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May 2017

MAKING WAVES

JO ASHBY

SIPSEY LINGERIE MARVERINE COLE

OUTDOOR LIVING SPECIAL

PINK PASSION FOR

TOM’S KITCHEN

The RISE & RISE of

AKTAR ISLAM


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EDITOR’S VIEW Little Isabelle and Edith arrived safe and sound to loving parents in a warm and welcoming environment – 3,000 miles away, very different images of two small children were being flashed around the world

s you can see from the picture, I’ve become a very, very proud granddad to beautiful baby twin granddaughters this month. (What’s that you say? I don’t look old enough! Yes I know, I know...) Little Isabelle and Edith arrived safe and sound to loving parents in a warm and welcoming environment. At almost the same moment 3,000 miles away, very different images of two small children were being flashed around the world. They showed a grief-stricken father cradling the limp bodies of his twins, murdered in a nerve gas attack in Syria. Enjoying the time with my new granddaughters felt even more precious and special as my mind contemplated the dreadful realities of being children in other troubled parts of the world. How lucky we are to live her in Britain. For all its faults, this remains a wonderful and ultimately very tolerant country. Another image taken right here on the streets of Birmingham, however, showed that not everything is peaches and cream. The powerful picture of defiant young Muslim woman Saffiyah Khan confronting the leader of the English Defence League face-to-face with a smile appeared in every newspaper and took social media by storm. Ms Khan won widespread praise for standing up to the thugs who were leveling threats and abuse at another Muslim woman caught up by their provocative protest march. While I’m talking praise… let’s hear it for Birmingham’s world-class Queen Elizabeth Hospital. My wife attended the QE for a consultation and tests on some ‘creaking’ joints. The doctors, the staff and the facilities were five-star from start to finish. We came out feeling very proud of Birmingham.

A

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

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: Aktar Islam

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

may 2017

/bhamliving

When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it

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INSIDE

Highlights

12 16 20 22 32 40

Aktar Islam The food-loving boy who became a top chef, TV star and celebrity fans’ favourite Jo Ashby How a girl from landlocked Brum became one of the country’s leading seascape artists Darryl Collins Head of pastry at Resorts World on chocolate mice and perfect crème anglaise every time Food & Drink Foodie news, taste-testing Tom’s Kitchen, Osteria Rodizio Rico... and great German wine Style – In The Pink From fuchsia arm candy to bubble gum mules, pink is as cool as you like this season Health – Sugar Shaker! Got a sweet-tooth? Want to know how to kick the sugar habit? Read our guide…

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CONTENTS

65

Best of the Rest

42 54 56 62 68 78 82 may 2017

Homes – Outside Chance Make the most of summer… turn your outdoor space into something gorgeous and usable Motoring Sue Cooke test-drives Infiniti’s sporty new Q60 coupe – and finds there’s a lot to love Young, Gifted and Brummie How Team England ParaCheer athlete Danielle Cheetham learned to dream big again Spotlight on Business Company to Watch: Sipsey Lingerie, plus news and views from the business community Social Scene The pages that picture who’s been out and about networking in Birmingham this month Shows, Arts, Gigs and More What’s on, where and when – all you need to know about the entertainment scene In The City Broadcaster, Kings Heath fan and Brum’s firstever female beer sommelier, Marverine Cole

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NEWS

BOYS BALLET CHANCE

g n i livTODAY

A search is being launched in Birmingham to find male ballet stars of the future. The Royal Academy of Dance is hosting a Boys Ballet Masterclass at Birmingham Royal Ballet on 2 July. The class is for ages seven and above with basic ballet technique upwards. Each masterclass will encourage confidence-building and sociability while developing ballet technique, choreography and presentation.

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

HAPPY 20TH FOLKS! The UK’s biggest folk band, Birmingham’s Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, is marking its 20th anniversary with a new album, Painted, and a series of special appearances. The band’s line-up features 50 members, including 15 horns, four cellos, five percussionists, five electric guitarists, plus fiddles, flutes, clarinets… and more! The anniversary kicks off at Birmingham Town Hall on 12 May.

GLYNN SERVES JOSIE TOPS BILL UP TV TREAT Yummy Brummie, Michelin-star chef Glynn Purnell and award-winning cook and food writer Rachel Allen are teaming up as the judges for a new TV cookery competition. The pair will appear on Channel 4’s My Kitchen Rules UK which sees amateur cooks open their own restaurants at home in a bid to scoop a cash prize. “I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the show,” said Glynn.

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Some of the city’s most influential businesswomen came together for an evening celebration of International Women’s Day at Birmingham Rep. Top of the bill was the Midlands own leading lady and comedian Josie Lawrence, who is a patron of the Rep. She gave guests an insight to her career and her love of the Rep which she attended as a child.

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NEWS

OILY CART TEASER A Birmingham service for children and adults with complex needs received a sneak peak of the new production from leading interactive theatre company Oily Cart. The show, Kubla Khan, has been developed with national disability charity Sense and is aimed at young people with complex disabilities. It is Oily Cart’s first production with a version for children and young people who are deafblind. Kubla Khan will tour from August.

BRAVE DAD’S CYCLE BID A Birmingham dad who is recovering from cancer treatment is taking on a 100-mile cycling challenge to raise funds to support the city’s world-leading blood cancer centre. PR agency director Paul Skipp, 53, is raising money for the £3.2million expansion of the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by taking part in the Birmingham Vélo event in September.

CAPTURE THE CUBE Birmingham landmark The Cube has launched its second annual photography competition. Following on from the success of the inaugural event last year, amateur and professional photographers are invited to compete for the title of The Cube Photographer of the Year, sponsored by new pizza and pasta restaurant Osteria Rodizio Rico. Closing date is 11 May, details at www.thecube.co.uk TOP SHOT: Last year’s winning picture taken by Daniel Sturley

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MOTOR INDUSTRY

IN 50 OBJECTS A new exhibition opens later this month telling the story of the British motor industry using 50 objects. These include three cars – an 1899 Wolseley Voiturette, 1965 cut-away Austin Mini and a ‘secret’ third car to be revealed when the exhibition opens at the British Motor Museum on 19 May. British Motoring Treasures: the British Motor Car in Fifty Objects will also feature lesser-known facts about the industry and its people. These include recipe cards for meals served in the 25 staff canteens at Longbridge. The exhibition runs until March 2018.

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SNAPPER EMILY IN SPOTLIGHT A decision to quit her retail job to follow her dream to become a professional photographer paid off for Emily Addis when she was crowned winner of the 60 Seconds to Change Your Life competition at the NEC Photography Show. Emily, 25, from Sutton Coldfield took the top £15,000 prize in the competition supported by Nikon and Training byLUMIERE. She was one of three finalists who went head-tohead in a live photo shoot.

MUSICAL TWINS PLAY ‘THANK YOU’ Twins Seb and Jess Foxwell are playing a big thank you to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by staging a 24-hour playathon on piano, flute and trumpet. The hospital performed critical operations on Seb after he severely damaged tendons in his left hand. Now Seb and his sister – who play with the National Children’s Orchestra and study at Birmingham Junior Conservatoire – are raising funds for the hospital with their playathon on 26 May at Burton Dassett Church.

CURRY AND COMEDY IN BRIEF Comedy lovers and curry connoisseurs were in high spirits at Itihaas’ Comedy Rum Ball. Birmingham Botanical Gardens welcomed 270 guests for the evening of eating, drinking and entertaining hosted by BBC Celebrity MasterChef finalist and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli. The event raised nearly £10,500 for local homeless project Let’s Feed Brum. Another curry and comedy night is planned in September.

WEDDING SYMPHONY Symphony Hall is promoting its events space for Asian weddings. The concert halls, which haven’t been available for hire exclusively for the past two years, are throwing open their doors to couples planning their nuptials this year.

TOP CIRCUS

BRIDGET JOINS GOLF’S ELITE Edgbaston Golf Club held a lunch to celebrate the election of Bridget Jackson as one of only 26 honorary members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Bridget, who joined the Edgbaston club in 1966, now sits alongside British Open Champions and the greats of the game in the R&A elite. Her golfing career included playing in the Curtis Cup for Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions.

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ELLIE DIVES IN Birmingham golden girl, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, launched the new Octopus Hideout at the National Sea Life Centre. The attraction includes a giant Pacific octopus as well as many other species. Displays supervisor Chris Gamble said: “Octopus Hideout is a perfect way for visitors to get up close and personal with some of the oceans’ most intelligent creatures.”

The Chinese State Circus is staging a spectacular new production, Dynasty, at Sheldon country park from 9 to 14 May. It features acrobats, aerial artistes, and jugglers with the super-human skills of the legendary Shaolin Warriors.

PIZZA PLACE Wood-fired artisan pizzas with a unique sourdough base have arrived at Selfridges with the launch by top chef Aktar Islam of Lasan Group’s latest venture, Izza Pizza. See Cover Story

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RICHARD’S HOME COOKING Enjoying a meal cooked by a Michelin-starred chef is a rare treat – more so when he serves it up at your home! That's exactly what happened to charity supporters Dean and Lisa Westmoreland when Richard Turner of Turners at 69 Restaurant, Harborne arrived at their front door. Richard prepared dinner after Dean bid £4,000 in an auction at the Next Charity Ball in aid of Hope Against Cancer.

ALL ABOARD THE RED BALLOON

ODD FISH AT THE FARM A number of unlikely new residents have moved in at the UK’s largest butterfly farm. The Mexican Walking Fish, called Axolotls, resemble a cross between a fish and a lizard and are the inspiration for the Pokémon character Wooper! Other new arrivals inhabiting Minibeast Metropolis at Stratfordupon-Avon Butterfly Farm include an Orange Baboon Tarantula which originates from Africa.

Fans of the little blue engine and his friends hopped aboard the highly-anticipated new James and the Red Balloon ride as it launched at Europe’s only Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Park. The new ride is based on the beloved Thomas & Friends character James and his cheeky antics with a red hot air balloon.

TROUGHTON STARS AT RSC

FESTIVAL KINGS SWING IN Meet the Midlands kings of swing, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys. The band is the star act at a celebration dinner to mark 33 years of Birmingham and Solihull Jazz Festival. The event takes place at Birmingham Conference and Events Centre on 25 May. Since its 1985 debut the festival has generated more than £68million, staged over 6,100 performances and attracted a total audience in excess of 2.6million people.

