I have to say that I had the most lovely few days celebrating my birthday at the end of last week – and if you can get away with making it last for three days, that can’t be a bad thing!
My celebrations started on Thursday, when I had my little dinner party. I spent a lovely day preparing for it – making the table settings look pretty and making the food and drinks. It was a lovely evening – a small group of people who are very special to me, with food, drink and chat which all seemed to go down well. It was a great way to begin my birthday – and to christen the newly decorated dining room!
My actual birthday was then on Friday, and I had the biggest treat – a complete day off from all work and housework. D did the school run, which left me free to go back to bed with a cup of tea and a great book – what a luxury, to be able to devour page after page in one sitting. The rest of the day proceeded in a similar fashion – a long, indulgent bath in the middle of the day; a Netflix binge (how have I never watched Spooks when it was on TV for so many years? Now hooked!); a lunch of leftover fig and parma ham salad with a glass of wine; more reading on one of our new outdoor beanbags in the gorgeous sunny garden; and finally, a spot of colouring! I have come across various articles recently about the rising popularity of adults buying colouring books for themselves – apparently, this is a phenomenon that has spread across the Channel from Europe, with bookshops and other retailers reporting a huge increase in the numbers of colouring books being bought for adults, as they turn to colouring for its therapeutic, de-stressing benefits. The Huffington Post featured an interesting article on it here, clearly stating that “The practice generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.” So, as I always loved colouring as a child, and enjoyed joining in when the children were younger, I thought that I would give it a go – and, I’m pleased to say, that I still love it! I had bought the children some colouring books a couple of years ago which contain some quite intricate patterns, so I chose one of those, and really enjoyed it.
We then went out for a lovely family meal on Friday to a great pub in a village not too far away. It serves a mixture of superbly cooked pub meals alongside stone-baked pizzas from their pizza oven, which were a great hit with the children, so it was a really lovely night.
The activities of Saturday were actually nothing to do with my birthday, but it felt very special to be able to meet up with my university friends just the day after. We all got together at our friend, Tracy’s, house in Lincolnshire and had a fantastic afternoon. We had all contributed to the food (it was a great excuse for me to try out the recent recipe I had seen for Caramel, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popcorn, which fortunately was as yummy as I’d hoped!), so had a lovely meal, copious amounts of wine, and lots of catching-up chat. It really was so good to all be together and, as always, we stayed much longer than we expected, which is always a good sign!
So, all in all, I had a very special few days, which made me reflect on how lucky I am to have such exceptional people in my life: my truly lovely sisters and friends, and D, G and B. I am someone who prefers to have a smaller number of very special, close friends than lots of people whom I’m not so close to, and to spend time with so many of them within such a few days was so nice.
Having a day off also made me reflect on how rejuvenating it is to just take some time to completely unwind and relax. I don’t usually ever “stop” completely during the week, both because there always seems so much to do but also largely because I feel terribly guilty if I do, for some reason. But D knew how much I had enjoyed my day and said that I should do it more often, as he wouldn’t mind, and wouldn’t feel guilty if it was him, so I just might. I do believe that, although people these days are without doubt busier than ever before, it does sometimes seem to become a sort of contest at times to be the busiest person, with a standard response to the question “How are you?” being “Busy”, rather than a proper answer. There shouldn’t be any shame in making time for yourself to relax in whichever way you prefer, if you possibly can, so I will look forward to my next “day off”, whenever that may be, with joyful anticipation.