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ALSO ONLINE AT WWW.B7LIVING.COM

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

Sutton Coldfield’ s new local lifestyle magazine

Useful Info News & Events Feature Articles Food & Drink Local Businesses Sudoku!

SUTTON CENTRAL | FOUR OAKS | WALMLEY | WYLDE GREEN | BOLDMERE | WHITEHOUSE COMMON | STREETLY


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ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

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Hello Sutton Coldfield! Welcome to the very first issue of B7LIVING Magazine (eek!). No, sadly thatʼs not me on the left! Although I have been to Bad Apple (you can read all about that on page 10!).

MAGAZINE EDITOR Kate S. Hughes

Now, before you say it, I know there are a number of free magazines No circulating in Sutton, but I for one have grown somewhat tired of them. Weʼre a mixed bunch of younguns & oldies, so we need to span that gap with contemporary & relevent editorial. Behold B7LM! I hope youʼll agree that we bring SC something new, refreshing & a medium to spread the word about the interesting things happening in the town in which we live - perhaps even a forum to bring the people of SC closer as a community. communit We all like the finer things in life, but itʼs time we had a local publication that ditched the ʻstyle over substanceʼ attitude, and combined the two; a stylish magazine that features the people and businesses of our community.

DESIGN CONSULTANT & WEB DESIGN NYNE Studios www.nynestudios.com

So, in the spirit of all things ʻcommunityʼ, I strongly encourage you to get involved with B7LM. I see this magazine and our website evolving massively over the next 6-12 months as it is integrated into local society. We aim to get out there & cover more local events, people, businesses, charities, organisations and societies - including sports (and I definitely need a little help in this area) - so get in touch & let us know whatʼs going on with you!

CONTACT DETAILS t 0121 354 1391 m 07730 565 486 contact@b7living.com www.B7LIVING.com

I hope you enjoy this issue; weʼve got something for everyone, from fashion & beauty to gardening & finance articles (& cars!). Issue 2 will be popping through your letter box at the beginning of next month. One more thing before I stop waffling - I want to say a HUGE thank you to my poor neglected family (particularly the hubby!), friends even the horse! Itʼs fair to say that Iʼve been a little busy these past few months, worth every minute though! Best,

e editor@b7living.com t 0121 354 1391 m 07730 565 486

P.S. Donʼt forget to check out the website, www.B7LIVING.com where you can read the magazine online and search our business directory. Weʼre also on Twitter and Facebook (we get around a bit!).

twitter.com/b7living

Search B7LIVING

CHIEF COPYWRITER Joanna Disney

COVER ARTIST Michael Bramwell PRINTERS Warwick Printing

B7LIVING Magazine is a trading name of KS Creations Ltd, registered in England & Wales (7698025). B7LM contains facts, views, opinions, statements, recommendations, advertisements & other content & links to external websites not owned or controlled by the magazine. B7LM takes reasonable efforts to include e accurate, current information on its pages, but makes no warranties or representations as to the accuracy, safety or value of the published items that are displayed. No liabiliy or responsibility can be taken for errors or omissions in magazine content. B7LM content does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or recommendations of its creators and any reliance upon use its content is taken at the user’s sole risk. More information can be found on our website:

www.B7LIVING.com

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ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011


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B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

In this monthʼs issue... LOCAL INFORMATION Useful Local Info ‘What’s on’ Calendar

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LIFESTYLE Beauty Update 8 Tips, Tricks & Trends (hair & fashion) 9 HEALTH & FITNESS Witness the Fitness with Tom Hartin 7 Postnatal Illness 16 FOOD & DRINK Recipe of the Month - Monkfish

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AUTO Nissan Leaf Review

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FINANCE Understanding the 2012 Pension Scheme Legislation (part 1)

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FAMILY Shopping for School Empty Nest Anecdote HOME Decorating a Conservatory Double Glazing/Window Replacement Tips GARDEN Time to Plant those Bulbs!

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TRAVEL We’re in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 26 You can read online too! www.B7LIVING.com

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

Business Direct ory Sector

Page

Automotive 23 Catering 7 Dental 20-21 Entertainment 19 Financial Services 23, 31 Home Interiors 5, 15, 36 Home Services 7, 35 IT Services 13 Leisure 13, 25 Lifestyle 2, 8, 13, 17 Medical 28 Property 27

SPECIAL FEATURES... Sutton Vintage Fair preview

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We get to the core of the newest hairdressers in 10 town! Launch of new local cancer treatment centre 29 Sytner SC sponsors local Olympian hopeful

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Keep u p to da news, v te with iews & events followin by g twitter.c our tweets! om/B7 LIVING

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USEFUL LOCAL INFO EMERGENCY SERVICES Ambulance, Fire, Police T 999 EMERGENCIES ONLY

Ley Hill Surgery 228 Lichfield Road, Four Oaks, B74 2UE T 0121 308 0359

West Midlands Police Streetly Surgery T 0845 113 500 (24h, 7d/wk) 250a Chester Road, Streetl Streetly, B74 3NB Sutton Coldfield Police T 0121 353 3212 Station (24h, 7d/wk) Four Oaks Medical Centre Lichfield Road Carlton House, Mere Green Road, Four Oaks, B75 5BS Sutton Coldfield, B74 2NR T 0121 308 2080 T 0345 113 5000 Electricity Emergency T 0800 328 1111 (24h, 7d/wk)

Ashfurlong Health Centre, 233 Tamworth Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 6JL

