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September 2017

AW17 SPECIAL I PIMPS & POWERSUITS I LIGHTS & SHADES

+

ANDY WATERS BEVERLY LINDSAY SALLY WALDER IRONMAN HYWEL DAVIES MEZBAAN

STREWTH, IT’S

THE BIG SLEUTH

TEDxYouth@Brum

CITY OF YOUTH LEADS THE WORLD

Wonder Stuff

W H AT N E X T F O R E R I C A N O C K A L L S ?


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EDITOR’S VIEW Forget summer, I once worked with a guy who walked five miles to the office every day in shorts and T-shirt all year round come rain, shine – or snow!

ometimes you just know that you are tempting fate. A couple of months ago I invested in a cocoon-like outdoor chair. Suspended wicker and comfy cushions – the perfect place to settle down with the laptop on a summer evening and put in a few extra hours work on the best magazine in the Midlands…. Great stuff! Except from the moment it arrived, it hasn’t stopped persisting it down! To start with I felt a bit disappointed, then frustrated, then angry – and now? Well, I’ve decided it’s hopeless to fight it – so I’m embracing the fact that summer’s done and dusted and it’s time to welcome autumn/winter. Which is exactly what we’re doing in this month’s issue. There’s a lovely piece previewing the AW17 fashion and beauty trends. Apparently shoulder pads (calm down, we’re not talking the disco items), cable knits and pimp powersuits are going to be what the girls are wearing this season. For the guys, it’s all about earthy tones in quilting or corduroy. Nice. As we look towards the nights drawing in, we’ve also turned our attention to the latest looks in lighting the home. Whether you’re in a flat or semi, penthouse or mansion, our Homes section has some great ideas that’d bring panache and practicality to any room. Some people of course, don’t seem to care whether it’s summer or winter, they just carry on regardless. I once worked with a guy who walked five miles to the office every day in shorts and T-shirt all year round come rain, shine – or snow! I daresay he’s a fan of ironman and contributor Hywel Davies, who has been encouraging me to try open water swimming. He swears I’ll be as warm as toast as long as I wear a wetsuit. In your dreams Hywel… in your dreams!

S

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: Erica Nockalls by Neil Chapman

visit www.brumliving.co.uk @brum_living

september 2017

/bhamliving

When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it

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INSIDE

Highlights

12 16 20 22 30 42

Erica Nockalls Violinist, vocalist, visual artist … Erica is much more than the Wonder Stuff’s fiddle player The Big Sleuth How the biggest-ever art trail of 100 bears captured the imagination of kids and adults alike Andy Waters The chef patron celebrates second anniversary of his restaurant at Resorts World Food & Drink Foodie news, critics reviews of Mezbaan and Gusto, plus the magic of Merlot Style – AW17 Shoulder pads, cable knits and coats fit for a pimp. It’s the Autumn-Winter trendsetters! Health Hywel Davies explains why open water swimming is increasingly popular with all ages

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CONTENTS

12

Best of the Rest

42 56 63 64 71 78 82 september 2017

Homes With dark evenings just around the corner now’s the time to lighten-up your home Motoring Fast and fabulous – Sue Cooke finds there’s more to the Audi RS5 Coupe than speed Up Close With Beverly Lindsay, the recently appointed Vice LordLieutenant for the West Midlands TEDxYouth@Brum New movement challenging the city’s young, plus news from the business community Social Scene The pages that picture who’s been out and about networking in Birmingham this month Shows, Arts, Gigs and More What’s on, where and when – all you need to know about the entertainment scene In The City Sally Walder, general manager of Amplify, on why Birmingham is really buzzing

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NEWS

FEELING RUFF? GET A DOG!

g n i livTODAY

Stressed out with life? Not dog lovers! More than 85 per cent of pet owners in the West Midlands believe having a dog helps to cut stress levels. Research by pet supplements firm Lintbells also discovered that 80 per cent said their dog was an integral part of the family and made life in general happier. And over a third of dog owners admitted their pooch has a special spot on the sofa.

PRIDE OF OUR HIGH-FLIERS

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

CONCERT ON THE CANAL Musicians are pushing the boat out in a city first. Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, led by artistic director Stephan Meier, is taking to the canals to celebrate its 30th

One of the world’s leading ballet schools is

anniversary with a free outdoor concert

celebrating after launching young stars of the future

on narrow boats. Canal Serenade

onto the professional stage. Birmingham’s Elmhurst

premieres on Sunday 10 September and

Ballet School has seen its ‘Class of 2017’ graduates

is repeated on Saturday 23 September

win places at top UK and international companies –

as part of Birmingham Weekender. The

including three students joining Birmingham Royal

floating concert is between

Ballet. Destinations for other graduates include

Brindleyplace, Arena Birmingham and

France, Japan, Germany and the US. Elmhurst

the National Sea Life Centre.

Picture: Alex Walker

artistic director Robert Parker said: “It is with great pride we see so many go on to employment across the world.”

50 YEARS IN STITCHES Sue Nightingale has been getting the needle with her job for more than half-acentury… but she’s loved every minute! Birmingham Rep’s top seamstress has celebrated 50 years of service during which time she has created more than 10,000 costumes for over 800 shows. After being head of wardrobe for 25 years, Sue works part-time for the Rep and still enjoys making costumes for the theatre’s productions. TOP JOB: Sue, right, with Rep artistic director Roxana Silbert (Picture: Gil Gillis)

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NEWS

HOSPITAL APPEAL HITS TARGET An appeal to raise £3.65million for a Rare Disease Centre at Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been reached. The target was hit thanks to a £650,000 gift from St James’s Place Foundation and smaller donations of thousands of people. The new centre will be the UK’s first to provide all assessment, diagnosis, treatment and research under one roof. More than 9,000 children are cared for at the hospital every year.

ASHLEY SADDLES UP Former England cricketer and sports director at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, Ashley Giles, is getting on his bike to join Queen Elizabeth Hospital Charity at Vélo Birmingham – the city’s 100-mile closed-road bicycle race city on Sunday 24 September. Ashley’s wife Stine received successful pioneering treatment at the QE after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Help Ashley reach his £5,000 goal by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gilovelo or text ASHG94 and amount to 70070.

BELINDA DROPS IN Visitors to the High Field, Edgbaston were in for a treat when Belinda Carlisle, one of the biggest selling female global artists of all time, made a one-off appearance. The singer performed a short acoustic set of songs to help raise money her own charity, Animal People Alliance, and the UK charity branch of Her Future.

LIVE MUSIC: Headline DJ David Rodigan

BE THERE, OR BE SQUARE! A giant wooden dance floor will take pride of place in Victoria Square for three days of brilliant music and dance from 22 to 24 September. Visitors will experience everything from disco to folk, bhangra to Northern Soul as well as striking Kathakali dancers from India and homegrown square dancing with the Moseley Folk team. Live music will be presented by headline DJs, Craig Charles (6 Music), David Rodigan, (1Xtra) and Don Letts (6 Music). Details at www.birminghamweekender.com

BRAVE FRAN’S CAMPAIGN CALL A Birmingham mum whose life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease is supporting a national campaign to extend hospice care to more families. Fran Tierney, who receives support from John Taylor Hospice in Erdington, is backing the Open Up Hospice Care campaign. “Before John Taylor Hospice helped me I felt lost in a bewildering new way of life,” said Fran. Details at www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk and www.hospiceuk.org

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NEWS

THOUSANDS SET BIRTHDAY BOY GLYNN COOKS UP A TREAT PARKS RECORD Fifteen lucky ‘golden ticket’ winners Brummies love their parks – and that’s official! This summer’s ParkLives free events and activities, which continue through September, have attracted record numbers of visitors. The city’s parks have hosted scores of events, from picnics and zumba to running, bushcraft and soft archery. For more details about ParkLives, hosted by Cocoa-Cola and Birmingham City Council, visit www.ParkLives.com

and their guests were given the evening of a lifetime when Purnell’s restaurant celebrated its tenth birthday with an exclusive Krug champagne reception and 10-course menu. The special menu showcased some of Michelin-starred Glynn Purnell’s best-loved signature dishes. Glynn said: “Ten years ago my dream came true when I opened the doors of Purnell’s Restaurant. Ten years on and I’m still living the dream.”

PIC A WINNER

IN BRIEF

Young snappers are being given the chance to make their mark in the Cube’s annual photography competition. Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Birmingham landmark has launched an under-18s Cube Young Photographer of the Year to run alongside the main senior competition. Finalists will have their images displayed online and inside the Cube at an exhibition on 21 September.

MAYOR Q&A

SNAP HAPPY: Last year’s Cube Photographer of the Year, Daniel Sturley, left, receiving the winner’s trophy

West Midlands mayor Andy Street will be quizzed about his first five months in the job and hopes for the city by BBC political editor Patrick Burns at a special Q&A lunch on 26 October at Hotel du Vin. More details: www.birminghambigartproject. org.uk

UNI BOOST

ANDY’S SURPRISE VISIT CBeebies TV presenter Andy Day paid a surprise visit to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Andy handed out toys to the kids, donated by housebuilder Redrow Homes (Midlands). The developer has raised £50,000 for the hospital over the last three years and arranged the visit as part of its ongoing support. Graham Micklewright, Redrow’s regional director, said: “The children couldn’t believe that someone they’re used to seeing on TV was in the room with them.”

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FUMO OPENS IN SELFRIDGES Birmingham’s award-winning Italian restaurant company, San Carlo Group, is expanding. The Italian family-run group – which has 17 UK restaurants, including San Carlo,Temple Street and Fumo, Waterloo Street – is opening a Fumo restaurant, champagne and cocktail bar on the fourth floor of Selfridges Birmingham. The £1million restaurant is the third Selfridges San Carlo Group restaurant – San Carlo Bottega and Gran Café are situated within Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester.

A new university centre offering a more flexible and affordable way to get a degree or masters is opening in Birmingham. With fees of up to a third less than traditional institutions, Arden University says the centre at Hill Street will make higher education more accessible.

BEST HOTELS Four-star Abbey Hotel, Redditch and Lea Marston Hotel, Sutton Coldfield have been recognised by customers as the very best in the business after receiving a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the seventh consecutive year.

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NEWS

POWER PLAY

Drivers are getting the chance to sample for the first time a new car that boasts a 48-volt system that allows it to coast without combustion engine power for up to 40 seconds at a time. The cutting-edge Audi A8 was launched at Audi Birmingham, showcasing advanced technology which will shape the German carmaker’s models for the next 10 years. See Motoring, page 56

JULIAN’S BEER CHEER

YOUNG MUSICIANS

ON TRAX

There’s plenty brewing at Birmingham Conservatoire with the opening this month of its new £5million home – and the launch of a bespoke bottled beer to be served in the world-class centre. Conservatoire principal Prof Julian Lloyd Webber visited Wye Valley Brewery to discuss the new brew with head brewer Gareth Bateman, pictured. Julian is a long-time fan of the brewery’s ales and plans to serve the bottled beer and cask ale in the bar of the new building.

A group of 12 young musicians will showcase their talent thanks to a project backed by Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture. Aged 16 to 21, they have come through Positive Youth Foundation’s Changing Trax project which offers music as a platform for expression. Coventry City of Culture Trust and its sponsors made a significant contribution to the project. The group will perform Changing Trax – Electric Proms at Warwick Arts Centre in November.

RUNNING RUNS

IN THE FAMILY

THE NAME GAME Goodbye Barclaycard Arena, hello Arena Birmingham! One of Europe’s busiest indoor sporting and entertainment venues has a new name. The change comes after Barclaycard ended its naming rights deal. NEC Group Arenas MD, Phil Mead, said: “We are entering another exciting era with Arena Birmingham as it’s transformed into a destination in its own right.” Together with its Genting Arena sister, the venue attracts 1.5 million visitors a year.

When Birmingham grandad Jay Bansal tucks into a slice of cake to celebrate his 60th birthday on Sunday 15 October, few will argue he’s earned the treat. For not only will Jay be marking the milestone birthday, he will be one of the thousands of people to complete the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run. Jay is running the half marathon while son Raj takes part in the first-ever Birmingham International Marathon on the same day. Both are running in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

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

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COVER STORY

There weren’t that many 21-year-old classical trained metal electric violinists around back then

STRINGS

ATTACHED

Violinist, vocalist, visual artist and honorary Brummie… Erica Nockalls is so much more than the Wonder Stuff’s fiddle player, says Shelley Carter

photo credit Matthias Hombauer

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lassically trained at Birmingham Conservatoire, Erica Nockalls graduated in 2006 and has since forged a successful and varied career that encompasses visual art as well as music. In addition to joining the Wonder Stuff 12 years ago, Erica has collaborated with an eclectic list of artists ranging from Shane Embury of Napalm Death fame to the Proclaimers and beyond. She’s released two critically acclaimed solo art rock albums, plus there’s a classical score in the pipeline too. As one half of duo Miles & Erica – the other half is the Wonder Stuff ’s frontman Miles Hunt (aka Mr Nockalls) – an album release is set for this month. For a woman who says she’d like to ‘create something, however small, every day for the rest of my life,’ we reckon she’s nailing it. Millions of children across the land pick up an instrument and put it down again pretty swiftly. Then there are the few like Erica for whom learning music is far from a chore and more a way of life. Erica explained: “After a fair bit of parent pestering on my part, I was gifted a violin on my seventh birthday by my mum and dad. I suppose they held out because my dad, being a classical guitarist and teacher himself, knew all too well of the ‘pick it up, put it down’ fickleness of childish whims.”

C

CHILD’S PLAY When I wonder at what point the violin became more than just a hobby, Erica explained it was never that in the first place. She recalled: “You asking me this question is genuinely the first time I've put the two words together in one sentence. As a kid, music was the one thing I found that I had a natural aptitude for. I learned quickly and it felt good to be good at something. I’m lucky to have found out what I have a passion for at such an early age. I’ve dedicated my life to music and it wasn’t even a conscious decision to do so.” A place at Birmingham Conservatoire followed aged 19, but why Brum? The answer’s simple: “Because out of the three music schools I auditioned for, the Conservatoire was the only one who offered me money in the form of an entrance scholarship!

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The fact Birmingham seemed to want me to attend enough that they’d actually pay me was rather flattering to a 19-year-old like me.” Erica was pleased with her choice for a number of reasons not least the city’s rock scene. She said: “I cut my teeth on the Birmingham rock scene, studied under the amazing violin virtuoso Ken Aiso, and I joined a professional touring band in the form of the Wonder Stuff.” When Erica’s entrance scholarship ran out and part time work didn’t appeal, she started to busk in affluent areas around the Midlands including Stratford-upon-Avon. The Wonder Stuff ’s producer lived in the town at the time and when he strolled past Erica playing one day he was impressed enough to seek her out. “At the time, I was starting to get about a bit on the Birmingham music scene playing in a progressive metal band. There weren’t that many 21-year-old classical trained metal electric violinists around back then, so it was pretty easy for the producer to track me down.” SPEAKING HER MIND A phone call from Miles later and Erica received a CD of tracks in the post so she could learn parts that the previous violinist had recorded. An audition was to follow. “Miles has since informed me that he knew I’d got the job within the first song we played together, a track called Circlesquare. It was just the two of us running through the songs acoustically.” Miles also told Erica she got the gig because she liked to speak her mind. “There was a track on the CD of songs for me to learn called Cartoon Boyfriend. I told him that I didn’t bother to learn that one because I didn’t really like it.” Of the massive changes at the Conservatoire under the watchful eye of Julian Lloyd Webber Erica thinks it can only be a good thing. “Having a name professional musician with sack-loads of experience in the music industry can’t hurt. It certainly might offer students another outlook for a career in music away from the usual ‘join an orchestra if you’re good enough, or teach’ sort of music school mentality.” Erica has released two art rock solo albums, Imminent Room and EN2 which have shown her

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COVER STORY

what she’s capable of. “I understand more about myself and my limitations, more about what I want to say and achieve, more about recording processes, more about the music industry, and more about life in general really.” In a great position to collaborate with people who’ve been on her wish list for a while, Erica would love to write with Marilyn Manson and Devin Townsend Project and at some point provide real strings for Iron Maiden. She says: “I don’t know why they think synth strings are acceptable.” NEW ALBUM Living what sounds like an idyllic life on a farm in Shropshire, Miles and Erica have been busy writing the third Miles & Erica studio album titled We Came Here To Work which is released this month. “It’s as if by now we know what we’re doing! It all came together incredibly quickly, which in my mind is a totally positive thing when making music. We hope we have made an understated acoustic album of real, quality songs.” Erica has provided far more layered backing vocals on this album as she says ‘she’s found her voice as a vocalist in her own right’. She also played cello on a few tracks, an instrument Erica took up just last year. This month Miles and Erica take to the road for a couple of months promoting the album and naturally they’ll be stopping off in Brum. “I love playing gigs in Birmingham,” said Erica. “It always feels like a hometown gig, even if I am only an honorary Brummie!” I

As a kid, music was the one thing I had a natural aptitude for. I learned quickly and it felt good to be good at something

ABOUT TOWN Catch Miles & Erica at the Glee Club on Tuesday 17 October

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FEATURE

WELCOME TO

BEAR-MINGHAM! How the biggest-ever art trail captured the imagination of kids and adults alike f you’ve been in Birmingham these past few weeks and haven’t noticed this little lot, well, you must have been walking around with a blindfold on! The Big Sleuth bears have been the talk of the city, and a magnet for kids and their parents on school summer hols. The bear sculptures – more than 100 in total – form the region’s largest-ever free public art trail stretching out from the city centre to surrounding areas of Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Sandwell and Resorts World. And we’ve picked out a few of the best and brightest to feature just in case you missed them… Creative designs using an array of colours, textures and ideas have come from celebrities and artists, including Temper and Reuben Colley, boy band and Birmingham Living cover star Bradley Simpson from The Vamps, actor Adil Ray (aka Citizen Khan), Birmingham Bears and England cricketer Chris Woakes, adventurer Bear Grylls, and a special Peaky Blinders bear endorsed by the show’s writer Steven Knight.

I

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Each striking sculpture tells a different story, whether it is raising awareness of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the plight of the sun bear, celebrating a community, the city’s industrial heritage or a famous film character or artist. The Big Sleuth is a joint project between the children’s hospital and Wild in Art, and has proved even more popular than last year’s Big Hoot trail which featured decorated owls. At the end of the 10-week-long trail, the large bears together with special celebrity bear cubs will be auctioned off in October to raise funds for the hospital. The Big Hoot, raised more than £500,000 for the hospital at auction – so fingers crossed that the Big Sleuth matches and beats that target. I The Big Sleuth Bears will come together for a Farewell Weekend on 6 to 8 October before being sold at the Big Sleuth Auction on 12 October. More details: http://thebigsleuth.co.uk/fundraise/

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FOOD & DRINK

ANDY WATERS The chef patron talks about his inspirational

confectioner mum, cheese and bean toasties and celebrating the second anniversary of his restaurant based at Resorts World

Tell us about your cooking I’m not one that’s terribly excited by foams and jellies. You have to do what you’re best at and I’m a classically-trained chef and I would describe my style as modern British. I get really excited about using great produce to create outstanding flavours. Ultimately you need to get to know what your customers want and reward them for their loyalty. How did you become a chef? I was always more practical than academic at school and it was a natural progression into cooking. My mother was a real inspiration. As a confectioner, she was an artist and I remember she could create a bowl of flowers and you could lean down to sniff them before realising they were made of sugar! I used to cook for my aunt and my parents before they went out on a Saturday night but my first real cooking job was in Bournemouth where I guess my claim to fame is that Jean-Christophe Novelli was doing the pastry – we’re still good friends. I then went on to work at the Plough and Harrow in Edgbaston and Simpsons Restaurant under Andreas Antona. But I always knew I wanted my own business and after testing the water at the Bay Tree I opened my first restaurant, Edmunds in Henley-in-Arden. What do you eat when at home? As simple as possible. I love my junk food but fortunately my wife cooks a lot, so she makes sure there’s plenty of healthy fish and vegetables. We have two children so we also tend to eat more kiddyfriendly foods like cheese and bean toasties!

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Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum? There’s no one best chef. It’s a tough industry and we all have our own styles and talents. I’ve always been inspired by Paul Bocuse in Lyon and although it may be a cliché I think Gordon Ramsay has a workload and pedigree that’s second to none. There’s a fantastic food scene in Birmingham and we should be so proud of the next generation of chefs coming out the College of Food (or UCB as it’s now known). Is the customer always right? At the time, yes! We’re all individual and have our own set of beliefs. Share a cooking tip If you have a sticky frying pan, fry on silicone.

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CHEF’S CORNER

What was your favourite food as a kid? My mum’s warm sponge cake straight out of the oven. A smell to die for. Food heaven and food hell? Can’t beat that heavenly sponge cake but my absolute hell is shellfish – I’m allergic to it! What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Swamp toad. It has a similar texture to chicken but it tastes more fishy and is rancid! If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? My twin brother is a boat builder and was at Sealine in Kidderminster for years. We’re very similar so I suppose I would have gone into that industry. What do you recommend from this evening’s menu? All of it, or it wouldn’t be on! I

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Andy Waters, Floor One, Resorts World Birmingham, Pendigo Way, Birmingham B40 1PU. Tel: 0121 273 1238 www.watersrestaurant.co.uk

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ADVERTORIAL

Welcome to Britain’s favourite cruise line All aboard for time of your life – it’s all plain sailing from Birmingham to the Med, Caribbean and Gulf At P&O Cruises, we’d like to treat you to a taste of the good life, or rather the great life! Your ‘This is the life’ moments lie in wait around every corner and in every port; as you step aboard for the very first time to the sight of your ship’s glamorous atrium, as you pull back your cabin’s curtains to reveal a new destination and as you savour a delicious meal to sea views. All of this and more makes us Britain’s favourite cruise line.

So much is included Delicious meals, sparkling entertainment, children’s clubs, pools and gym. Even dance classes. When you know all this and more is included, it’s easy to relax and let the good times roll. Choose a fly-cruise and flights and transfers are also included as part of your holiday, giving you even more value.

