A P R I L 2 0 1 8
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
125 YEARS FOR A
Spruce up your
garden for spring
SIDE TO MAJORCA
Welcome to J’AIME
To herald the arrival of spring proper, this
month it’s time to get out into the garden
and get to work on making the most of those
outdoor spaces. We have some top tips from
the experts at G-Scapes of Lichfield on what
we should be doing right now, plus one lucky
reader will win a stylish fire pit from new
Midlands company Skillcraft Products - the
perfect addition to any garden and just what
you need to keep you toasty outdoors as the
light nights draw out.
We love all things foodie here at J’AIME,
and we’ve been chatting to a Rugeley
couple who are at the helm of one of the
country’s top street food businesses, as well
as a Lichfield bakery who are celebrating
an impressive 125 years in business. At the
other end of the spectrum we’ve also got fine
dining at the latest Sauce Supper Club event
which saw Lichfield’s very own Liam Dillon
reunited with mentor Will Holland for a
special evening at The Boat Inn. Add in
cocktails from two of the Midlands’ top bars
to try at home and we’ve got the best food
and drink covered.
We’ve also given away some more great
prizes; Catherine Chapman, from Sutton
Coldfield, joined us at Will Holland and
Liam Dillon’s Sauce Supper Club event
with three of her friends, while Sarah
Turner of Four Oaks was treated to a £150
voucher for Xodos and Alexandra Proctor
of Lichfield won our Allen Brown Mother’s
Day competition. Huge congratulations to
EDITOR: AMY NORBURY
ADVERTISING: JAN ASHLEY
07388 335 931
CONTRIBUTORS: MARTIN PLOWMAN,
SHAUN CRAVEN, KIRSTY TAYLOR, LISA PIDDINGTON,
DANIEL GEE, JILL HARTLEY, MICHAEL BALLANCE
J’AIME IS PUBLISHED BY ASHBURY
PUBLICATIONS LIMITED AND PRINTED
BY KEP LIMITED, TAMWORTH.
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InsideJ’aime this month...
6 The English Indian - The Rugeley couple
creating some of the country’s top street food
12 Property - Property of the month
14 Interiors - Modern chintz
18 Interiors - Ice cream shades
22 Competition - Win a stylish fire pit worth £250
from Skillcraft Products
24 Gardens - Spruce up your outdoor space for spring
28 Hindley’s Bakery - Celebrating 125 years of a
32 Food and drink - Reviewing Sauce Supper Club
34 Food and drink - Cocktail of the month from
36 Food and drink - The best of Italian wines
40 Food and drink - The Birmingham bar crowned
the country’s best
42 Travel - Discovering another side to Majorca
46 Slater Road Book Club - A Lichfield book club
with a difference
50 What’s On - Our pick of events around our
area this month
52 What’s On - The hottest tickets around
56 Fashion - The new workwear
58 Fashion - Spring trends from Nero e Bianco
61 Beauty - Top beauty tools from Harvey Nichols
62 Beauty - Spring hair trends from Emma Steven
64 In the news - A J’AIME winner; and something
for the garden
65 Motors - Tamworth racing driver Martin
Plowman gets his season underway
We have a wealth of experience in custom-made furniture to furnish every
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The spice is right
RUGELEY COUPLE JAMES LANT AND ANNA RILEY ARE BRINGING INDIAN STREET FOOD TO
THE MASSES - WITH A CLASSICALLY ENGLISH TWIST. AMY NORBURY DISCOVERS MORE
JAMES LANT AND ANNA RILEY
RUN THE ENGLISH INDIAN
For James Lant, it was love at first bite. A six-month
trip around India nearly 20 years ago sparked a love
affair with the country - and more importantly, it’s
food - which has led to a business venture bringing
that passion to the masses with an homage to Indian
James and his partner Anna Riley are the brains
behind one of the Midlands’ most successful street
food companies, The English Indian. Serving up
their signature spicy twist on that most English
of takeaway treats, fish and chips, you can catch
James and Anna at events up and down the country
enticing huge queues of hungry punters with the
deliciously fragrant scents which waft over from their
gazebo, their love and enthusiasm for India and its
cuisine poured into every morsel they serve.
“I didn’t know much about India when I set out on
the trip, but I fell in love with it while I was there,”
“We flew into Delhi and went all round Rajasthan,
then down to Bombay, Kerala and Goa, and onto the
Andaman Islands which was incredible. I just fell in
love with the people, the country, the food and they
way they cook, especially in a tandoor oven.
“It’s an amazing cuisine and so diverse, and when
you get it right it’s really the best food there is. And
the best part of Indian cuisine has got to be the street
Just two short years after James and Anna started
cooking up their tasty wares, in 2017 The English
Indian was named as a finalist of the prestigious
British Street Food Awards - marked them out as one
of the country’s best.
Anna owned clothing boutique Cure in Lichfield
while James was working in sales for a company
providing an electronic point of sales system to
businesses when they were struck with the idea to
turn their love of Indian food into something more.
“James’ passion is Indian cooking and he was in a
position where he wasn’t enjoying his job and was
looking for something else,” explains Anna. “James
used to go out for a lot of curries with friends and
he used to really complain about the food, and one
evening one of his mates said ‘well if you think you
can do better then why don’t you do it?’. And James
was thinking, ‘you know what, I can!’
“We’ve had a tandoor oven in the garden for about
ten years. James’ chicken tikka masala is out of this
world, he makes his own naan breads which are
amazing, and our friend Jon Toovey, who runs Sauce
Fine Foods, suggested we do curry nights at his
sister’s pub in Colton.”
The local curry nights went down a storm, but it
was a trip to Digbeth Dining Club, Birmingham’s
popular weekly street food event, which sparked the
idea that James could combine his love of Indian
cuisine with a new venture.
“We ate food there and I just thought James’ food
was better than what we were eating,” says Anna.
“These guys were really busy, flat out, and I thought
‘hold on a minute, we could do this.”
Getting into Digbeth Dining Club proved to be
a huge challenge for the fledgling business. The
organisers – James and Jack – are inundated with
traders wanting a pitch and Anna and
James were concerned that their application
would get lost. Emails, tweets and Facebook
messages were getting them nowhere.
“So we came up with the idea that we should
take our cooking equipment there one night
when the owner was there and cook for
him,” says Anna. “Anyone can say their food
is brilliant so we wanted to prove ours was.
“We spoke to a lovely lady who said we could
set up behind her gazebo, we took a camping
stove and a frying pan and we made our kati
rolls and pani puri. And that was it; we were
As regulars at Digbeth Dining Club, James
and Anna were soon a mainstay of the
burgeoning street food dining scene. But
something just wasn’t quite right.
“So after a year we decided to change the
type of food we were serving,” says Anna. “It
was delicious, and amazing and lovely but we
just weren’t competing with the other street
food traders. We’d do an event and I’d be
looking around and seeing other traders with
massive queues, but I knew our food was
“It was frustrating and we didn’t know what
the problem was; what were the other traders
doing differently, what did they have that we
didn’t? A lot of them had a bit of theatre
going on, maybe their stall looked really
good, and perhaps the customer understood
FOODIES AT DIGBETH DINING CLUB
LINE UP TO SAMPLE THE ENGLISH
a bit more about their food.
“We felt we had to really educate people as to what
it was we were selling; it was traditional Indian street
food native to Kolkata, which lots of people had
never heard of.”
Anna and James racked their brains to come up with
something which would set them apart from the rest.
“We’re called The English Indian, which is a name
that just materialised; between ourselves James
referred to himself the English Indian, a few friends
called him the English Indian because he’s obsessed
with India and obsessed with the food,” says Anna.
“We decided we needed to bring the English in
somehow. So we started thinking about what our
favourite things to eat are and, other than Indian
food, we’re mad on fish and chips. Wherever we are
we always try to seek out a really good fish and chip
shop. And what could be more English?”
And so, The English Indian’s signature dish was
born. Chunky cod goujons coated in a light, spiced
pakora batter served with chat masala seasoned
chips, fresh chilli and mint mushy peas and a madras
curry sauce combined James and Anna’s foodie
passions and gave them a dish they hoped would
catapult their street food business to the next level.
“White fish works really well with Indian spices and
pakora batter makes it really light,” explains Anna.
“Then you’ve got hand cut potatoes with a lovely
Indian spice mix sprinkled on. Peas also work so well;
if you ever have a vegetarian curry there’s always
peas in it so that became mushy peas with fresh mint
and chilli, and curry sauce is what you’d get in a
chippy anyway - we just put our twist on it to make it
more of a madras.”
James and Anna invited some friends over to taste
test their new creations
- and the verdict was
a unanimous thumbs
up. With a deep fried
halloumi option to cater
for vegetarians, they were
on to a sure-fire winner.
“Neither of us could stop
thinking about it,” says
Anna. “It must have been
five nights in a row where
we were both thinking
‘I want that for my tea
again’. We really felt we’d
hit on something special.”
Armed with a bag of
potatoes and a hand
cutter, James and Anna
took to Digbeth Dining Club to launch their new
“The hand cutter broke, one of the fryers broke and
it was a bit chaotic, but the food we were producing
was delicious,” says Anna. “We haven’t looked back
since, and it’s gone from strength to strength.”
With The English Indian taking off, Anna - who
previously studied hospitality business management
- decided to sell her boutique and pitch in with the
food business full time.
“I felt I’d run the course with Cure,” says Anna. “We
couldn’t run the two businesses together and I’d done
everything I wanted to do and didn’t know what was
next. I knew I didn’t want to open a chain
of shops, and then when James started to get
really busy it just made sense for me to join
forces with him.”
Last summer saw The English Indian on tour,
popping up at festivals around the country
with Leeds, Latitude and Lakefest among their
pitstops. But it was on the festival circuit that
James and Anna spotted a flaw in their plans -
their fish dish just took too long to make.
“Each goujon is individually put into the
batter and then into the fryer; you get two
goujons per dish and we just couldn’t make
them quickly enough to cater for the huge
festival crowds,” explains Anna.
So it was back to the drawing board for
inspiration, this time looking at another fast
food favourite - southern fried chicken.
“We love KFC as well and we thought we
could give them a run for their money,”
laughs Anna. “We knew we could make a
tastier version so we developed our own spicy
breading mixture, cut own own Red Tractor
chicken, breaded it all and cooked it on site.
“It enabled us to be much quicker because you
can throw it all in at once, rather than with the
fish where we’re having to dip and fry each
piece individually, which is what you need
when you’ve got a massive queue at a festival.
“Festivals are high-risk because it’s expensive
to trade there and you need to be able to cope
with the high volumes. Some people go in a
bit naively because they hear success stories
but they haven’t got the capacity to store that
amount of food correctly or they just can’t
serve quickly enough.
“We’re concentrating on ones where we
know the ticket sales are good, because if the
festival is a sell-out we know we’ll do well. And
festivals are always exciting.”
