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EDITOR’S VIEW

G

ood things come to those who wait. Especially Birmingham Living front cover interviews. As regular readers know, all of our cover stories are bespoke. You only make it onto our front page if we’ve actually spoken to you – and you’re from these parts, obviously. No syndicated, PR puff pieces here! That means patience is a virtue because setting up times to talk with busy stars and celebrities can, well… take time. None more so that the likes of cricketer Moeen Ali whose packed schedule reads like a train timetable. T20s, One-Day Internationals and Tests homes and away for England, county matches for Worcestershire, overseas in the sub-continent with the IPL and most recently one of the faces of the exciting new Hundred as captain of the big-hitting Birmingham Phoenix. As an avid local cricket fan myself – I was a pretty good wicket keeper batter when I was a bit younger, too, I’ll have you know – I couldn’t wait to talk with one of my heroes. And Moeen didn’t disappoint. A strong theme emerged from our chat. Inclusion and youth. He’s a big supporter of initiatives, such as the Hundred, that inspire youngsters from all backgrounds to go watch and get involved in not only cricket but any sport. And he strongly believes that it’s the young where hopes must lay in bringing to an end the racism which we have seen displayed so clearly and disgracefully on social media at events like this summer’s football Euros. The time for talking is long past, he says. The time to act is now. He is calling on the Government to fund proper, comprehensive race education for children from the youngest ages in our schools. Home is often where the racism starts and only schools can break that, he says.

ns h o J d i v a D

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

Cover image:

/bhamliving

FINALIST

Moeen Ali

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

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

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

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

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INSIDE

10 16 20 22 32 36 04 birmingham living

Highlights

Moeen Ali

The hometown hero talks batting and rapping, and the fight to smash racism

The £1million bike ride Following the amazing cyclists who rode the Tour de France course for charity

Hitting the Headlines How young TV sports presenter Elizabeth Conway is making her own news story

Food & Drink Fine dining chef Richard Bramble, plus news, reviews and best organic wines

Health Why 30 is the magic number, plus what is padel tennis – and why you should try it?

Style Colour it green! Whether it’s full-on Kermit or subtle sage, there’s a piece to suit you

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CONTENTS

Best of the Rest

46 54 56 61 64 66 august/september 2021

Homes

Light the candles, fill the tub and wallow in the luxury of your dream, new bathroom

Motoring Ha! Take that Brum congestion charge zone! Sue Cooke drives free and easy in Audi’s SUV Young, Gifted & Brummie Pitching up with Birmingham Phoenix speed demon Issy Wong and her World Cup dream

Business News, views, comings and goings as the commercial community bounces back

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

Up Close With ex-footballer Geoff Thomas who has raised millions to fight leukaemia

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NEWS

ECO LEADERS

Two local universities are charging ahead in going green and switching to electric vehicles. A nationwide study of universities with the highest percentage of electric cars in their fleets revealed Warwick University topping the table with the University of Birmingham in second spot. Warwick boasted 69 electric vehicles in the Group 1 Automotive study with Birmingham tallying 41 vehicles – both ahead of Cambridge in third place with 37. Birmingham is pledged to have a 100 per cent alternative fuel fleet by 2030.

NEWS

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

KERRY’S GLEE-HEE

Stand-up comedian and actor Kerry Godliman is back on tour and heading to Birmingham after lockdown. Best known for her appearances on BBC’s Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo and Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats. Kerry has performed standup throughout her career, including successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her biggest recent acting project is the starring role in Whitstable Pearl, a new detective drama on streaming channel Acorn TV. Catch Kerry at Birmingham Glee Club on 29 September.

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GLYNN’S NEW CHAPTER Yummy Brummy Michelin star chef Glynn Purnell has opened the page on his second children’s book. Arnold the Alpaca is aimed at primary school aged children and follows his successful first book, the Magical Adventures of Whoops the Wonder Dog which was released in 2018. Glynn, who again teamed up with Nuneaton-based illustrator Ashley King to create the book, said: “Having three children of my own, I have learned what enthrals and engages kids”

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NEWS

GAMES BOOST A programme to boost the long-term economic impact of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has been unveiled. The Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) aims to secure more than £650million of new overseas investment into the UK and create £7million of additional export deals until 2027. It is also targeted to attract an extra 39,000 visitors, with an estimated £12million spend and create more than 1,000 new jobs in the UK, of which 600 will be in the West Midlands.

READY TO ROCK

WALK OF ART

Some of Birmingham’s best ‘public artsy bits’ have been in the spotlight this summer in special walking tours. Starting at Grand Central concourse, both historical and modern art installations have featured, including the new Forward Together by Luke Perry in Victoria Square. Jonathan Berg, author of the book Positively Birmingham, said: “We have public art on our streets from some amazing artists.” More details at the Positively Birmingham walking tour website, www.positivelybirmingham.co.uk

Strictly Come Dancing champion Ore Oduba is high-stepping his way to Brum. The actor and presenter will star as Brad Majors in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show at the Alexandra Theatre from 27 September to 2 October. Ore said: “Rocky is the perfect show to welcome audiences back to the theatre. I’m so excited to come to Birmingham with our production... just got to remember to pack my stockings!” Details at https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/ the-rocky-horror-show/the-alexandra-theatrebirmingham/

OH WHAT A NIGHT! The dramatic setting of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new

Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre welcomed back paying audiences for the first time in 16 months as the curtain went up on a new production of Phillip Breen’s The Comedy of Errors. The specially constructed outdoor performance space in the Swan Theatre Gardens hosted the production which was originally due to be part of the RSC’s 2020 season but was postponed due to the pandemic. The Comedy of Errors runs until Sunday 26 September. Box Office: rsc.org.uk or call 01789 331111

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NEWS

MONEYBAG A 2015 pink Hermès Birkin handbag has been sold for a whopping £19,778 by Birmingham auctioneers Fellows. Six bidders vied for the Porosus Crocodile accessory which is one of the most expensive handbags the 145year-old company has ever sold.

MATT ON A MISSION A husband-to-be who lost his fiancée to cervical cancer before they were able to marry has taken part in a gumball-like rally to raise £10,000 in her memory. Matt Rhodes, 38, pictured right below, from Essington, took part in the week-long rally with friends in aid of Mary Stevens Hospice, Stourbridge as a tribute to Clare Lewis who died last December aged 47, just one month after being diagnosed. The fund-raisers travelled in three convertible Minis, chased across the country by friends acting as police.

LIFE ON LOCKDOWN

MUSICAL CHEERS Festivals are back in Brum! Three music extravaganzas are set for Moseley Park, including Beyond The Tracks (Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August). The two-day extravaganza features the orchestral/club mash-up Hacienda Classical, House pioneers Inner City and famed DJ, producer, and remixer Todd Terry (pictured). Saturday welcomes The Charlatans, Notts post-punk duo Sleaford Mods, BBC 6Music favourite Billy Nomates, BC Camplight, and the best of the West Midlands indie scene, including The Clause.

Hundreds of photos and videos telling Birmingham’s story during the Covid-19 pandemic went on display at Thinktank Science Museum. From Big Issue sellers on empty streets and the rise in food banks to babies born in lockdown and socially-distanced visits to grandparents, the experiences are depicted in the Life on Lockdown display and YouTube video. Rosie Barker, pictured, of Birmingham Museums Trust said: “Future generations will see how the city dealt with an extraordinary moment in history.”

WILLARD’S WONDERS The world’s smallest micro art is making big news in Brum. Willard’s World of Wonder exhibition showcases 25 sculptures by Willard Wigan that are so tiny they can only be seen through microscopes. Willard’s sculptures are typically placed in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin and can be as small as 0.005mm. The permanent display of the internationally renowned local artist’s work is at Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery in the Utilita Arena Birmingham Complex.

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NEWS

BUDDING RECRUITS

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is continuing its drive to cultivate horticulturalists of the future. The heritage attraction and independent educational charity, secured funding from the National Gardens Bursary Scheme to enable

32-year-old Liz Jones from Stirchley to complete a 12-month traineeship. She has joined Matt Padbury, 25, from Solihull who began his trainee programme supported by the Finnis Scott Foundation in September 2020, and has had his contract extended until December 2021 because of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

FAME AND FASHION Iconic designer Patti Bell has been celebrated for her contribution to Birmingham’s fashion scene. An exhibition by Birmingham born art photographer Gary Lyndsay-Moore entitled It’s Not Unusual featured images of 12 original pieces of clothing designed by Kahn and Bell, the famous Hurst Street boutique which opened in 1975 in the emerging Gay

JUST THE TICKET Train passengers are coming face to face with an exciting new artwork. The communityled mural was unveiled at the Jewellery Quarter train station as part of the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District’s (JQBID) Adopt a Station project with West Midlands Railway. The six-metre wide work, designed by local artists Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek with contributions from eight students from the School of Jewellery, depicts the history and heritage of the Quarter.

MISS IS A HIT Law student and reigning Miss Birmingham, Bella

Quarter of the city. Kahn and Bell designed

Hakim, is all set to compete in the Miss England

and made extravagant clothing which

contest finals. Bella has reached the shortlist in

attracted the early Punk Rockers The

three categories of the Miss England competition,

photographs were displayed in Birmingham’s

including the Talent round and the Plastfree Eco

Rag Market.

Queen round, where she had to create an outfit made from recycled materials including egg boxes. Bella has previously performed as a cheerleader and during lockdown sang on a single for the One Woman at a Time charity.

