In my world, one of the fundamental criteria for a happy life is to celebrate at every opportunity. The days are long, but the years are short (Gretchen Ruben, The Happiness Project ~ a great read by the way, I recommend it!), so in my view, any excuse to spend time having fun with family and friends is a good one. Aside from the fact that it's exciting to have things in your diary to look forward to: birthdays, weddings, Christmas etc, it forces you to set aside sacred time for relaxing, indulging, being a little extravagant perhaps, and (hopefully!) feeling happy, uplifted and loved. Christmas is my absolute favourite of these events in the year, because it's a time when everyone who celebrates it gets to share equally in the joy of the festivities, but birthdays are certainly fun too. I have to confess that a part of me simply revels in being the centre of attention for the day (I can't help it, I'm a Leo!), and who doesn't enjoy receiving gifts (?!), but most importantly for me, birthdays are the perfect excuse to catch up with the friends I haven't seen for a while. So it is that every year on my birthday, I make a point of inviting my nearest and dearest to eat, drink and be merry with me, and this year was no exception.
On my birthday itself, His Lordship and I went to my parents' home with my sister and brother-in-law. It was such a relaxed evening, spent eating, drinking and putting the world to rights, outside in the garden enjoying the balmy summer evening. The Saturday that followed, we had a great time rock 'n' bowling 50s style with a handful of close friends at All Star Lanes in Holborn. I was eager to dress the part, though I can't say the not-so-sexy velcro bowling shoes complimented my outfit... I am always so touched by the messages, calls, cards and presents I receive on my birthday, and was overwhelmed this year by the thoughtfulness and generosity of the people I am fortunate to count among those dearest to me. Those of you reading this who know you are one of those people, thank you again so very much.
Each year, my birthday coming around prompts me to reflect on the year gone by, reminiscing the highlights and recalling the life lessons learned, and also to look forward to the many things I hope to enjoy and achieve before I'm another year older. This past year has gone by in a whirlwind of work and wedding preparations; this year, I am so excited to be getting married and possibly looking for a new home. Life is good, and as the montage of images below undoubtedly shows, I am one exceptionally lucky lady to have such a wonderful future husband, fantastic family and great friends ~ I love you all.
Just a few of my birthday highlights in pictures before signing off...
Top row, from left to right:
1. Gorgeous little bracelets (which I've worn most days since receiving them ~ thanks, H! x) from Silverado, Brighton.
2. Mentioned in previous post, my 'happy birthday to me' treat: Philosophy's Vanilla Birthday Cake. You can purchase a really cute gift set including this and some matching lip shine beautifully packaged from Boots, linked here.
3. Gwyneth's cookery book (courtesy of the lovely F ~ thank you, for the gift of course, but mostly for likening me to the utterly fabulous Gwynnie! x), can't wait to get my apron on!
4. Sulley, who has finally arrived to keep Mikey company...
5. The amazing Muppets bag that Sulley came home in. If you haven't seen the film yet, do make a point of watching it ~ it's very sweet and full of laughs.
1. More culinary delights! I love French food, but it can be rather too involved for the everyday. Rachel Khoo's modern approach to French classics is supposed to be fresh, fun and simple, so I'm quite excited to try these out (thanks very much, J&G! x).
2. A gift from my future sister and brother-in-law (thank you x); a highly amusing read!
3. Love my new handbag (love you for giving it to me, H! x) from M&S.
4. No birthday is complete without a balloon, and Hello Kitty is mega cute. I am very grateful to my two year old niece who chose this one for me herself, having been steered away from her first choice, a 'Congratulations on your retirement' number.
5. Amazing. In addition to dessert on my birthday, my mum made these tiny trial wedding cakes for His Lordship and I to sample - they were delicious! I won't tell you what we chose... I know she would want me to point out that these were just rough drafts, as it were, to test the flavours, not her usual masterpieces with handcrafted sugar flowers etc...
1 & 2. I was, quite simply, beside myself when I spotted these awesome giant biscuits in Costa - they are just so fun! I really wasn't especially hungry but ordered them anyway just to be able to photograph them. Aside from looking cool, they were pretty tasty too.
3. All Star Lanes, Holborn.
4. My Johnny Loves Rosie headband purchased at half price from Ollie & Nic in the sale ~ a really easy way to jazz up a simple outfit with a retro twist.
5. I was so thrilled when I (reluctantly) tore open the pink spotty paper to reveal these beautiful place mats. I'd seen them in Maison while out one day with His Lordship, and I was so touched that he had not only taken note of me saying how much I liked them, but also remembered and made a point of going back on a separate occasion to buy them (xXx). It's worth mentioning that I would happily furnish and accessorise our entire home with the stunning things they sell in these shops. Well worth a visit if you live in/near Tunbridge Wells, Richmond or Dorking.
Another year, another candle. Can't wait to celebrate next year as a Mrs! What do you like to do for your birthday..?