__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

Birmingham g n i liv

BHAM_ (Page 01) cover0421:Layout 1

13/4/21

21:11

Page 1

April/May 2021

GARDENER’S WORLD

THE VOICE

BLESSING ANNATORIA

CHEF DANIEL GOULD TAKE THE PLUNGE SWIMMING OUTSIDE

CARLOS ACOSTA

ALYS FOWLER

HELLO OUTDOOR LIVING!

I FOOD I DRINK I SPORT

JEWELLERS DEAKIN & FRANCIS

DANCING FROM THE STREETS OF HAVANA TO BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET


BHAM_ (Page 02):Layout 1

11/4/21

13:16

Page 35


BHAM_ (Page 03) edsletter:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:46

Page 03

EDITOR’S VIEW

S

ummer holidays? Ah yes, remember those? Getting packed, dashing down to Birmingham Airport, boarding the flight. Sun, sea and sangrias here we come! Who knows quite where we’ll be allowed to jet off to this year. Over to you BoJo! But regardless of whether it’s home or away, we all deserve and need a bloomin’ good break in the sun. A sense that we really are beginning to get back to how it used to be. There are plenty of things to look forward to and to get excited about this summer for Brummies, even if the Costas and Med hotspots remain out-of-bounds due to Covid restrictions. Yes, I’m talking to you footie fans. It’s a big summer for homegrown local stars such as Jack Grealish, Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins. And we’re hoping to see them all make their mark for England at the rescheduled Euro 2021 tournament. Can the Three Lions win it? Sure…. why not? Tennis fans are also looking forward to the coming weeks with the return of the top players to Brum. After the cancellation of last year’s Birmingham Classic tournament, the stars of the women’s game will be competing at Edgbaston Priory Club in the important pre-Wimbledon event. Watching tennis on the grass… yes, summer is well and truly here. As an avid cricket fan, I’m looking forward to England playing New Zealand at Edgbaston in the second test of their series in June – and then welcoming Pakistan to Birmingham for a mouth-watering one day international the following month. Plus, I don’t want to miss the thrilling Vitality Blast T20 finals. Hopefully, the return of top sport as well as the general opening up of everyday life, will have the added spin-off of encouraging everyone to spend some money locally and boost post-Covid business.

s n h o J d i Dav

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

Carlos Acosta by Richard Battye

/bhamliving

FINALIST

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

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

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

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

april/may 2021

birmingham living 03


g n i liv

BHAM_ (Page 04) contents:Layout 1

12/4/21

14:59

Page 04

INSIDE

10 14 18 20 32 36 04 birmingham living

Highlights

Carlos Acosta

A journey from the streets of Havana to leading Birmingham Royal Ballet

Blessing Annatoria Dudley singer on winning The Voice, loving Olly Murs and her first album

Alys Fowler Gardener’s World presenter talks neon beetroot and other fun plants for kids

Food & Drink Head chef Daniel Gould’s love of baking, plus news, reviews and summer wines

Health Joining the outdoor swim set, plus facing up to post-lockdown anxiety

Style Sliders, flats, platforms? After months of flip-flops and socks, shoes are back!

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 04) contents:Layout 1

12/4/21

14:59

Page 05

CONTENTS

Best of the Rest

46 54 58 61 64 66 april/may 2021

Homes

Have gardens ever been more important? Here’s how to make the most of your’s…

Motoring Mazda’s award-winning open-top is even better for 2021, says Sue Cooke Business Feature The past, present and future of city jewellers Deakin & Francis

Business News The ‘what, where and who’ as the commercial community opens up

What’s On Our round-up of events, both live and virtual, due to take place this month

Up Close With Kali Davidson, first female head of Birmingham’s College of Food

birmingham living 05


BHAM_ (Page 06) news:Layout 1

12/4/21

15:02

Page 06

NEWS

LEGACY FOR 2022

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers have unveiled an ambitious Legacy Plan they say will leave a lasting, positive impact on jobs, skills, education, culture, physical activity and investment across the West Midlands. The Games for Everyone plan outlines how the £778million public investment will provide the first carbon-neutral Commonwealth Games and the largest business and tourism programme of any Games to attract international visitors and investment. State-of-the-art legacy facilities at Alexander Stadium, pictured, and Sandwell Aquatics Centre will transfer to community use after the Games.

NEWS

IN THESE MOST CHALLENGING TIMES, WE BRING YOU STORIES TO INSPIRE AND ADMIRE FROM ACROSS THE CITY

TOP DOG Charity boss Giles Webber has been elected to

BAGA BONANZA

It seems Birmingham just can’t get enough of our recent cover star, Baga Chipz. She was back in her home city as one of the stars of the Parking Lot Social drive-in entertainment event featuring performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Josh Kinnersley, CEO of XL Event Lab, said: “There’s been a real appetite from the public for all of our Birmingham events, and all of our drag queens were excited to get back to the city again.”

06 birmingham living

head a leading national animal welfare organisation. The Birmingham Dogs Home chief executive is the new chair of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH). Giles has been at the helm of Birmingham Dogs Home since 2017 and is a former ADCH trustee. As chair he will steer the organisation in providing support to other rescue centres as well as guide the way for animal welfare organisations through continuing challenges.

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 06) news:Layout 1

12/4/21

15:02

Page 07

NEWS

REP RETURNS The curtain is rising again at Birmingham Rep. The venue will see two productions which were postponed due to local restrictions and lockdowns finally take to the stage, including Absolute Solo II created and performed by Birmingham artist, Rosie Kay (Wednesday 19 May). Six years since last appearing on stage herself, Rosie returns with works that look backwards and forwards at her personal experience as a female in dance.

ELLYSE JOINS HUNDRED CLUB One of the world’s leading cricketers, Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry, has joined Birmingham Phoenix for this summer's Hundred competition. The 30year-old has won five Twenty20 World

FORTUNE-TELLER FIONA

Cups and was named player of the decade by the International Cricket

You know that old pot left to you by Aunt Gladys that you’ve always thought

Council in December. New Zealand T20

might be worth a fortune? Well, now’s your chance to find out! Fiona Bruce

captain – and world number one ranked

and the BBC Antiques Roadshow team are coming to Birmingham’s Aston

batter – Sophie Devine, will lead the

Hall. The show will be filmed with an invited audience only, due to the

side. The new 100-ball competition

pandemic. Fiona said: “If you have an item that you’d like to bring along, get

features eight city-based teams with

in touch with us beforehand at bbc.co.uk/antiquesroadshow. Here’s hoping

Phoenix's first fixture against London

for a summer of great finds!”

Spirit at Edgbaston on 23 July.

GALLERY LANDING

Birmingham’s landmark Ikon Galley is reopening after lockdown with a bang – by devoting its galleries to an exhibition of artworks for sale by more than 250 Birmingham artists. The event from 17 to 31 May, follows an open call, inviting artists to submit one artwork with a value of up to £1,000. Ikon for Artists launched with a digital event, These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things, which saw comedian and participating artist, Joe Lycett share his 10 favourite works of art.

april/may 2021

birmingham living 07


BHAM_ (Page 06) news:Layout 1

12/4/21

18:15

Page 08

NEWS

Picture by Damian Bennett

BRUM BALLET PREMIERE A new ballet dedicated to the city of Birmingham will make its world premiere in June. City of a Thousand Trades is part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Curated by Carlos triple bill (10 to 12 June). The one-act abstract ballet celebrates the city’s richly diverse cultural and industrial heritage. BRB’s new season also features and an adapted production of Sir David Bintley’s classic for all the family, Cinderella (18 to 26 June). See Carlos Acosta Cover Story

UNI GAME CHANGER A three-year study by the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with the Rugby Football Union, to develop and use pitch-side saliva tests to diagnose concussion is a step closer after a ‘game-changing’ trial among male elite rugby union players. Researchers took samples from 156 Premiership and Championship players who had head injury assessments (HIAs) across the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Using DNA markers in saliva, they made a test that predicted an HIA result with 94 per cent accuracy.

DRINKS WITH TIM

GREY GUIDE Older people in Birmingham are being helped to reconnect with a charity’s 10 Steps to Connection. Produced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the interactive guide has been developed by ExtraCare Charitable Trust –

The Royal Shakespeare Company has launched its first in-house podcast, Interval Drinks, bringing together members of the RSC’s 2020/21

which has five retirement villages in Birmingham – to build stronger, more

acting company with

satisfying community for those aged 55 and over. The guide is part of

inspirational personalities from

ExtraCare’s Engaged Lives project – a National Lottery funded initiative to

the Company’s history. The first

build confidence and connection among residents.

episodes, available to download now, feature actor and comedian Miles Jupp in conversation with singer/songwriter, Tim Minchin, pictured, who this year joins the RSC in celebrating a decade since Matilda the Musical, for which Tim wrote both music and lyrics, opened in the West End. Interval Drinks is supported by Darwin Escapes.

DANCE AID Elmhurst Ballet School, the vocational school in Edgbaston with close links to Birmingham Royal Ballet, and its uniform supplier Dancing Boutique have teamed up to send more than 200 items of dancewear worth £8,000 to two ballet schools and charities 6,000 miles apart. Students at the Leap of Dance Academy in Nigeria, pictured, and Transformación Ballet in Guatemala will benefit from the gift of leotards and ballet shoes. Dancing Boutique is a family owned business with over 50 years expertise.

08 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 06) news:Layout 1

12/4/21

15:02

Page 09

NEWS

HIPPODROME HOSTS FEST

Birmingham Hippodrome has announced a new partnership with Turbine Theatre which will present the highly-celebrated annual festival of new musical theatre, MTFestUK 2021. MTFestUK was first launched at The Other Palace in 2019 by Paul Taylor-Mills, followed by a 2020 season in February last year at the Turbine Theatre. This year’s nationwide ‘digital tour’ will be hosted at Birmingham Hippodrome from 31 May to 6 June. It will include a diverse selection of eight new musicals.

FUN AND GAMES WITH PERRY Meet Perry the bull, the official mascot for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Perry is the first mascot at any multi-sport Games who will be brought to life through augmented reality – meaning people will have the opportunity to #PoseWithPerry using their mobile phone camera, and via a special filter on Facebook and Instagram. Users can summon an animated, 3D version of Perry into their living rooms, pose for pictures with him and can share their photos on social media.

TURKEY JET-AWAYS

Birmingham Airport is set to introduce a new name to its airlines this summer. AnadoluJet – a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines – is launching a new operation with flights to the popular leisure destinations of Antalya and Dalaman. Tom Screen, the airport’s aviation director, said: “As we prepare to welcome customers back flying again, we are extremely pleased that AnadoluJet will be offering these new services from the 19 July.”

