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March 2017

10 FAST

FAT-BURNERS DIGBETH DINING CLUB

PETER PLISNER

LAURA MVULA

CHEF TOM WELLS

ZING INTO

SPRING I

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FOOD FASHION FITNESS

WRITING FOR SHAKESPEARE, SINGING FOR THE QUEEN, MEETING PRINCE


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EDITOR’S VIEW

It’s official. Once the industrial heartland of Birmingham, Digbeth is now one of the ‘hippest’ places to hang out in the UK

helley Carter has written a great piece this month about Digbeth Dining Club – the multi-award-winning UK’s best street food experience. DDC co-founder Jack Brabant tells how he and James Swinburne’s idea to bring the street food scene to Birmingham was born out of frustration. After a stint working around East London’s Brick Lane with all its side roads teeming with stands and stalls selling an amazing variety of great food, Jack returned to Brum and was aghast at the lack of the same experiences here. The two guys opened DDC in Digbeth which they identified as a trendy, edgy area which would perfectly replicate Brick Lane. Five years on DDC is a key part of the Digbeth vibe. And with perfect timing, as we feature DDC on page 16, Digbeth has been named this month as one of the top three ‘hippest’ areas in the UK – beating hotspots in London and Liverpool. The area was highlighted in the TravelSupermarket holiday price comparison site’s catchily-named UK Hip Hang-out Neighbourhood Index. Special praise went to the ‘hippest of the hip’ (if you get what we mean!) Yumm Cafe, Warehouse Cafe, Fazeley Social – and Digbeth Dining Club. But, of course, Digbeth isn’t just all about sampling food and chilling out, as good as that is. Once the industrial heartland of Birmingham, more and more it’s becoming one of the most important hubs for digital, tech and creative businesses. There are already many great businesses in the area, and more are coming in all the time as the city’s reputation for leading the UK in cutting edge creativity and technology grows apace. Add to this the plans for the HS2 terminal at Curzon Street and regeneration of Eastside, and Digbeth is destined to become one of the city’s most exciting – and even ‘hipper’ – areas over the coming years.

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David Johns

Editor: David Johns david@brumliving.co.uk

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

Contributors: Rob Price, Sue Cooke, Lisa Melvin, Rose Gallagher, Hywel Davies

Account manager: Jane Morris jane@brumliving.co.uk Photography: David Morphew, Andrew Llewellyn Publishing director: Jonathan Carter

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

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

Cover image: Laura Mvula

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

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When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it

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INSIDE

Highlights

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Laura Mvula From singing for the Queen to writing music for Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra Digbeth Dining Club How Birmingham became the centre of the UK’s street food universe Tom Wells Head chef at Tom’s Kitchen in the Mailbox on a life-changing pineapple upside down cake Food & Drink Our critics sample Indico Street Kitchen, plus our wine picks of the month and foodie news Spring Style Edit The best buys of the new season fashions and trends, fresh from the catwalks Top 10 Ways to Burn Fat Shedding those excess winter pounds couldn’t be easier with our simple health guide

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CONTENTS

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Best of the Rest

44 54 56 58 65 70 78 march 2017

Spring Homes Rooms with a view! Great ideas and tips to enjoy your outdoor space for a new season Motoring Sue Cooke tries out the new, fun-filled Citroen C3 – and finds herself in deep water! Up Close With Wayne Williams, senior horticulturalist at Birmingham Botanical Gardens Young, Gifted and Brummie Alpine ski champion Siena Horton looking to bring glory to Britain on the slopes Spotlight on Business All the latest news, views, launches and openings from the business community Social Scene The pages that picture who’s been out and about networking in Birmingham this month Shows, Arts, Gigs and More What’s on, where and when – all you need to know about the entertainment scene

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NEWS

g n i v liTODAY

THE NUT-TRUCKER SUITE Ten articulated lorry trailers, five scenery trucks, 31 rails of costumes, eight giant baskets of shoes, 78 wigs, 250 hair rollers, two washing machines and drier, 39 dancers and 64 orchestra musicians. That’s what it takes to get the show on the road for Birmingham Royal Ballet. The company is taking its award-winning version of Cinderella around the country on a logistical scale comparable to any major rock tour. STEPPING OUT: Dancer Emily Smith all set to hit the road

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

CONCERT FIRST Birmingham Conservatoire marked the start of the Chinese New Year with a star-studded concert at Birmingham Hippodrome featuring some of China’s leading classical musicians. Pianists Di Xiao and I-Hsuan Peng and cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber were joined by some of the rising Chinese stars studying at Birmingham Conservatoire. The Chinese Classical Showcase was the first time the Conservatoire has collaborated with the Hippodrome.

MINI MOTORISTS GEAR UP The British Motor Museum is launching new under-5s Mini Motorists mornings and themed Saturday Clubs from this month. The clubs cover topics from engineering to coding and aim to develop skills in a fun and interactive environment. Mini Motorists mornings involve interactive activities and storytelling. More details at www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk or

MARATHON EFFORT A Midlands fund-raiser is taking on his biggest and toughest challenge – running four full marathons in the first three weeks of April. Haroon Mota, 31, fund-raising manager for humanitarian charity Penny Appeal, is hoping to raise £20,000 towards a solar water panel for the people of Senegal. He will run in the London, Paris, Manchester and Boston marathons. Donate by texting MOTA60 £ followed by the amount, to 70070.

call 01926 641188.

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NEWS

BIG WELCOME FOR DIPPY TEMPER’S TRIBUTE TO ICONS Birmingham’s internationally renowned graffiti artist Temper has unveiled a new collection celebrating cultural icons loved and lost. From Bob Marley to Pablo Picasso, the Timeless works capture the much-missed personalities through an intricate use of spray paint. Temper who worked freehand, without stencils or masking, said: “I prefer to see a painting that captures the soul of the subject, rather than something that’s just picture perfect.” Limited editions of the works are available from Castle Fine Art.

Dippy the Diplodocus is on the move and coming to Birmingham. Never before on public display outside of London, Dippy will take up residence at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery for four months. Dippy – measuring 21.3m long, 4.3m wide and 4.25m high – will arrive at Gas Hall on 17 May 2018 as part of an exhibition celebrating the area’s natural science collections.

BOURNVILLE’S CHOC JOY Cadbury World Bournville hit new records for visitors over Christmas. The attraction welcomed more than 44,000 people – two per cent up on 2015. More than 648,000 visitors toured Cadbury World in 2016, making it one of the busiest years ever for the attraction. Marketing manager Diane Mitchell said: “We continue to be a very popular destination for families from across the UK.”

SAVE KIDS’ FOOTBALL PLEA

A residents group is appealing to professional football clubs to keep children’s dreams alive by helping them save two soccer pitches under threat of development. Yardley Residents Action Group is hoping one of the clubs will buy Barrows Lane playing fields and social club in Yardley – where Midland football stars Craig Gardner and Darren Carter first played the game.

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OWZAT! TUFFERS IN TOWN Former England cricketer Phil Tufnell will be fielding questions from Solihull sports fans when he visits the town this month. The TV personality will be the star turn at A Question of Talk at St Johns Hotel, Warwick Road, on 16 March. The event, aimed at Solihull town centre’s professional service and office sector, is organised by Solihull BID.

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NEWS

FOODIE FESTIVAL RETURNS The UK's biggest celebration of food and drink is returning to Birmingham this summer. The Foodies Festival – nicknamed the Gastronomic Glastonbury – will feature a new and exciting Healthy Living focus, Grow Your Own, Creative Summer Workshops, Dessert & Cake Theatre and more. The event, which will feature a host of famous chefs and bakers, is at Cannon Hill Park on 23, 24 and 25 June.

GARDEN SQUARE PROJECT

IN BRIEF

A major scheme has been unveiled to regenerate a 10-acre commercial site on the west side of Birmingham, along Hagley Road. The New Garden Square project will include 400 apartments, 56,500 sqm of office space, potential for a 100-bed hotel and 2,400 sqm of retail space. At its heart is a landscaped square featuring interlinked gardens and mature trees. The plans have been submitted by U+I and Calthorpe Estates.

SPA LAUNCH

VISION: Ralph Minott, Calthorpe Estates director of development

LOVEBRUM’S NEW DUO Birmingham charity LoveBrum has welcomed two new trustees. They are Millennium Point CEO Judith Armstrong and joint MD of SimkissGuy Recruitment, Rebecca Simkiss. Judith joins the team as new deputy chairperson trustee with Rebecca stepping in to support with membership.

RUM DO WITH CURRY Curry and comedy are returning to Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The Comedy Rum-Ball on 31 March will see Itihaas’ head chef Pavneet Sangwan and comedian and chef Hardeep Singh Kohli join forces with Ampersand’s head chef Phil Bradley and rum specialist, Alessio Franzese. Combining comedy and curry, the experienced chefs have created a bespoke four-course fusion menu.

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A new Elan Spa will open next month at Mallory Court Hotel, Warwickshire. The spa includes an outdoor vitality pool with countryside views, glazed outdoor sauna, seven treatment rooms and gym.

LOTTERY BID John Taylor Hospice has launched a weekly lottery draw to raise funds. The Birmingham-based hospice has teamed up with Your Hospice Lottery to offer the chance to win weekly cash prizes ranging from £10 to £1,000.

FLYING HIGH Airline BMI is creating a new hub at Birmingham airport with three new routes to Graz, Austria, Nuremburg, Germany and Gothenburg, Sweden. The Graz flights are twice weekly, while Nuremberg and Gothenburg are six times a week from May.

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NEWS

OZZY’S

LAST HURRAH The world’s greatest-ever heavy metal band has smashed its last guitar. Birmingham’s very own Black Sabbath played their lastever gig at the NEC Arena. Ticker tape and balloons fell as singer

INDIE BAND’S BIG YEAR A Midlands indie band has released its second EP. New music from Spilt Milk Society – singer, keyboardist and guitarist Harry Handford, lead guitarist Josh Hyde, rhythm guitarist Harry Kilminster, bassist and vocalist Adam Handford, and drummer Chan Kathuria – has already gone down a storm with music fans. Harry Handford said: “The response has been amazing.”

Ozzy Osbourne thanked fans for nearly five decades of support. Sabbath's The End Tour began in the US in January last year and took in 81 dates across the world.

ROSIE’S ULTRA TOUR The world of symbolism, hidden messages and occult signs is the theme of a new work from an award-winning Birmingham dance company. Rosie Kay Dance Company will tour its new production, MK ULTRA, from 17 March to 18 May in major UK cities. MK ULTRA is a CIA code word for an LSD-fuelled brainwashing technique. The tour starts at Birmingham Rep.

PROFESSOR ALICE TOPS SCIENCE BILL TV professor and Birmingham Living cover star Alice Roberts is heading this year’s University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival from 13 to 19 March. Now in its fifth year, the festival brings together leading artists, thinkers and scientists for a week of exhibitions, talks, screenings and workshops. Prof Roberts will explain how trees can help scientists to unpick the secrets of archaeological sites.