Following its current productions of Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra, the RSC’s Rome Season continues this summer with a new take on Titus Andronicus with the title role played by local star and RSC associate artist David Troughton. As well as previously playing several leading roles including Richard III and Bolingbroke, Troughton is well known for his film, TV and radio roles, including playing Tony Archer in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

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

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COVER STORY

FEEDING AMBITION

Top chef Aktar Islam tells David Johns how he took a boyhood love of food and turned it into a thriving business, becoming a TV star and celebrity fans’ favourite along the way

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here’s no stopping the rise and rise of Aktar Islam. which he runs with partner Jabbar Khan is worth £8million. Since shooting to fame by winning Gordon Aktar’s success story is pretty much the mirror Ramsay’s TV series the F Word, followed by the image of Birmingham’s own rise to food prominence over Great British Menu, Birmingham’s superchef has continued the past seven or eight years. Aktar has become one of his journey into the culinary stratosphere, making countless Brum’s elite chefs, alongside the likes of Glynn Purnell, screen appearances and adding exciting new eateries to his Adam Stokes, Luke Tipping, Richard Turner and Brad burgeoning Lasan empire – the latest being a pizzeria which Carter – all helping elevate the city to multi-Michelin star opened last month in Selfridges food hall. status. He is also a regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. Izza Pizza is typical of the man – distinctive, different Born in 1980, Aktar was raised in Birmingham by his and delivering brilliant food using only the Bangladeshi parents who came to the city in the late very best ingredients. “I’ve been mulling over ideas for the 1970s. The second eldest of five sons, he started learning restaurant with Selfridges for the past year or so. They to cook with his mother – who he calls his greatest started wanting me to do something Indian, but I didn’t influence – in the family kitchen before working in his want that. I think of myself as a pretty father’s restaurant Karma. When he was 18 he was typical shopper at weekends and when As a city we are very lucky to have so many I go into somewhere like Selfridges for lunch, I don’t want to be eating Indian talented chefs that I’m honoured to call friends food. I always think of lunch as Mediterranean food.” working full-time at an Italian restaurant, and by the ELITE LINE-UP time he was 20 he had taken over the family’s Indian The new eatery has already been getting great reviews Palace in Solihull, turning it into a profitable business for from customers and food critics alike and adds further variety the first time. He launched Lasan two years later. to Aktar’s food offerings, which includes the luxury Lasan “I have a very individual cooking style,” he says. “I restaurant in the Jewellery Quarter, lobster and burger diner celebrate the vibrant flavours of the Indian subcontinent, Nosh & Quaff in Colmore Row, Raja Monkey Indian street combined with the best of British produce. Great café in Hall Green and Birmingham’s first Argentine Asado ingredients excite and inspire me. It is all about the best, eatery, Fiesta Del Asado in Edgbaston. All-in-all, the business freshest ingredients first and foremost.”

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Aktar’s big break came in 2009 when his victory as the hitting Birmingham now, and what they are delivering is Best Local Restaurant in the UK on Gordon Ramsay’s F awful. I go round the chains who profess to be able to prepare Word series thrust him and his food into the national high quality food and I ask them to do me something very spotlight. Overnight, Lasan was flooded with so many simple, a piece of fried bass – and they can’t even do that right! callers wanting to book that extra staff were brought in “The fact is that the chains are coming in, and they can pay to man the phones and the waiting list stretched to more whatever the landlords want in rent, and the smaller than 12 weeks for a table. Two years later, Aktar won BBC’s Great Aktar’s success story is the mirror image of British Menu and provided the fish course for Birmingham’s own rise to food prominence over the the People’s Banquet, which led to a meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace where past seven or eight years he was invited to a reception in recognition of his contribution to the British hospitality industry. Joining the Queen as an admirer of Aktar’s food independents will be squeezed out. The city council has to be are celebrity fans including Gary Barlow, Michael Buble doing more to help the smaller guys because it is them that are and Helena Bonham Carter. really producing the top quality food with the best ingredients. “Gordon Ramsay has been a massive player in my If we are not careful great success stories like the Original life,” says Aktar, “and he’s been instrumental in Patty Men will never be able to happen again because the big spreading the gospel about the great things we’d been chains will have taken over. doing in our early years in Birmingham. As a city we are “This doesn’t affect the luxury end of the market which very lucky to have so many talented chefs that I’m I and other chefs are operating in, but it’s a potential killer honoured to call friends.” for the wonderful food scene that Birmingham has become But for Aktar, it’s not just all about the star names in the so well known for.” business. He’s a vocal champion for the whole of Aktar has a nine-year-old son and says: “I want him to Birmingham’s brilliant independent food scene and believes grow up and be able to go to Sparkhill and enjoy great that the city authorities should be doing much more to help Turkish food and go to the Chinese Quarter and have them survive and thrive. “We are getting all the big food chains fabulous oriental cuisine.” I

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FEATURE

MAKING

WAVES

How a girl from landlocked Brum became one of the country’s leading seascape artists

rowing up in the landlocked Midlands wouldn’t seem the perfect backdrop to becoming one of the country’s leading seascape artists. But Jo Ashby has a habit of bucking convention all her life. Born in Moseley, her love of the sea came from the many, very regular trips to the beautiful coasts of Wales and North Cornwall as a child with her parents. With both mum and dad being artists and art teachers, it is no surprise that Jo has followed in their brushstrokes – eventually! But becoming a professional artist didn’t come via the most direct route!

G Picture: Robbie Murphy

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“I went through the typical teens rebellious thing,” she explains. “I thought I’d go into anything but art. I tried psychology and then spent my time back-packing to ‘find’ myself.” It wasn’t until she’d ‘calmed down’ a bit that Jo realised that her natural love of art couldn’t be ignored or denied.

TAKING THE PLUNGE She returned to Birmingham and post-graduate art education before finally taking the plunge to become a fulltime professional artist. Next month she joins fellow artist and close friend Majella O’Neill Collins to return to her home city in an exhibition of their work entitled Two Distant Views at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

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Both artists live on Sherkin Island, a tiny gem just off the south-west coast of Ireland. The stunning beauty of the island has made it a hub attracting artists across a huge range of creative mediums from around the UK and beyond. Jo lives there with her partner Mick, but she maintains strong connections with Birmingham, is a regular returning visitor and is an associate member of the RBSA. “Birmingham is my city and even though I live on Sherkin, I’m always yearning to return to home,” she says. The exhibition at the RBSA showcases Jo’s beautiful interpretation of the West Cork coastline. “Exhibiting at the RBSA brings my life full circle, as Birmingham is my home town,” she says. “This exhibition is a wonderful

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FEATURE

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opportunity to reveal Sherkin to a wider audience and share our affinity and connection with the sea.” Jo is fascinated with the effects of the elements and nature on the sea. She has a deep love of drawing and mark-making and is always seeking the changing effect of light and wind on the surface of the water. The impact of wind is something which can be seen clearly in Jo’s work. “Different conditions and seasons change everything,” she explains. “In autumn I get obsessed with trees bending over in the wind. In winter I’m obsessed with the water surface and the movements caused.” Jo works in acrylic which involves laying down a Two Distant Views is at the RBSA, 4 Brook Street, Birmingham B3 1SA from 12 to 24 June www.rbsa.org.uk

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drawing and then gradually building up layers of glaze. The days of lugging around materials has long gone – Jo goes out walking with lots of little sketchbooks to jot down ideas. Her work in her studio happens in the mornings when the light is at its best, and she’ll work on five or six pieces at a time. The exhibition in Birmingham will feature between 40 and 50 works by the two artists, who have been working towards the event for the past year. “Art is the soul of the community and it’s so important that organisations like the RBSA flourish,” said Jo. “I’m getting all political now. It is crushing how the arts are being squeezed out of the curriculum in schools. People wring their hands about the lack of emotional intelligence in our communities, but studying the arts is where emotional intelligence comes from.” I

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FOOD & DRINK

DARRYL COLLINS A passion for desserts all started as a child ‘experimenting’ with chocolate mice for the talented head pastry chef at Resorts World Birmingham Tell us about your cooking I believe that hard work and a good understanding of flavours and techniques is all you need (plus a little determination and persistence). Chocolate is my love and I always try to put at least two chocolate desserts on the menu. My love for chocolate has been with me since a child when I experimented which chocolate mice, much to my mother’s disappointment. Since using quality chocolate, I have developed a bigger love for the cocoa bean. Being from Trinidad we’d often eat these but at the time we didn’t know what we were eating – we just took the sweet, slimy part of the bean and we’d chuck the rest.

How did you become a chef? I was a self-taught pastry chef who started my career in Cornwall. I was washing pots but soon found myself involved in pastry and went on to become the fourth chef at Tredragon Hotel in Newquay, which held one rosette at the time. After leaving Cornwall, I was head pastry chef at Welcombe Hotel in Stratford, the Lygon Arms in Broadway and Billesley Manor, Alcester followed by a short stint at Bakkavor. I’m now head of pastry at Resorts World Birmingham in charge of six other pastry chefs.

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It’s a job I love; teaching my colleagues new techniques while teaching myself along the way. You’re never too old to learn.

What do you eat when at home? With two little boys and a wife there’s always hungry bellies to feed but we love the classics – soup, bolognaise and the ultimate favourite, Sunday lunch.

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? To focus on just one chef worldwide seems a little unfair given the talent, I do however have some personal favourites. Nathan Outlaw will always be one due to his influence, and then my second favourite is American pastry chef Antonio Bachour, who’s exceptionally talented but remains so down to earth. Again, to choose one in Birmingham seems unfair but Glynn Purnell and his sous chef Luke Butcher are incredibly talented and great people too.

Is the customer, always right? Yes… even when they’re wrong! We’re here to please – it’s called hospitality for a reason.

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CHEF’S CORNER

DARRYL’S BROWNIE RECIPE Ingredients:

I 350g unsalted butter

I 250g dark chocolate

I 135g plain flour

I 30g cocoa powder

I 250g golden caster sugar

Share a cooking tip This tip for crème anglaise was the result of rushing and having no other choice, thankfully it worked and I’ve used it for 15 years now. Take the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and whisk until doubled. Bring milk to the boil until it’s close to the top of the pan and then drop your egg mixture into the pan while whisking (very fast). Remove from the heat and whisk. This shocks the eggs into reacting but prevents them scrambling. It’s also much quicker than the traditional method.

I 40g white chocolate

I 50g roasted hazelnuts

I 3 eggs

I 40g milk chocolate

Method: Place butter and dark chocolate in pan over a bain marie on a low heat and allow to melt completely until butter and chocolate are well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Sift flour and cocoa powder together. In a large mixer, place sugar and eggs, whisk until thick and pale (double in size). While still whisking, poor in melted chocolate mixture until just combined, remove from mixer. Fold in flour and cocoa powder with a large whisk, do not over fold

What was your favourite food as a kid?

mixture. Add chopped chocolate and roasted hazelnuts, fold in

Heinz tomato soup – and it’s still a guilty pleasure to this day!

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Food heaven and food hell? Hell are peas and sweet peppers. Heaven is fish and chips.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? I’m a fussy eater so it’s limited but there’s the slimy mass I spoke of earlier inside the cocoa bean, which doesn’t look appealing but is one of the sweetest, most delicious flavours I’ve ever eaten. The second is the fruit of a cashew which looks like a bright pink pear – deliciously sweet and sour.

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gently. Cook at 175c for 20 mins (even crust will form on top).

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? I’m into photography so I would have gone down that road, maybe. I’m also a bit of a computer nerd and have training in network engineering, so perhaps I could have been a network engineer.

What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? The current best-seller is the peanut parfait and I can see why, but all the deserts on the menu are worth a try. I Resorts World Birmingham, Pendigo Way, Birmingham, B40 1PU. Tel: 0121 273 1200 www.resortsworldbirmingham.co.uk

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FOOD & DRINK

NIBBLES and

SHORTS

Birmingham has a lively and buzzing bar and restaurant scene. Here, we present our insider guide to what’s going on in your city’s eateries and drinking dens FROM SIR WITH LOVE Curry fans, you are going to love, love, love a new restaurant in town. Called 1580, it gets its name from the year Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the earth and returned home with exotic spices for Queen Elizabeth 1. The Sutton Coldfield restaurant’s menu includes historic-sounding dishes, such as Drakes mussels, while the interior depicts his sailing vessel.

