J’AIME NOVEMBER 2021

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J’AIME

Y O U R L O C A L L U X U R Y L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E

Y O U R L O C A L L U X U R Y L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E

N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 1

The Sutton

Coldfield cyclists

on a fundraising

mission

GET

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Welcome to J’AIME

Christmas. There, we said it. Here at J’AIME HQ

we’re already in full swing with preparations for the

most wonderful time of the year and, after the festive

season flop that was 2020, we’re getting into the

Christmas spirit - or should that be spirits?! - in a big

way.

As always, supporting local, independent businesses is

at the heart of what we do here at J’AIME, and our

festive gift guide is made up of exclusively local shops

and producers. If you like what you see then please

buy from them - you’ll make our local businesses very

happy! Part two of our gift guide will run next month,

so if you’re a local business who wants to be featured

then please get in touch.

We’ve also teamed up with the amazing independent

businesses at Woodmill Farm in Yoxall to bring you

some top expert tips on creating the perfect festive

feast; it’s never too early to start planning your menu!

Elsewhere, we chat to a group of Sutton Coldfield

cycling enthusiasts who came together over lockdown

about a mammoth charity ride, and a Rugeley author

about his locally-based tales, as well as discover a

rather novel use for a British design icon in Streetly.

It’s an exciting time to be a food-lover in Lichfield;

after Tom Shepherd’s grand opening last month,

we check out Michelin-starred chef Rob Palmer’s

residence in the city at Thyme Kitchen. Plus, we get

all the news from Staffordshire’s biggest, and newest,

foodie weekender Love Cheese Live.

If you enjoy what you read in this issue, then why not

help us to spread the word? As well as being delivered

directly to homes in selected postcodes across the

area, you can pick J’AIME up free of charge in major

supermarkets around the Midlands, as well as read the

whole thing - and plenty more! - online at

www.jaimemagazine.com

EDITOR: AMY NORBURY

EDITOR@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

ADVERTISING: JAN ASHLEY

ADVERTISING@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

07388 335 931

DESIGN: DESIGN@JAIMEMAGAZINE.COM

CONTRIBUTORS: JAZZ SHERGILL,

KATY EDGINGTON, NATHAN COLLINS,

DEBORAH MITCHELL

J’AIME IS PUBLISHED BY ASHBURY

PUBLICATIONS LIMITED.

Check us out online at:

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CO N T E N T S

InsideJ’aime this month...

6 Cycloholics - The Sutton Coldfield cycling

group on a fundraising mission

10 Love Cheese Live - All of the news from

Staffordshire’s newest foodie weekender

14 Richard Winterton - A new auction house for

Tamworth

18 Property - Property of the month

20 Property - Property picks from Chosen Home

22 Christmas - Shop Local gift guide

26 Christmas - Festive family fun

28 Christmas - Prepare a festive feast with

Woodmill Farm

32 Food and drink - Reviewing Rob Palmer @

Thyme Kitchen

34 Food and drink - Creating the perfect

cheeseboard

38 Interiors - Mulled wine-inspired picks

42 Interiors - Kitchen accessories

46 Author Mike O’Brien - A Rugeley page-turner

50 The Exchange - A library with a difference

comes to Streetly

54 Travel - Winter getaways with RB Collection

58 What’s On - Events around the Midlands this

month

60 Fashion - A passion for puffers

62 Beauty - Passionate about organic skincare

63 In the news - A double milestone for Allen

Brown Jewellery

64 Health - Take care of your joints

66 Health - Achieve your dream smile

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F E AT U R E

Men on a mission

A GROUP OF FRIENDS FROM SUTTON COLDFIELD AND BIRMINGHAM WHO FOUND A LOVE FOR CYCLING

DURING THE PANDEMIC AND HAVE TAKEN IT TO NEW HEIGHTS. JAZZ SHERGILL FINDS OUT MORE

THE CYCLOHOLICS ON A RIDE

One thing that many of us have learnt from the

pandemic is to live life to the fullest. That may have

been finding a new hobby, spending more time with

loved ones, doing something for charity or simply just

living in the moment.

A group of friends put all these together and formed

the Cycloholics. What started off as small bike rides

in their local park for good pals Dal Singh, Kush

Dubb, Amit Ram, Arun Dubb, Manraj Dubb, Jeevan

Bhopal, Dal Gillar and Sanj Bahia, turned into a

126-mile ride from Birmingham to London to help

create awareness of suicide and mental health within

the male population in the UK.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic me and a few of

my close friends decided to start cycling, to stay fit,

socially active, and get away from the doom and

gloom of lockdown,” says Jeevan Bhopal, one of the

group’s founders.

“In all honesty, it was a way to stay mentally stable

and keep a positive mindset. From what started with

small rides to Sutton Park and back, developed into

large rides through Birmingham and the Midlands;

we grew to a group of around 20 and began taking

cycling a lot more seriously! As a group we were

thinking of doing a ride which would challenge us

mentally and physically but also give us a sense of

monumental achievement.”

On Saturday, October 9, the Cycloholics took on

the challenge of tackling a ride from Birmingham to

London without an overnight stay, all in aid of men’s

mental health. With meticulous planning, plenty of

food and prayer, off they went. Some 126 miles and

approximately 11 hours later, all eight riders reached

their final destination.

6 www.jaimemagazine.com


“The journey to London started around 4am, we got

prepared, put our lights on, checked tire pressure,

topped up on protein and energy drinks,” says

Cycloholic Dal Singh.

“Another group member Dal Gillar put on a religious

prayer before we all set off which was a really nice

touch. We broke down the ride in segments, so it was

relatively easier on the mind, knowing that we have a

stop coming up to refuel definitely helped.

“At around 60 miles we were in Buckingham, our

friend Yatmit turned up with some Indian flat breads

which was really nice of him to do; then when we go

to around the 90 miles mark, I think it became really

testing that we had been on our bikes for so long at

that point.

“When the ride was almost coming to an end and I

think for about 10 miles nobody said a word to each

other. My brother Amarpreet and Taran turned up

with a van and they took our bags off us which were

weighing us down. At one point one of the riders

said he couldn’t continue, and I said think about

your girls, think about the story you’re going to tell

them, mentally be strong for them and I think that

helped him plough through the ride. It was a really

good team bonding exercise; we spoke about our

lives which I don’t think would have happened in any

other environment,” Dal adds.

The Cycloholics wanted their chance to give back

to the community. Mental health has been a huge

talking point over the last few years, and the group

came to realise the impact that ill mental health has

on men. As well drawing upon personal experiences,

they wanted to help spread more awareness around

the topic.

“I came across a charity called CALM (Campaign

THE CYCLOHOLICS ARRIVED IN

LONDON FOLLOWING THEIR 126-MILE

JOURNEY FROM BIRMINGHAM

THE CYCLOHOLICS HAVE RAISED MORE

THAT £7,000 FOR CALM

Against Living Miserably); their focus is to lead a

movement against suicide which is the single biggest

killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK and that

really hit home to me,” says group member Amit

Ram.

“It came to fruition during the Covid-19 pandemic;

everyone was locked inside which could have easily

led into anxiety, depression, stress and the whole

change in lifestyle. The only way for people to meet

up was some form of exercise, so during covid we

got into cycling and we thought that it was a great

way to meet up and get through the

lockdown together. CALM was a

fitting charity to support with our

ride to London because our love for

cycling happened because of the

pandemic and it was all in aid of

CALM.”

The group of enthusiastic cyclists

decided to set up a fundraising

page for their charity and have so

far raised an impressive £7,000 and

counting.

Something that has touched the

group is how people have reached

out to them to talk about their own

struggles with ill mental health, and

how they’ve been affected by loved

ones who have taken their own

www.jaimemagazine.com

7


lives.

“The greatest thing that has come out of this is the

awareness, especially in Asian communities, explains

Dal Gillar.

“With anything involving mental health, people don’t

really talk about it; there’s this opinion that you can’t

talk about feelings or just expressing yourself. So, it’s

the awareness that has been amazing.

“There’s the fitness side to it as well; from hardly

ever riding a bike since I was a kid to going with

the lads often, it’s been great. Even just getting out

and talking to someone; when we would go on bike

rides, we would speak about things that you wouldn’t

usually speak out about.

“I wasn’t the best rider out of the group and

sometimes I’d be really behind; one of the other guys

would stay with me and we would end up talking. It

helped to release your mind and focus on the positive

things and what I need to prioritise in life.”

The journey doesn’t end here; there are more bike

rides planned and the Cycloholics are ready to take

on more challenges to continue their mission to help

those in need.

“Completing the Birmingham to London ride has

definitely given us all the confidence to take on

more cycling challenges together in the future,” says

Cycloholic Manraj Dubb.

“In terms of future plans, we believe London to

Amsterdam is potentially on the horizon; cycling for

THE GROUP BONDED ON THEIR BIKES

DURING LOCKDOWN

CYCLING HELPED THE GROUP

DURING A DIFFICULT TIME

two consecutive days is definitely the next step for

us to take given how well we completed the London

ride. We want to continue doing this for charity and

to raise awareness for people who need it most.”

This experience has opened up a new and very much

needed conversation among the community; the

learning journey for each rider has been individually

touching and they welcome people to join them on

their bike rides.

“From our perspective, we didn’t know there were so

many people in our circle of friends who had been

affected by mental health issues, or know someone

who’s been affected by them,” adds Dal Singh.

“It’s so important to talk, go to an environment

where you can’t be distracted, go for a walk and let it

out. Maybe do something you’ve never done before;

the cycling actually helped clear our minds and it

allowed us to be at one with our thoughts on the bike

because you’ve got nothing other than cycling and

the road in front of you to think about, and that was

quite useful for myself and the other riders

“I hope this bike ride can give others encouragement

to get out there and do something you’ve never done.

If anyone is local to us in the Midlands then we’re

phone call away, a text away, come and meet us,

jump on a bike with us and the more the merrier.”

If you’d like to make a donation, please visit

www.justgiving.com/team/cycloholics

The Cycloholics would like to give a special thank

you to Yatmit, Amarpreet, Taran, Diya, Ava, Amber,

Avie, Aryan, Anya, Jaya and Milan.

8

www.jaimemagazine.com


F E AT U R E

A celebration of cheese

THE WEEKEND OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHEESE AND DAIRY AWARDS AND LOVE CHEESE LIVE,

HOSTED IN STAFFORDSHIRE THIS YEAR FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, FINALLY CAME AROUND.

KATY EDGINGTON BRINGS YOU ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS.

Following on from a busy trade day, which saw

hundreds of judges assemble to judge thousands of

award entries, Love Cheese Live opened its doors

on Friday, October 22, in Staffordshire County

Showground’s Bingley Hall. Hundreds of exhibitors

and a cast of well-known chefs welcomed the public

to meet, eat, learn and shop across a packed two-day

programme of demos, talks and tastings.

We caught up with Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt

shortly after his demo on the Saputo stage on Friday

afternoon. Matt made kapsalon, a dish originating

from Rotterdam in the early 2000s. “People love

it because it’s deep-fried and a bit dirty - it’s filthy,

actually,” Matt says. “It was a Turkish barber in the

Netherlands who invented this new late night snack,

with layers of spicy shawarma chicken meat, deepfried

potatoes, chilli sauce, garlic sauce, a bit of salad,

and melted cheese. I like the story and it tastes really

good.”

His second, equally voluptuous, demo dish was a

Gruyère fondue with butternut squash cooked in

bacon fat with crispy bacon and garlic, accompanied

by truffled potato ravioli for dipping. Matt was more

than happy to sing the praises of British cheese.

“Cheese is one of those things we do really well in

this country. I’ve been to the United States a number

of times and, apart from a few artisans here and

there, they don’t have that love that we have for

cheese. British cheese is up there with the best in

the world, because we have that great tradition of

cheesemakers.”

Although he struggled to pinpoint a favourite cheese

recipe, Matt reckons “the nicest breakfast you’ll

ever eat” is a fresh Italian ricotta, first thing in the

morning, with an espresso and a spoon of honey.

So, what would you find on his perfect festive cheese

board?

“Definitely a good Stilton or a Roquefort. An aged

hard cheese like a cheddar. A mountain cheese like

Beaufort - one of the reasons I go skiing is to eat

good mountain cheese. I would have to have a soft

goats’ cheese, and I might have truffled-something

10 www.jaimemagazine.com


THE FIRST LOVE CHEESE LIVE

AT STAFFORDSHIRE COUNTRY

SHOWGROUND

for a bit of decadence. It would be quite a big

cheeseboard, really. That’s the nice thing about

Christmas - you can’t over-cater. You bring the same

board out Christmas Day, Boxing Day and keep

going until it all becomes grated cheese toasties.”

In the main exhibition hall, smaller regional

producers sat alongside the giants of the dairy

industry. Ornua Foods, the largest supplier of British

and Irish cheese in the UK market, were serving up

free cheddar toasties and margherita pizza from their

stand. Sharon Hurdsman, who was there to represent

the Leek-based manufacturer of brands including

Pilgrim’s Choice and Kerrygold butter, said it had

been great to engage with customers again.

“The response to our cheese has been really positive

and it’s lovely to see that people want to be out and

about. They love the venue and there’s a really good

mix of producers - you could definitely start your

Christmas shopping!”

Whitchurch-based wholesalers Westry Roberts

and Co supply farm shops, delis, butchers and

corner shops across Shropshire, Cheshire, parts of

Wales and Staffordshire. Manager

Becky Williams was delighted to

be showcasing some of the many

producers they represent at the show.

“We’re spotlighting the Hartington

Creamery range with their blended

fruit and savoury cheeses, and their

blue cheeses as well. Obviously

Stilton has protected designation of

origin (PDO) status - it can be made

in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire

or Derbyshire - and this is the only

one still made in Derbyshire, at the

Creamery in Pikehall. We had a very

nice shoutout from James Martin

for our own farm butter, which he

used on stage, so that has been very

popular!”

In the Staffordshire room there

were plenty of local treats to

be found. Guernsleigh and

Staffordshire Cheese Co - the

only two artisan cheesemakers in

the county - were there alongside

cheese accompaniments from

Staffordshire Savoury Scotch

Eggs, Jethro’s Marinades and

Sauces, and Hearts Distillery. Local

cheesemaker Mary Button from

Staffordshire Cheese Co expressed

how important it is for a show on

this scale to also represent smaller producers.

