Friday, 29 November 2013

Betting Scarlett Present: The Mid Century Christmas Market

You have no idea how excited I am about this event! In just two weeks time on the 14th December, Bettina Scarlett will be hosting London's best vintage Christmas market to date at the Hammersmith Club. There will be many stalls selling many pretty, sparkly and shiny things for the festive season, including Lady K Loves, Pip Jolley Jewellery, Rosie Alia Hair Accessories, Oh Sew Vintage and many more! Plus there will be lots of festive tunes being spun from the disco jockeys over at Get Hot Or Go Home!

Check out the Facebook page for more details!

I've been a friend of the lovely lady behind this event since this summer, having modelled with her at the Hotrod Hayride and been a chalet buddy with her this Rhythm Riot, so I'm super excited about seeing her again, as well as lots of other friends from all over the country who I haven't seen since the summer!

Hopefully, depending on trains and finding somewhere to crash, I will be dancing the night away at The Boom Boom Room after the event too! Cannae wait!

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Monday, 25 November 2013

Little Scouse Secrets

You may have noticed in my last post that I briefly mentioned that I had moved back down south. I won't go into details on here with you as they are personal, but yes, I am okay now, and am back residing with parents back in Southampton. I thought as a fitting tribute to my adoptive I would give you my top five places to eat, drink and visit.

First's food!

An American sensation swept over Liverpool in the last few years, and saw the opening of several 'Man vs Food' style burger joints. My favourites of these would be Nolita Cantina on Bold Street and Free State Kitchen up by Hope Street. As a massive fan of corn dogs, Nolita is my go to place for these little nibbles of joy - can anyone tell me how to make these myself as they are my numero uno comfort food? FSK has a lovely little garden out the back which is great to enjoy your burger and fresh lemonade in (check out the specials on offer, you won't regret it).

TriBeCa is a yummy yum yum pizza place that has two restaurants in the city, one on Berry Street and other on Smithdown Road (most dangerous when you live a quarter of a mile from it). With such a range of toppings you are sure to find something you like, and the best thing is they're all under eight squid! Sticking with the pizza theme is a brilliant alternative to a regular fast food joint; American Pizza Slice also has two restaurants, one in Whitechapel and one in Waterloo, providing slices of American pizza pie for £1.99. Utterly delicious!

Now, I've saved the best until last because to say I love this place would be an understatement of gigantic proportions. I will confess something to y'all now...I may or may not have eaten at Lucha Libre three times in one week. Okay. I did. I admit it. But this place is beyond amazing! Opened by born and bred Mexican Luis Michel, Lucha specialises in Mexican street food and does the best tacos this side of the Atlantic. If you go to Liverpool - or Manchester, as they have just opened a branch there too - and do not eat a Cali Steak Burrito then you might as well not have gone at all! Plus, you can wash all this down with frozen marguarita from their sister bar, Maya, but I'll talk about those in the next section...

Who could resist this? (Sorry Lucha, had to nick this from your Facebook)

Next up...drinking! As a cocktail waitress and bartender I spent a lot of time in bars doing 'research' so here are my favourites.

This part is most likely going to be very biased by my old boss, the legend that is Danny Murphy, honestly co-owns the best bars in Liverpool; one of them has only just opened so I haven't actually been able to see it, but Jenny's I am coming for you! First up is Aloha, my old second home for eighteen months. It is a provider of blue skies in the grey clouds of northern England, bringing a firm sense of Polynesian paradise to Liverpool. Specialising in rum and tequila the bartenders (best in the biz, dontcha know) will shake you up anything you can dream of whilst the barbacks and waitresses bring the party, often dancing along with the guests. My personal favourites are the Junglebird (rum and Aperol based), the Saturn (gin based) and, for the brave, a Trinidad Sour (Angostura Bitters and Whiskey brave).

Fellow Aloha-ite Sarah and I enjoying a Dead Reckoning

My other two favourite Murphy bars are Berry & Rye and Some Place. Both of these places are going to take a little digging to find. If you walk along Berry Street, almost to the end at the Chinese Arch, you'll see a black door. Give it a little knock and (if you've got the right door, if not you'll look like a right ninny) you shall be transported back to a prohibition style speakeasy fresh from the back streets of New York, Chicago or Hollywoodland. Classic whiskey and gin cocktails are served with elegance and class, often accompanied by the gentle tinkling of the ivories or the lull of a blues guitar. To find Some Place (only open Thursday-Sunday, sorry) you need to walk down Seel Street until you see a little green light - no doubt powered by Green Fairy dust - follow the lights up the stairs and you will find a tiny little bar serving the best absinthe in town. Absinthe? Oh no! I couldn't possibly drink that! Well why not? Be a little adventurous! Like a mojito? Try the Absinthe Frappé - Scott knew as soon as I came up those stairs that is what I'd be ordering!

I mentioned Maya above and now I'll tell you why. Tequila is a beautiful liquor. Tequila is not just that scary shot you do at the bar that makes you feel sick. For beginners, try one of their flavoured Frozen Margaritas and for the advanced go for a Tommy's Magaritas (its with agave syrup rather than triple sec). They also have an amazing selection of cocktails designed in-house for a range of tastes. Again, be adventurous and put down the vodka!

Sticking with tequila, El Bandito is another hideaway underneath Santa Chupitos. It is the perfect place to finish off your night as it stays open until 5am, and sometimes even 6am! It's a great place for a last beer and shot before getting those chips and hitting the hay. But be warned, it is tiny. And I mean tiny. Be prepared to get squished if you do venture down there!

I do love me some tequila!

