Thursday, 22 February 2018

Forty


The last week has been the loveliest whirlwind of cake, cocktails and celebrations. The house is a real mess, the laundry situation out of control, there's nothing in the fridge, but who cares, there are at least four different kinds of cake in the house. I'm not entirely sure why I was dreading my fortieth birthday so much (apart from I'm convinced I'm still twenty five) but when it came to it I had such a lot of fun and felt like a bit of a princess and who doesn't like that?


John, the children and I went out for afternoon tea over half term. I loved it, Bella loved it, John loved it, Angus hated it. Really, it was hysterical quite how unimpressed he was by the whole notion of afternoon tea and he listed it as his "worst half term moment". He said all the food was too "grown-uppy" and that they "snuck in" things he doesn't like (mustard in the ham sandwiches, rose water in the cake, lavender in the scones etc) and he sat and read his book in protest throughout the afternoon. As I said, I loved it and I know it's bad of me but Angus's reaction just made it all the more memorable and enjoyable. 


My dear friend Abigail and I, who you may remember try to get away at least once a year together, have birthdays just a few days apart and so our impending fortieths called for a day trip to London. I've know Abigail since we met in our English Literature A Level class at sixth form college, so around twenty four years (!) and she's one of my oldest and best friends. I love our London jaunts and this years' was just as much fun as ever, with some shopping, lunch in a Greek restaurant, a trip up to the Sky Garden where we had a cocktail and sat there chatting so long the light changed, before we moved on to Covent Garden where I treated myself to some Laduree macarons (so expensive but I love them so much) and dinner here. Opinion on the Sky Garden seems to be divided but I loved it; the contrast between the trees and foliage and the huge atrium, the way the views are framed by the architecture of the building, the huge viewing platform - all captivating.

Forty peppermint oreo brownies made by John. :-)

My birthday itself was huge fun. I met my parents and sisters for breakfast in a nearby cafe, something that has become a little family tradition of ours over the last few years, before going to work. Initially I had sulked a fair bit about my school day birthday - it almost always falls in the February half term break - but I think it was improved by being at work. Lots of good wishes and cards from colleagues, badges made by the children, flowers sent by John, and one of the Year R classes came up to the office and sang happy birthday to me. Everyone should celebrate a birthday in a primary school because, not matter your age, a birthday is probably the single most exciting thing that can happen to a five year old and their delight is joyful and infectious.


There was a definite them of indulgence in the gifts I was given, which is fine with me, and I received some parcels through the post too, including a pair of gin balloons, a book, chocolate, and the splendid cross stitched whippet above, sent by my friend Jennifer from Thistlebear. Jennifer, thank you - I cannot tell you how much I love it. This little Monet-style watercolour, painted by Angus and framed by John, will soon be added to the family gallery wall. 


 There was another gift too, something befitting a birthday with a zero on the end....


My beloved DSLR, bought for a bargain price about nine years ago, has finally packed up and having it mended will cost more than a new camera. I realised that a like for like replacement would be much more than we could afford, and I'm actually sick of lugging it around anyway, so after much research and talking to people in shops I bought this:




I haven't really explored it yet. Frankly, I'm terrified. I was such good friends with my old Canon, I could operate it in my sleep, and this one is all different and new, I'm worried we won't get along. I'll have fun playing with it though.

But overall, I am happy. This week I have felt very loved and cherished by those around me and can report that, so far, turning forty is fab. Even if there is nothing for packed lunches tomorrow.







24 comments:

Jennifer Hays said...

Happy birthday!!! It sounds like it was a wonderful celebration. I'm so glad. You'll have to tell me all about forty so I'm ready when I get there in the autumn. I'm so glad you like your whippet. :)

Mac n' Janet said...

Happy Birthday, 40 wasn't bad, 30 was the one that bummed me, I refused to celebrate it.

mrsrobinson said...

Looks like you are celebrating in style! I love Angus' reaction to afternoon tea... though that would most likely be Mr R than Patch in our house...

VeggieMummy said...

Happy Birthday, Gillian! Looks like you celebrated in style. I do love a nice afternoon tea, but I love the thought of Angus sitting there reading in protest! He's quite the artist isn't he, and that whippet is beautiful - well done Jennifer. As for John - any man that will make peppermint Oreo brownies is a keeper! xx

Shirley said...

Happy Birthday. What lovely celebrations you had. Sky Garden is some where we have visited and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience with magnificent views and a chance to just wander around and enjoy the venue. I taught the Reception year for nearly 20 years and birthdays were a big thing at school, the staff as well as children so I'm glad you had a happy celebration there. Our eldest daughter is 40 next year. Enjoy every minute. The house will survive. Best wishes :)

handmade by amalia said...

Happy Birthday! How nice that everyone contributed to make it a special day for you. And you look so pretty and happy.
Amalia
xo

CJ said...

Happy Birthday Gillian, it sounds like you had a wonderful time. The image of Year R singing you happy birthday is adorable. And I love Jennifer's whippet, he's perfect. Afternoon tea is a wonderful thing, Angus's reaction made me laugh too. I don't imagine anyone round here would fully appreciate rosewater in the cake and lavender in the scones either. Clearly we have more refined palates. The camera looks brilliant, I shall look forward to seeing many amazing photos. Hope you have a lovely weekend, enjoy all that cake, and well done John on all those brownies, this is truly impressive stuff. CJ xx

Coastal Ripples said...

Glad you had a happy fortieth and were suitably spoilt. You are so right about birthdays in a primary school. The perfect place to be. Love the look of your new camera . I look forward to seeing the results. Have a lovely weekend. B x

Christina said...

Happy Birthday Gillian. And what a wonderful birthday it was. Angus is a sweet little boy, he reminds me so much Sam when he was little. The mustard in the sandwich would have been on exotic unnecessary ingredient too many for him :-) You are truly blessed with a wonderful family and friends and I am so happy for you that they all could spend time with you. Forty sounds like a million years away to me, being closer to fifty now! Have a wonderful weekend. xx

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Happy Belated Birthday. I'm spying that rhubarb milk chocolate and there are hearts floating around my head!

galant said...

Belated birthday greetings, Gillian. Forty? You're n'but a kid! Just wait until you crack the Seven-oh, like I did three and a half years ago! Seventy is old, girl, not forty! But I'm only old on the outside. Inside I'm still twenty-five! My hair might look grey to people but to me it's still brown, my skin might look wrinkled but to me it's still silky smooth. Only joking! The aches and pains tell me I'm ancient, but what the hell, I'm still here!
I know how you feel about cameras. I loved my Nikon D50 and was sad when the flash failed to work and so bought a Nikon D90 which is heavier and, to my mind, not as good. I now use a tiny Sony but I've never found out how to use all the various bells and whistles, it's so tiny I can hardly read the instructions, I can just about manage the on/off button!
What a lovely birthday you have had, though. Love all those books, the skin products, the macarons, and having breakfast and afternoon tea are lovely treats. Here's to the next decade!
Margaret P

Julia said...

It sounds like you had a fabulous 40th birthday!!! I love all of your gifts from friends and family. You are well loved. I hope 40 is your best year yet!!

Lisa said...

Nothing for packed lunches? I thought you said there was cake in the house!
Go with the cake I say!
Very best wishes for an extra special birthday.
Lisa x

Teresa Kasner said...

*H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* I enjoyed reading several of your blog posts. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Claire/Just a little less said...

Happy 40th Gillian - love your outfit and you look so happy xo

*Freespirit Salma said...

Wow, Happy 40th!

Jo said...

Happy Birthday Gillian! I loved being 40 too. You are on the slippery, if not fun, slope of not giving a flip as to what people think! I had a huge barn dance for mine and we all realised were were really unfit but loved a party. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Jo xxx

Gina said...

Happy birthday Gillian. It sounds as though you have had a lovely few days of celebrations.

KirstenLN said...

Sounds like a great birthday! Lots of (belated) birthday greetings!

Femke Groenewold-Dijk said...

Happy birthday to you! I just turned 40 as well and I didn't feel like celebrating at all. But of course I did celebrate it and we had a lovely time. Sounds like you had great fun too!

Lucy B said...

Glad you had a fab birthday. looks like a lovely time, take care Lucy x

Katie said...

A belated happiest of birthdays to you Gillian - it sounds like a wonderful, memorable occasion surrounded with love. So glad you were treated and celebrated the day so well. xx

Col | Hello Olive Designs said...

Happy birthday! Looks like you had an amazing time! Angus's picture is so stunning. what a talented boy. x

Viv Kies said...

I've just had a lovely chat with John in JL who told me all about your special birthday present. I loook forward to seeing some of the lovely photos you take with it, and let me know how you get on with all the functions as I could do with decent camera myself!