O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7
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
GAME FOR A
WE MEET THE GODFATHER
OF MODERN COOKING
The perfect brew FROM A
LICHFIELD coffee roaster
Welcome to J’AIME
It’s been another busy month here at
J’AIME HQ, and once again we’ve been
thrilled with the fantastic feedback from
readers and advertisers alike on the second
issue; we’ve had so many lovely comments
and people saying how much they like the
magazine, which is always fantastic to hear.
Now, we love all things food and drink here
at J’AIME, so it was huge excitement which
greeted the news that we’d managed to
bag an interview with none other than the
godfather of modern cooking, Marco Pierre
White. Marco was coming to Birmingham to
launch his new wine collection and we were
lucky enough to be invited along for a taster,
accompanied by the man himself. Marco
was thoroughly charming and fantastically
chatty, and revealed a couple of surprising
personal foodie favourites - including chip
butties and Walkers crisps!
As the autumnal chills well and truly set in,
we’ve got some fabulously cosy ideas for
styling both your home and your wardrobe
- and one lucky reader will win a £150
voucher to spend on some stylish updates
for your winter wardrobe from Boutique
Eleven. There are some great events to
keep you entertained throughout October,
including laughs-a-minute at Birmingham
Improv Festival, dedicated to the art of
improvisation, with a pair of tickets for the
opening night up for grabs.
We’d also like to congratulate the winners
of our first issue competitions; Jenny Danby,
from Lichfield, who was thrilled to discover
she’d won the £1,000 Allen Brown Jewellery
prize, and Elaine Collins, from Sutton
Coldfield, who scored a pair of tickets to
Everyman Cinema. Congratulations ladies!
EDITOR: AMY NORBURY
ADVERTISING: JAN ASHLEY
07388 335 931
CONTRIBUTORS: MARTIN PLOWMAN, JAMES
POMLETT, OLIVER BROAD, JILL HARTLEY, LISA
PIDDINGTON, SHAUN CRAVEN AND EMMA STEVEN.
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 Shining Stone Coffee - We chat to Scott and
Emma Taylor from Shenstone artisan coffee
roasters Shining Stone
12 Property - Property of the month
14 Interiors - Luxe-to-the-touch velvet
18 Interiors - The timeless magic of monochrome
22 Interiors - Styling with geometrics
26 Marco Pierre White - The godfather of
modern cooking on his new wine collection
32 Marco’s steak recipe
34 Food and drink - Reviewing Harvey Nichols,
36 Food and drink - Cocktail of the month from
38 Food and drink - A Michelin star dining
40 Food and drink - An autumnal recipe from
42 Travel - Get back to nature at the Tree
46 What’s On - Our pick of events around our
area this month
48 What’s On - The hottest tickets around
50 Competition - Win tickets to Birmingham
52 Fashion - Feel the heat with autumn’s red alert
54 Fashion - Get cosy with Nero e Bianco
58 Competition - Win £150 to spend at Boutique
60 Beauty - Contouring heroes from Harvey
62 Beauty - Autumn hair trends
64 In the news - Three decades in business; and
celebrating a tenth anniversary
65 Motors - Tamworth racing driver Martin
Plowman on a personal battle
Come & see our selection of composite doors
Visit our Stylish Showroom
11 Belwell Lane, Sutton Coldfield, B74 4AA - Tel: 0800 996 1241
Visit our fantastic website www.jmiwindows.co.uk - email@example.com
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Brewed to perfection
A SHENSTONE COUPLE IS HELPING TO BRING GREAT COFFEE TO THE MIDLANDS
WITH THEIR OWN MICRO ROASTERY. AMY NORBURY DISCOVERS MORE
A PERFECT SHOT OF
SHINING STONE ESPRESSO
Walk down any high street, in any town in the
country and you’re sure to be greeted with the
sight of a large chain coffee shop or three. Coffee
is the most popular drink worldwide with around
two billion cups consumed each and every day,
some 56 million of them right here in the UK. Our
commitment to the great British cup of tea is still
strong, but it seems we’re becoming a nation of
But while large multinationals still dominate cafe
culture here, it has to be said that the coffee they
serve, well, isn’t actually all that good. If you’re lucky
enough to have a good independent selling quality
coffee on your doorstep - and there are a few notable
ones in the area - that’s great. But why do so many of
us put up with inferior coffee?
It’s a question Shenstone couple Scott and Emma
Taylor asked themselves repeatedly since moving to
the Midlands from Leeds, where there is a thriving
independent cafe scene serving up consistently
delicious brews. Fed up with the chance of a good
cuppa being few and far between, Scott and Emma
decided to do something about it.
Their business, Shining Stone Coffee, is a micro
roastery - currently based in the couple’s garage -
which is rapidly growing to provide quality, locally
roasted coffee to cafes and businesses around the
Midlands and beyond, as well as selling directly to
coffee lovers through their website.
“We’ve got a real passion for coffee, and after leaving
Leeds and moving here we were surprised at the
quality of the coffee available,” says 38-year-old
Scott. “There were a couple of places in Lichfield
and a couple in Sutton where you could get a good
cup, but your average place to go to have coffee was
either a massive chain or somewhere serving poorly
“The quality of coffee we were used to in most places
was really good, and it just felt there was a market
around here for upping the quality of the coffee.”
So Scott, who teaches design and technology in a
local secondary school, and Emma, who’s a stay-athome
mum to the couple’s two children Max, three,
and two-year-old Mia, set about investigating coffee
roasting as a business concept - something they could
do at evenings and weekends to fit around the school
day and family life.
“I spent quite a lot of time on the south coast
with some roasters down there, around six months
learning all the processes,” Scott explains. “And
then it was another good six months before we were
happy with the product, so it’s taken a year to get to
the point where we’re confident and consistent in
what we’re producing.”
The point of no return for the business was when
Scott and Emma made the decision to invest in an
sizeable piece of machinery - their roaster.
“At mid-life crisis time some blokes buy fast cars; I
bought a roaster,” laughs Scott. “There aren’t too
many people doing this around here, there’s certainly
no other micro roastery in Lichfield, so we thought it
was worth taking the plunge.
“We decided to go for a ten kilo roaster from the
beginning. A lot of people who set up like us buy a
five kilo roaster, but talking to other roasteries I found
that you can get up to capacity pretty quickly. And
with having to roast in the evenings and weekends
around work and family time, it was better to have
a beast which we can just roast once and get large
quantities from. We can get 30 kilos an hour from
The roasting process gives Scott and Emma a chance
to get creative, with even the smallest changes
creating a very different end product.
“I’ve always been interested in coffee, how it’s grown
and the provenance,” says Scott. “The thing I love
about it more than everything is
the science behind it. There’s an
awful lot of science in the roasting
process, with huge variables. The
beans go through different stages
as they roast, and minor alterations
can have a massive impact on the
“There are so different flavours
you can bring out through different
roast profiles; if you finish it a lot
earlier you bring out the fruity notes
whereas if you roast it a bit longer
you bring out more chocolate notes
and that’s so interesting, finding out
at which point these flavours develop.
“When it comes to flavour, there are definite
differences across the country in what people seem
to want. In London people want the sharper, fruitier
flavours whereas here people seem to prefer the more
From a core offering of two products, the Shining
Stone selection has rapidly expanded.
“We started out very simply; we wanted an espresso
blend and a decaf which would be our core
products,” says Scott. “And from there we’ve evolved
into single origin coffees, and going forward we’re
going to be going much more down the single origin
route. I see coffee going down the line of guest
roasters in cafes, much like guest ales in pubs, and
definitely focusing on single origins.
“And it’s a very seasonal product; your Brazilian and
Colombian stock will be coming in at a different
time to your African beans. A lot of the coffees I’ve
got at the moment are central and South American,
but we’re looking to progress to more lively, fruity
African coffees as we go into autumn.”
The house blend, now in its fourth incarnation,
currently comprises beans from Brazil, Colombia
and Sumatra and each origin has something to bring
to the party. The result is a smooth and full bodied
blend with chocolate, hazelnut and sweet caramel
flavours, and a hint of fruit acidity.
“We create our blends after the roasting process,”
says Scott. “A lot of roasters just whack all the
different beans in together, but they all roast
differently. Your Brazilian stuff is grown lower while
your Colombian stuff is high-grown and to roast
them all together means you’re not going to get the
best out of the flavours.
“We’re aiming to create a better quality product
by roasting each bean type individually to get the
optimal flavour out of it and then blending postroast.
Time-wise it means you’re roasting three times
instead of just the once, but the end product is a
much better quality.”
The roasting process is surprisingly quick, taking
under 15 minutes, but it takes time for the coffee
beans to develop their full flavours.
“The biggest struggle
both for me and
says Scott. “We
up saying they’re out
of coffee and need
The roasting process
may be quick, but
we need time to get
the best from the
coffee; you can use it
after four days, but
it really starts to take
on the best flavour
after around ten
With provenance of products becoming an
increasingly important issue to many of us, the name
Shining Stone brings a nicely local feel to Scott and
“We spent ages trying to come up with a name and
had loads of ideas but nothing quite right,” explains
“The village of Shenstone, in the Domesday Book,
was called Shining Stone, or beautiful stone, and it
was a place where people used to come together to
EMMA AND SCOTT’S COFFEE ROASTER
HAS A HOME IN THEIR GARAGE
eat, drink and socialise. And that all linked together
with what we were doing; it’s everything we’re
aiming to achieve with our coffee.
“And we wanted the brand to be really graphic
design-led, really bold colours and a contemporary
look which will look fantastic on the shelves, so we’ve
invested quite a lot in the branding side.”
But even with a quality product and eye-catching
design, it has take time for Shining Stone to persuade
cafes to swap their big-name coffee brand for
something more independent.
“Getting people to understand the product and move
from the big chain brands has been a challenge,” says
Scott. “I definitely underestimated how difficult it
would be to go into cafes and get them interested in
taking the product.”
Shining Stone’s big break came when Packington
Moor farm shop decided to stock the coffee in their
shop as well as serve it in their cafe.
“I went in, had a chat and got on really well with
them, we did some taste-test samples and they just
said yes, let’s go for it,” says Scott. “And because
they’re quite a well-known brand, things have
escalated off the back of their support.
“Also Richard at 15 On The Corner in Lichfield has
taken some single origin coffees from us, which gives
us real credibility because he really knows his coffee.”
While the single origin coffees have been a universal
hit, Shining Stone’s decaf has proved to be one of
the most popular products.
“The decaf ’s really, really good,” says Scott. “It’s
completely natural with no chemicals, and you
honestly wouldn’t know it’s decaf. There are quite a
few clients who are perhaps locked into
EACH TYPE OF BEAN IS INDIVIDUALLY contracts with big suppliers so they’re
ROASTED TO CREATE THE BEST FLAVOUR
just taking decaf, but sizeable amounts.
“It’s a similar roasting process but
you’ve got to be a bit gentle with it
because it’s gone through an extra
decaffeination process so it can be a
little bit brittle. You can create decaf
in a few ways and a lot of mainstream
coffee is decaffeinated using chemicals,
but the one we use is decaffeinated at
source in Colombia using sugar cane
which is grown alongside the coffee.
They extract ethyl acetate from the
sugar cane which takes out the caffeine
during the roasting process. It does
impart a slight sweetness to the coffee;
usually the decaffeination process will
strip out some of the flavour but this
one actually adds to the it.
“We’re finding a really strong market for decaf; it’s
not something we anticipated but good decaf is hard
to come by.”
An exciting new development for Shining Stone is a
collaboration with Lichfield gin makers Fifth Spire
on a special new coffee liqueur, which launched to
huge acclaim at the Lichfield Food Festival over the
August Bank Holiday.
“Tom from Fifth Spire approached me a few months
ago because he was looking to develop a cold brew
THE SHINING STONE AND
FIFTH SPIRE COLD BREW LIQUEUR
coffee liqueur and wondered if I knew anything
about it,” says Scott.
“We spent a good couple of months developing
different cold brew coffee recipes which would work
to cut through the alcohol, testing different brews,
and we actually stumbled on a recipe which is
brilliant quite quickly.”
Made with the finest single origin beans from Peru,
Scott uses huge amounts of coffee in each batch,
carefully cold brewed over 20 hours to create a rich,
chocolatey coffee taste that holds unique flavours
inherent with the Peruvian region. The cold brew
concentrate is mixed with British wheat spirit and a
little demerara sugar to make a powerful coffee drink
that’s perfect for sipping over ice or as the backbone
to an espresso martini.
“Tom’s taken it to various people in the industry
and we’ve had amazing feedback, which is really
encouraging,” says Scott. “He’s also been to trade
fairs and tasted various cold brew liqueurs which
are already on the market, and ours differs because
it’s not as sweet as any of them. We found that most
of them are overly sweet so we’ve reduced the sugar
content in ours; it’s perfect over ice for sipping and
great in cocktails.”
The first batch of 200 bottles quickly sold out,
and luxury retail behemoth Selfridges are already
interested in stocking the liqueur.
With the success of the coffee, and the interest in
coffee-related products, Scott has an eye on what
might be next in the pipeline.
“I’m also looking at developing a non-alcoholic
version of the cold brew at some point, but for
now all our focus is on promoting the liqueur so it’s
something I’ll look into when I have a bit more time;
there’s not often much of that, what with the coffee,
teaching and being a dad!”
For more information visit www.
shiningstone.co.uk or find Shining Stone
Coffee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
creating bathroom envy
Visit our extensive
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one of the finest
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23 Gate Lane, Boldmere,
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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 IS MAGNIFICENT 1930S GEM SET IN WONDERFULLY
LANDSCAPED GARDENS IN THE DESIRABLE VILLAGE OF SHENSTONE
The White Gables, St Johns Hill, Shenstone: £1,550,000
On the market with Aston Knowles: 0121 362 7878
THE AGENT SAYS: The White Gables has to be one of the
most outstanding properties to be found in the highly desirable
village of Shenstone. From the moment you walk through
the entrance door, it immediately becomes apparent what a
spectacular home this is.
The reception hall has a welcoming presence with spindle
staircase and Amtico flooring. The formal drawing room is
the most elegant and charming room with a beautiful Minster
fireplace, burnt oak flooring and ornate ceiling décor.
The kitchen, breakfast, family room is totally bespoke and
certainly provides the wow factor. The kitchen area is well
equipped with a range of wall and base units incorporating
a breakfast bar which are complimented with granite work
surfaces. The breakfast area is located next to the bi-folding
doors giving wonderful views over the garden. The family area
is extensive with contemporary gas log burner and French door
leading onto the sun area. White Gables has created what has to
be one of the finest examples of this style room which is highly
desirable and sought after to the modern family.
Spectacular has to be a word to describe the landscaped rear
garden, laid to lawn with mature borders. The creativity of the
seating areas positioned either on stone or decked platforms
throughout the garden, has to be viewed to be appreciated.
The skill that has been utilised to provide lighting, has created
ambience and a relaxing atmosphere. One of the bespoke
features of the garden is the firepit which is operated from the
mains gas. This garden really is magnificent.
W E L O V E : THE UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE
THROUGHOUT - AND THAT GARDEN IS A DREAM!
SUPER soft to touch and oh-so luxurious, velvet
is a welcome trend, bringing a stylishly cosy feel to
interiors as we head into the chillier months. With its
short dense pile and elegant finish, glorious velvet gives
all colours a vibrant feel, and this season autumnal
shades of burnt orange, deep cranberry, rich plum and
bold ochre create a warm and welcoming vibe. Make a
style statement with a striking sofa in luscious velvet to
add a real focal point to your living space. If you don’t
want to invest in a large furniture piece, opt for some
plain velvet cushions or a throw in pretty tones instead.
Velvet is the perfect way to add this season’s allimportant
texture to your interior decor scheme while
also allowing you to express your own personal style.
ALEXANDER AND JAMES THEO SMALL
SOFA, £1,137, COOKES FURNITURE.
MARIE CHAIR, ESSENTIAL HOME.
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5 Stafford Road, Lichfield WS13 7BZ
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IT’S one of interior design’s most enduring looks;
after all, there probably hasn’t been a time when
monochrome didn’t feature in lists of trends to look
The key to its timeless appeal is in its simplicity; the
marriage of black and white at opposite ends of the
colour spectrum creates a clean, classic vibe which can
be adapted in countless ways to suit your decor tastes.
From smart and contemporary to ultra-modern or
even retro styling, monochrome can find its place in
any room, in any home.
At its most striking, this is a seriously bold look but
you can easily add warmth with accents of wood and
metallics such as gold, bronze and copper to create
a rich elegance. Luxe materials including marble
and velvet add a splash of glamour to the scheme,
and choose accessories in both black and white for a
balanced decorative appeal.
SHOWSHELL GLOBE HANGING LAMP,
£695, OUT THERE INTERIORS.
MAIKO CHAIR IN MATTAN STRIPE
CHARCOAL, MARKS AND SPENCER.
EICHHOLTZ CUSHION ABSTRACT
SQUARES, SET OF TWO,
SWEETPEA AND WILLOW.
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HKLIVING SCANDI STYLE RATTAN
BREAKFAST STOOL, £209.95,
WEBSTER DRINKS CABINET, £599;
MADISON GLASS COFFEE TABLE, £329;
HENDRIX CHAIR IN SCRITTI CHARCOAL, £649,
ALL FROM MARKS AND SPENCER.
Ligne Roset Togo lounge
settee, from Cookes Furniture.
DANISH LIGHTING JONAS PENDANT,
£89.99, DOWSING AND REYNOLDS.
HOLDERS, £42, BE&LIV.
INDUSTRIAL METAL PENDANT LIGHT,
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TILES, £99.95, ORIGINAL STYLE.
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1 Cremorne Walk, Lichfield Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, B75 5AL
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F I R E P L A C E S
OF KEEPING YOU WARM
NO-ONE EVER REGRETTED
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Sutton Coldfield, B74 3UF
Telephone: 0121 353 7205
45-47 Station Road,
Knowle, Solihull, B93 0HN
Telephone: 01564 773 002
APPEALING to fans of architecturally-minded
interior design, geometrics are one of the hottest
home trends to emerge for autumn. From the classic
triangle to the more modern look of honeycomb
hexagons, it’s impossible to get past the minimalist
feel of timeless geometrics.
There’s a big emphasis on strong lines and unique
shapes on everything from wallpaper to cushions,
lampshades and beyond. And you’ll need to think
beyond print for this trend; geometric shapes can be
found hiding just about anywhere – from the base of
a table to styling up mirrors.
A vivid pattern or a well-placed pop of colour can
transform a room, creating depth and a rich contrast.
For bold impact, look at walls or furniture pieces to
make a real statement. For a more subtle approach,
you can soften the look with pastel and neutral hues
and clean lines. Even a simple geometric accessory or
two can bring a room to life.
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SIDE TABLE, £139, HOUSEOLOGY.
MILANO OPEN SHELVING
UNIT, £425, MIAFLEUR.
TOSHI BEDSIDE TABLE, £189,
ATKIN AND THYME.
COMB BOOKSHELF, £257, NOXU HOME.
Turn up the heat in
your Ripples bathroom
This October when you buy a new
bathroom from Ripples we will treat
you to free underfloor heating*
Ripples c/o Cookes Furniture,
28 Goosemoor Lane, Erdington,
Birmingham B23 5PN
Tel: 01212 227541
*Terms apply. See in-store for details
F E AT U R E
There’s something about Marco
HE’S THE ORIGINAL CELEBRITY CHEF AND NOW A SUCCESSFUL RESTAURATEUR WITH EATERIES
UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY - INCLUDING THREE IN BIRMINGHAM. THE ONE AND ONLY
MARCO PIERRE WHITE CHATTED TO AMY NORBURY ABOUT HIS NEW WINE COLLECTION, LIFE
AFTER THE KITCHEN AND HOW HIS CULINARY TASTES HAVE CHANGED
He may have a Michelin starred palate capable of
creating the most exquisite food you could imagine,
but these days it appears that acclaimed chef Marco
Pierre White has somewhat simpler tastes. A classic
chip butty - made with chip-shop chips, slathered in
salt and vinegar and sandwiched between buttery
slices of white bread - is a simple snack which, he
says, really gets his mouth watering.
“I have very working class tastes from growing up
on a council estate,” confesses Marco. “I love a
chip butty but it has to be made with white bread,
in the old days it would have been Mother’s Pride
or Sunblest. When you put on those hot chipshop
chips, with plenty of butter and salt and malt
vinegar, the bread takes on the same texture as the
potato and it’s just delicious.
“And then there’s Warburtons brown bread and
butter; if we serve smoked salmon, or a lobster
cocktail or a crab cocktail, we serve it with sliced
brown bread and butter by Warburtons, cut into
triangles on the side because it’s traditional. It’s
how it was when I started my career as a boy in the
Seventies and that’s right.
“I don’t like this posh bread because it doesn’t
work, it’s not nice; they tried to give me rye bread
somewhere the other day and it just wasn’t right;
the texture and flavour doesn’t work with smoked
salmon, you want something neutral so the salmon is
the hero. Warburtons bread makes the salmon taste
better without dominating.”
Marco is also a huge fan of Birmingham’s very own
Bournville dark chocolate, and Walkers crisps - but
don’t expect to find crisps on offer in any of his
“I don’t serve crisps because I think they’re terribly
fattening,” declares the 55-year-old. “But if I did I’d
“Walkers are the best crisps in the entire world. One,
they’re crispy, and two, they dissolve on impact with
an explosion of flavour. And I particularly don’t
like those posh crisps which are spiky and hurt your
“I spent a lot of time in that three Michelin star
world and I understand flavour, I understand texture,
I understand quality, and Walkers crisps are the best
These may be surprising admissions from the man
who changed the face of modern cooking. From
humble beginnings on a Leeds council estate, the
outspoken chef exploded onto the British culinary
scene at the tail end of the 1980s when he opened
Harvey’s restaurant in Wandsworth, earning a
Michelin star almost immediately. Star number
two followed, and the restaurant quickly became a
favourite among celebrities and critics alike.
Marco had a reputation as the enfant terrible of the
restaurant world, and tales surrounding his antics
are the stuff of legend. On one occasion when a
customer asked if he could have a side order of
chips with his lunch, Marco hand-cut and personally
cooked the chips, but charged the customer £25
for his time, while a young chef at Harveys who
complained of heat in the kitchen had the back of
his chef ’s jacket and trousers cut open by Marco
wielding a sharp paring knife.
He’s also known to have made a young Gordon
Ramsey - who worked under him at Harvey’s - cry,
and regularly ejected patrons from his restaurants if
he took offence at their comments.
Suddenly cooking was extremely cool - and that was
all down to the Marco effect. But behind the tales
and legends, Marco was simply a culinary genius,
creating gastronomic delights the like of which had
never been seen before; he was the rock star of the
At the age of just 33, as chef-patron of The
Restaurant Marco Pierre White at the Hyde Park
Hotel, he became the first British chef to
win the coveted three Michelin stars - and
the youngest chef ever to do so.
And in true inimitable style, right at the
top of his game Marco decided he’d had
enough and promptly handed his stars back,
retiring from the kitchen at just 38.
Despite the reputation Marco seems to have
mellowed with age, much like a fine wine.
And it is wine which brings us to the Marco
Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill at the top
of The Cube in the heart of Birmingham
on a breezy autumn afternoon - Marco’s
very own wine, in fact.
The wines have been created by Marco alongside
celebrated winemaker Jean-Luc Colombo and will be
exclusively available at Marco’s UK restaurants.
“Jean-Luc Colombo is a great wine-maker, he’s a
genius; he produces the most delicious wine and he
makes it affordable,” says Marco.
The Jean-Luc Colombo Marco Pierre White Blanc,
made from Vermentino with a splash of Sauvignon
Blanc, is perfect with seafood dishes, while the Jean-
Luc Colombo Marco Pierre White Rosé is light, dry
and subtle, perfect with fresh food flavours of the
Mediterranean and the Jean-Luc Colombo Marco
WHEN J’AIME MET MARCO
Pierre White Rouge is a rich and generous Syrah
with no oak, just lush, spicy fruit - it’s quite delicious.
“I think what’s important, for me anyway, is to drink
good wine when you eat,” says Marco. “And if a
bottle of wine costs four or five quid more, and you
get five glasses out of a bottle of wine, what’s an
extra quid a glass to have quality?
“We can buy a bottle of wine for £18 in a restaurant
and it’s of a standard, let’s just say that. But for
£22.50 you can have a very, very good wine, and I
prefer to go down that route.
“You’ve got people working in the kitchen who
are producing food of a very good standard, why
compromise their position by serving a mediocre
wine? You can call me a snob, I don’t care. But if I
have a good quality steak - and our steaks come from
Campbell’s who have the royal crest and supply the
Queen - let’s serve good wine with it.
“I came from very humble beginnings and I think
that when you go out for dinner it’s a luxury. You can
cook a steak at home but when you go to a restaurant
you want a steak of a certain standard, cooked
beautifully, and a good
glass of wine with it.
I’d rather pay a little
bit more for quality,
instead of saving a few
“I’m the same as
anyone else; I look at
my bill at the end of
the night and think,
was that good value?
Did we have a good
night? And that’s what
we’re in the business
of, selling a good night.
“We can buy steak for
our restaurants for
less than we pay, but we choose not to. The problem
is when you get steak at a restaurant which is a bit
tough because it hasn’t been hung sufficiently you
blame the chef, not the butcher, and that’s me being
brutally honest. There are certain things you can’t
compromise on, you have to start at a standard. Our
beef is all 35-day aged; we could buy beef that’s 21-
day aged but it’s not the same.”
Simplicity and quality are mantras Marco lives by
nowadays - sitting down to extravagant Michelinstarred
meals just doesn’t have the same appeal any
“Nowadays I’m eating to live, I’m not eating to grow,
so one course is enough for me,” says Marco. “Give
me a great bowl of rigatoni with bolognese and a
nice glass of chianti, or a great steak with a glass of
Jean-Luc Colombo’s red wine and it’s fantastic.
“I’m not really interested in three Michelin starred
food any more; I don’t want 18 courses of little knick
knacks of lukewarm food and being lectured at –
that’s not a good night out. That’s why I like bistros
and brasseries, steakhouses and pizzerias.”
With three restaurants in Birmingham city centre - as
well as the Steakhouse there’s Mr White’s English
Chophouse and Bardolino, named after the northern
Italian area where his mother, Maria-Rosa, was born
- Marco spends a lot of time in the Midlands. And he
professes a great fondness for the second city.
“I like working class cities,” says Marco. “This part
of England was the birthplace of the Industrial
Revolution; there’s more talent in Birmingham than
almost any other city in Britain.
“I believe I have a duty whenever I travel to various
cities in the UK, that if we have a business in that
city then I’ll only go there. I think you have to be
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loyal to your own establishments and I’m here maybe
15, 20 times a year.”
He’s been married three times and dated more than
his fair share of models and actresses. But there’s
only one lady in Marco’s life right now - his teenage
daughter Mirabelle. The father-of-three lights up
whenever he mentions her name - she’s a student at
the Royal Ballet School and clearly the apple of her
And far from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen,
these days Marco prefers the quiet life, pottering
around his ‘toy’ farm, which spans around 20 acres
in the countryside near Bath. And he enjoys the
privacy and freedom his own little hideaway allows.
“Before she died, my mother instilled one thing in
me, and that’s my love of nature,” says Marco. It’s
really important to me.”
One of the noticeable things about Marco’s
restaurants is the number of pictures of the man
himself which are on display.
“If I had my way we’d have none of them; I’m
very happy that people around me portray me as a
narcissist,” he laughs wryly. “It doesn’t offend me
though, because when I look at those pictures I don’t
see myself, it was such a long time ago.”
Many of the portraits of Marco were taken by his
great friend Bob Carlos Clarke, who sadly passed
away in 2006. The two worked together on Marco’s
seminal book, White Heat, a book which changed
the image of the culinary world and influenced
the careers of countless Michelin-starred chefs.
Published in 1990, it was part cookbook, part
autobiography and featured black and white shots
of Marco in and out of the kitchen. Two of the
book’s most iconic shots are the ones of Marco with
a cigarette in his mouth, and one with a cleaver in his
“We have one of the largest collections of Bob
Carlos Clarke pictures in the world,” says Marco.
“We have the collection from the last exhibition he
did and we’ve kept it as one, in memory of Bob. I’m
an emotional guy and that’s very important to me, to
keep his last collection together.”
Marco’s incredible story could soon be played out
on the big screen; Gladiator director Ridley Scott
is slated to make the film, while three actors will
play Marco at various stages of his life. Michael
Fassbender is first choice for the middle Marco, with
Russell Crowe rumoured to be in talks for the third
As a chef, Marco was well known for his fiery temper.
But, he claims that since hanging up his apron, he’s a
much calmer person.
“I haven’t raised my voice since I was 32,” he says.
“A conversation is an exchange of knowledge, an
argument is an exchange of ignorance.
“I just don’t lose my temper or get angry any more.”
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F O O D & D R I N K
IT’S TIME TO LEARN FROM THE MASTER AS MARCO PIERRE WHITE
SHARES A SIMPLE RECIPE TO GIVE YOUR STEAK THE WOW FACTOR
Marco says: “What could be less British-sounding than snails? We are used to seeing them as ‘escargots’ in
French restaurants - drenched in garlic butter and eaten with a forceps-type contraption that closely resembles
an instrument of torture - that we overlook the fact that there are many snail farms right here in the UK. It is
mooted that they actually taste better than their French counterparts.
“I had the pleasure of visiting a snail farm in the West Country that has been selling British snails to British
restaurants for over 20 years, so next time you order ‘escargots’, take a moment to ponder the provenance of
those tiny morsels. This recipe brings out their natural earthy flavours, which marry superbly with steak.”
Grilled rib-eye steak with
garden snails and herbs
Ingredients - serves six
200g unsalted butter, softened
30g parsley, finely chopped
15g shallots, finely chopped
10g garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
6 x 250g rib-eye steaks
36 pre-cooked snails, preferably fresh
but tinned will do
Beat the soft butter, parsley, shallots, garlic and a pinch
of salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl. On
clingfilm, roll out the butter mixture into a log about
4cm in diameter, wrap it and chill it for about 25
minutes until it is firm enough to slice.
Rub a little oil on both sides of the steaks and season
them generously with salt and pepper. Cook them
in a red-hot, ridged cast-iron pan or under a red-hot
grill. Cook them on each side for about 3-4 minutes,
depending on thickness, until medium rare. When they
are done, put a generous slice of the garlic and parsley
butter on top of each steak and place under a hot grill
until the butter melts. Set the steaks aside for a few
minutes to rest.
Quickly heat the snails in the remaining garlic butter,
being careful not to burn it.
When the snails are piping hot, arrange six of them on
each steak and serve with big chips and béarnaise sauce.
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F O O D & D R I N K
Exquisite dining in style
RENOWNED FOR ITS DESIGNER FASHION AND LUXURY PRODUCE, HARVEY NICHOLS
HAS ANOTHER STRING TO ITS BOW IN THE SHAPE OF A SERIOUSLY STYLISH
BIRMINGHAM RESTAURANT, AS AMY NORBURY DISCOVERS
It’s the first port of call if you’re after a glamorous new
outfit, a pair of designer heels, or if you want to stock
up on the best beauty products in the business. But
Harvey Nichols may not immediately spring to mind
when it comes to fine dining - or any dining, for that
And that’s something which needs putting right, as
we discovered when J’AIME were invited along to
try out the new autumn menu at the Harvey Nichols
Restaurant in Birmingham’s Mailbox.
Descend the sweeping staircase into the swanky bar
- OK, you can walk in from straight from the beauty
department but the staircase is the way to make an
entrance - and you’re immediately struck by the
opulence of the decor. It has a rather art deco feel,
with sumptuous leather and velvet, gleaming gold and
polished marble creating a seriously stylish setting -
nothing less than you’d expect, though,
from a store whose name has become a
byword for luxury.
And that feeling of understated elegance
continues as you venture into the restaurant
itself. It really has got to be one of the city’s
most stylish eateries.
The focal point of the restaurant is the
huge open kitchen, complete with seating
where diners can watch the chefs at work.
It’s a vote of confidence in the quality of
the cuisine on offer, and adds a whole heap
of theatre to proceedings for those lucky
enough to score a front row seat.
On the Friday evening of our visit, the
restaurant was a little on the quiet side so
we were offered our pick of tables by our
welcoming waiter, opting for the remaining
leather-clad banquette - perfect for a cosy tête-à-tête.
I’d been given the heads-up about the cocktail list just
the night before by a friend who described it as one of
the best places for cocktails in the city, so couldn’t resist
a cheeky aperitif. As well as classic cocktails, there are
some fabulous-sounding in-house concoctions. I opted
for the current cocktail of the month - the Chin Chin,
£11, which combines Jam Jar gin with strawberry and
Champagne jam and Harvey Nichols Champagne
syrup to splendid effect.
I’d already spied the
cocktail I guessed my
husband would plump
for, and he concurred.
The Astoria, £12, is
a heady combination
of Woodford Reserve
bourbon, fresh passion
fruit, passion fruit syrup
and orange bitters.
Long and refreshing,
with a sharpness from
the passion fruit playing
nicely against the smokey bourbon and sweet orange, it
was a delightfully decadent drink.
To accompany the meal we also ordered a bottle of
Harvey Nichols Rouge, £22, a medium-bodied, fruitdriven
easy sipper from the Ollieux Romanis winery
in Corbières. The combination of carignan, grenache,
syrah and merlot creates a well-balanced red which
brings juicy, dark fruits and an underlying smokiness.
Having taken a sneaky peek at the menu online
beforehand - it’s always nice to whet the appetite
in advance, I find - we were swift in making our
final decisions. The newly-launched autumn menu
showcases some of the best seasonal flavours, with
produce locally-sourced as far as possible.
To start, I opted for a perennial favourite - mussels
steamed with shallots, garlic, white wine and a touch
of cream, £8. The succulent mussels were perfectly
cooked, in a liquor
that was rich and
And if the mussels
were a tantalising
start, then my
truffle tart with
pickled girolles, £8,
was nothing short
of sublime. The
delicate tart, with its
impossibly thin and
pastry, was a thing
of culinary beauty.
The truffle filling was immensely flavourful, with
the generous truffle racing through, and the slightly
sweet pickled girolles providing a lovely contrast to the
Onto the main event, and for me it had to be the
Barbary duck breast with mango, carrot puree and
coriander oil, £15, while my husband stuck to his guns
with fillet steak - served blue - with skinny fries, slowroasted
onion and tomato, £32.
The duck was meltingly tender, cut into thick slices
and still pink in the middle, just how I like it. The rich
gamey flavour perfectly complemented the sweet carrot
puree, and even sweeter mango disks, which added a
refreshing bite to the dish.
My husband’s steak, although more rare than blue, was
beautifully seasoned and simply charred to bring out
the wonderful flavours of the meat - when a steak is that
good, simple treatment is best I think!
Side portions of Pink Fir potatoes, £4, and green beans
with shallots, £4, were worthy accompaniments - the
green beans were particularly moreish.
The dessert menu offers tempting treats such as an
autumnal take of Eton Mess and a sticky treacle tart,
but a couple of dishes immediately stood out for us -
and what delights they were.
My husband’s apple tarte Tatin was finely constructed
with thin slivers of pastry and apple soaked in rich
caramel and served with a sweet vanilla mascarpone.
Delicious as it was, my baked hazelnut cheesecake with
popcorn ice cream and blackberry compote just edged
it. Beautifully presented, this was a dessert as artistic
as it was mouth-watering. Sweet cheesecake infused
with nuttiness and buttery popcorn were adorned
with succulent, sharp seasonal berries, while a sesame
and hazelnut crumble added a layer of texture. It
was divine, and the perfect end to an exquisite dining
With a menu which hits the culinary high notes,
superb cocktail concoctions and exceptional service,
the Harvey Nichols restaurant really deserves to be one
of the hottest spots in town. As it is, it’s a hidden gem
which is sure to delight any discerning diner. And those
in the know can be suitably smug about discovering one
of the city’s culinary treasures.
F O O D & D R I N K
Cocktail of the month
SHAUN CRAVEN, FROM LE RÊVE COCKTAIL BAR IN LICHFIELD, SHARES A DELICIOUSLY
SWEET AND LUXURIOUSLY CREAMY CONCOCTION FOR YOU TO TRY AT HOME
25ml vanilla vodka
25ml butterscotch liquor
100ml double cream
12.5ml vanilla syrup
50ml Ginger beer
Add 25ml vanilla vodka, 25ml butterscotch liquor and
12.5ml caramel syrup to your Boston shaker. Fill with ice
and shake, then strain into your glass filled with ice and add
your 50ml ginger beer. Then into the same Boston shaker
(now empty) add your 100ml double cream and 12.5ml
vanilla syrup (no ice this time) and shake vigorously. Pour
slowly into glass to float on top.
Citma at Pom’s 2017
Introducing Bottomless Party Night with live music
from Keegan Hammond on Selected Dates
Santa’s Sunday Lunch perfect for all the Family
Sunday 17th December 12 noon till 6pm
Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Brunch
10am till 4pm
Serving fresh fruit cocktails
with passion and flare
For more information please pop in and pick up your
Christmas leaflet or download from our website.
T&C’s Apply to our offers and events
01543 250 085 email@example.com
POM’S KITCHEN & LICHFIELD, 20-22 BIRD STREET, LICHFIELD, WS13 6PR
LE RÊVE COCKTAIL BAR - 26 BIRD STREET - LICHFIELD
PHONE: 01543 253 663 - WWW.LEREVE-BAR.COM
FACEBOOK: LE REVE COCKTAIL BAR LICHFIELD - INSTAGRAM: LE_REVE_BAR
- COCKTAIL MASTERCLASSES AVAILABLE - PRIVATE TABLES/AREAS FOR ALL OCCASIONS
- DJ’s EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY - LIVE MUSIC EVERY SUNDAY - OPEN EVERY EVENING
- OPEN TILL 1AM EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY - OVER 21’s ONLY
POP UP MICHELIN STAR
FINE DINING EVENTS
We regularly deliver sell out, pop up fine dining experiences by Michelin starred chefs and highly
commended chefs who showcase their food and talents right here in Lichfield
To be notified of future events please visit saucesupperclub.co.uk and join the mailing list, or follow us on Twitter @saucesupperclub
Please advise any dietary requirements at time of booking
30TH OCT 2017 | MATT CHEAL 20TH NOV 2017 | TOM KERRIDGE AND FRIENDS 18TH DEC 2017 | LIAM DILLON
Tom Kerridge 2 Michelin star
The Hand and Flowers, Marlow
Luke Tipping 1 Michelin star
Simpsons of Edgbaston
Brad Carter 1 Michelin star
Carters of Moseley
Adam Bennett 1 Michelin star
The Cross at Kenilworth
Richard Turner 1 Michelin star
Turners at 69, Harborne
Rob Palmer 1 Michelin star
Peels at Hampton Manor, Solihull
Matt Cheal, Chef Patron of Cheals of
£65 per head, 6 course tasting menu
at the Winehouse, Lichfield
Be part of a truly unique, one-off dining experience where 6 of
the UK’s finest chefs will come together to create a gastronomical
feast! This special event will take place in Staffordshire within the
luxury setting of Alrewas Hayes Grand Pavillion
Liam Dillon, The Boat Inn, Lichfield
£75 per head, 7 course tasting menu
with entertainment at The Boat Inn,
Muckley Corner, Lichfield
Book online at www.saucesupperclub.co.uk
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
F O O D & D R I N K
Stars align for Lichfield dining spectacular
TOM KERRIDGE HEADLINES A STELLAR LINE-UP OF CHEFS FOR LICHFIELD-BASED
SAUCE SUPPER CLUB’S MICHELIN-STARRED FEAST AT ALREWAS HAYES NEXT MONTH
Sauce Supper Club is hosting a Michelin star
spectacular at Alrewas Hayes, near Lichfield, on
November 20, where the main focus of the event, with
live music and a champagne reception, is its stunning
six-course menu - designed and delivered by six
different Michelin star chefs and their teams, including
two Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge.
Joining Tom in the kitchen for the evening is an
exciting line up of world-class chefs, who will each
serve one course, including Luke Tipping (one
Michelin star) of Simpsons of Edgbaston; Brad
Carter (one Michelin star) of Carters of Moseley;
Richard Turner (one Michelin star) of Turners at
69, Harborne; Rob Palmer (one Michelin star) of
Hampton Manor, Solihull; and Adam Bennett (one
Michelin star) of The Cross in Kenilworth.
The event is taking place in the stunning Grand
Pavilion, part of the completely refurbished Alrewas
Hayes, a much sought-after destination wedding venue
owned by Toby and Bonnie Williams.
Sauce Supper Club is the brainchild of local couple
Jon and Beth Toovey, who wanted to deliver a new fine
dining experience in Lichfield and have spent the last
year organising regular, Michelin star chef events in
“The evening we have planned at Alrewas Hayes is
incredibly special,” explains Beth. “I don’t actually
know of anything similar where such an amazing
offering has been brought together for one event in
Lichfield. We wanted to do something really big for
our end-of-year event and we are so excited to bring
together such talented chefs for this amazing gourmet
Tom Kerridge is the incredibly popular and loveable
chef patron at the extraordinary two Michelinstarred
The Hand and Flowers pub in Marlow. In
2014, Tom took on the challenge of opening another
restaurant, The Coach, which is also in Marlow. It is
a relaxed modern pub, open all day, every day serving
breakfast, lunch, dinner and pub snacks and has a noreservation
Tom is well-known for his part on several television
series including The Great British Menu, Saturday
Kitchen and BBC’s Food and Drink, and has published
many books. His latest book, Tom Kerridge’s
Dopamine Diet, has been his best-selling book to date;
upon it’s release it soared to number one across all
hardback non-fiction book charts and has remained
a best-selling title ever since. The book is filled with
recipes that helped Tom to lose an incredible 11 stone.
Tickets, at £150 per head, have already started to sell
and it is expected to be a sell-out very soon. All details
are on the saucesupperclub.co.uk website.
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Cheese or for larger appetites
we have Smokey Bacon,
Cheese & Mushrooms.
Photos taken at The Creperie
* Turkey steeped in chardonnay
* Pulled pork with sage & onion stuffing
* Cherry filling with ice cream and a brandy flambé
* Stewed apples sultanas ice cream and cinnamon
Book your Christmas party
at The Creperie
Friday & Saturday evenings from 7.15pm
Set menus available
Live music with accordionist Barry Smith
Friday 15th December at 7.15pm
Call to book on 01543 481807
or email: email@example.com
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
LOOKS GOOD EVERYWHERE
IN THE HOME...
ALL FLOORING FULLY GUARANTEED
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Tel: 01543 264766
Open to the public. Mon-Fri: 9.00am - 5.00pm. Sat: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Unit 4, Europa Way, Britannia Enterprise Park, Lichfield, Staffs, WS14 9TZ
F O O D & D R I N K
JAMES POMLETT, OWNER OF POM’S KITCHEN IN LICHFIELD, SHARES AN
INDULGENT DESSERT RECIPE WHICH IS SURE TO BE A CROWD-PLEASER
Delicious desserts feature heavily on the newly launched
autumn menu at Pom’s Kitchen - and we think that
the star of the show is none other than this amazing,
chocolatey brownie. It’s the kind of dessert every sweettoothed
diner will love - so why not give it a go the next
time you’re entertaining?
The autumn menu is packed with delicious dishes
created using the best ingredients from excellent local
suppliers, including bread from the newly-opened Bore
St Bakery in Lichfield.
To coincide with the new season menu, Pom’s has
also undergone a bit of a makeover, with swanky new
seating and some stylish decor additions to add to the
POM’S KITCHEN OWNER
100g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
275g dark chocolate
70g plain flour
POM’S KITCHEN HAS
Over a low heat gently melt the butter, sugar and
honey together. Do not boil. Take off the heat and
add the dark chocolate. Mix until smooth. Whisk in
the eggs one at a time then add the plain flour, mixing
Pour into a mould lined with greaseproof paper and
bake in the oven at 180C for approximately 30 mins
or until fully cooked through. If unsure insert a knife
into the top and if it comes out gooey then bake the
brownie for little longer.
• 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 •
S H O W R O O M S A L W A Y S O P E N T O V I E W
Call 01922 262692
or Search ‘Hawthorns Aldridge’
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The Hawthorns Aldridge | Erdington Road | Aldridge | West Midlands | WS9 8UH
T R AV E L
OLIVER, FROM LICHFIELD LUXURY TRAVEL EXPERTS RB COLLECTION, TRANSPORTS US TO SWEDEN’S WORLD-
FAMOUS TREE HOTEL FOR A NIGHT OF SERENITY, ESCAPING EVERYDAY LIFE TO BE AT ONE WITH NATURE
Let’s clear something up from the start: this is not
a tree house. Nor is it a hotel in a tree. These are
architectural, artistic, engineering and scientific
marvels; some suspended high in the woods, some
leaning on trees, each offering guests the chance to
spend the night deep in the heart of rural Sweden -
totally at one with nature.
Yes, they have wifi, mobile phone reception,
electricity and so on - but leave everything switched
off to gaze soothingly out of your picture window
or skylight and just breathe. Let the Northern
Lights dance and entertain you. This is the art of
‘disconnecting’ and something which I believe we
shall be searching for more and more as our modern
lives begin to engulf our every thought, movement
If the thought of escaping to an area of pure, natural
beauty and the chance to experience one of the
world’s most unique places to sleep - in sumptuous
comfort, I may add - appeals then let me transport
you to the Tree Hotel.
The story behind the hotel is heart-warming. Kent
and Britta needed an idea to drive visitors to their
quaint little pensionat in the village of Harads,
Sweden. Situated alongside the Lule river, the
location was picturesque to say the least and the
view from the hill high up behind the guest house
stunning. Rolling hills, beautiful tall and strong
forests; total peace and quiet. Britta had high hopes
for her new venture, but sadly the visitors were less
forthcoming than expected.
Luckily, Kent had a friend who’d built a tree house
around 6km away from the guest house. A film
crew documented the project and after they left,
Kent arranged to rent it out as somewhere fun and
different to stay, with the hopes it would be linked to
Britta’s pensionat. The logistics were not that great,
though, with Britta having to make the 6km drive
just to change the bed!
THE TREE HOTEL ENJOYS
A STUNNING LOCATION
IN RURAL SWEDEN
INTERIORS ARE MODERN
It did, however, gain a lot of attention and that’s
when the lightbulb struck. Behind the main house
was plenty of land - and trees - and amazing views.
The area is a popular Northern Lights-watching spot
for visitors and a range of activities such as husky
rides and snowmobiling are already offered by local
companies. An opportunity ensued. Kent soon got
together the architects and off they went, to create
fun, unique hotel rooms in the trees.
Britta enthusiastically told me that, even before
they had started building the houses, they were
bombarded with press queries which resulted
in booking requests; neither of which they were
prepared for. Provisional designs ended
up making the front cover of architectural
magazines and the Tree Hotel brand
was quickly established, becoming a
phenomenon overnight - no building had
The interest poured in and soon,
television crews from around the world
were documenting the construction and
opening. Britta and Kent have never
looked back and today there are seven
accommodations in the trees to choose
from, each completely different.
I visited the Tree Hotel during the first
weekend of September. The weather
was just turning with autumnal leaves
and changeable conditions which only added to
the experience. I had just left the first stop on my
Swedish weekend adventure - the Ice Hotel, where
you can now sleep all year round in their permanent
building - for the drive of around three-and-a-half
hours to Harads. The drive was peaceful with long
stretches surrounded by forests, climbs over hilltops,
past lakes and reservoirs, through
traditional, quaint Swedish villages
and alongside the popular train line
which would be the preferred mode
of transport between the two hotels
in winter time. With very little traffic,
it was an easy journey and one I can
highly recommend during the warmer
months when there is no snow around.
On arrival at the Tree Hotel you are
transported back in time to a home
from the early 1900s. Decorated with
posters, trinkets and items collected over
the years, it was fun to see Britta proud
of her guest house, and you really feel a
sense of walking into someone’s home.
This is where you check in and take
breakfast and dinner, and we couldn’t
have been made to feel more welcome.
With great enthusiasm and intrigue we began the
walk that would take us through small grassy fields
and up through woodland before we finally stumbled
upon the hanging marvels that make up the Tree
Hotel. As we approached and caught sight of the
Cabin, we stopped, looked at each other and let out
a soft ‘wow’ which slowly disappeared into the forest.
It was silent all around; the sun had come out with
perfect timing and I quickly reached for my camera
to take my first (of many) photographs while the
light perfectly pierced the trees and reflected off the
various angles of the rooms.
THE INCREDIBLE MIRROR
CUBE REFLECTS ITS
I am so lucky to have travelled far and wide with
my job but I had simply never seen anything
quite like it and I was totally speechless. After we
passed underneath the Cabin we were introduced
to a handful of the other rooms, each completely
different and hanging or resting peacefully, waiting to
We rushed straight away to the UFO, reminiscent
of something from the 80s family film Flight of the
Navigator. A sudden rush of childhood memories
came flooding back as we gazed up at the hanging
structure. Today’s UFO experience would begin with
a big red button the side of the nearest tree; once
pressed a mechanical ladder would begin to fold
out from its underbelly. Not quite the organic metal
witnessed in the Hollywood film but our own, more
realistic version was equally impressive. Stairs firmly
on the ground, it was time to ascend into the room
from outer space. Inside was a cutely fitted out spacethemed
interior with space for a small family, small
portholes with fun views the surrounding woodland
while cute touches such as a working desk with spacethemed
apparel add to the experience. After a quick
THE BIRDS NEST ALLOWS
VISITORS TO TRULY BE AT
ONE WITH NATURE
look around it was time to get back down to Earth
and watch the mechanical stairs rise once again to
seal shut the house from outer space.
As expected, this was one of the more fun and
conceptual hanging marvels to choose from. Others
which would appeal to the imagination included the
Birds Nest, completed covered in twigs, blending
naturally with the woods.
The Seventh Room is one of two newer hanging
houses, both of which are the only ones to come
with more luxurious comforts, a small kitchen, living
room and more space to accommodate
larger families and groups. Accessed
by conventional stairs, the furnishings
were more reminiscent of modern
Scandinavian style with light wood,
design-led furniture and fun touches
such as a netted outdoor relaxing
area made of strong (thank goodness!)
criss-cross rope often used in modern
children playgrounds. And this Seventh
Room was certainly designed with the
child at heart. You get all the modern comforts plus
the opportunity to lie around and relax outdoors
on this netting next to your bedroom or living area
among the trees to watch the daytime birdlife or
night-time aurora borealis dance, all ten metres up
in the air. A small walkway around the netting (with
glass balcony to offer safety) allows you to experience
the views for those a little more faint-hearted.
We continued exploring and discovered the sauna
block, home also to the traditional shower facilities
for those houses without showers of their own. There
was also the Mirror Cube, which is understandably
the most photographed of all the houses, perfectly
positioned to reflect images of the trees around it.
After wandering through the silent woods, it was
time to enter our own home for the night.
We had been allocated the Blue Cone,
which is actually red. Apparently, they had
intended it to be blue but it looked better in
red, so they stuck with the colour, but also
stuck with the original name. Considering
the location and surrounding of other
quirky constructions we didn’t question
this; instead we ventured up the ramp (this
one is wheelchair accessible), turned the key
and wow; we were home.
One of the less conceptual, more homely
houses, the Blue Cone offers a modern
whitewashed Swedish interior, with a fun
mezzanine for little ones who can look
up to the natural outdoors through their
skylight. A huge square picture window
offers direct views from the master bed
which is built into a cosy nook, with two comfortable
design chairs sitting either side offering another way
to witness the superb scenery. While less unique, the
Blue Cone was just what we needed after a few crazy
days at the Ice Hotel. It was so comfortable, homely
and relaxing that I could have drifted off there and
then with the Swedish forests beyond to keep me
company. Instead was time to head for dinner.
The pensionat has a main dining area plus a few
smaller rooms, which is where we sat for a lovely
private dining experience. Starting with a tasty dish
THE SEVENTH ROOM IS
THE LATEST ADDITION TO
THE TREE HOTEL
of locally-caught salmon, the main course
brought us moose and reindeer, cooked to
perfection with hearty vegetables and tasty
berries for flavour. Desserts are always a real
treat in Sweden and we enjoyed silky smooth
ice cream with more local berries which
boosted the colour and taste of the whole
culinary evening. The ambiance and decor of
the guest house juxtaposes brilliantly with the
unique tree hotel accommodation.
Needless to say, we enjoyed a wonderful night
in our tree home. It was absolute bliss to be
at one with the natural surroundings. We
decided to leave the blind up so we could
drift off with the vista beyond keeping a close
eye on us.
Morning soon came around, and there’s
nothing quite like waking to a natural fadein
of light. The scene was very different this
morning with thick, dense fog surrounding
us. Perfect I thought for a few more photos,
contrasting nicely with yesterday’s summer sunshine
Most visitors would stay for a couple of nights and
make use of the opportunity to partake in a range of
activities, but sadly, it was time to leave. Not before,
however, I had one last quick walk around the woods
and a look at each hanging marvel one last time; it
was after all a very special place and one would never
know when we may return. A sumptuous breakfast
ensued as we caught up with Britta and Kent before
we said our goodbyes.
Without a doubt, the Tree Hotel is one of the
most wondrous places to visit and stay. I can highly
recommend it as to anyone seeking an escape from
the everyday; it will certainly create memories that
will live with you forever.
WHERE IS IT? In the village of Harads, Sweden.
HOW DO I GET THERE? Fly to Lulea then it’s a oneand-a-half
CURRENCY: Swedish Krona.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO? In the winter, there are husky
and snowmobile trips, ice fishing & much more. The
northern lights start to come out to play from around
September through to May. In the summer, there are a
range out outdoor pursuits including white water rafting,
bear spotting, kayaking, hiking, cycling, mountain archery
as well as a selection of family pursuits plus tree dining!
EXAMPLE PACKAGE: Combine the Tree Hotel and
Ice Hotel for a three-night break from £1,299 per
person, including flights, transfers, accommodation with
breakfast and evening dinner plus our exclusive info
booklet written by our Sweden holiday experts.
BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY TO THE TREE HOTEL
WITH RB COLLECTION BEFORE DECEMBER 30,
2017, AND RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY TREE
SAUNA EXPERIENCE DURING YOUR STAY.
MENTION J’AIME WHEN YOU ENQUIRE.
THE UFO IS A
FOR DETAILS VISIT
OR CALL OLIVER ON 01543 258631.
LO CA L A R E A
What’s On Local
YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST OF WHAT’S ON IN AND AROUND
SUTTON COLDFIELD, LICHFIELD, WALSALL AND BEYOND
WHEN: October 1
What better backdrop
for an eclectic display of
vehicles than Middleton
Hall, with its moated
collection of Tudor and
Georgian Grade II listed
buildings? Middleton Motors Monthly regularly attracts
around 100 motor enthusiasts gathered in vehicles old
and new, fast and slow, to share their common love of
unusual motors. There is an overriding sense of pride in
the buffed paintwork and polished chrome, but it’s the
friendly atmosphere which keeps people returning.
Entrance is £4 per show car, or £5 per adult if you
are not showing a car, with under 18s free. Entrance
includes access to the main hall and grounds, walled
gardens and old buildings housing museum displays. For
more details visit www.middleton-hall.co.uk.
What do you get if you mix an excellent group of singers,
clarinetists and guitarists? With Barberama’s Welcome to
the Cabaret, you are assured of a great welcome and a
fantastic evening’s entertainment from a great group of
amateur performers who have come together to put on
their very first big show.
In their eight-year existence, Barberama have gone from
strength to strength, performing classic barbershop style,
popular show songs plus songs of fun and yesteryear to
raise money for various charities. Having received many
encouraging reviews, this year they took the plunge of
booking Lichfield’s Guildhall to put on their very own
first full-length show featuring two guests, the Lichfield
U3A Guitar group Don’t Fret, and a newly formed group
Clarinet Allsorts. On this occasion they will be raising funds
for Lichfield Pathway Project through a raffle. Tickets are
priced £8 from S&J Music, 23 Bird Street, Lichfield or
Sutton Coldfield Town Hall
The Scummy Mummies Show is
an evening of laughs for less-thanperfect
parents. Comedians Helen
Thorn and Ellie Gibson cover a
wide range of parenting topics,
from pelvic floors and play-dates
to farting and fish fingers. Expect
songs, sketches, stand-up and very scummy stories!
Based on the UK’s number one kids and family podcast, as recommended by The Guardian, The Sunday
Times, The Telegraph and BBC’s Woman’s Hour, The Scummy Mummies’ straight-talking humour is
something most parents can relate to. The Scummy Mummies book is out now – Ellie and Helen will be
selling and signing copies after the performance. For more details visit www.townhallsuttoncoldfield.co.uk.
Wait Until Dark
October 10 to 14
From the hand of Frederick Knott, author of Dial M For
Murder, and the producers behind Night Must Fall and
Birdsong, comes a major revival of the classic, edge-ofyour-seat,
thriller Wait Until Dark.
Set amidst the social turbulence of 1960s London, the
play follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman, who
left alone in her apartment becomes embroiled with a
group of conmen hatching an elaborate scam. As the
tension mounts, Suzy is left to fend for herself but with
the phone line cut dead and the house plunged into
darkness, can Suzy outwit the murderous visitors?
Wait Until Dark, made into a film starring Audrey
Hepburn in 1967, is often ranked as one of the top 100
scariest films of all time and this exciting new production
- starring Prime Suspect’s Jack Ellis and Oliver Mellor,
best known as Coronation Street’s Dr Matt Carter -
reclaims it for the stage. For more details visit
Selected dates from
October 12 to 31
Prepare to be scared
this Halloween season as Screamfest is back and more
terrifying than ever, with five thrilling scare attractions to chill
your bones. In Love Hurts Professor Heart wants you to find
your soulmate at one of his famous speed dating nights. Just
pray you’re not one of the rejected… Roll up, roll up and
enter Freakout, full of crazy clown antics, frightful freaks and
terrorising terrors. In Soul Seekers you’ll join a TV crew as
they investigate the abandoned Helton Grand Hotel. Dare
you risk your soul and enter new scare Demonica? You will
be blinded by the pitch black with only the smell of sulphur,
the rush of air and the screams of the damned. In the maize
maze join the Dia de los Muertos festival.
Between scare attractions, enjoy the live entertainment
including extreme performers, live DJ, zombie paintball and
street theatre.But don’t enjoy yourself too much; you never
know what’s around the next corner. For more details visit
October 26 to November 4
The peaceful lives of a married couple, Mark and Sally
Driscoll, are disturbed by the sudden arrival of John
Barrett, a man whom they had met vaguely on a past trip
to Torquay. With a sinister score to settle, Barrett enters the
Driscoll home hellbent on vengeance; will things ever be
the same again?
Written by acclaimed television dramatist NJ Crisp - whose
work includes The Brothers, Colditz and Dr Finlay’s
Casebook - Dangerous Obsession is a psychological
thriller that has so many twists and turns in the plot that
the audience will be kept in suspense throughout. This
production will have the audience on the edge of their
seats; don’t forget to lock your doors when you get home
and be careful who is watching. For more details visit
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 pages.
27 to 29
Enjoy the last few days of Drayton Manor’s main season
in style with a spectacular fireworks display; the perfect
way to end a day of thrills and spills in the popular
theme park. The science fiction-themed display, Sky-
Fi: A Galactic Gathering, will leave guests enthralled
and entertained by fireworks set to music from popular
classics such as Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars and
Guardians of the Galaxy and many more.
Many rides will remain open, so the thrills can continue
into the evening. Europe’s first stand-up rollercoaster,
Shockwave, Air Race, which takes riders on an aerial
adventure and the drop-tower Apocalypse, will be among
those open until late.
For the younger visitors, there is Thomas Land, home
to more than 25 rides and attractions based on the ever
popular Thomas and Friends series, which families can
enjoy during the day before heading to the spectacular
fireworks finale. There are substantial discounts for
booking in advance online - visit www.draytonmanor.
co.uk/fireworks for more details.
LO CA L A R E A
What’s on Second City
A LOOK AT SOME OF THE BIGGEST AND BEST EVENTS
TAKING PLACE ACROSS BIRMINGHAM THIS MONTH
Glynn Purnell’s Friday
The Vox, Resorts World
Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen is a live culinary
experience, with the added ingredients of laughter
and great entertainment! It’s all about letting your hair
down, kicking up your heels and enjoying a fun Friday
night with the people who mean the most to you. Enjoy
a delicious three-course menu created by Michelinstarred
chef Glynn, as well as live music from Sam
Bailey and the Subterraneans. There’s also the chance
to ‘Win Glynn’ included in the ticket price. The lucky
winning ticket will have the ‘Yummy Brummie’ and his
Purnell’s team come to their house to cook sunday lunch
for up to six people.
All funds raised through the event are donated to Cure
Leukaemia, Glynn’s chosen charity of which he is a
trustee. For more details visit www.gpfnk.co.uk.
The Dots tour
October 6 and 7
London legends Squeeze are starting an extensive run of UK
dates with two shows at Symphony Hall this month. This
follows the success of their North American tour in 2016 and
the incredible reception to their 2015 album Cradle To The
Grave, the band’s first release of new songs in 17 years. The
follow-up, The Knowledge, is set for release this month.
Formed by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook in 1974,
Squeeze are best known for their hit songs such as Cool for
Cats, Up the Junction, Slap and Tickle, Another Nail in My
Heart, Pulling Mussels (from the Shell), Tempted, Labelled
with Love, Black Coffee in Bed and Hourglass. The line-up
has gone through several changes over the years and past
members include keyboard maestro Jools Holland and Paul
Carrack, who went on to join Mike and the Mechanics. For
more details visit www.thsh.co.uk.
Birmingham Comedy Festival
WHERE: Various venues across the city
October 6 to 15
Birmingham Comedy Festival is the annual 10-day citywide
mirth-filled extravaganza that mixes big comedy names
with emerging talent. This year’s festival sees more than 60
performances including Greg Davies, Doctor Who and Little
Britain star Matt Lucas, Brian Pern (aka Simon Day), Henning
Wehn, and Monty Python musical Spamalot! You can also look
out for appearances from Simon Amstell, Mrs Barbara Nice, Phill
Jupitus, Comedy Central’s Impractical Jokers and two chances to
catch Joe Lycett.
The Birmingham Comedy Festival has been drawing attention
to the city’s vibrant (and often unsung) comedy scene since
2001 when the debut festival hit the road running thanks to
appearances from Peter Kay and Sean Lock in a programme of
more than 40 events. Since then, the festival has grown into one
of the largest independent arts festival in the region. For more
details visit www.bhamcomfest.co.uk.
Cilla - The Musical
New Alexandra Theatre
October 10 to 14
Cilla - The Musical is the
new spectacular and heartwarming
musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed
hit ITV television series by Bafta Award winner, Jeff Pope.
It tells the extraordinary story of the teenage girl from
Liverpool whose teenage dreams of stardom lead to her
becoming one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers of all
It’s an introduction by a young John Lennon to music
mogul Brian Epstein that changes Priscilla White’s life
forever. By the age of just 25 she would be known as
singer and TV Star Cilla Black, Number One selling artist
and at the forefront of the Brit-Pop music scene
The musical score is the ultimate soundtrack to the 60’s
including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart,
Alfie and Something Tells Me, Twist and Shout by the
Beatles, California Dreamin by The Mamas and The
Papas’ and many more. For more details visit
Disney On Ice
October 18 to 29
Celebrate the most memorable Disney tales with all your
favourite characters in Disney On Ice presents Passport to
Adventure. Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald,
Goofy and Daisy on a journey to the timeless worlds of
Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan,
and Disney’s Frozen.
Explore the African Pride Lands with Simba and friends,
voyage to Ariel’s underwater kingdom and fly from
London to Neverland with Peter Pan and Wendy to meet
up with Tinker Bell. You’ll also travel to Arendelle for
an extraordinary adventure with sisters Anna and Elsa,
mountain man Kristoff and the huggable snowman Olaf.
What’s more, don’t miss the pre-show party! Enjoy every
second of this sensational show – starting with the chance
to warm up at the fabulously fun Fit to Dance pre-show
Upbeat music, lovable characters and unforgettable
moments make Disney On Ice presents Passport to
Adventure an experience your family will cherish forever!
For more details visit www.arenabham.co.uk.
Crazy For You
High energy, high kicking and gloriously glamorous,
the acclaimed Watermill Theatre production of Crazy
for You is the ultimate feel-good musical starring Tom
Chambers, Caroline Flack and Charlotte Wakefield,
featuring a fabulous score from the Gershwin brothers’
Crazy For You charts the troubled love story of Bobby,
son of a wealthy New York banking family and
frustrated Broadway hoofer, and Polly, daughter of the
proprietor of a failing theatre in Deadrock, Nevada.
Sent to close the theatre down, Bobby falls for Polly and,
in the guise of a Hungarian impresario, decides to save
the theatre by putting on a show. Mistaken identities,
heartbreak, happiness and a wealth of memorable tunes
all feature in this exhilarating celebration of the great
Broadway musicals. For more details visit
Emeli Sandé heads
this month as part
of the tour in support of her hugely acclaimed and
highly anticipated second studio album, Long Live
The Angels, which was released in November 2016.
Since winning the Brit Awards Critics’ Choice Award
in 2012, Emeli has two number-one singles across the
UK and Ireland with Read All About It with Professor
Green and Beneath Your Beautiful, a collaboration
with Labrinth. Her debut album Our Version of
Events spent ten non-consecutive weeks at number one
and became the best-selling album of 2012 in the UK,
with more than a million sales.
After the success of Long Live the Angels, which
debuted at number 2 on the UK album chart, Emeli
won the 2017 Brit Award for Best British Female Solo
Artist, becoming her fourth win in total. For more
details visit www.gentingarena.co.uk.
LO CA L A R E A
BIRMINGHAM IMPROV FESTIVAL RETURNS TO THE CITY FOR ITS SECOND OUTING FROM OCTOBER 23 TO
29, BRINGING QUICK-FIRE COMEDY AND A BARREL OF LAUGHS FROM SOME OF THE IMPROV CIRCUIT’S MOST
TALENTED PERFORMERS. AMY NORBURY SPOKE TO FESTIVAL DIRECTOR JON TREVOR AHEAD OF THE FESTIVAL
TO DISCOVER WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT - PLUS, YOU CAN WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO THE OPENING NIGHT
“The highest accolade we get for our art is that people
think we’re cheating,” says Jon Trevor, the driving force
behind Birmingham Improv Festival. “Sometimes the
shows are so good that people start muttering that they
can’t be improvised, they must be rehearsed.”
And that’s the glory of good improvisation; shows
which are so well put together, so slick and professional
that it’s hard to believe they’re made up on the spot.
But rather than being rehearsed for hours on end and
performed over and over again, each improv show is
exactly that; one-of-a-kind and never to be repeated.
After the sell-out success of last year’s inaugural
Birmingham Improv Festival, this year’s event, which
takes place at the Blue Orange Theatre in the Jewellery
Quarter, promises to be “bigger, better, Brummier.”
“Last year we had ten shows and eight workshops
over one weekend, so this year we’ve doubled in size
and it’s lasting all week with 21 shows from different
performing companies and half-a-dozen workshops as
well,” Jon explains.
“The improv scene in Birmingham has been growing
over the past eight or nine years and it had come to the
point where there was actually a scene, rather than just
some people doing it! So our aim last year was to put
improv on the Birmingham map and Birmingham on
the improv map.
“Last year it was pretty much all invited troupes coming
into Birmingham, but this year it’s a balance of local
groups and headline acts being invited in from outside.
“The festival really helped to solidify the improv scene
in Birmingham. There’s a growing feeling that we know
who we are, that we’re seeing each other’s shows, and
it’s definitely coming together now.”
MC HAMMERSMITH 4
And the fact that there is such a scene in the city is
mostly down to Jon.
“I was a theatre director for about 20 years, which I
stopped doing in around 2000,” he says. “Then in 2008
I started getting a bit restless; I’d seen some improv
and read a book on it and thought it would be fun to
do, so I looked for a group in Birmingham and there
was nothing. The second biggest city in the country and
there was nothing happening.”
So Jon started Box Of Frogs, a Tuesday night
drop-in improv group based in Moseley, which has
been running ever since. And from that grew the
Birmingham improv scene.
“Box Of Frogs do a show once a month at the Blue
Orange Theatre which comes out of the weekly
workshop,” says Jon. “And of course we’re performing
at the festival. Because of Box Of Frogs, I get called
From the Monday to Thursday, the festival will start
with a double bill of local improv followed by a
performance from a visiting troupe, while the weekend
will feature a variety of shows, including a charity gala
show on Sunday in aid of Birmingham Children’s
Hospital. There will also be improv workshops taking
place over the week.
“Most people’s memories of improv is Whose Line Is
It Anyway, which is a form of improv called short-form
improv, based around games and silly songs. That’s
thriving and there are groups in Birmingham who are
doing that style, but there are other forms too,” explains
“People often confuse improv with stand-up comedy,
which isn’t improvised;
stand-up comics spend
hours and hours
writing and crafting
their material, while
improv is based on
groups of people
creating stories, scenes,
songs and entire
shows in the moment
by working together
as a group to create
something that’s never
been done before.
“Each show is
unique, but some have certain genres or flavours.
Some of the shows we have visiting include one called
Murder She Didn’t Write, which as you can imagine
is based on a murder-mystery. We’ve got one called
Impromptu Shakespeare, who will devise a complete,
new Shakespeare play that’s never been seen before in
authentic Shakespearean language.
“Our headline group is Showstopper, who do a
complete Broadway musical improvised on the spot.
They did a nine-week run in London’s West End and
won an Olivier Award for a musical which doesn’t exist,
because they create a new one every night!
“The short-form games get lots of suggestions from
the audience; with Showstopper, all they get from the
audience right at the beginning is a title and they create
something based on that title. Showstopper are the
only group we’re having back at the festival and last
year they created a musical called Two Nights at the
Bullring, which was so funny.”
So how do improv groups work to create their shows?
WAITING FOR THE CALL
“The best analogy I’ve ever heard about improv is
football,” says Jon. “When you go to play a football
match you don’t know where the ball’s going to be
or how the game’s going to go but nevertheless you
practise your skills. You practise shooting, you practise
dribbling, you practise defence.
“Improv groups get together and practise a lot; not
the content, but the ways of generating content and
working together. They know each other and they’ve
often worked together for a long time and it’s all based
on trust and support. When you see it come together it’s
“With improv, there are some basic rules; the first one is
to always say ‘Yes, and?’ rather than saying no, and the
second is to make everyone else look good instead of
trying to be the star yourself. If everybody concentrates
on making everyone else look good, then we all look
good. It’s very much a team sport.”
And what can visitors to birmingham Improv Festival
“Expect to be amazed, certainly, to laugh a lot, and to
be excited,” says Jon. “I think it’s the most exciting art
form there is. And it’s unique; you’re going to have a
unique experience because no-one will ever see that
For more details on Birmingham Improv Festival visit
www.birminghamimprovfestival.com or find
Birmingham Improv Festival on Facebook, Twitter
FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO BIRMINGHAM IMPROV FESTIVAL’S
OPENING NIGHT ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, SIMPLY ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
JON TREVOR IS THE FOUNDER OF WHICH IMPROV GROUP,
WHICH WILL BE PERFORMING AT THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL?
Send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
with Birmingham Improv competition as the email subject. Entries must be received by 5pm on Monday, October 16, and our
winner will be notified by Wednesday, October 18. No cash alternative is available. Terms and conditions apply.
Visit www.jaimemagazine.com for further details.
FA S H I O N
THE CHILLS MAY BE SETTING IN BUT THE FASHION WORLD IS TURNING UP THE HEAT,
BECAUSE THIS SEASON IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT COLOUR YOU’RE WEARING - AS LONG
AS IT’S RED, SAYS AMY NORBURY
The undisputed colour of AW17, red is set to
be unavoidable this season. The catwalks were
aflame with the most fiery of hues, and where
high fashion leads, the high street follows.
Sensational scarlet ruled at Emporio Armani
and Prada, while Fendi and Giambattista Vialli
opted for more raspberry shades and the brightest
tomato was showcased at Victoria Beckham and
From cocktail dresses to coats, comfy knits to
colour-pop boots, there’s something for every lady
in red this season - you just need to find the right
With his lipstick red soles, shoe designer
extraordinaire Christian Louboutin transformed
red’s image from sexy siren to luxury statement,
and this season’s reds are definitely erring on the
side of grown-up glamour. Rich wines and deep
oxbloods offer a subtle, wintry feel while the more
striking hues are vibrant rather than brash.
Fabrics are also key to keeping the look
sophisticated; think luxurious velvets, cashmere
knits and buttery-soft leather. Tactile fabrics are
big news this season, and bright red hues will only
add to the warmth of these cosy textures.
While pattern is a far easier way to incorporate
red into your everyday wardrobe, fashionistas will
want to lead the charge with block colours. Headto-toe
red may be a bold style statement for some,
but get it on point and you’re sure to make the
right kind of impact.
But if you’re just after a splash of red to liven up
your winter wardrobe then opt for a luxe piece
with plenty of wearability; coats, footwear and
handbags are all investment pieces which can set
your outfit alight on even the most dreary days.
PREEN SHIRT, £45,
SKIRT, £75, AND FAITH
SHOES, £49, ALL
ATLAS WRAP SHIRT,
TINA DRESS ,£85,
MARKS AND SPENCER.
MINI RED PATTERNED
CROSS BODY BAG,
BIBA AT HOUSE OF
FA S H I O N
Let’s get cosy
JILL HARTLEY, CO-OWNER AND DIRECTOR OF NERO E BIANCO EXCLUSIVE FASHION BOUTIQUE AT
BARTON MARINA, SAYS IT’S TIME TO UPDATE YOUR WARDROBE WITH SOME SNUG PIECES FOR AUTUMN
Autumn is here, there is a definite chill in the
air and the evenings are drawing in. The good
news is it’s time to start getting cosy in some
nice knits and feeling ready for the autumn days
We ladies like to look our best; it makes us feel
good about ourselves. Keeping an eye on the
trends and looking out for what will suit our
body shape so we can make the most of what
we have isn’t always easy and as it can easily go
The best advice when starting with your
autumn collection is don’t be afraid to try
something different. You will be surprised at
how new styles and shapes can flatter the figure,
feel comfortable and can become a ‘go-to’ in
Why not choose a style or colour that breaks
away from the routine and gives you an up lift
for the coming months?
We have chosen soft greys (the new black), blues
and aubergine, with a splash of taupe and lime,
colours that are on-trend with the designers this
Here are a few ideas we have for those cooler
days and nights to come…
CARDI W I TH A T W IST
Trousers and cardigan? Well yes it is, but how
different does this look? A modern version of
the faithful cardigan, here we have a side zip
with asymmetry and step edge. The colour
is a rich blue with a grey thread that blends
perfectly. Worn with the wide-leg trouser with
over skirt panel (big news - the wide leg trouser
is back!) this is a very stylish look. We love
handbags and this soft grey leather bag is idea
for creating a new modern look.
Nero e Bianco
Exclusive Fashion & Bridal
Burton upon Trent
Soft aubergine and fine knit with
amazing detail, this little top is
fabulous to give you a boost. The
detail is very flattering; it glides
over the tummy with an elongating
hemline; we love it!
This piece is an absolute winner,
the perfect modern sweater. We
have paired the sweater with a
super soft pair of trousers that
taper, again incorporating soft
grey - a must for this autumn and
SKIRTS APP EAL
Have you thought about a fine
knit long skirt? Well the time to
do so is now! This is so stylish,
comfortable and on trend. We
have chosen a full skirt; this feels
feminine, cosy and smart all in
one - and that is hard to do. Work
the skirt with a super fine knit
sweater that incorporates colour
and detail to ensure it stands apart
from the ordinary. The sweater
will also look uber cool with
skinnies and heels; equally pop
a silk blouse with the skirt for an
And not forgetting the hat. The
big winter essential, hats to match
your daywear is a must!
DRESS I T UP
We had to finish with this
absolutely fabulous fine knit
dress. What is there not to
like about this? Don’t panic if
you’re not a size 8, this dress is
magic; the design and shape is
super flattering! And of course,
remember the matching hat!
Remember ladies, it’s all about
looking good and feeling
wonderful and why not? You
CO M P E T I T I O N
Celebrating a decade in style
J’AIME HAS TEAMED UP WITH EXCLUSIVE WOMENSWEAR SHOP BOUTIQUE ELEVEN, BASED AT THE HEART
OF THE COUNTRY SHOPPING VILLAGE, TO OFFER READERS THE CHANCE TO WIN £150 TO SPEND IN STORE
A stylish womenswear boutique is celebrating ten
successful years in business at the Heart of the
Country Shopping Village, near Lichfield
Boutique Eleven combines sought-after brands with a
relaxed, personal shopping experience to offer ladies
everywhere a fantastic solution to their wardrobe
Owner Sandie Cottle says: “At Boutique Eleven
we focus on contemporary womenswear; our key
customers are 40-plus, but the styles we sell suit
differing age groups.
“Our brands offer unique looks; we aim to offer
something not found on the high street which is our
point of difference. We offer personal service
and are happy to help customers seeking
wardrobe revamps or a complete new look.”
Brands which can be found on the rails at
Boutique Eleven include The Masai Clothing
Co, Sandwich, Myrine, SoyaConcept, Mama
B, Two Danes and Grizas. Both Grizas and
Two Danes specialise in the use of natural
fabrics like linen, silk, cotton, bamboo and
hemp, while Masai Clothing offers oversized
elements in their designs which can suit fuller
Sandie adds: “I have found over my years in
the fashion industry that not many women
are happy with their body shape; our clothes
flatter most shape, and seeing a lady happy
with herself and leaving us feeling more
confident than when she came in is the most
satisfying feeling we can have.”
While most of Boutique Eleven’s clothes
are perfect for everyday wear, there are
some gems which would fulfil more special
“We term this ‘wearagainwedding’ - we find
a lot of our customers want to be able to
wear outfits bought for a special occasion
again,” says Sandie.
“We offer loyalty cards to customers, to give
something back to our customers who spend
with us and support us; they also receive
special offers and news of new collections coming in.
I have some amazing customers who love what we
do and continue to support us. Our biggest challenge
is online shopping and the British weather, the latter
because our seasons seem to be non existent... layering
is the key here!”
While Boutique Eleven is hoping to launch a website
soon, Sandie still believe in the ‘shopping experience’.
“The experience of going to a boutique, with oneto-one
customer service, is second to none and
supporting and promoting Independent businesses
like mine is crucial for the future of bricks and mortar
FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A £150 VOUCHER TO SPEND AT BOUTIQUE ELEVEN,
SIMPLY ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
NAME ONE OF THE SOUGHT-AFTER BRANDS
TO BE FOUND AT BOUTIQUE ELEVEN.
Send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number, by email to
email@example.com with Boutique Eleven competition as the email subject. Entries
must be received by 5pm on Friday, October 27, and our winner will be notified by Wednesday,
November 1. No cash alternative is available. The prize is a voucher to the value of £150, which
can only be spent on full price items and must be redeemed by Saturday, December 23. Terms and
conditions apply. Visit www.jaimemagazine.com for further details.
B E AU T Y
The art of contouring
FROM fabulously high cheekbones to pristine
proportions, shape your way to the perfect face
with the art of sculpting. Just as an artist uses light
and shade to add depth to their paintings, the
latest must-have products help to shape and define
your finest features, while subtle shadowing and
highlighting will accentuate your natural beauty.
LISA PIDDINGTON, from Harvey Nichols
Birmingham, shares her tools of the trade
Fenty Beauty Match Stix trio,
£46, is a magnetised trio of longwear,
light-as-air makeup sticks
curated by skin tone, with two Match
Stix MATTE Skinsticks to conceal
and contour, and one Match Stix
SHIMMER Skinstick to highlight.
The fantastic Iconic London contour palette,
£37.50, features six formulas to perfectly
highlight and sculpt - use one shade darker than
your skin tone to create shadow in the hollows of
the cheekbones, temples and hairline, then run the
darkest shade along the jawline, blending carefully,
and finally, use a highlighting shade on the top
Cover FX Enhance
£15, comes in a
convenient stick that
allows you to illuminate,
strobe, and highlight
your complexion with a
Yves Saint Laurent’s Couture eye
contouring palette, £35, has five
different shades and textures from matts to
metallics to offer a multitude of finishes,
and a high-concentrated formula to create
infinite nude looks.
