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Lea Michele Star of glee

a new beginning









Never mind raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; these are really a few of our favourite things this spring.


We chat to one of the leading lights of international musical theatre; Lea Michele of Glee fame.


The trend report is in. We’ve scoured catwalks from London to LA in order to bring you this season’s must-haves, along with the make-up that will set your look aglow.


What every man needs in his gym bag and a look at what get up should be grabbing the attention of guys in spring.


Mercedes’ latest addition to the SUV market means business.


It’s all change. Whether you’re moving or improving, making roots or riding the rental investment market there’s something here for you.


Already flagging in your health crusade? We bring you everything you need to get it right back on track.


Five-star getaways to the birthplace of Zeus, we sampled some serious luxury and first class hospitality in Crete.


A glimpse at what’s on the menu for 2014, starting with some light and airy spring treats and a visit to Nailcote Hall.



Who was where, when and why, together with a sneak peak of what’s coming up in the region.



A look at investment in the region’s travel infrastructure as well as pension planning and an interview with Julie Fowler- Drake from Talbots Group.

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Letter Editor SPRING 14


from the

Oh to be on a beach! The harsh winter we were all predicting has well and truly been a windy washout, although we should be thankful that the only snow we’ve seen has been lining the black and red runs of Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Well done to all those who competed in what was a truly enjoyable extravaganza of winter sports. Packing our unused snowshoes away, it’s time to turn our attention to spring and the promise of a better climate. We really are hoping that March will be true to form and arrive like a Lion and leave like a Lamb although that still does leave us with April showers to contend with! Fear not though, as this issue we’ve a huge amount of activities suitable for both rain and shine including a special feature on what’s happening across the region to keep younger readers occupied over the Easter break on page 40. Older readers have not been left out as we have our full events guide starting on page 54 focusing on what’s not to be missed this spring. Staying at home we’ve an exclusive interview with the Broadway phenomenon and star of Glee, Lea Michele ahead of the launch of her first solo album. It’s a busy issue; we’ve been for a spin in Mercedes’ latest SUV (page 30), popped across for some winter sun at a fabulous five star resort in Crete (page 48) and for those with itchy feet, compiled a pick list of the hottest properties available for sale right now. All of that and of course, this being spring we’ve naturally got our full guide to the season’s trends both in terms of fashion and home styling to keep you ahead of the pack.


Enjoy the reprieve that is spring. We’ll speak again in a kinder climate filled with the holiday staples of sun, sea and sand. Bliss.

Lea Michele Star of glee

a new beginning

Jonathan Fraser Group Editor In Chief


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Disclaimer: Copyright SIXTYNINE DEGREES & Dluxe Magazine. 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 2014.




BENTLEY BIRKIN Taking inspiration from Sir Henry ‘Tiger’ Tim Birkin – the legendary Bentley Boy who travelled and raced extensively around Europe in the 1920s and 1930s – the new Mulsanne Birkin represents the pinnacle of Bentley’s luxury motoring in its most discerning form. Available as a strictly limited edition of just 22 cars, The Birkin Mulsanne specifications are born from the idea of how Birkin would commission a Bentley today. Buyers can choose from three colour specifications: Ghost White, Damson and two tone Fountain Blue and Dark Sapphire. All Birkin’s are luxuriously equipped and include unique 21” wheel design inspired by those on the original Mulsanne concept car, as well as a host of options including a stunning tailored luggage set – each one hand-crafted, individually numbered and matched with the interior of each car designed to appeal to the well-travelled connoisseur. Prices are yet to be announced but it is unlikely that prospective Birkin owners will receive much change from £250,000. Find out more at Bentley Birmingham, 2 Wingfoot Way, Birmingham B24 9HF Tel: 0121 477 5557


Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer has teamed up with Marco Pierre White Steakhouse at The Cube to hold a Mothering Sunday Lunch. The charity, which has raised over £1million for Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, will take over the restaurant on Sunday 30 March 2014 for an afternoon of food, fun and festivities. For £39.95 (adults) and £19.95 (children, 3-12 years), guests will enjoy a welcome drink on the 25th floor, followed by a three-course meal accompanied by live music from jazz singer Trevor T.

FUNCTIONAL AND FUN Perfect for a Spring Break, the 3-D Travel Buddies from TrendyKid are a shiny, whimsical and colourful collection of luggage designs, perfect for holidays, school trips and sleepovers.

Added to this, all mums will receive a special gift – perfect for anyone who has forgotten to buy a present – and there will be a chance to win a selection of prizes. All money from the LFBC Mother’s Day Lunch will go towards the charity’s £1 Million Appeal which aims to raise £1million to fund ‘soft services’ that go beyond NHS means. To view all upcoming evnets go to

Archie Alien with his lolling tongue and Popo Parrot and his giant yellow beak will enthral kids as well as making their luggage instantly recognisable, whilst easy roll wheels and an adjustable handle make it a doddle to pull and manoeuvre. Available from John Lewis Touchwood, Solihull from £30


We hate smeary finger prints on our tablet’s screen so thank heavens for the new range of NueVue cases for the iPad and iPhone that not only protect your device, but also clean its screen every time you remove it from the case. A unique blend of microfibers and BioCote antimicrobial technology line the cases which come in a variety of stylish colours and fabrics. iPad cases start at £37.49 and are available on

YUMMY BUNNY We’re smitten with the delightful new Ferrero Rocher bunny, moulded from a unique hazelnut milk chocolate recipe and featuring the same celebrated flavour of the classic Ferrero Rocher. It’s so good it was awarded a prestigious Great Taste Award last year. Priced at Just £2.99 it’s the perfect Easter treat!







JOHN LEWIS Sip bubbly at a private ‘Partners Room’ fashion event, on Thursday 3rd April, with catwalk models showcasing 40 different looks from the spring and summer collections as well as styling.

The way we dress has such an impact on our working lives; haven’t we all made a little extra effort with our appearance before a big board meeting or splashed out on a special suit before a seminar? If you feel confident in your attire then you feel confident in your career and Solihull’s Fashion Works Festival, which runs from April 3rd – 5th is set to inspire shoppers to dress for success in the workplace.

Tickets first come first served. Call 0121 704 7253, or email customersupport_solihull@ book early to avoid disappointment, this is a ladies only event.

Fashionista’s and style savvy shoppers have long flocked to Solihull thanks to its unique and wide ranging fashion. The Fashion Works event, organised by Solihull BID will feature clothes from the biggest names in fashion such as John Lewis and House of Fraser along with exclusive designer labels from over twenty independent fashion retailers.

HOUSE OF FRASER Enjoy 10% off cosmetics and house brands at a special late night shopping event on Thursday 3rd April. - Open til 9pm.

Local business professionals and visitors to the event will be able to pick up special limited edition Fashion Works tote bag, take advantage of numerous special offers, discounts and receive exclusive style advice.

KATHERINE DRAISEY Have a glass of bubbles while you browse the store on Thursday 3rd April.

Take advantage of free parking in Mell Square car park on Thursday 3rd April from 5pm onwards.


KAREN MILLEN Call in for a late night VIP shopping experience on Thursday 3rd April, with styling tips, outfit creations and drinks whilst you browse.


MISS SELFRIDGE Call in for personal styling and a free mini manicure with any purchase on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th April.


LE SCARPE Enjoy late night shopping at Le Scarpe on Thursday 3rd April, with champagne and nibbles as well as a prize draw for a £100 gift voucher.

MADELEINE ANN Special work wear style rail for the event and offering various discounts on certain items of clothing and with a model in store to showcase styles and looks. To keep up to date with all the latest news and events at Fashion Works visit

Image courtesy of Marks & Spencer

BRIDGE Grab some fizz with your fashion at a late night shopping event on Thursday 3rd until 7pm.

As part of the Fashion Works Celebrations there are two £500 shopping spree vouchers to be won to spend with Solihull retailers. For your chance to win visit and enter your details.





Red is the new black although a red suit for work may be pushing it guys. Instead invest in some accessories in this statement colour, iPad case, notebooks, pocket squares and ties. Red says you know about fashion and you’re not afraid to use it!

3 Piece Suit £1399.95 Clements and Church

iPad Case £39.95 John Lewis

SPECIAL FASHION WORKS WEEKEND OFFERS RITUALS- Free hand and arm massages in store and complimentary skin care consultations and makeovers - as well as a 20% discount throughout Fashion Works. EAST- 20% discount and consultations, with drinks Fashion Works.

Dress £130 French Connection

Time to be more daring with your work wear; we asked Solihull’s style consultants for their advice on the ultimate office outfit.

free style throughout

UBER- 5% Discount on non-sale items throughout Fashion Works. JAMES BUSHELL HAIR SALON- 30% off all services on Thursday 3rd April & Friday 4th April only – (cut & colour services need to be booked 48 hours in advance as a skin test is required – 0121 711 1100) T.M LEWIN- Free Silk Tie with any purchase over £40 (Terms and Conditions apply). There will also be sparkling wine and orange juice for the duration of the event in store.


Stand tall and be counted with a pair of power heels. Keep a killer heel under your desk, and you’ll be ready for those last minute meetings where you need to be head and shoulders above the competition. Mix in another key trend for spring – Animal Print.

CLEMENTS AND CHURCH- Enjoy a 20% discount in store over the 3 days of Fashion Works. HOBBS- Take advantage of a 10% discount for the 3 days of Fashion Works. To keep up to date with all the latest news and events at Fashion Works visit www.


Guys, stand out from the crowd and cut the flannel in a bold check suit – it pays to get remembered!

Heels £120 Kurt Geiger

Express your inner self with your outerwear. The pink coat is a wardrobe staple this season; choose a longer length to cut a classic silhouette and team with an oversized bag for a stylish working lunch.


Discover new ways to dress for work at

A simple dress can go a long way in making a woman feel empowered and ready to start the day. Be bold and stay on trend this spring by choosing this season’s must have colour – yellow..

Coat £795 Katherine Drasiey



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WIN TICKETS TO THE STRANGLERS ANNIVERSARY TOUR! Very few bands survive to celebrate their 40th Anniversary, and even fewer bands have a history, indeed a notoriety, comparable to The Stranglers, who emerged from various blues, jazz and classical movements, became figureheads of punk and then transcended genres to become one of the most revered alternative bands of the last four decades. To commemorate this huge achievement, The Stranglers are rereleasing a host of classic albums and embarking on a major world tour, kicking off in the UK and we have a pair of tickets to see them up for grabs. For your chance to see the band at Birmingham’s O2 Academv simply visit and click on competitions.


34 WINDSOR ST We’ve been hearing an awful lot lately about a new village restaurant that’s breaking all the rules and challenging the idea that to eat well you need to eat in the city. Not true, it seems as 34 Windsor St is breaking boundaries and bringing a taste of the big city into Burbage. 

Created by Zeffy Thompson who boasts an impressive track record in hospitality from some of the finest establishments in the North West - and Head Chef Sam Owen, the restaurant’s aim is simple: to showcase their passion for food in an informal, relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere - it’s “fine food but not fine dining” although, to be fair, the menu does seem very fine indeed with starters such as Pressed pork collar, salt baked pineapple and asian spices and Venison haunch with salt baked celeriac, grain risotto and winter greens. Our mouth’s watering already. For those that like to dine with a difference, 34 Windsor St offers a Chef’s Table for six where Sam designs a specific menu no less than 12 hours before you dine, revealing all 8 courses to the table on the night.


It’s at the weekend’s though that 34 Windsor St really invites you

The most highly anticipated development in personal computing for years, Google Glass is already up for grabs to a select few who through the company’s ‘Explorer Program’. 2014 will see the widespread availability of the PC that runs through a head mounted optical display which resembles a set of B movie x-ray specs. The technology is impressive though and includes public transport information, impressively detailed mapping software, the ability to search the web while on the move and the obligatory social media links. Expect a high price when Google does finally give it the green light.

to kick off your shoes and relax. Those wishing to start their weekend in style can enjoy a luxurious champagne breakfast on alternate Saturdays which includes such delights as freshly baked, homemade croissants and scrummy french toast with banana and maple syrup. Sunday diners can enjoy live music alongside a delicious lunch at one of the restaurant’s Sunday Live events, which are proving to be a thoroughly relaxing way to spend an afternoon; perfect with a post dinner cocktail or two. “There’s always something new happening here” laughs Zeffy, “Food is all about creation and enjoyment and we try and put that feeling and passion into every part of our restaurant”, she says before telling me about the sumptuous sounding Afternoon Tea menu... To find out more including view sample menus, see upcoming events and book a table visit or call on 01455 234342 34 Windsor St, Burbage, Hinckley, Leicestershire. LE10 2EF


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EXCITING CHANGES at THE MAILBOX Birmingham’s premier shopping and lifestyle destination The Mailbox is totally transforming to bring you the ultimate luxury retail experience. The new Mailbox will be bigger, better and easier to get around. You’ll enjoy a relaxed sky-lit haven of elegance and innovation. With a new line-up of leading brands, the new Mailbox will be the place for anyone in search of luxury shopping, dining and pampering.

Visitors to the new Mailbox will experience a unique collection of brands, including L.K. Bennett, Gieves & Hawkes, Jaeger and Castle Fine Art.

bars, all centred around a brand new Harvey Nichols signature store – which will be transformed into a luxury lifestyle destination, double its existing size.

And for lovers of the silver screen, Everyman Cinemas is bringing premium film entertainment to the Midlands for the first time.

Over the next year The Mailbox will become bigger, better and brighter and by 2015, the retail space will transform into a fully enclosed, skylit mall. Its elegant design, intelligent layout and unique range of top-name brands will make the new Mailbox a world-class destination for luxury shopping and lifestyle.

You can look forward to an exclusive range of carefully selected films at the three-screen venue, along with the very latest in digital projection, luxurious sofa seating and a choice of fine wines and champagnes. Everyman will also be screening special events, including live theatre and opera. The Mailbox are looking forward to welcoming you as you discover a wealth of stores, spas, salons and


However, whilst the Mailbox makeover is underway, it’s still very much business as usual.

During the refurbishment, the retail space (Levels 3 & 5) will not be accessible. However, The Mailbox are doing their best to minimise any disruption to you. Whilst the central mall is closed, visitors will need to use Severn Street to get between the retail side and the canalside.

