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January 2021

SINGING MEDICINE BRINGING JOY

BBC’S ELIZABETH GLINKA

SUPER SPORTSWEAR

JAZMIN SAWYERS

MIDLANDS AIR AMBULANCE

HELLO 2021 I EAT WELL

I GET FIT

I FEEL FAB

OUR GOLDEN GIRL LEAPING TO OLYMPIC GLORY

T H E H E A LT H I S S U E


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EDITOR’S VIEW

N

ever have we needed a new year like we need 2021. It’s just impossible to believe that the next 12 months will be as damaging, disruptive and deadly as 2020 was. Mind you, I don’t think I can ever remember welcoming in a new year with quite the same trepidation as I have this January 1st. Looking around and surveying what we face moving forward is daunting. Birmingham continues to be shackled with draconian lockdown restrictions which are absolutely killing businesses, particularly in the leisure and hospitality industries. All the signs are that the first quarter, at least, is going to be just as difficult, but the hope of vaccines coming through provides some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Birmingham needs to be rid of the shackles of Covid as soon as possible. Roll on the return of the good (or at least, better) times! During the pandemic, we’ve covered some amazing stories of incredible organisations determined to carry on providing really important services to the community. This month, I had the privilege of interviewing Rebecca Ledgard of Singing Medicine, a group from Ex Cathedra choir who bring the joy of music to sick children each week in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and other hospitals around the country. Because of the pandemic, Singing Medicine lost funding from one if its charitable foundation backers at short notice. They are trying to make up some of the shortfall by creating – with the help of Joanna Harrison, the animator of The Snowman film – a cuddly singing bear call Noah. Currently, they only have enough funding to carry on until April. So, here’s my new year request to you, our wonderful readers. Please, read our feature on page 14 and if you can, please buy your own Noah Bear.

s n h o J d i Dav

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

Cover image:

/bhamliving

FINALIST

Jazmin Sawyers

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

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

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

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

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INSIDE

10 14 20 30 34 44 04 birmingham living

Highlights

Jazmin Sawyers

Golden girl of British long jumping talks Tokyo 2021, training and sourdough…

Singing Medicine The inspiring group of singers bringing joy and hope to sick children in hospital

Food & Drink Head chef Greg Pryce of Hotel du Vin, plus news, reviews and 2021’s top wines

Health Facing up to Lockdown Face, plus all you need to commit to get fit

Style Whether you’re marathon training or just out for a jog, you need to dress the part

Homes We’re heading into the new year with a revamped bedroom. Come and join us…

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CONTENTS

Best of the Rest

52 54 58 61 64 66 january 2021

Motoring

Meet the new Audi that’s setting the gold standard for greener driving

Young, Gifted & Brummie Basketball ace Alasan Njie-Morgan on slam-dunking his American dream Mission Possible How Midlands Air Ambulance Charity landed the Business of the Year title

Business Latest news and views as commercial community faces challenging times

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

Up Close With Elizabeth Glinka, the BBC’s new Midlands political editor

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NEWS

BALLOON BONANZA

Midlands Air Festival will return to Ragley Hall, Warwickshire this summer. The event on 4 to 6 June will feature the largest display of character hot air balloons in Europe, with more than 40 of the colourful giants set to attend. A mighty B-17 bomber will headline an exciting programme of air displays, plus there will be radio-controlled aircraft, fireworks shows and more. Plans are at the ready to meet any ongoing Covid-19 health regulations. Visit midlandsairfestival.com for ticket details.

NEWS

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

ROOT CAUSE Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is getting set to perform a spring concert which aims to highlight the importance of trees in the city environment and culture. The concert, entitled T R E E, follows the group’s new partnership with tree planting charity, Birmingham Trees for Life. As part of the tie-up, BCMG will also offer a wide range of resources and creative music-making activities for young people related to the environment. Details at www.bcmg.org.uk/tree

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FILM’S EURO PRIZE A film, written and produced by Birminghambased Spark Media, which describes how the West Midlands will recover from the pandemic, has won a European award. The Comeback took the bronze prize at the European Lovie Awards which celebrate the best in digital arts, advertising, content and business. The film featured musician Jimmy Davies and was made in partnership with Culture Central and Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.

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NEWS

BIKE SCHEME SADDLES UP A new cycle hire scheme will hit the road in the West Midlands this spring, offering more people the chance to pedal around our towns and cities. Serco, which operates London’s Santander Cycles, has been appointed by Transport for West Midlands to offer the bikes for hire in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Walsall. The scheme is a success story for regional manufacturing, with the bikes made in Stratford-upon-Avon by Pashley Cycles.

ONE-MINUTE WONDERS Hundreds of 60-second films were released through one day to provide moments of positivity and hope. West Midlands Culture Response Unit’s virtual day, It Gets Lighter From Here,

RACKET IN!

showcased a collection of digital commissions from organisations across

Sshh… keep it to yourself, but Birmingham has some of the noisiest

the region in support of freelancers

neighbours in the UK. The city is among the top three places for people

and community members who have

making the most racket at home during the pandemic. That has led to a 240

been left without stable income due to

per cent increase in sales of sound insulation in the search for some peace

Covid-19. The event was curated to

and quiet, according to eFoam.co.uk, a custom foam insulation manufacturer

mark the Winter Solstice on 21

based in the West Midlands which has seen a huge increase in orders.

December.

ZANDRA’S WILD AT ART Fashion icon, Dame Zandra Rhodes, has been announced as the

creative ambassador for a public art installation to thank NHS staff and all key workers which will launch in Birmingham in July. The project by leading global public art producer Wild in Art will bring together 49 human form sculptures designed by different British artists and sponsored by businesses. The sculptures will be Picture by Scott Kershaw Photography

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auctioned in the autumn in aid of NHS Charities Together.

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NEWS

Picture by Carsten Windhorst

CUPPA CONCERTS City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is launching concerts for older people living in care. Cuppa Concerts: At Home is a series of filmed performances for older people to enjoy anywhere in the UK. Available throughout the year, the concerts cater for most musical tastes – with the first featuring a five-piece brass group of CBSO musicians. The orchestra provides care settings with access to online resources as well as a DVD of the concert, lyric sheets and activity ideas.

TOWER APPEAL A £3million fund-raising campaign is being launched to restore the historic ‘county church of Warwickshire’. Around £2million will pay for urgent repairs to the landmark tower of St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Warwick, which dates back to 1123. Campaign 2023 aims to secure the majority of the fundraising by 2023 to coincide with the 900th anniversary of the medieval church. Details or make a donation at www.stmaryscampaign2023. org.uk

BLESSING’S BIG BREAK

TOY RUN HEROES Children in hospital received extra presents from Santa, thanks to riders and volunteers at Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes. The charity, which transports urgent blood, tissue and medical supplies across the county’s

Local teenage singing sensation Blessing Chitapa is hitting the high notes after winning TV talent show, The Voice. Originally from

hospitals, raised the money through its Toy Run public appeal. Covid-19

Zimbabwe, the 18-year-old

restrictions meant that this year they weren’t allowed to deliver the toys in

moved to the West Midlands

person, leaving them at special hospital drop-off points. The Toy Run appeal

in 2009 and comes from a

has raised thousands of pounds for sick children over the past eight years.

family of gospel singers. Blessing was mentored on the show by Olly Murs and said: “Olly helped me to develop my own self belief system and I can’t wait to make people feel good with my music”. Blessing’s winning single Angels is available to download and stream via https://thevoice2020.lnk.to/ Blessing

TYRESE’S ONLINE HIT A disabled Birmingham teenager who hit the headlines in lockdown when more than 50,000 people joined his free online sign language lessons, made a special return to the ‘virtual classroom’ for the festive season. Fifteen-year-old Tyrese Dibba taught his students how to talk about the Christmas holidays in British Sign Language. Tyrese said: APPEAL: Vaughan Roberts, vicar of St Mary’s and team rector of Warwick, leading the Campaign 2023 project

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“Hopefully the festive lesson will have helped others to feel more confident talking to deaf people like me, so we can all feel more included.”

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NEWS

CHARITY LANDS AWARD DOUBLE

Life-saving Midlands Air Ambulance Charity was crowned Outstanding Charity of the Year at this year’s Asian Business Chamber of Commerce Awards, before going on to win the Overall ABCC Business of the Year title. MAAC was honoured for its exceptional vision and leadership as well as being a forward-thinking organisation that always has the future in mind. Both awards were presented to Emma Gray, MAAC’s fund-raising and marketing director, at a virtual ceremony. (See pages 58 and 59)

YOUNG DANCERS ON TRACK Hard work and dedication paid off for 22 aspiring young West Midlands dancers aged eight to 11 when they won places on prestigious training programmes at the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School. The youngsters took part in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Dance Track scheme, with two being offered coveted places on the Royal Ballet School’s Junior Associates programme and 14 on the Elmhurst Ballet School’s Young Dancers Programme.

GALLERY UNVEIL Fine art has come to Mell Square. Following a successful stint in Birmingham city centre, father and son Paul and Mark Horton have taken up residency in Mill Lane, Solihull. Paul Horton Fine Art Gallery showcases new original paintings, limited editions and sculptures. Paul, who has been painting and exhibiting art for nearly 45 years, said: “Mell Square is a fantastic destination in the heart of Solihull, so we are thrilled to call it our new home.”

BEAR NECESSITIES A Birmingham Hospice has received a £3,000 grant from the W Wing Yip and Brothers Foundation to help bereaved children keep memories of their loved ones alive. The money will allow the children’s team at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice to buy vital bereavement resources for youngsters, including recordable teddy bears that allow a child to hear their loved one’s voice again and hand casts so that a child can hold hands with their loved one after they have died.

