photo saturday: pre-birthday birthday celebrations

butterfly drummeroff fish out
It's currently my birthday weekend... It's not my actual birthday until Monday, but when your birthday falls on a long weekend as mine are want to do, you celebrate the whole weekend long. Because why not.

Plus given the fact that the Fringe is coming to an end and the last show I'm seeing is on Sunday, I really just want to stay home on Monday and hibernate.

I'll comment more fully when I do the full round-up, but I'll be as happy for the Fringe to be over and life to go back to whatever the fuck the new version of normal is as I will be sad that it's all over for another year.

This week wasn't super-full with Fringe, but we had shows on Tuesday and Thursday... And then I had my pre-birthday haircut with Tink on Wednesday. It was a pretty standard session... We're finally back to my regular colour after the blue then dark then bright blonde of the last three cuts. And the cut was the same thing I've been doing for a while.

Otherwise we just talked about my moving house experiences given that last time I saw her two nights before the move. And there was also much talk of Fringe.

Work had been appropriately worky... although Friday was different if only because I spent the whole day going through a fairly high-level document and tearing it to shreds, which weirdly is one of my favourite things to do... I think I was a frustrated editor in a past life. But there are very few things I enjoy more than really taking a piece of work and putting it back together again in an improved way. And I got about 17 pages into a 48 page document and had something like 315 questions, deletions, alterations or other suggested changes.

I'm having a meeting with the person ostensibly responsible for the document on either Tuesday or Thursday next week, hopefully Thursday because I still have 30 pages to go and I'd prefer to have most of it finished by the time I have the meeting. And if I don't get traction with the document's owner I have no qualms about going over her head to the boss above my boss.

Especially given that it's a document that's going to have a major effect on my work and that of everyone in The Nut House, it needs to be right.

Friday was also my chiro appointment, so I wandered down towards the Mall, which just felt fucking strange since I never go that way when I leave work any more.

When I was done I went and had a look around bits of the Mall, bought myself some Disney cuteness, went looking for a belt unsuccessfully (I know there may not be a huge call for plus-size belts, but they're like fucking hen's teeth... I may have to see if I can do some sort of special order or raincheck thing).

I then took the "random meander" approach to heading home and by the time I walked in the door after stopping off of the supermarket it was 6:45... Fairly impressive given that I left the office at 4pm.

This morning I rolled out of bed somewhat later than I probably should have, went through my morning routine and was still ready before Ma arrived.

We did the new supermarket thing, although we did get distracted by the bookshop on The Parade and their book sale... ended up grabbing a couple of things.

At the supermarket we both mostly bought fresh stuff, and I think both of us are going to have problems this coming week remembering how to actually cook for ourselves after a month"s worth of either eating out or throwing something quick together.

And we went to the same checkout girl as last week, and she can still pack a bag pretty damn well, so she's definitely going to be the Chosen One for a while at least.

Then once the ritual unpacking and suchlike had been done we did a variation on last week's excursion, with follow up visits to Target and Big W. Although they were originally a bit of a joke, the black thongs with the bottle opener on the strap were actually pretty comfy, so I bought two more pairs (they were cheap and it always pays to get multiple versions of a good thong).

The Big W visit was pretty brief, mostly I needed a matching curtain for the one I bought last week.

From there we went into the city to finally get Ma a new cordless phone after she's been pondering on the question of phone choice for at least two years. And she ended up getting the one I said she should get at least a year ago... but at least it's done now.

We also stopped in at both JB HiFi and Zing, because that place (Zing) is like pure crack to me and I can't stay away. I picked up the last season of Doctor Who from JB to put away for Ma's birthday, because of irony. I also grabbed a couple of cheap yet interesting DVDs for me. Then in Zing I saw they had those metal lunch boxes with Adventure Time designs on them, so I decided to grab a Jake/Finn face one to put all my cross-stitch supplies in (I was initially going to get one with all the female characters on, but the face one was cheaper)... it's a vast improvement from the weird "military DVD case" one I was using (don't ask). And a Bulbasaur mug because it was the last one, and Bulbasaur.

On the way back we stopped off to get a set of keys to my new place cut for Ma (and i got her a red one instead of the purple one I got from the land agent... although given how hacked up the purple one is I may get a red replacement at some point) and a bit of something for lunch.

Then we just hung out at my place, watched Big Hero 6 while I thumbed through the Assassin's Creed Complete Visual History book Ma bought me for my birthday... well, I told Ma she could buy me, but it all comes out the same.

When it was time, we got as dressed up as we were going to get given the weather and the fact we were going to The Garden later, and headed off to Jamie's Italian for my pre-birthday birthday dinner.

birthday dinner cocktail - florence fizzjamie's italian starter - italian nachos

jamie's italian main - chicken al mattonejamie's italian dessert - raspberry ripple pavlova
And the bonus of booking in October is that we were seating right away... the downside is that I made a guess about what else we might be doing and booked the table for 5pm... we didn't have a show until 9:30pm... and I actually forgot that we had the booking when I made the Fringe arrangements, so luckily it all worked out.

Just for something different, I started out with an actual cocktail, a Florence Fizz (limoncello, cranberry juice, elderflower cordial and frizzante), which was very nice while Ma had a non-alcoholic Ginger Mojito (mint, lime, sugar and ginger beer).

For starters we shared the Italian Nachos (crispy fried ravioli stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta and pecorino, served with spicy Sicilian tomato sauce) and the Italian bread selection (homemade rosemary focaccia, Italian grissini, crispy music bread and ciabatta served with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic). The ravioli was amazing, but as always seems to be the case wherever you go there was never enough sauce, or oil and balsamic to get us all the way through.

I seem to have a very hit and miss relationship with main courses at Jamie's Italian... and today was no exception... I ordered the Chicken Al Mattone (free-range marinated chicken with a creamy wild mushroom sauce, lemony rocket, crostini and parmesan) while Ma had the Salmon Salad (flaked hot-smoked salmon with heritage beets, radish, fennel and creamy ricotta, topped with seeded crackerbread, fresh horseradish and green goddess dressing)... and my chicken was good, don't get me wrong, but I feel like I might have been better with one of the pasta dishes.

When it came time to dessert I was devastated to see that the Tutti Fruitti Lemon Meringue Pie was no longer on the menu. I know restaurants have to change and grow and try new things, but when you have absolute perfection (in fact, sex on a plate) on the goddamn menu why would you ever remove it!

I had to settle for the Raspberry Ripple Pavlova (light and gooey meringue, zesty cream, macerated raspberries and smashed honeycomb), and although the smashed honeycomb was a little sparse, it was a tasty dessert. Ma had the Panna Cotta, which I tried a bite of and didn't actually taste like anything (other than the berries it came with). But she liked it.

I finished off with Jamie's Grown Up Iced Tea (lightly spiced rum, breakfast tea syrup, lemon juice and peach purée over ice) while Ma had a peppermint tea. The iced tea was much stronger in booze flavour than the earlier cocktail, but it was still delicious.

Not a cheap outing once we were all said and done, but it was three courses plus drinks, and we don't usually go all out like that.

After dinner we strolled down to The Garden and wandered around for a while, then found a spot to sit and hang out until it was time to start lining up for the show (the line started way before it needed to, so I ended up standing up for over an hour).

But it was a great show for my penultimate Fringe outline and Ma's final show.

So while it wasn't the most flashy or exciting of birthdays, but it was a nice day and it had a really great end.

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