Read our new newsletter this week, featuring staycations, spas and split ends. I’m kinda missing everyone having big (bad) hair… with salons and barbershops reopening this week my social feeds have been blown up with people rocking their new do’s.

Getting the chop is another small step for most of us in terms of getting back to normal, of taking control.  But, it’s a major leap for the hairdressers and barbers themselves who have been left without income over the last few months. Most salons are having to work seven days a week to try, not only to catch up, but to make ends meet in a system that requires longer gaps between appointments for thorough clear downs and traffic management in salon.  It has taken a huge amount of planning, problem solving, determination and positive thinking – something that all those businesses that rely on customers visiting their premises have shown – and we at FU want to say thank you so much for all your hard work.  It’s not unnoticed.

We know that queuing can be frustrating, having to use a basket or trolley when just dashing in for one or two bits can be annoying, and yes, there will be people in stores obliviously staring at their phones and blocking aisles making social distancing impossible.  But see the bigger picture and take control of your own response to it all.  And do it with grace.

The reopening of pubs and bars appears to have gone well – the fact that it’s the same pics of a couple of pub gardens being overrun that are being shared is proof enough that problems have not been widespread – if news outlets could have shared more to wind us all up I am in no doubt that they would have. So, let’s consider that a victory.  The first weekend was always going to be a test and moving forward things should be easier. Again, if you’re visiting bars and restaurants then be sensible and be kind.

The next step in the process is, surely, for our gyms, beauty clinics, tattoo parlours and spas to reopen. Again, it’s people’s livelihoods at stake and all have been working hard in the background to make reopening safe and pleasurable for customers and staff so please do support them as soon as you’re able.

We’re already seeing the impact of COVID-19 on our High Streets, so if we want to keep our favourite retailers alive, we must go out and support them.  So, give yourself a treat, book an appointment and support the businesses – small and big – that make our cities, towns and villages so vibrant and interesting.  Hopefully, the High Street ‘Spend Me’ voucher that’s been mooted in tonight’s Briefing will assist this – and it’ll feel so, so sweet.

Let’s get started!

Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters


What’s the best time to go to the Dentists?

Tooth Hurty…



Pubs, bars and restaurants across Southside Business Improvement District welcomed over 10,000 visitors across the reopening weekend (5th and 6th July), providing a much-needed boost for venues that have suffered significant financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

Julia Robinson, Southside BID manager, said: “All of the businesses that reopened over the weekend have worked incredibly hard to ensure that they meet the government’s Covid-19 Secure guidelines, with an absolute focus on keeping their staff and visitors safe. They have invested in a range of new measures including pre-booking and table ordering apps, social distancing signage, hand sanitiser stations, temperature checks and enhanced cleaning regimes.

“There was understandably a lot of anticipation surrounding re-opening weekend, but with careful and sensible management from our venues, coupled with a responsible attitude from visitors, we demonstrated that Southside can be enjoyed safely. It was great to see guests having fun and the fantastic teams from some of our most iconic venues back doing what they do best, we’ve really missed them!



Coventry-based disability arts organisation, Radical Body, has launched an online platform designed to connect and support disabled and chronically ill artists and audiences via Facebook. The platform is designed to provide a virtual space for housebound and nearly-housebound performing artists to meet, collaborate, share their work and offer each other feedback and support.

Set up by local performance poet, Katie Walters, Radical Body is supported by the Belgrade Theatre’s Springboard talent development programme, which offers three years of tailored support to new companies and emerging performing artists.

Initially, the platform will be used primarily for discussion, but further down the line it will be used for hosting virtual masterclasses and open mic nights.  The hope is that they’ll eventually start producing work that integrates livestreamed and in-person performances from artists in the community.

The Radical Body Network is now live at


A new TUC report ‘A better recovery for the West Midlands sets out a plan to prevent mass unemployment following the pandemic, with secure jobs and decent pay for working families.

