Photo by Coffee Books and Cake of a collection of presents

A Milestone Birthday and a perfect bookish present

I'm typing up a bit of a more personal post for you today, but one which which does include a rather brilliant gift for any friends who enjoy books. Last week I celebrated a milestone birthday. I have had the BEST time celebrating this with loved ones and feel extremely spoilt and loved.

Bookish Presents

My Birthday actually started a weekend earlier with 3 of my lovely friends as we met up in Leeds for a spot of brunch, a mimosa or two and a bit of shopping. I didn't purchase any books, but then I didn't need to, as over brunch my 'Strictly Ladies' as I call them, gave me 12 months of books.

In an enormous gift bag, were 12 books beautifully wrapped, each with a month of the year stuck on the front. Each month throughout 2024, I will open the corresponding package, and receive a book chosen by my friends. (They had chosen 4 books each). This will ensure that I can celebrate my birthday throughout the whole of 2024. There are a couple of extras in each package, I have already seen a couple of delicious hot chocolate sachets in the bag. Being nearly the end of January, I immediately opened January's package and received The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and am enjoying it right now. This was a Reese's Book Club Choice (the actress, not the chocolate) and is a dual narrator story.

Photo by Coffee Books and Cake of a collection of presents

Isn't this a great idea? If you are stuck for ideas to give a bookworm, maybe consider the above? I'm looking forward to opening the monthly packages and finding out what other books my friends have chosen for me. I will also keep a list below of their choices, because you know I love a book list!

January - The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

February - What you are looking for is in the library by Michiko Aoyama

March - The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell

April - Murdle by G.T.Karber

May - ???

June - ???

July - ???

August - ???

September - ???

October - ???

November - ???

December - ???

Birthday Celebrations

I finished work last Thursday complete with a book token, some beautiful flowers and a bottle of bubbles, and was treated to a nail appointment by my wonderful husband and then it was time for celebrations to really begin!

On Friday morning, whilst enjoying a cup of tea in bed, I opened up cards and presents. Book wise I received a copy of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens which I have been wanting to read for forever and a book token given by the fabulous team I work in.

I'm feeling the need for a refresh of my wardrobe, have no clue when it comes to style, tend to wear black the majority of the time, am in menopause (told you this post would get personal) and feel I need a bit of help and advice. So, my family have been wonderfully generous and have paid for this to be done. This includes getting my colours done, style advice and the expert I've sourced will also provide advice about hair styles and what suits. (Thank heavens!). What a lovely treat.

As well as The Pickwick Papers my husband gave me a beautiful set of garnet earrings and a necklace. (Garnet is my birth-stone) and then advised me to look at my emails. He had also decided to keep the celebration going and we have a number of exciting meals and experiences to enjoy throughout the year. The first being a spa visit the following day. I am the luckiest wife in the world. My Sister is sharing one of these experiences as well as we have afternoon tea booked at Fortnum and Mason. Heaven!

From there, we travelled North to spend time with my in-laws who kindly babysat Hattie whilst we were at the spa. Hattie had a brilliant time in my parents-in-laws garden and got a case of the 'Zoomies' where she runs round like a mad thing for 5 minutes at top speed with a big smile on her face. The spa was soooooooo good, proper relaxation and a day spent without a phone was a joy. In the evening, we enjoyed a pizza and cake party, Happy Birthday was sung, candles blown out and wishes made.

I hope you do not mind me sharing my birthday celebrations with you. I have had such a wonderful time with the people I love. I feel extremely blessed and content and wanted to capture this feeling.

Life Lessons at 50

I've been reflecting about this time of year as I do tend to struggle a bit with January and also turning 50 tends itself to reflection. Everywhere I look, I see lots of social media posts, magazine articles and TV programmes about becoming something different. You know the ones...'The Perfect Morning Routine' 'Do these exercise to have a flat tummy' 'Declutter in 30 days'. This year especially I have felt especially bombarded, I mean like this is on speed with the amount of 'encouraging' information I've received. It's been hard leading to a few feelings of not being good enough because I haven't got the perfect house, flat stomach or a 5am ice-dip/meditation/20 jobs done by 8am routine.

I then heard a wonderful quotation that changed this mindset. It goes something like this 'Don't create a life that you need a holiday to escape from'.

I love this quote, and so I have chosen to fully ignore these articles and I have counted my many, many blessings and it's made me realise that at this birthday milestone, life is very, very good.

And so, as I reach the end of my TED talk, I thank you dear reader for sticking with this post as long as you have and for reading my blog. I'm looking forward to 2024 and enjoying the experiences, style choices and books I have been given and of course spending more time with you here.