Tag Archives: family

A Liverpool weekend with child number one – part two

Saturday started late, in a hurry and with a hangover. Oh yes, didn’t I say… after 81Ltd, A dragged me to a student house party!! In fact, I didn’t feel nearly as awkward as I thought I would and, as the hangover could attest, I ended up getting into the spirit and having quite a good time dancing round the sitting room.

We had booked in to have a mini tutorial at MAC in the Met Quarter and woke with just enough time to shower, pop a paracetamol and run, head in hands, for the bus. Luckily, we passed a West Indian takeaway on the way to the bus stop so we dove in to get a patty each, deciding on the spot that we’d come back later for our supper.

What's for supperYum yum yum…can’t wait for supper

I’m not sure quite why, but A and I were ridiculously excited about our tutorials. On arrival we were each assigned a makeup artist and were taken through to a back room which was all huge mirrors, bright lights and spinning stools. Although they were only booking half hour sessions that day which wasn’t really long enough, we had a good time and did learn a thing or two. By day (if I remember and am not running too too late) I’m a slick of eye shadow and a bit of blush  kind of a gal but I’d really like to look more polished and ‘put together’ so I ought to have chosen to learn about foundations or something like that, instead, I chose an alternative smokey eye. A chose face coverage. I’ve a friend who is a makeup artist and she sometimes tries looks out on me, it always amazes me how many layers and stages there are to most looks and my smokey eye look was no different. Because it was a lesson, and not a makeover, we actually had to apply the makeup ourselves! The technique was demoed on one side and then the brushes were handed over to us.

MAC tutorial A

I felt really nervous and unconfident – sort of all fingers and thumbs, but my teacher was great and encouraging and I got the hang of it. At the end of the session you’re given a little paper face upon which the makeup artist has applied your look and the details of all the products used.

MAC tutorial instruction cardHere’s my paper face being put together

You do pay for the session but the cost is completely redeemable against purchases and, as the makeup artists finished both our faces off for us, I reckon that if you’re in need of a lipstick or something, this is quite a cool way of getting ready for a night out. Pop in to a shop, get your makeup done whilst learning a trick or two, and then walk out with the lipstick you always intended to buy. Win win.

It seemed funny to be walking out in FULL faces not long after noon and, moreover, with nowhere to go, but, that really is par for the course in Liverpool so we blended right in.

We decided to take a turn on The Wheel of Liverpool and so headed down towards the docks, passing these cute boats which are run as luxury apartments, bookable by the night.

Pimp my boat then rent it outFancy a night on The Yellow Submarine, or The Titanic?

It was such a dreary day but that provided for a wonderful atmospheric and moody snap of the wheel.

Moody Liverpool Eye

I’ve never been on the London Eye, not sure why – it’s not that I’m scared of heights, I think it’s the speed at which the Eyes turn, it’s just way WAY way too slow for me but the Wheel of Liverpool runs quite quickly, so that was okay. I’m not talking fairground Ferris wheel fast but quick enough to not stress out about how long you have to be stuck in a little pod for.

A on the Eye

Post MAC A

View from the Eye 2

View from the Eye 1

I think this almost looks as though it could have been painted

Don't look down

The view from above..

After The Wheel, we ambled our way back to A’s house stopping off at an amazing shop (which will be the subject of its own post) and St Luke’s Church which is a stunning, bombed out Gothic church.  I’ve walked past St Luke’s several times and never been in and I’m glad that I managed to this time round. It’s so odd, it really is a shell, the exterior walls remain intact but when you go inside it’s a different story. There are some wonderful before and after photos on the website above. There are all sorts of workshops and events going on at St Luke’s and they also run an (necessarily, as you’ll see from the photos below) outdoor cinema.

Looking up the central aisle of St Luke's Close up of St Luke's windows

Love the stunning elongated and pointed windows

A and the Lions

Lions at St Luke's Chuch

And the lions on their own, in all their glory.

I fell absolutely in love with St Luke’s or, as the locals know it, The Bombed Out Church.

Though there had been talk of a ‘proper’ night out, all that A and I had the energy left to do was crawl the rest of the way home, order food (so lucky that Raggas did deliveries) and watch crap tv. Bliss.

Tomorrow – afternoon tea and au revoir.

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A Liverpool weekend with child number one – part 1

So, A and J are back at university and now seems as good a time as any to get to work on posting about visiting them both last term! Doh. Better late than never, eh.

A couple of months ago I took a Friday off work to spend a long weekend with A in Liverpool. Last time I was there, A and I did the cultural thing but this time, I wanted to concentrate on being fabulous and foodalicious. I did a search for places to eat and drink in Liverpool, and another for Liverpool blogs, and another for cocktails in Liverpool and Liverpool afternoon tea and …. nothing much came up. I did manage to draw up a short shortlist though and armed with that I set out to conquer (eat) Liverpool.

A met me at the station and we headed out into a most wet afternoon and, because the weather was so miserable – and we were passing, we decided to stop off at one of the places on my list and have lunch. LEAF on Bold St. is absolutely wonderful, were it in London I would be a regular.

Studious A at LeafA, trying to look studious

The building itself is a stunning Art Deco former cinema and the LEAF team have refurbished it brilliantly. It’s all high ceilings, big open spaces, sofas and upholstery and beautiful warm wood. It seems to attract a mixed but definitely style/design interested crowd – it felt comfortable, cosy, and friendly, and, whilst it could so easily (lazily) be labelled as contrived, it really didn’t feel like that to me.

