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Beauty / Hair


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Style / Editor’s Letter

Editor’s Letter



e’re so excited to welcome you to our Christmas issue, here to feed all your festive needs! It’s the most wonderful time of the year and our pick of top seasonal trends [page 12] will keep you looking chic and feeling fabulous. Buying gifts doesn’t have to be stressful this Christmas and Grand Central Birmingham has got you covered [page 20] as well as beauty guru Rose Gallagher’s guide to the creating a show stopping party look [page 51].

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As well as this, why not check out our interview with British gem Kara Tointon [page 36] and find out why Keane’s Tom Chaplin has gone solo [page 60].


’Tis the season to kick back on the sofa and watch some great TV, as we round up the top Christmas specials [page 64] for your cosy nights in. If you’re looking to break convention and celebrate the festivities with something a little bit different, take a look at resident writer Philip Ellis’s Grump’s Guide to Christmas [page 54] and the best alternative New Year’s Eve options within the city [page 88]. And if this wasn’t enough, foodies are in for a real treat as we bring you our Festive Favourites [page 92] to satisfy even the sweetest cravings.


With plenty to feast your eyes on, we hope you enjoy this glamorous party issue!


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1. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Sunset Glow, £34, John Lewis. 2. Nails Inc Winter Lights Effect Nail Polish, Belsize Road, £15, John Lewis. 3. River Island Pink Satin Lace Panel Pyjama Shirt, £18. 4. John Lewis Prism Bauble, £3. 5. Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm Gift, £12.50. 6. Paperchase Gold Fringe Mini Christmas Tree, £10, Grand Central. 7. Tommy Hilfiger Metallic Small Bucket Bag, £435.

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Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 7

Style / Contents


Editor-In-Chief Andrew Riley

Creative Director Mike Raven

Sub Editor Lisa Piddington

Editorial Assistant Becky Weaver

Designer Simon Konaszczuk

Designer Kati Boniface

Special thanks to

Jade Woodhouse, Charlotte Smith, Philip Ellis, Emma Walsh, Royston Blythe, Nicolle Rimmer, Rose Gallagher, Tara Tomes, Katy Poulsom, Birmingham Royal Ballet, James Tissiman, Birmingham Museums, Ryan Gander, Ben Goodwin, The Central School of Make-Up, Emily V, Bookings Models, Kim Clay, Natalya Johnson

Style Birmingham is created by RileyRaven • • 0121 769 2808 • Unit 606B, The Big Peg, 120 Vyse Street, Birmingham, B18 6NF

The Edit

010 Style Chart The hottest products you need right now 012 Christmas Style The pieces you need to keep on trend this Christmas 016 Home is Where the Heart is Refresh your home with these stunning decorations 019 Christmas News The latest collaborations and festive collections to inspire you 020 The Gift of Giving Grand Central Birmingham’s guide to the perfect gifts 021 Wow Factor Achieve effortless glamour with these staple looks from Next this Christmas 032 Me & My Style Capital Radio’s Katy Poulsom on her vintage style and shopping in the city 034 Behind the Scenes of The Nutcracker We talk to Birmingham Royal Ballet First Soloist Delia Mathews 036 Kara Tointon The Eastenders star talks to us about her latest acting role at the New Alexandra Theatre


038 Beauty Talk Heaven Skincare founder Deborah Mitchell shares her beauty tips 039 Beauty Bulletin The products you need to add to your Christmas list 041 Glam to Go Royston Blythe share their go-to Christmas party looks 043 Create the Ultimate Party Look Resident writer Rose Gallagher on perfecting the party look

The Insider

046 A Grump’s Guide to Christmas How to abolish your inner Scrooge 048 Out & About What to do and see across Birmingham 067 It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year The Christmas TV specials you need to watch 068 Our Guide to a Stylish Christmas Here’s how to make the most out of Christmas in the city 072 Tom Chaplin The Keane frontman shares the story behind his debut solo album

074 The Birmingham Bucket list Tara Tomes’s alternatives to New Year’s resolutions


076 Yo! Tokyo We take a trip to Japan’s capital city 078 Cheers to 2017! The hottest places to spend New Year’s Eve 081 The Evolution of the Christmas Advert Why Christmas adverts have become a tradition 082 Night In The Museum Meet Ryan Gander, the man bringing modern art to life in his latest exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 084 Festive Favourites Cook up a storm in the kitchen this Christmas with these recipes 089 Health Kick The workouts to keep you in shape this season 090 WIN Thomas Sabo’s Diamond Together Forever bracelet and necklace gift set worth £350 067 Our Christmas Man magazine will get you suited and booted for the upcoming party season. Plus resident writer James Tissiman brings you the ultimate gift guide


Photography: Mike Raven Assistant: Simon Konaszczuk Model: Emily at Bookings Models Make-Up: Rose Gallagher Hair : Kim Clay at Central School of Make-Up Styling: Jade Woodhouse and Kati Boniface

A DIGITAL EVOLUTION! Download our Christmas issue for iPad.

All information is correct at the time of going to press. Please note that prices for items are subject to change so may vary from those mentioned, contact individual stores for definitive pricing information. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, without prior permission. We make every effort to ensure that firms and organisations mentioned are reputable, however, we can give no guarantee that they will fulfil their obligations in all circumstances. Contributors’ opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or of Style Birmingham Ltd. Any material submitted is done so at the owner’s risk, and the company can take no responsibility for the safe storage or return of such material.

8 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Style / Contents

MAILBOX SHOPPING CENTRE Spring 2016 | Style Birmingham | 9

Women / The Edit

The Style Chart From silver sparkles to berry boots, here are our top picks this Christmas


Infuse your home with notes of cinnamon and clove. Warm up your senses on a cold evening while you curl up in a blanket. Winter Diffuser, £27, The White Company


It’s all about the detail with this Marc Jacobs bangle, complete with an embellished star. Marc Jacobs Silver Tone Star Bracelet, £70, Harvey Nichols


Give your feet some TLC with UGG’s twist on its classic Scuffette slipper. Scuffette II Calf Hair Leopard Slipper, £85, UGG


Follow the adventure of Newt Scamander in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, £12.99, Foyles


Plan ahead with this adorable Kate Spade polka dot diary. New York 17-Month Spot Diary, £25, Kate Spade at John Lewis


This GHD gift set is complete with the award-winning V Gold Styler in new luxe copper finish and limited edition Nails Inc polish, £135, Harvey Nichols


This Tommy Hilfiger bag is an elegant yet glamorous addition to any wardrobe. Metallic Small Bucket Bag, £435, Tommy Hilfiger


Indulge in the perfect Christmas combo; alcohol and chocolate, what’s not to love? The Chocolate and Gin Collection, £20, Hotel Chocolat



From office party to Christmas dinner; these statement heels will keep you looking fabulous this season. Capri Patent Heeled Ankle Boot, £95, French Connection

10 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016


Keep your complexion hydrated throughout the winter months and your skin will certainly thank you. Magic Cream £70, Charlotte Tilbury


Practicality meets style with this cotton and wool blend jumper. Stay feeling cosy and looking chic in this timeless classic. Amber Sweater, £89, Hobbs


Spruce up your sofa this season with Next’s geometric copper cushion, the perfect way to refresh your home in time for Christmas guests. Geo Woven Cushion, £20, Next

winter STYLE SOLUTIONS From Christmas shopping to festive hosting, discover your seasonal wardrobe

Grand Central Birmingham Home | Bedroom | Candles & Fragrance | Clothing | The Little White Company

Max Mara Feathe r trim

Women / Shopping River Island Red feather earrings, £10

jumper, House of

Marc Jacobs velvet cross-body bag, Harvey Nichols, £440

Fraser, £185



Off her

t Fea

Party On!


Biba Feather cape, House of Fraser, £65

ls, £


Christopher Kane

Stand out from the crowd this Christmas with a statement feather piece. Don’t be afraid to experiment with feather trims and accessories for a more subtle approach to this daring option

Marc Jacobs Crystal leather shoulder bag, Harvey Nichols, £470

From funky feathers to bold sequins, prepare to dazzle this season with our top Christmas picks Monso on Sequin

Topshop Vinyl sequin zip skirt, £50


skirt, £6


From bejewelled boots to dazzling dresses, sequins have made an annual comeback just in time for Christmas. You know the drill, the more sparkle the better!

of use Ho d lan Hol

12 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Topshop Sequin dress, £75

River Island Embroidered heel, £75

Tommy Hilfiger Black sequin shoe, £120

Women/ Shopping Next Leather and suede clutch, £32


Next Ru ffle

Topshop H


igh waist su

5 it trousers, £3

Alexand er McQu een

shirt, £3 2

Lace is both classy and versatile, the perfect option for all festivities. This Christmas favourite is key for the party season, and will keep you looking and feeling sexy.

Maison Margiela Black leather ankle boots, Harvey Nichols, £615 Thomas Sabo Silver chain, T.H. Baker, £50

New Look Lace peep toe, £29.99


Monsoon Lace clutch bag, £39

Alexander McQueen

Three Floor Black lace dress, Harvey Nichols, £335

Christopher Kane

Topshop Lace crop top, £39

If you’re looking to ditch the dress this year, why not opt for a more tailored option? Embrace the androgynous look with this alternative party option, proving that suits aren’t limited to the office.

Topshop Suit Jacket, £65

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 13

Oliver Bonas Slipper socks, £19.50

Women / Shopping Paul Smith Socks, £22, Mailbox Calvin Klein Short briefs, £23 & Cotton bralette, £30 Mailbox



Tommy Hilfiger Cashmere socks, £13

The Great Indoors Embrace darker nights and colder mornings with our pick of cosy loungewear. Best paired with hot chocolate and a snuggly blanket for the perfect home comfort

Olivia Von Hale Striped pyjama set, £350, Harvey Nichols

River Island Satin pyjama top, £18 To

ps ho pJ

um pe

Next Ballerina slippers, £12

39 r, £ Alexander McQueen

River Island Satin pyjama bottoms, £18

Next Slippers, £12

Topshop Hoodie, £26

14 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women/ Shopping Whistles Pompom hat, £45



Velvet padd

ed jacket, £9 9

River Island Frayed boyfriend jeans, £42

Office Velvet slip on, £22

cklac ond ne

e, £180


, T.H. Ba

Topshop Long sleeve T-Shirt, £22


s Sabo

, Gold


River Island Velvet ankle boots, £75

Cos, high-neck sweatshirt, £49

Lanvin Mini velvet shoulder bag, Harvey Nichols £940

Warehouse Turtle neck jumper, £45

Whistles Drop pendant, £35

Christmas Day River Island Block heel sandal, £48

Think rich reds, laid-back denim and hints of velvet this season for a comfortable yet polished look. Keep an eye out for block panel jumpers and high neck tees, the hottest pick this Christmas

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 15

Women / Shopping

Home is where the heart is Refresh your home this season with copper tones and muted greys, proving that Christmas doesn’t have to be tacky

Next Woven cushion, £20

John Lewis Gold stripe mug, £5

John Lewis , £20

wis W oode


r head


John Lewis Picture, £8

C oppe r wire dee

John Lewis Mistletoe bunch, £4

n tree r, £10


Next Faux fur hot water bottle, £10

ny mpa e Co 8 Whit ubles, £1 The a ue b Antiq

Marks and Spencer Light up cushion, £19.50

John Lewis Pine cone bauble, £5

The White Company Mini spruce trees, £12



Paperchase Christmas jars, £5

16 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016 16 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016





il g






Joh de n Le w co rat is T ion ree ,£ 3

Next Gold wrap and accessories pack, £6.50

Women/ Shopping The White Company Eucalyptus and winterberry wreath, £50

Paperchase Garland, £8

Next Light up letters, £60

Paperch ase

Gold frin

ge tree,


John Lewis Prism bauble, £3

Oliver Bonas Nesting tables, £195

John Lewis Woodgrain gift wrap, £3

John Lewis Mug, £10

The White Company Glass baubles, £15

Love Aroma Yankee Candle, £18.99

Oliver Bonas Confetti tumbler, £5

ree ,


House of Fraser Grey throw, £69



tal t

Marks and Spencer Standing decoration, £15


n Le

Next cushion, £12

Next LED lights, £18

House of Fraser Black and gold crackers, £25 Debenhams Stacking mug set, £16.50

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 17


CONTACT: +44 (0) 20 77 20 97 25 UK@THOMASSABO.COM

Women / Fashion

The White Company Fir and Berry candle, £26


Reebok has proudly announced that renowned model Gigi Hadid will be the new face of its #PerfectNever body positivity campaign. After dominating the catwalk across fashion week, Gigi is now embracing her inner fitness fiend after being a competitive athlete from a young age, in a bid to inspire other women to do the same. After the recent teaser trailer whereby Gigi can be seen to show her boxing skills, it seems there’s nothing she can’t do. We can’t wait to see the range.

GRAND CENTRAL BIRMINGHAM’S CHRISTMAS COLLECTIONS It’s that time of year again where Christmas collections come back, and this year they’re better than ever. Grand Central Birmingham has come up trumps with two of our favourites, Jo Malone London and The White Company to make our Christmas dreams come true. This year at Jo Malone London, the scent of the season is the delectable Orange Bitters Collection, featuring the Deluxe Candle, £120 and Cologne, £90 for the first time. There’s something for everyone, as new gift collections such as the Pine and Eucalyptus Scented Ceramic Ornament, £32 will be hitting the shelves, not forgetting classic sets such as the renowned Pomegranate Noir Collection. Alongside this, The White Company certainly hasn't disappointed with candles such as Fir and Berry, £26 to Pomegranate Pillar, £26. If you’re looking for something a little different, why not opt for the Lime and Bay Shower Gel Baubles, £9 for a bit of festive fun.

Christmas News Words: Jade Woodhouse


Forget what you know about chocolate advent calendars and countdown to Christmas in style this year with the latest release of beauty-related goodies. If you’re looking to splash the cash, Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘World of Legendary Parties’ £150,, reveals her best beauty essentials from Magic Cream to Wonderglow primer. For something a little different, Molton Brown’s ‘Scented Luxuries’ £150, John Lewis, will keep you smelling great with everything from Orange and Bergamot Hand Wash to Black Peppercorn Body Wash. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, why not opt for House of Fraser’s Exclusive Beauty Calendar, £25 which features a selection of seasonal must-haves.


Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 19

Women/ Shopping

Tom Ford Orchid Soleil eau de parfum, £54, John Lewis

th lizabe rize E gs, £12 o s s e Acc arrin rate e Elabo

Mint Velvet Faux fur blocked scarf, £59, John Lewis

Lend a luxurious finish to your loved ones’ seasonal outfits with elegant, yet practical, accessories this winter. A faux fur charcoal scarf or teal jewelled statement earrings can work for both day and night festivities.

A c c e s s ori z and Lea e Tassel zip su ede ther Glo ves, £22



Spicy blends, floral notes, rich aromas - what would Christmas be without some warm winter scents and perfumes?

Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be stressful, find the perfect gift ideas this holiday season at Grand Central Birmingham. With something for everyone and its late night Christmas closing times of 10pm on weekdays now underway, there’s no time like the present to find everything you need to make this Christmas magical.

Jo Malone London Ora nge Bitters deluxe candle, £120

The Gift of Giving

Words: Charlotte Smith

y 0 pan om rs, £3 C e hite slipp W t The balle k Min

The White Company Seychelles Hand & Nail Gift Set, £25

GODIVA 20 Pie ce Christmas Gift Box, £28, John Lew is

Molton Brown Vintage 2016 wit h Elderflow er Bath & Shower Gel, £2 John Lew 2, is


Forget oranges and chocolate coins; add a personal touch to your stocking filler gifts this holiday season.


Treat those around you with a spot of relaxation during the busy period with a range of luxurious bath and beauty products that are on offer. 20 | Style Birmingham Christmas 2016

Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm tree decoration, £12.50

Kate Spade New York gold notebook, £15, John Lewis

Whittard Christmas Tea kilner, £10

Women/ Fashion

Photography: Mike Raven • Assistant: Simon Konaszczuk Model: Emily at Bookings Models • Hair: Kim Clay at The Central School of Make-Up • Make-up: Rose Gallagher Styling: Jade Woodhouse and Kati Boniface


Lipsy Silver Chocker Dress, £60, Silver Chain Bag, £22, Silver Leather Mules, £60.


From opulent fabrics to statement jewellery, prepare to dazzle the crowds with Next, Bullring this Christmas as glam meets luxe for a show-stopping look

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 21

Women / Fashion

Lace Bodysuit, £35, Lipsy Silver Metallic Skirt, £35, Black Suede Lace Up Boots £65.

22 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women/ Fashion

Black Pleated Trousers, £26, Blue Metallic Wrap Cami, £18, Silver Drop Earrings, £14, Silver Leather Mules, £60.

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 23

Women / Fashion

Green Ribbed Top, £18, Black Dipped Hem Skirt, £65, Black Jewelled Drop Earrings, £10, Lipsy Black and Gold Clutch, £35, Black Suede Lace Up Heels, £35.

24 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Lipsy Black Glitter Choker Dress, £38, Black Suede Lace Up Heels £35.

Women/ Fashion

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 25

Green Metallic Pleated Skirt, £35, Black Velvet Bodysuit, £18, Copper Drop Tassle Earrings, £8, Pink Metallic Quilted Bag, £22, Black Suede Lace Up Heels £35.

Women / Fashion

26 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women/ Fashion

Fur Coat, £75, Tassle Dress, £40, Silver Drop Earrings, £14, Diamante Choker, £8, Diamante Bracelet, £7, Black Suede Lace Up Heels, £35.

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 27

Women / Fashion

Tassle Dress, £40, Silver Drop Earrings, £14, Diamante Choker, £8, Diamante Bracelet, £7, Black Suede Lace Up Heels, £35.

28 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women/ Fashion

Black Fringe Bomber Jacket, £65, Green Velvet Skirt, £25, Black Velvet Embossed Boots, £45.

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 29

Women / Fashion

Black Velvet Jumpsuit, £85, Silver Drop Earrings, £14, Silver Jewelled Necklace, £12.50, Silver Chain Bag, £22, Silver Leather Mules, £60.

30 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women / Jewellery

Glistening Gifts From eye-catching rings to elegant necklaces, treat your loved one with a gift from Thomas Sabo and T.H. Baker this Christmas Words: Natalya Johnson

With a delicate diamond flower centre piece and a rose gold shine, this nine carat ring is perfect for any occasion. £120, T.H. Baker

This stunning Crislu necklace offers pure luxury with a delicate array of cubic zirconia stones. £509, T.H. Baker

This sophisticated heart pendant bracelet is the perfect way to show a loved one how much they mean to you. £125, Thomas Sabo

Say it with a ring. This simplistic, sterling silver ring perfectly represents the bond between lovers. £135, Thomas Sabo

This two-toned watch is the perfect companion for those who want something unique and stylish. £210, Thomas Sabo

This gorgeous statement watch will be sure to grab attention with an intense pop of colour. £210, Thomas Sabo

Dazzle with this Swarovski crystal spectacle, sure to complement any wrist it adorns. £59, T.H. Baker

This feminine, double chain heart pendant is the perfect gift for a loved one. £135, Thomas Sabo


Undeniably elegant this gold bracelet is perfect for those who adore simplicity. £250, Thomas Sabo

Adorned with Swarovski pearls, this unique, eye-catching necklace will dress up any outfit. £249, T.H. Baker

The timeless design of this necklace is sure to The delicate blush of rose gold on this ring complement any outfit. Perfect for when one will glisten in the light. Guaranteed to delight diamond isn’t enough. £2,995, T.H. Baker someone very special. £180, Thomas Sabo

This stylish watch offers both gold and silver with a modern and elegant style. £170, Thomas Sabo

This delicate neckless oozes style. Featuring two diamond encrusted teardrop shapes. £350, T.H. Baker

A perfect gift for all fashionistas, this edgy watch is ideal for those who like to make a statement. £270, Thomas Sabo

Sparkle this Christmas with this stunning 18 carat white gold ring. £2,595, T.H. Baker Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 31

Women / Interview

& Capital FM’s Katy Poulsom, talks DIY wedding dresses, city hotspots and why she probably won’t be speaking to Calvin Harris anytime soon Words: Emma Walsh

Can you describe a typical day at work? I usually get to work at half past five in the morning to prepare for the six o’clock show and then we go over recent news stories to get an idea of the topics we’ll discuss. A typical day can range from interviewing celebrities and having business meetings, to filming funny videos for the website. What is it that you love the most about your job? It’s great having a job where you can laugh in the morning. It always makes my day whenever someone tells me that they enjoyed listening to our show on their way to work. I also love taking topical news and putting my own personal twist on it. 32 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

What has been your best moment since working at Capital FM? That would probably be when I completed the London marathon for Global’s charity Make Some Noise. It took six months of strenuous training in both the sun and rain, but it was a day I’ll never forget. Seeing London from that perspective, with its diverse areas and supportive people is what spurred me on to do it again the following year. You recently took part in Capital’s Make Some Noise fundraiser for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK, what was the most memorable moment from the event?  That would definitely be my co-host, Rob

Howard getting tattooed live on air. It was such a fun experience as everyone dressed up, presented fake radio shows and baked cakes together. Global’s Make Some Noise day raised £2.8m for charity and I left work that day feeling very proud of the Capital team. Who’s the most interesting celebrity you’ve met through your job? I love Labyrinth. I’ve met him a few times and he’s such a dude. Not at all affected by being mega famous, he’s genuine and hugely talented. Have you had any radio nightmares or embarrassing moments you can share with us? Plenty, I’m always messing up. The worst was probably when I accidentally wore

Women / Interview


• Before Katy moved to Birmingham she lived in a campervan for three months by Brighton beach • She was a vegetarian for 20 years before she was converted after a trip to the Frankfurt Christmas Markets • She ran the London Marathon in four hours and 29 minutes.

see-through clothing on stage because I didn’t realise that the lights would be so bright. I was also made to walk down Broad Street in the middle of rush hour wearing a sandwich board sign with the words ‘will you go out with me, please?’ written on the front. How would you describe your style? Quite relaxed with a boho vibe. I like mixing high street pieces with charity shop finds because it adds a unique edge. In a world where clothing can be quite disposable, I think it’s important to recycle and rock out the vintage. I love it when I’m complimented on an outfit and get to say that it was only £2.50 from Oxfam.

• Katy put out a plea on her show for someone to help her get in shape for her wedding earlier this year. She then documented her fitness journey with Sandwell Leisure Trust. • Katy has nearly 5,700 Twitter follwers. Take a look at what she gets up to by follwing her @Katyontheradio

Who inspires your style? Baddiewinkle is someone who I absolutely love at the moment. She’s an 88-year-old American internet personality and the hippest, hottest, most multi-coloured person that I’ve ever seen. She makes me want to rush to my wardrobe and wear the most flamboyant thing I can find.      What would you normally wear on a work day?  I would love to dress better for work, but getting up at five o’clock in the morning means that I usually opt for the comfortable choice of a dungaree dress with a pair of tights and a coloured top underneath. What are your favourite items in your wardrobe?  My most treasured possession at the moment is this beautiful multi-coloured silk kimono that my best friend gave me for my wedding. I also have a really cool retro 70s poncho that I bought from Off The Scale Vintage in Kings Heath. What is the best item you’ve ever bought?  That would have to be my wedding dress. I knew I wanted a unique piece that I could re-work and wear again; so I asked my fashion designer friend to create a gown from an ASOS skirt and a lace top. It’s completely one-ofa-kind and can be taken apart to wear at festivals or over jeans. What are your key pieces for this season?  Now that the weather’s turned colder I can’t wait to wear winter colours like bottle green and

burgundy. I love textured hand knitted jumpers paired with dungarees and staple brown boots. Where do you like to shop? High street wise, I really like Topshop, Urban Outfitters and New Look, but if I’m after something special I tend to head to independent shops such as Cow in Digbeth and Spot in Stirchley. The owner is a legend; if you buy something she gives you a kiss and rings a bell. You’ve got to love eccentricity! Where are your favourite places to visit in Birmingham? Birmingham is filled with such beautiful places. During the summer I love relaxing at the Botanical Gardens when it has jazz performances on, and during the winter I really enjoy visiting the Hippodrome to watch the ballet. If I am going out to eat, my first choice is always Ju Ju’s Café in Brindleyplace because the owner is fantastic and the hearty British food is really amazing. What advice do you have for people looking to get into media?  Be prepared to work for free, work hard and make friends with everyone you meet. If you make a good impression they are more likely to remember you when an opportunity comes up. You can catch Katy on Capital Radio Birmingham’s breakfast show with her co-host, Rob Howard weekdays 6am - 10am. Follow Katy on Twitter: @Katyontheradio Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 33

Women / Interview

Behind the Scenes of The Nutcracker With the Christmas period drawing ever closer, we went along to Birmingham Royal Ballet to get a sneak peek of the rehearsals for The Nutcracker and chat to First Soloist Delia Mathews Words: Becky Weaver


aving joined the company in 2008 First Soloist Delia Mathews has 17 years of dance experience under her belt. When we meet her in the studio on a Friday afternoon she’s preparing to do a run through of her iconic role as The Sugar Plum Fairy in Sir Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker. Originally from New Zealand, Delia trained at London’s Royal Ballet School for three years where she was spotted by the company’s director David Bintley and found herself moving to Birmingham to join Birmingham Royal Ballet full time. “I actually worked with the company a lot in my final year as a student. I would do the extras and I worked with them on both Swan Lake and The Nutcracker,” Delia says. No stranger to the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy, and now in her ninth season with the company, Delia tells us how she always dreamed of taking on the role when she began dancing at the age of nine. “The Sugar Plum Fairy is a role that I always wanted to play, I think it’s every little girl’s ballet fantasy,” she beams. “Ballet is not only my job, it’s my life and a lifestyle choice.” And we can understand why. The Sugar Plum Fairy is one of the most iconic roles in the world of ballet, not to mention Birmingham Royal Ballet has brought the production to the Hippodrome for the past 25 years, winning over crowds year after year. “I love the Hippodrome, it’s our home theatre,” Delia says. “It’s attached to our studios so we can just walk across to it. It’s a lovely theatre to dance in, it has a really warming feel to it.” “In different productions of The Nutcracker the storyline varies; in our version Clara, 34 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women / Interview

who’s the young girl who gets given The Nutcracker doll by Drosselmeyer, gets transported to this fairytale place,” Delia says of the production. “We’re very lucky and we’re very proud of our production of The Nutcracker,” Delia says. “I only do the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy twice in the whole run but I’ll be doing other roles throughout. We have around 60 dancers in this ballet, and the majority of those dancers will be on for every show. “It’s really nice because in our production we’ve got young dancers in the party scene, so it gives them a taste of what it’s like to be in the company and get involved in shows”. The company’s production of The Nutcracker is one of Birmingham’s biggest Christmas traditions, with its stunning scenery, costumes and of course, breathtaking dancing. Just one week into rehearsals Delia tells us just how challenging the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy actually is. “As The Sugar Plum Fairy you only come on at the very end of the ballet, so Clara’s been through lots of different scenes such as The Land of Snow. It’s the Grand Pas de Deux; the traditional Grand Pas starts with the woman and man dancing together, then the woman does a solo, the man does a solo, and finally they dance the Coda together to finish,” she says. “In rehearsals, we usually start by breaking everything down, we won’t run something all the way through straight away,” Delia continues. “We work with the Ballet Master on the Pas de Deux, pay attention to certain sections, discuss it and work to make it right. We always try to keep the stamina going each time so that by the time it gets on stage it’s perfect because we’ve done it so many times.” There’s no hiding in ballet and the dancers work tirelessly to achieve a flawless performance. “The hardest part is trying to make it look effortless because the audience doesn’t want to see how hard you’re working, they want it to be beautiful to watch,” Delia adds. “Ballet has an artistic side to it, so you have to make it look like you’re not working as hard as you are. “It’s a lot of work and hours, there’s no shortcut in ballet, you really need the passion and love to always carry on. There are times in the studio where it gets really hard, but then you get on the stage, you do the Pas de Deux and hear the audience clap and it’s just the most amazing feeling.” Alongside working on her solo section, Delia will be taking to the stage with her partner Brandon for the Grand Pas de Deux, where they will be performing


elegant lifts. “Brandon and I have worked together quite a lot which is really helpful because we know how each other likes to work, but often in the very early stages you’re taking that time to get to know your partner. “You have to have so much trust in your partner, because if you hold back even a little then the lift is ruined. It’s all about coordination, it really is key.” Delia tells us that the week leading up to opening night is always when the nerves begin to kick in as the dancers head into final rehearsals. “The last week of rehearsals we all have full calls, we’ll run the ballet with a lot of different casts. “It’s a big cast with a lot of us taking on numerous roles, so everyone wants to have a run through. We spend a lot of time clearing things up, making sure everyone knows what they’re doing and that things are being done right,” Delia adds. “We’ll do run-throughs with our costumes for the Pas de Deux, wearing a tutu actually changes the movement a lot, because of the construction of the costumes. “For the male dancers their jackets can often become a bit restricting when they’re doing the big lifts, so we like to do as much as we can in costume in that final week to make sure that the performance is as polished as it can be for the audience.”

“There’s no shortcut in ballet, you really need the passion and love to always carry on.”

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs from Friday November 25 - Tuesday December 13 Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 35

Women / Interview

Kara Tointon She’s conquered soaps, stage, and Strictly. Now Kara Tointon is stepping back in time as a Victorian heroine

Words: Philip Ellis

36 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Women / Interview


nown to millions as Eastenders’ headstrong Dawn Swann, Kara Tointon won over a whole new host of fans when she pranced her way to victory on the eighth series of Strictly Come Dancing. But since then, away from the cameras, she has received critical acclaim treading the boards, including taking on beloved characters such as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. Now she’s busy getting under the skin of her next character; Bella Manningham, the troubled heroine of Patrick Hamilton’s chilling Victorian drama Gaslight. “It’s not your normal whodunit; it’s a psychological thriller,” Kara explains. “We see Bella, who’s a really strong young woman, being manipulated and starting to doubt her own memory and her sanity.” I meet Kara at the New Alexandra Theatre, where Gaslight will begin its run in January. It’s part of her whistle-stop tour of Birmingham; before being whisked away for a photo shoot, she talks excitedly about what first attracted her to the play. “I was hooked within pages,” she enthuses. “For a female character written at that time to be so strong — it’s a great part.” It’s something, as an actress, that Kara finds fascinating; how female characters are often shaped by time period far more than their male counterparts. “One of the plays I did recently was set in the 70s,” she recalls, “and even since then, in that short amount of time, the dynamic between men and women has changed dramatically.” The Victorian upper class backdrop of Gaslight well and truly sets the tone for Bella’s storyline; for the first time in history, ownership and control of an estate could legally pass to a woman upon her husband’s death. This might not sound like such a big deal nowadays, but back then, fear of female independence was rife, and led to many men declaring their female relatives “hysterical” or mentally unfit to inherit. These rising tensions between the sexes are at the heart of Hamilton’s script. Fortunately, a history lesson isn’t required to enjoy the show. “We want to make it fresh and modern,” says Kara. Gaslight might have been written in 1938, and set in 1880, but she believes that the story and its themes

are just as relevant today. The play at its core is about a marriage where one party holds all of the control, and the other is powerless. Kara points out that, while the circumstances might not be so dramatic in real life, this is still a situation far too many people can relate to. “We talk a lot about physical abuse in relationships, but not mental abuse,” she says, referring to the insidious psychological games that take place throughout the narrative (Hamilton’s play actually inspired the term ‘gaslighting’). “People are going through this all the time,” she adds; “they might not even realise they’re being manipulated in a certain way.” After garnering rave reviews in Absent Friends and Relatively Speaking, both comedies by Alan Ayckbourn, Gaslight offers both a change of pace and an exciting new challenge. “From a comedy point of view, playing the truth is always funnier; as soon as you start to ham it up it’s not funny any more.” Kara hopes to bring the same truth to Gaslight, albeit while striking a much more sombre tone. “With straight theatre, that’s the art of it,” she says. “Finding your moments, and having little twists, so it’s not bland or one-noted. You need the light and the shade.” And after her all-singing, all-dancing turn in The Sound Of Music Live, playing a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown will be draining in an entirely different way. “When it’s physical, it feels easier because you’re mixing it up a bit; you’ve got your song, then dialogue, then a dance, it keeps it varied. That’s always my worry with doing something straight; it’s asking a lot of the audience to be enthralled. You’ve got to keep them engaged.” Of course, keeping audiences engaged shouldn’t be too much of a concern for an actress who has been described as a “luminous” and “exciting” talent by West End critics. In fact, Kara has pretty much excelled in any role, although she tends to be cast as likeable characters fairly frequently. Which is hardly surprising; she exudes an easy charm that immediately puts people at their ease. “It’s fun to play the bitch, as it were, because you get to do something that in real life would be outrageous,” she says. “Even if

you’re a dark character, you have to make the audience like you. But I think playing ‘nice’ is always harder, to create a whole character when you’re just playing an ordinary person.” They don’t come much nicer than Eliza Doolittle or Maria Von Trapp; did she feel apprehensive at all, stepping into such big shoes? “Of course when you think of Eliza you think of Audrey Hepburn, and with Maria you think of Julie Andrews. I was one of those people who thought ‘never touch this’ — but then selfishly I did.” She laughs. “You just have to block those voices and insecurities out, otherwise nobody would play these roles again, and that would be a real shame.” Much like Maria and Eliza, the female lead in Gaslight has been played by a number of actresses through the years, most notably Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 big screen adaptation. But Kara is looking forward to making the part her own. Bella is alone on-stage for much of the performance; an ideal actress’s showcase. Kara’s co-stars are Merlin’s Rupert Young, who plays Jack Manningham, Bella’s husband, and Keith Allen as Detective Rough. “It’s very intense with it being such a small cast,” she says. “I think having that dynamic, with just three main characters, you’re able to really bounce off each other.” I ask her how preparing for a play like Gaslight compares to the days when she would memorise scripts for EastEnders. “You initially think ‘I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” she says, “when, oddly, you have more time than you ever have when you’re filming.” Of course, unlike on TV, in live theatre anything can and will happen. “Most of the time when things go wrong, the audience never even notices,” she says. “But for you, it feels horrendous.” This is where having such a small company of actors can be a godsend, she says. “I always hoped I would be the one to help save the moment if someone struggled. Some days you’re on it, and you can improvise and help your fellow cast members. Other days,” she shrugs, “they’re the ones saving you.” She’s being modest, of course. Something tells me this heroine doesn’t need much saving. Gaslight begins its nationwide tour at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre on 6th January 2017. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 37

Deborah Mitchell BEAUTY TALK

Beauty skin guru and founder of world-famous luxury skincare brand Heaven, Deborah Mitchell talks about her make-up routines and top tips for looking after your skin this Christmas Are you experimental with your make-up? I don’t experiment so much now, I tend to know exactly how I may want my make-up to look, although I do go natural or bold depending on how I feel on the day; I use make-up as a tool to lift my spirits. What’s your go-to make-up look? My make-up look at present is to keep my lines clean and my skin looking as natural as possible. I don’t like any liner visual below my eye, but I do like to frame my eyes with a thicker line on my lid, paired with a highlighter colour. I always fill in my brows, and then contour my eye socket with the same colour to enhance my eye colour; I finish off my eyes by applying my mascara, I have it quite heavy, but I like to keep it neat. I love applying blusher to my cheeks to add a pop of colour, and I always add a stroke of my cheek colour to the outer corner of my brow bone to add a little definition. What are your current favourite products from your brand? I fall in love with my skincare products on a daily basis as I see my clients looking younger every week, but my favourite production from my range at the moment has to be my new Bee Peel because it just creates an instant youthful look. I apply it three days a week, and then wait another three days before re-applying it. What make-up products are you loving at the moment? I love whole sets of brushes, and I like to have a bag to match and carry them in. I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to brushes. Do you have a product that you can’t live without? For me, it has to be my Bee Venom masks which help to keep my skin in tip-top condition. This to me is an allround solution to keeping my skin youthful and relaxed.

38 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Heaven Silver Bee Venom Mask, £82 (60ml)

What changes do you make to your skin routine to give your skin that little more TLC in the winter? I change my skincare routine regularly to give it a bit of a boost. I designed my range to work on the direct skin problem and fix it. In the winter I infuse more oils into my regime so the cold wind doesn’t damage my skin as moisture levels are stripped by harsh winds. I also use my Chamomile Desensitising Hydrogel to inject water molecules into my pores. When it comes to Christmas parties, how do you like to style your make-up? I like to go for a really sculpted look and a glittery eye on my lids; not too much glitter, just enough to add that little bit of sparkle. What’s your top make-up skill? I’m really good at using a single product for more that one thing, for example, I use my blusher as an eyeshadow. I like to match my lips to my cheek colour, so I do a little mix to give a glamorous but natural look. What are your top Christmas skincare tips? The biggest thing during the Christmas period is having to race to parties straight after work; you don’t always have time to take care of your skin and refresh your make-up in between. Make-up wipes can really help you to freshen up, but some of them contain a mineral oil which leaves a residue of trace oils which can unsettle your make-up. I recommend using my Ellajane Facial Wipes as they’re great for priming your skin and freshening your skin.The most important thing is to cleanse your skin before you go to bed as this prevents break-outs and anti-aging. Chose one night a week where you do a super facial with an exfoliator and mask to give your skin that extra boost.

Tom Ford Cheek Colour in Flush, £48, John Lewis

Heaven BeePeel, £109

Benefit They're Real! Mascara, £17.55, John Lewis

Heaven Chamomile Desensitising Hydrogel, £19 (30ml)


3 1



Nothing ignites festive enchantment more than a gorgeous bold red lip, and (1)Chanel Rouge Intense Lip Colour in Passion, £26 is the perfect candidate. To keep your lipstick looking flawless all day, ensure your lips are protected and moisturised with (2)Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfecting Base, £18.

What better excuse than Christmas festivities to go all out on glitter, voluptuous lashes and smokey strokes. Achieve a glamorous party look with an eye-catching shimmer of (1)M•A•C Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow in Greenluxe, £25 alongside intense smoky blends created with the (2)Estée Lauder Pure Colour Intense Kajal Eyeliner in Blackened Cocoa, £17. To top it all off add a coat of (3) Benefit They’re Real Mascara, £19.50 for some seriously fluttery lashes.





The must-have products that you need to add to your Christmas list Words: Charlotte Smith 2 1



Add instant radiance to your skin with this (1)Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch Highlighting Pen, £25. With 10 shades to choose from, conceal any dark areas and highlight your best features for flawless luminosity. Enhance your look further with (2)Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Sunset Glow, £34 for a beautiful peachy finish on your cheeks.



Don’t let champagne be the only thing that sparkles this holiday season; get your nails in to the festive merriments too with (1)Butter London Stratford Honey Overcoat Nail Lacquer, £12 and (2)Nails Inc Winter Lights Effect Nail Polish in Belsize Road, £15. These polishes will complement your party look with dazzling gold glitters.

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 39

Glam to Go

With the party season drawing ever closer, the team at the awardwinning salon, Royston Blythe is here to help you take your hairstyle from desk to dance floor


s the party season is upon us, looking fabulous is a must. Nick Malenko and Royston Blythe are the perfect go-to experts to ensure your hair makes maximum impact during the festivities. Whether you’re attending a glamorous red-carpet event, cocktail parties or simply want to look effortlessly charming for a Christmas lunch date, ensuring your hair looks awesome will give you that additional confidence surge. Whatever the occasion, hair this season should be super healthy, beautifully shiny and full of body. Regardless of whether you want to achieve ultimate red-carpet glamour or you simply want to look chic and sophisticated whilst off-duty, consider that down has become the new up. Forget structure and super-sleek finishes, make unstructured waves your signature style. Think superfeminine, natural hairstyles that are full of movement; they’re incredibly flattering, super-sexy and most importantly absolutely beautiful. Midi, long or jaw length hair is perfect to add soft waves which are favoured by so many celebrities and fashion influencers across the globe including our favourites: Victoria Beckham, Eva Longoria, Cara Delevingne and Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley. To achieve this look, make sure you have a fabulous layered cut that has been tailored to flatter your face shape. It’s a must to keep your hair in optimal condition, so the finished effect is super-glossy and oh-so-shiny. Your stylist should be able to recommend an excellent oil that will work to benefit the internal structure of your hair, as well as leaving a high-impact sheen

on the finished result to add that wow factor for a special event. A deep-set parting can have a serious impact on a look and will allow you to amp up the glamour, whilst balayage colouring will add interest and charm to every style. Our advice is to embrace waves and kinks, keep your style - whatever the length - relaxed and flowing; free flowing, full-bodied locks will compliment every outfit from the most exquisite gown to the simplest little black dress.




Get the Look: WINTER WAVES

1. Spritz the hair with a texturising spray to give texture, body and hold. 2. Gently tease hair at the root to add a little height. 3. Take random, medium size sections of hair and wrap from mid length to end around a curling wand. To ensure an unstructured style, wrap the hair in different directions as you work your way around the crown. 4. Run your fingers through the waves to separate them and spritz with a little shine spray whilst smoothing the cuticles with a small amount of oil.

Texturising spray is a must to add volume, texture and shape. Simply spritz into damp hair pre-blowdry. Kerastase Spray A Porter (1) is our favourite, the lightweight formula won’t make your hair feel sticky or heavy, whilst also providing heat protection so your locks are shielded from damage when drying and styling with hot tools. Kerastase Elixir Ultime (2) is a versatile nourishing oil that provides ultimate softness and nourishment whilst leaving a beautiful sheen over your locks. Waving wands are the quickest and easiest way to get the look. Invest in a wand that respects the integrity of your hair, if you use the wand regularly. We love the GHD Curve (3) because it offers patented tri-zone® technology that locks in your curls with the right, even heat. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 41

Christmas Sparkle AT H A L F T H E P R I C E

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£4000 £1995

A selection of Diamond rings in 9ct and 18ct White Gold

S H O P WI T H US WI N A T R I P TO N EW YO R K* 20 T H O C T - 2 0 T H D EC

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M E R RY H I L L 01384 77215


Words: Rose Gallagher


Create the Ultimate Party Look

Are you struggling to create the perfect look for your Christmas party? Our resident beauty guru Rose Gallagher is on-hand with her top tips to make you look the Belle of the ball

tart off by prepping your skin with a moisturiser and primer. In these colder months it’s essential to use slightly more hydrating skincare, as dry skin will take moisture from anywhere that it can, so it might leave your foundation looking patchy by lunch. Start with something light and nourishing; I love the Paula’s Choice Calm Moisturiser, £25, This gentle formula is ideal even for sensitive skin, helping to lock in moisture. If you really struggle with foundation wearing off throughout your day, apply some Giorgio Armani Prima Day Long Skin Protector, £60, John Lewis to the problem areas. Since I’ve slotted this into my regime, I find that my makeup looks exactly the same after a 12-hour day as it did the moment I left the house. Despite wanting my foundation to last all day (and night), I also want it to look radiant. This is where something like NARS All Day Luminous foundation, £32, Harvey Nichols comes in, offering coverage and longevity with a glow. If you’re planning to take some snaps of you and your friends at the party, I recommend mixing some of the NIOD Photography Fluid, £20, QVC into your foundation. This pearlescent liquid is like a real life filter, blurring over imperfections and offering a natural-looking skin sheen. To finish your look, Marc Jacobs has just launched in John Lewis with a divine selection of blushers. Sweep one that best suits

your complexion gently over the apples of cheeks for a fresh, youthful finish. One of the most challenging elements of the party season is finding a fake tan that doesn’t stink. With this in mind, I’m over the moon to have discovered Tan Luxe, a range that smells like Müller Light yoghurt. Using the Gradual Tan, £18, QVC couldn’t be easier; the rich, milky formula hydrates the skin, and the smell is divine. For a gradual tan you get a great colour even from one layer, so build it up over a few days before your big night. To set it off try anything at all from the new M•A•C Cosmetics In the Spotlight collection, available at Grand Central Birmingham. Everything in this range, from pressed powders, £24 to illuminating Strobe Creams, £24.50, will create a multi-dimensional skin finish and leave you looking healthy and slender. It wouldn’t be the party season without smoky eyes, and I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to glitter this Christmas. First of all, I’d make a beeline for M•A•C, I can guarantee you’ll love its Reflects Glitter pigments, £16, M•A•C. at Grand Central Birmingham. Press a tiny amount over any eyeshadow and it will instantly transform it into an expensive-looking deep shimmer. For quick, easy smoky eyes that will last all night and take all of two minutes to create, use a Laura Mercier Caviar Stick, £23, John Lewis in a shade of your choice. Despite many stunning lipstick launches this year, I’m reluctant to wear

anything but the Giorgio Armani Lip Magnets, £27, These liquid lipsticks are an entirely new genre, leaving a pigmented and long-lasting finish with no drying or caking. Before you apply, prep your lips with a Suqqu lip balm, £35, to counteract any seasonal dryness. Now for the finishing touch – your manicure. It drives me demented when I find chips in a manicure I slaved over, which is why I rely on Deborah Lippmann. Her Gel Lab Pro range, £18, Harvey Nichols is easy to apply, long lasting, and looks plump and expensive like a gel manicure. Deborah loves music and names every shade after a different song, so they’re also great as gifts for someone with a favourite band. To take it off, I’ve found that the Elegant Touch Get ‘Em Off Nail Polish Remover, £2.65, Boots will remove even the most stubborn of glitters for less than £3. Whatever your party look, make sure you take your make-up off before you go to sleep. I promise you that your skin won’t look a fraction as dull as hungover, slept-in make-up. For a quick and easy post-party remedy, remove all make-up with the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair cleansing balm, £36, Boots and then apply a layer of the Origins Overnight Drink Up mask, £24, John Lewis. By morning you’ll be glowing on the outside, even if you don’t feel it on the inside. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 43

It’s time to shine!