THAI TIME IN BRINDLEYPLACE If modern Thai food with a twist sounds like you, a new restaurant/bar in Brindleyplace is calling your name. Siamais (pronounced Siam-aze) is a play on words, incorporating twins (Siamese) and Siam (the old name for Thailand) to reflect its dual offerings of drink and food. It’s the brainchild of Nishil Nathwani who launched Aluna cocktail bar at The Mailbox.

GAUCHO COMES TO BRUM Get ready… Gaucho opens its doors on Birmingham from 8 May. Famous for its Argentine steaks, it will also offer seafood and fish dishes, homemade sausages and lamb and poultry. The 120-cover eatery at Colmore Row is the first UK opening for Gaucho in seven years and can cater for business lunches, evening dining and private events.

GIN VENUE A REAL TONIC The Distillery has opened in the former Fiddle & Bone pub, Sheepcote Street. Set over two floors, there’s a bar, 200-cover restaurant, courtyard, gin terrace and events space. Plus, an on-site gin distillery and artisan gin school. Peter Macdonald of Mosaic Pub & Dining Company told us: “Following the success of the Button Factory, we’re thrilled to open a second venue in this vibrant city.”

NEW HOUSE MATES One of Wolverhampton’s best-known pubs, the Island House, has been transformed into a new restaurant and bar. The building, derelict for nearly a decade, has undergone a £1million renovation. Already operating as a fish and chip shop, the Island House now includes a new bar and grill. There’s also planning permission for an ice cream parlour.

FRENCH CONNECTION Steak frites… boeuf bourguignon maison… and more! French favourites are what it’s all about at the new Bistrot Pierre in Mulberry Walk, Sutton. The bistro is the latest offering of co-owners John Whitehead and Rob Beacham. “Our fifteenth site opened in Birmingham last year so we know our food is popular in the West Midlands,” said John.

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

BOLLYWOOD BEAUTY If you enjoy something bold, bright and Bollywood then this little number could be right up your street! he mixologists at Indico have launched this new cocktail especially for Ladies’ Night. Called Dilwale which means Big Hearted in Hindi and inspired by the romantic movie of the same name, this fruity delight is a heady mix of passion fruit, rum and lemonade. Just remember to enjoy responsibly ladies!

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Ingredients:

I 25ml Cachaca I 25ml Passoa I 1 passion fruit I 50ml passion fruit puree I Lemonade

Method: Put the Cachaca, the passion fruit puree and a passion fruit inside a tall glass. Add crushed ice and stir until the seeds of the passion fruit are perfectly mixed with the ice. Top up with lemonade, then slowly pour the Passoa to get a pink layer on the top. Garnish with half a passion fruit. Indico Street Kitchen, 16 Parkgate Shopping Centre, Stratford Road, Shirley, Birmingham B90 3GG. Tel: 0121 448 5204 www.indicostreetkitchen.com

Picture: Shevy Sandhu

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From only £25

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

TOM’S KITCHEN The Mailbox, 53 Wharfside, Birmingham B1 1RE. Tel: 0121 289 5111 www.tomskitchen.co.uk/birmingham/restaurant/

onday lunchtime. Let’s be honest it’s not the dream ticket. No celebratory start of the weekend here. No occasion to speak of, just sustenance to get us through ‘til home time. Usually. One sunny Monday last month we ditched the houmous at our desk scenario in favour of The Mailbox’s newest addition, Tom’s Kitchen which has been getting a lot of attention. There’s more than a touch of Parisian bistro about the place – think La Coupole, but smaller and smarter and without a pile of fruits de mer on every table. It has a relaxed vibe, lively chatter and is high in style. There’s a lot of wood, great lighting and comfy seats that make you want to stay all day – we didn’t, but totally could have – and the staff are cool, friendly and super ambassadors of the brand’s ethos which at its core are seasonality and local produce. First thing’s first, it wouldn’t be a Monday without a bottle of Petit Chablis would it? In for a penny, in for a pound and all that. Olives with the stone in – always superior in our book – were a citrusy delight and just perfect with the Chablis. The crowd pleasing menu was right up our street with some inventive specials winking at us too. My colleague and voracious meat eater was in heaven. Chicken liver and foie gras parfait with toasted brioche, chutney and cornichons was a classic brilliantly done. A starter of pickled Cornish mackerel, kohlrabi remoulade with apple was my stand out dish. Fresh, summery and stunningly good

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this was just a joy. It sounds a bit over the top - it’s just food right - but God it was great. Both mains – slow cooked pork belly with smoked sausage, choucroute and pork jus and from the special board, guinea fowl with pearl barley risotto, confit duck with parsley oil and hazelnuts - were seriously good, but on the salty side. It didn’t bother either of us as we’re partial to a good thwack of salt, but if you’re not keen perhaps choose something else. The sweet stuff was all pretty appealing, but we went with a recommendation from the specials of compressed watermelon, coconut ice cream with mint syrup which was refreshing, light and zingy and a delicious millefeuille with vanilla cream and blackberry sorbet. We could have handled more vanilla in the cream, but we’re being picky now. We had a cracking lunch and frankly we couldn’t think of a better start to the week. Or an end. Or a middle. I

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LUNCH SPOT

OSTERIA RODIZIO RICO Commercial Street, The Cube, Birmingham B1 1RS. Tel: 0121 285 2856 he award for the most smiley, enthusiastic waiter and possibly person we’ve ever met goes to… drum roll… Alfonso at Osteria Rodizio Rico. No contest. A happier man we could not imagine. From the minute he said hello we knew we were in safe hands. Welcoming diners to a restaurant sounds simple. Not so. Alfonso is king. He didn’t even flinch when I declined a Bellini as I’m allergic to peach. “No problem,” he said and promptly returned with a strawberry version. If you’ve dined at sister restaurant just next door Rodizio Rico you’ll be used to the concept. It’s basically a souped up buffet scenario with its roots in Brazil. There’s no menu as such. Freshly prepared dishes, in this case with an Italian vibe, are served at the table as they’re cooked. All the ingredients where possible are sourced from Italy including flour for the top notch pizza and handmade pasta. We feasted on a tasty risotto with asparagus, a garlicky flat bread, gnocchi in a rich cheese sauce, a punchy pesto and tomato rigatoni, bresaola pizza with a good hit of chilli, an unusual, but lip smacking pasta dish with vodka and pork cheek, pizza with roasted vegetables and veggie pasta with a sort of crumb which was delicious. We say feast because it really did feel like that. The food just kept on coming. For

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instance, we declined a dessert, but got one anyway! Alfonso is very persuasive as well as happy. It was a really lovely tiramisu with no booze in order to cater for everyone. The relaxed vibe of the place means it would suit a big crowd particularly and £11.90 per head for great tasting unlimited food seemed like a steal to us. After a fond farewell with Alfonso we waddled off and didn’t eat another morsel for a good 15 hours. There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a carbfest, so leave your calorie counting ways at the door and embrace the joy. I

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FOOD & DRINK

FRIGHT NIGHT?

The Eighties saw German wine earn an X-rating as we consumed bucket loads of the likes of Blue Nun and Black Tower. But Rob Price says times have changed and the horror show is well and truly over

o, when was the last time you tried a German wine? If you’re my generation, perhaps not for a long time. We drank the stuff in bucket loads, well bottle loads, back in the 80s. There wasn’t much choice if you wanted a less expensive bottle of wine – unless you fancied a red from Bulgaria! Nowadays if it isn’t Italian Pinot Grigio, it’s a wine from the New World, Australia, Chile, Argentina and New Zealand, etc. And we do love a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. So, if you’re under 40 you’ve probably not considered Germany, whereas if you’re 40-plus, well, you’ll remember the days of Black Tower, Blue Nun, and on special occasions you splashed out on a Piesporter! And all that means you’ve moved on and

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forgotten about German wine! But believe me when I say that now is the time to get reacquainted.

WONDERFUL APERITIFS The main grape is Riesling – pronounced Reeceling (not Rice-ling as we did way back then!). Riesling is ideally suited to the cool climate of Germany making fantastic wines to go with food, especially spicy food. German Riesling will always have high acidity, this is the bit that makes your mouth water, and the main reason they go so well with spicy food. Most German wines are reasonably low in alcohol and therefore make wonderful aperitif wines, especially if slightly off-dry. Given their low alcohol they also make good wines to drink at lunch

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FOOD & DRINK

ROB’S

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TO TRY

Bone Dry Riesling – DOM Riesling Qualitatswein Trocken This is a great dry Riesling. With mouth-watering, acidity, stony and steely. Flavours of citrus and apple, and lightly smokey and spicy. Pure, clean and crisp. Connolly’s sells the 2015 vintage for £11.39.

Fruity Off-dry Riesling – Ruppertsberger Hoheburg Riesling Kabinett Brilliant value for money at only £6.95 and one of my customers’ favourites at my tastings. Lime and pear, lots of flavour and with a little honey. Very easy to drink, and only 11 per cent abv alcohol. Perfect for lighter, warmer evenings. The Wine Society sells the 2016 vintage.

Sweet Riesling – Rothenburg Capsule Riesling Auslese Made by one of the top German producers, Gunderloch, in the town of Nackenheim. It’s savoury, with peach, melon, orange, and very refreshing offsetting the sweetness. Only eight per cent alcohol. Delicate and may be enjoyed at any time of the day. Waitrose sells the 2009 vintage for £26.99. A stunning wine.

Red – Spätburgunder. Hofmann Rotwein Trocken Made by family wine maker Jorgen Hofmann in Rheinhessen, this is everything a good Pinot Noir should be. Crisp red fruits with a precision that befits the best German wines. Aged in French oak for 16 months this is a sumptuous red. Slurp sells the 2015 vintage for £12.50

PS: You can always seek a bit of nostalgia and sample the delights time, reducing the need for an afternoon sleep, although that may just be my age again! There are many different styles from bone dry, offdry and fruity, all the way through to very sweet. The best dry wines come from producers called Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) and they will have Grosses Gewächs (GG) on the label. They are always dry, which is good to know as interpreting a German wine label and trying to find our sweetness levels is a bit of a minefield. If the words Charta or Trocken appear on German labels this also indicates that the wine will be dry.

FEELING FRUITY? If you prefer your wine wines a little fruitier then look for Kabinett on the label. This is where it gets a little sticker, as while most will be fruity in an off-dry style there is no guarantee. Kabinet wines are part of the Prädikatswein category. There are six categories of Prädikatswein – Kabinet, Spatlese, Auslese,

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of Blue Nun or Black Tower again. Both are quite widely available in wine shops and supermarkets. Go on, you know you want to…

Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). These wines becoming increasing sweet. Kabinett tends to be driest and TBA the sweetest. Spatlese and Auslese confusingly may also be dry, but generally not. Germany also makes a lot of red wine, (nearly 40 per cent is red). It does tend to be lighter styles which is not surprising given the cooler climate. Pinot Noir is the main red grape, which in German they call Spätburgunder. If you like lighter-bodied reds, then this fruity refreshing wine is worth trying. 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 on 0121 270 7359 or visit www.birminghamwineschool.com.

