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Your essential guide to Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands



The Barber Institute

Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Aladdin


We take a look at a new kind of social enterprise

BROCKENCOTE HALL: A REVIEW Claire Hutchings tries out their new menu


Phil Innes gives us his top wine tips

Food & Drink • Culture • Business • Fashion • Lifestyle

15 – 23 February

0844 338 5000 5% transaction fee applies; calls cost from 5p per minute

photo: Richard Battye; image design: The Lift Creative Services





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W H I T E &



The steaks are high...

Drinking and dining doesn’t get much better…..or higher! Enjoy a devilish two-course meal for £15 or three-courses for £20. Dining is from the Table D’Hote menu and is available Monday - Friday from 12pm to 2.30pm. Or relax in our Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar and sample one of our signature Champagne cocktails.

To reserve a table visit or call 0121 643 2010.

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December 2012/January 2013

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Welcome to the December/January edition of Edge Magazine. It’s time to celebrate, time to indulge and time to treat your family. So we’ve put together a winter wonderland of features for you; to inspire some Christmas fun and bid farewell to a fantastic 2012. We’ve got a double hit of cultural masterpieces as The Barber Institute of Fine Art celebrate 80 years with an exhibition of their history and The Birmingham Royal Ballet present Aladdin in the New Year. If you’re heading to some fabulous events this party season, we’ve got the low-down on party style. We’ve also got all the hair trends you need on your radar to make waves in 2013. With Christmas ahead, no doubt you’ve got booze on the brain and we’ve got tips for mulled cider as well as a breakdown of the best wines to try this winter. And for all you health conscious, beauty junkies, we’ve got an article on how to be merry and healthy this Christmas and a guide to Serenity Rose Spa’s new Skin Bar and how to give your skin a fresh start in 2013. If you like what you see in Edge Magazine, please show your support by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter, as well as checking out our website at: www. It’s been an exciting year over here at Edge Magazine headquarters. We’d like to thank you all for your support and we’re excited to see what 2013 has in store. On behalf of the team at Edge Magazine, have a wonderful December and January, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we hope to see you all again for our next edition in February 2013.

FEATURES 80 Years of Art and Music..........................8 The Barber Institute

A Whole New World....................................12

Brockencote Hall: a review..........................68 Claire Hutchings tries out their new menu

Winter Wine..................................................72 Phil Innes gives us his top wine tips

Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Aladdin

Retro Rocks. .............................................26 We take a look at a new kind of social enterprise

December 2012/January 2013

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one of britain’s finest small art galleries celebrates its 80th anniversary with a year-long programme of special exhibitions, concerts and other events starting this december. fRee AdMission to collection And All eXhibitions

Monday – friday, 10am – 5pm saturday & sunday: 11am – 5pm (closed 24- 26 december, i January) 0121 414 7333

The barber institute of fine Arts, university of birmingham, edgbaston, birmingham b15 2ts 19 OctOber 2012 – 27 january 2013

The MosT PerfecT exaMPLe of his Work

RobeRt Atkinson And the building of the bARbeR institute 14 December 2012 – 5 may 2013

insPired By Lace

JAcqueline lAwRence The Life and Passions of Lady BarBer

14 December 2012 – 24 February 2013

14 December 2012 – 24 February 2013

cLose To The hearT 17th – 19th centuRY bRitish MiniAtuRes fRoM uk PRiVAte collections 1 February – 5 may 2013

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December 2012/January 2013

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CONTENTS 80 Years of Art and Music


Save Your Skin


Birmingham Royal Ballet


Hampton By Hilton


Hair Trends


The Bell


'Tis the Season


Sequins and Curls


Chedham's Yard


Board Meeting


Holly's Christmas Past


Jamais Vu


Retro Rocks


Out of Africa


Women Mean Business


Big Build


Wild About Hats


A Sound Investment


St George's School


All Cash No Profit


Eat, Drink and Be Healthy


Save for Your Children


Mulled Cider


Duelling Pianos


Wroxall Abbey


Winter Wine


Bordeaux Classic



Michael Abu-Zalaf - Editor in Chief @ZalafAbu -

Alice Perrey - Sales Executive @alice_perrey -

Tel:07714 490 943 Eileen O’Kane - Accounts Manager @Eileen_OKane -

Tel:07809 702 992 Lucinda Bunn - Copy Editor

Tel:0287 930 1067

@lucibunn -

Karim Zalaf - Distribution Director


TEL: 01608 682 749 OR


07809 702 992

Sarah Rees

Melanie Taffs

Sunny Gill

Martin Crean

Tom Ware

Andrew Davies

Meg Hanlon

James Earnshaw

Hillary Collins

Phil Innes

Claire Hutchings

Rachael Hogg

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 7 80 Years of art and music

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80 YEARS OF ART AND MUSIC The Barber Institute of Fine Arts special exhibitions and events explore the Barber’s history Andrew Davies


ne of the most important cultural jewels of the art of England this month marks the 80th anniversary of its foundation by staging a major exhibition celebrating its foundress and the realisation of her dream. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham is today recognised as one of the finest small art galleries in the world, with a collection of superb old master and impressionist paintings by almost every great artist you could name; from Botticelli and Bellini through Rubens and Turner to Monet and Magritte. The Barber Institute is a leading classical music venue too and one of the finest Art Deco buildings in Birmingham. We owe its existence to the vision of one great, Worcestershire-born woman, Dame Martha Constance ‘Hattie’ Barber. Lady Barber was born Martha ‘Hattie’ Onions in 1869 in Earl’s Croom, Worcestershire. Educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, the young Hattie married William ‘Henry’ Barber at Defford Parish Church in 1993. Henry, the son of a Birmingham master jeweller, trained as a lawyer and then became a property developer. He made so much money that he and his new bride were able to retire and move to the splendour of the Georgian mansion, Culham Court, overlooking the Thames near Henley (shortly before his 35th birthday). He was knighted for political services in Birmingham in 1923. However, despite their wealth, the pair had no children. Following Sir Henry’s death in 1929, Lady Barber endowed the University with sufficient funds to construct, equip and maintain a purpose-built art gallery and concert hall. While her own art collection, which she bequeathed to the Institute, was limited in quantity and quality, Lady Barber insisted that ‘all additional purchases for the collection shall be of that standard of quality required by the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection’.

a new portrait of herself as a gift on each birthday or wedding anniversary. The Deed of Trust was signed by Lady Barber and the first trustees on the 13th December 1932. Sadly, Lady Barber never even saw the Barber Institute being built, dying in April 1933 of complications following an operation. Eight decades on, however, the Barber galleries contain major works by many of the key names in the history of Western art. A programme of regular, award-winning temporary exhibitions has explored artists from Rossetti through to Van Dyck to Thomas Fearnley, and subjects as varied as Turner’s early seascapes, to lawn tennis – and even parrots – in art. Its regular concerts and recitals have featured some of the major names of classical music. And as well as being the base for the University’s art history and music departments, the Barber also hosts a thriving schools’ programme, arts activities and workshops for all ages. The anniversary programme begins on the 14th of December with a programme of major exhibitions, displays and concerts. Portrait of a Lady: The Life and Passions of Lady Barber (to 24th February 2013) explores Lady Barber as a character; her life and legacy, through her portraits, photographs, her collections of tapestry and lace, her personal effects and her letters, and is a fitting tribute to this generous and far-sighted woman. For further details of the full programme of events, which continues throughout 2013, visit the Barber website at:

This precluded the collection of more than 25 portraits of herself – the majority by obscure Belgian artist Nestor Cambier, whom Lady Barber had installed in a lodge on the Culham estate – literally her court painter. Legend has it that Lady Barber would present her husband with

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December 2012/January 2013

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December 2012/January 2013

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Christmas Gift Vouchers Available Signature Ritual & Tub Journeys Luxury Facials K Lift Age Reversal Indulgent Organic Massage & Body Treatments Immaculate Pedicures & Manicures Flawless Organic Spray Tans

Mode & M Spa, Lapstone, Westington Hill. GL55 6EG 01386 841123 W: E:

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December 2012/January 2013

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December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 11 A whole new world

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A WHOLE NEW WORLD Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Aladdin


irmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) will bring Aladdin, a tale of love, trickery and triumph, to the Birmingham Hippodrome stage from Friday 15th February to Saturday 23rd February 2013. Created for the National Ballet of Japan in 2008, Aladdin boasts choreography by BRB Director David Bintley, the creator of the Company’s brilliant Cinderella. Music is by Carl Davis, composer of the Company’s Cyrano and numerous well-known television scores including Pride and Prejudice, Cranford, The World at War and Up Pompeii. The Birmingham Hippodrome dates will mark the UK premiere performances of Bintley’s Aladdin. The ballet begins with a run-in with palace guards that leads young tearaway Aladdin into a whirlwind of adventure and romance, involving unbelievable riches, love at first sight, treachery, and of course a magic lamp. Duped into helping an evil Maghrib, Aladdin finds himself trapped in a cave for three days and nights, with no light and nothing to eat. But it is only when he attempts to light the old lamp he’s found, that his real adventure begins! When he finally returns home, Aladdin’s mother thinks he is telling stories, but she soon finds out the real value of the battered old lamp he has brought with him. When Aladdin falls in love and lands himself in more hot water through his pursuit of the Emperor’s beautiful daughter, his mother uses the lamp to secure his freedom and Aladdin wins the Princess’s hand in marriage. But Aladdin hasn’t realised that the Emperor’s chief advisor is the evil Maghrib, and his adventures haven’t ended yet… Music for Aladdin is by Carl Davis and was specially commissioned for the world premiere in Tokyo in 2008. Choreography is by David Bintley and adds another full-length ballet to Bintley’s incredible history of dance making – full length ballets choreographed by Bintley, the award-winning Director of BRB, include Hobson’s Choice, Edward II, Far from the Madding Crowd, Cinderella and The Prince of the Pagodas (to receive its UK premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome as part of the Britten Centenary Celebrations in February 2014). Set designs for Aladdin are by Dick Bird (Bird designed numerous theatre, opera, ballet, television and film productions including for the Barbican, Opera North, ENO, Royal Court Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Young Vic and Crucible Theatre, to name

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just a few). Costumes are by Sue Blane (Blane studied costume design at Wolverhampton College of Art and Central School of Art and Design and is best known for her costume designs for both The Rocky Horror Show and The Rocky Horror Picture Show by Richard O’Brien. Blane was nominated for a 1997 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for her design of English National Ballet's Alice in Wonderland and a BAFTA nomination for Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract. Aladdin lighting design is by Mark Jonathan, who has previously created lighting for BRB productions including Cyrano, Beauty and the Beast, Far from the Madding Crowd, Sylvia, The Protecting Veil, Giselle and The Seasons. Birmingham Royal Ballet continues to encourage families to attend ballet performances and is delighted to offer family-friendly performance times with a Sunday performance on the 17th February at 1pm and a 6.30pm performance on Friday 22nd February during the Aladdin Birmingham Hippodrome run. Continuing with one of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s aims to build strong links and relationships across the international dance arena, Aladdin is a co-production with Houston Ballet Foundation. Aladdin is also supported (2013) by The John Ellerman Foundation, the estate of Margery Bremner and the estate of Pamela Green.

Tickets: or 0844 338 5000 Performance dates: Friday 15 – Saturday 23 February 2013 (includes a Sunday performance on 17 February at 1pm and a 6.30pm performance on Friday 22 February).

December 2012/January 2013

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image design: The Lift Creative Services

Photo: Richard Battye

performance photos of National Ballet of Japan: Hidemi Seto

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 13 Hair Trends

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HAIR TRENDS Make waves in 2013 Martin Crean


s a hair stylist, it’s important that I stay one step ahead of fashion so that I can give my clients the most up to the minute looks. I worked backstage at London Fashion Week in September so I saw first hand what the major designers were putting forward for spring/summer 2013, and from this I was able to predict what key hair trends we will all be sporting next year. One of the major trends will be for deep side partings. I love experimenting with this look, my clients are often really surprised by how much of a change to their look it can make when I simply shift their parting to one side. If you want to follow this trend, imagine a line running from the natural arch of your eyebrow to your temple and start your parting at this point for a look that will be perfectly in balance with your features. Waves will also be a key style next year. Whether it’s exaggerating your natural waves, or transforming naturally straight hair into voluptuous curls, next year we’ll all be embracing this look. You can get the look by using heated rollers or curling tongs. The key is to avoid frizz, so always prep the hair with a smoothing serum and finish with a shine spray. The look should be loose and not too ‘set’ so don’t overdo the hair spray. Braids will be big news next year, particularly little plait accents, carefully placed throughout the hair. They can add a really feminine edge to a simple hairstyle and add extra interest and intricacy. From French plaits to fishtails and Dutch braids, there are lots of options to choose from. For a quick and easy nod towards the 2013 trends, simply tie your hair into a low ponytail. They are so easy to do - the key is to keep them sleek, smooth and unfussy for a minimalist look.

