The Dresses and Hangovers of Birthdays past.

With just a few days until my 26th Birthday I thought I would do a bit of reminiscing on birthdays gone by. I am one of those really annoying people who see’s their own birthday as a big deal and I start thinking about it as soon as Valentine’s Day is out of the way. You’d think maybe by now the novelty would have worn off a little and I’ll ┬áhave stopped wanting to celebrate getting older but nah, I’m still totally there for a day that’s all about me. Actually not a day, a month. I justify everything I buy or do as a birthday treat in April.

Birthday celebrations have obviously evolved as the years have gone by. My main memories of birthdays when I younger are mum’s mars bar cake, TGI Fridays, sleepovers and mum waking me up with a personalised happy birthday tape which started with ‘who’s birthday is it today?’ ‘It’s Katie’s birthday today!’ I still say it to myself a lot on my birthday to be honest, the word’s just still get me really excited.

My 18th Birthday was the ultimate and as much as I’d like to repeat it every year nothing can ever top it. At the time, my 18th Birthday felt like the biggest thing in the world, I thought once I was 18, and no longer had to worry about borrowing a convincing ID for nights out, that everything in my world would be easier. Spoiler: I was wrong. But it did take me a while to realise, I was just so pumped up on adrenaline, excitement and possibility. My 18th birthday and the time around it was one of the happiest times of my life; my family were healthy, my friendships were strong, I was skinny and always tanned thanks to my addiction to St Moritz and my birthday was just this huge pink-themed peak of goodness in the middle of it.

I had started to plan my 18th birthday months and months before I actually needed to. I think I sent the facebook invitations in the January, bought the decorations even earlier and by the day came everyone else but me was probably fed up of hearing about it. But it was all worth it and I had the best time ever. My Mum joined in the hype, as Ange takes any excuse to be a bit extra. She actually maybe went a little too extra on this occasion. She seemed to have everything personalised with my face and name, the banners, coasters, wrapping paper. She ordered 25 8 serving pies for my family day time party and made a 6 tier display of pink and silver cupcakes. We had a cocktail fountain which by the end of the night, the contents was very questionable and at some point my party pessimistic Dad got really into it and started cracking open bottles of champers. It was such a blur of pink glitter, my own face everywhere, cocktails, a tactical chunder, the Macarena and my very best friends. A night I’ll definitely always remember forever.

Then came the alcohol years…birthdays meant dangerous birthday punch, strange coloured shots, a lot of cleaning up in our uni flat the next day and about a month of regret afterwards.

FYI: Birthday Punch is a very important birthday tradition we started at uni and one I’m really happy to share and encourage everyone to adopt.

You will need: A lot of Jelly sweets, laces, bears, lips and teeth, cola bottles, as much as you get your hands on but definitely enough to fill at least a quarter of a large mixing bowl.

The majority of a bottle of vodka.

A bottle of lemonade (not all at once, keep topping it up).

Just put it all in the bowl keep giving it a stir.

I don’t know if it makes you drunk or just gives you an immense sugar high but you’ll definitely have a great night and heaps of energy for running round the club like a mad woman.

To talk a little about birthday outfits, anybody else see their birthday outfit as the most important of the year? I have a collection of years of birthday dresses in my wardrobe at my Mum and Dad’s, that I will probably never wear again but still will never part from. Each year I’ve tended to have an image in my head of what I would like before I’ve seen it or usually before I’ve even come up with a birthday plan. The birthday plan then is created to fit the outfit. For instance in the picture above I am wearing a dress covered in animals, hence a jungle themed party. And the yellow dress below, that was for my 21st, I was only going to have a party at uni but a whole new Yarm party was created as an excuse to wear it, it seemed a little too nice to wear to the grotty (but great) student clubs in Sheffield. Every outfit I have now from birthdays gone by is a memory of an occasion and a happy time in my life, to me they all represent what was happening in my life at the time I bought them and wore and that makes them feel pretty special.

For my 23rd Birthday, in 2015, I was living as an Au Pair in Italy. I’ll always remember as the statement ‘complianno di Katie, lei ha Ventitre anni’ will always be stuck in my head. I celebrated the night before by heading out to my favourite bar with my Italian friends and being photographed taking a shot from a syringe…..

The next day I woke up to a hangover and sunshine. I carried the cards and presents I’d received off my family in advance to the breakfast table to open with my Italian fam. The strangest thing was how they were blown away by my cards, Italians just don’t do cards, and they found them so interesting. I had a lunch time tea party with my Italian aunty that day and then went to choose a birthday present of shoes with Nonno, my Italian Grandad who recently passed away. That afternoon with him on my birthday choosing new shoes at a shoe shop in the little town where he lived will always be a very precious memory to me. A few days later I continued the celebrations on a break to Florence with my Italian Mamma, saw some beautiful sites, drank beer and ate good food, that’s one that’s definitely up there with the best of birthday treats.

These days birthdays are seeming a bit more sophisticated. Except for my 24th when I ended up in the Wobbly Goblin in Stockton at 4a.m. I’ll never be justifying that decision as a birthday treat. Instead of birthday punch and 3a.m McDonald’s it’s now more prosecco, pretty cocktails and fine dining. We have just got back from an amazing spa break at Rudding Park (blog post on that one coming soon!), spending Friday celebrating with my parents and have something very exciting booked for Sunday. My outfit for this year is exactly what I imagined, it’s like New Look read mind and was delighted when I found it! I can’t wait to share at the weekend!

Katie x