In case you didn’t know, the 20th September marked my 24th Birthday. I had a really great time celebrating and somehow managed to drag it out over the course of the entire week, culminating in a giant Sunday pub roast with my friends – if the Queen can have two birthdays, why can’t I?
It’s definitely true that the older you get, the less of an ‘event’ birthdays become. Gone are the days of eating jelly and ice cream till I’m bouncing off the walls, and instead I’ve started to view my birthdays as a time to reflect on the year that’s passed and to look forward to what’s to come.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post entitled “22 things I know now I’m 22”, where I talked about what I’d learnt in the past year. But this year I’m going to take a slightly different slant and talk about the highlights of my 23rd year instead. This is inspired by the lovely Lily & Anna who created such beautiful videos to mark their birthdays, talking about all their favourite memories from the year before.
So let’s get into it shall we? And throw back to September 2015:
- My 23rd Birthday itself was great. I went to the 40’s day at the Historic Dockyard with my Mum, one of my best friends, Amy, and her Mum. It was so fun and a great way to kick start the year. You can read all about it here.
2. October marked the 50th anniversary celebrations of the local cricket club where I spend so much of my summer every year. We had a big party to celebrate, where I danced the night away and just had a really good laugh. It was one of those nights where I had no real expectations, which meant that it was all the more fun and that’s the reason it’s made it into this list because it was a genuinely unexpected highlight.
3. Moving onto December, which is always one of my favourite times of year anyway. This year the highlight for me was New Year’s Eve. I usually find that it’s one of those days that has soo much hype attached to it, that whatever you do it never feels good enough. But this year I loved it. I spent it with some of my oldest friends from school – a group of people who I love very much because they took me into their little crew when I was going through a bit of a tough, lonely patch – and it was great! We had a lovely meal, played silly games, drank, danced & set off fireworks. It was perfect! I haven’t seen them as much as I’d have liked to throughout the rest of the year, but they’re always a group that I just slot back into place with and I’m looking forward to seeing what other adventures we can have this year.
4. February brought with it London Fashion weekend and another adventure with Amy (I have a feeling she is going to feature a lot more in this blog post…). This was a great day out, which again you can read about here. It was such a good experience, we got to see a fashion show, did some shopping and hung out in London. It was perfect!
5. One of the best things about the past year was hanging out with my best boyos Tom & Rob, two friends from uni. I went to stay with them in Norwich twice, once in March & once in August. They are two of the most special people in my life and I cherish every minute I get to spend with them, which unfortunately isn’t all that often, so whenever I get to see them it is a definite highlight.
6. While I was in Norwich in March I went to see Sleeping Beauty, the Matthew Bourne production, and it was spectacular. For those of you that don’t know, I danced from the age of 3-18, but it’d been a little while since I had any involvement in that world and I’d really missed it, so it stands out as a real highlight of the past year. It was also Rob’s first experience of Ballet, so was very special to share that with him!
7. In April one of my fave couples in the world, The Parkers, came to visit me. I lived with Sam at uni and again he’s someone that I really don’t get to see as often as I’d like to anymore. So he and his gorgeous wife Emily trekked down to Rochester to hang out with me. We went browsing through my favourite second hand book shop and ate our body weight in pizza, a pretty perfect day if you ask me.
8. Throughout the months of April-September this year my answer to ‘what are you up to this weekend?’ was pretty much always ‘watching my Dad play cricket’. It’s no secret that the cricket club has become somewhat of a happy place for me. I can be a bit of a homebird sometimes and after a long week at work I love being near my family, doing nothing. I’ve made great friends there and have spent many a night hanging out and putting the world to rights over an Indian takeaway and a pint of coke. One night that stands out in particular was when we had an incredibly in depth discussion about our Zombie Apocalypse action plan- sounds absurd if you weren’t there, but let’s just say, things got pretty heated.
9. In May I went to see The Sons Of Pitches perform with my Dad. I’ve loved the band ever since I saw them on Gareth Malone’s Naked Choir, but they were so much better live than I could ever have imagined. For me, it’s the slightly more random experiences that you have that really stick in your mind. I’d never seen live a capella before but it’s definitely something I’m going to see again.
10. Another highlight for me this year has been getting back into reading! Aren’t the simple pleasures always the best ones? After studying English at university for 3 years I kinda lost my love of literature but it’s fair to say I’ve firmly found it again and I’m so happy about it. ❤️
11. One of the most special moments this year was returning to my old secondary school to celebrate my old music teacher’s retirement. He was such a huge part of my school life and it was so lovely to be able to go back and sing with him again.
12. That brings us onto July, which brought with it the warmer weather and my work’s Summer party. Again this stands out as a real highlight of the past year because it was such a lovely day. I’ve said it before, but I feel genuinely lucky to work with such a great bunch of people who I count as true friends. The 9-5 can be a bit of a drag sometimes, so it was really nice to take a step back, chill out and have some fun with them all!
13. July also brought with it the only festival I went to this year – Bushstock Festival in London. It was a great day with loads of great artists spread out across different venues in Shepherds Bush. The highlight was seeing Bear’s Den in St Stephen’s Church, despite the completely numb bum after sitting on the stone floor of a church for hours. They were absolutely incredible, one of the best live acts I’ve seen in the past year (and I’ve seen a lot!)
14. In July I went fruit picking with my best friend Becca. It was a completely spontaneous way to spend a Saturday but I loved it. My favourite thing about my friendship with Becca is that we always end up having the most random experiences together, and I really hope that that continues for many more birthdays to come. She’s the absolute best.
15. This year one of my oldest friends from school, Neesha, got married. And in July we had the most special weekend away at Champneys Spa for her Hen Do. It was such a beautiful venue and we had the perfect weather to explore the grounds and chill out in the sunshine. It was a real stand out moment of the past year and one we’ve vowed to make an annual thing!
16. Although it seems to have gone by in a flash, August actually saw some sunshine! Some of my favourite moments this year have been the sunny lunch hours I spent along the Leas in Folkestone. Although it’s a bit of a trek to get there in the mornings, it’s a beautiful place to work and I find it really calming to be so near the sea.
17. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll know just how much I love music. One of my absolute favourite past times is going to gigs and this year I’ve been to a lot of them. I’ve seen Rhodes, Amber Run, Bears Den, Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes, Oh Wonder (to name a few!) and this Friday I’m seeing Gavin James. These all come to mind as real highlights, although I still think it’s so unfair that I’ve been cursed with the short genes and can never actually see the stage… #shortgirlproblems
18. August brought with it Neesha’s wedding, and an entire week of celebrations. It was one of the best weeks of the year! I saw my friends every day, got to dress up in gorgeous clothes, ate the most delicious food, danced to my heart’s content and celebrated the love that my gorgeous friend and her (now) husband share. It was perfect!
19. It was also so so lovely to be able to reconnect with some old friends this year. I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships and relationships lately and it’s become so important to me to cherish the ones that count, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for us.
20. I’ve had some great times visiting my brother since he moved to Cambridge, but one of the highlights was in August, when we went to see Henry V being performed at one of the colleges. Again, it was a bit of a spontaneous outing, but one of the best. The performance was great, and it was nice to have a little taster of Cambridge living, complete with Prosecco and a quinoa salad- (I don’t mean to stereotype but seriously, I’m not making this up, there was enough prosecco and humous there to keep Waitrose in business forever more!)
21. Another highlight of the past year has been making some new friends. I’ve spoken about how difficult friendships in your 20s can be on this blog, particularly when it comes to making new ones. But over the last few months I’ve been really lucky to have some great people enter my life, one being my friend Heather. I’ve really found a bit of a kindred spirit in her and it’s been great getting to know her and sharing our successes and our more challenging times together. I’ve really appreciated her friendship over the past year, long may it continue.
22. As always, another great thing about the past year has been seeing my family, in particular my Aunty, Uncle, cousins & my cousin’s children. We’ve had a couple of really fun days hanging out at their place, catching up, eating great food and playing in their swimming pool/on the climbing frame. It’s safe to say that my days of hanging upside down on the monkey bars are well behind me, but I can still master the slide with the best of them!
23. Lastly, it sounds cheesy, but this blog definitely has to make the list. This time last year on my 23rd Birthday I was dreaming about having my own site but I didn’t think it would actually happen. Now we’re here, and look what we’ve achieved! Thank you for reading and always responding with such interesting and well thought out comments. I really appreciate y’all, especially you Mum- because I know you’ll read this at least 24 times…
I really hope you have enjoyed this little insight into my 23rd year. I’m genuinely excited to see what 24 holds; so far it’s been pretty good to me! (More to come on that in my next post…)