J'AIME August 2017


Your local luxury lifestyle magazine


Y o u r l o c a l l u x u r y l i f e s t y l e m a g a z i n e

A u g u s t 2 0 1 7





worth up to



and beauty


The Streetly

teacher crowneD

Mr Birmingham

Fabulous food

and drink delights


Welcome to J’AIME

J’AIME is a brand new lifestyle magazine for

the West Midlands, covering Sutton Coldfield,

Lichfield, Walsall, Birmingham and the

surrounding villages, and we’ll be dropping

free through your door 11 times a year. With

more than 50 combined years of experience in

producing lifestyle magazines in the area, we

here at J’AIME feel we know what it takes to

create a quality publication.

So why J’AIME? Coming up with the name

for the magazine was a challenge; after all, it’s

our identity so we had to get it right! There are

so many ‘Life’, ‘Living’ and ‘Style’ magazines

already out there, and we wanted something a

bit different… a bit more ‘us’. Our magazine

will be packed full of the things we like, from the

best restaurants in town to the most stylish ideas

for your home, fashion tips, places to go and the

most inspirational stories from local people and

businesses. And so we came up with J’AIME;

French for ‘I like’, or even ‘I love’, depending on

how it’s used, it sums up what we’re all about.

It’s also sort of a portmanteau (there’s that

French influence again!) of our two names, Jan

and Amy. And the fact that we were sitting in

a French restaurant while brainstorming name

ideas might have had something to do with it! So

J’AIME it is, and we hope you like it as much as

we do!

This first issue is packed with entertaining

features, mouth-watering food and drink news,

beautiful homes and interiors ideas plus some

fantastic competitions, with the chance to win

cinema tickets, holiday vouchers and stunning

bespoke jewellery. So we hope there’s plenty here

for you, our readers, to enjoy.

Lastly, we would also like to thank all of our

advertisers and contributors for their support in

turning J’AIME into a reality.

Editor: Amy Norbury


Advertising: Jan Ashley


07388 335 931

Design: design@jaimemagazine.com

Contributors: Tony Swift, Kieran

O’Brien, Martin Plowman, Adele Bright,

Oliver Broad, Jill Hartley

J’AIME is published by Ashbury

Publications Limited and printed

by KEP Limited, Tamworth.

Check us out online at:


Find us on





InsideJ’aime this month...

6 Allen BrownJewellery - We go behind the

scenes with Lichfield jewellery designer

Allen Brown, plus your chance to win a piece

of bespoke jewellery worth up to £1,000

12 Property - Property of the month

14 Property - An exclusive new development

16 Interiors - Create a stylish home bar

20 Interiors - Get the modern bohemian look

22 Interiors - Classic country charm

26 Meet Mr Birmingham - Streetly teacher

Andrew Stylianou on his new role as an

ambassador for the city

30 Food and drink - Reviewing Tom’s Kitchen at

The Mailbox

32 Food and drink - Lichfield Food Festival

34 Food and drink - Creative cocktails at The

Haig Club Bar

37 Food and drink - Italian summer recipes from

Rosa Cookery School

40 Food and drink - Taking a look at English

sparkling wines

42 Competition - Win tickets to Everyman Cinema

44 Travel - Unique destinations for a dream

holiday, plus win holiday vouchers courtesy

of RB Collection, Lichfield

48 Local area - Photographer Tony Swift takes

a look at what there is to love about where

we live

50 What’s On - Our pick of events around our

area this month

52 What’s On - The hottest tickets around


56 Fashion - Holiday capsule wardrobe sorted

58 Fashion - A look ahead to autumn with

Nero e Bianco

62 Beauty - The best beauty buys this summer

63 In the news - Top award for care home chef

64 In the news - Chocolatey fun at Dinosaurs in

the Wild

65 Motors - Introducing Tamworth racing

driver Martin Plowman


oadway Kitchens

A fAmily business of three generAtions

We design, manufacture and install bespoke traditional and modern kitchens to suit you and your lifestyle.

CALL to arrange a design consultation - VISIT our showroom - VIEW our kitchens online

0121 353 4999 - www.kitchensbybroadway.co.uk - 54-56 Thornhill Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3EN

Refreshingly Different

Aluminium Bi Folding Doors

Visit our Stylish Showroom

11 Belwell Lane, Sutton Coldfield, B74 4AA - Tel: 0800 996 1241

Visit our fantastic website www.jmiwindows.co.uk - enquiries@jmiwindows.co.uk

Windows | Doors | Bi-Fold Doors | Garage Doors | Conservatories | Orangeries | Secondary Glazing | Window Repairs



Shine brigh t

For the past 30 years, jewellery designer Allen Brown has been crafting stunning

contemporary pieces from his workshop at the Heart of the Country. Amy Norbury

caught up with him to discover the inspiration behind his latest collection - and you

could win a bespoke designed piece worth up to £1,000

The workshop at Allen Brown Jewellery.

From rich purple amethyst to moody smoky

quartz, vibrant pink tourmaline to gleaming blue

sapphires, and not forgetting the unmistakable

sparkle of a rainbow of diamonds shimmering

and shining as they catch the light, Allen Brown’s

jewellery gallery is a feast for the eyes.

From his workshop at the Heart of the Country,

Allen - alongside his small team of talented

designer-makers - has been crafting the most

exquisite jewellery pieces for three decades,

having celebrated his 30th anniversary in

business last year. With a real contemporary style

and a love of bold, geometric shapes and strong,

clean lines, Allen’s work is as distinctive as it is


So, with a new collection just released, what’s

proved to be Allen’s inspiration?

“It’s all about colours,” he says, with a gleam in

his eyes.

While coloured stones, and diamonds in

particular, have recently gained popularity across

the industry, they have always fascinated Allen -

and it shows, especially in the new collection.

“I’ve used coloured diamonds for all of my

career, right from the beginning; obviously

they’ve become more fashionable in recent years

but I’ve always loved them,” he enthuses. “We

have some very good sources for them because

we’ve been using them for so long.”

Renowned for their dazzling beauty, rare

coloured diamonds are found in pinks, greens,

browns, champagnes, cognacs, yellows and a

full spectrum of blues. Their unique brilliance,

Jewellery designer Allen Brown.


combined with warmth and depth of colour

gives them a sparkle unlike any other coloured


Allen’s summer collection is a real stunner,

combining these beautifully bright and bold

coloured stones with his signature contemporary

style. And, for Allen, the stones really are at

the heart of each piece. Pink tourmaline mixes

perfectly with black diamonds to create drama,

while unusual bi-coloured quartz sets off equally

striking cinnamon diamonds and, for a real wow

factor, deep purple amethyst is complemented

by the unmistakable sparkle of pure white


“The pieces are all quite large and bold,”

explains Allen.

“With my anniversary, I’ve been re-inspired by

where I started from. My work was all geometric

and bold in the beginning, and that’s where I’ve

gone back to, although I hope my designs are a

bit more sophisticated than they were 30 years


“It’s important to keep focused on your own

style, and that’s what I’ve tried to do with the

new collection, to get back to the original

essence of what I do, with large shapes and bold


Diamonds are sourced from all over the world,

but it is Brazil where Allen frequently goes for

the larger, more unusual diamonds.

“Often people wonder what’s the attraction of a

coloured diamond because it doesn’t look like a

diamond, but the thing is, nothing else sparkles

like a diamond, nothing else has

the dispersion of a diamond,” says


“So with coloured diamonds you

get the best of both worlds; you can

have that lovely colour, and you can

have the sparkle and dispersion.

You can look at a coloured stone

and tell it’s not a diamond, because

only a diamond has that life and

excitement in the stone.”

While diamonds are perhaps the

most coveted of stones, Allen’s work

incorporates many different kinds

of gems.

“Stones are my big thing, and

generally I like the bigger, bolder

Allen Brown works on a piece.

stones, and unusual cuts; for

example the amethyst in the new

collection is a parallelogram, which is an unusual

cut,” he says.

“A lot of jewellers look for more regular shapes

because they might want to repeat that item, but

we don’t. All of our collection pieces are oneoffs.

“Quite often, as soon as I see a stone I know

pretty much straight away what I want to do

with it. I suppose that’s something that comes

with time; you sort of pre-filter your ideas before

they hit the paper. I still do sketches for my one-

Asymmetric Amethyst Ring; 9ct white gold

amethyst and diamond ring


Pink Preto Earrings; a pair of 18ct gold, pink

tourmaline and black diamond set earrings.

off pieces, but they tend to be fairly fully formed

by the time I get them down.

“When I go on a stone-buying trip I’m like a

child in a sweet shop! I’ll often have a list of

things I’m looking for, for particular clients; it

might be trying to match up a particular cut,

or stone or colour. But at the same time I don’t

go with any preconceived ideas as to what I’m

going for, for myself. I just see something, and go

with what excites me and inspires me.

“Last year, for instance, I bought some

Ethiopian opals - they were really lovely and I

think we only had them in the shop for a couple

of months before they went. We do tend to have

a rapid turnaround on the bigger pieces, which

is why I wanted to do some more big pieces in

the new collection. I don’t think you see things

like that very often, and when people are in the

market for something like that, they see it and

buy it.

“And we have a very loyal customer base as

well; some customers may come once a year, or

bi-annually, to buy a big, unusual piece. We get

to know what our customers like, and they know

the kind of designs we do, and designs are led by

what people will like.”

As well as designing his own

collections, which are sold at his

shop at the Heart of the Country

Shopping Village at Swinfen, Allen

works on bespoke commission

pieces, creating the perfect jewellery

piece for each customer.

“With commissions it’s what the

customer wants,” Allen says. “We

discuss what they want to wear it

for; is it an everyday piece, or is it a

piece to wear on special occasions,

and all of that feeds into the


From the initial consultation, Allen

then sketches out his ideas and

comes up with a series of designs.

“More often than not, they’ll say

they like all of them and we have to

hone it down, or they like different

parts from different designs, so then

it’s a case of taking those elements

and putting them together,” he says.

“And again, with commissions we

never repeat the same thing. There

may be a commonality, because I’m

the chief designer so everything I do has aspects

of my style.

“We have a broad customer base, and everyone

has their budget. People know the value of

things; if someone comes in and they’re

wanting a four carat yellow diamond, they’re

not expecting you to say it’s going to be £5,000,

they’re expecting another zero on the end of

that. It’s the same as couture fashion; they know

what they’re paying for and they appreciate what

they’re paying for.”

And Allen’s unique style has customers travelling

far and wide to seek out the shop.

“You don’t realise how different your designs are

to other people’s,” he says. “When I’ve done

shows in London, I walk around and there may

be 60 of the country’s top designers there and

everyone has their own style. And my pieces are

like that; my work is quite bold and quite big, the

stones are big, and that’s quite unusual; nobody

else really does anything like that.

“But that’s my style, and people will travel a long

way to come to us, which is quite gratifying.”

While you will often find Allen behind the

counter, chatting to customers in the shop, it is at


The jewellery showroom at the Heart of the Country Shopping Village.

the bench where he is most at home. Last year,

the shop underwent a refurbishment, creating a

stunning new workshop space where customers

can watch Allen and his team at work, as well

as a watch gallery which stocks smaller, more

design-led brands such as Panzera and Danish


Allen studied jewellery design at university in

Sheffield, and some three decades later he still

abides by the golden rules he was taught as a


“At university, form and function were allimportant,

that’s how I was taught,” he explains.

“We were given design projects with a tight brief

to work to and that’s served me very well in the

way that I run my business; I always work to a

tight brief. If a customer comes along wanting a

commission piece and are really specific they’ll

sometimes say ‘I must be your most difficult

customer’ but no, they’re my perfect kind of


“When you’re doing a bespoke piece for

someone, it’s tailor-made for that person so

listening to the customer is the most important

thing; it would be awful if you made a piece for

someone and they said ‘I thought it would be a

bit more like this, or like that’.”

