J'AIME April 2018

jaimemagazine

Your local luxury lifestyle magazine

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

CELEBRATING

125 YEARS FOR A

LICHFIELD BAKERY

Spruce up your

garden for spring

WIN AN

OUTDOOR

FIRE PIT

WORTH

£250

DISCOVERING ANOTHER

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

you all.

EDITOR: AMY NORBURY

EDITOR@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

ADVERTISING: JAN ASHLEY

ADVERTISING@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

07388 335 931

DESIGN: DESIGN@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

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.

Check us out online at:

WWW.JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

Find us on

/JAIMEMAGAZINE

@JAIMEMAGAZINE

@JAIMEMAGAZINE

3


CONTENTS

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

Lichfield stalwart

32 Food and drink - Reviewing Sauce Supper Club

34 Food and drink - Cocktail of the month from

Le Rêve

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

Birmingham

56 Fashion - The new workwear

58 Fashion - Spring trends from Nero e Bianco

61 Beauty - Top beauty tools from Harvey Nichols

Birmingham

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

4


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FEATURE

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

street food.

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,”

says James.

“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

food.”

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

6


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

in.”

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

better.

“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

7


FOODIES AT DIGBETH DINING CLUB

LINE UP TO SAMPLE THE ENGLISH

INDIAN’S WARES

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

dish.

“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.

8


“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

food events.

“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

9


we can’t commit to having our gazebo there when it

can be elsewhere catering for more people,” explains

Anna.

“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

big events.”

Not ones to rest on their laurels, James and Anna

are constantly trying to improve and develop new

offerings.

“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

service.

“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

they love.

“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

incredible.

“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.

10


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PROPERTY

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

12


INTERIORS

A BY AMARA PRIORY BED LINEN

COLLECTION, FROM £20 FOR A

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Modern

chintz

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.

£15

£17.95

£45

FELICITY PLATE BY ZALA

FARAH, ART WOW.

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WILLIAM KILBURN ENAMEL

POT, ANNABEL JAMES.

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PIP STUDIO FLORAL LARGE

ROSE TEAPOT, DAISY PARK.

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SUMMER WILDFLOWERS LINEN

CUSHION, ANNABEL JAMES.

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£63

£39.95

VILLEROY AND BOCH QUINSAI

GARDEN OVAL BOWL, BRIDGMAN.

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14


PIP STUDIO ROYAL SMALL

TEAPOT, DAISY PARK.

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£59.95

MEADOW FLOWER CARAFE

AND TUMBLER, LAURA ASHLEY.

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SAHARA CHEST OF DRAWERS,

SWOON EDITIONS.

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£35

THISTLES FLORAL LINEN AND

VELVET CUSHION, ANNABEL JAMES.

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PAPER ROSE BEDDING SET,

CATH KIDSTON.

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FLORAL LOVESEAT,

OFICINA INGLESA.

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£28

£76

£699

£POA

RJR.JOHN ROCHA

DINNERWARE SET, DEBENHAMS.

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CAMBRIDGE COTTON

ACCENT ARMCHAIR, JOULES

AT DFS. WWW.DFS.CO.UK

£50

AVRIL EMBROIDERED

CUSHION, LAURA ASHLEY.

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PARKER KNOLL ETIENNE GRAND

SOFA, £2,250, COOKES FURNITURE.

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EUNOIA WATERCOLOUR FLORAL WALLPAPER,

£75, WOODCHIP AND MAGNOLIA.

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FLORAL VINTAGE BLINDS, £45.77, ENGLISH

BLINDS. WWW.ENGLISHBLINDS.CO.UK

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,

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PARKER KNOLL AMELIE LARGE TWO-SEATER

SOFA, £1,910, COOKES FURNITURE.

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J’AIME

LO VES


I N T E R I O R S

Ice cream

dreams

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.

WWW.WILLOWANDHALL.CO.UK

£71

£16

£25

LILAC VELVET FOOT-

STOOL, AUDENZA.

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BLUSH AND COPPER SUCCULENT

PLANT POT, AUDENZA.

