Up close with Reality TV star and the host of Birmingham’s first Food and Drink Awards Alison Hammond.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Alison Hammond and I’m a roving reporter for ITV’s This Morning and a mum to 11-year-old Aidan. Although some people probably still remember me best for a stint on the third series of Big Brother back in 2002 and more recently my turn on the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. I’m also a bit of a veteran panto star. I was a fairy in Jack And The Beanstalk last year. I absolutely love the atmosphere and the fun you get with the audience at pantos.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I usually get the train from Hall Green station. It’s quick and easy – just 12 minutes and I’m by the Bullring.
Whenever I can I always head off to Joe & The Juice juice bar in New Street station or the one in Touchwood, Solihull. Love it there.
I always try and squeeze a lot into my lunchtimes. I’m a regular visitor to Debenhams, shopping for bits of make-up. I also have my eyebrows done in Marco Benito Brow bar in Piccadilly Arcade. Then, if I’ve still got some time after all that, I go to eat in Chi Kitchen. It’s wicked in there – I love the drama of some of their dishes, like their ‘sushi on a plate’.
That all changed a bit after my time on Strictly Come Dancing. I fell in love with dancing from that point on, and I try to keep it up with Zumba at Fox Hollies Leisure Centre.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I love the mac arts centre opposite the cricket ground. I grew up around there. I used to go to the Central Television Drama workshop. It reminds me of my childhood, the parks, the ducks and strolling around the lake. If I’m thinking about where Aidan might like to go for a treat it’s Star City. He loves to play on their mini golf course, then the climbing wall and after go to the cinema.
I like to go to Loki Wines in Great Western Arcade. It’s a really clever idea with all the wine on display in dispensers. You can have a cheeky little taster of whatever you fancy for just a few pounds. My favourite place for a special dinner is the Lychee Garden on Hagley Road – love it there!
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
I just love the city just the way it is. It has totally transformed from when I was a child. John Lewis and all the amazing shops in Grand Central – it’s incredible. I love Brindleyplace too. Mind you, we do need more fashion stores catering for the more fuller figure lady. Maybe that should be my next business! Brummies treat me like family as they are used to seeing me around. I truly love Birmingham and that’s why I commute to work in London because I don’t see myself living anywhere else.