One growing area of Allen’s bespoke work

involves breathing new life into old, sometimes

broken, jewellery.

“Over the past few years we’ve started doing

a lot of remodelling,” says Allen. “People get

emotionally invested in jewellery, and with

remodelling we take pieces that people already

have, more often than not pieces that they’ve

inherited from their mums or grandmas or so

on, that are in a form they’d never wear but are

emotionally attached to.

“We use the stones, we use the materials,

and quite often we’ll make something really

contemporary from a number of things that are

very, very traditional. More often than not pieces

are in yellow gold, but white metal is much more

popular now so often we use the original metal

but cover it in white gold or platinum, so at it’s

heart it’s the original but it carries that sentiment

forward into a new piece.

“We’ve just done a number of pieces for a

customer from her mother’s jewellery, which had

been split between her and her sister, and we’ve

taken earrings and made them into necklaces

and all sorts of things.

“Sometimes people want to preserve as much of

the original form as possible, but other



times they’re happy just to use the materials

and make something completely new; again,

it’s just listening to what the customer wants.

Often, people don’t appreciate that you can

take a pile of old bits of jewellery and turn it

into something really nice and contemporary; it

doesn’t have to look anything like the original.

“Remodelling is a great way to preserve

sentimental pieces which you won’t wear for

whatever reason because jewellery is for wearing;

there’s no point just having it in a box.”

As well as quality in design, ethical practice is

another key element of the job for Allen.

“We use fairtrade gold, same with diamonds,

and we guarantee that all of our diamond

sources are conflict-free,” he says. “A lot of the

stones we used are sourced by me personally

from source, or as close to source as you can get,

so we can guarantee that the people lower down

the food chain get a reasonable remuneration.

“I’ve used the same suppliers for 30 years so

I can guarantee my sources, which is really

important to me. We get approached by

people selling diamonds all the time, but the

diamoneers I deal with, I know where they get

their materials from, which means you can be

confident in the product.

“With coloured stones you can get much closer

to source, and with coloured stones it’s much

easier to say where they come from because

certain colours of stone only come from certain

places. Say, for example, sapphires, you can

say fairly accurately where in the world they’ve

come from by the colour.

“Pink diamonds, for instance, which are the

most expensive, only come from north Australia,

they don’t come from anywhere else which is

why they’re so expensive.”

Over 30 years in business, Allen has stayed true

to his belief in his designs, and his loyal and

growing customer base is testament to that faith.

“Branding has become quite big in jewellery,

and we’re sort of the anti-branding,” Allen says.

“There’s a segment of the market which doesn’t

want to be like everyone else, and that’s where

our appeal lies. We stick to our core values of

having faith in our own designs; you have to

have self-belief in this business, because if you

don’t believe in yourself, how are your customers

going to believe in you?

“I still love what I do; I’ve been doing it for 30

years and I’m still excited by it.”

18ct gold, cinnamon diamonds and

bi-colour quartz pendant.


win a bespoke designed

piece worth up to £1,000

J’AIME has teamed up with Allen Brown to offer readers

the chance to win a bespoke, individually designed

jewellery piece worth up to the value of £1,000. Our

lucky winner will see their perfect jewellery piece

brought to life by Allen and his talented team.

For your chance to win, simply answer

the following question: Where is Allen

Brown Jewellery based?

Send your answer, along with your name, address

and telephone number, by email to competitions@

jaimemagazine.com with ‘Allen Brown Jewellery

competition’ as the email subject. Entries must be

received by 5pm on Friday, August 26, and our winner

will be notified by Wednesday, August 31. No cash

alternative is available. Should the winner wish to

choose a design worth more than £1,000, they will be

able to pay the difference.

For more details on Allen’s designs, pop into his

shop at the Heart of the Country Shopping Village,

Swinfen, near Lichfield, or visit his website at


creating bathroom envy

since 1929

Visit our extensive

prestigious bathroom

and tile showroom....

regarded as

one of the finest

in the Country!

Bayliss Limited

23 Gate Lane, Boldmere,

Sutton Coldfield B73 5TR

0121 362 1800




Property of the Month

We take a sneaky peek at some of the hottest properties on the market in the area each

month. This month’s selection offers that winning combination – bags of original

features with contemporary interiors to create a super stylish, characterful home.

The Mill House, Mill Lane, Little Aston: £1,795,000

On the market with Parker Hall: 01283 345048, www.parker-hall.co.uk

The agent says: An impressive detached character home

boasting stunning features, an overall plot of 0.47 acre, five

superb double bedrooms and a sought after position on the

outskirts of Little Aston. Originally dating back to its earlier

use as a working mill in the 1800s, this thoughtfully converted

detached home is steeped in character and charm and offers

versatile accommodation throughout. The rich history of this

former corn mill is preserved with the original water wheel which

is still operational and machinery, featured beyond casings in two

of the spacious reception rooms as well as in the master suite.

To the ground floor and are two sitting rooms, a stunning dining

hall and spacious dining kitchen, with a further drawing room

situated at the half landing of the stairs rising to the first floor.

Off the landing are four excellent double bedrooms serviced by a

family bathroom and two en suite shower rooms, with the master

suite benefiting from a dressing areas, walk in wardrobe and en

suite bathroom. The property sits well within a plot just shy of

half an acre, with gardens to the front, rear and side having both

views over the mill waters and countryside beyond.

W e l o v e :

The stunning preserved mill workings and

the incredible eye for detail throughout.




Exquisite family living

Just two stunning homes remain available at Cameron

Homes’ prestigious Bourne Fields development

With a premium specification and a desirable

location between Aldridge and Streetly, Bourne

Fields is the epitome of luxury living. All 14

homes feature everything you’d expect from a

flagship Cameron Homes collection, including a

stunning kitchen, a sumptuous master suite and

spectacular open plan living spaces.

Set back from Chester Road, Bourne Fields

is perfectly placed for enjoying the best of the

surrounding area.

Plot nine, known as Somerford Mill, is an

exquisite five-bedroom residence with a spacious

kitchen diner and family area. It also features a

snug or games room, above the integral double

garage and car barn.

An imposing entrance hall and a grand gallery

landing make a memorable first impression, but

it’s the vast kitchen diner and family area that

truly makes Somerford Mill special. With bifold

doors on two sides, this superb space can be

completely opened up, allowing the garden to be

enjoyed to the full.

An integral double garage and car barn,

accessible from the utility room, offers parking

for several cars.

Upstairs a charming en suite bedroom off the

snug or games room is ideal for guests, and

bedroom three also includes an en suite shower

room. Alongside the sleek main bathroom, a

stylish master suite is of the exceptional standard

you’d expect from a home of this calibre.

Plot 11, known as Willington Grange, is a

prestigious five-bedroom home with an inviting

living room and an expansive kitchen, breakfast

and family area. It also features a home office or

guest suite with its own shower room, above the

separate triple garage.

Willington Grange features an open plan

kitchen, breakfast area and family space,

including sleek bi-fold doors, overlooking the

attractive rear garden. This wonderful social

space leads onto a dedicated dining room and a

separate utility room.

A welcoming living room is an ideal place to

relax or warm up by the feature fireplace, and a

study offers somewhere secluded to work from


Upstairs, a spectacular master suite has an en

suite bathroom and dressing room with fitted


With four further bedrooms, a separate triple

garage and a beautiful main bathroom,

Willington Grange is an impressive family home.

The remaining plots are priced £1,100,000

and £1,150,000. For further details contact

Cameron Homes on 0121 222 7549 or email



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Open: mon - sat 9.30 am - 5pm. sunday 11am - 5pm. www.midlandscarpets.co.uk





HOME bars are one of the current big trends

in interior design, and a real luxe feature to have

in your humble abode. No longer are these bars

tucked away but often out on full display in an

open plan nature so it’s important to stock yours

with the most stylish glasses, gadgets and tools

out there.

Cool cocktail glasses, chic bar carts and cute

drink accessories are must-haves to create an

interesting and fun atmosphere and bring out

your inner hostess with the mostest!

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?



Round marble and brass

drinks trolley, Mia Fleur.

Manhatten bar tools set,

Marks and Spencer.

Kate Spade New York

Hampton Street

tumblers, £52 for a

set of two, Amara.





Champagne bath,

Annabel James.



Bar Craft Art Deco

cocktail shaker,

Kitchen Craft.


Fir Wood French-style wine

cabinet, £595,


Specialist in British and German furniture

0121 353 1212




Handmade Champagne

saucers, £44.95 each,

Annabel James.



Copper corkscrew,




Bar Craft multi measure

cocktail jigger, Kitchen Craft.



Tulip bar trolley,

Atkin and Thyme.


Alfred silver drinks cabinet,

£1,165.50, Alexander and Pearl.



Bar Craft six piece

cocktail set,

Kitchen Craft.


Gilt mirrored drinks

stand, £195, and set of

four gold wine glasses,

£35, Mia Fleur.



Mason Flooring

Specialists In Wooden Flooring







“Listen to Your Heart” by Bob Barker

Timed limited edition by Bob Barker from his Northern Light Exhibition.

Each piece can be personalised in the picture with 4 initials (see above)

A fabulous idea for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries etc.

Don’t miss out! Call Heart Galleries on 01543 480994 to pre order yours now.

Heart of the Country Village, Swinfen, Nr Lichfield, Staffordshire WS14 9QR

email: art@heartgalleries.co.uk • www.heartgalleries.co.uk

Telephone: 0121 308 3895

Fax: 0121 323 2182 • www.langancarpetsandinteriors.co.uk

1 Cremorne Walk, Lichfield Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, B75 5AL

T H E F I N E S T K I T C H E N S & B E D R O O M S S I N C E 1 9 5 5

Accredited 5 Star

Master Partner

4a, Little Aston Lane, Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B74 3UF

Tel: 0121 353 2525 Fax: 0121 353 4314 E-mail: enquiries@linterieur.co.uk Web: www.linterieur.co.uk

4a, Little Aston Lane, Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B74 3UF

Tel: 0121 353 2525 • Fax: 0121 353 4314 • E-mail: enquiries@linterieur.co.uk • Web: www.linterieur.co.uk





bOHEMIA stands for individuality. It’s a

relaxed, eclectic style of decorating that can

be personalised for every home to create a

completely unique look.

Think woven fabrics, intricate floral patterns,

eclectic trinkets, velvet, natural elements like

wood, leather, feathers and stone, and subtle

nods to ethnic and oriental patterns all coming

together for a beautifully calm yet creative look.

Can you feel the tranquillity?

This year we are seeing this look take a more

modern turn by styling relaxed pieces with more

contemporary pops of metallic, clean-lined

simple furniture, fresh whites and block colour.

Check out our favourite picks for modern boho


Abode Living tripod

floor lamp base, £145,

and rattan shade, £98,



lo ves

Pharaoh woven

lounge chair, £356.40,

Alexander & Pearl.




Boho gold pineapple

candle holder, Red Candy.


Seagrass basket,

Mink Interiors.




The Esmeralda round

velvet chair, Mia Fleur.



Lene Bjerre Macramia cushion,

from Sweetpea and Willow.




gold milk jug,


Mia Fleur golden

feather wall art,


Rita stool, from KOKET.




s t eal

Hanging glass

posy vase, £2.95,



Brass framed

mirror, Ian Snow.








Antique bronze mirror,

Decorative Mirrors Online.



There’s a certain serenity and comfort that

comes from classic country interiors. Celebrating

quality materials, neutral colors and lots of

texture - it’s like a big warm hug.

When picking out furniture, nothing says

country charm like a white statement piece with

a classic form and sweet details like cross panels,

floral pattern, wicker inserts, metal handles, a

whitewash finish or beautifully curved legs. Pair

with heavily textured materials like thick linens,

wicker, rustic wood, rustic leather and some

classic lighting and you have the country cottage

of our dreams!

