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What’s on in Lichfield this Spring?

Spring fever in Lichfield
Spring is upon us and Lichfield is reawakening. The great outdoors beckons, Easter is around the corner and even the Lichfield Bower is in sight. Here’s a taster of Lichfield events and activities to catch that spring fever.
Step Outside
Blessed as we are with countryside all around, now is the time to explore. Head up to Cannock Chase for acres of woodland walks; step among the bluebells at Yoxall Woods (open from 19th April), or take a canal-side saunter at Fradley Junction with a cheeky pint at the Swan.
Closer to home, there is always something happening in Beacon Park and this spring is no exception. Would you believe the golf course is 40 years old? Join in the birthday celebrations on Sunday 23rd March. On the way to Burntwood, have you tried the Woodland Trust’s Pipe Hill Farm yet? It has over 100 acres of woodland and meadow with views back across Lichfield. Even more central, Leomansley Woods are carpeted in bluebells in the spring and offer a lovely, if somewhat soggy walk, with, at one elevated point, possibly the best view of Lichfield Cathedral to be found.
Easter Fun
Take the kids down to the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum for Sam’s Easter Adventure, Easter holiday fun with trails, activities and competitions every day. Erasmus Darwin House will also have Easter activities for children along with a series of special events to celebrate its 15th birthday in April.
A fresh start for the arts
Lichfield Arts has an eclectic spring programme of music including, among many others, blues, folk, swing, jazz and heavy rock. Over at the Garrick the choice explodes with opera, drama, dance, Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; the last three – with the added qualifier (I wish) – being the title of a show on 4th April by Mike McGear McCartney, Paul McCartney’s younger brother, famous for the old Lily the Pink song.
Whatever your springtime plans, stay local and have fun!

This article appears in Lichfield Recommended, a magazine delivered free to residents in Lichfield and surrounding area’s.


Christmas Time in Sutton Coldfield

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.


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.


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.

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The National Memorial Arboretum

Situated in Alrewas, just outside Lichfield the National Memorial Arboretum is a charity run by staff and volunteers, it is part of the Royal British Legion.  Set in a beautiful location it is not only a place for those connected to the armed forces, but an opportunity for all people to show national pride in those who have served and are still serving.

(more…)


Sutton Coldfield man to undertake End 2 End Cycling Challenge

Local Supporter to undertake End 2 End Cycling Challenge

Local man Derek Wilson, of Sutton Coldfield, will be undertaking a mammoth 1,100 mile cycling challenge in May 2012 in order to raise funds for the Cancer Support Centre.

Derek will be setting off from Lands End, Cornwall on May 5th and will then cycle an average of 74 miles a day aiming to reach John O’Groats, Scotland 15 days later.

Derek said.  “This is the ultimate bike challenge for any cyclist in Britain and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  However there is another reason for me doing this.  In August 2009, my wife Sue was diagnosed with bowl cancer, it has been a long and hard battle and it’s not quite over yet. “

“Along the way Sue and I have had great support from family and friends but sometimes you need outside support.  This came from customers of my business and the Cancer Support Centre in Lindridge Road, Sutton Coldfield.  The therapists, staff and volunteers were a tremendous source of help, support and advice at a very difficult time.  So to give something back I want to raise £1,100 which is £1 for every mile I will be travelling.”

Ann Mckeown, Fundraiser of The Cancer Support Centre, Sutton Coldfield said: “Derek is undertaking an amazing challenge and we really are grateful for all that he is doing for us.  I can’t imagine cycling just 74 miles in one day let alone doing the same distance every day for 15 days.”

“The money that Derek is hoping to raise for us will make a huge difference to the Centre.  We are completely independent and receive no government funding and rely entirely on the goodwill and support of local people like Derek.”

The Cancer Support Centre has a whole host of activities and events that people can join in with and is in particular looking for runners for the Great Midlands Fun Run to support the Centre.  For more information about how you can help The Cancer Support Centre and local people living with cancer call Ann Mckeown on 0121 378 6296 or email fundraising@suttoncancersupport.co.uk for details of the latest activities.

 


Style Envy in Sutton Coldfield

 

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.

After four years working as a hair stylist in a salon and spa, Siân Bridges of Sutton Coldfield, decided that everyone deserves an ‘elite’ experience.

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.

To make an appointment or find out more about Style Envy packages: call 0121 308 4196 or 07712  671161 email sian@styleenvyuk.com or visit www.styleenvyuk.com

Style Envy also feature in Recommended Magazine Sutton Coldfield


Mice Advice

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.

If you wish for any free advice about mice or any other pest matters feel free to give me a call (07984 88 88 87 or 0121 313 3305)

Neil Barnett
Complete Pest Management
Sutton Coldfield
www.completepestmanagement.co.uk


Travel – Goodbye to Ag Nik

Does anyone in Walmley remember the TV advert that features a chorus of alarms going off at 5:00 AM immediately followed by a stampede of German holidaymakers going out to put their towels on the sunbed? Meanwhile, a plucky Brit saunters out to his balcony and hurls his Union Jack towel so that it arranges itself neatly on a sun lounger. Sadly, the art of dawn sunbed reservation is alive and well, only now it is the British who are the culprits.

 

I mention this because it was probably the only black mark against my family holiday to Agios Nikolaos in Crete. We stayed the Hotel Hermes   located on the seafront near the centre of town. It was built in the 80s and it has vast sweeping lobbies and foyers occupied only by the         occasional sofa. Our suite was equally vast and featured flat screen TVs, a double width balcony and a separate bedroom for the kids. The Hermes is a trifle bland, though reassuringly efficient, but this was easily countered by the view over the vivid blue sea to the towering mountains across the bay. From my  balcony I could look down on the bustling port and watch a procession of cruise liners dock and then promptly sail away again.

 

The food in the hotel restaurant was good quality if uninspiring, but this did not matter because five minutes’ walk away was the centre of town and literally hundreds of restaurants. During my stay I enjoyed lobster, lots of freshly caught fish, a passable steak and the inevitable meze, all at reasonable prices by English standards. Ag Nik, as it is affectionately known, is a strikingly pretty town. It is built around a lake which is actually a lagoon connected to the harbour by a narrow canal. The lake is surrounded by cocktail bars and restaurants and is home to a Heath Robinson array of fishing boats. I cannot think of a better place to sit and watch the sun go down while sipping a Long Island Iced Tea and pondering what to have for dinner.

 

Although there is a disco boat that returns noisily to the   harbour each evening, packed to the gunnels with slightly intoxicated teenagers, Ag Nik is by no means Crete’s answer to Ibiza. In fact it is a resolutely middle class resort and decidedly cosmopolitan; I even encountered several examples of that very rare thing, a French tourist outside of London. I was puzzled by the plethora of shops selling Prada handbags, Rolex watches and even fur coats – hardly standard tourist tat. The mystery was explained by the presence of Elounda, one of the most exclusive resorts in the Med, a few miles up the coast. Ag Nik’s two main beaches are spotless, sheltered and surrounded by a pleasing plethora of bars and restaurants. Better still, there is not a jet ski hire or sunglasses sales tout in sight.

 

Crete has plenty to offer to the inveterate sightseer. We hired a car for a day, promptly got lost and discovered just how mountainous the island really is. Some of the mountain passes are truly hair-raising but the views make it worthwhile and the villages remind you that Crete had a culture before the tourists came. Eventually we made our way to Knossos where they have excavated an entire 3000 year old city. Sadly, little was left standing and it was just a  jumble of old stones; we didn’t stay long. A more worthwhile excursion is a visit to Spinalonga, a medieval island fortress that was used as a leper colony until the fifties. It is a poignant and slightly eerie place, fascinating to look round and you also get a boat trip and a swim.

 

So it is not goodbye to Ag Nik, but adieu. I will return someday soon.

 

Howard Clemmow

 


IT and Media – Hack Attacks

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.
Graham
IT Consultant


Travel – Tequila, Tradition and Tentacle Tacos

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.

Carrie Cartwright-Owen


Ant Problems in Sutton Coldfield?

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.
Neil Barnett
Complete Pest Management, Sutton Coldfield.


Golf coaching at the Belfry

 

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.  

Feel free to email info@recommendedmagazine.co.uk for more details

Recommended magazine (Sutton Coldfield) review of The Belfry Golf Coaching

Richard Barnes editor


Recommended Sutton Coldfield online guide to websites

 

Recommended Sutton Coldfield online guide to websites

Are you missing an important piece in your Sutton Coldfield marketing jigsaw?: an Internet Presence or a  website. A good website requires planning. An effective income generating website requires even more planning.

Here are the Recommended Sutton Coldfield online  tips for website planning.

Your Website

Your website is simply pages linked together via hyperlinks. You can choose to have a one page website or as many pages as you like (but don’t overdue it). Hyperlinks are text or images directing readers to another page.

Sutton Coldfield website content

That’s the froth and bubble dealt with now for the important stuff Content. This is the most important part of your new website, content is the one thing that will keep your visitors at your site (we call them sticky sites) and keep them coming back. The content should  let your visitors know – about your business, your products, your services, remember to keep the content interesting, keep it updated, maybe offer discounts now and again, give something fresh for frequent visitors to read.
Your Sutton Coldfield website

Successful site are well laid out and easy to read, whether  you design the website yourself, or outsource the task to a website designer, firstly set out your ideas on paper. Choose font, colour and pictures – graphics, Try to keep the same layout for the whole website. i.e if the search bar is at the top on your Home Page, keep it at the top on all pages. Consistency of layout is important otherwise it will be difficult to navigate round. See this Sutton Coldfield sitefor an example of an easy to navigate site

If you want to drive more traffic to your website or want an extra internet presence then try www.recommendedsuttoncoldfield.co.uk