Happy Birthday to Me!


My birthday was this weekend and while I may have reached the age where birthdays are no longer exciting, I can’t say the same about this weekend. K did a fantastic job planning a fun filled, action-packed (and of course themed) weekend.

Saturday’s Ice theme started off with ice skating at Broadgate near Liverpool Street. The rink was smaller than the one we ventured to last year at Tower of London which was perfect because it was a lot less crowded. Neither of us being expert skaters, we had plenty of room to glide around the ice. The smaller rink also meant that we were always close to a wall which came in handy a few times.


After that bit of exercise, it was time to relax and have a drink at the Ice Bar. Located in the center of London near Picadilly Circus this popular bar is booked three weeks in advance and is made entirely of ice. The walls, the seats, the tables — even the glasses — are all made of ice. Outfitted with the standard issue parka and gloves we drank vodka cocktails and marveled at our icy surroundings. Fortunately about the time we started to feel cold, our session was over. It was a bit odd to take OFF our coats to go outside where it was 40ºF, but warmer than in the bar.

It appears that the bar is affiliated with the Ice Hotel in Lapland Sweeden. Coincidentally, I read about this Ice Hotel last month when investigating a trip to see the Northern Lights. The bar was great, but I can’t imagine sleeping in an ice bed or taking an ice shower. Brrr.

After dinner we were ready for the evening’s main attraction — Jimeoin on Ice. An Irish comedian — though living in Australia — he has a unique routine about everyday things. It was great to have a bit of a laugh.

Finally we returned home just in time for the traditional birthday cake at midnight. This year K made one of my homemade favorites — Apple Crisp. I know, it isn’t really a cake, but it is server with ICE cream which made it a perfect end to the day.

Sunday’s theme of Refinement was kicked off with a performance by Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall. It is the first time we had seen them perform and it was a great show. Some of the acts reminded us of the Afrika! Afrika! show from a couple weeks ago, but the style was very different. The bright customs and melodic backdrops gave the impression of watching a live cartoon.

Following the show we toured the Victoria and Albert museum to sample some of the refinement collected from around the world. Founded by Queen Victoria, the museum hosts fine pieces such as vases from the Ming dynasty, fine hand woven rugs from the Middle East, and sculpture from Greece and Italy.


As a prelude to dinner, we headed to an oyster bar just around the corner. It was my first time eating oysters, but K showed me how it was done. Her favorite was with a bit of Tabasco, but I preferred the Lemon.
Finally, we capped the weekend at a fine London restaurant — Bibendum. For those not up on their French tire company trivia, Bibendum is the name of the mascot for the Michelin company (or better known in the states as the Michelin Man). Located in the building commissioned as Michelin’s first British headquarters, the restaurant is indeed named for this jolly fellow which is captured in the beautiful stained glass and lithographs around the building. Learning that Michelin was in fact a french company set the stage for the fine french cuisine we were about to enjoy. I got a chance to have one of my favorites — escargot — along with scallops and baked rice pudding for dessert. A fine end to a fine day.

Check out our photo album to see all of our pictures from the weekend.

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