A little can also go a long way - these pieces

work beautifully when tied in with other design

styles like industrial, coastal or minimalism for a

calming, eclectic touch.

Dimple vase, Sweetpea

and Willow.



Astor ottoman, Swoon Editions.


Acre table lamp,

DAR Lighting.



Albertine swivel love seat,

£2,065, Sweetpea and Willow.



lo ves

Classic white console table,

£97.95, Melody Maison.




Kirkby Design x Eley Kishimoto

Origami Rocketinos cushion,

Sweetpea and Willow.



Teak root stool, PUJI.



White lacquer trays, from £20,

ALSO Home. www.alsohome.com

Round window mirror,

Decorative Mirrors Online.



Stable Mates cushion,

At Home in the Country.



Alana bed, £2,100, Sweetpea and Willow.


R E C L a M a T I O N

Your reclaimed building & landscaping material suppliers


& flooring

Quality flooring at affordable prices

Abingdon, Adam’s, Associated Weavers, Axminster, Brintons, Brockways,

Cormar, Crucial Trading, Penthouse, Ulsters, Karndean & Project Floors

Free estimates ✔ Free advice ✔ Free quotations ✔

Furniture moved ✔ Our own regular fitters ✔

Bricks • Roof Tiles • Quarry Tiles • Natural Stone Walling & Paving • Rockery

• Granite Sets • Cobbles • Stone Troughs • Oak Beams • Cast Iron Radiators

• Lamp Posts • Fire Places • Doors • Chimney Pots • PLUS MUCH MUCH MORE!

all the above bought and sold

telephone: 0121 308 0554

Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm • Saturday 9.30am - 1.30pm

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The Di Lusso range of modern stoves bring you all the romance of real fire without

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A model citizen

After scooping the coveted Mr Birmingham title, Streetly teacher Andrew Stylianou is

hoping to use his reign to put the second city - and his Sutton Coldfield home - on the map.

Amy Norbury met up with the city ambassador to find out more about his hopes for the role

When competitions like Mr and Miss England

come to mind, you may be fooled into thinking

they’re nothing deeper than simple beauty

pageants. But, insists the new Mr Birmingham

Andrew Stylianou, it’s goes much further.

“I think there’s a real misconception around

contests like Mr and Miss Birmingham,” says

the 24-year-old teacher, from Streetly. “A lot of

people think it’s just a pageant and it’s just about

modelling but it can be so much more.

“The key part of being Mr Birmingham for me

is to be an ambassador, both for the town of

Sutton Coldfield, which is my heritage, and for

the city of Birmingham itself, putting it back on

the map for all the right reasons.

“Standing as an ambassador for the city is

something I’ve always wanted to do, and I think

the title helps that little bit more. People see that

I’m Mr Birmingham and I’m trying to make a

positive difference, so they’re taking what I’m

trying to do a bit more seriously.”

Victory at the Mr and Miss Birmingham contest

meant that Andrew went onto the Mr England

final, which was held at Birmingham’s Resorts

World in July.

Andrew is clearly so much more than a pretty

face. As a head of year at a Birmingham

secondary school, he spends his days teaching

and managing the day-to-day routines of

hundreds of pupils.

“I’ve just seen a cohort of Year 11s through their

GCSE year; it’s been tough so next year I’m

taking on the current Year 9s going into Year

10,” he says.


“Because I started at the school in

September, it was hard to eliminate

some of the issues students have

had over the past four years.

Picking up students who’ve had

bad habits for four years is hard,

and you’ve only got a year to work

with them. I’ve nipped things in

the bud for some of them, and

really turned it around for a few

of them, and it’s nice going home

knowing you’ve made a difference

to those kids’ lives.

“I’ve already started with the Year

9s, getting in there early with them.

I’ve had an assembly with them

and I’ve been in their exams this

week so they know I’m there and

they’re learning fast that I mean


Andrew decided to enter the Mr Birmingham

contest after his friend, Josh Williams, scooped

the title previously. Seeing first hand what the

role involved inspired Andrew to give it a go.

“I’d never heard of it before, but I saw the sort

of opportunities Josh was getting, and also what

he was giving to the city, and it excited me,” he

says. “Josh said himself that it came with the

title; people took you a bit more seriously and

saw you as someone who can make a difference,

and that’s how I want to be viewed over the next

couple of years.

“I want my plans to be actions and not just

words. That’s the thing with me, I’m not just a

talker; if I say I want to do something then I’ll

do my very best to go do it.”

The competition involved an array of different

elements, from the ubiquitous catwalk to social

media promotion, charity work, sport and more.

And Andrew excelled at each stage.

“I actually walked away with three out of the

four titles before the Mr Birmingham title itself,

which was just great,” he says.

Andrew was, in fact, named Mr Charity, Mr

Popularity and Mr Modelesque.

“I certainly didn’t expect to walk away with all

three,” he says. “It was exciting, and it was a

great contest to be a part of, but I don’t want

people to have that misconception that it’s just

about modelling.”

Although he is no stranger to modelling, having

done work in the past - in fact, none other than

American supermodel and founder of America’s

Next Top Model Tyra Banks endorsed his

modelling career on Instagram - Andrew is keen

not to focus on that side.

“Modelling is almost like a past life for me,”

Andrew says. “I did a bit in the run-up to Mr

Birmingham, and before the Mr England


finals, to promote it which was good, but it’s

not really the thing I enjoy most. I really love

public speaking and presenting; I do presenting

work for I Am Birmingham and I present at

Birmingham Pride.”

In fact, his public speaking experience was called

into action in his first, heartbreaking, duty as

Mr Birmingham; addressing a candlelit vigil

in the city’s Victoria Square in the wake of the

Manchester Arena bombing.

“It was pretty tough; I was new to the role and

it was overwhelming under the circumstances

to stand in front of that crowd and give my

opinion, but it was an honour to speak at the

vigil,” he says. “

Andrew wants to use his Mr Birmingham

credentials to get even more involved in charity

work, both locally and further afield.

“My first big event is called Endeavour, and it’s

about endeavouring to make a difference,” he

says. “It’s centering around awareness of suicide

prevention, homelessness, mental health and

helping children worldwide, and we’re raising

money for three charities.”

The event, which takes place on July 29 at

the Quantum Exhibition Centre in Digbeth,

will feature a whole host of singers and guest

speakers, including last year’s X Factor finalist

George Windsor, and has been endorsed by West

Midlands mayor Andy Street.

“We’re supporting Papyrus, which focuses on the

prevention of suicide in young people; they’re a

fantastic service and I think donating to charities

like that is so important,” says Andrew.

“They go out into schools and raise awareness,

delivering training to students and staff. Suicide

is the biggest killer of young people in the

country and there’s such a stigma around suicide

and mental health issues, but it affects one in

three of us so that’s a huge amount of people

who need support. If we can raise the profile of

charities like Papyrus we can offer support via

the internet and social media, as well as helping

to ensure the funding is there.

“It’s harder to advise somebody who suffers with

mental health issues; if someone comes to you

and tells you they’ve thought about suicide but

don’t want you to tell anyone then what do you

do? That’s why Papyrus is so great, they give

you the training on what to say, what to do and

how to reassure people. And it comes under

the safeguarding training I have to do working

in education so the crossover for me is very



Another charity close to Andrew’s heart is

Nightlife Outreach, a growing Birminghambased

charity which focuses on mental health

and homelessness.

“I did a homeless sleepout with one of their

representatives a couple of months ago, which

was a really humbling experience,” says Andrew.

“Homelessness is a big problem in our city, and

nationwide, and I want to do what I can to raise


Beauty With a Purpose, which helps children

worldwide and is the official charity of Mr

and Miss England, is the third beneficiary of

Andrew’s Endeavor event.

“It’s a great charity which helps children in

poverty all over the world,” he says. “All of the

money raised through the Mr and Miss England

contest goes to worthwhile causes nationally,

which is brilliant. It’s nice to know the money

goes to something which makes a difference.”

Andrew is pushing hard to make the event

a success, with the idea of turning it into an

annual fundraiser.

And he’s not planning on stopping there.

Further charity events in the pipeline include

speed dating nights and a football event. He’s

also getting involved in community events,

such as helping to give out medals at the recent

Sutton Fun Run alongside Miss Birmingham

Niamh Conway.

“I want to do as many charity events as possible,

and I hope I can make Sutton Coldfield - and

Birmingham - proud,” Andrew says.

“I really want to bring our city together, and

get more people on board with making a



F O O D & D R I N K

Briand expectations

The Mailbox has a welcome new addition in the shape of super-stylish

restaurant and deli Tom’s Kitchen. Amy Norbury discovers more

When a restaurant offers a clear view of the

kitchen allowing diners to see their dishes

being prepared, and a butcher’s cuts window

showcasing their impressive meat selection, you

get the feeling they take their produce seriously.

And at Tom’s Kitchen, the latest hotspot on the

Birmingham dining scene, produce certainly is


Tom’s Kitchen is the brainchild of awardwinning

chef Tom Aikins; the Birmingham

restaurant is the latest one to open, and the first

UK-based Tom’s Kitchen outside of London -

there’s also a Tom’s Kitchen in Istanbul which

opened in 2013.

Situated in the swanky surrounds of The

Mailbox, in the heart of the city centre, it

certainly offers a prime location for dining, as

well as room at the bar for anyone wanting to

pop in for post-work or shopping spree drinks.

So when the J’AIME team were invited to give

the restaurant a whirl, we didn’t hesitate.

First impressions were certainly favourable; the

restaurant hits that fine line between buzzing

and relaxed perfectly, and the industrial chic

decor oozes style.

We were warmly welcomed and shown to our

table before being introduced to Alex, who

would be our waiter for the evening.

First order of the day was pre-dinner cocktails

to sip on while we perused the menu. As a

gin lover, I was immediately drawn to the

Bimber Distillery specials; Bimber Distillery

spirits are all-natural and handmade, and the

Tom’s Kitchen team has come up with four

mouth-watering cocktails offering experimental

combinations and fantastic ingredients.

The Legacy - a heady combination of Bimber

dry gin, lemon juice, English breakfast tea

gomme, soda and pomegranate seeds - was the

perfect refresher, full of clean flavours which

really showed off the gin to its full potential.

My husband was equally impressed with his

classic Manhattan, a powerful mix of Woodford

Reserve bourbon, martini rosso and angostura


I was tempted by the classic combination of

the chef ’s special starter - pan-fried scallops

with peas and bacon - but after a little bit of

persuasion from the hubby we chose the chicken

liver and foie gras parfait and the dressed

Devonshire crab on toast with the intention of


After a quick recce of the wine list, we asked

Alex for his expert recommendation; we’re red

wine fans and would normally go for something

like a montepulciano or an Argentinean

malbec, something with plenty of mouthfeel

but fairly easy on the tannins. His choice was


a 2014 Telmo Rodriguez ‘Al Muvedre’, a

monastrell from Alicante which fit the bill

nicely, with plenty of deep red fruit flavours

and a citrusy note which Alex thought

would complement our food choices.

While we waited for our starters we were

presented with a pot of mixed olives,

which had been marinated in an incredible

zesty brine created in-house. These were

perfect for enjoying alongside our cocktails,

and were just enough to get the tastebuds

tingling in preparation.

The starters were a feast for both eyes and

palate, with beautiful presentation showing off

each dish to the full. The parfait, which was

served with toasted brioche, a sweet spiced

chutney and cornichons, was a wonderful

example of a classic. The addition of the foie

gras gave it a real luxurious feel; smooth, rich

and buttery, it was just divine.