Sign up to bid in this auction at, for enquiries email

The Designer Collection Friday 9th December at 11am Viewing Times: Saturday 3rd December 11am - 4pm Thursday 8th December 10am - 4pm Friday 9th December 8.30am - 11am (Photo ID Required) We also have a selection of our highlight lots being viewed at 42 Berkeley Square, London on 29th & 30th November 11am-6pm

View the catalogue at Head Office & Saleroom | Augusta House | 19 Augusta Street | Birmingham B18 6JA | 0121 212 2131 London Office | 3 Hill Street | Mayfair | London W1J 5LA | 020 7127 4198

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Insider / Summer



Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 45

Insider / Chrtistmas

A Grump’s Guide To Christmas In Birmingham We’ve reached that most wonderful time of the year, when your breath turns to fog on the air, and the frost sparkles every morning… and my friends all start calling me “Grinch”


on’t get me wrong; I like Christmas just fine. It’s just that, well, the rigmarole starts earlier and earlier every year, doesn’t it? No sooner have I hung up my Halloween costume than I am inundated with holly-andmistletoe-bedecked flyers and emails. If I had my druthers, the Christmas industrial complex would be limited to the month of December; ideally, just the week leading up to the day itself. But, as it is impossible to step outside my front door without being ambushed by twinkly lights and carols and that Mariah Carey song, I have decided to embrace the concept this year. So if you’re a fellow Christmas curmudgeon, or you have a seasonal Scrooge in your life, here are some activities to help you get into the festive spirit. 46 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Words: Philip Ellis



Frank Capra’s cinematic misery-fest has become a beloved Christmas classic due to its uplifting ending, in which George Bailey is saved from his dire financial straits by the kindness of friends and neighbours. There’s also some schmaltzy Deus Ex Machina involving an angel and an alternate timeline. But in my book, even making it to the end of the film’s two-hour running time can be counted as a worthy achievement. And after sitting through the multiple myriad misfortunes of the main character, you’ll be feeling relatively fortunate — and a lot less inclined to gripe about having to brave the shopping crowds.

For many, spending Christmas with family can be stressful bordering on rage-inducing, as a year’s worth of passive-aggressive remarks from relatives are compressed into one meal. But everybody deserves to enjoy at least one Christmas dinner a year, so why not host your own in the weeks beforehand? Stock up on plonk and only invite people you like. You don’t even have to cook if you really don’t want to; a takeaway or supermarket canapés will do just as well (as long as there are crackers and paper hats).

Insider / Christmas


The food and drink are undoubtedly the best part of Christmas. Pretty much every restaurant in Birmingham offers a great festive menu, but the real treat is the markets which pop up all over the city. You can stuff yourself silly while buying handcrafted gifts at Moseley Arts Market, Highbury Christmas Fayre, and the Food and Craft Markets at the Mac. Then, of course, there is the big one; the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Victoria Square, where you can indulge in mulled wine, a stein of beer, and all kinds of spiced, sweet delights.

DRINK WHISKEY FOR CHARITY The Old Joint Stock, December 11 & 18 Live music, mince pies, hot toddies, and even a chance of indoor snow; what’s not to enjoy here? ‘Christmas by Candlelight’ is an annual, free entry event hosted by The Old Joint Stock in St Philip’s Square on the two Sundays preceding Christmas, and it is all in aid of a good cause. This year, proceeds go to Shooting Star Chase, a local charity supporting the families of terminally ill children.

SNIGGER AWAY AT A PANTOMIME FOR ADULTS The Hare & Hounds, December 23, £10 Birmingham Hippodrome consistently boasts one of the best pantomime experiences in the land, with a fantastic celebrity cast and laughs for young and old alike — and this year’s Dick Whittington looks to be no different. However, if you’re keen on panto but less thrilled about the prospect of a theatre full of children, why not head over to the Hare & Hounds pub in Kings Heath, where the Dirty Old Folkers troupe will be staging their ninth annual pantomime; a folkinfused, thoroughly grown up production of The Pied Piper of Hamlin. Audience members must be aged 18 or over.


Botanical Gardens, 25th November – 2nd January, £12.50 The Magical Lantern Festival comes to Birmingham for the first time this year following its 2015 launch in London, blending Christmas celebrations and a time-honoured Chinese tradition to present a true feast for the senses. Visitors are guided through the gardens via a ‘lantern trail’, comprising a series of illuminations which include depictions of Father Christmas with his reindeer, penguins at the North Pole, and Birmingham’s very own Bronze Bull. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 47

Insider / Culture


Out About

Frankfurt Christmas Markets | Victoria Square | Now - 19 December | Free! It’s that time of year again where we come together in the heart of Birmingham to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. The Frankfurt Market has now been running for over a decade and attracts visitors from all over the UK and Europe, with more than 180 stalls filled with crystal lamps, sweet treats and hand-crafted leatherwork. And let’s not forget the famous bratwursts and schnitzels which can all be washed down with weissbeer and hot chocolate.

Christmas Celebrations! | Museum of the Jewellery Quarter | 3 December | Free! Head to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and join in with a host of festive activities. From carol singing, costume tours and craft activities for children (additional £1 cost). There’s also a chance for you to purchase beautiful jewellery and gifts from the museum. The event runs from 12-4pm. Chicago The Musical | New Alexandra Theatre | 12 - 22 December | From £20.50 Based on real life events back in the roaring 1920s, Chicago The Musical is heading to the New Alexandra Theatre this month. Starring Mica Paris as Mama Morton, this thrilling musical tells the story of a double-murderess, a nightclub singer and a smooth-talking lawyer. It would be a crime to miss it.

Dick Whittington | Birmingham Hippodrome | 19 December - 29 January | From £15.50 Nothing says a traditional Christmas like a visit to the pantomime. Following a record-breaking season last year with Aladdin, Birmingham Hippodrome is pulling out all the stops to bring you the biggest and funniest panto yet. Starring John Barrowman, The Crankies, Matt Slack and Eastenders’ Steve McFadden, Dick Whittington is a fun-filled production that is sure to be a great theatre trip for all the family. The Snowman | The REP | 11 - 15 January | From £15 Escape the cold and head for a festive night at The REP. When a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, they set off on a beautiful journey together. Christmas may be over in January, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on watching the heartwarming production of The Snowman. Karaoke Box | Broad Street | From £25 Looking for somewhere a little different to spend a night out? A trip to the Karaoke Box is a great way to spread some festive cheer. If you’ve ever wanted to channel your

48 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

favourite singer or band, this is your time to shine. Round up your friends and family, rent out one of the funky themed rooms and sing your favourite songs to your heart’s content. Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour | Barclaycard Arena | 20 - 22 January | From £40.18 Grab the glitter, Strictly’s heading back to Birmingham. Following another spectacular series, the celebrity dancers and their professional partners will be taking to the dance floor at Barclaycard Arena. Performing some of the best dances of the series, the celebrities will be putting on a sparkling show to impress the judging panel including head judge Len Goodman, and Strictly Scrooge Craig Revel Horwood. If you’re suffering from a bit of post-Strictly Come Dancing blues this is a great way to cure it.

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Contents 54

Style Chart

We bring you our top Christmas picks

The Christmas Jumper Edit

Present buying made simple with James Tissiman

Joe Wicks

’Tis the season for novelty knitwear

We talk all things fitness with Joe Wicks




Gifts Galore



Festive Style Guide

James Tissiman’s picks to add a touch of style to Christmas Day

Gadget Man

Phillip Ellis rounds up the best in tech this season

Editor’s letter


Christmas Gift Guide Present buying made simple with our fragrance guide



Tips on keeping in shape during this indulgent period


elcome to our Christmas issue of Man, where we’re getting you suited and booted for the upcoming party season. Whether you’re planning ahead or preparing for a last-minute dash for presents, resident writer James Tissiman brings you the ultimate gift guide [page 77] and for the tech-lovers out there, we’ve got the top pick of gadgets [page 80]. If you’re looking to scrub up well this year, take a look at our advice [page 78] on how to dress for the all-important Christmas Day from designer pyjamas at breakfast to velvet blazers for dinner. If you’re looking to balance out a recently increased consumption of mince pies and mulled wine, we’ve got a quick alternative to working out [page 81], ensuring you stay in shape whilst saving time during this busier period ; plus we talk to fitness guru Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach [page 56] about his latest book and his guide to getting lean in 2017.


Enjoy! Illustration: Simon Konaszczuk

is created by RileyRaven • •

Editor-in-Chief Andrew Riley Creative Director Mike Raven

Editorial Assistant Becky Weaver

Design Simon Konaszczuk and Kati Boniface

Contributors Philip Ellis, James Tissiman and Charlotte Smith 53


Drink Up

Winter Warmer

Christmas just isn’t

Christmas without a

few party games. This

A staple piece for winter, this Herschel beanie will keep you both warm and stylish ready for your Christmas Day walk. £25, Urban Outfitters

little book is packed with a collection of

drinking games that’ll take your party to

the next level. £5.99, Urban Outfitters

Music Man

Experience music at its

Cosy Nights

best with these Bang

This fleece dressing gown

& Olufsen Beoplay H5

from Marks and Spencer

wireless headphones. £199, Kitchen Gallery, Mailbox

is a wardrobe essential for

every man this festive period. £45, Marks & Spencer

Caffiene Kick

Style chart From festive scents to party essentials - here’s what we’re loving this Christmas

Christmas Comfort

Skin Savior Shield your skin from the colder effects of winter with Monroe of London’s Moisturiser and Shave Balm. £40, Harvey Nichols

Add a touch of comfort

to your winter wardrobe with these slim-fit

wool-mix trousers from the COS x Mr Porter collection. £79, COS

Winter Scents

Fill your home with hints of

leather and cognac with this bespoke candle. £30, Reiss


Start Christmas

morning off on the

right foot and brew

yourself a strong cup

with of coffee with this Tom Dixon Cafetiere. £140, John Lewis

Turn Up the Volume WiFi compatible

and wireless, blast

out the Christmas

tunes with this BOSE

SoundTouch 10

speaker. £169.95,

Next Burgundy polar bear jumper, £32


H&M Christmasmotif jumper, £12.99

River Island Dark red fairisle knit jumper, £30 Topman Black ninja bread jumper, £30

H&M Elf jumper, £12.99

The Christmas Jumper Edit Love them or hate them, every man needs a Christmas jumper. From cheesy to stylish, here are our top picks of the best festive jumpers of 2016

Marks & Spencer Long sleeve crew neck jumper, £25 George by Asda Christmas London snow scene jumper, £12

Burton Penguin and polar bear jumper, £28

Boohoo Snowflake jumper, £18



e meet Joe at The Glee Club, he’s touring cities across the country promoting his latest book from his Lean in 15 instalments. “It’s not as big this time,” he tells us, “My first book came out last December and I was travelling to 14 different cities, every night I would be somewhere new. “I think that’s how it is when you first start, but I feel more established now and can communicate with my followers on social media, so I don’t need to visit so many cities. I’m visiting five this time, they are at bigger venues and I’m also doing a vote where followers can vote to bring me to their city. At the minute Manchester is in the lead but Leeds is also doing really well. I just think it’s a great way fans can interact with me.”


‘My vision is to help one million people in five years’ Growing up in Surbiton, Joe had dreams of becoming a school P.E teacher, which led him to completing a degree in sports science. But after a stint as a teaching assistant, he tells us he soon realised it wasn’t really for him. “I gave it up and decided to go into my true passion which was fitness; this led to me becoming a personal trainer at a gym, after doing a six-week

qualification. I took quite a solo route and developed my own website where I started doing boot camps and personal training for over three years.” Best known as The Body Coach, Joe sky-rocketed to fitness stardom through social media, using platforms including Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook to post his quirky Lean in 15 recipe videos. “I started using Twitter to begin with and then Instagram opened up its video option in 2014” he says. “I wasn’t the first to do them, loads of people were putting out video recipes, but I had the idea of Lean in 15 and the way that I could deliver it was different, and that just started to build up an attraction. It was an accidental thing really, I never planned on it.” It’s no surprise that Joe’s gathered such a following, although Instagram only allows users’ to post short videos, Joe manages to pack a whole recipe into a 30-second time slot. “Instagram definitely changed my life, without it I never would’ve built up this following, had a book deal, and I wouldn’t have had the chance to do all these amazing opportunities.” Through his highly energetic personality, simplistic cooking and comedic approach it’s clear to see why Joe’s become such a success, he’s pretty easy on the eye too, which is an added bonus for his followers and clients, yet he tells us his first videos were “really boring and quite monotone” which is hard to believe from the enthusiastic posts that he’s shared of him shouting out his kitchen window. His videos are ingenious; from perfecting throwing a bag of Uncle

Meet The Body Coach

Interview: Andrew Riley Words: Becky Weaver

A few years ago you may never have heard of Joe Wicks. But after posting his first video on Instagram, the personal trainer went from running boot camps to transforming thousands of lives with his 90 Day SSS plan and Lean in 15 books


Ben’s rice across his kitchen straight into his microwave, which took him an impressive “two or three times to nail” to renaming broccoli ‘midget trees’, it’s Joe’s honest approach to a healthy lifestyle that has seen him embark on book tours and even had his own TV show which aired earlier in the year. “My first TV appearance was on Sunday Brunch, it really helped me to build a bigger following. I gained about 15 to 20,000 followers in one day. I was also on This Morning; I was really nervous when I started doing TV appearances, but I enjoy talking about what I love so that makes me feel more confident. Having to talk to a crowd of 300-400 people was also challenging as I’m not a great public speaker, but I’m passionate about what I do.” And passion is what has made people ditch the traditional dieting plans; instead, individuals are turning to Joe to sign up to his 90 Day SSS Plan - that’s Shift, Shape and Sustain in case you’re wondering. The plan is tailored to the client and is designed to help them take a new approach to a healthier lifestyle. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels and it has already transformed more than 100,000 people worldwide since launching in 2014. “It’s bespoke,” Joe says. “We have 62-year-old women and 18-year-old men doing it.” With his business developing at a rapid pace, Joe now has 45 people working for him, who are assigned a client who they support through the three stages of their plan. “There’s been really crazy growth within my company,” he tells us. “My vision is to help one million people in five years and I can’t do that on my own. I’ve hired people that are passionate about what they do. There is a plan development team and also each client has their own support coach.” The plan isn’t cheap, and it take’s a lot of hard work and dedication, but the end results, which some clients have allowed Joe to share on his Instagram and within his books, are inspiring. After signing up to the plan, each client is sent a detailed questionnaire which they send back to their coach before receiving Cycle One, the first stage of the 90 Day SSS Plan. That being said the plan is different from the stereotypical crash diets. Joe wants to change people’s attitude towards healthy eating, encouraging team to ditch the scales or the ‘sad step’ as he calls them. Most importantly, he’s trying to educate people to help them understand that losing weight doesn’t mean you have to avoid calories and fats.


‘You can eat carbs, they aren’t the devil and fat is an essential for your body’

Lean in 15 ‑ The Sustain Plan is out now! “There’s no real perfect diet for every person. You can eat carbs, they aren’t the devil and fat is an essential for your body. I don’t believe in low-fat or low-calorie diets, as long as you’re eating at the right time, eating the correct proportions and training hard then you probably can eat more than you think.” Joe’s latest book, Lean in 15: The Sustain Plan is packed full of delicious recipes that are simple to cook. It follows up from the two previous instalments, which contain recipes to help you shift your weight, and shape your body whether you’re aiming to get abs like Joe’s or want to lose your post-Christmas beer belly. The key to succeeding at the plan is quite simple: eat the right foods; drink lots of water; train like a boss. Most importantly, Joe tells us it’s important to avoid the processed foods, as they

“spike your blood sugar and your body ends up craving them, like an addiction.” “For Cycle One we only do HIIT, for Cycle Two and Three, it’s a mix of HIIT and weights,” he adds. “After the 90 days of training some will go back to the start or some will carry on with the new 30 Day CS Plan, where you’ll get new recipes and training plans. If you follow the plans and change your diet your body will transform. If you’re dedicated to making a change there is no way you should go back to the way you were before.” The meals are delicious, and you won’t be living off salads or depriving yourself of essential fats. Joe’s favourite recipes from The Sustain Plan? “I really like Joe’s Beef and Mushroom Pie, it’s perfect to cook for the family, and I love filo pastry. I also like the Smoky Joe Burger; there are a few nice curries in the book too.”

