J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0
Y O U R L O C A L L U X U R Y L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E
J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0
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
the cosiest wardrobe
updates for winter
MATT DAVIES ON HIS NEW
REVAMP YOUR HOME
COLOUR OF THE YEAR
Welcome to J’AIME
This month marks not only the start of a new
year, but a new decade and all of the promise
a fresh start brings. 2019 proved an exciting
year for J’AIME, culminating in three fantastic
nominations at the Midlands Media Awards to
show for the dedication and hard work we put
into the magazine each month, and we hope
2020 will see us continue to cement our place as
the Midlands’ favourite glossy lifestyle magazine.
A heartfelt thanks to all of our contributors,
advertisers and readers for your ongoing support
- it really does mean so much.
A new year always brings with it resolutions to
change or improve our lives - what’s top of your
list this year? If it’s health and fitness goals then
our favourite personal trainer Raul Romero
offers some advice, plus we’ve got some ideas if
you want to do a little more to help the planet,
while Lichfield travel experts RB Collection
share some dream destinations if you’re hoping
for a little more adventure in 2020.
Elsewhere, we chat to inspirational Staffordshire
chef Matt Davies, who is on a fundraising
mission following a life-changing accident.
We’ve got all of your usual favourites too; from
fashion and beauty trends to winter interiors
updates plus food and drink news galore, we
hope there’s plenty here to stave off the January
Congratulations are in order for some of our
latest winners; Amy Beaumont from Fradley,
Steve Walker from Sutton Coldfield and
Suzanne Wem from Shenstone all scooped
tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Winter at
the NEC. We hope you had a fantastic time!
To all of our readers and advertisers, wishing
you a very happy new year and all the best for
EDITOR: AMY NORBURY
ADVERTISING: JAN ASHLEY
07388 335 931
CONTRIBUTORS: MARTIN PLOWMAN,
NATHAN COLLINS, LISA PIDDINGTON,
THE GINTLEMAN, PREET ANAND,
RAUL ROMERO, JACK REGAN
J’AIME IS PUBLISHED BY ASHBURY
PUBLICATIONS LIMITED AND PRINTED
BY KEP LIMITED, TAMWORTH.
Check us out online at:
Find us on
CO N T E N T S
InsideJ’aime this month...
6 Chef Matt Davies - We chat to inspirational
Staffordshire chef Matt Davies about his
fundraising mission following a life-changing
10 Property - Property of the month
12 Interiors - Go zero waste
16 Interiors - Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2020
21 Interiors - Sutton Coldfield interior designer
Preet Anand answers your new season design
22 Food and drink - Reviewing The Green Man,
24 Food and drink - Dry January inspiration
26 Food and drink - The Gintleman takes a look at
2020 gin trends
28 Health - Health and fitness advice from Lichfield
personal trainer Raul Romero
32 Food and drink - Veganuary recipe inspiration
34 Travel - 2020 destination hotspots
38 Life on the edge - Jack Regan tackles some
colossal beasts in Thailand
42 People - Lichfield Festival fundraiser for St Giles
43 People - Charitable grants from We Love Lichfield
44 Fashion - Cosy up in winter’s plushest
46 Beauty - A beautiful New Year from Harvey
47 Health - A weight loss wonder at Spire Little
48 In the news - Young interior designer launches
49 Motors - Martin Plowman looks at the new
Aston Martin AMB001 motorcycle
0121 308 2550
F E AT U R E
Inspired into action
FOLLOWING A LIFE-CHANGING ACCIDENT, INSPIRATIONAL STAFFORDSHIRE CHEF
MATT DAVIES HAS TURNED HIS ATTENTION TO HELPING OTHERS. HE CHATS TO
AMY NORBURY ABOUT HIS NEW ‘NORMAL’ AND HIS FUNDRAISING MISSION
MATT DAVIES, SECOND LEFT,
WITH CHEFS AT THE BOAT
INN CHARITY DINNER
In a matter of seconds, two years ago Matt Davies’
life was forever altered.
The talented chef is a well-known name on the
culinary scene in the Midlands. As then-chairman
- and now vice-president - of the British Culinary
Federation, Matt has worked tirelessly to promote
the industry. And as a founder of the Stone Food
Festival and instrumental in the prestigious Taste of
Staffordshire Good Food Awards, the 51-year-old has
long been an ambassador for food in Staffordshire
- mentor, competition judge and champion of local
foodie talent are all unofficial titles on his rather
And on that fateful day in October 2017, it was just
another day in the kitchen, doing the job he had
loved for more than 30 years. Until a severe electric
shock left him fighting for his life and, ultimately, left
Matt without the use of his left arm.
“I was electrocuted, and the electric current went
through my hand and straight up my arm, burning
everything inside my arm,” says Matt.
Matt was rushed to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth
Hospital where he underwent a number of surgeries
over four weeks in an attempt to save and reconstruct
his damaged arm.
His injuries were likened to those suffered by soldiers
from bomb blasts, and while in hospital he was cared
for by Colonel Major Mark Foster, who specialises
in reconstructive and plastic surgery on hands and
“When I came out of hospital it was then I realised
the full effect of what had happened,” says Matt. “I
thought I’d recover and get back to normal, but it
wasn’t until I came out of hospital that I realised the
severity of the injury.”
The shock had caused extreme nerve damage which
has affected feeling and movement in Matt’s left
arm and hand to the point where it is completely
“I’m left-handed, and a full lefty, so it’s been
completely life-changing,” he explains. “To lose
the use of your dominant arm presents lots of
challenges; it is a disability which affects your whole
“I’ve had to relearn to write, relearn to drive -
buttons, zips, socks are a nightmare, I haven’t worn
socks in two years!
“People have asked me why I don’t get back in the
kitchen, but if I can’t do things myself, if I can’t
physically hold a knife, mentor other chefs and show
them what I’m good at, it’s hard to go back into the
kitchen and not be able to do what I know I can do.
“Even my right hand still feels massively alien, it
doesn’t feel right and I don’t think it ever will.”
Cooking has been far more than a career for Matt;
it’s been a way of life.
Matt started his career as a stagiaire in 1984 at the
Savoy in London and can lay claim to being the first
ever apprentice of Andreas Antona, the godfather
of Midlands cooking and head of Michelin-starred
Simpsons, working under him for some eight years at
the start of his illustrious career.
Before the accident, Matt was responsible for an
80-strong brigade spread across six Michelin-listed
and multi-AA Rosette fine dining sites across the
Midlands, managing a huge 1,000 daily covers.
“I’m Michelin star-trained, an ambassador for
Staffordshire, named Best Restaurant in the county
nine times, received Michelin awards and AA
Rosette awards,” says Matt.
“I was at the top of my game, and my success had
come through a lot of bloody hard work. I sacrificed
an awful lot to be successful, time with my wife and
my family life, but in this industry that’s what you
have to do. I’m a firm believer that you get out what
you put into it.
“And that was all taken away.
SOME OF THE STUNNING DISHES
WHICH DELIGHTED DINERS AT
MATT’S CHARITY DINNERS
“It really affected me mentally. I’d never experienced
depression before - obviously we all have bad days
but I’d just dust myself down and crack on - but after
the accident I was suffering from chronic depression
and PTSD, and the symptoms of PTSD are still
ongoing today, with the nightmares, the sweats and
“With the injury itself I’d also developed something
called complex regional pain syndrome type two,
which is a chronic pain condition which affects the
nerve endings in your body.”
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a
debilitating, painful condition limbs associated
with sensory, motor, autonomic, skin and bone
abnormalities, which often arises after an injury
to a limb. Classed as the most painful chronic
condition known, it reaches the highest level on the
McGill Pain Scale, higher even than childbirth or
amputation of a finger without anesthesia.
Following his return home from hospital,
Matt didn’t leave the house for four
months. And at his lowest ebb, he tried
to take his own life. It was only his wife
Tina’s sixth-sense intervention which
“It had gotten to the point where I felt my
whole world had turned upside down and
stopped and I couldn’t cope,” says Matt.
“I gave up.
“I literally owe my life to my wife Tina
and my family. It’s been difficult for her
to see me at my lowest, and she and my
children, Lee, Katie and Millie, have very
much been a part of my recovery.”
Now, two years down the line Matt is
concentrating on rebuilding his life and
forging a different career path within the
“I wanted to get back into the industry,
but I needed a purpose away from the
kitchen,” says Matt. “And I found that purpose was
in helping others.”
During his recovery process, Matt hit upon the idea
of a fundraising dinner after talking to friends Luke
Tipping and former mentor Andreas Antona, from
The prestigious event, held at University College
Birmingham in June, saw some of the country’s top
chefs come together to create a stunning fundraising
Guests were treated to six courses from Tom
Brown of Cornerstone, ‘Yummy Brummie’ Glynn
Purnell, Luke Tipping, Jonathan Howe of Lumiere
Restaurant, Aktar Islam from Birmingham’s newest
Michelin-starred eatery Opheem, and Adam Bennett
from The Cross at Kenilworth, all assisted by
“We raised an amazing £7,000 that night, which
was split between the plastics department at Queen
Elizabeth Hospital, Hospitality Action which is
a charity which supports chefs and people in the
hospitality industry, mental health charity Mind, and
the occupational therapy department at Stafford
Hospital, which helped me regroup and relearn skills
such as getting me driving again,” says Matt.
Matt followed up the event with a second fundraising
dinner in October, held at The Boat Inn in Lichfield
alongside current Midlands Best Chef Liam Dillon.