The parfait was so good that I didn’t really

want to share, but the crab looked so pretty

and there were plenty of happy murmurings

coming from the hubby so share I did. And the

crab was another hit. The creamy dressed crab

was piled atop delicately thin and beautifully

crisp toasts and smooth avocado puree, with

slivers of sharp-sweet apple and pickled shallots

to cut through the richness and add a burst of


Moving onto the main event, I’d had my eye on

one of the chef ’s specials - roasted halibut with

barbecue leeks - but the lure of the butcher’s cut

chateaubriand for two proved too great, much

to the delight of my steak aficionado husband.

Priced at £65, this sharing cut comprises 650g

of finest Scottish chateaubriand, served with

triple-cooked chips, bearnaise and peppercorn

sauces and a watercress salad. We also opted for

a heritage tomato salad on the side.

The platter we were presented with was a steak

fan’s dream. Simply seasoned and cooked a

perfect rare as requested, the meat had been

chargrilled to perfection, creating a beautifully

smoky crust which gave way to a wonderfully

tender garnet red interior. The meat was truly

melt-in-the-mouth, and the intense flavour

meant that the accompanying sauces were

strictly reserved for chip-dipping; the steak really

didn’t need anything else. The chips were a

delight though; thick-cut, with a crispy exterior

and a fluffy inside, they were exactly what a good

chip should be. The sauces, too, were worthy

accompaniments, with the bearnaise a particular

treat, while the watercress and heritage tomato

salads added a fresh, clean dimension to the

meal. Both were packed with flavour, making the

most of their simple star ingredients.

After two superb courses we only had room for

dessert to share. On Alex’s recommendation,

we opted for the chocolate and peanut butter

marquise with salted caramel ice cream and

peanut brittle. Coated in a super-shiny ganache,

the dessert once again looked the part. It wasn’t

as rich or heavy as expected either; the sponge

was delightfully light and we found the whole

thing was just enough to satisfy any sweet


A further round of cocktails finished off the

evening in style; another Manhattan for the

hubby and an A Guell Adventure, another

Bimber special - this time with Bimber gin, St

Germain elderflower liqueur, peach schnapps,

lemon juice and egg white - for me.

From the stylish setting and relaxing ambiance, to

the exemplary service and, of course, top notch

food, Tom’s Kitchen certainly impressed. They

say the best parties are to be found in the kitchen,

and Tom’s Kitchen proves they’re not wrong.


F O O D & D R I N K

Tried and tast y

Lichfield Food Festival returns to the city for the Bank Holiday weekend, August 26 to 28, so

get ready to discover some of the best tasty treats with everything from local producers and

restaurants to celebrity chefs and more

If you’re looking for something to whet your

appetite, then head over to Lichfield this August

Bank Holiday weekend for a breathtaking

banquet of culinary delights at Lichfield Food


This year the festival is even bigger and better

than ever before - it’s a massive celebration of

local food, as well as some of the finest artisan

food traders from around the UK and Europe.

With more than 225 market stalls showcasing

amazing produce, visitors will be spoilt for

choice when it comes to something to tickle the

tastebuds. There will also be celebrity chefs, free

cookery classes for all ages, street food, live music,

free children’s activities, competitions, amazing

restaurants, hotels, bars and much more.

This year’s cookery theatre, sponsored by Central

England Co-operative, is taking place on the

lawns of the beautiful Lichfield Cathedral and

will bring more than 15 chefs to the stage over the

three days.

Great British Bake Off favourites Val Stones

and Christine Wallace, as well as 2013’s winner

Frances Quinn, will be demonstrating some

of their best bakes, while local chefs including

Swinfen Hall’s Ryan Shilton, The Boat’s Liam

Dillon and Mark Maltby of McKenzie’s will also

be showing off their skills.

There will be competitions for visitors to take part

in, including a chill-eating competition, a Man

V Food-style hotdog challenge and what is billed

as ‘The Crepe Escape’, where the challenge is to

finish off ten crepes with different fillings.

Have you always wanted to know the secrets to

perfecting pasta? Need to know how to make

bostin’ bread? Need help to make a curry classic?

This year’s Lichfield Food Festival will be holding

there will be a series of free cookery classes where

you can learn from the experts.

Another highlight of the weekend is the Gin and

Ale Trail. Not everyone knows this, but Lichfield

is a mecca for gin, craft beer and real ale, and 18

pubs and hotels are taking part in this year’s trail.

Pick up a card from any of the participating

venues; they cost just £2 and all of the profits

go to St Giles Hospice. Visit all of the pubs,

remember to get your card stamped when you

purchase a drink and then when you’ve visited all

of the pubs send the form back to the organisers

and they’ll send you either a lovely engraved gin

goblet or ale glass.

So for gastronomic goodies galore, Lichfield Food

Festival is the place to be.

J’AIME recommends: Keep a look out

for craft gin makers Fifth Spire gin - aka Tom

Lindsey and Rory McKerrell - who will be

showcasing their award-winning gin, distilled

and bottled right here in Lichfield, at the festival

market. Discover more about Fifth Spire in next

month’s issue of J’AIME.


• The best in care and assessed in 2017 as Good In All Categories by the CQC •

• Restaurant quality dining with professional kitchens led by our award-wining chef, Martin McKee •

• All-inclusive and excellent value for money for the quality care and services provided •

• Sector-leading Well-being Programme to support mind, body and soul •

• Monthly Coffee Mornings on the first Wednesday of every month •


Call 01922 262692

or Search ‘Hawthorns Aldridge’

See our lovely home life at facebook.com/TheHawthornsAldridge

The Hawthorns Aldridge | Erdington Road | Aldridge | West Midlands | WS9 8UH


F O O D & D R I N K

Whisky with a view

Here at J’AIME, we were lucky enough to scoop an invite to the launch of one of

Birmingham’s most prestigious new bars, the Haig Club Bar - and we even managed to

persuade head barman Jack Spencer to create J’AIME’s very own signature cocktail

Haig Club, a single grain whisky endorsed by

David Beckham, has opened its first permanent

bar in the UK right here in the Midlands. The

new Haig Club Bar, situated high above the

streets of Birmingham at the very top of The

Cube, is one of the city’s hottest new spots, and

a must-try if you’re looking for drinks with a


The cosy 36-seater bar has been stylishly decked

out in the signature deep blue and copper of

the distinctive Haig Club whisky bottle, and

the atmospheric lighting bathes the bar with a

sapphire glow as the sun goes down.

They will be serving up whisky - both the

signature Haig Club and its younger brother

Haig Clubman - alongside some classic cocktails

with a whisky twist including a Clubman

Head barman Jack Spencer crafts

our signature J’AIME cocktail

Negroni, Clubman Colada and a Clubman

Apple Mule, which combines Haig Clubman

with apple and ginger beer to create a long,

refreshing cooler.

Head barman Jack Spencer, formerly of

Birmingham speakeasy Bourne and Co, has also

crafted some 22 off-menu cocktails, including

the mouthwatering Pears in Paradise and the

sweetly satisfying Berry Beauty, which combines

Haig Clubman with, among others, Chambord

The J’AIME cocktail

and creme de mure, and is garnished with a

smoking sprig of rosemary for that added touch

of drama.

The bar also offers a selection of bar snacks and

small plates which have been specially chosen to

complement the drinks, including black pudding

bon bons with glorious homemade brown

sauce, Scotch eggs, moules marinere, Iberico

ham croquettes, chicken satay skewers and the

deliciously sticky chorizo frito al vino.

The views from the 25th floor are pretty

spectacular too; you can enjoy a striking

panorama of the city while sipping on one of

Jack’s delicious creations - now that’s not a bad

way to spend an evening. Cheers!

The exclusive Haig Club Bar


The J’aime

40ml Haig Clubman

10ml St. Germain

elderflower liqueur

25ml fresh lime juice

25ml gomme syrup

1 dash orange bitters

1 whole egg white

Dry shake all of the ingredients

together for approx 30 seconds

(without ice) then wet shake (with ice).

Serve in a coupe and garnish with three

drops of Peychaud’s Bitters in a line.

Use a straw for a large drop and then a

cocktail stick to cut through them and

create heart shapes.


oadway Kitchens

A fAmily business of three generAtions

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CALL to arrange a design consultation - VISIT our showroom - VIEW our kitchens online

0121 353 4999 - www.kitchensbybroadway.co.uk - 54-56 Thornhill Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3EN


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F O O D & D R I N K

A taste of Italy for summer

Fresh, tasty seasonal produce is the order of the day, and here Adele Bright, owner of

Rosa Cookery School in Sutton Coldfield, shares some of her favourite summer recipes

Adele says: “Food and cooking is in my blood –

how can you grow up in an Italian family without

that being the case? Let alone with an Italian chef

as a father.

“Inspired by these early years I trained as a

home economist and following my initial degree

at Bath and my Masters degree, I worked as a

home economist with the Meat and Livestock

Commission before teaching for many years at

the College of Food, now University College


“My main food influences stem back to my Italian

background, learning to cook with my Nonna,

Mama and Papa. Over the years I spent many

holidays in rural Italy with the extended family

and village community, cooking (and eating!), as all

across Italy, food is still the central part of everyday

life. ‘Cucina Povera’ isn’t a new trendy way of

cooking but the way Italian families have eaten

for generations – seasonal, local and inexpensive


Buon appetito!

Broad bean, pea and mint crostini

Make with fresh peas and beans in season, or

frozen in the winter, giving you a really intense

taste of summer

Ingredients - serves six

100g broad beans, fresh or frozen

100g peas, thawed if frozen, blanched if fresh

1 garlic clove

50ml olive oil

30g grated parmesan

Two sprigs of fresh mint

Salt and pepper

To serve:

Slices of rustic bread

Good quality olive oil to drizzle

1 clove garlic, cut in half length ways

If using fresh broad beans, first pod them then

slip them out of their skins and boil briefly for

three minutes and drain. If using frozen beans

then thaw before use. Put the peas and beans

into a food processor with the garlic, olive oil,

parmesan and mint and season well with salt

and pepper. Process to give a paste with a bit of

texture remaining.

Toast or bake the bread slices. Drizzle with olive

oil and rub the surface of the bread with the cut

side of the garlic. Top with the bean and pea

mixture. Add more grated pepper and a little

more parmesan and serve.


Farro salad

A fresh, aromatic salad using the freshest

tomatoes. Farro is a nutty ancient grain that

is similar to spelt. You can use barley as a

substitute or rice.


200g farro

350g ripe tomatoes, the tastiest you can find

¼ small red onion, very finely chopped – about

2 teaspoons

2 tablespoons fresh herbs finely chopped – basil,

coriander and parsley

For the dressing:

75ml extra virgin olive oil

30ml red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper

Cook the farro in salted water for approx 25

minutes until cooked, still retaining some bite.

Drain in a colander and pour over cold water to

cool down the grains. Leave to drain.

Meanwhile chop the tomatoes into cubes.

Combine the tomatoes, red onion and herbs

with the farro in a large bowl. Combine the

dressing ingredients well and pour over the farro

salad, coating the grains well. Adjust seasoning

if needed.

Strawberry and

amaretti sundae

A simple summer dessert – pretty layered in

glasses, or even china teacups.

Ingredients - serves two

6-8 strawberries, sliced

1 teaspoon caster sugar

½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

8 small amaretti biscuits

125g mascarpone (1/2 tub)

150ml crème fraiche (1/2 tub)

2 meringue nests

Sprig of mint to decorate

Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl or cup,

sprinkle on the sugar and balsamic vinegar and

leave for 5 minutes.

Put the amaretti biscuits in a plastic bag and

crush to form crumbs – use a tin of tomatoes or

a rolling pin.

Mix the mascarpone and the crème fraiche in a

bowl. Crush the meringues over the mixture and

stir in gently.

Into 2 pretty glasses (or cups) put a sixth of the

biscuits into the base. Top each with a quarter

of the strawberries, a quarter of the cream

mixture and repeat the layers. Finish with a

sprinkle of the remaining biscuits and a little

sprig of mint.

