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April 2018

FINE DINING

CHEAL’S OF HENLEY

BOXING CHAMP

GALAL YAFAI

LADY SANITY WALK THIS WAY

FANCY FOOTWEAR

FLYING THE FLAG WITH THE PASSIONATE LYRICIST AND RAP SENSATION

GARY NEWBON + SALLY BEE + THE STRINGS CLUB + AYURVEDA


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EDITOR’S VIEW The stereotype of ‘troubled’ Birmingham formed decades ago lives on in the eyes of the TV makers and national media. Still, it makes for a good PR headline, I suppose…

piece in the national press caught my eye about a forthcoming documentary by Ross Kemp. The report featured the ex-EastEnders star as he went out on the ‘front line’ with armed response and counter terrorist units across the UK. The TV hard man has won awards for his previous film series, including visiting some of the world’s worst war-torn areas. Yet Ross says his experiences in Afghanistan and Syria were nothing compared to the terror he felt recording in Birmingham. In fact, the actor said that he felt he had to wear “the same body armour that I wore in Syria” on the streets of Brum. My first reaction on reading his words was one of disappointment and despair. I don’t dispute that gun use and gang crime in Birmingham has been rising, and that’s a big worry. My second thought was how predictable that Birmingham should be singled out for this kind of OTT-TV PR hype. For those looking in from the outside, it’s all too easy to target our city. The stereotype of ‘troubled’ Birmingham formed decades ago lives on in the eyes of the TV makers and national media. If it’s Birmingham, let’s single it out and give it a good kicking... Fact is that every city is struggling with the problems of gang violence, drug running and the growing use of lethal weapons. London, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol… you name it. And not just the UK. Europe has it as bad, if not worse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that TV highlights what it’s like for our police to face this threat every day. But I do question those who claim to be “more shocked” by what they find filming in Birmingham than in Middle East war zones. Still, it makes for a good PR headline, I suppose…

A

David Johns

Editor: David Johns david@brumliving.co.uk

Features editor: Shelley Carter shelley@brumliving.co.uk Designer: Tracy Duffy

Contributors: Rob Price, Sue Cooke, Rose Gallagher 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

Cover image: Lady Sanity by Paul Stringer

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

april 2018

/bhamliving

When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it

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g n i liv

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INSIDE

Highlights

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Lady Sanity Rap star performs to billions of viewers and puts Birmingham on the world stage Sally Bee Inspiring story of TV presenter who overcame five heart attacks with ‘positivity’ Chef’s Corner Head chef Alfonso Yufera-Ruiz recalls his foodie beginnings as a humble waiter Food & Drink News, views, reviews and recipes from Brum’s restaurant scene, plus Rob Price’s wine picks Fancy Feet Step out with us and celebrate the new season shoes that’ll put a spring in your step Health & Fitness It’s 5,000-years-old, so why is Ayurveda sweeping the health and beauty scene right now?

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CONTENTS

20

Best of the Rest

44 56 58 64 70 78 82 april 2018

Homes Award-winning designer Lisa Melvin looks at what’s hot right now in super-kitchens Motoring Sue Cooke has a total eclipse of the heart as she road tests Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross SUV Young, Gifted & Brummie Champion boxer Galal Yafai talks Olympics, Commonwealths and turning professional Business Company to watch the Strings Club, plus news & views from the business community Social Scene The pages that picture who’s been out and about networking in Birmingham this month Shows, Arts, Gigs and More What’s on, where and when – all you need to know about the city’s entertainment scene In The City With TV sports legend and producer Gary Newbon

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NEWS

HOW TO MAKE BABY ‘APPY An app-only babysitting service has launched in Birmingham. The brainchild of entrepreneur dads Ari Last and Adrian Murdock, the Bubble app uses social and community data to connect parents to local babysitters that their friends use. More than 30,000 parents and sitters currently use the app in London which scores 9.4 out of 10 on Trustpilot. Ari said: “We saw strong demand for the service in Birmingham so we’re really excited about rolling out in the area.”

Bringing you the brightest and most

g n i liv TODAY

colourful stories from across the city each month

JOHN’S TREK OF COURAGE

A Birmingham man who is deafblind will take on an epic 52-mile trek in June to raise money for national disability charity, Sense. John Churcher from Erdington will be guided by his friend Mark McGowan as he walks the historic Ridgeway in southern England. Over the past decade he has competed at the Paraclimbing World Championships and been recognised as the first blind person to climb to the summit of the Eiger. Visit: www.justgiving.com/Mark-

AKTAR GOES SOLO Top chef Aktar Islam is launching his first solo restaurant in Birmingham city centre next month – and it will champion ‘progressive’ Indian cuisine. The 70-cover Opheem is in Summer Row, close to the Jewellery Quarter and business district. Aktar, former chef director of Lasan Group in Birmingham, said: “It has been my dream to create a restaurant dedicated to the forwardthinking traditions of Indian cooking.”

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DANCE DREAM COMES TRUE A spectacular performance was the culmination of a four-month quest to inspire and develop dance talent from across the region, bringing big ballet aspirations to life. A final cast of 60, selected from 150 hopefuls, experienced intensive training, rehearsal and the performance of classic ballet Sleeping Beauty Dreams in front of a full house at the Hippodrome. Students were joined by Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers Yvette Knight and Edivaldo Souza da Silva.

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NEWS

JOHN LOOKS TO RISING STARS One of Birmingham’s best-known music stars is leading the search for the city’s brightest new talent. Duran Duran’s John Taylor is supporting next month’s first-ever Birmingham Music Awards. John, who will present the Rising Star Award, said: “Birmingham is where the Duran Duran journey began and I like to keep in touch with new and aspiring musicians and musical artists – it’s where the energy is. It’s going to be a great night for the city’s scene.”

ROYAL OPENING

INVASION OF THE JELLYFISH Some of the most mysterious creatures in the world’s oceans are the stars of a new permanent exhibition at Birmingham National Sea Life Centre. The Jelly Invaders exhibit features five different jellyfish species – from the bizarre ‘upside down jellyfish’ to the glittering ‘sea nettle’ variety from the Indo-Pacific. Centre curator Jonny Rudd said: “Jellyfish are older than dinosaurs as they first swam in our oceans 500 million years ago.”

The new £57million Royal Birmingham Conservatoire was officially opened at a sell-out concert attended by its patron Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. The prince unveiled a commemorative plaque before the performance by the Royal Conservatoire’s Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s music director, Mirga Gražinyt-Tyla. The prince said: “This celebration is not just about the United Kingdom’s first purpose-built music college for a generation, but also a prefix which recognises the fantastic contribution this institution has made to music education over many years.”

CAMERAMAN TRIBUTES

DATE WITH DARCEY

Tributes have been paid to a photographer who

Dame Darcey Bussell shared her passion for dance

played an important part in Coventry’s winning UK

with more than 200 members of Edgbaston Priory

City of Culture 2021 bid. Maganbhai Patel –

when she launched Diverse Dance Mix (DDMIX), her

affectionately known as Masterji – was well-known

dance-based fitness programme at the club. The

in the South Asian community, having

ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge took

photographed immigrants as they moved to

members through a series of dance-based fitness

Coventry since the 1950s. His work shot to national

routines at the club’s Indoor Tennis Centre. The

prominence when, at the age of 94, he held his first

DDMIX full body aerobic dance workout classes are

exhibition as part of the Coventry bid process.

part of the club’s Lifestyle membership package.

£7M LIFESAVER LANDS A new helicopter has joined Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s fleet. The £7million Airbus was unveiled by charity chairman Brendan Connor and ambassadors John Challis, Sir Lee Pearson and Neil Back. It will fly an average of three missions a day and can travel greater distances without the need for refuelling, enabling the aircrew to respond even faster due to increased speed capability. The large interior can carry additional aircrew to major incident scenes as well as extra medical kit.

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NEWS

‘MR BALLET’ STEPS DOWN The man who has been the creative driving force behind Birmingham Royal Ballet for nearly a quarter of a century is to step down next year. Director David Bintley plans to pursue increasing international requests to choreograph new works. He said: “I’ve been a part of this great company since I first joined as a boy 42 years ago. I will look back on these years as being the pinnacle of my life in dance and ones which brought me the greatest artistic and personal joy.”

SMASHING CLASSIC LINE-UP This year’s Birmingham Classic WTA championship reads like a who’s who of women’s tennis. British No 1 Johanna Konta, Petra Kvitova and reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza headline the event from 16 to 24 June at the Edgbaston Priory Club, along with a host of other top 20 players, including Coco Vandeweghe, pictured. The event is one of the biggest on the women’s tour and in the top 12 for prize money.

IN BRIEF BULLYING BID YMCA Birmingham is urging local schools to join the Be Real Campaign to cut body image bullying. It is offering free Body Confidence Campaign Toolkits, which have already been downloaded by more than 700 UK schools.

ART ON TOUR

ED AND GLYNN BROUGHT TO BOOK

ASHLEY ROUGHS IT OUT

Two of Birmingham’s most famous faces are backing a charity book project to help children

Warwickshire County Cricket Club sport

with anxieties as they start secondary school.

director and former England cricketer

Heart FM presenter Ed James and TV chef

Ashley Giles is set to sleep rough to help

Glynn Purnell are supporting Look at our Book,

combat youth homelessness as part of the

run by financial services mutual Wesleyan,

second Edgbaston Sleepout. Ashley will

which will feature a story by Year 8 children

join other fund-raisers at the Edgbaston

from Four Dwellings Academy in Quinton.

ground on 26 April to help raise cash for St

Pupils have been working on their storylines

Basils which supports those at risk of being

and characters and the best will be chosen by Ed

homeless in Birmingham and Warwickshire.

and Glynn to become a book written by leading

Last year’s Sleepout raised more than

author BB Taylor.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is taking 200 works from its world-class collection on tour to the US. The Victorian Radicals exhibition, in a partnership with the American Federation of Arts, will open in Oklahoma in October.

TURKEY TROT West Midlands police officer Ruth Young’s love of Turkey will see her run in next month’s London Marathon – to raise funds to save stray animals in the picturesque holiday destination of Kalkan on the Turquoise Coast.

£15,000.

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NEWS

FESTIVAL FIRES UP Birmingham’s biggest arts and culture festival is set to return. Culture Central, the development organisation for culture in the city, has confirmed that planning is underway for Birmingham Weekender 2019, which take place from 27 to 29 September next year. Last year’s festival attracted 165,000 visitors to see cuttingedge music, dance and theatre take over the streets, generating an estimated £2.7million benefit to the city’s economy.

TV MASTERCLASS Students at Stratford-upon-Avon College were treated to a broadcasting masterclass by the makers of BBC One’s TV detective drama Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators. The masterclass was organised by BBC Midlands

GOLD STANDARD This team at Birmingham Botanical Gardens struck gold at the prestigious RHS Early Spring Show. They claimed the gold medal award for their national collection of cyclamen after working tirelessly for six weeks on their superb display. The award-winning plants have now been returned to their homes in the nursery, but will appear in the Alpine house at the Botanical Gardens for visitors to admire.

and the Royal Television Society and featured series producer Ella Kelly, director Ian Barber and actor Patrick Walshe McBride who plays Sebastian in the show which is set in Stratford and stars Mark Benton and Jo Joyner.

CELEBRATING: Former principal Pam Taylor with vice chancellor Scott Davidson

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Newman University launched its 50th anniversary with a special mass on its foundation day, led by the Archbishop

WHAT A MONTH! Arena Birmingham has celebrated a major sporting treble in one month. The venue hosted the IAAF World Indoor Championships, All-England Badminton Open Championships and Gymnastics World Cup. The events reinforced Birmingham’s status as a major sports city ahead of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Council leader Cllr Ian Ward said: “Hosting major sports events puts Birmingham in the spotlight, brings thousands of visitors to the city and helps to inspire young people.”

of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley. The mass is the first in a series of birthday events. Newman was founded in 1968 and became one of the first Catholic universities in the country since the Reformation when it received full university title in 2013. The university started out with 182 students and today is home to more than 2,700.

