The One with all the Birthdays

The One with all the Birthdays

The day after my son turned 6, I turned 42. We both celebrated in Crete again, an unplanned tradition that we all seem quite happy to keep.

My 42nd birthday seemed to creep up on me rather quickly, whereas the big 6 seemed to take forever to come around. Not only is my son the last in his class to reach this milestone, he has to wait until the very last week of the summer holidays to do so. After a whole week of being 6, he returned to school and received his very first invitation to a 7th birthday party. And, so it all begins again.

We took him to a traditional Greek dancing night on his actual birthday, where we all feasted on souvlaki and danced in a circle to Zorba’s. Not quite the Star Wars party he was hoping for, but he loved the craziness of it all.

I woke up feeling a bit worse for wear in the morning, having emptied a carafe of red wine into my mouth in case I was pulled up for one of the solos. As it happened, the Greek God(zilla)’s sister, BB, was bestowed that honour.

I took my hangover for an early morning birthday dip in the pool and by lunchtime I was ready for an ice-cold krasi at our favourite taverna. There is nothing like a little glass of rosé and a big plate of Yiayia’s home cooking to send you off for a lovely afternoon siesta. Especially on your birthday as it comes guilt-free!

Every year, the Greek God(zilla) takes me to an amazing restaurant in Rethymon Old Town called Avli, where we dine on Cretan dishes in a beautiful courtyard and I get a bit pissed on local wine.

However, this year he decided to break with tradition and booked a table at Avli’s neighbouring restaurant, Pigadi, instead. I have such fond memories of our annual visit to Avli that sitting down to eat at Pigadi felt like cheating on my beloved; and when I realised that the two restaurants were positioned directly opposite each other on a narrow Venetian side street, I was terrified of being caught in the act!

After about 2 mouthfuls of delicious shrimp saganaki, I stopped caring. I could not stop shovelling it in long enough to even say the word Avli. The food was incredible, the wine was plentiful and we will definitely be going back there again!

We returned back to London another year older and a hell of a lot colder and wetter than when we left, but still had a Star Wars themed birthday party to host for the family who were not there to celebrate with us in Crete.

Ugh. Is there such a thing as feeling all birthday’d out?

After our summer of excess, I really did not want to eat, or drink, another thing.

But I did, obviously.


I was still in holiday mode until the last candle was blown. Then it was time to face reality – a new school year, a dwindling bank balance, a 6-year old counting down the days until he turns 7, and the one thing I had been dreading the most… the scales.



  1. September 16, 2015 / 7:10 PM

    Ah the Bug has exactly the same. Not a penchant for wine and greek food, obviously, but just 3 weeks of triumphantly catching up, before everyone starts being a year older than him again. It’s hard isn’t it?! Happy birthdays!

    • Grenglish
      September 22, 2015 / 9:41 PM

      Really is! He has already started talking about his 7th birthday party arrrrrggh

  2. September 16, 2015 / 11:53 PM

    Ignore the scales!!!!

    I can’t wait to see you this week and throw more carafes of wine down our necks xxxx

  3. September 17, 2015 / 9:08 AM

    Belated birthday wishes to you and your son. Celebrating in Crete every year is an awesome tradition and one that you definitely need to keep. It’s birthday season here too… my husband turned 50 last week and twin daughters celebrated their 21st just 4 days later.

    • Grenglish
      September 22, 2015 / 9:40 PM

      Thanks you and hopefully the tradition will continue 🙂 Happy birthday to all in your family too! Quite a few milestones there… xx

  4. September 17, 2015 / 1:05 PM

    Ah! We went to Crete for the first time this summer. What a beautiful island! If only I knew you were a local. Happy belated birthday to you both and I really feel for your son. A lot! G is an October baby, early October, yet most of her friends are August or September and she gets so annoyed that they are all 5 by now!! Oh, the drama!! xx

    • Grenglish
      September 22, 2015 / 9:39 PM

      It’s so hard for the August/September babies! Must see you again soon xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: