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
J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8
A NEW YEAR HAIR
THE NEW BREED OF ESTATE
AGENTS CHANGING THE WAY
YOU SELL YOUR HOME
A £500 INTERIORS
Beverley Knight returns
2 FLOORS OF STUNNING FURNITURE AT AMAZING PRICES
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Welcome to J’AIME
As we head into 2018, here at J’AIME we’re
thinking about new beginnings - what will
the New Year bring for you? If a new home
is on the agenda, then check out our feature
on Mr and Mrs Clarke, an estate agency
with a difference which is looking to bring
a breath of fresh air to the property market
around Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield. And
if you’re looking to sell your home enter our
fantastic competition - three lucky winners
will receive estate agency services for free,
courtesy of Mr and Mrs Clarke.
If you’re just looking to update your home,
rather than move, then we’ve got a great
competition for you too - one lucky reader
will win £500 to spend on furniture and
homeware at Blackbrook Interiors, near
Lichfield. Our round-up of the latest interior
design trends for 2018 will hopefully provide
some inspiration too.
But if you’re not quite ready to get out
of the Christmas spirit just yet then why
not get your festive fill at Birmingham
Hippodrome’s cracking panto, Cinderella.
We chat to Fairy Godmother herself, our
cover star soul diva Beverley Knight, who’s
getting back to her Midlands roots in her
first panto outing.
Elsewhere, we’ve got a great mix of foodie
treats, beauty and fashion - including a
sportswear round-up which might just entice
you back into the gym to work of those
Congratulations are in order for our latest
competition winners; Gemma Griffey of
Barton-under-Needwood scooped the
prosecco afternoon tea at FSK, while Jill
Gowers of Fradley won our £150 Artifex
voucher. We hope you’ve enjoyed your
EDITOR: AMY NORBURY
ADVERTISING: JAN ASHLEY
07388 335 931
MARTIN PLOWMAN, JULIETTE KEY, RYAN SHILTON,
ANDREW YOUNGSON, LISA PIDDINGTON
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 Mr and Mrs Clarke - The new breed of estate
agents changing the way you sell your home
12 Property - Property of the month
14 Property - Million pound properties
16 Interiors - Solid style with concrete
20 Interiors - Natural beauty
24 Interiors - Trend predictions from Leather
25 Interiors - Go ultra with violet
28 Competition - Win £500 to spend at Blackbrook
32 Beverley Knight - The soul diva returns to her
38 Food and drink - Reviewing Five Rivers, Walsall
40 Food and drink - Cocktail of the month from
42 Food and drink - A seasonal recipe from
Swinfen Hall’s Four Seasons restaurant
44 Travel - Living the Thai life
48 What’s On - Our pick of events around our
area this month
52 What’s On - The hottest tickets around
54 Fashion - The hottest boots for winter and
56 Fashion - Stylish activewear to kickstart your
New Year fitness regime
60 Competition - Win a New Year hair makeover
courtesy of Lewis Moore
62 Beauty - Beauty resolutions from Harvey
63 Health - The digital revolution for hearing
64 In the news - Furniture company with integrity
at the forefront
65 Motors - Tamworth racing driver Martin
Plowman test drives a British Touring Car
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NEW YEAR SALE 2-31 JANUARY 2018
A fresh approach to property
A NEW KIND OF ESTATE AGENCY, MR & MRS CLARKE ARE LOOKING TO SHAKE UP THE LOCAL PROPERTY
MARKET WITH THEIR UNIQUE SERVICE. AMY NORBURY DISCOVERS MORE - AND IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO
SELL YOUR HOME YOU COULD WIN THEIR ESTATE AGENCY SERVICE FOR FREE
It’s often quoted as the single most stressful life event,
more so than having a baby, planning a wedding
or even getting a divorce. But what is it about the
prospect of buying or selling a house which fills most
of us with dread and, more often than not, leaves us
tearing our hair out for months on end?
Well, of course, there’s the huge sums of money that
are at stake; a house is, understandably, the most
expensive purchase most of us will ever make. Then
there’s the threat of issues causing delays to a whole
chain of vendors and purchasers, not to mention the
horror of the whole thing falling through at the very
But often the difficulty comes from a lack of
communication from the key players in the process;
notably solicitors who are notoriously difficult to
track down when you need them most and estate
agents who can’t seem to communicate.
It was this frustration with estate agents in particular
which was the catalyst for husband and wife team
Paul and Alex Clarke to take a look at how things
could be done, well, differently.
“We thought the property market and estate agency
needed a shake-up,” Paul says. “We were selling a
house in London and trying to buy in Brighton and
we were just amazed at how bad the service was.
Even with a high end agent in London the service
was naff, the photos were terrible, and when we were
trying to buy we had a couple of houses fall through,
the communication was awful and the estate agent
forgot to tell us some pretty important details about
the house we were looking at.”
Paul was running a marketing and events company
while Alex was a party planner working for the Royal
family, used to handling huge occasions with military
precision and top notch service, but the duo saw a
gap in the market for a new kind of estate agency.
“My marketing agency got bought out and we were
looking for a new venture and decided to launch
an estate agency where the marketing was spot on -
which is my background - and the service was first
class, which is my wife’s background,” explains Paul.
With their families based in the Midlands, three
years ago the couple ditched the idea of moving to
Brighton and, instead, headed north to launch Mr &
Mrs Clarke. With the marketing and service aspects
covered, they just needed a expert estate agent on
board to fill in the gaps of their industry knowledge.
“We viewed hundreds of houses with the purpose of
finding an estate agent who was really, really good,
which was incredibly tough,” says Paul.
But one stood out from the rest; Warwickshire agent
Borja De Maqua impressed so much that the couple
offered him the role of sales director.
“Between us we’ve got the skills in marketing, service
and the actual nitty gritty of estate agency which is
really important,” says Paul. “It’s not just about the
pretty pictures, there’s a real serious side too.”
Within six months the team grew to ten local
property experts who each knew their market like
the back of their hand, and now Mr & Mrs Clarke
offer their unique service across Warwickshire,
Worcestershire, the Cotswolds and even London.
They value homes and prepare each property for
sale, they lead viewings and open house events and
they work tirelessly to see a sale through and a letting
agreed. And most of all, they aim to take the stress
“It shouldn’t be a stressful process if there’s someone
in the middle who’s picking up the phone and telling
you what’s happened, and what’s going to happen
AMANDA RICHARDS IS BRINGING THE MR
& MRS CLARKE SERVICE TO LICHFIELD AND
next,” says Paul. “That’s what you really need as a
buyer or a seller, the communication. And so often
it’s not done.
“And sometimes things don’t go to plan, we
appreciate that, but if you handle it well from the
start and be open and honest and keep people in the
loop at all times it makes things easier for everyone
“Working with buyers and sellers has a real buzz
about it; you’re helping people to move on and to
find their dream homes, which is just lovely.”
And Mr & Mrs Clarke are now bringing their
boutique agency to Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield,
in the hands of the latest addition to their team,
Amanda Richards. Originally from Birmingham,
Amanda grew up in Lichfield so her knowledge of
the area is second to none - an important aspect of
the Mr & Mrs Clarke business.
“We’re very modern in our marketing approach but
we deliver it with very old fashioned service,” says
“The business has developed really well over in
Warwickshire and we’ve had property in London as
well, but I wanted to bring the service to this area.
“I really love this area, particularly Lichfield, there’s
so much to offer here. There’s a real community feel,
THE MR & MRS CLARKE ETHOS IS ABOUT
SELLING A LIFESTYLE, AS WELL AS A HOME
and we’ve found that a lot of people are coming back
to the area. There’s a real renaissance happening
in Lichfield right now, with a new generation of
fantastic independent shops, bars and restaurants
which are revitalising the area and I want to be a
part of that with Mr & Mrs Clarke. Lichfield’s got
a great social culture with something for everyone.
People are really entrepreneurial here and they really
support each other.”
Amanda feels that Mr & Mrs Clarke’s approach will
be a real boon to the property market, and provide
vendors and house-hunters with something more.
“It can be a stressful time, and it’s hard work, but
we’re trying to take the stress out of it and make
the process as enjoyable as possible, coming in and
styling people’s homes and showing off their hard
work in creating their homes. From the paper on
the wall to the decor choices, everyone has a story
behind their home and that’s what we want to get
across,” she explains.
“It’s about showing people beautiful homes, as well
as showing potential buyers what kind of lifestyle
that home and the area offers, and I think Lichfield
in particular has a lovely lifestyle to offer.
“We’re not just selling houses, it’s about the lifestyle
too; where can you get a nice pint of real ale, where
are the best restaurants, that sort of thing. And telling
people the stories about what makes a community
great - that’s what we bring to our marketing. Of
course you need to know about the commuter routes
and the schools, all the practical stuff, but it doesn’t
“Lichfield is a real destination, and on top of that it
has a real sense of history; when I’m writing the copy
for houses in this area I envisage bringing that history
to life. I’m a Brummie originally but we moved
to Lichfield when I was five so I remember being
indoctrinated with the history of the city at school. I
loved that and I want to bring that out for people.
“And then there’s the properties themselves; Sutton
Coldfield has such a lot of beautiful property,
particularly old Sutton with its Victorian and
Edwardian properties - they’re the properties of my
dreams - and Lichfield has great property, as well
as the surrounding villages with beautiful country
cottages, there’s just so much to offer.”
At the heart of Mr & Mrs Clarke’s ethos is the
presentation of properties, with each home on their
books showcased to its best potential.
“We do all of the styling ourselves because we’re
really passionate about interior design; over the years
all of our homes have been featured in national
magazines - mine was in 25 Beautiful Homes and
Paul’s is going into Country Living,” says Amanda,
who gets her love of property and home styling from
her interior designer mum.
STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE HALLMARK
OF THE MR & MRS CLARKE SERVICE
“I’ve got a storeroom full of props for styling; I’m a
bit addicted to auctions so I’m always buying bits and
pieces to dress houses. I’m always looking for unique
pieces to freshen up properties.
“Sometimes houses don’t sell because they have
nothing in them and people can’t visualise what it
could be like. If you’re into interiors it’s easy, but
so many people aren’t and need to be shown what
can be done. So we’ll go in and dress
the house beautifully so buyers can
envisage what it really feels like to live
in this house. And if we need to we’ll
take in pieces of furniture to show that,
for example, a bedroom can fit a double
bed, or that there is space for a family
“It’s a fresh approach, it’s not a gimmick
- it comes from the heart because that’s
what we love to do. And that’s all part of
our service, it’s not an extra.”
Huge importance is also placed on
stunning professional photography which
really captures what each home has to
offer - something that most estate agents
seem to neglect. It’s not unusual to
find homes marketed with poor quality
photos which are still dominated by the
clutter of the owners’ everyday lives.
“It’s the digital age,” explains Amanda.
“Years ago estate agents would have
professional photographers come in
to do their photography, but now they
just walk round themselves with a £100
camera and snap away, that’s it.
“And there are so few
photographs - how
many times have you
looked at property
details and thought,
where’s the third
Like Paul and
Alex, Amanda has
experienced a lessthan-satisfactory
service from traditional
estate agents, which
is what makes her so
determined to make a
change in the market.
“When I bought my
last house I didn’t really
want it and I had to be
sold it,” she explains. “It’s a really dark property and
I wanted to be able to have a second viewing without
the owner there so I could go around and switch the
lights off, which I felt awkward about doing while she
was there. But when I turned up the owner was there
again and the estate agent just didn’t care; they were
so rude, and made you could see them rolling their
HOMES ARE PROFESSIONALLY
STYLED BY THE TEAM
eyes about me having a second viewing.
