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Here’s to the weekend.

Join us for two courses and unlimited Prosecco, Champagne or cocktails.* Join us for two courses and unlimited Prosecco, Champagne or cocktails.* Dishes include brunch favourites – avocado & poached egg on sourdough, smokedbrunch salmonfavourites and scrambled eggs&–poached as well egg Dishes include – avocado asonlamb-shank andsalmon a roastand on selected days. sourdough,kebab smoked scrambled eggs – as well as lamb-shank kebab and a roast on selected days.

SAT URDAYS & S UN DAYS 11 ARMDAYS – 3 P M& S UN DAYS SATU Harvey Nichols, 1 1 Birmingham AM – 3 PM Harvey Nichols, Birmingham

For more information, or to make a reservation, call +44 121 616 6028 email reservations.birmingham@harveynichols.com Forormore information, or to make a reservation, call +44 121 616 6028 or email reservations.birmingham@harveynichols.com *Ts&Cs apply. Free-flowing drinks available for two hours from time of booking. Bottomless Prosecco £40 per person, bottomless Champagne or cocktails £50 per person. *Ts&Cs apply. Free-flowing drinks available for two hours from time of booking. Bottomless Prosecco £40 per person, bottomless Champagne or cocktails £50 per person.


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TALK TO US MANAGING DIRECTOR Kevin Urquhart Kevin@fu-media.co.uk 07713 740 272 GROUP EDITOR IN CHIEF Jonathan Fraser Jon@fu-media.co.uk 0772 580 9654 PRINT & DIGITAL ADVERTISING Lilith Hunt-Sheppard lilith@fu-media.co.uk 07975 970711 ACCOUNTS & ADMINISTRATION Carey Cooper carey@fu-media.co.uk 0116 2533 445 DIGITAL CONTENT EXECUTIVE Francesca Arculeo Francesca@fu-media.co.uk 0116 2533 445 Ford reinvents the car we always wanted, the Puma.



Our personal picks of our favourite features, stories and products from around the West Midlands.

We’re cooking with coffee

18 SPOTLIGHT Natural history presenter Liz Bonin talks Planet Earth II Live.

20 SPRING STYLE Spots, stripes, skin types and shopping.

48 DIARY Romesh Ranganathan plus what is happening and what’s happened in and around Brum this season.

58 HOROSCOPES National treasure, sensational star gazer Russell Grant on what the future holds for us all.


30 MOTORS 32 LIVING Beautful botanicals and get gardening this Spring.

36 TRAVEL Exploring Fez and our favourite long haul destinations.


Cover image: Dune London

We revisit the spirit of the nineties in the all new Ford Puma.

NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Evan Gillott evan@fu-media.co.uk 0116 2533 445 NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Hema Davda hema@fu-media.co.uk 0116 2533 445 DIGITAL CONTENT ASSISTANT Scarlett Smith Scarlett@fu-media.co.uk 0116 2533 445

DLUXE WEST MIDLANDS 31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE. TEL: 0116 2533 445


www.dluxe-magazine.co.uk info@fu-media.co.uk







Disclaimer: Copyright 69 & dluxe West Midlands No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy in compiling this publication, the Publisher cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies, omissions, breach of copyright or otherwise since compilation. The Publisher cannot be held responsible for any material submitted to the publication, not excluding advertisements. The views expressed within this title are not necessarily the views of the Publisher. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply recommendation by the Publisher. © 69 Magazine Ltd 2020

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What strange days. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start banging on about viruses, government bullying, Brexit or the, quite frankly, biblically bizarre weather we’ve been having; you sit down and read a magazine to relax and unwind after all. So, I’ll count to three and we’ll all collectively take a deep breath. One, Two, Three. And deep breath in… So in this, our jam-packed Spring issue, we’re taking time out with comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Andrew Maxwell as they both tackle UK tours and keep the nation laughing. We also chat to natural history presenter Liz Bonin ahead of her hosting Planet Earth II Live which features breath-taking, specially-selected footage from the hit TV series shown in 4K ultra high-definition on a gigantic LED screen, as the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Freeman, play the remarkable music of Oscar winner Hans Zimmer. You can even win a pair of tickets to see it.

Spring brings with it catwalk trends and we’ve selected a few of our favourites including spots for her and stripes for him and our resident style experts are on hand to dole out advice on how to avoid being too try hard – there’s nothing worse is there? Oh sorry and exhale…. You ok? Sorry, my bad. Anyway to make up for it, we’ve pulled together the very best of what’s coming up across the region for you to enjoy and as usual the Dluxe photographers have been out and about getting snap happy at every event that’s been worth going to – have you been caught on camera? Best get flicking! Rounding off this issue the lovely Russell Grant has been looking at what lies ahead, and I tell you what, there’s not one mention of a pandemic. Oops, sorry there I go again. I really need to not write this after watching the lunchtimes news. Stay safe, stay positive, stay happy. See you in summer

At home we’ve gone bats for botanical, taken out our trowels and tiptoed through the sodden remains of the garden ( oops sorry, no weather remarks) and we’ve popped a Puma in the garage to play with – not the animal but the sporty new SUV from Ford that’s a reimagining of the original nineties pocket rocket for today’s world. Think hybrids and a high ride height.


<<< we can’t wait for

Jonathan Fraser Group Editor In Chief



DISNEY’S MULAN The latest Disney film to be transformed into a live action adaptation is Mulan, but this time the musical numbers are nowhere to be found as the tale of Hua Mulan takes centre stage. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Chinese Army defending the country from Huns, Mulan steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Disguised as a man by the name of Hua Jun, she must harness her innermost strength and embrace her true potential. 4 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

With a mix of exhilarating dance styles, dazzling footwork and breath-taking athleticism set to the music of Sting, Message in a Bottle tells a vital and uplifting story of humanity and hope. A village alive with joyous celebrations is suddenly under siege. and everything changes. Forever. Determined and daring, three parted siblings step out on their own extraordinary adventures. -8th – 11th April @ Birmingham Hippodrome


Season 3 of the ultradark Netflix thriller starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney taking their Missouri based money laundering operation up a level with the opening of a floating casino. Named after the isolated, rural wasterside region in which it is set, this series sees the whole family get in deeper than the river upon which they float. There’s no going back now, not for any of them. It really is sink or swim.

Emily Blunt is back for the sequel of the 2018 American science fiction horror film. Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue to fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk behind the sand path.


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GET AMONGST NATURE AT IKON Ikon is holding an exhibition by Birmingham-born artist John Newling until the 31st May. Newling, a pioneer of public art with a social purpose, is renowned for pushing the boundaries of what defines art alongside a strong environmental message. At the heart of Ikon’s exhibition is Dear Nature, a book published in 2018, comprising letters Newling wrote to 6 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

nature every day for 81 days. Alongside the letters are photographs of a growing flax seedling, cultivated in Newling’s studio.

stacks of panels of processed soil with the leaves, pressed and gilded, on the surfaces which are then stained with watercolour. The order of the books is crucial, indicating seasonal change, and once again conveying the artist’s preoccupation with physical transformation.

Other works making up the exhibition include The Soil Books; sculptures, derived f rom Newling’s everyday experience of walking from his house into his back garden, picking up leaves on the way: the result is book-like

A further work, Waste Land Soil (2018), involves the artist shredding several hundred copies of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, combined with coffee grounds and other kitchen scraps to make a soil that can sustain vegetative


One of the city’s most iconic buildings is to reopen its doors this summer following a dramatic and dedicated restoration project that has seen this landmark brought back to its former glory. The Grand Hotel, overlooking the prestigious Colmore Row, will once again open its doors to the public as a luxury hotel. The Grade II* listed building, will be home to 185 spacious rooms and suites, retaining the building’s mix of French Renaissance, Victorian and Art Deco features and paying homage to its illustrious history. Original character features throughout the property have been painstakingly restored, including the stone façade, historic ceilings, mosaic tiled floors and grand staircase.

growth - thus the opposite of waste. In a reverse process, Newling used the soil to make paper for his Eliot’s Note Books (2017), 434 paper sheets reflecting the 434 lines in Eliot’s poem that, if placed in the earth, would grow and sustain life. The exhibition extends beyond the gallery space, with readings of Dear Nature resounding throughout Ikon’s staircase and further works sited nearby in the cherry trees in Oozells Square, Brindleyplace. Find out more @ikongallery

The centrepiece Grosvenor ballroom, one of the most remarkable historic ballrooms in the United Kingdom, will be the jewel in the hotel’s crown and is sure to become Birmingham’s premier event space for all occasions. The restoration also includes new penthouse suites with spectacular views across St Phillip’s Cathedral and the city beyond; a sunken rooftop garden terrace - set to become one of the city’s best kept secret destinations; two new bars and a destination restaurant, a gymnasium, state-of-theart meeting rooms, collaboration areas, and event spaces. The hotel has enjoyed an illustrious past, having played host to a long list of royalty and famous names including King George VI, Malcolm X, Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill and James Cagney. Cody Bradshaw, Managing Director, Head of International Hotels at Starwood Capital Group, who are behind the scheme commented: “We’re proud to be working with Hortons’ Estate, whose founder, Isaac Horton, originally built the hotel in the 1870s, on a shared vision to create one of the most prestigious hotels in the UK. The restoration of this stunning grande dame building is another milestone in what is an exciting period of transformation for this vibrant city.” Find out more at www.thegrandhotelbirmingham.co.uk dluxe-magazine.co.uk 7


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Grammy Award winners, Kool and The Gang, have been announced as this year’s headline act for the two-day Solihull Summer Fest – the festival’s 5th year! Held at Tudor Grange Park in Solihull on the 25-26 July, this year’s event looks set to be the biggest yet with performances by R & B legends Kool and the Gang; 80s soul superstars Shalamar; UK acid jazz and funk

royalty, The Brand New Heavies; electronic dance duo, Snap!; one of pop’s greatest vocalists, Tony Hadley; internationally acclaimed Belinda Carlisle and the one and only Leo Sayer all joining the bill! With more acts due to be announced now’s the time to grab your tickets – visit www.solihullsummerfest.co.uk


Holland & Barrett, are meeting the growing demand for more ‘clean & conscious’ beauty with the launch of their first ever beauty concept store. The retailer has sourced a staggering 900 new beauty lines from the most clean and conscious brands around the world, including an array of new natural and vegan skincare products from pioneering brands such as Ren, INIKA Organic, Ilapothercary, Evolve, Hanna Sillitoe and This Works: all to be housed at the Birmingham Bullring store and available online. The concept store also boasts an experiential sink area for live product demos and a Faith in Nature refillable station, where customers can bring in their empty Faith in Nature bottle and refill with a product of their choice. 8 dluxe-magazine

MOOMIN MARVELLOUS Perfect for a nursery or a nostalgic walk down memory lane, Desenio’s Moomin Collection consists of 14 art prints featuring our favourite characters from Moominvalley. Celebrating their 75th birthday later this year, Tove Jansson’s mythical creatures have become a global phenomenon and are more adored than ever! With these sketch drawings you can bring the popular characters of Moominvalley to your walls. Available from just £7.95 each at desenio.co.uk

RECRUITING YEAR 7 NOW FOR SEPTEMBER 2020Â Scholarships available for Academic, Art, Languages, Music and Sport Assisted Assisted Places Places (Bursaries) (Bursaries) available available on on application application To To register register your your place place and and find find out out more, more, contact contact the the Admissions Admissions Manager Manager on: on: admissions@hallfieldschool.co.uk admissions@hallfieldschool.co.uk 48 48 Church Church Road, Road, Edgbaston, Edgbaston, Birmingham Birmingham B15 B15 3SJ 3SJ Tel. Tel. 0121 0121 454 454 1496 1496


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Tattu Birmingham

Tattu is an independent, family-owned, business founded in 2015 by brothers Adam and Drew Jones. The Tattu brand set out with a clear vision – to bring something unique and exciting to the UK’s culinary scene, delivering a dining experience that stimulates all senses, fusing beautiful and meaningful design with exciting and innovative cooking. Diners are encouraged to embrace the customary approach of sharing dishes with their guests, from colourful dim sum and luxurious small plates to contemporary main course dishes and stunning desserts. Each seasonal menu is created by Tattu’s talented chefs utilising only premium ingredients sourced from carefully selected suppliers, delivered by highly-trained front of house teams with a strong focus on meticulous and engaging customer service. Signature dim sum and small plates include chicken truffle shumai served with freshly shaved truffle and soy and chilli and sesame roasted scallops with Chinese sausage, crushed edamame and mint. Larger sharing plates include caramel soy beef fillet with shiitake and asparagus, as well the delicate ginger miso black cod served with hoba leaf, pickled lime and daikon salad. Desserts are never a course to be missed at Tattu, guests can experience the smoking cherry blossom with chocolate mousse, cherry and candyfloss as well as the Asian pear sticky toffee pudding with cinnamon, vanilla and almond.

Guests can also raise a glass with a selection of bespoke cocktails designed especially for Birmingham. Sweet Huāyuán is described as a ‘meteor garden in a glass’, with vanilla vodka, white chocolate syrup, matcha green tea and coconut. Light and Stormy is Tattu’s take on a classic serve with rum and plum topped with fiery ginger beer. Finally, Yin Yang is inspired by the venue’s contrasting interiors, where light and dark collide, with gin, hibiscus and apple. Tattu Birmingham is the largest restaurant in the group, which also has sites in Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh. It’s also the first restaurant in the group that’s located within a heritage space, which played a key role in creating a unique concept for the site. Occupying a charming space within the city’s historic Grand development on Barwick Street, Tattu Birmingham’s interior design explores of the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin Yang, the blending of contrary forces to create harmony. Managing director, Adam Jones, explained: “Each Tattu restaurant has its own identity and style that takes customers on a sensory journey as they dine. We recognise the historic importance of The Grand to the city and wanted to reflect that in our concept.”

Yin is the dark element linked with femininity, shadows and water. Tattu’s main dining space represents ‘Yin’ and is detailed in feminine finishes, including its signature cherry blossom trees that create a canopy of delicate blossom throughout the space. The traditional wooden fretwork and carefully styled lighting cast shadows to create the effect of waterfalls against the granite walls. Yang is the light element linked with masculinity, growth and fire. This new design is featured in the restaurant’s ground floor bar, dining area and semi-private dining room that overlooks the blossom canopy below. Utilising natural materials and imported stone, the space represents the growth of the business into new realms offering a new take on the traditional Tattu design. Polished brass reflects light to create a warm glow throughout – the perfect environment to relax with one of Birmingham’s signature cocktails. For exclusive hire, the venue can seat up to 150 guests over two floors or up to 200 guests for a canapé event. Tattu’s opulent aesthetic and creative cuisine look set to make the restaurant a must visit in the city centre of Birmingham.

Tattu Restaurant and Bar, 18 Barwick Street, Birmingham. B3 2NT. To book call 0121 236 5556 or email birmingham@tattu.co.uk 10 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

18 Barwick St Birmingham, B3 2NT Book now for a unique, modern Chinese dining experience.

tattu.co.uk @tatturestaurant


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Fresh spring dishes to tantalize your tastebuds, new season styling to revive your home and the latest fashion collections to get your wardrobe holiday ready – discover luxury like no other, only at Mailbox. NEW DISCOVERIES Spring is all about new beginnings, and the Mailbox’s latest culinary addition packs a real punch when it comes to discovering new flavours. Indico Street Kitchen is the city’s newest boutique Indian restaurant, paying tribute to the glitz and glamour of vibrant Punjabi culture. Offering an all-round experience to ignite your senses, Indico is the perfect place for date nights, drinks with friends or catch-ups with the family. Elsewhere, enjoy the freshest spring dishes at a selection of waterside restaurants, from BAHA Vegan, Aluna, Gas Street Social and more. Give your home a spring-clean and a new season refresh with the help of inspiring interiors. Sitting alongside the latest SS20 collections from prestigious brands, such as Heal’s, BoConcept and MADE.COM, is the Mailbox’s newest Level 1 retailer: Lovett & Judge. Boasting a curated collection of striking furniture and one-off treasures, learn how to add bold interiors to your home without breaking the bank. 12 dluxe-magazine

GET READY FOR HOLIDAY SEASON Spring is the perfect time to update your wardrobe, ready for the longer and brighter days ahead. Straight from the runway to the Mailbox, discover the newest apparel with a selection of the biggest brands in fashion. From designer labels at Harvey Nichols and signature styles at Paul Smith, to elegant womenswear at Level 2’s latest addition, James Lakeland, make sure you stand out from the crowd whilst staying

firmly on-trend this holiday season. Planning on staying local this Easter? Everyman Cinema is set to show some of the biggest family films of the year, screening the much-anticipated releases of Mulan, Peter Rabbit 2, The Secret Garden

and more. Boasting sumptuous sofas, drinks-delivery and exceptional customer service, visit Everyman for a luxurious experience that the whole family will enjoy. NEW SEASON, NEW YOU Say goodbye to the cold, wintery weather and restore your skin’s natural glow with a trip to the Mailbox. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and take time out to sit back and unwind in the decadent surroundings of the Harvey Nichols and Malmaison spas. Feeling like a new season ‘do? Experts from James Bushell, Nicky Clarke and Toni & Guy Essensuals are ready to treat you to an on-trend makeover – whether you’re embracing the bob, bangs or a blowout. Meanwhile, gents can experience grooming like no other at Pall Mall Barbers on Level 1, with an award-winning team delivering razor sharp styling and luxurious wet shaves to get you looking your best. Ideally situated within the heart of Birmingham, the Mailbox lies just minutes from New Street Station and offers 24 hours secure on-site parking with the award-winning Q Park, providing free tyre checking with every visit. Discover more at www.mailboxlife.com.



The destination for flagship and concept stores that send fashionistas and foodies, home-lovers and style-seekers wild. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all here waiting for you.







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YEAR SEVEN at HallfieLD Launching in September 2020, Hallfield School is creating HallfieldSeniors to educate pupils 11-13 years of age in preparation for entry into regional independent schools and national boarding schools. Hallfield School has a distinguished history of educating pupils for entry at 13+ and they believe, as they have just celebrated their 140th year as one of Birmingham’s most distinguished Prep Schools, the time is right to expand their offering to both their current parents and the wider Birmingham community to become the only Birmingham Prep School offering co-educational education to 13 years. With excellent facilities, extensive 20-acre grounds and specialist teachers with experience of teaching senior school pupils, Hallfield is well-placed to deliver a unique Prep School education within Birmingham. Why 13+? Their reasons for extending their schooling to age 13 are essentially two-fold: Choice and Ambition. Traditionally, pupils entered Public Schools as boarders or day pupils in Year 9, at the age of 13 years. Whilst Hallfield will continue to excel in its preparation of pupils to gain entry to highly selective schools at 11+, they know that starting a new senior school at the end of Year 6 is not the right pathway for everyone; they are providing parents with a greater choice and a chance to realise their aspirations. Some parents wish their child to receive a broader and more traditional education and either commute or board at regional or national Public Schools. Many parents feel that at the age of 11 years, their child is not ready to either commute a longer distance or board. Hallfield used to feed into this traditional model and pupils from Hallfield have attended schools at 13+ such as Harrow, Eton and Uppingham, to name a few. These schools have international reputations for the quality of the education they provide and world-class facilities. They are currently working closely with partner schools at Adcote School For Girls, Bromsgrove, Malvern College, Malvern St James, Old Swinford Hospital, Repton, RGS Worcester, Rugby, Shrewsbury School, Shrewsbury High, St George’s, Warwick School and Wrekin College.

GO OFFROAD TO BEDFORDSHIRE Oh how we would have loved one of these! Embark upon a night-time drive adventure with the new Cabin Bed with off roader Tent and Tunnel from online family furniture brand Nöa & Nani. The super-fun, elevated sleep station will be sure to encourage the most explorative play, whilst also providing a cosy place for sleep. The off roader canopy provides the most imaginative hideaway den, perfect for stowing those precious pieces of safari equipment such as binoculars, cameras and torches, or for simply hiding toys and furniture out of sight, ensuring that the surrounding room space is maximised. The super-fun fabric tent features a bright green 4x4 vehicle, complete with front, side and rear views. Accessible via a sturdy ladder, the luggage rack atop provides the ideal place to sleep peacefully under the nighttime stars, or a spot to sit and ponder whilst looking out onto the Serengeti savannah.

Equally, some pupils need more time to mature and develop in the familiar/more secure environment a Prep School can offer. Pupils can also take entrance exams to local selective independent schools for entry into Year 9, where fewer children compete for places compared with entry at Year 7.

Beautifully crafted from solid pine and finished in a contemporary shade of white, matching accessories including shelves and coat hooks can be added to accommodate all those little bits and bobs. All fabric add-ons from Nöa & Nani fully comply with UK fire regulations, ensuring they are safe for use. Designed to grow with the child, the tented canopy can be easily removed, leaving a stylish, classic sleeper, which can accommodate a slide and a desk or chest of drawers below.

To find out more call 0121 454 1496 or email admissions@hallfieldschool.co.uk

Cabin Bed with Off Roader Tent and Tunnel costs £169.00 or with added slide for £199 from www.noaandnani.co.uk

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Mailbox birmingham | stratford upon avon | hockley heath www.kitchengallery.co.uk


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There may well be a new winner for the title of most comfortable sneakers ever: the Hi Cloud by Swiss sportswear specialists On. Birmingham Children’s Hospital welcomed Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to its hospital recently to unveil a unique stainedglass window installation, featuring some of Roald Dahl’s most iconic characters, specially designed by the world-famous children’s illustrator Sir Quentin Blake. The charitably-funded project is the brainchild of Felicity Dahl, wife of the late author, who often used to visit the hospital as a child with her father Professor Alphonsus d’Abreu, then Dean of the Medical Faculty. She approached Sir Quentin Blake who was delighted to be involved and generously donated his original designs, which have now been transformed into a stunning series of stained-glass windows – the first-time Sir Quentin’s work or Roald Dahl characters have ever been produced in stained-glass. Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity launched a campaign to raise the £234,000 needed to make the windows a reality. Once the money was raised, work was able to start and the final installation is now housed inside Waterfall House, a state-of-the-art building, which is home

to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s world-class Children’s Cancer Centre and the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre for children. The main window sits in the entrance to Waterfall House, while a series of nine smaller interior windows are situated along the building’s ground floor corridor. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was invited to the hospital to unveil the new installation and was able to get a closer look at all of the windows, which feature favourite Roald Dahl characters that every child and parent will instantly recognise, including The BFG, The Enormous Crocodile and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, plus Matilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was also able to meet patients, project donors, as well as staff members, including Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s four Roald Dahl Nurses who specialise in rare diseases. These nurses are funded by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity of which The Duchess is Patron. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was then invited to unveil a commemorative plaque.

COASTING ALONG Dismiss drink rings and say goodbye to worktop worries with these colourful coasters from Red Candy. These animalicious coasters are part of a full animal inspired range of home accessories that are sure to leave you feline fine! All of these bright and beautiful pieces are lovingly handmade in Sri Lanka from ceramic with decal decoration. A set of four coasters cost just £22.50 from www.redcandy.co.uk 16 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

Hi by name, high in tech and high in nature, these urban adventurers are like the SUV of the sneaker world; part trainer, part hiking boot. The CloudTec® cushioned sole means you stand a little taller and always in extreme comfort making a full day on your feet a real treat! Perfect for a city break, these are the ultra light trainers (just 354g!) you need to take on holiday. Made from vegan leather and suede with durable canvas, they look smart in the city and casual enough for a long weekend in the country. We love the looplock speed lacing system too – just clip and go! So simple, so smart… so why aren’t all trainers laced this way? Priced at £150 from www.on-running.com

DISHOOM TO OPEN Celebrated Bombay café Dishoom is opening this Spring at One Chamberlain Square, part of Paradise Birmingham. The restaurant will pay loving homage to the old Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay. Executive Chef Naved Nasir’s menu of Bombay comfort food will be served all day, bringing together the food of all Bombay with award-winning cocktails, teetotal tipples, chai, coolers and more. www.dishoom.com

He may not be a comic you would describe as overtly political, but this mercurial Dubliner does tackle the broader issues by discussing normal people, often finding joy in the idiosyncrasies of humans. “I would say that I’m optimistic about people. I didn’t go to university, let alone a good university but I’ve got this far. You can make it. Ultimately my guiding light is love. You go around every possible chamber of human experience and the only one that works is love.” His reluctance to talk about Trump, Brexit, Boris or any of the other current political buzzwords doesn’t mean that he’s afraid of confronting those sorts of issues. It’s just that he senses people might have had their fill of it all for the time being. “My feeling is that at the moment, there’s going to be a period of ‘please stop talking about it’. I’ve talked extensively about the situations with Brexit and the IndyRef in Scotland and the constant rolling us versus them stuff in Northern Ireland: these things will always pop up but I just get the sense that people don’t want it. A period of reflection I believe it’s called. Luckily I’ve got a constant raging midlife crisis on the go, so there’s always something to talk about.”

Andrew Maxwell In a career that has achieved high praise from audiences and critics alike, Andrew Maxwell has never been short of subjects to regale us all with. As he gears up for his next tour, he’s set to give us a dose of Reality. Or reality TV, to be more precise, given that his experience of being in the back and beyond in Australia for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here will form a significant part of his new show writes Brian Donaldson “It’s such a massive programme and it has a very special place in people’s hearts. When I started talking to my nearest and dearest about doing it, I didn’t realise how many people are so crazy about it. You get whole families wanting photos. People’s kids want a photo of me! I was living on 600 calories a day, literally sleeping with snakes, and spiders are falling onto your head as you try to wee into a bucket at night: everything else in life is then much easier.” Making stand-up look easy has been Andrew Maxwell’s forte during a career spanning more than 25 years. A favourite at the Edinburgh Fringe with shows such as Grand Royale, Waxin’ (which earned him an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination in 2007), Supernatural, and

his most recent hour, All Talk, he has also appeared on TV shows such as Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week and Drunk History, and narrated MTV’s Ex On The Beach. In 2004 he was crowned King Of Comedy in a Channel 4 reality show, while he also claimed victory in a 2018 episode of Celebrity Mastermind with his specialist subject of Lebanon.

Luckily I’ve got a constant raging

midlife crisis on the go, so there’s always something to talk


A veteran of the comedy circuit in the UK and at arts festivals all across the world, Andrew has spent enough time on the road to know all about the pros and cons of touring. “The con is loneliness, and there’s not a lot you can do about that. I drive around myself and listen to Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time. It’s 45 minutes long and they get right to the point, with three experts in anything from the East India Company or quantum mechanics.” For a man who is constantly inquisitive about the world around him, there’s always something to learn about the places he’s appearing in. “The pros of touring are the whole days set aside to just learn something new. There was a day on the tour last spring when I looked at the maps and it struck me that I had never realised that the Peak District is just above Sheffield. So suddenly I’m just pottering around the countryside like I’m in a Sunday evening murder-mystery.” One of the mysteries of the entertainment industry is that people as talented in their field as Andrew Maxwell aren’t better known to a wider populace. His newfound fame from I’m A Celebrity might attract a different kind of audience to his shows, but whoever is in the crowd, his goal will always remain the same. “You want people to laugh their bollocks off and leave the tent or the room with their chin up. It’s important to send them off armed and ready for life. I want them to feel a million dollars.” The Reality is you can pretty much put your house on that happening. Andrew Maxwell’s Reality tour calls in at The Old Rep, Birmingham on the 22nd May. For tickets visit www.andrewmaxwellontour.com

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Delivering an extraordinarily vivid window on the natural world, the BBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Planet Earth II series held audiences captivated with itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about to arrive in Birmingham giving audience members the chance to experience sensational footage from the BAFTA and ultra high-definition on a gigantic LED screen, as the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Freeman, Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea & Jasha Klebe. Neil Barston talked to host Liz Bonin to find out more. 18 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

The scale of its creative ambitions made major headlines, using innovative camerawork to capture everything from tracking lions hunting in Namibia, primates navigating the jungles of Madagascar, through to the dramatic trials of a baby marine iguana racing for its life. Set a decade on from the initial series, the award-winning programme casts a memorable spotlight on just how fragile our remarkable global ecosystems are. Its core narrative of valuing and sensing the urgency for protecting our environment served as a key companion to the equally compelling Blue Planet II, which laid bare the plight of our world’s oceans. Such was the impact on consumers’ level of awareness, it led directly to major shifts in global corporate and government environmental policies. Following in the show’s footsteps, Planet Earth II is set for a similarly grand live UK arena tour featuring a 4K LED screen supported with music by Hans Zimmer performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic orchestra. As the event’s host Liz Bonnin, who has presented primetime BBC series including Horizon, as well as the Blue Planet Live, explains, it’s a hugely emotive venture. “It hasn’t really quite sunk in that I’ll be involved with this, so to be stepping out as part of the tour for this and getting to see it all on a gigantic screen with a full orchestra playing as well - I think I’ll be quite emotional,” she remarks of the project. “I believe it’s going to have quite an impact, and it will be a great medium for both entertaining and educating people about the issues that it addresses.


its visually breath-taking insights and now EMMY® award winning BBC series in 4K play the remarkable music by Oscar winner

“People are much more aware of what is happening to our planet now – which we’ve seen through young people fighting for their future,” adds the presenter. She has not been afraid to tackle difficult issues, such as with her recent Drowning In Plastic screen series. As Liz reveals, there has been an incredible amount of work placed into bringing audiences closer to the natural world than has ever before with Planet Earth II. Its finely realised storytelling has been particularly highly praised, leading to the programme winning several BAFTA awards, as well as gaining Emmy honours. “It was just a game-changing series with some iconic moments that stay with you,

W pai have e to grs of ttwo ive icke For aw ts win you ay. visi r ch ma t w an gaz ww ce t like when ine .dlu o .co you see Goo .uk xecreatures like dL uck the marine ! iguana which was incredible, so getting to see them on the on the big screen is going to be an amazing experience,” adds Liz of the upcoming tour, which showcases the key highlights from the series.

