The (publishing) year of the woman

Fewer women win the Man Booker Prize than men. Books about women are less likely to win prizes than books about men. And in 2015, Kamila Shamsie published a piece in The Guardian proposing that throughout 2018 all new titles be written by women. And Other Stories was the only publishing house in the UK to take up the challenge. We've been talking to their fiction editor, Tara Tobler (pictured), in advance of her appearance at Birmingham Literature Festival.

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Martinis and More

It’s only fitting that Dirty Martini teamed up with B’ham's own Langley’s gin for a collection of Peaky Blinders-inspired cocktails, designed espesh for their new Bennetts Hill spot. Here are some key ingredients for two of the Old Tom Gin lovelies. Rather than DIYing a drink, they're open from April 21.

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Notes on... Ugly Delicious

Dream dinner party guest, David Chang, travels the world as he visits food hotspots to dissect comfort goodies like fried chicken, tacos and pizza. It might not always be pretty, but blimmin' hell it's tasty. Be warned: never watch this show on an empty stomach.

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The Emporio's New Clothes

Winter is dead to us. Seriously, we’re done. Embrace spring by deep diving into the season’s loveliest and most colourful garms from the completely new range at Emporio Armani in Mailbox. Here's looking at you, multi-colour sweaters, that trainer trend and playful power dressing. Transitional clothes have never been so fun.

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Instagram Words

Instagram isn’t just a place for sharing pics of cats and latte art, although we’re definitely guilty of both of those things. It’s also a place for artists and poets to share their work, with or without an agent or publishing deal.

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Notes on... The Wheatsheaf Inn

This Country is a BBC Three comedy mockumentary about rural living. We devoured the first series and now we’re patiently waiting each week for a new episode on iplayer. So irritation was our immediate response when we realised we’d stayed in the village that series is set in, only after we’d returned home. We were staying at the Wheatsheaf Inn, in the village of Northleach, where there is no visible trace of Kerry and her friends.

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Notes on... What the health

Honey is not vegan. And for a cow to produce milk, it needs to be lactating (so have recently given birth). When you think about it, these are two pretty obvious facts, but until we watched What the Health — between you and us — they were not facts we'd grasped.

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Pink

We’ve never really been fans of pink. Too sickly, too girly-girl, we’re normally fans of a more monochrome palette. But something has happened. Whether it’s bathroom tiles, or a pale blush, we’re suddenly digging pink in a big way. We’re easing ourselves (and our bemused friends) into our pink appreciation by wearing dusky, nude tones.

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In

E-manners cost nothing

Editor Laurie Prescott's got something to say, and she may or may not choose to apologise while saying it...

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Affordable interior upgrades

The average cost of repainting a two bedroom house is £2,000. That’s for the painting alone. Holy smokes. What to do if chez vous is looking a bit tired, but you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash? We got you. And we've got quick fixes to inject life into any interior and they don't require any serious commitment (or money), whether you're renting or home-owning.

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In

Bedtime

Why are we always so tired? It’s probably something to do with our caffeine intake and scrolling through Instagram until 2am. We can’t guarantee a good eight hours but hopefully these things will help you achieve some sweet slumber.

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In

Notes on... Lewis's

We need some more girls in here / Couple a Chantelles and Chanelles in here / So pass me the bitter let me get heavy on / Buff ting gally rude boy sling it on / There's too many man, too many many man /

Not exactly the most Bell & Smokey of lyrics, but when you're ordering two Menemen for brunch, trust us, it's hard to get the lyrics of Two Many Man by English grime collective, Boy Better Know, out of your head. So hard in fact that we found ourselves rap battling the lyrics with a neighbouring table the moment the waitress was gone.

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AirbnB-town

You're right, B'ham's full of incred lofts and spaces to rest your head. And while breaking and entering is still a big no-no, having a good look through the medium of Airbnb is totally allowed. Here are our pick of Brum's most enviable spots to secure, whether you're staycationing or looking for somewhere to put the rellies you could really do with not having in your one-bed.

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Shiny and new: Opening soon

There are so many new openings in B’ham right now that we’re proper struggling to keep up. What a wonderful time to be alive. Here are the absolute most excitingest.

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Notes on... Crystal Clear at Flint+Flint

Lord knows we’re big into relaxy, natural, new age spa treatments. But we’re also recent converts to Flint+Flint’s ‘anti-spa’ concept — dark salons with neon lights and fancy skincare science that actually works. 

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Ones to watch

Thursday is International Women’s Day. Rather than sit around and count how many people say “hey, but men don’t get a day” (they do, it’s Nov 19 this year), we spoke to some rising stars of the region, already doing brillo things. Be inspired, be proud of your city, and be optimistic for the future. 

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Money Management Tech

We’re not claiming to be financial masterminds. In fact, we probably have a very real spending problem. But there is some clever wizardry out there to help manage your money, stay on budget or save for that totally unnecessary purchase (just us?).

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Blazer Squad

Since Friends has been back on Netflix, we’ve been binge-watching to an unhealthy extent. Although some of the storylines and jokes haven’t aged particularly well, the perfect 90s looks have. Oversized jackets, mom jeans and dungarees are in no short supply. But blazers are our real item of the moment. Here are some of our faves, whatever the bank balance sitch.

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In

Girl Code

Go to Girl Code for the networking, stay for the honest and inspiring talks on being a woman working in the digital industry. The evening is hosted by Apex eCommerce and tickets are over here.

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