Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sarah's BIG Birthday Surprise - Happy 30th Birthday My Love!

Until the day before her big day, I had every intention of writing the obligatory 'Happy birthday Sarah, you're the love of my life' post, but as I snuck around the house getting ready to go out on Saturday, I had the thought that perhaps sharing with you all Sarah's last birthday surprise (out of 30 from me!) would best demonstrate to you all just how much not only I love her, but how much her family does too.

Who's the hottie in the hat?
About a month ago, I received a call from Sarah's Mum. I can't express the terror that strikes your heart when you casually look at your phone to find it's your mother in law, who you've only recently been making progress in your relationship with. WHAT HAVE I DONE?? Luckily, in fact I hadn't done anything wrong, and Margaret instead wanted to invite me to Sarah's surprise birthday party. Phew! :)

This was a BIG DEAL because up until that point, not only was I banned from stepping foot in the Nutley household, but I hadn't properly spoken to Sarah's Dad since February 2010. Over 3 years ago!

So I bought a train ticket, charged my camera, and spoke with Margaret at least once a week about the plans. Sarah would go home in the morning, to spend the day with her parents and sister - then Margaret would send them out to the shops, at which point Sarah's Aunt and Uncle would arrive, as would I, and we'd all frantically put up party stuff before they returned.

So when Saturday morning arrived, I did my usual routine when Sarah goes home - I pulled her in for final 'cuddle time', I tried to convince her not to go, telling her I'll miss her too much, I texted her once she left to ask if she was coming back yet - apparently I'm an awesome actress because she didn't suspect a thing!

As soon as the car was out of sight, I jumped into action - showering, getting ready, pulling together the stuff we needed for the Color Run the next day, making cookie dough (a birthday tradition I'm especially fond of) - and headed to the train station, texting Margaret to tell her the plan was in motion!

Not being very experienced in train-age, I looked online and it told me to take the train from Waterloo station to get out to Sarah's parents. It was only when I arrived from Clapham Junction that I saw the train I was going on was going through Clapham Junction - so I came into town for nothing!! With no-one to complain to, I just got on the train and enjoyed the journey to Reading.

Fiona's boyfriend Ben picked me up to race me back to Margaret and Andy's. He's really sweet and we had lots of fun talking about how Sarah had absolutely no idea, and that Fiona had written in her card 'I hope your day is full of surprises' which confused Sarah, and I told him how I hope she cried when she saw me, as I know she is really happy and touched when she cries! Side note, he then gave us an engagement card, just from him - how adorable is that? I didn't even get one from my brother, but Sarah's sister's boyfriend thought to! What a keeper!

Anyway, once we arrived at the house, it was all hands on deck - I was blowing up balloons and hanging banners and setting up the camera - all in about 10 minutes as Sarah was arriving home shortly! Sarah's Dad said hi and said it was nice to see me, which I thought was a win!

Sarah arrived home to see all the balloons and banners, which she was so pleased with - then saw her Aunt and Uncle had made it to surprise her, which was really exciting, and then... I popped out of the kitchen, and Sarah couldn't believe it! Ben photographed the moment she saw me - I think its pretty perfect:

Happiness, disbelief... and a baguette
Then of course she ran to Margaret to hug her and thank her SO much for allowing me to be there, and then... she cried (score!). Then Margaret cried, Fiona cried, and I cried. It was an absolutely amazing moment, I don't think I'll ever forget.

Once the tears were dried, we headed out to the garden to enjoy the sunshine and chat. Sarah's cousin and her boyfriend showed up, and we all had a fabulous time -  I spoke to everyone, and it honestly felt like we'd all known each other for ages. This is the thing about Sarah's family - I've always really liked them, it's just a shame it's taken so long for things to improve. But better late than never, right?

Sarah's parents ordered this mass of delicious Chinese takeaway, which we all ate outside, and the Chinese actually delivered her a cake and card - way to go above and beyond!

Highlights of the evening were Sarah and her Mum, Aunt, and Sister showing off their 'Oops Upside Your Head' skills, the whole family dancing around to the 'Dad Dancing' CD while I and the other partners awkwardly stood around looking at each other, trying trifle for the first time, and seeing Sarah look just so incredibly happy.

There was a point where we weren't sure if Sarah's parents would want to still be in her life while I was - so I think this party is testament to just how much we all absolutely adore her. Thanks so Margaret for convincing Andy to have me be the surprise at her 30th birthday party, to Andy for allowing that to happen and having a good time anyway, to Auntie Karen who defended us to her parents even in the hardest of times, to my sis-in-law Fiona for being the catalyst that started Margaret coming around to us (I am 90% sure this wouldn't have happened now without you) - and to Sarah, who is just so wonderful we all overcame quite a lot to make her happy.

We still have a ways to go, I know this to be true, but I'm very happy with where we are at the moment.

We won! Here's our balls!
The whole Nutley and extended family watched the sunset while playing garden games, and we drove home eating our cookie dough with spoons and talking about how this had been the best birthday ever.

Happy 30th, my love.


  1. This is just fantastic. Happy Birthday, Sarah! Congratulations on the huge step forward with your family! This sounds like the best birthday surprise ever!!! I'm so happy for both of you!

    1. Thanks so much love! We are really pleased this happened - things are definitely looking up!

  2. Happy Birthday, Sarah! I am so glad that y'all are making progress. So excited and happy for you both!!! YAY!

    1. Thanks hun!! It's a work in progress, but its moving along a bit better now! x

  3. This is wonderful, I am sooooo happy for you two...

    I hope this is the beginning of more family get togethers for both of you :)

  4. Oh my god, you've made me cry too. That sounds like a wonderful step for her parents, I don't think there is a better gift to give your children than to love and accept them for who they are. So happy for you both! PS. Can totally relate to being scared when the mother-in-law calls scenario.

    1. Thank you love! I can't read through the post I wrote without crying haha :) It's funny that you've been kind of with us since the bitter beginning - I didn't think this day would come around in the last two years! x


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