Tuesday, 5 May 2015

LIFE: My Birthday Week

When it comes to birthdays, I'm still very much like a child. I get excited about waking up to presents on the day, making lots of plans, seeing my family and friends and generally just being the centre of attention for a day. Except, I stretch a day to a week...

A couple of weeks ago I turned 24. TWENTY. FOUR. I can't quite believe it. I feel like I was only 21st like a week ago.

I was really spoilt and, as usual, had my birthday week.

My birthday began on the 17th with 3 nights in the Sherwood Forest Castle Cabins with a group of 10 of us enjoying the outdoors, girly nights in, Go Ape, afternoon tea at Rufford Abbey and an intense game of rounders that left us aching for a couple of days...

I also met the love of my life...

My parents live around a 15 minute drive from Sherwood Forest so I was lucky enough to grow up near beautiful countryside, forest walks, Rufford Abbey, Sherwood Pines, the Major Oak...all that malarky. And I really took it for granted. The group of friends I was with are from various places dotted around the country and couldn't get over how lovely the area was.

I couldn't recommend these cabins enough. They were well equipped, very reasonably priced, in a great location and the perfect get away for a family or a group of friends.

Arriving back home early Monday morning, I had about an hour to spruce myself up and hop in the car with my parents to head over to Sheffield for the day. Now I don't need to blab on to you quite how much I love the place, but it definitely a lovely day.

We started with breakfast at Marmaduke's, one of my favourite places to get my eggs in the mornin'. I began my 'survey' on the best Eggs Florentine and Marmaduke's did not disappoint. My parents both had the standard full English - which, although lovely, we found to be rather overpriced for the amount you were plated up. And, to add to the disappointing portion size, we had to wait around 45 minutes for our food and it wasn't even that busy. That said, I still love the interior of the place, the rustic feel and my Eggs Florentine was delicious. It just made the experience feel like a rather long wait and a rather pricey bill at the end.

After Marmaduke's we had a wander round the shops, I purchased this beauty from Topshop and then we headed to the Hilton at Victoria Quays. I had bought a spa day for my Mum and I for Mother's Day from Travelzoo so we decided it was worth doing this while I had some time off. Of course, Dad tagged along. My overall thoughts of the spa day? The gym was great - well equipped, clean, spacious and had a lovely PT in there (I didn't get her name!) who was more than willing to help me out with a few ab exercises. The spa itself was quite small but relatively clean and, as it was the spa of a hotel and midweek, it wasn't that busy at all. I had a massage and a facial, both of which were absolutely incredible....to the point I think I must have fallen asleep. Overall, a good deal for a reasonable spa day. Also, for those of you that do try here at any point, make sure you query the parking with the concierge inside - spa guests DO NOT have to pay for car parking.

From there, we headed over to Pizza Express on Eccy Road to fill our rumbling tummies and avoid the rush hour traffic that was about to hit Sheffield. I had my usual Legara Padana - thin base, goats cheese and caramelised onions with a hole in the middle, filled with salad and a side of their house dressing. My mum had the lasagne and my dad had a pepperoni pizza. I always find the quality of food at Pizza Express to be top notch, no matter which location I've eaten at or what I've chosen from their menu. I'm not the biggest advocate of chain restaurants, but Pizza Express always floats my boat.

The following day - my actual birthday - we woke up early, I opened my presents and we headed over to York for the day. I have no memory of ever visiting York as, apparently, I've only been the once as a child. The weather was absolutely stunning so it was lovely to potter around for the day. We headed in and out of the shops, lunched at Bill's, went to see the Minster and finally ended the day at Betty's. 

The food we had at Bill's for lunch was absolutely delicious. The sharer platter had THE nicest hummus, I could eat it again right now...

All three of us had burgers. They were cooked 'medium' and very delicious. I had mine with a side of guacamole - which I must say was VERY disappointing. It had some fresh herbs thrown in but absolutely no seasoning at all.  It basically tasted like a mashed up avocado with some leaves thrown in. 

A trip (and purchase) from the Mulberry outlet shop was music to my ears. The discounts you can get here are excellent - saving yourself 200-400 pounds on some beautiful bags.

I'm really happy to say I have FINALLY visited Betty's. We had an afternoon tea (after a big lunch, we shared one between three), a fruit tart, a frangipane and a pot of tea each. It really was delicious.

My final day at home on the Wednesday was perfect - dog walks, more sunshine and sheer relaxation...

The walk's near home are so beautiful.

A superfood salmon salad at Jamie's in Covent Garden for a 'working lunch' on Thursday really set me up for the day...

The rest of the week was filled with a dog walk, trip to London (albeit for work but I managed to catch up with my friend for a quick drink), a night out on the Friday, a lazy day on the Saturday and a lovely lunch at my new favourite, The Black Horse.

I couldn't have wished for a better week really. And I've finally come to terms with turning 24 - which I know is by no means old, but, I loved 23. 23 was definitely my best year so far and I didn't want to part with that. 24 is set to be equally, if not even more, fun so who can complain at that?


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