The tale of Jimmy Cregan and Jimmy's Iced Coffee

When it comes to coffee, there’s nothing I miss more about my homeland of Mykonos Island, Greece than a Nescafe frappe. It’s the staple drink for most Greek’s on the move but back in Britain there’s nothing that quite hits the spot on a hot summer’s day, and the last thing I’d be seen dead with would be a Costa substitute that just doesn’t meet the mark.

Every now and then though, a product comes to market which I just can’t get enough of and so I was thrilled to discover Jimmy’s Iced coffee is at last coming to Birmingham.

Hidden behind a hefty beard and a cheeky little laugh, Jimmy Cregan is one of the most positive people emerging in food right now. Based in Bournemouth, East Dorset, where a young and energetic food scene appears to be thriving, Jimmy and his sister Suzie have created something entirely unique to the British market and in doing so have satisfied a craving for an unlikely, yet hugely popular cold drink. It soon becomes apparent there has always been an entrepreneurial force within Jimmy, from selling rucksacks to his friends at junior school, to setting up a beer delivery service for the beachhuts on Mudeford spit. Acurious energy has driven him to develop his ideas and put them into action. Enthusiasm exudes from him and infects everyone he meets.

A little under a year ago Jimmy had an idea. That idea, born whilst traveling in Australia and nurtured whilst surfing the beaches of Bournemouth, is now stacked across the refrigerated shelves of Selfridges food hall, Harvey Nichols and a slew of fine food delis, and from all accounts, the phone just doesn’t stop ringing. Jimmy’s Iced Coffee is growing rapidly. In essence, it’s like a coffee flavoured milkshake and with its pick-me-up hit of caffeine Jimmy’s Iced Coffee is often described as a grown up energy drink. Jimmy and his sister Suzie set up the company and have since been on a whirlwind ride getting the drink to market. “Neither of us had any experience in food production,” explains Jimmy, “Suzie owns a café in Christchurch but there’s a world of difference between making a cup of coffee for someone, to making a product fit for retail.”

Their hard work and late nights paid off and after countless emails and phone calls, a packaging manufacturer flew down from Manchester to meet them. “That’s when things really started to slot into place,” Jimmy recalled. “We’ve found the more you believe in something the more everyone else seems to listen. They try, taste and believe what you do too.”

So, why iced coffee? “When I got talking to people, there were so many others who missed it from their travels too. No one else was doing it and I just knew it could work. You know, sometimes you just have that feeling.”

Amidst the rapid growth, popularity and frightening workload, Jimmy holds a smile behind his thick beard. It makes you wonder whether it’s the iced coffee that gives Jimmy such an abundance of energy, or the other way round.

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee goes on the shelves at Selfridges Birmingham in the next few days.

For further details visit:

(Photo by Sam Tucker)

The Ghost city that has appeared above the Xin'an River

It looks like any other cityscape or skyline, with a few trees and mountains in the background except for big difference, it isn’t real!

A giant mirage has appeared in the sky above the clouds near East China after heavy rainfall and humid conditions along the Xin’an River.

As fog settled over the river in the late afternoon, skyscrapers and other buildings appeared to rise out of nowhere, leading residents in nearby Huanshan City to speculate that the vision could be a “vortex” to a lost civilisation.

One resident told a local news station, “It was electrifying. It looked like a scene from a science fiction movie but it was here in real life, I can’t believe it to be honest”.

The mysterious ghost city had vanished almost as quickly as it had appeared.

However scientist have as they often do, been quick to quash the ghost city vortex theory and have a simple explanation for what could be seen.

They believe it may have been a mirage, caused when moisture in the air becomes warmer than the temperature of the water below. Although many are saying it looks nothing like the city below.

When sunlight crosses from the colder air to the warmer air the rays of light get refracted or bent – creating a reflection in the air that looks similar to a reflection in water.

It's a common sight for many travellers on Australian roads. But Australians simply see puddles of water that disappear when you get close, not entire cities floating on rivers.

Scientists Create First Memory Expansion for Brain

Have you ever watched the Matrix and thought that it would be useful to learn new skills, languages and sources of information as Keanu Reeves did instantly?