24H PHARMACIES/ Gas Emergency T 0800 111 999 (24h, 7d/wk) MEDICAL ADVICE (NHS) ASDA Pharmacy (24h, 7d/wk) Walmley Ash Road, Water Emergency Sutton Coldfield, B76 1XL Severn Trent Water T 0121 3137159 T 0800 783 4444 (24h, 7d/wk) Boots (24h, 7d/wk) South Staffordshire Water Unit 4-5, Princess Alice Drive, T 0800 389 1011 (24h, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6RB 7d/wk) T 0121 354 1729 GP SURGERIES NHS Direct (24h, 7d/wk) Sutton Park Surgery T 0845 46 47 34 Chester Road North, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6SP T 0121 353 2586

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HOSPITALS (NHS) Good Hope Hospital (NHS) Rectory Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7RR T 0121 424 2000 Birmingham Children’s Children Hospital Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6NH T 0121 333 8506 LIBRARIES Mere Green Library 30A Mere Green Road, 30 Four Oaks, B75 5BT T 0121 464 4592 Boldmere Library 119 Boldmere Road, Sutton Coldfield, B73 5TU T 0121 464 1048 Walmley Library Walmley Road, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1NP T 0121 464 1842

SUPERMARKETS Sainsbury’s, Mere Green T 0121 323 3213 Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10pm Sat 7am-10pm Sun 10am-4pm Tesco, New Oscott T 0845 677 9493 Opening hours: 24h from 6am Mon-midnight Sat, & Sunday 10am-4pm Asda, Minworth T 0121 313 7100 Opening hours: 24h from 7.30am Mon-10pm Saturday, & Sunday 10am-4pm LOCAL COUNCIL Birmingham City Council Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB T 0121 303 1111

RECYCLING CITIZENS ADVICE Norris Way Recycling Centre, 392/394 Kingstanding Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7BB Kingstanding, B44 8LD T 0121 303 1112 T 0121 244 1090 Info Helpline: 0844 771010 1st Mar – 31st Oct: (10.00 -16.00 Mon-Fri) Weekday 8am-8pm Weekend 8am-4.30pm

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B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

What’s on...

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Darren Hanlon live at The Hideout Wishaw and Moxhull Memorial Hall, B76 9QD www.the-hideout.info

SEP ‘11

Sutton Vintage & Arts Fair - 11am-5pm Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, B73 6AB The Midland Wedding Show - 10.30am-4pm The Belfry Hotel, Nr Sutton Coldfield, B76 9PR

16 SEP ‘11

11 SEP ‘11

GAMEfest - 16-18th Sep Birmingham NEC http://events.game.co.uk

The King & I - 27th Sep-1st Oct Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, B73 6AB www.tmcs.yolasite.com

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If you’re hosting an event in the coming months & you would like to get the good people of SC there - or even if you’re attending an event and you’d like to spread the word - call 0121 354 1391 or email events@b7living.com & we’ll get it in the diary.

SEP ‘11

2 OCT ‘11

Rachmaninov by Candlelight - 6pm Symphony Hall, Birmingham www.thsh.co.uk

Horse of the Year Show, 4th-9th Oct Birmingham NEC www.hoys.co.uk

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

4 OCT ‘11

WE WANT LOCAL SPORTS FIXTURES!

If you’re involved with a local team, please get in touch: contact@b7living.com

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WITNESS THE

FITNESS!

Now that summer is almost over & the kids are back at school, normal life can at last resume until the next big event of course, Christmas... & the food, alcohol & laziness that follows! That’s why we’ve teamed up with Tom Hartin personal trainer and owner of FreeTimeFitness, based in Sutton Coldfield. Starting in our October issue, Tom will be writing a monthly article on anything from increasing muscle tone & losing that spare tyre, to diets & how our hormones affect our weight and shape. So, with Tom providing us with personal training at our fingertips, there are no more excuses!

Cupcakes by Alexandra are passionate about baking and decorating cupcakes.....working hard to make you and your tummy smile for every occasion. Located in Sutton Coldfield and serving the Midlands area. All Cupcakes are baked to order. For further information, prices or ideas please email: cupcakesbyalexandra@yahoo.co.uk www.facebook.com/cupcakesbyalexandra www.twitter.com/CCbyAlexandra

FreeTimeFitness offers a unique supportive approach to health & fitness, enabling their clients to achieve their optimal health, fitness & fatloss faster than ever before. With constant mentoring, training & progress tracking - both in & out of the gym - your target shape & weight is well within reach. FTF believes that it’s all about being able to track & beli measure improvements in your fat-loss, lifestyle & well-being. Imagine going on a car journey with no map & no idea where you want to be...would you get anywhere? YES, probably. But not were you want to be. Planning & measuring your fat-loss & lifestyle goals are the first & most important step in achieving your goals. At FTF they use cutting edge fat loss spot reduction techniques, looking at the complete picture - not just your BMI & waist measurement - in order to get you the physique you want in the fastest time possible. We’re excited; we hope you are too!

For more information, visit www.freetimefitness.co.uk or call 07984 134 507

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ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011


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B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

Sports Massage is beneficial for reducing scar tissue & improving range of motion & flexibility. Why not relax with an Aromatherapy, Hot Stone or Swedish Massage treatment?

To book an appointment, call 07716 011 430 & quote “B7LM” to receive 20% off your first treatment! Walsall Physiotherapy Clinic 10 Vicarage place Walsall, WS1 3NA

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

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ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

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Sunday Saviour:

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Sutton Vintage is Back!

Sutton Vintage, the local craft fair that celebrates all things retro, is back in September to spice up your Sunday! With enough classic crafts and collectibles to rival any car boot in the country, this is one vintage-themed festival you will not want to miss. From sugary specialties to accessories galore, there are more retro treasures than you can shake a hula hoop at; and that’s just for starters. What makes Sutton Vintage special is the true ma character of the event. Not only will you find over 75 stalls selling everything from tea pots to bowler hats, you’ll also discover dancing, live bands, crafting and cakes galore - perfect for families and cashless students to bargain hunters, and everyone between.   For some, it’s a trip down memory lane; for others it’s a rare chance to rummage into years gone by.   The stalls are hand-picked to provide plenty of assorted treasures covering vintage fashion, asso handmade and upcycled goods, baking, bric-abrac, a bridal boutique and even make-overs, with plenty of patchwork, bunting and shabby chic thrown in for good measure

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Then there’s the venue itself. Built in 1856, the listed Town Hall adds its own charm to the event and is the perfect place for creating that retro atmosphere, having proved its popularity for former festival-goers since October 2010. For future events, the Sutton Vintage team are int introducing their own modern twist. The wonder years of ‘make do and mend’ are a far cry from today’s fast-moving disposable culture, so inkeeping with everything that Sutton Vintage celebrates, the team are planning a more sustainable offering for the not too distant future. This year, having recently toured Solihull and Stratford-Upon-Avon to spread the spirit of Sutton Vintage, the fair will also be joining the upcoming Strawberry Fields Festival. But not before it comes back with a bang to Sutton Coldfield. Bigger, better and bolder than ever, the Sutton Vintage fair is the perfect tonic to spice up your Sund Sunday. Come and have a blast! The next Sutton Vintage & Arts Fair takes place on Sunday 11th September and Sunday 27th November at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall from 1am to 5pm. Entry is £1.

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B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

September, and it’s back to school time. And it’s every September that we’re reminded of the brutal truth that children grow.

Shopping for School During the course of the school year you sort of become used to the fact that the hems of his trousers are gradually creeping further and further up his calf, that the toes of his trainers are getting lumpier and lumpier, that his midriff is no longer reliably covered by the evershortening tails of his school shirt. But as the school holidays draw gratefully to a close you realise with a jolt that his uniform is no longer even decent, and that he needs a whole new set of schmutter. This is even more of a jolt if you have a daughter – you can’t send her back to school looking like a lowrent Britney Spears - and so September becomes the Month of the Ordeal of Shopping for School. This used to be the one time of year when Good Old Woolie’s was indeed a Wonder. It sold not only the necessary clobber but also the new geometry set and calculator and ring-binders and all the other bits and pieces that seemed to need replacing every time they had to go back to school. Now I have found other shops that obligingly provide under one roof the same cornucopia of education-related items that Woolworth used to do, but the shock of the loss of Woolie’s jerked me out of my habituated take-it-forgranted complacency and I found myself becoming increasingly enraged by the need to source an entire suite of new stuff every year. Nevertheless, kids grow; and as a parent you’re faced with two choices every time September comes round: either buy cheap stuff that may or may not last

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

the year, or buy expensive stuff that they’re going to grow out of well before it wears out. The former is the obvious choice and if, by the time July rolls round, they look like junior Worzel Gummidges – well, they won’t have to put up with it for long. But something inside me says that the cheap stuff is lovingly hand-stitched by six-year-olds in Indonesian sweatshops for 10p a day plus a handful of rice on alternate Thursdays, and my conscience just won’t let me do it. So I go for the nice stuff, and drain the bitter cup of resentful fury at having to ditch perfectly good clobber every July and replace it in September. Now, though, a new initiative is off the ground in my home town. It’s called BootXchange, and it’s a simple trade-in system: you hand in last year’s slightly worn but still perfectly good high-end brand-name sports shoes plus a £5 administration fee, and in return you receive the hand-me-downs from the next generation up. They’ve only been worn once a week for 20 or 30 weeks and, being quality gear, they still have at least two seasons wear in them. Voila – new boots for a fiver. This is a good scheme and should be expanded to other school clothing. Actually, you can hand in the kids’ outgrown sweatshirts and stuff and they will indeed be passed on to the less well-off kids whose folks can’t afford new. At present there’s a stigma attached to second-hand clothes but now we’re all poor, our attitudes should change and we should see it as straightforward and indeed praiseworthy September thrift. In fact I propose to take it a step further. Now I’ve reached a certain age I’m going to start a TrouserXchange scheme, where I can hand in my desperately-clinging-on-to-youth jeans and accept instead a couple of pairs of the high-waist cavalry twill slacks that are appropriate to my years. Oh, and I’ll be exchanging all my Ben Sherman polo shirts for a drawer full of cardies.

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Riding Lessons . Groups & Parties . Pony Club . Specialist Lessons . Horse Sales . Livery Here at MEC we have 20 fantastic riding school horses and ponies of all sizes to suit riders of all ages and abilities. Birthday Parties and Own a Pony Days are two of the most popular services we offer and are in great demand. If you would like more information on these, or any of our other services, please call us on 0121 311 1601. Our facilities include an outdoor Dressage arena, a large outdoor Show Jumping arena (both floodlit with all-weather surfaces) and an indoor school with training mirrors and a viewing gallery. Our arenas are also available for private hire. It is our facilities and fantastic team of staff and specialist trainers in Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross-Country, that makes MEC one of the finest equestrian establishments in the Midlands. That’s why we are a British Horse Society (BHS) & Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) approved riding school and BHS Approved Livery Yard. For more information, please visit our website, email us, pop in & see us, or call to speak to one of our friendly members of staff. We are open from 8am-6pm every day, and until 9.30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

www.middletonequestrian.co.uk

Middleton Equestrian Centre, Vicarage Hill, Middleton, B78 2AT T. 0121 311 1601 E. enquiries@middletonequestrian.co.uk

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A conservatory extends summer through to winter and creates the perfect link between the house and the garden. But how do you ensure that this is a truly versatile room, one that’s useable all year round and that suits your look and your lifestyle? Katherine Sorrell looks at ways to make your conservatory a space that’s functional, beautiful and great to be in.

