On the 22nd June I turned the ripe old age of 21. I at least now have to act like an adult, even if I feel like a kid inside who thinks about chocolate cake just a little too much. For the past few months I have been having a quarter life crisis dissecting every part of my life, questioning everything including whether I need yet another pair of heels to add to my shoe collection. I was being continuously asked by my family what I wanted for my birthday and how I wanted to celebrate getting older. Apparently a box set of The Darling Buds of May and a big bar of Dairy Milk wasn't quite enough.
All I knew was that I wanted to do something that I would remember for years to come, that I could tell my future cats and ducks all about. Every week I was asking Mr. Boyfriend what he was planning/ giving me for my birthday and every time I would get a very short response hiding any hint of what he was up to. Even depriving him of an extra chocolate eclair one time didn't make him crack. He was so evasive about it all and what he said kept changing and contradicting itself. One minute we were doing something the week before my birthday, then it was the week after and then the same weekend. It didn't take Miss Marple to work out that he hadn't exactly figured it out yet or organised everything, or so I thought.
As the weeks went on I became more rattled and started resigning myself to the fact that my man was not the type that would whisk me away somewhere and I was preparing myself to a life of restaurant coupon vouchers and predictably. He would just say to me "you never know, I might be", let's just say organisation isn't exactly his strong point, it's taken me over three years to get him to start writing lists so I wasn't expecting much. Don't get me wrong I wasn't hoping for anything big and it wasn't about the cost or the extravagance at all. It was more about the sentimentality and the thought involved, but having to tell our future children that he gave me a book token for my 21st just didn't quite cut it.
The week before my birthday I tried to probe him once more and received no information or clues. I may have told him more then once that he was really disorganised and I bet Bradley Cooper would have had it all figured out by now. An hour later I received a text from him that said 'Keep Saturday & Sunday free and make sure you pack an overnight bag.' So like any other normal woman I sent him a barrage of questions wanting every last detail but I just got 'I said...' and then the same text.
All week I tried to squeeze some more detail out of him and all I was told was that there were two locations and he was picking me up early Saturday afternoon and I needed to bring something nice to wear. So I spent the rest of the week on ASOS trying to find a perfect outfit whilst wracking up a pretty impressive bill in the process. Thank god for free returns.
I told my family about it and they all shared in my excitement and inquisitiveness about my weekend and came to the conclusion that he'd just gone on lastminute.com the night he text me. When I told my Grandma her face lit up, I think I got the soppy old romantic gene from her. Her first thought was that he was taking me to Gretnor Green.
For several months I had been trying to convince her that it was incredibly unlikely that he would propose on my 21st. Her reasoning was that because she got engaged on her 21st that meant I would too. I tried to explain to her that a) this is not the 1950s when people had a life expectancy of around 65 and b) has she seen the price of weddings recently? The days of spam sandwiches and cheese and pineapple hedgehogs at wedding receptions are long gone.
So on Saturday 14th June I painted my nails, tweezed my eyebrows and packed my case, which was then repacked with a few more extra pairs of shoes and waited to be picked up by my very own Casanova. All the way to our secret destination I wasn't allowed to look at the sat nav or ask any questions about where we were going. After many anxious Google maps tracking minutes later we arrived in beautiful Brighton.
The sound of the seagulls was so cathartic and the smell of the sea was intoxicating. My curiousness grew and after trying to find a parking spot among all the millions of one way streets we arrived at The Amsterdam Hotel. Mr Boyfriend even wheeled my bright pink flowery bag for me, such a charmer. The hotel was beautiful and we had an amazing room and a great view of the sea and the pier. The hotel was right on the seafront and you only had to walk across the road to reach the pier. I was then quickly told to get ready and constantly asked the time every few minutes by a very nervous and fidgety Mr Boyfriend.
After I'd applied a couple of extra coats of mascara, applied my new MAC Ruby Woo lipstick and changed my shoes about six times, I was ushered into a taxi. We arrived at the glorious Havana restaurant which was beautiful from the outside and even more so on the inside. You can assume pretty much in life that any restaurant that has a fountain will not be serving up the usual bacteria on toast. As we were eating at an early bird special time we had some spicy nuts and hundreds of olives, washed down by a few cocktails in the bar first.
What can I say, we are old gits who want to be home in time for our mugs of cocoa. Mr Boyfriend treated himself to several cocktails mainly because of the names such as the 'Zombie', he's a pretty big 'The Walking Dead' fan and has made me watch some horrific movies in the past three and a half years. Because of him Zombie sheep have occupied my nightmares for far too long.
We then had a delicious meal starting with a mezzanine platter of flatbread, humous, sour cream, a breaded humous parcel and more yummy olives. I then had an incredibly yummy Mushroom Risotto while Mr Boyfriend stuffed his face with chicken. During the meal the waiter offered us some bread using a fork and spoon and beforehand he pulled my chair out and lay my napkin on my lap. Now I bet they don't do that in Burger King.
We were both pretty stuffed after all our thousands of olives and gorgeous food, so decided not to have a pudding. In the restaurant there was also a grand piano and a saxophonist. We slowly walked back to the hotel and had a lovely walk along the seafront.
It was beautiful walking along the seafront even though I did underestimate how many streets we had to walk. Mr Boyfriend kept insisting we get a taxi and even offered to carry me at one point. But I didn't fancy a trip to A&E with his broken back being part of our weekend away. It was like being in a different world. The air smelt and felt different and it was lovely being so close to the sea and having several fish and chip shops within a mile radius.
The next day we stopped at a pub called The Plough Inn in Pyecome on the way back home. Even though it was Father's Day there was luckily a table spare for us. Before I went away my Grandma gave me some money to spend on the weekend, so we had a lovely meal using that. I had some delicious vegetable Fajitas that my dining companion was continuously eyeing up and ended up stealing some of in the end, he's a right greedy gannet.
I had a wonderful weekend and it was lovely exploring Brighton and spending time with my Mr Loverman.
I was filled with a lot of happiness and my positivity had been revived. So what if I'm not a perfect size 8 and my life hasn't quite gone exactly to plan? I have a best friend, boyfriend and true love who very luckily are all the same person and that's good enough for me.
Plus he looks pretty hot all dressed up too.
Second Hand Rose