UNASHAMEDLY AUTUMNAL… 🍁 FU LOVES THE MIDLANDS #28
So that’s it. We’ve put it off as long as we could, but the central heating is well and truly on. We may have even lit a log fire or two over the last couple of weeks…In that spirit, this FU Loves edition is unashamedly autumnal with warming recipes, cosy interior trend tips, plans for perfect Halloween parties and even, dare we say it, some Christmas pre-planning. Sorry!
I know that many of us are not looking forward to the coming dark nights, but why not take a leaf out of our Danish cousins’ book and embrace the lifestyle concept of Hygge? It has no literal translation in English, but is best summed up as a feeling of cosy contentment, well-being, reflection and a focus on enjoying the simple things in life.
So, if it’s raining, put on your wellies and go splash in the puddles. If it’s a cold night, turn off the lights, light a fire and enjoy a glass or two of Merlot, whilst you listen to the logs crackle and watch the flames dance. No fire then no problem, why not snuggle under a blanket with hot chocolate and a new book or dig out your old vinyls, grab your hairbrush and sing along until your hoarse.
Close the curtains and get out the board games, start scrapbooking and organise your photo albums whilst you wait for something delicious to cook in the kitchen. Thick stews with dumplings or jacket potatoes with skins crisped just right in the oven. Baked apples and ice cream, custard and syrup sponges; who cares about calories, just walk or shiver them off!
Wrap a scarf around your neck, pull on your gloves and take a trek through falling leaves and across frost dusted grass, before coming home to hot chocolates, boozy Irish coffees or a piping hot mug of tea with those you love.
We all have so much to look forward to, let’s keep focusing on that and make this an autumn
to remember – for all the right reasons.
Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters
OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE
Thanks to Covid, only six of the dwarves are allowed to meet up.
None of them is Happy.
NATION’S TOP CHEF ON BOARD TO JUDGE NEW FOODIE AWARDS FOR COVENTRY & WARWICKSHIRE
Glynn Purnell has been announced as a guest judge at 2021’s Foodie Awards, find out more about the awards and how you can still nominate a / your business here.
VOLUNTARY ACTION LEICESTERSHIRE FOCUSES ON THE FUTURE WITH ITS FIRST VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
If you remember back, VAL was integral in mobilising an army of volunteers at the height of lockdown, working with the City and County Council to recruit an additional 2,400 people to be part of a volunteer bank? However, six months on, the organisation recognises that now is the time to focus on how to get the sector back on its feet and futureproof VCSE organisations as much as possible, which is where this year’s Future Focus theme stems from – find out all about it here.
WHERE THERE’S A WILL… WILL AID MONTH; YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s to prepare for the unexpected. Covid-19 has shown us first-hand that there are many things we can’t control. But, the flipside of this is that there are also things we can – and making a Will is one of those. November is Will Aid Month and if you haven’t got your Will in place, or it needs a freshen up, this could be a perfect opportunity to get your affairs in order. We spoke to Dodd’s Solicitors to find out what is involved in writing a will and how to take advantage of National Will Aid Month – find out here.
GET YOURSELF SUITED AND BOOTED FOR WINTER AT NEW SUIT DIRECT STORE
It’s good news for the high street, as Suit Direct launched at the weekend with a new store on New Street (next to the Apple store). There was even a surprise appearance by British Designer and former Clothes Show host Jeff Banks. FU’s Jon and Kevin had the pleasure of a sneak peek and were able to try some suits and blazers by designers Marc Darcy, Ben Sherman, Jeff Banks, Gibson London and Antique Rogue.
The store stocks a premium selection of both formal and casualwear brands along with variety of accessories- the perfect finishing touches for any outfit. It’s great to see a store actively expanding at this difficult time on the high street. Support them by visiting the store or find them online here https://www.suitdirect.co.uk
BAKING BOXES LAUNCHED FOR CREATIVE KIDS
Just in time for GBBO fever, Britain Loves Baking has launched a fun new range of single recipe kids baking boxes containing everything Junior bakers need to create simple sweet treats from scratch. Boxes are delivered directly to your door and each box has all the dry ingredients you need (and they’ve all been pre-measured out), so the only ingredient you need to add is an egg – find out more here.
EMPOWERING BOOK FOR TEENS CREATED BY BIRMINGHAM JOURNALIST AND PRESENTER
Because teenage life doesn’t come with a rule book, award winning BBC and ITV News journalist and presenter, Suzanne Virdee, has written her own – empowering girls not to just survive their teen years but to thrive – find out how here.
CAN’T FLY; WON’T FLY: DIGITAL FEAR OF FLYING COURSES LAUNCHED BY BA
With 1 in 10 people having a fear of flying, the recent travel restrictions have provided the perfect get out clause for many. For those looking to make changes in 2021, British Airways is bringing its renowned Flying with Confidence course to the comfort of customers’ homes for the first time ever – are you ready to take to the skies? Find out more here.
CHATSWORTH GETS READY FOR CHRISTMAS
A high-point in our annual pre-Christmas celebrations, we’re thrilled to hear that Chatsworth House will be open for A Happy Christmas this festive season with tickets for timed visits now available. With limited numbers to ensure safe social distancing throughout the route, The State Rooms and Sketch Galleries – usually closed during the winter season – will also remain open, extending the normal Christmas route and providing a one-off opportunity to experience the Devonshire Collections in these spaces, beautifully dressed for the festivities. Find out how to book your tickets here.
GALLERY LAUNCHED TO HIGHLIGHT ART IN BIRMINGHAM
An online gallery and art agency focusing on promoting artists based in Birmingham and the West Midlands has launched. Find out who’s exhibiting here.
CHANCELLOR’S CHANGES TO JOB SUPPORT SCHEME EXPLAINED
Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement, we saw the Chancellor unveil a package of measures that are designed to help businesses continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the furlough scheme due to come to an end on 31st October, Nucleus HR’s Toni Robinson looks at the implications for employers here.
SOUNDCAFE SECURES FUNDING FOR FUTURE SERVICES
Leicester’s Soundcafe has been awarded a grant of £20,000 to help support the running costs of the charity’s safe, creative spaces for people who are homeless, vulnerable and socially isolated in Leicester. The grant has been allocated by the Henry Smith Charity; a Trust that aims to bring about lasting change to people’s lives helping them benefit from and contribute to society. Find out how they’ll use it here.
ENJOY A SPELLBINDING DAY AT THE HOME OF TREATS
Visitors to Cadbury World can expect no tricks and plenty of treats as the attraction launches its fang-tastic Halloween Spooktacular, every day from Saturday 17th October – Sunday 1st November. Guests, young and old alike, will love the frightfully fun Halloween activities and entertainment on offer at the Bourneville-based attraction this scary season – get the eerie intel here.
DR BLOOD’S OLD TRAVELLING SHOW COMES TO COVENTRY
Trick or treating might be off the cards this year, but that needn’t mean missing out on Halloween altogether. On Friday 23 and Saturday 24 October, the spooky spirit will be kept alive in Coventry with a raucous and deliciously dark new tale in Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show. Sound intriguing? Find out more here.
BUILDING SOCIETY HELPS CHARITY WITH HOMEWARE FOR HOMELESS
ESBS has partnered with Leicester’s Action Homeless to provide homeware starter kits to those the charity has been able to secure permanent accommodation for. Following the Coronavirus outbreak, Action Homeless is placing a greater focus in finding permanent homes for those in need, working with landlords across Leicestershire. A crucial part of this process is supplying homeware to ensure the new tenants can settle right into their new accommodation. Homeware kits contain items such as a toaster, kettle, bedding, and other household essentials.
NEW OUTDOOR ESCAPE GAME ANNOUNCES MORE LIVE DATES LEICESTER AND COVENTRY
A new interactive outdoor escape experience is coming to Leicester and Coventry next month with free tickets on offer for NHS workers. The Big Escape Live has been created so that hundreds can play the GPS activated game while social distancing and following the rule of six – get involved here.
DISCOVER CURIOUS CURES AND MEDIEVAL MEDICINE THIS HALF TERM
Sadly, they can’t promise any scientific miracles this Half Term at the King Richard III Visitor Centre, but they can introduce visitors to their medieval medic who has a whole medicine cupboard full of curious cures – find out more here.
ASIAN BUSINESS CHAMBER PRESIDENT NAMED
The chief executive of one of the UK’s biggest wholesale business is the new president of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC). Dr Jason Wouhra OBE has taken over the role from Wow Group chief executive, Qasim Majid, who served as ABCC president for two years. Find out more about the man at the top here.
COMBINING A STAYCATION WITH WINE? WHERE DO WE SIGN!?
Pack your suitcase, as the wine-retreat of your dreams is heading to Brum. ‘The Wine Staycation’ will blend the finest wines, expert sommeliers, and stunning food pairings, for a full-bodied event that is set to be unmissable – get all the details here.
KUKU NOMINATED FOR TRINITY OF AWARDS
Co-Founders of KuKu Connect, Stephen Goddard and Philip Brooks-Stephenson, have been recognised for their support to businesses across the region during the Covid-19 pandemic with nominations for 3 awards including the national Best Business Awards. They’re still hosting their Wednesday online cocktail hour – catch the next one here.
CHRISTMAS IS DEFINITELY NOT CANCELLED AT THE CUBE
The team at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, located on Level 25 of The Cube, are busy finalising plans for what they believe will still be a time to celebrate, albeit in slightly different circumstances – start planning your celebrations here.
FUTURE FACE OF LEGAL AWARD WINNER REVEALED
James Farmer, Chambers Director of Cornwall Street Barristers, has received the Future Face of Legal Award at the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Future Faces Awards. The awards, which were attended virtually in September, are intended to bring together the best of Birmingham’s young professionals to network, professionally develop and recognise future leaders. Congratulations. Find out more about them and James here.
HAVE FAITH! PALOMA RETURNS WITH NEW ALBUM AND TOUR
Paloma Faith has announced the details of her fifth studio album, Infinite Things, which comes out on 13th November, along with details of a nationwide tour that will see her visit Birmingham, Symphony Hall on the 24th and 25th September and Leicester’s De Montfort Hall on 20th October.
Paloma wrote most of the songs for ‘Infinite Things’ before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, then we went into lockdown, and she ripped them all up and started afresh. She spent her downtime creating, learning to engineer her own music and just thinking about the world. The enforced downtime was ‘creatively fruitful’ and gave her the space to take stock of her frenetic career and decide what is meaningful to her. She is emerging from lockdown with a new sense of her priorities which has seen her reconnect with her roots steeped in creativity.
We chatted to Paloma last year and she was an absolute delight! Read our interview here.
BIRMINGHAM 2022 LAUNCHES APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME
Birmingham 2022 has officially launched its search for the first group of apprentices to work as part of the administration team. They’ll help deliver and support the biggest sports and cultural event to be held in the UK for ten years. Other roles in different areas of the organisation, including ticketing, venue development, procurement, workforce, sport, and security expected to go live soon – find out how to apply for this amazing opportunity here.
THE REP ANNOUNCE THE PARK BENCH PLAYS
Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced 12 new commissions titled The Park Bench Plays – a series of micro-plays that illuminate, interrogate and even celebrate today’s socially distanced world. It’s hoped that the series will bring together the work of some of UK theatre’s biggest writing talents and comedians, alongside emerging playwrights, to create a suite of new plays – see who’s involved here.
SPEEDY WINTER WARMING RECIPES!
Keep cosy in winter with our simple, seasonal recipes. From pasta to soup, we have something you can make in 30 minutes or less – get them here.
TIMELINE CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF LOROS OPENED BY FOUNDING VOLUNTEERS
Two of the women instrumental in setting up LOROS returned to the hospice earlier this week, some 35 years on. LOROS Hospice’s first ever chair of trustees, Barbara Keene, and first President, Lady Clarissa Palmer, played a key role in establishing LOROS and opening the in-patient ward in September 1985. The pair, who were visiting LOROS to open a timeline to commemorate its 35th anniversary, recalled the anxiety with which people viewed hospices in those days, and the fear they had to overcome to get support for LOROS. Read their incredible story here.
TREATS NO TRICKS AT M&S FOR HALLOWEEN AT HOME
One of the things that Jon our Editor has been most upset about with lockdown is the cancellation of Halloween, which has meant that his legendary Halloween house party is on hiatus for another year – last year was cancelled for a house move. So, instead, 2020 will become the year of Halloween-at-home, centered around family feasting and creating the ultimate ‘fright in’!
M&S have stepped up with a Halloween range that’s better than ever including vegan-friendly Petrifying Popping Candy Brain – an EPIC jelly centerpiece with candy that pops for over an hour; Toffee Apple Bangers and delicious Halloween Burgers, made with 100% British beef and topped with a spooky smiling face.
BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME AND THE SOUTHSIDE BUILDING UNVEIL SPECTACULAR NEW MURAL
A spectacular new mural has been created as part of this year’s B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival celebrations. Birmingham Hippodrome partnered with The Southside Building, a new creative office space, to commission a large scale artwork by renowned Birmingham based graffiti artist Zuke that champions creativity and expressive art – find out more about the mural and this year’s festival here.
NOWHERE TO WEAR YOU DESIGNER TOGS? IT’S TIME TO STYLE UP YOUR KITCHEN WITH D&G
In a time when we are spending far more time in our own homes, many are reflecting their style in their interior rather than their wardrobes. Smeg’s iconic collaboration with Italian fashion powerhouse, Dolce & Gabbana, transports high fashion from the runway to the home. With appliances adorned in D&G’s Sicilian-inspired prints and bright bursts of colours, the designs are a celebration of both brands’ rich Mediterranean heritage. Prices start at £499, www.smeguk.com
GOING GREEN: EMERALD-TONED UPDATES FOR YOUR HOME
The cooler months and longer nights leave us all craving the feel-good bloom of a spring scene. Rolling green fields and blossoming branches are one of the sunny seasons’ many pleasures. But, cloudy autumn days needn’t leave life lacking in healthful greens; just a few emerald-coloured updates will inspire your home with a bright and energising new freshness writes Ellis Hoxton- read her tips to make your home green and gorgeous here.
KIM DEBUTS SKIMS AT SELFRIDGES
SKIMS, a range of shape enhancing underwear created by Kim Kardashian West, makes its International retail debut in partnership with Selfridges, launching in Birmingham and at Selfridges.com on Monday 5th October 2020.
Over 160 solution-focused options and loungewear pieces across sizes XXS – 5X and 9 tonal colourways will be available at launch, including the signature Body Suit, Solution Short, Waist Trainer and Body Tape.
GET GOLFING AT THE BELFRY
Golfers have a chance to tee off on The Belfry’s award-winning Brabazon and PGA National courses with its new ‘1 night, 2 rounds’ golf packages. Find out more about this and other offers here.
THIS WEEK’S MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE
Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see. It is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly ‘You got this. Keep going.’
– Jazz Zo Marcellus