I didn't ask Nadine any of the usual questions I ask when I stop people, that is because she is an old mate from fashion school who I haven't seen for 25 years. And I'm telling you readers, she looks even better than ever. Look at that outfit, that hair, HOW BOSS IS THAT! As you can tell I'm made up to have bumped into a gorgeous old friend and expect a lot more pictures of her when I get to raid her wardrobe.
I'd hate to be a men's fashion designer as it always feels like such a tricksy area.Men are traditionally more conservative dressers, and although we would all like to see them push the flamboyance boat out a bit more, it is a very fine line between looking interesting and downright WTF. As usual the mens collections, which are being shown in London this week, are a mix of the classic, interesting and jaw droppingly awful. My personal preference is for what we do in Britain exceptionally well, quality tailoring, fabrics and interesting details, but hey there must be a market out there for pink mohair sportswear, isn't there?
Christmas shopping is a nightmare, Christmas shopping with kids is enough to send me into a psychotic state. And, as every right thinking parent knows, the best way to get the little blighters to stop moaning/kicking off is to dangle a treat over their heads in exchange for a bit of peace. Liverpool One has thought of this. Oh yes, only this level of genius can come from my home city.
Up on Chavasse Park, they have built a little winter wonderland to not only pacify the sproglets, but there is also something for us harassed parents to enjoy. Yes there is a Santa's Grotto, but at Liverpool One there is also a Santa's Workshop which has loads of crafty activities, a very nice touch. The kids can make their own Christmas stocking courtesy of the Button Boutique or decorate a cupcake, most of which will thankfully be eaten before they thrust their crumbling efforts into your hand to hold.
Now onto the ice rinks. There is a smaller one for the smaller people and the adult one. I have to own up, I didn't have a go. Owning a centre of gravity that sits somewhere on my forehead, this was always going to be a non starter. However, Liverpool One, if you are listening, if there was a little penguin I could have clung onto like you provide for the kids, then I might have have chanced it.
What's in this for the adults? I hear you asking. Well you could pretend you are in Scandinavia and pop along to the Ice Bar for a cocktail. Made entirely out of ice, you can sup whilst wearing the thoughtfully provided thermal cape. Wear it, it is freezing, it is an ice bar remember, this is no time for worrying about showing your frock off. You do have to book to go so I would suggest you pop up and do this before you do your shopping. As well as the above delights, there is an Apres Bar for drinks and snacks and loads of other activities. The only problem you are going to have is persuading the kids (or your mate) to go home. I haven't mentioned Liverpool One very much on this blog, not sure why, because it has in a very short time become an intrinsic part of Liverpool life. Choc a block with the usual high street names, it also has to coin that old cliche, something for everyone. For me I can swoon away in Whistles and The Kooples and my beloved John Lewis, whilst others prefer Pretty Green and the Doc Martin shop. Oh and don't forget, Harvey Nicks have done another pop up shop for food, you can all buy my presents from there. It is a bit of a fashion mecca, which covers all tastes and prices points, as well as hosting some niche and local brands such as Utility. It's not just shopping at Liverpool One. It has quite a few nice restaurants and bars. you could do like I did and pop along to Jamies Italian for some porchetta, or La Lunya for tapas. Basically whatever you fancy, you can get it here from posh burgers to sushi. And finally, one thing you probably don't know about Liverpool One. The Liverpool One Foundation, which provides support for good causes in and around our fair city, for the following three themes: The prevention and relief of poverty, education and skills and social and community advancement. They can provide funding with grants ranging from £500 to over £5000. I like a bit of feelgood.
One of the best things about Twitter is when you accidentally stumble across someone who happens to be outrageously talented and a Scouser to boot. This is how I came across Paul Holden's video for One Sign of Life. A haunting beautiful song which touches your heart and stays there. Paul started recording in 2002, after being taken under the wing of Liverpool legends, The Real People. After some solo shows, he formed a band The Talkabouts in 2004 who were on the edge of serious attention, after supporting giants such as The Pretenders, Shack and The Bluetones before they split. He signed to Martin O'Shea's Bold Management in 2011 and it busy putting the final touches to an as yet untitled EP, which he assures me is " 5 tracks of the best stuff I have written by a country mile". Another local legend (yes I know, we have shedloads of them here in this fine city), Ian McNabb plays on four of the tracks, which just goes to show how highly Paul is thought of by Liverpool musos. Keep an eye out here for news of the release of the EP, Paul has promised us an early listen and I will be banging the drum for it here very loudly.
I'n not a tea drinker, but I do love my coffee, and what makes a good cup of coffee great is the receptacle it is served in. Last Christmas I treated myself to two of the above mugs by local ceramicist Alison Appleton. And they are items of perfectly balanced beauty. I've long been a collector of white porcelain, mainly Spode and these magnificent mugs rival the classics in every sense. Not swinging to the tea side, I can only admire her beautiful tea pots for their good looks, but I still want one. With Christmas around the corner and the dreaded ramp up of the High Street brands pushing their wares at us. Take a step back and invest in some quality local talent for your gifts. Alison's cups and tea pots are available from her website, the Made Here shop in the Met Quarter and for those out of town, Not on the High Street.