Last Year I was 30

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!

About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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57 Responses to Last Year I was 30

  1. Haylee says:

    Happy New Birthday year! (It’s ok to amalgamate greetings isn’t it?!) How amazing having the choir sing to you – afternoon tea is always amazing but I bet you’d be hard pressed to beat that! Can’t believe you didn’t get to eat your cake though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmakwall says:

      I love amalgamated greetings! Happy New Year Oh God it’s January. Haha 🙂

      I know, the choir really was out an out-of-this-world experience!! I knew i was blushing a bit but hey ho 🙂

      Did you have a nice Christmas and New Year?

      I know!!! My boyfriend has a crazy sweet tooth and even eating MY birthday cake is not too much for him! Ha ha ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haylee says:

        I did have a lovely Chrimble thanks, back to reality and work tomorrow 😦 My other half is just as bad for a sweet tooth… I’ve had to hide the Haribo around the house so he doesn’t eat the tubs in one go. It’s like having a 3 year old!

        Liked by 1 person

        • emmakwall says:

          Haha!! I LOVE that! I sooo know what you mean, my fella loves Haribo too!! I often liken him to a toddler ha ha ha. Not in a mean way, he usually agrees!

          I’m glad you had a lovely Christmas! Arghhhhh work 😦 I have to build myself up just to try and stay cheerful lol.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. filmfunkel says:

    Seriously, not one single Cheeto? What kind of place is that Dorchester?!? Hiding behind all that champagne and choirs and gourmet crumpets – what a sham! XD

    Happy Birthday Emma & many more. If you ever make it to the states I’ve got a bag of Fritos with your name on it. 😀

    Have an excellent 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Urspo says:

    I remember turning 30; it felt like a turning point viz. I was finally becoming an adult (having just graduated from residency).
    May this next decade for you be something marvelous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmakwall says:

      Let’s hope so 🙂

      I don’t really feel any different but 30 is more of a pinnacle age than 29! I must grow up soon ha ha.

      Happy New Year to you, I hope 2016 is a great one!!


  4. I’m so happy you had such a wonderful birthday Ems! You deserved it! The Dorchester looks so posh! And twelve sandwiches! Yum!🎉🎊🙋🏻😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy belated birthday, wow the Dorchester sounds awesome, what an experience. Happy New Year all the best for 2016. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. beetleypete says:

    That was a memorable 30th, Emma. Your Dorchester tea reminded me of taking my Mum to the Ritz, for her 80th. They brought her out a tiny cake, and all the staff gathered to sing happy birthday. She loved it. Your birthday weekend sounds ideal, though I would not have been watching The Apprentice of course. We will have to disagree on that one.
    Belated congratulations on being 33 years younger than me! Pete. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Pete 🙂

      Your time at The Ritz sounds fabulous too and how lovely for your Mum! The Ritz is SO posh!!!!!! 🙂

      At least it wasn’t Geordie Shore, eh? eh? 🙂

      Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year Pete xxx


  7. alexraphael says:

    What a fantastic birthday. You got a lot into such a short day ha. You live so near me. You and your boyfriend should let me know next time you’re down. Would be cool to see you.

    And this sentence is awesome! “I had twelve different sandwiches before the cake had even been brought out”

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmakwall says:

      That sounds like a great idea! I will do Alex 🙂 you’ve met with other bloggers before haven’t you?

      Did you have a nice Christmas and New Year? 🙂 I know I must have a few of your posts to catch up on!!

      Hahaha, glad you liked it!! I do love my sandwiches more than what is normal !


      • alexraphael says:

        I’ve met two but always happy to meet more. I did have a real cool one. Did you win all your Christmas crackers? Any jokes stand out? Nothing wrong with a good sandwich. Do you triangle them?


  8. That replica of the hotel was made out of gingerbread!?!?! Someone is a real artist! Looks like a great party though, happy belated birthday 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Kat!!! 😀

      Yeah it was, that’s why I sniffed it myself haha could scarcely believe it. It was brilliant! I wonder who gets to eat it at the end?!!

      I hope you had a lovely Christmas and all the best for 2016 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. vinnieh says:

    Happy New Year Emma and Happy belated birthday. Looks like you had a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mikeladano says:

    Happy belated! My wife is Dec 22. What a busy time of year to have a birthday, whew!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmakwall says:

      Happy belated birthday to your wife also Mike! How are you? Did you have a good Xmas and New Year? How’s your The Dude I.D?!! 😀

      It is a funny time of year to have a birthday but I’m grateful I wasn’t born a few days later on Xmas Day, that would be truly awful! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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