“I was spending a vast sum of money and I think I’ve
spent more time choosing a coat than I did looking at
that house - it was absolutely bonkers.”
Not content with just looking round the properties
they sell themselves, the Mr & Mrs Clarke team give
each vendor ‘homework’ so they can learn everything
there is to know about the home and be prepared to
answer any potential buyer’s questions.
“We go through everything people could possibly
ask and we want to be ready with the right answers,”
says Amanda. “That way, our vendors know their
house is going to be sold in the best possible way,
with confidence and integrity.”
With their unique approach Mr & Mrs Clarke have
an impressive success rate, even with properties
which have languished on the market with other
“We refresh properties and make them look their
best, with better photography, better write-up, and
that way we’re successful in getting the asking price
for our sellers,” says Amanda.
“Areas need fresh ideas and Mr & Mrs Clarke can
help bring that to the property market around here,
and help to put the area on the map that little bit
“Estate agents have just had it too easy for too long
and we’re here to change that!”
MR & MRS CLARKE WILL SELL YOUR HOUSE FOR
FREE IN 2018! MR & MRS CLARKE ESTATE AGENCY
ARE OFFERING THREE PROPERTY SELLERS THE
OPPORTUNITY TO SELL THEIR PROPERTY FOR ZERO
FEE. THEY WILL PROVIDE AN EXPERT VALUATION,
FULL HOME STYLING, BEAUTIFUL INTERIOR
PHOTOGRAPHY, ADVERTISING ON RIGHTMOVE,
ZOOPLA AND MRANDMRSCLARKE.COM, THEIR
BOUTIQUE SERVICES INCLUDING AN OPEN HOUSE
EVENT, ALL VIEWINGS AND HANDLE THE SALE
THROUGH TO COMPLETION - FOR NO FEE.
TO ENTER ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SEND AN
EMAIL TO CONTACT@MRANDMRSCLARKE.COM
WITH YOUR NAME, FULL ADDRESS AND PHONE
NUMBER, WITH J’AIME COMPETITION AS THE
SUBJECT MATTER. THE PRIZE WINNERS WILL BE
CHOSEN NO LATER THAN JUNE 1, 2018, SO IF
YOU’RE PUTTING YOUR HOUSE ON THE MARKET
LATER IN THE YEAR YOU WILL STILL BE ELIGIBLE.
The competition is open to UK residents only, and
entrants must be the legal owners of the property they
wish to sell. The winner of the competition will enter into
a 35 week, sole selling rights agreement with Mr & Mrs
Clarke Ltd to advertise the property. If the agreement
is cancelled during the term the winner will be liable for
the marketing costs of advertising the property. Further
terms and conditions apply; visit www.mrandmrsclarke.
com and www.jaimemagazine.com for full details.
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Property of the Month
THIS MONTH’S SELECTION IS A GLORIOUSLY STYLISH GRADE II
LISTED PROPERTY WHICH OOZES PERIOD CHARM
Curborough Grange, Curborough, Lichfield: £1,250,000
On the market with Fine and Country Sutton Coldfield: 0121 272 6900
THE AGENT SAYS: Curborough Grange is a spectacular
period property, around 400 years old, offering the
tranquillity of country life yet close to an abundance of
facilities. This outstanding family home is located in the
hamlet of Curborough. Set amidst glorious open countryside,
the Grade ll listed property is presented in a private four acre
plot with beautiful gardens, paddocks and views of Lichfield
Cathedral just two miles away. Behind the grandeur of its
exterior and impressive driveway, you will find a comfortable
family home with outbuildings, a new stable block and two
The front lawns and formal rose gardens offer a delightful
pathway to the front of the property with original Minton
tiled entrance hall leading to cosy but elegant reception
rooms with an abundance of original features.
The first floor offers five double bedrooms and two
bathrooms. An additional staircase leads to the second floor
which currently provides a gym but could offer the purchaser
scope to create a further five bedrooms if required.
The four acre plot is divided into beautifully kept gardens
and two paddocks currently providing two-and-a-half acres
of grazing with modern double stable block. Double gates
open onto an impressive driveway leading to parking for a
number of vehicles with an additional parking for horsebox
screened from the main house.
THE PERIOD CHARM - AND THE
W E L O V E :
Million pound properties
WHAT DOES A COOL £1 MILLION BUY YOU IN THE CITY, VERSUS THE COUNTRY? WE PICK TWO OF OUR
FAVOURITE PROPERTIES ON THE MARKET WHICH SNEAK IN JUST UNDER A SEVEN-FIGURE BUDGET
Manor Farm House, Kings Bromley Road, Alrewas: £975,000
On the market with Parker Hall: 01283 575000
THE AGENT SAYS: An individual Grade II listed six
bedroom detached character farmhouse set within the
popular village of Alrewas, offering ample and versatile
accommodation, five double bedrooms and generous
outside space including formal walled gardens, garaging and
parking. Retaining many original features including a wealth
of exposed beams, brickwork and character doors, this
exceptional period home has been recently redecorated and
benefits from immaculately presented interiors presenting
versatile accommodation to suit a growing family.
W E L O V E :
STYLE AND BEAUTIFUL GARDENS
35-38 St Paul’s Square, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham: £995,000
On the market with Knight Frank: 0121 396 0557
THE AGENT SAYS: This elegantly restored three
bedroom Georgian townhouse is south facing with the best
views across St Pauls Square, overlooking St Pauls Church
and the gardens below. Contemporary design blends with
Georgian style; each of the spacious rooms has been designed
and decorated to bring out the very best in the unique
characteristics, with detailed features such as oak herringbone
THE FANTASTIC LOCATION AND
W E L O V E :
flooring, wall panelling,
high ceilings, deep architraves and skirtings provides a
rich canvas to which you can add your own style. High
specification kitchen with Neff and Bosch appliances and
high-quality bathroom with roll top bath and spacious walk
Winter Sale Now On ...
Sofa Gallery’s Winter Sale is well and
truly underway, offering fantastic deals
throughout the store at Watling Street,
Bridgtown. Established in 1994, Sofa
Gallery’s aim has always been to provide
customers with quality British furniture
giving you exceptional value for money.
To compliment their own prestigious bespoke
furniture range, they are also stockists of leading
manufacturers including Sherborne, G Plan, Alstons,
Parker Knoll and David Gundry amongst others.
Their aim has always been to provide customers
with quality British furniture giving you exceptional
value for money and have established
a reputation synonymous with quality.
At Sofa Gallery bespoke quality products are
manufactured using the finest materials that are all
UK-sourced. Once you have chosen your piece of
furniture from a wide selection of models, you can
select your fabric from an extensive range of over
2000 luxury examples from renowned fabric houses
such as Warwick, Jim Dickens and Romo. You are
able to specify the firmness of the seating from soft,
medium or firm and can make alterations to the
width, depth and height of the furniture guaranteeing
your total comfort.
As it can be difficult to visualise the furniture in your
own home, samples of fabrics can be provided and
you can even borrow pattern swatches to take home
making sure you have the perfect colour match.
Ian MacDonald, Managing Director says “we take
great pride in the furniture we manufacture and retail.
Every piece is made using hardwood frames which are
screwed and dowelled and sprung in the base. We
even make sure the foam we use to fill our cushions
is of outstanding quality and designed to last. This
guarantees that the inside of our products are to the
same high standard as the outside which
is extremely important.”
You can view all of Sofa Gallery’s
products online via their website –
Their Cannock showroom is open 7 days
a week. Call in and see a wide selection of
models or phone and speak to one of their
friendly sales team who will be happy to help.
Buy the BEST of British Manufacturing
Cannock Showrooms Units 4, 5 & 6 Exchange Business Estate, A5 Watling Street,
Bridgtown, Cannock WS11 0BW. (Access to rear car park via Cross Street).
Telephone: 01543 505 696 Website: www.sofagallery.co.uk
Open: Mon to Fri 9.30am - 5.30pm, Sat 10am - 5pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm. Open New Years Day
ZUIVER CONCRETE PENDULUM CLOCK,
ONE of the main focuses in recent interior design
trends has been raw materials, rather than just colours
or textures, and while concrete may not seem like the
most obvious choice, it’s quickly becoming one of the
most sought-after looks.
Concrete sinks, worktops and bathrooms have been all
the rage over the past 12 months but for 2018 the raw
material is infiltrating furniture, decorative accessories,
wallcoverings, tiles and more. Far from creating a cold,
hard atmosphere, concrete can actually help to bring
a warmer feel to your home, and using concrete gives
the perfect excuse to add soft furnishings with more
Concrete works well in a minimalist interior scheme,
but it can work just as nicely when the stone accents
are complemented by creative design touches and
plenty of contrasting texture in accessories, from soft
wool to luxe metallics and show-stopping sparkle.
The juxtaposition of this humble material with a
heightened sense of design lends a fresh feel to the
industrial chic trend which has been a firm favourite in
recent years. Start small with a hanging shelf or candle
holder and work up to wow-worthy pieces like tables
and hanging pendants, which will add an instant touch
of tough glamour to living spaces.
STORM LANTERN, THE
MARBLED CONCRETE PLANTER,
THE GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART
CADIZ SEVEN LIGHT PENDANT,
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LYON BETON PERSPECTIVE SIDE TABLE,
LYON BETON CONCRETE HAUTEVILLE COUNTER
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TOSHI MEDIA UNIT,
ATKIN AND THYME.
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TOSHI BEDSIDE TABLE, £199,
ATKIN AND THYME.
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CALL to arrange a design consultation - VISIT our showroom - VIEW our kitchens online
0121 353 4999 - www.kitchensbybroadway.co.uk - 54-56 Thornhill Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3EN
Modern estate agents,
Mr & Mrs Clarke is founded on the belief that
selling houses is actually about selling homes.
Homes that you have loved, built memories
in and cared for. It’s a process of the heart,
not the spreadsheet.
We have been selling homes across the Midlands
for years and are now delighted to announce that
we are launching in Lichfield & Sutton Coldfield.
So, if you fancy a cuppa and chat, call us on 0330 111 9766
or visit us at www.mrandmrsclarke.com
ALWAYS a popular look, botanicals had a truly
tropical vibe for 2017, with palm tree motifs
reminiscent of a Miami beach bringing a fun, holiday
feel to interiors. This trend has had an update for
the season ahead, taking on a slightly more muted
approach for the winter months. Think lots of
greenery, but in deeper tones, with rich green ferns,
forest green velvet and botanical prints in deeper
shades set to take over interior styling.
The beauty of this look is you can take it as far as
you want; either go all out with the trend or just add
subtle touches to update your style. If you’re looking
for a quick makeover, try introducing botanical print
curtains and cushions to your lounge or bedroom,
and some plant-themed prints on the wall as well as a
few succulents and cacti too. A terrarium is a perfect
addition, and if you’re feeling creative you can even
try making your own.
If you really want to make an impact, consider
adding a botanical inspired feature wall. Try painting
your focal wall a deep green or introduce a printed
wallpaper. And, of course, don’t forget the greenery.
Foliage displays and plenty of plants will help you to
really nail the look.
ZUIVER TROPICAL PALM LEAF PRINT RUG,
NOTRE MONDE SLATE DILL GLASS
TRAY, AMARA. WWW.AMARA.COM
WILD FLORA CUSHION,
MIA SAROSI RAINFOREST
TABLEWARE, FROM £28,
LAMP WITH PLANT HOLDER,
We are a family run business home to an impressive range of furniture, interior furnishings,
mirrors, accessories, antique and modern lighting and Chandeliers. We have huge
courtyards full of interesting bronze statuary, fountains, stoneware and garden items.
