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June 2019

TENNIS IS SERVED

NATURE VALLEY CLASSIC

FULL STEAM AHEAD

TOP CHEF MATT DAVIES

VINTAGE TRAINS WET, WET, WET SUMMER BEACHWEAR

CONSERVATOIRE FOLK ENSEMBLE

ALI BASTIAN THE DOCTORS STAR LOVING LIFE IN BRUM

+TATTU, GEORGE GOODWIN, GIANLUCA AUSTIN-RIZZO, TONKOTSU


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EDITOR’S VIEW

S

ure sign summer is well and truly here when the world’s top players come to Brum to play tennis as God intended – on grass. Edgbaston Priory Club hosts the Nature Valley Classic tournament later this month with stars, including defending champion Petra Kvitova, world number one Naomi Osaka and British number one Johanna Konta, competing for the prestigious WTA event title. They will use the week to ‘re-connect’ with playing on grass and the vagaries of the British weather prior to heading to Wimbledon at the start of July. They’ll be hoping, along with the fans, for a few weeks of perfect sunshine – though maybe not the absolute scorcher that was summer 2018. (I know we always moan about the weather, but really that was just way too hot!) Talking about the weather… there were some interesting stats released recently that show Britain’s changing climate – warmer winters, hotter summers – is leading more of us than ever to holiday here rather than abroad. Evidence of the millions now choosing staycations can be seen by the big drop in bookings experienced by troubled foreign holiday companies such as Thomas Cook. In the true spirit of flaming June, this month’s issue has a decidedly summery feel about it, whether you’re planning to holiday in Blighty or Barbados! Our Style section features the hottest swimwear looks for the beach or pool. While the Health pages give expert advice and tips on how to enjoy the summer sun safely. Even our food and drink features have a bit of a summer ‘fizz’ feel about them. So, enjoy the sun and the tennis, and whatever else you’re doing this month...

s n h o J d i Dav

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

/bhamliving

FINALIST

Ali Bastian

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

Ali Bastian

TV Doctors star on life in Brum, awards ceremonies and crafting through the quiet times

Power of Folk The 100-strong Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble – the UK’s biggest folk band

Food & Drink Michelin-listed chef Matt Davies in focus, plus this month’s best summer eats and drinks

Beach Style The only rule when choosing the hottest new swimwear is… there are no rules!

Health Beat the ‘Big Burn’ with our top guide to lapping up the sun, safely

Homes Award-winning Lisa Melvin tells us what’s hot in the world of bathroom design

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CONTENTS

Best of the Rest

60 64 66 69 78 82 june 2019

Young, Gifted and Brummie

Top triathlete George Goodwin talks training, brutal winters and world title ambitions

Up Close WithÁ Dharmesh Rajput, head of cinema at this month’s Birmingham Indian Film Festival

Vintage Trains All aboard as we join the Birmingham company bringing steam back to the UK mainline

Business News from the commercial community, including a Royal honour for Warwick Music Group

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

In The City With Best Front of House award nominee, Gianluca Austin-Rizzo of Simpsons

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NEWS

YOUR CHANCE TO FEEL PEAKY The world’s first official Peaky Blinders escape rooms are set to open in Birmingham. The hit TV show’s production company has agreed a deal with a Midlands-based Escape Live to bring the Peaky Blinders experience to the drama’s home city later this year – with plans to expand across the UK. Jas Sodhi, MD at Escape Live, said: “We have acquired a

NEWS

new property which will be the home of the new experiences and fits the series perfectly.”

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

IT’S A RUM DO

Birmingham Rum Festival is back at the Cuban Embassy for a fourth year over the weekend of 29 and 30 June. The festival will feature many new rums and brands as well as seasoned classics with experts and distillers on hand to answer questions and take feedback. There’ll also be a new menu of Signature Cocktails to sample, along with exotic street food and live Latin, Reggaeton, Salsa and Reggae music. More details: https://birminghamrumfestival.com

MUSIC CHAMPION More than 50 musicians from across the globe competed in the Bromsgrove International Young Musicians’ Competition. Over 300 guests watched as 23-year-old percussionist Hyungi Lee, pictured, performed pieces by Bach, Piazzolla, Sejourne and Ignatowicz on the marimba to scoop the top prize of £6,000. Competition chairman Ian Morris said: “This year we welcomed musicians of more than 20 different nationalities flying in from as far afield as Chicago in the US.”

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NEWS

TASTY TREAT SWINGTIME AT THE HALL The sounds of swing and jive will be heard across the grounds of Ragley Hall this month as the Warwickshire stately home hosts Swingtime in the Gardens. More than a dozen vocalists and bands have been confirmed for the festival on Saturday 15 June, including Britain’s Got Talent six-piece band the Jives and the Satin Dollz, pictured. The interactive event includes free workshops in ticket prices.

IN BRIEF £32M, OWZAT? Birmingham will get a £32million economic boost from hosting five of this summer’s Cricket World Cup matches at Edgbaston, according to analysis carried out for the England and Wales Cricket Board by global accountancy firm EY.

SUPPER TIME The Butchers Social bar and restaurant, Henley-in-Arden has teamed up with Harvey Nichols to hold the Great British Supper Club on Thursday 27 June at the Mailbox store. The one-off event will champion the best of British produce.

BACH BOOST Birmingham Bach Choir has appointed famed British baritone Roderick Williams as its new patron. He takes on the role as part of the choir’s year-long centenary celebrations. Roderick was awarded the OBE for services to music in June 2017.

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SIMON ADDS SPICE TO FESTIVAL Sunday Brunch presenter Simon Rimmer will show off his cooking skills to visitors to the UK’s biggest food and drink festival this month. The TV cook and restaurateur has been added to the starstudded line-up of chefs appearing at the Foodies Festival at Cannon Hills Park on 21, 22 and 23 June. He said: “I’m very excited to be joining exceptionally talented chefs in what’s set to be the best summer food festival yet.” More details: www.foodiesfestival.com

HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR

Hungry? Colmore Food Festival in Victoria Square could be just the ticket. This year’s festival, sponsored by law firm DWF on Friday and Saturday, 5 and 6 July, will be the biggest yet with more venues than ever taking part. Mouthwatering menus include a Frozen Strawberry and Clotted Cream Sandwich from Adams and the Pint Shop’s Dirty Burger. The annual celebration of the district’s eateries, bars and cafés attracts more than 30,000 visitors.

Hollywood is coming to Birmingham. The Botanical Gardens will be the setting for Edward’s Trust’s Hollywood-themed 30th anniversary ball on Saturday 5 October. Trust chief executive Yvonne Gilligan said: “We are very excited to be holding our ball at the Gardens in this momentous year. It costs £580,000 for Edward’s Trust to provide bereavement services to the thousands of families we support each year. We rely on fundraising events such as this.” Tickets from https://edwardstrust.org.uk/et-ball/

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NEWS

STAGE BREAK Forty talented local young performers beat off 1,000 rivals to win a coveted

STARRING ROLES: Kamilla Fernandes, Matthew Pandya, Alex Cooke, Olivia Allen, Gibsa Bah, Ruby Hewitt and

place on stage at Birmingham Hippodrome. They fought their way

Carter Smith. (Picture by Olivia Ahmadi)

through auditions to appear in the theatre’s first home-grown youth production – a new version of West Side Story – from 29 to 31 August. Hippodrome chief executive Fiona Allan said: “It is fitting that we are marking the theatre’s 120th birthday by funding a major new production, giving back to young people in our community.”

JUNK OR JACKPOT?

You know that old vase that you’ve always thought was worth a fortune? Or the diamond bracelet passed down from great-great-grandma Matilda? Now’s your chance to sort junk from jackpot when Fiona Bruce brings BBC’s Antiques Roadshow to Compton Verney on 2 July. Producer Robert Murphy said: ““We can’t wait to see what treasures and cherished objects will emerge from the people’s attic at Compton Verney.” Entry is free.

PROM AND SONG LAUNCH The Birmingham Prom and City of Birmingham Orchestra Song Festival for mass voices will mark the opening this month of Green Heart – 12 acres of stunning parkland space in the centre of the University of Birmingham campus. Led by the University of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Festival Voices and alumni singers, the Prom

LIBRARY UP FOR DESIGN AWARD The stunning £42million University of Birmingham main campus library has been named in the final four of a prestigious national design awards. The SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Design Awards celebrate the very best in library design in the UK and Ireland. The library was designed by Mailbox-based Associated Architects, who featured in Birmingham Living’s business pages earlier this year. The award winner will be revealed in November.

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on 8 June is free to attend. The CBSO Song Festival the following day will be led by CBSO music director Mirga Gražinyt-Tyla, pictured.

DYLAN IN THE FRAME A new collection of 12 limited edition graphics by Bob Dylan was unveiled in Birmingham. The Beaten Path series went on show at Castle Fine Art galleries in the ICC and Mailbox. The collection follows the music legend on tour across the US. Each framed limited edition graphic has been hand-signed. Paul Watson of Castle Fine Art said: “We feel privileged to have unveiled these graphics here in Birmingham.” Prices start from £2,100.

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NEWS

CLASSIC MATCH-UP

The strongest line-up of women tennis players ever seen in the 38-year history of the Nature Valley Classic will compete for the 2019 title on the grass courts at Edgbaston Priory Club this month. They will be led by world number one Naomi Osaka, pictured, and number two and defending champion Petra Kvitova. Joining them will be British number one Johanna Konta. The WTA International tournament takes place from 15 to 23 June. More details at www.edgbastonpriory.com

ANNIE COMES TO TOWN Picture by Matt Crockett

A stunning new production of the musical Annie

will open at Birmingham Hippodrome next month with West End actress Jodie Prenger in the

NOW SHOWING IN THE GARDEN

starring role of Miss Hannigan. Jodie is best

Calling all movie lovers! Open-air cinema nights are returning to Birmingham this

known for winning the role of Nancy in Cameron

summer. Blockbusters, from old classics to 2019 Oscar winners, will be screened in

Mackintosh’s West End production of Oliver!

the grounds of the Botanical Gardens from 15 August to 13 September. Movies

through the BBC TV series I’d Do Anything. She

include Bohemian Rhapsody, which won four Oscars this year, A Star Is Born, Pulp

has appeared in a number of West End hits and

Fiction and Jurassic Park – both celebrating 25 years since their release – and

is a regular BBC radio presenter. Annie runs from

musicals Grease and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

SUNSET WALK

Tuesday 23 July to Sunday 11 August.

John Taylor Hospice is inviting people to join a new summer walk to help raise funds for its care and support services. The 10k Sunset Walk on Saturday 20 July at Sutton Park will open with entertainment to get walkers in the party spirit. Each will be presented with a medal at the finishing line and be invited to toast their achievement at a sparkling fizz after-party at Sutton Town Hall. Details at www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk/sunsetwalk or call 0121 728 6739.