“It’s a bit overwhelming because the show has so

many big producers, but we’re reminding people that

there are lots of small producers out there making

great cheeses. We are a team of three, and our three

main cheeses all have PDOs.

“My personal favourite is the Staffordshire. It’s a

traditional hard-pressed cheese. We make it, press

it overnight and then it’s left to mature for three

months, turned once a week. It’s creamy with a bit

of a citrus note - so a little sharpness - but it’s a very

nice cheese, great for cooking, and we’re the only

people that make it.”

Indeed, visitors on Friday might have seen

Thom Bateman, chef-patron of The Flintlock at

Cheddleton, use Staffordshire cheese in one of his

demos.

Also there was Lymestone Brewery from Stone, who

won a silver for Foundation Stone and a bronze for

their milk stout in the Cheese Board Awards. After

the great success of their cheese and beer pairing

MARCO PIERRE WHITE WAS ONE

OF THE STAR NAMES AT LOVE

CHEESE LIVE

www.jaimemagazine.com

11


ox in the run up to Christmas 2020,

Lymestone are now taking orders for

this year via their website.

“We introduced online ordering because

of the pandemic, and we have a history

of working with other local suppliers,”

explains brewer’s wife Viv Bradford.

“Before Christmas last year we made

contact with Mary at Staffordshire

Cheese and asked if she fancied some

joint working. She sent over some

samples and we sat together for a cheese

and beer sampling afternoon. We

matched the cheeses with the beers and

the Cheese Box was born. In there you

get six lovely cheeses, six different Lymestone beers,

and a little board as a gift set.”

On the upstairs mezzanine, alongside the M&S

Cookery School, charity pumpkin decorating with

Checkley Hall Farm and a children’s cookery school

where little ones could make their own pizza, were

Dalton’s Dairy from the Staffordshire-Derbyshire

border. Fresh from winning Family Farming

Business of the Year at the British Farming Awards

in Birmingham on Thursday, they were offering

visitors the opportunity to pat their own butter as

well as serving their fruit spinners from a specially

imported machine. The first and only one of its kind

in the UK, it combines real frozen fruit with Dalton’s

vanilla to create a delicious, swirled ice cream.

“It has a taste similar to frozen yoghurt, and the real

fruit tastes very natural,” Rosie Dalton explains.

“People have been enjoying shaping their own butter

to take away. We pat every single block of butter

individually in the traditional way. We milk the cows

and separate the milk from the cream, which takes a

day, and then the next day we can make the butter.”

With two main stages and multiple smaller stages

VISITORS ENJOYED MANY

CHEF DEMONSTRATIONS

including the M&S Chef ’s Kitchen, plus tastings

including Belton Farm’s cheese and beer pairing

talks, there was plenty going on to keep visitors

entertained.

On Friday afternoon, Marco Pierre White

demonstrated the simple three step process of

creating a fantastic risotto for a crowd of selfconfessed

risotto lovers who doubted their own

ability to make a good version at home.

“Risotto is a great dinner party dish because you can

cook it with all your guests around you,” Marco says.

“Someone asked if I add wine. Some chefs do and

some chefs don’t. I taste the wine and if it’s delicious,

it stays in the glass. If it’s quite aggressive I put it in

the pan and reduce it down, to reduce the acidity.”

Marco confesses that he prefers to eat cheese rather

than cook with it, and found Long Clawson, from

Leicestershire, a highlight of the show. “Their Blue

Stilton was so deliciously creamy, the Red Leicester

beautifully aged, and the white Stilton was so

delightfully crumbly, which of course is what you

want from a Stilton,” he says. “But I’m a lover of

cheese so I’m easily seduced.”

Does he think the pandemic has

changed our attitudes to food and

cooking?

“People have been at home and

working from home, so they’ve had

to cook. The standard of cooking in

Britain must have gone up enormously,

because the more time you spend at

the stove the more confidence you

grow - and that’s the whole thing about

cooking. Before the pandemic, lots

of people never even thought about

cooking, but now it’s their new hobby.

They always say there’s a silver lining to

every cloud, and there it is.”

12 www.jaimemagazine.com


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F E AT U R E

In Tamworth we trust

STAFFORDSHIRE AUCTIONEER RICHARD WINTERTON HAS TRANSFORMED AN HISTORIC

TAMWORTH TOWN CENTRE BUILDING INTO A NEW AUCTION HOUSE, BRINGING AUCTIONEERING

BACK TO THE ANCIENT MERCIA CAPITAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES

Richard Winterton Auctioneers has

launched a new auction house in the

heart of Tamworth, a move which also

secures the future of one of the town

centre’s most-loved buildings.

The family firm’s new premises at 34-

35 Church Street opened last month

and receives consignments straight to

auction 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.

Free valuations by appointment are

also available, with various specialists

on different days, and staff can assist

with enquiries on house clearances and

downsizing solutions.

Originally a 19th century music hall,

the 3,700 sq ft premises has already

started hosting live auctions, with the

debut sale on October 26 – thought to

be the first in Tamworth for decades.

Auctioneer Richard Winterton – a

familiar face from BBC Bargain Hunt

and Dickinson’s Real Deal – said: “It

has been a massive team effort to bring

our project to revitalise this lovely

Grade II listed building to fruition.

“It has long been a dream for us

to expand in Staffordshire and

wonderful to be able to do so in the

ancient capital of Mercia; to be in this

important building too is the icing on

the cake!

“We have a lot of regular clients in the Tamworth

area and they are delighted to have an auction house

on their doorstep.

“We’ve also had some wonderful feedback from local

residents who are over the moon to see the former

Arts Centre full of life once more.”

Valuers have already helped Tammies discover

hidden treasures.

Appointments for jewellery, watches and silver can

be booked for Mondays and Thursdays, with toys

on Tuesdays and general valuations for all types of

THE HISTORIC 3,700 SQ FT

PREMISES HAS ALREADY STARTED

HOSTING LIVE AUCTIONS

collectables and antiques on Wednesdays.

On Friday, November 12 and 19, people can book

to meet technology specialist Stuart Hay to discuss

cameras, hi-fi and records.

To make a valuation appointment, email tamworth@

richardwinterton.co.uk or telephone 01827 217746.

The next Tamworth auction is scheduled to start at

10am on Tuesday, November 23 with viewing on

Monday, November 22 from 9.30am-4.30pm.

As with the firm’s current sales, auctions at

Tamworth will be broadcast online with a live video

feed allowing thousands of bidders to join in from all

over the world.

14 www.jaimemagazine.com


Originally built as a town theatre 250 years

ago, the Church Street premises was later

used as a malt house before Sir Robert Peel

loaned it to the Baptist Church, to whom he

subsequently sold the building in 1872.

Fast forward a century and the Lower

Gungate building was earmarked as an

“ideal location” for a town arts centre as

Tamworth’s Baptist Chapel prepared to move

out to Belgrave.

It was bought by Tamworth Borough Council

and converted into a 100-seat auditorium,

multi-purpose rooms and a coffee bar, opening as

Tamworth Arts Centre in November 1975 and

becoming a lynchpin on the town’s music scene for

two decades.

More recently, Staffordshire County Council

converted the building into a register office but

vacated in 2020.

Councillor Daniel Cook, Tamworth Borough

Council’s cabinet member for economy, said the

auction house ‘definitely brings something new and

exciting to the high street’, hopefully drawing in

more visitors from across the area.

“This is great news for Tamworth and as well as

bringing a much-loved historic building back into

use, it’s also a real vote of confidence in Tamworth

RICHARD WINTERTON AUCTIONEER’S

NEW TAMWORTH AUCTION HOUSE

BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO THE TOWN’S

FORMER ARTS CENTRE.

town centre as a place to invest in,” he added.

The Winterton family’s auctioneering heritage began

at the Smithfield livestock market in Lichfield – now

the site of the city’s Tesco superstore – and linked

with agricultural auctions in Tamworth.

The family firm, which has been auctioneering

in Staffordshire for seven generations since 1864,

previously had an office just yards away from its new

Tamworth premises on Colehill.

Its head office at The Lichfield Auction Centre,

Fradley Park, holds regular sales of anything from

jewellery, watches and silver to pictures, furniture,

toys, militaria, stamps and automobilia.

Visit www.richardwinterton.co.uk and

follow the Tamworth saleroom on Twitter

@AuctionwintTam

AUCTIONEER RICHARD

WINTERTON, LEFT,

WITH LUCY HUGHES

AND BEN WINTERTON

AT THE OPENING

www.jaimemagazine.com

15


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P R O P E RTY

Property of the Month

WE TAKE A SNEAKY PEEK AT SOME OF THE HOTTEST PROPERTIES ON THE MARKET

IN THE AREA EACH MONTH. THIS MONTH’S SELECTION IS AN EXTRAORDINARY

FOUR-BEDROOM BARN CONVERSION WITH STUNNING ORIGINAL FEATURES IN A

SEMI-RURAL LOCATION WITH WIDE VIEWS OVER OPEN COUNTRYSIDE.

Oak Farm Barn, Drayton Lane, Drayton Bassett: £1,175,000

On the market with Aston Knowles: 0121 362 7878

THE AGENT SAYS: Oak Farm Barn was converted in

2002 and is set in private grounds of approximately 1.96

acres in a beautiful semi-rural location on Drayton Lane.

The spacious open plan drawing/dining room features

beautiful solid oak wooden flooring and exposed wooden

beams and eye-catching exposed brick walls. An original

feature log burner is located in one corner, adding a rustic

feel to the space, while the white walls and large windows add

a contemporary touch and let in plenty of natural light.

A special feature is the winding wrought-iron staircase leading

to the first-floor accommodation. There is ample space for a

dining area to the other side of the space. Leading on from

here is the study featuring original brick-laid flooring.

The kitchen features a high-spec range of floor units and

walnut-coloured worktops. There are various high-quality

built-in appliances, and space for a dining area overlooking

the rear garden and lovely view beyond.

The master bedroom is accessed via the winding staircase in

the drawing room and features an en-suite bathroom with

corner bath and solid oak wooden flooring. There are two

further bedrooms as well as a family shower room.

The first-floor accommodation accessed from the staircase

in the kitchen comprises the spacious landing with sitting

area and guest bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and en-suite

shower room.

The basement is accessed from the kitchen and consists of

a games room with ample space for a cinema area and pool

table, perfect for entertaining.

The property features stunning views over greenbelt land

and an extensive gravel driveway. A canopied patio area is

ideal for enjoying the views, relaxing, and entertaining. An

additional walled and decked patio to the rear of the home

forms a lovely space for al fresco dining and entertaining

friends and family. The landscaped garden also features a

cottage vegetable garden with a 100-year-old natural well.

W E L O V E : T H E F E E L ING O F SP A C E AND T H E

Q U A L I T Y F IN I S H

18 www.jaimemagazine.com


0121 362 7878

astonknowles.com

NEW

THE MILL HOUSE, MILL LANE - Little Aston

GUIDE PRICE £1,950,000

A beautiful Grade II listed Water Mill, sympathetically

converted into a contemporary five-bedroom home in an

idyllic semi-rural location.

This truly unique and stunning Mill House has been exquisitely

refurbished into this outstanding five-bedroom family home. Offering

the beauty, charm and character of a sympathetically restored Listed

building with all the modern conveniences for contemporary family

living.

ACCOMMODATION

Ground floor: Entrance Hall. Playroom/snug. Dining room/sitting room with

working mill. Kitchen/breakfast room. Study. Storeroom. Utility room with internal

access to garage/gym. Guest cloakroom.

First floor: Sitting/entertainment room with three Juliet balconies. Bedrooms

two and three with en-suite bathrooms with walk in shower. Bedrooms four

and five both with built in wardrobes. Family bathroom with bath and walk in

shower.

Second floor: Principal bedroom suite with walk in dressing room, Juliet

balcony, en-suite bathroom with freestanding tub and access to the grounds

from external staircase.

Outside:Block Paved Drivewway. Double garage with internal access. Mill lake

with fishing rights.

Set on a beautiful plot in a semi-rural location, thanks to its discrete

position features private and peaceful views over the Mills lake. The

THE DETAILS

property is privately gated, with a driveway leading you to the front

door and into this spectacular home.

5 BEDS 4 BATH GATED DRIVE

Approximate gross internal floor area 4,886 sq feet (454 sq metres)

2 CARS HISTORICAL PROPERTY

ASTON KNOWLES 8 High Street, Sutton Coldfield B72 1XA 0121 362 7878 enquiries@astonknowles.com www.astonknowles.com

@astonknowles


P R O P E RTY

History meets contemporary

WE CHECK OUT TWO TOP PROPERTY PICKS

ON THE MARKET WITH CHOSEN HOME

EAST WING, ELFORD HOUSE: £695,000

Originally built in the mid 1800s, Elford House was

converted into three homes in the 1950s and now

forms part of an exclusive community of just six

homes. One such home is East Wing, offering spacious

accommodation which is overflowing with a plethora

of period features and charm yet having all the

modern conveniences one could want.

Bordering open countryside and the River Tame, East

Wing is just a short distance from the amenities of

the village of Elford while Tamworth is just over four

miles away and Lichfield approximately 6.5 miles.

Having three large bedrooms, two bathrooms and

generous living spaces, this home has a few surprises

thrown in too and must be viewed to be appreciated.

One such surprise is the magnificent tree house built

around one of the many ancient trees within the large

gardens. Featuring a bar area and complete with log

burning stove, the tree house is a perfect getaway for

grown-ups and children alike.

The modern kitchen has a range of integrated

appliances while the sitting room has a real sense of

grandeur, with a large bay window overlooking the

gardens, original shutters, ornate coving and cornice,

marble fireplace with open fire, and tiled floor. The

dining room has French doors to the garden, flagstone

tiled floor, ornate coving and cornice, marble fireplace

with open fire and stairs to the first floor.

HILLWOOD, FOUR OAKS, SUTTON

COLDFIELD

Hillwood is a unique and exclusive gated development

of just four individual and contemporary architect

designed homes located on the outskirts of Four Oaks,

and with two of the properties already reserved,

it is proving very popular. Surrounded by open

countryside affording spectacular views towards

Lichfield and the Peak District beyond, yet within easy

reach of the shopping centre at Mere Green these

stunning homes are designed for the sophisticated

and discerning buyer. Finished to exacting standards

with five large bedrooms and a double garage,

these spacious homes offer contemporary living in a

delightful setting.

These exceptional homes are being constructed

using handmade bricks featuring an environmentally

friendly ‘green’ roof, and light will flood in courtesy

of floor-to-ceiling windows and glazed roof panels to

make the most of the fabulous views and landscaped

gardens. Other features include individually designed

high quality kitchens and bathrooms, aluminium

windows and bi-fold doors, oak and glass staircases,

underfloor heating throughout, solid oak internal

doors and more. Buyers who reserve at an early

enough stage will be able to bespoke the kitchens and

bathrooms as well as having an input on the overall

finish.

To find out more about these beautiful homes, please

contact Chosen Home on 0121 222 1180 or email

team@chosenhome.com.

20 www.jaimemagazine.com


“ Chosen Home were

excellent! Very efficient

and proactive, they made

my life incredibly easy.

I couldn’t speak more

highly about their quality

of service. Brilliant!”

“Excellent”

Mr J.T.

Call 0121 222 1180

chosenhome.com

Will sell your home for free.


G I F T G U I D E

Totally locally festive

SPREAD A LITTLE FESTIVE CHEER AMONG YOUR LOCAL SHOPS AND BUSINESSES WITH

YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFTING THIS YEAR. THERE’S NEVER BEEN A MORE IMPORTANT TIME

TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENTS, SO WHY NOT MAKE IT YOUR AIM TO SHOP

AS LOCALLY AS POSSIBLE IN THE RUN-UP TO THE FESTIVE SEASON? THAT WAY, YOU

CAN ENSURE THAT MORE OF YOUR HARD-EARNED POUNDS GO BACK INTO THE LOCAL

COMMUNITY, WHILE YOUR NEAREST AND DEAREST CAN ENJOY A UNIQUE GIFT FROM

SOME OF THE AMAZING SHOPS AND PRODUCERS WE HAVE HERE IN THE MIDLANDS

9CT WHITE GOLD PENDANT SET WITH 0.25CT

OF ROUND BRILLIANT CUT DIAMONDS AND

BLACK DRUSY ONYX, FROM ALLEN BROWN

JEWELLERY AT HEART OF THE COUNTRY

SHOPPING VILLAGE, SWINFEN.

WWW.ALLENBROWNJEWELLERY.CO.UK

£50

£29.95

£1,860

GIN-IN-A-TIN 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BOX

SET, FROM THE DEER PARK, HOAR CROSS.

WWW.DEERPARK.FARM

ELVINS DRY GIN, CREATED IN LICHFIELD.

WWW.THELIQUORMAN.COM

£33.99

£12.99

HENRY, CASA HOME AT BARTON MARINA.

WWW.CASAHOME.CO.UK

GIFT BOXED DISNEY MUG, CURBOROUGH

GIFT SHOP AT THE CURBOROUGH CENTRE

LE GAVROCHE GIN BY

MICHEL ROUX JR, DISTILLED

AT NELSONS DISTILLERY IN

UTTOXETER. AVAILABLE FROM

SCRUMMYS AT THE BARN,

WOODMILL FARM, YOXALL

£49.99

FROM

£29.99

HOME COMFORTS RANGE,

CASA HOME AT BARTON MARINA.

WWW.CASAHOME.CO.UK

£48

CAT SCULPTURE, CASA

HOME AT BARTON MARINA.

WWW.CASAHOME.CO.UK

22 www.jaimemagazine.com


ART FOR ALL

Browse Our Large and Diverse

Range of Art and Sculpture at

Eden Gallery

Curborough Countryside Centre

As specialists in Original and Limited Edition artwork, we feature a comprehensive range of framed

art from established international artists. Together with our large and varied range of art, we now

stock a selection of affordable sculptures by talented sculptors from across the UK.

Take a look at our website to view more of our featured artist’s work.

Yoo Hoo – Framed Ltd Edition

by Nicky Litchfield

(Framed Size 55cm x 69cm)

Price: £230

Again, Again, Again – Framed

Ltd Edition by Alexander Millar

(Framed Size 83cm x 67cm)

Price: £545

Pony & Foal Nickel Resin

Sculpture by Keith Sherwin

Price £185.00

(Height – 28.5cm)

Eden Gallery, The Hexagon Centre, Curborough Countryside Centre, Watery Lane, Lichfield, WS13 8ES

Telephone: 01543 268393 - www.edenartandframing.co.uk. Opening hours: Wed - Sun 10.00am - 4.00pm

rob palmer










C hristmas Day Menu


VINEYARD ARTISAN CHOCOLATE BY

STAFFORDSHIRE-BASED WNDER CHOCOLATE.

WWW.AGEOFWNDER.COM

£46

£39.95

£6.95

YUM YUM & FRIEND BRONZE RESIN SCULP-

TURE BY PAUL JENKINS, EDEN GALLERY AT

THE CURBOROUGH CENTRE

SIXTOWNS STAFFORDSHIRE DRY GIN,

AVAILABLE FROM SCRUMMYS AT THE

BARN, WOODMILL FARM, YOXALL

SILVER AND 18CT YELLOW GOLD PENDANT

SET WITH AMAZONITE, ALLEN BROWN

JEWELLERY AT HEART OF THE COUNTRY

SHOPPING VILLAGE, SWINFEN.

WWW.ALLENBROWNJEWELLERY.CO.UK

£55

£242

PERSONALISED ‘A NEW DAY’ LICHFIELD PRINT,

FROM CHRIS DAY DESIGN.

WWW.CHRISDAYDESIGN.CO.UK

£8.49

POWDER DESIGN MENS’ SOCKS, £8.49 PER

PAIR, CURBOROUGH GIFT SHOP AT THE

CURBOROUGH CENTRE

SIGNATURE 69% DRINKING CHOCOLATE,

£14, FROM STAFFORDSHIRE-BASED WNDER

CHOCOLATE. WWW.AGEOFWNDER.COM

THE ANCHOR FRAMED LIMITED EDITION BY

GARY WALTON, £145, EDEN GALLERY AT THE

CURBOROUGH CENTRE

24


Curborough

Gift Shop

GIFTS & CARDS FOR ALL OCCASIONS

Lichfield Garden Centre

Inspired Gardening

Autumn has arrived...

Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs

NOW for easy colour next spring

and years to come

Locally grown Pansy, Violas &

Wallflowers in stock - replant your

pots & baskets for winter to keep

the colour coming

CURBOROUGH COUNTRYSIDE CENTRE

WATERY LANE, LICHFIELD WS13 8ES

TEL: 0843 289 4525 OR 07885 387640

OPENING HOURS: 10AM – 4PM TUESDAY TO SUNDAY

WWW.CURBOROUGHGIFTSHOP.CO.UK

FOLLOW US

HOME DECOR

SOFT FURNISHINGS

LIGHTING

TABLEWARE

FURNITURE

OUTDOOR

GIFTS

AND MORE ….

Large range of Autumn Shrubs

perfect for planting NOW - the

soil is still warm and they will

establish quickly

Trees & Fruit Trees

Now In Stock

This year demand is set to be

high, so buy early for the best

selection - autumn is

a great time for planting.

Autumn is the best time

to plant fruit trees too!

Whether you want to grow

your own fruit trees, or enjoy

the seasonal leaf & bark

colour of trees..

see our extensive range

Coach Trips are back in 2022!

See our website soon for more details!

HO HO HO! Christmas is on the way - our 2021 Shop

opens soon. See our Website & Facebook for latest news

Find us at Curborough Countryside Centre (off Eastern Avenue),

Lichfield. Postcode for your Sat Nav : WS13 8ES.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter

www.casahome.co.uk

Barton Marina, Burton upon Trent, DE13 8AS

01283 716524

Telephone : 01543 254306

Website : www.lichfieldgardencentre.co.uk

E-mail info@lichfieldgardencentre.co.uk


W H AT ’ S O N

Family festive fun

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A MAGICAL CHRISTMAS TREAT FOR ALL THE FAMILY, THERE

ARE PLENTY OF ATTRACTIONS ON OFFER AROUND THE MIDLANDS. BUT HURRY; WITH

TICKETS ALREADY BEING SNAPPED UP, IT’S TIME TO GET BOOKING

WHAT: NORTH POLE ADVENTURE

WHERE: NATIONAL FOREST ADVENTURE FARM, BURTON-ON-TRENT

WHEN: SELECTED DAYS THROUGHOUT NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

Check-in and collect your Elf Coins before setting off on a wonderful festive family experience. Journey

through the Magical Portal to the North Pole, where you can explore the Victorian High Street and

Sweet Shop. Decorate Gingerbread with Mother Christmas, meet the talking polar bear under the

Northern Lights, sing songs with Silvermist the reindeer and even enjoy a special meeting with Father

Christmas himself. www.adventurefarm.co.uk/northpoleadventure

WHAT: WINTER WONDERLAND

WHERE: SNOWDOME TAMWORTH

WHEN: SELECTED DAYS FROM NOVEMBER 13 TO DECEMBER 31

Santa’s back at the SnowDome for Christmas 2021 with a family festive extravaganza. From

November 13, his magical winter wonderland in the snow returns and this year he’s all set to

spread extra special magic along the way, including a new larger theatre experience. With real

snow, real animals and the all-new winter wonderland show, it’s the ultimate Christmas adventure

for all the family. www.snowdome.co.uk/santas-winter-wonderland

WHAT: THE STATFOLD SANTA EXPRESS

WHERE: STATFOLD BARN RAILWAY, TAMWORTH

WHEN: SELECTED DAYS FROM NOVEMBER 26 TO DECEMBER 23

Children will collect their Golden Tickets as the whole family join the jolly elves and climb aboard the

Statfold Santa Express and be transported to the North Pole in the beautifully lit steam train where an

abundance of fun and excitement awaits. Alight the train at the North Pole and immerse yourself into

the Statfold Christmas experience, with the opportunity to experience lots of Christmas characters

around the award-winning museum, including lots of surprises. www.statfold.com/santa-express

WHAT: XMAS@LOWER DRAYTON FARM

WHERE: LOWER DRAYTON FARM, PENKRIDGE

WHEN: DECEMBER 2 TO 24

Visit the festive farm for a fun-packed Christmas adventure. Your Christmas adventure begins as you

arrive where children will get their very own Christmas passport. Friendly elves will then show you

to the magical elf workshops, guiding you through a series of fun festive activities; gaining a passport

stamp once each is complete. Santa will be waiting to meet you in his cosy grotto to receive your letters

and pose for photos with the little ones, and each child will get a magical Christmas coin to use in

Santa’s Toy Shop. www.playatthefarm.co.uk/christmas

WHAT: DRAYTON’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS

WHERE: DRAYTON MANOR

WHEN: NOVEMBER 13 TO DECEMBER 31

Discover falling snow, enchanting decorations, a dazzling 35ft symphony tree, cheeky elves frolicking

around the park and more than 25 child-friendly rides and attractions including Europe’s only Thomas

Land and a 15-acre zoo at Drayton Manor’s festive extravaganza. Enjoy live entertainment and a

brand-new live show, A Christmas Wish, then, end your day watching a magical firework display by the

lake - featuring Father Christmas, Mrs Claus and the elves for a singalong show like no other.

www.draytonmanor.co.uk

26

www.jaimemagazine.com


Check out what’s coming up at the newly refurbished

Tamworth Assembly Rooms Theatre – lovingly preserved

and modernised for future generations to enjoy.

Psychic Sally

1 & 2 November

The Opera Boys

Thursday 4 November

Noasis

Friday 5 November

T’Pau

Saturday 13 November

Come What May -

Moulin Rouge Thur 18 Nov

La Voix

Friday 19 November

The Christians

Saturday 20 November

Comedy Night

Thursday 25 November

Fast Love - George

Michael Tribute 26 Nov

Purple Zeppelin

Saturday 27 November

SHOWTIME! - Xmas

Variety Shows 28 & 30 Nov

Xmas with The Rat Pack

Wednesday 1 December

Box Office: 01827 709618 www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk

Corporation Street, Tamworth, Staffordshire. B79 7DN

*Please note that these events were correct at time of print and are subject to government guidelines, please check our website for latest updates.


F O O D & D R I N K

Prepare for a festive feast

THE PERFECT FESTIVE FEAST TAKES PLANNING, AND THERE’S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT TO

START. AMY NORBURY TALKS TO EXPERTS FROM EACH OF THE INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES AT

WOODMILL FARM IN YOXALL ABOUT HOW TO CREATE A CHRISTMAS DINNER TO WOW

Creating a Christmas culinary experience to

remember can be a bit of a mammoth task; from

deciding what you’re going to make to shopping for

supplies, and then the endless rounds of cooking,

Christmas dinner can be a bit of a minefield.

But it doesn’t need to be.

If you’re already planning your festive menu, then

the independent businesses at Woodmill Farm will

ensure everything on the table is fabulously fresh and

top notch - and as local as can be.

From show-stopping birds and joints of meat, to

the freshest of seasonal veg, delectable seafood to

delicious baked goodies - and not forgetting, of

course, the best tipples to accompany every element

of the feast - you are guaranteed to find everything

you need down at the farm.

THE MAIN EVENT:

When it comes to the festive table centrepiece,

butcher Paul Shum’s pick might be a somewhat

surprising one. Rather than tackle a turkey, Paul rates

a beautiful piece of beef as the star of the show.

“The beef we have here is dry-aged, so we hang

it for a month in the traditional way,” says Paul.

“Because it’s dry-aged it has a lot less moisture in

it so it needs a lot less cooking; we’re here to give

people advice on the cooking of their beef to ensure

it’s perfect.”

BEEF IS PAUL’S PICK

FOR A TOP FESTIVE

FEAST

Pop into Paul’s butchers and deli and you’ll be

greeted by the most beautiful selection of high

quality, locally sourced meats - just what you need for

the cornerstones of your Christmas table.

“A lot of people have changed from traditional

turkey to turkey breast fillets; it’s a great alternative

to a full bird and generally means there’s much less

waste,” says Paul. “We can stuff them, wrap them in

bacon, there are lots of different options.

“If people want something other than turkey, we

do free-range Packington cockerels, and free-range

ducks, which are both great alternatives. A nice

honey-glazed ham is always nice too; it’s a good idea

to do a couple of smaller joints rather than one big

one so people have choice.”

Away from the meat, Paul offers a plethora of fresh,

local veg for creating those sumptuous side dishes,

while the deli is also packed with beautiful local

produce - including more than 40 cheeses to create

the perfect festive cheeseboard.

PAUL’S FESTIVE TIPS:

Use a temperature probe: “A lot of people

overcook turkey because they’re worried about not

cooking it properly, so a temperature probe is a

great investment. The core temperature needs to be

between 75 and 80 degrees for a perfectly cooked

28 www.jaimemagazine.com


Christmas at

woodmill farm in yoxall

butchers

Fresh, locally sourced meat;

beautiful deli with home-made

products and huge range of

cheese; fresh fruit and veg

butchers and

delicatessen

butchersofyoxall.co.uk

A fantastic selection of freshbaked

bread and home-baked

cakes and sweet treats, made

with love and care. Also sharing

platters and grazing tables

bakery and

patisserie

greendoorcaterers.co.uk

bakers

fish

drinks

A range of gins, wine, ales

together with gifts, art, festive

wreaths, fresh flowers and

much more

gins, wine & ales

01543 472379

Serve luxurious fish with your

festive dining: smoked salmon,

lobster, prawns, crab, mussels

and much more - fresh and

delicious.

fish & seafood

facebook.com/sandsfreshfish

four wonderful family businesses putting the heart

and soul into your festive food and drinks

Woodmill Farm...

making shopping a complete gift!

come to see us for a warm welcome at woodmill farm,

yoxall, de13 8pg • head out of yoxall and look out for the signs!

open tuesday to saturday every week


ird, and you should check in the thickest part of the

meat. A lot of the turkeys we sell now come with a

small temperature probe which pops out when the

bird is ready.”

Let your meat rest: “Once your turkey is cooked,

take it out and leave it to rest for a good 40 minutes

or more, wrapped in tinfoil. It will continue to cook

while it rests which is why it’s so important not to

leave it in the oven for too long.

“If you’re having beef, most beef joints need cooking

to medium and then resting; the resting stage is

probably the most important part, you need to let

the muscles relax. If you’ve rested your beef properly

you should be able to cut it on a white plate and have

no blood or juice coming out.”

Make the most of leftovers: “Put all of your veg,

some of the meat and a bit of gravy in a dish then

top with mashed potato to make a leftover pie; it’s

really nice, and a great way to use up your leftovers.

It’s a lovely thing, and you can freeze it too for

dinners further down the line. The key thing is not to

waste anything.”

A LUXURIOUS TOUCH:

When it comes to the traditional seafood offerings

which accompany the festive feast, fishmonger

Karen Sands says that, this year, it’s all about adding

some ‘bling’. From lobster-laden buffet tables to

caviar-topped canapes, people are going all out with

luxurious twists.

“After the times we’ve gone through, it’s lovely to put

that little bit of extra effort in, and I think people are

looking forward to that this year,” says Karen.

Sands Fish have been popping up at Woodmill Farm

every Saturday - and in spring, they will be opening

a permanent home in a converted hay barn on the

farm.

“We’ve had superb feedback from our customers,

and working with Paul, as well as Green Door and

Scrummys here, has been fantastic,” says Karen. “It’s

such a nice destination to come to, to get really great

SEAFOOD STARTERS ARE THE

PERFECT, LIGHTER CHOICE FOR

CHRISTMAS DINNER

GRAZING BOXES

ARE PERFECT FOR

CHRISTMAS EVE

quality food.”

For Christmas week, Karen and the team will be at

the farm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to

ensure customers can pick up the freshest fish and

seafood for their festive fayre.

KAREN’S SEAFOOD SELECTIONS:

Prawn cocktail: “It’s one of the most traditional

starters, and hugely popular, but this year we’re

seeing people adding gorgeous larger prawns to

the usual peeled cocktail prawns. We can supply

everything here apart from the lettuce - but you’ve

only got to pop next door to Paul for that!”

Smoked salmon: “We have wonderful Scottish

smoked salmon which is thinly cut; it’s gorgeous to

offer to your guests when they arrive, on a blini with

a glass of fizz - what could be better?”

SAVE ROOM FOR PUD:

Trish McCann, from the Green Door Bakery and

Patisserie, is offering an array of solutions to take the

hassle out ofChrismtas catering. From festive grazing

boxes and Christmas Day breakfast pastries, to

puddings and pies galore - as well as plenty of vegan

and gluten-free options - the bakery will be heaving

with delectable, homemade goodies throughout

December.

Trish also runs Green Door Caterers, offering outside

catering for all occasions. For the festive season, the

bakery and catering side will be working together to

offer solutions for all your Christmas dining needs.

“Everything is about giving our customers the

ultimate choice,” says Trish. “Having both the

bakery and catering side means we can offer so many

different things.

30 www.jaimemagazine.com


“Once we hit December it will be full-on festive;

we sell mince pies in their hundreds, and we’ll have

Christmas puddings and cakes, as well as ‘hug-in-amug’

chocolate bombes which make lovely stocking

fillers.”

TRISH’S TOP TIPS:

Mix and match: “We’re offering individual desserts

so people can mix and match instead of having to

have one large dessert, which is great for catering for

your guests as they can all have a different dessert.”

Go mini: “If people are too full for a big pudding,

we’re also doing mini canape-style desserts so you

can still have that sweet taste at the end of the meal;

they’re indulgent bitesize pieces.”

Make it easy: “Christmas Eve can be really hectic,

so if you’re looking for an easy option we’re offering

Christmas Eve sharing boxes, filled with beautiful

meats, cheeses and more. They slide out on a

presentation board so all you need to do is tuck in!”

TERRIFIC TIPPLES:

No festive feast would be complete without a

complementary tipple or three - and Scrummys

at the Barn offers an array of locally produced

beers, ciders and spirits for all occasions. Scrummys

also partners with wine merchant Vin-X, based

in Barton-under-Needwood, to bring customers a

fantastic selection of wines which you most definitely

won’t find on the supermarket shelves.

Owner Jane Scrimshaw has a wealth of knowledge

to help you find the perfect drinks for your festive

YOXALL ICE DESSERT PERRY IS

ONE OF JANE’S TOP PICKS

SCRUMMYS STOCKED AN

ARRAY OF QUALITY WINES

celebrations.

Boozy gifts are also in plentiful supply, with local

gins, rums, beers and ciders available to be gift-boxed

and wrapped, ready to pop under the Christmas tree.

Jane is also making pretty gin-filled baubles, which

are sure to go down a storm over the festive season.

With a range of Christmas cards and wrapping

paper, as well as some fabulous handmade craft gifts

from local artisans, Scrummys is a festive gifting

haven.

JANE’S PERFECT PAIRINGS:

To celebrate: “For fizz, I’d recommend something

a little different. From South Africa’s Stellenbosch

region we have the Pongracz, which is a pinot noir

and chardonnay grape, and it’s made in the same

traditional way as Champagne. We’ve got both

the white and rosé versions and these are great

celebration wines, perfect for Christmas lunch, New

Year’s Eve, Boxing Day - or even breakfast. It’s £21,

and for the price it’s fantastic. I like my fizz, and this

is lovely - it’s my go-to.”

With dinner: “Paul has recommended beef as his

top dinner choice, and with that I’d probably go for

a pinot noir or a primitivo; primitivo is Italian, a

good heavy, robust fruity red, while a nice Chilean

pinot noir is something a little bit lighter but would

go equally well if you prefer your reds on the lighter

side.

“Turkey’s not a particularly strong-flavoured meat

so it can take quite a robust white so I’d go for

something like a Marlborough sauvignon blanc,

or a South African chenin blanc - both would pair

beautifully.”

For dessert: “Keeping it really local, we have

Yoxall Cider’s Yoxall Ice dessert cider and dessert

perry, which are both delicious. The dessert perry,

made with pears, is a Great Taste 2021 award

winner; that bit sweeter than the cider version, I

think this would be the perfect pairing for your

Christmas pud.”

www.jaimemagazine.com

31


F O O D & D R I N K

A starry showcase

IT’S A FINE DINING FEAST IN LICHFIELD AS MICHELIN-STARRED CHEF ROB PALMER TAKES

OVER THE REINS AT THYME KITCHEN. AMY NORBURY POPPED ALONG TO DISCOVER MORE

It’s an exciting time to be a foodie in Lichfield.

Hot on the heels of the opening of local boy

Tom Shepherd’s city centre fine dining restaurant

Upstairs, there’s a new Michelin-starred residency in

town.

Rob Palmer won a coveted star for his work at Peels

Restaurant at Hampton Manor in 2016, retaining

it every year since, alongside an impressive four

AA rosettes. And ahead of the opening of his first

solo venture next spring, Rob has joined forces with

Lichfield fine dining supremos Sauce Supper Club to

take over the evening service at Curborough’s Thyme

Kitchen until the end of the year.

Offering a seasonally-inspired menu which will

showcase the kind of dishes Rob will be offering

at his restaurant Toffs when it opens in Solihull

next spring, this is a tasty opportunity for Lichfield

diners to try Michelin quality cooking in their own

backyard.

Beth and Jon Toovey, who run Sauce Supper Club,

are no strangers to bringing the finest of dining to

ROB PALMER IS TAKING

OVER EVENINGS AT

THYME KITCHEN

Lichfield, with their pop-up events seeing acclaimed

chefs from all over the country delighting diners with

their culinary craft.

Now, the opening of Thyme Kitchen last year - a

fantastic brunch eatery by day, and the supper

club’s home by night - has given Beth and Jon the

opportunity to offer a more substantial billing to a

guest chef.

And Lichfield is welcoming Rob with open arms.

The J’AIME team were delighted to be invited down

to Thyme Kitchen to sample Rob’s debut menu.

Priced at £65 per head for six courses - including a

choice of main dish - it represents excellent value for

a chef with such a prestigious pedigree.

If you’ve not been down to Thyme Kitchen yet, then

it’s the perfect excuse to do so. The restaurant is

stylish yet cosy, offering a rustic chic vibe which suits

its countryside location at Curborough to a tee.

We were shown to a cosy table for two and started

proceedings with a little aperetif; the cocktail menu

offers some seriously tempting options, and both

the espresso martini and pornstar martini are

exceptionally good.

Although we decided against it, diners can also

choose to go for the wine pairing, priced at £40,

which offers a perfect pick for each dish.

32 www.jaimemagazine.com


The first little morsel to arrive was a delightful snack;

a cracker topped with a silky smooth Berkswell

cheese cream and rings of pickled red onion. It was

a bite full of big flavours, which was swiftly devoured

and left us wanting more.

Rob’s ethos is all about taking simple, fresh and

seasonal produce and elevating it to dishes worth

talking about.

Now goats’ cheese and beetroot is a classic

combination which always delivers, and Rob’s take

on the duo brought the best out of each element.

A rich goats’ cheese ice cream, earthy beetroot

morsels studded with sweet pear, a luscious beetroot

reduction and a sourdough crumb for texture made

for an accomplished dish.

It’s hard to pick a dish of the night, but the dish

which followed was certainly worthy of the plaudits.

A slice of potato terrine, all crisp edges and buttery

soft middle, topped with sweet shrimp and sat in a

puddle of creamy sauce flavoured with Rob’s British

take on the Chinese XO, it was comfort food heaven

elevated to something seriously special indeed.

When it comes to devising a tasting menu, it’s a

bold step to include a dish which may prove to be

divisive among diners. Raw meat is a rather Marmite

ingredient, so the venison tartare may not be to

everyone’s tastes.

Happily, we love a good tartare - and this was an

exceedingly good tartare. Beautiful venison, strands

of sweet red cabbage, crunchy walnuts and a punch

of Old Winchester cheese liberally scattered atop

for good measure, it was a perfectly autumnal dish,

executed superbly.

Moving onto the main event, somewhat unusually

for a tasting menu Rob offers a choice of dishes;

monkfish with salsify, shellfish and Champagne, or

duck with onion, mushroom and peppercorn sauce.

The monkfish, by all accounts, looked sublime, but

it was the duck which won us over. Seared slices of

gloriously pink duck were melt-in-the-mouth, with

an intensely savoury note coming from the charring

on top.

A baby onion stuffed with duck offcuts was a delight,

while a punchy peppercorn sauce was a beautiful

accompaniment. But it was the mushroom ketchup

which stole the show; bottle it, we’ll buy it. Please.

Dessert was a chocolate lover’s dream, showcasing

the good stuff in three different ways with a

beautifully rich ganache, dark chocolate tuile and

a chunk of aerated milk chocolate - a posh Aero, if

you will. The accompanying ice cream was a glorious

vanilla hit, flecked with oodles of vanilla seeds and

silky as you like.

If was just enough sweetness to satisfy at the end of

what had been a fabulous dining experience.

Chatting to Rob between courses, it is clear to see

his passion for the produce he works with, enabling

him to get the most out of every morsel. His stellar

achievements at Peels go without saying, and this

sneak preview makes Toffs - named in honour of

the Palmer family’s nickname, as well as being a nod

to its salubrious location - an exciting proposition

indeed.

Rob’s residency in Lichfield may only be a shortlived

one, but it is most certainly sweet. Get in there

while you can because, come spring, Solihull’s gain

will be Lichfield’s loss.

www.jaimemagazine.com

33


F O O D & D R I N K

Build the best cheeseboard

NO FESTIVE GATHERING IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A CHEESEBOARD, AND IF

YOU’RE STARTING TO PLAN WHAT YOURS WILL LOOK LIKE WE HAVE SOME

FANTASTIC POINTERS FOR YOU FROM A TRUE EXPERT IN THE FIELD

At the International Cheese and Dairy Awards on

October 21, a prestigious international event held

for the first time this year at the Staffordshire County

Showground, we got the inside track on pulling

together the perfect cheeseboard from Noémie

Richard.

Noémie is cheese training manager at Savencia

Fromage and Dairy, whose brands include Saint

Albray, Le Rustique and Saint Agur, a food engineer

at the French agricultural college Isara Lyon, and a

Maître Fromager of La Guilde Internationale des

Fromagers. So it’s safe to say she knows what she’s

talking about when it comes to all things cheese.

To build her cheeseboard, she goes right back to

basics, starting circa 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia

with the very first type of cheese to be ‘discovered’.

This was the original agricultural revolution, when

shepherds stored milk in the stomachs of goats and

sheep. The rennet and natural microorganisms

caused the milk to solidify, resulting in simple fresh

cheeses much like the soft goats’ cheese you can find

in the shops today.

You could use a Chavroux for this element, simply

draining any excess liquid and gently placing it

on your slate or board as if you were building a

sandcastle. A drizzle of runny honey complements

the slightly acidic, milky notes.