For details on Rosa Cookery School’s upcoming courses, visit www.rosacookeryschool.com




italian cookery

courses in Sutton


Upcoming coUrses:

Six Pasta Sauces you can’t live without...

Italian Inspired Family Meals

Homemade Pasta

Bread and Pizza making

Italian Suppers

Student Survival Course

italian cooking

made simple...

0121 355 4587



The Pear


c r ê p e r i e

Good Morning

Summer Fruit Crêpes

Enjoy outside in the


Choose from 5 summer fruits:

Enjoy the rest of summer with

our summer special Crêpes.

Perfect for families outside

with a refreshing cool drink.

10-11.30am daily

With FREE Tea or Coffee

Sunny Noon

Fresh Berries & Fromage

Frais, Salmon & Cream

Cheese or for larger appetites

we have Smokey Bacon,

Cheese & Mushrooms.

From £5.90

Relaxed Evening

Mushroom Stroganoff with extra salad

See our specials board

or enjoy our full menu

including 3 course

evening set meals:

Set meal sample: French Onion

Soup & Bread. Followed by a

savoury Chicken Tikka Galette

with a salad. Followed by a

Lemon & Sugar Crêpe.

£12.95 per person.

Call to book on 01543 481807

or email: enquiries@peartreecreperie.co.uk

At the Barn we pride ourselves on our friendly and welcoming

service. We offer a range of delicious breakfasts, light brunches,

hearty lunches, homemade cakes and traditional Sunday lunches.

July welcomes the introduction of loyalty cards and our new

summer inspired menu.

Try something from our tasty special’s board, in a rustic barn

environment or enjoy the sunshine in our beautiful courtyard.

Book your table now on 01543 480307.

Heart of the Country Shopping Village, London Rd, Lichfield WS14 9QR

thebarnatswinfen@gmail.com. Open: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Monday

Find us just off the A38 at the Heart of the Country

Shopping Village, Swinfen, Lichfield WS14 9QR

Daytime opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10am-4.30pm

Evening opening hours: Friday & Saturday: 7.15pm-11pm



F O O D & D R I N K

Raise a glass to English fizz

Move over Champagne, let go of Prosecco, it’s time for English

sparklers to shine, says J’AIME’s resident wine expert Kieran O’Brien

Once the subject of many a wine trade joke,

English sparkling wine is now being taken

seriously and challenging the position of

Champagne as the world’s best bubbles. A

combination of good soils, a warming climate

and improvements in winemaking have led to a

golden era for English wine, and even the French

want a piece of the action.

With legendary Champagne house Taittinger

planting vines in Kent with a view to producing

a premium quality English sparkling wine, the

potential of English vineyards can no longer

be in doubt. Having trounced their rivals from

across the channel in a number of prestigious

blind tastings there is a confidence among

English producers that their time has come.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of the

Champagne house, and Patrick McGrath MW,

managing director of UK distributors Hatch

Mansfield, joint partner in the venture

The optimism currently surrounding English

wine is a far cry from the decades of derision

towards an industry seen as the preserve of

hobbyists and home winemakers. For years

plantings of the inferior Seyval Blanc and Muller

Thurgau grape varieties dominated and British

wine, as it was branded, would not be seen

on supermarket shelves never mind Michelinstarred

wine lists. However, with the influx of

expertise, a new wave of winemakers decided to

concentrate purely on sparkling wine - and for

good reason.

Much of the south of England shares the exact

same soils as those found in Champagne. The

chalk and limestone combination is the key to

quality in Champagne, and with global warming

meaning the climate here in now roughly

similar to that of Champagne 20 years ago,

the potential for producing great wines became

clear. The final factor was the planting of the

three grape varieties used to make champagne;

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

With all this in place an ambitious group of

producers set out to make world class sparkling

wine which not only mimicked Champagne, but

expressed its own source of origin.

One key player in the success story of English

fizz was Nyetimber. Established in 1988 by

American couple, the Mosses, it was the first

English wine estate to concentrate on the

Champagne grapes. The Sussex estate originally

imported winemaking talent from Champagne

and, with an almost obsessive focus on detail and

quality, set out to make a truly world class wine.

By the late Nineties Nyetimber had gained an

excellent reputation within the trade but was still

only being drunk by those in the know.

The real breakthrough moment came in

January 2010 at the World Sparkling Wine

Championship in Verona. All wines were tasted

blind, with Nyetimber Classic Cuvee coming out

on top beating the likes of Louis Roederer and

Bollinger along the way. English fizz had truly


Though the estate has changed ownership

twice since the late Eighties, it has always been

a pioneer and its success inspired a host of

other quality focused estates such as Chapel

Down, Hambledon and Gusbourne. Along

with Ridgeview - said to be Her Majesty’s


A view of Nyetimber’s vineyard

Photo credit: Charmaine Grieger

favourite fizz - this group of producers has

firmly established the quality credentials of

English sparkling wine and sales have gone from

strength to strength. Waitrose reported a 40 per

cent increase in sales of English fizz compared

to the previous year. Exports are also flying, now

accounting for 20 per cent of the market, with

places like the US, Japan and Finland lapping up

our bubbles.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for

English producers with the marginal climate

posing its own difficulties. In early May

winemakers warned that ‘catastrophic’ frost

had wiped out nearly half of this year’s harvest.

While a cool climate is desirable to retain acidity

in grapes destined for sparkling wine, spring

frosts are a nightmare for growers; a problem

vignerons in Champagne and burgundy have

battled for years. In an attempt to ward off the

frost vineyard workers lit candles, spectacularly

lighting up the vineyards in the night sky.

Although the damage was lessened, the 2017

harvest promises to be small, causing difficulties

particularly for less established producers.

Despite the perennial problems with the British

weather the outlook is still extremely bright for

English wine, and you don’t have to venture

to the southern counties to take a look at

what’s happening. Our region has a number of

fantastic vineyards to visit.

The award-winning Halfpenny Green in

Bobbington is one of the country’s largest

vineyards and offers wine tasting and dining.

Buzzard’s Valley in Tamworth also welcomes

visitors to eat and drink in its picturesque setting.

So this summer, put down the Prosecco, ditch

the Champagne and raise a glass of English

Sparkling Wine and toast a great British success



Nyetimber Classic Cuvee (Waitrose),

Chapel Down NV (Majestic Wine),

and Wiston Brut Rose (Loki Wine).

Fires in Vineyard



Lights, Camera, Action!

J’AIME has teamed up with Everyman Cinema in The Mailbox, Birmingham, to offer

readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to the film screening of their choice

A unique experience, Everyman Cinemas is

an independent network of boutique cinemas,

with a Midlands home in Birmingham’s iconic

Mailbox. With a passion for quality, from service

of food and drink to seating and films, every

cinema also has a unique bar or foyer space.

Roman Polanski once remarked that “Cinema

should make you forget you are sitting in a

theatre” and Everyman Cinemas do just that;

they create a truly memorable experience that

exceeds expectations and reaches the highest

standards possible in comfort and entertainment.

Why not make an evening of it, with a bite to

eat and a cocktail or two from the delicious bar

menu? Choose from antipasti platters, pizzas,

hotdogs and the mouth-watering Spielburgers.

You can also pick up plenty of snacks and drinks

to see you through the film in style.

When it comes to films, Everyman has

everything from the latest blockbusters to

the best documentaries and cult classic. This

summer, discover how the young Peter Parker

navigates his way around his new identity as

Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming;

see a nation of genetically evolved apes led by

Caesar become embroiled in a battle with an

army of humans in War For the Planet of the

Apes; and ride along with young getaway driver

Ansel Elgort as he finds himself taking part in a

doomed heist after being coerced into working

for crime boss Kevin Spacey in action comedy

Baby Driver.

For more information visit



For your chance to win a pair of adult

tickets to the film screening of your choice

at Everyman CInema in The Mailbox, simply

answer the following question:

What is Spider-Man’s real name?

Send your answer, along with your name, address

and telephone number, by email to competitions@

jaimemagazine.com with ‘Everyman Cinema

competition’ as the email subject. Entries must be

received by 5pm on Friday, August 26, and our winner

will be notified by Wednesday, August 31. No cash

alternative is available. Terms and conditions apply. Visit

www.jaimemagazine.com for further details.


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Telephone: 0121 308 8998 - langancarpetsandinteriors.co.uk

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Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm • Sat 10am - 4pm.

Closed Sundays and bank holidays. FREE ON-SITE PARKING.



Go off the beaten track

As more and more holidaymakers look to make a real experience from their

time away, travel expert Oliver Broad, director of RB Collection in Lichfield,

takes a look at some unique places to holiday

In recent years, the buzzword in the travel

industry has been ‘experience’. No longer are

travellers just seeking a traditional holiday

where you ‘fly… and flop’ on a beach. Today,

the modern traveller looks for so much more

from their valuable time away, and that doesn’t

necessarily mean climbing Mt Kilimanjaro -

although that can be arranged, of course. In

this inaugural issue of J’AIME, I take a trip

down memory lane to some of the most unique

holiday ‘experiences’ I have had the pleasure

of sampling, from a night sleeping in the deep

freeze on ice, to the colourful and fascinating

sights of Peru to a dreamlike tropical-island

Caribbean getaway.

Get cosy in a deluxe

suite at the incredible


Let’s start with something really out there. Last

year I visited Sweden’s ICEHOTEL, which you

may have heard about as it’s been reviewed in

pretty much every travel magazine going. What

is exciting this year, though, is the fact you can

now sleep on ice there all year round! This may

sound totally bizarre so please indulge me for a


I’ve been arranging holidays to this special place

Catch the awesome display of

the Northern Lights from the


in Sweden’s Lapland for nearly 15 years and I’m

quite used to the notion that the hotel is rebuilt

every year, using ice blocks from the River Torne

on the banks of Jukkajsarvi village. When my

colleagues at the hotel mentioned they want to

open year-round I was, to say the least, a little

surprised. However, a year later and they are

currently in their first season of ICEHOTEL

365. An all-year-round permanent version of

the ICEHOTEL building has been constructed

with solar panels to generate the energy needed

to keep it -5C indoors at all times. The building

is home to 20 suites, each with their own

individual art sculpture designs from acclaimed

designers around the world.

In winter, the building sits alongside the

seasonable building rebuilt every year and you

wouldn’t know the difference as you zoom

around on your snowmobile or enjoy an

encounter with the huskies and reindeer. In the

summer months, however, its fresh Nordic design

stands out and a clever programme of activities

has been designed to reflect the serene beauty

of this part of Sweden. Experience river rafting,

an adventure park, late-night wilderness dinner,

fresh water fishing, wildlife photography tours

and even from the end of August a Northern

Lights Safari!


As for the night ‘on-ice’, your army issue

sleeping bag will keep you toasty warm and

it will most definitely be an experience of a

lifetime. Visiting during the summer is also great

value for money, with a reduction of around 30

per cent compared to winter packages. A special

Northern Lights Autumn package for example

starts from just £645 per person. Visit IceHotels.

co.uk for more details.

In South America, one of my favourite

destinations is Peru. With its ancient Inca sites,

colourful culture, warm and friendly people,

and delicious cuisine, there is so much to see

and now there’s a new, unique place to sleep

too. High levels of visitors means the country

has often been at the forefront of tourism in the

region with a fantastic selection of innovative

and luxury hotels.