BEST OF BRITISH

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

august/september 2021

A free street photography exhibition showcases seven decades of British achievement, creativity and diversity during the Queen’s reign. Celebrating Britain, hosted by Retail BID Birmingham, features more than 180 images on display units and vacant shop windows along New Street, High Street, Union Street, Cherry Street and Victoria Square. Images include The Beatles in Birmingham, Princess Diana opening Victoria Square and local heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne. Visitors can make a donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity via a QR code on each of the panels.

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COVER STORY

MO’S ON A MISSION

MOEEN ALI BREAKS BOUNDARIES, WHETHER IT’S ON THE CRICKET PITCH OR IN MATTERS OF

EQUALITY. DAVID JOHNS TALKS TO THE HOMETOWN HERO ABOUTTHE CHALLENGES OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND RACISM, HOW EDUCATION AND SPORT HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE AND INSPIRE,AND WHY

PLAYING FOR ENGLAND STILL MEANS SO MUCH

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COVER STORY

very time Moeen Ali pulls on an England cricket shirt he says he does so with “the greatest sense of pride”. Growing up it was his dream and he believes every youngster should be inspired to believe that, just maybe, one day they can achieve that same feeling, regardless of sex, colour or creed. Inclusion is what it is all about for the man known affectionately by teammates and fans simply as ‘Mo’ – or if you’re on the opposing side by the nickname ‘The Beard to be Feared’. His attacking style of batting and bowling has made him a role model for thousands of young budding cricketers, especially right here in his hometown. That star status meant Mo was one of the faces of the Hundred – the exciting new limited overs cricket competition launched this summer which sees batters meet rappers and cricket go from slowbiz to showbiz, complete with flashing lights, fanfares and fireworks.

E

THE TIME FOR TALK HAS PASSED, IT’S TIME FOR ACTION. WHAT HAPPENED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE RACIAL ABUSE IN THE EUROS IS A COMPLETE DISGRACE

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HIGHS AND LOWS As captain of Birmingham Phoenix, Mo has enjoyed a unique opportunity to bring the sport to a significantly new, much younger audience. The Phoenix, both men and women’s teams, have played their home games to an Edgbaston packed with the noise of cheering families. And Mo thinks that is just what the sport, and society in general needs after a summer which has seen the highs of the England football team reaching the final of the Euros, followed by the lows of the shocking racial abuse handed out on social media to the soccer stars after they were beaten by Italy. A long-time outspoken campaigner for equality and inclusion, Mo has strong opinions on what happened on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. “It’s a total disgrace actually. I think Gary Neville said it, it comes from the top and he’s completely right,” he says. “I mean, I know that Boris Johnson said two things previously and Priti Patel has said stuff as well. It’s a difficult situation because it is a minority doing the abuse, but the minority is still a large number and that’s the problem and it’s too blatant. We as athletes and people who stand against racism really need to stand up and be brave and really call people out.” SCHOOLS ARE KEY Mo is fully behind calls to remove the anonymity racists enjoy on social media. “Revealing their identity is part of the answer for sure,” he says, “but I think that the problem needs to start to be dealt with in schools in my opinion. Most of the racism stuff comes from the home, so it’s the parents or the grandparents, etc. And this is no way shape or form just the white people I am talking about,

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COVER STORY

it’s everyone, so black, Asian people, they can be just as racist and even worse at times. “Schools need to educate their children from an early age about racism. Even though they shouldn’t need to, we just don’t know what has been taught to children at home. One thing’s for sure, there is obviously a problem in society. In the Euros it is disappointing that we lost in the final, but actually it wasn’t a bad thing because the real truth and dirt came out. After one week the footballers are heroes and then within a day, within a game actually, they are zeroes and they are getting abused. In a way it was good lesson that we lost because the real dirty tricks came out of it.” Mo isn’t naïve enough to think that the education system can just add the subject of race and racial equality to the curriculum without Government help. “You have to fund the schools properly. We are going

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past that stage where we are talking about race problems and actions need to be taken now. We spend so much money on other rubbish, we need to spend money on this and the projects needed and face the ugly truth that racism exists in society.” FAST AND FUN As we talked, Mo was busy preparing for the next Hundred match and he spoke of the thrill of having supporters back in the ground cheering the team on. “To be honest, it’s been amazing so far. The fact that there are so many youngsters in the ground enjoying the new format, as players we are all loving it,” he said. “And people I know who have come to watch the game, have said there is something about the format that they love too. It’s obviously faster and quicker and things like that which is great.

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COVER STORY

in the Test team in the five-match home series against India which he believes will also be the springboard to selection for the Ashes series which is slated to start – Covid permitting – in Australia in December.

“I feel like it is really going to take off. It will become a big tournament and I think the women’s side of it in particular will be even greater. The fact that you can access a tournament from a young age is something that youngsters can really get into. I was thinking yesterday how maybe in 10 or 15 years’ time, the same kids that watch us now will be following the team home and away. A little bit like football actually. You’d have your Brummies following their Birmingham team.” After the excitement of the Hundred, Mo was looking to turn his attention to a packed schedule for England, culminating in the T20 World Cup being held in the UAE and Oman. Mo is one T20’s stars and is looking forward to helping England become 20-overs world champions to add to their One-Day 50-overs title. But before then, he is hoping to win back his place

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TESTING TIME At the time of writing, Mo hadn’t made the cut for the first two tests against India, but was hopeful of getting picked for the remaining three Tests by returning and playing well for his home county Worcestershire and impressing the England selectors. “I know I can do well in Test cricket, I have done before,” he said. “Test cricket is still the pinnacle and it is still my dream to play again for England in the Tests. When you play for England it is an absolute honour and before when I took my break it was because I felt like I was playing a lot of cricket generally and it was quite a tough period for myself, but now I feel I am getting back to my best and playing well. “Likewise, I really miss Worcestershire. I always get a fantastic reception when I play there. I haven’t really played that much for Worcester to be honest because of my England commitments. It would be nice to play in the Test series and also play three or four matches for Worcester and entertain as much as I can.” Like the rest of us, cricketers have had to cope with the challenges of the Covid pandemic. Mo contracted the virus in 2021 while on tour with England in Sri Lanka and says he has never felt so tired and run down and wouldn’t wish the virus on anyone, regardless of age. “The family has all stayed safe,” he said. “My parents had Covid, my wife and kids have been fine. Obviously, I had Covid in Sri Lanka, which is good really because if you’re going to get Covid it’s best to get it away from home. “When you are home you are home, and in terms of the pandemic you are isolating or whatever. It does mean you get time to spend time with the family which maybe previously you wouldn’t. But then when you are away, it’s normally for a period and that’s difficult because of what’s happening in other countries. So, it’s been good and bad but hopefully what we’ve all been experiencing won’t be for much longer.” I

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FEATURE

THE £1M BIKE RIDE

AN INTREPID TEAM OF CYCLISTS FROM BIRMINGHAM SET OUT TO CYCLE THE ENTIRE TOUR DE FRANCE COURSE, ONE WEEK AHEAD OF THE GRAND CLASSIC ITSELF. AFTER 3,400 PUNISHING KILOMETRES IN 23 GRUELLING DAYS, THEY ARRIVED IN PARIS HAVING RAISED MORE THAN £1MILLION FOR CURE LEUKAEMIA. MAGNIFIQUE!!!

ycling lovers need no introduction to the Tour de France, the most famous bike race in the world. But even the most ardent peloton follower may not know the Tour 21 quite so well. Tour 21 features a team of 18 amateur cyclists, led by local ex-England footballer and blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas, who completed the full 2021 Tour de France route, one week ahead of the professionals. The cyclists pedaled more than 3,400 kilometres (2,100 miles) and battled extreme heat, battering winds, driving rain, fog, crashes, gruelling climbs, illness and fatigue to raise funds for Birmingham-based national blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia. When they finally rode into Paris, past the Arc de Triomphe and along the Champs Elysee they had raised more than £1million. Cure Leukaemia, which is the first ever official charity partner of the Tour de France in the UK for the next three years, recorded a £1.7million fund-raising shortfall in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tour 21 team’s efforts will help the charity make up some of the missing funding.

C

Photography by Joolze Dymond

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FEATURE

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FEATURE

THE TEAM BATTLED EXTREME HEAT, FIERCE WINDS, DRIVING RAIN, FOG, CRASHES, GRUELLING CLIMBS, ILLNESS AND FATIGUE

A delighted, but exhausted, Geoff said: “Six weeks earlier, it didn’t look like this event could take place and yet here we are in Paris having not only completed one of the toughest ever Tour de France routes but, more importantly, we have achieved our goal of raising £1million for the charity that helped save my life 18 years ago. “I am immensely proud of the whole team. I would also like to thank Farr Vintners and all our sponsors and everyone that has donated to get us to our target. We will enjoy this moment but there is still so much to do to ensure blood cancer is eradicated.” Among the hundreds of congratulatory messages received by the team was one from four-time Tour de France winner, Britain’s Chris Froome who was part of the Tour de France peloton which raced the route a week later. I

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FEATURE

DROP THE MIC ELIZABETH CONWAY. REMEMBER THE NAME BECAUSE WE

PREDICT A RISE TO STARDOM FOR THIS PLUCKY PRESENTER AND JOURNALIST FROM RIGHT HERE IN BRUM

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FEATURE

When Covid stopped play in 2020 and there were no events to report on, Elizabeth trained to be a Spanish teacher and also started a TikTok account, @spanishandsport teaching her followers the language. She amassed more than 70,000 followers and her engaging videos have reached six million views and counting. She never lost sight of her ultimate goal though and thankfully once sport returned Elizabeth was back following her dreams recognising Spanish as a massive bonus in terms of being able to cover global events. Elizabeth was selected as one of the top 100 young journalists in the world to represent Great Britain at the Thomson Reuters Future News Worldwide conference in 2019, she’s a freelance BBC sport journalist, a presenter and journalist for GiveMeSport Women and a proud member of BCOMS (Black Collective of Media in Sport) working toward greater diversity in sports media.

f Elizabeth Conway isn’t a familiar face by next year we’ll be very surprised. Currently a freelance sports journalist and presenter, Elizabeth is brimming with energy, bags of talent and joy for her craft and to say we reckon she’s the next Gabby Logan is bang-on for this proud Brummie. Even at secondary school Elizabeth had that rare thing of knowing what she wanted to do with her life. She says: “I loved writing and chatting to people and I also loved sport, so sports journalism was the obvious choice.” She’s not too shabby a sports woman either, decent at hockey and cricket as well as county level table tennis among others. At the University of Birmingham studying Spanish and English, Elizabeth joined various societies and got involved with student radio and TV. She also spent a year in Madrid where she covered the Champions League Final and translated and interpreted for Spanish stars and the media.

I

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RISING ROLE Most recently was selected to join the Hundred Rising – a bunch of talented young journalists picked to cover the ECB’s new Hundred tournament. Elizabeth co-hosts the Edgbaston fixtures, out in the crowd interviewing fans. The scheme also means accessing workshops with the likes of Vic Hope and Radzi Chinyanganya. Elizabeth says: “Vic’s a linguist like me and Radzi had a similar start to me through an open talent search. I learnt so much.” The Commonwealth Games would be an obvious time to shine for Elizabeth and hopefully the Hundred Rising will be a springboard to that. She feels media is becoming less London-centric as demonstrated by the use of local talent by the ECB. She explains: “In the past it might have been difficult for someone like me relying on travelling to London and all the financial commitments that go with that. With the BBC branching out regionally and the Commonwealth Games in my hometown in 2022, it feels like the start of something.” I

FOR MORE… Checkout Elizabeth’s Instagram and Twitter for more @econwayreports

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il ving

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FOOD & DRINK

RICHARD BRAMBLE The fine dining chef with 16 years’ experience successfully launched Warwickshire-based private dining and waiter service, Bramble Dining, with wife Claudia just weeks before the first Covid lockdown last year

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CHEF’S CORNER

Tell us about your cooking My cooking is all about clean, fresh, honest food. I believe good ingredients from great suppliers is the key and I don’t like to ‘play’ around with them too much to produce fantastic food. I am privileged to work with great ingredients and I love it when a dish comes together, but what most excites me is seeing others enjoy my food. The most important thing about my cooking has to be that it doesn’t just look good but each mouthful tastes amazing; respecting each element of the dish to provide that ‘wow’ factor. I’ve got dishes I’ve been cooking for years that I still tweak all the time. Every dish is a work in progress. So much passion and time and effort goes into every one of them. How did you become a chef? My love affair with food began aged just 16 when I took on a part-time job as a kitchen porter. I went on to learn new skills while working with chefs at independent restaurants where I also perfected my favourite English modern and classical French cooking styles. What do you eat at home? As a rule, we eat as family but on the occasions when Claudia and I eat together we love to enjoy dishes from our own menus. We don’t serve dishes to our customers that we don’t enjoy and haven’t been taste-tested by us. Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? The best chef in the world for me must be Anthony Bourdain, not only the food that he produced but from reading Kitchen Confidential he produced such honesty about his love for food and a chef ’s way of life. The best chef in Brum is a hard one as there are so many, but I love to eat at the Wilderness and at Simpsons. How is your restaurant adapting to the current crisis? We have been so lucky during the pandemic as our business lends itself to being flexible as we bring the restaurant to you at home. We have been restricted but haven’t had to stop for long throughout the last

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18 months. We have so many loyal customers and new opportunities have grown organically through this wonderful network we have created. Share a cooking tip Food doesn’t need to be complicated to be amazing. It is all about using good produce and don’t play around with it too much. Simplicity is key. What was your favourite food as a kid? A loving memory for me as a child must be having fish and chips on holiday with my foster family; nothing better than sitting on the beach together. Food heaven and food hell? Food hell has to be kidneys and liver! My food heaven is most definitely medallions of beef fillet with rocket, parmesan and fresh truffles, with a side of skinny chips and Dijon mayonnaise. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Dried crickets, mealworms and ants have to be three of the most unusual things I have eaten… surprisingly they were better than I had imagined! If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? I would love to be part of the sporting world. My biggest passion (after food) is football and I support Liverpool FC. I Find the recipe to make Richard’s delicious Orange and Pistachio Sponge with Creme Anglaise, pictured above, at our website: www.brumliving.co.uk More details about Bramble Dining at https://brambledining.com/ @brambledining (Facebook & Instagram)

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NIBBLES and SHORTS

BIRMINGHAM’S BARS, RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS ARE ROARING BACK IN STYLE. HERE’S

OUR INSIDER GUIDE TO THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE CITY’S EATERIES AND DRINKING DENS

WILD TIME WITH LULU JOIN THE BRUNCH BUNCH

Brindleyplace has a new food and drink destination. Modern Chinese restaurant and specialist cocktail bar Lulu Wild occupies the old Carluccio’s site which has been transformed by the team behind Siamais and Aluna. The two-storey eatery has a fresh and open feeling downstairs for up to 180 people with a neighbouring outside space for al fresco dining. Upstairs there’s room for 80 guests with a neon-lit bar and lounge area, mimicking the downtown streets of China.

A new boutique eatery is bringing a stylish brunch and coffee experience to the Mailbox. SÖRA Café serves small plates, light bites and sweet treats, seven days a week on Level 3. General manager Gemma Collins said: “We truly believe there is nothing else like SÖRA in the city, whether you’re meeting a friend or toasting something significant, we’re the ideal place to capture the moment over a delicious cake and coffee.”

TASTY TRIO OPENS UP

A trio of new openings is tempting the tastebuds in Solihull’s Touchwood centre this summer. Four-lane bowling and cocktail bar Nines is named after the American prohibition nine pins venues of the 1920s, while 2Tea serves bubble tea – a blend of tea, milk, fruit juices and tapioca pearls – which originates from Taiwan. Meanwhile, Handmade Burger Co reopens after being purchased by Adam Howitt, an ex-Handmade Burger manager turned hospitality entrepreneur.

CHICKEN REGGAE-STYLE

Independent Jamaican restaurant Jamaya is to open its first eatery in Birmingham in Colmore Row at the junction with Victoria Square. Known for its vibrant Jamaican reggae atmosphere, the gourmet fried chicken restaurant serves a variety of chicken-based and vegetarian dishes, as well as soft and alcoholic drinks and cocktails. Jamaya opened its first outlet in the Touchwood centre, Solihull in 2019 and was crowned Business of the Year by Solihull Chamber of Commerce.

CURTAIN UP ON ROOFTOP MENU Local produce is what it’s all about on the new menu launched at the reopening of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rooftop Restaurant. Designed by head chef Matthew Jennings, it features a wealth of locallysourced ingredients from suppliers based in Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding area, including Aubrey Allen butchers. The restaurant has also introduced the RSC picnic bag which includes homemade pasta salad, fresh fruit pot, lemon cake, homemade sausage roll and a choice of red or white wine.

HUB HOSTS FAMOUS FIVE

There’s something for everyone at the Restaurant Hub, featuring five of the high street’s most popular restaurant brands, which has opened in Sainsbury’s superstore at Selly Oak Boulevard. There’s fish and chips from Harry Ramsden’s, American-style breakfasts and hotdogs from Ed’s Easy Diner, coffees, pastries and sandwiches from Caffe Carluccio’s, top-notch burgers from GBK and chicken every-whichway with Slim Chickens. Satnam Leihal, MD of Boparan Restaurant Group, said: “It’s very special to be able to bring five brands together in one place offering genuine choice.”

BEAN FEAST AT DAMASCENA

We hear that independent coffee house Damascena plans to open its fifth branch early next year in SevenCapital’s Lyndon House development in Edgbaston. The new venue will form the business’s new headquarters and include 1,980 sq ft of indoor space with capacity for 41 people seated, along with a garden terrace accommodating a further 29 guests. Plans for the venue also include a Barista school.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

LA-POP

Islington Row, Birmingham, B15 1LD. www.la-pop.co.uk

hen Covid restrictions scuppered holiday plans we’d an unexpected fortnight to fill with the bairns. Obviously, it’s not tricky to find things to do in Brum, but there was one stand-out activity that transported us back into hero territory and had the teens looking at us like adoring toddlers again. Momentarily of course. We give you LA-Pop. Alright, we’re late to the party, but ‘better late than never’ has never been more apt. Essentially LA-Pop involves assembling your dream bespoke gelato-based lolly. It’s a thrilling process and not one to be rushed. The first step is choosing the base gelato lolly from flavours ranging from Just Milk and Chocolate to more inventive tastes like Amarena Cherry and Strawberry Mojito Sorbet. Then you choose your dip which is pimped-up liquid chocolate Willy Wonka would be proud of – the Strawberry Chocolate was a particular highlight. Then you add up to three toppings which is harder than it sounds. Narrowing 15

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down to three is nigh on impossible – crushed Lotus Biscoff, honeycomb, caramel crunch, fudge… decisions, decisions. Then the final flourish is a drizzle of more of the liquid chocolate. It was absolutely superb and a lot of fun. The people behind LA-Pop really care about what they’re doing from sourcing the best machinery to top notch milk for the gelato, resulting in a product of the highest quality and more importantly, it tastes delicious and feels like a real treat. If gelato’s not your thing, there are chocolate-dipped strawberries, cheesecake dipped in chocolate (Cheesecake Pops), milkshakes and an impressive menu of coffee and loose-leaf tea. Our only mild criticism was the wait – the queue was about 20 deep when we visited, however, it was one of the hottest days of the year and well worth the wait, so don’t be put off if there’s a gaggle of gelato fans spilling onto the pavement. There’s a reason people wait. It’s a ‘if you know, you know’ scenario. Grunting has now resumed… I

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SEASON’S EATINGS

RAVISHING RISOTTO The award-winning chefs at Lucarelli create a taste of Italy for you to make at home ngland may have been beaten on penalties by the Italians in the final of the Euros, but here at Brum Living Towers we’re not ones to bear grudges – especially when it comes to tucking into some of our favourite Latin food. We’ve got the award-winning chefs at Lucarelli at the Mailbox to thank for this gorgeous recipe which will bring a taste of Italy to your home. Bellissimo!

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RISOTTO FONTINA E SALSICCIA

Method:

Ingredients for the risotto:

saucepan with a pinch of salt then cover with 2 litres of water. Bring to

I 350gm Carnaroli rice

I 100gm Fontina cheese

I 40gm butter

I 1 white onion, finely chopped

I 1tbs olive oil

I 5gm ground pepper

I 1ltr vegetable stock

I 80gm fresh pork sausage

I 40gm parmesan cheese

I 40ml white wine

I 5gm salt fine

First, make the stock by tipping all the stock ingredients into a large the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Pass through a sieve and set aside. Then heat the olive oil in a flat-based saucepan and gently fry the onion until softened but not brown coloured. Add the sausage and gently cook it for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir vigorously using a wooden spoon. Once the rice has become shiny start adding the white wine, letting the wine evaporate as you continue to stir.

Ingredients for the vegetable stock: I 4 celery sticks, chopped in chunks

I 2 carrots chopped in chunks

I 2 garlic cloves

I 2 leeks, chopped in chunks

I 1 onion, chopped in chunks

I 5 peppercorns

I Bouquet garni – 2 parsley stalks, 2 springs of thyme, 2 springs of rosemary, 1 bay leaf, tied with string.

I Pinch of salt

Add a ladle of hot stock, continuing to stir vigorously and let the rice absorb the stock before adding another ladle. Continue this process for about 15 minutes until the rice is soft. Then remove the risotto from the heat and add the Fontina cheese, butter and Parmesan cheese. Cover with a lid and set aside for 3 minutes. Stir the melted cheese through the risotto, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Lucarelli Restaurant, Mailbox, 117 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RF. Tel: 0121 665 6762, lucarellirestaurant.co.uk

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

MYTHOS

70 Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TD. www.mythostaverna.co.uk he traditional Greek taverna vibes that now inhabit the site opposite the Hippodrome have been winking at us for a while, so we popped along for lunch and plonked ourselves on the heated covered terraced. The mezze menu was the place we felt most at home with lots of small plates to share. If you’re vegetarian this is your best bet too. There’s one veggie dish on the Greek grill menu in among the meat-led list, but there’s more than enough mezze to keep you happy. The menu recommends three mezze dishes for two people but we went for eight between four because we’re indecisive and we were a bit hangry. We opted for Spanokopita – feta, spinach, filo pastry. We’ve only had this in big pie form previously, but these were small cigar-shaped mouthfuls that were delicious. As were the Kolokythokeftedes – courgette fritters with a feta centre, slightly greasy, but the flavour was tip-top. Soutzoukakia – fragrant meatballs with a rich tomato sauce weren’t our jam. There was nothing wrong with them, just packed with cinnamon or similar which didn’t do it for us. Hummus was a winner and a very generous portion as was the tzatziki. We hung onto both to dunk our mains into they were so good. Falafel was a crowd-pleaser served with a gorgeous smoky dip and crisp calamari with a sort of tartare sauce was probably the stand-out dish. We went full-on meat for the main, but ordered two between four of us as they sounded pretty hefty. We were right. The Mixed Grill consisted of

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beautifully charred chicken and pork souvlaki, flavourpacked loukaniko sausage and halloumi all grilled over charcoal with a side salad and oregano fries. The fries were crunchy fat chips minus the oregano as far as we could tell, but regardless they were absolutely super. The Sheftalia was Cypriot minced pork and lamb sausage served with pitta and oregano fries. The sausage was moist, herby and seriously tasty. There was no pitta with it, but we didn’t grumble as we really couldn’t eat another morsel. We also ordered a Greek salad which never arrived, but again, we didn’t need it. I’m sure a gentle nudge and the waiter would have brought it no bother. Mythos is ideal for an early pre-theatre supper spot or for a long, lazy candlelight dinner. Lunch was great, but we reckon the vibe in the evening would be even better. Don’t expect slick, but do expect big rustic flavours with character. I

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

FRENCH MARTINI

Enjoy a dash of gallic flair in a glass

ou may not have been able to get to France this summer so why not bring some tasty gallic flair to blighty! This delicious, simple cocktail is an elegant blend of raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice and vodka. You can always mix it up with vanilla vodka instead but, as always, please drink responsibly. I

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INGREDIENTS:

I 50ml vodka I 15ml Chambord liqueur I 40ml pressed pineapple juice I Optional fresh raspberries to garnish

METHOD: Put everything in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously (this creates a foamy layer on top of the drink). Strain into a chilled martini glass.

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FOOD & DRINK

PICK OF THE BUNCH

NATURAL, HAND-CRAFTED WINES ARE THE TOAST OF THE INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW. OUR EXPERT KATIE GARDNER EXPLORES WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT FROM REGULAR COMMERCIALLYPRODUCED STYLES – AND WHICH ARE HER TOP BUYS he natural wine movement is a hot topic in the industry at the moment, with a trend towards a more hand-crafted and artisanal style of wine. There are key differences between these wines and more commercially-produced styles, but there are so many terms used it can get a little confusing. Here is a guide to the various labelling terms and styles…

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4TO TRY

FOOD & DRINK

ORGANIC WINE – Much like organic food, organic wine is produced from grapes grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers. It’s as simple as that! It is much more difficult to practice organic winemaking in the cooler climate since the grapes are more prone to rot and disease in damp conditions and intervention is more likely to be needed. There are also a lot of hoops for winemakers to jump through to be certified organic, so you may often see the term ‘made with organically-grown grapes’ on the label instead. Winemakers will often still use various additives in the winery to filter and stabilise the wine. BIODYNAMIC WINE – Biodynamics is best described as a holistic approach to winemaking. Followers of this idiosyncratic method believe that everything in the universe is interconnected, from the earth to the moon and stars. Biodynamic winemakers will harvest their grapes by the phases of the moon and use cow horns filled with manure as fertiliser that are buried on Summer Solstice and dug up on Winter Solstice. The movement has its sceptics but with so much love, care and attention given to the vines, it generally shows in the high quality of the wines produced. Give one a try and see what you think! NATURAL WINE – Something of a catch-all term that can mean a few different things. The general aim is to intervene as little as possible in the winemaking process, from start to finish. For example, the grapes are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard, as per organic practices. The grapes will mostly be hand-picked for optimum ripeness to allow full development of flavours. The wines are likely to be made with native yeasts found on the grape skins and those naturally occurring in the winery rather than commercially bought-in yeast. Conventional wines tend to be processed before bottling to give them their crystal clear appearance and to stabilise the wine, but natural wines are often unfined and unfiltered, so expect a cloudy appearance and some sediment from the yeast. There is a lot of controversy at the moment around the addition of sulphites in wine. Natural winemakers

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KATIE’S

Tenuta di Tavignano, Il Pestifero Organic Pét-Nat, Marche, Italy An approachable, lightly-sparkling fizz from central Italy made in the méthode ancestrale. This ancient way of producing sparkling wine is making a big come-back. Expect a creamy texture with flavours of green apples, lemon sherbert and wildflowers. £20 from Harvey Nichols.

Familia Pacheco Organic Monastrell Syrah, Jumilla, Spain Monastrell is a black grape that needs a lot of heat to ripen and make the most of its big, full-bodied flavours. Jumilla in Southern Spain provides the perfect conditions for organic grapegrowing – hot and dry! £7.99 from Waitrose. Gris Blanc Gerard Bertrand, Languedoc-Roussillon, France A super pale, dry rosé made from hand-harvested grapes by one of the legends of biodynamic winemaking in the South of France, Gerard Bertrand. £11.95 from Frazier’s. Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli Bodbiskhevi – Kakheti, Georgia Taking it back to where winemaking began thousands of years ago, this orange wine is fermented with wild yeasts in clay pots buried underground then bottled without fining or filtering. It’s dry, full-bodied with notes of walnuts and apricots. £22 from Wine Freedom.

tend to go for a no/low sulphite approach but as an additive this helps preserve the wine and keep it fresh so it needs to be carefully managed. There are also low levels of sulphites naturally occurring in the wine so it’s pretty impossible to have a completely ‘sulfite-free’ wine. Consumers often think that they are allergic to sulphites and that it gives them a headache when drinking wine. This is actually much more likely to come from the fact there is histamines present in the wine (try taking an anti-allergy tablet next time!) There are so many interesting wines out there to try, and my 4 To Try (above) are a great way to get you started… 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. More information at info@birminghamwineschool.com or visit www.birminghamwineschool.com

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HEALTH

30

IS THE MAGIC NUMBER!