For more information, please visit:

For more information, please visit: www.

To keep up to date on all the latest news and events at The Mailbox, follow The Mailbox on Twitter @mailboxlife and Facebook /mailboxlife or sign up to The Mailbox newsletter.

MAKE MOTHER’S DAY MEMORABLE AT HANDMADE BOUTIQUE Searching for something meaningful for Mum this year? Then top of your list should be The Handmade Boutique, nestled amidst the Independent shopping meccas of The Great Western Arcade as well as at their new ‘Pop Up’ shop in The Gracechurch Centre, Sutton Coldfield. (open from the 22nd – 29th March.) Handmade Boutique is made up of a collective of 18 Midlands based independent designers and the store’s unique concept means that their beautifully crafted, handmade products are available directly on the high street rather than hidden away on a website. You’ll find a truly unique collection of gifts, lifestyle products and home styling pieces to make sure that the gifts you give Mum this year are as individual as she is. We’re loving the range of Soap from Soapy Jones, Candles from Serendipity Candles, Jewellery from Perlina, multi media textile art by Jennyrosemann, Su Parkes and Paper Scissors Design, Stained Glass by Foxglass, Fused Glass by Used and Fused and chocolates by The Chocolate Fix. With prices from just £9.95 you won’t break the bank!

The per fe Mother ct ’s Day Gift!

You’ll even find a great selection of individual Mother’s day cards and beautiful gift wrap so your whole parcel can be a handmade one! The Handmade Boutique is at The Great Western Arcade, Birmingham and The Gracechurch Centre, Sutton Coldfield. Visit their website at:

INDEPENDENTRETAILERS CELEBRATED IN KINGS HEATH AWARDS It was the independent businesses that stole the show at this year’s Business Excellence Awards in Kings Heath, which highlighted the success and contribution that individuals and businesses make to ensure the region remains a bustling destination. New to the area and winner of ‘Best New Addition’, ‘That’s So Kings Heath’ and ‘Best Independent’ award went to I Had One of Those, an independent retailer specialising in retro and vintage goods that has recently opened on Kings Heath High-Street. Other winners included Sylhet Spice, Hed Shed, Winspers Florist and the Hare & Hounds pub who also hosted the awards. Keep up to date with all Kings Heath events at

Tracy Chivers and Prize Winner Cathy Edwards




Birmingham based St. Modwen Homes, have been named as the Best Small Housebuilder in the UK at the Housebuilder Awards, as well winning the award for Best House Design for Three Storeys or Fewer. The annual awards, that celebrate the very best in UK housebuilding, are held by the HBF (Home Builders Federation), in partnership with the NHBC (National HouseBuilding Council). Judges noted that St. Modwen Homes demonstrated a commitment to innovation, improvement and excellence and had an imaginative approach to housebuilding, which in turn has, and will, benefit customers, employees and suppliers alike. Park View, the residential scheme in Longbridge, was St. Modwen Homes’ first development in the UK and the award shows how much the company has achieved since its launch just two years ago. There are now five active developments across the UK including Edison Place in Rugby and Gregorys Bank in Worcester, where a brand new show home has just been opened. Judges were impressed by the light and airy feel of the houses, emphasised by floor to ceiling windows, glazing around the front doors and vaulted ceilings in some of the properties. To find out more visit









Thursday 17th April. Block it out in your diary. 12.30pm – 8pm. The Spring Fashion Fix arrives at Bullring. It’s time to unleash a spectrum of colour into your wardrobe, packing away the muted tones of winter and embracing the bright, bold and warm colours of spring with a day of fashion master classes, colour matching how-tos and complementary beauty treatments plus in-store activity and discounts. Head to the Spring Fashion Fix hub on the Lower West Mall (outside of Debenhams) and prepare to immerse yourself with pampering treats and style presentations.



STYLE FIX: Monochrome, Pastels and Brights are set to be huge trends for the season, get tips and advice from a fashion expert at the Style Fix workshops.

BEAUTY FIX: Some of your favourite beauty brands from around the centre will be offering complimentary pampering treats throughout the day at the Beauty Fix pods.

£65 River Island

COLOUR FIX: Book one-to-one appointments with a colour consultant who can advise on your spring wardrobe. There’ll also be a series of presentations throughout the day. TREND FIX: See some of SS14’s most talked about trends brought to life with the Trend Fix installations, which will include looks from Selfridges.

Roksanda Ilincic £475 Selfridges

Priciples By Ben De Lisi £35 Debenhams

xt £30 Ne

Many of the centre’s fashion and beauty brands will be offering exclusive discounts and in-store activity as well as giveaways and gifts with purchase. Pre-register for this free event now at www.bullring. where you’ll find further details including timings for the Style Fix workshops. Or simply visit the event hub on the Lower West Mall (outside of Debenhams) on the day. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Bullring and using the hashtag #BullringSFF. For more information visit




Mother’s Day is on the horizon so, why not make this year extra special with an allexpenses paid shopping trip? We’ve teamed up with The Fort Birmingham to offer you and your Mum a guilt free shopping expedition. With free parking, late night opening and anchor stores, Marks and Spencer, Boots, River Island and Next, you can both take time out to indulge in some serious retail therapy. Harvester is also supplying you and Mum with a lazy lunch and delicious dessert - the perfect post shopping spree pit stop. With £200 worth of vouchers to spend at the shopping park, The Fort is also offering a ‘pamper hamper Your chan ce to for Mum and private styling sessions with Wallis and Topshop to ensure you make the most of your spending spree. d For updates on news, offers and events, why not follow The Fort on Twitter and like on Facebook?

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Top of nearly every child’s wish list today is a smartphone. Yet parents are likely to be concerned about the kind of world that can be opened up via a smartphone and whether it is suitable and safe for their child, let alone the bills children could potentially run up by calling and messaging friends, downloading apps and surfing the internet. The Kurio phone is set to address all of these issues by including all the functions of a normal smartphone with the added parental bonus of Ichaper™, Mobile Chaperone technology. Ichaper is designed to put parents’ minds at rest and keep Kurio Phone users (along with mum and dad’s wallets) safe, by allowing parents to remotely manage and monitor the phone features. Parents can set usage limits, block certain numbers, or to set up an authorised list of contacts. What’s more, the phone’s call and text history is made available to parents, so they are able to see who their child has been in touch with and when. All of this can be done remotely via The Parental Web App and there’s even inbuilt SOS technology to notify parents of a problem whilst GPS technology sends details of your child’s location. The phone’s Geotracking function regularly updates the location of a child’s phone, enabling parents to see where their children are at all times, whilst the Geofencing feature alerts parents when the phone leaves a prescribed safe area. The Kurio is set for release in the next few months priced around £120. To find out more visit

RELAX AND REVIVE WITH CHOCOLATE Luxury British cocoa grower and chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has added to its awardwinning Cocoa Juvenate beauty range with the launch of Repose; a range of beauty products that makes full use of cocoa’s natural properties and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, with nourishing, softening and hydrating properties and a pleasent scent based in roasted cocoa, heady florals, sandalwood and leather. Developed and perfected at the spa of the same name at the company’s Boucan Hotel & Restaurant on Saint Lucia, Cocoa Juvenate Repose is inspired by the serene beauty and sun-dappled calm of the cocoa groves and represents the mellow, sensual moment of quiet at the end of the day. We love the Repose Bath Oil that is created to instill a sense of sanctuary and wellbeing in your own home whilst transporting you to a little piece of paradise. Made with handpicked premium ingredients including olive, coconut and mango seed oils and the finest cocoa, the oil blooms into a luxurious milk when run under hot water. The Repose range starts from £15 and is available from Hotel Chocolat, Bullring, Birmingham


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THE PRIZE AT A GLANCE: £100 worth of Fort shopping vouchers each A Fort ‘pamper hamper’ for Mum A personal styling session at Wallis for Mum A personal styling session at Topshop for you A two course meal for two at Harvester For your chance to win simply visit and click on competitions. Closing date is Friday 21st March and the winner will be notified on or after Monday 24th March

BIRMINGHAM FIRM LAUNCH ‘THE GREAT LOST ART HUNT’ Birmingham’s Biddle and Webb, one of Britain’s most respected auction houses and valuers, has launched ‘The Great Lost Art Hunt’, a nationwide search to find and identify important, unrecognised works of art. The company’s art experts believe there are hundreds, if not thousands, of significant and highly valuable artworks hanging in homes and offices across the country, with owners oblivious to what they have.  Biddle and Webb believe that, for the first time, the technologies of smartphones, iPads and the internet offer the opportunity to unearth these unrecognised masterpieces by the world’s most famous artists.  During ‘The Great Lost Art Hunt’, Biddle and Webb are offering every household, institution and company in the country the ground-breaking opportunity to snap a photo of any artwork they think may be valuable and either email it to them or upload it to their website.  Then, free of charge, a panel of art experts will identify artwork that could be important or valuable and offer to come out, again at no cost, to carry out further evaluation. To discover if a painting on their wall is worth a fortune, all people need to do is email or upload a photo of it.  If there is a signature on the painting, they should send a close-up photo of this also.  Email photos and information to or visit:

NAUGHTY BUT NICE! Enjoy our Modern Afternoon Tea. Perfect for a romantic afternoon, girl’s day out, or a Mother’s Day treat.

Only £12.95 per person. City Café @ Hilton Garden Inn, 1 Brunswick Square, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HW. Tel 0121 643 1003

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e l e h c i M Lea X She’s been credited as one of the key forces behind ‘The Glee Effect’ – the TV show phenomenon that put the focus back on to musical theatre increasing audiences, audition turnouts and enrolments in drama schools and clubs. Just what is it about Lea Michele that has enabled her to break out of the Broadway box and take on the mainstream? dluxe BIRMINGHAM & SOLIHULL caught up with the ultimate in triple threats , actor, dancer and singer as she prepares for the next stage in her career; the release of her first solo album.


So why did you decide to release ‘Cannonball’ as your first single? “This song was written by SIA, who is incredible. I was working on another song with her, we were writing together and you know we were chatting and she said, ‘Oh I have this song I think you would like it,’ and she left the room and played it for me and when she came back in I was like, ‘Please give me this song it’s so amazing.’ It’s been such an inspiration for me personally, and it was unbelievable how it just happened to come into my life and I thank her so much for it. But it wasn’t supposed to happen, it was just… you know… it was fate.” You’ve had an incredibly difficult year, is that why you find it so inspirational do you think? “It’s so empowering and I really feel so honoured to be a part of a television show that’s really inspiring and has always been very empowering for our young fans, and I feel like although this song is Lea Michelle and not Rachel Berry, it really does have the same message. It’s a powerful song, and that’s who I try to be for my fans and the people that watch my show. It just feels like me; I love singing and I love the message.” What was it like filming the video? A million miles away from your experience with Glee? “My dream job is to be a music video director concept-ish person. I’m always listening to songs and coming up with the concepts for the videos. It’s like my favourite thing to do so, I was really excited to get to shoot this video and come up with some ideas. Our director Robert is so amazing and we came up with this idea of just being in this sort of in a very uncomfortable space feeling very trapped and claustrophobic, and finally finding the freedom and the strength

within yourself to bring yourself to a place of enlightenment and freedom in the end. So I think that using the two locations of the broken down warehouse into the clear, white walls open space is our way of sort of illustrating going from that really dark place into the light, literally.” So tell me about the transition from television studio to recording studio. You obviously sing a lot in Glee so is it very different? “Well when we’re shooting Glee, we basically have like two minutes to do everything. It’s like ‘run to the recording studio and quickly sing this song and then sing that song!’ and then it’s like ‘Oh no we have to shoot this tomorrow and so let’s get it done!’ We rarely have the time because we have so much that we need to accomplish. We’re always shooting like three episodes at once. So it’s like ‘oh today you’re singing the Christmas song for three episodes away’ so it’ll be September and we’re singing, you know, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, we just try to do our best. With recording an album, you get to really take your time. It was weird for me at the beginning, I would go into the studio and I would be like, ‘We’ve got to get it done!’ and then someone would say ‘We have all the time in the world.’ So by the end I was having lunch and then going in and singing some more; It was so nice to get to just relax and find the creativity, within the whole process.”

“I really feel that this sounds like me” So how did you go about making this album a distinctly Lea Michele recording rather than a Rachel Berry one? “It’s really funny because when I was thinking about making this album everyone was asking me, ‘well are you doing original songs?’ and ‘are you doing covers?’ and I was like I don’t think there’s any covers left for me to do on an album, I’ve done them all on Glee (laughs). But no they’re all original songs and my inspirations were definitely Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry and Adele. I don’t know how it happened, but in the end I really feel like this sounds like me. It sounds like Lea Michelle, and I think that’s really awesome. It’s definitely a pop record but it comes with the sort of drama and emotion that I feel I exude as a performer. But it’s also really fun.”

Does the album feature any collaborations? Who would you love to work with? “Well I got to work with SIA so much on this album which was so incredible, and Bonnie McKee who I love and adore. As well as Christina Perry, who I think is like, the jam. Um, I wanted to say a curse word (laughs) so I said ‘jam’ and then it sounded really corny (laughs). But I mean I’m such a fan of music, I love finding new artists and stuff like that, but I think my god that I praise is Alanis Morisette so to just lock myself in a room with her you know… Of course Barbara Streisand, but that’s another level.” Does the album reflect what has been going on personally for you in the last six months? “We did the album cover shoot a couple weeks ago, Peggy Sarota shot it, she’s really awesome. It was just, I wanted to go with lots of blacks and whites and very you know like edgy. The album is very emotional and it deals with a lot of, pretty intense subject matter, so I thought that the shoot needed to kind of illustrate the same feel and vibe. So we went for really kind of edgy and emotional, using darks blacks and whites and browns and stuff like that. And again I feel like in the end everything just fell into place so well. I’m really lucky.” So who is Lea Michele now? Is she an actress? Is she a singer? Which do you prefer? “I get asked that question all the time – which I prefer more. You know, I get to be on Glee and do both at the same time so I’m sort of spoiled right now. But you know right now I’m really loving exploring the world of being a performer, a musician, an artist. which is really fun. But then of course, I just don’t ever want to have to pick. I want to do both.” The music industry can sometimes pressure artists to be something that they are not. Has it been hard to keep control of who you are? “In picking the songs and in working on this album, I made sure that everything we chose to sing and the songs that we wrote – everything fit and blended well together to have a really good cohesive feel. It’s been such an incredible, incredible journey. It’s taken over a year to complete this album, but it’s come together as something that is incredibly personal and means so much to me. It’s the story of a period of my life that also means a lot to me, so I’m really glad that I have it for the rest of my life now.”