GOT ANY NEWS? Email your news and pictures to editor@brumliving.co.uk 12 birmingham living

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COVER STORY

CREATIVE CONTROL SOAP STAR ALI BASTIAN TALKS TO SHELLEY CARTER ABOUT

LIFE IN BRUM, AWARDS CEREMONIES, FAMILY SUPPORT AND CRAFTING THROUGH THE QUIET TIMES f you have any preconceptions about soap stars leave them here because Ali Bastian isn’t that. The Doctors actress formerly of Hollyoaks and The Bill fame is warm, clever, insightful, grounded, thoughtful and slightly awkward – in the very best of ways. More likely to be crafting pots out of cement or walking her dogs in the Lickey Hills than courting paparazzi, Ali is a breath of fresh air. Having said that, she likes a red carpet shindig as much as the next girl and is thrilled to be nominated in the Best Actress category at this year’s Soap Awards later this month for her role as practice manager Becky Clark in BBC soap Doctors. Ali said: “I haven’t been to the soap awards for years, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s a huge celebration.” An opportunity to catch up with old chums too.

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SETTLING IN NICELY As a recent starter on Doctors – which has received multiple nominations this year, including Brummies Laura Rollins and Ashley Rice – Ali lives in Birmingham Monday to Friday for filming and is in London at the weekend. She said: “It’s a new bunch of actors and a challenging role, so I feel like I’m finding my feet. We have a fantastic crew and although it’s a bit of a cliché it is like a big family.” Previous practice manager Lorna Laidlaw gave Ali

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the lowdown on Brum and the best places to see, eat and drink, although this isn’t Ali’s first time working in the city. She says: “I’ve really good memories of Birmingham. I came here for Agatha Christie at the New Alex and Chicago when I stayed in the city centre. This time I’m settled further out close to the Lickey Hills which I didn’t even know existed. I have two dogs so it’s great for walking. Culturally, Birmingham is brimming too.” DREAM WEDDING Ali’s husband, actor David O’Mahony, helped her settle in but he’s back in the capital now. She explained: “He’s started in Mamma Mia, so he’s anchored to London, but it was lovely to spend a bit of time here while I settled.” Their wedding earlier this year was a star-studded affair in London followed by a dreamy honeymoon in the Maldives. Ali recalled: “We’d spent a lot of time planning, dreaming and imagining what it would be. It was such a good day.” Growing up in Berkshire, Ali knew exactly what she wanted to be. She begged her mum to take her to dance and drama classes and loved it so much that she attended drama school full-time for a few years. “I always knew what I wanted to do. It was a huge part of my life. I got my first job aged 10 and learnt on the job.” Unlike many child stars you read about, Ali

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COVER STORY

I DO CRAFTY THINGS, LIKE POTS

OUT OF CEMENT AND DOG COLLARS AND LEADS – I’VE NEVER TALKED ABOUT THIS IN AN INTERVIEW BEFORE!

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managed to navigate the unusual lifestyle successfully. She said: “It would have been incredibly easy to get swept up in it all, but I’ve always had really strong support at home which I suppose keeps you grounded. I feel very lucky.” HELL OF A PACE In terms of Ali’s favourite genre of work, she enjoys the whole spectrum of media. She says: “When I do a lot of film I can’t wait to do TV and vice-versa! I guess variety is good. On the TV set we work at a hell of a pace. You get to know the crew and a shorthand develops. It’s great being part of a team and every day is a pleasure although I love theatre too!” Downtime as an actor when things are quiet must be tough. Ali manages to handle it by letting her creative side continue to flourish. “There are quieter moments as an actor and over the years I’ve had those, but I think it’s what you do with those moments that matters. Rather than wondering if the phone will ever ring again I try to live creatively even when I’m not working. “I teach in a film school and I make things. Crafty things like pots out of cement and dog collars and leads. I’ve never talked about this in an interview before! As I’ve got older I’ve found I need something for my soul. I also appreciate family time so much.” DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD The pressures of social media must be immense for somebody in the public eye. Ali agrees it can be difficult to manage. “We need to be more conscious about how we use social media. It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand it’s great for connecting with people in the industry, but it can make people feel isolated – whether you’re in this industry or not.” Refreshingly, Ali’s heroes are very close to home. “My mum is my hero. I’d like to be everything she is. And my best friend, Jess Huie. She couldn’t find a greetings card that represented her and troubled by the lack of diversity, she created her own. She’s also written a book, Purpose and has been awarded an MBE. She’s gone out and made a real difference.” I

BALLOT BOX You can vote for Ali in the Soap Awards at www.britishsoapawards.tv

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FEATURE

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FEATURE

POWER OF FOLK THE CONSERVATOIRE FOLK ENSEMBLE IS THE UK’S BIGGEST FOLK BAND WITH GETTING ON FOR 100 MEMBERS. DAVID JOHNS CAUGHT UP WITH ITS DIRECTOR AND DRIVING FORCE, JOE BROUGHTON olk music and Birmingham aren’t words you’d necessarily put together in the same sentence. We all know our city has produced some of the greatest names in classical, rock, pop and jazz music, as well as more recently hip-hop and rap. But folk? The time to reassess Brum’s importance in producing and performing great folk music is long overdue. For starters, we boast the UK’s biggest folk band – the 80-strong Conservatoire Folk Ensemble which plays live sets that are a sight to behold, featuring an 18-piece horn section, five cellists, seven percussionists and five electric guitarists, plus fiddles, flutes, clarinets, euphonium, and accordions! They also all sing, too.

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FESTIVALS Formed in 1997 at Birmingham’s prestigious Conservatoire (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) by fiddle player, arranger and tutor Joe Broughton, the Ensemble has established a reputation for creating energetic and powerful shows. Their increasingly popular live appearances include several dates at the Royal Albert Hall as well as at a host of leading folk festivals such as Shambala, Cropredy and Kendal Calling. This summer’s schedule featured the Ensemble staging a special two-set show at their Conservatoire HQ. Due to the logistical challenges of performing with such a large company, this was the first time the entire ensemble has played a complete live set on home turf in several years. Other highlights include a debut appearance in a cathedral at Lichfield and the prestigious Festival Finale spot at Towersey Festival, one of the UK’s oldest music festivals.

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Though rooted in traditional folk tunes, the personal influences of each individual member of the Ensemble steers the set, pulling in everything from full-on rock grooves, to funk, jazz, hip-hop and reggae, to sounds from Eastern Europe and Asia. It’s a sound that’s been dubbed ‘Power Folk’. The group has also released a number of albums. GROWING Joe recalls the early days of the Ensemble when he says the number of members rose rapidly from just seven, to 15, then 35, then in no time at all to 90. “It all got out of hand and we decided to start doing some gigs so we could develop as well as grow.” Normally, the Ensemble is capped at 50 at any one performance, though the personnel is constantly switching around. Everyone in the group studies at the Conservatoire – but not necessarily folk music! “We have everything from technology students to opera singers, composers and harpists, some on classical courses, or the jazz degree – they come from everywhere,” said Joe, who directs the whole thing. “It’s one of the reasons it

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works so well. Birmingham Conservatoire attracts an inventive and original type of musician who often has an interest in all kinds of music making. “Without that bedrock of talent, keeping such a large line-up together for so many years just wouldn’t be possible. And the music has really developed as we’ve gone along – we’re folk music people based in Birmingham and we feed off the influences of the city. Folk, rock, funk… it’s all in there somewhere and when it comes together it produces a colossal amount of energy.” IMPACT The personal influences of each member shape the set-list, as traditional English and Celtic reels slide into full-on rock grooves, funk, jazz, hip-hop, ska and reggae. Members come together for two hours a week, on a Tuesday. “I normally bring in a melody and a riff and teach it to everyone by ear then ask for suggestions on the arrangement where everyone gets involved in developing, evolving and rehearsing the piece, “ said Joe. “Our music is entirely unique, you won’t see or hear anything like it anywhere in the world. We know from the feedback we get that our music has real impact on people.” The group stages up to 20 performances a year, but Rob is keen to expand further if possible. “Looking further ahead we have plans for another full album – but I really want to do a live album, because I love live albums. There’s also a rumour that we’ll be making our first trip abroad…” I

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FOOD & DRINK

MATT DAVIES After suffering a life changing accident,

the much-loved Michelin-listed chef has turned his attention to bringing through talented young cooks

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CHEF’S CORNER

Tell us about your cooking My cooking is modern with classical twists, flavour-driven, uncomplicated and simple – and with respect to the seasons at all times.

Is the customer always right? Yes, the customer is always right because we aim to please. But obviously opinions do vary with different styles of cookery.

How did you become a chef? I started cooking at a very early age. There was only me and mum at home and after school I would make my signature cheese and potato pie with baked beans. I trained at Solihull College of Technology in 1985 under chef lecturers Richard Brocklesby and Nigel Duncan. While at college, I worked for chef Peter Inger, then of the Albany Hotel, Birmingham. After finishing college, I worked at the Savoy Hotel in London and then went to work for eight years under Michelin star chef Andreas Antona. I can claim to be his first ever apprentice! I personally owe much gratitude to Andreas who taught me the respect and the ethos of a professional chef. Before my accident I was responsible for an 80-strong brigade, spread across six Michelin-listed and multi-AA Rosette fine dining sites across the Midlands. I am vicepresident of the British Culinary Federation, helping young chefs develop through competitions and mentoring.

Share a cooking tip My one and only cooking tip... don’t forget to season!!!

What do you eat when at home? Home cooking is very traditional for us. My wife Tina is a great cook, we indulge in beautiful roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, risottos, pasta and homemade pies, with buttery mash and cabbage. Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? The best chef in the world is a very difficult question as there are many who have become living legends. Respect has to go to original masters, such as the Roux brothers, Nico Ladenis, Pierre Koffman, Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, Anton Mossiman, Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and Joan Roca. All have had a major role in our profession. There are many great chefs in Brum but for me Andreas Antona is the godfather of Midlands cooking.

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What was your favourite food as a kid? My favourite plate of food was mum’s roast pork belly, mash, peas and carrots.

Matt is hosting a special charity dinner at University College Birmingham on 24 June featuring some of Birmingham’s finest chefs. For more details visit: www.saucesupperclub.co.uk

Food heaven and food hell? Heaven would be dry aged rib eye steak, triple cooked chips in dripping with béarnaise sauce. Food hell is anything with sprouts in – never liked them as a kid and I still shudder at them now! What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? That’d be sea urchins. They still fascinate me today. Very unusual but delicious. I

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

TATTU BAR AND RESTAURANT Barwick Street, Birmingham, B3 2NT. Tel: 0121 236 5556 www.tattu.co.uk

hen Tattu opened in a flurry of faux cherry blossom and grown-up glamour, we willed it to live up to its social media content. There’s no doubt the restaurant looks the business – sleek, stylish, bar area that’s all gilt-edged cream marble leading down to a dark, dramatic restaurant beneath.

