Thursday, 27 February 2014

Bearwood...What's on?

Our Bearwood What's on page is getting nicely filled up. We love finding out what's on at the weekend and promoting future events on our calendar.

Events taking place over the next few days which caught our eye (drum roll!....whoop!...whoop!)are.......

Miss Halliwell playing City Tavern (38 Bishopsgate St, Birmingham) tomorrow night, 28th February. Oh yes! One of the best bands on planet earth right now and they're from Bearwood too! We'll see you there.   Bearwood's no 1 music blog, The Hearing Aid, has the lowdown, here!

They've already filmed part 1 of their Brumdemoters film, here it is....

Part 2 is being filmed at tomorrow night's gig so look your best!

Then on Saturday afternoon (March 1st) Sapphire Dance Studios (145 Salop Road) are holding a table top sale to raise money for their Disney dance trip. It would be magical if they get to meet Mickey Mouse.

Bearwood Book Club meet up on Tuesday 4th March at The Dog at 8pm. You can read more about it here! All Bearwood bookworms are very welcome.

If you want to find out about what's happening in the Bearwood area please make sure you visit the What's on Page. And if you want our help in promoting an event you're organising please get in touch by sending the details to, pop the word EVENTS in the subject header!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Bearwood Boot Camp!

What a challenge eh?

Martyn from TwentyFourSeven gym (Hagley Road) couldn’t wait to send us the details about their Bootcamp which is taking place on Friday 28th March.

He told us that this FREE (our favourite word) evening event is perfect for those who know their muscles from their muesli and that not even the strong may survive!

For more details and to register please contact the gym on 0121 420 2471.


Monday, 24 February 2014

Lightwoods May Day Festival

Definitely one for the diary!

We strongly recommend that you keep Monday 5th May free for Lightwoods May Day Festival. The fun starts at 11am with live music, the Sandwell Strong Man competition, skateboarding, stalls and a real ale and cider festival. What more could we ask for?

Fingers crossed the weather behaves itself!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Bearwood Book Club

Since we started welovebearwood it’s been amazing finding out about the different community groups which regularly meet up in Bearwood.

We were able to grab the attention of one of the founder members of the Bearwood Book Club, Daniel Carins, whilst he had his nose in their current book, "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern to find out more.

Daniel told us “We started at least 7 years ago - I only know because my son, who is now 6, came to an early meeting in his little baby rocking chair as a newborn. I think he made the best contributions that night.

I set it up partly as a response to feeling a bit excluded from book groups held at local libraries (not that they're deliberately exclusive, but I've seen some of them in action, and seen some of the books that are chosen, and thought that they're not for me) and also feeling that I get far more out of a book if I can talk about it afterwards. Also, of course taste tends to be self-selecting, so I wasn't breaking out of my comfort zone with reading. And finally, I and another founder member Angela whom I'd met on a course about community regeneration wanted to create a bit of social capital in Bearwood: it's a mixed community but I get the impression that different social groups tend to stick to their own. Which is normal, but I wanted to do something to bring strangers together over a common interest.

So I cobbled together an initial group of friends and put together some notices on the Penguin Book Group website and had a few responses over the years from people outside of my social circle and it's ebbed and flowed from there - people have moved house, emigrated, left to train for marathons, have children, adopt children. One or two have come for their first time and never come back, and lots have people have got in touch but never plucked up the courage to show up and then I imagine they're too embarrassed to get back in touch: I suppose it's intimidating to turn up into a group of strangers and try and be clever for 2 hours, so maybe I'm equally guilty of the same sense of exclusion that led to me setting up the group in the first place!

That's why I'm keen to try and get new members and hope that a more public forum through the blog can make it easier. We've tried a facebook group and even a Wordpress site but it's just too difficult where not everyone uses the same platform, and not everyone goes online often enough to make it worthwhile. Good old fashioned diaries are the most reliable reminders.

We've met every six weeks usually in The King's Head, but sometimes in people's houses. There's never fewer than four of us, but sometimes up to eight. We read an eclectic mix, the only rule being no non-fiction - although even that's been broken once or twice. We're limited by the time - no-one could read War and Peace in 6 weeks, and we all reserve the right not to read beyond page 69 if we really can't stomach the book.

Next up we're trying meeting in The Dog at 8pm on 4th March. We're reading "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern (which I am NOT enjoying, although am on page 114 so technically I've breached my right to remain silent).

The photo of when Penguin sent us a book for free for us to read and review a couple of years ago. I'm the solitary male, and Angela's on the far right."

Do you love reading? Why not pop along to the next meeting at The Dog at 8pm on 4th March? Bookworms are always welcome

For more details about what the Bearwood Book Club get up here!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

News Flash! Food Bank Running Out of Food!

Morwenna Hughes, who helps out at Sandwell Women’s Aid Food Bank, contacted welovebearwood with a much needed request.

“Basically our food bank is so run down and out of non perishable foods, baby items and hygiene products. Also any donation of old prams or clothes would be amazing.”

Morwenna added that “I see so many women who come to us with horrific stories of domestic violence and have nothing as they often just have to leave.”

The Abbey pub (Abbey Road, Bearwood) are taking in donations so please get yours there quick. Morwenna will be collecting them on Sunday.

So far Morwenna has been overwhelmed by the kindness of people in Bearwood and she told us that there are a few people who want to help this worthy cause on a monthly basis.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Free Chips For Everyone!

Free chips for everyone!  Free chips for everyone!  Hee!  Hee!  We know that would grab your

Courtesy of Miles Perhower, lead singer with brillant Bearwood band, Miss Halliwell, this chorus is just one of those catchy tunes which once you’ve heard it you’ll keep singing it all day.  We defy you not too. 

Miss Halliwell are playing the City Tavern on Friday 28th February and it would be great to give them our local support.  We’ll see you there! 

You can find out more about Miles Perhower and Miss Halliwell on Bearwood’s no 1 music blog (we are not worthy!) The Hearing Aid, click here to see why we are such big fans!

Talking about FREE chips, Chamberlains Fish and Chips Restaurant on Hagley Road are offering them free in all their takeaway meals until Thursday to celebrate National Chip Week. 

And to top it all off Chamberlains have just been awarded best Chippy Chips in the Midlands in the Nation’s best chips awards.  Chip Chip Hooray!

Monday, 17 February 2014

China In Your Hand

 You may not know that Caroline Jariwala is a professional member of BAMM (British Association of Modern Mosaic) and has been teaching the art of mosaic since 1998.

Caroline’s recently come back from a very exciting new project in Chile (you can read all about it here) and contacted welovebearwood to tell us all about her one day workshops which will be starting again in April. 

“This is a one day workshop for grown-ups who want to learn a new skill in the company of a small relaxed group and to have some time-out in the homely, informal setting of my studio. No previous mosaic experience necessary. All equipment and materials provided.”

Here’s the details…

What: One day workshop in mosaic for beginners and those have some experience.

When: Choose one date from below:

Saturday 12 April

Sunday 13 April

Saturday 17 May

Sunday 18 May

Saturday 14 June

Sunday 15 June

Saturday 5 July

Sunday 6 July

Time: 10am to 4pm

Where: Caroline’s art studio, Park Road, Bearwood (contact Caroline for directions)

How many: Places are limited to six participants per session.

How much: £60 per participant includes all materials. Please bring a packed lunch. Teas and coffees will be provided

You can contact Caroline:

Mobile: 07754 723712


Facebook: Mango Mosaics

P.S We would love to see more of Caroline’s work along Bearwood High Street and we think it would be great to have a big mosaic frieze of her work on the big wall that faces Hagley Road.

What community art would you like to see in Bearwood? Please email your ideas to and we’ll feature them on the welovebearwood blog.

P.P.S. Here it is! T’Pau’s China in your hand

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Love Is 'The Beach'!

Stay Calm…it’s only Valentine’s Day TOMORROW! 
With all this very dreary weather we’ve been having and a month’s worth of rain forecast to fall over the next couple of days, Valentine’s Day seems to have snuck up on us this year. 

Don’t worry though because 'The Beach', 616 Bearwood Road (next door to Boots) can help!

Spray Tans for £10, Valentine’s Day gift vouchers and everything you need to give your loved ones that “one stop” health and pampering experience they deserve.

Beauty treatments galore with the added bonus of ‘Beach’ themed surroundings this will make your Valentine think that they are already on their summer holidays.

For more details visit 'The Beach' Facebook Page right here or contact them on 0121 429 9663.
P.S. Have you seen our welovebearwood exclusive New Hair, New Look, New You competition?  You can win a hair consultation and appointment with Kate, top stylist at Heads on Bearwood Road.  The closing date is 21st February so get your entry in quick!  Click here for more details.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Big Bench March

Show Warley Woods your love by putting your walking shoes on and joining the Big Bench March sponsored walk on Saturday 22nd March 2014.

The walk is to raise money for the memorial benches which were mindlessly vandalised in one week last summer. We know...disgusting.

Three of the benches have already being replaced through generous donations but Warley Woods need to raise £2400 to replace the other three benches. £200 will help Warley Woods buy a seat, £100 buy an arm and £50 a leg. 

For more details and the sponsorship form, click here and here.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Up The Junction!

Work starts today on the Hagley Road junction.

The improvements will include widening the carriageway, much better traffic lights, a proper pedestrian crossing so you no longer have to fear for your life crossing Hagley Road, new street lights and the dark, dingy and damp subway will be finally closed.

The project's expected to take 28 weeks so we reckon it should be completed by mid-September.

Thank Goodness….it’s been long overdue.

P.S. To cheer you up on this dreary Monday….here’s Squeeze’s Up The Junction

Friday, 7 February 2014

Heads You Win!

We had heard great things on the Bearwood Grapevine about Heads Hair Co on Bearwood High Street so we decided to pop in and see if we could find out more. Heads up! We were able to have a quick chat with owner Chris between hair appointments.

“Heads has been operating in Bearwood for about 9 years now and although the time has absolutely flown by, the friendly atmosphere and wonderful warm people, make it feel like 9 weeks . Heads philosophy, is to offer as good a service as possible for the best possible price . With the team we have a good blend of experience, which means we can cater for most needs . Our services are suitable for all age groups, both male and female.

Lots of our clients are real Bearwood/Smethwick people with the more mature, some very mature, who love to tell stories of the good old days, trams on the high street and crowded lightwoods park . We are very grateful to have lovely people as clients and count many as friends. Lots of our regulars to the High Street are in effect local celebrities. As you may well imagine with our big windows, we can see some most unusual scenes, so far we have only had to dial 999 on three occasions ! My first aid skills really tested, good job, I was in the scouts.

We have enjoyed joining in several charity projects; the most recent for the teenage cancer trust , again with our friends in our minds who are close to our hearts Janet and Sue. Previously an outstanding effort was made by our customers, collecting supplies for troops in Afganistan with Linda organising postage . Another major event for three oncology wards at local hospitals, saw a fabulous, albeit long [boozy ]afternoon in the wine bar, a joint venture with Anne. I thank Anne as she pushes me when I am my usual indecisive self, on the right things to do .

As well as these events, we have had a member of staff bunjee jump and numerous coffee mornings , thanks for all the cakes and calories girls. All of this is an example of the great spirit of Bearwood. People always up for joining in, to do good and create a great community spirit.

Some things that really define Bearwood are the iconic Bear Tavern, which is indeed a landmark and has been there forever . I believe that our High Street offers everything you can need. We still have butchers, bakers, newsagent, jewellers, hair beauty, breakfast lunch evening meals .

At Heads we pride ourselves on our endeavours to do the best possible for every client we have extensive experience [to many years to calculate ] both with ladies and men’s hair Colouring is a big part of our business and we are expanding our hair up styling ,watch out for special offers for proms and weddings!

I hope these thoughts are an insight to Heads, we welcome everyone , any enquiries please contact us .”

You can find out more about Heads Hair Co here and here.

Heads Hair Co contact details are:
Tel:0121 429 2002
Mobile:07918 618166

Got the weather blues? Need cheering up?

We’ve linked up with Heads Hair Co for our very exciting New Hair, New Look, New You competition.

The prize is to win a style consulation and hair appointment with one of Heads Hair Co top stylists, Kate.

To enter all you have to is answer this very easy question:

What’s the building number of Heads Hair Co on Bearwood Road?

Please email your answer along your contact details to by 21st February 2014. The winner will be picked at random and notified shortly afterwards.

Straighteners at the ready!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Dishwashers @ The REP, Tuesday 4th February 2014

Washing the’s a strange thing. On the one hand it’s a tiresome chore, you end up getting your sleeves wet, you can never quite remove get that scrambled egg that’s been spot welded to the saucepan and you always forget about a small pile of stuff after you’ve tipped the water out of the bowl. On the other hand, well, there’s something a little zen about it all. The whole thing’s such a mundane but strangely satisfying activity that you can kind of zone out a little and let your mind drift to higher things. This, sort of, is the thinking behind new play The Dishwashers.

Starring David Essex (who seems to be enjoying a much deserved ‘second wind’ recently), Andrew Jarvis and Rik Makarem the entire thing’s set in the bowels (literally at times) of a swanky London restaurant. As anyone who’s worked in such a place will know they’re often somewhat less salubrious than the dining area and the set perfectly captures the grime, grease and dinginess of it all. This subterranean pit is home to three characters, Dressler (Essex) – the self appointed leader of the pack, Moss (Jarvis) – a half mad creature who’s spent his entire live cleaning stuff, windows, cars and now dishes and Emmett (Makaram) – someone who used to dine at the restaurant before losing all of his money and being ‘reduced’ to scrubbing the very plates he used to eat off.

Remarkably from such an unlikely premise the writer (Morris Panych) and cast rather brilliantly tackle the meaning of you a production that’s as entertaining as it is thought provoking. Although apparently written before the ‘credit crunch’ it offers a timely reappraisal of what it is to live, work and exist in what is a pretty unpredictable time for a lot of people. Many of us have had to get used to shifting our expectations a little and there’s something inspirational about this piece, especially Dressler’s dignity and the pride he takes in a job that most would pass off as menial.

The interaction between the three characters is a treat. Makarem is perfect as the rich kid who’s fallen from grace, Essex nails it as the father figure with an edge and Jarvis puts on a truly Shakespearian performance as Moss. 

Anyone familiar with Orwell’s Down and Out In London and Paris will pick up on this book’s influences but there’s also a little of Galton and Simpson’s Steptoe and Son about the whole set up with Makaram’s determined to rise back up to the dining room whilst Essex does his best to keep him elbow deep in detergent. Like Galton and Simpson Panych blends pathos and comedy so there are plenty of chuckles along the way together with some remarkably insightful comments on the human condition. Cleverly written and skilfully delivered (there were one or two fluffed lines but, heck, this was one of the opening nights) even the breaks between scenes are well considered, with the ‘curtain’ both descending and closing from both sides, reducing the view of the stage to a narrow square before disappearing altogether. In one of my more pretentious moments I pondered that perhaps this reflected the shrinking of opportunities, ambition and time that lie at the heart of the play...but maybe it’s just the way the curtains close here? Anyway, drapery aside this is a production that really does ‘dish’ up pretty much everything you want from a great night out at the theatre.

The Dishwashers is on at The REP until February 15th – tickets available here – then it’s off on tour (hopefully it’ll make it to the West End and big or small screen too).

P.S All photos are courtesy of Manuel Harlan

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Joining the Dots

Oh my!  The Bearwood Promoters may have been in hibernation over the winter months but now that Spring is almost here, they’re back and we think even stronger than ever.

They’ve got BIG plans for this year including applying for a live music Joining The Dots grant.  The £10k grant would make a huge difference as it would mean they would be able to put on more events and buy a PA system so that some Bearwood Shuffles could be held inside too.  Perfect for those colder and wetter months! 

Watch their video application and you’ll see why we think they deserve to win.

P.S. Bearwood Promoters would like to give a big shout out to all the lovely people who helped with the video including Gail Meek, Keith Bloomfield, Jason Lewis, Wayne Fox, Mr Naylor. Amelia Wallace, Noel Kavanagh, Adam Smith and everyone who we may have missed. Ta!  We love you all!

P.P.S.  Watch out for welovebearwood’s exclusive on the Bearwood Promoters brand new website.  Exciting Stuff!

Monday, 3 February 2014


Photo Credit: Ken Harrison Photography

Local photographer, Ken Harrison, loves taking photos of Smethwick's beautiful old buildings. He’s not only held an exhibition of his photos but also published his book '"A Picture of Smethwick' all about them. You can find out more about Ken Harrison Photography right here!

Ken contacted welovebearwood to tell us he’s really excited about his new project which will involve him taking photos of the restoration works of Lightwoods House over the next two years. Ken told us that after a very competitive tendering process he’s delighted to be involved with the project. Ken hopes that his photos will give us a real insight into the house before, during and after the work has been completed.

You’ll spot Ken with his camera around Bearwood especially at this year’s Lightwoods Park May Day Festival and hopefully Bearwood Shuffles too.

Photo Credit: Ken Harrison Photography