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February 2018

HAPPY SNAPPER

KRIS ASKEY

ANCHOR GIRL

Samantha Johnson

+

WEDDING SPECIAL

WEASLEY BOYS

RICHARD LOFTUS

I Out-sparkle Markle I Beauty tips & tricks I Here come the boys

BRIGHTLET

JAMES JARVIS IZZA PIZZA

The

THE WIZARDING WORLD’S FAVOURITE TWINS TALK HOGWARTS AND HOLIDAYS

FOOD OF LOVE:VALENTINE EATS AND TREATS


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EDITOR’S VIEW Love is in the air and this month our Style pages look at that great

wedding decision – the dress. And for some reason – can’t quite think why! – our Homes section features the latest beautiful bedrooms

nowing who to invite to your wedding (or who not to, for that matter) is a tricky business. Do you keep it a small, intimate family-only affair, or do you throw it open to as many friends as you can possibly afford? In our own case, my wife Sarah and I, chose the former because we wanted to make it as special as we could, not only for ourselves but, just as importantly, for our families. We wanted them to feel like they were really being spoiled for the day, along with us. But even with small numbers, we look back now nearly seven years on and accept that there are one or two people who we wish we had invited to share our day – and one or two so-called ‘close’ relatives who we’d now, with hindsight, cross off the list. My sympathies at this point go to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. For all the money and social status in the world, they are facing the same problem as they draw up the plans for their much larger and public wedding at Windsor in May. Do they invite good friends like the Obamas, and if so what about the current US president Donald Trump (please god, no!)? This month’s magazine looks at the other great wedding decision – the dress. Our Style special pictures the latest trends for beautiful brides (and handsome grooms), with plenty of tips thrown in to make the decision that little bit less stressful. And for some reason – can’t quite think why – we’ve also chosen this issue to look at creating the perfect, romantic and stylish bedroom. Not forgetting it’s Valentine’s month too, we’ve also got a couple of suggestions for the perfect alternative romantic food and drink choices. Ah yes, love is well and truly in the air!

K

David Johns

Editor: David Johns david@brumliving.co.uk

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

Contributors: Rob Price, Sue Cooke, Rose Gallagher Lisa Melvin, Hywel Davies Account manager: Jane Morris jane@brumliving.co.uk Photography: David Morphew, Andrew Llewellyn Publishing director: Jonathan Carter

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

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

Cover image: Potter Power: Oliver and James Phelps

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

february 2018

/bhamliving

When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it

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g n i liv

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INSIDE

Highlights

12 16 20 22 30 40

The Harry Potter twins Oliver Phelps, aka one half of the Weasleys, talks travel, lightning bolts and Brum Kris Askey Top photographer’s unique take on breathtaking Birmingham and its people Tom Kavanagh Head chef at Blake’s talks eating scorpion and his love of nan’s yummy homemade jam tarts Food & Drink News, views and recipes from Brum’s restaurant and bar scene, plus Rob Price’s wines pick Style: Wedding Special Plan the wedding of your dreams and shop for a dress that’ll make you feel like a princess Health & Fitness Ironman and triathlon champion Hywel Davies’ top 10 tips to achieve the body you want

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CONTENTS

22

Best of the Rest

44 56 58 64 70 78 82 february 2018

Homes How to transform your bedroom into a stylish, tranquil space for sleeping beauties Motoring Sue Cooke drives the new Lexus that lets you choose how you want it to sound! Young, Gifted & Brummie TV sports anchor Samantha Johnson talks superstar interviews, military coups and hairdos Business Award-winning brightLET, plus this month’s news and views from the business community Social Scene The pages that picture who’s been out and about networking in Birmingham this month Shows, Arts, Gigs and More What’s on, where and when – all you need to know about the city’s entertainment scene In The City Richard Loftus, Town Hall Symphony Hall’s sales and marketing director

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NEWS

g n i liv TODAY

FASHION FIRST A new one-day fashion and beauty competition is coming to Birmingham. Fashion Project LIVE! will celebrate some of the industries’ finest make-up artists, hair stylists, designers and models. The event on 10 March at the Studio Venues, Cannon Street will also help raise funds for children’s charity Plan International UK. Details at: s1awards.co.uk

Bringing you the brightest and most colourful stories from across the city each month

HARD TO BEAT

ROVER’S RETURN Land Rover marks its 70th anniversary this year with a series of events and celebrations, beginning with the restoration of the vehicle that started it all – one of the three pre-production Land Rovers shown at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show. The car was last on the road in the 1960s after which it spent 20 years in a field and garden before being discovered just a few miles outside Solihull – where it was first built.

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One of the world’s bestknown taiko performing arts ensembles is returning to Birmingham to drum in the new year. Kodo will appear on Monday 5 February at Symphony Hall – one of only five performances across the UK. Based on Sado Island in northern Japan, the group of taiko drummers has presented more than 5,800 performances in 49 countries over the past 25 years. More details at www.thsh.co.uk

MATT SWINGS IN The Belfry has announced Matthew Galley as its new head PGA coach, joining a team of worldclass teaching professionals based within the resort’s PGA National Golf Academy. Matthew was previously head of instruction at fellow Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles in Scotland. The Belfry’s PGA Golf Academy is England’s only centre of its type, offering teaching facilities and an impressive range of tuition tools.

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NEWS

year with a campaign to get more funds to support

SYMPHONY HALL VISION

teenagers. In the last year, Open Door Counselling

Award-winning architects have been

received nearly 1,500 referrals from Forward Thinking

appointed for the proposed £12million foyer

Birmingham and GPs, with three-quarters going on to

development of Birmingham’s Symphony

attend counselling with the charity. Calthorpe Estates

Hall. Nick Reed, CEO for Town Hall

is encouraging companies in Edgbaston that are part

Symphony Hall, said: “Page\Park have

of the Calthorpe Business Community and across the

presented some inspiring ideas on how the

city to get behind the campaign.

building can help achieve our objectives and

CASH BID Carmel Mullan-Hartley, chief executive of Open Door Counselling

we look forward to working with them to

TEEN CAMPAIGN A Birmingham counselling charity is marking its 50th

develop the detailed design.” The foyer

COOL WINNINGS Staying Cool, the award-winning boutique serviced apartment operator, was honoured with the Marketing Award at the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) Awards. The Birminghambased operator, who earlier this year announced plans for a new 41-unit apartment hotel in Manchester, was also highly commended in the Investment in People category.

RECIPES FROM THE ROAD An epic challenge by four Midlands cyclists has inspired a new cookbook. Back in the Saddle sees chef Hayden Groves explore the European cuisine that helped fuel his 10,403km Three Tours Challenge – completing the Giro D’Italia, the Tour de France and La Vuelta a España with three fellow pedallers in just 63 days. Proceeds from the book go to Birmingham-based Cure Leukaemia. Details: www.3tourschallenge.com.

development will open onto a regenerated Centenary Square. See In The City, page 82

HAPPY COPPERS Officers and staff from Bromsgrove police station did their bit to help the elderly, homeless and lonely over Christmas by hosting a dinner at Amphlett Hall. The meal was organised by Insp Gareth Keyte and Det Sgt Martin Grant with the support of volunteers, local charities and local businesses. Inspector Keyte said: “I have never been more proud of my colleagues, friends and the community who rallied in support of such a wonderful day.”

JAMIE’S EPIC TREK

Midlands’ para-athlete Jamie Weller, who won four bronze medals at last year’s Invictus Games, has taken on a new challenge. The visually impaired ex-Navy engineer trekked for

13 days across Nepal to Mount Everest. The challenge has so far raised more than £4,200 for Help for Heroes. Jamie said: “I was devastated when I lost my sight but I’ve set out to not let it beat me.” You can sponsor at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamie-weller1

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NEWS

STARS IN THE SKY Astronomy experts at Birmingham University have created a new series of star constellations – each celebrating iconic figures from the world of sport, entertainment, science and politics. The project, called Look Up to the Stars, includes Usain Bolt, Sir David Attenborough, JK Rowling and Mo Farah. The designs have been created alongside the Big Bang Fair to get more children interested in stargazing and the universe.

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE… IN BRIEF The Sound of Music is coming to the Belgrade Theatre this month, starring The Voice finalist Lucy O’Byrne as Maria and EastEnders and West End star Neil McDermott as Captain Von Trapp. Produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer, the criticallyacclaimed staging of the classic musical runs from 6 to 10 February.

POETRY JAM A project which has seen more than 4,000 young people experience poetry and storytelling is marking its fifth birthday. A special edition of Poetry Jam, with Town Hall Symphony Hall, will be held on 8 February.

WAY AHEAD

Picture by Frank Wood

COME AND SING! Budding singers are being offered the chance to rehearse with Birmingham Bach Choir at its annual Come And Sing! “It’s one of the most popular events in our calendar,” said choir chair Sarah Platt. “It’s a chance for singers to really explore a familiar piece of music – in this case Mozart’s wonderful Requiem.” The workshop, which includes an informal concert performance of the work, is at Selly Oak Methodist Church on 10 February.

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BRIDE OF THE YEAR Victoria Vollbracht, from Allesley, who was the winner of Nailcote Hall’s Bride of the Year competition 2017 has married fiancé Luke Purvis at the venue in Berkswell. The 22-yearold nurse, who works at Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry, won £5,000 towards the big day. Rick Cressman, owner of Nailcote Hall Hotel, said “They’re a delightful couple and we all wish them every happiness for the future.”

Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice is pledging to reach more local families with the launch of a new three-year plan called The Way Ahead. It includes extending the Hospice at Home service and expanding non-cancer provision.

KIDS CASH Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s £2million Critical Journeys Appeal to enhance equipment in critical care ambulances for children has received a £66,000 donation from the West Brom building society.

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PERFORMING PENGUINS The true story of two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo comes to life in a new show for children at Birmingham Repertory Theatre before embarking on a UK tour. Penguins tells of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap penguins who made headlines in the New York Times as they tried to hatch a rock instead of an egg. The show, from 1 to 10 February, is a mix of dance, music, and storytelling.

TOP JAZZ IN FOCUS

MAIDS TO MEASURE? The hunt is on for the Midlands’ best bridesmaid. Travel experts Red7 is asking couples to nominate their best bridesmaid with heart-warming and remarkable tales. The crème de la crème will not only claim the glory of being the region’s best bridesmaid, she will also be treated to a mini European cruise for two to Amsterdam and Bruges. More details: www.redsevenleisure.co.uk.

An exhibition of pictures by two leading photographers has previewed one of the country’s hottest jazz events to nearly four million people! Curated by Birmingham University students, the picture show of last year’s Birmingham, Solihull & Sandwell Jazz Festival was seen by tens of thousands of travellers every day on the main concourse at New Street Station. This year’s festival is from 20 to 29 July.

LET’S TALK ABOUT

STAMMERING

CYRILLE’S LEGACY It’s unheard of for supporters of four great rival football clubs to embrace one player as a legend. But that’s the accolade paid by fans of West Brom, Coventry, Aston Villa and Wolves to Cyrille Regis MBE, who passed away suddenly in January, aged just 59. Tributes poured in for the former England striker as clubs, supporters and football as a whole came together to mourn one of the Midlands’ greatest players.

A Birmingham graduate’s inspiring efforts to help young people with stammers has featured on BBC Three’s Amazing Humans. Drawing on his own struggles growing up, teacher Abed Ahmed, 24, has set up a support group at Holte School to help young people overcome the fear of living with the speech impediment. Abed, from Lozells, studied at Newman University before becoming a qualified teacher.

