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January 2020

CHEERS!

GET FIT FAST

FOOD&DRINK

LOOK GREAT AND FEEL FANTASTIC

STUNNING BEDROOMS

RAKEEM OMAR

NEW YEAR

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

NIP&TUCK RISE OF CC KAT

RICHIE ANDERSON

SUPER-CHEF ADAM STOKES

SWANKY PARTIES, BATHAMS AND WAKING UP WITH ZOE BALL

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


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EDITOR’S VIEW

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t’s always struck me as a bit odd that in November we abstain from alcohol just so we’re ready to sink buckets of the stuff in the great festive binge-up. Then after we’ve devoured the equivalent of a double-decker bus in turkey, mince-pies, trifle and Quality Street – washed down with loads of beer, wine and spirits of course – we decide we really should start thinking about getting fit in the New Year. All that snacking, lounging around on the sofa in front of the telly has given us a guilty conscience and an expanded waistline… Statistics show that as much as one in five gym memberships are taken out in January, and the majority have lapsed or been cancelled before we’re even halfway through the year! As I said… odd! Anyhow, not ones to buck the trend, we’ve been ferreting around to find the latest get-fit tips and kit for our first issue of 2020 which we’re calling the Health Issue. We’re doing our bit to help you get in shape and look good at the same time as you pose by the weights machine or stop for a selfie while out for a jog. Our Style section has our picks of the latest hot fitness gear, while our Health pages concentrate on your mental as well as your physical well-being. Don’t miss our guide to de-stressing and our look at the latest luxury spa treatments. If you’re thinking you need a bit more ‘serious’ work to really look your best, this month’s Company To Watch feature might be a source of inspiration. I had the pleasure of chatting with renowned plastic surgeon CC Kat who has earned a clutch of awards at her world-class Kat & Co practice in the Medical Quarter.

s n h o J d i v a D

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

Cover image:

Richie Anderson photographed by Richard Stonehouse

/bhamliving

FINALIST

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

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

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

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

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INSIDE

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Highlights

Richie Anderson

The BBC presenter talks winning awards, swanky parties and waking up with Zoe Ball

Adam Stokes From pop-up restaurant in a sandwich bar to world top 10, best in Britain and Michelin star

New Year Food & Drink What’s on the menu in 2020? News, views, recipes and wine to kick off the new year

Get Fit In Style Gear up to be more active this year by looking the part with our edit of the hottest fit kit

Health New Year de-stress tips, plus why you should treat yourself to a luxury spa experience

Homes Give your tired bedroom a wake-up call with a new calm and contented vibe

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CONTENTS

Best of the Rest

60 64 66 69 78 82 january 2020

Motoring

January’s icy roads need a car that’s up to the job – and Sue Cooke thinks she’s found it!

Up Close With Clare Macro, head of Edgbaston High School for Girls on challenges, chocolate and couch TV

Company To Watch Kat & Co Aesthetics, the cosmetic clinic setting new standards in the heart of the Medical Quarter

Business News News and views from the commercial community, plus movers and shakers on the Social Scene

New Year What’s On Your guide to the shows, gigs and events in and around Birmingham this month

In The City BBC WM presenter Rakeem Omar explains why Birmingham really is ‘where it’s at’ in 2020…

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NEWS

SWAN TAKES FLIGHT Dance lovers across the UK are being given the chance to see Birmingham Royal Ballet’s critically acclaimed Swan Lake when the production tours from the end of this month. The cast for ballet’s greatest love story will include Céline Gittens and Momoko Hirata in the double principal roles of Odette/Odile. Alongside the full production, an hour-long, interactive afternoon show will introduce

NEWS

children to the music and characters and share the technical ‘magic’ surrounding the ballet.

BRINGING YOU THE BRIGHTEST AND MOST COLOURFUL STORIES FROM ACROSS THE CITY EACH MONTH

JEWELLER CROWNED

GREEN IN THE CITY Creative duo Luke Thrush and Anna Davies are bringing a dramatic new look to Colmore Business District. The Birmingham-based partnership has been chosen by Colmore BID to complete a large-format artwork entitled Green in the City which features a series of Birmingham landmarks and historical events. The artwork will be in place for five years and cover a 60ft wide concrete wall at the entrance to Livery Street by the junction with Great Charles Street Queensway.

january 2020

Talented designer Vanessa Miller has been crowned the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter’s second Jeweller in Residence. Vanessa will work from the museum over the next year creating an exclusive new range as part of a project which aims to promote local designers through a partnership with Birmingham City University School of Jewellery. Vanessa, whose own business is based in the JQ, shone through to win the competition with her creative designs.

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NEWS

HATS THE WAY TO DO IT!

Hats made the headlines at a charity ball where more than £65,000 was raised. A marquee at Billesley Manor, Warwickshire was decked out in a Mad Hatter’s theme for the annual Molly Olly Ball which saw more than 500 guests enjoy a line-up including magicians, illuminated dancers and pixel poi jugglers as well as fund-raising activities. Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s daughter Molly from kidney cancer. More details at www.mollyolly.co.uk

Picture: Laurence Jones Photography

CLASSICAL WIN

Birmingham was celebrated with

impressive wins at classical music’s major awards. Birmingham Opera Company’s staging of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of

THE WORLD COMES TO BRUM

Mtsensk received the Opera and Music Theatre Award at the Royal Philharmonic

Visitor numbers have soared in Birmingham and the West Midlands, putting

Society awards. The accolade was

the region on the brink of a “triumphant return to the world stage”, according

presented to BOC’s artistic director Graham

to a new report. The annual Birmingham Economic Review from Greater

Vick, pictured. Music director of the City of

Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and the University of Birmingham

Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga

reveals the city’s visitor economy is worth a record £7.1billion, driven by

Gražinyt-Tyla won the Conductor Award

attractions such as Grand Central. The West Midlands is also the UK’s leading

in the month when she was also

region outside of London/South East for attracting foreign investment.

nominated for a Grammy award.

PURE SUPPORT

Luxury holiday experts Pure Destinations has renewed its partnership with Edgbaston Priory Club for another year which sees the firm sponsor fitness instructors’ uniforms and provide holiday offers to members. The club’s Lifestyle facilities are undergoing a major refurbishment in 2020 with new state-of-the-art equipment in the gym and a dedicated cycle studio. "We are proud to be supporting a team whose service is expanding and going from strength to strength,” said Lakh Hayer, director of Pure Destinations.

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NEWS

OH BOY, WHAT A NIGHT! The stars turned out in force for the

Picture: Andrew Fox

opening night of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new musical The Boy in the Dress, based on the novel by David Walliams. The line-up saw Walliams joined by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, who wrote the lyrics and music, and VIP guests including David Baddiel, Alan Carr and Natalie Imbruglia who came together with the cast and creative team for a post-premiere party.

GEORGE JOINS UNI

The production runs until 8 March.

Television architect and presenter George Clarke has become a Visiting Professor of Architecture and Design at Birmingham City University. George, pictured with the university’s Prof Kevin Singh, spoke about his passion for affordable homes and the challenges posed by the UK’s housing crisis during a visit to the university to receive the accolade. He called for state intervention to solve “the

OTTER SPOTTER

Anyone for a dip? This cheeky chap certainly is, thanks to Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre. In a UK first, the rescued Alaskan sea otter is one of a pair that will become residents at the centre’s new multi-million-pound marine rescue facility. Once on the verge of extinction after being hunted for their pelts, sea otters remain an endangered species. The rescued pair are part of a pioneering conservation project with the Sea Life Trust and Alaska Wildlife Rescue.

FROM ASDA TO 007 A Birmingham film production graduate landed a role working on the latest James Bond blockbuster, No Time To Die, straight out of university. Tayyib Mahmood, 23, who graduated with a BSc in Film Production Technology from Birmingham City University

biggest housing crisis the country has

last year while working as a porter at an Asda

ever seen”.

supermarket, spent four months as part of the Pinewood-based studio unit team on the new Daniel Craig film – set for release in April.

DAVID TAKES ON TROLLS Trolls – the people who spend all day insulting and abusing strangers online for their own sick entertainment – are being targeting in a new oneman show by comedian and author David Baddiel which premieres at Symphony Hall on Thursday, 19 March. Trolls: Not The Dolls sees David recount the absurd cyber-paths that interacting with trolls has led him down and how he deals with what he describes as ‘digital hecklers’.

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NEWS

VINYL VENUE A new live music and vinyl bar opened its doors with a four-day launch featuring 45 bands, musicians, artists and DJs from across Birmingham and the Midlands. Dead Wax, Digbeth is home to a collection of 4,000 records and operates an ‘all vinyl, all the time’ policy. Music fans are invited to play the venue’s records or bring their own vinyl to play while enjoying top quality craft beers and stone-baked pizzas. More details at www.deadwaxdigbeth.pub @DeadWaxDigbeth

IN BRIEF TOP VOLUNTEER Rachel Radford, 30, from Birmingham was named Community Support Volunteer of the Year by the National Deaf Children’s Society at a ceremony at the city’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. She was praised for her “incredible dedication and support for deaf children in the West Midlands”.

BREATH-TAKING BALLET

DANCE HUB OPENS A new purpose-built dance studio has opened in Birmingham. Dance Hub Birmingham aims to position the city and wider region as a globally significant area for dance. The studio is at the creative campus that includes Birmingham Hippodrome, DanceXchange and Birmingham Royal Ballet, and is the new home for One Dance UK. Dr Polly Hudson, on behalf of Dance Hub Birmingham, said: “At this exciting time for dance in Birmingham we are delighted to be able to welcome people into the beautiful new facility.”

MAKE-UP LEGEND Beauty supremo Pat McGrath, the creator of international fashion show looks for the likes of Gucci, Versace and Prada, has brought her luxe make-up collection exclusively to Selfridges Birmingham by opening Pat McGrath Labs.

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of the most influential figures in the history of ballet is being held at Birmingham’s Elmhurst Ballet School. Synergy will be performed at the school on 7 and 8 February, followed by performances at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells in London on 15 February. Synergy is the second production and tour presented by Elmhurst Ballet Company – the student company of

EDUCATION CHIEF Services For Education, the awardwinning, nationally recognised education and training charity based in Birmingham, has appointed Sharon Bell as its new chief executive. She succeeds Martyn Collin who is retiring after seven years with the charity, which was set up in 2012.

An evening of dance by some

Elmhurst Ballet School, the school in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet – and the first for the ‘Class

BACK TO SCHOOL

of 2020’.

Former Bromsgrove School pupil and founder member of

Dire Straits, John Illesley went back to his roots for two sellout concerts at the school’s performing arts centre, Routh Hall. The gigs were in support of Bromsgrove School Foundation charity which raises funds to provide bursaries and foster a life-long relationship between the school and its alumni, parents and friends. John was interviewed on stage by fellow Old Bromsgrovian and celebrated author

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

Nicholas Evans, who wrote the Horse Whisperer.

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COVER STORY

KING OF BRUM

Shelley Carter caught up with presenter Richie Anderson who’ll be forever proud of his roots in Smethwick’s ‘concrete jungle’ while scooping Royal

Television Society awards, attending swanky parties and meeting his heroes f Carlsberg made proud, inspiring, salt of the earth Brummies, Richie Anderson would be the one. Anyone doubting this great city should spend 20 minutes with him before swiftly realising Birmingham is, in fact, the centre of the universe. Despite spending most of the week in London for Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 morning show, there’s no place like home and on a Friday afternoon as the train pulls into New Street station Richie’s ‘heart still skips a beat’. He says: “I love London, but it’s not home. Birmingham has a warmth to it and even on a grey gloomy day it still feels nice. People are smiling and there’s a sense of humour and that smell.” If you’re wondering what that smell is, Richie says it’s ‘bready, foodie’. We suggest that might be the food hall at Grand Central rather than an intrinsically warm Brummie aroma, but you know...