MG SITE GO-AHEAD The once iconic but now derelict 75-acre West Works site at the former MG Rover car plant in Longbridge is to finally be regenerated following a £6million investment package from the West Midlands Combined Authority. The deal with property developer St Modwen means the land will house 350 new homes and 900,000sqft of commercial floorspace, creating up to 5,000 jobs. St Modwen has already overseen the regeneration of around half the wider Longbridge works which it bought in 2003.

ON THE BALL

Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club has created a new women’s netball team, which is registered with England Netball and will be competing in Birmingham’s Summer League. The team will be closely associated with the rugby club and has already secured its kit sponsor, local company Moseley Autocentre owned by Patrick Pryce. Steph Bragg, who founded the team, said: “I’m delighted that the board of directors is allowing us to introduce a brand-new sport to

GOT ANY NEWS? Email your news and pictures to editor@brumliving.co.uk the club and to use the brand and facilities.”

april/may 2021

birmingham living 09


BHAM_ (Page 10) carlosacosta:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:29

Page 10

COVER STORY

DANCING KING SUPERSTAR AND BRB DIRECTOR CARLOS ACOSTA USED TO THINK BALLET WAS JUST A NONSENSE, BUT ALL THAT CHANGED WHEN THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CUBA CAME TO TOWN idely considered one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s artistic director Carlos Acosta had to be forcefully coerced to try the artform by his father who wanted to save him from a slippery slope of skipping school and low-level theft. Carlos says all he really wanted to be at the time was Michael Jackson and his dance style was more street than stage. He recalls: “We lived in a rough part of Havana where people just didn’t do ballet. I’d started skipping school and stealing, so my father forced me into ballet to pull me away from the crowd I was involved with. I hated ballet initially. I thought it was just nonsense and so slow. I wanted to break dance in the street with music blasting.”

W

10 birmingham living

Despite his reluctance, Carlos found he had a talent for capturing movement when he put his mind to it. The day the National Ballet of Cuba rolled into town and Carlos watched them perform was a pivotal moment. “They were athletic and cool and made it look effortless. I started to work hard and utilise my time better and it paid off.” Carlos began to get noticed by directors. He bagged a place at a ballet camp in Switzerland and started to shine. At 16 years old, Carlos won the coveted Prix de Lausanne. He says: “I looked different. I had a big afro with these skinny legs, but I became a ballet dancer. Ballet changed my life.” Carlos was principal dancer at the Royal Ballet for 17 years and has had a celebrated career. His role at

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 10) carlosacosta:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:30

Page 11

COVER STORY

Picture by Richard Battye

april/may 2021

birmingham living 11


BHAM_ (Page 10) carlosacosta:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:30

Page 12

COVER STORY

Birmingham Royal Ballet was a bold move, but one he relished. “I took the challenge when it came along. I can help the company be more representative and more diverse and pass on the knowledge I’ve acquired. The expectations of ballet have shifted. The core ballets like Swan Lake will never go, but we’re introducing new ballets too. Twenty-first century ballet looks different. It’s important we don’t rely on yesterday and we strike the right balance.” COMMUNITY SPIRIT Guiding BRB through the challenges of the pandemic has been tough, but Carlos says the unity and togetherness across the arts community in Birmingham has been heart-warming. “I’ve had so many meetings with different organisations and the narrative has been ‘what can we do to get through this collectively?’ That’s been wonderful.” BRB’s natural home is the Hippodrome which has been shut, so navigating new ways to reach people has required fresh partnerships, creative thinking and embracing digital. “We were in uncharted territory. The pandemic accelerated taking shows online and generating revenue that way. We’ll probably do more going forward. You can play with the camera with an online show getting right in among the dancers. It’s interesting.” Even the previously simple tasks of bringing the company together to train and perform is a challenge with regular tests, bubbles and reduced casts. Carlos made a short online film during lockdown titled Empty Stage – his moving rallying call to all those affected by the ban of live audiences. “There’s a danger we will lose a generation of young dancers coming into the profession as well as damaging the careers of dancers who are in the prime right now with nowhere to perform.” NEW RELATIONSHIP The company has coped by delaying some things and streaming others always with contingency plans as the situation changes so quickly. Forming a new relationship with the Rep with the Hippodrome out of action has been key too. Carlos says: “The Rep has

12 birmingham living

different characteristics to the Hippodrome. It’s more subsidised which has allowed for more activity. We’ve formed an alliance as a result of the supportive conversations in the city I talked of before.” Keeping dancers inspired and their minds active at home has been a priority. “I’ve considered a number of things to lift their spirits. I’ve brought world class names to do virtual classes for my dancers. We’ve had sessions from someone in Brazil I’ve worked with previously as well as a wonderful teacher from the Paris Opera.”

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 10) carlosacosta:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:30

Page 13

COVER STORY

Picture by Man Yee Lee The arts are more important than ever during tough times and Carlos is keen to bring people joy. Thankfully, live performances at the Rep will begin again in June. As well as an adapted production of Sir David Bintley’s family classic, Cinderella, there’ll be a triple bill titled, Curated by Carlos which will feature the world premiere of City of a Thousand Trades, an abstract ballet dedicated to Birmingham – a love letter to the city. Of the return of live audiences Carlos says: “To be able to present work to audiences again will be a huge

april/may 2021

relief. It is over a year since the theatres closed and a year later than planned that these two new works, which I am very excited about, will make their premieres. The programme illustrates what I want this Company to be and highlights our commitment to diverse talent.” I

DATES FOR THE DIARY Curated by Carlos, 10 to 12 June Cinderella, 18 to 26 June Visit birmingham-rep.co.uk for more information and tickets.

birmingham living 13


BHAM_ (Page 14) 2ndfeat_BLESSING:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:32

Page 14

FEATURE

OLD SOUL DUDLEY POWERHOUSE, BLESSING ANNATORIA TALKS WINNING

THE VOICE, RECORDING AN ALBUM AND KEEPING HER IDENTITY ast year’s winner of The Voice, Blessing Annatoria has been singing for as long as she can remember. Born in Zimbabwe she says music was just part of the culture: “Without instruments we would just use our hands and voices.” Blessing’s family moved to Dudley when she was six-years-old and while it might be very different culturally, the singing never stopped. Both of Blessing’s parents are pastors, so church has always been a big part of family life and her new album, Count My Blessings which is out now is packed with feel-good gospel vibes. The first single, I Smile is an optimistic and joyful interpretation of the Kirk Franklin original and everything we need right now. Blessing’s plan was never to enter The Voice. The producers contacted her and encouraged her to go for it having spotted her potential on social media. She remembers the first audition: “It was the scariest thing ever. I just had that one time to make it perfect.” Blessing dealt with the nerves by focusing on her family. “Each time I felt nervous I would look at my family and realise I had no reason to be.”

L

MENTOR MURS While judges Meghan Trainor, Will.i.am and Sir Tom Jones hovered above their big red buttons, canny Olly Murs took the plunge. Blessing may have preferred Meghan as a

14 birmingham living

mentor if asked before the show, but she says Olly was incredibly supportive and when the series ground to a halt due to Covid-19, he was still available, checking in with her regularly. A seven-month break in filming left Blessing wondering whether the show would ever restart. She explains: “People would ask me in the street when the show would be back and I just didn’t know.” Thankfully the show did resume and in November 2020 after a storming final performance, Blessing was crowned winner and actually the break meant that she was able to gradually come to terms with the limelight. Although, it sounds like Blessing’s parents do a fantastic job keeping her grounded. “They help me and guide me and make sure I don’t lose my identity.” DEBUT ALBUM After the show, Blessing set about writing and recording her debut album remotely with award-winning producer and songwriter Rupert Christie, who has worked with Jessie J, U2, Coldplay and Lou Reed among many others. The result, Count My Blessings is a mixture of 14 songs, including some Blessing performed on The Voice reimagined as well as original material. The Voice fans will enjoy the beautiful version of Blessing’s winning song Angels by Robbie Williams, an emotional rendition of Westlife’s Flying Without Wings as

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 14) 2ndfeat_BLESSING:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:33

Page 15

FEATURE

april/may 2021

birmingham living 15


BHAM_ (Page 14) 2ndfeat_BLESSING:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:33

Page 16

FEATURE

16 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 14) 2ndfeat_BLESSING:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:33

Page 17

FEATURE

well as Mariah Carey’s Without You, the track which secured Blessing her place in the final. Blessing co-wrote the rich soulful title track, Count My Blessings which encourages the listener to spread kindness and help one another. NEW TWIST There are three hymns on the album that have been given a contemporary twist reflecting Blessing’s upbringing singing in church. How Great Thou Art which Blessing describes as her family’s song is particularly uplifting. She says: “During this time of hardship and struggle, I wanted to release an album of encouragement and joy. I want people to feel uplifted and I really hope the songs and hymns will give people strength to pick themselves up and be happy again.” Blessing was back on The Voice stage performing her new single I Smile on her nineteenth birthday at this year’s final looking and sounding every inch the star. The track features a remotely recorded choir led by Kingdom Choir’s Wayne Hernandez who is best known for performing at the wedding of Harry and Meghan and who has worked with stars such as Jay Z. When we caught up with Blessing we were still in lockdown, but she’s planning to get back to performing live and spreading her infectious joy and optimism as soon as she can. I

SPREAD THE WORD I Smile is out now https://BlessingAnnatoria.lnk.to/ISmilePR Count My Blessings, out at the end of April, but is available from https://BlessingAnnatoria.lnk.to/CountMyBlessingsPR

april/may 2021

birmingham living 17


BHAM_ (Page 18) 3rdfeat_ALYS:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:11

Page 18

FEATURE

BLOOMING KIDS! TV PRESENTER AND AUTHOR ALYS FOWLER IS LOOKING TO BOOST THE NATION’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH GARDENING BY CULTIVATING CHILDREN’S CURIOSITY IN HER BRILLIANT NEW BOOK

18 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 18) 3rdfeat_ALYS:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:11

Page 19

FEATURE

pparently, according to the people who know about these things, an extra three million of us have taken up gardening during the pandemic, and as a someone who admits to being “obsessed with gardening” Alys Fowler sees that as a silver lining to what otherwise has been a very black cloud. The broadcaster and writer, probably best known as a presenter of BBC Gardener’s World, says she wants as many of those people as possible to carry on planting, pruning and cultivating when life begins to return to how it used to be. “The upswell of interest in gardens over the past 12 months is a result of the fact that people haven’t been able to go anywhere or do the things they used to do,” says Alys. “I really, really hope that as many as possible stick with it and continue to love gardening as much as I do.” The adopted Brummie, who moved to the city 15 years ago to join the Gardeners’ World team at the Beeb, has passed on her expertise in a number of best-selling books, such as The Thrifty Gardener, The Edible Garden, The Thrifty Forager, Abundance and The Modern Herbal. Now, she is turning her attention to young gardeners with her first book for children. KEW: Grow, Forage and Make – Fun Things To Do With Plants is aimed at children aged between five and nine with activities that can take anything from less than an hour to a whole weekend. Beautifully illustrated by Heidi Griffiths, it’s a really involving book, full of ideas for kids to do on their own but also with parents and other family members.

A

NEON BEETROOT “I’ve had quite strong ideas about wanting to do a children’s gardening book, a book that is about expanding their experiences,” Alys explains. “Traditional children’s books about gardening can be ludicrous. It’s important to understand the attention span for a child is very short unless you can really involve them. All kids love being outside and are inherently curious, so they can learn about all sorts of things in the book – from growing their own air plants to foraging for edible flowers. They don’t even need a garden or any fancy equipment – a homemade pot and watering can, seeds from the kitchen cupboard and a sunny windowsill will do.”

april/may 2021

With Alys's expert guidance kids can grow their own avocado tree, make wildflower seed paper, forage for tasty roots to add to favourite recipes and even grow neon pink beetroot in the dark! Alys’s own background is the perfect example of the fascination of young minds with the great outdoors, plants and flowers. Originally from rural Hampshire, Alys’s father was a doctor while her mother had various businesses – including keeping chickens and training gun dogs. Her love of gardening inspired daughter Alys who went on to study at the Royal Horticultural Society and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where she developed her interest in more organic and accessible landscape gardening. She also studied on a scholarship at New York’s Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. ALLOT’ GOING ON After beginning work as a gardening journalist, she became a researcher for Gardeners’ World before being head gardener at the BBC’s garden at Berryfield in Stratford-upon-Avon, and a regular presenter on the popular weekly TV show. Alys published her first book, The Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing in 2007. She continues to write regularly as a contributor to the Guardian. Alys welcomes the big surge in popularity of gardening. “People come to gardening for many different reasons,” she said. “More people are using our parks too – I see that in my own part of Birmingham.” Alys has her own allotment in Highbury Park and was straining to get back to the environment she loves best. “It feels like it’s been a very long, hard winter,” she said. “I can’t wait to get back to the allotment once I have finished speaking to you!” Hint taken, Alys… I Alys’s new book, KEW: Grow Forage and Make – Fun Things To Do With Plants is published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, £9.99 paperback, from Amazon and all reputable bookshops.

FLOATING POND Alys is excited to be involved in two special local projects – working with Grand Union Gallery in Fazeley Street and the Canal and River Trust to create a floating pond in the canal, as well as a project at Coventry City of Culture’s festival site.

birmingham living 19


living

BHAM_ (Page 20) chefscornerISSUU:Layout 1

14/4/21

12:10

Page 20

FOOD & DRINK

DANIEL GOULD The head chef at the Cornerstone Kitchen – an independent catering company specialising in high end restaurant quality food for weddings, corporate dinners and private dining at home – started young, baking with his Nan. No surprise then, that he cooks regularly with his own four-year-old daughter

20 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 20) chefscorner:Layout 1

12/4/21

16:39

Page 21

CHEF’S CORNER

Tell us about your cooking My style is not to over-complicate things. I like to let the ingredients do the talking and treat them with respect. I love working on desserts and anything pastry – they are always my favourite dishes to develop when the new menus come around. Right now it’s so important to support local businesses as much as we can. We do that by using a local baker for all of our breads. For meats we buy from Pat’s Butchers in Four Oaks. They have been fantastic and a huge support to us right from the beginning. How did you become a chef? It all started with my Nan. I used to do loads of baking with her. That’s where my love for pastry came from. Then growing up, my mum was general manager of a hotel in Kenilworth so I started working in the kitchen to make some money. I loved the buzz in the kitchen and knew that’s what I wanted to do. I did a year’s training at Turners and learned so much from Richard and his team which gave me a solid foundation that took me to Hotel du Vin and Andersons before arriving here at Cornerstone. What do you eat at home? It depends on what mood I am in. As soon as the sun comes out, I enjoy cooking in the garden and I especially love cooking with my four-year-old daughter Bella, seeing her get involved whether it’s baking some cakes or making a spaghetti bolognese for dinner. My go-to dish at home is mac ‘n’ cheese, which I love. Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? I am inspired by chefs just wanting to do it properly, no cutting corners. Marco Pierre White was the first chef I saw doing it that way, he has massively influenced the whole food scene with some of the best in the world having done their time with him. In terms of Birmingham, I couldn’t answer that, there are too many good chefs to pick from now. One to watch, though, is Liam Dillon at the Boat Inn. I love his style of cooking. Share a cooking tip Easy answer…. butter. Everything tastes better with a load of butter in it.

april/may 2021

MAKE DAN’S TOP TART Dan’s recipe for white chocolate mousse tart topped with pineapple and pink peppercorns is available at brumliving.co.uk

What was your favourite food as a kid? Ice Cream. I just love it. Still do today. Also, proper Staffordshire oatcakes. If I ever see them anywhere I will always buy some. Food heaven and food hell? Heaven would have to be croque madame – back in the day when I worked at Hotel du Vin they were just perfect. Honestly, I do not have a food hell, there really isn’t anything I would say no to. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Frog legs, snails, kangaroo, crocodile, mealworms, ants… to name a few, all of which I really enjoyed! If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? I love the outdoors, going hiking, taking my tent. I will camp anywhere. I am really happy when doing that, so I guess something in the outdoors. Or a carpenter. I love being practical and building things especially working with wood. What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? Pork cheeks, cauliflower puree, Dauphinoise potatoes , black pudding crumb, roasted apple and cider sauce. It’s a hearty dish but not heavy – which I think is just right for a springtime plate of food. I The Cornerstone Kitchen, thecornerstonekitchen.com Tel: 0121 405 2354

birmingham living 21


BHAM_ (Page 22-23):Layout 1

11/4/21

13:32

Page 22

 N J a


BHAM_ (Page 22-23):Layout 1

11/4/21

13:33

Page 23

ßǞȺǞɈɐȺ

€Ž{pÀƯª N¯£“‘Ê££ J„€€“Æ|‘ a¯¼|„ÀƄ¼

ìð î W

ôì ì I

ôó ôG

aJì ì-1 ;

;

;

;

%HVW&XVWRPHU 6HUYLFH

.LWFKHQ 5HWDLOHU RI WKH <HDU 

#8;=WS;7=J;=8;=WJ;a N#S

aaa 1NN# #8SJ#=JN = W/ 






BHAM_ (Page 24) nibbles:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:22

Page 24

FOOD & DRINK

NIBBLES and SHORTS

THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HAS BEEN AMONG THE HARDEST HIT BY THE PANDEMIC, AND AS THE SECTOR PREPARES TO MOVE OUT OF LOCKDOWN, WE BRING YOU NEWS AND INITIATIVES AS THE CITY’S BUSINESSES GEAR UP FOR THE ‘BIG COMEBACK’

DATE WITH DR ANDY

SPORTS BAR LAUNCH

Three Midlands hotels have signed on with the UK’s only Doctor of Wellbeing to create ‘the ultimate reboot’ for teams reuniting after the easing of lockdown. Lea Marston Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, the Abbey Hotel, Redditch and Hilton Warwick, have joined forces with Dr Andy Cope for the initiative which allows organisations to book an off-site venue and take part in training and activities that will allow them to reacquaint and reenergise. Dr Andy runs worldrenowned training workshop, the Art of Being Brilliant.

GREEK TREAT

A state-of-the-art sports bar is due to open its doors at Ricoh Arena in the coming weeks as part of wider improvements ahead of the venue hosting the Commonwealth Games.

SOUND CHOICE

The new bar will cater for up to 160

Music enthusiasts and tech-savvy travellers are sure to love a new Birmingham A Greek-inspired street food company is launching a new restaurant, Kouzina hotel. Guests at the 195-bedroom Aloft Birmingham Eastside – part of the Marriott International group – at Selfridges Birmingham to coincide enjoy music venues on their doorstep, including the with the lifting of lockdown Hippodrome and Utilita Arena Birmingham. The hotel is restrictions. From Street Kitchen sited in the city’s regenerated Eastside hub, home to Brothers, a West Midlands-based businesses, retail, and leisure facilities, all just a Greek-Cypriot family run business, short walk away from the city centre. It is also Kouzina will be the first eatery to serve connected to new state-of-the-art authentic Greek food at the store. The conference and events venue, the restaurant will seat 50 covers. Street Eastside Rooms. Kitchen Brothers was founded by brothers Paul Polyviou and Chris Butcher, who are regulars at the NEC, Digbeth Dining Club, BBC Good Food Show and Lichfield Food Festival.

CRAFTY WORK

covers and boast an array of widescreen and wall TVs as well as interactive games. Ricoh Arena’s catering partner, Delaware North, is funding a significant portion of the seven-figure investment in the sports bar, alongside investment from Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

MICHELIN MOVE

Michelin-starred chef Aktar Islam is moving his popular home-delivered food business into new premises in Birmingham. Aktar, who owns two restaurants in the city, developed his Aktar at Home company when the eateries venues were closed by Covid-19 restrictions. Operating out of those restaurants, the success of Aktar at Home meant the chef needed to find new space for when they reopened. The service is now be based in a 7,300 sq ft property at New Bartholomew Street, Digbeth.

