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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308 Comments Leave a comment or review

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  1. Michael Bratek says

    My favorite thing is the changing of colors of the leaves, flowers, and bushes. Everything becomes so amazingly colorful and beautiful- nature at its finest showing how gorgeous it really can be!

  2. Alana says

    I love the Goody Spin Pins and wish I discovered them sooner! They’re spiral shaped hair pins that make it quick and easy to get my long hair into a bun

  3. Mary Natvig says

    One of my favorite things is to sit together with my family to laugh and talk, while enjoying a healthy home cooked meal.

  4. Tanya Williamson says

    I work in a very noisy environment but can’t wear ear plugs because I’m working with hospital patients. My favorite moment is the moment I get into my car to leave work and there’s complete silence. As far as my favorite thing….that would be a long massage.

  5. Diane says

    Taking a Panama Canal cruise with my husband which was on his bucket list. It took time to save but after retiring we did it!

  6. Diane says

    Hi Mary!
    Thanks for all your recipes and stories… I love them!

    One of my favorite things is Lady Grey tea by Twinings.
    A large mug with some hazelnut creamer stirred in… Heaven!!
    It makes any morning a little more special.

    I hope you try it and enjoy it!
    Diane May

  7. Tricia says

    Time with my grandkids 🙂 Always a favorite! Happy birthday Mary – looks like a wonderful trip. I enjoyed following along on Instagram too 🙂 You are a beautiful couple! Would you believe with all the traveling we do, we’ve never been on a cruise – looks like fun!

  8. Geraldine Chavez says

    One of my favorite things is cruising. You take your hotel and restaurant wherever you go and if you are not a gambler or drinker which I am not if you get on the ship with a dime you get off the ship and you still have that dime. We have taken 30cruises and many have been on Princess. In June of 2019 we are taking a Mediterranean Cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We are taking our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We fly from her to Barcelona, Spain and embark on the ship there. Happy 41st birthday, I really enjoy your recipes!

  9. Tom Maurer says

    Hi Mary and Happy 40th. My favorite thing is spending
    Thursdays with the Grandkids. We visited the Jersey Shore, Adventure Aquarium along with a train ride, visit to local airport The Flying W. The simple things make it a wonderful summer.

  10. Tina S says

    Hi and happy birthday! I have never done a cruise before so it was fun to hear about your adventure😄. One of my favorite things is raspberries, especially when they are baked fresh into a scone or bar. Delicious! I also love warm and sunny fall days which are a treat in the Midwest.

  11. Debbie says

    Happy belated birthday Mary. Sounds like it was a wonderful trip and a special birthday for you. I love to travel also but, haven’t done much since my husband of 40 years passed. My favorite thing to do is baking with my two beautiful grand daughters they are so eager to learn almost as eager as I am to teach them. We have such a wonderful time. Love your site and all the delicious recipes.

  12. Michele A Moore says

    One of my favorite things is exactly what your newsletter has described. A fun evening with family and friends, eating, having a few drinks….any plenty of laughter!

  13. Rita A Heinselman says

    Wishing you more wonderful birthdays! Residing in cold Wisconsin, I love your recipes for those delicious, healthy stick to the rib meals. Another of my favorite things is getting up in the morning, putting on nice warm socks(no shoes) and enjoying a nice relaxing time in front of the fireplace! Wishing you a wonderful fall and winter!! Thank you for all the yummy recipes. Winter cooking is my fave!! God bless!!