When I first started writing my blog in the Spring of 2008 I was dancing through the last year of my thirties with two Little People aged three and five. It seems so long ago now (and I've got the two teenagers to prove it), and yet at the same time if often feels to me as if hardly any time has passed at all. I so clearly remember celebrating my fortieth birthday with a weekend away at the coast, thinking that my life was pretty well settled. I thought that my forties would be a slow, happy continuation of my gentle stay-at-home-mum life, with a return to a little bit of stitching work at some point. At that time I had NO idea (absolutely none whatsoever) that by the time my forty-first birthday would rock around that I'd be carrying a baby bump along for the ride!! My my, that was probably one of the biggest surprises in my life journey to date, and completely changed the way my forties unfolded. I also had no way of knowing how my simple blogging hobby and my new found passion for crochet would develop and change my life in such an amazing way. I am so so so SO thankful for this patch of Blogland which allows me to look back through archives which represent a whole decade of my life. I love that through my own words and pictures I can remember so many beautiful little details of extraordinary everyday-ness which tell the story of my Forties.
On Friday, I said goodbye to that precious and surprisingly changeable decade of my life and welcomed in a brand new one - I'm SO flippin' excited to be stepping into my fifties!!!! YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't explain why, but I just have a deep down feeling that the next ten years will be absolutely marvelous in so many different and as yet unknown ways. I am absolutely full to the brim with happy optimism, and it's a truly great feeling.
It'll come as no surprise to you that for my big birthday day, I wanted no fuss and no special attention. I wished for it to be peaceful and preferably full of sea air, cake and a lot of love and laughs. I was away in London for two days last week (more about that in another post), so I had had my fill of hustle and bustle and all I wanted was a quiet day beside the sea. So after depositing the Littlest Little Peep at school, J and I drove to St Anne's on the Lancashire coast to pootle and potter and be just a teensy bit Birthdayish.
Our first stop was one of our favourite cafe's which sits at the entrance to the old Victorian pier. This cafe is run by an Italian family and the coffee is always extremely good indeed - I was so enchanted with the chocolate windmill dusted on top of my froth, honestly, it takes very little to make me happy. I just had to have some carrot cake too, as it's my favourite cake (just about beats a good lemon drizzle) and one that I often have on my Birthday if I am anywhere that is cake-ish.
After the coffee and cake with a beautiful, cosy sea view, we wrapped up and took ourselves outside to walk along the promenade. Despite a truly awful weather forecast thanks to storm Callum blowing in, we were extremely lucky to find dry weather in St Anne's on Friday.
But blinkin' heck, it was soooooooo windy!!!
There were very few people braving the fierce winds, and we pretty much had the whole expansive beach to ourselves.
The surface of the sand was being blown about making it appear like a moving, living thing. It was mesmerising to watch, as were the seagulls battling to fly in one direction.
I adore coastal walking and felt like I could have happily walked for miles and miles along the expanse of sandy shoreline. The openness of this vast sandy beach is so calming and uplifting, and the gulps of tangy salty air filling my lungs was wonderful. Did I mention that it was a tad windy?? It gave me the most insane hair (which reminded me so much of my 40th Birthday)!!!
There are no cliffs along this beach as the land is very flat along the Lancashire coastline. But the wide sandy beaches are backed by low-lying grassy sand dunes instead and there is something so beautiful about that particular shade of silvery beach-grass green.
I fall in love with it every single time I see it, and love the overall breezy, subtle colour palette. Soft, sandy colours mixed with shades of sun bleached wood and moody, silvery skies and that stunning marram grass green......
.....oh, and the delicate pinks of the pretty shells too. There are always a tonne of razor shells all over the beach at St Anne's, but it's these teensy little stripy pink shells that I love the most. I am sooo tempted to have a play with this natural coastal colour palette, to see how it looks when I start to describe my feelings and memories in yarny stripes.......oh, such an exciting thought!!
We didn't have nearly long enough on the beach really, but the morning was marching on and J and I had a Birthday lunch date on our horizon. We hopped in the car and drove along the coast from St Anne's to Lytham proper. Usually when we visit this part of the coast we stay at the St Ann'es end as we love the down to earth charm of it there. The Lytham end is altogether more upmarket with a thriving high street full of lovely independent shops and cafes. The windmill on the green is a very well known historical landmark (hence the chocolate windmill on my cappuccino) and always amazes me with it's out-of-place feel.
We walked all along the main street in Lytham and I so wanted to linger and browse and take photographs but we didn't have a lot of time to play with. The shops are a true delight, and if you ever get a chance to visit I can highly recommend it. I love places that have a genuine sense of community, and it was amazing to see the old fashioned greengrocers and fishmongers which are becoming a rarity in our small English towns. Next time I'm there, I will snap some pictures to share - the pumpkin display outside Strong's was especially photogenic!
We were headed to a small brasserie restaurant which specialised in Mediterranean and modern Greek food. J chose it after reading reviews online, and it was absolutely beautiful inside as you can see from the above photo.
We ordered from the "Lunch Pronto" menu which included a cheeky glass of vino, and it was utterly delicious I have to say. Such a treat! J and I sat at a table in the window, the sort of table which has tall legs so that you perch on high stools, and it was really very lovely to watch the world go about it's breezy business as we sat and enjoyed lunch.
We left the coast full of good food, sea air and feel-good, and a heap load of very happy Birthday memories.
Back home, and I was content to be cosy and snuggled up with J and the Little People. I opened some lovely presents, drank chilled prossecco and inhaled my latest candle crush (sea salt and lemon, just the most gorgeous zesty, summery, sea-breezy scent). I've not yet changed my mantel from Summer to Autumn, but I'm so looking forward to hanging up my Autumn garland and arranging my little crochet pumpkins from last year......I'll pop that job at the top of this week's to-do list.
And so my fiftieth birthday came to a gentle snoozy end, snuggled up on the sofa with Little B feeling so grateful for my happy home life.
Over the weekend I spent rather a lot of time idling and pondering, running through a good many ideas and thoughts and plans for the year ahead. I feel deep down that good things are going to happen, and I very much hope that I'll have enough energy to keep up with it all. I think this next decade is going to be fabulous!