As demand for The English Indian gathers
pace, James and Anna are branching out
into catering for weddings and private
parties. They are currently converting an old
Mercedes bus into a stylish food truck which
will enable them to do smaller celebrations at
the same time as the large festivals and street
“At the moment we’re having to turn down a
lot of work for smaller events like weddings,
corporate events and parties where people are
wanting to feed around 80 to 100 people because
we can’t commit to having our gazebo there when it
can be elsewhere catering for more people,” explains
“And we hate turning work down because people are
gutted - they really want to book us for their special
event but we can’t because we have bigger jobs on.
So with the van I can go out and do the smaller
events while James goes off to set up the gazebo for
Not ones to rest on their laurels, James and Anna
are constantly trying to improve and develop new
“We’re slightly changing the batter mixture so it can
hold that tiny bit better,” says Anna. “If we fry it and
get it onto the trays really quickly it’s perfect, but if it
sits for a few minutes moisture can get into it and it
can soften slightly, so James has three different slight
variations on the recipe to test at the moment.
“We also want to introduce a cauliflower pakora so
that we can do a fully vegan offering. At the minute
we can give a pared down version of what we do
without the halloumi or the fish, but we want to be
able to do a vegan main component.
“I think the reason we’ve done so well is because
we’ve kept it really simple; we’ve got a tight menu
which concentrates on quality ingredients and we’ve
got really high standards in terms of customer
“Testing everything is key too; we constantly eat our
own food. Some people create a dish and knock it
out over and over again, and every so often they need
to stop and just taste it and make sure it’s still exactly
how they want it to be. We crave our food; we were
so excited to get back to work in the new year after
our Christmas break because we wanted some of our
own fish and chips!”
While inspiration for their dishes can strike
anywhere, James and Anna loved returning to India
on their travels to immerse themselves in the cuisine
“When we went back to India two years ago, we
went into the Muslim quarter in Delhi and Anna
had done a bit of research on the best places to eat,”
says James. “There was this one place you wouldn’t
even have known it was an eatery; people were sat
around and this guy was cooking on a barbecue and
they served up these buffalo kebabs which was just
“And we did a homestay too, staying with an Indian
couple, and we took the lady back to that restaurant
in Delhi and she couldn’t believe how great it was.”
With business booming and exciting developments
underway, James and Anna are looking to build on
The English Indian brand.
“It’s brilliant; we’re so chuffed with how it’s all
materialised and the plan now is to get The English
Indian recognised up and down the country,” says
Anna. “James likes to do things slowly and steadily
to make sure everything is right before we move
onto the next thing whereas I’d do everything at a
hundred miles an hour. I’m definitely about the ideas
and pushing things forward while James makes sure
we get it right. We’re a great team.
“We’ve got our first event in London coming up
in May, which is a five-day Asian-fusion festival in
Camden, and then we’re looking at a few more
events up north. And longer term we’d like to look
at franchising out the van concept and take The
English Indian at around the country.
“But ultimately, well, we want to retire to India; it’s
such a special place and that’s where we want to be.”
For more details and to discover where
you can find them next, follow The English
Indian on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
creating bathroom envy
Visit our extensive
and tile showroom....
one of the finest
in the Country!
23 Gate Lane, Boldmere,
Sutton Coldfield B73 5TR
0121 362 1800
Property of the Month
WE TAKE A SNEAKY PEEK AT SOME OF THE HOTTEST PROPERTIES ON THE MARKET
IN THE AREA EACH MONTH. THIS MONTH’S SELECTION IS A HISTORIC HOME IN THE
PRETTY VILLAGE OF LONGDON
The Mill House, Brook End, Longdon, Staffordshire : £1,400,000
On the market with Fisher German: 01785 220044
THE AGENT SAYS: The Mill House is a charming
and captivating detached former mill which has been
sympathetically maintained by its current owners. The Mill
House is believed to date back from the 18th century and
to have been a working mill up until 1965. The property
retains a wealth of period features and interesting artefacts.
The property stands within delightful gardens and still retains
the original mill pond creating a wonderful backdrop to the
delightful house and garden.
The beautifully presented Grade ll listed five bedroom former
mill provides fabulous living space. An enclosed porch frames
the entrance door which leads to the reception hall with the
sitting room, and garden room located off. The kitchen/
breakfast room is a larger than average light filled room,
with views of the delightful front and rear gardens whilst
Interesting features have been retained from its origins as
a working mill. The kitchen offers bespoke fitted cabinetry
complemented by granite work surfaces with integrated
appliances including dishwasher, and fridge incorporated into
a centre island.
The extensive, beautifully planted and maintained rear
garden is filled with a wealth of mature trees, fruit trees,
evergreens, an array of climbers and shrubs providing
lots of interest. The mill pond with its original sluice feeds
into secondary and tertiary ponds creating a wonderful
atmosphere to the enchanting garden. Continuing, secluded
seating areas have been created to enjoy outdoor entertaining
and to take full advantage of the lovely surroundings.
W E L O V E : THOSE BEAUTIFUL GARDENS AND
MILL POND - TOTALLY TRANQUIL
A BY AMARA PRIORY BED LINEN
COLLECTION, FROM £20 FOR A
PILLOWCASE PAIR TO £140 FOR THE
BEESTON WOOL THROW.
SPRING is in the air, and the the thought of pretty
blooms popping up everywhere must be having an effect
because the big news on the interior design grapevine is
that chintz is back.
We’re talking florals in abundance, as well as frilly,
fussy detailing aplenty to create a truly English country
feel - updated for 2018, of course. This romantic look
may be rooted in history, but after years of pared-back
Scandinavian chic it feels like a breath of fresh air.
Embrace the look wholeheartedly by using the same
floral fabric on the walls, window treatments and
furnishings—all kinds of floral are a-go here, and
for a contemporary feel look for colours that pop, like
turquoise, apple green, and shocking pink.
For a more delicate touch, opt for velvet, linen and silk
cushions and throws bedecked with blowsy cabbage rose
chintz, or choose a more statement piece like an accent
chair to add a chintzy contrast to your decor scheme.
FELICITY PLATE BY ZALA
FARAH, ART WOW.
WILLIAM KILBURN ENAMEL
POT, ANNABEL JAMES.
PIP STUDIO FLORAL LARGE
ROSE TEAPOT, DAISY PARK.
SUMMER WILDFLOWERS LINEN
CUSHION, ANNABEL JAMES.
VILLEROY AND BOCH QUINSAI
GARDEN OVAL BOWL, BRIDGMAN.
PIP STUDIO ROYAL SMALL
TEAPOT, DAISY PARK.
MEADOW FLOWER CARAFE
AND TUMBLER, LAURA ASHLEY.
SAHARA CHEST OF DRAWERS,
THISTLES FLORAL LINEN AND
VELVET CUSHION, ANNABEL JAMES.
PAPER ROSE BEDDING SET,
DINNERWARE SET, DEBENHAMS.
ACCENT ARMCHAIR, JOULES
AT DFS. WWW.DFS.CO.UK
CUSHION, LAURA ASHLEY.
PARKER KNOLL ETIENNE GRAND
SOFA, £2,250, COOKES FURNITURE.
EUNOIA WATERCOLOUR FLORAL WALLPAPER,
£75, WOODCHIP AND MAGNOLIA.
FLORAL VINTAGE BLINDS, £45.77, ENGLISH
MAGNOLIA GROVE STORAGE BOXES
SET OF THREE, £40; PARKER DUCK
EGG COTTON KNIT BLANKET, £75;
BECKY FLORAL WREATH DUCK EGG
CUSHION, £50; KUBU LOG BASKET,
£52; MAGNOLIA GROVE CURTAINS,
FROM £120, ALL LAURA ASHLEY.
PARKER KNOLL AMELIE LARGE TWO-SEATER
SOFA, £1,910, COOKES FURNITURE.
I N T E R I O R S
WHILE we love the bold, dramatic hues which have
burst onto the interior design scene this season,
nothing brings a calm, light vibe to a room quite like
pretty gelato-inspired pastel hues.
And much like choosing your favourite flavour of ice
cream, it’s hard to pick a favourite sweet shade, so
why only choose one when you can have them all, in a
perfect palette of ice cream colours? From lemon and
mint to peach and raspberry, it’s a mouth-watering
selection which works perfectly together to create
deliciously designed decor.
For a fresh feel, opt for white walls and inject colour
with pastel accents - think not only soft furnishings and
accessories, but hunt out larger furniture pieces in soft
sorbet shades. A sofa in dreamy blush pink or a chest
of drawers in soft pistachio will create a focal point,
particularly when adorned in contrasting pastel pieces
such as cushions, throws, lamps and photo frames.
Pastels can also be a beautiful foil to classic neutrals,
working particularly well with the industrial grey tones
which have dominated our homes in recent years.
THE WIDHAM BED IN FRENCH BLUE,
£1,185, WILLOW AND HALL.
LILAC VELVET FOOT-
BLUSH AND COPPER SUCCULENT
PLANT POT, AUDENZA.
LA CAFETIERE BARCELONA
CAFETIERE, CREATIVE TOPS.
TOM DIXON FLECK THROW, AMARA.
PASTEL BUNNY HANGING TEA LIGHTS,
£7 EACH, THE CONTEMPORARY HOME.
Easter Sale Now On ...
Sofa Gallery’s Easter 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.
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.
Closed Easter Sunday (Open Easter Monday)
MARILYN VELVET ARMCHAIR,
MODA BAR STOOL,
LUXE DRIP PLANT POT,
PASTEL FLOOR LAMP,
DUTCH DESIGN MODERN
GRANDMA WALL CLOCK
WITH PENDULUM, KLOQ.
COSMO TABLE LAMP,
TRIMARAN STRIPE LIGHT BLUE POUFFE,
DASH AND ALBERT EUROPE.
RICHMOND MADOX CHAIRS, £446
EACH, COOKES FURNITURE.
GEO WALL MURAL, £99,
WOODCHIP AND MAGNOLIA.
MARBLED FLOW WALLPAPER IN BLUSH,
£75, WOODCHIP AND MAGNOLIA.
HOWARDIAN KIRKHAM PEACH THROW,
£220, ADRIANA HOMEWARES.
CONCRETE WALLPAPER IN BLUSH, £75,
WOODCHIP AND MAGNOLIA.
TIN TILE WALLPAPER BY WOODCHIP
AND MAGNOLIA, £75, LIME LACE.
CO M P E T I T I O N
Win a garden fire pit worth£250
J’AIME HAS TEAMED UP WITH SKILLCRAFT PRODUCTS TO OFFER READERS THE
CHANCE TO SPRUCE UP THEIR GARDEN WITH A STYLISH FIRE PIT, WORTH £250
The new Gilberto range of top quality outdoor steel
products from Skillcraft Products aims to inject a touch
of functional style to your garden spaces. From fire pits
and pizza ovens to verandahs and gazebos, the Gilberto
oozes quality and style.
Launched on March 1, Skillcraft Products is run by
husband and wife team Dave and Lisa Gilbert and
created after the success of sister company DG Fabs
Ltd, which was started two years ago by Dave and his
business partner Andrew Gunn.
Dave says: “DG Fabs Ltd was set up as sub-contractor
metalworkers for storage, heating and ventilation and
various other industries. However I decided to start
a product range after spending a great deal of time
developing products for other companies, which is
where Skillcraft Products came about.”
The company draws on Dave’s 34 years’ experience in
metal fabrication, design and development. Dave is a
senior figure at the Institute of Sheet Metal Engineering
and will be judging the national ISME Sheet Metal
Technology competition In June. Lisa has many years’
experience in sales and marketing but will happily work
alongside the team on the assembly section. Married
at 17, they have five children whom are all are involved
in various aspects of these small friendly and growing
Dave adds: “We are an extremely customer friendly
company and welcome any questions or queries. Our
aim is to provide the very best quality items that should
give you years of pleasure.
“Every item on this site is made by our own craftsman
in our own West Midlands-based factory; although fitted
out with the latest CNC equipment - CNC equipment
is simply computer controlled where all the products
are identical with close tolerances for better quality and
faster lead times as we make to order - we still have
traditional manufacturing values and our small team
have many years’ combined experience including CAD
design and a wide variety or product knowledge.
“Our high quality outdoor steel products are aimed
straight towards the end user for an easy and friendly
transaction direct with the factory; we do not sell to
retailers. Everything is transparent and our customers
are welcome to pop in and see what we do or even have
a look at their item being made. Our phones are on
from 8am till 8pm and are we are happy to advise with
no pushy sales calls or hard sell.”
For more information visit
J’AIME HAS TEAMED UP WITH SKILLCRAFT PRODUCTS TO OFFER READERS
THE CHANCE TO WIN A STYLISH FIRE PIT FOR YOUR GARDEN WORTH £250.
FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THIS FABULOUS PRIZE, SIMPLY ANSWER THE
FOLLOWING QUESTION: WHAT IS THE NAME OF SKILLCRAFT PRODUCTS’
Send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number, by email to competitions@
jaimemagazine.com with Fire Pit competition as the email subject. Entries must be received by 5pm on
Friday, April 27, and our winner will be notified by Wednesday, May 2. No cash alternative is available.
Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.jaimemagazine.com for further details.
P R E N T I C E
F E AT U R E
Step into spring with a stunning garden
DANIEL GEE, OF G-SCAPES OF LICHFIELD, TAKES A LOOK AT WHAT YOU
NEED TO BE DOING TO PREPARE YOUR GARDEN FOR SPRING AND BEYOND
A QUINTESSENTIAL ENGLISH GARDEN
At long last, after what seems like a long and difficult
winter, spring is hovering around the corner and it
is time to put away the DIY tools and focus on the
There is a lot of basic preparatory work to be done
starting with a thorough spring clean. Here are just
some of the tasks ahead:
Tidy - Tidy up borders and clear away leaves
and unwanted vegetation from all the little nooks
and crannies. As temperatures rise, weeds begin to
grow so catch them early before they seed and save
time later. The addition of a membrane to borders
and gravelled areas will help surpress weeds while
spreading a mulch will improve the appearance of
borders and add valuable nutrients.
Early spring is a good time to do a bit of pruning.
Clear away any die-back to ensure strong and healthy
growth. Prune shrubs such as cornus, buddleia and
roses to encourage new shoots and retain good
shape. After the worst of the frosts, tidy up herbaceous
perennials by cutting back any remaining old stems,
taking care not to damage new growth.
Check - Check all wooden structures such as fences,
gates, trellises and arbors for any winter damage. Take
advantage of a dry period to add a wood preservative
to prolong their life.
Lawn - The warmer weather will encourage the grass
to grow, so start cutting it regularly. You can stop if we
get a cold spell and growth slows down.
Prepare - Prepare vegetable beds. Covering them
with plastic will help to warm and dry the soil so it is
ready for sowing and planting.
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Time for change
Springtime is a perfect time to add a new dimension to
your garden. Ideas for change may have been floating
around in your head all winter but now is the time for
action. You may be thinking about a whole garden
re-design or maybe want to create a new focal point in
a specific area of the garden.
Plan - Whatever the size of your project, having a
well- considered plan of action will pay dividends in
terms of future time and budget. Look at what you
have to start with. Weigh up the size, shape, slope,
aspect and soil conditions of your garden. Think about
what you want to achieve and how you want to use
your outdoor space. You may be looking at reducing
the workload, so a low maintenance garden may be the
desirable aim. Perhaps you want to create an outside
room by extending the seating area and constructing
an outside kitchen. The introduction of wide paths and
raised beds may be needed to open up the garden to
a wheelchair user. The list is endless, so think, reflect
Develop - Help in designing your garden comes in
lots of different forms… it is an idea gathering and
sharing exercise. Talk your ideas through with friends
and family, look at their gardens to see what elements
may work in yours, research ideas on the internet or
in books, visit other gardens. Maybe enlist the help of
a professional and draw on their wealth of knowledge
and expertise. After hours of thinking and discussion
and with your plans in place, it is time to don the boots,
arm yourself with tools and get started. Warning; be
prepared for destruction before construction!
COLLECTING POLLEN FROM AN ECHINACEA
Refresh - Once the hard landscaping is complete and
the garden structure is in place, it is time to bring your
garden to life with the planting. It’s like putting the
icing on the cake! A wise choice of species is essential
and you may need to get advice on suitable plants for
specific locations. An important aim is to create all year
round interest with plants flowering or looking their
best at different times of the year. To create a wellbalanced
planting plan consider such factors as colour,
foliage, height and structure. Hopefully all your plants
will thrive, but some plants may not feel comfortable
in their chosen location. Don’t be despondent…
gardening is a wonderful learning experience.
HELENIUMS IN THE WIND
With the spring clean complete and changes in place,
it is time to reap the rewards for your efforts, but
remember to keep on top of maintenance to avoid
long arduous stints in the garden.
Take time out to enjoy your garden. There is nothing
more rewarding than seeing your garden evolve and
change from season to season. Take time out from
your hectic lifestyle and get outside. Whether you
want to sit peacefully in your new arbor enjoying the
early evening sun, or enjoy a barbecue and glass of
wine with family and friends in your sociable outdoor
kitchen, take pleasure and pride in your achievement.
Photography by Chris Day
AN OUTDOOR DECKING AREA
AND BESPOKE BAR
F E AT U R E
A proven success
LICHFIELD BAKERY HINDLEY’S IS CELEBRATING AN IMPRESSIVE 125 YEARS IN BUSINESS THIS MONTH.
AMY NORBURY CHATS TO OWNERS DUNCAN HINDLEY AND JACKIE BEAUMONT ABOUT THEIR MILESTONE
From buttalumps to bloomers, sourdough to spelt
bread, there’s a hive of activity day and night which
results in some of the tastiest baked products you can
find for miles around. In making all of the bread,
pastries, cakes and other goodies which adorn their
shelves on site, Lichfield bakery owner Duncan
Hindley and his team are carrying on a family
tradition which stretches back some 125 years.
In 1893, Duncan’s great-grandfather Joseph Hindley
purchased a bakery in Upper Brook Street, Rugeley,
with records showing he parted with the princely sum
of £45 for ‘goodwill, utensils and stock’. His first days
takings, on April 6 of that year, show as £1 8s 6d. And
from that modest start, Hindley’s grew to become one
of the most recognised bakery names in the Midlands.
In the early 1960s, the main operation moved to a
new purpose-built bakery site in Rugeley, on Wharf
Road. A programme of expansion over the years saw
the operation reach its peak with some 230 people
employed across 18 shops, as well as at Wharf Road,
which underwent an extension in 1990.
Duncan and his sister Jackie Beaumont are the fourth
generation of the family to helm the business. After
training at bakery college in the mid-Eighties Duncan
developed his skills at a bakery in Bolton before
returning home to join the family business in 1990, at
the age of 23. He took over the reins from their father
Graham when the senior Hindley retired three years
DUNCAN HINDLEY AND JACKIE
BEAUMONT ARE THE FOURTH
GENERATION TO RUN THE BAKERY
later. After a successful career in marketing, Jackie
came on board in 2002.
“Our father ran the business from 1958 and retired just
after our centenary in 1993,” says Duncan. “Previous
to that our grandfather and great-grandfather ran the
business, and our uncle was involved for many years
Jackie’s introduction came at a critical time for
the business. As well as supplying their own shops,
Hindley’s produced a full range of bread for 16
Somerfield stores. But as a mid-sized bakery unable to
produce the vast quantities needed to reach the next
level, economies of scale just didn’t add up.
“I decided we had three options,” says Duncan
candidly. “We needed to double in size, half in size or
sell the business. I just knew we couldn’t carry on doing
what we were doing and we needed a radical change.”
“Duncan was looking for new ways forward and fresh
ideas, and I worked at a marketing agency and we
thought it would work well with me coming in from a
completely non-food related perspective,” says Jackie.
“Previously it was all about what we could make,
whereas we needed to look at it differently and discover
what it was our customers really wanted.”
With the high street already in decline Duncan and
Jackie opted to downsize, shifting their focus to a more
artisan way of working. Over their illustrious 125-year
DUNCAN AND JACKIE WITH
THE HINDLEY’S TEAM
baking history, the Hindley’s have now come full circle.
Proud of their roots as a truly family-run business,
today the business operates on a much more modest
scale, with the flagship bakery and cafe in the heart of
Lichfield, as well as a small second shop in
Hindley’s products are truly crafted in-house;
when you talk about food miles, the Hindleys
proudly boast mere metres from oven to shelf.
Pop in early enough, and the bread you pick
up will more than likely still be warm.
“Our food miles are very small,” says
Duncan. “Flour comes in the back door, gets
converted to bread or pastries right there in
the bakery and then much of it makes its
way to the shop front and goes straight on
the shelves while the rest goes out of the front
door, onto our van and off it goes.”
Their handcrafted baked goodies go down
a storm at farmers’ markets around the
Midlands, while Duncan has also turned his
hand to sharing the tricks of the trade with his hugely
popular bread-making courses.
“The farmers’ markets allow us to reach foodies
quickly and on a regular basis,” says Duncan. “Because
we’re only at each market once a month we have
people coming along and stocking up with a month’s
worth of bread to store in the freezer.”
“It’s taken a number of years to get where we are
now,” says Jackie. “Over time we’ve changed our
outlook and now we’ve found a niche which works for
“We haven’t gone completely down the artisan route
because that’s not what we’re about,” adds Duncan.
“Anyone can walk into our shop and feel comfortable,
and they can buy what they want; if they want a white
sliced tin loaf, they can get a white sliced tin loaf.
“It’s about offering the widest range of products we
can to cater for the most tastes, but making everything
in the same sort of way, with the correct values and
using the right ingredients. We make sure we do
“At one end of the scale we have the tin loaf, while at
the other end we have our sourdoughs; one loaf takes
three hours to make while the other takes 24 hours. So
we’re using the full range of baking craft. We’re
also playing around with our pastries and bringing
in the ‘yummy’ factor more and more; we find our
cakes are going very well at the moment.”
Hindley’s sourdoughs are proving to be immensely
popular, both with the foodies at the farmers’
markets and with customers at the bakery itself.