One last bar I'll mention is Salt Dog Slims. More American influence is felt in these walls from the décor to the drinks to the hot dogs you can munch on to line your stomach. Yes. They sell hot dogs. The most famous thing Salt Dogs is probably known for - apart from their eating contests - is their steins of Dortmunder beer. One pint is just not enough in this bar!

Last but by no means least I will give you some ideas of where to go in this fair city...

I suppose I am killing two birds with one stone with these first two suggestions. Lark Lane and Sefton Park are right next to each other but deserve their own separate nominations. Sefton Park is a famous and historical open space which is amazing all throughout the year. Many a day was spent there this summer, basking in the glorious heat by the lakes. It is equally beautiful in autumn and winter (try to catch the big fireworks display on Bonfire Night if you can!), and provides the perfect amble with a rest stop at the cafe. Or, a rest stop at one of Lark Lanes numerous restaurants and pubs perhaps? (That was a smooth link, wasn't it?) I tried to make it to most of these venues at some point in my Liverpool life - for a while I was going to live just off of it - and its variety caters for all. Bier does a great selection of beer, you have to get a patty from Raggas Caribbean restaurant, and Archer's ice cream parlour does gin and tonic flavoured sorbet! What more could you ask for?!

I caught a rainbow over one of the lakes at Sefton Park this summer
Liverpool is famous for having two cathedrals, one Catholic and one Anglican. Both are worth a visit for their architecture but if I had to choose one I would say the Anglican one, mainly because its more my thing, plus is surrounded by the most amazing cemetery. I kinda like cemeteries, don't judge me, blame the archaeologist in me! It's a Gothic wonder and the biggest in the world? Is that right? Someone correct me please.

I might as well stick with cemeteries at this point and guide you towards another. It's nothing special but I went past it nearly everyday for three years so it stuck in my heart a little. Toxteth Cemetery on Smithdown Road has some form of beautiful peace about it, and I often found myself just wandering around there looking at the gravestones and imagining what the people were like. I was lucky enough to be friends with the people at lived in the house at the entrance - boy did we have some parties!

I used to go to a lot of parties with the 'Graveyard House' people and one of our favourite haunts was the Kazimier. Apart from the bars I mentioned above, this is my favourite venue in Liverpool. The team there put on great gigs and nights in the main venue, but also convert their garden space in the summer to provide an open air bar and general hang out. I believe they have done another conversion for the winter, but I haven't been able to see it for myself yet. From vintage fairs to crazy and off the wall nights out, the Kazimer is the place to have you mind blown. Oh...and they have an absinthe bar too!

This summer, supping gin, at Curious Orange's Vintage Fair @ Kazimier Gardens

So that's it from me! These are my favourite places in Liverpool. It has been a fabulous three years and I look forward to visiting it again!

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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Rhythm Riot 2013

I ache. I ache a lot. The reason? Well, that might have something to do with the twenty or so hours of dancing followed by only about ten hours sleep I did this weekend. It was, of course, the weekend of the Rhythm Riot. This was my first time at this weekender, and it won't be my last. It was a last minute decision to go, but I thought, as I've moved back down south and I was offered space in a Chalet with Bethan (of Bettina Scarlett fame), Graham and Bethan's parents, it would have been rude to say no!

The difference between this event and others of a similar ilk, such as the Hotrod Hayride, is that this one is 70% about the music, 20% about the shopping and 10% about the cars. That's the right ratio for my needs! The music was all sorts, from doo-wop to soul to hillbilly, and the best thing didn't stop until 5am! Yes! I was dancing until 5am! On the note of dancing, I have never jived in my life until now! I am still pretty poor, but everyone has to start somewhere, and the Rhythm Riot really was the best place to start. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my three main partners - none of you whose names I got - because you really taught me the basics. Also, one of you was pretty handsome, and I would especially like to thank you for that last dance.

Ray Collins' Hot-Club

Lights Out
Nikki Hill

Once again, the Riot saw me donning the uniform of the Atomic cheerleaders, but this time I also had the pleasure of being part of the Atomic Air Hostess crew. Boy oh boy were those uniforms fabulous! I shall leave you a teaser of the outfit below, but I shall write up a separate post for them because it was such an amazing experience it deserves to shine separately. As a result of taking part I met, and re-met, some amazing ladies, all of whom were simply brilliant. I look forward to partying many more nights away with them!

(Nick Grant Photography) L-R Jade, Carrie, Kessie (of Lady K Loves), Me, Eeva, Holly, Cal, Jodie 

One thing I was certainly not expecting was to end up on stage twice in one night, especially not as one of those times including me singing! Understand this, I cannot carry a tune in a bucket. But what sort of gal is going to turn down an opportunity to be up on stage with Bobby Brooks Wilson? Utterly awesome moment in my life.

Photo by Tony Bruce

Although the nights were spent dancing away, the days were relaxing, mostly spent shopping, watching bands in the Queen Vic (no, not that Queen Vic!) and, on the Sunday, pootling down to Rye in the cruise. I didn't buy anything (I'm poor and unemployed, you see) but I reckon I could have spent thousands! Some absolutely beautiful vintage things and some equally lovely reproduction pieces to be had. I was a cheerleader at the cruise which was...cold. A great experience but oh I was nippy noodles!

I think what can be gathered from my ramblings here is that I absolutely loved the Rhythm Riot. If you get the opportunity go, take it! Take it by the horns! You will not regret it! Now, is six months enough time for my body to recover? Just about I think!

Now to leave you with some memories...

Myself with Graham on my left and Jonathan on my right, with a cheeky Jordan in the background

Sunday night is Hawaiian night!

My girl Bethan

Finally meeting my pen pal, Noo!

Beautiful ladies
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