Updated: Jul 23, 2020
"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much." - George Harrison
On Sunday 7th June I celebrated my 24th birthday. 24 is that strange age that bridges the gap between your tumultuous early 20’s (let’s not speak about 22) and the big 2-5 that can incite both excitement and feelings of fear and panic. I fall into the former category. That being said 24 can be a crucial year and it should not be squandered. This is the year that can act as a platform to set you up for the next age milestone. But, it is perhaps more importantly the age in which you can still fully revel in your youth before you have to stop using that as an excuse for any future mistakes you may make.
One thing that must be said about this year’s celebrations is that it will certainly be one to remember. It isn’t every year that you can strike off ‘lock-down birthday’ from the birthday bucket list and I have really enjoyed observing other quarantine birthday's and the sheer creativity and effort born out of making them truly special. Mine turned out rather well, and I am incredibly grateful for how lucky I was (and am). The immense value of having your loved ones around you during times like this is undeniable. My parents decided to surprise me and notified me a day before that they were due to land at Heathrow Airport the next morning. When I received that message I was in a state of elated shock, which quickly dissipated into full-blown excitement. Their arrival was one of the best gifts and making the journey to see me regardless of the current circumstances left me feeling very humbled.
The day itself was, if summed up in one word, superb! I was woken up to the sound of Disney’s theme song and a rather large stack of Belgian waffles, covered in fruit and yoghurt, drizzled with butterscotch syrup (a guaranteed but welcome sugar rush inducing breakfast) with a single candle propped on top to mark the start of the festivities. Afterwards I was told there would be a treasure hunt through the common nearby.
Pretending to be a treasure hunter in the hundred acre woods
This consisted of me searching for chalk drawn arrows pointing me in the right direction with some having a matching number to signify a certain number of steps that would need to be taken from that point. I found myself up a few trees and stumbling into hidden ditches but eventually I got the hang of it. After collecting all the clues (pieces of paper, each with a question on it referencing either Disney, Grey's Anatomy or New Girl), I made quick work to decipher the hidden message (BDAY CAKE) and unlocked the final question to answer for my final prize:
“In what year was the first Disney movie released?”
My heart stopped. I knew it was Snow White and I knew it was in the 1930s but not the exact date. I searched my mind palace frantically and decided on a date that felt right: 1937. I was then handed a phone and told to unlock it with the year. I keyed it in carefully 1 – 9 – 3 – 7 and heard the satisfying click. Then to my surprise the email receipt for a Lululemon Yoga Mat flashed up on screen, something that I had been lusting over for quite some time. It was a brilliant game, and a wonderful start to the day, all of which made me feel like a child again. Given the current circumstances, I embraced these emotions and let nostalgia rush through me like a coursing river.
Morden Park with my (cooler than cool ranch Doritos) parents
Morden Park with the treasure hunt organizer After the excitement of said hunt we meandered to Wimbledon where we purchased a few necessities: hot coffees and sausage rolls from Gail’s Bakery. On a whim (and as the birthday girl) I suggested we drive to Morden Hall Park to take advantage of the weather whilst it was still clear of showers. It went down a treat and a walk through their rose gardens was the perfect way to end the afternoon. Upon leaving, the heavens opened up and the rain descended just as we arrived home. The day ended with a big dinner of a smorgasbord of things (quiche, salad, humus, fresh bread, cheese and various other nibbles) quickly followed by large slices of cake for good measure, before we all respectively passed out from sheer exhaustion. Who knew a birthday celebration in quarantine would end up being one of my favourite birthdays so far.
On that note, I shall wrap it up here and leave you with 24 things I learned before I turned 24 (nothing too profound, we’ll save that for next year!)
1. Stop cancelling plans you will regret it.
2. Stick to your guns, there’s something to be said about gut instinct.
3. If you want that slice of cake, just eat it.
4. But everything in moderation of course.
5. Black and white films are everything.
6. The strawberry is the finest fruit.
7. Stop procrastinating; it’s a dull habit.
8. Disneyland really is the happiest place on Earth.
9. Saving isn’t that hard.
10. Houseplants are magical and can really offer quite the mood boost.
11. Getting outside or going for a short walk everyday will clear your mind of negative thoughts.
12. You will achieve that headstand eventually just keep practicing.
13. Relax, getting wound up over nothing is not good for you.
14. The perfect boiled egg takes exactly 4 minutes and 30 seconds to cook.
15. Don’t settle for less.
16. But remember, you can’t control everything so some things may take time (and patience is key).
17. You can achieve a lot in a short period of time.
18. Dance more.
19. I have the most incredible support base.
20. Family is everything.
21. I can’t pull of caps.
22. I can pull of short hair.
23. Believe in yourself, you can (and will) do great things if you try.
24. Check in with your friends more, they’re important too.
What has been your most memorable or favourite birthday to date? Let me know in the comments below.
Bye for now,
My delicious birthday cake courtesy of Waitrose: simple vanilla sponge, a delicate strawberry jam filling and the perfect marzipan icing to top it off.