I

BEST LIFE Balancing his Saturday morning BBC WM slot with Radio 2 every weekday, Richie is absolutely living his best life. He says: “I have the two best jobs. I have to ask myself how this has happened at times.” Growing up in ‘concrete jungle’ in Smethwick was a far cry from receiving RTS Awards and hob-nobbing at the BRITs, but Richie has his feet firmly on the ground. “I’ll be at the BRITs and while everyone is sipping Champagne, I’ll have a pint of Bathams! I’m not even sure the people drinking Champagne like it. It’s just what you’re supposed to do.” On a date with his partner Dean, you’re more likely to find them in Wetherspoons than a Michelinstarred restaurant. “I’m a big one for coupons! When I go out in London I nearly have a heart attack!”

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Concrete jungle is indelibly part of Richie. He remembers everyone going into one another’s houses and playing out all day on the broken swings in the park. Richie’s mum worked hard and his dad was a white van man and he says there’s a ‘realness’ that his upbringing instilled in him that he’s so proud of. And he’ll never ever lose the Brummie lilt. “I’m so proud of my accent and love that you can pinpoint me in the country. People know where I’m from immediately.” OLD BOOT After studying media at college followed by journalism at the University of Leeds, Richie bagged a week-long work experience spot at BBC WM. It was the week that Rover went bust which meant the place was buzzing and resources were stretched. When there was a call for someone to get down to the Longbridge plant to cover the story, Richie threw his hat into the ring. Initially people were a bit dubious about sending the work experience boy, but Richie persevered and shone. “I love this city and I really cared about what was happening which I think showed. I just got stuck in chatting to people and set up loads of interviews.” One week turned into three months which turned into one year, etc. He says: “I was like an old boot that no one could get rid of!” Richie’s own show on BBC WM was the first of his ‘pinch me’ moments which led to presenting on the One Show and Children in Need among other projects and ultimately led him to Zoe Ball. When Chris Evans left the Radio 2 Breakfast Show Richie got a call from his agent saying they were interested in him joining Zoe’s show. ZOE MEET The two met at the Hospital Club where Zoe was getting ready for Strictly It Takes Two. Richie recalls: “I remember waiting for Zoe in a hotel room feeling really nervous, but she arrived and flung her arms round me and was so lovely. We basically chatted about Strictly.” They got on like a house on fire and Richie was called back to do a demo in which the pair’s magic was obvious and Richie got the gig. “I was driving down the Hagley Road when one of the bosses from Radio 2 called to say I’d got the job and I just cried.”

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Richie has met some big names – the morning we chatted guests included Robbie Williams, Jamie Cullen and David Walliams – but none will top his favourite guest of all time and his hero, Scary Spice Mel B who naturally arrived with a tiny dog and didn’t disappoint. “She was amazing!” Richie remembers putting on Spice Girls performances in the playground of his school, Uplands in Smethwick. He’s still a massive fan of the band and literally has the t-shirt – he’s wearing it. For all the lols, there’s a serious side to Richie too. He’s completed numerous challenges for Children in Need like a gruelling 250-mile bike ride and a 24hour karaoke. Inspired to do his bit after visiting local bereavement charity Edward’s Trust and Sandwell Young Carers as well as meeting children on a sickle cell ward, Richie felt he had to contribute. He says: “The bike ride was particularly tough. It sent me on a roller coaster. I cried about 85 times, but it was those charities and those children that kept me going.” COMING OUT Richie’s short film for the One Show in which he came out to his football team-mates was an important piece of television that won an RTS award. “I’ve always played football, but I’ve actually left teams and moved on in the past when I thought team mates might suspect I was gay, so this was a big deal for me.” He adds: “I’m so proud of it. The response has been amazing and if it makes even one person feel like it’s going to be okay then it’s worth it.” In terms of what’s next, Richie is just revelling in his very awesome present. Having said that, there’s a Birmingham Mayoral election coming up. Richie for Mayor? Just saying… I

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FEATURE

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Husband and wife Adam and Natasha Stokes are celebrating after their restaurant was named in the world’s top 10 and the best in Britain – but there’s no time to rest on their laurels, they say

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FEATURE

dam Stokes’ dream as a young lad was to have a 20-seater restaurant by the sea but as he grew older he realised that, wonderful as that idea might be, it would never pay the mortgage and the bills. Growing up in a family that enjoyed their food and with a father that produced all the veg they could eat and more from his allotment – none of that pre-packaged supermarket nonsense – it’s not surprising that Adam wanted to make a career in the kitchen. “Actually, the family kitchen was out of bounds to me as my dad produced good quality food while enjoying a beer and listening to music,” says Adam. Despite the lack of ‘hands-on’ action in the kitchen, his love of food took him to college for a couple of years before spending seven years learning all he could at Hambleton Hall in Leicestershire before taking a head chef role at Glenapp Castle in the Scottish lowlands.

A

AWARD-WINNING Fast forward to 2020, and Adam is – with his wife Natasha – the owner of two of the Midlands finest restaurants – Adam’s and the Oyster Club in Birmingham. And not just the Midlands either! Adam’s has been named the tenth best restaurant in the world and the number one in the UK in the prestigious TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Restaurants Awards. The awards are a big thing in the restaurant world because they are decided by analysis of millions of reviews and opinions collected over a single year from travellers around the globe. Adam’s ranks in the world top 10 with premier eateries in Beijing, Paris, Thailand, Buenos Aires and Girona in Spain. Impressive. And a nice addition to the restaurant’s Michelin star which it retained in the new 2020 guide. Adam and Natasha’s success feels like a bit of whirlwind. They launched Adam’s as a pop-up in a sandwich shop in Bennetts Hill in 2013 and earned a Michelin star within six months before moving to Waterloo Street in 2016, where they have held the star ever since. The couple opened the

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Oyster Club earlier this year on 1 April. “We’re not superstitious types,” Adam confirmed. FISH CHOICE “I’ve always thought to myself that I’d’ love to have a fish and chip shop – nine times out of 10 when I go out to eat I will order fish,” said Adam. “With the Oyster Club we identified a gap in the market in Birmingham that no one had focussed on. Oysters are actually a small part of the offering – there’s plenty else to eat.” With the Midlands now holding six Michelin stars – the most in the UK outside of London – and with the likes of the Ivy and the new Gino’s opening up close by, Adam says there has never been a more exciting time to be a foodie in Brum. “The food scene here is incredible,” he said. “It has changed massively just in the short time we have been here. Birmingham is such a vibrant and interesting city. We

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could see the potential which is why we chose to come here.” With Adam looking after the food and Natasha concentrating on the management side, the couple have plenty of ideas to expand over the coming years. “We will continue to push and strive for more,” said Adam. “We are currently investing in wine at Adam’s. People get awkward about the cost of wine in a restaurant. They don’t understand the ins and outs of buying the wine, the tax you pay and the storage and so on.” WINE IDEA To give the customer long-term better value, Adam is stocking up with good quality wine now with the help of a wine advisor. “The aim is to buy the wine at today’s prices, store it and then later we can serve it to the customer at the original cost and that way pass on the saving,” he said. I

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FOOD & DRINK

NEW YEAR, NEW WINES OUR EXPERT ROB PRICE LOOKS FORWARD TO THE TASTES AND TRENDS OF 2020

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FOOD & DRINK o, what new tastes and trends does 2020 hold for us wine lovers? Biodynamic, natural, carbon neutral wines are very much on trend and the next decade will also see more experimentation with ‘man-made’ grapes as growers look to cope with climate change in their vineyards. While still not mainstream, biodynamic wines will continue their advance, even though we may not think of biodynamics as a modern trend (it was back in 1924 Rudolf Steiner gave his first lecture on What is Biodynamics? A Way to Heal and Revitalize the Earth).

S

ROB’S TO TRY

4

My four on-trend wines to taste start with two biodynamic offerings, followed by two natural wines. Le Manoir, Sancerre – This is a stunning Sauvignon Blanc, aged for a

Biodynamic wines must be farmed organically, so no synthetic chemicals – including most pesticides and herbicides – can be applied to vines, and no acid, sugar or enzymes can be added to wine in production. But it’s much more than that. Biodynamics should be viewed as intertwined vineyard ecosystems to be regarded whole, rather than as a collection of disparate components – soil, sunlight, grapes –considered separately. The aim of the principles is to create healthy self-sufficient ecosystems to farm with respect to cycles of the sun and moon and to maintain equilibrium between pests that are predators and prey. There are arguments for and against these practices but working with nature rather than against, makes sense and worthy of pursuit. CHALLENGES Natural wines must also be farmed organically (many biodynamically), but additionally no added sulphur may be added to wines. Sulphur is added to most wines for important reasons, to kill unwanted bacteria and to protect wines from oxidation, allowing them to mature. Natural wines must also be made with no added yeast, so only native yeasts are used. Both these ‘natural’ practices add significant challenges to the wine producers and great care must be taken to make wine that is safe to drink and will taste fresh! What about carbon neutral wine? Well, this is more a determination by wineries to offer wines offsetting the carbon they produce in the process. There are many smaller wineries achieving this. Some large wineries such as Cono Sur, a subsidiary of Concha y Toro in Chile, Fetzer in the US and Cullen wines in Australia all claim to be carbon neutral. Spanish winemaker Torres aims to be one of the first large European wineries to become carbon neutral in the next few years.

little while in barrel, giving the wines a textured finish but still refreshing and vibrant. Waitrose sells the 2018 vintage for £22.49. Viento Aliseo, Dominio De Punctum – Made with a blend of 50 per cent Graciano and Cabernet Sauvignon. Beautifully balanced with ripe fruits, spice and vanilla. An excellent Spanish wine from the La Mancha region. Frazier’s sells the 2015 vintage for £12.75 Wild Soul, Domaine Julien Sunier, Beaujolais – Fresh, ripe, fullbodied for a Beaujolais, this is a fantastic natural wine that needs no time to age. Buy, open, pour and drink. The 2018 vintage is available from Berry Brothers for £21. Carrick Billet-Doux – This Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand is another natural wine, and another one that does not benefit by ageing (an advantage for all-natural wines). Great Western Wines has the 2017 vintage for £24.

