buy yourself something pretty

My image of 'a party dress'

So, my 40th is just around the corner (yes, scary and TOTALLY unbelievable, I know!) and so The Man asked me last night what I wanted as a birthday present.

Me:  Oh I don’t know, just something frivolous

Him:  Like what?Me:  I don’t know, surprise me

Him:  Do you want a party dress?

Me:  A party dress?

Him:  Yes, for your party.

Me:  Am I five?!

Him:  so, what DO you want then?

Me:  Well, I guess I need a decent haircut, it’s been a while.

Him:  OK, I’ll pay for you to have that

Me:  I wont like it though.

Him:  So WHY would I get it for you!?!?

My head hurts with all this thinking. Aren’t birthdays meant to be fun??

with a 50 cent soundtrack

Made by The Man: Chocolate sponge, cream, chocolate ganache, black cherries. YUM!

Everything I have done today has been to an internal soundtrack by 50 Cent – starting this morning when I realised I was singing “I’m gonna shower, like it’s my birthday!”

Yes. It IS my birthday.  And it is a very happy birthday.  I’m a very lucky girlie.  I have had many, many messages, texts, cards, emails, calls and tweets from lots of lovely people, and The Man made me a gorgeous looking cake late last night…which he then proceeded to tell me I am not allowed to have until today!  How unfair is that?!

Anyway, one of my favourite parts of my birthday is opening my card from my mate – who always puts a lot of effort into drawing fantastic little pictures.  We get them at Christmas too, but on my birthday they’re especially good.  And this year he has outdone himself!

What a work of art 🙂

The picture includes:

  • Our other mate (who cackles, so has always been depicted as a witch)
  • The Man (not dancing, cos he doesn’t – and I told him when we saw Leftfield that I was never going to a gig with him again, LOL)
  • Lovebox (as that’s what we always get my mate as HIS birthday pressie, as it’s always on/around his birthday)
  • Nouvelle Vague (as we first saw them on Lovebox, and he saw Mélanie Pain with me on Friday)
  • Me (depicted as big walking boobs, as always) snorkeling (as that’s all I want to do on my next holiday)
  • Garra Rufa fish, as I once suggested he come with me to have his feet nibbled, and he reckoned I’d gone mental and was making it all up
  • My cat
  • Two people simulating sex in a Biffa wheelie bin as in the play we saw last week – and The Girl looking on, and asking what was happening!
  • York & Albany, where he reckoned his scotch egg starter was way too small
  • Pizza Express where we were giggling cos I’d told him that all he was allowed to say to the waitress all night was “I’ve got a voucher!” cos we had a voucher for 2 mains for £12 (bargain, aye?!)
  • Barbican zombies, as he lives at Barbican, and I mentioned that walking around the High Walkway at night is like being in a zombie video game (like Resi Evil or Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising) cos you see hardly anyone, and then suddenly you spot individuals from a distance and have to make a decision whether they’re good or bad, and whether to shoot them in the head or run away!

I love my card.  I will keep it forever.  Or at least the picture 😉  Do click on the pic to see the big picture – it’s fab!

I also got a text which was effectively a note from my mum telling my bosses that I mustn’t do too much work today.  My boss said “OK”.  Which was nice.

bum date

"Lunch my arse!!"

I had another ‘Damn You Autocorrect!’ moment earlier, a bit like the one that I blogged about here.

My lovely friend sent me a text asking what I was up to on Thursday as she would be nearby and wondered if I fancied being taken for a slightly late birthday lunch.

My response?  “Dammit, I’m off on Thursday taking my arse to lunch!”

Of course, I didn’t realise what I had sent until she replied, “Your arse?”

I did actually mean ‘my parents’ and have no idea how they were replaced by my arse.  I only hope my mum never finds out!

afternoon tea at claridges

Chocolate Cake Selection

All my friends seem to be turning the big four-oh recently!  One of my oldest friends (one I’ve known the longest time obviously – not actually the oldest) hit this magnificent age on Sunday, and so we arranged for me to treat her to the rather opulent Afternoon Tea at Claridges on Monday.