Belmond (formerly Orient-Express Hotels) have

a long-standing relationship with the country

with two hotels in Cusco and the only property

at the entrance to Machu Picchu, allowing

early entry before the crowds arrive. They have

now also launched their second luxury train

in addition to the existing Hiram Bingham

which transports explorers from the Sacred

Valley to Aguas Caliente for their exciting trip

The Andean Explorer

makes its way across

stunning landscapes

up to Machu Picchu itself. The second train

is called the Andean Explorer, a luxurious

sleeper train. For me, this would be one of the

most unique experiences you can encounter in

South America; the journey is one of dramatic,

changing landscapes and the Belmond high

levels of service and characterful personality will

no doubt make it a must do for luxury visitors to

Peru. On arrival in Lake Titicaca, the floating

islands are waiting to be discovered and visitors

can continue their journey overland to Colca

Canyon to witness the mighty condors take


There are very few opportunities to travel by

train in the world in such comfort and style; you

really are transported back to a bygone era and

it’s an exciting experience to undertake having

done it myself on the Venice-Simplon Orient-

Express through Europe and Rovos Rail in

South Africa… there’s simply nothing else quite

like it!

Spot the Big Five on

safari in South Africa

For many, wildlife is an ultimate holiday

experience and something I tried out for my

honeymoon. I have to say this was totally out of

my comfort zone - the idea of being woken up

by a stranger at 4am every morning was an eye

opener but, as they say, the early bird gets the

worm - or in our case the early bird gets to see

the Big Five!

I have to be honest, it was daunting to us to be

staying in such a remote location, having to have

an escort back to our villa after dinner in the

dark with the possibility of all sorts of wildlife

hanging around - however once you get over the

initial shock you suddenly realise you are in a

very special place indeed. We stayed in the Sabi

Sands Game Reserve in South Africa, which

borders the Kruger National Park. I’d heard

from colleagues this was a more authentic area

to visit while not feeling too remote or

Get back to nature

on a luxurious safari

in South Africa



uncomfortable as it was our first safari trip. It

wasn’t until our first safari drive that it sunk

in and I understood the feeling of being an

observer in nature. Literally within minutes we

had stumbled across a cheetah in a tree feeding.

All that we could hear was this wondrous wild

animal totally focussed on its meal, oblivious to

the onlookers below.

Our following drives over the four days took

us through a wide range of vegetation and

wild landscapes as we observed giraffe, zebra,

rhino and lion, not to mention the chatty

hippos bathing right outside our villa. It was a

juxtaposition of adrenaline pumping through

the veins as we followed a herd of elephants, but

also the relaxation of being an observer in the

wild. It wasn’t an exhausting experience at all.

The morning drives were followed by an exciting

sumptuous breakfast as we all gathered back

at the lodge to chat over the viewings earlier

that morning. The daytimes were spent by our

private pool on our villa’s deck followed by

lunch. In the afternoon, we ventured back out

again on our second safari drive which usually

ended in a beautiful sundowner and then back

to the lodge for a romantic candlelit dinner.

It was a magical experience. For the more

adventurous my colleague Nathan -our resident

safari expert - has recently arranged a walking

safari in Zambia.

If, like me, you also enjoy disconnecting from the

modern world and reconnecting with your loved

one with some serious rest and relaxation I can

personally, highly, recommend Petit St Vincent,

part of the Grenadines in the Caribbean. There

are a handful of excellent luxury private island

getaways in the Caribbean but unlike Richard

Branson’s Necker and Rosewood’s Jumby Bay,

The luxurious island of

Petite St Vincent is home

to just 22 villas

A Caribbean hideaway

on Petite St Vincent

Petite St Vincent is very understated - a home

away from home and as far away from the hustle

and bustle of daily life as possible.

While I would still describe it as luxurious,

it is a far cry from the marble taps and gold

bathrooms you may in other five star hotels.

This is certainly not an action-packed holiday

experience; more a purely serene opportunity to

remind each other why you got together in the

first place. I met a couple on the island who’ve

visited every year for 17 years and they simply

wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Just 22 villas are tastefully dotted around this

tiny and slightly hilly island which can easily

be explored in 15 minutes. Most guests opt to

stay in their villas, simply soaking up quality

time with each other during the day and then

venturing to the island’s bar and restaurant in

the evening. It is a very charming island with a

local community feel. On our first night we were

invited to the owner’s villa for a small drinks

reception to mingle with other guests and the

family-like relationship between visitor and the

staff was immediately apparent. The bay down

by the restaurant was adorned with

sailing boats where explorers would

anchor and visit the island for dinner

and rekindle friendships spurned from

their first encounter in years gone by.

Easily combinable with St Lucia, as

we did, I can safely say this was the

most romantic, memorable time I have

ever had the pleasure to experience.

Sometimes you just don’t need the

pomp and circumstance - just a

private, understated little private island

in the Caribbean, that will do nicely!

Best of the rest – more unique

places to stay to whet the appetite

Sleep under the stars in

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Full of Stars Hotel, Wadi Rum,


Wadi Rum is one of the most popular places to

visit in Jordan after the Lost City of Petra. Now

you can sleep under the starlit sky set in a unique

‘bubble room’ offering stunning views of the

desert landscape and clear sky.

Perfect for explorers and romantic escapes.

Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand

Soneva Kiri’s ‘intelligent luxury’ concept

blends eco-resort living with clever luxurious

private pool villas set naturally among the

vegetation. The modern take on the kids club -

The Den - is dedicated to learning, excitement

and meaningful experiences with a variety of

hands-on activities including growing their

own vegetables for dinner. You can now also fly

from their own private island landing strip to

Cambodia to tour Angkor Wat.

Perfect for romantic escapes and families seeking

more enriching experiences.

Golden Eagle Luxury Train

The ultimate train journey through Russia,

Europe, Central Asia and China can be

undertaken in first-class style on board this

beautiful train. A number of itineraries are

offered from nine to 23 days.

Perfect for culture lovers, rail enthusiasts and


Italian food and culture

There’s nothing quite like being taught how

to make pasta from scratch in a former royal

villa, as I attempted last October, or mixing

the perfect tiramisu as my colleague Kirsty’s

daughter did when she stayed at the Belmond

Villa San Michele outside Florence. Integrating

food experiences like this can really bring a

holiday alive.

Perfect for those with less time on their hands

or families seeking interactive experiences.

To plan and book your unique holiday

contact RB Collection on 01543 258631

or email vip@rbcollection.com. Mention

‘J’aime first issue’ and book any of the

above holidays before August 31, 2017 and

receive complimentary VIP lounge access

at your departure airport, conditions

apply. See www.rbcollection.com/jaime

for details.


win a £250

holiday voucher!

J’AIME has teamed up with family-owned, awardwinning

Midlands travel firm RB Collection of Boley

Park, Lichfield to give you the chance to win a £250

holiday voucher to use against your next luxury or

specialist holiday booking with them. They will even

give three lucky runners-up a £50 voucher too!

For your chance to win, simply answer

the following question…

Where is the luxury and specialist

holiday company RB Collection based?

a) Boley Park, Lichfield

b) Tamworth

c) Birmingham

Enter online at www.rbcollection.com/jaime before

August 31, 2017. The winner will be revealed in the

October issue of J’AIME, out on September 25.

One entry permitted per household.

To create your holiday memories call RB Collection on

01543 258631 or email vip@rbcollection.com.


A snapshot of so much to love

From stunning landscapes to architectural gems, huge occasions and hidden quirks, there’s

a whole lot to celebrate about where we live. Here, award-winning photographer Tony Swift,

who spent much of his career covering the West Midlands, shares some of his favourite images

taken around our area - and we’d love you to do the same!

A stunning




Cathedral is a

favourite of mine;

the interior, in my

eyes, is one of the

best cathedrals in

the UK, and when

the organ strikes

up - as it did one

day I was there,

the organist was

testing I think - it

sends shivers down

my back.”

Strictly Come Dancing goes on

tour: “Strictly is one of the huge shows which

normally opens its UK tour in Birmingham. Again,

it’s wonderful to see the Midlands on the map as the

premiere of such exciting events.”

Julian Clary at Birmingham


“Julian in the pink! He was appearing in one of

his first pantos in Birmingham about 10 years ago,

he was very nervous at the press shoot but I found

him a really friendly guy. A few months later on the

opening night he was very funny, and very naughty

with his timely placed double entendre one liners.

Birmingham’s Hippodrome gets the top names

in their big panto each year and it’s a pleasure to

know that we in the Midlands get to see the best in



All images taken by Tony Swift. www.tonyswiftphotographer.com



“The dog walker

is an image which

I could have taken

anywhere but

again taken in one

of my favourite

cities in the

country - Lichfield.

This was at the

beautiful Stowe

Pool, and I love

the atmosphere of

this image.”

A glorious garden hideaway:

“The phone box is in the garden of a couple of friends of mine in their garden in Little Aston -

they open their gardens for the NGS charity open gardens scheme each year. They attract between

250 and 500 people in the three hours they open, and over the years they have raised more than

£20,000 for the NGS charities. With this photo I turned it into mono and picked out the colour of

the phone box, which is such a striking feature in the garden.”

get involved!

J’AIME would love to know what you love about the wonderful area we live in. Do you have

a favourite place in Lichfield, a hidden gem in Sutton Coldfield, or an event or occasion special

to our hometowns and cities that you’d like to celebrate? If so, we’d love to see your pictures.

Send them to editor@jaimemagazine.com with the email subject ‘Love our area’ and we’ll

publish the best ones in our regular feature.



What’s On Local

Your guide to the best of what’s on in and around

Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Walsall and beyond


The Home Front Proms


The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas


August 5


Take That tribute

Where: The Belfry,

Sutton Coldfield


August 11

Enjoy a spectacular evening of summer

entertainment reminiscent of the proms of

yesteryear as The Home Front Proms comes to the

National Memorial Arboretum. As the sun begins

to set, the Band of the King’s Division will regale

the audience with a rousing performance featuring

a repertoire of traditional proms favourites. Mezzo

soprano Iona Fisher and The Central Youth

Theatre will also perform during the course of the

evening, and The Home Front Proms will end with

a firework finale. For ticket details call 01283 245

100 or visit www.thenma.org.uk.

Could it be magic?

Well, at The Belfry’s Take That tribute night you’ll

be forgiven for thinking the world’s biggest boyband

is right there in the room. Sit back with family and

friends and in the luxurious surroundings of The

Belfry as you enjoy a mouth-watering three-course

dinner, followed by a night full of entertainment

from one of the hottest Take That tribute acts

around. Tickets cost £34.95 per person, and you

can carry on the night with free entry to Bel Air

Nightclub, where a selection of Take That favourites

will be played so you can continue to dance the night

away in style. For more details visit www.thebelfry.



Family Fest ’17


Sutton Coldfield

Rugby Club


August 11 and 12

Join in the fun at Family Fest’17 at Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club in Sutton

Coldfield. The third annual Family Fest is a charity and community event, with all profits going to the

Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. This year Family Fest starts with the Friday music night, from 7pm until

10.30pm, with former Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Andy Bennett headlining. Saturday’s family day has

activities galore, including a climbing wall, zorb balls, sports club coaching sessions, inflatables, face painting

and even Jedi training. There’s a charity village and local business village, plus a dog show and funfair.

Further highlights include the Street Food Festival, Prosecco tent, Sutton Coldfield Beer Festival, FestFactor

talent show and a Dad Dancing competition. As the evening draws on, three live acts will be playing until

10.30pm. Tickets are only £10 for Saturday and £5 for Friday music night, with under 14s free all weekend.

Camping packages are also available.



Drive-in Movie


Beacon Park,



August 12

Grab your leather jackets and pile into your cars

to watch Grease, the first ever Drive-in Movie

at Beacon Park. Drivers simply tune their radios

into the movie soundtrack frequency then sit back

and watch the film on a giant inflatable screen.

Picnickers can also enjoy the film and pay a deposit

for a headset to hear the fabulous soundtrack. The

gates open at 7pm, and the film starts at 9pm. Costs

are £20 per car, with a maximum of four people

(£5 extra per head) or £2 on foot with a £15

refundable deposit per headset. Tickets must be

booked in advance either by calling 01543 308867,

online at www.lichfieldhistoricparks.co.uk or

in person at Beacon Park’s Ranger Station.


