Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas Bearwood!

Featuring Bearwood's very own member of Musical Youth, Dennis Seaton, we just couldn't resist this video to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

See you in 2013! 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Out of my shell!

Why not break out of your shell after Christmas and get yourselves down to Bearwood Chapel for their special arts weekend.

Dave, Bearwood Chapel's pastor told welovebearwood that "we're having another of our arts days -Saturday 29th December 10:00am -5:00pm.  The theme is "Out of your shell.""

"We're just putting some final touches to other events related to the arts day over the weekend including an exhibition of the art, possibly some live music and a talk from Steve Critchlow, a Christian leader and also Psychiatrist who will be drawing the themes together."

For more details....why not follow them on  Twitter,  write on their wall on Facebook, or visit their website.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Ice to see you, to see you Ice...

Don't forget Bearwood On Ice is on until the 23rd December at Lightwoods Park! On top of the chance to show off your triple salchow (that's either a skating move or a sandwich...not sure which) loads of Bearwood's independent traders are there too, serving great grub and selling perfect pressies.

Opening Times are as follows: 

Mon 17 to Thurs 20 Dec  - 2pm to 8pm
Fri 21 Dec - 2pm to 10pm
Sat 22 Dec - 12noon to 8pm
Sun 23 Dec - 12noon to 8pm

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Snappy Talk?

In his spare time university teacher Marios Hadjianastasis runs Bearwood's Photo School, we managed to capture a few moments of his time whilst he changed his camera lens. 

"I have just set up Bearwood Photo School to bring together all budding and aspiring photographers in Bearwood.
The core course consists of 6 sessions, to be held at a Bearwood location (currently the Bear). In these sessions we will cover the basics of photography, helping people move from the Auto function of their camera to more advanced settings with ease.

Other courses include portrait and landscape photography, as well as wedding and event photography.
There will be plenty of scope for practice and collaboration, as well as the opportunity to showcase participants' work online (Flickr) and perhaps local exhibitions in the future.
I believe that this is an initiative worthy of support, as it will enhance the already existing creative trend in the area and hopefully provide a platform for new photographers. "

Rather than buying that naff Christmas jumper this year.....why not take up Marios' brillant idea of giving photography lessons instead. 

The jumper's just for Christmas the Bearwood Photo School lessons will last a lifetime!

"Why buy the usual things? The books, the DVDs, the unwanted jumpers. The cheese board you bought at ASDA because it was convenient. Material possessions which just end up being more clutter in your house. Give someone the opportunity to improve themselves this Christmas. Give the gift of photography courses to help someone (or yourself) develop their photography skills into an art. Make a real difference in someone’s life. Give a gift that keeps on giving."

Here's how to contact Marios "For more information on BPS, its courses and myself please see my website and there is also a Facebook page which will also be used for updates, right here!"

Monday, 17 December 2012

Bearwood Handmade Fairs 2012

We're big fans of the Craftymuthas' Bearwood Handmade Fairs.  There are always so many gorgeous things to buy, perfect for all your Christmas shopping.  Just brillant!
We asked lovely Craftymutha Erin for her thoughts about this year's Christmas fairs. Erin sent us these wonderful photos too.
"My fellow Craftymuthas and I have just wrapped up the 2 fairs we organised this winter for Bearwood Handmade.
This is our 3rd year of running these fairs, and they keep getting better and better.
I thought, just for the We Love Bearwood blog, I'd pick out photos i took at both events that really showed just how much we love bearwood! I sensed a strong theme. :)
We also made and strung up our classic pompoms and snowflakes... you just can't go wrong with them, can you? It certainly looks gorgeous and makes you feel very festive.

Both fairs were heaving with people throughout the day! It makes for happy craftymuthas and happy stallholders, that's for sure.
Thank you Bearwood for loving our fairs as much as we love you. you make it all worthwhile!

You can read more about our fairs at our blog and i wrote up something on the Bearwood Pantry blog about running a soup kitchen at our fairs too!"

We can't wait for next year's fairs!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Shop Local for Christmas!

Got more Christmas shopping to do? Fed up of wishing you could move like an Olympic athlete around town's German market, Merry Hill is beginning to feel more like Merry Hell, hate the impersonal touch of buying online and the dread of whether your purchases will be delivered in time for Christmas?  Yes, us too!

Thankfully the answer's right on our doorstep - Bearwood's brillant independent shops!  We've made a list of our favourites but if we have missed any that you think should be included please just email the details to us at

Here goes......(they're in no particular order!)

NX News  (Bearwood Road) - the bookseller where the customer really does come first!

Miss Molly's Flower Room (Three Shires Oak Road) - taking Christmas orders now! Love their Christmas trees.

Webb's of Bearwood (Three Shires Oak Road) - Late night shopping until 8pm Thursday and Friday nights until Christmas..mince pies and mulled wine for all! A definite Bearwood All-star!

Davand Jewellery (Bearwood Road)
Davand Jewellery really need Bearwood's support. They were broken into last Saturday and the owner David Nicholls was dealt a very nasty blow to the head. They've been in Bearwood for over 25 years so forget HE Samuels buy your pressies for your loved ones from Davand Jewellery instead.

TC Hayes (Bearwood Road) - voted no 1 independent electrical retailer in the UK. Wow!

Bearwood Indoor Market (Bearwood Road) - Bearwood's first pop up shop (yeah!), sweetie paradise Sweet Dreams and loads of other brillant stalls

Warley Woods Pavillion Shop (Warley Woods) - help support Warley Woods by paying a visit to their shop and buying their gorgeous goodies for sale.
Andrew's Plants (St Marys Road) - ok....we know....not a shop in the tradtional sense but Andrew's Plants is such a great regular feature on Bearwood High Street that we wanted to include him.  Just love this beautiful Christmas wreath.

If we've forgotten any......please let us know! 

We've heard on the grapevine too that some of our favourite 'indie' shops will be at Bearwood On Ice. It starts tomorrow - can't wait!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Fiesta Del Asado

Okay, so it’s a little outside Bearwood, but we’re pretty lucky to have the first Argentinean restaurant in the Midlands right on our doorsteps aren’t we eh? Yes, just a short stroll down the Hagley Road the team behind the award winning Lasan restaurant are now aiming to bring a similar same dash of magic to Latin American cuisine through Fiesta Del Asado. That means meat. Lots of meat. In fact it would be pretty easy to OD on the stuff. Not a bad way to go when the food’s this good though...

For the uninitiated Asado’s a Spanish word that encapsulates both the cooking style – barbecuing, in this case over a bed of applewood chips – and the more fun, sociable aspect that goes hand in hand or maybe tong in tong in this case with this kind of cuisine. This place is a world away from your typical spit‘n’sawdust barbecue joint though and it’s clear the owners have put plenty of thought into both the layout and the fittings with three distinct sections that break up the space nicely, a reclaimed wooden floor, a 1930s influenced bar, some neat shabby chic vintage pieces of furniture and a proper log burning stove (fitted but just awaiting that all important safety certificate). The feel’s relaxed and pretty intimate too, despite the place boasting 120 covers, and you’d struggle to believe that you’re just a few feet away from the busy Hagley Road.   

Okay, enough of the setting, this ain’t Through The Keyhole, on to the main event, the food and drink. It would be frankly sinful to ignore that bar so the night kicked off with cocktails, a zesty, fresh mojito with enough mint to bail out the bank of England and a classic Cosmopolitan guaranteed to give Carrie multiples. They came accompanied by complimentary fresh bread, baked on site naturally, at least a baker’s dozen times better than the standard bland rolls you often get served. For Aperitivos we plumped for chorizo pate on toasted bread and pan fried padron peppers with rock salt. 

The peppers were simple but delicious, soft and yielding without becoming slushy and losing their flavour. The light crunch and fresh hint of the sea provided by the rock salt topping the dish off nicely. Star of the show was the pate though, a fabulous hit of spicy chorizo liberally applied to two crisp slices of freshly baked bread.

With a taste for the rich and spicy Entrantes just had to include more sausage and I went for the big daddy, the morcilla curada, a traditional smoked black log of gorgeous gore. It’s like black pudding’s more exotic cousin, as rich as a Russian oligarch with a subtle smoky aftertaste, a little crispness on the outside opening up to a soft, moist inner. Blood sausages of any variety aren’t to everyone’s tastes of course but this was of the best, lacking the greasiness that some of its English relations sometimes suffer from but retaining that unmistakable primal earthy quality. Mrs B went for the tamer but no less impressive spinach and provolone Empanada (beef and potato and chicken and sweetcorn varieties are also available), little stuffed pastries livened up by roasted red pepper chutney and a cilantro sauce.    

