From tequila to tuk tuk, it's the best yetALANA DIXON
One year for my birthday, my Mum made the most amazing cake.
It was from that baking book every New Zealand mother has - you know the one - and it was in the shape of a stage, with a bunch of little ballerinas dancing on it.
When my parents made me go for my obligatory pre-party nap (ie: came up with an inventive way to get a hyper 6-year-old off their back for three minutes), I snuck down to the games room in our basement, where I knew my cake would be.
I lifted up the tea-towel covering it and just stared in awe.
(Not going to lie, I also licked one finger's worth of peach icing. Worth it.)
It was pretty popular with my wee guests, even more so than the goody bags - and who doesn't love a good goody bag?
Over successive years, it's been pretty hard for another birthday to top that bad boy - but celebrating in London just gave it a decent run for its money.
There's something to be said for being able to stretch your big day across two different time zones: this year, it lasted an entire bacchanalian weekend.
Aside from being treated to dinner at the decadent Berner's Tavern, I also had - not to understate the case at all - one of my best nights out since arriving in London.
It all started seemingly grown- up: A group of us, out for Vietnamese on the Pho Mile - but with nice merlot, instead of Bring Your Own [PndStlg]5.99 specials from the nearest offie.
So far, so 26.
Then all of a sudden you find yourself doing shots of tequila at Hoxton Square, a place rammed full of guys with beards and curios like a wooden totem pole and a rocking horse hanging upside down from the ceiling.
After standing too-close-for- comfort to somebody who started chundering at the bar, we decided to try our luck at in nearby Dalston.
A couple of weekends before, a group of us visited this place - the identity of which will be kept secret - for the first time.
After unwittingly finding ourselves in the VIP section, before being unceremoniously turfed out, we decided to try a different approach this time around.
Instead of looking around, bamboozled-ly, we somehow blagged our way past the three identical bowling-ball-headed security guards.
(Follically challenged, also black-top-clad Matt: "I'll go over there and pretend to be one of them. Or one of their sons. Are you my father?")
A distinctly uncomfortable- looking man in his 60s, throwing a party for his son, spotted us.
But we were prepared - with a safe word.
"Oh, is this not Jeremy's section? You know, J-Bomb? Sorry man, we'll just go back down there. Enjoy your night, enjoy your night."
Back in the other roped off VIP spot, we were left to party the night away like kings - and nobody seemed to notice they had no idea who we were.
As the night became progressively looser - something about a cocktail called Lithium, bit hazy - we managed to mingle back up to the other other VIP section.
There we had full DJ privileges, flat-topped waiters who didn't need much convincing to join us for a dance, and a balconied view of the plebs (shaaaaaaaame) stuffed like sardines in the regular part of the club.
It was all very Wolf of Wall Street, minus the snorting coke out of . . . well, you know.
Although, that might explain the rest of the evening - there was an angry security guard annoyed at how long we were taking to leave once the lights flickered on, a tuk tuk ride through Soho, walking home to the sounds of birds chirping accompanied by somebody (who shall remain nameless) with his chinos deliberately and inexplicably around his ankles for the final 500 metres, and almost being force-fed a poached egg that had seen better days . . .
(By better days, I'm talking about its 2013 expiry date.)
I can't wait to turn 27.