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

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COVER STORY

TWIN PEAKS Shelley Carter caught up with Oliver Phelps, aka one half of the Weasley twins, to talk travel, the power of Potter, lightning bolts and Brum

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robably the most famous set of twins on the planet, Oliver and James Phelps are best known as Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter franchise. Such is the power of Potter, that despite being seven years since the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, James and Oliver are still recognised wherever they go. So how did two teens from Sutton Coldfield with very little drama experience make such a monumentally life-changing move? Firstly, they had no idea how big this would become, so ‘monumentally life changing’ really didn’t register. When the open audition was advertised including a requirement for a set of twins, a friend suggested they should go for it. Oliver remembers: “We just thought ‘why not?’ and plodded along.”

P

LIGHTNING BOLTS Thousands of people turned up to a swanky hotel in Leeds, many of whom Oliver recalls were wearing fake glasses and had lightning bolts scrawled across their foreheads with their mum’s lipstick! Realising they were the only set of twins not wearing matching outfits – something the boys had avoided their entire lives up until this point – they made a dash to C&A (yes, it was that long ago) to bag some new twinning togs. It killed some of the two-hour wait until their audition. There were two rooms for auditions, one left, one right and Oliver thinks the choice of door – left if you’re wondering – was instrumental in getting the part. The casting director was behind their chosen door who thought the boys had the right look – and luck – as it happened. After a six-week course in the summer of 2000 plus five further auditions Oliver and James bagged a screen test. Oliver recalls: “We were on holiday in Crete when mum got the call about coming in for a screen test. It meant we were plastered in sunblock for the rest of the holiday. The casting director was expecting two pale ginger kids, so we had to make sure that’s what they got!” They nailed it and got the parts. With Julie Walters playing mum and Mark Williams cast as Mr Weasley, it was a right Midlands

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affair at their on-screen home, The Burrow. There was a scene in the second film when the foursome read their lines in Brummie dialect which had them in stitches and the predominantly American crew scratching their heads. STAR-STRUCK Having Midlands parents on-screen was pretty nice says Oliver. Aged 14 when they got the part, being away from home was weird at first, but soon became the norm. “Being on location and moving around was cool, but filming in the studio got a bit samey.” Oliver admits being star-struck initially when all the cast members sat down together for the first read through. Afterall, the cast list reads like a who’s who of British acting royalty. When filming stopped there was a moment when both boys thought they’d be a bit lost. Oliver says: “We’d been with this amazing group of people for such a long time and we thought ‘now what?’ but thankfully it didn’t just end abruptly.”

Charity roles include Birmingham’s Help

Harry Help Others as well as the Teenage Cancer

Trust to which Oliver donated an arcade game he’d been gifted by one of the Harry Potter cast Oliver and James, who are keen travellers, went on a publicity tour of sorts promoting Harry Potter across the world. They still do some of this along with an increasing amount of corporate work in the States as well as acting and ambassadorial roles with a number of charities including Birmingham’s own Help Harry Help Others as well as the Teenage Cancer Trust to which Oliver donated an arcade game he’d been gifted by one of the cast of Harry Potter for his 21st birthday. “I saw what the guys were going through and thought they needed it more than I did.” SHOT IN DUDLEY On the acting front, Oliver and James appeared in Danny and the Human Zoo, a fictional account of Lenny Henry’s teenage years, filmed around

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With Julie Walters playing mum and Mark

Williams as Mr Weasley, it was a right Midlands affair at their on-screen home, The Burrow

Dudley. Oliver also stars in 7 Days: The True Story of Blind Dave Heeley. Still living in the Midlands, Oliver has never felt pressure to move to the capital although he has been known to say he lives in London for auditions which helps apparently. “I could have moved south, but London’s just an hour or so away, so there’s really no need. Plus there’s a lot going on in Birmingham. There’s talk of Channel 4 moving here which would be great. We’re so lucky to be where we are. It’s a young city full of genuine people.” He adds: “The regeneration going on is incredible – thank God we got rid of the old library.” As someone who mourned the loss of the brutalist beast I twitch slightly. America has a pull though and there are various projects bubbling away. In fact, James and Oliver have just recorded a travel based pilot show in Chicago which four companies are interested in taking on. In a nutshell the programme sees the boys travel to a city and show two sides to the place. Oliver has the high-end experience while James drew the short straw at the budget end of the market.

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Sibling rivalry is no secret and twin rivalry is on another level, although Oliver won the ultimate race down the birthing canal by 13 minutes. Oliver supports Aston Villa and James supports Birmingham City which makes for some interesting dinner table chat. The golf course can be the Phelps’ cauldron of competitiveness too. Oliver had a bad car crash last year which meant he was out of action for four months, but he’s ready to get back on the course and take his handicap of 10 into single figures. “I’ve the Belfry on my doorstep where the course is looking the best I’ve seen it for two years.” James and Oliver are also set to compete in the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship at Nailcote Hall in August. Rivalry aside, Oliver and James spend an enormous amount of time working and travelling together and for two brothers who were keen to be identified as individuals, not twins as children they are very much a package in many ways. Mind you they’ve learned from experience not to go for the same parts anymore. This pair have confused many a casting director. I

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FEATURE

LIFE STREETS ON THE

Photographer Kris Askey swapped his career as a graphic designer for a life behind the lens capturing stunning shots on the streets of Birmingham and beyond et’s face it, the daily commute is a bit of a bind. A necessity not a joy. Same old route, same old people, nothing new. People rarely even look up anymore. For Kris Askey this became an opportunity. He’d been hankering after increased hours behind the lens, but with a full-time job as a graphic designer at Free Radio as well as busy weekends, his time was squeezed, which is how the commute came into play. Kris began utilising the journey to work to pursue his hobby of photography and began documenting the everyday life of Birmingham and its people to stunning effect. “I had about 28 minutes from Moor Street station to Brindleyplace in the morning and a bit more time after work,” he said. “I suddenly had an extra five hours a week.”

L

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The resulting images show Birmingham at its beautiful and gritty best. A local lad born in Walsall, Kris found himself viewing Birmingham from a new perspective. “It was right on my doorstep and I had to walk through it twice a day, but I’d never photographed it in the way I would a place I was visiting for the first time. CANDID SHOTS “There’s a tendency to be complacent about the things you see and experience every day.” The route didn’t change as it was pretty direct, but there were an immeasurable number of situations and exchanges every day on that same stretch. Rather than waiting in the street for something to happen, Kris preferred to move through the city, seeking out interesting things/people. “I like

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FEATURE

FOCUSED: Kris and camera, pictured by Theo Gove-Humphries

candid, reportage style shots. Sometimes I wouldn’t see anything for days and then a hundred things would happen before my eyes.” Because the city is changing so rapidly, looking back over the photos from two years ago is an eye-opener. There are scenes that just don’t exist anymore. It’s a valuable project and one than Kris wants to keep working on for another few years to really feel the changing shape of Brum. He says: “To publish a book of the project would be good. Once I’ve documented five years of the city that would be great.” While the photos are essentially of the street, Kris feels they’d be nothing without the people in them. “If you take the people out of the city, you remove the life from it. It just becomes an empty space.” In 2016, Kris took the plunge and left his job at Free Radio to pursue photography as a career. “It was scary to make the break and it took quite a long time to get myself into the position mentally. I’d been at Free Radio for five years,” says Kris.

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The station had been supportive of his photography and often let Kris shoot artists that came in to be interviewed. Before he left, Kris was asked to deck out the reception area with his pictures to give it more of a cool vibe. “It didn’t look like a radio station or feel like you were walking into a creative work space, so it was nice to do.” Now that Kris had more time to devote to photography he ventured from his old commuter route extending his documentation of the city resulting in a riveting body of work, such as the view from the roof of Aston University or the Old Fire Station flyover. Last year he got to photograph backstage at an empty Hippodrome for the first time which was interesting. TESTED LOYALTIES Kris is also enjoying cherry-picking his projects and being in charge of the creative process – and outcome – and not banging someone else’s drum. Regular client work as well as street photography make for a great creative mix. “Being able to pay your bills doing something you love and not comprising is a success in my book.” Kris has sworn by his trusty Nikon since 2011, but he’s just been lent a Fujifilm model which is testing his loyalty! “You’ve caught me at an odd moment. It’s smaller, lighter and good quality, so

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FEATURE

I may be tempted.” Lighter actually matters a lot says Kris. “Aside from editing I’m on my feet all the time, so I need to look after my back.” Of his favourite parts of Birmingham, Kris says: “I have a little bit of a thing for a stretch down Colmore Row and also Moor Street station. I’ve spent so much time there over the years.” Despite Kris and presumably you, the Birmingham Living reader appreciating the city’s beauty and great potential, he thinks the city is underrated: “The city gets a bad rep, but over the past half-a-decade it’s really stepped up its game. It’s truly multicultural, there’s a wealth of talent and I think it’s underestimated.” He adds: “I think Birmingham has a lot more to offer than say Manchester.” Hear, hear! I SO STREET Checkout Kris’s work at www.krisaskey.com

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FOOD & DRINK

TOM KAVANAGH What’s it to be? Cockroach and scorpion in Thailand or roast lamb and nan’s homemade jam tarts? It’s no contest for the head chef at Blake’s Restaurant Tell us about your cooking It’s definitely modern British, but some French influences do sneak in because I was classically trained in the French Alps for more than two years, which was amazing and had a huge impact on me. Other than that, we always try to use local ingredients and to really get the best out of the food, rather than just brainlessly cooking it. How did you become a chef? My nan was always cooking and we would always bake together at Christmas time – everything from baking Christmas puddings and cakes to making soups together. Those memories are really important to me and I know I got my love of cooking from my nan. What do you eat when you’re at home? Like most chefs, I love to eat simple, tasty things at home… like shepherd’s pie. My favourite meal is probably spaghetti bolognese.

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Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? In Birmingham, for me it has to be Brad Carter. He’s really done it all on his own and had no help getting his Michelin star, but really just pushed on and got it through hard work. In the world, I’d say Marco Pierre White, purely because he was the first chef in London to get a Michelin star but ended up putting his foot down and giving it back. I think this is so admirable because of the way it is easy for restaurants to be walked all over by that world, and in giving it back, he really showed a true passion for food. Is the customer always right? No. [Laughing] Absolutely not. But, you have to be able to play the game and if you like going out and meeting the guests in the restaurant, which I like to do, you need to be able to make that person happy and always recognise that some opinions are better off not voicing!

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CHEF’S CORNER

Share a cooking tip. Okay, I’ve got a really good one actually. Making eggs Benedict seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment and so, instead of standing there whisking hollandaise by hand, use a food processor, add your eggs and white wine reduction and all that slowly, and you’ll end up with the best hollandaise sauce you’ve ever made with the best consistency. What was your favourite food as a kid? My mum was one of those strict mums who never let us eat too many sweets growing up. I was never allowed fizzy pop or Smarties! But my nan used to make homemade jam and we’d have these great homemade jam tarts. They were such a big treat to me because we weren’t normally allowed sugary things. Food heaven and food hell? Heaven is definitely a lamb Sunday roast. Hell is smoked salmon, even in sushi. I don’t know why, I just can’t get past the texture.

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What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Well, I had a cockroach while I was in Thailand, and that was horrible. I tried scorpion too. I’m not sure which was worse! If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? A primary school teacher. I had a bit of experience working in schools and I think it would be a really rewarding career to have. And I think, like being a chef, when you work with kids if it’s gone a bit wrong you know about it very quickly – immediate feedback! I What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? The roasted striploin of lamb with sauteed green beans, potato dauphinoise, watercress puree and a mint jus is fantatsic. I Blake’s Restaurant, Westmead Hotel, Redditch Road, Hopwood, Alvechurch, Birmingham B48 7AL. Tel: 0121 445 1202 www.blakesbirmingham.com

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SEASON’S EATINGS

ROMANTIC DIP Love is in the air, so get seducing with a sexy chocolate fondue… mmmmm! o simple, so seductive… and possibly so Seventies! But what could be easier and more indulgent than sharing a smooth and silky chocolate fondue with your loved one this Valentine’s? It helps to use a good quality plain or dark chocolate with between 50 and 70 per cent cocoa solids for a rich and smooth finish, but we also enjoyed a mix of dark and milk chocolate – so it really depends on your tastebuds. You can always pimp it up with a few drops of mint flavouring or even a few tablespoons of your favourite liquor. Just add to the hot cream and milk before you add the choccy. And as for dippers… well anything goes but you can’t go wrong with pineapple and yum yums!

S

CHOCOLATE FONDUE Ingredients:

 150ml double cream  75ml milk  400g plain chocolate, finely chopped (or a mix of dark and milk)  Fruit, donuts, marshmallows or just about anything else you fancy for dipping

Method: Pour the cream and milk into a pan and heat gently until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Continue stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and thick. Transfer the mixture to warmed heatproof bowl or treat yourself to a proper fondue pot and set over a low flame. Skewer your dipper of choice with a long handled forks, dip and enjoy. But don’t double dip because that’s just wrong!

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FOOD & DRINK

NIBBLES

and SHORTS

Birmingham has a lively and buzzing bar and restaurant scene. Here, we present our insider guide to what’s going on in your city’s eateries and drinking dens HEAD CHEF JAMES MAKES MOVE Something exciting is cooking with the arrival of new head chef James Waters in the kitchen of Three Church Road restaurant, Audley St George’s Place, Edgbaston. James has worked at a number of highly-regarded restaurants and hotels, including the Lygon Arms in Broadway. Most recently, he led teams at Le Truc and Saint Pauls House, Birmingham.

PERFECT FOR LOUNGERS A new Loungers cafe bar called Paramo opens in Solihull High Street this month. Having started out as a small independent chain, Loungers now has cafes in Harborne, Kings Heath and Sutton Coldfield – and there is talk of the group also taking over Prezzo in Moseley. Paramo opens on 14 March.

THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME While serving classic crepes and sundaes, Moseley’s first dessert restaurant is also promising some “unusual” treats. Dessert Lab is the work of Madasser Ali and Akram Almulad, owner of Java Lounge coffee house. Akram said: “Dessert Lab is a classy ‘dessertery’ not just for the young but also serving desserts with a sophistication, so all can enjoy.”

FINDING LOST & FOUND If you’re looking for new surprises, look no further than Lost & Found. After closing its doors in January, the Bennetts Hill eatery and bar reopens this month after a serious revamp, including a new mezzanine bar reached by a spiral staircase and an all-round fresh look. A new menu features seasonal produce, while mixologists serve a selection of crafted concoctions. There’s craft beers and wine, too.

LABOUR OF LOVE Independent Thai restaurant group Sabai Sabai has opened a fourth venue in Birmingham. The two-storey, 60-seat eatery is a stone’s throw from St Philip’s Cathedral and Fumo restaurant, Waterloo Street. Husband and wife team Torquil and Juree Chidwick have been working round the clock to get it ready – with the added ‘distraction’ that Juree is expecting her third child this spring!

MEETING DEMAND Specialty coffee roaster 200 Degrees has unveiled a meeting room for private hire above its coffee shop in Colmore Row. The space doubles up as a Barista School and is a refreshing change from corporate meetings rooms. The room can accommodate up to 14 people seated and 25 standing.

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LUNCHSPOT

IZZA PIZZA Selfridges Food Hall, Upper Mall East, Bullring, Birmingham, B5 4BP. www.izza-pizza.co.uk hen we’re in a protracted quandary over what to eat, we generally make a beeline for Selfridges food hall. It’s a strategy that has never let us down. And while we rarely fancy pizza midday for fear of the post-lunch slump, a new year sale situation verging on apocalyptic meant that only carbs would do. Cue the twinkling golden pizza oven of Izza Pizza from the man behind Lasan, Ahktar Islam. Firstly, the bases are sourdough, so that doesn’t count, right? It’s virtually lettuce. The 12-inch blistered discs proved thin yet doughy enough to do the job providing an ideal vehicle for some inventive and cutely named toppings like Tease ’n’ Onion and Pork Meats Fourk. We sampled the Fetish with feta, aubergine, red onion, courgette, olives, red bell peppers and green pesto sauce. Creamy feta with the roasted veggies and a fiery hit of red bell pepper was just lovely. We couldn’t taste pesto, but that wasn’t a problem.

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TEASE ’N’ ONION The Tease ’n’ Onion was less flavour-packed, but tasty nonetheless. Goat’s cheese, caramelised onion, butternut squash and toasted pine nuts made for a winning combination that was subtle and moreish. Leading the charge on the classic toppings was prosciutto crudo with mozzarella balls, rocket and shaved parmesan. Simple and delicious.

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We had children in tow, so welcomed the Young Pizzanaut menu which at £5.50 for a sensibly sized six-inch margherita pizza and ice cream was as competitively priced as anywhere in the city. The little people loved it. A well thought out drinks menu, including soft drinks that didn’t seem like an afterthought, impressed. Service was fast and we could have easily been in and out and back at the desk in an hour if we’d needed to – and the bill was a pleasantly small surprise. The majority of pizzas are under a tenner which is pretty good for such a high-quality product. Before Ahktar’s arrival, the site of Izza Pizza was a decent Italian restaurant serving good pizza, but what he’s managed to do is elevate the humble doughy dish to new heights. Izza’s motto ‘thin crust deep joy’ rings true here and we’ll be back for more. I

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FOOD & DRINK

PURPLE REIGN Wine expert Rob Price looks at the amazing rise of

Malbec from obscurity to one of the UK’s favourite reds

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FOOD & DRINK

he wine of the 21st century? Well, Malbec is certainly the quickest riser in the charts, from near obscurity 18 years ago to now one of the most popular red wines in the UK. Typically, it’s a full-bodied red wine looking quite purple in the glass. Its style changes depending on climate. Wines from warmer regions, such as Argentina, have dark, black jammy fruits, smooth with ripe tannins. The better ones are more complex with tobacco, leather, chocolate and spice with a longer finish. Wines from cooler climates are a little more savoury with grainier tannins and not so fruity. It’s a grape that was widely grown in south-west France in both Bordeaux and Cahors (it is still grown in the latter, but very rarely in the former). Phylloxera, a microscopic louse, destroyed the Vitis Vinifera (grape vine) plant back at the end of the 19th century. It ended up killing most of the French wines, and as you may imagine, caused havoc until they found a solution. The Bordelaise decided not to replant Malbec.

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CLIMATE CONTROL Malbec prefers a dry, warm climate and therefore is not ideally suited to cool, relatively wet Bordeaux. A bit further south, in the warmer and drier region of Cahors, Malbec – locally called Côt – is still the dominant grape and must account for a minimum 70 per cent of the wine produced. Here traditionally the wines are full-bodied with a heavy tannic backbone, meaning they could be unapproachable for many years. However, with more modern wine-making techniques many Cahors Malbecs are softer and more fruit forward, making earlier drinking more pleasurable. But as good as these wines are, they aren’t the reason for the exponential growth in popularity of Malbec. For this we have to thank the Argentinians who ‘found’ the Malbec grape among vines imported from Bordeaux and very usefully set out on making a wine that would give them a point of difference from the highly popular Merlot, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

ROB’S

4 TO TRY

Trivento Private reserve: A step up from normal Trivento and more elegant than Trivento Golden reserve, this Malbec is beautifully smooth with lovely ripe black fruits. Available from a few supermarkets at around £10 a bottle. Vie Cave: An usual wine from Tuscany. Malbec is not a grape normally grown in this region but given how good this one is, more should be produced. It combines the fruit of Argentina Malbec, with the savoury texture of Cahors. A very pleasing long, complex finish. Vie Cave, Facttoria Aldobrandesca, Antinori, to give it its full name, can be found at GP Brands. A bottle of 2011 is not cheap, but certainly worthy of a special occasion at around £41 per bottle. Château De Chambert, Malbec: An excellent example of a Cahors wine. Biodynamically farmed, and aged for 12 months in barrel, producing a well-balanced wine, dark black fruit, some spice and silky tannins. Available from Nickols and Perks, £23. Antica Malbec: And finally, what I consider to be the best Malbec. This one comes from Napa Valley, California, located in the remote Atlas Peak district. It’s a stunning, rich and powerful wine. Find Me That Wine sells the 2014 vintage for £29.

drinking from day one. Being smooth, generous in body, robust and fruity, makes them a firm favourite. While Argentina leads the way with nearly 70 per cent of the world’s Malbec vineyards, other counties are jumping on the Malbec wagon – and good examples may be found everywhere. Finally, as a footnote, should you wish to celebrate this wonderful variety, World Malbec Day is held on 17 April each year… Cheers! I Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company offering fun, informal wine-tasting events and Wine &

READY TO DRINK Argentina’s warm and sunny climate is perfect for the Malbec grape and, combined with modern winemaking techniques, means these wines are ready for

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

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST e asked the clever chaps at Henry Wong to rustle up a Valentine’s Day inspired cocktail. There was a choice of Beauty and the Beast and we plumped for the Beast – a heady mix of whiskey, chocolate and cream. If like us you’re more of an animal here’s the method below. If you fancy having more of a beauty-inspired tipple then visit our website at www.brumliving.co.uk for another delicious little number.

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BEAST COCKTAIL Ingredients:

I 50ml whiskey (Henry Wong recommend hibiki) I 10ml brown sugar syrup I 2 dashes angostura bitters I 30ml chocolate syrup I Whipped cream.

Method: Add chocolate syrup to bottom of martini glass straight away. Stir whiskey, sugar and bitters in separate glass (like an olda) and pour on top of chocolate sauce in martini glass. Proceed to layer whipped cream on top of the whiskey, then add three thin orange zests to top of the drink.

Henry Wong Harborne, 283 High Street, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9QH. Tel: 0121 427 7666 www.henrywongharborne.co.uk

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ing livSTYLE

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MOVIE STAR GLAMOUR Muse by Berta, the Wedding Club, Edgbaston and Mailbox

OUT-SPARKLE MARKLE? N A C U O Y , S E Y Meghan Markle might be bound by Royal protocol but you, my friends, are not. Plan the wedding of your dreams and shop for a dress that’ll make you feel like a princess

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STYLE

SIMPLE ELEGANCE Available from Monsoon, Bullring

here’s a big wedding coming up this year – and we’re not talking Meghan and Harry. We’re talking you! Noone’s big day is more important or special than your own, not even the Royals. You want to look back affectionately on your wedding in decades to come and remember a monumentally special day shared with your nearest and dearest. And, of course, you want to look at those forever photos and see the best version of yourself beaming back at you, so let’s talk about the dress. Lots of women have had a particular style of wedding dress in mind for years and some haven’t given it a second thought. The important thing is to shop around. If you’re going for a dedicated bridal designer, expect a six-month lead time although from experience a bit of charm goes a long way. We managed it in 10 weeks at Sassi Holford, although she might not thank us for saying that! The point is it’s worth asking the question if your big day is sooner rather than later, just don’t expect it.

