I LOVE birthdays; my own or anyone else’s, it doesn’t really matter. In a world where everything seems so serious, there’s nothing like a birthday to give you an excuse to be frivolous and to just have fun! I love when someone else gets as excited about them as I do – case in point being my mum. So she was understandably a bit disappointed when I said I’d be spending my 24th birthday in Amsterdam (more on that coming soon), especially after last year’s escapades, but a compromise was very easily reached – a birthday tea party once we returned! Two birthdays – sounds just right to me.
I’ve been excited about my birthday for a few weeks, and not just because of going to Amsterdam. 23 has undoubtedly been the most difficult year of my life on a personal front, and I’m excited about making some changes this year, being another year older and definitely wiser. I’ve taken some steps to start improving things, like joining the gym, making some travel plans and other more personal things too, and I’m excited about the difference they’ll make to my life. This year is about doing what I need to do to make me happy, and being confident in my choices. Less thinking, more feeling.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. We arrived back from Amsterdam last week, and had a day in-between where I enjoyed a deluxe spa experience, before we started getting tea party-prepped. Afternoon tea is one of my favourite things in the world; there’s nothing like English Breakfast tea, cake and bunting to cheer you up! Of course, I got things started by hanging floral bunting from the windows and the walls, in place of birthday banners (it means I can keep them there for a bit longer, sshh!) and finally unpacking all of my favourite delicate china teacups and cake stands.
We put together a tasty little spread of pizza pastry tart (recipe coming soon!), mini pork pies, cocktail-flavoured fondant fancies, chocolate caramel tarts, strawberries and clotted cream and birthday cake, alongside a plentiful supply of fresh tea, rose wine, beer for the boys and – thanks to my mum and dad – a bottle of Moet! Celebrating in style indeed.
Lewis organised the prettiest little birthday cake for the party too, complete with pink icing and glitter! That man knows me too well. It was freshly baked at the bakery down the road that morning, made with fresh cream too – it went down a treat. And I continue to maintain that it isn’t a birthday without cake and candles, no matter how old you are.
On to the gifts! This generally isn’t the most exciting part of the day for me – I actually do prefer giving gifts – but I always enjoy it and it’s so nice to see what people have put their time and effort into. I could only take a couple of small gifts to Amsterdam with me; a pretty little Joules coin purse from Lewis’ mum, with some spending money inside(!), and the most amazing cushion in the world from Lewis, to mark my spot on our soon-to-be-delivered new sofa. It is the best thing I’ve got in the house, and raised a lot of laughs when our guests arrived!
My mum and dad also bought me some cushions (am I really getting old?), choosing some luxurious feather-filled ones printed with birds, to match our blinds. They are super comfortable! They also bought a beautiful print for my bedroom, which is now standing pride of place above the bed, and a lovely lavender plant for our balcony, as lavender just makes me feel so calm and soothed.
My grandparents always send me money, but they brought along a gorgeous bouquet of red roses too, and my brother and sister-in-law treated me to some of my favourite Body Shop skincare products. I like presents that give you an excuse to spoil yourself!
I was so pleased with my gifts, but more than that, I was so thrilled to spend a delightful few hours with my closest family and my wonderful partner, eating my favourite foods, sipping champagne and laughing more than I have done in weeks – that’s what happiness is for me.