Another year older

I’M FEELIN’ 24.

And ‘what does 24 feel like?’ you might ask. Well, I guess I actually do feel a little older.

If I really think about it, I realise that even in the last week or so I’ve done many things a younger me would have been too scared to do. Silly things like carrying birthday cake on the tube and sorting my cars MOT out, to important things like representing my team at a work event and going on a hen do weekend without freaking out. And yes, the prospect of having to carry a birthday cake on the tube would have been absolutely terrifying to me a couple of years ago: I would have gone over and over all the ways in which carrying birthday cake could lead to disaster and probably decided I best not take the risk.

WHAT IF I WERE TO DROP IT, FALL FACE FIRST INTO IT AND SPEND THE DAY COVERED IN CHOCOLATE?

WHAT IF I GOT FUNNY LOOKS OFF FELLOW PASSENGERS?

WHAT IF I GOT ATTACKED BY HUNGRY PIGEONS?

Oh, how far I’ve come.

In some ways, I’ve barely grown up at all. I still can’t wear high heels. I’m currently listening to Avril Lavigne’s Goodbye Lullaby on vinyl. I still don’t like gin and tonic. I’m still terrified of spiders. I’ve never used an iron in my life. I still hate cooking chicken. I still hate cooking full stop.

Anyhoo, in case you can’t tell, my birthday has left me feeling reflective and reminiscent (oh my, how time is flying by). It’s also left me feeling very loved and extremely grateful. A massive thank you to everyone who posted on facebook, sent cards, celebrated with me and helped to make it so special.

The celebrations started with some awesome work colleagues and wayyy too much prosecco. I also went out for a lovely lunch with my family. I highly recommend Cote Brasserie in Chelmsford if you’re ever over that way… Superb service, lovely food and a free bottle of champagne to say Happy Birthday! My sister came into London to meet me on my lunch break on the actual day and we spent a really lovely hour up in the Sky Garden. I went for a wonderful dinner with some girl friends later in the week. AND some time soon Dave and I are going to be climbing the O2 in London which is admittedly a little nerve-racking, but VERY exciting too.

We had another bank holiday this week and I’m oh so glad. The hen do was absolutely amazing and if I’d had to go back to work on Monday I’d have been super mopey.

Instead I spent Monday sat in a park with a lovely friend I hadn’t seen in OVER THREE YEARS, in beautiful sunshine, eating ice cream and sipping coke.

When I woke up for work yesterday morning I was super sleepy. However, once I’d sat at my desk and had a cuppa, I must say I felt pretty refreshed and I’m actually quite happy to be getting stuck in again.

This Friday night I think Dave and I might finally go see Avengers: Infinity War. Saturday I’m looking forward to catching up on life admin and giving the bathroom a proper clean (see! That’s something I’d have never said two years ago). Sunday I’ll be seeing the family again, which will be lovely jubbly.

Going into my 25th year thinking, life’s not too shabby. Not too shabby at all. In a way I think I’ll never leave my younger self behind, not really. I’m always going to love Harry Potter and Disney in general. I’m always going to love cocktails and prosecco and a good boogie. And I don’t think I’ll ever really like cooking. I guess that’s where that saying comes from. The one that says you’re as young as you feel. TOO RIGHT.

Not all who wander are lost

This week, unlike last week, I had very little planned. The Alzheimer’s Society had bagseed me to help them out on Thursday, but nothing else was even penciled in my diary. I spent Sunday night at the pub with a great group of people and another night playing cards with some of them too. I’ve finished season one of House M.D and I’ve made absolutely no progress with the scrapbook. Last I heard, the teaching agency who interviewed me last week are still waiting on my references, so no news on the job front just yet either.

I’ve been spending a joyful amount of time outdoors. I love this time of year, if not for the obvious reasons, just because I rediscover my spirit of adventure. As much as I love cosy nights in, my fluffy slippers and galaxy hot chocolate, I can’t help but dream all winter of light evenings and Pimms and lemonade and fruit salad and days spent sat in a dress and sandals in the sunshine with a good book.

On Tuesday, my boyfriend (Dave from here on in. There’s something about the word boyfriend that makes me squirm) and I had a whole day free to spend together for the first time in a very long time. He picked me up and we just drove a little while in the hope of finding somewhere new to explore. We ended up at Danbury Common and before long we were lost in the woods. Well, I was lost. Dave’s sense of direction got us back to the car no trouble at all when we decided it was time for food. It’s an amazing place and although I’m sure it looks even prettier in the summer, I think we timed our visit perfectly: There were still muddy puddles to be avoided and there were still piles of leaves around for me to stomp through like a child. It was warm enough, but not so hot we had to stop every few minutes for water.

I met one of my oldest friends at a country pub for lunch on Wednesday and like in all the best stories, we just found ourselves full of food and headed up a path that would take us on an adventure towards a lovely village I’d never been to before. This story gets most exciting when we see a very angry looking grey cloud in the distance, but take our chances and carry on going anyway. Half an hour later we’ve been hit with rain and hail and wind and we’re hiding in a bus shelter shivering, we’re drenched and we can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation is.

You only have to mention Essex before stereotypes spring into the minds of anyone listening. I’m sure you’re now thinking about fake tan before I’ve even had chance to say the words beautiful and countryside. I’m not saying that the stereotypes aren’t true. (In fact I can personally testify to the fact that the majority of them are, but that we wouldn’t have it any other way.) I’m just saying that it is a shame that people don’t know just how beautiful Essex is, particularly on a sunny day.

When the rain and hail subsided and the skies cleared, we finished our walk in bright sunshine and everything around us shone and I couldn’t help but wish every person on Earth could see what I was seeing.

My winter boots are done for. We didn’t avoid all the mud on Tuesday and I certainly couldn’t keep them dry on Wednesday and now I think they’ve had enough. They’re also the reason for the massive blisters on my heels, but I’ll let them off the hook: They’ve lasted me well and honestly, I cannot wait to go and invest in a pair of summery trainers and some new sandals. After all, spring is here.