Mode & M Spa, Lapstone, Westington Hill. GL55 6EG 01386 841123

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Hair by Martin Crean at Mode

Next year the focus will also be on hair accessories. From hair jewels and fresh flowers to ribbons, scarves and hats, it’s about adding that extra touch to your look.

December 2012/January 2013

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December 2012/January 2013

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'Tis the season

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‘TIS THE SEASON Let’s get the party started


ith the Christmas party season well on the way, our resident style expert, Meg Hanlon, is on hand to help you get glammed up and ready to celebrate in style. Whether your party invite pops up in the form of a Facebook event, a casual chat in the playground, an email at work or even a good old fashioned envelope through the letterbox, what’s the first thought that springs to mind? More often than not it’s “what am I going to wear?”. If a rifle through your wardrobe proves unfruitful then it’s time to hit the shops. Many of us love clothes shopping but if it fills you with dread, then there are things you can do to make the whole process a little more bearable. When I take clients shopping, I always work out what will suit them and do some research first. You can do the same by writing down some ideas of the type of outfit you’d like and your budget and then start surfing the net. Just between you and I, one of my favourite websites for finding outfits is Shopstyle, which does all the legwork, searching through lots of online brands for you. A quick scan through a thousand splendid evening dresses reveals a myriad of colours and styles to choose from, which can be a little overwhelming, so here are a few suggestions for different body shapes. Petite party girls are best choosing something short and sweet, to avoid getting swamped by too much fabric. Matalan have a cute embroidered ‘Be Beau’ dress in stunning midnight blue with a flattering nipped in waist and layered skirt. The detailing on the bodice means accessories can be kept simple, perhaps with just a bronze cuff and heels. Womanly curves need to be shown off with soft fabrics; ladies this is your chance to enhance, especially for more formal events. Girl Meets Dress hire out gorgeous designer dresses, so you can look and feel a million dollars but without actually spending that much; perfect if you like to wear a different outfit for each occasion. The colour of the season is emerald green and the Dina Bar-El ball gown would look amazing on an hourglass figure.

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Straighter body lines benefit from the current peplum trend which creates the illusion of curves. AX Paris have a range of colours to choose from. Go for bright red if you want to make an impression or a more subtle aubergine if you prefer to blend in. Bling it up with heels and sparkles. What if upper arms are your no go area? So many dresses are sleeveless and although a shrug or jacket can be a useful cover up, if you want to shimmy away on the dance floor you’ll feel more comfortable with lace or sheer sleeves. This purple tunic dress from Wallis will skim lightly over curves and keep unwanted attention away from the arms, while you let your hair down. Of course you could always add a bit of glitz to your wardrobe with a sequin jacket; a quick root around on Shopstyle reveals a dazzling array of options. I particularly like the Mint Velvet number which would also dress up jeans and heels for after work drinks. So there’s no need to play it safe with the old faithful LBD. Have fun with some colour and festive sparkle. I’ve just had an invite for Christmas drinks with a neighbour so I’m off to delve through my wardrobe. Wishing you a stylish and sequin-filled Christmas and a glamorous new year.

Aubergine fitted peplum dress AX Paris

Meg Hanlon Leading Stylist, Colour Me Beautiful 01684 773166

December 2012/January 2013

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Health and Beauty Naturally

Holy Trinity International School

Holy Trinity International School is applying to become one of the Government’s new Free Schools. It provides an outstanding education for girls and boys aged 4 to 19, has a thriving Nursery and is renowned for academic excellence and outstanding pastoral care.

The Kick Start Weight Loss Programme Step 1: The Healthy Starter Pack is a ten day programme providing natural herb supplements. Step 2: Fat Grabbers combine high-quality fibre, chickweed and lecithin for a unique formula that traps fat molecules inside the intestinal tract before they can get into the bloodstream. Step 3: Carbo Grabbers safely reduces the absorption of starchy carbohydrates and reduces the available calories your body

Step 4: Solstic Slim is a low calorie supplement which can be used as part of a calorie controlled diet.

Feel great about yourself this summer For more information, call Priti on 07578 254 496 or visit our facebook page

Our recent GCSE results speak for themselves 100% of our students gained 5 A* - C, whilst 95% of students attained 5 A*- C grades, which includes Mathematics, English and Science; 98% of all exams taken by the school’s students achieved A* - C grades. 44% of all Holy Trinity International School students take 11 subjects each on average. Contact us to register your interest.

Birmingham Road, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY10 2BY. Tel: 01562 822 929 Email :

For something different .... primary_times_oct12.indd 1

15:41:35 It has to be 03/10/2012 Evolve.

Winter Collection Now in store

Fransa Amari Yest Culture B Young Traffic People Sugarhill Boutique and Sasperella

Health & Beauty Naturally @HealthBeautyNat December 2012/January 2013

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The Mother Huff Cap are getting into the Christmas spirit, offering 10% off your food bill in January if you dine in December. The traditional smoke house serves fantastic food and you can enjoy the atmospheric country pub before and after Christmas at a special discount. If you like the idea of a contemporary British fusion menu accompanied by an extensive wine list and surrounded by views of the Worcestershire countryside, then The Mother Huff Cap is a perfect setting for your catch up with family and celebration with friends in the run up to Christmas.

Spernall Lane, Great Alne, Warwickshire, B49 6HY

Tel: 01789 488 800 Duelling Pianos is an American concept, similar to the type of bars you will find in places such as Chicago and Las Vegas. Two pianists play against each other to win the affections of the crowd. The shows are 100% audience request with the resident pianists playing and singing songs ranging from the 70s and 80s to current rock and Lady Gaga. “We really want to bring something to Birmingham that will give people a unique entertainment experience and a place for a great night out.� said Simon Toller, the owner of the new venue.

Call on 0121 695 9206 to book or Email us on

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Revills Farm Shop

You’ve worked hard for your home. Now it can begin to pay you back. Despite the recent drop in feed-in tariffs, installing solar panels is still one of the best investments you can make. As well as benefiting from much-reduced energy bills, the Government backed scheme will pay you a good return on the electricity you generate - more than you could expect from a bank or building society. And you can bask in the warm glow of knowing you’re reducing your building’s carbon footprint.

Act now and don’t miss out. To discover how Eco2Solar could help you save energy and make money, call us on:

01562 745 265

or email or visit

Eco2Solar Limited registered in England & Wales. Company No: 6083205. VAT Reg No: 902 4975 23

Unit 8 John Samuel Building, Arthur Drive, Hoo Farm Industrial Estate, Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY11 7RA

New extension now open Fresh, local fruit and vegetables Locally reared lamb, venison, beef, pork and chicken Freshly baked bread, homemade cakes and pastries Traditional preserves, salad dressings and sauces Specialist beers from local breweries

Bourne Road Defford WR8 9BS T: 01386 750 466

@RevillsFarmShop Revills Farm Shop EdgeMagazine 19 Chedhams Yard

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CHEDHAM’S YARD Warwickshire heritage attraction proves popular with visitors


hedham’s Yard, the BBC Restoration winning site located in the village of Wellesbourne in Warwickshire is proving to be popular with visitors, old and young alike. The well preserved ‘time capsule’ and former 19th-century blacksmith's and wheelwright's workshop, has seen a steady influx of visitors since opening in June. After winning the the TV programme competition in 2006, the charming and unique heritage site has been carefully restored from derelict buildings to a well preserved site complete with a new oak visitor centre and café. The Yard was previously run by five generations of the Chedham family. The Yard closed its doors in 1965 and lay undisturbed for more than 35 years. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the BBC Restoration Trust, visitors are now able to step back in time and visit the Yard crammed with over 4,500 artefacts including craftsmen’s tools, equipment and items made on site. Volunteer tour guides are also on hand to inform visitors about the Chedham family who worked at the yard for 150 years. A programme of

activities and special events take place every Saturday, aimed at families and this includes demonstrations from the blacksmith, willow weaving, story-telling and country crafts. Emma Banks, Heritage Project Officer said: “We are delighted that visitors can now enjoy Chedham’s Yard after years of careful restoration. The Yard gives visitors a wonderful snapshot of working life in the 19th century and illustrates a fast disappearing but important part of our rural heritage. Visitors are now able to go on a tour, try their hand at putting a wheel together, relax in the garden and enjoy delicious local produce in our café” The Yard is open to pre-booked visitors every Saturday until the end of October. To pre-book a ticket, please visit the online booking system at www.chedhamsyard. or call 01789 842770 on Tuesday (1pm - 4pm) & Friday (10am - 1pm). Tickets cost £3.50 for an adult, £3.00 for concessions, £1.50 for a child and £9.50 for a family. For more information on Chedham’s Yard, please visit the website at

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS EVENT: 15 DECEMBER AT CHEDHAM’S YARD Welcome Christmas Victorian style at Chedham’s Yard, the BBC Restoration prize winning heritage attraction located in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. Enjoy demonstrations by a blacksmith, roasted chestnuts on the forge, Christmas cake and complimentary mulled wine/hot apple and mini mince pie. Listen to Dickens readings and music and make traditional decorations for the tree, including pomanders. For more information please visit the website atwww. Special events must be pre-booked. To pre-book, please visit the website or call 01789 842770 on Tuesday (1pm - 4pm) & Friday (10am - 1pm). Tickets cost £5.00 for an adult, £4.00 for concessions, £3.00 for a child and £12.00 for a family.

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December 2012/January 2013

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Achieving excellence in all we do. Hallfieldfirst, 3 months - 2 years, Pre-Prep, 2+ - 7+ and Upper School 7+ - 11+

Saturday 19th January Academic Assessment Morning for entry to Years 3-6 for September 2013 or earlier. For full details contact Mrs Alyson Devonshire, Director of Marketing and Admissions, for an application form.

Church Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3SJ. Email:

0121 454 1496 December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 21 Holly's Christmas past

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HOLLY’S CHRISTMAS PAST The Holly and the Ivy, when they are both full grown... Hilary Collins Envisage...gardens by design at Grafton Nursery


ecember and the winter solstice approaches; a time of year when we can really connect with raw nature and empathise with ancient man’s preoccupation, “will spring ever return?”. Most Western cultures associate holly with Christmas, but this tree has a long rich history of symbolism, dating back centuries before the time of Christ. Almost every ancient pre-Christian culture shares similar traditions. At around December 25th, the Egyptians, Babylonians and Persians each held raucous parties and gave gifts to honour their respective sun gods. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, when they witnessed

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the rising sun overpower winter and gained hope for the return of spring. This required a week long session of binge drinking, riotous behaviour and gluttony (sound familiar?) in honour of the god of agriculture, Saturn. They decorated their homes with evergreens, especially holly, inviting house gods to reside within, blessing their household with good fortune. Some Saturnalian customs are perhaps best forgotten. During this period of lawlessness, Lucian writes of intoxication, general ‘bad behaviour’, human sacrifice and the consumption of human-shaped biscuits, in an attempt to ‘kill winter’; something to think about, this Christmas, when handing your child a gingerbread man.

December 2012/January 2013

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Pliny the Elder tells us that holly planted near a farm or house would repel poison, defend against lightening and witchcraft, amongst other benefits. In some districts of Sweden today, there is a guardian holly tree on every farm. Thus faith in the holly tree spread from the ancient world through to China, Western and Northern Europe via the Romans, Celts and Vikings; with its symbolism of death of winter and rebirth of spring, eternal life and hope; embedding the holly in both Pagan and Christian cultures. Certainly the Druids believed the sun favoured the holly. Other plants succumbed to harsh winter weather, but magical holly remained strong and green all year round, with its bright, red winter berries; a strong belief which permeated the Celtic world. Holly was often worn during ceremonies, therefore cutting down or damaging the tree of eternal life would bring bad luck and was punishable by death. A vestige of this superstition is prevalent today in many parts of the UK.

At Hillers this Christmas

Druids believed the prickly leaves hanging in windows and doorways would deter evil spirits and witches. Also, boughs of holly in the home provided shelter for elves and fairies, bringing good luck and protection. How they acquired said branches without damaging the tree remains a mystery.

The Garden Café Christmas Menu 3 courses £22.50 to include a beautiful roast turkey lunch (other delicious options on the menu). Available from 3rd – 23rd December. To make a reservation call the restaurant on 01789 491950

It features in the Celtic myth of the twice yearly battle between oak and holly kings; each ruling over nature for half the year. You may know the medieval version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, armed with his holly club.

Hillers Gifts and Interiors Visit the shops to see all our new and exciting gifts, furnishings, clothing & accessories, toys, books & stationery and make the best possible start to your Christmas shopping!

Holly continued to play an important role during the transition from Pagan to Christian beliefs in the 4th century. The prickly leaves of the now holy tree represented Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries, his blood. Thankfully medieval holly medications have disappeared. As expected, there were a whole range of applications curing everything from gout to small pox, with dubious efficacy; including thrashing your chilblains with holly branches to ‘chase the chills out’. Although I believe Dr Bach has a few remedies..... But the ancient symbolism lives on in literature and custom. The carol The Holly and the Ivy (1710) hybridises Christian and Pagan imagery. We use the foliage to decorate our homes. And if you see an old cottage surrounded by a holly hedge, likely it was planted to keep out evil spirits.

Hillers Farm Shop The Farm Shop are celebrating their recent award for Best Farm Shop in Warwickshire & Wocestershire! With the Christmas Stock now in and a wonderful range of local fruit and vegetables along with delicious products from the deli it couldn’t be a better time to visit! Hillers Hampers A Hillers Hamper makes the perfect present. We have readymade hampers or choose the items yourself and we will make it up for you. Pop in & ask a member of staff for more information.

Oh, and don’t forget to burn your holly on the 12th night.....otherwise it’s bad luck!

Dunnington Heath Farm • Alcester • Warwickshire • B49 5PD 01789 772771

December 2012/January 2013

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Will your Conservatory be too cold this Christmas?

1st Birthday Edition

Book before Christmas and receive

15% off

✓ Cooler in the summer ✓ Warmer in the winter ✓ Reduced energy costs ✓ Reduced glare ✓ Noise reduction

• Conservatory • Ceilings • Excellent Prices • Superb Quality • A MUST for ALL conservatories

• Trustworthy and competitive service • Excellent quality workmanship • Bespoke home improvements exclusively designed for you

0121 356 5586 • ©NM

Say it with a song.... Personalised framed records for every occasion. w w w. t h a t s my s o n g . c o. u k 24 EdgeMagazine

December 2012/January 2013

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Heaven for your little angels

Designer baby and children’s boutique

visit us at or call in to our new boutique at Longbarn Village Alcester Heath Alcester Warwickshire B49 5JJ

Tel: 01789 777444 Strollers/travel December 2012/January 2013

• Boys 0-4 • Changing bags• Play equipment

Clothing - Girls 0-10 Furniture Toys Gifts

EdgeMagazine 25 Retro rocks

1st Birthday Edition

RETRO ROCKS A social enterprise Lucinda Bunn


he Coventry Cyrenians have been supporting our community for nearly 40 years. They provide housing support, floating support, mental health services and residential solutions to those in need. Working mainly in Coventry, but encompassing Warwickshire, the Coventry Cyrenians receive most of their funding from government contracts, which have allowed them to expand their range of services. With their new project, Windsor’s Café and Refreshed Fashion, they hope to instil confidence and provide skills and work experience for the vulnerable young people in Coventry. More and more young people are falling victim to various social policies. The unemployment rates over the last few years have reflected this. Youth unemployment statistics between June and August this year (available online from the House of Commons Library) revealed that nearly a million people aged 16-24 were unemployed. For some young people, there is a stark lack of access to education, training and employment. Coventry Cyrenians have made a positive step in a social enterprise scheme which will benefit the young people involved and the community. There’s the fair-trade coffee shop, called Windsor’s, which adjoins a music outlet specialising in vinyl records and the retro and vintage clothing outlet, Refreshed Fashion. Trading begins this month, with unique upcycled items and one-ofa-kind vintage pieces. For all you retro lovers and vintage fashionistas, Refreshed Fashion is going to bring something new and exciting to Coventry, with a recycled, environmentally friendly message. Interestingly, Refreshed Fashion will not only be selling vintage and upcycled pieces. The Coventry Cyrenians have set up a system with the local authorities to take on counterfeit goods after they have been seized by trading standards officials. When you think about it, these items are usually destroyed, which is huge waste in fabric and resources. The Coventry Cyrenians and the fashion students at Coventry University take the labels off, as well as any buttons with branding, which leaves the plain garment to be sold in the fashion outlet. This way, the good fabric finds a good home. The fashion students have also benefitted from the process, gaining a better understanding of the fashion industry and the damaging effects of counterfeiting across the globe. The Coventry Cyrenians plan to take 40 young people through the enterprise service each year. They’ll learn a lot about the retail process; from till operation and stock management to barista training and customer service. These are great skills to have under your belt but more than that, the Coventry Cyrenians hope to give them a sense of achievement and confidence. It’s important for everyone to experience the joy of working towards a goal and achieving it and the Coventry Cyrenians are creating a basis for these kids to do that. The charity is also working with Henley College so that their 40 members can attend literacy and numeracy classes and they’ll leave with a qualification too. The Coventry Cyrenians are definitely thinking long-term. It’s not just about a project to keep young people occupied for a year; this will give each member a platform for their future. It’s the holistic approach to supporting volunteers that will benefit them the most. In the vein of recycling and even upcycling, Refreshed Fashion are looking for donations to add to their rails and vinyl to expand their collection. If you’ve got a bootleg series of records gathering dust in the loft or a sparkly dress you’ll never wear again, then donate to Refreshed Fashion. You’ll be supporting your community, boosting the local economy, helping the environment, making a vintage lover’s day and most importantly, helping to build a future for the young people in your area. And hey, you can look around yourself and find something pre-loved and grab a fairtrade coffee at Windsor’s while you’re at it. All proceeds will be reinvested back into the scheme and other Coventry Cyrenian projects, supporting the young, unemployed and homeless people in Coventry.

Donations can be made by visiting Coventry Cyrenians at Oakwood House, or by phone on 02476 228099 The Coventry Cyrenians are looking for donations of good quality clothing, vintage and retro clothing, vinyl records , CDs, DVDs and funds to help the enterprise.

The Coventry Cyrenians St Patricks Road City Centre Cheylesmore Coventry CV1 2HL Collections can also be arranged, so just give the team a call.

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December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 27 Women mean business

1st Birthday Edition

WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS Venus Awards land in Birmingham Rachel Hogg


he Venus Awards are coming to Birmingham. Launched by Tara Howard in 2009 in Dorset, the women-only event has spread northwards and is working its way across the country. The event in aid of Barnardo’s and proudly supported by Edge Creative, gives women the recognition they deserve for their work in business. Edge Creative is a fully integrated design agency. They’ve been working with a variety of businesses since 2004. With their passion for helping businesses grow, it seemed only right for the Edge Creative team to get behind the Venus Awards. The Awards cover everything from Home-Based Business of the Year to Networker of the Year. Back in 2008, Tara Howard, Managing Director of the Langtry Manor hotel in Dorset, received a call from the Dorset Business Awards suggesting she entered the Entrepreneur of the Year. She had never considered herself an entrepreneur and found the call rather amusing. “In my head it was top business men who were the entrepreneurs.” However, after reading the writeup regarding her achievements, which included being a pilot, owning property, running the Langtry Manor Hotel and having four children, she was quite impressed. Tara made it through to the top five.

recognition for what she had been achieving. In fact, she strongly believes all women deserve recognition. The year after her nomination, Tara set up the Dorset Langtry Manor Business Awards, her first venture of this kind. Since then, Tara has been expanding the awards and this year, they come to Birmingham for the first time. Set to be the biggest of its kind yet, the Birmingham Venus Awards ceremony will be held in the Holte Suite at Aston Villa on June 14th. Tara was especially excited about bringing the awards to the Midlands. Tara believes that Birmingham needs the recognition too. “In Manchester and London, there are lots of events celebrating women going on and Birmingham needs and deserves that sort of opportunity too.” Tara has a team of dedicated people who work with her on the awards; a core team of five and then regional partners. Sophie Overend, the Special Projects Manager at Edge Creative, the digital creative agency partnering with the Venus Awards said, “They are a platform, a PR opportunity and an opportunity to get your name well known in the Midlands and get recognition for your hard work. There are such a lot of really inspirational and innovative female business directors and entrepreneurs. There are women who have been in business for years and women excelling in home-life and work in the community. Also we’ve got young women out of university going on to develop sustainable businesses.”

“The awards will recognise local business women, nationally”

Bournemouth University approached her after the event. They said, “As far as women are concerned, you are doing a good job.” Although Tara could easily have taken offence to the comment, she believed she did deserve

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There are 15 categories in the Venus Awards, three of which are decided by a public vote: Business Mother of the Year, Employee of the Year and Employer of the Year. The remaining 12 are sponsor judged awards, including Green Business of the Year and PA of the Year. To make the awards happen, there is a heavy reliance on sponsors. The various levels of sponsorship available are targeted at companies who want to connect on a personal level with women in business, locally. Tara said in the past, women who have won the award have gone on to become sponsors in future years. “Women appreciate people, who appreciate businesses, who appreciate them.” There has been support from some national businesses, including Natwest and Lexus, but most commonly it is local companies coming forward to become sponsors. Sophie said, “I would really encourage local businesses to get involved with the Venus Awards. Often people are so busy running a business, they can miss the important stuff that is really being recognised.” There were some clear geographical limitations with the original name, the Dorset Langtry Manor Business Awards, so Tara went in search of something new. “Venus Awards felt strong, it felt about women, felt about power, it felt sexy, all those things I thought Venus would be. That’s why I wanted that word. I could see myself telling people about the Venus Awards, not anything else.” Despite remaining Managing Director of the Langtry Manor hotel (which featured on Channel 5’s, The Hotel Inspector), Tara is still heavily immersed in the Venus Awards, which she said involves constant early mornings, late nights and weekends. It is really refreshing to talk to someone so passionate about what they are achieving and it doesn’t look like Tara will stop until she has recognised inspirational women in every corner of the country. Tara is proud of what she has accomplished and the effect of the Venus Awards on previous winners. “I have had people coming up to me and saying, ‘you’ve changed my life! I never realised how much I had achieved. It’s given me confidence to do this, this and this now.’” Tara wants all women to know they are doing an excellent job and the Venus Awards are certainly one way of doing that. “All women should be recognised and although I can’t do that, I would like to recognise as many as I can. That’s why the awards are in smaller sections. It really can mean the world to the women nominated and those who win. Plus, it really is a great night out, the social event of the year.” For more information on the Venus Awards, or how to get involved as a sponsor, contact Sophie Overend at EDGE Creative: or head to the Venus Awards website,

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 29 Wild about hats

1st Birthday Edition

WILD ABOUT HATS British milliners take over the catwalk Sarah Rees


n the heady world of fashion, headwear has never been hotter. There has been an explosive reaction over recent years to the enthusiasm of royalty and celebrities showcasing innovative new creations at key social events. Hats have become an art form based on exciting, contemporary designs - and Britain has fallen in love with the flamboyance of the fascinator. Camilla Parker Bowles chose a fascinator for her marriage to Prince Charles in 2005 and the Queen wore one to the wedding of her grandson, Peter Phillips. By the time Kate Middleton walked down the aisle to marry Prince William, in April 2011, UK fascinator sales had risen by 65%. As the resurgence in millinery skills takes a firm grip on the world of couture, British designers are stealing the limelight. Rachel Trevor-Morgan, originally from Malvern, has made 65 elegant creations for H.M. The Queen since receiving a royal appointment in 2006. Karen Henriksen’s architectural designs regularly grace the pages of the international fashion press. Noel Stewart boasts a high profile celebrity clientele which includes Keira Knightly, Lily Allen and Kylie Minogue.

Photo by Justine Photography

London milliner Stephen Jones launched his first collection in 1980 and his hats have been headline news ever since. Described as ‘a genius’, a ‘champion of the eccentric’ and, according to Italian Vogue, ‘the maker of the most beautiful hats in the world’, Stephen has produced over 50,000 styles during his 30 year career.

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“The Duchess of Cambridge has become an iconic endorsement of the British millinery industry. She makes wearing hats looks effortless. The world sees our royal

family wearing stunning creations and perceive hats as quintessentially British,” he says. The inspiring qualities of Stephen Jones position him as an important role model for the new generation of British milliners. In July 2012 he met Droitwich milliner, Caroline Butcher, at the Gloucester Hat Festival. Caroline has been making hats and fascinators for the past six years, since graduating from the International Design Centre in Inkberrow. Her business, Creations by Caroline, has gone from strength to strength due to her growing reputation for creating stunning bespoke headwear for weddings and social events. However, it is her first dedicated collection of less formal winter hats, the ‘Wild Collection’, which has catapulted her to media and sales success over recent months. The ‘Wild Collection’ features hats for ladies and children, handmade from quality felts, faux fur, fabrics and trimmings. Inspired by a love of exotic animals, Caroline secured the support of the West Midlands Safari Park to help launch the collection. Models were photographed on location, against a rural backdrop which included close interaction with a variety of the animals – including elephants, giraffes, cheetahs and rhinos. “Caroline’s wonderful enthusiasm for millinery is vitally important,” comments Stephen. “Equally important is the fact she wears her own hats everywhere she goes. She is totally committed to what she does.” Caroline’s creations can be viewed at her shop in Droitwich Spa, which opened on December 1st.

