The top articles currently trending on Love Shrewsbury.

  • Pet Rescue Day at the Quarry, Shrewsbury - Sunday 22nd April
    16 Apr 2018

    UK German Shepherd Rescue will be at the Pet Rescue Day being organised by Grinshill Animal Rescue on Sunday 22nd April 2018 at the Quarry in Shrewsbury. The show opens at 11.00 a.m. and will run until 4 p.m.  There is lots going on, several other Animal Charity stalls and dog related trade stalls,  along with a fun dog show starting at 12 noon. Come along and visit our stall and find out what we do and meet some of our rescue german shepherds who will be there, along with our friendly volunteers.  Weather forecast is looking good!

    Lorraine Duncan
  • Mazda CX-3 GT
    22 Apr 2018

      Another week, another SUV. Honestly, that’s how it’s beginning to feel. Crossovers, soft-roaders, Sports Utility Vehicles, call then what you will, they’re the current automotive equivalent of the proverbial hot cake; they’re selling like them too. However, they don’t always prove that tasty to drive. They’re practical, yes, and undoubtedly so in some cases, but exciting? Not really. Well, not all of them that is…

        Let us be thankful then for the Mazda CX-3 GT Sport

    Designed, say Mazda to set a new dynamic benchmark, the CX-3 GT Sport has been conceived under their “Jinba Ittai” (that’s driver-and–car-as-one to you and me) ethos that defines all recent Mazda products. And, in a world, or a High Street at least, where virtually every car seems to share the same somewhat boxy and upright lines as the next one, complete with its front and rear skirts, chrome accents, 18 inch alloys and all-important boot spoiler, the CX-3 GT Sport does indeed cut a refreshing, stylish, and well-creased dash.

      Based on the same underpinnings as Mazda’s similarly swoopy-styled 2 hatchback, but nevertheless longer, wider and needless to say taller, the CX-3 is up against some pretty stiff competition: namely the likes of Vauxhall’s Mokka, Suzuki’s Vitara, Nissan’s Juke the Renault Captur, Skoda’s Karoq, SEAT’s Arona, Volvo’s V40, VW’s T-Roc… As I said, everyone’s at it.

       In such myriad choice perhaps it’s easy to see why Mazda have added a limited edition and range-topping GT Sport version to the CX3’s 13 variant line-up which already incorporates SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav. Variety after all is clearly the spice of life. Just 500 CX-3 GT Sports will be built in a bid perhaps to not only offer a something a little different but also perhaps little more desirability – or a perhaps it’s just a break from the norm.

       Available only in two wheel drive - all-wheel drive is exclusively for Sport Nav trim CX-3s, think not of the GT as the go-anywhere CX-3, but rather, as the more entertaining one.

        Power comes from Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0 litre petrol engine providing 118 bhp and the promise of both the capability of 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds, and 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle, which surprisingly we actually got pretty close to – it’s not often you can say that. You do have to work this engine a little, and those used to turbo-chargers may miss the extra torque they provide, but when coupled to Mazda’s beautifully tactile 6-speed manual gearbox (an auto is available too) there’s no great hard-ship in doing so.  

         I’ll readily admit that I was a little apprehensive of just what kind of ride quality the CX-3 GT Sport was going to offer. Fashionably sized 18” alloys filling flared wheel-arches whilst wearing just smear of low-profile rubber rarely make for cosseting progress. Nevertheless, although taut, even on Shropshire’s worst surfaced of B-roads, the comfort levels raised little worry from driver or passengers.

        Of more concern perhaps is the amount of space available. Up-front The CX-3 offers similar accommodation to a family hatchback – and the nappa leather seats are a nice touch too - but its coupe-esque rear styling means that taller rear-seat passengers will find themselves brush the headlining. Three adults on the rear bench may also prove a squeeze too far. At 350 litres the boot-space is not exactly what you’d call cavernous either (and in some cases there’s a subwoofer where the spare wheel should be). Still, at least the rear seats fold flat when required. Overall then, practicality is not the CX-3 GT Sport’s forte.


       Like many a Mazda before it the CX-3 GT Sport’s trump card lies in the way it drives. The steering is light, direct, and accurate, and the gearbox, well that’s just lovely. There’s plenty of grip, little body roll, and for a crossover it all feels surprising nimble. Standard equipment levels are also generous: all CX-3’s get six airbags, stability control, and tyre pressure sensors whilst the GT Sport spec adds a head-up display, reversing camera, BOSE sound system, and even LED headlamps to the haul.  Everything you touch too feels nicely screwed together and built to last. 

        And the price?  At £22,895 upwards, for its size, the CX-3 GT Sport isn’t cheap. Buy the Sport Nav CX-3 instead if you really don’t need the GT Sport’s extra goodies and its questionable limited edition rarity/desirability. Do so and you’ll save £2000 in the process.

          But, in Mazda’s defence few other manufacturers do crossovers with the CX3’s style. Fewer still make them this nice to drive.



    Mazda CX-3 2.0 SKYACTIV-G 120PS GT Sport

    Engine: 1,998cc, 4Cyl, 16V Petrol

    Transmission: 6 speed manual.  Front Wheel Drive

    Power: 118.4 bhp @ 6,000rpm

    Torque: 150.5 lbft @ 2,800 rpm

    0-62mph: 9.0 sec

    Max Speed: 119 mph

    MPG: 47.9 combined.

    CO2: 137g/km

    Price: from £22,895


    Many thanks to Martine at Mazda’s UK press office for the loan of the CX-3 GT


    Liam Bird
  • Fantastic Local Dog Walk From Our Friend Boomerang
    17 Jul 2012


    1 1/4 miles – less than an hour

    This is a lovely walk with no traffic worries for dogs and children as you walk around the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury 1403.

    The battle was one of the bloodiest conflicts ever to take place on British soil and as many as 5000 men are thought to have died. Along the walk are interesting information points which tell you why, when and who was involved.

    With a small detour towards the end of the route you can find out more at the free visitor centre at Battlefield 1403. The added bonus is that you can browse around the farm shop, butchery and tea room. Dogs are restricted to outside areas but are given a warm welcome and there are plenty of water bowls.

    Whilst there you can visit Tilly the English Pointer at the Battlefield Falconry centre.

    1.Park at the Battlefield Heritage site (note there are vehicle height restrictions) PostcodeSY4 3DB. Walk a short distance to a wooden gate and when you pass through take a left. From here you can walk your dogs (and kids!) off a lead if you choose.

    2. Follow the path as you walk around the Battlefield, through gates under the pylons. By the large oak tree there is information regarding the Battle.

    3. Keep following the path until you arrive at a little gate. Keep left and follow your nose through some woodland. Walk through a second gate to arrive at a field.

    4. You will arrive at the beautiful, yet redundant, St Mary Magdalenes church which was built in 1406 as a memorial to those who lost their lives. It is from here that you can detour to the Battlefield 1403 visitor centre by crossing the churchyard and field.

    5. Alternatively, keep following the path until you arrive at a bridge and taking the left hand gate walk into a field which is perfect for a spot of ball throwing! Walk through the gate on the opposite side and take a left to arrive back at your start point.

    Boomerang the dog, also known as J K Growling, and his owner Karen Lloyd write a series of dog-friendly walk books including a book for Shrewsbury and surrounding areas.

  • How to Design a Kids' Room that They Will Love
    02 Aug 2017

    When you first bring home your new bundle of joy, chances are you've already created a beautiful nursery for them to call their own. And while this room is perfect for them at this stage, there comes a point when your little one is ready for the next step in bedroom décor. If you’re well past due on creating that big kids room, and you’re looking for some design inspiration, you’ll appreciate these tips on how to create a kids’ room they will love.

    Choose the Right Theme

    One of the ways you can go about designing that perfect space for your child is to pick a theme, but remember it has to be the right theme. It’s best to think about the child’s interests, hobbies, and their personality.

    Perhaps your child is a big sports fan. If that’s the case, then it’s a natural and fun theme to go with. You can deck the room out in sports memorabilia from sites such as Nike NFL UK. You can even get creative and do things such as shadow boxes for jerseys and gloves, frames for trading cards and posters, and even stands for things such as a prized football.

    Choosing the right theme will make all the difference in the world and will help to personalize the space.

    Don't Hold Back on the Bedding

    Where you may be inclined to choose bedding that is more neutral and subdued for your own room, for a kid’s room it's go big or go home. The bedding is the perfect spot to go bold with colors, textures, and patterns. Don’t be afraid to mix and match and really get creative with the look. You can always pick a more neutral paint color if you don’t want the room looking too busy.

    Give Them Multi-Functional Storage

    Of course, from a practical standpoint, storage is an absolute must in any child’s room. With that said, there’s no reason it can’t be multi-functional. You can find beds with storage drawers, bench seating with storage under it, closet organizers that are great for clothing and toys, and convert a typical bookshelf into one that houses storage bins of different sizes and colors.

    Frame Their Art

    Instead of spending a fortune on framed pictures, why not take your child's own creations and frame them? Not only is this inexpensive, but your child will feel so proud seeing their own art framed on the wall. Once you choose a theme for the room, they can go ahead and create pictures that will work with the theme.

    Encourage Them to Be Involved

    The last tip is to encourage children to be involved in the process. This includes everything from picking the theme, to choosing the paint color, the bedding, and any accent pieces. Giving them the chance to share their own input will help ensure they are happy with the final design. Chances are high that the end result will be a room they feel comfortable and happy in, and can’t wait to spend their time in.

    Pete White
  • New statistics show that Shropshire house prices have grown, but not at the same rate as the national average
    28 Sep 2017

    New statistics for property prices in 2017, show that the house prices in Shropshire have grown. However, they also reveal that Shropshire still falls behind the national average. Whilst there is something to celebrate in the rising house prices, there is still a lot of room for improvement. This is something that Shropshire property owners should bear in mind if they are looking to sell their home. If you find yourself in this position, you will need to read on. Below are three ways for you to increase the value of your property.

    Embrace the world of DIY

    If you are looking to save money when you are preparing to sell your property, you should embrace the world of DIY. Why not invest in a basic tool kit? This is a great way to get started and to be prepared for all of the tasks ahead. You could look online for simple YouTube tutorials that will help you to do anything from putting up a shelf to tiling your bathroom. If you are not ready to dive in at the deep end, you could always focus on the cosmetic aspects of your property. Anyone is capable of doing a spot of painting or giving their home a deep clean. If you are struggling to know where to start, you should write a clear list of everything that needs to get done. Then, decide what you can do yourself and what you will need a little help with.