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FEEL LIKE ROYALTY Choose your designer wisely as you’ll be seeing a lot of one another. The trick is to go for someone you like, who gets you and whose style you love. You’ll be treated like royalty, so

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WELL HEELED Married bejewelled £250, Dune, Bullring

COVER UP White feather cape £90, Issa London at House of Fraser, Corporation Street

SILVER FOX Monica Vinader Riva Kite sterling silver and diamond earrings £225, Selfridges, Bullring

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STYLE make the most of it without turning into bridezilla. Also, don’t be afraid to step outside the bridal arena. If there’s a designer you like, contact them and talk to them about whether they’d see you to discuss a potential wedding dress. Checkout Laura Jackson’s wedding gown designed by Rejina Pyo for a cracking example. The High Street is less about budget constraints these days and more about great off the peg options. If you’re happy to forgo the personal touch of a designer or bridal boutique, there are some fantastic pieces. NO MEAN FEET Once you’ve got your dress sorted, move on to accessories, none more important than shoes. We all know a great shoe can give a girl a bit of swagger and we adore the Aquazzura embellished suede sandal from Harvey Nichols. Although costly, it’s the kind of shoe you’ll wear again and again. Jimmy Choo’s Lang glitter sandal will give an instant lift while on the high street, Dune has some gorgeous examples too. Your footwear needs to be fairly comfortable – it’s a TERRIFIC TULLE long day - but try to avoid the satin mid-heel Needle & Thread Andromeda shoe that used to be a bridal staple. Go for a embellished tulle gown £550, showstopper that’ll see you through the day Selfridges, Bullring with an appropriate amount of gorgeousness. If vertiginous heels are out, look at a cream FANTASY FOOTWEAR block heel sling back from Office or a flat Aquazzura suede sandals embellished slipper or loafer that could work £845, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox a treat. CROWNING JEWELS Jewellery is so personal. Family pieces are the ideal scenario and tick the borrowed box nicely. Failing that, head to the Jewellery Quarter and take advantage of some of the fantastic jewellers on your doorstep. Avoid any last minute hiccups by trying everything on together in good time to iron out anything you’re not happy with and most importantly enjoy the experience. It’s pretty magical. I

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PEARL FOR ALL SEASONS Emily London pearl headpiece £495, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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STYLE

FAB FLATS Slingback pumps £29, La Redoute laredoute.co.uk

PRINCESS BRIDE By Sassi Holford sassiholford.com

SEQUIN DREAM Adrianna Papell sequin dress £280, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

ULTIMATE SHOE Jimmy Choo Lang glitter sandal £535, Selfridges, Bullring

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STYLE

THE LOOK By Sassi Holford sassiholford.com

LOAFING AROUND Laurel loafer £129, Hobbs, Grand Central

WOW FACTOR Sophia Webster Rosalind crystal embellished velvet sandals £395, Selfridges, Bullring

EAR CANDY Gucci faux pearl earrings £345, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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STYLE

VINTAGE VIBE Springfield dress £269, Pretty Eccentric prettyeccentric.co.uk

BLOCK PARTY Hey There slingback £69, Office, Bullring

SHORT AND SWEET Needle & Thread Clover embroidered tulle dress £375, Selfridges, Bullring

TWINKLE TOES Silver Lunar shoe, Daniel Footwear, Mailbox

ATTENTION TO DETAIL Embellished bridal dress £225, Little Mistress little-mistress.com

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BEAUTY

WEDDING WOWS

Beauty supremo Rose Gallagher’s top tips and products for your big day hen counting down to your wedding, the key is making small steps and changes over time to ensure optimum mind and body bliss on the day. Here are some of my top products and tips to ensure your wedding is a beautiful one.

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Talika Eyebrow Lipocils Expert £38, from Space NK One of my more recent discoveries is this treatment from Talika, designed to stimulate brow hair growth. In the months building up to your wedding, regular use will increase the density of your brows and encourage growth in finer areas. The result will be a fuller brow that you can

Charlotte Tilbury Brightening Youth Glow Primer £38.50, from Selfridges While you’re experimenting with the perfect make-up look for the big day, Charlotte Tilbury has created a colour corrector that works to enhance your complexion. Brightening

shape to your desired effect nearer the big day.

Aveda Tulasara Wedding Masque Overnight £48, from Debenhams To create your most luminous bridal complexion,

Youth Glow is a primer that will help to diffuse the

Aveda has created a special night cream. This is

appearance of discolouration, blurring the appearance of

inspired by the Haldi ceremony from India, a pre-

redness, dullness, whatever you may wish to alleviate. Use

wedding tradition in which a homemade turmeric paste

underneath your foundation to promote a glowing skin finish.

is applied to the bride and groom for glowing skin on their wedding day. Designed to be used at night, this

Aromatherapy Associates De-stress Mind Bath & Shower Oil £49, from Harvey Nichols

works to enhance your skin’s ability to repair itself, in turn unveiling smoother, brighter and firmer skin.

When navigating the operations of organising a wedding, some much needed me-time is essential. Aromatherapy Associates create the headiest blends of any brand, instantly soothing, invigorating or relaxing you as you see fit. The De-stress oil is one of my favourites, instantly calming a busy mind when spilled into a hot bath or massaged into the balls of tired feet.

Hershesons Blow Dry £30, from Selfridges Taking time to book regular hair treatments will train your hair to be pliable and smooth. The Hershesons Blow Dry Bar at Selfridges offers a variety of Kerastase hair treatments in addition to a 30-minute blow dry that will hold for days. Treat yourself every so often before special occasions and you’ll notice the difference when you’re styling your hair.

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STYLE FOR MEN

SUMMER VIBES Jacket £69, shirt £30 and shoes £45, Burton, New Street

HERE COME THE GROOMS Whether you’re a barefoot on a beach boy or a pinstripe type of fella, here’s a bit of inspo to get you started on your wedding look

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STYLE FOR MEN BE SQUARED Navy wide check print blazer £400, Paul Smith, House of Fraser, Corporation Street

FLOWER POWER Paul Smith floral silk tie £95, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

GREAT DAY Striped jacket £100 and trousers £50, Next, Bullring

VERY VELVET Pink velvet tuxedo blazer £135, Lab Label at House of Fraser, edding style for grooms has Corporation Street

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moved on since the days of Richard Curtis’s portrayal of the quintessential British nuptials in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Sure, tails still have their place, but they’re not expected. Grooms today are enjoying much more freedom and creativity than their fathers. You want to sport a pink velvet tux? No problem. Head to House of Fraser for their Lab Label version, pictured. If you’d like to stay classic but with a twist take a look at Dolce & Gabbana’s black blazer with a metallic stripe running through it, pictured. Team it with some patent loafers and you’re good to go. Head-to-toe lilac? Yes please. You see, anything goes. Why should the girls have all the fun? I

POLISHED PERFORMANCE Dolce & Gabbana patent loafers £645, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

RIGHT STRIPES Dolce & Gabbana metallic stripe blazer £1,700, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

RICH RED Jacket £65 and trouser £35, River Island, Bullring POCKET PICK Hammond & Co pocket square £14, Debenhams, the Fort Shopping Park

TAN FAN Brook shoe, Daniel Footwear, Mailbox

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HEALTH

TOP OF THE FLOPS? Here’s how to reinvigorate those new year resolutions which went from optimism to despair in just a matter of weeks ow are the healthy new year resolutions going? Not so good? Failed already? Perhaps it has now become only drinking on weekends, only eating crisps on a day ending in Y or running every day it’s not raining!! Now is the time to look past the novelty of setting a few resolutions and do a few things that will really make a difference. Here’s triathlon champion Hywel Davies 10 tips to refresh and achieve what you want…

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1: Set goals… Lots of goals But not failure goals that you work towards, i.e. run a sub? 10k or lose Xkg, but set process goals that define every day or week of training. These can be things like eat certain foods daily, do certain activities daily, drink two litres of water a day, run five times a week, etc. Once you have these established as healthy daily habits, then look at the outcome goals but set loads of them…..loads! 100 a month! They are better motivators than failing on every attempt for three or four months and not seeing progress. Set swim, bike, run, conditioning goals, lifestyle goals but both challenging and achievable within the month. Setting 100 goals and failing 40 of them still means you achieve 60 new things. 2: Set new strava courses… if you use it Rather than chasing segments, a good motivation tool is to create a full segment for your own training route. This means that if you stop for a pee or for a rest, you lose time. These are only meaningful to you,

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but never run these flat out, just give yourself a nice boost when you run the full route a little faster than before. Set it on both directions, but importantly set the course for a run you have never done before. Make it private so it’s only for your use. 3: Stretch more Adding a Pilates class, yoga session or 30-minute stretch routine after a run three or four times a week will slowly improve your posture and running. Follow a plan such as the Kinetic Revolution course and combine with conditioning exercises. 4: Strength train more Strength and conditioning are not the same thing. Many may speak of them in the same phrase but they are different. Work together, yes, but you can do either independently. A lot of exercises won’t actually improve strength unless done with enough overload so only really activate muscles. Add some more weight to a few exercises such as deadlifts, squats, lunges etc. Certain exercises should go to a point of failure, some should not. Many people use weights but don’t strength train.

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HEALTH

Hywel Davies is a multi-world record-holder, multiple European and British age group triathlon champion, UK Double Ironman record-holder and five-time UK Ultrafit champion. For a full training plan contact him at www.tri-becoaching.co.uk twitter @tribe_coaching

5: Run slower Even when running every day or running 100-mileplus weeks, it’s still hard to slow down enough to be a minute a kilometre slower than race pace. It takes a certain mind-set to allow yourself to run slow. It may be easier to run with other people and keep a conversation going, wearing heavier trainers, running off-road or just learning to run slow! Keeping fresh for the more intense sessions is vital during marathon training. 6: Race for fun Enter races to run with no agenda other than to have fun. This can be racing of course, but also for race practice. Negative split, fatigued runs, double run days or just fancy dress, running with friends or for any other reason. 7: Plan a weekly run with others Having a fellow athlete rely on you turning up to a training session is a good motivator. It means you set the alarm and get there whatever the weather. Running with someone helps you to do the 10 planned intervals rather than justify stopping at eight. Or complete the 20 miles rather than taking a short cut at 15.

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8: Reassess before a race Run at the fitness you have not the fitness you want. This is important. Too many runners train for a race and expect to run a certain pace, then realise after two miles that they cannot do it. Train for the pace you want by building up the time at which you can run at your target pace. 9: Add more movement Do more stuff during the day. This is not just walking more but using opportunities to stretch or add extra stability/strength work during the day. If sat in one place, try setting an alert to get up and walk for two minutes every hour or stretch/squat/mobilise in the time it takes for the kettle to boil. 10: Posture correction Do something this year that helps your posture. This is not just a few exercises but a habit or lifestyle change. A few easy wins are a back support for sitting or driving, getting a new mattress, attending a weekly Pilates class, or even just getting assessed. A lot of injuries can develop through poor posture so it’s worth investing in helping to stay injury free. I

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ADVERTORIAL

MEET THE NEW YOU More of us than ever are deciding it’s time to have that youthful treatment we’ve always promised ourselves

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ADVERTORIAL

ow we’re into the new year, an everincreasing number of people – men as well as women – will be deciding now is the time to have that treatment they’ve been promising themselves for ages. But consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeons Bruce Richard and Anne Dancey say that patients should stop and have a long, hard think before making any decisions about going ‘under the knife’. It’s important that patients need to be confident – both in the surgeon and in the actual decision they were making – before taking the next step. “Sometimes people need to discuss their options several times in order for both the patient and the surgeon to be confident that they have each understood what is wanted and how achievable the planned change is,” explained Bruce. “Free mini-consultations give consultant and patient the chance to discuss initial thoughts then further consultations can be held to go into finer details and to ensure a real understanding is established between the surgeon and patient.” Here we look at some of the cosmetic procedures that have shown significant increases in demand over the last few years:

procedure involves making a small incision in the natural folds of the eyelid, removing excess skin and tissue, and then applying very fine stitching to close the incision again.

