Coventry Roofers – Why They Would Be My Pick | Ad

(Photo provided by Coventry Roofers)

Whenever we’ve tried to get anything done with the roof in the past it’s been an absolute nightmare. Between avoiding the cowboys, getting companies to respond, poor quality and not getting charged through the nose for something that doesn’t really need doing it’s an absolute minefield. 

Coventry Roofers look to be a company that avoids these pitfalls which is great because lets face it, when it comes to the roofs over our heads, we want it to do a solid job!

Continue reading

Welcome Back

At the end of August my husband and I decided to mark the end of my summer holiday, and a belated wedding anniversary, with a stay at Coombe. 

Whilst Coombe Abbey Hotel is literally on our doorstep, there is still something special about this No Ordinary Hotel. This sense of occasion and the Welcome Back deal, we discovered through the Influencer VIP card, it seemed meant to be. 

The approach to the hotel never fails to impress. Even though the weather was dreary, the courtyard and reception proved a warm welcome. Check-in was efficient and we set up to our room to refresh before dinner. 

I enjoyed a long luxurious bath in the deep tub before our dinner in the Garden Restaurant. The meal was sumptuous with melt in the mouth meat dishes finished with the perfect zesty lemon tart. 

Subtle, yet essential, Covid prevention procedures did not detract from our stay but provided a safe shared environment around the hotel. Whilst the hotel do have sanitiser points, there are also one way systems in place and a seal placed on the room before a new guest enters. 

The Welcome Back deal includes a one night stay in one of Coombe Abbey’s Feature Bedchambers, a three course meal and breakfast in the Garden Restaurant starting from £159. This deal is available for a limited time only, until the 30th September. 

Crafting fans, this event is for you!

Crafting fans, get ready!
Following on from a series of successful pop-up shops throughout August, on Saturday 29th August, Belgrade Theatre will be holding its first Outdoors Makers’ Market from 11am-4pm. A free event for all of the family, the Outdoor Makers’ Market has been organised by Belgrade’s resident needlework for wellbeing group, Craft On. Outside the theatre in Belgrade Square, 16 local artists and makers will be selling an array of handmade items, including wall plaques, greetings cards, paintings, jewellery, dolls, dreamcatchers, felt and fused glass ornaments, knitted baby clothes and accessories, and much more. Take a walk around the square and you are bound to find the perfect crafted item for you.
thumbnail_Pop-Up Craft Shop 2

After browsing the many wares, the Belgrade café bar will also be open throughout the day and serving up a selection of drinks and snacks which you can enjoy inside the theatre’s foyers or outside.

In the event of wet weather (always a risk with the British summertime), a contingency plan had been put in place, with the market taking place inside the theatre while maintaining social distancing.thumbnail_Pop-Up Craft Shop 1

Niki Doughty Lee, leader for Craft On and the organiser for bookings the pop-up shops, along with organising the Makers’ Market, said: “We’re grateful to the Belgrade Theatre for all they’ve done to accommodate our weekly craft sessions and to support and promote our work, so we’re delighted to be able to help them in return as Covid restrictions start to lift. We hope events like this will send a clear message that the theatre is now open and accessible to the community, even if shows are still unable to go ahead.

“I set up Craft On with the aim of reducing isolation and promoting mental wellbeing in Coventry – something which has never been more important than it is now that we are beginning to emerge from lockdown. Theatres like the Belgrade play a vital role in holding the community together, so we want to do everything we can to help keep them going through this difficult period and ensure their work can continue in the future.”

An event that is sure to be enjoyable for any crafting fan, do not miss out on the Outdoor Makers’ Market. Whether you are looking for a gift for yourself or starting that Christmas shopping early, there will be an item (or 10) for you.

For any enquiries, please email needlecraftforwellbeing@gmail.com.

Foodie Review: Hickory’s Smokehouse

Hickory’s Smokehouse is an American BBQ restaurant, inspired by the cuisine and hospitality of the Southern States of the USA. There are several branches across the West Midlands, North West of England and North Wales, with the first store opening their doors in Chester in 2010. Last week I was kindly invited to Hickory’s Smokehouse in Burton Green, to celebrate the restaurant re-opening its doors following the COVID-19 lockdown. I had never set foot in the restaurant before but I had heard good things from many friends who have been and so I had high expectations.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, we received a very warm welcome from the staff and were shown through to our table. To protect guests from the risks which continue to be posed by COVID-19, Hickory’s are currently using disposable menus designed to look like mini newspapers, which I absolutely loved!

Disposable newsprint menus!

­Eat Out to Help Out: 10 independent Coventry restaurants taking part

‘Eat Out to Help Out’ is a new Government initiative which intends to help UK businesses get back on their feet following the COVID-19 epidemic and its resulting economic impact. The scheme started on 3rd August 2020, and continues until 31st August. Customers will get a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks when they eat at participating restaurants on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. There is a maximum of £10 discount per diner, but there is no minimum spend and the discount is not affected by group size. You do not need a voucher or code to claim the discount – it is automatically available at participating establishments. The discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. It is recommended that you book in advance at all participating restaurants to avoid disappointment, especially as many establishments are operating at limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

There are loads of restaurants all over Coventry and Warwickshire which are taking part; the full list can be found at https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant/.

Relax and Paint at The Nook Urban Retreat

The Nook Urban Retreat Is the first dedicated yoga space in the very heart of Coventry, situated less than 2 minutes away from the Lady Godiva Statue. It’s the perfect little Haven from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life, as soon as I walked in I was completely blown away by how calm and quiet it was and I honestly forgot I was in the busy city centre. 

Foodie Review: Heavenly Desserts

Now all things considered, I’m more of a savoury kind of gal – I’d choose chips or hummus and pitta over chocolate any day of the week. But I have a bit of a weakness for cookie dough, so when I heard that a new restaurant serving all-things-sweet was coming to town (and even better, that the first 300 customers who downloaded the app would get a voucher for a free dessert) I had to indulge.

Heavenly Desserts is a franchise with branches all over England, including Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester… and now Coventry, with our local branch opening on Corporation Street on 4th July 2020. On first impressions, the store looks fantastic – the interior has been decorated to a luxurious, high-class standard, with blue velvet seating and gleaming marble-effect tables. I did feel a little bit like a celebrity when I was sat in there! The staff were very welcoming as well, and were all appropriately kitted-out in Personal Protective Equipment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Heavenly Desserts interior – photo by Aaron Law

We took a seat at our table, and glanced over the very extensive menu – in fact, there was so much choice, that I sat there dumbfounded for about 10 minutes! I had set my heart on cookie dough since before I arrived, but there were about six variations to choose from, as well as a vast selection of waffles (Belgian or American), crepes, cakes, ice cream sundaes, tarts and cheesecakes. In the end, I opted for the ‘Rocher Royale’ cookie dough, and my friend chose a strawberry cheesecake.

Our Heavenly Desserts!

In addition to their glorious selection of sweet treats, Heavenly Desserts also offer a large variety of drinks options – from mocktails and smoothies, to coffees & teas (hot or cold), to a vast range of milkshakes made with ice cream and different toppings. I ordered an Earl Grey tea latte, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the tea offered by Heavenly Desserts is their own brand, which you can actually purchase in store to make at home if you wish.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of issues raised during our visit – I was informed that the restaurant were out of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and so I had to select another topping for my cookie dough. I opted for caramelised hazelnuts, but unfortunately, these were not available either! This wasn’t really a huge issue for me and the staff were very apologetic, and explained that their deliveries had been restricted due to the COVID-19 epidemic. I was offered an extra scoop of gelato instead, and chose a hazelnut-flavoured one which was absolutely delicious – as was the cookie dough, which was warm, gooey, chocolate-y, and everything I wanted from a dessert!

The second hiccup came when I was served an ordinary cup of Earl Grey tea, rather than the tea latte which I had ordered. I didn’t raise this with the staff and enjoyed the tea, however, when I had paid up and left I noticed on my receipt that I had been charged for the latte. This didn’t really bother me too much and I chalked it down to the staff still getting their heads around the menu.

All in all, I really enjoyed my visit to Heavenly Desserts – the food was yummy, the decor of the restaurant was fabulous, and I got my cookie dough for free due to a promotion the restaurant was running, so I was very happy! There were a few teething problems, but in fairness, the restaurant had only just opened and there were extra challenges due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I think in time, things will improve and the restaurant will be a huge success.

Heavenly Desserts would be a perfect location for a date-night treat, catch up with friends, or just if you fancy giving yourself some sugar-loaded self-care!

Rating: 3.5/5

By Ashleigh Goodall (Instagram – @covfoodie)

SeaView digital TV series seeks West Midlands based talent for new writing opportunity

