You either love Christmas shopping or you don’t – there’s no real grey area.
You can’t really ‘not mind’ Christmas shopping, unless it’s online and less hassle.
But I’m talking about wrapping up in your biggest coat, fishing out your scarf and gloves and hitting the streets.
The old-fashioned way.
Me, I’m a big fan, so when the invitation to spend a couple of days shopping, eating and drinking in Liverpool came my way I pounced.
I love Liverpool. The Albert Dock and Liverpool One are brilliant – particularly at Christmas.
There are all the shops you could need, museums, fairground attractions, entertainers, lights and loads of amazing places to eat and drink.
Oh, and a huge Christmas tree sitting on top of a heated outdoor bar, a super cool (literally) ice bar and an ice rink.
You could spend a day at the Albert Dock itself taking in the stunning art on offer at The Tate or browsing in one of the countless museums or the fascinating Beatles Story.
But we (myself and my fiancee Natalie) decided to fuel up first and hit one of the city’s newest eateries,Heavenly Desserts.
Sitting opposite the dock and just around the corner from Liverpool One, Heavenly Desserts is pretty much exactly as it sounds.
A dessert-only restaurant serving some of the finest sweet treats you could imagine.
Belgian waffles, ice creams, cakes, pancakes, cookie dough to name just a few things on the menu – it really does live up to its name.
I plumped for ‘The Perfect Couple’ sticky toffee pudding with cream and ice cream and it really was amazing.
Nat chose the Heavenly Desserts cookie dough and she was equally impressed and we also sampled between us the house special, the ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’ golden waffle with strawberries, warm milk chocolate, ice cream and whipped cream.
The restaurant itself is in a great spot to watch the world go by and the staff are friendly and helpful.
Loaded up on calories we set off for the shops and Nat paid the lovely ladies at Aveda in Debenhams a visit for a spot of pampering and a blow dry, which she “couldn’t have enjoyed more.” I opted against having my eyebrows plucked, so we ventured on towards the Tate Gallery.
While neither of us are particularly ‘arty’ people we both enjoyed the serenity inside and the Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley: We Are Ghosts exhibition on the bottom floor had us both engrossed.
There are loads of different artists and exhibitions constantly changing, so if you fancy a visit you can see what’s on now and what’s coming up on their website.
Another stroll around the shops and a few Christmas presents bought, we set off for Viva Brazil and dinner.
Viva Brazil, in layman’s terms, is pretty much more meat than you can shake a stick at.
To put it in their terms it’s ‘a unique Brazilian dining experience serving an unlimited supply of 16 authentic Brazilian meats, served straight to your table from our charcoal barbecue.’
Now while Heavenly Desserts may not have been ideal for me, gorgeous as it was, as I’m diabetic, I can gorge on as much meat as humanly possible without worrying about my blood sugar levels.
And gorge I did.
In fact, a man bringing me amazing-tasting meat all night on a skewer isn’t far short of my idea of heaven.
My favourite was the pescoco de purco, which I’m sure you’ll already know is pork with parmesan.
Quite simply fantastic.
You can help yourself to the buffet as well, which features a variety of cured meats, salad, vegetables,
potatoes and sauces – it really is an awesome dining experience.
A quick drink in Bar Hutte underneath the giant Christmas tree in Liverpool One and we were ready to head back to our hotel – though I had to forcibly drag Nat away from the karaoke booths, which you can hire for £10 an hour.
Our room in the Holiday Inn Express overlooked Albert Dock and breakfast the following morning filled us up nicely for our final port of call – the Ice Bar.
Situated in the shadow of the magnificent Liver Building and next to the ice rink, the Ice Bar is ... flipping cold!
You couldn’t spend more than 20 minutes in there, no matter how wrapped up you are, but drinking cold beer in amongst some
magnificent ice sculptures is a strangely pleasant experience.
It’s almost as if the beer is saying “I’m ice cold, you should be too!”
We had a little more Christmas shopping to do and we found everything we were looking for; my favourite shop ... Menkind – full of gadgets, gizmos and odd toys and games and a perfect way to spend an hour while Nat was doing the ‘real shopping.’