    Be clever about your purchases

    A lot of potential buyers will be swayed by the interior design of your home. You may want to consider giving your property a little facelift. If you decide to do this, you will need to be clever about your purchases. Whatever you do, don’t break the bank. This will make it impossible for you to get a good return on your investment. Instead, look for generous reductions. For instance, you could visit Rug Zone to inject some colour and comfort into your home. The best thing about finding a great deal is that you are getting quality items at a reasonable price. Although it is great to invest in the aesthetic of your property, you don’t want to go overboard. Limit yourself to a few essential pieces. This will allow your potential buyers to imagine their own furniture in your home.

    Have a clear financial plan

    If you are concerned about your finances, you will need to have a clear financial plan for your renovations. Try to be as specific as possible. Don’t just set yourself a budget for each room. Instead, work out the finances for each individual purchase. This will prevent things from getting out of hand. You should also have an emergency fund for any nasty surprises. If you are investing in substantial building work, you may find that unexpected problems arise. Reduce your stress levels by thinking ahead.

    Pete White
  • Shropshire mum turns passion for natural wellness into unique candle-making business
    05 Apr 2018

    A Shropshire mum is joining the growing band of start-up businesses after launching a new candle making enterprise from her country home.

    Based at English Frankton, near Ellesmere, entrepreneur Paula Fox-Kirkham launched her wellness brand PFK in January this year.

    The mum of two has used her creative flair and passion for all things natural to develop a unique range of aromatherapy candles.

    Handmade in the PFK kitchen, each natural soy wax candle incorporates a carefully devised and measured blend of plant-based oils.

    The gentle aromas have been designed to help calm the mind and body

    Paula’s candle making venture was inspired two years ago by her mum who, at the time, had just been diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease called Myasthenia Gravis.

    The rare condition causes muscle weakness and for Paula’s mum, it also triggered many respiratory problems including pneumonia.  

    Desperate to try and help bring some form of natural relief to her mother’s symptoms, Paula began experimenting with organic essential oils.

    Eventually, she hit on a blend of oils including lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary which helped to ease, calm and relax the breathing problems and uplift her mother’s mood.

    “We began by diffusing the oils and both myself and mum were surprised by the impact they had on her overall well being,” explained Paula.

    “The unique blend seem to instantly calm and relax her and bring much needed respiratory relief. Mum started using the oils on a daily basis and in the meantime, I had the idea of incorporating the oil blend into a candle.

    “The thinking behind it was that mum could use the candlelight to help her meditate to bring added relaxation but at the same time, she would still be benefitting from the scent of the oils.

    “I set about experimenting again and finally came up with something that worked and that’s how the business started really.”

    The candles proved an instant hit with family and friends and the success has spurred Paula to take the venture to the next level.

    After spending time fine-tuning the oil blends, Paula, a yoga instructor, has now developed a range of four aromatherapy candles each with different wellbeing benefits from relaxing to invigorating.

    And, with a rapidly growing customer base for the handmade made range, the mum-of-two is determined to turn her kitchen table hobby into a successful business.

    She’s anticipating the micro-operation will expand and diversify quickly and as such has plans in the pipeline to move production to a purpose-built unit on site as sales grow.

    She is also already developing ideas for other wellness products under the PFK brand including bath and beauty items.

    She said: “We’ve just launched a new website to introduce the candle range to a wider market and I’m already considering taking on my first employee to help with production and meet growing demand.

    “Feedback has been extremely positive from all our customers so far and each of the four blends has been very well received.

    “I’m really excited to be on this magical journey and I’m looking forward to the challenges and successes which 2018 might bring.

    “We are working very hard behind the scenes pitching the candle range into retailers and developing ideas for other products and long-term it would be a dream come true to see PFK wellness products stocked in large department stores.”


  • Top Bloggers of 2012
    29 Dec 2012

    Following on from our articles on our most visited articles and editors best articles we have our top 10 bloggers for 2012.

    Bloggers are the heart and soul of Love Shrewsbury and their contributions over the past seven months has been vital to the community.

    1. Owen Lewis

    2. Liam Bird

    3. James Thompson

    4. Vicky

    5. Richard Hammerton

    6. Martin Wood

    7. Fight The Dice

    8. Habib

    9. ShrewsTrust

    10. Kerri Jones

    A big thanks to everyone who has contributed since our launch in June!

  • Prestfelde win through to football finals
    09 Oct 2014

    Shropshire’s Prestfelde School became the first qualifiers for a national football tournament when they defeated a range of rival teams in a regional competition.

    The team of under 11 boys from the Shrewsbury school won the Midlands Independent Schools Football Association seven-a-side tournament, hosted by Repton School in Derbyshire.

    “Prestfelde were well worthy of their victory, winning all five of their group matches against other preparatory schools from the Midlands,” said David Harvey, director of activities at Prestfelde.

    “In the semi-finals Foremarke School put up a magnificent performance to hold Prestfelde to a 1-1 draw but we went through 2-1 on penalties.

    “The final was a closely fought game but our team were probably the deserved winners over Terra Nova School by a narrow margin and the scoreline reflected this as they came through 2-1.

