Thursday, June 11, 2009

Great Memories and Taking Nothing for Granted

I have wonderful memories of my birthday this year. It’s lovely to look back on it. My only regret is that we did not take very many photographs!

My son had no exams on the day, so he was able to be with me nearly the whole time (he had to go into school for about an hour) and although my husband worked some of the day, he was home too.

I received some very thoughtful cards, emails and presents,

and I had fun blowing out my candles.

In the afternoon, we went up to London on the train. It was a rainy day, so we decided to go to the place that is, in my opinion, best for shopping in the rain, Harrods. You can take the tube to Knightsbridge and come out right beside this iconic store, so your exposure to the elements is brief. Actually Harrods is a wonderful place to shop any time, whatever the weather. It is a treasure trove of amazing things, floor after floor of just about everything you can imagine. The Food Hall is beautiful to look at, with fresh fruit, chocolates, candy, cheese, meat, even entire prepared picnic baskets on offer. Most of the lotions and potions anyone could need are available in the beauty department, and I always manage to lose myself in the handbag section. Upstairs are floors and floors of clothes, shoes, furniture, antiques, books and a children’s department that could bring out the child in anyone. Should you feel hungry or thirsty, there are restaurants, tea rooms, sushi bars, cafes and even a deli in the food halls. Although it has a reputation for carrying expensive goods, there are definitely bargains to be had here, and Harrods carries so many different lines and brands, there are things at just about every price point. My husband found a great bargain on a new television in the amazing sound and vision department. This was also good for our son as it means he gets our ‘old’ television (it’s only a year old actually, unlike his current television which is thirteen years old and making very alarming ‘replace me quick’ noises). As for me, I bought myself some new shoes for my I need an excuse to buy shoes! (More about my adventures in the shoe department tomorrow.) In between purchases we refreshed ourselves with a glass of champagne at the Veuve Clicquot champagne bar on the first floor, where it sits tucked in amongst the gorgeous designer dresses.

After we had finished our retail therapy, we hopped back on the tube and headed for Piccadilly Circus. It was great to be in one of my favourite cities on my birthday. Although London is no longer my very favourite city - it’s been usurped by Paris and New York (I’m not really sure in what order, I can never decide which of those two I like best) - it sure is in the top ten. Wandering up from Piccadilly along Regent Street towards Oxford Circus is lovely. Regent Street is lined with beautiful old buildings, most of them now shops. We strolled along between showers and popped into shops to avoid them!

We were just in time for our dinner at Piccolino in Heddon Street. We had such a lovely evening together there. I tried a new cocktail at the bar. It had a long Italian name and tasted of summer and sunshine. I can’t remember the name of it, it was something ‘Sole’, but I do remember tasted very nice! Later we worked our way through the menu. My husband and I shared an antipasto platter. It had calamare (fried octopus rings), melon and Serrano ham, tri-colore salad with mozzarella cheese, basil and fresh tomatoes and my favourite, fennel salami wrapped round roasted peppers. My son shared his garlic bread with us too (it was pizza sized!). I tried something new this time, a rib eye steak with roasted tomatoes. It was beautifully cooked and just melted in my mouth. I shared some courgette (zucchini) with my husband. It was really lightly battered and fried - scrumptious! By the time we got to dessert I was just too full (too much cake earlier I guess!) so I shared some strawberries and raspberries with my husband (and my son shared his dessert with me as well!).

It was so nice to have such a lovely day with my two favourite people. This was my first really lovely birthday in three years and I am so very grateful for it! In 2007, our beloved cat Elwood died on my birthday and in 2008, I was so sad having lost my parents only six months earlier that it was hard to feel like celebrating anything. I used to take happy birthdays for granted, but now I realise they are a real gift. To have a day like I did last week was just wonderful and my heart is full of gratitude!

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