Lea Michele’s debut album ‘Louder’ is out on 17th March 2014.

dluxe spotlight

Lea Michele Sarfati was born in the heart of The Bronx to an Italian American mother and a Spanish Father. She started working professionally as a child on Broadway in productions such as Les Miserables, Ragtime and Fiddler on the Roof, before taking on the lead role of Wendla in the musical Spring Awakening. It is her role as Rachel Berry in the hit show Glee that has been the marker of her career, with two Golden Globes and an Emmy nomination amongst the honours. The success of the show has also impacted her personal life when partner and co star Cory Monteith tragically died of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room. Her album ‘Louder’ is set for release on the 17th March with the debut single ‘Cannonball’ out now.



Image courtesy of Betty Barclay

THE TREND REPORT Spring brings with it reinvention and reinterpretation. This season’s key trends take note of what has gone before and allows wardrobe favourites to mix alongside trend pieces to create a statement look.


The perfect Purse!

YUMI @ House of Fraser £45 Sophie Hulme @ Harvey Nichols £240 Schuh @ Bullring £55

Complete the look Butter London @ Harvey Nichols £14 Dune @ Bullring £79.00


Tresor @ Beaverbrooks £99

Betty Jackson Black for Debenhams @ The Fort £99

Pink makes everyone wink, never mind the boys. Always a fashion favourite, last season’s winter coat can still be worn this spring- result! Try working pink into your wardrobe in different ways- we’re loving hot pink tuxedo-style jackets.

Marcus Lupfer @ Harvey Nichols £235 Marks & Spencer @ Pavilions Nars @ Harvey Nicols £25

River Island @ Bullring £15.00

We Lov


THE PERFECT ACCESSORY! Marc by Marc Jacobs @ Harvey Nichols £240


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Pink was all the rage at Rich ard Nicoll’s SS14 Show!


20 Jimmy Choo @ Harvey Nichols £395

we love these shoes!

Betty Jackson Black for Debenhams @ Bullring £39

Marks and Spencer @ Pavilions £ 59

Topshop@ Bullring £5


top trend

Match your bag with your nails!

MAC morange @ Selfridges £15


Next @ The Fort £60

A key accessory trend for men in 2013, orange’s appeal is widened to women in SS14. It’s easy to include; add some orange lipstick to your make up bag.

NARS Paprika @ Harvey Nichols £18

LOVE! FAUX PONY! Ernest Jones @ Bullring £19 Pony Hair Clutch @ Asos £35.00

Dune @ Bullring £69

Not keen on a full orange ensemble? Use it as a block colour to bring your outfits up to date.


Pied a Terre for Debenhams @ The Fort £150.00




FREE PARKING - J6 OF THE M6 All products were available at the time of production.


22 River Island @ Bullring £95 COS @ Bullring £89

Star by Julien Macdonald for Debenhams @ The Fort £45

Vivienne Westwood @ House of Fraser £440.00

Alice and Olivia @ Harvey Nichols £495

Schuh £65

London Road @ John Lewis, Solihull £460


All that glitters… needs to be in your wardrobe. Metallic finishes along with high-impact ornamentation are the order of the day. Make it causal by underlaying jeggings .

Tom Ford Cherry Lush @ Harvey Nichols £36

rouged lips for contrast

Backstage at Dior gold is a must for 2014 Alexander McQueen @ Harvey Nichols £195 Christian Louboutin @ Harvey Nichols £875

see more beauty on page 37!

Lustre came up everywhere on the catwalks for SS14. Match your outfit with your make up for a stronger polished look.

Bruno Magli @ Harvey Nichols £415

Deborah Lippmann @ Harvey Nichols £18

Metallics at Chrisopher Kane





Spring/Summer 2014 Trends BRAIDED BEAUTY

This season braids hit the catwalks bringing back new textured appeal to the classic plait. Giles saw Braveheart inspired braids take centre stage with a knotted quality to them to create a nuanced disheveled finish. Whilst at Tabernacle Twins, hair was pushed to one side and cleverly plaited scalp braids crept from the ear upwards to give the look of a fauxundercut.

The bun has always been a style-staple gracing the runways season after season, but this spring/summer 2014 saw a modern twist on this well-loved classic. Models hit the runway at Tata Naka with precision centre partings offset by beautifully sculpted ballet buns pinned carefully in place at the back of the head. To add a dynamic take to the knot, elastics were placed through the middle so that when removed, buns took on a cantaloupe-like shape. Ekaterina Kukhareva saw Japanese Zen with an element of Geisha. Kitsch coiffured double knots stormed the catwalk, inspired by the Japanese Maiko, whilst at Pearce Fionda they took on a beautiful shell like quality, carefully moulded high on to the top of the head.

BESPOKE BALLET BUNS To create a whole look the texture of a style is key. Spring/Summer 2014 saw combinations of textures within the hair being used to add depth and distinction to subtly sophisticated locks.


At Jean-Pierre Braganza the look du jour was worked-in texture, with the focus on having slightly unkempt hair with an imperfect centre parting and strands styled behind the ears. Whereas at Ones to Watch, the focus was on incorporating a dry movement and texture at the back with strength at the hairline.





Dune @ Bullring £65 Lipsy @ The Fort Shopping Park £30

Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy @ The Fort Shopping Park £75.00

Next @ The Fort £20 M Missoni jacquard dress, £470 Harvey Nichols


Leather and skin prints are a big story in 2014. From mock crock detailing to the resurgence of the leather skirt, it’s more about the texture then the colour so experiment. A soft pink leather skirt worn with a vintage style knit is the perfect look for lunch.


Box Pleated Leather Skirt @ COS Bullring £225

Sophie Hulme @ Harvey Nichols £825

COS @ Bullring £170 Nails Inc @ Boots £12

Essie Repstyle @ Boots £10

Faux Leather Rocks! Create the full look with leather or snakeskin nails!


Mint Velvet @ House of Fraser £99



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dluxe BIRMINGHAM & SOLIHULL WELCOMES NEW FASHION EDITOR We’ve rapidly become known as the magazine that’s put style back on the map, so we’re thrilled to announce that Midlands Fashion Stylist of the Year Sy-Anne Holden is joining the dluxe team as Fashion Editor. Sy-Anne loves exploring her visually creative side and works as a freelance personal stylist and photo shoot producer, supporting upcoming and established independent designers and boutiques. From High Street to High End, designers just beginning to boutiques, Sy will be translating trends from the runway to bring you global fashion looks on a local scale The Midlands may be in the middle of the country but we certainly aren’t middle of the road!

THE MIDAS TOUCH THE GOLDEN AGE IS BACK! A catwalk favourite for the new season, makeup shimmered at Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten and Donna Karan. We asked LOUISE STERENBERG-DYOSS, Manager of Beyond Beauty @ Harvey Nichols, how to achieve this most luxurious of trends.

GET THE LOOK: Keep the look fresh and natural with Benefit Sunbeam complexion highlighter (£19.50) and Laura Mercier mineral cheek colour in Amberstone (£18.50); NARS highlighting blush (£21) adds definition. For eyes, layer different shades as you wish – we love Laura Mercier golden shimmer bloc (£31) and NARS eye paint in Gold (£18.50). For runway-ready brows and an instant lift, apply Benefit’s High Brow Glow Pencil (£15) under your brow arches.

ON THE CATWALK: A 70s style glow was seen in force on the S/S14 catwalks at Topshop Unique, House of Holland and Donna Karan. Dolce & Gabbana and Dior extended the warm golden tones to the eyes with the latter even introducing metallic painted brows. Meanwhile, Dries Van Noten used gold thread on the lashes for a sexy, shimmering look.

For ultimate luxury opt for Tom Ford. For a 24-carat finish, spritz with the uber glamorous Show Beauty hair fragrance (£55) and Tom Ford Sahara Noir EDP (£100, 50ml).

Keep lips luscious with NARS pure matte lipstick in Ginger Pink (£18.50) and NARS velvet gloss lip pencil in More (£17.50). Achieve a stronger look with Laura Mercier crème smooth lip colour in Mocha Myth (£20). Keep nails on trend with Deborah Lippmann lacquer in Boom Boom Pow (£18).


Image courtesy of T.M Lewin



Spring does not mean swapping jeans and jumper for jeans and a T. The well-groomed vintage look of autumn winter may continue but the era has changed. Maybe it’s time to shave that beard off?



Marc by Marc Jacobs @ Harvey Nichols £115

We asked JOHN PAUL McGUIRK from Harvey Nichols to pick the gym bag essentials guaranteed to have you looking as good as you feel.

Keep it subtle with on trend accessories like this wallet!


wa s i h t e v e lo


OFFICE @ Bullring £70


Luke @ Bullring £50

1: As any self-respecting gym bunny will know, what you carry your essentials in is just as important as the essentials themselves (Yes, I’ve spotted you comparing your designer wash bags in the locker room!) Out-do the competition with a fully-lined Paul Smith canvas wash bag, £110.

2: However hard you’ve worked out you’ll be left smelling as fresh as a daisy with Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza Hair and Shower Gel, £28. This gentle all-over cleanser is delicately fragranced and enriched with trace elements and panthenol to leave you feeling fabulously fresh.


3: Spice up your post-gym prep with Marc Jacobs Bang Aftershave Balm, £28. It blends notes of black, white and pink pepper with aromatic benzoin, vetiver, white moss and patchouli for a masculine, woody scent.

Blue is an incredibly easy trend to work in to your wardrobe this season with cyan mixed with monotones making a big impact.

4: Add a seductive new scent to your daily routine with Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Deodrant Spray, £20. Manly and modern, it boasts smoky notes of vetiver with warm accents of fir balsam wrapped in the racy softness of white leather.

John Lewis, Solihull £129

5: Daily workouts can play havoc with your skin so you’ll need to call on a pretty hardworking moisturiser and Elemis SOS Survival Cream, £42, is as high performance as it gets. The powerful formula of marine extracts, lavender and myrrh instantly sooth problem areas and leaves your complexion perfectly hydrated and comfortable.

in an Go for a classic cuutr! on trend colo

Christian Louboutin @ Harvey Nichols £1190

All products are available from Harvey Nichols Birmingham.

SPRING 2014 5 2


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Ben Sherman £80



Comfort is Key! Burton @ The Fort £32

COS @ Bullring £115


This year’s retro flavour sees fashion go literal with inspiration from the 1950’s Beat Generation hitting the High Street. Loose cut trousers, high waists and collars worn over jackets recreate the era of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs.

Diesel @ House of Fraser £100

Sunglasses are the perfect accompaniment to any spring outfit. If you’re rocking ‘beat’ your outfit will be crying out for a pair!

Next @ Bullring £35

COS @ Bullring £59

Moncler @ Harvey Nichols £200

SPRING 2014 Outfit by Hammond & Co. @ Debenhams Luke @ Bullring £35

Paul Smith @ Harvey Nichols £80

OVERSTRIPED Stripes have overtaken last season’s craving for checks. Oversized stripes and horizontal patterns were profiled by both Moschino and Valentino with an adaptation of 2013’s colour blocking statement.

KIN @ John Lewis, Solihull £35

Kenzo @ Harvey Nichols £95

Stand out with these! DSquared2 @ Harvey Nichols £425

Next @ Bullring £26

Linea @ House of Fraser £45





dluxe motors


The first Mercedes-Benz in the fastgrowing compact SUV category has been unveiled to compete against the likes of BMW’s X3, Audi’s Q3 and Q5. The GLA is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV to be available with the newgeneration permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC, which features fully variable torque distribution and rounds off the premium brand’s extensive SUV portfolio. By having four model series (GLA, ML, GL and G), the company now offers the widest SUV range of any European premium manufacturer.

An impressive top speed of 145 mph


The muscular and imposing appearance of the exterior is systematically continued inside. All trim surfaces feature a metallic finish with sculpted dashboard, consisting of an upper and lower section in matt and gloss grain finishes, designed to give a modern feel and control the flow of light around the well-trimmed cabin. Five round air vents sit beside a large, freestanding display, whilst a three-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys is used to ensure that all controls can be reached and read effortlessly. Sports seats in a wide choice of trims and colour combinations allows plenty of scope for individualisation, whilst practical concerns are answered with the optional Load Compartment package. This enables the backrest of the rear seat unit to be moved to a steeper position, enlarging the load compartment capacity by 60 litres, providing space for bulky items while still allowing the rear seats to be used by passengers. Initially, buyers can choose from two petrol engines, 1.6 and 2.0-litre, along with two diesel engine options, both 2.2-litre, which excel with dynamic torque. The range topping GLA 250 4MATIC sprints from zero to 62 mph in only 6.5 seconds and the power continues to an impressive top speed of 145 mph. Emissions for the lower powered diesel are a notable 114 g CO2 per kilometre, no doubt helped by the GLA’s class-leading aerodynamic efficiency. Mercedes Benz have employed numerous techniques including a low A-pillar step, aerodynamically optimised mirror housings and a streamlined rear end to achieve a Cd  figure of just 0.29, which aids the GLA’s remarkable fuel consumption; with combined fuel economy of up to 65 mpg easily achievable. All the engines feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The GLA is no soft roader. Available with a new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system with variable torque distribution. The GLA’s four wheel drive system includes a power take-off to the rear axle that is integrated with an automatic dual clutch transmission, along with a rear-axle gear with integrated, electrohydraulically controlled multi-disc clutch. This set-up allows fully variable distribution of the torque between front and rear axles, increasing off road ability. 4MATIC models are also equipped with DSR (Downhill Speed Regulation) and an off-road transmission mode as standard, meaning you can sit back and let the vehicle do the hard work, maintaining a slow speed when negotiating downhill gradients. Pricing for the GLA starts at £25,850 and is due to arrive with dealers from mid March. For more information visit or visit Mercedes Benz, 235 Lawley Middleway, Birmingham. Tel: 0121 766 1600

dluxe motors

Designed to be highly manoeuvrable around town, lively on country roads and dynamic and efficient on the motorway, the GLA features the high-quality appointments and thoughtful detailing that you’d expect from Mercedes Benz, with a flexible interior designed to position it. The rear seat backrests can not only be folded down completely, but are also adjustable for angle if required. The generous luggage compartment (421 – 836 litres) is well presented and can be loaded without difficulty, thanks to the low sill and wide tailgate, which opens automatically as an option.