    “We were the first team to qualify for the national finals and are now all very excited about playing at the event at the National Football Centre at St. George’s Park in May 2015.”

    Pete White
  • 4 Reasons to Advertise Your Business with Custom Postcards
    15 Jun 2017

    When you check the mail and notice that there’s a business postcard present, you probably have to do a double take - that’s how seldom this form of advertising is being utilized anymore. And while you might be able to reach a large volume of customers by sending out emails, you won’t be getting that high of a click through rate. The fact is that consumers respond best to advertisements when they aren’t expecting them. This is why you still see billboards up along the highway and some companies still send out holiday cards during the winter. If you are going to make your own postcard for business purposes keep reading for four reasons why it’s a good idea.

    1. Making a Direct Connection

    With any form of advertising there is a correct and incorrect way of doing things. Send out personalized business postcards that are addressed to your clients directly and you will get a highly favorable response. On the other hand, if you just send out generic postcards that don’t have catchy text, you won’t get any increased sales at your place of business.

    2.  Doing More of What Works

    Send a postcard to your customers that enables them to get a discount on a product or service, and you will see many of them coming in the day after they receive them with the postcards physically in their hands. If you encourage your customers to consider postcards that come from your business as important, they will start to expect them. In other words, this is just a very effective form of advertising that has been around for over one hundred years.

    3. Keep Your Customer Contacts Up to Date

    So, how exactly is a business to know when it has valid contact information for an existing or prospective customer? Email is the most convenient method, but it is also not all that reliable. In fact, most people have several email accounts that they might not check regularly. You can also call consumers, but that will cause a lot of confusion in most cases if they aren’t expecting your call. Remember that people check the mail when they feel like it, so they’re rarely irritated when receiving a piece of mailing from a business that they are familiar with.

    4. It Actually Works

    You might be sending custom business postcards to clients to remind them of appointments or to offer them additional savings on their next purchase. Whatever the reason is, you can anticipate a higher response rate with customized mailers than with emails or a website alone. Consumers know that you have to go out of your way to design a business postcard, have an appropriate number printed up and then spend money to mail them out, and they also appreciate the personal touch.

    Regardless of the size of your business budget, postcard mailings are affordable. Even if you can only send out a few dozen at a time to satisfied customers, you can enjoy an immediate return on investment if you are methodical. So, stop sending out email after email and do something for your customers that will inspire real engagement.

    Pete White
  • Shropshire barns restored as luxury country homes in joint scheme
    07 Aug 2017

    Two Shropshire fifth generation family businesses joined together on an extensive restoration scheme, now nearing completion, transforming an ancient redundant barn complex in rural Shropshire into six outstanding country homes of character.

    Shrewsbury-based Morris Property has refurbished the barns at English Frankton near Ellesmere to form six family homes in an 18 month restoration project.

    The Tudor Griffiths Group, a family business which has owned the land for generations, called on Morris Property and its specialist Morris Joinery team to give the disused barns a new lease of life as they were no longer suited to modern farming techniques.

    Tudor Griffiths supplied all the building materials from its own network of builders’ merchants and concrete plants across Shropshire and also the bespoke kitchens and bathrooms and quality finishes throughout.

    The three and four-bedroom homes will be made available to rent in the Autumn so people can live in a beautiful setting without the significant outlay of buying a country house.

    James West of Morris Property said: “The client has close connections to the site and wanted a sympathetic restoration which really did it justice. We have used our skills and experience to deliver homes of great quality which meet high modern standards while still retaining the buildings’ character.

    “We have kept as much of the existing structure as possible and re-used bricks and slate to preserve the feel and authenticity of the setting. Our joinery team has handmade all the internal and external joinery with bespoke windows and doors for all six homes.

    “The solid oak staircases for example have been crafted to last for several lifetimes and will look as good in 100 years’ time as they do now.”

    Tudor Griffiths, Managing Director, said: “Frankton Barns has been in our family for generations and it’s a proud moment for us to finally have the work completed on the barns. The quality of the workmanship throughout is superb and really adds to the spectacular views of the Shropshire countryside which makes the properties so special.

    “The Tudor Griffiths Group has been in operation for five generations, as has the Morris family, and having the opportunity to work on such a prestigious project together has been wonderful. The project really has been a joint effort and thanks to the skilled craftsmen from both sides, we have a stunning barn complex which we are immensely proud of.”

    Morris Property is a leading construction and development company with a 100 year heritage of creating new-build, contemporary developments and sensitively converting, restoring and refurbishing landmark buildings. Its joinery team of craftsmen offers a full range of domestic and commercial services.

  • Shrewsbury’s original and most popular night club venue will re-open next week as Trade following a £100k re-fit
    21 Nov 2014

    Formally known as Tiffinys, The Fridge, Park Lane, Liberty's, Liquid & Diva and most recently, Onyx and Blu, which closed over a year ago, the venues at Raven Meadows Shrewsbury have been through many names changes but their function as the town’s most active nightclubs over the last 30 years has remained the same.

    The venues originally closed due to a planned re-development of the Riverside Shopping Mall, but due to re-analysis and delays with the project, a window for new social projects and shops to occupy the empty space has opened up. The re-opening of the nightspots is set to create more than 50 full and part time jobs and support at network of thousands of people.