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LA CAFETIERE BARCELONA

CAFETIERE, CREATIVE TOPS.

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TOM DIXON FLECK THROW, AMARA.

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£200

18

PASTEL BUNNY HANGING TEA LIGHTS,

£7 EACH, THE CONTEMPORARY HOME.

WWW.TCH.NET


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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

family businesses.

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

www.skillcraftproducts.com.

The Competition

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’

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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.

22


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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

garden.

Spring clean

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.

24


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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

and plan.

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

26


Enjoy

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.

HELENIUM

Photography by Chris Day

AN OUTDOOR DECKING AREA

AND BESPOKE BAR

EUPHORBIA

27


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

too.”

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

28


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

Birmingham.

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

us.”

“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

everything properly.

“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

29


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

properly.”

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

interesting.”

“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

SWEET TREATS ALSO

GO DOWN A STORM AT

HINDLEY’S

30


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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

food.

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

the night?

We began proceedings with snacks from The Boat

- Liam’s signature pig’s head and burnt apple cubes

32


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

promising start.

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.

33


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.

34


The Pear

Tree

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: enquiries@peartreecreperie.co.uk

peartreecreperie.co.uk

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

EVENTS

We regularly deliver sell out, pop up fine dining experiences by Michelin starred chefs and highly

commended chefs who showcase their food and talents 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

ALCHEMILLA, NOTTINGHAM

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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

wines.

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

meats.

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.

36


ITAL SARDO

FINE WINES FROM ITALY

A REFRESHING CHANGE

Visit our online store for personally sourced wines from Italy

www.italsardo.com

wine@italsardo.com 01283 711588


Dié

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

‘Dié’ for!

Ego

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.

Geo

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.

38


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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

Glasgow.

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

cocktails.

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

COCKTAILS

“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

www.40stpauls.co.uk

Hand in Hand

30ml Citadel gin

10ml Lillet

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.

40


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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

42


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

MAJORCAN LIFE

43


THE FAMOUS TRAM WHICH

RUNS TO AND FROM PORT DE

SOLLER

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

countryside.

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

many years.

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

island?’!

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

44


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

demand.

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.

45


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

books.”

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 -

until now.

AMY IS A SELF-CONFESSED

BOOKWORM

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

to Dan.

“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

46


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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

favourites.

“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

community.

“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

Instagram.

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.

48


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.

49


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

www.lichfieldgarrick.com

WHAT:

Cabaret supper - a tribute

to Michael Bublé with Kai

Mckenzie

WHERE:

Swinfen Hall, Lichfield

WHEN:

April 20

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

www.swinfenhallhotel.co.uk

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

50


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Our team of highly skilled professional craftsmen, create and manufacture

sofa’s from design, for a living space that is truly unique. Coupled with our huge

selection of fabrics we have the ability to create almost any type of bespoke design.

Using traditional skills, we can also strip down your old suite or sofa and re-create the original

design with our superior re-upholstery which is highly renowned for its finish and meticulous detail.

‘For a truly unique and individual lounge setting we welcome

you to our factory showroom to see what we can create for you.’

Unit 19, Martindale, Hawks Green, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 7XN

Contact Simon Edwards or Chris Edwards on 01543 505539

Email: sales@ralvernupholstery.co.uk - www.ralvernupholstery.co.uk


LO CA L A R E A

What’s

Competition

on Second City

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE BIGGEST AND BEST

EVENTS TO COME TO BIRMINGHAM THIS MONTH

WHAT: Fat Friends

WHERE: New

Alexandra Theatre

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/

birmingham

WHAT: Wicked

WHERE: Birmingham

Hippodrome

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

www.birminghamhippodrome.com

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

he done?

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

visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

52


www.erase-uk.co.uk

t he heart of t he home...

Visit our showroom to be amazed by the choice -

from traditional to modern

With such a wide range of fires, fireplaces and stoves

there is sure to be a style to suit you & your home

We of f er

a c omp le t e

inst alla t ion

serV ice

For more information call 01543 419516

Lichfield Clinic: 1 Tudor Row, Wade Street, Lichfield WS13 6HH

email: info@erase-uk.co.uk

Would you like

your restaurant or

forthcoming event

featured in J’aime?

CONTACT JAN ASHLEY ON 07388 335931

OR EMAIL EDITOR@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

V isit our showr oom and be amazed by t he choice!

Wit h such a wide range fr om traditional t o

modern, t here’s sure t o be a style t o suit you!

J’AIME

/jaimemagazine

@jaimemagazine

www.jaimemagazine.com

5 Stafford Road, Lichfield WS13 7BZ

Tel: 01543 263 383 • www.thefireplacelichfield.co.uk

Email: sales@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

WHERE: Arena

Birmingham

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

www.arenabham.co.uk

WHAT:

Arcade

Fire

WHERE:

Genting

Arena

WHEN:

April 15

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

visit www.gentingarena.co.uk

WHAT: Gin-Tastic

Food Tour

WHERE:

Birmingham city

centre

WHEN: April 21

Birmingham Food

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

www.birminghamfoodtour.co.uk

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

Acorns Hospice.

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

visit www.thsh.co.uk

GET INVOLVED: Have you got a local event

you’d like to promote? Then we’d love to hear

from you. From charity nights to local theatre

productions and more, send details to editor@

jaimemagazine.com and you could see your

event on these pages.

54


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

www.emmajsteven.co.uk

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.

Subscribe!

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

J’AIME

/jaimemagazine

@jaimemagazine

www.jaimemagazine.com

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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

belts.

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.

CONTRAST STRIPE

JUMPER, £55;

SHAPE TIE WAIST

TROUSERS, £59,

OLIVER BONAS.

56


£55

STRIPED JUMPSUIT,

TOPSHOP.

STRIPE PENCIL

SKIRT, OASIS.

£52

£45

£45

LEMON FLUTED

DRESS, PAPER DOLLS.

TIE BELT TROUSERS,

RIVER ISLAND.

LOW-HEELED SHOES,

TOPSHOP.

£62

EDITOR GREY LEATHER

TOTE, MARC JACOBS AT

HARVEY NICHOLS.

STRIPED BLAZER,

OASIS.

£1,050

£480

LATCH LEATHER CROSS-BODY

BAG, JW ANDERSON AT

HARVEY NICHOLS.

£329

974 TANGERINE

NAPPA ALMOND TOE

PUMPS, JULIA MAYS

AT HARVEY NICHOLS.

£55

TOP, £40; LINEA

TROUSERS,

£55; BAG, £50,

LABEL LAB, ALL

AT HOUSE OF

FRASER.

TIE BELT PENCIL SKIRT,

£40; AND SHIRT FROM

A SELECTION AT RIV-

ER ISLAND.


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

about spring.

Print perfection

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!

58


www.neroebianco.co.uk

Nero e Bianco Exclusive Fashion & Bridal

Barton Marina Burton upon Trent DE13 8AS

01283 346704


All white

Stylish showers

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

though ladies!

60


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

Ergonomically designed

to perfectly sweep over the

natural contours of the

eye is Estée Lauder’s

innovative Sculpting

Shadow Brush, £22.

Use the curved side for allover

base application and

the pointed tip for

easy contouring, lining

and defining.

A travel-friendly brush

with applicators for

foundation, blusher and

concealer, Hourglass’s

Double Ended

Complexion Brush,

£55, features a weighted

metal handle for effortless

blending and application,

and PETA-approved highgrade

bristles.

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

more control.

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

powdered variety.

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

areas.

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.

61


B E AU T Y

Lighten up!

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.

C olours

Styles

Cuts

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

wave.”

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

and brush.

“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

face.”

Find Emma Steven at Browns Art Team, Sutton Coldfield.

To book your appointment call 07791 311098.

62


63


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

Samantha!

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

space.

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

materials.

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.​

64


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

development delivered

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

65


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

package.

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

arrangement.

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

the season.

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

happen.

66


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