WIN tickets here: British Style Collective is heading to Merseyside next month

The exhibit is being hosted across three days from July 7-9th
An event that is revelling in all things fashion is heading over to Merseyside just next month.

The three-day British Style Collective fashion and beauty festival, previously named the Clothes Show Live, is being held in the city from July 7-9.

The happening, which was formerly hosted by the city of Birmingham, will be heading to Liverpool for the first time this year and is being shared over four of Liverpool’s iconic locations.

Visitors can take part in an immersive shopping experience as River Island, Oasis, Elemis, Monsoon and Accessorize will join a line-up of over 300 high-street, online and boutique brands in the famous Exhibition Centre in Liverpool.

In addition to these delights, the city’s sensational music station Capital Liverpool will host two performances of the iconic Alcatel Fashion Arena every day that the event is running at the nearby Echo Arena.

The arena will also showcase the up-to-the-minute looks on the high-street this season in a devoted trends report brought to you by Liverpool ONE, where you have the option to then shop the looks straight off of the runway.

Visitors are also encouraged to celebrate the very finest in vintage fashion at the Albert Dock, featuring ferociously independent designer makers, a number of street food vendors, selected vintage traders and a range of performers.

Moreover, if you are a lover of all things designer, you are heartened to head to St George’s Hall, where you can shop must-have designer collections, witness designer runway shows from Sorapol and Liverpool’s very own Philip Armstrong, and enjoy close ‘audiences with’ some of the most well known names of the fashion and beauty industry.

Experts on hand are set to include Hilary Alexander OBE, Antonia O’Brien and Glamour magazine’s editor Jo Elvin to name just a few.

Finally, visitors also have the chance to be present at a pop-up event taking over the Baltic Triangle on Friday July 7, to visit the Creative Hub and take part in a range of interactive workshops for students, as well as unveil the next generation of ‘ones to watch’ in fashion design, photography, journalism, art and film. has partnered up with British Style Collective in association with Alcatel, to offer a fortunate reader and the plus one of their choice the chance to attend Britain’s biggest fashion and beauty festival. The tickets will include access to St George’s Hall, shopping halls at The Exhibition Centre and Alcatel Fashion Area.

To be in with a chance of winning, email with your name and contact number using the subject British Style Collective. If you are selected you will receive a FREE pair of tickets for Friday July 7.
The deadline of the competition is July 3. So what are you waiting for? Send in your entry today.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit .

Three Merseyside restaurants make it into the top 100 of UK restaurants

“A meal in any of these restaurants will be among the very best eating experiences you will find in the UK today.”

Three restaurants from the Merseyside area have been voted among the top 100 in and across the UK.

The awards were handed out by the well known website and restaurant guide Squaremeal’s annual UK’s Top 100 Restaurants. Thousands of readers across the nation took part with the results then moderated by a national team of professional reviewers and restaurant experts.

“A meal in any of these restaurants will be among the very best eating experiences you will find in the UK today” says the list of the dining establishments recognised with the honour of making the top 100 restaurants.

The Wirral’s very own Fraiche made it into the top 15 restaurants listed, Heswall’s Burnt Truffle came in just after at number 48 and these were followed by Liverpool’s finest The Art School restaurant being voted in at number 78 on the list of top UK restaurants.

Fraiche is a Michelin star established that can be found in Oxton Village, Wirral and is run by owner and head chef Marc Wilkinson. The top 100 list defines the restaurant Fraiche as a “fantasy journey through the wonders of contemporary gastronomy.” In the year 2016 Fraiche retained its Michelin star for the ninth year in a row and the restaurant has now become so popular that it’s known to book up months in advance.

Burnt Truffle, based in the Heswall area, also made it onto the top 100 UK restaurants list. The eatery is owned by the chef Gary Usher who also had a further two of his restaurants, Hispi and Sticky Walnut feature in the final rundown. Chef owner Gary Usher said:
“We’re absolutely chuffed to have not just one but all three of the restaurants featured in the list.

“The Top 100 is a great way to champion restaurants outside of London and ensure the hard work all the regional teams put in is recognised.

“With Wreckfish opening in September, we’re hopeful that we’ll have another restaurant to add to the list in 2018!”

Last but certainly not least, Liverpool’s The Art School was also featured in the top 100 UK Restaurants guide. The Art School is definitely accustomed by now to winning awards and the Wirral chef of the eatery Paul Askew has firmly put the restaurant on the map as a highlight of the North West.

The Sugnall Street restaurant also based in the area was announced as having made it into the final three shortlisted venues in the taste category of the 2017 Visit England Awards for Excellence.

Click here to see the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.

Merseyside maritime business bought by Ellesmere Port firm

More acquisitions are forecast over the coming 12 months
Businessman and previous member of the Armed Forces Jonathan Willoughby, 46, has purchased Bootle-based Wren Industrial & Marine Fabrications.

The business, run for 27 years by married team David and Helen Wren, focusses on producing doors, windows and hatches for ships and boats as well as welding and fabrication services largely in the maritime field.

Wren’s doors can be seen on the Royal Yacht Britannia whilst its engineering services have been positioned making canisters for Richard Branson’s hot air balloon and assisting building clock towers on TV sets.

Mr Willoughby, who runs welding and fabrication business Yorkwall Engineering on Merseyton Road, explained that with David and Helen stepping down the time was right to buy Wren Industrial and move it to the next level hoping to double its £1m turnover in the next year.

“Wren has a really strong reputation in the maritime industry, particularly on Merseyside, for the quality of its work and its dedication to customer service,” said Jonathan.

“My aim is to now build on that bedrock and grow Wren’s client base and brand nationally and internationally. Key to that growth drive will be clearly explaining to the marketplace what Wren can do.

“Wren literally receives hundreds of orders a year for welding and fabrication works but we need to raise awareness of our expertise and capability to the wider UK maritime industry.

“We want to showcase our track record to more shipyards, ship management companies, shipping agents and insurance companies.”

He thinks a key area for future development is in engineering solutions.

“A key strength of Wren Industrial is its ability to find solutions to a wide range of welding and fabrication challenges,” explained Jonathan.

“That problem solving approach is hugely valued by our customers so much so that virtually all our current business is repeat work such is the degree of trust Wren has built with its customers.

“But to grow the company we have to communicate the quality of our work and facilities to a bigger audience. We have a very knowledgeable workforce of around 20 engineers who are Wren’s best selling point and springboard for growth.

“In addition we have a 6,000 sq ft workshop with a wide range of equipment enabling us to work with a variety of materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminium and plastics.”

Jonathan, who has 25 years experience in the oil and gas sector, said the purchase of Wren Industrial is part of a wider growth strategy which will see him buy more complementary engineering companies eventually merging all into one new brand name.

“My existing company Yorkwall specialises in fabrication services for the petrochemical sector. Buying Wren Engineering diversifies our operations into maritime which helps protect and grow our group operations,” he said.

“This is a really exciting time for our team and we see the group on an upward trajectory with considerable potential for sustainable growth.”

He announced the firm is scheduling more acquisitions over the next 12 months.

Survey reveals almost half of Merseyside want a second referendum on EU

Nearly half of individuals in Merseyside hope to have a second referendum on Brexit and over half want to remain in the EU until a deal is settled.Those are the results of a survey of Liverpool Echo readers that shows that 47.4% of people are in favour of a vote on the terms of any EU exit deal, making them some of the most excited in the country for a second vote.

It also shows that 50.5% of readers feel more concerned about the future than six months ago, based on what they have heard about negotiations to leave the EU.

Support another vote is split between those who voted Remain, with 69.6% tending to agree or strongly agreeing with a second vote, and Leave voters, just 15.5% in favour.

Leave voters are more likely to strongly disagree that a second vote is needed (66.6%), than Remain voters are to strongly agree that one is needed (52.7%).