EXPERIMENTAL Turning to ‘man-made’ grapes, there are many regions in the world where climate change will impact the grapes grown and wines made, and nowhere more so than Champagne. I was there in 2019 and was taken around their experimental vineyards where they have planted thousands of new ‘man-made’ vines by crossing existing European and American varieties in the hope of producing new grapes that will cope better with the anticipated rise in temperatures. While 2020 might be a little soon expect to see Champagnes made with these new varieties in years to come. So, what have I picked for you to try as we start a new year? My awesome foursome this month are all on-trend wines to taste. Cheers to a great 2020… 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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CHEF’S CORNER

PETER BROWN

The head chef at Malmaison recounts how he was cooking with mum from the moment he could pick up a spoon – and pays tribute to his first and biggest influence, Gary Rhodes

Tell us about your cooking I am classically trained and have spent my whole career in Rosette kitchens. May the cholesterol gods forgive me, but I really do believe that butter makes everything better. I also love ‘nose to tail’ cooking, squeezing the best possible flavour out of every ingredient and minimising on waste. I hate waste! How did you become a chef? Food has always been important in my family. My great gran was a cook and my mother is a pastry chef so it was pretty much obvious from the word go! Mum always said I was cooking from the moment I could hold a spoon. What do you eat when at home? My wife is Taiwanese so I cook a lot of oriental style food at home (under her watchful eye) and my daughter would go through walls for a good bowl of rice! Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? It saddens me to say that my first and biggest influence has recently departed us. Gary Rhodes was, and will remain, a true legend. I followed him religiously at the beginning of my career and have pretty much all of his cookbooks, many of which I still

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CHEF’S CORNER

thumb through. I would say the best chef to me right now would be Tom Kerridge, I love how he champions British food as we really do produce some world-class ingredients. There are several amazing restaurants in Birmingham and it would not do for me to try and put one above the others. Is the customer always right? I really wish I could say yes, however… while most people are great, even when something isn’t quite to their taste, there seems to be a nucleus that seems to think they know more than the chef! These people do their best to tell you that the way they want it is the way everyone should have it. Share a cooking tip Put butter in it! Seriously, taste as you go and try to season a little with each additional ingredient. If you throw a lot of salt and pepper in at the end that is when you have a habit of going overboard. You can always add more but can’t take it away.

What was your favourite food as a kid? Mums ‘spaghetti jumble’. I have never been able to recreate it but it was essentially Bolognese with cheese beaten into it! Gooey, cheesy heaven! Food heaven and food hell? Heaven is Taiwanese Bento box. Taiwan is reputed to grow the world’s best rice… they do! Hell is overly spicy food. I don’t mind a bit of a kick but too much and my taste buds are too busy screaming to allow me to taste anything. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? While working in Australia I tried alligator, mildly fishy chicken I have to say! During our trips to Taiwan there has been more than one occasion I have asked my wife what we are eating only to be told: “I can’t translate, just eat it!” If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? A nuisance! I really cannot picture myself behind a desk all day long and even after 23 years in the trade I have to say there is very little that excites me more than food. What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? The sea bass with gnocchi and a butternut squash and truffle sauce on our festive menu is probably my favourite dish on our menu. The gnocchi is gluten free so great for those with an allergy, and the aroma is a wonder on the senses! I Chez Mal, Malmaison, the Mailbox, 1 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RD. Tel: 0121 794 3004 malmaison.com

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SEASON’S EATINGS

SOUP OF THE MONTH Cauliflower is bang in season and this delicious, easy soup is perfect for a cold January day hat better way to warm yourself up at this time of year than with a cosy, comforting bowl of homemade soup. And while you’re at it, you may as well choose one of the recognised ‘super-foods’ – cauliflower. The nutrient-rich, high in fibre and vitamins vegetable is at its best right now.

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Ingredients

 1 large cauliflower  25g butter

 1tbsp olive oil

 1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped  1 onion, peeled and chopped

 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock  400ml whole milk

 100ml double cream

Method Remove the stalk from the cauliflower and cut into florets. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan, then tip in the cauliflower florets, potato and onion. Sweat together for about 10 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened but not coloured. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the milk with some seasoning and return to a simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft. Add the cream and purée the soup using a freestanding or handheld stick blender until smooth. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve with warm crusty bread. Perfect!

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FOOD & DRINK

NIBBLES and SHORTS

BIRMINGHAM HAS A LIVELY AND BUZZING BAR AND RESTAURANT SCENE. HERE, WE PRESENT OUR INSIDER GUIDE TO WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY’S EATERIES AND DRINKING DENS

ANDY PROMISES BEST OF BRITISH The new executive chef of Craft Dining Rooms and Craft English Garden which launches this month in Birmingham is bringing his signature contemporary British style to the restaurant. Andy Sheridan, who has an impressive CV at top eateries across the UK, will continue Craft Dining Room’s dedication to serving an entirely British menu using the finest local ingredients and focusing the offering to embrace traditional British food with a modern execution.

BOLLYWOOD OPENING Indian street food restaurant, Indico Street Kitchen has opened its newest city centre venue in the heart of Birmingham. Already a favourite with diners in Shirley, Indico adds the flavours of North India to the mix of canalside eateries and bars at the Mailbox. Bollywood art, street photography and hand-drawn murals by local artists bring life to the interior, while the food features jazzinspired mixes of Indian classics and the tastes and aromas of authentic North Indian ingredients.

BIG APPLE MILK AND COOKIES BAR

A piece of the Big Apple is coming to Selfridges Birmingham with a New York-style milk and cookies bar. Just three years after professionally-

ALL CHANGE AT TOWNHOUSE

trained chefs Chelsie Collins and Kristelle Levy launched Blondies

The Royal Hotel – now called the Townhouse – is bringing a mix of dining and entertainment to Sutton Coldfield after re-opening following major refurbishment by owners Surburban Inns. The new offering includes the Lounge, Bar, the 100capacity Club Room and the graffiti-covered Yard – which features DJs, cocktails and fresh street food being served outside from an in-house menu in a converted shipping container.

Kitchen, the brand has built a reputation for its tasty American cookies and cookie-themed treats across the UK. The entrepreneurs have opened up in the store’s foodhall, selling nine unique flavours and a range of milks.

TASTE OF VIETNAM AT RESORTS WORLD

Vietnamese Street Kitchen is opening a new restaurant on the first floor of Resorts World. The family-run local independent joins the likes of Miller & Carter, Zizzi and Five Guys at the venue. The lunch and dinner menus offer a range of authentic Vietnamese dishes made freshly in-house from traditional family recipes. Resorts World is Vietnamese Street Kitchen’s second eatery, following their inaugural opening in Brindleyplace last year.

HELPHARRY HONOURED AT NEW-LOOK GRANGE The new-look St Bernards Grange honoured Georgina Moseley, Harry Moseley’s mother and founder of HelpHarryHelpOthers Charity, after the pub reopened as a new Sizzling Pub & Grill. Guest of honour Georgina officially reopened the pub at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The pub and its staff are planning a host of fund-raising events and activities in the coming months, aiming to boost money and awareness in support of those affected by cancer.

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

HEALTH AND TASTY Delicious, sophisticated and not a drop of booze in sight! Welcome in 2020 with this alcohol-free beauty ecember can be a month of over indulgence with too many Christmas parties, the main event itself and then of course New Year’s Eve. So why not kick-start 2020 by being a little kinder to yourself and your body, lock up the booze cabinet and ease back on the alcohol intake. But that doesn’t mean you should compromise on a good party, decadence and enjoying a delicious, sophisticated cocktail or two. Why not try this little number – called Husk – from the chaps at Seedlip, providers of top quality non-alcoholic spirits. I

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ALL YOU NEED TO MIX IT UP BEAUTIFULLY INGREDIENTS:

I 60ml Seedlip Garden 108

I 85ml Sweetcorn soda (see method)

I 10ml Æcorn Dry (a floral, crisp non-alcoholic apertif) I Sweetcorn leaf to garnish

METHOD: To make the sweetcorn soda mix 125ml of cold press apple juice with 125ml of water, the juice of one lime and 20ml of organic sweetcorn juice. Chill until very cold and then carbonate. Combine all the sweetcorn soda with the rest of the ingredients and then pour into a highball glass full of ice. Garnish with the sweetcorn leaf and enjoy!

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

ARIA RESTAURANT Hyatt, 2 Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JZ. Tel: 0121 643 1234 hyatt.com ou probably know this already, you savvy lot, but the Hyatt has a Bottomless Brunch on a Sunday. The minute we got wind of it, naturally we were all over it. We were driving so we didn’t let loose with the unlimited fizz, but you could if you fancied. They call it brunch but in truth it encompasses everything from eggs benedict and waffles to full-on roast beef and chicken tikka. It’s more brunner than brunch. The Hyatt atrium is a gorgeous place to be regardless of being fed and watered to this extent, but it’s particularly appealing with tables laden with goodies. It’s a buffet scenario so you help yourself although there are elements such as pasta and waffles that are cooked to order and roast beef that’s freshly carved. We sampled a huge array of food – too much to mention here, so we’ll pick out our top dishes. We started with an excellent beetroot, feta and walnut salad, zingy old school prawn cocktail and roasted veggies. A smoky pulled beef brisket flatbread with BBQ sauce was top drawer as was a chicken tikka version with a punchy coriander yogurt sauce. Lip-smacking roast beef was cooked perfectly with a proudly puffed up yorkie with rich gravy and the pasta was particularly good too. We went with the chef ’s

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recommendation of penne with a cheese sauce with pesto. It was superb. The same chef rustled up crowd-pleasing waffles the size of our faces served with fresh berries and warm chocolate sauce. Mini waffle cones filled with white chocolate were delicious of which we snaffled an obscene amount. While we love a relaxed Sunday lunch at home, this felt like a real treat. The Bottomless Brunch is available from £30 per person with bottomless drinks and Champagne packages available too. It’s a pretty good deal that results in absolutely zero washing up and plenty of feel good vibes. I

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ing livSTYLE

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GO GADGET

Featuring the Garmin Vivomore

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STYLE

SHOE IN

THINK PINK

Acne Studios sweatshirt £260, Harvey Nichols Birmingham, Mailbox

PASTEL POWER

Under Armour Play Up shorts £23, Figleaves

HELLO YELLOW

Yellow crepe multi-sport band crop top £12, Pretty Little Thing

Pastel long sleeve sports swimsuit £70, Swimwear365

IN SHORT

Gucci Ultrapace panelled suede sneakers £615, Harvey Nichols Birmingham, Mailbox

BEST FOOT FORWARD

Adidas red Galaxy trainer £39.99, Deichmann

COLOUR POP

Triangle print sports bra £12, F&F

HAPPY 2020 YOU WONDERFUL LOT! IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO GET MORE ACTIVE THIS YEAR, THE RIGHT GEAR COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACTUALLY DOING IT OR NOT e’re not into the whole new year, new you malarkey – the existing you will do nicely thank you very much, but we, along with a gazillion others take the new year as an opportunity to boost our self-care physically and mentally and for us, that means moving more. Whether you’re taking up yoga or launching into full blown marathon training, decent kit will make the change as appealing as possible.

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Put a brilliant sports bra that fits like a glove at the top of your list. Comfort is king. There are loads on the market – we’ve included a handful here, but try before you buy is the mantra. You won’t get an idea of fit and support from a picture. Once you’ve found the one, buy a couple so you’ve never got the excuse that it’s in the wash. Make life easy for yourself.

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STYLE

TOP OF THE CROPS

Clothing from Every Second Counts

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STYLE

Footwear is also super important and depending on the type of exercise you’re planning, it might be worth getting your gait tested and a recommendation from the experts. We did it a couple of years ago and have never looked back. The most expensive part of your kit, but worth it. Then go mad for the fun stuff. Colour, print, whatever floats your boat and makes you happy. Also, store your sports gear nicely. Create a dedicated space for it rather than stuffing it into a corner of your wardrobe never to be seen again. Display it. Look at what you’ve got. Be inspired and encouraged slipping into an outfit you love rather than one that makes you want to wriggle out of it immediately. Set yourself up for a positive experience from the get-go and be kind to yourself. And if you choose Kettle chips over kettle bells now and then, who gives a monkeys? Move on. You’re great. Go. I

SWIM FIT

Freestyle sports swimsuit £40, Figleaves

PURPLE PATCH

New Balance tank top £50, Figleaves

BOLD PRINT

Under Armour Heat Gear printed leggings £45 and matching sports bra £34, Figleaves

PAD IT OUT

Matallia II metallic quilted jacket £90, Regatta

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STYLE

SUPPORTING ACT

Shock Absorber Run sports bra £45, Figleaves

SPOTS FOR THE WIN

Leopard print leggings £16, F&F

CROSS TRAINER

Clothing from Every Second Counts

SOUND TRACK

Beats by Dr Dre Studio 3 Wireless headphones, Very

JOG ON

Velvet by Graham & Spencer striped jersey sweatpants £245, Harvey Nichols Birmingham, Mailbox

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GREY DAYS

Charcoal sports bra £14, F&F

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STYLE LOUNGE WEAR

Autograph hoodie £119 and bottoms £99, M&S

CASUAL COOL

Clothing from Primark

ALL THE KIT

Nike magenta Nike £19.99, Deichmann

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ADVERTORIAL

BEST SOLO TRAVEL DESTINATIONS WHETHER YOU’RE PLANNING TO VISIT SOMEWHERE CLOSE TO HOME OR A LITTLE MORE EXOTIC FURTHER AFIELD, WE’VE PICKED SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO TRAVEL SOLO FROM BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT olo travel is one of life’s most rewarding experiences, so don’t let not having anyone else to go with put you off exploring the world. Visit new places, meet new people and learn about other cultures. Here’s some great destinations to go for – all starting from Birmingham Airport.

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Barcelona, Spain Busy Barcelona is one of the best places to travel solo. Its café-littered streets are perfect for people watching, or duck into one of the bars serving beer and tapas. There are plenty of famous attractions to visit like Sagrada Familia and Park Güell and you don’t have to travel far to reach a beach or mountains. Getting around Barcelona is simple on public transport so stay close to one of the metro stations for easy transfers between different parts of the city. There is an abundance of hostels in the city which are a great way of meeting new people and tend to be popular with solo travellers. If you’re

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a beach lover, choose a hostel close to Barceloneta beach which also offers some of the best seafood restaurants in town. If you want to mix with the locals, refrain from dining out in the evening until after 9pm, as this is when they frequent the restaurants. Getting there: Fly Jet2.com, Ryanair and Vueling to Barcelona from Birmingham Airport. Copenhagen, Denmark Chilled-out Copenhagen is a solo traveller’s paradise. Denmark’s capital is compact and extremely easy to explore by foot or bike. There are cycle paths across the city and you’ll find that locals travel everywhere on two wheels, whether that’s to work, school, or a night out on the town. There’s a great Scandi café culture, brilliant art museums and cool, low-key, nightlife. There are two big food markets in the city centre – not only do they offer a really great range of affordable food but they also provide the opportunity for casual dining and a

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ADVERTORIAL

Lima, Peru Capital city Lima is the perfect place to start your solo journey through Peru. A sophisticated city with civilisation that dates back millennia, there’s lots of history and culture to discover. Add a world-class food scene, colourful nightlife, colonial-style architecture and surfing, and you’ll find a city that has something for everyone. Head to a local restaurant for Ceviche, Peru’s now world-famous dish was perfected in Lima. It’s made with fresh fish then marinated in peppers and limes, served with onions, corn and sweet potatoes. Eat ceviche like a local with spice and never after lunch. Getting there: Fly Iberia to Lima from Birmingham Airport. chance to meet people with similar tastes to yours. Nyhavn is one of the most photographed areas of the city. The old fishing port is the perfect place for a relaxed stroll at the end the day before you settle down in one of the colourful restaurants playing gentle jazz music. Getting there: Fly SAS to Copenhagen from Birmingham Airport. Quito, Ecuador A capital city high in the Andes, Quito is dramatically situated, squeezed between mountain peaks whose greenery is concealed by afternoon mist. The city’s crown jewel is its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with colonial monuments and architectural treasures. The mountains mean it’s a great place for hiking and just a short drive away are the thermal baths of Baños, and the Equator. A must is a visit to Mitad del Mundo where the Northern and Southern hemispheres meet, it’s right on the Equator. Try straddling the yellow line which puts you in two hemispheres at the same time. Getting there: Fly Iberia to Quito from Birmingham Airport.

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Sydney, Australia You can’t get much more adventurous than travelling to the other side of the world by yourself, and Sydney is one of the best solo traveller destinations. A vibrant city set beside the ocean, Sydney has a bit of everything to offer its visitors. Beaches, coastal walks and the Sydney Opera House, not to mention brunches, museums and a plethora of parks, Sydney really is out of this world. Chill out, get active, explore the nightlife – Sydney’s one hot holiday destination. At the weekend head to the Rocks Market where local vendors set up tables to sell their products. From handmade jewellery and big sculptures to delicious fresh baked goods and freshly squeezed lemonade. This makes for an excellent day out as there’s live music and a great atmosphere. Getting there: Fly Air India, Emirates or Qatar to Sydney from Birmingham Airport.

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BEAUTY UPDATE STYLE

Happy new year lovelies! Hopefully you’re not feeling too shabby after the festive shenanigans? If you are, just take time to nourish yourself – mind and body. Go for self-care rather than self-loathing and be kind. We’ve picked out some products that should help get you back to your best. We also gave a detoxifying treatment a whirl

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which we highly recommend. Check out the spa review on page 46. 1. THIS WORKS STRESS CHECK BREATHE IN £16, HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM Keep this little wonder in your bag and roll on while breathing deeply whenever you feel stress levels rising. It’s 100 per cent natural including a blend of pure essential oils.

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2. VENEFFECT SKIN CALMING MASK, £48, SPACE NK Great for sensitive skin or blemishes, three types of clay remove impurities while calamine calms. There’s also pomegranate to sort out dead skin cells, zinc to reduce age spots, phytoestrogens to improve skin tone and willow bark to minimise pores. What more do you need? Once a week will make a real difference. Apart from the benefits to your complexion, we rate a regular mask as it means we have to be still and relax for a few mins. 3. CIRE TRUDON REGGIO SCENTED CANDLE 750G £80, JOHN LEWIS, GRAND CENTRAL A long bath with a delicious candle burning is our go-to feel good boost. This French brand – the oldest candlemaker in the world – is just dreamy. We’ve been burning the Nazareth version over the Christmas period and it makes the whole house smell divine.

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4. LABEL.M, HONEY & OAT TREATMENT MASK £17.25, TONI & GUY ESSENSUALS, MAILBOX Don’t forget your hair. Rich in antioxidants this mask restores moisture and protects against styling and product overload resulting in sleek and shiny hair. It smells pretty special too.

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ADVERTORIAL

CHECKING WHETHER ‘THE PRICE IS RIGHT’ WHEN BUYING OR SELLING A BUSINESS The Price Is Right’ might be a clichéd game show title, but it’s a fundamental point to check for anyone buying or selling a business. When businesses are being bought and sold, everyone’s keen on knowing what’s the deal and making sure that ‘The Price Is Right’. But agreeing terms to buy or sell a business is not always as clear cut as it may at first appear. Often the negotiating parties will agree a headline price with very little detail as to what this includes or what it is based on, and this is particularly an issue if you are buying or selling a limited company. Experience shows that flushing out the detail of the deal terms as early as possible will ultimately save our clients time and cost and avoid misunderstandings occurring as the deal progresses. Fiona Boxwell explains some phrases and concepts to be aware of to ensure both buyer and seller are on the same page.

1. Is the deal price fixed? “Often the deal price first stated is a headline starting point and not the actual cash price the seller ultimately receives. The buyer will usually require various deductions to be made, such as bank loans or overdrafts outstanding at completion. Or a seller may have large cash reserves in the business and will expect this cash in addition to the headline deal price. To avoid misunderstandings, state explicitly what you consider to be included and excluded from the deal price quoted so that expectations are clear from the outset.” 2. What’s the price based on? “Is the headline price based on the assumption that at completion the net asset position of the business will be no worse than set out in the last set of full accounts provided to the buyer prior to it making its offer? Or, does the buyer require a specific minimum net asset target to be achieved at completion? If so, make that target amount clear and state also whether there is an expectation of a minimum amount of cash being left in the company.”

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3 What are ‘completion accounts’? “The practicalities of how a final adjusted price is established should be discussed at the same time as agreeing the price. The parties may themselves want to establish an estimated apportionment of income and expenditure to completion and seek to agree a fixed final adjustment to the deal price to reflect this. This may leave both parties at risk of further expenses or income cropping up after completion which were not taken into account in these approximate calculations. To avoid this occurring, it can be required that such items are finalised through ‘completion accounts’. These are accounts drawn up to the date of completion as though that date were the business year end. They seek to be as accurate as possible about apportioning income and expenditure to the period precompletion, and enable a level of accuracy to be achieved in finalising the price payable.” A deal will always progress more smoothly if all the above issues on are the table from the outset of negotiations. I Anyone with queries on buying or selling businesses can contact Fiona Boxwell on 0121 227 3372 or fboxwell@thursfields.co.uk.

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STYLE FOR MEN

LOOK THE PART Clothing from Jacamo

FIT KIT GIVE YOURSELF A FIGHTING CHANCE OF ACHIEVING

YOUR FITNESS GOALS THIS YEAR BY SORTING YOUR KIT OUT

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STYLE FOR MEN

FITNESS GOALS Clothing from Every Second Counts BE SEEN Green tee £16, TK Maxx

GET SHORTY Timeless short £72, Every Second Counts

f, like us, your pre-Christmas bod seems a distant memory, invest in some new gear to motivate you to get back at it. We’ve pulled together some cracking examples of fitness clobber that you’ll actually be pleased to pull on. Given the city’s cycle lanes are getting better we’ve included a clever folding bicycle helmet too that will tuck neatly into your man bag once you’ve arrived. Oh, and if you’re more luxe than sport, we’ve got you covered too. The Givenchy sneakers will look just as good strolling about town as deadlifting twice your body weight.

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TEE HE Souluxe tee £8, Matalan

THINK HOOD Tommy Jeans panelled hooded jersey sweatshirt £90, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

COLD SNAP Volter Shield waterproof heated 3 in 1 jacket £240, Regatta

NO SWEAT Stone Island cottonblend sweatpants £650, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

MELLOW YELLOW Beacon tee £24.95, Barbour MONO WOW Givenchy Wing black and white leather sneakers £595, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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ON YER BIKE Folding bicycle helmet £109.95, Cuckooland.com

BAG IT Grey sports holdall £35, River Island, Bullring

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HEALTH

HOW TO PASS

THE STRESS TEST A NEW YEAR BRINGS FRESH ANXIETY AND UNCERTAINTY FOR MANY. OUR EXPERT GUIDE WILL HELP CLEAR YOUR MIND AND HOPEFULLY PUT A SMILE BACK ON YOUR FACE

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HEALTH

ost-Christmas many people are returning to work and unfortunately recent research suggest this could be a pretty stressful time for lots of you.  Nearly one third – 32 per cent – of UK workers no longer enjoy work as much as they used to.  Nineteen per cent said that they don’t have time to see a medical professional about their mental health.  More than a fifth – 22 per cent – said that they are too busy to think about their mental health, despite having consistent symptoms of anxiety and depression. These findings follow research published as early as 2011 that stress and other mental health concerns have been the primary cause of sick leave across the country. And last year it was reported that stress and mental health is also the main cause of sick leave for NHS workers, according to NHS Digital Statistics. “Our research shows that a truly startling number of Brits are suffering severe levels of stress and anxiety, due in a large part to the expectations and pressures at work,” said Gerard Barnes, CEO of Smart TMS. “More needs to be done to help people recognise symptoms of mental health conditions within their own behaviours and respond accordingly. It is also vital for everybody to understand that there are treatment options available, and there is no shame in admitting that there is an issue and finding appropriate treatment to manage it.”

