Another year, another birthday…

It was recently my 38th birthday! I can’t quite believe it. 37 went by quick. And turned out to be a weird old year.

I honestly wasn’t much in the mood for celebrating. We still hadn’t managed to have a proper party for Amelie’s fifth birthday, and what with Covid in the community now, we’re just trying to play things a bit safer than we had to last year. Auckland is still off limits to us (not for much longer now though, thank goodness!) and while I would have loved a super-nice lunch or dinner out, like the kind where you have to get dressed up, all the really good places are in Auckland so that’s not currently possible. And last year, if you remember, I celebrated with all the activities with Hayden, and while I loved that I was keen for something a little less ambitious this time round!

I still planned a pretty great weekend because I knew I’d end up regretting it if I didn’t. I signed up for a horse trek on the Saturday, and was super excited about riding for the first time in 15 years – I literally haven’t been even near a horse since I taught riding at summer camp in my early 20s – and following it up with an early family dinner at Waipu Pizza Barn. We’d never been there before and it’s super-popular; I was really keen to check it out!

Part of the plan worked at least. Unfortunately the horse trek had to be postponed because the weather was so bad, and as of the time of writing I still haven’t managed to go on it – it’ll have to wait until the new year now, but I’m looking forward to doing it when I can! We still went for dinner at the Pizza Barn and that was really fun. It’s a cute place, and we loved its beer menu – it is connected to a local brewery, McLeod’s, and their beers are so good! Absolute favourite is the Pacific Pale Ale – we bought some to take away as well and have been enjoying them by the pool in the sunshine over the last few weeks.

On the Sunday, my mother and I did the Mangawhai Garden Ramble. I rather suspect that even if I hadn’t said my age at the beginning of this post, that sentence just now would have given it away, haha. It was a lovely day! The Mangawhai Garden Ramble is a self-guided tour, where a bunch of beautiful local gardens invite attendees into their spaces to be admired and act as inspiration, and it also acts as a fundraiser for the local kindy.

It rained for the first half of the day, but we were quite happy trudging around with our raincoats on, checking out the amazing talents of some of our community. We broke for lunch at Bennett’s and by the time we continued on our way, it had stopped raining and we were able to enjoy the last few gardens in the sunshine.

Other than that, it was a very relaxed weekend! It was so lovely though. Hayden ordered me a spectacular cake from Four Little Birds, telling the maker how much I love strawberries and getting an amazing confection in return (that’s it at the top of this post)! It was absolutely delicious. I do love strawberries and feel so lucky my birthday falls right into prime strawberry season. My mother made me a cake too – almond and orange – which was also delicious. Generally, it was a wonderfully cakey weekend.

Apart from the cakes, I had some specific menu requests, including a special BBQ dinner on the Sunday night of eye fillet steak (the ones from our local butcher are just the absolute best), crispy roast potatoes, and grilled asparagus. Hayden made it for us and it was just perfect – such a great way to end a highly pleasant birthday weekend.

So that was (the start of) 38! Pretty low key (apart from the cake I didn’t even take a single photo) but in a lovely way. Maybe by the time I’m 40, it’ll be safe to have massive parties again and I’ll be able to remove the words ‘low key’ from my vocabulary (is that even what I want though? I just don’t know) but until now this is good!

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