Last week Steve and I had our double Leo birthday celebrations. Our birthdays are 5 days and 5 years apart, so we usually celebrate for several days. Steve’s birthday fell on a Saturday and we went up to the Midlands on Friday to visit his Mum and she took us out to lunch the following day.
Then he and I went to the 5 star Moddershall Oaks near Stone as ‘stay guests’ for 24 hours of luxurious pampering. We chose Moddershall because they only have 10 rooms (exclusive, personalised service), the spa treatments looked great, no golf course (so we knew that it was for couples who are going there to be together) and it was the only stay spa place we found on the internet which had a link to the menu (which looked pretty darn good). It was way out in the Staffordshire countryside at the end of a relaxing drive through country lanes and farmland. When we booked, we were asked our dietary requirements which were: ‘Prosecco on arrival’. Which we enjoyed in the outdoor hot tub after we checked in.
Our room was really lovely and I found another light source which I want to find for our bedroom. Only in white. I love the way the light beams out from the filigreed metal work.
Following an excellent five course dinner, we took our cheese and wine back to our room. We intended to have these as ‘movie snacks’ but we couldn’t get the volume to work properly on the DVD player, so will have to save this film for another time.
Sunday morning began with a Continental breakfast, a spa treatment each and then a couple of hours in the sauna/jacuzzi/pool area until lunchtime. We had a walk through the woods before lunch. My only complaint about Moddershall Oaks is that they also do wedding packages. There was a very noisy Hen Party in the dining room adjacent to where we were eating dinner, plus guests arriving and milling about for the wedding on Sunday at lunchtime. Probably best to go off of the wedding season when its quieter. But other than that, it was a fantastic, relaxing experience.
My birthday is on the 1st of August, which is Lammas Day, the festival of the wheat harvest. Traditionally, a loaf of bread is baked and blessed and thanks is given for the harvest. We had dinner at home with our Fire runner on the table, some of our lovely birthday cards and candles. We had a ‘He-man’ meal of beef burgers and Sizzler Toast. For those of you who don’t know, Sizzler is a ‘Family Steak House’ which opened in California in 1958 and is now a chain in the Western US. They serve this great toast with their steak dinners which is super easy to make. Mix equal amounts of butter and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Spread liberally on one side of thickly sliced white bread or French bread. Saute just on the buttered side in a non-stick pan over moderately high heat. It is delicious. The cheese melts and browns and the butter oozes up into the bread. Yum! Great birthday treat food!!
After dinner we each acknowledged what we’re currently harvesting from seeds planted earlier this year. For me, it’s my bed ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’ which I’ve been putting the finishing touches on since January and is about to make its debut at the Festival of Quilts.
Neither of are big cake fans, so dessert was fresh pear & Gran Padano cheese slivers and a new Lindt milk chocolate bar – Velvety Vanilla Almond, pleasantly reminiscent of crème brûlée.
And where does pyjamas come into all of this? For a start, I like the alliteration. Steve and I love to be At Home and have perfected the art of lounging. My gift to him was a pair of hand sewn deerskin slippers, lined with calfskin. I have a favourite French nightdress which makes me feel like a Greek goddess and is elegant enough to wear when we have dinner parties. Steve bought me a beautiful set of Passionata lingerie to wear beneath it so I can wear it as an ‘at home’ evening gown.
I’m also a closet Princess and the Pea. As a world champion napper, I must have complete darkness and silence when I take my forty winks. I have earplugs and until now, have used a merino wool Buff to cover my eyes. But I’m constantly misplacing it. I can’t believe that I’ve lived for 49 years without one of these, but another gift was a beautiful silk taupe eye mask, which was as lovely to unwrap from its milk chocolate satin envelope as it was to receive.
The best gift all though, was Steve’s smile. The very same one I fell for when I met him across a crowded table nearly four years ago.