The 43-year old presenter, who has a master’s degree in animal biology, admits she has enjoyed a very fortunate career with opportunities to travel the world and test her skills and knowledge to their fullest extent. As far as Planet Earth II is concerned, she says one of its magic ingredients is the narration by Sir David Attenborough, whom she praises for continuing to lead the way for nature documentaries into his 90s. “I’ve met Sir David on a few occasions now, and I will never forget the first time I saw him about 12 years ago when he was talking at an event – I was a bit star struck, but it was great to go on to discuss some of those programmes like Blue Planet with him. “He was my hero when I was growing up. He went from production work into inventing natural history programming with the BBC. There really is nobody else like him and I doubt there ever will be again. He’s not just a national treasure, but one for the whole world.” As for her own early experiences, she says that she was fortunate to grow up with her sister in rural French surroundings near Nice, which proved influential in forging her love of the natural world. Having the chance to communicate her clear passion for nature through her work is something that she finds especially rewarding. However, Liz is under no illusion of the major challenges facing our environment, which she believes series such as Planet Earth, and Sir David’s latest BBC series, Seven Worlds, One Planet can have a dramatic influence on how we treat our environment. Liz adds: “We are facing an existential crisis in terms of the effects that human behaviour is having on the planet. We have reached a tipping point in terms our impact, and one of the things that I am most astounded in relation to this is by the fact that petrochemical companies are just seemingly carrying on as if it is business as usual. “I believe we can make a difference, but we need to be aware of the facts of what is happening to our planet, and how we can change. I think series like Planet Earth can both move and inspire people.” Planet Earth II Live will be at Resort World Arena, Birmingham on the 3rd April. For tickets and to find out more visit www.planetearth2live.uk dluxe-magazine.co.uk 19


<<< her style

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polka what? This season everyone's seeing spots

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WHERE TO GET IT... 1. Outfit by Matalan, 2. Imogen Dress, £199, Hobbs, 3. Tonya Pink Polka Dot Top, £85, Kitri, 4. Spot Ditsy Mix & Match Midi Dress, £75, Oliver Bonas, 5. Sheer Polka-Dot Blouse, £695, Dolce & Gabbana, 6. Vera Red Polka Dot Halterneck Dress, £165, Kitri, 7. Eloise printed silk-crepe wrap maxi dress, £495, Diane Von Furstenburg, 8 White polka-dot denim mini skirt, £300, Marc Jacobs, 9. Spotty Hairband, £25, Dune London 10. Sweet Thing Slingback Shoes, £43, Joe Browns, 11. Flared Polka Dot Dress, £55, Yumi, 12. Cherry polka-dot silk blouse, £390, Lee Mathews, Polka-dot knotted chiffon headband, £60, Lele Sadough 13. Astrid polka-dot satin midi dress, £800, Racil dluxe-magazine.co.uk 21



<<< her style



From an oily T-zone to a flaky forehead, understanding your complexion is essential when picking the most effective products. LISA PIDDINGTON, from HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM, reveals the skincare heroes designed to cater to your specific needs DHC’s Velvet Skin Coat makeup primer, £19.50, minimises the look of fine lines, pores and imperfections while reducing oiliness to help makeup glide on and last longer.

Designed to help your skin feel strengthened, soothed and protected use La Mer’s The Concentrate, £155, for a healthy-looking vitality. ACNE-PRONE SKIN: If you tend to get spots and acne use products containing enzymes, glycolic acid and salicylic acid to help detox and gently exfoliate the skin, and prevent pores getting clogged and causing even more spots. The best-selling Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, £16, contains a blend of calamine and salicylic acid to clear up and soothe unsightly whiteheads and quickly dry pimples.

DRY SKIN: If your skin is tight, flaky and dull opt for hydrating hyaluronic acid which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. Avoid using abrasive scrubs and products that contain alcohol to prevent further irritation and dryness. Made using 85% organic prickly pear seed oil, Huxley’s refreshing Secret of Sahara Essence, £38, absorbs quickly and deeply into the skin to provide intense hydration.

The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, £5.90, hydrates and plumps without drawing water out of the skin. Add to your foundation or favourite moisturiser for a real beauty boost. OILY SKIN: Using oil on your face can stop your skin thinking it needs to produce any more, so add a serum to your daily routine. Clarifying products, specifically formulated for oily skin, can draw out impurities and clean pores. 22 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

Clarifying Serum, from Heaven Skincare, £55, contains microbes, which naturally occur in the oil, that kill off bacteria to bring the skin back to equilibrium. COMBINATION SKIN: If your face is oily in some places – say, across the T-zone – and feels dry in others choose lightweight, dual purpose products that tackle both issues and restore a healthy balance. Go easy on exfoliators and toners to avoid breakouts.

The Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel, £87, safely polishes even sensitive skin without stripping the moisture barrier or causing irritation.

Biotec Skin Energising Day Cream, £75, from Elemis smoothes and hydrates to leave you with a fresh, shinefree and balanced complexion.

Products featured are available from the Beauty Hall at Harvey Nichols Birmingham or online at harveynichols.com

JAEGER RRP £250.00 OUTLET £125.00


M&S RRP £27.50 OUTLET £19.50

get the look Capture the essence of this trend with statement stripes and polka dot perfection.

LEVI’S RRP £65.00 OUTLET £45.00


brands you’ll love

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Discover everything from stand out jackets to monochrome trousers with our new arrivals from sought-after brands including Joules, Kurt Geiger, Radley London and more.

Loving this season’s geometric look? Ace the trend with these must-have pieces for up to 60% less at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet East Midlands GAP RRP £29.99 OUTLET £17.99

FOSSIL RRP £159.00 OUTLET £103.00



<<< her style



Whilst the start of the year can feel like a horribly gloomy place, it can also be the perfect excuse to look ahead as to what the year has in store. And while the world goes crazy over Boris and Brexit, and Harry and Meghan moving stateside, yet another couple of months of winter can pose a slightly bleak start. So instead I just pour another gin and eagerly anticipate what delights the new season will bring and fill up my clients' summer wardrobes. In this new decade, throwaway trends are becoming increasingly unfashionable, and we are all looking for clothes that will have a lasting impact notably with the inevitable capsule wardrobe. The spring summer 2020 runways were notably more commercial than usual, with a focus on classic legacy buys rather than the previous impractical, whimsical and artistic creations, we once saw. Instead collections seemed to be more realistic and wearable. Something right up my street and a much-welcomed stance for those into sustainable fashion.

Whilst the waistcoat and Bermuda shorts are items we’ll be seeing a lot of on the high street (not my bag!) these are my personal favourite, effortless and low maintenance trends to invest in for Spring Summer 2020: THE NEW TRENCH By no means a surprise, trench coats look set to be hugely popular this spring. This wardrobe classic was spliced, diced and cleverly restyled. Fashion’s love affair with trench coats are totally justified with its practical, dependable, goeswith-everything outerwear option. This season it comes in fresh colourways and finishes. Still a classic style, some showing more feminine finishes, from pleats to prints - that'll soften the often androgynous staple. SUMMER LEATHER Don’t be shy when it comes to coloured leather, petrol blues, rust browns and lipstick reds were fair game on many of the catwalks. The leather shirt being the most staple and accessible item to add into your

summer wardrobe. Think modern staples with simple lines. TROPICAL NIGHTS We have Jennifer Lopez to thank for this one, thanks to her plunging Versace dress which broke the internet back in 2000. But that wasn't the only jungle-leaf print to make an impact for spring. Fendi and Dolce and Gabbana wowed us with some luxuriant green leaves whilst Marni's abstract blooms, tropical prints have been flowering during SS20, with palm trees and vivid colours invading dresses, jackets and footwear that will get us reconnecting with nature. IT’LL BE ALL WHITE ON THE NIGHT Well during the day as well actually. Wear head to toe for that fresh start feeling, my personal purchase will be a white summer dress, style I’m not sure of yet but perhaps something floaty for Santorini (not yet booked, I’m just putting it out there to the universe!) DOTTY FOR YOU Polka Dots were another print the catwalks were awash with. If you think you’re seeing spots whilst out shopping, you are. No longer twee, think more of a cool and elevated look from dresses to blouses, heels and headbands.

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE If ever there was a good time to do Neon it would be now. The highlighter pen shades neon green, pink, yellow, orange and turquoise were on offer from many of the designers. MAKE A STATEMENT With your collar or neckline! Wide, pointed statement collars appeared on coats, shirts and blazers, with many using zesty or contrasting colours to really exaggerate the lapel. If Victoria Beckham and JW Anderson are backing this, something tells us it'll catch on. Then with necklines is was all about the square, showing off as much décolletage and shoulder as you can, thanks to the '90s minimalist resurgence. Think scoop, square and slashed necklines. So that’s my round up of the most accessible and investment worthy trends of Spring Summer 2020. I may tap into a couple of them to add into my existing capsule wardrobe to update it slightly. If the thought of it all is a little overwhelming or you feel you just need a bit of guidance over your spring summer wardrobe you know where I am. Your Fairy Clothes Mother xx

CREDITS. Saskia-Trench £199 Hobbs London, Gestuz Leather Belted Dress £500 Selfridges, White Crochet Dress Head Over Heels., Green Tropical Dress £40 Roman, Polka-Dot Satin Mini Dress £670 Racin Harvey Nichols., Oliver Bonas Hong Kong Orange Cat Eye Sunglasses £49.50.

Working as a Buyer and Image Consultant for high street fashion chains as well as high end designers, including Amanda Wakeley, Cleo now runs her own personal styling and shopping service, helping real men and women to take control of their wardrobe. E: cleolacey@demi-couture.co.uk W: www.demi-couture.co.uk Facebook: Demi Couture Twitter: @cleolacey Instagram: DemiCoutureStylist 24 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

NEW SEASON BAG EDIT Like cashmere coats or diamond rings, your bag is an irrefutable investment item. So opt for fashion’s most sought-after with this selection of new season arm candy from HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM.

Gucci celebrates its archival design codes with its Ophidia Flora tote bag, £1,410. Panelled with the label’s monogrammed GG Supreme coated canvas, it’s decorated with a statement print from the 60s. Continuing the historical theme, it’s beautifully finished with signature striped webbing and the iconic logo plaque. Valentino’s attentiongrabbing VSling print leather cross-body bag, £2,010, features the brand’s Resort 20 ivory and black giraffe print and the iconic gold-tone V plaque. This compact musthave may be small, but it certainly packs a stylish punch. The Mystic mini leather top handle bag, £1,790, is Givenchy’s latest IT bag and takes inspiration from structured haute couture silhouettes instantly elevate your look. Constructed from pale pink leather, it’s defined by its sculptural shoulders and handfinished detailing.

Wear your heart on your sleeve with Marc Jacobs’ signature Marc Jacobs Box leather cross-body bag, £335. In ivory leather, this compact style features a red shoulder strap and is decorated with a bold heart print and logo embroidery.

Givenchy’s Eden bag, £2,050, is the latest design in the label’s line-up of covetable accessories. Crafted from smooth white leather, the boxy structure is accented by graphic top-stitching and the archival gold-tone logo plaque, which work to enhance its luxurious appeal. In stylish baby pink, the Angie small crossbody bag, £1,490, from Saint Laurent Paris is expertly crafted from glossy leather. Its quilted style is adorned with the house’s iconic logo plaque and there’s an optional shoulder strap so you can wear it in a variety of ways. With its iconic status, Gucci’s GG Marmont mini leather cross-body bag, £1,330, in an elegant ivory hue is our new season hero piece. Made from smooth matelassé leather, it’s tailored to a sweet mini size and sculpted with a heart at the back,

while its silhouette is adorned with a GG plaque. Stella McCartney’s logo python-effect shoulder bag, £715, embraces the designer’s playful, quirky nature. Made from ecoconscious faux leather, this bold accessory is crafted with pastel python-effect panels and studded with a neon designer motif.

All bags featured are available from the Accessories department at Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox, and online at harveynichols.com dluxe-magazine.co.uk 25


<<< his style






SHOW YOUR STRIPES 26 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

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WHERE TO GET IT... 1. Outfit by Burton, 2. Scotty striped cotton top, £45, Carhartt, 3. Navy striped woven shirt, £110, Samsoe & Samsoe, 4. Tommy Jeans Stripe Organic Cotton T £40, 5. Paul Smith Mother of Pearl Stripe Button Cufflinks, Mono £110 John Lewis, 6. Blue striped cotton shirt, £105, Polo Ralph Lauren., 7. True Stripe Panel Trainers, Black £55 Dune, 8. Dawlish Stripe Polo in Navy, £32.50, FatFace., 9. Braces, £19.99, Zara, 10. Appliquéd Striped Stretch Cotton-Blend Socks, £90, Gucci, 11. Paul Smith Artist Stripe Card Holder, £65 John Lewis, 12. Kennick Short Sleeve BiStripe Linen Shirt, Blue £110 Reiss, 13. Kin Jumbo Stripe Knit Jumper, £55 John Lewis, 14. Burberry stripe espadrilles £340 Harvey Nichols


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<<< his style



Opting for functionality doesn’t mean you have to forego fashion – the new breed of innovative fabrics mean your wardrobe can be super stylish and practical. LISA PIDDINGTON from HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM selects the new season pieces that tick all the boxes, from high-tech mesh and nylon to directional denim and panelled detailing.

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10 1. Moncler Argentiere panelled shell jacket, £855 2. Balenciaga Speed stretch-knit sneakers, £540 3. Saint Laurent Paris logo nylon holdall, £740 4. Off-White Odsy-1000 mesh sneakers, £545 5. Balmain shell and denim jacket, £1675 6. Gucci panelled logo shell jacket, £1510 7. Off-White neoprene bomber jacket, £975 8. Canada Goose Camouflage Arctic-Tech shell gilet, £425 9. Palm Angels panelled twill cargo trousers, £425 10. Eastpak X Alpha Industries army green shell backpack, £70

Items featured are available in store at Harvey Nichols Birmingham, Mailbox, or online at harveynichols.com 28 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

LINEN LOOK “Linen is my friend right now. It’s a wardrobe classic so not trendy - trendy and being light and breathable, it’s an excellent choice for warmer climes. Team it with another neutral and you’ve got your trend-based look without being try hard – it’s adaptable, too, so the go to choice that will take you from daywear to a casual dinner with effortless style.” SET THE TONE Creating a fashionable statement doesn’t always require a bold dose of colour. Don’t believe me? Just look to Florence for proof. The gents in town for Pitti Uomo created some seriously striking outfits by keeping things neutral. Decked out from head to toe in creams, beiges and caramels, these gents appeared anything from boring. Imagine a paint chart: choose tones that sit together without being the same to create some muchneeded contrast – like I did with these linen trousers from Zara and same tone T-shirt from Guess.


GO ROUND Clear out your sunnies and start again. While the round sunglasses trend may have started with the ladies, it’s now the gents’ turn to rock the look. Sharp, stylish and seriously round, these sunglasses are more about making a style statement than shielding your eyes from the sun. They’re a great way to make your look fashion forward. I found these vintage Giorgio Armani 90’s glasses online and they make a unique style statement. When sunglasses shopping always take a friend for that all important second opinion!

Ah, spring how we have missed you! We may have escaped a harsh winter but it’s been too darn wet so we can’t wait to hang up our ontrend hiking boots and slip into some sandals… maybe after Easter…

So, now’s the time to get our wardrobe’s warm weather ready. One of this season’s key trends is for neutral and pastel shades so first things first, see what’s already in your wardrobe and work round it! Before you shop always have a game plan – remember what you’ve already got and what you’ve not – it’s important so you don’t duplicate. New season shopping is all about integrating not replacing! Remember shopping for the season is not necessarily the same as trend shopping so feel free to mix things up a little whilst nodding at what the snap happy fashionista’s online are up to. Rather than follow a trend, try following a vibe and add a certain sensibility to your look without hopping on anyone's bandwagon. This could be eighties gloss, vintage style or sports luxe chic for example. Choose your vibe and then integrate the trends that work within it. This is exactly what style blogger and correspondent Ekin Dagli has done having found inspiration on a quick Spring trip to Athens where the sun is always high in the sky – the perfect place to perfect your new Spring look. Follow him online at @ekindaglii www.ekindagli.com

S’ LONG SNEAKERS No matter whether your trews are short or long, ditch the deck shoes and sling out your sneakers in favour of a classic sandal.. and if you’re still in sliders then just stop reading now! Menswear designers having been pushing the concept of resort lines for the last few years which means there’s much more choice out there. No longer should sandals be confined to the beach, instead, men can decide to wear them out and about. For my tonal beige linen look I opted for a brown cross strap sandals in brown to keep things neutral whilst adding a little contrast and complete my look.

Clockwise: Saint Laurent Camel twill jacket £1180 Harvey Nichols. Merino Zip Neck Polo £85 Reiss, Suedette Baseball Cap £50 Reiss, Jersey Shorts River Island, Georgio Armani Sunglasses, £220 Selfridges, Fiz Sandal £55 Dune London dluxe-magazine.co.uk 29



It’s well and truly a sign of how both fashions and buying habits change that when Ford decided to reimagine its iconic Puma coupe from the mid 90s that it updated the concept from coupe to crossover. The original Puma proved itself a marvel on the road with slick handling, excellent roadholding and peppy performance from its 1.7 petrol engine. It’s the one car I regret not buying; walking away from the dealerships to put down a deposit instead on a sexy little Alfa 145 Cloverleaf that, of course, spent more time in the service bay than it did on the road and lost all of its considerable value literally overnight. Heart literally stomped over head. 12 years later, wiser and with less hair on head and more in my ears, this new incarnation of the Puma might not slip so quickly through my fingers. The seductive exterior styling 30 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

looks back to the original couple, especially in those headlights but also represents the next chapter in Ford’s design philosophy so expect some pretty new cars to come. A low, sloping roofline gives a dramatic, instantly recognisable silhouette, and bucks the trend for wedge-style crossover side profiles. This “anti-wedge” design features a flatter belt-line to deliver balanced proportions and succeeds in stopping the Puma from appearing slabby.

and features an adjustable boot floor and Megabox storage space. The storage solution offers a capacity of 80 litres in a space which can house unstable items up to around 115 cm tall – such as houseplants – in an upright position. Alternatively, with the lid down, the space can be used to conceal dirty sports equipment or muddy Wellington boots. The synthetic lining and drain plug in the bottom of the Ford Megabox makes it easy to clean with water- clever.

Pronounced wheel arches amplify the sporty character as do the front air curtain inlets that guide airflow across the front wheels to reduce turbulence for improved aerodynamics and a large rear wing, wide tail lights and central Puma branding give what could be a heavy back end a squat and powerful presence.

Loading the Puma is made even easier thanks to a hands-free tailgate technology opening that you’d normally find on high end Mercedes models. The system allows access to the boot space even with arms full of groceries, kids or sports equipment, using a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper.

That back end hides best-in-class load space and luggage capacity of 456 litres

The rest of the cabin feels roomy and upmarket with lumbar massaging front

BABY? 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine to deliver up to 155 PS. Offered in 125 PS and 155 PS variants, the intelligent, self-regulating mild-hybrid system continuously monitors how the vehicle is being used to determine when and how intensively to charge the battery for optimal benefit. The electric torque assistance helps deliver punchier, more responsive performance, with up to 50 per cent more torque available at lower engine speeds, for a more flexible and connected driving experience. For those not wanting to opt for hybrid, a range of petrol and diesel engines are available alongside an impressive list of safety tech. Puma utilises 12 ultrasonic sensors, three radars and two cameras positioned around the car to enhance protection, driving and parking, and are designed to make the driving experience more comfortable, less demanding and safer. seats a first in the segment and a full-length openable panorama roof comprising two almost-full width panes of toughened, tinted glass creates an even more spacious and airy feel for occupants in the front and rear. Opt for the ST-Line or ST-Line X and enjoy a fully configurable digital instrument cluster using “true colour” display technology so it’s bright without being tiring on the eyes and easy to read. There’s a wireless charging pad built in for effortlessly recharging smartphones on the move and devices can remain linked via Bluetooth to the communications and entertainment system whilst wireless charging, allowing Puma drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple voice commands. Available in Titanium, ST-Line and STLine X trims, the higher spec models add 18-inch standard or 19-inch optional matt

black machined alloy wheels and a sports suspension with specially tuned springs and shock absorbers. At the front, the ST-Line grille features matt black elements and a high-gloss surround, high-gloss foglamp surrounds, and an optional larger, functional roof-spoiler along with bold signature STLine lower wing elements direct air to the air-curtain inlets. Inside, the Puma ST Line features a flat-bottomed steering wheel and old school red stitching – also available on the optional partial leather seats. Colours are somewhat sedate with the standard, blues, black, red white and grey on offer. Like the original before it, this Puma is also based on the platform of its Fiesta sibling and features Ford’s EcoBoost Hybrid 48volt technology to enhance fuel efficiency, performance and the Puma’s fun-to-drive character. The mild-hybrid powertrain seamlessly integrates electric torque assistance with a low-friction, three-cylinder

Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane Centring helps the vehicle maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and new Local Hazard Information functionality – enabled by the FordPass Connect on-board modem – can inform drivers of a hazardous situation on the road ahead, even if the incident is not visible due to a bend in the road or other vehicles. So bigger, better equipped, more practical, more efficient and with more safety equipment fitted as standard but still as good to drive; it looks like the Puma has come a long way from its 90s roots. Like all of us, it’s grown up. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that Ford dealership. Puma is available now starting at £20,545. Find out more at www.ford.co.uk

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<<< interiors


BEAUTIFUL BOTANICAL Flamboyant ferns, jungle prints, ethnic accessories and plants, plants galore! We love this interior trend for bringing all things exotic and outdoors indoors especially when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mixed with glittering golds and buffed bronzes.

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Iro Hand Painted Armoire, £895, Oliver Bonas

John Lewis John Lewis & Partners Sultans Garden Plate £16

Sainsbury’s Home Loft Wooden Cylindrical Faux, £10, Sainsbury’s Home

Metal Hanging Lamp with Plant Pot Gold and Black, £95, Cult Furniture

Haas mojave palm candlestick large, £510, L’Objet

Penelope Accent Chair Velvet Upholstered Green Leaf Walnut Legs, £139, Cult Furniture

Baltimore Low Stool Velvet Upholstered Botanical Print, £79, Cult Furniture

Eichholtz Ginkgo Side Table, £1090, Sweetpea & Willow

Prestia decanter, £39.75, Lene Bjerre

Green Velvet Footstool, £117.95, Melody Maison

Natural woven seagrass basket, £25, Bloomingvile

Very.co.uk Botanical Flatweave Rug from £34.99

Large Triangular Top Artisan Terrarium Lantern, £39.99, Lights4fun

Large Black Slatted Lantern with TruGlow Candle, £36.99, Lights4fun

Amara Elizabeth Scarlett Palmier Cushion Cover £30

M&CO Grey geometric plant with gold stand £10

Very.co.uk Palm Leaves Cushion £24.99

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<<< interiors


Enjoy the garden as it bursts into life Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston looks forward to spring, when the borders start to wake up from their winter slumber. We catch up with their gardening team to find out why...

Just like any gardener does, we enjoy seeing the garden transforming itself every spring. We love seeing lovingly tended seedlings for summer displays start to peek through, while the early blooms of tulips, daffodils and bluebells provide a burst of welcome colour in the borders. We’ll be keeping an eye on our newly planted herbaceous border, making sure that the tallest plants can reach their fullest height by supporting them with temporary hazel structures that have been coppiced from our nature reserve. It’s this time of year that our events calendar also


Spending time in the garden this spring? As well as mowing your lawn regularly and keeping on top of the weeds, here are some tasks to do: MARCH: • If your soil isn’t frozen, add a 5cm layer of well-rotted manure or compost to prepare for the coming growing season. It’s also a good idea to add a general-purpose fertiliser. • Lift and split herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses. Not only does it increase your stock, it also allows you to fill up any bare areas in your garden. • Start planting summer flowering bulbs such as lillies and gladioli for a summer display. • Prune your roses to an outward facing bud. • If you didn’t get round to sowing hardy annuals, such as sweet peas, in the autumn, do it now as April will be too late. APRIL: • Continue to sow all hardy and tender seeds under cover – take care not to expose them to frost. • Keep an eye on your seedlings. As soon as they have their first ‘true’ or adult leaves (the pair after the cotyledons or ‘seed leaves’) put them in pots or modules of their own. • If your greenhouse is heated, plant your summer hanging baskets with

starts to look busy: we’ve got guided tours, events for the school holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and demonstrations, so do look at the website to see what we’ll be hosting.

The Daffodil Society Annual Show is being welcomed back on April 18 and 19 and it promises to be a must for lovers of these beautiful bulbs. We were the original home of the show, hosting the first formal event in 1900 – a year after the Society was formed – and held it every year for more than 50 years. We’re delighted it’s returning. And on May 25, the Butterfly House will re-open. It’s always a sign that summer is on its way! We’ve also launched a very special fundraising appeal that we hope you can support. We want to raise £75,000 towards the restoration of our historic bandstand. Taking A Stand! aims to return the bandstand to its original 1874 glory so that it can be used as an all-weather outdoor space for school groups and be a platform for music and other events. The grade II listed bandstand is where Neville Chamberlain gave his first public speech as Prime Minister in 1937, and despite several repairs over the years, it is now in a poor state and requires extensive restoration work, including roof repairs and the reinstatement of some original features. We’ve set up a JustGiving page, which can be accessed via our website – birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk. Anyone wanting to donate can also make a cash or cheque donation at the Gardens or via post. Cheques should be made payable to “Birmingham Botanical Gardens” but please attach a covering letter with your contact details. Cheques should be sent to Finance Manager, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Bandstand Appeal, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, B15 3TR.

plug plants, and keep them under cover until all risk of frost has passed. • Pinch out the tips of fuchsia shoots and sweet pea plants to encourage bushy plants this summer. • Start to apply slow release fertiliser around beds and borders. MAY: • Apply a summer lawn feed that contains plenty of nitrogen to prevent weeds. • Ventilate greenhouses during the day to avoid overheating. • Watch out for lily beetles on fritillaries and lilies. Check your plants regularly and remove the red beetles and their larvae. • Feed daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs with a high potash feed and leave the foliage to completely die down before removing it. • Prune early flowering shrubs by removing a third of the old wood from the base, to encourage new growth. JUNE: • Plant out your summer bedding now that the threat of frost is over. • Prune deciduous magnolias if they are in full leaf. • Start thinking about sowing your winter bedding plants, such as ornamental kale and winter pansies. • Add shading to your greenhouse to prevent soaring temperatures and open windows to increase ventilation.

