Turning 30 like a healthy hedonist

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Why have cake when you can put candles in a bowl of guacamole with a veggie tray? Yes, we know, this is possibly the bleakest thing you’ve ever heard. But believe it or not there are ways to have a “healthier” birthday without going to extremes, as our editor discovers…

It’s hard not to have a healthy birthday when you wake up to an inbox full of motivating messages from healthy companions. While my Whatsapp explodes with champagne cork emojis, Fierce Grace is offering me a free class, BoomCycle and Core Collective, a complimentary shake and Fitbit, birthday tips with “8 super healthy ways to celebrate”. It tells me that “all-night ragers are so yesteryear” and that there are ways to celebrate “without indulging in cake or waking up with a major headache”. Is there?

But this piece of advice from an LA fitness blogger is simply a step too far: “Why have cake when you can put candles in a bowl of guacamole or hummus with a veggie tray”. Because that is possibly the bleakest thing I have ever heard? Give me Collin the Caterpillar any day…

That said, this is a girl who has been known to routinely KO at her own parties after day-time drinking. So on turning 30, I decide it’s high time to unleash the healthier hedonist in me.

Rather than popping open the champagne before midday, I decide to get those happy hormones flowing as naturally as possible. And it all starts with a spot of planning, which according to a San Francisco-based health coach, is the most successful way to have a healthy birthday celebration. “Design your day in advance, keeping in mind how you want to feel during your birthday and after. Ask yourself, ‘what would make this a healthy birthday for me?’”

Here’s what mine looks like…

Photo: Boom Cycle

To combat the slowing metabolism, stiff joints and bone thinning, I channel my inner teen and book a nostalgic ride at Boom Cycle. Luckily for me, today is 90’s princesses of pop. Brain imaging studies show that our favourite songs stimulate the brain’s pleasure circuit, which releases an influx of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin – not to mention endorphins when combined with all that pedalling. The more we like a song, the more we get treated to neurochemical bliss, flooding our brains with some of the same neurotransmitters that cocaine chases after. For me, I’m unashamed to say, the cocaine-like rush is all down to Britney Spears. It’s safe to say that even aged 30, a ticket to her concert at the 02 proves to be my favourite gift this year by far…


Post class, I claim that birthday shake and make my way over to Sketch for a brekkie date with sister and four month old nephew. Cue the oxytocin rush. My 29 year old self would be on to her second Mandarin Mimosa by now but I opt for a more sophisticated sounding Babbitty-Bumble – an apple, lime, cucumber concoction infused with orange blossom and honey droplets. But I let loose on the Eggs Benedict. It’s a celebration after all…

Photo: Mindful Drinking Festival

Next, a trip to Spitalfields Market to a Mindful Drinking Festival. Yes, really. Finding out about the latest no / low alcohol alternatives is sort of part of the job, so I figured it’s time to start practising what I preach. I sample seven new alcohol-free spirits, nine alcohol-free beers including Heineken 0.0, and a host of kombuchas, shrubs and elixirs invented by radical alchemists. I leave feeling practically drunk with a newfound faith in the placebo effect.

Photo: Aviary

I slip into something more comfortable and head to the Aviary rooftop bar in Finsbury square for a sophisticated, albeit, windswept 30th celebration. I don’t hold back on the halloumi skewers and arancini balls but I mix up the champagne with some non-alcoholic elderflower bubbly. It’s funny to think that the morning before I was working through high intensity rounds of boxing, bodyweight exercises and ab drills in this exact same spot for the RooFit summer series. While the rooftop closes at midnight – the Queen of Hoxton is a mere 5 minute walk away…

My night ends in a sumptuous suite at the COMO Metropolitan where I spy a bottle of Skinny Prosecco chilling on ice. I’m told the suite’s minimalist design is intentional to “aid calm and relaxation” and to “promote a de-cluttered mind”. I stumble over the in-room wellness yoga mat and dive head first into the mini bar. This was after I had ordered room service…

Photo: COMO Metropolitan London

The morning after, the angel on my shoulder urges me to order the egg white frittata with shiitake mushrooms, leek, thyme, asparagus, slow-cooked plum tomato and rocket, washed down with a “Liven up your liver”. I suppose this is the point when I should unfold the yoga mat that is lying on a heap on the floor and tune in to the yoga channel to meditate with Jody Shield. I opt for the Eggs Royale instead and find my meditation in nature with a leisurely stroll around Hyde Park before heading for a detox in the heavenly COMO Shambhala Urban Escape. I opt for a restorative Deep Tissue Massage to boost the lymph and drain my body of toxins – the ultimate hangover cure.

I settle the bill where I have to come to terms with the milkshake, fries and packet of crispy M&M’s ordered the night before. The same price as ordering an XL grab bag in duty free, but needs must. Some things never change…

By Hettie

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