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It is very ‘grammable’. But what of the food? We’d heard whispers that the modern Chinese fare was possibly more style than substance, so expectations weren’t sky high. The Summer ’19 menu explained by our lovely waiter Oli sounded superb. There was an a la carte and dedicated lunch menu as well as five set menus ranging from £35 per person for the vegetarian version to £98 per person for what’s called the Emperor’s Choice. When we say set menu, wipe all thoughts of your average Chinese set menu out of your mind. This was nothing like any of those. Menu Two did it for us (£52 per person.) Cocktails are big on the agenda. A Sweet Skulduggery, which is the non-alcoholic version of the restaurant’s popular smoking Skull Candy minus the vodka, tasted like a mocktail and not in a good way. Perfectly nice and we appreciated the theatre, but it was a bit too sweet. The first wave (official Tattu term) of food came out from the kitchen looking intriguing. Lotus crisps coated in a sweet and sour mix of wondrous flavours were a bit of a revelation. Then came the charred Shishito peppers in a beautifully balanced ginger and soy dressing. Honestly, we’d have nibbled these beauties all day long. Tender roast loin ribs falling off the bone were served in a sticky, flavour-packed sauce with yellow bean, kumquats and star anise. We fought over the last one which tells you all

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you need to know. Black cod wrapped in spinach leaves was delicate and fresh with sweet candied orange atop and orange ponzu for another bit of zing. Very nice. Lotus leaf miso chicken appealed the least, however it turned out to be a winner. The chicken was unbelievably tender perhaps due to being wrapped in lotus leaf, served with a miso sauce and a fiery powder on the side to add some heat. Wagyu dumplings were dyed bright red from beetroot added to the pastry which we found a bit offputting. They tasted great though. Meaty chunks of monkfish in a light tempura batter with crispy shallots and lime was another triumph. Our least favourite fish before we tried this dish, we were converts. The lime on the side looked a bit sad mind you, like it might have been cut the day before. A minor blip. While we’re not sure anyone ever described rice as the star of the show, the duck egg and sausage fried rice was pretty close. We swallowed our pride and asked for a fork such was our need to devour the entire bowl greedily. Desserts were the least inventive part of the menu. Wontons filled with molten rich chocolate, with Szechuan strawberry and banana caramel dips were lovely and a white chocolate and citrus cheesecake with lime, matcha and strawberry divided opinion. I thought it was too heavy, the friend thought it was spot on. In summary, we’ve found ourselves recommending it to anyone who’ll listen and have booked to go back next month. There’s no denying it’s pricey. We were treated, but we reckon we’d have been £120 all in. Bear in mind we had a mocktail each and no booze. Having said that, the food and service were right out of the top drawer and sometimes you get what you pay for. I

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

SIP, SIP, HOORAY!

Raise a glass to flaming June and lazy summer days with a cool Strawberry and Basil Margarita

elcome flaming June – the month when summer really gets into full swing. With a bit of luck and a fair wind, we’ll enjoy one of those Junes when we can relax with a barbecue and laze the time away in the garden or park. You’ll be needing a cool cocktail by your side to complete the picture of course… and we’ve the perfect summer tipple with a Strawberry and Basil Margarita from the mixologists at the award-winning Gentleman & Scholar bar in the Hyatt Regency. As always, enjoy responsibly.

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ALL YOU NEED TO MIX IT UP BEAUTIFULLY INGREDIENTS:

I 50ml Chase vodka I 15ml Fraise des Bois strawberry liqueur

I 2/3 fresh strawberries I ½ teaspoon sugar

I 2/3 fresh basil leaves

METHOD: In a Boston tin, muddle the strawberries, sugar and sugar syrup. Add the basil leaves and lightly muddle. Add the Fraise des Bois liqueur and vodka and half fill with ice. Shake and then double strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with fresh basil and a strawberry ball. Gentleman & Scholar, Hyatt Regency Birmingham, 2 Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JZ. Tel: 0121 643 1234 www.gentlemanandscholarpub.com

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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

FUN-TASTIC NEW MENU FOR MPW Marco Pierre White has launched a new menu at his Bardolino restaurant at the Cube. Featuring an all-day selection of authentic Italian food, coffees and Bellinis, Marco said: “Bardolino is a place to get good, simple food. People want affordable glamour and they want some fun.” At its heart are authentic stone-baked pizzas, Al Forno pasta and Mediterranean-inspired salads.

FINE DINING IN THE PARK

The West Midlands newest fine dining restaurant, the Bracebridge, has opened in the heart of 2,400-acre Sutton Park. The waterside restaurant is the brainchild of Darron and Claire Brough, along with Claire’s twin brothers Scott and Steven Lewis, who both trained under Michelin star chefs. There’s an elegant 50 covers dining room and an adjoining outdoor bistrostyle eatery, called the Terrace.

GEARING UP FOR TASTE OF ASIA

MIX IT WITH THE MASTERS Hyatt Regency Birmingham’s Aria restaurant and bar has launched a cocktail masterclass. Guests hear the history and creative influence behind each drink and get to show off their

skills by making their own cocktails. The British Motor Museum has signed a Suitable for groups of up to six deal with three of the Midlands’ leading people, classes start from £25 per South Asian caterers to help develop and person and include three cocktails, or manage South Asian private events at the centre. £28 for the masterclass plus canapes. The caterers will work closely with the museum for Asian weddings and event requirements for up to 540 guests. The museum caters for a variety of private and corporate events. After successful pop-ups at Digbeth Dining Club and

FULL OF BEANS AT ARCADE

Birmingham Independent Festival, There Goes Coffee has opened a kiosk in the centre of Great Western Arcade. There Goes Coffee uses finest fair-trade coffee beans roasted locally at Quarter Horse Coffee. Founder David Grogan said: “I’m bringing something unique and fun to Birmingham with different coffees and toppings with a vegan option, too.”

RAISE A GLASS TO OUR BEST PUBS Staff at Harborne Stores and Great Stone Inn are celebrating after they were named the best community pubs in Birmingham by judges at the national Publican Awards. Harborne Stores in High Street, Harborne and Great Stone Inn, Churchfield Road, Northfield both actively fund-raise thousands of pounds for local and national charities and are regarded by customers as a home away from home.

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From only ÂŁ25

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LUNCHSPOT

TONKOTSU

SELFRIDGES FOOD HALL, UPPER MALL EAST, BULLRING, B5 4BP TONKOTSU.CO.UK hopping with the tweenagers inevitably ends (and begins actually) with a chorus of: ‘I’m hungry. I’m literally starving.’ While there’s nothing wrong with McDonald’s et al – although film-maker Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame) might disagree – it’s not the dream and I’m aware that my girls need proper sustenance to nourish their growing bodies. They’ll hate me for writing that. A true test of whether they read the magazine. Yo Sushi has become our go to, but in the interest of not becoming predictable we headed to Tonkotsu at the buzzing Selfridges food hall. The high stools and bar set-up appealed largely because we wanted a swift, but tasty lunch that did the job before ploughing on with me concocting yet more spurious excuses not to go into the world’s largest Primark. Nothing fancy. In and out. The menu was succinct and clear with gyoza, ramen and hiyashi (essentially salad with noodles) and sides like kimchi, pickles, edamame, greens with a yuzu dressing, etc. You get the picture. Chicken katsu did what it was supposed to. Crunchy on the outside, moist in the middle with an excellently rich punchy sauce that the youngest mopped up enthusiastically. There was enough rice to feed four hungry adults.

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King prawn, popcorn prawn and crab with a goma dressing was also gargantuan. The large juicy prawns and the lightly battered crisp popcorn prawns were really good and while the crab looked a bit sludgy, it tasted great. There were lots of greens, an egg and a generous heap of noodles too. The menu read ‘chilled noodles’, but these were another level of cold. I know it’s essentially a salad, but it was a weird sensation eating the very hot popcorn prawns with fridge cold noodles. The zingy goma dressing was a winner. Plump gyoza with prawn and spring onion were packed with flavour thanks to a good thwack of warming ginger. The portion was much more sensible for a light lunch. At £30 all in, it wasn’t bad value and certainly less than we’d have spent in Yo Sushi but the amount of food we left – mainly rice and noodles – was guilt inducing. Smaller plates might be a thing. I

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FOOD & DRINK

GRAPE BRITAIN SALES OF HOME-GROWN WINE ARE ROCKETING, WITH SOME OF THE BEST BOTTLES YOU CAN BUY NOW PRODUCED RIGHT HERE, SAYS ROB PRICE

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irst an update on the name! English wine is no more, long live Wines of Great Britain. The change recognises we have vineyards in Wales, and even three in Scotland! It used to be the case that the term British wine meant cheap stuff made from imported grape-must (juice), with just UK water added – avoid at all costs. It now may become a little more confusing, so just make sure when you purchase your UK wine it is from grapes grown in the UK. Every three years I write an article on English wines, sorry Wines of Great Britain. In the last two articles I have predicted that by the year 2347 we would produce more wine than Bordeaux. And I’m pleased to say we are making progress.

F

BOOMING SALES Just under six million bottles sold in 2017, rising to 15.6million in 2018.The forecast by the WineGB trade body is that the figure will be 40million bottles by 2040. So, only another 800million bottles to go! We’ve added around 2.5million vines in the past two years and sales have increased by 31 per cent in the same period. Pinot Noir leads the way with the most vines planted but chardonnay produces the most wine. Sparkling wine dominates with nearly 70 per cent of the wine we produce, fizzy. Thirty-one new wineries have been added in the past three years, making the total 164, and almost all of them are open to the public. Worth having a day out and visiting. The impact of climate change may possibly help the UK wine industry and it’s no surprise that two major Champagne houses have invested here – Taittinger in Kent and Pommery in Hampshire. It’s forecast that much more foreign investment will happen in the next 10 years. PRICE POINT I’ve never doubted the quality of UK wines but it has always been quite expensive. For this reason, in the short term at least UK wine will not appeal to the mass market. The increase in volume and choice is welcome and I hope it may help in making our wines a little more competitive, price-wise.

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4

ROB’S

FOOD & DRINK

TO TRY

Penny Red from Halfpenny Green vineyard The first English red I’ve been able to recommend. It’s non-vintage and very easy drinking, and slightly off dry. Medium bodied with lovely red fruits, it slips down all too easy. Available direct from the vineyard or their website at £9.50 a bottle. Giffords Hall Rosé from Suffolk A delicious rosé made by the Howard family. Wonderful aromas of roses, strawberry and peach. Again very easy to drink, it’s £13.99 from Waitrose. Hambledon, Premier Cuvee One of the best producers of sparkling wine in the UK. The taste is bruised apples with a lovely lemon freshness which lifts the slightly vegetative notes. Dry to the point of saltiness, long and quite piercing in its acidity, with great complexity. Laithwaites and Waitrose sell for £42. Sugrue Pierre ‘The Trouble with Dreams’ Brut 2014 Barrel-fermented blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with flavours of green apple and a hint of sherbet before a long dry finish. A wine of great intensity and power. Available from many independent wine merchants at around £40 bottle. The last two selections are by my colleague Geoff Bolton who runs Birmingham Wine School tastings in Sutton Coldfield.

Three-quarters of UK wineries are in the South East, but locally both Buzzards Valley in Tamworth and Halfpenny Green in Stourbridge, are well worth a visit. I

Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company offering fun, informal wine-tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick. NEW Café Rouge evenings! More information from Rob Price 0121 270 7359 www.birminghamwineschool.com

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ADVERTORIAL

MAKE THE BREAK IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BOOK THAT SUMMER GETAWAY FROM BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT ith the summer months fast approaching, it’s time to think about booking your summer holiday. Check out these amazing destinations that you can easily reach from Birmingham Airport. Morocco, Split and Budapest are all fascinating places worth exploring, so get ready to immerse yourself in something completely new.

