Christmas Silliness at the German Market

The German Christmas Market arrived back in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Over the years it has become a source of debate among the locals (of which, after nearly 20 years of living in the city I now consider myself to be a part of). Like Marmite it is both loved and loathed in equal measure, with the call for the now duplicated stalls to be replaced by some of the many incredible independents that the city has.

I’ve never been one to stand around in the crowd to drink Gluwein, but I do try and visit at least once a year. I like the atmosphere, the lights and – of course – a rather massive German sausage followed by chocolate and banana crepe and some of those yummy mallow chocolate-covered things. And poffertjies. And large slabs of garlic bread that creates breath so potent that it could kill a vampire at one hundred metres. Continue reading

Review: How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the Alexandra Theatre

You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch!

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the press review of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

The musical adaptation of the popular Dr Seuss book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical tells the story of the miserable Grinch who lives on the top of Mount Crumpit with his downtrodden dog, Max. With a heart ‘two sizes too small,’ he sets out to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville, home of the cheery and warm-hearted Whos. Narrated primarily in verse by Steve Fortune’s ‘Old Max’ throughout, Birmingham audiences were also treated to a one-off special guest appearance from George Hancorn who opened the performance. Continue reading

A Weekend in London Part 2

Tutankhamun Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery (3)

It was my birthday last week and my sister, her boyfriend and The Bloke took me to London for the weekend to celebrate. On the first day The Bloke and I explored Westminster Abbey and the Great Hall at the Natural History Museum, followed by a Wagamama.

The focus of the trip was the Tutankhamun Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery – 150 artefacts from the tomb of Egypt’s most famous King are on display there until May as part of the final World Tour – which could potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them. Our tickets were booked for 10.00am, and so we joined the queue in the rain a few minutes before.

I’ve always been interested in Egyptian ancient history and culture, so this collection of items was a real privilege to be able to see in person, 100 years after their discovery by Howard Carter. Continue reading

The Snow Queen at The Old Rep, Birmingham

The Snow Queen at The Old Rep, Birmingham

Looking for a fairytale that the whole family can enjoy this Christmas?

This new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical adventure follows inseparable friends Kai and Gerda. When Gerda awakes on her sister Karen’s 13th birthday, she discovers that Karen has become mean and cold-spirited – a spell that The Snow Queen puts on all children when they reach the age of thirteen to ensure that everyone is as hateful as she is. After the heartless Snow Queen steals Kai to help rebuild her broken treasure, can Gerda rescue him in time before she plunges the world into an eternal winter? With the help of an unlikely band of companions, Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend.
Continue reading

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Live Happy

I always love it when I see my blog friends doing fantastic things.

Cher – creator of The Chicago Files (and an all-round decent human being) has fulfilled a dream this year to publish some of her work, and I was delighted to see that she has been included in the latest release of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Live Happy.

With 101 stories that inspire positive thinking, there’s something for everyone who are looking to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Her story, which can be found on Page 191, is titled ‘When the Blind Taught Me to See’ was inspired by her volunteering time at Blind Service Association where she lives in Chicago. Continue reading

Lego Destruction, An Exploding Camembert and a Christmas Dinner Record

I’m serving some ‘food barrel realness’ after consuming more than my entire bodyweight in Toblerone, cheese, crisps, dip, honey roasted peanuts and potatoes over the last few days. I always find it incredulous how quickly the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day period actually goes, especially with the hype and the level of preparation that goes into the weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to it, and yet it is already over for another year, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Our Christmas was spent at home with the cat. I had planned our eating and viewing schedule and got most of the food ready in advance, and for the most part, it all went very well.  Continue reading

Happy Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day is nearly upon us and I’ve just about reached the point where I think that everything is now done. It’s completely different to this time a year ago – I was so excited about our first Christmas together as husband and wife that I had planned and organised the whole thing weeks in advance – whereas this year we managed to get the cards sent out and the food bought just a few days ago. Perhaps it’s my mindset – I hadn’t been feeling the Christmassy vibe over December so most things were left until the last minute. Thankfully, when the cupboards had been stocked, the cards and presents sent and I had turned on the fairy lights, lit the candles and curled up on the couch with The Bloke it (thankfully) started to feel a little more festive.  Continue reading

The Letter From Santa: Sonia Boal

Looking for a new story to read with the kids? I always love a good Christmas story, and this year Sonia from Losing the Plot has an exciting new children’s book out, ready for the festive season:

The Letter From Santa

Santa is in his workshop at the North Pole, when suddenly he discovers a leak. 

In a land of ice and snow, this seem a bit odd. 

He and his chief Elf and Safety Rep (Jingles) go “up top” to investigate. 

But when they get onto the roof they discover something shocking that could spell the end of Christmas for everyone. Continue reading

Santa’s Been on the Wine…

The Christmas Market has returned to Birmingham and The Bloke and I visited some of it when we were shopping for my outfit for the Birmingham Awards event this Saturday. It’s still too early for Christmas in my opinion, but I must admit that I particularly liked this Santa, looking like he had already been on the mulled wine already and was currently enjoying a little buzz from the booze! He’ll be a mess by the time the big day actually arrives…

Christmas in November? No!

I love everything about Christmas. I love decorating the tree and displaying the cards. I love the carols and the annual Christmas songs that are blasted out in every store. I love the Christmas market that appears in Birmingham every year (even though many Brummies I know think of it in the same way as New Yorkers view Times Square). I love wrapping the presents, drinks with friends, planning the dinner on the day and stocking up on Boxing Day treats. I love Christmas movies and over the years The Bloke and I have developed our own little traditions of when we watch them. In particular, I love the general festive cheer that the community adopts, making more of an effort to be kind to each other. Continue reading