Bournemouth - view of the pier

At the end of January 2017 I had a BIG birthday… I have to admit, despite the feelings of disbelief, I actually feel proud to still be here, considering the journey I’ve been on for the past nine years.

I know some people like to ignore birthdays, saying it’s just a sign you’re a year older – but I’ve always done something to celebrate my birthday. At the very least, I have always taken the day off (except on one occasion, when I had just started a new job a couple of days earlier).

On some occasions we have celebrated my birthday abroad: in Prague, Gibraltar, Venice and Hong Kong – and I wanted to do something special again this year, to celebrate this special milestone.

I had originally intended to go to Venice this year, rather than last year – but, all things considered, I’m glad we didn’t postpone the visit.

I thought about going somewhere warm, like the Canary Islands – but my heart wasn’t in it. It felt like I was looking for somewhere to go for the sake of it, rather than because I really wanted to go there. Plus I didn’t fancy a long journey.

One of my friends said that, for her 60th, she had done something totally out of character: she had organised a birthday party in Las Vegas. As an introvert, that would not only have been out of character for me – it would have been hell!

In the end, I asked myself whether there was anywhere in the UK that I’d like to visit – and I thought of Bournemouth, in Dorset. My family used to go there for holidays when I was a kid – and I’ve been back a couple of times with hubby.

I’d forgotten just how much I love walking along that endless stretch of beach. And it was such a lovely sunny day on my birthday – starting with the best sunrise I’ve ever seen, and ending with a pretty spectacular sunset too.

I joked with hubby that, if you added about 10 degrees Celsius, some muscle-bound beach bums, a Ferris wheel, and some of those funny little birds that run in and out of the sea, Bournemouth could easily be mistaken for Santa Monica – and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

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