Nose reshaping (Rhinoplasty) Many people have been blessed with their ‘families nose’ but really do not like its shape. Or they have had an accident that has changed the shape and ease of breathing through their nose. A rhinoplasty can significantly change these aspects of shape and function and deliver a reinvigorated confidence in how you are presented to the world.

Male breast reduction (Gynaecomastia) Sometimes, excess fat on the chest is best treated by losing weight but, if you are suitable for the gynaecomastia operation, an incision will be made under the arm or around the nipple to allow excess skin and tissue to be removed. Sometimes liposuction is performed to remove excess fat.

Face and neck lift (Platysmaplasty) As we get older the neck can betray our age long before our face does. Neck lift surgery, as with facelifts, focuses on reducing the loose look of sagging skin around the neck and under the jaw line.

Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) Life events such as pregnancy, losing a lot of weight or simply the march of time can all leave their mark on your stomach. A tummy tuck is designed to give you back a youthful, flat stomach by tightening the abdominal muscles. I

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Eyelid tucks (Blepharoplasty) The eyes tend not to lie when it comes to showing your age! However, eyelid surgery can give you a fresher, more youthful look. The

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Prominent Ears (Otoplasty) A number of adults wish that they had had their ‘sticky out’ ears sorted when they were children. But with financial independence or sometimes later hair loss, which makes the ears harder to hide, they decide to have surgery. This operation can be done under local anaesthetic as a day case using a technique that means a head bandage is only necessary for the first few days after the operation. Female breast reduction (Mammoplasty) A breast reduction can offer relief, a new shape and reinvigorated confidence. It can also help relieve problems such as back and neck pain as well as helping correct bad posture. The operation will be performed under a general anaesthetic and after surgery you’ll most likely need to stay in hospital for one or two nights.

Bruce Richard and Anne Dancey practice at Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull. Tel: 0121 704 5530 www.spirehealthcare.com

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ng il viHOMES

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SLEEPING BEAUTY

Make your bedroom a gorgeous tranquil space in which to maximise shut-eye

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HOMES

VINTAGE VIBE Available from House of Fraser, Corporation Street, www.houseoffraser.co.uk

e’re perplexed about how many hours sleep we need. Apparently less than seven hours a night affects your performance the following day, yet too much isn’t great either. We’re of the opinion that if your bedroom’s a pleasure to be in, it surely helps induce a chilled vibe and therefore sleep. However much of that one needs.

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BEDROOM GOALS Osborne bed frame in mink velvet from Rest Assured Beds at Cousins Furniture, www.rest-assured.co.uk

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ALL ABOUT THE BASE Start with your bed. Go for a solid base which is much more comfortable than the slatted variety and avoid a base with built-in drawers if possible as this can affect comfort too. Spend as much as you can afford on an excellent mattress. Go for pocket sprung, latex or memory foam – and as they all have different densities and qualities, trying them out is a must. It’s not ‘one size fits all’.

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HOMES

GROWN-UP GLAMOUR Larsson bed with low footboard £1,115, Sophie bedlinen from £32 from Neptune, Edgbaston www.neptune.com

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HOMES

LOFT LIVING Halsey bedframe and three-drawer bedside from Lee Longlands, Broad Street, www.leelonglands.co.uk

DARK MATTERS You want to make your bedroom as dark as possible, so invest in fully-lined curtains that fit like a dream. Bespoke might be more expensive, but totally worth it in terms of quality and fit. For an incredible selection of fabric head to Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley. Well-made shutters that fit beautifully are a great option, too. Contemplate lighting early on. A soft glow from a bedside lamp (we like a space-saving hanging pendant these days) is ideal, but you might also want a bright light by day to put on make-up, so ensure you’ve got the right scheme for you.

FULL ON FLORAL

BEAUTY SLEEP

Available from Laura Ashley, www.lauraashley.com

Available at Cookes Furniture, Erdington www.cookesfurniture.co.uk

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HOMES

CLEAN LINES Francis upholstered bed from £670, Mustard paint emulsion 2.5l paint £37, Castlefield stripe throw £210, Neptune, Edgbaston www.neptune.com

HAVE A PLAN Storage is the key to ensuring your bedroom stays tranquil. Don’t make it an afterthought. Count the pieces in your wardrobe splitting the items into short and long and don’t forget space hungry shoes and bags. If you’re lucky enough to be able to fit in a walk-in wardrobe, then happy days. Check out Wardrobe Icons on YouTube for some handy tips from Laura Fantacci who has made a tiny corridor-like space work like a dream with clever planning. I LESS IS MORE West Elms range from John Lewis Grand Central, www.johnlewis.com

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MIRROR MIRROR Classic swept frame ornate mirror, Lee Longlands

HANGING OUT Authentic Models Grand Hotel rack £765, Houseology

DRESSED TO IMPRESS Wishland dressing table, Lee Longlands

FINISHING

TOUCHES Once your boudoir is transformed, adorn it

LIGHT UP Southwell ceiling light £250, Laura Ashley

with some gorgeous pieces to polish the look HELLO YELLOW Yellow bench £149.99, HomeSense GREAT SHAPE Dickens & Jones hexagon mirror £85, House of Fraser DRESSED TO IMPRESS Wishland dressing table, Lee Longlands

HOWDY! Cactus lamp £39.99, HomeSense

HEAVY METAL Biba Albany table light £195, House of Fraser

BE SQUARE Normann Copenhagen cube bed linen £54, Nest.co.uk

INTO THE BLUE Kate Spade New York Garden Drive jewellery box £47, Amara

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HOMES

Hot Properties Top spec apartments in Edgbaston, a holy home from home, Victorian gem and cool pad in Moseley – meet this month’s star buys

TOP SPEC LIVING Bristol Court, Edgbaston Guide price: From £450,000 Agent: James Laurence, tel: 0121 456 5454 An awesome development that features a number of top spec two and three-bedroom apartments specifically designed for luxury city living. Stunning architecture complemented by spacious accommodation and the luxuries of outside space. Nice.

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HOMES

BRICKS&BITS

SKYSCRAPER GO-AHEAD Developer Moda has won planning permission for a 42-storey skyscraper on Broad Street which will make it the city’s tallest residential tower. The £183million, 2one2 Broad Street project will transform the former site of Clicks nightclub. Renters of the 481 units can expect a 200-metre outdoor running track – the UK’s first in a residential building - wellbeing areas and 24-hour concierge.

TOP TEAM GEARS UP

HOLY UNIQUE St James Church, Edgbaston Guide price: £420,000 Agent: James Laurence, tel: 0121 456 5454 A superb, stylish and individual apartment set out over three floors and full of character features. Includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a great open plan living/dining/kitchen with vaulted ceiling and exposed beams.

Birmingham property consultancy Pennycuick Collins has made two changes to its commercial team. Richard Bache has been promoted to associate partner while Alexia Frixou has joined the firm as a graduate surveyor. Richard said: “We are gearing up to meet the demands of the market. We saw a dramatic increase in lettings in 2017 against a backdrop of limited supply of good quality commercial property space in the Midlands.”

VILLAGE VISION Housebuilder Lockley Homes has announced a project to develop nine luxury Victorian-style properties in the village of Colwall. The scheme features a mix of two-bedroom bungalows and three and four-bedroom houses, ranging from £400,000 to £700,000. Work will begin in October.

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

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VICTORIAN GEM Coton Road, Nether Whitacre Guide price: £825,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 272 6800 This charming four-bedroom Victorian home is set in the idyllic countryside on the outskirts of Birmingham. Boasts five acres of excellent equestrian facilities, including seven paddocks and seven stables. There’s also an old Victorian cottage across the courtyard from the main house with huge development potential. february 2018


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COOL MOVE Moseley Central Guide price: ÂŁ470,000 Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 0121 200 2220 A cracking three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment in a stunning development in a very cool part of Birmingham. Finished to the highest standards and complete with your own private terrace with stunning views, this pad provides the perfect urban village lifestyle.

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

www.facebook.com/bhamliving february 2018

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MOTORING

ROAR OF THE WILD Sue Cooke drives a new hybrid Lexus which is a sound investment in more ways than one! like the cocoon of inner quietness which I find in all vehicles running on electric power, but I also miss the hair on the back of the neck tingle of anticipation when hearing the roar of a sports car. Well I guess you can’t have it both ways, unless that is, you are driving the Lexus IS 300h. The third-generation sports saloon is the first IS to be equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive. It is powered by a 2.5 litre petrol engine and a 141bhp electric motor. The saloon operates automatically between electric and fuel mode, but you can choose

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the engine sound you would like to hear in the cabin. Adjust the volume of the Active Sound Control, using a dial to the right of the steering wheel, and a dedicated speaker behind the audio unit reverberates with the growl of a hot combustion engine. Not in EV mode though!

TRICK OF THE LIGHT The system has four switchable driving modes and you know which one you have chosen because the lighting in the cabin changes colour. At start-up

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MOTORING

FACTS AT A GLANCE: Model: Lexus IS300h F Sport Price: ÂŁ36,235otr Engine: 2.5 litre petrol and 141bhp electric motor Performance: 0-62 in 8.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 125mph CO2 emissions: 107g/km Combined fuel consumption: 61.4mpg

response. In this mode the power indicator is automatically replaced by a tachometer. For wintry weather and the potential of February snow and the downside of a rear-wheel-drive car, Snow mode modulates throttle response to give better traction and stability when pulling away on slippery surfaces. On the cosmetic front, since Lexus changed the design of the front grille the brand is easily identifiable. The IS 300h has new headlamps and large air intakes in the bumper which are eyecatching and give a gorgeous sporty appearance.

SUPERCAR ROOTS

and at low to mid-range engine speeds, such as the traffic crawl during rush-hour on the A38 into Birmingham city centre, the IS runs on electric motor alone. That means no CO2, NOx and particulate emissions and the ambiance in the cabin is blue. In normal driving conditions, the allocation of power is constantly adjusted between the engine and electric motor in Eco mode, to achieve the best balance of performance and fuel efficiency, also with blue lighting. Sport/Sport+ mode, with a warm red lighting, boosts the full hybrid system performance but I found braking is excellent with a sharp

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The cabin is inspired by the Lexus LFA two-seater supercar and includes a much larger centrally mounted screen, from seven to 10.3 inches, which presents large and clear images and has a useful split screen function. I found it much easier to read at a glance. The dual zone air-conditioning has touch sensitive electrostatic switches which I could change by sliding a fingertip up or down the bar shaped switch. Again, so easy to use while on the move. Whether you prefer the sound in the cabin to remain a soft tick-tock of a grandfather clock as the indicator is engaged in EV mode, or the howl of a hot combustion engine, the sound is yours to choose. Making the IS 300h even more attractive is the fact that alternatively-fuelled car registrations have grown more than threefold over the past five years with more consumers than ever seeking the benefits of lower CO2 emissions and cheaper road tax. I

SHOWROOM: Lexus Birmingham, 4 Wingfoot Way, Fort Dunlop, Erdington, Birmingham, B24 9HF. Tel: 0121 222 7679 www.lexus.co.uk

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

SAMANTHA JOHNSON The inspiring young sports show anchor from Birmingham is making a big name on Turkish TV, but she says there’s no place like home – specially to get her hair done!