W

Morocco Situated on the north-west tip of the African continent, Morocco provides a country of spellbinding diversity with rugged mountains, ancient cities, sweeping deserts and the warmest of hospitality. Rise early to be one of the first to enter the Majorelle Gardens, a two-and-a-half acre botanical garden which was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge after years of neglect. The striking plants and spectacular painted buildings are not to be missed. Don't forget to make a stop at the gift shop where you can pick up some high-quality souvenirs. For lovers of gastronomy, the greatest way to discover Moroccan cuisine is to participate in a cooking class. Visitors to Morocco cannot help but be impressed by the country’s culinary scene, with the likes of delicious tagines and tasty couscous. La

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Maison Arab, a hotel in Marrakech, offers cooking classes in an intimate world-renowned workshop setting, based in an organic kitchen garden. Split Rivalling Italy for pristine beaches and summer climate is Croatia. Bright, clean and welcoming, the ancient Dalmatian city of Split is a beautiful place to take a stroll around, observing the historic buildings as well as the Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace and the Cathedral of St Dominus. Make an early start to navigate through Diocletian’s Palace when it’s least crowded. After taking in all that history, head to Bacvice beach and the sophisticated bars of the Old Town to watch the city thrive. Try original Dalmatian dishes prepared with a touch of modern cuisine at Zora Bila. Run by a husband and wife duo, you can indulge in mouthwatering meat or octopus dishes baked in traditional stone ovens, paired with Croatian wine. Budapest One of the oldest and most historic cities in Europe has lots to offer. From extravagant architecture to healing thermal waters, the Hungarian capital makes for the perfect break.

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ADVERTORIAL

In Buda, on the west bank of the Danube, you can visit Castle Hill and the Fisherman’s Bastion, offering a great view of the city. Not to mention the architecture of the terrace itself which is remarkable to see.

The beating heart of the New York Palace hotel is the New York Café – a café that was once chosen as the most beautiful in the world. Drop in for a coffee and find yourself in an authentic 19th century experience. Previously a popular place among writers and editors, the café has preserved all the authentic decoration and flair, including gilded and marble surfaces ornamented with wood and crystal. I

Fly direct from Birmingham Airport with a variety of airlines. These destinations are perfect for a last-minute, mini-getaway with flight durations from as short as 2hrs 30mins from Birmingham.

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ing livSTYLE

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HIGH RISE

Floral bikini and cover up, Next

NO RULES

OUR ONLY REQUIREMENT WHEN SWIMWEAR SHOPPING IS TO TAKE HOME ITEMS THAT FIT BEAUTIFULLY AND MAKE US FEEL GREAT. EASY, RIGHT?

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STYLE

CUT IT OUT

ON THE TILES

Blue tile print bikini £12.99, TX Maxx

CUTE BOW

Teal cut-out swimsuit £36, Next

TWINNING IS WINNING

Both bikinis from Primark

Mix and match bikini top £15 and bottoms £15, Joe Browns

TWIST IT

Rene twist fold brief £16 and wrap top £28, Figleaves

n any other area of your wardrobe – or life come to think of it – you wouldn’t settle for ill-fitting, yet this summer coastlines across the globe will be full of women fidgeting uncomfortably in swimwear that doesn’t fit properly. If you’re on a beachy holiday you’re likely to spend a large chunk of your time in swimmers, so let’s be picky about it. Firstly, don’t leave it until the last minute. Winging it doesn’t work. Give swimwear as much consideration as other parts of your wardrobe. Second, try before you buy. It’s time-consuming whipping your kit off every time you think you’ve found the one, but it’s so worth it. Once you’re in the potential suit, stop breathing in like a lunatic which is thoroughly unsustainable and decide if you still feel good in it. Walk around, sit down, dance, jump up and down. Does it stay put? Thirdly, be organised. What are you likely to be doing in your swimmers? Wake boarding, partying or the aqua park in Sardinia requires a different beast to sipping sundowners in Santorini. We reckon you need three basic styles for your average beach break which you can build around. • A stylish one-piece that offers coverage and will stay put through a strenuous swim in the ocean or the ultimate test, an aqua park.

I

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BELT UP

AC x Lipsy belted swimsuit £38, Lipsy

RIGHT STRIPES

Green stripe bikini top £19, bottoms £14, M&S

GO GREEN

Green bikini £12.99, TK Maxx

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STYLE

WHITE OUT

White textured bikini bottoms £18 and top £20, Oasis

FLATTERING FIT

J by Jasper Conran striped swimsuit £42, Debenhams

SUPPORT ACT

Colourblock bikini top £28 and bottoms £16, Figleaves

LESS IS MORE

Khaki rope back swimsuit £29, Miss Selfridge

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STYLE

• A flattering bikini that fits like a glove. A bit of a minefield this one as it depends so much on your shape. Be prepared to shop around and try on four or five different styles. If you find ‘the one’, it might be worth buying in a few colourways. • A bikini or one-piece that doesn’t need to perform any other function other than making you feel a million dollars while strolling from lounger to bar. Check out Melissa Odabash at Selfridges. I

THE NEW NEUTRAL

Animal print control swimsuit £32, M&Co

ANIMAL PRINT

Bandeau mixed animal print swimsuit £32, V by Very

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STYLE

ZIP UP

Blue and white striped swimsuit £18, F&F

BLACK IS BACK Embellished bikini £40, River Island

SMOOTH LINES

Network Madero firm control Miraclesuit £155, Figleaves

ONE OFF

Faith asymmetric swimsuit £28, Debenhams

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STYLE OLD SCHOOL

Asymmetric swimsuit £16, TU for Sainsbury’s

HIGH WAIST

GREAT VALUE

Panache high-waisted brief £23 and top £40, Figleaves

Bandeau top £10 and bottoms £7, Matalan

SLEEK SILHOUETTE

Rene underwired swimsuit £48, Figleaves

IT’S A WRAP

Red floral wrap swimsuit £25, New Look

RUFFLE WIN

Red and white striped swimsuit £36, Next

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BEAUTY UPDATE STYLE

1

THIS MONTH, WE’RE TALKING NEW LAUNCHES, SAFE TANNING, ULTRA-LIGHT FOUNDATION AND FULL LIPS 1. GUERLAIN LIMITED EDITION TERRACOTTA DES INNES £56, SELFRIDGES, BULLRING We’re not keen on too much sparkle, so this is right up our street. The blusher and tan enhancer leave a healthy glow without over the top shimmer and comes in an attractive wooden compact. It’s pricey, but it will last and last.

3

2

2. THE ORDINARY SERUM FOUNDATION £5.70 30ML, HARVEY NICHOLS, MAILBOX As of last month you can shop this extraordinarily reasonably priced brand in Harvey Nichols Birmingham and we are stocking up on this super light, super hydrating foundation that leaves skin glowing. No clogging or caking, it glides on and soaks in beautifully leaving a fresh no make-up look. Perfect for summer and an absolute steal. The volumising hair serum is fab too. 3. HOURGLASS UNREAL HIGH SHINE VOLUMIZING LIP GLOSS £28, HARVEY NICHOLS, MAILBOX Our make-up bag is awash with discarded lip glosses that have fallen out of favour and it’s very rare for us to finish one. However, we’ve worn this brand new Hourglass lip gloss every day for three weeks and counting. We were lucky enough to be sent four shades out of the 18 to try. Our hands down favourite shade is Canvas which is a super flattering true rose colour that’s just as lovely on the school run as Saturday night shenanigans. There’s no tacky feel, it moisturises intensely thanks to shea butter and avocado oil and plumps up slightly. 4. LA MER LIP VOLUMISER £65, LA MER, SELFRIDGES, BULLRING Launched last month, the Lip Volumiser from the iconic brand tingles a bit, but not in an alarming way. Our lips definitely felt soft, hydrated and slightly fuller, but it’s not going to give you a TOWIE trout pout, more a gentle helping hand if you’re thin of lip. A little goes a long way, so it will last. 5. ISLE OF PARADISE MEDIUM GLOW CLEAR SELF-TANNING MOUSSE £19.95, BOOTS If you’re looking to even out your skin tone and achieve a subtle glow rather than full-on three weeks in St Bart’s territory, this is the one for you. It doesn’t come off on your sheets, it doesn’t smell like curried digestive biscuits and there’s no annoying orangey streaking. Also, founder Jules is the best thing about Instagram.

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ADVERTORIAL

oing through a relationship breakdown is one of the five most stressful life events for any individual. The process of ending a relationship is emotionally charged and can feel overwhelming for those involved.

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Below are some helpful tips to consider when it is clear your relationship has come to an end. I Couples who are married or in a civil partnership have different legal rights to cohabitees. The myth of ‘common-law marriage’ is just

that – a myth. There is different legislation for cohabitees, no matter how long you may have lived together. It is important to obtain advice as to what you, and your children, may be entitled to. I If you have children, put them first throughout the relationship breakdown as you have during the relationship. Consider how best to tell the children

of your decision to separate and ensure they are receiving support. Establishing a new routine for term-time and holiday arrangements will provide stability for the children, and minimise misunderstandings later on. It is the on-going conflict between parents which has a greater impact on children than the breakdown of a relationship. Try to protect the children from unnecessary conflict. I Obtain legal advice. Arranging a meeting with a Family Lawyer should answer many of the questions surrounding the relationship breakdown. The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ is true. Gaining an understanding of how the process works and what separation of any assets might look like will help you prepare for the end of the relationship, both emotionally and financially.

Thursfields Associate Director, Philip Rea

provide emotional support which can make the process easier to navigate. Some therapists will also work with the family as a whole. I Obtain a Financial Order. If you are married or in a civil partnership, as part of the divorce process your financial order will set out the division of any marital assets, such as the family home, pensions, savings and family business. More importantly, a financial order dismisses each of your financial claims against the other in life and in death. This does not automatically occur on divorce. I Be fair and realistic. There are different ways to reach

a financial settlement, which your lawyer will guide you through. It is a better use of your time and money to focus on what you need to take care of your future, rather than as retribution against your former partner. I At Thursfields, our specialist Family Team can advise on all aspects

I Consider other support.

A Family Lawyer can provide legal advice and practical support. Seeking assistance from counsellors or other therapists will

of relationship breakdown. Please contact Philip Rea, Associate Director on 0121 227 3365 or email prea@thursfields.co.uk to arrange an initial meeting.

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STYLE FOR MEN

THE THIGHS HAVE IT SHOPPING FOR SWIMMERS? WHAT COULD

POSSIBLY GO WRONG? QUITE A BIT ACTUALLY…

PERFECT LENGTH Flamingo print swim shorts £5, Primark

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STYLE FOR MEN

PARTY TIME Gucci tiger stripe swim shorts £495, Selfridges

HAPPY DAYS Yellow swim shorts £8.99, New Look ROCK SOLID Anchor swim shorts £16.99, TK Maxx

CLUB TROPICANA Hawaiian sunset swim shorts £17.50, M&S

t’s not as straight-forward as you think. Budgie smugglers are out regardless of how much you want to maximise your tan. Long flappy board shorts are not good either. And the skin-tight shortie style favoured by Sicilian adonises and Daniel Craig are not bad if you’re actually a Sicilian adonis or Daniel Craig. Failing that go for a mid-thigh, well-fitting short in a lined, quality fabric. That doesn’t have to mean dull. We’ve picked out a handful of options that will see you through from kitesurfing to pool partying for which the Gucci tiger stripe version (pictured) was made. You’re welcome. I

I

PLENTY OF FISH Tommy Hilfiger fish print swim shorts £50, Selfridges

POWER PASTELS Lilac striped swim shorts £12.99, New Look IN THE GECKO Gecko swim shorts £11, Debenhams

june 2019

IN THE PINK Pink swim shorts £10, M&S

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HEALTH

SUN IS

SHININ’ IN THE SKY…

THERE AIN’T A CLOUD IN SIGHT – AND THAT MEANS IT’S TIME TO BREAK OUT THE FACTOR 50 TO BEAT THE ‘BIG BURN’

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HEALTH

he sun is a pretty cool dude for something that’s the hottest ticket in the sky. But then it hasn’t got a lot of competition for star billing. The sun accounts for more than 99 per cent of the mass of the solar system. It’s so big, one million Earths could fit inside its near- perfect spherical shape. And it’s a flaming scorcher, comprising 75 per cent hydrogen and the rest mostly helium. OK, science lesson over. Most of us only appreciate the sun when it’s time to break-out the barbie, visit the beach, laze around the pool or settle down in the garden or on the terrace with an iced drink. Perfect! Except, what sounds idyllic can quickly turn into a nightmare without the right kind of protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

DO

ROASTED & TOASTED We, for one, haven’t forgotten the desert-like summer of 2018 and the sight of too many friends and family looking like they had stood behind a jet engine on full throttle! Don’t face the pain and make the same mistake again, guys…. Far from making us healthier, the golden tan which so many of us seem to crave actually causes premature ageing of our delicate skin. And in the worst cases, it can cause skin cancer – which continues to be on the increase here in the UK.