Decorating a conservatory Building a conservatory is one of the most popular home improvements. But aside from the question of whether it will add value to your property, will it add value to your life? A good place to start is with the overall colour scheme. By painting the walls the same colour as the adjacent room, you’ll ensure that the conservatory really feels like part of your home, rather than a last-minute addition. Use the floor, too, as a bridge between the conservatory and the house. Tiled, slate, stone and terracotta floors are beautiful but tend to be rather cold and hard underfoot, so it would be a great idea to scatter one or two rugs to add instant warmth and character, perhaps in a colour used in the next room so as to create a visual link. With the background colours, textures and patterns established, it’s time to consider the key pieces of furniture – probably a comfortable sofa and some armchairs, perhaps a dining table and chairs – and soft furnishings. Many people choose rattan furniture for a conservatory, and it can look fabulous, adding a touch of exotic, Far Eastern style to the room. To emphasise this look, accessorise with wooden boxes with large brass handles (handy for coffee tables), woven baskets, carvedstone buddhas or elephants, paper lanterns and carved-wood mirrors. For blinds, cushions and throws, choose fabrics in sand, mustard,

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

Pleated Conservatory Blinds in Calming Blue, from £750, Thomas Sanderson, 0800 051 54 04; www.thomas-sanderson.co.uk

deep red, orange and earthy brown. Alternatively, you could aim for a cool, New England look by teaming white-painted rattan with cottons and linens in plains and checks, tongue-and-groove cabinetry and simple floor and table lamps with pale fabric shades. Or go for a soft, English country look by adding chintzy cushions, painted ceramics, botanical prints, delicate chandeliers and vases of informally arranged flowers. Another favourite in a conservatory is metal furniture, though it’s best to avoid chairs and tables specifically designed for the garden, as they can look unsophisticated and clumsy; instead, opt for curly, decorative metalwork, which looks really pretty, especially painted in a soft pastel colour. Team with toile de Jouy fabrics, old metal café signs, oversized chocolate mugs, painted wall clocks and enamelware with French lettering for a conservatory à la Francais. For a more contemporary effect, faux wicker furniture (for both inside and out) now comes in all sorts of vivid colours and surprisingly sculptural shapes, while high-tech fabrics, which resist staining and fading and are water-resistant, allow you to include upholstered furniture – so you could go for long and lean sofas, or European-inspired, modular forms. The finishing

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touches for this look should be sleek, chic and minimal – an oversized floor lamp, perhaps; a piece or two in acrylic (maybe a curved coffee table or a dining chair), a modern chandelier and maybe some framed black-and-white photographs. And there you have it: glamorous or laid back, traditional or modern, the decoration of your conservatory can reflect your personal style and really make this room an integral part of your home.

Use your conservatory all year round Heating is essential if you plan to use your conservatory in winter, and this is something that’s ideally considered at the planning stage – though a retrofit is always possible. The options are simply to extend your current central heating to the conservatory, placing radiators against the dwarf walls, or to fit underfloor heating, in the form of either warm-water pipes or electric cables. Some systems use convectors, set under the perimeter of the floor and covered with decorative grilles. In the summer months, your main consideration will be to keep the conservatory cool enough to be pleasant to sit in. As well as opening windows and vents, you can

John Lewis Nomad conservatory furniture, 08456 049 049; www.johnlewis.com

provide a cool waft of air with a central ceiling fan, and block dazzling sunlight with blinds, which will control the heat in the summer and insulate in the winter. Choose from pleated, roller or roman blinds, vertical and Venetians, wood-weave or simple calico, in colours to suit your décor. by Katherine Sorrell

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Caring for your long-awaited baby should be the most wonderful experience, but for many mums, at some time in the first few days, weeks or months, it simply is not.

Postnatal Illness

Baby blues Around 50-80% of new mums get the ‘baby blues’ when they feel, not surprisingly, exhausted, anxious and weepy during the first few days after the birth. This usually disappears without the need for treatment about 10 days after the birth. Postnatal depression (PND) Around 10-15% of women will suffer more severe postnatal depression, sometimes weeks or months after the birth of their baby. About half of cases occur within the first three months, and 75% of cases by six months. These mums experience more powerful and prolonged symptoms of depression such as: • constant weepiness • anxiety, tension • difficulty in bonding with the baby • loss of libido • sleep disturbances, restlessness • exhaustion • feeling isolated or living in a ‘bubble’ • feelings of guilt and resentment Many women do not realise they are suffering from postnatal depression and battle on without getting the help they need. It is often women who have high expectations of themselves and of motherhood that find the reality of caring for a new baby hard to cope with. If you feel depressed, it’s important to let family and friends know how you feel so that you can get support. Your GP can discuss treatment options with you, such as counselling and anti-depressants and direct you to local mothers’ groups which can be of enormous support to new mums. Puerperal psychosis A very small percentage of women (between one and three in every 1,000), suffer from puerperal psychosis, which causes severe mental breakdown and may include symptoms such as manic behaviour and hallucinations. Treatment options include hospitalisation, drugs and counselling. Getting support Being at home with a new baby that seems to need constant feeding and changing, who takes all your attention and leaves you feeling exhausted, can be an isolating experience. Take up any offers of help and support from friends and family. If you feel you are not coping, always talk to your GP or health visitor.