GOT ANY NEWS? Email your news and pictures to editor@brumliving.co.uk 10 birmingham living

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COVER STORY

SENSE OF

SANITY

Rap star Lady Sanity is performing at the Commonwealth Games hand-over ceremony in Australia this month and she sees it as a chance for Birmingham to shine like never before on a world stage ady Sanity is a rising star on the UK rap scene having been spotted by BBC Introducing in 2015, subsequently rocking three slots at Glastonbury and winning industry awards. She’s now taken her music from her home production set-up to a ‘real’ studio with top production values and this proud Brummie means business. She’s also proud and excited to be part of the Commonwealth Games hand-over ceremony at the closing of the Games in Australia’s Gold Coast this month. She’ll perform alongside other talented Brummies as the baton is passed onto Birmingham.

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WORDS OF WISDOM Last year was pivotal for the young rapper as she received funding from the MOBOs and PRSF’s Women Make Music Scheme as well as winning GRM daily’s 2017 Get Rated award for which her acceptance speech was a real big-up to Brum. Lady Sanity’s beloved home city provides much of her inspiration. She explains: “Birmingham features in a lot of tracks. You’ve got to be true to yourself.” One of Lady Sanity’s idols is fellow Brummie and former Birmingham Living cover star, Lady Leshurr who has offered some words of wisdom. “She’s such a lovely

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person and gives a lot of support back,” said Lady Sanity. "Essentially, she’s doing the same as me just on a bigger scale!” Lady Sanity joined forces with another of the city’s up-and-coming talents – who we’ve also written about – singer song-writer and beatboxer, Ed Geater. Their collaboration, Found A Place was a piece of powerful and clever hip-hop released through Brox Records which gained airplay on BBC 6 Music through Tom Robinson as well as Brum Radio and BBC Introducing. UNDER CONSTRUCTION While Lady Sanity’s love for Birmingham is clear, she accepts it still has some limitations. For instance, there aren’t many live opportunities available in the city. She explains: “Some venue promoters avoid rap and R&B genres. They aren’t keen, so it’s harder to get that experience here. We could do with an infrastructure to help artists.” Lots of people hoping to make it in the music world move to London, but Lady Sanity’s not for upping sticks. “I’ve never been tempted.” Growing up, Lady Sanity says: “I was of those kids that kept myself to myself. I played acoustic guitar in a band at school and studied Music GCSE where I learned the technical side as well as song writing. I

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COVER STORY

Photograph\y by Paul Stringer

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COVER STORY

Last year was pivotal for the

young rapper as she received funding from

the MOBOs and PRSF’s Women Make

Music Scheme as well as winning GRM daily's 2017 Get Rated award

developed a love of hip-hop and it just grew from there.” She says music was never really a hobby as she always felt she wanted it to be a career, so when BBC Introducing spotted her potential and supported debut mixtape, Construction, it was the first step to achieving that. “That was the first big thing for me,” she says. “BBC Introducing has been a massive support.” When three slots at Glastonbury followed, Lady Sanity was over the moon. “It was crazy. I was privileged and honoured to be involved.” PASSIONATE LYRICIST Taking inspiration from the likes of Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliot, Lady Sanity has been described by the music press as ‘one of the most exciting and passionate lyricists of the moment’ with ‘lyrics that set her apart from the competition’. EP For Figures is out now with lead track, Role Models getting a lot of love. ‘Melodic’, ‘bass-thunderous’ and ‘hypnotic’ are just a few of the accolades being dished out to the track that Lady Sanity says is about ‘keeping it real to myself ’. She comments: “There’s a lot of pressure on women in music to look and carry themselves in a certain way. Role Models is about finding inspiration in the amazing people around you in your everyday life, opposed to this unrealistic, overpriced culture that’s thrown in our faces so often.” I wonder since interviewing Lady Leshurr two years ago who made the point that being called a

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female rapper is weird since no one ever refers to male rappers, whether it still happens. Lady Sanity says: “It happens. It’s one of them things. I guess traditionally rapping isn’t been the most feminine of genres. There are lots of women coming through now though. We’re flying the flag!” LIVE SHOWS Lady Sanity plans to do more live shows and put out singles rather than EPs this year. “I’d like to generate my own sound with better production values.” While she’s not that comfortable with promoting herself, she recognises that PR and brand building is crucial as well, so some of her PRS Foundation funding will be spent on that. “It doesn’t come naturally, but I know if I want to get my music out there it has to come with it.” For now, Lady Sanity’s enjoying her first trip Down Under where she’ll perform on a global stage to an estimated one billion viewers for the official Birmingham 2022 hand-over ceremony at the Carrara Stadium at the end of the current Commonwealth Games. Film maker Daniel Alexander and choreographer Rosie Kay will also be performing with further artists to be confirmed as we write. Lady Sanity says: “This is a real moment for Birmingham to show the world who we are and what our city is about and to be asked to be part of that is huge. I hope I can be a voice for young people in Brum as we invite the world to join us in 2022.” I

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FEATURE

HEART AND SOUL TV’s Sally Bee tells us about her plucky road to recovery after suffering five heart attacks and the positive outlook that helped her get there

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doubt there are many people who, after suffering five heart attacks would feel like running positivity pop-ups. But TV presenter Sally Bee has put herself back together again and is doing just that, starting here in her beloved Midlands. After putting her TV career on hold 15 years ago to have babies – she starred in Peak Practice among other things – Sally’s life was rocked by three heart attacks in the space of a week followed by two more attacks in 2016. Not expected to reach 40, Sally is shouting from the roof tops about being 50 and is ‘giving back’ by spreading her brand of positivity to whoever’ll listen. Her healthy lifestyle message is evident in a regular cooking spot on ITV’s Lorraine and her inspirational book, Beelicious. In addition, Sally’s involved in wellness mentoring and fulfils an ambassadorial role at Heart Research UK.

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CRUSHED All of Sally’s children were under the age of five when the first heart attack struck. Healthy young women don’t have heart attacks by and large, but confusingly and scarily Sally bucked that trend with near catastrophic results. She was just 36 at the time. Sally recalls: “I was at a birthday party with the children when I started to feel extremely unwell. I understood immediately that something serious was happening. I handed my baby to a friend before collapsing. My chest felt like it was being crushed and I was struggling to breathe.” Friends called an ambulance while Sally tried to give her husband instructions about what to do with the children. After an ECG, paramedics said there was a slight abnormality but nothing to worry about. They took Sally to hospital from which she left with indigestion pills. The next couple of days were spent recuperating at home until the terrific pain hit again. She explains: “If at that moment

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someone had offered to cut off my right arm so that the pain would go away, I would readily have handed over the knife.” Cardiologists confirmed Sally was having a heart attack. Sally was moved to another hospital for an angiogram where she suffered another massive attack at which point her husband was called in to say goodbye. Sally says: “The doctors had told him that my heart had sustained a shocking amount of damage and that I was going to die and yet I had so much to live for.” Sally survived the unsurvivable and began slowly rebuilding her life through the power of a positive outlook and a healthy approach to diet and well-being. The emotional rollercoaster calmed and the fear of another heart attack stopped ruling Sally’s life eventually. A diagnosis of FMD (Fibromuscular Dysplasia) in 2014 solved the mystery of why she’d had the attacks but didn’t help much to put Sally’s mind at rest. FMD is a rare condition of the blood vessels which causes them to be very wiggly. Sally explains: “It transpires I have wiggly arteries in my brain, neck, heart, kidneys and legs – the condition leaves me prone to heart attacks and strokes.” FURTHER TRAUMA Life was good until 2016 when two further attacks struck. “Everything was trotting along nicely. My kids were all growing up, happy and thriving.” Twelve years of rebuilding had been wiped out and Sally found the thought of having to fight back again physically and mentally daunting. “I genuinely didn’t know if I could do it again. I had the curtain pulled around the bed in the ward and wouldn’t let anyone see me.” Then Sally started to think ‘I’ve done this before, I can do it again.’ She just needed to work through the stages. “As before, I understood that my recovery was down to my food, my fitness, my thoughts, my movement and me. They all needed to work

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FEATURE

together to get my life back.” More organised this time round, Sally stepped back from TV to get strong again and starting writing wellness journal Beelicious. She developed techniques to trick her brain into pushing negative thoughts to one side. “I reached a point where I was more afraid of living in fear than being dead. I taught myself to think differently.” Another attack could happen at any time which is tough to live with. “People say it can happen to anybody. You could get hit by a bus. Well that’s true, but most people don’t hear the big red bus revving at their door every day!” Sally recently signed a sponsorship deal and one of the clauses in the paperwork addressed what would happen if she died which was an eye-opener. Living in the Midlands means that Sally did well in the NHS postcode lottery, getting top treatment and support from Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She now counsels heart patients around the UK and works with a variety of companies and NHS consultants ‘handing over the tools’. She says: “We all know what we should be doing to stay healthy. We just need to engage the brain and make the right decisions.” I AN EVENING WITH SALLY BEE Catch Sally on 12 April at 7pm at the Bramall, Birmingham University

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FOOD & DRINK

ALFONSO YUFERA-RUIZ For the head chef at Don Diego, less is more and flavour is king. He recalls his foodie beginnings and tells us cooking is in his blood Tell us about your cooking My cooking is rustic and I like to keep things simple. For me, as both a chef and a foodie, the flavours have to be on the plate before anything else. After that, two or three ingredients is enough. It might sound basic, but for me it’s finding the flavours that fit together. That is the true art of cooking. How did you become a chef? Most of my career, I have been front of the house. I’ve been everything from waiter to restaurant manager, but cooking is in my blood, so I decided to get back to the kitchen. I went to catering school in Madrid where I gained an NVQ in Catering. I attended Stratford College under Alan Deegan and Birmingham College of Food with Rob Smith. I worked in great places at the time, learning from the best of the best, both in the kitchen and in the restaurant. Having a food education from my early days was vital and helped me develop a better understanding of cooking. My influences are British Mediterranean mainly. What do you eat when at home? It depends on how much time I have! Some of my go-to meals include everything from butter bean stew to omelettes. Recently, I’ve been wishing for warmer weather, so any fish a la plancha or a quick burrito have taken my fancy.

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CHEF’S CORNER

ALFONSO’S ROASTED LAMB SHANK, PARSNIP MASH, RIOJA SAUCE For the recipe to make Alfonso’s tasty lamb shank recipe visit www.brumliving.co.uk

Share a cooking tip Slice a ciabatta bread, toast it. Chop a beef tomato with half a garlic clove, some oregano and olive oil and blend all together. Pour mixture on the toasted ciabatta, with a pinch of Maldon salt. It’s the perfect quick snack! What was your favourite food as a kid? I was a terrible eater when I was younger, so hot dogs and burgers made my day back then. Food heaven and food hell? Beef or tuna tartare for heaven. Anything cooked with carelessness can be a hell.

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? It’s too tough to call who the best in the business is now, but in the Nineties Keith Floyd and Marco Pierre White were superb to me. And who’s the best in Brum? I don’t know yet, but it will be somebody who cooks for the customer, not for the picture, and does so with passion and honesty. Is the customer always right? Not always right, but their opinion is always very valuable.

