It was my birthday on 13th October and unlike previous years whereby I would opt for an alcohol fuelled night out with my besties, finding my way home at 3am, carrying my heels instead of walking in them cause my feet hurt and waking up to an epic hangover, I really just fancied a more subdued and family orientated birthday this year.
I really just fancied a more subdued and family orientated birthday this year
It's no fun being hungover when you have kids, many of you reading this will know all too well from your own past experiences, as you don't get any sympathy from anybody, least of all your significant other and you certainly don't get any down time to recover. You still get woken up far too early by your darling offspring jumping on the bed the next morning, oblivious to the fact that the night before you had drank white wine and gin like your life depended on it, which had in turn enabled you to display some interesting shapes on the dancefloor. Also not understanding that you have now lost the use of your voice as a result of singing (or screaming) along to your favourite songs.
I noticed that there was a Gin Festival in town the night before my birthday
So this year, I decided I wasn't really bothered about celebrating too much, well that was until I noticed that there was a Gin Festival in town the night before my birthday at Teesside University. I had attended one there in March and it had been fab, so I mentioned it to a few friends and hadn’t needed to ask them twice, I mean it did involve gin after all! One of my closest friends who doesn't even like gin came along!!
The night was run by the Gin Society, a vintage themed gin night with live music and a vast array of gins from around the world for us to try. We purchased our tickets early to be on the safe side and became quite merry quite quickly, whilst experimenting with the different flavours.
My favourite quickly became the Malfy Con Limone Gin with Fentimans rose lemonade or ginger ale
My favourite drink quickly became the Malfy Con Limone Gin with Fentimans rose lemonade or ginger ale (I can't stand tonic). I also love a classic Hendricks and lemonade with cucumber garnish, but also tried one which tasted like palma violets and a really nice pineapple gin.
After the Gin Festival had come to an end, we ventured to the Star and the Dickens Inn on Southfield Road in Middlesbrough, just outside of Teesside University. After a couple of white wines and drunken hugs with friends I had bumped into along the way, I'm ashamed to say that I was extremely weak and finished off the night in a local takeaway where I ordered a Hot Shot Chicken Parmesan to go and shared a taxi home with a friend.
I was awoken at 6:30am the next morning by two excited children who wanted to give me my birthday cards and presents
I was awoken at 6:30am the next morning by two excited children who wanted to give me my birthday cards and presents. Thankfully, I didn't feel too bad considering and whilst I would have welcomed an extra couple of hours in bed, I decided to get up. Well, I compromised by sitting up in bed for a bit.
I was spoilt as I was treated to a new leopard print shoulder bag from River island, a leopard print LOVE sweater from The Family Store and a bottle of You eau de parfum from Glossier, amongst lots of other nice bits and pieces.
I had mentioned to Dean that I would love to have a drive out to the Whole Hogg Farm Shop and Tea Room in Malton, to get some lunch, some much needed fresh air and to take the kids pumpkin picking. The only thing was that it was an hours drive away and whilst the sun was shining, it was ever so windy.
We decided to risk it though, with me promising that we could turn back around if it became too treacherous. Thankfully, the drive wasn't too bad in the end, although the steep ascent up Sutton Bank in the wind made me ever so slightly nervous. Luckily it was Dean that was driving, as I think I'd have turned back round at that point.
Yes I did have slight food envy despite mine being very nice
Once we arrived, we went inside for some lunch. I opted for an autumnal spiced butternut squash and pepper soup with bread and butter. Dean went for the all day breakfast (yes I did have slight food envy despite mine being very nice) and the kids chose fish fingers with beans and chips. Now I'm not normally one to compliment a fish finger, but these were the best I've ever tasted! (Obviously I had to try some). So much so that if I go back again, I think I'll be ordering off the kids menu!
I was slightly relieved when we had all finished eating, as Mollie was becoming restless and mischievous. She had decided to run off through the cafe and shop area, following a stint sat on the floor whilst pressing her face up against the window. Kids (insert eye roll here).
I promise I wasn't just thinking of the Instagram potential!
So we ventured outside, where it was still really windy. We followed the path of pumpkins up to a field which was filled with even more pumpkins of all shapes and sizes scattered about, in large piles and in crates. Oliver chose a modest medium sized pumpkin following some subtle persuasion from myself and Dean and Mollie opted for a munchkin pumpkin, mainly because I told her it was small and cute like her. I promise I wasn't just thinking of the Instagram potential!
Mollie spotted the goats and horses which she stood stroking for a while and I managed to get a few photos of the kids running about. We then went back inside to pay for our pumpkins and to admire the cakes and deliberate on whether to take some home with us as they all looked so nice! We were good though and decided against it.
Once we arrived home, Dean and the kids surprised me with a birthday cake, so it was just as well we hadn't stocked up on cake from the farm shop. We ordered a takeaway from Pizza Hut and had a nice chilled family night in, just what I had wanted. Once the kids were in bed, I spent some time editing photos which is something I just love doing and we watched some TV before heading to bed.
