Around this time last year I realized the shockingly poor timing of having a baby just before my 29th birthday as the inevitable questions of what I would do for my 30th arose. I love throwing a party as much as the next person but there was no way in heck I wanted to throw two massive parties within a month of each other, let alone a fortnight. As time ticked slowly on, I thought hard about what I would actually like to do for my birthday, what would feed my soul. I decided that a night away with Papa M (child-free) would be just the ticket, and long overdue by the time that our little dude had turned one!
A weekend full of favorite things was in the offing! I wanted to involve my friends somehow too, so I invited a small group of them to have high tea with me at the Langham Hotel, something I did with my mother while she was alive so it was nice to incorporate her in a small way too. The Langham has always looked so beautiful, whenever we have frequented the Palm Court so we made the decision to stay there too.
We arrived for the first seating of high tea and the service was just as impeccable as usual. It was so fun to be doing high tea there with a group of girls who had never experienced it before, and the range of food offered was amazing. My favorites were the duck leg roulade and and the rhubarb compote with vanilla sauce, but everything was amazing, right down to my Mountain Pearls Oolong tea. I decided against the champagne option, partially in deference to the pregnant women at the table but also…
because we had a delicious bottle of methode traditionelle waiting for us upstairs! With perfect timing, Papa M came sweeping in after checking us in just as the last of us girls were filtering our way out of the Palm Court. We shot upstairs to explore our room and flopped ourselves down on the massive bed. We spent the afternoon eating birthday chocolates sweetly supplied by the hotel, ordering room service lunch (for him), watching reality TV (nothing like 16 and Pregnant to make you feel better about your life choices) and enjoying for once the fact that we had nothing more important in the world to do.
After a refreshing afternoon of drinking wine and laying about we walked across to Sky City to visit Masu for dinner, something that has intrigued us ever since Nic Watt had his short series on television about setting up the restaurant. It’s definitely not the space to go for if you’re wanting quiet, intimate conversation – the place is positively bustling with both patrons and staff – but the dishes that we had there were superlatively good examples of Asian fusion. Follow me on Zomato if you’d like to know more about the dishes we recommend! We finished the evening there with absolutely stunning deserts and a gorgeous little birthday plate with a candle stuck in gelato – it was so sweet.
We had a bit of a conundrum the following morning – sleep in late or get up relatively early and check out the epic buffet breakfast at the restaurant of the hotel, Eight. Being the foodies we are, and the concept of the restaurant intriguing, we decided that breakfast was a must-do and took ourselves down to the restaurant. Eight is a buffet-style restaurants that pulls together multiple genres of restaurant-quality cuisine and allows you to choose freely between them at your own pace. In the morning it has a lovely farmers’ market feel to it, allowing you to select anything from a salmon and cream cheese bagel to fresh fruit salad, an omelette made to your exact request or a traditional big breakfast… or all of the above! It was something fun and different to the usual hotel breakfast experience and we really enjoyed it.
At this point we parted ways, Papa M to pack us up and check us out while I headed to the in-house day spa, Chuan Spa, for a special birthday treat that my husband had organized. I loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of this experience from the moment I walked through the doors! The reception set me up with a pot of tea as I filled out the paperwork and then I was given a delightfully snuggly robe and slippers to slip into before heading through into the spa area itself. My masseuse came and introduced herself to me and then we headed into the cosy and dimly lit room for our consultation. A couple of minor tweaks to what Papa M had booked to address some particular muscular issues and I was on the massage table with my muscles being gently pummeled into submission. What made this a particularly special treat was the fantastic after-care; I was showing to a private lounge and had fruit and nuts, freshly squeezed juice, specially chosen tea and water laid out for me. I lounged for a while, sipping away on tea and reading magazines, before deciding that I should really meet up with my poor hubby languishing downstairs.
The valets brought our car around and it was off to our last spot on our whistle-stop tour of the city. We drove down to the opposite end of the CBD in search of The Crab Shack, one of Auckland’s newest eateries. I was surprised to find it in the premises of what used to be one of my favorite clubs to dance at in my teens – Float (and I’m probably hideously aging myself here) on Princes Wharf. There’s not a skerrick of evidence of the former adolescent meat market here anymore, the whole place has been converted into a light and airy, family-friendly destination. If you’re going, you must try the delicious Rewena bread as a starter – you can find out how our mains measured up here. Completely sated, we decided that we probably should head home and relieve our baby-sitter of her duties, heading back to the real world.
It was the perfect weekend, surprisingly little fuss and with a big focus on relaxation and good food – exactly what we needed. While it’s so important to me that we are the best parents we can be to CJ, and provide him with a wide range of experiences, it’s also really important to me that we keep our relationship strong as ours is the relationship that our family is grounded in. This weekend went a long way in doing that. All in all, a pretty perfect way to celebrate three decades in the world!