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What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Definitely grilled lizards and fried birds! They were so popular in Madrid and Granada back in the day. Fortunately, it is forbidden now. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? A struggling actor! Haha. What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? Grilled artichokes to start, swordfish a la plancha with salsa verde to follow, and then strawberries poached in Pedro Ximenez to finish. I Don Diego Restaurant, 8 Chad Square, Hawthorne Road, Edgbaston, B15 3TQ. Tel: 0121 448 6460 www.dondiego.co.uk

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SEASON’S EATINGS

APRIL FOOL! There’s nothing fake about

this clowning celebration of the craziest month of the year t’s the start of a month when you’re never quite sure what is fact and what is fake. April Fool’s Day always brings forth incredible tricks and pranks… whether it’s kids or grownups acting the clown! But we can assure you there is nothing crazy or spoofy about this special April Fool recipe. Just the taste of smooth, sweet and simply smashing strawberry…

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STRAWBERRY FOOL Ingredients:     

450g strawberries Juice of ½ lemon 100g icing sugar 300ml double cream 200ml fromage frais

Method: Wash and remove the stalks from the strawberries. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon juice (or some strawberry liqueur if you want to pimp it up!) Next sieve over the icing sugar then mash up the strawberries so that they are juicy but still with some texture. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it forms firm peaks. Stir in the fromage frais and then fold in the crushed strawberries. Spoon into individual glasses and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

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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 STREET FOOD ON A ROLL… Rola Wala means ‘man that rolls’ in Hindi – and it’s also the name of a new eatery serving authentic Indian street food which has opened in Selfridges. Dishes range from the mildest dal to spiced meats. Balti-loving experts can also try the eye-watering Scorpion sauce which peaks at 1.4 million heat units on the Scoville scale! For every meal bought, Rola Wala donates a meal to children in poverty via charity, One Feeds Two.

LET THE PARTY BEGIN A cool new party venue has opened in Edgbaston. High Field Studio – nestling inside a former architect’s studio – boasts its own private bar and bags of space that can be set up in any style to make a real occasion of out any get-together. Next door to the High Field gastro pub, the Studio can hold 80 for drinks and buffets or 60 for a sit-down.

UNCORKING NEW WINE BAR Birmingham’s oldest wine merchant is growing places with a new wine bar. Connolly’s has a heritage back to the 19th century and the family has been shipping wine into Brum since 1906. The wine bar, called Arch 13 at Connolly’s, will open next month at the front of Connolly’s existing home in Livery Street.

TONIC FOR GIN WINNER Cheers to independent Birmingham bar 40 St Paul’s, which has been named the UK’s Bar of the Year at the inaugural Icons of Gin Awards. The 24-cover gin specialist in the Jewellery Quarter beat off competition from London, including Dukes Hotel in Mayfair, as well as bars in Leeds and Glasgow. Award winners were voted by fellow spirits professionals.

PEAKY BLINDERS IN A GLASS New tipples inspired by TV’s Peaky Blinders have been created by Sadler’s brewery in Lye, near Stourbridge. Chris Sadler, fifth generation of the Sadler family, said: “Our mission is to create products with their own unique story, and we believe we’ve done that with this new range.” Peaky Blinder craft gin, Irish whiskey and rum are stocked exclusively at Selfridges.

FESTIVAL FAVOURITE RETURNS Summer’s coming… and that means so is the eagerly-awaited Colmore Food Festival. The Festival will return to Victoria Square in the city centre for the eighth time on Friday and Saturday, 6 and 7 July. The celebration of Colmore business district restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels attracts 30,000 visitors and will be launched by Brum star chef Glynn Purnell.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

CHEAL’S OF HENLEY 64 High Street, Henley-in-Arden, B95 5BX. Tel: 01564 793856 chealsofhenley.co.uk he Beast from the East scuppered our chances of getting to Cheal’s for a birthday lunch. No taxi driver would make the trip, so we reluctantly postponed, assuming that if a professional wouldn’t risk driving nor should we. That, and a wine list that looked awesome, meant that neither of us wanted to get behind the wheel. Take 2 was booked for the following weekend. With the knowledge that chef patron Matt Cheal cut his teeth at Simpsons, we figured we were in good hands. The exterior of the building looked less fine dining and more cosy country pub but inside the restaurant was beautifully decked out with neutral walls, exposed beams, a log burner and stylish accessories and furniture. With a glass of Laurent Perrier in one hand and a crisp cheddar beignet in the other, the belated birthday celebrations kicked off in style. There were a number of menus to consider; a six course tasting menu called 77 and three further menus titled 33, 44 and 55, the number relating to the cost of each. Tasting menus are not my thing – I’m too much of a control freak – so I plumped for 55 and the birthday boy went for 33 due to a pork belly dish winking intriguingly at him. First up, an amuse bouche of silky butternut squash espuma with trendy yeast flakes and a slick of curry oil

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was a great start and set the tone for what was to come. Crispy duck egg yolk with a lentil and celeriac risotto, oyster mushroom and watercress may have been the best choice we’ve ever made in a restaurant. It was utterly delicious, super rich and unctuous with a runny yolk which presumably takes some wizardry to get right. I can’t gush enough about this dish, but space is limited, so I’ll move on to another plate worthy of high praise. Fillet of beef cooked perfectly medium rare with a little pie of beef cheek packed a serious punch. The accompanying jus was deep and silky with numerous accents of greatness adorning the plate. Honestly it was dreamy. A delicate rhubarb soufflé with a fragrant bergamot sorbet finished off proceedings beautifully. There were too many incredible dishes to rattle through each one but needless to say we left the restaurant feeling utterly spoiled. Restaurant manager Anoop and his team were all brilliant. Aware that this all sounds a bit gushing, we should make it clear that we paid for lunch, so there’s no back scratching! The bill was relatively reasonable. Two hundred pounds for a truly special lunch which included a superb bottle of wine (Californian chardonnay Guenoc) and two glasses of champagne felt like unbelievable value. Had we known what awaited us, we’d have battled through the Beast from the East on foot wearing flip-flops. Go. I

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FOOD & DRINK

GO BLOW A

TENNER

The average we Brits spend on a bottle of wine is just over a fiver. Rob Price explains why paying more not only jazzes up the quality, but actually delivers better value

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ow much do you spend on a wine? Maybe it depends on the occasion, maybe you push the boat out a little more at the weekend. If you’re going round to someone’s house you might up the budget a tad, you don’t want to appear cheap. But I think we would all agree that finding a cheaper wine that tastes pretty good always puts a smile on our faces. Of course, that’s becoming more difficult as the duty/tax element on a wine is not insignificant and on the less-expensive wines it’s a huge chunk of the cost. Duty on wine is £2.16. VAT is paid on duty so the total tax burden for one, still, bottle of wine is £2.59. For sparkling and fortified wines the duty and tax is even higher!

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PROFIT & LOSS If you spend £5.50 – which is the average price we Brits splash out on bottle of wine – then the tax element is £3.08. Ignoring the tax, this bottle of wine is only £2.42. Now of course, some profit needs to be made by the distributer and retailer, plus the costs of the wine producer and shipping. It doesn’t leave a lot for the actual wine. Maybe around just 15p! Because the duty element is fixed, and does not increase irrespective of the price, it becomes a lower percentage of the overall cost the more expensive the wine. So, for a £10 bottle of wine, the duty bit is still £2.16. VAT will increase, but overall the tax is £3.83. The wine element increases from 15p to nearer £3. More can be spent on making that bottle of wine taste better. They might spend more time in the vineyard, keeping the grapes healthy and getting them as ripe as can be. Maybe they will do some grape selection when the fruit are picked to remove those that are not perfect. In the winery, they may use modern stainless steel, temperature-controlled vats, some oak barrels perhaps. The wine may be matured for a while, all adding to the cost and hopefully making it taste better.

ROB’S BEST VALUE PICKS Here are my top four wines – all costing less than £10 – that make me happy because they taste fantastic and cost very little… Best crisp white – Mud House The success story of recent times is Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. Terrific value, and Mud House is typical of the style. Zingy and crisp, with grapefruit, nettles and peach. Quite widely available at around £8.50 a bottle. Best refreshing white – Saumur “Les Plantagenets” 2016 Made with 100 per cent Chenin Blanc, this lovely fresh and smooth white wine hails from the Loire Valley. Floral and peachy and brilliant value at only £7.75 a bottle. Available from the Wine Society. Best light red – Definition Beaujolais Village 2016 From Majestic, this is a lovely, fresh, easy-drinking red wine with typical raspberry and candyfloss flavours. Serve slightly chilled. £9.99 a bottle. Best full-bodied red – Glorioso Rioja Reserva 2013 Rioja generally offers fantastic value and this example is very, very good. Reserva means it has spent 12 months in oak, followed by a further two years in bottle. It’s magnificently mellow, earthy, spicy and complex. A joy to drink. Tesco at £9, less when on offer.

tend to divide opinion more. These wines will be more individual and have flavours that will really appeal to some and be a massive turn off to others. I reckon spending between £8 and £10 will give you access to a wide range of wines. No problem spending more if the budget allows and for some wines – such as top quality Bordeaux and Burgundy – you will have to. Make sure you take advantage of wine promotions at retailers; either the 25 per cent offered by most supermarkets at various times of the year, or the ‘mix six’ price from Majestic, or become a wine angel at Naked wines. Support your local wine merchant and they will always be able to find wines at less than £10 for you. And have a look at the Wine Society which has a great selection in this price range. I Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company offering fun, informal wine tasting events and

MATTER OF TASTE Spend more than £10 and you should be guaranteed a great bottle of wine. Of course it doesn’t quite work like that because paradoxically wines that cost more

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Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses in Birmingham, Warwick and Milton Keynes city centres. For more information contact Rob Price, 0121 270 7359 www.birminghamwineschool.com

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

TOUCH OF THE TROPICS Remember when it used to be sunny and hot? They call it summer – and here’s the perfect way to toast its return s the days start to draw out, the sun becomes our friend again and the temperatures rise, what taste combo better sums up summer than passion fruit and lychees? To give the tropical twosome a bit of a kick you might like to add a drop of vodka and a dash of coconut – and make yourself (and your friends) this great, heady cocktail…

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VODKA, LYCHEE AND PASSION FRUIT COCKTAIL Ingredients:

I 25ml Premium vodka I 25ml Japanese sake

I 2 teaspoons of coconut extract I 20ml passion fruit juice I 25ml lychee juice

I The juice and seeds of half a fresh passion fruit

Method: Squeeze the juice and seeds of the passion fruit into a shaker. Add all the other ingredients with cubed ice and shake. Strain over crushed ice and garnish with half a passion fruit and a lychee

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PASTA DI PIAZZA 11 Brook St, St Paul’s Square, Birmingham, B3 1SA. Tel: 0121 236 5858 pastadipiazza.com e love Italian food and hospitality as much as the next person, so why this was our first trip to this Jewellery Quarter institution, we have no clue. We’ve walked past the pretty restaurant and been wowed by its kerb appeal a thousand times, always vowing to try it. Better late than never. It’s a big old beast of a dining room packed with rustic charm and busy for the dreaded graveyard shift – Monday lunch. People were settled into cosy corners nattering as though they were regulars and the vibe was happy and lively. We were promised ‘authentic Italian food in relaxed surroundings’. Happy days. The menu was so massive we needed a glass of fizz to digest it. It’s worth noting the choice of Champagne by the glass was zero so we had to settle for a bottle. First world problems and all that.

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BAKING HOT A prawn and avocado starter (£8.50) with a punchy Marie Rose did what it said on the tin. It was light, fresh and perfectly good with a pleasing amount of prawns. Baked goat’s cheese with grilled courgette and peppers (£6.95) was served in the dish it was baked in and remained hotter than the sun well after friends had polished off their food. Staff were attentive and friendly tackling some odd requests from our table – not by me by the way.

