Birthday Number 33

I had a birthday last week. I’m still a little sad that it’s over, because I just love my birthday so much. It’s not about the presents, or the fuss, it’s just about the feeling that you get on your birthday that you get on no other day of the year. I have dubbed it the special birthday feeling, because I have a way with words.

I dubbed the week surrounding last Thursday my birthday week. I’m not usually so precious, but the truth was that I got up to a lot of fun things between 7th and 15th November! A few of them are 33 Before 33 things that I wanted to get ticked off before the deadline, and as such they will have separate posts shortly. But here are just a few of the things I got up to.


  • I got a piercing (post to follow)
  • I went to the fireworks display at Alexandra Palace with Hannah; at only £6 I think it was a bit of a bargain, and it was a really long display, and totally worth the journey into London.
  • I went to my niece’s 6th birthday party; she’s currently undergoing an incredible Spongebob Squarepants obsession, and the whole party was themed as such! She dressed as Spongebob himself, encouraged her friends to wear yellow, and had crab patty cakes. All rather fun.
  • I went to the Lord Mayor’s Show in London on Saturday morning with my sister and her family. We’ve been going for years and it was the 800th anniversary this year – amazing to think something has been going for that long!
  • No big deal, but I met Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo at their Movie Doctors event. There’s a blog post to follow here too.
  • I had a birthday! This is a photo of me that I really, really like, wearing a present that my friend Laura bought me – it’s a necklace that says ‘Practically Perfect in Every Way’ in case you can’t see it.
  • On the evening of my birthday, I went for something to eat with some lovely ladies from work. I’m really grateful to this little lot for making my birthday special and full of laughter.
  • On the day that we went to London to see the Movie Doctors, Hannah and I also went on a little boat trip on the Thames. It was freezing cold, but good fun, and I took quite a lot of photos, including this one of Tower Bridge.

In all the excitement, I sort of forgot that I had turned a year older. My age means relatively little to me; I keep waiting for the year when I’m going to freak out about getting another year older, but it hasn’t come yet. I’m 33 now, and the only thing that bothers me about it is that it’s an odd number, and I much prefer even numbers!

32 Before 32 ~ Do something awesome for my birthday

For the last couple of years, I have bemoaned the fact that I have been in bed early, watching a film, on my birthday. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this; I certainly harbour no desire to be ‘out out’, drinking, dancing or anything like that. But the last couple of years have left me feeling sad, and I didn’t want to feel that way this year. As it was, I was fully planning on counting the Ward Thomas/The Shires gig as my ‘do something awesome for my birthday’, because it was the night before, and it really was awesome. But that wouldn’t have solved the problem of having something fun to do on the night of my birthday; luckily my sister invited me to dinner with her and her wife, and my dad, and we went out for food and drinks and had a lovely time.

The only photographic evidence I have of our evening is a dodgy selfie that I managed to cut most of my sister out of!

Luckily I am now the proud owner of a Selfie Stick (or a derivative thereof), courtesy of Hannah, so bad selfies are a thing of the past. Although, it took some setting up – because I didn’t notice the switch on the bottom, I had a little trouble.

I don’t care that I look like a total idiot in most of these (though my hair looks great in that last shot!), it makes me laugh! Fourteen photos that show that while I can name an awful lot of capital cities, I can be slightly lacking in the common sense department from time to time. I got it working in the end though.

Christmas selfies are going to be amazing.

I was at work for my birthday, which is not something that has happened for a few years. I have no problem with being at work on my birthday – it’s nice to spend the day with people, and I got a card (with the best message evs in it), and a bottle of wine, and I went to the pub for lunch with my work faves. I also made some vegan, gluten-free cakes. It was my first foray into the world of specialty-dietary-requirement baking, and it seemed to go OK. I can’t say that I don’t notice a difference with gluten-free flour (in the taste, rather than the baking itself), because I do, but they weren’t bad.

So all in all, with some lovely presents, lovely company, and tasty food, I had a good birthday. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with me!

32. Do something awesome for my birthday

Parlour Cafe – Creeksea

For months now, I’ve been hearing all about the Parlour Cafe in Creeksea, a tiny village near to where I live. It has been all over my Facebook feed from friends who have visited and said how delightful it is. I’ve been meaning to go, to check out what all the fuss was about, and then my cousin invited me to her birthday lunch, being held there, so I thought I’d write a quick post about how fabulous it is, even though I didn’t take as many photographs as I should have for a blog post!

Creeksea is located really near to Burnham-on-Crouch (it’s practically indistinguishable on the map), and the Parlour Cafe itself is located at Creeksea Place Barns. It’s in really pretty surroundings, tucked away in the countryside, and going on a really sunny day really helped to highlight how lovely it is.


The grounds are vast, so there is plenty of space for children to play, with plenty for them to do, including a table tennis table! Inside, the decor is lovely, with everything done in a distressed, vintage kind of way, and it just feels really homely and warm. As nice as it was to spend a sunny summer afternoon in there, I’m looking forward to going back when it’s cold and having a hot chocolate!

This time around, I had a chocolate milkshake, and very tasty it was too!

I love the map on the wall; if you are from somewhere a bit less local than me, you can take a flag and stick it in the map, and if you are from a country without a flag in it, you get a free coffee! As you can see, people have already visited from some far-flung places, including Iraq and Thailand!

A photo of the birthday girl and me – she’s also called Jane! She has certainly had a very exciting birthday week, she went for dinner at La Gavroche and met Michel Roux Jr himself!

In short, the Parlour Cafe is my new favourite haunt. I have plans to take all my friends there! They have a lovely food menu for breakfast, lunch and snacks (I can confirm that the chilli is delicious, and the wide selection of cakes that I sampled are divine!), and obviously a wide range of drinks to choose from. If you’re ever in east Essex, or find yourself on the banks of the River Crouch, you should definitely pay a visit to the Parlour Cafe!

BEDN ~ Remember, Remember…

So today’s prompt for BEDN is all about Bonfire Night, obviously, considering today is the 5th of November. However, in my wisdom, I decided to write about my love for fireworks and sparklers on Sunday, for the light prompt.

As I obviously don’t want to repeat myself, I thought I would write about this wonderful month of November, and all the reasons why I love it.

  • November is when autumn really starts to feel real, and you can feel the weather slipping into winter mode. It’s no secret that this is my favourite type of weather; as much as I enjoy the sunny days, I’m a real fan of the cold days, because it means wrapping up warm to go out, or staying in with a blanket, cup of tea and a really good book.
  • As I mentioned in my post on Sunday, I love Bonfire Night. Mostly because it sums up all I love about November; wrapping up warm and knowing my birthday is on its way.
  • So, of course, November brings my birthday along with it! I’ve always loved my birthday, and used to annoy most of my friends by counting down to it from very early in the year. It’s not all about the presents (though they are nice and always gratefully received!); when it’s my birthday, I have a unique birthday feeling inside that I cannot summon up on any other day of the year!


  • Everyone complains that Christmas seems to arrive earlier every year, but once it hits November, I think that’s pretty much the perfect time for Christmas adverts to start appearing on the television, and for Christmas products to arrive in the shops. Most people are beginning to think about their Christmas shopping, because nobody wants their entire December wage packet to be blown on Christmas, and where’s the fun in shopping for the festive season if you’re not feeling festive? My personal rule on listening to Christmas music is that it’s only OK once my birthday is over.


  • Every four years, November brings a United States presidential election, and that always gets me pretty excited.


  • Finally, November 2013 is going to be notable for two very important reasons. One of them is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I can’t wait for the special episode on the 23rd, all the hints so far suggest that it is going to be awesome on about 486 levels. The other important event that is occurring this month is that my very best friend in all the world is having her first baby. She is due on the 11th, and I cannot wait to meet the the little one.