A Brummie brewery which opened during last year’s lockdown is serving up its second craft beer, a tropical number labelled Garrity Mash. Birmingham-based Gypsy Brew was co-founded by Gary Meads and Al Smith in Weatheroak Hill. The duo’s first beer, Gypsy Water, generated a real buzz and will be served at the Artisan Street Kitchen as well as critically-acclaimed restaurants such as Simpsons and AboutCraft. Garrity Mash is available to buy from the Gypsy Brew website https://gypsybrew.co.uk

24 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 25) restrev:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:26

Page 25

RESTAURANT REVIEW

FESTEN Website: www.festen.co.uk Email: festenuk@gmail.com

april/may 2021

e’ve written this every month for quite a few, but this time we’re pretty sure this’ll be our final athome review! Having said that, Brum’s very own in-home dining wizard at Festen may be on the radar well after the chat of support bubbles and furlough has faded. Festen bill themselves as ‘no fuss’ despite having honed their craft at the likes of Simpsons and the Ritz, and we agree. This was the easiest, least messy – we didn’t use a single pan – and most reasonably priced food we’ve enjoyed in lockdown and more importantly, it was blooming delicious. We’ve had some at-home boxes that have been unnecessarily plastic heavy, but the Festen packaging was minimal. Paper bag, foil trays with cardboard tops and a modest compostable plastic tub for the pud. Two courses costs £9 and no, that’s not a typo. Due to our moronic view that you always get what you pay for, expectations were of decent home cooked grub that, with prices like this, we might as well try. Everything went in the oven at the same temperature at varying times with all but one dish cooked in their foil containers. Rolled pork with a tonne of herbs, capers and lemon made the kitchen smell incredible. It was rich, tender, melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous. We ordered sides of roast potatoes and spring veg to go with the pork. These cost extra, but still a snip. The roast potatoes were so perfect that we toyed with the idea of ordering a big batch for Easter Sunday before accepting it was probably a bit lazy. We’re still regretting it. Chicken a la Festen looked simple and tasted anything but. Essentially a chicken breast with bacon, a crunchy breadcrumb topping and spring veg (sweet peas, baby onions and asparagus) the flavours were seriously pleasing. It was smoky, sweet, herby and perfectly cooked. We’re rubbish at cooking chicken breasts but can confirm if you follow the instructions this turns out superbly. Cheesecake wasn’t your average cheesecake either. We couldn’t get it out of its container neatly, so ate it straight from the pot. The crunch came from a crisp kadair pastry and almonds on top of the moreish creamy mixture rather than a biscuit base. Flavours of almond, citrus and mint were just fresh and dreamy. You can order wine with your meal – we didn’t as we seem to have stockpiled, but the selection is well worth a look. In terms of keeping up to speed with Festen menus, your best bet is to sign up to the mailing list then you’ll receive a menu each Saturday for delivery the following Friday. Delivery is free to a handful of Birmingham postcodes. Check the website for details. 

W

birmingham living 25


BHAM_ (Page 26) seasonseats:Layout 1

11/4/21

15:58

Page 26

SEASON’S EATINGS

PEAR ALMONDINE OK, pears aren’t exactly in season but we saw the legendary Raymond Blanc knock up this tart and were inspired to make it

s you’d expect from the wonderful Monsieur Blanc, this recipe is utterly delicious, with the bonus that it’s easy to make too. If using fresh pears is just too fiddly for you lazy people, tinned ones work just as well. So there really is no excuse for not having a go…

A

Ingredients

I 6 pear halves

I 100g unsalted soft butter

I 1tsp cornflour

I 1tsp vanilla extract

I 100g caster sugar I 1 egg

I 100g ground almonds

I Toasted flaked almonds

I Optional icing sugar, for dusting

Method Preheat the oven to 200°C fan. Grease a 20cm tart ring. Rub the inside edge with unsalted butter and then stick a strip of greaseproof paper all the way round. Place the tart ring on a lined baking tray. In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar, then add the ground almonds, cornflour, vanilla and egg. Mix well then spoon into the tin, spreading evenly. Drain the pears, then arrange evenly around the outside of the tart, resting them on top of the almond sponge mixture. Scatter with a handful of flaked almonds and then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the ring. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

26 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 27) restrev:Layout 1

12/4/21

11:24

Page 27

RESTAURANT REVIEW

SIMLA Website: Simlarestaurant.co.uk Tel: 01827 331111

e woke early one Saturday morning to Simla’s owner on the radio talking about adapting his business in order to keep trading through the pandemic. Like many restaurants, at-home kits have been a lifeline for Simla. Naturally it’s not the same as running a buzzing restaurant filled with people, but it’s certainly kept the wheels turning. We tried a curry box for four people and while we’ve hearty appetites at Brum Living Towers we reckon it would’ve fed eight of us comfortably. In the interests of this review, we cooked everything in one go, but realistically you could hold back a few dishes for another day. Cooking is essentially a heat-up and assembly job although we recommend holding off the gin until you’ve nailed the timings. We may have cremated the mini poppadoms. Butter chicken is our go-to curry and the Simla version was beautifully rich and deep. Mopping up the moreish sauce with warm Malabari paratha was heaven.

W

april/may 2021

Tandoori Palak Chicken was a fresh vivid green packed with spinach with a fistful of coriander. Lamb Bhuna hit the spot – a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness worked a treat, while Paneer Jalfrezi was the punchiest dish of the bunch. There was a flavourpacked Dal finished with chilli oil and a fish curry – Machar-Jhol that was delicious and a bit different. Fish fillets were cooked quickly in a hot oven and served with a traditional Bengali curry sauce. Really good. We could have fed the whole street with the amount of rice provided. Then there were wholewheat chapatis and paratha, achari aloo gobi, raita and chutney which would have been great with the poppadoms. It was a real feast. While the instructions were a doddle, we managed to use at least one pan per dish, so there was a bit more clearing up to do than with other boxes we’ve tried. The at-home menu changes every couple of weeks and prices start at £35 for two people. I

birmingham living 27


BHAM_ (Page 28) cotm:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:00

Page 28

COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

PROM STAR MARTINI

This non-alcoholic beauty is the perfect tipple to go with our latest TV watching craze, Teen First Dates

hroughout lockdown it’s the little things that we’ve been so thankful for. Zoom calls, hand-written letters, Netflix… and our latest guilty pleasure, Teen First Dates! It’s adorable watching the fresh-faced teenagers making their first tentative steps into real-life dating. And if you’re avid fans like us you may have noticed more than a few opt to calm their nerves with an intriguingly named Prom Star Martini. It’s the non-alcoholic version of its big sister, the omnipresent Porn Star Martini, so has all the stunning passion fruit flavours without the post-session headache. Why not treat the whole family with this simple delicious recipe.

T

INGREDIENTS:

I One passion fruit (plus an optional extra half to garnish) I 50ml quality apple juice

I 15ml passion fruit syrup I 15ml fresh lime juice

I Few drops of vanilla extract

METHOD: Slice open the passion fruit and scoop out all the seeds into a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake well. Strain into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with the passion fruit half.

28 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 29):Layout 1

11/4/21

13:17

Page 35


BHAM_ (Page 30) wine:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:27

Page 30

FOOD & DRINK

FAIR WEATHER WINES AS THE DAYS WARM UP AND THE EVENINGS GET LIGHTER, OUR NEW WINE EXPERT KATIE GARDNER, FROM BIRMINGHAM WINE SCHOOL, PICKS THE PERFECT TIPPLES TO ENJOY OUTDOORS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS ope springs eternal, so the saying goes. While the past winter may have been particularly bitter, warmer weather and lighter evenings are taking over – and along with the brighter outlook comes the chance to enjoy some time outdoors with friends and family. Now is the perfect time to spring clean your wine rack and invigorate your palate! Seeing family and friends for the first time in a while is a cause for celebration, so why not pop open some fizz? After many years deliberating, the Prosecco consortium in Italy has finally released Prosecco Rosé into the market! This fresh and fruity style is made with Glera, the same grape used to make white Prosecco but gets its beautiful pink colour from an added dash of Pinot

H

30 birmingham living

Noir. Expect red berry flavours with just a touch of sweetness to balance the fizz. For food pairing, do as the Italians do and roll out the antipasti! This style will go perfectly with charcuterie, cheeses and olives. Saluti! CHANGING TASTES Our tastes tend to change with the seasons, so if you’ve been drinking hearty reds all winter now could be the time for a change. White wines like Grüner Veltliner from Austria and Albariño from Northern Spain have high levels of acidity which, despite sounding unpleasant, gives wines their crisp and mouth-watering quality. These are a great alternative for Sauvignon Blanc drinkers who want to try something a bit different. Acidity in wine also pairs beautifully with

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 30) wine:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:27

Page 31

4

FOOD & DRINK

Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé, Italy – something new for Prosecco lovers, rosé is perfect at this time of year with delicate red berries and floral aromas. Available from Marks & Spencer for £12. Morandé one to one Gewurztraminer 2020, Chile – aromatic white wine reminiscent of spring blooms, with notes of orange blossom, jasmine and lychees. Available from Majestic for £7.99 (mix six price). Familia Schroeder Alpataco Pinot Noir 2018, Argentina – smooth and silky red wine with notes of summer fruits and a hint of spice from the cool climate region of Patagonia in the far south of Argentina. Available from Frazier’s Wine Merchants for £13.25. Côtes du Rhône Villages, Rhône Valley, France – juicy red blend with aromas of red and black fruits and plenty of structure. Perfect for steaks on the BBQ! Available from Aldi for £5.99.

fresh salads with vinaigrette and seafood dishes cooked with lemon. Rejoice in nature beginning to bloom with a wine that smells like a glorious spring bouquet. Gewurztraminer is an unusual white grape variety which originates from the Tyrol in Northern Italy but has made a name for itself in the wines of Alsace. It has the most individual and distinctive taste of all grape varieties. GREAT VALUE When you first stick your nose in the glass, you are hit with a complex perfume of rose petals, lavender, lychees and Turkish Delight. It comes in a variety of sweetness levels from dry, off-dry, medium-dry to sweet and will often have a hint of ginger spice on the palate. Dry to medium styles go beautifully with aromatic, mildly spicy dishes from Asian cuisine. The sweetness in the wine balances the spice and matches the intensity of flavour. Try with red Thai curry or sweet and sour pork. Elegant, light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir tend to have plenty of freshness and lower levels of

april/may 2021

tannins, making them perfect for the new season. The spiritual home of Pinot Noir is Burgundy in France, where it can command exorbitant prices, but great value examples can be found from all over the world. Notoriously difficult to grow, it prefers cooler climates to preserve its delicate red fruit flavours. Mushrooms are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, however the earthy nature of Pinot Noir is a perfect match! If you can’t wait to fire up the BBQ, go for a juicy, medium-bodied red like Côtes du Rhône from the south of France. Here the three grapes Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre are blended to create a smooth and structured wine which goes beautifully with grilled meats and vegetables without overwhelming the palate. I Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company that offers fun informal wine tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses online in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, and Warwick. For more information, contact Katie Gardner 0121 270 7359 or visit www.birminghamwineschool.com.

birmingham living 31


BHAM_ (Page 32) health_swim:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:01

Page 32

HEALTH

LURE OF THE

BLUE

THE CLOSURE OF LOCAL INDOOR SWIMMING POOLS DURING THE LOCKDOWN HAS SEEN A HUGE GROWTH IN THE POPULARITY OF OUTDOOR SWIMMING

32 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 32) health_swim:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:01

Page 33

HEALTH

hen the country went into lockdown back in March 2020, so did our local swimming pools and as a result many more people took to wild swimming outdoors. The Outdoor Swimming Society says numbers taking part in the activity grew by around three times. While many people are lucky to live close to the coast or near rivers and lakes, it’s not so easy to find an open water spot in the centre of Birmingham. Outdoor swimming has proven to be a lifeline for many during the pandemic, with two-thirds of outdoor swimmers saying the activity has been essential to maintaining their mental well-being, according to Outdoor Swimmer magazine’s Trends in Outdoor Swimming report. The benefits on our physical health of swimming are well-recognised. Three, 30-minute swims a week together with a healthy diet is one of the best ways to stay fit and well. Swimming uses all the muscles in the body so it’s a great total workout. And as a great form of cardiovascular exercise, swimming helps guard against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. It’s especially good for those recovering from long-term injury as the water supports up to 90 per cent of the body’s weight.