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One of our favourites, calves liver (£18.50) was perfectly pink and delicious, however it was atop a mound of mashed potato the size of the Big Peg which was a bit unappealing. A fillet steak (£23.50) requested medium rare was grey throughout, but the flavour was good and the sauce tasty. Ravioli filled generously with crab in a rich lobster bisque (£14) was excellent, but again we felt the presentation could have been a bit more exciting and creative. Certainly the place is full of rustic charm which we loved – we actually had loads of fun – and the food on the whole tasted great. It isn’t cheap though, and we’d much rather pay a bit less for neater portions and considered presentation. There’s rustic and then there’s careless and we felt it was teetering on the cusp of the latter. I

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Fancy Feet

WHAT FELT LIKE THE LONGEST WINTER ON RECORD HAS FINALLY JOGGED ON – SO WE’RE CELEBRATING WITH SUNNY NEW SEASON SHOES TO SET US UP FOR SPRING

SLIDE INTO SPRING Sete buckled slider £98, cotton wrap midi skirt £140, Jigsaw, Cannon Street

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STYLE

THINK PINK Canterbury heel £139, Hush at John Lewis, Grand Central

COLOUR POP Britannia £75, Dune, Bullring

TOP SOCK White sock boot, M&S, Fort Shopping Park

WHITE OUT Kate woven trainer £119, Hobbs, Grand Central

ur Penelope Chilvers boots have served us well over the winter months but, to be frank, we couldn’t be happier to see the back of them. Spring brings with it colour, lightness and a delicate touch we’ve been hankering after since 1 January. So here, we bring you pieces that will give you that pretty spring vibe. The sling back is strong this season – see the lavender heel by Daniel Footwear pictured – as is the mule. Check out the Muhra raffia gold version pictured from Jigsaw which is firmly at the top of our wish list. Who are we trying to kid? They’re clearly already ensconced in the wardrobe pretending they’ve been there for ages in an ‘oh these old things’ sort of way. Gorgeous. While we’re on the subject of Jigsaw – just to be clear they’re not paying us – they’ve managed to create a slider that we actually like. Usually

O CHECK MATE Red and white mule £42, Wallis, Bullring

ANIMAL MAGIC Bam Bam shoe £85, Dune, Bullring

BEJEWELLED MULE Aquazzura embellished mules £555, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

BEYOND THE BEACH Loewe canvas espadrilles £325, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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avoided at all costs, the orange buckled version pictured is a winner in our book. Sticking with flats, Aquazzura has a marvellous mule bejewelled with a sunburst buckle that elevates it to new heights and makes it very wearable – great with jeans, but equally at home on the red carpet. You can’t go wrong with a metallic brogue either which is the perfect transition shoe that compliments every outfit. Try Twiggy’s rose gold version at M&S. This season’s heels range from short and blocky, a la Topshop’s canary yellow woven shoe, cute kittens at Hush to vertiginous stilettos at Dune and Sophia Webster whose winged sandal in its many guises we will never tire of. We’ve optimistically sneaked in a fun striped Loewe espadrille too that’ll see you through the warmer months with a smile. Too good to save for the beach... I

DRESS DOWN H! by Henry Holland jumper £30, skirt £40, Faith trainers £29, Debenhams, Fort Shopping Park

BLOCK PARTY Office, Bullring

TWINKLE TOES Faith heels £45, Debenhams, Fort Shopping Park

RIGHT STRIPES Striped block heel, Oasis, New Street

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LILAC’S BACK Sling back £139, Daniel Footwear, Mailbox

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FANTASY FOOTWEAR Sophia Webster winged sandals £595, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

SOLE FULL Impalo £99.99, Daniel Footwear, Mailbox

MARY JANE Pink velvet Mary Jane £16.99, TKMaxx, Bullring Link

LOAFING AROUND Gucci horsebit loafers £495, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

SLING BACK TO WHITE Jacket £90, trousers £35, shoes £39, Wallis, Bullring

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IN VOGUE BROGUE Twiggy brogue £65, M&S, Fort Shopping Park

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STYLE

NOT SO MELLOW Yellow heel £46, Topshop, Bullring

FLAT PACK Denim pencil skirt £98, Muhra raffia slip-on £98, Jigsaw, Cannon Street

HEAVY METAL Silver courts, M&S, Fort Shopping Park

ON POINT Metallic slingback £35, Next, Bullring

SUNNY COURTS Yellow sling back £55, Next, Bullring

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COOL MULE Yellow mule £62, Topshop, Bullring

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BEAUTY

GLOW WITH THE FLOW

With warmer weather on the horizon, Rose Gallagher opts for the natural look with her favourite, easy-going glow-givers Sensai Glowing Base, £39 from Harrods If glow, for you, is radiantly lit skin, the Sensai Glowing Base

Trish McEvoy Correct and Even Concealers, £40 from Liberty of London

is pure magic. Like a liquid gold, you can use this alone on clean

Trish McEvoy has created such an unusual concealer

skin to give a luminous finish or mix into your foundation to give

texture, I think she may have finally mastered finding a

it more glow. This works especially well to soften the appearance

formula that doesn’t crack or crease under the eyes.

of fine lines in more mature skin, reflecting light.

Mimicking the texture of rubber, her new concealers plump and cover any imperfections, leaving a dewy and

Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, £30 from John Lewis

full coverage finish.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in your Glow Palette, £25 from Selfridges

For something that adds glow and coverage, Charlotte Tilbury’s new Flawless Filter delivers what it says on the bottle. Her glowing cream is

My favourite launch of the season, this palette

available in seven shades to suit each skin tone

from IT Cosmetics has made my beauty regime

and can be used alone to give radiance and a

infinitely quicker. Containing bronzer, blusher and

sheer coverage tint or used on top of foundation

highlighter all in one, you can use each shade

as a highlighter. Gives the illusion of that pearlescent

individually as needed or sweep your brush across

smoothing Snapchat filter but in real life.

all three to give your complexion a sun-kissed glow. Worried about where to put each colour? Their new

Pixi Beauty Jasmine Oil, £26 from Marks and Spencer Pixi has always been one of my favourite skincare brands because their products work and they don’t break the bank. Their new Jasmine Oil is a dry oil,

One Sweep Wonder brush makes the perfect pairing, gently sweeping colour onto the skin with no patches.

meaning that it absorbs quickly and sits well under make-up. This is an ideal glow boost to anyone with especially dry skin who needs an enhanced hit of moisture.

NARS Change of Sheen Highlighting Powders, £28 from Harvey Nichols For those that wish to secure a more polished, photo-ready glow, these sheer highlighting powders from NARS are beauty’s big news. Dust a touch of this over your completed make-up to take it from done to dazzling. A new texture from NARS, these focus on adding glow, not glitter.

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STYLE FOR MEN

COOL

SHOES

Mankles at the ready, the warm weather is upon us. Whether you’re ditching socks or not, now’s the time to sort out your footwear for the new season

HELLO MANKLES! Barca shoe £100, Dune, Bullring

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STYLE FOR MEN

COOL CAMO Valentino Runner camouflage suede trainers £525, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

THE NEW BLACK Grey mid-top £14, Primark, Fort Shopping Park

IN THE NAVY Trainers £35, Next, Bullring

DESERT STORM Chorizo desert boot £70, Dune, Bullring

SKULL’S IN Philipp Plein Talk Slow embossed trainers £680, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox USE YOUR LOAF Blue loafers, New Look, Fort Shopping Park

ool shoes for warm weather is where we’re at this month. The trend for showing a bit of ankle is going nowhere and is at its most effective with a smart loafer teamed with a slim fitting trouser. Avoid teaming your mankle with a sprayed-on jean which always looks cheap. Trainer shopping is our favourite thing bar none and once we find a pair we love we might be guilty of buying them in each colourway. Take a look at Gucci’s New Ace trainer with bee motif which is particularly good this season. The desert boot is the dream transition piece. In a plethora of colours there’ll be one that floats your boat. Here are a few pieces to add to your wish list… I

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YOU GOT SOLE Bertie Booster shoe £95, Dune, Bullring

HIVE AWAY Gucci New Ace trainers £405, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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ANCIENT SECRET

TO GOOD HEALTH The 5,000-year-old science of Ayurveda – the holistic approach of treating body and mind together – is growing in popularity. Here’s a heads-up on what it’s all about… yurveda is the oldest surviving complete medical system in the world and has been practised for the last 5,000 years. The main concept is that each individual is different and has to be treated to balance his or her body, mind and soul to achieve best possible health and wellbeing. Ayurveda literally means ‘the art of living wisely’ and is an ancient medical system that originated in India. Under-pinning Ayurveda is the basic belief that all things in the universe, living and non-living, are joined together and made of the same five gross natural elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. We remain healthy if we retain balance, interacting with our environment in an effective and wholesome way.

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HARMONY Choices about diet, exercise, profession and relationships all have the potential to create physical, emotional, or spiritual imbalances. This imbalance causes a lack of harmony and makes us more susceptible to disease. Ayurveda therefore is not simply a health care system but a form of lifestyle based on a vision of wholeness, not one of

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fragmentation. This is why the word holistic is used when speaking about this system. Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body: The Tridosha is an Ayurvedic scientific law originating in India of experiences by practitioners of Ayurveda through observation and experiments over thousands of years. Any problem can be solved when the three doshas are balanced. The Tridosha are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata, the catabolic dosha – This dosha is associated with all the movement in the body, whether spiritual like flow of thought or physical, like blood circulation, breathing and blinking. One major function of this is the flow of neural impulses. Since this dosha is characterised by movement, it can get easily unbalanced which can produce fear and anxiety. Pitta dosha – This dosha is associated with the energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition. The

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change can be mental, as well as physical and if out of balance can cause anger. Kapha, the anabolic dosha – The third dosha is associated providing structure and vitality to the mind and body. It also governs the water content of the body, even at the cellular level; and filling the empty parts of the body. At a psychological level, it is associated with primal emotions like love, envy, forgiveness, etc. AYURVEDIC SYSTEM OF MEDICINE Ayurveda teaches you to take responsibility for your own health according to the different stages of your life, the seasons and the environment you live, work and play in. A tailor-made, individualised personal wellness programme deals with your individual health requirements and encompasses diet and nutrition, medicinal herbs, massage, yoga, meditation, rest and relaxation, along with cleansing and rejuvenation programmes for healing the mind, body and spirit. When our body, mind and soul are in perfect harmony it is known as Sama Dosha (balanced Doshas).

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TRADITIONAL AYURVEDIC THERAPIES Abhyangam – general body massage. Abyangasnanam – medicated steam bath. Siroabhyanga – head massage. Pizhichil – medicated oil bath. Njavarakizhi – applying special warm herbal rice poultice on the body. Pathrapotlisweda – sweating by applying leaves and herbal steam. Udvarthanam – body massage with special herbal powders). Nasyam – nasal application of herbal oils and juices. Sirovasthy – therapy by retaining medicated oil on the head. Basti – Ayurvedic colonic irrigation. Tharpanam – therapy by retaining medicated oil on eyes. Marma – therapy for joints. Natural Facials, Mukhakanti, Ayurvedic Cosmetology and Facials. DIET Ayurveda recognises that the healthiest diet is different for each individual. An Ayurvedic expert will make dietary recommendations to restore or maintain balance in a person’s physiology. For example, sometimes these dietary recommendations will be for heavy foods for patients who are very Vata (Vata Dosha, derived from air and space), or for very light foods, hot foods, or cooling foods. Ayurveda also recognises the importance of eating fresh foods which contain more life energy (Pranah). The foods from your environment nourish your bodily tissues. They nourish the bodily tissues in different ways and form the basis for Ayurvedic dietetics and herbology. I More information: Kerala Ayurveda Spa, Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham, B11 4DN. Tel: 0121 7777 007 info@keralaayurvedaspaclinic.com

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BEATING

BACK PAIN More than 30 million working days are lost every year

to back problems, putting the NHS under even greater pressure. What can you do to ease the strain?

ower back pain is the most common symptom presented to GPs in the UK. According to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics nearly 31 million working days are lost every year due to back pain. Treating low back pain costs the NHS in excess of ÂŁ500million a year. We asked Harley Street qualified and registered osteopath Oliver Eaton for his advice on how to reduce the causes of back pain, as well as the best treatments:

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CAUSES OF BACK PAIN Poor posture. In our busy lives the postures we adopt are often subconscious and habitual. Poor posture while sitting can cause muscles and tendons to overstrain, leaving them vulnerable to going into spasm.

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Improper lifting techniques. If you lift something without bending your knees or twist while lifting, you put pressure on many of the structures in your lower back. A proper lifting technique ensures all the weight and pressure is distributed throughout your leg muscles. Tight buttock and hamstring muscles. Your lower back is vulnerable to injury if your buttock and hamstring muscles are too tight. These muscles attach to your lower back and support it when lifting something from the floor. They also absorb the force when walking. Poor core strength. Our core muscles are responsible for holding the spine and pelvis upright. The core also protects certain structures within the spine, like discs and ligaments, from injury. If your core muscles are weak then it can lead to too much force from a particular movement going through your lower back causing either a ligament sprain or slipped disc. Inactivity. General lack of movement and exercise causes many of our low back muscles to lose strength and forget how to coordinate – leaving us vulnerable to injuring from simple routine movements such as getting in and out of a car. Weak mattress. We spend a third of our lives on a mattress sleeping – depending on the sleeping position, a weak mattress can put your low back muscles under strain. You may feel comfortable as you doze off to sleep but if you are in that position for up to eight hours then it can leave muscles vulnerable to going into spasm. Misalignments. These can be the result of limping from a previous injury, soft mattresses, repetitive movements, and even pregnancy. Misalignments of the spinal joints puts pressure on the low back muscles during every movement you make. Misalignments of the pelvis can often cause a difference in leg lengths. CONVENTIONAL TREATMENTS Prescription or over-the-counter medications can often be effective at reducing the symptoms of low back pain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as Ibuprofen can help if the pain is due to any inflammation pressing against a nerve. If the pain is due to tension in the muscles tightening around the nerve then muscle relaxants such a Diazepam can help. These aren’t long-term solutions though and won’t address the root cause of your symptoms. NATURAL TREATMENTS Heat and ice can help for both acute and chronic cases of low back pain. If the pain is due to an acute injury, straining a muscle for example, then you can use a procedure called contrast bathing; place ice or a cold compress over the low back for 10 minutes and then immediately after, place heat (hot water bottle) over the area for 10 minutes. Repeat twice an hour if needed. Osteopathy can both identify and address the root cause of an individual’s low back pain. Several orthopaedics tests will be used to find out which structure within the low back is causing the pain. Then a combination of massage, stretching and gentle manipulation is used to help the injury repair. Acupuncture can be helpful if the cause of an individual’s low back pain is the result of a muscle spasm or strain. Acupuncture can be effective at encouraging the spasm to release. Massage therapy can also release spasmed muscles. Osteopathy, acupuncture and massage have all been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Both NHS and private doctors in the UK use these guidelines for appropriate treatments. Prolozone Therapy is an advanced form of prolotherapy which has both pain relieving and regenerative properties for the structure in the low back including muscles, ligaments and tendons. It involves the injection of Medical Ozone and nutrients to cause the proliferation, regeneration and repair of muscles, tendons and ligaments where they have suffered degeneration, injury or become painful and weak. I

Oliver Eaton is a qualified and registered osteopath, medical acupuncturist and musculoskeletal injection therapist. He specialises in the treatment of sciatica, arthritis and headaches/migraines. www.prohealthclinic.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/ihealthinjury/

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HOT RIGHT NOW

Award-winning designer Lisa Melvin reveals what’s new in the world of kitchens

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HOMES

HANDY DOCKING Extraction hood, Elica elica.com

trip to top trade show KBB at the NEC last month threw up some exciting new products and techniques that are worth considering if you’re looking to redesign your kitchen – or should we say living space! We’ve talked before in these pages about the word kitchen becoming less relevant as it’s much more than a room for merely cooking and dining. Living space seems more appropriate and as designers, we need to consider different zones for different activities and think about soft furnishings like never before. As a result, incorporating more sophisticated extraction methods to eliminate airborne odours is crucial. At the show, Elica showcased a couple of really cool extraction hoods, one of which looks like a stunning chandelier (pictured) and the other more rustic example has a satin white finish and a handy chunky wooden shelf with a docking station for an iPad just above eye level – perfect for following recipes.

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MORE THAN A KITCHEN Classic Interiors, classicinteriors.co.uk

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TOP TECH Also, and most excitingly, technology has moved on allowing induction hobs to incorporate built-in extraction which catches odours before they become airborne as they are sucked back down rather than up. Bora was the first manufacturer to bring the technology to the marketplace in Milan a few years ago, but recently brands like Siemens and Neff have marketed their versions which are ‘more affordable’, coming in at around £2,000. Intelligent extraction has moved up a notch too with hoods and hobs able to ‘speak’ to one another with the ability to adjust extraction based on the level and quality of vapour being generated. Let’s talk taps and specifically, coloured taps. It’s now possible to give your chosen taps the bespoke treatment turning them whatever colour you fancy rather than being restricted to a manufacturer’s finish. A popular colour right now is Jaguar blackberry, which looks stunning. Franke showcased a built-in sink that comes with a glass top that fits neatly in place when the sink is not in use creating additional work space – ideal in a large island situation. Not only that, but one of the features available is a top that doubles as a set of scales! LIVING SPACE Lisa Melvin Design, lisamelvindesign.co.uk

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LUXURY LIVING Poggenpohl, poggenpohl.com

GOOD WOOD Furniture by John Lewis, johnlewis.com

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SLEEK WORKTOPS Lisa Melvin Design, lisamelvindesign.co.uk

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HOMES

WOW FACTOR Extraction hood, Elica elica.com

Sticking with Franke, the brand has just brought out a stainless steel worktop which is just 6 to 8mm thick with a choice of seven patented finishes designed to prevent finger and water marks. The pearl finish is particularly beautiful. It’s feasible that the worktop is thin enough for an induction hob fitted underneath to work through the metal top for the ultimate in seamless design. I DESIGNER TRAVELS Later this month Lisa’s off to the biggest kitchen trade show in the world, EuroCucina in Milan and will report back soon. Checkout more from Lisa at www.lisamelvindesign.co.uk

IN THE HOOD Hammonds Kitchen concession at Cookes Furniture, cookesfurniturestore.co.uk

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HOMES GREAT PLATE Bloomingville Jade stoneware cactus plate £9, Amara

HOT SEAT Tom Dixon scoop high copper legs £995, Houseology WORK OF ART Dry Fruit bowl/ colander by Achille Castiglioni £312, Alessi

COFFEE BREAK Barista & Co milk frother jug with silicone grip band £24, Amara

FINISHING

COOL HOOP Mateo LED pendant silver hoop £150, Debenhams

TOUCHES Polish your dream kitchen/living space with these gorgeous additions DRESS TO IMPRESS New England Oakdale dresser £2,960, Houseology

PITCHER THIS Embossed glass pitcher £7.99, HomeSense

ISLAND DREAM Chiltern freestanding island, current sale price £675, Lee Longlands LESS IS MORE Linea Sea Fair dinnerware from £7, House of Fraser

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STYLISH EGGS Tegamino egg pan by Alessandro Mendini £79, Alessi

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HOMES

Hot Properties City or countryside? All bases are covered in this month’s pick of top-rated homes – from penthouse beauties to a secluded offering with room to grow

OPEN PLAN BEAUTY Oaks Hollow, Kenilworth Guide price: £2million Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 01926 455950 A detached contemporary open plan barn conversion with a total of 17 acres and a simply breath-taking private position. The main house has five bedrooms and there’s also a detached coach house with garaging and specialist equestrian facilities, including mange and premium stabling.

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HOMES

BRICKS&BITS BOOST FOR LAND BANK Solihull-based builder Hayfield Homes has appointed Ben Adams as land director. He will be charged with strengthening the company’s land bank across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Warwickshire while overseeing the day to day running of the department. “The company has ambitious growth plans which I’m excited to be a part of,” he said.

HIGH FLIER TAKES TITLE

PENTHOUSE PET Orion Penthouse, Navigation Street Guide price: £1.8million Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 0121 233 6438 State-of-the-art architecture with innovative design and contemporary styling in the heart of the city. This luxury threebedroom penthouse offers a stunning living space with North American walnut flooring throughout and a wonderful infinity bath. Also Includes two allocated parking spaces.

Gurpreet Bassi, head of residential auctions at SDL Auctions Bigwood, has been named Young Business Professional of the Year at the Signature Awards. Gurpreet was responsible for the company’s highest residential sale to date in 2017 at £2.6 million, contributing the firm’s most successful year. “I was surprised to be nominated and even more delighted to win on the night,” he said.

NEW OFFICES AT LONGBRIDGE Regeneration specialist St Modwen is planning to build a two-storey office building called 3 Devon Way off Longbridge Lane. New plans have been filed with Birmingham City Council for the building which will cover 26,260 sq ft with the complex expected to create 165 jobs for the town.

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

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ROOM TO GROW Forde Hall Park, Tanworth-in-Arden Guide price: £2million Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 746 6400 This property offers an amazing development opportunity in an idyllic, secluded and tranquil location with planning already obtained. Situated in nearly 19 acres of established gardens, orchard and grounds boasting stunning country views from every aspect.

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HEIGHT OF STYLE Galbraith House penthouse Guide price: ÂŁ600,000 Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 0121 200 2220 Live among the clouds in this lovely threebedroom penthouse in a prime city centre position on Great Charles Street. Enjoy your own private sky garden with a unique apartment that includes a private lift, sunroom and roof terrace.

Don’t miss Property of the Week on our Facebook page every Thursday

www.facebook.com/bhamliving april 2018

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MOTORING

TOTAL ECLIPSE

Sue Cooke explains why an encounter with Mitsubishi’s stylish new Eclipse Cross SUV coupe put a real spring in her step e are officially in the season of spring which astronomically began on 20 March. A time of year when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants start to grow and fields are full of sunny yellow daffodils. A time for exploring something new, like the gorgeous-looking Eclipse Cross which went on sale in Mitsubishi dealerships at the end of January. The SUV coupe has chrome surround headlights, double grille and a distinctive insert design along the side. The sporty double bumper at the rear, didn’t get in the way of my rear vision and the double space of glass actually seems to provide increased visibility. Also available on the brand’s Buy Online facility, the Eclipse Cross references the Eclipse sports car which amassed more than 1.4 million sales, mainly in North America between 1989 and 2012. Mitsubishi believes that its cross functional style is likely to make it one of their most popular models and I have to agree.

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The spacious quality cabin offers high levels of equipment and includes such features as Smartphone Display Audio that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, touch-pad controller, rear view camera, DAB radio with six speakers, climate control air-conditioning, LED daytime running lights and alloy wheels. While night time driving through country lanes in Lichfield, I found the automatic operation of the headlamps’ dipped beam brightened the dark roads and prevented oncoming drivers from getting dazzled. There are many other features which provide safer driving and the Eclipse Cross has been awarded five stars by EuroNCAP. Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Mitigation uses radar technology to detect a risk of collision. There are three trim levels, 2, 3 and 4, the latter of which I road tested. This trim level has a 360-degree parking camera and rear cross traffic alert, which I think

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MOTORING

FACTS AT A GLANCE: Model: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV Coupe 4 Price: £24,975 otr Engine: 1.5-litre turbo-charged petrol Performance: 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph CO2 emissions: 151 g/km Combined fuel consumption: 42.8mpg

all cars should have. It’s all very well having rear parking sensors, but when backing out of a space, it is so useful to see what is coming behind the big van parked next to me and how close I am to it as I move out. Mitsubishi Motors built its first cars in 1917 and over the past century has established a reputation for tough, reliable and extremely capable vehicles, particularly in terms of all-terrain and 4x4 vehicles and is offering a 4WD automatic version of the Eclipse Cross. And in this changeable season, on icy, muddy or slippery roads, it is reassuring to be able to rely on the company’s advanced S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) system, which uses braking to control the supply of torque to the left and right wheels for improved stability. POWER APLENTY I road tested the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine which has an abundance of power but I found the constant speed changes on the A38 dual carriageway

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needed a lot of gear shifting. Any time now, Mitsubishi promises the spring launch of a 2.2-litre diesel engine and the brand also says there will be an electrified version in the future. Having a spring clean of collected junk, I found the large boot which will hold 480 litres adequately copes with long planks of wood. Seats fold down flat by pulling on a lever and the sill is so low that items slide in easily. Industry experts Cap hpi has forecast that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2 will retain up to 48.1 per cent of its list price after three years or 60,000 miles, placing the SUV firmly among the very best in its segment. I

SHOWROOM: Acorn Mitsubishi, Hagley Road West, Quinton, Birmingham, B62 9AH. Tel: 0121 506 6050 www.acorn-mitsubishi.co.uk

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

GALAL YAFAI The champion light flyweight from Birmingham talks surprise Olympic selection, Commonwealth campaign for gold and future plans to turn professional alal Yafai is in Australia’s Gold Coast preparing for the Commonwealth Games having flown out at the end of last month with his 11 Team England boxing comrades for an intense 10-day training camp. We caught up with him before his trip and found an ambitious talent, hungry for success following in the footsteps of his older boxing brothers, Khalid and Gamal. Not always committed to the sport, Galal stopped for a while in his teens to focus on football and only came back to the sport aged 18 after a few years off. Within four years back training at Birmingham City he was placed firmly in the GB squad and earned a surprise place at the Rio Olympics by defeating Samuel

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Carmona Heredia of Spain in the semi-final of the 2016 European Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament. WORLD STAGE Bursting onto the world stage felt pretty special. He says: “It was an amazing feeling really and totally unexpected.” The former Jaguar Land Rover employee was gaining a reputation as the one to watch. Galal is part of the British Lionheart’s crop of talented young boxers, but had tough competition for his place on the team. He held off the unbeaten Harvey Horn to take the light flyweight spot and has been an impressive part of the group ever since.

