I'm MissCay from Manchester. I've been Qyping since 03-02-2010
"By Dread I'm Inspired, By Fear I'm Amused"
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22-36 Church Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 3AW
01-02-2011 (updated on 04-05-2012)
It’s big, it’s loud and it’s often full of teenage girls. It must be the Liverpool branch of Topshop, that temple of tat which appears to emit the kind of high pitched signal that only the under 25s can hear.
Then again, I could just be cynical. After all, I am ‘old’ (well, if 28 can be considered old nowadays) and I look bloody awful in skinny jeans (mainly because they have the curious capacity to make my thighs look like hippos). I am not the key demographic that these kinds of stores cater to. And, to be generous, their make-up is OK. As is their jewellery (which, unlike the stuff you buy in Primark won’t turn your fingers green), their scarves, and even their shoes.
Arguably, once you’ve been to one Topshop, you’ve been to them all. And I’m certainly not going to disagree with that statement. But, if you want cheap on-trend fashion, quite frankly, this is probably the only High Street store you’ll ever need.
36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M4 1HN
MadLab (or Manchester Digital Laboratory as it's better known) is a true melting pot for Mancunian creatives of all shapes and sizes. Situated in a1000 sq. ft. former shop in the Northern Quarter – it's a community space for people who want to do and make interesting stuff - a place for geeks, artists, designers, illustrators, hackers, tinkerers, innovators and idle dreamers to test out their ideas before releasing them into Manchester's creative communities. Handily, it's also a place which serves a great afternoon tea of a Sunday if you're ever in the area too.
Whilst I've not yet used MadLab with my digital creative hat on, I have used it as a space to make Kimchi (pickled spicy garlic Korean vegetables in case you were unaware). I went to one of their Kimchi making classes last week, and was immensely impressed by how professional and friendly everyone was. For £30, I got to meet new people, make some seriously delicious food, and fill my boots with delicious Korean spiced Pork Belly. And Lord knows I'll put up with a lot for unlimited supplies of Pork Belly.
MadLab is just what Manchester needs - a space where creative and talented freelancers can come together, bounce ideas around and create something beautiful to release into the big wide world. Places like this help to cement the city's reputation as an innovative and damn cool place for people to live, work and create. With stuff like this on our doorstep, who needs London anyway?
6 The Parade, Alderley Edge, Manchester, Greater Manchester SK9 7JX
Over the Christmas period, I found myself wandering around Alderley Edge and in desperate need of coffee and a bite to eat. So, I decided to give the Fruit Cake Café a look. Situated near Alderley Edge station, this place is 'yummy Mummy' central - full of ladies that lunch, and ladies that pretend to lunch but don't really as they're 'watching their figure'. When I went in on a blustery Saturday afternoon, the place was packed to the rafters with parents and their children who all appeared to have popped in for a bite to eat after attending various Saturday clubs and the suchlike.
Despite the fact it was busy, the staff were wonderfully attentive and polite. Indeed, it often felt like they couldn't do enough for me - recommending different flavours of coffee, and giving me extra pieces of toast to accompany my (delicious) Vegetarian all-day breakfast when it appeared as though I was getting low on all important carb supplies.
However, despite this, I couldn't help leaving with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Whilst I was dining, a small child was running around the cafe screaming her head off, running out of the door and into traffic and generally causing a bit of a disturbance whilst her parents sat back doing nothing. I hate being one of those people who tuts when children are boisterous around them, as - after all - kids will be kids and are by their very nature noisy. However, this particular child was disturbing myself and numerous other diners whilst their parents looked on. When my waitress was clearing my plate, she apologised to me for the disturbance, but said that she couldn't say anything to them as they were 'regular customers'. What about my custom, and the custom of the other diners? Were we second class citizens because we didn't come to eat there every weekend?
