Just another WordPress.com site

Author Archive

Green is the colour

Looking back is traditional at this time of year, especially as we have a bright shiny new one to make a mess of. Such a lot of rain made it a difficult time down in the Valley. Our wildflower meadows missed the correct time for mowing and we have to hope that it has not too much effect on this new year`s display. Certainly the undergrowth burgeoned massively and it meant machete time around the Boardwalk and at various other points where the greenery impeded a walk or ride. Earlier in the year we had a go at the Himalayan Balsam that infests the brook and would hope to do the same this coming spring. There are those that would have us clear out the stream of its silt and and weeds but I think that the fact that fish and crayfish have returned are an indicator of good water quality. The long bright green weed that has white flowers is water crowfoot , again a natural sign of water quality. Also, we will be adding some extra, long awaited , litter and waste bins shortly as a joint effort between the Council and the Steering Group.( We pay for `em ,they get `em emptied!) The muddy gateway at Allendale Rd has at last received our attention and been meshed. Apart from work of course there has been much to enjoy and appreciate. The lush summer gave way to a spectacular autumn and now winter. Whatever the season there is always good reason to get out there and enjoy, `cos it is the users who make it what it is , ours.

Ours, also, is the Green Belt that surrounds us. It is under pressure from an increasing city population. I fear that the case for releasing some of it (400hectares) is too strong to resist. However, with the right response to the current consultation we should be able to mitigate its effect on our locale. If you have not already done so , please comment on the proposals before the end of January. Try to make objections objective and offer alternatives. Don`t be afraid to be a Nimby , because Nimbys care about where they live and how they live. Be heard and least say you tried. Your kids may yet thank you for it .

Jeff Gilbert

 

NIMBY or Nimby (an acronymfor the phrase “not in my back yard“)

 

This article appeared in the January edition of Walmley Pages Magazine,

a local magazine delivered free to over 8000 homes.


Have a spectacular Sutton Coldfield Christmas

The festive season is upon us; the Mall is all a-twinkle, office Christmas parties are in full swing, and there seem to be carol concerts on every corner. To help you make the most of it all, here’s a roundup of some of the Sutton Coldfield Christmas highlights.

Started your Christmas Shopping?

Or maybe you’ve already finished it? Whichever is the case it is well worth heading for the town centre where the lights are sparkling and Christmas bargains are everywhere. On 14th December there’s the added attraction of the Christmas Farmers’ Market, where you can stock up on some special treats. Don’t forget that Sutton has many other lovely little High Streets, such as Boldmere, where you will find lots of independent shops with some fresh and unusual ideas for Christmas gifts.

Where’s Santa?

The most important question for children is “Will we see Santa?” Well, no fear, Santa’s here. He’ll be in the Mall all through December, right up to Christmas Eve – hope he’s got the reindeers primed for a quick getaway! After Santa, keep the excitement levels high with a trip to the panto; no need to schlepp into Brum, the Sutton Arts Theatre has a wonderful production of Cinderella, right here on our doorstep, from 7th  to 22nd December. There are also some great Christmas films showing this year at the Empire, Sutton’s 1930s listed cinema. Try the new Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey; or showing right now is Nativity 2 – Danger in the Manger, a funny festive follow up to the original Nativity! movie, back in 2009.

And finally…

You’ve shopped, you’ve eaten, you’ve drunk, you’ve seen Santa and visited the panto. All that remains is…. a nice cold, ice cold Christmas dip in Blackroot Pool at Sutton Park. Any knowledge of this century-old tradition is strongly denied by the park authorities, but as of last year it appeared to be still going strong! However it is really only for the brave or the foolhardy, and a cosy Christmas at home sounds much more appealing.

To all our readers and advertisers, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

This article features in Recommended Sutton Coldfield, a local magazine and business directory delivered

 to 40,000 homes and businesses in Sutton Coldfield.


Ready for a Lichfield Christmas?

LichfieldCathedralLichfield is alight with Christmas cheer right now, so make the most of all that is happening; enjoy the festivities throughout December, until you finally put your feet up on Christmas afternoon with a glass of something sparkling!

Some Lichfield Christmas highlights

The Christmas Farmers’ markets are on the first Thursday in December and back again for a twinkly encore on 20th December, just in time to get some last minute goodies.  Don’t miss the Lichfield Christmas Festival, on 16th -17th December, a weekend bursting with activities, music, storytelling, eating and drinking. For something a little different, how about a nostalgic afternoon, with 1940s entertainment and festive food, at the National Arboretum on the 6th December?

