My 40ish Birthday & A Favorite Things Giveaway


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While we celebrated my 40ish birthday last week, along with plenty of laughter, in reality, this is 41 for me and I’m pretty happy about that. I still love my laugh lines and I’m claiming every single laughter filled year because I’ve earned them.

And really, the alternative to growing older wouldn’t be a lot of fun, right?

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for the giveaway details!)

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The Royal Princess off the coast of Scotland - read more at

In case you missed the backstory, you can read about it and go ahead and laugh at the fact that I missed my 40th birthday.

However, my sweet friends decided I still needed a 40th birthday celebration and they pulled it off beautifully (on my 41st birthday) to surprise me on our last day at sea.

I owe a huge thank you to Princess Cruises for helping make all of this happen and I am so grateful to have partnered with them to share this dream vacation with you!

We sailed around the British Isles, visiting ten cities in four countries over the course of two weeks.

Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands -

Cruising gives you the best of both worlds. You have the convenience of staying in the same place (not changing hotels or figuring out transportation to and fro) while you also have the fun of exploring so many new places.

To start my birthday in style, we enjoyed the most amazing breakfast in our stateroom. Two waiters came to our room, set up a table with linens, and then served a truly amazing meal.

The Royal Princess cruise ship - The ultimate birthday breakfast - read more at

Smoked salmon, quiche, fresh fruit, and a selection of freshly made pastries were all served in style along with champagne, juices, coffee, and hot tea. I’ve never had a better birthday breakfast.

After that, I headed for the Lotus Spa on the ship for the ultimate massage, seaweed wrap, and a float bed (a.k.a. fancy-as-can-be) combination. I basically had a “pinch me, am I dreaming?” kind of morning.

The Royal Princess cruise ship - The ultimate birthday breakfast - read more at

As if that wasn’t special enough, when I returned to our room, I discovered that Sean had conspired with my friends to decorate our stateroom in full on birthday style.

They hung enormous birthday balloons, banners, and more all around the room. I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard.

Princess Cruises 2018 - 40th birthday -

As it turned out, my birthday evening was also the balloon drop night on The Royal Princess. So after an amazing dinner, complete with a pretty spectacular birthday cake, we headed to the atrium for the drop.

For what it’s worth, the ship’s amazing pastry chef managed to top my former favorite Princess dessert, the Chocolate Lava Cake.

Balloon drop night on The Royal Princess - read more at

If you’ve never sailed with Princess, you may not be familiar with the party that happens on the last night at sea. It’s a whole lot of fun. There are hundreds of people dancing to the live music and watching the balloons drop.

There’s nothing better than the balloon drop for a level of people watching that is sure to make you grin.

The Royal Princess - British Isles Cruise balloon drop - read more at

Are you ready for the giveaway? To share the birthday fun with you all, I’m giving away a few of my favorite things!

This awesome Yeti coffee cup. (It’s also awesome for ice water or sodas.)

These cute and cozy socks, because I am so ready for cooler weather.

This candle. I’m not much of a candle person, but this one is pure heaven. A friend gifted it to me years ago and it’s still my favorite.

And last but not least, a $50 Amazon gift card, so that you can pick up a few more of your favorite things!

ENTER TO WIN by leaving a comment telling me one of your favorite things! Giveaway is sponsored by Barefeet In The Kitchen and will end on Tuesday, September 18th at 11:59pm EST. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the U.S to enter. One winner will be randomly selected and notified by email. GIVEAWAY CLOSED 

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Princess Cruises to share my travels with you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information about Princess Cruises and/or to book a cruise visit their website.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Monica Archer says

    Today is actually my birthday and one of my favorite things is eating ice cream, even though I’m lactose intolerant. lol

  2. Lisa Snure says

    Happy Birthday !!!!!!
    My all time favorite thing is being able to send the day with my family.
    My sons have also picked up the love of creative cooking,even when we have epic fails.
    At the end of the day when my husband and I clean up from the grand kids and adults kids that is my favorite thing.

  3. Maureen Blanchard says

    I Would love this as a birthday gift this year I am 70 my daughter 50 what way to celebrate and the day after eah other .

  4. Joyce Mikesh says

    Living life to the fullest i will soon be 72 and have lost one son and one son-in- law. I have made up my mind to live each day at work or having a relaxing day with my family to make the best day ever. Family and Food wild be my favorite .

  5. Paula Brown says

    What an awesome belated birthday. My favorite thing is family vacations with extended family (my siblings, their spouses and children). We try to do this every 3-4 years, and have done Canada, Jamaica, and Turks & Caicos – love them all!

  6. Paula Lunsford says

    One of my favorite things is getting up early while the rest of the house sleeps. On a cool Fall morning, snuggled under a throw, cup of coffee with a really good book.

  7. Carla Thornhill says

    Some of my favorite things are a good book enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea and possibly a delicious cookie I’ve made from one of your recipes 🙂 Okay, more than one cookie….
    I so enjoyed ‘traveling’ with you and was happy to finally see your cute hubby! You and Sean are a precious couple. Glad you could get away for a great trip together; I know you work hard!

  8. Patricia Stewart says

    My birthday is today and I’m happily 59! Age is no big deal…..I’m grateful for each new year. One of my favorite things is my cookbook collection. I read them like novels!

  9. Marilyn says

    Happy Birthday🎂🎂🎉🎉🎉
    Sorry it’s late…
    My favorite things are to celebrate with family..uaually it’s around we make it a potluck gathering. I always manage to find delisheous dishes to amaze my family with all your fantastic recipes. I love collecting Cobolt blue kitchen accessories, and I love candles..lemon. Or citrus

  10. Laura O. says

    Happy 40ish birthday! Cruising is by far one of my favorite ways to travel. Unpack for seven days (or however long) and still visit multiple different places?! Sign me up!
    Narrowing down my favorite things is always a hard task… Comfort Colors shirts or donuts! Or both!

  11. Sharon Koepf says

    One of my favorites is spending retirement with my best friend, hubby! We met on a transcontinental bicycle ride. Rode from Ohio west to Washington state, Amtrak back to Ohio then to the east coast Cape Code. What an adventure of a lifetime! Enjoying your blog with recipes and your trips! Thank you.

  12. Danielle says

    Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful celebration! One of my favorite things is when my 11-year old mindlessly reaches up and grabs my hand as we’re walking down the street. Melts my heart!

  13. Laura Bailey says

    Happy birthday! One of my favorite things is watching my 22 and 20 year old boys cook! They both have just started getting into it, and they are very creative. Last week my oldest made Tiki Masala and my youngest made lamb burgers with Tzatziki sauce.

  14. Carolyn says

    Sounds and looks like you have an absolutely wonderful birthday.
    My favorite thing cannot be just one thing! I love family, the ones that are no longer with me have left me with such great memories and I was taught so much by them. The ones I am so fortunate to still have are a treasure to my heart. The other thing that is a favorite is friends, without them life would be so dull. I have learned you cannot have too many friends and I am so glad of each and every onethe ones I have. God has truly blessed me!

  15. carol Johnston says

    One of my things I love is quite time,books,and yoga.also I want to say I love your site,lo it.i am 79.and love live,but I am very ill with,lung cancer,other health issue,but i am always up smiling and moveing,eat very healthy to take care of myself,love your recipes,have a great day,I always try,