Bah humbug – Christmas shopping in Birmingham

 Birmingham Christmas Shopping

Whilst the kids were away at Christmas Scout Camp this weekend the husband decided to take me on a Christmas shopping expedition. We live close to Oxford, Reading and Swindon so that was my first thoughts but Tim thought differently and decided on a trip to Birmingham.

My preparation for our trip was shocking.  I decided that I should work out what I wanted, google to find the best price and then shop.  Needless to say this didn’t happen!

By the time we arrived in Birmingham on Saturday it was heaving.  We headed straight for the Bullring Shopping Centre.  The range of shops was astounding.  We struggled to get round them all in a day and a half.  Let alone the ones in the side streets and the ones on the surrounding shopping outlets.

I must say it has been a long time since I have been out to do Christmas shopping since my son was born in 2005 most of my shopping has always been done online.  I found out this was so much easier because at the time I was pregnant with Leo and he was due mid November so thought I had to get it done before his arrival as I couldn’t face packed shops with a newbie baby and a two and half year old toddler.    So, since then I have never really looked back.

The trip this weekend was certainly an eye opener.  There were queues for  toilets that snaked around the shopping centre.  There were queues to pay, queues to eat and there was even a queuing system to use the escalators!

I know that some people hate the whole Christmas season and I can sort of see why.  There were people pushing, shoving,  jumping queues and then one chap was paying at a till and another chap had paid for his items and just asked if he could pass by to get out and the man flipped, BIG TIME, swearing and shouting and the poor chap just wanted to move away from the tills as he had paid for his items.  Bizarre!  This Christmas shopping lark doesn’t seem to bring out the best in people to be fair.

I didn’t even find half the presents I was looking for so upon returning home tonight I shall be …… yep you guessed it….. internet shopping!

At least it was nice to get away and we stayed in a really nice Holiday Inn which was literally across the road from Star City Entertainment Village.  Our plan was to grab something to eat and catch a film at the cinema.  However, by the  time we had checked in and then eaten it was 10.30pm so I was ready for my bed, feet and head hurting.

I would love to go again but maybe not during a manic shopping period and this time find the other shopping malls as there are many more we didn’t get to.

Shopping tip:

I never go out without my shopping apps.  These include Quidco and Vouchercloud as starters both are downloaded as apps on my phone and I swear by them.  Quidco is also great for on line shopping as you earn cashback and that is always a bonus.

Links to my most used shopping apps:



PriceRunner – price comparison website

Happy Shopping

Coffee Machine Vs Games Console – The Great Debate

Coffee Machine Vs Games Console

Its Tim’s birthday and I was as usual stuck for what to get him.  I mean, what do you get for the bloke that has everything, or if he hasn’t got it generally he just goes out and buys it anyway? Every year I struggle with birthdays and Christmas its never a pleasure to buy for him.

He likes his cars as long as they are old and cranky and has been looking for yet another one.  Seems to chop his cars in more often than I get new shoes!  Sorry  but now I switch off as soon as I notice him surfing Autotrader or Ebay for cars.

He is also into his cycling.  For his 40th I bought him a very expensive bike and recently he has bought a new one. Last year I think I bought him bike stuff, pedals and the like but  he just pops to the cycling shop when he wants something.  I thought about  buying him a Camel bag – bladder bag?  (apparently its not for weeing in) its for water so he doesn’t get dehydrated. He has been talking about them for ages and told me he had one or had seen one he was going to get, so I didn’t even go down that route!

Clothes well, really that’s just a waste of time no matter what clothes I buy he will always find a reason to take it back, too big, too small, just not quite right so I have stopped wasting my time with clothes.

However, we were wandering around John Lewis a few weeks ago whilst the boys were at scout camp and he spotted a lady with a coffee machine, he listened to her sales patter, had a lovely cup of hot chocolate and debated about the differences in the machines on offer and we left.  As we wandered around the shops and he mentioned the coffee machine a few times in conversation and thought it might be a good idea if we got one I believe one of the phrases was ‘Wasn’t the hot chocolate really nice, it would be nice to have one’ and then the subject was dropped .

Well, I thought finally there was something I could get him and he would like and wouldn’t buy himself.


He thought that I had bought him a games console!  Really! Like we need another one in this house.  Then, he told me that after 23 years I should realise that a tool box would have been more preferable and that I had bought the said coffee machine for myself.  Well, I can’t deny I thought it would be nice but that was not my intention if it was I might have bought a red one to match my kitchen or a more expensive one that frothed milk.

How many tool boxes does one bloke need?

Anyway what can I say I failed in my present buying attempts yet again!

Christmas list:  Games Console, Tool Box and Bladder bag, Hettie Hoover!

Rant over!

50 days and counting until Father Christmas arrives!

I love Christmas and the counting has started.  A new tree  for our new house has been purchased and new decorations are slowly being acquired as I just can’t help myself each year something new gets added to the decorations box.

  I don’t like to include Christmas eve in the count as I think Christmas starts on Christmas Eve spending the day with hyped up kids and generally trying to make sure that all that needed to be done has been completed.

I usually try to book Christmas Eve off from work so that I can spend the day with the boys. I always want to take the boys to the Crib service but never usually  get there.  I think midnight mass it too late to be taking the boys to especially as they have been brainwashed into thinking Father Christmas will only come once they are in bed.  We also use Norad every year to track his journey so we know when we need to be in bed. – Norad count down to Christmas from 1st December its worth a look.

We have had the Christmas talk about the types of presents Father Christmas can bring and although he will not bring gaming systems i.e PlayStation’s and Xbox but he can bring games for them if you already have them.  I do not want another console in my house!

I am not at all sure what the boys are expecting lists are in preparation but I am positive that there will be one RED BMX on one of the lists!

Present buying has become more difficult as they have got older. Joe is now 11 and I am really going to struggle with him.   Last year was  Technic Lego which cost a fortune. Any suggestions?

Christmas just isn’t the same once you start getting more clothes than just your Christmas day outfit for presents is it?

My kids have just been far to spoilt over the years making it even harder. My problem is I remember as a child coming down Christmas morning to an armchair stacked and presents all over the floor piles of them and I want my boys to remember the same.  The only problem is that the things they want have got smaller and smaller, and the cost has got more expensive.

The boys have never been into Action Men and all that paraphernalia but have always been into their outdoor activities, bikes, scooters etc.

Time to start racking my brain and thinking what to do….. the clock is ticking maybe I will start easy ….. stockings!

 Christmas santa-claus wallpaper 03