For more tips, follow Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Twitter @ BhamBotanicalGd or visit www. birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk 34 dluxe-magazine.co.uk








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<<< travel


Our 3 Favourite

Long-Haul City Breaks There’s something particularly exciting about a city break. Head to the airport, hop on a flight and within a few hours you could be tucking into tapas on a cobbled street of Barcelona or taking a gondola ride down Venice’s Grand Canal. But what’s even more exciting is travelling a little further afield. If you love a city break but want to venture beyond Europe, why not consider a long-haul city break for your next trip? There are loads of amazing cities all over the world that make for a great 3-5-day trip. From Brazil to Southeast Asia, read on to discover our three favourite long-haul city breaks, all easily reachable from Birmingham Airport.



Simply one of the best cities in the world, New York is the ideal destination for a long-haul city break. Of course, there’s a plethora of tourist hotspots, from Times Square and Central Park to the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, but there’s a lot more to the city. Fantastic shopping, unbeatable nightlife and interesting history and architecture will keep you entertained for days in the Big Apple.

• Admire the sunset at Top of the Rock – From the observatory on top of the Rockefeller Center, you’ll get a cracking view of the Empire State Building, Manhattan and as far as the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. The observatory is on multiple levels, indoor and out: head to the very top, outside, for a front-row spot without any glass or barriers.

Whether you’re visiting to see the iconic attractions, to shop till you drop or to feast on America’s huge portion sizes, you’ll be spoilt for choice. HOW TO GET THERE: Kick off your New York trip from Birmingham Airport with Air France, Aer Lingus, Eurowings, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss, and enjoy a stop-off in Europe to break up your journey. WHEN TO GO: Christmas in New York is a magical time but if its warmer weather and slightly fewer crowds you’re after, we recommend visiting between April and June or September to November. 36dluxe-magazine.co.uk

• Stroll around Central Park – One of the world’s most renowned green spaces, Central Park comprises 843 acres of rolling meadows, manicured Europeanstyle gardens, a lake and reservoir. Not to mention an outdoor theatre, a memorial to John Lennon, a tempting waterside eatery and a famous Alice in Wonderland statue! If you’re visiting during the summer, pack a picnic and head to Sheep Meadow before visiting Central Park Zoo. • Be mesmerised by Times Square – One of the most iconic locations in the world, Times Square is a constant hub of activity. From some of the best shops and restaurants to the brilliant lights and

sounds, Times Square can’t be missed. Take a Times Square Tour, snap some pics with the lit-up advertising boards and buy some souvenirs from the array of shops.


RIO DE JANEIRO Falling in love with Rio De Janeiro is easy. It’s a vibrant, diverse city, which offers its visitors the hustle and bustle of city life with the surrounding beauty of lush mountains, verdant rainforests and inviting, white sandy beaches. Rio’s residents, known as cariocas, have perfected the art of living well, so it’s no wonder people who live there never leave and people who visit never want to. From stunning coastlines to edgy underground nightlife hangouts, from magnificent monuments to favela societies, the city offers travellers a dynamic, adventurous visit. HOW TO GET THERE: Start your journey at Birmingham Airport with Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss, and enjoy a stop-off to break up your journey. BEST TIME TO GO: Rio is a year-round destination and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time whatever month you decide to travel. The warmest months are November to March – perfect for enjoying New Year and Carnival celebrations. 3 UNMISSABLE THINGS TO DO IN RIO DE JANEIRO: • Hit the beach – No trip to Rio is complete without a visit to one of the world’s most famous stretches of sand: Copacabana. Watch the locals play football, catch some rays and kick back with a caipirinha or two. Head to Arpoador Rock, tucked at the end of Ipanema Beach, for a stunning sunset. • Visit the Christ the Redeemer – Probably the most popular tourist attraction in Rio, the Christ the Redeemer

monument is an image recognised all over the world. Take a train, van or hike to the summit of the 700 -metre tall Corcovado Mountain to reach the monument and enjoy exquisite views over the whole city. • Ride the tram in Santa Teresa - Head to Rio’s oldest boho neighbourhood for a different taste of Brazil. Start by snapping a picture on the Escadaria Steps – made famous by Snoop Dog’s “Beautiful” video – then take a wander past the crumbling houses and walls coated in vibrant murals. Browse the shops, eateries and drinking spots before hopping on a tram back downtown.


Arguably the best city break in the whole of Asia, Singapore is worth its considerable flight time. Clean, safe and boasting one of the best transport systems in the world, Singapore has fewer hassles than you might encounter in other Southeast Asian cities. For a tiny island city-state, Singapore packs a mighty punch. Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, urban explorer or proud foodie, this sprawling metropolis has a bit of everything. HOW TO GET THERE: Ready to book your holiday? We offer a range of airlines from Birmingham Airport including Air France, Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Swiss. BEST TIME TO GO: Singapore – for the most part – is a year-round destination. The months of February to April fall within Singapore’s dry season and experience less rainfall than other times of the year. 3 UNMISSABLE THINGS TO DO IN SINGAPORE: • Eat like a local – The best way to appreciate a country’s culture is by eating the local cuisine. Punchy chilli crab, fragrant chicken rice, nutty satay, sweet and sour rojak, spicy barbecue sambal stingray: Singapore’s hawker food is legendary. • Explore the Gardens - One of the most iconic attractions in the city, the Gardens by the Bay are a Singapore must-see. Encased in two giant greenhouses, here you’ll find some of the most unusual and exotic plants imaginable. Visit at night for hourly twinkly light shows set to music. • Enjoy a gorgeous sunset at Marina Bay – Singapore is famous for its stunning skyline. The Marina Bay Sands Boardwalk gives you an unrestricted view of what can only be described as the best view in the city. Visit at around 6pm so you can do some people watching before seeing the sun go down.

Hopefully we’ve inspired you with our three favourite long-haul city breaks. Discover where else we fly and book your next trip from Birmingham Airport.

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<<< travel

From 3rd June 2020, Aegean Airlines will be flying direct from Birmingham Airport to the Greek capital of Athens – a brand new route for the airport this year.


Aegean Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance group, joining seven star Alliance airlines already operating from Birmingham Airport including; Austrian Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, SWISS and Turkish Airlines. During the summer season, Aegean Airlines will operate a twiceweekly service to Athens from Birmingham Airport on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.

BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT ANNOUNCES NEW CHARITY PARTNERSHIP Birmingham Airport, the Midland’s largest airport, is delighted to announce its new three-year corporate charity partnership with locally based charity, Solihull Mind. Solihull Mind provides a wide range of services to those with mental health problems. The charity works across the borough of Solihull and support reaches many areas in close proximity to the airport, including; Balsall Common, Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Dorridge, Kinghurst, Knowle, Meriden and Smithswood. Mindful of the large number of people living in communities close to the airport, Birmingham Airport has a long track record of successfully implementing measures to mitigate any negative effects of its operations. An integral part of the airport’s new sustainability strategy is a reaffirmation of its commitment to play an active role in the life of those communities impacted by the airport operations. The decision to support Solihull Mind came directly from Birmingham Airport employees, who were given the opportunity to nominate local charities. All 800 employees had the chance to vote for the new charity partner.


The start of construction on Birmingham Airport’s £30m departure lounge extension has commenced. This is the Airport’s biggest terminal investment in ten years. The project will provide a modern two-storey extension with outdoor terrace area, growing the space by 45 per cent to create more natural light, circulation space, seating and toilets, plus five new catering units and three additional retail outlets. Within the new space an additional 30,000 sq feet of retail, food and beverage area will be created. Five new food and beverage units will 38 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

open allowing Birmingham Airport’s catering offer to expand with the introduction of Asian cuisine, an additional premium bar, additional grab and go food outlets and casual dining brands. The retail units will include additional island unit opportunities centred around gifting and a further speciality/accessory offer whilst also allowing for an improved confectionary, tobacco, news and book store offer. Birmingham Airport recently committed to becoming a net zero carbon airport by the year 2033, some years ahead of the UK’s 2050 target. It is developing a carbon roadmap to outline how this can be achieved over the next 15 years.

The new service improves the choice of connections for passengers travelling to surrounding Greek Islands via Athens, including the likes of Corfu, Mykonos and Rhodes. Connections can also be made to destinations located in the Mediterranean, including Larnaca, a port city located on the south coast of Cyprus and Cairo, Egypt’s bustling capital. Athens, the largest of cities in Greece is packed with layers of ancient Greek history. From views of the Acropolis from almost every part of the city, amongst many other landmarks – centuries if not millennia old, the city boats an abundance of things to see and do. Combined with a contemporary feel with its street art, art shows, architecture and beaches, Athens has something to offer a range of holidaymakers and sightseers. The climate in the summer is hot and dry, reaching highs of over 30 degrees.

JET2.COM AND JET2CITYBREAKS UNWRAPS BIGGEST EVER CHRISTMAS MARKETS PROGRAMME Jet2.com and Jet2CityBreaks has put its eagerlyanticipated programme of Christmas market flights and trips on sale for 2020 from Birmingham Airport, and the festive selection is bigger and more spectacular than ever - with more destinations, more flights and more choice. With European Christmas markets continuing to enjoy enormous popularity, the company has introduced a mini-series of flights and city breaks, as well as a selection of two-night trips, to a festive assortment of winter wonderlands from November until just before Christmas. This includes five brand-new Christmas market destinations in Berlin (mini-series), Copenhagen (mini-series), Cologne (dedicated two-night trip), Nuremberg (dedicated two-night trip) and Strasbourg (dedicated two-night trip), as well as mini-series of flights and breaks to Vienna. This mini-series and programme of two-night trips means that Jet2. com and Jet2CityBreaks will operate 23 dedicated services to these Christmas market destinations between November and Christmas (full programme detailed below). In addition, Jet2.com and Jet2CityBreaks will operate scheduled flights and city breaks to several popular Christmas market destinations from Birmingham Airport during the winter and in the build up to Christmas. With multiple weekly flights on sale to destinations such as Budapest, Barcelona, Prague and Krakow, customers have complete choice and flexibility over how long they spend visiting the most charming Christmas markets in Europe – whether it’s for a weekend, a long weekend or longer.

birminghamairport.co.uk birminghamairport.co.uk

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<<< travel


STEP BACK IN TIME: FE A stalwart on the hippy trail back in the swinging Sixties and known as the ‘Paris of the Sahara’ Morocco lies in the northwest of Africa and directly in line with the straits of Gibraltar. It’s a country reaching for the future but steeped in the past. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition that will leave you wanting more, as Kevin Urquhart discovered recently when he visited the ancient city of Fes.

Fes is Morocco’s oldest city. Just two and a half hours flight into Fes Saiss airport with Air Arabia, you could have been transported back two and half thousand years into a biblical setting with tiny, oppressive cobbled streets in a bewildering maze; spluttering street lighting and thousands of anonymous doorways. So atmospheric is it – and, it turns out, culturally significant – that the entire city of Fes has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and much-needed investment is being ploughed into the walled-city to preserve and protect. And as you begin to explore the city, you begin to understand that this investment is destined to give this city its future, by retaining its past. Not for the faint hearted nor the lily-livered jetset wanting a sanitised cocktails and chill holiday, visiting and staying in Fes is an assault on the senses and, to get the very most out of your experience here, we’d urge you to employ the services of a local tour guide. Without them, you simply won’t get the very best out of your time here and will, without question, get lost. So labyrinthine-like is Fes that even Google gave up on trying to geo-map it. It’s very clear, very quickly why this city is of such significance: 40 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

it’s Morocco’s oldest walled town or medina - 1200 years old to be precise. 600,000 people live here and it’s the site of one of the oldest universities in the world – 859AD, founded by Fatima. There are no cars – everything is transported by donkey and cart; no machinery – everything is hand or sometimes, foot crafted and the preferred method of healthcare is traditional herbal remedies and potions sold on stalls within the souk. Our guide tells us that the Medina operates as a co-operative society where money is earned and recycled within its protective walls. Despite popular belief, it’s a matriarchal society where Mama runs the house and the kids, and where the men are sent out to work and provide for the family. It’s a long-held tradition in Fes that the larger the family, the more chance you have of survival, but the lack of support system is painfully evident at times primarily by the large numbers of beggars visible throughout the city. A relatively poor city compared to Marrakech or Rabat (the capital), Fes is home to 272 mosques, numerous palaces and is considered to be ‘living history’. And this is why you must forgive it the occasional stench of urine, the donkey poo on the floor, the unpredictable street lighting and gaping crevices in the

redeveloped as one complex and behind an anonymous wooden door. Each of the former buildings offers a different architectural style and finish, built around an internal courtyard with tinkling fountains, courtyard swimming pool, spa and tropical gardens. This anonymity is a typical feature of Fes and masks, they say, great wealth behind (some of) the closed doors. But in truth, there may be an elite aspect to the city, but for the majority, they are living and working below the breadline. in UK).


pavement. It is an industrious city and one with a good heart. If you are shy, retiring and easy to convince, this isn’t the city for you or at least not as a solo traveller. The persuasion skills of the traders are relentless, but not without humour. Be prepared to barter. That said, we had been told that goods could be bought for 75% less than the opening gambit, but we struggled at 50% as the traders are fiercely proud that everything they sell has been hand-crafted here in Fes. That said, you can bag some bargains as the 13th century Widows Cooperative. Here, over 1365 women – divorcees or bereaved – weave the most magnificent and colourful rugs and Berber carpets, some of which can take years to create. So highly regarded are they that buyers from stores such as Harrods will buy here – at a fraction of the price they then sell them on for (for example, a hand-woven rug may cost the equivalent of £1500 in Fes, but can be retailed at more than £12,500

This Widows Cooperative has UNESCO protection specifically and is a mustsee. Handily, DHL can ship your purchase home for as little as £60. Another must-see is the Tannery. Be sure to accept the sprig of Mint you are offered as you enter, as the smell is heady – and even more so in the summer when temperatures in the Medina can reach more than 40-degrees. This blistering heat is also why the houses in the Medina are so tightly packed – to create natural air-conditioning even in the height of the midday summer sun. Here, you are given a birds’ eye view of how animal skins are prepared and dyed for eventual use in clothing and textiles. You’ll see more than 270 men employed in back-breaking work, transforming the fresh-from-the-slaughterhouse skins into soft, supple and highly coloured leathers ready to be transformed. This truly is a breath-taking experience and one unlike anything you will have seen outside of Fes. As you’d expect, you can buy these leather goods: wallets, purses, bags and clothing here, too. Although aspects of Fes can be a little basic it does have its luxury side too. We stayed at Riad Fes, a luxurious retreat in the heart of the Medina. Riad Fes comprises five buildings dating from 1890 but

Summing up Fes, it’s a mind-blowing assault on the senses. It is, quite literally, like stepping back into time. It’s maze of fragrant streets with kittens playing in the dirt; the beasts of burden ferrying rugs in and out of the walled Medina and goodnatured haggling. It’s a city so unique that everyone should visit it at least once. We’d recommend it as part of a Moroccan tour encompassing Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. Read about our trip to Marrakech next edition...

GETTING THERE: We flew with Air Arabia. Air Arabia operates direct flights to and from London Gatwick to Fes and Marrakech twice weekly, with prices starting from £51 one way www.airarabia.com/en Air Arabia (PJSC), listed on the Dubai Financial Market, is the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC). Air Arabia commenced operations in October 2003 and operates a fleet of 55 new Airbus A320 and A321 Neo LR aircraft, serving over 170 routes across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

STAYING THERE: We stayed at Riad Fes in Fes. Room rates start from £150 off peak www.riadfes.com


<<< dining





Serves: 16, Preparation time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serves: 12, Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 4 hours chilling, Cooking time: 10 minutes

What You Need

What You Need

330ml Arctic Iced Coffee Caramel Latte 150g salted butter 55g soft dark brown sugar 1tbsp golden syrup 250g porridge oats 300g dried dates and apricots, chopped 100g mixed seeds

200g digestive biscuits 70g butter, melted 150g soft brown sugar 150g salted butter 397g can condensed milk 2 bananas, just ripe 150ml Arctic Iced Coffee Latte 400ml Double cream 1 flake chocolate bar

What You Do Pre heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a baking dish, approx. 25cm x 20cm with greaseproof paper. In a saucepan bring the Arctic Iced Coffee to the boil and reduce by half the volume. Turn down the heat and add the butter, sugar and syrup to the pan. Stir until the butter and sugar are melted and all is combined. In a bowl, mix the oats, fruit and seeds then stir in the coffee mixture. Tip into the prepared baking dish and cook for 25 minutes until firm and golden. Leave to cool in the dish then refrigerate. Cut into 16 bars. As an extra treat dip one side of the bar into melted chocolate. 42 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

What to do: Put the digestives in the food processor and whizz to crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and blend until combined. Tip the crumbs into a 24cm loose bottomed tart tin or spring form tin and press down with the back of a spoon to make a firm, even base. Refrigerate while you make the filling. In a saucepan melt together the butter and sugar, stirring so that they combine as they melt. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook whilst stirring for a few minutes until the colour darkens slightly then remove from the heat.

Pour the caramel over the cooled biscuit base and return to the fridge. Leave to chill completely for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, take the pie out of its tin and slide onto a serving plate. Whip the cream to firm peaks then slowly add the Arctic Iced Coffee as you continue to whisk, bringing it back to peaks after each addition. Slice the bananas and layer them over the caramel. Spoon the coffee cream over the top and sprinkle with chocolate flake.

DITCH THE DRINK! The times they are a-changin’ and moderation is no longer a dirty word. Whether you’re the one in charge of the car keys or just fancy an abstemious night out, here’s the answer to what to drink when you’re not drinking. KATIE SAYERS, Foodmarket manager at HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM, reveals the most palatable alcohol-free tipples.

Harvey Nichols alcohol-free Sparkling Chardonnay, £10:

Made from the juice of Chardonnay grapes, there are aromas of passion fruit and sweet mango which are complemented on the palate with ripe papaya and guava flavours. It finishes with a crisp, dry note of fresh lime.

Three Spirit Social Elixir alcohol-free botanical spirit, £27: This small-batch botanical alchemy of plant-based ingredients can be sipped on the rocks, topped with soda or tonic, or mixed into an alcohol-free Sour or Espresso Martini. The perfect drink for a healthy night.

Borrago 47 Paloma Blend non-alcoholic spirit, £22.50:

This sophisticated alcohol-free, gluten-free, allergen-free and vegan-friendly botanical spirit is created using a secret blend of six herbs and spices, each individually steam distilled.

Lucky Saint unfiltered alcohol-free lager, £2.50:

Made from the highest quality Pilsner malt, fresh Hallertau hops and Bavarian water, this veganfriendly beer is carefully distilled to remove the alcohol using a patented vacuum distillation process to ensure its full and distinctive flavour.

Monte Rosso alcoholfree Aperitivo, £2:

This bittersweet, crisply refreshing alcohol-free drink is inspired by the classic Italian Aperitivos and crafted using spring water, wild mountain berries, summer fruits, fragrant botanicals and zesty citrus. Serve in a glass filled with ice and a slice of orange.

Seedlip Grove 42 alcohol-free spirit, £28.95: The third drink from the brand, Grove 42 is a zest and citrusy blend of oranges, lemon, ginger and lemongrass. It’s crafted in a similar manner to a gin, just without the alcohol – and no added sugar or sweeteners.

Drinks featured are available from the Wine Shop at Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox, and online at harveynichols.com dluxe-magazine.co.uk 43


<<< dining


dINING DIGEST For this issue Dluxe Dining correspondent Anita Champaneri explores the Solihull area, looking at some exciting new venues popping up in the South Birmingham suburbs.

drive into the Warwickshire countryside to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in a cosy country pub eating your own body weight! We spent a lovely afternoon at The Crabmill near Henley in Arden, which can trace its roots back more than three centuries, and it still bears the marks of history with its tiny leaded windows, weathered half-timbered exterior, crooked beams and flagstone floors. Once a cider mill, it was clearly destined to have a life associated with the enjoyment of drink and now a packed bar sits at its heart serving local ales and a fine array of wines.

Most exciting is that Solihull Town Cente gets a pretty cocktail lounge! In the heart of Mell Square you can visit Greens, a chic little cocktail bar decorated in hues of jade green, cobalt blue and florals. Girls will love it. Of course, there is the obligatory blossom tree and lots of comfy velvet seating; but most importantly the cocktails are going to be first class, because they’ve been created by acclaimed mixologist Robert Wood. Over the past 15 years, Robert has opened over 10 venues around the UK, including 18/81, Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and 40 St Paul’s (Best Gin Bar). We can’t wait to have a Delicious girls night out here in the very near future.

Foodies can enjoy sushi, ramen, bento, katsu curry, teriyaki, donburi, teppanyaki, tempura, noodle dishes and sake in a fun and vibrant setting. The new restaurant will feature an exciting open kitchen where you can watch your dishes being freshly prepared! A 10-minute drive away in Shirley is the new highly anticipated SKVP. Set to open next to Fiesta Del Asado on the Stratford Road, the emphasis is on Mumbai’s popular street food, Vada Pav. This is essentially a spicy potato filling sandwiched between soft buns and layers of spicy garlic and green chutney!

Next to Greens is a covered outdoor pergola style seating area home to the new Taste Collective; where you can enjoy a rotation of cool street food vendors such as Sticky Beaks, Jammin’ BBQ and What The Cluck. On the other side of Greens is Vita coffee shop serving delicious desserts and cakes from local, independent bakers and sparkling wines and Champagne in a cute, stylish setting. Moving on, a hop skip and a jump away in Touchwood shopping centre, Yakinori will be opening on the ground floor. The Midlands based chain will be delivering fresh, quality and authentic Japanese food to shoppers.

We picked some unusual choices for our starters. To start we had the crispy baby squid with a side of mango and chilli sauce. The squid was cooked to perfection, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside and was topped with a tasty sprinkle of crunchy spring onions and chilli peppers. The mango and chili sauce was just right, not too spicy, not too sweet, and jam-packed with flavour. We also had a portion of crispy Halloumi chips, with a tangy tomato salsa. For the mains I had the braised shoulder of lamb, the size of which was pretty impressive. Served on a platter to accommodate the hunk of meat, it came with roast potatoes, green vegetables, carrots and red cabbage with a rosemary gravy. It was designed to put you in a food coma! The lamb was soft, tender and full of meaty flavour and the variety of mixed vegetables were crunchy and flavoursome. Although the roasties could have been better.

The UK eatery wraps together all the exciting and vibrant flavours of Mumbai street food, into an easy to eat ‘quick service format’- wowing its customers with fast, healthy and authentic Vegetarian Indian street cuisine. It’s proven to be extremely popular in and outside of London, with dedicated foodies happily making the journey to SKVP especially for their unique vada pavs. With the vegan movement gaining real momentum, SKVP is set to be hugely popular. Lastly let’s talk about Sunday Lunch and there’s nothing better than taking a short

44 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

As I enjoyed a glass of zingy South African chenin blanc is was good to see the pub was particularly packed with smiling customers all around on this particular cold Sunday afternoon in January.

For dessert, my son had the mango sorbet, which was a real highlight for him. It was creamy and the texture was perfect and consisted of just the right amount of mango. A real palette cleanser. To round off the meal I had a decadent toasted waffle with caramelised banana and honeycomb ice cream, which was heavenly, rounded off with a glass of dessert wine. A perfect ending to a fabulous Sunday Lunch. The service was excellent and the ambience was cosy and warm. A must visit. For more food news visit www.dinehub.co.uk


<<< the diary


We do seem to be living in hyperreactive times now and people feel more ready to be offended than before. As an audience member myself, I don’t have that need to agree with everything the comic is saying.


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On his last nationwide tour, the monstrously successful Irrational, Romesh Ranganathan was pondering whether he has an irrational viewpoint on the world or whether that can be attributed to absolutely everyone else. This time around, he’s putting together The Cynic’s Mixtape in which he offers perspectives on the world that are partly incredulous and wholly hilarious writes Brian Donaldson. “I enjoy puncturing the common point of view,” admits Romesh. “Sometimes I agree with it but often the common acceptance of certain things is based on facts that I find irritating, so I undermine that and deliberately say things, not to simply be provocative but because I like the reaction to them.” As well as taking his views on tour, Romesh’s recent TV credits include a second series of his Sky One sitcom, The Reluctant Landlord, presenting duties on The Ranganation, Judge Romesh, and The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan. Away from the small screen, you can read his memoir, Straight Outta Crawley, or hear his award-winning podcast, Hip Hop Saved My Life, in which his most recent batch of guests have included rapper Kano, singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka and documentary-maker Louis Theroux. And now, the man who was also recently voted by The Guardian as the 17th best comedian of the 21st century, is out and about across the UK with his barnstorming new live show which he explains is divided into two distinct parts. “The first is looking at different issues such as the environment, a bit about the Liam Neeson thing, and how people respond on social media to the deaths of celebrities which is something I find quite weird. I remember sitting with a friend when Whitney Houston died and he was agonising about what he was going to post online. I said, ‘you don’t have to worry about that, it’s not your business; the world is not waiting to hear what you’re going to say.’ People end up making these events about themselves.” In part two of The Cynic’s Mixtape, Romesh zeroes in on more personal material, focussing on the relationship he has with his wife and their three children, and fretting about his own existence. Which sounds heavier than it actually is. “I got a medical when I turned 40 as I started to worry about my own mortality not for myself but in terms of my kids. Before, when I was going to the gym or staying on top of fitness, I’d do it for some sort of vanity reason; I’ve long since abandoned that and have accepted that I’m never going to look good. So the second half is about my reaction to that medical. My wife and I are very happily married but we’ve got to that point where we’re set in our ways a bit. That’s the nub of it.” Romesh acknowledges that we live in interesting but testing times, with the terrain of stand-up comedy one where every utterance a comedian makes comes under extra scrutiny. “I don’t feel the need to agree with the person I’m watching to enjoy what they’re doing. In his last Netflix special, Dave Chappelle said a lot of stuff that I don’t agree with but it doesn’t stop me laughing about it. Similarly, I’m a massive fan of Bill Burr and in his most recent show he’s pretty full on about feminism and how male feminism isn’t a thing. I follow the logic of what he’s saying and I do find it funny while not necessarily agreeing with him. We do seem to be living in hyper-reactive times now and people feel more ready to be offended than before. As an audience member myself, I don’t have that need to agree with everything the comic is saying.” Romesh works from the standpoint that there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with what he’s trying to say in his comedy, but as long as he has worked hard on the material, can justify it from every angle and gets the big laughs, he knows he’s on the right road. “When I start performing material for the first time, that’s when I might offend people or push it too far, because I perhaps haven’t expressed what is definitely a good idea elegantly enough. So you play with it, and when the laugh for something is big enough you know that you’ve found an acceptable line through that way of thinking. But I never write something and think I can’t do that because I don’t want to get into trouble for it; I tend to just write what I think. I am guided by the laughs.” As he takes his Cynic’s Mixtape around the country, those resounding laughs are following him wherever he goes. 3 / 4 May @ Birmingham Hippodrome, www.birminghamhippodrome.com dluxe-magazine.co.uk 47


THE DIARY. the diary <<<


] Bournville Book Festival 14th – 24th March

Meet your favourite authors. Discover astonishing books. Interactive storytelling fun at Birmingham’s only dedicated children’s book festival for 0-12s.

Blood Brothers

17th – 21st March at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Willy Russell’s legendary musical tells the captivating and moving tale of twins separated at birth, who grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with tragic consequences.

David Baddiel: Trolls Not The Dolls 19th March at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

The Book of Mormon


The Book of Mormon is the outrageous musical comedy from the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Bobby Lopez, co-writer of Avenue Q and Frozen, follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent on a mission to a place that’s about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get.

Based on the critically acclaimed and much-loved film, you will meet (and never forget) two lost souls – a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician – who find each other unexpectedly and fall in love.

Until 28th March at Birmingham Hippodrome

Following his five-star Oliviernominated hit My Family: Not The Sitcom and the return to number 1 of his seminal football anthem Three Lions, David Baddiel comes back to the stage with a brand new one-man show, Trolls: Not The Dolls.

10th – 14th March at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Stewart Lee

12th – 13th March at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Stewart Lee returns to Symphony Hall with a doublebill in one night, with two new sets Snowflake and Tornado. Both will be performed on the night for consecutive nights!