Well according to Dr. Theodore Berger from the University of Southern California, it’s not that far away from becoming a reality. Scientists at the University have created a chip that allows rats to instantly know things.

After studying the chemical interactions responsible for short-term learning and memorising information in rats, the scientists lead by Dr Berger from Viterbi School of Engineering have built a prosthetic chip which uses electrodes to enhance and expand the capability of memory. It can store neural signals, basically functioning as an electronic memory, allowing rats to learn more and keep it in the devices. Dr Berger’s description of the device is eerie to say the least:

"Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget. These integrated experimental modeling studies show for the first time that with sufficient information about the neural coding of memories, a neural prosthesis capable of real-time identification and manipulation of the encoding process can restore and even enhance cognitive mnemonic processes.”

The team's experiments—which have been in a paper called "A Cortical Neural Prosthesis for Restoring and Enhancing Memory"—could lead to the development of devices that may help people affected by Alzheimer's disease, stroke or other brain injuries. In fact, they are already working on the next step: Reproducing the same result in monkeys.

James Dyson Foundation to harness engineering expertise in schools throughout Britain

James Dyson set the foundation up in 2002 to support design and engineering education and will invest £100,000 to aid this process.

Committed to encouraging young people into careers in design engineering, the charity offers a wide range of free resources for design and technology teachers, as well as working in universities and schools throughout the UK and internationally.

The UK’s best D&T teachers will have the opportunity to develop and share their innovations and skills with other teachers, bringing technology to life in classrooms across the UK.
Some of the money will go towards funding supply teacher cover; timely support when school budgets are squeezed and teachers are unable to take time out of the classroom easily.

The first meeting takes place at the Dyson Research & Development facilities in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Senior engineers will be on hand to guide teachers through the Dyson design process.
James Dyson said: “Teachers are our biggest asset in inspiring the inventors of the future. But to challenge conventional thinking and generate new ideas, it’s imperative that they use the latest, most exciting, materials. By working with industry and sharing their expertise the teaching fellows can ensure the classroom is brimming with exciting ideas and new technology”.

Richard Green, CEO of the Design and Technology Association: “Teachers can inspire a future generation of engineers at a young age. Practical, hands on and up-to-date teaching brings the subject alive in the classroom. But technology moves quickly and there are few opportunities for teachers to explore the latest technologies”.

Dyson’s critically acclaimed ‘Ingenious Britain’ report raises important questions about the currently under funded continuous professional development available to STEM teachers.
OFSTED too, highlighted in a recent report that teachers were “failing to keep pace with technological developments or expand on their initial training sufficiently to enable them to teach the technically demanding aspects of the curriculum”. This, it concludes, is leading to “an out-dated curriculum” in late primary and early secondary school.

The James Dyson Award

The 2011 international James Dyson Award is now open for entries – challenging young engineers and designers to develop problem solving inventions. The award is run in 18 countries, with the winner receiving £10,000 to develop their invention and £10,000 for their university. Entries are accepted until 2nd August via

Take the stress out of DIY mess with Kärcher

Tommy Walsh recommends the DIY multi-purpose vac or as he likes to call it the ‘Man-Vac’ so that you can keep mess to a minimum and get on with the job at hand. Tommy comments: “As anyone partial to a spot of DIY will know, after you’ve been hard at work a mess is inevitable. That’s why Kärcher’s range of DIY multi-purpose vacs is a must have for every DIYer – not only can you clean as you go but their many other functions also add more enjoyment to your work!”

Kärcher’s range of DIY multi-purpose vacs feature robust motors designed to outperform ordinary vacs and pick up not only heavy duty mess such as rubble and wood shavings, but also liquids and spills. The high-suction machines are even able to unblock sinks!

Key product functions:

The power tool triggered auto-start is designed to synchronise the vac so you can clean as you go with a power tool. This provides virtually dust free working environments for heavy DIY jobs such as sanding floorboards and doors or sawing worktops.

The blower function is designed to dislodge and remove dirt from awkward areas, such as behind radiators or car interiors.

Mark Penrose, Sales and Marketing Director of the Home and Garden Division at Kärcher UK says: ‘Kärcher’s multi-purpose vacs are the perfect companion for any DIYer and are an essential tool for any DIY scenario and we’re thrilled to have Tommy’s expert approval. Our vacs make the tiresome clean-up task easy. The power tool triggered auto-start is a fantastic feature, removing debris as you sand and saw, so making it easier to concentrate on the job in hand rather than choking on the dust.’

Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG, based in Winnenden near Stuttgart, Germany, has 6,591 employees in 41 countries and in 2007 posted sales of EUR 1.38 billion. A family-owned company, it has production facilities in Germany, Italy, the US, Brazil, Mexico and China. Forty-one thousand ser­vice centres in more than 190 countries ensure comprehensive customer care all over the world. Kärcher’s key growth factor is innovation. Eighty per cent of all products that the company markets are four years old or less. More than 500 engineers and technicians at the company’s development centres are engaged in devising new problem solutions.

Danny Howes at Reuben Colley Fine Arts in Moseley

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of Danny Howes’ first solo exhibition at Reuben Colley Fine Arts in Moseley. I have known Danny's work for a number of years so I was thrilled to discover he was now achieving public recognition and success for his contemporary figure paintings. In the past Danny worked for a select group of clients for whom he paints portraits but had never quite found the right opportunity to exhibit publicly. That was until Reuben Colley Fine Arts saw his work and knew immediately they wanted Danny onboard recognising his fresh approach to figure painting would be an asset to the gallery.

The exhibition spans over nine months of work and on the opening night it was clear to me that something special had blossomed out of the opportunity. A series of 23 unique portraits fill the space with a rich energetic palette, thought provoking expressions, and gritty concepts. The work captures a snapshot of urban life, subtly focusing on human emotion and interaction. Danny takes his inspiration from
regular people doing regular things; kids hanging around bored, builders on a lunch break, a dog walker enjoying a cider in the park. Danny introduces us to some quite challenging individuals and situations, each beautifully painted canvas capturing the soul of the subject in such a convincing manner we feel like we already know them and can empathise with their experiences, good or bad.

Everyone I spoke to said how privileged they felt to be part of Danny’s first major showcase, mostly because we all knew that we were in the company of a new talent, for whom a wonderful career surely lies just around the corner.

This is an inspiring and thought-provoking show. Danny tells a story about the people he sees, often using the power of the eyes to reveal all. In Howes' work the eyes truly are the window to the soul.

The exhibition is on now until 8th July at Reuben Colley Fine Arts, St Marys Row, Moseley.

For more information visit:

The Fairy Jobmother comes to Birmingham

The Fairy Jobmother last night came to Birmingham where she met up with NEETS (Not in Employment, Education or Training), lone parents, victims of redundancy and the long-term jobless to tackle the issues that are preventing them from gaining employment and to offer them the chance to develop much needed skills to succeed at interview and work.

Bill Rose, Sales Assistant at Selco Builders Warehouse, said: “I had no idea what the outcome would be when I agreed to appear in the Fairly Jobmother programme, but I’m genuinely very happy to have been taken on by Selco. I’m still learning the ropes but this is a great start for my career and I’ve got Haley [The Fairy Jobmother] to thank.”

Mark Bramwell, Branch General Manager at Selco Builders Warehouse Erdington, said “Selco is a growing business and we are always recruiting. The candidates that The Fairy Jobmother brought to interview scored well against our interview criteria for the Sales Assistant position, which goes to show the value of preparation and of the time and effort Haley [The Fairy Jobmother] puts into the recruits and into the programme.”

Selco Builders Warehouse Minworth branch will move to new larger premises on the Chester Road in Erdington in Autumn 2011 due to continued success in Birmingham, the city where the company was founded more than 100 years ago and where five of its twenty-nine builders warehouses are located. The company continues to grow despite the wider economic climate and will open a total of four new stores in 2011.

Roy Ayers and Pete Rock live at the Hare and Hounds

After sell out performances at the Hare and Hounds, one of Birmingham's finest music establishments is bringing the legendary Roy Ayers, American funk, soul, and jazz composer and vibraphone player back to Birmingham. For anyone who didn't catch his last performance, this is another chance to catch the musical genius at work.