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Here are some top tips to help to deal with stress: SPLIT UP BIG TASKS: If a task seems overwhelming and difficult to start, try breaking it down into easier chunks, and give yourself credit for completing them. ALLOW YOURSELF SOME POSITIVITY: Take time to think about the good things in your life. Each day, consider what went well and try to list three things you’re thankful for. The way we think affects the way we feel.

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BE MORE ACTIVE: Being active can help you to burn off nervous energy. It will not make your stress disappear, but it can make it less intense. TALK TO SOMEONE: Trusted friends, family and colleagues, or contacting a helpline, can help us when we are struggling. PLAN AHEAD: Planning out any upcoming stressful days or events – a to-do list, the journey you need to do, things you need to take – can really help. 

TAKE A DEEP BREATH

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, developed by Dr Andrew Weil, aims to reduce anxiety and can help people get to sleep. The technique involves breathing in for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds. (The ratio is more important than the actual number of seconds so don’t worry if you can’t breathe in for four beats, for example). Before starting the breathing pattern, adopt a comfortable sitting position and place the tip of the tongue on the tissue right behind the top front teeth. The breathing pattern works as follows:  Empty the lungs of air

 Breathe in quietly through the nose for four seconds  Hold the breath for a count of seven seconds

 Exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a ‘whoosh’ sound, for eight seconds

 Repeat the cycle up to four times. You can build up to more cycles once you’ve practiced and are comfortable with the technique. Given budgets are often stretched after Christmas this is a great, free technique to help ease stress levels and get 2020 off to an amazing start.

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HEALTH

THE CHILL FACTOR GO ON, TREAT YOURSELF TO A BIT OF R&R! WE DID JUST THAT AT A SPA THAT’S NEW ON OUR PAMPERING RADAR pas. We’ve been to some incredible ones and some not so much. Eden Hall is a new one on our radar and the sister to Hoar Cross Hall, just a hop, skip and a jump from Brum. We popped along in the stressful run up to Christmas for a bit of R&R.

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The historic building is handsome and a bit like a rabbit warren with relaxing nooks and crannies at every turn. Despite the car park being full, the spa felt busy in a healthy way, but not crowded. Once checked in and nestled in a fluffy robe – take your own slippers or flip-flops or buy a pair from the spa shop – we headed straight for a door marked Slumber Room. Lined with beds – single and double – to relax on as well as a handful of hanging sleep pods, it was a super chilled space that immediately induced a restorative catnap. We didn’t realise how stressed we were until we

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stopped and took a breath and could have stayed put all day, but that would have made for a very short article. GOOD AS GOLD We were booked in for the Good As Gold package which included use of all the facilities – they’re extensive – a three-course lunch and a 55-minute full body treatment that included a golden almond oil, hence the name. We always like to use facilities before having a treatment as it seems a waste of good product to have a treatment then jump into a pool and wash them away, so we headed for the thermal rooms and pool first. There’s a salt inhalation room, rose steam room and herbal caldarian as well as more standard sauna and hydro jets. It’s a beautifully warm section of the spa – the sort of heat that makes your shoulders drop immediately. There’s invigoration from massage jets

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HEALTH

or soothing in the form of the salt inhalation room and everything in between. Clearly we were craving relaxation as we headed for soothing and chilled at every turn. The salt inhalation room was our top pick. The 25-metre pool was a winner and a great place to chill out although we preferred the beds in the Slumber Room if lounging’s your jam. There’s a well-equipped gym too that we didn’t use as we were focused on R&R. PRODUCTS CHOICE The treatment rooms use mainly Elemis and Clarins and recently Dr Levy which is more of a medi-spa brand well worth checking out. The Gold As Gold treatment we tried is available throughout January, February and March and is slightly different using a number of techniques and different products such as the Natural Spa Factory almond oil and Spa Find salt scrub. The name of the game with this treatment is circulation boosting and detoxifying. A healing turmeric salt scrub felt amazing followed by a massage which was really quite deep in a good way. I’m not sure the last time I had my calves massaged other than a quick daily slick of moisturiser and it felt well overdue. My shoulders were really tight and there was a fair bit of cracking and creaking that released some tension. Afterwards, I felt totally relaxed and my skin felt smooth and nourished. The post treatment relaxation room was almost entirely made of glass, so I got a big shot of vitamin D as I sipped a fresh peppermint tea. A view over the

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grounds revealed a group of people braving the cold chatting in the outdoor hot tub. LUNCH ANYONE? Lunch was a big deal and not constrained by the need to be healthy although there were plenty of nourishing options. It felt like a more indulgent experience than puritanical. We rocked up earlier than my lunch booking on the off chance we could be squeezed in and despite being fully booked, the staff were charming and efficient. There’s a buffet style bar for starters and/or sides which was great – gorgeous breads, smoked salmon, salads, roasted vegetables, etc. You get the picture. The menu was small, but balanced and appealing. We plumped for a delicious ham hock terrine followed by a sticky teriyaki salmon with pak choi followed by a dreamy rhubarb crumble tart with custard. Happy days. Most people were having a tipple over lunch. We didn’t, but there was an extensive gin menu that winked encouragingly and a great wine list. Definitely worth a look. While there are no rooms at Eden Hall, it’s easily close enough to Birmingham to make the trip in a day and well worth the effort. The Good As Gold package we sampled costs £140 during the week and £150 at the weekend. While it’s not an insignificant amount of money it felt well worth it. If you’re feeling a bit meh post-Christmas and in need of some self-care, take a look. I Eden Hall Spa, Elston Village, Lodge Lane, Elston Newark, NG23 5PG. Tel: 01636 525555 www.baronseden.com/eden-hall

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SLEEP EASY DETERMINED TO MAKE 2020 THE YEAR OF DECENT SLEEP WE’RE REJIGGING THE BEDROOM TO INDUCE A CALM, CONTENTED VIBE

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HOMES

CLEAN LINES Furniture and accessories from John Lewis

ands up if you’re getting a regular eight hours sleep? No, us neither. This year that changes. We’re on a mission to make the bedroom a place we want to retreat to and actually sleep. Firstly, we’re binning the sleep tracker – it’s far too stressful to be conducive to shut-eye. In fact, we’re banishing all technology from the bedroom. It’s not rocket science is it? And yet many of us still fall down Insta rabbit

H GOOD WOOD Furniture from Oak Furnitureland

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holes at bedtime even though we know it’s bad. Just switch off and breathe. Rant over. On to your room. Start with your bed and go for a solid base if you can which tends to be more comfortable than slats or built-in drawers. Obviously if your room is small, under-bed storage is hugely valuable. Just make sure you try before you buy and purchase the best mattress you can afford. The range of mattresses is massive with different densities and qualities affecting the feel, weight and support, so don’t be shy – lie down and get into your usual sleeping position before you make a decision. We’ve never tried the 100day trial that Emma (the canary yellow one) offers, but it might be worth a look. It seems like a win-win to us. Consider storage early on in the process. Order creates calm, so it should be high up on the list. 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 vision, a wasted corner could even be a walk-in wardrobe. DUVET DAY Furniture from Furniture Village

GROWN UP GLAMOUR Furniture and accessories from Dunelm

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HOMES

GO GREEN Soho Home Manette bedstead in green velvet £1,795, Soho House Retail

MINIMAL FUSS Brunel kingsize bed wooden headboard £699, Heal's, Mailbox

SCANDI CHIC Vox Nature bed with solid headboard £495, Cuckooland

THE NEW BLACK Dixie Bed from £1,642, Calligaris, Mailbox

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HOMES

Once you’ve nailed the bed and storage, sort out blinds and/or curtains. Darkness kick-starts melatonin production, making you feel naturally sleepy. Invest in fully-lined curtains or blinds that fit perfectly. Well-made shutters that fit beautifully are a good option, too. In truth a good new year sort-out can transform the space, so if you’re not splurging on new furniture and bespoke wardrobes, fear not. Truck on and create some calm. I

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PRINTS CHARMING1 Furniture and accessories from John Lewis

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HOMES

SIMPLE STYLE Furniture from Furniture Village

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HOMES

WORK OF ART Hertha dressing table with mirror £399, Cult Furniture MIRROR MIRROR Hay strap mirror £215, Nest

LESS IS MORE Ada bedside table £179, Made.com, Mailbox

SCATTER AWAY Tufted geo cushion £79, Heal’s, Mailbox

FINISHING TOUCHES

ADD SOME ACCESSORIES TO YOUR BEDROOM TO POLISH THE LOOK TOP DRAWER Four-drawer chest in jade £499, John Lewis, Grand Central

VELVET DREAM Effie armchair £399, Cult Furniture

WHITE OUT Wyatt white metal bedside table £165, Cuckooland

RETRO VIBE Soho Home Craven bedside table £395, Soho House Retail

WELL DRESSED Rattan dressing table £399, John Lewis, Grand Central

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WRAP UP Jaipur throw in turmeric £140, Christy

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HOMES

PROPERTY COUNTRY HOME

THIS MONTH’S PICK OF TOP HOMES FOR SALE ON THE MARKET

The Corner House, Ombersley Guide price: £895,000 Agent: Andrew Grant, tel: 0330 024 3000 A beautifully presented, fourbedroom country home set in a plot of around ½ acre in a tranquil rural location. It’s been carefully updated combining period character with quality fittings and contemporary elements including a Sonos sound system.

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HOMES

STUNNING PLOT Aylesbury Road, Hockley Heath Guide price: ÂŁ800,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 746 6400 A cracking four-bedroom, detached home on a stunning plot that backs on to fields. Loads of versatile space to work with and some beautifully landscaped gardens to the front and the rear to enjoy.

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HOMES

LUXURY PENTHOUSE Scholars Gate, Severn Street, Birmingham, B1 1QG Guide price: £425,000 Agent: Aames Laurence, tel: 0121 456 5454

A luxurious penthouse in a fabulous converted Grade ll listed building that retains loads of historic character. There’s an open plan living/dining/kitchen area, two bathrooms and two bedrooms, with the master a stunning gallery bedroom.

PRIVATE SETTING

Hermitage Road, Edgbaston Guide price: £1.2million Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 746 600 Set back behind private electric gates, this spacious and immaculately presented detached five-bedroom home boasts a large breakfast kitchen family room, four reception rooms, three bathrooms and a double garage.

BRICKS&BITS

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

IN THE LOOP

TOWER POWER

GATE GO-AHEAD

The first homeowners have moved into Port Loop, the 43-acre waterside neighbourhood created on the edge of the city centre. Guy Ackernley, head of residential sales for the Port Loop Joint Venture said: “For a long time the land was an unloved and unused area. With the first homeowners now in, people will really start to see this new neighbourhood come to life.” The project marks an innovative method of home construction in a factory in Alfreton, East Midlands.

The tallest residential tower in the city has been given the green light by planners. Court Collaboration’s One Eastside scheme features a 51-storey skyscraper near the new HS2 station at Curzon Street. It will include 667 one and two-bedroom apartments. Anthony McCourt, CEO of Court Collaboration, said: “Birmingham is going through some exciting changes and this ambitious scheme is at the very forefront of modern city living, sustainable design and innovative construction.”

