Out Of Towners

Out Of Towners

Ever so occasionally I’m accused of being city centre centric. Hey, the clue's in the name. Boutiques in Birmingham regularly get shout outs ‘cuz I’m basically a self-appointed B'ham indie cheerleader. But I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs and there are gems to be found outside of B1 to B5, either a short drive away or a bit further afield. But all less than an hour from Grand Central. Pom-poms optional.

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DIY in the JQ

DIY in the JQ

Our sweet sweet home is the City of a Thousand Trades. One of those trades has got an entire blooming quarter named after it. So rather than just strolling past the windows and admiring the shiny sparkly things, why not get involved, learn some jewellery-making skills and inevitably become the next Cartier*? *I accept no responsibility for you not becoming the next Cartier.

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Notes On... Sky By The Water

Notes On... Sky By The Water

If someone blindfolded you, put you on a train at New Street, and removed the blindfold only after pushing you through the doors of Sky By The Water, you probably wouldn’t think you were at Resorts World, or even in Birmingham. You’d probably also be like  “Why did you blindfold me? That was kind of traumatic” but then “Wow this place is beautiful, can I live here now?”

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I trawled the sales (so you don't have to)

I trawled the sales (so you don't have to)

It’s sale season and it feels like every retailer everywhere is aggressively flogging their wares at you, whilst you’re at your Dry-Jan-vulnerablest. To save trawling through them all, only to realise there’s just a measly quid off the original price, here are some big savings from some of my fave High Street brands. All for less than the cost of a month's gym membership.

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Céline Gittens: From Four Years Old to Four Different Roles

Céline Gittens: From Four Years Old to Four Different Roles

It's an hour until curtain-up and I'm sitting next to a ballet dancer, a real life ballet dancer. Unbelievably graceful despite still being in jogging bottoms, Céline Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, is transforming herself into the Rose Fairy for the evening's performance of The Nutcracker. And the humble, strong, knowing 30-year-old is simultaneously talking to me about ballet, Birmingham and burgers...

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Notes On... Afternoon tea at Nocturnal Animals

Notes On... Afternoon tea at Nocturnal Animals

Decapitated Barbies and pig-shaped macarons with eighties bangers for your soundtrack isn't exactly what you might think of when someone invites you for a spot of afternoon tea. But when this is the invite and chef patron Alex Claridge is the one in charge, you're not in normal town anymore. You're in new kid on the neon block, Nocturnal Animals.

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Women, Power, Protest

Women, Power, Protest

As you walk into Gas Hall, a huge holographic wall stretches out to the left, brandished with the words Women, Power, Protest. We all know BMAG don’t shy away from sensitive subjects (oh hey Coming Out), neither do they do sensationalism. For this show, they've created a space that's accessible for everyone despite the pretty intense subject matter. But joyously, the overtly glittery, pink, "feminine" aesthetics continue throughout.

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The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

I was 16 when The Lovely Bones was published, just two years older than the main character, Susie Salmon, who has been murdered and is now trapped in some kind of in-between. The heavy subject matter made waves through my school year, and in particular me and my angsty group of pals, but the story doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to translate to stage. We talked to designer Ana Inés Jabares-Pita about the challenges of creating a set showing both the everyday and the afterlife.

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