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It’s normal to feel emotional and exhausted after having a baby, but symptoms of PND include constant crying, feeling cut off from everyone else, an inability to sleep, feeling anxious and tense and unable to bond with your baby. If you feel low or depressed, don’t try to cope on your own and don’t be afraid to ask for help – all new mums need the support of family and friends. Don’t put yourself under pressure to keep the house clean or prepare big meals – rest when your baby sleeps. If you feel you are not coping, talk to your health visitor or GP – and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed that you’re not handling motherhood as well as other mums seem to be. Talk to other mums – you’ll find they’re probably feeling just as overwhelmed as you are. Despite greater awareness of PND, it’s thought that only about half of mothers who need help are getting it. So don’t keep your feelings to yourself – the sooner you talk about it, the quicker you can get support and, if needed, treatment.

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Nissan Leaf Road Test Model: Nissan Leaf Price: £25,990 (including

It’s the first five-seater mass-produced electric car, but James Baggott finds out the Leaf isn’t for everybody

£5,000 government grant)

Engine: electric motor Power: 107bhp, 280Nm Max speed: 90mph 0-60mph: 11.9s MPG: 109mile range Emissions: 0g/km Residual values (three years): 37 per cent

What is it?

Nissan would have you believe it’s revolutionary. It’s the first five-seater, all-electric car in production, producing zero emissions and costing just £2 to ‘fill up’. The benefits don’t end there either. Buyers enjoy zero road tax and company car drivers won’t be clobbered by any Benefit in Kind. That means someone driving a 1.6litre diesel Ford Focus, paying £4,000 company car tax per year, would see that amount back in their pay packets.

What’s under the bonnet?

A big fat electric motor. Flip the catch, show any non petrolhead the unit and most will be convinced it’s a standard engine – to the uninitiated it certainly looks that way. It’s the fat power cables that give the game away. That motor produces 108bhp but it’s the big dollop of 280Nm of torque, available immediately, which really makes the difference. That’s equivalent to a Porsche Boxster and certainly makes the Leaf feel sprightly enough.

What’s the spec like?

Nissan made little noise about spec on the launch, concentrating more on the

technology, but customers will be pleased to hear there’s lots to entertain. Headliners include sat nav and reversing camera as standard, as well as central locking, alloys, climate control, a CD player and electric windows and mirrors. The only option is a solar panel on the spoiler that tops up the 12v battery. That costs £250.

What’s it like to drive?

Nissan says the Leaf’s range is 109 miles and has calculated 95 per cent of daily car travel is less than 25 miles and the average journey is 8.5 miles. There are two power modes, a normal and an eco. In eco, power is seriously reduced but the range improved and in normal the Leaf is surprisingly swift. What’s immediately apparent is how quiet the car is and how well it rides over bumps – you forget very quickly you’re driving an electric car.

What does the press think of it?

Autoblog said the Leaf could possibly be the most impressive car it has driven all year. The Green Car Website loved it and said owners would claw back the higher purchase price with lower running costs. Autocar

also said that despite the ‘real world range’ being only about 80 miles it was ‘easy to see its huge potential as a comfortable and practical school run car’.

What do we think of it?

We like it a lot, but the 26 dealers currently selling it will need to heed the maker’s advice and ensure the right buyers are snapping them up. It’s true that at £25,990, with the government’s £5,000 grant thrown in, the Leaf looks expensive but we’d liken it to a new Apple Mac: It might do the same thing as a normal computer, but knowing you’re at the forefront of technology and slightly wacky-cool for owning it, will make that extra cash worth spending.

Selling Points 1. £1 will take you 73 miles – in a Focus diesel £1 is good for 11 miles 2. On a PCP (most popular buying method) it costs £399 per month 3. Company car drivers will pay no Benefit in Kind

Deal Clincher

You can fuel it at home for just £2 a fill up

by James Baggott, editor of Car Dealer Magazine (CarDealerMag.co.uk)

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

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As our longevity increases, what problems does this pose to our pensions and what can we do to protect our financial security in those ‘extra’ years? In one of a series of informative articles that will help you with pension arrangements, for employer and employee, Nigel Herrick of The Premier Partnership Limited explains... It is well publicised that we are living longer than our forebears and as every day goes by, the expectations and predictions of longevity increase. Improved diet, better medical care and a lack of global conflict and disease have all contributed to this effect of temporary immortality. A couple of years ago, I attended an actuarial conference on this very subject, which brought home some sobering thoughts about the effects of increasing longevity on the ability of pension schemes to cope with longer term payments to pensioners. I will deal with the State Pension Scheme in a later issue, but here I will comment on the effect of ‘Temporary Immortality’ on Private Pension provision. The keynote speech of the conference concentrated on mortality – or in English – the length of time you are expected to live. The conclusion was that, whilst current Male/Female life spans are 85/88 years respectively, people who are currently below 40 will have an expectation of 93/97 years, and their children, more often than not will receive a telegram from the Queen. Scientists have also stated that the first person to live to 150 has already been born. With the workforce shrinking and the retired population booming, I think you can probably see the imbalance and the questions and problems this raises. Increasing the retirement age is one of the potential solutions to what is a global problem, just look at the problems of Portugal and Greece. Putting it simply, we cannot afford to stay retired so long, as the burden of cost is too great, unless a major seed change takes place in how to fund 30 to 40 years in retirement. This problem is not just confined to the Private Sector, the Public Sector are also currently demonstrating what it thinks of the potential, necessary changes, via a series of strike actions. There are 29 million working people in the UK, half of whom are in a company pension scheme; and half who are not (this includes Public Sector employees and statutory schemes). The 14.5 million who are in company pension schemes are split roughly half and half between the Public and Private Sectors. This leaves 14.5 million people who have either inadequate or no pension provision in place at all. This is why, when faced with the problems of funding longevity, the Government have had no option but to bring in statutory rules, regarding compulsory savings, with draconian enforcement measures. These will force every single employee to make a conscious decision about funding their future, and force every single employer to provide the prescribed facility for their employees to do so. cont.

