Birthday (barely any photos) diary

I am terrible at keeping my phone out. Like, legit. I think it stems from years of watching people stare intently at their phones, endlessly scrolling and searching for distractions rather than laughing with their friends. More recently, it has become, quite possibly, my biggest pet peeve…less than ideal since I started to write this blog!

I am, however, a lover of pictures on a night out. Not the usual ‘selfies’, like ‘here’s me and my friend in a bar’, ‘here’s another one of me and my friend in a bar but with a slightly different face’, ‘here is another one of me and my friend in a bar, with a slightly different face AND different lighting that is more flattering on my face’. Okay, we might have done this when we were younger and Facebook was all shiny and new, but I’m late 20s now- that stuff isn’t what I am after when out enjoying myself. And for those it does apply to, please stop. Just, stop.

Anywho, as I was saying: I am bad at taking pictures, mainly because I love a chat and find that when you say, ‘let’s get a picture!’, the flow of conversation halts. This, for me, is not what nights out with friends are about.

So, when it came to my birthday, I thought I would snap pictures when the opportunity struck, or when it seemed to fit. However, like most nights with my loved ones, the conversation rarely ceased and I got caught up in the giggles.

I did manage to get a few snaps of my birthday celebrations, which I dragged out for a good few days, naturally.

My real birthday itself was ok, I’ll be honest. You know when you have a bad day at work and it puts you in a stinker that you just can’t shake off? Well, if you have a bad day at work, that progressively gets worse, THEN label it as your birthday, the prospect of being giddy can seem a little bit…like BS, ya know?

Anywho, that all started to change when I actually looked at my phone, saw messages and posts from loved ones, and realised that everything else is just ceremony. Then, I came home to find one of my best friends had sent me a bunch of sunflowers as she couldn’t be there in person. What a doll.


Following on from that, I went for a meal with my beautiful girls at The Hollows in (Notting) Hoole, Chester.


The restaurant is exquisitely decorated, with all the finishing touches being thought out to compliment one another. The ambience was relaxed but had an informal mid-week buzz about it. However, I have to admit, the meal itself was a real mixed bag. Most of the dishes, like the seared tuna with tomato tartare and the balsamic cured hanger steak, were all delicious, fresh and balanced.


The tempura dishes however weren’t great and unfortunately for us, we chose a few…We went for  soft-shell crab and tempura tender- stem broccoli with blue cheese sauce and each one just seemed to ooze grease. Not to mention that one dish didn’t even appear. That was upsetting. However, the staff were incredibly  apologetic and tried to rectify it by adapting our bill. I would go again, but maybe just few a few nibbles with wine, rather than a full meal.



The following day, my best friend of 24 years and I went to see Tom Hardy and Emily Browning give the story of the Kray brothers a new lease of life. I had heard mixed reviews, but like most things related to The Arts, the glory of theatre and performance is that much can be subjective. I personally adored the film and enjoyed it much better than The Krays (1990) starring the Kemp bros.

Now, I am not a film critic, nor am I trying to be, but, as an English teacher, watching performances is my bread and butter. Besides, critiquing them is something that comes naturally to me now so excuse my enthusiasm during this!

I know some people thought it inaccurate, others cartoonish, but I as a mere mortal thought it was engaging from the start. Ever captivating on screen, (seriously, his face his soothing. Almost like resting your eyes in milk), Tom Hardy’s portrayal as both brothers, for me, is a triumph. His Reggie was a character full of charm, brains and more unexpectedly, one that possessed a kind of entrancing charisma. You can see how despite rumours of brutality, young Frances would have been charmed by this Reggie. His interpretation of Ronnie was dark, unnerving but yet surprisingly hilarious. There is a dark, sinister threat made clear by the presence of these brothers, and the viewer is constantly aware of the menacing nature lurking within the two; violence is always on the table.

Although violent and depraved in many ways, Hardy and Helgeland seemed to bring something to the Kray brothers that has been missed by many before them: the concept of humanity.

I could go on, but that’s not really what this post is about and like I said, I am not a film critic. All I can say is I whole-heartedly recommend it and in fact, will probably watch it again.

Over the remainder of weekend, everything was a blur and I’ll admit, barely any pictures were taken. Dog walks in the country, tea and cake, research and work, house parties and catch ups with friends back home.



All in all, it was bliss. 28, I hope you’re a good year.

(PS: The frame is a gift from Al but also a product we are working on…fingers crossed it works out!)



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