Rather than buy each other gifts, we said we'd treat one another to a spa night
A few days later, I met up with my friend Sally for a Twilight Spa night at Wynyard Hall. Her birthday falls in September and this year, rather than buy each other gifts, we said we'd treat one another to a spa night.
We opted for the Autumn Twilight Spa which included soup and a bread roll on arrival, a treatment in the Rasul Mud Chamber followed by time in the spa, which included drinking hot chocolate whilst sat in a hot tub outside under the stars. Absolute bliss.
Drinking hot chocolate whilst sat in a hot tub outside under the stars. Bliss.
Upon arrival we were greeted with the most beautiful scent, which we later discovered had come from the Temple Spa 'Light My Fire' candles which were positioned on reception and near the changing rooms.
The changing rooms were communal, although there were a couple of cubicles available to change in. Once we were in our swimsuits, we put our things in our lockers and put on our complimentary robes and slippers, bundling our towels under our arms.
We were then seated in a room, a bit like a conservatory with windows all along one side, allowing you to look out on to the lake as it was starting to get dark. We had our soup, a couple of glasses of water and sat talking and laughing until it was our time to go in to the Rasul Mud Chamber.
I mean how cold could the showers actually be? The answer is bloody freezing
Typically, an hour before we were due to arrive at the spa, I received a call from them to advise that the hot water wasn't working, which meant that when we would be required to shower during and after the Rasul mud treatment, the water may be ‘quite‘ cold. I was given the option to rearrange our spa visit, but you mothers will know just how hard it can be to decide on a date and arrange something like this with your friends. So I made the executive decision to go ahead as planned and to tell Sal about the showers when we were already on our way, assuring her that they might not be ‘that’ cold after all and that it may actually feel quite refreshing! I mean how cold could the showers actually be? The answer was bloody freezing!
We were shown what we needed to do in the Rasul mud chamber, to rub the salt scrub all over before rinsing this off in the cold shower (brrrr), then to massage a clay like mud into our head and hair, a different mud into our face and a thicker black mud all over our arms, legs, chest and anywhere else we could find. Once applied, we then sat in a steam filled room whilst the nutrients from the muds worked their way into our skin.
Thankfully, the ladies at the spa had set us up in a massage room afterwards with an electric shower to enable us to wash off the excess mud from our skin and hair using warm water. After the shower, my skin felt so soft, smooth and moisturised and my hair smelt absolutely amazing, although I think this may have been down to the shampoo provided in the dispenser within the shower.
We drank our hot chocolate whilst we talked, laughed, vented and put the world to rights
We then headed outside to one of the hot tubs where we sat in the dark under the stars, watching the heat from the water rise and disappear into the cold night air. We drank our hot chocolate whilst we talked, laughed, vented and put the world to rights. We visited the steam room and a musical relaxation room too and felt so relaxed afterwards. It was just what we both needed.
Whilst I had been at the spa, back home Dean had taken delivery of a new King Size mattress for our bed. He had been complaining of a bad back for the last year, if not longer and had come to the conclusion that this was down to our existing mattress. So he decided to treat himself, well us, to a new one, no matter the cost, in the hope that he would sleep better and his back would improve.
He had already swapped the mattresses over and made the bed, ready for us just to fall into
He had opted for the Emma mattress which he purchased online after doing some research (so he says) on that and other similar mattresses. When I arrived home, he had already swapped the mattresses over and made the bed, ready for us just to fall into.
That night, I had such a deep sleep, I honestly don't know whether it was due to the relaxing spa night, the new mattress, or a combination of the both, but I certainly wasn't complaining. Dean also seems to think that his back has improved and he is sleeping better since replacing the mattress.
When my parents were that age, I thought they seemed sooo old!
So all in all, I had a lovely birthday and a fab time celebrating with friends and family, it was exactly how I had hoped it would be. It is slightly disconcerting to know that I am now in my 37th year, especially as mentally I certainly don't feel anywhere near that age. Also when my parents were that age, I thought they seemed sooo old!
Maybe it's not such a bad thing to feel young in your mind, it's just the reflection that looks back at you in the mirror that acts as a harsh reminder that you're just not that young anymore. The wrinkles that appear, the grey hairs, the little aches and pains which weren't there before. I'm certainly not ready to let myself go just get though.
Even now I don't see myself as a grown up, but then that isn't such a bad thing
Also, is it just me that finds it weird to be categorised as an adult? You know that saying that when things get tough, you look for a more adultier adult than you? Well that's me, the one that's always looking for someone more adult. Even now I don't see myself as a grown up, but then, is that such a bad thing? Yes I work hard, I try my best to be a good role model for my kids, I have a mortgage, a car and a pension. It all sounds very boring, but life's too short to grow up too quickly and if you can't enjoy yourself whilst at least 'pretending' to adult some of the time, well what's the point?
So here's to my 37th year, one step closer to being 40 and life begins at 40 right?