30th Birthday Surprises

So after teasing about my 30th birthday throughout 17 posts (haha – that’s my lucky number! what a coincidence!), I suppose it’s only fair to share how we spent September 28, 2017.

We returned from Sofia, Bulgaria – the final stop on the entire journey – to Manchester, UK to visit some family before quickly dashing down to London to spend the night in Paddington, where I would wake up on my birthday. At this point we were completely exhausted. My lips were so dry I couldn’t smile, my second-hand smoky voice had me sounding like a croaking frog, they gave us a crappy room for the first night, and I’m pretty sure despite doing laundry we still smelled of travel, but it was time to celebrate!

We did manage to visit a small vegan cafe in the small town of Southport in northern England before we left though. Sadly, The Plant Academy is closed now, but it was such a tasty treat and a lovely break from capturing drone footage in the countryside.

And then we were off to London – vegan restaurants and birthday surprises please!

It started off with a relaxing morning stroll where I won 50 pounds on a scratch ticket and the day picked up in excitement as we entered our lunch restaurant, Manna, to be greeted by two of our favorite friends and previous ship crewmates! We scarfed down some delicious vegan food, followed by a mad dash to the canals to hop on our rented boat. I am so grateful our friends shot photos throughout our boat ride – I rarely end up in pictures from our travels but I’m making more of an effort from now on! As you can tell from the photos – I just can’t sit still!


From there we had a short siesta and met up for the next surprise – a pop-up bar experience called Alcotraz! I had no idea what was going on when we arrived but we were whisked in with our smuggled liquor, and instructed to put on orange jumpsuits. We spent the time in our cell chugging down the ‘free’ drinks they made with our bootlegged bottles, which we hid in the toilet when the warden came by. The drunk birthday girl that I was, our rowdiness earned us a trip to the ‘shoe,’ where we had shots underground with the ‘guards.’ It was such a unique experience! The actors did a great job and we had a lot of fun throughout!

Essence Cuisine

When our time was up we turned in our jumpsuits and headed to our upscale vegan dinner at Essence Cuisine in Shoreditch. The food was indescribably incredible. I know I say that a lot but this place delivered. The impeccable plating paired with explosive flavors encouraged us to return the next morning for breakfast as well! Throughout both our visits we ordered:

I won’t bore you with how we spent the rest of my birthday evening, since I can’t quite remember all the details…

But we finished out our time in London strong with street art and superb vegan burgers at the Borough Market.

And just like that our trip was done. Only took me 9 months to finish posting about it!

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