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YOU’RE SO HIP, DIGBETH! Digbeth has been named the third hippest area in the UK to hang out in, beating trendy hotspots in London and Liverpool. The area was highlighted in TravelSupermarket’s UK Hip Hang-out Neighbourhood Index, compiled by the holiday price comparison site. Top spots in Digbeth were named as Yumm Cafe, Digbeth Dining Club street food market, Warehouse Café and Fazeley Social.

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NEWS

CHINATOWN BOOST

© Sam Taylor Johnson

A giant Chinese arch could be erected in Birmingham as part of plans to create pedestrianised areas in the city’s most diverse district. The Southside BID project, in partnership with the city council, Birmingham Hippodrome and Chinese community, proposes a new public space by removing traffic from part of Ladywell Walk and Hurst Street up to Thorp Street. The new square would stage cultural performances, festivals and markets.

KONTA HEADS TENNIS WEEK Top flight tennis is smashing its way back to Brum. British No 1 and World No 10 Johanna Konta will be among the stars playing at the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory club from 17 to 25 June. Johanna said: “With so many great past champions, Birmingham is always a special place to play.” The event will also be hosting the Wimbledon Museum on site.

MENTAL HEALTH MOVE A new action plan has been launched in the West Midlands to deal with mental health issues. The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Mental Health Commission plan is the result of work with a Citizens Jury of people with personal experience of mental ill health. Priority action areas include early intervention, decent housing, helping people into work and off benefits and keeping people out of the criminal justice system. ACTION: Cllr Pete Lowe, left, of WMCA with Norman Lamb MP at the Thrive West Midlands launch

PADDY SETS FITNESS RECORD Champion of Champions, Paddy Doyle, took part in a record 550th physical fitness challenge – in Solihull. The current Guinness World Record title-holder for the most fitness endurance records in one year, achieved the historic milestone at the Royal British Legion Club in Berkswell. The father-of-two from Balsall Common completed the feat with a speed march carrying more than 40lb weight on his back.

GOT ANY NEWS? Email your news and pictures to editor@brumliving.co.uk march 2017

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COVER STORY

PURE THEATRE Singing star Laura Mvula tells David Johns why she jumped at the chance of composing the music for a Shakespearean masterpiece – and then thought, ‘Oh f**k, what have I done?’ irmingham’s very own singing sensation Laura Mvula has come into the nation’s conscience big time in the past year. She’s sung before the Queen in the Royal Albert Hall, appeared performing live on TV watched by an audience of millions, and she’s been shortlisted for a host of top music industry awards. Not forgetting a hit album too… and becoming the voice of Christmas with her catchy House of Fraser TV ad version of Ready or Not. But all of that was a cakewalk compared to what Laura has taken on over the last few months after she accepted an invitation to write the music for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of Antony & Cleopatra. Laura admits: “It’s way the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, the hardest by miles. After jumping in and agreeing to do it, the realisation of what I had taken on suddenly hit me, and I thought, ‘oh f**k!!” Laura was asked to provide her own unique musical take for the play by director and friend Iqbal Khan. Never being one to turn down the challenge of something new and fresh, Laura says: “When the offer came about I put on a bit of a facade and I thought, yeah, I can do this. Then when I thought about it some more and got into it, I just knew everything about it was alien to me. I’d been to see productions at the RSC as a kid growing up and at uni – a friend would get me in to see the performances. But I’ve never worked in theatre before, until now. “I wasn’t sure what the process would be. Do I write a couple of songs for the production, or do I write everything

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you hear? It was the latter – everything you hear! Boy, has the experience been a kick up the arse. I get a bit emotional even thinking about it.” Laura says that at first, when the reality was months away, the idea of writing for the RSC seemed somehow cool. But then as the weeks moved on, it was soon time for her to jump into the world of Shakespeare and the RSC in earnest. “I was terrified, in all honesty,” she says. “But I was familiar with Iqbal’s approach which is to take risks and be adventurous. And as we worked, it became the most intense, authentic collaboration I’ve ever experienced. In my normal world of singing, artists talk about collaboration and it means a couple of hours with each other singing in a studio. This was completely different, intense.”

BACK TO SCHOOL Laura describes it as like going back to school. “I had to know the play, so I was given Antony & Cleopatra to read. I tried to read it, but thought to myself ‘Oh no! This is why I didn’t do very well in English Literature at school!’. I just couldn’t get to understand the language used in the book at all.” Things changed for the better though after Laura attended the first read-through session with the RSC’s actors and cast. “I’d never been in a room before with actors,” she

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COVER STORY

Prince before he died, he kept telling me that I should go on my own, be independent and do creatively what I wanted to do

says. “But as they read their parts with such power and passion, I thought ‘Ok wow’… now I understand. I knew that to do this right I would need to access parts of me that I hadn’t been to in my own music and albums.” Laura says everyone knew she would never approach Shakespeare in a classical way. In her head, she says, the

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starting point was somewhere between Prince’s Purple Rain and jazz legend Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain. She took a solid two weeks of eight-hour days, recording the music herself and using a variety of plug-ins to create ‘weird and wonderful’ sounds. The end result she describes as the sound of “Laura Mvula in ancient Rome with a synthesiser and a choir”.

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As we spoke, Laura was involved in auditioning singers for the choir in a studio in Clapham, London as well as running through the music with the play’s cast, who also have to sing during the performance. Then minutes after finishing our interview, she was in a taxi heading for the airport and a flight for a short tour of the US where she played in Miami, Washington and New York.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM Laura has a big following both in the States and of course here in the UK. The girl who grew up in King’s Heath and played in Christian bands and sang in church choirs before studying at Birmingham Conservatoire, also has huge fans in the music business. Her debut album Sing to the Moon was released in March 2013 to rave reviews. Her second studio album The Dreaming Room was released in June 2016 also to great critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2016 Mercury Prize. She was also nominated for four MOBO awards.

dropped by record label Sony after six years. The move brought widespread disbelief and condemnation from Laura’s peers, including fellow singers Charlotte Church, Ellie Goulding and Paloma Faith, as well as the likes of Sir Lenny Henry. “Sony told me by e-mail. A seven-line e-mail that basically said thanks and goodbye. No reason or anything, ” says Laura. “But I’m looking at this as now the sky’s the limit for me. I can get on with new projects, make a new record, be independent and do whatever I want. There’s a new season coming up and I’ve got loads of festivals which I’m committed to in the summer.” She adds: “Prince before he died, I had two conversations with him, and he kept telling me how I should go and make it on my own. He was keen that I should be independent. Now I am.” The first fruits of that new independence will be seen in just a few days when the curtain goes up in Stratford on what everyone fully expects will be a tour de force for Laura and her music genius. I

Boy, has the experience been a kick up the arse. I get emotional even thinking about it

In November, Laura sang Abide With Me at the Festival of Remembrance attended by the Queen at the Royal Albert Hall. The following month, she sang together with Robbie Williams at BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year at Birmingham’s Genting Arena watched by a live TV audience of millions. On her return from the States, it’s straight back to Shakespeare and rehearsals with the RSC in Stratford ahead of Antony & Cleopatra’s opening night on Saturday 11 March. “I’ll be there on opening night that’s for sure, nothing will keep me away,” says Laura. “If it all works, this could be a new direction for me. I’ll have more ideas.” The new challenge and fresh ideas couldn’t come at a better time for Laura after she was controversially Antony & Cleopatra, directed by Iqbal Khan – 11 March to 7 September. To book tickets call 01789 403493 or online at www.rsc.org.uk

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FEATURE

STREET LIFE Can you remember life before Digbeth Dining Club? Thought not.

Shelley Carter caught up with Jack Brabant five years after the event’s inception to get a handle on how Brum became the centre of the UK’s street food universe magine a Friday night in Digbeth before the vibrant DDC rolled into town. It would have been cool and edgy, no question, but things got a whole lot more interesting in 2012 when a few drunken conversations between Jack Brabant and his pals became a reality. An event like no other in Brum exploded onto the scene with its focus on top-drawer inventive street food teamed with great music in an environment that’s inclusive and celebratory. Brummies had a unique place to hang out after work and stay all night. So popular was Friday night, that a Saturday has been added catering for a different weekend crowd and there’s more expansion on the cards. In just five years the street food scene in the city has exploded exponentially thanks to Jack and fellow founder James Swinburne, who is also part owner of Spotlight, a venue central to DDC. Jack’s vision was born out of

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frustration when he came back to Brum after a stint in London. Having witnessed the rise of street food in the capital around areas like Brick Lane where traders were operating out of side streets selling amazing food, Jack was staggered that there was no scene to speak of in Birmingham at all. “There was a smattering of Midlands-based traders serving fantastic food, but their outlet was the region’s farmers’ markets. There was nothing more than that,” explained Jack.

EDGY VIBE Digbeth was an obvious choice because of its space and edgy vibe that could potentially replicate the Brick Lane setup that had so impressed Jack. He met James and already knew the people behind Rainbow Venues, so it all clicked into place. Finding traders was easy, in fact the pair now turn

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bit leftfield for punters. Jack clocked early on that the techno and deep house needed to go. “We realised a 50year-old looking for some incredible street food didn’t want to listen to Ibiza Classics!” There’s now live music, house bands and a much more laid-back vibe.

EXPANDING

FEAST OF FOOD: Digbeth Dining Club’s buzzing Coventry Cathedral event

down 75 per cent of applications that just don’t cut the mustard. Clearly the quality of the food is the number one priority as well as marketing and various other aspects. It’s not a prerequisite that traders are Midlands-based although it leans towards that. The focus is absolutely on the best. Jack said: “They’ve got to be the best. We’re going through applications every week. It’s like the X-Factor of street food!” DDC stalwarts Original Patty Men were on board from the get-go when their foodie venture was still a labour of love. Jack’s not taking credit for their rise or any other trader’s success, but we reckon DDC has played a massive part in helping independents thrive by giving them a platform from which to shine. People like Buddha Belly, Meatshack and Low ‘n’ Slow have featured regularly over the years. There were mistakes in the early days although never food related. Initially, the choice of music was a

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Seriously hands on, Jack and James run DDC like a well-oiled feel-good machine every weekend, plus their involvement in other events across the country meant that in 2016 they were involved in 80 events. Jack missed only three. Either James or Jack attends Digbeth every weekend to ensure things run smoothly. “It’s important that we’re present from a logistical point of view, plus it gives us a sense of pride.” The duo is looking at expanding with the possibility of increased units on Lower Trinity Street and more live music. More activity in Coventry is in the pipeline too. Winning awards like Best UK Street Food Event at the British Street Food Awards two years on the bounce in 2013 and 2014 helped put the event and Birmingham on the map, so much so that the city actually hosted the awards last year – something that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Rainbow Venues got the gig which was a massive success and a coup for the city. To give you some idea, the previous year’s awards were held at the O2 London. Of the award-winning streak Jack said: “Awards are a nice thing and we certainly wouldn’t turn them down, but they’re not the focus. We focus on being the best we can be.” I

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FOOD & DRINK

TOM WELLS The head chef at the newly-opened Tom’s Kitchen in the Mailbox reveals how a close encounter with a pineapple upside down cake changed his life Tell us about your cooking I like to cook simple food with lovely fresh ingredients and like most good chefs, seasonality is massively important to me. I want to cook delicious hearty meals with clean flavours that people can relish. I’ve travelled a lot and cooked in a variety of great restaurants along the way so I’ve been influenced by a lot of styles, but I particularly like Asian cuisine and definitely classic British fare.