Selling out in just four days, the dinner raised a
further £2,332 for Matt’s chosen charities.
“There’s a new ‘normal’ for me,” says Matt. “From
being someone who gave up, who thought life was
over, it’s taken a lot of strength to get here. And that’s
why I’m trying to give something back now.
“Mental health awareness has suddenly gone boom,
especially with men and the message that ‘It’s ok not
MATT, CENTRE, WITH THE STAR-
STUDDED LINE-UP OF CHEFS
FOR HIS FIRST CHARITY DINNER
AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
to be ok’. Straight away after that episode I started
therapy, and I’m still in therapy and see a counsellor
now. It’s so, so important to talk about things and to
“And I can sit here now and talk about it because I
feel that it’s important to talk - talking really can save
“For me, especially, in the cheffing industry mental
health is something which needs support. It’s a
competitive world and chefs work hard, long days
and they’re in a disciplined environment producing
the best food they can. And with that comes huge
pressure - chefs are working machines.
“I think the industry as a whole is working hard to
change, helping with time off and rest time - a lot
of restaurants now do four-day weeks, with four on
and three off - and Hospitality Action is an amazing
charity which can help chefs who are suffering in any
way. Last year, just under £1 million was donated to
chefs and people in the industry to help them, and
everything we do for that charity goes straight back
into the industry.”
The burns and plastics department at Queen
Elizabeth Hospital is another cause close to Matt’s
“They’ve literally rebuilt my life,” says Matt. “And for
that I can’t thank them enough. Through fundraising
events I’ve now raised nearly £6,000 for the hospital
in three months and I want to continue.”
Matt’s quest, as he puts it, has given him a new
outlook on life, and on the accident which changed
him forever. While his rehabilitation - and with it
invasive surgeries - continues, Matt is looking to push
forward in 2020.
“It was a complete and utter freak accident,” says
Matt. “And I’m still not 100 per cent. I’m still on
this journey of recovery; I
don’t know where it’s going
to take me and how having
this disability will continue to
affect my life, but every day
is a challenge and every day I
try to do something to help.
“I’ve got a lot of support
and friends in the industry,
a lot of amazing chefs who
want to help, including Jean-
Christophe Novelli, who’s a
good friend of mine, and my
old mentor Andreas Antona,
so watch this space because
we’ve got some cracking
events coming up.”
New Year New Lines
New - Available Mid January
Scan me to visit our website!
Shop online or visit our showroom in Staffordshire
Unit 6, Ring Road, Zone 2, Burntwood Business Park, Burntwood, WS7 3JQ
www.peppermillinteriors.com | 01543 375872 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Peppermill Interiors is a trading name of Peppermill Antiques Ltd.
P R O P E RTY
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 SPACIOUS HOME IN THE HEART
OF SOUGHT-AFTER MIDDLETON WITH EXCEPTIONAL EQUESTRIAN FACILITIES
Fiddlers Green, Church Lane, Middleton: £1,500,000
On the market with Howkins and Harrison: 01827 718021
THE AGENT SAYS: An exquisite country property with
first class equestrian facilities set in approximately 5.74 acres
The house has been beautifully presented and fitted out to a
very high standard, providing a large family-friendly ground
floor living area with four spacious bedrooms to the first floor.
The detached office also provides the perfect opportunity for
someone looking to set up an office at home. It is beautifully
designed with timber flooring and exposed timber beams,
providing a light and airy place to work overlooking the
Fiddlers Green is situated in the heart of the village of
Middleton. The location is convenient for road, rail and air
links, being within easy reach of the M42 and M6 Toll as well
as the A38 and A5.
The property is approached by a long driveway behind
electronically operated gates. The house has parking to the
front and access to the triple garage. The majority of the
land is to the rear of the property, with the house overlooking
formal gardens and patio areas, and then gently sloping down
to the office, equestrian facilities and paddocks.
There is a drive at the side of the main house allowing access
and parking for lorries and trailers. The stables, on a concrete
base are enclosed with post and rail fencing. Below this is
the additional store, ideal for a feed room and rug store,
and the pathway then leads down to the horse walker and
into the floodlit arena. The paddocks are located to the side
of the stables and ménage and to the south, with the land
gently sweeping down to Langley Brook. The paddocks are
all enclosed with post and rail fencing and have automatic
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I N T E R I O R S
EVERYONE is striving to live a plastic-free life; from
biodegradable bags to metal straws - the world is getting
into the green scene. Our unhealthy lifestyle habits are
becoming more eco-friendly, and our homes should be too.
Cutting down on plastics and bringing zero-waste
furniture into your home doesn’t mean you have to
compromise on style; your friends will be green with envy
when they see how lush and luxurious your decor is.
Seek out pre-loved items, upcycled alternatives, and
natural materials to make your space super sustainable.
Whether you opt for organic cotton towels, wooden tables,
or incense oil burners, any of these swaps will make your
footprint on the earth a little more green. From furniture
pieces to accessories, there are endless ways to reduce the
amount of waste you produce.
Being eco-friendly isn’t just about conserving energy and
controlling global warming, but now it’s about being
conscious consumers. With this idea, less is more - so
declutter your room and reuse, donate or recycle what
your don’t need.
XAVIER OAK DINING TABLE, £1,790, WEARTH
OLA ORGANIC COTTON WRAP,
OF CABBAGES AND KINGS.
BLOOMINGVILLE JUTE FAITH
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CALL 01543 505539 FOR A BROCHURE
Our skilled craftsmen can create any type of design,
from ultra-modern to classically traditional.
As an alternative if you cannot part with your existing suite, we
offer an exceptional re-upholstery service that goes above and
beyond recovering your choice of fabrics and leathers.
Unit 19, Martindale, Hawks Green,Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 7XN
email@example.com - www.ralvernupholstery.co.uk
Visit our website for a virtual tour of our showroom
PURE WATER UPCYCLED
BASKET, LOLA & MAWU.
TUAREG CANDLE HOLDERS,
LOLA & MAWU.
ZERO WASTE CUTLERY SET,
UASHMAMA DARK GREY PAPER BAG,
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TRIBU VIS A VIS ROCKING CHAIR,
GO MODERN FURNITURE.
N02 RECYCLED DINING CHAIR BY
FRITZ HANSEN, CHAPLINS FURNITURE.
CHAMONIX RECLAIMED PLATFORM BED, £1,095,
WEARTH LONDON. WWW.WEARTHLONDON.COM
COTTON CLEANING WIPES, £14, WEARTH LONDON.
PALE GREY LINEN BLANKET, £55, WEARTH LONDON.
COCONUT WOOD REUSABLE CUTLERY SET, £28.50,
WEARTH LONDON. WWW.WEARTHLONDON.COM
WAKECUP MUG AND WAKE WALLET, £30, WEARTH LONDON.
I N T E R I O R S
HAMPTON CHESTERFIELD SOFA,
£699.99, FURNITURE CHOICE.
THERE’S an air of familiarity and comfort among
interior trends for 2020 as the colour gurus at Pantone
have announced their Colour of the Year as Pantone
19-4052 Classic Blue. According to Pantone, this colour
represents a dependable and stable foundation to move
forward to a new era. It brings calmness, confidence and
“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is
this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed
by Pantone 19-405 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable
blue hue we can always rely on,” said Leatrice Eiseman,
Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.
Think traditional, soothing and strong. Classic Blue is a
colour which is easy to embrace and which works in a
multitude of styles and settings. This versatility means it
is going to be a popular choice. Use it alone for a rich,
cosy scheme or pair with a contrasting hue such as saffron
yellow, soft pink and even rich forest green for a more
BLUE STONEWARE NARROW
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VERONA POUFFE, SWEETPEA & WILLOW.
ROUND BLUE PLANTER ON
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CHAIR, PEPPERMILL INTERIORS,
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NASHVILLE ROYAL BLUE VELVET
ARMCHAIR, CULT FURNITURE.
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BLUE BRICK EFFECT WALLPAPER, £75,
WOODCHIP AND MAGNOLIA.
THE VERSAILLES SACRÉ BLEU VELVET UPHOLSTERED
BED, £2.495, THE FRENCH BEDROOM CO.
KAYDIAN HEXHAM ELEPHANT BED,
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IMPERIAL GLASS BOTTLE VASE, £39.95,
Preet on interiors
I N T E R I O R S
SUTTON COLDFIELD INTERIOR DESIGNER PREET ANAND, OF MOOD
INTERIORS, CHECKS OUT SOME FRESH INTERIOR IDEAS FOR 2020
It’s a new year! I have always wondered at which
point is it socially acceptable to stop wishing those
you meet a “Happy New Year?” I will assume it is the
end of the month, so for now wishing all our lovely
readers a prosperous and wonderful year ahead.
I am sure everyone is very much looking forward to
tidying away the decor of Christmas which has been
almost taking over our spaces for the past month or
so, and moving into the final months of winter with
some fresh new outlooks and ideas for 2020.
Now, I know many of my clients will be sad to know
that 2020 trend predictions see Grey on Grey making
an off-stage exit, in preparation for more warmer
tones and richer colour palettes. Of course, trends
are forever changing and if you really can’t afford or
simply don’t have the energy or time for an everchanging
design trend each year or so, stick to either
what you love or what is classic.
Q: I have an old dark wood table which I
had from marriage more than 25 years ago,
and as it is both sentimental and such good
quality, I don’t want to remove it, but my
room just doesn’t work with it?