Creations by Caroline 59a High Street Droitwich Spa Worcestershire WR9 8EW Tel: 07734 257 210

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition

Vanessa Bradford models a grey soft felt Paddington hat from The Wild Collection

December 2012/January 2013

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1st Birthday Edition

Italian Cookery School, party catering, weddings, hampers & Supper Club “Such a joy to eat fabulous local food, cleverly cooked with a love and knowledge of the good things in life” Edge Magazine 135x184.indd 1

Xmas special


Off your next meal for 2

3/11/11 10:35:47

Worcestershire’s Premier Dining Restaurant


Worcestershire’s Premier Dining Destination

Terms: To be used before10th January 2013. Only valid Monday - Thursday Cannot be redeemed for cash. Cash value £0.01 Only one voucher per table at any one time, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. To be redeemed only when dining in at Spice Fusion Dunhampton

Fine Indian & Thai Food Excellent choice of wines

Xmas special


Off your next meal for 4

Terms: To be used before10th January 2013. Only valid Monday - Thursday Cannot be redeemed for cash. Cash value £0.01 Only one voucher per table at any one time, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. To be redeemed only when dining in at Spice Fusion Dunhampton

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Friendly & efficient service Relaxing Atmosphere Excellent service Private dining facility available Great venue for parties and celebrations

Spice Fusion Bar & Restaurant Halfway House A449 Ombersley Road Dunhampton DY13 9SW T: 01905 622 222

Christmas reservation’s now being taken call 01905 622 222 for more information pop into Spice Fusion Dunhampton

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition


Edge Dec portrait:St George's School


An individual approach to education

St George’s School



t George’s School, in Edgbaston, has extended its childcare offering to welcome children from just 4 months of age. The new nursery facility offers a flexible approach to include full time and term time only places for 50 weeks of the year. The nursery is an integral part of the overall school provision, providing a nurturing and stimulating environment. Children enjoy a good mix of care, play and pre-school education with an emphasis on making learning interesting and fun. There is also a clear focus on identifying and exploiting potential educational opportunities.


Give your child the very best start in life with an education at St George’s School, in Edgbaston. A fully co-educational independent day school and nursery, offering a caring and friendly community for children from 4 months of age to18 years. 

Small classes with a creative and constructive learning ethos

Outstanding support for children with dyslexia

11+ tuition

Extra-curricular and enrichment activities

Wide choice of GCSE and A-level subjects

Outstanding exam results

Visit our thriving Sixth Form Centre “The inclusion of a nursery as part of our offering to parents is a natural progression for St George’s School,” says Headmaster, Sir Robert Dowling. “We currently welcome boys and girls from age 3 to 18 years. Extending this to include younger pre-school children means education can begin from the earliest possible time.” St George’s has gone from strength to strength since the arrival of Sir Robert Dowling Kt, in 2010. His fresh approach to education, combined with small classes and enthusiastic teachers, has resulted in outstanding support for all children. Special emphasis is placed on helping those with dyslexia and high functioning students with Asperger’s syndrome/autism. “Because we are small there’s a close knit community at the school,” says Sir Bob. “We know each other well and we understand how to ensure every pupil walks a step or two with genius.” Interested parents are advised to contact the school or nursery to arrange a visit or reserve a place. There is also a whole school open day on January 19, from 10am to 12 noon. For more details please call 0121 625 0398.

December 2012/January 2013

OPEN EVENING Tuesday 5th February “You’re not just a number... you’re someone at St George’s.” Dominic, Lower Sixth

WHOLE SCHOOL OPEN DAY Saturday 19th January 10am - 12 noon

Tel: 0121 625 0398 31, Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1RX Email:

EdgeMagazine 33

Pag Eat, drink and be healthy

1st Birthday Edition


How to enjoy Christmas without over doing it


hristmas comes but once a year and it’s time to eat, drink and be merry. But for many of us, as soon as the parties start, so does the temptation to overdo it on food and alcohol.

Eat, drink and be healthy… Don’t feel sluggish and rotten at Christmas; it’s when you want to look and feel your best. Eating foods that are very rich and drinking more alcohol than you normally do can all add up and that’s why people really do pile on the pounds. On average most people gain 7lbs over the festive period and are thinking that if they avoid fatty foods, they won’t put on weight. In actual fact, it’s carbohydrates that pile on the pounds. And I bet you didn’t know that alcohol is a carbohydrate. So if you’re just about to tuck into another mince pie, beware. Healthy options…. The traditional Christmas dinner is actually very healthy. If you cut down on the potatoes and load up with all those lovely seasonal veggies and protein. Good sources of protein are meat, fish, beans, lentils and nuts and seeds. A lot of people think that nuts are really fattening, well they are if you eat packets of them, but in moderation they contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Unhealthy options…. Temptations at Christmas are everywhere but do try to avoid all those chocolate treats, they are loaded with sugar and lots of additives. The cocoa bean is one of the most sprayed crops on the planet, so although you may really enjoy eating it at the time you’re getting a very high cocktail of chemicals which your body has to deal with. If your body is strained with the over indulgence at Christmas, eating chocolate will only add to the problem. Alternate healthy days…. One trick that works is the one day on, one day off option. Some people look at their diary and see what functions they have booked in for the run up to Christmas; they will then eat a lot on that day but cut back the following day. Eat something healthy like a salad that cleanses the system, or a stir fry. It’s like having a mini-detox inbetween. Exercise…. Coming up to Christmas everybody is busy but try to keep up with exercise by either going to the gym or alternatively going for long brisk walks. I run walking groups and I have to say that I’m as busy in the winter as in the summer…. exercise really does de-stress! Booze…. Ok so we all know that food and nibbles are not the only temptations at Christmas, so what about the alcoholic haze that can often creep up on us. Before you go out, eat a small snack containing protein or carbohydrates and drink water or orange juice in-between each alcoholic drink. Stick to the same drink all night and remember that the darker the colour of the drink (like red wine, port and brandy) the more likely you are to have a hangover. Alcohol contains small amounts of ethanol. This is found in petrol so it’s really important to drink in moderation. Milk Thistle is a herb that supports the liver and it’s a worthwhile purchase over the festive period. So it seems to me that the key to a good Christmas is eat, drink and be merry, just do it in moderation. Want to change bad eating habits for life? Want to lose weight and keep it off? Sick of fad diets that don’t work? If so, call Absolutely Flab U Less on 07792421080 or email:

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1st Birthday Edition

December 2012/January 2013

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1st Birthday Edition


s the nights draw in, there is nothing better to warm your cockles than a warm drink – but it’s party season, so we want a warm drink with a bit of pizzazz! Made with lovely warm spices there is nothing more delicious on a cold night than mulled cider. Try this recipe using the delicious Kingstone Press. Serves 8-10 (for more just increase percentages) Ingredients

• 3½pts/2l Kingstone Press cider • 2 tsp ground cloves • 4-6 cinnamon sticks • 5-6 allspice berries • Zest of 1 orange • 2 tbsp grated root ginger • 2 pinches of ground nutmeg • Slices of apple for garnish • Dark rum (to taste)

Preparation method

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer gently for 30 minutes - do not boil. Or, if you have more time and would like your mulled cider to have a bit more kick, steep your spices in the cider for up to a few hours. The longer the infusion, the spicier your drink. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and ladle into glass mugs. Garnish with apple slices to serve.

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1st Birthday Edition

asian tapas




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Established 25 Years December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 37 Wroxall Abbey

1st Birthday Edition



aving previously attended a Champagne evening at Wroxall Abbey, which had been a wonderful evening of food and wine, we knew we would be in for a special night. Wroxall Abbey, a 4 star country house hotel is nestled in 27 acres of woodland, once the country seat of Sir Christopher Wren, it is an ideal setting for weddings and other special occasions. Although Wroxall notes the Wren connection, the emphasis is on its idyllic setting and quality of service. Since the property was acquired in 2001, the owners have restored the building keeping its gothic Victorian style intact.  Our evening began in the bar with a lovely glass of Roc St Vincent; perfect as a winter aperitif with canapés.  We were introduced to our host for the evening, Laura Clay from ByWine. Throughout the evening, she talked through each wine selection with stories about the region of Bordeaux. Then on to the first of our courses – terrine de fruit de mer with a bouillabaisse dressing. It was a refreshing and exciting change, served with a glass of Chateau Le Benet Bellevue 2011.  The wine as Laura pointed out was not oaked, so it delivered fresh and floral aromas. The second course consisted of wild boar sausage on a pea purée with Wroxall apple compote and whole grain mustard sauce; a lovely rich tasting dish full of texture.  It was matched with a glass of Château de l’Estang Côtes de Castillon 2008, which had great concentration. It’s a lovely sweet wine with hints of rustic spice. A refreshing elderflower sorbet palate cleanser was served and accompanied by a glass of Bordeaux Rosé 2010, which offered cleansing dryness in the mouth. It was light and fresh. Our main course of luxurious canon fillet of lamb was served with creamy dauphinoise potatoes; a dish that was certainly out to impress.  Laura matched this with a Château Les Gaines 2009, which she described as a straightforward claret. It was smooth and ready for drinking. The cheese plate featured my own particular favourite Roquefort la Coccinelle, which was particularly creamy and intense. This was served with a glass of Château

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La Vielle Cure, Fronsac 2002. The Fronsac was full and bright, with strong aromas and a powerful fruit concentration. The ultimate French classic tarte tatin was served for dessert, accompanied by a delicious creamy vanilla bean ice cream.  Laura had chosen a dessert wine which matched perfectly, with the punch of lemon and the sweet honey alongside hints of orange and pineapple. It is worth noting that Wroxall Abbey frequently arrange special dining events throughout the year. Please contact the hotel for more details.

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition



ood food would choose Bordeaux? Of course it would. Bordeaux wines have always been made to go with food whether it’s an everyday claret with cassoulet or a gourmet meal with mature Crus Classés, a refreshing white with oysters or an unctuous Sauternes with dessert; Bordeaux wines should be on your dinner table. At Wroxall Abbey’s seven course gourmet dinner, we were able to prove this. There were two very different whites, one served as an aperitif, Roc St Vincent, 100% Sauvignon Blanc and the other a Graves, a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon and just a hint of Muscadelle with the fruits de mer terrine. The first was easy and refreshing, the second, Château Le Bernet 2011, delicate but complex, a lovely wine at a great price. Talking of good value, Côtes de Castillon really delivers and the Château de l’Estang 2008 was no exception; full, dark fruit with a spicy finish perfect with the wild boar sausage. The light, dry, fruity Bordeaux Rosé followed nicely here to help freshen our palates with an elderflower sorbet and then we had two reds with the main dish of lamb and the cheese course. The Château Les Gauries 2009 was smooth, balanced and ready for drinking from this excellent vintage. The La Château Vieille Cure 2002 was outstanding – a Merlot based Fronsac which, despite its age, still had great structure and presence. It worked well with all the cheeses, even the Roquefort. A favourite French food/wine combination is Roquefort and Sauternes so when Château Jany 2010 was poured, we were able to put it to the test. This is a youthful wine; light and delicate. So when partnered with the tarte tatin it lovely match, and ended a wonderful dinner perfectly.

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 39

1st Birthday Edition

SAVE YOUR SKIN Serenity Rose launches Skin Bar Lucinda Bunn


he new Skin Bar at Serenity Rose Spa uses the analysis of your skin to determine the best treatment to make you feel and look fantastic. By filling out a short questionnaire on your skin, the experts at Serenity Rose will be able to suggest products and treatments to even your complexion, solve dry skin dilemmas, banish dark circles and fill out fine lines and wrinkles. At Serenity Rose Spa in Upton, the team use the Ila (pronounced ‘ee-la’) range of skincare products and supporting treatments that go beyond organic. From earth to skin, the Ila range uses the finest, natural plant and mineral ingredients. Each component is wild-harvested in remote, untainted regions by artisan producers who value traditional and sustainable practices. What’ll hit you first with the Ila range is the amazing smell of each product. Not the kind of overwhelming sweet smell of many chemically clad cosmetics but the deep, natural scent of real ingredients. When trying each product during your consultation, the therapists at Serenity Rose will talk you through when to use the product and which other products it works well with. What you’ll find at the Skin Bar is a re-education in skincare. By discussing your skin type, your daily skin routine, the skincare products you use at home and the areas of your skin you’d really like to improve, the team at Serenity Rose can tailor the demonstrations to the ranges that will help you most and how you can incorporate them into the good habits you already have. I have been suffering from dry skin in the seasonal shift and I expected to be advised to pile on the moisturiser. But no. After confessing to using a pretty strong daily scrub, it was clear that the chemicals in my budget cleansing routine were stripping my skin of natural oils. I needed something kinder, something that would work with the natural components of my skin. I went for the Ila Cleansing

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December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition Milk for Natural Beauty. It’s ideal for all skin types, organic and chemical free and it hydrates as well as cleanses. After a week, my skin is transformed. I’m wearing less make-up and my skin feels fresher for longer. Oh and my dry skin episode is over.

