We set the rendezvous early, at 6 pm, so that people could come straight from work if they wanted, and booked a space at the upstairs cocktail bar of The Fellow in King's Cross.
With the early start, I had just enough time to jump in the shower with a glass of bubbly before we were on our way. It was pretty crowded with afterwork drinkers when we arrived, so it was good that we had a table booked - a cosy booth, which was the perfect size to fit us around it while being at least theoretically close enough to talk to everyone. In practice, the music was uncomfortably loud, too loud for the speakers even, so it wasn't even that nice to listen to and you had to shout to be heard above it. That's my only complaint though, other than that it was a pretty classy place, with good company of course! I think my sister would also complain that they only served cheeseboards upstairs and they wouldn't let you order chips downstairs and bring them up. Jess and a few others went on a burrito mission instead, and brought back an absolutely delicious chicken burrito for me, crammed with refried beans, salsa, sour cream and guacamole, mmmmm! I don't know when the last time I had a burrito was!
It was great catching up with a lot of people, including some I hadn't seen in quite a while. As well as me and my sister Jess, there was our cousin Vanessa (who, you may recall, I recently saw in Paris), my friend Rick (who visited back in March) and his girlfriend Sonya, my friend Amber (from uni in Wellington), my friend Ruth (whom I visited in March) and Ruth's friend Becky, who once went on a North Island roadtrip with Ruth and me, and was also an attendee at the famous Barbecue of the Four Thai Princes. That sounds like an amazing story, but it's basically just this one time, we went to a barbecue at my aunt's house with four Thai Princes and one Thai ex-Princess. And the four Thai Princes were not very attractive, but I think we all tried a little bit of flirting anyway, because they're princes (and also pilots and doctors and engineers and such things - not all at once, of course) but they politely ran away every time we tried to talk to them.
We were all amazingly well-behaved - despite the early start, I don't think anyone really got drunk, and we made sure to get the tube home at around midnight before they stopped running. I would take this as a sign I'm suddenly becoming all mature and responsible at (almost) 30, but I think a) next weekend will prove me wrong, and b) it was more down to sticking to yummy cider and spacing things out over the course of what was, after all, a 6-hour drinks.
|Liz, Jess and me|
|Amber, me (caught in the middle of pondering the trade deficit) and Jess|
|My mini birthday bouquet from Rick. It also had roses, which you can't see|
|Rick and Sonya. I put a 1960s filter on them, cos they look like a two-person blast from the past here|
|Me & Ruthie|
Then for dessert, we had a selection of scrummy chocolate desserts. My favourite was the fondant, just ahead of the caramel, which Jess preferred. Chocolate-orange truffle came in third place, with a hazelnut praline meringue bringing up the rear (unsurprisingly, since I don't really like meringue).
The service was ridiculously attentive - we thought there was one guy just on cutlery duty i.e. taking away unneeded or used cutlery and bringing more, but when Jess went to the bathroom he swooped in to refold her napkin back into a triangle, so I guess that was his job as well. It was a lovely evening, I was spoilt as usual by big sis!
|Jess and the super-yummy chocolate plate|
|We didn't get a seat by the window, but you could still enjoy the fantastic view|
|The blue light made the food look a bit strange in photographs. It wasn't, however, responsible for making it look like a smiley face!|
|Snapped this pic on the way home from dinner|
All in all, I had a really lovely London trip, a great way to kick off my 30th birthday celebrations in style! Oh, and thanks to all those free things and people being nice and buying me dinner and drinks and stuff, I came in under budget, yay! A big thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with me xxx
|Flying back to France as the sun came up|
PS This is my lucky 500th blog post! Actually, there are a few unpublished drafts on the books, so not the 500th to be published, but hey...