What a lucky girl I am. Not only have I got some great friends and family who have learned to accept (and seem to love) my madcap ideas, but I also get to see the gorgeous Colin Firth on my birthday. That's right, the actor Colin Firth in my very own living room on my 40th birthday.
Okay, I may not have rubbed shoulders with the great man himself, but there he was smiling at me from the newspaper that had been used by my good friend Nigella to wrap my gorgeous birthday gifts.
What a clever girl that Nigella is. She'd only gone and recycled last week's "Green" supplement of The Bury Free Press as wrapping paper for my birthday presents. She hadn't picked just any old stories either. She'd carefully themed them.
She'd used Colin Firth, who is also co-founder of eco-store Eco-Age, to wrap a gift with a note to say it contained "something to keep me stylish even when saving the earth".
Then there was local MP David Ruffley, (who is influencing the reduction of plastic bags locally), used to wrap something that promised to "nurture my creativity".
Finally there was an exciting story about outlawing plastic bags which contained "something to make me laugh".
They turned out to be a floral trowel with accompanying gloves, a Dare to be Different notebook and a funny tea-towel.
Aren't my friends thoughtful and generous with their creativity? As well as family combining resources for the telescope of my dreams (one which can automatically find any planet of my choice), there were also some amazing gifts from people, including some lovelink beads to add to an existing bracelet, a home-grown pepper in a recycled plant pot, which was presented in a pristine recycled gift bag.
Then there was the pre-loved gorgeous Radley bag from the bottom of Dorothy's wardrobe, not to mention some lovely unwrapped gifts, presented in a beautiful gift box, which I can use for storage...and I am always in need of extra storage. There was also the unwrapped bird box, which was posted in a cardboard box, as well as gifts in brown parcel paper, which can be easily composted. Oh, and of course the make-up in a little wooden pot, which was bought by Ruby, intervening just as I was about to pay for it.
And as for the birthday cards, I was overwhelmed not just by the number and their humour but also the alternative ideas. As well as some lovely ecards from Mrs Green and our local Freecycle co-ordinator Cybele, I also received this wonderful digital work of art from Danda at Dandaworld.
What a fantastic graphic! Thank you Danda.
Anyway, recycled newspaper seemed to be the theme of the day, with some great hand-made cards lovingly created by some seemingly normal people...If I didn't know any better I would think these two had been plotting!....
So what a day! It was truly fabulous and I now feel that the start of my forties has been well and truly celebrated! I hope that you've been inspired by a few real-life waste-free ideas along the way. I know I have.
But I have a confession.
Please forgive me..... because this weekend I lost my senses...you know...special birthday celebrations and too much champagne...
We had a small barbecue on Saturday night for some friends who can't make it to my other celebrations. It was a great evening but I fell into the trap of over-catering....I know, I know... I'd been in a rush and miscalculated, by four beefburgers!
Mr A remembered to rescue some and promptly put them in the fridge, which we managed to have yesterday. But one burger had been abandoned on the barbecue, with a chicken kebab, both left as a meal for all the insects to devour overnight. Having been once bitten and now twice shy about maggots, there was no way I was going to put either of these in my bokashi.
So, today they are going in the bin...
Together with a couple of nappies kindly left behind by a friend!
So, there you go! No sooner have I turned forty I've become a landfill litterbug and have to put the black bin out for the first time in 6 weeks.
On the plus side, it's a relief to know I'm still human and still pretty average at that!
Anyway...swiftly moving on.... for those on the edge of their seats awaiting news of the cake. Yes Mr A excelled himself. As well as a lovely cake which was bought from a local shop and presented in a plain cardboard box, he also made some cupcakes with the children, which they decorated individually.
So that's what I call a fantastic fortieth birthday... all played out to the background of recycled music from 1968, courtesy of Baba.
Forty eh! It finally happened!
But as a friend reassured me over the weekend...
Forty is only twenty recycled twice!