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ing livSTYLE

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BLUSHING PRIDE From fuchsia arm candy to bubble gum mules and neon capes, pink is as cool as you like this season

ueen of runways across the globe this season, pink is where we are laying our style hat. The spectrum is vast and therefore extremely wearable. If you’re not a bubble gum pink sort of gal, try a dusky pink silk shirt teamed with well-cut trousers for a grown-up look. Or accessorise with pink rather than blushing head-to-toe. Dorothy Perkins has a great pair of mules that’ll add a touch of magic to your outfit while MSGM’s striped candy coloured jumper is a playful way to add some cool pink without being overtly girlie. Self Portrait is bang on the money with its lace frill mini

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ARM CANDY Dusky pink patent box bag £29, House of Fraser, Corporation St

SLEEVES PLEASE Autograph dress £65, M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

GET THE POINT Willow flat in dusky rose £99, Hobbs, Grand Central

DOTTY DELIGHT Spotty tee, Topshop, Bullring

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STYLE

SUITS YOU Available from Primark, The Fort Shopping Park

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STYLE dress in the palest of pinks and our love affair with Oliver Bonas continues to grow. The dusky pink stretch top with cut-out shoulders looks just as chic dressed down with jeans as it does with a full skirt as pictured. If you’re more daring with colour there are plenty of pieces that will scream ‘look at me’ without taking you into Barbie territory. M&S has a great dress with statement sleeves that provides a big hit of pink and Aquazurra’s lust-worthy suede sandal will see you strutting through summer with a knowing swagger. So, embrace the pink and enjoy! BAGS OF STYLE SHOULDER ON Available from Oliver Bonas, New Street Station

Drawstring cross body bag £135, Jigsaw, Cannon St

NEAT PLEATS WIDE LEG

Pleated step hem top £32, House of Fraser, Corporation St

Tencel trousers £99, Jaeger, John Lewis, Touchwood

JUMP TO IT MSGM striped jumper £435, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox

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STYLE

FLOWER GIRL Julietta dress £269, Hobbs, Grand Central

SHINE ON Available from Very, very.co.uk

HELLO TOOTSIES Flat Lettie sandals £50, Dune, Bullring

WINNING MINI Self Portrait lace frill mini dress £300, Selfridges, Bullring

PARTY TIME Aquazzura suede sandals £590, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox

SHOWER PROOF Pink zip foldaway anorak £19.99, New Look, Bullring

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STYLE

ACE LACE Antique rose prom dress £79, M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

RIGHT STRIPES Available from Primark, The Fort Shopping Park

COOL MULE Pink suede block heel mule £25, Dorothy Perkins at House of Fraser, Corporation St

FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY Floaty skirt, Topshop, Bullring

OFF DUTY Ayda leather trainer £98, Jigsaw, Cannon St

JACKET IN Pink denim embellished jacket, River Island, Bullring

NO WALL FLOWER Fendi 3Jours mini tote £1,690, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox

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ADVERTORIAL

NEW SEASON AT

THE MAILBOX Spring is all about new beginnings! From new season collections and menus to brand new openings, there’s never been a better time to explore Birmingham’s premier lifestyle destination, the Mailbox. WELCOME TO BIRMINGHAM Having opened in December, Tom’s Kitchen Birmingham has already become one of the city’s favourite spots. As the first UK opening outside of London for critically-acclaimed chef Tom Aikens the Kitchen serves up an unmissable selection of British classics with the simple ethos of using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Alongside the restaurant, there’s also Tom’s Kitchen Deli, found in the Urban Room, it’s the perfect spot for food lovers on the go. Open seven-days-a-week, from breakfast through to after-work drinks, the freshly prepared and seasonal daily menu includes sandwiches, soups, homemade cakes, snacks and more, so you can upgrade your lunch break in style. Joining Tom Aikens later this year will be twice Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, who will open his new restaurant concept – NRI by Atul Kochhar – which will span over 5,000 sq ft and showcase high-quality but affordable spiced dishes that draw inspiration from everywhere Atul has ventured. PEDAL POWER Joining an already exciting mix of lifestyle and homeware brands on Level 1 of the Mailbox, Ribble is a cyclist’s ideal destination. The stunning showroom is home to the award-winning collection of bikes, each with unmatched customisation to help you build your perfect ride. With all bikes designed and built here in the UK, you can rest assured that they’re designed to go the distance, whether you’re taking on a cycling challenge this year or just a keen social rider.

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COFFEE BREAK There’s always time for coffee, and you’ll find it hard to resist the classic Italian blends on offer at the newly opened Caffè Nero. The elegant coffee shop, found on Level 3 is perfect for an on-the-go caffeine boost or leisurely lounging, with a selection of small bites and snacks on offer too. HARVEY NICHOLS At the heart of the Mailbox, Harvey Nichols is the ultimate home of luxury retail. Showcasing over 200 of the world’s most desirable womenswear, menswear, beauty, food and wine brands in a unique shopping environment, there’s nowhere quite like Harvey Nichols anywhere else in the city. Focusing on delivering an unrivalled in-store experience, you’ll find the Concierge team on hand to help with any queries, whilst the expert team of stylists offer guidance on product size and fit, as well as outfit tips and trend inspiration. MORE AT THE MAILBOX After hours, the Urban Room is often transformed into the setting for a number of exciting Mailbox events. From live demonstrations and product launches, to shopping events, fashion showcases, networking evenings and more, signing up to the free Mailbox newsletter ensures you have priority access to the latest events. I To keep up to date with the latest Mailbox news, offers and events, sign up to the Mailbox newsletter at www.mailboxlife.com or join the conversation on social media @MailboxLife.

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STYLE FOR MEN

BABY BLUE Clothing from M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

PASTELS RULE

There’s something about pastels that makes us want to sing. Think La La Land, but not as accomplished

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STYLE FOR MEN

ALL THE DETAIL Grey print sweatshirt £25, River Island, Bullring

LONG SHORTS Smart blue shorts, John Lewis, Grand Central TWINKLE TOES Bhatti brogue £69.99, Office, Bullring

resh, cool and flattering we love this season’s pale ZIPPED hues and want to shout it from the rooftops. From baby blue watches to pastel pink hoodies, we’re on Maharishi shell jacket £275, Selfridges, board and top of our shopping list is the Hender Scheme Bullring hi-top swiftly followed by Maharishi’s pink shell jacket. We wouldn’t recommend going head-to-toe pastel unless it’s IT'S ALL YELLOW Folk sweatshirt, a well cut suit for the right occasion (i.e. you’re Jamie Oliver £105, Harvey Nichols, and it’s your wedding day!) Pick key pieces like Gant’s The Mailbox bleached green sweatshirt or Folk’s yellow sweater teamed with jeans for super stylish nod to the trend. I

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FANCY FOOTWORK Hender Scheme hi-top trainers £740, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox WATCH THIS SPACE Unknown Watches classic watch £80, Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox

DENIM DAYS Pink denim jacket £45, River island, Bullring

MINT CONDITION Green bleached jumper £95, House of Fraser, Corporation St

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HEALTH

DUMP THE LUMP Sugar limits for everyday foods such as biscuits, chocolate bars and cereals have been published in a bid to make UK children healthier. So, just how bad is sugar for you? ublic Health England is challenging businesses to cut sugar by 20 per cent by 2020, and by five per cent this year. It says the food industry should lower sugar levels, reduce product size or push healthier products. Many doctors now believe that sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet, contributing to all sorts of diseases. Here are just some reasons why you should try to avoid it…

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Added sugar contains no essential nutrients and is bad for your teeth There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar… just pure energy. And because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth it’s harmful for teeth.

Fructose can overload your liver

Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the

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HEALTH

digestive tract, it is broken down into glucose and fructose. A little bit of fructose from say some fruit is fine but too much can overload the liver. Obviously this doesn’t mean you should avoid fruit and if you are healthy and active your body should be able to tolerate more sugar than people who are inactive and eat a Western, high-carb, high-calorie diet.

Resistance to insulin

Insulin allows glucose to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood is highly toxic and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes, like blindness. One feature of the metabolic dysfunction that is caused by the Western diet, is that insulin stops working as it should. The cells become “resistant” to it. Insulin resistance is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases especially type II diabetes.

Type II diabetes

When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in our pancreas make more of it. Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket and a diagnosis of type II diabetes is made. People who drink sugar-sweetened beverages have up to an 83% higher risk of Type II diabetes.

Increased risk of cancer

There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer. Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer.

Raises cholesterol that contributes to heart disease

For many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for the number one killer, heart disease. However, there is growing evidence that sugar rather than fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease.

Unique fat-promoting effects

High fructose intake may leave you feeling hungrier leading to increased calorie intake. The link with obesity in children is especially strong, where daily intake of sugarsweetened drinks is associated with a 60 per cent increased risk of obesity.

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Sugar is highly addictive Like abusive drugs, sugar and many junk foods cause a release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain. This in turn increases the need for more sugar…

MAKE THE SWAP Nutritionist Cassandra Barns reveals three reasons why you should swap white sugar for coconut sugar.

Minerals and vitamins

All natural sources of sugar come with other nutrients found in the plant, particularly minerals. But because white sugar is refined, it is stripped of most, if not all, of these other nutrients. Unrefined coconut sugar isn’t processed or refined in any other way. It naturally contains minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron and calcium, and it can be a source of vitamin B1 too.

Better for your blood sugar balance

Being unrefined, coconut sugar may also have a lower glycaemic index (GI). Glycaemic index is a measure of the effect of the food on our own blood sugar: high-GI foods tend to contain quickly absorbed carbohydrates and cause a greater peak in our blood sugar; lower-GI foods have a smaller effect on our blood sugar, helping to keep it more stable. For a tasty treat made with unrefined natural coconut sugar, try OMBAR chocolate (RRP £1,99, www.ombar.co.uk)

PLAN MEALS

Switch for tasty healthier alternatives:

Breakfast – Try lower-sugar cereals or those with no added sugar, such as plain porridge. With semi-skimmed milk, just swapping a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal for plain cereal could cut 70g of sugar from your diet over a week. Ready meals – Soups, stir-in sauces and meals can be higher in sugar than you think. Condiments and sauces such as ketchup can have 23g of sugar in 100g – half a teaspoon per serving. Snacks – Swap crisps and chocolate for fruit (fresh, tinned or frozen), unsalted nuts, unsalted rice cakes, oatcakes, or homemade plain popcorn. Drinks – Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diets comes from fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes, and cordials. I

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OUTSIDE

Who knows how the Great British weather will treat us this

summer, but let’s make the most it with a few neat touches that’ll make your outdoor space both gorgeous and usable

THE DOME Garden 360 dome £599, Houseology

ith the weeding and power washing done, we’re ready to shop for a handful of additions that’ll transform the garden into a haven of sunny (possibly) loveliness. But before you shop ‘til you drop consider a couple of things that might make your grand plans more effective. Treat your garden like a room in your home. Think about different zones for different activities making sure there’s a chill-out corner to retreat to with a good

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book. An outdoor kitchen might feel extravagant, but if you have the space and entertain lots it makes total sense. A fridge is a must. Garden pods and cabins can extend the use of your outdoor space when summer’s long gone. There are superb examples on the market offering versatile space. Check out local firm Garden Hideouts for bespoke structures and Houseology for the ingenious igloo (pictured). I

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HOMES

COSY CORNER Mortimer two-seater sofa in saunton dove grey and accessories, Laura Ashley