They warn that there is a high risk of mass unemployment in the West Midlands without a recovery plan centred on protecting and creating jobs, backed by major investment. Workers who have required support from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme are most likely to face unemployment risks in the months ahead.  They estimate that at least 882,000 workers (32% of the workforce) have required support from these schemes over lockdown.

The report recommends an approach based on recently published TUC research that found the fastest recoveries from economic crises in UK history were based on investment for growth. Action at regional level is required in three key areas: Investing in Jobs, Decent work and a new way of doing business and Rebuilding public services.

Read the full report here.



Legendary clubbing brand, HedKandi, is calling on clubland to help support DJs, artists, musicians and event organisers who have found themselves without an income during the COVID-19 crisis.

With many people falling through the cracks of government support and who draw their income from the night time economy, HedKandi and Fierce Angel founder – and long-time friend of FU – DJ Mark Doyle  is asking for those who have enjoyed events and club nights over the years to support a series of live online events that have been designed to bring the full HedKandi club experience to your own home.

The first HedKandi Garden party took place on Sunday 5th July with multiple DJ’s, performers, full production and of course the very best music in the world. It was as close to a real HedKandi club event as the team could make it and it’s available to watch and enjoy now on YouTube & Twitch.

The second event is planned to be broadcast from Ibiza to bring the White Isle experience back to the UK for all those who have missed out on their annual pilgrimage to the capital of club.  And you’re all invited.
All they ask is that you donate what you can to help cover the costs of all the artists involved and help give an income to creatives that have been left without a wage throughout the last three months.   Any additional money collected will be donated to micro charities selected by you that are often overlooked and where they can truly make a difference.

Watch Sunday’s party above and to donate click here



Family-favourite tourist attraction, Cadbury World, has today announced that it will be reopening its chocolatey world on Saturday 18th July, with a raft of new measures in place to help guests enjoy their visit safely and maintain social distancing.

Guests will still be able to enjoy a day choc-full of fun and catch the talented chocolatiers in action in the Chocolate Making zone, practice their piping skills in the Have A Go zone and experience the sensation of riding on the Crunchie Rollercoaster in the 4D Chocolate Adventure zone. The famous Cadbury characters, such as Freddo and the Caramel Bunny will also return on weekends and throughout school holidays, offering socially distanced selfies and meet and greets for visitors.



Restrictions on travel may limit your options for holidaying in specific countries, but when there are so many diverse cities throughout the United Kingdom to enjoy, leaving the passport at home is no hardship.

Here, My City Pod has recommended five gorgeous staycation destinations fit for any home-stay tourists:

1. Edinburgh is host to a wealth of notorious festivals, drawing artists and entertainers from all over the world. Aside from Edinburgh Castle, the city is ideal for the modern explorer, discovering the underground vaults or secret gardens of this vast city.

2. Few cities are as culturally significant as Bath. Built by the Romans, the city earned its name from the ancient baths and spas, with golden-coloured architecture throughout the city. On the outskirts is an abundance of woodlands and trails for those looking to escape an urban setting.

3. Winchester is rich in history and this former capital city exhibits the round table from the King Arthur legend within its ancient walls. Despite its heritage, Winchester is vibrant, rich with art and holds regular open-air markets in the centre.  A short distance away from the local nature reserves, Winchester is a gorgeous setting for all tastes.

4. Cambridge is a tourist hotspot due to the world-famous university, but it’s also an understated place for escape. With bike hire available to explore this definitive British city, Cambridge offers some gorgeous scenery to enjoy by yourself or with others, especially if you experience via the river.

5. Bristol is a fusion where traditional meets modern.  It’s also a great starting point for those with an interest in seafaring.  Home to bands like Massive Attack and Portishead, Bristol has always been pivotal with new music and this diverse taste extends into its brewery scene, too.



After months of uncertainty and amidst fears of mass closures and redundancies from British Theatres and arts institutions, the UK government have confirmed that theatre and the performing arts will have access to a £1.57 billion government investment package designed to help the culture and heritage sectors survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  Encore.

Hailed as “the heart of this country” by the PM, the UK’s creative sector will receive what is billed as the “biggest ever, one-off investment in UK culture”.  Johnson said the package will ensure organisations can “stay afloat and support their staff” while they remain closed to audiences.

In a statement following the announcement, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Fiona Allan stated “We are overjoyed to hear the announcement from UK Government will be investing £1.57 billion to protect our nation’s world class cultural, arts and heritage institutions during this time of crisis.. we are now able to turn our focus to rebuilding what we have lost and planning for the future.


After 100-odd days of lockdown over in Brum, The Chancellor has (today) announced a new raft of measures to help our friends in the hospitality sector.  From a VAT reduction from 20% to 5%, this might mean that eating out becomes cheaper, if the savings are passed on.  And then there’s the Eat Out To Help Out where, in participating restaurants, there will discounts of up to £10 per head for anyone eating out Mon-Wednesday in August.  All in all, let’s get out, support our venues and eat some amazing food at the same time.  Here are some options as to where you might want to do that, by DLUXE Dining Correspondent, Anita Champaneri.

Brindleyplace is a stunning spot for you to enjoy your first meal out and about, with its tree-lined squares, International cuisine & an enviable canalside location. It’s the perfect place to dine out when the sun is shining, with many independents here having outside seating areas. From contemporary dining at Bank, revolutionary dining at Craft, and Thai food and cocktails at Siamais, there’s something stylish for everyone!

The Mailbox
The Mailbox is an iconic Birmingham location, where you can drink and dine in style! Perfect for a rainy day or a night out with the girls, The Mailbox is home to some fabulous independents. Enjoy one of Aluna’s mesmerising cocktails, experience Gas Street Social, inspired by Birmingham’s rich history, or immerse yourself in the bustling streets of India at Indico Street Kitchen.

The Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter is full of many hidden gems and up and coming independents in Birmingham. If you feel like trying somewhere new and exploring Birmingham further, why not head to Saint Paul’s House in the heart of The Jewellery Quarter who do a delicious bottomless brunch every weekend? You can also check out Lasan who serve exquisite food that’s true to India.

China Town
Located just five minutes from New Street Station, you’ll find China Town, full of local Chinese businesses and culture. In the heart of China Town you’ll find Ming Moon and Chung Ying, one of the city’s most well known and loved restaurants offering an expansive menu full of all your dim sum favourites.

Colmore Business District & Grand Central
Home to more big brands than independents but you have some great places like Purnell’s, a Michelin Star restaurant that offers chic and contemporary fine dining, The Oyster Bar, Adam’s, Zen Metro serving Thai Food, Indian favourite Asha’s, Primitivo wine bar and the stunning, Tattu, are all high on our recommendation list.

Show your support, fill your bellies and have fun.



There’s no denying that lockdown has been tough; however many people have also enjoyed some of the benefits a more basic lifestyle has offered.  Working from home, learning a new skill, eating homecooked meals or hopping on a bicycle are just some of our new-found loves.  Author and psychotherapist, Mark Newey, believes lockdown has been the ‘reset button nobody dared press’! He’s keen for the nation to move forward and make mental wellbeing a lockdown legacy.

Here are his top tips to ensure your best lockdown habits don’t become a distant memory.


Before lockdown, we lived life like it was a constant sprint! To get into sprint or stress mode, our body is filled with adrenalin, cortisol and noradrenaline to fire us up. When we have dealt with whatever the pressure is, we slow down and get back into balance. But, if we’re in constant sprint mode our mind and body are constantly stressed. We have to learn to take things easy and pace ourselves!


Routines help us to create an easy, calmer and more comfortable reality. Many of us have intuitively become aware of the need to create new order; what might not be so obvious is to take these new routines with us as we come out of lockdown. If you’ve enjoyed cooking, meditation or mindfulness during lockdown, make time in your schedule to continue this activity.