DO

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HERE’S WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY YOU MUST DO TO ENJOY THE SUMMER SUNSHINE, SAFELY. use lots of sunscreen: Apply it liberally and regularly. (This applies even to waterresistant creams – they’re only water-resistant, not water-proof!) Cover all areas of exposed skin, including ‘unseen’ areas at the back of the neck, top of the ears and the scalp. Unless you’re double jointed, you’ll need someone to help apply but it is worth the effort. Remember, UV rays from the sun are reflected from sand and sea and any other bright surfaces onto your skin, whether you’re in the shade or not.

DO

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choose a sunscreen with a high SPF which prevents damage from the sun’s rays: The higher the SPF number the more protection there is from burning caused by UVB radiation. While sunburn is mainly caused by UVB, research now shows that UVA rays may be just as important in causing premature skin ageing and skin cancer.

go for the Full Monty! Besides looking a bit of a plonker, flashing too much flesh is asking for trouble. Wear a T-shirt or lightweight robe/kaftan to cover your chest/shoulders on the beach, plus a hat and sunglasses will give you extra protection. Simply using sunscreen alone doesn’t make you burn-proof!

DON’T

act shady. We all want to enjoy the summer weather but sit, lie or relax in the shade rather than being directly in the sun. It’s a good idea to take a sunshade or parasol to the beach to sit under at the height of the day. work it! It’s not just at weekends or on holiday when you need protection. Remember to take sunscreen to work with you and apply before sitting outside on your lunch break.

DO

keep a watch on your skin. If you have any moles check them for any changes in colour, size or shape. If you’re worried something’s not quite right, get it looked at by your GP. Better safe than sorry…

DO

expect a fake tan to protect you. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a bronzed look from a bottle but most self-tanners offer no protection against harmful UV.

DON’T

think using a sunbed is safer. Experts say there’s a 20 per cent increase in the risk of melanoma no matter how infrequently you use a sunbed. I

DON’T

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ng il viHOMES

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BATHROOM BLITZ IN THE WORLD OF BATHROOM DESIGN, AWARD-WINNING DESIGNER LISA MELVIN TELLS US WHAT’S HOT

COLOUR POP By Kuche and Bagno, kucheandbagno.co.uk

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HOMES

PASTEL DREAM By Ripples, ripplesbathrooms.com

trip earlier in the year to ISH in Frankfurt – the leading international trade fair for allthings bathrooms – threw up some innovative new launches and technologies destined to translate into design here… eventually. Europe has one set of regulations while the UK has another, so a product that’s approved on the Continent can hit a stumbling block in Blighty which can delay launch dates. It can mean reworking a product that’s already been four or five years in development. Very frustrating!

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WHAT’S NEW? In terms of colour, black and white was a really noticeable trend at the show. Pastels were another, in particular Karim Rashid’s stunning range for Italian specialist Glass Design which is really striking. Metal finishes were everywhere too, with lots of brushed bronze in accessories like hinges, flush plates and radiators as well as fittings.

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HOMES

Concept bathrooms from Hansgrohe featured giant bespoke glass panels that fit the wall going right up to the ceiling which work as a massive TV screen. It projects images, has speakers and is really pushing boundaries. Systems coming to market controlled via apps are pushing boundaries too. With the capability to control water in the home, measuring how much you’re using as well as reacting to any leaky pipes by shutting down the water mains, they can also monitor air quality via a sensor in each room. Very innovative. In terms of utilities, meters are the way forward. We’re all trying to do our bit for the environment and being able to measure what we’re using is fundamental. As well as keeping tabs on water consumption, it means accurate monthly bills. Win, win… LIGHT UP Lighting by Fritz Fryer, fritzfryer.co.uk

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HOMES

MONO WOW1 By Kuche and Bagno, kucheandbagno.co.uk

NIFTY NEUTRAL1 By Merlyn Showering ,merlynshowering.com

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HOMES

STRONG ACCENTS1 Accessories from Nest.co.uk

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HOMES

OK CORAL By Ripples, ripplesbathrooms.com

MOON RIVER Dornbracht has launched some crazy products, including the Rain Moon shower which look like a large hole in the ceiling complete with ambient lighting instead of a visible shower head which is very cool. They also have amazing basins formed out of a single piece of steel. If you think it might sound a bit like a bucket once the tap’s running, the manufacturer has thought of that in the form of a sound dampener designed by the same company that supplies BMW with their car door dampeners. Dornbracht has also brought a 22 carat tap to market! Speaking of fancy taps, the Axor Edge (pictured) is like a work of art. In addition to this, the company also has a version that looks like delicately cut crystal, handfinished in a range of colours. Incredible! I

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WORK OF ART1 By Axor, axor-design.com

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SHELVE IT Huib oak and metal storage trolley £329, Cuckooland

TOP TAP Yuntai bathroom tap in satin gold £259.99, Dowsing and Reynolds

MIRROR MIRROR Zuiver full length mirror £89, Cuckooland

CUPBOARD LOVE Ferm Living haze vitrine £1,199, Nest

FINISHING TOUCHES

COPPER TOP Copper tumbler £9, JD Williams

HAND PAINTED Day Birger Et Mikkelsen Pavillion hand painted soap dispenser Jaipur porcelain £70, Amara

FURNISH YOUR SWANKY NEW BATHROOM WITH SOME APPROPRIATELY LOVELY ACCESSORIES. HERE’S OUR PICK

PEARLY QUEEN Pearl vase £65, Kelly Hoppen

BASKET CASE Pom pom belly basket £25, Rex London

GOOD WOOD Wooden shelving unit £39.99, HomeSense

ON THE WIRE Wire suction shower basket £6, Sainsbury’s Home

MATTE MATTERS Elements matte black towel ring £12, Dunelm

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HOMES

PROPERTY PERIOD FEATURES

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

Barlows Road, Edgbaston Guide price: £1.5million Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 0121 233 6400 A striking Edwardian-style family home with a whole host of period features. There are six bedrooms, a stunning kitchen/dining/family room and lovely, well-established gardens that are stocked with an abundance of mature plants.

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ROOM WITH A VIEW Mill Lane, Aldridge Guide price: £1.65million Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 272 6900 This Grade ll listed five-bedroom home has been sympathetically extended and renovated and is packed with original features and loads of living space. It’s all set in a gorgeous location, surrounded by open countryside with cracking views over the lake.

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MARVELLOUS MIX Springbrook House, Earlswood Guide price: 1.295million Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 0121 233 6400

A substantial, six-bedroom Georgian farmhouse located on the edge of a lovely, tranquil rural village. There’s a beautiful mix of traditional features, including stripped ceiling beams, quarry tiles and high ceilings, with a more contemporary feel in the stunning kitchen with conservatory/dining room. There’s also a two-car garage with a useful studio above.

SQUARE DEAL Caroline Street, Jewellery Quarter Guide price: £450,000 Agent: James Laurence, tel: 0121 604 4060 A fantastic, individually-designed loft apartment that boasts high ceilings, exposed steel and brick work, feature character curved walls and windows, under-floor heating and a stylish kitchen – all ideally located for St Paul’s Square.

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

FULL STEAM AHEAD

SPECIAL DELIVERY

LOFT LIVING

Birmingham City University’s £60million innovation centre project for businesses, artists and academics to collaborate has been given the go-ahead. The centre at the old Belmont Works is Phase Two of the STEAMhouse initiative. Phase One has created dozens of new businesses since its launch in Digbeth last year.

The team behind the new Port Loop

One of Birmingham’s newest residential

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neighbourhood is using the waterways to

developments has sold out. After the last 10

deliver materials to site. Project director Adam

apartments at Elevate Property Group’s Tennant

Willetts said: “We are using the surrounding

Street Lofts development off Broad Street were

canals in the ways they were intended. With a

snapped up, the company has turned its focus

canal flanking the park site, it made sense to

to completing Assay Lofts at St Paul’s Square.

explore delivering materials by barge.”

This development is already 70 per cent sold.

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FABULOUS FLAGSHIP Homer Road, Solihull Guide price: £900,000 Agent: Smarthomes, tel: 0121 744 4144 or email newhomes@smarthomes.co.uk

This 1,600 sq ft penthouse apartment is the flagship of the £30million Princes Court development in Solihull. Finished to a very high standard, the two-bedroom pad boasts an impressive 1,100 sq ft south west-facing roof garden that’s perfect for parties. Awesome.

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

june 2019

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MOTORING

YOUTH MOVEMENT

THE AVERAGE PARENT SPENDS NEARLY 300 HOURS A YEAR FERRYING AROUND THEIR KIDS. A BORE-CHORE? NOT IN THE NEW INSIGNIA GRAND SPORT, SAYS SUE COOKE

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Elite Nav Price: £28,075 otr Engine: 1.6-litre Turbo (200 PS) with six-speed manual gearbox Performance: 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 146mph CO2 emissions: 145g/km (WLTP) Combined fuel consumption: 39.2 to 42.2mpg (WLTP)

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MOTORING

errying kids from one social engagement to another is part of our family life, but for some, it’s almost a full-time occupation. A poll of 2,000 parents by Vauxhall Motors found that the average person spends 286 hours a year driving their children around. While most of the time I find it a chore, there are occasions like this week, when I couldn’t get out of the house and into the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport quick enough. On one occasion, I only popped out to the local shop in Sutton Coldfield to get a couple of things and realised with a shock I had been on the road for two hours. This luxurious saloon is such a joy to drive, with precise steering and comfort which oozes from every feature.

F

RED LETTER DAY The exterior design, of the Insignia Grand Sport, particularly in the rich, fruity red paintwork, was the constant cause of attention from passersby. Even my postman remarked on what a stunner it was! As I slide into the deep leather 16-way adjustable driver’s seat, a little melody greets me and as the engine ignites, the cabin is pin-drop quiet. The sort of peace I need after a few hours in the company of kids. On a long distance journey to another car launch, I engage cruise control with the added benefit of speed limiter – it couldn’t be easier but also highly enjoyable at the same time. While a light touch on the accelerator provides instant speed, there is a huge number directly in front of your line of sight in the optional head-up display which reminds you constantly of your mph. This feature will set you back £290 but is so good it really should be on all cars. SIX OF THE BEST The Grand Sport’s lively four-cylinder engine produces peak power of 200PS at 5,500 rpm and develops 280Nm of torque from 1,650-4,500rpm. It’s mated to a smooth, six-speed manual gearbox, which is more popular than the automatic. On the motorway in top gear, when the traffic has dropped down to 40mph, this engine will pick up and increase speed without needing to change gears.