COOK OFF Napoleon Pro 500 gas BBQ £2,299.99, Webbs Wychbold

may 2017

MELLOW YELLOW Lois yellow armchair £59, M&S

SKY BLUE Hanging basket £9.99, HomeSense

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HOMES

GREAT OUTDOORS Available from John Lewis, Grand Central

LIGHT UP Pack of 10 heart lanterns £6.95, Dotcomsigftshop LAZY DAYS Grey Panama sun lounger set with cushion and side table, Debenhams

TWISTED SHADE Butterfly sail gazebo £129.99, Very

SNUGGLE UP Dark brown rattan LA Peach daybed £1,780, Debenhams

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HOMES

HEAVY METAL Accessories from a selection at The White Company

FEED THE BIRDS Bird feeder £7.99, HomeSense

SUN SEEKER Lina moon lounger in Barbados cherry £207, Amara

BIG CHILL St Mawes drinks coffee table £580, Houseology

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HOMES

AND RELAX Bloomingville hammock chair £79, Amara

LIGHT FANTASTIC Outdoor lights from a selection at The White Company

SOFA SO GOOD Skargaarden Skanor three-seater sofa from £4,999, Houseology

WRAP UP Duck egg Illusion throw, £35, National Trust

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PIZZA ANYONE Uuni 3 wood fired oven £199, Cuckooland.com

KEEP YOUR COOL Fuchsia Geisha 2.7m parasol £160, Debenhams

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HOMES

FLOORED San Juan outdoor rug £49.95, Cuckooland.com MINIMAL FUSS Skargaarden Reso Collection, Houseology

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HOMES

Hot Properties Raising the roof, living in the valley, beaming up a piece of history and extending in leafy Edgbaston – meet this month’s top homes

HISTORIC HOUSE Church End Farm, Coleshill Guide price: £1.25million Agent: Fine and Country, tel 0121 746 6400

Set in just over nine acres of idyllic Warwickshire countryside is this beautiful five-bedroom, Grade II listed, timber-framed country home. The property claims the oldest internal beam in existence in a residential home in the UK. Impressive! As is a stunning separate converted barn annex.

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HOMES

BRICKS&BITS SOUTHSIDE HOMES BID A development of 385 apartments in Southside could go ahead in a multi-million pound joint venture between Galliard Homes and Apsley House Capital. Land between Pershore Street, Hurst Street, Claybrook Street and Skinner Lane has been bought on a long leasehold interest. The partnership is planning a mix of one, two and three-bed apartments with commercial units on the ground floor.

HOUSE SALES 10-YEAR HIGH House builder Crest Nicholson has experienced the highest demand for homes since the market crashed in 2007. All houses in its Madison Walk phase at Park Central were sold off-plan. Sales manager Amanda Gales said: “The sales rate has surpassed our expectations this year. To have sold all of our houses at Park Cental within a month of launch is phenomenal.”

ONLINE PACKAGE Estate agent Maguire Jackson has introduced an online residential sales package designed for Birmingham homeowners to sit alongside the company’s traditional commission-based service. Combining the cost advantages of national online agents with Maguire Jackson’s local knowledge, the online service puts sellers in charge, allowing them to decide how much help they need with a choice of price packages.

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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TERRIFIC TERRACE Upper Marshall Street, Birmingham City Centre Guide price: £300,000 Agent: Century 21 Bigwood, tel 0121 237 4860 If a roof terrace is your thing, this stunning two-bedroomed apartment is calling your name! It features one of the most impressive terraces in the whole of Birmingham city centre. Plus, there’s also a cracking open plan lounge/kitchen area, allocated car parking, lifts and a concierge service.

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HAPPY VALLEY Bede House, Stanford Bridge, Worcestershire Guide price: £589,950 Agent: Fisher German, tel 01905 726220 Superb and versatile are words that fit the bill perfectly for this detached bungalow set in a gorgeous village in the Teme valley. There’s four bedrooms (two en suite) open plan kitchen/breakfast room, detached games room, a large conservatory and summer house, plus beautiful landscaped gardens.

CELLAR’S MARKET Melville Road, Edgbaston Guide price: £575,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel 0121 746 6400

Four bedrooms, three reception rooms and loads of lovely Victorian period features. Interested? Well, let’s also throw in a pretty huge cellar – perfect maybe if you fancy extending this detached property further! And all set in the heart of leafy Edgbaston too.

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IT’S GOT THE LOT! Mill Street, Warwick Guide price: £2.5million Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 01789 297735 Where to start with this beautiful six-bedroom Grade II listed home! Mature gardens, huge dual aspect drawing room, amazing sitting room with a beautiful fireplace, boot room, laundry room – and not forgetting outbuildings that include a separate two-bedroom annex.

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

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MOTORING

CLASSY COUPE Sue Cooke tries Infiniti’s sporty new Q60 and finds there’s a lot to love

nfiniti’s all-new sports coupe has everything I would have expected a luxury premium car to have. I absolutely loved my week of driving the Q60 but then to my cost, I do have expensive tastes! The entry level starts from £33,990 but it’s worth every pound. The Q60 sits low and wide in a road-hugging stance hinting at exceptional dynamics and driving pleasure, which meant I was hardly in the office during my time with the car! The two-door has a gorgeous profile which was just too tempting to resist. On approaching the car, sensors recognise the

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keyless entry and unlock the very wide large and heavy doors. In other coupes the wider and weightier doors can be a problem when getting out but the practical Q60 designers have put a large hand-hold in just the right place. In the interior, there are impeccably hand-stitched leather seats while trim is a mixture of black marbling, matt chrome and leather. Press the stopstart button and the dash lights up. Within the instrument dials white LED indicators swing from left to right, Formula One style, and numbers light

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MOTORING

FACTS AT A GLANCE: Model: Infiniti Q60 sports coupe, seven-speed automatic Price: ÂŁ40,030 with options Engine: 2.0-litre DIG turbo petrol Performance: 0-62 in 7.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 146 mph CO2 emissions: 156g/km Combined fuel consumption: 41.5mpg

air-conditioning, radio or sat-nav are distinctly marked and immediately to hand. There are useful covered and uncovered storage spaces and a large boot which will accommodate 342 litres. The genuine two-plus-two coupe gives rear passengers more legroom through the use of sports seats. Once behind the wheel, the seat belt is automatically handed to you from the rear and once engaged, automatically tightens and adjusts. I found pressing the footbrake is a much more natural and simpler movement than a hand brake. All cars should have them! Engage Drive and accelerate and the second-generation direct adaptive steering offers high levels of feel and feedback and the drive mode selector gives the driver the option to personalise and tailor the steering to suit his or her own preferences.

PERFECT BALANCE

up in bright red and blue. A small model caricature of the car falls into place between the instrument dials and displays driving aids. A full colour touch screen displays a large Infiniti logo.

TAP THE APP The Infiniti InTouch technology manages more than 250 programmable settings for engine, suspension and steering (accessed through the Drive Mode Selector), seat position, audio and navigation, as well as heating and ventilation. The preferred settings for three drivers can be stored on the intelligent key. And owners can remotely access some of the functions on an app on a smartphone or PC, such as finding out where the car is parked just in case you forgot! While there are many knobs and buttons on show, the more well-used switches for

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The coupe offers a balance of compliant ride and agile handling and playing a key role in achieving this balance is a new dynamic digital suspension system aided by new dampers. There are two powertrains. I road tested the entry level, four-cylinder 2.0-litre with 208hp, but on the way is a 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo which produces a whopping 400hp. Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan and is in the middle of a major product offensive. With its daring design and innovative driver-assistance technologies the brand is definitely a competitive contender in the luxury vehicle market. After a week of intensive road testing, I became very attached to the Q60. I

SHOWROOM: Infiniti Centre Birmingham, 110 Small Heath Highway, Birmingham, B10 0BW. Tel: 0844 824 1552 www.infiniti.co.uk

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

DANIELLE CHEETHAM

The Team England ParaCheer athlete and inspirational teaching assistant tells us how she learned to accept her rare condition and dream big again

hree years ago, a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos something wasn’t right.” Despite ligaments being Syndrome (EDS) – a rare condition with tightened and reattached, Danielle’s shoulder started to multiple debilitating symptoms – could have sublux (drift) again. been the end of Danielle’s When Danielle’s mum read an sporting life. Competing on the article about someone with EDS world stage definitely wasn’t on she felt it described her daughter’s her radar, but thanks to her condition perfectly and the family plucky spirit, talent and the pushed for a referral to a top introduction of a new form of rheumatologist in Manchester. competitive cheerleading called There was a sense of relief. ParaCheer, Danielle did just Danielle recalled: “Everything that. All while holding down started to make sense. I was no the day job! longer someone with lots of From a dancing background things going wrong. I was an Danielle had always been active individual with Ehlers Danlos. I and competed on the dance could start educating myself and team at university to a high level developing coping mechanisms.” as well as cheerleading, but Danielle’s main EDS issues are having struggled with joint instability, chronic pain and inexplicable joint pain from a fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, Danielle overcoming adversity to compete on world stage young age, she opted for routine food intolerances, soft and fragile surgery on a shoulder in 2013. It skin, delicate veins, bruising easily was then the path to a diagnosis of EDS began. Danielle plus a number of others. Strong medication for the pain and explained: “The physio dealing with my rehab felt fatigue has its own issues, but Danielle has learned to listen

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to her body and adjust her lifestyle accordingly. “I try to get on with life but there are days when I can’t and because EDS isn’t a well-known condition I find myself constantly explaining it.” When a second bout of shoulder surgery failed Danielle was told she’d never be able to dance or compete in cheerleading again which was a horrible blow. “I felt like my health was defining what I could and couldn’t do.” Feeling low and trying to come to terms with her situation, Danielle was introduced to Team England ParaCheer by a friend who’d been part of the launch of ParaCheer at the ICU Cheerleading World Championships the previous year. Founded by Team England athlete and coach Rick Rodgers who was left in a wheelchair after an accident, ParaCheer involves physically disabled and able-bodied athletes competing together on integrated teams. With renewed hope Danielle signed up for the Team England trials feeling more than a tad anxious. She wasn’t the only athlete with EDS which was a boost. Danielle performed well and was offered a place on the freestyle pom team. Freestyle pom originates from side-line cheerleading and drill

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teams, but has been developed in to a dance style of its own with strong synchronisation and visual effect, clean precise movement and pom technique. Training with Team England – although it ‘wipes her out’ – has made Danielle realise she’s able to do anything she puts her mind to just in an alternative way and she’s honoured to travel to the World Championships for two reasons. She explained: “It’s a privilege to compete for my country and show the world what we can do even with disabilities.”

MEDAL PROSPECTS Travelling to Florida will be a thrilling experience and Danielle is full of praise for the ‘amazing coaches’. This year Team England has two at the champiosnhips with a medal a realistic prospect. There’s also a campaign for cheerleading to become an Olympic sport which is ‘incredibly exciting’. Lucky pupils in prep school at St George’s School in Edgbaston, where pupils know Danielle as Miss Cheetham ,benefit from her talents as she enjoys teaching Key Stage 1 and 2 dancing and cheerleading. They’ll be watching Miss Cheetham’s progress with interest no doubt, as will we. I

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GROWING PLACES

EYE CANDY A postgraduate student at Birmingham City University is being recognised for her innovative eyewear designs. Shuming Chen, 22, had her work showcased at London Fashion Week after menswear designer Harry Xu spotted her work and wanted to collaborate. Describing her ‘Monitoring in the Dark eyewear’, Shuming said: “I attempt to combine daily life with the science and technology of the future.” Shuming is studying a Master’s degree in Jewellery and Related Products at the School of Jewellery.

