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november 2017

PARTY PREP

WINTER

WRAP PACK

ROYAL BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATOIRE

BONFIRE TIPPLES & TREATS

KEEP ON RUNNING

THE FIGHTING COCKS

KATHARINE MERRY

BEVERLEY KNIGHT

SOUL QUEEN TALKS MEMPHIS VIBES AND FAIRY WINGS


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EDITOR’S VIEW

There’s been no shortage of high-profile cycling events in the city, the most recent being a 100-mile pedal by 15,000 cyclists. But are the council’s actions just so much window dressing?

ith a fanfare of PR and much other hype, the city council launched Birmingham Cycle Revolution just under two years ago. It pledged to ‘make cycling an everyday way to travel in Birmingham over the next 20 years with five per cent of all trips in the city to be made by bike by 2023 and to double this to 10 per cent by 2033’. At the heart of the £60million plan was the promise to create safe, cycling lanes on some of the most dangerous major routes in the city. This magazine, along with TV, radio and newspapers, carried stories and pictures as the scheme was launched by various dignitaries in a bid to reduce the annual toll of 1,500 injury accidents involving cyclists and 12 deaths. Since then there has been no shortage of high-profile cycling events in the city, the most recent being Velo Birmingham, a 100-mile pedal by 15,000 cyclists through and around Birmingham and the West Midlands. At various times the council has kept the good PR going, even giving away free cycles to promote two wheels in the city. But are the council’s actions just so much ‘window dressing’? The death of Birmingham Children’s Hospital doctor Suzanna Bull, aged just 32, last month after she was hit by a lorry as she cycled in Pershore Road, Edgbaston has brought forward accusations that the council has been saving money earmarked for providing safe cycling lanes. The road on which Suzanna died had been recognised as a danger area for cyclists for years. Family, friends and fellow cyclists held a candle-lit vigil to celebrate Suzanna’s life – and to ask why has so little been done to deliver on the promise of two years ago? Over to you, town hall…

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David Johns

Editor: David Johns david@brumliving.co.uk

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

Contributors: Rob Price, Sue Cooke, Rose Gallagher Lisa Melvin, Hywel Davies Account manager: Jane Morris jane@brumliving.co.uk Photography: David Morphew, Andrew Llewellyn Publishing director: Jonathan Carter

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

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

Cover image: Beverley Knight by DFP Photographic/Shutterstock

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

november 2017

/bhamliving

When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it

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INSIDE

Highlights

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Beverley Knight Soul powerhouse on acting up, Memphis vibes and a new challenge that gives her wings! Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Inside stunning new centre of music excellence which has been honoured by the Queen Robert Bates Head chef at The Belfry reveals his cooking secrets and mum’s crunchy suet puddings Food & Drink Foodie news, critics at the Fighting Cocks and Nailcote Hall, plus November’s top wine picks Style Reinventing the winter coat with our pick of this season’s best buys for all budgets Katharine Merry Olympic medallist-turned TV presenter is predicting a golden age for Birmingham athletics

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CONTENTS

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Best of the Rest

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Homes Get ready to party! Ideas, tips and products to turn your home into a real fun palace! Motoring Daleks beware! Sue Cooke discovers the car that can ‘exterminate’ Dr Who baddies Jaspal Purewal The young, gifted and Brummie brewer and bar owner competing with the big boys Up Close With Phil Mead, MD of NEC Group Arenas – and Isle of Man Commonwealth Games athlete Business This month’s brightest news, views and images from the business community Social Scene The pages that picture who’s been out and about networking in Birmingham this month Shows, Arts, Gigs and More What’s on, where and when – all you need to know about the entertainment scene

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NEWS

LEGOLAND COUNTDOWN Calling all young Lego lovers! Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham has given a sneak preview of the new £7million indoor Lego playground due to open next summer. The artist illustration reveals vibrant designs throughout to encourage playful learning. There will be 10 themed play zones, rides, build-andtest area and a 4D cinema for 100 people – as well as the world’s biggest box of Lego bricks to jump in...

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

ng vli iTODAY

LOTS TO EXCITE

Looking for a lovely piece of original affordable art for your home or office? The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists is holding its first-ever charity auction on 2 November run by Bonhams and hosted by Deutsche Bank at its Brindleyplace offices. Lots have been donated by national and local artists to raise funds for the visual arts charity Autistica. Entry is £10 which also goes to the charity.

RHYS FASHIONS A HIT SHOW

RUPERT’S EPIC ‘TAIL’ Meet Rupert, the long-haired dachshund pup who beat the odds to survive and thrive. Rupert had a life-threatening heart condition at birth and vets at Willows Veterinary Centre, Solihull, managed to increase his weight to 2lbs – a bag of sugar – before performing successful keyhole surgery. The little chap won the heart of surgical nurse Rebecca Jordan who he now lives with. She said: “Rupert was so very brave that I fell in love with him.”

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We told you he was talented! Designer Rhys Ellis – who featured in Birmingham Living’s Young, Gifted & Brummie pages – has got the fashion world buzzing after revealing his sensational Spring/Summer 2018 collection called White Horses at London’s Dray Walk Gallery. The collection, inspired by the deterioration and bleaching of coral reefs caused by climate change, was made using manipulated, recycled materials woven into fabric that make up 13 runway looks.

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NEWS

NEW-LOOK FOR SCOUTS CHRISTMAS Scouts are always taught to Be Prepared – and thanks to a generous donation the 237th scout group at Castle Bromwich has never looked better. Following an office refresh in Solihull, professional services firm Arup gave furniture and floor tiles to help refurbish the dowdy scout hut meeting room. With the help of volunteers, including Arup staff, the meeting room was given a complete overhaul and transformed into a bright, modern and functional space.

CRACKER

If you’re looking to treat the kids to something special this Christmas, here’s just the thing. Drayton Manor Park, home of Thomas Land, is celebrating 10 years of Magical Christmas with live shows, carols, presents, light shows, festive food, Father Christmas and fireworks displays. There’s also a 4D cinema showing a new addition to Magical Christmas – Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. It all starts from

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT!

18 November for selected dates until 31 December.

A new initiative has been introduced to 49 GP practices in Birmingham to help some of the city’s older population become more active. Move It or Lose It – a fitness business that devises exercise programmes for older people – secured a deal with the NHS’s Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group in Birmingham to provide free 12-week exercise and support programmes to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients. The exercises aim to decrease the number of emergency hospital admissions. FULL STRETCH: Move It or Lose It founder Julie Robinson

LADIES SQUASH RIVALS Edgbaston Priory Club’s ladies squash team is celebrating winning the European Club Championship title for the second year in a row. Julianne Courtice, Millie Tomlinson, Deon Saffery, Alicia Mead and Leonie Holt, beat German hosts Paderborn in a tightly-fought final. Mike Edwards, Edgbaston’s head squash and racketball coach, said: “We look forward to competing again in 2018 and making it a hat-trick.”

FAY’S TOP OF THE SHOTS Only six months ago Fay Loewy bought her firstever camera – and now she has been named the Cube Photographer of the Year! The 34-year-old’s shot of a cyclist riding through the Cube’s reflection in a puddle was selected as the top image in the competition sponsored by restaurant Osteria Rodizio Rico. Fay, of Buckland End, is a member of IGers Birmingham photographic group. Young Photographer of the Year winner was Oliver Kuklovsky from Handsworth.

AIMEE LIFTS BRONZE

You wouldn’t believe it looking at her, but Aimee Smith is 5ft 2in of pure power. The orthodontic therapist who lives in the Jewellery Quarter won bronze in the powerlifting world championships in the Czech Republic. Weighing only 52kg, Aimee, 31, first picked up a barbell in July 2016 when she joined a class at Henrietta Street Gym. She has literally gone from strength to strength, smashing British records along the way.

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NEWS

WORLD COMES TO BRUM

Picture Alan Edwards/British Gymnastics

Birmingham has reinforced its premier sporting status with news that it will host the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup. The event will take place at Arena Birmingham on 21 and 22 March and feature stars from eight nations, including Great Britain. Jane Allen, CEO of British Gymnastics, said: “Birmingham and the West Midlands has produced some of the most successful British gymnasts in history and it’s time to return to the city and stage this spectacular event.”

BHANGRA BEAT

IN BRIEF

Birmingham’s contribution to the global Bhangra movement was celebrated as part of Selfridge’s Live + Loud campaign. The city has played a significant role in the success of the Punjabi arts and music genre and Selfridges marked the fact with a carnival-style Birmingham Does Bhangra event. Live + Loud featured 10 days of transformational music happenings in the store.

TIFF IN TOWN Tiffany & Co is opening its new jewellery store in Selfridges Birmingham this month. The store will be the eleventh in the country and third in Selfridges, joining Selfridges London and Manchester Exchange Square.

BRIGHT BLU The Radisson Blu Hotel in Birmingham is sporting a stylish new look after undergoing a £3million refurbishment. There’s upgrades to all 211 rooms, meeting rooms and a new restaurant and bar.

BRA-VO ZOE! A fashion student at Birmingham City University designed a huge bra for the city’s ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ to wear in a breast cancer awareness campaign. Zoe Lockett worked with West Midlands-based charity, Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer, on the project. The bra was displayed on a sculpture in Victoria Square created by Indian artist Dhruva Mistry. Zoe from Heath Hayes, Cannock said: “I wanted to create something really feminine but also attracted a lot of attention.”

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GLYNN’S TV PRIZE Top Birmingham chef Glynn Purnell has been getting mouth-watering reviews as the star of Channel 4 TV’s My Kitchen Rules UK. Glynn is teamed with the queen of Irish cooking, Rachel Allen, in the daytime show which sees amateur cooks from four regions of the UK open their own home restaurants for one night in a bid to scoop a £10,000 cash prize. My Kitchen Rules is produced by Birmingham-based television company 7 Wonder.

MOTOR KINGS Volunteers at the British Motor Museum took two nominations at the West Midlands Museum Development Volunteer Awards. Vince Hall won the Special Collections Award while Mark Bradbury was a finalist in the Above and Beyond Individual category.

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NEWS

MICHELIN EXTRAVAGANZA Brummie chefs are to headline a Michelin-starred extravaganza. Sauce Supper Club is hosting the event on 20 November at Alrewas Hayes which sees a menu designed and delivered by six Michelin-star chefs. The line-up is Luke Tipping, pictured, (Simpsons of Edgbaston), Brad Carter (Carters of Moseley), Richard Turner (Turners at 69, Harborne), Rob Palmer (Hampton Manor, Solihull), Adam Bennett (The Cross at Kenilworth) and Tom Kerridge (The Hand and Flowers, Marlow).

APPY SHOPPERS

FUMO OPENS IN SELFRIDGES

The Mailbox has launched a new app which takes personalised shopping to a new level. A world-first in retail, the app uses locationaware technology and permitted data insight to communicate with customers in real-time before they arrive, during and after their visits, and gives them access to unique tailored content. The Exclusive Club feature rewards customers for every pound spent in the Mailbox, from the car park, shops, restaurants and bars to the salons, cinema and hotels.