You’re in safe hands In 2017 we celebrate 180 years of P&O history, which means we know our stuff! Sail with us and you can expect amazing destinations, relaxation, friendly service and the warmest welcome at sea. Tailored to today’s British tastes On board you’ll find we’ve been inspired by the very best of the contemporary food and entertainment scene. While little touches such as tea and coffee making facilities in your cabin and prices in sterling add extra peace of mind.

Fly from Birmingham to the Med, the Caribbean and the Arabian Gulf Unbeatably convenient, you can step onto a flight from Birmingham Airport and join your ship in the heart of your holiday destination. But where will you choose to go? Head to the Mediterranean and you can enjoy the glory of great

We’ve a holiday and a ship for everyone Sailing to over 250 destinations around the globe, our fleet of eight ships bring you travel at its most effortless. From indulgent holidays just for adults to family-friendly adventures, we’ve a ship for every occasion and lifestyle.

cities, such as Athens, Barcelona, Dubrovnik or Venice. Jet off to the sunny Caribbean and sail through paradise islands like Barbados, Martinique and St. Lucia. Or what about touching down in Dubai and sailing through the Arabian Gulf? A fascinating region of futuristic cities, timeless landscapes and sandy beaches.

Discover our tempting array of holidays. Visit www.pocruises.com. For up-to-date pricing and full terms & conditions please visit our website pocruises.com. P&O Cruises is a trading name of Carnival plc, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 04039524.

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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 VANTASTIC TREATS AT FAT FRANKS The classic VW Campervan is an icon of US culture – so what could be better than a converted 1982 version for a new pop-up eatery specialising in American-style gourmet frankfurter hot dogs, soft ice creams, milkshakes, waffles and grab-and-go snacks? Called Fat Franks, we are told that the pop-up in Sutton Coldfield’s Gracechurch Centre is a must-eat treat.

INDIAN STREATERY AT THE DOUBLE Grab-and-go lunches by day, and casual dining by night. That’s the ‘dual concept’ behind new Indian street food restaurant, the Indian Streatery, which has opened at 21a Bennetts Hill – formerly Adam’s restaurant. The venture is from the family team behind Indian Rasoi, Birmingham’s original chaat specialists, which has been serving chaat on the city’s street food scene for a number of years.

DIRTY MARTINI SET TO CLEAN UP Cocktail bar specialist Dirty Martini is to open at the Grade II listed former bank at the corner of Waterloo Street and Bennetts Hill. The property, which is undergoing a £950,000 revamp, was previously the home of steakhouse Viva Brazil which closed earlier this summer. Dirty Martini currently has eight sites across the UK, seven of which are in London.

BUENOS DIAS AT LAS IGUANAS The tropical style of Latin America has come to Birmingham with the opening of Las Iguanas, Temple Street. The eatery features a vibrant décor and a menu from across Latin America. We like the sound of Bolinhos de Caranguejo – crab, prawn and potato croquettes, or the Cuban Sandwich of roasted pork belly, pulled pork, Emmental cheese and ham and green pickle relish…

NEW CONCEPT BY THE CANAL The company behind the Botanist has opened a new concept bar and restaurant called Canal House in the old James Brindley pub building on Bridge Street, overlooking the canal. It boasts a “cocktail menu that will take customers on a revolutionary journey; imagine visions blurred by fogs of oak smoke and intoxicating flames of overproof rum”.

REVEALING A HIDDEN GEM Family-run Limes Country Lodge, Solihull has been shortlisted in national awards celebrating the UK’s best independent hosts and hoteliers. The hotel has been shortlisted in the Hidden Gem – Midlands category at the premier eviivo awards. Owner David Morris said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised.” The awards take place on 17 October in London.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

MEZBAAN 27-29 Poplar Rd, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7AA. Tel: 0121 441 3333 www.mezbaan-kingsheath.com f you’ve never been to Mahfil in Kings Norton you’re missing an authentic Bengali trick. If it’s because you live in Kings Heath, or let’s say Moseley or even Harborne and you can’t face the short trip you lazy blighters, you needn’t bother. Because Bahar – the man behind Mahfil – has opened a second place right on your very doorstep and it’s just as good, if not better than the original. We visited Mezbaan just a few weeks after it flung open its doors and the place was buzzing. It was a random Tuesday in the height of holiday season and its liveliness took us by surprise. Take-aways were flying out of the door too. Early signs that Kings Heath was ready. The place had a weekend vibe about it with low ceilings, great lighting (I know we’re obsessed) and some glamorous touches thrown in for good measure. We found it very easy to forget it was a school night. Cue a cheeky mojito with a tonne of mint which we loved. We went with some recommendations from the waiter who was utterly lovely. First up Chicken 65 – we don’t know why it’s called Chicken 65, we were enjoying ourselves so much we forgot to ask. Tender chicken breast encased in a delicate batter spiced beautifully and served with a punchy sauce. It was the perfect start. Bangali Jinga was equally gorgeous. Juicy prawns, cooked in the tandoor giving them a dry, smoky flavour were seriously good with green chilli adding just the right amount of heat. We could have grazed on these all evening.

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Chicken Hariali was rich with coconut milk and lightly spiced while the Lasani Ghust packed a punch with tender lamb and bags of heat running through the tomato based sauce. There were a couple of pickled onions on the side which I didn’t quite understand, but that’s the only nit-picking negative. Naan bread was as good as any we’ve had. The waiter tried to tempt us with more cocktails before we left – one of which apparently tastes like Jammy Dodgers. We pulled ourselves back from the brink remembering it was a school night, but vowed to return for the biscuit-inspired drink and to work our way through the rest of the moreish menu. You can just pop in for drinks and there’s definitely a cocktail lounge vibe, but having tried the food it would be impossible. Go. I

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LUNCH SPOT

GUSTO Unit 10, The Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2BS. Tel: 0121 200 2400 www.gustorestaurants.uk.com e were going on a bear hunt. We weren’t scared. Just in need of sustenance. In the heart of Big Sleuth territory – see page 16 if you’re confused – Gusto obliged. Turns out Saturday afternoon’s a pretty lively affair at the Colmore Row Italian and we were lucky to bag a table for five. The décor’s great with super lighting and we found ourselves a cracking corner table surrounded by ladies with piles of shopping bags – a testament to the city’s burgeoning retail scene if ever there was one. Lunch started well with a glass of Champagne for the grown-ups and Tutti Frutti mocktails for the little people. A meat board to share included delicious prosciutto ham, salami, soppressa and coppa with a pot of houmous, olives and warm comforting focaccia. Bruschetta was a dream with bags of basil and tangy toms. The kids were given a sad-looking bowl of carrots to chomp on and a menu to colour in. I feel they

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may have outgrown this sort of thing. The dough ‘petals’ (aka dough balls) “weren’t as good as Pizza Express” apparently, though the garlic butter was super. Butter, garlic – what’s not to love? Next, pork belly with a top notch mash and rich sauce was a winner and easily the stand-out dish. The lasagne didn’t go down too well and a word to the wise, where there’s a small option go for it. Even those are pretty large. A smoked haddock risotto with peas and a poached egg was okay although it didn’t have any peas at all which meant it was all a bit beige. The poached egg was perfect mind you. Again it was way too big though. The kids had smaller versions of the main menu. The meatballs were excellent with a really tasty tomato sauce and the margherita pizza got a double thumbs up. High praise indeed! A side of truffle fries for the table were crisp, moreish and er… truffley. All-in-all we had a really enjoyable lunch that was more about the atmosphere and company rather than the food. It’s somewhere we’d go again without a doubt, but we reckon the simpler the dish the better. I

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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

BRANDY SNAP

Join the cocktail revolution with this sexy number mixed with Pisco from Peru he guys behind the Botanist have just opened a new concept bar on Bridge Street overlooking the canal. The Canal House promises a cocktail menu that will take customers on a ‘revolutionary journey’ so here’s a little taster of what to expect… This sexy little number uses Pisco which is a colourless or yellowish-to-amber coloured brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. As always, enjoy responsibly.

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EARLY SIGNS OF GREATNESS Ingredients:

I 15ml monin mango syrup I 22.5ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice I 25ml of egg white I 45ml of Pisco I 50ml of pineapple juice

Method: Add the mango syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, egg white, Pisco and pineapple juice to an empty Boston glass. Shake vigorously with cubed ice. Strain into glass through Hawthorne strainer. Garnish with viola flower.

The Canal House, 12 Bridge Street, Birmingham B1 2JR. Tel: 0121 643 8829 www.thecanalhouse.uk.com

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FOOD & DRINK

MAGICAL MERLOT Rob Price falls under the spell of one of the UK’s favourite wines and conjures up his star buys

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was thinking what to write about this month, and having looked through past articles realised I have never written about Merlot. How remiss of me. This is the UK’s favourite black grape variety, making wonderful and varied wines. And should Chardonnay every divorce me (you’ll need to have read a previous article to find out why I married Chardonnay), Merlot would be wife (sorry grape) number two. But it looks like I may have competition because we drink more Merlot than any other red grape variety – it’s silky smoothness, no harsh edges, and low acidity and tannins make it a real crowd pleaser. There are many different sides to Merlot. Traditionally a lighter, more delicate red-fruited wine was made. Nowadays it’s left on the vine longer to produce a riper, richer, more alcoholic back fruited wine.

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LOTS OF CHOICE Merlot gives wine makers lots of choice; where to plant, when to pick, how much to extract, oak or not and whether to use small new barrels or older barrels. There’s lots to disagree about and Merlot does tend to divide opinion on what is the right approach. The home of Merlot is Bordeaux, and here too it’s very popular forming more than 50 per cent of the grapes grown in the area. And at around 850 million bottles a year, that’s a lot of Merlot. In Bordeaux, it either plays a supporting role to the more serious Cabernet Sauvignon or it has star treatment and shines in the like of Pomerol and St Emilion. The former region giving rise to one of the most expensive wines in the world, Le Pin. If you do want to treat me, a bottle of 1982 Le Pin will do very nicely please. A mere £8,000 is all one bottle would cost. Much more reasonably and my favourite Bordeaux wine made from Merlot comes from Cotes de Castillon. This is a region next to St Emilion but offers much better wines at similar prices. In the South of France, Merlot also produces soft easy to drink fruity wines, and very good value as well. Merlot is made around the world and outside of Europe, California leads the way – but it’s had its ups and downs.

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ROB’S

4 TO TRY

Clos Puy Arnaud Cotes de Castillon

A brilliant wine produced from a small 30-acre estate where Thierry Valette weaves his magic. Wood Winters has a half bottle of the very good 2005 vintage at £12.

Le Prince Clos d’Yvigne From Bergerac in the south of France comes this 2009 vintage which has all the hallmarks of a mature, full-bodied and complex red wine. It does form a deposit in the bottle, so pour with care. M&S sells for around £10 a bottle.

Bonterra An organic wine from Mendocino County, which for a California wine is quite restrained and elegant but still has all the trademark fruits and oaky flavours. Quite widely available, including Tesco and Waitrose. Expect to pay around £10 a bottle.

Meerlust Estate, Stellenbosch, 2014 From South Africa, a very good, smooth full-bodied offering with layers of spice, chocolate dark fruits and oak notes. Available from The Wine Society at £16 bottle.