I can imagine the Fruit Cake Café being a great place to take your kids if you're in the area as it's openly family friendly (and, rather refreshingly, won't tut at mothers if they decide to breastfeed their kids in public). However, if they're reading this, please take into consideration your other customers if there's ever a noisy misbehaved child running around the place!
27 South John Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 8BU
I always feel torn when I walk into a branch of Lakeland. On one hand, I am convinced that it is one of the seven circles of Hell - filled with enough tat and 'helpful kitchen gadgets' (and I use the term loosely) to make even the most ardent Delia Smith acolyte flush with rage. For example, they sell a cupcake maker. A CUPCAKE MAKER. Seriously? Is that how far society has come? That people don't even feel as though they can use a normal everyday oven to cook cupcakes anymore? As you may have guessed from this review so far, this annoys me greatly.
And then there's the pricing. Oh Mr (or Miss, I believe in equal rights when it comes to being annoyed about kitchenware) Lakeland. Do you really expect me to pay £3 for a dodgy wooden spoon which I can get for £1 a Poundland? Do I look like I'm made of money?
Then, on the other hand, it can be bloody useful. Need a jam thermometer in a hurry? (OK, so this might be a statement which only applies to myself) Or a cake tin in the shape of a train? Then this is the place to go.
Lakeland - it's the lazy cooks dream store. Doubt they'll be asking me to front an ad campaign for the place any time soon though.
Whitechapel, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 6DA
I've always been a bit wary of Hobbs. I always thought that it was a bit posh and totally unworthy of classless shysters like me - especially as it's housed in the Met Quarter (possible the poshest shopping emporium in the whole of Liverpool). Oh, how wrong I was!
I nipped in there today to try out a dress I'd been eyeing up on their website, and it was love at first sight. I could easily have bankrupted myself buying shoes, handbags and gorgeously tailored dresses galore. When I tried on the dress that I'd been fancying, the changing room staff couldn't do enough to help me - offering me advice on the best accessories to team with it (without giving me a hard sell) and pulling the garment around me in the right way to accentuate my best angles. It reminded me of something my Mum or my best friend would do whenever we went shopping. But in the best possible way.
Yes, OK, Hobbs is a bit pricey. But at the end of the day, I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for. And if I'm going to spend £100+ on a dress, I damn well want to be treated right. If you're looking for well tailored, fashionable clothing that will make a statement and won't fall apart after a few washes, this is definitely a store you should add to your shopping radar.
65-67 Bold Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 4EZ
Leaf on Bold Street is a Scouse sensation. The sister venue of the acclaimed Leaf Tea Bar on Parliament Street, I would go so far to say that this is one of the prettiest drinking dens in Liverpool - if not the whole of the North West of England.
The interior is a delight, filled with the kind of deft design touches tailor made to make any hipster swoon. It's definitely the type of place where you could easily spend your afternoon slouching on a sofa with a good book. Their teas aren't too bad either. If you can name it, they usually serve it - a dizzying array of herbal delights, from Flowering White Tea to English Breakfast to (my personal favourite) Turkish Apple Tea. All of these are served in authentic Chinese Gaiwan cups (http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/01/tea-technique-gaiwan-b...) - which, because you effectively have to strain the tea yourself can get quite messy - although it is quite fun too.
Their food isn't too bad either. Uncomplicated without veering too dangerously into the realms of pub-food-by-numbers, Leaf on Bold Street serves up a wide range of light snacks, as well as relatively heartier fare. Their Soup & Sandwich deal for £6 is excellent value, especially when you take into consideration that their sandwiches are huge doorstop type affairs, packed with delicious and adventurous fillings. Their bar snacks are pretty decent too - chorizo served in a rich, meaty red wine sauce, hot fluffy balls of fresh falafel with homemade hoummus, popcorn flavoured with parmesan which goes far too well with an icy cold beer. After one bowl of these, you'll never want to go back to Kettle Chips again.