CRITICAL CARE PARAMEDIC IAN LOCK HAS PUT TOGETHER AN EXCLUSIVE CIRCUIT WORKOUT TO MARK THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF MIDLANDS AIR AMBULANCE. ARE YOU READY TO FLEX YOUR MUSCLES, BIRMINGHAM?

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HEALTH

nspired by Midlands Air Ambulance’s 30th anniversary, critical care paramedic Ian Lock has created a circuit ‘chipper’ workout you can complete at home, which is 30 reps of each exercise – 360 reps in total! Couple of important points – make sure to stretch, warm up and cool down to avoid injury and consult with your doctor if you are unsure before undertaking any exercise.

I

CIRCUIT 1: PUSH

30 x press ups – Keep your core tight, bend the arms and lower body until arms are bent at 90 degrees or chest just touches the floor, return to the extended position. 30 x seated shoulder press – Seated position, legs extended and wider than shoulder width. Hold dumbbells at shoulder height, extend both arms until straight, then lower to start position. 30 x tricep dips – Use a chair or step and grip the edge. Walk the legs out until straight and resting on the heels. Bend your arms until they reach 90 degrees and push back to start position.

CIRCUIT 2: PULL

30 x bicep curls – Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging by your sides and palms faced forward. Bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders, bending your elbows. Reverse the curl slowly and repeat.

30 x bent over row – Start in a hinge position with knees bent and a straight back. Pull the dumbbells upwards keeping the arms in line with the body until level with the hinge of the hips, then lower. 30 x narrow grip press up – Start in press up position, with hands narrower than shoulder width apart. Keeping the arms in line with the body, lower until 90 degrees or chest hits the floor, extend and repeat.

CIRCUIT 3: LEGS

30 x squats – Start with legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Squat down as low as is comfortable; try and ensure knees do not go over your feet, stand up straight. 30 x reverse lunges – Take a long step backwards with one leg and lower until knee is close to the floor. Push up and bring rear leg to standing position. Repeat with other leg. 30 x step ups – Push through your lead foot and lift your body up onto the step. Step backward to the starting position and alternate legs.

CIRCUIT 4: ABS

30 x core reach – Lie down with legs bent at 45 degrees. Extend your arms with hands in line with your face, curl the torso up into sit up position. Control the curl back to start position. 30 x Russian twist – Start in seated position, legs bent at 45 degrees and feet off the floor slightly. If using a weight, hold with both hands in front of your torso. Rotate the torso to each side, aiming to keep legs straight and off the floor. 30 x plank shoulder taps – Assume a straight arm plank position. With the core engaged, alternate lifting each hand up to tap the opposite shoulder. I For more details on how to support the Midlands Air Ambulance, visit: midlandsairambulance.com

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HEALTH

ANYONE FOR

PADEL TENNIS? IT’S TENNIS, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT – AND ITS POPULARITY IS GROWING FAST

adel Tennis is recognised as one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Popularised by Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera who set up the first-ever padel court at his holiday home in Acapulco in 1969, it’s a mix between tennis and squash. It’s a great sport for players of all ages and skills, as it’s both quick and easy to pick up. Most players get the basics within the first half-an-hour of playing so that they can enjoy the game. Padel courts are usually designed for four players and are roughly one third of the size of a tennis court. The speed of the game, combined with the smaller size of a padel court, makes singles play difficult, and most padel matches feature two pairs of players. The enclosed courts are surrounded by walls of glass and metallic mesh and the game is played with a short, stringless racquet and a low compression tennis ball. One of the main differences to tennis is that padel begins with an underarm serve and the server must allow the ball to bounce once before hitting it and the ball must be hit below waist level. The balls can then be played off the off the back and side walls, in a similar way to squash, allowing for longer rallies. Players can bounce the ball off a wall on their own side of the court and you can also volley the ball during a rally, however the ball is determined as ‘out’ should it hit a wall directly. Like tennis, a set is won when a team wins six games and there is at least two games difference – failing that the set is decided by a tie-break. Matches are best of three sets.

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MAJOR BENEFITS OF PLAYING PADEL TENNIS:

I It’s for all ages – Young or old, it’s a great sport and easy to find someone to play of a similar standard. I It’s great for de-stressing – Switch off your worries for an hour or so with a few mates, smack the ball around a bit and properly unwind. I It improves coordination – Padel tennis sharpens up your reflexes and eye-hand coordination. I It’s not weather dependent – The sport can be played indoors or outdoors, so there’s no worries if it’s too hot or raining. I It increases strength and muscle tone – Padel tennis is especially good for the legs and glutes but it’s also a cracking all-body workout, burning up to 400 calories per game. I It’s good for your heart – Like all aerobic exercises, padel tennis improves the cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of heart attacks or failure. I It’s social – As 90 per cent of matches are doubles, it’s a great way to meet people. I It’s fun – Regardless of how good you are, padel tennis is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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HEALTH

Why not give padel tennis a whirl at Edgbaston Priory Club. For more details and ticketing information visit: edgbastonpriory.com or call 0121 440 2492

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GREEN DREAM

WHETHER HEAD-TO-TOE EMERALD OR A SWIPE OF SUBTLE SAGE, GREEN IS THE EASY ROUTE TO SARTORIAL SUCCESS RIGHT NOW. WE’VE PICKED THE BEST FROM THE RAILS TO TEASE OUT YOUR INNER GREEN GODDESS

OFF THE SHOULDER

Bardot dress £13, Primark

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STYLE

HEAD TO TOE

Star by Julien Macdonald green satin crepe jumpsuit £59, Freemans

urprisingly easy to wear, green in its many hues makes up a high GET COLLARED proportion of our wardrobe. Shirt £25, Next Personally, we’re happiest going full-on Kermit, but a bold accessory or print here and there also works. Look at the co-ord from Phoebe Grace and jewellery from Oliver Bonas which are both a great way to include green more subtly. Green and white checks are everywhere NEW – think tablecloth vibes in the best NEON possible way. Check out Monsoon’s Balenciaga Anima gingham dress, pictured, and the Triple S panelled checkerboard dress from Primark. sneakers £795, Bold prints like the Raegan Heritage Harvey Nichols wrap dress from Monsoon work green to its best, while a solid block green – not for the faint-hearted! – is striking. Check out the Michelle Keegan dress, pictured.

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SOLID EMERALD

Michelle Keegan double button linen-look dress £30, Very

ALULA HOOPS

Alula round stone drop huggies £26, Oliver Bonas

ARM CANDY

Bottega Veneta Intrecciato medium green leather pouch £801, Harvey Nichols

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STYLE

BEST VEST

Tribe vest £45, White Stuff

RIGHT STRIPE

Brown green polo jumper £69.99, TK Maxx

BUTTON UP

Sage knitted top £49.50, Oliver Bonas

COTTON TOP

Silk and knitted cotton top £110, Hope Fashion

HANG LOOSE

Sleeve stitch sage knitted dress £59.90, Oliver Bonas

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CO-ORD COOL

Nancy shirt £195 and Scooby trouser £195, Phoebe Grace

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STYLE

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Cosima ditsy print short dress £55, Monsoon

CHECK MATE

Anima gingham dress £60, Monsoon

Particularly good with a tan, pea green and lime are fail-safe summer staples. Zara has a very good pea green wide leg jean which we’ve worn almost like a neutral. In true Zara style they are long of leg and small of waist, so best to try before you buy – we’re writing this on so called Freedom Day which could mean fitting rooms are back, but each retailer will likely make their own rules, so worth checking. While wearing a mask isn’t the law anymore, spare a thought for retail staff who are captive and at the mercy of shoppers doing the decent thing. I

FLOWER POWER

Orchid print dress £59, Kaleidoscope

SHOP ORGANIC

Flower print sundress in organic cotton £55, Monsoon

NO WALL FLOWER

ACE LACE

Lace collar shirt £45, Monsoon

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Diana floral midi dress £99, Freemans

JUMP TO IT

Twist front jumpsuit £18, George at Asda

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STYLE TOP TREWS

Rock Chick check trousers £40, Joe Browns

BE SQUARE

Checkerboard dress £10, Primark

JACKET IN

Boucle shacket £70, River Island

GIDDY IN GINGHAM

Mini shirt dress £16, Matalan

DIGGING THE BIB

Charming check tunic £40, Joe Browns

MESH TEE

Mesh lettuce tee £4, Primark

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STYLE

FRILL SEEKER

Artisan Studio frill top £65 and wide leg trouser £49, Monsoon

DREAM SCARF

Flower large square scarf £22, Oliver Bonas

WRAP GAME

Raegan heritage print wrap dress £65, Monsoon

SIMPLE CHIC

Simple life dress £74.95, White Stuff

PREPPY POLO

Space Dye open polo mini £10, Primark

MINT CONDITION Maxi dress in mint £115, No Logo

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BEAUTY

HOT PRIORITY

1

During the brief hot spell our beauty regime had to be completely pared back as any unnecessary activity was too much. Dramatic? Maybe. Anyway, here’s what made the heatwave cut after prioritising what beauty products we couldn’t live without 1. AVENE MICELLAR LOTION CLEANSING WATER £8, BOOTS Keep this in the fridge and it feels beautifully refreshing swept across the face. It’s gentle enough for eyes, so perfect for sensitive skin and brilliant at calming post-sun skin. Follow this with the serum from the same range for a nourishing boost. The serum looks creamy in the bottle, but the texture is more gel-like and easily absorbed.

