I have an unwritten rule in life…I never work on my birthday. In my eyes birthdays are all about one person. Why spend it slaving away at a desk when you could be doing something, anything, you want to do? Since having children the luxury of enjoying a whole day to myself is so rare, it’s a real treat.

Of course, the celebrations had begun a day earlier on the Sunday. We took a family day out into central London, booking lunch with friends at Madison, a rooftop bar and restaurant opposite St Paul’s.

Hopping off the tube at Mansion House, we wandered through the quiet Sunday streets of the City. During the week they are packed with workers but at the weekend it was virtually empty. We headed towards St Paul’s cathedral. I have often admired Christopher Wren’s famous building but I’ve never been in! Can you believe it? It’s something that’s been added to this year’s wish list!

Ditching the hubby and kids for an hour, I browsed the shops at One New Change. It’s a great place to shop if you’re after somewhere quiet and all in one place. Without the city workers, it’s a very pleasant shopping experience at the weekend – with high street stores such as Mango, Top Shop, Oliver Bonas and Ted Baker to keep you busy. In the shadow of St Paul’s there are worse places to shop!


After purchasing a few items from the sales (one advantage of having a January birthday) we headed up to the sixth floor to Madison.

My best friend, Emma, and her partner had joined Paul and my two daughters. They were sat on the roof terrace with a bottle of bubbly on ice. They know me only too well!

I’ve only ever been to Madison for drinks before but I was really impressed with the food. It was delicious. We went for the sharing roast dishes which had a selection of roast meat, vegetables and potatoes as well as some wine included. My five-year-old, Mrs T snapped this shot of Emma and I.

Elizabeth (Wander Mum) and Emma

There was plenty of food to go around. The restaurant has high chairs and the staff were really good with the children – even when my youngest decided to go for a run around the restaurant. Mid-afternoon we were treated to live music which the girls loved. 

Madisons restaurant and bar, London

I’ve only ever been to Madison in the evening. In daylight, there are views across London where you can see as far as the London Eye in Westminster.

View from Madison St Paul's over London

Outside on its spacious roof terrace, there’s a great opportunity for photos…so we obliged. A little tip for you too…you can go up on the terrace for free! Although it’s a great place to enjoy a drink! 

Elizabeth (Wander Mum) outside St Paul's, London

Afterwards, we popped back to Emma’s flat for another drink and some cake (thank you!!). The girls helped me blow out the candles. We arrived home a little late (for the children) but very happy (and a little tipsy)!

Wander Mum and family with birthday cake

My birthday began with an opening of cards and breakfast before carting the children off to school. First on my agenda was a personal training session at my gym. I always feel so good after training, I knew this would be a good way to start my birthday. A few years ago I would have laughed at myself for going to the gym on my birthday. It’s funny how you – and times – change.

With no children to look after, I took my time getting ready. It isn’t often I get the chance to dry my hair and apply makeup without getting interrupted by a small person.

I went shopping in the London suburb Richmond, before meeting my husband for lunch at the excellent Bingham hotel.

Elizabeth Wander Mum and husband

Overlooking the River Thames, this boutique hotel has an excellent restaurant and is very deserving of its 3 AA Rosettes. On weekday lunchtimes, it does an incredibly good value market menu. I had mackerel followed by belly pork. The pictures say it all.

The Bingham, Richmond

Time for the school pick ups and some family time before the evening’s activities. I’d booked tickets to see the musical The Book of Mormon. Having heard so much about the theatre show, I’d wanted to see it for a while but had never got around to organising. My birthday was a great occasion to do it. Leaving the babysitter in charge, we headed to the Prince of Wales theatre in Piccadilly Circus.

The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales theatre, London
The show was hilarious! I sometimes struggle to find something both my husband and I would enjoy but this parody fit the bill. At times it was close to the bone but sometimes you have to laugh at life – the good – and the bad. Both my husband and I were in stitches. Thoroughly recommend!

There ended my birthday celebrations. A brilliant mix of theatre, food and culture. Thank you to everyone who sent cards and messages – they mean a lot!

How do you like to spend your birthday? Do you take the day off?

How I celebrated my birthday in London: food, culture and theatre

Wander Mum

36 Comments on My Birthday Celebrations in London

    • Wander Mum
      January 30, 2018 at 10:58 pm (3 weeks ago)

      I know, I can’t! I certainly don’t remember if I have been – needs to get done!

      Reply
  1. California Globetrotter
    January 30, 2018 at 7:22 am (3 weeks ago)

    Happy belated birthday! looks like you had a great day with family and friends! I also believe in not working on my birthday! It’s always a great excuse to go do something! sadly, mine falls on a Sunday this year, so no playing hookie! haha #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      January 30, 2018 at 10:58 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Hehe! So glad you share my perspective on birthdays though!

      Reply
  2. Wilbur
    January 30, 2018 at 7:24 am (3 weeks ago)

    Looks like you had a great birthday. I love your rule and follow it myself nowadays. I worked right by St Paul’s for many years but like you have never been in (same for Westminster Abbey). I should really put that right! Ilbur #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      January 30, 2018 at 11:00 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Yes, and I confess I haven’t been in Westminster Abbey either! It always seems to be the way when things are on your doorstep- they can be overlooked!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:47 pm (1 week ago)

      I love it there!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      January 30, 2018 at 10:59 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Thanks Bea! That’s great to hear. I love Richmond too!

      Reply
  3. Zenbabytravel
    January 30, 2018 at 12:49 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Happy belated birthday! Some great celebrations in here, trust you had a great time 😉 For years I was based in the City and Madison was one of my favourite spots for lunch, drinks, views and shopping ! Missing it now, luckily chaotic current Canary Wharf has lots good places! The book of mornons also on our list for so long, who knows maybe in 2018 will eventually find the time! Xo

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:51 pm (1 week ago)

      Oh, you must go to Book of Mormon! Madison is great and some great shopping there too.

      Reply
  4. Sam | Away She Went
    January 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Happy belated birthday! That sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate. We saw The Book of Mormon last year and loved it! I laughed through the entire show!
    Sam | Away She Went recently posted…Old Town Scottsdale Food TourMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:47 pm (1 week ago)

      Thank you! It was great, wasn’t it.

      Reply
  5. Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    January 30, 2018 at 4:11 pm (3 weeks ago)

    We’ve got a London break coming up soon for my husband’s birthday so I’m taking some ideas from you. I’ve been wondering about Book of Mormon for some time – might take another look.
    Your daughter took a lovely photo of you and your friend – a great asset for future blogging assignments!
    #Citytripping
    Trish @ Mum’s Gone To recently posted…The week we fell in love with Hotel Ylläshumina, LaplandMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:58 pm (1 week ago)

      You’re right, her skills will be required in the future! Book of Mormon is great!

      Reply
  6. Elizabeth
    January 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a fantastic weekend of celebrating! #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:45 pm (1 week ago)

      Thank you! Was great.

      Reply
  7. Baby Loves Travel
    January 30, 2018 at 9:45 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I’ve been wanting to see The Book of Mormon ever since it opened – but I have never got round to it – glad you had a good time! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      January 31, 2018 at 4:54 pm (3 weeks ago)

      I was the same! Get those tickets booked!

      Reply
  8. Bryna | Dotted Line Travels
    January 31, 2018 at 3:27 am (3 weeks ago)

    I’m happy just spending my birthday quietly. I don’t tend to do anything special for it, but I do like your rule of taking the day off and not working! Happy to hear that you had a great mix of time for yourself, as well as time with your children and loved ones. Sounds pretty perfect, and happy belated birthday!
    Bryna | Dotted Line Travels recently posted…Temples of Angkor: Ta ProhmMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:55 pm (1 week ago)

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  9. Corey | fifi + hop
    January 31, 2018 at 3:49 am (3 weeks ago)

    Happy birthday!!! Sounds like it was fun-filled. Madison looks incredible, and nice you got to see the trainer the next morning. I love working out on my birthday! Can you believe I live in NY and still have not seen Book of Mormon? My friend and I are planning to see it sometime this year. Glad you had a great day! #citytripping
    Corey | fifi + hop recently posted…New York City: Things to do with Kids in SoHoMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:54 pm (1 week ago)

      You absolutely must go see it!! Working out may well creep onto my birthday list of things to do !

      Reply
  10. Keri | Ladies What Travel
    January 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Happy belated birthday! I think that’s a great way to think about your birthday – I do the same and never work! Actually, since I became self-employed I always take my birthday week off lol! #citytripping
    Keri | Ladies What Travel recently posted…Winter sun wishlist with ClickstayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:53 pm (1 week ago)

      Hehe – a birthday week sounds perfect!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      January 31, 2018 at 4:54 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Thank you! You should try doing it one day! X

      Reply
  11. Sara
    January 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I’m totally on board with the idea of not working on your birthday! Those views from Madison are incredible!! I felt like Book of Mormon was a good balance between my husband and my interests as well… but yes, some stuff cut pretty close to the bone… Overall, I think I could learn a lot from how YOU celebrate birthdays… because this one looked pretty amazing all the way around! 🙂 #Citytripping
    Sara recently posted…Best Cafe in Vienna – Which One to Visit for WhatMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 1, 2018 at 4:07 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Awww thank you so much! You’ve got to go for it on your birthday – they are only once a year overall!

      Reply
  12. Hilary
    February 1, 2018 at 4:45 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Love how much you love your birthday and it sounds like a wonderful day and evening out! We saw the Book of Mormon and l admit to being pleasantly surprised. Very funny! Here’s to a wonderful year ahead! #citytripping
    Hilary recently posted…Faraway Files #63My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:44 pm (1 week ago)

      Thank Hilary! Had a great day and evening and, yes, Book of Mormon was a pleasant surprise.

      Reply
  13. Kat
    February 5, 2018 at 2:18 am (2 weeks ago)

    Sounds like a wonderful birthday, and you’re right that as time goes on, we change, hopefully for the better 🙂 Probably that’s why there is a saying, older and wiser 🙂 #Citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:41 pm (1 week ago)

      Absolutely agree!

      Reply
  14. Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays
    February 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm (2 weeks ago)

    Happy Birthday! You need to go to St Paul’s ….make sure you take your oxygen tank as the climb up to the top of the dome is a tough one but worth it for the views.
    Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays recently posted…INSIDE TWO TEMPLE PLACEMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 12, 2018 at 9:40 pm (1 week ago)

      Oh, is it. Perhaps one to conquer without the little ones!

      Reply

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