Birmingham-based Elevate Property Group has won permission for Phase III of its ambitious Princes Gate development in Solihull. The first phase of 30 luxury apartments in Consort House is sold out while phase II, 70 apartments in Royal House, is more than 65 per cent sold. Phase III sees a further 60 one and two-bed apartments which will be built on top of an existing two-storey car park. Work on the five-storey building begins early 2020.

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HOMES

VERSATILE LIVING The Gables, Pedmore Guide price: £950,000 Agent: Andrew Grant, tel: 0330 024 3000

A grand and imposing detached family home that’s bursting with original features and loads of living space including a cellar and a garage with games room above. There’s also a separate Coach House that offers versatile family living.

Don’t miss Property of the Week on our Facebook page every Thursday www.facebook.com/bhamliving

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MOTORING

MUSCLE CAR

FACING JANUARY’S FREEZING TEMPERATURES AND TREACHEROUS ROADS, SUE COOKE PICKS A SET OF WHEELS THAT’S UP TO THE JOB magnificently muscular 4x4 is how SsangYong describes the new Rexton. And a bit of muscle is just what you need as you venture back to work facing January’s freezing temperatures and icy roads. I certainly felt a sense of invincibility as I sloshed along flooded tarmac during my week of road testing. I enjoy driving these big SUVs which give a ride height where I can look out over the traffic ahead and be aware of what my next move needs to be. This superiority is boosted by a very upmarket interior which is practical but contemporary and there is an impressive list of technological features which I hadn’t expected. The cabin is trimmed with quilted nappa leather in a luxurious choice of black or ivory. I almost had to reach over to touch the shoulder of my passenger and the wide area gives excellent storage space between the seats.

A

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The advanced infotainment system includes DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features include hill start assist, hill descent control, cruise control and lane departure control. The 3D ‘around view’ monitoring system displayed in HD on a 9.2-inch screen was brilliant for easy parking, despite the size. In fact, once I had hoisted myself into the cabin, I rarely thought about the size of the beast which SsangYong says is one of the strongest in its class. Heated seats and steering wheel were much appreciated as I set out on another long, mainly motorway journey to a car launch. The seats are comfortable, particularly when motorway cruising and acceleration stays progressive when urban driving.

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MOTORING

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: SsangYong Rexton ELX Price: ÂŁ34,000 otr Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel and seven-speed auto Performance: 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 115mph CO2 emissions: 218g/km Combined fuel consumption: 34mpg

inspiration from the spread wings of a bird in flight. High intensity headlamps provided me with fantastic night vision and for safety, a rear spoiler has a high mounted LED stop light. The technology makes the Rexton one of the safest SUVs on the market, with a comprehensive suite of the latest electronic safety aids and up to nine airbags. In front of the driver the information appears like a 3D display. Another gadget but quite ingenious is the turn signal warning which can be set to sound like a cricket! TOWING ABILITY The handling is easily manoeuvrable and steering is agile and in the cabin there is little to be heard from the only engine offered, which is a 2.2-litre turbo diesel. Maximum power is 181PS and there is a choice of sixspeed manual or seven-speed Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission. There have been four generations of the Rexton and SsangYong has made the most of more than 60 years of four-wheel drive specification and a 3.5 tonne towing capability. I like the exterior styling which has a distinctive front grille that SsangYong says takes its

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SKIP RUN If you stand near the back of the car for a few seconds with the smart key the tailgate will pop open automatically which was useful when I was taking my old kitchen doors to the skip. There was a third row of seats in my road test car which my little ones wanted to sit in. They are easily accessed as the second row of seats will double fold. With the second and third row folded completely flat, the rear boot space increases to 1,977 litres. With predicted Arctic blasts, the SsangYong Rexton comes into its own with its proper four-by-four capability, long list of safety technology and the luxurious, spacious and comfortable interior. I

SHOWROOM

Unity Automotive, 324 Station Road, Balsall Common, CV7 7EF. Tel: 01676 533145 www.unityautomotive.co.uk

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GROWING PLACES

BUDDING AUTHOR

ROUND THE WORLD Pupils and staff from Winterfold School were inspired by a talk from George Blakeway, who was a member of the Ha Long Bay Viet Nam, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race team. Pupils learned about the tough conditions encountered during the 30-day race. At the end of the talk, they enjoyed a Q&A session which included questions such as: “Did the team get seasick?”

Cerys Steggles, the winner of Touchwood’s Gordon the Monkey writing competition, was presented with a copy of her winning story in print at the centre. The short story competition challenged children to write a 750word tale about Gordon, its resident monkey. Cerys’s story, Cold Ears, was chosen from nearly 700 entries. She also won £500 for her school. Copies of Cold Ears can be bought from Touchwood’s information desk with proceeds going to Cure Leukaemia.

SCHOOL REPORT

and “Can fish really fly?”

SPECIAL GUEST Students at Matthew Boulton College were joined by Ziauddin Yousafzai – father of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai – at their Student Star of the Month awards. The co-founder of the Malala Fund, which helps girls to gain access into schools, presented students with their prizes and said: “The quality of education is amazing at the college and is a true reflection of Birmingham – in terms of diversity and cultural difference. The students made me proud to be a Brummie!”

WRITE MESSAGE

Award-winning author Alex Wheatle visited Yardleys secondary school where he spoke to 200 pupils aged 12 to 13 about growing up in challenging circumstances and how he learned to cope by writing poetry and songs. Alex was raised in a children’s home which was violent and traumatic but he found that by writing he was able to deal with his emotions and express his frustrations. Each pupil was given a copy of Alex’s book, Liccle Bit, thanks to the BookTrust.

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GROWING PLACES

ENGLAND CHANCE Moreton Hall Sixth Form student Maddie Kennedy has been selected for the U19

achievement for Maddie and I am so pleased for her that national coaches have

LANGAR ON CAMPUS

recognised how talented she is.”

Birmingham City University marked 550

England Lacrosse National Academy which recognises the most promising talent at regional level and offers a direct path into the England National Team set-up. Hollie Harrington, head of lacrosse coaching at Moreton Hall, said: “This is a fantastic

years since the founding of the Sikh religion by serving a free meal to students, staff and members of the public. The university hosted its annual Langar on Campus, which provides a free pop-up community kitchen. Karanjit Kaur, president of the university student union’s Sikh Society, said: “The event was open to all regardless of colour, background or religion.”

TENNIS HOT SHOTS Bromsgrove School’s U16 girls’ tennis team competed in a tense finals match at Tipton Indoor Tennis Centre. Josie Ward and Kelly Lin fought hard but lost to the eventual winners, missing out on qualification for the National Finals by a whisker. Josie and Izzy O’Connor played extremely well, winning both their singles matches as well as their doubles matches together and the team of four finished in the top 16 in the country.

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITHÁ

CLARE MACRO THE HEADMISTRESS AT EDGBASTON HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS ON RUNNING HER FIRST MARATHON, PANIC STATIONS AT CADBURY WORLD AND WHY EVERY CHILD DESERVES TO BE CHALLENGED AND INSPIRED BY THEIR EDUCATION BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I graduated from Oxford in 1994 and have been in education ever since. There simply isn’t a better career. Every child has their hopes and dreams as well as obstacles to overcome and to be part of that journey is very special. IT’S WHAT I DO My role is first and foremost an educator and guide. I recently heard Floyd Woodrow, the renowned leadership and performance coaching expert, speak at a conference and he wanted us to think about our statement of intent that draws us forward and where our internal compass is directed, because if we do not know where we are going and why we are going there we cannot possibly guide the students in our schools. He called this driving force our Super North Star and I believe that my role is to help children identify their Super North Star. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE My ambition is to ensure all pupils who leave Edgbaston High School appreciate the impact that they have on others and particularly the responsibility that they have to give of their time, talents and charity to the wider community. Children should be empowered, inspired and challenged throughout their education so that they leave school fully equipped to succeed in whatever they decide to pursue. BIGGEST SUCCESS I am not the most athletic of people, so my biggest success was completing a marathon 18 months ago. I have enjoyed running recreationally for the last 25 years but did not think that I would have the time or willpower to train for a marathon. After watching on TV Eddie Izzard run 27 marathons in 27 days I was inspired, and I set myself a goal of

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running one before I turned 45. On the day I ran the MK marathon the temperature peaked at 27 degrees and I literally crawled over the finish line. However, the satisfaction of completing it was immense and it was very emotional. BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED Our biggest critics are ourselves and the person most likely to hold you back is yourself. Believing in yourself allows others to believe in you. I posted on Instagram recently a Dr Seuss quote that I think sums up the biggest lesson I have learned: “Always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined.” WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM Having only lived in Birmingham for a short time, I know that there is still plenty to discover. Prior to starting work at Edgbaston High School, my only other encounter with Birmingham was Cadbury World and the association isn’t great as I managed to lose my three-year-old daughter in the attraction for a few heart-stopping moments. I have been surprised by the leafiness and green spaces of Birmingham and the rich heritage that is so prevalent has also been fascinating to learn about. DOWNTIME I still like to run and will perhaps contemplate a second marathon before I am 50 (just to see if I can run it faster). I also love walking and am looking forward to hiking some of the beautiful hills and countryside surrounding Birmingham. I always have plenty of books on the go, but more often than not end up sinking in front of the television with my family and watching shows like Killing Eve, The Capture and Strictly Come Dancing. I also love to watch cricket and am thrilled that my school is so close to Edgbaston Cricket ground. I

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ing livBUSINESS

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KAT & CO AESTHETICS WE TALK TO THE WOMAN BEHIND THE COSMETIC CLINIC SETTING NEW STANDARDS OF TREATMENT AT THE HEART OF THE MEDICAL QUARTER – AND REVEAL HER BIG PLANS TO GROW IN 2020

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COMPANY TO WATCH

aking lives beautiful is the mission of CC Kat and her team at Kat & Co Aesthetics in Edgbaston. The skin, laser and cosmetic surgery clinic on the Calthorpe Estate offers a wide range of aesthetic treatments including both surgical and non-surgical procedures. And as more women, and men, seek out the clinic’s expertise, CC has seen her business grow to become a major force in the industry – so much so that there are big plans to expand the services offered in 2020 with further state-of-the-art treatments and more specialist additions to the staff. For some the image of the industry is coloured by the excesses of celebrity culture (big boobs, bums, lips… and so on) and sobering reality TV shows like Botched. Even CC herself says: “The industry is exploding and this can invite a lot of practitioners who are not – let me chose my words carefully here – as honest about what they do.” Reputation, quality and care are the bywords of her clinic.

away was added “primarily because it had a large car park and we desperately needed somewhere where our growing number of clients could park”.

WELL-BEING “My motivation and that of my team is to make a life beautiful – and that isn’t necessarily about physical beauty. Often very minor things can impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence. Something as small as removing a mole makes a huge difference to that person’s well-being.” Kat & Co is a real Birmingham success story located in the heart of the city’s world-class Medical Quarter. It has been listed in Tatler’s Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery Guide – the cosmetic surgery power list –in 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Times has also listed CC as one of the top breast surgeons in the UK. “It’s nice to get the recognition,” she said, “but success for me is not measured in awards but the fact that what I do touches and improves people’s lives.” As a consultant specialising in breast reconstruction at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, CC took the plunge and set up her own clinic in just two rooms in Sherbourne Street in 2008 in a move that she says was ‘unusual’ at the time for being outside of London. “Within four years, the clinic needed more space and we added a unit across the road which became our first operating theatre,” said CC. A year later, an old GP’s clinic 50 yards

The four-storey Edwardian building houses a team of medical aesthetics practitioners, skin therapists, consultant dermatologist and consultant gynaecologist. Facilities include operating theatre, laser treatment room, skin therapy rooms, recovery areas and consultation rooms. The clinic also forms the administrative hub of the practice and provides a full range of plastic surgical treatments that includes breast surgeries, facial rejuvenation and body contouring.