2 3

2. RICHARD WARD MIRROR GLOSS WATER £8, WAITROSE We hit 40 and our once luscious locks became more frizz than fab. We’ve tried a lot of masks and treatments and this ‘conditioner’ might be the favourite not least because you apply, run your fingers through, rinse immediately and that’s it for shiny healthy looking hair. Even left to dry naturally, our hair looks smooth which hasn’t happened since c2007. 3. CLARINS SUPRA LIFT AND CURL MASCARA £23, CLARINS.CO.UK Even in a heatwave we realised we couldn’t bring ourselves to ditch the mascara. This, from Clarins is brand new with a uniquely shaped brush for maximum curl and it really opens up the eyes. Apparently, it strengthens lashes too which is a big bonus. Ordinarily we’re loyal to Hourglass, but this might just knock it off top spot. 4. ISLE OF PARADISE SELF TANNING DROPS £19.95, THEISLEOFPARADISE.COM We don’t want to invest a lot of time (any) in fake tanning, but we do like a bit of a ‘just got back from Ibiza’ glow and this, from IOP is as easy as moisturising. Once a fortnight we bung two drops in our facial moisturiser then three drops for each leg in our body lotion, three for body and a couple for each arm and that’s it. A subtle glow. Disclaimer – we probably use an above average amount of body lotion, so the product gets diluted pretty well. If you tend to use less body lotion, perhaps start with one or two drops and build up to find your own perfect. There are three shades, we use light.

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STYLE FOR MEN

NO RULES Shorts £12.99 and logo tee £7, M&Co

PICK A SHADE GREEN IS GO FOR THE GUYS TOO! PEA, EMERALD, MINT, SAGE, KHAKI… WE’RE DONNING THE LOT THIS MONTH

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STYLE FOR MEN

CAMO COOL Jacket £59, M&S

SOFT TEE Kimball proud tee £7, Primark

KHAKI KICKS Tokens khaki sneakers £100, Dune

HUG A HOODIE Basic zip up hoodie £8, Primark

ore interesting than grey, lighter than navy, softer than black, green is where we’re at. Khaki’s the easiest and the most neutral of the greens to pull off. See the camo jacket from M&S, pictured, and the Dune Tokens sneakers for a subtle look. For more of a ‘look at me’ vibe you need the Stone Island overshirt in full-on pea green, pictured, or Gucci’s diamond pattern vest – not for the faint-hearted, but it packs a hell of a punch! If you’re in the market for a bargain that doesn’t look like a bargain – and who isn’t? – Primark’s basic zip hoodie is super soft and a steal at £8. I

M

SUPER SNEAKER Courtney sneaker £45, Office

TANK TOP GOALS Gucci diamond pattern cotton knit vest £600, Selfridges

KILLER JEWEL Kooples short trim jade cotton jersey shirt £98, Selfridges

THE BOMB Embellished bomber jacket £16.99, TK Maxx GET IN LINE Striped polo shirt £16.99, M&Co

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ZIP TRIO Stone Island Crinkle Reps green overshirt £450, Harvey Nichols

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BATHROOM GOALS CREATING A COOL BATHROOM THAT’S INDULGENT AND PRACTICAL IS MORE PROBLEMATIC THAN YOU MIGHT THINK. HERE ARE SOME TIPS AND A BATHTUB LOAD OF INSPO

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HOMES

athroom renovation takes organisation, vision and a four or even five-figure budget depending on the space you have to work with and your end goal. If you can afford a specialist bathroom designer who has strong relationships with the relevant trades, go for it. A designer will see solutions to the space that might not even have entered your psyche plus they’ll be on top of state-of-the-art tech and materials. A bathroom is not the kind of project you’re likely to undertake often and it’s fairly expensive, so you want to get it right. If you’re going it alone, yes get busy with a mood board, but also get into the less exciting nitty gritty like plumbing, electrics and heating that will ultimately make the most difference to your scheme and your life. There’s no point

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MINIMUM FUSS Dandy Plus by Scavolini

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HOMES

HIGH STYLE Accessories by Cult Furniture

SPACE RACE Diesel Open Workshop bathroom by Scavolini

CLEAN LINES Featuring Geberit Acanto geberit.co.uk

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HOMES

having a super stylish bathroom that doesn’t work efficiently or is cold. You’ll be irritated on the daily. Find tradespeople that have a proven track record. Get recommendations, read reviews, talk to them and trust your gut. Do they get you and your vision? 

TWINNING IS WINNING Twin wall shower by Merlyn Showering

Here’s a useful check list of elements to consider:  Water systems (combi, pressurised, gravity fed)  Wall/floor insulation  Access panels for maintenance  Radiator/underfloor heating  Odour extraction/flushplate  Lighting  Extraction  Grout choice (type as well as colour)  Tile trim finish  Brassware finish  Storage  Paint  Accessories

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HOMES

LESS IS MORE Featuring Ferm Living Sector shelf £309, Nest

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HOMES

AND RELAX Bathroom by Lisa Melvin at Kuche & Bagno

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HOMES

DRY OFF Prism hand towel in absinthe £9, Christy CUTE STORAGE Caro Low trolley shelving unit by Woood £145, Cuckooland

SOFT SOAP Ochre soft touch soap dispenser £4, Wilko

FINISHING TOUCHES ACCESSORISE YOUR BATHROOM

BASKET CASE Blue rattan basket £16.99, HomeSense

WITH THESE GORGEOUS PIECES CALM CLUB Bath board £39.50, Oliver Bonas LIGHT UP Wye Valley glass bathroom pendant £290, Fritz Fryer

MIRROR MIRROR Wireworks Magnify close up mirror £99, Nest ON REFLECTION Zuiver full length mirror £89, Cuckooland

GOOD WOOD Wooden toothbrush holder £6.99, HomeSense

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FACE PLANT Stone face planter £5, B&M

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MOTORING

ZONE RANGER SUE COOKE DRIVES BIRMINGHAM’S NEW CONGESTION CHARGE ZONE IN STYLE AT THE WHEEL OF AUDI’S ZERO EMISSIONS E-TRON SUV he man who delivered the Audi e-tron to me this week missed his bus. Well, there were so many things I needed him to show me about this all electric car. I mean I never would have found the electric charging cables stored under the front bonnet! And I never asked him how to change the gears, which caused me 15 minutes of panic! It’s a lever inserted into a cover which you pull towards you or push away. Once fathomed, it is so easy to use. As is the ease of driving this car, especially when negotiating the new congestion zone in Birmingham. I slid behind the steering wheel into the very comfortable Nappa leather sports seats. I like the comfort of the long squabs that reach the knee. In front of me is a clear, very bright display showing all the necessary information about the road ahead, the speed achieved and the number of miles left before you have a flat battery. In fact, the miles remaining became the most looked at figure in the car.

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LIGHTS FANTASTIC What I like about this SUV is the styling with a choice of the S or the S Sportback. Then there is the lighting. Optional Digital Matrix LED headlights on narrow carriageways, can project light guides onto the road to show the car’s position in the lane and help the driver to remain safely in the centre. Open the door at night and the e-tron insignia shines onto the tarmac. Quiet confidence exudes in the interior, which is finished in dark colours and decorative inserts in brushed aluminium. The ambient lighting package enhances the atmosphere of luxury and quality. What I really found surprising was the power and performance. The e-tron S is the first fully electric volume production model to use three motors and all-wheel drive handling. Since the early Nineties, Audi performance cars have carried the S badge and this is the first time it has crossed the divide into an all-electric model. The performance is truly breath-taking.

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MOTORING

I promise I didn’t try this out, but I wish I had had the opportunity. If the ESC stabilisation control is set to Sport and the Audi drive select dynamic handling system is set to Dynamic mode this SUV has the capacity to perform controlled drifts! Excitement and efficiency now exist mutually in the new era of electrification. Technology far surpasses what I expected and there is a long list. Regardless of the model chosen,

a recharge of the battery can be completed to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes at a fast charge station. Alternatively, the battery is rechargeable at home and this provided a neighbourly talking point as I pressed a button on the side of the bonnet and watched a panel slide open and reveal the plug-in point. A 7kW home wall box charger is available and will complete a full charge in around 10.5 hours. I

SHOWROOM

Birmingham Audi, 780 Stratford Rd, Shirley, Solihull B90 4BQ. Tel: 0121 746 5500 www.listers.co.uk/audi/birmingham

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: Audi e-tron S Quattro all-electric SUV Price: £96,145 including options Electrics: Lithium ion battery Performance: 0-62.1mph in 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 130.5mph CO2 emissions: Zero Electric power consumption: 28.4-26.1 kWh/100km (WLTP)

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

ISSY WONG

THE YOUNG CRICKET STAR TALKS THE THRILL OF THE HUNDRED, EQUALITY IN THE GAME AND FUTURE GOALS

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

alented teen Issy Wong is relishing playing for Birmingham Phoenix in cricket’s explosive new tournament, the Hundred. Packed crowds, live entertainment and incredible sport have provided a joyful summer of cricket bringing it to new audiences and thrilling existing fans. Issy’s strength is pace bowling and she’s striving to push 80mph – the women’s record is 77.6mph, but she’s pretty nifty with the bat too. As we write, she’s clocking up 27 off 11 balls in an impressive innings that’s left commentators concluding there’s a case for moving her up the batting order. Teetering on the edge of an international call up, Issy’s performances are giving selectors a lot of reasons to give her a shot.