Open: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm. Sat: 9.30am - 5pm. Sun: 10am - 4pm
Tel: 01543 481010 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
London Rd, Lichfield WS14 0PT
blackbrook_interiors Blackbrook Interiors @BlackbrookWS14
RIPPLES NICKEL LEAF SCULPTURE,
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HOLDER, AMARA. WWW.AMARA.COM
FILIP TABLE LAMP, DAR LIGHTING.
HUDSON CHAIR IN CRETE GREEN,
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SET OF FOUR BOTANICAL
PRINTS, £308, AUDENZA.
GILLIAN ARNOLD FRIARY
MEADOW PRINT, £45, ATHENA.
MIDNIGHT PLANT POT, £12.95,
TETES D’ARTICHAUT BY FROG WALLPAPER,
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Be bold for 2018
As the New Year rolls around, thoughts of freshening
up your home abound. Whether that’s an entire
makeover, the addition of a major new piece of
furniture or simply choosing a few accent pieces to
complement your existing decor scheme the message
is clear - it’s time for a change.
For 2018, we’re seeing a definite shift in furniture
styles, according to Dave Chrisostomou, owner of
established furniture store Leather By Design.
“Here, we are trending towards modular furniture,
a versatile concept which enables small pieces to be
grouped to fit any shape, changing the character of
the space with the use of both fabric and leather,”
“2018 also sees the return to vibrant colour palettes,
encouraging us to be more daring in our choices.”
As Leather By Design enters close to its 30th year of
trading it is worth recognising how it has developed
in terms of keeping its pulse on the continued change
of the interiors marketplace - furniture has become
more of a fashion statement with colours and finishes
changing like the seasons.
Based in Cannock, Leather by Design stocks a
stunning collection of furniture from the world’s
leading and most sought after brands including
Calligaris, Aleal, Hartman, Leather Editions and
more, as well as being home to a showroom featuring
Italian-made furniture and home accessories from
renowned brand Natuzzi.
WE predicted purple’s popularity only a couple of
short months ago here at J’AIME, and it seems we
were bang on the money as the colour trend gurus at
Pantone have just announced that the mystical Ultra
Violet is their Colour of the Year for 2018. Described
as ‘a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple
shade’, Ultra Violet ‘communicates originality,
ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward
The announcement of Pantone’s Colour of the Year
sparks a flurry of activity, with fashion designers and
interiors companies quick to take their cues from the
new ‘it’ hue. We’re still seeing the influence of 2017’s
Greenery, and Ultra Violet is set to make an equally
This celestial shade, which comes in at the cooler end
of the spectrum with its underlying blue tones, brings to
mind swirling galaxies and a sense of the spiritual. The
bold Ultra Violet works well on large items like sofas,
upholstered beds, or as a striking feature wall, and
pairs beautifully with a lighter pastel purple hue. But if
you’d prefer to take on a true contrasting look, mix with
sunny yellow or pillar box red for extra opulence.
MONOCHROME PURPLE CONSOLE,
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POLKA TIERED CAKE STAND,
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HARE CLOCK, ANNABEL JAMES.
CLUB NEON ‘HELLO’ WALL LIGHT,
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SMALL LAMP, NORDIC KIND.
BAOBAB COLLECTION DISCO
TINA SCENTED 35CM CANDLE,
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ABSTRACT PRINT CUSHION,
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SHIELD SIDE TABLE, BOCA DO LOBO.
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DARLINGS OF CHELSEA.
A treasure trove for the home
A ONE-STOP DESTINATION FOR ALL YOUR HOMEWARE NEEDS, BLACKBROOK INTERIORS IS AT
THE FOREFRONT OF STYLISH INTERIOR DESIGN - AND YOU COULD WIN £500 TO SPEND IN STORE
When you step inside the doors at Blackbrook
Interiors, you’re welcomed into an Aladdin’s Cave of
beautiful, stylish, often quirky and unique pieces for
your home. The extensive showrooms roll on and on,
and as you explore each room there’s more and more
to be discovered. The walls are adorned with funky
artworks, there’s a room packed with ornate mirrors
while beautifully crafted solid wood dining tables take
Benches crafted from gym equipment and covered in
supple leather make for a striking design statement,
while cowhide makes an appearance on an extensive
range of stools, chairs and pouffes to great effect.
A collection of on-trend mid-century modern furniture
encapsulates one of the main furniture design stories
of the moment. The shapes are sleek, the materials
are pared down to create a retro modern classic look.
Look up, and the lighting ranges from sophisticated
chandeliers to enormous statement pieces which are
guaranteed to give your space the wow factor, while
a Vespa turned into a glass-topped table packs a real
With so much on offer, they truly live up to their billing
as ‘Staffordshire’s best-kept secret’.
A treasure trove of everything for your home and
garden, from furniture and lighting to decorative
accessories, quirky design touches and pieces which
will really make a statement, Blackbrook Interiors is a
home design lover’s dream.
The business is run by husband and wife team Mike
and Sue Rowan, who bring more than four decades of
experience in the antiques and homewares industry to
Mike says: “We’ve been here since 2010; my
background has always been antiques and we have a
wholesale company in Burton-on-Trent, and when this
uilding became available we decided to go into retail
to showcase the products we supply to the trade and
also have manufactured exclusively for ourselves. It’s
just grown and evolved from there.
“We started the business in 1973 and our son Ben now
runs the wholesale side from our site in Burton-on-
Trent, with Sue and myself running the retail side.
“Retail is completely different to anything I’ve ever
known before, and it was a
brave move especially in the
financial climate which was
prevalent at the time, but it’s
Blackbrook Interiors is a true
destination for everything
for the home. Situated just
outside Lichfield off the
busy A38, the extensive
showrooms are set in
beautiful 18th century
buildings which were built
by Benjamin Wyatt, father
of James Wyatt who was
architect to King George
III. James was born at what
is now Blackbrook Interiors
in 1746 and is buried in
“The buildings are all listed and make a wonderful
setting for what we’re doing here,” says Mike.
With a background in antiques - still evident in some
of Blackbrook Interiors’ offerings - it has been a
gradual move into the more interior design-led feel
which is now prevalent in the shop.
“We lived in America for five years and we had a
store over there, and that’s when we got more into the
interior design side of things,” says Mike.
Moving to the south of France also provided Mike and
Sue with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the
chic home designs which characterise the region - and
to bring those influences home when they opened
“We picked up quite a number of ideas from living
in France; French chic is hugely influential in interior
design and something which never goes out of style.
And there’s always parts of that style you can use when
you’re designing something else.”
Over the years, Mike and Sue have built up a loyal
following of customers who are drawn by their friendly
service and extensive range.
“We’ve built up a large client base and we get a lot of
repeat clients; I didn’t realise how loyal people would
become, but they do. It’s nice to be able to furnish
a whole home, or just to supply accent pieces,” says
“There’s an awful lot more in our range that we’re able
to source and offer, so even if it’s not on display here
we can find it for you.”
Staying at the forefront of interior design trends has
earned Blackbrook Interiors a reputation as a go-to for
those in the know.
“We travel all over the world buying, which is
something we’ve always done, and we’re always trying
to source new products, think about what trends are
coming up and try to keep the business competitive,”
“In April we’re launching a range of dining furniture
which encompasses concrete. There are quite a lot
of people doing concrete topped console tables and
dining tables, but we’ve gone for something a bit
different, using concrete accents like concrete facings
on sideboards and concrete accessories like mirrors
and lamps rather than concrete tops. We sourced the
range from India and it’s unique to us in the country.”
The couple, along with their son Ben, spend a lot of
time during the year travelling to far-flung destinations
in search of unique, stylish pieces and to work on
designs for Blackbrook Interiors’ own in-house ranges.
“We go to India four times a year on buying trips,
and then we work with factories to produce our own
designs,” he says.
Far Eastern destinations including Thailand, China
and Indonesia are the mainstays, as well as reimporting
products from the USA and buying from South Africa.
They also manufacture bespoke pieces here in the UK.
When it comes to designing Blackbrook’s very own
range of furniture pieces, Mike is hands-on throughout
the process. Taking influence from the greatest
designers over the centuries, Mike puts his own twist
on classics, as well as creating unique pieces which tap
into current design trends.
“We like to offer our customers something a bit
different, something unique, and with such an
extensive range here we like to think there’s something
For more information visit
J’AIME HAS TEAMED UP WITH BLACKBROOK INTERIORS TO OFFER READERS THE
CHANCE TO WIN A £500 VOUCHER TO SPEND IN STORE. OUR LUCKY WINNER
WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE THEIR HOME A STYLISH MAKEOVER, CHOOSING FROM
THE EXTENSIVE RANGE OF BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS ON OFFER.
FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THIS FABULOUS PRIZE, SIMPLY ANSWER THE
THE NEW RANGE TO BE LAUNCHED AT BLACKBROOK INTERIORS IN APRIL
ENCOMPASSES WHICH MATERIAL?
Send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number, by email to
email@example.com with Blackbrook Interiors competition as the email subject.
Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday, January 26, and our winner will be notified by
Wednesday, January 31. The voucher is valid until April 30, 2018 on full price items only. No cash
alternative is available. Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.jaimemagazine.com for further details.
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F E AT U R E
Soul star gets her fairy wings
SOUL SUPERSTAR-TURNED MUSICAL THEATRE LEADING LADY BEVERLEY KNIGHT IS RETURNING
TO HER MIDLANDS ROOTS FOR HER FIRST STINT ON THE PANTO STAGE AT THE BIRMINGHAM
HIPPODROME. SHE CHATS TO AMY NORBURY AHEAD OF THE SHOW ABOUT TURNING FAIRY
GODMOTHER AND COMING HOME FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON
IS STARRING AS THE
FAIRY GODMOTHER IN
CINDERELLA AT THE
The Wolverhampton twang may have softened
ever so slightly over the years but Beverley Knight’s
Midlands roots are still evident in her voice, even
after more than two decades of international
stardom and mixing with the music industry’s elite.
Until she starts singing, that is. Then, well, the vocals
are pure soul powerhouse.
The soul diva - although in person she’s charming,
down-to-earth and about as far away from divalike
as you can get - has spent the past 20-odd years
thrilling audiences with her sublime voice, seling
more than a million albums and singing with the likes
of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Chaka Khan - she was
even flown over to Prince’s Oscars party to perform
in front of Hollywood’s elite. Not bad for a girl from
And not content with being a superstar singer and
songwriter, Beverley has, in recent years, embarked
on something of a second career in musical theatre,
taking on several iconic roles in the West End.
So while she’s completely at home on the stage,
the latest addition to Beverley’s immense CV is
something of an unknown quantity. Until the end
of January, Beverley is starring as Fairy Godmother
in Birmingham Hippodrome’s panto spectacular
Cinderella, alongside pop star Suzanne Shaw in the
title role, soap actor and Strictly Come Dancing
finalist Danny Mac as Prince Charming and
Birmingham panto favourite Matt Slack as Buttons.
“I’ve never done panto before and it’s not something
I ever thought I’d be doing - I’ve always gone
to panto but never imagined I’d be in one so it’s
something very different for me,” says Beverley.
“Everyone’s said just to be prepared for what’s flung
at you. So in a way I don’t know what to expect
and I don’t know what’s going to be coming in my
direction. But it’ll be a good laugh, that I do know.
“Panto is so much fun; the last show I went to was
Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyric in Hammersmith
about four years ago, and it was just so lovely. Often
it’s the first experience of theatre for kids so it’s so
nice to see then having a fantastic time.”
With just an intense two-week rehearsal period
before the show, the pressure’s on, but consummate
professional Beverley is taking it all in her stride.
“I know Suzanne Shaw and I met the other cast
members when we did the launch at the Villa - never
thought I’d be at the Villa,” laughs Beverley, a proud
Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter.
“The claret and blue aren’t for me, I’m more of a
black and gold girl myself!
“I just thought they were really great fun; Matt
Slack seems like a right laugh and I’m really looking
forward to just hanging out with them.”
Birmingham was the perfect place for Beverley’s
first foray into panto; living in London and touring
all over the world means that time at home in the
Midlands is a precious commodity.
“It’s my first panto, I’ve never done it before and
I wanted to be with my family over the Christmas
period so what better way than to be able to do that
than by doing panto?” she says.
“It just all made sense. It means I get to be home for
Christmas; I don’t get to be home much so you just
grab the opportunity when it comes, I’m so chuffed.”
And Birmingham’s epic production isn’t exactly
AS GRIZABELLA IN
CATS. PHOTO BY
BEVERLEY AS FELICIA
FARRELL IN MEMPHIS.
PHOTO BY MATT CROCKETT
your run-of-the-mill pantomime - the budget stands
at a cool £5 million, the sets are magnificent, the
costumes lavish and production values world class, so
Beverley’s started right at the top of the panto heap.
The songstress has recently finished a UK tour
to showcase her critically-acclaimed 2016 album,
Soulsville. The I Love Soulsville tour was originally
planned to take place over summer 2017, but a
diagnosis of uterine fibroids in May resulted in
surgery to remove them as well as a hysterectomy
that meant Beverley had to reluctantly move all dates
to October. After a lengthy recovery, she was back to
what she does best.
“I’ve been up and down the country with the tour so
it’ll be nice to be settled in one place for a while, and
what a home to come back to,” she says. “
This will be the first time in four years I’ve had
Christmas in my neck of the woods as opposed to
being in London, or trying to get home and back
because I’m on stage, so this is going to be lovely for
Music is in Beverley’s blood; as a child she would
sing at her local church where her mother would
often lead the congregation in song, and the songs
of soul legends such as Sam Cooke and Aretha
Franklin were the soundtrack to her childhood.
She performed in amateur theatre productions at
school and with Wolverhampton Youth Theatre until
she left to embark on her singing career. So it’s no
surprise that she would one day return to the theatre
Beverley’s interest was first piqued when the script
for Memphis: the Musical landed in her lap and it
seemed like fate was leading her down a new career
“It was Sir Lenny Henry and his partner Lisa Makin
who were involved in the early days of Memphis,
and Lisa got in touch because she thought I’d be
great as the lead role of Felicia, so that’s what got
me thinking about going back to theatre in the first
place,” she says.
“It was way ahead of the show’s actual production
- they didn’t even have a theatre sorted. But then I
saw that The Bodyguard was on in London and they
were doing a complete cast change, which is unusual,
and I thought that I know those songs and I’ve had
lots of years of theatre experience in am-dram so
something just triggered and I thought it would be
nice to go back.”
Despite having no professional musical theatre
experience at all, Beverley suitably impressed and
West End impresario Michael Harrison cast her in
the lead role of Rachel Marron, following in the
footsteps of Whitney Houston’s iconic film turn.
“It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” says
Beverley. “I’m not going to lie, it was pretty nervewracking,
and there were all these critics there ready
to say how crap I was so I had a lot to show the
theatre community, to prove that I could do it.
“The dress run was more nerve-wracking than the
actual first show because that makes the whole thing
feel real. After that, I was like put the audience in
now, I’m ready.”
Beverley - and the musical theatre community
at large - needn’t have worried. Her stellar
performances in The Bodyguard led to a nomination
for Best Takeover of a Role at the Whatsonstage
Awards, and when Memphis the Musical finally hit
the stage in the West End in October 2014 Beverley
stunned in the lead role of Felicia Farrell, earning
an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a
Musical in the process.
A bona fide theatre star was born. Further West End
roles came calling; in 2015 Beverley took on the role
of Grizabella in the revival of Cats at the London
CAST AT THE PANTO
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Palladium, and when The Bodyguard
returned to London for a limited six-month
run it was Beverley who again took on the
But while Beverley is clearly excelling in her
new theatre fame, singing is where she truly
comes into her own.
“I love the camaraderie of being with
everyone in a theatre show, having a crew
around me, which is a lot of fun, but I’m
absolutely a musician, a singer, a songwriter
and arranger, that’s what I am at my
core so it’s extremely natural and just so
comfortable for me,” she says.
“Being in theatre is a lot of work; you’re
sharing the stage with a lot of people which
is beautiful, but you’re doing shows six days
a week and sometimes twice in a day, which
“When I’m on stage doing my own thing
I’m just feeling it; in the theatre production
I’m always thinking about what’s next,
what I need to be doing. It’s wonderful
though; it’s really good to do things which
As if 2017 hadn’t been hectic enough for
the Wolverhampton lass, in November
she teamed up with British singer Cassidy
Janson and American actress Amber Riley
to form a musical theatre supergroup,
known collectively as the Leading Ladies.
Their debut album, Songs from the Stage,
features covers songs from Cats, Beautiful
and Rent among others.
“We’ll see how that goes; maybe we’ll get
to tour the album, which will be fantastic if
we do,” Beverley says.
“But after that, who knows? I’ve given up
guessing, I can’t predict what I’m doing
anymore; a show could come along, a play
could come along and I’ve got to write
another album, that’s for sure!
“But I’m sure whatever I end up doing, it’ll
be a great experience!”
Beverley Knight is starring as Fairy
Godmother in Cinderella at the
Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday,
January 28. For more information and to
book tickets call the box office on
0844 338 5000 or visit
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F O O D & D R I N K
Fine dining with spice
FOR A DEFINITIVE TASTE OF THE EAST, IT’S TIME TO HEAD TO WALSALL’S
FIVE RIVERS, WHERE FINE DINING COMES ALIVE WITH ADDED SPICE
If you’re a fan of Indian food then surely you’ve paid a
visit to Walsall’s Five Rivers by now. No? Then, let me
tell you, you’re in for a treat.
This ultra-stylish eatery - which opened in 2012
- has injected some much-needed glamour and
sophistication into Walsall’s dining scene with its fine
dining approach to Indian cuisine. A curry house this
From the second you walk in, you realise that Five
Rivers is something a bit out of the ordinary, a bit
special. The waiting staff and bartenders are stylishly
clad in crisp white shirts, the tables are adorned with
crisp white linen and there’s a gleam from the polished
cutlery and sparkling glassware.
The library bar is an impressive sight, stocked with
premium spirits and Champagnes with a set of ladders
needed to access the highest reaches. This emphasis on
the finest drinks shows in Five Rivers’ mouth-watering
cocktail menu, which encompasses some innovative
in-house creations and twists on the classics.
Rather than relax in the lounge area, we opted to
watch skilled bartender Aaron craft our cocktails,
expertly measuring, pouring, muddling and shaking.
My husband ordered his all-time favourite cocktail,
the Billionaire Boys Club (£9.50) which is Five Rivers’
take on a Old Fashioned using Woodford
Reserve bourbon, Jerry Thomas bitters,
orange and homemade cola syrup - he’s
ordered it the past couple of times we’ve
dined at Five Rivers and it was the thing
he was most looking forward to. Aaron’s
version, finished with a maraschino cherry
and twist of orange zest, certainly lived up
to its billing.
My Scorched Lady (£9.50), a gin-based
concoction mixed with mandarin liqueur,
scorched orange and lemon juice with
the addition of egg white to create a
luxuriously smooth foam and an absinthe
rinse to add a hint of anise, was equally
pleasing, and we were also brought an
appetiser of spiced okra fries, which were a
lovely accompaniment to the drinks.
While the menu is much more compact
than you might find at your usual Indian
restaurant - here the focus is on quality, not quantity
- there’s still an array of mouth-watering dishes to
choose from. So we were lucky that, to give us a true
feel for Five Rivers’ style, head chef Rashpal Sunner
had devised a tasting menu (£49 per head) featuring
some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
We were shown to our cosy table by our waiter Ayas,
service all evening.
chutneys, we dived
straight into our
first course of papri
chaat, a fine dining
take on a popular
Indian street food
mixture of crisp
flour crackers with diced potatoes, chickpeas, red
onions and sev - those little chickpea noodles most
commonly found in Bombay mix - topped with sweet
yoghurt, tamarind sauce and jewels of pomegranate
was an delicious explosion of flavours and textures.
The crunch of the crackers and bite of the potatoes
and chickpeas was perfectly balanced by the smooth
yoghurt, while the tangy tamarind tempered the
It was a triumphant start, which set the standard
for things to come. The next two starter dishes were
real highlights of the meal; I loved the lobster, with
its succulently sweet meat deep fried and bound in a
tangy sauce packed with crunchy vegetables, while
the beautifully cooked chicken breast pieces - one a
traditional tikka and one with a fresh mint twist - were
a favourite of my husband.
After a refreshing palate-cleanser of lemon sorbet
it was onto the main event. For this, we were served
up a selection of dishes and accompaniments to try.
The karahi gosht - melt-in-the-mouth lamb braised
in a spicy masala of garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes,
green chillies and fresh green coriander - was rich
and flavourful, packing a nicely spicy punch, while
the chooza makhani - morsels of roasted chicken
simmered in a smooth smoked tomato, yoghurt and
cashew nut sauce - was perfect for those who like their
Indian food on the milder side.
While I’m a committed meat eater, one of my
favourite things about Indian food is the abundance of
glorious vegetarian fayre. The daal bukhara - a lentil
and kidney bean delicacy - was beautifully spiced,
and perfect for scooping up with the soft garlic and
coriander naan bread, again a delight. But it was the
restaurant’s award-winning saag Punjabi which really
hit the high notes. This dish was crowned number one
in the Hello Curry Awards hosted by Birmingham
Airport, and was created using a secret recipe from
Rashpal’s ancestral kitchen. The fresh, creamy spinach
was a real triumph.
A portion of matar pilau rice, packed with fresh
garden peas, complemented the main course dishes
Now dessert isn’t something we’d usually manage at an
Indian restaurant, so it was lovely to sample some of
Five Rivers’ homemade offerings. Presented on a slate
and chrome cake stand, the puds were picture perfect,
and tasted even better.
The strawberry cheesecake was a heavenly morsel,
and the ice cream served in a chocolate case was
luxuriously smooth. The rose scented honey-infused
gulab jamun was a little heavy and overly sweet after
such a substantial meal, however the coconut kheer
was just sublime. This thick and creamy rice pudding
infused with shavings of fresh coconut was a real
indulgence, comfort food at its best.
Five Rivers’ head chef Rashpal Sunner has an
excellent pedigree - he’s scooped a plethora
of industry awards and catered for VIPs
including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair - and
his innovative food is well worth the journey
alone. But add in the exceptional service,
stylish setting and outstanding cocktail menu,
and you’ve got a serious contender. Prices
are a little higher than at your standard curry
house - and a discretionary ten percent service
charge is automatically added to the bill - but
the old adage rings true; you get what you pay
Walsall home to fine dining? At Five Rivers, it
F O O D & D R I N K
Cocktail of the month
JULIETTE KEY, FROM LE RÊVE COCKTAIL BAR IN LICHFIELD, SERVES UP A HEALTH
CONSCIOUS COCKTAIL PERFECT FOR ANYONE ON A POST-CHRISTMAS HEALTH KICK
50ml Absolut Berry vodka
50ml coconut water
12.5ml fresh lime
25ml aloe vera Juice
5 mint leaves
1 mint sprig
Muddle mint and honey in to your
shaker, then add the rest of the
ingredients and top up with ice. Shake
vigorously, then double strain into your
glass over crushed ice, add mint sprig
*on presentation of voucher below
It’s 2018! Why not make us your new year resolution?
Now let us entertain you in our stunning bar and
fabulous restaurant throughout the remaining
cold winter months with our sumptuous a la carte
We are situated on Belwell Lane right in the heart
of the revitalised Birmingham suburb of Mere
Green and open every evening from Tuesday to
Saturday from 5pm until 10pm.
Obviously we are renowned for our steaks cooked
to order and served with two sides but did you
know we also have an amazing array of seafood to
How about sampling our monkfish starter or
juicy king prawns sautéed in garlic, chilli and
herb butter. If you can’t choose between steak
and seafood how about combining both with our
amazing Surf and Turf featuring a prime steak and
beautifully cooked and prepared lobster.
Our FSK philosophy is all about farm to table and
supporting local suppliers. Our steaks are cooked
on an open fire and all served up in welcoming and
yet unpretentious modern surroundings.
Don’t forget too our live music on Friday and
Saturday nights showcasing some of the area’s
finest musical talent.
For bookings and reservations please contact
our new manager Alvaro on 0121 323 2565 or visit
Tuesday to Thursday evenings
1-5 BELWELL LN, MERE GREEN, SUTTON COLDFIELD B74 4AB • 0121 323 2565
TUESDAY- FRIDAY 5PM TIL 11PM, SATURDAY 5PM UNTIL 12 MIDNIGHT,
SUNDAY 12 NOON UNTIL 8PM
F O O D & D R I N K
Tantalise your tastebuds
RYAN SHILTON, HEAD CHEF AT SWINFEN HALL’S AWARD-WINNING FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT,
SHARES A MOUTH-WATERING DISH FROM THEIR CURRENT MENU FOR YOU TO TRY
Recently named Independent Restaurant of the Year
at the Taste of Staffordshire Awards 2017, Swinfen
Hall’s Four Seasons restaurant is one of the jewels in the
region’s fine dining crown.
Head chef Ryan Shilton was born and raised in
Staffordshire and is determined that Swinfen’s Four
Seasons should be the flagship restaurant for the county
and a mainstay in raising Staffordshire’s culinary
profile. Although only 24 years old, Ryan - who has
held the top job at Swinfen since March 2016 - quickly
established a very accomplished and loyal brigade and
together they have built up an enthusiastic following
in the restaurant. Ryan’s precocious talent has been
recognised by the AA, awarding him three rosettes in
Red mullet with cauliflower,
fennel and baked orange
Ingredients: serves four
2 fillets of red mullet
1 bulb fennel
handful of capers
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
10ml vegetable oil
For the baked orange, peel five oranges with a
knife and segment the oranges. Put these in a
pan with the sugar and two tablespoons of white
wine vinegar, cover with foil and bake at 180
degrees for 20 minutes.
Prep the cauliflower into florets, and roast four
medium-sized florets in 50g butter until soft and
golden brown. Put the cauliflower trimmings
into a pan with the milk and cooked until soft
then drain the milk, add 100g butter and blitz
Make a dressing out of the zest and juice of
the remaining orange, 10ml vegetable oil and 2
tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
Thinly slice the fennel and pour the orange
Cook the red mullet in a non-stick frying pan on
a medium heat for two minutes skin side down,
take the pan off the heat and flip the fish over to
gently finish for 30 seconds.
Serve the red mullet with the roasted cauliflower,
cauliflower puree, fennel and baked orange, and
garnish with capers.
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MANUFACTURERS INCLUDING BEST SELLING
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- RE-UPHOLSTERY SERVICE AVAILABLE -
STOCKISTS OF FABRICS BY HARLEQUIN, ROMO & SCION.
WALLCOVERINGS BY CASELIO & HARLEQUIN.
Langan Carpets & Interiors
Telephone: 0121 308 8998 - langancarpetsandinteriors.co.uk
1 Cremorne Walk, Lichfield Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, B75 5AL
Specialists In Wooden Flooring
WOODEN FLOOR RESTORATION • SAND & SEALING SERVICE
FOR ALL WOODEN FLOORS • STOCKISTS OF ALL FLOOR
CLEANING PRODUCTS INCLUDING WOOD CLEANING
Meet friends and
family for lunch
Fresh Berries & Fromage
Frais, Salmon & Cream
Cheese or for larger appetites
we have Smokey Bacon,
Cheese & Mushrooms.
With over 40 sweet and
savoury options you’re
sure to find a taste to suit
Join us Tuesday - Sunday for
an authentic French crêperie
Daytime set menu
Tuesday - Thursday
French onion soup with bread
to start followed by a savoury
galette of ham & cheese or
mushroom stroganoff or leek
with cream and cheese plus an
Mushroom Stroganoff with extra salad
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
Telephone: 0121 308 3895
Fax: 0121 323 2182 • www.langancarpetsandinteriors.co.uk
1 Cremorne Walk, Lichfield Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, B75 5AL
T R AV E L
Memoirs of a teenage farang
AS HE MAKES PLANS TO RETURN TO THAILAND YEARS AFTER LIVING THERE AS
A TEENAGER, ANDREW YOUNGSON GETS IN A NOSTALGIC FRAME OF MIND
THE STUNNING BANYAN TREE
The motorbike buzzed along the dark side streets
barely slowing for speed bumps and stray dogs. With
hands planted on the bar behind my back, I clung to
the slim bike in a state of hazy exhilaration.
My parents had made me promise never to take
one of these dangerous two wheeled taxis. That was
part of it. But it was more than betraying their trust
which made my teenage heart skip.
It was 3am in Bangkok, and the sting of the sun was
gone but the air was still thick and clammy. Only the
air whipping past the goateed rider and me kept me
from perspiring. The smells that had once been so
alien and overpowering – the sharp garlic tang of the
street vendors’ dishes, the juicy bursts of jasmine, the
cloying wafts from the drains – were suddenly part of
This city, with its 10 million residents who bustled
from A to B to Z at all hours of the day, its logjammed
traffic systems, its East-meets-West jumble
of philosophy and commerce, were in my blood. And
it felt wonderful.
When I think back on my few years living in
Thailand, this is the first memory which comes back
to me. Odd when I think of it. From the ages of
16 to 18, I completed my final years of high school
in the heart of Bangkok in an international school
where I made lifelong friends with fellow teens from
across the planet. I lived the privileged life of a
‘farang’ (Thai for foreigner), an expat with pocket
money that allowed me to live like a prince - well, a
prince of shopping malls, cinemas, eateries and neon
On school trips and family holidays I was able to
explore Thailand, from the verdant hills and snaking
waterways of the north, to the powder white sands
of the southern islands. Five star hotels, orchid-lined
resorts, the finest of eastern dining – all were laid out
for me to sample. Me. A skinny, pale, short kid from
Such luxury. But it’s that night on the back of a rusty
motorcycle which immediately springs to mind when
I reflect on my Thailand chapter more than 15 years
ago. The night that the Land of Smiles entered my
My nostalgia is coming back in palpable waves at the
moment because I’m planning my return as I write.
Next October, my family and I will take the 11-anda-half-hour
flight to Bangkok to reacquaint ourselves
with the place we once called ‘home’.
But what can we expect from the trip? Where do
we want to go on this pilgrimage? What will have
changed in the years we’ve been away? The islands,
the city, the north; all three are top of our list. And as
we look into each area to plan our trip, as we delve
into researching accommodation and experiences,
I am drawn back into my memories of my youth in
For the briefest of moments, the Filipina singer
glanced in my direction. I had already been
spellbound by her soft vocalisations for some time,
but when our eyes connected momentarily across the
dining room, I felt so special.
Stylish, serene and propped up against a stool
next to a grand piano. She was like the physical
manifestation of the very best parts of my long
weekend retreat to Phuket. The island’s beautiful
beaches, crystal clear waters and exotic
wildlife given human form. And on this, our
last night before flying home, I was already
Not that it had been the easiest of trips. The
beauty of the five star resort my parents
and I were treated to – my stepdad Ian had
won a two-night stay in a private villa in
the Banyan Tree resort – was juxtaposed
with my poor mother’s terrible bout of
Ian and I felt guilty as heck luxuriating in
our private pool, going for trips to see the
stunningly mountainous geography, and
haggling for trinkets in the Patong beach
markets without her. But thankfully by the
last full day and night on the island off the
Southwestern coast of the mainland, all
three of us were able to step out into the
sun together and bask in the delights of the
I don’t remember much more about the
trip. But the serenity of the resort sticks
in my mind. I remember walking for a
long stretch of the shoreline, the waters
quietly lapping at my feet, the sun beating
down upon me, the wind gently keeping
my forehead cool. It sounds like a cliché,
but when I turned around, mine were the
only footprints to be seen. Perhaps we
were off season. Maybe we had just hit a
quiet weekend. But for that walk along the
beach, Phuket was mine alone.
John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane is jumbled
up with my memories of the island. The Filipina
performer had been softly singing it as we left the
restaurant on our final night. I caught her eye and
instinctively raised a hand to wave. The corners of
her mouth raised slightly. She waved back. I felt like
a billion baht.
“Field trips aren’t like this at home,” I mused
inwardly as our wooden raft glided ever closer to
the epicentre of the Golden Triangle. Back home,
I had taken bus trips to Edinburgh Zoo and eaten
sandwich spread-filled packed lunches in York. I
loved those trips, but this was different.
Here I was paddling along the mighty Mekong River
with a small handful of my geography classmates,
seeing the convergence point of Thailand, Myanmar
and Laos with our own eyes. Looking past the pofaced
armed guards on the banks, I was amazed by
the significance of this landmark, and the majesty of
the wide river.
BUDDHISTS IN BANGKOK
ANDREW ON A CLASS
FIELD TRIP TO CHIANG RAI
In fact, the river was our main reason for being in
Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand.
Our module in geography class that term was on the
morphology of waterways and its impact on tourism.
So why wouldn’t we hop on a minibus and take a
13-hour trip from Bangkok to see these processes in
I remember the knot in my stomach the night
before we went on our trip. I was a fairly immature
17-year-old at the time, and the prospect of a trek far
from home into the wilds of the country made me
anxious. But as with all new experiences where the
bonds of friendship tighten, anxiety soon gave way to
the thrill of sharing an adventure.
Over the coming days, my classmates and I walked
with elephants in the jungle, slept in a beautiful cabin
in the woods, ate delicious Lanna dishes (the cuisine
native to northern Thailand), and glided along the
Mekong on wooden rafts.
I couldn’t tell you much about the geography lessons
I learned on the field trip. How fast the river flowed,
the genus of the trees, the geology of the dramatic
mountains. No idea. But I remember the beauty
of the scenery, the amazing meals, the smiles and
camaraderie. More than enough to whet my appetite
Chaweewan had a point – I
did want to blend in with the
crowd. To be a real Thai boy.
Life in Bangkok was a mixed
bag. The luxury of the expat
lifestyle jarred with the
exhausting humidity, milelong
traffic jams, and polluted
air (back in the late 1990s,
Bangkok was one of the most
polluted cities in the world). For
an Aberdonian boy who was
used to space and fresh cold air,
it took a long time to adjust.
But when I was over the culture
shock, something infectious
about the city gripped me:
the joy of melting into the
streaming crowds in the bustling streets; leaving
an air-conditioned showing at the local cinema
multiplex, and out into the warm embrace of the
night air; ascending to the roof terrace of our
10-storey apartment block, and bathing in the orange
haze and incandescent glitter of the night-time
Again, I hold my hands up and own my privilege.
Thailand is a country where a tourist’s money can
go a long way. But for an expatriate whose stepfather
worked in the oil industry during the boom of
the late ‘90s, the doors opened that much wider.
Bangkok is famous for its backpacking district where
a little cash goes far, but like the five-star resorts of
the country’s islands, the city boasts just as many
luxurious getaways within its busy walls.
