• Fraser Urquhart Media

Hello Sunshine! - FU Loves Birmingham #23

There’s another wonderful weekend of weather on its way and we cannot wait!

Things always feel better in the sunshine and we can’t wait to sip something cold in a sunny beer garden! It’s wonderful to see so many bars and restaurants expanding their outdoor spaces and roads being closed off to encourage a more continental kind of café society. We’re all for it – let’s hope these changes stay for the long term!

We’re no longer dreading Monday’s now either with the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme launching meaning half price food at many of our favourite eateries at the start of each week. It’s vital we support our independent venues as well as our big chains. Everything has its place in the economy and as we’ve seen no one is immune to effects of the pandemic; no matter how big or how small.

So, enjoy the weekend weather, enjoy some amazing food at old favourites and new discoveries and stay positive!

Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters

PS. Well done for those that spotted last week’s typo! What is it they say that gives you hairy palms?- blame lockdown!

OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE What do you call a poetry reading dinosaur? A Thesaurus

DEVELOPERS CALL FOR ASSISTANCE FROM DISABLED COMMUNITY WITH EMPOWERING NEW APP A trio of tech-entrepreneurs have launched an appeal to the disabled community to get behind a brand-new app that aims to share knowledge within the county and improve accessibility.  The app, Access Rating (CIC), hopes to empower both users and venues by listing and independently reviewing which of our city and county businesses are truly accessible to those with mobility needs.  Fundamental to the app is the unique ability for users to post reviews and comments about venues they have visited and experiences they have had.  It is hoped that this bank of experiences will then empower more people, helping them overcome obstacles often unseen by more able-bodied individuals – be that as seemingly simple as drop kerbs, accessible lifts, or suitable toilet facilities.  Their slogan is: “The power to improve disabled access, one rating at a time”.  Free to download and easy to post reviews, the app has been founded and developed over lockdown by a trio of entrepreneurs – all with their own personal mobility needs: Mark Esho – an award winning entrepreneur and number one ranking author; Richard Copson and Jignesh Vaidya.  The app is available to download now here


Visitors to Birmingham’s Southside will be able to enjoy a whole new al fresco experiences as weekend road closures come to Hurst Street, thanks to the approval of Southside Business Improvement District’s (BID) ‘StrEATery’ plans.  It will see bars and restaurants increase their capacities whilst maintaining the correct social distancing. Starting on Saturday 15th August, Birmingham City Council has agreed to pedestrianize roads around the region to enable extra seating areas to help replace revenue that has been lost due to new capacity restrictions. Popular spots such as The Loft Lounge, Sidewalk, Missing Bar, Chinatown restaurants and Eden Bar will benefit.

CELEBRATE SUMMER IN STRATFORD-UPON-AVON WITH THE RSC The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced it will be staging outdoor pop-up Shakespeare performances each weekend throughout August in the Dell Gardens. Running from Friday to Sunday until the end of the month, Shakespeare Snapshots will take place for 45 minutes at 1pm and 3pm each day. These high-energy family-friendly performances will be different each week, taking inspiration from well-known Shakespearean texts and themes and featuring actors from the RSC’s postponed productions of The Winter's Tale and The Comedy of Errors. RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, said: “Our buildings may be closed but our commitment to Stratford-upon-Avon is as strong as ever. We are delighted to be working with our current acting company, who would otherwise be performing in The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, to deliver this unique scratch programme of socially-distanced, outdoor Shakespeare, and though it may not have lights and costume, and the full bells and whistles of a normal RSC show, is sure to be a welcome treat for anyone who, like me, has been missing live theatre these last few months.” Performances will be first come, first served, with space for up to eight household groups (maximum six people each), plus some standing spaces.

HAVE A CHOCOLICIOUS DAY AT CADBURY WORLD THIS SUMMER Families are invited to enjoy a chocolatey day out at Cadbury World over the summer holidays, with the attraction open for longer every day until 6th September. Visitors can get ready to rumble with DJ Freddo, as he puts on his very own Disco Dance Party in a new stage show held in the Cadbury World marquee, taking place every day throughout the summer holidays. With plenty of dancing and audience participation and with the help of DJ Freddo’s latest invention, families can join DJ Freddo as he teaches guests the moves to his favourite song. The fun with the famous frog doesn’t stop there as visitors can head to another marquee to meet either Freddo, Caramel Bunny, Mr Cadbury’s Parrot or Bertie Bassett for a socially distanced selfie every day from 11am – 4:30pm.  Families can head to the 4D Chocolate Adventure zone to experience the sensation of riding the Crunchie Rollercoaster and catch the talented chocolatiers in action and take a delicious taster for themselves in the Chocolate Making zone, before practicing their piping skills by drawing their name in chocolate in the Have A Go zone. All entertainment is included in the standard ticket price, ensuring a visit to Cadbury World is a great value family day out all year round. For more information and to book tickets, please visit www.cadburyworld.co.uk.


Add some panache to your picnic with these ready to drink cocktails in a can from Aldi. Delicious gin cocktails come in three magical medleys: juicy Plum & Pink Grapefruit, punchy Chilli & Ginger and classic Traditional Gin and Berries for just £1.19 a can.

Those looking for a low-calorie fix can sample their new Nordic Wolf hard seltzer range which offers a lower-calorie alternative to beer and alcopops.

The range includes 4 flavours: bittersweet but juicy Lemon, tangy Strawberry & Lime, the sweet yet sour Cranberry & Cherry and the refreshing summer cooler, Raspberry & Blackcurrant for just £1.29 per can.

WHAT’S THE STREET VALUE OF YOUR NAME?  Taking the art of procrastination to a whole new level, a new tool from Barratt Homes reveals every street in the UK that contains you name, along with the price you would pay to live there. The online tool lets you find out how close you are to your name’s nearest street and check out the average property price for every street in the database.  It turns out, ‘Alec’ is the most valuable name with an average street value of almost £6M. If your name is Alisha, you can pick up a property on your street for an average of £35K. Check it out here: If you wanted to prolong the procrastination why not Google Streetview the highest and lowest value streets - not that we’ve done that or anything…;-P

SOLIHULL SHOPPERS OFFERED FREE SANITISERS AND FACE MASKS Visitors to Solihull town centre have been welcomed with free hand sanitisers and face masks thanks to a joined-up project launched by Solihull BID and Solihull Council funded through the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. Business Hosts from the BID – the Business Improvement District for Solihull town centre – were on the High Street on Saturday, providing shoppers and employees with complimentary reusable bags filled with face coverings and sanitisers. Melanie Palmer, Chief Executive of Solihull BID, said: “We are committed to working closely with our partners to keep the town centre safe, clean and welcoming, providing a relaxing haven for all to enjoy.” The BID has already implemented various measures across the town centre to ensure visitors enjoy a stress-free trip. These include social distancing floor stickers to help with shop queues as well as benches on the High Street, in Mell Square and Theatre Square, Touchwood, to allow people to take a break or wait for family members who are shopping.

ROXY BALL ROOM BIRMINGHAM RE-OPENS Home to the cleanest balls in Brum, the ‘home of competitive social gaming’, has reopened offering a ​full-sized, ten lane bowling alley, Olympic Standard Butterfly Ping Pong tables, American Pool, 18ft tournament standard Shuffleboard and traditional Arcade games, all set to a rock and indie soundtrack. What’s more, there is also a new al fresco space with seating for up to 16 people to enjoy. A full host of safety precautions have been employed to make trips safe and fun for all, to find out more and to make a booking visit: https://www.roxyballroom.co.uk/book-now/

LOGAINAIR FLIES AGAIN FROM BIRMINGHAM Loganair have recommenced flying from Birmingham International Airport with bookings being taken to Aberdeen and Inverness from now. To book your flight visit https://www.loganair.co.uk/

FROM BIRMINGHAM WITH LOVE CAMPAIGN TO URGENTLY HELP FAMILIES IN NEED The challenges of COVID-19 and the lockdown has led to some really tough times for families this year and it doesn’t get easier during the summer holidays. The From Birmingham With Love campaign has been launched to try and reach those who may need a little bit more help. “We know that a lot of people have faced some especially challenging times due to the pandemic,” explained Cllr Kate Booth, Cabinet Member for Children’s Wellbeing at Birmingham City Council. “But there is help is out there so we urge parents to pick up the phone, click on a link or send an email to access the things that will really make a difference to them and their families.” Services include a free online parenting course, available to every parent in Birmingham parenting course, as well as Mental health support for young people aged 11-25 from Kooth and financial help including food, fuel or help with white goods if in crisis at Local welfare provision, Help with rent Discretionary Housing Payments and food banks across Birmingham. There is also support for women and children affected by domestic abuse via  Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid and for men affected via Respect. For those experiencing problems with drugs or alcohol, a new, discrete app called Staying Free is available. To speak to someone call Change Grow Live. “We really hope to reach families so that they can access the tremendous amount of support that is out there. These are the things that are most important to families and the increasing number of people using them to get the help that they need really does speak for itself.”

HISTORIC BIRMINGHAM VENUES OPEN FOR SERIES OF SPECIAL EVENTS Some of Birmingham’s most fascinating historic venues including Aston Hall and Blakesley Hall, are opening their sites for a series of special events that will delight families, food fans and culture lovers throughout the rest of 2020.  The first event, on Sunday 23 August, is an outdoor theatre experience in the stunning grounds of Aston Hall. Enjoy a charming performance of the classic children’s tale Wind in the Willows by the Attic Theatre and Tread the Boards Theatre Company, with the grand mansion as the backdrop. On Sunday 30 August, visit the beautiful gardens of Blakesley Hall for a relaxing summer picnic from 11.30am-3.30pm. For the ticket price, you’ll get a reserved picnic spot on the lawn, a delicious picnic box, be able to enjoy live music from a local folk band, and craft stalls selling handmade gifts. All picnic spots are arranged to facilitate social distancing.  Bring your own picnic blankets, outdoor chairs and even a small gazebo and really make a day of it. Tickets cost £15.00 for adults and £7.00 for children, with the chance to pre-order drinks tokens and activity bags. Pre-booking essential here www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/blakesley/whats-on/blakesley-summer-picnic. On Saturday 5 September Sarehole Mill is the place to be for a fun and informal pizza and wine tasting evening. Celebrating all things Italian, you’ll enjoy delicious canapés, pizza tasters and wine tasting in Sarehole Mill’s scenic outdoor courtyard. The event is hosted by Tony Elvin of The Wine Events Company, who will provide a brief introduction to the basics of wine tasting and guide you through an evening of relaxed and entertaining tasting. You’ll be treated to five Italian wines and learn about the regions they come from and why pizza and wine match so perfectly. Tickets are £35 and include canapés and pizza tasters with five expertly paired wines. The event runs from 5.45pm – 7.15pm. Over 18s only. Pre-booking is essential - www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/sarehole/whats-on/pizza-and-wine-tasting-at-sarehole-mill. Visit www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on for all future events, including details of how to book.

INDIAN PURE VEG SENSATION SKVP OPENS IN SOLIHULL THIS SATURDAY With vegetarianism being all the rage, the arrival of SKVP (or Shree Krishna Vada Pav to those in the know) makes a timely arrival for those wanting to enjoy a more plant-based diet. The Solihull eatery wraps together all the exciting and vibrant flavours of Mumbai street food, into an easy to eat ‘quick service format.’ Opening next to Fiesta Del Asado on the Stratford Road, the emphasis is on Mumbai’s popular street food, Vada Pav. This is essentially a spicy potato filling sandwiched between soft buns and layers of spicy garlic and green chutney! Totally plant based, food is served piping hot with a variety of dishes like Vada Pav, Misal, Bhel Puri, Kachchi Dabeli and many other tasty vegetarian Indian dishes, all made to order and served within 5 minutes. Bringing Mumbai street food straight from the heart of Mumbai to Solihull.

TICKETS GO ON SALE THIS FRIDAY FOR DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2021 With tickets going on sale this Friday at 9am, Download Festival has announced KISS, BIFFY CLYRO and SYSTEM OF A DOWN as its 2021 headliners, plus many more of the world’s most exciting bands in rock, punk, hardcore and metal.  Deftones, KORN, Steel Panther and The Distillers will return for Download 2021, with even more yet to be announced. The three-day festival takes place on 4-6 June 2021 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets will go on sale at 9am on Friday 7 August here

THEATRE FEEDS OVER 9000 Birmingham Repertory Theatre has become the first theatre in the UK to partner with national food solution organisation, Open Kitchens, providing 1,500 nutritional meals per week for children in poverty across the city over an initial 6 week period, totalling over 9,000 freshly prepared meals.   The REP, and its popular restaurant Marmalade, remain temporarily closed due to the ongoing restrictions as a result of COVID-19. However, recent Government advice that allows theatres to open their doors on the condition of no live performances has enabled the venue to gain access to its kitchens once again.   The theatre will receive 1 tonne of surplus food each week from across the food industry including supermarkets, manufacturers and the hospitality sector. Meals will be prepared in The REP’s kitchens by volunteers from the theatre’s bar and restaurant team led by Head Chef Dario Pinho, Sous Chef Marc Scott-Smith and Chef de Partie Matt Smith.  Meals will then be distributed free of charge by Open Kitchens partner organisation Fareshare, the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors. The food will be chilled for transportation and, once delivered, can be heated up easily in a microwave or oven.  For further information about Open Kitchens go to openkitchens.co.uk. 

CITY OF BIRMINGHAM AWARDS OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS Nominations have opened for the City of Birmingham Awards ahead of the ceremony this November. Make your nominations here before the 13th August.

LEGO AND NATIONAL TRUST LAUNCH HUNT FOR UK’S ULTIMATE YOUNG EXPLORER The LEGO Group UK and Ireland and National Trust have teamed up to launch their first ever Young Explorer competition, inspiring kids across the UK to get creative in the outdoors this summer. Budding explorers aged 12-and-under are being encouraged to create the most imaginative and adventurous nature scenes - using LEGO Bricks, LEGO Minifigures and the great outdoors - to be in with a chance of winning. Once the scene is created, parents can submit their offspring’s’ creative scenes on Facebook, along with a caption explaining the creative story behind the image, using the hashtag #LEGOYoungExplorer. As well as securing the coveted title of LEGO ‘Young Explorer’ for 2020/21, the winner will also receive a plethora of prizes – including a year’s supply of LEGO sets, a free 12-month National Trust family membership and a bundle of National Trust story books! Entries will close on 9th September For more information on the competition please visit https://www.facebook.com/LEGO

THE HUNT IS ON FOR THE UK’S CUTEST CANINE Think your pooch has what it takes to be crowned king or queen of the canines? To celebrate International Dog Day on Wednesday 26th August, greeting cards company thortful.com is on the hunt for the UK’s cutest canine. To enter, simply share a photo of your dog on thortful’s Facebook competition page to be in with the chance of winning an illustration of your dog. The top 10 will then be shortlisted and it will be up to the British public to decide who they think the cutest pooch is.

Motivational Quote…

Life is not a fairytale. If you lose your shoe at midnight you’re drunk.

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