Birthday Club 2018

The rules of birthday club are simple. You sign up, you get assigned a random partner; on their birthday you send them a present, and on your birthday they send you a present. I started this gift exchange last year, and it seems to have worked well, for the most part, so I’m hoping to get lots of people involved again!


So if you’d like to join in, please fill in this form, and I’ll pair you up with another person. You will then buy a small selection of gifts for that person (based on some information they give you about themselves), and post them off, ready to open on their birthday. A reasonable amount to spend is £10-12, before postage.

Sign-ups will close on 10th December, meaning that anyone paired with an early January birthday should have plenty of time to buy and post a gift. I will endeavour to send a reminder to everyone a couple of weeks before the birthday of your partner, though I am pretty rubbish at things like this, so I make no promises!

Birthday Club

Having done a couple of Secret Santas this year, I came up with the idea that it might be nice to do a similar sort of thing for birthdays. I know people’s birthdays are a little more spread throughout the year, but I think it could still work!


I think the easiest way to make this work is to ask people to sign up, and to partner them with another person. You buy a small selection of gifts for that person (based on some information they give you about themselves), and post them off, ready to open on their birthday. I would say that a reasonable amount to spend is £10-£12, before postage.

So, if you would like to join in, please email me with the following information:

  • Full name and address
  • Birthday (including year if you are happy to disclose your age!)
  • Likes and dislikes (including allergies)
  • If you’re willing to post outside of the UK (we may not have any international participants, but it’s open to anyone who wants to join in!)

I will then pair people up and let you know who you are buying for! I’m going to put a closing date on this of 30th December, in the hope that nobody who signs up has a birthday in the first couple of days of January. If you do, but you’d still like to play, you may have to accept a slightly belated present!

I will also endeavour to send a little reminder a couple of weeks before the birthday of the person you are buying for, just in case anyone is as disorganised as I usually am!

A Birthday Girl Goes to War (Or Olympia)

Hello all

As previously promised, I thought I’d tell you about my birthday surprise, arranged for me by my lovely friends! I went to London on my actual birthday, for the Lord Mayor’s Show, and all I knew about my Sunday activities was that I was going to London again! I wasn’t blindfolded or anything, but I didn’t get to find out what my surprise was until we were eating lunch in London. My good friend Vicky decided the best way to break the news of the surprise was to hum the Doctor Who theme tune. Needless to say that I got it straight away, because I’ve been hankering to go to the Doctor Who Experience in London since it opened, and more especially since I worked at Olympia a couple of times in the last few months, and saw dozens of little boys in tweed and bow ties (bow ties are cool), clutching Doctor Who carrier bags. So I was super excited for my birthday treat!

We went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Earls Court for lunch, and it was yummy! That was part of my surprise, I didn’t know we were going there, but I was glad we did! I haven’t actually even heard of Gourmet Burger Kitchen before, never mind eaten there. As the name suggests, they serve burgers, and there is such a wide range that even if you don’t like beef burgers, there is bound to be something else on the menu to enjoy. I had a cheeseburger, and shared some chips with Vicky, and because of the size of the burger, even half a portion of chips was too much for me to manage! I would definitely recommend it if you like that kind of thing!

Then, onto the main event of the day: Doctor Who! The first part of the experience is the ‘interactive part’, you watch a video of the Doctor in the Pandorica; he needs our help to escape! So you walk through various different rooms, starting with the library from Silence in the Library, where a node speaks to you about the various different artifacts in the room such as the Van Gogh painting from The Pandorica Opens. As you move through the rooms, you have to encounter the Daleks (genuinely quite scary), and then you end up in the TARDIS, where you have to help the Doctor fly it. The last part is a 3D bit, where various monsters, such as the Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels (also quite scary), reach out at you, before, shock horror, everything turns out OK, and you are safe to exit, and walk through the exhibition of costumes and props. It was very good, and, if slightly more geared towards children (pesky kids), doesn’t detract from the awesomeness of finding yourself in the TARDIS.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen – so tasty!

Me, the TARDIS and Eleven. It’s a truly terrible waxwork (or whatever it is) of him – he looks awful! Matt Smith is much, much more attractive than that!

Some of the costumes we saw. I definitely didn’t touch any of them, because you weren’t allowed. Shame really.

