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EDITOR’S VIEW

T

he impact of Coronavirus is impossible to ignore. With a ‘senior’ member of my family with ‘underlying health issues’, it’s a worrying time as we all try to minimise the dangers of contracting and passing the virus on. So far, so good… Without trivialising the situation, a little light relief is overdue. In normal times, Easter is when we welcome new life and fresh arrivals. Kids visiting farms and outdoor centres and playing with cute chicks, feeding new-born lambs and enjoying egg treasure hunts. This Easter is a special one in the Johns’ household as we have our own new addition – the little chap pictured above. His name is Amos and he’s a miniature dachshund puppy. Cute doesn’t begin to describe him, though cheeky might be another appropriate adjective! He’s our personal, perfect antidote to lockdowns, panic buying, self-isolation and all the other phrases that have become the norm. I hope this issue of Birmingham Living will also provide a little distraction from the grim headlines. At a time of year when we are normally looking forward to getting into the great outdoors, our interview with award-winning TV garden designer Chris Beardshaw shows how he is driving forward a greener agenda in gardening. Our Style section provides the perfect edit of the new season footwear, while our Homes pages look at giving your kitchen a spring boost. Throughout our pages you’ll find, as always, loads of dates and previews of events in and around the city this month. At the time of going to press all information was correct, but due to Coronavirus this may change, so please be sure to check with events organisers for the latest updates. Above all, stay safe!

s n h o J d Davi

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living Cover image:

/bhamliving

FINALIST

Chris Beardshaw

EDITOR: David Johns david@brumliving.co.uk FEATURES EDITOR: Shelley Carter shelley@brumliving.co.uk DESIGNER: Tracy Duffy

CONTRIBUTORS: Rob Price, Sue Cooke, Lisa Melvin, Hywel Davies ACCOUNT MANAGER: Jane Morris jane@brumliving.co.uk PHOTOGRAPHY: David Morphew, Andrew Llewellyn PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Jonathan Carter

Rock Hopper Media Limited Burleigh House, 23 Tagwell Road, Droitwich WR9 7BN tel 01905 771110 © Rock Hopper Media Ltd. Birmingham Living is published monthly by Rock Hopper Media Ltd and printed by Buxton Press. Views and opinions expressed by authors and services and products offered by advertisers are not specifically endorsed by Rock Hopper Media Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part of the contents of Birmingham Living without written permission is strictly prohibited.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: The subscription rate (post paid) is £24 for one year (12 issues). Subscriptions 01905 771110 ISSN 2051-8560

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INSIDE

14 18 24 32 42 46 06 birmingham living

Highlights

Chris Beardshaw

How the TV gardening expert is making our lives greener, starting here in the Midlands

Gary Lindsay-Moore Focus on the Birmingham photographer who is bringing a fresh, vibrant view to portraiture

Food & Drink Let’s cook… with head chef Stefan Elliott, plus recipes, reviews and wine with Rob Price

Style Hello ankles, nice to see you again! Our edit of what’s afoot in the spring shoe department

Health The rise of diabetes: How to lower your risk. Plus spa pampering brought glam up to date

Homes Looking to lay the ghost of that old kitchen with a bright, new space? So… who you goin’ call?

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CONTENTS

Best of the Rest

60 62 66 69 78 82 april 2020

Motoring

Sue Cooke on why Vauxhall’s sporty, new Corsa has converted her from arch-critic to superfan

Young, Gifted and Brummie Nat Sweeney on TV’s Greatest Dancer, Team Cheryl, Billy Elliot and wearing the wrong shoes Vanessa Miller The sparkling rise from dad’s garage to the Jewellery Quarter’s new Jeweller in Residence

Business News and views from the city’s commercial community, plus our Social Scene pages

What’s On Your guide to the best shows, gigs and events in and around Birmingham this month

In The City James Wheeler, boss of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, on the need for more green spaces

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NEWS

ISATA GOES SOLO Gifted young pianist, Isata Kanneh-Mason, will perform her first solo recital in Birmingham this month. The sister of Birmingham Living cover star and world-renowned cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata will appear at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Bradshaw Hall on Thursday 30 April. Isata, whose debut album Romance went straight to the top of the UK classical charts, will play pieces by, among

NEWS

others, Beethoven, Chopin, Gershwin, Schumann and John Field.

BRINGING YOU THE BRIGHTEST AND MOST COLOURFUL STORIES FROM ACROSS THE CITY EACH MONTH

BEST OF THE FEST Billy Ocean is set to headline Solihull Summer Fest. One of the biggest R&B

BLOOD BROTHERS

recording stars that Britain has ever

Birmingham Moseley rugby star Jonny Arr

produced, the Grammy-winning singer-

became a ‘Blood Sub’. He worked on the

songwriter – who has sold more than

shop floor in the Next Bullring store so

30 million records worldwide – will be

employee Dale Maxwell could donate

on the main stage on Sunday 26 July at

blood on his shift. As a professional

Tudor Grange Park. The Sunday show

sportsman, Jonny is unable to give blood,

will also include Tony Hadley, Belinda

so he did the next best thing and donated

Carlisle, Leo Sayer and Bad Manners,

his time to ensure that someone else

while Saturday acts include Kool & The

could. It was all part of the NHS Blood and

Gang, Shaggy and Shalamar.

Transplant Blood Sub campaign to find 1,650 new male donors in Birmingham.

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NEWS

LENNY’S MEDIA MOVE Sir Lenny Henry is spearheading a new research centre examining diversity across the UK media. Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity will look at representation across the industry including journalism, acting, film, TV and radio in both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes roles. Sir Lenny has been awarded a Visiting Professorship at the university which will see him work alongside researchers and academics and give specialist lectures on the subject.

BEETHOVEN AND BOWIE Meet Beethoven as you’ve never seen him before – with a dash of David Bowie. The ‘odd couple’ are coming together as the Orchestra of the Swan examines the rebel

SIS USES HER LOAF

natures of the classical and pop geniuses in a celebratory concert. Rebel Rebel looks at

After nearly 150 years, a famous Victorian Birmingham bakehouse has

the cultural legacies of the two visionaries.

been restored and re-opened as a new bakery. Local residents and visitors

The evening includes a new work, Ashes to

to Sarehole Mill can enjoy freshly baked produce in the cafe and buy

Ashes, which sets Bowie’s songs for

loaves of bread from the shop, taking home their own slice of history. New

chamber orchestra. The concert is at the Play

baker, Sis Kaur, pictured, is following in the footsteps of the Mill’s last

House, Stratford-upon-Avon on 5 May and

baker, William Anderton, who retired in 1872.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 6 May.

PEPPA IN TOWN TV favourite Peppa Pig is back on stage

with a new tour heading to the Belgrade Theatre from 7 to 9 April. Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever is the sixth Peppa Pig Live production and promises to be her biggest and best adventure yet, inviting audiences on a road trip that will take in everything from castles to caves, dragons to dinosaurs and ice creams to muddy puddles.

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NEWS

TAKE-OFF TO GUERNSEY A new airline has replaced the doomed carrier Flybe on Birmingham Airport’s routes to Guernsey. The island’s Aurigny operator began daily flights, initially excluding Tuesdays and Thursdays, from last month. Airport chief executive Nick Barton said: “We hope to see our regular travellers taking advantage of this new airline at Birmingham and look forward to

LET’S DANCE

building on our relationship with Aurigny over the coming years.”

Picture: Nirvair Singh

SAMSARA PREMIERE

A new dance production that has attracted global attention will have its European

Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage,

premiere in Birmingham. Aakash Odedra Company’s Samsara will be performed at

one of the UK’s leading South Asian Arts

Birmingham Hippodrome on 11 June as part of Birmingham International Dance

and Culture organisations, is celebrating

Festival. Samsara tells the story of the pilgrimage to India by the monk Xuanzang

its 30th anniversary with the launch of a

returning to China with the central tracts of Buddhist philosophy. Aakash Odedra

year-long programme of specially

Company is a Birmingham Hippodrome Associate Company, a programme which

commissioned events, performances and

supports artists and companies to reach wider audiences.

arts partnerships. Highlights include an international writing competition, My City

JOE’S THE BOSS

Comedian and Birmingham Living cover star

My Home, for women in Birmingham,

Joe Lycett is coming home for a special event in

Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sampad is also

support of the Lord Mayor of Birmingham’s

supporting four South Asian dancers who

Charity. An Evening with Joe Lycett & Friends –

have been awarded commissioning funds

The Mosquito Wing Part II is at the Alexandra

by Dance Hub Birmingham to undertake a

Theatre on Sunday 17 May. The show is a

residency which will develop their

follow-up to last year’s event which began as a

choreographic practice.

joke when Joe, who currently goes by the name Hugo Boss, asked Cllr Yvonne Mosquito to cut the ribbon at an official ceremony for the opening of his new kitchen extension.

ADAM’S TALKING POINT Adam Black is looking to use his own experience to change the lives of people who suffer from stuttering. Adam is launching a new speech course this month at Birmingham’s Holiday Inn Centre. Thirteen years ago, he enrolled on a speech therapy course which gave him the confidence to overcome a life-long stutter and led to a career in teaching. His work and campaigning was recognised with a BEM from the Queen. The Birmingham course runs from 15 to 19 April. Details from: iain.mutch@mcguireprogramme.com

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NEWS

LAMBTASTIC!

NEW CHAPTER

Altogether now, say ‘Aahh’… this cute little chap is among the new arrivals set to melt hearts as Hatton Adventure World’s hosts its annual family Spring Spectacular from 4 to 19 April. Visitors can also see, handle and feed baby chicks, ducklings, piglets, bunnies and kid goats at the farm. There’s even the chance to witness a live birth! Other Easter holiday

BRIDE OF THE YEAR

activities include a daily prize Egg Hunt.

IN BRIEF READY TO RIDE Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s Bike4Life Ride Out and Festival event celebrates its tenth anniversary on Sunday 26 April. The event, which is supported by West Mercia Police, is one of the biggest biker ride outs in the country, attracting more than 10,000 bikers. Visit www.bike4lifefest.com

Husband and wife-to-be Amy Marshall and Simon Christian are

Michael Morpurgo, will launch next month’s Stratford

celebrating an early wedding windfall, courtesy of Nailcote Hall.

Literary Festival programme

Amy was named the Hall’s bride of the year 2020, winning

of events for young people.

£5,000 off the price of the couple’s wedding reception in

The multi award-winning

August. After becoming engaged at Sleeping Beauty’s castle

writer will be talking about

while on holiday at Disneyland Paris, the local couple had

his latest book, Boy Giant, on

picked Nailcote as their own magical wedding venue.

