I turned 37 over the weekend! Writing that made me feel ooooolllllllddddd for some reason. I’ve been saying it with no problems but seeing it written down is interesting for sure. It just looks a lot older than 36 does, don’t you think?
Ageing is, of course, a privilege, and I’m sure I’ll look back and laugh at myself for thinking 37 was old. I definitely have had to own it – Amelie was so excited about my birthday all last week that she told everyone at her school, and told them all how old I was going to be as well! Hilarious. I had a lot of sweet birthday wishes when I went to pick her up today.
I had the absolute loveliest birthday. I planned it out meticulously (with age comes the confidence to ask for exactly what you want) and Hayden and I have agreed that’s how we’re always doing birthdays from now on – the birthday haver lays out what they want, and the other one just executes upon it.
We both took the Friday off work, and spent the morning playing tennis, then having coffee at one of our favourite cafés. I wanted a really good BLAT for lunch and sadly, nowhere in Mangawhai does them (hello business opportunity) so we headed back to ours to make lunch. In the afternoon we took Amelie up to my parents for the weekend (a very important part of my plan), before returning to Mangawhai for a drink in the sun with some people we know from our coworking space.
The next day was action day! With Amelie having a great time up north, we were able to park at the beach then cycle to the market for coffee and croissants. We grabbed some salami, camembert and a baguette to go, then cycled back to the beach to hike the Mangawhai Cliff Walk. I’ve done this walk before but never been able to finish it – we’ve just never had enough time! Thankfully, the tide was out and we were able to do the beach return rather than just turning around at the end and coming back along the same cliff track. The beach return is totally otherworldly – all the local beaches have fine, superset white sand, but the tiny, isolated beaches at the bottom of the cliff walk are rough and rocky. It’s not the easiest walk – you just have to keep a close eye on where your feet are – but it’s beautiful and so magical walking these rocky little coves with nobody else around you! We sat on a rock and ate our lunch staring out at the ocean. It was blissful.
Following the hike we went for a swim (oh yeah, it was super sunny and hot!) then had champagne in the spa. That evening we drove down to Matakana to go for dinner at Rothko. Rothko is part of Sculptureum, an outdoor sculpture garden, and it is so.delightful. We sat outside on this long, low, graceful deck, looking out at the beautiful gardens and seeing sneak peeks of the sculptures beyond. They have a small vineyard and their own wines were on the menu – I had a glass of the rosé and a glass of the chardonnay, both of which were classic and well crafted. The food is mostly local, and we made the most of it with Mahurangi oysters, salmon salad, pork belly and an incredible dessert of Matakana strawberries with white chocolate ganache. It was exactly the sort of food I love – really really good ingredients, prepared fairly simply, but with deeper, more interesting flavours than a lot of places seem interested in.
The next day was my actual birthday! We took it easy in the morning, enjoying coffee and (more) pastries in the sun, before heading down to Mangawhai to meet my parents and Amelie at the pub for lunch. We enjoyed another lot of good food in the sun, and a walk along the waterfront before returning home for cake. It was lovely, but the absolute highlight was seeing Amelie. I missed her so much! BUT I was also so grateful to be able to cycle, hike, swim and go out to dinner at a later hour. Most of those things are not really possible with a four year old.
The good news is that she was an absolute rockstar. She’s never spent any time away from us, apart from one night when she was just one, and she’s never spent the night away from home without us, so we weren’t entirely sure how it would go. She was amazing though, and she had such a lovely time with her grandparents (who took their job as grandparents very seriously and spoilt her like mad). She’s already talking about when she can go back for another ‘sleepover’. I feel very lucky!
So as you can see, a lot to celebrate and a truly excellent start to 37. I’m so glad to be here.