The grill was calling so a ribeye steak seemed the perfect choice. Cooked to perfection it had that light crunch that you want when you bite into anything barbecued together with that juicy flavoursome burst of meatiness that only comes from a proper piece of well aged, well butchered piece of steak (all of the meat on offer here is ethically farmed – free range in the case of the chicken and beef and line caught when it comes to the fish). Again as with all the meaty dishes the accompaniment – fresh chimichurri this time – balanced out the flavour beautifully, with the fresh garlic and palate cleansing burst of oregano making each new bite as exciting as the first. 

The signature Fiesta Del Asado dry rub also joined the party, with different mouthfuls introducing new flavours depending on which bits of the rub dominated. Steak expectations well and truly realised. 

Mrs B plumped – and I use the word wisely in this case – for the Estafado, huge great chunks of beef patiently braised for a minimum of 12 hours in a Malbec and salchicon sauce until it reached that delicious melt in the mouth consistency that you’re crying out for on a cold winter’s night. 

A subtle hint of spice from the salchicon warmed the cheeks and sent the tastebuds into overdrive. Stew-pendous. A fine bottle of Malbec washed everything down, dark chocolate and ripe cherries tangoing seductively with liquorice on the tongue.

After a much needed break in proceedings we had to try the puddings and the churros (essentially a long Spainish doughnut) with spiced hot chocolate were a must. After so much spice perhaps the hot chocolate could do with a dash more heat but that’s down to personal taste and if you hadn’t gone for the richer dishes it may be just right. The churros were fried to perfection, soft and doughy but still surprisingly light. 

Such was the generosity of the portion of hot chocolate that they were quickly gobbled up leaving the rest of it to be devoured by spoon. No great hardship! Mrs B’s vanilla poached pear was reported as being light and fruity with the tang of the rhubarb cutting though lingering richness of the by now legendary estafado.

Service throughout was efficient but unhurried, wine was magically topped up, the table dusted down for crumbs after each dish and sufficient time allowed between courses to truly enjoy the whole experience. Fiesta Del-icious!

PS: If you're quick you can register for a £10 voucher off your first meal too!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Only 3 days to go!

 Very very excited.....only 3 days to go!  Can't wait to see the Magical Christmas Garden!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Pop Up Art!

Great news - a first for Bearwood!

Bearwood Indoor Market are very excited that their first Pop-Up-Stall opened yesterday and will be in the market for the rest of the week (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9-5).

The stall features handcrafted goodies from The White Flamingo Company  including characters from their incredibly popular 'Corkies' range, beautiful brooches and other accessories and cards and prints from original artwork and handicrafts from Black Horse Gifts  who are offering beautiful pictures produced on recycled wood featuring a wide range of subjects from folk art and the natural world.

A great place to pick up Christmas presents or just to treat yourself.

The White Flamingo Gift Company promotes the work of the mother and daughter team of Eliza and Ellz Harris who live and work in Bearwood.  

Eliza is an artist making hand crafted brooches and hair accessories. She also produces a range of hand-painted champagne and wine cork characters called 'corkies'.

Her daughter Ellz is an illustrator studying at Wolverhampton University, who produces work in watercolour and pen and ink of which she sells cards and prints.

Eliza and Ellz told us that "we make what we love. We work from home producing handmade and unique items which we sell locally at arts and craft fairs. We aim to offer good quality items at a reasonable price and believe that we provide something different to items on the market already.  We are inspired by vintage, films, books and cats, you name it...We are happy to take commissions, so feel free to ask."  The White Flamingo Gift company's motto is..."We like flamingos that don't eat enough shrimp."
Black Horse Gifts promotes the work of West Midlands artist, Barbara Neave, who uses new and recycled wood and a combination of painting carving and pyrography to produce original art pieces inspired by folk art and a love of nature.

All items can be ordered and Barbara also takes commissions.

Utter Bearwood's Christmas Show!

As it says on Utter Bearwood's facebook page "In a dark, dark town there is a dark, dark street...and on the dark, dark street there is a dark, dark library...and in the dark, dark library there will be bright light, fun, fiery and festive tales told by our endlessly imaginative and ...creative Cath Edwards!!!"

Get yourselves down to Thimblemill Library this Thursday for Utter Bearwood's Christmas storytelling show.
Advance tickets can be bought at the library or by phoning 0121 429 2039.  At £4 each no wonder they're selling like hot mincepies!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Santa Baby!

So so cute! We’ve gone completely googey over ooobabybaby’s gift sets especially this Christmas one.  In between nappies and baby socks born and bred Bearwoodian Sophie told us all about her company.

"ooobabybaby is a company that sells handmade nappycakes and gift sets for new babies and yummy mummies which can be personalised with name, for gender and even by theme.

£1 from each gift sold goes to Tommy's charity which raises money for research into miscarriage, stillbirth and prematurity.
I use quality, baby friendly products and 100% of the gift can be used practically by mum, down to the cotton wool that stuffs the handlebars of the nappycake tricycles and the roses made from baby socks and scratch mitts.
It is run from home and I make them most evenings whilst studying for my Midwifery degree. My main method of advertising so far has been through Facebook, where I display products and "news" on my facebook page and word of mouth.
Prices range from £5.99 for a babygro cupcake to a deluxe nappy cake at £34.99 excluding postage and packaging, which is typically £6.50 across the UK for the bigger items."
The Santa set in the photos costs £19.99.

On the run up to Christmas we've teamed up with oooooobaby to run a competition to win the very cute Santa set you can see in the photos.  Wished they did adult sized elves slippers! 

All you have to do is to tell us who sang the original Santa Baby song!  Was it:

a. Eartha Kitt
b. Lady Gaga
c. Dolly Parton

The closing date is Wednesday 19th December so send in your answer as soon as possible to

Friday, 7 December 2012

Silvershine Jazz Club

During the summer the future of Bearwood Jazz was very touch and go! What with the sad departure of the great jazz legend Andy Hamilton and rumours of arts cuts the future for Bearwood Jazz looked very uncertain.

Thankfully the Bearwood Jazz team put their thinking caps together and decided it was time for a fresh approach. The result's the Silvershine Jazz Club, named in honour of Andy Hamilton's legendary jazz track.
 The Club's having an extra special launch night on Thursday 20th December featuring the amazing talented dude Soweto Kinch! Definitely not to be missed.

We grabbed a quick chat with jazz cats Paul and Kim Foad to find out more:

"It's a great scoop having such a wonderful saxophonist playing at the launch. The first half of the evening will be a jam night with the Blue Notes as we want to give as many as musicians a chance to play. We will also be having local musicians who have supported the club playing.

Also, Richard, who has worked tirelessly for Bearwood Jazz for years, has updated the website for the jazz club, which we think is brilliant."

"We are now taking bookings for any jazz or blues bands who would like to appear at the Corks Club in 2013." So if there’s any jazz bands that you would like to see play Bearwood or if you are a jazz player keen to play at one of the coolest jazz clubs around please email the Silvershine Jazz Club with the details to
You may also be interested to know that there's going to be a radio interview with Paul Foad and Dutch Lewis on Radio WM. They will be chatting with Carl Chinn at 12:45pm on 16th December 2012 about the launch and Dutch, having played with Andy for over 50 years, will be sharing some wonderful memories and stories about the times they had together.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Santa's on his way!

Santa's on his way and he's catching a connecting train this Sunday in Warley Woods delivering all the presents to the boys and girls in Bearwood.

He’ll be riding through Warley Woods guided by torches (so pretty!) to his grotto at Warley Woods Pavillion.

There's lots for adults to enjoy too - carols, mince pies, mulled wine, hot chestnuts, tombola and a chocolate fountain!

This has to be one of our favourite Christmas events!

For more details, please visit the Warley Woods website.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Wind In The Willows @ The Rep...@ The Crescent Theatre, Tuesday 4th December 2012

With both the new library development and The Rep’s overhaul nearing completion The Birmingham Repertory Theatre decamps to a temporary home again for its traditional Christmas show. Last year their version of The Snowman drifted in to the ICC, this year Toad, Ratty, Badger and Mole invade The Crescent Theatre in Alan Bennett’s adaptation of Wind In The Willows. Happily Bennett’s not messed with the original tail...whoops...tale too much, instead choosing to sprinkle in a few shots of his trademark humour and the odd slightly edgier twist for the grown-ups (who knew badger had a thing for mole eh?).

In line with The Crescent Theatre’s more homespun ethos the set’s a simple but effective affair and the producer’s have eschewed the heavy make-up of some previous productions in favour of a more human look to the characters. The costumes, props and casting help fill in the gaps nicely though with Badger in particular looking the part (nice two tone beard there Mr Pickavance).

 Anyone over the age of 3 will probably know the story off by heart but it never fails to entertain with each character pretty much a gift for any actor. This production’s cast rise to the challenge admirably with some surprisingly strong showings from some of the more minor characters too, notably Chris Nayak’s devastatingly dour Brummie horse Albert (“one carrot and they think you’re anybody’s”) and Michael Hugo’s Manc Weasel (sounding not unlike a slightly more sober Shaun Ryder). Elsewhere Nicholas Prasad nails the timid Mole, Oliver Hembrough is Niven-suave as Ratty and Robert Pickavance treads the fine line between the camp and the cantankerous as Badger.
The Wind In The Willows company

It’s Toad’s show of course and Matthew Douglas channels his best Christopher Biggins and Rik Mayall to achieve the perfect blend of the lovably pompous amphibian careering through life leaving chaos and wreckage in his wake, leaving friends Mole, Badger and Ratty to clear up the mess. Poop poop! Other noteworthy highlights included the neat touch of using the musicians in the show, each dressed in costume by the side of the stage, one of whom played a saw. You don’t get many saw players these days do you? Pretty cutting edge eh? (oh come is panto season after all). The singing puppet baby field mice were also as cute as a...well...sack full of baby field mice, another great example of how something so simple can be most effective.

The whole thing’s a festive family treat from start to finish, with enough humour to keep all ages entertained, even without the aid of the delicious mulled wine in the interval! In fact you’d have to be in a particularly ‘ratty’ mood to leave without a smile on your face.

Wind In The Willows (a Rep production) is on at Crescent Theatre until 19th January.

For further information about the show visit the Rep's website or call 0121 236 4455.
Matthew Douglas as Toad The Wind in the Willows with The REP
Photo by Robert Day

If you enjoyed our review, Poop Poop! Watch out, watch out Toad’s about!

We have 1x family ticket to give away for The Wind In The Willows performance on Thursday 3 January at 7.30pm. What a lovely way to end the kids' Christmas holidays.

To be in with a chance of winning please just email your answer to this question to

We have been so inundated with entries that we have decided to open the competition so more people can enter.

All you have to do is answer the following question and send us your answer by Monday 17th December. Don't miss out......this is definitely one of the best Christmas  shows around.

Which mode of transport does Toad use to race around the countryside?

Is it:

a) A motorbike

b) A motor car

c) A helicopter

P.S. Did you know that....Birmingham Repertory Theatre will be celebrating is 100th birthday in February 2013. Imagine all those great actors and actresses who have treaded their boards.

As part of the plans to mark the landmark anniversary the Rep are asking for local people's treasured memories so as the theatre's not that far away from Bearwood we reckon fellow Bearwoodians will have lots of memories to share.

To collect and record these local memories, staff and volunteers from The REP will be camping out in Centenary Square during the Christmas season in a special REP100 Caravan.

REP100, a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will bring to life 100 years of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company. At the heart of the project is a new online archive,  which will feature thousands of photos, letters, posters and programmes from past productions and also audio memories from audiences, actors, directors and playwrights

Anyone who can’t make it to the REP100 caravan, but has a story to tell should go to REP 100 website or call 0121 245 2065.

Live Chat!

Just received this in our welovebearwood inbox! 

Sandwell Police Superintendent Bas Javid is going to be answering questions on a live webchat tomorrow evening between 5 - 6.30pm. 

So if you have any issues affecting you or your family which you would like to ask him please visit the Sandwell Local Policy website to find out how you can join in.