How did you become a chef? At 14, I took a home economics class at school in Wolverhampton and one day I cooked a pineapple upside down cake and it literally changed everything! After that all I wanted to be was a cook. I studied food at college before spending a couple of years at the five-star Bath Hotel under Jonathan Fraser – a baptism of fire where I learned the importance of a strong work ethic. I then went travelling and worked at the five-star Cairns International before a couple of stints on cruise ships, including the Queen Mary II, which I loved. I worked with Richard Turner when we won our first Michelin Star and then spent a couple of years in Singapore with Luke Mangan, initially launching an Asian tapas bar before opening his fine dining place the Salt Grill and Sky Bar on Orchard Road. When I was interviewed for the role of head chef at Tom’s Kitchen by Tom Aikens, it was a bit like meeting my idol as his cook

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book was the first I ever bought! The culture here and the type of food we’re cooking is just my kind of eating. We want people to have great, affordable food in a relaxed environment and for them to feel they can come two or three times a week. What do you eat when at home? A lot of Asian food and anything that’s simple and tasty. My wife Clarice is from the Philippines and she makes a really good pork adobo made with pork belly and soy sauce. Obviously a fair bit of salt, so you can’t eat it too often. Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? David Chang who runs Momofuku in New York is unbelievable and I really want to visit Thomas Keller’s restaurant, the French Laundry, in California because he’s right at the top of his game. In Birmingham the food scene has changed so much with loads of great chefs like Richard Turner, Glynn Purnell and Adam Stokes. I really rate the Polish chef Adam Glamacinski who runs Sushi Passion in the Great Western Arcade. Is the customer always right? Well I’d like to say ‘no’ but along with our suppliers, the customer is the most important person to us! Of course

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CHEF’S CORNER

For the recipe to make Tom’s delicious Seven-Hour Braised Shoulder of Lamb with Onions, Thyme and Balsamic go to www.brumliving.co.uk

they’re always right in terms of their expectations but it can be frustrating when a perfect medium rare steak is sent back. Share a cooking tip Make sure you use properly seasoned water when cooking green vegetables. It should taste like the sea. What was your favourite food as a kid? I was a really fussy eater until I was about 13 and lived off pizza and banana sandwiches. Then that pineapple upside down cake changed my life and I’ll eat anything now! Food heaven and food hell? Heaven is a Thai green curry. I’m in hell if you serve me steak on one of those sizzling black hot plates – I just don’t understand it. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? At the end of my street in Singapore they used to sell a lot of durian, a spiky hard fruit with a horrendous smell. Once cracked open, if you can get over the odour, then the flesh is really creamy, sweet and lovely. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? I couldn’t manage being stuck in an office so something ‘outdoor-sy’ and creative would work. I reckon I’d be a pretty good landscape gardener.

Tom’s Kitchen, 53 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RE. Tel: 0121 289 5111 www.tomskitchen.co.uk

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What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? We make our own ricotta cheese with aged balsamic and rosemary which is pretty special, but I’d probably suggest this great venison dish with a beetroot gratin, beetroot puree and pears poached in red wine. Served with croquettes made with shoulder meat it’s really lovely. I

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

INDICO STREET KITCHEN 16 Parkgate Shopping Centre, Shirley, B90 3GG. Tel: 0121 448 5204 www.indicostreetkitchen.com andwiched between a gargantuan Asda and numerous forgettable chains, Indico’s vibrancy hits you hard and Shirley’s town centre is all the better for it. Colourful umbrellas hang from the double height ceiling – a logistical nightmare by all accounts, but worth it. Stunning wall art features too alongside charming marionettes hanging from brightly painted walls while prints by Digbeth’s Jinxy provided further eye candy. The facade of the open kitchen has been crafted to replicate a traditional canary yellow street food van – a nod to the vibe that’s central to the restaurant’s vision. Tiffin boxes, kathi rolls – an Indian wrap made with rolled paratha, Indian tapas (chaats) as well as meat, prawns or paneer hot and charred from the tandoor whispered ‘eat me’ and in the name of giving you, the reader as much information as possible we selflessly ate like kings. We may have sampled a Cosmopolitan for your benefit too as we tucked into the North Indian street snack, aloo pyaz ke pakoras. A spiced mixture of potato, onion, green chilli, spinach and coriander deep fried in gramflour resulted in a moreishly crunchy, flavour packed snack. Cubes of paneer marinated then gently charred were lovely with soft warm spicing. Then there was the Indico mixed grill served on naan bread which included meaty, charred prawns marinated in saffron, cardamom and cream cheese –

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messy, but totally worth the stained fingers. Rajasthani lamb chops were tasty, but a little tough – probably the least accomplished dish – while the tender, punchy seekh kebab wowed. Chicken tikka did what it said on the tin and was absolutely delicious. Everything was served with a mint chutney that defied its name. It had hidden depths and heat that were unexpected. There were two curry stand outs of the four we sampled. A rich, creamy Delhi style butter chicken and a deeply spiced daal makhani made with black lentils and kidney beans which I’d never eaten before, but was utterly marvellous. The only downside to our trip was leaving. Trudging from the vibrant serotonin inducing eatery through the drab underground Asda car park was a bit of a come down. Worlds apart. I

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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 LET’S LOUNGE PEOPLE! People of Mere Green, get ready to lounge like you’ve never lounged before! Renato Lounge – the newest venue from the Lounges café, bar and restaurant group – has opened as part of the new Mulberry Walk development. The family-friendly retro retreat mixes eclectic artwork and quirky curios with oversized vintage sofas and school benches.

PIES SET TO SURPRISE Who doesn’t love tucking into a hearty home-made pie or Sunday roast? The One Elm gastropub in Stratford is baking a selection of tasty savoury and sweet pies to snuggle up to midweek, alongside a spectacular sharing roast that brings a real wow factor to the table on Sundays. We hear there’s seasonal greens and lashings of gravy too. Lovely…

CHIP KING BATTERS RIVALS We all think we know the best fish and chip shop in town, but Michael Pili is officially the undisputed King of the Chippies. Michael who runs the Midlands Seafish Industry Training Association has received an award for his outstanding contribution to the fish frying industry in the National Fish and Chip Awards.

CULTURE CLUB Bar Opus has launched a campaign to bring together the best of Birmingham culture by hosting free to attend live music every first and third Saturday of the month. The independent restaurant group has joined forces with EQ Recordings and Disorder Boutique to use the power of music, food and fashion to celebrate Birmingham’s home-grown talent.

JU JU’S TWICE AS NICE Life got better at the double at independent canal side eatery, ju ju’s café. An expansion and facelift has seen it double in size, catering for up to 100 guests. Owner Julia Pallister said: “Over the last eight years we’ve built a great reputation which has fuelled demand. Now there’s no time restraints and customers can kick off their shoes and relax.”

VIVE LA VEGAN A pop-up vegan menu featuring plant-based dishes proved so popular, it was extended. Nine vegan dishes were launched at All Bar One as part of a tie-up with global charity Veganuary. All Bar One received more than 500 messages across its social media channels requesting the vegan options on the menu remain a permanent fixture.

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SEASON'S EATINGS

SPRING A SURPRISE What better way to serve up a treat than with the first English lamb of a new season ith Easter only a few weeks away, we’re coming up to the time when English spring lamb arrives in your local butcher’s or supermarket. The first new season lamb you see in the shops will likely come from the South West where they graze Poll Dorset sheep. As the weeks progress you will see new season lamb from other parts of the country. Why is spring lamb so popular? Because of its delicate flavour and succulent, tender texture.

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SLOW ROASTED RUMP OF LAMB, BUTTER BEANS, TOMATO, LEEKS AND HERBS Ingredients

I Four rumps of lamb I 300g butter beans (soak overnight) I One carrot, onion and stick of celery I 1.5 litres chicken stock I 200ml cream I 5g butter I 200g chopped leek I 100g shallots For the tomato chutney: I 1kg tomatoes I 100g diced onions I 100g sugar I 20g salt I 400g malt vinegar I Three bay leaves I 5g garlic I 5g sliced chilly

Method Season four rumps of lamb with sea salt, black cracked pepper, sear in frying pan until golden brown all over. Set oven at 100C and roast for about 35 minutes. Soak butter beans overnight and then boil in chicken stock until soft along with 100g cubes of carrots, onion and celery. Drain beans and remove vegetables. Cut shallots and leeks into fine cubes and sauté with butter in a pan. Add beans and cream. Reduce stew to a nice consistency. Season with salt pepper and add the cold butter. To make the tomato chutney, peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds and then put all ingredients in a pot and simmer for four hours.

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LUNCH SPOT

1565 AT PARK REGIS 160 Broad St, Birmingham B15 1DT. Tel: 0121 369 5555 www.parkregisbirmingham.co.uk ne of our New Year’s Resolutions – yes we know it’s March – was to get away from the desk and have a proper lunch break on three out of five days. So far, it’s more like one out of five, so we’re on the lookout for time-efficient venues serving delicious grub that will force us to leave the screen. Having fallen foul to menus that read ‘express lunch’ we’ve become a bit dubious. Some of the city’s express offerings are hardly swift at all with lunch taking well over an hour or conversely, so rushed that a soggy sandwich in the office would be preferable. We got wind of an option that wasn’t on our radar – 1565 at Park Regis. While Rofuto’s one of our go-to dinner destinations, we’d never ventured onto the fourth floor of the hotel and found the restaurant’s glamorous interior and fabulous bar at its heart a beautiful surprise. A snappy express lunch menu, while not the most inventive, was solid. A fresh zingy prawn and crayfish cocktail was spot on with a super sauce and a smattering of nostalgia chucked in for good measure. Smoked mackerel pate and beetroot salad, while safe, was done brilliantly and looked stunning. Classics are classic for a reason after all. Not so successful was a grilled pork cutlet with fondant potato and wild mushroom jus. The meat was a bit tough and the fondant potato still had the skin on which seemed odd – having said that, the

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mushroom jus was utterly delicious. Brilliantly cooked salmon escalope with chive crushed potatoes and a caper and tomato dressing was superb and probably the stand-out dish. We could have left at this point feeling happy, sated and back to work easily within an hour without feeling rushed, however dessert was winking. Poached berry cheesecake with macerated cherries and two spoons hit the spot nicely. Great value at £14.95 for two courses or three for £19.95, this might just be our NY resolution saviour with a weekly trip on the cards. I

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OUT OF THIS

WORLD Rob Price tastes some terrific New Zealand wines and selects his personal Kiwi Korkers e Brits love New Zealand wine, consuming more than £220million of it last year. (English wine was £5million by comparison). However, in global terms New Zealand is tiny, making less than one per cent of the world’s wine. Sauvignon Blanc leads the way accounting for nearly 60 per cent of all Kiwi wine produced, followed some distance behind by Pinot Noir. These two grapes account for threequarters of all wine made. Generally New Zealand wine is considered high quality and they achieve a much higher average selling price per bottle than any other country – more than £7 a bottle, when the UK average is around £5.50 a bottle.

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ROB’S

4 TO TRY

VILLA MARIA RESERVE, GIMBLETT GRAVELS CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MERLOT BLEND

This wine came top at the New Zealand Family of Twelve wine tasting and is one of the best Bordeaux blends I have tasted outside of Bordeaux! Complex and powerful, but with finesse. Wine Direct has the 2012 available for £20. Will improve if stored correctly or decant and let breathe if drinking now.

SAINT CLAIR PIONEER BLOCK A brilliant Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Refreshing, vibrant, intense and pungent. All the classic aromas and flavours unleashed in this magnificent wine. Majestic sells for £17.99.

TESCO FINEST PINOT NOIR, CENTRAL OTAGO Now I know I should be choosing a wine from a small winery and all that, but this is simply an excellent wine showing just how good Pinot is from Central Otago. Also benefits from being extremely good value for money at £12.50 for the 2015 vintage.

NEUDORF CHARDONNAY FROM NELSON This wine came second in our New Zealand tasting. Very sophisticated lightly oaked Chardonnay, with great concentration of flavour. One of the best Chardonnays I’ve tasted. The Wine Society sells the 2014 vintage for £16.50.

Brancott Estate is New Zealand’s largest winery making good consistence Sauvignon Blanc at an affordable price. I must also mention the New Zealand Family of Twelve; these are a group of top wine producers making the very best New Zealand wine. We ran a wine tasting in January featuring these 12 wineries and the quality of wine was first class. If you have the chance, please try their wines. Visit www.familyoftwelve.co.nz to find out more information. FLAGSHIP REGION New Zealand’s flagship wine region is Marlborough and while specialising in Sauvignon Blanc, a range of additional grape varieties is now being planted. Marlborough is one of the sunniest and driest regions, so no surprise that they make 77 per cent of all New Zealand wine. While grapevines were first planted in 1873 it really wasn’t until 1973 that New Zealand wine kicked off, and thus it’s all very recent, benefiting from very modern wineries using the very latest techniques. My favourite region is Central Otago and it’s here that Pinot Noir dominates. The area produces only 2.4 per cent of the country’s wine, but 75 per cent is Pinot Noir. The climate is ideally suited to Pinot Noir so they give top Burgundian Pinot a run for their money – and while not cheap it almost certainly offer better value for money than Burgundy. But New Zealand is more than just Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, it also excels at other aromatic whites such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. You must also try their Pinot Gris (pinot Grigio), as alongside Alsace in France it demonstrates just how good this grape variety can be. In the warmer North Island around Hawkes Bay excellent Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends are produced. The sub region of Gimlett Gravels makes some of the finest Bordeaux blends from these two noble grape varieties. See the first wine in my 4 To Try… I Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company that offers fun informal wine tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Warwick and Milton Keynes. For more information contact Rob Price 0121 270 7359 www.birminghamwineschool.com.

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

DASH OF THE IRISH It’s St Patrick’s Day this month – so pimp up your drink with this Guinness-inspired beauty

f you’re Irish, you won’t need a second invitation to sample the nectar of the emerald isle, Guinness – especially this month as it’s St Patrick’s Day on 17 March. What started out way back when as a religious feast day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland has become a reason across the globe for one big party. Whether your Irish or not, join us in saying cheers with this great St Patrick’s cocktail. And, just in case you’re wondering… other stouts will work just as well.

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GUINNESS MARTINI Ingredients:

I 50ml dark rum I 25ml espresso I 25ml vodka I 25ml crème de cacao I 100ml stout

Method: Pour the rum, cold espresso, vodka, crème de cacao and stout into a shaker and stir. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Best served with a wee Irish jig…

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ADVERTORIAL

DREAM BREAK

HERE WE COME! Australia, New Zealand, the Far East… a world of exciting destinations is opening up from Birmingham Airport with Qatar Airways ly to a host of exciting destinations with Qatar Airways’ rapidly expanding network of over 150 destinations worldwide. Daily one-stop flights via Doha from Birmingham Airport mean you could be soaking up the sights of Sydney or admiring the ocean in Auckland in no time!

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AUSTRALASIA Melbourne Fly to Melbourne, the nation’s cultural capital, and you’ll find Victorian landmarks, cutting-edge modern architecture, worldclass museums and galleries to explore. View from above: For panoramic views of Melbourne, take a trip up the Eureka Tower and you’ll be wowed by spectacular sights provided by the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere. Want to add a little culture and history to your trip? Have a wander around Melbourne Museum, located in Carlton Gardens, showcasing intriguing exhibitions from near and far. Grab a bite: Melbourne excels when it comes to eating out especially if you’re looking for an authentic taste of Australia – why not try a kangaroo steak or emu burger? Or take a break in some of the city’s cafes and coffee bars.

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Sydney With its warm, sunny climate and vibrant buzz, Sydney makes for the ultimate holiday destination, whether you’re travelling solo or on a family trip. From the moment you land until you leave, you’ll be on your toes with entertainment, arts, culture and sports activities waiting at every corner. Catch a show: No trip to Sydney would be complete without visiting one of the iconic symbols of the city, the Sydney Opera House. While the outside may be distinctive, it’s worth a visit to see inside, where you can catch some of the best plays, concerts and, of course, opera. Sit back and relax: For a laid back spot, head to the Royal Botanical Gardens where signs actually invite you to walk on the grass! Beach lovers can head to Bondi during their trip, but for a less crowded version, detour over to Coogee beach which has a much more relaxed vibe. Perth For wonderful weather, a laid-back charm and beautiful beaches, book a flight to the stunning city

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ADVERTORIAL

EAST ASIA Hong Kong A flight to Hong Kong uncovers a vibrant island city-state bursting with culture, history and high-rise architecture Enjoy a festival: Numerous festivals are held throughout the year and, if you’re lucky, you may catch one during your trip. Annual highlights include the Chinese New Year, Spring Lantern Festival (also known as Chinese Valentine’s day), Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival.

of Perth, the closest city on Qatar Airways’ Australian network with a total journey time of 19 hours Cycle the city: The bike paths are a great way to see more of the city in a short time. Be sure to take a ride past the picturesque Swan River or along the Sunset Coast. Sample the cuisine: Perth has plenty of high-quality restaurants where you can indulge in local and international cuisine, whatever your budget. Locally caught seafood and fresh regional produce can be found in the port city of Freemantle. Auckland Discover Qatar Airways’ newest destination and fly to Auckland, New Zealand. From majestic scenery and adventure activities to vibrant culture and stunning food and wine, New Zealand has it all. Admire the ocean: Take advantage of Auckland’s proximity to the ocean and ride on the eco-friendly Auckland Dolphin Explorer. Watch the whales and dolphins in the fabulous setting of the Hauraki Gulf. Embrace the culture: There’s no better way to get to grips with a culture’s heritage than to immerse yourself in its arts scene. Visit Auckland Museum for an insight into traditional Maori dances while checking out historic sculptures, art and artefacts.

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Singapore Book a flight to Singapore and discover a rich, varied and exotic destination that is full of surprises. Experience delights from rooftop pools to secret cocktail dens. Visit a spa: Fancy something a little more laidback during your visit? Book into a luxurious spa and discover your inner peace with an Asian-inspired treatment. If you can’t pamper yourself on holiday, when can you?

FLY LIKE NEVER BEFORE Let your holiday begin with an unforgettable travel experience on Qatar Airways. Award-winning service, comfortable seats and up to 3,000 in-flight entertainment options await on-board one of the youngest fleets in the skies. Fly Qatar Airways daily from Birmingham Airport on their state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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PASTEL POWER Clothing and accessories from River Island, Bullring

SPRING FORM

Goodbye winter, you may have been unusually kind this year but we’re still glad to see the back of your good-for-nothing mild mediocrity

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STYLE

pring gives us the kick up the bum we need to cleanse an overcrowded wardrobe of all those items that are redundant. You know the ones. You’ve worn them once in three years or worse still, you’re hanging onto them because one day you might fit into them. Get rid and refresh. Be ruthless and reward yourself with some newbies. And if there’s a choker hanging about we urge you to purge immediately. The naffest trend of winter is gone in favour of naval skimming pendants. Amen. Start prepping your shoulders because you’ll be flaunting at least one of them this season. New Look’s floral asymmetric top is a winner. Athleisure is making an impact with sporty separates playing a big part in spring’s fresh vibe. Team with a classic mac when the weather demands it. Stripes are having a moment. Big and broad or delicate and narrow, you’ll find them everywhere. The same with checks. Black and white versions are being flaunted on footwear, cute off-the-shoulder tops, dresses and head-to-toe macs if you dare.

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TRUE BLUE Serafina £40, Dune, Bullring

INNER BALLERINA Pumps from River Island, The Fort Shopping Park

IN THE NAVY Roz striped trousers £45, Monsoon, Bullring

COLD SHOULDER Top from New Look, Bullring

TWINKLE TOES Gold mules £56, Topshop, Bullring

THINK PINK Striped top £32, Topshop, Bullring

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STYLE

Embroidery features heavily too. Feminine floral embellishment teamed with a utilitarian vibe is hot right now. See Topshop’s khaki version pictured. The sleeves have it. Big and billowy, embellished, slashed – all kinds of sleeve goodness is happening. We love Next’s simple blue shirt with large frilled sleeves. Seasonal bright daffodil yellow is also a hit, but notoriously difficult to pull off. Treat yourself to Loewe’s Fortune slouchy bag from Selfridges for a failsafe style win. The flatform looks set to stay. If you like height, but hate a heel, give them a whirl. Stella McCartney has some particularly good examples. I

WIDE STRIDES Culottes £38, Debenhams, Bullring

BRIGHT ONE Loewe Fortune leather shoulder bag £1,925, Selfridges Birmingham

DENIM DAYS Clothing and accessories from Debenhams, Bullring

RIGHT STRIPES Striped dress £199, Jaeger

SLING SHOT Rebecca sandal £149, Hobbs, Grand Central

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STYLE STRIPES HAVE IT Clothing and accessories from M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

NO PLACE LIKE HOME Checked dress, Primark, The Fort Shopping Park

PLATFORM PARTY Gingham platforms £29.99, New Look, The Fort Shopping Park

FLAT PACK Furley flats £80, Dune, Bullring

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FRILL THRILL

CHECK MATE

Frill sleeve shirt £34, Next, Bullring

Gingham wide leg trousers £98, Jigsaw, Cannon St

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STYLE

BACK TO BLACK Clothing and accessories from House of Fraser, Corporation St

OFF DUTY

SLEEVES PLEASE Gingham puffy sleeved top £27.99, New Look, The Fort Shopping Park