The venue which borders the high street and popular York Road in Kings Heath is excited about welcoming the pioneering collaboration between jazz master Roy Ayers Hip Hop/DJ wonder PETE ROCK. The show will feature exciting rendition’s of Roy’s most celebrated hits – Everybody Loves the Sunshine, We live in Brooklyn, and many others – with Pete Rock sampling Roy’s music and adding a hip hop flavour with his beats and rhymes.

Constantly performing and recording since the 1960s, Ayres is one of the most famous jazz vibraphonists in the world. He has produced some of the most loved modern soul-jazz records of all time such as “Running Away”. 2004 saw the release of “Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981” which were ‘lost’ sessions tapes that he had discarded. Radio One DJ Gilles Peterson described this as the equivalent of finding a lost Beatles album. No doubt this helped him win the Gilles Peterson 2004 Worldwide Lifetime Achievement Award. Roy Ayers is ageless and evergreen and as per the title of another one of hits, remember “We All Live In Brooklyn Baby”.

Rapper, DJ, and producer Pete Rock first emerged in 1991 as one half of a duo with C.L. Smooth, debuting with the All Souled Out EP. A hit LP, Mecca and the Soul Brother, followed before the two went their separate ways in the wake of 1994’s The Main Ingredient, with Rock remaining a prolific studio presence prior to the release of his solo debut, Soul Survivor, on Loud/rca four years later. He then continued his career as an independent producer, and later signed to Rapster/Bbe in 2001 for PeteStrumentals. Two years later, the label released a two-part compilation of mid-’90s LPs with Lost and Found. In 2004, Rock produced the sequel to his debut, Soul Survivor II, with features coming from Pharaohe Monch, dead prez, Talib Kweli, and former partner C.L. Smooth.

Advance tickets for this NOT TO BE MISSED event are available from or by calling 0844 870 0000

Info: 0121 444 2081 / [email protected]


Forgotten Birmingham celebrated in exhibition

A disused warehouse in the Jewellery Quarter is the setting for a new exhibition about Birmingham’s hidden spaces.

Poet and Birmingham City University student, David Page and artist, Robin Pugh, have created Space & Centre, a collection of 13 works portraying parts of Birmingham most people don’t notice. The art works are complemented by soundscapes recorded in each of the areas depicted.

The exhibition coincides with a book, also called Space & Centre, which features each of the artworks and poems featured in the exhibition. The collection is on display at the AE Harris Building, a former industrial site in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, but is now used to stage theatre and other arts events by artists’ group, Stan's Café. The exhibition will be on from Monday 20 June to Sunday 26 June, 10am-6pm.

Robin Pugh, is an artist and photographer based in Redditch whose work portrays the uncanny nature of suburban life, capturing the mundane housing estates and unseen alleyways of his home town.

David Page, is a poet, fiction writer, musician and the editor of literary journal Paper Tiger, which combines short fiction, poetry and literary criticism. He is currently in the final year of BA English and Creative Writing and produced the project as part of his degree assessment. He said: “The combination of audio, image, words and setting will sustain an inner city ambience, enhancing both the physical space of the exhibition and also the imaginative space of the pieces.

“We wanted to depict fragmented images of Birmingham's unseen architecture, forgotten passageways and transient spaces. The collection represents an urban exploration of the city, documenting both place and 'non place', linking destination with journey and providing a psychogeographic record of the everyday.”

Ted Baker - Dressing Model Citizens

Established in 1988, Ted Baker London has grown from its humble roots as a shirt specialist in Glasgow to a global lifestyle brand renowned for its high quality, irreverent sense of humour and, above all, unswerving attention to detail. The Ted Baker Eyewear collection reflects the brand's distinctive and unconventional approach to fashion, and appeals to style-conscious men and women who trust Ted to deliver something out of the ordinary.

The Cube is finally here

After months of speculation and a stunning exhibition by urban artist Temper, the Cube is offering residents in Birmingham the chance to have a look inside the magic box as its 2nd phase of luxury apartments come to market this summer.