2 May ahead of the main nine-day festival which starts on 9 May. On Saturday 16 May, Cressida Cowell, the current Children’s Laureate and creator of How to Train

WORLD DEBUT Sir Billy Connolly’s first sculpture entitled And On Monday, God Made The World was given its world debut by Birmingham-based Castle Fine Art at preview events for collectors at its galleries in London and Glasgow.

War Horse author, Sir

Your Dragon, will be introducing the latest in her Wizards of Once series to her

GARY GETS SHIRTY

legion of fans.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker is putting his shirt on Geoff Thomas in this year’s ‘GT15’ Tour de

IN PARADISE The team behind Bombay café Dishoom is opening a new restaurant at One Chamberlain Square, part of Paradise Birmingham. Dishoom Birmingham will pay homage to the old Irani cafes that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay.

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France challenge to raise £1million for Birminghambased Cure Leukaemia. Geoff is leading a team of amateur cyclists on his fifth and final Tour de France, a day before the professionals, from 26 June to 18 July. Saturday 4 July has been designated ‘Geoff Thomas Day’ and marks 15 years since Geoff was diagnosed

GOT ANY NEWS? Email your news and pictures to editor@brumliving.co.uk

with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

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COVER STORY

ROOT CAUSE TV GARDENING EXPERT AND AWARD-WINNING DESIGNER

CHRIS BEARDSHAW WANTS TO MAKE THE NATION’S GARDENS

‘GREENER’ – AND HE TELLS DAVID JOHNS HOW HIS MISSION IS STARTING RIGHT HERE IN HIS MIDLANDS HOME

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COVER STORY

ardening expert, internationally renowned landscape gardener and multi-award-winner. Chris Beardshaw has done it all, travelling the world designing gardens from China to Chelsea. But next month he is returning to his roots in the West Midlands at the beginning of a new and exciting mission. Known to millions for appearing in hit shows such as Gardeners’ World, Hidden Gardens, the Flying Gardener and Beechgrove Garden, the Pershore College, Worcestershiretrained master gardener is looking to give back to the region where he grew up as he becomes the official ambassador to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year. “I know, I know….” says Chris, tongue-in-cheek. “Becoming an ambassador of an organisation can often be seen as getting a reserved parking space and a nice lunch. But this is not what being ambassador to the Spring Show means to me. I’m aiming to use this unique role to bring about some real changes to what is already a wonderful event – and hopefully make it even better!”

G

GOLDEN BOY Chris has been a regular at the show for more than two decades. Along with the Chelsea Flower Show, it is one of his highlights of the year. He designed his first show garden at Malvern in 1999 and has since been awarded 13 RHS Gold Medals and six times Best in Show. “To be asked to be an ambassador for my local show is a real honour,” he says. “I have been involved in gardening events in the UK and around world and I am really looking forward to flying the flag for the show and helping to attract gardeners and plant lovers from throughout the UK to come and visit us. I am working with the show’s team in the development of some interesting new ideas which will confirm Malvern as the best family day out in the gardening calendar.” Chris is trained in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture. His enthusiasm for plants, good design and the desire to work in harmony with the natural landscape and wildlife is reflected throughout his work. He set up his successful design business more than 18 years ago and he works with private and commercial clients on a wide range of projects across the UK and internationally. Two of his key aims are to encourage more young people to become interested in gardening and to make it more ecofriendly. “My role at Malvern is a wonderful opportunity to

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encourage both of these,” he says. “I’m so familiar with the show and have seen it from all angles, growing up and visiting as a student at Pershore College and taking my own students there since. Growing up just a few miles away from the showground, I have wonderful memories of Malvern as an inspirational place to visit.” He adds: “When they asked me to become ambassador, I told them that I just don’t want a badge and a parking space, I want to influence the show and encourage them to look at a range of plant materials and support bio-diversity opportunities for gardening by highlighting best practice and materials.” Chris says that as a ‘green profession’, horticulture and garden design needs to look at itself more critically. He explains: “One of the things that is embarrassing is that our own children are much more critical of the way we treat the environment than we are. We must change that by educating people – and that’s where I see my new role with Malvern fitting in.”

The RHS Malvern Spring Festival takes place from 7 to 10 May at the Three Counties Show Ground. For more information and ticket details visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk or call 0844 811 0050

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He gives an example of one small but significant change. He wants every exhibitor and grower at Malvern to use only non-peat growing compost. He’s also championing a clampdown on the use of plastic – whether the bags used in the floral marquee, or the pots and containers plants are sold in. He also wants to see an end to the use of the green foam used in flower arranging. “Malvern is a wonderful show, the country’s first major show of the year, and it makes it feel like spring has really started. I will be using this year’s show for careful observation. Then moving forward I will be feeding in my ideas for changes and improvements for greater sustainability and bio-diversity.” As well as returning to the Midlands, Chris is busy on some new TV work. When we spoke he was due to start filming a new series of Beechgrove Garden for BBC2 which will screen every Sunday through to the autumn. He and his team are also working on various garden projects around the world and he continues to lecture at universities in Europe. He has lectured in the past at Birmingham University and says he would “love to go back”. He adds: “It’s important to me that we harness the optimism of youth and allow it to flourish moving forward so we have gardens and gardening that’s constantly getting better for the environment.” I

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FEATURE

GREAT ESCAPE

We’re sure we’ve a higher than average number of great photographers in Birmingham. In

fact, we’ve interviewed a handful in these pages. Perhaps it’s the city’s photogenic nature that whets the creative appetite. Whatever it is, we’ve another cracker of a snapper for you

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FEATURE

ary Lindsay-Moore has been going about his craft for 35 years starting long before the rise of Photoshop or the smart phone and still maintains traditional methods are best. Although Gary has photographed Birmingham over the years publishing six books featuring the city’s urban landscape, portraiture is what gets him going. We don’t mean white background in a soulless studio sort of portraiture, but proper creative shots that reflect the subject’s personality and vibe. Gary spends time getting to know clients and goes the extra mile literally in some cases. Take the merman image (see page 20). This entailed hand making the tail that incorporated a fin piece that lit up and a six-hour round trip to a beach in Somerset to get the perfect shot.

G

PRESSURE Of the pressure men are currently under thanks to the chiselled jaws and wash board stomachs in the media, Gary says: “There’s so much studio photography of men that’s hard, black and white, muscular. Not every guy is an Insta muscle toned man.” He adds: “I’m 60 this year. I’ve a dad bod, a

april 2020

belly, wrinkles, scars. I want my photographs to reflect real beauty.” Inspired by the cheeky sexiness of the 1920s trend for the female ‘boudoir’ where women would pose for photographs to be sent to their other halves, Gary has launched a service called the Dudeoir Experience – do you see what he did there? Dudeoir feels like the antidote to the pressures of social media. It’s inclusive, creative, fun – a place where anything goes. TYPECAST Gary says: “I know from first-hand experience what it is like to be trolled on social media and called ‘fat and ugly’ by a total stranger, it can really erode your confidence.” He adds: “As an actor and mature model I have experienced what it is like on both sides of the camera. I want to break down barriers and give something that is completely individual to the client.” Gary has worked with terminally ill clients and their families capturing treasured shots. He has also donated his services free of charge to a local hospice. Gary also loves event photography, but you can bet your bottom dollar it’s not your average set

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FEATURE

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FEATURE

of shots. He somehow discreetly gets right in the thick of it capturing the moments that matter. “You need to have your antenna out at events ready to spot people reacting.” Film stills photography is something he loves too, but it’s particularly tricky. Gary explains: “You need to know what’s going on all the time. You have to stay out of the way, but be ready to jump in when appropriate. I love the process of watching a film being made. The amount of people involved in 30 seconds of filming is incredible.” Gary is also an extra currently playing a prisoner in BBC drama Doctors. “I’m a bit typecast and generally either play a convict or a security guard!” Keep your eyes peeled. Gary’s motivation is to be ‘creatively satisfied’ rather than to make a wad of cash, so the results are infinitely more atmospheric and pleasing than pursuing the big bucks. He sums up his approach when he says: “To not be thrilled would feel like something was missing.” I Find out more at www.garylindsaymoorephotography.co.uk

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FOOD & DRINK

STEFAN ELLIOT

The head chef of the Star & Garter, Leamington Spa found his love of food on a Lancashire cheese farm before working in Michelin-starred kitchens in the UK and Spain

Tell us about your cooking My cooking style is influenced by my life’s journey and travels. I lived in Madrid for a while and spent time in the incredible kitchen of Sergi Arola. This opened my mind to a whole different style of cooking, working with amazing ingredients and different flavours and made me the chef I am today. The buzz of seeing people enjoying my food never leaves me. I love cooking dishes people recognise but I always add a twist. How did you become a chef? I left school at 16 to work on a farm in Lancashire. It was here I learned to make Mrs Kirkham’s famous cheese. One day, they took me to a food festival where I got asked to cover a bread stall while the owners were doing a cookery demo. I sold all the bread and a chef from North Wales asked me to go and work for him. After two years, I moved back to Lancashire and cooked with some excellent

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CHEF’S CORNER

chefs like Warrick Dodds and Marc Guilbert. Then I spread my wings and cooked in Spain in some amazing restaurants. What do you eat when at home? My wife is Spanish, so we try and eat Spanish and Mediterranean food quite often to keep her happy! I love it too.

Find the recipe to make Stefan’s delicious Potted Crab with Lobster Butter dish at www.birminghamliving.co.uk

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? I have to say that Gordon Ramsay influenced me a great deal. Growing up at the time, he was everywhere and his cookbooks played a big part of my study of cooking. I also admire Tom Kerridge whose food is fantastic and yet very down to earth. I can’t wait for our slot at his Pub in the Park event in Warwick in June. Best in Brum? I’ve only lived in the area for a short time but of course Glynn Purnell’s reputation precedes him. Is the customer always right? Theoretically no, but in essence yes. At our pub, we want everyone to have the best experience they can so we do everything we can to make them as happy as possible. Share a cooking tip Keep things simple, taste and season as you go. It’s amazing how much a difference a pinch or two of salt can make to a dish. What was your favourite food as a kid? I think chilli con carne was probably my favourite. Food heaven and food hell? Heaven is a nice fish like turbot, a good steak or a selection of cured meats with a glass of wine. Hell is sprouts and parsnips. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? At the time, I thought it was either snails or frogs’ legs. But nowadays, they are not really unusual anymore. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? I’d develop my Spanish to a better standard and teach it. What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? The Brixham hand-picked potted crab, topped with lobster glazed butter. I The Star & Garter, 4 to 6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5LL. Tel: 01926 359960 starandgarterleamington.co.uk

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SEASON’S EATINGS

SIMPLE SIMNEL CAKE

It’s Easter and irrespective of your religious perspective this is one tasty treat from the queen of baking Mary Berry

Ingredients

I 175g light muscavado sugar I 175g butter, softened I 175g self-raising flour I 3 large eggs I 25g ground almonds

I 2 tbsp milk I 100g sultanas I 100g cherries, quartered, washed, and dried I 100g dried apricots, snipped into small pieces I 100g stem ginger, finely chopped I 1 tsp mixed spice I 2 tsp ground ginger To serve: I 450g golden marzipan I 3 tbsp apricot jam I 1 egg, beaten

Method Preheat oven 160C/320F/Gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm/8in deep round cake tin with baking parchment. Measure all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Take one third of the marzipan and roll into a circle the same size as the cake tin, place the circle on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining mixture on top of the marzipan and level the surface. Bake for about one-and-three-quarter to two hours or until golden brown and firm in the middle. If toward the end of the cooking time the cake is getting too brown, loosely cover with a piece of foil. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning onto a cooling rack. When the cake is cool. Brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam. Roll out half the remaining marzipan to the size of the cake and sit it on the top. Crimp the edges of the marzipan and make a lattice pattern in the centre of the marzipan using a sharp knife. Make 11 even-sized balls from the remaining marzipan and arrange around the edge. Brush with beaten egg and glaze under a hot grill for about five minutes, turning the cake round so it browns evenly, so the marzipan is tinged brown all over. (You can do this with a blow torch if you prefer.)

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FOOD & DRINK

NIBBLES and SHORTS

BIRMINGHAM HAS A LIVELY AND BUZZING BAR AND RESTAURANT SCENE. HERE, WE PRESENT OUR INSIDER GUIDE TO WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY’S EATERIES AND DRINKING DENS

TASTING WITH THE STARS

The Indian restaurant that counts some of the most famous celebs as its customers has unveiled a new tasting menu. Since opening in Newhall Street in 2006, multi-award-winning Asha has been a favourite for Brummies, visitors from across the world and stars, including Sir Mick Jagger, who recently joined Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood for his birthday celebrations at the restaurant. The new Asha’s Experience is a six-course menu offering diners a journey through the eatery’s finest dishes.

GOLDEN WONDERS Independent artisan spirit producer Shakespeare Distillery based in Stratford-upon-Avon struck gold in the West Midlands Tourism Awards. The firm was named best New Tourism Business and will now compete in national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in June. The awards celebrate venues that help bring more than 130million visitors and £12.6billion to the area. Other winners included Birmingham Hippodrome and the Hive café and

RINGING THE CHANGES

bakery, Warwick Conferences and Brockencote Hall.

HOTEL OF THE YEAR Hotel Indigo at the Cube has been recognised as one of the best in the business as a finalist in the Hotel of the Year at the Midlands Service Excellence Awards. Hotel general manager Lee Goodman, said: “Exceptional service is at the centre of everything we do, so it’s great to recognised and to celebrate with peers and colleagues all the hard work everyone puts in to make the Midlands a great place to visit.”

Cocktail bar and restaurant chain Las Iguanas is moving into the site of the old Cafe Rouge in Brindleyplace. It is the third branch of the Latin American restaurant in the city and is part of a plan to enhance Brindleyplace’s night-time food and drink offering. Both Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas are owned by the Casual Dining Group.

Ramada Goes Art Deco A new art deco look for 20 bedroom suites, a revamped ballroom – complete with Italian marble floor – and a refreshed foyer are part of a £400,000 upgrade at Wolverhampton’s Ramada Resort Park Hall Hotel. The Grade II listed hotel and spa, which welcomed more than 31,000 overnight guests and hosted more than 250 conferences and events in 2019, is investing the money as part of its expansion plans for 2020.

KARAOKE GOES UNDERGROUND A ‘hidden world’ beneath award-winning Wing Wah restaurant and its sister eatery Ming Moon in Birmingham’s bustling China Town is being transformed. Ten rooms for private parties and informal get-together for friends or business colleagues have been given new themes – and are equipped with the latest karaoke equipment so revellers can belt-out their favourite hit songs. Co-owner Dorian Chan said: “We’ve let our imaginations run riot to create spaces that guests can really enjoy.”

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

LOOK LIVELY NOW! We’re all set to toast the new season with this zingy Lychee and Gingerbread Cocktail pring has sprung and with it the hope of warmer weather heading into – fingers crossed – a sparkling summer. We don’t want to peak too soon but we’re ready to embrace fairer times with this lively little number from Andrew Marsh, mixologist and the F&B (food and beverage) man at Hilton Garden Inn, Brindleyplace. Please join us as we sip his delicious Summatini. As always, enjoy responsibly. I

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ALL YOU NEED TO MIX IT UP BEAUTIFULLY INGREDIENTS:

I 50ml Raspberry vodka I 50ml Apple juice

I 25ml Fresh strawberry juice I Fresh lemon juice

METHOD: Chill a coupe glass with ice. Add the raspberry vodka, apple juice, fresh strawberry juice and half a squeezed lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake until the shaker is too cold to hold. Then double strain into the chilled coupe glass.

Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham, 1 Brunswick Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HW tel: 0121 643 1002, www.hilton.com/Birmingham

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

BROCKENCOTE HALL

Chaddesley Corbett, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY10 4PY. Tel: 01562 777876 brockencotehall.com o, the other half is 50 and I don’t know who is more alarmed. It’s the new 40, they say. And life begins, they add. Poppycock. It’s solidly half-a-century. Middle-aged. Serious. Mature. And while the birthday boy shows no sign of a mid-life crisis, I’m Googling ‘shiny crimson convertibles’. Midweek celebratory shenanigans were called for and Brockencote Hall stepped up. A glass of Ruinart in the conservatory perked us up even if the room temperature was hotter than the sun. Menopausal? Never. Nibbles of cream cheese grugere and miniature salmon and dill tarts were just what the doctor ordered. The dining room was more temperate than the conservatory and while the menu was small and succinct it was pleasing – unless you’re vegetarian. Then you’d be forgiven for being a bit underwhelmed. Surprising given the trend for a meat-free or at least a flexitarian lifestyle. ‘Could do better’ would be on the report card. An amuse bouche of leek and potato velouté with little puffed up potato bits was really delicious followed by rich dressed crab with tangy apple, chive and celeriac which was a perfectly balanced triumph. Slow braised blade of beef was

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melt-in-the-mouth tender with a rich jus that made our day. The smoothest mash and Roscoff onions (are there any other sort these days?) finished off the dish so beautifully we almost forgot about the big Five-O. Dark chocolate delice which we’ve eaten approximately eight times before never ever disappoints. Rich, unctuous, not too sweet and indulgently chocolatey. What is not to love? A pot of peppermint tea and petit fours set us on our merry way home. Fifty might not be so bad after all…I

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FOOD & DRINK

PASS THE RIPASSO!

BLOGGER DOMINIC HEWETT DISCUSSES A NEW STYLE OF WINE INFLUENCED BY THE ANCIENT ROMANS THAT’S IN VOGUE RIGHT NOW WITH OUR RESIDENT EXPERT ROB PRICE

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FOOD & DRINK

hatever did the Romans do for us? Well, apart from roads, plumbing, sanitation and provide loads of stuff for Time Team to dig up they of course did a lot to bring wine to where it is today. Indeed, our distant Roman ancestors would have really liked ‘The Wine Show’ and if you have enjoyed an Appassimento or Ripasso recently you’ve tasted a style of wine influenced by ancient Roman winemaking practices. Yes, the Romans were rather fond of making wine using dried or partially dried grapes and in particular they made a sweet variety called Passum. Traditionally a speciality of the Veneto region of northern Italy, wines made this way are really ‘in vogue’ right now. Once the preserve of wines like Amarone and Valpolicella Ripasso you can now sample offerings made from many other varieties that have been given the same treatment. I’ve enjoyed interesting wines made from Nero d’avola from Southern Italy, Sangiovese from Tuscany and even a Carmenere from Chile.

So, what is the difference between an Appassimento and a Ripasso wine? An Appassimento wine, like Amarone, is made with grapes that are harvested slightly earlier to retain acidity and then laid out on palettes to dry in the sun until they have lost about 40 per cent of their weight. They are then slowly pressed and fermented to produce a rich and strong wine with minimum abv of 14 per cent. The wines are aged for a minimum of two years before release. Time is taken and no expense is spared and the resulting wines are complex and mouth filling but quite often expensive. Expect gorgeous flavours of cherry fruit, raisin, fig and tobacco. The Ripasso style refers to a younger wine that is refermented on the ‘lees’ of an Appassimento wine. These ‘lees’ are a mix of leftover grape skins, yeast cells and sugars that give the younger base wine a ‘power up’ in terms of alcoholic strength and depth of flavour. While generally lighter in style, these wines really pack a punch in the flavour department and better still are generally half the price!

DOM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Got a sweet tooth? Got chocoholic friends? Then really impress them next time you have them round by serving a glass of Recioto della Valpolicella with their chocolate desert. Probably one of the closest wines to Passum made today, this is a fabulous silky sweet red wine made from semi-dried fruit. A personal favourite with its cherry, raspberry, plum and prune flavours. This smooth little number is a total knockout served slightly cool with a black forest trifle. Just a shame it doesn’t come in larger bottles! I

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MASI – COSTASERA AMARONE CLASSICO – Proper Amarone like it should be. Rich, full bodied, complex and lingering. You’ll find raisined red fruits and tobacco. Go on, treat yourself to a drop of luxury. Currently £33 ‘mix six’ at Majestic Wine. TESCO FINEST VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO – Red and black cherries and spices with hints of dried fruits. Total winner with a lasagne and my ‘go to’ wine for tomato-based pasta dishes. Great value at £11.

SANTODENO SANGIOVESE APPASSIMENTO – Something a bit different. The flagship grape of Tuscany given the Amarone treatment. Red fruit, blackberry jam and spice. A bargain at £10 in Sainsburys.

CANTINA DI NEGRAR RECIOTO (50CL) – The original smooth operator. Intense notes of raspberry, cherry, plums and prunes. Sweet, velvety and such a dream with chocolate that you may not want to share! £15.99 at Waitrose and worth every penny.

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This article was written by Dominic Hewett, a wine colleague of Rob Price. Dom is a passionate blogger on wine and to read more of his articles, visit https://domhewettcom.wordpress.com/

You can learn more about all kinds of wine from Birmingham Wine School, an independent wine education company offering fun, informal wine-tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses, in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick. For more information contact Rob Price on 0121 270 7359 or visit www.birminghamwineschool.com

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ing livSTYLE

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SPRING KICKS HELLO ANKLES, WE’VE MISSED YOU. THERE’S AN

EXCITEMENT THAT COMES WITH THE CHANGING OF THE

SEASONS THAT GETS US BRIMMING WITH RENEWED ENERGY FOR OUR WARDROBE AND BEYOND

PEACHY

Sling backs £24.99, Deichmann

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STYLE WELL HEELED

Raffia heel white slingback £60, River Island

PRACTICALLY PERFECT

GOOD WOOD

Wood heel sling back £36, Evans

Boyfriend animal print sneaker £65, Oliver Bonas

t’s time to rotate your shoes, saying a fond farewell to wintery footwear and hello to more frivolous, lighter kicks. Before you buy any new pieces remind yourself what you already have, so you can shop smart or, if you’re lucky, not at all. It’s easy to forget from season to season what you have squirrelled away, so assess the situation first. Shoes are space hoggers, so be ruthless about pieces you just don’t wear. They’ll be someone else’s great preloved find. If you’re not quite ready to leave the cosiness of winter behind, check out Gucci’s fur-lined mules that could be the perfect transition piece. Just as good with a dress as a pair of jeans.

I

FAB FLATFORM

VEGAN DREAM

Leather flatform lace-up shoe £69, M&S

Veja Rio Branco mesh and suede sneakers £105, Harvey Nichols

GLITTER BALL

Gucci Ultrapace goldglittered leather sneakers £610, Harvey Nichols

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STILL GOT IT

Gucci Princetown fur-lined wool loafers £615, Harvey Nichols

PEWTER PUMP

Jeorgia pump £69 (RRP £89), Kurt Geiger, Resorts World

GOLD RUSH

Elicia pump £85, Dune

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STYLE

ROCK CROC

White leather boot £99.50, Oliver Bonas

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STYLE

We might be jumping the summer start gun, but our favourite shoe of the moment is a chunky natural canvas sandal from Dune called Jiyla (pictured) which is a steal at £70 and will go with absolutely everything in your wardrobe. It also comes in black. Decisions, decisions… A sneaker is a given for spring and while the Veja V-10 has been everywhere over the past 12 months we prefer the brand’s cooler Rio Branco (pictured). Bit retro, not too try hard and hopefully instantly more comfortable than the first few crippling outings of the V-10. Its vegan status is clearly a bonus. Oliver Bonas has a cracking animal print sneaker that works on every level and is practically a neutral. Flatforms are still hot this season and the cream version pictured from M&S is oh-so-good and defies the high street price tag. Cool for work and play. Sling backs are having a serious moment whether they are delicately heeled like the peach version from Deichmann or more substantial from River Island (pictured). I

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COOL MULE

Nude mule £49, Solea at Shoeaholics.com

LACE UP

Blues Street brogues £40, Joe Browns

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STYLE

TWINKLE TOES

Pink embellished Casis heels £120, Dune

MINT FOR THE WIN

Isabelle shoe in mint £225, Rachel Simpson Shoes

TOP PICK

HOT STUFF

Mustard yellow faux suede ballerina pump £17.99, Deichmann

STRAP HAPPY

Sandals £29.99, Deichmann

Natural canvas Jiyla sandal £70, Dune

TRUE BLUE

Love Story T-bar shoes £40, Joe Browns

MELLOW YELLOW

Satin mules £29.99, TK Maxx

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PRETTY FLY

Sophia Webster Chiara 100 winged leather sandals £495, Harvey Nichols

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STYLE

VINTAGE VIBE

Teal heel, Joe Browns

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1

It feels a bit frivolous chatting about beauty in the current climate, but let’s face

it, it is frivolous, so what the heck. With social distancing in action we’re avoiding shops, so we’ve spent time getting our head around revolutionary online brand, Beauty Pie. We’ve highlighted two of the brand’s products as well as putting

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Evolve Beauty’s 100 per cent vegan glycolic toner through its paces, plus we’re sharing what we consider to be the best hand cream to combat dryness. 1. LIQUID RADIANCE GLYCOLIC TONER £20, EVOLVE BEAUTY EVOLVEBEAUTY.CO.UK When this landed on the beauty desk, the packaging screamed, ‘I’m good for you, I’m good for the planet, you’ll like me.’ It’s 100 per cent vegan, made in a windpowered eco studio, wonderfully gentle and crucially it works. Packed with goodies like AHA/BHA liquid exfoliator to smooth and brighten and galactoarabinan (from larch trees) to boost exfoliation and improve skin texture, it does what it says on its eco-friendly packaging. After a week we looked more rested and smoother and enjoyed quite a few ‘ooh you look well’ comments. Result. It feels much more expensive than its price tag too. 2. ESSENTIAL SHOCK INTENSE HAND CREAM £40, NATURA BISSE With hand washing at record levels, dry, chapped skin is an issue. First world problems we hear you scream. Agreed. We said it was frivolous. We have this luxurious cream at arm’s reach at all times along with hand sanitiser (Pink Boutique’s version is delicious smelling if you’re wondering) and it is saving our skin. The right level of moisture, it sinks in nicely and doesn’t have an overpowering scent. Expensive, but a little goes a long way. 3. THE UNBEATABLE CONCEALER £6.12, BEAUTY PIE This is a steal. We’d pay four times the amount. And I guess that’s the whole point of Beauty Pie – top notch products without the fancy pants packaging, marketing or physical shops that see prices rocket. The concealer feels creamy, sinks into skin and stays put all day. Love it. 3. QI ENERGY GINSENG ROOT AND GINGER BRIGHTENING EYE FIX £8.24, BEAUTY PIE The vast majority of eye creams make us bizarrely puffy but we’re of an age where we need a bit of a boost, so we’re always seeking the ‘wonder product’. We’ve been using the tiniest amount of this in the morning and evening for fear of puffiness and we are amazed by the results. Dark circles are definitely improved and there’s even a slight improvement in the laughter lines.

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3 4

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STYLE FOR MEN

LIGHTEN UP WE’RE NOT IN FLIP FLOP TERRITORY YET, BUT WE’RE EMBRACING

A MORE FRIVOLOUS SHOE GAME FOR SPRING. ARE YOU WITH US?

WEEKEND VIBES Clothing and shoes from White Stuff

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STYLE FOR MEN

JUMP TO IT Trainers and clothing from Primark IN THE NAVY Superga trainers £55, White Stuff

SUPER COOL Buddy boot £79, Office

loafer teamed with a slim fitting trouser is our go-to spring vibe. Checkout Dune for the gorgeous navy example pictured. Sneakers, trainers… whatever you want to call them also feature heavily. We rate Off White, pictured, for some stunning pieces that are super stylish and pretty reasonably priced. Head to Harvey Nichols for more from the brand. Have a look at a hi-top which injects a bit of fun into the wardrobe. The embroidered black version from River Island is a winner. If you’re more after a more subtle look, try a classic navy Superga. We might have archived the Canada Goose until the autumn, but we’re not ready to give up the boots just yet. The Buddy boot from Office is perfect with casual denim.

LOOK AT ME Off-White Vulcanised yellow canvas sneakers £175, Harvey Nichols

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HI-TOP HEAVY Black embroidered high top trainers £40, River Island

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GREAT SOUL Bertie Choppers £85, Dune

LOAFING AROUND Stream loafer £100, Dune

WALK ON Dark brown hiker boots £39.99, New Look

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HEALTH

DEALING WITH

DIABETES

MORE THAN FIVE MILLION PEOPLE IN THE UK WILL BE LIVING WITH THE CONDITION WITHIN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. WHAT CAN YOU DO TO CUT THE CHANCES OF BEING ONE OF THEM?

D

iabetes is a life-long condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. More people than ever have diabetes, with greater numbers than ever are at risk of type 2 diabetes. If nothing changes, it’s estimated that more than five million people in the UK will be sufferers by 2025.

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HEALTH

THERE ARE 2 MAIN TYPES OF DIABETES: Type 1 diabetes – where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90 per cent of all adults with diabetes have type 2. CAUSES: The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin which is produced by the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach. When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells where it is broken down to produce energy. If you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there’s either not enough insulin to move the glucose or the insulin produced does not work properly. There are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes and the condition is mainly managed by medication. You can help manage type 2 diabetes through healthy eating, regular exercise and achieving a healthy body weight. SYMPTOMS: Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days. Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general. Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include: I Feeling very thirsty I Peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night I Feeling very tired I Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk I Itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush I Cuts or wounds that heal slowly I Blurred vision REDUCING THE RISK: There’s nothing we can do to prevent type 1 diabetes but there is something that you can do to help prevent type 2. More than 12 million people in the UK are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And type 2 diabetes is serious. In around three in five cases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active. YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING TYPE 2 DIABETES BY: I Eating well I Moving more I Losing weight if you’re overweight For advice and support about diabetes, ask your GP or visit www.diabetes.org.uk

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HEALTH

GAME CHANGER

THE LAST TIME WE VISITED HOAR CROSS HALL A DECADE AGO IT WAS COSY, CHINTZY AND – FORGIVE US – A BIT TIRED. AN EXTENSIVE FACELIFT, NEW ENERGETIC MANAGER AND AMBITIOUS PLANS, HAVE BROUGHT IT GLAM UP TO DATE e’re not short of spas in the Midlands, but we’re not exactly awash with great ones within spitting distance of Brum that feel like a proper retreat. There’s something about a big lungful of country air and an historic building that induces deep breathing and loosened shoulders – and you get that at Hoar Cross Hall in spades. With a dedicated groundsman who’s been with the hotel for decades the gardens are dreamy. Neat topiary, crisp-edged lawns and views across rural landscapes put the hotel firmly in the wedding venue arena. There are plans to restore the extensive original greenhouses to create a kitchen garden. Grade II listing makes that sort of restoration tricky, but it comes with the territory. Inside, the refurbishment is a million miles from

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the chintz of our last visit. The reception area is seriously glam with statement lighting and a dramatic dark colour scheme. Original features like the ornate ceilings and fireplaces remain alongside a super sleek bar and squishy sofas in the Long Room. A handful of private dining areas and function rooms are pretty good for business or pleasure. Our favourite turns out to be the least used, but the most gorgeous in our view. The Old Chapel is a stunning space with original stained glass and dark wooden panelling. The lack of light might explain its lack of popularity compared with other spaces in the hotel, but for an atmospheric candle-lit supper it’s ideal. There’s also a large space with a nightclub vibe in the depths of the hotel which was inspired by Annabel’s in London. Party central.