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BOWLED OVER As well as the excitement of the new tournament, there’s a bigger message. The format of the competition is boosting the visibility of the women’s game. Men’s and women’s teams play back- to-back, all televised and given equal billing. There’s no distinction. While there’s no question the women’s game has been thriving over the last few years, crowds still aren’t on a par with the men’s game and the Hundred might just change that. Of the success of the tournament, Issy says: “The atmosphere is amazing and something that even the international girls are not really used to. There’s never a better time to be in the women’s game. It’s exciting.” What is it about cricket that Issy loves? She says: “I love the unpredictability of cricket. In the short format particularly, one or two balls can change an innings. A couple of quick wickets can transform the game.” BRIGHT SPARK Issy remembers being super competitive even as a small child. In the playground she always wanted to be hitting the ball the hardest or throwing it the furthest. Whatever the sport, she

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wanted to win. An after-school club was Issy’s first taste of cricket which she took to straight away. She progressed to local club level and aged nine was encouraged to trial for Warwickshire, playing county level from then on. As well as county, she’s enjoyed success regionally and nationally for teams including Southern Vipers and Central Sparks. Issy found out about her Central Sparks contract on her eighteenth birthday which meant she left school and was a professional cricketer. Not a bad present!

ISSY’S STRENGTH IS PACE BOWLING AND SHE’S STRIVING TO PUSH 80MPH – THE WOMEN’S RECORD IS 77.6MPH – BUT SHE’S PRETTY NIFTY WITH THE BAT TOO

When Issy’s not playing cricket, she’s watching football in the flesh or on TV and in particular her beloved Liverpool. It’s a family thing which she was introduced to at just sixmonths-old wrapped up in the stands. Cricket has meant she’s missed two Champions League finals which her family have travelled to.

HOME-TOWN GAMES The Commonwealth Games in Issy’s hometown would be quite a moment to be involved in. She says: “The Commonwealth Games is a massive thing for Birmingham not just for sport, but for the city. The facilities are world class. Edgbaston is an iconic cricket ground and Alexander Stadium, there are great football teams and grounds. It’s fantastically diverse, really exciting.” Issy’s ultimate ambition is to win the World Cup. “That would be awesome.” I

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GROWING PLACES

MEANINGFUL MURAL

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE Students from Sandwell Academy are celebrating after being awarded the top prize in a challenge to design and build a flood proofing system for homes. Four hundred students from six secondary schools across the region took part in the competition organised by Birmingham City University to mark International Women in Engineering Day. Sandwell’s winning entry was an elevated waterproof house, fitted with water absorbent grass, water sensitive

Artist and curator Mohammed Ali of Soul City Arts has created two graffiti murals in the heart of Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath as part of the Everything to Everybody Project. A five-week project with pupils from Montgomery Primary Academy and Percy Shurmer Academy, the project has encouraged young people to tell their stories, exploring video, poetry, manga and mural painting in a series of dynamic workshops. The new murals are on display at each school.

SCHOOL REPORT

lighting and alarm systems, enhanced draining and specialised brick and woodwork.

CHARITY CYCLE

Becoming the youngest person to have ridden from Land’s End to John O’Groats in nine days wasn’t enough for local cyclist Jack Parsons. The 13-year-old decided to do the double and pedal all the way back to Cornwall for good measure! The incredible 2,000-mile charity ride was inspired by his father Mark, who cycled with Jack, and together they raised £6,000 for the MS Society. Mark said: “The support we have received to enable us to undertake this challenge has been overwhelming, from sponsorship of a support vehicle, clothing, food and nutrition donations.”

NATIONAL CHAMPS

Football video gaming enthusiasts at BMet are now officially at the top of their Esports game after winning the Association of Colleges X-BOX FIFA 2021 National Champions title. The winning team, who are all studying Level 3 Extended Sports Diploma, were unbeaten throughout the two-month long tournament. Esports (or electronic sports) is a term used to describe competitive video gaming, where skill and professionalism is celebrated. Students at BMet are able to choose it as an enrichment activity within their programme of study.

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GROWING PLACES

Picture: Jas Sansi

ECO DESIGN BCU design graduate Dominik Bonicov has created a collection of pollutioncutting outdoor furniture using a carbon-capturing plant as its main material. The Product and Furniture Design graduate developed the concept of an urban air filtration system using moss which reduces emissions. Though still in the development stage, Dominik is already receiving plaudits from industry experts. His design made the final of the Ingenuity Impact Awards and won the Creative Conscience Environmental Design Award at the New Designers exhibition.

KIRSTY CLAIMS DIANA AWARD Medical student Kirsty Morrison from the University of Birmingham has been awarded the Diana Award – the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts. Kirsty founded the We Are Medics platform, providing free, openaccess support for 16 to 18year-olds from low-income backgrounds applying for healthcare degrees, after Covid19 restrictions prohibited inperson events. Through its website and six free eBooks, the organisation offers support and guidance for young people navigating the medicine and dentistry application processes.

TOP TEAM

Bromsgrove School’s Young Enterprise Team, Symplex, has won the Creativity in Business and Overall Winner prizes at the Worcestershire Company of the Year competition. The students created a product to tackle the challenges of working from home with their product, OrganiSTATION – a wooden display stand that houses stationery and other items. In addition to their creativity and business acumen, the team stood out for its impressive cooperation, earning the Teamwork Award at the West Midlands Regional Final.

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BUSINESS

GIN WIN

A small independent Warwickshire craft gin producer has won major awards for two of its premium gins in the International Wine & Spirit 2021 competition. Founded in 2018, Warwickshire Gin Company’s gins are copper pot distilled and sulphate-free and take inspiration from the lesser-known heritage of the county’s towns. The company’s Kingmaker Dry Gin and Pelota Dry Gin, both produced at the Leamington Spa distillery, each won an IWSC silver for Gin and Tonic and a bronze for Contemporary Gin.

NEWS

BUSINESS

LIZ GETS CREATIVE

CHEERS: Founder David Blick with colleagues Olivia Boucher and Chloe Tytler at his craft gin distillery in Leamington

Birmingham PR agency WPR has

appointed former Holland & Barrett group social media lead Liz MacDonald to the newly created role of social media and creative services director. Having worked in-house for prominent national and international brands, Liz’s role at WPR sees her take responsibility for a team of copywriters, designers, analysts, paid specialists and client handlers. The appointment comes at a time of expansion for WPR, with the agency having recruited for 12 roles across its PR, social media, SEO and design teams in recent months.

EXCHANGE ROLE A ground-breaking Birmingham project that supports creative and cultural co-

TOP TWO JOIN BELFRY

operation and exchanges with artists and organisations in Pakistan and

The Belfry Hotel & Resort has

Bangladesh has appointed two new

strengthened its leadership team with the

creative producers. Locally-based Fahim

appointment of Sara Dufton as director of

Qureshi, pictured, and Bangladesh-

revenue and Kirsten Price as head of

based Sadia Rahman will be involved in

people and culture. Sara has more than

all aspects of Transforming Narratives’

16 years’ experience in hospitality and

artistic and creative programme. They

previously held the same title at Mandarin

will integrate the existing artistic

Oriental, Pestana Hotels and Resorts and

programme, its legacy and archive and

Ace Hotel. Kirsten has over 20 years in the

steer the commissions, leading towards

industry sourcing talent for top brands

Transforming Narratives final festival

such as Côte Restaurants, Greene King

event in February 2022.

and Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants.

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BUSINESS

BACKING A WINNER BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

A company originally set up as a workplace for the

visually impaired as part of the Royal School for the Blind has been named Birmingham’s Business of the Year.

Supporters of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity are being given the chance to own a racehorse. Crowd Racing has teamed up with the charity in an initiative that mirrors newly released film, Dream Horse, where locals from a Welsh village put money together to buy and train a racehorse. Charity members can sign up to collectively own a racehorse under the discounted rate of £80 for a 12-month MAAC Crowd membership, with £30 of the fee going towards the lifesavers. Register for the membership at www.goldandgreen.co.uk/product/maac-crowd

PVCu window and door manufacturers Shelforce also the annual Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

JO JO’S A BEST SELLER

awards. Founded in 1839, Shelforce has spent 150 years

Local entrepreneur Jo Jo Smith is all smiles after a new

carrying forward its mission to change the perception of

collaborative book in which she features as one of 17

disability within the workplace. The company currently

women across the world who tell their own

employs 75 per cent of its workforce with a disability.

inspirational stories became a number one Amazon

claimed the Excellence for People Development title at

best-seller. The CreatiSAS CEO was joined at the launch of There She Glows in Birmingham by British Olympic athlete, Marilyn Okoro and global motivational speaker and award-winning business leader of I Am The Queen Bee Movement (#IATQB) Dani Wallace.

NEW STREET AID

Birmingham New Street station staff have joined forces with housing charity Shelter to help people sleeping rough. The Network Rail staff were trained by Shelter Engagement workers as part of a new joint outreach scheme to provide tailored support to those in need. Since the project started, 68 people who were sleeping rough in or around station have been helped. Station shift manager Shakeel Mohammed said: “Equipping staff with the skills to help people find a route out of homelessness has

KNOCKOUT LAUNCH

been a huge success.”