W

STRESS-BUSTER However, an increasing number of studies are showing the positive effects of outdoor swimming on our mental well-being. When you’re swimming outdoors you certainly have no choice but to be in the moment. All the deadlines and anxieties float away as you focus on the water and your swimming stroke. Attention is paid to your breathing, the feeling of water on your skin and the natural world around you. It all helps to disconnect us from the stress of our busy lives. Swimming outdoors is also shown to boost energy levels while at the same time stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which promotes feelings of relaxation and helps deliver a better night’s sleep. In 2013, marine biologist Dr Wallace J Nichols, author of the best-selling book Blue Mind, explored how being near, on or in water can reduce stress levels, make you happier, more creative and more connected. This Blue Mind theory, now an emerging form of mindfulness, has been backed up by work undertaken by neuroscientists. It seems that water can ignite a dopamine hit, creating a positive feeling every time we’re in or around it.

april/may 2021

HEALTH BOOSTER HERE’S SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF SWIMMING: Increased Muscle Tone and Strength – As water is much denser than air, swimming is a far more effective way of toning your muscles than any other form of cardiovascular exercise. When you swim you get the cardio part of your workout while also working on an even body tone. Water provides a certain amount of extra resistance, which has a similar effect as using a light weight on a resistance machine at the gym. Healthy heart – As an aerobic exercise, swimming strengthens the heart, not only helping it to become larger, but making it more efficient in pumping, which leads to better blood flow throughout your body. This can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 40 per cent. Reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels – Studies show that swimming for 30 minutes at least three times a week can significantly lower your blood pressure. One study found that resting heart rate was considerably lowered after only 10 weeks of regular swimming. Plus, swimming for half-an-hour or longer helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood while raising the levels of good cholesterol. Lower blood sugar levels – Swimming for at least half-an-hour three to four times a week, combined with eating a balanced low glycaemic index diet, has been shown to control blood sugar levels, according to the Amateur Swimming Association. Low impact – The human body automatically becomes lighter in water with around 90 per cent of your body’s weight being buoyant. So, when you swim there is less strain placed on bones, joints and muscles. This makes it a fantastic exercise for people with injuries, who may be overweight or suffer from arthritis. Flexibility – Unlike exercise machines in a gym that tend to isolate one body part at a time, swimming allows you to use a lot of muscles at the same time. Helps manage weight – Swimming breaststroke for 30 minutes will burn approximately 400Kcal, depending on your weight and speed. That beats walking, cycling and even running at 6mph, which burns 300Kcal. Better sleep – People who take vigorous exercise, such as swimming, are nearly twice as likely as non-exercisers to have a good night’s sleep. Want to take the outdoor swimming plunge? Edgbaston Priory Club boasts a great outdoor swimming pool in a lovely setting. More details at edgabstonpriory.com or tel: 0121 440 2492.

birmingham living 33


BHAM_ (Page 34) health_anxiety:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:02

Page 34

HEALTH

NOT-SO-SPLENDID

ISOLATION

WHILE MOST OF US CAN’T WAIT TO MEET UP WITH FRIENDS AGAIN AND RETURN TO LIFE AS USUAL, A YEAR OF BEING CUT-OFF BY LOCKDOWNS HAS LEFT THOSE SUFFERING ANXIETY DISORDERS EVEN MORE FEARFUL OF THE FUTURE. HERE’S SOME ADVICE TO HELP THEM THROUGH…

34 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 34) health_anxiety:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:02

Page 35

HEALTH

fter the year from hell we’re all chomping at the bit to get back to experiencing again what was normal life pre-pandemic. But the world opening up is a double-edged sword for some people who have been isolated or cut off for more than 12 months – those who suffer from social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. It’s a common problem that usually starts during the teenage years. It can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life. For some people it gets better as they get older, but for many it does not go away on its own without treatment.

A

KNOW THE SYMPTOMS Not to be confused with shyness, social anxiety is a fear that does not go away and affects everyday activities, self-confidence, relationships and work or school life. You may have social anxiety if you: I Worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping. I Avoid or worry a lot about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company and parties. I Always worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating or appearing incompetent. I Find it difficult to do things when others are watching – you may feel like you’re being watched and judged all the time. I Fear being criticised, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem. I Often have symptoms like feeling sick, sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat (palpitations). I Have panic attacks, where you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety, usually only for a few minutes. I Many people with social anxiety also have other mental health issues, such as depression, generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder. It’s a common problem and there are treatments that can help. Asking for help can be difficult but a GP will be aware that many people struggle with social anxiety and will try to put you at ease. You can also refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP. april/may 2021

HOW TO HELP YOURSELF There are a number of things you can do to take positive action to help yourself overcome anxiety. Get yourself out there – If you feel in a hole, do something. Accept invitations to go places and do things that make you uncomfortable. At the same time, you need to prepare yourself to properly handle being out there. Keep a journal – Writing about your thoughts and experiences in a daily journal will highlight your improvements and when you are falling back into negative-thinking patterns. Improve your health – Exercise not only increases feelings of well-being and reduces anxiety but if done in the company of others offers the chance to build up your social skills. Spend more time outdoors enjoying mother nature. Set goals – Put your goals down on paper. This makes them real and measurable. Be kind to yourself – Build on small achievements and you will feel better about yourself. Some days you can even feel proud that you made it out of the house. Start saying yes… and no – If you are invited to do something social, try to make a habit out of accepting the invitation. Although you might feel anxious at first, over time the more you do, the less fearful you will become. Equally, don’t be a pushover. You don’t have to go along with everything that everyone wants. Make changes for yourself, not others – Be careful about your reasons for wanting to change. If you just want to impress your friends on Facebook or in real life with your social skills and popularity, the changes you make won’t last. Stop putting things off – Perhaps you envision some point in the future when you can conquer your fears. The reality is that there is never a better time than now. Make one little change – Changes don’t have to be big. Make one little change and see if it has ripple effects in your life. It could be as small as watching the news every evening to keep up on current events and have more to say during small talk. Laugh – When was the last time you watched a funny movie that made you laugh out loud? Who was the last person that made you chuckle? Try to bring more laughter into your life. Join a support group – Whether you join a brick-and-mortar support group or an online group, you will find the company of others who understand what you are going through comforting. Ask for help – One of the hardest parts about having social anxiety is that it is usually a very private battle. If you really want to get out of a rut, you need to open up to at least one person. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week, or the next time you are in crisis. Consider contacting a mental health helpline such as the one offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to get you started. birmingham living 35


ing livSTYLE

BHAM_ (Page 36) style:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:29

Page 36

SHOES AND OTHER STORIES

IF, LIKE US, YOU’VE SPENT THE LAST 12 MONTHS FLIP-FLOPPING BETWEEN HAVAIANAS AND CASHMERE SOCKS, YOU MIGHT FIND AN ACTUAL SHOE CHALLENGING

POWDER BLUE

Loafers from Dune

36 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 36) style:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:29

Page 37

STYLE

TIE DYE FOR

Marnie mule £75, Dune

SLIP ON

Blue denim wedge £18, TU Clothing

TWINKLE TOES

Pewter court shoe £32, Dorothy Perkins

ave you tried wearing jeans lately? So very restricting compared to the second skin feel of loungewear. But if you think that’s bad, try sliding your trotters into a pair of heels. Oof… more Ugly Sister than Cinderella. It’s a bit of a necessity though, so somehow we need to push on through.

H

While barefoot working from home looks set to last, we’ve managed to pop a few exciting summer dates in the diary that require proper footwear. We’ve pulled together some of this season’s shoes coming in at varying comfort levels from sliders and flats to platforms and modest heels. We’ve avoided killer heels – we’re working up to that. Gilded clogs from Oliver Bonas are top of the wish-list along with powder blue loafers at Dune and the super comfy Fleeting flat from Office which is practically like being barefoot. Where are you at?

LOAFING AROUND

Burgundy Floss loafer £29.99, Miss Selfridge

april/may 2021

OFF CENTRE

Zebra slant heel £35.99, Topshop

SLIDE WITH IT

Slides £9.99, New Look

COMFORT BREAK Leopard print sandals £30, Accessorize

OLD SCHOOL

Tan leather loafer £35.99, Topshop

birmingham living 37


BHAM_ (Page 36) style:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:29

Page 38

STYLE

CLOGS AWAY

Clothing and shoes from Oliver Bonas

38 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 36) style:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:29

Page 39

STYLE

ON POINT

Columbia heel £75, Dune

PRACTICALLY SLIPPERS

Fleeting pink leather flat £55, Office

BLOCK HEEL

KNOT A LOT

Nude know mule £14, Matalan

Hagen in ochre £55, Office

GREAT HEIGHTS

PICK ME UP

Hayward platform £55, Office

Meander heel £59, Office

BOOTS FOR THE WIN

Chunky Chelsea boot £99, Topshop

april/may 2021

GOOD WOOD

Kitty clog tan, Oliver Bonas

birmingham living 39


BHAM_ (Page 36) style:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:29

Page 40

STYLE

FRESH KICKS

Clothing and shoes from M&S

40 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 36) style:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:30

Page 41

STYLE

TOP PUMPS

Shoes and clothing from F&F

HOLIDAY VIBES

Medium high wedge, M&S

april/may 2021

VOILA!

Marseilles wedge £52, Office

birmingham living 41


LET’S GLOW

BHAM_ (Page 42) beauty:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:05

Page 42

BEAUTY

1

Make-up trends come and go, but healthy, nourished skin will never go out of style

and that’s a hill we’re prepared to die on. We’re going for a full-scale spring glow-

up, ensuring our skin is at its dewy best – and we’ve picked a handful of products

2

that’ll help achieve it

1. THE ICONIC LONDON ILLUMINATOR £30, WWW.ICONICLONDONINC.COM ICONIC’s illuminator is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way and leaves you looking fresh as a daisy. It would be easy to overdo it and look a bit metallic, so go easy and build it up gradually if needed. There are five shades to choose from and it’s 100 per cent vegan and cruelty free. We feel like that should be a given in 2021.

