W I N T E R
N O W O N
Kitchen Retailer of the Year
From a quick coffee on the run to a full on feast for 14, a Classic Interiors kitchen is
a space that works for you and your family. We make kitchens for more than just
cooking, we create rooms for life, laughter & enjoyment that never compromise
on practicality & functionality.
www.classicinteriors.co.uk 0121 405 1310
of the Year 2020
of the year 2019
from the EDITOR
10 A Comforting Culinary Journey recipes through ready in
Northern 30 minutes Ireland or less
A real-life before and
after cellar renovation
Dr Hilary Jones
Editor Katie Thomson
Publisher Sally Thomson
Pre-Press Manager Kate O’Connell
Contributors Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs, Angela Cave,
Front Cover courtesy of Lydia Booth Photography
Key Account Manager Marion Cassidy
d/l 01225 984502
MINERVA PUBLICATIONS HQ
Unit 21c, Paxcroft Farm, Hilperton
Trowbridge BA14 6JB
t 01225 984 550
visit our website www.solihullliving.co.uk
Disclaimer: The publishers shall not be held liable for any loss occasioned by failure of an
advertisement to appear, or any damage or inconvenience caused by errors, omissions and
misprints. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission from the
publishers. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the publishers
The New Year issue always brings
with it a certain level of recollection
and introspection, but gosh, we’ve
never had to look back on a year like
the one we’ve just experienced have
we! I wonder at what point I’ll be able
to stop sending off emails sounding
like a Jane Austen character, ‘I trust
you and your family are in good
health and prospering’!
Putting my inner Elizabeth Bennet
aside, I know we aren’t out of the
woods yet, but this edition we have
decided to focus firmly on all the good
that has come from COVID, alongside
the hopes for a brighter, better and
perhaps more compassionate 2021.
We very much enjoy creature
comforts here at Minerva HQ, and
in that vein, we’ve included a big
serving of ‘hug-in-a-bowl’ type
recipes that can be made in under 30
minutes - for those nights when you
want something tasty but don’t have
the time or inclination to slave over
Then, if you’re considering
a renovation, we look at a really
unusual space - a Georgian vault -
and how it was transformed from a
damp and dark hovel into a luxurious
snug - hopefully it inspires you to
re-examine your own spaces that
could be overdue a face lift - we can
guarantee that can’t be much more
challenging than this one!
We had the chance to speak to TV’s
favourite GP Dr Hilary Jones about
the virus, looking after people as they
get older and generally finding ways
to keep as healthy as possible in the
autumn years of life.
We are also welcoming back a very
popular addition to the magazine -
our competition page! This edition
has a bevy of fantastic new prizes to
be won - make sure to check it out!
Next time we see you it will be
nearly spring - a new beginning
many of us are hoping for. See you
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 3
To enter any (or all!) of our competitions, head to
Find the competition and enter on that post,
using the appropriate keyword.
T&C’s apply and no cash alternatives available. Winners chosen at
random - entries made after closing date will not be accepted.
You can win an elegant sporty zip-front one-piece swimsuit
crafted to sculpt your silhouette, providing coverage and
support for an active day in the ocean, from sustainable brand
SLO Active. The ultimate thermal comfort while flattering
and sculpting all body shapes, it’s perfect for the surfer,
paddleboarder and ocean-loving girl that wants to look chic
without compromising on style.
Like all oceanwear from SLO Active, this piece is made
using Yulex, the plant-based and sustainable alternative to
neoprene. The raw natural rubber comes from sources that are
Forest Stewardship Council certified by the Rainforest Alliance
– meaning the trees aren’t grown on newly clear-cut rainforest
land, like some of the world’s supply. See more pieces at
Closes 24/02/2021 - Competition keyword ‘SLO’
Two winners will
each receive a
set of underwear
When it comes to choosing a
new bra why compromise on
comfort or style? Thanks to
the new Selma from Rosa Faia
you won’t have to. Selma is a
beautiful underwired bra with
a delicate design for a luxury
look and feel. The three-section
stretch lace cup and pretty
shaped straps ensure both
comfort and femininity and the
matching bra and brief set is
now available in the stunning
Patriot Blue colourway. Fitting
up to a J Cup Selma is the
bra everyone is choosing this
winter. Available from www.
Bra £52 Brief £27
Closes 24/02/2021- Competition
Müd pride themselves
on providing high quality
Gum boots, which are
designed for maximum
comfort and impeccable
They have a strong
commitment to quality
and delivering value to
their customers. All their
designs are made using
100% natural rubber and
they are proud of their
dedication to fair-trade
Closes 24/02/2021 -
receive a pair
of wellies of
Inspired by the beautiful island of
Skiathos, and with a focus on helping
to protect the planet and contributing
to the welfare of turtles, Kanula
produces stylish garments
designed to stand the test of
time while encouraging fair
treatment for all.
Primus, the UK’s leading
supplier of handcrafted home and
gardenware into garden centres
across the UK, have kindly donated a £100
voucher to be redeemed against any products of
the winner’s choosing. primus.co.uk
Closes 24/02/2021 - Competition keyword ‘PRIMUS’
Using no plastic waste
materials which often
result in polluting the
oceans and harming sea
life, Kanula is proud to
offer slow fashion with
fast delivery. What’s more,
for every purchase Kanula
donates 8% to the Sea Turtle
Kanula stocks a large range
of children’s, ladies and
unisex clothing. See the full
collection at kanula.org
Closes 24/02/2021 -
Competition keyword ‘KANULA’
Two winners will
each receive a
hoodie and tote
bag of their choice
4 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
4-18 Co-educational Independent Day School
ALS lets ME
What will your child be?
BOOK A TOUR PERSONAL NOW!
Lovingly crafted by Interactive Schools
15-17 Kenilworth Rd, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 5TW
SUPPORTING BOARDING SCHOOLS
How boarding schools are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic
Like all organisations, boarding schools
have quickly had to adapt to a ‘new
normal.’ In recent months, they have
supported pupils and parents through
first-class online learning, and we have
organised a variety of seminars for schools
to help them modify their teaching and
learning styles for this new world. Here
Robin Fletcher tells us more.
Through our BSA Academy, we’re
continuing to offer a comprehensive range
of online learning on a variety of subjects.
These include the possible impact of
COVID-19 and lockdown on the mental
health and wellbeing of students; how to
create positive and healthy routines for
young people during the pandemic, and
students’ future mental health. We have
also just announced our ‘BSA COVID
Conference: lessons learned and planning
ahead,’ which will be taking place virtually
on November 18.
Supporting the health and wellbeing
of boarding students is at the heart of
everything we do; never more so than
during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. In
response to the pandemic, we developed
our COVID-SAFE Charter, which schools
can voluntarily adopt. The charter offers
reassurance to boarders and their parents
/ guardians that schools have done
everything they can to ensure their safety
and it has been welcomed enthusiastically
by the boarding family across the world. We
also translated the COVID-SAFE Charter
into several different languages to keep
international parents informed and also
delivered a series of webinars to parents
and agents in China, Hong Kong and
Germany, designed to reassure them that
UK boarding schools were safe places for
The main concern schools reported to us
was that parents / guardians wanted to
know their children were going to be as
safe as they could possibly be when they
returned. For example, they wanted to
know what cleaning protocols the schools
had in place; what their procedures were
for testing students for coronavirus and
what measures would be implemented for
isolating pupils if there was a positive test;
whether students could wear face masks or
coverings in class if they wished, and that
students would have an opportunity to raise
any concerns. We responded by creating
a COVID-19 supplier list to help schools
find suppliers of products such as face
coverings, sanitisers, testing and tracking
devices and temperature camera systems.
We’re continuing to work with a range of
government departments to ensure all our
member schools and staff receive the most
comprehensive, up-to-date information as
the coronavirus pandemic continues. We’re
here to support to all our member schools
and provide any advice and guidance
they may need – we’d encourage them to
contact us as soon as possible if they do
require any assistance.
Robin Fletcher, CEO, BSA and BSA Group
A copy of the BSA COVID-SAFE Charter
can be viewed by visiting their website
www.boarding.org.uk where you will be able
to link onto their advice.
6 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
‘Outstanding’ and ‘Excellent’ - ISI Inspection
Preparatory School Open Morning
inc. Westbourne Pre-Prep
Join us for a tour of the school and have your questions
answered by our Prep School Leadership Team
Saturday 30 January 2021
Reserve your place now. Book online or contact
Admissions on 0121 454 5831
WHOLE SCHOOL VIRTUAL OPEN MORNING
Saturday 19 September 2020
An independent school for girls aged 2 1 / 2 -18 years
Westbourne . Preparatory . Senior . Sixth Form
0121 454 5831 email@example.com www.edgbastonhigh.co.uk
MORNING & YEAR 9
and see why we're Birmingham's leading
School for girls and boys
3 ENTRANCE ASSESSMENT
SATURDAY 30th JANUARY
aged 3 months to 13 years
Register your interest or find out more:
0121 454 1496
Church Road, Edgbaston B15 3SJ
2020 has been a year like no other, with challenges
that few, if any, foresaw and no sector has had to
be more agile and more creative than education.
We spoke to Keith B Morrow, Head Master at
Hallfield School, about how dealing with the
continuing presence of the virus has added a new
dimension to school life and how they, and their
pupils and staff are meeting the challenge.
From the very first time you heard the word Coronavirus to
now, how has your daily routine changed?
I suspect like most schools with primary-aged pupils, our daily
routines have changed a great deal!
The biggest change is seen at the beginning of the school day.
Instead of the car park being full of gathering of parents and
children, we have a drop-off zone and parents mostly stay in
their cars, with the children making their own way into school
(apart from the very youngest children). Like most Heads, I
never expected my mornings to involve checking the children’s
temperature on entry and ensuring that children sanitise their
hands on the way in.
Inside school there are one-way systems and arrows reminding
children and staff where to walk.
The Year Group ‘bubbles’ mean that children cannot play as
freely with each other at playtime and lunchtime and this is a
great shame, especially as our older children enjoy playing with
and looking after our younger children.
I really miss seeing the children as a whole school, celebrating
achievements in the same way, and of course, we don’t sing
altogether at the moment. Special moments such as Harvest
Festival, Remembrance and Christmas Service we lead at our
local church, St George’s in Edgbaston, have had to be cancelled
this term, along with our active sports calendar where we play
fixtures from Year 3 upwards each week with many other schools.
It’s not just the children who have new routines, but the staff too.
Many more duties to help supervise the children at break times
and in After Care. The staff room is eerily quiet too! No more chat
around the coffee machine and struggling to find a seat for a
quick sit down at break time! It’s now a ‘grab and go’ service for
The end of the day has changed too. Staggered pick-up points
are helpful, but one loss is the personal touch in terms of the
chat with parents at the end of the day, especially for our younger
We often hear it said that children are much more adaptable
than adults – how have you found this in daily school life.
Our children have been wonderful. Despite the new routines and
rules, they have adapted to everything superbly and are just so
happy to be at school with their friends and learning in person
rather than staring at screens all day.
If you could nominate someone within your organisation for a
superhero award, who would that be and why?
I simply couldn’t single out one individual. All of my staff have
responded to the Coronavirus challenges with enormous energy,
sensitivity and care.
Thinking of a new kitchen?
Is your child or teens
getting you down?
Ollie Coaching can help!
For more info
or a free session
Call Belinda at
WELBOURN Furniture LTD
Design, supply and install quality English
bespoke kitchen furniture which is
manufactured in Wiltshire.
The company is run by husband and wife
01926 team, Mark 650 and Tessa 149 Welbourn, who offer 07485 120 444
many years of experience in the industry.
Why not call us now for a chat.
Welbourn Furniture Ltd
IN ENDLESS COLOUR
AVAILABLE - FROM £5
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 9
Comforting meals ready in 40 minutes or less,
when you want a hug in a bowl with minimal fuss.
All courtesy of Waitrose
Preparation time: 10 minutes (once meat
is at room temperature)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
275g pack 2 beef bavette steaks, taken
out of the fridge 30 minutes ahead of
1 tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Porcini
2 tsp sesame oil
400g pack mashed potato
200g sprouting broccoli, thick stems
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp light soya sauce, plus more to serve
200g mixed exotic mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to very low, warm 3
plates and prepare all the ingredients.
Rub the steaks with the porcini powder
and 1 tsp oil; season and set aside to
marinate for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile,
heat the mashed potato according to
pack instructions. Steam the broccoli for
4-5 minutes until tender.
Put a non-stick frying pan over a high
heat. Sear the steaks for around 2
minutes on each side, depending on
thickness, flipping after each minute.
During the last 30 seconds, add 2 tsp
butter to the pan, let it melt, then spoon
over the meat a few times as it cooks.
Lift the steaks onto a plate and splash
with the soya sauce. Cover loosely and
transfer to the oven.
Add the remaining 1 tsp oil and butter to
the hot pan, then toss in the mushrooms
and garlic; season. Fry over a high heat
for 2 minutes until golden; toss but allow
the mushrooms to catch some colour.
Slice the steaks across the grain, put
on the warm plates and serve with the
mushrooms and some of the resting
juices, the mash and broccoli, and a dash
more soya sauce, if liked.
Try serving with fresh egg noodles,
tossed with the cooked mushrooms and
garlic, instead of the mash.
WITH SWEET POTATO
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 tbsp oil, plus 1 tsp extra
2 tbsp Clearspring Organic Brown Rice
1 garlic clove, crushed
15 sage leaves, 5 finely chopped
4 portabella mushrooms, stalks trimmed
2 sweet potatoes (about 640g), peeled
6 tbsp single cream or cream alternative
300ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp arrowroot or cornflour, mixed with 1
tsp cold water
Swiss chard or other seasonal greens,
Mix 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp miso, the garlic
and chopped sage; brush over the
mushrooms. Boil the potatoes in a
covered pan of salted water for 10-12
minutes, until very soft. Drain and mash
10 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
to a smooth purée. Stir in the cream alternative; season.
Preheat the oven to 140˚C, gas mark 1.
Meanwhile, fry the sage leaves in 1 tbsp oil for 2-3
minutes until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper; keep warm.
Wash out the pan, then boil the stock, the remaining
1 tbsp miso and the maple syrup for 10 minutes, until
reduced to 175ml. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in an ovenproof non-stick
frying pan. Fry the mushrooms, stalk-side down, on
a medium-high heat for 2 minutes, pressing now and
again with a fish slice, until deep golden. Turn, cook
for 2 minutes, then put in the oven for 10 minutes.
Reheat the gravy, add any mushroom juices and whisk
in the arrowroot or cornfl our. Simmer until glossy and
a little thick. Season and serve with the veg, sage and
Arrowroot is really useful for vegetarian or vegan gravies,
as it adds body without making the gravy cloudy. Avoid
re-boiling once it has thickened.
CITRUSSY AVOCADO, PRAWN &
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
½ small red onion, sliced into thin rounds
3 essential Waitrose Easy Peelers (sweet mandarins or
clementines), 2 juiced, 1 sliced
1½ tsp red wine vinegar
250g pouch Waitrose & Partners Puy Lentils
180g large raw king prawns, patted dry
1 tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 ripe avocado, ¼ diced, ¾ sliced
28g pack coriander, leaves only
1½ tbsp low-fat natural yogurt
Chilli flakes (optional), to serve
In a bowl, toss the onion in ½ of the citrus juice, plus 1
tsp vinegar and a little seasoning; set aside. Heat the
lentils according to pack instructions and let them cool
a little. In another bowl, toss the prawns with the cumin,
½ of the garlic and 1 tsp oil; leave to marinate for a few
To make the dressing, put the chopped avocado, 1 tbsp
water, the remaining citrus juice, vinegar, garlic and ½
the coriander leaves into a jug. Use a hand blender to
whizz until smooth (or use a jug blender). Stir in the
Heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in a frying pan and sear the
prawns on a high heat until fully cooked, opaque and
pink throughout – about 3 minutes. Spoon the warm
lentils onto plates, follow with the sliced mandarins or
clementines, sliced avocado, prawns, dressing and the
onion with a little of its juice. Serve scattered with the
remaining coriander and a few chilli flakes.
The avocado dressing in this dish is also a great match
for roast chicken or grilled halloumi.
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 11
SPICY YUZU MISO RAMEN WITH PRAWNS
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
100g buckwheat soba noodles (or your
favourite variety, prepared according to
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp white miso paste
150g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 salad onions, white and green parts
separated and chopped
1 pak choi bulb, stem shredded, leaves left
150g pack raw king prawns
1 tsp Yuzu Juice
1 red chilli, sliced (deseeded if liked)
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add
the noodles and simmer for 4 minutes
(watch carefully as buckwheat noodles can
overboil easily). Drain and rinse under cold
water, then toss with the sesame oil and
divide between 2 bowls.
Rinse out the pan and pour in 500ml justboiled
water. Whisk in the miso paste. Add
the mushrooms and white parts of the salad
onions; simmer for 3 minutes. Add the
pak choi stem and prawns; simmer for 3-4
minutes until the prawns are fully cooked,
opaque and pink throughout, then stir
through the pak choi leaves and yuzu juice.
Ladle the soup over the noodles and scatter
with the salad onion greens and sliced chilli.
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with hints of
mandarin and lime. Its juice is a great match
for all types of fish and is lovely drizzled
over salads and noodles.
12 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
KIWI LIME PIE
This easy dessert recipe uses juicy kiwi fruit to top
the creamy lime filling and crunchy ginger nut base.
An ideal get-ahead pud. Whilst technically not ready
in 30 mins, it can chill whilst you eat your main meal.
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
200g ginger nut biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
200ml double cream
200g condensed milk
4 unwaxed limes, zest and juice
5 mint leaves, finely shredded
2 Waitrose 1 Perfectly Ripe Kiwis
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line the
base of a 23cm loose-bottomed tart case with a
circle of parchment. Whizz the biscuits in a food
processor until crushed. Add the melted butter and
whizz again. Tip into the tart case and press in the
base and up the sides with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
Put the double cream, condensed milk and lime
zest and juice into a mixing bowl and whisk
together lightly with a balloon whisk. Stir through
the mint then pour into the tart case. Chill for at
least an hour.
Top and tail the kiwi fruit, then use a vegetable
peeler to remove the skin. Slice the kiwis, then
tumble over the tart.
Left over condensed milk is brilliant for making
iced coffee, or it can be simmered down to make
caramel. It also freezes well.
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 13
WHAT IS CBD?
This product really amplifies the effects of your
skincare products - helping them penetrate
further into the skin. Use the side with silicone
bristles to gently deep cleanse your skin while
stimulating collagen production; then turn
the device around to use the side with the
heated Silver or Gold massage plates to open
the pores and help your skincare products
penetrate deeper into the skin. PMD Clean PRO
Gold (£225) and PMD Clean PRO Silver (£179),
Give your skin the ultimate hydration treat
with the Ultimate Moisturising Honey
Overnight Mask. Enriched with propolis
extract, a natural antibacterial and antiinflammatory
ingredient that helps to
soothe stressed out skin, as well as natural
beeswax. This can be used in three different
ways, making it one of the hardest working
products in your kit. It can be used as an
overnight mask, as a wash-off mask, or a
thin later as a morning moisturiser.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound
found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a
rich history as a natural medicine going back thousands
of years. In the modern era, the therapeutic properties
of CBD are being rigorously tested by scientists and
doctors around the world. More than a simple health
fad, increasing evidence suggests CBD and other
cannabinoids may hold significant therapeutic value.
A safe and non-addictive substance, CBD is one of
more than a hundred phytocannabinoids, which are
unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust
therapeutic profile. Many people want the purported
health benefits of cannabis without the high.
Dr. Ed CBD oils are the highest quality CBD oils
available in the UK. All CBD oils are broad spectrum
with an additional terpene blend. All contain zero THC.
What can one ingredient actually do to help ease the
pressure on the collective mental health of a nation?
CBD works on a lot of levels in the body. It interacts
and balances out the endocannabinoid system as well
as the serotonin system, helping to reduce anxiety,
depression as well as aid those with disorders like
PTSD, OCD and SAD. Dr. Ed is a specialist purveyor
of cannabidiol products based in Manchester, England.
Formed in 2018, Dr. Ed was one of the first groups
to recognise the potential of consumer CBD and just
how many people could benefit from cannabidiol
and other cannabinoids. Dr. Ed continues to go from
strength to strength within the CBD community and
remains at the forefront of product development and
CBD applications. There are an awful lot of bogus
products on the market making wild health claims or
not containing the ingredients you expect. Dr. Ed only
develops products with science in mind. Their business
is based on logic and a strong understanding of the
facts surrounding cannabidiol.
Dr. Ed offers seven products, all available in different
strengths according to your needs. Each product is lab
tested and is vegan, cruelty free and THC free. We love
the Bath Salts, all aimed at combating different issues,
from low energy to stress. dr-ed.co.uk
Please talk to your doctor before trying any alternative
therapies to check for contra-indications.
Nicknamed, 'The Ferarri of Tweezers' by
Bobbi Brown and a recent favourite of Rosie
Huntington-Whiteley, they have become a
must-have beauty tool. Rubis made their
name crafting precision tweezers exclusively
for the Swiss watch industry. 25 years ago
they branched out into beauty tools using
the same factories and skilled craftsmen and
as a result they can't be matched for quality.
14 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
TONIQ On Demand
We caught up with personal trainer Arron Collins-Thomas to find out about his new
online fitness offering, expanded from his very successful gym TONIQ...
Your gym, with its fully-rounded approach to health and
lifestyle, has made national news for its incredible client
results – what will the app offer?
At TONIQ we recognise that good health is more than just
regular workouts, it encompasses taking care of every aspect
of your body. We have created a solution where everything from
nutrition, mindfulness, amazing workouts, yoga and more is
available with guidance from fantastic trainers and experts in
Not only this, but as part of TOD you have access to your own
coach, ensuring that you have someone you can speak to, to
keep you on track and accountable as well as supporting you
We have had some incredible results over the past few years at
TONIQ and we want to be able to bring those results to more
people. With the app we aim to give anyone, anywhere in the
world, a taste of the TONIQ-life.
As a TONIQ On Demand member you get to join the incredible
community online, have access to our on demand workouts as
well as live workouts, Q&As and educational talks. We have an
incredible coaching team with a huge array of skills to bring to
you including yoga, qigong, nutrition and mindfulness.
The main workouts are written based on what we are up to at
TONIQ in any given training block and a new phase of workouts
launches every 6 weeks on the app as well as regular bonus
content to keep the training varied and inspiring.
Can you get a good experience with online coaching?
Are you accountable and is it personalised?
With TOD you have a designated TONIQ coach who you speak
to on a one to one basis. When you first sign up with us you
will have a call to help you set up your accountability sheets,
help you curate your workout schedule and set you on the
right nutrition plan for you. Then every month you get another
call with your coach to help keep you on track and answer any
questions you may have. Accountability is key if you really want
to get results and that is one of the reasons why TONIQ has
been so successful.
Are the classes accessible no matter your fitness level?
Some of us are self-conscious about going to the gym or
nervous in COVID times.
No matter what your levels of fitness we can help you. Our
expert coach will advise what level to start at for you and
how hard to push yourself in the first consultation you have
with them. It will be based around your fitness and any health
concerns, so you can feel secure in the fact that you won’t be
over training or causing yourself any harm by taking part in our
For people who aren’t ready for the gym again yet or who are
self conscious TONIQ On Demand is the perfect choice. You get
personal trainer support and expert written workouts, all from
the comfort of your own home.
You also get to join a great online community who share their
experiences and help support each other to get the results they
TONIQ ON DEMAND
MORE THAN A WORKOUT
Join our community from anywhere, at anytime with
TONIQ on Demand, our app gives you access to:
Personalised plans developed with expert coaches.
Nutrition plans based on your needs and goals.
Monthly 121 check in calls with an expert coach.
Extensive library of classes including SWEAT, STRONGER,
BURN and CHILL.
Visit TONIQLIFE.COM to find out more
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 15
With more of us working from home or putting
off a move, we need to maximise every inch of
space in our homes. This issue, we look at a
real-life vault conversion which has given the
homeowner ample new living space and room
WORDS Katie Thomson
PHOTOGRAPHY Lydia Booth Photography
The side table is both practical and allows for cosy
candlelight. Table and vase, jysk.com; candle, Pecksniffs
Aromatherapy; Cushions, hauslife.co.uk; Tray, Homesense
16 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
f you’ve never ventured into the belly of a Georgian
building, the term ‘vault’ might be an unfamiliar one to
Iyou. During what was a hugely prolific building period,
Regency architects created many of their characteristic
town houses with an interconnected series of rooms below
ground level, with vaulted ceilings. All houses except the
poorest had basements containing a kitchen, scullery and
other stores such as a pantry and larder. More generally,
these allowed for the services of the household to operate
without needing to use the front door.
In the intervening years, many of these properties have
been converted into flats and remedial works have
been started on these vault spaces - so was the case
with this room. Before work commenced (with relevant
permissions), the vault was dark and the previous
tanking system had failed entirely, leaving blown
patches of plaster on the walls. The flooring was a thick
carpet laid over a concrete substrate, only adding to the
issues with damp.
Unlike some spaces, this room had the benefit of a
window, so for owners Dan and Kate, it made sense
to be able to make it more habitable as a ‘snug’ with
an option to accommodate guests. “The project was a
daunting one, but the damp issue was getting worse and
I knew we needed to take some action” explained Katie,
“we wanted to make the space both dry for storage and
somewhere we could actually use - but as you can see,
the shapes of the walls made sure it wasn’t a standard
project. The number one priority was getting it dry.”
The first steps were removing the failed tanking and
applying a new membrane. Where possible, Kate was
very conscious not to harm the fabric of the building “I
was adamant that I didn’t want wires channelled into the
walls or any harm done to the building itself, so together
with our builder we devised the panelling - the batons
are secured to the walls and hide the myriad of cables to
supply socket points and the LED up-lighting. The power
for these comes from the original power source already in
place in the room.”
Once tanked and rendered, the next big challenge for the
couple was the flooring. Even with all precautions taken,
this is an underground space and the flooring needed
to be able to withstand moisture but also be able to be
laid in a space with such an unusual shape “there is not
a single right angle in this room!” says Dan, “aside from
making it challenging to plaster, the flooring had to be
really easy to cut to size. We couldn’t go with laminate
“The project was a daunting one,
but the damp issue was getting
worse and I knew we needed to
take some action”
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 17
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ecause it doesn’t cope well with moisture, so
the more obvious choice were luxury vinyl planks.
We chose a product from the Colosseum range
at Lifestyle Floors (lifestyle-floors.co.uk - you can
find your local supplier on the website) which we
had installed through a local fitter - the 7” plank
width was perfect and the colour was exactly
what we needed.”
The colour of the flooring in a space like this is
crucial too, “if you were to stand looking straight
down the wall, you would see the floor undulates
back and forth, like a wobbly line! We couldn’t
have a dark coloured floor as this would highlight
this - we went for the finish Limed Oak and it is
perfect - it looks like real wood and gives us that
nice Scandi look we love. I can’t recommend
this flooring enough - whether your space is
straightforward or tricky! It looks spectacular, is
so cost effective and feels great underfoot. We
finished it with this beautiful Savannah rug from
Rug Love (ruglove.co.uk), which is the plushest,
loveliest rug we’ve ever had! The colours really tie
in well together and it’s handwoven.”
Another challenge presented by this project was
furnishing. Due to the huge curve and narrowness
of the staircase down to the room, the owners
knew most sofas and sofa beds would not fit
into the room. Thankfully the answer was found
with Snug Sofa (snugsofa.com). These ingenuous
sofas arrive in their constituent parts in three
“These ingenuous sofas
arrive in their constituent
parts in three boxes and
are then assembled in
under five minutes.”
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 19
Today, renovation can only being
with prior consent in the case of
historically significant buildings
and it is likely only granted if
previous works have been started -
it is important to check the details
with your local planning authority
before starting any works.
• Cushions, throw and floor
cushions from hauslife.co.uk
• Luxury bed linen set from
• Savannah Rug in Grey (160 x
230cm) £319, from ruglove.
• Prints and frames from
Lydia Booth Photography -
20 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
“We were just desperate for
some extra space with us
both working from home,
and this has given a new
lease of life to a space we
hadn’t been using.”
boxes and are then assembled in under five minutes. What’s more, Snug can usually
deliver within a week - gone are the days of waiting eight weeks for a sofa to arrive, only
to realise it won’t fit through the door. The other sofa options include modular elements,
helping your sofa grow with your family - and they come in a whole host of stain-resistant
(coffee, wine, small hand prints, paw prints) colours.
Owner Dan was also sceptical about ordering a sofa online - Snug Sofa have UK stores to
try out the products, but these were not in his locale. Though, he admits he needn’t have
worried “the sofa is amazingly comfortable - my expectations were low as it was a sofa
bed, but amazingly it’s even more comfy than my normal sofa upstairs. That, combined
with lightning fast delivery, made something I was dreading incredibly easy. Because of
lockdown, we haven’t had guests yet, but they’ll be able to sleep on a queen sized bed,
which is pretty impressive for a sofa bed! It was a good opportunity to inject some colour
into the room too!”
Did the couple have any regrets from the project? “Only that I wish we’d done it sooner” says
Kate. “Working on renovations this size are intimidating, but having a good plan of each step
and executing it are the key points - you do have to consider the unique challenges of your
own project and try to plan ahead to a degree. We were just desperate for some extra space
with us both working from home, and this has given a new lease of life to an area we hadn’t
been using. It feels like a natural extension of our home and I love all the products we’ve
used - so much so that we are thinking of changing up some rooms upstairs!”
www.solihullliving.co.uk | 21
We talk to one of the UK’s favourite doctors - Dr Hilary Jones
Dr Hilary Jones is one of best known TV
doctors and has been ITV’s Health Editor
on Good Morning Britain since 1989. Sally
Thomson had the opportunity to have a
discussion with him following his early start
on the programme.
Thank you very much for taking my call.
Dr Hilary, have you had a long day?
It’s been a fairly long day but I’m getting
used to that at the moment.
What time do you start in the mornings?
4 o’clock starts usually 5 days a week for
the last few months so, yeah it is what it is
and it’s a challenging story.
Most people know you from the breakfast
programme you are on, but a lot of people
don’t know why you actually chose to
become a doctor?
My dad was a doctor so I had an insight
into what was involved and I think I was
always a people person so I suppose in a
corny way I wanted to do something that
would make a difference. Whilst I had to
change from Art A levels to science which
was a struggle the clinical work was very
satisfying, so it was an easy decision.
Was there a particular field that you
wanted to specialise in?
No, I’ve always thought a specialist is
someone who knows more and more about
24 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
less and less until they know everything
about nothing. I wanted to be a jack of
all trades and have a broad spectrum of
knowledge and the challenge of general
practice is you never know what’s going to
come through the door.
How long ago did you enter it, when did
you become fully qualified?
1976 so 44 years ago.
Would you recommend a young person
goes into the profession?
Yes, it’s a fantastic career still. It has its
challenges and I think in the UK it’s not
particularly appreciated enough by the
doctors patients but I would say that its
challenging, interesting, satisfying and
nobody does it for the money but I think
in terms of job satisfaction and going to
bed at night thinking my goodness I’ve
think I’ve made a difference it is a fantastic
I guess it must be quite challenging at
times, the other side of it that is quite
difficult I should imagine.
Of course, they are long hours and you
have to impart bad news sometimes and
you deal with death and dying as well as
making people better.
Is that a major part of the syllabus? How
you handle those unpleasant and really
heart rendering times when you have to
give somebody bad news?
What you learn in training is fairly superficial
and it’s what you pick up through the
experience of practice that makes the
difference and you never stop learning in
How did you get into TV? There appears
to be a lot of doctors now on the box, but
you have been there for a little time, now
I was lucky enough to have gone to a
school with a very good drama society
and it was not unusual for us to perform in
front of an audience and I think that when I
was in general practice I realised we could
reach a lot more people rather than dealing
with one person in the surgery. Public
health messages were capable of reaching
hundreds of thousands of people in one hit
so I wrote to TV AM asking for a job, then I
got a letter back saying we like your ideas
come and meet us and that was in 1989.
I understand that you have been working
on topics regarding keeping well during
the wintertime and in light of the awful
year we have had in particular, what
advice would you like to give our
I think patience and perspective would
be two words that come to mind. I think
everyone is very impatient to get on with
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normal life, but we can’t, the pandemic is
not something that we can just ignore it has
very serious repercussions in all ways and
we have to keep this in perspective. I think
we have to be patient. We are in a society
that is used to having instant gratification
and if we want something, we want it now,
unfortunately we can’t do that. The National
Health Service is distracted by the worst
global pandemic for over 100 years with
very serious repercussions and we have to
be grateful for what we have, make some
adjustments, be patient and get through
this by helping each other out as much as
possible as well as looking after ourselves.
It is quite scary and most of us are on
tenterhooks with what’s going on and
naturally if you go back to April when
the weather was lovely and warm, but
now rain, cold snap, bit of wind and
the dark days it’s rather gloomy so is
this a concern with you in the medical
Of course, and people are feeling down
and tend to, get Seasonal Affective
Disorder in the Winter anyway with the dark
days and not much daylight “What is there
to look forward to?” people might say.
Mental Health Charities are being kept very
busy, much more so though than in the last
few years. It’s always been a challenge, but
I think a lot of people are feeling particularly
anxious even if they weren’t before or more
anxious if they were before and feeling
depressed, not sleeping very well. I think
we have to be able to manage we have
to be able to give people the support so
they can reach out to mental health apps,
counsellors, doctors and just talking to
friends and family about our concerns
as I think everybody has this degree of
apprehension at the moment but that’s
normal it’s a sort of protective mechanism
but if we can share our fears and concerns
that really helps.
It’s worrying on so many levels for
instance whether you are an employee
and people you have worked around for
years are being made redundant or the
business you are working in is at threat,
it’s going to make people very jittery
and it really brings it home and makes it
difficult for most of us and knowing how
to keep above it?
I think it’s choosing the things we can do
despite it being Winter, we can still exercise
as much as possible in daylight hours, we
can cheer ourselves up with a good book,
a good film or some uplifting music. We
can talk to the people that we trust and we
love, so there are many things that we can
still do, there are some things we can’t do
but there are still plenty that we can do and
we need to hang onto those and spend as
much time enjoying life as we possibly can.
What’s concerning, and I have heard
this from a lot of people is that they are
worried about Christmas, worried about
their families and the whole thing moving
forward is unsettling. Christmas time
is usually when we can see and spend
time with our elderly relatives, and you
would maybe notice any problems or if
26 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
something is developing that you could
I suppose it’s the time of the year that
families get together after a long busy
year so the thought of having to forego
that is distressing for a lot of people but
at the same time we don’t know where
we are going to be in a couple of months’
time. I think for me as a doctor health
is paramount and we need to protect
our elderly and people with pre-existing
conditions but there are ways of connecting
and communicating which are safer than
others. If we care for our parents, then we
are already caring for them however if we
are in different households and there’s any
risk of transmitting the virus then talk on
the phone or online. It may be that we just
have to wait a little longer and have what we
would normally have at Christmas a couple
of months later.
Do you have faith in a vaccine being
Yes I think it’s likely that amongst all the
hundreds of vaccines that are being worked
on at the moment that we will have several
that have a good protective effect it may be
that we have to use a combination or use
a combination several times a year. There
are some very clever people working on this
and we have created vaccines against all
sorts of diseases that we couldn’t master
before like meningococcal meningitis C and
A and respiratory in situ virus in children. We
are developing vaccines all the time which
are effective and safe, and I do have faith
that a vaccine would be the answer.
With the measles jab, people stopped
having it done and am I right in saying
that rose again and more children were
getting measles and it’s a very serious
illness in children?
Yes, before we had a measles vaccination
hundreds of children died of complications
of measles and of rubella and occasionally
mumps so MMR has saved thousands of
lives and whilst people were worried by a
study from one just man that was dismissed
the coverage for a vaccine is back up to
where it was before, thank goodness.
People have forgotten that a hundred years
ago 1 in 4 children died before their 5th
birthday of disease.
We mentioned the care for our elderly
relatives and I think it’s an opportunity
when we don’t see them from year to year
to see how they are getting on and we
might as the middle aged children of elderly
parents recognise changes in them that
have been gradual that nobody else has
noticed. We might find for example that
their cognitive function is a bit slower, that
their concentration is less, and they can’t
find the words that they were looking for.
They might be forgetful or hard of hearing. If
they can’t hear you on the phone or online,
then they are going to miss out on activity.
We know that loss of hearing is the leading
preventative cause of dementia. If we can
correct peoples hearing, then they are less
likely to develop dementia.
34% of people aren’t aware that there are
things that you can do to prevent or delay
the onset of Dementia and top of the list is
making sure that people can hear well. If
people have a mild hearing loss it doubles
their Dementia risk but if they have a severe
hearing impairment the risk is 5 times that of
someone that can hear normally. Checking
on the elderly checking their hearing making
sure their vision is good, making sure they
are not too isolated, eating & drinking
properly and keeping their mind busy
with crosswords, books that sort of thing
physical activity all of these things help.
These are things you can discuss on the
phone and you can encourage people to
get their hearing checked for example.
So if somebody does have bad hearing can
a specialist visit them at home or do, we
have to take them to a specialist?
There are NHS services but they are very
much under strain at the moment but there
are some good high street outlets such
as Hidden Hearing where you can go and
have a free hearing test. You will be given
advice about what level of hearing loss if
any you have and what could be done. It
may just be something simple such as wax
removal is needed but it could be a degree
of hearing loss caused by increasing age
that could be corrected with a hearing
aid. This can change people’s lives almost
overnight and can have a dramatic effect.
It reconnects them with the world, they can
understand conversation, share jokes, they
can socialise. It makes a huge difference
and that means no more isolation or
depression and happiness again.
Finally, everybody has different things
that they have missed since this has all
happened. What have you missed most
during this difficult year?
I’ve got 5 children, 3 grandchildren and an
elderly mother whom I look after. I would
love to invite my children round or go to
stay with them, but I haven’t been able to as
it’s just too risky, I don’t want to put them at
risk and vice versa. We speak on the phone
a lot and I miss them terribly, but I look
forward to the time when we can all meet
The interview took place before we
had the news that a vaccine had been
approved, and until fully implemented
everyone should continue following the
Government’s advice. Go to www.gov.uk
for more information.
Looking for a care home or a home
care package? We can help
We offer a free and independent service that
can help you find the right care home, live-in
or domiciliary care package for you.
CHS Healthcare is the UK’s leading specialist
in helping people to find the right care
and last year helped over 25,000 people to
arrange care for their needs.
We offer a dedicated adviser to support you
every step of the way to find the right care for
CHS was very helpful finding the right services
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Our Dad is happy and settled even after a few
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For more information please contact us on
0121 362 8845
Lady Katherine Housing & Care
Rated by the care Quality Commission as:
If you would like to pay us a visit or discuss our current
availability contact: Chris Mundell
01564 772415 / 772850
Company No. 7890553 Registered Charity 1146710
10 top foods for eating well as we get older
As we age it is vitally important to eat
certain foods which offer a huge benefit
to people as they age. The correct foods
help in maintaining their health and
memory if they’re consumed as part of
a healthy lifestyle.
Eating a certain type of food won’t help
you cure a disease or prevent dementia,
but a healthy diet packed with nutritious
foods does have its benefits. Specific
products can benefit those in elderly care
homes and help them maintain their health
and memory if they’re consumed as part
of a healthy lifestyle. Not sure which foods
should be on your or your loved one’s
grocery list? Here are the top 10 foods
that senior citizens should be eating.
Apples are wonderful fruits for those who
are struggling to maintain their blood sugar
levels or who have high cholesterol. The
soluble fibre they contain can help lower
cholesterol and slow the uptake of glucose.
Apples also provide potassium, antioxidants
and vitamin C.
Shellfish like crab, oysters and scallops
contain vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and
potassium, all of which are beneficial for
3. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and turnip
greens, as well as vegetables like broccoli,
have been linked to lower levels of cognitive
decline as people age.
Salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel, sardines
and other cold-water fish have high
omega-3 fatty acid levels, making them
good for the heart and brain. If seafood isn’t
your cup of tea, beans, nuts, flaxseeds and
healthy oils can be good substitutes.
Eggs are easy to incorporate into a
meal and full of protein. They also
contain choline, which is a B vitamin that
benefits memory and encourages stress
Asparagus is full of nutrients that benefit
seniors. Lycopene, for example, can protect
against prostate cancer. Vitamin A boosts
the immune system and eye health, while
fibre aids in cholesterol reduction and
contributes to heart health.
7. Berries and dark-skinned fruits
Berries and dark-skinned fruits have plenty
of antioxidants, which help fight damaging
free radicals in the body. Blueberries,
blackberries, strawberries, raspberries,
plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries are
all good options.
8. Dark chocolate
You will be pleased to know that your
chocolate habit might be good for you!
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and
may help prevent heart attacks, lower blood
pressure and decrease the risk of stroke.
If you drink coffee, you’re in luck. Drinking
coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
disease, heart and respiratory diseases,
stroke, diabetes and infections.
10. Greek yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is full of protein and
digestion-friendly probiotics, and it’s low
in sugar. It’s also got plenty of calcium for
ARE YOU GETTING
THE CARE YOU NEED?
Arranging and paying for care is more complicated than ever. Families often face these life changing
decisions at a time of crisis and just don’t know where to turn for independent, up-to-date advice.
We have a dedicated team who are committed to supporting and representing those who need care and
their carers to ensure they are aware of their rights and have access to services that could help.
We can help you with:
• Social Care Assessments and care fees
• Entitlement to free NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding
• Mental Capacity and Best Interests
• Court of Protection Applications
• Lasting Powers of Attorney
• Wills, Probate and Inheritance Tax Planning
• Challenging Deprivation of Liberty authorisations
• Legal Aid for community care
Head of the Health and
Community Care Team
Call us today for a free
Moore & Tibbits
a member of
01926 354704 www.qualitysolicitors.com/moore-tibbits
Moore & Tibbits Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, no. 563197.
30 | www.solihullliving.co.uk
The best home to be in is your own...
We believe clients should be able to stay at home for as long
as possible, surrounded by their memories and belongings.
• Each care package is tailored to suit each individual
• We ensure continuity and never send a stranger
• Our visits are never rushed and always a minimum of an hour
• All our CAREGiver’s are thoroughly trained and screened
• Ongoing nutritional support for clients to help with good health
Home Instead Senior Care Solihull
01564 330 395 | 01212 704 615 | www.homeinstead.co.uk/solihull
Each Home Instead Senior Care© franchise office is independently owned and operated. Copyright © Home Instead 2017.
32 | www.solihullliving.co.uk