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The Grand Sport is the better-selling version in the flagship Insignia range and features numerous state-of-the-art technology, standard in the Elite model I road tested, such as adaptive cruise control, IntelliLux LED matrix headlights and ergonomic seats. I found the large eight-inch colour touchscreen, front camera system and front and rear parking sensors are useful for reversing and parking. Hill start assist and other safety features include electronic stability programme, anti-lock braking system and forward collision alert with automatic city emergency braking. BAGS OF ROOM The boot will hold 490 litres with rear seats in place and there are little extras like hooks for keeping handles of carrier bags from tipping their contents into the far reaches of the boot. Ferrying kids around may take up hours of your life, but the research revealed that car journeys are a great way for parents to find out more about their kids. Never mind family bonding – for me it was just a great excuse to drive the Insignia Grand Sport. I

SHOWROOM Lookers Vauxhall Birmingham, Heartlands Parkway, Birmingham, B7 5AH. Tel: 0121 322 4192 www.lookers.co.uk/vauxhall

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

GEORGE GOODWIN The gritty top triathlete talks training, brutal winters, supportive sponsors and ambitions

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eorge Goodwin is a full-time professional triathlete. Having graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in sports and exercise sciences he’s embracing the challenges of life as a pro – last year was his first – and relishes the gruelling training regime as well as competing. With new sponsors on board in the form of Kuche and Bagno headed by keen triathlete Lisa Melvin, as well as his long-term relationship with Zoot who have supplied George’s kit since he was 15-years-old, he’s ready. As a junior, George raced at Elite level for GB British Triathlon in world and European championships winning national champs, European duathlon championships and placing 20th at the world junior triathlon championships in 2015. He credits his parents with giving him the opportunity to try lots of different activities as a child which allowed him to find what he was good at.

G

PERFECT TIMING George remembers: “I was running and cycling a lot. I joined an athletics club as well as swimming club although I found my physiology wasn’t quite up there for swimming.” Rugby junior triathlon club launched just at the right time for George 12 years ago and he’s never looked back. School was always really supportive, “particularly Mr Price” says George. George recalls being able to leave sixth form early one day a week to train, but recognises that it

would have been a different story if he wasn’t a diligent student when he was in the classroom. University was obviously more flexible and training ploughed on despite the harsh character-building climate in Stirling at times. George says: “It’s a beautiful place but there were some brutal winters! My last winter there was a particularly bad one. Looking back I’m not sure how I did it.” George enjoys the training element though. He says: “I like being outside for four or five hours a day and I like getting better and seeing improvements from hard work.” RECORD-BREAKING Since 2017, George has been competing in the longer 70.3 distance races as opposed to the Olympic distance you might be used to seeing the Brownlee brothers compete in. The 70.3 refers to the distance in miles covered which consists of a gruelling 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run and is also known as a half Ironman. It proved a good move. In his first year at this distance George won the Castle Triathlon Series breaking long held records at events in Cheshire, France and Kent. In the same year, he also won the British middle distance championship, breaking a course record that had stood for seven years and in addition to the longer distances George also won the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) standard distance triathlon, came third at BUCS sprint triathlon and sixth at the British elite championship. At the Vitruvian triathlon at Rutland Water last autumn George dominated the race and won with a whopping 13minute margin. FOCUS AND FUEL When we caught up with George he was about to launch into racing season having been training hard since November, kicking off with the 70.3 Barcelona event in mid-May. Consistency and focus are key, which George has in spades. Fuelling the body can be a challenge though. George says: “We burn so many calories per day I have to shovel the food in!” While George finds the Brownlee brothers inspiring, he says he wouldn’t call them heroes. “I’m not sure sports people should be looked up to like that. Sport is a selfish past-time most of the time. Having said that I’m inspired by Jonathan and Alistair and they’ve definitely raised the profile of the sport. After all there aren’t many triathletes doing Aldi ads!” In terms of ambition, George has his sight set on getting to the 70.3 world championships and in the longer term would like to podium at Ironman. I

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GROWING PLACES

FREE ART Bromsgrove School has started a free invitational community art club initiative. Year 8 pupils from three local schools – Aston Fields, Parkside Middle and St John’s – have been creating art pieces at the Preparatory School Art Club which focuses on skill development while fostering children’s enthusiasm for art. Ceramic and felted bowls were displayed at the recent SATIPS National Prep School Art exhibition which was held at the school.

SCHOOL REPORT £5M DEVELOPMENT

GOING GLOBAL

Leading UK academic and deputy vicechancellor at Birmingham City University, Professor Julian Beer has received a top honour from India’s largest private university. Lovely Professional University in the Punjab awarded Prof Beer a visiting professorship in recognition of his major contribution to international trade and improved business links between the UK and overseas partners. The honour was presented by Ashok Mittal, chancellor of Lovely Professional University.

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The new £5million Andrew Brode Sports Centre has opened at King Edward’s School, Birmingham. The centre has been substantially funded by a donation from former pupil Andrew Brode, executive chairman of RWS Holdings. It was opened by former pupil and Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire cricketer, Anurag Singh. Keith Phillips, the school’s acting chief master, said: “We are very grateful to Andrew for his great generosity and continued support.”

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GROWING PLACES

SPEAKING CHAMPS RECYCLING FOR THE WIN St Columba’s Catholic Primary School won the Salvation Army’s competition to encourage recycling in schools – part of its Recycle with Michael initiative which aims to divert thousands of tonnes of textiles away from landfill. More than 1,100 pupils from four schools in the region took part, collectively donating 0.88 tonnes of unwanted clothes and shoes. St Columba’s came out on top with 0.25 tonnes collected by pupils.

They’re a talkative bunch at Moreton Hall. The school’s debating team was crowned UK champions at the Business and Professional Women’s public speaking competition in Belfast. The team of Year 10 and Year 11 students included speaker Cerys Chamberlain, expresser of thanks Tatyana Kahn and chairman Eloise Bowyer. As well as the team triumph, Moreton’s Florence Tyne won the Elizabeth Peacock trophy for her outstanding talk on gender in the media.

CHARITY DONATIONS Four local charities have been picked by employees at Mondeléz International to each receive a donation of £5,000. Little Hearts Matter, national disability charity Sense, St Hilda’s Scout Group and Tamworth and Lichfield Sea Cadets will be granted the donations from the Cadbury Foundation, as part of its Your Charity Your Choice scheme. Each year Mondeléz International UK employees are asked to nominate wellbeing-related charities or projects close to their hearts.

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CLOSE WITHÁ DHARMESH RAJPUT

THE HEAD OF CINEMA AT BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL TALKS ABOUT THE EXCITEMENT SURROUNDING THIS YEAR’S EVENT WHICH MARKS ITS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY SINCE COMING TO THE CITY BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I’m a born and bred Brummie and have been lucky to have worked in the creative industries in the city all of my life. I’ve worked at BRMB and the BBC where I started as a phone answerer! I worked my way up across radio, television, press office, live events and finally in the online digital world. I use this experience in my full-time role as lecturer in media production at Birmingham School of Media, BCU. I’ve also worked a lot in the arts – mainly with Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage. I’ve been heading up the Birmingham Indian Film Festival since it arrived in the city in 2015 and am excited to mark our fifth anniversary in 2019!

BIGGEST SUCCESS Marking five years with the film festival in Birmingham. Personally, I’m always grateful that I keep landing on my feet – whenever circumstances change – and I love new challenges, for example being a chair of governors at a primary school.

IT’S WHAT I DO As head of cinema, I’m part of a wider team that curates and oversees the festival. The Birmingham Indian Film Festival is a strand of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Europe’s largest South Asian film festival which has been running since 2010 and will continue to expand to Manchester and Bradford this year. I help curate by watching and selecting films, building relationships with partners and sponsors in the city, talent management and generally making sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible across the 10-day festival.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM The arts and culture – there is so much going on! I have a soft spot for everything at Mac Birmingham and Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage as they’ve provided so many opportunities for me to perform as an actor and continue to support me with the film festival. Plus the Birmingham Festivals calendar - you don’t have to miss a thing! https://birminghamfestivals.com/

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE? I want to see the festival continue to grow and reach out beyond the centre of Birmingham, maybe have a yearround programme of events, possibly in unusual or noncinema spaces. As an academic it would be great to bring my two roles together and dip my toes into some form of practice-based research.

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BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED Trusting yourself and not listening to the voices in your head that say you can’t. It’s ok to make mistakes, not everything has to be perfect. And always remember, most things in life are about people and relationships.

DOWNTIME I love to cook. My boys often have interesting requests which challenge me, most recently cooking crab claws. And I love gardening – we’ve got a herb garden that is great to pick from when cooking. I

Birmingham Indian Film Festival, 21 June to 1 July http://birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

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ing livBUSINESS

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VINTAGE TRAINS

THE GLORIOUS RETURN OF STEAM TO THE MAINLINE IS BEING DRIVEN FROM BIRMINGHAM

BY THE UK’S FIRST PUBLICLY-OWNED, CHARITABLY-CONTROLLED TRAIN OPERATING COMPANY – AND IT’S ALREADY CAUSING QUITE A STIR IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY here’s something awe-inspiring about a steam train. Maybe it’s the sight of the most glorious piece of engineering fully on show for all to see, not hidden away behind plastic covers like so much modern, hi-tech machinery. Or maybe it’s the sound, resounding metallic clanking, steam hissing, whistle blowing. Or the smell from coal blazing in the firebox, assaulting the nostrils with the pungent aroma of history and nostalgia. Whatever it is – and it’s probably all these things put together – we all love steam. Oh, for the return of the great locos to our mainlines to put those soulless Pendolinos in their place. Vintage Trains Limited (VTL) is doing just that after winning the right to operate services all over the country on the UK mainlines. After officially becoming a Train Operating Company at the end of 2018, VTL now joins the likes of Virgin Trains, Great Western Railway and Chiltern Railways on the Network Rail tracks. The award of TOC status by the Office of Rail and Road came after VTL passed

T

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the same stringent operating and safety criteria as required by the ‘big boys’ like Virgin. ORIGINAL DEPOT It also marked the first TOC to run on the mainline as a publicly owned and charitably controlled business – shares in the company closed at the end of April, raising more than £1.1million to invest in development projects. Moreover, VTL is one of only four mainline heritage operators in the UK. Of the other three, two are run privately by billionaires and the other by the German government. The Vintage Trains Charitable Trust operates out of the original 100-year-old Great Western Railway depot at Tyseley and preserves important express steam locomotives, Pullman cars and other items. It also manages the Tyseley Collection of heritage locomotives, carriages and workshop machinery at the Tyseley Locomotive Works on behalf of 7029 Clun Castle Limited (also a registered charity).