More than half surveyed (51.8%) said staying in the Customs Union was more important than border control (48.2%), with 87.2% of Leave voters prioritising borders and 76.4% of Remain voters prioritising the Customs Union.

Three-quarters of Remainers (76.3%) feel less confident about the future than six months ago based on what they have heard about negotiations to leave the EU compared to 17.8% of Leave voters.

Three-quarters of those who responded to the survey (72.3%) said they don’t think there was enough information during the Referendum campaign around the whole Brexit process. This includes 49.1% of Leave voters and 88.9% of Remain voters.

When asked whether they had more or less confidence in the Government’s handling of Brexit compared to six months ago, 63.2% said they had less, 20.9% said it was the same, and just 7.3% said they had more confidence.

If a deal can’t be reached before the 2019 deadline, the most popular option among readers was to stay in the EU until a deal was confirmed, with over half backing this (51.6%) – though support was split, with backing from 78.7% of Remain voters and 13% of Leave voters.

Asked about how likely they would be to back a ‘transition period’ of 3 years, which would mean staying in the Customs Union and with free movement if a deal was not reached by 2019, 48.5% said they were very or somewhat likely to support it, compared to 30% who were unlikely to support.

Confidence has plunged among Remain supporters, with 79.6% saying they have less assurance in the Government, but approximately half of Leave voters (46.5%) are also feeling less assured.

Although Leave voters are the most likely to have improved confidence in the Government’s management of Brexit, it’s still just one in seven of them (13.9%) who are giving the thumbs up.

The study, run in partnership with Google Surveys, was finished online by 3,000 individuals who visited the Liverpool Echo website.

Coming soon to Liverpool’s very own Baltic Market, an Oktoberfest set to last for four days!

The Independent Liverpool organisers are bringing back the successful beer festival to the city once again this year

After the immeasurable success of last year’s Oktoberfest in the city, Independent Liverpool are bringing it back to Liverpool in a way that will be even bigger and better than before at the city’s Baltic Market.

The first Oktoberfest event turned out to be a complete and utter sell out as a great number of local craft breweries added a truly Scouse twist to the traditionally German event.

The Liverpool and German infused party will include a variety of local craft beers from across the city and available by the stein and a whole host of Liverpool food traders will be serving up some frankfurters of their own as well as a selection of traditional German beers being thrown in for good measure too.

The alcohol filled four day event will take over the Baltic Market site from Thursday, September 28th right through to the Sunday, October 1.

Co-founder of the wonderful organisers Independent Liverpool, David Williams said of the event that: “We are bringing Munich to Merseyside in the name of good beer, great food and even better company.

“Bavaria meets Baltic Triangle in the Baltic Market and you simply cannot miss out.”

But by no means is the event just about the beer though, there will also be a whole host of German wines and gins hand selected by local wine merchants that will be made available to those attending the festivities that the exciting event has to offer.

In a perhaps unusual move, there will be no tickets sold or available to buy in advance, but instead all entry to the event will be paid on the door of the Oktoberfest at the Liverpool Baltic Market at a set price of £5 per person.

There will be a set of four sessions that are going to be available for visitors to attend so there should be a day or a time that is suitable for any prospective attendees.

The sessions that have been made available at the Oktoberfest hosted by the Baltic Market in Liverpool are:

Thursday 5pm-11pm
Friday 12 pm-12.00am
Saturday 11am-12am
Sunday 11am-10pm

It should also be noted that due to the nature of the event, anyone hoping to attend the Oktoberfest event at the Liverpool Baltic Market is required to be of at least 18 years of age and identification that proves this may very well be requested on the doors to the event. Entrance may be denied to anyone who is unable to prove their status of 18 years of age or older.

Liverpool Commonwealth Games could be launched by 71-ship Armada on the Mersey

Spectacle could start off a two-week festival of culture over the whole city

If Liverpool lands the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the occasion will be received by a spectacular Armada of 71 ships sailing into the city.