Prohibition, not ending until 1933, meant Merlot, along with all other wines, didn’t get off to a great start, but in 1991 an American TV show extolled the health benefits and virtues of red wine with sales quadrupling in one year. Merlot jumped on the bandwagon and hasn’t looked back since – that was until the film Sideways was released in 2004 when Miles (a Pinot Noir snob played by Paul Giamatti) basically destroyed Merlot sales in one go. Well, not quite destroyed, but it was remarkable the impact this fictitious character had. But I’m pleased to say that the popularity of Merlot has endured the ages and you will find excellent examples also from Chile, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. I Birmingham Wine School is an independent wine education company offering fun, informal wine tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses in Birmingham, Warwick and Milton Keynes city centres. More information from Rob Price, 0121 270 7359 www.birminghamwineschool.com

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BOOTS MADE FOR STRUTTING Boots, jacket and coat, River Island, Bullring

PIMPS AND POWERSUITS Shoulder pads, cable knits and flamboyant coats fit for a pimp. Say hello to an eclectic AW17

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STYLE

e’ve said it before – every year in fact – and we’ll say it again, autumn is our favourite style season. It makes us feel all grown-up in a way that sandals and a kaftan can’t and frankly, by September we’re ready to get back to business. Cue the shoulder pad. Yes that’s right, the power suit is having a moment and we love it. It’s more refined than the boxy Nineties version, but it still says don’t mess with me. Check out Finery London available at John Lewis for a cool wide leg version. As always knitwear is one of the joys of the season and from chunky rollnecks and cable knits to sheer crew necks there’s no end to the happiness. Maxmara and Prada have some utterly gorgeous examples if you’re looking to splash out. Jigsaw and Oliver Bonas are our go-to brands for everyday and the Hobbs Greta sweater (pictured) is in our shopping bag already.

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STRONG FLORAL GAME Dress and boots, Primark, Bullring

MELLOW YELLOW Angled rib wool jumper £150, Jigsaw, Cannon Street

CUTE CLUTCH Gold metallic pink clutch £16.99, TK Maxx, Bullring

TERRIFIC TECHNICOLOUR Multi-coloured printed faux fur coat £179, Biba, House of Fraser, Mell Square

DREAM KNIT Greta sweater £89, Hobbs, Grand Central

RIGHT STRIPES Cardington jacket £169 and trousers £85, Finery London, John Lewis, Grand Central

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STYLE

There’s no escaping red in all its hues. Check out deep rich reds which are much easier to wear than crimson. Having said that a strong pillar box red teamed with bright pink or even orange can look super chic. Pink isn’t merely playing second fiddle mind you and is having a moment of its own with head-to-toe trouser suits and stunning woollen coats thrusting fuchsia into the limelight. Space-age metallics are everywhere from footwear to full shimmering structured skirts that shout look at me. See House of Fraser for some cracking examples such as the Biba gold shirt dress (pictured on page 35). We never get bored of a Seventies style throw back and this season it’s as flamboyant is it gets with big pimptastic coats and deep belts leading the charge as well as bold prints. Our other half was once described by his boss as looking like a cross between a showman and a pimp. That’s the look you’re after. More is more although perhaps not for the office! I

RUFFLE EFFECT

DRESS UP

V by Very ruffle sleeve coat £90, very.co.uk

Floral dress, M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

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COLOUR CLASH Culottes, top, boots and coat, Jigsaw, Cannon Street

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STYLE

POWER UP Suit, shoes and coat, Dorothy Perkins, Bullring

CRIMSON COOL M&S Collection dress £45, M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

OVER THE KNEE Sloane boots £140, Dune, Bullring

BUCKLE UP Red skirt, Studio by Preen £75, Debenhams, Bullring

RED RUFFLE Tay shoe £99, Finery London, John Lewis, Grand Central

PERFECT PINK Neon pink cable knit £40, Oasis, New Street

SLICK SILVER

PEARLY QUEEN

Silver metallic midi dress £59, Label Lab, House of Fraser, Mell Square

Luminous pleated midi skirt £65, Oliver Bonas, Grand Central

FUTURE PROOF Maison Scotch dress £130, House of Fraser, Mell Square

LOAFING AROUND Graduate loafer £45, Jones Bootmaker, Bullring

BACK TO THE FUTURE Imogen silver backpack £110, Oliver Bonas, New Street Station

PUT THE BOOT IN Attitude boots £95, Office, Bullring

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STYLE

BRONZE BEAUTY Metallic wrap dress £24.99, New Look, The Fort Shopping Park

ROLL UP Skirt, roll neck and boots, White Stuff, Cannon Street

GOLD RUSH Metallic shirt dress £89 Biba, House of Fraser, Mell Square

SEVENTIES SISTER New Look, The Fort Shopping Park

TWINKLE TOES J by Jasper Conran heels £59, Debenhams, Bullring

NEW CROP Brown check borg jacket £64.99, New Look, The Fort Shopping Park

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BEAUTY

AUTUMN UPDATE

This autumn is all about innovations in beauty coming to the city. Rose Gallagher highlights the launches you won’t want to miss

Masque Bar Charcoal Peel-Off Modelling Mask £4.95, Boots

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick £18, Selfridges

The latest trend to sweep the beauty market is an innovation from Korea. Custom blend your own rubber mask by mixing water into this powder pot, then apply it quickly to the skin in a thick layer before it dries. After cleansing and purifying the skin, it peels off in one pleasing sweep.

Dubai’s beauty queen is bringing her cult beauty line to Selfridges this September. At Huda Beauty more is more, so head to her for bold liquid lipsticks that don’t move or lashes that add drama to your make-up look. Her 21 million followers establish her as one of the most sought after beauty authorities in the world.

Jo Loves Fragrance Paintbrush £40, joloves.com Jo prides herself on fragrance innovations and offers sophisticated solutions to create them. One of her most popular lines is a Shot Candle offering you the chance to merge two fragrances in one by adding a segment of one candle to the base of another, slotting together like a key fits a lock. Now, she returns with a Fragrance Paintbrush. This wand is available in four of her bestloved fragrances and allows you to paint a refreshing fragrant gel onto the skin as perfume.

Juliette Has a Gun Sunny Side Up £76, Harvey Nichols A summer holiday for the soul, Sunny Side Up is the latest one-of-a-kind fragrance from Juliette Has a Gun. Perfumer Romano Ricci creates every fragrance in the collection to explore a different facet of Juliette’s personality, and this one was created “to inspire happy and positive feelings”. Though light and bright in disposition, the lasting powder of this fragrance is unwavering with notes such as sandalwood, jasmine and iris working in harmony.

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Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder Aura Gloss in Honey £30, Harvey Nichols One of the world’s most photographed women returns this autumn with a capsule collection for Estee Lauder. Following the success of her earlier collections, Victoria will unveil 28 pieces, 21 of which are brand new with seven icons from her original launch. My new go-to piece is the Aura Gloss in Honey, ideal for creating a glossy wet-look finish on lids, cheekbones or lips.

IT Cosmetics CC Cream £30, Selfridges The quickest way to look instantly made up is with a sweep of the IT Cosmetics CC Cream. Offering a lightweight texture and full coverage finish, this balmy remedy leaves the skin glowing. It will completely protect your skin from the sun with a factor 50 SPF and leave it plump and hydrated with continued use. I haven’t worn anything else since I first discovered it.

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STYLE FOR MEN

JACKET IN Vivienne Westwood coat £825 and Barbour jacket £199, House of Fraser, Corporation St

MAKE LIKE

MOSS

The dominant colours this autumn are truly seasonal with earthy tones leading the way. Here’s our pick of the best

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STYLE FOR MEN MOSS BOSS Porcini waterproof shell jacket £120, White Stuff, Cannon St

ROLLING STONE Quilted cotton jacket £99, Cos, Bullring

GREAT FIT T-shirt, Steel & Jelly www.steelandjelly.co.uk

IN VOGUE BROGUE Walnut olive leather brogue lace-up boots £275, Russell & Bromley, Bullring

ever has your autumn wardrobe looked more autumnal with a colour palette that mirrors falling leaves. Moss green, tan, stone and deep burgundy all feature heavily and boy, do they work. Team the colours with quilting or corduroy and you’ll be bang on trend. Check out Cos for a super quilted cotton jacket in stone (pictured), local firm Steel and Jelly for some great tees in earthy tones and Russell and Bromley for their walnut olive lace up boots that will raise the game of every outfit this season and beyond (pictured). I

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NO SWEAT RJR John Rocha jumper £55, Debenhams, Bullring

LORD OF THE CORDS Corduroy trousers £22, Next, The Fort Shopping Park HUG A HOODIE Mustard hoodie, River Island, The Fort Shopping Park

DRESS DOWN Green trainers, River Island, The Fort Shopping Park

PERFECT PARKA Fred Perry khaki parka coat £200, House of Fraser, Corporation St

TAKE A HIKE Guliver tan leather hiking style sneakers £225, Russell & Bromley, Bullring WINNING V Back stop vee knit £47.40, White Stuff, Cannon St

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ADVERTORIAL

BEST AUTUMN

CITY BREAKS Whether you are looking for a cultural city break or a fabulous beach holiday you can be sure to find the ideal getaway to suit you, with deals to great destinations direct from Birmingham Airport. THE CITY OF LIGHTS For a cultural city break Paris is an excellent choice. Browse around impressive museums and art galleries, including the decadent Musée du Louvre. Attend a free festival at the park Jardin des Tuileries or unwind with some retail therapy along the Champs-Élysées. Walk down quaint cobbled streets then stop by a patisserie for a warm almond croissant. Burn off the calories by climbing the 387 steps of Notre Dame; see Quasimodo's bell tower and meet the gargoyles who keep watch over the city. A trip to Paris wouldn’t be the same without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. The best times to go are at sunset or late evening when the city of lights really comes to life.

tapas overlooking the picturesque harbour. Walk down the famous Las Ramblas or join a walking tour to see Goya’s distinctive architecture or Gaudi's iconic La Segrada Familia. In the evening, visit the Old Town with many restaurants serving delicious paella then head over to Plaça Reial to experience some of Barcelona’s best night life.

SPAIN’S CULTURAL METROPOLIS Barcelona is a city that offers the best of both worlds with stunning beaches and a cosmopolitan town centre. Sit back and relax with cocktails and

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ADVERTORIAL

GERMANY’S BEATING HEART

SWEDEN’S COOL CAPITAL For a city break with a difference visit Stockholm; an idyllic city built on water that stretches across 14 individual islands. The best way to see the city is by ferry with regular shuffles departing from the picturesque waterfront. Another way to get around the city is by using the Stockholm metro, famous for its impressive underground art gallery. Start your day with a warm latte and a cinnamon bun at the Cosy Café then stroll around Djurgården Park with its amusement attractions and natural beauty. Browse one of the city’s top museums such as the Moderna Museet or Vasa Museum then in the afternoon sip gin tea at the very chic At Six hotel. In the evening dine at the Fem Små Hus sequestered away with its vaulted ceiling and cobblestone floors.

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Berlin is one of the coolest, most dynamic and exciting cities in Europe, renowned for its edgy street art, thrilling nightlife and steeped in history. Join a guided walking tour from the iconic Brandenburg Gate to see historic sites such as the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag and the Berliner Dom. Visit Check-Point Charlie to see the spot that once divided the East from the West side of the city during the Cold War, then pay your respects at the sobering Jewish Memorial in memory to the victims of the Holocaust. Alternatively take a river cruise and pass architectural buildings such as Charlottenburg Palace and the impressive Museum Island. Head over to the Mitte district for some of the city’s best restaurants. Berlin hosts a number of festivals in autumn including the famous Bavarian Ockoberfest beer festival. The Festival of Lights is another spectacular free event where the city’s famous landmarks are illuminated in colour that takes place from 7 to 16 October. I Fly direct from Birmingham Airport to these European destinations with a variety of airlines including Vueling, Monarch and Flybe. These destinations are perfect for a last minute, mini getaway with flight durations from as short as 1 hour and 25 minutes from Birmingham.

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HEALTH

MAKING WAVES Open water swimming is becoming increasingly popular for all ages and abilities. Triathlon and ironman multiple champion and world recordholder Hywel Davies has some top tips before you take the plunge ravel to most European countries and you will see crystal clear lakes, turquoise seas and miles of clear blue water. Jumping in to cool off is one thing but being serious about open water swimming takes a bit more preparation, especially when looking to try something new a little closer to home. The large majority of lakes in England and Wales are privately owned and swimming is usually prohibited but there are more and more places opening up as the popularity of taking the plunge into open water grows. To some there is little appeal to swimming up and down a busy pool lane, avoiding other swimmers, turning every 20 strokes and following a never-ending black line. But taking the swimming outdoors has a much wider benefit. The obvious one is of good cardiovascular exercise, but open water swimming is developing a following for a whole host of other benefits – improved circulation, growing confidence and self esteem of beating cold and fear, developing a stronger immune system and the social benefits of overcoming the challenge with others.

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>> WHERE TO SWIM Open water venues in the Midlands include Stoney Cove, Market Bosworth and Stanton Lakes You can find more details of where to swim locally at https://www.britishtriathlon.org/west-midlands/news/west-midlandsopen-water-venues-_5569

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Before you take the plunge into open water swimming, here are a few things to plan ahead and consider…

The swim venue Find out when it is open as some places only allow swimming once a week or at a set time. Are you sharing the water with boats, divers, fishermen or other watersports? What are the safety procedures for any swimmer getting into trouble? What are the swim rules? Do you need a tow float, which direction do you swim, can you swim alone? What are the changing arrangements? Are there showers, etc? What is the entry and exit to the water like? Deep water, walk-in, steps, etc?

Equipment Open water means colder water, so a wetsuit is the norm for events, races and recreational swimming. A wetsuit adds buoyancy, streamlining and, most importantly, warmth. A good wetsuit – close fitting, yet allowing arms and legs to move freely, not letting in any water – can be picked up for under £100. Other useful equipment is a pair of good-fitting tinted goggles and a bright inflatable bag where you can carry keys, food, water, whistle or anything else in the dry bag section. They are great for being seen and can offer a little rest if needed.

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HEALTH

Sighting

Water temperature

Without the conventional pool’s black line to follow, swimming outdoors can be disorientating. What seems obvious when standing a metre above the water disappears when looking above the surface and although you may think you are heading towards a marker buoy, you could still always be swimming in a circle. The trick here is to look for a landmark such as a tree or building in the distance behind the marker buoy and align them. If it moves one way or another, then you are off course. Rather than look up and spoil your rhythm, you should take a sighting stroke as your arm enters the water rather than trying to lift your head up high. Take three or four sighting strokes in a row and build up a picture of what you see.

There are many hardy folk who swim all year round – open water, no wetsuit, they love the challenge and the buzz of doing it. Most open water venues will range between 14 to 20 degrees in the summer (colder in Scotland). Although a bit fresh when getting in, 14 or 15 degrees is actually quite pleasant for swimming in a wetsuit. Below 12 degrees and it’s a matter of time as to how long you stay in before it gets uncomfortable. That said, wearing two or three hats, booties, neoprene gloves and undershirts can help. The worst part is getting in and swimming. You may experience a rush of cold to the head, the teeth hurt and the face gets cold but it does pass as soon as you get active. Some people love to dive straight in, others acclimatise slowly. When you reach the point where your hands no longer stay comfortable because of the cold, that’s the time to call it a day. Always have warm clothes at hand for when you finish and get out of the wetsuit as quickly as you can. I

Breathing Some breathe every other stroke, others three, four, or even more. In a pool, you create a small bow wave to breath into a trough but in open water there can be a little chop so you need to breathe a little higher in the water. As much as possible try to breathe on both sides, as the sun can cause glare when turning towards it and waves or wind coming from one side or other swimmers can create a splash.

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Hywel Davies is a multi-world record-holder, multiple European and British age group triathlon champion, UK Double Ironman recordholder and five-time UK Ultrafit champion. For a full training plan contact him at www.tri-becoaching.co.uk twitter @tribe_coaching

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AFTER DARK Lighting can have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of your home. With dark evenings just around the corner now’s the time to nail it

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HOMES

ON YOUR PERCH Moooi perch table light £1,111, Houseology www.houseology.com

ighting is a crucial part of your home interior and worth giving some serious thought. Investing in a lighting scheme that is beautiful and practical will make or break the look. We’ve pulled together a selection of this season’s hottest examples that will warm up your home even on the dullest of days. But before you dive straight into the creative, let’s talk bulbs. Sounds boring right? Bear with us. Smart phones and smart TVs are standard, but have you considered how clever your bulbs are? Smart LED bulbs come in a variety of guises including energy-saving fluorescents, bath lights,

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MINIMUM FUSS Huxley light £195, John Lewis, Grand Central

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HOMES

mounted ceiling lights and table and floor lamps that ensure your home is stylishly lit without comprising on the elegance of your interior. LED lamps are particularly clever allowing you to change the colour of the light they emit depending on your mood and some even have built-in audio speakers. Features such as scheduling and automation can be controlled via your smart phone too. As well as being superior to standard bulbs, LEDs are longer lasting, environmentally friendly and energy efficient, plus their price has come down due to further innovation, so they’re definitely worth a look. I

COPPER TOP Elegant floor lamp, M&S, The Fort Shopping Park

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WHEN ONE’S NOT ENOUGH Lighting options, HomeSense, Merry Hill

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GROWN UP GLAMOUR Hyatt glass ceiling light £199, Dunhelm, New Bond St

PENDANT POWER Black pendants from a selection at Amara www.amara.com

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COCKTAIL HOUR Montserrat gold leaf light £495, John Lewis, Grand Central

SIMPLE PLEASURES Large pendant with mosaic effect £240, Cookes, Erdington

NOT SO STANDARD Large tripod floor lamp, HomeSense, Merry Hill

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THINK PINK Vico table lamp pink £36, Oliver Bonas

HANGING OUT Ebb & Flow lute pendant lamp £276, Amara

WHISKED AWAY Whisk pendant light in copper, Leekes CLUB TROPICANA Sunnylife neon flamingo light £50, Amara

FINISHING

PALMED LIFE Cara pendant £120, Debenhams

TOUCHES Illuminate your home with these pieces that’ll add that little extra special something

EMBRACE COLOUR Multi coloured glass pendant £229, Cookes, Erdington

WIRED Moooi Coppelia LED suspended lamp, from £1,998, Houseology

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UNDER THE DOME Biba Albany table light £195, House of Fraser

OLD SCHOOL Moooi bell lamp white bow, from £768, Houseology

NO FUSS Clark table lamp £79, M&S

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Hot Properties This month’s top offerings include a lovely loft with a dash of history, great six and eight-bedroom family homes and a penthouse that’s all about luxury living

LIFE OF LUXURY Orion Penthouse, Navigation Street Guide price: £2million Agent: Knight Frank, tel 0121 233 6438

A luxury three-bedroom penthouse in the heart of the city that combines state-of-the-art architecture with innovative design and contemporary styling. The stunning living space features North American walnut flooring throughout, plus there’s an incredible infinity bath. Includes two allocated parking spaces.

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BRICKS&BITS BULLEYS IN A BARBER SHOP Local commercial property agents Bulleys has been enjoying the global pull of a Black Country barber's shop which went viral thanks to a floor entirely made up of 70,000 pennies. Bulleys acted as agents for Brett Davies, who has three other outlets in the area, in the deal for the shop in Lower Gornal – which was then promoted on social media by covering the floor in money.

BIG BRANDS AT WATERFRONT

SIX OF THE BEST St Georges Close, Edgbaston Guide price: £1.695million Agent: Fine and Country, tel 0121 272 6800 This unique six-bedroom detached family home boasts a vast amount of living space, including a lovely kitchen diner, conservatory and stunning outdoor decking area overlooking a swimming pool.

Kier Property has signed up four new food and beverage brands to Walsall’s 17-acre £65million Waterfront regeneration project. Five Guys, Cream’s, Subway and Gourmet Burger Kitchen are expected to open later this month. Tom Gilman, Kier Property’s managing director (North), said: “We are delighted to be able to announce such strong brands in Walsall.”

PREMIER DEAL FOR STANDARD Standard Life Assurance has acquired the Premier Inn, Birmingham for £26.5million from a syndicate of private investors represented by Downing. Niche property consultancy MK2 Real Estate advised the sellers. An auction sent prices far higher than expected underlining confidence in Birmingham's property market.

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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GR-EIGHT CHOICE Middleton Hall Road, Kings Norton Guide price: Offers over £650,000 Agent: Fine and Country, tel 0121 272 6800 A lovely eight-bedroom family home with two ensuites, five bathrooms and three reception rooms – all set over 3,000 square feet. There’s also ample space for parking and a quiet garden to the rear.

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TASTE OF HISTORY Princip Street, City Centre Guide price: ÂŁ675,000 Agent: Maguire Jackson, tel 0121 634 1520

A stunning first-floor, triple aspect loft apartment located within the fabric of a range of historical buildings dating back from the 1830s. Boasts two double bedrooms, two bathrooms and an unbelievably cool, large open plan kitchen living area.

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

www.facebook.com/bhamliving september 2017

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MOTORING

FAST AND FABULOUS The upgraded Audi RS5 Coupe is hotter than ever, but Sue Cooke argues this magnificent machine is not all about the need for speed he Audi press release on the 2017 upgraded RS5 Coupe raves about a faster sub-four second sprint time and top speed of up to 174mph. All well and good, but there is very little opportunity on our crowded roads with continual roadworks that anyone can actually experience the true performance of this fabulous car. In reality, I believe this car is all about appealing to drivers who want to feel exclusive and elite. That is how I felt the whole week I road tested this

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beautiful car. The exterior has pronounced front air intakes, highlighted in chrome, Quattro branding stated beneath the honeycomb single frame grille and scrolling LED indicators which all provide an expectation of something different. And if you do manage to get up close and personal to the rear of the RS5, which may only be in a traffic jam, you will know from the RS branding and twin gaping exhaust tailpipes that even when stationary this car can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

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My road test car arrived in a metallic Navarra blue which changed colour as sunlight flickered over the exterior. And while I am not a fan of green cars, there is quite a distinctive metallic Sonoma Green. Slide behind the flat-bottomed multifunction sport steering wheel and press the highlighted start button and the Audi Virtual cockpit comes to life.

INDULGENCE This is where indulgence kicks in as the driver sinks into the Nappa leather-upholstered RS sport seats which in the road test car were in Luna silver. The options list is long but I would highly recommend the head-up display which clearly shows the speed of the road ahead and the speed the car is travelling at. So, absolutely no excuse for not being aware of how fast you are going! The new RS Coupe has an exceptional standard specification list and the infotainment system has been upgraded. There’s now a smartphone interface

which brings Apple Carplay and Android Auto on board, and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, now includes LTE internet connectivity as part of the connect package. Driver aids that feature as standard include side assist blindspot monitoring system and hill hold assist. If you want to go crazy with goodies, there are a further 30 driver assistance systems available from the options list. Pride comes before a fall they say and I was trying to explain to an interested four-year-old about the fantastic qualities of the 2.9-litre TFSi engine with 450PS and 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds. Well, everyone else was bored of the subject. He brought me rapidly back down to earth by excitedly repeating to his father: “Dad, guess what, it’s got an engine!” And that engine has an efficiency gain of 17 per cent over the previous model – a fact that proved of no interest whatsoever to my little friend! Ah well, wait until he grows up… the RS5 Coupe is just the kind of car you can be sure he will dream of owning one day. I

SHOWROOM: Birmingham Audi, 780 Stratford Road, Shirley, B90 4BQ. Tel: 0121 7465500 www.listers.co.uk

FACTS AT A GLANCE: Model: Audi RS5 Coupe Price: £78,345otr, including options Engine: 2.9 TFSi Quattro tiptronic (450PS) Performance: 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph (optionally 174mph) CO2 emissions: 32.5mpg Combined fuel consumption: 40.9mpg

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YOUNG, GIFTED & BRUMMIE

JAKE HUGHES The young racing driver brimming with talent has Formula 1 in his sights, but it’s complicated late starter in racing terms, Jake Hughes has been playing catch-up for the past seven years. Now aged 23 with his sights firmly set on Formula 1, he’s rocking the European Formula 3 championship as part of the Hitech GP team after dominating Formula 4. A member of the British Racing Drivers Club Superstars programme and Motor Sports Association elite Team UK driver programme, Jake’s talent is not in question – but getting into the top flight is frustratingly as much about money as ability. Jake got into motorsport by chance after having a go at karting at a friend’s 15th birthday party in Oldbury. The owner of the track thought Jake looked like he knew what he was doing and suggested he took it further. He went to Andy Cox Racing in Bromsgrove, took part in a practice day in the Cotswolds and loved it. Clocking Jake’s talent, Andy Cox said to his father: “I’m so sorry. I have some bad news. Your son is about to cost you a lot of

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money.” He wasn’t wrong. Jake had always been football mad and his dad used to moan about the cost of soccer boots so racing was a shock to the system! LATE TO THE PARTY Drivers usually get into karting from eight to 16 before progressing to cars between 16 and 20 – so at aged 16 Jake was pretty late to the party. A lot of hard work teamed with natural talent and determination got him on a par with the best. “There’s no grass roots funding like there is with other sports which means you have to stand out,” explained Jake. “You need to make an impression and attract sponsors which forces you to keep winning.” It also matures you pronto as Jake found out. He’s gone from being fairly shy to travelling round Europe, meeting new people and dealing with the media regularly. The intense physical side of racing is sometimes overlooked as Formula 1 can appear easy from a

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viewer perspective, but Jake explains it’s anything but. From a cardiovascular point of view, a two-hour grand prix is on a par with a marathon. Add into the mix the 3G and 4G pressure on drivers and it doesn’t sound so easy. He says: “The training is similar to boxing. You need to be incredibly fit and strong and above all be able to concentrate in tough circumstances for prolonged periods – in temperatures of 50 degrees wearing a fire-proof suit with 4Gs putting the neck under immense strain. Drivers can lose 4kg in one race.” POOR MUM! Jake’s been double training in the few days before we caught up which means cycling, interval sessions and strength work, particularly for the upper body and neck. “Neck strength is most important. It hurts.” Speaking of getting hurt, clearly there are safer sports than racing and Jake’s mum struggles with it. He remembers: “The family travelled out to Macau in China for the Formula 3 world championships which is a

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12-hour flight and my mum didn’t even watch the racing! She looked the other way.” Jake’s favourite quote from exFormula 1 world champion Mario Andretti probably doesn’t help… ‘If everything seems under control you’re not going fast enough.’ With Formula 1 winking, Jake explains why it’s harder than just being a talented driver. “The four top teams can afford to pay drivers but the midfield and back marker teams just about break even and don’t tend to pay much, if at all.” With a season costing £15million it’s tough, but Jake’s determined to get there. More than 20 titles in Formula 1 have been won by drivers who did it via Formula 3 such as Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher among other greats. So, watch this space…I

KEEP UP TO SPEED Follow Jake’s progress at www.jakehughesracing.co.uk and follow on Twitter @JakeHughesRace Instagram @jakehughesrace

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GROWING PLACES

THEATRE AWARDS A theatre company formed by three graduates from Birmingham School of Acting has been nominated for the National Student Drama Festival Edinburgh Award. The students created Theatre63 – which now boasts a collective of eight alumni – and they continue to strive to complete their ultimate goal of performing 63 shows. The award recognises the best emerging theatre companies and has shortlisted 20 performances from this year’s SHORTLISTED: A scene from Theatre63’s Cockroached Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, including Theatre63’s latest show Cockroached.

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

NET PROFIT: Natasha Reda, aged nine, tackles the cargo net challenge

TEAM GB SELECTION Already a national tennis doubles champion at only 15, Lillian Mould, a student at Priory School and a member of Edgbaston Priory Club, was selected to represent Team GB in tennis at the Györ 2017 Youth Olympic Festival in Hungary. Team GB’s athletes competed in canoe sprint, cycling, gymnastics, judo, swimming and tennis.

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PUPILS RAISE £6K Juniors at Solihull School have raised more than £6,000 from a decathlon day event which will be donated to four cancer charities. The annual junior school event featured 12 activities including shooting baskets, an obstacle course and even welly wanging. Each of the four-year groups chose a cancer charity to donate to with beneficiaries including Target Ovarian Cancer, Anthony Nolan, Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer UK. Mark Penney, head of the Junior School, said: “I am very proud of the pupils raising such a large amount of money.”

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SAY BONJOUR TO VIDEO STARS Nine pupils from Mere Green Primary School have become stars of a video launching a French-themed activity pack and children’s menu for Bistrot Pierre, which opened in Mere Green earlier in the year. The restaurant is launching Menu Enfant, a booklet which includes games, puzzles and useful French phrases. The pupils sampled the two-course menu and tried their hand at speaking French, completed the French word search and game Ou Est Pierre, the French version of Where’s Wally. FRENCH FUN: Eight-year-old pupils Lucy and Ruby

CASH BOOST FOR RETREAT Birmingham Airport Trust Fund has given Oval Primary School, Yardley a £3,000

GRADUATE LANDS TV ROLE A graduate from Birmingham City University has landed one of the lead roles in a new Channel 4 comedy. Nicola Coughlan stars in Derry Girls – a candid comedy set against the back drop of The Troubles in the early 1990s – written by acclaimed writer Lisa McGee. Originally from Galway, Nicola graduated from Birmingham School of Acting, part of BCU. She said: “Birmingham School of Acting really helped me embrace my individuality as an actor. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of a Channel 4 show that has four strong, comedic female leads.”

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award to build an outdoor retreat, including a sensory playground as well as a wormery and bug area. The school worked with adventure playground specialists All Out Play to plan and build the new facility. Julie Gouldbourn, the school’s strategic business manager, said: “The outdoor retreat that has been built with the airport’s support is of huge benefit to the children and the local community.”

COUNTY CHAMPS Claudia Bullock and Borislava Mekushina from Bromsgrove School have been crowned the U14 Hereford and Worcestershire Schools’ Tennis Association champions. The tournament held in Malvern had a draw of 10 pairs. Claudia and Borislava sailed through the rounds and dominated the final from the start winning 6-1.

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PERSON TO PERSON

CLOSE WITH… BEVERLY LINDSAY The recently appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands has a remarkable life story to tell, from being on her own at 20 with two sons to winning honours from queen and country ROYAL REWARD: Inspirational Beverly Lindsay

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT I am founder and general manager of Diamond Travel, one of Birmingham’s leading independent travel agencies. I was born in St Thomas, Jamaica and came to Birmingham as a teenager to complete my secondary education. I worked in nursing and midwifery before becoming a senior community worker in Handsworth. Then I worked in finance and established Diamond Travel in 1987. I am a mentor and champion of the African Caribbean community in Birmingham, the UK and internationally. In 2012, I became the first African-Caribbean woman president of Birmingham Rotary Club. In 2008, I was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government. Three years later I received the OBE from the Queen. In 2013, I was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands. I am a member of the New Testament Church of God, Handsworth. IT’S WHAT I DO In July, I was appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands. With the Lord-Lieutenant, we represent the Queen in the county, attending more than 400 engagements a year. The role involves arranging visits by members of the Royal Family and accompanying them. We also represent the Queen at various duties and present certain honours, medals and awards. WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE My goal for the next three years is to assist the LordLieutenant in the promotion of the West Midlands and encourage people to nominate those who they think merit individual honours and awards. I am also keen to promote greater community cohesion.

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BIGGEST SUCCESSES I have a deep fear of failure, so I try to do the best I can in all that I do. I feel very blessed by the many unbelievable accolades bestowed upon me. I have also survived more than 30 years as a sole trader in a very competitive business. BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED People are not always what they seem, and so I would be more cautious in trusting people. I tell myself not to make rash decisions. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM When I came to Birmingham, my first impression was that it was cold, dull and with so many factories – not realising that they were houses with smoke coming out of the chimneys too! I soon settled as the diverse culture which is now the pride of Birmingham was already evident. Birmingham is the heart of England with that extra ‘heart beat’ that makes you feel life is going to be OK – you can be anything you want to be regardless of background, colour or beliefs. I love visiting the country of my birth, Jamaica, but I am always happy to return home to Birmingham. DOWNTIME I enjoy reading, particularly crime novels. I also love to cook and bake for friends and family. FINALLY My mother came to England in pursuit of a better life, working hard to send funds home. I joined the family to complete my education and to embark on a nursing career. All did not go to plan and by the age of 20, I was on my own with two sons. I was at a crossroads and needed to make something of my life – so, here I am today! I

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FEATURE

COURAGE TO SUCCEED An exciting movement is challenging the city’s young people to achieve greater personal and professional goals in their lives amously, Nelson Mandela said: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” And the quote from the great man is at the heart of a new initiative aimed at inspiring, challenging and developing young people to better themselves in their lives and their careers. Next month, the city’s first-ever TEDxYouth@Brum event will take place at Birmingham Hippodrome. TEDxYouth events happen all year round in schools and local communities and are designed to empower and inspire young people through ‘ideas worth sharing’. The TEDx movement found its way to Birmingham five years ago. Now it has inspired a group of young volunteers from all over the city to set up a version for young people aged 16 to 25, called TEDxYouth@Brum.

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The TEDxYouth@Brum team are from a wide range of backgrounds, interests and disciplines passionate about the issues facing young people today. Their roles vary from production, to visual communications, to outreach, to partnerships and sponsorship. The 25 volunteers are driving the event forwards, finding incredible speakers and performers for the inaugural event at the Hippodrome on 11 October. TEDxYouth@Brum will run an outreach programme with TEDxBrum to visit schools, youth hubs and public spaces to extend the impact of TEDx. The inaugural event will explore the theme of Courage through a curated series of 14 talks and six performances delivered by leaders and civic change-makers. The theme was curated and codesigned in conversation with young people from the team and from across the city.

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>> WHAT IS TED? DRIVING FORCE: Curator of TEDxYouth@Brum, Anisa Haghdadi, with volunteer members of the team

Guided by Mandela’s famous quote, Courage looks to hundreds of young people who are having to ‘find their brave’ to overcome growing uncertainty they face in their futures. Through intellectual but accessible conversations, more than 200 young people aged 16 to 25 will explore ideas to stretch, challenge and inspire. CULTIVATE HOPE The curator of TEDxYouth@Brum is a former TEDxBrum host and speaker Anisa Haghdadi, who is also founder of Beatfreaks, the creative youth engagement agency. She says: “I think it’s a testament to Birmingham that we’re able to grow the TEDx platform to tailor an event specifically for young people. It’s never felt so critical to nurture spaces which recognise the fears of young people and give them spaces to cultivate hope.” The vital importance of developing and inspiring our youth to explore, challenge and realise their ambitions and dreams, both in their personal and

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TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available free at TED.com. Speakers have included Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share video and live speakers to spark deep discussion and connection.

working lives, cannot be overstated. Nearly half of Birmingham’s population is made up of young people, the highest proportion of any European city. “Our first event, Courage, looks to expose young people to mind-blowing ideas whether that be in technology, education, the environment or whatever,” said Anisa. I Tickets to attend the Courage event at Birmingham Hippodrome are available from www.tedxyouthbrum.com/tickets

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ARENAS JUST THE TICKET

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NEC Group Arenas has been named the world’s second highest performing arenas business. International concert industry body, Pollstar, reports that Birmingham sold the second highest number of event tickets. The first half of 2017 saw more than 725,000 tickets sold by Arena Birmingham (formerly the Barclaycard Arena) and the Genting Arena. That put the Genting Arena in eighth place in the Top 200 ticket sales chart, with Arena Birmingham in 12th.

NEWS

THE DRINKS ARE ON THEM!

DADDY’S GIRL IS A TRUE HERO PR and marketing agency East Village is toasting a number of client wins across the drinks industry. The agency has been appointed by leading Scottish independent distilleries, Ian Macleod Distillers, to generate media coverage for its brands. East Village has also been responsible for PR for Birmingham Cocktail Weekend in June and this month’s Midlands Whisky Festival. The agency was named Small Business of the Year at the annual West Midlands Awards.

A tax advisor in the Birmingham office of accountancy firm Mazars has been invited to attend a national heroes’ awards ceremony after saving her father’s life when he had a heart attack. Adele Raiment, 38, used her first-aid skills to give CPR to her dad Alan Grassby until paramedics arrived after he collapsed outside her home. Father and daughter will be part of St John Ambulance’s Everyday Heroes awards in London.

EXCITING TIMES SAYS BID BOSS Birmingham property director Richard Norgrove is the new chair of Retail BID Birmingham. Richard has been a director at Midlands-based Hortons’ Estate – who own and manage a large and historic property portfolio within the city centre – since 2008. “It is an exciting time for Birmingham with the amount of investment and development and it is important that momentum is maintained,” he said.

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WHO WILL BE FACES OF THE FUTURE?

LAUNCH: RBH managing partner Angel Gibbons with Ed James

WINNING THE FAME GAME Award-winning Midlands creative communications agency RBH has joined forces with Heart Breakfast presenter Ed James to launch influencer marketing service SocialFame. The service is a network of the region’s top influencers from celebrities and presenters to high-profile business professionals and sports personalities. The concept allows brands to harness the profile of genuine regional influencers using social media and content marketing techniques.

The wait is nearly over for young professionals hoping to win Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Future Faces awards. All will be revealed to an audience of more than 400 at Edgbaston Stadium on 15 September. Paul Faulkner, Chambers chief executive, pictured, said: “It is more important than ever to keep hold of our young talent and one way of doing that is to recognise their efforts and achievements.”

EARN AS YOU LEARN A Birmingham car dealership is offering young people the chance to gain a degree while earning an £18,000 salary in a new scheme. Vertu Motors plc, which owns Bristol Street Motors Ford Birmingham, has teamed up with Northumbria University to provide the unique apprenticeship pathway. Robert Forrester, pictured, chief executive of Vertu Motors, said: “We’re very proud of our new programme, the first apprenticeship of its kind in the motor retail sector.”

TOP TECH HOMES IN Award-winning PropTech start-up, brightLET, has been named in BusinessCloud’s annual 101 Rising Stars of the UK Tech Scene. Based at Innovation Birmingham Campus’ iCentrum building, brightLET is a cloudbased platform which connects landlords directly with tenants and tradespeople, enabling them to advertise, find a property communicate and manage tenancies without using a third party. Founder and CEO Camran Khan, pictured left, said: “We have a vision that is going to take the lettings market by storm.”

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY VOOFOO The team at Birmingham independent video games developer VooFoo Studios has celebrated 10 successful years in business. VooFoo’s first game, Hustle Kings, reached the top of the PSN charts and earned VooFoo two Develop Awards nominations. The company has since successfully developed the million-plus selling Pure series of games. VooFoo recently published as well as developed its first game, Mantis Burn Racing.

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UNIQUE VENUES LAUNCH Birmingham Rep and the Library have launched a joint conferencing and events venture called Unique Venues Birmingham. The move aims to bring together the conferencing and hospitality opportunities offered in the shared building in Centenary Square. Heading the new venture is commercial director Suzanna Reid, pictured, who has led the conferencing and events arm at Birmingham Rep since 2013.

HOTEL UNVEILS NEW LOOK A major renovation project – including a brand new restaurant – has been completed at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Brindleyplace. The new space called Recess means guests can eat, drink and socialise from day to night. The reception and lobby areas have also benefitted from the renovation. Raw steel finishes, timber wall cladding and exposed filament light fittings have been used throughout to give a modern, industrial vibe.

TRIO BOOSTS LEGAL TEAM Midlands law firm Lodders has boosted its private client and corporate teams with three senior hires. John Rouse joins the private client team as a partner after 17 years at Leamington Spa firm Wright Hassall LLP. Vicky Khandker becomes a senior associate with the dispute resolution team, while Nicole Romera joins as a solicitor in the corporate and commercial department. All three are based at the Stratford-upon-Avon offices.

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LAW OF NATURE Fast growing Midlands law firm Thursfields Solicitors is launching an agricultural division to provide focused legal advice to the rural business sector. It will be headed by Sarah DenneyRichards, pictured, who has joined as a director. She is recognised in Legal 500 as an agricultural and estates specialist. Thursfields MD Nick O’Hara said: “Sarah’s decision to join us is a welcome reflection on the progress we have made in recent years.”

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FESTIVAL OF FASHION MAKES STYLISH DEBUT Exciting four-day event sets new trend for designers and stores irmingham Fashion Festival took over the city in an exciting new four-day event across various locations and involving more than 30 fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. The festival featured runway shows by local, national and overseas designers and stores and boutiques – as well as some great parties! Show venues included the council house banqueting suite, Custard Factory and the canalside. The festival aims to become a permanent addition to the Birmingham fashion scene. I

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PARTY-GOERS TOAST JC’s SIX OF THE BEST More than 150 guests raise their glasses to JC Social Media’s growing success story

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irmingham’s JC Social Media was joined by 150 guests to celebrate its sixth birthday. The agency, started by former Birmingham Young Professional of the Year winner Jodie Cook, has recently been appointed by a range of businesses including Nandos head office, Webbs of Wychbold and Minster Logistics. The new account wins add to JC Social Media’s portfolio of clients taken from a wide range of sectors using the agency’s skill at providing social media management, auditing and training. I

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1 Natalie Whitehouse, Kelly Mills, Sarah Taylor, Steph Williams. 2 Emily Allen, Andrew Ward, Helen Raffie, Hannah Palmer. 3 Ben Cook, Simon Greenfield. 4 Rob Macpherson. 5 Henrik Court, Mike Chamberlain. 6 Jodie Cook. 7 David Glenwright, Steve Quance. 8 Anthony Taylor, Paul Bayliss. 9 Stacey Bird, William Wong, Emily Allen.

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QUIZ NIGHT PROVES TO BE A HIT, NO QUESTION Braining champs answer law firm’s appeal to help local good causes charity quiz night hosted by law firm Wright Hassall raised £3,300 as business professionals from across the region racked their brains in aid of local good causes. The Wright Hassall Shield was presented to the winning team from accountants Whitley Simpson. All proceeds raised were donated to the Wright Hassall Charitable Trust which supports charities and good causes. Managing partner Sarah Perry said: “This was the quiz’s 15th year and once again it was a fantastic success.” I

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1 Thomas Coe, Sara Herbert, Lucie Byron, Jodie Bond. 2 Sarah Perry, Robert Lee, Richard Lane. 3 Mohammed Abbas, Jeremy Hyde, Sharan Athwal, Dale Southworth, Ian Frost. 4 Andy Bewick, Cerys Bains. 5 Tony Mitchell, Patrick Murtagh. 6 Barry Sankey, Luke Hunter. 7 Peter Baxter, Nick Wilson, Simon Preston, Vicki Skinner. 8 Kimberley Brookes, Paul Clayson, Alex Robinson.

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SPAIN’S FINEST GETS TASTEBUDS TINGLING Special celebration of food and drink whets the appetite at Hotel du Vin

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otel du Vin Birmingham hosted an evening that celebrated the best of Spanish cuisine. Great food was complemented by fine wines supplied by the renowned Torres vineyards which are presided over by Miguel A Torres, who has been described as ‘one of Spain’s most innovative and influential winemakers’. I

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1 Tony Elvin, Paula Whelan, Janet Chance, Stephen Elliotts. 2 Gary Newbon, Veronica Smith, Gary Redmonds. Falcione. 4 Ruth Martinez, Howard Handley.

Jean and Max Hayward. 8 Graham and Annie McNicholl, Dr Clare Pilkington, Nigel Cole.

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3 Nico Giorgio Ante, Manuela

5 Gary Redmonds, Veronica Smith. 6 Keith and Carol Elvin, Gary Newbon. 7 Tony Elvin, Photography by Jas Sansi

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MOVERS AND SHAKERS MIX IT WITH THE BEST Business guests get creative with cocktails at EDGE tasting event group of specially invited businesses enjoyed networking and cocktails at a tasting event hosted by EDGE Creative and sponsored by Bell Lax Solicitors at Hotel du Vin. Guests were invited to ‘mix with the movers and shakers’ with the expert mixologist team on hand to demonstrate how to make the perfect summer punch and refreshing summer cocktails. I

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1 Noel Street, Jade Chandler, Harry Moxon. 2 Anthony Richards, Darren Riley, Dominic Sears, Uvarlyn Hayles. 3 Karen O’Donovan, Paula Lewis, Owen Jenkins, Annie Hunter, Chris Lewis. 4 Carrie Johnson, Rosalyn Newsome. 5 Des Burley, Suzanne Holder, Tim Jobson. 6 Dan Styles, Roxanne Barker, Shane Moore, Massimo Vanni. 7 Mike Edwards, Jonathan Ratcliff, Qarrar Somji, Dawn Huckerby, Gavin Harvey. 8 Nick Clewer, Natalie Bradshaw, Mark Panayides, Sybilla Rose.

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LAW FIRM LAUNCHES NEW HUB IN THE CITY Rapidly expanding Constantine Law open for business in Colmore District

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op London legal firm Constantine Law held an event at Hotel du Vin to launch its new hub in Birmingham’s Colmore District. As well as learning about the new services, guests had the chance to meet Omer Simjee, a leading employment and business immigration lawyer in the West Midlands, who heads up the Birmingham office. He joined Constantine Law as its fifth senior employment lawyer as part of the rapid expansion of the challenger law firm. I

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1 Rakshan Simjee, Matthew Brain, Chris Tutton, John Hayes, Omer Simjee, Caroline Glaken. 2 Afzal Majid, Nasir Awan, Saqib Bhatti. 3 Nico Caroline Glacken, Matthew Brain, Rakshan Simjee. 4 Qasim Majid, Omer Simjee.

5 Steve Brittain, Anita Champaneri.

6 Monty Wouhra, Jaimon George, Manjit Gill, Anne Marie Eden. 7 Chris Tutton, Satnam Kainth, Alan Dark, Caroline Glacken. 8 Laur Beech, Sheila Kelly Trow, Gary Newbon, Sue Wright.

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Photography by Jas Sansi

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DIGBY JONES ON HOW TO THRIVE & SURVIVE Business audience hears what Britain must do in changing global landscape embers of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) were among a Birmingham audience of business leaders to hear Lord Digby Jones give his expert opinions on what Britain must do in the changing global landscape. The event, organised by CIMA at Birmingham’s Council House, was held in association with accounting and advisory firm Moore Stephens and HSBC Corporate Banking. I

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1 Bhavna Patel, Shashi Patel. 2 Steve Capper, Paul Totty. 3 John Hindson, Paul Hooper-Keeley, Lord Digby Jones, Gary Burton, Suk Aulak. 4 Sue Hurrell, Clare O’Neill, Gabi Butler, Brenda Thompson. 5 Gurpal Hayre, Reena Champaneri, Gurdeep Singh. 6 Lindsey Barnard, Nisar Khan, Nicola Evans 7 Sukhdeep Matharu, Stuart Crowe.

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WHAT: Chung Ying Moon Feastival WHEN: 28 September WHERE: Chung Ying Garden, e-mail: events@chungying.co.uk Enjoy great food, cocktails and entertainment – and some rather special karaoke – while exploring the heritage of the Chinese community. All in aid of the Birmingham Big Art project.

WHAT: Birmingham Weekender

WHAT: Solihull Food Festival

WHEN: 22 to 24 September

WHEN: 29 September to 1 October

WHERE: Various, visit

WHERE: Solihull Town Centre,

www.birminghamweekender.com for more

tel: 0121 285 1370

information

A three-day celebration of all things food and drink, including live demos, dance workshops, music and cocktail masterclasses. There’s also a chance to see Hairy Biker, Dave Myers in action.

A three-day festival featuring performances and events from the city’s major arts organisations, independent artists and specially invited international artists, as well as from communities across the city.

WHAT: MX-5 Owners Club’s National Rally WHEN: 24 September WHERE: British Motor Museum, tel: 01926 641188 www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk This annual gathering is recognised as the largest event of its kind in the world. Featuring a vast range of traders with loads of products on offer, you’ll find some great discounts as well as the chance to buy motoring paraphernalia.

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WHAT: Birmingham Royal Ballet, Aladdin WHEN: 3 to 7 October WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, tel: 0844 338 5000 www.birminghamhippodrome.com Step onto a magic carpet and soar into the fantastical world of David Bintley’s Aladdin, with live music by BAFTA award-winning Carl Davis and vibrant designs from Dick Bird.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Brian Reed WHEN: 2 October WHERE: Town Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk The host and co-creator of the groundbreaking ‘S-Town’, embarks on a very special tour that gives fans an opportunity to hear how the now legendary podcast was created. The series won widespread critical acclaim for elevating audio storytelling into the realm of great literary works.

WHAT: Festival of Imagineers 2017 WHEN: 25 to 30 September WHERE: Coventry, visit www.imagineer-productions.co.uk Now in its third year, this awesome festival returns bringing streets and unexpected locations to life with extraordinary live arts, astounding performances and incredible installations.

WHAT: Miss Saigon WHEN: Now until 23 September WHERE: Birmingham Hippodrome, tel: 0844 338 5000 www.birminghamhippodrome.com Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical is an epic love story that tells the tragic tale of a young bar girl, orphaned by war, who falls in love with an American GI but their lives are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.

WHAT: Coriolanus WHEN: 15 September WHAT: Edgbaston Family Fun Day

to 14 October

WHEN: 17 September

WHERE: Royal Shakespeare Theatre,

WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, tel: 0121 454

tel: 01789 403493 www.rsc.org.uk

7835 www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk Calthorpe Estates celebrates 300 years of the estate this year and is hosting a free, family event to mark the milestone with the local community. Including vintage rides, traditional children’s entertainment, trails, workshops and more. Admission is free but you do need to register.

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A full-throttle war play that revels in the sweat of the battlefield. The cracking story transports you back to the emergence of the republic of Rome where Coriolanus is a fearless soldier but a reluctant leader.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Belgrade Theatre tel: 024 7655 3055 www.belgrade.co.uk WHEN: 2 September WHERE: Jackson Live in Concert Presented by Sweeney Entertainments, this concert show is in its eighth year of touring and has been lauded as one of the most accurate and exciting tributes to the King of Pop.

WHAT: Birmingham Cruise Show WHEN: 16 and 17 September WHERE: NEC, visit www.cruiseshow.co.uk/birmingham Packed full of information and inspiration, bringing together the leading cruise lines, specialists and holiday providers, this free event provides a perfect opportunity to learn more about cruise, pick out a dream holiday and enjoy exclusive show-only special offers and deals.

WHAT: Swinging 60’s & Motown Party with the Krystalettes WHEN: 23 September WHERE: Nailcote Hall, tel: 02476 466174 www.nailcotehall.co.uk

WHAT: Jane Eyre WHEN: 4 to 16 September WHERE: Birmingham Rep, tel: 0121 245 2024 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk This innovative re-imagining of Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece is a collaboration between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. The classic story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever.

Enjoy a swinging night that features this amazing female trio in a great show that will take you back in time to the Swinging 60’s with great songs like Da Do Ron Ron, Heatwave and Be My Baby.

WHAT: John Legend: Darkness and Light Tour WHEN: 20 September WHERE: Arena Birmingham, tel: 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com The multi-platinum selling, Oscar, Golden Globe and 10-time Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter pops into town with his biggest tour yet. Supported by Jack Savoretti.

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WHAT: Ed Byrne -–Spoiler Alert WHEN: 12 October WHERE: Redditch Palace Theatre, tel: 01527 65203 www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk Is life that bad or have we good reason to complain about it? Are we filled with righteous anger at a world gone wrong or are we all just a bunch of whiny little brats? In short, are we spoiled? Byrne takes this question, turns it upside down and shakes it until the funny falls out.

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WHAT’S ON

WHAT: Cilla – The Musical WHEN: 10 to 14 October WHERE: New Alexandra Theatre, tel: 0844 8713011 www.atgtickets.com/birmingham Directed by Bill Kenwright, this heartwarming musical adaptation of the critically-acclaimed hit TV series charts the spectacular rise of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers.

WHAT: Rob Brydon – I Am Standing Up... WHEN: 28 September WHERE: Symphony Hall, box office: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk

WHAT: Horse of the Year Show WHEN: 4 to 8 October WHERE: Genting Arena, www. hoys.co.uk Equestrian utopia as the world’s most famous horse show returns with world-class entertainment, breath-taking displays and spectacular horsemanship all on display over five magical days.

Best known for TV shows Gavin and Stacey, Would I Lie To You? and The Trip, this will be Rob Brydon’s first stand-up tour since his sell-out national and West End run of 2009 and will be utterly hilarious.

WHAT: Birmingham Heritage Week WHEN: 7 to 17 September WHERE: Throughout the city, full details at www.birminghamheritageweek.co.uk More than 100 events will take over the city this month involving some of our best historical venues and hidden gems giving you the chance to discover more about the city’s vibrant and rich heritage.

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IN THE CITY Large-scale developments, such as Grand Central and Resorts World Birmingham, have created a big buzz around the city. With more on the way like Paradise Birmingham, we must ensure we continue to build on this momentum

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m Sally Walder, general manager of Amplify, the premium hospitality provider for the NEC Group’s two arenas. I’ve lived and worked in and around Birmingham for 12 years, starting my career in hospitality back in 2006. I developed my knowledge of the industry in football before taking up this position with Amplify eight years ago.

favourites of mine. You are always guaranteed great service and a really decent cup of coffee.

LUNCHTIME?

Unfortunately, most of my lunchtimes are working at my desk! When I do get the opportunity, I love to go to EAT. It’s got a great range of noodle style salads which suit me just fine.

HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? I live in the city centre, so I’m lucky enough to either be just a 10-minute train journey from the Genting Arena or a short walk down the canal from Arena Birmingham.

POWERWALKING?

HOW’S THE COMMUTE?

WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?

It’s a brilliant commute – especially in the summer. There’s nothing better than walking past all the barges as the sun rises first thing in the morning, and then all the hustle and bustle of the eateries and bars in Brindleyplace of an evening. I love it.

It has to be by the canals. There’s nowhere better to wander, have some fresh air and people watch. Our canal-side is beautiful.

Sally Walder, GM of Amplify

IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN? It’s a great place! Birmingham has the strongest entertainment market in the UK outside of London and is home to not only two world-class arenas but also some of the best shopping facilities in Europe, five Michelin-starred restaurants and everything in between. Investment has totally transformed the city in recent years, and with it, has brought more business and more tourists. Amplify caters for a mix of both corporate and private hospitality guests, so the more people that are coming to this great city the better!

COFFEE BREAK? Many of my off-site meetings are in the city centre, so Park Regis and The Balcony (Selfridges) tend to be firm

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I love the Mailbox – it has a fantastic atmosphere and Harvey Nichols… what more could you want?

AFTERWORK PINT? Birmingham has so many quality bars now. The Edgbaston, Malmaison, and the terrace at the Button Factory have been recent haunts, but I like to vary where I go. My drink of choice is a nice, cold glass of Prosecco.

HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER? There have been many large-scale developments in recent years, such as Grand Central and Resorts World Birmingham, that have created a big buzz around the city. With more on the way like Paradise Birmingham, we need to ensure we continue to build on this positive momentum, and show why Birmingham is such a great place to live and invest in. We shouldn’t be afraid to be proud of our city and boast about its achievements. I

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September issue 2017 (issue 60)  
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