Or: Why My Friends & Family Are The Best Ever
This weekend, I turned 33.
I’m a big believer in making the most of birthdays, as anyone who has had to listen to me going on and on about this one will testify. I know some people prefer to ignore them, or at least ignore the fact that they’re getting older, but I like to celebrate. Not just making it through another year – although that is always worthy of cake – but also everything that’s happened over the last twelve months, good and bad.
This year, I’ve been incredibly lucky. The good has far outweighed the bad while I was 32. I signed book contracts with two publishers, we moved to our lovely new house and made great friends here, the daughter started at her fantastic new school and, just last week, we had confirmation that she has a place in the Reception class there from September.
Yep, 32 was a damn good year. Especially since my friends and family were on hand to help me celebrate in style, and usher in 33 with plenty of cake.
The cake started last Thursday, when the daughter and I went round to a friend’s house and I was presented with this:
This was, and I quote, “Just a little something I knocked up this morning.” It won’t surprise you to learn that the friend in question was the same one that made the daughter’s incredible Alice in Wonderland cake for her birthday.
Anyway, three slices later (it was chocolate cake. Incredible, ganache topped chocolate cake.) I was definitely feeling the birthday spirit. Which was just as well, because the cake didn’t end there.
I’d planned a full weekend of celebrations, so on Friday we drove up to Wales to my parents’ house, arriving just in time for a glass of wine and a catch up, before midnight, and the birthday itself, were upon us. Saturday morning I was treated to a smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast, along with my presents, before Nain and Pops took the daughter off to the zoo with Uncle Kip and her cousin Robin.
Apparently they had fun:
Essentially, my parents gave me 24 child free hours for my birthday. And boy, did we make the most of them.
The husband and I headed up to Manchester, to visit our very lovely, very dear friends’ Kate and Pete. Since they’ve known us since childhood, they fully understood the importance of The Birthday. And so I was greeted with the most beautiful Coptic-bound notebook, a cup of tea, and an afternoon sipping wine in the garden with other people cooking for me. The husband got to play with fire, which always makes him happy. Even the sun seemed to get the importance of shining for me on my birthday:
Then they took me out to a cocktail bar later that evening, and didn’t complain when I was my normal, boring self and turned down all the exciting drinks in favour of a gin and tonic. They even bowed to my greatest birthday girl wish – to go home around midnight, put our pyjamas on, eat cheese on toast and watch Doctor Who before bed. At which point, they also brought out cake number two – an incredible white chocolate cake, covered in beautifully plump raspberries. It even had candles! Sad to report, there are no photos, mostly because it didn’t last that long.
On Sunday, we had Mexican scrambled eggs and pots and pots of tea, lunch at a lovely local pub, and a small walk around the public gardens next door, before we sadly had to say goodbye.
They did send us home with a present for the daughter, though:
Back at Nain and Pops’s house, we had a delicious Sunday dinner waiting for us – along with yet another cake. The daughter and I took turns blowing out the candles – which required the traditional double singing of Happy Birthday (once normally, once at double speed) – and I made my last birthday wish.
I wished that 33 be every bit as good as 32. Maybe, if I’m incredibly lucky, even a little bit more fantastic…