A Magical Mystery Birthday Tour

I like birthdays, and I love planning the perfect day for my favourite people. I especially like surprising people with fabulous birthday plans, so when it came to Matthew’s birthday on Saturday I hadn’t told him much – only that he was to wrap up warm and be ready to leave at 2 sharp.

We had a lazy morning in the flat with brunch and coffee, and then I led us to the station to begin our magical mystery birthday tour. Destination number one? The Natural History Museum ice rink!


I’d planned our skating session to coincide with the sun setting, so the light was all gorgeous and golden and the museum itself looked pretty spectacular. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself! Unfortunately, Matthew’s scared face told a bit of a different story, but after watching the skaters for a little while, we headed to pick up our skates and strap ourselves in.

I didn’t take out my camera on the ice cause I just knew somebody would crash into me and send it flying, so unfortunately I haven’t got any pictures of the event itself, but Matthew proved that his fears were unfounded and we both survived just fine. You only get 50 minutes on the ice and it was already SUPER busy with lots of children (and adults…) who couldn’t quite control themselves, but we both had lots of fun nonetheless and by the time we came off the sun was well and truly set!

There is a cafe overlooking the ice which would have been fun to sit in and watch a little more, but I had other, more lavish plans for this birthday evening. First stop, a lovely little wander to Harrods to check out their Christmas windows.

Their theme this year is “Land of Make Believe” and I for one LOVED it. Teddies, ballerinas, a huge jack-in-the-box…they are absolutely magical.

As you would expect, it’s the tiny details that make the windows and the mice that run through them all were definitely a highlight for me. But by far my favourite were the Marching Nutcrackers!

It wouldn’t be a Christmas window display without the big guy himself, so I was very pleased to see this gorgeous, final window…

Just around the corner we bumped into another Paddington, this one Emma Watson’s predictably gorgeous design. We’re actually planning to follow a bit of the Paddington trail this weekend (today in fact!), but I just love bumping into them unexpectedly!

And then we continued our wander down Sloane Street to Sloane Square, to a bit of a hidden gem I had been told about at work. Just off Sloane Square you will find Cocomaya, the most delicious, sugar-scented, bakery/chocolate shop you ever saw. We ordered two hot chocolates, a slice of carrot cake and, on the recommendation of the waitress, a slab of the tallest chocolate cake in the world, and took a seat outside the shop so we could watch the well-dressed residents of Chelsea stroll past on their way home from Christmas shopping (and eavesdrop on the conversation of a group of Made in Chelsea minis planning their Saturday night out at the table next to us!)

Needless to say, it was all delicious. At this point in my life I consider myself nothing less than a carrot cake connoisseur and this one ranked pretty high up there, and the hot chocolate was deliciously rich (so much so I couldn’t finish it on top of all that cake…). Cocomaya have a couple of other London branches (Connaught St and Porchester Place) and they are also in Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges, so keep your eyes out – since this trip I’ve also sampled their doughnuts which were just as yum!

Full, happy, and feeling suitably festive, we headed home. We were actually quite glad of the hour-long trip back to Greenwich as it meant we had time to digest all that cake just in time for the sparkly I had stashed in the fridge. The two hours it took our birthday Chinese to be delivered wasn’t quite as welcome, but we passed the time by watching hours upon hours of Orange is the New Black (M is now hooked!). Finally, I presented the birthday boy with a birthday custard tart, and we retired to bed…all ready for another birthday the very next day!


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