Solihull Living Nov - Dec 2021


At last the Christmas editions are here! With festive fun, gifts and interiors, plus inspiration for decorating the guest bedroom and an interview with the Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen. Plus, our competition pages return, with staycations, laundry upgrades and festive hampers!

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A Note

from the EDITOR



A Culinary Journey through

Northern Ireland bedroom perfection

It’s certainly the challenge of

publishing that you always have your

head in the wrong season - each year,

Christmas begins for us in July, which

is about the same time as I start to

ask my friends and family what they’d

like as a present or if they’re free for a

meal in December - each year I’m met

with the same furrowed brows and

a ‘my god, I haven’t started thinking

about that yet!’

Forward planning aside, it is a rather

lovely, smug feeling to know that I’m

mostly sorted for the festivities - my

only issue being losing said gifts

between July and December 25th. If

your industry doesn’t quite prepare

you in the same way though, we’ve

got a bevy of festive features to help

get you prepped.

Our competition

page returns


Alongside Christmas features,

we’ve got a lovely interview with

The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda

Owen, plus some delicious recipes

from her new book.

If you’re receiving guests this year,

we’ve got some inspiration on

creating the perfect guest room

sanctuary. And if festive madness all

gets too much, you can always slip in

there yourself!

Yorkshire Shepherdess

Amanda Owen


Editor Katie Thomson


Publisher Sally Thomson

Pre-Press Manager Kate Norris

Contributors Rebecca Rose, Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs

Angela Cave and Pete Lawrence. Front cover courtesy of Amanda Owen

Key Account Manager Marion Cassidy


d/l 01225 984502

twitter: @LivingSolihull


Recipes from

Amanda’s new book


Paxcroft Farm, Hilperton

Trowbridge BA14 6JB

t 01225 984 550

visit our website

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 news has been all doom and

gloom of late, but I think it’s important

that, toy shortage/turkey drama/fuel

crisis or not, this year’s Christmas is

looking so much brighter than 2020’s,

and there’s so much to be thankful

for. This quote from the legendary Bob

Hope really captured that for me:

“My idea of Christmas, whether

old-fashioned or modern, is very

simple: loving others. Come to

think of it, why do we have to

wait for Christmas to do that?”

We are looking forward to seeing

you again in January - we are doing

away with the New Year, New You

nonsense and instead focusing

on what 2022 can offer you. Until

then, take care, have a very Merry

Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Katie | 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.

Looking for the perfect gift this Christmas? Delight your friends

and family with a selection box of delicious treats. One lucky

reader will win a ‘Decadent Christmas in a Box’ containing the



A Laundry

Bundle from


worth over


6kg Free Range Whole Turkey | 4.5kg Unsmoked Ham | 1kg

Side of Smoked Salmon | 1kg Organic Cheddar | 1kg Cropwell

Bishop Stilton | Christmas Pudding | Harrow & Hope Brut

Reserve (750ml bottle) | Classic Cranberry Sauce | Granny’s

Apple Chutney | Artisan Coronation Sauce | British Goose

Fat | Luxury Bread Sauce | Traditional Roast Gravy | Sage &

Onion Stuffing | Pigs In Blankets | 200g Smoked Chicken 200g

Smoked Duck


Christmas in

a box! Worth


Closes 10/12/2021

Competition keyword ‘TURKEY’

For most of us, laundry is a bit of a chore, so to lighten the load,

we’re giving away a luxury laundry bundle from Brabantia worth

over £500.

The prize includes Brabantia’s new Bo Laundry Bin Hi, which

will blend effortlessly into your decor with its sleek finish and

has two 45L compartments for easy separating your whites

from your colours. When spring comes around again, you

can then hang your washing out on Brabantia’s Rotary Dryer

Lift-o-Matic Advance which can easily be adjusted to your

ideal height. For those grey days, Brabantia’s 23m Drying Rack

Tower is the perfect inside solution. Finally, prep your fresh

laundry for the wardrobe with a Brabantia Ironing Board. ThisXL

model is designed for easy ironing of any outfit!

Closes 15/01/2022 - Competition keyword ‘BRABANTIA’


2 prints

each worth


Eliza Southwood practiced

as an architect for ten years

before deciding to take

up a career as an artist

and illustrator full-time in

2010. Eliza’s speciality is

silk screen printing, but she

also works in mixed media,

watercolour and acrylic. As a keen

cycling fan, she is known particularly for her

cycling themed artwork, but she also produces

work on a wide range of subjects such as

cityscapes, dogs, sports and people. We have

two prints worth £250 each to give away.

Adagio, the European leader in aparthotels is giving one lucky

winner a two-night stay for two at one of their amazing UK

properties in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh or Liverpool.

Adagio is the perfect option for that much needed getaway this

year, providing all the services of a hotel with the freedom of an

apartment. The apartments comprise of a kitchen, bedroom and

living area with flat screen smart TV - great for lounging after a

busy day of activities.


A City

Break with



T&Cs available online. Closes

15/01/2022 - Competition keyword


Closes 15/01/2022

Competition keyword ‘ELIZA’

4 |




Get yourself

Christmas party ready!

My name is Cora and I am a fully qualified

Aesthetic Practitioner and Non-Medical Prescriber.

I offer highly skilled treatments for both

men and women.

Anti-Wrinkle Injections - Lip and Dermal Fillers

Skin Rejuvenation - Slimming Treatments

Get your free consultation

or book an appointment on

07760 431833




Mallory Court

Country House

& Hotel

Leamington Spa,

CV33 9QB

The Health &

Vitality Clinic

5 Augusta Place,

Leamington Spa,

CV32 5EL


Present for

every child


Christmas show

at Arley Station


Complimentary sweet

treats for all passengers






Looking for a unique

Christmas gift?


01508 481000

Sponsor a

rescued donkey

or horse from

Redwings for a

whole year from

just £15!

Upgrade your gift!

We have a

gorgeous selection

of Adoption Star


available in our

online gift store


Fantastic Holidays

for the Festive Season!

