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I'm your fairy godmother when it comes to goss on the new stuff happening in-and-around Warwickshire.


NEW! £1.1m Ardencote Destination Spa set to open on Jan 1 2019

Photo credit: Soft Focus Productions

We think you’re going to love this! Earlier this week the 110 room 4* Ardencote hotel in Claverdon, Warwick, gave press and bloggers the first glimpse of its new and improved Destination Spa at a fab launch event! The launch included a drinks reception and canapes, guided tour, spa treatment and a chance to try out the swish new thermal facilities. They include a Himalayan Salt Sauna, Aromatherapy Steam Room, Tepidarium, Tyrolean Kilo Sauna, Foot Spas, Ice Fountain, Monsoon Shower, Relaxation and Tranquillity Lounges. There’s also the existing Outdoor Hot Tub and Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool. It all looks very inviting. Ardencote is surrounded by 83 acres of stunning countryside and a 3-acre lake. It also has an 18-Hole Golf Course, 18 conference rooms, state-of-the-art leisure facilities and a Brasserie Bar and Restaurant. Massage in the new year, anyone? ardencote


TOUR UPDATE: Gandalf on tour – tickets sold out!

Ian McKellen On Stage, photo by Oliver Rosser, Feast Creative

You may have heard the actor Ian McKellen is touring the country to celebrate his 80th birthday next summer, as it’s been widely written about. In our ‘hood he is coming to four different theatres with which he shares a personal connection – The Belgrade, Coventry, the RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Arts Centre and Birmingham Rep – and all three venues quickly sold out! I had the pleasure of seeing him the last time he came to The Belgrade where he was given his first acting break in 1961 on £8.50 a week. He is such a brilliant raconteur with so many fascinating stories to tell and very, very funny!

On a positive note, this is all good news for the organisations his tour is raising money for – a range of talent development work, at the Belgrade Theatre ensuring it can continue to provide opportunities for emerging artists, actors and more to get their first break; a Youth Theatre group for underprivileged young people in Canley, Coventry; the RSC’s Stitch In Time Campaign, restoring and redeveloping the RSC’s costume workshops and the REP First Campaign, nurturing new talent. Returns only available.


CHRISTMAS: Every handmade Christmas cake by Warwickshire’s Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery raises cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust 

The Christmas Cakes, traditionally baked in small batches, are coated with a smooth ivory sugar paste and decorated with pretty pink and blue ribbons. Every cake delivered raises £5 for Teenage Cancer Trust and £3 with the sale of every Meg Rivers Gift Tin of Christmas Shortbread Shapes. The Blackwell bakery just outside Shipton-on-Stour, which frequently wins acclaim from top UK foodies, was set up by Meg Rivers, who died of cancer in 2001 and has since been run by family friend and father-of-four Julian Day, whose wife also died of cancer. Last order date to arrive for Christmas: Dec 20

Tel: 01608 682858,


30% off Winter Party Packages at Hampton Clinic

Thanks to Hampton Clinic for a wonderful Open Evening with champagne and canapes, treatment demos, taster life coaching sessions and a talk by owner Dr Lorraine Hill on beautification, rejuvenation and skin health inspired by renowned dermatologist Dr Obaji. They are currently offering 30% off a trio of specially selected festive party season treatments – Perk Lips, OPI Gel Manicure and Lash and Brow Shape and Tint. Normally £115, now £80. Perfect your pout, beautify your nails and make your eyes pop ready for your Christmas do. The woodland clinic in the grounds of boutique hotel Hampton Manor and Michelin starred Peel’s Restaurant in Hampton-in-Arden, near Solihull, also offer gift cards and will send it directly to your recipient. hamptonclinic


FOODIE HEAVEN: Purnell & Peel’s Bring You Sunday Lunch, Hampton Manor

Glynn Purnell

On Sunday February 10 2019 top Birmingham restaurateur Glynn Purnell and Peel’s head chef Rob Palmer collaborate to bring some fresh inspiration to the Sunday roast. Over the years, Peel’s has received stacks of requests for Sunday lunch and, as neither Peel’s nor Purnell’s serve it, this event truly is a one-off take on a fine British tradition.

They will be serving 4 courses of fresh, seasonal classics with delightful modern twists. A wine pairing and optional signed copy of Glynn’s jolly Rib Ticklers & Choux-ins add significantly to the afternoon. A perfect Christmas gift idea for a foodie. Hampton Manor will send a letter-press invitation all tied up in a box, straight to your loved one of choice to arrive in time for Christmas (ordered before Wed Dec 19)

The damage: £135pp for a four course set menu including welcome drink and three wine pairings. Additional £15 for signed copy of Glynn’s Rib Ticklers & Choux-ins. 12.45 arrival for 1pm book signing. Parties with fewer than six guests will be seated on shared tables.



ENTERTAINMENT: Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour 2019 & Professor Brian Cox Live 2019, Arena Birmingham

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev; Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard; Graeme Swann and Karen Clifton; Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice will all be joining previously announced Stacey Dooley and Aljaž Skorjanec; Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara; Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell on the road in the New Year from Fri Jan 18 – Sun Jan 21. Darlings, this glittering bevvy of celebrities and professional dancers will also be joining tour host, Ore Oduba and the judging panel of Craig Revel Horwood, Dame Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli.

Professor Brian Cox has also added an extra date onto his live tour in Birmingham next February 23 due to phenomenal demand. Now he will be back again in the city on Saturday Sept 21. The Professor of Particle Physics at The University of Manchester will be exploring the vast, possibly infinite universe and our place within it. He will be joined by co-host of The Infinite Monkey Cage and award-winning comedian Robin Ince for an audience Q&A.

Tickets for Strictly £40.70/£51.95/£74.70  and for Professor Brian Cox are £40.75-£52, or Tel: 0844 33 88 222 *Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.  

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