The Ila range includes products for all skin types and a collection dedicated to mature skin; the Rainforest range. You’ll find renewing night cream for skin regeneration and an eye serum with active ingredients that promote deep repair in your skin cells. When the consultation is complimentary, it’s worth finding out what will work for you. I had a bit of an epiphany during my Skin Bar appointment. While I’ve been splurging on good quality make-up, I’ve tightened the purse strings on skincare products. In actual fact, I have been getting the balance between skin and beauty totally wrong. A far more effective cosmetics bag would contain the best in cleansers, toners, moisturisers, face oils and eye serums and a select few make-up products. The truth is if your skin is in good condition, you don’t need as much makeup. So, my Christmas list will include a few treats from the Ila range with no foundation, no concealer and no BB cream in sight. Perhaps it’s time for a change: new year, new you. To coincide with the launch of the new Skin Bar, Serenity Rose will be hosting weekly pamper nights. You and a group of your friends can book in for a fun evening filled with face masks, foot scrubs and luxury skin care products. You can try out treatments and products with your friends in an exclusive party with wine and nibbles. The pamper evening experience will be a little different to the calming treatments at Serenity Rose. Imagine a lively and relaxed atmosphere with music and mineral make-up. The Serenity Rose team will guide you through so you can test out treatments yourself. Why not tick a few boxes off your Christmas list too? Serenity Rose Spa create bespoke gift packs including both products and vouchers; something to open and something to look forward to.

Imagine a sensory journey that soothes your body and nurtures your inner energy Imagine feeling uplifted, calm and relaxed Serenity Rose Spa exclusive, personal where guests return again and again for rejuvenating spa experiences spa breaks & wellness retreats day spa packages therapeutic massage & rituals ila spa treatments deluxe champagne manicures & shiatsu pedicures to share hydro-spa massages & razul mud treatments to purchase boxed gift vouchers Beyond organic, beyond pampering

Serenity Rose Spa Hanley Road Worcester, Worcestershire WR8 0PA 01684 594686

Serenity Rose Spa The Boutique Spa Near The Malvern Hills Hanley Road Upton upon Severn Worcestershire T: 01684 594 686 December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 41 Hampton by Hilton

1st Birthday Edition

HAMPTON BY HILTON A perfect base to explore the city from


ituated in the heart of Birmingham’s bustling nightlife district, the Hampton by Hilton on Broad St is the newest addition to the skyline of the city, offering stylish and spacious rooms at reasonable prices, designed with the frequent and fussy traveller in mind.

M A G E N TA W A L L P A P E R S Wallpapers • Curtains • Blinds

Call 01926-858 618 Visit 3 Abbey End, Kenilworth, Warwickshire Mon, Tue & Fri 9.30am - 5pm Wed & Sat 9.30am - 1pm


The 285 room hotel, which although named Hilton, is less formal than the usual Hilton brand, gives guests all of the perks of a 4* hotel but with the value for money of a budget hotel. Free Wi-Fi, leisure facilities and a relaxing yet lively bar and restaurant make guests feel at home from the minute they arrive. As well as benefitting from a prime location within the city’s entertainment hub, the Hampton by Hilton also offers a delicious breakfast every morning. The free hot breakfast is always loaded with tasty items including regional items, specially selected by our team of chefs so that all tastes are catered for and cooked freshly each morning to ensure that all of our guests get the perfect start each morning of their stay.

Pottery Painting • Parties Baby Hand & Foot Prints Doggie Paw Prints




Chi ldr ER ! p a rt i e n's es S

ave £

12 Bo o mo re k f o r 10 o r a f re e wn d ge t o ne ith th is a d ve r t. The Pottery Paint Shop 36 West Street, War wick CV34 6AN 01926 258087 Email:

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Peter Hendry, General Manager of the Hampton by Hilton said, “We’re very lucky to have such a great location here on Broad St, right in the heart of the buzz of the city’s entertainment quarter. The hotel is perfect for those who are visiting the city and its attractions, especially over the festive period as we are able to offer great comfort for a great price. The Hampton by Hilton brand is one that is growing quickly as people want the amenities and service of a premium hotel but for the cost of a budget hotel. We think that our mix of clean, comfortable rooms, free high speed wifi and of course the free breakfast is what customers want.” The Hampton by Hilton brand, which has been around since the 1980’s, also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee to all of its guests, including those at Hampton by Hilton Birmingham, meaning that if guests are not completely satisfied with their stay then they are entitled to a full refund. With festive rates starting from just £60 per night, The Hampton by Hilton is the perfect choice for those wishing to escape the woes of festive travel when visiting Birmingham this year.

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition

Ready to get out and explore?

You can hit the town knowing you have a nice comfy room waiting for you with extras like free hot breakfast and free high speed internet throughout the hotel to help make your stay more enjoyable. Plus you can earn Hilton HHonours points and airline miles with every stay. It’s real value from Hampton.

What you can expect from Hampton by Hilton Broad Street: s &REEINTERNET s &REEHOTBREAKFAST s /NSITECARPARKING

Friendly service, clean rooms, comfortable surroundings, every time. If you’re not satisfied, we don’t expect you to pay. That’s our commitment and your guarantee. 4HATS(AMPTON™


EdgeMagazine 43 The Bell

1st Birthday Edition


opular country inn, The Bell at Tanworth-in-Arden, has unveiled a luxurious new look. The renovation, which has been masterminded by owner Ashley Bent and local interiors company HB Group, is based on a “new country” theme – a sophisticated but comfortable update on the quintessential English pub.

Located at the centre of the picturesque Warwickshire village of Tanworth, The Bell has benefitted from a facelift outside and in, updating the décor and overall feel of the upmarket pub and restaurant, and is showcasing a new tapas inspired menu. Ashley Bent has overseen the transformation and has taken an active role in the new design. He said: “We are really excited with the changes at The Bell. We have taken inspiration from many different quarters and have been particularly influenced by modern Spanish interiors trends, which aim to create a relaxed and comfortable space to enjoy coffee and drinks as well as lunch or dinner with friends. “This ethos is reflected in our new menu. Although you can’t beat a good roast, we also want to offer our customers a flexible range of other tasty options which don’t revolve around one large plate of food. Our tastes are now more sophisticated than ever before and are internationally influenced, so it’s important to us to invest in our offer to provide something a little bit different to the standard country inn.

R st * TE R a 95 IN E Ro 0. W OFF nd £1 a ay up e d So th of

The Bell at Tanworth in Arden

01564 742212 Join us at the newly refurbished Bell Inn. To celebrate our new look we have devised a unique British-inspired tapas selection alongside our traditional menu. Why don’t you cosy up by the fire in our quintessential country pub and enjoy our tasty new dishes – perfect for sharing. Famous for our Sunday Roasts, we now offer this traditional winter warmer daily. *Offer valid Monday – Saturday.

Enjoy Christmas & New Year with us. Book now on 01564 742212 or email Find us on Facebook

The Bell 126x180 Advert.indd 44 EdgeMagazine


16/11/2012 2013 14:24 December 2012/January

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December 2012/January 2013

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ames Earnshaw, senior stylist at the Francesco Group Birmingham salon gives us his step-to-step guide on how to get the perfect party curls.

Step 1: Prep wet hair with some volumising spray to create a more gritty texture to the hair and power-dry the hair. This will create a great base to hold your curls into place. Step 2: Using a curling wand, take a small section of your hair starting at the nape and twist hair around the wandwrap from the base of the wand and work your way up. Leave for about ten seconds until the hair is fully heated and then slide the wand out. Twist the heated hair with

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your fingers to create a coiled curl. Repeat curling for the other sections of your hair. Once all the hair has been curled with the wand, leave to cool. Step 3: Using a flat brush, starting at the ends of the hairgently brush through the hair to loosen up the curls. Then using your fingertips push the hair up on itself to create more width and texture. Step 4: Lightly spray some hairspray onto the curls to keep the style in place. If you want a glossier look, apply some serum to your fingertips and run through the ends of the hair.

December 2012/January 2013


Jeffrey Campbell studded suede heels, £150

Bring in the New Year in style

Sam Edelman studded leather clutch, £240

Sundip Gill


Aftershock Sequin Bodycon Dress £74

ith the party season upon us what better way to add some sparkle into your wardrobe than with sequins?

Whether you are heading out for Christmas cocktails or a New Years Eve party, sequins are the perfect way to glam it up this festive season. From sequin dresses, shoes, skirts and blazers, this glitzy trend is flattering for any body shape so you can shine whatever your size. If you are going to invest in one piece then opt for a little black sequin dressticking both trend boxes! A little black dress is a wardrobe staple; add sequins and you’ve got the perfect party number right there. Sequins add instant glamour to any outfit, even if only worn on an accessory. Gold, silver and black are popular colours around Christmas time but the key is to keep the rest of the outfit simple- let the sequins do the hard work. This is one trend that has been around for many decades now and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. A favourite on the red carpet, a killer sequin dress is guaranteed to turn heads! For those of you who are more naughty than nice, opt for some studs and spikes this Christmas-another hot trend this autumn/winter. From studded dresses to spiked heels, this trend will definitely give you an instant edge. Sequins or studs you’ll be sure to shimmer this season!

All items available from Harvey Nichols

Christian Loutboutin gold 150ml heels, £675

Michael Michael Kors sequinned boucle dress, £290

EdgeMagazine 47 Board meeting

1st Birthday Edition

BOARD MEETING Paxton & Whitfield give us their definitive guide to cheese this season


axton & Whitfield prides themselves on being a leader in bringing the best in British and European cheeses to the retail market. The Paxton & Whitfield cheese experts are constantly looking for great examples of artisan cheeses for customers to discover, taste and choose as their new favourites. To round off a year of Great British events, listed below are eight artisan British cheeses that Paxton & Whitfield have hand selected as great cheeses to enjoy at Christmas. Some of their names help celebrate the Royal theme of the past year and all of them highlight the exceptional quality of artisan British cheese available today. Over years of experience it is fair to say that customers traditionally choose a Christmas cheeseboard which contains a blue cheese, a hard cheese, a soft cheese and another (non cow’s milk) cheese. Whilst some of the listed cheeses are more traditional and others very new, they all taste delicious.

the mould spread through each cheese. The cheese has a firm texture with a mild and creamy flavour that hints at the blue veining but without any of the harshness associated with many blue cheeses. It has a very creamy slightly sweet aftertaste. This version of the cheese was the runner up in the World Cheese Awards 2011. Paxton & Whitfield are one of very few cheesemongers to stock this award-winning traditional rennet variety. Morangie Brie (£4.95/250g) - (Pasteurised, vegetarian rennet) This cheese is made by the Stone family at Highland Fine Cheeses, based near Tain, north of Inverness. The company started to make cheese on a whim back in the 1950s when a churn of milk turned to cheese after being warmed in the family bath. Today the company is well known for its award-winning cheese Highland Blue. The milk used to make the company’s cheeses, including Morangie Brie, comes from cows on

All the cheeses are available from Paxton & Whitfield’s three shops: Jermyn Street in London, Bath and Stratfordupon-Avon, as well as online at Cornish Blue Traditional Rennet (£23.00/kg) (Pasteurised, traditional rennet) This is a new version of this award winning cheese that now uses traditional rennet rather then vegetarian rennet. Cornish Blue was developed by Philip and Carol Stansfield to fill a gap in the British blue cheese market for a cheese that was more like imported European Blue cheeses. The Stansfield’s farm is located in Cornwall and with the mild weather and high rainfall it’s an ideal climate for artisan cheesemaking. Production was started in 2001 and the simple process is carried out entirely by hand, relying on the skill of the cheesemakers and the quality of the milk from the farm’s own Friesian Holstein cows. To make the cheese, the rennet and starter culture is added to the milk. The curds are then moulded into the cheese shape, dry salted by hand and then matured for 12 to 14 weeks. The blue mould is created with a little help from Mother Nature by piercing the cheeses every week with stainless steel that allows air into the cheese and helps

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the Stone family farm as well as from other farmers within Caithness. Morangie Brie has a lovely soft, melting texture when ripe and a distinctive creamy, earthy flavour. Eve (£6.50/125g) - (Unpasteurised, traditional rennet) Made by Pete Humphries of Whitelake Cheese in the heart of the West Country using unpasteurised milk from the dairy's own herd of white Saanen, brown and white Toggenburg, black and white British Alpine and AngloNubian goats. The goats are milked twice daily with each producing about two and a half litres of milk. This milk is pumped into vats where starter culture and traditional rennet are added. Once formed, the curds are cut by hand and then placed into moulds to drain. The cheeses are left overnight and then taken from their moulds and put in a maturation room where white fluffy penicillin moulds form, covering the exterior of the cheeses. During the maturation process the cheese is washed lightly in a Somerset Cider Brandy and wrapped in a vine leaf, which maintains the moisture levels of the cheese. The striking contrast between the colour of the vine leaf and the beautiful white moulds of this cheese makes it an interesting addition to any cheese board. When ripe, the interior of the cheese is almost entirely runny, and the flavour is full and rich but not harsh, with a lovely lemony freshness. Lord London* (£25.00/kg) - (Pasteurised, vegetarian rennet) Lord London is a bell shaped, semi-hard artisan cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk using vegetarian rennet. Similarly formed Spanish cheeses inspired its unique shape and it’s the only cheese to be named after England’s capital city. Arthur Alsop and Nicholas Walker make the cheese at Coles Hall Barns, Mayfield, located in the heart of the East Sussex countryside. They are both highly skilled chefs and have a lifelong passion for cheese and cheesemaking, developing some truly unique cheeses in their small but modern dairy. It’s one of Alsop and Walker’s newest creations and won a bronze medal at the World Cheese Awards 2011 whilst still in its developmental stage. Lord London has a clean citrusy taste with a natural creaminess and an edible white dusted skin. *Please note this cheese is only available from our Jermyn Street shop.

