This is a slightly narcissistic post all about me and my birthday (in December). In fairness it was my 30th and I’m celebrating mainly by not having a mental breakdown at BEING A GROWN UP. And as everything around me has pretty much been consumed by my birthday looming over the horizon like Lord Voldemort, it seemed fitting to write a post.
My birthday is on the 21st December (officially the shortest day of the year in the UK) but celebrations kicked off early courtesy of the nice people I work with. Disgustingly my birthday was on a Monday so I booked off a long weekend and Friday was my last day in the office. I kind of expected something to happen but was still delighted and embarrassed to see banners, balloons and cards on my desk when I walked in (presumably late….like most days) on Friday morning.
I spend more time with my work colleagues than I do anyone and it’s nice to be reminded they do actually like me. Which given my irritable personality (“who gave you permission to breathe so loudly?”) is quite a feat!
The next day was Saturday and I was off to London.
(I made that sound like some sort of Paddington Bear expedition involving a dotted handkerchief and a stick. I live close to London so it’s only a half hour train ride).
My friends and I had planned this day since April and I should say quickly that I’m lucky to have good friends who still care about my birthday, despite it being four days before Christmas which is really, really annoying.
So we were going for Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester Hotel and then to see the Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden. I love going to the theatre and I’m lucky enough to have seen some bloody brilliant plays, but the Woman in Black was still on my To Do list and given my love of all things spooky, it was the perfect birthday outing.
The play didn’t disappoint. It was creepy and well acted and there was an air of mischief among the audience during the second half (which I enjoyed) as though we were all felt ‘a little bit silly’ jumping in our seats and gasping at the ghostly apparition.
Afterwards, as my friends and I waited outside for a cab (which was another highlight of the day – we decided to take cabs everywhere instead of the underground – a real treat) we bumped into one of the actor’s from the play and spoke to him for a few minutes, which made it even more memorable.
But the absolute highlight, was Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester Hotel.
I’m English so I’ve enjoyed tea and scones before, but never like this. We were greeted at reception and our coats were taken. I pointed out that we should “probably check out the toilets” because “toilets are always really posh in places like this”.
We were sat in the Promenade Room on the comfiest seats in the world. We had two waiters. Champagne. A billion types of tea. Silver prongs for the Demerara sugar cubes. Scones, cakes and most importantly……sandwiches. Of all different types, on all different breads, with the crusts cut off – obviously. I was in carb heaven.
I had twelve different sandwiches before the cake had even been brought out.
And the whole place was geared up for Christmas, there was a huge, beautiful Christmas tree in reception and a complete replica of the hotel itself – made out of gingerbread! I sniffed it. Really, I did sniff it.
I would have liked to have taken more photos but I was painfully aware that many of my fellow diners looked like ‘regulars’ (the self-confidence and Selfridges bags gave it away) and I looked like what I was – a wide eyed tourist. I mean you’re allowed to take photos of the tree and shit but just general photos taken in awe? Keep it together…!
One of the best things about the whole experience (except the turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwich) had to be the choir. Because it was Christmas a real boy’s choir – they were wearing neck ruffles! – were singing carols. And I can scarcely believe what happened next.
Our waiter came over and he had a birthday cake for me. Exciting in itself. He then waved to the choir to be quiet and told everyone it was my birthday. The choir then sang happy birthday to me. And everyone clapped.
I just need to clear my throat and say that bit again. The choir sang happy birthday to me. It was an incredible experience – pretty embarrassing of course, but something that I’ll never, ever forget.
And finally – a bonus for having a Christmas birthday!
I never got to try the cake. I took it home in a doggy bag and my boyfriend ate the whole thing. True story!
Sunday brought more fun and my boyfriend and I went away for dinner, drinks and The Apprentice Final (standard).
We decided to stay the night somewhere so we could have a nice dinner and a few drinks without worrying about driving home. We chose a nice, local country pub type of place with rooms attached. As you can see the bed and blood stain were both very nice.
Most importantly the room had a TV. After dinner and several glasses of wine we returned to our room to let the magic happen – the final episode of this year’s The Apprentice (obviously the best show ever, after The Chase).
Joseph won and the next morning it was my actual birthday! I didn’t really end up doing much that day, sleeping and eating – coincidentally two of my favourite things. But I survived turning 30. Phew.
Happy New Year everyone!