Time for the reveal at last. The slight interlude has been down to me being rather overwhelmed by my birthday and being unable to find the right words, but I'll have a go.
The marvellous Mr M - and he truly is marvellous - whisked me to Cliveden for 36 hours of pure wonder. Home to the Astors, the setting for the Profumo Affair, and described by Jerome K Jerome as 'unbroken loveliness' - it was over and above anything I could have ever imagined. Lots of surprises, long walks, relaxing and eating. The party dress was worn early. Our room was larger than our flat and we marvelled at the extravagance of those going to Ascot. Small touches like name cards on the doors and a little birthday pavlova complete with candle were delightful. I couldn't stop smiling or people watching. I think I was wide-eyed for the entire trip. The trip on the river was a delight. The spa treatment was heavenly, although I was rather scared by the size of the paper pants. Oh, and the cheese trolley was out of this world.Day six ended with a family get together. A wonderful evening with scrumptious food and even more surprises. Surprise present number 1 from my parents - a day of flower arranging with Sarah Raven (and a day of gardening with the head gardener for Mr M). Surprise present number 2 - a photo album of me through the ages, complete with letters to Father Christmas and thank you notes. Surprise present number 3 - this picture. I fell head over heels with it, and regretted not going back and getting it. I don't have to now, thanks to my sister (and mum!).
I have had a thoroughly amazing birthday.