Good Queen Maude (£38.00/kg) - (Unpasteurised, vegetarian rennet) This hard, sheep’s milk cheese is made by Roger Crudge on Churchill Farm, Oxfordshire. The farm is owned by Blur Bassist Alex James and the cheese was developed with Alex to be sold under the ‘Alex James presents’ label. Roger uses artisan methods to make the cheese and uses milk from a farm based near Stratfordupon-Avon that can supply the consistent quality of milk needed to make it all year round. Roger started to make cheese in 2002, using cheeses he tasted on annual trips to the Savoie region of France as the inspiration for his recipes. Good Queen Maude is firm, with a delicate and sweet flavour and just a hint of fudge. Perl Las (£22.00/kg) - (Pasteurised, vegetarian rennet) Perl Las, which means ‘Blue Pearl’, is a blue cheese made from cow’s milk by Carwyn Adams of Caws Cenarth on his family farm near Cardigan in the heart of West Wales. Completely made by hand, the newly formed cheeses have sea salt rubbed into their rinds. This allows for a slower intrusion of salt than if the cheese had been dipped in brine. The cheeses are then left to mature, and then foil wrapped for a further maturation process. Perl Las is unlike any other blue cheese as it has a strong taste that is delicate enough for the most discerning palates. It has a rounded and creamy flavour with overtones of blue that linger in the mouth. All prices quoted do not include postage and packing. The last date for Christmas orders for pre-Christmas delivery in the UK is Monday 17 December 2012.

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1st Birthday Edition

Edge Magazine’s Food & Drink Guide •15,000 copies •Over 300 bars and restaurants •Delivered to over 5,000 homes across 3 counties

For more information, or to enquire about featuring in our forthcoming edition, please call 07809 702 992 or email 50 EdgeMagazine

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition





Garden Rooms

Tel: 01562 740065 Rebate Ltd Stourport Road Kidderminster Worcestershire DY11 7BD

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 51

Jamais Vu

1st Birthday Edition

JAMAIS VU The designer dress agency


e all have little treasures in our wardrobe that we bought on a whim. You take them home and realise they’re just not you. If you’ve got items in your wardrobe that have never been worn or only been worn a few times, Jamais Vu want to know about it. At Jamais Vu dress agency, you can bring in your new or nearly-new purchase for an exchange, turning your stunning designer items into something new. The Jamais Vu staff offer years of experience so whether you’re selling or buying, rest assured a warm welcome, discretion and confidentiality are all part of the service. Jamais Vu designer dress agency is situated on the 1st floor of the exclusive lingerie boutique, Honeys. Jamais Vu act as a third party, selling new and nearly-new designer clothes, shoes and accessories for those who don’t have the time to do it themselves. Jamais Vu accepts genuine designer items only.

Jamais vu Jamais vu @ Honeys Lingerie “The Boutique” 129 High Street Henley In Arden B95 5AU

Honeys Lingerie boutique is also worth a visit itself. The boutique was recently announced as one of the finalists in the Stars Underlines Best Shop Awards. Although this year they were just pipped to the post, this is the second year Honeys has reached these prestigious finals in London. It’s a fantastic achievement, with a total of 68 finalists being shortlisted from 450. Honeys were recognised for their concept and they were up against some of the most exclusive lingerie stores up and down the country. You can find out more about Honeys’ nomination and the Star Awards on the Honeys Lingerie Boutique blog which you’ll find on their webite.

Honeys Lingerie Boutique home to the most exquisite Lingerie, Swimwear, Beachwear, Nightwear and Corsets by the world’s finest designers, everyday shapewear to Irresistible lingerie sizes A to H.

Tel: 01564 794428 The Boutique’129 High Street, Henley in Arden, Warwickshire B95 5AU. Tel: 01564 794428

designer dress agency

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23/10/2012 16:04

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition

Located in the heart of the West Midlands in Hopwood, Birmingham and with satellite facilities in Hereford, Worcester and Malvern the Beauty Gurus attracts patients from throughout the UK. We know you’re unique, that‘s why the Beauty Gurus is proud of its philosophy of being founded by surgeons (not salespeople) with the aim of offering you the

best possible experience – from initial contact, to

consultation, to surgery and last but not least, the best after-care service.

The Beauty Gurus offers the full range of cosmetic

surgery procedures covering breast, face and body

from breast enhancement, uplift and reduction; body

contouring tummy tuck surgery and liposuction; facial

As seen on:

procedures such as facelift, brow lift, eye rejuvenation surgery and nose reshaping..

We operate in some of the most prestigious hospitals in the UK. We also

consult in clinics in many areas such as Worcester, Birmingham, Hereford, Cheltenham, Malvern and Wolverhampton. We also offer a full range of

non-surgical aesthetics including treatments for lines and wrinkles using injections and peels.

Each and everyone of Beauty Gurus’ surgeons are members of the Brit-

ish Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and / or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS); and are listed on the General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register for plastic surgery with a UK certificate of training (CCT) in plastic surgery and a specialty fellowship in Plastic Surgery

Contact Beauty Gurus Clinics to find out more on

Tel: 0800 612 5919

December 2012/January 2013

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December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 55 Out of Africa

1st Birthday Edition

OUT OF AFRICA Akamba Garden Centre Lucinda Bunn


kamba Garden Centre, in Solihull, has approached gardening from a totally different angle. Forget the familiar garden centre idea; Akamba is inspired by Africa. Akamba Garden Centre is not only packed with exotic plants, it’s also home to life-size metal sculptures of native animals created by the world famous Kenyan artist Kioko Mwitiki. In fact, Akamba founder Chris Canaan, has got it so right, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into an African village. Chris has a passion for exotic plants. But his career hasn’t always been focused on gardening. He left school at sixteen, when his love of ice skating took him into professional speed skating. He even represented Great Britain in the Olympics. Chris’ creativity has been a constant thread throughout his life, working as a glass blower, fashion designer, artist and sculptor. Chris founded Akamba in 2002. The concept went from landscaping an African garden at the back of his fitness studio, to the magnificent structure of the Akamba Garden Centre, which is thriving as a cultural alternative to the hum drum horticulture we’re used to. Akamba brings together art and the natural world with the animal sculpture displays intertwined with the jungle-like adventure of native and naturalised plants. Chris rents the venue out for corporate events and wedding receptions and he offers his own garden design service to the public. Chris and his team have enjoyed design success being awarded a Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal for their show garden, Akamba Migration. The idea was inspired by the development of buildings preventing the annual migration of wildebeest to the Nairobi National Park. The heart of Akamba really is in Africa, where Chris has founded a charity, Akamba Children’s Education Fund, taking provisions to students, building vegetable gardens, painting classrooms and supporting the growth and development of children. If you head down to Akamba Garden Centre, you can experience so many aspects of African and Caribbean culture. The Tribe Eatery is Solihull’s premier African and Caribbean restaurant with a fantastic selection of food and drink. There’s also the famous Caribbean Sundays where you can sample a buffet of curried goat, fried plantain, ackee and saltfish and of course, jerk chicken. Akamba Garden Centre put on regular live music nights,

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recently showcasing the talents of East African band, The Vibez of Africa. Chris and the team at Akamba have created something truly inspiring right in the middle of Solihull. It’s a chance to try something new and take a step back in a garden with a difference. Chris’ vision was to bring people and cultures together and he’s done just that by supporting our community and supporting the communities of Africa.

Tythe Barn Lane Shirley Solihull B90 1PH 0121 733 3111

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition

50% off Winter Sale With 50% off designer eyewear it's time for a new look, perfect for the party season and 2013.

Sale Spectacle Frames & Sunglasses from Chanel, Bvlgari,Tom Ford, Versace, Rayban, Tiffany&Co, JF Rey, Prodesign, Tom Davies + many more. Sale ends January 2013

For eye examinations at Solihull’s award winning opticians please call 0121 709 1000. 56 Drury Lane, Mell Square, Solihull, B91 3BH Independent Opticians of the Year 2009.

*Images for illustrative purposes only, actual frames may not be available.


the wild collection Edge Dec 2012:Creations by Caroline 14/11/12 13:42

Introducing the winter ‘Wild Collection’. A variety of styles of handmade hats and accessories in quality soft felts, faux fur, fabrics and trimmings - for ladies and children. Inspired by exotic animals a donation will be made from the sale of hats from the Collection to the Namibian Wildlife Conservation Trust, to assist threatened and endemic species.

For more details or to order call: 07734 257 210 The perfect gift for friends and family

Tythe Barn Lane, Shirley, Solihull, B90 1PH

December 2012/January 2013

Tel: 0121 733 3111

Creations by Caroline 59a High Street, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire WR9 8EW

Millinery Creations

by Caroline

EdgeMagazine 57


1st Birthday Edition

Big Build

BIG BUILD Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice to open its doors Michael Abu-Zalaf


o mark our first birthday edition, we caught up with one of the great success stories of 2012. The Big Build Project for Marie Curie Cancer Care have been on an inspiring journey to build a fantastic new hospice facility in the West Midlands. Marie Curie Cancer Care’s new hospice for the West Midlands opens to patients in mid January 2013, enabling more people in the region to be supported by the charity. Marie Curie provides end of life care for those with cancer and other serious illnesses and has built a new hospice with the support of the public to respond to a growing need for end of life care in the Birmingham and Solihull areas. Noel Cramer, Big Build Capital Appeal Director said: “It will be an emotional day for a lot of our staff when the first patient comes through the doors of the new hospice. So many people have been involved in the planning and development of this wonderful new facility for a long time – and in what seems like the blink of any eye, we are now opening. The fundraising appeal will continue until we have raised the last bit of the £7 million fundraising target we started with. We are now busy furnishing the hospice and embarking on a programme of staff training here to be ready for a seamless transition as we leave our former home on the Warwick Road.

The new Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands will provide: • 40% more (24) spacious en-suite bedrooms allowing patients the privacy and dignity they deserve, and giving them direct access to the gardens. Over 2,500 extra nights of care a year will be available as a result. • A Day Therapy unit which will support twice as many patients as the existing Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull, offering complementary therapies such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, reiki and relaxation techniques. • A 30% increase in counselling and emotional support services to help take away patients’ fears and enable bereaved family members to cope with everything they’re going through. • A base for the Marie Curie Nursing Service for the whole of the West Midlands, ensuring we can fully understand and meet patients’ needs, whether they are cared for at home or in our hospice. • Outpatient facilities and services to enable 50% more patients to remain at home with the best possible quality of life.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the community and to local businesses who have contributed to our Big Build Appeal over the last 2 years raising the funds to pay for building and equipping the hospice. To date, we have now reached the “£1 million to go” stage of the appeal. We started with a target of £7 million and we are tantalisingly close to achieving our goal, so we would ask everyone to help us with one last big push to find the remaining £1 million.”

• State of the art facilities for the hospice’s dedicated doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to provide first-rate end of life care and deliver innovative services.

