When we stepped inside Bhujon Restaurant in Sutton Coldfield, we immediately knew that we were in for a great evening.
Whilst walking into the sophisticated Bhujon Cocktail area where diners can indulge in classic and a bespoke selection of cocktails. Our eyes were immediately drawn to the spacious and attractive dining area below that just oozes class, comfort and style.
As were a family of six we were seated in a booth which was ideal, it was our own comfortable segment of a larger impressive restaurant, we perused the menu and were given advice and recommendations from the helpful staff.
It was nice to see not only a good selection of traditional Indian dishes but also some very innovative choices that were something a little different to what you would find elsewhere.
We chose a variety of starters from Lamb chops adraki perfectly cooked and spiced to Chicken Tandoori tenders, chicken delectably seasoned, the starters were a taste of what was to come as each starter was delicious and the attention paid to the presentation was exquisite.
The highlights of our main courses proved to be a Bhujan speciality Tawa Chicken Jalfrezi cooked with onion green pepper strongly herbed and spiced with home-made sauce, it arrived on a piping hot pan and was sizzling as it was placed on the table, it was simply the best Indian dish I have had in a long time. We also tried an old favourite Chicken Massala a mild dish which was perfectly cooked and full of flavour accompanied at the recommendation of staff by fresh okra.
There was a great choice of deserts I personally had the Caramel Royal which was the perfect finish to a great meal. .
Owners Mr Miah and Mr Zaman strive to offer the highest quality food with a first class ambience and excellent service, something they are definitely achieving. They are certainly bringing a new first class dining experience to Sutton Coldfield.
Bhujon offers a terrific dining experience for couples, families, friends and large parties. It’s creative with delicious food, great service and stylish but comfortable setting, it really is a fabulous restaurant and we recommend that you give it a try.
290 – 292 Lichfield Road, Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield, B74 2UG 0121 308 0930
This restaurant review appears in Sutton Coldfield Recommended Magazine, delivered to 40,000 homes and businesses in Sutton Coldfield and surrounding area’s.
December already, and another merry Christmas is ringing in. Have you started (or finished!) your Christmas shopping. Are you planning a special night out? Or perhaps you are planning a less commercial, more meaningful celebration? Here’s a taster of what Sutton Coldfield has to offer this Christmas.
Christmas gift ideas
The Gracechurch Centre, Sutton Coldfield, under new ownership, will have the usual seasonal cheers with bright lights, late nights and lots of little extras to put pleasure into your gift hunting. It’s open every day and right up to the wire on Christmas Eve – apparently the traditional time for men to start their shopping!
Or for something completely different, start early, on 1st December, at the Sutton Vintage and Arts Fair in the Town Hall. Find unique and quirky Christmas gifts, vintage and handmade clothes and enjoy some festive fun.
Christmas concerts and events
Sutton Coldfield Town Hall plays host to some musical extravaganzas in December including Musical Memories, Past and Present on Friday 6th December, The City of Birmingham Brass Band in concert the following day and two Family Christmas Concerts at 4.15pm and 7.30pm on Sunday 15th December, which promise to be uplifting and heart-warming in equal measure.
Of course, Christmas is not Christmas without panto, but this year the pantomimes are not exactly at Christmas! Snow White runs at the Sutton Arts Theatre until 15th December and Aladdin plays at the Town Hall from 14th January to 19th January 2014.
London comes to Sutton Coldfield
Fancy something a little more highbrow? A quiet revolution has been happening in cinemas across the country, where “as live” screenings of National Theatre and Royal Opera House shows are beating blockbuster films at the box office. The obvious hit for Christmas is the ROH production of Nutcracker on 12th December at 7.15pm, showing at the Empire and a number of other cinemas near Sutton Coldfield. Last year’s Nutcracker beat Skyfall in cinema box office takings!
Whatever your plans, enjoy a happy Christmas in Sutton Coldfield, and here’s hoping that 2014 is your best year ever
This article appears in Sutton Coldfield Recommeded, a local magazine delivered to 40,000 homes and businesses in Sutton Coldfield and surrounding area’s.
After fears that there would be no carnival at all in Sutton Coldfield this year, now there’s a bigger one than ever. It takes place over two days at the end of June, proving that this 50 year old event has a special place in the life of the community.
The fun starts on Saturday 29th June at Meadow Platt in Sutton Park with a giant children’s picnic. The will be food, fun and games for up to 200 local children and their families.