Often housed within the sky-scraping towers of
major hotel brands – your Dusit Thanis, Anantaras
THE GOLDEN TEMPLE,
“Why have you dyed your hair black?”
As I slumped my shoulder bag full of school
books down on the desk, my Thai teacher Khun
Chaweewan berated me, shock written across her
“Here you are, in an international school with people
from all over the world. And you just want to look
Thai,” she laughed incredulously.
Maybe I was just a teenager who had discovered
hair dye, piercings and tattoos. But maybe Khun
and Mandarin Orientals – some of the city’s top
dining and relaxation experiences can be found.
My mind immediately flashes back to sipping on a
cocktail in Vertigo, the appropriately-named 61stfloor
bar of the Banyan Tree on Sathorn Road. I also
think of eating the most wonderful Sunday brunch at
Trader Vics, with its live music, and stunning views
across the mighty Chao Phraya river. And this is
to say nothing of experiencing the opulence of the
Grand Palace, the floating markets, and Wat Pho
with its golden reclining Bhudda.
Whenever I hear of friends and acquaintances
talking of their holidays to Thailand, Bangkok rarely
features in their highlights. I get it. The beaches,
forests and clear blue waters are hard to compete
with. But for me, the neon thrum of the nation’s
capital is where my thoughts always come to rest.
So many memories, so much expectation. When I
return to Thailand in October it’s going to be nighimpossible
to avoid comparing the country to my
rose-tinted recollections. They key will be to find new
Sure, when I’m in Bangkok I’ll visit the old haunts,
and reminisce with my family. But that can only be
part of the journey. Why fly for half a day when I
can make the trip in my memories right now?
And so, this is why I open my arms out to the
RB Collection team. Whether it’s returning to a
honeymoon location, reliving the adventures of a
gap year, or returning to the site of one’s youth,
they’re used to handling the weight of people’s travel
expectations. They know how to find new angles and
I’ll let them sit in the driver’s seat. I’ll just cling on
and let the humid night air take me back.
Andrew is currently planning his return visit to Thailand with
RB Collection of Boley Park, Lichfield. You can do by calling
them on 01543 258631. Appointments recommended.
J’aime reader offer
MENTION J’AIME WHEN BOOKING YOUR
THAILAND HOLIDAY BEFORE JANUARY 31,
2018 AND RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY
THAI COOKBOOK. APPLICABLE TO NEW
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
Don’t miss your last chance to catch the Garrick’s
riotous festive feast with the last few performances of
Aladdin! Already showing to be just as successful as the
previous sell-out show Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin has
been hitting the high notes for family fun. CBeebies
Cat Sandion stars in the role of Jasmine, while Sam
Rabone and Ben Thornton are bringing the laughs
to Lichfield as Dame Widow Twankey and Wishee
Washee with stellar performances. Aladdin promises
to be spectacular, top-quality entertainment with the
emphasis on strong casting, high production values and
a genuinely funny script. For more details call 01543
412121 or visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com
Arts presents Stevie
WHEN: January 14
The critically acclaimed blues musician Stevie Nimmo
and his band will make their Lichfield Guildhall
debut this month. Stevie Nimmo has been successfully
recording and touring for the last two decades.
Born and raised in Glasgow, there was always music
around as Stevie grew up. Stevie never had any guitar
or singing lessons but throughout the family there were
plenty of people who sang or played some kind of
instrument to learn from. Early success came with his
brother Alan in the Nimmo brothers, one of the leading
bands on the British blues circuit. In January 2010 Stevie
recorded his first solo album The Wynds of Life at The
Zone recording Studios outside Austin, Texas with an
A-list of Austin’s finest musicians, and Stevie’s second
album Sky Won’t Fall was released in March 2016 and
has gone on to garner reviews including ‘Blues album
of the Year’. For more details call 01543 262223 or visit
The Magic of Motown
Music fans are invited to the
biggest party of the year as the
unstoppable Magic of Motown
show steams into town! Seen
by over a million people, it’s no
surprise that the show is one of
the biggest success stories in British theatre history, even
performing for Her Majesty the Queen, as special guests
at the Royal Variety Performance.
Prepare yourself for 40 back-to-back classic Motown
hits, glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves
and outstanding musicianship in this explosive concert
experience. Celebrate the sound of a generation as the
timeless music of Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie
Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four
Tops, Martha Reeves, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson
and more, are sensationally recreated for you by an
exceptionally talented cast and band. To book tickets
call 01543 412121 or visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com.
Quality flooring at affordable prices
Abingdon, Adam’s, Associated Weavers, Axminster, Brintons, Brockways,
Cormar, Crucial Trading, Penthouse, Ulsters, Karndean & Project Floors
Free estimates ✔ Free advice ✔ Free quotations ✔
Furniture moved ✔ Our own regular fitters ✔
Natural looking Majestic and Impressive (Ultra) laminate
floors have a water repellent ‘Hydroseal’ coating even in
the grooves so no water can penetrate.
Please see our website for further details www.tatlowcarpets.co.uk
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
A fAmily business of three generAtions
We design, manufacture and install bespoke traditional and modern kitchens to suit you and your lifestyle.
CALL to arrange a design consultation - VISIT our showroom - VIEW our kitchens online
0121 353 4999 - www.kitchensbybroadway.co.uk - 54-56 Thornhill Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3EN
Moor Hall Hotel
January 20 and 27
Join the team at Moor Hall on Saturday, January 20 or
Saturday, January 27 asthey prepare to celebrate the
birthday of Scotland’s best loved bard.
The evenings include all that is best from the north of
the border; a traditional piper to escort the haggis, a
delicious four course dinner with a Scottish flavour and
dancing to an authentic ceilidh band. Tickets are priced
at £39.50 per person, including a four course dinner and
entertainment or £145 for two people to include the full
Burns Night celebration dinner and entertainment and
an overnight stay with full English breakfast. Dress to
impress in lounge suit or why not get into the spirit of the
celebration by wearing a traditional kilt? To book tickets
call Moor Hall on 0121 334 2313 or visit
Birmingham Philharmonic’s last concert at Sutton
Coldfield Town Hall formed part of the ‘Save the Town
Hall Campaign’. Three years on then and, whisper it
quietly, the Town Hall is back, looking firmly on the path
to salvation. So it is under far happier circumstances that
Birmingham Philharmonic are welcomed back to Sutton
Coldfield for their 2018 concert, An Invitation to the
Under the expert eye of conductor, Richard Laing, this
will without doubt be a night of musical marvels. The
performance will open with Weber’s ‘Invitation to the
Dance’ before moving onto pieces by Prokofiev and
Tchaikovsky to Kodaly and Strauss – among esteemed
others. For more details and to book tickets call 0121 296
9543 or visit www.townhallsuttoncoldfield.co.uk.
WHAT: An Evening with
WHERE: Lichfield Garrick
WHEN: January 27
Pam Ayres has been making
the nation laugh for more than
40 years. A writer, broadcaster,
and entertainer, she is the
author of several best-selling poetry collections, including
The Works, With These Hands, Surgically Enhanced
and You Made Me Late Again! Funny and warm,
her charming understated manner belies a rare comic
precision. Her hair-trigger timing, her eye for the absurd
details of everyday life, and unforgettable turn of phrase,
combine to make her a true national treasure.
Pam is a regular face on television, and recent radio
broadcasts include Just A Minute, Loose Ends, and five
of her own series of Ayres On The Air for Radio 4. Aged
69, Pam is still one of the most popular female comedians
performing in UK theatres, and the Lichfield show this
month looks set to be a sell-out. To book tickets call 01543
412121 or visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com.
WHAT: Live Life on Broadway
WHERE: Lichfield Cathedral
WHEN: January 27
There will be a fabulous evening of entertainment in
the beautiful setting of Lichfield Cathedral when local
adult and youth choirs and musicians join together to
celebrate and raise funds for the Live Life Give Life
charity through the music of Broadway. All proceeds
of the evening will go to the Live Life Give Life charity,
who raise awareness of organ donation.
The music on the night will be brought to you by four
choirs, all performing a range of songs from famous
Broadway musicals; the Lichfield-based Kaleidoscope
female voice choir, Stagecoach Lichfield, Lichfield
Cathedral Youth and Young Voices choir and
Birmingham-based Half Circle Singers.
Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s plus
a small booking fee, and refreshments will be available
to buy including prosecco and soft drinks. For more
details and to book tickets call 01543 306100 or 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.
J’aime is recruiting!
WE’RE LOOKING FOR RELIABLE PEOPLE TO DISTRIBUTE J’AIME
TO HIGHER VALUE HOMES IN LICHFIELD. IF YOU CAN COMMIT
TO WORKING AT THE END OF EACH MONTH THEN WE’D LOVE
TO HEAR FROM YOU.
FOR MORE DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT
JAN ASHLEY ON 07388 335931
LO CA L A R E A
on Second City
A LOOK AT SOME OF THE BIGGEST AND BEST
EVENTS TO COME TO BIRMINGHAM THIS MONTH
Scamp Theatre’s delightful adaptation of Julia
Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hugely popular
children’s book Stick Man returns for the festive period.
Touching, funny and utterly original, this awardwinning
production features a trio of top actors and
is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky
The performance on Sunday, January 7 at 3pm is a
Relaxed Performance; Relaxed Performances are open
to everyone but are specifically designed for people with
an autistic spectrum condition, a learning disability or
sensory and communication disorder. To book tickets
call 0121 780 3333 or visit www.thsh.co.uk.
WHEN: Until January 13
You know the book and film, now experience the magical
story of The Hundred and One Dalmatians live on stage.
Pongo and Missis enjoy an idyllic life with their humans,
Mr and Mrs Dearly. Then one day, the house is filled with
the patter of tiny paws when Missis gives birth to a litter
of adorable puppies. But just as the Dearlys get used to
their new housemates, the puppies mysteriously vanish.
Pongo and Missis set out on an adventure to find the
missing puppies, and their quest leads them to the vicious
Cruella de Vil. She hates dogs but loves fur coats and has
set her sights on a certain black and white spotty pattern...
Dodie Smith’s delightful tale is the perfect family treat
and has been brilliantly transformed for the stage by
Debbie Isitt, the writer and director of the hugely popular
Nativity! films. For more details call 0121 236 4455 or visit
The Sound of Music
New Alexandra Theatre
January 16 to 20
One of the greatest musicals of all time returns to the
stage in this magnificent five star production to enchant
the young and the young at heart. The Sound of
Music tells the true story of the world famous singing
family, from their romantic beginnings and search for
happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom at the
start of WWll.
Lucy O’Byrne returns to the iconic role of Maria
in which she was hailed by critics as ‘Quite possibly
the best Maria since Julie Andrews herself’. Joining
as the dashing Captain Von Trapp is TV and stage
favourite Neil McDermott, best known as heartthrob
Ryan Malloy in EastEnders. To book tickets call
0844 871 3011 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/
January 19 to 21
TV judge Darcey Bussell, comedian Susan Calman
and double Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock
will be waltzing into Birmingham this month for five
supersized spectacular Strictly Come Dancing Live
shows. The 2018 live shows will mark the first time
that Darcey has appeared as a judge on the tour and
she will join fellow judges Craig Revel Horwood and
The show will also see the welcome return of reigning
Strictly Champion Ore Oduba as host, and more
celebrities and professional dancers from the hugely
popular 15th series of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC
One will be donning their dancing shoes as they take
to the floor for the highly anticipated tour. To book
tickets call 0844 3388222 or visit
WHAT: Chris Rock -
WHEN: January 25
Grammy and Emmy
director, writer and
producer Chris Rock brings his Total Blackout tour to
Birmingham this month as part of his first UK tour in
Since coming to prominence as a cast member of
Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s, Chris Rock has
starred in films including the Madagascar franchise
and Grown Ups and its sequel, hosted the Oscars,
produced critically acclaimed television shows and
appeared on Broadway, as well as earning a reputation
as one of the greatest ever stand-up comics. Lauded
by peers and critics alike, Chris Rock is one of our
generation’s strongest comedic voices and has created
many pivotal pop culture moments. With a career
spanning more than three decades, Chris Rock is a
true icon. To book tickets call 0844 3388222 or visit
Ed Byrne -
Most recently seen on Dara and Ed’s Road To
Mandalay and various episodes of Mock The Week,
Irish comedian Ed Byrne has become a household
name from his multiple BBC TV appearances. TV
career aside, his live work has built up legions of fans.
