Hurrah for sun on the most important day of the year, my birthday! And it was bookended by sunny days, as Friday was and today is bright and clear if not frigidly cold. It's my last year before the big 3-0, and I celebrated it in a very lovely London way. It started on Friday with some flowers and cakes at the office, leading to some truly frightening karaoke singing (complete with hiccups) on Friday night with some lovely work ladies. I paid for it yesterday AM with a pretty terrible headache, but was restored by the Irishman's full English fry-up and my favorite tv show, Saturday Morning Kitchen.
I got some fantastic presents from the Irishman, who braved the intimidating French shop girls at my favorite store, Comptoirs des Cotonniers and picked out an awesome t-shirt with French bulldogs on it for me. It was accompanied by a book I'd mentioned I was interested in called Inside of a Dog. I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of his gifts – especially how much he remembered about my favorites (stores, books, interest, even WHAT SIZE I AM) which made it all even more special. He even made me fudgy chocolate cupcakes which made me swoon a little.
Part of my gift was the proclamation that as it was my birthday, I could choose whatever I wanted to do all weekend long. So I actually suggested that instead of a fancy meal somewhere, I'd prefer to go to the movies because I never really have a chance to get out and see stuff in the theater before it hits DVD. I mentioned that I'd like to see MicMacs, the new film by the director of Amelie, and the Irishman didn't complain at all. He then went on to book us into the Everyman theater in Hampstead, a boutique cinema that has club chairs, sofas, and waiters who bring you drinks and nibbles.
I've never been to Hampstead, a posh neighborhood bordering Hampstead Heath, so we decided to go up there early, before the 6pm showing, and have a wander. I highly recommend it, because the little village is adorable. It's windy and cute and there are all kinds of little shops and eateries like Louis Hungarian Bakery which had a window full of deliciousness, Mr Simm's Olde Sweet Shoppe, and Jin Kichi, one of the best rated Japanese restaurants in London. We tried to get a table reservation at Jin Kichi for dinner after the film, but they were already booked up by 5pm. Since it was my choice and I wanted Japanese, we ended up at Hi Sushi which hit the spot and wasn't bad but I bet Jin Kichi is better.
The movie was amazing - if you love Amelie, definitely see it - and having a glass of champagne on a sofa in a movie theater was pretty much the best ever. I was a bit sad that I didn't get to spend my day with all of my nearest and dearests, a symptom of expat life, but it was a glorious day and I wouldn't have changed anything about it. It was the sort of day that made me fall in love with London, and everything and everyone I have here, again and that little bit more.