Ooops, it wasn't exactly the way I had planned to start this day but Luke and I were still drinking Cava at 4am just as the sun was rising on my birthday! I didn't mind though. It was such a fun way to start my birthday.
Luke and I were sitting in my mini-me apartment chatting away when I received a message from Grace (DA,B) RIGHT. ON. THE. DOT at 12:00 with a link to a HAND DRAWN BIRTHDAY ANIMATION!!! AMAZING! I HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS ON EARTH! Luke and I watched it about five times before I called Grace laughing!
Presents had been arriving via courier during the week including this amazing Gorman dress from Mama-sando. At midnight I decided it was acceptable to open this gorgeous treat from David in Kyoto. Um, how on earth did he know my favourite nail polish. Amaze!
After about 4 hours sleep, just as I was heading out the door for birthday breakfast, an express post package from James in Australia arrived. Cherry Bakewell tarts and a sweet "Did you spot Hello Sandwich on the card?" card. Nice timing, Harold.
Birthday breakfast was at Pan to Espresso to with Luke and Moto-chan. We sat outdoors, drinking espresso, and hid undercover from the rain. I ordered my favourite number 6 Olivie sandwich which you really must try it if you're in Omotesando.
A few hours, and a few blocks away, and it was time to meet Mami-chan at another favourite cafe in Omotesando (A-Z cafe). Mami-chan - you're the master of cute presents and cute wrapping!
Knowing just how much I adore stamps, Mami-chan had ordered a selection of vintage Japanese stamps online for me! OMG!
Gahhhhh and then the first of five birthday cakes came out with the A-Z staff singing Happy Birthday to me. Goodness, looking out over Aoyama and spending a special birthday time here in Tokyo - just amazing!
After lunch I popped down to Labi Yamada denki to collect my birthday-present-to-myself. A FujiFilm x20. LOVE.
A few hours later and I was off to meet Grace for dinner at my favourite Shimokita izakaya. Grace had illustrated me an amazing personalised book for my birthday! Full of hilarious personal jokes. THE BEST!(ID,B - I just made up this new one DA,B - can you get it? Ref: My latest Hulu infatuation)
The second of the five birthday cakes was served here!
A slight hangover on the day after my birthday, but I managed to make it to lunch in Harajuku with Boco-chan. We went to The Deck, Coffee and Pie. Definitely recommend this place!
Boco-chan printed on this adorable wrapping paper 'EboBento' and 'HaroSushi'. Gahhhhhh my friends are the best!
A few hours later, and it was more kanpai fun with my lovely group of friends at Izakaya En in Shibuya. I celebrated my 30th birthday here at this exact table when I first moved to Tokyo.
You can't beat the food at this izakaya.
One of my lovely friends, Toshi, shares his birthday on the exact same day as me. 27th June. So much fun celebrating together! The third of five cakes! For your benefit, I've spared you the silly cake-cutting / birthday-present-opening photos that followed the blowing out of candles. But, gosh, those photos are such incredible memories of such a fun nigh.
Nice effort making a mess of this table.
Nijikai. Rhys was in town from Hong Kong and we drank Gin and Tonic's and dark beers and chatted about lenses and tripods. My favourite types of conversations.
And then, oh dear, it was time for tequila shots!
Sanjikai Sleeping Beauty.
Compulsory 3am ramen in Shibuya.
A taxi home just as the sun was popping up.
I woke up around lunch time the following day to photograph most beautiful presents ever. These divine dishes were perfectly selected from my gorgeous friends. It's incredible just how well they know me! I adore these!
More presents arrived in the post over the following days. A collage style record from my darling friend Jessie who lives in London, and a Cy Twombly-esque furoshiki from her daughter (my little god daughter) Flux.
Pretty pasta from newlyweds Tenda and Yuko.
And just as I thought I was already pushing it with the celebrations, there was a Sangria Birthday party at my friends shop SUGAR TOWN!
Takuya-san made his famous sangria. You're the best, Takuya!!!
The fourth of five cakes! Swoon!
I honestly thought this was the finale to an amazing birthday, but then, I went to dinner at Aoya and my friends surprised me with the sweetest present.
Ros made me this adorable Mt. Fuji pouch with a little Hello Sandwich going up and down Mt. Fuji. SOOOO cute!
Hiki-chan excelled herself with the loveliest of wrappings! This self-designed wrapping paper is from her shop Uguisu and features the buildings iconic door and Mimosa tree. Inside was a divine Miso cooking book and a beautiful paper zipper pouch from Box & Needle.
Somehow we have been lucky enough to become friends with amazing LA based singer songwriter Priscilla Ahn who has just written music for Ghibli's new movie 'When Marnie Was There'. This special set of pencils and sketchbook were made especially for the movie.
And a perfect evening and perfect birthday finished off here with the FIFTH cake. Gosh, I seriously have the best friends in the world.
Thank you so much darling ones.
Love you lots.