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

INNOVATOR: Sagal Abdirahman Jama Qodah with Judith

THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC

Armstrong from Millenium Point

Winterfold School scooped an impressive number of music awards at

COURSE FEES PAID

two high-profile events. The Girls Harmony Choir won the prestigious

A student from Ark St Albans Academy has won Millennium Point’s Young Innovator Prize, and with it a debt-free degree at Birmingham City University. Sagal Abdirahman Jama Qodah faced stiff competition from six other finalists, but her presentation on Cleaning the Planet earned her a place at BCU in September, studying civil engineering, free from the burden of course fees.

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Coseley Male Voice Roseville Trophy at the Dudley Festival of Music, Drama and Dance, while Eleanor Dunn won the George Saunders Lieder Cup as well as the Frank Richards Junior Cup in the Songs from the Shows/Musicals 12 years category. Olivia Garrett came third in the Songs from the Shows/Musicals 11 years class and in the 9 to10-year category Winterfold took the top four places. Eleanor Dunn and Philippa Fleming won the Marjorie Davies Memorial Trophy in the vocal duet 17 years and under class. At the Competitive Arts Festival, Worcester, Rosie Brookes gained two first places in the Under-10 string group and duet and a second place in 8 and under string solo.

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GROWING PLACES

MAMMOTH RUGBY TOURNAMENT

Solihull School hosted more than 1,700 rugby players aged from 12 to 18 in one of the country’s biggest Sevens tournaments. The school’s annual rugby competition saw 251 matches played, totalling nearly 59 hours of rugby. RGS High Wycombe took victories at both Under 18 and Under 15 level, while Aberdare Community School, took the honours in the Under 14s.

ON THE BALL: Solihull’s James Lewis in action, left

Picture: Brandon Griffiths, Epic Action Imagery

WELL DONE: In2Ambition CEO Kufa Matiya presents a pupil with an award

CAREERS SUPPORT

NATIONAL CHAMPS Bromsgrove School’s Under 15 netball team was crowned Independent Schools champions after winning a tough match against the Grammar School, Leeds at Redbridge Sports Centre, Ilford. With the score tied at 33-all and with 90 seconds to go, Bromsgrove lost their captain to injury but the team held their nerve and scored the winning goal with 10 seconds to spare.

Award-winning careers service, In2Ambition, has teamed up with six special schools to launch a ground-breaking project to help more youngsters with additional needs find internships, apprenticeships and long-term employment. The organisation has set up a Careers Hive among the schools to forge business links with employers. It also recently ran a Career Detectives Workshop which gave 60 teenagers a realistic look at the demands of a range of jobs.

BUSINESS AS USUAL Moreton Hall hosted an event led by William Hague who shared his thoughts on Britain and its place in a post-Brexit world with the 500-strong audience. Managing director of Moreton Enterprises and the head girl took to the stage to launch their latest initiative, a plan to create a community theatre based at the school which will benefit the local area.

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITH…

CARL JONES Carl Jones is an award-winning journalist who has worked for most of his life in the West Midlands – in print, radio and TV. He currently produces and presents weekly business and news review shows on Made In Birmingham TV BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I’ve been in the media now for 30 years. At the moment, I’m a freelance-for-hire who works part time for Made In Birmingham TV, as well as BBC radio. I also edit a glossy business magazine in Shropshire, and provide media consultancy and training across the region. In my previous working life, I’ve edited the Shropshire Star daily newspaper, worked for the Express & Star newspaper as head of their features department, and collaborated on projects with Sky TV. As a master of ceremonies, I’ve been touring the country since 2015 with the John Challis stage show. Who’s John? Well, you probably know him better as Boycie from Only Fools and Horses. The 2017 tour starts in October. IT’S WHAT I DO I’m a huge advocate of looking after our own – promoting the many amazing people and companies we have in our region, and encouraging people to shop local, and use suppliers on their own doortstep. That’s why Made In Birmingham TV ticks so many boxes for me. My Friday night news review show looks at the big talking points across the West Midlands, and on Monday nights, I get a chance to put some of our star business performers in the spotlight. And we really do have world-class companies in our midst. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE Local TV is a fantastic opportunity for people to spread the word about some of the great work they are doing. Since we launched on Sky at the start of this year, we have seen our monthly viewer figures smash through the one million barrier and counting. BIGGEST SUCCESSES Winning an award from the Institute of Journalists for my writing, being recognised four times at the Midlands Media Awards, and co-founding and driving forward the Shropshire Business Awards, which has grown into one of the largest events of its kind in the UK over the past 17 years. may 2017

BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED Don’t ever assume that people will automatically recognise the hard work you are doing. Sometimes, even if it goes against your instincts, you have to shout from the rooftops – because if you don’t, you can be sure there will be someone else waiting to steal the limelight. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM Birmingham has reinvented itself so dramatically over the past decade – both in terms of business and leisure facilities. Whenever you venture into the city, you spot something fresh and new – there’s a real ‘can do’ attitude here at present; an energy, and excitement. Whisper it quietly, but could it be that the age-old problem of talking down our region is slowly starting to disappear? DOWNTIME I’m a big fan of sport, and the movies. I review new film releases for BBC radio, and also for the TV, so I inevitably spend quite a lot of time at the cinema! I’m a bit of a 007 anorak, and once won a national James Bond mastermind competition. But I’m also devoted football fan – being a Wolverhampton boy, my loyalties are with the boys in gold and black. I’m a qualified football referee, and my quirkiest claim to fame is that I have represented Great Britain at tenpin bowling, and have silver and bronze medals from the British youth championships. These days, most of my exercise revolves around walking our unfeasibly energetic golden Labrador, Bosley. FINALLY I’m a strong believer that you get out of life what you put in. Birmingham might be a growing city, but it’s still a small world out there – be careful how you treat people on the way up, as you might well encounter them on the way down. I birmingham living 61


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SIPSEY LINGERIE

On the cusp of Sipsey Lingerie’s second birthday, ex-banker turned lingerie supremo Sukhy Nijjar tells us why your smalls are a big deal

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COMPANY TO WATCH

hen Sukhy Nijjar left her job as an investment banker in London spawned by the loss of her father, she felt it was as good a time as any to ‘follow her dreams’ and launch her own business. Initially her plan was to come back to the Midlands and open a restaurant, but after much consulting with restaurateur family members who were ‘supportive, but cautionary’ she was sufficiently deterred and parked the idea. She then made what seems like a random leap from food to high-end lingerie. Sukhy explained: “I’d always wanted to own my own business. That was a given. I just needed to work out what”. Sukhy completed courses in bra fitting and in retail and began doing a staggering amount of research into the lingerie business. Once convinced she could make it work, Sukhy wrote a detailed business plan in September 2014. By the following January she travelled to Paris to research the market and in June 2015 Sipsey opened its doors in Solihull.

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EVANGELICAL Almost evangelical about ‘proper’ lingerie which can take 18 months from initial design to finished product using up to 40 different components and 11 pieces of fabric, Sukhy is obsessive – in a good way. The store was open seven days a week initially with Sukhy and her team putting in the hard yards. Now closed on a Sunday unless booked for a private fitting, it’s nice to have a day off. Sukhy is responsible for all of the buying which has been a learning curve, but with four buying seasons behind her she’s getting to grips with what customers want and understanding the market in Solihull. Some brands need to see a trading history before they come on board, but Sukhy has largely been pleased with how high-end brands have responded. Stella McCartney was a real coup making Sipsey one of a handful of retailers to stock the brand in the Midlands and possibly the only independent. Competition comes mainly from the high street which is price based and not about quality. Rather than a quick fitting on the high street, Sukhy prides herself on the relaxed, thorough fitting process that is unhurried and knowledgable. The range of brands and styles is superior to anything on the

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high street and as for buying lingerie on the Internet, Sukhy feels it’s a no-no. How many times have you ordered a bundle of lingerie only to try it on and send it back? Quite. “It’s about trust too. It’s such a personal thing and a minefield. Sizes can vary from brand to brand, so it’s so important to get fitted properly and regularly”. She added: “You should replace a bra every nine months maximum.” There’s no doubt the high street is significantly cheaper than Sipsey, but when Sukhy talks about the benefits of a perfectly fitting and well-made bra it feels like a no-brainer. Once breasts begin to sag there’s no going back. Repeat custom is strong and people enjoy the personal skilled touch and the unique range of products. Sizes range from A to HH which was important to Sukhy too. Swimwear and nightwear are big sellers as are postmastectomy bras and Sukhy has started hosting private lingerie parties and pamper evenings which are proving a hit with fizz and friends getting fitted with the whole store to themselves. One of the highlights so far was being invited to Downing Street to exhibit as part of Small Business Saturday which was an honour. SOCIAL MEDIA It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. “I thought it would be quicker to get established and recognised. I’d have liked to have been further along than we are now.” Sukhy has embraced social media which has boosted brand recognition significantly and she writes a humorous blog with topics such as The Day I Found My Boobs and the like which are popular. There’s a charitable angle to Sukhy’s business supporting the charity Your Smalls Appeal which sends secondhand bras to troubled regions of the world where they are considered a luxury item. Sukhy’s also keen to encourage Asian women to talk about breast cancer and self-checking. “It’s still a taboo subject in the Asian community and that needs to change.” Plans for the future for Sipsey could include a second shop. Sukhy said: “I’d love to open in Leamington or even central Birmingham if I can find the right premises. Growing the online offering for bodies, swimwear and nightwear is a priority too.” I

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BUSINESS

PEDAL POWER

BUSINESS NEWS

Birmingham business is getting on its bike to boost ‘employee engagement’ and raise thousands for charity. The Vélo Birmingham Business 100 will see teams pedal a 100-mile closed road course in September. The event, backed by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and the Birmingham Post, will include keen cyclist and England rugby legend Martin Johnson. Organisers hope the event will raise £100,000.

BALLERINA BONANZA

A former social worker from Birmingham who launched a line of musical jewellery boxes featuring black ballerinas is achieving major exporting success with the help of Department for International Trade experts based in Brum. Sharon McBean launched Nia Ballerina last August and received so many orders from the US at Christmas that she had to enlist the help of a fulfillment house in Virginia to cope. Sharon said: “I plan to tap into African markets next.”

YOUTH ROLE UNSUNG HEROES HAILED FOR SOPHIE Sophie Drake has become director for young people at Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. The appointment – a UK first – aims to drive engagement and inspire the region’s 18 to 30-year-olds. Sophie, a graduate of Birmingham City University, is senior account executive at Birmingham communications agency Story Comms. She joins 19 other nonexecutive directors at the LEP, which is looking to add £29billion to Greater Birmingham’s economy by 2030.

may 2017

An event was held in Birmingham to celebrate the ‘unsung heroes of the community’ which have benefitted from grants totalling £80,000. The Heart of England Community Foundation and the High Sheriff of the West Midlands, Keith Bradshaw, welcomed the beneficiaries and supporters of the Communities Together Fund which gives grants to community groups across Birmingham and the Black Country. The money has been helped 16 groups and charities covering a range of activities.

