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.

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  • 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!

Shapes of London by Yoni Alter

Quite some time ago, I featured the artwork of Yoni Alter on Is That You Darling, having fallen in love with his cityscapes when I discovered them on Etsy. I love cityscapes, and Alter’s range really celebrates the wonderful architecture on display in cities across the world.

Yoni has now updated his iconic London design to include the Leadenhall Building and 20 Fenchurch Street, known as the Cheesegrater and the Walkie-Talkie respectively. This particular design also features the London Air Ambulance, and proceeds from the sales of the limited edition print will be donated to the charity.

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Coming up with the idea after a medical student emailed him suggesting the idea, Yoni says, “It’s a privilege to be able to utilise my talent for good causes and I was very impressed when I learnt about the charity and its team members. These people truly are heroes.” The helicopter is drawn to scale against the city’s iconic buildings, and the position is true to the height that it regularly flies at.

The limited edition prints are available to buy from Yoni’s online shop, priced at £45 each, with £7 from each sale being donated to the London Air Ambulance.

Blue Plaque Quest #2

Way back when, I set out on a quest to photograph as many blue plaques as I could manage. I did a blog post with the two that I found on one trip to London (black plaques actually, but still official English Heritage plaques), and then I stopped. I carried on noticing them wherever I went, but I stopped photographing them and posting about them. The main reason for this is that I don’t have a decent enough camera to be able photograph them; they are up high, and require a better zoom that most of my cameras have!

But when I went into London last weekend, Hannah was kind enough to lend me her camera, and I managed to find some plaques. The truth is that none of these are official English Heritage plaques, but I decided that doesn’t matter – I want to share them with you anyway, and try and make this into a regular feature!

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‘Ziggy Stardust’ ~ Musician ~ 23 Heddon Street

This is definitely not an official English Heritage one, being as it commemorates a famous alter-ego! It marks the location of the cover photograph of the album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

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Joseph Haydn ~ Composer ~ 18 Great Poulteney Street

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John Stephen ~ Founder of Carnaby Street ~ Carnaby Street

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John Snow ~ Epidemiologist ~ 54 Frith Street

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Charles Bridgeman ~ Landscape Gardener ~ 54 Broadwick Street *Official English Heritage*

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Antonion Canal (Canaletto) ~ Venetian Painter ~ 41 Beak Street *Official English Heritage*

Quite a nice little selection, I think you’ll agree! I can’t wait to find some more now.

Five Things I Want to do in London

I love London, and I’m lucky enough to live close enough that I’m able to pop in and out fairly easily (if not cheaply). But I feel as though I always end up doing the same old things, every time I go. So every time I see something a bit different, I make a note of it, and I’m planning a trip in the spring that will take in at least a couple of these things!

Go to the opera

I’ve never been to the opera, but everyone I know who has just raves about it. Most importantly, it’s the people who think they won’t enjoy it that seem to be most blown away by it! I know nothing about the opera, but I love stories, so I’m pretty sure that I would love to see a performance. I’ve got my eye on Queen of Spades by the ENO, taking place throughout June at the London Coliseum.

Visit the Camera Cafe

I want to visit the Camera Cafe in Museum Street and take a look at their camera collection. I know vintage cameras are a bit hipster, but they are so very pretty! And I love any opportunity to sit down and drink tea and eat cake while I’m wondering around London!

Visit Erno Goldfinger’s house

This is the house of a noted 1930s architect (rather than the James Bond villain), and is described as a ‘unique and influential Modernist home’. Sounds absolutely delightful, and it only costs £6 for a guided tour!

Visit Ruby Jean’s diner

I think that diners are my number one place to eat, so I am always on the lookout for new ones to try. Ruby Jeans food looks AMAZING, and the decor is beautiful. They have various London restaurants, so I’m going to try hard to eat a burger here.

See a film at The Luna Cinema

It’s on my 33 Before 33 list to see a film outdoors, and having had a little look around, I think I want to do it with The Luna Cinema. The locations look stunning, so as soon as they release their screening dates for 2015, I’m booking!

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