A (predictably) late round up of October

Remember a couple of week’s ago I promised my round up of October would be up within days? Well, the lie detector results are back and let’s just say Jeremy Kyle would frothing at the mouth right now; calling me a liar and demanding I get a job. I don’t really have an excuse. I want to say I’ve been busy but I don’t think intense self loathing and making a string of bad life decisions counts as a valid activity unfortunately. Shame.

Luckily, I’ve still got an inflated ego and just enough narcism left  in me to believe that anyone truly cares what I got up to weeks and weeks ago so here it is, better late than never.

http://hassadityhair.com/shop/?orderby=rating What I Wrote 

10 things generation rent can relate too

9 pros of having a long distance best friend

The shit that happens in your twenties 

5 reasons a female only gym is the future

The ones before The One

Here’s why you should date a Scouser 

cytotec no prescription needed 200mcg What I did

In the midst of a Sunday afternoon of crippling anxiety, self loathing, regret and general hangover vibes I pledged that I wanted to start having more wholesome weekends; less drinking, more good old fashioned fun. Spoiler alert – I haven’t exactly worked out but I did manage one amazing sober(ish) day of activities throughout October in the form of breaking out of a locked room and vegan food. Doesn’t sound like the best way to spend a Sunday you cry? Hear me out.

source url Breakout Liverpool

I’ve started my fresh, hangover free Sunday tweeting that I was fresh and hangover free. What’s the point of not drinking yourself into a state on a Saturday night if you can’t be unbearably smug online the next day? After being so annoying on Twitter that half my followers probably muted me, I headed across town to meet Michael, Jenny and Lee to have a go at escaping one of the rooms at Breakout Liverpool.

If you’re unfamiliar with Breakout then just imagine Crystal Maze but without that creepy guy following you around giving snide, sarcastic ‘advice’. In teams of 2-5 you’re locked* in one of their various themed rooms with 60 minutes on the clock with whole hosts of clues and riddles you need to crack in order to get the key you need to make your big escape.

*Don’t worry fellow anxious types – there’s an emergency exit clearly visible.

As it was near Halloween and I’m a morbid little emo at the best of times, we opted for The Facility room (4/5 difficulty). The idea is you arrive at an unknown location for a once in a lifetime opportunity; a conference held by the critically acclaimed, Dr. Andrews.  What you don’t know, is that Dr. Andrews has gone mad, creating a string of tests that have gone disastrously wrong. He has brought you here for his final experiment. You have one hour to escape his maze of tricks and games, before a deadly virus kills you all.

Now obviously there is no actual threat to your life but some irritating dickhead started acting like breaking out really was a matter of life and death; bossing people around and actually saying at one point “Okay, you’ve had enough fun now – back to work” when someone dared to take a second off cracking codes and clues to have a laugh. The dickhead in question is me and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Jenny and Lee for turning into Monica Geller on speed and being the Himmler to Michael’s Hitler as we ran around trying to solve puzzles and find keys. What can I say – I believe that if you’re not taking fun, easy going games way too seriously then what’s the actual point of it all?

We managed to break out with twenty minutes left on the clock and guys, when the staff started praising us and saying it was one of the best escapes they’d seen all day it went straight to my head. I know deep down it’s their job to shower praise on their customers and make them feel good but I live for validation from strangers so I took it and run with it. Just look how pleased I look with myself on the picture! 

My finest achievement of 2016. Depressing but true.

My finest achievement of 2016. Depressing but true.

I’m absolutely sold on Breakout. It’s escapism, literally and metaphorically. For up to an hour (or 40 mins if you’re amazing like me and break out fast) your brain is distracted from all your weird thoughts and feelings and the only thing on your mind is cracking the bloody codes.

So far, so sober and feeling as good as I do after 10 drinks.

Las Iguanas 

When you think of Las Iguanas you think 241 cocktails in Liverpool One and the venue suggestion of where to go on your date by that lad you’ve been speaking to on Tinder, don’t you? You don’t ever think ‘Wow, I bet they have an extensive, varied and tasty separate menu exclusively for vegans and vegetarians” do you? Well, you should because they do and it’s pretty impressive. Yep, with a dining party that consisted of a vegan, a dairy free pescartian who slips up now and again when drunk/at Barburrito and two lads who’ll do as they’re told, we made our post Breakout high selves to Las Iguanas to see how their menu caters to the pretentious diners in the world.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never eaten at Las Iguanas before. Normally, I’m in there, abusing the cheap delicious cocktails and adopting the mentality ‘eating’s cheating’ but I am so glad I finally stopped being a low-key functioning alcoholic and got some scran for once. Guys, this place is a utopia for vegans and veggies. How many times have you been to a restaurant and the non meat option (singular, not plural in most cases) has been an after thought; a boring risotto or a bland bean burger more often than not. Las Iguanas don’t subscribe to this nonsense though – with a whole menu dedicated to those who swerve meat and dairy we had plenty to choose from. 

Just look at all that glorious scene! We had Nachos, Taco Planks, Halloumi Churrasaco Skewers Fiesta Ensalada and my personal fav, Moqueca De Palmitos  (Butternut squash, palm hearts & spinach in a creamy coconut curry with charred red peppers, garlic & fresh tomatoes. With spring onion rice, sweet plantain, pico de gallo & a coconut farofa to sprinkle) which you would have no idea was vegan. I know that sounds like such a smug, wanky vegan thing to say (and I’m not even vegan, just smug and wanky) but it’s true.

And of course, we got a few cocktails too. Look, I know I was meant to be having a Sober Sunday but when they’re 241 it’s cheaper to neck a few Dark & Stormy mixes than it is to order a Diet Coke. Probably. Maybe. I don’t know but I’m sticking to my theory as my way of defending my love of alcohol.

As we left I noticed a sign on the door that stated that all tips go direct to the staff. No little nasty fees taken off like the rats at Pizza Express and other places do. Is right, Las Iguanas you babes. Always nice to know you’ve just eaten in a venue that doesn’t take advantage of their staff like little Tories.

The next time a boy asks me on a date to Las Iguanas I won’t turn my nose up but instead be excited to order from my own special menu and bore him about the importance of tipping. 

What articles I’ve been reading 

Letting fee are awful, and Philip Hammond is right to ban them  I imagined my old letting agents having breakdowns at the news today in the office and lads, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty turned on.

Liverpool Empire: White Christmas Review  Michael is my hilarious mate and I hate the fact he’s funnier than me so this might be the first and last time I link his work as i’m petty and bitter.

Documenting Trump’s abuse of women A nice cheery read for you all.

America, We’ve been there and here’s how to cope over the next few days About that dick Trump again but at least time it’s a funny piece

Rating exactly how Yer Da the first episode of The Grand Tour is  LOL

The BBC is doing the far right’s work for it Quick reminder that it’s not ‘Alt Right’, it’s ‘Neo Nazi’

What to do if you can’t afford a therapist? Cause being broke and depressed is my entire brand, after all.

“I was so embarrassed I cried” – Do parents share too much online? Cba to read? Take my word for it, they do.

Every Italian will receive 500 euros to spend on books on their 18th birthday I just think this is WONDERFUL and wanted to put a happy story amongst the misery I’m linking you all too.

I stopped wearing a poppy when it no longer meant ‘never again’ Another political article – boring bitch, aren’t i?

There is nothing pretentious about being a vegan But it’s probably a bit pretentious to be a ‘Dairy free pescatarian who slips up at Barburrito every two weeks” like my good self. At least I know I’m a dickhead eh?

13 little things anxiety sufferers should know Worrying that I don’t do enough to combat my anxiety problems is my latest worry.

I am not Daniel Blake but how can I help?  More on this film later.

Why Gary Lineker, Lily Allen and you shouldn’t comment Wouldn’t be massively surprised if Gary is a contender for next Labour leader tbh. 2016 has taught us anything is possible.

Social Menopause: Have you gone through the change yet? In a classic me move, I read this while having an existential crisis on a Sunday, hungover.

Why flexible working makes me happier? And I read this one while ‘working’ at home (aka eating cereal out of a cup and tweeting)

My mother’s last receipt Turns out the girl who played Matilda is a pretty amazing writer these days.

What I’ve been listening too 

My Dad Wrote A Porno I’m very late to the party on this one; even if this post had gone out when it should have done I would have been weeks behind everyone. I was sceptical of Podcasts; mainly because everyone recommended Serial to me but I kept falling asleep after the first ten minutes each time I tried to listen to it and just gave up in the end and felt left out when everyone was droning on about it. I don’t need to describe My Dad Wrote A Porno to you, you’re probably already know all about it. Christ, even my mum probably does. It’s good, isn’t it? I would like more Podcast recommendations like this one please.

November’s round up should be up around mid 2017. 

I’m kidding. At least, I hope I am. 

See also: The September Issue 

 

 

 

How to Drink on a Budget

I have expensive taste. Unfortunately, my taste doesn’t seem to have caught onto the fact I’m pretty damn broke – I’m ballin’ on a budget. (I am cool enough to pull off saying that. No, I am. Shut up.)

After a good few years of regularly waking up deep into my overdraft after a night out, I’ve finally picked up a few tricks to help you booze if you’re ballin’ on a budget. (Yes, I’m sticking to that phrase – don’t @ me.)

  1. Handbag Vodka, obviously. Although, It’s not just as simple as slinging a hip flask in your clutch these days. Up your game or be caught out by bag searching bouncers.
  2. Don’t pre-drink. Hear me out with this one. I’ve found that it just gives you a taste for drink and you spend exactly the same, if not more, while out. You also end up waking up in the kitchen the next day; half naked, with the cat eating chicken from your hair. (Not that this has ever happened to me, of course.)
  3. Sure, your more expensive, quality vodkas help ease the next day’s hangover, but a litre of Glen’s (the fun vodka) is only around 15 quid for a big bottle. Make smart choices.
  4. Learn how to blag. If you haven’t got the gift of the gab, make sure you’re mates with someone who does. Discounted drinks taste so much nicer. And you know what tastes even better? Free drinks.
  5. Get yourself an Independent Liverpool card. They have a whole load of bars on there with some pretty good offers. Plus, you’ll feel all smug that your binge drinking is helping the local economy.
  6. Learn which friend always gets the round in at Wetherspoons but, come your turn in somewhere pricier, isn’t shy about ordering herself a cocktail; leaving you spending a week’s rent covering one order. If you’re that friend, stop being a mingebag
  7. That said, if you don’t mind being a mingebag now and again, here’s a little #lifehack: declare that you’re “not really in the mood to drink and you may just have a J20” and watch how fast free shots get poured down your throat.
  8. Don’t take your debit card out with you. Withdraw just enough for your taxi and the amount you plan to spend that night. I can’t personally vouch for this method as I live in town; when I want to carry on the night I just walk home to get my card. Drunk me is very determined when she wants more bevvies.
  9. Know when the night is over and it’s time to stop spending a fiver on watered down rum and rola cola and just go home. Again, I can’t speak from experience as I’m a regular at the 24 hour offy by mine at 5am; ordering beer, ciggies and inviting half the city back for a sit-off at mine.
  10. Give up smoking. Nothing makes you want a ciggie more than a pint of lager. Or a big glass of red. Or a whiskey. Or a cocktail. Look, I’m dying to light up just writing about alcohol. Ditch the biffs and save yourself 7 quid every time you go out – social smoking is still smoking. If you need any help quitting have a look at these NHS tips and the help available.
  11. Love cocktails? Don’t we all? Revolution (don’t turn your nose up, snobs) make some of the best (and strongest) concoctions going. Between 5-7pm on weekdays it’s 241 so take advantage of the four bars across the city and start your evening with the cocktail masters.
  12. Swerve Saturdays. Week nights are cheaper and drinking on a school night is so much more fun. It’s scientifically proven that if you have work the next day, you get at least 10 times drunker than you would normally. So that’s a money saver in itself.
  13. Work in a bar, club or restaurant? Pattersons Bar offer industry workers 20% off, 7 days a week. Don’t worry if you don’t work in hospitality – you can still get 50% off their buckets of chicken on their Wednesday Film Night. This place is a hidden gem; with chicken so good you’ll be telling the Colonel to keep his secret recipe, ta very much.
  14. Be prepared for a scrangover. The spending doesn’t stop once you’re home from the bar. After a night of drinking, I can easily spend more on stodgy, carby goodness the next day to feed my hangover than I’ve ever spent on drink. Fill your kitchen with preservations; a couple of pizzas, chips, crisps etc, and save yourself the pain of having to wait for all the takeaways to open at 4pm.
  15. Tip your bartender. This may seem an odd suggestion if you’re trying to save money but make pally with the bartender and you never know what freebies get sent your way. If you don’t want to tip, that’s fine but remember to speak to staff with respect – when I was a barmaid, rude customers barely even got a single measurement, let alone the double they were paying for. Don’t risk your drinks being under poured just because you can’t say please or thank you – costly.
  16. Learnt to love a shit hole. Don’t ask how, or why, but for a few months I found myself frequently drinking at the Irish American on Lime St after finishing work. Dirt cheap drinks and an absolute dream  place for people watchers – it tricks you into thinking a Yates’ is fancy once you’ve become accustomed to the antics of Irish American regulars.
  17. Summer, or England’s interpretation of summer, is only a few weeks away and we know there’s nothing better than drinking in the sun. Invest in some bubba kegs and you won’t find yourself having to shell out a fiver for a mouthful of watered down Pimms at Chavasse Park.

If all else fails, start working behind a bar and you’ll never overspend on a night out again – mainly because you’ll never get one off.

Originally published for Scouse Bird Problems. Below are some links to more content I have provided for the site:

Restaurants – Pack It In

Men to Avoid 

Valentine’s Day for Side Chicks

New Year, New Positivity

Who is Your Champion?

Where Are All The Fit Men in Liverpool?

Nu Clinic: Mother Pucker

10 Reasons You Need to Ink

It’s Okay to Be Positive: Boycott the January Blues

I’m beginning to worry that I have certain views purely to be a dickhead – I don’t love nor hate marmite, I got bored watching Frozen and I find Tom from McFly’s alleged romantic gestures (all those cute YouTube videos and all that) nauseating. However, finally, I find myself with an unconventional opinion that I can actually defend – January is actually a pretty decent month. This year I’m not buying into the whole ‘January blues’ theory and here’s why:

Positivity

This year I haven’t seen a single ‘New Year, New Me’ shout on social media. I have however, seen plenty of generic, copy and pasted ‘jokes’ mocking those who make resolutions. Funny, guys – real funny. Okay, so no one has ever cited their success as being down to a new year’s resolution they made and everything magically falling into place from 1st January onwards. No, writing a different date won’t have any impact on your life but don’t let anyone make you feel basic for setting yourself a few goals and aims to improve your life. It’s natural to start a health regime after a couple of weeks of stuffing your face and swapping brews for mulled wine, and everyone is a bit more motivated towards their career after a bit of time off – you can make a vow to change your life on any day, at any time, but there’s no better month for it than January; plenty of other people are in the same boat and it’s a time period that has a positive attitude towards change.

Personally, I’m going to aim to read more and actually answer my mother’s phone calls.

Everyone’s fat

As someone who excessively eats and drinks all year round, I don’t carry any Christmas weight – I’m just chubby all year round. The best thing about January is that everyone has let themselves go a bit (apart from those ‘clean eaters’ who spent Christmas Day boring us with pictures of Brussel sprout smoothies and what not). You can blame the fact your jeans don’t zip up on the fact it’s ‘just after Christmas’ and you’ll get sympathy off people who can relate to your struggle, rather than someone pointing out that the jeans haven’t fit you for two years.

Same

New diaries

Call me sad (actually, please don’t – I have low self-esteem) but starting a new diary is one of the greatest pleasures in life. There are few things more satisfying than the first few fresh pages of an organiser. I’m that pathetic that I have two; a calendar year one and an academic one. (Ok, now you can call me sad.)

End of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year is it? Doesn’t feel like it when you’re two hours into an argument with your fake Aunt’s 2nd husband about whether they should bring back fox hunting or not.  Christmas can be tense. Well done if you managed to get through the festive period without at least one minor breakdown – you’re better at life than me.

We’re no longer stopping in our childhood bedrooms and having booze and chocolate for breakfast and, call me crazy, I’m actually glad. Normality is needed sometimes.

Good TV

Christmas TV is crap. I said it. There’s some kind of idea that just because December’s issue of the TV Times is a bumper edition, we get better TV, but let’s be honest, re runs of Only Fools & Horses and Christmas specials of Miranda and Mrs Brown’s boys are enough to make you wonder why you pay your licence fee. January sees plenty of quality programmes returning, and starting, and also, Friends comes to Netflix. It’s a real shame it’s only available in America and you’d have to get a US DNS code for your iPad or something like Hola – I’m sure none of you would do that.

Things cheap to do socially

Sure, everyone is strapped for cash after the most expensive month of the year but some of us are skint all year round and this brings us so much joy for two reasons.

1) It’s nice to hear your richer friends having to say ‘Sorry, I can’t – I’ve no cash” for a change.

2) Eating and drinking out is so much cheaper. Restaurants and bars offer deals and discounts to lure everyone in and those us of paid weekly shit wages will relish the chance to go to places we normally can’t justify splashing out on. A nice change to meeting for drinks in venues that smell like piss and desperation.

Seriously, I whooped when Barburrito sent me an email informing it’s BYGOF this month, Odeon has a fab offer on Groupon and if you’re in Liverpool then check out this Keep It Local idea from Lucha Libre.

Originally published for Scouse Bird Problems. Below are some links to more content I have provided for the site:

Restaurants – Pack It In

Men to Avoid 

Valentine’s Day for Side Chicks

New Year, New Positivity

Who is Your Champion?

Where Are All The Fit Men in Liverpool?

Nu Clinic: Mother Pucker

10 Reasons You Need to Ink

Breathalysers In Ropewalks – Wise Move?

Originally published for Drink In Liverpool.

This weekend, around 25 venues across the Ropewalks area are taking part in a pilot scheme that will see some bar-goers breathalysed as part of the Citysafe campaign called ‘Say No To Drunks’.

While it sounds like a fantastic idea, in theory, I can see this scheme ending up like pissing in the wind a bit. At the risk of sounding like a middle aged UKIP voter, do we really need to be helping create a nanny state?

Don’t get me wrong, those who can’t handle their ale are the absolute worst – they’re up there with people who request read receipts on their emails & those who genuinely believe that 50 Shades of Grey is a kinky book. Yes, no one likes the dickhead who can’t even hold their pint without spilling it on you, let alone hold it figuratively, but I can see this system punishing the classy binge drinkers amongst us – the ones, that at the end of a night, just want a chicken wrap, not a scrap. (I spent far too long on that little rhyme – please someone appreciate it!)

The cause for concern, for me, is the fact that the breathalysers will be used selectively. While safety procedures like ID scan checks don’t discriminate, these alcohol level tests will be at the discretion of bouncers. Ah bouncers. Now, all you FTMers reading, don’t get all excited thinking I’m going to slag off security – I’m sure that you’re always completely innocent when you’re escorted out of a club, time after time.

Bouncers get a bad rep because, let’s face it, people can be utter pricks when bevvied and need someone to blame, other than themselves. Of course one or two of them will embrace a bit of extra power and abuse it slightly, but I’m more concerned about the fact the real pissheads will slip through the net. Breathalysers can’t predict the future. I’m certainly guilty of one second looking, and acting, sober as a judge, then 5 minutes after walking into a venue, on the floor with my legs akimbo (soz aba me).

Everyone handles, and reacts, to booze differently and there’s no way a breathalyser can foresee situations, at times. Take my good self for example, I can sometimes make quite the dent in a bottle of vodka before even leaving my flat and yet be an upstanding citizen all night as I trawl around the bars, but sometimes, just a couple of wines when I’ve planned to just go out for a ‘quiet one’ (ahh, still so naive) and I’m carried home, vomiting everywhere (again, soz aba me).

From this weekend, bar staff will be trained to refuse service to those who appear drunk and reminded that they can be issued with a £90 fixed penalty if they do so. Oh piss off. As a former barmaid, this riled me. Will they be receiving anything extra in their pay packet to compensate the fact they can now add ‘unpaid babysitter’ to their list of duties as a minimum wage paid member of staff? Sure, I never served anyone in a visibly bad way, but how the hell, on a busy Friday night, are you meant to know who’s drunk and who’s actually just confident and chatty? All while some tosser is yelling “I was actually next, love”.