What we love about Joe is his honesty, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that he enjoys a good burger from Gourmet Burger Kitchen every now and then. Scrolling through his Instagram feed there are pictures of Nutella cheesecake and Cornflake crusted French toast - which Joe states in the caption is “Not in association with #Leanin15”. “My favourite thing in the world is to go for nice cocktails and meals with friends, maybe even to go away for the weekend too. I think people like to see the real side to me as they can relate to it. I made a Facebook live video where I had a really bad weekend of eating and I listed everything I ate, loads of people were responding saying it was nice that I shared it because it makes me look human. I was just being honest but it’s a really good example of what certain foods can do to you.” 57

ial Sce t n n se




The mustr have designe fragrances to elling keep you sm your best this on holiday seas

Jo Malone - Myrrh & Tonka, Cologne Intense

With key notes of Lavender, Omumbiri Myrrh and Tonka, this rich and intoxicating scent from Jo Malone London is in store from January 2017. 100ml, ÂŁ105, Jo Malone London



Dior Homme Eau for Men Eau de Toilette

Bold and refined, this fresh and gripping fragrance has spicy top notes of Moroccan Grapefruit, Calabrian Bergamot and Crimean Coriander. 50ml, ÂŁ49.50, John Lewis

Molton Brown Oudh Accord & Gold Eau de Toilette

The fragrance for those who like to make a statement. This scent showcases a concoction of deep, woody scents to intoxicate the senses. Mesmerising. ÂŁ39, Molton Brown London 59


Zara - Tobacco Collection Rich / Warm / Addictive Eau de Toilette

Featuring hints of honey, coconut and tobacco, spice up your Christmas with this warming winter scent. 100ml, ÂŁ12.99, Zara



What to get the man who has everything? We all know one gent who’s difficult to buy for. Resident writer James Tissiman is here to make your gift buying stress free

Words: James Tissiman

hopping for Christmas gifts is always a stressful time. Whether you’re battling with the herds of people around the Bullring, dodging the tourists at the German Markets or having to deal with Christmas temps who haven’t got a clue where anything is or how to work the till; the whole venture can be exhausting. But what really gets on my nerves and pushes me close to the edge of breaking point, is endlessly searching for that one friend or family member who has everything. We’ve all got one and every year it gets harder to find him something. You’ve already spent hours deliberating over cufflinks, mulling over ties and even contemplated avoiding them during the holidays, but you know they’ll turn up at some point. Therefore, if you’re anything like me, you need a guide on what to get the man who has everything. Many of these gift ideas are adaptable so please feel free to mix it up a bit and find the one to suit your budget. First up, booze. Yes, it’s the holiday favourite. Who doesn’t like opening a fine bottle of plonk? The only thing you need to think about is the type of alcohol that they like. However, if you’re in need of some great advice you can always pop down to The Drinks Emporium on Aston Road. It has one of the UK’s largest champagne collections ranging in price from £20 to £17,500. There’s also a large collection of gins, rums, whiskies, fine wines and vodkas to choose from - you can even purchase wine tasting sessions. Next, what better gift than the gift of life? Unfortunately, there isn’t a tonic you can quaff for this one; however, a shot of life can be given with the gift of a thrill ride. I did some research and found that you can actually do bungee jumping from a crane near Tamworth! Other rather daring gifts that I found include off-road karting, 60-minute flying


lessons, tandem paragliding and much more, right here in Birmingham and its surrounding areas. Take a look at for some inspiration. Following on from this, you can always gift them another kind of memorable experience via Virgin Red Letter Days. These vouchers are quick, easy to get hold of and open up a world of possibilities for the receiver, including theatre tickets, gourmet dining experiences and hotel escapes, you can even get them gift cards so they can choose. You can never have enough food and who doesn’t appreciate a hamper at Christmas? Personally, no one does a hamper like Harvey Nichols. The superior quality of the goods that fill the beautifully designed black wicker hampers is sublime. There’s also a great selection that you can tailor to suit their tastes with great names such as; La Dolce Eater, Nibbles and Tipple, The Crowd Pleaser and The Sweet life. However, if you’re on the hunt for something they can treasure for years to come and never find anywhere else, how about a one-of-a-kind vintage piece? Fellows and Sons auction house is the perfect place to start. It has a wide spectrum of great gifting options no matter what your budget. And don’t worry if you can’t get down to one of its auctions, it has an easy to use website where you can bid on items prior to the auction. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, how about going vinyl shopping at one of Birmingham’s finest? At Swordfish Records you could find them one of their favourite singles, records or even get them a limited edition LP. And finally, you simply can’t put a price on quality time together. I suggest that you break from the norm and take a trip around Digbeth Dining Club. You could have some great tucker, a few drinks and a good old laugh about Christmases past, present and future. And there you have it, the gift guide for the guy who’s got it all! 61


How to Dress at Christmas

Zara Brown leather tassle loafers, £69.99

Harry’s of London Leather belt, £185, Harvey Nichols

Words: James Tissiman

Steel & Jelly Velvet checked blazer, £125

hristmas is the one time of the year when a man can really show off. Whether you’re a pro at cooking, a smooth operator when the in-laws pop round or simply a snappy dresser from the moment you wake to the last drop of bourbon, Christmas is a man’s time to shine. If you hadn’t already guessed, I am the latter, and I’m here to show you that you can look great from the beginning of the festivities, straight through to the end, along with a few pearls of wisdom that you can adapt and tailor to suit your needs throughout the rest of the year. In order to fully understand why you should make an effort with your dress code around Christmas, you must first look at the people you will be spending the day with, and whether there are any other social occasions throughout the year that you can pull inspiration from to help you with your choice of attire. Usually, many of the most important dates in our diaries have a certain dress code to adhere to, such as; weddings, Christenings and, without breaking the merriment, funerals. All of these events are very similar if you analyse them and they all have one thing in common; family. The people at these events have known you all of your life, through ups and downs, fashion faux pas of the 90s and even some triumphs. Even though I hate to say it, these are the people you are out to impress. But, why? Well, your flock of a family will more than likely arrive with camera/phone in hand, armed to take photographs when you least expect it or when you’re at your most intoxicated. This would have been fine back in the day when you could destroy all evidence that you were even there for dinner, however, this is the age where social media triumphs and no matter what you do to hide, you’ll always get tagged by Grandma - and trust me, she has everyone in her friends list. Another factor, as to why you should make sure you look your best this year is uninvited guests. For some reason, Christmas is always a time when distant friends and relations who you haven’t seen in years, suddenly feel the need to reach out and reconnect.



River Island Camel wool roll neck jumper, £35

River Island Brown roll neck jumper, £22 Church's Brown Leather brogue boots, £355, Harvey Nichols

Topshop Grey textured chinos, £35

Wool Jaeger rf, lock sca b colour is w e L n £52, Joh


Zara Black scarf, £19.99

Autograph Silk long sleeve pyjamas, £59, Marks & Spencer

This is usually because they’ve had a rather fruitful year and wish to boast to everyone about it. As boring as it may be for you, if you answer the door looking better than them you inevitably have the upper hand. Hopefully, you can now see why Christmas can be such a predicament for men of style. It can be a struggle looking sharp from the moment you wake up, to the gut busting dinner and copious beverages consumed throughout the day. Therefore, to answer my original question, what to wear on Christmas Day? Here is my checklist. Yes, there are the obligatory Christmas jumpers that you can parade in, but surely there is another option for those of us who look like a sack of spuds wearing one?

9.30AM, CHRISTMAS MORNING. Lands' End Green suede moccasin slippers £45, Debenhams

Reiss Plum angel wool epsom coat, £295, John Lewis

You want to make sure that you start as you mean to go on, which means your pyjamas need to be looking sharp. Not many of us really bother with pyjamas, boxers and a baggy tee are usually the go-to-garb, however, if you’re spending it with your family it’s best that you cover up a little. Take a look at Marks & Spencer on the high street for some nightwear inspiration. Personally, I think the David Gandy for Autograph collection is top notch for men who want to lounge in comfort and class, and if it’s good enough for Gandy; it’s good enough for us. Also, take a look at Debenhams if you want something with a designer label.


If your family is fond of a brisk afternoon walk; it’ll soon be time to head upstairs to put on something warm - while the turkey is drying out. I suggest you opt for a slightly tailored coat jacket made from rich wool, paired with a wide blanket scarf to add some colour and texture. The gloves you choose to wear should nearly always be made from genuine leather, and in terms of what to wear on your feet, I think a heavy boot with a lace-up front will look very smart yet completely practical depending on where you venture.


Lanvin Grey floral lapel pin, £115, Harvey Nichols

Ted Baker Checked doublebreasted overcoat, £379, John Lewis

Dents Leather driving gloves, £52, House of Fraser

Next, we have the big reveal. It’s time to get your glad rags on ready for dinner and early evening cocktails. For me, smart casual is the best way to approach this look. You’re obviously going to be eating plenty so wearing something where there’s room to grow is advised. I would opt for a simple, dark coloured roll neck jumper that’s loose fitting. I would then add a formal touch with a razor-sharp blazer in a rich winter shade - take a look at Steel and Jelly for some great velvet smoking jackets. And finally trousers, opt for a complementing tailored trouser or perhaps a chino - just make sure they aren’t too skinny on the leg. Accessorising your day look couldn’t be easier, there’s no need for cufflinks or tie bars, just keep it simple. I would add a lapel pin for a slightly festive feel, but don’t feel like going too big. And you could add a pocket square to incorporate a print or some colour, however, a smart belt could be all you need. And there you have it, the evening is now yours to enjoy, eat without fear of popping a button, drink red wine without the fear of getting it down a crisp white shirt and get smiling for those photos, you’ll look dashing. 63


HP Sprocket Mobile Photo Printer £99.99

This pocket-sized colour printer lets you print out images straight from your phone, complete with personalised messages and emojis. All you need to do is download the free Sprocket app, available on iOS and Android, then you can start transforming photos from your social media accounts into colourful prints.

Essential Gadget Gifts Stocking fillers for tech lovers

Red5 Sky Drone Plus £70

This quadcopter’s ‘headless flying’ function makes it ideal for beginners and pro flyers alike, as it detects which direction you are trying to fly in and corrects course automatically. It’s also suitable for flips and other aerial tricks, and a built-in 2MP camera lets you take photos and shoot videos mid-flight.

Words: Philip Ellis

iPhone 7 £599

The fastest smartphone in the world right now. If you can get past the controversial “no headphone jack” issue, the latest iteration of the iPhone boasts stunning camera quality, and is fully water resistant.

Sony ZX330BT Bluetooth Headphones £70

Comfortable and lightweight with dynamic sound, these headphones let you stream music and podcasts wirelessly from your device through Bluetooth. The built-in battery offers up to 30 hours of listening time and can be charged swiftly via USB. 64

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet £89.99

Watch, read and play with 16GB of storage, 12 hours of battery life and an 8-inch, high definition display. Amazon Kindle purchases are automatically stored to the cloud for you to access any time.


The Time-Saving Holiday Exercises Easing off over the festive season can decrease your progress. Get to grips with how to preserve your shape and still build your body up around the Christmas commotion with these quick strategies

Words: Charlotte Smith


Bicycle Crunch

3 sets of 10-20 reps Lie on your back and place your hands together behind your head. Raise your legs up before bending your knees so your calves are parallel to the ground. Bring your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee and continue to alternate sides for muscular pecs. 2

Mountain Climbers

3 sets of 30 second bursts Get on all fours on a stable floor and raise up into the press up position, your arms stretched out perpendicular to the ground. Contract your abs to stabilise your core and bring one knee to your chest. Return it back behind you and do the same for the other leg. Continue to alternate, speeding the motion up. 3

Side Plank

3 sets of 30 seconds Commence on your side with your feet placed together and one forearm directly underneath your shoulder. Tense your core and lift up your hips until your body is positioned into a straight line. Hold this without allowing your hips to drop for 30 to diminish that Christmas belly. 4

Bicep Curls

3 sets of 10-15 reps Begin by standing, your legs slightly apart and your eyes looking forward. While holding your chosen dumbbells in both your hands, your palms facing your thighs, curl one arm in at a time towards your chest. Proceed to alternate curls, ensuring each arm is back at the starting position before lifting the other to build up your biceps.




Toasted cashews

Replace the boxes of

Olives are packed

Chewy and flavourful,


minerals and protein to

get too carried away

of energy. With their iron

loss and are great

Toast for that Christmas

treats; these healthy

you’ll be energised

health – one less

with a dusting of

As temping as sweets

chocolates with dates.

of year, don’t let yourself

dates are a good source

and snacks are this time

with heaps of sugar-filled alternatives will help to

satisfy your sweet tooth.

and vitamin A content, and ready for all the

Christmas festivities.

with healthy fats. fats aid weight

for digestive tract reason to feel

guilty this season.

Rich in vitamin E,

is the season to not let your workout regime go astray. As the festive holidays are well and truly underway, this can produce a lot of timeconsuming occasions. From work parties, relative affairs and unexpected late night shopping trips, they can take out a large sum of time in your day-to-day life, making it more challenging to uphold your regular routine. Although this is the season to traditionally push the gym to the side slightly to make way for more time spent dashing between family merrymakings, watching masses of Christmas telly and consuming crates of alcohol and platters of roast potatoes, maintaining that well looked after body you’ve worked hard for is still a priority. And once January rolls around, it’s no coincidence the gyms are crammed with people attempting to regain their muscle loss, and with delicious meals and lazy days to be had, who can blame them? Nonetheless, the good news is you can still preserve your fitness levels while still enjoying all Christmas has to bring with these quick and beneficial time-saving exercises for all areas of your body.


Vegetable crisps

Swap the traditional salty

cashews are full of

crisps for vegetable baked

fill you up for longer.

vegetables, these are still one

feel and try sprinkling

heavy sodium intake. Full of

cinnamon or honey for a hint of sweetness.

treats, made from root

of your five-a-day without the fibre and antioxidants you’ll

feel less bloated from snacking on all those carb-filled nibbles.


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Insider / Summer

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve rounded-up the TV specials that are coming to your screens Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes | BBC One



What better way could there be to ring in 2017 than with a brand new episode of Sherlock. Series three ended on a massive high back in 2014 and ever since we’ve been patiently waiting for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to return. BBC One has released a number of dramatic teaser trailers this year, with the latest one airing straight after The Great British Bake Off final.

The Great British Bake Off | BBC One


With an all-star cast including David Walliams, Dominic West and Rob Brydon, the Oscarnominated production company of The Gruffalo and The Stick Man is bringing Roald Dahl’s six classic fairy tales to life this Christmas in a twopart animation. In the past, short animations have warmed our hearts on a rather cold Christmas Day and are a fantastic watch for all of the family.