M

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BIG MOVE In 2018, CC made the decision that they needed bigger, purpose-made premises and the deal was done to move to 20 Calthorpe Road. She says: I have been very lucky, I’ve had a few good breaks. I had really good training, word got out that I was a perfectionist and being a woman it was easier for women who needed help to relate to a female plastic surgeon.”

DENTAL PLANS “People have different needs in different phases of their lives,” said CC “Our holistic approach means we can provide what is best for the patient, from basic skin care to complex surgical procedures.” Plans for 2020 include launching cosmetic dental clinics, expanding the operating theatre and anaesthesia team and additional plastic surgeons specialising in specific areas of surgery. The practice’s well woman clinic has been selected by ProFaM, a ground-breaking procedure to enable women to preserve fertility and provide the option to postpone naturally the menopause and its symptoms. CC said: “We have proved that quality medicine does not have to be situated in Harley Street – we have women from London, from all over the UK and the world coming right here to Birmingham.” I

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BUSINESS

BIRTHDAY TREATS An aromatherapy and Holistic treatment expert has celebrated the first anniversary of opening her specialist treatment rooms at Nailcote Hall. Elizabeth Anne, who uses aromatic essential oils and natural ingredients to provide tailored treatments that promote health and well-being, said: “It’s been a wonderful first 12 months and there are some very exciting expansion plans for 2020.”

BUSINESS

NEWS

EX-JAG BOSS HEADS CHARITY

Cure Leukaemia has appointed former MD of Jaguar UK, Geoff Cousins, as its new chairman. The announcement was made at an event at Lord’s Cricket Ground attended by England football manager Gareth Southgate which celebrated Deutsche Bank’s £2million national partnership with the Birmingham-based charity. Geoff, pictured above left, will help guide Cure Leukaemia from a regional charity to a national organisation investing £3million over a three-year period, funding clinical positions at 12 UK blood cancer centres.

DOCUMENTARY AWARD A Birmingham journalist, broadcaster and lecturer has landed a top award for

SIKH ACCOLADE

challenges facing women from African-

Birmingham financier Paul Bassi has been

Caribbean backgrounds.

commended for his contribution to business by

Marverine Duffy, who leads four

the Sikh community at a presentation in

undergraduate degree courses at

London. The event marked the 550th celebration of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak and was co-hosted by the Sikh Network, Sikh Federation (UK) and Dr Onkar Sahota, member of the London Assembly, in collaboration with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The former West Midlands’ High Sheriff is CEO of Real Estate Investors plc and chairman of Bond Wolfe in the West Midlands.

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her work in uncovering mental health

Birmingham City University, was named Journalist of the Year at the Mind Media Awards in recognition of her BBC Radio 4 documentary, Black Girls Don’t Cry. The documentary discusses how black women are more likely to face the challenges of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and OCD.

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HOTEL CHANGES Malmaison Birmingham has appointed two new senior managers alongside

PREMIER DEAL

the launch of its all-new MalBox at the Mailbox. Emma Morgan is the new general manager, with Luke Gallimore as her deputy. The duo has already set the tone for their 2020 business growth by transforming the existing deli and

Birmingham civil and structural engineering

bar space in the Mailbox’s Urban Room into the brand-new MalBox food and

consultancy CWA has boosted its sponsorship of

beverage service delivered by the hotel.

Premiership rugby side Wasps. CWA’s logo appears on the back of Wasps players’ shirts for domestic and European fixtures and the consultancy also has full partnership branding in the club’s Ricoh Arena home. CWA was previously a hospitality member and director

INTERNATIONAL HONOUR Elmhurst Ballet School’s performance enhancement coach, Nico Kolokythas, received the Dance Educator Award at the International Association for Dance Medicine and

Dave Copeland said the company was delighted to be

Science (IADMS) conference in Canada, acknowledging

increasing its support.

his work and research in the field of dance science and education. Nico said: “This has been a team effort, so I would like to thank Elmhurst Ballet School, University of Wolverhampton, the teachers, the students, and all of the practitioners who continue to work with me.”

FIONA ON BOARD

SEW CONFIDENT

West Midlands Growth Company

(WMGC) has appointed Fiona Allen, artistic director and chief executive of Birmingham Hippodrome and Dr Jason Wouhra, director of East End Foods to chair two of its boards. Fiona, pictured, has become chair for the Regional Board for Tourism overseeing the region’s delivery of its £1billion Tourism Strategy, while Jason will chair a new West

LANDING A DOUBLE

Midlands India Partnership.

The UK’s only sewing tuition franchise has opened its first Birmingham studio to help people sew – and de-stress and socialise at the same time. Sew Confident teaches everything from making your own coat or jeans to quilts and home furnishings. Key is making the experience fun, rewarding and stress-free. The studio is at Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter and classes can be booked online at www.sewconfident.com/sewing-classes-in-birmingham

Birmingham Airport has been crowned UK Best Airport – two nights running! First it received the Airport Operators Association (AOA) UK Best Large Airport award voted for by airlines. Then 24 hours later at the British Travel Awards, Birmingham received the Gold award for Best Airport in the large airport category, ahead of Manchester and Gatwick. Votes were cast by consumers over the summer months. FLYING HIGH: Delighted airport CEO Nick Barton

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BUSINESS

BUSINESS BITES

TAILOR-MADE MOVE

BANK TITLE

A Birmingham tailor has relocated to larger premises to meet growing demand for bespoke menswear. Colmore Tailors has moved to Cheltenham House, Temple Street. Launched by Scott Caddick, who cut his cloth in a spare bedroom in Lichfield five years ago, Colmore Tailors works with fabric suppliers in England and Italy and has a relationship with nearby premium shoe retailer Crockett & Jones. Scott’s company has featured on TV show, the Wedding Fixers.

HOME HIRE A lawyer specialising in sales and purchases of new homes has been recruited to join Thursfields Solicitors’ residential property team. Siân Birkett, pictured right with senior associate and head of new home Louise Jones, has worked in the property sector since 2013 and has been appointed as a solicitor in the law firm’s Solihull office, from

CUT ABOVE FOR KIDS

HSBC UK, based in Birmingham, has won the title of Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year – Large Category at the National Dementia Friendly Awards. HSBC customer experience manager Anna Inman collected the award at the London ceremony.

FINDING FORT

The Fort shopping park has unveiled two new retailers. The UK’s largest branch of Superdrug – complete with new nail and brow bars – and Sports Direct join 40-plus stores and restaurants already at the site.

BALL BONANZA

Ronald McDonald House Charities raised an incredible £250,000 at its annual ball which marked 10 years of Ronald McDonald House operating in Birmingham. More than 600 people attended the event at the Hilton Metropole.

where she will also cover Birmingham.

A vegan hair salon for kids has opened at Edgbaston Village. Lion Zen is a bespoke hair and beauty salon exclusively for children and is one of the first of its kind in the UK. The eco-friendly salon at Islington Row offers haircuts, pamper sessions and beauty packages. Owner Victoria Foster aims to reduce the anxiety children feel during a trip to the hairdressers with part of the salon transformed into a jungle, complete with zebra, lion and elephant chairs.

TAKE A SEAT A Midlands law firm’s new state-of-the art workspace has provided a boost for two good causes. Higgs & Sons turned to refurbishment specialists Overbury to refit their Waterfront HQ in Brierley Hill. The transformation left Higgs with a surplus of desks, chairs, drawer pedestals, carpet tiles and stationery which they donated to Resonance and Just Be A Child. Resonance is a new higher education provider for the music business at Cable Plaza, while Just Be A Child is a charity that inspires Kenyan children to read.

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MEDIA AWARDS HELD AT THE HOLTE SUITE

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he Midlands Media Awards welcomed 225 guests to the Holte Suite, Villa Park. The awards, now in their 18th year, recognise the achievements of the region’s journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers. Media personalities Bob Warman and Llewela Bailey hosted the evening and headline sponsor was Bobby Singh, founder of Love Your Postcode.com. Other event supporters were Wing Wah Group, HSBC UK and Digbeth Dining Club. Winner of the Newspaper of the Year (Daily) category was the Express & Star, while the Staffordshire Newsletter won the Weekly Newspaper award. I

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1 Wei Geng, Jacky Lo, Brian Doogan, Dr Dorian Chan, Fred Bromwich, Dr Jiayu Jiang, Shu Wang. 2 Julie and Mike Lockley, Sue Green. 3 Stacey Barnfield, John Duckers, Zoe Chamberlain, Adam Fradgley. 4 Martin Wright receives the Newspaper of the Year trophy from headline sponsor Bobby Singh. 5 Helen Hoddinott, Diana Peasey. 6 Dean Williams, Sarah Jolley. 7 Toby Neal, Shropshire Star, receives the President’s Award from Bob Warman. 8 Laurie Upshon, Keith Wilkinson, Mark Gough, Daniel Pallett. 9 Jack Brabant, Danni Page, Krupa Brabant, Harry Jenkins.

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Pictures: Ian Tennant

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Charity fund-raiser adds to £1million tally for cancer unit adies Fighting Breast Cancer hosted a fundraising evening at Henry Wong restaurant in Harborne. Since 2000, the Midlands charity has given more than £1million to the cancer unit of Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital which has helped fund new medical equipment and create a centre of excellence. The evening was supported by Ruinart Champagne and guests enjoyed a variety of fabulous fizz and food. I

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1 Maureen Munnelly, Donna Stroud, Margaret Hayes. 2 Ron and Maggie Atkinson, Tony Pearson. 3 Hannah Whitaker, Nicole James, Julie Guest, Debbie Raggett. 4 Veronica Kumeta, Mikey John Knight, Trish Kennedy. 5 Lyn Jones, Judy London. 6 Jim Shipley, Peter London. 7 Pat Murphy Wright, Parm Rai, Jemma Leeson. 8 Dee Mattoo, Dawn Jones, Eden Craddock, Lisa Naylor. 9 Yen Sehdeva, Jenni Byrom, Roopy Sunner, Debbie Raggett

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Photography by Jas Sansi

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BOOK LAUNCH SIGNALS CRIME THRILLER FINALE

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Authors, fans and VIPs attend event for last chapter of series inspired by Brum

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rime-writer AA Abbott, also known as Helen Blenkinsop, launched the fifth and final book in her action-packed Trail series at an event at Bottega Prosecco Bar and Restaurant, Arena Birmingham. AA Abbott’s love for Birmingham became the inspiration for the Trail series and the event was attended by fans of the books, local authors and VIPs. There was also a Q&A with the author, hosted by Brum Hour’s David Massey, readings and a book signing. Action in the Final Trail takes place across the city and features the Rose Villa Tavern and 1,000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter. I

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1 David Muir Etheridge, Judith Weir, Pat Spence, Annette Etheridge. 2 Pat Spence, AA Abbott. 3 Anita Mann, Samantha Lyster. 4 Punam Farmah, Chris and Edna Hills. 5 Mary Tibbett, Ali Aelsey, Phil Stubbs. 6 Sheila Kelly-Trow, Angoora Begum, Julia Greensall. 7 AA Abbott, David Massey.

