Birmingham city guide

Independent shops

SWORDFISH RECORDS- 66 Dalton Street, Birmingham City Centre

Open since 1979, Swordfish records is the perfect place for those who have a passion for vinyl’s and CDs.  With many bargains to chose from, whether it being the classic collectibles or with a selection of new and used vinyl’s or CDs you will be sure to make that loved one smile.

Swordfish store

Swordfish store

VICTORIA FAIR- 544 Hobmoor Road Yardley Birmingham

This shop is perfect for all those gifting needs. Whether it is for a male or female, there is a large selection of hand-made gifts to choose from. With personal baubles, hand-made cards, photo frames and jewellery, this is the perfect shop to sort out your shopping woes.

WYSTERIA LANE-High St, Eastside, Birmingham

With their success of their shop in Shrewsbury, Wysteria Lane has recently opened a shop in Birmingham. Perfect for those gifting needs for the ladies in your life there are gifts for those who love to cook, decorate or who love a pamper.

Wysteria Lane shop in Birmingham

Wysteria Lane shop in Birmingham

Store events

Selfridges Christmas events

Selfridges Christmas events

SELFRIDGES- The Bullring, Upper Mall East, Birmingham B5 4BP

Selfridges&Co is the home of everything Christmassy- from presents, decorations and everything in between, you will be sure to find it at Selfridges Christmas Emporium.
Unsure what to get someone for Christmas this year? Then meet the Elfridges. These guys have encyclopedia knowledge of every item in the store and are there to sort your gift finding problems, no matter what gift it is.
Selfridges is also selling selfridge hampers and bespoke gift sets, a perfect gift for those food and craft lovers. All have have been picked out by their food and wine specialists.
No need to stress about wrapping those presents. Let Selfridges gift wrapping professionals take over whilst you relax. With a choice of different finished, Selfridges will wrap and gift, big or small.

Harvey Nichols- The Mailbox, 31/32 Wharfside Street

For those who love a good discount, Harvey Nichols is for you. For one day only across the UK in a store near you, any purchase make you will be able to select one of Harvey Nichols lucky dip vouchers. You could have the choice of winning a discount voucher of 15%, 20%, 30% or 50% on fashion and Accessories.
That’s not all; brands throughout the store will be hosting special activities and exclusive offers.

Where to eat: Adam’s restaurant

Adam’s restaurant, 21a bennetts hill, birmingham b2 5qp

Adam’s is a fine dining restaurant with popular stylish food ran by husband and wife Adam and Natasha. In three words Adam describes the restaurant as ‘modern, relaxed and British’ and describes the experience as a ‘culinary experience, a journey of seasonal foods.’ For Christmas Adam says he doesn’t do anything special but they do use seasonal ingredients, they just go on ‘good quality produce.’

Where to drink: Nuvo bar

Eleven Brindleyplace, 2 Brunswick Square, B1 2lp

You will find no other bar like Nuvo. With 35 different combinations of cocktails to chose from you will be sure to find something you like. The cocktails include the traditional Martinis and Mojitos and the less common, such as the Pink Diesel and a vodka based cocktail garnished with radishes. Even better, the staff will even make the perfect cocktail for you if you are struggling to find one that you like.

Nuvo bar

Nuvo bar

Where to stay: Cool Apartments

The Rotunda, 150 New St, Birmingham, West Midlands B2 4PA

For a stylish over night stay book into the independently owned- Staying Cool Apartments. Situated in Birmingham’s iconic, cylindrical high-rise building Rotunda, you will literally be feet away from the Bullring shopping centre. With prices starting at £95 per night- these 4*/5* apartments are a must stay. For more information about the apartments then take a look at their website; http://www.stayingcool.com

View in Maxi room

View in Maxi room

Christmas market

Frankfurt christmas market- Victoria Square/New Street, BirminghamB2 4BA

Attracting thousands of visitors every year from across the country, this market is well known for its food and drink (especially beer!) Gifts wise, there are plenty of handmade gift stalls which have gifts for all of the family and friends.

The market takes place from the 15th November through till the 22nd December- 10am till 9pm. The market is free for all.

Frankfurt Christmas market

Frankfurt Christmas market

Jasmine Birtles money saving tips

Are you stressing about the extortionate costs of Christmas? Well stress no more, Stylist spoke to Jasmine Birtles, the money saving expert from Money magpie, about her money saving tips for you this Christmas.

 Christmas is the most expensive time of year. Not only are you paying for presents but you are paying for Christmas dinner, parties, heating bills and many more. And there are plenty of different ways in which you can save. Hidden secrets, which you and your friends would of never even thought about.

There are simple ways. Even just keeping a record of when your favourite stores have a sale each year (yes they have them at roughly the same time every year), you can plan on when is the right time you can get your bargain.

Also it is not all just about the money, Jasmine says; ‘Christmas is about friends and family.’

It’s much more fun doing free things together and having a peaceful time than giving yourself stress about buying presents and then paying extra for them later on because you have to pay credit card interest on top of the price.’

Just to help you that little bit more, here are Jasmine’s top ten tips of saving money over the festive period.

1)  Give people free gifts- the gift of time is the best one (e.g. spending an evening with your grandma, going for a walk and picnic with friend etc) This person will appreciate the time you have given them that you may not always have.

2)  Doing a potluck party- do this with your friends or family rather than cooking everything yourself.

3)  Clubcard points- using those hard earned points you have collected over the year on your advantage cards

4) Making things- bake cakes, sweets or biscuits for those who have an easy way to their heart through food. Or if you are that little bit more creative try knitting scarves for your group of friends.

5)  Re-gifting- keep a ‘presents box’ at home where you put in things you were given that you don’t want (make sure you keep tabs on who brought it though as you don’t want that awkward moment when you give someone the present they got you!)

6) Pre- buy- buy things that you find cheaply over the course year and keep it away for Christmas.

7) Sales shopping- put off Christmas until after the sales start so that everyone can get a better present for less.

8) Start in January- instead of leaving your shopping all to the last minute, start in January to spread the cost throughout the whole year.

9) Buy the cheaper brands when Christmas dinner shopping- Being the better brand doesn’t mean anything, sometimes the ‘value’ brands are at the same quality and of the same taste but are at a much better price!

10) Make a savings account just for Christmas- if you start saving after Christmas has finished by the following year you will have plenty of money. Even if it is just £5 a week, every little helps.

For more money saving tips go to the money magpie website at http://www.moneymagpie.com.

Jasmine Birtle

Jasmine Birtle

Christmas shopping abroad

New York in Winter

New York in Winter

New York: For shopping

If you fancy taking a trip to somewhere big this year then the ‘Big apple’ will be the perfect place for you. Shopping is a big thing in New York. Not only do you have the massive department stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales but there are also plenty of craft markets and gift shops for you to choose from too.

With America being so much cheaper than the UK, going Christmas shopping in New York will bring you the perfect opportunity to get all the latest gadgets, designer clothes and many more for less. Take a shop around America’s biggest department’s stores, Macys, Bloomingdales and Barneys where you can find these amazing discounts as there is certainly plenty to choose from. Each shop also offers personal shoppers to help you with those gift shopping woes. Also, while you are at it, take at look at the shops windows, especially Macys, as New York is famous for the over the top window displays.

Not only that, but New York also has plenty of markets to chose from to find those handmade gifts.

The most popular market to go to is Grand Central Terminal’s market which is open from November 18th through till Christmas Eve. The market holds over 76 stall holders with a selection of gifts for everybody including, jewellery, clothes, toys, bath and body items, home decorations and gifts for pets.  What makes this market even better is that it is held inside so there is no worry of freezing.

Ice skating in Bryant Park

Ice skating in Bryant Park

If you’re more looking for a day out whilst doing shopping then take a trip to the winter village at Bryant Park. Here you will find over 125 boutique style shops selling a range of different gifts for both adults and children. The centrepiece of the village is the 170’x100’ ice rink, where you can go ice skating for a free admission with skate rentals. Or if you don’t fancy taking to the ice yourself, there are frequent special events and skating shows for you to watch.

Germany: For Christmas markets

Cologne at night

Cologne at night

NUREMBURG CHRISTMAS MARKET- 29th november till 24th december

Taking a trip to Nuremburg in Germany means you get to experience one of the biggest and best Christmas market in the world.

Held in the city which is known for its speciality of spiced gingerbread, Christkindlemarkt, the market takes place in Hauptmarkt Square and opens from November 30th till December 23rd.

The market has a distinctive medieval feel and it also includes its own special children’s market with nativity-themed activities. With over 180 stalls to choose from of the traditional fruit loaves, sweets, toys, candles, tree ornaments and craft products, you will not go short on Christmas gifts for your friends and family. This market attracts over two million visitors every year.

COLOGNE CHRISTMAS MARKETS- 25th november till 23rd december

Cologne cathedral

Cologne cathedral

Travel to Cologne where you can experience the largest Christmas markets in the world. And there isn’t just one to chose from but 7 so you will be spoilt for choice. If you are looking for somewhere with sparkle, the market next to the cathedral is the place for you as you get a spectacular backdrop of the cathedral.  And with hundreds of stalls full of food, arts and crafts and unusual gifts you won’t leave empty handed. Or if you are looking for somewhere with a bit of history visit the Christmas market on the Alter Markt. With narrow-gabled houses and half-timbered stalls, the market conveys a peaceful, picturesque, romantic feeling.

Lille: For a quick trip

Lille Christmas market

Lille Christmas market

LILLE CHRISTMAS MARKET- 20TH NOVEMBER TILL 30TH DECEMBER

Lille is the perfect place to shop for those who don’t have the time to spend ages abroad to do their Christmas shopping. Due to how close it is to the Eurostar border you could even do the trip in a day.
Every Christmas Lille turns into a winter wonderland with its month long Christmas market which has 80 wooden chalets full of decorations, gifts and arts and crafts.
Lille also has the Eurolille shopping centre which offers 140 different stores or you can go to the Wazemmes Market in the town centre where you can find old book stores, unusual boutiques and shops selling retro French designs for those friends or family or love their retro gifts. Not only that, but everything is at a good price as many places are cheaper than the UK.
For a spectacular view of the city take a trip on the 50ft Grand wheel which is placed in the Grand Palace.