Sherlock | BBC One | New Years Day


Dr Who The Return of Doctor Mysterio | BBC One

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special | BBC One



Despite having our annual dose of Bake Off and Strictly, we’ve missed Dr Who being on our screens. This Christmas the Doctor is joining forces with a superhero and an investigative journalist to protect New York from an alien invasion. We know it doesn’t sound very festive, but with a cast including Matt Lucas and Charity Wakefield, it’s bound to be great TV.

We don’t know about you, but we’re still getting over the heartbreak of saying farewell to GBBO as we know it. Thankfully, the BBC has a Christmas treat for us all as it will be showing not one, but two festive episode specials - hurrah! Mary, Paul, Sue and Mel will be joined by four past bakers per episode, who will compete in three Christmas challenges.

Get ready for the annual Strictly Christmas special. Following an incredible 14th series that was packed with spectacular routines and plenty of sequins, past couples will once again take to the dance floor with their professional partners ready to wow the judges, and hopefully get a 10 from Len! After all, what’s Christmas Day without some Strictly Come Dancing sparkle?

Winter 2016 | Style Birmingham | 67

Insider / Christmas


You guessed it, the famous CocaCola truck is coming to Birmingham. On December 17 the iconic truck is embarking on a UK tour which will see it visit 44 locations across the country. You know the Christmas season is well and truly underway once the Coca-Cola truck appears on your TV screen, and the tour will allow you to get up close to the iconic truck, have your photo taken, enjoy its new Winter Wonderland experience and sip on a free sample can of Coca-Cola. On top of all this, CocaCola has revealed that you can enjoy an incredible after-dark surprise as a short Christmas animation will be screened on the truck. What better way could there be to get in to the festive spirit?

Words: Becky Weaver

Our Guide To A Stylish Christmas From festive baking to the ultimate Christmas jumpers, here’s how to spread some yuletide glee the Style way


’m the member of the Style team that has been planning to deck our office in fairy lights and a giant tree since the end of October, and have my collection of festive jumpers at the ready for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day - it’s on December 16, in case you’re wondering. I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of Christmas shopping, and I do have to agree with Philip on how utterly absurd it is that Christmas seems to be creeping into shops earlier and earlier every year. Yet that doesn’t stop me from trying to convince the rest of the team that ice skating at Centenary Square is a really good idea. I’m here to give you mine, and the rest of the team's ultimate guide on how to make the most out of Birmingham’s festivities in all their twinkly glory, give you the low-down on how to nail your Christmas shopping and spread some festive joy, the Style way. 68 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016


As I already mentioned I have a collection of Christmas jumpers from over the years; I have one that’s covered in elves that lights up, and one that’s so disgusting that I can’t help but love it. When it comes to heading out and selecting your jumper, I recommend you take a peak in Primark. Every year its shelves are packed with numerous festive jumpers that come in all different styles and prices. That being said you have to get there quick before all the good ones go. We’re totally prepared for spending the coming weeks in the office sat around in our jumpers to make sure we’re well and truly in the Christmas spirit.

Topman Gingerbread man jumper, £30

Topshop Sequin gingerbread man jumper, £36

Insider / Christmas

LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING Some love it, some absolutely despise it. Traipsing around a jam-packed shopping centre for hours on end is honestly my idea of absolute hell, it’s the one thing that seems to drain all of the Christmas spirit out of me; and I never seem to help myself out by leaving all of my shopping until around two days before the big day, which then results in me frantically wrapping on Christmas Eve after I’ve had one too many mugs of mulled wine. If you’re anything like me I recommend that you make a habit of late night shopping, it’s an absolute godsend, especially if you work odd hours. Grand Central Birmingham is open until 10pm over the coming weeks, with a wide selection of luxurious shops all in one place. So whether you’re looking to shop for the technology lover in your life or for the beauty addict that can’t get enough lipstick in their life, then Grand Central Birmingham is the place to be. If you’re struggling for gift inspiration, head to page 20 to see Grand Central Birmingham’s gift guide. Plus, if all of the shopping starts to take its toll, you can make a beeline for one of the restaurants on the second floor and treat yourself to a delicious meal or even a glass of pre-Christmas bubbly at Frizzenti.

DEPARTMENT STORES ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND Whilst we’re on the topic of Christmas shopping, make sure you head to one of the city’s department stores. Whether you choose to stay in Grand Central Birmingham and explore what John Lewis has to offer, or head into the Mailbox and nip into Harvey Nichols, you can easily do all of your gift buying in one shop. Job done!



Lakeland Gingerbread house, £12.99

Who doesn’t love chocolate at Christmas? This month Cadbury World has a huge variety of Christmas events for you to get involved in this festive period, including its very own pantomime. Cadbury World will be holding its own production of Cinderella with a chocolately twist with shows running from November 19 up until December 22. To celebrate the opening of Cinderella, Cadbury World’s master chocolatiers have been working harder than ever to create their very own Cinderellathemed chocolate creation. Made with both white and milk chocolate, the intricate collection includes a hand-piped carriage, ornate doors, pumpkins, mice, autumn leaves, and of course, a beautiful glass slipper. The creation, which took two days to make will be on display in the Chocolate Making Zone from November 1 - December 30.

Last month we were sent a build you own Gingerbread House kit from the lovely team at EAST VILLAGE. and Birmingham Museums. Nothing gets me into the Christmas spirit more than a spot of baking, and ginger is one of my all-time favourite scents that fills my kitchen this time of year. Although I’ve never made a gingerbread house after watching numerous failed attempts on this series of The Great British Bake Off, I can’t wait to put our own personal Style stamp on our little house. If baking’s not your thing, why not make your own mulled wine? It goes down a treat at parties and is super easy to make. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 69

Insider / Christmas


Whether all your colleagues are complete Scrooges or not doesn’t matter, if you love Christmas you need to deck your office in everything from a giant tree to fake snow on the windows. We’ve had many discussions on how we want our office to look, whilst I’m adamant that we have a real tree that will make the office smell beautifully festive, another suggestion was put forward to have a geometric tree made out of wire - which was quickly pushed out of the equation, thank goodness First thing’s first, you need to decide on a colour scheme, don’t go sticking up any old colour otherwise your office will end up looking like some sort of cheesy Santa’s Grotto. We suggest that you keep it down to two key colours and then build everything else around that. A theme is important too; we’ve debated turning the office into some sort of ice cave, or even going all out Home Alone style.

Marks & spencer Prism bauble, £3

Marks & Spencer Gold bauble,£2


The White Company Mini felt penguin decoration, £4

Oliver Bonas bauble, £4.50

Escape the cold and head for a jam-packed night of comedy at The Glee Club. The Comedy Carousel is one of its most popular events, and plenty are running throughout December. Offering the best comedians and a superb atmosphere you can rely on The Glee Club to keep you in high spirits this Christmas. You can also have your office party there too where you and your team can enjoy four fantastic comedians and a delicious two or three-course meal.

Paperchase Christmas card, £2.50 Oliver Bonas Christmas card, £2.75

HMV A Pentatonix Christmas, £9.99

STICK ON SOME CHRISTMAS MUSIC Whether you choose Bublé’s Christmas, or a collection of some of the best festive tracks of all time, music will get you in the mood for your festive holidays. There are so many CDs that are packed with the ultimate Christmas tunes that you can blast out in the office, and let’s be honest who doesn’t love singing along to Fairytale of New York at the top of their voices every year? Also, did you know that there are dedicated radio stations that play nothing but Christmas music. Smooth Radio Christmas and Signal Christmas are your go-to stations if you want to escape your daily radio station.

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It’s so easy to head out and buy bulks of Christmas cards from shops, but let's be honest, they don’t always have that personal touch that you may want. This year we’ve designed our own Christmas cards to send out to clients and we’re so pleased with them. Whether you choose to take a snap of your team dressed in festive gear and have it printed, or create your own little illustration that reflects yourself or your business, we can guarantee that it’ll be a hit with the receiver. Now’s the time to be a little more creative, and if you’re looking to create something handmade, shops such as Hobbycraft are brilliant for stocking everything you could possibly need to make your own cards.


Come and join us to celebrate this festive season for a Festive Lunch from £25.00pp or a Festive Dinner from £45.00pp. Party packages and private dining options are also available, with the stunning Laurent-Perrier bar available for private hire at £5,000 for 50 people.

For all Christmas party bookings, enquiries or questions contact 0121 634 3433 or @mpw_birmingham

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse bar and grill Birmingham


Insider / Playlist


om Chaplin Derek Hudson

Following the success of Keane and battling a drug addiction, Tom Chaplin is back riding the wave of his career with a new found love for life Words: Becky Weaver


wouldn’t want to go through my problems again, but that experience of taking myself so close to the edge and coming back from it has given me a potent story to write about,” says Tom Chaplin with severity.

He’s telling to me about the writing process behind his debut solo album, The Wave, a record that reflects his past that saw the Keane frontman spiral out of control. “At the beginning of last year my problems with drugs came back, I ground to a halt in

CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST JAMIE OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS COOKBOOK | JAMIE OLIVER | £26 | WATERSTONES Stuck on what to cook this Christmas? Want to spruce up your traditional turkey dinner or create a spectacular pudding? Much-loved chef Jamie Oliver has released a new festive cookbook that’s packed with stunning recipes which will help you create your own perfect festive meals. From celebrating the leftovers to catering for all dietary requirements, this incredible book has everything covered for the big day.

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every aspect in my life, and in order to get better I had to open up to a therapist and other people in my life,” he says. “The album is an extension of that process and learning that life is actually much more bearable when you open up and share your

From the latest DVD releases to creating the most spectacular food. Here are our top picks of books, films and CDs to get you in the festive mood

NOW! THAT’S WHAT I CALL MUSIC 95 | £12.99 | HMV Looking for the perfect soundtrack to set the scene for your party? Now! 95 is packed with charttopping tracks that are sure to create an amazing atmosphere and keep you and your guests dancing all night long. With hits from some of the world’s biggest artists including Maroon 5, Louisa Johnson and Sia, the Now! album never fails to get us in the party mood.

Insider / Playlist

problems, The Wave is me doing that in a very honest way,” he adds. And the album is honest, the lyrics don’t hold back from Tom’s struggles with crippling anxiety, panic attacks and addiction. I ask him if he was concerned about releasing an album which was based on the foundations of something so incredibly personal. “I kind of stuck my neck out in terms of being so honest with this album, and I was concerned about how people would react to it. The response has been really positive which is so lovely to hear. People are listening very intently to the songs which is very fulfilling for me.” Nearly two years down the line of what Tom says ‘was the lowest point in my life’, he’s got himself back on the right track. Back in October, he released his stunning album which debuted at number three in the Official Charts and has not long completed an eight-date intimate tour - his first in four years - which included a show at The Glee Club. “I found with the shows that the vibe in each venue was so great because I could see and hear everyone, to have that sort of interaction was really lovely. The sense of this record is that it’s more of an emotional story than it is a standing up and putting on a real posturing rock show where you don’t have any sense of the context of the album. “People are coming to the shows and they

understand what it’s about, and hopefully they can see how it might resonate with their own lives. To be able to chat to the audience and have that interaction has felt really appropriate, it was a really lovely way to kick things off for me,” he continues. The Wave is the first of Tom’s records where he has been the driving force behind the songs. Back in the days of Keane, he was singing chart-topping tracks including Somewhere Only We Know and Everybody’s Changing, written by fellow bandmate, Tim Rice-Oxley. “I’ve put a lot of emphasis on working incredibly hard on the words of the songs. “I’ve had this desire to make a solo record for quite a long time. I’ve always been a creative person, even way before the days of Keane’s success. That part of me has always been there, but it’s been about finding a way of articulating that and having a story to tell.” In their prime, Keane were one of the most successful bands in the country, with their debut album Hopes and Fears charting at number one on its release, where it remained on the top spot for five weeks and in the charts for a whopping 130 weeks. Tom tells me that he informed the rest of the band about his plans to release a solo record in 2013, but shortly after his problems with drugs returned, putting his career on hold. Yet his relationship with bandmates Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes and Jesse Quinn have still remained.

“Richard and Jesse came to the London show and it was really great to see them,” he says. “I do see everyone in Keane every now and then, we haven’t left things acrimoniously, it was just that I really wanted to do this and this was the time to do it. I couldn’t have asked for them to be more supportive in what they’ve outwardly said to me.” What I’m dying to know from Tom is if the world will ever be blessed with another Keane album. “I have no idea, I feel very immersed in what I’m doing at the moment, I’ve got a lot of energy for it, and it’s hard to look beyond seeing this all through. I hope this will all take me well into next year, I’d love to take my songs to festivals, and then I guess I’ll give it a rethink at that point. “I’m already hungry to write more music, and have already written more, but I’m also making sure I enjoy it. For me it feels a bit like the early years of Keane around the Hopes and Fears time where there was lots of new and exciting things happening,” Tom continues. “I feel like I’m going through all that again but the difference is back in that time I wasn’t open to properly enjoying it but now I am; I feel that I’ve learned a lot about myself and I like myself enough to actually appreciate what’s happening.” The Wave by Tom Chaplin is out now.To get tickets for his May 2017 tour at Symphony Hall visit,


FACE | PIXIWOO | £20 | FOYLES Youtuber’s Sam and Nic Chapman have taken over the world of beauty with their Real Techniques line, and now they’re sharing their top makeup tips with you in Face. This book will become your beauty bible, helping you create show-stopping looks for every occasion. Full of step-by-step guides, Face is the perfect read whether you’re a make-up artist in the making or even a complete novice.

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE | £9.99 | HMV As usual Edina and Patsy are off on another booze-filled adventure, wreaking mayhem wherever they go and finding themselves being hounded by the media and papparazzi after taking the blame for a major faux pas at a London launch party. A follow-up to the award-winning series, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie starring national treasures Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders is guaranteed to get you in a cheery spirit.

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Insider / Birmingham

My Birmingham Bucket List

New Year’s Resolutions are so 2016… let’s rebel against the list of “Ways I will better myself and inevitably give up on by mid-January” and set some promises that we’ll actually keep

Words: Tara Tomes


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I love food – who doesn’t? – and I live in a city that boasts five Michelin star restaurants so I keep wondering why I haven’t visited them all yet. So, in 2017, I’ll definitely get myself booked into Adam’s on Waterloo Street and Turners at 69 on Harborne High Street. Actually, I may as well re-visit Carters of Moseley, Purnell’s and Simpsons again…YOLO.



Great food is something that Birmingham excels in, but it’s not all Michelin stars… we’re also the hub of amazing street food. I love a visit down to Digbeth Dining Club


I love the idea of playing sport but I score more for enthusiasm than I do for skill. However, I hear that there’s a new sport in town that’s not just sociable, but also pretty easy to learn. Padel is a combination of tennis, squash and racquetball, so a trip to World Padel Club Birmingham on Coventry

Road is on the cards. If I completely fail at that, I might just opt for the monthly salsa class at The Jam House… it’s an institution!



s we get set to welcome 2017, I’ve decided to stop saying “I really want to go there” and actually commit to experiencing things that I keep seeing around the city. My New Year’s Resolution this year is to experience something new every month in what I’m calling my Birmingham Bucket List. Here are some of the things I’ll be doing in 2017…

Insider / Birmingham

but I’m still yet to visit The Hawker Yard down by the Arcadian in Pershore Street. Great food and an very impressive use of shipping containers makes this a ‘must visit’ destination for 2017.

Canal & River Trust

Loaf Cookery School

Birminghm Museums


If Birmingham Cocktail Weekend taught us anything, it’s that this city makes a great cocktail. If you’re like me, you’ll inevitably stick to the places you know but there are some amazing bars that I’m yet to try, Bourne & Co and Suds N Duds being two of them. Next year is all about venturing further afield and checking out these awesome après work watering holes. Oh, and not forgetting the awesome new bar being opened by the guys behind Langley’s Gin – The Charter Rooms – which will open its doors in Great Western Arcade in February.


We have such an incredible and eclectic arts and culture scene, and I really don’t experience it enough so as part of my Birmingham Bucket List, I’m going to get myself to more exhibitions and events. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is one of our region’s finest attractions (I even converted my non art gallery visiting boyfriend earlier this year) but have you checked out its heritage sites too? Despite working opposite it for three years, I haven’t even visited The Pen Room, or been to watch the CBSO in concert. This could form a list of its own so I need to start planning some visits.


This year, I’ve tried my hand at a couple of new skills and whilst I’ve found that knitting is not for me, I’m a big fan of floristry after attending a brilliant event at Harvey Nichols with the gorgeous Willow Crossley (if you haven’t heard of her, check out I intend to keep this new hobby going but I’d also like to cook more. It’s hard to find the time but there are loads of great cookery classes that I’m keen to book on to, including Harborne Food School and Loaf in Stirchley. My house will be serving up the best dinner parties by the end of the year.


I don’t mean pub quizzes, before you ask… oh no, I mean getting fully immersed in a Crystal Maze style challenge at Escape Live! Whilst the lack of Aztec Zone and Richard O’Brien disappoints me, I hear that Dr Wilson’s Office and Room 13 are a brilliant way to spend 60 minutes of your time. Lots of friends have tried – and some have failed – to solve the puzzles and escape the room so I’m definitely going to challenge the team at EAST VILLAGE. to see if we can escape the room. I might even buy some tweed and a monocle for the occasion.


Ok, so ‘sailing’ is a bit extreme but I do intend to make more of the region’s canal network. Without making any references to Venice, we’ve got gorgeous waterways that connect some beautiful cities, towns and villages, and I think a weekend spent exploring is definitely on the cards. You can hire a canal boat for the weekend and travel the (kind of ) open waters… but I’ll be taking some strong men along to help with the locks. I’d much rather be enjoying a gin and tonic aboard the canal boat. So, don’t get me wrong, I still intend to sign up to a new gym, go religiously for four weeks, and then continue paying for the rest of the year without so much as putting my trainers on, but this Bucket List is the perfect way to experience some of the best bits of the city. Take up the challenge and do something new for 2017. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 75

Life / Travel

Yo! Tokyo Bizarre and dignified in equal proportions, Tokyo is an endless city that never fails to surprise at every corner

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Words: Ben Goodwin


othing can prepare you for Tokyo. From the moment you step off the plane, you enter a colourful and ultra-modern world full of bizarre gadgets and cute cartoonish mascots, but one that is steeped in tradition and precision. Everything you’ve read about Japan’s capital is true; from the ultra-realistic plastic models of food outside restaurants enticing in diners, to the futuristic toilets that play sound effects to hide your bodily functions. It’s a bonkers city, but one that’s easy to fall in love with. As the world’s most populous metropolitan area, you’ll be sharing your stay with nearly 40 million other people, but Tokyoites are some of the kindest and most helpful people you will ever meet. Plus, hiding among the skyscrapers and neon are stunning temples and teahouses that offer little pockets of calm for you to recharge your batteries. 76 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016


from a high-end hotel. If all the noodles and rice are getting a bit too much for you, Hotel Gracery offers home baked pizzas in its Bonsalute Kabuki restaurant, or, after a busy day sightseeing, you can relax over a coffee and a sweet treat at Café Terrace Bonjour. The hotel is overlooked by a life-size Godzilla statue on its eighth floor (this is Japan, after all), so you can sleep soundly knowing that the world’s most famous giant reptile has your back.

Space is a premium in Tokyo, so finding somewhere large enough to swing a lucky cat in can be difficult, but, wherever you choose to stay you can be guaranteed a healthy dose of ‘omotenashi’ – the Japanese spirit of hospitality.

Sawanoya Ryokan

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Anshin Oyado

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku dazzles with scenic views of the city and facilities that combine the best of what both the East and the West have to offer. Self check-in machines make your arrival a breeze and rooms are more spacious here than what is the norm elsewhere in Tokyo, complete with all the features you’d expect

Charming suburb Yanaka has plenty of ryokans – traditional Japanese inns – and for those who are not too keen on the idea of communal bathing, Swanoya Ryokan offers private baths. You might feel like you’re sleeping in a space no bigger than a washing machine drum, but Tokyo’s space-saving capsule hotels contain everything you need for a comfortable night’s rest. The Anshin Oyado chain is a bit more luxurious than most and all its three properties are a two minute walk to the nearest station.

Life / Travel

it’s located directly opposite the Meguro Parasitological Museum, which is also worth a visit, if only to have another quirky story to tell when you get back home.

Robot Restaurant

In fairness, you don’t really come to this Shinjuku institution for the food; the star attractions here are the bikini-clad dancers and cavalcade of dancing robots that seemingly transport you into a real life Daft Punk video.


It’s a fact that wherever you try sushi in Tokyo, it will taste a hundred times better than what we eat in the UK. However, for a truly memorable experience, head to Kyubey, where your sushi will be made – and served – piece by piece.


PLACES TO EAT Tokyo is the ultimate foodie paradise, with cuisine to suit every palate and budget, from the truly weird (grilled salamander or pig testicles) to comfort staples such as Japanese curry rice, ramen (noodle soup) and, of course, sushi. From street eats to Michelin-starred restaurants, the quality of the food we tried was always excellent.



Tonkatsu (crumbed port cutlet) doesn’t come much better than at Maisen in Harajuku, served with mountains of shredded cabbage and sticky rice in a former World War II public bathhouse.



Head to Roppongi for a bite to eat in this Edo-style izakaya ( Japanese gastropub). The sushi and tempura are fantastic and don’t worry if you get a sense of déjà vu here – Gonpachi inspired the setting for the bloody fight sequence between Uma Thurman’s The Bride and The Crazy 88’s in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

Ganko Dako

Served from a glorified shed, this street stall might not look like much, but its delicious tako-yaki (grilled octopus dumplings) makes the trek into Meguro worthwhile. Bizarrely,

Tokyo National Museum

WHAT TO DO Experience Tokyo at its bombastic best by joining the throngs of people crossing Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest intersections. Don’t forget to stop in one of the area’s purikuras; photo booths that airbrush away your blemishes and make you look like an anime version of yourself. The Japanese national pastime is clearly

Shibuya Crossing,

shopping and there’s nowhere better to flex your credit cards than in Harajuku. Global designer brands line Omotesando, Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées, while the latest teen fashions can be found along eccentric Takeshita Street. Failing that, most areas of Tokyo have at least one Bullring-sized shopping centre for you to spend your yen in. Let out your inner ‘otaku’ (geek) in Akihabara, Tokyo’s epicentre of all things anime and manga. Here you can experience the cosplay delights of a maid café or take in an AKB48 concert – imagine the Spice Girls, but with 130 rotating members who perform daily for cheering fans. Reconnect with your spiritual side at Senso-ji, a lively Buddhist temple filled with the smells of incense and paper fortunes. Ensure you make time to visit one of Tokyo’s charming public gardens too. Hamarikyu Gardens was our favourite, where we enjoyed a cup of powdered matcha green tea – and all its antioxidant goodness – in its traditional teahouse. For a greater appreciation of Japan’s history, head to Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park and explore a seemingly endless collection of samurai swords, woodblock prints and beautiful kimonos. Getting around is a breeze and Tokyo’s public transport system is a masterclass in efficiency. The Yamanote Line circles the city like the number 11 bus route on rails. Along with the Chuo Line that cuts through the centre of Tokyo, all the major tourist sites are easily accessible by rail, with trains arriving and departing every couple of minutes.

Senso-ji Temple

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Life / Hotspots

Cheers to 2017! The most anticipated night of the year is almost upon us, so welcome 2017 with our pick of the best nights that Birmingham has to offer. From Gatsbythemed parties to fantastic firework displays, there’s something for everyone! Words: Becky Weaver, Jade Woodhouse & Natalya Johnson



Round-off your year by celebrating at Birmingham’s leading underground venue. The Rainbow Venues has a fantastic New Year’s Eve night lined-up with more than 11 different DJs taking to the decks in what is guaranteed to be a rather eventful night. As well as pulling out all the stops for New Year’s Eve, The Rainbow Venues has got another jam-packed evening on New Year’s Day.

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For something a little different, head to Symphony Hall where a night of classical music awaits to ease you into the new year. Experience this internationally renowned venue in all its glory with performances from established musicians and world-class composers. From Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz to Debussy’s Clair de Lune, this is guaranteed to be a night to remember.

Life / Hotspots

The Edgebaston Boutique Hotel


Get your glad rags on and say hello to 2017 in style at the Edgbaston Boutique Hotel. Party from 7pm-2am with music from DJ Phat Sam surrounded by extravagant, luxurious decor. At £50 per person, including two glasses of fizz; one upon arrival and one as the clock strikes midnight, guests are invited to embrace the spirit of the roaring 20s.

Andy Robinson





Indulge in a mouth-watering menu and enjoy live entertainment from 9pm-2am at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill. This exclusive venue boasts an incredible 360° view of the city and is one of the best locations to wine and dine in Birmingham. With stylish interiors and a rooftop bar, Marco Pierre White’s is perfect for a night of luxury.


Start the year as you mean to go on with a night of laughter at Birmingham’s best comedy club. If you’re making a night of it opt for the ‘Best in Comedy’ ticket option which includes food and tickets to the after-party. For a smaller affair go for the ‘Late Show’, in the intimate setting of a 150 seat Studio Room. Either way, it's a great way to come together for a fun-filled New Year’s Eve.




Celebrate this New Year's Eve in style with Revolution, where everything is all under one roof. With a bustling party atmosphere alongside delicious food, a large range of drinks and cocktails and great music, you're guaranteed an amazing entrance into 2017. Speak to a party planner if you are planning on spending the night with a group of friends, and choose one of the party packages on offer which include and a private area complete with table service.


Ring in the new year in the heart of the city at Harvey Nichols. Head to The Restaurant where you’ll be treated to a glass of Prosecco on your arrival before taking your seat for a delicious four-course meal. With live entertainment all night and a party that runs until 1am, what better way could there be to ring in the new year at the Mailbox.

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Life / Hotspots

8 10


The Belfry Hotel

If you fancy welcoming the new year in style, The Belfry has four luxurious options for you to choose from, with three of the celebrations including an overnight stay and a full English breakfast. Live music, a delicious meal and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight are just a few of the incredible things on offer.


If the wild nights out on New Year's Eve aren't for you, why not head for a night to remember at the newly renovated real ale pub The Physician in Edgbaston. This New Year's Eve The Physician is keeping it simple offering a few special dishes alongside its usual menu with music playing in the background. And if you just want to pop in for drinks, there is no need to book a table, you're welcome to show up whenever it pleases you.




Resorts World Birmingham is offering something for everyone this New Year. The main attraction of the night is a spectacular fireworks display - perfect for welcoming 2017. Party into the early hours with a live band at The World Bar, or if you fancy a bite to eat head to Robata for good food and a lovely view of the fireworks, be sure to call or go online to book your table. Head to the Bottega Prosecco Bar where authentic Italian small plates will be available, and you’ll receive a complimentary glass of Prosecco and can dance to a live DJ. If you're looking for something more private, why not hire a booth at The Sports Bar in Genting International Casino.

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Add some mystery to your New Year’s Eve; The Highfield is hosting a masquerade ball, where for £60pp you can indulge in a four-course meal, a glass of bubbly, nibbles and of course, plenty of dancing - all while keeping your identity hidden behind a beautiful mask. So for a New Year with a twist, why not try something a little bit different at The Highfield?

John Lewis - Man On The Moon

Life / Christmas

The Evolution of the Christmas Advert Christmas adverts are something we can’t seem to get enough of this time of year. But what is it that’s made them so special?


hristmas adverts are something that we can’t seem to get enough of this time of year. But what is it that’s transformed them into a new tradition? What kicks off Christmas for you? Is it the switching on of the lights in the city centre? Maybe it’s when the Frankfurt Markets arrive; or is it when you finally see that famous Coca-Cola truck appear on your TV screen? We all have our own traditions, but over the years we’ve welcomed a new one to the festive period - Christmas TV adverts. Growing up I can’t really remember paying that much attention to how companies went about upping their sales, most likely because I was far too pre-occupied with trying to figure out what my gifts were tucked away under the tree. Over the last 10 years or so, there was no build-up as to what a retail giant had up its sleeve to get us well and truly into the festive spirit - apart from the iconic CocaCola Truck advert which was enough to transform a full-grown adult into an excited child. Yet now breaks between programmes are filled with what I can only describe as ‘short films’ that have somehow become a crucial part of the most wonderful time of the year. Looking on Twitter, I realised that user’s excitement ahead of the release of this year’s adverts dated all the way back to the beginning of September. Now, I’m no Scrooge, I adore Christmas, but the end

Words: Becky Weaver

of summer is a rather extreme time to be considering what Aldi had lined-up for us. Christmas adverts have continued to snowball more and more every year, with each retailer battling it out hoping to win over the hearts of viewers, whilst attempting to try its absolute best to outrun John Lewis. Just a few weeks ago the country went into a slight meltdown when festive advert champion John Lewis released its latest advert Buster The Boxer. The retail giant has been leading the pack for festive campaigns after it burst onto our screens in 2006 with its incredibly creative Shadows, and hasn’t really failed to impress ever since. Although I have to admit that numerous rivals certainly trumped John Lewis this year. Personally, I can’t get enough of watching Aldi’s adorable Kevin the Carrot, not to mention how much I laughed when it was brave enough to release an additional clip that took a cheeky poke at John Lewis. When all’s said and done, though, if it wasn’t for John Lewis people probably wouldn’t be making half the fuss about what filled the gaps between their programmes. When we take a closer look at each one, they’re so much more than just a way for the stores to make extra cash at one of the most expensive time of the year. Take a look at this year’s spectacular Marks & Spencer’s Christmas with Love From Mrs Claus, which stole the hearts of viewers’ who seemed to feel that

it was leaps and bounds ahead of Buster The Boxer. Sorry, John Lewis. The heart-warming advert follows the journey of Mrs Claus, who journeys to London to save Christmas for a little boy called Jake after he accidentally destroyed his sisters’ beloved trainers whilst playing with his dog. A beautiful concept, yes? But there’s so much more meaning behind the masterpiece. The three-minute advert highlighted the importance of mending relationships; ultimately putting an end to sibling rivalry and learning to put family rifts to rest at this time of year. Christmas campaigns aren’t just about making money anymore, they’re about living in the spirit of the festive period, spreading some yuletide glee and shining a light on things that are often overlooked. Here’s to many more wonderful adverts.