Ed remains the observational stand up to see and his
live work is not to be missed!
During his 20 years in comedy, Ed has enjoyed huge
critical and popular success in the UK and Ireland.
He has performed hit tours, sold out many runs at the
Edinburgh Fringe, had a successful two-week run in
the West End and appeared on radio, television, the
stage and the big screen. To book tickets call 0121 780
3333 or visit www.thsh.co.uk.
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.
Join the nation’s favourite ballroom couple as they
return with an exciting new show for 2018. Anton
du Beke and Erin Boag’s annual visit is one of the
highlights of the Symphony Hall calendar.
The duo’s breath-taking show features dazzling new
choreography, sparkling costumes and a sensational
show band performing timeless music such as
Somewhere in Time, Cry Me a River, Mr Bojangles,
New York, New York and much more. Anton and
Erin will be joined by six world class ensemble dancers
and the full 25-piece London Concert Orchestra,
conducted by Richard Balcombe and with vocals from
Lance Ellington. To book tickets call 0121 780 3333
or visit www.thsh.co.uk.
FA S H I O N
Best foot forward
IT’S NOT WINTER WITHOUT THE PROMISE OF A NEW PAIR OF BOOTS - OR THREE! - ON THE
HORIZON. AMY NORBURY ROUNDS UP SOME OF THIS SEASON’S STYLE WINNERS
THIS season’s boots are made for walking, wearing
and wowing, with classic styling, bold colours and
head-turners all vying for attention across the catwalks
and high streets.
Boots are the ubiquitous footwear choice for winter,
but this season they’re not just a blank canvas to
complement your winter wardrobe; they’re here to
take make style waves in their own right.
This season’s penchant for showy boots is mostly
thanks to those jaw-dropping Swarovski crystalencrusted
slouchy Saint Laurent beauties which
immediately made it to the top of every fashion
editor’s wish list after their debut at the AW17 Paris
Fashion Week. And while the nearly £7,000 price tag
might be a step too far for most of us mere mortals,
their influence has been far-reaching, with elements of
the already iconic design seen all over the high street
While blinged up boots are great for making
a statement, if you’re looking for a more solid
investment then focus on the Saint Laurent boots’
deliciously slouchy silhouette and the funky yet
practical Eighties-style cone heel, both of which can
be found on boots galore this season. The slouch lends
a casual air, perfect for throwing on with an oversized
jumper dress or over leggings or super-skinny jeans for
easy peasy daytime styling, and the cone heel gives just
that little hint of glam as opposed to a flat boot, while
still being comfortable enough for all-day wear.
Classic styles are back at the forefront, albeit with a
slight twist. You really can’t go wrong with a blockheeled
knee-high pair, but instead of the usual black
or tan leather, opt for a rich burgundy or ditch leather
altogether in favour of soft suede or velvet. The same
applies to ankle boots; while the shape is a total classic,
look out for hot red, funky prints and the season’s boot
colour du jour - white. Forget the issue of practicality,
white boots were spotted all over the AW17 catwalks
and show no signs of going away any time soon.
If you’re sticking to safe, solid colours then
embellishments including buckles, shearling and
cowgirl-style stitching all add a little something extra.
If you invested well last year and are only in need of
one new boot style this season, make it the pointed,
thin-heeled sock boot. These second-skin, easy-topull-on
boot and sock hybrid are light as air on the
foot and give the ultra-flattering illusion of super slim
ankles due to their stretchy hugging effect. With ankle,
knee high and even thigh-high versions, they’ll keep
you toasty warm all winter long.
KNEE HIGH BOOTS,
OSHA RED SUEDE
VEGAS GREY SUEDE
SLOUCH KNEE HIGHS,
PERRU TAN ANKLE
J BY JASPER CONRAN
ARUBA LEOPARD PRINT
ANKLE BOOTS, OFFICE.
ROCKERR TAN LINED
FA S H I O N
NEED A BOOST TO KICKSTART YOUR NEW YEAR FITNESS REGIME? AMY NORBURY
ROUNDS UP SOME OF THE MOST STYLISH SPORTSWEAR OPTIONS WHICH MAY JUST
CONVINCE YOU THAT IT’S TIME TO HIT THE GYM
LET’S face it, for the next few months our mornings
are going to be cold, dark and dreary. Therefore, the
last thing we want to do is haul ourselves out of bed
an hour earlier in order to go to the gym, right?
Well, tracking down some fashion forward, functional
threads may just help to convince you otherwise.
Investing in some hot new gym wear is a sure-fire
way to up your motivation levels and fill you with
the enthusiastic energy you need to kickstart your
Forget the dull grey jogging bottoms of yesteryear,
today you can make a real fashion statement while
you’re pounding the pavements or pumping iron.
In recent years sportswear has taken on a seriously
stylish tone - and no more so than at Puma, where
they welcomed none other than pop superstar and
style icon Rihanna as creative director. Her Fenty x
Puma range has seen sportswear cross over into high
fashion, becoming a hit all over the catwalks and
seeing designers such as Alexander Wang follow in
the ‘althleisure’ trend which incorporates sportswear
into everyday dressing.
While the Rihanna influence has created a stunning
collection, if not all that practical for participating
in actual sports, Puma’s latest collaboration with
American singer and actress Selena Gomez has been
designed with performance in mind. The Phenom
collection, which hit the shops just last month,
combines a gorgeous aesthetic with technology which
keeps comfort, support and manoeuvrability at the
So what do you need to look out for when you’re
shopping for your new gym wardrobe?
When it comes to trainers, fit and functionality are
everything. Poorly fitted trainers can do more harm
than good, so it’s important to get fitted properly
to ensure your kicks of choice are suitable for the
activity you’re doing, be it high-impact sports,
running or gentler sessions in the gym.
For effective exercising, comfort is key. There’s
nothing worse than feeling restricted in your workout
by unsuitable clothing. Opt for leggings and vests
which fit closely to the body for maximum range
of movement and look out for functional materials
which draw sweat away from your body to keep
you dry and comfortable throughout your training
session. A solid sports bra is a must too, whatever
And if you’re going to be road running in the dark
then neon colours are a funky, fashionable and also
safety-conscious choice since brights make you more
Tick the boxes for comfort and style and you’ll be
ready to hit the ground running - and probably want
to stay in your gymwear all day long.
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AND TOP, £120,
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WE ARE NOW OFFERING A J’AIME
SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE. IF YOU
DON’T LIVE IN OUR DISTRIBUTION
AREA BUT WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE
A COPY OF J’AIME 11 TIMES A YEAR
THEN GET IN TOUCH!
OUR ‘NOT TO BE MISSED’ END OF SEASON
SALE STARTS DECEMBER 28TH AT 10AM
MANY ITEMS HALF PRICE OR LESS
JUST £22 A YEAR TO COVER POSTAGE COSTS.
FOR FURTHER DETAILS.
DECEMBER 28TH TO DECEMBER 30TH 10AM TO 5PM
NEW YEARS EVE 10AM TO 2.30PM, NORMAL HOURS
RESUME TUESDAY JANUARY 2ND 2018
Heart of the Country Shopping Village
Unit 11 Swinfen, Lichfield WS14 9QR
T: 01543 480971 - www.boutiqueeleven.co.uk
S A L O N S
T H R O U G H O U T
WITH EVERY FULL PRICE CUT AND FINISH*
Lewis Moore Salons
5 Coleshill Street
Birmingham B72 1SD
Phone: 0121 354 7907
Lewis Moore Salons
41 Boundary Road
Hundred Acre Estate
West Midlands B74 2JR
Phone: 0121 353 2875
of the Year
*Terms and conditions apply. A skin allergy test will be required 48 hours prior to any colour service.
CO M P E T I T I O N
A New Year style makeover
AS A FINALIST FOR THE MIDLANDS HAIRDRESSER OF THE YEAR AT THE RECENT BRITISH HAIRDRESSING
AWARDS, SUTTON COLDFIELD’S LEWIS MOORE IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS - AND YOU COULD
WIN A NEW YEAR HAIR MAKEOVER AT ONE OF HIS SALONS, WORTH £150
The British Hairdressing Awards are the hair industry
Oscars, the gold standard for stylists all over the
country, and the Midlands Hairdresser of the Year
category seeks to recognise the most inspiring stylists
in the region, catapulting the finalists into the upper
echelons of the nation’s very best hairdressing talent.
It is not the first time that Lewis has been in the
running for the prestigious title - in 2010 Lewis entered
and won Midlands Hairdresser of the Year, and was
also a finalist in 2014.
Being a previous winner, Lewis’s collection for the
latest awards entry, titled Futurism, sought to push
boundaries and make a real statement. Inspired by
the Italian social and artistic movement of Futurism,
Lewis used the architecture and design aspects of the
movement for his inspiration to create a collection of
stunning looks using strong graphic and defined outline
shapes with overlapping and contrasting textures.
With more than 30 years of experience in the industry,
Lewis Moore is one of the Midlands’ brightest
hairdressing stars. Starting out working in a small
salon in his hometown of Cannock, Lewis moved to
a national company for three years before spending
more than 20 years working for the renowned
Lewis started as a stylist and worked his way up
to multiple franchisee with four salons in Streetly,
Aldridge, Tamworth and Buxton. In 2012 Lewis left
Francesco’s to set up Lewis Moore Salons in Sutton
Lewis’s vision is to create a small group of salons
with a boutique feel, personal but very professional,
offering an ethos of ‘affordable luxury’. As well as
his two successful salons in Sutton Coldfield and
Streetly, which opened in late 2015, Lewis endeavours
to open future salons throughout the Birmingham,
Staffordshire and West Midlands areas and is
continually looking to train and employ willing staff to
join his unique team.
Lewis is also a member of the Joico European design
team, travelling extensively throughout Europe
educating and inspiring through seminars and shows
for the Joico brand as well as being involved and
creatively leading his teams at salons in the Midlands.
He is one of eight of in the Joico design team that
represent the brand throughout the UK and Europe
teaching, attending brand shoots as well as shows.
For more details visit www.lewismooresalons.
co.uk or to book an appointment call the
Sutton Coldfield salon on 0121 354 7907 or the
Streetly salon on 0121 353 2875.
J’AIME HAS TEAMED UP
WITH LEWIS MOORE TO
OFFER READERS THE
CHANCE TO WIN £150 TO
SPEND ON HAIRDRESSING
SERVICES AT HIS SALONS
IN SUTTON COLDFIELD
AND STREETLY. OUR LUCKY
WINNER WILL BE TREATED
TO A NEW YEAR HAIR
MAKEOVER, COURTESY OF
LEWIS AND HIS TALENTED
TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE
OF WINNING THIS
FANTASTIC PRIZE, SIMPLY
ANSWER THE FOLLOWING
WHICH ITALIAN SOCIAL
AND ARTISTIC MOVEMENT
MOORE’S LATEST BRITISH
Send your answer, along with your
name, address and telephone
number, by email to
with Lewis Moore competition as
the email subject. Entries must
be received by 5pm on Friday,
January 26, and our winner will be
notified by Wednesday, January
31. The winner should be aware
that a skin allergy test will be
required 48 hours before any
colour service. No cash alternative
is available. Terms and conditions
apply. Visit www.jaimemagazine.
com for further details.