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

e all know that hair is a ‘girl thing’. Right? But how far would you go to make sure you were always looking your best? How about more than 3,200 miles… Now, before you say that’s a bit excessive for a cut and blow-dry, we must explain. Samantha Johnson (Sam to family and friends) is an anchor and correspondent at an English language TV network in Istanbul, Turkey, and so always needs to look her best. Coming from Brum, she will only entrust her flowing locks to her lifelong hairdresser – also in Brum. So, Sam regularly makes the round trip from Turkey for her hair appointment in Birmingham. She also uses it as the opportunity to catch up on family and friends, too. Handy. Sam moved to Turkey in November 2015 after she was offered the plum broadcasting job on TRT World’s daily Beyond The Game sports show. She’s been making a name for herself ever since with interviews of some of the world’s leading sportsmen and women as well as other general news pieces. She splits her time between presenting the show and reporting for it.

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PERFECT LIFESTYLE She says working and living in Istanbul – a city of 18 million people – combines her ideal job with a perfect lifestyle. “I wouldn’t change what I am doing for the world,” she says. “Although you never know what will happen in the next year or two,” she adds. “It got a bit interesting here not so long ago at the time of the attempted government coup – my dad wanted me to move back to Birmingham – but it was all ok in the end.” Sam loves her job because it is pretty much always what she has wanted to do since growing up in Sutton Coldfield and Aston. “Mum played volleyball for England Under-19s when she was in her teens and my dad played non-league football and is a total football nut,” she said. “I played a lot of sport – not very well – especially netball for various teams around Birmingham.” Aged 16, Sam started media studies and through building up contacts ands sheer perseverance she managed to arrange to interview England footballer Jermaine Defoe for a magazine. His agent had the details of the top man at Sky Sports News and Sam determined to get to see him. “I kept calling him, I guess you could say I broke him down, and he eventually offered me a two-week trial and then a job.” Working behind the camera as a researcher only served to whet Sam’s appetite to want to appear in front of camera. “Sky gave me three spots, but to be honest I just wasn’t ready for it

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and they rightly told me that I needed to go and get more experience. It was a confidence thing because I was very conscious of what people thought of me. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and I second-guessed myself all the time. I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate myself and my life. I went freelance and did a lot of stuff, news and features, for Chelsea TV and Corals the bookmakers and got my confidence back.” Then came Sam’s big break when a former colleague recommended her to TRT World. She had a Skype interview and got the job. “It was all a bit of a shock but I thought to myself ‘just go for it’. Three months later and I was living in Istanbul…” Sam has covered a range of sports for the network and interviewed Olympians, Paralympians, basketball legends, Formula One and rally drivers, boxers, footballers and rugby and NFL players. Her exclusive interview with Premier League manager Claudio Ranieri had more than one million views online and received worldwide coverage on CNN, Fox Sports, MailOnline, the Telegraph and the Guardian. Away from sport, she interviewed the governor of Istanbul, Vasip Sahin, on the attempted coup in Turkey. “I’ve anchored some great shows with great guests,” she said. “Interviewing the president of Turkish football champions Besiktas was a big deal, despite only being in the country for less than two years and not mastering the Turkish language the club trusted me enough to invite me into their circle.” THE DATING GAME Sam has earned accolades off-screen. She was named in the 2016 Football Black List – which recognises and celebrates influential figures in football – and has featured in the PowerList ‘Top 20 list of Britain’s Most Influential People Under 40’ for her achievements in the media. She believes in giving back and inspiring the next generation and because of her knowledge and experience she has chaired, mentored and featured on panels at the Houses of Commons, Wembley Stadium and the Etihad Stadium, as well as countless universities and schools throughout the UK. The inspiring young sports presenter is achieving all her goals in Turkey – although there is just one issue she hasn’t so far managed to work out. “The dating situation,” she confides. “It’s proving a bit difficult here, what with the different culture and language!” Ah well, you can’t have everything, Sam! I You can catch Sam on TRT World’s Beyond The Game sports show on Sky Channel 519

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GROWING PLACES

STANDING OVATION The cast and crew of Bromsbrove School’s production of The Pierglass enjoyed standing ovations on the final night. An extraordinary experience for all 41 members of the cast, the band and crew, the production also christened the new Cobham Theatre in fine style. A complex production that included flying scenery, elaborate lighting, sound and stage management, all handled by the students attracted capacity crowds.

SCHOOL REPOR T

MUSIC MAD A pupil at Winterfold School has been offered a place at the National Children’s Orchestra. Willem Van de Heuvel-Berkers, aged nine, studies violin, singing and piano and is the only person of his age group to have been offered full membership of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire this year. A member of Young Strings at the Conservatoire which he attends every Saturday morning, Willem has individual violin lessons, attends the Suzuki violin group, Young Strings Orchestra, Dalcroze Choir and has individual singing lessons as part of the programme.

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

HONOUR FOR TOP BLOGGER Award-winning blogger Lily Pebbles, who racks up more than a million YouTube views a month, has been honoured by Birmingham City University. The beauty and lifestyle blogger and vlogger, received the Alumni of the Year award at the university’s graduation ceremony. Previous winners include singer, songwriter and former Birmingham Living cover girl Laura Mvula and designer Jack Row. On receiving the honour, Lily said: “It’s completely insane and doesn’t quite feel real.”

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GROWING PLACES

DELIGHT: Lily and Georgina are heading for Oxbridge

OXBRIDGE OFFERS PITCH PERFECT Thursfields Solicitors has become an official sponsor of girls’ soccer team, Leafield Athletic Ladies FC in Solihull. The Midland law firm, which recently expanded its offices in Solihull, has bought waterproof jackets for the U15 players. John McCormack, manager of Leafield Athletic Ladies. who play in the Central Warwickshire U15 Premier League, said: “We are really grateful to Thursfields. It’s good to know that the local business community is interested in helping local teenagers keep fit and healthy.”

Four pupils from Moreton Hall have secured Oxbridge offers. Supported by Moreton Hall’s head of Oxbridge enrichment, Matthew Dennison, and a dedicated team of subject teachers, Selina, Alicia, Georgina and Lily undertook a rigorous process of college exams and interviews. Alicia described herself as “in a state of euphoric shock”.

ACADEMY AWARDS Darlaston Academy students raised an impressive £5,158 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity’s appeal to build the UK’s first centre for youngsters with rare diseases. The funds, which were raised through events including nonuniform days, a sponsored skip and the release of 200 balloons, were presented to Anna Pendlebury, acting regional fundraising manager of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust, at the Academy’s annual awards, pictured.

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITH…

JAMES JARVIS They say ‘never work with children or animals’, but the inspiring education manager of Birmingham Botanical Gardens does both – and is loving every minute of it! BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I studied for a human biology degree and then worked for the University of Birmingham as a medical researcher for three years. I wanted to pass on my love of learning to ‘the next generation’, so I became a secondary school science teacher for four years. I have worked for Birmingham Botanical Gardens for the last two years. Every day I get to excite and enthuse children about plants, the environment and how we can all make a positive difference to our planet.

BIGGEST SUCCESS Being here at all! As a toddler, I spent nearly a week in a coma with meningitis and septicaemia and wasn’t given much chance of recovery – but here I am! I love that I am able to use my skills and qualifications to make a small but real difference to the lives of the children that visit the Gardens.

IT’S WHAT I DO As education manager, I welcome schoolchildren (and their teachers) to the Gardens – more than 16,500 in the last school year alone – to be amazed by our spectacular glasshouses and grounds and educated by our entertaining activities. I have a team of four staff and eight volunteers who help me ensure that everyone has a great time. We also welcome nurseries, colleges, uniformed groups (eg scouts) and adult learners. I also have responsibility for the Gardens’ exotic animal collection, where we teach about animals such as tenrecs, sand boas and panther chameleons. They say never work with children or animals, but I do both and it’s great!

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM It’s my home city and a great place to be, especially as it has more parks to get out and enjoy yourself in than any other European city of a similar size.

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE I’d love to see every child understand why plants and the environment are so important to all of us, be that at school, through a visit to the Gardens or just by spending time outside. My personal ambitions are to see Machu Picchu in Peru, explore Australia and New Zealand and walk Britain’s coastline for charity.

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BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED You don’t always deserve what you get, and don’t always get what you deserve. So, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

DOWNTIME When I’m not spending time with children at the Gardens, I am with my own young ones (three-and-a-half and four months). I enjoy sport – I play five-a-side football, go to the gym and am an avid supporter of Birmingham City and Warwickshire County Cricket Club. I like cooking, reading, watching nature and historical documentaries and having a good meal with family. However, I am never happier than when I am outside, gardening, walking or playing in the park with my children. FINALLY… Don’t ever think plants are boring! They feed us, clothe us, shelter us, keep us healthy (medicines) and keep us alive (breathing). We learn more about how amazing they are every day – you should come and see for yourself! I

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ing livBUSINESS

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BRIGHTLET The Founder and CEO Camran Khan turned a family crisis into a business triumph with an award-winning online property management and lettings platform

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COMPANY TO WATCH

hey say that all the best ideas are born from adversity, and that is certainly true for Camran Khan. When a family illness left him in charge of his father’s portfolio of properties, he found himself engulfed in a logistical nightmare of trying to deal with tenants, tradespeople, contracts and costs. But it also led to him setting up brightLET, the award-winning cloud-based property management and lettings solution. Since launching in 2016, Birmingham-based brightLET has claimed a number of national business and entrepreneur awards and is making life easier and quicker for hundreds of landlords across the UK. The platform provides a multi-user access service which allows its users to advertise, find a property, communicate, manage tenancies and deal with any trades needed without using a third party.

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BIG SAVINGS Landlords can use brightLET to manage directly with their tenants, schedule maintenance and repairs, track payments and handle any other issues. And due to the fact that no management agents are needed, Camran says the cost savings work out at an average of £450 per property, per year. Currently brightLET is used by more than 400 landlords and 1,000 tenants in Birmingham and the Midlands, London and Manchester – and the numbers are growing all the time as word of the platform spreads. “One of the key goals of creating the brightLET platform was to incorporate my own frustrations as a landlord, alongside market research from fellow landlords,” explained Camran. “I found that we all had the same problems of having to go through third parties to manage our properties.” Camran was working in media and marketing consultancy in London prior to the family crisis, helping FTSE100 and high-end brands by providing automated scalable solutions for online technology. He took that tech know-how and started the development of the brightLET platform in March 2016. Throughout, he involved other landlords to get their feedback for improvements, as well as to research new features to implement. In November 2016, brightLET was born and a

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focus group was held for landlords to test the product and provide feedback. The final product was ready the following January when a further focus group was held with 99 per cent of landlords who used the platform saying it made their lives easier. Camran said: “Our vision was to create tools that will make the end user’s life simple by allowing them to rely on these tools on a day-to-day basis – lettings at your fingertips! We want to become the main players in the market for property rental and we strongly believe that we have a solution that will disrupt the market on a global scale. This is just the beginning of our vision, and we have many phases that will always keep us ahead of our competition. “We have a highly dedicated and talented team that is very passionate about our platform and works hard to create an open and harmonious environment where we can develop both as a property management solution and as a company.” Based at Birmingham Innovation’s iCentrium building in Holt Street, the brightLET team is looking to expand and build the business further in the UK in 2018. “The technology has been built so the system is scaleable so we can accept clients from anywhere in the UK,” said Camran. “The UK is a true property hotspot with substantial investment. There is no better market to be in than right here.” Longer term, brightLET would look to scale to Europe and the US, where the rentals market is massive but also where the tenancy laws are all very different. INNOVATION ACCOLADES Last autumn, brightLET was named Midlands Best Innovative Start-up in the Barclays Entrepreneur awards. And in December, it was selected to join the prestigious Barclays Scale Up UK Programme – a 36-week project to help highgrowth start-ups and small businesses develop strategies to accelerate growth and tackle the resulting challenges. Camran was also shortlisted in the NatWest Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 awards beating 100 competitors in the category of Innovation Entrepreneur. I

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AMERICAN VISIT Birmingham will host a major transatlantic business conference this summer. The British American Business Council (BABC) annual conference from 6 to 8 June will attract delegates from Britain and North America as businesses in the city, led by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, seek new markets in the post-Brexit era. The decision to come to Brum follows the success of the city’s high-profile presence at the conference in Chicago in May last year.