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

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Auto-enrolment and compulsory contributions for both employers and employees into pension schemes has been born. You will shortly be experiencing a positive deluge of information from the Government, via many media outlets, explaining this change in employment law, and whether you own a shop with one staff, or even if you are a FTSE 100 quoted PLC, these changes will affect you. No business or employer, however small, will be exempt, and we are here to help you ensure that you have the right solution for your business. Our expert team will be holding a series of seminars across the country to provide you with all of the information you will need to comply with the new auto-enrolment regulations. Simply contact us by telephone or email to book your place. Alternatively, we will be happy to arrange a mutually convenient meeting at your place of work to individually discuss your organisation’s needs and requirements, and to begin the process of creating a bespoke solution for you. Non-compliance with these new rules is not an option. Nigel Herrick, Director of The Premier Partnership Contact us: T 01283 711 222 E best@premierpartnership.co.uk

www.premierpartnership.co.uk

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Start Planting Now for a Great Display of Spring Flowering Bulbs

I love this month, not least because it gives me carte blanche for thinking about something I adore: spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and other narcissus. Why? Because for best results the bulbs for these spring delights need to be planted in the autumn. Planted from now onwards, they have a good chance to grow roots and start to build up energy for making a great display next spring. Choose your daffodils carefully and you can have a display starting in late winter (from varieties such as ‘February Gold’) right through until mid-spring. When looking through the selection in catalogues or on garden centre shelves, just check flowering times which will be clearly indicated on the pack. Sometimes this will be as numerals rather than actual dates. For example, February to March could be indicated as 2-3 or sometimes even II-III. Spring flowering bulbs are generally completely hardy in our climate so unless hit by serious extremes of weather (such as prolonged flooding), they will

ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

keep coming year after year. There should be planting depths written on the packs of bulbs you buy or order, but if not it is generally better to plant slightly too deep rather than too shallowly. As a guide, I would advise planting at roughly three times the height of the bulb. If planted too shallowly they don’t perform so well and are more likely to be accidentally dug up when you’re planting other things. Buying larger quantities of bulbs usually makes them significantly cheaper per bulb and there are always multipack offers to be found, so shop about and choose carefully, but whatever you go for, unless you choose the very elite super-pricey bulbs, they’ll represent superb value for money. If you’re looking to plant a large expanse, perhaps a bank or the area along the sides of the drive, go for daffodils by the sack rather than by the bag. I’m a real fan of crocus – choose from purple, lilac, striped, cream, yellow, orange or white. They’re very good value, but here’s a word of warning – I always find that the super-bargain priced megabags of crocus contain a lot of yellow and orange crocus which the sparrows love to shred. It’s better value to pay a little more for smaller single colour bags and avoid the yellows and oranges. Once established, spring bulbs multiply quite rapidly, so you should end up with more than you started with – this means it’s important to plant at the suggested distances apart, even if it may feel a little sparse for the first year or two. If you want a high-impact look from the start, then you can plant a little closer than suggested, but bear in mind the bulbs will become congested and need lifting and replanting all the sooner. Spring flowering bulbs need little attention once established – just give them an occasional feed and once the clumps become congested, divide and replant them to give each bulb more space so it can fulfil its potential.

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Where to grow them: Try simple daffodils like ‘Carlton’, ‘King Alfred’ or English bluebells grown in random plantings, scattered and then planted where they fall, beneath trees in your garden. They’ll look great and often produce a really good display beneath the outer spread of trees where it may otherwise be difficult to encourage much else to grow. Shrubs and even climbers can also be used for naturalised bulb plantings, but because they’re smaller, grow the more diminutive bulbs such as miniature Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’, ‘Hawera’, ‘Peeping Tom’, rich blue grape hyacinths or delicate Chinodoxa. On steep banks where gardening is difficult, why not grow masses of bulbs? Planting on the near vertical may be tricky, but once there you can enjoy the display for years to come. Pots or other good-looking containers make great homes for bulbs. If you’ve fallen for anything particularly small or expensive, pots can be the answer and will mean you can enjoy and not lose those tiny spring bulb jewels amongst their larger relatives.

Larger planters including tubs and window boxes are brilliant for bulbs too – try a host of golden daffodils in a smart blue pot, some delicate dwarf iris or Iris reticulata in a window box or pot on the front steps where you’ll be able to enjoy their good looks and their subtle perfume. Whichever type of spring bulb you have in mind, and wherever you intend to grow them, start planning and buying now so that they can be in the ground promptly.