Canwell Show




Sutton Coldfield


August 12

The Canwell

Show is one of

the largest and

oldest one day agricultural shows in the Midlands.

A truly great English Summer’s day out, the show

attracts families from both the farming community

and nearby towns and cities with its mix of livestock,

horse events, live music, trade stalls, craft-foodhorticultural

marquees, to name just a few of the

wonderful sights and sounds that delight each year.

For more details visit www.canwellshow.co.uk.


Sutton Coldfield Philharmonic Society


Sutton Coldfield Town Hall


August 21

The Sutton Coldfield Philharmonic Society presents

its latest concert at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall this

month, featuring The Gilbert Ensemble. The delightful

programme will include excerpts from Marriage of

Figaro for wind octet, excerpts from Don Giovanni

for wind octet, Mozart’s serenades in C Minor and

Eb Major, and Ibert’s Trio for Oboe, Clarinet and

Bassoon. Tickets are priced at £20, or £5 for students

in full-time education and are available on the door or

by calling Robert Mathieson on 0121 373 1779.

Get involved: Have you got a

local event you’d like to promote?

Then we’d love to hear from you.

From charity nights to local theatre

productions and more, send details

to editor@jaimemagazine.com and

you could see your event on these



Murder in Bloodford



Lichfield Garrick


August 25 to 28

The peace and

tranquillity of the

village of Bloodford is

shattered by the death

of one of its residents.

The body of millionaire

Charles Van Mortem

is found strangled to

death with his own

telephone cord while

hosting a school reunion in his beloved Bloodford

Manor. But who killed him? His wife, Olivia? The

local reporter, Danny Fox? The timid Reverend

Chaste? And what about the cabaret singing duo,

Errol and Stella De’Ath? You are the detective and

only you can solve the crime! Enjoy an evening of

murder mystery at the Garrick, with tickets priced at

£44 including a picnic made by renowned Lichfield

chef Simon Smith. For more details visit www.

lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on

01543 412121.



What’s on Second City

A look at some of the biggest and best

events to come to Birmingham this month


Miss Saigon





July 26 to

September 23

Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production

of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss

Saigon – a recent smash hit in the West End – has

now started a major UK tour, which is taking

up residency at the Hippodrome this summer

and beyond. Winner of a record-breaking nine

Whatsonstage Awards 2015 including Best Show,

this epic love story tells the tragic tale of young bar

girl Kim, orphaned by war, who falls in love with

an American GI called Chris – but their lives are

torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For more details

visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com.


Céline Dion


Barclaycard Arena


August 3

Legendary music icon

Céline Dion has returned to the UK and Europe

for the first time in more than eight years, playing

her second show in Birmingham this month. The

Céline Dion Live 2017 Tour will feature an array

of smash hits from her incredible 30 year career in

music, which has produced more than 250 million

album sales plus countless accolades, including five

Grammy Awards. This Barclaycard Arena date

will be the last chance you get to see Céline live on

stage in the UK for this tour, so don’t miss out. For

more details visit www.barclaycardarena.co.uk.


Regina Spektor

Where: Birmingham Symphony Hall


August 5

After her sell out November concert which received

universal praise, singer-songwriter Regina Spektor

is set to perform at Symphony Hall this month in

support of her critically acclaimed seventh album

Remember Us To Life. Spektor’s commercial

breakthrough came in 2006 on her fourth album

Begin to Hope. The Gold-certified album included

the singles On the Radio, Better and Fidelity

which climbed the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Spektor’s songs have appeared in TV shows and

films including Orange Is The New Black, Grey’s

Anatomy, Weeds, How I Met Your Mother, Veronica

Mars, The Good Wife and (500) Days of Summer.

For ticket information visit www.thsh.co.uk.


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Circus Raj


mac Birmingham


August 6

This veritable ‘supergroup’ of Rajasthan’s elite

street circus performers from this fascinating region’s

legendary entertainment communities, have come

together to create a brand new all-action, spectacular

display of their amazing skills. Performing breathtaking

acts of courage and bravery - preserved over

many centuries from the time of the Maharajas – their

new show takes this ancient, mystical and magical

circus format on to even greater heights. Circus Raj’s

cast of dancers, illusionists, aerialists, acrobats and rope

walkers, with the eye-watering displays by their fakir,

present a colourful, vibrant, fast-moving extravaganza

of intrigue, drama, feats of daring, music, laughter and

surprise. Tickets are priced £3.50; for further details

visit www.macbirmingham.co.uk.


Birmingham Gin




Town Hall


August 12

Gin lovers rejoice as Gin Festivals UK makes it

Birmingham debut this month, the first of three

gin festivals to hit the city before the year is out.

Prepare to have your taste buds tantalised by the

120 different gins from around the world as Town

Hall is transformed into an indoor garden party.

Purchase drinks tokens for £5 and redeem them at

the various gin stands, with one token paying for a

single measure of gin, garnish and a Franklin & Sons

mixer. To book tickets, which are priced £13.50

and include goody bags and a gin bible, visit



Stage Experience -

West Side Story


New Alexandra



August 23 to 26

The classical musical love story heads back to

Birmingham as Stage Experience 2017 presents West

Side Story. Following on from the record-breaking

production of Grease in 2016 and 42nd Street in

2015, the New Alexandra Theatre’s annual Stage

Experience production showcases the outstanding

talents of West Midlands’ young performers in a

major production supported by a professional creative

team. Inspired by the greatest love story of all time,

West Side Story transports the classic Shakespeare tale

of Romeo and Juliet into the 1950s back streets of

New York during a fierce turf war. Two young lovers

Tony and Maria, from rival gangs The Sharks and

The Jets, meet, fall in love and begin their tragic fight

for happiness in a world of hate and survival. This

heart-wrenching tale will take you on an emotional

rollercoaster with a story that is still relevant today.

For more details visit www.atgtickets.com/



Ever After Vintage Tea




Symphony Hall


August 27

Step back in time with Symphony Hall this August

Bank Holiday at the Ever-After Vintage Tea Dance.

The concert hall is transformed as the auditorium

becomes the dance floor and with guest artists such

as The Jim Wynn Swing Orchestra, who take their

inspiration from the big bands of the swing era,

The Sugarfoot Stomp, a group of time-ladies sent

to scintillate the ears with all fine music from the

1920s-1960s, and Martyn Nelson, Birminghambased

multi-talented dancer, musician and deejay

who started the Swing Era in 2014; the joint will

surely be jumpin’. Think swing lessons, tea, cake,

bubbles, and plenty of entertainment. This Sunday

shakedown will be the perfect opportunity for you

to dance your cares away and come swinging at the

symphony. Get into the swing of things and dress for

the part in 1920s to 1950s vintage. For more details

visit www.thsh.co.uk.




Get Packing

Packing your holiday wardrobe can be a bit of a fashion minefield, but the key

to success is making each piece work for its place, says Amy Norbury

Say hello sunshine! Holiday season is well

underway, so if you’re jetting off to sunnier

climes, it’s time to turn your attention to creating

a wardrobe which will ensure you stay stylishly

cool as the temperature rises.

Bringing together all those must-pack summer

essentials, our pick of the hottest swimwear and

holiday wardrobe must-haves will see you from

poolside to party in style. It’s a scorcher!

If you’re the kind of traveller who crams the

entire contents of their summer wardrobe and

then some into the suitcase, then think again.

Trust me, you’re not going to need 20 dresses, a

different pair of shoes for each outfit and bikinis

outnumbering the days of your break. Packing

smart, multi-tasking pieces will take the trauma

out of holiday packing and ensure you’re not left

with an excess baggage headache.

Since you’re likely to be spending most of your

time lounging poolside or down at the beach,

swimwear should be top of your list. After all,

it’s going to be the one piece you’ll spend most

of your day in, so make sure it not only looks

good, but feels comfortable. Opt for bikinis in a

similar colour palette so you can mix and match

to create new looks, and don’t underestimate the

Hollywood glam factor of the swimsuit.

Dresses and one-piece playsuits and jumpsuits

can serve myriad purposes, from beach cover-up

to evening glam. Take a relaxed, loose style to

wear during the day and a party dress because

you never know where the night will take you.

Dresses and jumpsuits are easy to pack and don’t

require any extra thought.

Oversized shirts also work well on the beach over

your swimwear, and are an elegant option for

walking around town in the day. Belt your shirt

in the evening for effortless chic style. Multitasking

maestro? Check!

When it comes to shoes, remember this is your

holiday ladies, so leave the hard work shoes at

home. Bring a pair of wedges if you really can’t

bear to wear flats all week, but even those don’t

fare well on cobbled streets and beaches. Leather

and metallic sandals really will be your footwear

best friend for holiday season – the perfect

combination of comfort and style.

M&S Collection

kaftan, £45;


£29.50;and bag,

£39.50, all Marks

and Spencer.



Palm print coordinating

top, £20,

and trousers, £20,

River Island.


Nautical cord

floppy hat,

from Accessorize.



lo ves

Wanderlust beach bag,

from Accessorize.


Maison de Nimes

Trapeze printed

maxi dress,

from House of


Ted Baker swimsuit,

From House of Fraser


Riley sunglasses,

from Hobbs.


Olivia wedge,

from Hobbs.


Fall in love with autumn trends

Jill Hartley, co-owner and director of Nero e Bianco exclusive fashion boutiques based

in Sutton Coldfield, Barton Marina, Derby and Belper, looks ahead to the new season

and rounds up her pick of fabulously feminine fashion for autumn

The best thing about fashion trends for this

autumn is that we can throw away the rule book!

Designers have, it seems, collectively declared

that it’s not about what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ this

autumn, instead it’s all about creating your own

style... great news!

Having said that, we all need a little help in

creating a style that is in line with our individual

persona and, of course, so we feel fabulous.

So here I give you some ideas that I think will

work this autumn, and which reflect some of the

hottest catwalk themes.

Every thing on red:

The number one colour for this season is red.

The great thing about red is it suits all skin tones

and really brings a splash of rich colour to the

front of fashion for the autumn.



Nero e Bianco

Nero e Bianco

Nero e Bianco

Nero e Bianco

Exclusive Fashion & Bridal

Exclusive Ladieswear

Exclusive Fashion

Exclusive Fashion

Barton Marina

2 Beeches Walk

28 The Strand

55 King Street

Burton upon Trent

Sutton Coldfield



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DE56 1PZ

01283 346704

0121 355 5319

01332 902209

01773 599085


Feminine p ower dressing:

All the top designers have focussed on creating a

look that portrays the strength of women while

capturing femininity.

This look is amazing for several reasons; this

style as a two-piece is a winner with all figures

(honestly!). The fabric and cut just falls into place

and is particularly flattering for a fuller figure.

As separates, the top looks great with wide-leg

trousers, a maxi skirt or skinny jeans, creating an

edgy look. The trousers are on another level here;

they are a comfortable fit with the trouser/skirt

look that really stands apart from the norm. Team

with a silk blouse to create a softer look or a fine

knit off-the-shoulder top with pair of heels for a

fun, feminine feel.

The ult imat e LBD:

For day-to-night this is my version of ‘the little

black dress’, and as we all know we can never

have too many black dresses! This dress ticks so

many boxes, it’s feminine, sexy and very, very

wearable. Great for the office with a jacket, then

let your hair down (or keep it up to show that

fabulous zip detail!) for a drink after work. The

over-the-knee boot is still a favourite for the

autumn or if you prefer an ankle boot, go for

chunky flats to give a more casual look.

Most pointedly ladies, it’s all about having fun

with fashion, looking good gives a great boost to

how we feel and that’s what’s most important -



As individual

as you...

New AutumN ColleCtioNs

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Summer beauty essentials

Summer-proof your look with our pick of

some of the best beauty buys for the season

Make sure you

invest in the

right tools; the


£16, from

Selfridges, makes

light work of your

concealer, powder

and blush.