3

2. SQUALANE + VITAMIN C DARK SPOT SERUM £49, CULT BEAUTY, SELFRIDGES AND BIOSSANCE.COM Since hitting 40, dark spots have gradually become a thing and we’re not loving it, so this is a welcome addition to the regime. A powerful combination of vitamin C and white shitake mushroom works to minimise existing dark spots while also prevent new ones from forming. We reckon it’s definitely faded the most prominent offender after just a few uses. Well worth a look. 3. THE SMART SKIN MULTI V ELIXIR £35, WWW.MYSMARTSKIN.CO.UK One-hundred per cent natural, this oil gives the plumper, smoother vibe that we’re after as well as evening out skin tone. Wonder ingredients like avocado, turmeric, tea plant and chia seed among others combine to provide a serious moisture hit resulting in the glow we love.

4

4. OLVERUM PURE FACIAL OIL £60, SPACENK, FORTNUM AND MASON AND OLVERRUM.COM We love wallowing in Olverum’s wondrous bath oil, so had to give the brand’s new facial oil a whirl. Jam-packed with goodies like Bakuchiol – the first natural retinol alternative and patchouli extract which is a phytocannabidol that activates dermal CBD-2 receptors as well as a unique combo of vitamins to boost collagen production, it leaves skin nourished and hydrated whatever your skin type. It’s also worth checking out the detoxifying self-massage technique that maximises the oil’s benefits as well as being super relaxing.

42 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 41):Layout 1

24/2/21

18:05

Page 35


BHAM_ (Page 44) menstyle:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:03

Page 44

STYLE FOR MEN

SHOE REVIVAL OTHER THAN DONNING A RUNNING SHOE THREE TIMES A WEEK,

WE’VE BEEN FERAL AND BAREFOOT FOR MONTHS. WHAT TO DO? merging from hibernation wearing shoes is quite the thing. Luckily, there are Birkenstocks to be thankful for as well as whole heap of retro sneakers and new generation chunky soles, some set at an angle for a cool edge. Nike Jordan high tops are our friend comfortably reinvented, but not too far from our teenage nostalgia. Chunky soles on an otherwise smart shoe are pleasing and force you out of the barefoot lockdown shuffle allowing you to embrace the normal-ish. I

E

44 birmingham living

DRESS DOWN BROGUE Braider £100, Dune

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 44) menstyle:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:04

Page 45

STYLE FOR MEN

SERIOUS BUSINESS Gucci Jasper web-stripe leather Derby shoes £610, Selfridges

SOLE FULL Barbed £80, Dune

CHUNKSTER Black apron Hector £39.99, Topman

THE OG Gary suede leather £95, Birkenstock

MINIMUM FUSS Clothing and shoes from Matalan

NOSTALGIA TRIP Nike Blazer £77, Very

GOOD THICK Courtney with white gum sole £45 Office

SMART CASUAL Calvin light tan shoe £49, Office

april/may 2021

NEW GENERATION Nike Free Metcon £115, Very

birmingham living 45


ng il viHOMES

BHAM_ (Page 46) homes:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:06

Page 46

ROOM WITH A VIEW WHEN YOU START TO CONSIDER YOUR GARDEN A ROOM RATHER THAN MERELY A LUMP OF EARTH TO BE PRETTIFIED OR CULTIVATED, A WHOLE HOST OF POSSIBILITIES OPEN UP

AFTER DARK Festoon lights £26, Lights4Fun

46 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 46) homes:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:06

Page 47

HOMES

CLUB TROPICANA Furniture and accessories from Nest

f you asked us a year ago if we whizzed Henry round the garden, we’d have guffawed. But here we are vacuuming the patio as if it were any other room in the house. More than just a pretty face, during lockdown the garden has performed many functions including outdoor cinema and netball training camp. It housed a giant paddling pool during the heatwave and a firepit to make Christmas drinks with family more comfortable – one member at a time obviously. For lots of people, the garden has become a sanctuary. Fresh air, nature, beauty – all the mood boosting, endorphin releasing good stuff that we know is beneficial. What’s not to love? The trick to making the most of your outdoor space is to treat it like a room however large or small. As well as considering sustainable planting, furnish your garden like you would any other room. Weather-proof soft furnishings, outdoor rugs and some sort of heat source will make

I

april/may 2021

birmingham living 47


BHAM_ (Page 46) homes:Layout 1

15/4/21

11:23

Page 48

HOMES

you want to spend time there. Seating is probably the most important factor, largely driven by available space. SITTING PRETTY Always go for furniture that can be left outside all year round to avoid immense irritation. We love the Ferm Living Desert chair from Minima in the Jewellery Quarter (pictured) that’s super chic and made from recycled plastic bottles. Win, win. Lighting is key for maximising use beyond sunset and solar powered lights are more efficient than ever. Whether you opt for tall architectural floor lamps like the Foscarini Havana version pictured or a combination of twinkly fairy lights and hurricane lanterns, just go for it. More is more in this case. An area for prepping and cooking food and serving drinks is a great idea and if you’ve the space and inclination, consider an outdoor kitchen with a fridge for ultimate entertaining prowess. One day...

HANGING ABOUT Hanging cocoon chair £220, Cuckooland

48 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 46) homes:Layout 1

15/4/21

11:23

Page 49

HOMES

DREAM SET UP Rome sofas from £2999 and Adelaide dining set chairs from £269 and tables from £1639, BoConcept Birmingham

SUN TRAP Furniture and accessories from Dunelm

april/may 2021

birmingham living 49


BHAM_ (Page 46) homes:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:06

Page 50

HOMES

BEST CHAIR Ferm Living Desert chair made from recycled plastic bottles, £309 Minima minima.co.uk

If you’ve a city centre balcony or a small garden, squeeze every last inch out of it. Set climbers on their way making use of the height and pack windowsills or pots with bursts of colour or rich foliage. Invest in the most comfortable seats that’ll fit the limited space and create a small but perfectly formed sanctuary for chilling, reading, growing. 

RIGHT LIGHTS Foscarini Havana outdoor floor lamp £589, Nest

MOVIE NIGHT Furniture and accessories from Dunelm

50 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 46) homes:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:07

Page 51

HOMES

LONG LUNCHES Festoon lights £30, Lights4fun

april/may 2021

birmingham living 51


BHAM_ (Page 52) finishingtouches:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:08

Page 52

HOMES

SOFA DAY Zanotta 1009 Club sofa £3,528, Nest

LANTERN LIGHT TWO TONE Galvanised metal lantern Catalina woven garden £27.99, Lights4fun chair £129, Cult Furniture

SMALL SPACES Wooden cold frame greenhouse £30, Wilko

FINISHING TOUCHES

STYLE IT OUT Hay Palissade lounge chair £345, Nest

CHECK OUT SOME GORGEOUS ACCESSORIES

TO COMPLETE YOUR OUTDOOR SANCTUARY COOL TOOL Burgen and Ball Secateurs £20,National Trust

OUTDOOR SOUNDS Kreafunk aGlow Bluetooth speaker with wireless charging £129, Cuckooland

ACTION! Wooden director chair £35, Habitat

52 birmingham living

THE NEW BLACK Sissel Bistro set £319.99, Wayfair

GROW YOUR OWN Greenhouse in a box £159.95, Cuckooland

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 53):Layout 1

april/may 2021

11/4/21

13:26

Page 53

birmingham living 53


BHAM_ (Page 54) motoring:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:32

Page 54

MOTORING

LIFTING THE LID SUE COOKE TRIES OUT THE LATEST

VERSION OF MAZDA’S AWARD-WINNING, WIND-IN-THE-HAIR SPORTS CAR… AND FINDS IT DOESN’T DISAPPOINT

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: Mazda MX-5 R-Sport Price: £28,250 otr Engine: 1.5 Skyactiv-G petrol 132PS manual Performance: 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 126mph CO2 emissions: 142g/km Combined fuel consumption: 44.8mpg

54 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 54) motoring:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:32

Page 55

MOTORING

sually when I review an open top sports car like the Mazda MX-5 RF it rains, but this weekend the forecast sounded typically springlike with the promise of sunshine. So, I persuaded my daughter to accompany me to a garden centre in north Birmingham that I had been wanting to visit for ages. The MX-5 has a 5mm increase in the overall height for 2021 but otherwise has had few changes to its unique look. I insisted that we take the chance to open up the retractable hardtop, if only to better view the many little lambs which have suddenly appeared. Opening up was simple to do, once I had worked it out. I should probably have taken up the delivery man’s offer to show me around the car! Basically, it’s just unhook, push back and the clever roof mechanism unfolds in a mere 13 seconds. My daughter was worried about keeping her pristine hair in place but with windows up and a small wind deflector between the backs of the two front seats, there was very little buffeting, although that is something I usually enjoy about the whole ‘topless experience’.

U

WHICH? WINNER This sports car is for people who just like driving and to support its phenomenal reliability the consumer organisation Which? has named the Mazda MX-5 coupe the most reliable older car you can buy. Not a single owner in the survey reported their car breaking down. The two-seater even scored the top score for cars that are between nine and 14 years old. Which? says the current generation convertible is the most reliable car under three years old. It is a lot easier than I thought to get in and out of as seats sit high and doors are light and stay open when pushed. In true sports style, the seats are bucket-shaped with integrated headrest and I found them very comfortable. Interior cabin space is luxurious and the long list of standard specification items include new wireless Apple CarPlay with seven-inch colour touch screen display and DAB radio. There are two cup holders between the seats, a useful

covered and lockable storage space behind the seats and space in the centre console. Luckily for our potential plant shopping spree, there is no compromise to the luggage space with the roof down, which is 127 litres. Whenever I road test the MX-5 I think of a friend, her husband and their luggage on a drive around Europe for three weeks in a Mark III model. HORSE AND RIDER For 2021, there are 10 models of the MX-5 to choose from, four convertibles and six RFs. Safety features have the reassurance of 21st century technology. There is a choice of engines with Mazda’s award-winning Skyactiv-G technology which delivers improved levels of performance and economy. I road tested the 132PS powered 1.5-litre engine which has a promising roar on start-up that does not disappoint. The instant acceleration with quick, agile overtaking is brilliant. There is also a 184PS powered 2.0-litre engine. First launched in 1990, the MX-5 has what the Japanese company calls Jinba Ittai ‘horse and rider’ which provides a precise steering wheel feel; instant performance and with rear wheel drive has the handling and cornering which provokes pure driving exhilaration, especially on a lovely spring day. I

SHOWROOM

Johnsons Mazda Solihull, Highlands Road, Solihull, B90 4NU. Tel: 0121 756 9023 www.johnsons-mazda.co.uk

april/may 2021

birmingham living 55


BHAM_ (Page 56) school report:Layout 1

6/4/21

GROWING PLACES

22:33

Page 56

MARK OF HOPE

FASHION UNPICKED Two academics at Birmingham City University have launched a podcast discussing topical issues in the fashion and retail industries. The Fashademix podcast features interviews with industry guests and has been created by lecturers in Fashion Business and Promotion, Laura Arrowsmith and Sophie Johnson. In the first episode, they debate what being an ‘essential retailer’ really means, what high streets might look like post-pandemic and why the closure of stores like Topshop shouldn’t be seen as a surprise. Listen to the podcast at brumradio.com

Birmingham Assay Office is inviting children aged between seven and 16 across the region to design a logo that will signify hope for the future. Like the Rainbow logo launched by the Office last year, the Hope logo will be used as an optional mark that can be applied to jewellery alongside a statutory hallmark. Entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including West Midlands mayor Andy Street and Charlotte Schofield, director of fundraising at University Hospitals Birmingham Charity. Closing date for entries is 21 May.