You can get great Grow Your Own Veg results with Pippa’s unique ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’. Order your veg plants from www.pippagreenwood. com and your garden-ready plants are delivered in May at a great time for planting. What makes it unique is that Pippa will email you every week about what you’re growing – lots of tips and help, ensuring great results. It’s great value with various pack sizes available, eg up to 66 plants plus 6 packets of seed for just £39.00, plus that weekly advice.

by Pippa Greenwood

Self-Drive Hire

24hr Emergencies

Grooms Driven Hire

At PET we offer a caring & considerate approach to transporting horses, whatever the circumstance or length of journey. Our priority is providing a stress-free environment so that the horses will be relaxed & happy to travel again. As the owner, you are welcome to travel with your horse to its destination, or we can deal with the move on your behalf. Why not drive yourself? Call us to find out more, or visit our website:

www.premierequestriantransport.co.uk TO ADVERTISE, EMAIL SALES@B7LIVING.COM

We also offer a 24hr emergency service for transporting horses to Equine Veterinary Clinics & Hospitals, & we are registered with breakdown services for call-outs to horsebox or trailer 2-Horse breakdowns. Lorry (self-drive available)

3-Horse Lorry (driven hire only on this vehicle)

For more information please visit our website, or call 0121 311 1601 (8am-6pm) or in an out of hours emergency call 07528 157 835 (6pm-8am)

PET is fully insured & licensed to operate. All drivers hold NPTC Certificate of Competence in the Transport of Animals, & all vehicles comply with DEFRA regulations & Welfare of Animals during Transport Regulations.

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B7LM ONLINE DIRECTORY

TRAVEL

Sizzling in the sun or drenched in monsoon rain, Phnom Penh takes you by surprise. Chaotic and relaxed all in one, with bustling lanes and tree-lined boulevards, Buddhist temples, exotic markets and three rivers, the Mekong, the Bassac and the Sap, meeting within sight of the Royal Palace.

Phnom Penh

Cambodia’s beguiling capital

The Mekong is the stuff of legends but it is the Sap which flows closest to the city and gives it a particular charm. There are fishing craft painted like rainbows, houseboats, fast ferries to Angkor Wat, cargo vessels, sampans and frail tourist boats bobbing at anchor. Sail down to the Mekong and you discover bamboo houses along the shore and floating villages where children dive in brown waters and fishermen haul in their nets in the setting sun. The city roofs glow coppery gold across the water and when the cool evening breeze sweeps along the promenade, locals come down to the river, friends holding hands, families sharing a picnic, hawkers selling incense and lotus bloom for the shrines. Flags from many nations fly high above it all and across Sisowath Quay, outdoor cafés with plush cushions and rattan chairs add a whiff of colonial days.

an ‘Emerald Buddha’ made of crystal and a Pagoda claiming 5000 silver tiles, mostly tucked under a carpet. Visiting monks pose for photographs among the bougainvillea and marvel at the lofty flourishes of Khmer architecture. Others head for the nearby National Museum and its fabulous treasures displayed in a maze of lotus ponds and open galleries. Today, Buddhism is back after the dark Pol Pot years and spirit houses and temples pop up all over town. Most popular is Wat Phnom, perched on the only hill around. On this spot some 600 years ago, Lady Penh found sacred Buddha images, thus giving the city its name, the hill (Phnom) of Penh. City folk climb up the steps, past mythological lions and snakes, to burn incense and make a wish. Fortune tellers make a brisk trade, monkeys scamper on the slopes and the resident elephant waits for his next ride around the park.

Phnom Penh is easy to explore on foot, as long as you don’t cross too many roads. Streets are on a grid pattern, enclosed by Parisian-style boulevards fragrant with frangipani. You find gold shops and shoe-shine boys, tailors and printers working on the pavements, smoke-filled barbecues and honking traffic ready to pounce at countdown lights. Rickshaws and bicycles weave through it all, laden with multicoloured balloons or Phnom Penh’s household goods, orange-robed monks carry alms bowls and main attractions are umbrellas and now and then a wedding party files through an conveniently close to the waterfront. Built during the entrance draped in lilies and silver bananas. What looks like bottles of squash at the roadside is motorbike fuel. The old French protectorate, the Royal Palace is a delightful French Quarter is worth a peep for its leafy lanes and stylish mansions but for local colour, the markets are a must, whether oasis of lawns and trees, you are looking for fresh fruit or fried spiders, bags, books, dotted with colonnades, clocks, silk, fake designer goods or stone carvings. Bargaining spires and overlapping is hard work but there is always time to relax at the end of the roofs. You find a pavilion day and watch the sunset over the Mekong. donated by Napoleon III, by Solange Hando

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How it feels to have radiotherapy at a CancerPartnersUK centre We are expert providers of IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy) and IGRT (Image-Guided Radiation Therapy), which treats cancer with greater accuracy and fewer side-effects than conventional radiotherapy.

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Design Tips Double Glazing / Window Replacement

Many people believe that a house loses most of its heat through the roof. However, windows are actually the Tmain cause of heat loss. Replacing your windows is a big and expensive job, but you will reap the dividends by having a warmer house and reduced heating bills. If you are thinking about replacing your windows, you should consider installing double glazing at the same time. As well as its heat saving and draught-proofing properties, double glazing provides better security for your home too. And it also reduces noise pollution from outside. Do your homework before shopping around for the best price and service. Consider the type of frame you want; UPVC, wood, aluminium or metal. Always replace your windows with a style that’s in keeping with your property. Don’t forget that windows can be an escape route in case of fire, so you need to be able to open them fully. A small window at the top will allow you to open it to provide extra ventilation in the summer. Before choosing an installation company ask for recommendations from your neighbours and friends. Obtain at least three quotes and inspect the guarantee that should come with the new windows.