Aldi - Kevin the Carrot

John Lewis - Buster The Boxer

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Life / Culture

Bringing Modern Art To Life Art belongs to everyone, not just the experts, at the new ‘Night in The Museum’ exhibition from the Arts Council Collection and Birmingham Museums Trust Words: Philip Ellis

82 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

Life / Culture


ave you ever looked at a sculpture and felt, just for a moment, that it was looking back? This fanciful notion is the inspiration behind ‘Night In The Museum’, a touring exhibition that began in Leeds and is now on show at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall until February 2017. Curated by contemporary artist Ryan Gander, ‘Night In The Museum’ imagines what it might look like if the pieces in a gallery came to life after hours. Ryan has taken sculptures and paired them with other works of art, creating the illusion that they have stepped down from their plinths and are having a look around the gallery, just like any other visitor. “Usually when you go to a show, you have the spectacle and the spectator,” says Ryan. “So now you’re a spectator, looking at another spectator, looking at art.” Think of it as like Gogglebox, but for modern art. Even with the more abstract sculptures, which don’t necessarily have faces, you find yourself projecting emotions or ideas onto them. They feel like your fellow guests in the gallery. “It’s funny,” says Ryan, “when we did the show in Yorkshire, people didn’t want to get in between the pairs, almost as if they didn’t want to block the sculpture’s view. It’s like there’s an invisible force field there.” The whole exhibition is incredibly playful. This light-hearted, simplistic concept immediately makes the works themselves feel more accessible, even to someone who has never visited a gallery before. “It’s a really British thing; the stigma attached to people feeling dumb when they go to a museum,” says Ryan. “A five year old kid will tell you what they like. It’s only the grown-ups who are scared.”

Things couldn’t be more different on the continent, where people are extremely vocal about their opinions, regardless of whether or not they’ve had training. “You don’t need to study art to buzz off it,” says Ryan. “People go to the cinema excited — they should come to museums excited too.” When Ryan was asked by the Arts Council Collection to curate a new exhibition, he thought he’d get it all done on a Friday afternoon, but it turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than he expected. Selecting pieces for the show from an archive of nearly 8,000 works acquired over 70 years was, as he puts it, “a bit like Supermarket Sweep.” But the Herculean nature of the task actually helped to shape the theme of ‘Night In The Museum’. “I wanted a formula for selection, to narrow it down, because the collections are so vast it would take me a year to look through them,” he says. “But also I wanted a strategy that wasn't elitist; anyone can come in and understand, whether they have any knowledge of art history or not. They can come in and immediately say ‘I get it’.” The exhibition itself is like a living thing; constantly changing, as each of the touring show’s four venues creates different atmospheres, and paired pieces are switched around. Ryan has worked in Birmingham before, having taught in the city and exhibited at the Ikon Gallery. He notes that the city is vastly different from Leeds, where the tour began, and Birmingham Museum will surely have an influence on the stories that visitors tell themselves about the pieces in the exhibit. ‘Night In The Museum’ brings together works from the Arts Council Collection and the Birmingham Museums Trust for the first time, with Ryan playing matchmaker. “I’m getting away with blue murder here,” he says. “If I were a curator, I’m not sure I could take these liberties.”

As a creator himself, however, Ryan has the trust of the artists whose works are being exhibited. “Essentially I’m creating a new artwork out of two existing artworks, because I’ve forced this relationship between them that creates new meaning.” He’s the first to admit that the British still subscribe to all kinds of clichés when it comes to contemporary art, but to Ryan, the value of organisations in the UK like the Arts Council Collection and Birmingham Museums Trust can’t be overstated. “You go to other countries and there are no collections, just rich people who like to buy art,” he says. “There are not many places in the world where you can go into a museum and get to see all this stuff. We’re incredibly lucky in Britain. Essentially, all of this belongs to the people. Anyone who comes into the museum, it’s theirs.” If people walk away from ‘Night In The Museum’ having learned just one thing, it should be that there is absolutely no reason for anybody to feel inferior or unqualified to have a relationship with art. “Creativity is an innate instinct, it’s part of being human,” says Ryan. “The way that people arrange ornaments above their fireplace, or choosing what to wear; that’s making and curating art. These are all creative choices. It’s in everyone, and so everyone should be allowed to come to a gallery, and not feel intimidated.” ‘Night In The Museum’ is exhibiting in the Gas Hall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 12th February 2017.

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 83

Life / Recipe

Festive Favourites From indulgent desserts to warming seasonal drinks, fill your table with these delicious festive treats this Christmas

COOKIES AND CREAM DELIGHT FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE: • 100g plain chocolate • 250ml double cream • 60g butter • 1tbsp liquid glucose FOR THE COOKIE CREAM: • 600ml double cream • 200g cream cheese • 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1tsp vanilla extract • 150g Oreo cookies TO ASSEMBLE: • 1 large chocolate Swiss roll (approx. 340g) • unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting • mini Oreo cookies, for decoration Serves 10 METHOD: For the chocolate sauce, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a saucepan with the cream, butter and liquid glucose, and simmer over a gentle heat until the butter and chocolate have melted and you have a smooth glossy sauce. Set aside to cool. For the cookie cream, in a mixing bowl whisk together the double cream and 84 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

cream cheese until smooth and thick. Whisk in the icing sugar and vanilla. Reserve six of the standard-sized Oreo cookies and crush the remainder into small pieces and fold into the cream. Cut the chocolate Swiss roll into thin slices and place half of them over the base of the dish. Crush three of the remaining cookies and sprinkle over the Swiss roll slices. Pour

over half of the chocolate sauce. Spoon over half of the cream and spread out into an even layer. Cover with further slices of Swiss roll and repeat the steps above ending with a top layer of the cookie cream. Dust with a layer of cocoa powder and decorate with mini Oreos. Chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight before serving. This trifle will keep for up to three days covered in the refrigerator.

Life / Recipe

Serves 10

FESTIVE GINGERBREAD BOWL FOR THE PUMPKIN CREAM: •300g pumpkin purée •1/2 teaspoon salt •2 teaspoons ground cinnamon •1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract •1 teaspoon ground ginger •pinch of ground nutmeg •140g caster sugar •200g crème fraîche or sour cream •280g cream cheese

METHOD: Place the pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and caster sugar in a saucepan and heat for a few minutes until the purée thickens and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until cold. Whisk together the cooled pumpkin purée, crème fraîche and cream cheese. Whisk the double cream to stiff peaks. Place the treacle or ginger biscuits in a food processor or blender and blitz to fine crumbs. Stir in the melted butter

TO ASSEMBLE: •300ml double cream •200g treacle or ginger biscuits •85g butter, melted •300g ginger cake •80–100ml Armagnac •500g ready-made custard •20 small gingerbread men YOU ALSO NEED: •Trifle dish

Layered Dessers is published by Ryland Peters & Small. Gingerbread Bowl and Cookies and Cream Delight - Recipie by Hannah Miles, Photography by Steve Painter. Layered Desserts is available to Style Birmingham readers for the special price of £11.99 including postage & packaging (rrp£16.99) by telephoning Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quoting the reference HT5

so that all the crumbs are coated. Cut the ginger cake into about 18 thin slices. Place a layer of ginger cake (about half the slices) over the base of a trifle dish and drizzle with half of the Armagnac. You can be more generous with the Armagnac if you want a really boozy dessert!

half of the custard and then top with the remaining ginger cake and drizzle with the rest of the Armagnac. Press the remaining gingerbread men around the sides of the dish and then continue to layer up the bowl with the remaining pumpkin cream and then the custard.

Tuck some gingerbread men against the sides of the bowl.Spoon over half of the pumpkin cream, then sprinkle with half of the buttery biscuit crumbs. Spoon over

Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with the remaining biscuit crumbs. Chill in the refrigerator for three hours or overnight before serving. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 85

Life / Recipe

SLOW-ROASTED PORK LOIN WITH ROSEMARY, MADEIRA AND ORANGE Spruce up your Sunday roast with this succulent pork INGREDIENTS: • 1.5kg centre loin of pork • 200ml Madeira wine • 100ml freshly squeezed orange juice • 2 sprigs of rosemary • 2 oranges, peeled and sliced into four slices each • Sea salt • Freshly ground black pepper YOU ALSO NEED:

• Thick kitchen foil • Instant-read thermometer METHOD: Score the fat with a criss cross pattern and season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper, rubbing it in well. Put a double thickness of kitchen foil in a large roasting pan and turn up the edges. Put in the meat fat side down and pour in the Madeira and juice. Add the rosemary. Leave for about two hours if possible, then put

in the middle of a preheated oven at 170°C and slow-roast for one hour. Carefully turn the meat over, then add the orange slices and about 125 ml water if it is starting to dry out. Cook for a further 30 minutes. Then raise the oven temperature to 220°C

Serves 6

for a final 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 80°C. Lift the meat onto a serving dish and arrange the orange slices around it. Pour the juices into a gravy boat and serve.

WHITE CHRISTMAS Wow your friends and family this Christmas with this festive cocktail packed with warming flavours and spices

Fireside Feasts & Snow Day Treats is available to Style Birmingham readers for the special price of £11.99 including postage & packaging (rrp £16.99) by telephoning Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quoting the reference HU1 Fireside Feasts & Snow Day Treats, published by Ryland Peters & Small: White Christmas and Mochaccino- recipe by Louise Pickford, photography by William Lingwood. Slow roasted pork loin with rosemary - recipe by Sonia Stevenson, photography by Martin Brigdale

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INGREDIENTS: • 1 litre milk • 200g white chocolate, grated • 2 unwaxed orange slices • 4 cloves, lightly crushed • 2 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg • 75ml Grand Marnier, Cointreau or other orangeflavored liqueur • 125ml double cream, whipped • Candied orange and grated white chocolate, to serve

METHOD: Put the milk, chocolate, orange and spices in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until it just reaches boiling point. Froth the milk with a milk frother or whisk vigorously with a flat or small round whisk until the mixture is foamy. Divide between six small cups or heatproof glasses and pour in the Grand Marnier. Spoon a little whipped cream on top of each drink and sprinkle with candied orange and grated white chocolate to serve.

Life / Recipe

TURRÓN DE ALMENDRA Bring a touch of Spain to your table this Christmas with this traditional turrón recipe from Tapas Revolution’s Omar Allibhoy Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution ( Quadrille £20) Photography: Martin Poole

INGREDIENTS: • 300g good-quality raw almonds, ideally Spanish, such as marcona, skinless • 1 egg white • 200g honey • 100g caster sugar • ½tsp ground cinnamon Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6 Spread the raw almonds over an roasting tray and roast them for three to four minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside to cool, then crush in a food processor. Be careful not to pulverize the almonds as they will release juices and oils that are needed for a good consistency later on. Whisk the egg white in a clean, grease-free bowl until it is an opaque white foam. This will take a few minutes with an electric whisk or in a mixer.

Put the honey, sugar and cinnamon into a heavy-based pan over a lowmedium heat and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until the sugar has melted with the honey. Remove from the heat and add the egg foam, little by little, whisking and mixing continuously. Place the pan back over a low heat and add the crushed almonds, a little at a time, still stirring and mixing with a wooden spoon or a spatula as the mixture thickens, for no longer than five minutes. If your mixture splits for some reason, you can blend this mix in the food processor again for 30 seconds and it will come back together. Pour the mixture into a rectangular silicone mould or a baking tin (about 10 x 5 inches) lined with baking parchment, and use a spatula to push and spread the mixture level and into the corners. Cover with parchment paper and rest a heavy bag of rice or similar on top to weight it down. Leave to set in a cold environment for at least 24 hours.


Our recipe pages are filled with luxurious festive treats that can all be created with our top kitchen accessories, all available from Kitchen Gallery at the Mailbox

Chop, Chop A staple accessory for any kitchen, this Robert Welch acacia chopping board provides a solid and hygienic surface. Ideal for use with signature knives, this chopping board is ideal for prepping our festive recipes. Acacia chopping board, £30

A Cut Above The Rest These carving knives from Robert Welch are made from the highest quality stainless steel, designed with comfort in mind to help you perfect your Christmas dinner. This stylish set contains everything you need to prepare everything from poultry to vegetables for your festive feast. Signature knife block and sharpener, eight piece, £280

A Slice of Luxury Dining at Christmas isn’t just about the cooking, you need to make sure your dining table is a real celebration too. Take inspiration from these stylish cutlery sets from Robert Welch. Bud bright serving set, three piece, £39

Bud bright cutlery set, 16 piece, £90

Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 87


Style, culture and opinion. Get insider knowledge with Style Birmingham The Style Insider is a monthly email delivering everything you need to know about fashion, culture and lifestyle in and around Birmingham straight to your inbox. Packed full of exclusive offers, opinion and up-to-the-minute knowledge of whats hot, its the perfect solution for people who want to be in the know all the time. From fashion and beauty to grooming and nightlife. There’s something for everyone. To find out more and to sign up go to

Life / Health


Running or going for a jog outside in the gruelling weather might not sound like something on the top of your Christmas wish list, yet braving the cold – or even the snow – has more health benefits than you may know. Powering through the challenging terrain and below-bearable temperatures enhances your mental and physical strength, as it calls for increased body balance and a more gutsy state of mind. Plus, a boost of natural vitamin D absorption from catching some winter rays wouldn’t go amiss if the sofa has been your go-to destination so far.

1 Health Kick

Kick the habit of falling deep into the rabbit hole of Christmas overindulgence, these exercises and healthy options will keep you on track and looking your best all season

Words: Charlotte Smith


Often referred to as ‘meditation in motion’, Tai Chi is great for sustaining strength, balance and flexibility. It is also proven to aid with breathing, stamina capacity and relieving stress through a variety of non-pausing slow-motion movement sessions. So those last minute Christmas shopping trips or pressures from long hours in the kitchen can be diminished with some gentle Tai Chi exercises.


As tasty as mulled wine and other sweet festive beverages are, too much of a good thing can be bad. We’ve rounded up some of the healthier options to warm you up this season.


If the biscuit tins or chocolate trays have been running out a little quicker than normal and your stomach is feeling the consequences, try these bloat-busting exercises for a flatter tummy. Abdominal exercises can help carry oxygen to your digestive tract and help move everything through you faster. Try lying down and keeping your legs raised and bent, or bent while your feet touch the floor, and pulling yourself up to meet your knees to tighten your stomach muscles.




This healthy tea alternative boosts your immune system and aids with weight loss. Full of antioxidants and Vitamin C, this beverage is packed with anti-inflammatory and natural sugar properties to settle sugar and fatty food cravings.

Peppermint tea is known for its digestive health assets. It contains Vitamin D, potassium and calcium to fight off illnesses. Making it a great winter tea to drink, especially after a threecourse Christmas feast.

Oolong tea awakens enzymes that reduce triglycerides, a form of fat in the blood, making for a drink that essentially burns fat. Oolong tea also contains niacin, a vitamin that aids with detoxifying the body. Christmas 2016 | Style Birmingham | 89

Life / Win


e’ve teamed up exclusively with Thomas Sabo for a spectacular competition that is guaranteed to add some sparkle to your Christmas. We are offering one lucky reader the chance to win Thomas Sabo’s Diamond Together Forever bracelets and necklace gift set worth £350. This stunning set includes a delicate bracelet and playfully designed necklace, both featuring a dazzling diamond embellishment with two exquisite interlocking rings to represent the inseparable bond between two lovers. Thomas Sabo has a stunning selection of jewellery on offer at its Bullring store, from sleek and stylish watches to breathtaking engagement rings.


Win Thomas Sabo’s Diamond Together Forever bracelet and necklace gift set worth £350 TO ENTER VISIT STYLEBHAM.COM/WIN

For your chance to win a Thomas Sabo’s Diamond Together Forever gift set, simply answer the question below: Where is the Thomas Sabo store located in the city?

A. Mailbox B. Bullring C. Jewellery Quarter

To enter and see full terms & conditions visit 90 | Style Birmingham | Christmas 2016

3 levels of wonderful things H A RV E Y N IC HOL S DA N I EL FOOT W E A R



G I E V E S & H AW K E S ‧













Style Birmingham Issue 52  

Christmas 2016