The Art of Turning 21


You may have noticed I’ve been quite AWOL on here the past few weeks. Well, those of you who regularly check my blog. Hello to all two of you.

The reason I’ve been MIA is because I reached another milestone in life: turning 21!

If I’m honest, it didn’t feel that much of a big deal as it doesn’t really mean a whole lot over here in Ireland and England. But if we were in America, it would be much more of a celebration, I’m sure. Some people say that turning 21 means you’re fully an ‘adult’ now. But I think I became an adult when I moved away from home at the age of 18 and had to learn to survive as a broke student and do my own washing.

Even though it didn’t seem like a huge milestone to me, that doesn’t mean I didn’t celebrate it. Why do you think I’m dedicating an entire blog post to it??

I had a lot of thoughts about my 21st blog post, as I wrote ’20 Things I Learnt in 20 Years’ for my last birthday and wanted to do something similar. However, I just couldn’t come up with anything remotely interesting. ’21 facts about me’? ’21 things I want to achieve before I die’? Who would want to waste their time reading things like that about me? So I was kind of at a loss about what to write. Then my birthday month came around and it became a lot more interesting and exciting than I imagined it would!

Social pressure

A few months back, when the reality that my 21st birthday was looming set in, I started to panic. 21st birthdays have always been seen as a momentous occasion as it’s basically the last big birthday celebration until 30. So with this, most people usually go all-out for their celebrations: huge parties, trips abroad, fancy meals, family gatherings, a big night out with friends etc.

But here I was, in London, by myself. With friends spread out in Derby, Liverpool, Scotland, Spain, Belfast and back home in Lurgan, how on earth was this going to pan out? I thought my 21st was going to come and go and it would be the worst birthday ever. One of the main things on my mind was, How would this look on social media? I know what you’re thinking – ‘SHALLOW‘. But I spend my life on social media and everyone on Facebook will know it’s my birthday and most (probably no one) will be wondering ‘How is she celebrating?’ My worst fear for my 21st was that it would look socially crap. Welcome to the 21st century and another reason as to why I need to quit social media.

But did my 21st come and go and go down as the worst birthday in history? Absolutely not. Most birthdays last 24 hours, but my 21st seemed to never end.


My actual birthday is on the 27th of March. Almost two weeks ago, but things started long before that.

The second weekend of March, I flew to Dublin (my favourite place) with one of my best friends who lives in Derby that I rarely see. We spent the weekend in an apartment right in the city centre and I had my first night out in the city and even experienced a Brazilian themed night in the capital of Ireland.

But we were actually there to see Niall Horan perform the second night of his sold out UK tour and of course, I had to fly the whole way to Dublin because I couldn’t bear to see him perform anywhere other than his home country. (Two weeks later I was seeing him in London).

As my friend and I are both Irish, we didn’t spend much time seeing the main tourist attractions of Dublin, opting instead for the main tourist attraction that is sitting at the bar listening to live Irish music. We even came close to missing our flight home on the Tuesday as we couldn’t pry ourselves away from Temple Bar.

The concert was great and the 21st celebrations had began.



Three days after returning to London from Dublin, I was sat on Virgin trains heading up to Liverpool for four days. I also experienced travelling first class and was clearly the youngest person in the carriage. The food wasn’t great, but the free white wine (plus refills) most definitely were. I’d choose to travel first class again purely for the free white wine and guaranteed plug for phone chargers. Well, only if it’s £5 more expensive than standard class again.

I always love getting back to Liverpool as it really does feel like home to me. Seeing all the familiar streets, buildings and faces is a nice break from the anonymity of London.

It was St Patrick’s weekend and there was no way I was going to spend it in London. Since 80% of Liverpool seem to be Irish, there really is nowhere better to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, in England. I was able to see a lot of friends when I was there but the only thing I missed out on was visiting McCooleys. But I did manage to grace every other Irish bar in the city with my presence.

When I was in a taxi back to Lime Street Station on the Monday, the scouse taxi driver was absolutely raving about the weekend, saying it was the busiest and best weekend Liverpool had seen in a long time. He was also friends with someone high up in the local police force and apparently, there had only been one minor arrest the entire weekend. A testament to the people and city of Liverpool. There’s really nowhere like it.



The same week I came back from Liverpool, it was time for Niall Horan round two. I dragged two of the interns with me, otherwise I probably would have went by myself. Getting to see my favourite Irish guy perform twice in two cities so close to my birthday was pretty special. I was blown away by how good he was performing by himself. He was great and definitely worth seeing twice, I swear.

The next day, my mum and dad flew into London to spend my birthday weekend with me. We kept it quite low-key, just eating good food, walking around London with a few added tourist attractions thrown in. On the Saturday we took a City Cruise boat from Westminster pier all the way to Greenwich. Another thing ticked off my bucket list and something I had been longing to do ever since moving to London. It was also my first time in Greenwich and I definitely want to go back before I leave to have a proper look around.


On the Sunday I took my parents to Shoreditch for a nice roast dinner, followed by a trip to Sky Garden. Another thing ticked off my bucket list, the views from Sky Garden were quite amazing. We were also pleasantly surprised by how cheap the food and drinks were. I’d definitely go up again if I was able to get tickets. I’ve never been able to get tickets online, but thankfully my manager was able to get me on the guestlist – it was a very last minute thing on the Friday as I hadn’t got round to planning anything for my parents to do that weekend.

They gave me all of my birthday cards while we were sat 32 floors up in Sky Garden and also presented my ‘big present’ which was A TRIP TO VEGAS!!! I’m finally heading to the states which is something that’s been on my lifelong Bucket List ever since I can remember. And where better to be 21 than in Las Vegas??? I’m going to be poison on Instagram when I’m there (if I’m not preoccupied on the slot machines), so be prepared! Also, if anyone has been to Vegas, give me all the recommendations!

My mum and dad left on the Monday morning after our usual trip to Bills for poached eggs and smashed avocado – classic. Just one more day left of being 20.


My actual birth DAY

Finally my 21st birthday had arrived and I walked into work met with two giant balloons floating above my desk – the famous ‘2’ and ‘1’ balloons. My entire desk was covered in photos of Niall Horan, Thomas Shelby and Diet Coke with confetti and table decorations everywhere. There was also a Tiffany bag on my desk…

I had the best birthday ever and my team and the interns made it sooo special! A free Wagamamas at lunch, cake and prosecco at 4pm then out for drinks at 5pm.

A few of the interns and I headed to All Bar One for a bottle of prosecco before making our way into Soho for dinner at Bodega Negra where we had some very nice Mexican food while Vanessa from The Saturdays sat at the table behind us.

Afterwards we headed to Studio 88 for some live music. There was about ten other people in there and the atmosphere was a little dead, but the cocktails were 2-for-1 so we couldn’t complain. Around 10.30pm Alice and Kiri headed home leaving me and Georgia, the usual last two standing. We got talking to the PR manager of Studio 88 who was heading onto another club and asked if we wanted to come with. Our sensible, civilised night was about to do a complete 180 degree flip.

We ended up at a club called The Box, both of us first-timers and had never heard of the club before. If you know about The Box then you’ll know why I won’t go into any further detail other than, drink prices start at £22 and it costs £10,000 to have a table for the night. Oh and it’s only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Vanessa from The Saturdays was there and phones aren’t allowed to be used at all. Put it this way, I rolled home at 5am and had to be up for work at 7am. But I can definitely say it was completely worth it. I won’t go forgetting my 21st birthday in a hurry, I can tell you that for sure.



Two days later and I was in an Uber at 4am ready to catch my 6am flight back to Belfast. How I managed it, I will never know. I had arranged to go for dinner and drinks with one of my best friends the night I got back, but after that, I didn’t want to look at another drink for the entire Easter weekend.

That idea quickly went out the window and I ended up going out every night that I was home. I didn’t see much of my mum and dad when I was home but they had spent the entire weekend before with me, so couldn’t really complain. Plus this was my first time home since Christmas, so I had plenty of people to see and catch up with.

I had hoped for a relaxing time at home to try and recover from the past few weeks of celebrating my birthday, but that didn’t happen either. After a short five days at home, it was back to London for the last four months of my placement.



You’d think the celebrations would be over by now considering it was five days into April, but no. My first day back to work ended with a team spa-evening at The Mondrian Hotel where I had my first ever massage and a lot of glasses of champagne. We then went to the Rumpus Room on the 12th floor where we had a few cocktails and took in the amazing views of London. Another late night and feeling like I was about to hit a brick wall.


The next night was my final night of celebrating my 21st as Annie and Alice had bought me a ticket to go up The Shard for my birthday. The views from 70 floors up were pretty amazing and we were able to catch the sunset and then darkness when the lights came on which was quite a spectacle.

If I was to compare Sky Garden to The Shard, I think I would opt for Sky Garden as The Shard is very touristy and gimmicky with a merchandise store and the option to buy a photo of yourself in front of a fake backdrop for £27. But the glass of champagne at the top is rather nice. With Sky Garden, it’s free to go up and you see much of the same sights as you would in The Shard and there’s much more space to relax and roam about. Plus there are seats and a bar, everything you need. Did I mention it’s FREE??


What a month

The 21st celebrations have finally come to a close and were above and beyond anything I ever expected. I finally also have my life back and have put on about two stone in weight after constantly eating out and drinking a little bit too much so it’s time to head back to the gym and get my health back into shape.

I have two busy weekends coming up with two more concerts and two of my best friends visiting which will again probably be met with more alcohol and eating out BUT after that, I have absolutely no plans and hope to have an alcohol free month of May and spend all of my free time at the gym.

Most likely wishful thinking, but I could really do with an uneventful few weeks to recover. Here’s to the year of being 21!



  1. April 9, 2018 / 11:33 am

    What a month for you babes. Glad you had a ball for the big TWENTY WANNN 💖💖💖

    • orlaghclaire
      April 27, 2018 / 6:40 pm

      Yesssssss, can’t wait to celebrate yours xxx

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