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HENRY WONG HELPS MILITARY FAMILIES 2

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Restaurant takes total raised for QE’s Fisher House to impressive £50,000 enry Wong restaurant hosted another charity evening and helped raise funds for Fisher House, the ‘home away from home’ for military patients and their families at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. An incredible £9,500 was raised on the night and Mike Hammond, chief executive of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, presented the restaurant with a certificate for raising £50,000 for Fisher House to date. I

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1 Mike and Avril Adams, Sue and Nigel Hood. 2 Maureen and David Mackay, Val and Malcolm Cathcart. 3 Ricky Wu, Marianne Liu, Mike Hammond. 4 Rosie Mayer, Adam Andrew Hayes. 5 Sarbjit and Sareena Jagait. 6 Ben Handley, Annabelle Davis. 7 Daljit Jagait with mixologist Swani. 8 Sue Hood, Avril Adams, Jayne Peplow, Helen Bradley. 9 Carol and Clare Webster, Tallis Dove. Photography by Jas Sansi

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ON THE BOULE TEAMS RAISE CHARITY CASH

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Fancy that! Players dress the part to boost Property For Kids

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ore than 180 people from the West Midlands commercial property and construction sectors raised over ÂŁ9,000 for charity at in a boules tournament. The event at Harborne Cricket Club boosted the coffers of Property For Kids, which raises money for disadvantaged children across the region. Players wore fancy dress for the tournament, which saw 46 teams take part. Main sponsors were CoStar and Sylter, with Greek Outdoors supplying catering. The tournament was won by Knight Frank. I

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1 Barques. 2 Property For Kid’s Charlotte Fullard and Rupert Young with the winning Knight Frank team. 3 Willmott Dixon Interiors. 4 Rider Levett Bucknall ladies. 5 Rider Levett Bucknall men. 6 Bulleys. 7 mac group. 8 Faithful + Gould.

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Annual Midlands seminar attracts 160 delegates and hears eco-friendly message record-breaking 160 delegates from the residential and commercial property and real estate sectors attended the annual property seminar hosted by regional law firm Lodders Solicitors. Keynote speaker was Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director of the Deeley Group, who explained that the real estate industry must change its focus on building to one with a greater ecofriendly mind-set. Other speakers included Dr Lucy Greenwood, associate director in residential research and consultancy at Savills; Derek Stebbing of Strutt & Parker and George Campion, non-executive chairman at Lodders. I

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1 Michelle MIlls, Tom Bromwich, Martin Green, Martin Elliott. 2 Josy Haigh, Jeff Downes, David MacMullen. 3 Dr Lucy Greenwood, Alastair Frew, David Lowe, George Campion, Eleanor Deeley, Derek Stebbing. 4 John Lowe, Jane Senior, Elaine Shoosmith. 5 Chris Brown, Alexis Nicholls, Warren Bolton. 6 James Shelley, Graham Jones, Alistair Clark. 7 Andrew Dickens, Paul Mourton, Rod Bird. 8 Steven Baker, Tim Cox, Maxwell Reader. 9 Jonathan Wish, Nathan McLaughlin, Richard Doffman. 10 Paul Twyneham, Pete Clarke, Russell Spencer.

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WHAT: The Bodyguard WHEN: 21 January to 1 February WHERE: The Alexandra Theatre, tel: 0844 8713011 www.atgtickets.com/birmingham This fantastic show features a whole host of irresistible classics including One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, and one of the greatest hit songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.

WHAT: Crocodile Rock Party with Jimmy Love WHEN: 31 January WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk Enjoy the top UK tribute to the ‘Rocket Man’ of pop, the one and only Sir Elton John with all his hits to keep you dancing. Ticket price includes a three-course meal and entertainment.

WHAT: The Boy in the Dress WHEN: Now until 8 March WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, tel: 01789 403493 www.rsc.org.uk Dennis is 12 years old and his school football team's star striker. But what do you do if you like both football and dresses? David Walliams’ heart-warming comedy about celebrating difference is brought to the stage for the first time in a musical with all new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers.

WHAT: Swan Lake

WHAT: Rob Beckett – Wallop

WHEN: 29 January to 4 April

WHEN: 6 and 7 February

WHERE: Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham

WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome,

Hippodrome, www.brb.org.uk

www.birminghamhippodrome.com

Ballet’s greatest love story returns in this lavish production that tells the romantic fable of ill-fated passion, powerfully illuminated by Tchaikovsky’s legendary score.

Rob is back on tour with a brand new stand up show. It’s been a busy few years for the Mouth of the South and he’s coming to see you to fill you in and make you laugh.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: An Audience with Simon Reeve WHEN: 12 and 13 February WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel: 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk From being chased by pirates, hounded by the KGB and bombed by Colombian barons, Simon has travelled through over 120 countries and his BBC documentaries have sold to over 60 countries around the world! This is a fascinating, educational and inspirational show.

WHAT: The Vicar of Dibley

WHAT: Anton & Erin

WHEN: 25 January to 1 February

WHEN: 25 January

WHERE: Crescent Theatre,

WHERE: Symphony Hall,

www.crescent-theatre.co.uk

box office 0121 345 0600

The hilarious TV sitcom arrives with a special adaption for the stage. When the church of St Barnabus, in the fictional parish of Dibley, finds itself without a vicar, the peace is duly shattered as a battle of wills ensues between the new vicar and the head of the parish council.

www.thsh.co.uk The nation’s favourite ballroom stars are back with their brand-new show for 2020 as they dance those magical movies. Expect a Hollywood red carpet premiere performance with thrilling live vocals from TV favourite Lance Ellington.

WHAT: The Script WHEN: 28 February WHERE: Resorts World Arena, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The Irish rock band, fronted by The Voice’s Daniel O'Donoghue, are back in Birmingham and this should be one hell of a night. The support act is Birmingham Living cover girl, Becky Hill.

WHAT: The Pussycat Dolls WHEN: 8 April WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The era defying, chart-topping, button-pushing, mega-group are back! The girls will be performing together for the first time in over a decade, bringing their smash hits back to life with their iconic dance routines and showstopping vocals.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: The National Running Show WHEN: 25 and 26 January WHERE: NEC, www.nationalrunningshow.com The National Running Show is the UK’s biggest independent running exhibition, with all the kit, tech, nutrition, advice, inspiration and races you need to plan your running season!

WHAT: AC/DC UK

WHAT: Peter Pan

WHEN: 31 January

WHEN: Now until 19 January

WHERE: The Mill Digbeth, www.themilldigbeth.com

WHERE: Birmingham Rep, Birmingham Rep,

Having spent the last several years touring the UK and Europe, these guys have established themselves as one of the finest tribute acts around with all of the legendary ACDC trademarks on show.

tel: 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk Following last year's acclaimed retelling of The Wizard Of Oz, director Liam Steel brings the classic Peter Pan story into the twenty-first century. This new Birmingham-set version will make you fall in love with the family favourite all over again.

WHAT: The Naughty Fox WHEN: 7 February WHERE: Mac Birmingham, tel: 0121 446 3232 macbirmingham.co.uk Snuggle up with comfy creatures: Honk, Splash and TaWit TaWoo as they teach The Naughty Fox a very important lesson: it's better to share. Feel your way through the immersive, multisensory journey of friendship and play for little ones and their grown-ups.

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WHAT: We Got Rhythm with CBSO WHEN: 2 February WHERE: Town Hall, tel: 0121 780 3333 www.cbso.co.uk/whats-on If you can hit it, crash it, smash it or beat it, then the CBSO’s incredible percussion section can turn it into pure musical energy. An explosively fun concert for all the family, with a chance to get hands-on too.

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WHAT’S ON WHAT: Chinese New Year WHEN: 25 January WHERE: Various throughout the region It’s Year of the Rat and Birmingham’s annual Chinese New Year celebration is always special with special events in the Southside District of the city with lion dances, funfair rides, street food and a host of traditional entertainment.

WHAT: Deno WHEN: 30 January WHERE: Birmingham O2 Institute www.academymusicgroup.com/ o2institutebirmingham Inspired by the likes of The Weeknd and Akon, Deno is the viral R&B sensation taking over the scene and he’s now set for his first ever headline tour. Age Restrictions: +14 and under 16s need a guardian.

WHAT: Ed Byrne: If I’m Honest... WHEN: 30 January WHERE: Town Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk Join Ed as he presents his brand-new masterclass in observational comedy and takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has any traits that are worth passing on to his children.

WHAT: Jive Talkin’ perform The Bee Gees WHEN: 1 February WHERE: The Old Rep, www.oldreptheatre.co.uk A cracking night and a great opportunity to hear all the great Bee Gees hits from one of the very best tribute show acts around. An explosion of music and vocal harmony, and a night not to be missed!

WHAT: The Gift WHEN: 18 to 25 January WHERE: Belgrade Theatre, tel: 024 7655 3055 www.belgrade.co.uk Set in both 1852 and the present day, the outrageously funny play explores themes of cross-racial adoption and cultural appropriation, partly inspired by the remarkable true story of Sarah Bonetta Davies, a young African girl who was adopted by Queen Victoria and raised in the Queen’s circles.

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IN THE CITY WITH RAKEEM OMAR OF BBC WM

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I am a BBC WM presenter with my own show every Tuesday evening from 7pm to 9pm. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? I live in north Birmingham so there is a variety of public transportation that easily gets me into town. Once I have arrived it’s just a quick walk into the Mailbox to get to BBC Birmingham. IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN? Birmingham is amazing to live and work in. It’s a large city but not too big, so it’s easy to commute into and move around in. It’s a diverse place too with nearly half the population represented by those from an ethnic minority background. We also have one of the youngest populations in the nation. There are lots of green spaces, canals and we have great food from various communities. Why wouldn’t you want to work here? Brum is where it’s at!

WHERE IT’S AT:

Why wouldn’t you want

to live in Birmingham, asks Rakeem?

COFFEE BREAK? I’m a big fan of small and independent coffee shops. There are so many to choose from in the city whether you’re having an off-site meeting or catching up with friends. 200 Degrees tops the list currently for me. LUNCHTIME? I’m probably just cheap but I like to cook the majority of my lunches at home first. I have been a pescetarian for more than two years now and sometimes going out for an inexpensive lunch with options can be difficult. So I’ve resulted to stashing those coins and cooking a few meals here or there. But some great places to eat include Mexican-inspired Tortilla and Caribbean restaurant Aunt Sally’s. Both have great options for those who aren’t meat-eaters. POWERWALKING? Sandwell Valley Country Park holds a lot of memories for me growing up. You’re surrounded by woodlands, streams, ponds and a farm. I’ve gone back there a few times just to think and be still. It’s a beautiful place. WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY? I love north Birmingham. There are so many green spaces. Sometimes living in a city can feel congested and these are great in allowing for a sense of escape. Completely opposite is industrial Digbeth, which I also love. There are always so many great events hosted here like TRPHSE, Caribbean vegan restaurant Earth’s Kitchen and the creative heart of the city, the Impact Hub. AFTERWORK PINT? There are so many to choose from… but Mellow’s bar and the Alchemist are great options. HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? Currently Birmingham is going through a massive redevelopment. Areas and communities are seeing change they have never witnessed before. One of the things that Birmingham needs is better infrastructure. So many young creative people passionate about the arts believe that they have to go to the likes of London or Manchester to thrive. One of the major reasons for this is the difference in organisational structures and support. I just want other young people like myself and the next generations to continue to see themselves shine in the city that made them.

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Profile for Birmingham Living Magazine

January issue 2020 (issue 88)  

January issue 2020 (issue 88)  

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