn tells the tale of a young girl, Eilis who decides to emigrate to New York as opportunities back home in Ireland are scarce. We follow her through her difficulties coping with homesickness and feeling torn between two places at once. I can completely relate to parts of Eilis's story, as after emigrating to France 5-6 years ago, I felt confused between my old life in the UK but attached to my new life in France, it's an odd feeling, and the homesickness is also relatable as I'm now studying in a different country from my home. It's a beautiful love story and actress Saoirse Ronan plays the role of Eilis fantastically. It's set between a beautiful 50's Brooklyn backdrop and the countryside of Ireland with stunning 50's fashion to boot.

Hail, Caesar!

I've seen both Barton Fink, which I loved, and The Big Lebowski, which I didn't quite 'get', by The Coen Brothers so was intrigued by the trailer of this star studded Hollywood movie and knew I had to see it! Set in the 1950's, it tells the story of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer who is busy at work solving the problems of all the big egos of filmmakers and actors at Capitol Pictures. The popular actor, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped and Mannix faces his biggest challenge yet of getting him back to the studios without too much speculation from the press and delay in the making of "Hail, Caesar!". It's entertaining and funny, showing you the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood studios and just how complicated it can get. Expect cameos from Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton!

A Bigger Splash

Set in a glamorous villa on the Italian island of Pantelleria - we are introduced to characters, Marianne, a former rock star, who is now mute due to throat surgery and her recovering alcoholic boyfriend, Paul. They're soon joined by Marianne's former lover, Harry and his recently discovered 'daughter', Penelope. All four are almost happy families to begin with but as the holiday progresses, the personalities clash and things take a much darker turn than expected. Everyone and everything becomes all a little mysterious, secretive and complicated...and we see that everyone is actually all a little effed up in the head. It's entertaining to watch, in particular, Harry's character, played by Ralph Fiennes, who is the most flamboyant and eccentric of the four. If you liked Vicky Christina Barcelona, then you'll probably like this too!

The Revenant

Ok, so it may be a liiiittle obvious to include this film, everyone knows about it and it's scooped up several awards including the highly anticipated Best Actor Oscar Award for Mr. Dicaprio. However, if you haven't seen it yet, and are unsure it'll be your kind of thang, I would highly recommend it, while it might still be in cinemas. Iñárritu's incredible cinematography is made to be seen on a big screen. The Revenant, set in the wilderness in 1823, is about Hugh Glass who faces a brutal bear attack and is left for dead by his fellow hunters. Glass uses his survival skills and desire for revenge to track down John (Tom Hardy) who has betrayed and abandoned him. It is so beautifully shot that you will no doubt enjoy it for the visuals alone - it has you on the edge of your seat and sometimes covering your eyes (not just me surely?!).