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BELFRY’S NEW GOLF BOSS The Belfry Hotel & Resort has appointed a new director of golf. Chris Reeve joins from a similar role at Foxhills Club & Resort in Surrey and boasts a career spanning more than colleague Tracey Smith 20 years. Heading up the golf operations team at the spiritual home of the Ryder Cup, he will work closely with The Belfry’s resort director James Stewart and Angus From just one shop in the Bullring to the country’s largest specialist fragrance retailer MacLeod, director of courses and estates. with more than 260 stores – including five in Birmingham. That’s the story of the Perfume Shop, which marked its 25th anniversary by unveiling a special plaque at One of Birmingham’s brightest graduates has its first store in the Bullring and holding a joined leading city recruitment firm Katie Bard. month-long series of celebrations. The Kizzy Ramah, 22, winner of Birmingham anniversary included joint activities with Future’s Graduate Apprentice award, is Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Perfume heading up a progression development Shop’s charity partner. project during her four months with the Waterloo Street-based company. Birmingham Future’s Graduate Apprentice scheme attracts hundreds of applicants for a chance to spend four months working for three different employers in the region over a year. Kizzy is a University of Birmingham business management graduate from Digbeth. BIRTHDAY: MD Gill Smith and longest serving

SCENT OF SUCCESS

FUTURE STAR

NEW RECRUIT: Kizzy Ramah, left, with Verity

INNOVATION DUO

Stokes of Katie Baird

AWARDS BID TOP CONSULTANT NAMED Two finalists in the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year awards are entrepreneurs based at Innovation Birmingham Campus. Dan Rice, chief technologist at Turn Partners, has been shortlisted for the technology award and Ria Blagburn, founder of GrowBeyond, is up for the marketing and communications category. BYPY is the flagship event of BPS Birmingham Future and celebrates the best professional talent. The awards are on 18 May at the ICC.

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A consultant plastic surgeon who works from BMI The Priory Hospital, Edgbaston, has been named in Tatler magazine’s annual top Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery Guide. Chien C Kat is commended for an innovative tummy tuck procedure for patients who have lost weight and have been left with excess skin that is resistant to exercise. It is the second time in three years that the surgeon has been named in Tatler’s list.

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BUSINESS HONOURS BCH CHIEF The head of Birmingham Children’s Hospital has received the ultimate accolade from Birmingham’s business community. Sarah-Jane Marsh, who has led the hospital to ‘outstanding’ status, received the President’s Award at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce annual dinner and awards. The honour was presented to the hospital’s chief executive by Chambers’ president Paul Kehoe, watched by more than 1,200 guests at the ICC. See Social Scene for pictures from the awards

AGENCY’S BIGGER VOICE Midlands marketing communications agency Voiceboxx has acquired Birminghambased design firm WM Creative. The expansion is due to increased customer demand for integrated marketing services and is part of Voiceboxx’s growth plans over the next 12 months. The two companies have rebranded as Voiceboxx: The Agency. Voiceboxx was previously based in Staffordshire, while WM Creative was at The Fireworks, Birmingham. They have moved to new HQ in Regent’s Place. GROWING: The Voiceboxx senior team, above, led by MD James Hobday, centre

GOLF DAY CHARITY DRIVE An annual golf day organised by leading property consultancy SDL Bigwood delivered a boost for charity. The event at Edgbaston Golf Club raised more than £3,150 for Mary Stevens Hospice. The tournament was won by Stourbridge-based Hayburn Rock Financial Planning. Managing director Stephen Perks and Rory Daly, chief executive of SDL Bigwood, presented a cheque to Alex Winstanley, the hospice’s community engagement officer.

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IAN’S TABLE TOPPER Not many people are brave enough to start a business in the middle of a recession but that's what entrepreneur Ian Mourbey did. So determined was he to kick-start his recruitment business he worked from the kitchen table at home. Seven years on and Ian’s firm Alexander Daniels, which is based in Birmingham, employs nearly 50 people across sectors such as finance, legal, offshore and engineering. Now Ian and two partners have invested £1.5million in a virtual office solutions initiative based in St Paul’s Square.

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Calthorpe Estates showcases leisure and lifestyle facilities ore than 120 customers and business associates attended Calthorpe Business Alliance at the Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston. The event allowed the CBA to showcase the superb leisure and lifestyle facilities across its estate in Edgbaston, as well as share latest news and developments. Mark Lee, chief executive of Calthorpe Estates, said: ‘’The CBA helps to create the strong business community we have across the estate and the event was a great chance to informally get together and network.’’ I

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BREXIT, ELECTIONS AND GROWTH ON THE MENU Andrew Mitchell MP addresses key issues at Investec dinner nvestec hosted a private dinner at Opus restaurant with guest speaker Andrew Mitchell MP. Guests included clients, advisors, the Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Andrew Mitchell, a special advisor to Investec, delivered a speech covering Brexit and, more locally, the mayoral election in Birmingham and the opportunities for business growth within the region. I

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1 Adrian Quin, Jon Bew, Natalie Barnes, Nick Dawson. 2 Calum Nisbet, Debbie Meehan, Gary Cowdrill, Jill Kaur. 3 Svenja Keller, Charlotte Begley, Kim Goforth, Mike Kelly, Charlotte Foster, Tas Paul. 4 Andrew Mitchell MP, Nick Jones, Charlotte Foster. 5 Paul Faulkner, Andy Moore, Andy Morris. 6 Paul Cripps, Sukhi Johal, Mark Sorrell. 7 Adam Finlay, Andrew Tubbs, Simon Long. 8 Paul Faulkner, Andy Moore, Andy Morris, Andrew Mitchell. 9 John and June Foley, Michael Matthews.

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JEWELLERY MUSEUM A GEM FOR 25 YEARS Launch of new gallery celebrates birthday of award-winning centre he Museum of the Jewellery Quarter celebrated its 25th birthday with an event in its new commercial gallery. Since opening in 1992, the multi-award-winning museum has welcomed more than 750,000 visitors, giving them a unique glimpse of Birmingham’s jewellery and metalwork heritage. The anniversary marked the launch of the commercial gallery space in the Smith & Pepper Tea Room, which showcases local artwork and is currently displaying photographer Verity Milligan’s first solo exhibition. On display until 29 July, the free exhibition showcases 15 images of iconic city locations taken by Verity. I

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NEW ERA UNDERWAY FOR PROPERTY FIRM Acquisition signals an exciting year for rebranded building consultancy ore than 200 guests attended property consultancy DBK’s first event of 2017 to celebrate its rebrand to RPS following its acquisition by RPS Group plc. The event was held at the Alchemist, Colmore Row and featured welcome speeches, followed by custom craft cocktails at the Mad Hatters Station and an abundance of delicious appetisers. The newly rebranded offices will continue to deliver project management, cost and building consultancy services as RPS. I

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BREXIT ON THE MENU AT BUSINESS LUNCH Discussion on ‘what happens next?’ as region prepares for new future

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uests attended a ‘Brexit: Where Are We Now?’ lunch sponsored by BDR Group at Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon. Speakers included Bahman Rahimi, CEO of BDR Group, and Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam who gave a behind-the-scenes look into Parliament and explained what he believes Brexit means for local businesses. Angie Arnold, CEO of Shakespeare Hospice, thanked networkers for attending and reminded them how important corporate support is in helping to raise the £2million the hospice needs each year. I

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For more information about supporting Shakespeare Hospice visit www.theshakespearehospice.org.uk

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1 Matthew Feeley, Jeremy Wright, Angie Arnold, Sir Peter Rigby. 2 Jane Senior, Elaine Shoesmith. 3 Angela Deacon, Richard Pollard. 4 Victoria Longmore, Ravinder Heer. 5 Jonathan Smith, Adam Clegg. 6 Noshad Khowaja, Helen Morton. 7 Nerys Viner, Aggy Simota. 8 Bahman Rahimi, Jasmine Moss, Stuart O'Brien. 9 Dr Robert McCormick, Roger Clay, Andy Beddow. Photography by Designer Photography

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EVENING OF GLAMOUR LAUNCHES NEW SALON Umberto Giannini invites guests to sample new Birmingham concept uests enjoyed an evening of glamour when hair brand Umberto Giannini launched its new salon concept in Birmingham. Focusing on luxury and tailored services, the ‘hair studio’ is in a restored Victorian building at 50 Newhall Street and boasts all the Italian design flare synonymous with Umberto Giannini. The Birmingham team members are as at home styling behind the scenes at London Fashion Week as they are creating beautiful hair for their clients. I

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1 Kat De Bank, Rose Gallagher, Sam Watts. 2 Anastasia Chisholm, Gavin Morgan, Lydia Chitham. 3 Orla Patterson, Winnie Nip, Liz Allen, Alex Walters. 4 Sian Jones, Laura Sanders. 5 Mark and Kerrie Caswell. 6 Fiona Williams, Julie Plunkett, Steve Dent. 7 Randolph Gray, Julie Bellinger-Gibb. 8 Michelle Blake, Paul O'Brien. 9 Mehran Izadpanah, Lonsdale Hawkesworth, Sarah Hartill. Photography by Jas Sansi

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RECORD TURNOUT SEES UPDATE MOVED TO REP 4

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Bigger venue needed as business leaders hear economic report nternational accountancy and advisory firm Mazars was forced to move its annual tax and economic update to Birmingham Rep in order to accommodate all those who wanted to attend this year’s event. Speakers were Dr John Glen, director of the Centre for Customised Executive Development at Cranfield University, and Mazars tax partner Eric Williams. Business leaders heard Dr Glen’s review of the past year and his thoughts on what lies ahead economically in the coming 12 months. I

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1 Stuart Price, Manroj Bansal, Terry Michael, Peter Hubbard. 2 Jonathan Eden, Nick Johnson, Vesko Petkov. 3 Dr John Glen, Eric Williams. 4 Ian Holder, Debra France, Steve Lloyd. 5 Helen McHugh, Tony Evans, Kate Angus. 6 Mark Henderson, Jon Sturgess, Louis Burns. 7 Laura Thursfield, Keith Boxley, Baljit Sooma. 8 Karl Parkinson-Wright, Chris Allen-Jones, Michael Ward, Clive Batchelor. Photography by Dale Martin

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BEST IN THE BUSINESS CELEBRATED BY GBCC Double triumph tops roll of honour at Chambers’ annual awards at ICC ore than 1,200 guests attended Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce annual dinner and awards at the ICC. They saw Loki Wines crowned the awards’ first Business of the Year, as well as taking the Excellence in Retail title. Other winners included Muslim Women’s Network UK (Contribution to the Community), NEC Group (Excellence in People Development) and Oldbury UK and Boughton Engineering (Excellence in Manufacturing). GBCC chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “Loki is an outstanding young business and its enterprise and innovation impressed everyone.” Guest speaker was broadcaster and author Gyles Brandreth. I

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1 Keith Stokes-Smith, Narinder Kooner, Yvonne Mosquito, Andy Street. 2 Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham, Gyles Brandreth. 3 Paul Faulkner, Phil Innes of Loki Wine, Paul Kehoe. 4 Anita Bhalla, Neil Rami. 5 Beverley Nielsen, Jerry Blackett, Katie Trout. 6 Ninder Johal, Russell Jeans. 7 Sarah-Jane Marsh, Cllr John Clancy. 8 Judith Armstrong, PJ Ellis. 9 Gyles Brandreth, Lord Digby Jones, Rt Rev David Urquhart. 10 Louise McCathie, Elinor Eustace, Vij Randeniya. Photography by Jas Sansi

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Old England meets contemporary India as 1580 opens for business ood journalists and bloggers were out in force at the launch of 1580 restaurant in Sutton Coldfield. The eatery’s name and theme is inspired by the year of Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the earth during which he discovered new exotic spices. The restaurant’s dark wooden interior, brick walls and soft lighting takes diners back to old England, while the menu is a culinary journey and contemporary interpretation of classic Indian cooking. I

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1 Sumit Jain, Bharat Modhvadia, Yogesh Halai, Jay Modhvadia. 2 Zara Kennedy, Ashley Preece. 3 George Elsmere, Dave Massey. 4 Kerry George, Naomi Stjuste, Gemela Brown. 5 Emma Stokes, Warwick Lea, Claire Tucker. 6 Bharat Modhvadia, Sumit Jain, Vinny Bhogal. 7 Laura Creaven, Ting Mewall, Alev Dervish. 8 KNikita Chumber, Sumit Jain, Anita Chumber.

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NEW NETWORK GROUP LAUNCHES TO HELP PAS Birmingham PA Forum kicks off with event at Park Regis Hotel new networking forum for the West Midlands was launched at Park Regis Birmingham hotel. Birmingham PA Forum is aimed exclusively at PAs and executive assistants with a series of free-to-attend events at the hotel. At the launch, guests heard from business coach Dawn Adlam who gave an insight into the power of LinkedIn as a tool for networking and how to maximise reach and visibility on the platform. The Forum is supported by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. I

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1 Dawn Adlam, Daniel Skermer, Joan Smith. 2 Michelle Rafferty, Alison Parker, Louise Lee. 3 Gillian Hibberd, Nicky Skermer, Karen Dodd. 4 Kim Parker, Rachel Meiklejohn, Anne Green. 5 Carol Adams, Jas Gardiner. 6 Aimee Smith, Jack Edwards. 7 Daniel Skermer, Bradley Meersand.

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WHAT: Royal Ascot Ladies Day in the Marquee WHEN: 22 June WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk This annual Ascot celebration is always fantastic fun. Enjoy a champagne reception on the terrace, buffet lunch and live big screen TV coverage of all the action, followed by an indulgent afternoon tea.

WHAT: The Kenilworth Show

WHAT: Funny Girl

WHEN: 10 June

WHEN: 8 to 13 May

WHERE: Stoneleigh Park,

WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome,

www.kenilworthshow.co.uk

tel 0844 338 5000

A pageant of carriages, grand parade of livestock and quad bike stunt displays will be among the main ring attractions in a fun-filled, exciting and educational day for all the family.

www.birminghamhippodrome.com Hot on the heels of a record-breaking, critically acclaimed West End run, this awesome new production, boasting some of the most iconic songs in film and theatre history, stars Olivier Award-winning Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice.

WHAT: An Audience with Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe

WHAT: Ladies Seasonal Style Event

WHEN: 19 May

WHEN: 17 May

WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel 01527 65203

WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, tel 0121 212 3383

www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk

www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk

One of Strictly’s favourite couples is back with a dance showcase spectacular that should be a night to remember. Entertainment and romance all wrapped up in a mix of Latin and ballroom dance splendour.

Personal stylist Beth Goodrham shares her fashion essentials for the summer season and shows you how to style yourself for any occasion. Supported by John Lewis.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Take That WHEN: 1 to 4 June WHERE: Genting Arena, tel 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com WHAT: New Art West Midlands 2017

For the first time ever, Gary, Mark and Howard will perform in the centre of the arena floor, giving fans a truly unique and memorable experience.

WHEN: Now until 14 May WHERE: Waterhall at BMAG, www.birminghammuseums.org.uk Showcasing some of the most exciting emerging artists in the region, this exhibition gives an insight into the latest trends and concerns in contemporary art. Featuring the work of 31 artists who have graduated from the region’s five university art schools.

WHAT: The Baby Show WHAT: Gary Delaney WHEN: 6 May WHERE: The Old Rep Theatre, tel 0121 359 9444 www.oldreptheatre.co.uk With his cheeky schoolboy charm Mr Millicam has become one of the most quotable comedians in the country. He loves each and every gag and you can’t help but be carried away by his infectious humour.

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WHEN: 19 to 21 May WHERE: NEC, tel 0844 338 0338 The UK’s biggest pregnancy and parenting event is back. As well as just about every product you can think of being on show, there’s also a chance to hear from a selection of leading baby and childcare experts.

WHAT: Friday Night Classics: Under the Sitars with Citizen Khan WHEN: 19 May WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk Welcome Maestro Khan! Birminghamʼs very own Mr Khan from Adil Ray’s award-winning sitcom takes over Symphony Hall with the full CBSO for a sitar-studded night packed with Bollywood favourites, Pakistani classics and a sprinkling of western pop anthems.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Antony & Cleopatra WHEN: Now until 7 September WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, tel 01789 403493

WHAT: RHS Malvern Spring Festival

www.rsc.org.uk

WHEN: 11 to 14 May

Following his critically-acclaimed productions of Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, Iqbal Khan returns to the RSC to direct Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of love and duty. Starring Josette Simon and Anthony Byrne.

WHERE: Three Counties Showground, tel 0844 995 9664 www.threecounties.co.uk/rhsmalvern/ An awesome collection of top medal-winning show gardens, charming school gardens, spectacular floral displays and celebrity talks. Love your garden. Love your food. Love this show.

WHAT: Stand Up 4 Refugees WHEN: 31 May WHERE: Birmingham Rep, tel 0121 245 2024 As part of a series of national gigs some of the country’s top comedians have joined forces to raise money for the charity Help Refugees. Help those affected by the global migrant crisis at the Brum show which features Joe Lycett, Nish Kumar and other top acts.

WHAT: Tommy WHEN: 17 to 27 May WHERE: Birmingham Rep, tel 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk The rock musical reborn for a new generation! Based on the iconic 1969 concept album, The Who’s Tommy is the multi-award winning epic rock musical written by Pete Townshend. A one-ofa-kind theatrical event.

WHAT: Kirstie Allsop’s Vintage Handmade Fair WHEN: 12 to 14 May WHERE: Ragley Hall, tel 01789 762 090 www.ragley.co.uk A cracking creative day out for all, full of making, shopping and delicious food and drink. Take part in hands-on workshops, learn from the experts, and buy tools, materials and beautiful products from the hand-picked sellers.

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WHAT: Micky Flanagan: An’ Another Fing... WHEN: 18 to 20 May WHERE: Barclaycard Arena, tel 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com Following his record-breaking, five-star Back In The Game tour, one of the biggest names in UK comedy is back with a brand new show.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Brian Conley: The Greatest Entertainer (In His Price Range) WHEN: 13 May WHERE: New Alexandra Theatre, tel 0844 8713011 www.atgtickets.com/birmingham The multi-talented and irrepressible entertainer returns to the stage in this all-new show. Alongside some of his best-known and loved retrospective material expect some hilarious new sketches and songs.

WHAT: Big Howard’s LOL-tastic Yukfest WHEN: 27 May WHERE: Mac Birmingham, tel 0121 446 3232 www.macarts.co.uk Howard is a massive kid… with a moustache. He makes words, pictures, animation and noises, nearly all of which will make you laugh. This hour of fun features stand-up, sound effects, jokes and lots of clever nonsense.

WHAT: Warwick May Racing Carnival WHEN: 1, 13 and 25 May WHERE: Warwick Racecourse, tel 01926 405 560 www.warwickracecourse.co.uk The carnival returns with a trio of race days each incorporating a different theme, giving race-lovers of all ages a fab day out. Enjoy local music, entertainment and Warwickshire beer, cider and food, alongside a top day of racing.

WHAT: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show WHEN: 27 May WHERE: Town Hall, box office 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk After runs in New York and London, one of the most iconic characters in children’s literature wiggles its way into Brum with 75 enchanting puppets in a show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s bestloved books for the stage.

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IN THE CITY I’d love to see a more regular street food presence smack bang in the heart of the city centre – a Summer Saturday Streetfest on New Street every single week

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m a freelance journalist and broadcaster. I started out as a television news reporter and newsreader for ITV Central News, BBC WM and BBC Midlands Today. Then I spent two years as a newsreader with Sky News, and produced radio documentaries for the BBC. Currently I’m a news reporter for ITN, I produce my own podcast called Quintessential and I am a visiting lecturer in broadcast journalism at Birmingham City University. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? After working in London for a decade, I’m more than used to getting around on public transport. Luckily for me I live in Kings Heath, so there’s no faster way of getting into Brum than jumping on the number 50 bus!

POWERWALKING? I power walk or jog around Kings Heath Park. I adore Cannon Hill Park. I was there last week for the first time in about two years, and I’d forgotten just how vast and beautiful it is. I’ll be heading back for more. WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY? I’ve just bought a house in Kings Heath. How can you not love having a music venue like the Hare and Hounds or a festival like Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul on your doorstep?! And if you’re not into music, the High Street hasn’t lost its independent edge – there are amazing coffee shops, eateries and retailers here which all co-exist alongside the big name stores. And people from every creed, colour and race rub along well together here.

AFTERWORK PINT? I love, love, love the Prince of Wales in Moseley. Being Birmingham’s first ever female qualified Beer Sommelier, I love my real ale. I’m a fan of strong, complex IPAs, so whenever I go in there, I’m on the TV news reporter Marverine Cole hunt for either Oakham Ale’s Green Devil IPA or IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO local brewery, Fixed Wheel’s No Brakes IPA. If I’m in town, I like WORK IN? The Wellington, a true real ale/craft beer buffs paradise and also There’s a vibrancy of spirit and camaraderie in Brum that Pure Craft Bars – I think what Paul Halsey and his team from you simply don’t get in any other city. As a TV news reporter in Purity Brewery have done with the venue is fantastic. Birmingham, I remember never having to scrabble around in search of a story because there was so much going on. HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? I’d love to see a more regular street-food presence smack bang COFFEE BREAK? in the heart of the city centre. I sometimes wonder if some of I like Coffee#1 in Kings Heath, but if I’m in the city it’ll be those brilliant traders would like the chance to show off their food Cherry Reds – Jen and her team are a cracking bunch. flair and expertise to a wider audience. If there was a ‘Summer Saturday Streetfest’ on New Street every week, for instance, it LUNCHTIME? would open up more affordable alternatives to the offerings from I usually have meetings in town at Malmaison Bar. There’s a the well-known eateries and restaurants that are in town. I relaxed vibe about it, and the serving staff are always attentive to Marverine Cole is also a judge at this year’s Midlands Food Drink & whatever I need. There are often times when I collaborate on Hospitality Awards which takes place on 26 June at Edgbaston Stadium projects with producers or journos from London or Manchester, www.mfdhawards.co.uk so it’s super-easy for them to get to. HOW’S THE COMMUTE? The bus is hassle-free and so fast, 20 minutes on a good day. It’s been dubbed the busiest bus route in Europe.

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May issue 2017 (issue 56)  
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