Friday, 7 July 2017

Turning Thirty-Two

On Sunday, I turned another year older, and another year wiser. (Okay, I'm not so sure about that last part). I can't get my head around the fact that I'm now thirty-two years old; I swear I was only twenty-six two minutes ago! Man, I'm getting old!

I don't feel thirty-two, I certainly don't act like it, and I don't think I look my age, either. I'm often told I look much younger- as evidenced by the amount of times I've been ID-ed for scratch cards and stupid things like Tippex, over the last few years! No joke, one cashier refused to serve me because she didn't believe I was over sixteen! I was thirty-one. I'm lucky to be blessed with good genes and don't have any wrinkles yet, but I definitely don't look fifteen! Maybe I could pass for twenty-one for a few more years, though, instead of being thirty-two? That's fair, right??

Whenever I turn a year older, I can't help but focus on all the things I haven't achieved yet- which is a lot- and how different my life is to how I always thought it would be by this age. My life is a world apart from the one I thought I'd be living at thirty-two. I don't have the successful career, dream home, husband, thriving social life, or a lot of stamps in my passport. I have so little to show for my life, and so little going for me, but I'm trying to accept that my life is never going to be as perfect as I once hoped it would be, not while I'm battling chronic pain and chronic illness. I'm pushing myself to my limits to live as normally as possible every day, but my life isn't normal, and I'm probably never going to achieve everything I want out of life... but that's okay. I don't have to achieve anything at anybody else's pace, or even at all. I don't need to live by society's yard stick to live a fulfilling, happy, acceptable, worthwhile existence. I can make my own rules, and let life happen if and when it happens. I may be thirty-two, but my life's far from over, and I've got all the time in the world to achieve my dreams.

Jokes and depressing thoughts aside, being thirty-two isn't so bad. I actually had a really lovely birthday weekend, which included going out for afternoon tea and a trip to the zoo, and getting spoiled rotten by my family. I thought I'd show you guys what I got up to, and blog a mini haul of the birthday presents I was given, so here we are...

On Saturday afternoon, my older sister and brother-in-law took me out for afternoon tea as an early birthday treat to a place called Jane's Enchanted Tea Garden. near Kirtlington, Oxfordshire. It was set in a garden in the middle of the countryside, right on the canal, and it was one of the most whimsical dining experiences of my life. The best way I can describe the place is a twee English country garden meets Mad Hatter's tea party. The tables and chairs were all mismatched, as were the tablecloths and china, and there were random things hanging and dotted around everywhere from bunting and tea cups to chandeliers and silk flowers, bird cages and vintage telephones to stuffed toys and vintage prams. It was so quirky and both perfectly unpolished and beautiful at the same time. We had the full afternoon tea experience and the food was all homemade, and so delicious. I'll be dedicating a separate post to the experience soon to tell you about it in more detail, and share more photos of the tea garden because it was such a unique place, and you guys need to see / hear about it!

On the Sunday, my actual birthday, I had a quiet, leisurely morning by myself as everybody was out, and then Marie came over just after 1pm baring gifts. She gave me a gorgeous cornflower blue seahorse print purse from Kate Spade, which I chose myself when we popped in to Bicester Village last week. Their Kate Spade outlet store is amazing! I adore seahorses so I just couldn't resist this purse, and look how cute the packaging is! I only wish I could fit in to their clothes because they had a beautiful tea dress in the same print and it was to die for.

After opening presents, Marie and I headed out, and spent the afternoon at The Cotswold Wildlife Park. As a big animal lover, it's always been one of my favourite places, and being just a few miles down the road from us, it's so conveniently located for a fun day out. I've visited it approximately 9464752 times before, and have spent a fair few birthdays there over the years, but even after so many visits, I still look forward to and enjoy each one. I never get tired of going, and I doubt I ever will. 

We had a really leisurely visit this time because of my knackered back, and Marie's broken toe, and we ended up spending four hours there, dawdling around the grounds and looking at the animals in the blisteringly hot sunshine. It was such a lovely day out, and the highlight for me, apart from seeing the tapirs and giraffes, of course, was getting to see the wolf pack at feeding time and their five tiny wolf cubs running around after Mum, trying to get a piece of the action. They were so adorable, I could've happily stayed there watching them all day. I also loved getting to see a binturong for the first time, which is also known as a bear cat, and sort of looks like a shaggy grey wolverine crossed with a bear and a monkey. It was so darn cute! They're new to the wildlife park this year, so if you've never seen one before, I'd definitely recommend you pay the place a visit this Summer. You won't regret it.

Would you like me to blog about our visit to The Cotswold Wildlife Park, or are you fed up of posts from my visits there?

I made it home just before six to cuddles from Rosie, and cards and presents from the family.

My parents bought me the Cath Kidston sewing box cottage I asked for, which I'd been coveting all year as the perfect home for my extra sewing supplies. I couldn't justify a purchase at £52, but it had finally gone on sale for £30 last month, so the parents decided to get it for me. I already have a different CK sewing cottage for my 'current projects', so this one now houses my hoop art supplies, spare threads, and buttons. The sewing box is now sold out online, but it could be worth checking your local store if you want to get your hands on one.

The night before my birthday, my Dad decided he wanted to get me a new camera for my birthday, since Rosie had broken my old one by giving it a quality check with her teeth (it failed), and he knows how much I enjoy taking photos. After a couple of hours of online research, I ended up choosing the Canon Powershot SX420, a bridge camera with 20MP, 42x zoom, 84x optical zoom, and a wide lens, which is a good step up from my basic old point and shoot. I'm still getting to grips with it, but it has some great features, and the picture quality seems pretty good so far. (I didn't take today's photos with it, clearly). I'm hoping it will help me improve my photography skills, and the quality of my blog photos until I can afford to upgrade to a DSLR. It's currently on promo at Argos here for just £129.99 which is an absolute bargain as it was originally at least a couple of hundred more! I love it!

My little sister, Sarah, gave me the cutest pink pineapple print iPhone case, a sweetie print card holder from Cath Kidston, the most amazing cactus novelty bag form ASOS, and the Benefit 'Kissy Missy' set which has a mini Benetint, Lollitint, and a couple of the 'They're Real! Double The Lip' lipstick and liner duos. She knows me so well! The cactus bag had been on my wish list for ages, so I was really excited to find it in the gift bag. Every novelty bag collection needs at least one cactus! Fact.

I was also given some birthday money from relatives which I think I'm going to spend on the Too Faced Sweet Peach or Too Faced Natural Love eyeshadow palette. I just can't decide which one to go for because I want them both and they're both so pretty. Thoughts? 

After I'd opened my presents, I spent the early evening with my family. My Mum had put together a little buffet or 'party tea', so I stuffed my face with mini sausage rolls and chocolate birthday cake like a five year old, and watched Moana. I regret nothing.

By 8pm, I was so worn out from my day that I crawled upstairs, got in my PJs, and spent the rest of the night in bed watching TV, unable to move.

It wasn't the most rock 'n' roll birthday, but I had a really lovely day, and not once did I waste any time worrying about my age. I concentrated on enjoying myself and living my life, and y'know what? If being thirty-two continues the way it has so far, I think it's going to be a really good year.

How did you spend your last birthday?

1 comment

  1. HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY! I totally hear you though, I just turned 31 and I could have written these thoughts. I don't feel 31, and my life is not where I thought it would be. At all.
    Sounds like you have a good birthday. That wallet is stunning and I'm always up for reading posts if it has to do with animals! Totally had to google what a Binturong was! I find it amazing how different places have different animals, I think I presume Aussie Zoos have alllll the animals, when really it's a handful. The picture of the rhino with the house behind it just blows my mind! It's so beautiful. Again, Australia is just so young compared to the UK. That sewing box is amazing, the lil dog on it is SO cute!!


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