No one can accuse me of not making the most of turning 30.
From a week long trip to New York with my wonderful and very generous husband to a fabulous black tie party with all my nearest and dearest, I certainly haven’t been shy about turning the big 3 0 in style. And I topped all the celebrations off last weekend with the most wonderful, laughter-filled weekend in the City of Love with my very best friends.
I thought I’d give you a few details about what we got up to and whilst this post is about fun and good times, it’s mostly about friendship and sisterhood. Enjoy!
My friends and I all lead pretty busy lives. In recent years, we’ve thrown babies, husbands, mortgages and the complications of life into the mix so spending quality time together is a rare luxury. We’re all turning 30 this year so it was the perfect opportunity to get some time in together and we headed to the beautiful city of Paris.
Kicking off the weekend with a scummy breakfast in Caravan on King’s Cross (I had the buttermilk pancakes but the coconut bread that H had was insane too!), we then treated ourselves to a bottle of champagne in Searcey’s under the majestic arches of London St Pancras Station before hotfooting it onto the Eurostar. This was the perfect start to the weekend. If you’re thinking of heading to Paris from the North West, as long as you can get a decently priced train ticket to London, I’d say this is the only way to travel there. No more hanging around bored off your tits in an airport, you can hit the ground running. Ten minutes after downing the last of our champers, we were in our seats on the train and when we arrived in Gare Du Nord, we were straight onto the Metro; no messing around with customs or collecting your bag. Fabulous!
We settled in at the super-fun, mega clean and maze-like Asotel George up in Pigalle (when I say maze-like, there were so many stairs and corridors, we could barely find our rooms at first!) before heading up to Sacre Coeur for sorbets and surveying the gorgeous view. The sun was shining, there were topless men hanging from lampposts, what more could you ask for?
Dinner was at the lovely Rococo who catered really well for each of us. The petit pois soup with smoked mozerella was insane and we got through just a few bottles of sauv to wash everything down with it. On the way home, we discovered a super-cute little bar and indulged in Aperol Spritz until the early hours of the morning.
The next day, we hired bikes from the Velib scheme; a super cheap, really fun way to get around the city, especially with the sun shining as it was. After a hairy start, including minor panic attacks and ending up on the wrong side of the road, we stopped off at the amazing Notre Dame Cathedral before cycling along the Sein, taking in all the beautiful bridges and architecture before ending up at the Eiffel Tower for the obligatory selfies!
After a very French lunch of pizza, we headed to the Batobus, a hop-on-hop-off river cruise that takes you in a loop around the city before another ice cream stop in the Latin Quarter and heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.
I got to choose the dinner restaurant and even if I say so myself, I chose well. When I saw a restaurant called Pain, Vin, Fromage (ie: Bread, Wine, Cheese, three of my favourite things!), I booked us a table immediately. Down a side street, we were seated in our own little cave in the basement of the restaurant where our gorgeous waitress couldn’t have looked after us better. The restaurant specialises in fondue, so we went for a classic between a few of us, with others opting for yummy options including a plate of different French goat’s cheese. Manifique!
On Sunday, before we headed home, I dragged some of the girls to Sephora on the Champs Elysees (forget the Louvre or any of the other sites, this was the only place I wanted to visit!) with a quick pit stop at the Arc De Triomphe. And then it was back on the Eurostar, homeward bound.
Now that I have the details out of the way, I said that this post was about friendship. These girls have been a constant in my life for the best part of 20 years. Have there been squabbles? Yes. Falling’s out? Definitely? Times where we’ve wanted to kill each other? Most likely. But we come through it all. We’re now leading very different lives to the lives we had when we first became friends but I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful group of friends who pick each other up and support each other whenever there’s a need. We’re not always brilliant at it, sometimes we cock up and don’t do what’s best for each other, but there is always love there. Always.
I really treasure my female friendships. Sometimes, they’re more fun than my romantic relationship (sorry Maz!) and I really do rely on my friends a lot to keep me sane, especially as Maz works lots of different shifts and I can often spend time kicking about on my own. As I’ve got older, I’ve found I value the quality of my friendships over the quantity. I can count on both hands the number of friends I have that I know I can rely on for anything and always go out of their way for me. I can also count on both hands the number of friendships I’ve let slide for whatever reason; mostly because we’ve grown apart but sometimes because a person has really let me down. I’m no longer at a place in my life where I feel the need to stoke the fire of a friendship that isn’t there any more. But I need to learn to feel more at peace with myself when I do make those decisions; letting go of a friendship doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad friend. It just means I want my life to be full of positive people, who bring that to my world. These girls have stuck around because we bring positivity into each other’s lives.
Keeping a friendship going with so many people can be hard work. Facebook Messenger was our saviour and we’ve recently migrated our chat on to Whatapp. You know, moving with the times an all. Plus, Facebook can get a bit toxic, don’t you think? We try and meet up as much as we can and I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country, hell I’ve gone to Canada and Holland, to spend time with my friends. Some of my most treasured memories include sitting watching the Royal Wedding in A’s lounge, all with a bucks fizz in our hands, waving our Union Jacks or eating a burger from some weird hold-in-the-wall vending machine in Holland at 6am! Our trip to Paris was just one more thing to add to my library of wonderful memories with my wonderful friends. And there will be no doubt many, many more. Vegas for our 40th girls?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on friendships. What do you value and how do you keep a friendship going when work and life can easily get in the way? Have you been on any recent trips or made any great memories with your friends? I’d love you to tell me in the comments below.