Guests at the event will have a unique opportunity to meet the pioneer Ken Shuttleworth who was the mastermind architect behind The Cube. Ken will give an illuminating talk on the future of Birmingham as a mega city and how it will take on it's role as a world leader in stunning architectural design. The unique geometric design of The Cube means that no two properties are the same. Each apartment also includes a designer kitchen by Poggenpohl, appliances by Bosch and bathroom fittings by Villeroy & Boch and Grohe. Properties in the East Wing are designed exclusively for owner occupiers whilst the West Wing is open to buy-to-let investors.

In addition to the luxury apartments, residents at The Cube will also have access to a 24-hour concierge service, fully automated car park and an exceptional retail and leisure offering. Construction for the Marco Pierre White restaurant, Hotel Indigo’s boutique hotel and Spa is currently underway and The Cube has just announced plans to launch a Private Members Club and Bar – a luxurious venue offering members unrivalled entertainment, relaxation and an open-air terrace overlooking the canal. Residents will benefit from the exclusive offers to these facilities, including complimentary membership to the Marco Pierre White VIP club.

‘Virtual PC’ to be launched at University open day

Visitors to a university open day are to be given a ‘virtual PC’ to take home.

The first 700 students to visit visitors to Birmingham City University’s Open Day at the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (TEE) will receive a USB device which they can plug into any computer to receive access to free software and the Internet.

The device, called cnap&go, was developed through collaboration between the University, ECONET the leading Telecommunications company in Africa, and cloud technology company Cnasoft. The USB key, which is just a few inches long, can be used with PCs, laptops, tablet computers and even some mobile phones to provide access to software, the Internet and an individual’s computer documents.

Due to its small size and mobility, the device is being piloted in African villages to provide access to software without the need for expensive and bulky hardware, which may quickly become obsolete. For developing countries where there is limited access to email, a PC or even a mobile phone, the cnap&go technology provides a ‘virtual PC’.

Dr Peter Rayson, Associate Dean of the University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment, said: “The Cnap&go device takes virtually no time to download and stream large apps on to basic laptops - this is why this technology has an obvious application in remote African villages.

“However, even here in the UK there are inner city areas that are digitally excluded; this class of technology allows young people and families to have their own virtual PC on a USB key. You could argue that we are closing the digital divide for pennies not pounds.”

“Our School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks has an active research and development programme with Cnasoft, which includes a number of University research students. Our engagement with business is typical of the experience that undergraduates can expect when they study at University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment".

The Faculty’s Open Day takes place on Saturday 18 June, 10am until 4pm at the University’s Millennium Pointcampus in the city centre. For more information about Birmingham City University’s Open Days at its other campuses visit the University website at

Following on from the Open Day will be Birmingham Techfest, which is a festival to highlight the wealth of technical innovation, knowledge and skills from across the West Midlands region. Taking place at the University’s city centre campus on Saturday 25 June it will also incorporate the UK Micromouse Championship which has been hosted by the University for the past eight years.

Birmingham City University is backing a national campaign celebrating the benefit of higher education.Universities Week is taking place from June 13th to 19th and will highlight how universities benefit everyone, whether or not they have gone to university themselves.

Outshine everyone this summer with ghd Classic Gold stylers

Ghd has always been known as a luxury hair grooming brand. Whenever the world's elite stylists present their latest catwalk creations, ghd products are never too far away from the action. So too this summer it seems as ghd presents their finest stylers ever, the dazzling gold series.

Not only do they have a sleeker look, their plates have also been smoothed and contoured to ensure they glide through hair effortlessly to give ultra shiny results.

Cooler to touch and lighter to handle the stylers feature glamorous golden plates and are an absolute treat to the eye as well as transforming hair. Whether you want to create tousled waves, tight curls or to simply smooth an unruly fringe, there is a ghd styler to suit all.

In addition to its decadent appearance the Gold Series comes with updated functions to ensure fuss free safe styling, these include: More rounded Barrel – makes it easier to create curls, flicks and the perfect straight style; Re-contoured plates – glide through hair for smoother, snag-free styling; Sleek Design – allows for easy handling; Protective Plate Guard – safely cover hot plates when you need your stylers on the go.