Jamie Cullum

15th March at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

After recently announcing the release of his new album, Taller, critically acclaimed musician and songwriter Jamie Cullum announces he will be taking to the stage for a 2020 tour.


20th March – 4th April at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Tartuffe has the gift of the gab. A spirituality. A certain aura about him… that comes only when you claim to have Allah on your side, hundreds of Twitter followers and access to the family’s bank account. Eventually, the lies and deceit unfold in this wickedly hilarious Brummie satire of faith, family and #fakingit

Coventry Festival of Running Jimmy Carr

6th March at Symphony Hall, Birmingham Jimmy’s brand-new show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love. But they’re just jokes - they are not the terrible things. Having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. 50 dluxe-magazine.co.uk 48 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

Marisha Wallace

14th March at Birmingham Hippodrome

Inspired by the likes of the late, great Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald, Marisha’s voice will pull you from your seat and to your feet. She effortlessly infuses jazz, gospel and R&B with a healthy dose of soul that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.

My Mother Said I Never Should 16th – 18th March at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

A moving and funny exploration of the lives of four generations of women in one family. Shifting back and forth in time, we see their loves, expectations and choices play out against huge social change from 1900-1980s.

22nd March – 5th April

This celebration of sport kicks off with the Children’s Mile and Toddler Dash on Sunday 22nd March and finishes two weeks later on Sunday 5th April 2020 with the Coventry Half Marathon and 5k run.

Birmingham Wine Weekend 22nd – 24th March

Birmingham Wine Weekend is a long weekend of sipping delicious wines in some of Birmingham’s best venues!

Unforgettable performance, powered by you 0844 338 5000* birminghamhippodrome.com *Calls cost 4.5p per min plus access charge.



Wed 4 Sat 28 Mar

Mon 13 Sat 18 Apr

Wed 8 &

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Wed 6 May


Tue 2 Sat 6 Jun

Tue 12 Sat 30 May


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the diary <<<DIARY. THE


Classic comedy, family fun and fearless females:

Spring at the Belgrade Theatre

Grace Carter

22nd March at O2 Institute Birmingham

After a year of self-discovery, hard work and plenty of fun, Grace Carter is continuing her ascent to the top with her biggest headline tour to date.

Colin Thackery

25th March at Town Hall, Birmingham

Spring is finally in the air and the Belgrade Theatre is gearing up for another action-packed season with diverse shows ranging from classic comedies to hit West End musicals and favourite family stories. Making plans for the Easter holidays? From 22-25 April, the award-winning Birmingham Stage Company are back with another brilliantly bonkers adaptation of a bestselling David Walliams book. Following the huge success of Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie, the company this year take on Billionaire Boy, the hilarious story of schoolboy Joe Spud and his toilet roll tycoon father. Then from 2-7 June, experience the unstoppable musical histo-remix as West End smash hit SIX lands in Coventry as part of its first UK tour. Packed full of sisterly sass and empowering anthems you’ll be singing for weeks, this spectacular show tells the story of Henry VIII’s six wives as you’ve never heard them before. Then from 6-9 May, Alan Ayckbourn’s comic masterpiece Absurd Person Singular will delve into the world of 1970s suburbia. Directed by Michael Cabot, this side-splitting satire of social climbing fuses farce and black comedy as it follows three married couples and their Christmas celebrations. Tickets to all of these shows and more are available to book now at www.belgrade.co.uk. Plus, thanks to the Belgrade’s new subscription packages, you can claim 15% off bookings for three or four Spring season shows, or a massive 25% off bookings for five or more. 5250dluxe-magazine.co.uk dluxe-magazine.co.uk

This new headline tour will see Colin perform his muchloved favourite BGT winning songs. Colin will also be joined by acclaimed musical director, supervisor and conductor Jae Alexander.

The High Table

25th March – 9th April at Birmingham Repertory

Theatre An epic family drama played out between the heavens and earth, The High Table is the hilarious and heart-breaking debut play from Temi Wilkey.

magician, Illusionist and Britain’s Got Talent star, Darcy Oake, as he returns to the UK for a run of jaw-dropping shows.

DX – Mariposa

27th & 28th March at Birmingham Hippodrome

Under the neon lights of a Caribbean port, a local rent boy and a foreign sailor fall in love in choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra’s reimagining of Puccini’s seminal opera, Madame Butterfly.

David Gray

28th March at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham

Multi-platinum, multi-Brit and Grammy-nominated, British singer-songwriter David Gray is today announcing a 12date UK and European arena tour; White Ladder: The 20th Anniversary Tour, to celebrate the trailblazing album’s 20year anniversary.

Blade Runner In Concert

26th March at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Experience Ridley Scott’s multi-Academy Award®nominated cult classic, Blade Runner (2007 Final Cut), on a vast HD screen while Vangelis’ synthesiser-led score is performed by The Avex Ensemble for the first time in-sync with the 1982 motion picture.

Darcy Oake

27th March at O2 Academy Birmingham Spend an evening with

Table Manners with Jessie Ware

28th March at Town Hall, Birmingham

Currently in the midst of its eighth series, Table Manners sees critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Jessie Ware and her chef extraordinaire mum Lennie chat with a guest from the worlds of music, culture and politics from the singer’s dinner table over a three-course meal.

MacDonald. I used to

Donna Summer, Eurovision Greatest Hits,

Unforgettable performance, powered you get all her old handBarbara Streisand. Looking backby my Father’s me-downs, some record collection does raise a few questions, of them were quitebirminghamhippodrome.com but we won’t go into that one… 0844 338 5000* moth eaten, I’m not going to beat around the bush. But it’s only now that I have a whole team of people from scaffolders and feather fluffers to designers and seamstresses.

*Calls cost 4.5p per min plus access charge.

Wed 4 Sat 28 Mar

Wed 6 May

OOH LA VOIX! Internionally renowned & critically acclaimed diva, La Voix is one of the UK’s leading variety performers and funniest red heads performing across the globe dazzling audiences. With stints on Britain’s Got Talent and Michael McIntryre’s Big Show to appearances on the silver screen in Ab Fab The Movie, La Voix is continuing her assault on the UK. Saul Morgan caught up with her as she appeared at Leicester’s Fri 19 Little Theatre. Sat 27 Jun Take us back to your childhood La Voix, can you tell us a little bit about La Voix as a child. Well, my childhood, was very theatrical, as you can imagine. My parents ran a theatrical boarding house for all sort of retired people in the showbiz world, all the greats were there, Jennette Cranky, Christopher Biggins, the unfunny one from Cannon and Ball, I can’t remember his name, all of them were there’. So of course, I grew up around all these fabulous entertainers and it’s there I had my first sort of inkling that I wanted to go into the showbiz world. How would you say look has evolved over the years? Well It’s evolved massively, when I started out, I was buying things off the peg, Wed 29off Jul well actually I wasn’t just buying things Sat 12 Sep the peg, I had hand-me-downs when I was a child from my older sister, Jane

What would you say are your make-up essentials? I’m a big fan of the true red lip so much so that I’ve launched my own called Ooh La La Red- you Wed 8can & 9 Apr get it on myThu website. A lot of women are scared to use it but throw on a bit of red lippy and you’ll always get a compliment – guaranteed! Would you say you have any style icons at all? Well I used to always be inspired by Judy Finnigan on This Morning. In her time she was as cutting edge as GaGa but Tue 12 then she Sat 30 May had that faux-pas on the TV awards. The minute I saw her in that oversized maternity bra, I thought, that’s it. She’s gone. So now it’s Ruth Langsford I look to. Imagine what time in the morning she has to get up, she goes to the studio, probably has a hoard of hair and makeup artists yet she still manages to look so plain and simple. I think that’s inspiring! How would you describe an average day in La Voix? Oh well, it starts with a yoga class, I Tue 30 Jun love yoga! There’s nothing like a downward Sat 18 Jul dog to set the day off. Then, my gorgeous Joanne, my vegan driver picks me up, every day’s a show day for La Voix! So, I get driven to the latest venue, the band will arrive and there’ll be a soundcheck before I’m into make-up, hair styling, costumes. The audience will arrive and it’s straight into a full two-hour live band show spectacular before popping back in the car and home. That’s my day in a nutshell. Your act is inspired by some of the biggest divas around including Liza, Judy and Cher. Has their music always been in your life? Yes, I’ve always been inspired by those greats, you know they took risks, they were amazingly entertaining, and they all sang live, these huge, belting voices. My father had Tue 15 a huge vinyl collection when I was growing Sat 26 Sep up and there was always music in our house;

What songs are your favourite to perform live, and why? Ooo It’s got to be the big ones! Your Shirley Bassey belters, your Liza Minelli show tunes anything that’s big, brassy and you can belt out, that’s what I like. You’ve worked alongside some huge stars including Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders and Sir Ian McKellen to name just a few. Have you received any notable advice from them about the showbiz lifestyle? Well Joanna Lumley taught me about the importance of carrying a pashmina. I’ve worked with so many fabulous people that I never get starstruck. Jennifer Saunders met me, she was a quivering mess I can tell you, because, these people, they need glamour in Mon 13 Sat 18 Apr their lives. I met her doing Ab Fab the movie which was a great experience. You were the first vibrant red head to make it to Britain’s Got Talent final, what inspired you to audition in the first place? You’ve always got to have a gimmick on that show, a gimmick or a sob story. I learnt that very, very quickly because, of course, I went on with a twenty-two-piece London Gay Big Band, although apparently nine lesbians blowing trumpets isn’t a gimmick... Simon Cowell was so glad I was on. I think he just wanted to work and experience the presence of a natural woman; it must be hard always working with Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon. I used to do a great impersonation of Amanda Holden actually. That’s when I was temporarily paralysed so we won’t got into Tue 2 that. Sat 6 Jun You’ve also had the chance to feature in the film ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ as you mentioned, how did that opportunity come about? Well, Jennifer Saunders called me and said ‘La Voix I need a leading lady, a strong leading woman to carry this film forward’, so I said ‘Look I might be free Jennifer, but I am due to be the foot model for Bazuka Gel, but I’ll cancel that and I’ll be all for it’. I’m so pleased I did as I had an amazing time. Jennifer Saunders is such an inspiring woman. When I was younger I used to love watching her on television. I used to think every time that woman came on the television “If I lived in Dibley I’d go to that church.” Tue 21 Would you say the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ Sat 25 Jul movie has been a career highlight so far, or would you say there’s another event that’s sticks out? Oh, there has been so many highlights. I’ve had shows at the Palladium for Future Dreams charity, I’ve done the Royal Family’s New Year’s Eve party twice in Dorchester and Ian McKellen’s 80th birthday party. I even did pantomime with Sue Pollard!

What’s left to achieve that you’ve not quite done yet? Oh, it’s to bring back good old-fashioned fabulous entertainment to television. You’ll turn on the television these days and there’s just nothing entertaining. I mean, there’s only so many times you can watch Gemma Collins falling over isn’t there?! www.lavoix.co.uk

Mon 12 Sat 17 Oct

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the diary <<< THE DIARY.



30th March at Town Hall, Birmingham

The band, formed in Birmingham in 1972, had notable successes in their early years, including 1982 album ‘Chasing the Dragon’ which spawned live favourites ‘ Soldier of The Line’, ‘Sacred Hour’ and ‘The Spirit’.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh’s brilliant original production of The Phantom of the Opera is returning to haunt Birmingham Hippodrome this summer. Now in its 34th phenomenal year in the West End, The Phantom of the Opera is widely considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular productions in history. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic, haunting and soaring score includes Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, Masquerade and the iconic title song. The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most successful musicals in entertainment history playing to over 145 million people in 41 countries and 183 cities in 17 languages. It has won more than 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards. The Phantom of the Opera the only show in history to have celebrated 30 years on both sides of the Atlantic. In October 2016 the London production celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a special gala performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre and in October 2011 the London production celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a spectacular staging of “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall” which was screened live in cinemas all over the world and subsequently released on DVD. The musical became the longest running show in Broadway history on 9 January 2006 when it celebrated its 7,486th performance. On 1 January 2018 it celebrated its 13,000th performance and later that month on 24 January the Broadway production celebrated an amazing 30 years on Broadway. Returning to Birmingham Hippodrome following his acclaimed performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, Killian Donnelly will play the title role of ‘The Phantom’. He will be joined by HollyAnne Hull as ‘Christine Daaé’ and Rhys Whitfield as ‘Raoul’. The Phantom of the Opera comes to Birmingham Hippodrome from 29 July – 12 September, visit birminghamhippodrome.com or call 0844 338 5000 to book. 54 52 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

identity by a young artist at the height of her career, using photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, blackness and being. Active between 1985–1997 this is Maxine Walker’s first solo exhibition in her home city of Birmingham.

Message in a Bottle

8th – 11th April at Birmingham Hippodrome

With a mix of exhilarating dance styles, dazzling footwork and breath-taking athleticism set to the music of Sting, Message In A Bottle tells a vital and uplifting story of humanity and hope. A village alive with joyous celebrations is suddenly under siege. Everything changes forever. Determined and daring, three parted siblings step out on their own extraordinary adventures.


31st March at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

A brand new show featuring lush and intimate takes on classics from across their 20 year career.


Cirque Du Soleil Crystal

Faulty Towers the Original Dining Experience

This spectacular show blends circus arts and the world of ice skating in a stunning new production that will take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground where ice skating of all kinds mingles with acrobatics and aerial feats.

1st – 4th April at Birmingham Hippodrome Chaos reigns right from the start as Basil, Sybil and Manuel serve a 3-course meal along with plenty of laughs. Totally immersive, it’s a true blend of ingenious comedy and unique theatrical script, creating an experience that’s perfect for comedy fans, theatre fans, and anyone who just fancies going out for a meal they’ll never forget.

Maxine Walker: UNTITLED

4th April – 21st June at MAC Birmingham Reintroducing a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of black womanhood, the exhibition is a poignant exploration of

8th – 12th April at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham

Rick Astley

9th April at Arena Birmingham

Rick Astley has proven to be a consistently huge draw in the live arena. He’s sold over 100,000 tickets to his UK headline shows since releasing his charttopping album ‘50’ in 2016.