Belgrade is offering up yet more exciting opportunities for the community, as they have teamed up in partnership with Strictly Arts Theatre Company, Fix 8 Films, Run Home Productions and Audio Bassment to discover emerging writers to be part of the writers’ room for their upcoming urban, sci fi digital series, SeaView.
SeaView pilot still 2Set to premiere at the Belgrade Theatre in 2021, followed by a digital release, SeaView draws on inspiration from the working class and is looking for Midlands based talent to write the series collaboratively.  Up to seven of the region’s up and coming writers will have the opportunity to be a part of Belgrade’s first writers’ room, just in time for Coventry’s City of Culture 2021. Working alongside playwright Sophie Ellerby and the Belgrade’s 2021 Co-Artistic Director Corey Campbell, each writing will have the exciting experience of writing an episode each.
SeaView pilot still 4
If you are successful, writers will be taught key screen writing skills and will supported to further develop this, as well as being provided with a space to create. The successful applicants will be a part of an exciting  project that will merge theatre and film production.
The writers’ room will run from 6.30pm-8.30pm every Thursday from Thursday 16 July 2020 – Thursday 15 October 2020, with the final read-through taking place during the week commencing Monday 19 October 2020.
The first few writers’ sessions will be held via Zoom, eventually moving onto in person sessions at Belgrade Theatre, so applicants will need to be Midlands based and be able to travel.
SeaView pilot still 5

Information from Belgrade Theatre:
We would like to assure all applicants that we will be closely following government health and safety guidelines and all writers chosen will be given a full briefing before the Writers Room begins. Writers will also be informed in advanced as to when in-person sessions will begin. To apply, please send an example of your work to Sofia Stephanou at sofia.producer@gmail.com by 5pm on Monday 29 June.

This can be in any form you choose – a script, poetry or prose – but it should show a clear journey and give a strong sense of your writing style.

Along with your writing sample, you should also include an up-to-date CV and a cover letter (one-page only) explaining how being part of the Writers Room will help you to develop you as a writer and what you hope to achieve.

SeaView synopsis: Inspired by a true story, the series follows Steven, a young man destined for great things who finds himself trapped by the destiny of others.
Tormented by his gift for prophecy and haunted by his dreams, Steven tries to break the cycle of lies, crime and violence that has ensnared his family, but finds himself in an impossible position. The way seems unchangeable, the decisions they make irreversible.

Good luck to everyone entering and we cannot wait to see the premier of SeaView in 2021.

Belgrade Theatre Autumn 2020 line up announced

Get ready for Autumn 2020, because Belgrade Theatre is launching lots of new productions for the new season!
Although all theatre venues across the UK have temporarily closed, Belgrade Theatre continues to keep in high spirits, revealing their new Autumn line up, as well as a variety of online activities to keep you entertained during lockdown.
From Tuesday 28th April, tickets will be on sale for a brilliant range of shows, varying for all ages and interests. Whether you are looking for a musical or serious drama, Belgrade Theatre has you covered.
In order, shows include:
Sat 5 Sept- James Rowland’s Songs of Friendship

24-26 Sept- Ifeyinwa Frederick’s Sessions

10-12 Sept- SHE

20 Sept-3 Oct- Dougie Blaxland’s Getting the Third Degree

23-28 Sept- The Crown-Live!

28 Sept-3 Oct- Groan Ups

7-10 Oct- Noughts and Crosses

14-17 Oct- A Splinter of Ice

20-24 Oct- Horrible Histories

30-31 Oct- Adam Z. Robinson’s Upon the Stair

Sat 31 Oct- Fascinating Aida

3-7 Nov- The Cat and the Canary

4-14 Nov- Lola Chakrabarti’s Calmer

Tues 10 Nov- Hazel O’Connor

12-14 Nov- Russian State Ballet with The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake

12-14 Nov- Santa’s Christmas Rescue

28 Nov-9 Jan- Beauty and the Beast

Sat 23rd Jan- Sing-a-long screenings of The Greatest Showman and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

While you are waiting for all these exciting events, be sure to check out the wide range of online activities while the theatre is closed for the rest of the current season:

  • Streamed versions of Original Theatre Company’s The Croft and The Habit of Art

  • Emma Rice’s Wise Children, co-produced by Belgrade Theatre, is available to steam via BBC iplayer
  • Monday Makes: Craft activities curated in partnership with the Belgrade needlework group Craft On

  • Storytime: Children’s storytelling performed by Belgrade Staff and guest storytellers
  • Pub Quizzes: Every Tuesday evening on Facebook
  • Weducation: Educational videos and activities every Wednesday
  • Podcasts: Featuring 2021 Co-Artistic Directors Balisha Karra, Justine Themen and Corey Campbell
  • Saturday Shout-Outs: Spotlights on other local happenings in Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Sunday Showtunes: Musical Theatre playlists to enjoy throughout the weekend

For more ticket information, visit www.belgrade.co.uk. Bookings are currently online only, as the building is temporarily closed.

The Beginners Guide to an Edible Garden (Part 1)

Summer 2019

I’ve had a vegetable plot in the garden for a number of years now and also have some space on my sisters allotment and I thought as we are now in the beginnings of spring and not able to venture much outside our homes that it would be a good opportunity to go through some basics of growing.