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HEALTH

The check-in experience set the tone with warm, friendly staff giving useful info. The hotel’s key system is simple, but genius. A discreet waterproof wrist band gives you access to your room and allows for payment, etc, as you go about your day. No more lost keys. We looked at a handful of recently refurbished rooms which are a successful mix of original features teamed with fresh colours and stylish modern fixtures and furniture. Our room – Baroness Sofia - was practically an apartment with a lounge area and TV downstairs while upstairs there was a super comfy bed, cute bathroom, plenty of storage, a dressing table with a brilliant hair dryer, TV and even a roof terrace. The only omission which was mildly irritating was a full-length mirror. Wifi was strong despite the rural location, but mobile reception was a bit hit and miss. LAVA SHELL MASSAGE Once robed up, we explored the spa. We visited on a Monday assuming it would be a slow day, but not so. It seems plenty of people avoid the Monday blues by heading to a spa and why not? There were numerous pools to relax in, a quiet area with nap-inducing beds, salt inhalation room and an extensive list of treatments. We plumped for a lava shell massage. Smooth, palm sized shells were heated and then used with nourishing oils and

april 2020

medium pressure to relax and alleviate any pesky knots of which we had plenty. It was super restorative and there’s something about the warmth of the shells that maximises relaxation. There’s also a brilliantly-stocked gym although admittedly we stuck our head around the door rather than actually getting stuck in! We don’t want to keep harking on about our last visit, but 10 years ago dinner was a completely different affair to now. Then, we were one of the only occupied tables in a room that was a bit flat. This time, the room was almost full, the décor transformed and the atmosphere lively. The ambitious menu was really pleasing too. Rich Jerusalem artichoke soup with a crisp crouton and chicken wing was tasty followed by a really good salmon fishcake, green salad and the star of the show – crunchy, fluffy top-notch chips that came highly recommended by our very lovely waitress. A glass of Columbia Chardonnay hit the spot nicely too. We swerved dessert mainly because we wanted to curl up with a good book and take advantage of the sprawling room. What a difference a decade makes. Bravo Hoar Cross! I

Hoar Cross Hall, Maker Lane, Burton-on-Trent, DE13 8QS. Tel: 01283 477900 baronseden.com/hoar-cross-hall

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GRAND DESIGNS

HEART OF THE HOME Function and style by Kuche & Bagno kucheandbagno.co.uk

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HOMES

IF YOU’RE DREAMING OF A NEW KITCHEN BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START, WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL?

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kitchen renovation is a big expense that isn’t easily changeable if you get it wrong, so getting it right is pretty important we’d say. Depending on how much work you’re undertaking, the number of trades involved in the project can be overwhelming including the daunting jobs that it’s not advisable to wing, like plumbing and electrics. If you can afford it, call in the experts and by that we don’t mean the guy with the CAD training at B&Q. He’s fine if you’re after new units slotted into the existing space. We mean proper trained kitchen designers with a track record of successful projects under their belts who can bring substantial skill and vision to the table. In terms of choosing ‘the one’, find a designer you like and who understands your dream. Check out their portfolio and look at websites such as Houzz. In the Midlands we’ve some top-notch local designers doing great things in the kitchen arena and we’ve included some of them in these pages. Sit down with them, talk them through your ideas and listen to theirs. You’re investing heavily and deserve an outcome that makes you smile, so be picky. Go with someone you trust and whose previous projects make you giddy.

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TRADITIONAL CHARM Shaker kitchen in Marine, paired with Calacatta Quartz work surfaces by Classic Interiors classicinteriors.co.uk

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HOMES

DARK DRAMA Neptune Suffolk Kitchen in Walnut, Neptune

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HOMES

MAXIMUM IMPACT Bespoke kitchen by Kitchen Gallery kitchengallery.co.uk

BACK TO BLACK Burbidge Otto in black marble, Anthracite and matt Anthracite from £7,500 by Burbidge Kitchens

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GOLD RUSH Sahara salad servers £8, Sainsbury’s Home

LIGHT UP Pink Bodo pendant light £99.99, Dowsing & Reynolds

SCANDI CHIC Warm Nordic cone pendant £206, Nest

FINISHING TOUCHES POLISH YOUR DREAM KITCHEN WITH SOME

GORGEOUS ACCESSORIES THAT’LL MAKE IT SING

COCKTAIL O’CLOCK XLBoom Rondo stainless steel ice bucket £130, Amara

NESTING Ocha nesting bowls £60, Soho House Retail

SIMPLE STYLE Bugsy plastic chair £39, Cult Furniture

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IT’S A HONEY XLBoom Pico honeycomb wine rack £85, Amara

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PROPERTY CHIPPING CHARMER

THIS MONTH’S PICK OF TOP HOMES FOR SALE ON THE MARKET

Weston-Subedge, Chipping Campden Guide price: £1.38million Agent: eter Clarke & Co, tel: 01386 770044 A beautiful Grade II listed stone Cotswold village property set in formal and informal gardens and grounds of just over one-and-three-quarter acres. As well as six bedrooms, five receptions rooms and four bathrooms, there’s a tennis court, swimming pool and some adjoining outbuildings if you need to expand!

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BLYTHE SPIRIT Blythe Road, Coleshill Guide price: ÂŁ850,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 746 6400 This five-bedroom detached modern family home offers an exceptionally large frontage, sweeping gravelled driveway, substantial private rear garden with open countryside views and a fabulous layout.

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BIG APPLE APPEAL Marshall Street, Birmingham Guide price: £995,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 272 6800

A superb three-bedroom, New York-style loft apartment in the heart of the city that’s just a short stroll from the Mailbox and the Cube. Beautifully designed with a distinctive finish, there’s high quality fixtures and fittings throughout and wonderful high ceilings of more than three metres.

GARDENER’S WORLD Aylesbury Road, Hockley Heath Guide price: £750,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 746 6400

A cracking four-bedroom detached home on a stunning plot that backs on to fields. Loads of versatile space to work with and some beautifully landscaped gardens to the front and rear to enjoy.

BRICKS&BITS

From the industry’s movers and shakers to the latest groundbreaking developments… email your property news and pictures to shelley@brumliving.co.uk

MAIN LINE VISION

GALLERIES LANDING

INSPIRED BY JQ

A £165million plan to transform a derelict site

Hammerson has received a resolution to grant

Moda Living is working with Birmingham City

of nearly 12 acres on the Main Line Canal will

planning for its Martineau Galleries plan

Council to deliver a new neighbourhood of

include 750 homes and 10,000 sq ft of

which will transform the 7.5-acre city centre

720 high quality homes for rent as well as

commercial space. Called Soho Wharf, the

site to include more than 1,000 homes,

new public amenities and retail and

joint venture between Galliard Homes and

offices, a hotel and a new town square in a

commercial space. The development at Great

Apsley House Capital forms part of the

move that takes the company away from its

Charles Street will be inspired by the heritage

Greater Icknield Masterplan.

solely retail focus.

and character of the Jewellery Quarter.

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HOMES

DELIGHTFUL DUPLEX Severn Street, Birmingham Guide price: £399,950 Agent: James Laurence, tel: 0121 456 5454

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex apartment is set in the heart of Birmingham city centre. There’s loads of character features, including an open plan living kitchen/diner with extended height ceiling and exposed beam and brick work, and a large private patio area.

Don’t miss Property of the Week on our Facebook page every Thursday www.facebook.com/bhamliving

april 2020

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MOTORING

TIME TO TANGO WHEN A NEW, ‘POWER ORANGE’ CORSA ARRIVED ON SUE COOKE’S DRIVE, IT BROUGHT KERB APPEAL, JUICY PERFORMANCE AND REAL ZEST TO HER WEEKEND DRIVING motoring friend has invited me to spend a weekend over Easter with her and her husband up North. It will be a longish journey which includes a mix of motorway and country lanes. I have found the perfect car in Vauxhall’s new hatchback which I was road testing this week. The fifth generation Corsa arrived on my Sutton Coldfield drive in a gorgeous ‘power orange’ exterior paintwork with a black roof, black rear spoiler, black wing mirrors and chrome trim which will cost an additional £650 but it’s beautiful. The Corsa is massively profitable for Vauxhall and has been the brand’s best-selling car for many years. I have to admit, it has never been top of my hit list but this new one definitely is. Vauxhall always manages to balance sportiness with comfort, so while this Corsa has a stylish sporty exterior, it has also proved extremely comfortable on my journeys around the Midlands.

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The balance of sporty comfort continues in the interior with a flat-bottomed leather covered steering wheel and seats which have leather effect side bolsters and surrounds. It ticks all the boxes for me with a wealth of useful technology which includes heated front seats and steering wheel and keyless entry. When the weather turned wet, the rainsensitive windscreen wipers kicked into action and increased and decreased speed according to the strength of the downpour. When the sun suddenly appeared, the tinted windscreen prevented glare and ensured good visibility. CUT THE CAFFEINE I always try to have plenty of caffeine with me to keep me awake on any long journey but there’s really no need with the Corsa thanks to its driver drowsiness system. The system warns the driver, via audio and visual signals at three levels, to take a break after two hours of driving at

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MOTORING

FACTS AT A GLANCE Model: Vauxhall Corsa Elite Nav Premium Price: £20,350 otr Engine: 1.2litre 100PS six-speed manual Performance: 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 121mph CO2 emissions: 96g/km WLTP test converted back to NEDC

speeds higher than 40mph. In addition, it alerts the driver to the need for a break at any time if it detects that the car is behaving dangerously, such as swerving. KEEPING A GRIP As I drive along the M42 North, I pass fields under water which it seems will be our destiny in years to come so it is important for me that the Corsa handles superbly on flooded or slippery roads. Vauxhall says that engineers held intensive testing on frozen lakes and snow covered roads. The Corsa has precise steering with balanced handling. Safety systems include electronic stability, traction control and antilock brake systems on slippery surfaces. I like a car with a dynamic drive, and instant acceleration. This Corsa does not disappoint and has a wonderful growl. There is a choice of three high

april 2020

Combined fuel consumption: 47.9-52.3mpg (WLTP)

efficiency petrol engines and a diesel. But ticking another box of mine, there is a fully electric powered Corsa. I road tested the award-winning turbocharged 1.2-litre engine with 100PS. The six-speed manual gearbox is slick moving around the box and there is a smooth eight-speed lightweight automatic transmission if you prefer. The Corsa-e marks the start of Vauxhall’s electrification-offensive. The company says that all models will be electrified by 2024 when customers can choose an ‘e’ version of each model. I

