My birthday: Notes on turning twenty five

This Saturday I turned 25. Twenty five years of age, people! I’ve reached my mid twenties, I’ve made it; I’m that little bit closer to thirty. How terrifying is that!

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But this year, instead of my usual excitement about the onset of birth related celebrations, I sort of forgot about it. My birthday suddenly came around, quickly and quietly and I forgot to acknowledge it with my usual hype and eager count down.

I think this is mainly due to the fact that I’ve experienced an excessive amount of excitement recently – what with being engaged and all – so my birthday sort of snuck up on me, arriving without much warning. Or maybe I’m just getting older and birthdays will just be less exciting from now on?

On account of my engagement ring and the recent engagement trip to Paris, I told Oli not to get me anything for my birthday, as a way of alleviating my guilt a little, at the amount of money he’d spent on me lately. But to my surprise he completely ignored my mild protestations of “Oh you really don’t have to get me anything for my birthday! Just a nice card will do!” and had a day of treats lined up for me, along with a bundle of presents for me to open.

That Saturday we woke up early, and Oli gave me two gorgeous collage frames that he’d put together, full of snapshots from our recent engagement shoot and our time in Paris. He then passed me his handmade card which had the Shard drawn on it. I immediately looked up at him, my face a picture of excitement as I realised what this meant. I’ve wanted to go up the Shard for ages and now, today was the day!

Before hopping on the train to London Waterloo, we stopped off at Waitrose for a free Cappuccino; any excuse for free caffeine and I’m there. On the train Oli and I sat playing the amazing app version of the board game Ticket To Ride, which I cannot recommend enough. We spend a great deal of our time playing it. I don’t win nearly as much as I’d like to.

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When the train pulled into London, we set about catching Pokemon, which was unbelievably satisfying and surprisingly addictive. Our iPhone battery life sufficiently depleted, we mooched our way towards London Bridge and the Shard, soaking in the sunny rays on the way. The breeze from the Thames was lovely and refreshing and it felt so good to be out and about in a new outfit with absolutely no cardigan restriction. It feels like Summer might have finally arrived. Here’s hoping.

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At around 11 o’clock, Oli treated me to a birthday breakfast at Bills on Clink street. Bills has to be one of my favourite places, if not my very favourite place, to have breakfast. We sat outside and ate our eggs, bacon and black pudding in the sunshine, catching Pokemon sporadically between mouthfuls, chatting and muttering our appreciation for the food that was in front of us. Oli mentioned to the waiter that it was my birthday as he was paying the bill and the waiter rushed inside and leapt outside again, yielding a bag of white chocolate buttons.

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“Here!” He said, thrusting the buttons towards me. “Happy birthday love, on us!” I was pretty chuffed with my unexpected and delightfully edible present. It just goes to show that it’s always worth mentioning that it’s your birthday. Thank you Bills, for breakfast and the buttons too.

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Our tummies well and truly satisfied, we carried on walking toward the Shard, stopping to admire it’s modern beauty when we finally stumbled across it. It really is pretty spectacular; I love how the top of it looks jagged and spiky like an actual shard of glass. I knew that the view from up there would be utterly amazing, especially on a sunny day like this, but I had no idea quite how amazing it would really be.

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We gawped at the stunning view, in the illuminating sunshine, moving around the viewing deck, our hands intertwined, our fingers jabbing at the glass with keenness, eager to point out certain landmarks and interesting things to look at. The people around us appeared to be sipping ice cold glasses of Champagne. Oli, being the fantastic fiancé that he is, bought us a glass of the priciest glass of champers I’ve ever had. But he reasoned that it was my birthday and so it had to be done. I sipped the champagne appreciatively, felling very special and lucky indeed, gazing out at the beautiful tapestry of London landmarks below.

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The view was pretty impressive, the weather certainly adding to the lovely summery look of London; illuminating certain nooks and crannies that seemed to sparkle in the sunlight.

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I have to say that the best view in the whole of the Shard, was in the toilet. I couldn’t believe it myself but as I walked in the toilet, I couldn’t help but gasp. Admittedly it’s a little – no very – disconcerting weeing with zero privacy in front of what feels like the whole of London with nothing to hide you from view, but I couldn’t recommend it more if I tried. Even if you don’t need a wee, squeeze one out, you won’t regret it!

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I didn’t want to come back down to reality but sadly we had to. Once we’d whizzed down in the lift, impressing some German tourists with our extensive knowledge of their language on the way, we mooched around some more, retracing our footsteps, back the way we’d came, stopping off near Shakespeare’s Globe for an ice-cream.

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I opted for the rich and creamy flavours of salted caramel and honeycomb, whereas Oli went for a fruity mango and strawberry combo. Soon enough we were back on the train and heading for Oli’s house, to await my family’s arrival.

They all came round for dinner and we played a spot of croquet, in the evening sunshine, in the garden (courtesy of my latest purchase in the Laura Ashley sale) and we spent the evening sipping prosecco and opening presents. My sister’s birthday is the day after mine so it was a joint celebration.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and felt so blessed and fortunate, all warm and fuzzy inside. This year I’m not worried about ticking boxes and completing things, I’m not bothered about what I didn’t get done in my year as a twenty four year old. But instead, I’m excited to be a year older, to be twenty five because of all the things I’m going to experience in my days, weeks and months as a twenty five year old. It’s going to be the best year yet. I’m almost certain of it!

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