In the months leading up to my birthday (November), my husband had been attempting to wind me up by saying he had organised something, I would be doing something on my birthday with a friend and after that we would be going away for a few days. He was super pleased with himself and kept on saying that I would never guess it … he was right, but I also wasn’t even attempting to guess, in a bid to wind him up by saying that I didn’t want to know until my birthday anyway and as he is generally rubbish at keeping something as a surprise we even agreed on a bet that he’d tell me before my birthday!
Fast forward to the night before my birthday and a few hints about what I would be doing … I was being dropped at a friend’s house and I needed a swimming costume…ok, surely that’s a spa day then!!
The morning of my birthday, I received some lovely treats from my boys, followed by a car journey to a friend’s house where I was dropped off to then be taken to the Sofitel Hotel Spa at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Ooooh, very posh! I sent a message to my friend in Australia who suggested maybe I would be going on a plane, to which my reply was that we wouldn’t be … this is just close to whatever motorway we would be going on for our trip!
The spa at the Sofitel was amazing! We had the place to ourselves for pretty much the whole day, enjoying their pool, relaxation room and two treatments, which for me were an hour long facial and scalp massage followed by an arm reviver massage. Utter bliss! To follow from the treatments we were then greeted with Chocolate covered strawberries and Prosecco! Talk about a pamper day! Finishing our day of relaxation was a lovely afternoon tea, during which my husband and boys arrived to ‘pick me up’ …
As we were still eating when they arrived, they joined us in the bar and I was handed an envelope with details of our trip. We were heading for Nottingham to stay in a hotel and have a wander around the Christmas Markets, I was going to hold an owl at a bird sanctuary and on Ryan’s 13th birthday which was 3 days after mine, he was going to a spy training day! Lovely! No idea why I would be going to hold an owl but I’d do it! 😛
A few minutes later I was given another wrapped gift … the last present of the day … a lovely suede folder with an inside cover of loads of photos of us all and the first page being a printed photo of an Airbus A330 with New York written on it – how sweet – he’d done me a memory book as we went to New York a year ago.
As I turned the pages, something didn’t add up – we went in October 2017 – this said November 2018 … and we stayed at the Crowne Plaza, this said Sofitel. Then I got to the page with US Dollars in wallets stuck to it! My son videoed the moment I opened the book, the moments I thought it was simply a memory book, then to the utter confusion and the ‘WHAT?‘ and ‘I don’t get it!’ moments as I could honestly not comprehend what I was reading!
We were not going to Nottingham at all – that was an elaborate decoy! We were staying at the Sofitel where I had spent the day at the spa, then leaving there at 4.30am to check in for a flight to New York where we were staying for 3 nights at the Sofitel New York! To add to that, the trip to hold an owl … nope, a trip to Rouge Salon for a Makeup session and to make my own bespoke lipstick! The planning that had gone into this trip, his ability to hide it, the kids ability to keep it from me and friends and family were also in on it too! I was totally overwhelmed and after waving my friend off at the car park, I cried!
The Sofitel had also added to the emotion as they had upgraded us to a huge suite and put HAPPY BIRTHDAY in rose petals on the floor, chocolates and huge towelled swans on the bed. I was literally lost for words and that doesn’t happen very often! When we go away anywhere I plan and plan and I didn’t do any of that! Oh and being sent to the spa … as amazing as that was, it was a chance to get me out of the way so he could re-pack what I had shoved into a case for a trip somewhere cold, into 4 cases to make it all within travel limits!
Of course I’ll be filling you in on New York and what we got up to – but let’s face it, this post has been long enough … but if you want to see what we got up to and my Sephora haul … keep your eyes peeled!
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