SHOWROOM

Lookers Birmingham, Star Park South, Birmingham, B7 5AH. Tel: 0121 322 4190 www.lookers.co.uk/vauxhall

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

NAT SWEENEY The dancer talks Team Cheryl, Billy Elliot and wearing the wrong shoes

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

at Sweeney is one eighth of the dance group Brothers of Dance that made it through to the semi-finals of TV’s Greatest Dancer on Team Cheryl. While the group was put together by choreographer Dane Bates cherry-picking dancers from across the country, Nat is from right here in Brum and studies at Elmhurst Ballet School in Edgbaston. We’ve watched the group’s moving first audition which left the judges agog and the audience voting en masse approximately 15 times and counting. Not that we’re experts, but it’s just a gorgeous piece of dance – athletic, strong, soft and touching all rolled into three beautiful minutes. (Nat’s the one in the red jumper in case you didn’t know!) Also, amazingly it was the first time the group had performed together. Obviously, they’d trained together, but never performed. Nat says: “I was taking classes with Dane outside of Elmhurst and he messaged a few of his students and it all came together. It was really fun.” Dane says he selected the boys because they are all incredible dancers and that from the very first rehearsal they had a ‘unique connection’. The group’s versatility is staggering encompassing contemporary, ballet, jazz, commercial and acro.

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UP IN THE AIR As a male, Nat isn’t used to being lifted but on Greatest Dancer he had to get used to often being the one in the air. He said: “Being a boy I’ve never been lifted. I was usually the one lifting a girl, so it was totally new to me. At first, I was scared. I thought I was going to get dropped and I nearly was a few times!” While Nat doesn’t get nervous, once on Team Cheryl the challenges were really testing with only a couple of days to hone each routine. “Dancing with the other boys was so energetic and we just bounced off each other,” he said. “I’m sad it’s over, but I’ve made friends for life.” He’s full of praise for Cheryl too who he says was the ‘sweetest and really involved’. As a young child it’ll come as no surprise that Nat was a keen gymnast before he focused on dance. The first time he auditioned for anything was to bag his place at Elmhurst. He remembers: “I didn’t have the

april 2020

right shoes and hadn’t really done ballet before.” The school saw past the dodgy shoes, appreciating his talent and potential and has been instrumental in Nat’s development. He credits the school with instilling a work ethic that he’ll take with him through life. He says: “Work hard and always be on time.” BALLET HERO The connections the school has with partners such as Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Hippodrome have been crucial, resulting in experiences the students might not have ordinarily. One of Nat’s heroes is BRB dancer Brandon Lawrence. The school is able to attract top talent to work with students such as world-class choreographer Wayne McGregor who Nat enjoyed a workshop with. Juggling dance with academic studies hasn’t been an issue for Nat. He says it’s balanced: “Academic lessons provide a break throughout the day. A time to rest the body.” Nat describes a run playing Billy Elliot aged 14 and 15 as ‘the best experience of my life’. He relished performing in front of thousands of people every day and says: “I just love dancing and performing.” In terms of what’s next, Nat just says he wants to grab every opportunity with both hands and run with it. If an opportunity proves a mistake he’ll be happy he gave it a whirl and put it down to experience. His ultimate goal is simply to ‘perform forever’. I

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GROWING PLACES

PENALTY TOP SPOT

ALL THAT JAZZ Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation has awarded Town Hall Symphony Hall a £3,000 grant to support emerging jazz musicians from the West Midlands. THSH’s Jazzlines Talent Development Programme is a free-to-access initiative that helps young people develop their skills as jazz musicians and performers. Foundation head Fatine Boumaaz, said: “The work that THSH does to help develop and support new talent in music is vital and we can’t

Hallfield U11 football team won the Premier League U11 mixed football tournament at Villa Park. The team played eight games in the pool stages, winning five, losing two and drawing one meaning they qualified in fourth place for the semi-finals. A close match against Northfield went to extra time then penalties which Hallfield won. The final against Blue Coat was also a close run game with Hallfield scoring in extra time to win the tournament.

SCHOOL REPORT

wait to see what they do in 2020.”

STEM INSPIRED Edgbaston High School hosted a special STEM Day to highlight the range of opportunities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The school welcomed Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder and CEO of Stemettes, a social enterprise working to inspire and support young women into STEM careers. The event is followed by a term of activities at the school, designed to enhance pupils’ STEM learning.

BRILLIANT RESULTS Specialist independent Sandwell Valley School celebrated an outstanding set of language exam results at a special presentation. More than 200 family members joined the school’s 175 pupils along with guest of honour, deputy lieutenant of the West Midlands, Stewart Towe. Principal Mim Hall said: “We are enormously proud that our pupils have recorded a 100 per cent record in achieving level 5 in modern languages, with 70 per cent achieving levels 8 and 9.”

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GROWING PLACES

GREAT BRITISH CHAT Students at Moreton Hall’s Leith Cookery School enjoyed a lively evening of chat with TV’s Great British Bake Off star, Prue Leith. In conversation with Moreton Hall’s

APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR

Caroline Lang, Prue and her niece and professional pastry chef Peta revealed how a

A Level 3 higher education student at

planned book on cakes and pastries evolved into a vegetarian cookery book called

BMet has been named Apprentice of the

the Vegetarian Kitchen. They discussed the rise of vegetarianism and how

Year at a national industry-standard food

vegetarian food need never be dull.

awards ceremony. Stephanie Williams, who is studying a multi-skilled maintenance engineering apprenticeship in food and drink, won Food Manufacture Apprentice of the Year at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards. Tulip Westerleigh apprentice, Stephanie impressed judges and beat off stiff competition from apprentices from companies such as Coca-Cola, Premier

NATIONAL CHAMPS

Foods and Weetabix.

Bromsgrove School’s 1st netball team was crowned National Independent Schools’ Cup Champions in a thrilling final held at the Sports Village at the University of Hertfordshire. Bromsgrove triumphed over Alleyn’s School, who had defeated Millfield in the semi-final. Bromsgrove achieved a 64-47 victory enabling them to retain the trophy from last year with Kitty Luscombe named player of the competition.

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GOLDEN WONDER FROM A TINY MAKESHIFT WORKSHOP IN A CORNER

OF HER DAD’S GARAGE TO HER OWN BUSINESS AND NOW BIRMINGHAM’S JEWELLER IN RESIDENCE. WE CHART THE SPARKLING RISE OF VANESSA MILLER

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FEATURE

anessa Miller’s love affair with making jewellery began when she enrolled in evening classes at Midlands Arts Centre. By the end of her second session she had already set up a small workshop in the corner of her dad’s garage where she continued to make jewellery until eventually applying to study full-time for an HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery. After graduating in 2016, Vanessa hasn’t looked back, setting up her own business and recently being named the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter’s second Jeweller in Residence. The prestigious title means that Vanessa, whose own business is based in the JQ, will work from the museum regularly over the next year. She is creating a new jewellery range on sale exclusively at the museum shop as part of a project which aims to promote local designers. The competition run by the museum in partnership with the university’s School of Jewellery, asked entrants to design a two-piece jewellery collection inspired by the iconic snake range produced by the historic Smith & Pepper factory, which the museum is built around. Vanessa took inspiration from the Smith & Pepper sketchbooks and reflected some of the classic shapes into her winning designs.

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GROWING BUSINESS She said: “I was thrilled to be named Jeweller in Residence. I’ve never won anything before! My hopes are that it will raise my profile as a jewellery designer maker helping me to grow as a business.” Vanessa says last year was a difficult time for her personally, which makes the Jeweller in Residence award all the more exciting and invigorating for her. “This year I am getting back on track. I am updating stock in existing galleries and reaching out to new stockists. I want to research and apply for new courses to develop my skills and learn new skills so I can offer something new to my customers. And of course I will be creating two new pieces to add to the snake collection for sale exclusively through the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.” Designing and making jewellery is more than a business for Vanessa – it’s a passion. She says: “I love it. It’s probably what’s on my mind most if not all of the time. I love that I can design something that I then make come to life through manipulating metals or carving and casting.” Vanessa makes unique silver jewellery, ranging from small charm necklaces and earrings to larger detailed pendants, brooches and rings – some with moving elements. She says: “My work is inspired by nature, the wonders of the world around me, holidays abroad and carefree, happy childhood april 2020

memories. I aim to capture something unique and special about the subject and design with a smile in mind.” PRECIOUS METALS She also enjoys hand forming, modelling and carving to create unique three-dimensional designs in precious metals. “My work is embellished with gold and set with semiprecious stones. I enjoy making small repeatable designs, oneoff pieces and working to commission.” While Vanessa loves creating her own ideas for pieces, she finds working to commissions just as rewarding. “When a customer comes to me with an idea or with old unwanted jewellery wanting something new created, I find this an exciting challenge,” she explains. “There’s also a little mix of apprehension as sometimes I am presented with a material that I’ve not worked with before or I need to learn a new skill to achieve what I’ve designed and I love that. I find the end result very satisfying and it’s a wonderful feeling seeing the customer’s reaction! I love sharing my skills with my students too and watch them develop and explore and learn.”

As part of her Residency, Vanessa works once a week, usually on a Wednesday, in the museum’s perfectly preserved workshop where visitors can watch what she is making and chat to her about her skills. “It’s a real privilege to be presented with the wonderful opportunity to work in such a historic and important building here in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter,” she says. “The staff and volunteers are all so lovely and I’ve had some really interesting conversations with visitors.” We wondered what’s the most expensive and challenging piece Vanessa has designed? “That’s a pendant I made as part of my residency at the School of Jewellery BCU. I made three pendants, all are containers to hold small objects and inspired by the Japanese inro with an underwater nature theme. One was entirely hand-fabricated, textured with a hand-cut shoal of fish design with gold detailing on the container and on its chain and clasp which presented me with some real challenges.” I To find out more about Vanessa’s work visit www.vanessamillerjewellery.co.uk To find out more about the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter visit www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/jewellery

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BUSINESS

THE BIG ESCAPE

A new interactive outdoor escape experience is coming to Birmingham. The Big Escape sees teams move around the city centre’s streets solving puzzles, cracking codes and completing challenges to take down Big Al’s casino in a classic heist. The GPS activated game has already proved a success in Ireland following its launch by Dublin company, Creative Events. Director, Mark French said: “As the UK’s second biggest city, it makes perfect sense to bring the game to Birmingham.”