Image courtesy of Marks & Spencer

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dluxe home






ictorian Drama


Look for sofas and armchairs with antique-style shapes and grand, oldfashioned features such as buttonbacks, scrolled arms or carved spindle legs and Victorian-style ornaments.




1. Bed Frame £850, Bench £625, Bedside Tables £305, Rug £225, Bedlinen £65, Cushions from £28, Box £25, Debenhams 2. Ship Print Cushion - £19.50, Marks & Spencer 3. Blake Armchair - £1,545, 4. Large Goblet Vase - £29.50, Marks & Spencer 5. Ivory Wardrobe - £999, John Lewis 6. Glass Tealight Holder - £4.99, Dotcomgiftshop 7. Resin Bust - £28 Next 8. Wood and Feather Duster - £35 John Lewis

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Fluorescent colour blocking is set to be key for 2014 but it’s not for the faint hearted! Keep walls and floors white to avoid a busy feel. Yellows and hot pinks are big news so go on; make the neighbours (lime) green with envy… 9

11 10


1. Acctim Evie Alarm Clock - £10.99, 2. Hot Pink & Green Union Jack Cushion - £60, 3. Kubrick Armchair Fern Green - £459, 4. Velvet Stripe Cushion - £19.50, Marks & Spencer 5. Woven Pouffe - £100, Leekes 6. Glass Placemats - £10, Tesco 7. Sabichi Cafetiere - £11.99, 8. Bloomingville Pink Vase - £25, Debenhams 9. Gideon Sofa - £649, www. 10. Chair Baroque Orange - £445, 11. Passion Pink Floor Length Mirror - £395, 12. Stripe Console - £1,150,



Senior Branch Manager @ Accord Lets

“In fact, it never really went away,” says Katie Martin, Senior Branch Manager of Accord Lets, Birmingham city centre’s market-leading letting agent. “Birmingham has everything; it’s friendly, cosmopolitan, culturally astute and currently undergoing an amazing renaissance.” Having ridden the crest of the economic tidal wave, whilst other cities struggled treading water, Birmingham shows no signs of going under with the Second City continuing to attract executives in their thousands, thanks to continual redevelopment across housing, infrastructure and, of course, lifestyle. Topping the list undoubtedly has to be the recently built £188.8 million Library of Birmingham, which is now the largest public library in Europe. There’s plenty more to shout about though with considerable investment being ploughed into some high-profile projects, including the complete overhaul of the iconic Mailbox, which will transform this landmark retail space into the Bond Street of Birmingham, introducing world-class brands never available before in Birmingham; the Spring 2015 arrival of John Lewis, as part of the Grand Central development; a £500m Paradise Circus development that links up to Brindleyplace and extends the Central Business District; all of which are set to cement the city’s position as the place to live outside of the capital. Transport links are also receiving an impressive overhaul, with the £650m redevelopment of New Street Station and £129m Metro extension linking Snow Hill to New Street station, both due for completion in 2015. And then there’s HS2. The influx of investment in the city is guaranteed to boost Birmingham’s property values and Katie, a born and bred Brummie, who deals predominantly in Birmingham lettings, has witnessed as urban development has elevated her city to new heights. “This new urban landscape has spawned ultra-desirable city centre apartments, designed to cater for city dwellers and professionals keen to soak up the hustle and bustle of the regenerated

central districts,” she says, “and demand in these areas is especially strong with some apartments changing hands within a matter of hours.” The development and sale of apartments and houses has brought with it a rise in lettings opportunities, meaning Birmingham and its surrounding areas now boast one of the most diverse residential offerings in the country. “New business and enterprise development has seen the city become wealthier, both financially and culturally. From the indefatigable throng of happy shoppers orbiting the Bullring, to diners in the Michelin starred restaurants and continental cafes; Birmingham, with its incredible choice of places to live and impressive cosmopolitan culture, is definitely the place to be!” As is to be expected, development in certain areas has orchestrated a shift in property value and Accord Lets now specialise in some of the city’s prime locations when it comes to buying and letting, such as the long-awaited Cube, which after 4 years, still epitomises luxury, city living – key for the professional tenant. They also offer contemporary properties in the Jewellery Quarter and Beetham Tower, as well as a three-bedroom penthouse apartment in the House of York development. If you’re bubbling with a similar level of Birmingham-based excitement as we are when it comes to the prospect of regeneration, or are wondering what the effects on the property market will be, Accord Lets will be offering an evening of FREE, impartial advice to any potential or existing landlords in May. If you would like to attend, please register your interest by giving Katie a call on 0121 643 9505. Accord Lets is @ West 2, Suffolk Street, Queensway, Birmingham B1 1LW





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dluxe home




So it looks like 2014 could well be a good time to sell your home according to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker. However, if you don’t want to put your faith in such a futuristic sounding contraption, you could always follow these good old-fashioned tips to make sure your house is ready!




Interior Imitates


The line between high-end interior design and art can be a very fine one. For the perfect marriage of form and function, think sweeping curves and intricate embellishments. 4


Did you know the average house price last year rose by:



First impressions count: If a potential purchaser is put off before they’ve even walked through the door then you’re doomed. Take a look at the outside of your home as a stranger might see it. First impressions can make or break, so invest some time and energy in your garden. A pretty pot by the front door never hurt anyone!


Odour: It may seem minor, but the aroma of your house is important when selling. A discretely hidden diffuser will do the trick. Some people advise offering coffee and freshly baked bread, but when it could take a few weeks to sell your home; you can’t always turn on the bread-maker at the drop of a hat.


Clean and tidy: Obvious to most but not to all. Who wants to be shown round a bombsite, let alone buy one? Clear the clutter, load the dishwasher, make the beds and clean the bathroom; it’s not rocket science! Fresh, sparkling and inviting houses sell quicker; get in some fresh cut flowers if you have time.


Temperature: Taking a prospective buyer into a house that has sat empty for the weekend without the heating on is going to put them off instantly. Keep things ticking over at a pleasant 1520°C; this will prevent your pipes bursting and ensure the agent won’t have to hand round the Thermos and blankets whilst viewing!


Garden: A rear garden does not have to be pristine but as with the house, tidiness is an asset. As your potential buyer gazes from the master bedroom over the garden they would like to see cut grass, trimmed borders and a dash of greenery. Although not always possible at this time of year, the effort is always extremely obvious.

1. Raffaella Carved Dining Table £1,191, www.sweetpeaandwillow. com 2. Jojali Glamour Sofa £1,860, 3. Framed Wall Clock - £50, Next 4. Boulevard Saint-Germain French Mirror - £395, www. 5. La Muse De Versailles - £1,895,


Problem areas: It’s quite possible there’s part of your house that you’d rather not draw attention to, perhaps somewhere that is mid-repair. Try and get any problems fixed before you enter into the market however, if this isn’t possible, at least advise your agent as to how the issue could be fixed in order to reassure a potential buyer.


Brief the agent: They’re not mind readers and the better prepared the Estate Agent is to answer questions about your house, the easier it will be to sell. It can be embarrassing if whoever conducts the viewing fumbles with the iPad entry system, drop down cinema or fancy lighting rig, so make sure they’re in the know! If it looks easy the buyers will love it.


Both sales and lettings are on the up, but buying or renting the ideal property can be a difficult decision for any prospective homeowner, tenant or landlord. So we asked Birmingham’s market leading letting agent, Accord Lets for their advice!

DO YOUR RESEARCH Draw up a list of desirable areas before you start looking for a property, but don’t be too specific, as this will narrow your options considerably.


HOW MANY ROOMS? Competition for properties can be intense and even though you may have a certain number of rooms in mind, be prepared to strike a balance. Properties with many rooms could be considerably more expensive.

SPEAK TO THE NEIGHBOURS When you have found your property, speak to the neighbours to get a first-hand account of what it’s like to live there. Can you be assured of a warm welcome should you sign on the dotted line?

CONSIDER TRANSPORT LINKS How easy is it to get in and out of the city and to travel further afield? You may want

to ensure that your home is close to bus or rail networks and find out whether these services are on the main route.

WILL YOUR CHILDREN BE SAFE AND HAPPY? If your children are young it may be worth choosing a property that has a fenced off garden space, especially if close to a main road. Do your homework and consider the catchment areas of local schools.

Q – You’re thinking of buying a property in the city but it doesn’t have parking. How will this affect its rent-ability? A - Many city centre professionals who live in the city, do so for it’s convenient transport links, and therefore don’t require parking facilities. In terms of the financial benefit, parking can add between £50-£75pcm and for areas like Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter, a permit can be obtained for as little as £210 per annum, although spaces are first come, first served.

Residential Corporate Services


Why join Accord Lets? Call now for a free valuation

0121 643 9505

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Choosing the perfect property


Whether you’re looking to move or just fancy a nose, dluxe Birmingham & Solihull saves you the trouble of trawling the property market by bringing the region’s most luxurious homes together in one place.

Tree Tops, Solihull Guide Price: £1,650,000 From the moment you walk in and lay eyes on the oak flooring and central oak staircase, it is clear that Tree Tops offers serious luxury. On the ground floor you’ll find four reception rooms and a large open plan kitchen dining living space, whilst upstairs the master suite alone has two dressing rooms, a sitting room and a bathroom, and is complemented by five further bedrooms. The property also has a home cinema recreation room for the cosiest movie nights imaginable. The most stunning feature though, is actually found at the bottom of the south-facing garden. And we’re not talking fairies or anything here; Tree Tops comes with a standalone leisure complex, containing an indoor swimming pool, changing and shower rooms and a gym! For more information and to book a viewing contact Knight Frank on 01789 297 735

Penthouse at Orion, Navigation Street Guide Price: £550,000 Sitting on the 25th floor of a 25-storey building, this is luxurious city living at its penthouse peak (literally). This spectacular two bedroom/ two bathroom apartment comes with open aspect city views as standard and offers beautiful open plan living in one of the most exclusive city centre developments. The 24 hour concierge service is on hand to make sure the needs of your lifestyle are catered for, no matter the time of day and the apartment even comes with not one, but two tandem parking spaces; a rare claim for any city centre accommodation. The top floor was designed by John Rocha and Crosby, who wanted their interiors to represent “sensuous calm and an exquisite sense of polished yet practical”, and we think they certainly succeeded in creating that!

The Woodlands, Solihull Guide Price: £989,500 Privately situated behind automated gates within a cul-desac screened by a small wooded copse, just off the prestigious Alderbrook road, this six bedroom detached family home may well be one of Solihull’s best kept secrets. Built barely 20 years ago, The Woodlands offers everything the modern family needs, including a spacious kitchen and breakfast room which leads through to an excellent sized living room, formal dining room and a snug/study. The majority of the house has been decorated in soft neutral tones, allowing any prospective buyers to add their personal mark on the house with ease and the six bedrooms are all of a good size, with the sixth big enough to convert into a spacious home office or even a private annex. All in all, The Woodlands is a gem of a house in an extremely desirable location!

For more information and to book a viewing contact James Laurence on 0121 604 4060

For more information and to book a viewing contact John Shepherd on 01564 783 866


5 Pakenham Road, Edgbaston Guide Price: £1,450,000

If you like history, this eight bedroom house in leafy Edgbaston has plenty! With original parts dating back to 1860, the property is Grade II listed, but has been comprehensively refurbished and tastefully modernised over the last 10 years. Sympathetically restored features abound, with the working range in the fitted kitchen, Minton tiled flooring, stained glass windows and grand fireplaces sitting alongside the house’s more modern additions such as a home entertainment cinema room and a gym/games room. The property boasts a fantastic conservatory, the doors to which open out onto a large terrace, complete with extensive well maintained and mature south westerly facing gardens, perfect for al fresco entertaining come the spring and summer. With eight bedrooms spread over the first and second floors, there’ll be no shortage of room for guests to stay over either! For more information and to book a viewing contact Bowkett Briggs on 0121 288 2829

Richmond House, Barnt Green Guide Price: £989,500 Surrounded by greenbelt countryside, Barnt Green is far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city to offer country walks and a relaxed lifestyle, but still close enough to offer an attractive commute into the city centre (if such a thing exists)! Richmond House is perfectly positioned and more importantly, perfectly built. At only three years old, the property is a fine example of a modern family home, with integrated appliances and fitted units in the kitchen and intelligent use of an open plan design throughout. The interior décor of the house is soft and neutral and four of the seven bedrooms come with en suites. And in case you require extra piece of mind, the property comes with what’s left of its 10-year builder guarantee; we’re starting to run out of superlatives to describe this house! For more information and to book a viewing contact Robert Oulsnam on 0121 445 3311

26 Moor Green Lane, Moseley Guide Price: £850,000 Located three miles from the city centre in the fashionable Moseley; you certainly get a lot of house for your money here. Living space sprawls delightfully over four floors with seven bedrooms and five bathrooms spread between the first and second floors, as well as a subterranean wine cellar, providing the perfect place to enjoy a glass or two with extensive fitted wine shelves, exposed brickwork and gravel flooring. The property was built in the late 1800’s, but has been cleverly and sympathetically modernised and now offers an exceptionally spacious living room, a formal dining room with cast iron fireplace and a fully fitted kitchen with integrated appliances. In all honesty though, this house had us at the wine cellar. For more information and to book a viewing contact Robert Powell on 0121 454 6930



Image courtesy of Mothercare


Date for the Diary: Monday 14 April – Friday 25 April When they are not busy feasting on chocolate eggs, children are sure to be demanding some form of amusement over the Easter Holidays. Leaping to the rescue of parents everywhere is Hannah Law, who has compiled a crib sheet detailing the region’s most exciting and interesting events for all ages. Ensure there’s never a dull moment this Easter!

Not all Easter eggs have to be the chocolate kind and painting your own eggs can be great fun. Grab some acrylic paints, coloured card, PVA glue and pipe cleaners from your local craft shop and see what you can come up with (make sure you blow your egg first)! Here are a few of our favourites from the designs we’ve seen. Come up with something original? Tweet your pics to @dluxemag using the hashtag #dluxeeaster

EASTER EGGS How to Blow an Egg

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Take a pin and prick holes on either end of your egg, try and reach the yolk if possible. The bigger the holes the easier it is, although be careful not to compromise the integrity of the egg. Hold the egg steady in both hands and blow through the top hole Once everything is out you may want to rinse some water through and leave to dry before getting creative!

ARTS & THEATRE GO!GO!GO! LIVE 16 April @ Town Hall



An all-new family pop musical aimed at primary-age children with brand new catchy songs and easy to learn dance moves. Gemma, Carl, Jade, Steve, and Holly live in a lighthouse on the island of Maffadopolis, they love exploring and helping solve Mr Baffled’s problems. The group have a song for every occasion and you can be assured of plenty of audience interaction and laughs along the way.

All your favourite CBeebies stars are putting together the biggest band they can by seeking out everyone’s musical talent. This brand new show will have you singing along and dancing in the aisles with priceless performances from Mr Tumble and a host of other CBeebies megastars including Rastamouse, the ZingZillas, The musical fab four and Nina from the Neurons, guaranteed to amuse and entertain!

Do you know everything? Tiernan Douieb certainly thinks he does. Luckily for us, he’s decided to share his knowledge by answering some of the most important questions children simply need answers to. From why you can’t run with scissors but it’s ok for hairdressers to wave them in your face, to how high you have to jump before you can’t come back down plus loads more. An hour of very silly comedy for both kids and adults.

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EASTER BISCUITS Here’s a simple recipe for biscuits that you can make using bunny or chick shaped pastry cutters to infuse a bit of Easter into your baking. Ingredients: 500g Plain Flour 250g Butter or Margarine 140g Icing Sugar 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon Milk Preheat the oven to 160C or Gas 3. Place the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl, rubbing together with your fingers until fine breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla extract and a little milk until the mixture sticks together and you can combine it to form a dough. Place on a floured surface and roll out to about 5mm thick (1/4 inch). Cut out your shapes and place on a baking tray with some baking parchment or non-stick cooking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and harden. Decorate with icing sugar and sprinkles as you see fit!




18 – 21 April @ Cadbury World

19 – 21 April @ Sarehole Mill

5 April – 31 August @ Warwick Castle

Give in to you sweet tooth and head down to Cadbury World this Easter to check out their family friendly action packed programme. As well as the chance to watch on site chocolatiers decorate handmade chocolate eggs, there will be an egg-cellent Easter Egg Trail for children and the chance to win Cadbury World prizes by creating the best Easter bonnet.

Join in the fun at one of only two surviving watermills in Birmingham with a Children’s Easter egg hunt spanning across the mill and surrounding grounds. From 12-4pm, kids will be let loose, tasked with finding six colourful, lettered eggs, spelling out EASTER. Afterwards, in the tearoom they’ll be able to exchange any eggs found for a chocolaty prize. Young children earn an egg for enthusiasm!

Venture through over one thousand years of history as Warwick Castle take you on a rotten journey with nasty nuggets and foul facts aplenty. The Castle’s finest characters will be on hand to bring the terrible and horrid stories of the past back to life, the only question is: are you brave enough to discover history at its most gruesome?



Gothenburg Sight Seeing... Your chance to


The prize will take visitors to the beautiful city of Gothenburg. Sweden’s second largest city is home to multiple Michelin starred restaurants, a thriving nightlife, stylish shopping and wonderful attractions.  It’s also the perfect gateway to Sweden’s stunning coastline and archipelago of beautiful islands.  bmi regional operates more than 300 scheduled flights a week across a network of 20 destinations. In addition to the flights from Birmingham to Gothenburg, bmi regional also fly twice a day from East Midlands Airport to Brussels. Visit or call 0844 4172 600. To win visit and click on competitions.

Watershed Productions present the BBC Worldwide and Polka Theatre production of

Based on the characters created by Lauren Child. Adapted by Jonathan Lloyd.

29 to 31 May 10.30am, 1pm & 3.30pm

Tickets Adults £12.50 Children £10.50

Box Office:

0121 236 4455 Online: Follow us online birminghamrep @birminghamrep

Charlie and Lola TM and © Lauren Child 2005. Charlie and Lola is produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and distributed by BBC Worldwide Ltd.

Registered in England 295910 Charity No.223660

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bmi regional is offering one lucky reader an opportunity to win a pair of return flight tickets from Birmingham to the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The airline offers travellers a superior service including: Speedy 30 minute check-ins, Dedicated, manned check-in desks, 20kg of hold luggage per passenger, Allocated spacious seating – travellers can select their preferred seat on an all jet fleet and Complimentary food and drink on board.



Healthy Eating For Life:

TOP 5 Secrets for Losing Weight Weight loss is usually one of the first resolutions to fall by the wayside. However, with some expert help from the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) this year can be different - meaning you can lose weight, keep it off and be healthy all year round.


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White pasta, rice and bread provide very few nutrients and are quickly broken down in the body; this will leave you hungry and craving sugar as a pick-me-up.


It wreaks havoc with hormones, slows down your metabolism and causes the body to store more fat, especially around the middle. Stress has the same impact on your body as eating sugar, causing cravings for the wrong foods.


Have three healthy meals and two or three healthy snacks a day, this will give you sustained nutrients and energy for the day, keeping hunger pangs at bay.


Listen to your body rather than your calorie counting app. Eat slowly and stop eating when you stop feeling hungry. Keep portion sizes under control, as meals shouldn’t be larger than your cupped hands put together.


This is important for overall health, energy and mood as well as a support to maintaining a healthy weight. Start slowly with a brisk walk in the park or park further away from your office and walk the rest of the way. To find your local Nutritional Therapist, got to

We’ve scoured the market to bring you three products you need if your life if you’re looking to get in shape and stay there! Get the basics right and the body of your dreams will follow…

1. CERACRAFT PAN For those who have a tendency to over-indulge come meal times, Ceracraft Pans could be the first step to a healthier and more balanced diet. Their specially coated surface means you need minimal amounts of oil and are the perfect way to kick-start a new health regime. Prices from £39.99

2. BEURER BF800 DIAGNOSTIC SCALE A must- have for all techies, these scales use bluetooth SMART technology to offer innovative networking between your smartphone and the scale, so you can keep track of you’re your body weight, body fat, body water and muscle ratio at home and on the move! £99.99


Follow these four exercises for an all over work out in under 5 minutes and if you’re feeling brave, you could always repeat the circuit twice! Ensure you warm up before and cool down afterwards and try to combine this with at least 30 minutes of daily activity such as walking and cycling. For more of Alexis’ advice, check out her fantastic blog:

PETS SHIFT POUNDS New research has indicated that pets could be the biggest positive influence on an active lifestyle. Fish4Dogs has found that 90% of us are more likely to exercise if it’s something that our dog can do with us. The survey of 800 people from across the UK found that over a quarter of those questioned have taken up running with their dog and a further 60% of us would consider upping our current exercise programme if our beloved pooches could take part too.

DIET FAIL A new study has revealed that 50% of women fall off the diet bandwagon within 24 hours of beginning their weight loss crusade. Instead of hitting targets, around half of the 2000 women polled admitted to hitting the cupboards for chocolate within the first day. In reality, it turns out that the women abandoned their diets after an average of just 11 days, leaving them struggling to reach their ideal weight. Many admitted that they are likely to end their diet early if they are feeling stressed or had a bad day at work, while the most popular excuse for a lapse in dietary concentration was feeling they had ‘earned’ a treat.

3. MALORY BAND If the future is fat, can a piece of string hold the answer? Worn around the middle, the Malory Band is an adjustable polyester cord that feels tighter as you eat, providing a gentle reminder of the quantity of food that you consume. Shortening the band as the inches drop off is great for motivation!


Minute Training

Fitness trends have veered away from slogging it out on the treadmill in recent years, placing high intensity training firmly in the spotlight, and it looks like it’s here to stay. In our everincreasingly busy lives, finding time to train can seem a nigh on impossible task, so we asked Alexis Fletcher, Personal Trainer at Virgin Active how to make fitness flexible, fast and focused. Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet hip width apart, push your hips back and jump as high as possible, landing in a squat position. Perform as many of these as you can for 30 seconds and then jog on the spot for one minute. Stair Sprints: This one’s simple. Find some stairs and run up them two at a time, jogging back down when you reach the top. Do this for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat a further two times. Shadow Boxing: Punch alternative arms as fast as you can for 45 seconds, holding weights if you want to increase the intensity. Jog on the spot for the remaining 15 seconds of the minute. Burpees: Starting in either half or full push up position; perform a push up before jumping your feet in under your chest, finally jump into the air, clapping your hands overhead. Return to the starting position and do as many as you can in 45 seconds. Plank for the remaining 15 seconds of the minute. £24.95

Total time: Five minutes

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Personal Trainer - Alexis Fletcher


dluxe health



6.5 million men across the midlands are losing or have lost their hair. Male pattern baldness has long been the dread of every man – including myself, writes Jonathan Fraser. Growing up I watched my Dad lose his hair knowing that my curly locks would most likely suffer the same fate as his. Although I’ve been prepared for it, as the years have passed my baldness has increased and I’ve become very aware of the growing patch of pink skin between the shadow of hair at the sides and back. Like many men it’s something I’ve not felt comfortable about and feel that it has prematurely aged me as well as changed my own sense of identity.


BALDNESS With the cost, scarring and pain involved in a hair transplant as unappealing as the idea of a toupee I had begrudgingly become accepting of my baldness - until I heard about Scalp Micro Pigmentation. SMP, as it’s abbreviated to, is a new treatment for hair loss sufferers who want a realistic and low maintenance solution to their hair loss problem. The treatment works by effectively colouring in the bald patches of your scalp with tiny tattoo dots which, when viewed from close up or far away, replicate hair follicles. Those having the treatment are left with what looks like an even ‘just shaved’ head resembling

the likes of Wentworth Miller, Channing Tatum and Marvin Humes. There’s no anaesthetic, incisions or scars and the treatment can be adapted for style preferences or if you continue to lose hair. I contacted experts His Hair Clinic, based in Birmingham and the developers of the technique. Visiting their smart clinic on Hagley Road I met face to face with people who had actually had the treatment and found it hard not to keep staring at their heads. The results looked fantastic and I was able to find out exactly how the treatment works as well as get answers to the many questions I had.

SMP employs traditional techniques to tattoo tiny dots of specially developed pigment directly into the scalp’s second layer of the skin. Existing hair colour is matched on a chart of 100 shades and the technique allows for a slight variance of shade in each dot to ensure a natural appearance. The hairline is created dependent on what you want it to look like with many men taking in old photographs for reference whilst others prefer a more groomed, freshly clipped look. If you decide you don’t like it in the future then a simple laser tattoo removal treatment will remove it quickly, easily and without any scarring and if you later decide to opt for full hair

replacement therapy then the SMP will not affect it in any way. Treatments generally are made up of 2 sessions of 2 to 3 hours and, in terms of maintenance, all you need to do is moisturise and keep your hair clipped short. Pricing ranges from £500 to £3000 depending on how much treatment is requireda fraction of the cost of hair replacement therapy. Weighing up all the answers I had been given, looking at the finished results in real life and knowing the treatment could be reversed I booked myself in for the treatment… I did not sleep the night before my first treatment as I was so


to Simon as he worked and listening to some pretty random tunes on his iPod acted as a great distraction too. Two hours later and my first session was done and looking in the mirror I was amazed. My baldness had gone, I was left with the appearance of hair and, although my scalp was a little red, it was so unnoticeable I went shopping straight after.

I needn’t have worried as the process was pain free

This time the treatment took a little longer but as I got up out my chair and looked in the mirror I was truly astounded at what I saw- it was still me but from 10 years before. Everything about my ‘hair’ looked completely natural and there was no way I could tell where my old hair stopped and my new hair began. In all honesty I was so shocked at how good it looked and what a difference it made that I felt somewhat unsteady on my feet and ended up sat back down again.




nervous but I did eventually drop off after revisiting the His Hair Clinic and discovering the forum section. His Hair has clinics all over the world and the open forum is a worldwide space for those who have had the treatment to chat about their experiences. The multiple comments from guys saying it was the ‘best thing they’d ever done’ was massively reassuring and I was able to go to my treatment feeling confident. My treatment started with lots of photographs- the before shots used as a documented reminder of what I used to look like. Simon, my practitioner,

A week of moisturising my scalp and I was back in for my second treatment, this is the one which perfects the look, defines the hairline and blends the SMP into your existing hair. By leaving a gap between treatments of around a week, the effectiveness of the first treatment can be measured. In my case my colour had settled slightly lighter so it was decided to go a little darker and to bring my hairline forward slightly making it less uniform in the process.

WIN! then discussed my expectations and got an insight into the style of hairline I would like before making a mark with a white pencil. A decision as to pigment shade was made- I’m a 24- and I found myself sat ‘heads on desks’ style as if I was back in primary school. Waiting for the first touch of the needle I held my breath as, even though I have tattoos, I was worried that tattooing my scalp would be horrifically painful at worst, unpleasant at best. I needn’t have worried as the process was pain free. Although I had taken a couple of preparatory painkillers before we started. Chatting

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? His Hair Clinic are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a Scalp Micro Pigmentation treatment worth up to £3000! The lucky winner will be treated at their luxury clinic on Hagley Road, Birmingham. For your chance to win, visit Due to the nature of this prize terms and conditions do apply; please check the website for details.

