Tag Archives: North West

6 Months and Counting

I bloody love a countdown, about as much as I love a challenge and 2016 will test me to the absolute limit.

September is a busy month for me with three little dudes starting new schools, seeing friends after the summer break, birthdays and re-settling into nursery routines. So in my infinite wisdom I thought, why not make that entire schedule more pressured by adding a whole new dimension.

September 11th welcomes the Tough Mudder challenge to the north west. A half-marathon distance littered with obstacles to test even the fittest of participants including ice, fire and gulp….electricity…not to mention all the mud.

This morning I have happily paid the grand total of £90 to take part in this frankly terrifying challenge, and that’s exactly what I love about it. Its a challenge, not a race. Its about camaraderie, team work and sheer determination.

It’s also about commitment. I’ve now committed to six months of serious hard graft to build physical and mental strength as I have none, zilch. (I had to mop my kitchen floor yesterday to stop me and the kids eating any more snacks before dinner) see….none!

So that’s me done, signed on the dotted line. I’m feeling positive, apprehensive but positive. I can train, I can conquer my fears and I can do this. There’s only one question left to answer now.

Who’s with me?

For more info and to hold my hand through this terrifying experience, check out Tough Mudder here. …please….anyone!?

 

 

 

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Community Spirit

Early Sunday morning was more eerie than the zombie apocalypse of Friday night for me as I walked quickly down a deserted Allerton Road towards the 156 RLC Regiment head quarters. Comforted only by the Costa hot chocolate warming my hands, I wondered what I’d let myself in for when I agreed to report on a community fun day in partnership with the Mather Avenue Tesco superstore……which had completely vanished in the dense fog.

For those who don’t know the area, Allerton is a beautiful suburb of Liverpool that is surrounded by lush green parks and boasts a thriving high street with national chain stores and independent businesses alike. There is a proud community feel to the area, with a busy library, well maintained green spaces and flower boxes dotted around the busy coffee shops. The small cluster of wine bars and pubs create enough bustle for a decent night out without causing havoc to the quiet residential areas. In short, Allerton rocks!

Luckily I made it, unscathed to Tesco car park and was greeted warmly by the 156 Reserves field kitchen who were cooking up a breakfast storm following an in-store trolley dash that Dale Winton would’ve been proud of!

Bacon butty in hand I met Tesco Community Engagement Officer and Wonder Woman Sam Campbell who, alongside 156 Regiment had come up with the idea of running an event to reach out to the wider community, shoppers and also other business owners to say thank you for their on-going custom and support. 156 Regiment have a 100 year history in the north west and are fiercely proud of their local connections. Many of the current reserves live and work in the area and enjoyed the opportunity to chat to the public about their roles supporting the regular Army.

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Kids at the event had a ball, donkey rides (I took about 50 photo’s of the adorable Paddy and Guinness …..I’d really like a donkey for Christmas now…hint hint) plus paint-balling, bouncy castles, penalty shoot out and larking about in military vehicles all washed down with slushies, candy floss and cake! That’s how to end the half-term holidays.

No community event would be complete without a visit from a high-profile guest. Liverpool Lord Mayor Tony Concepcion and his wife and Mayoress, Ann arrived to show their support for building strong community links that benefit the city as a whole and happily had a go at paintball before judging the bake-off competition.

I managed to wolf down just the one plate of award winning Army field kitchen chicken curry and rice (but only because I was supposed to be working) to ward off the cold, before saying goodbye to the donkeys and heading home to write up my notes and add all the pics to the gallery, here.

There’s something undeniably heart-warming about spending time with people who genuinely care about and make an effort for others. It’s contagious….and the Allerton community are dedicated to keeping that spirit alive.

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Liverpool Loves

This morning I met 150 people in less than an hour…..nope not another disastrous attempt at speed dating…but an utterly brilliant business festival at the iconic Cunard building….welcome to three day festival..Liverpool Loves.

As a trainee journalist with a passion for everything marketing, PR and art based in the north west, I thought it would be a good idea to meet as many local companies and training providers as possible to find out first hand, how local businesses and media agencies build working relationships. I’ve been away from the north west for almost 3 years and Liverpool as a city has evolved into something almost unrecognizable. Business is booming, job opportunities for self-starters and apprenticeships are growing and there is a whole host of independent traders popping up, making the city center more diverse than ever before. Liverpool is an exciting place to be.

I couldn’t have picked a better event to begin my learning journey. I chatted easily with many passionate, friendly people and I came away feeling overwhelmed but elated with a tree worth of printed information about tailored support and mentoring. The Women’s Organisation, Launch 22 and Agent Marketing all providing practical solutions, training opportunities and advice that really opened my eyes to how media and business work hand in hand to reach wider yet specific audiences, enabling new start-ups to flourish. I enjoyed today immensely and feel much more confident about approaching the companies I have an interest in. My (humble) advice if you have a business idea, want more information about starting out or just want to feel inspired by people really making a go of it….be confident….get off your bum and go speak to them…..buy them a coffee and have a chat….they’re human too!

As per my tweet earlier today. Hats off to Liverpool Loves organizers Orb Events CIC if the business festival was just the launch event…the next two days of music, food, health and well being are going to be truly spectacular. I’ve added my photos to the Inspiration page, can you spot any famous faces?

For all the listings of whats on at Liverpool Loves please click here. For Business, for families, for everyone!

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The Dress Agency CIC

The Dress Agency CIC is like no other clothing store I’ve come across before. I’m going to do you a huge favour and pass on the info about this little diamond of a thrift shop! You’ll be unable to thank me enough if you love high end, good quality labels such as Burberry and Vivienne Westwood at ridiculously low prices. Plus the added bonus is The Dress Agency CIC invests its profits back into the local community, so essentially you’re making the world a better place by shopping! Yay, go you!

 I was enticed into the shop by a window display showcasing an outfit Jackie O or Marilyn would have rocked in their hey day. The handmade salmon pink halter dress, made from fabric printed with ladies in cloche hats, flared beautifully from the waist, complimented by pale pink courts and a fresh white ladies umbrella to battle the turbulent weather. A clever use of colour against the grey backdrop of the looming clouds and slick tarmac. Next to the ensemble sat a pair of black Converse mid boots, a black spotted dress with a draped long-line pink lounge jacket and a popart style handbag, possibly Paul’s Boutique?! I had you at Jackie O, right?

The Dress Agency has expanded massively over the last three years which speaks volumes about how people are shopping for clothes in 2015. The main store compromises three street level rooms with rack upon rack of garments, shoes, handbags and jewelry plus a newly converted basement level that is beautifully designed to show off a huge vintage collection, including feathered hats and gloves against the backdrop of the original Smith fire range, exposed brick and coal chute. Eeeee they don’t make them like that anymore! (must be said in a geordie accent for full effect)

Owner, Leah Hobson was kind enough to explain just how a CIC led business works and allowed me to take a few photo’s of my favourite pieces currently in stock. (Its fair to say we also spent over an hour discussing favourite labels, The Bowes Museum YSL event and why Mulberry changed their design fob from silver to bronze…..I know…random)

  What is a CIC I hear you cry? Its basically a community interest company. Leah invites clients to bring in good quality clothing and accessories which when sold, The Dress Agency takes an agreed cut and reinvests that profit into training and employment opportunities for local people. Leah has connections all over the North of England and provides a friendly service to those seeking specialist items such as prom dresses and 1970’s vintage wedding gowns to original embroidered velour lounge suits (think more Golden Girls and less Juicy Couture).

After trying on every Burberry Mac and Irregular Choice shoe in my size I dragged myself back out onto the Barnard Castle high street. If you live in the North East and love fashion you simply must go visit The Dress Agency. I’ve added more photos to my Inspiration page….you can find them here.

Friends in the North West….we need a Dress Agency all of our own…..who’s with me?! 

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