Seecret Tours

Before you say it, this walking tour is for the cool kids, from the hippies to the hipsters. We’ve been desperate to try it for months, but they only run at 11am which is still the middle of the night as far as we’re concerned.

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Over the course of two hours you’ll be shown Liverpool’s street art, hidden attractions and alternative sights. Although it’s aimed at tourists we’re interested to learn the significance of various street art in the sober light of day when we aren’t trying to do a wee under it. Despite living here several years, we hope to discover hidden spots and abandoned corners to show Couchsurfers, as the stuffed dog in the Black Rabbit wearing sunglasses and a gold chain is getting a bit old.

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Seecret is such a boss concept so it baffles us that nobody’s heard of it, although in the meantime it’s managed to bag itself the title of Best Newcomer at the Liverpool Tourism Awards 2015.

Tours run on Saturdays and Sundays, meeting at that random green/gold thing next to John Lewis and ending around the Bold St area.

The experience includes:

  • Expert guided tour around Liverpool’s Ropewalks area
  • Multimedia Show & Tell
  • Seecret Stories
  • Seecret Loves…City Guide
  • ‘Learn Yerself Scouse’ Guide

You will see and learn about:

  • Local and International street art
  • Liverpool’s alternative shopping areas
  • Groundbreaking art installations
  • Local culture and community
  • Liverpool’s amazing history
  • Forgotten buildings and streets

Tours go ahead come rain, shine or apocalypse, but the route is tweaked to include more indoor stops between November and February.

Prices are as follows:

Adult: £11
Concessions : £9
Children: £5

To book visit https://sales.webticketmanager.com/seecrettours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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eastZeast

We only ended up in this Punjabi gaff opposite the Echo because literally everywhere else was shut on Christmas eve. I’ve hated Indian food ever since my first job at a takeaway when on my first shift, I dropped chicken on the floor and the chef sent me on my way to serve it.

I’ve also always had an irrational disdain for the letter Z because I’m Welsh and there’s no Z in the Welsh alphabet, so this place had a large cross to bear (cross? chilli pepper?) as I sauntered in past the faux palm trees and artificial waterfall. On that subject, don’t they know names have a capital letter? Grr, #creativewritingprobs.

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Inside it’s decadent to the highest degree, a bit like Dubai airport. You get multiple forks so you know this place is swank. I even decided against wearing my white-girl bindi for the occasion.

There was literally nothing on the menu I fancied, and this menu is absolutely gigantic. I was determined not to have the white-girl chicken tikka massala, but I was suspicious that the jalfrezi contained scrambled eggs so requested it minus the eggs.

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The anti-OCD in me is stressed

For starters I had garlic mushrooms, which were tasty but way too garlicky for my taste – basically, a bowl of garlic seasoned with mushroom.

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My meal arrived in a bucket (you all know how I feel about meals in buckets) but I only had a mouthful before getting distracted by my mum and my brother’s passanda and korma, which actually turned out to be amazing despite my Ffs-don’t-embarrass-me-with-your-korma-and-chips judgements. They were the tastiest I’ve ever had and I helped demolish both, and you even got free cocktail sticks to poke family in the eyes so they wouldn’t notice.

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Mum paid just under £120 for the four of us, but there were no holds barred and a ton of food which went to waste – tragic.

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The interior of this place aims for the classy fine dining vibe but falls a bit short, what with its silver diamanté embellished upholstered furniture. HOWEVER, the food is totally boss which alone would lure me back (as long as parentals pay again).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do one, gobshites

Tobias was tall, had dirty blonde hair and thought the soundtrack to my favourite movie, The Virgin Suicides, was boss. I met him on Plenty of Fish when I was 21. We went for drinks (yeah,  I know what you’re thinking) at the Pilgrim because the only thing I like better than vodka Slushies is multiple vodka Slushies.

This is where it gets ambiguous, but I want to emphasise: I remember what happened. I’m not someone who drinks and forgets. We were having a good time, but his last train was at 11pm. I was used to letting anyone and everyone stay over because I had a swish pad on Duke St pretty much all to myself. I was used to people crashing on the couch, and I’d think nothing of letting a pal I trusted share my bed. So I let him stay so we could watch movies.

But I always made the deal clear, and this time was no exception: this isn’t a veiled invitation for nookie. I’m not being coquettish and thinking we will inevitably hook up – I am genuinely letting you sleep on the sofa for convenience. I recall emphasising it one more time at the door to my apartment complex. He chuckled and said it was fine.

Fast forward and we’re sat on my bed deciding on a movie when he whacks on some porn. I gave an awkward ‘heh, heh…turn it off’.

I remember him pushing me down onto the bed and the sound of my underwear ripping. I remember saying I didn’t want to have sex – I don’t know whether to him, that meant everything else was free for all. He was rough.

He stuck his head down there (hope I hadn’t washed, at least). He wasn’t stopping so I moaned a couple of times to convince myself it didn’t count. Maybe I should have kicked and screamed more, but putting up with  a little was better than potentially putting up with a lot.

When it was over I slipped out of bed. The next morning he found me on the sofa and kissed me goodbye with a guilty look.

I wandered around L1 in a daze. I couldn’t stop the tears and plucked up the courage to tell someone. They said I was attention seeking.

Not to be crude, but he didn’t actually make me do anything to him. It was all for my “benefit”. Free sexual favours! Awesome! I thought nobody would take me seriously. Before, I never understood why people were afraid to tell anyone. Surely your word was enough? But all of a sudden I was questioning everything. Did drinking imply I was up for it? Did wearing a dress mean I was definitely up for it? Was I being a tease letting him stay? How could I be so naive?

It hurt for days. A few weeks later I texted him spelling out what he had done. He’d apparently had no idea, but blocked me anyway.

A woman on Crimewatch today was talking about her own Boxing Day sexual assault back in 2004 – how it had felt, how it made her feel now – and I felt funny and agitated. I couldn’t understand why.

What’s disturbed me the most is that I did such a good job of forgetting it ever happened. I’ve blocked out particularly scathing things people have said in the past, but to go so long without this crossing my mind seemed bizarre. I’ve seen countless invasions of personal space on TV in the intervening time, but I could never empathise and they never brought memories back. It seemed like it happened to someone else, and the only thing that reassured me it really did happen was the funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.

My boyfriend found him on Facebook and I was disturbed to see his face after all this time.

I’ll stew on it today, then push it to the back of my mind again. I’m writing this for therapeutic reasons, but also as a reminder for you to be mindful over the holidays: respect people’s boundaries. No actually does mean no. So do one, gobshites!

Red’s True Barbecue

It was Christmas eve-eve, and my parents were spending Christmas with me and my brother in the ‘Pool. He got to choose where we ate this time, and I wasn’t enthusiastic about this place because I am soo over the food served on shovels/miniature picnic benches/bin lids trend (check out http://www.twitter.com/wewantplates for a laugh).

Inside was chocka with rowdy 30-something blokes. A car hung from the roof, and all that good stuff blared (loudly) from a sound system – the White Stripes, Aerosmith, Foos, Arctic Monkeys.

I literally chose the donut burger because there was nothing on the menu I was arsed about. I don’t even like donuts.  But it was AMAZING. ‘Two steak patties, melted cheese, smoked peppered bacon, crispy onions and dirty sauce, all between two sweet glazed donuts. Served with frickles.’ That’s fried pickles to you, and even those were good. On that subject, anyone know if it’s just a myth that if you shove a cucumber inside a lady for 24 hours it’ll turn into a pickle?

At £12.95 it isn’t cheap, and normally £8 is the absolute maximum I’ll pay for a burger, but Dad was paying, and it was so good I’d be tempted to pay for it myself. Someday. Maybe. When hell freezes over. But still, if I had a willy I would make sweet love to this burger. It may even be the best burger I’ve ever had – the jury’s still out. Oh, and it wasn’t served on a bin lid.

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The menu suggests a ‘heavenly’ bevvie to compliment your scran, which normally I’d ignore because do one with your thinking you know what’s best for me, nobhead! But we all know how much I love lemons, and the Lemon Meringue Pie’tini sounded pretty damn heavenly: Absolut Citron, fresh lemon and lemon curd with a floating meringue foam on top.

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Our waitress Lucia was adorable and seemed genuinely gutted I hadn’t touched her cocktail yet (saving it for pudding, obv). I felt a bit sick by this point but know I’d have been all over it/it all over me if I was out on the town.

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The side of creamed corn was hands down the tastiest I’ve ever had, and the onion rings were the size of bangles. LOOK AT THEM.

Basically, the food here is boss and if you’re one of the few people still resisting, don’t bother cos you’re wrong.

 

 

 

Square eyes = square lives

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By Abby Boak

When was the last time you didn’t look at a screen ALL day, for like, 24 hours? Unless you live in the arse end of nowhere, or are practising to be ordained as a Buddhist monk, it’s likely you can’t remember a day in recent history in which you haven’t watched a TV, used your phone, or been at a computer. And certainly for those under 20, it’s highly likely that there may not have EVER been a day when you haven’t.

