146: Let there be Love
Lady B thought she was totally cool and chilled about reaching her thirties, and until a few weeks ago, I hadn't given it much proper thought.
Apart from back in December, when I made this foolhardy list of things I wanted to do before I hit the big 3-0; my #thirtybeforethirty list. I say foolhardy because I've ticked off just over half, and so I recently pushed the new parameters to be that I must tick 'em off before I turn thirty one. Insert wry smile emoji here. (Oh and the photo below; one TICK - Wimbledon with Mother Mooncake. No words.)
As the date has edged ever closer, and as I've failed at ticking said list, my quiet panic at leaving what has been a pretty decent decade of my life, has become more of a high pitched shrill into my g&t. I'm one of the last in the friendship group to reach the milestone being one of those "young" babies at school, so I've gleefully pranced and danced around my much more senior mates as they high five the entry into their third decade. And now, less of the prancing. Still dancing. Lady B can't really pinpoint what's the issue with the thirty badge; what's to fear? I shudder to think it's simply vanity; I like being a twenty something, I like being not in my thirties - so simply put - and well, my twenties were so good, I don't want to leave.
For it was in my twenties that I graduated - age 21 - taking with me a group of friends (see pic) that I'm still besties with to this day, oh, and a degree.
I also - age 21 - met my husband. And incidentally, around the day I graduated.
Lady B can't speak for him, but I don't recall it being a love at first sight situation; he had bad hair, good shoes though - vitally important point for Lady B, always has been - but made me literally laugh out loud. He was irritating though; always late for shifts because he was a manager and he could be (we worked in a bar together) and always hid the lighters from me so I couldn't light the candles. And other such stupid stuff that both annoyed the hell out of me and endeared me. Should have known then what an eejit he'd be when it came to nappy changes and tantrums in supermarkets. It took near on four months before we actually got together and so technically, I was 22 when we became boyfriend and girlfriend.
Age 22, I went traveling for six months with one of my bestest buddies, Lady Peanut Irish. There is no surer way to ground - or break - a friendship for life than sharing a camper van with someone around Australia AND New Zealand. As well as experiencing New Delhi. And only eight hours of electricity in Nepal. And lizards the size of your thigh on that "paradise" hideaway in Fiji. I'm sort of glad Instagram didn't exist. Or Whatsapp. We went nearly three days of not talking in that camper van. We also chained our backpacks to a sleeper train bunk bed in India and then spooned on the top bunk because frankly, it was too terrifying not to. And don't even talk to me about the toilets on that train. (We didn't use it, in nine hours. We held it in. The happier days of a pelvic floor muscle you could rely on.)
Lady Peanut Irish and I are going abroad together for the first time again this week.
Lady Tatou came into my life when I got back from that traveling shindig - age 23 - thanks to Lord B. We lost our dear family cat of fifteen years shortly after I returned from my travels, and Lady B was beyond gutted. Lord B saw that I was comforted with a cat for us to love in our bijou London home. Lord Curious Clooney followed some two years later after sitting on that bijou London doorstep three nights in a row.
Lady Bakewell-Park became my pseydeunom - age 25 - two weeks shy of Lord B popping the question. I started my blog mostly because I was bored; I wanted something to do, something to centre my writing energies and my baking joy, unbeknown to me that Lord B was hoping I'd plan a wedding very soon. And so the blog became an ode to London, wedding planning, and baking.
Being made redundant, a weird highlight for Lady B - age 26. Of course, not at the time. No, at the time I was devastated and feeling the real pangs of that recession everyone was talking about. I liked my job, but I liked the people more. It was at this moment that Lord B heralded this statement which, to this day, feels like "the" moment everything changed: "If you don't do this now, you bloody well never will. Jesus, get on with it. I got your back." We got hitched - still aged 26 - we went on a honeymoon of a lifetime - still aged 26 - and I began baking in kitchens in London - still aged 26. By the time I turned 27, I realised that although I went through a tough work ebb and flow, it was more than worth every penny-pinching-heart break.
Thanks to that penny pinching, we moved back towards the Suffolk-Essex border - aged 27. Work on the LBP empire began. And then that irritating body clock began to go off. I wanted a baby. And I wanted it now. More ebbs and flows, and not of the penny pinching kind, more of the pee-ing-on-a-stick-not-this-month kind. One month, confident I wasn't pregnant (pee'd on multiple sticks confident), we went to a wedding held at my old high school for one of my besties; I did the wedding cake, we got very very drunk, and we wrote on the chalkboards for the teachers to find on Monday morning... All for me to find that three weeks later - oops, I WAS pregnant.
Being pregnant; a highlight of my twenties, I adored it, I loved it, it was frickin' excellent. Weirdly. I didn't think i'd enjoy it so much. Lady Literate has since said it was being pregnant that really saw me "bloom" and not just literally. I pushed a baby out sans any pain relief - aged 28 - just shy of Christmas Eve. (The pain relief thing; an accident. But FYI, I did hypnobirth and highly HIGHLY recommend it.)
And 29; quite possibly one of the most "find-myself" years yet. Formative, life enhancing, and just downright everything and anything. 29 has been hard but wonderful in equal measure. I'm not entirely sure when I've been a good person and when I've been a not-so-good person in my twenty-ninth year. I've been highly strung and full of anxiety, and then yo-yo'd to not giving a flying...
I've been finding my way as Mama, as well as working LBP hard to really grow alongside Mini B. They are my priorities and I know that. Being a Mama; I throw remote controls and I walk out of rooms, but I also down my baking tools and grab Mini B at every available opportunity. These two things, I think I'm doing maybe okay with. Sort of. Sometimes.
But, I think I've forgotten some days how to be a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. And for that, if you're reading, I'm sorry if I've let that slip. My priorities overshadowed all else and for that, I hope you'll let it slide.
Lady B is sad, and yet relieved, to say goodbye to 29 and all that went with it.
As I edge closer to waving "bub-bye" as Mini B would say, to my twenties, I'm going to try and openly embrace the thirties that I'm entering. I'm grateful and fortunate, and I know it. Don't think I don't. Please rest assured readers, I've left a LOT out of this small highlight package; a lot of heart break, soul searching, and tricky days. Feel free to read back over the blog and you'll get a glimpse of those days. Social media like Instagram, Facebook, blogs, all have a way of creating some happy rainbow filled life in squares, as though we all loll around in a smug little world. We don't. I don't. Lady B is forever conscious to show the sunnier side of life through a colourful biscuit, as well as the tantrums, the tears and the trickier days.
And when all else fails, I use a song lyric to let you all know how I'm feeling.
So, to what is probably my favourite song. Ever. Because it harbours my favourite song lyric. Ever. I'll let you guess which it is.
I'm ready for ya, Mr Thirties; you've got a hard act to follow.
Be good and bake well,