FU Loves Birmingham #9 - Freeze Your Buns and Get The Soup On
Good morning from a rainy Birmingham. All that blue sky and sunshine was perhaps too good to last, but at least it gave all of us lucky enough to have some outdoor space time to enjoy it, whether that be gardening, sunbathing or barbecuing. One way to make sure the UK does stay indoors, though, is to make it rain, so maybe this is all in Mother Nature’s plan. So, it’s time to freeze those leftover burger buns, shelve all those recipes for courgette cake and start hunkering down, as it’s officially soup weather (again)!
Welcome to this week’s newsletter, which is literally bursting at the seams (just like our jeans, thanks to the gyms being shut). We always try to focus on the positives in life and one thing we’ve noticed about the whole lockdown experience is it has made people appreciate the simpler things in life more. I have a saying that I often use in the office when things aren’t exactly the way we’d like them to be - “We’ll eat what’s on our plate” - and it comes from my childhood when I would be made to sit at the table and finish all of my cabbage, or have two more brussel sprouts before pudding came out. The longer I sat there and moaned, then the longer I had to wait for the good stuff, so I might as well just get on with things, eat up the bad bit, so that I got to the good bit all the quicker. For me, that pretty much sums up lockdown: the quicker we get on with the bad bit then the sooner we get back to the good.
And that’s also been our philosophy as a business throughout all of this. We’re survivors, so we’ll get on and make things work with what we’ve got; focus on the solution and find a positive way forward – both for us and our clients. Let us know if you’d like us to help you with that.
As is our mantra, silence is not golden, talk to us, share your stories and tell others about the newsletter if you’ve enjoyed it. We’re always looking for great stories for next time around. You can reach us email@example.com@fu-media.co.uk; by calling 07713 740 272 or you’ll find us on social media.
Stay safe, stay home and soon it’ll be ice cream all round. Have faith.
Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters
OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE
I tried to come up with a joke about
But this is as close as I could get.
BIRMINGHAM CELEBRATED IN HUGE NEW COLD WAR STEVE ARTWORK
A new artwork which celebrates Birmingham and its people has been revealed by satirical collage artist Christopher Spencer, aka Cold War Steve, and Birmingham Museums Trust.
The hugely detailed work,Benny’s Babbies, is the artist’s most complex photocollage of his career to date, and was due to be revealed in his hometown at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, but has now been shared online whilst the doors to the museum are temporarily closed.
Spot comedian Joe Lycett and cricketer Moeen Ali, alongside Duran Duran and activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, with the members of Black Sabbath rocking out on top of the Rotunda building. You might even spot Benny from Crossroads, which was filmed in Birmingham, as he peers out over the crowd full of many more famous and recognisable Brummie faces.
Birmingham Museums Trust commissioned Cold War Steve to produce work inspired by the Trust’s digital imagedatabase,which hosts thousands of out-of-copyright images from the city’s collection which can be downloaded and used creatively for free.
The background ofBenny’s Babbiesis the View of St Martin's Church Birmingham from the Bullring,1815-1835, by Thomas Hollins, which features on a japanned tray. The backdrop has been updated with familiar city scenes including the Birmingham Pride Festival; the brutalist architecture of the now demolished Central Library; Birmingham’s beloved Mr. Egg takeaway and the Central Birmingham Mosque.
The artwork is being hosted online at www.thesocial.com/bennys-babbies/and includes written submissions about the city from Cold War Steve, Joe Lycett, and novelists Kit de Waal and Jonathan Coe.
TIPS ON TAKING CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING LOCKDOWN
With another two weeks of Lockdown ahead, there’s never been a more important time to focus on, not just our general health, but our mental health and well-being, too.
Holly Beeden, clinical lead at Living Well UK, has shared her five top tips on how to keep your mental health and well-being on track, read them here.
WIN! A £5000 PUBLICITY PACKAGE WITH FU MEDIA & DLUXE MAGAZINE Publicity specialists, FU Media, and luxury magazine, DLUXE, have joined forces to offer an exclusive competition to win a year-long publicity package – worth over £5000. To be in with a chance of winning, simply CLICK HERE. T&Cs apply. Competition closes 31st May 2020.
BBC BANGER! DJ Ben H has spent his lockdown time remixing Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate with the BBC News theme to create the ultimate in hands-in-the-air Corona Lockdown CHOOOONS!
FANCY A FAKEAWAY? Those missing their weekly takeaway treats are embracing a whole wave of ‘fakeaways’ beings shared across social media. From Mcdonalds-esque homemade hash browns to knock off Nando’s, food bloggers everywhere are handing out their top hacks to replicate our comfort food favourites. For any Gregg’s fans in the house (guilty), Intu have shared their hack for the iconic Sausage, Bean and Cheese Melt – the Saturday morning hangover cure of many a late night Zoomer. Here’s how to make one at home. What you’ll need: 75g baked beans (or a can of sausage and beans) 75g puff pastry (no need to create this from scratch you can buy this in most supermarkets) 1/2 a sausage 30g cheese Milk or egg for glazing Instructions: First, cut two squares of roughly 15cm x 15cm ready-made puff pastry Then use the egg to wash the edges. Pop your sausage and beans in a bowl and squash them with a fork. Place your sausage and beans on one square of your puff pastry and sprinkle cheese on top. Put your other square of puff pastry on top and fork the edges. Then egg wash all over and stick in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until golden brown and piping hot.
BIRMINGHAM ARENAS’ MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AIDERS RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS INDUSTRY AWARD
A group of kind-hearted employees at NEC Group Arenas (Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena) have been recognised with an industry award for their hard work as Mental Health First Aiders.
The volunteers, who are both employees of NEC Group and CBRE, were awarded The Stadium Business Award for Sustainability and Community, which praised their efforts in looking after the mental health of the Arenas’ audiences. Their mental health support has, so far, helped hundreds of concertgoers, many of whom can find the buzzing and bustling atmosphere of an arena show overwhelming.
The NEC Group currently has 20 employees trained as Mental Health First Aiders, who can take early intervention if they see someone struggling.
COVENTRY BID INVITE YOU TO A BANK HOLIDAY GARDEN PARTY – WITH A DIFFERENCE With the May Day Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching – and it being celebrated on the Friday rather than the Monday for the first time due to the 75th anniversary of VE Day – Coventry BID is inviting every citizen of Coventry to a very special Bank Holiday Garden Party – with a difference! On the 8th May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE, every household and street up and down the nation are invited to hold their own Garden Party as part of a ‘virtual’ Garden Party Weekend. It’s time to raise the roof, decorate the home with bunting and party like it’s 1945! Whether it’s a picnic on the back lawn; a sandwich and a glass of fizz on your front step, or a pork pie and slice of cake in your kitchen, there’s no excuse not to enjoy the knees up! Leading the charge over the Bank Holiday weekend, some of Coventry’s favourite food and drink businesses, alongside Coventry Market, will join forces to create extra-special Garden Party Weekend dishes and VE Day hampers for home delivery across the 3-day weekend. With 30 city businesses already pledging their allegiance to the campaign, Coventrians can choose from sumptuous Afternoon Cream Teas delivered to your doorstep on the Friday and Saturday – a perfect way to treat yourself or why not show you care by having one delivered to a loved one or neighbour during the lockdown? And Sunday 10th May will see traditional Roast Dinners with all the trimmings being prepared and delivered across the county, too. This really will be the Best of British! Interested parties should head to the official Coventry BID website www.coventrycitycentre.co.uk as well as their social media pages CovCityCentre for up to date announcements and to organise your Afternoon Tea and Sunday Roast slots.
LOCAL AUTHOR RELEASES THE UPLIFTING BIRMINGHAM COLLECTION. An award-nominated journalist has released her debut book called The Birmingham Collection. Wersha Bharadwa’s collection of short stories have been written with the aim of uplifting readers and making them smile during the lockdown, with all of the stories in the collection being set in Brum.
Sunny the Indian Datsun is a parable of racial integration that’s funny, moving and shrewd, and with a central character so endearing that it seems a shame that cars can't talk.
Set in a museum, the witty scenes in Living History juxtapose our colonial record of exploitation with contemporary attitudes and prejudices. With perfect irony, the parting shot illustrates how invidious the propaganda about immigration has been.
This is Earth takes us to an alien civilization on the planet Zerg, where a mother is explaining to a baffled daughter about the patriarchy.
The Birmingham Collection is published by Patrican Press and is just £3.99 during lockdown. You can buy your copy here.
BE A RECORD BREAKER AND TAKE PART IN THE BIG COMEDY PUB QUIZ AT ‘THE COVID ARMS’ For one night only on 1st May at 8pm become part of an official Guinness World Record title attempt by staying in, sitting on your backside and taking part in a record attempt to break the Guinness World Record Title for ‘Most visitors to a virtual pub’ – brilliantly named as The Covid Arms. In taking part, you will also be helping to raise money to support your local pubs and donate to The National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal – all while wearing your slippers. Take part in the ultimate virtual Pub Quiz with some of the nation’s best-loved comedians including ‘landlady’ Kiri Pritchard-Mclean and her host of celebrity guests; Russell Howard, Nish Kumar, Jon Richardson, Joel Dommett, Marcus Brigstocke, Rachel Parris, Lucy Beaumont, Jenny Ryan and Suzi Ruffe, as well as mystery guests (who’ll be hosting the music round?), quick-fire rounds, a live leader board and prizes. Admission to ‘The Covid Arms’ will support your local watering hole, as well as our hero emergency workers who are risking their lives for our safety every day. Entry will be based on a pay-it-forward scheme, so any pubs missing their locals can register online and let their community know they’re (virtually) open for business. To find out more about how you can get involved, and buy tickets for a night in at The Covid Arms go to: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/worldsbiggestpub
A new creative hub is ready to go post-lockdown and has been designed to help the city’s cultural community thrive and re-build. A collection of workshops, offices, retail areas and community spaces. The space is actively looking for tenants. Find out more at www.artquarteruk.co.uk
KRAY TREADWELL ANNOUNCES PLANS TO OPEN FIRST RESTAURANT IN DIGBETH
Great British Menu finalist, Kray Treadwell, has announced plans to open his first restaurant in Digbeth. Named after the weight of his daughter when she was born four months prematurely, 670 Grams will offer a set, 10-course tasting menu at £60 per head.
Ever evolving, the handwritten menu will be available to view 48 hours earlier on the restaurant’s website and takes in a mix of European influences and Asian-inspired flavours. Playful elements such as dishes inspired by takeaway food and a ‘Tesco cheese and onion sandwich’ will also feature, as well as the peach dessert that saw Kray reach the finals of The Great British Menu.
The 16-cover restaurant, designed by 2G Design & Build, will operate over two floors and showcase an open kitchen upstairs, overlooking a two-person chef’s table and a table of four with the remaining covers downstairs.
Kray, who’s CV also takes in the Hand and Flowers and Purnell’s, said; “670 Grams will be a unique experience designed to attract all kinds of people. Keeping the experience as accessible as possible is hugely important to me. At £6 per course, the menu represents amazing value and our location in the city’s creative quarter, Digbeth, means we’re on the doorstep of a really interesting mix of retail, residential and creative businesses.
Ultimately, my aim is to bring my eclectic take on food to as many people as possible, without the stuffiness and pretention that fine dining can sometimes bring with it.”
670 Grams will open mid-June – subject to Government Guidelines in light of Covid-19.
CARDS FOR HUMANITY – NHS HEROES PLAYING CARDS CREATED TO HELP RAISE FUNDS FOR NHS
A new series of playing cards have launched in a bid to raise funds for the NHS heroes working on the frontline in the nation’s battle against Coronavirus. The specially crafted NHS Heroes deck features doctors, nurses and surgeons in place of traditional Jacks, Kings and Queens as well as the rainbow colours which have become synonymous with the pandemic, adorning windows across the nation. The NHS Heroes deck will be available as a reward for a £5 donation at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/nhs-playingcards . If you make a £50 donation you will receive 12 decks – making perfect gifts - or you can donate to the charity without a reward deck of cards. All proceeds from the sale of the cards will go to NHS Charities Together.
CHINESE PARTNERS SEND PPE TO HELP BIRMINGHAM BATTLE University of Birmingham partners across China have joined forces to send over 105,000 items of protective clothing – including masks, gloves, coveralls, and goggles – for use by doctors and nurses at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and other local medical services to use in the ongoing battle against coronavirus. The first shipment of 2,000 particulate filter respirators, 10,000 surgical masks, 20,000 examination gloves and 500 protective coveralls has arrived at Queen Elizabeth Hospital from Sun Yat-sen First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou. More equipment is on its way from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan; China Railway Rolling-Stock Corporation (CRRC); the Bioscience College of Nankai University in Tianjin; the Nanjing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics; East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai; Southeast University in Nanjing; and the Women and Children’s Medical Centre in Guangzhou. Among the incoming equipment are 4,800 face masks destined for Selly Oak Community Response to COVID-19 and GPs in the Selly Oak/Edgbaston area. And a further 12,500 masks are pledged and these will be given to care homes and residences for older adults run by Extracare, Sir Josiah Mason Trust and Bourneville Village Trust. Birmingham City Council will also distribute masks where the need is greatest.
JLS ANNOUNCE FREE MATINEE CONCERT FOR ALL NHS FRONTLINE STAFF AND HOSPITAL WORKERS JLS have announced a free matinee concert for all NHS frontline staff and hospital workers on Saturday 28th November at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena. Aston, Marvin, Oritsé and JB’s additional NHS matinee show will be centred around celebrating and honouring the incredible efforts made by the UK’s NHS frontline staff and primary care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets will be limited to 2 per person (eligible NHS, Primary Care & emergency service staff members and one guest). The band is also offering a number of tickets to a few select charities and organisations they have personal affiliations with to reward their staff for the hard work they continue to do protecting the country's most vulnerable people. Tickets are available HERE
WASH YOUR CLOTHES REGULARLY AT 60 DEGREES TO KILL BACTERIA AND VIRUSES Experts at cleaning and laundry company, Dr Beckmann, have advised the regular washing of clothes at 60 degrees to help eliminate the spread of bacteria and viruses. Dr Beckmann spokeswoman, Susan Fermor, said; “There’s a common misconception that people should wash clothes on the hottest possible setting to kill bacteria, but it’s unnecessary. Tests have proven that washing your clothes at 60°C, with a good detergent, is perfectly adequate to kill bacteria. “Just make sure that you check all garments are suitable to be washed at this temperature before putting them in the washing machine and take care not to ruin your clothes by boil washing.” Experts at Dr Beckmann also recommend washing your clothes more regularly than usual – especially when you come home from work, or from trips outside where you come into contact with other people. “Most people leave clothes and household items until a pile has built up before washing. There’s also a tendency for people to wash at 40 degrees on a quick wash cycle, which we don’t recommend. Under current circumstances, we would recommend that you do the 60-degree washes, more regularly, as soon as clothes have been worn.”
RSC ACTORS HELP STUDENTS STUDYING SHAKESPEARE UNDER LOCKDOWN
As part of the newly launched Royal Shakespeare Community initiative, artists from the Royal Shakespeare Company, who are currently unable to rehearse or perform, will lend a hand in helping to unlock Shakespeare for thousands of children and young people studying at home.
The RSC’s ‘Homework Help’ initiative gives young people everywhere the opportunity to pose questions about Shakespeare and drama studies to working actors and alumni from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Those responding to questions and offering top tips on how to tackle the language include David Bradley – star of the Harry Potter film series; Doctor Who and Broadchurch star, David Tennant; Paapa Essiedu, who played the title role of Hamlet in Simon Godwin’s 2016 production for the RSC (soon to be broadcast on the BBC); RSC Associate Artist Niamh Cusack and Charlotte Arrowsmith, who recently made RSC history as the first deaf actor to understudy a hearing role in Justin Audibert’s 2019 production of The Taming of the Shrew.
Those wishing to pose questions are asked to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or share their questions using the hashtag #RSCHomeworkHelp on Twitter/ Insta, no later than Sunday 10thMay. A selection of video or written answers from the RSC actors will be shared via the RSC website from 11 May to coincide with the first BBC Bitesize ‘Teaching Shakespeare’ week, which will focus on Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.
STAY HOME AND PAMPER SAY SELFRIDGES
Staying at home saves lives and helps protect our NHS - it also provides a perfect opportunity for some pamper time, says Selfridges. Keep on top of your skincare routine with their hand-picked selection of products, ideal for boosting your confidence and mood while staying safe indoors.
See their pick of pampering products here.
JOIN BRITAIN’S LARGEST VIRTUAL GARDEN GATHERING Now more than ever, all of us are appreciating the power of nature to lift our moods. From a pot plant to a window box, or a flower filled space, more of us are realising the joy that greenery can bring. Garden Day is Britain's opportunity to come together to (virtually) celebrate the magic of gardens and nature; to surprise friends or neighbours with a doorstep posy and to inspire and connect with one another through with pictures, anecdotes and video calls. Personalities including 13-time RHS gold medallist Chris Beardshaw and garden designer and broadcaster Arit Anderson will be sharing images of their gardens online and there will be a series of fun, interactive classes available on social media @GardenDayUK that everyone can join. Find out more at www.gardenday.co.uk
FREE ONLINE WORKOUTS FROM NUFFIELD HEALTH Nuffield Health have a host of online activities to help you and yours stay fit, healthy and well during lockdown. Click the links to find out more! Home workout videos here Kids’ Wellbeing: here Fitness at Home: here Eat well at home: here Looking after your mental health: here Online Physiotherapy:here
MAKING TIME OUT: MINDFULNESS IN YOGA Recent studies have shown that meditative yoga practices not only reduce stress and increase calmness, but also improves working memory and concentration – two major plus points if your mind is overwhelmed during this exceptional time and you find it difficult to focus. MindYoga by MyndPlay is the first yoga app that utilizes the power of neurofeedback technology and benefits of yoga, measuring mindfulness during yoga practices to help you develop mind, body and soul, and find your life balance. Put a headset on, select from a variety set of poses, and choose the difficulty level that you would like to train at. Then, follow the guidance and perform a selected yoga pose and stay relaxed and focused for the perfect mindfulness score. See the report on your meditation and focus during each exercise right after you finish one. Unlock the number of poses by improving your mindfulness level. Yes, measuring and training mindfulness in yoga can be that easy. MindYoga is currently available for PC, iOS and Android for just £2.99
LOCK ME DOWN WITH THOR: EAST MIDLANDS FILM FANS WANT TO BE QUARANTINED WITH CHRIS HEMSWORTH Film fans might currently not be able to enjoy big screen blockbusters during lockdown, but they’re certain about which movie legend would help make social isolation a bit more bearable. It might come as no surprise that cinemagoers from the East Midlands would choose Chris Hemsworth – the hunk in Avengers Assemble and Thor - as their favourite lockdown partner, according to a study by Showcase Cinemas. Hemsworth pipped Dwayne Johnson – AKA The Rock - to the title in a closely fought contest between two of the big screen’s biggest stars. Men in Black and Independence Day star, Will Smith, came third in the poll, closely followed by Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence (who both polled 11%). Twice as many film fans would rather spend lockdown with a funny actor or actress (32%) than a physically attractive actor or actress (15%), the study reveals. While men mostly voted to spend their lockdown with a physically attractive movie star (22.5%), women overwhelmingly opted to spend it with a funny actor (42%). Who says men are shallow?
JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCE HELP FOR HEALTH WORKERS
John Lewis Partnership has partnered with the British Medical Association (BMA) to distribute care packages for frontline NHS workers at the new Nightingale Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Over the next two weeks, the retailer will start making the deliveries to all acute NHS trusts in the region, ensuring that each one receives at least one package to help NHS staff feel refreshed and energised during long shifts. Based on advice from the BMA, these supplies will be a combination of much-needed, non-clinical essentials including toiletries - such as deodorant, shaving foam, hand cream, anti-bac hand gel and lip balm - as well as breakfast bars, tea, coffee and socks. The boxes also contain a wellbeing leaflet with information about a 24/7 counselling service and guidance from the BMA on a range of issues. In total, 400 boxes will be delivered to all our acute hospital trusts in the region and safely distributed to high intensity clinical areas such as critical care and intensive care units. This will ensure healthcare staff working long hours and under terrible strain receive the products they need.
WORDS OF WISDOM
"Either I will find a way, or I will make one." Philip Sidney