“The sourdoughs for Saturday are made on a
Thursday night and then slowly reproved in the
fridge until Friday evening, and then baked during
Friday night, so it’s a long process,” says Duncan.
But that effort is worth every moment; in fact, the
sourdoughs are so good that last year Hindley’s
scooped a Great Taste Award for their roasted red
onion and mature cheddar cheese variation.
“We’re putting our mince pies in for the award
this year,” says Duncan. “We do have a bit of a
reputation for our mince pies; we produced 30,000
of them during November and December last year.
People really love them and we’re very proud of them.
We have people coming from far and wide, making
their annual pilgrimage for our mince pies!”
The Hindley’s staff are another integral part of the
family story; one member of staff, Chris, is now in his
49th year working for the business, while others have
clocked up a quarter of a century or more. Several
generations of the same families have also worked for
the bakery, and continue to do so.
“The staff are very much part of the family,” says
Duncan. “We like to think we look after people
Hindley’s has been at its present site in the centre of
Lichfield since 2007, when the company renovated
a three storey historic building in Tamworth Street
into a self-contained working bakery. To complement
the bakery, the on-site cafe has also recently had an
overhaul to create a comfortable, convivial area in
which to enjoy a cuppa and a baked treat. Along the
back wall is a large picture window which gives guests
an insight into the bakery’s workings, where you
can watch the Hindley’s team hard at work creating
delicious cakes and pastries. Quirky touches like the
feature balloon-whisk lights emphasise the setting.
And when night falls, the cafe area goes back to being
a functional part of the bakery, transformed into a
busy dispatch area.
“All of the tables and chairs get moved out of the way,
and it’s where our loaves are stacked ready to be sent
out,” says Duncan. “Overnight on a Saturday we have
some 2,000 loaves here ready for the shop, cafe and
various farmers’ markets and events.”
Food festivals and shows are now a huge part of the
Hindley’s operation, and they find that the different
audiences favour different kinds of bread. And then
there’s also the need to keep coming up with new and
exciting products to entice customers - and to keep
things interesting for the bakery team.
“Every so often we try to get out for the day,” says
Jackie. “A few weeks ago the whole team went down to
A HINDLEY’S VAN BEING
LOADED WITH BREAD
London visiting other bakeries, eating lots of stuff and
discovering what new things are going on and what
ideas are trending. You do want to move your products
on the whole time, evolving and keeping things
“Usually we end up making a bit of a hybrid of some
the things we’ve seen,” adds Duncan.
One product currently in development is a baked
doughnut - and the whole team pitches in when it
comes to taste-testing new ideas.
After a rather eventful 125 years, Duncan and Jackie
are now happy to be steering the Hindley’s ship into a
successful new era; an era which focuses on hard work,
quality products and doing things “the right way”.
“With each loaf we make and each product we sell,
you’re putting something of yourself out there,” says
Duncan. “And it’s a very personal thing.”
For more details pop into the Tamworth Street
bakery or visit www.hindleys-bakers.co.uk
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F O O D & D R I N K
A Will to succeed
MENTOR WILL HOLLAND AND PROTEGE LIAM DILLON REUNITED FOR A SAUCE SUPPER CLUB
TO REMEMBER AT LICHFIELD’S THE BOAT INN, AS AMY NORBURY DISCOVERED
Mention Will Holland in foodie circles and you’ll see
eyes light up and mouths begin to water at the thought
of the inspired, classically French influenced cooking
which has earned Michelin stars and the accolade of
one of the ten most influential chefs of the decade by
the Good Food Guide.
Eagle-eyed viewers may also remember Will from his
stint on BBC culinary favourite Great British Menu.
Representing the central region, he cooked up a
storm to battle through to the final at his first attempt,
narrowly missing out on a dish in the final banquet.
Now working on the beautiful island of Jersey, at
Ocean at the Atlantic, his style is more relaxed
and informal, but the focus remains on fantastic
ingredients, excellent technique and mouth-watering
So what would entice the esteemed chef away from
sunny Jersey to venture up to the Midlands for a night
of catering for expectant foodies? Why, the chance
to collaborate with former protege Liam Dillon, of
course. Now the successful chef patron of The Boat
Inn in Lichfield and one of the city’s finest hopes of
reaching the upper echelons of the culinary world,
Liam mastered his craft under Will’s watchful eye
during his Michelin-starred tenure at La Bécasse.
And thanks to the efforts of Sauce Supper Club’s Beth
and Jon Toovey, mentor and protege were reunited for
one night only to create fine dining magic.
2018 has been a hugely successful year already for
Sauce Supper Club, with former Simpsons head
chef Nathan Eades, now of The Wild Rabbit in the
Cotswolds, and Masterchef finalists Leo Kattou and
Louisa Ellis getting events off to a barnstorming start.
Rising star Alex Bond of Nottingham’s Alchemilla
and Simpsons’ head honcho Luke Tipping are the next
two invitees to Lichfield while Hampton Manor’s Rob
Palmer heads up the supper club’s inaugural event in
Nottingham as Jon and Beth’s reach widens to bring
top chefs to destinations a little further afield.
The menu for the evening - the majority of supper
club diners choose to stay in the dark about what
they’ll be sampling until the night itself - was divided
equally between the two chefs, with Will and Liam
each preparing three of the six courses. The kitchen
was buoyed by the camaraderie - and no small amount
of friendly rivalry - between Will, Liam and their
teams; whose dish would be declared the knockout of
We began proceedings with snacks from The Boat
- Liam’s signature pig’s head and burnt apple cubes
as well as a stunning take on southern fried chicken,
which were just sublime. Followed up by beer and
spelt bread with chicken butter, it was an exceptionally
Liam was in charge of the first course, a simple
asparagus dish which packed tonnes of flavour into
its delicate portion. Rich brown butter and egg yolk
combined to create a silky accompaniment studded
with English caviar, which was a lovely balance to the
fresh, tender asparagus. It was an elegant dish and we
did hear many murmurings throughout the evening
proclaiming it the favourite. One-nil to Liam.
Up next was Will’s braised chicken wing and seared
prawn, on a bed of haricot blanc with a luxurious
shellfish and truffle vinaigrette. If pressed - and
only if I absolutely had to - I’d have to opt for this
as my personal dish of the night. Really, it was that
vinaigrette which tied everything together and added
the wow factor to every morsel. It was unbelievably
moreish and a wonderful example of the exemplary
cooking to be found at Sauce Supper Club evenings.
Point to Will.
We were eager for more, and Liam’s next offering
certainly didn’t disappoint. A sizeable Scottish
langoustine, sweet and juicy, paired with the savoury
punch of black pudding and a fresh sweetness from
delicate ribbons of leek, all bound with a rich jus to
create a delightful mouthful.
Now, we were a table of duck fans, so there was much
excitement which greeted the arrival of the main
dish; roasted duck breast served wonderfully pink
with forced rhubarb, duck sausage and anna potato.
The tart rhubarb was the perfect foil to the beautifully
cooked duck, while the decadent potato with its buttery
goodness proved a delicious accompaniment. The
duck sausage was also a real treat.
Liam’s final course was one which initially left us
scratching our heads, described on the menu as simply
‘hay, pine, buckthorn’. It was, in fact, a wonderfully
zingy sorbet with a disc of something melt-in-themouth
and almost popcorn-y in texture and a sweet
crumble. I must confess I’m still not entirely sure what
each component was, but it was a surprising triumph
and wonderfully refreshing.
In a similar vein, Will’s dessert was a barrage of fresh,
zesty flavours from the set lime leaf cream, marinated
pineapple and passion fruit granité. It was a tropical
dance on the palate, with tiny cubes of gingerbread
adding a spiced warmth.
So which chef took the crown for dish of the evening?
To be completely fair, it was nigh on impossible to
separate mentor and protege. The four of us at our
table each had a different favourite, with two votes
for a Liam dish and two for Will, and chatting to
other diners it seemed there were many different
opinions on the standout course. What we could all
agree on, though, was that the evening had been
rather wonderful, with superlative food created by two
exceptional chefs. It was the perfect way to spend a
Monday and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Sauce
Supper Club brings to Lichfield next.
F O O D & D R I N K
Cocktail of the month
SHAUN CRAVEN, FROM LE RÊVE COCKTAIL BAR IN LICHFIELD,
CONJURES UP A FRESH, ZINGY COCKTAIL PERFECT FOR SPRING
Cool as a cucumber
1 inch wedge of fresh cucumber
25ml sugar syrup
37.5ml Hendricks gin
12.5ml elderflower liqueur
25ml fresh lime juice
Muddle the wedge of cucumber
and sugar syrup in your tin. Add the
Hendricks, elderflower liqueur and fresh
lime juice. Shake with cubed ice. Double
strain into your glass. Add a cucumber
ribbon to garnish.
c r ê p e r i e
Easter Opening Hours
Good Friday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Saturday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Easter Sunday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Bank Holiday Monday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Function Room is also available to hire for parties etc.
Happy Easter From all at The Creperie
Tuesday 13th February
Come and join us on pancake day.
We are open from 10am - 8pm.
Bring the children after school for a pancake treat!
Call to book on 01543 481807
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
POP UP FINE DINING
We regularly deliver sell out, pop up fine dining experiences by Michelin starred chefs and highly
commended chefs who showcase their food and talents on your doorstep at The Boat Inn, Lichfield.
To be notified of future events please visit saucesupperclub.co.uk and join our mailing list.
16|04 | ALEX BOND
21|05 | LUKE TIPPING
SIMPSONS OF EDGBASTON
£75 6 course tasting menu
£85 6 course tasting menu
For more information or to book online | saucesupperclub.co.uk
F O O D & D R I N K
Secrets of Sardinia
MICHAEL BALLANCE, FOUNDER OF SPECIALIST WINE COMPANY ITALSARDO,
INTRODUCES US TO SOME OF SARDINIA’S FINEST WINE OFFERINGS
I have a strong link with Sardinia and a passion for
its unique wines. For many years the experiences of
Sardinian life and the quality of their wines led me to
undertake various wine courses, through Birmingham
Wine School, to facilitate a good knowledge base of
My passion is to bring the yet-unknown wines to the
UK and share the Sardinian experience.
Sardinia is the second largest island in the
Mediterranean Sea and it is an autonomous region of
Italy. Located in the western Mediterranean, Sardinia
is famous for tourism with its sandy beaches, emerald
sea and outstanding seafood, cheeses and roasted
Sardinia also has a hidden treasure... a host of wines
that are unknown outside of this beautiful island.
ItalSardo brings some of the very best of the wines
from Sardinia to the UK, so let’s start with three wine
types selected for you to try something different and
enjoy a little of Sardinia’s best kept secrets.
FINE WINES FROM ITALY
A REFRESHING CHANGE
Visit our online store for personally sourced wines from Italy
email@example.com 01283 711588
Vermentino is a white wine like no other we ordinarily
see in the UK, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
and Chardonnay. This dry, crisp wine is delicately
layered with grapefruit and green apple, with a hint
of peach, enjoyable alone, with fish and lighter meats
such as chicken.