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Sudoku... Easy

Hard

Cryptic Crossword! Across 1 Wine cartel in disarray (6) 4 Hit-and-run? That’s careless (8) 9 Double negatives? They’re out! (2-4) 10 Forged Somalian painting (4,4) 12 Turn on a quiet mathematical statement (8) 13 Wrong ethics lead to strong urges (6) 15 Frozen water after five leads to corruption (4) 16 Room hidden in the nick (7) 20 Gift dispatched in advance? (7) 21 Foolish lawyer on foot (4) 25 Green prune I diced (6) G 26 Troops I’m deploying for the deceiver (8) 28 Wed follower (8) 29 Pegs on spoilt cake (6) 30 Unnecessary and lessened somehow (8)

Down 1 Swindle and dish up jam (8) 2 Girl with a little weight, say (8) 3 Secret surgery constructs (6) 5 Beast working after fifty-one (4) 6 Quiet snake or one who talks (8) 7 Perch on fire (6) 8 Transport for late passengers? (6) 11 He toils to become the most sacred (7) 14 Bad omen about coy thriftiness (7) 17 Offer one should love to accept? (8) 18 Trawl for an instrument (8) 19 Tuners go wild for this fish (8) 22 No mutt worried this sheep! (6) t23 Company ordered to Peru (6) 24 Pair left in a car (6) 27 Planet of ruins (4) o

All solutions in next month’s issue. ISSUE 1: SEPTEMBER 2011

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Working from home An empty nest It hardly seems 19 years ago that the obstetrician looked up from the operating table where she had just finished delivering our twin bundles of joy by Csection and enquired of the room at large: “Has anybody seen my pen?” Oh how everyone laughed! But 19 years ago it was, and now my little darlings are preparing to fly the coop. Well, the daughter is: university beckons, and a glorious career in marine biology. The son has decided university isn’t for him and (if he ever fills in his bloody application form) is only going as far as the tech down the road to study music technology and sound engineering. But now he’s of legal drinking age we hardly see him anyway, so I suppose we shall soon be technically empty nesters. So, then. No more trying to work while daytime TV drones and buzzes away in the next room. No more abstemious Saturday nights because I’m going to be on dad’s taxi duty later on. No more chiding letters from school about missed homework. No more arguments about rooms that look like Coventry after the Blitz (no – that’s not true: the son’s staying). Will it be bliss? Or will all that unwonted peace and quiet translate into loneliness and loss, as some say it does? Whichever turns out to be true, it’s going to be weird. The weirdness has actually been creeping up on us for some time, and their separation has come in well-spaced stages. Our last holiday as a family (the Pyrenees – I recommend it) was a couple of years ago now, and I don’t suppose there will ever be another. They turned 18 and started going drinking with their mates (well actually, they started going drinking with their mates a shade before their 18th, but the less said about that the better). They have jobs, he in a call centre, she in a pizza joint. Weirder still, they developed opinions and ideas of their own, which they expound forcefully despite my status as paterfamilias. So they aren’t afraid of me any more!

This is all cool with me: I’ve loved watching them grow up and become independent. But now suddenly they’re going to have to stop becoming independent and actually be independent and I’m reminded of their very first day at school, however many years ago. We dressed them in their new uniforms and dropped them off at the school gates. As I watched them melt into the crowd of almost-identical five-year-olds I had an overwhelming urge to plant a video camera in their classroom so that I could continue to watch over them and be certain they were happy and unharmed. But somehow they thrived and flourished without my supervision and although there were times when I could cheerfully have punched some of their teachers, I suppose there were just as many times when some of their teachers could equally cheerfully have punched me. So: childhood’s end, and more departures. This time, though, I don’t feel that urge to plant a roving CCTV so that I can watch over them. Quite the opposite, in fact: the things they’re going to do are things I definitely don’t want to see. All I can do now is hope that we, as parents, have given them the equipment they’ll need to survive and thrive. And God knows, the world we’re ushering them into is a damned sight rougher and tougher than the world that confronted us at that age. by Ted Bruning

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Monkfish has a wonderful firm flesh with a meaty flavour and is well suited to roasting, however cod loin or a thick piece of salmon fillet will work just as well.

Ser ves Tak 4 One es hou r

700g (1lb 9oz) monkfish fillet 2tbsp olive oil 1tsp lemon juice 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning 8 medium-sized waxy potatoes, such as Desiree Salt and freshly ground black pepper 225g (8oz) cherry tomatoes 1 lemon, sliced Sunflower oil for shallow frying Cut the monkfish into large chunks and place in a shallow roasting tin. Mix together the oil and lemon juice and pour over the fish. Sprinkle over the Cajun seasoning. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the unpeeled potatoes in a large pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 mins. Drain and leave to cool for 10 mins. Peel the skins off the potatoes and coarsely grate the potato flesh into a bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, divide and shape the grated potato into about 8 flat cakes. Place the lemon slices in the roasting tin with the monkfish and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5-8 minutes until the fish is just cooked through and the tomatoes are tender. Heat 30-45ml (2-3tbsp) oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the potato rosti, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown, adding more oil as necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Arrange the potato rosti on serving plates and top with the roast monkfish, lemon slices and tomatoes. Pour over any juices left in the roasting tin and serve immediately.

TOP TIP - If you’re not too keen on cajun then replace with a sprinkling of dried Italian herbs.

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DAVRON BUILDING SERVICES

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160 Walmley Road Sutton Coldfield West Midlands, B76 2QA

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26 Birmingham Road Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B72 1QG Tel 0121 355 0966

September 2011  

A local community meets lifestyle magazine for the residents and businesses of Sutton Coldfield, UK

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