The Euro Zone’s in meltdown. The Tories are running after our public services with the carving knife. And Joe Anderson’s on telly, saying we have to ‘prioritise our priorities’ – honestly, did this man get speech-writing advice from Donald ‘known-unknowns’ Rumsfeld?
Whatever; times is hard. And yet, according to people who splash these sort of figures around, we’re still spending £36 million a day on ‘little luxuries’ – unnecessary, unfrugal (infrugal?) little perks to give us a micro-lift in our otherwise recession-wrecked lives.
And that’s just in the SevenStreets office.
Actually, it’s not. We can’t afford an office. But, as Groupon and Living Social prove, we might have the wolf at the door, but we’re not going to open it unless we’ve grabbed a great deal on a facial and a Champagne breakfast first.
Liverpool’s not short of quick, pocket-money fixes to help us find happy. You don’t need to splash out £500 to join the hideousness of the Hilton’s Playground VIP club to put a spring in your step. It’s all about finding time to find your quick thrill. We’re sure you’ve got your own favourites. Here are some of ours.
Cocktails in Aloha
What time is it? It’s Tiki time. And what better way to splash your spare cash than blowing it on a Zombie: it’s a rummily delicious cocktail served in a volcanic dish (£10 deposit. Ceramic volcano serving dishes don’t come cheap, you know). While your lava erupts, you’ll be sucking three different kinds of rum through a straw, with Pernod, grenadine, and lots of other strange, exotic juices. You want to know why it’s called a zombie? Ask us when you fall over, smash the volcano on your head and lose your deposit. Link →
Ever been in the secret world of the ‘cabines’ at John Lewis? It’s like Narnia, but with whale music instead of overt Christian symbolism. And that’s fine in our books. A 60 or 90 minute facial will leave you glowing and gorgeous and – if you spend £25 quid on products, like, for your mum for Christmas – the whole shebang is free. That’s zero pence. For a facial. Argue with that.
The Breakfast Club at Marco Pierre White
Sadly, without that hideous 80s dance with Molly Ringwald. But with Champagne, and smoked salmon. And, what the flip, Eggs Benedict. All starting from just a fiver – and there’s no rush: it’s served until 12:30 at weekends. Yes, that’s almost worth cracking out the stock cubes for, Marco. Link →
Bold Street Coffee
Yeah, we’ve done the math. Buying a cup of coffee every morning is far, far more profligate than buying a jar of Nescafe and sticking the kettle on, and we’re sure it would make Martin moneysaving Lewis froth like a cappuccino. But is there a better way to start the day than a flat white and twenty minutes with free wi-fi? Perks you up for the day, and keeps your trouser change circulating in the local economy too. Link →
Get Thai’d Up
Sometimes, all we need is a good hug. Or, failing that, a right twatting from a sinewy Thai stranger. There are other, swankier, fancy-pants salons in town: but for our money, the best massage you can get for £20 – and still leave with your dignity intact – is at Birkenhead’s Kanokphons Traditional Thai Massage Studio. Ask for the herb balls. And say we sent you. You’ll be walking on air (and smelling vaguely of sage and onion stuffing) for hours afterwards. Link →
Lesley Rawlinson’s delicious cupcakes are the real deal – yes, there’s a tower of the fondant fancies around town, even Amanda Harrington’s had one or two in her oven, but Cupcakes In The City were one of the first to bake their way to our hearts. For £8.50 a person, Lesley will whip up some finger sandwiches, vintage crockery, tea and cupcakes and turn your afternoon into an episode of Poirot. Without the finger-pointing and awkward accusations. Link →
Buy An Art Deco Toaster
Liverpool’s original – and still the most eclectic – antiques and curiosity shop, 69a, is a Renshaw Street institution (and actually at No75 Renshaw Street!). Its dusty, dusky interior is crammed with trinkets, ceramics, earthy German vases and delicate napkin rings salvaged from the age of the great liners. We found a particularly dainty silver plated Art Deco toaster that once propped up melba toasts on the Queen Mary. Or so we were told. Still, it was a snip at £25, and is pride of place on on our formica breakfast bar. Link →
The view’s free. Well, it is if you’re drinking – and, thanks to its tasty new bar snacks menu, you can enjoy high (and fine) dining at the Panoramic. Finger food sized fish and chips for £12.50, for example. Go early evening, as the city starts to light up beneath you. It really is a special, out of the ordinary place. And you don’t need to tighten your belt to enjoy it. Link →
Always looked over at those posh folk in the private boxes at the Phil with a tinge of jealousy and bitterness? Hey, they’re closer than you think. And it’s a whole new level of comfort when you can position your chair just so. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra events, depending on the concert, range from £14 (family concerts) to £36 – £40 per seat for the main series. On film nights, boxes are £7 per seat. Grab six of your mates and you’ve got the box to yourself. Go on, rattle yer jewellery in time to Shostakovitch. Link →
Get Glammed Up at Peaches and Cream
Got a big night ahead? Make it even bigger. Make your eyelashes even bigger too. Grab a make-over session at our favourite funky cosmetic gurus, Peaches and Cream (main pic), on Dale Street. Give them half an hour, and they’ll give you a new face (small print: they can’t perform miracles). And they’ll throw in the falsies for free. False lashes, that is. Ready for your close up – all for just £30. Link →
You probably don’t have a yacht. But you’ve always wanted to drop anchor and have a barbecue on a sandbar in the Mersey Estuary, right? Well, gather your mates together and charter a yacht for the day. Yes, it’s possible. Liverpool Boat Charters have a sleek 45 foot vessel ready and waiting to take you to see Anthony Gormley’s Another Place from the best vantage point – out at sea. Or sneak up on the seals at Hilbre Island at sunset. Unforgettable. Parties of 12 for around £30 each. Link →