Friday, 31 January 2014

Chip Chip Hooray!

A few years ago you may have been forgiven for thinking that you had to go to the seaside for the best fish and chips. But thankfully for us Bearwoodians times have really changed.

Despite being 180 miles (we think!) from the sea Chamberlains (Hagley Road) has once again battered the competition by winning the very prestigious Quality category in the National Fish and Chip Awards. It just had(dock) to be them didn’t it? After all it’s the plaice to be. Cod only knows how we lived without them. Okay...we’ll stop with the puns now. Chamberlains we applaud you!

Next month from 17th – 23rd February it’s National Chip Week (naturally they’re up for another award as well) and to mark the occasion Chamberlains is offering free chips from the takeaway 17th -20th February and Children's Meals for just £1 in the restaurant all half term week 17th -23rd. No wonder they’ve got our vote, make sure you give them yours too. Just click here!

This Valentine’s Day don’t give your loved one your last Rolo...take them to Chamberlains instead!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Thimblemill Library February 2014 Calendar

With a very big thank you to Sally Taylor, our Bearwood What's On page is up and running. Sally's already included events happening in February and March with more to be included in the next few days.

There's too much happening at our favourite library to include everything so we've just focused on this month's highlights. National Library Day's celebrations on Saturday 8th, Family Dance on Thursday 20th, Willow Raft Crafts and Cake Decorating to name just a few.    

If you want to find out more you can do so in one easy click just here!  We'll be including more local events and want to hear from you if you're organising an event in Bearwood. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Park Life

Photo Credit: Simon Lea 2012 on flickr

As seen on Yahoo's Weather App, Bearwood resident Simon Lea has taken some truly beautiful photos. One of our favourites has to be this very atmospheric shot of Warley Woods.

You can buy prints of Simon's Warley Woods, Lightwoods Park and Thimblemill Brook photos through Warley Woods.  A percentage of the sales proceeds will be donated to the Warley Woods Trust.

We've started a photo gallery of favourite parks on our Bearwood Parks page and we would love to include your photos. 

If you've got a favourite photo of having fun sledging in the snow at Warley Woods, listening to music at Lightwoods Park bandstand or watching the strongmen at Lightwoods Park May Day event we would love to see them.

Please email your photos to We will make sure every photo is fully credited.

For more about Simon Lea's photos please click here and for our Bearwood Parks Page please click here


Friday, 24 January 2014


Shop in Sainsburys and need a home for all your unwanted Sainsbury's Active Kids Vouchers? 

Please donate them to The 22nd Birmingham Boys' Brigade And Girls Association based in Bearwood.  They'll use the vouchers to buy much needed activity and sports equipment.

For more details on how you can give your vouchers to a very worthy cause please contact Dean Painter at or visit their Facebook page right here!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

What's on?

Seen details of a local event on Facebook but can't quite remember the start time?

 Want other people to know about your regular or one-off events easily?

Want to know what to do in Bearwood this week?

Ever wondered about the history of the modern calendar? No, nor us.  But here's a random video in place of a boring old picture of a calendar:

The brand new Bearwood What's On calendar is now up and running on our blog so you can keep up to date with the latest activities on offer!

If you'd like to share details of your event with the rest of Bearwood why not send us an email at, with EVENT in the subject line.  We'll pop your event on our calendar and we might contact you to feature in one of our blog posts as well.

So get sharing or get attending - whichever it is, we hope our calendar will keep everyone up-to-date with local activities.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Hey Mickey!

 Lou Woodward who owns Sapphire Dance Studios (Salop/Hurst Rd) near Warley Woods contacted welovebearwood with some dance-tastic news.

“We are performing at Disneyland Paris in October with 2 of our dance groups aged 4-13 years old. We are desperately looking for sponsors to help us get there as we are creating lots of fundraising events every month to pay for all 20 children.” Wow! Can we come? We’ll carry your suitcases!
The dance studio has already started to collect money by holding a fun run on Sunday 12th Jan but they’ve got a long way to go before they have enough money to fund the trip.  There’s a Valentine Disco arranged for next month but they would love more local support and are asking businesses in Bearwood for help with their sponsorship plea.