Technology is amazing. I seriously mean that I find it utterly, mind-bogglingly amazing and, to be frank, I’m often completely baffled and humbled by what it can achieve. But without humans, none of it, not even the wheel, would have a purpose. Sometimes though, it does become a burden – how often do you find yourself just checking work emails, spying on people over social media, getting just the right angle for that photo. It’s good to remind yourself sometimes that actually, it doesn’t own us – we own it.

My son and I have ‘No Screen Days’. The first one was a bit of a disaster with him totally flipping out and me at the end of my tether trying to entertain him, but now we completely relish those days. So if you fancy trying this new experience, either as an adult with child(ren) or on your own, here are my top tips.

1. PHONE OFF
Off, or even better: left at home, in a drawer, and off. These days finding a public phone that works and doesn’t cost Barry White’s weight in gold equates to finding the Holy Grail. However, Liverpool is such an ace city you’d be hard pushed to find a landlord/lady who wouldn’t let you use theirs. In the days before mobile phones, emergencies were dealt with by those who were there at the time – as is the case now!

2. WALK
Liverpool is SUCH an amazing city to walk around. Get off one stop before where you need to be, or park nearby, and then divert, go off-piste, get lost and ask people the way. Great exercise, fresh air – just invest in wellies, a waterproof, and a backpack.

3. RADIO
Before screens was the radio. And Oh My WORD does the radio have a lot to offer – music, dramas, documentaries, interviews, sport, news. Best thing is, you can do something else at the same time! Top tip: check out the student radio stations (we do have amazing universities here too).

4. PASTA
I could say cooking or baking here, but there are a few specific reasons for pasta. Making pasta is a long-winded process when you’re a novice so takes up a good chunk of your day; EVERYONE loves a gadget, and a pasta machine is SOOO exciting; you don’t have to be a cordon bleu chef – it’s pretty simple to get it right; and finally, you get to eat it. Amazing home-made pasta. NOM. Best place to get inspired for sauces: Delifonseca.

5. STATIONERY
Pens, pencils, note pads, paper. The list is not excessive, and therefore not expensive either. Draw, write, doodle, fold, cut, rip. We all did it without fear when we were kids, and we should continue into our adult lives. Best game for parents: Exquisite Corpse. Best suppliers: Rennie’s Arts & Crafts on Bold Street.

6. READ (OUT LOUD)
a) I’m not a big reader, and my son has quite severe dyslexia so is unable to read for himself the kind of books he’d like to. So I read aloud to him. Reading aloud slows us down, makes us understand the story more, gives us time to process what is happening and imagine what might come next.

b) Liverpool has libraries throughout the city, so sign up. I could EASILY spend half a day looking for the right book to take home. Note to check opening times!

7. SWIMMING
We have lots of amazing pools throughout the city, and if you’re under 17 any Lifestyles pools are free with your (also free) Futures membership card.

8. GALLERY
We are spoilt in Liverpool for amazing galleries: the Tate, the Walker, the Bluecoat, the Open Eye to mention just the big punters, and there are literally hundreds of other exhibitions on show throughout the city in cafés, bars, and studios. If you go with kids, just let them look at their own pace and buy a catalogue so you can research at home (on a non no-screens day of course!)

And when you log back in the next day, you’ll see that really, there’s nothing much you’ve missed; food porn, funny cats, or a party you’d rather not have been at anyway, and maybe one chore on your to-do list that has happened in the interim!

Have yourself a saucy little Christmas

Little less than a year ago I joined a Jazz-burlesque group (find Rachael Mellor Dance on social media if you’re interested!) Most of us had never danced on stage before, and as our performance dates drew nearer, we were drawn together by our insecurities – about back fat, about forgetting the routine, about whether we looked ridiculous in hot pants, about camel toes… But someone would always buoy you back up with reassurances that you definitely had ZERO back fat.

I’m a very jealous person and don’t like mixing friends and relationships. I wouldn’t even let the boy I was dating come to those performances because the thought of other more attractive girls prancing about in underwear made me insecure.

Now, that boy is my boyfriend and the other day I invited him to watch a burlesque show and support my friend Mandy, the hottie with pink hair. We sat right beneath the stage. I was vaguely jealous and uncomfortable, but for the first time, I wasn’t letting it rule my life. And I was proud to know my beautiful pal.

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Photo by Helen Basil

Joining is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends, or even a female best mate. I was always comfortable around boys but wary of girls because they can be so damn catty. This past year has taught me what it really means to be a woman; that your self worth shouldn’t be dictated by how many boys find you fit.

When I leave the room after being with these girls, I trust them not to speak badly about me. And I don’t speak badly about them, because I have nothing bad to say. They’ve made me trust other girls again, and I love every single one.

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Check out those nipple tassels on our new mascot, Fererro Rochelle! Photo by Justine Zoe.