We had lots of fun with the Silence, including drawing tallies on hands.

The photos of me here are a bit rubbish, as they weren’t taken with my camera, but you can see what a loser I’m being.

Whatever you do, don’t blink!

As you can see, there was plenty of fun to be had, including speaking like a Dalek and walking like a Cyberman.

Take that, pesky kids, I got a carrier bag too! Obviously the gift shop is the best part of any day out, and I got a programme (as a present, part of my surprise), two badges, a TARDIS pen, and a poster of the Van Gogh painting (not pictured, from Richard as a present). I also pressed a penny; I try to do one whenever I see a machine, I have quite a collection now!

It was a great day, and I would definitely recommend the Doctor Who Experience to anyone who is a fan of the show! Thanks to my lovely friends for arranging it for me!

Turning 29

Hello all

As you may know, it was my birthday last Saturday, and I turned 29! Eeek! That exclamation has nothing to do with me thinking that I am getting old, and everything to do with wondering how on earth I got to be 29. I have no problem with turning thirty, and I am probably looking forward to it more than most people do. I am always more concerned with the fact that I am having a birthday than with the fact that I am adding a year onto my age.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been going to the Lord Mayor’s Show on my birthday weekend. It always coincides with my birthday weekend, because it’s always the second Saturday in November, and my birthday being the 12th of November always falls there or thereabouts. For those who don’t know what the Lord Mayor’s Show is (and frankly, that’s most people I have ever spoken to outside of my family), it’s a procession that makes its way through London to celebrate the appointment of the new Lord Mayor. It starts at Mansion House, the Lord Mayor’s official residence, and ends up at the Royal Courts of Justice, where the new Lord Mayor swears allegiance to the crown. It then makes its way back through the city, back to Mansion House, for the new Lord Mayor to begin his years work. (Although he probably has Saturday afternoon off. I would.) According to Wikipedia, the Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest events in London, dating back to 1535. Some interesting facts include:

  • Until 1710, the Lord Mayor usually rode on horseback in the procession. Unfortunately, after Sir Gilbert Heathcote was knocked off his horse by a drunken flowergirl, it was decided that carriages were the safer option.
  • The Lord Mayor’s golden coach is pulled by six horses, which is only two less than the eight that pull the Queen’s Gold State Coach. It was built in 1757 at a cost of over £120,000 in today’s money.
  • The word ‘float’, which is widely used for vehicles in street processions, originated from the barges used when the procession took place with barges on the river. (All information taken from Wikipedia)

Isn’t that all very interesting? The show is aired live on the the BBC, and it has been for years, and yet people still have no idea what I am talking about when I say I am going to the Lord Mayor’s Show! If you live in or near London, you should make a point to go next year – it’s a nice day out and you can even stay around until five o’clock for a spectacular firework’s display over the river! And because I’m just that wonderful, I’m going to share some photographs of my day out with you!

Robbie, Kim and I, waiting for the clipper to travel up the Thames.

Kim and Tower Bridge. For some reason we acted like proper tourists on the boat, despite having seen these sights time and time again!
The view across the river as we waited for the procession to start.
Some shots of the show.
Kelly, Molly and Matthew enjoying the show – it was Molly’s first time at the Lord Mayor’s Show and she seemed to enjoy it, until she fell asleep!
Some more shots of the show.
Kim and I enjoying the procession.
Now it wasn’t the coldest Lord Mayor’s Show I’ve ever been to, but it was still November! How cold do you think the people on this float were?
Sometimes you get a minor celebrity in the procession. I’ve seen Alf and Audrey Roberts from Coronation Street (in character as Mayor and Lady Mayor of Wetherfield), Hunter from Gladiators and Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent. This year it was Tony Stamp from The Bill, aka Graham Cole.
Uncle Ben! If you get this reference, and you’re not related to me, congratulations! You win a prize!
Me coming over all patriotic and waving my flag!
As I said, we stayed for the fireworks (the first time I’ve ever done that, to the best of my knowledge), which were spectacular! Certainly a lot more professional than the ones at my fireworks party the week before (which I shall post about at a later date!).
I love London at night!
Special thanks to Matthew and Kelly, some of whose photos I have nabbed here! I’ll do a separate post about the birthday surprise that my friends organised for me, because there are already too many photographs in this post!
Until next time