HELPING THE YOUNG Award-winning Birmingham fashion designer Stephen Arthur – whose clothing has been worn by celebrities such as Kanye West, Pharrell and Lizzo – teamed up with a luxury watch expert to launch a partnership to help young people into work. Stephen from Winson Green joined Danny Shahid at the opening of his DWL store in London Mayfair's Burlington Arcade. DWL made a donation to Birmingham Says No to Knife Crime, a charity which offers advice and mentoring to young people affected by gang culture.

A new fitness studio focused on a unique boxing and exercise circuit programme has opened in Leamington Spa. MegaBox is the brainchild of Meg Exeter, pictured centre, a qualified and experienced PT who has spent her career training private clients and pro-athletes in the UK and the South of France. The studio combines latest gym technology with experienced trainers and can cater for all levels from beginners to more experienced athletes. More details at www.megaboxfitness.com

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BUSINESS

BITES SWEET SUCCESS BUSINESS HEALTH CHIEF A young couple are turning their dream of a growing

business into a reality, opening their first premises with help from commercial property agents John Truslove. Lauren Rooney was inspired to start her sweets and events business after a serious accident five years ago. Working with her partner, roofer Sam Bennett, the couple are now on the road to success after moving their venture, Live, Laugh and Love With Lauren, into a unit on the Manorside Industrial Estate in Redditch. “Business is absolutely manic at the moment,” said a super-busy

DIRECTOR FIRST

Lauren, 24.

Birmingham-based health and wellbeing group BHSF has apponted Heidi Stewart as group chief executive. She brings more than 20 years’ experience of leadership in some of the UK’s largest private companies and charities, operating across mental health, housing, employment, justice, and social care.

COVID ODE

Birmingham-based cider Kingstone Press, part of Aston Manor Cider, partnered with local artist Jimmy Rogers to unveil a large Ode to Lockdown mural, depicting social distancing, video calls, meeting outdoors and celebrating the efforts of the NHS, at the Custard Factory in Digbeth.

VENUE UPGRADE

Birmingham-based content marketing agency HDY has expanded its senior team with the appointment of Naddy Onions, pictured, as its first client services and

Events and conference venue Millennium Point

innovations director. Naddy has more than 15 years

has given its 354-seater auditorium a £350,000 upgrade. There’s a new participant stage area

marketing experience working with big-name brands such as Ketel One Vodka, Hilton, PayPal, and Papa John’s Pizza. HDY co-founder Angel Gaskell said: “Now a team of 35 talented individuals, HDY is showing no signs of slowing down and Naddy will play a vital role in continuing our global success.”

GLAMP-TASTIC! Husband and wife Jo Carroll and Steve Taylor have beaten the odds to achieve success with their luxury five-star glamping business, Winchcombe Farm in Warwickshire. The couple have overcome financial, health and pandemic setbacks after setting up the holiday homes – which includes the county’s only treehouse. They were forced to close their previous childcare nursery after government rule changes made it unprofitable and opened the lettings business in 2017.

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beneath the giant screen to provide greater space and flexibility for panel events, presentations, and live performances. Upgrades to AV equipment have also been made.

EXPORTER AWARD A Birmingham company responsible for delivering marketing initiatives across the globe has been named as the International Exporter of the Year at the Midlands Business Awards. WAA Chosen took the title thanks to overseas advertising work in more than 40 international markets for the likes of Diageo, Britvic, Volkswagen, Pirelli and Tarmac. The awards marked a double success for WAA Chosen with MD Dan Clifford, pictured, also scooping the Business Person of the Year accolade.

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WHAT: Moseley Folk and Arts Festival WHEN: 3 to 5 September WHERE: Moseley Park,

IT’S HARDLY WHAT YOU’D CALL FULLY BACK TO NORMAL, BUT

www.moseleyfolk.co.uk

THE LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT SCENE IS GETTING THERE WITH

Festivals are back and a cracking line-up for this one includes Passenger, the Waterboys, Richard Hawley and local favourites ,the Wonder Stuff. There’s also enduring Brum outsiders, the Nightingales – recently the subject of Stewart Lee’s acclaimed rock documentary King Rocker.

MORE CRACKING SHOWS, GIGS AND EVENTS OPENING UP TO LIVE AUDIENCES. IN MANY CASES TICKETS ARE STILL STRICTLY LIMITED, SO HURRY AND BOOK IF THERE’S SOMETHING THAT TAKES YOUR FANCY. PLEASE NOTE, ALL MAY STILL BE SUBJECT TO LAST-MINUTE CHANGES OR CANCELLATION.

WHAT: Myra Dubois: Dead Funny WHEN: 7 September WHERE: Glee Club Birmingham, glee.co.uk Realising she stands to miss out on the most attention she'll ever receive, the ‘acid-tongued and funny to the bone’ Myra brings forward her funeral to make sure people get it right! Ages 14+.

WHAT: Edward’s Trust Chinese and Wine Night WHEN: 16 September WHERE: Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant, edwardstrust.org.uk Hosted by one of Brum’s favourite restaurants, there’s a welcome return for

WHAT: Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk

this popular event that helps raise vital

WHEN: 11 September

funds for the Edgbaston-based

WHERE: Sutton Park, alzheimers.org.uk/memorywalk A great opportunity to walk in support of the 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK. If you’re a little worried still about social distancing then you can also choose to join in with a virtual walk. So, get out your lockdown walking gear, lace up your boots, and unite against dementia.

charity, Edward’s Trust. Enjoy great company, four fantastic courses all paired with a wine and help support bereaved families.

WHAT: East Is East WHEN: 3 to 25 September WHERE: Birmingham Rep, birmingham-rep.co.uk Opening the celebratory season, the smash-hit comedy-drama returns home for its 25th anniversary. Since premiering on the Rep’s stage in 1996, East Is East has sold out three London runs, been adapted into a BAFTA award-winning film and become a modern classic.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Dinosaur Invasion WHEN: Now until 5 September WHERE: Hatton Adventure World, hattonworld.com/adventure-world

WHAT: Heathers the Musical

A roarsome programme where children can get up close to dinosaurs such as a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and a Stegosaurus with expert rangers at the meet-and-greet sessions. There’s also outdoor laser combat challenges, cabaret, puppet shows, tractor safari and the indoor soft play area.

WHEN: 21 to 25 September WHERE: The Alexandra, atgtickets.com/birmingham This high octane, black comedy rock musical based on the 1988 film of the same name is back with a bang, missing out might just be the death of you… Following two smash-hit, record-breaking London West End seasons, Heathers the Musical embarks on its first national tour.

WHAT: Cam Cole WHEN: 15 September WHERE: Hare and Hounds, camcole.com The one-man band busking sensation is taking his heavy blues and rock and roll show from the street to the stage for his first ever UK tour on the back of the internet videos of his street performances that have been seen and shared by more than seven million people.

WHAT: Jon Richardson: The Knitwit WHEN: 19 September WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, birminghamhippodrome.com Will the recycling be put out on the right day? Who is going to smooth over the top of the margarine? How many lights are on upstairs when everybody is downstairs? Watch Jon pretend that these aren’t his foremost concerns as he leaves home on his first tour since the last one.

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CLOSE WITHÁ GEOFF THOMAS

The ex-footballer has been on a mission to help fight blood cancer after being given three months to live in 2003, raising millions of pounds for

Birmingham-based Cure Leukaemia and being honoured by the Queen BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I am a former footballer who made over 450 appearances for Crystal Palace, Wolves, Nottingham Forest, Crewe, Rochdale, Barnsley and Notts County. I was capped nine times for England. I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2003 and given just three months to live. Thanks to treatment from Cure Leukaemia co-founder professor Charlie Craddock CBE and a transplant from my sister Kay, I went into remission in early 2005 and rode my first Tour de France challenge later that year. After that challenge I was honoured to receive the Helen Rollason award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Since 2005, I have dedicated my life to raising funds to save the lives of blood cancer patients and in July 2021 completed my fifth Tour de France challenge. Our Tour 21 team of 18 amateur cyclists had raised over £1million for Cure Leukaemia by the time we arrived in Paris. I was very proud to be awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for my services to charity. IT’S WHAT I DO I am a proud patron of Cure Leukaemia which has its roots here in the Midlands. I am heavily involved in driving the charity forward, raising awareness of the brilliant work it supports and searching for new opportunities for funding. My driving force will always be patients and those that lost their battles back when I was fighting for my life. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE Since my cancer battle my ambitions have been very simple; to live as full and as happy a life as possible while also playing a part in eradicating blood cancer. I will not stop doing what I can to ensure we have

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effective treatments for all forms of the disease. BIGGEST SUCCESS Many would expect I would choose a match from my footballing days but my proudest moment has to be riding into Paris this summer and seeing our fund-raising tick over the £1million mark. BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED After being diagnosed with blood cancer it makes you re-evaluate what is important. My priorities became my family, looking after myself and the planet and making a lasting difference for others. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM I was born in Manchester and everyone up there likes to make a lot of noise about the fact they are the Second City. Sorry, but Birmingham IS the Second City and it just gets on with it without all the noise! It is growing every year and is every inch a major UK city with huge businesses now making it their home. DOWNTIME Spending time with my family at home in Worcestershire is a big part of how I unwind. I love seeing the world and I hope we can travel to Japan later this year. FINALLY… I said before this year’s Tour event that it would be my last – but someone said they would ride next year but only if I did it as well and he agreed to raise £100,000 for Cure Leukaemia. So, I think I will be back in the saddle next summer and perhaps this time we could aim for £2million… I

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Profile for Birmingham Living Magazine

Birmingham Living Aug/Sept 2021 (Issue 104)  

Birmingham Living Aug/Sept 2021 (Issue 104)  

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