BUSINESS

TRUE GRIT

A successful family firm has been recognised in regional business awards for its growth, customer service and environmental credentials. AA Salt, which helps hundreds of businesses keep their premises safe by gritting and snow ploughing their car parks in the winter, was shortlisted in the Federation of Small Businesses’ West Midlands Family Business of the Year award. The winter maintenance business is led by 24-year-old Ben Tanner, alongside his mum Nikki Rogers and her husband, Mark.

KELLY’S MAXX FACTOR A staff member at the TK Maxx store at Castle Vale Retail Park won a cash boost for Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice. Kelly Yarrington approached the company’s charity foundation for a donation – and the result was a £500 cheque which was presented to Isla Stroyan, community fund-raiser for the hospice, by Emma Wall, TK Maxx’s Castle Vale manager. Kelly said: “The hospice is a cause close to my heart and many members of staff here at the store.”

april 2020

NEWS OLYMPICS BOSS JOINS MUSEUM The man who led British athletics to its best Olympics medal haul in 50 years at London 2012 has become the head of Birmingham Museums Trust, one of the UK’s largest independent museum trusts. Birmingham-born Niels de Vos, who was chief executive of UK Athletics for more than a decade, is the new chair of trustees at a time when Birmingham Museums has a growing reputation for its innovative approach to community engagement in major award-winning projects.

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HATS BETTER!

Lifesavers at Midlands Air Ambulance are getting ahead with new flight helmets, thanks to the HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country that funds hospital and air ambulance helipads. The appeal has paid for 54 aircrew bespoke flight helmets, replacing the previous, old and shared helmets. The

A recruitment partnership has seen dozens of engineers

new helmets cost £1,800 each, making a total spend of nearly £100,000, and

begin new roles at a Birmingham automotive firm

are compatible with night vision goggles for use in night flying.

TAX BOOST

which is driving innovations in low carbon and electric vehicle technology. Around 50 specialist engineers have started with Sprint Power Technology after being signed

Financial and professional services firm Smith & Williamson

up by Midlands-based recruitment partners, Consilium Recruit. A further 50 are expected to fill additional roles

has continued to grow its Birmingham office with the

at the Birmingham company which has a multimillion-

appointment of new partner David Yewdall, pictured, who

pound partnership pioneering a new supercar with

joins the employment tax and incentives team from

Gordon Murray Design.

PwC. He is the latest in a series of new appointments which include Krista Woodman as director of private client tax services, Stephen Drew as professional services managing partner and fellow partner Matt Watts as head of Birmingham business tax services.

WINNING STORY

Midlands PR agency Story Comms has added new talent to its team as part of ambitious plans to build on record growth achieved in 2019. The B2B specialist firm saw a 40 per cent revenue growth last year due to a range of regional, UK and global property and placemaking client wins. Two new account executives have joined – Jordan Lowe from the Institute of Directors and Dani Wiggins from the University of Sheffield.

RECORD BUY A unique, record-breaking Triumph TR2 prototype sports car has been acquired by the British Motor Museum. The car, which led to the renaissance of the Triumph marque and the start of the long and successful line of TR sports cars, will take pride of place at the Gaydon museum in Warwickshire after it was purchased for £280,000 – with £250,000 of the cost being met by the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

LEGAL MOVES

West Midlands law firm Enoch Evans LLP has made two new appointments following a year of growth in 2019. Emily Goode has joined as probate solicitor while Tracy Barnett takes on the role of legal assistant in residential conveyancing. David Evans, managing partner of Enoch Evans LLP, said: “Emily and Tracy bring a fresh perspective and different skills which we require to meet the needs of an ever-diversifying client base.”

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JON’S STORY BOOK The secret to being a successful entrepreneur lies

in being a great storyteller – so says Birminghamborn author and journalist Jon Card. The former editor of Birmingham Living, who also worked as a business writer for national newspapers, makes the case in his new book, How to Make your Company Famous. “Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates… all propelled their businesses forward using storytelling and gained huge amounts of publicity,” he says. His book is available from Amazon and other online retailers.

RAISING THE BAR Top lawyer Katherine Ellis, a senior associate

solicitor in the charities and communities sector at Thursfields Solicitors’ Kidderminster office, has joined the West Midlands committee of the Institute of Fundraising. The institute aims to provide support, inspiration and professional development opportunities to fund-raisers across the UK, with the West Midlands committee supporting those working within

BUSINESS

BUSINESS BITES TOLL HELP

As part of the M6toll’s Drive for Charity ‘In the Community’ funding, road operator Midland Expressway Ltd has given a £1,500 donation to Acorns Children’s Hospice. The cash will pay for essential care and support of one child for two days.

BANK BONUS

HSBC UK has strengthened its commercial banking team with the appointment of Suzy Verma as area director of corporate banking, Birmingham, Warwickshire and Coventry. In her new role, Suzy will be supporting a 30-strong team.

BELFRY PICK

The Belfry Hotel and Resort has named LoveBrum as its charity of the year after the organisation – which gives much-needed support to ‘hidden gem’ community projects – won a poll among staff.

the region.

READY TO WEAR More than 800 items of work clothing were donated by Jewellery Quarter businesses as part of the JQ Suit Drive, organised by the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District. The clothing and accessories which included ties, shoes, handbags, three-piece suits and smart blouses and dresses, were delivered by volunteers – including a team from GoodGym Birmingham – to Suited for Success, a charity that provides free interview clothes to the unemployed.

TAKING A STAND Birmingham Botanical Gardens has launched a fund-raising appeal to raise £75,000 towards restoring its historic bandstand. The Taking A Stand! campaign aims to return the bandstand to its original 1874 glory so that it can be used as an all-weather space for school groups and be a platform for music and other events. The project is part of an ambitious ‘master plan’ to update historic and horticultural buildings, develop award-winning education and learning programmes and conserve the plant collection.

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LAW FIRM HOSTS KEY ENVIRONMENT EVENT

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ore than 100 landowners, farmers, planners, commercial developers, land agents and environmentalists from across the Midlands discussed the Government’s far-reaching Environment Bill at law firm Lodders’ inaugural planning event. The Development and Nature seminar, held at Warwickshire’s Mallory Court, was designed to help tackle the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the Bill and specifically the bio-diversity net gain elements of it. Delegates voted the event a ‘timely forum’, given the concern about the status of the key piece of implementing legislation. I

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1 David Lowe, Ed Green, Jon Dearsley, Tom Docker, Gemma Jerome, Rod Bird. 2 Reuben Bellamy, Tom Pike, Richard Burke. 3 Jackie Ostocke, Edward Bird, Brian Hawker, Jane Hawker. 4 Ian Flavell, Philip Blackman. 5 James Millard, Gary Stockley. 6 Tom Docker, Thaddeus Rasbash, Jon Dearsley. 7 Imogen Booth, Kate Drewett, Rebecca Lock. 8 Edward Matthews, Stephen Holloway, John Rouse, Stephanie Edmondson. 8 David Thomas, Rachel Best, David Hawes, Peter Deeley.

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HIPPODROME PROJECTS GIVEN BIG CASH BOOST 2

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Networking evening raises money for theatre community work programme n evening of delicious street food, music from DJ Mazzy Snape and plenty of laughs from comedian Rob Beckett was enjoyed by 100 guests at a networking event at Birmingham Hippodrome. Sponsored by Molson Coors and hosted by Martin Guest, the evening raised more than £1,500 for Hippodrome Projects – the theatre’s curated programme of indoor and outdoor live performance, community work and transformational learning projects. I

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1 Mazzy Snape. 2 Cherry Elliott, Zahir Ahmed, Andrew Stokes, Nick Oakley. 3 Paul Reade, Dean Gray, Georgina Petrou, Simon Baines, Lisa Birch, Matt Westwood, Mike Slattery, Rowanne Dicker, Lucy Clarke, Karen Potts. 4 Brieze Reid, Mike Reid, Sharon Brooks, Christine Brookes, Harry Brooks, Matt Gamsom. 5 Ashika Patel, Jasmine King, Nisa Patel, Rhian Banks, Olivia Mellow. 6 Alison Heathcote, Rachel Clements, Kirsty Gallagher, Lucy Jackson, Nikki Guest. 7 Lucy Howard, Hannah Reid, Hannah Beardmore, Aasha Choudhary, Douglas Houghton, Terry Michael. Photography by Vivienne Bailey

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NEW DRINKING DEN OPENS AT GAUCHO

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Bigger bar launches as guests enjoy evening of cocktails and canapes

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cocktail and canapes party celebrated the unveiling of a new, bigger bar at Gaucho restaurant, Church Street. The event in the new Drinking Den was hosted by general manager Luca Bottazi for guests from the Colmore BID area. As well as great food and drink, the bar features a live DJ every Friday and Saturday night. I

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1 James Bovill, Asha Ghosh, Anita Chamaneri, Gov Singh. 2 Sophie Howell, Jonathan Bryce. 3 Olia Humpreys, Jenna Bromage. 4 Jonathan Wilcox, Satpal and Barry Sherwin. 5 Dave Roberts, Navneet Mangat. 6 Rosa Pericu, Luca Bottazi. Corabeth Pearsall, Matt Shaw.

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8 Mark O'Sullivan, Elizabeth Mee, Abby Golding, Matthew Southall.

7 Marc Reeves, Tony Elvin, Photography by Jas Sansi

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UNVEILING HONOURS HOSPICE’S FOUNDER 1

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Special event marks awarding of Blue Plaque to Monica Pearce irmingham St Mary’s Hospice hosted a special event at the Lost and Found to commemorate the charity’s founder receiving a prestigious Blue Plaque. Professionals from some of Birmingham’s leading businesses and healthcare organisations joined the charity to mark the unveiling of the plaque awarded by Birmingham Civic Society to celebrate the life and work of the hospice’s founder, Monica Pearce. The honour comes as the hospice – which cares for 500 people every day – marks its 40th anniversary. I

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1 Tina Swani, Judi Millward, Candy Passmore. 2 Richard Morris, Charlotte Dowling, Lucy Watkins. 3 Paul Cadman, Paul Jennings. 4 Colin Graham, Gabrielle Stanley, Clare Tooth. 5 Nick Venning, Lucy Watkins, Clive Stone. 6 Rita McLean, Tina Swani.