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company and to raise awareness so more people want to, and can, travel by steam.” The market potential for VTL can be seen by the rush to book its services – for example, more than 23,500 people travelled on its Polar Express service from Moor Street in the four-week run-up to last Christmas after the company was granted the franchise to use the name by film giant Warner Brothers. “Our services for 2109 feature longer distance return charter services, such as from Birmingham to Chester which feature standard class travel but also the most popular premium silver service fine dining.” The dining trains, featuring luncheon or ‘posh’ evening dinner, are especially popular with business professionals and these have been identified as major areas of growth for the business.

DRIVING FORCE: Vintage Trains MD Cath Bellamy

This year, VTL – best known for its hugely popular Shakespeare Express – is expanding its service to 58 charter trains, rising to 82 in 2020. While any member of the public can book to travel on its mainline services, the company is particularly looking to grow its highly lucrative events and corporate offering. Driving the business forward is managing director Cath Bellamy, a senior figure in the UK rail industry for the last 25 years and previously the boss of Chiltern Railways and Hull Trains as well as having various senior roles at the Department of Transport. She heads a small management team of half-a-dozen full-time staff, plus a pool of mostly part-time drivers and guards who work full-time on mainline railways, 25 full-time staff at the Tyseley Works and a highly enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of volunteers who are united by their love of steam. Cath said: “We are the youngest Train Operating Company in the country having only received our licence last year. Since then we have been and continue to be very busy recruiting staff from Birmingham and developing their expertise. Our objectives are to keep steam on the UK’s mainline, to be successful as a

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INDUSTRY SUPPORT As an official Train Operating Company, VTL has to act like any other mainline operator and apply and pay Network Rail to gain and approve paths and its timetable. “We have to meet all the operational requirements just like the other train companies,” explained Cath. “We have had to show that our locos and rolling stock are safe to operate on the mainline, and we have to negotiate our services and timings with Network Rail. You have to remember, our trains run at a maximum of 75mph, while non-steam operators services using the track such as Chiltern and Virgin will be travelling at considerably higher speeds.” There is huge support for VTL within the rail industry and government. Supporters include the chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser and chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy, as well as senior figures at the Department of Transport. “And most importantly, the city of Birmingham is behind us,” said Cath. I

ALL ABOARD! VTL’s 2019 railtour trains start from either Moor Street or Snow Hill stations and offer a variety of options including a first class, silver service dining. A programme of early evening, bespoke dining trains also run from Moor Street. The popular Shakespeare Express steam service operates between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon on summer Sundays (dates for 2019 to be confirmed). For full service details and information about Tyseley Locomotive Works open days visit www.VintageTrains.co.uk

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HALLFIELD SENIORS YEAR 7 & 8 COMING SEPTEMBER 2020 Register before November 2019 T: 0121 454 1496 E: admissions@hallfieldschool.co.uk

Register Now: 0121 454 1496 office@hallfieldschool.co.uk


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ROYAL HORN BLOWERS The West Midlands company behind the world’s first plastic trombone – which has since become the world’s best-selling trombone – has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation. Warwick Music Group has sold more than 250,000 of its pBone instruments since first going on sale in 2010. More than 80 per cent of trombones sold are now manufactured in plastic – all from Warwick Music Group – resulting in a 15 per cent increase in worldwide sales of trombones in the past three years.

NEWS TOP MOVES

BUSINESS

LIGHTING AWARD A year of success led to Tamlite

LOUD AND PROUD: Left to right, Chris Fower, Steven Greenall and Lucy Leddington Wright of Warwick Music Group

Birmingham-based mechanical and electrical building services provider J S Wright has a new managing director. Phil Leech, currently national mechanical contracts director, takes over day-to-day running of the 129year-old company following Marcus Aniol’s move to the role of chairman. Based at the company’s Aston headquarters, Phil has handed over mechanical contract responsibilities to associate directors Matt Coy and John Heggs.

Lighting being shortlisted as Manufacturer of the Year – Over £25million in the prestigious Made in the Midlands Awards. Tamlite’s achievements over the last year include a 28.3 per cent increase in sales – taking turnover to £58.5million – a 30 per cent increase in sales staff and a near-£1million investment in technology since 2016 at its Tamtec Electronics division. MD John Allden, pictured, said: “We are proud of our Midlands roots and manufacturing base.”

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ACTION STATION A new community group led by the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQBID) is aiming to bring a new lease of life to the Jewellery Quarter Station. The BID has become the first in the UK to formally adopt a station and is looking for volunteers and sponsors to help with plans to improve the attractiveness of the station. Projects include art installations, exhibitions, community events and planting.

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THE NEW CURIOSITY SHOP 3,300 BABIES – AND COUNTING! BMI The Priory Hospital has been making babies for 30 years! More than 3,300 babies owe their existence, in part, to the teams at the hospital’s Fertility Centre which was launched following a successful pilot study at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Jane Cuthbert, the centre’s clinical services manager who has been with the unit since opening day, said: “We are thrilled to have helped more than 10,000 patients along the way.”

BACKING YOUNG TALENT

An independent emporium selling hard-to-find homeware, gifts and curiosities has opened at Gibb Street in the Custard Factory. Ridding and Wynn offers shoppers unique items that have a story to tell, as well as a large selection of cards and gifts. Owner Lily Ridding said: “Our motto is ‘always desirable and never boring’. We want to be everyone’s first port of call when searching for that something special for their home, garden or loved ones.”

JUDGEMENT CALL Clinical negligence lawyer Sue Allen of West Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons has been appointed a deputy district judge on the Midlands Circuit. Associate solicitor Sue joined Higgs & Sons more than 10 years ago and is an accredited member of the Law Society clinical negligence panel, which recognises expertise in this area of law. Outside work, she is a volunteer leader for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at a youth group in Dudley.

FITNESS CLUB OPENS

Brindleyplace estate is partnering with Aston Business School to develop young talent in the city. Businesses are being offered the chance to support business school students across a range of professional services, from accounting and finance, human resources management and commercial law, to investment and business analytics. Rebecca Halbert, marketing manager at Brindleyplace, said: “We recognise the importance of addressing the skills gap in Birmingham and

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

the need for more graduate retention.”

xxNational award-winning fitness

club, énergie Fitness, has opened its doors at Solihull’s Mell Square centre. Sited above Loaf in Warwick Road, the new club provides premium cardio and resistance equipment, free weights and innovative training zones, as well as exclusive ‘the YARD’ – énergie Fitness’s signature training concept area, featuring punch bags, suspension trainers and more.

Amplify, the NEC Group’s premier hospitality business and hospitality provider for Resorts World Arena and Arena Birmingham, has been crowned Business of the Year by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. The team, led by Sally Walder, has adopted a “mindset of continuous improvement” and judges were impressed with their growing performance from modest beginnings. They also took the award for Excellence in Sales and Marketing. WINNERS: The Amplify team led by general manager Sally Walder, centre front

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BUSINESS BITES WATT TRAIL

The Lunar Society has launched a new trail as part of the James Watt Bicentenary commemorations in Birmingham. The James Watt Heritage Trail celebrates the life and legacy of the engineer. Details about the bicentenary programme www.jameswatt2019.org

GROWING TEAM Birmingham-based charity Cure Leukaemia has added two members of staff to its team. Andrew Wilkes, who spent the last year working for CL on a consultancy basis, has been appointed financial controller. Keiron Ronan has become challenge and community events co-ordinator after spending 10 years with West Midlands Police, most recently as a major events planning officer.

CHARITY BOOST Birmingham-based Eventmasters has chosen

SECRET SUPPER

Prostate Cancer UK as its charity of the year. The Eventmasters Foundation was formed last year to ‘formalise’ the efforts that the corporate hospitality specialist has been making for the last 30 years in supporting good causes. Its fund-raising culminates each December at the annual Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon. Prostate Cancer UK benefits alongside LoveBrum, Scotty’s Little Soldiers and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. SUPPORTING: Left to right, MD Denise Sheasby and Mark Sheasby of Eventmasters with Tracey Pritchard executive director of Engagement Prostate UK

MICHELLE’S LOFTY AMBITION

CHECKING IN

Boutique hotels Malmaison and Hotel du Vin Birmingham have joined Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as patrons. Part of the Fraser Hospitality Group, they join 37 other firms in the Chamber’s top tier of membership.

Birmingham’s first Parkinson’s UK Secret Supper event saw 165 guests enjoy a unique, multi-dining experience around St Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter, raising nearly £6,800 for the charity’s medical research work.

BIRTHDAY TREAT

A beauty therapist is fulfilling the dream of running her own salon. Michelle Holmes aims to make The Loft the go-to beauty salon for the area. After building up a substantial client base as a self-employed beauty therapist over the last eight years, Michelle, 36, has opened the salon at The Steps, in Evesham Walk. She was advised by property agents John Truslove. “It has gone better than I could have imagined,” said Michelle. Local kitchen design specialists Kuche & Bagno celebrated their 20th anniversary with a series of exclusive events including one with a guest appearance from Aldo Zilli. As well as showcasing new ranges from Kuppersbusch & Dornbracht, specially invited guests were able to tuck into some fine Italian cuisine specially created by the celebrity chef. Lisa Melvin said: “We have had so much fun this year already celebrating our 20th anniversary and we are aiming to do a competition, exclusive interview, new product showcase or event every month of 2019”

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Audience of property professionals gets lowdown on £38million development roperty professionals from the region’s commercial real estate market attended an agent’s launch event at Tattu Birmingham for Liberty Park, Lichfield – a £38 million industrial and logistics development that is set to create 700 new jobs. The audience of 60 heard that work has started on two buildings at the 30-acre site, next to to the A38, that will deliver 115,000 sq ft and 48,000 sq ft of Grade A industrial/logistics accommodation. I

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1 Robin Vaughan, Ed Peel. 2 Rob Watts, Greg Dalton. 3 Nick Hardie, Alex Eagleton, Charles D’Auncey, Neil Slade. 4 Andrew Blevins, Luke Thacker. 5 Jane Harrison, Ed Peel. 6 Tom Kimbell, Katie Aitchison. 7 Max Shelley, Matt Tilt, Robin Vaughan. 8 Myles WilcoxSmith, Tom Bromwich, Mike Eagleton. Photography by Andrew Llewellyn

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TOP MEDIA AWARDS HAIL FUTURE STARS

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tudents from the universities of Birmingham City, Derby, Gloucester, Lincoln, Northampton and Staffordshire won honours at the Midlands Media Student Awards, held by Birmingham Press Club at Mama Roux’s, Digbeth. Student of the Year was Hesham Abdelhamid who also won the Features Category. Amazon was headline sponsor of the awards, hosted by BBC Radio WM presenter Alex Noble. Further support came from HSBC UK, the overall sponsor of the Press Club, and the universities of Birmingham City, De Montfort, Gloucestershire, Northampton and Worcester. I

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1 Rob Stills, Adam Barker, Alex Noble, Jonathan Drake, Jim Quinlan. 2 Eve Smallman, James Vukmirovic, Amneet Kaur. 3 Bob Warman, James Williams. 4 Hesham Abdelhamid, Ellie Kirwin-Jones. 5 Ama Esson, Samuel Ogunleye, Monique Reynolds-Blanche. 6 Marverine Cole, Lydia Johnson, Anisah Vasta. 7 Kaylee Poloczek, Rachel Ammonds. 8 David Wainwright, Molly Hudson, Adam Barker. 9 Student of the Year Hesham Abdelhamid. Photography by Lisa Da-Costa

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Leading Ladies evening boosts funds for Hippodrome Projects uests enjoyed Birmingham Hippodrome’s Leading Ladies at Les Miserables, sponsored by PwC. The night included a delicious taster menu with drinks and some trademark Hippodrome surprises and twists – while also raising funds for the valuable work of Hippodrome Projects. I

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1 Annette Smith, Fleur Sexton. 2 Sarah Lack, Lisa Hicks. 3 Reshma Rama, Jackie Goodfellow, Brian Ashmead-Siers, Nicky O'Reilly, Lisa Orton. 4 Katrina Lawson, Sarah Holmes. 5 Nicola Fleet-Milne, Lucy Johnson. 6 Molly Cofman-Nicoresti, Michelle Stammers. 7 Lindsey Wager, Clare Mac. 8 Laura Loftus, Harpal Kaur, Tesni Thacker. 9 Cathy Macliver, Minty Macliver, Mari Thompson, Carys Thompson

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Photography by Vivienne Bailey

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irmingham’s best dressed were out in force for the latest Harvey Nichols fashion show. More than 350 guests enjoyed a Prosecco reception, staged in the Mailbox car park. The unusual setting provided a striking backdrop to the most sought-after pieces from the likes of Saint Laurent, Off-White, Fendi, Christian Louboutin, Balmain and Valentino. The evening was held in partnership with luxury car brand DS Automobiles. Hair was styled by the in-store James Bushell team, make-up was by Marc Jacobs Beauty and nails by Heaven Skincare. I

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1 Huda Shamsan, Fatima Al-Ani, Nabila Shamsan. 2 Gabriella Rooney, Esme Dublin, Lusia Haraburda. 3 Denise Owen, Dominika Korkova, Shelley Brumpton. 4 Sophie Jade Hall, Amber Juggins. 5 Karim Akroum, Ikraam Hussain. 6 Kris Cholmondeley, Alex Ollerearnshaw. 7 Ellen and Kate McNamara. 8 Luisa Hackney, Krishma Parmar. 9 Hanna Gamble, Sinead O'Herlihy, Evie Garrod. Photography by Andy Espin and Dan Rowley

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Two decades of success celebrated with a ‘knees-up’ at the Jam House he Jam House celebrated its 20th anniversary with a ‘good old knees-up’ with many of the characters that contributed to its two decades of success. Guests enjoyed Tanquery on tap supplied by Diageo, sweeties, canapes and mini-burgers, washed down with boogie-woogie from local legends Dino Baptiste and Phil Sayer. Manager John Bunce said: “This milestone makes us reflect on all the good times with the great international stars we’ve worked with, talented local musicians, hard-working bar staff, waiters and chefs – and above all the customers.” I

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1 Felicity Martin, Ian Shirley. 2 Cissy Stone, Des Tong. 3 Birmingham Chinatown Lions. 4 Dino Baptiste, Phil Sayer. 5 John Bunce. 6 Maddie O'Donnel, Maya Watson. 7 Roy Hemmings, Tessa Rhodes, Leonie Martin, Hannah Floyd, Denise O’Neil and friend. 8 Pete and Wendy Mew, Tracey Minshull, Mick Rawlins.

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WHAT: Royal Ascot Ladies Day in the Marquee WHEN: 20 June WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk This annual Ascot celebration is always fantastic fun. Enjoy a Champagne reception on the terrace, buffet lunch and live big screen TV coverage of all the action, followed by an indulgent afternoon tea.

WHAT: Backstreet Boys WHEN: 15 June WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com Backstreet’s back… alright! The larger-than-life stars are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a brand new world tour which includes a visit to Brum. You know you want to…

WHAT: Birmingham Bears T20 Blast WHEN: 21 July WHERE: Edgbaston Stadium, www.birminghambears.com The Bears’ first home game of the domestic Twenty20 season is against the Leicestershire Foxes. Could this be the Bears year? Come and cheer the boys on and propel the team to achieve great things.

WHAT: Megan McKenna WHEN: 1 July WHERE: Birmingham O2 Institute, www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham The TOWIE reality star turned country singer is embarking on her first-ever headline tour across the UK in support of her debut album, Story Of Me.

WHAT: Gyles Brandreth: Break a Leg! WHEN: 29 June WHERE: The Old Rep, www.oldreptheatre.co.uk They say all political careers end in tears. In Brandreth’s case it’s tears of laughter as the actor, author, ex-MP, One Show reporter and QI, Have I Got News For You and Countdown star is back on tour with a new show celebrating all things theatrical.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Foodies Festival WHEN: 21 to 23 June WHERE: Cannon Hill Park, www.foodiesfestival.com One of the finest celebrations of food and drink returns with another mouth-watering event which again includes the Musicians Against Homelessness concert, including local legend Neville Staple and other top acts.

WHAT: The Provoked Wife

WHAT: An Evening of Old Skool Classics

WHEN: 2 May to 7 September

WHEN: 7 June

WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre,

WHERE: Level25, Marco Pierre White

tel: 01789 403493 www.rsc.org.uk

Part of a series of all-new live music events at the Cube that will be providing a serious summer of sound. Featuring acclaimed artists from across the country, an evening that promises fine old school classics caught our eye.

Director Phillip Breen brings his comedy Midas touch to this outspoken Restoration romp that shocked 17th century society. Lady Brute is tired of her tedious, loveless marriage and her tedious, drunk husband. When she decides to spice up her love life with a younger man scandal threatens to ruin her.

WHAT: Ian McKellen On

WHAT: A Spring Symphony

Stage

WHEN: 6 June

WHEN: 21 and 22 June

WHERE: Symphony Hall, tel: 0121 780 3333

WHERE: Birmingham Rep,

www.cbso.co.uk/whats-on

tel: 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk The legendary thespian is celebrating his 80th birthday with a very special solo tour that includes acting, anecdotes and a special gala dinner. All profits benefit the Rep First campaign, nurturing new talent.

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Schumann’s First Symphony welcomes the arrival of spring with blasts of trumpets and a great, joyous flourish of sound. It’s a delightful way to crown a concert that begins with the teenage Mozart punching the air for joy.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Paul Harrison: Inside The Mind Of The Serial Killer WHEN: 2 July WHERE: The Glee Club, tel: 0871 472 0400 glee.co.uk He’s been called The Guv’nor of True Crime, spending more than four decades analysing, studying and getting deep inside the heads of many of the world’s most deviant and violent offenders. He’s now coming to Brum as part of this unique tour discussing his expertise.

WHAT: Swingtime in the Gardens Festival WHEN: 15 June WHERE: Ragley Hall, www.swingtimeinthegardens.co.uk

WHAT: Carrie Underwood

The sounds of swing and jive will be heard across the grounds of the beautiful stately home as the popular festival returns to Warwickshire after a six -year hiatus. As well as fabulous music from bands like BGT’s the Jive Aces, there’s market stalls, dance workshops and fairground rides.

WHEN: 28 June WHERE: Resorts World Arena, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The multi-platinum superstar and seven-time Grammy winner visits Birmingham as part of the Cry Pretty Tour UK, hot on the back of her acclaimed sixth studio album Cry Pretty.

WHAT: BBC Good Food Show WHEN: 13 to 16 June WHERE: NEC, tel: 0844 581 1363 www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com/birmingham-summer WHAT: Al Murray: Landlord of Hope and Glory WHEN: 19 June WHERE: The Alexandra Theatre, tel: 0844 8713011

Fresh seasonal flavours and high-class entertainment. This cracking event is packed with culinary ideas with some of the UK’s top chefs cooking up a storm at an unmissable show for food lovers.

www.atgtickets.com/birmingham Citizens of Hope and Glory! Our new tomorrow beckons. A new tomorrow that smells reassuringly of yesterday, but with wi-fi. This fantastic English comedian has been working the circuit and entertaining the masses since the early 90s.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat WHEN: 2 to 13 July WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, www.birminghamhippodrome.com Re-telling the Biblical story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs. Union J’s Jaymi Hensley dons the Technicolor Dreamcoat for his first major musical role.

WHAT: Tan France WHEN: 20 June WHERE: Town Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk The star of Queer Eye makes his first public appearance in the UK as he discusses his heartfelt, funny, touching memoir Naturally Tan. Includes book signing post event.

WHAT: Prostate Cancer UK’s annual March for Men WHEN: June 9 WHERE: Cannon Hill Park, www.prostatecanceruk.org Nearly 20,000 men from this area are living with prostate cancer. Help fund life-saving research to stop prostate cancer being a killer as for the first time this vital fund-raising event is coming to Birmingham.

WHAT: Nature Valley Classic WHEN: 15 to 23 June WHERE: Edgbaston Priory Club, tel: 0844 581 4995 www.edgbastonpriory.com This year’s Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham is set to feature the strongest line-up of players ever seen in its 38-year history, including world number one, Naomi Osaka, and number two and defending champion Petra Kvitova. Plus, British number one and Fed Cup hero, Johanna Konta.

WHAT: Sophie Ellis-Bextor WHEN: 8 June WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk The renowned singer performs orchestral versions of her hits as well as songs from the great cannon of disco music on the tour.

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IN THE CITY WITH GIANLUCA AUSTIN-RIZZO OF SIMPSONS TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I am general manager at Simpsons Restaurant, Edgbaston. Simpsons was one of the first restaurants to be awarded a Michelin star in Birmingham, 19 years ago. We are known for providing outstanding food and service in a more informal and relaxed dining experience. I am in the Midlands due to love bringing me here and I have made this home with my wife Laura, who was born and raised in Malvern. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? I commute every day by train from Great Malvern to Five Ways and take a 15-minute walk to Simpsons. Most nights I manage to get the last train home. When that’s not possible I call Falcon & Crown, a local Birmingham taxi company, who kindly drive me home at anytime of the day or night – they really look after me, especially Mr Abid.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT:

Gianluca is shortlisted for this year’s GQ magazine

Best Front of House award

HOW’S THE COMMUTE? The commute is the time I dedicate to myself and either use it to prepare for the day ahead or to relax after a long day at work before getting home. IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN? It definitely is! It’s a lively, buzzing city. If you live in the Midlands then Birmingham is THE place to work. It has changed lot in just the last 10 years and with the amount of investment going into the city it’s getting better and better all the time too! Many new businesses are finding that Birmingham is the place to be! COFFEE BREAK? There are not many of those! When I do have time to treat myself to a break in the working day I like to go to Laghi’s, a small Italian deli with true Italian flavours. LUNCHTIME? Well of course, usually I like to eat and entertain clients or customers here at Simpsons but if I feel like something different and escaping the work environment I would go to Pure Bar in Waterloo Street for one of their perfect burgers and a cold beer. POWERWALKING? During a busy day, to take five minutes to chill out, I quite often will sit in the gardens of Simpsons near the fountain... the relaxing sound of the water really does the trick. You wouldn't know you are really in a city centre! I am still exploring Brum so any suggestions of where I should go, let me know!

Simpsons Restaurant,

20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston,

Birmingham, B15 3DU.

Tel: 0121 454 3434

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AFTERWORK PINT? Considering I have a long journey back home after each shift it doesn't happen every day, but when the chance is there I like to visit our neighbours at either the Edgbaston Hotel or the Highfield. HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? A lot of improvements are taking place in Birmingham at the moment so we just need to wait, be patient and see how things take shape...

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Profile for Birmingham Living Magazine

June issue 2019 (issue 81)  

June issue 2019 (issue 81)  

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