The Carnival is the following day, Sunday 30th June, and it looks set to be a vintage year with all the usual favourite stalls and activities, including the final of the WOW Factor singing competition and the Sunday Afternoon Laze acoustic sessions; plus the addition this year of a beach!
August Antics in Sutton Park
It’s a fantastic line up but we’re the first to admit that one carnival does not a summer make. So what else is happening this summer in Sutton Coldfield?
Look no further than Sutton Park. We sometimes forget how lucky we are to have this oasis in our midst; an historic landscape covering an area of over 2,000 acres and attracting more than two million visits every year. Special activities this year include the Sutton 6 Pack and August Antics – ranger organised events which will keep the whole family happy. Pop into the Visitor Centre at Town Gate to find out more.
Whatever the Weather
There may be the odd rainy day, not too many we hope; so what’s happening away from the weather? A trip to the newly re-opened library is a good start, where you’ll find a brand new children’s section and an exciting “Once upon a time” story area.
There’s a family festival at the town Hall on 16th June from 12pm to 4pm, called Mum’s the Word, celebrating family life. Also, check out the summer’s blockbusters at the Empire, Sutton’s wonderful art deco cinema.
There’s plenty going on, so enjoy your Sutton summer, 2013.
This article appears in Sutton Coldfield Recommended Magazine, delivered free to 40,000 homes
and businesses in Sutton Coldfield and surrounding area’s.
Figures recently released show that the number of residential properties sold rose by 5% in 2012 to 932,000, the highest since 2007. No one should get too over-excited by this; that figure is almost exactly half the number of properties sold in the 2006-07 financial year and is a drop in the ocean compared to the 2.2 million that changed hands in 1988. However, one encouraging sign is that almost all this increase took place in the final quarter of the year as the funding for lending scheme (FLS) began to take effect.
More money is being pumped into the FLS and the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) is predicting that the number of properties sold in 2013 should rise significantly once again. Both the Halifax and Nationwide are predicting that house prices will remain flat this year, but they could be wrong. Even if they are right, that is not the end of the world; rapidly rising prices can create just as many problems as rapidly falling ones. The important thing is that volumes are increasing and there is growing evidence that the mortgage rationing that has suppressed demand for the last four years is beginning to ease. I would think that increasing demand should feed through into at least modest price rises, particularly when you look at what is happening to rental costs.
Although output in construction continues to fall, a lot of that is linked to cuts in government spending. Most large house builders are in rude health and laying out plans for major developments, helped by the relaxation of planning laws.
If you feel the time has come to upsize or you are looking to take your first step on the property ladder, 2013 could be the year to do it. Mortgages are cheap and becoming more plentiful and there is an increase in the number of properties coming on the market. Why not give your friendly local estate agent (or better still 3 or 4 of them) a call and ask them for a valuation?
This article recently appeared in Walmley Pages,
a local magazine delivered free to homes in the B76 postcode
including Walmley, Sutton Coldfield and Minworth
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.
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.
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.
Lichfield 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
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.
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.
The 2012 Olympic Games isn’t just being celebrated in London….it’s on its way to Sutton Coldfield!
The Sutton Coldfield Community Games (SCCG 2012) will commence on Saturday 14th July with an opening ceremony involving local school children and all residents of Sutton and the surrounding areas are invited to join in the fun.
The event to be hosted at Wyndley Leisure Centre and Clifton Road Youth Centre near Sutton town centre will offer visitors the opportunity to take part in up to 50 sporting, musical and cultural activities throughout the weekend of 14th and 15th July.
Visitors to this FREE event will be able to watch demonstrations or try out Zumba, football, tag-rugby, sailing and tae kwon-do, amongst many other others activities.
Dennis Kennedy, founder of SCCG and a long-term Sutton resident has been planning the event for nearly two years in a bid to celebrate Sutton’s rich source of sporting and cultural clubs. Now, with the backing of Birmingham City Council and the financial support of Sutton Municipal Charities the event promises to be a spectacular opportunity for everyone. Dennis himself comments,
“I have lived in Sutton for most of my life and have really benefited from the many sports clubs on offer. This is a chance for people who run clubs and societies in Sutton to show off what they have to offer local residents.”