Clothing and accessories from Next, The Fort Shopping Park

BUTTERFLY EFFECT Jacket £55, Topshop, Bullring

ALL THE CHECKS Checked Atrani skirt £79, Hobbs, Grand Central

PERFECT POM POM Fuzzy pump, Office, Bullring

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STYLE FOR MEN

FADED NOT JADED River Island

WINNING SPRING We’re in transition territory which can be a tricky little month or two. This year, we’ll be taking solace in a couple of hard working pieces that’ll see us through with a swagger

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STYLE FOR MEN ROCK STONE Western jacket £45, Next

GREEN SLEEVES Fade out v-knit £45, White Stuff

PINK HAS IT Bleached jumper £95, House of Fraser

reen, stone and dusty pink reign supreme this season along with faded denim, oversized sleeves, v-neck sweaters and overalls – just not all at the same time. Get your green fix from Giuseppe Zanotti’s khaki hi-top, White Stuff ’s slim fit v-neck green sweater or Moncler’s shell jacket. Try River Island’s faded denim for an edgy vibe and Stone Island’s navy jacket for a utilitarian look on cool days that require a cover-up. House of Fraser’s pastel colour block shell top has more than a touch of the Eighties while Gant’s bleached slouchy sweater will see you through March with a spring in your step. I

GREY DAYS Slim fit chinos £39.99, TK Maxx

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COVER UP Stone Island brushed jacket £495, Harvey Island, The Mailbox

JACKET IN Slim workwear jacket £229, Jaeger COOL KHAKI Giuseppe Zanotti for Zayn Taz grain leather trainers £620, Selfridges Birmingham

EIGHTIES VIBE Colour block jacket £165, House of Fraser

BOLD PRINT Moncler shell jacket £530, Harvey, The Mailbox

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HEALTH

10BURN FAT SIMPLE WAYS TO

Shedding those excess pounds for spring couldn’t be easier with our tips

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HEALTH

pring is coming and it’s time to ramp up the efforts to shed that winter coat. Here are 10 simple fat burning tips that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle and will help that transition into your new season wardrobe

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1: EAT GOOD FAT Not all fat is bad. Certain fats are good for you and can even promote fat loss, particularly Omega 3. Eating fat does seem odd when you’re trying to lose it, but if you keep your fat intake at around 30 per cent of your total daily calorie intake you can actually boost your fat loss compared to a low fat diet. Fish such as salmon, trout and sardines are a perfect source of Omega 3.

2: HAVE AN APPLE A DAY Apples contain numerous beneficial antioxidants but they are also a slow digesting carb. An apple a day has been known to improve strength, endurance and even fat loss. This boost in your endurance and strength can further help fat loss as you’ll be able to train harder. Most apples contain around 200mg of apple polyphenols (the good antioxidants) and around 30 grams of carbs.

3: DRINK GREEN TEA Studies show that people who regularly drink green tea and exercise lose significantly more fat around the abdomen than those who don’t.

6: TRAIN SMART Without question, cardio is the main component of getting lean. It’s by far the easiest way to burn the most calories during your training session. However, research has shown that people who completed their cardio session after their resistance training burned significantly more body fat than when they did cardio first. Train smart and complete a weight training session followed by a 30 minute cardio session.

7: GO ROCK CLIMBING Running is all well and good but you should be considering other types of cardio too. A recent study has shown that when people rock climb, their average heart rate reaches around 80 per cent of their maximum, which is a very good cardio workout. During a 30minute session, the average person would burn up to 400 calories, so keep varying your cardio and give a climbing wall a try.

8: FEEL GOOD VIBRATIONS For years there was a myth that a power plate could vibrate the fat off you without the need to work out. While this isn’t completely true, recent studies have shown that people using the power plates for 15 minutes were found to have lower body fat then people who didn’t.

9: PUNCH AND KICK 4: TRY COLD WATER We all know that we need to drink lots of water every day, but research has shown that drinking two cups of cold water can temporarily boost your metabolic rate by 30 per cent. Perfect for when you start your training session.

Take up Thai boxing. Researchers found that people who take part at a beginner level work their heart rate up to 80 per cent, which again is an ideal cardio workout. You could easily burn up to 300 calories every half-an-hour by continuous front kicks, forearm strikes and side kicks.

5: USE FREE WEIGHTS Many experts recommend doing free weight training over fixed resistance. Free weight exercises such as squats burn more calories than doing similar exercises on resistance machines like the leg press. Scientists believe it could be down to the greater number of stabiliser muscles used during exercises with free weights.

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10: LISTEN TO MUSIC Listening to music while you train can boost your workout activity and therefore fat loss. If you’re going to the gym don’t just rely on their sound system – you’re much more likely to train for that bit longer and harder when listening to your own selection. I

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ROOM WITH A VIEW Adding a conservatory is a relatively easy and cost-effective way to gain more space. We explore some options that will enhance your home

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HOMES

MINIMUM FUSS By Apropos Conservatories www.aproposconservatories.co.uk

conservatory not only adds more space but allows you to enjoy your outside area whatever the season. Twenty years ago this meant a white plastic box stuck to your house that had a tendency to overheat. Today’s conservatories, orangeries and garden rooms are temperaturecontrolled, practical and stylish. Traditional conservatories are fully glazed and can be too cold in winter and too hot in the summer months. Modern design techniques and under-floor heating can remedy these issues. Try local firm Ensign.

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WOW FACTOR By Vale Garden Houses www.valegardenhouses.co.uk

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SUPER SHUTTERS Shutters by Just Shutters www.justshutters.co.uk

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HOMES

An orangery features a flat roof with a roof lantern. This means there is far less glass and the structure, often with masonry walls, is insulated and feels like part of the house. A garden room has a tiled roof which matches the building. Garden rooms tend to have vaulted ceilings and glazed roof elements for added natural light. LOOKING AT HOME When you’re considering which structure to go for, think about how the new building will look alongside the rest of the house. The most important design element is to ensure the new addition suits the property and is proportional. Also consider what you’ll be using the room for. A dining room will require different treatment to a pool for instance. Think about blinds and shutters too. They’ll make your room usable whatever the British weather chucks at you. Just Shutters and Duette Blinds are worth a look. If your garden is small and doesn’t allow for an additional structure take a look at bi-folding doors which can have similar results in terms of bringing the outside in and flooding the space with natural light. I

CLIMATE CONTROL Blinds by Duette www.duette.co.uk

TRADITIONAL STYLE By Leekes www.leekes.co.uk

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HOMES

SLIDING DOORS By Apropos Conservatories www.aproposconservatories.co.uk

OUTSIDE IN By Vale Garden Houses www.valegardenhouses.co.uk

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HOMES CANDLE CLOCHE Candle holder £90, House of Fraser

TOP TABLE Hexagonal tables £195, Oliver Bonas

AND RELAX Cacoon double for two £312, Houseology

STUDIO LAMP White table lamp £48, Amara

FINISHING

GOOD OMBRE Celvet ombre cushion £27, Olive Bonas

TOUCHES

Ensure your home’s new addition looks tip-top with these gorgeous accessories ALL THE CHECKS Pilaski cushion £40, Amara

RETRO VIBE Ligne Roset Interstice coffee table, Cookes Furniture

BLACK MAGIC Large ceramic vase £26, Next

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE Ligne Roset Ottoman armchair, Cookes Furniture SNUGGLE UP Blue snuggler £1,249, House of Fraser

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HOMES

Hot Properties Perfect penthouse, fabulous farmhouse, cracking cottage… take your pick from this month’s line-up of homes for sale

VIEW TO A THRILL Orion Penthouse, Navigation Street Guide price: £2million Agent: Knight Frank, tel 0121 233 6438 A luxury three-bedroom penthouse in the heart of the city that combines state-ofthe-art architecture with innovative design and contemporary styling. The stunning living space features North American walnut flooring throughout, plus there’s an incredible infinity bath. Includes two allocated parking spaces.

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HAMLET HERO

Monwode Lea Lane, Coleshill Guide price: £1million Agent: Fine and Country, tel 0121 746 6400 Set in the charming hamlet of Over Whitacre, this five-bedroom home has a traditional farmhouse appearance but a delightful contemporary interior. There’s also a cracking self-contained two-bedroom annexe, plus more than six acres of land.

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BRICKS&BITS HOMES FOR HARBORNE Real estate specialist GVA has secured a buyer and planning consent for one of the city’s most desirable residential development sites. The 11.5-acre former playing field off Knightlow Road, Harborne has been unused for more than a decade. Housebuilder Redrow has approval for 63 homes with public open space.

TIM BOOSTS RATING TEAM

SPRING IS SPRUNG Spring Cottage, Edgbaston Guide price: £1.795million Agent: Knight Frank, tel 01789 868329 A grade II listed period property with mature garden and grounds extending up to 2.3 acres. The master suite is complemented with a separate dressing room and en-suite bathroom. Includes a further five bedrooms, recently refitted kitchen leading to the breakfast room and a separate onebedroom Coach House and double garage.

Leading real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield has appointed Tim Harrison as a partner to the rating team in their city office. Focusing on business development, Tim joins from Telereal Trillium where he led the rating team, providing advice to a number of large corporate clients.

SNOW HILL’S SUPER SIX The latest phase of a £600million project to transform the city’s Snow Hill business district has seen six areas identified by architects Broadway Malyan for £10million potential public realm improvements. Stretching from Steelhouse Lane to Victoria Square, the works aim to improve the experience for pedestrians and cyclists, add value for tenants and attract further investment.

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

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WE’RE CONVERTED! Lapworth Farm, Solihull Guide price: £2.5million Agent: Knight Frank, tel 01789 297735 A breath-taking 18th century farmhouse conversion which includes six bedrooms, four bathrooms and four reception rooms There’s also four outbuildings, including a gorgeous three-bedroom self-contained cottage, and a two-storey barn. Plus pool, tennis court and just under 11 acres of land!

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SAINTLY HOME St Paul’s House, St Paul’s Square Guide price: £625,000 Agent: Maguire Jackson, tel 0121 634 1520 This great two-bedroom penthouse apartment overlooks beautiful St Paul’s Square. The interior features a large open plan kitchen/living area, two double bedrooms and two bathrooms. Includes an allocated secure parking space.

