Birthdays are always an occasion for mixed feelings. I love the attention that comes with a legitimate reason to be the center of all the attention. On the other hand birthdays also remind me of where I am on the socially and culturally constructed timeline. Behind much?!
When I turned 30 I decided to travel as part of my annual birth celebration. I went to Disney!!! It was totally worth it! Being a creature that thrives off tradition, this year I had to take off and this time on a plane. It had to be big. It had to be dream fulfilling. My destination? London and Ireland of course. It helps that a friend of mine was living in London at the time but that’s neither here nor there.
I rang in this year’s birthday in the best way I could imagine. Rocking loads of pearls in the London equivalent of a hipster night club. My heart was truly happy. Granted, I only knew a single person there and the rest of my party was made up of brand new friends who I will probably never see again… but hey I live for adventure and that was a grand one!
Tequila shots and pints of beer made for a great party! Loads of laughter and sore feet made for a full heart. It was exactly what I needed.
The next day my hostess had the best day planned. Authentic London tea time followed by the best view in town.
On my actual birth day we slowly rolled out of bed and made believe we weren’t nursing slight hangovers. Honestly I think we were more tired from a late night than actually hungover. Of course our slow motion caused us to run behind schedule but we rushed and made it on time. When we arrived at the Hotel Café Royal I felt that I was stepping into the home of a member of the royal family. Wowzers the grandeur. The décor was exquisite. I’m sure I was gawking at the richness of it all.
We checked our coats and made our way to the Oscar Wilde Bar, yes it’s named after Oscar Wilde who was a frequent patron of the venue back in his day. There was an actual maître d’ who wore white gloves and gave an interesting speech on the history of tea time and the tea room. We were seated next to the piano and enjoyed some beautiful melodies played by the pianist. After we placed our tea order they brought out the sandwich platter. Three tiers of delicate finger sandwiches. YUM! I particularly enjoyed the way the tea was served. We each had our own little tea pot with two cups of tea worth in it. The dessert platter was equally as elegant. I made it a point to try every single dessert on that platter… let’s just say that I liked some better than others. We were both surprisingly satisfied by the amount of food we were served. I felt like a princess which was appropriate given the fact that it was my birthday. It was definitely a wonderful experience, one I wouldn’t mind repeating.
Following tea time we made our way through the city towards the London Bridge. A few blocks away from the bridge there is a popular skyscraper known for its 360 view of the city. That was our destination, The Shard! This building is home offices but also super posh restaurants and bars all of which have strict dress codes — no exceptions! After riding the elevator up the 32nd floor we walked through the lobby towards the stairs where I first saw the view of London through a glass wall that spanned multiple floors. The whole time we were walking up the flight of stairs to the 33rd floor my eyes were glued to the view. Definitely grateful for railings because I might have walked right off those stairs. On the 33rd floor we were met by a welcoming and gracious hostess who welcomed us to Hutong. Of course there were no tables by the windows but we made the best of it. We ordered drinks and chatted. It was the perfect way to end the day.
Life constantly reminds me that we make our own happiness. We make moments special. Our attitude, perspective and intentional decision to enjoy life actually makes life worth living. That chilly Sunday, all the way in London I was reminded once more.
Look Ma, I survived another year as a single independent woman in a man’s world!
Kudos to you if you read all of the words in this post… I can really ramble on and on.
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