♥ Bricklane ♥
What could be a better way to fill in a grey London Sunday than taking in the sights and smells of Brick Lane. After a lovely coffee and cake from Allpress I finally found a pair of black boots - perfect height and shape, and an old Kodak Instamatic for my collection. This was also the first outing with my new Billingham camera bag, a 30th gift from my lovely girlfriends in New Zealand. It was the perfect fit for all my kit and the colour…LOVE.
After eating the most delicious rainforest wrap, filled to the brim with goodness, we headed to the pub for a game of pool.

♥ Chateau de Chenonceau ♥

Lying romantically across the river Cher, Chateau de Chenonceau was a highlight of my birthday. Walking through an enchanting forest,I half expected Mr Tumnus to come trotting past the maze and offer me a cup of tea. A princess from any childhood fairy tale was all that was needed to complete the scene. We were greeted by a huge fireplace taller than myself, with walls covered from head to toe with the most intricate of tapestry. We could wander around the bedrooms and floors as if we were once a part of this beautiful world. My favorite room was the grand galerie with an art deco-esque chessboard floor. I could picture the elaborate gowns being swept around the room in time to the music. What bliss.

My Surprise birthday
What better way than celebrating my 30th than a surprise trip away. My clues were quite vague “it’s a world heritage site“ and “by a river”. So as we set off in the early hours of the 3rdof February 2011 I have to admit I was very, VERY excited

First stop was Kings Cross station where we painlessly jumped on to the Eurostar heading to Paris. PARIS I thought! How wonderful, wandering the streets around St Germain and the Sacre Coeur eating way too many almond croissants. However this was just the first stop, we then boarded another train heading to Tours. This leg involved the popping of corks on some lovely French Champagne complemented by the gift of some crystal flutes. My final destination was then revealed to me by another thoughtful gift, a guidebook to the Loire Valley. On our arrival to Tours we jumped in our mini me hire car after adjusting to driving on the opposite side of the road and setting our Navman, albeit French speaking. Off we began weaving through the Touraine that sits in the heart of this region.

Our stone cottage with exposed wood beams and white wash stone staircase was magical. With a quick stop at the Super Marché our eyes seemed to glaze over at all the French delicacies on offer, oysters, caviar, foie gras and the smelliest cheese you could ever imagine. More wine and bubbles, smoked salmon pate and French bread. We began to feast as if we were taking part in the last supper. I could have fallen into bed there and then floating in my French birthday bubble; however after scanning the guide book we made a last minute booking at Auberge du Xll Sie`cle. We just made it there for our 9pm booking thanks to the trusty French Navman and with an almost empty restaurant it felt as if this old stone eatery was there to cater solely for us. After a quick scan of the elaborate menu I quickly realized it was written entirely in French. With two set menu options and a little help translating from our waitress we embarked on a marathon of meals.

Dishes such as a shot glass of offal mousse topped with port caramel sauce and scallops on a bed a black pudding seemed a little frightening to my rather unrefined palette, yet all the tastes however foreign, were simply exquisite. The only problem we all had was that after the super Marché hoe down this topped off the largest day of eating I’ve ever experienced. My birthday body was so full I became quite silent and by the 7 or 8th dessert plate I stopped speaking altogether!

Decadence and over indulgence were the theme words of my birthday celebrations and I couldn’t think of better ones to see in the beginning of my 3rd decade.

♥ Loire Valley
I was lucky enough to be taken away for my birthday to the beautiful Loire Valley in France. It was my most special birthday yet and couldn't have pictured a more perfect spot to celebrate. With 500 pictures to edit I wanted to post my favorite captured after and morning exploring a local antique store full of the most amazing french treasures.
♥ Last day of 29 ♥

Tomorrow is the last day of my twenties. This is a picture of the my favorite building on my walk to work each day. Tomorrow as I walk to work I will be thinking of all the amazing experiences I have had that have moulded me into who I am today...
I look forward to the future and walking forward into my 30's with excitement.