It’s all about the children

Keep the excitement levels at fever pitch over the next few weeks with a whole host of local Christmas activities. Kick off with Christmas crafts in Beacon Park on the 1st and 2nd December, and then go up a gear with a visit to the Garrick for this year’s Christmas panto, Alice in Wonderland. Santa will be getting about; visit him nearby at Shugborough, Conkers, or the Chasewater Railway, and don’t forget he’ll be touring the streets with the Round Table too. Yes, he’s very much in evidence in the area, so best behaviour all round!

The real spirit of Christmas

We are blessed with a beautiful cathedral and many active churches in Lichfield so there’s no excuse for missing the true spirit of Christmas this year. The Cathedral in particular has a packed agenda starting with the atmospheric, candlelit Advent Carol Services on 1st and 2nd December at 6pm

Christmas music features heavily of course. You can enjoy carols in the park, carols in the town square, carols in the Cathedral (and the many Lichfield churches), and even carols in the trenches at Whittington Barracks. If you are not singing, then stop and listen and, wherever you are in Lichfield, you will hear the strains of Once in Royal David’s City carrying on the winds….

To all our readers and advertisers, Merry Christmas and Have Fun!

This article appears in Recommended Lichfield, a local magazine and business directory delivered

to 19,000 homes and businesses in Lichfield and the surrounding areas.


Have you written your will yet?

It’s not something most of us like to think about, but writing your will is one of the most important things you can do. If it’s there on your long-term to-do list, bring it to the top and do it now.

Says Gary Allmark from GSA Wills:

Even when things are straightforward, if you die without a will, the process of administering your estate is made unnecessarily difficult. This can be stressful and upsetting for those you leave behind, who are already struggling to cope with your loss”

Second Marriage? Read on…

Everybody should have a will, but for certain people the consequences of not having one could leave those you love out in the cold. You should put your will at the top of your to-do list if:

  • you are unmarried partners, particularly if you have children
  • you have previous marriages, again particularly if you have children
  • you have children under 18 -to be clear about how they should be looked after if you die
  • your estate is worth more than £250k (easier than it sounds if you own your house)

Keep it up to date

Already have a will? When is the last time you updated it? If things have changed since you wrote your will, for instance you have separated or divorced, you will need to update it. Gary from GSA Wills says:

“Many an outdated will has caused problems for those left behind. That’s why we send a note once a year to remind you that if your circumstances have changed, your will should reflect the new reality.”

The Season of Good Will?

Before you get caught up in the Christmas preparations, with a million and one things added to your to-do list, call GSA Wills and get Gary to come over and see you.

 

This article appeared in Recommeded Sutton Coldfield Magazine, a local magazine and business directory delivered to 40,00 homes and businesses in the Sutton Coldfield and surrounding area’s.


A Florist with a Flourish

SHAW LANE FLOWERS

Ten years ago Joy Fielding took a step back from the day to day business of farming that had always been her life to spend more time following her true passion, floristry. Today Joy’s business, Shaw Lane Flowers, is thriving, and Joy couldn’t be happier. Says Joy “I love what I do; it is a very creative occupation which also brings me into contact with lots of lovely people” Joy isn’t a traditional high street florist; she is a floral designer, working from her rustic farmhouse on the edge of Lichfield, and she creates traditional and contemporary designs for weddings, corporate and charity events, and special occasions.

Wedding Flowers

If wedding bells are in the air for you next year, Lichfield has many hard-to-beat wedding locations such as Packington Moor, Swinfen Hall Hotel and Erasmus Darwin House, all of which Joy has worked in; she says, “The challenge, which is also a pleasure, is to create displays that delight the bride and live up to their glorious setting”. A quick look at Joy’s website http://www.shawlaneflowers.co.uk is all you need, to see that it is a challenge that she meets spectacularly well.

Christmas Flowers

Right now Joy is busy creating displays for Christmas parties and festive events. We asked her if she had any tips for those of us who don’t have her talent, but want to impress our guests this Christmas:

“For a simple, effective Christmas table decoration which doesn’t cost the earth, consider using berries, seed heads and foliage – ivy heads are particularly pretty.  It’s surprising what you’ll find in the garden.  Give them a delicate frosting of silver glitter, add a scented candle – the one in the photo is Cherry and burns for 80 hours – and scatter some crystals.”

If it all sounds like a bit too much effort, Joy is currently taking orders for table centres and for her welcoming, heart shaped alternatives to the traditional festive door wreath (pictured).

By Royal Appointment?

Joy’s creative skills have even been called upon by royalty. Joy was delighted to be asked to create a display for the Queen herself, when she visited Lichfield in 2011. So, if you deserve flowers fit for a queen (and who doesn’t?), you know who to call!

This article appeared in Recommended Lichfield Magazine and business directory,

delivered to 19,000 homes in Lichfield and the surrounding area’s


LOW COST CHAIR COVERS in Sutton Coldfield

 

First Impressions Last

If anyone knows how important first impressions are, it’s Gerry Bryan, owner of Low Cost Chair Covers.  Every day Gerry is providing Low Cost Chair Covers that look like a million dollars, for weddings, proms, parties and conferences around the West Midlands.

“That moment, when people walk through the door and see a venue in all its glory, is the moment the tone is set for the whole event” says Gerry.

A brilliantly simple and effective way to create that “wow” moment is by using beautiful chair covers which will bring a theme together and add class to any occasion.

“Our chair covers, loose or lycra, will fit almost every chair; choose white, ivory or black, plus a coloured organza sash, hood or bow to complete the look.”

It’s all in the name – or is it?

There is a clue in the name if you are worried about the cost.  It’s unbelievable but true; Low Cost Chair Covers are just £1 each, including the sash, to transform your wedding, prom, party or event into something that will be talked about for a long time afterwards.

That name is only half of the story, though. Low Cost Chair Covers are also professional venue decorators with over 15 years’ experience, and offer a design service for your whole event, including backdrops, table centrepieces, flowers, balloons and much more.

“We can dress the venue to create whatever theme or atmosphere you want” says Gerry.

“We offer a full venue decoration package for weddings, summer balls, parties and events.  Prom parties have been particularly popular in more recent years.”

Low cost just got lower by 10%!

Low Cost Chair Covers are offering an exclusive 10% discount for readers of Sutton Coldfield Recommended, for the following packages:

  • Prom Package: balloons, table runners and chair covers/sashes (starting from £17.75 per table based on 10 people per table)
  • Wedding package: table runners and chair covers/sashes

(starting from £13.00 per table based on 10 people per table)

This offer applies to confirmed bookings for events from 1st December 2012 to 1st December 2013. You will need to book by 31st March 2013 and a 30% deposit is all that’s needed to secure your booking.

Simply quote code SC310313 when you call, email or complete the enquiry form via the website. See the ad for contact details.

This article appeared in Recommended Sutton Coldfield a local magazine and business directory

delivered free to 40,000 home in Sutton Coldfield and surrounding area’s.


Calling all aspiring young performers…

Calling all aspiring young performers…

There is a new opportunity for children in Sutton Coldfield to discover and develop their performing talents. The Theatre House is an exciting new stage school which provides professional training in the performing arts for children between the ages of 7 and 14.  With weekly drama, dance and singing classes, it offers a fantastic chance for children to get a taste of how it feels to tread the boards.

The Theatre House is run by performing arts professionals Deb Crump and Helen Gilfoyle, who realised a long held ambition when they opened their doors in Sutton just 6 months ago. Helen is an experienced drama teacher and Deb is a trained actor for whom dancing is a passion; she says “I think my first steps were probably dance steps!” The Theatre House is their way of passing on their skills and knowledge to a new generation of aspiring actors and performers.

Training for Life

The training that Deb and Helen provide is professional and focussed. “We don’t just get children singing along to backing tracks, we actually train them in the techniques and skills required for singing, dancing and acting.” And the benefits go well beyond the stage; children build friendships, gain confidence, learn social skills and develop their imagination. “The skills they learn will help them throughout their lives.” says Deb.

Classes and Performances

Classes, which are great fun, are held every Saturday at St. James Hall in Four Oaks and further afield, in The Village Hall at Alrewas. And to put those new skills into action?  “We are a company that loves to perform and we provide many opportunities for all our pupils to perform in our local shows. All we ask for is energy, enthusiasm and commitment.”

To find out more call Deb on 07855 981309 or have a look at www. thetheatrehouse.co.uk

This article appeared in Recommended Sutton Coldfield, a local magazine and business directory

delivered to 40,000 homes in Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding area’s.

Y


Printer Inks – How much??

Ever run out of ink halfway through printing an urgent document, or an essay that’s due in yesterday, or photos you want quickly? No time to shop around on the internet and wait two days for delivery, so you nip to the stationers or supermarket and……how much?? You’ve got to be joking!

Cartridge World to the rescue!

Thankfully, there is a solution that is cheap, convenient and also environmentally friendly: Cartridge World in Lichfield city centre. Cartridge World refill your empty cartridges with inks that are carefully formulated to match the colours and the quality of branded inks –at a saving of up to 40%. Cartridge World also stock a range of branded inks, printers and computer accessories such as keyboards, mice and leads, all of which are competitively priced.

Inking in the details

Cartridge World came to Lichfield 4 years ago thanks to local lad Michael Rees. After successfully completing a design degree, Michael quickly realised that design jobs were a lot thinner on the ground than design graduates; that’s when he decided to become the master of his own destiny. He took on the local Cartridge World franchise while still in his early twenties and has built his business throughout the worst recession in living memory. What’s the key to his success? “Along with most people, I didn’t see the recession coming, but I did see a business model that made sense whatever the economic weather. People will always want convenience and value, and the need to protect the environment is only going to increase. In some ways the recession has helped, because of the savings we offer in these cash-strapped times”.

An extra 20% off for Recommended Readers!

To get you started at Cartridge World, you can enjoy an extra 20% off your refills on your first visit when you bring in a copy of Recommended Lichfield. What have you got to lose? High quality inks, fantastic savings, a genuinely local, friendly service and a 100% no-quibble money back guarantee if, for whatever reason, you are not happy with your inks.

 

This article appeared in Recommended Lichfield, a local magazine and business directory delived to 19,000 in

Lichfield and the surrounding area’s.

Now let’s finish that printing….


Child Benefit – will you be liable for extra tax?

Welcome to the Hill Lillis & Company Monthly Tax Tips.

You may not be totally aware of a tax change which comes into force from January 2013. The new rules, which are expected to affect approximately 1.2 million families, will apply to those in receipt of child benefit where the income of one or both partners exceeds £50,000 per annum.  In these circumstances, the partner with the highest income will be liable for ‘The Higher Income Child Benefit Charge’.  This is a tax charge which is computed on a gradual scale, whereby when the higher-paid partner’s income is above £60,000 the child benefit received by the family will be fully re-charged.

We foresee that difficulties are going to arise when there are changes in the family circumstances during a tax year (e.g. separation or divorce) or where there is uncertainty over who is the highest earner (perhaps because one partner receives occasional bonuses). It is worth stressing that the person who is expected to pay the charge is not necessarily the same person who receives the child benefit.

HM Revenue & Customs are investing a great deal of money and staff resources in pursuing this new ‘Tax’ and families could be liable to penalties and surcharges if they do not take the appropriate action to ensure their circumstances are notified when applicable.  This does mean having to register for Self-Assessment and file annual Tax Returns.

If your income is very close to the thresholds, you may wish to consider how you can reduce it for these purposes, perhaps by making additional pension contributions or Gift Aid donations.

Alternatively you may decide it is simpler to elect not to receive child benefit; however if one partner is a non-working carer, what will be the impact on their National Insurance record for future state benefits?

We offer a free 30 minute consultation, so if you would like any additional information regarding the above or any other tax issues concerning you, then please contact us 0121 351 6777 or visit us in our offices in Walmley Village, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.

This article appears in Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered to over 8,000 homes and businesses, in Walmley and surrounding areas of Sutton Coldfield


Long Memories and Short Days

Remember, remember that now the days are shorter and colder our feathered friends will appreciate a little help with some extra food and water. Only feed sparingly and keep the area around the feed station clean to reduce the risk of rodent activity. You will be rewarded with a display of our local birds and also many of our winter visitors. Look ,learn and enjoy.

 

Remember , remember the fifth of November goes the childrens rhyme , and so we should. We should celebrate the failure of Guy Fawlkes and his cronies to blow up Parliament all those years ago.  If they had succeeded we would have no one to blame or to laugh at,  although with politicians being on holiday more than in the House he would probably have to pick a different date. Funny how during the long summer recess or over the Christmas season the country seems to run well enough.

 

Remember, remember the eleventh of November is a date that no one should forget.  Remembrance and giving thanks to those who have given up their lives to make our country what it is today. No matter that we may disagree with many of the conflicts in which lives are lost, or feel that those lives are a price that should not be paid for incomprehensible reasons. It still behoves us to add value to their sacrifice by never forgetting that the lives we remember are not those of politicians but of real men and real women that politicians use as their tools. Unfortunately this does not stop for Christmas or summer breaks.

 

Every year on Remembrance Sunday a service is held in Walmley Village around the War Memorial next to the library. A very moving demonstration of our strong community feeling. Join us.

 

 

 

 

Article supplied by Jeff Gilbert of Jeff’s Useful Shop, Walmley Road, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, B76

Article features in November edition of Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered to 4000 homes in Walmley and Sutton Coldfield every month

 


PAYE Code numbers and PAYE Reconciliations – Tax Tips

Welcome to the Hill Lillis & Company Tax Tips.

Tax and National Insurance deductions are made at source from most taxpayers in the UK through the PAYE scheme.  Each employee (or pensioner) is allocated a tax code which the employer uses to calculate the deductions to be made. If your affairs are straight forward then your code is likely to be 810L which indicates you are entitled to the basic personal allowances of £ 8,105.

However if your tax affairs are more complex, you code may be very different as HMRC seek to collect the tax due on sources of untaxed income or make other adjustments. Some of the most common adjustments are for the benefits you receive from your employment (such as a company car or private medical insurance), whereas pensioners may see a restriction in respect of the State Retirement pension they receive which is never taxed at source.

Often these adjustments are estimated, based on information supplied in previous tax years, and problems can arise where someone has multiple employments or pensions, so it is understandable that on occasions the tax collected is not always correct. Therefore after each tax year HMRC issue many PAYE reconciliations (on form P800) showing how they have computed the under or over deduction of tax.

Our experience shows that there has been a great deal of distress caused by HMRC unexpectedly issuing  PAYE reconciliations covering  several years’  tax arrears, and we note that often there are errors on these calculations. We recommend you check them carefully, and seek advice if you think there is a problem.

We offer a free 30 minute consultation, so if you would like any additional information regarding the above or any other tax issues concerning you, then please contact us 0121 351 6777 or visit us in our offices in Walmley Village, Sutton Coldfield.

This article features in Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered to residents in

Walmey and surrounding areas of Sutton Coldfield.


What! in Lichfield

What Value!  What Variety! What Choice!

What’s this all about then?

Well, there’s a store in Lichfield that you might not have heard of. What is its name. That’s not a question, it’s actually called What!

You might not have noticed it because it’s hidden at the back of the town centre, opposite the Lombard Street car park (on the site of the old Carol’s store for those of you who have been around a few years).  What! is a treasure trove; an Aladdin’s cave of all the things you could ever want, and more.  The prices are fantastic too, often half the price you’d pay in other stores, so you can have a happy afternoon’s shopping and save a fortune at the same time.

What’s in stock?

•             A huge range of wools for Lichfield’s avid knitters

•             Art and craft materials at fantastic prices

•             A garden section with everything from garden gnomes to patio furniture

•             Brand name households goods including cleaning materials, toiletries, groceries and more

•             Pet food and supplies

•             Good quality furniture in traditional solid wood as well as more contemporary items

•             Toys and games to keep the kids happy

•             Seasonal goods; Christmas decorations from September for the early birds

•             Dulux paints, curtains, carpets, bedding, lightbulbs, you name it…………

Owner and manager Dave has a simple philosophy: stock what customers are asking for, keep the quality high and the margins low – and sell lots. It works; there’s always something new in store and plenty of special offers, making every visit a voyage of discovery.

What! is open every day from 9.00am ‘til 5.30pm and 10am ‘til 4pm on Sundays.

What! are you waiting for? Drop in and pick up a bargain.  You’re guaranteed a friendly welcome and Value, Variety and Choice every time.

152 Lombard Street, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6DP

01543 410828

This article featured in Recommended Lichfield magazine delivered to over 16,000 in Lichfield and the surrounding areas every 3 months.


Boggy Brightness and Boots On

I thought that we would not notice the transition from summer to autumn this year . It has been so wet and dark that we can see and feel no real difference except that it is a little chillier . However, the prevailing damp has allowed that British green of our countryside to maintain its brightness. Never have our open spaces been so waterlogged and lush as they have been this year. The scorched browns of high summer have only been spied over the water in hotter climes than ours. The colours of autumn are yet to start showing but I suspect that by the end of the month we shall see some. Unless the rain stops falling there will only be sodden heaps of fallen foliage to wade through rather than the usual kicking of crisp golden and red leaves. ( yes, we all do it no matter what age we   pretend to be !)

Take advantage of any opportunity to get out and enjoy the local green patches whenever the sun shines, it could be a long winter and soon the clocks change and we are into darker nights and shorter days. No matter your reasons for walking, be it for health or exercising the dog, for nature or for scenery, just a short stroll or jog will stop that seasonal melancholy getting a grip and anyway outdoor exercise means that when you get in you can have that chocolate or cake as your righteous reward.

New Hall Water mill has closed for the 2012 season with the last open day in September but rest assured that our maintenance work will continue throughout the winter months to ensure that we open again for the 2013 summer months. If you did not visit this year , we look forward to welcoming next time. Please note that if you come on your bicycle you can only come through the small side gate, NOT the main gate, as this is only for real V.I.P`s.

Article supplies by Jeff Gilbert of Jeff’s Useful Shop, Walmley Road, Walmley, Sutton Coldfied B76

This article appears in the October edition of Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered to 4000 homes in Walmley and Sutton Coldfield every month


Personal Allowances – Tax Tips for Sutton Coldfield Residents

Welcome to the Hill Lillis & Company Tax Tips. As a local accountancy and tax practice we will be providing a short, monthly article outlining tax problem areas and our suggestions on what you can do to resolve the issues.

Everyone with income below £100,000 is entitled to a full personal income tax allowance of £8,105 for the current tax year. However if you are over the age of 65 and your income from all sources is less than £25,400  you can claim an increased allowance of £10,500, and if you are over 75 years old the allowance is increased to £10,660. Any income above these levels is taxable, and at present the tax rates are 20% up to £34,370; 40% up to £150,000 and 50% above that level.

Each person within a family is individually entitled to personal allowances, so it is worthwhile regularly reviewing your situation, so that you  make best use of everyone’s allowances.

If family assets are owned jointly, then the default position is that the income should be declared by the owners equally. However in some circumstances you can make an election to confirm that both the underlying capital and income is shared in different proportions.

So, where there is an inequality between the level of income and tax rates being paid by spouses, you may wish to consider how you allocate assets, perhaps by transferring the assets generating the highest levels of income to the partner who pays the lowest levels of tax.

We offer a free 30 minute consultation, so if you would like any additional information regarding the above or any other tax issues concerning you, then please contact us 0121 351 6777 or visit us in our offices in Walmley Village, Sutton Coldfield.

This article appeared in Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered each month to over 4000 homes in

Walmley and surrounding areas of Sutton Coldfield.


Social Media Good or Evil?

It’s hard to turn on the TV nowadays without hearing about social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All large internet based public publishing services
allowing open communication between people, companies, celebrities and more.  Although still in its infancy it is the fastest growing phenomenon of the modern age. From inspiring revolutions and reuniting long lost lovers to breaking up marriages and fueling riots.  With the time old balance of good and evil it stands to reason there is always going to be an argument for and against social networking, so why are some people still so fearful of it? and does the good outweigh the bad?
It must first be noted that social media is only a reflection of individuals freedom of speech. If an individual spray paints his thoughts on a wall, would we blame the individual or the wall? A common perception is that people do not want everyone knowing what they are doing, however this usually stems from a lack of understanding. It is your choice to publish social media, if you don’t want people to know something then simply don’t post it. Problems occur however if a friend uploads a picture telling the world he is at the zoo with you, which is fine unless you are having a ‘sick day’ and your boss then finds a photo of your fun day out at the zoo. Far fetched
as it may sound many people have already lost their jobs due to cases such as this. But is this social media’s fault? Or does it stem from the the individual’s choice to be dishonest?
A recent advancement in social networking is Geo Targeting, this allows a user to tag themselves at a specific location (via gps) and is quickly being adopted by many companies for advertising. Word of mouth has always been the best form of promotion so when a girl tags herself at a hair salon for her 500+ friends to see this is priceless marketing. For this reason many high street companies are now offering discounts and offers for tagging in at their location. Although if the same girl then mentions what a terrible haircut she received at the salon then this could clearly have an adverse effect. So is it worth the risk? Through experience in providing social media solutions to a number of companies the same question is always raised ‘Do we really want users talking about us online? My response is always the same “Those users are talking about you anyway, maybe even geo tagging themselves there as we speak.” A quick search of a company name often proves this. Social media simply provides the means to engage with these people allowing you to reward the good comments and even turn around negative views. Monitoring social media is usually a better option than ignoring it.
Social media is less than a decade old and has not shown us all it has to offer just yet but its effects on companies and individuals cannot go on being ignored.  There are many arguments both for and against social media each right in their own way, but whatever the correct answer there is no stopping its growth and no way
of predicting what it will evolve into next.

 

 

This article appeared in Recommended Lichfield Magazine


Maxwell & Sons

Maxwell and sons are located in Birmingham where their skills range from builders, painters, decorators, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, electricians, floor layers, and kitchen fitters. What more could you possibly want?

(more…)


A Season of Plenty in Lichfield

The holidays are over, the kids are back at school and the nights are drawing in. Don’t get depressed though, because Lichfield still has plenty of events to keep the winter blues at bay.

The autumn brings us fireworks and festivals, light shows and literature, historical celebrations and Halloween fun. Historical Highlights Lichfield’s annual Heritage Weekend, 22nd to 23rd September, is billed “A Right Royal Occasion” this year, celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with royal-themed activities taking place across the city. It’s a chance to find out all about Lichfield’s long and illustrious history. And it would be rude not to, we do live here after all.

Following hot on the heels of the Heritage Weekend there’ll be fun and games in the market square to celebrate 303 years since our very own, world famous dictionary compiler Samuel Johnson was born. While we’re on matters of a literary nature, don’t miss the Lichfield Literature Festival, running for 9 days from 30th September. Halloween and Bonfire Night As the autumn takes hold and there’s a noticeable nip in the air, the spectre of Halloween raises its head. Get yourself in the mood by tagging along on a Gruesome and Ghostly tour around the city; they are run on a number of Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the autumn. On Halloween night itself, there’s the usual Haunting Halloween fun at Erasmus Darwin House. The big weekend for bonfire night this year is 2nd-3rd November, and there’ll be plenty of events to choose from. Probably the most well known locally is the bonfire and firework extravaganza at the Rugby club, which will be on Friday 2nd November. Before Winter Sets In There’s so much more happening in Lichfield this autumn, but we simply don’t have the space to do it justice. Edited highlights include the packed programme at the Garrick (Des O’Connor anyone?), the Roots and Folk Festival on 3rd -5th November, and of course the big Christmas Lights Switch-On, 22nd November in Market Square. Christmas?? I think we’ll leave it there.
This article was featured in Recommended Lichfield Magazine


Europey and Tears dopey

It is only July as I put pen to paper so the Euro footie and Whinebledon have been endured, with the expected results…..

Are the Olympics over yet , how did we fare on track, field, water or bike. Did we do well in some obscure discipline that we are now all experts in (remember Curling last time ? Anyone watched any since? )  Was the   opening show or the closing show a success of world beating proportion? Can we have our twelve billion pounds back now please ? Bet you we could win a World Cup for crying Losers tears or even occasionally Winners wet eyes, what`s that all about ?

Let us now start to give our politicians some real stick over a Referendum about our relationship with Europe. Can we please be consulted as to whether we want to stay as part of the Union or just be a peripheral trading partner or balanced somewhere in between?

If any party is brave enough to give us a straight Yes or No vote on whether to pull out or to stay in, then they get my support. If our rulers were that brave then whatever the result they would have a clear and incredibly strong bargaining chip to take to Brussels for , at the very least, an advantageous renegotiation of our terms of membership. If we did vote to withdraw from the Union are we strong enough to prosper outside ? Of course we are !

And while on that subject , let`s give the Scots and Welsh the same choice about being part of a Great Britain or not. My guess is that our Union will endure and given a fair chance we can build a strong and prosperous future for our children to be proud of. Let`s go for it !

Jeff Gilbert

Jeff’s Useful Shop, Walmley

 

This article featured in Walmley Pages Magazine

 


Clay and Play

Clay and Play is a great place to visit and its not just for children.  Why not discover your creative side, there are a large selection of items for you to paint, vases, mugs, plates, piggy banks to name just a few.  Either decorate an item as a gift for someone or a gift to yourself.  So how does it work?  Firstly A Studio fee of £2.50 per painter is charged this covers the use of paints, glazing and the firing, secondly choose an item from the extensive range of bisque products..  Next, think of a design and get painting. There are a selection of books and stencils to help if you need it or you can ask a member of staff to help. You don’t need to be an artist to achieve great results.  Finally your item will be glazed with a food safe glaze then fired in the kiln and be ready to collect in 5-7 days time.

As well as items to decorate, Clay and Play offer a moulding service for baby hand and foot prints and other keepsake items for example siblings handprints as a gift on Fathers Day as shown in the photo on the left.  Something to keep and treasure forever.  These are ideal gifts for grandparents or a unique gift for , Mothers Day, Birthdays and Christmas.

Clay and Play also specialise in Birthday Party’s.  Packages are available for  up to 20 people.  If you’re bringing your child, you can relax as tea, coffee and homemade cakes are available to purchase whilst your child is busy creating their artwork.  Packages start at £9 per head and include 2 bisque items.  Party food is also available to order.

Why not drop in and take a look for yourself or visit the website – http://www.clayandplay.co.uk

During the Summer there are several workshops available:-

Monday – July 30th – Olympic Pottery workshop

Wednesday – August 1st -Glass painting Workshop

Friday- August 3rd -Fabric painting workshop

Monday- August 6th –Olympic pottery workshop

Wednesday -August 8th –Birdhouse painting

Thursday -August 9th –Name plaque painting

Monday -August 13th –Fabric painting workshop

Wednesday – August 15th- Olympic pottery workshop

Friday – August 17th -Glass painting workshop

Monday – August 20th –Birdhouse painting workshop

Wednesday – August 22nd –Fabric painting workshop

Friday – August 24th –Glass painting workshop

Wednesday – August 29th –Glass painting workshop

Friday – August 31st Fabric painting workshop

Prices   Olympic pottery workshop £12.50 per head (everyone paints upto 2 pieces from our olympic range)

Glass painting Workshop £10 per head (everyone paints some glass ornamental pieces)

Birdhouse painting £10 per head (everyone paints a birdhouse)

Fabric painting workshop £8 per head (you can paint a fabric shopping bag or pencil case)

Name plaque painting workshop £8 per head (everyone paints a wooden name plaque)

Booking in advance needed – Only 12 places per available workshop – Workshops last around 1 and half hours

 

This article appeared in Walmley Pages Magazine


I Love The Cake

We are a local, Walmley based company who specialise in making cakes in all shapes and sizes, and teaching the world the art of cupcake decorating through workshops! Our chief cake baker and decorator has always had a passion for baking cakes, since being a wee small girl. She dreamt that one day she’d be able to offer delicious cakes of all shapes and sizes – the likes of which she’d only seen in glossy magazines – to anyone who wanted one! It started with cakes for family and friends birthdays and anniversaries, and soon people started to want to give her money for her cakes…I Love the Cake was born in October 2011, and has gone from strength to strength since.

We were finalists in The Mall Retail Factor 2012 – you may even have bought a tasty treat from our time in The Mall over the Easter period this year – and you may have sampled our delights at the Sutton Carnival this year! We make cakepops, cupcakes, celebration cakes, cake truffles and most recently, cookies – nothing sweet is safe from our oven!

We also run a number of workshops each month for adults and children on weekends, evenings and weekdays for people like you (yes, you!) to learn the basics like how to create beautiful swirls, decorations and co-ordinate your colours. Will your friends and family believe you created them yourself? Probably not – depends how trusting they are!! BUT you will go home with 6 cupcakes you have lovingly decorated with your own hard-working hands, in a presentation box and some helpful guides and recipes to help you at home. All you need to bring is 2.5 hours of your precious time, an apron and a sense of humour – we’ll provide the rest. Including copious amounts of tea!!

If you are in a cake pickle, and would like to swing by and have a cuppa, a cake and a chat about how to get out of said pickle, drop us a line – we can help you!

Maria Higginson

Chief Baker and Tester

I Love the Cake – 07793 131918

This article featured in Walmley Pages Magazine


Trust and Rust

Is there any one left that has earned or deserves our trust ? All of our major institutions have recently been tested and all have been found seriously wanting. Politicians on the fiddle and not listening, Journalists with the ethics of the playground, Bankers without any ethics at all . Even Doctors and Police trying to hang on to unrealistic pension rewards that you and I could only dream of. Do these people think that they are entitled to have so much more than “ordinary” folk ? On what basis and at what level do they disconnect from real life to attain their “superstatus” of entitlement that the rest of us have to contribute to? Unfortunately the only checks and levers of control are held in their own hands and in the hands of their peers . They aint going to change it any time soon!   On the brighter side of life , I cannot tell you how relieved I am that the boffins under the Alps have found the Higgs boson. Just like the car keys or my spectacles , I knew we had put it somewhere safe and can now relax. Can the Cern collider now put in a no win , no fee claim for whiplash ?  Butterflies . Could there be any more cheerful or colourful sign of summertime than the sight of butterflies floating over a wildflower meadow? Down in the Valley we must be doing something right. In 1999 there were recorded just 9 varieties of butterfly. So far this year , up to mid July, our hardy if rain rusted recorders, Bob and Steve have clocked up a magnificent 14 species. If the weather decides to improve sometime this year maybe this total can be surpassed. Keep looking fellers.

Jeff Gilbert

Jeff’s Useful Shop, Walmley
This article appeared in Walmley Pages Magazine


Love Lane Interiors – Give your home some love

“Love Lane interiors would DEFINITELY love you to save us a whole page in your new Lichfield edition of Recommended Magazine.

Fantastic news is we have had such a great response from the Sutton Coldfield one!!!!!!!!!!!

Can’t wait for the next edition to go out!”

(more…)


Recommended Lichfield Launch

After three years of publishing Recommended magazine in Sutton Coldfield and following many requests from our loyal advertisers we have just launched Recommended Lichfield.

The first edition has been printed and delivered to over 19,000 homes including Lichfield, . Kings Bromley, Alrewas, Fradley, Armitage, Handsacre, Shenstone and Whittington. Testimonies are already being received from happy advertisers proving that Recommended Magazine is going to be equally as successful in Lichfield as it has been in Sutton Coldfield.

Recommended Lichfield will keep readers up to date with events in Lichfield and surrounding areas and also include articles of general interest.

Only reputable business’s with a proven track record can feature in Recommended Lichfield, of you know of such a business or trades person, please call and let us know.

We are now taking bookings for the September quarterly editions of Recommended Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield magazines please call soon on 0121 351 6513 as spaces going fast


Active Camps in Lichfield

If its high octane activities your kids are after aspire Active Camps could be the answer for you. They’re Ofsted registered and run throughout the summer break in Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Bromsgrove, Lichfield, Hagley and Coventry. Each day is packed with sports and physical activities ranging from basketball to dodgeball and from electric quad bikes to circus skills. Furthermore in this year’s Active Camps your child can also try their hand at some Olympic and Paralympic themed sports such as fencing or archery. Children can also pick from specific sport camps like, Razzamatazz, Ian Taylors Football Academy, Chris Woakes Cricket Academy and Dance Beats Academy. Activities run from 10am-4pm and wrapped around care from 8am-6pm. For further information and bookings visit http://www.activecamps.co.uk or call 08455 08 27 34.

The Active Camps are just one of many services aspire Sports have to offer. To find out more information about Active Learning or PPA Cover and many more services Aspire have to offer go to their website http://www.aspire-sports.co.uk/

This article featured in Recommended Lichfield Magazine