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

His World Series Boxing (WSB) debut in London resulted in a win against Mexican Guerreros Joselito Velazquez followed by a spectacular semi-final performance against Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s Yerzhan Zhomart that cemented his place. The Lionheart’s recently triumphed against Italia Thunder at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, winning all five bouts with Galal beating Frederico Serra emphatically. With older brothers also involved in the sport, boxing was a natural step. “I knew what to expect as I’d seen them go through it. I had an idea of how hard it was for them, so I had a bit of a head start. Part of me just wanted to be like them.” All three boys train at Birmingham City amateur boxing club. Thankfully the brothers are different weights so have never had to fight one another, other than ‘over a chocolate bar at home’! MUM’S THE WORD I feel for Galal’s mother watching all of her boys go through such a punishing sport, but Galal says she’s used to it. “She’s pretty calm. She flies all over the place to watch me fight. With three sons boxing, she’s got used to it.” I asked that most predictable of question that all boxers get asked, what’s it like to be hit? Galal was charming and didn’t make me feel he’d been asked a thousand times. “It does hurt, but after years of sparring you just get used to it. The first time you get hit on the nose mind you it really hurts!” As part of Team GB training is full-time and from Monday to Friday Galal is with his team-mates in Sheffield. “There are 30 boxers all training together. We all get on pretty well and its good to be part of a team. As a boxer I’m usually fighting for me, so you prepare for that, but it’s good being together.” Turning professional is on Galal’s radar in the not too distant future. He explains: “Everyone wants to go professional, be on the telly and earn lots of money, but I’d like to go to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Home Commonwealth Games 2022 would be brilliant, but I’ll probably be professional by then.” His former employer, Jaguar Land Rover has been incredibly supportive. Galal says: “They’ve really looked after me. They’ve said if the boxing doesn’t work out they’ll have me back.” That’s lovely and all that, but we’re hoping he doesn’t need the back-up. We’ll be watching the Commonwealth Games with interest and rooting for Galal. I

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GROWING PLACES

SCHOOL REPOR T

Birmingham Livin g is committed to highlighting the best of our sc hools and college s. Here’s our round-up of the la test stand-out ne ws and events

NATIONAL SELECTION Four Bromsgrove School pupils have been selected to represent their country in a variety of sports. Oliver Lawrence was picked to play rugby for England U20s against Scotland, while Morgan French got the nod for the England U17 development squad. Swimmer Sam Osborne will represent England in the ASA international meet in Marseille this month and GB ski team member, Siena Horton, has also been selected for the England U16 hockey squad.

TOP TEACHER AWARD A UCB lecturer has been crowned Teacher of the Year at UK awards celebrating outstanding, pioneering and innovative work in the development of English. Dr Gavin Cole was praised at the Skills Awards for his “inspirational teaching” of GCSE and Functional Skills English. He said: “This award reflects the fantastic opportunities I have been given at UCB to develop as a teacher and most importantly, it is my students who challenge me and inspire me to reflect upon my teaching.”

CYBER CHAMPS St George’s School Edgbaston won the final of the National CyberCenturion. The competition, led by defence and security suppliers Northrup Grumman in partnership with the Cabinet Office-backed Cyber Security Challenge UK, is open to students with an interest in cyber, defence, puzzles and codebreaking. The team of five St George’s pupils, aged from 14 to 18 years, was crowned winners after intense competition at the finals in London, which were preceded by a month of tough online qualifiers between 500 teams. Their prize was an all-expenses US trip to Washington.

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GROWING PLACES

EAGER READERS Hallfield School hosted a book sale that raised £150 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s educational work with young patients who remain in hospital for long periods of time. Pupils from the upper school donated books to sell to their peers for 50p. Teacher Cordelia Checketts said: “We’re delighted to have been able to raise funds for the patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and what better way to do it than a book sale! The children here love to read so we knew it would be a success.”

OWZAT: Louis checking out bails at Hawks in Drayton

CRICKET? IT’S PERSONAL!

STUDENTS SPELL IT OUT! Joseph Chamberlain College has been rated outstanding by Ofsted across all areas in its latest inspection. Ofsted praised the college’s ‘highly positive atmosphere for learning’ with ‘inspirational teaching’ in an environment where ‘students make outstanding progress from their different starting points’. The achievement means the college is currently the only college in Birmingham and Solihull rated outstanding for all learners for post-16 and adults.

Ten-year-old Louis Malanaphy from Winterfold School is turning his love of cricket into a fund-raising business idea as part of a Dragon’s Den-style challenge. With a £10 ‘start-up’ loan from the school, the young county level cricketer is producing personalised cricket bail keyrings which he is selling to school, club and county players. Local firm Hawks offered a batch of bails on a sale-or-return basis to get him started. So far, Louis has raised £148 towards an IT and library classroom at Ncemaneni Primary School in South Africa.

RECORD NUMBER OF WINS Moreton Hall’s music department triumphed at Oswestry Festival with a record number of wins across a range of disciplines and age groups. From junior school through to sixth form in categories such as musical theatre class, chamber choir, piano solos, duets, vocal solos and drums, the girls performed brilliantly. Director of music Helen Rayner said: “Moreton Sixth pupils Georgie Lang and MorganDarcy Rees Deacon’s recent triumphs are prime examples of what Moreton is able to produce.” UP FOR THE CUPS: Cathy Holt and Morgan-Darcy Rees Deacon

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITH… MOHAMMED ZAFRAN When his brother-in-law was stabbed to death in a local park, Mohammed took to the streets – and has helped 21,000 young people turn away from crime and drugs and back into education BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I was born in Birmingham and lived in ‘deprived’ areas, such as Alum Rock, Bordesley Green and Small Heath. I joined South and City College as a security officer in 2003. In 2010, my blind sister passed away aged 30 and I started to do charity work for Acorns Hospice and Children’s Hospital in her memory. A year later, my brother-in-law was stabbed to death in a local park. As a result, I started engaging with youths in the early hours in local parks and streets to keep them away from crime and drugs. I asked South and City College principal Mike Hopkins if I could use the college at weekends and I set up sports initiatives, with numbers growing every week. I started engaging with leisure centres and parks across the city and also set up an academy to help Asian girls being forced to quit education at 15 to be sent abroad into arrange marriages. I formed All 4 Youth & Community. IT’S WHAT I DO I am South and City College community liaison officer. I engage with job and leisure centres, Birmingham City Council and youth organisations to find ways to get youths back into education. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE More leisure centres so we could get more young people occupied and off the streets. People in power must keep delivering the message that education is the key to success and keeping away from trouble. One day, I would love to have my own team I lead at the college and reach out to more youths all over the city.

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BIGGEST SUCCESS Working with more than 21,000 youths who were involved in crime and drugs and collaborating with over 50 youth organisations and signing up over 7,000 young women who have progressed in further education and employment. I was very proud to be named as a Pride of Birmingham winner and to be awarded the BEM by the Queen. I have won 25 national awards and was named in the Top 10 Global Humanitarian List alongside Barack Obama and Angelina Jolie. BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED I was asked by Carol Vorderman at the Pride of Britain awards how dangerous it was for me to roam around the streets looking for gangs and I replied that I would never advise others to do it! My situation made me do what I did, otherwise I could never have imagined doing this kind of work. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM Being a proud Brummie, I love the diversity in Birmingham and if you saw our academy you’d see how youths from all faiths participate in activities and celebrate each other’s festivals together. DOWNTIME I like keeping busy and engaging with more people so we can help them. I write for two national newspapers and appear on TV, mainly to discuss community engagement and youth initiatives. I do like the odd game of snooker, though…I

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ing livBUSINESS

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STRINGS CLUB The Birmingham music education company that started with a group of

just six has flourished into a multi-award-winning business bringing the joy of stringed instruments to more than 25,000 children ased in Birmingham’s company now operates from four centres cultural quarter of in London and two in the West Digbeth, the Strings Club Midlands – Harborne and Sutton was founded in 2012 by Coldfield – with further openings professional violinist and teacher planned this year in Solihull followed by Amy Cunningham. The idea came Bristol next year. as an extension of the fact that Amy was teaching music to more ENTREPRENURIAL than 250 children in the classroom Currently more than 25,000 children each week. A ‘toe in the water’ aged from four to 11 belong to Strings, FOUNDER: Strings’ Amy Cunningham exercise of setting up a music enjoying a range of high-quality group outside of lesson time started with a mere six musical experiences, specifically centred around budding string players. string instruments including violin, guitar, ukulele Despite the small number, it was a big success and cello. with the kids and a parent at the end of the Prior to establishing Strings, Amy had trained as a concert asked: “When is the next one?” The word violinist at the University of Birmingham and had started to spread and since then, Amy has been University of London and had performed with many devoted to creating inspiring musical experiences for known ensembles. During her training, she also children. Her award-winning music education worked for recognised music services as well as being

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COMPANY TO WATCH

20-minute lessons for free! This summer in June, Strings will be launching Discovery Days for the first time at Symphony Hall. They are sure to be very popular! Strings’ award-winning Ofsted registered Holiday Camps bring together the very best of music education and childcare to engage and inspire during every school holiday. Each day is different, including a range of workshops alongside high quality small group classes. Or how about having a party! A Ukulele Gurus party is packed with games, activities and musicmaking. Add to this mix, weekly classes led by leading strings music teachers and school music lessons run by the club in the classroom and its easy to see that Amy has developed a rich seam of business success. And just in case you’re wondering how any parent can afford to invest in a violin or a cello or guitar, Strings supplies the instruments and allows the children to take them home so they can continue having fun and practising!

a teacher. “Even though I was teaching, I’d always had a bit of an entrepreneurial background,” said Amy. “I was always into setting up my own enterprises and projects.” Since launching, Strings has gained wide recognition for it’s refreshing approach to music education from key figures, such as Richard Hallam, chair of the Music Education Council to business industry experts and The Apprentice star Karren Brady. Strings Club runs Saturday classes and works in schools and has a very fruitful partnership with the Royal School of Music. The emphasis is on playing, learning, but most all doing so with fun. Lots of fun. The club runs a mix of different opportunities for youngsters to interact with music and stringed instruments. These include Discovery Days where children accompanied by parents get the chance to try out two new instruments of their choice and experience two

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FRANCHISING While Amy and her core team are based in Digbeth, the business uses 130 self-employed ‘contractors’ – musicians, many trained music teachers – who are thoroughly screened before being hired. Looking to the future, Amy would love to add franchising opportunities to the business. And she hopes the recognition and awards will keep coming. Strings was the winner of this year’s Federation of Small Business awards’ Scale Up Business of the Year and is a previous winner of the Nectar Start-Up of the Year. Amy also won the 2017 Great British Entrepreneur award and was a finalist in the Everywoman awards. She said: “Over the next five to 10 years, I want the Strings Club to be known as a UK national music education company. What Strings offers is high quality, and as a mum myself with a three-year-old daughter, I know the guilt that parents feel of leaving their child at nursery. You need to know that your child is getting the care and enjoyment and is being very well looked after. I set up Strings because I knew there was a real demand for a fun way of learning music which makes children – and their mums and dads – happy.” I

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BUSINESS

MAYOR MAKES HOUSE CALL

BUSINESS

West Midlands mayor Andy Street visited Ronald McDonald House, Birmingham to meet families of seriously ill children staying at the ‘home away from home’ accommodation. In 2017, more than 1,000 families stayed at the house, free of charge, while their children were being treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. “It was great to see the fantastic work done by the volunteers and fund-raisers,” said the mayor. “They give a first class welcome to all the families that use the house every day of the year.”

NEWS SUNRISE ON TRACK

Leading care home specialists Sunrise of Edgbaston has launched innovative technology which tracks individual resident care plans to ensure they receive the very best support according to their personal preferences and needs. Sunrise CareConnect electronically tracks the care being delivered to each resident, with team members inputting real-time updates and having secure access to individual resident profiles using privacy-protected touchscreen kiosks.

OPENING: Sam Smith with Thursfields’ Tim Edwards

GARDEN BASE TAKES ROOT

COFFEE BREAK

An award-winning garden design and landscape company has put down new roots in Warwickshire. Isola Garden Design, founded by James Brash from Leamington in 2006, has moved to Stoneleigh Park. The company has built an impressive portfolio of high-end garden design and builds for private homes across Warwickshire, Solihull, Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Accolades include a Silver Gilt medal at the Chelsea Flower Show for the build of a rooftop garden with Warwickshire College.

A former professional rugby player has expanded his specialty coffee shop to Birmingham. Sam Smith, ex-Worcester Warriors and England under-20s winger, launched Wayland’s Yard in Worcester in 2016 after injury forced his early retirement from rugby. Law firm Thursfields Solicitors helped him with the acquisition and lease of premises in Bull Street, Birmingham where the second Wayland’s Yard has opened. Sam said: “We are continuing to share our passion for proper coffee and food by launching in Birmingham city centre.”

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NEW HOME: James Brash and Amy Rogers at the Rural Innovation Centre, Stoneleigh Park

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BUSINESS

BELL ON THE BALL

GROWING IN SOLIHULL Mobile and IoT device management solutions provider SOTI has expanded its regional HQ in Solihull to capitalise on the company’s growth. Carl Rodrigues, founder and CEO, said: “Business is growing faster in the West Midlands than any other UK region and this makes us ideally placed to respond to the market and establish a workforce for the future.” Solihull mayor Cllr Stuart Davis, added: “Solihull is attracting global and UK based companies, with SOTI being the latest example.”

BMI Priory Hospital’s new Imaging Centre was officially opened by England and Warwickshire cricketer, Ian Bell. GPs and consultants toured the facility which includes state-of-the-art MRI and CT scanners. The opening marks the completion of the hospital’s second phase of investment with £4million spent in 2017 and further investment due in 2018. Ian said: “The hospital has been a big help to me and my teammates in treating injuries for a long time. It’s great to know that there is such a fantastic facility here.”

PURE JOY FOR FITNESS TEAM

RECRUITERS

Luxury holiday experts Pure Destinations has signed a three-year sponsorship partnership with Edgbaston Priory Club to support its lifestyle facilities and offer exclusive benefits for members. The partnership provides new uniforms for the fitness team, an inspiring mural for the fitness studio and special offers on Pure Destination’s luxury holidays for members. Richard Westwood, the club’s fitness manager, said: “The partnership will enable us to offer inspiring experiences which will motivate members to achieve a fit, healthy and toned body.”

HELP FOR HEROES CHEQUE IT OUT Staff at recruitment agency Encore Personnel pulled out all the stops, raising nearly £15,000 for Help for Heroes. Based in Lower Temple Street, Birmingham, Encore selected Help for Heroes as its chosen charity at the start of last year, following a staff vote. Fund-raisers have included half marathons, an 83-mile cycle ride, fancy dress days, cake sales and car boot sales. A cheque was presented to Dean Williams, Central England regional manager of Help for Heroes, by Chris Hockey, director at Encore Personnel.

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Staff from M6 toll operator Midland Expressway Ltd visited Edward’s Trust in Birmingham after donating £1,000 towards a new initiative for bereaved parents. The Coffee, Cake and Chat project at the Trust’s bereavement centre in Edgbaston aims to reduce isolation experienced by parents by offering the opportunity to meet in a social support group environment once a month with two experienced counsellors. It is hoped the project will also encourage new friendships and support networks.

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BUSINESS

UNI OPENS IN DUBAI

The University of Birmingham has officially opened a campus in Dubai – becoming the first global Top 100 and UK Russell Group university to establish a campus in the rapidly developing international education hub. University principal and vicechancellor Prof Sir David Eastwood cut the ribbon at the campus in Dubai International Academic City. A reception followed at the British Embassy for more than 100 guests from Dubai and the UAE and senior members of the university.

STAGE IS SET: Future Faces team Alexandra Hutchinson, Hayley Porter, Anna Assinder and Sian Averill soak up the Symphony Hall atmosphere

FUTURE FACES FILLIP NEIL LEADS COOL CHALLENGE Clients, consultants and employees of a Midlands air conditioning installer put the wind in their wheels to raise £80,000 for a cancer charity. The 17strong group led by Neil Gibbard, pictured, regional director of Coolair Equipment, Cannock, completed the challenge of cycling 300 miles through South East Asia. The six-day trip from Saigon in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia was in aid of Challenge Cancer UK which funds cancer support, from research to respite care.

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The young professionals arm of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will celebrate record growth over the past year at its annual dinner at Symphony Hall later this year. Future Faces, managed by Anna Assinder, has more than doubled its membership in the past 12 months and last year its annual dinner sold out for the first time with entries for the awards growing by 148 per cent. This year’s event is on 31 August.

AIRPORT BAGS NEW CARRIER Birmingham Airport’s newest carrier, Primera Air, has been given a warm welcome by the Midlands’ business community. Speaking at a special business event Anastasija Visnakova, Primera Air’s chief commercial officer, said: “We are proud and excited to place Birmingham on our route map for 2018.” The carrier will launch direct low-cost services to New York, Toronto, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma and Crete from May, creating 50 jobs.

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FASHION PROJECT HITS THE CATWALK Competition and awards celebrate best hair and beauty professionals

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ashion Project LIVE, a major catwalk competition and awards ceremony, was held at the Studio, Cannon Street, Birmingham. Thirty make-up artists, hair stylists and models competed to be the best of the season. Tasked with both not only competing but collaborating in an intensive project lasting eight hours, finalists were selected by a panel of guest judges. Money raised from ticket sales went to the charity Plan International UK, helping girls in less advantaged situations. I

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1 Lois Alexandra, Jamile De-Souza-Davies, Jo Ballard-Knight. 2 Shanon Folgate, Ruth Davis, Tronell Martin. 4 Nicki Donnelly, Micheaila Meek.

8 Melanie Holmes, Tammy Rose Bringlowe. 9 Ashleigh Jenney, Paige Aitken, Beth Amelia.

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3 Patricia Biedron, Grazyna Dubij.

5 Elena Larkin, Kieran Taylor. 6 Celestia Barby, Oliver Tompkins. 7 Mark Redfearn, Sophie Davidson. Photography by Designer Photography

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HIPPODROME GIVES BIG BOOST TO YOUTH Sell-out Cinderella gala events raise £10,000 to fund dance programmes ala evenings with a difference were held alongside public performances of Sir Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at Birmingham Hippodrome. A week of fund-raising events and creative learning projects included three dinners themed around the fairy-tale and attended by more than 250 people, raising over £10,000 for Hippodrome Projects dance programmes. Guests at a Leading Ladies reception enjoyed delicious food, a specially created cocktail by Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge and a Q&A with Sir Matthew Bourne, hosted by BBC presenter and Hippodrome Development Board member Joanne Malin. I

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1 Rebecca Bristow, Kirsty Cartwright. 2 Marchella Broughton, Rachael Magson. 3 Jayne O’Malley, Nicola Hewitt, Sir Matthew Bourne, Emma Gray. 4 Jane Hampton, Clare Mac, Katie Hodgson. 5 Joanne Malin with Sir Matthew Bourne. 6 Louise Wilson, Leanne Fryer, Kirsty Gallagher. 7 Ann-Marie Pugh, Karen Griffin.

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PROFESSIONALS HEAR VITAL JOBS MESSAGE Business focuses on empowering employees to ‘live the brand’

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he value of empowering employees to ‘live the brand’ was the focus of a business event in Birmingham aimed at strengthening the region’s employment market. Professionals from across the West Midlands discussed the benefits of employees being brand ambassadors at the Progressive Employers Group event. The session at the Innovation Centre was led by John Mortimer, CEO and co-founder of the Angela Mortimer Group, which includes Birmingham-based Katie Bard recruitment agency. He was joined by speakers, business consultants Richard Beevers and Mark Brown. I

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1 Mark Brown, Katie Hale, John Mortimer, Jennie Labbett, Richard Beevers. 2 Nadiyah Vasta, Jacqui McLarty, Sundeep Sehijpal. 3 Chris Horsley, Mark Brown, Verity Stokes. 4 James King, Donna Galt, Julia Gray. 5 Mark Brown, Jennie Labbett, Stewart Darby. 6 Chris Clayton, Richard Beevers. 7 Serena Scalzo, Kathryn O’Connell, Ruth Meredith, Carl Mconie.

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‘MR SNOOKER’ ON CUE FOR AIR AMBULANCE Potting legend and commentator Willie Thorne entertains high-fliers idlands Air Ambulance Charity hosted a sky-high networking event at Park Regis Birmingham’s rooftop Rofuto Restaurant. In association with solicitors Wall James Chappell, the lunch was an exclusive event for CEOs, managing directors, senior managers and corporate supporters of the charity. Guests enjoyed mango cocktails and a Japanese feast while appreciating the panoramic views of the city. Special speaker, snooker legend Willie Thorne, entertained guests with tales from his illustrious career. I

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1 James Hodson, Sofia Voutianitis. 2 Lynda Bragg-Walker, Jessica Bird, Robert Mountford. 3 Gemma Saunders, Willie Thorne, Tony Gleeson, Sofia Voutianitis, Jason Levy. 4 Neil Walker, Edward Jones, Tracy Ashby. 5 Ruth Duggal, Gemma Saunders, Tony Gleeson, Helen Stevens. 6 Jason Levy, Jon Cottrell, Willie Thorne, Philip Chapman. 7 Aran Channa, Nikhita Parmar, Vic Younis.

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ANNIVERSARY PARTY GOES WITH THE FLOW Midlands-based Flow Office Furniture and Interiors celebrates first birthday

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ore than 150 guests joined owner Lee Gill and his team to celebrate Flow Office Furniture & Interiors’s first anniversary at Canalside Birmingham. Music was provided by singer Jamie Joseph and local band Antiquity. Flow completed 11 major projects around the UK in its first 12 months. Lee’s favourite commission was Genting Casino’s head office at Star City, which included a slide into the main office from an informal meeting area where the flooring was laid out like a roulette table. I

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1 Peter Howard, Holly Alexander, Kevin Singh, Peter Arundale. 2 Jon Moreton, Ricky Friend, Katherine Bownes. 3 Gurd Ubhi, Matthew Southall, Daniel Gibbons. 4 Jamie Joseph. 5 Lee Gill. 6 Alex ‘O’ Neill, Scott ‘O’ Neill, James Wright. 7 Antiquity. 8 Spencer Turner, Nikky Brand, Nigel Evans.

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CLINIC LAUNCH SEES CHARITY PLEDGE Virgin’s first pay-as-you-go centre aims to help build ‘even better city’ irgin Care Private – Virgin’s first pay-as-you-go health and wellbeing clinic – celebrated its official launch in style by welcoming more than 70 local business leaders and friends to its Birmingham city centre clinic. Virgin Care Private has teamed up with LoveBrum charity to encourage local people and businesses to build an even better city. As part of the initiative, customers who donate £20 to LoveBrum will receive a 10 per cent discount at the clinic and a LoveBrum loyalty card giving discounts at selected businesses across the city. I

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1 Richard Guy, Richard Fallon, John Hartley. 2 Rebecca Simkiss, Emily Rose, Abby Goldie. 3 Stef Byrom, Neil Rami, Jess Lonsdale. 4 Sheila Ridgley, Liz Knight, Jenna Sellis. 5 Mark Lloyd, Amit Parmar. 6 Matt Barnsley, Lorna Lanbari, Ricky Friend. 7 Mary Eyo, Ian Harrison, Amit Parmar. 7 Rich Bath, Fiona Teague, Vikram Swaminathan. Photography by Jas Sansi

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PROPERTY EXPERTS MEET AT ST PAUL’S Professionals come together to network and learn more about commercial deals

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harlotte Rayson was the speaker at a monthly meeting for property professionals at St Paul’s Club, Birmingham. She talked about the options available for financing commercial property deals. The lunch, organised by Dam Mason, brings together people from the world of property and associated professions, including the law and planning. I

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1 Glyn Chewley, Caroline Fairclough, Darpinder Bajwa. 2 Alan Walker, Gary Henley, Angela Parker. 3 Johnny Cullen, Charlotte Rayson. 4 Matthew De-Redman, David Hawes. 5 Lt Col Jason Kennedy, Richard Woodgate, Adrian Kibbler. 6 Michael Gold, Luke Crane. 7 Andrew Kibbler, Tom Marriett, David Thomas. 8 Dan Mason, Chris Hall, Wolfgang Du Tine.

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LOVEBRUM PARTIES ON THIRD BIRTHDAY Supporters toast success of charity that has given ÂŁ70,000 to local causes ocal charity LoveBrum celebrated its third birthday with a special party at Birmingham Hippodrome. Ambassadors, supporters and friends hailed another successful year with the charity now having donated ÂŁ70,000 to worthwhile local causes. Drinks, canapes and networking were the order of the day with a splendid birthday cake on show, too. Entertainment was provided by Aston Performing Arts Academy. I

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WHAT: What the Dickens?! – The Movie! WHEN: 13 and 14 April WHERE: @AE Harris, Jewellery Quarter www.foghornunscripted.com Birmingham’s leading improvisation theatre company, Foghorn Unscripted, returns to Birmingham with two very special performances of this riotously funny show. The world of Charles Dickens has never been more interactive and inviting than in this fast-moving, comedy romp.

WHAT: Easter Holiday Fun

WHAT: Antiques for Everyone

WHEN: 2 to 6 April

WHEN: 5 to 8 April

WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens,

WHERE: NEC, tel: 0844 581 0827

tel: 0121 454 1860

www.antiquesforeveryone.co.uk

www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk There’s so much to enjoy at the gardens this year, including face painting, bouncy castle, Bibbledy Bob the clown, chocolate workshops, arts and crafts and, of course, the odd visit from the Easter bunny!

The largest antiques, interiors and collectables fair outside of London returns with hundreds of specialist dealers offering a huge variety of desirable, rare and quirky items at prices from £10 to £100,000.

WHAT: Jeff Dunham WHEN: 19 May WHERE: Genting Arena, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The record-breaking, global comedy superstar is bringing his cast of characters to Birmingham. Already a Guinness World Record holder for the ‘Most Tickets Sold for a Stand-up Comedy Tour’, Dunham has built an entertainment empire over years of non-stop touring and innovation.

WHAT: Brighton Rock WHEN: 10 to 14 April WHERE: Birmingham Rep, tel: 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk Two 17-year-olds get embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton, one brutal murder leads to the next. The police are impassive – but the courageous Ida Arnold wants the truth. The dark underworld of Graham Greene’s classic novel is brought to the stage in this new adaptation by acclaimed writer Bryony Lavery.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Kathy Lette: Girls Night Out WHEN: 13 April WHERE: Mac Birmingham, tel: 0121 446 3232 www.macarts.co.uk The celebrated and outspoken comic has 12 bestselling novels to her name and is renowned for her inimitable take on serious issues. Expect a hilarious evening of wit, warmth and full frontal frankness.

WHAT: The Spring Pink Ball for Breast Cancer WHEN: 28 April WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk This stunning annual ‘Black/Pink Tie’ Ball helps raise vital funds for breast cancer medical equipment. Always a superb evening and this year the entertainment is from the Nolan Band.

WHAT: B-Side Hip-Hop Festival WHEN: 9 to 13 May WHERE: Various, www.birminghamhippodrome.com/bside A free annual festival celebrating all things Hip-Hop. The weekend’s activities include a range of exhilarating outdoor performances, popup dance events, interactive talks and live graffiti art alongside an explosive programme of high-energy workshops.

WHAT: Wizz Jones WHEN: 8 April WHERE: The Kitchen Garden WHAT: Gaydon Land Rover Show

Cafe, tel: 0121 443 4725

WHEN: 12 and 13 May

www.kitchengardencafe.co.uk

WHERE: British Motor Museum, tel: 01926 641188

After just about 60 years ‘on the road’ and now in his late-seventies this acoustic guitarist, singersongwriter and bluesman shows no sign of slowing down. A unique style that’s well worth checking out.

www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk/events This hugely popular show this year celebrates 70 years of the iconic Land Rover marque with a huge range of models on display from 1948 to the present day. There’s also live music and a special parade through the arena for children to showcase their vintage and modern mini Land Rovers.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony WHEN: 26 and 28 April WHERE: Symphony Hall, tel: 0121 780 3333 www.cbso.co.uk/whats-on One of the twentieth century’s ultimate musical epics: a huge, shatteringly powerful portrait of a human spirit battling impossible odds. Conducted by the young British conductor Nicholas Collon with soprano, Sophie Bevan.

WHAT: Poetry Slam 2018 WHEN: 18 April WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel: 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk WHAT: Manic Street Preachers WHEN: 27 April WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The Preachers come to Brum with a major new UK tour which promises to be their biggest series of live shows in more than a decade. In support of their new album Resistance Is Futile which is due for release at the beginning of this month.

Like gladiators to the coliseum… they come to wage a war of words. This live final is the culmination of a poetry slam project involving local middle schools which has seen young people trying to find out ‘who has the X Factor’ – but in a poetic kind of way.

WHAT: Wicked

WHAT: Swingamajig

WHEN: 4 to 29 April

WHEN: 6 May

WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, tel: 0844 338 5000

WHERE: The Digbeth Arena, Birmingham

www.birminghamhippodrome.com

www.swingamajig.co.uk

Winner of more than 100 international awards, Wicked has been casting its magical spell across the world for over a decade. An ingenious and witty re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Immerse yourself in a vintage wonderland as this awesome festival returns to Digbeth. With a diverse line up this isn’t just about music, with cabaret, dance, magic and incredible art installations all on show.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Foil Arms and Hog

WHAT: The Duchess of Malfi

WHEN: 7 April

WHEN: 1 March to 3 August

WHERE: Town Hall,

WHERE: Royal Shakespeare

box office: 0121 345 0600

Theatre, tel: 01789 403493

www.thsh.co.uk

www.rsc.org.uk

This is a fast-paced comedy sketch show that features a collection of songs for the elderly, a baggage handler’s interpretive dance and a shop that naively sells balaclavas and nothing else. These three young Irishmen have more than nine million hits on their YouTube channel.

In an attempt to prevent the fiercely independent Duchess from marrying the man she loves, her corrupt brothers go on a disturbing quest to destroy her. A violent revenge tragedy that’s remarkable for its inventive and grotesque violence, yet full of dark humour.

WHAT: Created in Conflict:

WHAT: Shane Filan

British Soldier Art

WHEN: 5 May

WHEN: Now until 10 June

WHERE: New Alexandra Theatre,

WHERE: Compton Verney,

tel: 0844 8713011

www.comptonverney.org.uk

www.atgtickets.com/birmingham

To mark the centenary of Armistice Day this special exhibition profiles artworks made by soldiers from the 19th century to the present day and reveals intimate glimpses of their lives – from the heroic to the mundane.

Following phenomenal success with Irish boy band Westlife, Shane has cemented his position as one of the UK’s most popular male solo artists and this Love Always tour celebrates a collection of some of his favourite classic love songs.

WHAT: Crazy for Gershwin WHEN: 4 May WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk A performance of music, song and dance celebrating the much-admired works of George Gershwin, often regarded as the greatest of the popular music composers and recognised for bringing the jazz style to the piano concerto. Expect Broadway glamour and toe-tapping tunes.

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IN THE CITY

Champion jockey Tony McCoy once told me never to eat after 7pm

and I stick to that. I’ve done business all my life over lunch. I’m a bit old-fashioned and like to look people in the eye rather than e-mail

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m Gary Newbon, a TV presenter – predominantly sports – and I’ve worked for ATV (now Central) and ITV Sport covering numerous World Cups and Olympic Games. I joined Sky Sports in 2004 and have been involved ever since. I also run my own production company, Prime Ticket Productions, focusing mostly on sport. I moved to Birmingham in 1971, so I’ve come to know the city pretty well.

HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? I occasionally drive, but mainly use the train.

HOW’S THE COMMUTE? I live in Solihull, so the commute into town is very easy.

IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?

LUNCHTIME?

A half-hour lunch break at my desk ain’t for me. Lunch is more important than dinner. Champion jockey Tony McCoy once told me never to eat after 7pm and I stick to that. I’ve done business all my life over lunch. I’m a bit old -fashioned and like to look people in the eye rather than e-mail. I tend to go to Hotel du Vin where I’m an ambassador or Opus and Fumo which are particular favourites. I was very impressed with the new Sabai Sabai on Waterloo Street, too.

POWERWALKING?... Last year I could hardly walk thanks to an old injury, but I’ve taken up pilates which has changed my life. Now I make sure I walk every day and stand upright. Birmingham’s easy to walk around which is one of its strengths. I particularly like to stroll around the area down by the Mailbox.

Although driving’s a nightmare, WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY? Birmingham is brilliantly connected from I’m taken with Brindleyplace and the both rail and air. And of course, Brummies area round the Mailbox, but there are so are just lovely people which is one of the TV sports legend Gary Newbon many great places. city’s great attributes. It’s improved beyond recognition since I moved here and represents fantastic value. AFTERWORK PINT? There’s much to be proud of, not least its world class facilities. I’m not a great beer drinker. I’m more a wine man. I The theatre scene is thriving, Birmingham Royal Ballet is go to the Bubble Bar at Hotel du Vin and occasionally world class, Symphony Hall is a fantastic facility and the Loki Wine. restaurant scene has exploded exponentially. It’s like having a playground on your doorstep. I wish it had been like this when HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? I moved here! Having said that, it is a shame to see restaurants What drives me absolutely potty, and I’d change it in a closing. We seem a bit fickle on that front. heartbeat, is taxi drivers sitting around with their engines COFFEE BREAK? running and pumping out toxic fumes. I’d make that an I love coffee. I buy it from an Algerian coffee shop in Old offence. Also, there are too many people on the streets Compton Street, London, so when I’m at home that’s what I begging. I don’t understand it. We have a good benefits drink. If I’m in town I’ll head to Hotel du Vin. system. The situation needs to change. I

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April issue 2018 (issue 67)  
April issue 2018 (issue 67)  
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