Ensure velvety

application and a

sleek finish with

Iconic London’s

complete set of


rose gold EVO


£75. Available

from Harvey


NARS Sheer Glow

foundation, £32,

creates a glowing,

natural radiant

finish with sheer and

buildable coverage that

immaculately evens

your skin tone. www.


Keep your skin in

tip-top condition

with Perricone MD

Advanced Renewal

Infusion Serum,

£210. This four-week

treatment delivers

an intense burst of

hydration when your

skin needs it most.


Embrace a peachy, youthful

glow with Nars Liquid Blush

in Torrid, £23.


Caudalie Divine

Oil, £28 for

100ml, moisturises,

nourishes and

envelops the skin

with a subtle, floral

and sun-kissed

fragrance. Available

from Harvey


Beach-proofing your eye makeup is a must;

after all panda eyes is never a good look.

That means eyeliner too, and we love the

Lancome Khol Hypnose Waterproof

in Noir, £20. www.lancome.co.uk

MAC’s signature lipstick in

Flamingo, £16.50, is our

favourite summery shade -

the bold coral-pink screams



The Hourglass Illume Sheer

Colour Trio in Sunset, £54 from

Space NK, is perfect for creating

a sun-kissed beach beauty vibe.


Aldridge head chef cooks

up an award-winning treat


Lucky residents at The Hawthorns Aldridge are

indulging in award-winning desserts from head

chef Martin McKee, following his outstanding

performance at the final of 2017 NACC Care

Chef of the Year. Martin was delighted to walk

away with a sensational ‘highly commended’ for

his delicious dessert and has ranked in the top

three for the second year running.

The NACC Care Chef of the Year is an

annual competition that invites outstanding

chefs in the care sector to showcase their skills

and promote the standard of catering within

the sector. Talented chefs from across the

country create and submit a menu, following

strict guidelines, before competing in a local

heat, a regional semi-final with live cooking,

and a grand national final. The judges are

looking for innovation, costing, suitability for

the environment, adherence to nutritional

guidelines, taste and overall menu balance.

Martin McKee is a classically trained head

chef who joined The Hawthorns, which is run

by Avery Healthcare, two years ago with the

ambition of enriching the standard of care food,

and he has certainly achieved that goal. Martin

certainly showed why he was a finalist with his

presentation and execution of zesty hake and

fondant potato. However, his dessert of soft

toffee apple chocolate cup, walnut shortbread

Martin’s winning dishes

Award-winning chef Martin McKee,

from The Hawthorns Aldridge

with orange anglaise impressed judges so

much he was given the top award of ‘highly


Martin was overwhelmed that he retained

a position in the top three as well as ‘highly

commended’ dessert twice in a row. It is the

third consecutive time that a chef from Avery

Healthcare has made it into the national finals

under the tutelage of Simon Lawrence, group

culinary manager for Avery Healthcare.

Simon was elated: “Martin should really be

proud of his achievement as he cooked two

fabulous dishes. The fact that he has only

worked in the care sector for two years and

has now competed in two National Care

Catering Finals, winning four awards is simply

outstanding. The highly commended dessert

two years in a row speaks for itself and I look

forward to his return next year!”

Martin joins many other fantastic staff who have

recently celebrated awards, including Avery

Healthcare employees graduating from the

Advanced Senior Carers Programme and recent

success at the Qube Learning Awards 2017.



Go wild for chocolate

A giant chocolate dinosaur made by the team at Cadbury World will greet

visitors to Birmingham’s summer spectacular Dinosaurs in the Wild

Budding palaeontologists visiting Birmingham’s

giant attraction – Dinosaurs in the Wild – will be

given an extra sweet treat, with the arrival of a

‘Chocolatosaurus’ from Cadbury World.

Dinosaur hunters – who will be travelling back

67 million years when they visit the NEC this

summer – will be able to seek out the incredible

chocolate replica of the Ankylosaurus.

The beautifully created replica of the vegetarian

reptile, which features heavily in the Dinosaurs

in the Wild show, was crafted by the talented

chocolatiers from Cadbury World and can be

seen munching on some chocolate fern amongst

the dry chocolate earth, while fiercely protecting

her eggs.

Weighing in at around 80kg and constructed

using the equivalent of 1,777 standard bars of

Cadbury Dairy Milk, the Chocolatosarus took the

two chocolatiers just over two days to make.

The Chocolatosarus, which has been lovingly

nicknamed ‘Mabel’ by the team at Cadbury

World, sports white chocolate horns and spines

with bronze lustre highlighting her armour

plating to protect her from predators. The

chocolate artists also used blue lustre dust to

reflect the top of her head and back.

The impressive creation will be on display at the

NEC exhibition until Wednesday, August 23. The

show will be a blend of live-action theatre, theme

park fun and the very latest palaeontological

knowledge – all combined to take visitors on the

ultimate journey of discovery.

Visitors will be able to find out more about the

Late Cretaceous Period, be guided across a

prehistoric landscape and tour a ground-breaking

dinosaur research station – TimeBase 67.

The Ankylosaurus, which means ‘fused lizard’,

could be found in Western North America and

weighed in a 6,000kg. It feasted on ferns and

other low-growing vegetation, living 68 to 66

million years ago.

This herbivorous dinosaur, which is nicknamed a

‘living tank’ by palaeontologists, is well protected

with spiky armour from the bones of its skull

down to the rounded club at the end of its talk.

Diane Mitchell, marketing manager at Cadbury

World, said: “Everyone loves to find out about

dinosaurs and how they roamed the earth

millions of years ago. Our chocolatiers had

great fun making her and it really is a stand-out

piece that we know visitors to this brilliant new

attraction in Birmingham will really warm to.

“We are huge champions of anything educational

and fun, just like at Cadbury World. We are so

proud to be a part of this new attraction, and we

are sure everyone will have a Jurassic time which

will be choc-full of fun!”

Jill Bryant, producer at Dinosaurs in the Wild,

said: “We were fascinated to find out what the

dinosaur would look like made out of chocolate –

and it has exceeded our expectations. We cannot

wait for our visitors to come and hunt it out too

and enjoy finding out more about the species.”

For more information about Cadbury World, or

to book tickets, visit www.cadburyworld.co.uk.

Tickets for Dinosaurs in the Wild start from

£29.50 for adults, £26 for children, and there are

discounts available for group bookings. For more

details, visit www.dinosaursinthewild.com.


Life in the fast lane


Introducing J’AIME’s motoring maestro, Tamworth-based champion racing

driver Martin Plowman. Keep up to date with Martin’s adventures in the fast

and furious world of motorsport in J’AIME every month

Tamworth racing driver

Martin Plowman

Martin Plowman is one of British motorsport’s

best-kept secrets, but how does a Le Mans

winning multiple champion fly under the radar?

Despite growing up in the karting scene

alongside the likes of Formula One aces Lewis

Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Martin decided

to take the road less travelled by young British

single seater drivers. The Tamworth-based

driver took the plunge and moved his career to

the USA in 2009 following in the footsteps of

other greats including Dario Franchitti, Justin

Wilson and Dan Wheldon. All of these expats,

like Martin, are excellent drivers and superstars

in the USA, but their recognition on this side of

the pond doesn’t come close to measuring up to

the status they enjoy stateside.

Martin flourished in America, his fanbase grew,

and he relished nearly a decade of racing at the

top level in IndyCar, Indy Lights and Sportscars.

His achievements were seemingly never ending,

but highlights include being crowned Top

Rookie Finisher in IndyCar, finishing third in the

championship in Indy Lights as well as breaking

the track record at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car


The 2012 season saw Martin make

a move into Sportscars, impressing

his peers and fans from day one. Not

only did he have a podium finish

at every race, but he also enjoyed

three Pole positions, won the Grand

Prix of Mosport and Road America

and finished second in the Points

Championship - quite the sportscar


Martin carried his success through to

2013. It was this year that saw him win,

arguably the hardest race in the world,

the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But not only

this, he also clinched the FIA World

Endurance Championship crown with Oak

Racing in a Morgan LMP2.

The following years saw Martin broadening his

experience in a range of championships. Not

only was he delivering podiums in the United

SportsCar Championship but he was competing

in the Blancpain Championship in a factory

prepared Nissan GTR. Martin also realised his

dream of not only competing in but finishing the

Indy 500, America’s most iconic race.

This is where we pick up the latest chapter of

Martin’s career - developing and coaching

drivers. Working in both the British Touring

Martin finds his pace on the

track with UltraTek Racing


Martin with former Emmerdale actor

and business partner Kelvin Fletcher

Car Championship with actor-turned-racer

Kelvin Fletcher - best known as Emmerdale’s

Andy Sugden - and in British GT with Richard

Taffinder and UltraTek Racing, Martin is

now firmly focused on using his hard-earned

experience to develop his chosen drivers.

Following his eight-year stint in America, the

29-year-old has officially moved back to the UK.

Martin has relocated back to the Tamworth

area with his wife, Nicole, and two dogs,

Tucker and Grace. The Plowmans had been

living in Indianapolis, the spiritual home of

US motorsport, while Martin was coaching in

between races.

Martin decided to return to the UK to focus on

his motorsport career, in particular as sporting

director for UltraTek Racing. The UltraTek

team is a project to take Birmingham-based

businessman Richard Taffinder and develop him

into a competitive driver at Le Mans in 2020.

Martin has technical and strategic control of the

sporting elements of the team and has recruited

Kelvin Fletcher to race for the team in the 2017

British GT Championship.

Martin is not only showing his pace on track,

developing teammate Richard Taffinder; he

is also working with Nissan factory outfit RJN

Motorsport to develop the car and devising and

delivering the driver strategies. His attention

to detail includes planning testing and prerace

activities to fine tuning the weekend

performance of each driver. He has even hired

a Human Performance Coach as he continues

to apply his relentless approach to preparation.

Well, as they say, you can take the Brit out of top

flight single seater racing, but you can’t take the

years of discipline and skill out of the driver…

or something like that!

Martin said: “Driving is both my passion and my

livelihood but working with guys like Richard

and Kelvin makes it barely feel like a job at all.

I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing guys like

Richard evolve into racing drivers.”

So what is next for Martin Plowman? Not

one to rest on his laurels, Martin has also

launched his own Track Day Experience

business with teammate Kelvin Fletcher. The

pair focus on providing authentic, high-quality

track experiences to members of the public

and aspiring racing drivers alike. Catering

for corporate customers with ‘Hot-Laps’ for

conferences and sales events, the pair also offers

driving experiences for those wanting a more

hands-on approach allowing them to get behind

the wheel and to receive high-quality coaching

in a range of track cars.

The motivation behind the track day company

was born from Martin and Kelvin getting on so

well and also spotting a gap in the market for a

truly authentic track-based experience that lets

the customer see under the skin of motorsport.

By applying the same passion to their track

days as they have to their racing careers, the

pair are sure that they can deliver memorable

experiences. Alongside this, Martin will also

continue with his hugely successful driver

coaching career and will be providing support to

a range of drivers, from the up and coming stars

of tomorrow to the already established talent

across Europe.

You can follow Martin in action alongside

Kelvin Fletcher and Richard Taffinder in the

British GT Championship as they all compete in

a pair of Nissan 370Z GT4s, run by RJN.


As well as driving, Martin is

working on developing the

car and driver strategies



Velocity is a new breed of track day company offering the chance to race real racing cars on the UK’s finest

circuits, tutored by Le Mans Winner Martin Plowman and BTCC and Emmerdale Star Kelvin Fletcher.

There’s no better way to engage with clients or reward loyal teams. Choose from one of our great packages

or let us build you a bespoke day.



www.velocitytrackdays.co.uk 0115 888 3288 info@velocitytrackdays.co.uk

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