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

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MOTORING

CAUGHT ON CAMERA Fun to look at and drive, Citroen’s new C3 features the first-ever built-in dash cam. Sue Cooke took the plunge to see how it works out on the road t the launch of the new Citroen C3 I found a use for a fantastic bit of technology which has never been integrated into a car before. ConnectedCAM is a dash cam built into the rear view mirror which can be operated manually, or automatically activates when the driver brakes heavily. It will then record what is happening in front of the car. And I did have to brake hard, to avoid deep water which suddenly appeared around a corner, across the road. The dash cam automatically videoed the fast currents in front of the bonnet, which when I had reversed and

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FACTS AT A GLANCE: Model: Citroen C3 Flair Price: £13,745 otr Engine: 1.2-litre 82 Pure Tech manual Performance: 0-62mph in 13 seconds and on to a top speed of 104mph CO2 emissions: 109g/km – Band B Road Fund Licence Combined fuel consumption: 60.1mpg

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pulled safely out of harm’s way, I was able to share online with friends! Officially, it is not part of the Thatcham insurance formula therefore it doesn’t have an impact on their ratings. Citroen has asked Thatcham to take a look at this but new owners can tell their insurers that it is on the car and they will decide whether to offer any discount or not.

MAKE IT YOUR OWN This stylish five-seater has other features which are set to shake-up the UK car market too. The fivedoor city car has fun-loving unique style, personalisation options, Citroen Advanced Comfort features and the very latest automotive technologies. The original C3 was first introduced in 2002 and is the best-seller in the Citroen range globally, including the 200,000 sold here in the UK. The second generation model was launched in 2010 and Citroen says this third generation supermini follows the brand’s Air Cross design concept. Side doors have air bumps, which were first seen

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on the Cactus, but new owners can choose to have plain panels. Customisation includes a choice of roof colours and nine body colours, making 36 total combinations. The sloping rear roof, high bonnet and wheel arches make it look a bit like a crossover and with 2cm more room between driver and passenger and 22mm more rear leg room as well as a 300 litres boot, this car, like so many others on the market is slightly larger than its predecessor. And we wonder why we can’t fit our cars into any of the Birmingham multistorey spaces built in the 1960s! Citroen says research has shown that customers want a car where they feel protected and safe, one that is unique and where families can be connected. So this is what the new C3 offers. One word which kept making an appearance throughout the launch was ‘comfort’ and I have to say the C3 is very comfortable, bordering on bouncy.

Citroen first used on the Cactus. For such a wealth of automotive technology, the C3 is good value for money, particularly if like me you forget where you parked your car – and sometimes I even forget which car I am driving! Using ConnectedCam a driver will be able to locate their vehicle and store its position to ensure they can find it in unfamiliar or busy places. There are three refined petrol engines and two diesel, a BlueHDi 75 and 100, both with Stop & Start which have very low CO2 emissions and excellent fuel consumption. The diesel has lots of torque so I didn’t need to keep changing gear, which I did with the 82hp PureTech petrol. Owners have a choice between a rather notchy manual gearbox or a fully automatic one. Citroen says 60 per cent of sales of the C3 will be to the retail trade and 75 per cent of those owners will buy the petrol engine. Whichever you go for… just don’t bore the family with the dashcam pics! I

CACTUS OFFSHOOT In the interior there are three trims to choose from with a range of finishes on the dashboard and an optional panoramic sunroof. Doors open and close using a luggage type door handle which

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SHOWROOM: Sutton Park Perry Barr, 390 College Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham, B44 0HH. Tel: 0121 272 9370 www.suttonparkperrybarr.citroen.co.uk

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITH… WAYNE WILLIAMS There’s nothing the senior horticulturalist at Birmingham Botanical Gardens enjoys more than the great outdoors… and watching children as butterflies land on their noses!

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I started my horticultural career here in Birmingham at the old Bournville College in 1992, straight after leaving school. I did a two-year Youth Training Scheme apprenticeship which involved a day at college and four days working alongside the staff at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I will have been at the Gardens for 20 years next year and have seen some amazing changes during that time. IT’S WHAT I DO There’s a great team here and with help from my colleagues, I am responsible for looking after the four display glasshouses (tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean and arid houses). I also look after the plant nursery where we grow plants behind the scenes from seeds, cuttings and other propagules. From late May to early September, we also open our popular butterfly house. With more than 6,000 accessions including plants such as tea, cotton and vanilla orchid, we believe we have one of the best plant collections in the Midlands. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE I want to help keep Birmingham as one of the greenest cities in the UK. With the number of visitors to Birmingham increasing year-on-year (34 million in 2016), it is becoming even more important to retain and improve our green spaces for families and for wildlife. I want to encourage everyone to enjoy nature and to get outside in the fresh air. BIGGEST SUCCESSES In 2012, I installed our first butterfly house at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This was so successful that we have repeated it every summer since then and it was featured on

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BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time last year. It is great to see our visitors’ reactions when they enter it, especially when children have the butterflies land on their nose! BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED Horticulture is a fantastic career as you never stop learning, no matter how long you have been doing it. It’s almost an obsession for me and I really believe you have to have a passion for what you do in life. I know that many career changers to horticulture only wished that they had done it sooner. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM Birmingham is my hometown and I have lived here almost all my life. There is so much going on in the city right now. I love the way New Street Station has been transformed with Grand Central and the Metro nearby. I am looking forward to seeing how Paradise, HS2 and Smithfield develop in the future as part of the Big City Plan. DOWNTIME I love to relax in my own garden at home and visit other gardens around the country. I also love going on Mediterranean holidays to Greece. But I’m always obsessing about nature somewhere! FINALLY… There are many brilliant aspects to Birmingham that we should be encouraging people to experience and the Botanical Gardens is a perfect example. First time visitors are always surprised at just how big and lovely they are and that it’s not just about plants – the whole spectrum of nature is on show here. Birds, butterflies the lot. And the tearoom’s pretty good too! I

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SIENA HORTON The talented alpine racing champ talks heroes, ambition and hockey iena Horton is not only a slalom supremo rocking Great Britain’s U16 alpine racing team. She’s also pretty nifty on the hockey pitch too. When Siena’s off piste, she stars in Bromsgrove School’s first team as well as Stourport U15 Girls who came fifth in the national championships. She played for Mercia Lynx at England’s U15 HIPAC tournament in October and is part of the England Hockey Performance Centre programme. Phew! Skiing is Siena’s first love though

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which has been a big part of her life since stepping onto the slopes aged only two. Having access to a chalet in Colorado meant that skiing in the holidays and Christmases was the norm as a small child. Siena’s parents and grandparents are keen skiers – her grandfather is still skiing aged 76 – and by the age of five Siena was mixing it with the grown-ups and could tackle any slope. Although she may have enjoyed the odd shoulder ride from dad when her legs got tired!

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eighth in the giant slalom at the Ski Interkriterium International Race in the Czech Republic which drew competitors from 11 nations. Siena trains with Ambition Racing based in Leogang, Austria – a programme for elite skiers – which means weeks at a time away from home and school. The mornings are reserved for intense training on the slopes while the afternoon is set aside for school work. Siena’s school, Bromsgrove School, is on board providing her with appropriate school work and support during the weeks she misses. On being away from home Siena said: “At first it was a struggle but I got used to it quickly.” Naturally, Siena’s parents travel to see her race and a couple of weeks is generally the longest they go without seeing one another. A five-and-a-half week stint in New Zealand over the summer was the longest Siena has been away but it was an ‘amazing’ experience which she’ll probably repeat again this year.

The sport became more than a hobby when Siena started racing aged 11. She recalled: “I never really thought I was that good, then I won an indoor race and it all started from there.” Training in Milton Keynes meant a trip south every Saturday and sometimes Tuesdays, but it was all worth it. She was selected for the GB squad last year in the U14 category competing in Andorra and Topolino, Italy. Sponsored by Atomic Ski, Siena now races in the U16 team which is a big step up with some competitors nearly two years older. She’s not fazed by that and recently came fourth in the slalom and

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CONDITIONING When she’s at home and attending school Siena, whose hockey prowess means she’s a sports scholar at Bromsgrove School, makes the most of the school’s facilities working on strength and conditioning which really helps with skiing as well as hockey. Although not generally regarded as a skiing nation, Siena assures me Great Britain is competing on the world stage. Brit Dave Ryding is ranked number two in the world and many young skiers who are benefitting from the kind of topflight training programme Siena is used to are coming through too. Siena would love to get to the Youth Olympics and Youth World Championships when she’s eligible to qualify. Two of her older team-mates from Ambition made the cut this year, so it’s highly realistic. She’d like to emulate her heroes, top US ski champions Lindsay Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, who she trained next to last year but was too self-conscious to say hi. We reckon in a few years they’ll be making a beeline for Siena. I

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GROWING PLACES

MILLION POUND PROJECT

Edgbaston High School for Girls unveiled a £1million extension to boost facilities in the preparatory department. A two-storey extension has transformed the facade of the prep school with a glass fronted reception area. The library has been extended and there’s a dedicated art, design and exhibition space at the heart of the development. Preparatory school head Sally Hartley said: “We are thrilled with the results, in particular the provision of the new art room.”

SCOUTS SHOW

SUCCESS More than 50 cubs, scouts, explorers and leaders from across Sutton Coldfield came together to perform in the organisation’s 50th anniversary gang show at Bishop Vesey Grammar School. Show chairman Nigel Palmer said: “The Sutton Coldfield gang show is still going strong and is an important asset to scouting in the town.”

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SCHOOL REPOR T

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

ON THE BALL: Winterfold School football team

SCHOOL REMEMBERS Twelve prep schools from across the region competed in the Matty Thacker football tournament hosted by Winterfold School. The annual competition is named after a former Winterfold pupil who died in a car accident a decade ago. This year’s tournament was a hotly contested affair with some tightly fought matches. Matty’s mother Susie presented the shield and winners’ medals.

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VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP Pupils from Bromsgrove School were treated to virtual expeditions to far-flung corners of the earth and beyond as part of Google Expeditions Pioneer programme. Pupils from Years 1 to 11 explored destinations such as Antarctica and Iceland as well as biomes and volcanoes through the programme’s cardboard headsets. The pupils learned about topics as diverse as eye anatomy, climate change, Martin Luther King and the solar system. EXPLORING: Teacher Sarah Grove and pupils Harry Dakin, Rumer Evans and Sophia Moberley with Chet Ladwa from Google

GRAND EFFORT: Pupils hand over the fund-raising cheque

PEDAL POWER FUND-RAISING FOR TANZANIA Caring Solihull students raised more than £1,000 for Cancer Research UK in a week of fund-raising in the run-up to World Cancer Day. Twenty students from Grace Academy took part in a six-hour sponsored bike ride while others sold cakes, unity bands and key rings they had made themselves. Paula Young of Cancer Research UK in Birmingham said: “It’s great to see the children coming together and we thank them for their sterling efforts.”

Pupils, staff and parents at Highclare School have raised £9,000 to help families in a remote village in Tanzania. The money has gone to the African Space Trust charity to build accommodation for medical staff in Itete, which has high infant death rates. It will also allow Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham to send medical students to Itete. Highclare next plans to raise money for the village’s school.

SQUAD GOALS Eight Moreton girls beat off fierce competition to secure places in the North Regional lacrosse team. The selection process was lengthy and challenging with more than 50 players taking part in two days of trials. The girls will be part of the North squad taking on teams from the South East and South West in a tournament at Warwick University.

