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The Birthday Blog.

27 Feb

Yeah, so I turned 24 on October 4th. Bloody ages ago. I wrote a blog about it but never got round to posting it. Now is the time, mainly because I’ve only just come to terms with this awful age. Twenty-flipping-four. Unless you’re Jack Bauer, such a number is going to have little that resembles anything remotely cool. One of my utterly insane housemates did promote the suggestion of a 24-hour party in celebration… and I did dabble with the idea. Living in Manchester and the possibility of being able to label my guests as ’24 Hour Party People’ did make it fleetingly viable. It’s only because I didn’t do it that I can return to blogging today.

The most fascinating thing about birthdays is that they seem to be a thing geared more for kids than adults… when really, as you get older, if anything you need cheering up a bit more. When I was little my Mum and Dad got me sorted with many a cracking birthday party. And this was in the years before ‘My Super Sweet 16’. I aint talking ponies and Ferrari’s covered in marshmallows and hundred dollar bills mind, more the optimum provision of jelly, balloons, party bags and the like.

I sometimes think that as kids, the judgement of the success of a party was very heavily placed on the impressiveness of the party bag you received upon leaving. Sort of like how old people deem a ‘do’ to be good or not be the loveliness of the ‘spread’ put on. First, does the exterior bag have a popular character on the outside? Zeitgeist cartoons and characters were a must, like Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles for the boys and of course, Barbie for the girls. The simple balloon-printed option were just never as exciting. With such premature snobbery I’m lucky I’ve not grown up and become a WAG.

If it weren't so odd for a twenty-four-year-old to even consider having party bags, this would definitely be what you could expect.

Next, the inclusion of toys. To receive a party bag with a cheap plastic toy not even fit for a Happy Meal was still the most exciting thing on Earth. When my brother and I were old enough to participate in the decision making for the contents of the party bags we would provide, it was a very well thought out process as to which gifts were suitable for our esteemed guests. Perhaps like how it is selecting the breadsticks or cheese selection for a dinner party. We used to go to a party shop called ‘Fete and Fayre’ in Carshalton with our Mum, and I do not exaggerate when I say that every visit there felt like Christmas. In fact, I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking that in more than one Summer Holiday I requested that we visited there just as a choice of activity for a day of fun. Just to look at things. For no reason.

The exterior of this shop does not express just how exciting this place was to us. We're talking Tardis level inside to outside ratio here. I have this screen print framed and kept under my pillow at night.

There were fancy dress costumes, helium balloons (which, to this day, amaze me with their awesome and universal power to bring nothing but giddiness and excitement to all children everywhere. It’s just a balloon that floats. But gosh, does it float.) as well as face paints, sweets, bunting, decorations, that rubbish foil strandy stuff that creates a backdrop for karaoke stages in naff working clubs… everything. And then…there were the party bag and party-bag-contents shelves. It’s wonderful to think that there was once a time where the most gargantuan vexation and hefty weight of decision making was limited to having to choose between a pot of bubbles or a beaded fluorescent nylon coin purse for my friends. Oh, little Lucy. One day there will be bills. And shoes. And men. And you will have so much more to worry about.

In fact, in this 21st century era of the Internet, the biggest worry for present-day birthday girl Lucy, as well as many others, is whether you levy the sufficient amount of Facebook notifications to feel both loved and cool. It would be a bleak day if by 12pm you had less than ten ‘HB ❤ xxx’ messages from half-acquaintances plastering your wall. It truly is the social networking equivalent of ‘meat in the room’, when you have to scroll multiple times down the page to admire the generic wishes bestowed upon you from people you might not have seen for ten years or even better; people you may have added by accident and have never met in your life. I wonder if vegetarians object to the phrase ‘meat in the room’ when they throw parties.

The pressures of birthdays are something that never seem to cease. From the jelly-flavour and shape choices of my youth, to the Facebook problems of today, it feels that birthdays become something of a huge headache. Quite literally, as my fondness for alcohol developed through my teens. So I would like to share with you some of the memories from my happier, more carefree, less hungover days. Here is a few of Lucy’s birthday’s through the ages. Enjoy.

My first birthday. I was first born and obviously my parents were yet to realise the potential dangers of allowing an infant to claw it's way to a naked flame. I'm really going for it there. Apparently the firemen were very nice and there was minimal damage to the living room.

Two years old and meeting Mickey Mouse. Mickey was my hero at the time, but it would be a short lived thing as my heart was broken at the ripe old age of four when I met up with him again in Disneyland. I asked him if he remembered coming to my party and the rude swine said the cake was rubbish. My Dad to this day reminds me of how much effort it was to get him to our house that day. The paparazzi went mental.

Here's the cake. See Mickey, it was bloody lovely.

Third birthday and I liked 'The Raggy Dolls' at the time. I bet you've got the themetune stuck in your head now...ha! Textbook party fare there: tablecloth, paper plates, sugar rushes. Excellent work. My Mum not only made a cracking cake, she also dressed up as a doll and told a story. D'awwh.

At five years old I'm throwing a Barbie-themed party and I'm not exactly camera shy.

…as this picture might suggest. My Mum made me that dress. She’s pretty nifty, eh?

I made my brother dress up too, naturally. Jack, I'm sorry, but you were just too cute to not publish this.

This is the best proof of my true word-geek status. Hands up who remembers the 'Letterland' series of educational books? Well, for my sixth birthday I based the theme of my party on them. Yup. It was amazing though, and I got to be Lucy the Lamp Lady, the ambassador for the letter 'L' and all it stood for. No, it's not lame.

Seven years old and I'm obsessed with Trolls. You know, those funny little creatures with pot bellies and brightly coloured hair that get their bums out all the time? It was practically like looking into my own future.

And finally,I just had to include this. Here I am with my brother when I was about three. We are on our way to a cat-themed party for our friend Emily. Yes, we are actual real life kittenses.