    The venues have been named Trade and Niche, with Trade - the larger of the two venues featuring four rooms, opening Friday, November 28.

    Under new management, a Community Interest Company (CIC) has been established called The Shrewsbury Arts and Communities Collective. The CIC will focus on what has been popular in the past and combine the new image with new ideas and experiences, including a focus on social enterprises.

    Club Manager, Dene Edwards said: “What is set to be unique and exciting about Trade and Niche, is the social mission we have set out to achieve during the daytime. The project will offer up a space for community groups and musicians alike to meet, work and rehearse.

    “A wealth of groups are also collaborating in this project, including many charities and major events such as Shrewsbury Fields Forever Festival, which has brought a wealth of artists to the town including Tinie Tempah, The 1975, Zane Lowe, Maximo Park, The Charlatans, Faithless and the venue itself has hosted historic artists such as The Stone Roses.

    Trade is and inviting all over 18's to come and celebrate its opening with a bubbly reception on Friday. It will be open from 8.30pm for invited guests and to the public from 10pm with free entry before 11pm and normal opening on Saturday 29.

    Niche, the sister venue, will open up at later date yet to be announced and will provide a space for more 'genre free' musical events such as live bands and 'niche' music projects.

    Mr Edwards added: “We are really excited by this project. In the evening we are providing a re-invented vision of the traditional nightclubbing experience with a few new concepts put in for good measure.

    “But what is truly great about this project is that the nightclub in the evening will help fund social enterprises in the day, which should not only help nurture the local creative scene but also provide a space and opportunity for many outlets and community groups to collaborate in a networked environment.

    “We have already invited in local artist Tasha Dale to create some original artwork for Trade – which has of course undergone a total image overhaul, and many more projects such as this are planned.

    “A few surprises are planned for Trade’s official opening which will offer a broad musical palette catering for tastes across the board across the rooms.”

    For more information on working at Trade and Niche, collaborating as a promoter or community group or to guarantee your space at the grand opening of the nightclub on November 28, visit

    Pete White
  • Suzuki Swift Boosterjet
    29 Dec 2017

        The arrival of Suzuki’s new Swift complete with Boosterjet engine and in SZ5 spec I might add, here at Chez Bird also coincided with a Ferrari GTC4Lusso being here too. I know, go on… say it: how I suffer for my art. And it’s at this point that you’re probably thinking “I bet that Suzuki didn’t get much use then did it?”  Well, you’d be wrong.

        You see, both the Swift, and, err… the very swift indeed (get it?) will seat four. Both too have sat-nav, automatic air-con, traction control, Hill hold control, Tyre pressure monitoring systems, keyless entry, LED headlamps, a multifunction steering wheel, electronic stability control with adaptive cruise control, DAB, Bluetooth, folding rear seats, and rear privacy glass. Neither, it could be said, want for standard equipment. The Swift even gets Apple CarPlay - for free. In the Ferrari, believe it or not, that’s a £2,400 option.

       The Swift gets two extra doors for no extra cost too, so getting your Mum in and out is far easier than it is in a Ferrari. Trust me, I know these things. The Swift also does very nearly its claimed 65.7mpg; we regularly saw 58mpg displayed upon its dash. The Ferrari struggled to do 18 - and that’s when I drove it carefully.

       And then of then of course there’s the price. For their leather-lined grandest of grand-tourers Ferrari will relieve you of the princely sum of £231,310 – before options. Suzuki’s Swift, in this the range-topping spec costs £14,499. Or to put it another way just £3,000 more than the Italians charge for panoramic sunroof.

        You can park the Swift anywhere too. It doesn’t draw a crowd, you don’t worry that some jealous lunatic is going to drag a key down the side of it out of spite, and of course its excellent visibility and manoeuvrability means it’s a doddle to fit into even the tightest of spaces.  The boot is virtually the same size as the GTC4Lusso’s too, it’ll swallow the weekly shop with ease.

        Ah, but what about the performance?  I hear you cry. You can’t go as fast in the Swift.

       Well, no, you can’t. I’ll grant you that. But tell me: When was the last time you needed to carry four people at 208mph, or for that matter, get them from 0- 62mph in 3.4 seconds? 

        I’ll let you think about that for a moment while I tell you about the Swift’s clever Boosterjet function.

       The Boosterjet engine for the Swift has been developed with Suzuki’s ethos of reducing weight and size whilst simultaneously aiding response and smooth power delivery. The 1.0-litre 3 cylinder engine employs six-hole fuel injectors which inject petrol, at a pressure of 35 Bar, into the combustion chamber during the air intake stroke. It then forms a rich mixture around the spark plug and leaner mixture around the outer edge of the piston. This compact little triple also utilises a variable fuel pressure control system that optimises the amount of fuel injection according to driving conditions and is also Direct Injection turbocharged (DITC). As a result 125lbft of torque is available from 2,000rpm through to 3,500rpm.

       OK, that’s not exactly the stuff of supercars but in real-world driving, and when coupled to Suzuki’s sweet 5 speed gearbox (a 6 speed auto is an option) the Swift never feels sluggish.   

        That’ probably something to do with the SHVS system that was also fitted to the Swift Suzuki lent me. It’s a very mild form of petrol-electric hybrid that utilises an integrated starter generator to gently assist the engine during acceleration and also improve start-stop performance. It’s bit like a KERS system as used in Formula 1.

        It does comes with a 6.2kg weight penalty (Suzuki are very keen to point out this new, curvier Swift is actually lighter than the model it replaces) as a result of the additional a 12V lithium-ion battery mounted under the driver’s seat, but its handy extra 37lbft of electric motor-supplied torque helps to reduce CO2 emissions by 7g/km which also means the Swift now sits, just, in the sub-100g/km category.

       The system is recharged during braking, and I had great fun, out here in the Shropshire Hills, watching the bars of dashboard battery graphic disappear and then reappear again whilst simultaneously tackling a few of my favourite undulating roads.

        What I wasn’t quite so enamored with however was the Swift’s interior finish There’s a lot of hard, black and scratchy plastics on display that do little to lift your perception of its quality, or indeed to suppress road noise. But at least the driving positon and ergonomics have been well worked out, and the seats remain comfy even after a couple of hours behind the Swift’s new flat-bottomed steering wheel.

         After a week in its company I was genuinely sorry to see the Swift go. As it turned out, and somewhat surprisingly maybe, I’d done more miles in it than I had in the Ferrari.

        Driving an Italian exotic is all well and good – an experience never to be forgotten – but the truth of the pudding as they say is in the eating.

        For day-to-day driving I genuinely preferred the Swift.



    Suzuki Swift 1.0 SZ5 SHVS Boosterjet

    Engine: 998cc 3Cyl 12V Petrol

    Power:  110 bhp @ 5,500 rpm

    Torque: 125 lbft @ 2,000 – 3,500 rpm

    Transmission:   5 speed manual.

    Performance: 0-62 mph 10.6 sec

    Max Speed: 121 mph

    MPG: 65.7 Combined.

    CO2: 99 g/km

    Price:  From £14,499 (as driven £14,984)



    Many Thanks to Jess, Alun, and Adrian at Suzuki’s UK press department for the loan of the Swift

    Liam Bird
  • Shropshire spa opens its doors after £40,000 refurbishment
    03 Apr 2013


    A wellness centre in the heart of Shrewsbury is to open its doors today (April 2) after a £40,000 revamp.

    A new spa suite featuring the town’s first ever Arabian Rasul has been fitted at Serenity, near the town’s historic castle, as well as the county’s first ever Salt Cave - a reproduction of a natural salt cave aimed at improving respiratory problems.

    Laura Butler, of Serenity, said the investment has provided Shrewsbury with luxury spa facilities people would usually have to travel to find.

    She said: “We wanted to provide the people of Shrewsbury and its visitors with a luxury experience that was right on their doorsteps, and we wanted to provide them with something new and exciting that also gives health benefits.

    “Along with the introduction of the new spa facilities we have fitted a new reception area and will be looking to recruit new administration staff and new therapists.

    “We hope that the facilities will attract people from outside of the area as we are situated close to the train station, and once they are here they will see all of the wonderful things the town has to offer.”

    The Arabian Rasul is a traditional luxury cleansing ritual that involves replenishing the skin with the finest dead sea salt and muds before relaxing in a private Arabian Rasul Temple - a private twinkling steam chamber delicately infused with aromatherapy oils. The treatments are followed by warm showers and relaxation.

    The Salt Cave replicates a healing microclimate within a naturally occurring sale cave and is used as a drug-free treatment for congested airways, coughs, asthma and other respiratory problems.There are currently caves in London, Kent, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes and Bexley Heath.

    For more information or to book in to try out the new facilities contact Serenity on (01743) 235334 or visit

    Pete White
  • Shrewsbury Skincare Company Scoops National Award
    31 Oct 2016

    Shrewsbury skincare company scoops national award.


    The Blue Lemon soap and skincare company has won the Janey Lee Grace Platinum Award for best Natural Soap/Body Wash, beating a host of top competitors in the process.

    The awards recognise companies and products which take a more natural, ethical approach to skincare and the high profile judges on the panel who chose the Geranium & Lavender Body Wash as the winning entry included Carrie Grant, Jo Wood and Zoe Ball.

    For full details


    Jenny Muschner, who established the business with her husband, Jorg, said “I am so excited to win, especially as it’s one of our new products, developed and made here in Shrewsbury. We’re sure our customers will love it too.”

    The Blue Lemon has been making ethical, natural skincare with fairtraded ingredients for over 6 years. They moved to their Shrewsbury High Street premises last year, where they make, as well as sell, all their products. They also bring a customer service as important as the products they make.

    Jenny says “Now customers can find out exactly what’s in their skincare, how it’s made, where the ingredients come from – and meet the people who make it all too.”

    Their motto is “Good, Honest Skincare”, why not pop along to 48 High Street and find out why for yourself, or check them out at



  • Land next to a Shrewsbury recreation ground offering residential development opportunity is sold
    09 Nov 2017

    Land next to a recreation ground in Shrewsbury has been sold to a county development company.
    Towler Shaw Roberts has completed the sale of a site adjacent to Greenfields Recreation Ground, which extends to approximately 0.94 acres, to CSE Shropshire Ltd.
    Outline planning permission has been granted for eight three or four bedroom detached houses, each with garage and gardens, located just off Falstaff Street in an established residential area. 

    Offers in excess of £550,000 had been invited.

    Toby Shaw, who handled the sale for TSR, said: “There has been a lot of interest in the site and we are delighted to have agreed a sale to CSE Shropshire Ltd. 
    "They have some exciting plans in place for an attractive new development site on what used to be a tree nursery.
    “It’s a unique residential development opportunity near an already established residential area within walking distance of Shrewsbury town centre.”  

    Pictured: The area marked is the land which has been sold next to the Greenfields Recreation Ground in Shrewsbury.

  • Much Ado About Something, Just not Sure What it is.
    15 Aug 2012


    As part of the ongoing Shrewsbury summer season, tonight at the Shrewsbury High School we were treated to Heartbreak Productions incisive interpretation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

    Although billed as an outdoor production, due to the rain, the whole venue had thankfully moved into the school hall. This did have an effect on the dynamics of the event, as people were there with their wine and picnics and expecting an al fresco do. However, nobody seemed to mind and to be honest temperatures outside were much more of a November hue than a fiery summer’s night in August.

    Firstly, here is my take on the Shakespearean text - I struggle with the Bard some of the time and this is a play that for me proved difficult to follow. Struggling with the language, I missed a lot of subtleties that Shakespeare put in and some of the characters left me confused. That said, that was more down to my poor understanding and not of the production, which I believe to be absolutely stunning.

    Heartbreak Productions, working under the direction of Maddy Kerr, held us all with a beautifully directed and artistically beautiful performance. The vocals in the songs, yes songs, was wonderful, such tight and well rehearsed harmonies indicated that this troupe of actors are so comfortable together that it resounds through the whole performance. The singing was as inventive as the contextualisation of the piece.

    A modernised adaptation set on the last day of World War Two, a group of villagers come together to perform a Shakespearean play to commemorate the famous Churchill speech marking Germany’s total surrender to the allies in 1945. This provided a link to the text as it begins with Don Pedro’s victorious return from his battles in Messina. So throughout the text we had some wonderful renditions of the old war time classics. Chattanooga Choo Choo, In the Mood, Siegfried Line, they were all there and I couldn’t help but sing along as I sure did most other audience members.

    They earned ten out of ten for reaching their audience and holding them throughout the show.  They also score a ten out of ten for their performances. As admittedly I am not good with some of Shakespeare’s work but the company certainly catered for the likes of me and my ignorance of the text really didn’t prevent my enjoyment of a great show. As a lot of us know Shakespeare is a dab hand at using a thousand words where ten might do but the deliverance and diction of the players were such that the poetry, emotion, humour and tragedy were all there in spades for the whole audience to treasure.

    The revels scene had theatrical impact with a great vocalisation of the instrumental track, In the Mood. Although they added words the playing of imaginary trombones was genius. In fact I would comfortably say the whole of the production was genius and I would imagine Maddy Kerr’s career should be safely mapped out as a director of clarity and originality.

    We have had Shakespeare around for half a millenia. Some of the references and humour are not unrelated to life today and we think we are so much more sophisticated than any others that have trod this earth before us; Shakespeare proves we are not and appeals to our imagination, our suspense of disbelief and our participation. This company and this production stuck firm to those objectives and reached us all individually and collectively.

    The audience lapped it up and the very, very full school hall almost shook with the thunderous applause at the end. The applause demanded two curtain calls from the actors and everyone was left satisfied that this highly approachable company had provided just what it says in the programme, namely a great night out.

    Because of the fun, thought and sheer talent this company and the show gave us this is a five star production. The top mark of my grading system as regular readers may know is a five, it is worthy to note I have reviewed great theatre all over Shrewsbury and the UK and haven’t until now felt inclined to mark a show as a five star performance.

    Well done to all concerned, to the organisers and sponsors and actors - a great time was had by all.

    Owen Lewis


    Owen Lewis
  • Footlights Dance School is Growing
    17 Sep 2013

    Michelle Handley a Shrewsbury mother of two and owner of Footlights Dance School is delighted to announce that her dance school is growing and more classes are going to be offered as a result.
    The dance school is celebrating its first birthday this September and after just one year based at Mereside Community Centre in Shrewsbury it has experienced phenomenal growth.  The school has recruited a new Musical Theatre teacher, Leila Campbell, who studied at the famous Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts from the age of 11 and worked as a performer in London for many years. Credits include Oliver at the London Palladium and many theatre productions including Blood Brothers, Rent, Cabaret, Stepping Out and Hairspray.  Leila is looking forward to bringing her wealth of experience and passion about all things theatre to Footlights.

    The dance school also welcomes a new dance teacher.  Kay Hodgson, started dancing at the age of 4 and has qualification in teaching cheer dance and street dance.  She became a professional performer with Zippo’s Circus at the age of 7 and has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Sadlers Wells Theatre, Disneyland Paris and the Magic Kingdom in California.  Kay has a wealth of experience in teaching dance to young children and she cannot wait to meet all the Footlights pupils.

    In preparation for the new term at the School, Michelle, who is passionate about dance, attended the International Dance Teacher’s Conference at The Royal Ballet School in Convent Garden, London.  The four day course was held in August and covered topics such as Dynamics in Classical Ballet, Tips for Pointe Work, Jazz for Boys and Rhythm and Tap.  The lectures were delivered by some of the very best from the dance world; these included former Royal Ballet stars Wayne Sleep and Dame Monica Mason, Douglas Mills from Tap Dogs and Internationally renowned choreographer Matthew Bourne.   Michelle Handley stated that “The conference was an emotionally amazing experience and I learnt so much.  I am bursting at the seams with new ideas for dances to teach the pupils as well as new ways to encourage the most out of them.  I am already booked on next year’s conference as it was an honour to be taught by the best in the industry and I want to be the best dance teacher I can be.”

    Michelle’s passion and hard work as a dance teacher is certainly paying off.  Many of the dance school pupils took and passed exams in ballet, tap, freestyle and musical theatre in June.  The much sought after grade of distinction was awarded to 8 of the pupils from the school leading to many proud parents and one very proud dance teacher.

    Classes are proving so popular on a Wednesday at Mereside that many of them are fully booked.  So Michelle is going to start providing classes on a Monday evening from 4.30pm onwards.  “Due to the recruitment of new teachers I am finally in a position to be able to meet demand and I am thrilled.  My dream of being a dance teacher, which I have had since I was 5, is coming true and I couldn’t be happier!”

    To find out more about the classes offered you can visit the dance school’s Facebook page or call Michelle on 07946630963.

    Pete White
  • Special Art for a Special Wine
    11 Nov 2016
    Lyn Evans Designs & Paso-Primero

    Shrewsbury Collaboration: A Special Piece of Art for  a Special Wine.

    Shrewsbury Wine makers Paso-Primero have collaborated on the launch of their new wine, Paso-Prima, with renowned Shropshire artist, Lyn Evans, and the launch was celebrated on Thursday evening at the Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury. 

    Paso-Prima came about while Thomas and Emma were getting ready for the harvest in 2015 and had a moment of artistic intuition. ‘We were making our house red, Paso-Primero Tinto, when we noticed a parcel of grapes which stood out from the rest. After trying it in the vineyard we decided to try and make something a bit special’. And that’s exactly what they’ve done. At 100% Cabernet-Sauvignon, Paso-Prima is a bolder style wine than Paso-Primero Tinto with deep fig, blackcurrant and chocolate flavours on the pallet. It is exceptionally smooth for such a big wine and a perfect accompaniment to a cold winter’s day.

    Such a unique wine deserves an equally unique label which is why the couple turned to local artist Lyn Evans. ‘We wanted to work with an artist who shared our passion for the project and could create a piece of art for our label that was as special as the wine’. Lyn understood what they were trying to do immediately and in her unique style she has elevated Paso-Prima with a delightfully quirky label. Her design perfectly highlights the hands-on craft of winemaking and marks this wine out as a true one-off.  

    This limited edition wine is exclusively available from Tanners Wine Merchants where you can also find the other wines from Paso-Primero. More information on the Paso-Prima collaboration can be found at and .  

    Lyn’s exhibition finishes at the Bear Steps Art Gallery on Saturday 12th November and you will be able to see her originals on display at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre from Monday 21st November.

  • Alex Hitchcock Quintet
    19 Apr 2018

    Alex Hitchcock (tenor sax), James Copus (trumpet), Will Barry (piano), Joe Downard (bass), Jay Davis (drums)
    Alex Hitchcock, “a fantastic young talent” (Helen Mayhew, Jazz FM) leads some of the UK’s most distinctive new players.  Alex combines the technical mastery now taken for granted with an enquiring mind as player/composer and a warm way with an audience.  James Copus’ beautiful brassy sound projects an original conception and the rhythm team seems able to do it all. (Will Barry has just been named Musicians’ Company Young Jazz Musician of the Year). The music will range from classic jazz tunes to attractive originals and will be thrillingly played.

              Saturday, May 12 2018 8pm
    at the Hive Belmont Shrewsbury SY1 1TE
                Tickets £15 / £7 Under 22's
    Online 01743 234970
         Pengwern Books Fish Street SY1 1UR
                             01743 232236

  • Croquet in the rain
    07 Aug 2013

    This last weekend, rain had, at last, restored the croquet lawns to something like easy playing conditions; just in time for the 18 point Handicap tournament - croquet's equivalent of nine-hole golf but unique in that one of each of the pairs of opposing balls is moved up the course, as it were, without the inconvenience of having to run  the first 8 hoops to get there. Our picture shows the eventual winner, Julian Remfry, trotting towards hoop 6 to place a clip on top of the hoop, indicating that his turn had ended at that point.

    The ladies sheltering behind the monstrous brolly (Tournament Manager Barbara Edwards on the left) appear to be grinning with delight, so I presume that Julian's turn has ended in hilarious calamity. Nothing unusual about that; croquet lends itself to humiliating disaster and spectators are no different from football supporters in their enjoyment of a players discomfiture. 

    As the umbrella shows, much of the final match was played in the rain, for, unlike those feeble creatures who play tennis or cricket, croquet players do not leave the lawn in wet conditions until standing water prevents the balls from rolling. So wet gear forms an important part of a players equipment.  If you'd like to know more, phone Graham Colclough on 01939 233 196.

    Pete White
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