I am not one for grandiose birthday celebrations. Eating out at a nice restaurant is enough.

In recent years, I’ve taken to having my birthday lunch on my own. Dining out solo is one of life’s underrated pleasures. Apart from not having to worry about scheduling conflicts, there’s something so peaceful about enjoying one’s own company.

For 2021, I had my ‘main’ birthday lunch on Saturday because Quay only takes lunchtime bookings on weekends during the COVID era.

The standouts were:

Shiitake & squid noodles with sour koji butter

I enjoyed the chewiness of the noodles themselves. The prominent sesame flavours didn’t hurt its case either.

The Maremma Duck with orach, gooseberries, onions & Kampot pepper

Loved the duck. Wasn’t entirely sold on the onions though.

White Coral

This is what I would consider the successor to the OG Snow Egg. (Side note: I am still a touch salty that I didn’t get to make a second attempt at finishing a Snow Egg before its retirement)

Sweet Walnut

To finish off the meal: an sweet little walnut.

On my actual birthday, I had lunch at Gavroche Chippendale.

I did have my perennial favourite, beef tartare, as my main. But for the starter, I got the salami, which was served with pickles and crusty sourdough. Yes. I’ve finally deviated from my usual order at Gavroche. Instead of dessert, I ordered a total of 2 drinks: champagne and Syrah.

The salami was cut thicker that I’m used to. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that this is how one is supposed to slice salami in France.

Yeah. I went shopping.

Apart from the feasting, the only other standout from my birthday celebrations was the rather absurd amount of shopping that I did this year. Because there’s only 2 weeks between my Christmas and my birthday, I usually combine the 2 into several weeks of fine dining and shopping.

Standout purchases:

  • the SIGFINN monitor stand from IKEA. As of the writing of this post, I am still waiting on it. Even though the IKEA tracking page said that the ETA was yesterday. I will post pics to Instagram once it arrives.
  • Midori Traveler’s Notebook (black/passport size). In line with my resolution to carry less with me when I head out for the day, I’ve decided to try using the passport size for my planner. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the generous page “real estate” afforded by the regular size Midori, but, on the whole, the cover and insert are much too bulky to fit into my Kate Spade satchel and too weighty to lug around in my “lady clutter” bag all day. For now, it’s going back into storage. Then there’s also the matter of eventually keeping the bag for carrying any stuff I might buy during the day.
  • a dip pen. I got myself an oblique nib holder because I wanted to try getting the super-slanted writing one tends to see on social media. It took a while to figure out a grip that would work, but I got there eventually. I’ve been using it for my diary writing and the resulting handwriting is a lot finer than what you can get with a fountain pen. (I’ve been using a LAMY, for reference)
  • some super bulky yarn to make a lap blanket. I haven’t measured the length of the blanket regularly. But if it’s any indication, I am currently on ball #3 and the length is currently greater than the distance between my elbow and wrist.

What am I hoping for for the year ahead?

The big ticket item is moving out. I need some proper personal space. I’d like to get used to being more discerning when buying non-essential things. E.g. stationery. I figured that, by the time I do move out, it would make it easier to reshuffle my financial priorities if I’m already comfortable with being a picky spender. And, as indicated by my doctor, it would behove me to lose a couple of kilos. So the idea is to get myself used to making a beeline for the healthier options on the menu whenever I eat out. That very much includes not over-ordering. And sticking to 2 drinks or fewer.

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