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BUSINESS

JUST A TRIM, SIR? A new barbershop is getting snipping in Great Western Arcade. Goodlife Barbershop already has a salon in Worcester and is now looking to give best quality haircuts, beard trims and cut-throat shaves to customers in Birmingham. Goodlife also has its own bespoke product range of oils, balms, lotions and pomades that are used throughout the service and which are available to buy in store.

BUSINESS NEWS ACADEMY JOBS BOOST Nearly 200 people have found new jobs through a unique Birmingham apprenticeship training academy. The academy was set up more than a year ago as a collaboration between Sigma Financial Group, Birmingham City Council, the Department for Work and Pensions and Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet). So far more than 190 people have been taken on by Sigma through the academy, which has offices at Birmingham’s Priory Queensway and Prospect Hill, Redditch.

RICK CALLS IT A DAY One of the Midlands’ most colourful hotel owners, Rick Cressman, is retiring after running Nailcote Hall country club and golf course for a quarter of a century. The four-star, Grade II-listed, 49-bedroom country manor house and golf course has been put on the market. The venue is known for hosting the annual British Par 3 Championship event on its ninehole championship golf course. Rick, 66, who took over Nailcote Hall in June 1991 while it was in receivership, said: “I have completed the job of creating the venue and making it what it is today. It's time for some fresher, younger legs to come in.”

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SUCCESS: Mike Harfield, CEO of Sigma, and BMet’s Suzie Branch-Haddow

PEOPLE POWER Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce launched a Growth Through People campaign to help businesses achieve better results by managing their employees more effectively. The campaign focused on how businesses – particularly SMEs – can manage their staff and increase productivity and, as a result, growth. GBCC has worked with various partners to deliver free training sessions, seminars and networking events. Chambers chief executive Paul Faulkner, pictured, said: “The simplest ways to increase productivity is by improving the way businesses manage their employees.”

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HOTEL CHANGES AT THE DOUBLE

GYLES REVISITED Broadcaster and author Gyles Brandreth is back by popular demand as host and guest speaker at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s annual dinner and awards at the ICC on 30 March. Chambers chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “No doubt Brexit, President Trump, regional devolution and our own election of a West Midlands metro mayor in May will feature in his eagerly anticipated and informative address.”

After a successful end to 2016 which saw Malmaison Birmingham’s revenue increase by 7.5 per cent, the boutique hotel has kicked off 2017 with team promotions and appointments. Heading the changes is Damian Goom, who has been promoted to senior general manager. As well as overseeing the Birmingham hotel, he is now responsible for the group’s Brighton, Cheltenham, Oxford and Reading hotels. Malmaison Birmingham has also appointed a new guest relations manager, Irina Alecu. STEPPING UP: Damian Goom and Irina Alecu

GO WITH THE FLOW Two Birmingham entrepreneurs have launched Flow Office Furniture & Interiors to analyse, design and fit-out efficient workspaces across the UK. Spencer Turner and Lee Gill have more than 50 years of experience in the industry and have combined that knowledge to create their own company. The pair met eight years ago when they joined Birmingham’s BNI networking group and have worked together on numerous projects since. A unique feature of Flow is their use of the latest computer-aided design (CAD) technology.

TENNIS APP SERVED UP DUO TAKE TOP TECH TITLES A top local tennis coach has secured funding to develop a game-changing app to make sports more enjoyable. Lee Cowan, together with fitness entrepreneur Dean Mortimer, has developed the Sport4Thought app after becoming frustrated by young people falling out of love with the game as they get older. The app is being trialled in schools in the region. Discussions with the Lawn Tennis Association and other sports bodies could see the concept rolled out across the UK and overseas.

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Two entrepreneurs based at Innovation Birmingham Campus have been recognised as industry leaders in the technology sector at the Silicon Canal and West Midlands Women of the Year awards. Pauline Roche, MD of RnR Organisation, pictured left, was awarded the West Midlands Women of the Year award for outstanding contribution to technology. Faye Pressly, chief operating officer at Vanti, picked up the award for most influential female in technology.

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HOMES WORTH A ‘PEAK’

Developers of the ground-breaking Concord House scheme, Holloway Head unveiled their latest development. Elevate’s St Paul’s House project features two three-bedroom apartments, a twobedroom penthouse and four three-bedroom townhouses. It was completed in just nine months. St Paul’s House hit the headlines when a picture commissioned for the car park by Elevate of a Peaky Blinders mural by street artist Zoot went viral.

WELCOME TO OUR NEW ARCADE Known for its boutiques and designer stores, Drury Lane North, Mell Square, has relaunched as Drury Arcade following an investment of more than £160,000 by Square owners, IM Properties. Harry Goodman, IM’s asset manager, said: “Drury Arcade is home to unique independent retailers and is an important part of our offering. The investment demonstrates our commitment and aspirations for Mell Square.”

TRUMPED UP WARNING An expert on American studies has told leading Midlands business figures that the new Trump administration will be a ‘disaster’ and there is a strong likelihood the US President will be impeached. Dr Steve Hewitt, senior lecturer in history and American and Canadian studies at Birmingham University, was speaking to the Midlands Chapter of the British American Business Council. “I foresee chaos with an individual with little experience running the most powerful country in the world,” he said.

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NEW DOC’S

ON THE BLOCK Edgbaston Private Medical Practice has opened a second practice on Colmore Row, Birmingham, with an investment of £100,000. The centre has created three new jobs with the employment of one new doctor and two receptionists. Established for more than seven years, the Practice offers a range of corporate healthcare, employment medicals and occupational health services as well as a travel clinic and private sexual health clinic.

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OFFICE HELP FOR START-UPS Three Birmingham entrepreneurs have invested £1.5 million in renovating Grosvenor House, St Paul’s Square to provide an innovative and cost-effective virtual office solution for start-ups and existing businesses looking to boost their profile. Ian Mourbey, one the three shareholders, said: “With Birmingham having the largest number of new businesses in any city outside of London last year, we recognised that scalable office solutions are needed to help companies of all sizes grow.”

YOUNG BUSINESS AWARDS

STARS SKIN BRAND

The search is on for the region’s best young business people. BPS Birmingham Future’s Birmingham Young Professional of the Year 2017, is accepting nominations across six categories. Awards chair Mike Colledge, pictured, said: “BYPY celebrates the sector’s finest talent and it’s also recognition for the future, continuing to bolster the careers of some of the city’s most successful young professionals.” Nomination forms at http://bpsbirmingham.co.uk/bypy/

LAUNCHED PILATES STUDIO OPENS

TV stars from Made in Chelsea, Celebrity Big Brother and the Real Housewives of Cheshire, were among guests at the launch of luxury skincare brand Heaven Skincare in TheClub&Spa at The Cube. The launch party saw celebrity skincare therapist Deborah Mitchell unveil the full range of her products. Deborah, from Shropshire, is most famous for the launch of the Bee-Venom Mask and has built up a global empire with A-list stars and Royalty clients.

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A new specialist Pilates and yoga studio has opened in Sutton Coldfield. Elizabeth Lee has set up the Halcyon Yoga Company which caters for all levels and abilities. Elizabeth, who trained as a yoga teacher with Zenways Yoga and as a Hatha Yoga teacher with the British Yoga School, is also a qualified Pilates teacher and a skilled remedial sports massage therapist. She also works as a massage therapist for Birmingham Royal Ballet.

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enry Wong Harborne welcomed in the Year of the Rooster by hosting its annual Chinese New Year celebration banquet, attended by more than 80 people. Guests were treated to a four-course meal before being entertained by a traditional lion dance and live DJ. The popular Cantonese High Street restaurant has been a mainstay of Harborne’s culinary scene for more than 30 years. I

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Photography by Dale Martin

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JEWELLERY QUARTER GEM STRIKES GOLD Award-winning Rajdoot Tandoori celebrates 50 years of service he Rajdoot Tandoori celebrated its 50th anniversary with a party for guests and friends. In half-a-century many famous faces have passed through the restaurant, including The Beatles, Princess Margaret, Simon Cowell, and TV chefs such as Keith Floyd and Jamie Oliver. All have enjoyed Rajdoot’s exotic flavours and opulent interior – which won the Best Restaurant Design award at the English Curry Awards in 2013. Owner Manjit Gill said: “We are very proud of the achievement of running for 50 years and look forward to many more years to come.” I

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AMBASSADORS SHARE AN EVENING OF LOVE Charity LoveBrum holds reception to thank ‘invaluable’ supporters

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oveBrum, the charity that casts a spotlight on small ‘under the radar’ projects in Greater Birmingham, hosted a special ambassadors’ drinks reception. The event held at Bodega in Bennetts Hill acknowledged the invaluable support LoveBrum ambassadors provide in helping the charity to raise awareness and funds. I

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WINE BUFFS DECLARE BATTLE OF THE ROSÉS New World versus Old World in first of Friday night showdowns otel Du Vin enjoyed another of its legendary Friday night wine dinners. Co-hosted with master sommelier Nigel Wilkinson, guests enjoyed an excellent meal with a selection of fine wines as they attempted to answer the question that divides wine lovers and experts alike – which is better, New World or Old World wine? Hotel general manager Tony Elvin said: “It was a wonderful evening and sets us up nicely for another season of wine dinners.” I

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he name says it all. If you’re lucky enough to pick up a WOW award you really are the toast of Westside! The WOWs – or to give them their full title, the Wonders of Westside – recognise the achievements of those working in Birmingham’s premier mixed-use business area. That

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1 Best Pub Manager, Paulo Jacinto (Brasshouse). 2 Best Promotions Team Leader, Matt Tipping. 3 Best Restaurant Manager, Richard Cooper (Pickled Piglet). 4 Best Club Manager, Phil Stubbs (Velvet Music Rooms). 5 Berenice Still, Casanda Jones. 6 Hyatt Regency Birmingham. 7 Ewa Tasak, Agata Szukalska, Florentina Boga, Pip White. 8 Anita Pinches, Mandy Clarke, Jay Chowdhury, Joanne Ellerby.

