It could have been a recipe for disaster. Recently single, living back at home with my parents, and officially closer to thirty than twenty, I must admit I had some reservations about my birthday. Don't get me wrong, I love birthdays. All that cake and alcohol, and people buying you nice things you don't need. This year though, I'd had to cull my present list a few weeks before the event (an espresso machine ceases to be the perfect gift when you no longer have a kitchen) and I'm still at that stage where a few glasses of wine lead to inconsolable sobbing after lights out.
As it happened though, I had a wonderful day. Best Mate and I caught the train to London, where we ate cupcakes and fancy pizzas. I also had my first ever facial, and a bellini with my lunch. Perfect.
That evening, I came home and shared a Chinese takeaway with The Family and Eldest Brother's Girlfriend, who I adore. We listened to American Anthems (THREE CDS!) and my brothers did a superb (if disturbingly high pitched) rendition of Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. The Girlfriend and I polished off two bottles of Pinot Grigio and generally had a lovely time.
Just as I was heading off to bed, I felt that familiar wave of slightly drunken melancholy wash over me, but then I got a text message from The Journalist. The Journalist and I have, shall we say, a mutual appreciation for each other, but he has a girlfriend and until recently I had a boyfriend. However, a text to wish me a happy birthday and tell me he still thinks about me wasn't entirely unwelcome, and managed to head off any Bridget Jones impressions.
The following day I put on my best dress and headed out for dinner with some of my very favourite people: Best Mate and her fiancé picked me up on the way, Forces Wife and her fiancé came down from Lincoln, Cousin and his girlfriend left the baby at home for the first time, and The Hostess With The Mostest kindly left her husband at home as well, preventing me from being the only single person at my own party. We ate exotic meat (ostrich anyone?), drank copious amounts of red wine, and then nearly broke our ankles climbing over a wall on our way to drink more red wine. Best Mate bought me a cupcake cookery book, Forces Wife's fiancé bought me a pashmina from Afghanistan, and even Geordie Lass sent me a care package of chocolate, wine and girly DVDs. The whole weekend was perfect, and reminded me that my friends and family are some of the best in the world. Thanks boys and girls - you really are something special.