Table dressing at LeafTime for tea

It just felt relaxed and the food….oh, it was delicious. I have to say, A and I didn’t order the right thing – not that what we ordered wasn’t good, but we should have ordered the platters. A table of young women next to us ordered one of each platter and when they arrived it was so cute to watch the women looking at the grub in awe. A and I must have looked as though our eyes were about to pop out of our heads. I think it’s because the platters were absolutely piled high with goodies, they looked as though they’d just been lifted out of the pages of a high end (think Vogue but for food) magazine all fresh and enticing. A went back on Sunday after dropping me at the station and met up with a couple of friends and they did order the platters (she said they were as good as they looked), I guess it makes sense to order those beasts when there are more than two of you to share them.

Following our impromptu lunch we continued up Bold Street, stopping off at Bold Street Coffee where I picked up a slice of the most deliciously sticky and sweet banana cake with butterscotch icing (I thought it sounded a little over the top, and I wasn’t wrong, but it was soooo good!).

Banana cake with butterscotch icingUtterly scrumptious and surprisingly moreish

After a false start (A managed to shut her door with her key inside so we had to wait for the landlord to come and sort out a new lock) we made it out to see John Grant. I’d heard so many good things about his live shows and it was a shame that we got there well into the set because the venue was RAMMED and we didn’t exactly get the best view (as the photo below shows) but I was glad that I’d made the trip to Liverpool to ‘see’ him.

Great view at John Grant

A had put our names down on the list for 81 Ltd, a ‘secret’ bar just up the road from the East Village Arts Club, so once the show was over, we pootled up there, did the secret knock on the door and waited…

Knock knockIf all else fails..pout!

Once inside, a charming barman knocked up a couple of pretty decent, beautiful looking cocktails for us. But, I wasn’t really feeling the vibe – I think that had more to do with where my head was at than the mood in the bar (this was the weekend immediately after my move and I was well into a period of exceptionally poor confidence and self-doubt). It just felt odd to me, as though everyone felt special because they were in a private bar but, all that you had to do to gain entry was text to ask to be added to the guestlist. Anyway, what’s wrong with feeling special? Nothing at all, we should all do more of it. On that particular night, I think I’d have preferred the pub downstairs which was blasting out ABBA and everyone in it seemed to be having no airs and graces fun. Never one to pass up a good cocktail in nice surroundings (actually..scrap the surroundings, just the cocktail will do) I’d certainly go again, once my ego has regained strength.

Oh yes, and look at this……

Tidy kitchen just for mumAll tidied up, especially for the Visit From A Parent.

January 6 2014

Well, I know it’s the start of a new year and all things are possible but I really don’t like the first week of January, it seems to me to be steeped in sadness.

The first week of January used to signal back to school (which I always loathed as I couldn’t think of any better way of spending my time than hanging out and mucking around with my children) and now it’s back to work and back to university (though thanks to a broken down boiler, child number one is still here), the taking down of decorations, the end of Christmas and the sudden realisation that, actually, it’s back to normality.

I know that I could see this as a new beginning, a fresh start and indeed, I do, but, that feeling of sadness wins out and never more so than today and, this today more than ever.

Today is my brother’s birthday and where once this tempered the end of Christmas and lifted our spirits with a celebration, now it just adds layers of heaviness and pain. My brother would have been 50 today. Wow, the thought has knocked me for six and what I now realise was just how young, at 33, he was when he died. I knew that he was young, of course, but as he was eight years older than me he never seemed all that young. But looking back now I feel crushed to think how much of his adult life was spent being ill and I feel AMAZED at how strong his spirit must have been, because what I remember most about my brother was how alive he was and, how well he lived. He packed in to his short life, more than many (with greater opportunity) will pack into their long lives. I love him and whilst he really did get on my nerves, I’m so tremendously glad that he was my brother.

We, my sister and I, don’t normally mark his birthday or the anniversary of his death, just a phone call to the parents and maybe, a text to each other to touch base, but there is no way on earth that he wouldn’t be celebrating reaching such a grand old age and it felt like this birthday could not be ignored.

My sister and I, our parents, and child number one, all met up for lunch at Villiers Terrace in Crouch End where we feasted on the most beautifully cooked belly of pork, drizzled with a mustard jus, with just right mash and salty, buttery greens, fish (with the most puffy/crispy batter) and chips and onglet cooked to rare with thrice cooked chips. With no room for dessert we had to just settle for coffee. We none of us mentioned the occasion, I think we’d have been in tears on the floor, but it was lovely to be able to be together.

As C and I were both driving we weren’t able to take advantage of the scrumptious cocktails they offer at Villiers but we did succumb to a couple of alcohol free ones.

So here, my beautiful, darling brother, is the drink I raised to you.

2014-01-06 14.03.00

Make mine a Virgin mojito! I know, I know.

PS. C is allergic to garlic and to anything from the onion family that hasn’t been cooked and this does make eating out rather difficult. I have to say, the chefs at Villiers were really good about ensuring that she didn’t have to go without, making up a special batch of no-garlic mustard jus for her. What else, they seem to run a monthly supper club there that sounds kind of interesting and I may well have to check it out.