SCHOOL REPORT

FREE SCHOOL MEALS The team at Sunrise of Edgbaston residential and

independent living care home have provided hundreds of free school meals for local children at St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School. Nick Drinkwater, general manager at Sunrise of Edgbaston, said: “We are happy to be able to help St Gregory’s and support local families and children. We have all been affected by the pandemic and wanted to promote healthy and nutritious food for kids who need it the most. We also included a few treats along the way!”

FABULOUS FIVE A group of sixth form pupils at Bromsgrove School raised £702 for Cancer Research UK as part of their IB studies during lockdown. For the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, students are required take part in Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). For the project element of CAS, the five students – Zoe Law, Esme Ellwell-Thomas, Sophia Eaton, Iris Tang and Isobel Scott – completed 534km of activities such as walks, runs and cycles, raising money for the charity.

56 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 56) school report:Layout 1

6/4/21

22:34

Page 57

GROWING PLACES

BACK TO THE FUTURE

OXBRIDGE SUCCESS Eight sixth form students from Solihull School are celebrating after receiving offers from Oxford and Cambridge. Jack Arrowsmith will study philosophy, politics and economics at St Hilda’s College, Oxford and Lauren Webb, law at Corpus Christ College, Oxford. Cambridge places went to Frederick Albrighton, veterinary science at Selwyn College; Shiuli Banerjee, natural sciences at Corpus Christi; Isaac Miller, veterinary science at Robinson College; Kiarn Turner, natural sciences at Fitzwilliam College; Carys Weatherhogg, geography at Girton College and Keon ZoraMackenzie, law at Downing.

MUSIC MARVELS

Two Birmingham music teachers whose musicmaking has made a difference to thousands of children during the pandemic, have been recognised nationally for their work. Charlotte Buxton, pictured, deputy head of Music Service and head of Ensembles at Birmingham charity Services For Education received the overall Goldstars award at the National Music and Drama Education Awards. Charlotte created a four-day Virtual Youth Proms Festival, featuring well-known names such as Nicola Benedetti and Julian Lloyd-Webber. Colleague Naomi Stevenson was highly commended for delivering more than 20 hours of online music lessons each week.

april/may 2021

Bromsgrove School Year 12 student, Elena Lopez Hemsing has made a thought-provoking video to encourage people to look after the planet. Entitled A Letter to Myself, Elena says the film is a message from the future, warning of the damage and destruction caused to our environment if we don’t act now. She added: “The effects of climate change can already be seen in many areas of the world, such as Kenya where droughts already lead to climate refugees. Locally, locations around the River Seven have seen significant flooding which is increasing over the years.” To watch Elena’s video visit https://youtu.be/KeZCYrpARb8

SPORTS HUB

Moreton Hall has launched a new sports performance hub called ACE which focuses on lacrosse, hockey, tennis and golf. The first camp in April on lacrosse was led by England and Moreton Hall coach, Carina Walsh. The camp covered all skill levels, from aspiring elite players to complete novices looking to engage in a new sport. Alison McDonald, director of sport at Moreton Hall, said: “ACE is an exciting opportunity to experience the excellent coaching and facilities here.”

birmingham living 57


ing livBUSINESS

BHAM_ (Page 58) business:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:14

Page 58

JEWEL IN THE CROWN Deakin & Francis has been making jewellery in the same Birmingham factory for more than two centuries. We talked to seventh generation Henry Deakin about the past, present and future of one of the city’s most treasured companies ver 240 years of trading, Birmingham jewellers Deakin & Francis has encountered more challenges than most, from wars to depressions. The pandemic is just the latest to be overcome by one of the city’s most historic companies. Henry Deakin, who runs the seventh-generation business with brother James, said: “Let’s just say it’s been an interesting year! I live in the countryside, so personally being more at home has been great, but our 600 retailers around the world have all been shut at various times. So, online has been very important and we have managed to keep the

O

58 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 58) business:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:14

Page 59

BUSINESS

factory open and taken the opportunity at the same time to look at some new systems and think about ideas and plans for the future.” Among those plans is one to open up the factory more to visitors once the pandemic regulations allow. “The factory employs 26 people and because the building is so historic, it’s actually what you can call a proper working museum, so we’d like to turn the factory into an area that’s open to the public so they can come and see how the jewellery is made by our craftsmen.” ENGLAND’S OLDEST Founded in 1786, the company is England’s oldest family jewellers and was originally known as Deakin and Moore before becoming Deakin & Francis and then a limited company in 1902. The business has remained in the same Jewellery Quarter building in Regent Place that once had as its resident James Watt – father of the Industrial Revolution, namesake of the unit of power and revolutioniser of the steam engine. Today it is managed by Henry and James who carry on the tradition of designing and hand-making items which go into some of the world’s most famous shops, including the likes of Harrods, as well as creating bespoke commissioned pieces. For much of its history Deakin & Francis only supplied jewellery to the industry – a strand of the business which they still do today. The company has made pieces for some of the world’s most famous brands which then have that designer brand’s moniker stamped on. “We do still manufacture for big brands, though I mustn’t say too much about who buys from us and then adds their own name,” said Henry, who went on: “Oh, to hell with it… I think I can tell you one of the people we manufacture for is Ralph Lauren!” So, now we know… LOCAL COMMUNITY Deakin & Francis launched its own website eight years ago, and three years ago opened its first store in London’s Mayfair. Sixty-five per cent of the firm’s business is now done in the UK (in the past 70 per cent was in the US) and 90 per cent is own brand, with 40 per cent of retail sales now direct. The firm produces everything from fine ladies’ jewellery, rings and cufflinks to a wide range of lifestyle

april/may 2021

accessories for the individual and the home. “People really like quality things that are made in England,” said Henry. Bespoke jewellery, such as signet, engagement or wedding rings, are particularly popular with customers able to pick their own stones and designs and then visit the factory to watch their piece being made. Remaining at the heart of Birmingham and the local economy is key to the business. That closeness to the community is perfectly illustrated by Deakin & Francis’s partnership with Midlands Air Ambulance Charity to celebrate the life-savers 30th anniversary. The jewellers exclusively crafted 100 sets of limited edition cufflinks and 100 lapel pins featuring the charity’s ‘pulse’ motif. Henry said: “The pulse collection, made in the Midlands for the Midlands, is a design we are particularly proud of as the sale of every pair of cufflinks or lapel pin will directly help fund life-saving air ambulance and critical care car missions in our region. And I’m pleased to say that sales of these unique pieces have been going very well.” I If you’d like to buy Deakin & Francis limited edition Midlands Air Ambulance Charity cufflinks or lapel pins and support the vital life-saving missions, go to: deakinandfrancis.co.uk/maacair30

birmingham living 59


BHAM_ (Page 02):Layout 1

24/2/21

13:27

Page 35


BHAM_ (Page 61) business newsISSUU:Layout 1

14/4/21

12:12

Page 61

BUSINESS

ECO WORLDBEATER The world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon development has been unveiled in Birmingham. The £360million Curzon Wharf waterfront project by the Woodbourne Group will boost the city’s economy by more than £150million and create 1,000 new jobs. The million sq ft site will feature new residential, retail, office, R&D and life sciences. A 53-storey, 172-metre builtto-rent tower will be the project’s centre-piece and become Birmingham’s tallest building. The plans have been designed after five years of consultation with Birmingham City Council and a world-class team of regeneration and builtenvironment specialists.

NEWS

BUSINESS

ON BOARD WITH RSC

The Royal Shakespeare Company has appointed five new trustees to its board after a public recruitment campaign. The five are Andrew Miller, cultural consultant and broadcaster; Amanda Parker, founder director of Inc Arts UK; Winsome Pinnock, playwright; Justine Themen, theatre director and change maker; and Ayanna Thompson, pictured, Regents professor of English at Arizona State University. The appointments bring new and diverse theatre experience to complement the skills of existing board members.

COUPLE SEAL £200M DEAL A Soilhull-based protein bar company launched by husband and wife Alan and Juliet Barratt in their spare bedroom has been bought by Cadbury’s owner Mondelēz in a reported £200million deal. The Grenade brand has grown its annual revenues to more than £50million since 2010, with a quarter coming from online sales. Chief executive Alan said: “When we founded Grenade we dreamt of building an iconic brand available globally. This partnership with Mondelēz gives us access to enormous resource and capability to help make those aspirations a reality.”

april/may 2021

TOURISM CHIEF The organisation charged with attracting conferences and events into the region has appointed a new senior business tourism manager. Steve Knight will head West Midlands Growth Company’s Convention Bureau, delivering a new business tourism strategy to win and retain sporting and major events in Birmingham and the West Midlands. He will also lead national and international sales missions, establish a new Ambassadors Programme and cement the West Midlands’ status as a top conferencing destination.

birmingham living 61


BHAM_ (Page 61) business news:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:21

Page 62

BUSINESS

TRAINING TRACK

Train bosses are on track to attract new talent to the region’s rail industry. West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway, is launching four engineering apprenticeships as part of its team responsible for servicing trains’ mechanical and electrical systems. Zena Dent, engineering director at West Midlands Trains, said: “It’s an exciting time to join as West Midlands Trains is investing over £700million in new and refurbished trains.”

BACKING THE LIFE-SAVERS Merry Hill has named Midlands Air Ambulance as its 2021 charity of the year. The new partnership will see the shopping centre support the life-saving service with fund-raising activities throughout the year, including team and community initiatives. Pam Hodgetts, corporate partnerships manager for the charity, said: “By choosing to support us, Merry Hill is helping us to continue making our daily life-saving missions possible, especially as our operations continue to be funded without Government support.”