B E AU T Y
THE BLEAK MIDWINTER IS THE PERFECT TIME TO GIVE YOUR SKIN SOME MUCH NEEDED TLC. AFTER A
TIRELESS ROUND OF OVER INDULGENCE, LATE NIGHT PARTYING AND ONE TOO MANY GLASSES OF
CHAMPAGNE, IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE STRESSES AND STRAINS OF THE FESTIVE PERIOD START TO SHOW.
TO HELP RECAPTURE YOUR RADIANCE LISA PIDDINGTON FROM HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM REVEALS
THE BEST RESOLUTIONS FOR A BEAUTIFUL START TO 2018
1: REMOVE YOUR
golden rule – take
everything off at the end
of every day! Go to bed
with left over makeup still
on your face and those
clogged pores create the
ideal environment for a
Sisley Eau Efficace
makeup remover, £77.
2: EXFOLIATE: Get
deep down and dirty with a
powerhouse cleansing scrub.
Exfoliating not only removes
dead cells but also allows new
ones to appear, leaving you with
skin that’s as soft as a baby’s
Rodial super acids x-treme
after party scrub, £45.
back into your skin is
essential, especially at
this time of the year.
As well as making sure
you drink copious
amounts of water, look
for products that offer
plenty of fluid as well.
4: FIGHT THE
WRINKLES: As the cold
weather dries out our skin,
it’s easy to spot wrinkles
and fine lines... ones that
no amount of makeup can
hide. Opt for an innovative
anti-ageing formula that
reduces the appearance of
wrinkles while smoothing
and plumping skin.
wrinkle lifting serum,
5: SHOW YOUR HAIR SOME
LOVE: Your crowning glory may
well be looking a little lacklustre as
you kick start the new year – signs
that your skin isn’t the only victim of
the cold weather. Look for products
that will boost your locks, rejuvenate
brittle and damaged hair, and leave
you with a silky smooth finish.
Aveda Damage Remedy daily
hair repair, £24.50.
6: SHOW YOUR HANDS
SOME LOVE: Hiding your hands
away in gloves for the last couple
of months is no excuse to let your
beauty regime slip. Ensure your
nails and hands are treated daily to
Elemis sweet orchid hand &
nail cream, £20
ALL PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE GROUND FLOOR BEAUTY HALL
AT HARVEY NICHOLS, THE MAILBOX AND ONLINE AT HARVEYNICHOLS.COM.
H E A LT H
Help for hearing
INDEPENDENT AUDIOLOGIST STEVEN HALE, OF STEVEN HALE HEARING IN SUTTON COLDFIELD,
TAKES A LOOK AT HOW TECHNOLOGY IS TRANSFORMING THE TREATMENT OF HEARING LOSS
What’s new in the world of hearing aids?
“The advent of digital hearing aids many years ago
changed the hearing aid industry. Hearing aids are
no longer ‘simple amplifiers’, they have become tiny
computers which control what you do or don’t hear.”
Has new technology changed the way you test
your patients’ hearing?
“Because not everyone’s ears are the same, we can
no longer rely on just doing a simple hearing test.
New technology is available which allows us to
complete a full range of hearing assessments so we
can recommend the most effective hearing aid. These
Pure Tone Audiometry hearing test – which is a
behavioral test to measure hearing sensitivity. Pure
tone threshold (PTTs) indicate the softest sound
audible to an individual at least 50% of the time.
These are plotted on an audiogram, which is a graph
displaying intensity as a function of frequency.
Audiology Speech Testing - which determines the
degree and type of hearing loss and discomfort or
tolerance to speech stimuli and information on word
LiSN-S PGA speech-in-noise testing &
tympanometry – the new benchmark in speech-innoise
test, this unique
diagnostic tool allows
us to measure how
well you understand
speech when in a
It is an excellent tool
for assisting us in the
suitable hearing aids.”
Is new technology
affecting hearing aid
“Yes - as recommended
by the British Academy
of Audiology (BAA)
and the British Society of Audiology (BSA) we
perform ‘Real-ear measurements’ (REMs) when fitting
our hearing aids using the latest hearing aid fitting
“Our ears are almost as individual as our fingerprints,
the shape and size of your ear and ear canal will be
different to anyone else’s. Hearing aids’ performance
varies in different ears. So the only way you know that
your hearing aids are set to your Bespoke Prescription
is when your hearing aid prescription has been
verified and the only way of doing this is with REMs.
“REMs are used to measure the sound level of a
hearing aid inside your individual ear. By doing so,
the sound level of a hearing aid can be compared and
then carefully fine-tuned to your prescribed sound
Do all hearing aid audiologists perform REMs?
“Unfortunately not, although it’s a recommendation
by the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) and the
British Society of Audiology it isn’t a requirement.
Not all audiology practices have access to the state-ofthe-art
equipment needed to perform this test, whilst
others are under time restrictions.
At Steven Hale Hearing we don’t just fit the finest
hearing aids from the best hearing aid manufacturers,
we strive to ensure you are getting a bespoke hearing
assessment, bespoke hearing aids, bespoke hearing
aid verification, at fitting and review as needed, and a
bespoke follow-up service.”
I N T H E N E W S
Bringing Integrity to the bespoke furniture market
A STAFFORDSHIRE COMPANY IS LOOKING TO MAKE ITS MARK BY OFFERING QUALITY
PRODUCTS AND EXCELLENT SERVICE IN THE BESPOKE FURNITURE MARKET.
Integrity Bedrooms offer a bespoke fitted bedroom
and home office furniture service. Run by husband
and wife team Neil and Lisa Rowe, Integrity bring
more than 25 years of experience in the industry to
Neil said: “We can offer you the finest products
the market has to offer, at prices to suit all budgets.
We offer our customers a wide range of styles and
finishes, and we deliver our own visions which balance
beautiful bespoke design and incredible functionality
all in one.”
Whether it’s small and practical or spacious and
indulgent, your bedroom is your inner sanctuary.
From bespoke fitted wardrobes to luxurious built-in
bedroom furniture with adjoining dressing rooms,
Integrity can design your bedroom any way you want
“We spend a third of our lives in bed, so let us make
your bedroom one you’ve only dreamt of,” adds Neil.
“From shelving and drawers to shoe racks and
hanging bars, we offer a huge range of flexible
wardrobe interior options that will help you to
maximise your bedroom storage space. Whether you
need to house your extensive shoe collection, or simply
like to have everything in its right and proper place, all
of your interior solutions are developed to integrate
perfectly with all of our fitted furniture.”
And it’s not just fitted bedrooms; Integrity also offer
made-to-measure sliding door wardrobes and fitted
home office furniture.
“Our creative design consultants and precise fitters
have transformed houses across the Midlands, helping
families to discover the homes of their dreams,” says
“At Integrity Bedrooms anything is possible. We
approach all of our projects with one aim in mind:
perfection. Our dedicated team handle every aspect
of the project, simplifying the process to give you the
best possible experience.”
Integrity bring their first-class service directly to
customers; simply choose a day and time to suit and
one of the friendly and highly experienced designers
will meet you in the comfort of your own home and
help you to choose the fitted bedroom furniture and
accessories to suit your style and budget.
Neil adds: “We would love to hear from you, whether
it is a general enquiry or a specific query regarding
For more information call Integrity
Bathrooms on 01543 278 777 or visit the
website at www.integritybedrooms.com.
Life in the fast lane
M OTO R S
THIS MONTH J’AIME’S MOTORING CORRESPONDENT AND RESIDENT RACING DRIVER
MARTIN PLOWMAN HAS BEEN TURNING HIS HAND TO FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
It is difficult to believe that in such a comprehensive
22-year racing career including the Indy 500 and
Le Mans, I have never driven a front wheel drive
car. However, I jumped right in at the deep end and
tested the highest calibre and most demanding front
wheel drive car in the business, a works Vauxhall
British Touring Car.
Fortunately for me, the test was at my home circuit
of Donington Park and with Power Maxed Racing
who I had worked alongside before when I coached
Kelvin Fletcher back in 2016.
It was a great day and a fantastic opportunity to test
myself as I spent the morning in the Vauxhall Astra
British Touring Car before switching at lunchtime
to complete an evaluation session with the more
familiar rear wheel drive Radical Sportscar. I have
worked with the guys at Radical for a while now and
especially enjoy evaluating and feeding back on their
fantastic line up of cars.
I was especially eager for the chance to compare the
differences between the front and rear wheel drive.
It was a shame that the test happened in cold, damp
conditions. I built up my pace lap by lap and quickly
found my stride in the British Touring Car, learning
the nuances of front wheel drive. I was also able to
benchmark myself and my performance alongside
established BTCC race winner Sam Tordoff. Sam
was also testing the car that day, and it was great to
hear his thoughts on the Vauxhall Astra, primarily
as he has raced in both the British Touring Car
Championship and the British GT Championship.
To summarise four hours in the car, I’m surprised
by how easy I found the transition from a rear
wheel drive GT car to a front wheel drive touring
car; I expected it to be a more significant challenge.
Essentially the fundamentals of racing and driving
fast are the same which left me fewer nuances to
It is important to me to give big thanks to Martin
Broadhurst and the team at Power Maxed Racing
for helping me adapt; after my first session I felt at
home in the PMR Vauxhall Astra. They are a highly
professional bunch, and Martin has been around
for many years in the British Rally Championship,
and British Touring Car Championship has worked
with some of the motoring industry’s most significant
The main difference in the two cars and how they
handle is the amount of rotation needed into the
corner; I had to rotate the touring car more and
square the corner off, and then be more patient on
the power to prevent understeer. This means heading
deeper into the corner and using the transferal of
weight to bring the back round, in a controlled
method of oversteer. My rear wheel drive GT car
needs the straightest line as possible to allow me to
get the power down and push the car through the
What I really noticed is how the British Touring
Car can take kerbs, it’s like they don’t exist. I had
a fantastic time hitting the kerbs at speeds you just
couldn’t achieve in a GT car, not without breaking
the suspension and sending yourself into the wall. It
was quite liberating to point the car at the kerb and
wait for the kerb to launch the car dramatically in
the air, really spectacular stuff and why the crowds
love British Touring Cars soo much.
It is important that I keep developing as a driver and
whenever you are given a chance to try something
new, you have to seize the opportunity
with both hands, and that is what my
British Touring Car test was about.
Plus, now I am back in the UK, and as
the Touring Cars represent the largest
national championship in the UK,
naturally I had many offers last year to
race in the championship.
As much fun as British Touring Cars
is, my heart and commitment are with
the British GT Championship, and
UltraTek Racing, my long-term contract
with am driver Richard Taffinder is
very important to me and the two
championships clash on two race dates
which means competing in both is
I am committed to the work we are doing
with Richard; he is making significant progress as
he continues his winter testing programme as we
progress our route to Le Mans. We have been out in
the gokart during the horrible winter months which
is teaching Richard lots of detail about handling
a car in the wet and developing his real racing
I can’t say too much about the plans for 2018 just
yet as we are due to make announcements in early
2018. However, I am prepared to say that we made
fantastic progress with our technical partners RJN.
It is clear to see why they are the factory choice for
Nissan in the UK. They engineered the Nissan 370Z
GT4 cars beautifully and we are proud to call them
our team of choice for 2018. Watch this space as we
are set to formally unveil our team plans before the
Autosport Show in 2018.
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