Feelin' 22

I realised today that I haven't written a blog post about my 22nd birthday yet. Having documented my 19th, 20th and 21st birthdays on here, it seemed only right that I carry on the tradition of acknowledging my age in one way or another. Better late than never...

I turned 22 in February and I spent my 22nd birthday with 22 members of my family. It was a classic Bisson-Wilkinson gathering: party food, classic pop music and of course Mumma Wend's signature dance moves (that's the one where she lifts one leg up in the air, then the other, if you aren't blessed enough to have witnessed this delight).

It felt right to just have family celebrating with me this year (okay, so my best mate Sara was there but she's practically family). My friends are all over the place now - I guess that's what happens when you're all in the uni/post-uni phase of your lives. They're scattered around (London, Bournemouth, Leeds, Buckingham, Birmingham, Loughborough, even as far as Australia) and although I'm sure (I hope!) that they wish they could have been there, it's so expensive to travel that I'd have actually felt guilty if they'd made the trek just for a bit of cake. Shoutout to Laurel though, who although unable to join the party, played 22 by Taylor Swift in my honour when she got out of bed in the morning. I love you Laurel.

So I was happy to just be with the fam - being taught a street-dance routine by my 8-year-old cousin Sam, being squeezed to death by my (very tipsy) sister and holding back my 2-year-old niece Olivia from crawling across the table to blow out the candles on my cake before everyone had finished singing Happy Birthday to me (she was not impressed with how many times they sang it).

Aside from the delicious vegan, gluten-free "sausage" rolls that my gorgeous sister Katie kindly made, and watching my Aunty Mary perform Uptown Funk as if she were one of Bruno Mars' backing dancers, my absolute favourite part of the day was little Olivia showering me with cuddles and kisses (although admittedly this was more often than not a bribe for cake). When I came out of my room at 8am, she was the first one to see me, and she just walked up to me and put her hand on my leg, looked up at me and smiled and said "Happy Birthday Auntie Stephy!", then gestured for me to pick her up for a hug. Just one year ago, she was only just walking, not talking and absolutely not interested in anything that was going on. So it was so special to hear her say that, dance with her all night long and have lots of snuggles.

Something that made this birthday better than my 21st (which to be honest is hard to beat because nothing can top unicorns and rainbow cake, right?) was having my nephew (Olivia's brother) Baby George there. When I turned 21 he was still a foetus. Now he's nine months old and brings so much joy to everyone. We usually refer to him as "potato" because he doesn't really do much, he's absolutely massive with a huge head (as Lucy says, it's just his big brain) so can't hold his own body weight up and he's a right lazy lil chunk. All he does is sit/lie and beam at everything and everyone. But that's why he brings so much happiness - he just smiles and smiles and smiles. All day long. I feel like I'm actually learning things from him - trying to find more to smile about. I love him so much.

So that's how I spent my 22nd birthday. Surrounded by a whole load of family and love. Feelin' 22 actually feels different to 21. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I think it may be that I'm now older than the big milestone birthday, and the next Big One is 30 which is both scary and seemingly impossible. I feel more into my twenties, especially now I'm a year out of uni and living in my own house, and further from my teenage years, which were tricky to say the least.
22 feels adult-y. But I like adult-y (I mean, I won't be saying that when the electricity bill comes in tomorrow, but you know, for the most part it's okay).