BUSINESS

NEWS ELECTRIC SWITCH GEOFF HONOURED Former Wolves and England midfielder Geoff Thomas paid tribute to the Birmingham medics who helped save his life as he collected a top university honour. The leukaemia survivor and charity fund-raiser told students and academics that he wouldn’t be alive without the work of Birmingham professor Charlie Craddock and his team, as he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Birmingham City University. The presentation was made during a ceremony at Symphony Hall, alongside students graduating from the faculty of health, education and life sciences. Geoff has raised millions of pounds for blood cancer charities since recovering from the disease – after being told he had just three months to live in 2003.

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A Birmingham undertaker has become the first company of funeral directors in the city to offer an electric hearse. A Natural Undertaking of Kings Heath unveiled the eco-friendly converted Nissan Leaf. Carrie Weekes, who founded the business with friend Fran Glover three years ago, said: “It may seem an unlikely subject to enthuse about but we are really excited to unveil our new car which provides a different option for those who want a natural burial.”

FOOTIE FIRST Aston Villa has become the first football club in the world to integrate pre-paid contactless and chip and pin payment technology into its season and member cards. The new technology will allow fans to use their season/member cards in the same way as any pre-paid payment card, including contactless payments up to £30. Supporters will be able to use their cards to enter the stadium and at all Villa Park payment terminals, including concourses, the ticket office and club store. CARD KING: Luke Organ, Villa’s chief commercial officer

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BUSINESS

WATCH THIS SPACE

DOMINIQUE GETS AHEAD A new hair salon owner is looking to give customers a relaxed and welcoming environment for their appointment. Dominique Healy has launched her own business at Suite 4, Holt Studios, Birmingham Road, Bromsgrove. It is called Bobbypins Hair & Beauty after the nickname for her two-year-old niece. The opening marks a return to hairdressing for Dominique who worked as a Walt Disney store manager at Merry Hill Shopping Centre. She said: “I had always wanted to have my own salon and it’s going really well.”

Creative workspace pioneer Spaces is opening a work hub in Birmingham. The workspace will occupy all 7,523 sq m of the Crossway, Great Charles Street. Originally founded in Amsterdam, Spaces provides a productive working environment which allows its users to integrate work into their lifestyle. The new Birmingham hub will provide a variety of services to meet the needs of entrepreneurial businesses, including serviced offices, day offices, bookable meeting rooms and virtual office facilities.

BREAST CANCER AID A leading Midlands law firm has sponsored the first breast cancer therapy room for a charity’s new centre in the region. Thursfields Solicitors is helping to fund the Fern therapy room in St Bernards Road, Solihull for Breast Cancer Haven, West Midlands. The new room will help the charity provide emotional, physical and practical support including counselling, acupuncture and aromatherapy massage. Rob Pettigrew, Thursfield’s commercial property director, said: “The centre is a much-needed new facility to the area.”

STARTING OUT WELCOME: Sundeep Bilkhu and Dean Parnell

LAW PROMOTION Award-winning law firm Sydney Mitchell LLP has promoted Sundeep Bilkhu to associate solicitor in its dispute resolution team. “Sundeep’s expertise, commercial and analytical approach to property and professional negligence disputes has been well received by so many of our commercial and private clients and he has obtained some great results,” said Dean Parnell, Sydney Mitchell partner and head of dispute resolution in Birmingham.

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PK Education has welcomed five new starters to the team at the end of a year of huge growth for the company. Emma Smith from Stafford and Jordan Hartley from Longbridge, have both been appointed at PK Education’s Birmingham office. Emma joins as a senior recruitment consultant, while Jordan is an education consultant. PK Education now boasts seven offices in Newcastle, Wakefield, Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester and Leeds.

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BUSINESS

BIG NEWS BREWING The Indian Brewery has got bigger, bolder and better. The team has expanded into the archway next door at Livery Street – creating a much bigger and brighter space for customers to enjoy refreshing home-brews and their favourite mixed grills. Jaspal Purewal, who owns Indian Brewery – which supplies Birmingham Lager, Indian Summer, Bombay Honey, Peacock and IPA to city venues – says the new and improved premises now seats 90 people.

LOTTERY BOOST UNI’S £31M OPENING Birmingham City University’s newly-opened £31million building is offering additional teaching and learning space for 3,000 students and staff within more than 650 rooms. The Curzon B building boasts 100,000 square feet of additional state-of-the-art and experimental facilities for the institution’s existing city centre campus courses. The structure extends the university’s award-winning £63million Curzon building, which has been housed on Cardigan Street in Birmingham’s Eastside since 2015.

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Birmingham charity LoveBrum has been awarded £250,000 of National Lottery funding in a new partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. By sharing expertise, learning and networks, the partnership will expand LoveBrum’s reach and provide even more funding to projects in local communities. LoveBrum showcased more than 120 projects and provided £70,000 funding in the past year.

NEW BID BOSS Stephen Roberts, founding director at Robson Lister Wealth Management, has been appointed chairman of Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Business Improvement District. Previously one of the BID’s board directors, he takes over from John Cutler who held the role since January 2016. Angela Henderson, manager at the Gracechurch Centre, who has more than 20 years’ experience working in retail, becomes the BID’s vice-chairman.

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SOCIAL SCENE

HENRY WONG HOLDS CHAMPAGNE TASTER Bubbly event sees guests raise £4,000 for Breast Cancer charity arborne-based Cantonese restaurant Henry Wong welcomed more than 70 guests for a Laurent-Perrier Champagne taster event in support of West Midlands charity, Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer. Diners were treated to a selection of the restaurant’s finest cuisine with each course being partnered with a carefully selected accompaniment from the luxury Champagne house. The event raised more than £4,000 for the charity – bringing the total raised to £11,000 in 2017. The charity, founded by Veronica Kumeta in 2000, was established to provide funds for equipment for Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham that is above and beyond NHS means. I

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SOCIAL SCENE

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IN CONVERSATION WITH ANDY STREET West Midlands mayor meets movers and shakers at event with BBC’s Patrick Burns overs and shakers from across Birmingham came together to take part in a conversation between West Midlands mayor Andy Street and Patrick Burns, the BBC’s Midlands political correspondent. In Conversation with Andy Street took place over a two-course lunch at Hotel du Vin. The event included a raffle which raised more than £800 for Birmingham Big Art Project. Prizes were donated by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, London Midland and Hyatt Regency. I

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1 Charles Gillett, Caroline Taylor. 2 Myron Klymyszyn, Monique Royle, Tom Bourton, Nick Hammond, Eddie Williams, Douglas Bonham, Alan Smith, Rob Parker, Lorraine Bridges, Richard Holmes. 3 Jonnie Turpie, Glyn Pitchford, Francis Thomas. 4 Paul Brown, Bernice Heard, Mario Flanagan. 5 Tony Elvin, Glyn Pitchford, Mayor of Birmingham Cllr Anne Underwood, Andy Street, Patrick Burns. 6 Veronica Kumeta, Shelley Duncan.

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Photography by Jas Sansi

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DEVELOPER LAUNCHES FIRST OFFICE IN CITY Birmingham base gives springboard for a raft of exciting new projects

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enry Boot Developments, part of the 130year-old LSE-listed Henry Boot Group of Companies, toasted the opening of its new Birmingham office at a launch reception at Hotel du Vin attended by 150 guests. MD David Anderson gave guests an overview of projects currently underway in the region, including the 48-acre Imperial Tobacco site in Nottingham and key development sites in Daventry and Leicester. I

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1 Sandeep Shambi, Anthony Hat, Mark Jones, Davis Stairmand. 2 Andrew Bull, Kam Saini, Alex Blenard. Jack Jones. 4 Tess Randles, Simon Lloyd.

3 Ben Wisher, Vicky Bromley,

5 Darren Littlewood, Caroline Hines, Andrew Priestley. 6 Andrew Milne, John Sutcliffe,

Gerald Sweeney. 7 John Cullen, Alex Blenard, Joe Cooke. 8 Justin Sheldon, Tim Burn, Vivienne Clements, Simon Raiye. Photography by Dale Martin

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CLUB LUNCH BOOSTS JOURNALIST CHARITY Media comes together to aid group originally set up by Charles Dickens rummie comedian James Cook provided the entertainment at a Birmingham Press Club lunch held at Circle Restaurant, Birmingham Hippodrome. Sixty guests, including celebrities from the print world, television and radio, attended the event where they were welcomed by Rob Macpherson, the Hippodrome’s marketing and development director. A prize draw raised £500 for the Journalists’ Charity, originally started by a group of Parliamentary journalists including Charles Dickens, to help colleagues and dependents who had fallen on hard times. I

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1 Mindo Sheamar, Dean Williams, Sarah Arnold. 2 Adrian Kibbler, Sarah Whitticase, John James. 3 Derek Inman, Bob Warman, Gary Baldwin, Iain Hall. 4 James Cook. 5 Peter Brookes, Hazel Horton-Peppercorn, John Lamb. 6 David Dunckley, Fred Bromwich, Neil Pountney, Paul Raymer. 7 Judi Gilbert, Gary James, Daniela Forsyth. 8 Jo Jeffries, Simon Pitt, Clare Bramley. 9 Derek Inman, Kay Cadman, Rob Macpherson.

february 2018

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NEW-LOOK GALLERY SHOWROOM OPENS Customers, suppliers and friends get first taste of stunning revamp

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he Gallery Showroom celebrated the completion of its newly renovated showroom by hosting a special event for customers, suppliers and friends. As well as some stunning new collections on display, guests were treated to delicious nibbles from one of Siemens’ talented chefs, Karen Walker. Director Lisa Melvin said: “We were incredibly excited to showcase our newly revamped showrooms. The team has worked so hard and we’re thrilled with the results.” I

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1 Simon Hare, Nigel Burdett, Eddie Lawley, Carl Porter. 2 Chris Peters, Laura Rushall, Luke Oldham. Lynn Hughes. 4 Sam Martin, Paul Martin.

3 Joanne Fox, Francesca Fox,

5 Kristin Mole, Andrew Davies. 6 Nikki Hadcoft, Lynn Dale. 7 Sara Bray, Glynis Simpson.

8 Kathleen Gurnsey, Lorraine Brooks, Jean Melvin. 9 Tracey Lennard, Alan Wiggin, Fin Birrane, Hannah Davidson. Photography by Designer Photography

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LOVEBRUM BAGS GENEROUS GIFT Charity receives biggest donation towards its ‘Bags for Brummies’ ity charity LoveBrum received one of the biggest donations in its three-year history at a special event. The £6,500 gift was made by Birmingham Publicity Association at a lunch for 220 guests sponsored by Elonex Outdoor Media at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. The donation goes towards the 400 ‘Bags for Brummies’ which will be filled with essentials for the city’s homeless community. In addition, the money will help support local charitable projects. I

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1 Ed James, Judith Armstrong, Jake Barrett. 2 Natalie Pejovic, P J Ellis, Caroline Chell. 3 Simon Forester, Emma Baxter, Anita Wright, John Keane. 4 Denver Logan, Lee Rudken. 5 Charlie Vaughan, Tom Hughes, Kim Nolan. 6 Mike Fleetwood, Vicky Price, Michael Gough. 7 Sam Beddall, Mike Colledge, Adam Cooksley, Lehna Pirie. 8 Sarah Hughes, Stephen Walters, Emma Holsey.

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NEW OPENING ADDS SPARKLE TO MAILBOX City first sees luxury brand ILite launch Swarovski Lighting store

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here’s no place like homewares following the launch of Birmingham’s first Swarovski Lighting partner store. Joining the likes of Heal’s and Made.com, luxury brand iLite celebrated in style as it opened at the Mailbox’s new homewares centre. David Pardoe, head of marketing, retail and tenant engagement at the Mailbox, said: “iLite is a very welcome addition to our already fantastic collection of brands.” I

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1 Al Beat, Lee Austin, Karla Currigan, Angela Jones. 2 Jane Vaar, Ilia Krokos, Andreas Vill . 3 Jake Barrett. 4 Gino and Veena Bhambra, Yasmin Saddique. 5 Tasha Mughal, Ting Newall and friend. 6 Ilia Krokos, Rai Singh, Andreas Vill. 7 Sunita Kaur, Yasmin Saddique, Jane Vaar.

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HOTEL DU VIN HOSTS CALIFORNIA EVENING First class American cuvees paired with superb four-course banquet ony Elvin and the team at Hotel du Vin, Birmingham recently hosted another of their legendary wine dinners. The fun Californianthemed evening featured some first class American cuvees paired with a four-course banquet. The event was co-hosted by Pierre Pattieu of Jackson Family Wines. I

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1 Craig Freeman, Pierre Pattieu, Leila Killoran. 2 Max and Jean Haywood, Tony Elvin. 3 Mike James, Nico Ante, Dawn Kordan. 4 Gurjit Atwal, Parm Singh. 5 Mike James, Dawn Kordan, Gary Newbon, Veronica Smith, Gary Redmonds. 6 Ruth Bridges, Andy Watkinson. 7 Nigel Jackson, Steph Langford-Brown. 8 Mark Rose, Lucy Elvin. 9 Ana Maria Stoica, Alexandra Maria. Photography by Jas Sansi

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WHAT: Totally Tina WHEN: 2 February WHERE: Belgrade Theatre, tel: 02476 553055 www.belgrade.co.uk A chance to look back on the career of a female music icon as a newly updated version of this cracking show takes to the stage. A visual spectacular that promises to be Simply the Best!

WHAT: Half Term Fun

WHAT: The National Wedding Show

WHEN: 19 to 23 February WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens,

WHEN: 23 to 25 February WHERE: NEC, www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk

tel: 0121 212 3383

With more than 300 wedding specialists from bridal boutiques and florists to jewellers and photographers, this is a great opportunity to try, buy, book and hire everything you need for your special day at the UK’s biggest wedding show.

www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk Super fun for all the family. As well as the awesome glasshouse and the beautiful gardens to enjoy there’s also loads of special activities, including arts and crafts and story trails.

WHAT: IAAF World Indoor Championships WHEN: 1 to 4 March WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The world’s best athletes are coming back to Birmingham! With limited tickets still up for grabs, you’ll have to hurry if you want to see more than 400 athletes from 150 countries competing for top honours.

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WHAT: Chinese New Year WHEN: 16 February WHERE: Various throughout the region Birmingham’s annual Chinese New Year celebration is always special and this year there will again be special celebrations in the Southside District of the city with lion dances, funfair rides, street food and a host of traditional entertainment.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Paul Chowdhry WHEN: 19 to 20 February WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk Following his 2015, 100-date sell-out tour, comedy powerhouse and star of Taskmaster, Live at the Apollo and Stand Up for the Week, the controversial comic brings his highly anticipated new show to town.

WHAT: Dara O Briain: Voice of Reason WHEN: 1 to 3 March WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, tel: 0844 338 5000 www.birminghamhippodrome.com As host of the hugely successful Mock the Week and Stargazing Live, he’s become the most recognisable face on British TV – so why not catch one of the most charismatic, intelligent, fasttalking and downright funny live performers working today doing what he does best…

WHAT: Cirque Enchantment WHEN: 22 February WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel: 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk This concert-style cirque production features stunning choreography, breath-taking live vocals and mesmerising circus performers. With an eclectic musical soundtrack including current pop, rock and classical this is a magical family show.

WHAT: James and Ola: Uncensored WHEN: 5 March WHERE: New Alexandra Theatre, tel: 0844 8713011 WHAT: Roni Size: New Forms Live WHEN: 24 February WHERE: Birmingham O2 Institute, www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham A new immersive live show which will include tracks from his classic album New Forms, his 1997 Mercury Prize-winning album including original renditions and some awesome remixes.

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www.atgtickets.com/birmingham They are known as two of the biggest stars ever to emerge from the hit show Strictly Come Dancing, and now the Jordans embark on a nation-wide tour telling their own love story. Featuring a full cast of dancers in a show filled with passion, intensity and high-octane routines.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Lou Conran: I Love Lou C WHEN: 15 February WHERE: Mac Birmingham, tel: 0121 446 3232 www.macarts.co.uk Described as a master of long form comedy with her naughty but nice delivery, this is a stand-up show that reflects on the flow of life with lessons learned, a bit of self-discovery and what it is to experience painful, yet funny, situations.

WHAT: Carmina Burana WHEN: 17 February WHERE: Symphony Hall, WHAT: Sleeping Beauty WHEN: 13 to 24 February WHERE: Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome, www.brb.org.uk One of the grandest ballets ever created, with a classical score by Tchaikovsky and original choreography by Marius Petipa. Enter the opulent world of Imperial Russian ballet, a dazzling spectacle that has delighted audiences for more than 100 years.

tel: 0121 780 3333 www.cbso.co.uk/whats-on Monks behaving badly! The medieval priests who wrote the words to Carmina Burana were definitely partial to the odd flagon of ale. There really is nothing sacred about Orff’s outrageous cantata, just terrific tunes and thoroughly reprehensible fun. Conducted by Michael Seal.

WHAT: Rebecca Ferguson WHEN: 13 February WHERE: Town Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk

WHAT: The Jungle Book WHEN: 23 February WHERE: Old Rep Theatre, tel: 0121 359 9444 www.oldreptheatre.co.uk Immersion Theatre bring their trademark energy to their wildest show yet, a brand new musical adaptation of this family favourite. Filled with catchy music, a laugh-out-loud script, audience interaction and the chance to meet the characters after the show.

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Having co-written her recordbreaking debut album Heaven, and going on to release a further three follow-ups, the runner-up of the seventh series of UK’s The X Factor, Rebecca has proven herself to be a recording artist with a passion for her craft that is second to none.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Valentine’s Heart & Soul Night with Harry Cambridge WHEN: 17 February WHERE: Nailcote Hall, WHAT: Crufts 2018

tel: 02476 466174

WHEN: 8 to 11 March

www.nailcotehall.co.uk

WHERE: Birmingham NEC,

Tribute to Luther Vandross from Stars in Their Eyes winner Harry Cambridge – including hits from Barry White, Lionel Richie and many more. Includes an after-show party with DJ Franco.

tel: 0844 338 0338 www.crufts.org.uk The biggest and best dog show in the world is back, where more than 22,000 dogs will compete to win the prestigious title of Best in Show.

WHAT: Twelfth Night

WHAT: Brief Encounter

WHEN: Now until 24 February

WHEN: 2 to 17 February

WHERE: Royal Shakespeare

WHERE: Birmingham Rep,

Theatre, tel: 01789 403493

tel: 0121 245 2024

www.rsc.org.uk

www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

A tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heart-breaking. Twins Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck and forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. Christopher Luscombe returns with one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies.

Noel Coward’s stunning production is remembered as one of the most haunting love stories ever told. This special show has been adapted, directed and brought to life on stage by Emma Rice.

WHAT: Paul Weller WHEN: 2 March WHERE: Genting Arena, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com Is it really more than 40 years since he released his first album with The Jam? Continuing his never-ending creative peak, Weller is touring in advance of the release of his eagerly-awaited thirteenth studio album, A Kind Revolution, later this year.

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IN THE CITY I always walk between the two venues. Google Maps

says it should take seven minutes. You can do it much quicker with the right music in your ears and a bounce in your step!

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m Richard Loftus and I recently joined Town Hall Symphony Hall (THSH) as director of sales and marketing. The two halls present an exciting and varied programme of around 800 concerts and events a year, with more than 500,000 visitors. Nearly 12,000 young people and 6,000 adults participate in the thriving education and community programme. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? During the snow, I was able to walk from my home in Harborne. I’m ashamed to say that for ease and a little longer in bed, I jump in the car and drive along the Hagley Road. HOW’S THE COMMUTE? I used to live in a quiet village in the Cotswolds, having commutes that varied from two hours to 50 minutes. Since taking up post at THSH and moving to the city, it’s 10 minutes.

LUNCHTIME? When I make time for lunch – rather than snacking at my desk – my preference would be Marmalade at Birmingham Rep.

POWERWALKING? I always walk between the two venues. Google Maps says it should take seven minutes. You can do it much quicker with the right music in your ears and a bounce in your step. Every three weeks our HR manager, Rachel, leads a 30-minute walk as part of THSH’s wellbeing initiative. WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY? Digbeth – I love the vintage shopping, colourful street art and, of course, I’ve got to name check Digbeth Dining Club. It’s the most Instagrammable quarter of the city.

AFTERWORK PINT? If I’m staying in the city for a THSH sales and marketing director, IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO concert from City of Birmingham Richard Loftus WORK IN? Symphony Orchestra or an For working in live music and entertainment, it’s international orchestra’s performance as part of the fantastic because there is so much on offer. One lunchtime Birmingham Classical Season, then it’s the Distillery. If for example, I ventured to Royal Birmingham I’m heading back home, it’s the Paper Duck. Conservatoire for a performance from Radio 3 new generation artists Höfele and Magdalena Müllerperth. I’ve HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? got tickets booked for performances at New Alexandra Culture and tourism is essential to the growth of Theatre and Glee Club, having enjoyed Christmas Birmingham. There are some international opportunities productions at Birmingham Hippodrome and the Rep. on the horizon, including nearby Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture win and, closer to home, hosting the 2022 COFFEE BREAK? Commonwealth Games. On the doorstep of Symphony Yorks Cafe at Ikon is perfect. White hot chocolate and Hall, there’s the £12million foyer development, opening home-made cakes – delicious!! the building onto a regenerated Centenary Square. I

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February issue 2018 (issue 65)  
February issue 2018 (issue 65)  
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