As you've probably gathered from this review, I adore Leaf on Bold Street. Indeed, it's rapidly becoming my second home. Whilst I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that it's the best bar in Liverpool (especially as The Shipping Forecast now has its very own N64), it's definitely up there at the top - and somewhere you really should go the next time you're in Liverpool.
15 -19 Berry Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 9DF
TriBeCa is one of those places that I walk past every day and have never given a single thought to. Why, I'm not exactly sure. I think that I had somehow gained the impression that it was a bit up itself, and full of rather dodgy blokes in Ben Sherman shirts attempting to chat up pieces of skirt. How wrong I was.
I decided to challenge my misconceptions of the place by popping in here for a lunchtime pizza and a beer the other day. I was immediately taken by the interior - light and airy without being too garish, TriBeCa is festooned with framed covers of Rolling Stone, bright green walls, and a space solely devoted to clocks. They were also playing Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold' on their jukebox when I entered as well, which, seeing as it's one of my favourite songs, was always going to endear me to the place.
My pizza was put down in front of me in a reasonable amount of time and was delicious - light, flat and crispy with just the right amount of topping. Plus it wasn't too expensive either - £5.99 for a meal that filled me up for the rest of the day!
The best part though was undeniably the dessert. I decided to indulge in a rum soaked chocolate sponge but, when I was ordering it, I was told by our server that his Mum (who had made the cake) had run out of rum so had had to use creme de cacao instead. Homemade cakes! Made by someone's Mum! Perhaps I'm just a bit gullible when it comes to desserts, but that charmed my socks off. Of course, it helped that it was delicious too - rich, sticky, chocolate and decadent. Although possibly not the best thing to be scarfing down when you've got to walk up a huge hill back to you office.
TriBeCa is leisurely, friendly and - best of all - relatively inexpensive if you're looking for a lunctime treat. I look forward to coming here again - if only to try some more of their home made desserts (and maybe a cheeky cocktail or two!)
567 Wilbraham road, Chorlton-cum-hardy, Manchester, Greater Manchester M21 0AE
Sadly, from the looks of things Dulcimer and its sister venue, Chilango have both closed their doors for now. (Well, it was in Manchester Confidential which means it must be true - http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/Sleuth/Sleuth/Sle...)
This is a crying shame, because I'm sure that I'm not the only freelancer in Chorlton who used to shack up in Dulcimer during the day to gorge themselves on pate and pints whilst they were working, and then pop down there at night to sup on real ale whilst listening to a bit of folk. I also used to love their Krautrock nights which often saw me shaking my booty in a rather unladylike manner to Can, as well as the live gigs they'd often put on there.
Rumour has it that Dulcimer is being done up and will soon rise like a phoenix from the flames. I hope so. Somehow I can't really imagine Chorlton without it.
75 Bold Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 4EZ
People of Liverpool! Fed up with Elizabeth Duke? Are the wares of H. Samuel no longer ringing your bells? Then be sure to check out Bold Street's independent jewellery retailer, F.A Welch - gentlemen jewellers in every sense of the term.
I went in there at lunchtime today to see about getting my engagement ring resized. Unfortunately, they were unable to attend to my ring-resizing needs, but the gentleman behind the counter did it in such a lovely way, that I'm quite tempted to drag my fiancee back here and ask him to purchase me a new ring from the dazzling specimens they had on offer. He also measured my ring finger and told me that I have 'very warm and very cute' hands. Bet you don't get that at Argos.
Best of all, all of its stock appeared to be very reasonably priced, meaning you can pick up a bit of pretty and tasteful bling without breaking the bank. Bargaintastic!
Manchester, Greater Manchester M4 4AA
Ahhh, Shudehill Interchange - you glittering palace of delights. No longer just a place to catch the free bus into town, or the Megabus to London, this is a gateway - a Mecca even - of the North West transportation world. New and gleaming, you can get buses and trams here - and I've heard from an anonymous source that there's a plan to install a helicopter landing pad.
Come here, and prepare to be dazzled.
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