Award-winning Italian restaurant company, San Carlo Group, opens its new Fumo restaurant, Champagne and cocktail bar at Selfridges Birmingham this month. Located on the store’s fourth floor with stunning views overlooking the Bullring, the £1million, 3,000sq ft new Fumo features Italian marble and hand-stitched leather and serves an all-day menu of regional Italian dishes.

STAR TURN MAGIC OF HARRY We’re approaching a magical time of year, so what better way to get ready for Christmas than with Harry Potter? Birmingham Genting Arena is hosting a live symphony orchestra on Sunday 10 December performing to the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The film, which follows Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, will be shown on a 60ft screen.

A Birmingham Premier Inn team member starred in the hotel’s nationwide TV advert. Ross Mallard, who works at Birmingham New Street as assistant operations manager, sailed through the auditions to appear as one of only five Premier Inn staff from across the UK in the ad. After filming Ross, who played a breakfast assistant, said: “I would definitely love to give acting a go again!”

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

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COVER STORY

BEVERLEY GIVES YOU WINGS

Soul powerhouse Beverley Knight talks to Shelley Carter about acting up, Memphis vibes and fairy wings

Photography by DFP Photographic/Shutterstock

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COVER STORY

hree years ago we interviewed a breezy Beverley Knight as she was turning 40 and embarking on a stage career as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard. She felt she was ‘in at the deep end’, but embraced the challenge. A few years on and we caught up with the Wolves lovely to talk panto – she’s playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the Hippodrome – and life as an established actress as well as a soul diva. Beverley’s CV is immense. She’s sold more than a million albums – one platinum and four gold – scooped three MOBOs and an outstanding achievement gong at the Urban Music Awards, has sung with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Chaka Khan to name just a few and collected an MBE along the way which she accepted mainly because she knew how much it would thrill her parents. It turned out to be the only time she saw her dad cry. She was nominated for an Olivier Award for Memphis The Musical which is astounding considering it was essentially her second serious musical theatre role and now she’s chucking herself into the surreal world of the pantomime. Oh yes she is.

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MULTI-MILLION PANTO Hugely proud of her roots, Beverley’s back in the Midlands as often as she can be, so her stint in the Hippodrome’s blockbusting panto alongside Suzanne Shaw and Strictly Come Dancing winner Danny Mac will give her some precious time at ‘home’. With just a two-week rehearsal process the pressure’s on but pantomime virgin Beverley is taking it in her stride. “Give me a microphone and I’ll be just fine!” she said. With a £5million budget, the Hippodrome’s production isn’t your average pantomime, so Beverley’s started at the top of the panto heap. Lavish costumes and top-notch production values make it a must-see and with Beverley headlining so to speak, it’s sure to pull in the crowds. Two shows a day for six weeks is a tall order, but one that Beverley’s ready for. She explained: “With The Bodyguard the whole show was on my shoulders which was intense, so

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this’ll be a bit different. People have said to me panto’s hard work but such a laugh, so I’m looking forward to that and it’s just so glorious to be here.” After a tricky year it will no doubt be even sweeter to spend time near friends and family. A diagnosis of uterine fibroids in May resulted in surgery to remove them as well as a hysterectomy that meant she had to reluctantly move her I Love Soulsville tour from June to October. After a lengthy recovery process, Beverley’s back doing what she loves, thrilling crowds with her insane vocals. MEMPHIS SWELL Eighth studio album, Soulsville which was released in June to coincide with the tour before it was postponed took Beverley back to her beloved Memphis to record at Willie Mitchell’s legendary Royal Studios. Beverley fell in love with Memphis in 2014 when preparing for her role in Memphis The Musical, so was super excited to be back and the album is like a celebration of the city and its musical heritage. On the album Beverley collaborated with Jamie Cullen, Jools Holland and Sam Moore of Sam and Dave on three Memphis classics. The rest is new material with a classic-rich soulful vibe.

With just a two-week rehearsal

process the pressure’s on but pantomime virgin Beverley is taking it in her stride

Soul was also high on the agenda at a Late Night Prom with Jools Holland earlier in the year which Beverley jumped at the chance to be involved in. Called Stax Records: 50 Years of Soul was at the Royal Albert Hall and paid tribute to pioneering Memphis label Stax Records which was founded in 1957 and became synonymous with Southern soul. The importance of the Southern soul sound went way beyond music uniting people at a time of racial tension and political unrest. The Late Night Prom brought together some of the label’s greatest

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Hugely proud of her roots, Beverley’s

back in the Midlands as often as she can be, so

her stint in the Hippodrome blockbuster will give her some precious time at ‘home’

surviving artists including Booker T Jones and Sam Moore. Beverley performed a magnificent version of Private Number with William Bell. It is utterly dreamy. We’ve watched it eight times and counting. Sir Tom Jones was also involved along with Ruby Turner, Steve Cropper and James Morrison.

YOU SHALL GO TO THE BALL Catch Beverley as the Fairy Godmother at Birmingham Hippodrome from 19 December to 28 January.

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IN THE GENES It’s a line trotted out by many an X Factor hopeful, but it genuinely feels like Beverley was born to sing. Her mum used to lead the singing in church with her ‘sweet, melodic voice’ and all of the women on her mother’s side of the family have either been singers or musicians, so it came naturally. “I did as much singing as I could as a youngster and when I left school I started doing local community things which eventually led to me being spotted in a club. I’ve always had a good sense of melody and understood that a song needs a great big hook. I play the piano, so I just started to write my own little things. Admittedly they were rubbish, but thankfully they’ve got better!” I

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FEATURE

THE CROWNING GLORY

Queen awards new £57million centre of excellence her highest honour – as Royal Birmingham Conservatoire sets global benchmark for music and drama education and performance

irmingham’s role as a national centre for excellence in performing arts has been taken to a new level with the opening of a £57million complex which has been labelled one of the world’s greatest music colleges and concert centres. The awesome new Birmingham Conservatoire – part of Birmingham City University – boasts five public performance spaces, including a 500-seat concert hall, a 150-seat recital hall and a 100-seat organ studio. There’s also The Lab, a cutting edge, flexible black-box studio and the first permanent jazz space in any UK conservatoire – the 80-seat Eastside Jazz Club. Alongside private rehearsal rooms and dedicated teaching spaces for musicians, the five-storey high building has more than 70 teaching practice rooms. Led by its principal, Professor Julian Lloyd Webber,

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the new Conservatoire has also been recognised by the Queen who has granted it a Royal title – which means the music and drama academy is being renamed the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, joining a select list of performing arts institutions bearing the Royal name. MAGNIFICENT Internationally renowned cellist and conductor Prof Lloyd Webber said: “With our new name and suitably magnificent new home we intend to set the global benchmark for music and drama education and performance. “This is a hugely significant moment for music and drama education in the UK. The Royal title bears testimony to the value the Conservatoire rightly places on the importance of the performing arts in all our lives.”

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FEATURE

Birmingham City University vice-chancellor, Professor Philip Plowden, added: “The Royal title not only indicates the Birmingham Conservatoire’s national and international repute but also its transformative impact on people’s lives. “The Royal title has been achieved as a result of substantial efforts from Prof Lloyd Webber and his dedicated team over the past year and we are all extremely proud of this extraordinary accolade that will be celebrated within the university, across the city and beyond.” The protected Royal titles are conferred sparingly, and all applicants must satisfy several strict conditions. The bestowment follows the Earl of Wessex becoming the Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron in March 2016. DIGITAL AGE The historic Conservatoire’s new state-of-the-art home – which sits proudly and confidently next to Millennium Point – is the first

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DEDICATED: Principal Prof Lloyd Webber in the wonderful new building

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FEATURE

FIRST: The new Conservatoire’s permanent jazz space, the Eastside Jazz Club

purpose-built music college to be constructed in the UK since 1987 and the only one in the country which has been specifically designed to cater for the demands of the digital age. Prof Lloyd Webber said: “The new Conservatoire emerges during a difficult time for arts funding and music education, meaning our role in training the world’s next great musicians and actors is more vital than ever. Personally, I don’t think there will be another built in the UK. Of course, a building is only as effective as the people inside it and my team and I will continue our work to ensure that the future arts industry is not dominated by the wealthy elite.” Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and constructed by Galliford Try using 400,000 bricks, the main performance venues are comprised of independent ‘box in box’ structures and built on dedicated acoustic foundation bearings for optimum noise control. Double and triple-glazed windows have been used to achieve the high level of acoustic requirements, supported by bespoke timber panelling throughout the building. The new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s inaugural season will begin on Sunday 11 March 2018 when the new concert hall will host a Royal Gala concert performed by the Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s music director, Mirga Gražinyté-Tyla.

>> CHEERS! At the launch, alongside tours of the new building and performances by current Birmingham Conservatoire students, guests were presented with a bottle of Principal’s Ale, a bespoke beer created by Wye Valley Brewery for Prof Lloyd Webber to mark the opening.

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Prof Plowden said: “The Conservatoire has nurtured the talent of many household names, including singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, conductor Mike Seal and actor Nicol Williamson. Our fantastic new facility will ensure we can equip future performers with the skills they need to meet the demands of today’s fast-paced creative economy. “However, this is not just a state-of-the-art home for developing the next generation of talented and versatile performers, but it will also enrich and deepen the university experience for all our students, who will be able to make full use of its facilities and enjoy the rich programme of events planned. “The new Birmingham Conservatoire is a significant investment for the University, the city and, indeed, the country as a whole, and one in which will certainly set a new global benchmark for music and drama education and performance.” The Conservatoire has nearly 70 formal partnerships with some of the world’s most prestigious performing arts institutions, including the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, National Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Paris and Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The new building is a joint project by Millennium Point and Birmingham City Council. I

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FOOD & DRINK

ROBERT BATES Crunchy suet puddings? It’s a North East thing, explains the head chef at The Belfry. But, hang on, we rather like the sound of it too – along with beef short rib and peach melba brulee. Yum, yum! Tell us about your cooking Traditional, seasonal, fresh, French influenced with modern techniques, that’s what my cooking is all about. I love the satisfaction you get when you’ve created something that others enjoy. As chefs we are learning from each other every day and trying new styles of cooking – knowledge is power. Flavour is crucial, along with seasonality – using a product at the time of year when it’s at its best is a real benefit. Then there’s my team, who are vital to help deliver the end goal. Last but not least is creativity and execution on the plate, as at the end of the day we also eat with our eyes.

How did you become a chef? My uncle was a chef and every summer we would visit him and he would show me around his kitchens. He was a very big part in why I became a chef. I trained at Hartlepool College while working in hotels evenings and weekends before moving to Slaley Hall, Northumberland where Albert Roux was consultant chef. I went onto the Chateau de Montreuil in northern France at Michelin level before moving to Hotel Metropole, Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Monaco, again a multiple Michelin star hotel. After 4½ years I came back to the UK to work with Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche which was such an amazing influential experience. After that, working for Family Roux as a consultant chef was one of the highlights of my career to date. Family is extremely important to me and I’m lucky enough to have one that’s supported me whatever path I’ve taken.

