Mar 7 11

Birthday Blog!

by Emily Benjamin

I celebrated my first overseas, away from home birthday on Monday, and although I didn’t do ‘much’, I had a truly fantastic day. Here’s how I spent it.

Woken by Monkey, he greeted me with the expected HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THE BENJ!  but fortunately didn’t sing to me, which was a relief. Breakfast  was upstairs at 9am and what was on the buffet? PORK RIBS! This was going to be a good day :)

At 10.30am I was greeted by staff offering me flowers, a big bunch just for me. I’ll admit I specifically chose our accommodation because they mentioned special birthday treatment – and they stayed true to their online promise. As well as the flowers, they are getting me a cake for the afternoon! Huzzah!

Before 11am, we set off for a Wonderful Package at SF Spa – which included a sauna/steam room, thai massage, hot body wrap, facial and foot treatment. The expected time was 4 hours for all of this, so the wonderful staff said ‘because you are with us for so long, we will get you some lunch.’  Woohoo! It was at about lunch time that we realised this 4 hour treatment was already 3 hours of the way through, and we still had at least 2 hours of treatments to go. Granted, they’d up-sold us to include a salt scrub as well (which was a-maz-ing, by the way!) so we were ok about the extra time. A facial and foot treatment to come after lunch, and to be honest, I was exhausted. The overall treatment time, including a 15minute break for lunch, was over 6 hours. SIX. HOURS. And I love special treatment, but my attention span was truly tested there. Yes, my skin is as soft as I’ve ever felt it, my feet are as smooth as a baby’s bottom, and I feel many months younger.  But there is only so much pampering a girl can take, especially when she has family skype dates to attend!

We made it back to the hotel at about 5.30pm and I rushed upstairs to get online for Skype. Dad and Lauren greeted me with balloons and ice-cream which was awesome, and even Benny made an appearance, albeit a brief one. Then I spoke to Mum, and quickly to Mak, and when we wished them goodnight it was time for our dinner.

Dinner was just what I needed. A 350gm rib fillet steak, medium, with a side of mashed potato with truffle oil, and green beans. A number of times during dinner I just couldn’t help myself, and would roll into fits of giddy laughter, overstimulated by the yummy intake of iron and carbs again. Yes, I’m a massive carnivore. I know it, everyone I know knows it, and I have no shame in admitting it! So, so good to eat a tender piece of steak after 3 weeks of chicken and pork dishes where they would use only about 50gm of meat each time. The steak was amazing. The mashed potato, epic. So creamy and perfect with the steak and beans. Oh and I should mention the entrees as well – Chicken Bastille with roast chicken cooked in pastry with paprika, tomato and some other vegies, and divine slow roasted blackberry duck with pumpkin gnocchi. All served with a bottle of Oyster Bay Pinot Noir. An amazing food fest – Happy birthday to me!

This took us all the way to 11pm, and we were knackered. It’s not every day that you spend only eating and relaxing, and the combination of the two was exhausting. I know, I know – you’re probably reading this at work, and hating me more every minute. BUT I have birthday immunity so don’t be mad! It was a lovely first birthday away from home (my 26th, unless you remove the few months of wrinkles erased from my face during the spa treatment!) and I felt perfectly spoiled the whole day, as anyone should.

But I’ve forgotten – my presents! I got some money from home, to put towards the steak and wine dinner, and a nice hotel for the night. I didn’t think I needed it, but it was so nice to have a comfy home base for 3 days, with good hot water, a soft bed and a mini bar, hehe. I’ll also get to replace my lost phone and perhaps get an iPod Shuffle or Nano to last me through the next 6 months. And finally, Jamie has treated me to a luxurious 2 night, 3 days cruise on Halong Bay, aboard the Halong Phoenix Cruiser. Oh. La. La!

Enough birthday jibberish, but I thought I would let everyone know the ideal way to spend a birthday overseas. Don’t be on transport, make your favourite things readily available, and try to spend it with either someone you love, or someone that keeps you distracted. I was lucky enough to spend it with my awesome boyfriend and best-boy-friend, Jamie Talbot, and he helped make it awesome. Twenty six doesn’t feel so painful, right now :)

– Em :)

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