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. Johnnie Mc says

    One reason I found you online is because one of my favorite things is collecting recipes and cooking for my family. I enjoy your posts and friendly discussions. Thank you

  2. Susan Stevenson says

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing your birthday article. I enjoyed that.
    My favorite things are first and foremost is being with my family, walking in the morning enjoying a glass of homemade lemonade with Stevia with the sun and warmth all around me while I read my devotions.
    To win a cruise on princesses Cruises would be the dream of a lifetime. Thank you for offering this opportunity. Best wishes to whomever the winner is.

  3. Nancy Farr says

    Love your articles.
    I would love to take a cruise like yours.
    What is the name for the room you stayed in?
    Is there much movement in your room. I have MS WITH A a case of VERTIGO.
    That’s why I haven’t taken a c raise before but would love to.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.
    The article on your birthday reminds us of things we do that we laugh about.
    God Bless
    Nancy & Craig

    • Mary says

      We were in a balcony room for this cruise. It makes a pretty big difference to have that window to the outside. While cruise rooms are never very big, this one had plenty of space for two people. There are suites and larger rooms available though.

  4. Carol Contreras says

    One of my favorite things is the Ninja coffeemaker. It saved me this summer because of the iced coffee drinks that kept me going all day long. In the fall and winter it makes great lattes and other wonderful drinks. Best gift ever!

  5. carol clark says

    my fav thing is a pan i got i cooked all my big meals in it from pot roast to turkey to ham to baked chicken yes its that big its a roaster and its my fav thing

  6. Tina Y says

    Happy belated birthday! I love your weekly emails- you’re always so upbeat! It’s a great way to start my Saturdays! Fall is my favorite season, which includes 2 of my favorite holidays – Halloween & Thanksgiving. Another fall favorite is lazy Saturdays in front of the fire either reading a good book or watching a movie.

  7. Cecile VanTyne says

    One of my favorite things is the cast iron skillet I have that was my moms! Also, my daughter just got an Instant Pot and we’ve made a couple of things that were fantastic so now I want one. Happy Belated Birthday, Mary! Really enjoy your weekly emails and so many of your recipies!

  8. Elisabeth says

    Happy birthday! I’m a candle person, and one of my favorites is Tymes frasier fir scented one. It’s smells just like a Christmas tree and is so perfect for the holidays.

  9. Annamarie V says

    Sounds like a wonderful trip! One of my favorite things is Spongelle it’s a sponge with body wash, it makes you feel special when you can’t get to a spa.

  10. Donna Rochelle says

    I can think of many favorite things. A ex large skillet to make 4 grilled cheese at a time. Or my wonderful pro belgian waffle iron. Also books by Julia Spencer Fleming, J.k.Rowling new mysteries, and Alexander Mccall Smith , Dishwasher soap by Melaleuca also they make great lip balm.
    But the Most Favorite is my family. When they are safe and well and love me and I love them back-that is the best of all !!

  11. Rebecca Florence says

    Your blog is so much fun to read, and I often use your recipes! Some of my favourite things are early morning coffee and devotions (before my 4 littles get up), snuggles, games with friends and family, and my blender for making smoothie s.

  12. Melissa Storms says

    Happy birthday!! It sounds like it was an awesome one. Thank you for sharing. One of my favorite things for fall are sweaters.

  13. Peggy S Holloway says

    Happy belated Birthday. Sounds like you had a grand one. Thank you for your weekly emails and all the info you give us. One of my favorite things is Eggs Benedict.