Favourite features from the original series have been retained including universal voltage for optimum performance around the globe, and a sleep mode ensuring your styler turns off after 30 minutes, even if you don’t remember.

This is the ultimate tool for creating a multitude of fabulous styles from luscious waves like Olivia Palemero to perfectly straight like Leighton Meister. Midsized plates allow all look desired to be achieved, be it tight curls or flirty flicks for a full array of hair creativity.

For more information visit

Foreign Office urges people in Birmingham to take out travel insurance

Over a third of people travelling overseas from Birmingham were at risk after not taking out travel insurance the last time they stayed with family and friends – causing some to face serious financial problems when they required medical treatment or lost valuable possessions.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office published research this week which found that 79 per cent of those who said they were visiting friends or family said saving money was a key factor in their decision not to take out travel insurance but it is warning this is often a false economy.

Minister for Consular Affairs Jeremy Browne said: “It is important to understand that staying in someone’s home does not make you exempt from encountering serious problems.

“Take the same steps before you go as you would for any other holiday, such as taking out travel insurance and doing some pre-trip research to ensure you are prepared if something does go wrong.”

Polo Ralph Lauren Celebrates the 125th Wimbledon Championships and presents new Ball Girl and Ball Boy Uniforms

Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) continues its global partnership with the All England Club as an Official Outfitter of The Wimbledon Championships through 2015, designing uniforms for all on-court officials including chair umpires, line umpires and ball persons. Polo Ralph Lauren is proud to present newly designed Ball Girl and Ball Boy uniforms in recognition of the 125th Anniversary of The Wimbledon Championships.

“Wimbledon is a premier sporting event and we are honored to be a part of such a long-standing tradition in the history of tennis,” said David Lauren, Executive Vice President of Advertising, Marketing and Corporate Communications.

In 2006, Polo Ralph Lauren became the first designer in Wimbledon’s history to create official uniforms for the tournament. Inspired by the elegance and sophisticated heritage of English tennis, this year’s commemorative polo shirts are designed with an embroidered “125th" logo, an anniversary crest and purple-and-green cross-body stripe, reflecting the traditional colors of The Championships. In addition to the logo and crest, the sporting white shirts showcase an embroidered Union Jack flag motif.

“We are delighted that Polo Ralph Lauren is celebrating our 125th Anniversary with a newly designed ball boy and ball girl shirt” says Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive, All England Club, Wimbledon. “There is such affinity between the two iconic brands – the pursuit of excellence, the rich history and timeless elegance – and we look forward to maintaining and enhancing our partnership in 2011 and beyond.”

The Polo Ralph Lauren Wimbledon collection is available at select Ralph Lauren stores and online at

This partnership reinforces Polo Ralph Lauren’s leadership in major sporting initiatives. The company also serves as the Official Apparel Sponsor of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and will be the Outfitter for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Polo Ralph Lauren also sponsors an elite roster of professional golfers, as well as the Black Watch Polo Team.

A representative from the All England Club states:

The Wimbledon Championships (June 20th–July 3rd) are attended by an average of 450,000 visitors. The Championships draw viewers from an estimated 562 million homes across 183 countries worldwide while watching an average of 7,043 hours of television coverage throughout the tournament. For more information on The Championships, log on to

Firearm discovered in a Jewellery Quarter flat

Following a dawn raid a firearm has been recovered from an address in the Jewellery Quarter.

Officers entered the apartment on Northwood Street at dawn this morning and a revolver, along with ammunition were thrown from the third floor window down onto the street below.

Northwood Street was sealed-off for approximately one hour to allow firearms officers to make the weapon safe enabling the forensic team to carry out a full examination. Sergeant Littler, from the Pan-Birmingham Gang team, said: “This was a pre-planned intelligence led operation designed to take criminals off Birmingham’s streets.”

The 25-year old occupant was arrested at the scene immediately and remains in police custody. The revolver has now been transferred to the laboratories of the National Ballistics Services for an in depth forensic examination.

No narcotics were found in the apartment. The raid follows days of undercover operations where five guns, cash, drugs and ammunition were seized by the police acting on tip offs from informants and their own privately collected intelligence.