Since the treatment a lot of time has been spent looking in the mirror; just catching a glimpse of my new hair still comes as a shock to me – a good shock but a shock all the same. My partner was blown away by it and those friends who I’ve told about the treatment have been similarly impressed. Those people I’ve not let know haven’t picked up on the change although one or two have made comments about me looking well or by just saying ‘something’s changed.’ Any downsides to the treatment? My scalp was a little itchy a few days after my treatment and you need to wait three days before you wash it. Also, you can’t go swimming for a month after the treatment but that’s a small price to pay for a treatment that should last a lifetime. Would I recommend it? Definitely. Do I wish I’d had it done years ago? Yes I do. Should you get it done? Damn right!

His Hair Clinic is at 86 Hagley Rd, Birmingham B16 8LU. Tel 0845 604 4618 or visit

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dluxe travel



CRETE By Matt Blackwell


FOR WINE LOVERS: Crete has 11 indigenous grape varieties and the Winemakers Network joined together in 2007 to elevate Cretan wine to its rightful position. We visited the family-run Paterianakis Winery to learn more about their work and most importantly, taste it. FOR FOODIES: Set within the beautiful ancient market village of Archanes, Kritamon restaurant is a must for anyone who’s serious about food. Chef Patron Dimitris Mavrakis’ cooking portrays the character of Crete and Dimitris works in conjunction with the Aldemar group to promote the area as a destination for gastronomic tourism.

Our base for exploring the supposed birthplace of the king of the Greek gods Zeus was an appropriate one: the Aldemar Royal Mare, which is indeed fit for royalty. And I say explore but in reality, with 25 shared and private outdoor pools, six restaurants, four bars, a small shopping mall, access to a private beach and a Thalasso Spa Centre that’s listed amongst the top ten in the world; you’d be easily forgiven if you neglected to leave the comforting bubble of the hotel complex for the entire duration of your stay. We are talking serious luxury here.

FOR HISTORY LOVERS: With the ancient Minoan civilisation on your doorstep, history buffs really are spoilt for choice! We visited Knossos Palace, the religious and economic centre from which King Minos is thought to have reigned in the Bronze Age and the fabled home of the mythical Minotaur.

The junior suites we were allocated are like small hotels unto themselves, with two bathrooms and a main sitting area, leading through to a huge double bed and ample balcony space. An insider tip: if you specify a ground floor suite you will have access to a private pool, shared only with your neighbour; lush. Cretans take huge pride in their food and the focus is very much on healthy gourmet eating. This ethos extends to each of the hotel’s restaurants and whether it’s a wholesome Mediterranean meal at the gourmet Candia restaurant, a light breakfast at the traditional Greek El Greco or just a snack overlooking the waves at the Albatros Beach Bar, the food at the Royal Mare is simply outstanding. Weekly cookery lessons with the hotel’s Executive Chef are available (and highly recommended), giving you the chance to steal some of the Mediterranean’s secrets.

FOR SHOPPERS: The Venetian streets and buildings of Heraklion’s Old Town date back to the 13th century and the labyrinth of quaint side streets host a plethora of big name brands as well as smaller, independent gems. Don’t miss out on the fresher-than-fresh seafood available at the restaurants around the harbour.


FOR SPORT LOVERS: Tee off at the Crete Golf club, which is a mere 20 minute drive from the hotel and affords some stunning views of the mountainous island. Alternatively, you can organise a tennis lesson with a top coach on one of the hotel’s seven international-standard clay courts.

Of course the Royal Mare is famed for it’s Thalasso and Spa centre and upon walking through its doors, a sense of serenity gently pervades, encouraging you to let go of life’s worries (you are on holiday after all) and partake in a slice of the utmost relaxation. The centre offers a medley of massages in addition to a number of beauty treatments, however it was the Thalasso treatments, which use seawater as a form of therapy that caught our eye. Over the course of a calming afternoon we were soothingly massaged by jets of water, wrapped with seaweed and experienced the AquaRoyal with its geysers, waterfalls, hydromassage beds and counter-current walkway, emerging revitalised from head to toe. Prices start at £32.50 for a single treatment, for longer stays two to six day packages are also offered.


If you’re able to wake yourself from your Thalassoinduced reverie and summon some adventurous spirit, you can always hop into a taxi of an evening and brave the nearby busier resort of Hersonissos. Perennially popular with the Jägerbomb quaffing crowd, the bars and clubs that line the beach remain open way into the small hours of the morning for a dance and a drink. On the other hand though, if you find the thought of bright lights and a pounding bass line mildly terrifying, perhaps whiling the evening away over an elegant cocktail or two in the hotel’s stylish Minos Bar may be more appealing. Yamas.


GETTING THERE: Monarch operate flights to Heraklion from Birmingham Airport with fares, including taxes, starting from £108.99 one way (£203.50 return). Start your holiday in style at the No.1 Traveller Lounge at Birmingham Airport STAYING THERE: We stayed at the 5-star resort hotel Aldemar Royal Mare, with prices from £41.60 per person, per night, including breakfast (based on 2 adults sharing a double room, minimum stay of 2 nights). For car hire and excursions contact Deltanet Travel:

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Lying in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Crete is the southernmost Greek island, historically known as the crossroads of civilisation, owing to its positioning between North Africa, Asia Minor and Europe. All three are said to have left their distinct mark on the island, giving it a unique flavour unlike no other European destination; We sent Matt Blackwell to sample the famed Mediterranean diet as well as some first class Cretan hospitality.

dluxe dining



A new year brings with it a new set of trends in all areas of our lives, and food is no exception. Here are four key areas of focus for 2014.

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ENGLAND’S GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND If we all try hard enough we can eat our economy back on track! Get behind our home-growing heroes and plumb for craft beers English wines and artisan herbs, spices and other products. Slightly more expensive, but their superior quality easily justifies the outlay.

KEEP IT LOCAL In an extension of the point above, allotments, pop-up restaurants, street food, local food markets and stalls, food clubs and beer and wine tasting clubs are a great way of generating community sprit and also bring the fun and social side back into dining.

GLUTEN-FREE GOODNESS More and more people are cutting gluten from their diet either entirely or occasionally, challenging producers to create delicious products that can stand up (and surpass) their ‘standard’ variants. It’s a market that’s worth £238 million annually and grew by more than 15% last year.

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS Obesity research and worrying projections have thrust what we put into our bodies into the spotlight like never before. It’s imperative that we go straight to the source and get our children’s diet right, with many catering companies working to reduce the calorie and salt content of the food supplied to schools.



ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL We love the kMix range of bright kitchen appliances from Kenwood. With a focus on design and style alongside quality engineering, the kMix range is made up of every appliance you’ll ever need in the kitchen including kettles, blenders, toasters and processors are available in a multitude of stunning colour combinations to suit every home. Prices start at just £49.99. The kMix range is available from Leekes Coventry CV6 6PA and Great Bridge Road, Bilston, Wolverhampton, WV14 8LB. To find out more visit


GREEDY MAN IN A HUNGRY WORLD William Collins £8.99

At last, a book on pasta from the master of Italian cookery! Pasta’s huge variety makes it the perfect basis for every kind of meal, from sophisticated dinner parties to simple suppers at home. Antonio Carluccio shares his love of Italy’s favourite food, providing innovative and exciting recipes for soups, main courses, salads and even desserts.

Jay Rayner, the UK’s most influential food and drink journalist shoots more than a few sacred cows of food culture. This may be a little hard to swallow for the ethically aware food shopper, but it doesn’t make it any less true. And now the UK’s most outspoken and entertaining food writer is ready to explain why.


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SPRING T R E AT S The winter warmers are back in the cupboard for another year, to be replaced by some light and airy spring treats. We bring you the perfect accompaniments for a deliciously healthy spring feast.


Serves 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 280g Reginette pasta 4 shallots 2 cloves garlic 1 pack cooked beetroot, dipped in vinegar 2 tsp olive oil 200ml low fat sour cream 2 large handfuls rocket Small bunch Chives, finely chopped Salt and pepper To serve (optional) Your favourite salad dressing / drizzle of oil Parmesan shavings Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions and whilst it’s boiling, roughly chop the shallots, garlic and beetroot. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the shallots for 5-6 minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the beetroot and sour cream to the pan. Blend the mixture using a hand blender or food processor to a coarse sauce. Taste and season well with salt and black pepper Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan. Pour the warm sauce over the pasta, tossing to coat well. In a separate bowl dress the rocket with a little oil or your favourite dressing (optional). Scatter the rocket over each plate then top with the beetrooty pasta. Drizzle over any sauce left in the pan and sprinkle over the chives. Top with a few shavings of parmesan.

Review: NAILCOTE HALL’S OAK ROOM A true destination venue – a bit of a rarity in these parts – Nailcote Hall Hotel, Golf & Country Club offers picturesque surroundings and a friendly atmosphere within easy reach of Birmingham and Coventry. A beautiful 17th century stately home, Nailcote Hall is a multi- purpose venue, compromising Four Star hotel accommodation, conferencing, events and weddings in addition to its daily A La Carte and Set Menu dining offer. A cosy backdrop highlighted by ambient lighting and roaring open fire, the Oak Room is an ideal venue for informal dinners, intimate tete-a-tetes and family get-togethers. There is something to please everyone on the classic, simple menu. From the specialities of the house on the A La Carte Menu to the value set meals (£26.50 for two courses or £29.50 for three courses), the menu features British classics with local produce adding to the mix. For starter, the two bestsellers are Hand Dived Scallops with Cepes, Butternut Squash & Crispy Ham and Peppered Beef Carpaccio. The scallops were beautifully cooked with the soft Butternut Squash Puree offset by the Crispy ham. The Carpaccio had beetroot and Parmesan with wafer thin beef sliced to perfection. The piéce de resistance of the evening is the Steak Diane flambéed at your table.(£25.95) This piece of restaurant theatre regularly causes a stir around the room and is sure to spark conversation amongst yourself and other diners. With the rich traditional

ingredients plus well-hammered fillet of beef, the steak is cooked to your requirements, the sauce flambéed and presented with both fondant and rosti potatoes. The Wild Fillet of Sea Bass was moist and spiced up with Red Wine Jus and a Leek Fondue (£19.95). For dessert, the Crêpes Suzette for two, again cooked at the table, looked amazing; however we’d already caused a fuss with the Steak Diane, so twice seemed greedy! Instead, I plumped for the Selection of Fine British Cheeses, which included slices of local delicacies; goats cheese from Staffordshire and Worcestershire Cheddar. To accompany the meal, the wine was of the standard you would expect from a venue such as Nailcote Hall. With a fine wine list starting at £19.99 for a house wine or a very decent selection by the glass from behind the bar, you won’t leave Nailcote thirsty. A charming note was added by Tiggy the hotel cat – 18 years old and still sleeping by reception, oblivious to guests, diners and staff alike. Nailcote Hall feels like a retreat from the urban sprawl of the West Midlands, a place where time moves slowly and you can relax in peace away from the rat race. Taking in the standard of food and service plus the associated facilities, Nailcote Hall offers a premium experience on all levels.

Nailcote Hall is at Nailcote Lane, Berkswell, Warwickshire, CV7 7DE For reservations call 02476 466174 or visit

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2013 Ended in a haze of cocktails, cocktails and more cocktails, with the party bus in full swing, but now it’s time to get off, regroup and look ahead to spring, writes resident foodie Anita Champaneri. For divine food inspiration, visit

To start, I had a trio of sliders; you can choose mini beef burgers, squid and chorizo or falafel. Instead of having one of each I had three squid and chorizo burgers. An unusual mix, but perfectly matched flavours. They were so tasty, that we ended up fighting over the last one. We also tried one of the Seafood Sharing Boards; featuring an array of oceanfresh delights such as smoked salmon, mackerel on toast, and a prawn ‘cocktail’ in a mini pot with marie–rose sauce. The board, served with crusty bread, was presented like a delightful country picnic, scoring top marks for taste and presentation. I’m sure if Liz Hurley did picnics they would look like this.

Have you heard the cries of Oppan Dim Sum Style around Colmore Row? Well you will do soon, as China Town’s much loved restaurant group Chung Ying, have opened a new Dim Sum Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in the city’s Business district. Chung Ying Central specialises in quality dim sum such as steamed prawn and chive dumplings (my favourites), salt and chilli squid (my second favourite) and Char Siu Buns, as well as panAsian noodle dishes such as chow mein and pad thai. They have also created a new cocktail list based on the 12 signs of the Zodiac to mark the start of the Chinese New Year. Happy Hour is every weekday from 5 – 7pm!

Valentine’s dinner was a swift but relaxing affair on the top floor Balcony Restaurant in Selfridges on an early Friday evening. It’s all newly done out, swish and elegant for people who like the finer things in life (you have to walk through the Jimmy Choo and Mulberry concessions to get there)! Operated by the Searcy Group who run The Gherkin restaurant in London, it oozes an understated sophistication. Before I had the chance to tackle the main menu, the ever helpful bar manager suggested I sample the restaurant’s lavish selection of skinny cocktails and Champagnes. I went for the Polish Flower, made with Zubrowka vodka and apple schnapps, together with vanilla infused syrup, apple juice, lime and a hint of cinnamon. This was a pleasantly unique creation that was polished off in 90 seconds flat!

Chung ying

Coast to Coast The main event was a chunky line caught monkfish, doused in a lemongrass green curry served with a bowl of quinoa, a rice-like superfood that was fluffy, light and tasty. Not at all boring, as I had been lead to believe. Hubby had the healthiest looking Fish and Chips I had ever seen. The flesh looked chunky and as white and pure as snow, encased in a crisp batter served in a bespoke Searcy’s newspaper pocket. Another great tasting dish. This nearly could have been my new favourite place, if only it was busier with diners; but as a restaurant within a department store that closes at 8pm (meaning we didn’t have the chance to enjoy the dessert menu), no matter how glamorous it is, I don’t think it will get the ‘place to be’ tag it clearly deserves.