Recent high profile events such as The Birmingham Brain Game which raised £145,000 have helped us edge closer to our target, but it is also the hundreds of individuals who have got involved in many different fundraising activities for the appeal who have really made a difference. They have helped us to build a hospice which will support hundreds more patients and their loved ones with high quality care in a comfortable environment.”

The new hospice’s services will be available to support people with terminal illness and their families, across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The new hospice will be the operational base for the local Marie Curie Nursing Service for the West Midlands which provides free care to terminally ill people in their own homes.

To find out more about Marie Curie Cancer Care please go to the following website, or send an e-mail to

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Images by Terry Calvert

1st Birthday Edition

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 59 A sound investment

1st Birthday Edition



ecure your first home at Highfield Gardens for just 80% of the price!

There’s a fantastic opportunity for first-time buyers to get a leg up on to the property ladder at Highfield Gardens, Taylor Wimpey’s prestigious development in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Under the popular government-backed FirstBuy initiative, selected apartments can be purchased by qualifying firsttime buyers for 80% of their full price, including a 5% deposit, subject to status. The one-bedroom Plot 6 ‘St James Court’ apartment is one of the properties which can be accessed under FirstBuy at Highfield Gardens for an 80% price of only £119,996 (full price £149,995) with a 5% deposit of just £7,500. With a 75% mortgage of just £112,496, that means the lucky purchaser’s monthly repayments could be as low as just £558*. Would-be buyers can visit the fabulous two-bedroom show apartment now open at Highfield Gardens to get a glimpse of the wonderful lifestyle opportunities they could be enjoying at this exclusive development. Anne Wallace, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey, says: “This is a great opportunity for firsttime buyers to snap up a superb apartment at Highfield Gardens, which is proving to be popular with young professionals seeking an up-market location with easy access to the city centre. “The availability of FirstBuy at the development adds to the fantastic appeal of these stunning apartments in a prime location surrounded by elegant period properties and leafy gardens. “However it’s only available on a strictly limited number of one and two-bedroom plots, so I’d advise anyone hoping to take advantage of this amazing scheme to get in quick.”

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The apartments at Highfield Gardens boast a prestigious communal entrance hall, with the upper floors served by a lift. Each property includes a spacious open-plan kitchen/ living/dining room, good-sized bedrooms and a main bathroom off the internal entrance hallway, with rooms featuring wonderful high ceilings, while outside, there’s private allocated parking and secure cycle storage. Selected two-bedroom plots benefit from en-suite facilities to master bedrooms, while some apartments also feature private balconies to living areas. FirstBuy works through a joint loan of 20% from the Homes and Communities Agency and Taylor Wimpey, which is repayable at the end of the 25-year mortgage term or when the property is sold. To be eligible, purchasers must be first-time buyers and their total household earnings should be less than £60,000. Highfield Gardens enjoys a prime location in Edgbaston, with Simpsons Michelin-starred restaurant, ambient gastro pubs, numerous shops and a popular delicatessen all within a one-mile radius of the development. Edgbaston is well established as a centre of sporting excellence, with Warwickshire County Cricket Club, the Priory Tennis Club and the Edgbaston Golf Club all located in the neighbourhood. Two railway stations – Five Ways and University – provide commuters with fast, direct services into the city centre, while the A38 can be easily reached for links across the Midlands and to the motorway network. The development is located off Highfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3ED, and is open daily from 10am to 5pm, while the Sales Executive can be contacted on 0845 072 6210, and further information is available at

* Monthly repayment figure of £558.55 is based on a 75% mortgage of £112,496, fixed at 3.39% for two years.

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition



All that Edgbaston has to offer from just £465.93* a month For a limited time only, our stunning one bedroom apartments located in one of the most desirable locations in Edgbaston could be yours for just £149,995! Or if you take advantage of our FirstBuy scheme this is just £119,996* with a deposit of just £7,500. 100% Purchase Price 75% Mortgage Loan 5% Deposit Required Monthly Cost

£149,995* £112,496* £7,500* £465.93*

To book an appointment at Highfield Gardens call:

0845 026 3827

or visit Sales Office open daily 10am – 5pm * Offer based on Purchase Price of £149,995 with a loan of £112,496 over a 35 year term. A fixed rate of 3.49% for 2 years (APR 4.0%). Thereafter a variable rate which is 3.99%. 24 monthly payments of £465.93 followed by 396 monthly payments at variable rate, currently 3.99% being £497.71 per month. A valuation fee of £225.00 and a booking fee of £99.00 are payable on mortgage application and an arrangement fee of £400.00 is added to the mortgage loan. The total amount you must pay back, including the amount borrowed is £208,729.23, this means you pay back £1.85 for every £1 borrowed. The interest rates above were correct at 23/10/2012. Mortgage products are subject to availability and can be withdrawn at short notice. An early repayment charge applies if you want to repay the mortgage early. The charge is calculated using a loan amount of £112,896 and is based on 3% of the outstanding loan amount if the mortgage is repaid with 2 years after the mortgage completes. In addition a redemption charge of £90.00 is also payable. Based on the original amount borrowed, cash examples of the early repayment charges that could apply would be £3,476.88 if repaid within 2 years after the mortgage completes. Therefore the maximum charge you could pay would be £3,386.88 plus fees which are currently £90.00. Taylor Wimpey and FirstBuy Direct will provide an initial loan of £29,999 for the remaining amount of the purchase price for up to 25 years, secured by an equal second charge over the property. The repayment sum will reflect up to 20% of the market value of the property at the time the property is sold or remortgaged. No interest is payable for the first five years. Low interest rates apply thereafter. Terms and conditions apply and full details will be provided on request by Xact Mortgages Ltd, King Edward House, 48 High Street, Solihull B91 3TB. This offer is subject to status and is only available on selected developments and properties. It is not offered with any other promotion. Eligibility and affordability for this scheme must be assessed by a FirstBuy Agent. The maximum income multiple that the Homes and Communities Agency allow when assessing affordability is 4.5x, based on this the minimum income required is £25,00 on a single or joint basis. In addition to the deposit required for the mortgage loan FirstBuy also require applicants to provide a sum of £1,500 to cover purchase setup costs. For full details please contact the Marketing Suite. Applications are subject to status and valuation and the right to decline any application is reserved. Minimum age of application is 18.

December 2012/January 2013

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1st Birthday Edition


FREE COMPANY HEALTH CHECK We offer a FREE business consultation for any size business, we will discuss company structures, tax planning opportunities and general business tips. With an expert team to call upon we believe the health check can benefit any business. • Accounts production, VAT, Book keeping & Payroll • Audit & Assurance • Tax Planning and Compliance • Corporate Finance • Business Development • Business Recovery • IT Services • Financial Services

Contact us today on 01527 69321, Email: or visit us on Prospect House, Church Green West, Redditch, Worcestershire B97 4BD Tel: 01527 69321 F: 01527 63700 Web: Email:

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proactive service helping your business to grow

December 2012/January 2013

1st Birthday Edition

All cash, no profit

ALL CASH, NO PROFIT The dangers of investing in cash Tom Ware


nvestors may look at the volatility of investment markets and conclude that cash is the safest option for their money. Barring a global banking collapse, they get their money back at the end and an - admittedly small - amount of interest. However, holding money in cash carries some natural disadvantages and may actually be riskier over the long term. Risk is usually measured as ‘volatility’, which is the variability of the price of an asset. People tend to be very sensitive to volatility when markets are going down, but do not tend to be as concerned when markets are rising. It is therefore an imperfect measure of risk, yet equity investment is generally deemed risky because of its volatility. Cash, on the other hand, is not deemed risky because there is little or

no volatility in returns. However, this ignores the very real problem of inflation. The risk of investing in cash is not that an investor loses money, but that their money doesn’t buy them what they expect when they need it. This is particularly important over the long-term. Investors risk seeing the purchasing power of investment eroded considerably over time and not being able to fund their retirement lifestyle. Figures from BlackRock show that over 10 years, a 5% inflation rate can reduce the purchasing power of investments by over 40%. Over 25 years, this can be as high as 70%. The problem has become particularly acute as interest rates have fallen, leaving the interest rates on savings accounts trailing inflation and providing a negative real return for investors. There is also the worry that consecutive rounds of quantitative easing may generate inflation in the long-term.

In the government bond market, a combination of low interest rates and quantitative easing has conspired to push the yields on government bonds to historically low levels. A 10-year government bond pays just 1.9% (Source: FT, 26th October). With an inflation rate of 2.2%, investors are reducing the purchasing power of their investments by sticking with ‘safe’ assets. Equity dividends, in contrast, tend to keep pace with inflation. Corporate cash flow tends to grow in line with inflation over time because companies put up their prices to reflect inflationary pressures. This becomes particularly important over the 20-25 year life span of a pension. Therefore, although equity may look like a roller-coaster ride, investors need to re-think their interpretation of risk and ask themselves whether volatility is really their biggest worry, or whether they should be turning their attention to the problems wrought by inflation. Nevertheless, there are solutions that present a more stable ride than equities. Short-dated or inflation-linked bonds, for example, might be an alternative to cash and gilts. The message for investors is that inflation needs to be an important factor in their decisionmaking and that ‘safe’ on the outside does not necessarily mean ‘safe’ on the inside.

IMPORTANT NOTICE Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future and the value of investments can go down as well as up. You might not get back the full amount invested particularly if an encashment is made in the early years.

December 2012/January 2013

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Take the pressure off this Christmas and dine out at The Oak at Upton Snodsbury. You can find booking forms for Christmas dinner of their website, as well as booking forms for Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve too. The Christmas menu brings traditional classics with fresh and exciting new ideas; there’s turkey with all the trimmings and pan-fried sea bass. And why not make a night of it and take advantage of the special Christmas party accommodation rates this December? The Oak is offering party menus and disco nights for to celebrate the Christmas festivities. Check out The Oak website for more details.

Worcester Road, Upton Snodsbury,Worcester, WR7 4NW T: 01905 381 631

• Sunday lunch from £9.50 • Christmas Party menus throughout December • Private Dining and function rooms available 8640 Stratford Road, Hockley Heath B94 5NW Tel: 01564 785 252

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 65 Save for your children

1st Birthday Edition

SAVE FOR YOUR CHILDREN The dos and don'ts of Junior ISAS Tom Ware


unior Isas (JISAs) were introduced at the start of 2012. They replaced the child trust funds introduced by the Labour Government, which ended for new entrants in January 2011. The new structure extends the popular Isa structure to under 18s, but the government makes no contribution as it did for CTFs. The JISA has many of the same features as its senior equivalent. All investments held within the wrapper are free of income and capital gains tax. There are no limits on the charging structure of JISAs, as there were for child trust funds, which has brought more choice into the market. In practice, investors now have almost as wide a choice of funds to put in their child's JISA as they do for their own. Also, in common with the senior ISA, the overall investment limit can be split between cash and stock and shares Isas. That said, there are some important differences: the JISA has a lower investment limit than traditional Isas - £3,600 versus £11,280 for the tax year 2012/13. JISA’s allow switching from cash to shares and vice versa, which is not currently permissible for senior Isas. JISA’s are open to all children that do not currently hold a CTF. This will include those born from 1994 to 2002, before the

introduction of the CTF, as well as those born after January 2011. Anyone, from parents to grandparents, to godparents, to friends, can contribute to a JISA, but the money is held in the child's name and cannot be touched until age 18. At 18, the child becomes entitled to all the money held in a JISA. If it is not encashed, it will automatically roll into a normal ISA. As the money within a JISA cannot be accessed until 18 and then the child is entitled to all of it, it does not make an appropriate vehicle for school fees planning. It is best used to support a child through university, paying fees and accommodation costs, or to provide a nest egg for a housing deposit or car. That said, parents will not be able to control how the money is spent, so they will have to urge responsibility on their children - easier said than done! Parents may have to accept that children might spend it on things that they consider more important than their education, but JISAs are still a flexible, tax-incentivised way to create a nest-egg for the future and certainly something to consider as an additional tax planning tool. Of course, it is also an important part of teaching children savings skills for life, which is a more valuable gift than any shopping trip. Investment strategy When deciding on an investment strategy, investors need to bear a number of things in mind: first, although it may be tempting to go

for a low-risk strategy, in most cases investors have a long timeframe, up to 18 years. This allows them to ride out a lot of volatility in stock markets and therefore, at least in the early years, it may be worth looking at areas with higher risk, but potentially higher returns, such as emerging markets. This is particularly true if the ultimate goal is to create a lump sum at the end. Remember, most JISAs are flexible and will allow switches to lower risk funds as a child approaches 18. Equally, all the income from a JISA is tax-free, so it is possible to create a long-term tax free income stream. The compounding power of income is often underestimated. Investing in equity income funds generating annual income of between 5% and 6% can create a valuable tax-free income stream by age 18, which again, could be used to supplement university education or buy a child some breathing space while they are looking for their first job. It is worth remembering that the tax incentives are there for a reason. In normal times, it may be worth putting cash or government bonds into a JISA, but at current interest rates, it will not save a lot of tax because there are unlikely to be significant capital gains and income levels aren't high. It is better to use a tax wrapper for a vehicle on which there is potentially a higher liability. Equally, children do not often pay a lot of tax, so costs should be an important part of the JISA decision.