We had both gone for Afternoon Tea at The Ritz about 3 years ago together with some other friends – which had been a lovely treat, although I had been very disgusted by the toilets, which were down some dark dingy stairs, had a queue right out the door and smelled totally gross and un-Ritzy.

We happened to go to the loo before we had our tea – and the difference was rather pleasant!

Once seated in the ‘comfortably posh’ foyer lounge, we were first able to choose which teas we would like (we both went for the Royal Claridges – as when in Rome…) and that was brought across to us with our plate of finger sandwiches.  The selection included cream cheese and cucumber, smoked salmon and horseradish mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise and tomato, smoked chicken and hickory mayonnaise and ham with mustard mayonnaise – of which the last was definitely the nicest as it was in the most gorgeous malty bread.  And when offered, we accepted another plate of sandwiches 😉

How sweet was this!

The service was impeccable – all of the waiting staff were so polite, on hand to pour our tea through our lovely silver tea-strainer but not at all intrusive.

And when they saw my friend open her card, they arranged for the pianist and cellist to play Happy Birthday and brought her out a special cake with a candle – which was a lovely

touch, and I think made her day 🙂

Next came our lovely light scones with clotted cream and jam, and thus started the ongoing debate as to whether you shoudl put your jam or cream on first.  I say cream then jam, my friend says the other way!  Now, if it isn’t clotted cream, then I can understand putting the jam on first, but as far as I am concerned, clotted cream is far thicker and more difficult to spread than jam, so you put that on first as it is easier to spread/drizzle jam over the top of it, as when you do it the other way round, the cream slips around on the jam underneath as you try to spread it!

Muchos yumminess!

Then was the exciting bit as this week is Chocolate Week in London, and instead of their usual pastries and cakes, we had a selection of beautiful chocolate creations by master chocolatier William Curley.  Every single one of them was gorgeous – and I think we were

both a little disappointed that we’d pigged out on sandwiches, and had to turn down an additional plate of cakes!  Although it could have made us sick, I guess!

At the end, we were both presented with a little box of two special chocolates to take home, and I gave mine to The Man.

A gorgeous experience that I would recommend to anyone.  I love love love Afternoon Teas and am determined to treat myself more often!

the night that was

Choose being an alcoholic

What with everything going on this week, I haven’t mentioned what an absolutely bloody fantastic night I had on Saturday to celebrate my birthday!

I’m one of these people who is a ‘nervous organiser’, and every time I arrange something, it seems to go well, and then I wonder why I was ever worried…but I’ll feel the same the next time.

People DO tend to come along on my birthday, and for the past 6 years or so, I’ve arranged to meet on the Saturday nearest to it and met up at a Wetherspoons bar in Angel as there are a few people that come from outside London and come into Euston, so it’s easy – and Wetherspoons are cheap!!  Which is great for alcoholics!

I actually had my hand forced as to when I was celebrating my birthday as I would’ve had it the weekend before, as it was closer, but loads of my mates informed me that my birthday was always ‘the first weekend in February’ and that they’d saved the date.  Which through me!

Over 25 people turned up, which was fab as a few (as always) had dropped out on the day, and I was having jitters as usual that noone was really going to turn up.  It was also great as a lot of my friends hadn’t seen each other for ages, and were happy to see each other again, and also that I had a couple of ‘new people’ that I introduced into my fold and who seemed to fit in really well!

It always amuses people though that a lot of my closest friends, I met 7 1/2 years ago on a dating site.  And my oldest close friend (longest-standing, not literally the oldest!) I met on the CB radio when I was 17!  I got a text from one of the ‘new into the fold’ friends (who I met on an application in Facebook of all places!) that said “I really liked CB woman and CB woman’s bf” which amused me 🙂

I had a fantastic time, I met a couple of new people, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  And as this is my year of getting back to my social self, I am considering just having a random meet at the end of April or something to bring everyone together again 🙂

another one bites the dust…

I would have preferred vodka!

…year that is.

Monday was my birthday, and I ‘celebrated’ it by being ill.  Oh yes, I did the whole snot, cough and ache thing that had been threatening for a few days, but that I thought I had kept at bay.  I think it’s mainly where I’d not been sleeping, and so got a bit run down and couldn’t fight it off any more.

So, as per my last post, my friends took me for dinner on Saturday night which was gorgeous, and then I met up with The Man again in the pub, where I’d left him about 3 1/2 hours beforehand!  I got to see some of our other friends, and then came home.

I had an awful night’s sleep and got up about 5am on Sunday feeling decidedly miserable and runny (ewww!) which lasted all day, so not surprisingly I didn’t do much, except watch TV and annoy The Man, waiting for The Girl to come home from her dad’s.  Then we all watched Survivors that we’d V+’ed (The Girl LOVES it for some reason – although the two of us watched Total Wipeout straight after, at which she collapses into fits of hysterics).

I hardly slept Sunday night as I couldn’t breathe, and got up at 4am…although I had to wait until the other two were up to open all the cards and pressies I’d accumulated!  I spoke to my boss who said “Ewwww” when I coughed over the phone at him, and told me to stay away until I wasn’t coughing.  I then got an email from him a couple of hours later saying “I forgot to say happy birthday, we’ll take you to lunch when you’re feeling better”…how sweet 🙂

I sat on the sofa and watched TV and played online and was swamped with happy birthdays from my mates, which was lovely, and The Man made me a gorgeous dinner, and also a butterscotch birthday cake, which was totally scrummy!  I even had happy birthday sung to me FOUR TIMES, inc from Florida and Australia, which was lovely.

The day passed nicely, but quite unbirthday-like…but I have my big drinks do on Saturday, which a lot of my friends are coming to, so THAT is when it will feel like my birthday 🙂

le mercury, islington

Three floors of French loveliness on Upper Street

On Saturday, two of my friends took me out as a birthday treat to the restaurant of my choice.  Someone had recommended Le Mercury in Islington to me recently, and I knew the prices were really decent, so didn’t feel too bad about taking them up on the offer!

I am SO glad that we went.  It’s somewhere that I have walked past many times and is always crammed full – and I didn’t even realise that there are three floors – I believe all of them were full on Saturday night!

Le Mercury is (obviously) French and is apparently used to being so busy – my only negative comment about the whole experience is that they seemed to have a ‘sitting change’ at a set time.  The only time my friend had been able to book was 9.15pm – a little later than we would have liked – but we just made sure we had late lunches!  When we got there, it took about 15 minutes or so for everyone to come in or leave.  We were on the ground floor, which made it rather annoying to start with as there was a steady stream of people wandering past us and opening the door…however, it all settled down quickly enough.

The prices on the menu are set – £3.95 for starters, £6.95 for mains and £2.95 for desserts with side orders at £1.95 – great prices aye?  Bottles of wine were £11.45 to £36.95, which were also great value.  There was a specials menu that was slightly more expensive, including bellinis and rossinis (which were gorgeous) but we all chose from the standard menu.

We were surprised at the portion sizes which seemed very generous, and the quality of the food was fantastic!

For starters, we had crayfish & lobster ravioli on spinach with a shellfish foam, foie gras and duck ballotine with poached dates and toast and beef carpaccio with capers and red pepper relish and salad.

Mains we had sea bass with crushed new potatoes and minted pesto (twice) and saddle of lumb on garlic mash, grilled courgettes and rosemary jus.  We shared a couple of sides of veg which were really yummy too!!

Desserts were poached pear with sugar glaze and cinammon ice cream and dark chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream.

Everything was scrummy!  Everything was flavourful and great quality.  It was a brilliant night, with great service that was completely unrushed and I loved every minute of it.  I definitely recommend it.  the atmosphere was great – and next time I’m definitely going to try the steak – it looked delicious on everyone’s plates!!

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