What do you eat when at home? The kids love simple things like toad in the hole, pasta, Thai noodles and stir-fry. That’s what I tend to

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eat but I do love a really well cooked Sunday roast. After a busy week at The Belfry it’s nice to go back to basics – simple but very tasty.

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? That’s tough to answer as most of the top chefs have different ideas and techniques, not to mention personalities. I have been lucky enough to have worked with a few over the years. They are all great in their own way and I have taken the best from all of these experiences.

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CHEF’S CORNER

To make Robert’s delicious Beef Short Rib, see his recipe at www.brumliving.co.uk What was your favourite food as a kid? My mum’s Sunday roast with her special crunchy suet puddings. Must be a North East thing, they were amazing!

Food heaven and food hell? Heaven is well-aged rib eye steak with sauce béarnaise … delightful. Hell is kidneys. Yuk! Not a fan of the texture or flavour.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Crocodile or horse, both very interesting and better than I expected.

Is the customer always right?

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

You have to respect your guest’s opinion, but only after reflection does this give you a true indication. We can all learn from positive and negative comments given to us by our customers.

I’d have to say a police officer. I would have said pro golfer but I’m just not that talented unfortunately.

Share a cooking tip The most important tip of all is ‘mise en place’ which is French for ‘everything in place’. Before you even put the pan on the stove to start cooking make sure you have everything measured out, chopped up, peeled, laid out and ready to go.

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What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? It’s all good, but I would suggest Craupadine beetroot, beef short rib and peach melba brulee You won’t be disappointed! I The Belfry, Lichfield Road, Wishaw, Birmingham B76 9PR. Tel: 01675 238600 www.thebelfry.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 CHANGE OF SCENERY FOR WILDERNESS Popular Birmingham restaurant the Wilderness is moving to a new, bigger home. The current restaurant, known for its quirky menu (they have been known to serve ants!) and moss covered interior, will quit Dudley Street on 23 December to reopen in February in the former Nationwide Building Society offices, Bennetts Hill. Chef Alex Claridge is teaming up with James Bowker, head bartender at the Edgbaston, to run the new 40-seat eatery.

TOP CATERERS GO THE EXTRA MILE Nearly 9,300 hospitality covers served and 2,700 miles travelled. Impressive numbers from Birmingham caterer Amadeus, which saw its team cater at nearly 40 events this summer – from weddings and banquets to corporate dinners and sporting events. At five major tournaments, including the Aegon Classic tennis in Birmingham, the team served 11,240 players and their entourages, 12,601 volunteers, 4,105 ball boys and girls and 3,375 media. Phew!

SUPER SUNIL IN CHEF OF THE YEAR FINAL Congratulations to Sunil Kumar of Asha’s Birmingham who is a finalist in the international Indian Chef of the Year competition. Sunil is one of only eight finalists from more than 100,000 chefs who entered worldwide. The final will see the chefs prepare their four-course meal which will be judged – of all places –on a Virgin train! The competition was set up by the ‘Curry King’, Tommy Miah MBE. The winner will receive the award from Princess Anne at a ceremony in London.

RSC MAKES A PLAY WITH VEGAN MENU The Royal Shakespeare Company has introduced a new vegan pre-theatre and dinner menu and afternoon tea. The Rooftop Restaurant serves tempters like giant couscous with red quinoa, fig, toasted almond and red onion salad and pomegranate molasses or fusilli with butternut squash, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, fried sage and creamy walnut sauce. To finish, how about sloe gin poached pear with blackcurrant sorbet? Vegan muffins and croissants are available at Susie’s Café Bar in The Other Place.

HOT FROM THE STREETS OF BOMBAY We’ve been hearing very good things about Bhaijaans Bombay Kitchen since it opened in Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield. Run by the founders of the popular Delhi 6 in Streetly, the eatery is inspired by the tastes of Bombay, adding a street food twist to classic Indian cuisine. A speciality grill menu reflects the world-famous Bademiya’s street food stall in Bombay where dishes are cooked fresh over a flaming grill and served sizzling hot straight to the plate.

BLAKE’S HEAVEN ARRIVES IN HOPWOOD An elegant, modern fine dining experience is being promised with the arrival of Blake’s Restaurant in Hopwood. The new brassiere is part of Westmead Hotel and offers a vibrant atmosphere whether you’re on business or pleasure. Dishes use ingredients which are locally-sourced wherever possible and draw on classic flavours with modern techniques and stylish presentation. Sounds like heaven on a plate to us! See Social Scene

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

THE FIGHTING COCKS 1 St Mary’s Row, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8HW. Tel: 0121 449 0811 www.thefightingcocksmoseley.co.uk et’s talk interiors. The Fighting Cocks is an Instagrammers dream. High ceilings, great lighting, stained glass windows and a stunner of a colour scheme of deep green, teal and rich red makes it our favourite interior in Brum right now. The exterior, in the form of a vibrant courtyard out back wasn’t too shabby either. We set up camp in a banquette situation inside while snapping away hoping the food would live up to the vibe. Craft beers are a thing if that’s your jam while the wine list is a succinct little number with a good selection. A Czech Kozel lager highly recommended by our waiter and a glass of Australian chardonnay went down a treat. The food menu is short and sweet and it almost all appealed. Mushrooms on toasted ancient bread (refers to the grain rather than the age of the bread!) was tasty with a balsamic glaze and a generous handful of herbs. Succulent prawns with crispy chorizo on toast with balsamic glaze – perhaps they had a glut of the stuff – was great, but it was the

L

mains that stole the show. One in particular. Duo of lamb doesn’t sound so hot on the menu, but trust us, you need it in your life. One half of the duo, rump of lamb was served perfectly pink and was pretty tasty, but the other half, pulled lamb shoulder encased in the best pastry we’ve had in ages was a thing of wonder and overshadowed its lamby twin. Served with a jugful of rich gravy the pie sang a very sweet song. Must have. Guinea fowl with a spinach and pecorino stuffing was good but oddly a bit burnt. Not overcooked just a bit dark and acrid on the outside. The stuffing was ace as was the roasted squash served with the bird. Profiteroles were great with rich dark chocolate and a custardy middle rather than that watery cream affair that often ruins a perfectly good choux bun. We approve big time. We’ve never been tempted to put our house on the market based on the strength of a food review, but that lamb pie. The kids’ll be fine. They’re adaptable right? Hello Moseley…I

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LUNCH SPOT

NAILCOTE HALL Nailcote Lane, Berkswell, Warks CV7 7DE. Tel: 024 7646 6174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk enerally when we go out for lunch or dinner we don’t want to feel like we’re at home. We want an escape from the norm, brilliant food that we wouldn’t/couldn’t rustle up in our kitchen, beautiful décor and swish service. Not so with Sunday lunch. For us it has to feel like a homefrom-home without the washing up. We want carpets, roaring fires, cosiness and warm, not necessarily slick, service. Cue Nailcote Hall. Historic building with bags of character? Check. Squishy carpets? Check. Open fires? Check. Friendly staff? Check. Hotel cat perched on the reception desk for the ultimate nod to homeliness? Check. Sizeable trolley concealing hunks of roasted meat to be carved at your table? Jackpot! A four-course menu for the truly ravenous was an option, although when you go bear in mind portions are sizeable. Melon with berries and sorbet for the kids was a brilliant way to start and meant they were

G

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still hungry for what was to come. Smoked chicken rillettes felt more like pate, but was tasty nonetheless. Served with a garlicky mayo dressing and warm bread it was a winner. JC’s vegetable soup was sound. Onto the trolley of dreams. Pork and beef sat side-by-side. Everyone had beef except the littlest who chose pork. Chicken was also an option. All the roasts were adorned with great big voluminous yorkies as well as both crunchy roast and creamy mashed potatoes. I wondered if the meat might have been dry after its stint under the dome – it was anything but. Superbly pink and moist the beef was a showstopper. Pork, which I find generally dry was seriously juicy and moreish. Maybe the dome is the secret? The gravy deserves a nod too. A bowl of mixed vegetables for the table didn’t see much action. It was all about the roast. Chocolate brownies with sorbet thrilled the children while the sticky toffee pudding was extremely good. If I may compare Nailcote Hall to a dessert – and why the hell not? – sticky toffee pudding sort of sums it up in the very best of ways… nostalgic, warm and moreish. Just the job. I

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

MY FAIR LADY

Nothing to do with the famous musical, but guaranteed to make your tastebuds sing… he My Fair Lady cocktail is a delicious little number from the chaps at Tom’s Kitchen Birmingham. Always use the best ingredients and a top quality liquor – the guys at Tom’s are rather partial to FAIR. I

T

Ingredients:

I 25ml FAIR pomegranate liqueur I 25ml sugar syrup I 25ml citric acid I 25ml FAIR kumquat liqueur I 25ml FAIR quinoa vodka

Method: Pour the pomegranate liqueur and sugar syrup into a martini glass. Shake the citric acid, kumquat liqueur and quinoa vodka in a cocktail shaker, then fine strain and layer onto the pomegranate and sugar syrup mix. Enjoy responsibly!

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

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FOOD & DRINK

WINE FOR THE BONFIRE And any chilly night this November, says our resident wine ‘guy’, Rob Price ormally by the end of October, I’m thinking it’s not that cold at night and the days are still reasonably pleasant. Then suddenly on 1 November it all changes. Maybe it’s just the hour moving back, but come the fifth of the month, I’m cold and welcoming the warm heat and glow of the bonfire. Although saying that, our village bonfire is so far back, (health and safely I’m told!!) we don’t really feel any benefit. At least the fireworks are good.

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The wonderful thing about the cooler nights is I feel like drinking more robust reds. We need wines that will warm us up, are satisfyingly smooth and help us fall asleep as we cosy up close to the fire. And there are so many to choose from… BETTER VALUE Maybe a Shiraz from Australia, Amarone from Valpolicella, Italy, a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, from the Rhone Valley, France. If you like Chateauneuf-du-

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FOOD & DRINK

ROB’S

4 TO TRY

What a sparkler!

For a mellow Champagne, that has great length, try Nicolas Feuillatte 2008 vintage. It has all the lovely characteristics needed, with yeasty and bready complexity. A wonderful vintage Champagne that doesn’t break the bank. Waitrose sells for £28.99.

Rocket powered… A Malbec is just the job. Normally when you think of Malbec you think of Argentina, but one I have been drinking – and it really is fantastic with real power– is from Napa Valley in California. Antica Napa Valley is a breath-taking estate set high in the eastern mountains of the Napa Valley. Full bodied, rich, powerful, complex with a long finish. Christopher Keiller stocks the 2014 vintage for about £30 bottle.

How about a Roman candle? These fireworks are quite controversial and are banned in a number of countries, so we need a wine that will be equally provocative. Nothing fits the bill better than a good Gewurztraminer. It’s full bodied and spicy, and if you drink at about 12 degrees (a little cool, but let it warm up out of the fridge) these are really warming wines. One to try is Domaines Schlumberger’s 'Les Princes Abbés'. Round and mellow, and just off dry. It will certainly provoke you into an opinion. Majestic sells the 2015 vintage for £16.99.

Finally, a big bang! Pape you should try either Gigondas or Vacqueyras, from the same region but generally £ for £ better value. It gives me an excuse to break out the Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux, my favourite wine, so suitable with the heartier food that beckons me this time of year. But there are many other wines that are suitable, not just red wine. How about a rich, vintage Champagne, or a robust oaky chardonnay, a spicy Gewuztraminer – and sweet wines are even more delicious this time of year. A Hungarian Tokai Aszu, or, of course we should not forget a lovely Port either, both marvellous for such evenings when curling up in front of the fire. I’ve picked out my four choices to ‘remember, remember’ come the 5th of November… and the rest of the month for that matter! I

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This comes from the legendry Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley Lebanon. Gaston Hochar first planted vineyards in 1930, and since then has never failed to produce a wine each year, irrespective of the challenges, not just of the climate, but of conflicts that Lebanon has had to endure. Chateau Musar’s wines are a delight, quite light in colour, but with intensity and concentration. Smooth spicy, with an exquisite warming finish. If you only drink one wine, this November, this should be the one… Connolly’s have quite a few different vintages, all excellent and around £27 to £32 a bottle.

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, Warwick and Milton Keynes city centres. For more information contact Rob Price 0121 270 7359, www.birminghamwineschool.com

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ing livSTYLE

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TERRIFIC TRENCH Artistry fit and flare wool camel trench £195, Oliver Bonas, New Street Station

THE WRAP PACK

Every year the winter coat is reinvented, but essentially we want the same thing – practicality and high style. Here’s our pick of this season’s best

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STYLE

winter coat is probably the biggest purchase you’re likely to make this season, so make it count. If you’ve bought well in previous years you’ll have a couple of classics on hand patiently waiting for a cold snap, so it’s just about adding one or two more pieces in to the mix to keep things fresh. Trenches are big this season along with puffers, shearling and of course faux fur and you’ll never go wrong with a classic parka. Practical and super stylish we like the navy Kenzo version with orange fur trim (pictured) and River Island’s Joella parka with its sunny yellow accent (pictured). As far as faux fur goes we’re going for full on Game of Thrones glamour and heading to Stella McCartney for a luxe oversized number that oozes style (pictured). Monsoon has a more understated version that is a bit shorter and bang on trend (pictured) and check out Biba at House of Fraser for signature leopard print that channels SJP not Bet Lynch. No mean feat.

A

TWO TONE FABULOUS

DECONSTRUCTED

Brown two tone fur coat £54.99, New Look, the Fort Shopping Park

Erin trench £90, River Island, Bullring

CAPED CRUSADER Black cape with detail, Monsoon, Bullring

MONO WOW Sara coat £289, Hobbs, Grand Central

BOLD GOLD Gold sheepskin jacket £95, River Island, the Fort Shopping Park

OVER IT Stella McCartney faux fur coat £1,295, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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PRINTS CHARMING Biba leopard print faux fur coat £199, House of Fraser, Corporation Street

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STYLE

Puffers can be tricky to pull off adding unwelcome bulk and this season in particular they’re bigger than ever with practically duvet proportion chunkiness. Fine for the catwalk, but trotting around the city swathed in 13.5 togs might not be the look you’re after. We love Very’s metallic version which is great fun and not too voluminous (pictured) or head to Balenciaga if you’re going high end. The classic trench is going nowhere and this season it comes in varying guises – deconstructed, adorned with bows or a tweaked shape. Look at Oliver Bonas which has a cracking navy trench with bow sleeves and cute button detail (pictured). Shearling offers ultimate cosiness and this year we’re spoilt for choice. Monsoon has a pale grey inside out version that works a treat (pictured) while River Island’s glittering gold jacket is very cool indeed (pictured). We reckon you need at least two wool coats in your life and the choice is endless. From preppy checks at Hobbs and a classic funnel neck at Max Mara to military vibes at Julian Macdonald and statement lapels at Jigsaw, you’re in luck. Happy shopping! I

BEAUT BROCADE Brocade puffer £75, River Island, the Fort Shopping Park

PADDED SELL Navy quilted coat £49.99, New Look, Bullring

TRANSITION TRENCH Navy relaxed line trench £130, Oliver Bonas, New Street Station

MILITARY VIBES Star by Julian Macdonald coat £140, Debenhams, the Fort Shopping Park

RICH FABRIC Velour padded jacket £79, M&S, the Fort Shopping Park

YO MOHAIR Fluffy mohair coat £450, Jigsaw, Cannon Street

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STYLE

PARK IT Joella parka £120, River Island, Bullring

ESSENTIAL PARKA Thirlmere long quilted parka £125, White Stuff, Cannon Street

THE FUTURE’S ORANGE Kenzo fur-trimmed parka £710, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

HEAVY METAL Oversized metallic puffer jacket £60, V by Very

COLLARED Max Mara Studio wool and alpaca blend coat £805, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

GREY DAYS Isabel Marant wool and alpaca blend coat £860, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

WHAT COLD SNAP? Beatrise Borg coat £129, Monsoon, Bullring

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COLLAR OF DREAMS

ON YER BIKE

Biba khaki faux fur coat £139, House of Fraser, Corporation Street

Suede fur lined biker £25, Primark, the Fort Shopping Park

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STYLE SLEEVES PLEASE

WIDE LAPELS

Ruffle sleeve coat £90, V by Very

Lux wool coat £360, Jigsaw, Cannon Street

RED HOT Arletta coat £369, Hobbs, Grand Central

PAD IT OUT Pink padded jacket £79, Wallis, New Street

CLASSIC BIKER Leather jacket £170, Next, the Fort Shopping Park

RAISE A SMILE Pinko faux fur jacket £445, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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BEAUTY

BEAUTY UPDATE

Advent calendars have become a big deal with beauty brands leading the charge. Beauty expert Rose Gallagher takes a look at some of the best on the market Jo Malone London, £300 from Jo Malone Boutique, Grand Central

Diptyque, £300 from Selfridges

A quintessentially British offering, this is always one of the most sought-

The best offering for anyone who

after winter indulgences. This year,

likes to create an ambient home

Jonathan Saunders has collaborated

environment, the Diptyque calendar is

with the brand on a ‘Crazy Colourful’

a total treat for house and bathroom.

Christmas concept, meaning that this

Teaming both fragrances and skincare

calendar alongside all of the boxes

with much-loved candles, there is

they’ll be wrapping gifts in are injected

really something for everyone in this

with bold and bright prints.

selection.

Beauty and the Beast, £6 from Superdrug For the little lady in your life that wants her own special Christmas countdown,

Estee Lauder Companies, £125 from esteelauder.co.uk an online exclusive Without a doubt my favourite calendar this year, for the first

this 12-day offering from Superdrug is

time ever the Estee Lauder Companies have joined forces for

perfect. Themed around the film of the

this online exclusive calendar. Shaped like a star, it contains

year, Beauty and the Beast, it contains a

miniature products from brands such as Bobbi Brown, MAC

series of age-appropriate beauty treasures

Cosmetics and Origins to name but a few.

that won’t break the bank.

Atelier Cologne, £60 from Selfridges For me, the Atelier Cologne calendar is a real moment this year because there are so few offerings like it. Comprising entirely of fragrance samples, this will allow you to try their best loved products. A family-run brand, these fragrances have more oil in them than most, meaning that they last for longer on the skin.

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STYLE FOR MEN

CATWALK KING Stone Island coat £995, A.P.C denim shirt £195, Wooyoungmi turtle-neck £460, Balmain jeans £845 and Axel Arigato trainer £160, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

HOT RIGHT NOW One of the joys of winter is bagging a decent coat that elevates an outfit from stylish to stunning

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STYLE FOR MEN

CLASSIC SHAPE Mono coat £59.99, New Look Men, Bullring

SHARP SUITER Hammond & Co navy coat £99, Debenhams, the Fort Shopping Park

WISE WOOL Light burgundy overcoat £95, River Island, the Fort Shopping Park

NEVER OUT OF STYLE J Lindeberg wool coat £375, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

e always love a well-cut wool coat. It never looks try hard, just chic and understated like the J Lindberg camel example pictured or a burgundy number from River Island. You get what you pay for in terms of cut, fabric and longevity, but there are good pieces at either end of the price spectrum, so explore the options. For more casual days checkout Topman for its long line parka with fur lined hood and checked duffle or if you’re splashing out, head to Harvey Nichols for a Stone Island padded coat. Yeezy’s teal velvet padded coat is a corker if you’re looking for something a bit different while Hammond & Co do a very respectable double breasted navy coat that’ll work with a suit as well as jeans. I

W SERIOUSLY COOL Canada Goose padded shell parka £975, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

BIKER CHIC Black jacket with faux fur trim £64.99, New Look Men, Bullring

LONG LINE Parka with fur trim, Topman, Bullring

HUG A HOODIE Checked wool coat, Topman, Bullring

NICE AND YEEZY Yeezy Season 4 padded velvet coat £695, Harvey Nichols, Mailbox

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ADVERTORIAL

SLOPE OFF ON A

WINTER WONDER BREAK With summer a distant memory, now is the time to turn your attention to planning a snowy ski break from Birmingham Airport. Take your pick from destinations in France, Austria and Slovenia – to name just a few! ki getaways can be enjoyed by all, so whether you’re going away with friends, family or just the two of you, there’s a holiday for everyone. Feel invigorated by the fresh mountain air as you sail down the side of picturesque peaks. Relax, let your hair down and get your body moving, it’s what skiing is all about.

S

FOR FAMILIES You can’t beat a family skiing holiday over the festive period, enjoying hearty meals and hot chocolate around the fire in a cosy chalet. Even if the kids aren’t yet into

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skiing, family friendly resorts have a range of childcare options available so you don’t have to miss out on your time on the mountain. There are also ski classes available, divided by ability and age, and delivered by English speaking instructors. You’ll be going on family runs down the slopes before you know it. Meribel is the perfect resort for your first family ski holiday, located in the world’s biggest interlinked ski area, Three Valleys. The resort has a friendly, village atmosphere and ‘Glaciers’ comes highly recommended as the best bakery to take the kids for some sweet treats.

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ADVERTORIAL

FOR FRIENDS The best times are often spent with friends, so why not arrange a group ski holiday for 2018? Enjoy the crisp mountain air and make memories that last a lifetime. Dine on the side of the mountain between runs, sharing cheese fondue and bottles of wine – and let your hair down in the evenings at the best après-ski parties. The resorts of Mayrhofen and Saalbach in Austria are renowned for not only their nightlife but also their incredible off-piste through the trees, making them perfect for intermediate skiers. Saalbach also boasts a new lift and gondola system making it super easy to get up the mountain and between the areas of Leogang and Hinterglemm. FOR COUPLES If your other half is looking for more of an active holiday rather than a bit of winter sun, book into a boutique, chalet-style hotel and spend your evenings snuggled around an open fire. Pick one with spa and wellness facilities so you can book in for a couples massage after a long day out on the slopes. Zermatt is regarded as one of the most romantic and picturesque ski resorts. The chalets are full of character,

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dotted along narrow streets; and if you’re into music, we recommend visiting during April to enjoy the resort’s annual music festival – Zermatt Unplugged. FOR NON-SKIERS If you like the idea of skiing more than the reality, then enjoy a white winter without having to hit the slopes in Arctic Lapland. The landscape is blanketed by snow from November and the Northern Lights can be seen dancing overhead. With unspoiled landscapes as far as the eye can see, explore the twinkling, snow-tipped forests in a snowmobile or aboard a husky sled. There is still the option of trying some cross-country skiing, but you can equally spend your afternoons in a hot tub beside your igloo or traditional log cabin if you want the ultimate relax. I With Inghams, Crystal Ski, Esprit, Transun and Neilson all offering great ski holidays from Birmingham Airport, there is so much choice available. Book your winter getaway now to avoid disappointment and take advantage of the best breaks.

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LET’S PARTY! Party season is a whisker away. If you’re

planning to play host, put in the hard yards now and you’ll enjoy it almost as much as your guests

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HOMES

AFTER DARK Manhattan drinks trolley £720, Mayfair glassware from £24, Madeleine chair in Isla Finch £400, Neptune

hink of the best parties you’ve been to. Why were they great? The chances are the hosts prepped like bosses and therefore felt relaxed on the night. If you do your homework before your guests arrive you can enjoy the party almost as much as they do. Here are a handful of tips and products to ensure your party goes with a bang not a whimper.

T

• Move big furniture out of the way creating more space for guests to move around. Ensure there’s enough seating including a couple of cosy corners for people who might want to retreat from the action for a while. • Dim the lighting to a flattering level. Everyone will be more relaxed. If you don’t have dimmer switches, dot a few lamps around the place. WINE IN STYLE Copper hexagon wine rack £35, Oliver Bonas

CHILLED FIZZ Champagne bucket £12, Next

KITCHEN BAR Limehouse kitchen from £12,000, Neptune

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HOMES

• Get your playlist at the ready to avoid awkward silences as the first guests arrive and ensure it’s a list that will appeal to the spread of people you’ve invited. • Serve nibbles in proportion to drinks. This is key! • Stock the fridge with drinks well in advance, so everything is chilled before people arrive. A sink full of ice will act as an effective overflow and don’t overlook nonalcoholic drinks. • Lots of small occasional tables dotted around are more likely to get guests mingling than a large central table. • If you have friends who smoke, ditch them it’s gross. No seriously, look after them. Prepare a stylish outdoor area with a patio heater if you have one, a few candles and somewhere to put their butts. No one wants to spend the morning after picking up discarded fag ends. • And most importantly enjoy! I STYLE AND SUBSTANCE Lismore Short Stories Evolution decanter, John Lewis BAR IN A BOX Authentic Models Grand Club trunk bar £1,595, Houseology

STAR LIGHT Star by Julien Macdonald products, Debenhams

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HOMES

FESTIVE FLOURISH Croft vase £40, True Grace candle £3, Waterford candle holders £50 for two, tumbler £3, wine glass £8, John Lewis

HELPING HAND Cocktail shaker with recipes £6, Flying Tiger

ACE ICE Raise a Glass ice bucket £45, Kate Spade New York

WHEELS ON FIRE Eichholtz townhouse trolley with gold finish £1,200, Houseology

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HOMES

CLUB TROPICANA Pineapple cocktail shaker £34, Oliver Bonas CABINET RESHUFFLE Fir wood French style wine cabinet £595, Cuckooland.com

GOLD RUSH All available from Marks & Spencer

WIRED Zuiver Kelly side table tray steel wire base, from £199, Houseology ALL THE GEAR Biba marble bar set £50, House of Fraser

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HOMES

COCKTAIL O’CLOCK Capri martini glasses £26 for two, Kelly Hoppen

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NOT STIRRED Mayfair martini glass £23 for two, Mayfair cocktail shaker £25, Mayfair low ball glasses £41 for six, Neptune

HEAVY METAL Metallic flutes and bucket £28 for six, Next

FINISHING

TOUCHES

Invest in some new glassware to enhance the party or hire some if you’re having a really large bash CANDY CRUSH Le Flore wine glasses £30 for four, Oliver Bonas

ONE OF YOUR FIVE-A-DAY Pineapple cocktail cup £26, Oliver Bonas

BACK TO BLACK Tall black glass £2.99, HomeSense NEW BALANCE Nude balance wine glasses £30 for two, Amara.com

WILD WEST Stacking cactus shot glass set £14.99, Gettingpersonal.co.uk

WARM THE COCKLES Brandy warmer set, John Lewis

WITH PADDLE Serving paddle and shot glasses £18, the Great Gift Company

SHOTS AWAY Silver shot cups £58.95, Cuckooland.com

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HOMES

Hot Properties From a courtyarded home in the JQ, to a six-bedroom dream house with two lakes and a converted Grade II listed old art gallery… meet this month’s star buys

MAKING THE GRADE The Old Art Gallery, Leamington Spa Guide price: Offers over £1.1million Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 01926 455950

A truly unique and wonderfully converted Grade II listed home dating back to 1901 – but with proper modern luxury as well as period features throughout. Highlights include three lovely en-suite bedrooms with dressing rooms and a quite stunning open plan kitchen and living room.

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HOMES

TREETOP OASIS Smelters Place, Jewellery Quarter Guide price: ÂŁ645,000 Agent: Maguire Jackson, tel: 0121 634 1520 A lovely three-bedroom property (all ensuite) that also boasts a private courtyard, south facing roof terrace and superb open plan living/dining and equally impressive breakfast kitchen. The terrace is quite something as it enjoys treetop views, providing an idyllic oasis in the city.

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BRICKS&BITS

FUNDS AGREED FOR JQ PROJECT Legal & General has agreed the £53million funding of prime Birmingham build-to-rent development site, Newhall Square. The project by developer Spitfire Bespoke Homes has planning permission for 220 residential units, 7,500sq ft of ground-floor commercial space, a public square and 61 car parking spaces.

SAVILLS MAKE THE MOVE Property firm Savills is to take the top floor of landmark building 55 Colmore Row, moving its 156 staff into 16,956sq ft of space. The firm will also have a new regional head, Simon Farrant, who was MD at GBR Phoenix Beard before the company was bought by Savills a year ago.

TWO UP, TWO DOWN SWITCH Law firm Hogan Lovell has taken 23,388sq ft on the eighth floor of the Colmore Building, moving from its previous tenth floor home in the same building, just one of three deals secured by landlord AshbyCapital. A recent refurbishment includes adding a gym, treatment rooms, cafe and bicycle parking.

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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PEACEFUL SETTING Melville Road, Edgbaston Guide price: £575,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 272 6800 This well-appointed detached four-bedroom Victorian family home is located in a peaceful setting in the heart of Edgbaston. There are also three reception rooms, private walled garden and large cellar with future development potential.

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PRIVATE LAKES Church Lane, Lapworth Guide price: £1.95million Agent: Fine and Country, tel: 0121 746 6400 Crikey where do you start? Six bedrooms, awesome kitchen, two private lakes, outstanding separate bungalow, magnificent driveway behind private walled gardens. And all set in more than five acres in a quite lovely English village.

TEEN DREAM Alderbrook Road, Solihull Guide price: £1.5million Agent: Knight Frank, tel: 0121 200 2220 Looking for something big to house the whole family, including that ‘troublesome’ teenager? This seven-bedroom home could be just the ticket! Boasting bags of charm and period features, you’ll find a lovely kitchen breakfast family room, several sizeable reception rooms – and a top floor that’s perfect as a teenage retreat. There’s also planning permission to extend to the rear if you feel the need.

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

www.facebook.com/bhamliving november 2017

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MOTORING

DALEKS BEWARE! Stylish and practical, the new Skoda Kodiaq can cope with pretty much anything – it’ll even exterminate Dr Who’s greatest enemy, says Sue Cooke t’s Monday morning and we’re back to school after the October half-term. I cast a glance over the remnants of a week of family motoring and cringe with embarrassment. And I am not alone. More than one million parents say they are left with the same messy motoring dilemma, according to research by Skoda. Food wrappers (66 per cent), crumbs (60 per cent) and mud (51 per cent) are the

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most commonly-found remnants after a family weekend, but weirder finds include bird skulls, Daleks, dead mice and frogs, live goldfish, jellyfish and pet hamsters! I was driving the What Car? Car of the Year for 2017. And thankfully Skoda’s new large SUV, the Kodiaq, has many helpful accessories for driving messy kids around, so the rear seats quickly returned to clean. The Czech brand’s ‘protection pack’ avoids mud stains on both the inside and outside of the car.

Model: Skoda Kodiaq Edition seven-seater Price: £34,200 otr

MOON WHITE

Engine: 2.0-litre diesel 150PS 4x4 DSG

For driving safely around the school drop-off points, the Kodiaq has a host of safety equipment such as blind spot detection. When I reversed into a hard-to-find parking slot using the rear parking sensors, the radio automatically lowered the volume.

Performance: 0-62mph in 10.2seconds and on to a top speed of 119mph CO2 emissions: 149g/km Combined fuel consumption: 49.6mpg

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updates. Drivers can sync their contacts from the phone to the car, which can be accessed via steering wheel controls or voice activation.

OFF-ROAD

Equipment, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, can detect dangerous situations involving pedestrians or other vehicles in front of the car and will automatically apply the brakes. On my road test car there is a beautiful grainy trim on the door and the dash while black leather upholstery is dramatic against the Moon White metallic exterior paintwork. The versatile Kodiaq is Skoda’s first seven-seater but it is also available with five seats and boasts one of the largest load spaces in its class. Perfect for doing the first back-to-school run with all the baggage that goes with each child. Struggling to the car with arms loaded, I appreciated Skoda’s keyless entry and start system which is called KESSY, a very unobtrusive addition to my handbag which remained hidden all week. Doors recognise its presence and open. The start-stop button can be spotted immediately as it sits where an ignition key would normally go. Skoda Connect Infotainment online includes satellite navigation, traffic reports and calendar

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For long distance business trips or family holidays, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) can be added which helps the driver maintain the selected speed and desired gap between the Kodiaq and the car in front. And if your destination is off the beaten track then Skoda has just launched the Kodiaq Scout with fourwheel drive capability. The 2.0-litre TDI 150PS engine with DSG automatic gearbox has instant acceleration when needed and the cabin minus any inhabitants, is surprisingly quiet. The Kodiaq proved a very useful family car for our return to school week but Skoda also recognises the value of Kodiaq first class travel for the modern professional and is offering an SE business edition. Whether collecting school mates or business clients, the Kodiaq for all reasons and all seasons, has styling which makes a statement, capacious load space and comfortable seating. Technology offers safer passage and there are innovations which guarantee a less stressful journey. I

SHOWROOM: Johnsons Skoda, 585 Tyburn Road, Erdington, Birmingham B24 9RX. Tel: 0121 7965491 www.johnsonscars.co.uk

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

JASPAL PUREWAL The young brewer and bar owner tells Shelley Carter how he went from part-timer to successful businessman competing with the big boys he Indian Brewery Company on Livery Street is a lively bar and street food eatery that’s about to take over the unit next door, doubling its footprint. Founded by Jaspal Purewal as a small brewery in Warwickshire producing a handful of beers, the business has grown rapidly and now employs more than 20 people. After going through the motions in a part-time job, Jaspal realised pretty quickly that he didn’t want to work for someone else. He applied to the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in Solihull and wrote a cracking business plan in order to bag a place on the course. The business plan focused on producing a range of beers – ‘real ale brewed by an Indian’. Jaspal recalled: “That process meant that when I graduated I knew what I wanted to do.”

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FAMILY AFFAIR Jaspal stumbled across the ideal brewery quite by chance as he drove past it on the way to his auntie’s house in Warwickshire. Jaspal and his mother pulled over for a quick nosey around the brewery and ended up meeting the owner and signing a deal on the spot. The owner was planning to move on in six months’ time, so Jaspal took up a role working with him and learning the ropes with a view to taking over the premises along with the staff at the end of

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the process. Michael, who he’s worked with since that time is now Jaspal’s head brewer. A move to Birmingham last year saw Jaspal introduce a lager as well as real ale. “We toyed over the name for ages and then settled on Birmingham Lager of course!” Jaspal said. Initially the lager began life in a can, but quickly progressed to a keg which pitted it against the big boys in the industry. Established brands are able to offer incredibly low prices to bars and restaurants which Jaspal just couldn’t match. He stood his ground refusing to drop his prices which as a small brewer would have been disastrous. It worked. Indian Brewery products are now stocked in many bars including 22 branches of Wetherspoons which is notoriously price driven, as well as restaurants and stores such as Harvey Nichols. “When the e-mails came in it was like we had won the lottery! Harvey Nichols was a six-week process convincing head office in London, so it was exciting.” Harvey Nichols is now one of their top customers.

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Jaspal started to dream about opening a bar of his own which his mum thought was a crazy idea, but when he saw the site of the old Brewsmiths coffee shop he jumped at it. With the keys in his hands Jaspal stalled. He recalled: “The thing is I had the keys for a year without touching the place as I didn’t know what to do.” After 12 months he bit the bullet. Without large investment – just family input and sales from the product – it was all hands on deck as he and his brothers grafted to make the place come alive. Anything apart from skilled trades like electrics they did themselves furnishing the place via B&Q mainly. They’d planned to open last Christmas, but that slipped to January 2017 – Friday the 13th actually! “Friends thought I was mad opening on that date. We had an accident on the way to the opening, so we did start to wonder if it was the right call…”

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The soft launch turned into a packed bar within a few hours. Of the bar’s success, he said: “It was the first street food bar in Birmingham – there are more now – but we were the first, so it was new for people.” It’s important to Jaspal to use local products where possible, so as well as brewing his own beer and lager, the bar uses bread from Peel & Stone and coffee from Quarter Horse which they grind on the premises. Jaspal has taken on the building next door, so it will double in size and staff numbers will rise to 30. “I’m more confident now. I know what I’m doing. There are areas we can improve on and it will be a complete refurb. No trips to B&Q this time!” Expansion won’t stop there as Jaspal has his sights set on the capital next. So, watch this space! I

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GROWING GREEN Students from King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls pipped more than 4,000 pupils to be crowned champions at this year’s Birmingham Civic Society Next Generation awards. Judges were impressed by Growing Green, a project working with local primary schools to make and maintain living wall planters using recycled milk bottles. The girls have been awarded £1,500 and mentoring support to develop their idea.

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

LITTLE FEET Pupils and parents at St Nicholas C of E First School, Codsall have joined a campaign to promote healthier living. They are ditching the car keys and walking to school after taking up an initiative by housebuilder Taylor Wimpey launched in the area last month. Will the move lead to a big cut in traffic around the school? Headteacher Jodie Parker will keep us updated…

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JAZZ GENES The grandson of the late Andy Hamilton – the man who brought jazz to Bearwood Corks Club – demonstrated that the music is in the genes. Louis Hamilton-Foad, a year 9 pupil at St George’s School Edgbaston, took part in the Yamaha Future Beats competition where he made it through to the last eight.

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HIGH FIVE There are five very happy athletes at Winterfold School this month where Emily Bower, Jaime Stirk, Sophie Spittle, Nissa Niroumand and Eleanor Dunn have all been selected to play netball for Worcestershire County. Director of sport Julia Humfress says: “It is a fantastic achievement and we are very proud of them.”

NATALIE’S WORLD BID

STAR BAKER JESSICA It’s not only Jessica Dalton’s amazing cakes and bakes that are on the rise. The 21-year-old University College Birmingham student from Great Barr, is on a roll after receiving the Rising Star prize at this year’s national Baking Industry Awards – the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Jessica was presented with her award by TV star Denise Van Outen in front of more than 700 industry guests.

Congratulations to Natalie Hatfield, a year 9 pupil from Bromsgrove School who came a highly commendable 13th place in the UIPM biathle world championships in Spain. Biathle is a world class sub-sport of the modern pentathlon and demands exceptional levels of both swimming and running.

LILLIAN STRIKES AGAIN It was only a couple of months ago that we reported on Lillian Mould’s successes on the tennis court. Now the Priory School, Edgbaston student has served her way to the under-18 girls’ title at the British Junior Tennis Championships – and she is still only 15! “To win a national title at any age is a significant achievement, to be the under-18 champion at 15 makes it special,” said coach, Simon Dickson from Edgbaston Priory Club’s HighPerformance Tennis Centre.

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FEATURE

ON TRACK: Katharine with TV commentator Phil Jones and fellow athlete Iwan Thomas

SPECIAL ‘K’ Olympic athlete-turned TV presenter Katharine Merry tells David Johns why her home city of Birmingham is on the cusp of a golden age for athletics – and why a footballing heartthrob made her a Villa fan for life atharine Merry has competed at some of the greatest sporting events in the most amazing stadia on the planet. But the athlete-turned-TV and radio presenter who was the fastest 400 metres runner in the world at both junior and senior levels, says there is nowhere to compare with ‘home’ – Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. She is confident that ‘the Alex’ – which has produced some of the UK’s finest athletes down the years – is set to embark on a golden age like it has never seen before. Besides being the base of the famous Birchfield Harriers club, of which Katharine is vice-president, the stadium is shaping up to become the undisputed home of British athletics, eclipsing London’s Olympic stadium. With the stadium slated to undergo a major transformation as the centerpiece of Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games 2022 bid, Katharine says: “It’s such an exciting time for sport in Birmingham in particular and the Midlands in general. The legacy it will bring to future generations will be amazing. It will motivate so many youngsters to take

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up the sport while bringing in valuable income to the area. Athletics needs a permanent home, and that will be Birmingham.”

WORLD-BEATER Katharine is a rare athlete who had outstanding success at junior and senior level before being forced to retire due to injury. Born in Dunchurch, she started running aged 10 before joining Birchfield at 13 and training at Tudor Grange, Solihull. She was selected to run for Britain, winning championships and medals over a six-year period before representing her country as a senior. Katharine famously won bronze in the 400 metres Cathy Freeman race at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the following year became the world number one. She was coached by 100 metres gold medallist Linford Christie as part of his Cardiff-based squad. Three years later she had to quit due to a foot injury – and found her new love for broadcasting. “I started getting involved in the whole TV punditry thing during the time I was suffering with

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injury,” she explains. “I was getting injured a lot so I was available when TV and radio wanted comment from someone who was involved in the sport. In the years since, I’ve made a conscious effort to expand my career in broadcasting.” Katharine’s credits include being a regular guest on TV and radio shows including A Question of Sport, Pointless and Celebrity Mastermind. She is the only female TV lead commentator in athletics, working at numerous Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, European Championships, as well as lead commentator for Channel 4 at the Paralympics and Paralympic World Cup events.

PRINCE HARRY She covers a wide range of sports away from athletics, including triathlon, beach volleyball and continues to be one of Sky’s lead commentators on their netball coverage. Katharine is also an indemand live events presenter and has hosted major athletics championships in the UK, Europe and America as well as the inaugural Invictus Games –

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when Prince Harry personally thanked her for helping to make the event such as huge success. Katharine was also in Rio for the Paralympic Games as a commentator for Channel 4. This month she is off to Monaco to be the host presenter at the annual IAAF Gala Awards, which recognise the world’s best athletes. “In March, I will be the infield host commentator at the World Indoor Athletics Championships at Arena Birmingham – the first time the event has returned to the city for 15 years,” adds Katharine. Unsurprisingly, time is precious in the busy Merry household. “But I still do the school run with my son and daughter,” she says. “I tend to be away with my work in blocks of five or 10 days so I can generally fit stuff in. Summer is mad though, I only have one or two weeks free.” Katharine is a keen Aston Villa supporter – unlike her Coventry City supporting parents. “They were born and bred in Coventry,” says Katharine, “but I became a Villa fan as a youngster because I really fancied Gary Shaw…” I

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITH…

PHIL MEAD Representing the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games is just one of the personal successes of the managing director of the NEC Group Arenas BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I’ve always been involved in the events industry. I was general manager at the G-MEX centre in Manchester and then operations director at Cardiff International Arena. Prior to joining the NEC Group I was deputy director of events at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow. IT’S WHAT I DO I am responsible for overseeing the operation and development of Arena Birmingham and Genting Arena and ensuring our customers, both artists and visitors, have the best experience possible. I also lead on NEC Group International – the NEC Group’s venue management and consultancy operation. This harnesses expertise from right across the group, which we deliver across the globe. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE My future ambition would be to see the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games bid through to a successful conclusion. BIGGEST SUCCESSES While at the SECC in Glasgow, I was part of a team that drove proposals for a new arena in the city – fast forward 10 years to 2013 and it had begun to operate as the SSE Hydro. Here in Birmingham, the night we launched the Barclaycard Arena in December of 2014 was a huge success for me and a credit to the team involved in the transformation. Having spent £26million on the redevelopment of the NIA, plus securing the naming rights deal for Genting Arena shortly after, contributed to a lasting legacy for the people of the West Midlands.

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ARENAS BOSS: The NEC’s Phil Mead

On a personal note, I represented the Isle of Man in the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, which was a real honour. I’ve also successfully brought up three out of four children to adulthood (my 15-year-old is not quite there yet!) BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED To successfully seize market opportunities, they need to be backed by thorough customer research. Having a firm understanding of your customers’ needs and wants is crucial to developing new propositions, increasing sales and boosting customer satisfaction rates. Equally, you should also invest in the team around you. The NEC Group Arenas has a wealth of in-house experience and we are considered by many as leaders within the industry. To retain this expertise and attract fresh talent, you need to create an environment for your team to fly. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM The entertainment and cultural offering this city provides – from Birmingham Royal Ballet to the fantastic array of events and international artists hosted by our own venues. Sometimes I feel we do not appreciate, fully realise or celebrate the quality of venues across Birmingham and the world-class performances they attract. Birmingham has it all. Moseley’s Indian restaurants are also up there as offering some of the finest cuisine I’ve ever tasted! DOWNTIME I still attempt to keep fit, and having an active teenager in the house definitely helps. Although these days, I’ll leave the more dynamic sports to him! Instead, I favour swimming or walking. There are some stunning places to visit in the English countryside – a great way to unwind after delivering a run of back-to-back events. I

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EURO PRIZE FOR THE SLATE Warwick Conferences has been awarded the IACC European Innovations Award for a digital campaign for its groundbreaking new venue, The Slate. Launched in June 2016, phase one of the campaign began with a digital fly-through showcase of The Slate highlighting the distinct nature of the venue. The second phase targeted different sectors with individually tailored versions of the fly-through, followed by short videos focused on Warwick Conferences’ core strengths and values.

BUSINESS NEWS WINE CHALLENGE Solicitors at a West Midlands law firm are toasting an intrepid couple who have elected for a lifestyle change and bought an established vineyard. Tim and Bev Haywood were advised by Thursfields’ Worcester office when they purchased Astley Vineyard in Stourport-on-Severn. The five-strong Haywood family has plans to take the business to the next level. The advising Thursfields team included associate solicitor Katie Williams, senior associate solicitor Tim Edwards and managing director Nick O’Hara.

RICHARD JOINS

THSH CAST Town Hall Symphony Hall has appointed Richard Loftus in the new role of director of sales and marketing. Previously senior sales and marketing manager at Oxford New Theatre, Richard programmed that venue’s first ticketed live music performances in the piano bar and established a year-long partnership with music therapy charity, Soundabout. As part of the THSH senior management team, he is responsible for box office, marketing and audience development.

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HEART OF ENGLAND ROLE A leading Midlands business figure has become president of a grant-giving organisation which supports community groups and charities across the region. Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, heads the Heart of England Community Foundation. He is a former senior partner of Birminghambased solicitors Wragge & Co, now Gowling WLG, and ex-president of Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He is also a previous West Midlands Businessman of the Year. PRESIDENT: John Crabtree with Foundation trustee Sir Dominic Cadbury and chief executive Tina Costello

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CHARITY AID ON TAP Midlands bathroom and tile retailer Easy Bathrooms has launched a new showroom at Kingsbury Trading Park, Birmingham – and given a boost to charity. Five per cent of every purchase within the first month was pledged to John Taylor Hospice, Grange Road. Showroom manager Phil Rooney said: “We’re a national brand with local values, so giving a percentage to the hospice means that when someone buys one of our products, they are also helping their local community.”

FUTURE FACE TOM DOUBLES UP Tech firm boss Tom Charman is celebrating double success in this year’s Birmingham Future Faces awards. The 24 year-old founder and chief executive of Kompas won the Future Face of Technology and Innovation award and was also named the overall Future Face of Greater Birmingham. Kompas, based at Innovation Campus Birmingham, Faraday Wharf, makes a mobile phone and tablet city app which is described as ‘a pocket guide to the world’s urban jungles’.

BUILDER ON THE BALL A local housebuilder has served up some welcome help to pay for specially adapted tennis balls for a tournament for blind and visually impaired players. Taylor Wimpey Midlands donated £1,000 to Edgbaston Priory Club towards the cost of hosting its third annual Visually Impaired Regional Tennis Tournament. About 30 players from across the UK compete in the amateur contest – and with a recent surge in the sport’s popularity that number is expected to rise each year.

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TURKISH DELIGHT Business leaders in Birmingham want to create more trade with Turkey. A delegation from Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce visited Bursa, outside Istanbul, and met businesses who want to establish tie-ups with UK SMEs. GBCC chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “There is so much potential in Turkey which West Midlands companies must take a close look at.” The Chamber is promoting a Bursa international summit this month, led by Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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CHINESE CELEBRATION CHARLOTTE NAMED TOP TEMP Birmingham’s Chinese community came together with local dignitaries and a highpowered delegation from the Chinese government for the 68th anniversary celebrations for China National Day. Chaired by Ming Lee of Birmingham Chinese Business Union, the event at Birmingham Conference and Events Centre at the Holiday Inn involved 15 Chinese societies from the city. Guests included Chinese government minister Hui Ma, local councillor Haitian Lu, Lord Mayor Anne Underwood, Lord Mike Whitby and Liam Byrne MP.

GOOD JOB: Charlotte Smith, right, receives her award from Daisy Wattam of Katie Bard

NEW GYM POWERS IN Low-cost gym chain, the Gym Group, has opened a new £600,000 centre at Broad Street, Birmingham. Creating 20 new jobs, the 17,000 sq ft gym in the Broadway building – formerly Tesco at Fiveways – has more than 170 pieces of fitness equipment, over 40 free-to-attend classes a week and offers contract-free memberships for £13.99 a month. Open 24/7, there’s also free wi-fi and car parking. The Gym Group runs 89 gyms across the UK.

PEOPLE AWARD A Midlands accountancy firm has received national recognition for the way it supports, leads and develops its employees. Hayward Wright Accountancy Group, with offices in Solihull, Redditch and Worcester, was awarded the coveted Investors in People accreditation. During a 15-month process, eight employees took part in interviews and assessments with the financial specialists bringing in a new appraisal process, targets and personal development plans under Investors in People guidance.

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It’s fair to say that 22-year-old Charlotte Smith is rightly feeling pretty pleased with herself. The Birmingham City University graduate has been named Temp of the Year at annual awards held by Birmingham-based recruitment and people development firm Katie Bard. Charlotte impressed while working at the Bentley and Lamborghini showrooms in Birmingham. Daisy Wattam at Katie Bard said: “Charlotte embraced the nature of the business and was one of the most reliable and consistent temps we’ve ever had.” See Social Scene

OH BABY, THAT’S CLEVER! A gadget has been developed by a local company which turns baby strollers into ‘all-terrain’ carriers. Eureka Moments, a new invention company taking ideas to the marketplace, created the device called Sandsliders which takes only seconds to fit to a stroller. The men behind the gadget – Lee Cowan, Dean Mortimer and Andrew Smith – teamed up with Better Assembly Services in Birmingham to produce the product which works on sand, snow, pebbles, gravel and wet, muddy surfaces.

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CHARLOTTE POWERS TO TOP TEMP PRIZE Bentley girl sees off all-comers at annual Katie Bard awards he annual Temp of the Year awards were held by recruitment and people development firm Katie Bard at Bank Restaurant and Bar, Brindleyplace. Top prize went to Birmingham City University graduate Charlotte Smith, 22, after she impressed while working at the Bentley and Lamborghini showrooms in Birmingham. Other winners included Alice Benbow (administrator of the year), Ben White (customer dedication), Barbara Cuthbert (PA/secretary) and Catriona Stewart, Sian Heath-Halley and Zoe Cassell (special recognition). Katie Bard also marked the 40th anniversary of parent company, the Angela Mortimer Group. I

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1 Carl McOnie, Cassandra Fox, Emily Whalley. 2 Lydia Faun, Hannah Denham, Kathryn O'Connell. 3 James Williams, Ben White, Ed and Kiri Davies. 4 Daisy Wattam with 2017 Temp of the Year, Charlotte Smith. 5 Daniel Tresigne, Serena Scalzo. 6 Tatum Foster, Vicki Gough. 7 Verity Stokes, Charlie Osborn, Dhechen Lama. 8 Elizabeth Ekhuemelo, John Mortimer, Jamila Dankaro. 9 Ollie Dickinson, Tom Daw, Tom Smith.

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NETWORKERS FACE CORKING CHALLENGE Business professionals put wine knowledge to the taste test

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group of business professionals was specially invited to enjoy networking and wine at a tasting event hosted by EDGE Creative and sponsored by R&E Finance and Panoptic at Hotel du Vin, Church Street. The event focused on attendees benefiting from networking in a professional environment with guests taking part in a World Wine Challenge to guess where the wines came from. I

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1 Neal Taylor, Mindo Sheamar, Shane Moore, Iain Hall. 2 Jaanika Okk, Mark Panayides, Hannah Campbell. 3 Harry Vlahakis, David Graham, Laura Burns. 4 Jaanika Okk, Darren Lake, Mark Skermer. 5 Richard Kerry, Anthony Richards, James Adams. 6 Richard Norton, Mark Panayides, Iain Hall. 7 Michelle Richards, Mark Skermer, Brian Hughes, Darren Lake. 8 Colin Darby, Katie Edwards, Emma Hill.

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RUGBY BACKERS GET TASTE OF THE ACTION Wasps stars cook up special treat for sponsor programme members group of the region’s leading businesspeople were in for a treat when they tackled a barbecue hosted by rugby stars at Wasps’ training ground at Broadstreet Rugby Club. Members of Wasps Player Sponsorship Programme met the likes of Joe Launchbury, Joe Simpson and Marcus Watson before being taken on a behind-thescenes tour and watching the Wasps squad in action. Businesses represented featured national names such as Mark Allen Exhibitions and Gaucho Restaurants, as well as local companies like Coventry-based CAD CAM Automotive and Birmingham’s Tinker Taylor. I

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1 Jake Cooper-Woolley, Charlotte and Matthew Booth. 2 Roy Perry, Thomas Young, Sarah Perry. 3 Martyn Wheeler, Joe Simpson, Steve Rawson. 4 Janice Talkington, Joe Launchbury, Paul Bates. 5 Marcus Watson, John Padbury. 6 Greg Gibbons, Deidre Morris, Sam Jones. 7 Stuart Mitchell, Rob Miller.

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LAW FIRM LAUNCHES NEW, BIGGER OFFICES Fast-growing Thursfields Solicitors unveils major Solihull expansion

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hursfields Solicitors held a launch party to welcome clients, guests and professional contacts to their new, larger Solihull office. The fast-growing law firm, which has offices in Solihull, Birmingham, Worcester, Kidderminster, Stourport-on-Severn, Sedgley and Halesowen, now numbers more than 140 staff across the West Midlands. Managing director Nick O’Hara said they aim to grow Solihull staff numbers from 15 to 30 and “become the law firm of choice for businesses and private clients in Solihull and north Warwickshire”. I

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1 Nigel Arnold, Nick O’Hara, Russel Dunleavy, Rob Pettigrew, Chris Peutherer. 2 Michael Hulse, Kelly Pougher. Herriott, Jenny Smith. 4 Daniel Bowles, Jon Cottrell, Mark Whitehead

David Cook. 7 Charlotte Rayson, Rob Pettigrew, Gareth King, Daniel Brookes, Olivia Amos Plant.

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3 Donna O’Meara, Phil

5 Indira Sutri, Matthew Price, Rachel Woodward. 6 Elaine Birkley, Photography by Martin Humby

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LEGENDS ON THE BALL AT BIG LAUNCH PARTY Ex-Baggies and Villa stars join VIP celebration at Blakes restaurant he great and good from Alvechurch and Barnt Green businesses attended the official Champagne launch of Blakes, the newly revamped fine dining restaurant at Westmead Hotel. Special guests included former West Brom and England footballer Cyrille Regis and ex-Aston Villa player Mark Walters as well as TV presenters, the BBC’s Noreen Khan and ITV’s Suzanne Virdi. Restaurant manager Kieron Tronson showcased his skills, mixing an array of Blakes speciality cocktails. I

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1 Dhechen Lama, Drew Craythorn. 2 Melissa Hancox, Ola Perkos. 3 Sapna Panesar, Noreen Khan, Mandeep Sira. 4 Cyrille and Julia Regis. 5 Sarah Hughes, John Madders. 6 Suzanne Virdee, Andrew Fox. 7 Jessy Panesar, Jo Jeffries, Anita Champaneri. 8 Mark Walters and friend.

Photography by Jas Sansi

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FASHION’S BIGGEST NAMES ON CATWALK Harvey Nichols puts on the style at show and party extravaganza he latest trends from some of fashion’s biggest names were showcased at Harvey Nichols AW17 show. VIP guests were treated to a style extravaganza at the Mailbox featuring the likes of Gucci, Balmain, Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Christian Louboutin and Givenchy. It was the first time Harvey Nichols had hosted its Birmingham catwalk show since moving to its new showpiece store two years ago. Guests enjoyed an after-show party in Harvey Nichols Bar and Restaurant. I

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1 Bethany Peaves, Rani Jundu, Melanie Pryor. 2 Jivan Mann, Manisha Bangor.

3 David Waters, Anastasia Nikolis. 4 Maryam Salam,

Idayat San. 5 Hannah Smith, Savhan Lyall. 6 Krishma Parmar, John Paul McGuirk. 7 John Clifton Hooper, Stephen K Chand, Smitten Patel. Photography by Andy Espin

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PLAYERS AND FANS RELIVE CUP DREAM Anniversary dinner marks Aston Villa’s famous European Cup victory special dinner was held at Chung Ying Central to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Aston Villa winning the European Cup. Members of the famous team from 1982, including Tony Morley, talked to 100 Villa fans about winning the trophy and their experiences in the 80’s. A raffle with the prize of a replica cup raised £3,000 for free@last, a charity to improve the lives of young people in Nechells by providing opportunities, activities, mentoring and support. I

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1 Mr & Mrs Andy Blair, Jack Woodward. 2 Chris Connolly, Ken McNaught, Henrik Court. 3 Tom Griffiths, Peter Mullins, Steve and Paul Ashford. 4 Paul Ashford, Sam Murray, William Wong. 5 Jonathan Oldfield, John Street. 6 Greg Ford, Sam Gale, Paul Mabbett, Ian Glass. 7 Sarah Birch, Tara Tomes, William Wong. 8 Sunny Gill, Sahib Chote.

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WHAT: Fabulous Fireworks WHEN: 4 November WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, tel: 0121 212 3383 www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk From Catherine Wheels to Roman Candles, witness a spectacular 10-minute display of fizzing fireworks with the stunning Gardens as the back drop. All welcome, with members going free. (Must pre-register.)

WHAT: Birmingham Whisky Festival

WHAT: Nativity! The Musical

WHEN: 25 November

WHEN: Now until 12 November

WHERE: Birmingham Council House,

WHERE: Birmingham Rep,

www.thewhiskylounge.com

tel: 0121 245 2024

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is a must for any whisky fan, no matter how old or young. Includes a huge selection of home-grown favourites and international blends.

www.birmingham-rep.co.uk This awesome festive film is now a major new musical adapted for the stage by Debbie Isitt. It’s never too early for a slice of yuletide joy, full of some fabulous sing-a-long hits.

WHAT: A Christmas Carol WHEN: 27 November to 4 February, 2018 WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, tel: 01789 403493 www.rsc.org.uk

WHAT: Howard Jones WHEN: 25 November

David Edgar, one of our greatest living writers, adapts Charles Dickens’ festive tale of redemption and compassion. In one ghostly Christmas night, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge learns to pity himself and to love his neighbour – but is that enough?

WHERE: Birmingham O2 Institute, www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham The 80’s legend returns to the UK with his new and extended Electric Band following a 24-date headline tour of the USA. Throw off your mental chains and ask yourself ‘What is Love’?

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WHAT: Van Morrison in Concert WHEN: 13 November WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk A true music original, Sir Van Morrison is renowned for his unique and inspirational work and has one of the most revered catalogues in the business. WHAT: Stephen K Amos WHEN: 4 November WHERE: The Old Rep Theatre, tel: 0121 359 9444 www.oldreptheatre.co.uk The acclaimed stand-up comedian and broadcaster embarks on a brand new UK tour that kicks off in Birmingham. Its mission is simple: to cheer the nation up in the aftermath of Brexit, Trump and Mary Berry’s departure from GBBO.

WHAT: Light up a Life WHEN: 30 November WHERE: Brindleyplace, www.careatchristmas.org/light-up-a-life Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is remembering loved ones lost this Christmas with a touching, alternative light switch-on with their seasonal ‘Light up a Life’ ceremony and an evening of music, celebration and remembrance.

WHAT: The Dreamboys WHEN: 8 November WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, WHAT: Bananarama WHEN: 23 November WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The girl group that defined the 80’s are back to their original, record-breaking line up for a one-off tour this winter that will see Sara, Keren and Siobhan on the road together for the very first time.

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tel: 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk The boys are back and they’re hotter than ever! Surely these guys are the most famous male stripper act the UK has ever produced. Maybe it’s worth popping along to see what the fuss is all about…

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WHAT: Jason Byrne: The Man With Three Brains WHEN: 3 November WHERE: Town Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk A brand new show from the highly acclaimed and extremely funny host of Wild Things. The fastest thinking comic around will not only trip himself up, but probably you too.

WHAT: Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market WHEN: 16 November to 24 December WHERE: Victoria Square and New Street With more than 120 stalls there is something for everyone at the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria.

WHAT: Antiques for Everyone Winter WHEN: 23 to 26 November WHERE: NEC, tel: 0844 5810827 www.antiquesforeveryone.co.uk WHAT: Roy Chubby Brown WHEN: 29 November WHERE: New Alexandra Theatre, tel: 0844 8713011 www.atgtickets.com/birmingham He’s still rude, he’s still crude and this time he’s turning headlines into punchlines as his rip-roaring brand of banter continues to burst bellies across the country. ‘The World’s Most Outrageous Comedian’ is far too rude for TV so best to avoid if easily offended. 18+

The largest vetted art, antiques and interiors fair in the UK is back with more than 200 specialist art and antiques dealers on hand, displaying an inspiring array of beautiful, unusual and rare objects for every budget.

WHAT: The Xmas ‘Mamma Mia’ Party with Bootleg Abba WHEN: 1 December WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk Enjoy a great time at a venue that’s perfect for a Christmas party. Starring one of the very best Abba tribute acts for a night to unleash your inner Dancing Queen.

WHAT: James Arthur WHEN: 25 November WHERE: Genting Arena, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com Was it really 2012 when Arthur won the X Factor? How time flies! His debut single Impossible went on to sell more than 2.5 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful winner’s single in the show’s history.

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WHAT: Cinderella WHEN: 19 December to 28 January WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, tel: 0844 338 5000 www.birminghamhippodrome.com Cinderella is possibly the most magical pantomime of them all and this starstudded, glittering production will live up to the dream. The cast includes Beverley Knight, Danny Mac and Suzanne Shaw – so make sure this is one ball you get to go to!

WHAT: Christmas Arts Market

WHAT: The Nutcracker

WHEN: 2 and 3 December

WHEN: 24 November to

WHERE: Mac Birmingham,

13 December

tel: 0121 446 3232

WHERE: Birmingham Royal Ballet at

www.macarts.co.uk

Birmingham Hippodrome, www.brb.org.uk

A festive selection of some of the best work from designer makers in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond. A wonderful opportunity to buy the very best in unique crafts direct from the maker.

There’s no better way to embrace the festive season than with this stunning ballet that delights young and old alike.

WHAT: Harborne Royalty Trust Fund-raising Event WHEN: 18 November WHERE: Moor Pool Hall, www.theroyaltyharborne.co.uk This fund-raiser aims to help bring the stunning art deco cinema back to life. It’s a family-friendly event, so bring the children for a cracking evening featuring the Apex Jazz & Swing Band.

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IN THE CITY In the ‘showbiz world’ you never know what you are going to be dealing with. I can be working Front of House welcoming audiences, be in planning meetings, or dealing with first-aid incidents

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I am Jonathan Thompson, head of visitor services at Birmingham Hippodrome. I have worked at the theatre for 15 years. It is an amazing and rewarding role and beautiful place to work. The theatre is known for the amazing performances on the main stage, but also the work in the local community. Welcoming more than 500,000 people through the doors each year keeps us all very busy!

COFFEE BREAK? I like the Quarter Horse Coffee on Bristol Street. Great venue and coffee – and it’s just around the corner from the theatre.

LUNCHTIME? It’s normally grab-and-go when you can. In the ‘showbiz world’ you never know what you are going to be dealing with. I can be working Front of House welcoming audiences, be in planning meetings, greeting VIPs or dealing with first-aid incidents!

HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? POWERWALKING? Depends on what time I start I’ll often stroll to the Bullring for a work – it can be anything from little retail therapy! 8am to 3pm. I live in Bearwood and the Hagley Road has a bus WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE service every 10 minutes. I run PART OF THE CITY? home via the canal network as I Jonathan Thompson, head of visitor The Mailbox is lovely now after its am in training for the services at Birmingham Hippodrome refurbishment and has a great vibe to it. Birmingham and Brighton marathons. If I am finishing late at night, I’ll drive. AFTERWORK PINT? I’m a dry white wine drinker and like to go to either IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN? Thorp 17 bar or the Loft Lounge. Days off, it’s the I have seen an amazing change in the city over the Plough in Harborne. Great beer garden and I love the years – the Bullring, Grand Central and now all the work pizza, burgers or Cuban sandwich with spicy fries! around Paradise Forum that is going to look stunning. When I got the job, I remember my family asking why on HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? earth did I want to move here? Now they see why. There I would love to see a few more independent bars is an amazing atmosphere in the city. And it’s so central – and restaurants open (more family home cooked I often pop down and watch a show in London and make meals like pasta, pizza, etc) rather than a lot of chains the last train back. My family are in Staffordshire and of restaurants. Lincoln, so it’s just onto the motorway. Easy!

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November issue 2017 (issue 62)  
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