Monday, 30 October 2017

My 21st Birthday

London skyline

My birthday began a day early this year, when Max surprised me by decorating our flat and putting my presents out on the table. Colourful bunting and heart balloons was all that I saw when I stumbled, bleary-eyed, into the kitchen, trying to process what was going on early on a Friday morning.

I was told I had to open my presents then and there rather than waiting for the actual day (which was fine by me because I was so excited). I opened the card first which had train tickets to London inside - we were going to be spending my birthday weekend in London! Not only that, I was being taken to see the musical 42nd Street which I've wanted to see for absolutely ages! I was so happy and excited because London is one of my favourite places ever.

I then opened the rest of my presents from Max whilst he went and opened the fridge, presenting me with a vanilla cheesecake he'd secretly made the night before when I was at rehearsals! God knows how he got away with that one - usually one of the first things I do when I get home is raid the fridge for snacks, but for some reason I didn't that night. So cheesecake was my breakfast that day and it was delicious!

After my lectures were done, we hopped on the train down to London and after a few issues with our accommodation we arrived at the lovely Strand Palace Hotel (I stayed here for my 18th - it's in the best location and it's so nice).

Strand Palace Hotel bathroom

On the morning of my birthday, we woke up pretty early ready for a full-on day in the city. We started the day by walking over to the South Bank and went to the Old Operating Theatre. I'd walked past here years ago and was always intrigued so we finally decided to have a look. It was only £5 entry for students and for that price it was pretty good. We saw lots of old medical equipment, and let's just say that I am very grateful for the quality of medical care we have now - the tools I saw on Saturday looked horrendous!

Glass bottles on windowsill
Old Operating Theatre

After that we wandered over to the Tate Modern. I'd been here back in secondary school, so naturally I'd forgotten most of what I'd seen. Modern art is so weird. I'm not sure how some of it is classified as art, but I guess there's something for everybody. It was quite entertaining though.
Max took the lift to the viewing platform which made him physically shake, and he's not even afraid of heights! I stayed inside and ate Club bars because I was shaking from hunger - typical!

Autumn trees in London
Rainbow over London
Borough Market

After the Tate we headed back towards the hotel via St. Paul's Cathedral. It's such an amazing building, but rather than going inside it, we walked around it to have a little nose at the First Dates restaurant. This led to a Google search and I found out that the people in the show don't even work there - talk about a disappointment! My mum told me she knew that...maybe it's common knowledge and I'm just a bit stupid, who knows!

St Paul's Cathedral

I had a very classy lunch on my birthday - ham and cheese Lunchables. I think I was mourning the end of my childhood by indulging in that classic lunchbox snack. It didn't disappoint either. By this point we were already exhausted but Max and I never chill when we're in London, so we were up off out again to do some shopping.

We stumbled onto a street full of designer jewellery and bags and we felt so out of place. The staff at the shops must've thought we were lost, but it was nice to think that maybe one day we could afford something on that street (even if it is just a plastic carrier bag haha).

We walked down to familiar territory and headed to Topshop on Oxford Street to see the Stranger Things takeover. It was really cool how they'd set up what were essentially small sets throughout the store. Also, Stranger Things series 2 is amazing!

Topshop Oxford Circus
Castle Byers Topshop
School lockers from Stranger Things

After that we rushed back to the Strand ready to see 42nd Street.
The show was very, very good. I've never seen dancing like it, it just didn't look real it was that fast and skilled. I'm such a theatre nerd.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

When we got back to the hotel we practically passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows. We walked over 10 miles and our bodies were feeling it big time! That was probably the best sleep I've had in ages.

The next day we woke up a bit later to compensate for all the exercise, and headed out for a little bit more window shopping before our train took us back to uni.
It was such a fun weekend and we enjoyed it so much.

My birthday didn't technically end here though. On the Monday after my birthday Max and I went to our local theatre to watch I Used To Hear Footsteps. It was a really simple but creepy horror play and it relied heavily on technology and the audience's imagination to create the story. It was so good despite me saying to Max "I regret this" several times during the performance!

Then, on Wednesday, my mum and brothers came to visit me at university. It was so nice to see them again and it made the week so exciting. My mum and I exchanged presents (her birthday isn't too far from mine). My family got me absolutely amazing presents. I am so lucky and have been very spoiled by both them and Max! One of my presents was a vintage-style case which my mum had filled with my old drawings, photos and notebooks from my childhood! It was so crazy seeing things after all these years and remembering some of them. I spent a little while laughing my head off at random things I drew. I do wonder what a psychologist would have to say about them, haha.

We ordered a Dominos and had a chilled night in just chatting and catching up. We all squished into our flat - all five of us! It was really fun and I miss them already!

I had such a great birthday, thank you to everyone who made it so special, and I hope you enjoyed reading this if you made it to the end!


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