Plans are ready for the fleet of boats – each representative of a Commonwealth nation – to sail the Mersey to Liverpool on the eve of the sporting spectacular.

And this would be just the beginning of a two-week festival of culture that would happen along with the games if the city’s bid is successful.

The team behind the respected 2008 Capital of Culture year are preparating for each competing nation to have its own “Cultural Embassy” in the city.

Artists from each country would plan a light-show for the sites which may include the Philharmonic Hall, The Black-E, St Vincents School or St George’s Hall.

The opening ceremony would be a display of light, pyrotechnics and sound – combining little intimate moments with epic experiences.

And it would see the River Mersey as the focal point for welcoming competing nations from around the world – with each of the 71 vessels flying the flag for every nation as they sail into the city.

Liverpool’s Director of Culture, Claire McColgan MBE, said: “The Cultural Armada would be the first thing a global audience would see of Liverpool 2022. And what an image it would be – a river filled with ships, each with the flag of a different nation sailing into one of the world’s most iconic waterfronts at sunset.

“The cultural programme is at the heart of our bid – it will tell the story of Liverpool and the Commonwealth, what binds it together and what makes each nation so unique, and will in turn create a programme of extraordinary moments in unexpected places.

“Liverpool is recognised internationally as a cultural leader, so the scale and ambition of our plans won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

“This is a city which pushes boundaries with major events and culture, and we don’t want to leave anyone with any doubt that by staging the Games in Liverpool, we’ll be positioning Britain as a creative, outward looking and progressive nation.

“And we know Liverpool can deliver – staging events became second nature for this city following our European Capital of Culture tenure and now we know just what amazing, unforgettable experiences can be achieved when this city unites for a common goal.”

Chairman of the Liverpool 2022 bid, Brian Barwick, stated: “The team behind the plans for the city’s 2022 cultural programme are the powerhouses who delivered what is widely regarded as the best ever European Capital of Culture year in 2008.

“This is a team which is used to delivering major events year after year, from the Three Queens to Giants and Sgt Pepper at 50, Liverpool delivers unforgettable experiences, and what we are talking about today is just a taster of what is being proposed.

“With the 2022 Games as inspiration, they have created a bold, exciting and unrivalled vision that would engage and enthral millions of people around the world.”

Restaurant Review – Veeno, the taste of Italy in the heart of Liverpool

A brief glance at the top Italian eateries in Liverpool according to Tripadvisor users serves up several recommendations on Castle Street including the current number one: Veeno.

We went last Sunday for an early evening meal to see whether the TripAdvisor crowd had got this one right.

Veeno definitely looks the part when you enter; a few small tables at the front before the bar on the left where much of the food is prepared and served. The main seating area then extends back with unexpected depth, revealing space for at least 30 guests.

We took a seat in the rear around a barrel-shaped table with a glass top and a fine display of bottle corks underneath. There are also several low sofas for relaxed diners, long tables for larger groups, and a couple of sheltered spots set for two next to the wine cellar at the far wall.

It didn’t take us long to find what we were after: the Italia sharing platter, complete with a selection of Veeno’s ‘favourite’ meats and cheeses (£24.50). We added an additional helping of pane e olio (£3.60) – breads with olive oil and balsamic glaze – just to be safe.

We agreed on the cheese highlights – creamy Gorgonzola and Tuscan Pecorino – the meats were also outstanding, particularly the fennel flavoured finocchiona and the delicious black truffle salami.

After a short interim we checked out the pudding selection. They had run out of sorbetto al limone (£4), so a homemade tiramisu (£5.50) and a panna cotta (£4.50) were shared.

The panna cotta was agreeably strong in its caramel flavour but the open handedly apportioned and deceivingly light tiramisu – “”freshly made with grandma’s recipe”” – would get our final recommendation.

For drinks, I had a Collesi Rossa red ale (£6) which arrived in a sleek black bottle and was a lovely beer with suggestions of caramel, malt and berry that went down much easier than its 8% would recommend.