It’s our own responsibility, not a bartenders, to refrain from getting so bladdered that we become a hindrance on society – if you know that after a few pints, you turn into a violent prick then maybe binge drinking isn’t for you, take up knitting or something instead.

Finally, let’s get economical for second – is anyone else a bit worried about the future of Concert Square? I mean, if the absolutely bladdered aren’t going to be allowed in, then just who exactly is going to be going out and drinking in those bars? #pray4walkabout

See also: 5 Reasons You Should Always Tip

Restaurants – Pack It In

This year I’ve eaten out a hell of a lot – my new ‘fuller figure’ is testament to that. I’ve scoffed my way around the city due to a combination of the fact that I live in town, I’m a bit of a greedy bitch and I’m far too lazy to cook half of the time.

Even though I’m becoming a bit of a ‘foodie’ (I feel so dirty for typing that) I’m in awe of anyone who can articulately describe how food tastes; maybe if I didn’t inhale my food I’d be in a better place to explain just what my taste buds experience. My review range is limited to a ‘that was dead nice, that’ analysis to a simple ‘well that was crap’ criticism. I feel like Giles Coren if I ever successfully label an inoffensive, yet boring, dish as ‘bland’ and my smug alarm goes off. I can however, due to be being a bit of a crank, articulate what pisses me off in restaurants:

  • Drinks being served in jam jars. 2014 is coming to an end; it’s not unique or quirky anymore, think of something new – the club in Eastender’s uses them now so I think we can all agree it’s over. If I’m paying a few quid for a can of coke then serve it me in a glass at least.
  • Chips in cups. The food equivalent of the jam jars. What’s with everywhere shoving fries in a cup recently– could someone not be arsed washing any dishes one day and now it’s a thing?
  • Venues trying to make slaw happen. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the cabbage based salad but this year I’ve developed an intense hatred of it simply due to how it’s presented to diners on menus. We’ve got ‘The Hub-Slaw’, ‘Bride-Slaw’ and the ‘House-Slaw’ to name but a few. Stop it. To quote Mean Girls “Restaurants, stop trying to make ‘slaw happen. It’s not going to happen”.
  • Pulled pork & sweet potato fries. I’m cutting my nose off to spite my face a bit with this one, as I’m obsessed with sweet potato, but a bit of variety please, restaurants. Greggs offers a pulled pork pasty now so it’s hardly the hallmark of a high-end eatery these days. Can we have a new ‘trendy’ food already?  Scotch eggs, perhaps? I’m ready to clog up my arteries with them delicious balls of fat.
  • Burger off. No more burgers! Enough! If you’re thinking of opening a new restaurant in Liverpool then steer clear of a gourmet Maccies theme – we’re full to brim with them and several amazing places have already nailed it. Bringing a burger joint to Liverpool now is like taking coal to Newcastle (or a more up to date idiom if you can think of one). Can 2015 please be the year of the pizza or something?
  • Menus on clip board. When I’m choosing what dish I want to stuff my face with, I don’t want to feel like I’m about to take notes on a Health & Safety assessment. There’s a lot to be said for the humble, laminated A4 menu.
  • Barbecue Sauce. Not everything has to be marinated, seasoned and accompanied with BBQ sauce – Jack Daniels infused or otherwise.
  • Stop neglecting the salad grafters. Yes, plenty of things taste better than being skinny feels, mainly carbs, but those of us not blessed with a supermodel’s fast metabolism (or an appetite suppressing drug addiction) need healthier alternatives to all the fried goodness on offer. Diets are boring at the best of times without having to just order the salad every time when dining out.
  • Twitter obsessed venues. It’s bad enough that we’ve got to the point where we charge our electronic books and cigarettes but we also have cope with the local pub trying to add us as a friend on social media. Twitter is an amazing marketing tool but some bars and restaurants seem to care more about their followers than the people actually sat in their venue, eating their food. A little less time spent on Twitter and a bit more time spent in the kitchen would be beneficial to some places across Liverpool. (Oo er – I sound like a teacher on an end of term report).

Originally published here.

See also: What the Heck is Deliveroo?