ALL PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE GROUND FLOOR BEAUTY HALL AT
HARVEY NICHOLS, THE MAILBOX AND ONLINE AT HARVEYNICHOLS.COM.
blush, £32, duo
for the face with a
finish. A deeper shade
while a lighter shade
highpoints of the
Create your perfect highlight
with Hourglass Ambient
Strobe lighting powder,
£34, designed to sculpt the face
with light, creating depth and
dimension for a refined, natural
Cover FX Custom
£36, allow you to
add pigment to any
product in your
beauty regime. Add
between one and four
drops - depending
on the depth of
coverage you want–
serum, oil, primer,
foundation or tinted
moisturiser, in an
THE MOST INCLUSIVE LUXURY EXPERIENCE
HONG KONG TO SHANGHAI
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13 MAR 2019 | 15 NIGHTS
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ISHIGAKI (SAKISHIMA ISLANDS)
Regent Seven Seas Cruises ®
offers the MOST inclusive
luxury experience, where
everything is included;
return flights and transfers,
unlimited shore excursions,
all fine dining and beverages,
unlimited Wi-Fi and even
gratuities and service charges
- without exception, without
compromise. Our four ultraluxury,
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no more than 750 guests and
with an enviable staff-toguest
ratio, there is no better
way to explore Asia.
CALL NATHAN AT RB COLLECTION WHO HAS
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For more information call 01543 419516
Lichfield Clinic: 1 Tudor Row, Wade Street, Lichfield WS13 6HH
THE MASAI CLOTHING COMPANY •
SANDWICH • MYRINE • SOYACONCEPT
MAMA B • TWO DANES • GRIZAS
Heart of the Country Shopping Village
Unit 11 Swinfen, Lichfield WS14 9QR
T: 01543 480971 - www.boutiqueeleven.co.uk
B E AU T Y
AWARD-WINNING HAIRDRESSER EMMA STEVEN TAKES A LOOK
AT SOME OF THE HOTTEST HAIR TRENDS FOR AUTUMN
This season’s style update takes on a more relaxed,
casually cool aesthetic, with sleek polished dos out in
favour of a more effortless, undone look.
Emma says: “This season we’re seeing lots of undone,
messy, low into the nape ponytails, as well as a lot of
hair up; beehives and high crowns are back in a big
way. Top knots are another gorgeous way to create an
effortless up-do; the top knot is this season’s messy bun.
“When it comes to styling, we’re going back to using
blowdrying techniques rather than heat styling with
straighteners and curling tongs, which helps to create
that more cool, undone look.”
“Emma says: “Pink is the new blonde, and it’s going to
be around for a while yet, adding a warmer feel to this
season’s blondes. Rose gold is still something we’ll see
a lot of, as well as coppery and golden toned blondes
- it really is all about warm tones as we head into the
“Balayage and ombres are still very on trend, as
opposed to flat colour; again, it’s all about a more
casual, relaxed chic rather than anything too perfectly
Emma says: “This season we’re going from one
extreme to the other. On the one hand, long flowing
locks with plenty of texture are perfect for autumn,
which follows on from summer’s love of all things
mermaid and beachy waves.
“At the opposite end of the style spectrum we’re
looking at really short styles, with bowl cuts and pixie
crops creating a really funky autumn look.”
LOW UP-DOS WHICH GATHER
IN THE NAPE OF THE NECK ARE
ON TREND FOR AUTUMN
LOW UP-DOS WHICH GATHER
IN THE NAPE OF THE NECK ARE
ON TREND FOR AUTUMN
BEEHIVES ARE BACK,
CREATING HEIGHT AND
VOLUME IN THIS
A HINT OF PINK ADDS A
WARMER TONE TO THIS
I N T H E N E W S
Three decades at the
forefront of fabrics
you can be sure
the best quality
from one of
established and most highly-regarded fabrics suppliers,
Hole in the Wall.
Owner Paul Broadgate is now celebrating more than
30 years at the heart of the fabrics industry in the area.
Starting as a market trader, Paul opened Hole in the
Wall - situated at the top of Goodall Street in Walsall
- 26 years ago, and today carries one of the largest
selections of fabrics in the country.
Whatever your fabric needs, Hole in the Wall is sure
to have the solution. Whether you’re looking to refresh
your home decor with stylish new curtains or want to
embark on a dress-making project, you are sure to find
the right fabric. The showroom showcases thousands
of rolls of quality curtain fabric from all the leading
designers, as well as dress fabrics and blinds, and Hole
in the Wall is one of the minority of textile businesses
to still stock fabric by the metre.
Hole in the Wall also carries a comprehensive
collection of curtain poles and tracks, and to finish the
look there is an extensive array of gorgeous wallpapers
and accessories such as tie backs and trimmings.
With Paul’s years of experience comes a level of
expertise which ensures every customer finds exactly
what they need. His business is based on strong values
of traditional customer service and value for money
which can’t be found on internet sites.
Despite a terrible fire in 2004 which destroyed part
of the building and shut down the business for three
months, Paul rebuilt his empire and continues to
provide a first class, made-to-measure curtain and soft
furnishing service from his on-site workroom, manned
by skilled and experienced seamstresses.
Complementing these services is one of the finest and
well-stocked haberdashery departments to be found in
As well as Hole in the Wall, Paul has another store
named Fabric Direct situated in Kidderminster.
For more information visit www.holeinthewallcurtains.
co.uk or find Hole in the Wall Curtains on Facebook,
Instagram and Twitter.
Lichfield fire specialists The Fire Place are celebrating
their tenth anniversary in business, having completed
more than 7,000 jobs over the past decade.
In September 2007, Russell and Sue opened The Fire
Place, on Stafford Road, and the business has been
flourishing ever since. The Fire Place offers a fantastic
range of fireplaces, gas fires, wood burners and electric
fires to a wide customer base across the Midlands.
Russell and Sue are very pleased with the way the
business has grown, with increases seen consistently
The Fire Place offers a complete service, covering all
aspects of installation and including free surveying
within 20 miles, fitting, any allied building work and
rubbish removal. On arrangement, Russell will come
to your home to advise on flue types, ventilation and
fitting fees. He will be able to tell you what you can
and cannot have - but usually if you want something,
Russell will be able to provide it.
The showroom houses around 70 displays - most of
which are working fires - and The Fire Place’s range
includes fireplaces in natural stone, marble and wood
and a fantastic selection of efficient, contemporary
gas fires which can be fitted on any external wall or
within a standard chimney breast. They also offer a
wide range of multi-fuel and wood-burning stoves
from brands including Contura, Heta and Purevision,
as well as contemporary electric fires by Evonic and
Russell and Sue can’t believe that a decade has passed
so quickly, and will strive to continue the success of the
first ten years.
For more information visit the Stafford Road
showroom Monday to Friday from 9.30am to
4.30pm and Saturday from 10am to 4om or call
Life in the fast lane
M OTO R S
THIS MONTH OUR RESIDENT MOTORING MAESTRO, RACING DRIVER MARTIN PLOWMAN, TALKS
ABOUT A VERY PERSONAL BATTLE AND STEPS UP TO SUPPORT NATIONAL CHARITY ANXIETY UK
MARTIN IN RACE MODE
WITH TEAM MATE KELVIN
Martin says: “This month has been monumental for
me as I have taken the plunge and openly admitted
to the public and motorsport community that I have
been struggling with anxiety for the past 12 years.
“I have spent the majority of my life in the public
eye; I’ve addressed huge crowds and raced in front
of hundreds of thousands of fans, with many more
millions watching me on TV. However, the anxiety I
face almost every day is a real challenge that I have
worked hard to manage and overcome.
“I have a number of strategies that I use to minimise
the impact anxiety has on my life; this enables me to
function as a professional racing driver, and I hope
that I can show others who have yet to find their
strategies, that there is hope. If opening up about my
anxiety helps just one person, then it is worth it.
“I have taken the step of becoming a celebrity patron
of leading national charity Anxiety UK. Having
personal experience of anxiety and anxiety-based
depression, I am passionate about supporting the
charity’s efforts to increase awareness and access to
support for those experiencing anxiety, stress and
anxiety based depression.
“Anxiety can be debilitating and can take many
different forms, from mild
nervousness that grows to severe
panic attacks and an inability to
leave the house.
“Everybody may feel anxious about
something from time to time, but
for people suffering from anxiety,
it’s impossible to shut off those
anxious feelings, and any small issue
multiplies until you are rendered
paralysed. Symptoms include rapid
heart-beat, palpitations, panicattacks,
among many other things. There’s
an array of treatment and coping
strategies out there, and everyone
requires something different. The
first step is to seek help and try what
works for you.
“In joining forces with Anxiety UK, I hope to send
out a message to others that anxiety is not something
to be ashamed of, nor does it have to be something
that prevents you from leading a successful,
accomplished and meaningful life.
“The hardest part for me was coming out and talking
to someone about my struggles. The stigma that can
surround mental health can be immense, particularly
since I’m a sportsman where any perceived weakness
tends to be frowned upon.
BATTLING WITH ANXIETY
HASN’T PREVENTED MARTIN
ACHIEVING SUCCESS ON THE
“Ironically, living with severe anxiety, I believe
I am the opposite of weak, as the strength and
determination I have to have to overcome these daily
hurdles and still be successful prove how mentally
strong I have to be.
“Anxiety and mental illness is a very overlooked
issue, and I know it is far more common than people
may realise, but our stiff-upper-lip culture causes
us to brush our feelings under the carpet anytime
we don’t feel like our true selves. By helping to raise
awareness, I hope to help remove that stigma and for
those that need help, learn how to seek help and gain
the support and resources to lead a happy, successful
“Anxiety UK have conveyed how delighted they are
to have me on-board to promote their continued
work in helping those who experience anxiety,
stress and anxiety based depression, and to help
raise awareness of the importance of changing
attitudes around mental health. Over the years they
have welcomed the support of a range of celebrity
patrons, who are passionate about the work of
Anxiety UK and ensuring that support is available to
those who need it most.”
As a national registered charity, established in 1970,
Anxiety UK provide support for those affected by
anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression. Building
on more than 47 years’ experience, the charity has
a strong service delivery arm offering support via
helpline, text, therapy and online services. Anxiety
UK was established to promote the relief and
rehabilitation of persons experiencing anxiety, stress
MARTIN, PICTURED WITH
WIFE NICOLE, IS SUPPORTING
and anxiety based depression,
and raising awareness of such
Nicky Lidbetter, CEO at Anxiety
UK, says: “I am delighted that
Martin has chosen to support
Anxiety UK through joining our
team of celebrity patrons. He is
living proof that anxiety does not
need to define a person and that
with appropriate support and
information, it is entirely possible to
function at a high level in spite of
anxiety. The world of competitive
sport can be a difficult space to
open up about issues such as mental
health and anxiety, and in being
as candid as Martin is about his
personal experience of anxiety, he
is playing a vital role in challenging
stigma. It is fair to say that Martin
is a wonderful role model for others.”
Martin adds: “I’m proud to lend my support to
Anxiety UK. I have suffered with debilitating
anxiety and panic attack disorder for as long as I
can remember. Since being diagnosed in 2014, I
have sought help to embrace ways to manage my
symptoms to not let it affect my career. My hope is
that my story will inspire at least one person who
feels helpless, or embarrassed to ask for help and
enable them to seek the help they need to be able to
chase their dreams.”
“The partnership between myself and Anxiety UK
will be kick-started with an official feature interview
with me in the charity’s quarterly magazine, Anxious
Times. Going forward I am also looking forward to
engaging with Anxiety UK’s on-going campaigns in
terms of both raising awareness and fundraising.”
MARTIN MEETING HIS FANS
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.
GET IN TOUCH TODAY AND LET US BUILD
THE PERFECT EXPERIENCE
www.velocitytrackdays.co.uk 0115 888 3288 firstname.lastname@example.org
in the wall
curtains • fabrics • blinds
Stockists of all leading designer fabrics.
Extensive range of haberdashery items to compliment.
Bespoke Curtains and Soft Furnishing Specialists
Quality and Service you can trust
"Our team of highly skilled seamstresses create bespoke curtains and
soft furnishings to your individual design in our on-site workrooms."
47 - 49 Goodall Street, Walsall WS1 1QJ · Tel: 01922 631512 · www.holeinthewallcurtains.co.uk