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HATTON ARMS UNVEILS NEW LOOK AND MENU

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IP guests experienced the Hatton Arms’ new look and menu at a launch party in Warwick. The exclusive event, hosted by owners Johnnie and Arabella Arkwright, included a showcase of food and drinks from the new spring menu, plus entertainment from BBC CWR presenter Kirsty Leahy whose DJ set of funk, soul, disco and house classics maintained the party vibe. More than 100 special guests included former England cricketer Ian Bell who lives in Dorridge and Warwick mayor Cllr Neale Murphy. I

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1 Verity Chapman, Arabella Arkwright, Sophie Sutton, Harry Arkwright, Sophie Jennings, Toni Lucas. 2 Jessica and Kerry Field. 3 Harry Arkwright and friend. 4 BBC CWR Radio presenter Kirsty Leahy. 5 Cllr Neale Murphy with his wife Sarah. 6 Richard Cornfield, Sam Fraser. 7 Arabella and Johnnie Arkwright.

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8 Rachel MalloyIan, Chantal and Ian Bell.

Photography by David Fawbert Photography

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Network evening celebrates in style Matthew Bourne’s stunning ballet irmingham Hippodrome treated its Leading Ladies social networking group to a very special evening to celebrate Matthew Bourne’s production of the Red Shoes. Guests heard from keynote speaker Martin Green, chief creative officer of Birmingham 2022, followed by a delicious supper created in partnership with the Oyster Club by Adam Stokes head chef, Rosanna Mosely, who also shared her experiences of training in a Michelin-starred kitchen and being at the helm of one of the city’s most regarded restaurants. I

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1 Martin Green. 2 Amy Mclean, Mary Montgomery. 3 Justine Coglan, Jackie Banks, Sally Gill, Olivia Newell, Katie Driscoll, Rowan Jones. 4 Karen Williams, Alison Weaver. 5 Rebecca Parys, Kerry Morgan. 6 Martin Green, Roseanna Moseley, Judith Greeburgh. 7 Jayne Surman, Lara Ratnarajara, Suzi Nortonl.

april 2020

Photography by Vivienne Bailey

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WHAT: Easter Egg Hunt – Easter Sunday WHEN: 12 April WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, tel: 0121 212 3383 www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk Loads of fun and games at this cracking annual Easter Egg Hunt. Meet the Easter bunny and award-winning clown Bibbledy Bob as well as sweet treats and a chance to win a year’s free membership for the family.

WHAT: Black Voices WHEN: 22 May WHERE: Town Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk Breaking out from being backing singers for artists like UB40, Ruby Turner and Fine Young Cannibals, the all-female a cappella group Black Voices now shines centre stage with distinctive vocal harmonies set to an eclectic mix of music from jazz to pop and reggae to gospel.

WHAT: Beethoven’s Eroica WHEN: 29 April WHERE: Symphony Hall, tel: 0121 780 3333 www.cbso.co.uk/whats-on Mozart often directed his own music from the violin – and that’s exactly what Julian Rachlin will be doing as, together with viola player Sarah McElravy, he performs what might be the greatest concerto Mozart ever wrote.

WHAT: Birmingham Wine Weekend WHEN: 24 to 26 April WHERE: Various venues, www.birminghamwineweekend.co.uk A long weekend of sipping delicious wines in some of the city’s best

WHAT: Chris Ramsey

venues. To take part, all you need to do is buy your wristband. From charming wine bars to stylish hotels, there are some cracking venues

WHEN: 17 April

taking part in this great event aimed at novices, connoisseurs and

WHERE: Alexandra Theatre, tel: 0844 8713011

everyone in between.

www.atgtickets.com/birmingham The critically-acclaimed comedian and star from last season’s Strictly is hitting the road for his biggest ever stand-up tour. Having filled venues across the country to rave reviews, don’t miss your chance to catch him live on stage in Brum.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: RHS Malvern Spring Festival WHEN: 9 to 12 May WHERE: Three Counties Showground, tel: 0844 811 0050 www.rhsmalvern.co.uk An awesome collection of top medalwinning show gardens with six of the main show garden designers presenting for the first time. New for this year is a designated houseplants section as well as a whole host of special guests who will be sharing their expertise.

WHAT: The Twang

WHAT: Seven Drunken Nights

WHEN: 5 April

WHEN: 11 April

WHERE: Glee Club www.glee.co.uk/birmingham

WHERE: Belgrade Theatre,

The Brummie Indi rock

tel: 02476 553055

band comes to town as

www.belgrade.co.uk

part of its Month of Sundays Acoustic Tour for a series of Sundays that will feature all the fans’ favourites in an intimate and acoustic setting.

An unforgettable night of classic tunes and Irish craic that’s guaranteed to have you singing and clapping along as Seven Drunken Nights returns with the Story of the Dubliners.

WHAT: The Comedy of Errors

WHAT: Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

WHEN: 25 April to 3 October

WHEN: 30 April to 3 May

WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, tel: 01789 403493

WHERE: Resorts World Arena, tel: 0844 338 8000

www.rsc.org.uk

www.theticketfactory.com

A man arrives in a strange town only to find that everyone knows his

Get ready to enter a world of adventure featuring daring tales

name but thinks he’s someone else. A woman wonders why her

from across the kingdom in this Disney On Ice extravaganza.

husband is not the man he was but starts to rather like it. Confusion

Join Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Mickey and all your favourites as this

mounts as everyone uncouples from themselves. Starring Miles Jupp.

wonderful wonderland returns to Birmingham.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Oliver Twist WHEN: 29 April to 9 May WHERE: Birmingham Rep, tel: 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk This bold, brutal and beautiful new play (not a musical) of Oliver Twist sends you on a dark adventure through the streets of London. Adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery whose previous work includes the Lovely Bones, Treasure Island and Frozen.

WHAT: KIDZ BOP World Tour WHEN: 11 April

WHAT: Creeper

WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600

WHEN: 18 April

www.thsh.co.uk

WHERE: Birmingham O2 Institute

Ashton, Max, Mia and Twinkle bring the interactive, live family-friendly concert

www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham

experience to Birmingham as part of the first-ever headlining tour for the

The self-styled English horror punk band is in Brum as part of its

British KIDZ BOP Kids, who have sold more than 215,000 albums to date.

God Can't Save Us Tour supporting the new album Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, due out next month.

WHAT: The Nolan Band Party Night WHEN: 24 April WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk There’s a real treat in store as Shane Nolan returns to the Hall with his amazing band. Entertaining with hits through all the ages from the Sixties to the Noughties, this will be an awesome night.

WHAT: Message In A Bottle WHEN: 8 and 9 April WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, www.birminghamhippodrome.com A spectacular, new dance-theatre show from triple Olivier Award nominee and Hippodrome associate Kate Prince, featuring iconic hits by Sting, including Roxanne, Every Breath You Take, and an Englishman In New York. A truly uplifting story of humanity and hope.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Harry Styles

WHAT: Bosie

WHEN: 15 April WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000

WHEN: 1 to 4 April WHERE: Old Rep, www.oldreptheatre.co.uk

www.theticketfactory.com

A one-man show about Oscar Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, from awardwinning actor Rik Barnett. A daring look at his disastrous family, illicit love affairs and the destruction he caused.

The One Direction heart-throb is travelling the world on his Love On Tour in support of his upcoming album Fine Line. Some extra tickets have been released for the Birmingham gig, so grab one if you can.

WHAT: K’antu Ensemble WHEN: 25 April WHERE: Mac Birmingham, tel: 0121 446 3232 www.macarts.co.uk This intriguing and multi-talented vocal and instrumental ensemble is known for its unique fusion of early, world and folk music.

WHAT: Mini Madness WHEN: 4 to 26 April WHERE: British Motor Museum, tel: 01926 927823 www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk Take a seat as Mini Madness presents a host of marvellous Mini-themed family activities. A chance to join the Mini Factory costumed characters on a family tour, design and make a Mini, or explore the Museum with the Fix It Family Trail. Over the Easter Weekend there’s also a traditional Easter Egg hunt with a Mini twist!

WHAT: Joel Dommett WHEN: 8 April WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel: 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk Join Joel as he brings you bang up-to-date on his life since his last live show. He has become a regular face on TV, from hosting I’m a Celebrity Extra Camp, touring with Joel and Nish VS the World and of course hosting the smash-hit, Masked Singer.

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IN THE CITY WITH JAMES WHEELER OF BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m James Wheeler, chief executive and curator of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I run an independent educational charity which first opened its doors in 1832. We have been welcoming the citizens of Birmingham and visitors from across the world to see our amazing collection of plants ever since. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? I’m already here – I live in a lovely house on the Calthorpe Estate in leafy Edgbaston, just a 10-minute walk from the Gardens. I have the greenest commute possible! HOW’S THE COMMUTE? Healthy, walking keeps me fit and chases away any winter blues. I love being outdoors.

ROOM TO GROW:

More green space is vital for residents of the

city’s new apartment blocks, says James

IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN? Brum is brilliant, especially if you run the Botanical Gardens as I do. You get the best of both worlds – the stunning greenery of our garden and all the excitement of the city on the doorstep. Having one of the best-loved green spaces in Birmingham with an audience of more than a million residents living right next door means we are never short of visitors. COFFEE BREAK? We have a great cafe on site here at the Gardens with the best view and some of the best coffee and cakes in town – I just take a wander through our beautiful Tropical Glasshouses and invite our guests to take a seat in our ‘room with a view’. LUNCHTIME? I’m a big fan of Loki in Edgbaston – it’s a really original and innovative business where you get to taste the best wines for a fraction of the price it would cost to buy a whole bottle. I get to go home for lunch but if I want to push the boat out, then Simpsons round the corner makes a wonderful staff canteen! POWERWALKING? Round our 15 acres of beautiful gardens, of course! Where else? WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY? I love the old industrial buildings now coming back to life across Birmingham – they make the Jewellery Quarter one of the most atmospheric places I’ve ever been to, especially at night. You can feel history there. AFTERWORK PINT? The Physician in Edgbaston, botanical gin and tonic for choice. HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? More green space to give the residents of all the new apartment blocks springing up across town somewhere to chill and play, especially the children, who love coming to the Botanical Gardens. There are so many post-industrial unused spaces in Birmingham just crying out to be brought back to life – a greener life!

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Profile for Birmingham Living Magazine

Birmingham Living April 2020 issue 91  

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