Vermentino is such a refreshing change, fun and for
those who like a good white wine… in fact, a wine to
One of the most famous red grapes of Sardinia is
Cannonau; this single variety red wine encompasses
the true essence of Sardinia.
Sardinia is one of the five ‘blue zones’ in the world
identified as having many residents reaching an age of
90 years and older. The people of Sardinia believe this
specific wine, drank in moderation, has health benefits
which accounts for their well-being into old age.
Cannonau is an excitement of red fruits with a touch
of spice, fantastic with red meats and mature cheeses
the wine can also be appreciated as an enjoyable glass
of red wine.
Sardinia has long been famous for some excellent red
wines, and ItalSardo has sourced a superb mixed grape
variety IGT (cannonau, syrah, cabernet sauvignon)
This red wine has a warm intensity with an expression
of cranberry and red cherry, offering a taste of baked
plum and mulled red fruits.
It’s excellent with both meat and fish dishes but also
delicious as a standalone wine.
ItalSardo provides the superiority of
Sardinian wine, and has also has recently
extended its range of wines to include
mainland Italy. All of the wines can be
purchased from the new website www.
italsardo.com or contact Patrick Gaunt,
operations manager, on 01283 711588.
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F O O D & D R I N K
A Mid lands triumph
A BIRMINGHAM COCKTAIL BAR HAS BEEN NAMED THE COUNTRY’S BEST -
AND HERE THEY SHARE A SPECIAL COCKTAIL FOR YOU TO TRY AT HOME
Independent Birmingham bar, 40 St Paul’s, has been
named as the UK’s Bar of the Year at the inaugural
Icons of Gin Awards 2018.
Regarded as one of the city’s best kept secrets, the
24-cover gin specialist in the Jewellery Quarter beat off
competition from several London locations, including
Dukes Hotel in Mayfair, as well as bars in Leeds and
Hosted by Gin Magazine, nominations for The Icons
of Gin Awards came exclusively from the drinks
industry, and the winners were voted for by fellow
spirits professionals. The award was presented to the
40 St Paul’s owner, Aman Johal, at the Honourable
Artillery Company in central London.
It is the bar’s second national award win in the last
four months; in October last year, the bar received the
prestigious accolade of Best Gin List in the country by
leading industry publication, Imbibe Magazine, thanks
to its extensive collection of 140 gins and gin-based
On being named as Bar of the Year, Aman Johal said:
“It is always an honour to win any award, local or
national – but when the nominations and votes come
from people who live and breathe gin, it really adds
that extra credibility to the prize.
40 ST PAUL’S OFFERS A
HUGE SELECTION OF
GINS AND GIN-BASED
“There were some amazing and even famous bars
in our category. Our team works incredibly hard
every day to deliver the best quality gins in some of
the most imaginative ways possible, and this award is
recognition for the drinks they serve and the stories
they tell every day.”
40 St Paul’s is found on St Paul’s Square in the
Jewellery Quarter and is open until late Tuesday
to Sunday. For more information visit
Hand in Hand
30ml Citadel gin
20ml quince liquor or pear liquor
3 drops pineapple syrup
Over two ice cubes, add the gin, Lillet
and quince liquor. Add the pineapple
syrup last and stir for no longer than 30
seconds. Garnish with an apple fan.
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blackbrook_interiors Blackbrook Interiors @BlackbrookWS14
T R AV E L
Discovering an old favourite
RB COLLECTION’S KIRSTY TAYLOR TAKES HER DAUGHTER
ON A TRIP TO THE OTHER-SIDE OF MAJORCA
THE STUNNING BELMOND LA
RESIDENCIA IN DEIA, MAJORCA
In my 43 years on this planet, (with 24 of those
spent working within the travel industry), up until
late last year I had never once visited what is
probably considered to be the most popular holiday
island with the great British public – Majorca.
After hearing so many varying reports about the
destination, I decided it was about time I paid a visit
myself to discover my own opinions and see what all
the fuss has been about for so many decades.
After much consideration and numerous
conversations with friends and colleagues, myself
and my daughter Freya decided that we would like
to explore the northwest coast – a largely unspoilt
area dominated by the spectacular Tramuntana
mountain range. This part of the island tends to
attract a variety of holidaymakers all looking for a
different kind of experience from their visit; from
mountain bikers and hikers looking to make the most
of the trails and walking routes in the mountains,
to architecture lovers who can explore the myriad
of winding cobbled streets in the traditional and
unspoilt town of Soller. The dramatic scenery,
coupled with the option of being able to visit and
explore so many different areas and activities, is what
ultimately made our final decision.
As this was our first ever visit to Majorca, what better
way to make the most of the island than to stay in
two different areas – both contrasting considerably.
One on the coast - Port de Soller - and the other
located in the mountain village of Deia. Our arrival
into Palma was smooth and swift, and before we
knew it we were in our private transfer en-route to
Port de Soller in the northwest of the island. During
the short 40-minute journey, within what seemed
to be the blink of an eye, the landscape changed
dramatically. Gone were the popular tourist resorts
and large hotels near Palma, and in their place were
small traditional stone houses, and what seemed like
endless fields of orange and olive trees. As we got
closer to our destination, the Tramuntana mountain
range appeared to envelope us in its beauty and I
immediately knew we’d made the perfect choice for
us. Our excitement grew as we drove through the
outskirts of the pretty town of Soller and caught our
first glimpse of the famous electric tram which runs
to and from Port de Soller to Soller all day, every
day. Dating back to 1913, the tram was initially
used for the transportation of both passengers and
BAUTIFUL COBBLED STREETS OFFER A
TASTE OF TRUE MAJORCA
merchandise, but today is most popular with tourists
looking to sample a slice of Majorcan history and
take in the breathtaking scenery on the twenty
minute journey between the two towns.
Our home for the first three nights of our trip to
Majorca was the Aimia hotel. Bright and modern,
the location of the property was absolutely perfect to
discover all that Port de Soller has to offer, and was
only 50 metres away from the lovely sandy beach.
The rooms at the hotel vary in size and the views
are dependent on which room type you choose.
We opted for a sea view room and were completely
wowed when we stepped out onto our balcony for
the very first time - the views of the bay were truly
beautiful, particularly at sunrise and sunset. My
daughter’s favourite part of the day at the Aimia
hotel had to be breakfast time - the choice of food
available rivalled any other hotel I’ve ever stayed
in. But the main attraction had to be the daily
abundance of fresh Soller oranges - Freya had fun
each morning preparing her own delicious juice, and
many adults seemed to enjoy this too!
The resort of Port de Soller was much larger than I
had anticipated, but this was in no way detrimental
to its charm. Visitors are spoilt for choice with a
huge array of restaurants, many of them being of
an excellent standard. As well as oranges, the area
is renowned for its seafood, in particular the Soller
prawns which are sweet and delicious and are
on the menu in the majority of restaurants
and hotels - Jamie Oliver has even credited
them to be the best in the world! There really
is something to suit every palate - even my
extremely fussy eater daughter was impressed
with the choices on offer.
No trip to Port de Soller is complete without
a trip on the tram to the beautiful town of
Soller, which is located six kilometres inland.
After a short and extremely scenic 20-minute
journey, we arrived into the beguiling town
where, unbeknown to us, there was a local
festival taking place. We really couldn’t have
chosen a better day to visit - the square was
full of locals and tourists alike all enjoying
the charming music and dancing. What
better way to get a true flavour of the area
and feel part of the local community - the
atmosphere was wonderful and made our
trip all the more special.
The town square in Soller is picture postcard
perfect, and it is here that you will find the
majority of restaurants and bars. There is
a real outdoors sense of living here, and I
could have happily whiled away a few hours
sitting in the square sipping fresh Soller
orange juice and marvelling at the beauty of
the surroundings. The extremely impressive church
of Sant Bartomeu takes pride of place in the square,
and has stood here since the 13th century. A baroque
structure was added to the building in the 17th
century, and the interior is just as jaw droppingly
beautiful as the exterior - most definitely worth a
KIRSTY ENJOYS A TASTE OF
THE FAMOUS TRAM WHICH
RUNS TO AND FROM PORT DE
visit. What most impressed me about Soller was the
traditionally Mediterranean winding, narrow streets
and alleyways which seemed to never end. The
photo opportunities were outstanding and I felt ever
so slightly envious that people actually live here!
From Soller, you can take the train to Majorca’s
capital, Palma - a journey of outstanding beauty
passing through 13 tunnels, several bridges and a
viaduct; the train has been making the same journey
on a daily basis since 1912. It’s a great way for
anyone who is staying in Palma to have a day out of
the city and experience a slice of Majorca’s beautiful
The beautiful village of Deia has been high on my
travel wishlist for many years, having heard and read
so many wonderful stories about the area. So even
though I was sad to say goodbye to Port de Soller, I
was extremely excited to be starting the next chapter
of our holiday and making our way up into the hills
en route to Deia. The scenery on the car journey
alone was truly breathtaking, and my heart began
to race with anticipation the closer we got to our
destination. My expectations were exceeded as the
village crept upon us - my eyes didn’t know where
to look first! It is not very often I am lost
for words, but our arrival in Deia was
one such moment. Wow! Everything I
had dreamed Deia would be it was - and
so much more. From the moment we
arrived, it was clear to see why so many
of the rich and famous have made this
charming village their hideaway for so
The final two nights of our trip to
Majorca were spent at Belmond La
Residencia - a luxurious property which
is sympathetic to its surrounding area.
My heart was still racing with excitement
as we checked in and made our way out
onto the terrace in the beautiful sunshine,
and took in some of the most wonderful
views I have ever seen.
Freya and I spent an hour relaxing and
sipping a most welcome Aperol spritz (for
me!) and fresh Soller orange juice, before
being shown to our suite. Upon entering
I was once again wowed and impressed
by the stunning accommodation, and
the equally stunning views of Deia from
our private terrace. The first thought
that came into my head was ‘why have
I waited so long to visit this beautiful
After unpacking, we were both eager to
go out and explore the local area and
find out what it had to offer. Trainers or
good sturdy shoes are definitely needed to make the
most of exploring Deia with its numerous narrow
hilly streets, and of course the majestic Tramuntana
mountains to discover. Although the village is small,
there is a plethora of excellent restaurants to choose
from suiting all different tastes and budgets. We
discovered that booking a table is a necessity in
Deia - even if you are just going for a pizza! Because
of its undeniable beauty, the village is very popular
with day visitors making the restaurants very high in
As with Soller, the outdoors way of life appeals to
locals and visitors in Deia, with lots of restaurants
having mainly outdoor seating. During our visit at
the end of October, the evenings were cooler but we
were wrapped up with blankets which enabled us to
still enjoy dining al fresco. A lifelong memory I will
never forget is my daughter’s face when she saw the
stars in Deia. As the area has no light pollution, and
the sky was clear, the stars and constellations shone
brightly like nothing she had ever witnessed before.
It was a truly magical moment for us both and one
which will stay with me forever.
After a wonderful nights’ sleep and a scrumptious
breakfast made to order (including a glass of
champagne for me!), Freya and I decided to explore a
little further afield and made the short but steep hike
to Cala Deia - a small pebbly beach with a couple
of restaurants which are open in the summer season
(again - booking is essential). The walk to Cala Deia
was my favourite experience of the whole trip - the
views of Deia and the Tramuntana mountain range
in the background were mesmerising. I also enjoyed
being off the beaten track and seeing locals going
about their daily lives. Freya and I stumbled across
a lovely little hidden restaurant and enjoyed a much
deserved cold drink on our way back to the hotel.
For those looking for a longer and little more
challenging walk, the 10 kilometre route from Deia
to Port de Soller is a must. Passing through olive
groves, residential areas and farmland, regular sea
and mountain views throughout the trek will keep
your eyes as busy as your feet! The views in this area
of Majorca truly are some of the best I have ever
seen anywhere in the world, and it is the perfect
destination for walkers of all abilities.
Deia is an artists’ paradise, and in the village there
are numerous art studios and workshops, and visitors
can even have a guided tour with talks from artists.
At Belmond La Residencia, the resident artist is Alan
Hydes who kindly showed me and Freya around
his studio and gave us an insight into where his
inspiration comes from. Surprisingly, we also found
out that he used to live in the same town as us - it
really is a small world! He told us the story of how
he visited Deia on holiday many years ago and never
left. I was envious to say the least.
After five nights in Majorca, Freya and I felt happy
and relaxed, but also a little sad to be leaving such
a beautiful place. Our trip was filled with culture,
amazing food, luxury and memories that will stay
with us forever. Who would’ve thought that all of
this could be found just a couple of hours away
from home? This was our very first trip to Majorca,
but it certainly won’t be our last. We can’t wait to
return and discover even more of what this stunning
Balearic island has to offer.
Majorca twin-centre reader offer
Kirsty has put this special one-week holiday together for J’AIME readers following in her footsteps,
staying in Port de Soller and Deia in Majorca. Book this holiday with RB Collection before April 30, 2018
for travel anytime this year and receive a Kirsty’s exclusive top tips on where to eat and what to see and
do on the island.
Return flights from Birmingham with security lane fast-track passes
Checked in luggage and pre-booked seats together
Private return airport transfers
3 nights, 4* hotel in Port de Soller
Private transfer between hotels
2 nights, 5* hotel in Deia
Breakfast daily at each hotel
ABTA & ATOL Protection for your financial security
RB’s ‘VIP Experience’ service
All from only £1,329 per person
This special trip is based on low-season dates (October 22, 2018). This is when Kirsty visited and the
weather was warm during the day and a little cooler in the evenings. Prices can vary throughout the year
so do speak to us for a confirmed costing on your preferred date.
F E AT U R E
By the book
LICHFIELD MUM AMY BURTON’S NEW VENTURE, SLATER ROAD BOOK CLUB, AIMS TO HELP
CONNECT READERS WITH BOOKS THEY’LL LOVE. AMY NORBURY DISCOVERS MORE
We all have our favourite authors, the ones we turn
to when we need a book fix and the ones we get most
excited over when a new tale lands. But when we run
out of our top picks, it can be difficult to find another
author which fills the gap.
Lichfield mum-of-one Amy Burton has turned
book recommendations into a business, thanks
to her Slater Road Book Club. Offering tailored
subscriptions which see a new, carefully chosen
book drop through your letterbox each month,
the book club aims to open readers up to a world
of new works which they are sure to love. From
contemporary to classic, fiction and non-fiction, Amy
offers something for everyone.
“Think along the lines of magazine subscriptions,
but with books,” explains Amy. “And whereas with
magazine subscriptions you send out the same
magazine to everyone, with the book club I send out
different books to every subscriber, depending on
what they like to read.
“You can get sock subscriptions, flower subscriptions,
really subscriptions for everything nowadays, so I
thought why not books? I think it’s lovely to have
a good book which is nicely wrapped sent to you;
Kindles are obviously a really popular way of
reading nowadays, but I think people still like to have
A lifelong bookworm, 34-year-old Amy studied
publishing with English at Loughborough University
but never put her skills in the field to proper use -
AMY IS A SELF-CONFESSED
AMY BURTON RUNS SLATER
ROAD BOOK CLUB
“The only reason I didn’t pursue a career in
publishing was because it meant moving to London
- which, in hindsight, I probably would have loved -
and jobs were very difficult to come by, so I went into
sales,” she says.
It was when Amy’s daughter Belle, now two, came
along, that she started looking at putting her degree
to good use with a new business venture. Slater Road
Book Club launched in July last year, and Amy is
thrilled to be able to share her passion for reading
and discovering new authors with her subscribers.
“This allows me to work at home, managing it all
myself, and do something I’m passionate about and
which uses my expertise,” says Amy, who’s married
“I love researching and investigating the different
genres of books; for example if someone particularly
enjoys sports book, which isn’t a genre I’d normally
read myself, I get online, do plenty of research and
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ead lots of other reviews so I can choose books I’m
confident my subscriber will like. It’s kind of like a
personal shopper service, but for books.”
Each subscriber fills out a questionnaire detailing the
types of books they do - and don’t - enjoy to ensure
Amy has plenty of information to go on when she’s
making the decision about what books to supply.
Subscriptions run for three, six or 12 months, and
are aimed a wide variety of readers of all ages.
“I’ve got subscriptions for specific genres of books;
thriller, romance, crime, cookery books, but I’ve also
got bespoke packages for fiction and non-fiction,”
says Amy. “I’ve had a few recently where people
enjoy a whole range of books, so one lady had a
three-month subscription and within that there was
a biography, a contemporary romance and a thriller.
I can truly personalise each subscription and, for
me, it’s really interesting to be reading and learning
about so many different kinds of books.
“I also do kids’ subscriptions aimed at different age
groups; I think it’s great to encourage a love of books
from an early age and I love hunting down new
books for Belle, as well as sharing my own childhood
“Many of my subscriptions are bought as gifts, but
even if people sign up for themselves, they know
they’re getting a book but they have no idea which
book or which author it will be so there’s still that
element of surprise and discovery.”
And now Amy aims to build on her success by
bringing like-minded readers together in a bookish
“I’d love to do an online book club, perhaps through
Instagram, where everyone joins in reading the same
book, to open it up to a wider audience,” says Amy
“When you’ve read something amazing you want to
discuss it, or it the book has a bit of ambiguity it’s
nice to be able to talk it through with other readers.
“I definitely have to read a lot; much of my work is
just reading and making copious notes about each
book I come across. Personally, I enjoy contemporary
fiction, mainly thrillers and particularly books about
families. For some reason I prefer English authors
and books set in this country.
“If I’m on holiday I don’t mind reading typical
chick-lit type books, but when I’m at home and I
haven’t got as much time I want books that I can’t
put down; books that are gritty and keep me reading.
When you come across something which keeps you
gripped it’s fantastic.”
For more information visit www.
slaterroadbookclub.co.uk or find Slater
Road Book Club on Facebook, Twitter and
AMY BURTON, FROM SLATER ROAD BOOK CLUB, REVIEWS THREE OF HER LATEST READS...
The Perfect Girl, Gilly Macmillan
One of the first books I read this year, the synopsis of this
book intrigued me. Zoe Maisey is considered a child genius
who has extraordinary musical talent. However, several years
ago, she was involved in an incident which lead to the death
of three teenagers. She has served her time in prison and is
now back living with her mother and new family. Everything
is going well until tragedy strikes again.
The start of the book was really good and I wanted to read
on to find out what had happened. I did however find that
certain sections were a bit slow and I did find it difficult to get
fully immersed in the story at some points. Towards the end
though, things picked up and I’m glad that I persevered.
The book is written from the perspective of four main
characters which allows us to explore their different
viewpoints. It is written in a way which allowed me to
empathise with Zoe’s situation and relate to most of the other
characters. The main thread that runs through the whole
novel is secrets and deception; each character has their own
web of lies and it’s interesting to see how it will it impact on
those around them.
I think that to get the most out of this book, you need to give
it your full attention so that you can see the tension grow
as you read. I would recommend this to anyone who likes
physiological thrillers and especially fans of Girl On A Train.
Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell
After finishing this book, I was left with mixed
emotions. It has some dark elements and reaches
a sad yet satisfying ending which although was not
particularly uplifting, did provide a good conclusion.
I got a sense of how the story was going to unfold from
an early stage but this didn’t deter me from wanting
to read on. I really enjoy thrillers and stories about
families - family members, their interactions with each
other and with other people. This certainly had all this
and more. At the centre of it all is the disappearance
of Ellie Mack - what has happened to her, where
has she gone, and will the truth be uncovered? I’ll
obviously say no more about that so that you discover
this for yourself!
I found it easy to read in a way which allowed me to
lose all concept of time (I even stayed up until 1am
reading one night which, when you have a two-yearold
who likes to wake up early, is something of a
triumph!) I like books that stay with me for a while
after I’ve read them and I think that this will be one
of them. I am a fan of Lisa Jewell and this latest book
doesn’t disappoint. If you haven’t read it already, be
sure to add it to your reading list.
Close to Home, Cara Hunter
This book has been described as ‘the impossible to put
down’ novel, and for me this was certainly the case!
Set in Oxford, the novel follows an investigation led by
DI Adam Fawley. The story starts when an eight-yearold
girl goes missing. As with all good books, all is not
what it seems and there are some good twists and turns
along the way.
It includes all the things I like in a novel - it was fastpaced
and gripping. It focuses on the story from different
character perspectives throughout and also includes
sections from social media accounts and news articles, all
of which add another dimension to the writing.
As part of the police enquiries, different characters are
introduced and their lives are explored. I felt that the
characters were all looked at in a way you’d expect them
to be in a police investigation - you get to see a snapshot
of their lives and delve into elements of their past. I
liked what we saw of Adam Fawley and look forward to
revisiting his story - and I’m sure a new investigation - in
Cara Hunter’s next book which is due out in July.
If there’s one thing I wasn’t as keen on it would be the
ending, which I felt was a bit rushed. However, this
doesn’t detract much from the overall enjoyment of the
book and I would definitely recommend it. I can’t wait
for the next book in the series.
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
WHAT: Clare Teal and her
Big Mini Big Band
WHERE: Lichfield Garrick
WHEN: April 6
This brand new show sees
award winning vocalist
and Radio Two presenter
Clare Teal and her excellent
musicians effortlessly traverse
a rich landscape of timeless and sparkling material
including standards from the grand masters of the
Great American Songbook to witty and urbane song
stylists of the Fifties and Sixties.
To date Clare has recorded and released 14 albums to
public and critical acclaim. With her stunning voice,
encyclopaedic knowledge of jazz, swing and big band
music, and her innate warmth and wit, Clare is a sought
after singer and broadcaster throughout the country. As
one of the UK’s greatest interpreters of song and much
loved performers, Clare and her Big Mini Big Band
promise an evening of inspired music and unbridled
entertainment. For more details visit
Cabaret supper - a tribute
to Michael Bublé with Kai
Swinfen Hall, Lichfield
Kai Mckenzie has earned himself a very respectable
reputation in the music industry as a top session
vocalist, but it is swing that is his true love. He has
been performing his internationally acclaimed show, a
tribute to Michael Bublé, to audiences for more than
eight years and is known as the UK’s most authentic
representation of Michael. He has a great vocal range,
powerful delivery, a rich, silky tone and is as close to the
real Bublé as you can get.
Swinfen Hall’s cabaret supper will be a very relaxed
evening of great live music and good food and wine.
Tickets are priced at £55 per person and include
prosecco on arrival, a three-course dinner and half a
bottle of wine. For more details visit
WHAT: St George’s Day
WHERE: Tamworth Castle
WHEN: April 21
To celebrate the patron saint of England, Tamworth
Castle is holding a truly medieval experience for the
whole family to enjoy. The day of fun includes living
history at the castle, where visitors can have a go at
doing the laundry, learn about medieval weaponry
and armour, or have a go at some traditional games
with the castle’s own Lady Freville. In the Castle
Grounds try out archery, enjoy the spectacular
medieval joust, walk around the medieval
encampment, chat to the street entertainers and try
out the children’s activities.
Admission into the castle is priced at £7.50 for
adults, £6.50 OAPs, £5 children aged five to 15, £3
children aged two to four and free for under twos.
Entry to the Castle Grounds is free of charge. For
more details visit www.tamworthcastle.co.uk
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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
WHAT: Fat Friends
WHEN: April 3 to 7
The hit TV show Fat
Friends from awardwinning
national treasure Kay Mellor has burst
onto the stage in a brand new musical, with original
music by Nick Lloyd Webber.
Join the infamous group of TV’s most loveable
characters as they are put through their Zumba
paces at their local branch of Super Slimmers by the
lovelorn Lauren while Kelly fantasises about fitting
into the wedding dress of her dreams.
With an all-star cast including West End favourite
and winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, Jodie
Prenger, X Factor winner Sam Bailey, Atomic
Kitten’s Natasha Hamilton, star of Emmerdale
and Wicked Natalie Anderson, Coronation Street
legend Kevin Kennedy and, making his stage
debut, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, Fat Friends The
Musical is a feel-good night out for every body.
For more details visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/
WHEN: April 4 to 28
Winner of more than
100 international awards,
Wicked has been casting
its magical spell across the world for over a decade and
continues to break records at London’s Apollo Victoria
Theatre, where it is already the 15th longest running
show in West End theatre history
An ingenious and witty re-imagining of the stories and
characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful
Wizard of Oz’, Wicked tells the incredible untold story
of an unlikely but profound friendship between two
young women who first meet as sorcery students. Their
extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them
fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked
Witch of the West.
This multi record-breaking production flies back for a
return engagement complete with all the spectacle and
magic that make this spellbinding show an unforgettable
experience for audiences of all ages. For more details visit
WHAT: Brighton Rock
WHERE: Birmingham REP
WHEN: April 10 to 14
Romeo and Juliet meets Peaky Blinders in this
gripping tale of crime and romance.
Heaven was a word: hell was something he could
trust. Rose is in love – they say she’s in danger. And
that boy, Pinkie…. They say he’s evil – but what has
As two seventeen year olds, Pinkie and Rose get
embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton, one
brutal murder leads to the next. The police are
impassive – but the courageous and life embracing
Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her.
Whatever the cost, she’ll see justice done.
Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal bring the
dark underworld of Graham Greene’s classic novel
Brighton Rock to the stage in this new adaptation
by acclaimed writer Bryony Lavery. For more details
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5 Stafford Road, Lichfield WS13 7BZ
Tel: 01543 263 383 • www.thefireplacelichfield.co.uk
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm • Sat 10am - 4pm.
Closed Sundays and bank holidays. FREE ON-SITE PARKING.
WHAT: Torvill and
Dean’s Dancing on Ice
WHEN: April 13 to 15
The full lineup for the new Dancing on Ice live show
has been announced - and fans are in for a treat.
Donna Air and Mark Hanretty will once again take to
ice and join other stars from the current ITV series:
Jake Quickenden and Vanessa Bauer; Max Evans and
Ale Izquierdo; Alex Beresford and Brianne Delcourt;
Cheryl Baker and Dan Whiston; and two-time former
champion Ray Quinn and Alexandra Schauman. The
tour also will feature professional skaters Matt Evers,
Sylvain Longchambon and Lukasz Rozycki.
The couples will skate for the votes of the tour judging
panel of Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Denise
Van Outen. And as an extra added bonus, Torvill and
Dean will be performing for the Arena Birmingham
audience for the first time in four years.
Experience sensational routines and breathtaking
stunts, all performed on an enormous ice rink in this
incredible live show. For more details visit
Following an acclaimed run of shows across the UK
and Europe last summer, Arcade Fire embark on
their Infinite Content tour this month, which will see
“one of the most popular and essential bands of the
century” (NME) play dates across the UK including a
night at Birmingham’s Genting Arena.
The live show will feature songs from the band’s
latest album, Everything Now, which was released in
July and includes the title track as well as the likes of
Creature Comfort and Signs of Life. For more details
WHEN: April 21
Tour’s city centre Gin-tastic Tour has landed. Discover
local gins and history of the potent tipple while
weaving knowledge of Birmingham’s heritage. Learn
more about gin through tasting local tipples on a walk
to find the funkiest dens, the coolest hidden bars, while
learning more about Birmingham and meeting likeminded
gin fanatics. There will be five drinks included,
plus food to match your supping.
The tour focuses on supporting local producers and
independent businesses while bringing visitors the best
in products and taste - it’s an experience not to be
missed for all lovers of food and gin. Tours cost £65
per person plus booking fee. Call 07875 236140 for
availability or book online at
WHAT: Dewi Sant
WHERE: Birmingham Symphony Hall
WHEN: April 22
Birmingham Canoldir Male Choir will be joined by
the Phoenix Choir, the Midland Hospitals Choir and
choirs from junior schools in Birmingham for a massed
mixed voice concert of 250 singers in support of the
Conducted by James Llewelyn Jones, the choirs will
sing a variety of well-known choral classics including
Zadok the Priest, and culminating in the first public
performance in England of Karl Jenkins’s wonderful
choral work, Dewi Sant (St. David). This work has
everything - beautiful harmonies and exciting, foottapping
rhythms. Accompanied by Gemini Brass and
other professional musicians, they promise an evening
to remember. For more information and to book tickets
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.
Emma is back!
At Browns Art Team,Walmley Road, Sutton Coldfield
£10 OFF ALL SERVICES
25% OFF COLOUR
WHEN YOU PAY FOR CUT AND BLOW DRY
FREE CONDITIONING TREATMENT WORTH £15
WITH EVERY FULL PRICE CUT AND BLOW DRY
To book call Emma
on 07791 311098
Offers only available separately and not to be used with
any other offer. Redeem Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and
Saturday at Browns Art Team throughout April
and May. Mention J’AIME when booking.
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!
JUST £22 A YEAR TO COVER POSTAGE COSTS.
CONTACT JAN ASHLEY ON 07388 335931
OR EMAIL ADVERTISING@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM
Serving fresh fruit cocktails
with passion and flare
LE RÊVE COCKTAIL BAR - 26 BIRD STREET - LICHFIELD
PHONE: 01543 253 663 - WWW.LEREVE-BAR.COM
FACEBOOK: LE REVE COCKTAIL BAR LICHFIELD - INSTAGRAM: LE_REVE_BAR
- COCKTAIL MASTERCLASSES AVAILABLE - PRIVATE TABLES/AREAS FOR ALL OCCASIONS
- DJ’s EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY - LIVE MUSIC EVERY SUNDAY - OPEN EVERY EVENING
- OPEN TILL 1AM EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY - OVER 21’s ONLY
FA S H I O N
Work it out
UPDATE YOUR EVERYDAY BY BRINGING A TOUCH OF
CATWALK STYLE TO YOUR OFFICE ATTIRE, SAYS AMY NORBURY
ARE workwear troubles making you late on a daily basis? Don’t
despair; give your office repertoire a boost with some of the hottest
trends, fresh from the catwalk to your desk. Forget about the old staple
tailored trousers and collared shirts, and instead look at working this
season’s key looks into your workday wardrobe.
While keeping up your style credentials on a daily basis isn’t always
easy, making subtle adjustments from your weekend wardrobe could
do wonders for your working week collections.
Statement stripes are the print of choice for SS18, and an easy way
to add a wow factor to your work look. Make stripes the focal point
of your outfit with a printed dress or skirt. Go for bands of varying
widths for added interest.
For a seriously smart office look, good tailoring is key. When it comes
to trousers, either opt for ankle-grazing slim cigarette pants or go widelegged,
and look out for on-trend detailing like gathered waists and tie
The skirt du jour is that sassiest of workwear staple, the pencil skirt. It
was a runway hit for the SS18 shows, with fashion houses Balenciaga,
Hermès and Off-White all basing their collections around the design
staple. The way to wear it now? Teamed with a colour pop blouse and
spiky kitten heels.
Office wear doesn’t have to mean dull when it comes to colour either;
take your cues from this season’s hottest shades for an instant update.
For SS18 it’s a tale of two extremes; on the one hand sorbet shades
add a soft touch to darker neutrals like black, navy and grey, while on
the other, it’s all about the crayola brights. Bold yellow is in particular
having a fashion moment.
Accessories are key in pulling together your office look, and the two
things you need are great shoes and a great bag.
Ankle boots are a failsafe office choice, but forego unremarkable black
and instead inject a serious colour pop into your workday with bold,
bright pair. Team yours with ankle-grazing trousers and a striped
shirt for instant office chic. Or plump for classic pumps for a more
glamorous look, and again don’t be afraid of colour.
A great bag is an investment, but if you’re going to splurge you need to
make sure you can get the most use out of it. A mid-sized saddle bag
is big enough to hold your workday essentials but small enough to see
you through your weekend shopping and bar hopping.
SHAPE TIE WAIST
DRESS, PAPER DOLLS.
TIE BELT TROUSERS,
EDITOR GREY LEATHER
TOTE, MARC JACOBS AT
LATCH LEATHER CROSS-BODY
BAG, JW ANDERSON AT
NAPPA ALMOND TOE
PUMPS, JULIA MAYS
AT HARVEY NICHOLS.
TOP, £40; LINEA
£55; BAG, £50,
LABEL LAB, ALL
AT HOUSE OF
TIE BELT PENCIL SKIRT,
£40; AND SHIRT FROM
A SELECTION AT RIV-
FA S H I O N
Spring into style
JILL HARTLEY, CO-OWNER AND DIRECTOR OF NERO E BIANCO EXCLUSIVE FASHION AND
BRIDAL BOUTIQUE AT BARTON MARINA, TAKES A LOOK AT FRESH SPRING STYLE
As we move into April ordinarily
we see the weather improving and
we start to feel interested in lighter,
brighter clothes. This year the
weather - I suppose in a truly British
way - doesn’t seem to be showing any
sign of spring!
Let’s not get too downhearted
though; Easter is upon us, holidays
on the horizon and as always lots of
spring fashion to get excited about.
This spring it’s all about the prints,
olive green is a very strong colour,
and massively on trend is the floaty
wide leg trouser.
Getting the look right can be slightly
daunting, especially as we discard our
cosy woolly jumpers and boots. We
often need a little help in stepping
out of our comfort zone and into
something fresh and different.
With that in mind, I have three ideas
to lift your spirits and start to think
These trousers are the absolute best
in terms of a classy print and what’s
so good about this print is that is
forgiving on all figures.
The softness of the material is
important with a print as it will glide
when worn thus giving a very elegant
and feminine look. Worn here with
a little strappy top (hoping for the
sunshine!) a great look for casual
daywear worn with casual flats, pop
on a pair of heels and transform into
an amazing evening outfit… This will
take you anywhere!
Nero e Bianco Exclusive Fashion & Bridal
Barton Marina Burton upon Trent DE13 8AS
We totally love these floaty wide leg trousers, again soft
fabric that aligns well to flatter the leg.
This colour ‘milk’ has taken over in all fashion houses,
being such a stylish, sophisticated colour and in the
wide leg trouser so graceful. Don’t be afraid to try this
style and colour whatever body shape, the cut of the
trouser is remarkably flattering.
The top here is simply divine, the neckline with cowl
drop and the longer length covers any little lumps and
bumps too – always a bonus!
With this look its can be dressed down with flats,
sparkly flip flops or pop on those killer heels and hat
and you’re on your way to Ascot.
Now here is the perfect antidote to those April
showers; the camo parka coat.
This is a real hit with so many ages and sizes and the
camo print is always popular but we think with this
coat camo print has just gone up a level in terms of
fashion trend - so edgy and feminine.
It is practical (we like that too), on trend and super
cosy. Let’s hope we don’t have too many showers
B E AU T Y
Tools of the trade
WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS TO HAND YOU WILL BE CAPABLE OF CREATING A MASTERPIECE. GET THE
BASICS RIGHT AND YOU ARE GUARANTEED A PROFESSIONAL FINISH EVERY TIME. SO WHETHER IT’S
LASH CURLERS, BLENDERS OR EVERY BRUSH IMAGINABLE, HERE ARE THE MUST-HAVE PRODUCTS
FROM HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM TO ENSURE THE MOST STYLISH COSMETICS CASE
to perfectly sweep over the
natural contours of the
eye is Estée Lauder’s
Shadow Brush, £22.
Use the curved side for allover
base application and
the pointed tip for
easy contouring, lining
A travel-friendly brush
with applicators for
foundation, blusher and
£55, features a weighted
metal handle for effortless
blending and application,
and PETA-approved highgrade
The NARS Eyelash Curler, £15, gives
straight lashes the perfect curl with its soft
contoured pad to fit all eye shapes. The
sleek signature black matte finish and
ergonomically designed shape allows for
Thanks to its rounded and angled
shape, Sisley’s Foundation
Brush, £41, enables you to
perfectly blend and smooth all
types of foundation, even the
Yves Saint Laurent’s
Foundation Blender, £14,
is ideal for applying both
foundation and concealer;
while the sloped sides
are designed for smooth
application, even in hard-toreach
The head of the pack when it
comes to blotting paper. The
ultra portable Fenty Beauty
Invisimatte, £13, lets you
touch up on the go and its chic,
refillable mirrored compact looks
just like a lipstick case.
VISIT THE BEAUTY HALL AT HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM AND DISCOVER THE LATEST MAKEUP
RANGES FROM LEADING BRANDS INCLUDING FENTY BEAUTY, DIOR, STILA, ESTÉE LAUDER,
LANCÔME, RODIAL, COVER FX, NARS, SISLEY, HOURGLASS AND YVES SAINT LAURENT.
B E AU T Y
AWARD-WINNING HAIRDRESSER EMMA STEVEN PREDICTS A LIGHTER,
MORE EFFORTLESS APPROACH FOR SPRING
As we head into spring, things are getting altogether lighter and brighter on the hair front.
Blondes are certainly back, and there’s a natural, playful element when it comes to styling.
Emma says: “This season it’s
all about supercharged blondes;
think lighter, brighter and whiter
than ever before and dare to be
a bit bolder in your choices. I’m
particularly loving the really clean
snow white to silver grey hues
combined with pastel shades -
particularly a bit of a minty green
for those who really want to stand
out from the crowd.”
Emma says: “For SS18 braids are
back with a vengeance; there are
so many ways to wear braids, from
leaving hair down and braiding
tiny pieces to braiding the front of
a pony tail and leaving the ends
loose or braiding fringes to sweep
across the forehead - it’s all about
adding a bit of structure, shape and
definition and putting in that extra
bit of detail.
“A quick style trick is to plait wet
hair from cheekbone level down
and leave it overnight then run the
straighteners over it in the morning
to create a crinkly, mermaid-style
Emma says: “Things are definitely
looking more natural this season;
we’re adding volume with choppy
layers and natural curls, and using
the natural texture of the hair to
create the look. Keep things simple
by ditching the heat styling - no
more daily usage of straighteners
or rollers - and instead creating
shape and gloss with a blow dry
“Fringes are also making their
way back, but rather than blunt or
side-swept, we’re looking at choppy
pieces of fringing just to frame the
Find Emma Steven at Browns Art Team, Sutton Coldfield.
To book your appointment call 07791 311098.
I N T H E N E W S
A lucky winner
We were inundated with entries for our recent
competition to win £500 worth of vouchers to spend
at Lichfield home decor haven Blackbrook Interiors.
But there could only be one winner, and our lucky
reader was Samantha Jones, of Lichfield, who
recently popped into the store to collect her prize.
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 Blackbrook.
We hope Samantha has great fun spending her prize,
and that she can find that perfect something for
her home at Blackbrook Interiors. Congratulations
A haven for the gardening enthusiast
As we head into peak gardening season, one local
company is leading the way when it comes to offering
quality materials to help transform your outdoor
Established since 1999, Four Oaks Reclamation,
based in Drayton Bassett near Tamworth, holds a
large supply of garden items and garden materials,
both reclaimed and new, and specialises in supplying
excellent quality traditional building and landscaping
Owner Paul Neachall says: “We cater for the
household gardener, the garden enthusiast, the
garden designer or landscaper, and we have
everything required for the traditional garden,
cottage garden or formal garden, whether you are
looking to match old materials to an existing garden
or create something new.”
Four Oaks Reclamation stocks extensive building
materials from reclaimed flagstones, Indian stone
paving, cobbles and slate to garden ornaments,
statues and plant pots plus much more.
So whatever it is that you are looking
for, call Four Oaks Reclamation on 0121
308 0554, check out the website at www.
fouroaksreclamation.com or find Four Oaks
Reclamation West Midlands on Facebook.
Life in the fast lane
M OTO R S
THIS MONTH J’AIME’S MOTORING CORRESPONDENT AND RESIDENT RACING
DRIVER MARTIN PLOWMAN UPDATES US AS THE SEASON COMMENCES
There is a lot of activity in the motorsport world at
this time of year; the winter weather is (or should be)
leaving us and the race circuits get busier as people
dust off their cars and bikes ready for the track. I
wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes view of
the preparations that go into the seemingly simple
process of finding a driver pairing to race for the
season and getting everything ready to announce
them at the season launch media day.
This season has been one of change for us at
UltraTek Racing. The team is set up around the
development of Richard Taffinder and, until this
point, Richard had raced in every championship the
team had entered. However, Richard is in the middle
of a monumental business expansion plan and we
agreed that trying to focus on this, and also the
racing was going to compromise both programs. We
decided that Richard would sit out the first part of
the season and we would create a parallel program to
start later in the season just for Richard.
This left us with the task
of finding drivers for one
of our Nissan 370Z GT4
cars. Now you would think
that finding somebody to
race is an easy task - who
wouldn’t want to put the
370Z through its paces
this season? The approach
to driver selection is a lot
more scientific. Firstly,
every team has a culture,
like a business, we have
a particular attitude,
a way of working and
values. At UltraTek,
we pride ourselves on
professionalism but also
with compassion. We are
a caring bunch with very
high standards of business
ethics and want people to support these values. Very
often, teams can fragment with different drivers
and management teams looking after their personal
objectives. We spend a great deal of time at the start
of the season making sure that the driver’s objectives
and team objectives align. Simply put, if the driver’s
hopes and dreams match the team’s hopes and
dreams, you all pull together to achieve them. If they
don’t, people are often drawn apart.
The format of the car we had to fill was Pro-Am, this
means matching a professional racing driver, typically
a young racer, with an amateur driver. The skill level
of amateur drivers is still very high, but it recognises
those who joined the sport in later life (typically after
30) as opposed to those who were born with a go-kart
steering wheel in their hands.
The most important job of the pro driver is to
manage car setup and be able to communicate the
feeling and handling of the car to the team. The
pro also needs to help coach the
amateur and needs the required
interpersonal skills. The focus
of the amateur driver is to drive
consistently fast laps, creating a
perfect foundation for the pro
driver to cut through the pack
in the second half of the race.
This involves smooth driving and
management of brakes and so on.
The objective is to hand the car
over as far up the field as possible
in as best possible condition.
Finding available drivers is
also a question of experience
and contacts; there is no single
source where people advertise
themselves, it requires the teams
to reach out to their networks of
drivers and driver managers and is as much of a skill
as setting up a race car or driving a fast lap. We also
listen to the grapevine for movers and shakers in a
range of championships and look at feeder series to
see who may be ready advance up the racing ladder.
Once you have compiled a shortlist of drivers, next
comes the negotiations, listening to the drivers
wants and needs, their desires for everything from
sponsorship space to testing. This point is where the
balancing act comes in, pushing to get the best terms
for the best driver, but also from the driver’s side of
the table; they want the best car and the best possible
You will then take your final driver to contract,
review and sign and then complete all the practical
details. Contracts are completed by some drivers
directly whereas others have managers. The role of
a good driver manager will push to get the best from
the team for his driver but also smooths the process
to ensure it doesn’t fall over at any stage. Sometimes
having an intermediary helps find the middle ground
between the team and the driver on any point that
they don’t agree on. We are really grateful that
our drivers deal directly or have skilled managers
who assist the process and come up with a win-win
Once the driver has signed, there is still much to do.
From bringing their sponsors on board for the car
livery and race suits, through to obtaining press shots
and writing a press release. Measuring for race suits
and team kit tends to be the final step, and all of
this needs to be done under a cloud of secrecy, so it
doesn’t ruin the driver announcement, as you want
the biggest surprise and the most exposure possible
for the team, the driver and all the sponsors.
I know it sounds like a lot of
work but this season it all went
to plan, and we have landed
two fantastic drivers who
will keep the seat warm and
also potentially participate in
our other racing programs
developed for Richard
Taffinder that will start later in
So next time you see a driver
announcement, you have an
insight into the six months of
work that was completed by
scores of people to make it
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