This month we decided to eschew the shackles of fine dining and opted to have our monthly Supper Club somewhere more suited to our personalities. So, off we popped to the all singing, all dancing American diner, Coast To Coast, on Broad Street. Ideally suited for large groups, the restaurant is heavily themed, big, bold and busy. Serving US favourites like burgers, steaks, wraps, pasta, pizza and fajitas, you should go prepared to eat your way from New York to LA. The cocktail menu offers everything from Magheritas to mocktails and even includes milkshakes. The special was a Peanut Butter Martini (£6.25) Warning: It’s not for everyone, but if you love peanut butter it’ll be your new favourite drink! Eristoff vodka, smooth peanut butter, runny honey, and chocolate syrup shaken together and served straight up in a digestive biscuit coated cocktail glass. Unusual.


and canals, and provides a welcome retreat after a hard day in the city. It’s a great and alternative way to catch up with friends or take some time out with a loved one. Choose from a decadent selection of dainty finger sandwiches, a handpicked and delicious cake selection as well scones, freshly baked by the Hilton Garden Inn’s team of talented Chefs and served with the traditional and delicious accompaniments of thick fresh cream and sweet, juicy jam, all served beautifully on an afternoon tea stand. There’s even a delicious Citrus Sorbet designed to cleanse the palate. Guests also enjoy unlimited top-ups of their teapot, and can choose from a timeless selection of Twining’s teas including traditional English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong. What’s more, such luxury comes at an incredibly affordable £12.95 per person making it a must have treat rather than a guilty pleasure. Hilton Garden Inn is at 1 Brunswick Square, Brindley Place, Birmingham B1 2HW. Tel: 0121 643 1003 The perfect antidote to the bustle of Birmingham, the Hilton Garden Inn has created its own afternoon oasis of peace and tranquillity with its scrumptious selection of traditional Afternoon Teas. Located in the city’s prestigious Brindley Place, just off Broad Street, the Hilton Garden Inn is quickly becoming the destination of choice delux-69magazine for those wanting to experience AdNEW.pdf 4/3/14

all that the city has to offer including the nearby National Indoor Arena, International Convention Centre, Symphony Hall, the Bullring shopping centre as well as cool and quirky mixture of bars and galleries which surround it. The new Afternoon Tea offering is served in the Hilton Garden Inns stylishly appointed City Café, which offers views over the city


We have a High Tea for two available to win courtesy of the team at Hilton Garden Inn. For you chance to win visit










Where to find us: 34 Windsor Street Burbage Hinckley Leicestershire LE10 2EF Reservations: 01455 234342 We are located in the heart of the village of Burbage, only one mile from the M69/A5 junction.

34 “A stylish, contemporary restaurant and cocktail lounge nestled in the heart of the beautiful village of Burbage in Leicestershire. It is the destination to experience modern British, creative cuisine, carefully selected wines, cheeky cocktails and vintage afternoon teas. Enjoy the good company of friends, family and loved ones in elegant, warm and intimate surroundings.”

Evening A La Carte Lunch A La Carte Afternoon Tea Gentleman’s Tea Mini Morning Tea *Sunday Live Lunch

EVENTS & EXPERIENCES *Sunday Live (twice a month) Champagne Breakfast Mother’s Day Easter Weekend Chef’s Table Dining Experience Cocktail Master Classes Wedding Venue Private Dining Corporate Facilities

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SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN 18 March – 5 April @ Birmingham Hippodrome Straight from the West End, Birmingham Hippodrome welcomes the hugely popular Singin’ In The Rain, a musical packed full of romance, charm and Hollywood glamour. Telling the story of the first Hollywood Musical, the score features the classic songs ‘Good Morning’, ‘Moses Supposes’ and of course ‘Singin’ In The Rain’. With 12,000 litres of water used in the set design, this show will shower you with the very best of what musical theatre has to offer.



FIDDLER ON THE ROOF 11 – 15 March @BirminghamHippodrome Paul Michael Glaser, best known for playing David Starsky in the seventies television series Starsky and Hutch, stars in one of Broadway’s longest running musicals of all time. Directed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, the modern production captures the essence of Tsarist Russia, following the story of Tevve and his struggles to adapt to society that focuses less on traditions, exemplified by his daughters marrying for love rather than an arranged proposal. Bound to make you laugh and cry with instantly recognisable songs including If I Were a Rich Man, Matchmaker Matchmaker, and Tradition.


‘Jack Whitehall Gets Around’ is the brand new show from one of the UK’s hottest young comedians that will see him embark on his first solo stand up tour since ‘Let’s Not Speak Of This Again’ in 2011. Winner of King of Comedy in 2012 and 2013, Jack has built a successful career in stand up comedy, as well as his role as JP in the C4 series Fresh Meat and as a panellist on Sky 1’s hit show A League Of Their Own. His topical new stand up show combines witty one liners with hilarious anecdotes and is set to be another huge success for the much sought after stand up comedian.

To celebrate 18 years of performance, The Circus of Horrors is taking you back to 1665 and plague infested London. The story twists and turns as five murders are committed, each one more bizarre and horrific than the last, intermingled with some of the most daring and beautiful circus acts ever seen on the stage. The acts range from sword swallowers to demon dwarfs; all performed with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek, this amazing spectacle aimed at an adult audience will never be forgotten.

BIRDSONG 17 – 22 March @ Birmingham Repertory Theatre Marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, Birdsong is the hit, critically acclaimed stage show based on the world famous novel by Sebastian Faulks. In pre-war France, a young Englishman embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle that turns their world upside down. As war breaks out over the idyll of his former life and Stephen is faced with unprecedented horrors, he must cling to his memories as the world explodes around him.


ST PATRICK’S DAY PARADE 16 March @ Digbeth

One of the most atypical and inventive events in the UK’s cultural and film calendar is back for 2014. The Flatpack Film Festival provides a dose eccentricity and a stimulating array of experiential cinematic treats, all whilst giving you the opportunity to explore some of Birmingham’s more unusual venue and locales. Check their website for full festival listings. new-alexandra-theatrebirmingham

The Irish love a parade almost as much as a pint of Guinness. So why not combine the two this year, as Birmingham’s St Patrick’s Parade once again returns to Digbeth, where it has taken place since 1996. 2014 is guaranteed to be another mammoth success, as the City turns green for a day. Whilst being unmistakably Irish at the core, the Parade increasingly mirrors the fantastic diversity of ethnicities as it welcomes all communities. Festivities start at 12 noon with a huge confetti blast and this year’s theme is Irish Myths and Legends.

FLATPACK FILM FESTIVAL 20 – 30 March @ Venues around Birmingham

SARAH MILLICAN 21 – 23 March @ Symphony Hall

ROB BECKETT 19 March @ The Glee Club London Comedian Rob and his trademark toothy grin will be making their way around the country in his highly anticipated first UK stand up tour. After being nominated for best newcomer at a comedy festival in Adelaide in Australia he went on to debut at the Edinburgh Fringe as is now best known for his presenting role on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here on ITV2. His hilarious and quick-witted remarks are sure to propel him to even greater stardom over the coming year.

Join the UK’s favourite female comedian for some hilarious domestic bliss as her third tour ‘Home Bird’ debuts at venues up and down the country. From what to take on a dirty weekend to how to teach a pensioner to swear, proud Geordie Millican covers all the bases of what constitutes a normal domestic life in an uproarious routine that will have any audience in stitches.

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56 RUSSELL HOWARD 21 – 22 March @ LG Arena

Having played to more than 200,000 fans over twenty-five different tour dates on his last UK arena tour Right Here, Right Now, Russell Howard is one of the UK’s most successful live comedians. The young Bristolian rose to prominence with his witty observational comedy on BBC’s Mock The Week, and was quickly picked up to write and host his own topical show, Russell Howard’s Good News. His quirky comedic style has struck a chord with audiences across the country and you can be sure to expect more fantastic anecdotes about his dad, being from Bristol and the hilarious problems having a lazy eye can cause.

Staybridge Suites Opens in Birmingham £14 million has been invested in a new, fourstar long-stay hotel, situated at Martineau Place, which opened its doors recently to a great fanfare, celebrating with an exclusive VIP launch party and copious amounts of Champagne. The party was attended by the city’s elite, who were treated to delicious Italian canapés, with celebrity chef Aldo Zilli himslef, on hand to serve the star dish of freshly prepared Parmesan pasta. The hotel’s 168 suites aim to provide a ‘home-from-home’ appeal to business professionals travelling to the city for work and the hotel is primarily targeting the extended-stay business market. Staybridge Suites is at 1 Martineau Place (off Corporation St), Birmingham, B2 4UW - For more information visit

MIDLANDS WHISKY FESTIVAL 29 March @ Stourbridge Town Hall The increasingly popular Midlands Whisky Festival makes a triumphant return this year, offering over 200 drams to sample as well as master classes from the professionals. Being the largest whisky festival in England outside of the capital, the celebratory event never fails attract visitors from every corner of the UK. Tickets always sell fast so make sure you book yours now!


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THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS 14 April @ LG Arena Birmingham

Messiah Complex is a mental disorder where the sufferer thinks that they might be the messiah. Did Jesus have it? What about Che Guevara, Ghandi, Malcolm X and Hitler? All these men have shaped our lives and influenced the way we think. Russell Brand brings how own unique blend of delightfully offensive comedy to Birmingham this spring with a show that looks at the importance of heroes in an age of atheistic disposability. Plus with it being Russell Brand, there’s sex. Obviously

The world famous Harlem Globetrotters take fan interaction to a whole new level on their latest World Tour. Revolutionising the game of basketball, this group of exhibitionists will include their usual amazing ball handling skills and array of trick shots, but for the first time have added the option for fans to vote on three new rules. The ballot includes ‘Hot Hand Jersey’, ‘Make or Miss’ and ‘Trick Shot Challenge’, meaning this revamped show will take on an entirely new twist.

Following hot on the heels of his sell-out London run, Black Country comic legend Frank Skinner returns to the big stage at venues nationwide. The muchanticipated show, his first since 2007, will see the UK comedian bring his witty blend of topical humour and anecdotal hilarity back home to the West Midlands

RUSSELL BRAND 6 April @ Birmingham Hippodrome




FRANK SKINNER 22 – 24 April @ Symphony Hall



SUN 15 & MON 16 JUN




0844 871 3011 GROUPS 10+ 0844 871 3031 (bkg fee)












TUE 10 - SAT 14 JUN




TUE 30 SEP birmingham (bkg fee)

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The Best of Broad Street is Celebrated

ACORNS CHARITY DOG WALK 27 April @SuttonPark,Birmingham Acorns puts the dog firmly in the driving seat as you have the chance to become your pooches sidekick this spring at Acorns Children’s Hospice’s event for super hero dogs! The Acorns Dog Walk takes in the beautiful surroundings of Sutton Park, with either a 3km or 6km distance to choose from, depending on the stamina of the hero and the sidekick. Funds raised will go towards helping life limited and life threatened children in the area.

Images by Jas Sansi

ROCK OF AGES 12 – 17 May @ New Alexandra Theatre Still rocking after five years on Broadway, three years in the West End and a 2012 film adaptation starring an ensemble cast headed Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, the legendary Rock of Ages will now head out on a UK tour. Hair bands and sexual innuendos abound in this hilarious 80s-themed musical which features over 30 eyebrow scorching tunes including Don’t Stop Believin’, We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Here I Go Again and I Want To Know What Love Is.

The Best of Broad Street Awards were back bigger than ever in early 2014, honouring the swankiest hotels, most refined bars and everything in between. The awards are now in their ninth year and celebrate the hard work of venues, individuals and teams that make Birmingham’s Golden Mile the city’s premier entertainment area with a glittering ceremony at the ICC. This year’s event saw the Hyatt Regency and The Pickled Piglet win big, scooping two awards apiece, with the Library of Birmingham, perhaps unsurprisingly running away with Best Overall Venue. Always an eagerly anticipated date on the awards calendar, the evening included some fantastic food, music and dancers, raising just under £3,000 for the Princes Trust charity. For a full list of winners go to


Opening 57 years ago, West Side Story has gone on to become one of the most successful stage shows of all time. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and with songs like ‘I Feel Pretty’ and ‘America’, almost everyone will have at least a passing familiarity with the show that graces Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre from 1 – 12 April. When dluxe Birmingham & Solihull chatted to 23-year-old Katie Hall who plays the show’s leading lady Maria, she was well aware of West Side Story’s iconic status in Theatreland, admitting “I get this feeling every day before I go out on stage like ‘Oh My God, I’m about to go out on stage and play Maria in West Side Story’ and I’ve never had that with any show before, even when I was doing Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. There’s something special about this show, it’s an honour and I’m loving it.” With her English Rose beauty, Katie feared that she might have been discounted from the role of the Puerto Rican Maria before she had even auditioned, but is thankful that “luckily they saw past all that. Now I get a weekly spray tan and wear a lovely dark wig and it seems to suit me better than any part I’ve ever done. It really is an unexpected dream.”

When staging a show with such a hallowed history, there is always the question of how much do you tamper with a formula that is not necessarily in need of fixing, but Katie feels that they have achieved the perfect balance, assuring us that “The really great thing about this production is that we’re very much true to the original. The choreography is still the same but our director, Joey McKneely, has found a way to make it current, ensuring that it speaks to modern audiences.” The story is set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and documents the ill-fated romance between affiliates of two rival teenage gangs, one Puerto Rican and one white. Despite the fact the plot was conceived in 50s, parallels can be drawn with today’s society, particularly the gang violence elements and paranoia surrounding immigration. This is something Katie agrees with, and after watching some of the cast conduct a workshop with under-privileged kids who were having problems with anger management, she concluded, “I definitely think parallels can be drawn and I hope people will see that.”

West Side Story will be @ New Alexandra Theatre 1 – 12 April www.

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Manhattan’s Upper West Side Comes To Birmingham

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Chung Ying Central Celebrates Chinese New Year The wet and windy weather did nothing but add fuel to the flame at Chung Ying Central recently, with guests partying up a storm as they welcomed in the Year of the Horse. The great and the good of Birmingham gathered at the new cocktail and Dim Sum bar on Colmore Row and were treated to the fabulous offerings of the new Zodiac cocktail list as well as some yum yum Dim Sum. Owner James Wong put on a crazy spoof performance of Gangnam Style and there was also a special appearance by the God of Wealth. Chung Ying Central is @ 126 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 3AP. Tel: 0121 400 0888 www.chungying.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: DRALION 22 – 25 May @ LG Arena Birmingham To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Cirque Du Soleil’s groundbreaking show, ‘Dralion’ is touring the UK for the first time ever in its history. The show fuses together the 3000-year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the death defying stunts of the Cirque Du Soleil to create a physical and visual masterpiece. Drawing inspiration from Eastern and Western philosophy, the shows name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the awe inspiring dragon, symbolizing The East, and the fearsome Lion, symbolizing The West.