Since Arena Birmingham opened the exclusive Premier Lounge, it’s proved an exciting new hotspot in the city for corporate hospitality with a unique twist. Ever more business executives across the city are turning to the Premier Lounge to entertain their clients when the traditional golf days, football matches and restaurants just aren’t appealing to their diverse client base. The contemporary lounge offers a relaxed environment, but with the premium feel you’d expect from the Arena’s hospitality arm Amplify. Every Premier Lounge member receives a welcome drink as they enter the lounge, before being taken to their private balcony seating with panoramic views across the Arena. From there they can browse the menu of Premier Lounge’s very own bar, from which in-house caterers Amadeus serve up an exclusive range of drinks (including a selection of cocktails). Drinks can be ordered right to your seat with Amadeus’ bespoke Qjacker app created for the

venue – making sure you won’t miss a moment of the show. Premier Lounge brings with it a new debenture-style of membership, similar to what you might expect from a football or rugby season ticket. Each membership purchases access to 2 seats for 10 performances, which includes access to Amplify member events and exclusive discounts for future shows. For the ultimate way to personalise their experience, members will also receive the unique opportunity to put their name, or company name, on their very own seats. Organising corporate entertainment can be a headache when you’re already busy, so Amplify offers clients a dedicated account manager to look after them. Each account manager knows their clients’ needs inside out – so they can recommend the perfect show and the perfect space to suit their needs. The team recently won the prestigious accolade of “Greater Birmingham

Prices for Premier Lounge membership start at £2500+VAT. To find out more about the Premier Lounge visit www.arenabham.co.uk/premier, or to receive a tour of the space from the Amplify team, please give them a call on 0844 338 0333. Individual Premier Lounge tickets also available for select shows. 56 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

Chambers of Commerce Business of the Year”, with the six-strong team praised for their “mindset of continuous improvement” and growing performance from modest beginnings. Amplify have been delivering corporate hospitality for over 20 years. Operating exclusively at the NEC Group Arenas – Arena Birmingham (city centre) and Resorts World Arena (NEC campus), their range of packages provide exclusive hospitality, exquisite dining and premium tickets for the world-class music, comedy and sport events that come to the Arenas every year.

Arena Birmingham is one of the busiest entertainment Il Divo:indoor 11 December 2020 venues in the world – so you’ll never be short of a show to use your Premier Lounge membership on. Upcoming shows include: Alicia Keys - 8 June 2020 Dua Lipa: 10 June 2020 Celine Dion: 8 & 9 September 2020 Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics: 3 December 2020 dluxe-magazine.co.uk 53


the diary <<< THE DIARY.

] show dazzles all the senses in breath-taking style.

“Electric Ladies of the 80s”.

Luke Evans

26th April at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Billionaire Boy Remembering the Oscars

The Boomtown Rats

22nd – 25th April at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Fresh from their sell-out tour with their highly entertaining and innovative Remembering The Movies, Aljaz and Janette, will be returning with their brand new show Remembering The Oscars. Get ready to celebrate the Oscar winning songs in this exhilarating new dance spectacular with Strictly’s favourite couple, Aljaz and Janette.

Formed in 1975 in Dublin The Boomtown Rats exploded out of Ireland in ’76 and their fast, loud, furious music meant they became part of the burgeoning punk scene.

Andre Rieu

9th April at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

15th April at Town Hall, Birmingham

From the award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories comes this amazing new production of David Walliams’ best-selling story.

23rd April at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham

André Rieu, the Dutch “King of Waltz” who has made classical music accessible to ordinary people, will bring his Johann Strauss Orchestra back to Birmingham next April!

Oi Frog & Friends!

10th – 13th April at Town Hall, Birmingham

Join FROG, CAT and DOG in this new action-packed stage adaptation of Kes Gray and Jim Field’s bestselling books. Expect songs, puppets, laughs and more rhymes than you can shake a chime at.

18th April at O2 Academy Birmingham

28th April – 2nd May at The REP, Birmingham

Sharply funny and deeply moving, LAVA is a tender, necessary story about friendship and human connection in the face of the inexplicable.

28th April – 2nd May at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

15th – 18th April at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

JP Cooper


An Inspector Calls

The Croft

In this bold and haunting new play the present interweaves with the past as ancient tales surface and the terrifying truth lurking in the Croft is revealed.

At last, says Luke Evans with a grin – after a decade in musical theatre, and another decade in movies and television, the Welsh actor is finally able to fully dive into his first love: singing.

Simple Minds

24th April at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham Simple Minds celebrate 40 iconic years in music by embarking upon a major world tour in 2020.

When Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the prosperous Birling family home, their peaceful dinner party is shattered by his investigations into the death of a young woman. His startling revelations shake the very foundations of their lives and challenge us all to examine our consciences.

Fresh from a sold-out string of UK shows, soul-pop singer, JP Cooper, is heading back out on the road armed with new single, ‘Sing It With Me’.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Oliver Twist

13th – 18th April at Birmingham Hippodrome

Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

58 54 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

We Will Rock You

20th April – 2nd May at Birmingham Hippodrome

The worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton returns to the UK. The multi-million-pound

Toyah & Hazel O’Connor – The Electric Ladies of the 80s Tour 25th April at Town Hall, Birmingham

Post Punk and New Wave artists Toyah and Hazel O’Connor join forces to bring you their exciting new tour,

29th April – 9th May at The REP, Birmingham

This bold, brutal and beautiful new version of Oliver Twist sends you on a dark adventure through the twisted streets of London. Every performance of Oliver Twist will feature the use of integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning.

BOOK ONLINE to save money

22 – 25 Apr

from £15*


6 – 9 May

from £15*

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2 – 7 Jun

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*Ticket prices include a £1.50 booking fee. No booking fee applies if booked online.








www.TheBelfry.com | 01675 238 600 | sales@thebelfry.com ENGLAND’S LEADING RESORT | WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS 2019

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<<< hi! society


After a bumper season of events and openings in th

Roxy Ballroom

Gaucho Cocktail Bar Launch

Gaucho Cocktail Bar Launch


West Midlands Tourism Awards

Taste of Italia showcase at Milano Kitchen & Bar

West Midlands Tourism Awards

Moet Midlands West & Chandon Tourism Summer Awards Party

Taste of Italia showcase at Milano Kitchen & Bar

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West Midlands Womeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Voice


HRH Duchess of Cornwall at Birmingham Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital

Gaucho CocktailChristmas Bar Launch Harvey Nichols Hamper Event

he West Midlands, have you been caught on camera?

HRH Duchess of Cornwall at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Taste of Italia showcase at Milano Kitchen & Bar

Gaucho Cocktail Bar Launch

Dr Dennis Gross Event at Selfridges

West Midlands Tourism Awards

Roxy Ballroom


West Midlands Tourism Awards

West Midlands Wome’s Voice

Photography by Edwin Ladd, Jas Sansi, Nick Robinson

Gaucho Cocktail Bar Launch

Taste of Italia showcase at Milano Kitchen & Bar

Gaucho Cocktail Bar Launch

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Written in the Stars with CELEBRITY Astrologer Russell Grant To find out more or to arrange a personal reading, visit www.russellgrant.com ARIES (March21st-April20th) Flattery will get you nowhere as March gets off the starting blocks. When talking with an employer or other professionals, it’s best to be honest, even if it means challenging their ideas. You’ll get a chance to study a fascinating subject as March makes way for April. Sign up quickly and make sure of your place as spaces will soon be filled. You should be feeling very pleased with yourself if you are given a greater measure of responsibility at work near the 5th April, as well as an increase in pay. The Full Moon on the 8th May marks a passionate turning point in a romance. If you’re single, you’ll be drawn like a magnet to a mysterious, but attractive newcomer and you’ll certainly enjoy the thrill of the chase. TAURUS (April21st-May21st) Don’t make an enemy out of a respected expert on the 3rd March; it’s important to stay in this professional’s good books. It may be necessary to issue an apology when you realise you made an embarrassing mistake. The start of April presents you with a potential packed opportunity to ask for a pay rise or renegotiate a contract. Use your powers of persuasion to strike a better deal. Your innovative and inventive ideas will set you apart from the crowd as May gets up and running making this a great time to launch a sales pitch or business presentation or even ask for a date. On the 7th, the Full Moon marks an exciting turning point in a close relationship. A friendship could turn to romance or you could get engaged or married. GEMINI (May22nd-June21st) It will be necessary to cancel a trip or make alternative travel arrangements on the 4th March; try to be flexible. The 8th is ideal for showcasing your creative work. Your grace, charm and wit attract admirers wherever you go on the 3rd April: this is a wonderful time to enjoy get togethers, celebrations and gatherings of all kinds. If you’re single, you’ll have your choice of suitors. There are people around you who would be more than happy to steal your thunder at the start of May so keep a creative project under wrap. Be realistic about your career goals on the 4th. If you need additional training to pave the way to future success, sign up for a course. The Full Moon on the 7th could find you recovering from a stubborn health issue. CANCER (June22nd-July23rd) Don’t let a morose friend or romantic partner steal your sunshine on the 3rd March. By maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll attract some lucky opportunities. A romantic encounter on the 4th April will make you feel like you’re walking on air. If you’re single, you’ll meet someone special in a cultivated, cultured setting. The Full Moon on the 7th May could bring news of an engagement, marriage or pregnancy. You’ll enjoy celebrating this happy event with your nearest and dearest. The 9th is perfect for a romantic interlude; you’ll have a wonderful time sharing your days and dreams with those you love most in the world. Are you single? A friendship could turn into a passion packed partnership with next to no encouragement.

LEO (July24th-August23rd) You’ll have to rethink the terms of a partnership on the 4th March; be as flexible as possible. This relationship is worth preserving. A n intriguing opportunity will come your way on the 5th; you’re the perfect person for this energising new role. A health regimen that’s begun on the 5th April will have a transforming effect on your lifestyle and you will be delighted by the results. Don’t let a loved one talk you out of accepting an exceptional new opportunity. Offering something fresh and new will see your star rising as May gives you the impetus to make a positive impression on the world around you. Don’t yield to pressure to take the conventional path when a more adventurous approach will be better for you. VIRGO (August24th-September23rd) An old health issue could flare up at the start of March; don’t put medical matters on a back burner. Getting a professional opinion will be helpful. Your charm and intelligence will be obvious to everyone on the 3rd April; you’ll be a big hit at any gathering or get together. A career success could be yours on the 4th, when you’re offered a dream job thanks to your exceptional skills. Your specialised knowledge paves the way for a very welcome opportunity as May gets underway. You’ll enjoy working with students who are eager to learn from you. Professional or outside obligations may impact on your personal life around the 4th; it may be necessary to cancel a dinner engagement for the sake of making progress with a particular project.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22nd-January20th) Don’t be too hard on a relative at the start of March; just because you don’t agree with their choices doesn’t mean you should criticise them. A careful use of resources at the start of April could help you land a plum position. People trust you to produce magnificent results on a shoestring budget. The Full Moon on the 7th May marks the successful conclusion of a group effort. Not only will you be happy with the fruits of your labour, but you’ll also stay friends with the people you’ve met. Your charisma will be at an all-time high on the 9th making this a promising patch to plan a romantic break away together. If you’re single, you’ll meet someone special at a place that’s famous for its natural beauty.

LIBRA (September24th-October23rd) Don’t let friends or family intimidate your romantic partner on the 3rd March; it’s important to side with your lover. It will be necessary to rethink a creative project on the 4th; try not to grumble too much. Why not take yourself off on a pleasure trip at the start of April? It would be a wonderful time to visit a country whose history and culture has always fascinated you. If you’re single, you could meet someone special while you’re on your travels. Don’t pretend to know more than you on the 4th May or you could find yourself in an embarrassing situation at the start of May. The Full Moon on the 7th could bring a bonus or pay out of some kind; use this money to buy something special for yourself or your loved ones.

AQUARIUS (January21st-February19th) It will be difficult to get your message across on the 4th March; wait until the middle of the month to make an important request or presentation. Your love life will sizzle ad scintillate as March makes way for April; if you’re single, you’ll have your choice of would be wooers. If you’re in a relationship, splash out on a lavish gift for your lover. Hosting a party filled with unusual guests will be lots of fun on the 1st May. You’ll enjoy lively conversations that you’ll be remembering for days afterwards. Be realistic about your financial situation on the 4th; this will not be a good time to buy any big-ticket purchases, especially if you won’t be able to take them back for a refund. On the 7th, the Full Moon marks a career achievement.

SCORPIO (October24th-November22nd) You’ll be prompted to change the way you deal with a stubborn relative as March gets underway; old ways and means simply aren’t working any longer. Love is in the air on the 5th; this is a great time to find a partner or enjoy a rendezvous with your amour. If you need it a kindhearted, generous relative will give you the money for a down payment on a home and you could find a distinctive property on the 3rd April. Alternatively, you may get excellent terms on a bank loan. The 11th May prompts you to reconsider some beliefs that were imposed on you as a child. Feel free to adopt a philosophy that is a true reflection of your values, even at the risk of upsetting your family. .

PISCES (February20th-March20th) Avoid spending money on status symbols at the start of March; they really won’t bring much pleasure. Your personal power will be at an all-time high on the 8th so take this opportunity to ask for favours. Your home life will be rich and rewarding at the start of April. This would be a good time to do some redecorating and refurbishing. Signing a contract on the 15th May could pave the way to long-term financial security. If you want to sell or buy property, the days surrounding the 22nd are ideal for swinging into action or signing on the dotted line. You could find a beautifully secluded property in just the sort of neighbourhood you’re looking for. Best of all, you will be able to negotiate a good price for this home as the month of May draws to a close.

To find out more or to arrange a personal reading, visit www.russellgrant.com 58 dluxe-magazine.co.uk

SAGITTARIUS (November23rdDecember21st) Avoid social media like the plague at the start of March; it’s easy to make sarcastic jokes that you will come to regret in times to come. Spending time with family will be deeply satisfying on the 8th March. Could falling in love be a distinct possibility in early April as you cross paths with a witty charmer? If you’re already in a relationship, arrange a romantic evening for two somewhere where you can talk freely. The Full Moon on the 7th May puts an end to a period of obscurity. You’ll welcome turning your back on the days when you might have gone through life unnoticed and walking into the limelight. A new job or different role on the 10th looks likely to increase your income; it will be nice having the money to travel and study or simply enjoy yourself.

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