All Veeno’s wines are produced at the family vineyard in Sicily apart from a few guest bottles. My other half had the ‘mid-dry’ Grecanico (£6 for 250ml) and the ‘driest’ Grillo (£8.5 for 250ml) whites and I very much enjoyed their plummy, herby ‘classic’ Nero d’Avola red (£6 for 250ml).

Veeno also opens for lunch, and between 12-4pm in the week has a deal where you can have a panini (£5/6 depending filling) or salads (£6.50) with a free beverage.

There are numerous wine tasting selections starting from about £20 for which you have five wines each paired with a specific Spuntini.

Our total bill for the sharing platter with extra bread, three wines, one beer and two deserts totalled £64.60.

Castle Street is clearly one of the best places in Liverpool to head to if you fancy some Italian food and on this basis, Veeno is as authentic and tasty an experience as anywhere else – and is well worth a visit.

Winners of Regional Business Awards debate issues facing Liverpool City area

Skills gaps, recruitment and Brexit are all on the agenda for debate teams as the ECHO celebrates a series of positive companies privileged with winning the Regional Business Awards of Liverpool city this year

A selection of the winners of the Regional Business Awards 2017 of Liverpool city came together at a very very special lunch in their honour to debate some of the issues and opportunities that could be affecting the business landscape across the Liverpool City Region in the not so far future.

The business leaders were honoured in June this year at the occasion, set up for the 23rd year by the ECHO in combination with the Business Post magazine and proudly sponsored by KPMG and DLA Piper, at St George’s Hall.

Just some of the subjects discussed at the debate comprised the ongoing development of the city and its status as an international business destination, some of the issues around skills gaps and recruitment, and finally the challenges and opportunities that could come about as a result of the Brexit vote.

The Editor of the Liverpool ECHO, Alastair Machray kindly acted as chair of the discussion at Fazenda, with Liverpool University Professor Tom Cannon providing expert insight on the various subjects that were put up for debate.

The complete list of winners and those invited to or attending the event can be found here:

Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority Business Newcomer of the Year: Cooper Noble Care Ltd (Lynne Noble & Peter Noble)

Knowledge Business of the Year Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (Professor Janet Hemingway)

Creative Impact Award: Zut (Mark Hancock)

International Trader of the year: Smylie Limited (Smylies)

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Business of the Year (up to 50 employees): X1 (Melissa Green)

MSIF Business of the Year (51-250 employees): Liverpool John Lennon Airport (Robin Tudor)

KPMG Business of the Year (over 250 employees): Shop Direct (Jeremy Stevens)

Jaguar Land Rover Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Everton in the Community – Neighbourhood project: ‘Blue Mile’ (Phil Duffy)

Liverpool BID Company Young Business Person of the Year: Natalie Haywood – Leaf

DLA Piper Business Person of the Year
Jonathan Hague – Unilever

KMPG and DLA Piper, the kind sponsors of the awards and the event itself were represented by Will Baker and Ben Miller respectively.

A full report on the debate and the series of subjects that were discussed will appear in the upcoming edition of the Business Post magazine.

New plan to tackle Liverpool’s “dangerous” taxi and private hire system

A new plan has been suggested to challenge what has been described as the “dangerous” state of Liverpool’s taxi and private hire trade.

There are calls for the council to take on additional licensing staff to manage the “huge problems” disturbing the city’s trade and to bring in a new region-wide approach to taxi rules to dodge having drivers who “can only navigate by app and who cannot communicate the values and places of Liverpool to visitors”.

The proposal is being suggested by Liberal Democrat councillor Malcolm Kelly at an assembly of the complete council next week. He will call for action to “make the streets of Liverpool, especially those in the City Centre, safe at night.”

“Private hire vehicles waiting for people to approach them as if they were a taxi and then accepting the fare; unlicensed private hire vehicles; uninsured private hire vehicles; dangerous private hire and hackney cabs; hackney cabs from other areas waiting on taxi ranks and picking up fares in the street; parking on taxi ranks meaning that taxis have nowhere to wait for fares.