Images by Jas Sansi

BIRMINGHAM PRIDE 2014 24 – 25 May @ Hurst Street The biggest and friendliest twoday street party in the UK returns in May 2014! Birmingham Pride is a weekend long LGBT festival event annually held in the Gay Village on Hurst Street. The colourful and vibrant festival never fails to generate a fantastic atmosphere, welcoming everyone to dance and celebrate from dusk ‘til dawn. The event features a carnival parade through the city centre, plus the Main Festival Site includes a great dance arena, cabaret marquee and funfair.


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Free and Forty! The locally owned and managed Free Radio celebrated 40 years of commercial radio in Birmingham, with a Civic Reception at the Birmingham Ormiston Academy attended by former presenters such as Les Ross, Ed Doolan and Jeremy Kyle and guests including the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. The celebrations carried on into the evening at The Jam House in St Pauls Sqaure, with a drinks reception and canapĂŠs, before the viewing of a specially commissioned film looking back over the past 40 years through recollections of those who were there. Images by Jas Sansi For more information on upcoming Free Radio events go to


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62 BEER AND BUTCHERY 5 June @ Becketts Farm

The Cube Expands International Culinary Offering

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS 26 – 31 May @BirminghamHippodrome From Director Nick Hytner and Writer Richard Bean, the National Theatre has produced another internationally acclaimed smash hit. The unique blend of satire, songs, slapstick and glorious one-liners has been seen by over 1 million people worldwide and is guaranteed to have audiences in fits of laughter. Join Francis Henshall on his hilarious journey as he struggles to keep local gangster Crabbe apart from upper class criminal Stubbers lest they discover he is employed by both. Widely hailed as one of the funniest British comedies ever!

Fancy spending your free time a little differently and learning a new skill at the same time? Get yourself enrolled in one of the many classes on offer Becketts Farm’s cookery school. With their Beer and Butchery course the farm’s master butcher will teach how to joint, French trim and bone fresh cuts of meat, before you prepare your own meaty feast. Finish off the evening by enjoying the fruits of your labour, matched with local beers and ciders. Advance booking is strongly recommended as places often sell out.

Birmingham Children’s Charity gets £20,000 Boost

Birmingham based children’s charity C.H.A.R.M.S (Children’s Hand and Arms Surgery), is now one step closer to developing a new care facility, thanks to a £20,000 donation from the city’s business and commercial property professionals. The cash boost came as a result of the proceeds from The BRENDAS 2013; an annual tongue-in-cheek fundraising awards show hosted by Property for Kids (PFK). The charity was established at Birmingham Children’s hospital and helps children from all over the UK who have problems with their hands or upper limbs. C.H.A.R.M.S continues to raise money towards the development of the Children’s Hand Centre and welcomes any donations via

Iconic Birmingham landmark, The Cube, is set to further its international cuisine this year as it prepares for a number of new drinking and dining venues to open their doors. Spring will bring much change at The Cube, with a flurry of new openings including The Master and Margarita, a restaurant and cocktail bar serving fine, authentic Indian cuisine, French-themed coffee shop Madeleine and new burger and shrimp restaurant Bun&Bowl – a first of its kind in Birmingham. These new arrivals join Brazilian restaurant Rodizio Rico, Shogun Teppanyaki and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill and will help cement the city’s reputation as a foodie capital. The Cube is on Wharfside Street, Birmingham


Birmingham’s International Dance Festival has been hailed as a ‘major player on the arts-festival circuit’ and the biennial celebration is back in Brum for its fourth instalment this spring. From 24 April until 25 May, some of Dance’s most creative forces will descend upon the theatres and public spaces Birmingham and the wider West Midlands for a stunning programme of performances that will include no less than five world premieres. The programme for International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB) 2014 was announced by the festival’s co-Artistic Directors David Massingham and Stuart Griffiths to an eager crowd of media, sponsors, funders and friends earlier this year in an afternoon of celebration, which included some rousing words of support from Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council. The programme launch also featured sneak peeks of two of the festival’s shows with an excerpt from Corey Baker’s A Haka Day Out and a special performance from Marvel, who will perform with Funkstylerz crew in B-Town. For further information and full festival listings go to


MURMUR & INKED THE RITE OF SPRING SÉQUENCE 8 6 – 7 May 8 – 10 May & PETRUSHKA @ DanceXchange, @ Birmingham Repertory 29 – 30 April BirminghamHippodrome @ Warwick Arts Centre Theatre Aakash Odedra is one of the most sought after British choreographers today and he’s bringing not one, but two of his shows to DanceXchange as part of IDFB 2014. Murmur delves into the idea of warped and exaggerated realities, exploring the misconceptions of dyslexia, which Aakash himself was diagnosed with at a young age, while in Inked, the body becomes a place of transformation metamorphosed by its journey through a ritualised space.

Michael Keegan-Dolan presents a thrilling dance theatre double bill, with each show mirroring the light and dark of Stravinsky’s music of the same name. Rite is about dark elemental forces, about power and violence, while Petrushka is about aspiration, salvation and spiritual enlightenment. Both shows offer theatrical interpretations of the original music and will be performed by an international cast.

After staging one of the three scenes of the Olympic opening ceremony in Sochi, the ground breaking Montreal circus company, Les 7 Doigts de la Main, are coming to Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre with their 8th and newest creation, Séquence 8. The show combines circus arts, dance and theatre with heightened emotions to bring a deeply human dimension to the world of awe-inspiring acrobatics and phenomenal physicality.

PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN 17 May @ Bullring Put the shopping bags down and take a break to watch a spectacular array of free dance performances in a range of styles, covering everything from street to capoeria. This is an event that will give you a real flavour of IDFB as Spiceal Street is brought to life by professional and community groups. There will also be the opportunity to get stuck in yourself with a number of free dance taster workshops!

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International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014




HIGH SPEED RAIL HAS POTENTIAL TO BECOME AN ICONIC NATIONAL TREASURE Planners are being urged to be as ambitious as they dare when designing the new high speed rail station for Birmingham - and create a grand and memorable civic entrance to a revitalised city. Kathryn Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University, is advising business and civic leaders that “as long as we adopt a holistic, inclusive approach to the overall planning of high speed rail, HS2 has the potential to act as a catalyst for wider social and economic transformation”. Professor Moore is set to speak at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP HS2 coordinating committee followed by a separate appearance at Birmingham City Council’s own HS2 scrutiny committee.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for HS2 stations to signal a new approach - using a different baseline and supported with a different mindset, working practices and economic models. The HS2 stations should be designed to energise the city. “This is an opportunity to maximise this project in a positive, progressive way to ensure it contributes to the quality of life.” The initial phase under the proposed High Speed 2 scheme is to create a new railway line between London and the West Midlands which would carry 400m-long trains at speeds of up to 250mph - faster than any current operating speed in Europe. The new line would run into Birmingham’s Eastside district, which is earmarked for a new station. A second

A visualisation of how HS2 Curzon Street might look

phase of development would deliver a “V-shaped” link from Birmingham and running to Manchester and Leeds. The Department for Transport says the project will cut Birmingham-London journey times from 1hr 21min to 49min. After the second phase, Manchester-London journeys would take 1hr 8min (down from 2hr 8min), and BirminghamLeeds 57min (from 2hr). This would effectively reduce journey times between London and

Edinburgh and Glasgow by an hour to 3hr. Supporters claim the project will bring huge economic benefits to the Midlands and the North while those who oppose the scheme are concerned about its costs and challenge the return on investment claims.

Visit to find out more


Birmingham Airport’s re-development programme, one of the country’s top 40 infrastructure projects, has entered its final stage before completion. Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and chair of the Infrastructure Committee, visited Birmingham Airport as work on the final stage of the project, a £40 million 400 metre extension of the runway, reached its final stage. The longer runway is much needed as the airports passenger numbers continue to grow; latest figures reveal 9,119,709 passengers chose to fly through Birmingham Airport in 2013, a 2.3% increase compared to 2012. The nine million milestone was achieved after the Airport enjoyed a busy December, which saw 574,854 passengers pass through the terminal, representing an 8% increase compared to the same period last year. December also saw the largest monthly percentage increase in 2013.

The Development Underway

The runway expansion will allow larger aircraft to operate from the airport and support more direct long-haul flights to destinations currently out of reach, such as Brazil, China, and the West Coast of the USA and are just one part of a long-term investment programme, worth over £100 million. Danny Alexander said: “Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure is crucial to the economic recovery, and this is one of many major projects being delivered this year. The extended runway, together with other developments at the airport, is great news for passengers, businesses and the wider region. The new Birmingham Airport will be critical to growth in the Midlands and will contribute to rebalancing the economy away from the South East.”

THE WORRY OF RETIREMENT For many women, perhaps due to taking time out from work to raise children or after the breakdown of a relationship, the financial reality of retirement can fill them with fear. Mary Waring, independent financial adviser and author of ‘The Wealthy Woman’ thinks the reason many of us put off planning is often because we’re worried we don’t have enough money, and don’t really want to face up to that reality. So is ignorance bliss? What are the options for when we retire?

Mary Waring

Mary has met many women who tell her they’re going to rely on the

state when they retire. However, this soon changes when they hear that at the minute the state pension is £5,727.80 per year - a measly £477 per month. After paying all utilities (gas, electric, water, council tax etc) and food, that’s going to leave very little left. Another option could be to rely on an inheritance but when you consider you have no idea at what age you will receive your inheritance this can be tricky. Your parents could live well past your planned retirement and require specialist nursing care, chances are the value of their estate will be used to pay for this. So what’s left? Hope and pray? Hardly a comforting strategy when you think that when you get to retirement age it will be too late to do anything about it.The most sensible option, says Mary, is to take responsibility yourself and take whatever action is necessary to save sufficient funds. If you retire in your mid 60s you will probably live for another 20-30 years so start planning as early as possible so you can continue to do all the things you love to.

Here’s Mary’s advice on how to start:


Consider a cash ISA. If you have never saved before this will help you set up a savings habit. However the interest rate is very small so this option is purely to help you get into the habit of saving. Once comfortable with how much you can save each month start looking at a stocks and shares ISA, which has the potential for greater growth than a cash account.


When you have used your annual ISA allowance (currently £11,520 each year) consider investing in a pension plan; there are significant tax benefits to investing in one. The limits as to how and when you can draw the funds are to ensure that money is actually available for your retirement rather than for use as general savings. Mary Waring is an independent financial adviser, founder of Wealth For Women.

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Julie Fowler-Drake, 39, is the managing director of landmark Birmingham packaging solution provider Talbots Group. Based in the city’s vibrant Jewellery Quarter, Talbots Group is one of Britain’s leading Jewellery, Gift and Retail packaging specialists with over 70 years expertise in creating innovative designs. Here, Julie talks about what it’s like to take the reins of a family business and lead it into a new era as well as the impact it has had on her personal life. Talbots Group has been in my family for over 70 years. The company was founded by my grandfather Fredrick Fowler in 1941 and was handed to my father Graham Fowler in 1962. When my father passed away in 2010 I was already running a business, but with my rich family heritage in Talbots Group taking over the company seemed like a natural route for me. Almost immediately after joining, I developed a really clear vision of how I wanted to take the company forward. My design background has helped me develop Talbots Group from a packaging wholesaler into an innovative and creative packaging design specialist. Having this experience meant that I’m always in touch with contemporary design trends and I have always been determined to use my skills and knowledge to make the company’s range as innovative, exciting and attractive as it had ever been. Balancing my work and family life is important. I live in the heart of the countryside in a rural

village in Warwickshire with my husband and two children, where it’s beautifully quiet and pretty. When I am at home, I love nothing more than spending time with my family with the log burner on and roast dinners on the Aga! We have large garden, so we all enjoy pottering and with woods and fields on our doorstep, as well as walking and mountain biking together.

I’m passionate about being a positive leader for Talbots Group. Every day I do something I’m passionate about. My biggest personal passion and wind down is riding – I have a 16.2hh horse and focus on dressage as a discipline. My kids are great riders too! I love working in the Jewellery Quarter. The area has so much potential for both residential and commercial use. There are lots of derelict buildings in the area but with the right attention, the Jewellery Quarter could be developed into the next Spitalfields or Portobello. I’m passionate about being a positive leader for Talbots Group. Every day I do something I’m

passionate about. I’m committed to developing my leadership skills, not only for myself but for my team around me. Since I joined Talbots Group I have been working with a mentor and have joined business development programmes including Growth Accelerator and G200L, all of which have really helped me to get the best out of my own skills and those of the people around me. The best thing about my job? Being able to use my creativity to develop the company in a fresh and forward-thinking way. I love keeping up to date with the latest trends through websites and social media, which is often where I get ideas for new designs. Last year Talbots Group celebrated its centenary. The oldest subsidiary of the company, Pickering and Mayell, has been producing and supplying packaging for jewellers since 1913 and is now proudly part of Talbots Group, strengthening our reputation as one of the top jewellery packaging specialists in the country. I’m excited for what 2014 has in store for Talbots Group. we have had had brilliant success in securing business from major high street retailers in the last few years including Argos, to which Talbots Group is now the third biggest supplier and supplied its number one best seller for a paid product in the second half of 2013 which is amazing. Talbots Group currently provides over 1000 clients with jewellery, gift and retail packaging, including; Argos, Signet, Bid Up TV, Shop Direct and NowSeen. To find out more information about Talbots Group, visit Join in the conversation and follow them on Twitter @ TalbotsGroup.



dluxe paperwork


& at Nailcote Hall Hotel £49.50


Saturday 5th April



Saturday 12th April



Saturday 17th May





Friday 20th June






BOOKING HOTLINE CALL: 02476 466174 Nailcote Lane, Berkswell, Warwickshire CV7 7DE

dluxe paperwork


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Dluxe Birmingham & Solihull - Issue 10  

Spring 2014

Dluxe Birmingham & Solihull - Issue 10  

Spring 2014