In areas where milk is available year-round, there is

less need for it to be preserved, and in France that

resulted in short shelf-life cheeses such as camembert.

It’s no accident that soft rind cheeses like brie are

made in a wheel. The shape makes a huge difference

in the maturation process - which happens from the

outside in - and therefore the taste.

34

www.jaimemagazine.com


Enjoy a delicious meal in the elegant

surroundings of Moor Hall Hotel & Spa’s

AA Rosette restaurant which is the

perfect setting for a special festive

celebration.

Available from 25th November

(Thursdays & Fridays)

£25 per person includes a glass of prosecco

Available from 4th December

(Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays)

£35 per person, Thursday to Friday

£39 per person on Saturday

FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA

Available 1pm to 5pm from Friday 19th November

Adults: £25 | Children £15

SUNDAY LUNCH IN THE OAK ROOM

29th November | 5th December | 12th December | 19th December

Adults: £30 | Children £19

FESTIVE DINING IN THE COUNTRY KITCHEN

Open for lunch on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays

from 19th November

3 courses: Adults: £18 | Children £14

Open for dinner every evening and all day Sunday from 18th November

3 courses: Adults: £20 | Children £14

BOXING DAY LUNCH

Choose The Country Kitchen Adults: £35| Children £18

or The Oak Room £45 per person

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINING IN THE OAK ROOM

Enjoy a five course meal: £82 per person

Roasted butternut squash and thyme velouté,

bruschetta toast, toasted pumpkin seed V

Game terrine, pear and raisin chutney,

ciabatta crisps, potato straw

Venison tartare, caper berries, shallots,

mustard aioli, confit egg yolk GF

Smoked haddock and chive bon bons,

chilli marinated tiger prawns, gribiche

Baby beetroots, whipped goats cheese,

chicory and walnut salad V GF

Turkey and pancetta roulade, fondant potato,

honey glazed root vegetables, festive chipolata,

prosciutto crisp, red wine reduction GF*

Slow roasted belly of pork,

pork crisp, green apple gel, potato terrine GF*

Slow cooked shin of beef, pomme purée, burnt

onion purée, wild mushrooms, pancetta jus GF**

Crispy skin stone bass, braised fennel,

mussel and clam bouillabaisse GF*

Butternut squash and wild mushroom wellington,

crushed new potatoes, winter greens,

creamed sauce V

Traditional Christmas pudding, brandy sauce GF*

Dark chocolate delice,

cocoa nibs, malted milk ice cream

Pear and almond choux bun,

caramel, pear purée, almond cream V

Cheese board, pickled walnuts, grapes,

red onion chutney, crackers V* GF*

A selection of ice creams and sorbets V GF

Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LN

0121 308 3751 christmas@moorhallhotel.co.uk

www.moorhallhotel.co.uk/christmas/

Mince pie


A cheese like Caprice des Dieux (literally ‘whim of

gods’) shows off the results perfectly in it’s unusual

oval shape. The soft rind encloses a liquid layer and

at the centre you find the creamy ‘lactic heart’ of the

cheese. It’s delicious paired with something slightly

sweet, and will look stunning on your board if you

gently pare the centre of the rind away and spoon on

some tangy citrus marmalade.

For a well-balanced cheeseboard, Noémie advises

thinking about the different ‘families’ of cheeses

as well as including varieties from different regions

or even different countries. We already have a soft

and a soft-ripened cheese on our board, so the next

selection should be an example of a washed rind

cheese.

Maroilles is a cow’s milk cheese made only in the

regions of Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais in

northern France. Like Stilton or Brie de Meaux it

has protected designation of origin (PDO) status. Its

distinctive orange rind is the result of an eight-week

maturation process during which it is repeatedly

washed with a damp cloth containing microflorae

that produce carotene. The intense, savoury taste

balances well with the spicy sweetness of gingerbread

loaf in place of the more familiar cracker. You can

even sprinkle a little crystallised ginger over the top.

Ideally it works best to have a larger piece of each

cheese on the board for your guests to see, alongside

smaller pieces that they can easily take

One real must-have is a palate cleanser. Fresh

slices of apple are the go-to for professional cheese

graders - and, indeed, the International Cheese

and Dairy Awards judges - with the Granny Smith

recommended above all for its crispness and tartness.

Plus it will look great as part of your display.

Next to add is a hard cheese. These contain more

milk solids, which means they require longer

to mature and are generally more intense and

concentrated in flavour. The Tomme de Brebis that

Noémie recommends is on the softer side of hard

- a relatively young cheese from the French Basque

Country with a mild, nutty taste that works really

well with a few drops of honey and a scattering

of blueberries. Simple accompaniments like this

are all these cheeses need, Noémie explains, as the

maturation process has already done the hard work

of creating complex and satisfying flavour profiles.

The Tomme de Brebis is a ewe’s milk cheese, adding

an extra dimension of variety and interest to the

board.

The final cheese family to consider is blue, and

on this occasion it is Saint Agur. Produced in the

Auvergne region of central France, this blue cheese

gets its exceptional creaminess from the milk of the

Montbéliarde cows that thrive there. They produce

milk with a very high protein and fat content, ideal

for the Penicillium roqueforti fungi that make the

cheese blue. It melts on the palate without losing its

intense character - the perfect finishing touch for

your festive cheeseboard.

36 www.jaimemagazine.com


FREE

PARKING

Interesting Shops

Festive Food and Drinks

Dedicated Christmas Shop

Late Night Opening

JOIN US FOR

Friday 3rd December

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Additional

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Weekends from

13th November to

5th December

heartofthecountryvillage.com

Swinfen, Lichfield. WS14 9QR

CHRISTMAS AT

THE GARRICK

Thu 25 Nov 2021 - Sun 2 Jan 2022

Sat 11 - Fri 24 Dec

Sat 11 - Fri 24 Dec

Sat 11 - Fri 24 Dec

box office | 01543 412121

www.lichfieldgarrick.com


I N T E R I O R S

Mulling

it over

IT wouldn’t be winter without a mug or two of mulled

wine on the go, so it should come as no surprise that this

festive favourite has served as inspiration for one of the

most enduring decor trends at this time of year.

This rich, velvety, versatile shade is a staple in both fashion

and interiors during the autumn/winter season, and for

good reason. Integrating this moody, deep red wine hue

into your space can effortlessly add a touch of drama and

sophistication, helping to create an intensely cosy, seasonal

vibe.

Go bold with mulled wine wallcoverings if you want to

add some serious impact to your room, or opt for larger

furniture pieces in lush materials; think rich velvet,

sumptuous leather and faux fur.

For a swift festive injection, add a few mulled wine

accessories; a luxurious blanket here, some throw

pillows there will update your space without too much

commitment.

Mulled wine pairs perfectly with lush deep greens and

warm gold hues to create an opulent scheme, while paredback

white offers a contemporary vibe. If you’re feeling

brave, try teaming with blush pink for a stylish colour

clash.

ANNIE SLOAN WALL PAINT IN PRIMER RED,

£49.95/2.5L AND CHALK PAINT IN PRIMER RED,

£21.95/L. WWW.ANNIESLOAN.COM

DULUX HERITAGE VELVET MATT PAINT

IN FLORENTINE RED, AVAILABLE FROM

TIPPERS. WWW.TIPPERS.COM

£30

£23.50

CASHMERE TOUCH FLEECE THROW

IN MULBERRY, WALTON & CO.

WWW.WALTONSHOP.CO.UK

REFILLABLE INITIAL CANDLE,

LITTLE KARMA CO.

WWW.LITTLEKARMACO.COM

HARPER FOOTSTOOL IN PLUM

SMART VELVET, WWW.SOFA.COM

£550

38 www.jaimemagazine.com


t he heart of t he home...

Visit our showroom to be amazed by the choice -

from traditional to modern

With such a wide range of fires, fireplaces and stoves

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

WE OF F ER

A C OMP LE T E

INST ALLA T ION

SERV ICE

Visit our showroom and be amazed by the choice! With such a wide range from traditional to modern, there’s sure to be a style to suit you!

5 Stafford Road, Lichfield WS13 7BZ - Tel: 01543 263 383 • www.thefireplacelichfield.co.uk • Email: sales@thefireplacelichfield.co.uk

Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 4pm. Closed Sundays, Monday’s and bank holidays . FREE ON-SITE PARKING.

SOMERTON

KITCHEN

ELEGANT & CONTEMPORARY

EUROPA WAY, LICHFIELD, WS14 9TZ

01543 440020 | SHOWROOMS.TIPPERS.COM

BOOK AN

APPOINTMENT

APPOINTMENTS.

TIPPERS.COM

WEEKDAYS

7.30AM - 5.00PM

SATURDAY

8.00AM - 2.00PM


£15.50

BURGUNDY EUCALYPTUS LIGHT UP GARLAND,

COX & COX. WWW.COXANDCOX.CO.UK

£3,364

HOLLAND FIXED COVER MEDIUM SOFA

IN MERLOT EASY CLEAN PLUSH VELVET,

DARLINGS OF CHELSEA.

WWW.DARLINGSOFCHELSEA.CO.UK

SORRENTO VELVET OCCASIONAL TUB

CHAIR IN WINE RED, PEPPERMILL INTERIORS,

BURNTWOOD BUSINESS PARK.

WWW.PEPPERMILLINTERIORS.COM

£425

£395

£60

FITZPATRICK FLOOR LAMP IN BURGUNDY

WITH TEAL FLORAL SPOT SHADE,

FLORENCE BROADHURST.

WWW.FLORENCEBROADHURST.CO.UK

BURGUNDY PHEASANT GLASS TRAY,

DECORALIST. WWW.DECORALIST.COM

£120

£15.99

IMPERIAL ROSELAND CAST IRON

BATH. AVAILABLE FROM TPPERS.

WWW.TIPPERS.COM

BURGUNDY RIBBED GLASS

HOLDER, IVYLINE.

WWW.IVYLINEGB.CO.UK

TURIN VELVET DINING CHAIR WITH ARMS

IN MALBEC RED, PEPPERMILL INTERIORS,

BURNTWOOD BUSINESS PARK.

WWW.PEPPERMILLINTERIORS.COM

SET OF TWO BURGUNDY AND GOLD

GARLANDS, £35, COX & COX.

WWW.COXANDCOX.CO.UK

FAUX STEM PANICLE GRASS FEATHERS,

£89.99, IN GREY RIBBED GLASS VASE, £79.99,

DOWSING AND REYNOLDS.

WWW.DOWSINGANDREYNOLDS.COM


LOAF DIXIE SOFA IN MERLOT CLEVER DEEP

VELVET, £1,745. WWW.LOAF.COM

PLUM METRO TILES, £16/SQM, TILE

MOUNTAIN. WWW.TILEMOUNTAIN.CO.UK


I N T E R I O R S

Kitchen

dramas

IT’S that time of year again - the nation’s favourite baking

show is back, which means we’re all glued to our TVs on

a Tuesday evening and itching to get into the kitchen to

recreate those Bake Off showstoppers come Wednesday.

As every GBBO enthusiast knows, a well-stocked - and

well-organised - kitchen is essential if you want to earn the

coveted title of star baker. From hi-tech kitchen gadgets to

traditional tools of the trade, you need to make sure your

kitchen is up to scratch if you want to impress Prue and

Paul with your masterpieces.

Invest in some baking essentials which are as pretty as they

are practical; a beautiful stand mixer will add a touch of

style to your kitchen sides, while decorative cake stands

offer form as well as function. The key is to opt for pieces

which you can have on display - rather than hide away.

Now - on your marks... get set... BAKE!

MARBLE ROLLING PIN, £60, COX & COX.

WWW.COXANDCOX.CO.UK

£19.95

£32 £65

SET OF FOUR GEESE PASTRY

FORKS, ANNABEL JAMES.

WWW.ANNABELJAMES.CO.UK

AGNES ENAMEL MEASURING CUPS

IN GOLD, BOMBAY DUCK.

WWW.BOMBAYDUCK.COM

AGNES ENAMEL THREE TIER

CAKE STAND, BOMBAY DUCK.

WWW.BOMBAYDUCK.COM

£18

£25

ENCHANTED FOREST DOUBLE

OVEN GLOVE, WALTON & CO.

WWW.WALTONSHOP.CO.UK

LARGE GREY ORLA JAR, FIKA LIVING.

WWW.FIKALIVING.CO.UK

42 www.jaimemagazine.com


The Holly Prince Trust

CharityChristmas Market

Friday 5th - Saturday 6th November

10am - 4pm

The Deer Park, Maker Lane, Hoar Cross


£39.95

£34.95

£16.95

SPECKLED SPOT MEMPHIS STYLE

CAKE STAND, CIELSHOP.

WWW.CIELSHOPINTERIORS.COM

GEESE CAKE SLICE, ANNABEL JAMES.

WWW.ANNABELJAMES.CO.UK

£9.50

FRENCH GREY MECHANICAL

SCALES, KITCHENCRAFT.

WWW.KITCHENCRAFT.CO.UK

£319

THE HONEYCOMB GOLD WIRE

GLASS JAR, HOUSE OF FLORA.

WWW.HOUSE-OF-FLORA.COM

£19

KITCHENAID STAND MIXER IN RED,

TIPPERS. WWW.TIPPERS.COM

STONEWARE MIXING BOWL,

PROCOOK. WWW.PROCOOK.CO.UK

ALDERLEY KITCHEN. AVAILABLE

FROM TIPPERS LUXURY KITCHEN AND

BATHROOM SHOWROOMS, LICHFIELD.

WWW.TIPPERS.COM

44 www.jaimemagazine.com


SET OF THREE CAKE TINS, £37.95,

AND CLIP TOP STORAGE CADDY,

£7.95, ANNABEL JAMES.

WWW.ANNABELJAMES.CO.UK

BROMPTON COOKBOOK HOLDER IN

ANTIQUE BRASS FINISH, £25, GARDEN

TRADING. WWW.GARDENTRADING.CO.UK

SMEG HAND MIXER IN RED, £149,

WWW.SMEGUK.COM

SOPHIE ALLPORT BEES COLLECTION

STONEWARE MUG, STONEWARE

JUG, DOUBLE OVEN GLOVE AND

TEA TOWEL, FROM £11.

WWW.SOPHIEALLPORT.COM

VANQUISH KITCHEN, AVAILABLE FROM KESSELER

BIRMINGHAM, THORNHILL RD. SUTTON COLDFIELD.

WWW.KESSELERBIRMINGHAM.CO.UK

45


F E AT U R E

A Rugeley page-turner

RUGELEY RESIDENT MIKE O’BRIEN IS A MAN OF MANY TALENTS - A TEACHER, A MUSICIAN

AND SONGWRITER AND A POET - AS WELL AS AN AUTHOR LOOKING FORWARD TO BRINGING

HIS THIRD NOVEL INTO THE WORLD. KATY EDGINGTON DISCOVERS MORE

AUTHOR MIKE O’BRIEN IS ALSO

A MUSICIAN, PERFORMING HIS

ORIGINAL SONGS IN FOLK AND

ACOUSTIC CLUBS

When former teacher and longtime Rugeley resident

Mike O’Brien sold the bar he had taken on as a

retirement option, he found himself with time to

invest in his passion - writing.

Born in Birmingham, Mike taught in the second

city for many years, eventually becoming deputy

head of a comprehensive school. He had long

dabbled in creative writing but found that his other

commitments meant that he lacked the time to tackle

anything substantial.

“I’ve always written but because of time constraints,

rarely anything of any length,” he explains. “I’m also

a singer-songwriter, so my creative impulses went into

songwriting for a while.”

Although he still enjoys playing his original songs

in folk and acoustic clubs, and even recording

music with his children and their partners - several

of whom are professional and semi-professional

musicians - he finds novel writing is intensely private

and solitary by contrast.

Since semi-retiring, Mike has published two novels:

War on Wasps in 2015 and A Can of Serpents

in 2017. Part political exposé, part psychological

thriller, both novels explore the impact of terrorism

and corruption on relationships in modern society.

Perhaps surprisingly, the inspiration for War on

Wasps originally came from Mike’s time in the

classroom.

“For years I’d been setting a GCSE creative writing

assignment,” he explains. “The example was a

46

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true story about one of the first aircraft terrorism

incidents - a Jordanian journalist who planted a

bomb in his pregnant girlfriend’s case. I thought, ‘I

have to do it myself, otherwise I’m a fraud’.”

Several characters appear in both novels at different

stages of their lives. George Orwell obliquely

comments throughout A Can of Serpents on themes

of power, terror and fear in the form of quotes from

1984, his vision of a future dystopia.

Mike’s novel is set principally in Rugeley, and

captures the tense atmosphere in the town at the

height of the miners’ strike in 1984. For Mike,

concentrating on his own locale was only natural.

“Rugeley is a great place - it has the countryside, the

rivers, the mines and it used to have the power works.

It’s a tidy little community in its own right and there’s

a lot to be said about it. I did use some poetic license,

but I live here - I know the roads and the walks.”

That’s just a small part of the research process,

however. Mike often uses the internet and social

media to research not only places, but also people’s

attitudes, opinions and manners of speaking.

“The big bonus of the internet and writing now,

is that I can sit here in my office and find the road

layout of Richmond in London, for example. I can

‘walk’ up and down those roads and get 360 degree

shots of the station. I can find out very intimate

details of places without ever having to visit them.”

Writing songs and poetry has always been an

important part of Mike’s life, and he currently has

a poetry collection in competition. He says time is

a big factor in his creative output. Although poems

RUGELEY AUTHOR MIKE

O’BRIEN

MIKE HAS PUBLISHED TWO

NOVELS, AND IS CURRENTLY

WORKING ON A THIRD

require a lot of work, they generally require shorter,

more intense chunks of time and, he believes, distil

more of experience onto the page than a novel.

“Putting together the collection coincided very much

with the death of my dad and decline of my mum

into dementia, and wanting to keep short records

for her grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren,

in poetic form. It’s not sentimental at all, but it’s

therapeutic for me and it’s a legacy that will exist

after I’ve gone,” he says.

Particularly during the first lockdown last year, when

we all became afraid to go anywhere or stand too

close to anybody, Mike felt the urge to put pen to

paper once more and record history as it happened.

He very quickly began narrating a story that weaves

together many threads, including J.R.R.Tolkien as a

character. Between November 1915 and June 1916,

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings author was

stationed at Rugeley and Brocton Military Camps

on Cannock Chase, not far from where Mike lives. It

may well become the third novel in what was always

intended as a trilogy.

“The story moves back and forth in time and

also looks at the Cultural Revolution in China.

I’m 20,000 words in at the moment, but there’s a

lot of material there that will definitely turn into

something.

“I want my work to be literary, but I want it to be

accessible. Tolkien’s principal theme, of course, was

about how the small people - the hobbits - can make

a big difference in the world. That’s how I like to

think about writing.”

War on Wasps and A Can of Serpents are available

in paperback or on Kindle from Amazon.

48 www.jaimemagazine.com


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F E AT U R E

An icon reborn

A DISUSED FORMER ICON OF BRITISH DESIGN IN STREETLY HAS BEEN GIVEN A NEW LEASE OF

LIFE. JAZZ SHERGILL CAUGHT UP WITH ANNE-MARIE GOODCHILD AND MARY WHEELER,

VOLUNTEERS AND MEMBERS OF THE STREETLY COMMUNITY GROUP, ABOUT THE EXCHANGE

THE VOLUNTEERS AT THE

GRAND OPENING OF THE

EXCHANGE

There’s a new library in town but it’s not like your

usual one. This one doesn’t have any librarians,

computers or even a quiet place to sit back with a

book. It has, however, got a stamp in history and

was voted to be the greatest British design of all time

in 2015 but due to today’s modern-day technology

there simply isn’t a use for its original purpose.

Any guesses what it could be?

It’s the iconic red telephone box.

There were once more than 70,000 of these red

kiosks in the UK but approximately only around

10,000 remain. One was spotted in Streetly Village

where telecommunications company BT had posted

a notice on it saying that it will be removed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the removal of

the phone box had been delayed and the note was

seen by Anne-Marie Goodchild while on a walk.

With a love for the phone box design and having

always wanted one in her back garden, a petition was

then set up to save the iconic kiosk, which received

700 signatures for it to stay put. BT approved for

Shenstone Parish Council and a group from the

community to maintain the telephone box under

their adopt-a-kiosk scheme.

“I used to work for BT, so I contacted the head of

payphones and asked them to delay the recovery of

the whole phone box because they weren’t just going

to take the phone out; they were going to remove the

entire red phone box,” explained Anne-Marie.

“I got in touch with Shenstone Parish Council,

50 www.jaimemagazine.com


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and I prepared a business case which we discussed

over Zoom and it turned out they’d got a kiosk in

Wall and Shenstone which they had adopted. They

were a bit concerned about Streetly because they

said it wasn’t as rural as the other areas and they

thought there might be damage to it but in the end

they adopted it for a pound and then I got some

wonderful volunteers and we started to renovate it.”

The perfect team of volunteers - Anne-Marie

Goodchild, Mary Wheeler, Will Wheeler, Katie

Blabey, Ramona Milhailescu and Phil Campion -

came together to restore the kiosk and help bring the

new library to life. The windows were repaired, a

new coat of paint was applied, and custom-designed,

handmade shelves were added. In went in the books,

DVDs, CDs, jigsaw puzzles and even flower seeds for

the public to take, swap and add; it was named The

Exchange.

“Together Will and Phil designed the shelves, Will

then made them to go inside which were very good

and they’ve received a lot of compliments,” Mary

added.

“There’s also a planter that wraps around the box

and we’ve had plants donated by William Wheat and

Sons. We constantly get compliments about it and

the community seems to really appreciate it.”

The entire renovation took approximately six months

to complete. The Exchange was opened up by Dave

Salter, Chair of the Shenstone Parish Council; he

said it was the best renovation he had seen.

“It was a big team effort, and it was a lot of hard

work but it was all well worth it,” said Anne-Marie.

“We had a lovely official opening and now it’s

literally just a case of maintaining it. We did need

extra money, so we did the Streetly Walking Market

and had stalls outside there. At Christmas we had

non-alcoholic mulled wine, Mary made some cakes,

we had a tombola and so we raised a PayPal account

and had a lot of money donated from the event.”

Since the opening, word has got around; and it’s

proving to be popular with the younger generations

too. Sometimes, books don’t get used or there simply

isn’t enough shelf space for them. Anne-Marie and

Mary tell us what happens to the extra stock:

“You’ll see the kids sometimes running there on a

Saturday morning, you know they’re going there

with books and they’re going to the Exchange. When

we’re in there tidying up or refreshing the books, you

see a lot more of the cookery books that get left and

have been there for a long time. We do occasionally

have to take some to charity shops because we don’t

just want to throw them away.”

The Exchange has built a real sense of community;

it was there to be used in the pandemic when places

were not open for everyone to enjoy.

“When the libraries were closed during the

lockdowns, the books were there for people to

borrow and have a look at; grandparents have told

us that they entertain their grandchildren by taking

them down to the box and choosing books. A lot of

community events have been triggered as a result of

what we’ve been doing.” said Mary.

“It’s very much a community hub as well as an

exchange for books and it’s open 24 hours; we have

built new friendships with people that we wouldn’t

have otherwise, there’s been a lot of appreciation

from the community and just actually being able to

save it has been worth it,” added Anne-Marie.

If you’d like to donate books to The Exchange, you

can leave them on the shelves if there is space or,

alternatively, there are contact details on the phone

box where you can arrange for any books, CDs,

DVDS and jigsaw puzzles to be collected.

If you want regular updates from The Exchange,

follow the Facebook page www.facebook.com/

StreetlyExchange where you can also look at the

titles of books before going down to make a visit.

BOOKS GALORE LINE THE SHELVES

52 www.jaimemagazine.com


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T R AV E L

Winter travel top tips

AS THE WORLD OPENS UP AGAIN, NATHAN COLLINS FROM LICHFIELD EXPERTS RB

COLLECTION HAND-PICKS HIS TOP TIPS FOR THAT ALL-IMPORTANT WINTER GETAWAY

THE PATINA RESORT OFFERS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY

MALDIVES EXPERIENCE

Whether you need a week on the beach, quality

family time or something a little more adventurous,

this winter is an exciting opportunity to travel once

again, and don’t we all deserve a break!

TROPICAL ISLAND…

For those who need some quality R&R, there are

some exciting new opportunities this winter. Some

of the main tropical islands such as the Maldives,

Mauritius, and Seychelles are already open and can

be accessed from Birmingham or Manchester via

Dubai, or direct from London.

Mauritius is perfect for Christmas with the family

and the island has much more to offer than stunning

beaches. The national park is beautiful as are the

hiking trails and tea plantations. Thrilling activities

such as kite surfing can be found on the south coast.

If you have older members of the family, the island

is a good choice to keep them occupied. We have a

12-night all-inclusive Christmas special with flights,

private transfers, free land and water sports from

£4,899 per person, departing December 19; drop

me a line for details.

If you are seeking that ultimate Maldives experience,

there are some new and exciting resorts to choose

from including the Ritz Carlton and Patina – all on

the brand-new Fari Islands. The flight time is around

11 hours, and we usually select islands that have

shorter seaplane or speedboat transfers so you can

get to your luxury hotel in good time.

54 www.jaimemagazine.com


THE WINTER MONTHS ARE

GREAT FOR A TRIP TO VENICE

The islands are very popular around Christmas and

New Year. For the best prices we can look at the start

or end of the peak seasons. I’ve visited a few islands

myself – it can be a needle in a haystack and, like

many popular tourist destinations, standards do vary

a lot. Even within the five star category you do have

to be careful with your choice of island so just let

me know if you need guidance when booking your

Maldives luxury holiday with us.

Antigua has proved popular so far this year, with

one of the easiest entry requirements of all the

Caribbean islands. Many of the top hotels are

smaller and sell out early. If you want to visit the

island and soak up the Caribbean culture and see

the sights, Antigua is a good option. The island has

a handful of scenic spots and a great sunset party

at Shirley Heights. Direct flights are from London

with British Airways or Virgin, who offer upgrades to

Premium, Club/Upper and First Class (BA only).

This winter we welcome a new direct flight from

Manchester to Barbados with Aer Lingus (they

are also launching Orlando and New York too).

Barbados is one of the more popular islands; a flatter

island than Antigua and St

Lucia but has a great restaurant

and bar scene if you want to

soak up the local vibe.

WINTER WARMTH

CLOSER TO HOME

If you prefer not to fly too

far, the best options for winter

sun are the Canary Islands.

Tenerife, Gran Canaria and

Lanzarote continue to be some

of our most popular islands

with a flight time of around

four hours from most local UK

VIRGIN ARE LAUNCHING A NEW DIRECT

FLIGHT FROM LONDON TO CAPE TOWN

airports, including Birmingham and

East Midlands.

If you have already visited the Canary

Islands, consider a multi-centre driving

trip around Gran Canaria as my fellow

MD did earlier this year. Oliver stayed

in the capital city La Palma, then drove

up to the mountains staying at the

Paradores Tejeda, ending with a few

days by the beach. See www.rbcollection.

com or www.jaimemagazine.com for

the full report, or contact us to put the

itinerary together for you.

If you prefer your holiday not to be

too hot, some of our favourite luxury

hotels on the Andalusian coast are open year-round,

with heated pools and specific winter-time bars and

restaurants open to enjoy. Puente Romano and the

Marbella Club would be our top picks and we have

personally visited them, so we know which is best to

recommend to different clients. The interior design

at Marbella Club is superb and remains one of the

most sought after places to stay in the Marbella area.

THE WORLD’S GREATEST SHOW!

All eyes are on Dubai this winter as Expo 2020

finally opens after being delayed for a year. This

world fair spectacular includes innovative technology

and showcases the world of tomorrow.

Various countries from around the world have built

pavilions including Spain, which will showcase

a hyperloop vehicle made by Zeleros. Sweden’s

pavilion, The Forest, is a wooden structure designed

to reduce CO2 emissions and act as a carbon sink.

The event is colossal and will no doubt draw in

visitors from around the world and is a must-see for

any visitors over the next year. Visit

www.expo2020dubai.com for more details.

www.jaimemagazine.com

55


IT’S SAFARI TIME!

Africa’s safari hotspots are finally

reopening and, to celebrate, Virgin

Atlantic are launching a new direct

flight from London to Cape Town

in South Africa, in addition to the

existing Johannesburg flight. Virgin

last flew to Cape Town in 2014

and so it is great news this will start

again.

British Airways also fly to South

Africa’s capital, which is a great

place to start your tour or selfdrive

holiday of the Winelands

and Garden Route. I visited the country twice and

Oliver drove himself a couple of years ago too. It is

one of our favourite countries and we already have

a handful of regular clients booked to revisit this

winter.

In addition to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and

Botswana are all on my hot list for this winter. Each

offering varying safari experiences, I have been

lucky to enjoy them all and can’t recommend them

enough. There are new itineraries on the luxurious

Blue Train to enjoy too; drop me a line for details.

CITY BREAKS

Winter is a nice time to visit some of the more

popular cities which can suffer overcrowding in the

summer months. It is a great time to visit Venice;

flights from Birmingham start again on February

10, 2022. Birmingham’s Rome flight also restarts in

February, with four departures per week. Why not

combine a few Italian cities and travel by the reliable

high speed train service?

Through the winter, there are twice-weekly flights to

THE ARCTIC BATH IN SWEDEN MAKES

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the Austrian capital of Vienna. The top hotel there

is called the Hotel Sacher and we had clients visit

this autumn who loved it! Other popular city breaks

from Birmingham include Barcelona, Prague, Paris,

Budapest and Lisbon, all of which have flights during

the wintertime.

Further afield, New York is set to make a big

comeback this year as we are finally allowed to visit

the USA once again. The city has welcomed back

Broadway shows and is buzzing with excitement to

welcome back visitors. Why not combine New York

with Boston, or get the high speed train down to

Washington DC?

WINTER ACTIVITIES

Are you feeling a little more active? New ski flights

from Birmingham include Chambery, which saves on

transfer times to popular resorts where you used to

have to fly to Geneva. Ski resorts are already filling

up as so many skiers transferred from last year. Our

tip would be to look for resorts which have longer,

more snow-sure seasons such as Val d’Isère in the

French Alps which is good for an Easter ski trip.

For a more unique experience, the

popular Ice Hotel in Sweden is back

with an exciting season and combines

well with the Tree Hotel or Arctic

Bath, just three-and-a-half hours

away by train. Sweden is famous for

its unique hotels, and we are lucky to

have visited so do ask for details as

they are quite specialist styles of trips.

Visit www.IceHotels.co.uk for more

details.

There is also a new direct flight to

Lulea in Sweden from London, which

is handy for some of these hotels

which all offer amazing opportunities

to see the Northern Lights.

56 www.jaimemagazine.com


LATEST NEWS FROM ASIA

Asia is understandably a region which is slower to

open than some of those I have already mentioned.

However, it is worth noting Thailand, for example,

has been running their ‘Sandbox’ tourism schemes

since the summer to allow visitors with certain

restrictions.

The trial was a success and now the country has

announced they will open further for visitors this

winter. There are certain restrictions as to where you

can go and what you can do, but at least it opens the

door once again for us to visit one of our favourite

parts of Asia.

CRUISE HOLIDAYS

As cruise lines restarted their sailings, we were

quick to get onboard. I spent a week on Seabourn

Ovation around the Greek Isles while Oliver tested

out Regent Splendour and Norwegian Epic. We have

now experienced nearly all the premium luxury ships

so can compare each for their varying merits.

Oliver’s top tip for Norwegian Epic is their ‘Haven’

ship-within-a-ship concept. This luxury area within

the ship offers more spacious suites,

a dedicated pool, spa and speciality

restaurant. You can continue to use the

facilities of the rest of the ship, including

superb Broadway shows!

During the winter months, cruise lines

traditionally reposition their ships from

the Mediterranean over to the Caribbean.

With limits to where they can cruise

further around the world, some of the

ships will stay in Europe this winter.

Regent Seven Seas, for example, are

offering a lovely itinerary down the east

coast of Spain down to the Canary Islands

and back. There are changes taking place

all the time with more new winter cruising

opportunities on offer.

One of my top picks would be a new

luxury yacht experience onboard Emerald

Azzura. This stunning brand new ship

carries only 100 guests and 64 crew.

Itineraries range from Croatia coastal

cruises in the summer and then in the

winter she sails down to the Red Sea from

Jordan to Egypt and then onto Saudi

Arabia which has recently re-opened for

tourism. Oliver visited last year so if you

are interested in this fascinating country,

please do contact us.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

This is possibly the region we are most asked about;

and understandably so. Australia has confirmed they

will be opening to double vaccinated visitors but,

at the time of going to print, the exact details and

requirements were not published. We expect New

Zealand to open later but hope it won’t be too much

longer with so many family members and friends

desperate to re-unite. Keep an eye on our blog for

updates at rbcollection.com/blog.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As you can see, there are a host of winter holiday

destinations opening. One thing is for certain; the

increased demand will put a strain on supply and so

my final tip is to book early. Leaving it last-minute for

peak times such as Christmas, New Year, February

half term and Easter will be risky, especially for the

more popular destinations or smaller, boutique and

luxury hotels. I hope this guide has helped; if you

would like to discuss anything in more detail call us on

01543 258631. Remember to mention J’AIME when

you call to help support our local fellow business.

L U X U R Y & S P E C I A L I S T T R A V E L

I N V E S T I N Y O U R

H O L I D A Y W I S E L Y

www.jaimemagazine.com

57


W H AT ’ S O N

What’s On this month

WITH THE NIGHTS DRAWING IN AND FESTIVE EVENTS STARTING TO CREEP ONTO OUR

CALENDARS, THERE’S PLENTY TO KEEP YOU BUSY ACROSS THE MIDLANDS THIS NOVEMBER

WHAT: POPPY FIELDS

WHERE: LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL

WHEN: NOVEMBER 6 TO 13

After first appearing in 2018 to mark the centenary of

World War One, the award-winning sound and light

show Poppy Fields will return to Lichfield Cathedral this

November.

Created and produced by Luxmuralis Artistic

Collaboration, the immersive show will see cascading

poppies and flowers projected across the ceiling, walls and

floor of the 900-year-old Cathedral. With accompanying

music by David Harper and poetry read by Oscarwinning

actor Eddie Redmayne, this promises to be a

poignant call to remember and honour those who have

lost their lives in service for our peace and safety.

Poppy Fields will be at Lichfield Cathedral from

Saturday November 6 to Saturday November 13. Timed

tickets are available from 5.30pm until 9.30pm, with last

entry at 8.30pm. Tickets are priced at £7.50 per adult

and £6.50 per child. Under threes go free. For more

details visit www.lichfield-cathedral.org

WHAT: BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS

WHERE: THE ALEXANDRA, BIRMINGHAM

WHEN: NOVEMBER 10 TO 14

Classic Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks has

been reimagined as an exciting new musical and it arrives

at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham this month.

The show made its world premiere back in August in

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and tells the story of the three

orphaned Rawlins children. Evacuated from wartime

London, they have no idea what adventures lie ahead

when they move in with Eglantine Price, who they

discover is a trainee witch.

Eglantine and the children join forces to find a spell

to defeat the enemy, armed only with an enchanted

bedknob, a bewitched broomstick and a magical flying

bed. Recommended for ages three and up, children

will love watching their journey to the depths of the

beautiful briny sea.

Tickets are available from £13 (plus transaction fee)

for shows on Wednesday at 7.30pm, Thursday through

Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, and Sunday at 2.30pm.

For more details visit www.atgtickets.com

58 www.jaimemagazine.com


WHAT: 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL

WHERE: THE ALEXANDRA, BIRMINGHAM

WHEN: NOVEMBER 16 TO 20

Fresh from sell-out audiences and five-star reviews in the West End, Dolly Parton’s

smash-hit show 9 to 5 the Musical comes to Birmingham this month.

Starring singer-songwriter Louise Redknapp and with an Oscar, Grammy and Tony

award-nominated score by Queen of Country herself, this new production recounts

the story of three workmates who are pushed to their limits by a sexist, self-centred

boss. The women hatch a plan to kidnap this unsavoury character and teach him a

lesson, but audiences will be on the edge of their seats wondering what happens next

when the company CEO pays an unexpected visit…

Ticket prices for 9 to 5 the Musical start from £13 (plus transaction fee). You can

catch it at The Alexandra Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, or head to the 2.30pm

matinee on Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday. It’s recommended for ages 12+. For

more details visit www.atgtickets.co.uk

WHAT: BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

WHERE: MILLENNIUM POINT AND THE GRAND HOTEL

WHEN: NOVEMBER 19 TO 28

Over a period of 10 days this November, you’ll find numerous screenings, events

and awards for film makers from around the world as part of the international

Birmingham Film Festival. Around 200 films will be screened over the course of the

festival - including features, shorts, documentaries, music video and screenplay - as

well as workshops, seminars, industry Q&A panels and networking opportunities for

filmmakers and lovers of film.

Birmingham Film Festival is a great platform to discover new films and new talent

with 350 seats available and screenings free to attend. The Festival invites talented

and independent filmmakers from all over the globe to take part. The celebration

of film craft will culminate in a glittering black tie Awards Gala ceremony at The

Grand Hotel, where the winners of each competition category will be announced in

style on November 27.

For more details visit www.birminghamfilmfestival.com

WHAT: MEET THE AUTHORS

WHERE: MUSEUM OF CANNOCK CHASE

WHEN: NOVEMBER 26

You’re invited to get involved in some Festive Fiction action at the Museum of Cannock

Chase on the last Friday in November. Local author, publisher and book blogger Kim

Nash will host a special Christmas panel of authors.

Warwickshire-based Erin Green, whose novel From Shetland with Love at Christmas is

published this month, is joined by local author Philippa Ashley, whose latest release, A

Special Cornish Christmas, also appears on November 11. A lively discussion will run

from 6pm to 8pm, with the opportunity to have your books signed at the end of the

evening.

Tickets cost £8 per person with mulled apple juice, tea or coffee and a mince pie included

in the price. Advance booking is required by calling the Museum on 01543 877666.

WHAT: LICHFIELD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON

WHERE: MARKET STREET, LICHFIELD

WHEN: NOVEMBER 28

Lichfield’s spectacular Christmas lights switch on takes place on the last Sunday

of November this year. As ever, it promises to be a fun-packed all-day event for the

whole family. There’s plenty to get involved with in the city centre, from fairground

rides for the kids to shopping and eating at the festive food and gift market, plus the

various music and entertainment acts to enjoy on the stage in the Market Square.

If it’s a little too chilly outside, you can warm up at the Samuel Johnson Birthplace

Museum where hands-on activities and festive refreshments including mulled wine

will be available from 3.30pm until 6pm. The illuminations will be switched on at

5pm, kicking off the festive season in the Cathedral City. Shortly afterwards, keep a

keen ear out for the bells that signal the arrival of Santa.

www.jaimemagazine.com

59


FA S H I O N

A passion for puff

TRANSITION YOUR WAY TO THE COLDER MONTHS WITH A COSY

COAT TO KEEP THE CHILLS AT BAY, SAYS AMY NORBURY

COSY has been an overriding theme throughout fashion

collections ever since the pandemic reared its ugly head.

From luxe loungewear to oversized knits, comfort has been

the name of the game, and designers and consumers alike

have got fully on board with this laid-back approach to

dressing.

But now the fashion world is starting to embrace glitz and

glamour wholeheartedly once again, that cosy vibe has

come into play in another arena: outerwear.

This season’s big-ticket buys are taking comfort to the next

level, with cocooning coats the most covetable choices

from catwalk to high street.

And no coat embodies this ethos more than the puffer.

A quilt in coat form, the puffer is the ultimate winter

warmer. No longer the preserve of adventure-seeking Bear

Grylls explorer types or inner city teenagers, the puffer

is now a legitimate style choice worn by everyone from

Premier League football managers to Downing Street

prime ministers, to your mum and grandma.

Designers everywhere had puffers galore to showcase in

their autumn/winter shows, with everyone from Chanel to

Tom Ford to Balenciaga including the ubiquitous puff in

their collections, some even going so far as to add puff to

dresses, skirts and more, as well as outerwear.

While a full length offering from puffer aficionados

Moncler will set you back north of £1,500, it’s a safe

investment which will last a lifetime; a quick cost-per-wear

analysis makes that initial price tag much more palatable -

if you need the justification, that is.

Thankfully, the high street is awash with more pursefriendly

options, so if you fancy dabbling with a puffer, the

time is now. We guarantee that once you partake in the

puff, you won’t go back.

If you’re not quite ready to plump for a puffer, there are

plenty of other comfort-forward options for your winter

coat instead.

Teddy bear coats have been a firm favourite for the past

few winters, while faux fur and shearling numbers bring

the apres ski vibe to outerwear dressing.

For maximum protection from the elements go full-length,

with ankle-skimming numbers the most practical, stylish

choice to keep even the harshest winter chills at bay.

FULL LENGTH COAT, £129, SONDER

STUDIO. WWW.SONDERSTUDIO.CO.UK

60 www.jaimemagazine.com


£1,595

£89 £150

FALMARUS BLACK FUR-TRIMMED QUILTED

SHELL COAT, MONCLER AT HARVEY

NICHOLS. WWW.HARVEYNICHOLS.COM

FATFACE CARLA COAT IN RUST.

WWW.FATFACE.COM

LONG HARLEY PUFFER IN NAVY,

FATFACE. WWW.FATFACE.COM

£260

£100

KATRINA CREAM BELTED FAUX FUR

COAT, JAKKE AT HARVEY NICHOLS.

WWW.HARVEYNICHOLS.COM

GREEN LONG QUILTED COAT,

RIVER ISLAND. WWW.RIVERISLAND.COM

CRIMDON QUILT COAT, £239, AND BILTON BOUCLE

SCARF, £32.95, BARBOUR. WWW.BARBOUR.COM

STELLA SUSTAINABLE QUILTED COAT, £99, MONSOON.

WWW.MONSOON.CO.UK


B E AU T Y

Why I love organic skincare

USING ORGANIC INGREDIENTS IS AT THE HEART OF HEAVEN SKINCARE. FOUNDER AND ROYAL

FACIALIST DEBORAH MITCHELL TALKS ABOUT WHY USING NATURAL INGREDIENTS IS SO VITAL

Tell us why you started to use organic

ingredients?

When I launched Heaven 26 years ago, it was

important that right from the start my products

were not only results-driven but completely natural

so I started using organic ingredients whenever

and wherever I can. I suffered from really bad acne

throughout my teens and tried all manner of things

to help it, but because most products back then

contained chemicals, they just irritated my skin even

more. It was really a case of having to think outside

the box because my skin flared up when I used

anything that wasn’t natural and I didn’t want my

clients to suffer the same issues. Your health and your

skin is worth applying the very best ingredients; after

all your body reaps the benefits of what you use on

your face.

When it came to using natural ingredients,

you were very much ahead of the curve?

Long before it was a “thing”, I was one of the few

people in the industry trailblazing the move away

from nasty chemicals and instead opting for organic

formulas. At the time I’m sure many people thought

I was crazy! My ingredients use the very best nature

has to offer, from the anti-ageing vitamin C in my

Divine Cream and nettles in my new vegan range to

the Manuka honey in my exclusive Gold Bee Venom

Mask as well as countless essential oils, fruit and

herbs across the whole collection.

You use some very interesting organic

ingredients in your products. Tell us

more about ABEETOXIN® and its vegan

counterpart NETTATOXIN®?

My patented ABEETOXIN® controls the facial

muscles to tighten, firm and lift while at the same

time penetrating fine lines to give an immediate antiageing

effect. Historically, bee venom has been used

as pain relief but it had never been used as a skincare

product before. I wanted to find an alternative to

Botox after I noticed wrinkles starting to appear on

my face. My sister is a beekeeper, so I had a lot of

information about bees and honey in my head and I

just knew what I had to do. It took me years to create

NETTATOXIN®, which is the vegan version using

common nettles that I gather from the hedgerows

near my home. It works because the venom of

the nettle causes a reaction similar to that of bees

when they sting – the skin goes into rapid repair on

first contact leaving you with a lifted, more radiant

complexion.

Why is using organic ingredients important?

What we put on our skin is vital to having a healthy,

radiant complexion, especially if you suffer from

conditions such as acne, open pores, rosacea,

psoriasis or eczema because harsh

chemicals in some products will

just make them worse. I believe

that consumers should be given the

knowledge on how to make better

choices when buying their skincare

and know that there are many

products out there that are free from

parabens, SLS, petroleum, silicones or

derivatives.

Heaven Skincare by Deborah

Mitchell is available at Heaven

Health & Beauty, 13a Market

Place, Shifnal, Shropshire and

at Harvey Nichols Birmingham.

You can also shop online at

heavenskincare.com.

62 www.jaimemagazine.com


I N T H E N E W S

A milestone celebration

A STALWART LOCAL BUSINESS BASED AT HEART OF THE COUNTRY

RECENTLY CELEBRATED A DOUBLE MILESTONE IN STYLE

Fine jewellery designer and maker

Allen Brown has been a constant

presence at Swinfen’s Heart of the

Country Shopping village since the

early 1990s. And it was cause for

celebration at the Allen Brown Gallery

recently, as Allen commemorated an

impressive 35 years in business - and 30

years at the Heart of the Country.

Over the birthday weekend, customers

and visitors to the gallery were

treated to an array of goodies. With

personalised cupcakes on offer and

balloons to decorate the gallery, as well

as some special prizes which were given

to lucky customers, there were plenty

of festivities to mark the occasion.

Allen says: “What a fantastic time we had at our

double celebration weekend. Not only did we

celebrate our 35th birthday here at Allen Brown

Jewellery, but also 30 years at our home at Heart of

the Country Shopping Village.

“I’ve been very touched and humbled by the

response from past and present customers. 35 years is

a long time but the success of the business is largely

due to the help and support of all my amazing Allen

Brown team. Heart of the Country has been a great

location for my business, a visionary concept of

Lesley and Simon Stubbs.”

Allen added: “We also enjoyed showcasing our

special anniversary piece; an 18ct white gold kunzite

and diamond pendant. Thank you to all who visited

us to help make the weekend extra special.”

Allen Brown is renowned for his contemporary

classic designs using coloured diamonds, platinum

and other precious metals.

He has come a long way from the farmer’s son who

helped milk the dairy herd with his parents on the

farm in Staffordshire, to the successful business

owner he is today.

Allen learned the basics of jewellery making while

JEWELLERY DESIGNER ALLEN

BROWN CELEBRATING 35

YEARS IN BUSINESS

at King Edward’s School in Lichfield in a general

studies class, progressing to an Art and Design course

at Stafford College, then onto a BA course in threedimensional

design with an emphasis on jewellery

and silversmithing from Sheffield Hallam.

He then went from holding exhibitions in a workshop

made out of an old chicken pen on his parents’ farm

to acquiring a unit at Ridware Arts Centre.

Allen also lectured part time at Burton College and

went on to employ one of his students who showed

he had a natural talent – he still works for Allen now

30 years later. Charlie can always be found on the

bench in the onsite workshop crafting and creating

fine pieces of jewellery.

In the early 1990s Allen moved to Heart of the

Country at Swinfen where he has remained ever

since.

Inside the beautiful jewellery gallery customers are

given the time and space to browse, and can view

commission or remodelling examples, design sketches

and the vast collections of gold and silver jewellery,

as well as watch pieces being made in the workshop.

“Heart of the Country has been a perfect location

for my business, creating a stylish and relaxed

environment for our customers,” Allen adds.

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63


H E A LT H

Taking care of your joints

EXPERTS AT SPIRE LITTLE ASTON HOSPITAL, IN SUTTON COLDFIELD, OFFER

THEIR TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING AND MAINTAINING HIP AND KNEE HEALTH

As you get older, you may find

that your hips and knees ache or

feel stiff more often. This may be

down to natural wear and tear;

however, injuries, osteoarthritis

and accidents can also affect your

joints and cause mobility issues.

Building and maintaining hip

and knee strength is essential to

help your joints work well so you

can get on with everyday tasks

without discomfort and enjoy a

full and active lifestyle.

While some wear and tear to

your knees and hips may need

medical attention, there are

things you can do to protect and

strengthen your joints and therefore reduce your risk

of problems.

Here are some easy ways to take care of your knees

and hips, ensure they stay strong for as long as

possible and reduce your risk of osteoarthritis:

Maintain a healthy weight

Your weight can have a huge effect on your joints,

especially your knees and hips as these are loadbearing,

which means they carry your body weight.

Extra weight puts extra pressure on them, which can

cause them to wear out much faster.

Stay active

Inactivity can cause your joints to become stiff and

weak, reducing your range of motion. To keep your

knees and hips working properly, you need to keep

moving.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to head

to the gym every day. There are plenty of gentle

exercises you can do on a daily basis that will help,

including walking and other low-impact activities

such as cycling and Pilates. Swimming or exercising

in water reduces the pressure on your joints, while

still allowing you to build their strength.

SWIMMING REDUCES PRESSURE ON

YOUR JOINTS WHILE ALLOWING YOU

TO BUILD STRENGTH

Improve your posture

Good posture isn’t just vital for a healthy spine, it can

affect every part of your body, including your knees

and hips. If you don’t pay attention to your posture,

it’s easy to start slouching, especially if you work at a

desk during the day. Your posture can also worsen as

you get older, causing you to become stooped.

Strengthen your knee muscles

When it comes to reducing knee pain and improving

overall knee health, it isn’t just about the joints. You

also need to strengthen the muscles that support

your knee joints. Doing exercises that build up your

hamstrings, abductors and quadriceps will help to

protect the cartilage in your knee joints and therefore

maintain your joint health.

Watch your diet

Believe it or not, what you eat affects your hip and

knee health. Eat a diet rich in omega–3 fatty acids as

they help reduce stiffness in your joints and reduce

inflammation that can lead to joint pain. You can

either take omega–3 supplements or eat oily fish,

such as salmon and mackerel, several times a week.

Vitamin E is also important for joint health as it too

can reduce inflammation. Maintaining good vitamin

64 www.jaimemagazine.com


OILY FISH IS A GREAT SOURCE OF

IMPORTANT OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

You can reduce any pain or swelling

in your knees or hips by applying an

ice pack to help reduce inflammation.

Don’t put the ice pack directly on

your skin, instead wrap it in a tea

towel or flannel, and don’t leave it

on for longer than 20 minutes. For

stiffness, heat packs or soaking in

a warm bath can help relax your

muscles and ease any tension.

E levels has been found to lower the risk of joint

damage. Good sources of dietary vitamin E include

nuts, sunflower seeds and avocado.

A diet rich in antioxidants is also great for your joint

health as they reduce inflammation, which often

occurs in arthritis and causes joint pain. Blueberries,

strawberries, raspberries, spinach, kale and beetroots

are all good sources of antioxidants.

Wear supportive shoes

The shoes you wear can have a big impact on

the health of your knees and hips. Hard-soled

shoes allow the impact of your foot hitting the

floor to be felt right up through your legs and

into your knees and hips. Meanwhile, wearing

heels can affect your centre of gravity, putting

extra pressure on your knees and hips.

Wearing comfortable shoes that provide the

right support will improve the alignment of

your joints and reduce the pressure on them.

Your shoes should have a soft, shock-absorbing

sole to reduce the impact of your feet hitting

the floor with each step and should also be

fitted correctly to stop your feet rolling inward

or outward.

With fast access to consultations

and diagnostic tests and scans, Spire

Little Aston Hospital can provide

expert advice to help you make the

right decision about your care. From

surgical procedures to non-invasive methods, we offer

an extensive range of treatments to help you get back

to doing what you love.

Book to see an expert today; call 0121 514 7034 or

search ‘Spire Little Aston Hospital’.

EXERCISE IS IMPORTANT - BUT

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Listen to your body

While regular stretching and exercising are

important to keep your knees and hips healthy,

you need to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Carrying on with your routine if your joints

are painful, swollen or stiffer than usual can

cause further damage.

Take stock of any discomfort or pain you’re

experiencing and if you notice your symptoms

getting worse during a particular activity, take

a break and look after your joints.

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65


I N T H E N E W S

The clear way to straighter teeth

DENTIST SWETA NAGAR, FROM BUPA DENTAL CARE WHILE ROAD, IN

SUTTON COLDFIELD, SAYS THAT INVISALIGN IS A GREAT WAY TO ACHIEVE

A STRAIGHTER SMILE WITH MINIMAL IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE

“Invisalign is completely different to traditional

orthodontics,” declares Sweta Nagar, the Invisalign

dentist at Bupa Dental Care While Road practice in

Sutton Coldfield.

“For a start, it uses virtually invisible, removable

aligners as opposed to traditional metal wires and

brackets… a fantastic way to deliver cosmetic

dentistry. It is a minimally invasive way to achieve

straight teeth with little or no interference with daily

life.”

Patients first see Sweta for an initial check to assess

suitability. This would involve developing a 3D

virtual treatment plan where you will be able to see

your teeth before and after the Invisalign treatment.

This aspect is amazing as you know what to expect

before you commit to the treatment.

She might also suggest treatments, such as teeth

whitening, composite build-ups, veneers and

crowns, which can be carried out after straightening

your teeth.

This ABC (Align, Brighten and Contour) approach

put together will help achieve the satisfaction of

having a beautiful smile without undergoing drastic

teeth modifications.

Treatment involves wearing removable clear aligners

for 20–22 hours a day. These are removed only

when eating, drinking or cleaning teeth. Treatment

times are an average of 15 to 20 weeks and Sweta

DENTIST SWETA

NAGAR

sees her patients every four weeks to supervise the

transformation and check all is going as it should.

Sweta finds the whole process “very interesting and

immensely satisfying” and loves the “appreciative”

reactions of her patients at the very end. When she

shows them the before and after images, they are

“over the moon!”

Fascinatingly, she frequently hears that they “got on

so well with Invisalign that they were going to miss

it!” One recent patient had “watched her husband’s

Invisalign journey” and she was interested too.

Sweta guided her through the process: “Sweta was so

welcoming and made my treatment enjoyable.”

“I found Invisalign really easy and straightforward,

I still can’t believe how quickly I saw results. My

journey took 20 weeks and every step was easy with

no pain or problem. I can’t thank Sweta and the

team enough.”

If you’d like to find out more about achieving your

perfect smile, Sweta at Bupa Dental Care Sutton

Coldfield While Road would be delighted to see you.

To book an Invisalign consultation with Sweta call

0121 392 1654. An Invisalign consultation fee is

£54 and a COVID-19 safety tariff will apply. Patients

must be 18 years or over. Consultations are subject to

availability.

66 www.jaimemagazine.com


Established – Professional – Transparent

The Winterton family name has been synonymous

with auctioneering in Staffordshire since 1864

Probate and formal valuations for

inheritance tax purposes

Our reliable and sympathetic

team can assist all executors in the

administration of deceased estates

From jewellery and large collections

to cars, furniture and household items,

we handle everything

Comprehensive, bespoke

clearance service and

downsizing solutions

We handle clearance of an entire

estate from houses, bungalows and

flats to offices and all other buildings

Jewellery, Watches & Silver

Sutton Coldfield

The Trinity Centre

Church Hill, Mill Street, B72 1TF

Discover that hidden gem with your local auctioneer

We specialise in:

Antique and modern jewellery

Watches

Gemstones

Silverware

Coins, medals and militaria

Works of art

Whisky and wine

Vintage toys

Stamps and ephemera

Cameras and record collections

Scientific equipment

Antique and modern furniture

Modern toys and Pokémon

Musical instruments

FREE LOCAL VALUATIONS - NEAR YOU

Watches, Jewellery, Silver & Antiques

Lichfield

The Hub at St Mary’s

Market Square, WS13 6LG

Qualified

All members of our jewellery

department are certified

gemmologists and diamond graders

Record-breaking

international sales

More than 3,800 bidders from

all over the world joined our

online auctions last month

Online services available

Virtual estimates, online auctions

and contactless collections.

Valuations, viewing and consignments

by appointment only

Jewellery, Watches & Silver

The Lichfield Auction Centre

Fradley Park (close to the A38)

Wood End Lane, WS13 8NF

Mondays

9am - 12pm

Meet valuer Louise

for help and advice

(except bank holidays)

Tuesdays

9.30am - 11am

Meet Ben for general

advice and auction

consignments

BY APPOINTMENT

Thursdays

9.30am - 4pm

With Heather,

gemmologist

& diamond grader

FREE General Valuations of your pictures, antiques and collectables

By appointment only - with our team on Thursdays from 9.30am - 4pm Call 01543 251081

01543 251081

www.richardwinterton.co.uk

office@richardwinterton.co.uk

The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park WS13 8NF

J'Aime Ad 190x280_June 2021.indd 5 24/09/2021 15:18

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