How to have an awesome 40th birthday in York

27 Mar 2013 @ 2.46 pm
| Food & drink

Bubbly and bubbles… the Jacuzzi at Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa
melissa-talago-headshotWhen Melissa Talago hit the big four-oh she knew exactly what to do: enjoy a weekend-long party in venues across York. This is how it went…

I have just had one of the most awesome weekends ever. Largely because I have some incredible friends who spoil me rotten. I thought I’d write a post about how to celebrate a milestone birthday in York in case it’s useful to anyone else.

On Friday morning, after dropping the kids at school, a bunch of friends and I headed off to the Cedar Court Grand Hotel for a bit of spa therapy. We booked the celebration package (£75) which includes use of the spa facilities (big pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and relaxation room), an hour-long treatment of your choice and a glass of champagne (we may have ended up having another glass too).

bettys-outsideAfter feeling suitably relaxed, we headed off to the legendary Bettys Tea Rooms in the heart of town. The downside to Bettys is that you can’t book a table, except on the weekends, but the queue moves fast and it’s worth it. I had the breakfast rosti with poached egg, bacon, tomato and mushrooms, washed down with more champagne (obviously). Everything that everyone had to eat looked delicious and the staff kindly presented me with a fondant fancy topped with a candle.

I spent the afternoon admiring my gorgeous gifts from my girlfriends and incredibly generous husband, before heading out to the Blue Bicycle for dinner. This is another York institution. Once a brothel, the Blue Bicycle has a downstairs eating area with tiny booths, where the ladies used to ply their wares. It has a great sense of naughty history and the food was delicious – flowerpot-baked breads with roast garlic, a pesto soufflé, followed by fillet steak with braised shin and red cabbage jam.

On Saturday, we were joined by friends from out of town, who stopped for a quick bite at Café No. 8 on Gillygate. I didn’t eat, but they did – fancy sandwiches and posh toasts which looked incredible. This is a lovely little bistro with walled garden now that summer is on the way (ever the optimist).

awesome-40th-cakeThen it was time for the PARTY! I searched high and low for a venue in the middle of York that wasn’t too big or too small. I wanted somewhere fun but not overrun with hen parties. Many of the venues in York that hire out private rooms don’t offer them on weekend nights or you have to have a lot of guests to get it to yourself.

But I found a place – the Zuma Room at Bobo Lobo on Little Stonegate. It’s a Latin-style restaurant and dance floor downstairs, but upstairs it’s a fab cocktail bar and champagne room that you can hire privately.

The room is gorgeously decorated but after my absolutely amazing friends got hold of it, it looked even better. I wanted a pink and girly party and that’s what I got! Look at the cakes they made!

It was gorgeous! I particularly liked this sentiment…


Especially as these were the shoes I had to conquer the world in:


With champagne and cosmopolitans flowing, it was a fantastically fun night – made better by having so many friends there to celebrate with me.

After the excesses of the night, there was only one place we could go on Sunday to recover: Gourmet Burger Kitchen on Lendal. One burger, skinny fries and Coke later, I felt marginally human again.

So there you have it. How to have an awesome 40th in York. And because I seem to have done something extra good in a previous life, I get to top all of that off by flying to Dubai to spend a week with my girlfriends from high school who all turned 40 this year.

For anyone who is worried about turning 40, I have this to say: it rocks! Allow yourself to be spoiled and enjoy it. A huge thank you to all my friends who made this such a special weekend.