GETTING THE BIRD A display of fabric birds made by local people of all ages has been created to help John Taylor Hospice celebrate its 110th anniversary. The Fleeting Moments exhibition was created by Birmingham artists Jane Thakoordin and Margaret Murray for the windows of the charity’s shops in Erdington and Castle Bromwich. The project was launched last spring with John Taylor sharing templates and a ‘how to’ film to encourage

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

people to sew their own birds during lockdown.

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COVER STORY

GOLDEN

GIRL uring the first lockdown with uncertainty about the Tokyo Olympics growing, athletes across the globe got their heads down and trained as though it was on. Jazmin Sawyers was no different. She says: “We kind of knew what would happen but couldn’t stop the intensity of training just in case.” When confirmation of the postponement came, initial disappointment was replaced with a steely focus. Jazmin explains: “I was forced to re-evaluate and decided actually, it meant I had a whole extra year to prepare – a whole year to get better and work on weaknesses. I set myself specific goals linked to the process, how to approach the first round among other things.” Working with a sports psychologist has helped too. Jazmin says: “Given as athletes we’re all around the same physical level, it’s mental attitude that can make the difference.” Elite sport opened up after 14 weeks of lockdown but Jazmin’s coach was in America – ordinarily she’d be training in Florida with 20 other athletes, who she misses. Travel restrictions meant Jazmin was home alone in blighty and when we spoke she hadn’t seen her coach since February 2020. She says: “I take video footage and send it to him. Obviously, I’d love to see him and my training buddies, but it is working. I have been working with a UK-based coach on technical stuff too which has been good.”

D

IN THE GRIP OF LOCKDOWN, WHILE MOST OF US WERE MAKING BANANA BREAD, LONG JUMPER JAZMIN SAWYERS WAS WINNING THE BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP. NO BIGGIE. WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE PLUCKY JUMPER TO TALK TOKYO, TRAINING AND SOURDOUGH…

BAD BANANA Living in Loughborough close to the British Athletics base means Stoke-born Jazmin has had easy access to facilities and physios which helps. A successful British Championships in September where Jazmin came away with gold medal with a jump of 6.69 metres would suggest it’s going well!

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COVER STORY

CREATE A HABIT We asked Jazmin what advice she would give a nonathlete who wants to be fitter and thankfully it’s not rocket science. She says: “Most people think you have to go running or do some sort of intense training when really you just need to find something you genuinely enjoy. Just move. A 20-minute walk three times a week is better than killing yourself running flat out. That just squashes the enjoyment. We’re under-exercised as a nation. Movement isn’t a punishment, it’s a good thing. Just find something you love and form that habit.”

Aside from intense training and competing, Jazmin’s found time to make the iconic banana bread all be it a ‘bad’ one. She’s had a crack at sourdough like the rest of us, learned how to sew and spent time cooking virtually. Of her lockdown activities Jazmin says: “Sourdough made me realise I’m not ready for a dog or kids. I can’t even nurture a sourdough starter! I learned sewing from YouTube and TikTok and accidentally made a dress and I did lots of virtual cooking with my nutritionist and a bunch of athletes.” The big focus now is getting to the Olympics scheduled for later this year. The plan is to go back to America to train if travel restrictions allow. Jazmin trains hard four days a week which involves intense track and weights, she has two active recovery days including activities like cycling and yoga and one rest day on a Sunday. A psychologist makes sure she turns up for training in the right frame of mind to maximise sessions as well as tackling what to focus on when things are tough. It’s a job, but one that Jazmin worked toward for a long time. THE VOICE She says: “For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed sport. I loved to win and hated losing. As soon as I realised sport could be a job, I wanted it to be my job.” Aware that it won’t be her job forever, Jazmin embraces all the opportunities that come her way off the track too. Music is a big part of her life – you might remember her audition on The Voice with a nervous Dina Asher Smith supporting from the wings. She also recorded the official anthem of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. TV work is something Jazmin relishes too. She says: “I love broadcasting whether it’s panel shows, red-carpet hosting or presenting. My strategy is to say yes to opportunities. I’m not going to be competing forever.” The Commonwealth Games 2022 in Brum is something Jazmin is super excited for. “Glasgow felt like a home games, but in the Commonwealth Games we compete as the four home nations, so it wasn’t strictly. I am so excited about Birmingham. Apart from the fact that there’s no better crowd than British crowd, it will be great for the city and so many people that don’t normally get to come and cheer on in person will be able to. It will be really special.” I

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FEATURE

CUDDLE CHUMS: Noah with professional singer and Singing Medicine team member Lizzie Drury

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FEATURE

SING-ALONG WITH NOAH

IN A TRULY UPLIFTING STORY, DAVID JOHNS DISCOVERS HOW NOAH BEAR AND AN AMAZING GROUP OF SINGERS, CALLED SINGING MEDICINE, ARE BRINGING JOY AND HOPE TO HUNDREDS OF SICK CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES IN BIRMINGHAM AND AROUND THE COUNTRY eet Noah Bear. He may be small, but he’s very special. He was conceived by Singing Medicine, an inspiring local group of professional and amateur singers who visit children in hospital, and then imagined and created by Joanna Harrison, the brilliant animator behind The Snowman. As well as being great to cuddle, Noah also plays the choir’s signature song, Music Inside, when his jacket is pressed, and the hope is that every sick child in Birmingham Children’s Hospital should have their own Noah – providing comfort and encouraging them to sing and play. Singing Medicine has visited the hospital weekly for 16 years to sing with children and help combat feelings of isolation, as well as supporting improvement to patients’ mental health and wellbeing. The current pandemic has placed restrictions on hospital visits and the team have had to implement a new digital approach to keep their much-needed support in place. Interactive videos have allowed the team to keep engaging with the children as well as increasing the reach of their work beyond the West Midlands. Across the country children can sing and play with Noah Bear engaging in his series of short films and lullabies.

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Rebecca Ledgard heads Singing Medicine and is director of education for Ex Cathedra, the Birmingham-based leading British choir and music ensemble. “There are 21 singers in the Singing Medicine team and in normal times eight at any one time would go in pairs from ward to ward at the children’s hospital, singing to the children in every ward,” explained Rebecca. LIFTING SPIRITS “Depending on how they are, they interact with us and will tell us what they’d like us to sing and will join in as it becomes not just about the music but also playing and lifting their spirits. Parents appreciate it too and will get involved. We have had instances where we have grown so close to children that in the most serious and saddest cases we have been asked to sing so that our music is the last thing they hear before life support is switched off. It becomes very emotional for everyone but we know that in that ultimate moment we are able to offer help and solace through music.” Singing Medicine was formed from Ex Cathedra’s Singing Playgrounds project for primary schools. “One of Ex Cathedra’s choir, Sally Spencer, who was involved in Singing Playgrounds was, and still is, a nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital,” said

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FEATURE

LEADING VOICE: Rebecca Ledgard heads Singing Medicine, the choir bringing joy to hundreds of children in hospital

Rebecca. “She said, ‘The children I work with need this too!’. We began to explore how we could include the children in the hospital in the Symphony Hall Singing Playgrounds workshops and soon decided actually we should create a special project where we took the singing play to them in their hospital beds.” BEHIND THE SCENES Prior to the pandemic, each child session in the hospital’s 20-plus wards would last around 20 minutes. Rebecca explained that the team does a lot of research and behind the scenes work to find out what each child likes and what parents and nurses believe is appropriate for them in their situation. “We think singing and singing-play is really important. Sally

FACTFILE I Singing Medicine is a project delivered by Ex Cathedra which started in 2004. I Since it began, the team has delivered more than 40,000 Singing Medicine sessions at bedsides to sick children in hospitals. I It has won an NHS Health and Social Care Award and most recently an award from the Royal Society for Public Health for outstanding contribution to the field of arts and health. I As well as its home hospital, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the project has been delivered at Great Ormond Street, John Radcliffe, Warwick and Heartlands hospitals, as well as travelling to Auckland and Singapore. I Ex Cathedra is based in Birmingham and is a leading UK choir. Founded by artistic director Jeffrey Skidmore OBE, it is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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describes singing in Ex Cathedra choir as her own singing medicine. We are all really passionate that all children should play and develop through singing and have the chance to enjoy singing,” said Rebecca. Health experts agree that singing reduces cortisol (stress) and feel-good hormones are released. It’s the body’s natural pain killer and all areas of the brain are stimulated. The deeper breathing required in singing helps healing and fights infection. “When we started Singing Medicine we just wanted not to leave out children in hospital from our education and participation work, but we soon realised how enormously beneficial it was for them for being distracted, soothed and calmed, or stimulated and having fun, and being able to use their imaginations and make decisions through the singing games we create,” said Rebecca. “Singing to the children not only brings joy to them, but also to us. There’s a real buzz in the team when we go to the hospital. It’s that feeling that we are doing something that really means something. “One of the last sessions before lockdown was a little boy sat in his leather jacket on his bed. He was very sick. He was from Syria and neither of us spoke each other’s language, although I attempted thank you at the end. We played a singing game and played some percussion and we laughed together too. He grinned and waved when we left. This is just one of many special moments which mean so much.” CREATING A BEAR The idea of creating Noah Bear came after one of Singing Medicine’s charitable funders pulled out at a week’s notice as a result of the economic squeeze caused by Covid-19. Rebecca said: “For years we dreamed of having a singing teddy to leave with the children when we left them but this seemed an impossibility. During lockdown Joanna Harrison imagined and drew us a bear. Vada Recording Studios helped us with the recording to put inside and Louis Kennedy offered to make the singing bear in support of Singing Medicine. Noah Bear has been a real boost to us – we have also felt the impact of these difficult times – and he has inspired our creativity. He now even has his own YouTube playlist of singing games for little children.” And Rebecca added: “You know what would be my dream? For someone to buy 500 Noah Bears to gift to every child in the hospital. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!”

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FEATURE

BUY YOUR OWN BEAR I The sale of every Noah Bear will help Singing Medicine continue to bring musical joy to children in hospital. Each bear costs £17.99 and can be bought at www.bekindsingwithnoah.com I You can also make a donation to the project at https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/9566#!/DonationDetails I Or text: SING, followed by the amount you wish to donate (e.g. SING5 to donate £5) to 70470

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FOOD & DRINK

GREG PRYCE The head chef at Hotel du Vin Birmingham recalls his childhood favourite food – turkey

drumsticks. He’s pleased to report that his tastes have developed a fair bit since then… Tell us about your cooking If I had to describe my style in just one word, it would be ‘classical’. I enjoy working with traditional tastes, taking flavours that are known and loved, but creating brand new dishes with them. The key here is to use only the finest quality produce and ingredients. At Hotel du Vin, we change our menus to only use seasonal ingredients that are in their prime at the time and we do our best to source them locally so they can keep their freshness. How did you become a chef? From a young age, I was always interested in the kitchen and captivated by the magic of cooking. I’d try and experiment with new styles, interesting flavours and exotic dishes. Finding that school wasn’t really for me, I decided to jump straight into pursuing a career at 16 and I joined a modern apprenticeship scheme. I trained at Birmingham College of Food one day a week and worked at St John’s Hotel in Solihull for the other four days, learning on the job and trying my hand at as many different dishes as possible. From there, I went to Marriott Hotel before joining Hotel du Vin 15 years ago as chef de partie and working my way up to head chef. What do you eat when at home? I don’t really have a ‘go-to’ dish at home but one of my all-time favourites is my homemade lasagne! It’s the perfect comfort food that’s both hearty and delicious. Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? I think Pierre Koffmann is the best chef in the world. He was one of a handful of chefs in the UK to have been awarded the coveted three Michelin stars at his restaurant La Tante Claire in London. He has also trained some of our greatest chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Tom Kitchin. Closer to home, there’s no question about it – Glynn Purnell is the best in Brum.

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CHEF’S CORNER

Find the recipe to make Greg’s delicious Crispy Gressingham Duck Salad, Radish, Carrot, Watercress, Soy Sesame & Stratford Honey Dressing at brumliving.co.uk

Is the customer always right? Unfortunately not… Share a cooking tip Always try to use fresh ingredients that are local to you. All of the produce we use at Hotel du Vin has been produced less than an hour’s drive away. What was your favourite food as a kid? I may have been captivated by cooking from a young age, but I do always remember being a big fan of Bernard Matthews turkey drumsticks as a kid! Food heaven and food hell? I have a sweet tooth and chocolate is my food heaven. When it comes to hell, I have never liked beetroot. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? As someone who’s been on the food scene for a long time, I’m no longer easily surprised by unusual dishes. One thing I have tried is an ostrich burger. Needless to say, it’s not going to making an appearance on the bistro’s menu anytime soon… If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? I have always had an interest in music and would quite like to think that maybe I’d be a DJ or even a music producer. I Hotel du Vin Birmingham, 25 Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2NR. Tel: 0121 794 3005 hotelduvin.com

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FOOD & DRINK

NIBBLES and SHORTS

BARS AND RESTAURANTS HAVE BEEN AMONG THE HARDEST HIT BY THE PANDEMIC. DESPERATE TO MOVE OUT OF THE CITY’S STRICT LOCKDOWN, OUR FOOD AND DRINK BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN AN INSPIRATION WITH AMAZING STORIES AND CREATIVE RESPONSES TO THE MOST CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT IN LIVING MEMORY

GLYNN BOXES CLEVER

BEST WEDDING CATERER

Yummy Brummie, Glynn Purnell, is the

recognition after being named West Midlands best wedding

latest top local chef to meet the challenges thrown up by the pandemic by offering a

A catering company is in the running for national

caterer for the second year in a row. Caviar & Chips took the accolade at the Wedding Industry Awards which

more accessible foodie experience. The

featured more than 1,000 wedding industry suppliers from

Saturday Kitchen star has launched

across the country. Caviar & Chips Catering – founded by

Purnell’s at Home take-away meal

Jonathan Carter-Morris and Marc Hornby in 2017 – has a

boxes, starting from £30 per person.

production kitchen in Sutton Coldfield and delivers to weddings and events across the UK.

COCKTAIL COLLECTION Dishoom has launched Masala Dabba, the first-ever bottled cocktail collection from the Permit Room. Available to order for at-home enjoyment, Masala Dabba has been created as the perfect companion to the Dishoom cookery book, containing a collection of nine of Chef Naved’s go-to spices and signature blends, presented in a reusable dabba (a silver metal storage tin for spices, found in all Indian kitchens).

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KITCHEN GIN’S A REAL TONIC Harborne Kitchen has developed its own Fig Leaf Gin as part of a partnership with Staffordshire Distillery. The gin is made from foraged fig leaves vapour-distilled with the finest botanicals and blended with mineral water from Cairngorms National Park. Chef-owner, Jamie Desogus, said: “We’re thrilled with the result, a really unique combination of flavours with a subtle creaminess from the hint of coconut and green walnut from the fig leaves.” Harborne Kitchen’s Fig Leaf Gin retails at £44 and has an ABV of 44 per cent.

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FOOD & DRINK

AFTERNOON TEA TO YOUR DOOR A cracking afternoon tea with a twist! Sound good? Specialist caterers Indian Snob is offering a variety of Indian teas accompanied by homemade hot, savoury and sweet treats – delivered direct to your front door for an original, safe and delicious experience. Meat, vegetarian and vegan eaters are catered for.

NASHVILLE NIBBLES Hot Chix, a pop-up concept offering Nashville style hot chicken, has opened at the Victoria in John Bright Street. Dishes include Nashville Style Hot Fried Chicken on the Bone, Korean Buffalo Sando, Dirty 1000 Island Faux Chicken of Dreams and Hot Honey & Garlic Sour Cream Sando. Orders for pick-up or delivery are via Uber Eats.

TAKE A BUTCHERS! The Butchers Social restaurant has launched an at-home service. Live cookery classes with awardwinning chef proprietor Mike Bullard are on offer, as well as preprepared meals featuring some of the restaurant’s best-loved dishes, wine, gifts… and more. Options also include three-course menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Butchers

Order from indiansnob.com

Social ‘Cook A Long Live’ gives

MICHELIN STAR KEBABS

you the chance to learn new skills from Mike himself from the comfort of your own home.

A Michelin-starred restaurant offered ‘posh’ kebab takeaways after being forced to close through Covid-19 restrictions. Carters of

hospitality industry has suffered badly from the impact of Covid.

MASTERCHEF OPENING

But it’s good to see many of us are using this opportunity to be

MasterChef: The Professionals

creative and bring some positive energy to the situation. That’s

2019 winner, Stu Deeley, is to

what I’m trying to do.”

open a new, as yet unnamed,

Moseley launched the service for Friday nights with customers able to pre-order the £12 meals. Chef/owner Brad Carter said: “The

restaurant in Edgbaston after months of delays due to the

BURHAN’S PRIDE OF THE PARK In a year of challenges for the hospitality industry, a local theme park celebrated as one of its chefs competed in TV’s MasterChef: The Professionals. Burhan Ahmed, chef de partie at Drayton Manor Hotel, was among 32 chefs who took part in the show. Burhan, who has been chef de partie at the hotel for more than three years, said: “It’s an honour to have been recognised by such a prestigious show. I can’t thank the Drayton Manor team enough for their support.”

pandemic. The former chef at the Wilderness is launching at Chad Square shopping precinct, opposite the White Swan in Harborne Road. He said: “It has been a very frustrating time, but it’s been a struggle for everyone in hospitality. I will be very happy to finally be able to open.”

MEDICINE AT THE MAILBOX Midlands bakery and cafe, Medicine, has opened up at the Mailbox – the company’s third location following its Codsall and New Street offerings. Occupying 3,700 sq ft on Level 2, the Medicine team has also taken charge of the deli in the Urban Room. Medicine offers everything from brunch options to small plates, freshly baked artisan breads and confections. Company founder, Francesca Jones, said: “We feel very lucky to be in a position to keep growing our business during these challenging times.”

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SEASON’S EATINGS

TURN OVER A NEW LEAF Get 2021 off to a healthy start with this delicious watercress, avocado and lime smoothie recipe e’re starting the new year as we mean to go on – healthy! And this tasty smoothie, which comes courtesy of the Watercress Company, is a perfect choice. Watercress is one of the healthiest veg you can eat. It contains more than 50 vital vitamins and minerals – gram for gram there’s more Vitamin C in watercress than in an orange, more calcium than milk, more folate than a banana and more Vitamin E than broccoli. Watercress also boasts high levels of Vitamin A, fibre, iron, protein and a full complement of essential amino acids. So, now you know!

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WATERCRESS, AVOCADO & LIME SMOOTHIE Ingredients (Serves 1)

I 1 small avocado, peeled and seed removed I 50g diced pineapple, fresh or frozen I 33g watercress

I 23g baby spinach

I 1 whole lime, peeled

I small handful mint leaves

I 250ml chilled coconut water

Method Add all ingredients into a blender or smoothie maker and blend thoroughly. Add more coconut water to achieve desired consistency if necessary, then either serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to three days.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

DINE AT HOME WITH TOM SHEPHERD Visit: www.cheftomshepherd.co.uk or www.saucesupperclub.co.uk Email: enquiries@cheftomshepherd.co.uk bviously, hospitality has taken an absolute battering during the pandemic and many restaurants have adapted in order to survive by producing excellent restaurant standard ‘At Home’ boxes. We’ve tried to support as many as we can since spring and this month it’s former head chef of Adam’s, Tom Shepherd. Although Tom’s planning to open his own restaurant it’s been delayed due to Covid-19, so in the meantime he’s producing At Home boxes partnered with Sauce Supper Club which has been so successful it will continue into the new year. One thing we’ve noticed with all the boxes we’ve tried is that concise instructions matter and these were the clearest we’ve had. The starter – confit turkey terrine pressed with pistachios and sage stuffing – literally involved taking it out of the fridge 45 minutes before serving and plating up with all the accompaniments. Rich, tender and packed with Christmas flavours, the terrine was excellent, cranberry ketchup was punchy and a salad of green beans and crunchy sprouts with a truffle vinaigrette provided a bit of bite and added freshness. Mini loaves warmed through in the oven

O

january 2021

were the perfect wing man to the terrine, although we’ll admit we swapped the whipped Marmite butter provided for good old Lurpak. Heathens. Up next was slow cooked rib of beef, smoked potato puree, swede fondant, hispi cabbage with chestnut butter and honey glazed carrot. There was a bit more faffing with this, but not much at all. A quick searing for the beef and root veggies in a pan plus a 10-minute blast in the oven with the cabbage. Sauce on the hob and potato puree in the microwave and voila. The beef was tender and falling apart, the veggies were tip-top and the sauce was superb. If we’re being picky, the smoked potato puree was so intensely smoky it was a bit much for our taste, but that’s personal. Sticky toffee pudding was an absolute dream. Served with rum soaked raisins, butterscotch sauce and clotted cream ice cream it was seriously melt in the mouth moreish. No one’s pretending it’s the same as going out, but it is the very next best thing. Apart from the food being superb, it encourages you to wheel out the best china, splash out on a beautiful bottle of wine (or two) and make an effort. I

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

THE BARBICIDE OK, so we’re getting healthier this monthÁ but, come on, we all need a little naughty treat too

anuary might be the month where we get properly healthy but we all need a little treat – and this refreshing little number from the guys at Stag Digbeth is well worth being a little naughty. Apparently, it’s one of their most popular cocktails due to its reference to the liquid used in barbershops for hygiene and sanitisation. And if it makes you feel better, there is some cranberry juice in there too which is jolly good for you! As always, please enjoy responsibly. I

J

INGREDIENTS:

I 30ml Tiki Fire vanilla and lime rum I 12.5ml lime juice

I 2 dashes orange bitters I 30ml cranberry juice I 12.5ml vanilla syrup I 25ml Blue Curacao

METHOD: Shake all the ingredients together and pour over ice in a tall sling glass, finished with a lime wedge.

Stag Digbeth Limited, Courtyard Unit 2, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA. www.stagdigbeth.com

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FOOD & DRINK

WINES TO WATCH IN

2021

RESIDENT WINE EXPERT ROB PRICE LOOKS INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL TO PREDICT THE NEW YEAR NEWCOMERS THAT WILL HAVE YOUR TASTEBUDS TINGLING

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ell, am I glad to see the back of 2020, as I’m sure are most of you. I’m hoping we’re heading to smoother waters and back to some kind of more normal where we can enjoy each other’s company, and plenty of lovely wines of course, in social settings once again. So, what wines should we be seeking out in this brave new world of ours? In the name of research, I venture on as many wine trips as possible – with an ongoing mission to explore strange new vineyards and seek out new grapes and new wines. To boldly go where no man has gone before. One such trip was to Hungary, where after travelling most of the day down through the great plain, following the river Danube, we arrived in the marvellous wine region of Villány. It’s hilly here and you’ll find vineyards making some of Hungary’s best red wines.

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STAR BILLING One of the grapes grown is Cabernet Franc. And arguably the finest Cabernet Franc wines you can find. They are rich, and complex, but with an underlying fragrance and earthiness. They are a delight to drink. There are two outstanding producers Malatinszky’s and Bock, each making superb wines from Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc generally plays second fiddle to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, no more than a support act, and while it does get star billing in a couple of Loire Valley regions Chinon and Bourgueil, it’s not seen as a main contender to achieve a golden globe. So, it’s a grape that, until now, has not had much recognition on the world stage, but that is starting to change. And I predict 2021 will be the breakthrough year for this lovely grape. Go seek them out… WINNING LABELS On my last trip to Champagne, as well as visiting the main Champagne houses, I found some time for smaller producers, and one that impressed me was Nicolas Maillart. They make what’s known as

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4

ROB’S

FOOD & DRINK

TO TRY

Dv Catena Historico, Cabernet Franc from Mendoza Argentina – Quite a big wine for Cabernet Franc, but still retaining the lovely freshness and perfume I find so attractive. Tesco sells for £12. Les Nivieres Cabernet Franc from Saumur in the Loire Valley – A lighter Cabernet Franc. Fresh red fruits with an easy-going nature. Waitrose sells for £10. Champagne Jeanaux-Robin Talus-Saint-Prix Brut NV – A grower Champagne, at the southern edge of Cote des Blanc. Lovely aromas with flavours of plum, toast and lemon curd. The Wine Society sells for £28. Krug Grand Cuvee NV – Not a grower Champagne but having tasted it recently for my 25th wedding anniversary, wow! I had forgotten just how majestic this Champagne is. Frazier’s Wine Merchants sells for £150 – believe me, it is worth every penny.

‘Grower Champagnes’ – made from grapes grown, harvested and produced by the owners of the vineyard. You can tell by looking very closely on the label, and finding two letters RM, Récoltant Manipulant. Champagnes from the large houses will have letters NM, Negociant-Manipulants, and Champagnes made by cooperatives CM, Coopérative-Manipulant. These RM grower Champagnes are worth searching for as they make very interesting and highquality Champagne. They are the small guys taking the fight to the big boys, so worth supporting. Nicholas Maillart’s Extra Brut is an excellent example. I Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company that offers fun informal wine tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses, in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, and Warwick. For more information, contact Rob Price on 0121 270 7359, or visit www.birminghamwineschool.com

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HEALTH

LOCKDOWN FACE-SAVERS

THE PANDEMIC AND THE BOOM IN THE LIKES OF ZOOM HAS TURNED ALL OF US INTO COMPUTER ‘SCREEN STARS’ WITH LESS THAN FLATTERING RESULTS! TIME TO PUT ON A NEW FACE?

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HEALTH

et’s face it, most of us don’t like what we see when we look closely at ourselves in the mirror. Those lines, those wrinkles, those skin imperfections! But for the most part, we accept who and what we are, and move on with our lives. The likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Facetime are changing all that. The need for video work meetings and conferencing on laptops at home during the pandemic has created a whole new phenomenon – Lockdown Face. People have spent more time looking at their own faces on computer screens for virtual briefings and social and family catch-ups. And, according to new research, rather than treating themselves to a new gym membership or personal trainer and exercise classes, they are opting for subtle, non-invasive beauty ‘tweaks’. Leading skin and hair specialists, Birminghambased Este Medical, have come up with their top 10 ways to feel fresh in 2021 with effective, noninvasive treatments:

L

1. HydraFacial Treatment Dull, dry, pigmented skin? Whether one, or all of these concerns are relevant to you, the hydrafacial can help. Using cutting edge technology, the it will cleanse and exfoliate your skin to banish impurities once and for all. 2. Acne Scarring Treatment Adult acne not only damages your skin, but can also damage your confidence. To turn this around, go for a treatment that is tailored to your specific skin needs. 3. Harmony ClearLift Designed to rejuvenate the skin from within, this simple treatment uses light to penetrate the skin’s dermis and resurface your skin, leaving you with a brighter, plumper appearance. 4. Global Eyecon The under eyes often take the brunt of your stress, and with 2020 such a difficult and challenging year, Global Eyecon is the non-surgical procedure that targets wrinkles, skin sagging and pigmentation in four simple stages, from a periocular peel to a hydrogel mask.

january 2021

5. Carbon Laser Peel This pain-free treatment exfoliates the skin, before cleansing and tightening the pores, leaving a brighter, more radiant complexion. 6. Laser Hair Removal Shaving, waxing and plucking is a tiresome ritual, so why not treat yourself to laser hair removal? Unwanted body hair can damage your confidence, as well as your bank account. 7. HiFu Body Contouring and Skin Tightening Using the most advanced technology in the industry, the ULTRAFORMER III works to tighten your skin and contour your body, leaving you with curves and confidence to match. 8. Chemical Peel Whether your skin concern is on your face, neck, décolletage or hands, a customised chemical peel treatment will remove damaged skin and stimulate the production of fresh skin cells. 9. Microneedling Scars, pigmentation and stretch marks are a natural part of life. Microneedling treatment is designed to help reduce the appearance of many skin conditions by encouraging your skin to produce more collagen and elastin. 10. Skin Assessment Not happy with your appearance but not sure why? The experts at Este Medical offer specialist skin assessments to identify your skin needs and provide the best remedies. I

Este Medical Group, 9 Portland Road, Birmingham, B16 9HN. Tel: 0121 572 7474, estemedicalgroup.uk

A good lifestyle will help you look your best. So, don’t forget to follow some of the positive steps you can take yourself – like getting enough sleep, exercising, fresh air and eating a wellbalanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

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HEALTH

COMMIT TO FIT ONE IN THREE OF US SAYS WE AIM TO START FIGHTING THE FLAB AND GET HEALTHIER IN 2021. BUT CAN WE KEEP IT GOING? ew Year resolutions are made to be broken – but sometimes it really does pay to work hard to stick with the promises you made yourself on 1 January. None more so than when it comes to improving your health.

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T-ROTATIONS: While in the press-up position reach under your body as far as you can then up to the sky looking at the hand at the top. This warms up the shoulder, engages the core and stretches the chest. Do 40 (20 per arm).

After that initial burst of enthusiasm starts to wane, you’ll need mental toughness and a determination to achieve the goals you set yourself. Often the problem is that we make exercising too complicated and time-consuming – and therefore quickly demotivating. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to improve your fitness in a fun and fuss-free way which doesn’t entail hours of sweat and toil at the local gym. (If you’re into the gym that’s great, by the way.) We’ve put together a quick work-out to kick start your day whether at home or in the gym. You’ll get rid of some of those excess calories at the same time too. Here’s some basic exercises to wake up the mind and body as soon as you get out of bed…

SPRINTERS: Staying in the press-up position, bring one knee to the opposite elbow then change, building up the pace to a ‘sprint’, twisting at your hips and doing your best to touch each elbow. Go for 30 (both knees equals one rep).

WARM UP: Don’t forget to warm up. Make sure to get your heart rate pumping and your muscles warm or you’re just asking for injury. A few minutes of gentle stretching will make a world of difference. JUMPING JACKS: A great way to ease yourself in gently, taking your body from asleep to awake. Make sure you clap at the top and slap your thighs at the bottom to ensure a full range of motion. Try and do 50.

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PRESS-UPS: Keep your core engaged the whole time, make sure your hands are not in front of the shoulders. Aim for full range of motion, your chest touching the floor and arms fully extended at the top. See if you can do 20. BURPEES: Bring your knees to your elbows and bum to your heels before driving up to the sky. Straightening your body in the air, as soon as your feet touch the ground, allow gravity to pull your bum back to your heels then shoot your feet back out engaging your core while landing in a strong pressup position. Go for 10. KEEP IT GOING: It’s important to complete all exercises in quick succession to start your day right. If you do this programme three times a week for four weeks you will start to feel and see the real benefits. Try timing how long it takes to complete so you can measure your progress.

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HEALTH

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ing livSTYLE

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TIME OUT WHEN A HIKE AROUND THE LICKEY HILLS WITH A MATE AND A HIP FLASK IS

THE NEW OUT-OUT, WE THINK WE MIGHT NEED TO RETHINK OUR WARDROBE e’re not into the whole New Year, New You mantra – the existing you will do very nicely thank you – but if lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that moving more and getting fresh air is essential for our physical and mental well-being. With that in mind, we’re giving our active wear an overhaul. Whether you’re marathon training or getting out for a regular walk, decent kit will make it all a bit more appealing. The number one priority is a sports bra that fits like a dream. We’ve included a few here but try before you buy and be as picky with fit and comfort as you would be with a normal bra.

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GOOD FIT

Thinsulate gloves £12.99, M&Co

COUNTRY ESSENTIALS

Hunter x National Trust £88, Hunter

TOUGH STUFF

Women’s Zion GTX £130, Merrell

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STYLE

HELLO YELLOW

Arc’teryx Beta SL hooded shell jacket £340, Selfridges

HEADS UP

Wool head band £6.99, TK Maxx

WRAP UP

Veloca Vixen jacket £225, Columbia Sportswear

WALK ON

Gizelle fur trim coat £250, Monsoon

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STYLE

FIRST STRIKE

Strike legging £85, Every Second Counts

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Reebok x Victoria Beckham adjustable stretch jersey bra £79, Selfridges

FEEL GOOD

Clothing from Miss Selfridge

A decent waterproof lightweight jacket is also important. Check out the Vixen jacket at Columbia and examples from Arc’teryx at Selfridges at the top end, while Matalan has some cracking options on the high street – just confirm whether they’re waterproof or showerproof before you buy. If you’re exercising, outside thin layers are better than one big bulky jumper. Apart from anything else you can peel them off as you warm up. Crop tops, thin roll necks, light sweatshirts and a thin wind proof jacket will see you right. Obviously, footwear is important too and depending on the type of exercise you’re into, it might be worth getting your gait tested and a recommendation from the experts. It’ll be the most expensive part of your kit, but worth it. Beyond the practical stuff, choose kit that makes you smile. Colour, print – whatever floats your boat and most crucially enjoy it. Don’t get sucked into the pressure to get fit quick or lose weight this month. It’s not a punishment, it’s self-care. Moving makes you feel good as does binge watching The Queen’s Gambit while feasting on pizza. They’re not mutually exclusive, so give yourself a break. I

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CAP SLEEVE

BACK TO BLACK

The Upside logo print muscle top £70, Selfridges

Off White black leggings £360, Harvey Nichols

LOUNGE LOVER

Bliss cashmere zip hoodie £160 and cuffed jogger £140, Figleaves

SUPER SUPPORT

Shock Absorber run sports bra £46, Figleaves

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STYLE

FRIEND ZONE

Clothing from Every Second Counts

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STYLE

LIGHT WEIGHT

Athletic propulsion labs sneakers £125, Harvey Nichols

BOLD PRINT

IN THE DRINK

Souluxe snake print crop top £10, Matalan

GOING GREEN

Icon Milan ladder swimsuit £55, Figleaves

Girlfriend Collective leggings £60 and top £35, Harvey Nichols

PRINTS CHARMING

Energy ditsy floral print legging £32, Pour Moi

HIGH RISE

Calvin Klein performance cool high rise stretch legging £65, Selfridges

TOP BUY

Adidas x Stella McCartney sneakers £200, Harvey Nichols

CAMO COOL

Koral Camouflage print high shine leggings £110, Selfridges

MADE FOR WALKING

Wayfinder outdry shoe £110, Columbia Sportswear

TOP OF THE CROPS

Paco Rabanne top £110, Harvey Nichols

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STYLE

TAKE A BREAK

Clothing from Miss Selfridge

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BEAUTY

CLEAR CONSCIOUS Happy new year you lovely lot. We’ve two new year’s resolutions – number one to be kinder to ourselves and number two be kinder to the planet. We’ve had a mooch around the clean beauty genre to find some products to slot into our regime that achieve both.

1. GENTLE PAMPER PACK £38, PHB ETHICAL BEAUTY PHBETHICALBEAUTY.CO.UK We interviewed PHB founder and lovely Brummie, Rose a few years ago and thoroughly recommend the vegan brand in terms of effectiveness and sustainability. This pack is a great introduction including a coffee scrub and mask and 2-in-1 face and eye serum suitable for sensitive skin.

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2. HARVEST SKINCARE HOLISTIC BALM £6, HARVEST SKINCARE HARVESTSKINCARE.CO Birmingham’s very own oasis of ethical skincare is the ultimate in feel good vibes. This balm does everything – beeswax keeps skin super soft while safflower reduces inflammation and cocoa creates a protective barrier. Compact enough to live in your handbag. If you’re local have a look at the treatment rooms too for a bit of new year R & R. 3. MIDNIGHT RECOVERY CONCENTRATE £40, KIEHL’S, GRAND CENTRAL While Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil is one of our all time faves for waking up looking fresh, we enjoyed every single product in the advent calendar last month – even the men’s scrub bar was a winner. The brand is doing its bit for sustainability providing a recycling scheme which means you can dispose of any plastic packaging from any skincare brand to a Kiehl’s store. Check the website for your local recycling hub. 4. TRUTHPASTE ORIGINAL PEPPERMINT AND WINTERGREEN £8.99, TRUTHPASTE.CO.UK One-hundred per cent cruelty free and generating zero waste this is a bit of a hero and packs a peppermint punch that leaves your mouth zingy. Naturally anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, it’s full of natural botanical oils that do what you’d expect from a toothpaste – i.e. whitening and keeping your mouth healthy. Pricey, but worth a try.

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4 5

5. EVOLVE ORGANIC BEAUTY BIO-RETINOL GOLD MASK £26, EVOLVEBEAUTY.CO.UK The ingredients list reads like horticultural encyclopaedia. Sustainable Bio-Retinol from the plant Bidens Pilosa smooths, plumps and stimulates collagen production for a dewy glow. While there’s a small amount of plastic in the jar lid, it’s entirely recyclable.

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ADVERTORIAL

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU – WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNEED? G etting mobile over the past 10 months hasn’t been easy for everyone, with many people spending more time at home. In some cases this has aggravated joint conditions or left people putting off surgery. “In being less active last year it’s no wonder people are struggling with their mobility,” said consultant orthopaedic and knee specialist, Mr James Arbuthnot, from Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull. “Joints, especially knees, have a habit of losing function if not kept mobile. With people not able to go out about as they usually would this year, the decrease in activity can lead to various mobility issues.” This new year, an ever-increasing number of people will be deciding that now is the time for them to have the treatment they have been promising themselves and get their health back on track. “Patients, where necessary, can be seen for a face-to-face appointment to have their knee examined and scans taken,” said Mr Arbuthnot. “Following a consultation, the patient and consultant can discuss what the best course of treatment is.”

january 2021

COMMON PROCEDURES INCLUDE:

I Total knee replacement – the knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint, with up to three nights in hospital. Recovery can take on average 16 weeks. I Partial knee replacement – offered where the undamaged part of the knee joint can be saved. A two-night stay, some patients benefit from a quicker recovery time. I Arthroscopy surgery – often used to investigate and treat ligament injuries. Patients usually return home the same day. “It is important people are not afraid to seek help,” said Mr Arbuthnot. “Your mobility affects all aspects of your life and it’s key to supporting your overall wellbeing. By doing something now, you can potentially save yourself further damage and pain – which is often the driving force to seeking help.” I

For further information, call Spire Parkway on 0121 704 5530 or visit spireparkway.com

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MOVE ON

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STYLE FOR MEN

HAS A NEW YEAR EVER BEEN MORE WELCOME THAN 2021? WE DON’T THINK SO

aying adios to 2020 is cathartic, but we’ll carry some of the habits we formed during the last 12 months forward. Working from home has made exercising regularly more achievable for lots of people. For one thing, the lack of commuting time means the day is longer and more flexible, plus friends are also working from home, so exercising buddies are on tap. It’s true that it was easier to get out for a jog or a game of tennis during the summer, but we’re sticking with it through the winter for our mental as well as physical health. We’ll have to work harder once we’re back in the office, but we’re not prepared to let it slip. Getting the winter kit right will make it a whole lot more do-able whatever the weather. I

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NO PAIN Clothing from Miss Selfridge

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STYLE FOR MEN

GET SHORTY Nike reflective short £55, Selfridges

COOL TEE Strike Tee £70, Every Second Counts

COMPRESS TO IMPRESS Black compression shirt £29.99, TK Maxx

NO SWEAT Lamont cotton sweat pants £170, Harvey Nichols

WARM UP Clothing from Every Second Counts

GOOD HANDS Trail summit running gloves £27, Columbia NEW BLACK Orange packable funnel neck coat £20, Matalan

IF THE SHOE FITS Merrell MQM Flex 2 GTX £120, Merrell

JACKET IN Tan showerproof hooded jacket £25, Matalan

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ng il viHOMES

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SLEEP TIGHT

REMEMBER WHEN WE THOUGHT 2020 HAD A NICE RING TO IT? WE WERE EVER-SO SLIGHTLY WRONG.

BLUE VELVET Joules Patterdale bedframe from Dfs

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HOMES

GOOD WOOD Furniture from Oak Furnitureland

leepless nights became the norm last year, meaning by September we looked about a hundred, but no more. We’re heading into the New Year with a revamped bedroom that doubles as a sanctuary and we’re promoting self-care and good sleep to the top of our new year’s wish list. We recommend you do the same and give yourself a great big farewell 2020 hug. Firstly, get the tech out of the bedroom, but you know that. Stop reading, looking, listening to the news or scrolling through Instagram just before you close your eyes. It’s not conducive to relaxation. And remember to breathe properly, deeply. Onto your room. Start with your bed. This is such a personal choice that the only way to shop for a bed is to test them out in person. The range of mattresses is

S

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massive with different densities and qualities, so you need to try a few. Lie down, get into your usual sleeping position and wriggle around a bit before you settle on the one. The shop assistant’s seen it all before, so don’t be shy. Speaking of storage, consider it early on as it’s crucial to creating calm. Count the pieces in your wardrobe splitting items into short and long and don’t overlook shoes and bags. The smallest of spaces can be transformed into efficient storage and with some imagination and know how, an awkward corner could even become a walk-in wardrobe. Also, look at under bed storage to create maximum order and calm. Once you’ve sorted sleeping and storage, look at window coverings. Darkness kick starts melatonin production making you feel sleepy, so it’s important. Fully lined curtains, blinds or well-made shutters that fit perfectly will minimise light. With the fundamentals nailed, you dive headlong into sourcing accessories, just try to keep your colour scheme calm for maximum relaxation. I

HI TECH STYLE Koble Snor smart bed from Cuckooland

BUILT IN STORAGE 4 You 4 poster bed with storage from Cuckooland

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MINIMUM FUSS Zanotta box bed from Nest

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IN THE COUNTRY Cosy bed in bronze from Soho House Retail

PEAK COSINESS Refined Simplicity bedroom, John Lewis

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CALM SCHEME Sanctuary bedroom from Dunelm

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MIRROR MIRROR Round velvet wall mirror £59, Cult Furniture

NATURAL VIBE Tufted bench £145, Oliver Bonas

NEVER TOO MANY Lisette cushion £150, Soho House

DOT TO DOT Bon Bon Mega Dot bed cover £145, Nest

SWEET DREAMS Dreaming of the Sun eye mask £12.59, Oliver Bonas

FINISHING TOUCHES

REAL TEAL Recycled glass vase with teal lip £8, National Trust

FOR ULTIMATE SANCTUARY VIBES, ADD IN SOME GORGEOUS ACCESSORIES GREEN HAVEN Metal round hanging lamp with plant pot £95, Cult Furniture

WHITE OUT Windsor accessories in white £310, Christy

GOLD RUSH Muuto The Dots metal coat hooks £65, Nest

RIGHT LINES Lorena Canals washable rug £139, Cuckooland

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DO YOUR BIT Grey and yellow recycled cotton blanket £75, Daisy Park

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From only £25

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MOTORING

A NEW SHADE OF

GREEN

SUE COOKE TESTS AN AUDI WHICH SETS THE GOLD STANDARD FOR A NEW YEAR OF ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY DRIVING

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MOTORING

ew Year, New You and a new way to travel. For 2021, Audi is offering luxury on a grand scale, consumption at its most modest and a healthier environment for us all. Meet the A6 TFSi e quattro saloon, one of several plug-in hybrids the company has launched. Power is combined with a petrol engine and an electric motor. The cabin has near silent driving when using the 105kW electric motor alone, with a range of up to 34 miles giving zero CO2 emissions. Pull down twice on the seven-speed S tronic transmission lever and the 2.0-litre petrol engine takes over. Hybrid driving is a step towards the Government’s edict that petrol and diesel cars will no longer be manufactured after 2030, although hybrids get a reprieve until 2035. Audi developed the first petrol/electric hybrid car in 1989 and brings 32 years of experience of hybrid production to the luxury market.

N

GREAT ESCAPE As I escape my work computer screen’s constant demands and slip behind the wheel, I experience a feeling of elation which continues throughout my journey. I am driving the S Line model with its 19-inch wheel upgrade, lowered sports suspension, S line body styling and matrix LED lamps with signature LED rear lamps. In the interior of the A6 I feel cossetted. I gently touch the lever which smoothly lifts and operates the sequential indicators. The binnacle display in front of the steering wheel is clear and attractive. Audi’s virtual cockpit grants access to the internet at LTE advanced speeds. The self -learning navigation system uses Google Earth mapping to deliver accurate route guidance and communicates with online traffic information servers. ASK ALEXA While ensconced in the very comfortable, electrically adjustable S embossed sports seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, I have great fun trying out the Alexa voice control. There is access to more than 80,000 Alexa functions, including the ability to place orders from the car, stream favourite playlists and audiobooks and control smart devices at home from the driver’s seat. An Avant version of the A6 is available for those needing a larger boot. On-demand intelligent Audi four-wheel

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FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: Audi A6-e quattro saloon S Line S Tronic Price: £57,135 otr Engine: 2.0-litre e hybrid 299PS Performance: 0-62.1mph in 6.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 155.3mph CO2 emissions combined: 36g/km (WLTP) Combined fuel consumption: 176.6mpg (WLTP)

drive is there to keep us safe on slippery January roads. In the executive class car, petrol and electrical energy combine to help reach a sprint to 62.1mph in only 6.2 seconds. Combined emissions are as little as 36g/km and on motorways, the A6 cruises beautifully. Even in urban environments, the A6 is unruffled, fluid and refined. I feel as if I am driving on a fixed track. CHARGING UP The Audi can be plugged into a domestic AC 7kW wall box or a public charging point and around two-and-a-half hours later (just enough time for new year sales shopping) the lithium ion battery mounted under the rear floor of the car will have been replenished. Use a three-pin socket and charging takes approximately seven hours. Audi is making considerable headway with its rangewide electrification roadmap. The fully electric e-tron SUV laid the foundations for an e-tron model portfolio which has expanded to include the new coupé-inspired e-tron Sportback and e-tron GT sports car variants. A hybrid is a step in the right direction and the Audi A6 TFSi e quattro is definitely the New Year gold standard in a new shade of green. I

SHOWROOM

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

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

ALASAN NJIE-MORGAN

WE CHATTED TO THE BASKETBALL ACE AND HIS MUM ABOUT HIS

AMERICAN DREAM AND BECOMING AN ACCIDENTAL ROLE MODEL alented Acocks Green basketball player Alasan Njie-Morgan is living his sporting dream after receiving a scholarship to the US last year. Having learned his craft at Nechells-based club Birmingham Rockets, 14-year-old Alasan has made the journey across the pond to take up his place at the well-connected Phelps Prep School in Pennsylvania where he’s getting to grips with boarding and the American system. We caught up with him last month while back home in Brum for Christmas. Birmingham Rockets’ links to Houston-based coach Donte Mathis made Alasan’s move possible with some Covid-related complications of course. Ordinarily, Donte attends the Rockets’ International Summer Camp where he would have been able to see Alasan in action in the flesh. But with the camp postponed thanks to the pandemic, a highlights tape sent to the

T

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coach was the next best thing and the lucrative offer came in on that basis. Phelps School has a reputation for developing high-level basketball players and Alasan will spend four years there prepping for the next step. ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE It’s a big move, but Alasan seems incredibly mature. His mum, Sai had planned to travel with him and stay for six weeks to settle him in, but a change in travel policy at the eleventh hour meant Alasan had to go it alone which was possibly harder for her than him. Sai says: “I’m so happy for Alasan, but I do miss him too.” Sai recognises the difference Alasan’s achievements have made to youngsters at Rockets and feels the players are working harder having seen what’s possible with commitment. The club, mainly based at Nechells Wellbeing Centre, has a thriving junior programme

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involving 800 young players a week – and while Alasan never set out to be a role model, he says he sees the difference in them too. Rockets managing director Rob Palmer says: “Alasan is an incredible young man – a model student and an outstanding basketball player. At 14 he has the world at his feet yet he remains well-grounded and focussed on the work he has ahead of him. His commitment, willingness to learn and ability to develop his natural talent has seen him progress so well.” HARD GRAFT Having started playing basketball for fun at Rockets aged just nine, Alasan knew by 11 that he wanted to do something with basketball long term and he put in the hard work. With the support of his family, who made significant sacrifices, he was able to travel all

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over the UK to compete at the weekends sometimes staying overnight. Now on a path that takes him closer to his goals, Alasan is embracing it, has settled well and says the schoolwork is easier than his old school Ninestiles Academy in Acocks Green where fellow pupils and teachers are so proud of him. Sport’s a great way of fitting in and Alasan says: “I can’t complain – there are only seven boys in my class plus the team has helped me to fit in really quickly.” He’s only just begun his basketball career in the US but Alasan is focused on the next step already, building towards a scholarship to college in the US, so he’s playing as much as he can with the same grit and commitment he honed here in Brum. Phelps School has great basketball connections in the US, so the future is looking bright for this Birmingham export. I

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GROWING PLACES

SCHOOL OF THE DECADE King Edward’s School has won the Sunday Times West Midlands Independent Secondary School of the Decade award. KES scooped the top award in recognition of its commitment to accessibility through fund-raising for bursaries and delivery of outreach activities, as well as its outstanding academic performance in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Since 2009, the school has raised more than £13million from alumni, parents and other supporters for the Assisted Places Fund.

CAREERS BOOST

BMet has launched a new work experience programme for students called Work it. The programme is set to build strong partnerships with employers across the region who recognise the importance of good quality work placements for students with mentoring support. Work it. aims to motivate the next generation by offering a useful stepping-stone between education and careers.

SCHOOL REPORT

CAP REUNITED Joseph and Jessie Bell from Solihull Prep School have reunited one of the school’s former pupils with his school cap – 45 years after he last wore it! The cap was discovered by their grandmother in her antique shop. A name written inside the cap meant that with the help of the school, the siblings were able to track down Old Silhillian, Alun Rees who left the school in 1976. He said: “I have fond memories of school and am delighted to have my cap back.”

HEART WARMING POST Pupils from Cofton Primary School have been writing to residents at ExtraCare’s Longbridge Retirement Village in a bid to combat loneliness during lockdown. When the children were tasked to write a letter, one suggested sending them to the residents of the local retirement community. Forty-seven letters were sent from the school and residents have responded to all of them, resulting in a heart-warming collection of stories and drawings between the two generations.

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GROWING PLACES

TOP AMBITION

VIRTUAL CAROLS School Christmas celebrations across Birmingham were adapted to become Covid safe with many taking traditional carol services online. Hallfield School filmed a video which they shared on their social media channels called Hallfield Christmas, featuring choirs from each year group as well as performances from a percussion ensemble, a harpist and a 20-strong string group and readings from pupils, staff and the chair of governors.

The chief executive of Solihull-based Open Study College has been named one of the UK’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders by private equity firm LDC. Samantha Rutter was only 19 when she launched the distance learning business with her father, Mark. Thirteen years on, it has grown to provide more than 650 courses to 90,000 students. Samantha plans to grow turnover to £12million by 2024, through acquisitions and international expansion.

AWARDS DOUBLE

ONLINE LEARNING Young people will receive laptops and free data to support their learning at home thanks to a new initiative between the Royal Shakespeare Company and IT services firm, SCC. The scheme ensures that 250 students at 12 RSC Associate Schools in the region can access high quality learning and arts opportunities at home. The project is being funded by SCC’s charitable trust. Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC director of education, said: “This is a wonderful gift from SCC’s charitable trust.”

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Not-for-profit schools service specialist, SIPS Education, scooped a double win at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Awards, taking the Large Business Hero and Adaptability & Innovation titles. The awards celebrated outstanding contributions made during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Sandwell-based cooperative provides a range of services to schools across the region including catering, music and arts, IT, HR and finance. CEO Brian Cape said: “I’m so proud of the team for their continued hard work and commitment, particularly during such a challenging year.”

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED Reliant on fund-raising support from the local community and businesses, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has survived and prospered through the most challenging time in its history – leading to it being named the region’s Business of the Year or any enterprise to be named Business of the Year in this year of all years has to be special. A recognition of success in the toughest of times in living memory, a testament to the ability to innovate in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. For that winner to be a charity is unprecedented. Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has earned a reputation for being entrepreneurial. It has to be to raise the thousands of pounds needed each and every day to pay for its life-saving missions, either by helicopter or critical response car. While private supporters and donations are hugely important in helping fund the operation, business support is crucial – and we all know the devastating impact Covid has had on the Midlands commercial scene and, as a result, its ability to help good causes.

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But clever ideas, thinking outside the box and total commitment and hard work has helped MAAC weather the Covid storm in good shape and able to continue providing its vital, life-saving service. That achievement was honoured not once, but twice over when the charity was named Charity of the Year and then overall Business of the Year at the recent Asian Business Chamber of Commerce awards. NEW DEMANDS A delighted Hanna Sebright, the charity’s chief executive, said: “This would not have been possible without the ongoing resilience, hard work and dedication shown by all of the team. I would like to thank each and every one of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity family for making this award win

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cars, at £224 a time. During the pandemic the average number of calls has been 10 a day. The charity funds and operates three air ambulance helicopters and two critical care cars serving six Midlands counties, including the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Worcestershire, making up the largest air ambulance operating region in the UK. The charity also provides secondary cover to surrounding areas, such as Warwickshire and Mid Wales. Since 1991, MAA has responded to more than 60,000 missions, and each year it costs more than £10million to maintain the aircraft and the provision of the life-saving service. The charity doesn’t receive funding from the Government for its daily missions, relying almost entirely on the support and generosity of local people and businesses. “The great thing about the award, other than the excitement at winning, is that it helps to promote even further what we do to the business community,” said Helen. “We knew when the pandemic struck that we had to work on ways to remain in the hearts and minds of businesses and individuals. To that end, we’ve been doing a lot of media profiling with Sky and ITV.” Picture by Nigel Harniman Photography

possible. I would also like to say thank you to the public for their support throughout both lockdown periods and their kind donations which continue to make our daily missions possible.” You might be forgiven for thinking that demand for the air ambulance service would have dropped substantially during the various restrictions and lockdowns – less people commuting, more working from home, fewer opportunities to get out and about and in harm’s way. Not the case, said the charity’s head of communications and marketing, Helen Stevens, who added people working from home faced heightened risk from accidents in other ways. For a start, figures show that the number of cyclists on Midlands’ roads has gone up by more than 400 per cent. “We’ve experienced more cardiac arrests, more cases of selfharming, more accidents from DIY – so the demand for Midlands Air Ambulance has stayed at near the same level,” she said. In ‘normal’ times, MAA attends an average 13 calls a day – six for the air ambulance helicopters, costing £2,500 a flight, and seven critical

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WINNING NUMBER She added: “Then it was about adapting our fundraising abilities to the new situation. Along with everyone else, we had to shut our charity shops and stop planned fund-raising events due to the pandemic restrictions, which meant a 50 per cent drop in fundraising from our local communities.” To help make up some of the shortfall, the charity has been pushing even harder its successful online Lifesaving Lottery, which raises more than £3million a year. Helen said: “The fact is that we are always looking at developing and creating ideas to fund the service. While we are a charity, we take pride in the fact that we are run like a business.” This business acumen was not lost on the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce awards judges. Mandy Canny, of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and head of the judging panel, said: “Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has shown exceptional work during the pandemic, continuing to deliver advanced pre-hospital patient care, while maintaining awareness of and support for the organisation.” I

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BUSINESS

FLOAT WHITE? A floating outdoor coffee shop delivered hot drinks on the water at Port Loop – Birmingham’s new island community being delivered by joint venture partners, Places for People and Urban Splash. Organised by CIVIC SQUARE, the Floating Front Room featured guest baristas and bakers serving takeaway coffees and cakes. Ad-hoc outdoor pop up shops – such as Back to Brum Books and Pedalling Pantry – will also be operating at the Floating Front Room on a regular basis.

NEWS

BUSINESS

SAFETY FIRST

Birmingham-based mechanical and electrical building services specialist J S Wright has boosted its reputation as one of the industry’s safest business operators after clinching a new globally recognised management award. The 130-year-old company, based in Portland Street, Aston has achieved certification to the new ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management standard – the world’s first international OHS standard. J S Wright’s Christine Wiesztort, said: “We are proud to have achieved this after overcoming a number of obstacles thrown at us by Covid.”

SUPPORTING CAST Two Birmingham funeral directors are calling on their own personal and professional experiences to give support to bereaved parents in their hour of need. Central England Co-op Funeralcare’s Jordan Chance-McNally and Kiran Bhogal have become ambassadors for the charity CRADLE, which provides support to parents during, and following any early pregnancy loss. The pair will support parents at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust by creating special comfort bags for women, and their partners.

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DESIGN SUCCESS Leading interior design consultancy Office Principles is celebrating 18 months of growth by investing in a new regional headquarters in the West Midlands. The firm has signed a five-year lease on a stand-alone building at Coleshill Manor Office Campus that will support its ongoing expansion in the region. Formed less than two years ago by Gary Tailby and Tina Batham, pictured, Office Principles’ Birmingham-based team delivers multi-disciplinary design, consultancy and construction solutions across sectors in the built environment.

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LEGAL HIGH FLIERS VILLAGE PEOPLE Hatton Shopping Village is welcoming new businesses to its mix of 20 independent retailers. Boo & Bear is a studio led by Sophie Evans, a Warwickshire wedding and photographer of 15 years. Elrosé Clothing offers timeless sophistication for the modern woman featuring classic staples with a contemporary twist. Hatton Ceramics is an upmarket gallery and pottery shop, while Big Paws for Thought is run by biologist and conservationist Bridget Fry with profits going to Big Cat conservation.

Two employees from law firm Enoch Evans LLP had their heads in the clouds to take part in a charity skydive for Acorns Children’s Hospice. Trainee solicitor Jessica Hubble and HR manager Melissa Greatrix raised more than £1,100 for the law firm’s charity of the year. Jessica said: “I did a skydive when I was 21 and didn't think I'd ever do it again – but when the opportunity arose, I was so motivated to help a good cause that I agreed straight away.”

TREBLE TOPS

One of Birmingham’s top commercial estate and letting agencies has claimed a hat-trick of awards in the property sector. Davidson Estates, launched by Ben Davidson, pictured, in 2012, won the lettings category of the Best Estate Agent Guide, run by the Property Academy, which assesses every branch in the country to find the best agents in a study supported by Rightmove. The company also won two awards in the lettings and real estate categories at the UK Property Awards.

WORTH A TRY

An independent gym has opened at Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club, giving local residents access to a high quality fitness facility. Achieve Functional Fitness provides coached classes which include weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, gymnastics and functional movements. The gym is led by Rick Lovell and Abi Edmunds, both qualified physio and rehab specialists. Rugby club vice-president Terry Davies said: “We’re excited to have this facility for local residents. Abi and Rick are a great team.”

HOMELESS HELP New homes for young people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness have been unveiled. The 32 service managed apartments St Basils Coventry’s Lorna Esien Court opened following a £1million grant by Heart of England Community Foundation’s Building Better Lives programme. Jean Templeton, chief executive of St Basils, said: “With the ongoing pandemic and increase in unemployment rates for those under 25, young people need our support now more than ever.”

WINNING FEELING

For the 12th year in succession, national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe has been named the top charity auditor in Civil Society’s Charity Finance Audit Survey. Crowe maintained its position at the top, earning £5million in fee income from 118 clients – with 100 per cent scoring the firm in the highest category for charity expertise. Pesh Framjee, global head of non profits, pictured, said: “Charities face challenging times and it is ever-more important that their auditors really understand these challenges.”

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BIRTHDAY TREAT

BUSINESS BITES GREAT FIT

A Birmingham marketing and creative agency celebrated its 15th birthday by launching a new sister business. Start 2 Finish (S2F) Marketing, which employs 11 people at Chamber House, Edgbaston, has invested nearly £100,000 in creating S2F Media to help clients maximise video, photography, animation, 3D modelling and digital marketing opportunities. The business is on track to achieve £250,000 of new orders in the first 12months, said Warren Albutt, head of operations at S2F Media.

Fit out and refurbishment specialist Overbury has been appointed by international tax, audit and advisory firm Mazars to deliver its new state-of-the-art space at Two Chamberlain Square in Birmingham city centre.

SUPER SALON

A new salon opens this month in Digbeth’s Art.Quarter. Jordan Patel’s Art.Salon Birmingham, is a women’s only, Hijabi inclusive beauty salon offering treatments ranging from hair, nails, makeup, brows, lashes and massages.

PERFECT IN A CRISIS

NEW CEO

A top law firm has launched a new legal team to help steer the region’s business leaders through the current economic crisis. mfg Solicitors, which has offices across the West Midlands, unveiled its restructuring and insolvency team which is led by head of commercial property Clare Regan and insolvency partner Sam Pedley. The team will advise on a range of issues, including business survival strategy, safe-guarding jobs, business sales, restructuring, and a variety of commercial property related matters.

Medilink Midlands has appointed Dr Darren Clark as its CEO. He previously held the same position at Medilink East Midlands and has more than 20 years’ experience in the life science sector. Medilink Midlands has been formed by bringing together the former boards of Medilink East and West Midlands.

PYJAMA GAME Training group BCTG provided pyjamas for children in hospital over Christmas. The Oldbury-based group, which supports nearly 10,000 young people and adults with training each year, originally offered to donate £500 to the Children’s Hospital Pyjamas charity appeal. But generous staff increased the total donation to pay for 97 pairs of pyjamas. Mags Goode, the charity’s area co-ordinator, said: “This meant instead of providing pyjamas for children at three of the region's hospitals, we will be able to provide them for five.”

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INSIDE BT’S NEW HUB Welcome to a first look inside BT Group’s new regional office hub at Three Snowhill. More than 200 people are due to start working there, with more arriving in phases over the coming months. The office is expected to eventually accommodate more than 3,000 people. The state-of-the art building is the first of BT’s future-fit offices to open as part of its Better Workplace Programme – the largest workplace improvement and consolidation scheme of its type in the UK.

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IT’S STILL A DIFFICULT SITUATION FOR BIRMINGHAM’S ENTERTAINMENT WORLD BUT THERE ARE SOME SIGNS OF LIFE AND A FEW CRACKING SHOWS TO LOOK FORWARD TO, BOTH LIVE AND VIRTUAL, OVER THE COMING MONTHS. PLEASE NOTE ALL MAY BE SUBJECT TO LAST-MINUTE CHANGES OR CANCELLATION, SO BE SURE TO CHECK FIRST

WHAT: Hairspray WHEN: 8 to 13 March WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, birminghamhippodrome.com Rescheduled from the autumn, hopefully it will be all systems go this time around for this irresistible feel-good show that will have you smiling for days. Featuring the hit songs Welcome To The 60s, You Can’t Stop The Beat and The Nicest Kids in Town.

WHAT: Tony Hadley WHEN: 4 to 7 March WHERE: Symphony Hall, thsh.co.uk

WHAT: Constructed

Join the former Spandau Ballet frontman and I’m A

WHEN: 18 to 20 February

Celebrity star for a series of socially distanced shows

WHERE: Birmingham Rep, birmingham-rep.co.uk

in 2021. He’s spent the past 20 years entertaining

Performed by the Lightpost Theatre Company and written by lead

audiences all over the world and Tony’s stunningly

artist CJ Lloyd Webley, this new comedy explores the culture of

rich voice has lost none of its power.

working class black men in Britain.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: CBSO Cuppa Concerts: At Home WHEN: January WHERE: Online, visit cbso.co.uk/cuppa-concerts/at-home Specially designed for older people living in care settings, these prerecorded concerts will be available throughout the year to enjoy at home. Catering for most musical tastes, the concerts include a resource pack with information about the music and players, lyric sheets and some further listening to help enrich the experience.

WHAT: Faster Than Ever WHEN: Now until 14 February WHERE: Ikon Gallery, ikon-gallery.org Involving around 30 artists from across

WHAT: Six

the world, Faster Than Ever is an

WHEN: 19 to 24 April

exercise in capitalising on chance,

WHERE: Belgrade Theatre, belgrade.co.uk

making the most of incongruity and happy accidents. The finale of the exhibition is marked by a combination of work by Martin Creed and On Kawara.

Get ready for a rebellious remix of 500 years of historical heartbreak as the queens of musical theatre prepare to conquer Coventry with this multi-award-winning musical.

WHAT: When Jaguar Bought Daimler WHEN: Now until 29 January WHERE: British Motor Museum, tel: 01926 927823 britishmotormuseum.co.uk A new exhibition covering 100 years from the Daimler Company’s beginnings in 1896, its history of Royal patronage, superb engineering, efforts supporting both World Wars and then Daimler’s ‘post Jaguar’ life.

WHAT: Tales from Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream WHEN: 11 to 18 January WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Company online events, rsc.org.uk Celebrated author Michael Morpurgo has joined the RSC to create his new Tales from Shakespeare. For five weeks from 8 January, his fresh retellings of these timeless stories are available to buy and watch for up to seven days. It all kicks off with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITHÁ

ELIZABETH GLINKA Interviewing the PM, holding power to account? Easy compared to house-training a puppy during lockdown, says BBC Midlands’ new political editor BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I began my career working for Carlton TV in Birmingham and got my first job at the BBC as a broadcast assistant for BBC Radio 4 at the Pebble Mill studios – when we still used tapes to record the programmes! After deciding I wanted to become a reporter, I spent six years in BBC local radio learning my trade, starting in Worcester, becoming a political reporter in Stoke-on-Trent before moving to Radio WM in 2012. I joined BBC Midlands Today as the main breakfast and lunch presenter in 2013, which meant two years of 4am starts and lots of under-eye concealer. In 2015, I became a national correspondent for BBC news in London, then a political reporter at BBC Westminster before moving to BBC Newsnight in 2019. I was also full-time presenter on BBC London’s Sunday Politics programme before being drawn home to relaunch Politics Midlands at the start of 2020.

the North-West, which has done a fantastic job of rebranding itself over the last decade.

IT’S WHAT I DO As the BBC’s political editor in the region, I deal with lots of politicians, locally and nationally. I may be challenging them a lot of the time, but against perceptions I find most are hardworking and in it because they want to make a difference. The nature of the job is always changing, so no one day is ever the same. I could be filming on location, live in the studio or interviewing the PM. Politics affects almost every aspect of our lives and it’s my job to help people to understand what’s going on and challenge those who make the decisions.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM I grew up in Staffordshire, but my mum’s a Brummie and so I always thought of it as the big exciting city where we went for special shopping trips or days out. I remember getting the bus into Birmingham city centre with my grandma as a child, and being awed by the size of everything. It’s been home for many years now, and I love it.

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE My ambition for the Midlands is that it gets the recognition it deserves. There is so much to be proud of, but I think sometimes we’re not as noisy or as confident as

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BIGGEST SUCCESS Gosh, that’s hard. House training our puppy during the first lockdown? I’m usually most proud of the work where I feel we’ve made a difference or drawn attention to a subject that otherwise would have gone under the radar. I’m proud of my colleagues and the way we work together in some tough conditions over the last year. BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED Always check. Names, figures, facts, whatever it is! Anytime you think ‘oh yeah I’m sure I know that’, you’re bound to be wrong. Accuracy is so important for trust, and that’s vital in my job.

DOWNTIME These days I enjoy walking the doggo and spending time with friends, when allowed! There’s a lot to be said for a flat white and a walk. I like to cook. My husband and I are both foodies, so under normal circumstances we love eating out and Birmingham has a fantastic food scene. If we’re pushing the boat out we love Carters in Moseley. I

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Profile for Birmingham Living Magazine

January 2021 (issue 99)  

January 2021 (issue 99)  

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