“There are a number of reasons for this some of which are not in our control.

But there are many that are.

“That is why our Lib Dem motion calls upon the Mayor of Liverpool to take on more licensing staff and the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region to coordinate the 6 City Region Councils to ensure a common approach and high standards.”

Mayor Anderson has formerly proposed the idea of a region wide knowledge test and a common licensing standard after complaints of drivers travelling in from far afield to pick up fares and not knowing the city.

Cllr Kelly is calling for the Mayor to “speed up” this idea and devise a “common licensing standard, training mechanism and control mechanisms which operate throughout the City Region and combine the Taxi function as one seamless operation in the City Region.”

“We need to have properly trained and licensed drivers in vehicles that are properly maintained and insured.

“We want our drivers to be ambassadors for the City, knowledgeable about the city and able to help people.”

Earlier in the year, we conducted an investigation which emphasised several issues in the city centre – including the issue of uninsured drivers illegally accepting trade at different locations.

At the time, the council highlighted that it had given out 250 fixed penalty notices in just the first three months of the year. They also prosecuted 11 private hire drivers in March for a variety of offences including illegally plying for trade.

The council’s chair of licensing Cllr Christine Banks stated: “Most of the 2,163 private hire drivers in our city do obey the law, but we have a specific issue in Liverpool with drivers coming in from neighbouring boroughs to ply for trade illegally because of our vibrant night time economy.

“We already run regular operations and issue fines, warnings and prosecutions to hundreds of drivers every year but could do more if we were able to use some of the taxi licensing fees paid to other areas to boost it.”

Major pre-organised events still to be held in Manchester city centre despite terror attack

Several key events prearranged for Manchester will still go ahead – though planners are anticipated to increase security after the suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Many thousands of people are projected to pour into Manchester for big events and gigs as the city attempts to recover from the worst terrorism attack the North of England has ever witnessed.

Organisers of the Great Manchester Run – set to take place on Sunday have established the event will continue as intended.

The Great City Games on Friday evening in Deansgate will also stay as programmed.

Meanwhile, The Courteeners have confirmed their show at Emirates Old Trafford – a sell out to a crowd of 50,000 – will also be taking place this weekend.The Middleton band have established they will perform at their enormous hometown show on Saturday, where they will be united by The Charlatans, Blossoms and Cabbage.

Additional security checks will be in place at the venue on Saturday and fans are recommended to allow additional time for travel and to get past the gates.

Gig-goers are asked not to carry bags with them and everybody entering the location will be subject to a detailed search. Items such as flares, pyros and smoke canisters will not be allowed in.

In an announcement, Lancashire County Cricket Club, which possesses the site, said: “We have been working closely with the bands, the promoter, the police and other authorities with regards to the planning for the Courteeners concert here on Saturday 27 May.

“Following advice and guidance from all parties we can confirm that Saturday’s sell-out concert will be going ahead as planned.”

Ticket holders are advised to keep checking the newest advice and updates at in the approach to the performance.

Take That have postponed their last three shows at Manchester Arena though.

The band – who also deferred a show in Liverpool meant to take place on Tuesday night – have decided not to go forward with gigs on May 25, 26 and 27.

In a statement, Manchester Arena said: “Due to the tragic events of Monday night and the ongoing police investigation, the scheduled Take That concerts for Thursday 25th, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th of May have been postponed. Further details will be released as soon as possible.”

Further down the line, music festival Parklife, which is set to take place at Heaton Park on June 10 and 11 and draws about 65,000 individuals, will continue as normal and organisers are working with police and security services over safety measures.

“Our thoughts are with those affected as well as the emergency services working tirelessly to keep us safe in all that we do,” the organisers said.

“Parklife will go ahead as planned, and we are continually liaising with the security and local police to ensure the safety of our customers. We are certain we will not be defeated by such cowardice.”