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OF WESTSIDE covers 15,000 people employed in more than 300 businesses, including offices, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants and leisure venues. Now in their twelfth year, award winners included Hyatt Regency Birmingham, Pickled Piglet and Brasshouse. There was a special bravery presentation to Martin Huchins, a security supervisor at Brindleyplace. A fantastic evening also saw an amazing ÂŁ45,000 raised for the Royal British Legion. I

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9 Elaine Weir, Danielle Robinson. 10 Karen Li, Glenn Hughes. 11 Reward for Bravery, Martin Hutchins. 12 Sonia Anwar, Mike Olley, Vania Ali. 13 Best Hotel Manager, Fiona Lockyer (Hampton by Hilton). 14 Mandy and Nigel Clarke. 15 Bruce and Paramjit Nagra. 16 The Pastors and Wardens. 17 Corey Virgo-Broom, Becky Platt. 18 Baba Seckan. 19 Sahel Hemmati, Masoud and Sadaf Yari.

march 2017

Photography by Jas Sansi

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STARS COME OUT TO LAUNCH BIG APPEAL Soccer heroes kick off charity’s £1m life-saving campaign

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n array of famous faces launched Cure Leukaemia’s £1million appeal to expand the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. West Brom football star Ben Foster, cricketer Jonathan Trott, football manager Aidy Boothroyd, X-Factor winner Sam Bailey, and former footballer and blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas joined 100 key figures from the West Midlands at the event at the city centre offices of charity partner KPMG. Prof Charlie Craddock, cofounder of Cure Leukaemia, said: “Once established, the centre’s capacity will be doubled.” I

1 James McLaughlin, Aidy Boothroyd, Ben Foster, Jonathan Trott. 2 Sam Graham, Greg Talbot. 3 Pearl Wrey, Mervyn Ind, James Maltin. 4 Marcus Leach. 5 Andy Street. 6 Hayden Groves, Ben Foster, Alex McLeish, Doug McKinnon. 7 Richard Whittingham. 8 Geoff Thomas. 9 Stephen Jones, Sarah Bridgwater and guest, Paul Morton, Zara Rikalans, Scott Marshall.

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Photography by Sam Bagnall

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MUSIC LEGEND POPS INTO THE KITCHEN… UB40’s Brian Travers gives glimpse of new songs, plus role at baby hospice uests at Kitchen Gallery’s showroom were treated to an evening with Brian Travers, founder member of UB40. They were given an exclusive glimpse of the chart-topper’s newest compositions while enjoying Louis Roederer Champagne and delicious canapés cooked and prepared by chef Scott Whitehouse using Gaggenau appliances. Brian also talked about his growing involvement with Zoe’s Place Babies Hospice, Coventry. A special thank you was given to guests who generously donated to Zoe’s Place Trust. I

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1 Tahir Mahmood, Brian Travers, David Bryant. 2 Peter Jarvis, Brian Travers, Julie Jarvis. 3 Reis Taylor Dixon, Brian Travers, Mushtaq Khan. 4 Hema Patel, Sinead Sankey. 5 Brian Travers, Fiona Doherty. 6 Guests with Brian. 7 Julie Parsons, Wendy Sharpe.

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WHAT: G4 live in concert

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WHAT: Good Mourning Mrs Brown!

WHEN: 17 March

WHEN: 5 to 9 April

WHERE: Town Hall, box office 0121 345 0600

WHERE: Genting Arena,

www.thsh.co.uk Due to overwhelming demand, the multi-platinum selling vocal harmony group are back on the road with special guests, their trademark harmonies and new songs from their brand-new album. How romantic.

tel 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com She's back! In this latest live instalment of the award-winning TV series, Agnes is planning granddad's funeral. The only problem is, grandad is not dead! What could possibly go wrong?

WHAT: Hot Rods & Kool Kustoms WHAT: The Tempest: First Encounters WHEN: 23 to 25 March WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, tel 01789 403493 www.rsc.org.uk The perfect first experience of Shakespeare for anyone aged eight years and over. Includes a fully interactive introduction to the world of the play. Fun, fantasy and sorcery collide in this gripping story of how love and reconciliation can conquer fear and control.

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WHEN: Now until 14 May WHERE: Coventry Transport Museum, tel 024 7623 4270 www.transport-museum.com Fire up your engines, step back in time and feel the thrill and excitement of these retro racers. Featuring icons from both the American and British custom car scene, hot rods from across the UK are parking up and bringing the sights and sounds of the 1950s with them.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: The Circus of Horrors WHEN: 26 March WHERE: New Alexandra Theatre, tel 0844 8713011 www.atgtickets.com/birmingham Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the Circus takes to the road with its latest incarnation featuring an amazing amalgamation of bizarre, brave and beautiful acts, all woven into an Alice in Horrorland type story. Age advisory 16+ as this contains some nudity, bad language and is not suitable for children

WHAT: The Spring Pink Ball for Breast Cancer WHEN: 29 April WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk This stunning annul ball is themed the Black & Pink Tie Ball and helps raise funds for Breast Cancer medical equipment. It’s also a cracking night out with entertainment, including the awesome Brothers of Soul.

WHAT: Patsy Cline Tribute WHEN: 24 March WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk Put on your Western wear and get ready for a ‘Honkin Tonkin’ good time! Sue Lowry perfectly captures the velvet country voice of a record-breaking recording artist who spent 251 weeks in the Country Music Album charts. Pure country magic!

WHAT: James Arthur WHEN: 24 March WHERE: O2 Academy Birmingham, tel 0121 622 8250 www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk Returning with his second album, Back From The Edge encompasses Arthur’s experiences over the past few years and reflects his true, honest self.

WHAT: A Tribute to Tina Turner WHEN: 23 March WHERE: The Jam House, WHAT: The Royal Opera Live: Madame Butterfly WHEN: 30 March WHERE: Mac Birmingham, tel 0121 446 3232 www.macarts.co.uk Puccini’s opera is one of his most popular with ravishing music and a heart-breaking story of a loving geisha deserted by a callous American husband. A cracking cast conducted by acclaimed Royal Opera music director Antonio Pappano.

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tel 0121 200 3030 www.thejamhouse.com Don’t miss this evening of sophisticated entertainment celebrating the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Private Dancer, Steamy Windows, Proud Mary and so many more cracking anthems to enjoy. Starring Tasita d'Mour

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: One Love: The Bob Marley Musical

WHAT: Your 5 at Bullring

WHEN: 10 March to 8 April

WHEN: 30 March to 2 April WHERE: Lower East Mall, Bullring www.bullring.co.uk Give your wardrobe and make-up bag a fresh look for the new season with the help of the experts. You can book a free appointment with a personal stylist to find out what trends you should be embracing for the season and have a oneto-one with a make-up artist to discover some of SS17’s top beauty looks.

WHAT: Craig David WHEN: 24 March WHERE: Barclaycard Arena, tel 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com Possibly the most talked about return to music by an artist in decades! Millions of album sales, top 10 hits galore and multiplatinum across the globe, Craig David is back and selling out headline tours in seconds.

WHERE: Birmingham Rep, tel 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk The words and music that brought joy and love to people around the world have been revived in a new musical. Written and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, this compelling production features Marley's greatest songs performed live.

WHAT: Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea WHEN: 26 March WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, tel 0121 212 3383 www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk What could be better than treating everyone’s favourite person to a delicious tea surrounded by some of the most fascinating and beautifully landscaped gardens in the country? Finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and your lovely mum. Perfect.

WHAT: Lee Nelson – Serious Joker WHEN: 9 March WHERE: The Old Rep Theatre, 0121 359 9444 www.oldreptheatre.co.uk

WHAT: Flatpack Film Festival WHEN: 19 to 24 April

After getting into trouble for sneaking into places he shouldn’t be, Lee Nelson is back where he most definitely should be – live on stage with his brand-new, laugh-out-loud, best ever stand-up show.

WHERE: Various, for more details visit www.flatpackfestival.org.uk This critically-acclaimed festival returns with another celebration of ‘film’ in all its forms, crossing over into music and the arts. Expect the usual boundary-defying cinematic fun and games in venues across Birmingham.

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WHAT: Singalong with the CBSO: Mendelssohn’s Elijah WHEN: 19 March WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk Ever wondered what it’s like to sing live at Symphony Hall with the full CBSO? Now’s your chance to find out in this one-off performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, written especially for Birmingham in 1846. Conducted by Simon Halsey CBE.

WHAT: Antiques for Everyone WHEN: 6 to 9 April WHERE: NEC, tel 0844 581 0827 www.antiquesforeveryone.co.uk WHAT: Crufts 2017 WHEN: 9 to 12 March WHERE: Birmingham NEC, tel 0844 338 0338 www.crufts.org.uk The biggest and best dog show in the world is back, where more than 22,000 dogs will compete to win the prestigious title of Best in Show.

The largest antiques, interiors and collectables fair outside of London returns with hundreds of specialist dealers offering a huge variety of desirable, rare and quirky items at prices from £10 to £100,000.

WHAT: Billy Elliot the Musical WHEN: 7 March to 29 April WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, tel 0844 338 5000 www.birminghamhippodrome.com One of the most beloved shows on stage today pops into Birmingham as part of a stunning UK tour. With a timeless score by Elton John, sensational dance and a powerful story this is a proper uplifting theatrical experience.

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IN THE CITY I remember my dad and I took a road trip to Birmingham city centre when I was aged about 10, and I loved it. I never expected to end up working and living here too

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m Peter Plisner, the business and transport correspondent for BBC Midlands Today. I live in south Birmingham with my wife, two daughters, two stepchildren and two dogs. At peak times its loud and chaotic but I like that. I’m keen on DIY, although not always that successful. As one of the children said to my wife recently: “At least he’s trying.” I love photography and listening to music. Like many I’ve recently dusted off my old albums and rediscovered the sound of vinyl. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? Mostly I jump in the car. Not good for a transport correspondent, I know. I need my car for work which takes me all over the West Midlands. I do live close to a station with one of the best rail services in the city so use the train for social trips and shopping. Occasionally I will cycle. Birmingham has some great cycle paths.

COFFEE BREAK? Don’t really do coffee breaks and I’m too tight to pay for take-outs. It’s either cheap instant or tea for me. The trouble is, tea means biscuits and who can stop at just the one? LUNCHTIME? What’s that? I have a full-on job with the BBC and often I’m on the telly doing outside broadcasts at lunchtime. It’s a case of grabbing a sandwich and carrying on. If I’m in the office, it’s a cuppa-soup and maybe a bag of savoury popcorn.

BBC Midlands Today’s Peter Plisner

POWERWALKING? I have two dogs and a fitness watch that my wife bought me for Christmas. The two things, combined with a need to get to work as early as I can, mean that it’s more a case of ‘power walkies’ every morning. Luckily the dogs enjoy it (most of the time).

HOW’S THE COMMUTE? I’ve recently moved house and now have two more traffic jams to negotiate in the morning. Congestion is certainly getting worse, although public transport is getting better. When I’m not needed on air I often work from home and then my commute is just a short walk to the study!

WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY? I love walking around the city’s canal network. They’re under-used by both boats and walkers and you can access parts of the city that you don’t normally see. They’re also great places to run because, aside from the odd lock, they’re normally flat.

IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN? I just love Birmingham and working in the city centre at the Mailbox. It’s great for shopping and walking to meetings. I was raised in Cambridge and I remember my dad and I took a road trip to Birmingham city centre when I was around 10-yearsold and I loved it. I never expected to end up working and living here too.

HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? With the regeneration that’s already going on, Birmingham’s getting better already. It’s amazing how many cranes are on the skyline and how much is being invested. In the past I’d have said that people who live here should stop talking it down, but now things have changed and everyone’s proud of the second city. Including me! I

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March issue 2017 (issue 54)  
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