Tag Archives: my forty birthday parties


Today was birthday number 2. I went with four friends and my sister to have a pamper day at the very beautiful Hotel Karina, in Jarnac. Those of you not from the area might know Jarnac for its most famous alcoholic export, Courvoisier. Photographs don’t do the hotel justice, as it’s an absolute haven of tranquility and relaxation. We didn’t go into Jarnac itself, which is a lovely town that always seems remarkably quiet, but to the outskirts, tucked in between the vines and the maize fields. And if yesterday had been a bit ‘meh’ with the weather, today was glorious. Not too hot. Mid twenties. Perfect pamper day weather.

Hotel Karina, Jarnac

Although I could have stayed beneath the gazebo all day, we managed to drag ourselves pool-side to make the most of the sun.

And just to make you all jealous, the day went a little like this (following an interlude at the bank. When Francois Hollande realises that more cash machines = more spending, austerity might end):

  • coffee, fresh juice and patisseries on the veranda as the day warms up and we all decide what we’re having. Pedicures and reflexology are the order of the day.
  • Sitting by the pool, having a dip, chatting, gossiping, working out who liked 50 shades and who didn’t, finding out just who’s had what medical complaint resulting in a suppository, who’s had colonics, whose neighbours might be swingers, who’s been to a nudist colony, who was asked to manage a swingers’ bar and who would indulge in toe sucking.
  • Having a wonderful pedicure and turning my hammer-toed monkey feet into something less unattractive.
Lovely lady feet!
  • Having a gorgeous salad, lovely steak and rosti potatoes and a divine ‘mini’ pavlova (wait until you see this ‘mini’ pavlova…)
Mini pavlova

And as if that wasn’t quite enough, we had afternoon tea and chocolate cake. Now, birthdays just don’t get more lovely than that!

Only 38 left and I’m already feeling a little sad.

Birthday stats

Number of friends celebrating with me so far: 10

Number of days to my actual 40th: 130

Food consumed so far by me: moules & frites, caramel ice-cream, bacon salad, sirloin steak & roast potatoes, mini pavlova

Most fun moments: splashing in the sea with Damon and Jacob, eating mussels with Damon, watching the fireworks with Deb, Damon, Jacob and Haydn, the boys all asleep on the way home at three in the morning, Rachel after a glass of wine (okay, three ‘English’ size glasses…) and discussions about suppositories and toe-sucking.

It might be 130 days until I finally get there, but so far, being 40 is fabulous!

I had a lovely discussion with Allie about how lucky we are to live and be able to celebrate and how being 40 is an achievement that many people don’t have. I truly believe that. If I can’t celebrate with every single one of my friends this year, I will need a few more parties next year too!



As you may know, I’m 40 this year. I’ve decided to celebrate this event by having 40 birthdays. As it’s a difficult activity to have 40 parties – almost a month and a half if you have one every day – I’m starting now so I can get them under my belt.

My last monumental birthdays haven’t really been monumental. I can’t much remember what I was doing for them other than having a meal with my family. That’s pretty much the same thing I do for all my birthdays, so I wanted to do something a little spectacular.

Not only that, but my 30th birthday, I spent in bed wondering what I’d achieved with my 30 years. This time around, being 40 feels like something of an achievement just to be that old. 42 is the life expectancy in several countries across the world so to be 40 is something that a lot of people don’t even achieve.

The first of these parties is a beach party. I’ve never had a beach party on account of having a December birthday, so having a beach birthday was one on my list:

We went to St Palais Sur Mer, up the coast from Royan. Royan was my first holiday destination in France, and if I had all the money in the world, I’d live in one of the gothic mansions on the beach. Dinard, St Malo and Royan are my favourite seaside places. Royan itself is a busy harbour town with plenty of shops and restaurants. Damon and I were on the look-out for moules-frites, which was very easy to find, though it wasn’t easy to find something to suit everyone else. Unfortunately, if you don’t like seafood, fish, pizza, pasta, salad, risotto or meat in sauces, it’s harder to find other things. Jacob and Deb were left with a choice of entrecote or entrecote.

Damon very much enjoyed his moules-frites.

He finished the whole plate in record time. Then it was on to the ice-cream course. If you can’t have ice-cream on (one of) your birthdays, when can you?!

I opted for nougat and caramel. Damon had raspberry and chocolate.

He’s a boy after my own heart.

Finally, as all good birthdays should, it ended with fireworks. The St Palais fireworks festival is a competition between three countries. This year, they were doing fireworks set to cinema music. India won with a fabulous display of bright fireworks and Bollywood music. We got home at 3 am, but it was certainly a birthday party to remember!