FU Loves The Midlands #3 – So We Made It Through Easter… Is This The New Normal?

Hello all. Hope you had a wonderfully relaxing Easter Weekend. The weather was kind and let us get on with all those garden jobs that we’d been putting off – even the garage got tidied! When rain spoiled play, we really were ready for a sit down and discovered a Carry On film festival on ITV3 so with that, and all our Easter Eggs, we were sorted for the rest of the day!

One thing we did make sure we did was catch up with friends online – Saturday night saw an online quiz with friends over the Houseparty app and, I have to admit, I hadn’t realised how much I’d been missing the interaction. Don’t forget about the healing properties of friendship. Pick up the phone or message them on your tablet if things are starting to get to you. I promise, they will make you feel that little bit brighter.  If not, change friends.

As we keep saying, Silence is not golden, we’ve all got to keep talking! Once again, if you’ve got a story that you’d like to share, or if you just want a chat, get in touch by email: [email protected] or [email protected] or call us on 07713 740 272

Oh, and our little victory this weekend? Banana bread for Kevin and I made a Pub in the garden out of an old potting shed. I think I might move in! Share your successes with us, tremendous and tiny here.

Take care

Jon, Kevin & the

Why didn’t the hipster have a jacket?
He went outside before it was cool


So, with much of the population now furloughed, everything seems to have settled down somewhat and all the major confusion regarding the Government Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme appears to be resolved, or is it?  Well, kind of, until we hit a Bank Holiday weekend, much like this one.

Countless calls over the past week have centred on annual leave, in particular the Bank Holidays during a furlough period, of which there could be four from now until the end of May.

We are currently awaiting clarity from the Government on the matter of annual leave and how it interfaces with furlough leave, but in the meantime, the lovely Toni Robinson of NucleusHR is about to try and put a little sunshine to the shades of doubt.

Read more here.


One thing the shops have had stock of is Easter Eggs and with the gyms shut and comfort eating now just called eating, we were more than a little shocked to see this infographic from Onbuy.com on just how many calories we’ve consumed this weekend.  New gym routine starts manana.


Birmingham Museums have donated supplies of antibacterial wipes to Birmingham Samaritans as well as boxes of gloves and masks to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Birmingham at a time when personal protective equipment is much needed by their frontline staff. The safety equipment is usually used by museum staff when caring for objects and artworks, but the team quickly responded to a call out from the University of Birmingham who were looking to redistribute supplies to those who need it most in the NHS at this time.

The Edwardian Tearooms at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery worked with Simon Carlo from the Meat and One Veg blog to donate soup and bread to Tabor House, which offers shelter, safety and support to vulnerable people. Further food was distributed to hostels in the city and to help make it as easy as possible for the local community in Hall Green to stay well fed, the shop at Sarehole Mill, one of Birmingham Museums’ historic properties, has been transformed into a small food shop stocked with items like flour, pasta and tinned goods. Fresh bread, baked on site, is also available. The shop is open from 11am – 4pm, Monday – Friday. Find out more here


Publicity specialists, FU Media, and luxury magazine, DLUXE, have joined forces to offer an exclusive competition to win a year-long publicity package – worth over £5000.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply CLICK HERE.
T&Cs apply.  Competition closes 31st May 2020.


Cadbury owner, Mondelēz International, has joined forces with engineering company, 3P innovation, to help produce thousands of medical visors to protect front-line NHS staff.  The food manufacturer is repurposing its 3D printing technology, which is normally used to make chocolate sculptures at Bournville, the home of Cadbury, to help print the medical visors.

Mondelēz is helping to produce the hard-plastic bands that connect the top and bottom of the visor. It has also invested money into the project so 3P can buy injection-mould technology, which will mean the visors can be mass produced.  3P have already delivered the first visors to a Warwickshire NHS clinic and will be scaling up their operations with the aim of making and delivering up to 10,000 units every week.

This builds on a fascinating history of Cadbury’s Bournville factory stepping in to help the nation in times of need, having set up Bournville Utilities Ltd in the 1940s to help make gas masks, jerricans, service respirators and aeroplane parts for Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers during WWII.

3P is appealing for other manufacturers and businesses with 3D printing technology and logistics services to support, so they can continue to make and supply the medical visors to more NHS workers and other frontline services such as care homes and prison staff.
If you can help then please visit https://bit.ly/NHSvisors3P or email [email protected]


You may have seen on social media that we spent our Easter converting an old disused potting shed into a new garden bar – yes, we’re missing the pub that much! So, we’re going to need to brush up on our cocktail making skills for when this is all over – apparently everyone is heading here for a glass or two!  Luckily, White Heron Drinks have sent us these great cassis-based cocktail recipes to try – they sound perfect for a sunny day, so why not have a go, too?

Find them on Instagram for more recipes – @whiteherondrinks


50ml Vodka
25ml British Cassis
Liquorice paint

Pour the British Cassis and vodka over ice in a cocktail shaker and agitate. Add a brushstroke of liquorice paint to the inside of a Martini glass before straining


50ml White rum
25ml British Cassis
15ml Lime juice

Add ice to a cocktail shaker, filling three-quarters full. Add all the ingredients, cover and shake. Strain into chilled Martini glasses (without ice). Garnish with a trio of blackcurrants.


35ml British Framboise
35ml Dark rum
Soda or Tonic water

Shake well and pour over plenty of crushed ice. Top with Soda Water or Tonic and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint.


35ml British Framboise
20ml Gin
Soda water
Angostura bitters

Fill a glass with crushed ice, pour over a good slosh of  Framboise, a smaller slosh of gin and top with prosecco, soda water and a dash of angostura bitters.


As you may have gathered by now, FU Media like to talk and if you’ve met us in person then you know that’s definitely true!  Since 1999, we’ve championed the idea of keeping in touch and staying connected – and it’s more critical now than ever before, be that for the preservation of your business, sanity or both!
Talking to your customers, appealing to new ones  and promoting what you do as a business in an engaging way  is what will give you the very best chance of surviving this difficult period and emerging in fighting-shape on the other side.  Those that quietly hibernate will be slower to respond, giving you advantage when the good times return, which is why FU Media has announced the launch of a new service: ‘30-Minute Mentoring’.

In this one-to-one Zoom session, you are openly invited to talk about you and your business needs with the FU founders, Kevin Urquhart and Jonathan Fraser.  Areas of advice might include: Social Media and Website Updates, PR and Press Releases, Marketing & Advertising, Design, Mentoring and Access to Professional Services:

Feel free to pick up the phone on 077137 40272 (Kevin Urquhart)/ 0772 5809654 (Jonathan Fraser) or email directly on [email protected] / [email protected] to book your free, ‘30-Minute Mentoring’ session today. 


Hannah Northam, a Harborne-based sculptor, has won a prize in the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists’ (RBSA) 2020 Annual Open Exhibition. The exhibition attracted almost 400 entries this year from all over the UK and abroad. The first prize went to Staffordshire artist, Mark Lippett, with Hannah’s sculpture, ‘Interlude’ taking second prize.

‘Interlude’ is a free-flowing piece of work that Hannah developed over several months. It was modelled in clay and then carved and etched as the material dried out before being finished in cold cast bronze with a Verdigris patination.

Hannah left a career in advertising 1996 to study figurative sculpture and has become a sought-after sculptor since, with many high-profile commissions including one to create a 2m high ‘Diana the Huntress’ sculpture for the Earl of Harrowby of Sandon Hall, Staffordshire.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the RBSA prize giving couldn’t go ahead as planned but you can view  the winners at the RBSA’s Art Blog website.

Groan Ups production photo – credit Robert Day

Belgrade Theatre is already looking forward to an exciting new season, offering plenty to look forward to once the lockdown is over.  *Deep breath*  Highlights include the return of its sell-out staging of Noughts and Crosses; a chance to meet favourite kids’ TV characters in Milkshake! Live; Groan Ups, the latest comedy from producers of The Play That Goes Wrong; The Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s new production of the chilling black comedy, The Cat and the Canary; The Crown – Live!; a brand new parody stage show inspired by the hit series, Horrible Histories, Pantomime Beauty and the Beast; the return of the Russian State Ballet with The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake as well as music from Hazel O’Connor, Fascinating Aida plus Sing-a-Long-a screenings of The Greatest Showman and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Tickets to the Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn/Winter Season will go on sale to Members at Gold level and above from Tuesday 14 April, followed by general release on Tuesday 28 April. For more information and to book, visit www.belgrade.co.uk.


Businesses in the East Midlands have been called on to donate unused personal protective equipment (PPE) to support NHS staff dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. (LLEP) is hoping that local manufacturing and food production businesses have store cupboards full of PPE going unused whilst premises are closed, or staff furloughed.

Items that are most in need include fluid-resistant surgical masks (including although not exclusively FFP2 or FFP3 – the rating is marked on each mask); nitrile gloves; visors or goggles; disposable aprons or overalls; sanitising gel; and overshoes.

To donate items, please e-mail [email protected] to arrange a delivery location and time.

As the nature of the Coronavirus’ impact evolves, this will present significant challenges to businesses. At the heart of a rapidly developing situation it can be hard to know what decisions to take in the best interests of the long-term survival and success of firms.

Despite the unprecedented challenges, it remains critical for directors and management teams to proactively plan to mitigate the risks to their staff, business and stakeholders. This is on both a business and a personal level. Legal and professional services group Gateley has collected insight on the key legal and business issues as a result of COVID-19 and will be updating this guidance as the situation develops over the coming days, weeks and months. Further guidance as to the impact on your personal life will also be added.

You can access this hub here


If this whole thing has proved anything, it’s not to wait until tomorrow to follow your dreams. While travel isn’t possible at present, the team at Rough Guide, who have provided  trustworthy advice, information and inspirational insights to travellers seeking authentic off-the-beaten path adventures for 38 years, remain committed to helping readers make the most of their time on earth, which is why they’re offering everyone a complimentary Rough Guides eBook of their choice – the perfect way to dream of (and plan) future adventures while staying safe at home. Details about how to get hold of your chosen free eBook are here:

With guidebooks covering everywhere from Argentina to Australia, from Tuscany to Trinidad and Tobago, from the Scottish Highlands to Dorset, we’ve got the whole world covered – and for free – via this eBook offer that’s available to everyone until 26th April 2020. The offer is valid for one eBook per person.


Missing your monthly networking fix? The boys at KuKu Connect are offering online networking – all over a cocktail of course! I wonder if they’ll try one of our recipes?


Despite going to bed shattered, we still seem to wake up at 3am every morning. We’re hearing from a lot of people in the same boat, which is reassuring as for a minute I thought I was in the middle of a modern-day Amityville… Whether it’s the change of routine, the limited exercise or a different diet we’ve o-fficially had enough.  We’re finding that our pets’ sleep patterns have changed too with the pusscats deciding 4am is a great time to play with their catnip mice and the dogs wriggling in their baskets as loudly as possible.

Nutritionist Alix Woods offers some tips to get your sleep pattern back on track here.

Optimism is the faith that leads
to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope
and confidence.
Helen Keller
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