A: This is a classic example of sentimental furniture
and modern living and, if I am honest, it can add a
lot of charm to a space. The mixing of old and new
can bring in an eclectic style or a nostalgic livedin
look to your space. It is all about balance, and
ensuring the piece of furniture you have is balanced
with other elements to contrast and compliment.
For example, adding some more pieces in the same
period or style as your table, and spreading them out
in a room which has been updated in a more modern
style will allow a subtle flow and tie everything in
Q: The skirting and doors in my house are
white, and have always been white. Is it okay
to paint them a different colour?
A: Painting the woodwork in your home the same
colour as the walls can give it a contemporary twist,
with fewer colours breaking up the colours it can
create a lovely streamlined look and help highlight
other features of the room better. Another thought
is to paint the woodwork a different colour entirely
from the wall, to create some drama. I would be
mindful of all other textures and surfaces in the room
which will be adjacent to the woodwork, to ensure the
colours all complement each other well.
Q: I have my artificial Christmas tree which I
need to throw away, how can I make use of it?
A: My first point of call would be to either reuse
or donate; artificial trees unfortunately cannot be
recycled due to them usually being made of mixed
materials. However, I am sure you have considered
these options already so perhaps get creative, chop
up the tree and make a door wreath or small potted
planters for next year’s festivities! Hanging smaller
versions of the tree as decoration inside or even
outside the house, will save you money on other decor
and help the environment too!
Send your questions on interiors to
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to see your dilemma answered in next
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F O O D & D R I N K
VILLAGE TRADITION MEETS CONTEMPORARY STYLE THANKS TO AN IMPRESSIVE
MAKEOVER AT THE GREEN MAN IN MIDDLETON, AS AMY NORBURY DISCOVERED
The cornerstone of any British village
is the village pub. A place to meet,
eat, drink and discuss, the village pub
rightfully claims its place in the good old
fashioned British book of tradition.
And more and more, these quaint
village pubs are marking themselves
out as dining destinations in their own
right. The much-loved Green Man in
Middleton, just outside Sutton Coldfield,
has long attracted visitors from near and
far, but significant recent investment has
given the pub an incredible new lease of
life which is sure to see punters flocking.
The pub has also introduced a brandnew
menu; a carefully curated collection
of dishes that deliver a refreshing country dining
experience, featuring delicious flavours, inspired by
the seasons and the best the countryside has to offer.
The J’AIME team were among the first to sample the
new-look Green Man at a preview event ahead of
the official reopening last month.
The pub has undergone a top to tail transformation,
taking inspiration from some of the UK’s most
stylish country dining and drinking hotspots. The
sophisticated decor combines deep browns, dark
greens and golds inspired by nature, while brass and
velvet finishes add a luxurious touch, creating an
authentic and cosy feel. Expertly curated furniture,
eye-catching artwork and feature finishing touches
ensure the pub gives off a seriously stylish vibe.
Expect to see images of the statement lighting, quirky
details and - dare I say it? - beautiful bathrooms
coming to an Instagram near you soon.
A new bookable private dining space has also been
added, creating a cosy area for birthday celebrations,
meetings and private functions.
We were greeted by the friendly management team
and offered a selection of menus to peruse while we
sipped on ice-cold G&Ts from the impressive gin
selection, teamed with a whole host of choose-yourown
If you’re attempting Veganuary this month then
never fear; there’s a fairly substantial dedicated vegan
menu to explore which features an array of tempting
dishes including a plant-based burger with coconut
tzatziki and tomato tapenade, £13.95; a falafel,
roasted butternut squash and avocado nourish bowl
packed with veggie goodness, £10.50; and a spiced
coconut curry with miso sesame aubergine and sticky
jasmine rice, £12.25.
And the introduction of vegan vanilla ice cream
means there are plenty of tasty pud options too.
But there were no diet restrictions here, so into the
main menu we ploughed.
To start, I opted for the seared wild Atlantic scallops
with lobster and crab bonbons and a pea and truffle
veloute, £11.75. It was a generous portion, with the
sizable scallops simply seasoned and well cooked
to make the most of their sweet succulence. The
perfectly crisp bonbons were a delight, although
heavier on the crab than the lobster. The bed of pea
veloute - again, not much of a hint of truffle - was
well flavoured and a nice accompaniment if a little
inelegant in presentation, rather flooding the plate.
My friend chose the tempura squid, £6.95, with
preserved lemon aioli and furikake - a Japanese
seasoning, for the uninitiated - and was suitably
impressed; the light and crisp batter coated tender
squid pieces, while the slight sharpness from the
lemon aioli added a lovely tang to balance things out.
Moving onto the main event we were spoilt for
choice, with everything from 30-day dry-aged steaks
and sticky glazed pork belly to healthy salads and
gastropub takes on fast food favourites.
I was, however, immediately drawn to the day boat
fish options on the specials menu. At The Green
Man, fresh fish is a serious business. Supporting the
British fishing industry, the pub sources seasonal
species from around the British coastline, landed by
British boats into British ports. This means freshness
is guaranteed and quality is always high.
Fish caught that morning makes it onto the menu
that day, with the chefs working to create dishes
around the catch. Provenance is also key, with the
menu detailing where the fish was caught, and who
by - a rather nice touch.
Both daily catch options - oven roasted skate wing
with brown shrimps, garlic samphire and mash,
or roasted fillet of monkfish with kapia pepper,
heirloom tomatoes, fondant potato and wild garlic
pesto - sounded right up my street, with the monkfish
just nudging ahead.
It was a simply cooked and supremely tasty piece
of fish, with sweetness coming from the roasted
peppers and tomatoes, and a lovely buttery fondant
potato adding much-needed substance to the dish.
The flavoursome wild garlic pesto was a beautiful
complement, while a side order
of samphire and baby spinach,
£3.50, as recommended by our
waiter, added a welcome savory
If my fish dish represented the
more delicate, refined offerings
of the menu, my friend’s
buttermilk chicken, Somerset
brie and bacon pie, £15.75,
was the ultimate in classic
comfort food. The individual
pie was beautifully presented
in miniature Desperate Dan
style, with a tiny chicken leg
replacing the cow horns in
Dan’s legendary feast. The
golden crust gave way to reveal a packed filling of
mouthwatering chicken, brie and bacon - a hearty
morsel indeed, and the perfect winter warmer for
these most chilly of months.
Accompanied by creamy mashed potato and the
earthy flavours of wilted cavolo nero and pan-fried
oyster mushrooms, as well as a rich jus, it was a
Despite the generous portions, puddings were just
too tempting to turn down. And it was a case of ‘go
big or go home’, as just about every diner we could
see had chosen the impressive-looking Icon sharing
dessert birdcage. So not to be defeated in the face of
sweet treats, we joined them.
The birdcage promises three tiers of decadent
dessert: the intriguingly titled 99 Problems and
Cheesecake is One, as well as blackcurrant mousse
with mango coulis, and a home-baked brownie,
with French almond macaron and pecan praline ice
Unfortunately due to opening night supplier issues,
the blackcurrant mousse was unavailable, and the
only ice cream was vanilla meaning half of the
birdcage was missing. An alternative was offered
but, as we were both pushing capacity as it was, we
decided just to try the elements which were available.
The brownie was rich and decadent, and the
cheesecake, although perfectly tasty, was a riff on one
of my all-time favourite desserts, the legendary ‘Oh
Bollocks’, created by Brummie chef Alex Claridge at
The Wilderness. Presented as a dropped ice-cream,
with an upside-down cone atop a pile of cheesecake
filling, it could never hope to live up to Claridge’s
The Green Man has been transformed into a
seriously swish venue, combining countryside charm
with an eclectic menu sure to please any diner
looking for good food in stylish surroundings.
At the heart of the village, tradition is in good hands.
F O O D & D R I N K
Cocktail of the month
IF YOU’RE ATTEMPTING DRY JANUARY THIS MONTH - OR IF YOU JUST WANT TO CURB YOUR ALCOHOL
INTAKE AFTER ALL THAT FESTIVE FIZZ - THE EXPERTS AT NON-ALCOHOLIC SPIRIT PIONEERS SEEDLIP
HAVE A DELICIOUSLY REFRESHING BOOZE-FREE SIP TO KICKSTART YOUR MONTH IN STYLE
In the Field
50ml Seedlip Garden 108
15ml Apple and Plum cordial
30ml Sparkling water
Combine all ingredients and serve in a chilled cocktail glass, garnished with a pea pod. Enjoy!
The fresh and floral Seedlip Garden 108 captures the essence of the English countryside, with
sophisticated top notes of hand-picked pea and hay and a complex herbal base of spearmint,
rosemary and thyme. Seedlip Garden 108 is priced £26 for a 70cl bottle, available from
stockists nationwide and at www.seedlipdrinks.com
Christmas Party Menu
3-5 Lombard Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6DP – Tel: 01543 257 98
Burns Night Celebration Dinner on Saturday 25th January
Enjoy a 4 course dinner | £35 pp
Murder Mystery Evening on Friday 7th February
3 course dinner and entertainment| £37 pp
Afternoon Tea with Disney Classics on Sunday 9th & 16th Feb
With our live choir singing songs from your favourite Disney classics.
Adults: £22 | Children £15
Afternoon Tea with Bert & Mary on Sunday 15th March
With our live choir singing songs from Mary Poppins
Adults: £22 | Children £15
Only Fools & Fawlty Towers on Friday 20th March
3 course dinner and entertainment £38 pp
Lunch – 3 Courses £10
Join us in the new year
Red Lentil, Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup with Crusty Bread & English Butter v G
Chicken Liver & Sherry Pate served RRP with £24. Orange WITH THIS and VOUCHER Cranberry £15* Compote &
Bird Street, Lichfield WS13 6PR
01543 414822 www.thegeorgelichfield.co.uk
A new brand
but the same owners!
Toasted Brown Bread
Beetroot, Stilton and Walnut Gallette v
Mixed Mushroom, Chestnut & Tarragon Casserole with Gnocchi Dumplings v G
Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish & Dill Mousse served with Oatcake Biscuits
and Pea Shoots
Fresh, Chef prepared menus.
TWO COURSE LUNCH SERVED MONDAY-SATURDAY
12PM-2PM FROM £8
New PRE THEATRE MENU/EARLY DOORS MENU
TUES - SAT 5.45PM - 6.45PM
3 COURSES FOR £10
WHERE WE HAVE SELECTED A
FANTASTIC WINE TO ACCOMPANY YOUR
MEAL AT A SUPER JANUARY PRICE!
VALID UNTIL 10TH FEB 2020
* WHILST STOCKS LAST
3-5 LOMBARD STREET, LICHFIELD. WS13 6DP
01543 257986 - NEW WEBSITE LIVE WWW.WINE-DINE.CO.UK
Pork & Chorizo Meatballs Served on Penne Pasta in a Rich Tomato,
Pepper & Spinach Sauce topped with Mozzarella & Cheddar
Roast Turkey Breast, Roast Potatoes, Root Vegetables, Cranberry & Stuffing Vol-auwith
a rich Gravy £1 supplement
Beef Bourguignon Served on Horseradish Mash with Glazed Carrot
Home-made French cuisine
in a family-run restaurant
Roast Beetroot, Squash & Kale Savoury Crepe topped with Shropshire Blue Cheese
Unique wine list, French/
Belgian beers and cocktails
with skin-on fries or Green Salad
Cod Fishcakes on a Rich Red pepper, Spinach & Tomato Ragout
JANUARY SPECIAL 20% OFF FOOD (WEEKDAYS) Quote: J’AIME
Heart Of The Country Warm Village, Christmas SWINFEN, pudding Lichfield with Brandy WS14 Sauce 9QR
Vanilla Cheesecake topped with Mulled Winter Berries served with Rum Anglai
F O O D & D R I N K
Just the tonic for 2020
THE GINTLEMAN, THE MIDLANDS’ LEADING RACONTEUR AT HOUSE PARTIES AND VENUES ACROSS
BIRMINGHAM, GAZES INTO HIS CRYSTAL BALL TO PREDICT THE NEXT BIG GIN TRENDS FOR 2020
LIKE every growth industry the landscape
of gin is constantly evolving, with new
trends bringing fresh impetus to the
category emerging from apparently
nowhere every year.
Last year gazing into my crystal ball I
predicted the growth of canned tonics
and flavours to match gin’s diversity and
the ready-to-drink options (that’s the
train journey pre-made G&T in a can or
Boutique-y Gin styled craft cocktail for
the uninitiated!). Other trends included
the continued rise of pink gin (not a
flavour but a colour experience), gin
brands bringing out matching multiple
flavours to expand their portfolios, nonalcoholic
gins and new emerging ginproducing
countries including India.
Based on its current growth, the value of the gin
category in 2020 will finally move above vodka as
the country’s leading spirits category by value, a
recent report from Hendrick’s owner William Grant
& Sons has forecast.
I think this year we may see more seasonal and
EXPERIENTIAL GIN EVENTS, LIKE THE
GINTLEMAN’S GIN CRUISES, WILL
CONTINUE TO RISE IN POPULARITY
limited edition expressions like the seasonal
Christmas versions focusing on classic or more
unusual flavour combinations to make the guest
experience exciting but saleable, with smaller
production runs to gauge mass consumer interest
and certain brand flavours being quietly retired.
I do expect gooseberry variations after 2019’s success
of Slingsby showcasing this
I also see hybrid flavour
combinations moving from
the go-to rhubarb and ginger
to possibly lychee, yuzu, pear,
cherry blossom, pluots or
matcha taking influence from
the summer Tokyo Olympics,
complete with a signature
serve of gin with tonic water
lengthened with flavoured
soda - the Gin & Sonic. See
kokorogin.com as an example.
A general flavour duality that
could match food as well as
tonic with enhanced garnish
expectations at your local
I expect gin producers to start
dipping their toes into white rums and visa versa,
with banana, pineapple and other tropical tasting
rums looking to entice the flavoured gin drinker, as
well as traditional rum-producing areas like South
America going the other way. Venezuelan Canaïma,
which I’m showcasing during Ginuary for example,
uses rainforest botanical ingredients that sound more
akin to an exotic Harry Potter spell: copuazu, merey
fruit, uve de Palma and açai berries (I feel a google
search coming on!).
Although I see an increase in canned tonic flavours
from the big brands, could a contemporary version
of the lamented tonic on the gun be making a
comeback? Judging by London Essence’s trials of
their draft tonic system serving five flavours of tonic
water - including the brand’s classic
Indian variant, rhubarb, elderflower,
grapefruit and cucumber - it could
be, with proposed nationwide
roll-out planned from February.
The attractive font is a fresh serve
dispense system infusing the brand’s
distilled botanicals into chilled tonic
water at the point of service. As
featured in a November article by
The Spirit Business, the system is
said to ensure freshness and flavour,
while reducing packaging by 96 per
cent, reducing fridge space lines and
allowing more flavour mixability
I think there will be a general
increase in gin tourism in where gin
is not only created, but the brand’s
story gives localised provenance
as much as the ingredients. So like
real ale, creative use of locality
and production mean people like
The Warwickshire Gin Company
SOUTH AMERICAN CANAIMA
SMALL BATCH GIN
are setting up a bricks and
mortar unit in Leamington
Spa to include a visitor centre,
distilling experience, branded
merchandise, plus gift set
shopping as a destination onestop
immersive brand experience.
More discerning gin collecting
ginthusiasts are beginning to
look at alternative ways of
appreciating the spirit as a standalone
sipper, enjoyed - dare I say
it? - neat or in cocktail form. A
next generation gin subscription
service that’s sent in letterbox
form, NIO (which stands for
Needs Ice Only) is an early
example which sends perfectly mixed cocktails ready
to enjoy. Find out more at www.niococktails.co.uk
Finally one that’s close to my heart is ‘experiential’
gin tasting - not just home entertaining or
festivals, but a specific gin themed experience
in creative settings. My gin picnic will continue
to run throughout this year on the Birmingham
canal network - go to www.designmynight.com/
birmingham and search gin picnic - as well as on
steam trains and in retail format, with cinema and
unusual brand collaborations to bring you creative
and fun lifestyle ways to enjoy your favourite tipple.
It should make for an interesting start to the modern
roaring twenty20s era!
H E A LT H
A healthy new year
THIS NEW YEAR, LICHFIELD’S FAVOURITE PERSONAL TRAINER RAÚL ROMERO TALKS
VEGANUARY… AND A FEW OTHER SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVES
So all the hype and excitement of Christmas is over,
most of us have probably eaten to our heart’s content
and the ever more popular Veganuary is upon us.
Yes, it is exactly as it sounds - where many of us
choose to ‘go vegan’ for a month. However if you are
not quite ready to smash Veganuary, there are many
other simple, practical, yet challenging alternatives to
help us get fit and really feel fabulous.
1: Go VEGGIE!
This one may not be for all, but for those who have
toyed around with the idea of trying Veganuary but
can’t quite fathom cutting out all eggs and dairy,
going veggie and giving your body a break from meat
for a month may be just what you need to cleanse
your system and reset after the Christmas feasts.
2: Dry January
This is a popular one among my clients who have
usually enjoyed a few too many tipples over the
festive season, to give them a break and detox our
MEAL PREP IS KEY TO HEALTHY
EATING, SAYS RAUL
systems. A far healthier (yet maybe not as enjoyable!)
alternative would be to focus on increasing water
intake instead of popping open a bottle, and I
promise you, you really will feel much better for it in
the long run!
3: Go SUGAR-FREE!
In a world with an ever increasing number of sugary
treats - and especially after the typical Christmas
sweet treat over-indulgence - this is a great one to try
to really cleanse our bodies of sugar so we are not
only healthier, but to also break the sugar addiction
and to control our appetites.
Remember, going sugar free not only means cutting
out the chocolates, biscuits and cakes, but also being
aware of controlling the intake of natural sugars
found in fruits.
4: The 30 day PLANK challenge
Although this may sound like a killer to some, it
really is a case of practice makes perfect. Bounding
out of bed in the morning
into a plank may hurt like
hell on Day 1, but by Day
30, without a doubt you
will feel stronger, boast a
harder core and be able
to hold your planks for
longer. The fab thing is,
EVERYONE can plank
without needing any extra
equipment or any kind of
So, for the challenge; on
Day 1 simply start with a
20 second plank. Repeat
a few times if you can.
Then add five seconds to
your plank every day and
by the end of 30 days, hey
presto, you’ll be planking
for almost three minutes!
and gifts has been our
passion since 1902.
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issue we have a ground floor room available
where products can be brought down for
viewing by our dedicated customer
5: Sunday food prep
This is one that I personally
undertake religiously on a weekly
basis and the impact has been
HUGE. My reason for this revolves
around trying to fit in a healthy early
evening meal for the new addition to
our family when the time between
nursery pick up and bath and bedtime
is so tight. Without a doubt, preparing
healthy balanced meals packed full of
vegetables and lots of ‘good stuff’ so
they are ready to bung in the oven or
chuck in the pan saves a lot of time,
and definitely helps us to eat healthier
as a family. Not to mention the
money saved on the weekly food bill
- shopping with a list made from meal planning is so
much more economical than shopping on a hungry
6: Firmer bottom in 30 days
Sounds great right? And definitely one that many of
my clients desire…
TRY THE 30 DAY PLANK
There are just three simple exercises for this
challenge: squats, lunges and half bridges. We start
Day 1 with 10 repetitions of each (10 lunges for each
leg) Then after the first week, you can increase each
exercise by 10 reps, and maybe add 10 more on week
three, and another 10 for week four.
Consistency is the key here and you’ll be amazed at
your new peachy backside!
UP YOUR WATER INTAKE WITH
THE 30 DAY WATER DETOX
7: 30 day water detox
This is one that I have tried several
times in the past and, from first hand
experience, I can say without a doubt
works wonders, not only for our health,
but also aesthetically for glowy skin,
shiny hair and healthy nails. Although
this sounds easy, preparation is the key
here. Either stocking up on two-litre
bottles to get through as a minimum
every day, or timing the water intake
so knowing how much we should have
drunk before morning break, lunch and
dinner time. If not, even with the best
intentions in the world, in our daily
hectic lives, it is oh-so-easy to forget to
pick up the water bottle.
For those not quite ready to give
Veganuary a go, why not try one or
more of the above. I’d love to hear how
it goes on Instagram or Facebook - tag
FELIZ AÑO NUEVO all, and for any
health and fitness questions or enquiries,
please feel free to get in touch with me at
luxury baby showroom in lichfield
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I N T E R I O R D E S I G N E R
visits to our showroom are by appointment only - email
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We offer all aspects of interior design including:
• Concept design & mood boards • Sourcing and supplying
• Soft furnishings • Window treatments • Wall coverings
• Space planning • Furniture, Lighting, Accessories
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
Visit our showroom and be amazed by the choice! With such a wide range from traditional to modern, there’s sure to be a style to suit you!
CHRISTMAS OPENING HOURS:
CLOSING 4.30PM FRIDAY 20TH DEC
RE-OPEN 10AM SATURDAY 4TH JANUARY
5 Stafford Road, Lichfield WS13 7BZ - Tel: 01543 263 383 • www.thefireplacelichfield.co.uk • Email: email@example.com
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm • Sat 10am - 4pm. Closed Sundays and bank holidays. FREE ON-SITE PARKING.
F O O D & D R I N K
FOR THOSE WHO ARE BRAVING IT OUT AND RISING UP TO THE VEGANUARY CHALLENGE (AND
EVEN THOSE WHO AREN’T), GOOD LUCK AND HERE ARE TWO DELICIOUS TRIED AND TESTED
RECIPES TO ADD TO YOUR BANK OF YUMMY SPECIALTIES
RAUL’S BROCCOLI AND CHICKPEA
MOROCCAN STYLE COUSCOUS
This Moroccan style vegan dish is one of my favorite
Sunday recipes. It’s a great healthy, wholesome
alternative to a typical Sunday roast. I usually cook
extra portions to last during the week, thus killing two
birds with one stone in terms of food prep!
For me, the key is loading it jam packed full of lots of
different veggies to make it super healthy; broccoli,
peppers, onions and mushrooms are some of my
favourites. The chickpeas are rich in protein and the
couscous is a great source of energy. Adding an array of
spices really brings out the rich taste of each ingredient;
my favourites are chilli flakes, turmeric and cinnamon
1 clove of garlic
1 tin chickpeas
Half a bunch of fresh parsley
Chilli flakes, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric
RAUL’S SIMPLE MEDITERRANEAN
AVO TOAST WITH TOMATOES &
As some of you know, I love avocados! They are one of
my all time favourite foods. This recipe is very simple,
quick and easy and the best thing is you can get it ready
in less than five minutes (perfect for those of us on the
go!). It also serves as a breakfast, lunch or healthy snack
Half a ripe avocado
1 slice of toasted sourdough bread
Juice of half a lemon
50g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt, black pepper and chilli flakes
Preparation: 5 minutes
Slice half an avocado and put it on the toasted bread.
Squeeze the lemon over it and sprinkle the salt, pepper
and chilli flakes. Top it with the cherry tomatoes halves
and the basil leaves and drizzle some olive oil on top.
Preparation: 30 minutes approx
Chop the onion and broccoli into small florets. Heat
a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium
heat, add the onion and the broccoli and cook for 15
minutes with a lid on.
While broccoli is cooking, chop the peppers and
mushrooms and cook them in another pan. Add parsley
and garlic (finely chopped) after five minutes.
When the peppers and mushrooms are golden, pour all
the ingredients into the same saucepan as the broccoli.
Add the spices: half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, a quarter
teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of turmeric,
and a touch of salt and pepper.
Remove the stones from the olives, drain the chickpeas,
and add both to the mix. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Place the couscous into a bowl, pour 250ml of boiling
water into it and cover with a lid for 5-10 minutes. Serve
the couscous in a plate, and add the vegetable medley
on top. Enjoy!
Burns Night Celebration Dinner on Friday 24th January
Enjoy a 4 course dinner and ceilidh band | £41.50 pp
Motown Tribute Evening on Friday 7th February
3 course dinner, entertainment & disco | £47 pp
Afternoon Tea with Bert & Mary on Wednesday 19th February
With our live choir singing songs from Mary Poppins
Adults: £24 | Children £16
Pride & Prejudice Murder Mystery on Friday 21st February
3 course dinner and entertainment £41 pp
Spring Party Night on Friday 13th March
3 course dinner and disco. £37 pp
Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LN
0121 308 3751 www.moorhallhotel.co.uk
Proud to be a family run business for over 35 years
HOME IS WHERE THE WARMTH IS
1/7 High Street, Erdington B23 6RG Next to Highclare School
Telephone: 0121 384 5251 - www.abbeyfirecentre.co.uk
Open: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed Wednesdays), Sat: 10am - 2pm
Suppliers of: Contura, Jotul, Gazco, Paragon, Scan, Town
& Country Fires, ACR Heat Products and many more
Installers and suppliers of gas fires, bespoke limestone
surrounds, and gas and woodburning stoves, since 1981.
CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR OPEN HOURS
CLOSE ON THE 20TH DEC AND REOPEN ON THE 6TH JAN
abbeyfirecentre @abbeyfirecentre abbeyfirecentreltd
T R AV E L
2020: A Travel Odyssey
JOINT MD NATHAN COLLINS FROM RB COLLECTION, BASED IN
LICHFIELD, REPORTS ON THE TOP TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES IN 2020
JAPAN IS ATTRACTING
TOURIST ATTENTION AS
HOST TO TWO MAJOR
With a range of new flights from Birmingham, a host
of significant worldwide events and new destinations
opening up, 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year
in the world of travel.
For your next summer trip, one of our favourite
Greek islands and the perfect spot for romantic
sunset viewing is Santorini, which will see a new
direct service from Birmingham in May. In contrast
to some of the larger Greek islands, Santorini retains
its unspoilt, traditional charm and is recognised as
one of the more exclusive and luxurious summer
holiday islands. Hotels tend to be smaller, boutique
properties and many offer private pools for the
ultimate romantic getaway.
My top tip would be sunset viewing in Oia in the
north of the island, which is where I stayed myself. It
is in high demand, though, so early booking is highly
recommended. There are also some interesting
archeological sites to visit such as Akrotiri, a Minoan
settlement preserved under volcanic ash. Santorini
can also be twinned with nearby Mykonos, or the
lesser known Cyclades islands of Naxos and Paros as
well as the capital city of Athens. Visit rbcollection.
Other new services to Greece from Birmingham
include another one of our favourite islands of
Skíathos, and Preveza for the smaller Ionian island
If you prefer short breaks, we will also welcome a
new service from Birmingham to the Portuguese
capital Lisbon on a Monday and Friday from April.
Portugal has seen somewhat of a revival in recent
A NEW FLIGHT WILL LINK
BIRMINGHAM TO LISBON
years, especially away from the popular southern
coastal resorts on the Algarve. The unspoilt region of
Alentejo with its beautiful scenery, historic towns and
traditional culinary experiences is easily accessible
by road from Lisbon, as my fellow MD Oliver found
out when he visited himself. Further up the coast is
the beautiful city of Porto which is the gateway to
the Douro Valley. This area of natural beauty is well
known for its river cruises (which do book up very
early as there are only limited departures). It is also
a good option for a self-drive itinerary to get away
from the main tourist spots
and see a more authentic
Portugal. If you are seeking
a relaxing spa retreat, we
know a stunning, converted
mansion in the Douro
Valley, which is now home
to a five star hotel and spa
which is just the tonic.
Ask us for details and visit
The Tyrolean capital of
Innsbruck has an additional
service from Birmingham
this summer too. Innsbruck
is the fifth largest city in
Austria and is surrounded
by stunning high mountains
and dazzling lakes,
making it attractive to
the increasing number
SANTORINI IS A POPULAR
CHOICE FOR AN AUTHENTIC
of holidaymakers who
are enticed by wellness,
adventure and sports.
With miles of mountain
ranges and alpine
meadows on the doorstep,
adventurers, hikers and
cyclists are spoiled for
choice, and that’s not
mentioning the unique
mountain trams that
offer up some of the most
staggering views around.
Our final top 2020 tip
from Birmingham is
Vienna, which has proven
very popular with our
discerning clients over the
past year. It is a compact
city with an abundance
of historic sites to explore.
It has a certain quality
in the air, and I would
definitely recommend it
for a summer weekend away. Visit rbcollection.com/
Further afield, Japan is attracting a lot of attention
which started when they hosted the Rugby World
Cup recently. 2020 will no doubt be even more
popular with Tokyo hosting the Olympic Games
in the summer. The country has so much to offer
beyond Tokyo, with many opting to also visit the
cultural and historic city of Kyoto and nearby
Osaka, which now has a direct flight from London.
DUBAI IS PREPARING TO HOST
THE WORLD EXPO IN 2020
Our top tip would be to jump on the train just 20
minutes from Osaka to Nara for an even more
authentic Japanese experience. Hiroshima has also
become more popular with those seeking to learn
more about the country’s difficult past.
Japan’s ski resorts have been tipped as some of the
best in the world and excellent powder. There are
certainly many options available to you in Japan
and luckily, we have been so can help piece together
the perfect trip for you. For details visit rbcollection.
Dubai has been gearing up as the host of Expo
2020 for a number of years and we are now seeing
coverage of the many different pavilions hosted
by countries around the world on their social
media channels. The event has the slogan ‘Global
Celebrations’, giving us all the chance to experience,
learn and develop our knowledge about the host
nations via entertaining and interactive exhibits. It
will certainly be one of the most impressive World
Expos and we are looking
forward to attending
ourselves. No doubt,
environmental issues will
be at the forefront of the
event as we all look at the
world of the future. Visit
Oman celebrates the
50th anniversary of
the current Sultan in
November. We recently
toured Oman, inspecting
VIENNA IS PERFECT FOR A
new hotels in
the capital city
of Muscat and
which are just a
from the city
and provided a
for the drive and
relaxation in the
We also explored
Salalah on the
which is home
to pristine white
and luxury resorts
with their own
There are also some really interesting, ancient
UNESCO sites to explore. Oman is certainly a
very different experience to Dubai and Abu Dhabi,
for example, with much more of an emphasis on
culture and authenticity yet still providing quality
accommodation and excellent, friendly service. Visit
Saudi Arabia has appeared on our radar for 2020
following the introduction of a tourist visa system
and the relaxation of local laws and requirements
for visitors. The country is seeing a number of
changes in a relatively short period of time with a
newly appointed cultural minister hosting major
sporting and cultural events across the Kingdom. It
is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and
a wide range of cities from old to new waiting to be
discovered. As one of the few remaining countries
around the world that’s been cut off from tourists
without prior arrangement, it is certainly attracting a
lot of attention. Visit rbcollection.com/saudi
Asia sees a new direct flight from Manchester to
Shanghai from March, avoiding having to travel
down to London. China is one of our most popular
destinations to join an escorted group. We prefer
smaller groups of between 16 and 25, some cheap
tours have you in larger groups of around 50 which
we try and avoid as it is less of a personal experience.
Across the Atlantic, the Deep South (Nashville,
Memphis and New Orleans) saw a resurgence
in popularity in 2019 and we expect this to only
increase in 2020. My colleague Alan visited himself
in September, the highlight of which was Graceland.
It is a great area for a self-drive holiday or if you
prefer to join one of the pre-arranged group tours.
You can even travel along the Mississippi onboard a
Also in the USA, we will welcome a new direct flight
to Charleston in South Carolina. Famous for its
cobbled streets, antebellum houses in pastel colours
and promenades, there is a lot of civil war history to
soak in over the water at Fort Sumter.
And finally, environmental issues such as sustainable
tourism and carbon footprints have become major
topics of discussion in the travel industry of late. At
RB, we have offset the carbon footprint for all of
our staff travels in 2019 and will continue to do this
into 2020. We also offer this on several the holidays
we arrange and are working on a new scheme to
offer this over every single holiday booked with us
going forward. There are a number of challenges to
this and we want to make sure we work with ethical
and reputable organisations so that the money
contributed is used effectively. Many communities
rely heavily on tourism to fund their livelihoods and
so we are also working on training for our team so we
can pass on this relevant information to our clients
when booking with us.
We are also reviewing all of our processes to reduce
the environmental impact, from our administration
procedures, business partners and even down to
our office supplies and soap in the kitchen. We
understand and accept we have a responsibility to
monitor and control our environmental impact and
look forward to exploring this more. For details go to
To plan and book your next holiday, contact
RB Collection on 01543 258631 or email vip@
rbcollection.com. Please do mention this issue of
J’AIME when you next book with us and we will
make an additional donation to our charity of the
SAUDI ARABIA IS SET
TO BECOME A TRAVEL
HOTSPOT IN 2020
F E AT U R E
JACK REGAN, A CREATIVE AT TITAN. THE ADVERTISING AGENCY IN BIRMINGHAM,
GETS DOWN AND DIRTY WITH SOME COLOSSAL BEASTS IN THAILAND
JACK REGAN FACED A
CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH
Define appalling, you say? Let me describe the
Then he grabs two more. Geoff Capes himself woulda
outlandish ultimate in the flesh crawlingly repugnant. been chuffed at the distances he is shot-putting these
I’m buck naked but for my Speedos, up to my J’AIME chest HAS TEAMED things. UP WITH THE PEAR TREE CREPERIE AT THE
in murky pond water and a junior elephant standing HEART OF THE He COUNTRY gets about SHOPPING a dozen VILLAGE launched IN SWINFEN over the hedge TO and
OFFER READERS THE CHANCE TO WIN AN EVENING MEAL FOR
beside me has just dropped a nonchalantly humongous, clears away the largest volume of the elephant’s debris
FOUR INCLUDING A BOTTLE OF HOUSE WINE. OUR WINNER AND
make-your-eyes-red turd into the water I’m standing THEIR THREE in. GUESTS before he WILL makes BE ABLE any TO more SAMPLE eye contact CLASSIC with FRENCH me. Bless
DISHES FROM SWEET him, he CREPES knows AND the score SAVORY here. GALETTES, Knows my TO horror.
FRENCH ONION SOUP AND RACLETTE.
It’s so big and indomitable that it’s heating the water Fair to say I’m not all that chuffed about this. And I
around me. The turd, I mean, not the elephant. I mean don’t mind letting it show. A bit of retching. Bit of
FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN, SIMPLY ANSWER
I say turd, in reality it’s an apparently never ending internal ralphing. Not having the greatest of times here,
THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
series of splatatatatatting turds plopping out of him, it must be said.
just inches above my head in rapid succession, WHO each ARE one THE This NEW wee OWNERS elephant OF handler, THE PEAR a Thai TREE dude, CREPERIE? smiles and
exquisitely spherical, about the size of a bowling ball chuckles to me a little bit, encouraging me, I guess,
Send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number, by email
and bobbing up and down in the ever murkier to water firstname.lastname@example.org all to view this process with Pear as Tree somewhat Creperie of Competition a cheery as event.
the email subject. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday, December 27, and
Y’know, a happy-go-lucky moment in this crazy life? A
our winners will be notified by Thursday, January 2. The prize must be booked in
The elephant handler immediately grabs a turd advance in each and taken joy before among March the 31, 2020. elephant Bookings crap, subject kinda to availability. situation! Not
valid for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.
hand and ferociously launches each one over a hedge I respond by being a little sick in my mouth.
into what I presume is an adjacent property - pity the
poor neighbour doing a bit of sunbathing in there.
jaimemagazine.com for further details.
Seeing this, the elephant looks at me a bit indignant
now. A bit, “The hell is wrong with you, sour puss?!
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CQC RATING GOOD
Can a fellow mammal not take a colossal dump without
being judged by a pale naked white man?!”
I just smise at him sarcastically, wondering if that
calibre of nuance will be discernible to a creature that
treats its wash times like a dirty protest.
The elephant responds by cheerfully brushing his big
trunk along my torso then sucks up about a gallon of
water and trumpet blasts it right into my face. I feel
cheap. Used. His trunk has the texture of really coarse
sandpaper with big tufts of hair sticking out of it.
There is something of the 1970s Rodox about it.
Welcome to Thailand and my lamentable entry into the
‘dad of the year’ contest.
We’re here on holidays. My wife and daughter and I all
enjoying the vacation of a lifetime together - adventures
galore, japes, wheezes and capers at every turn amid the
scalding heat and shiny, happy Thai people.
The crystal clear arrangement is that I will carry out
any and every adventure, jape or wheeze suggested
by my daughter, however outlandish, “because you
ELEPHANT BATHING WASN’T
QUITE THE ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME
EXPERIENCE IT WAS CRACKED
UP TO BE
And I shall do so with a smile on my face. For this, it
seems, is what it takes to be father of the year. We’ve
already been through the hellacious bush tucker trial
stuff in Bangkok but my daughter (Supergirl, age nine)
wants to crank up the once-in-a-lifetime stuff with this
opportunity to bathe baby elephants in this elephant
sanctuary that’s positioned here, somewhere between
the back of beyond and the set of Platoon.
(Jesus, I just had a thought about the kinds of depraved
wickedness old Charlie Sheen might get up to if he was
naked but for his Speedos in this murky swamp with the
soaking wet elephant - boggles the mind!)
But there’s no riding the animals or locals here (sorry,
Charles) as this is a sanctuary to ensure they have a
better life, so we only get the pleasure of walking with
and bathing with these animals - strictly no riding or
teabagging with the elephants or whatever other fun
frolics that non-family tourists come to Thailand for.
Anyway, here we are in the mush giving this beast a
scrub with mud from the bottom of the wee pond. I
know, I know, I realise now that it’s not mud, thanks for
your interjection, dear reader.
My wife and Supergirl are in raptures
with all this though, believing this
creature is the most wondrously beautiful
thing and lovingly scrubbing the “mud”
from the bottom of the swamp into his
crevassed flesh while he shrieks and
trumpets with joy.
To be fair to the elephant, it’s not as if it
asked me to jump in beside him and give
him a bath. It’s not as if it started its day
off lusting after this scene or anything
remotely like it. But here we are, bathing,
dumping and bobbing together.
And in my bid to be a brilliant dad I
realise I have to be seen to be enjoying
myself and making a bit of an effort
here. So I do. I am. Look at me smile,
look at me smise.
I’m scooping up this mud/turd from the
bottom and scouring it into old Bumbo
here and he’s showing his appreciation by
trumpeting another gallon of murk into
Supergirl shrieks with laughter at this
and I smise. I smise and smise and smise.
And I scrub and I scrub and I scrub and
I know the true meaning of repugnance
and what it is to try to be the father of
And the very, very, very worst thing is
that I think the elephant understands
all of this. He really does. But continues
anyway. Which might be the very
definition of appalling.
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
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P E O P L E
Star visit is pure gold
POP STAR TONY HADLEY WOWED FANS ON A VISIT TO ST GILES HOSPICE
FOLLOWING A FUNDRAISING CONCERT IN LICHFIELD
TONY HADLEY LIVE AT LICHFIELD
CATHEDRAL. ARTWORK BY PETER
WALKER - SCULPTOR. PHOTO BY PETER
Pop star and former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony
Hadley created a glow at St Giles Hospice when he
visited the Whittington site to hand over a £4,000
donation from the proceeds of his Lichfield Festival
charity concert at Lichfield Cathedral.
Tony said: “St Giles Hospice is an amazing place - I
didn’t know what to expect but I was bowled over.
It’s an incredible and beautiful building and the
staff have been so fantastic - their friendliness shines
“St Giles is a really happy place with a beautiful
atmosphere and it’s been a real privilege to come
along and meet everybody. I’m full of admiration for
the work that they do.”
Backed by his six-piece band, Tony delighted fans
with a selection of his classic hits, songs from his new
album and a sprinkling of festive favourites, at Tony
Hadley Live last month. The concert was presented
by Lichfield Festival and Lichfield Cathedral,
sponsored by City Jewellers of Lichfield, in aid of
Lichfield Festival and St Giles Hospice.
Tony, who is a patron of Lichfield Festival, visited the
hospice with Festival chair Helen Wiser and
Festival director Damian Thantrey the following day
to hand over the cheque, and they were given a
tour of the facilities by St Giles Group Chief
Executive Emma Hodges.
Emma said: “Tony made such a difference at St Giles
during his visit. He was so generous with his time,
chatting by the bedside of three patients, who are big
“He struggled to leave our Day Hospice having been
given a huge hug by one of our ladies and chatting to
everyone there. He was clearly moved meeting a lady
who following the death of her husband and support
for her children from our Phoenix service had set up
a family support group.
“We’d like to thank Tony and everyone at Lichfield
Festival for their support and generosity which will
help to fund the £10m St Giles spends each year
caring for local people and their families.”
Helen Wiser, chair of Lichfield Festival, said: “Tony
is a fantastic Festival patron and we’re hugely
grateful for his support. Not only were we treated to
a fabulously entertaining and memorable evening
in the cathedral but his generosity through this
fundraising concert is a major boost for 2020.
“He really has become part of the whole Festival
community and it’s always a pleasure to see him in
the audience at summer Festival events.”
The 2020 Lichfield Festival will take place from July
9 to 19. See www.lichfieldfestival.org for details. For
more information about St Giles Hospice and the
care it provides, visit www.stgileshospice.com
LO CA L A R E A
Full of Christmas Cheer
CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY FOR GOOD CAUSES ACROSS THE DISTRICT AFTER WE LOVE LICHFIELD
DONATED THOUSANDS OF POUNDS IN GRANTS AT ITS SPECIAL FESTIVE PRESENTATION
We Love Lichfield, which supports voluntary groups
making a difference in our communities, invited
recipients, civic leaders, businesses and other guests
to a special event in Lichfield’s George Hotel, where
13 voluntary groups received grants in front of a
packed room of supporters.
The Lichfield Friary School Choir Shout it Out got
the audience into the festive spirit with some rousing
carol singing to kick off proceedings.
We Love Lichfield patron Simon Price started the
presentation by thanking the fund’s advisors. He
said: “I stand up here and talk to you about the
fund but there are lots of other people who work in
their own time to make We Love Lichfield work for
our community. Please applaud the team of Terry
Turner, John Heeler, Carrie Jahn, Susan Bamford,
Tim Matthews, Chris Spruce, Adrian Viles, Tim
Munton and Robert Yardley. Specific thanks go
Mark Santy of the George Hotel for hosting, Julian
Fisher for organising this event and I also welcome
new advisors including Keith Eagland, Joanna
Churton and Kath Jukes.”
The We Love Lichfield Fund has given away grants
now on average every 10 days since it started,
and Simon Price invited all the organisations
who were there to receive grants to talk about
themselves and their contribution to the district.
Organisations receiving grants included: City of
Lichfield Friends, King George V Memorial Scouts
and Guides, Kendall and Wall Charitable Trust,
Friends 2 Friends, The Lichfield Trishaw Project,
GRANT RECIPIENTS AND
SUPPORTERS OF WE LOVE
RICHARD WINTERTON WITH WE LOVE
LICHFIELD PATRON SIMON PRICE
Diocesan Digest Sound Magazine of Lichfield
Cathedral, Clifton Campville Village Hall, Midlands
Soccer Academy, Lichfield and District Talking
News, Lichfield Re:Cycle, Cogs Prepares 4 Life,
Curborough Community Association and Lichfield
Society of Arts.
The finale of the presentation was a surprise
appearance by actor Su Pollard to present a brandnew
award – The We Love Lichfield Business
Community Champion. Created to celebrate
businesses who support the fund through donations
and publicity, the inaugural award went to Richard
Winterton of Richard Winterton Auctioneers, who
have so far raised more than £5,000.
Richard said: “The We Love Lichfield Christmas
giveaway is always an inspiring event which
highlights such a diverse range of stories from groups
across our district. I feel passionately
about the fund and its continuous work
to help and support so many wonderful
local charities and volunteers. It is
already a pleasure and a privilege to
be involved so to be named We Love
Lichfield fundraising champion 2019 is
the absolute icing on the cake – as well
as a huge surprise!”
We Love Lichfield is a local fund that
provides small grants to a wide range
of projects based in Lichfield District.
For more details and to make a
donation to the fund, please visit
FA S H I O N
Oh faux sure!
IT’S TIME TO COSY UP IN THIS SEASON’S PLUSHEST NUMBERS AS FAUX FUR TAKES OVER
AS THE TOUCHY-FEELY FABRIC OF CHOICE FOR WINTER, SAYS AMY NORBURY
AS the mercury continues its steady decline into the
frosty depths of winter proper, our wardrobes need to
be properly equipped with a fashion arsenal suitable
for dealing with chillier climes.
While snuggly knits and layer upon layer is always
going to be the basis of seasonal dressing, where do
you turn when you need to up the glam factor? Well,
where better than that ultimate in luxury fabrics:
fur. And for 2020, that of course means it’s got to be
Faux fur is more than just a trend – its prominence
on the runways is symptomatic of the fashion world’s
growing environmental and ethical awareness.
What’s more, the shows at autumn/winter 2019-
2020 proved its versatility, with kitschy glam the
order of the day at Moschino, compared to a more
natural, arty look at Stella McCartney.
We’ve already seen the impact of faux fur on
outerwear trend for winter, where luxurious teddy
coats perfectly embody the overriding mantra of ‘go
big or go home’. While trusty parkas and padded
puffas are undeniably great options for winter
outerwear, if you want to feel like a million dollars
nothing beats a plush faux fur number.
From full-on drama and the ultimate in wrappedup
chic, a longline number is top of the list, while
shorter faux fur jackets and capes are perfect for
bringing a sophisticated vibe to casual cool when
styled with your favourite denim and trainers for offduty
These coats are so cosy you may even find yourself
draped in one while sat on the sofa waiting for the
heating to kick in!
And it doesn’t stop there; faux fur is being used to
add a dash of sartorial je ne sais quois to just about
everything in your winter wardrobe. Fur trim on
gloves? Check. Furry pom poms on hats and scarves?
Check. Fur-lined boots? Check! It’s a veritable feast
of fluffy fashion out there.
When it comes to colour paintbox brights are having
a fashion moment, so if you really want to stand out
from the crowd then invest in pillarbox red or azure
blue hues. But if you’re looking for something classic
which will last for seasons to come, a more muted
and neutral palette offers longevity of investment -
after all, sometimes it’s better to let the faux fur do
BROWN SHORT FAUX FUR JACKET, £50,
BROWN SUEDETTE FAUX FUR
TRIM MITTENS, RIVER ISLAND
GLACIER BAY STRAP BOOTS,
PURPLE MINK FAUX FUR COAT,
ELSIE FAUX FUR LINED
TRAINERS, DUNE LONDON
STAR BY JULIEN MACDONALD
SHORT FAUX FUR COAT,
CAMILLA GLOVES IN
LOVELLA POM POM SCARF,
GREEN FAUX FUR
COAT £95, AND
SPLICED RED FUR
BOMBER JACKET, £45,
B E AU T Y
A beautiful start to 2020
AFTER A NEVER-ENDING ROUND OF OVER-INDULGENCE AND ONE TOO MANY GLASSES
OF BUBBLY IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE STRESSES AND STRAINS OF THE FESTIVE PERIOD
START TO SHOW ON OUR SKIN. RECAPTURE YOUR RADIANCE THIS JANUARY WITH THESE
RESOLUTIONS FROM THE BEAUTY TEAM AT HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM
I WILL REMOVE MY MAKEUP
Beauty’s golden rule – take
everything off at the end of every
day. Don’t be tempted to go to
bed with leftover makeup still on,
thinking you can remove it in the
morning; those clogged pores
create the ideal environment for
an overnight breakout.
PIXI’S DUAL PHASE
HYDRATING MILKY MAKEUP
REMOVER, £24 EFFECTIVELY
REMOVES WATERPROOF AND
LONGWEARING MAKEUP – IT’S
EVEN GENTLE ENOUGH FOR
THE SENSITIVE EYE AREA.
I WILL ADD A SERUM TO MY
Perfect for tackling fine lines and
dehydration, serums deliver a
potent shot of active ingredients
directly into your skin which
penetrate the epidermis to get
to work. You can even add a
few drops to your moisturiser or
foundation to calm winter skin.
CLARIFYING OIL SERUM,
£55, IS DESIGNED TO HELP
HYDRATE WHILE MICROBES
IN THE OIL KILL BACTERIA
AND CONDITION YOUR
COMPLEXION TO BRING IT
BACK TO EQUILIBRIUM.
I WILL INDULGE IN A WEEKLY
While your everyday cleansers and
moisturisers keep the surface of your
skin in good condition, blemishbusting
masks are designed to
penetrate deeper, helping draw out
impurities, remove the build-up of
dead cells and increase hydration.
LA MER’S THE BRILLIANCE
BRIGHTENING MASK, £210, IS A
GENTLE, YET POWERFUL TWO-
STEP TREATMENT TO INSTANTLY
BRIGHTEN AND SOFTEN SKIN,
MINIMISE PORES AND EVEN OUT
I WILL FOCUS ON THOSE SIGNS
As the cold weather dries out our
skin, it’s easy to spot wrinkles and
fine lines; the ones that no amount
of makeup can hide. Opt for an
innovative anti-ageing formula that
reduces the appearance of wrinkles
while smoothing and plumping
SISLEY SISLEŸA RADIANCE ANTI-
AGING CONCENTRATE, £335,
IS PACKED WITH INNOVATIVE
VITAMINS AND ESSENTIAL OILS
TO RESTORE RADIANCE WHILE
REDUCING THE APPEARANCE OF
I WILL TAKE CARE OF MY EYES...
The delicate skin around your eyes can be the first to show
signs of ageing so keeping them hydrated – especially during
the colder months – is essential. Make sure you opt for a cream
designed specifically to tackle this area.
VALMONT’S RICH AND CREAMY V-LINE LIFTING EYE
CREAM, £171, SMOOTHES OUT WRINKLES AND LIFTS THE
EYE CONTOUR WHILE REDUCING THE APPEARANCE OF
ALL PRODUCTS FEATURED ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE BEAUTY HALL AT HARVEY NICHOLS
BIRMINGHAM, THE MAILBOX, AND ONLINE AT HARVEYNICHOLS.COM
Weight loss wonder
H E A LT H
A REVOLUTIONARY WEIGHT LOSS CAMPAIGN WHICH STARTS WITH A ‘BALLOON
PILL’ AND A GLASS OF WATER IS NOW AVAILABLE TO PATIENTS IN THE MIDLANDS
A slimming ‘balloon pill’ that can be taken with a
glass of water has been introduced to Spire Little
Aston Hospital in Sutton Coldfield.
The Elipse ‘balloon pill’, developed by Allurion,
works by filling the stomach and making the patient
feel full, enabling them to cut back on the amount
they eat. Patients could lose between 10-15 kgs
over just 16 weeks.
But unlike other weight loss treatments available -
such as the gastric band, sleeve or bypass - there
is no need for surgery, general anaesthetic or an
overnight stay in hospital. In fact, a 30 minute
appointment is all that is required before the patient
can leave the hospital and begin their weight
A small capsule that contains the balloon is attached
to a thin tube and swallowed. Once it reaches
the stomach an X-ray is taken to check it is in the
correct position before the balloon is released and
filled with up to 550ml of saline.
Designed to deflate after four months before passing
naturally through the body the Elipse balloon is
aimed at people with a BMI of 27 or above in order
to help them ‘kick-start’ their dieting regime.
Patients will be provided with a tailored support
package, including nutritional coaching at Little
Aston by both a weight loss consultant and specialist
dietician, and will receive a bluetooth scale
and app to track their progress.
Consultant General Surgeon Mr Amir Khan
explained: “It isn’t a ‘miracle pill’; it still needs the
patient to eat less and choose their foods more wisely
but it is a great aid to those who are serious about
“In just a 30 minute appointment, patients can be
ready to lose weight by using the feeling of
fullness provided by the balloon to help them change
their eating habits.” said Mr Khan.
Spire Little Aston Hospital is offering free mini
consultations on weight loss treatments on
Thursday, January 30, from 4.30-7pm. To book your
free place, call 0121 514 7034 or visit
THE REVOLUTIONARY ELIPSE BALLOON
PILL, AVAILABLE AT SPIRE LITTLE ASTON,
CAN HELP KICKSTART YOUR WEIGHT
I N T H E N E W S
Designs on interior style
A YOUNG STAFFORDSHIRE INTERIOR DESIGNER IS HOPING TO MAKE HER MARK
ON THE DESIGN WORLD FOLLOWING THE LAUNCH OF HER OWN BUSINESS
Amy Jukes is the creative force behind Amy
Leigh Interior, an interior design service based in
Staffordshire and offering professional design services
Amy says: “I always knew I wanted a creative career.
I have a natural flair for design and have always loved
drawing and designing from a young age.”
After leaving school Amy studied interior design
before going on to work for other designers, gaining
experience in the industry for both residential and
“I decided to set out for a new venture at the age
of 22, an have d set up on my own in this tough
Amy Leigh Interiors offers all aspects of interior
design including concept design and mood boards,
space planning and sourcing and supplying
everything from furniture and wallcoverings to soft
furnishings and accessories.
Amy adds: “I thought what better time to set up
on my own than while I’m young and have no
commitments, so I can throw all my time and energy
into making it work.
“At Amy Leigh Interiors our aim is to exceed your
expectations by offering a service that is tailor
made for you. We work closely with our clients and
suppliers to ensure your personal design brief is
fulfilled. We take the stress out of your project so
you can fully appreciate the transformation of your
AMY JUKES IS THE CREATIVE
FORCE BEHIND AMY LEIGH
For more details call Amy on 07960 860621,
visit www.amyleighinteriors.co.uk or email
M OTO R S
Life in the fast lane
THIS MONTH J’AIME’S RESIDENT RACING DRIVER AND MOTORS EXPERT MARTIN
PLOWMAN TAKES A LOOK AT AN EXCITING NEW VENTURE FOR ASTON MARTIN
THE AMB 001 BY ASTON MARTIN
AND BROUGH SUPERIOR
This is not an April Fool’s Joke… Aston Martin is
building a motorbike!
At the Milan Auto Show in November, Aston Martin
Lagonda announced their shock decision to build
their very first motorcycle. In collaboration with
legendary bike manufacturer Brough Superior, the
bike will be aptly called the AMB 001.
I confess, I am not much of a bike fanatic. I
appreciate the looks of a good superbike, but I was
blown away by the AMB 001. It’s not so much a
motorbike, it’s a freaking work of art! It belongs in a
museum, not to be ridden by wealthy mid-life crisis
Brough Superior may not be widely known as a
company, but their legacy goes all the way back
to 1919 with their founder George Brough, who
was a pioneer of his generation. Brough Superior
bikes were made famous by real-life hero writer,
spy, adventurer and British officer, Thomas Edward
Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia. The
film of the same name became one of the greatest
ever films in Hollywood history, which helped to
immortalise the Brough Superior brand.
As a collaboration, it does not get any more luxurious
or sexier than this. This bike is the equivalent of a
love child between Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
The AMB 001 is dripping with modern supercar
technology and expensive superalloy materials that
offer incredible strength and ridiculously low weight.
Taking their inspiration from the new series of
mid-engined Aston Martin cars, the Aston Martin
Design team worked on clear principles of form and
function, where design and engineering had to work
together, resulting in a motorcycle that is a highperformance
work of art.
The AMB 001 boasts a turbo-charged output of 134
kW (180 hp) at just 180 kilos dry weight. This turbo
configuration brings an incredible engine response
with huge torque in a wide range of engine rpm.
“This is what we believe a cutting-edge motorcycle
should be and we are very proud to see the Aston
Martin wings on a motorcycle for the first time,” said
Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief
Creative Officer, Marek Reichman.
“In addition to applying the skills we have developed
for cars such as the groundbreaking Aston Martin
Valkyrie, we have also been able to bring our special
expertise in the traditional craft techniques to this
project. The finished product is a truly beautiful
motorcycle; a design and engineering work of art.”
With only 100 of these bikes going into production
and at a cost of around £100,000, it’s safe to say that
I will not be one of the lucky owners. I prefer my
EACH OF THE 100 BIKES IS
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