Just a little birthday flashback to celebrate yet another 11th October for me. Where’s my Colin Caterpillar?
(For any non Brits – that’s the best birthday cake you can get, from Marks and Spencer’s)
Three is too young. I don’t even remember it. Was that when mum wanted dad to nail a lid onto my cot because I kept escaping, or is 3 older than a cot?
“You were very blonde, cute and determined, very chatty but often screamy”
– just asked mum what I was like
I don’t know what I did for my 3rd birthday. Sure it was great fun. Could be those photos of me with a green Care Bear cake, that are up in the loft somewhere.
Countries travelled: none
I’d just started in year 9 and we’d just moved house. I had a Halloween party at home for my birthday. We had a big lounge with pink sofas and a mind-bending swirly carpet. I had a few friends round and I was dressed as a devil, while my best friend Kirsty was an angel. I remember getting the second Robbie Williams album and being so excited, and playing that Mousse T Horny song all night on my purple stereo I think I’d got for my birthday the year before.
It was a cute little party in hindsight.
My friends and I loved a disposable camera, getting dressed up, and just hanging out and talking about boys, school, soap operas and how we were going to be actresses one day. We’d go into town on Saturday mornings and buy jewellery and cheapo clothes from Pilot or Tammy Girl. We’d usually get one of those photo booth photos, and then go into Partners (a stationery shop) and cut them up with their scissors while the assistants weren’t looking. We’d always stay at each others houses over the weekends, spend Sundays watching Dawson’s Creek and the Eastenders omnibus and just walk around our respective villages eating sweets and chatting about 13-year-old things.
It was before anyone’s parents split up, before we discovered alcohol and going out, and when we just thought we knew everything – obviously we were going to go and live in London together and get spotted on the street and become famous. The end.
Travel was of little interest to me, except for America. I was desperate to go there. Pretty sure I’d never even heard of most of the countries I’ve been to now.
Countries travelled: France
My 23rd birthday was spent in the YHA in Connecticut. I’d just had a great summer working at camp in America, then travelling round Australia for six weeks and then for my birthday I was back in the US, alone. I was supposedly working in a magazine office in New York, which I was uncontrollably excited about… until it turned out to be a kids magazine in Connecticut. It wasn’t quite the Devil Wears Prada experience that was going to make my career that I expected it to be. I got sent home after three days for not having a visa anyways.
But yes, spent my birthday there, on my ownio. I have a strong memory of me going to the local shopping mall in the evening, for something to do, and falling down the last step in the atrium area. This meant floor upon floor of people could look down and see me faceplant right there. I phoned mum half crying and half laughing, on one of those call collect numbers. No Skype / Whatsapp / Facebook Messenger for me back then. She laughed and told me to buy myself a cake.
22 to 23 were definitely life changing years for me. I’d met all these amazing people at the two years I did summer camp – people from South Africa, Australia (Jules, in the pic, in Oz), the US – and just realised there was so much more out in the world than I actually knew.
I was desperate to be a magazine journalist and devoured magazines every night. I’d finished my Communication Studies and Journalism degree at university and now just wanted to get that first job on a women’s mag that I felt I deserved.
My six weeks in Australia, and time at camp, had definitely given me a taste of wanting to travel, but being a journalist in London was my absolute goal right then. I wanted to be Features Editor for the now defunct Company Magazine.
I had Facebook, but ‘blogging’, ‘Twitter’ and ‘Pinterest’ were definitely not in my vocabulary. Nor Instagram – those were the days.
Countries travelled: France, Turkey, Greece, America, Australia
I’m spending my 33rd birthday with my parents, as they help me to move into my first house, in Southsea. Once we’ve actually put the bed up for them to sleep on, and got the stuff from the van of things they’ve bought down we’re going to drink Prosecco and eat fish and chips. My faves.
Over the last few years I’ve really valued spending time with my parents, I know I’m incredibly lucky to have an excellent relationship with both of them and that they’re fit and able to help me with this time of my life. There’s no one else I’d rather spend my birthday with – especially now I get to say ‘not under my roof’ / ‘my house, my rules’ etc.
I’ve lived in London – in Camden even – another teenage dream. I never did quite make it as an actress, after realising I hate people looking at me, although, a few people have watched my attempt at a YouTube channel. That’ll do.
I’ve had that magazine journalism career I so desperately wanted, and then fell out of love with it all after realising what a crock of shit it all was. I worked at heat Magazine, X Factor Magazine, Good Food, and a whole load of other leading names. I have actually managed to achieve all of my teenage and twenties career goals.
But then I moved online and had a great time working in travel journalism instead, before going solo with my own freelance travel writing work. I’ve now travelled all over and had incredible experiences I didn’t even know existed 10 years ago.
Most importantly I’ve found somewhere I really enjoy living and I’m looking forward to making my home, mine. I’ve met some really cool people down in Southsea and I’m trying to reconnect with some of the people I’ve missed while I’ve been off gallivanting around the world.
Life is good for me right now.
Countries travelled: France, Turkey, Greece, America, Australia + 64 others
Ooo I don’t know! Exciting hey?
(Just found out Alanis Morissette, Amy Adams, Victoria Beckham and Eva Mendes are all 43, that’s cool!)
I’d like to think I’m still doing what I am now for a career, with a few extra flourishes here and there. I hope I’ve managed to afford this house, been to a few more places, and got cracking on having a family. I hope that all my family and friends are happy and healthy and that the state of the world has got a little bit better.
Gotta have hopes and dreams, right?
That’s ages away though. Live in the now.
Time to crack open the Champers and celebrate my 33rd.