If anyone is interested in finding out more about SCCG, please visit the website at www.sccg2012.co.uk
This article appeared in the June – August 2012 edition of Recommended Magazine
Come and hunt for an Easter Egg at Bathrooms4All, Erdington from 6th – 9th April. Everyone who finds an egg will receive a free Easter Egg and, if you order in store after finding one you’ll receive an extra 10% off your order (in addition to the sale discount!) or a free bathroom mirror! Kids and parents will both be happy. So if you’re looking for a new bathroom and some Easter fun, why not visit Bathrooms4All in Erdington.
Bathrooms4All, 1163 Chester Road, Erdington, Birmingham, B24 0QY 0121 382 0403
There are few of us who don’t look forward to having our hair cut and styled, a perfect manicure or a spray tan. A little pampering makes everyone feel wonderful and is worth its weight in gold.
However, people lead such busy lives it is not always possible to visit a salon when you work until late or have small children. There are also many people with limited personal mobility or without transport.
She explains: “Style Envy was created for busy people and those who aren’t able to travel or arrange childcare. Our client base includes executives who work long hours, older people who are unable to leave their homes, and small children whose parents work full time.
“I believe everyone deserves to be pampered and think of us as inclusive – not exclusive. We offer everything you would expect from a luxury salon in the convenience and comfort of your home.”
Although the variety of services and products is extensive, Style Envy pride itself on a full range of pamper packages for weddings, proms, and special occasions. The Sutton Coldfield team will even travel to wedding venues to ensure brides look perfect throughout the day.
Hair Style Envy Aveda-trained stylists use only Aveda hair products, which are made from plant and flower extracts and completely natural. They specialise in ‘hair up’ for special occasions and offer an impressive range of styles for all lengths of hair.
Nails Style Envy manicures include Shellac varnish, which is applied like a polish, set under a UV lamp, and lasts for up to two weeks. Most importantly, it doesn’t dull, smudge, chip or damage the nail and can be removed easily.
Body Style Envy use Sienna X, which is the leading tanning system in the UK. It contains moisturising ingredients that nourish the skin and is available in varying strengths.
Style Envy also feature in Recommended Magazine Sutton Coldfield
Pest control advice for Sutton Coldfield residents.
Now that we’re well and truly into winter the insects have by and large died off or hibernated, and the mice and rats have begun to seek warmth and shelter, and your house could well be a target.
Try to spare a few minutes for a quick look around the outside of your house and garage. Any gap that you can put a pen through is large enough for a mouse to get in and should be filled in with filler or cement.
Pay particular attention the rendering around pipes or cables, under door-steps, around drains, door frames, under doors, inside meter cupboards. Don’t just look at ground level either, because mice are very agile and excellent climbers.
Garages are a common place for mice infestations as they are easily accessible and provide warmth and shelter. Garage doors invariably have a gap underneath, and the fitting of brush or rubber type strip along the base is usually enough to keep them out. If the garage is attached to the house don’t forget to check the dividing wall for holes, cables and pipes too.
Mice can also enter your house from an adjoining property, usually under the floor or into the loft, into the wall cavity and then into your house. It would be virtually impossible to find every hole or gap between the properties, so it is advisable to give your home a thorough internal check too. Sutton Coldfield householders are also advised to check pipes and cables, boilers, airing cupboards, under the bath, toilets, and the base of walls particularly under kitchen cupboards, in fact any small hole you find should be plugged.
Prevention is the best form of pest control of course but if you already have an infestation the mice should be dealt with before the proofing of any holes is carried out. This is because having established your home as their home too, they will go to extraordinary lengths to get back in and they will either breach where you have filled or will find another way in.
Treating it yourself can sometimes be straightforward and baits that you can buy sometimes work, but mice can be very fickle, and a professional will not only have extensive knowledge of their feeding and behaviour patterns and the best places to bait, but also a winder range of more attractive and more palatable baits. Trapping usually has only limited success, as it is very random and may not eradicate the whole colony, and soon the infestation increases again. Many people think they just have a mouse but this is extremely rare as mice are very gregarious.
Mice infestations vary considerably. They can occur in the cleanest of Sutton Coldfield households, and less hygienic ones can get away with it. I’ve come across many with mice, who have lived in a house for years without any previous problems so please don’t think it could never happen to you. By taking these few simple steps you will considerably reduce the chances of suffering an infestation.
Complete Pest Management
For the past couple of weeks the media has been dominated by stories about the hacking scandal. Of course, this story is all about the illegal hacking of voicemail on mobile phones rather than computers or websites, but that isn’t to say that hacking websites isn’t a major issue at the moment. In fact, as part of the phone hacking scandal, the Sun’s website was hacked and a false story about Rupert Murdoch being found dead was planted on the site.
Of far more significance is the hacking of the Sony PlayStation site a few months ago in which the account details of over 100 million users were taken. More alarmingly, thousands of credit card details were also allegedly stolen. At the same time, one of the CIA websites was hacked as was that of SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The question is should Sutton Coldfield residents be worried?
On the face of it, there are serious grounds for concern. Millions of us use internet banking and, with the unstoppable growth of online shopping, there are countless online credit and debit card transactions every day. Surely, if it is so simple to hack into commercial websites, we are at constant risk of having our money stolen. In reality there is no reason to panic. The first thing to consider is the motivation of the people doing the hacking. Most of the large scale attacks reported in the news recently have been performed by a group called Anonymous, a loose alliance of hackers located all over the globe. In the past couple of years a faction of Anonymous called LulzSec has emerged; LulzSec claimed responsibility for the Sony attack, hacking the Sun website and several others besides. The hackers’ aims are political rather than criminal; invariably they are targeting the organisation that owns the website rather than its customers.
The next issue is the level of security on the websites that are targeted. Sony was hacked by means of an SQL attack, a fairly unsophisticated technique that has been around for years. To have credit card details stored on a site with such a low level of security is not going to inspire a lot of confidence but Sony argue that the primary purpose of the PlayStation site is to enable users to play games against each other, not to conduct ecommerce. Internet banking has an extremely high level of security. As well as username and password protection there is usually a one time code security device and, in addition, most banks also provide free anti fraud software to stop the baddies getting their hands on your hard earned loot. Ecommerce sites are similarly secure. As long as there is a padlock sign to the right of the URL bar you can be confident that the site is pretty much un-hackable. Once again, most banks and credit card companies offer additional security software; Capital One, the credit card provider, is currently working on security software that will be future proof for the next twenty years.
Of course, if someone can steal your card details without your knowledge, from the Sony PlayStation website for instance, they could potentially use your card to buy goods and services online. First they would have to get through the anti fraud security and, even then, the liability for any losses would lie with your bank or card provider. The greatest danger still lies in fisching, sending fraudulent emails to get Sutton Coldfield residents to provide their account details. Remember, no bank or card provider will ever send an email asking for your logon details. The only people who are really at risk from the hackers are the owners of the websites who may well not want their dirty laundry aired in public as Wikileaks is prone to do. It is little surprise that Anonymous and Wikileaks are closely aligned.
Mexico is a collision of different civilisations and their traditions. From the Aztec Mayan Ruins and Colonial towns to Spanish oriented music and dance, you will definitely get value for money when it comes to Mexican culture. Cancún has transformed over the years from a small fishing town to Mexico’s most renowned visitor destination since Acapulco. It boasts searing sunshine, white beaches, Margaritas, Tequila and Pina Coladas! Although it is a sunbather’s paradise, I was venturing to a part of Mexico that promised to have retained its authentic feel whilst still attracting the tourists from around the world, including Sutton Coldfield.
Playa del Carmen has kept its buildings almost all ‘low rise’, retaining the local town feel. Amongst the global brands are boutique hotels like Luna Blue, La Tortuga and Fusion that are well worth a cocktail visit, even if you are staying elsewhere. Despite the resort catering for huge numbers every season, Cancún’s fishing village heritage is still evident and is mirrored heavily in the work produced by a number of artists exhibiting there.
The south of Cancún is much more cosmopolitan, so you really have a style to suit all; however, neither extremity beats the history and architecture of colonial Valladolid. You can even choose from salt and fresh water snorkelling lagoons at Xcaret and Xel Ha, such is the variety on offer. Tempting as it may be to lie on the white beach and roast, I cannot advocate travelling around and exploring enough; within an hour you could be in a fishing village or a cocktail bar and, from there, visit colonial churches and even ancient Aztec ruins.
‘Playa’, as the locals call it, is the perfect place to kick back and relax with a Tequila ‘boom-boom’ (a shot containing Tequila, Grenadine and Lemonade slammed down in front of you) followed by a Pina Colada. The food is abundant and wonderful; hotels usually provide a 24 hour food and drink service but if you are feeling adventurous there is plenty to choose from: La Cueva del Chango has a fabulous outdoor jungle setting for the restaurant and Playa Maya serves up a tantalising Octopus Taco!
Aside from the historical exploration, there is an ample selection of organised day trips on offer. We chose one based at a theme park, organised by Xplor, which boasted 2 miles of zip wiring, driving a 4×4 through the jungle and cave rafting. Health and safety is really kept to a minimum so you can get on and have some fun but, just for the record, hitting two trees and a couple of rocks is pushing it when defending your driving ability.
Leaving Mexico, and dreading the eight hour long flight home to Sutton Coldfield, I wondered whether I had forgotten something. The region has variety in a way I have never found in just one country before and its past is so well preserved that you can plainly see each stage of its development. I kept going through in my head the details of each and every temple, town, village, lagoon and beach I had visited but, somehow, it always feels like Mexico has a little bit more tucked away, ready and waiting for your next visit.
No doubt many Sutton Coldfield residents are by now starting to see ants around the home. The ants you see above ground represent only about 3% of a colony so by far the best way to get rid of them is to find the nest. Spend a little time identifying where the ant trails are and place some ant bait as near as possible to them. I find the gel type poison baits work best, although other methods such as powders or sprays can sometimes work too. Once the ants have found the bait they will take the bait back to the nest and the whole colony will then feed on it. When deciding where to place the bait be mindful of the risks to children and pets so ensure that you read the precautions label first.
Ants are often difficult to control, and complete eradication is hard to achieve so if you wish to have a go yourself you just have to keep plugging away and try to eliminate or cut down the infestation as best you can. Pest control companies are able to use a wider range of baits and insecticides, and of course their expertise too, and this should be an option to consider particularly if you are having difficulty controlling an infestation.
Later in the year, the queen produces winged ants (commonly known as flying ants). Both male and females are created by the queen specifically for mating purposes. When the conditions are just right, usually on various days from mid July until the end of August and on humid or thundery afternoons when the air thermals are conducive to good flying, they leave the nest and take flight, mating on the wing (this can even happen occasionally at other times of the year inside a well heated home). When this happens, Sutton Coldfield residents are advised to open your windows to let some of them fly away, and treat the rest of them with a flying insect aerosol spray. Once mated all of the males die as do many of the females too, but some of the mated females (next year’s queens) survive and seek out places to hibernate in readiness for making a new nest the following year when the cycle begins once again.
If you need any free advice regarding ants or any other pest species please give click here.
Complete Pest Management, Sutton Coldfield.
Golf coaching at the Belfry – Recommended Magazine Sutton Coldfield review
As a beginner to golf I took the opportunity to have a 60 minute hi tec computer quintec video lesson at thePGAAcademyat The Belfry.
The lesson was with Derek Simpson who has been the senior teaching professional at The Belfry for the past 17 years and so I knew I was in good hands. We started the session with Derek asking me some questions about my past golfing experience and other sports I had played, he also enquired what goals I had in golf and if I would be able to practice and play as this is a huge factor in the development of my golf swing. I warmed up then hit some golf balls with my pitching wedge followed by my 7iron which were recorded on the quintec computer video analysis machine. The cameras recorded my swing from 4 different angles, Derek and I then sat down to discuss the improvements to be made. We could quickly identify that my posture was poor and I was standing too close to the ball, I was shown some TOUR PROFESSIONALS on the monitor and could immediately see the areas to work on .Derek explained that if I improved my posture and got my distance better from the ball then my swing would have more chance of working in a natural way for me, otherwise I would find it very difficult to get any consistency. I was then given a routine to get my posture correct and to judge the distance I should be from the ball and continued to hit some shots with the video camera recording my swings. My new posture was compared to my old posture and I was amazed at the difference this made to my swing and the contact the club made on the ball. Whilst hitting shots under the guidance of Derek I was made to feel at ease with encouragement throughout the entire session .Derek wrote down some practice drills and points for me to work on with advice on how and when to practice .I really enjoyed the session and can understand why so many golfers use the quintec video analysis for golf lessons as you can compare positions with 50 tour professionals and see the improvements. If you are new to the game of an experienced golfer looking to improve I recommend having some coaching sessions with Derek on this machine because it was a fabulous experience.
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Recommended magazine (Sutton Coldfield) review of The Belfry Golf Coaching
Richard Barnes editor