 Lou also mentioned that there are spaces available for the Street Dance, Jazz and Saturday Ballet classes at the studio, the Baby Ballet School which is held every Tuesday and the Pointe school of dance which takes place on Monday evenings.

If you’re interested in sponsoring the Disneyland Paris trip or joining the dance classes, please contact Sapphire Dance Studios Ltd on 07454540984 or email them at Their website is right here and Facebook page right here!

P.S. Here's 80's classic 'Hey Mickey!' by Toni Basil...

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ales of the Unexpected

Picture via The Bearwood Blog...via Google maps...

If you're on Facebook, Twitter or read The Bearwood Blog you'll probably already know that an application has been made to rescue the magnificent former Midland Bank on the High Street (currently lying empty after a brief spell as a pawn shop) and transform it into a real ale pub. This is very good news indeed. Any inward investment is welcome right now of course and this would undoubtedly bring new people into the area, especially as it's going to be run by the team behind The Wellington, one of the UK's best real ale pubs. Happily the vast majority of the local population seems to be 100% behind the idea but if you want to show your support you can write to the planning department via

If you're in any doubt about the kind of place this new pub would be just pop into The Wellington some time for a pint or two of Vicar's Todger. Real Ale fans will travel considerable distances for the good stuff and it's not hard to see this new pub becoming a real attraction. A rejection of this application would, quite frankly, be a travesty so let's hope this one sails through eh?

Whilst we're on the subject of pubs and bars it's important to keep supporting those we've already got of course. Use 'em or lose ''s as simple as that. Cheers!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Get Involved!

One thing we've always thought Bearwood does well is community spirit and as it's January we wanted to tell you about some local community based groups which are welcoming new members.

Mike Allen started the Bearwood Neighbourhood Watch scheme towards the end of last year and he has already received lots of requests from volunteers to become local co-ordinators.

An informal meeting's taking place this coming Monday (20th Jan) evening at The Dog from 6.30pm onwards so why not pop along if you're interested. You can find out more details about the scheme on their Facebook Page right here!


The 22nd Birmingham Boys Brigade and Girls Association meet up on Thursday evenings from 6-7.30pm. Catering for youngsters between the ages of 5-19 years they're on the look out for new members wanting a new adventure too!  Find out more right here!

As it says on their website, Lions make a difference!  If you're interested in helping others, meeting new people and want to use your time and talents to make an impact the Sandwell Lions Club would love to hear from you.  Check out their website right here for more details about how you can get involved.

If you've been to a Bearwood Shuffle at Lightwoods Park Bandstand or picniced at Warley Woods Picnic in the Park recently you'll know what a fantastic afternoon of music The Bearwood Promoters Team put on. 

With some very exciting plans in the pipeline for 2014 this very friendly group of volunteers would love to get more local folk involved. So whether you're an aspiring sound technician, have good design skills or just would love to volunteer on the day, email the team at, visit their facebook page right here or twitter them here! They can't wait to hear from you!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Dish It Up!

We needed to go and calm ourselves down when we heard that David Essex's back in town in the new Dishwashers play. What a dish!

The REP want to wash away those January blues by giving welovebearwood readers the chance to win tickets too.

David has enjoyed a remarkable career that has combined theatre, films, television and music and we are incredibly excited that his return to the stage will be here at The REP. Featuring alongside David Essex is Royal Shakespeare Company stalwart Andrew Jarvis and Emmerdale star Rik Makarem.

Directed by the incredibly talented Nikolai Foster, the story follows the lives of three dishwashers: Dressler, Moss and Emmett. With one past their sell-by date, one an ex-convict and the other a victim of the financial crisis, watch their lives entwine over a bowl of soapsuds, as they scrape and scrub through the endless supply of crockery that descends from above.

For further information about the show visit The Birmingham REP website right here or by calling the theatre 0121 236 4455.

We have 2 x pair of tickets to be won for The Dishwashers on Tuesday 4 February, 7.00pm. Just email your name and contact details to and pop the words 'THE DISHWASHERS COMPETITION' in the subject header. We will select the winner at random. The competition closes on 27th January 2014.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

National Libraries Day!

Saturday 8th February is National Libraries Day and to celebrate Thimblemill Library have invited Will E Droppit and Minnie Mouse to the party. 

The fun doesn't stop there though as the library are hosting a Quiz Night in the evening.  To take part, please just ask the library staff for details.

Long live Thimblemill Library...we think you do a fantastic job!  

Friday, 10 January 2014

New stART!

Brrr!  It's getting cold again! January's always one of those months that seems to go on forever and summer seems ages away.  It's the perfect time though to learn a new skill, get those creative juices flowing and to make new friends. 

Una Rose Smith contacted welovebearwood to tell is about the classes which are taking place every Friday afternoon between 1pm - 3pm at St Mary's Church in Bearwood.

Una explained to welovebearwoood..."I will provide excellent tuition and learning support. We cover a wide variety of mediums including Acrylics, Oil Paints, Pastels, Inks etc. Our subjects range from Portraits/the Figure to Still-life and Landscapes. Students are encouraged to explore their creativity and all levels of ability are welcome from beginners to advanced and those wishing to create a professional art folder for applying to accredited Art Courses."

The course costs £35.00 for five 2 hour sessions, you can contact Una to book your slot by phoning her on 0121 421 4265 or emailing her at

Perfect solution to get rid of those January blues!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Snowman @ The REP, Wednesday 8th January 2014

Okay, so given the recent weather we’ve been having perhaps an adaptation of Rain Man may have been more appropriate but full marks to The REP for keeping the Christmas spirit going through the traditionally dreary and depressing month of January.

Unless you’ve been living inside a bauble for the last 30 years or so you’ll know the story of The Snowman inside out. It’s a heart melting (metaphorically and literally at the end) tale of a boy, his snowman and their magical adventures during the festive season. The REP developed this stage version way back in 1993 and it’s been a firm family favourite ever since, here on its home patch and across the world (it even made it all the way to Seoul in 2009!). You can see why. Youngsters will love the costumes, moments of slapstick and, of course, that iconic flying scene, whilst the young at heart will no doubt feel more than the odd twinge of nostalgia at the period of time that this show conjures up...a place that now seems beautifully quaint in this modern online world of twerking, poking, selfies and all that jazz. This is all heightened by keeping the whole thing pretty much a dialogue free zone (just like the animated film it’s based on), relying instead on some simple but effective choreography and music including, of course, Walking In The Air.

The whole cast works together brilliantly, enchanting the audience from start to finish. Special mention must be made of tonight’s ‘Boy’ Joe Sheridan who nailed that wide eyed sense of wonder, Martin Fenton as The Snowman himself and Megan King’s delightful turn as the Magic Box Ballerina (this show’s actually a great introduction to dance for a young audience). Go see’ll melt your heart.

The Snowman is on at The REP until January 18th. Tickets (including matinees suitable for tiny tots and anyone who falls asleep during Deal Or No Deal). 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Bearwood's Car Boot Sale

Just announced! This year's dates for Bearwood's Indoor Car Boot Stall.

Every second Saturday of the month at St Marks Church on Thimblemill Road,  the car boot sale's on from 10am - 12noon so make sure you get there early to pick up all your bargains.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Caroline's Chilean Creation

Autumn & Meadow Gathering Goddesses
Photo Credit: Caroline Jariwala
Bearwood based mosaic artist, Caroline Jariwala, has been selected to take part in the first International Urban Mosaic Intervention in Santiago, Chile in January.

How exciting!  We caught up with Caroline whilst she was busy getting ready for her trip to find out more.
Caroline Jariwala
Photo Credit: Ema Van Souwe
Sixty international professional mosaic artists from around the world including USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand will be creating an epic external wall mosaic to be situated in the grounds of the capital city’s town hall.

Lead artist Chilean Isidora Paz Lopez has gathered artists of expertise and high profile in their field. Eleven artists are from the UK.

Isidora has been creating a real stir, through Facebook and other social media, with the huge transformative mosaic projects with Chilean artists in Puente Alto, covering existing structures with metre upon metre of beautiful amazing detailed mosaics.

84 pillars of metro line 4, which connects the city of Puente Alto with the metropolis of Santiago, were transformed into brilliant artworks that show the flora and fauna of the region, home to many endangered plant and animal species.”

Isidora is now bringing together the expertise of mosaic artists from around the world in the First International Mosaic Intervention.

Caroline has been making mosaics since teaching the skill in 1998 when she was visiting tutor at City College, Manchester on the HND Arts in the Community.

Caroline is a professional artist, creating large scale projects in schools, galleries, and local communities.

New Haven Unit Princess of Wales Hospital
Photo Credit: Caroline Jariwala

During the summer, Caroline was invited to create a large 12 x 8ft mosaic at the Newhaven Unit, Princess of Wales Community Hospital, Bromsgrove. Caroline worked with patients and staff of the early dementia assessment unit, as well as pupils from Birchensale Middle School, Redditch.

Caroline says: “I believe that the mosaic art form really speaks to people. It has therapeutic value. It has a calming effect and a way of making sense of the world through the creative action. It’s like creating your own personal jig-saw puzzle."

For the Chile Project each artist will be allotted a 2 x 1 metre wall space on the theme of Magic Garden.

Caroline says: “It felt as though this project was ‘meant to be’, as I am creating a series of mosaic pieces for a solo exhibition in March 2014 at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester, the Roman mosaic museum. The title of the show is Garden Goddesses. Each intricate mosaic panel depicts figures gathering, planting and nurturing the garden surrounded by exotic, beautiful flowers.

Caroline says: “I am a picassiette mosaic artist. Picassiette is a French term meaning ‘stolen from plate’. I use rejected, second hand, chipped and broken crockery to create a new beauty.”

The artists have been given images of Chilean flora and fauna as an inspiration.

“My aim is to keep it simple! We have a 3ft x 6ft area, the size of a doorway, to make and complete a mosaic in 9 days! I am currently making a Moon Goddess which is my ‘drawing plan’ for the Chile project.”

The project will be filmed and a book of the project will be compiled.

“I am very excited to be involved in this amazing opportunity. I have worked abroad as a VSO volunteer in Eritrea, North East Africa in the 1990’s but Chile will be in a league of its own!”

Moon Goddess
Photo Credit: Caroline Jariwala
Caroline hopes to bring the experience back to the West Midlands.

“I would love to work with our local community to create our own mosaic Magic Garden!

I think it would be a great community builder! I run mosaic workshops in my home studio. It is fabulous to see complete beginners getting into the art-form and creating their own projects thereafter.”

Mosaic is clearly proving to be a popular urban art-form and can bring joy to all ages! Mosaics all over Bearwood…how good would that be!!!

To find out more about Caroline's beautiful mosaics visit her facebook page, Mango Mosaics

Caroline’s solo exhibition Garden Goddess is at The Corinium Museum, Cirencester from 22 March until 27 April 2014

The Goddess Series
Photo Credit: Caroline Jariwala

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year Bearwood

Happy New Year Bearwood!

You can tell it's the New Year, everything just feels that little bit tighter and even the thought of more mincepies seems to make you groan! We think we'll be staying away from the scales for a while.

Thankfully it's back to business and Thimblemill Library have got off to a flying start. Our favourite library could even help with your New Year's resolutions of learning a new skill, stopping smoking and meeting new friends.