Exercise has always been vital for the human condition to thrive. Exercising outdoors is best as it’ll ensure your daily fix of Vitamin D, which is vital for a good night’s sleep.  Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals are the body’s feel good hormones and play an important part in regulating your mood.

To discover more about how to look after your own mental wellbeing visit



Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council and Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID have joined forces to build What’s On Sutton Coldfield, a new, go-to website for what’s happening across the Royal Town.

It is hoped that this free platform will act as a virtual shop window for local businesses’ reopening plans and future events. Work has already begun to initially showcase the best of what the town centre has to offer, and plans are to expand What’s On Sutton Coldfield to include the other local centres and places of interest across the town, celebrating what makes Royal Sutton Coldfield a great place to live and encouraging residents and visitors to explore local venues, events and offers.

For businesses or places of interest that wish to feature on What’s On Sutton Coldfield, please use the add events form at or contact [email protected].




With the prospects of foreign trips unimaginable for many, a huge upsurge in caravan and camper van sales is expected this summer with countryside campsites the perfect place for socially distanced holidaying. Practical Caravan have produced a buyer’s checklist for those looking at purchasing a second-hand caravan.  Read it here.



After 100+ days in lockdown (and counting) and working from home being the new norm, our pets have become used to us always being around.  Whilst this is lovely on lots of levels – who doesn’t love our furry friends by our feet all day? – it is also proving problematic for our pooches, as they can display signs of anxiety when we do leave the house. Some dogs have resorted to howling or others going into destruction mode as they display their grief – even if they’re only left for a few minutes.
So, what do we do?  We turned to our friend and all-round dog-whispering expert, Nico Joiner, for some top tips to deal with anxiety in man’s best friend.

Firstly – know where you stand!

Tips for assessing:

  • “You do you” – Give them a food item or their meal in a way that lasts more than two minutes. Go and sit in another room and see what they do.  Leaving the item or not even starting it unless it’s near you means you’ve got work to do.
  • Film your dog – there are little cameras you can buy off internet that just need Wi-Fi, your phone and £20-30.  Set it up and watch what you’re up against. Do your normal work routine in the morning and leave them for a short time.
  • What happens when you return – this is important! If they immediately drink/eat the item you left them, or your returning isn’t enough to calm them, again you’ve got work to do.

So here comes the Solutions avec disclaimer: This is a general outline for common cases reliant on your input. If not suitable at any point, then contact a qualified professional through your vet or the APDT/APBC.

  1. Routine – create a blueprint of your normal routine and trying to mimic it WHILST being at home. Instead of being “at work” be “boring” or do yoga, same thing.
  2. Assess preferences – find out what your dog really enjoys! Something not overly exciting and isn’t reliant on you being involved.  Calm chewing, licking, finding, or solving. The goal is a dog invested in what they are doing, so look outside the box in terms of food items.  Note, just using their dry food is very… “meh”, so get creative.
  3. Calm activity ideas – Try Lickimats, puzzle feeders like Kong’s, appropriate chews/bones or Hansel and Gretel style biscuit trail around the house. Don’t make it hard straight away, as the dog must be successful at completing it otherwise it’s just another annoying thing.
  4. Stop Bowl feeding – Bowl feeding is very last century – it’s a waste of an opportunity to entertain, train, or simply interact with your dog. Use daily rations as part of their activities, e.g. soak dry food to soften it up, stuff it into an activity feeder, or smear pate on the edges and freeze it. For more ideas look up canine enrichment on the web or Facebook.
  5. The signal – Let the dog know that an activity is going to happen e.g. put down a specific blanket/mat, add an item of clothing to their bed, or switch the radio on.  Like getting their lead + walk, you want to make it so the signal = the expectation (very Pavlovian). ANTICIPATION is the key!
  6. Location – pick a location where you are going to provide the activity (and anything else you treat your dog to). This + the signal will be a predictor of great things enabling you to combat the next stage.
  7. Small increments – write down all the things that signal to the dog “I’m going, cue meltdown” e.g. jacket going on, picking car keys up. Gradually start to do each of these things randomly one at a time, if your dog leaves their item/location permanently, go back a few stages or heighten the value of their activity.

When you are working through this, keep low key and chill. When the dog is in their location, the signal is given and the activity provided, leave them be.  Don’t suddenly decide to do something distracting and initially stay near them, slowly building up to moving away and eventually leaving the house.
Keeping a diary is a good idea!

  1. Last point – Physical exercise – This is necessary to a degree, but make sure it is appropriate! Storming down the street to the park or launching a ball for an hour will create a pumped-up athlete who is reliant on you to “get their fix”. For dogs being left alone, enriching the senses is key. Sniffing, seeing and hearing specifically involves processing information which will be mentally draining, which leaves a dog more complacent at being left.  A trip to the woods it is!

This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of advice and understanding. Done consistently, gradually and with a bit of imagination, this is a “do no wrong” way to address the worries you have, but also build the foundations should you find you have a bigger challenge ahead of you.

Nico Joiner, CertHE in Animal Welfare, Behaviour and Rehabilitation, is a Dog Training and Behaviour expert that has spent nearly 15 years in the field of Rescue and Rehoming dogs. Looking to further his positive impact on dog ownership he has begun his venture into Specialist Behavioural Consultations under the name Joint Effort.  Contact him at [email protected]



Warwick Castle is now fully open to the public for day visits and short breaks with accommodation at the on-site Knight’s Village.

Rediscover the Great Hall, State Rooms and Royal Weekend Party (limited numbers permitted entry at any one time), 64 acres of grounds and gardens including the Peacock Garden with its resident flock of colourful birds. Follow the one-way route through the Kingmaker sensory experience where sounds, sights and smells provide an immersive experience of life at the Castle in the 15th century.

Witness the critically-acclaimed Falconer’s Quest show – the UK’s largest birds of prey show including the world’s largest species, the Andean Condor. Other outdoor activities include storytime with a Princess and Knight School with a knight in armour, while the Horrible Histories Maze has been adapted to a one-way trail maintaining all its entertaining and informative elements while keeping little explorers safe.

Food and drink is available on site from outlets including the Courtyard Cafe, Conservatory Tea House and a number of takeaway stands.

Overnight stays are also available at the Knight’s Village, in woodland lodges with medieval styling for the full historical experience. Lodges sleep between 5 – 7 people and all have self-contained bathrooms and toilets.

All tickets and stays must be booked in advance online at



Perfect for families, cult film fans and those looking for a fun afternoon out with friends, Millennium Point’s giant Auditorium (formerly the IMAX cinema) is kicking off its series of screenings on Monday 27th July, for the first of two showings of family favourite Trolls World Tour, ahead of the Tarantino classic, Pulp Fiction, on Friday 31st July. The second Trolls World Tour performance will be shown on the morning of Saturday 1st August, followed by an afternoon screening of Sex and the City: The Movie, complete with bottomless prosecco.

The award-winning events team at Millennium Point has been working hard to implement new hygiene and safety measures, to ensure all government guidelines are met. The Auditorium, which at full capacity can host 354 people, will be reduced to 181 seats to allow for physical distancing between cinema-goers, and all seats will be allocated in advance to pre-paid ticket holders. A deep clean will be carried out between performances and all screenings will be contactless and cash-free.

Tickets for Trolls World Tour are priced at £7.50 (plus booking fee) and the Friday night screening of Pulp Fiction includes two drinks in the £15 (plus booking fee) ticket price. Bottomless prosecco will begin an hour and a half before Sex and the City: The Movie starts, with the whole package costing £20 (plus booking fee). Ticket-holders for the Sex and the City screening will be allocated a safely-distanced table in the large and airy Platform space, to enjoy their drinks beforehand.

To book tickets for the of the Millennium Point cinema screening, click here


The dog that trots about finds a bone.

– Golda Meir

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