Churchill Investments plc 9 Woodborough Road, Winscombe. BS25 1AB Tel (01934) 844444

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Take control of your pension Many old-fashioned pension savings plans confine your cash to a few dull managed funds. Let us tell you about today’s plans that give you control over your fund and a wider choice of investments that could see you earning much higher returns for your retirement fund. Churchill Investments offers independent advice on savings, protection and investment. Modern methods, traditional values.

01934 844444 Churchill Investments plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 67 Brockencote Hall: A review

1st Birthday Edition

BROCKENCOTE HALL: A REVIEW From 5 Star to Michelin Star


ituated between Kidderminster and Bromsgrove, Brockencote Hall is well established as one of the finest hotels and restaurants in the county. Brockencote Hall has won a host of awards including three AA red stars for the levels of comfort and hospitality, alongside two AA rosettes for its outstanding cuisine.

We were greeted at the door and taken through to the lounge area for drinks and canapés. The experience at Brockencote Hall is enhanced by the panoramic rural views. I started the evening with a glass of Ayala. I decided to go for the tasting menu as I always think they’re a selection of the chef’s favourites. I think the taster menu gives a fantastic overview of the concept and flavours that make Brockencote Hall so special. We had a caramelised onion macaroon with chicken liver parfait which was excellent. This was followed by a cheese gougères. The choux pastry was exactly how choux pastry should be; light, crisp and airy. And when it’s filled with cream cheese, it is simply superb. Next up was the truffle arancini ball and the celeriac and apple soup. The flavours were fantastic and it was an amazing representation of Brockencote Hall’s culinary prowess. We then headed into the dining area and we were seated with a bottle of wine chosen by the restaurant manager. The ‘Casa Marin Laurel Vineyard’, which is a Chillan Sauvignon Blanc, had a strong fruit character but the finish was clean and fresh. I highly recommend it. The first course was seared scallops with pumpkin and baby squid. The scallops were caramelised on top and retained their sweet juicy flavour, while the squid was cooked to perfection. It was an interesting flavour combination that I was looking forward to trying out. And I have to say, it worked! The second course was calves sweetbreads, cob nut, with maple and orange and chervil root purée. Rich, creamy and heavenly, that’s all. We went onto stone bass, parsnip root and wild mushroom fricassee. The fish was cooked perfectly and the parsnip and mushroom made an exquisite autumnal pairing. The loin of fallow deer, potato and apple terrine, beetroot and marrow was a stand-out dish for me. The deer was such a highlight with its rich, deep and dark flavour. The beetroot added a hint of sweetness and the earth marrow melted in your mouth. There was also a crumble on the dish; aromatic and light, it elevated this dish to another level. The first dessert of apple, blackberry and pear foam really gets you in the mood for something sweet. And just as well, as the dessert of banana delice, caramelised banana, parsnip sorbet and rum jelly was everything you could ask for. It was packed with flavour and an experimentation of textures. It was highly technical the way this dessert had been constructed, the thought and precision was reflected in the how amazing it tasted. I particularly enjoyed the rum jelly; such a tasty and playful addition. Last but never least, the cheeseboard was immense. What an eclectic selection of cheese? The Perl Las Welsh blue was rich and creamy and most definitely my favourite. Brockencote Hall is a fine dining experience in a stunning and distinctive building. The food created by head chef Adam Brown had to match the character of the beautiful Victorian country house and it really did. The restaurant is atmospheric and delivered a refined, well-constructed and contemporary menu, showcasing the talents of the chef. Brockencote Hall is luxury at its most luxurious.

Claire Hutchings

Brockencote Hall Hotel Chaddesley Corbett Worcestershire, DY10 4PY 01562 777876

Claire trained at the College of Food (now UCB), whilst working at Simpson’s Restaurant. She was the runner-up on BBC Masterchef: The Professionals 2011 and had her recipe for chocolate sorbet pinched by foodie legend Michel Roux Jr – it really is that good. Claire is currently running a selection of unique pop-up restaurants across Birmingham and beyond.

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1st Birthday Edition

December 2012/January 2013

Inspirational gift idea

EdgeMagazine 69

1st Birthday Edition

The Golf Centre and the Volkswagen Specialist Centre have had a fantastic couple of years and they’d like to thank their customers for their support and repeated business. They’ve relocated their second centre closer to their first in Flyford Flavell so now there’s the Golf Centre on the petrol station site and the Volkswagen Specialist Centre on the site of the former army/navy store, both on the A422. If you’re looking for great value, check it out. The centres specialise in used VWs at both sites in Flyford Flavell. They offer some of the best deals around and are conveniently located near Worcester, just off the M5 Junction 6. At both centres, you’re guaranteed fantastic customer care and a personal service. They’re great because they also offer finance payment plans, extended warranty cover and part exchange. The full range of VWs at each site is updated regularly so it’s a good idea to check the website and call ahead.

01905 380196 07831 304888

All the staff would like to wish their customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Alcester Road, Flyford Flavel WR7 4DB

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1st Birthday Edition

Duelling Pianos

DUELLING PIANOS New US-style bar is rejuvenating Broad Street and creating new jobs


high-energy, unique and upmarket piano bar has hit the right note in Birmingham - with the added promise of up to 40 new jobs. Duelling Pianos is the first bar of its kind in the UK where customers choose their own live music. Featuring two grand pianos, revellers at the Broad Street bar/restaurant, which occupies the former bar The Living Room premises on Broad Street, can request their favourite songs. The concept is the brain child of owner Simon Toller and pianist Robbie Peaple, who has previously played with Elton John and Shirley Bassey. Catering for the over-25s market, the cocktail bar follows the theme of similar US venues, notably in Miami and Las Vegas. Duelling Pianos opened its doors for the first time on November 1st, with a star-studded VIP night on November 8th. The opening of the bar was also great kudos for Birmingham - with the city being chosen ahead of potential venues in London, Manchester and Brighton. Owner Simon Toller hopes Duelling Piano, Birmingham, will be the first of seven such venues around the country. "As soon as I saw the venue I knew this would be the place," said Simon."Birmingham is the right place, right time and we feel this bar will be ideal for people who want that little bit more from their night out. "Duelling Pianos is a high energy, live music venue and the idea is that people come in and enjoy themselves, enjoy some live music and a good laugh and interact with the pianists."There are other venues which play live music but the musicians play what they think the audience want to hear. At Duelling Pianos the audience sets the tone. "Every night will be different depending on the crowd." He added: "The bar is popular with over-25s, who want a good night out, in a lovely venue and know what they want when it comes to entertainment and food." Pianist Robbie Peaple, who has also performed for former US President Bill Clinton, added: "Simon and I started out almost 12 months ago to the day looking at The Living

December 2012/January 2013

Room as a venue for Duelling Pianos. “Birmingham has welcomed us with open arms and the crowd is everything we hoped for and more. This is the first Duelling Pianos in the UK and we hope it will also attract people to the city to enjoy the experience." Beth Woollridge has been recruited as the new general manager after being head-hunted following successful roles elsewhere within Birmingham. As a bar and eatery Duelling Pianos has created a further 35-40 jobs, including a head chef, five kitchen staff and at least 25 bar staff. If you’re a music lover looking for a fun-filled night of live music where you choose the tunes, then head to Duelling Pianos.

EdgeMagazine 71 Which wine?

1st Birthday Edition

WINTER WINE? Phil Innes gives Edge Magazine his top wine tips for the festive period Phil Innes


ith the Christmas countdown well underway, we asked wine expert Phil Innes, Director of Loki Wine, to advise us on being a little more adventurous this winter. At this time of year we get too hung up on our traditional wines for Christmas. I‘ve already noticed more customers asking for Bordeaux, Châteauneuf-duPape and Burgundy. Why is it at this time of year that we insist upon turning the wine clock back 50 years and thinking just because it’s Christmas only the traditional wines will do? I’m not saying that French wines are not appropriate, I’ll be indulging in some myself this Christmas, but there is a whole world of wine to explore and I’m going to list a few of my favourites for the Christmas season, including some lesser known French wines. The sparkling wine/Champagne. I know it is tempting to just go for the names that you are familiar with such as Moët and Veuve but there are now some cracking producers in Champagne and sparkling around the world. These producers don’t necessarily have the marketing budget of the big houses but produce wine that is better and usually cheaper; can’t say fairer than that. I know everyone is harping on about English sparkling wine at the moment, but if you are yet to try it give it a go. I recommend Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2001 (£35 available at Loki Wine). This is an incredibly rich brioche filled sparkling wine, perfect if you are having rich starters such as pâté. Another classic is Camel Valley Brut (£25.99-27.99 available at Waitrose, Majestic and Loki Wine).This is a lighter, softer sparkling that is wonderful to drink on its own. You might also like Grower Champagne. This area is a bit of a minefield, so ask your local specialist and they will be able to point you in the right direction. Look out for Premier Cru and Grand Cru on the labels; these are wines from the best vineyard plots in Champagne and can offer great value for money. White wine Let’s face it, although it’s unfashionable, oak aged Chardonnay is the perfect Christmas white wine, but you don’t need to go for whopping oak aged style that has put people off Chardonnay. If you do want Burgundy, try to hunt out areas such as Mercurey, Montagny and Vergelesses. You can usually find these in good

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supermarkets, merchants and multiple specialists, these lesser known areas offer great value. There is great value to be had in the new world as well, try Seven Springs Chardonnay, (£12.99 Available at Underwoods Wines, SH-Jones and Loki Wine. This has a wonderful freshness whilst maintaining a gorgeous creamy finish. Red wine I’m a bit obsessed with Rhône at the moment. I think they have had some fantastic vintages in recent years and still can offer fantastic value, especially from smaller areas such as Lirac. There are also some great value wines from Gigondas in the south, with Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage producing classic wines in the north. If you are looking for Bordeaux, resist the temptation to go for the fabulous 2009/2010 vintages. Wines that are any good from those years will not be drinking well now. Instead check out the underrated 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007 vintages from appellations such as Saint-Estephe and Saint-Julien. These tend to be softer and they’re drinking very well. However, I think Malbec will be a big hit this year as well with the Argentinians leading the way, check out Luigi Bosca Malbec (£12.49 available at Loki Wine and Underwoods Wines). I love the juicy, approachable fruit, as well as the structure from a liberal use of oak. It’s a cracking wine. Sweet wines Christmas is not the same without the sweet wines. Sauternes is the classic match, but I think there are some really interesting wines from further afield. First up, Elysium Black Muscat from Andrew Quady (£12.99 reduced to £9.99 when you buy two at Majestic, £10.79 at SH-Jones); deep rich, luscious and sweet, the perfect match with chocolate. Peller Vidal Ice Wine (£34.99 available at Loki Wine) is one of the best dessert wines in the world; it’s light, yet filled with marmalade and fruit goodness. If you do get to try some of these fantastic wines, remember that just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean you need to go straight for the “half price” Saint Emillion in supermarkets. There are some cracking wines out there that won’t break the bank, just be adventurous and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Phil is the owner of Loki Wine Merchant in Birmingham city Centre. After working for Wine Rack and Odd Bins, he has set out a new concept wine merchant that allows you to try 24 wines before you buy. More information at

December 2012/January 2013

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December 2012/January 2013

EdgeMagazine 73

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Fourteen amazing zones One fantastic day out 0844 880 7667 or visit

Book now on

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December 2012/January 2013

CHRISTMAS ESCAPE FOR TWO Get away from it all for a few hours with your partner or a friend. Or make it a special gift for the couple who have everything. Our ESCAPE package is the perfect mix of pampering and relaxation.     

4-hour visit with Spa use A welcome drink Light lunch in our Bistro 55-minute Facial 25-minute Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage


See the website for all our treatments & packages



01527 821900 Chessgrove Park Ditchford Bank Road Hanbury Worcestershire B60 4HS


NEW RESTAURANT - NOW OPEN Introducing a whole new eating experience brought to you by a multi award-winning gastro team. The Flat Chicken offers a fresh alternative on dining out serving simple cuisine matched by simple prices. It’s lively, fashionable and original - everything eating out should be.


Open Tues - Sat 11am - 11pm Food served from 12noon - 9.30pm

Edge Magazine December/January Edition  

The essential guide to Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands