A Handful of My Favourite Birthdays

It’s not often this blog sees a post not about books. Originally designed to focus on my life around novels as well I wanted to push myself to write at least one post about something else for Blogtober. In this post I’ll take you through the way I’ve celebrated my birthday since hitting adulthood.


Growing up in a pokey flat meant birthday parties were never an option. Not that I could have one anyway, given boarding school rendered my friends miles away, strewn across the country and the world. But for my 18th I begged my parents to let me show just a couple of my closest friends the world I grew up in. My four closest friends made the long trek down, flooded my flat with life, before squeezing into a hotel room for cards and games, wondering round the town where I grew up and taking a day trip to Oxford the next day for a Sunday roast and trip back to boarding school. It was exactly how I wanted to welcome in adulthood, day trips and board games being just how my life would look for the next few years.


By my 19th birthday I was at university. Living with six strangers in a student flat in halls my birthday was celebrated under the dingey florescent lights surrounded by the yellow walls and white surfaces of our shared kitchen. Oh and did I mention that kitchen was filled with pictures of my face? Those six strangers, fast becoming friends, had blown up, printed out and cut pictures of just my face to tack up on all the yellow walls of our student flat. It was all fun and games until my first ever boyfriend of about two days came over that evening and became very confused by my face tapped to the underside of our kitchen table. 19 year old me was horrified but 22 year old me can confirm he wasn’t that great a boyfriend anyway.


My 20th birthday was nearly six months after I got together with my current boyfriend. After telling him my family don’t make a big deal of birthdays he was determined to do mine right. The day started with a homemade present: a box of envelopes containing a date idea in each, so we could randomly select our days out. I was instructed to pick between two envelopes and the one I randomly chose was Brownsee Island. I’d been as a kid when I was in the Brownies, believing they owned the island given the name, and only remember sucking lemon flavoured sweets picked out from a jar and put in an old paper bag at an old fashioned sweet shop.

For this trip we wrapped up warm and headed down to Poole to catch the ferry on the last day the island was open before closing for winter. We wondered round it’s circumference, idly chatting, admiring the peacocks all the while desperately trying to spot the rare squirrel the island houses. Half way through we came to a beach covered in rocks that people had scattered stones across in pretty patterns. We arranged the stones in the pattern below before heading off to warm our icy fingers on a cup of hot chocolate. We said that, when spring hit, we’d go back to the island and see if our rock creation had survived it’s wintery closure but sadly exams got in the way. I’ve always wondered, if we ever went back, would our stones still be there?


I welcomed in my 21st birthday unwashed on a church floor. Attending a small almost holiday a university society was running a couple of hundred of us were staying in Winchester for a weekend of scavenger hunts, hog roasts and fun. Obviously being students the society had elected for the cheapest accomodation possible and we all slept on the wooden church floor, the room smelling very much like a pack of unwashed students. I woke up to find my friend Esther laughing into a red balloon she was trying to blow up, the rest of the packet already full of air and strewn across the room. Face on roll mat to try and stifle her giggles the room was quickly awake and confused in this touching display.

Next I was given the job of ferrying the band to the next location, being a student lucky enough to have a car, and I didn’t see my friends until we were all set up in a Winchester university lecture theatre ready for a bidding auction where students were raffling off prizes like an acknowledgement in their dissertation or a Mexican feast (which my boyfriend is yet to deliver on I believe). Before the auction began the entire group of over a hundred students sung happy birthday to me before I was presented with a box chocolates. That evening, after a quick shower and a fresh set of clothes that did wonders for the sleeping on the floor look I’d been sporting all week, my boyfriend gave me his gift of a candle powered lava lamp, some scented candles (which is an inside joke) and we went out for dinner.

My lava lamp, set up in my university room


Now I’ve taken you all the way through university and back out again. Last year’s birthday cropped up just as we’d finished decorating our new flat. With my lava lamp giving the room a homely glow in the corner a group of my uni friends came over for sandwiches, games and cake. Reminiscing our uni days and admiring the decor we’d wondered round IKEA and Next for hours picking out, the day seemed the perfect way to spend my first birthday since leaving education.

Let’s Compare Notes

There you have it! A non Bookish post. I hope it wasn’t too radical. What’s a memorable birthday event you’ve had? Do you have a candle powered lava lamp? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments!