Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market

Tuesday, 20 November 2012
For the past eleven years, Birmingham has celebrated the Christmas season by putting on the Frankfurt Christmas Market.  It has become the biggest outside market in England, and is in fact the largest authentic German market outside of Germany.

Did you know?: The market is named the Frankfurt Christmas Market to celebrate Birmingham's partnership with Frankfurt, Germany, they have been twin cities for more than 40 years.

Being a huge lover of Christmas, naturally Birmingham's Christmas Market has been on my to do list since I arrived in England and I was finally able tick it off! This past weekend joined by our friends, Sam and Marta, we made our way to Birmingham's City Centre to kick off the Christmas season! If you are thinking of attending the Frankfurt Christmas Market or just want to know more about it, here are the five top things I learned:

Start your experience with a Weiss (wheat) beer! The Germans know how to make good quality beer and the Christmas market is filled with stalls offering just that. You'll pay around £4 a pint, plus a £3 deposit on the tankard which you can either get back at the end or keep the glass. Some stalls do offer the option to have your beer in plastic cups but I'd recommend going for the proper experience!

Attend the Frankfurt Christmas Market on an empty stomach. Trust me when I say you will not go hungry at the market, never have I seen so many food stalls in my life. Start out with a Bratwurst or Frankfurter which you can top with all your favourite condiments served from what can only be likened to cow's udders. These are not your average size sausages, one stall was selling the sausage by the half-metre!

If you are not a fan of German sausages there are plenty of stalls serving up hog roasts in a Brötchen (roll) with Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes) and Sauerkraut on the side! If you were foolish enough to eat before arriving at the market there are plenty of snack items as well such as; Brezels (pretzels) and that Yuletide favourite - roast chestnuts! For those with a sweet tooth save room for candied nuts, gingerbread, chocolates, and my personal favourite - a Waffeln (waffle) topped with Nutella!

Warm up with a hot chocolate or Glühwein (mulled wine). "If the weather outside is frightful" then nothing can be more delightful than a hot drink! You'll find the stalls offer more than your average mug of hot chocolate. You can get anything from brandy to Baileys added, as well as marshmallows and cream. Glühwein is a traditional Christmas hot drink made of  red wine and various spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Either are the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold winter's night.

Get some Christmas shopping done. It was not just the food stalls that caught my eye, there is plenty more to see! You can find traditional Christmas decorations like nutcrackers, of all shapes and sizes and wreaths. Besides the festive gifts you can also find things like handmade jewellery, candles, and woolly hats. The market is a great place to find unique gifts and inspiration for those hard to buy for people.

End your day by playing some carnival games. There is a little fun fair on one end of the Christmas market with a ferris wheel, giant swing, and of course some carnival games. I would strongly encourage you to make this your last stop for the day, because if you are lucky enough to win a prize they are huge! You will not be wanting to walk through the crowded market all day with it, trust me from experience.

Erin x

Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market is from now until 22 December and open Monday-Friday, 10:00am to 09:00pm. Entry is free.

Skyfall (50 Years of James Bond)

Friday, 16 November 2012
2012 has been a momentous year in England. First we had the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June, followed by the Summer Olympic Games in London, but perhaps most importantly we celebrate 50 years of James Bond!

Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond at London 2012 Olympic Games

I do not think anyone in 1962 could have predicted that fifty years later not only would the Bond films continue to be so popular but they would also still be in production! Skyfall is the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise and upon viewing it is safe to say that Bond will not be leaving our screens anytime soon!  


Casino Royale (2006) was supposed to be the rebirth of the Bond franchise, but Skyfall in my opinion is the true rebirth. To tell the truth, I was not that impressed with Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace (2008). I thought they were too violent and were not what James Bond was about. The books are considerably grittier than the earlier films and Daniel Craig's Bond was supposed to be returning to this. However, I missed the wit found in the films from the earlier days. Skyfall sees the return of the witty side of Bond while still keeping it realistic.

What did you expect, an exploding pen? - Q (Ben Whishaw)

This is the first time in the series' history, a James Bond film is being directed by an Academy Award winner in the form of Sam Mendes. The difference this has made to the film is substantial. With Mendes at the helm the producers were able to assemble an impressive cast and crew with 35 have Academy Award nominations and 5 wins between them. With those credentials it really is no wonder that Skyfall is being heralded as the best Bond film ever!

There are so many things to love about this film that it is hard to pick a favourite. The storyline is fantastic, don't worry I won't spoil it for you. Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, is by far the best Bond villain ever! The cinematography is exquisite, perhaps owing a large part to the wide variety of amazing locations including; Turkey, China, Scotland, and London! This was my first time seeing a Bond film in the cinema, but if there was ever a film worthy of seeing in the cinema it is Skyfall.

Bond is well and truly back!

James Bond Car Chase Montage

Q:Who is your favourite James Bond actor? 

Erin x

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