Festive and New Year Getaways from £399pp



What Makes a Johnsons Festive Holiday?

Home pick up & drop off service

40 years of holiday experience

High-quality hotels

Award-winning itineraries

Seasonal dining

Festive entertainment

Be looked after throughout by our couriers

9 Excursions and entrance charges included

Low deposit - Book for only £75pp!


Request your FREE brochures

CALL 0845 421 2724

View all departures at

6 |

Kaloo Lapinoo Rabbit,



The gift

Unisex Mouse

Babygrow Set, £45,

Woodland Nesting

Creatures, £22,

Help children

learn to

code with

Blockly, Snap!,


Python and



Kittens, £15.99,

Artie Max, £110,

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond +

Shining Pearl (Nintendo Switch),


Nila Nepp Top,

£22 and Kieran


Joggers, £28, both


cotton and


colours and



GOTS Organic


Pyjamas, £26,



Electric Stove


Luigi Starter Course

Currently priced at



in a host

of fab



Le Creuset Evolution

Oval Deep Teal Casserole

Currently priced at £241,

Aranya Hmong

Cushion, £32,

Cuisinart Precision Stand Mixer,


Hand-Sliced Side of

Smoked Salmon, £54.95,

Truffle Guys

Experience Box,


Gusbourne Brut

Reserve 2017, £39,

8 |

Feel-good festive favourites featuring the full

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, their massed

choirs and a special celebrity guest presenter!

Thursday 16 December, 7.30pm

Friday 17 December, 7.30pm

Sunday 19 December, 3pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Book now at

Christmas @ CBSO

CBSO is a registered charity in England (No. 506276)

CBSO_ChristmasConcert_110x153.indd 2 05/10/2021 19:50 | 9

Tabitha Ribbed

Cashmere Socks, £32,

Candle Discovery Set,


ESPA Jewels of Nature Collection, £195

(Worth £365),




make up

Star Sheepskin

Slippers, £39,


Skyrocket Artistry

Eyeshadow Palette,


Alpaca Super

Soft Hot Water

Bottles, £45,


Great for

deeply cleansing

the skin and


stressed eyes

Cashmere Sweatshirt

in Emerald, £179,

Luxury Heavyweight

Merino Scarf, £90,

Mulo Slippers in Blue Corduroy,


UBUNA Refresh

Water Hydration

Cream, £160,

BeGlow Tia All-In-One

Sonic Skincare System,


Micro Merlin

Japanese Knife

Trio, £99,

Eco Sports Cloak

Long Sleeve, £119.95,

The Micro Explorer

Electric Scooter,

£349.95, reduced

from £449.95



for the

chef in

your life


18 mile range,

foldable and

ultra light

weight with

15mph top


Scrivner For

Men 5 Step

Skin Strategy

- £127,



Perfect if

they love


pursuits or


Andrée Jardin Sneaker Care Kit,


Off White Sneakers,


10 |





12 Guests, 6 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms, 2 Pets

4 full English breakfasts, 5 dramatic sunsets

3 short little saunters down to the pub

Then back for a nightcap in your steaming hot tub

One sensible trip to Botallack tin mine

(A less sensible lunch in Padstow at Rick Stein )

One seal-spotting boat trip out of St Ives

3 sea swims, 4 beach naps, 2 basking shark dives

Old friends reunited in the flesh, not online

Thanks to Original Cottages. Simply Divine!

Original Cottages.

The clue’s in the name.

Staying with us, or letting with us,

fall in love with local at



Spread kindness and happiness this

year - there is not one but two tea

bags in each box. You can share

your advent experience with

a special someone, gift it or

experiment with it.





A superb beauty advent calendar

featuring 24 full or deluxe-size

products from beauty brands

such as Foreo, Max Factor,

John Frieda, Elemis,

Neal’s Yard and L’Occitane

worth nearly £260.







Three delicious flavours of pork

scratching, paired with three

specially brewed beers - perfect

if you’re more on the

savoury side.





It’s back! The ultimate alcohol filled

calendar boasting 25 reds, whites,

rosé and bubbly...with a full-size

bottle for you to enjoy on Christmas

Day. Expect customer favourites

and best-selling wines from around

the world including exclusive and

limited-edition bottles.








Up your cooking game with a fabulous

new spice to try each day - spices,

herbs, salts and peppers in a mix of

sweet and savoury finishes.

Also available in milk, white and absolute black

100% dark chocolate



7 Christmas Crafts (including a juggling bear

bauble and snowman puppets), 4 Festive

Recipes, 5 STEAM Team Story Books, 8 Elf

Challenges and 1 adorable Merry Mischief

Elf plushie

14 |

Real Christmas Trees

Delivered direct to your door

We are a family run Christmas tree farm & have been

growing Christmas trees for over 40 years

Pre order your tree & delivery date from

1 st November

All our trees are grown here in the uk

& harvested to order.

We offer a Nationwide delivery

service direct from the grower.

All our trees

are cut to order,

packaged & shipped

direct from the Farm

Last year was a very busy harvest for us.

Please pre order if possible.

We can deliver up to the 23rd December

We also have a large

selection of Christmas tree

stands & lights in our

online store

Call the farm office on: 01455 299911



to save money

24 Nov – 8 Jan

From £15*

13 – 23 Dec From £10* 9 – 24 Dec

Kids from £14 *


*Ticket price includes a £1.50 booking fee. No fee applies if booking online.

Wooden Ice Lolly Plate, £18.99,



Decorations, from left to right:

Glass Glitter Bauble, £7,; Ice Cream Four Decroation Set,

£15.50,; Felt Dalmation, £9,; Glass

Toucan, £6 and Glass Bunny Tail Grass Filled Bauble £7,

Lights and LED Candles


Wooden Stag Head

Bunting, £5.99,

Extra Large Zinc Lined Rattan Planter, £85

Open Log Carrier Basket, £38

Mixed Eucalyptus Berry Wreath, £85


Sausage Dog Placecard, £3.99 for six,;

Christmas Dogs Nibbles Bowl, £13, | 19

Amanda Owen

The yorkshire Shepherdess

Tells us about her life in the Dales

Known to millions as The Yorkshire

Shepherdess, Amanda Owen is the author

of five best-selling books about her life

on Ravenseat ,one of the most remote

farms in the country, where she lives with

her husband Clive and nine children. She

currently stars in Channel 5’s popular TV

show Our Yorkshire Farm and her latest

book is Celebrating the Seasons includes

stories, recipes and photos from the farm

and is out now.

I understand that you had had no

previous links to farming, may I ask

how you became so involved in this line

of work?

I grew up in Huddersfield and no one in

my family is from a farming background.

I loved the James Herriot books when I

was a child, and watched the TV series.

Because of James Herriot I loved the idea

of being a vet, probably like most other

children of that era, but was told at school

that I was not academic enough to make

the grades. One day in the school library

I picked up a book called Hill Shepherd.

It was a photographic documentary of

hill farming in Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Reading that book was an epiphany for

me, the pictures of the hill shepherds on

the moors with the sheep made me realise

it was where I wanted to be. It ticked the

box of wanting to work with animals in

the countryside and importantly it also

ticked the rebellion box as it was so the

opposite of my townie life up until then.

Years later after I had married my husband

Clive, we realised that there was actually a

photograph of him in Hill Shepherd! So it’s

a very important book to me.

How did you learn your crafts? One of

the many things I learnt from your book

was how important it is to get the grass

in - in good time.

I started out as a farm hand, and then

moved on to being a contract shepherd,

working on different farms all over the

country. But really, I learnt everything as I

went along.

Most of my crafts came through natural

progression, learning to ride a horse

by riding it, learning to clip a sheep by

clipping my first one, learning to work a

dog, by taking the dog out with me for the

first time.

You can only learn what to do by doing it,

you have to get practical on the ground

experience. Nothing comes close to

learning how to be a shepherd, other than

actually doing the work of a shepherd and

it’s not just about learning about sheep,

it’s about learning about the land.

With the grass it starts with the sheep.

You’ve got to have your sheep in good

order - we grow hardy stock through the

winter, so it’s absolutely vital that you grow

your crop well, so they have food to eat

throughout the winter.

You enjoy sheep shearing - were you

nervous when you cut your first fleece?

Of course, but you know, you have to be

nervous in order to be any good at what

you’re doing. If you’re lambing sheep you

are dealing with nature first hand, but

there is no room for you to have time to

be nervous as you have to get on with the

job. It’s you alone in that moment and it’s

not optional to be nervous. That pressure

makes you work fast.

The first time I clipped, I would clip the

sheep while the professional shearers

were having their dinner, and they

would encourage me or discourage me

depending on what I was doing, and then

the more you do it you get faster. You

keep practicing and eventually you will

get there.

How do you spread yourself between

9 children - it must quite a noisy

household at times?

It is a noisy household. But we’re very

privileged to live where we do which | 21

22 |

means that there’s plenty of room for

everybody to get some space outside. I

enjoy the busyness and noise of family

life in the house. But I can get away from

it by walking out my front door. Plenty

of people can’t as they leave their front

door and if they live in a city, it’s still loud

and busy when they get out. We’re lucky

here to have the wide open spaces and

the kids spend a lot of time outdoors.

We’re working farm and that means that

everyone mucks in - no matter what

the age, it could be collecting hen’s

eggs, feeding the horses, or helping find

uniforms for everyone, also cooking. Real

dough is just as good as playdough and

the kids love learning to cook. The only

time when we all come together is tea time

at the farm, when we all come together to

eat, it’s my favourite time of day, when I

get to hear what everyone’s been up to on

the farm and school.

Your children must have a wonderful

time and appear to have no fears with

any of the animals. Do they each have a

special one?

I suppose they do. Quite a lot of the girls

loves the horses. Violet loves the cows,

she was excited recently that our pet cow,

Ciara has now come in from the fields.

Violet hand reared Ciara from a calf, so

she thinks she belongs inside the house

and doesn’t like the other cows. Miles is

very taken with the hens and his flock of

30 sheep. Through the winter and up to

lambing time Miles looks after his flock of

sheep after school. Sidney has his own

dog, Nell a sheep dog and she runs for

him, so that’s quite a big thing for a young

lad to be able to work his own sheep dog.

It’s a level up from being a pet. The terriers

are wonderful they are real characters,

they are source of frustration as they

will have fights with each other, or they

wander off from the farm to the local pub

quite a few miles away! The terriers, are

Chalky and Sprout, sadly we lost Pippin at

the beginning of lock down. Tony the pony

(pictured above right) is loved by Annas,

Clemmie and Nancy, they look after him,

feed him, brush him and ride him. They

also love the bigger horses Josie and

Princess. Princess is very good with the

kids and often two of them ride her around

the fields. They also like to take the horses

down to the river and give them a bath

and wash and comb their tails.

Will any of them follow in your


Yeah, I think so, at the moment Miles and

Sidney are very keen on farming and Edith

is a good shepherdess. That said I never

place any expectation on any of them

to follow me into being a farmer and a

shepherd. You don’t know where life will

take you. I’m not sitting here going: “I want

you to be a shepherd”, because life goes

through stages, and what you want to do

changes, so I’d rather they make their own

choices, they can do whatever they want

to do. It’s a difficult thing to ask a child

what they want to do with the rest of their

life. They’ll figure it out as they go along.

What is your favourite season and why?

Summer. But really I mean June. June is

my favourite month, because all the sheep

have had lambs and been turned back

out onto the moor and it’s before hay time

and clipping, so there’s a lull and a pause

in the farm work, and at the same time

everything comes to life - the flowers, the

birds on the moor. In June, the Curlews

are back, as are the Lapwings, Golden

Plover, Black Grouse. All you can hear

is birds, wherever you’re walking. There

are woodcock and snipe too - they are

all ground nesting birds up here on the

moor, so you get to see their nests as

well - and it’s just beautiful. The flowers

you see in June are marsh marigolds,

globe flowers, all the hay meadow

flowers, rare orchids - it’s really pretty.

What made you decide to write this

book? It is a delightful read and the

recipes are a treat….

Celebrating the Seasons, came about

because I wanted to answer some of the

most frequently ask questions, how do

you cater for such a big family? Tell us

about the practicalities? What do you

cook? It was really difficult selecting

recipes for the book. I wanted to include

forgiving recipes. Recipes that it was

totally fine to get distracted in the middle

of and would still turn out good. Recipes

that were achievable with the most

basic of ingredients, simple feel good

food, that was nutritionally good too. My

absolute favourite is the Tagine recipe,

it’s a people pleaser, for me its so easy

and the smell always brings everyone

to the kitchen - which is helpful! Every

time I cook it it’s different, sometimes

chick peas, sometimes wild rice, some

times couscous - it always comes out

slightly different each time. In addition

to the recipes, people have told me they

loved my photos and images of the farm

that I post on twitter and would always

suggest I do a photograph book. If you

go back to basics it was a photography

book - Hill Shepherd - that inspired me

to become a shepherd. So it’s nice to

go full circle. I know how inspiring a

photography book can be - how it can

really steer you and how a picture can

tell a thousand words. I really hope that

when people buy the book, that they

look at the pictures over and over again

and still find something new in them, as I

have with Hill Shepherd.

What would you like to tell our readers

about your life?

I want people to know that Celebrating

the Seasons is a book about going your

own way. It’s not a blueprint for how you

should live your life, it simply says this

is what we do as a family this is how we

do it, feel free to follow the recipes, or

do them your own way. I want people

to not let themselves to be stereotyped,

to know that all things are achievable if

you really want to do it. So many people

said you won’t have time to write a book,

you won’t achieve that. But I believe you

can do anything you just have to start

doing it. If you want to write a book,

start writing. I got an E in GCSE English,

and this is my fifth book. Anything is



the Seasons with The Yorkshire

Shepherdess by Amanda Owen by Pan

Macmillan, £20. | 23

Dinner is served

Tasty recipes from Amanda Owen

Wild Mushroom Soup with

Wood Sorrel & Hazelnut Pesto

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 35 minutes

Serves 4

2 tbsp Yorkshire rapeseed oil, plus extra for


1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, crushed or grated

450g wild mushrooms, such as yellow

chanterelle, roughly chopped

50ml Madeira or sweet sherry

850ml hot vegetable stock

3 sprigs fresh thyme

200ml double cream

1 tsp mushroom powder

Salt and black pepper


25g chopped toasted hazelnuts

1 small bunch wood sorrel

2 tbsp olive oil

10g Parmesan


Handful of wild mushrooms

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add

the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5

minutes, until softened but not coloured.

Next, add the mushrooms and fry on a

24 |

medium heat for 8 minutes, until they are


Pour the Madeira over the mushrooms and

cook on a high heat for about a minute until

the alcohol evaporates.

Lower the heat and pour in the hot stock,

then add the sprigs of thyme. Bring to the

boil then cover and simmer gently for 20


Remove the pan from the heat, blitz with

a hand blender or in a liquidizer until the

soup is smooth. Return the soup to a clean

pan, stir in the cream and sprinkle over the

mushroom powder, then season the soup

and gently reheat over a low heat.

Meanwhile, place the pesto ingredients into

a small food processor and blitz for a few

seconds until combined. Add extra oil if the

pesto is a little thick and season to taste.

For the mushroom garnish, drizzle some

oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the

remaining mushrooms for a couple of

minutes until golden.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls,

scatter over the whole fried mushrooms,

and top with a spoonful of pesto.


Try serving with homemade spelt bread.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine with

Jewelled Couscous

Prep time 15 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil

600g lamb shoulder, diced

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tbsp hot smoked paprika

40g tomato purée

400g can cherry tomatoes

1 cinnamon stick

50g dried apricots, chopped

2 large pieces orange peel

285ml lamb stock

1 small bunch coriander, chopped

Jewelled couscous

200g couscous

200ml hot vegetable stock

1 red onion, chopped

100g pomegranate seeds

1 small bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped

1 small bunch coriander, chopped

3 spring onions

20g almonds, toasted

Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas 4.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large

heatproof casserole dish, then add the

lamb and sear and brown on all sides for

about 5 minutes. Remove the lamb from

the casserole dish with a slotted spoon and

set aside.

Return the casserole dish to the heat and

add the remaining oil. When hot, add the

onion and fry gently for approximately 8

minutes until golden. Add the garlic and fry

for a further minute.

Sprinkle over the ground spices and stir

in the tomato purée then fry for a further

minute. Return the meat and any juices

to the pan with the remaining Tagine

ingredients (except the fresh coriander),

bring to the boil then cover with a lid and

transfer to the middle shelf of the oven.

Cook for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, while the Tagine cooks, put the

couscous into a bowl and pour over the

hot vegetable stock. Cover the bowl tightly

with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes

until the couscous has absorbed the liquid.

Season the couscous, then stir through

the remaining ingredients, saving a few

almonds and herbs to garnish.

To serve the Tagine, remove the cinnamon

stick and check seasoning, then sprinkle

over the chopped coriander. Serve in warm

bowls with the jewelled couscous.


This recipe can also be cooked slowly in a

Tagine over a barbecue.

Our Christmas plans

are in place and we

can't wait to share this

Christmas with you.

Whether you're dining in a large group,

having a work party, or gathering with

family and friends to make up for lost

time, our Bistrots will be ready to

welcome you. We have a choice of group

menus available from Thursday 25th

November until 30th December where

you can come and enjoy our…

Festive Menu Pierre

3 courses £19.95

Festive Menu Prestige

3 courses £25.95

Our all-day menu will also be available

in December and includes Bistrot classics

as well as classic Christmas dishes

(yes that includes Turkey with all the

trimmings and Christmas pudding!).

We're here to bring a bit of Bistrot magic

to your festive plans so take a look at our

menus and book your Christmas.

Book now

Mulberry Walk, 2 Mere Green Road,

Sutton Coldfield B75 5BPN

And time for pudding...

More tasty recipes from Amanda Owen

Rhubarb & Custard Crumble Cake

Prep time 15 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 4-6


250g Yorkshire rhubarb, cut into 2cm


50g caster sugar


50g plain flour

25g butter, cut into cubes

40g chopped mixed nuts

25g demerara sugar


170g butter, softened, plus extra for


85g caster sugar

85g soft brown sugar

3 medium eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

170g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

30g custard powder

Icing sugar to dust

Custard to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas

Grease and line a 21cm round spring-form

cake tin.

Put the rhubarb into a saucepan and

sprinkle over the caster sugar. Heat very

gently until the sugar dissolves into a syrup.

Simmer for 6–8 minutes until the rhubarb

just begins to soften. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile make the crumble. Place the

flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the

butter with your fingertips until it resembles

breadcrumbs, then stir in the chopped nuts

and sugar.

Next make the cake. Beat the butter, caster

sugar and soft brown sugar in a bowl using

an electric mixer for 2–3 minutes, until light

and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract

with 2 tablespoons of the flour, beat for

a minute until combined, then fold in the

remaining flour, baking powder and custard


Drain any excess juices from the rhubarb

and discard the syrup, then gently fold the

cooled rhubarb through the cake mixture.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared tin

and gently smooth the top with a spatula.

Sprinkle the crumble over the cake and

press down lightly with the back of a spoon,

then bake on the middle shelf of the oven

for 40 minutes, until the cake is golden, firm

to touch, and when a skewer is inserted it

comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the

cake tin, then transfer to a plate.

Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving

warm with custard.


Also delicious served with ice cream or

single cream.

Hedgerow Nutty Crumble

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 4

Fruit filling

40g butter

40g golden caster sugar

2 Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced

200g Bramley apples, peeled and sliced

300g foraged berries or any mixed berries,

such as blackberries and wild raspberries

Crumble topping

125g plain flour

85g unsalted butter, diced

85g demerara sugar

50g rolled oats

30g chopped toasted hazelnuts

Custard or ice cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

For the fruit filling, melt the butter in a

pan, add the sugar and apples and gently

simmer for 5 minutes. Add the berries and

simmer for 2 minutes, then transfer to a

23cm round oven-proof dish.

Meanwhile prepare the crumble topping.

Put the flour into a mixing bowl and rub

in the butter with your fingertips, until the

mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir

in the sugar, oats and hazelnuts.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the

fruit, then place the dish on the middle

shelf of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes,

until the crumb is golden and fruit


Allow to cool slightly before serving with

custard or ice cream.


Try using other seasonal fruits such as

damsons or gooseberries. | 27

SharE le


de Noël

Available 23rd November – 24th December

Enjoy an elegant 3 course menu, packed full

of French-inspired festive flavour.


Tis’ the Season! Scan to book now.

or visit:





Situated in a village just outside Solihull, The Malt

Shovel at Barston is an independant country pub where

a warm welcome is always assured. The whole team

pride themselves on delivering great food & service.

Our imaginative modern British cuisine makes the best

of freshly prepared seasonal ingredients, renowned

for our daily fish specials, enviable range of wines and

our legendary Sunday Lunch. Having two separate

dining areas, a charming bar with a friendly & relaxed

atmosphere, our stylish converted barn can also be

booked by request for parties, small weddings or any

special occasion.


Monday to Saturday from 25 th November to 24 th December

Parties of 12+will be required to dine from the festive menu.


Soup of the day (GFO V)

rustic bread

Duck rillette

balsamic onions, cornichons,

toasted focaccia

Jack fruit, cauliflower & potato

spring rolls

tamarind chutney (VE V DF)

Smoked haddock fishcake

creamed leeks, poached egg


Traditional Christmas pudding

brandy custard & red currants

Apple, pear & ginger crumble

Caramelita ice-cream

Cranberry & Amaretto crème

brulèe (V GFO)

spiced shortbread

Orange & lemon tart (V)

confit peel, vanilla mascarpone


Slow cooked blade of beef (GF)

black truffle mash, bacon, pearl

onions, button mushroom in

bourguignon gravy

Chicken Supreme

duck-fat roast potatoes, pigs in

blankets, sprouts, pork sage &

chestnut stuffing, chicken jus

Fillets of seabass (GF)

sauté potatoes, beetroot, green

beans, cherry tomatoes & crayfish,

dill crème fraiche

Harissa sweet potato (VE V)

chickpea & pomegranate tagine,

lemon & coriander cous cous

All served with winter greens


2 COURSES = £26

3 COURSES = £32


3 COURSES = £32

Please speak to a member of

staff before ordering if you have

any allergies or intolerance

VE/V = Vegan/Vegetarian dish

VO/VEO = Vegan/Vegetarian

dish optional

GF = gluten free dish

GFO = gluten free optional

T 01675 443 223







The Malt Shovel at

Barston, Barston Lane,

Barston, Solihull, B92 0JP

gifts & interiors

Christmas Collection

Thank you for your continued custom......

We would like to invite you and your

friends to celebrate



Please join us and 30 of our suppliers

for a taster day in our Marquee

Saturday 3rd October 10am-4pm

the maize maze , trains and sandpit will all be open

Lots of great gift ideas from stocking fillers

to something for that special someone.

Cards • Stationery • Jewellery & Accessories • Toiletries

Toys & Baby • Kitchenware & Furnishings • Clothing • Men’s Gifts

Dunnington Heath Farm • Alcester • B49 5PD

Tel: Dunnington 01789 772771 Heath Farm •

• • Alcester • B49 • B49 5PD 5PD

Dunnington Tel: 01789 Heath 772771 Farm • •

Alcester • B49 5PD

Dunnington Heath Farm • Alcester • B49 5PD

Tel: 01789 772771 •

Hillers Strawberries A5 Ad.indd 1 08/06/2016 19:41

Tel: 01789 490991 • Email: •

Hillers Strawberries A5 Ad.indd 1 08/06/2016 19:41

Hillers_DL_Alt_210x99mm.indd 11 08/09/2015 08:19 08:19

Hillers Taster Day Oct 17.indd 1 06/09/2017 12:44






Ultimately you have to work with what

you’ve got - in the last 18 months,

many of us have seen our guest rooms

overhauled into home offices. If you’ve

ditched the bed don’t worry - how about

adding an attractive sofa bed that you

can actually use the rest of the time as a

break out area from your desk.



The more things you can put in the room

to make their stay easier, without having

to ask you for everything, the more

relaxed everyone will feel. A mirror is

important, as are fresh towels, tissues,

and perhaps even a hair dryer. A bedside

carafe and some glasses means they can

help themselves to water too.




As you might have never

slept in this space, you

might not know how

light behaves or how

effective the current

window treatments are for

blocking out light. For a

really luxurious look, pair

blackout blinds or shutters

with thick, decorative

drapery. Shutters give a lovely secure feel

to a space and really finish the room.



The same goes for the mattress as the

window treatments - spend a night in the

room and see if the bed is up to scratch.



Multi-level lighting is key for making a

space feel cosy - make sure there are

two bedside lamps and then another

light source in the space, such as a

standing lamp in the corner or a lamp on

a dressing table



Good bed linen really is worth the money

- and it tends to wash better too. Provide

a good quality duvet and pillows, linens

and some additional blankets if your

guests feel the cold.




We all know it’s a bit stressful trying to

live out of a suitcase - allowing for some

hanging space and a few drawers to

unpack into, can really help guests keep

on top of things whilst they’re with you.



Kit the room out with either fresh flowers,

a reed diffuser, or room sprays. Pillow

spray to help deep sleep is also a lovely

touch to make the space feel homely - we

love Olverum’s new Restful Pillow Sleep

Mist, £25,



If your guests were hoping for hotel

standards, then that’s where they should

have stayed. Just aim to make sure

the space is clean, comfortable and

functional, then relax - there’s enough to

be worrying about in the festive season

without adding high expectations on top

of that.

If you’re looking for a total decorative

overhaul, check out our moodboards! | 31

D A Campbell


Offering a complete,

personal interior design

service to suit you

Photographs courtesy of Jane Churchill

D A Campbell offers a complete service from

measuring to fing, ensuring the highest

standard from start to finish.

All curtains, blinds and so furnishings are

handmade by experts in our Herefordshire

workroom. We employ tradional techniques

and me honoured crasmanship to

achieve a superb finish.

Phone to make an appointment

for a home visit or visit the showroom.

37 The Tything Worcester WR1 1JL

Call 01905 24313

Bromley Chest, £399,

Black Branches Print, from £6.99,

Jute Effect Daylight Roller

Blind, from £22, John Lewis

Bedroom by Pure Salt Interiors



Off-White Linen Bed Set.


Limestone Wood Paint, £18


Dar Lighting

NUS422, from £82,

Furn Contra Olive Cushion,


London Bench, from £499,

Mala Pile Rug,

200x290cm, £299,

Reims, Iron/Metal Four Poster Bed Frame, from


Black Bud Vase, £29,

Achieve this look by

layering different

neutral textures, and

adding structural

touches of black and a

few strong accent colours

Juna Striped

Cushion, £34, | 33

Pembridge Pendant

Size 3, £1319,



Dulux Paint in ‘Paper Chain’

Natural Ceramic Table Lamp,


Kilby Bedside

Table, £229,

Design by Studio McGee

Fingal 3 Seat

Sofa, £1210,

Navy Seigaiha Wave Cushions £32 and Kayla Woven Cushion £31, hauslife., Weeping Palm Tree Velvet Cushion Cover, £32.95,

Malibu Print, from £6.99,

Tulana Double Bed,


Elowen Throw,


34 |

Christmas with Porsche.

Gifts from Porsche Driver’s Selection.

Share your love for Porsche this Christmas with the perfect

gifts from Porsche Driver’s Selection. Contact Porsche

Centre Solihull for more details.

Porsche Centre Solihull

Highlands Road


West Midlands, B90 4GT

0121 745 9911

Wooden Ice Lolly Plate, £18.99,



Decorations, from left to right:

Glass Glitter Bauble, £7,; Ice Cream Four Decroation Set,

£15.50,; Felt Dalmation, £9,; Glass

Toucan, £6 and Glass Bunny Tail Grass Filled Bauble £7,

Lights and LED Candles


Wooden Stag Head

Bunting, £5.99,

Extra Large Zinc Lined Rattan Planter, £85

Open Log Carrier Basket, £38

Mixed Eucalyptus Berry Wreath, £85


Sausage Dog Placecard, £3.99 for six,;

Christmas Dogs Nibbles Bowl, £13,

36 |

putting our pets first

We may feel as if we have had ‘information

overload’ when it comes to germ

prevention and protection, but sometimes

a product comes along that demands our

attention - enter Leucillin. This is a skin

health product for pets that is proving to

be a product which all of us may well be

putting in our first aid chests very soon.

We spoke to Georgina Bashforth (pictured

right) about the product and its exciting


First of all, in layman’s terms – what is


Leucillin is a clever antiseptic applied to

the skin topically to protect against harmful

germs. Leucillin is a revolutionary fresh new

take on what an antiseptic is and can be

capable of.

Leucillin mimics the body’s own immune

system, providing you a powerful solution

which delivers the ultimate shield in

topical skin protection against harmful

pathogens. Leucillin’s unique formulation

does not contain any alcohol, steroids or

antibiotics, it is the natural choice for safe

skin sanitising.

Our pets our so important to us, how

is Leucillin used and what specific

applications is it effective for?

Leucillin has a great reputation for safety

and efficacy, supported by pet healthcare,

veterinary and grooming industries,

this year. It has been awarded human

approvals and begun an exciting new

chapter in healthcare.

Furthermore it can be safely applied in

any topical application where the skin,

ears and eyes need care, whether broken,

red, sore, inflamed, cuts, stings, bites

or grazes, Leucillin’s powerful antiseptic

properties eradicate germs on contact

creating the perfect environment for rapid


For children, as well as our pets, it’s

“Ouch Free” formula is kind, it has been

developed to match the natural pH of skin

so no more wincing on that grazed knee.

It seems to be a very gentle solution

to a number of particularly stubborn

problems - can it be used long-term?

Leucillin achieves an unbeatable

99.99999% reduction in bacteria on

contact, but how does that compare with

the 99.99% which we think is good? Well;

it’s a massive 10’000 times better!

Fast effective pathogen reduction means

no resistance therefore long-term usage is

always effective and no harmful ingredients

means Leucillin is always safe!

And finally, how else can it be used and

what are your hopes for the product

going forward?

Our goal is to help alleviate the dependence

on antibiotics and pharmaceutical

intervention in the area of germ protection,

for a more natural, safe, non-invasive and

most importantly effective alternative.

During the pandemic Leucillin has been

proven effective against all coronaviruses

including SARS-CoV-2 topically and

has been used by animal care industries

including Police Dog Handler units for

reducing risk.

We have also recently teamed up with The

Humanimal Trust founded by Professor

Noel Fitzpatrick - aka The Supervet, we’re

excited to be supporting mental health and

raising money for ONE Medicine, so that

humans and animals can benefit equally

from all medical progress.



To share a stress-free and safe Christmas with your dog,

The Kennel Club has rounded up some tips on how to keep

them comfortable and safe during the festive season...

A DOG’S DINNER - Each Christmas there are thousands of cases of

dogs needing veterinary treatment after stealthily stealing chocolate

and other unsuitable festive treats. With so much going on during

Christmas so try and keep treats out of paw’s reach.

One of the most hazardous Christmas treats is chocolate, which

is highly toxic for dogs. It is important to keep any chocolate

treats, including tree decorations, out of your dog’s reach to avoid

poisoning, and ask your visitors to do the same.

Christmas dinner also involves a lot of foods which can be

dangerous for a dog, either through being toxic, too salty or too

fatty. Owners should avoid feeding dogs turkey, goose or chicken as

bones can easily splinter causing an obstruction and possibly even

piercing your dog’s tummy.

Sweet treats like mince pies and Christmas pudding all contain dried

fruits including raisins, currants or sultanas which are toxic to dogs.

Other dangerous Christmas treats that should stay in a cupboard

and away from your pet include macadamia nuts, blue cheese,

alcohol, bones, fatty foods and mouldy foods.

FESTIVE FUN - Christmas festivities can be overwhelming for dogs,

from excited and noisy children to crackers banging, so avoid forcing

festive fun by making sure their routine isn’t disrupted. Take them out

on their usual walks and keep their dinner at the same time too. To

help them feel secure, ensure they have their usual space and bed

where they can retreat if they want to.

When visiting family and friends over Christmas, or fitting in some

Christmas shopping, make sure you don’t leave your four-legged

friend alone for more than four hours.

DANGEROUS DECORATIONS - Christmas decorations and

presents are often just as intriguing and exciting for dogs as they are

for humans. However, some seasonal decorative plans including

holly, mistletoe, ivy and poinsettia, can also be dangerous. When

decorating your house, make sure these plants are out of your dog’s


When choosing your tree, consider an artificial one as they don’t

drop needles and are likely to be less harmful to pets. It can also be a

good idea to leave the tree up undecorated for few days, giving your

dog a chance to get used to it being there.

Avoid hanging any chocolate, sweet or salt-dough decorations on

the tree and keep the bottom branches bare of lights, tinsel and


If you think your dog

may have eaten,

touched or inhaled

something that

they shouldn’t,

speak to your vet

straight away.

There is further advice

on how to have a carefree canine

Christmas on The Kennel Club



38 |

Tough on all Pathogens


Yet skin pH Neutral, Gentle to Skin

Reasons to




for all


Proudly Supporting

because Leucillin is alcohol free! It’s

gentle HSE approved formula

matches our natural pH meaning kind

to skin and safe for all.

At home or away, Leucillin is a

effective essential for all skin

concerns, it is soothing and calming

to; Red, Sore, Itchy skin, Minor Cuts

and Grazes, Bites, Stings and Burns.

suitable for all ages and skin types including

highly sensitive, ears and eyes. Leucillin is

your germ protection, antiseptic care and

daily cleanser.

300x more effective than most sanitisers YET Leucillin

is passed by the Organic Soil Association, has recyclable packaging, is cruelty free and vegan


Available in stores and online

For promotional 500ml product offer please visit:


For People AND our Pets, Leucillin is a

clever, reliable and affordable solution for

cleansing and sanitising skin safely including

your face! Leucillin removes germs without

drying skin, so however species diverse your

family unit is, Leucillin has you covered.

Shop Gifts And Gift Lifesaving Missions

To Midlands Air Ambulance Charity

It’s time to think about your Christmas shopping, and where better to start than Midlands Air

Ambulance Charity’s online shop, to make lifesaving missions possible, this Christmas. The

charity expanded its range last year and has now added more items to its Christmas stocklist.

Emma Gray, chief operating officer for Midlands Air Ambulance

Charity, says: “Last year, festive shoppers helped raise in excess of

£55,000 for our pre-hospital emergency service by buying through our

website. From this amount, 46 of our vitally important missions were

funded – 13 air missions and 33 in our two critical care cars.

“We hope that shoppers show their support of our lifesaving charity

this Christmas and help fund future missions across the Midlands and


All products in the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s extended festive

range for 2021 can be found at

The new products include:

• Christmas cards

• Virtual Christmas cards

• Mini Medics – mini models in a familiar style based on some of

the charity’s real-life critical care crew.

• Bag for A Life – A lifesaving shopper bag to keep all your

purchases in.

• Commemorative Air30 Cufflinks and Lapel pins – Midlands

heritage jewellers, Deakin & Francis, have crafted just 100 of

each, an ideal gift for collectors.

• One Year’s Lifesaving Lottery Membership – The opportunity to

win £1,000, every week for a year. (Purchasers and recipients

must both be aged 16 or over.)

• Cross Stitch Pattern of the aircraft and crew members

• Crowd Racing Membership – The opportunity to own shares in

a racehorse for whole year – with a discounted price and £30


donation direct to the charity.

• Remember Your Star by lighting the

sky, leaving a tribute and making a

donation in memory a loved one.

• Commemorative Air30 30th Anniversary

Poetry anthology – teaming up with The Word Association,

a book of creative writing and poetry has been produced to

provide a reflection of the charity’s rich 30-year history. (Funded

via a National Lottery project grant from Arts Council England.)

• Commemorative diary and pen

• Commemorative calendar and pen

• New Christmas star bauble

• New T-shirt design

• Teddy bear with MAAC hoodie

• Kids’ Crew Membership – the fun pack includes a welcome

letter, official certificate, invitations to meet the aircrew and to

next year’s Young Heroes Christmas Party, plus, a selection of

charity merchandise. (Suitable for ages five to 11).

You can also get involved in aiding the charity’s Christmas missions

by texting: ‘MISSIONXMAS’ as one word, followed by the amount

of your choice to 70085 to donate to the lifesaving service and help

make future missions possible. An example is MISSIONXMAS 5 to

70085 to donate £5.

To browse and shop the range, visit: midlandsairambulance.

com/shop. For updates on other charity activity, follow the

organisation on social media.

From: £198,000 | 41


Allowing older people to live where they want to live

Imagine you’re an older person in your

70s, approaching your later years and

perhaps in need of more support soon,

but still with so much to give, so many

talents to unlock, so many friends to

make. You’re thinking about moving

from the family home you’ve lived in

for years to somewhere which provides

security and care if and when you need

it, but which also allows you to keep

your independence and connections to

the local community, and which has a

range of activities and facilities to keep

you busy.

It’s this middle ground, this golden

mean, combining independence with

care and support, which housing-withcare

settings across the country are

offering to older people in increasing

numbers. Sometimes called retirement

communities, retirement villages or extra

care housing, these settings give older

people the opportunity to rent or own

a flat or apartment, on a site with 24/7

staffing, high-quality care provision if

needed, and facilities like restaurants,

bars, cafes, gyms, activity rooms and

much more.

While long-standing options for older

people like care homes and traditional

retirement housing will continue to have

a vital place, there is a growing need

for middle options like housing-withcare

which allow older people to stay

independent and healthy for longer.

The evidence is clear: housing-withcare

improves health and well-being,

drastically cuts down hospital and GP

visits, and reduces feelings of loneliness.

Not only do older people themselves

benefit, but so too does the NHS and

whole social care system.

Housing-with-care settings can be in

either rural or urban locations, giving

older people the chance to choose the

lifestyle they want. Often, they are closely

connected with the town centre, and

people of different ages are able to use

the facilities at the retirement community

and mix with older residents. Far from

being ghettos of the elderly, housingwith-care

settings can be hubs of

intergenerational connection.

ARCO’s role as the representative body

for the housing-with-care sector is to help

our members provide the best possible

service to their older residents, and to

ensure the sector thrives and grows in

the way that it should. An important part

of ARCO’s work is helping members

set high standards through the ARCO

Consumer Code, a new edition of

which was launched in September this

year. The code upholds the principles

of transparency and fairness, giving

customers and residents confidence that

housing-with-care operators achieve

high levels of consumer protection in

everything from marketing, sales and

lettings, and resident relations.

Because, ultimately, housing-with-care is

all about the residents. About responding

to the growing demand from older

people for housing options that combine

independent, active living with care

and support if needed. About allowing

residents to live the life that they want

to live.

For further email please visit

42 |

“The atmosphere was calm, warm and homely;

very much one big family. The care, kindness and

support were second to none. They always treated

my friend with dignity.”

Friend of resident at The Priory, August 2021


Ardenlea Court

39-41 Lode Lane, Bucknell Close,

Solihull B91 2AF

Residential Nursing

Dementia care Short stay



Review Score

56 reviews †

We are welcoming

new residents

Whether you need to find a local care home now, or are just

starting to look into options, we can help. We’re welcoming

new residents to join us for as long as they need – a few

weeks, a month or a permanent stay.

Ardenlea Grove

19-21 Lode Lane, Solihull B91 2AB

Residential Nursing

Dementia care Short stay



Review Score

55 reviews †



We follow strict UK infection control standards. Roll out available

vaccines. Carry out regular tests and make sure our team

always have PPE. That’s our Safety Promise you can rely on.

Call us for advice on care today

0121 392 9612

Lines are open 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12.30pm Saturday.

Closed Sundays and bank holidays. Calls are charged at no more than local rate and

count towards any inclusive minutes from mobiles. We may record or monitor our calls.

The Priory

1 Shelly Crescent, Monkspath,

Shirley B90 4XA


Short stay




Review Score

51 reviews †

All types of funding welcome

No health insurance needed

†The Review Score is based on the quality and number of independent reviews this home has received on in the last two years,

at the time of going to print.

SEP21 CS 02195

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.

Home Instead Solihull

01564 330 395 | 01212 704 615

Each Home Instead© franchise office is independently owned and operated. Copyright © Home Instead 2017.



The DEXA is a low radiation bone-strength scan and

is available to anyone. Book in for a scan and receive

personalised advice from an Osteoporosis specialist doctor

on how to keep your bones strong for a healthy future.




Find out more about your body composition to

help with diet or fitness plans and understand

your potential health risks

A body composition scan provides an in-depth

analysis of your body’s fat and muscle distribution

and can tell you much more about your health and

fitness than standing on the scales.

Your scan will be reviewed by a leading expert in

DEXA body composition scanning.

For more information visit

Newson Health, Winton House, Church Street, Stratford Up Avon CV37 6HB

46 |

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