This past Saturday, 15th November I celebrated the beginning of my 37th year here on Planet Earth. Thirty six years of age, how did that happen?? With a mental age of barely sixteen only my increasing number of fine lines and wrinkles attest to the passage of time.
I've never been much of a big birthday reveller if the truth be told. I generally mark the occasion with a low key celebration and this year was no exception.
This year Craigy Boy and I took a little overnight trip to London the weekend before my actual birthday. We stayed at the Doubletree Hilton in Islington and were delighted to be greeted by freshly baked, warm and gooey cookies.
The receptionist noticed the sheer look of rapture on my face as I savoured the sugary treat and just as I took my very last bite he handed me another cookie, a knowing look and a smile on his face. I really liked that receptionist.
We dropped our bags off and made our way to the nearest tube station. Our first destination was the Tower of London to admire in awe and wonder the sea of red ceramic poppies, over 800,000 of them. And admire in awe and wonder we did. It was a stunning, spectacular and thoroughly poignant sight. To think that each poppy paid homage to an individual who had sacrificed his/her life in the service of their country.
Our next stop enabled me to tick an item off my bucket list. Choccywoccydoodah - I'd seen it on t.v. and now I wanted to witness the incredible chocolate creativity (and taste it!) in person. Chocolate deliciousness in intricate detail everywhere you looked. How do they do it??
After much agonising and deliberation I settled on a very chunky bar of banoffe chocolate which should have lasted considerably longer than it did given its size and calorie content. "It's my birthday," I reminded myself with every exquisite bite.
We plodded the streets of London for a few more hours, enjoying the elaborate Christmas displays in shop windows and the dazzling array of festive lights hanging overhead. Then we returned to our lodgings to get our glad rags on. Our table at Claridge's was booked for 8.30pm and we did not wish to be late.
We kicked off with a couple of mocktails while we perused the menu and the wide selection of delectable dishes on offer. Doesn't my man look dashing and handsome? I was tempted to nibble on him as my starter. ;)
Following three mouth-watering courses which included Cornish lobster bisque, chestnut and sage risotto, Claridge's chicken pie and chocolate bavarois, our lovely waiter, James, surprised me with a token gesture for my special day. I was hoping he would sing and then I remembered where I was. I very much doubt that singing waiters are a feature at Claridge's.
If you're going to have one celebratory birthday dinner then you may as well throw caution to the proverbial wind and have three.
Birthday dinner number two took place on the evening on my actual birthday. Myself, Craigy Boy and my good friends Heather, John, Ann-Marie and Jon dined at the Thai Orchid restaurant in Banbury which is one of me and Craigy's personal favourites. Here come the girls:
And the boys, minus Jon. Sorry, Jon. You hadn't arrived by that point.
We finished up my birthday celebrations with a Sunday roast in the company of my dear friend, Winnie. We ate our fill, put our feet up (Winnie stylishly sporting a pair of my slippers), snuggled under a blanket together and watched two films in a row whilst contentedly dozing off every now and again.
The perfect end to a perfectly lovely birthday. Getting older is much less painful when you're surrounded by good food and people that you love. Don't you think?