PRESIDENT TONY General manager of Touchwood shopping centre, Tony Elvin, has been named as Solihull Chamber of Commerce’s new president. As well as his role at Touchwood, Tony runs the Wine Events Company, is a champion for Cure Leukaemia, trustee for Birmingham Civic Society and deputy chair for Solihull Business Improvement District. He takes over as president from Robert Elliot. Eileen Schofield, employment lawyer and principal at Schofield and Associates, has been appointed as the Chamber’s vice-president.

BLACK BUSINESS BOOST Eight black-owned SME businesses in the West Midlands have become the first to benefit from a free mentoring scheme run by the Black Pounds Project. The Project was founded by Birmingham playwright C J Webley in 2020 to help black businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic continue to contribute to the regional economy. The eight chosen from a final shortlist of 30, include Fiona Morrison, pictured, of Fegus Designs which offers a range of vibrant merchandise and art for children with a strong

AMANDA’S POWER PLAY

emphasis on diverse characters.

LOOKING AHEAD Social enterprise Ahead Partnership is launching a focused, year-round initiative to support the career aspirations and opportunities of 8,000 secondary school students across Birmingham over the next 18 months. Funded by John Lewis Partnership Community Investment Fund, the project aims to help young people get a better insight into the career opportunities available in the region with a specific focus on emerging jobs and sectors that are set to see particular growth over the next two decades.

Birmingham PR agency founder and manging director Amanda Lowe has been named among the 25 most successful senior-level executives in the UK in the 2021 Timewise Power List, which honours top leaders who work part-time. The List is compiled annually by Timewise, a social consultancy aiming to create a fairer flexible workplace for all. Previous ‘Power Part-timers’ include leaders from the Bank of England, London Stock Exchange, Channel 4, Bupa and Lloyds Bank. Amanda said: “It’s not about the hours you work, but the success you achieve with the time you have.”

62 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 61) business news:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:21

Page 63

BUSINESS

AGENCY APPOINTMENTS BUSINESS BITES

IN THE BAG

Birmingham content marketing specialists, HDY Agency, has welcomed two new members to its team following new business wins. Senior account director Cayven Valentine, pictured, will provide strategic support for the agency’s portfolio of high-profile and global clients. Senior digital marketing manager Matt Rees will be working with recently promoted head of digital, Sian Williams, to bolster the team’s specialisms. The award-winning agency is celebrating its best-ever financial year after securing £1million worth of new business during the UK lockdown.

SHOE-IN

Lend Lease Retail Partnership (LLRP), a fund managed by Lendlease, has announced the signing of Europe’s largest footwear retailer, Deichmann, at Touchwood Solihull, following the German brand’s expansion plans to support British high streets amid the ongoing pandemic.

LAB HOMES

Elevate Property Group has acquired the former Birmingham forensic science laboratories in Southside to create 79 luxury apartments. The Birmingham-based developer has purchased seven-storey Priory House from Rainier Developments.

FILM FIRST

Leading Midlands printing and merchandise company Embello has donated rucksacks to children facing serious life challenges after hearing about a six-year-old who has endured more than 80 operations since birth. Taylor Lewsley, who had meningitis as a baby, is one of 100 children who received the lockdown gifts. Embello boss Kyle Raffo, pictured, launched the initiative in a tie-up with charity mee&dee which provides free holidays for families where a member has a life-limiting, life-threatening or terminal illness.

BritAsia TV, the largest television platform for British Asians, has announced a new creative collaboration with Moving Pictures Media and Checklist Films to produce a slate of new film and TV projects – with the first two films which will launch the venture to start production in Birmingham in September.

HENRIETTA MAKES HISTORY Thirty-year-old Henrietta Brealey has become the youngest chief executive in the 208-year history of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. Previously chief strategy officer and director of policy and strategic relations, her work leading the Chamber’s campaigns around Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic won praise from stakeholders at regional and national levels. She first joined the Chamber as a policy assistant in 2012 while completing her studies at the University of Birmingham.

EXPANDING ESTATES Davidson Estates has boosted its city centre presence by opening its second office in Birmingham at Unit 2 Liberty Place, Sheepcote Street, close to Brindleyplace. The move comes after the firm announced it was the first Birmingham estate agency to adopt the Gavl livestreaming system that enables potential buyers to view a property remotely before committing to a physical viewing. Davidson Estates was launched in 2009 by founder and managing director Ben Davidson, pictured.

april/may 2021

birmingham living 63


ing ON il vWHAT’S

BHAM_ (Page 64) whatson:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:34

Page 64

NEARLY THERE, FOLKS… AN END TO LOCKDOWN IS IN SIGHT! BUT IT’S STILL A DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING SITUATION FOR BIRMINGHAM’S ENTERTAINMENT WORLD. THERE ARE SOME EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO, BOTH LIVE AND VIRTUAL, OVER THE COMING WEEKS BUT PLEASE NOTE ALL MAY BE SUBJECT TO LAST-MINUTE CHANGES OR CANCELLATION.

WHAT: Aliki Braine, A Thousand Fallen Blossoms WHEN: Now until 14 May WHERE: Argenta Gallery, argenteagallery.com Inspired by a trip to Tokyo and Kyoto during the Sakura cherry blossom season, this exhibition brings elements of Japan to Birmingham through a series of uniquely crafted photographs.

WHAT: Luke Jerram’s In Memoriam WHEN: 8 to 16 May WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome,

WHAT: Ben Goldscheider WHEN: 28 May WHERE: Online, barber.org.uk/concerts/ Virtual Barber Concerts return this spring with a number of special

birminghamhippodrome.com

and free lunchtime performances as part of their 75th anniversary

This special installation, in partnership with BrumYODO and

concert season. Funded by the Henry Barber Trust, the series includes

part of the Matter of Life & Death Festival, is a spectacular

a performance from this horn-playing European Concert Halls

temporary memorial for all those we have lost from the Covid-

Organisation Rising Star and previous BBC Young Musician of the

19 pandemic and also a tribute to all the NHS health and care

Year finalist.

workers who have been risking their lives during the crisis.

64 birmingham living

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 64) whatson:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:34

Page 65

WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Luna Outdoor Cinema WHEN: 1 to 3 May WHERE: NEC Birmingham, lunadriveincinema.com Enjoy the Big Screen experience as open-air cinema returns with a series of cracking films this May including The Greatest Show, Rocketman and Pretty Woman. Enjoy a great film on a giant screen under the stars.

WHAT: In Conversation with the Sopranos WHEN: 10 June WHERE: Symphony Hall, thsh.co.uk Get the real story behind what Vanity Fair called “the greatest pop-culture masterpiece of its day” when three of the Sopranos’ most iconic cast members – Steven Schirripa (Bobby ‘Bacala’ Baccalieri), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) and Vincent Pastore (‘Big Pussy’ Bonpensiero) – take us behind the scenes of the legendary show.

WHAT: Constructed WHEN: 27 to 29 May WHERE: Birmingham Rep, birmingham-rep.co.uk Performed by the Lightpost Theatre Company and written by lead artist CJ Lloyd Webley, this new comedy explores the culture of working-class black men in Britain.

WHAT: The Parking Lot Social WHEN: 23 to 25 April WHERE: Eboot Car Boot Sale Site, Sutton Coldfield, theparkinglotsocial.co.uk This special springtime drive-in extravaganza comes to Birmingham bringing a selection of drive-in movies, live entertainment, comedy and more – all broadcast straight from the stage to the comfort and safety of your own car. Who said social distancing had to be dull.

WHAT: Ikon for Artists: Art Sale WHEN: 17 to 31 May WHERE: Ikon Gallery To coincide with the ending of lockdown, this exhibition features the work of more than 250 Birmingham artists with 100 per cent of the proceeds from sales going directly to the artists. A fantastic way to support a hard-hit sector and acquire some incredible works of art.

april/may 2021

birmingham living 65


BHAM_ (Page 66) upclose:Layout 1

11/4/21

16:36

Page 66

PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITHÁ KALI DAVIDSON The new, first female head of Birmingham’s renowned College of Food, is excited to be back where she was trained 35 years ago

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I was born and bred in Edgbaston to a very loud Punjabi family. I was making samosas and helping my dad cater for family and friends’ weddings from the age of eight and got the bug. I didn’t actually taste British food until I started high school – it was macaroni cheese and steamed pudding and I loved it! Since training at Birmingham College of Food, where I was voted best student of the year, I’ve done some great things. I was a fine dining chef at French restaurant Le Biarritz, then a trouble-shooter for Compass, helping companies struggling with their contract catering. I was a cross between Gordon Ramsay and Nanny McPhee – I wouldn’t leave the place until it was running effectively. It was working at Aston University on the Youth Opportunities Programme that I discovered a passion for teaching and became a pastry and kitchen larder skills lecturer at the exact same place where I trained all those years before. IT’S WHAT I DO For 10 years, I taught contemporary patisserie skills to students on the college of food’s bakery, food and hospitality degrees, as well as Level 3 students, who make the plated desserts for the award-winning Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE The main thing for me is bringing people along and identifying strengths. I can’t bear it when I hear a student say their teacher told them they would be nothing. One of our graduates and Michelin star chef Adam Smith did an

66 birmingham living

online talk for students last week and said exactly this. I could’ve burst with pride. Personally, I would like to continue to support and fund the Sikh Temple communities in Northern India. BIGGEST SUCCESS One of my biggest successes professionally was achieving my Master’s in Education (MEd) at University of Birmingham while teaching full-time. And as a lecturer, I got to teach in Barbados, organise work placements for Erasmus students and present and demonstrate the university’s master’s courses in Mumbai to attract international students. Away from work, I’m a massive Liverpool Football Club supporter and one of my great highlights is getting to watch my team play at Anfield. Right up there is dining twice at three Michelin star restaurant Geranium in Denmark, which showcases organic and biodynamic ingredients using modern techniques, and meeting head chef Rasmus Kofoed. BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED To seize every opportunity as nothing lasts forever. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM I love how cosmopolitan Birmingham is. The blend and mix of cultures and food is incredible. DOWNTIME I love going to shows at the theatre and watching football. I also really miss travelling. And I can’t wait to be able to dine out again in our great city. I

april/may 2021


BHAM_ (Page 67):Layout 1

11/4/21

13:23

Page 35


BHAM_ (Page 68):Layout 1

11/4/21

13:22

Page 35

Profile for Birmingham Living Magazine

Birmingham Living April/May 2021 (issue 101)  

Birmingham Living April/May 2021 (issue 101)  

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded