Lockdown has turned me into a little old man. Working from home has meant that I get to control the accompanying soundtrack and I’ve discovered that what I play has a real effect on both my productivity and my positivity.
Years of being in an office with Radio 1 or Capital buzzing away in the corner has given way to minimalist piano music, modern classical and, dare I say it, folk music. I find it really calming and it offers a form of escapism– something that we all need at the moment.
I did, however, make the mistake today of listening to the radio and, in particular, the Jeremy Vine show – something I used to adore but that now just makes me anxious. I’ve never been one for hiding away from reality, but I do think that the media, now more than ever, has a responsibility to present the facts responsibly. That means without incendiary, divisive and manipulative headlines that are designed with clicks and listener numbers in mind rather than facts.
We decided early on that we would always try to speak with a positive voice. To focus on the good whilst remaining factual. To look forward and to support. I have personally been criticised for this – told on social media that I’m putting a PR spin on my personal experiences for the sake of profit. That hurt a lot and, as anyone who knows me well, could not be further from the truth- if the milk tastes sour, I ain’t the sort of pussy that’s gonna drink it ;o).
We’re going to keep on being positive, we’re going to carry on looking at the good whilst being mindful of the bad and we’re going to keep on talking about the amazing things that are happening in our region right now.
Until next week, stay positive
Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters
OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE
Why did the jaguar eat the tightrope walker?
It was craving a well-balanced meal.
NEW DATES ANNOUNCED FOR SOCIALLY DISTANCED SEASON AT CURVE
Leicester’s Curve theatre has revealed new dates for its upcoming season of socially distanced performances. Following the latest lockdown measures in England, Curve has rescheduled The Color Purple in Concert to Monday 1 to Saturday 13 Mar 2021. Sunset Boulevard in Concert will now open slightly later than originally planned and run Friday 18 Dec 2020 to Saturday 9 Jan 2021. Dates for Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual remain unchanged (Monday 25 Jan 2021 to Saturday 6 Feb 2021). All three productions will be fully costumed and performed in the round in the theatre’s newly transformed 533-seat socially distanced auditorium. Keep up to date at www.curveonline.co.uk
FREE WEBINAIR: GETTING STARTED WITH LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
Will seminars ever return? There is no doubting the time saving convenience of webinars, with many of us picking up new skills and information from them during both lockdown periods. LLEP have been at the forefront of providing business information over the course of the last eight months and their latest webinar takes place on the 25th November and focuses on Leadership and Management- find out what’s included and how to take part here
JO BRAND URGES WEST MIDLANDERS TO EXPRESS THEMS – ELVES FOR ELF DAY!
Stand-up comedian Jo Brand is determined to help spread some festive cheer and wants people across the West Midlands – where more than 70,000 people are living with dementia – to pop on a pair of elf ears, pull up their festive tights and shake a leg in some jolly jingle-bell slippers on Elf Day to raise some much-needed smiles and funds. Find out how you can get involved here.
Jewellery Quarter-based Cordia Blackswan Property Ltd and Henley in Arden’s LettingaProperty.com are both actively recruiting for new staff to join their growing teams– find out what roles they are recruiting for here.
VIRTUAL CHRISTMAS MARKET LAUNCHED FOR LEICESTERSHIRE FESTIVE SHOPPERS
A Christmas market aimed at showcasing the works of local makers and wares of independent retailers has been set up on Facebook with the aim of putting customers in touch directly with retailers who may otherwise be missed this Christmas. Found by searching for Virtual Christmas Market, users can scroll through virtual stalls and shops knowing they are supporting independent traders. All those wishing to have a stall will be allocated one so it’s the perfect place to set up shop this Christmas! Click here to find out more.
STIR UP SUNDAY WITH THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS PUDDING AND CAKE RECIPE
A Victorian tradition, Stir Up Sunday always falls five weeks before Christmas- making it this weekend! It’s a time for family to gather and each stir up the Christmas pudding and make a wish. Once prepped, it can be stored ready for Christmas Day when it simply needs heating and enjoying! With many people also choosing to make their Christmas cake on Stir Up Sunday we’ve provided a recipe for our tried and tested Ginger Christmas Cake as well as Dualit’s easy to follow recipe for the perfect Christmas pudding. Read them here.
LEICESTERSHIRE RIDE AND STRIDE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS
Despite everything that this year has thrown at the country, the 31st Leicestershire Ride+Stride fundraising event was not only able to go ahead but raised a record amount of money for local churches and nominated charities- find out how much they raised and how they did it here.
PANDEMIC OPENS UP POTENTIAL FOR BRITS TO WORK REMOTELY OVERSEAS
With working from home being the new norm for many of us, families are evaluating where exactly home needs to be now that the traditional daily commute is no more. Leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España is seeing an increase in interest from those looking to swap working from their spare bedroom to a terrace with stunning views and sunny climes- could a new life in the sun work for you? Find out here.
FOUNDATION LAUNCHES APPEAL TO IMPROVE WELLBEING OVER WINTER
To help ease the pressure of the ‘long, hard winter’ on the horizon, Heart of England Community Foundation has launched their new campaign, ‘Winter Wellbeing’, not just to raise money but to encourage people to give back to their community – find out how you can help here.
SIT DOWN AND STEP ON AS JAMES AND HAPPY MONDAYS COME TO BRUM
A pre lockdown drive back from Brighton reconnected us to the delights of Tim Booth and James so we were thrilled to hear the band will be coming to Utilita Arena Birmingham on 26 November 2021 as part of a new UK arena tour with very special guests Happy Mondays- 33 years since the two Factory label mates last toured together- find out how you can get tickets here.
HAVE A SNIFFY CHRISTMAS! OUR PICK OF THE BEST FESTIVE SCENTED CANDLES
With us all spending more time at home this year and in the sprirt of ‘hygge’, the DLUXE team cast their nets to find the best scented candles to adorn your homes this Winter- see our choice and find our surprise winner here.
LOUGHBOROUGH COMPANY SHORTLISTED FOR NATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
Peep Eyewear in Loughborough have made it to the finals of the The People Environment Achievement Awards – the UK’s leading annual awards which congratulate the people and innovations helping to turn the idea of greener world from a hope into a reality- find out what makes them so different here.
KYLIE SKIN LAUNCHES IN SELFRIDGES BIRMINGHAM
Eagle-eyed beauty fans will have spied the launch of Kylie Skin by Kylie Jenner from across the pond last year – we sure did! So we’re thrilled to announce her highly anticipated skincare collection is now available at Selfridges. Shop the nine-piece collection, get to know the 100% vegan products and read our exclusive interview with Kylie Jenner, where she discusses her everyday routine, her move into skincare and the importance of beauty rituals. Read an exclusive interview with Kylie here.
DRIVE IN PANTO, CINEMA AND CAR – AOKE BRINGS CHRISTMAS TO BRUM
Taking place at Edgbaston Stadium, drive-in festival The Parking Lot Social is bringing Christmas to Birmingham with a host of exciting socially-distanced events from 27th – 30th December.
Visitors will be welcomed to a festive evening of fun entertainment from pantomime and cinema evenings to silent discos and much more. Famous for their vast inflatable sets, the winter festival will feature a fabulous 60ft tall rainbow coloured Christmas tree and a giant DJing Santa Claus providing the perfect backdrop for the entertainment- find out how to get tickets here.
GET A BIT OF ROCK N ROLL ROYALTY ON YOUR WALL
Whilst we may be having to stay at home, we can still enjoy our own four walls with some vibrant and exciting art. From Madonna and Freddie to George and Amy, Tiny Riot and their 80’s ‘Queens of Pop’ collection bring their masterpieces to our aesthetic rescue- just in time for Christmas and we love them- find out how to get yours here.
THE GATE HANGS WELL ON LOOK OUT FOR NEW BUSINESS OWNERS
Everards are looking for new business owners to run The Gate Hangs Well in Syston, an attractive looking pub that sits on the River Wreake on the outskirts of Syston- fancy a new challenge? Find out all about it here.
THE HUNT IS ON FOR THE WORST CHRISTMAS CRACKER JOKES EVER!
Corny Christmas cracker jokes might be groan-worthy, but there’s nothing to bring people together like a truly tragic one-liner – so to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, thortful are on the hunt for the best (or should that be worst?) Christmas cracker jokes.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, they have shared some of the best festive dad jokes below:
Why are Santa’s deers always wet? Because they’re reindeers!
How does Santa keep track of all the fireplaces he’s visited? He keeps a logbook
What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinsillitis
What do you call a blind reindeer? No eye deer
Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy
What did Adam say the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve.
What did the snowflake say to the fallen leaf? You are so last season
Why did the turkey cross the road? Because it was the chicken’s day off.
What is Santa’s favourite pizza? One that’s deep-pan, crisp and even
What do you get if you lie under a cow? A pat on the head
SUPPORT LOCAL WITH NEW CHRISTMAS VIRTUAL MARKET
Birmingham Museums is bringing together some of the city’s best independent businesses and makers for The Virtual Birmingham Christmas Gifts Market, encouraging shoppers to browse stalls from the comfort of their own home and discover unique, locally sourced gifts at a time when small businesses need support more than ever- wrap up your Christmas shopping here.
STAGE IS SET FOR NEW SPECIALIST ACADEMY IN BIRMINGHAM
Students in Birmingham are being invited to apply for a new academy specialising in technical theatre, film and broadcast production, which will open in the city next year- be the first to get the facts here.
THE BIG TOY APPEAL LAUNCHES
The Salvation Army has once again teamed up with The Entertainer, the UK’s largest high street toy retailer, to deliver presents to children who need them the most in a year when many family budgets have been hit hard.
The Big Toy Appeal asks customers to consider picking up a toy online to donate to a family in need at Christmas. For every toy donated, The Entertainer will also donate a toy, doubling the number of donations and increasing the number of families supported.
Whilst the UK is in lockdown shoppers can easily take part in The Big Toy Appeal and donate a toy to The Salvation Army by adding a £5 toy to their basket at the checkout on the www.TheToyShop.com and www.elc.co.uk websites. These toys will then be sent directly to Salvation Army centres for delivery to children.
NEW ARRIVALS AT MAILBOX THIS DECEMBER
Renowned Midlands bakery and café Medicine, is set to open a new location at the Mailbox this December along with authentic Italian restaurant Lucarelli- get all the info here.
TEN SIMPLE TRICKS FOR A COSIER CHRISTMAS
After what can be described a challenging year, it’s about time we all put on our comfiest knits and relax, and what’s to say our homes don’t deserve a bit of tlc too?
Christmas can be a busy time of year, which is why the experts at Heal’s have come up with some simple, affordable ways you can use a range of home accessories to give your home that warm, inviting feeling – read them here.
FEEL-GOOD RETRO TV FAVOURITES PROVING A HIT AMONGST BRITS
When we’re not binge watching The Crown, Brits are seeking comfort from feel-good, nostalgic actors and TV shows in the wake of the pandemic, a new study finds. A survey of 1,001 UK adults, commissioned to mark the launch of the One4all Favourites Gift Card range, quizzed Brits of all ages on their favourite actors and TV shows, and it was the retro choices which came out on top – beating even contemporary favourites.
80s comedy classic Only Fools and Horses took the number one spot in the list of UK adults’ favourite TV shows – beating contemporary fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, which came in second. Feel-good 90s American sitcom, Friends, followed in third place, continuing the trend with homegrown TV sitcom Fawlty Towers coming in fourth and sci-fi drama Doctor Who appearing in fifth place on the list.
LUKE 1977 RAISES £8K FOR UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS BIRMINGHAM TRUST
When LUKE 1977 launched the latest Dapper Villan collection back in May, the world was in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In a bid to give something back to the real heroes of 2020, LUKE vowed to donate 30% of all sales from the new range to the University Hospitals Birmingham Trust Charity. The Trust supports hospitals in Birmingham including The Queen Elizabeth, Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals- find out more here.
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS FOR BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET
Following critically acclaimed live performances of Lazuli Sky in Birmingham and London last month, Birmingham Royal Ballet has announced Birmingham Royal Ballet at 30 – Supported by Birmingham City Council, a celebratory free online show, broadcast to audiences worldwide. The show filmed at Birmingham’s iconic Town Hall, is presented in partnership with Birmingham City Council, marking 30 years since the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet moved from London to the city in October 1990 and became Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The stream will be available to view worldwide on the Company’s Facebook from today for seven days. Click here to watch it.
LIFE SKILLS VILLAGE OFFERS STUDENTS A NEW WAY OF LEARNING
From car mechanics to a mini salon, students at Rigby Hall school are revelling in their new purpose-built log cabins that make up the Life Skills village, itself conceived out of the school’s ethos of instilling a “can do” attitude for their students. Find out more about the scheme and the local businesses that helped bring it to life, here.
PPL PRS RAISE MONEY FOR HELP THE HOMELESS
Leicester based music licensing company, PPL PRS Limited, raised £866 in October for local charity, Help the Homeless Leicester, after a companywide fundraising campaign. Employees at PPL PRS chose Help the Homeless Leicester as the charity they wished to support this year, and so far the business has raised £2249.71. Find out how they did it here.
NOVEL TAKES READERS TO RUGBY THE DAY AFTER THE COVENTRY BLITZ
Rugby author Steve Gay has launched his evocative debut novel on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz that is inspired by long-told tales from his own family history. The Birds That Do Not Sing is set on the day after the World War II city bombings campaign, through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy from a pacifist family in neighbouring Rugby- we talk to author Steve, here.
SOLIHULL PERFOMANCE COACH OFFERS FIVE STEP APPROACH TO LOCKDOWN WELLBEING
Solihull based performance coach Arj Thiruchelvam has a new approach to keep us feeling positive during these tough weeks. Arj has an academic background in Sports Science and Nutrition (he’s designed degree programmes), supports normal people keen to get fitter to Team GB athletes, and works with UK Athletics.
Arj’s new ASAF approach is about being Adaptable but Structured, Accountable yet Fun in five steps- read them here.
“Do things for people. Not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”
– Harold S Kushner