I love birthdays.
Especially when they’re my own.
If you think about it for too long, you begin to wonder what the big deal is. It’s just another day, that ultimately celebrates the marking-off of another day on a calendar. BUT for whatever reason, long ago it was decided that this would become a big deal, and that the person celebrating this day should be the STAR of the day. The focus.
Now you know me, I’m not one to try and take the spotlight (!) so of course it should be no biggie. But, having had to share MY special day with ‘the twin’ for the past however many years, the chance to really bring it back to me was just a little too irresistible. So I took the day off work and made plans.
At 8:07 the doorbell rang. “flowers, flowers, flowers…” I thought, as I threw my hair into a knot and stumbled downstairs.
It was Scott. Fresh-faced, grinning and sweaty from running. Delightful. “MORNING, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”
An earlier start than I’d wanted for my day off, but we had plenty to pack in, so I grabbed my handful of cards, thoughtfully sent from friends and family across the country, and then began to excitedly unwrap presents. So far, a cracking start.
By now though, Scott was getting a little impatient and hungry, so I popped my cards up on the mantelpiece and we headed off in search of some grub.
First stop, Brew on Northcote Road, where I had blueberry pancakes and caramelised banana, with creme fraiche & maple syrup – THE best breakfast ever. Scott had porridge with fresh fruit and 3 poached eggs. Separately. The day was continuing most excellently.
Next up we had to collect Clare from the station. I’ve not seen Clare since August LAST YEAR as she hid herself in the depths of Australia so this was a BIG DEAL. She arrived with a big bunch of balloons for me, which didn’t leave my side for the rest of the day. All very exciting indeed!
We were so lucky with the weather and had so much chatting to do that we decided to walk to our lunch spot. As we ambled along for the next 2 hours, we took in some of my fave London bridges, beautiful shops, parks and streets. It was the perfect way to re-introduce Clare to the capital after so much time away.
As our feet felt they could take no more, we took our final paces down Oxford Street and arrived at our destination. Lunch was in Market Place, where Sophie and Laura joined our gang. Steak salads all-round with some bubbles to wash it down. Delish.
Despite the mileage we’d put in already, we had more walking to do. Next stop, Hyde Park.
Or more specifically, The Serpentine.
You can hire boats or pedalo’s for £12 per adult for an hour, which is all you’ll need. The rowing boat is definitely the more authentic, and I like rowing, so it was an easy decision.
Off we set. Row, row, row the boat…
Apparently you’re not meant to take alcohol on the boat. We didn’t really realise this, so brought along more bubbles. I personally think rowing and bubbles are a match made, and under the blazing sun, with laughing children all around, it felt like a little summer holiday.
Once we’d done a lap, Laura and Clare took to the helm. 15 minutes later we’d circled a 3 metre radius several times but only bumped into 4 pedalos and 1 rowing boat so it was going well.
Proof that fun can be had, no matter what your rowing ability is!
All this exercise had given us quite an appetite.
We skillfully parallel parked/moared our boat, hopped out and set off – once again, on foot – to Covent Garden.
Here we topped up on bubbles, met more friends and grabbed a table outside Shake Shack.
Having gone fairly big on food all day, this fancy-fast-food spot was just the ticket. We were able to soak up the Covent Garden atmosphere whilst getting stuck into deliciously moreish burgers and crinkley fries. This was washed down with ‘concretes’ (custard-ice cream) and vino.
And because we’d spent all day avoiding public transport, we continued in that manner and walked much of the way home.
I would never have thought I could have such an enjoyable birthday in the heat and crowds of London Town, but here is the proof.
A marvellous day in a marvellous City.