My 16th Birthday



(Or will be when you’re reading this because right now I’m on a train home from London and my laptop is wiggling about my lap and all I can think about is the leftover Jambalaya chilling about in the fridge at home.)

And I thought, to celebrate it, I’d share a short lil ol’ story wit ya.

I’d take you back an entire flippin’ decade to when I was a teenager and celebrating my 16th birthday. Like what, how has that much time passed already? Time goes so damn speedily with every year you get older, have you noticed? Or is that just me?

I love doing outfit posts and shopping edits and fun, shareable lists but y’know what? Sometimes it’s fun just to let you get lost in the words and let you get to know a little more about my life, my head and my past. About who I am.

I’d spent that summer before year 11 holidaying between Poland and France and writing really lame diary entries and MSN screen names about being heartbroken. There was probably a lot of Destiny’s Child lyrics involved, I won’t lie.


My boyfriend of a month had cheated on me and I was all the sad faces about it. He was the first boyfriend whose house I’d ever been round and and OMG SO IN LOVE.

I loved my birthday being in September because it was always the first social event of the new school year. The first thing to get everyone excited about, the first thing to bring everyone together and get drunk and create wild gossip. The first thing to get people talking about me and make me feel important and cool and popular.

I’d wanted to have a proper 16th in a local hall. The type where everyone gets parents or older siblings or friends to buy them a couple of those big ol’ sexy bottles of WKD and Smirnoff Ice for and everyone just dances to a mix CD and sits outside and smokes and flirts and feels confident and hot and like anything might happen.

Y’know the ones. You were probably a bit sick down yourself outside one of them once.

Except, well,  I kinda left it a bit late to have it in any of the halls I wanted to have it in, so I kindadefinitely maybe possibly had it in a hall attached to an old people’s home.

Already I’m laughing at myself. There is clearly nothing about this story that’s going to go right.

In fact, I’m not even sure how much I’m going to remember as I type this because OH WHAT A SURPRISE, I GOT REALLY EFFING BLIND DRUNK. Like not a little bit drunk, ALL the drunk.

I decided that my toxic poison of choice would defs be vodka. And, rather than like y’know, mixing it with Diet Coke or cranberry juice or summin’ sensible, I just drank it neat. Out the bottle.

Teenage me was cute.

I was well excited about my outfit. I wore a grey rara skirt. Admit it, you all owned a rara skirt and basically felt like a member of the Pussycat Dolls when you wore it. I also wore a self-customised strap top with a turquoise bow across the front just like Elle Girl had told me to do.

I remember getting ready with my gal pals and sitting about in towels drinking white wine like we were rich or getting married and thinking we were such little elegant sass pots as we loaded up on Barry M glitter pots.

We got to the hall an hour early and blew up balloons in my cobalt blue, fuchsia and lime green colour scheme and started doing some sneaky vodka shots from my new pin-up girl shot glasses.

Then we all signed our names in my birthday party guest book laid out across the piano.

Honestly, I think I’d watched too many episodes of My Super Sweet 16.

We had a blind bar man and my grandparents arrived early and started bulk buying Bacardi Breezers and beer to anyone who wanted them.

I look back and sometimes I don’t understand my own life. It sounds like an episode of The Simpsons.

I actually, if I’m entirely honest, don’t remember so much of the night after that. It gets to about 7pm and I remember the first few guests arriving and then after that I kind of only really know things based on photographs and stories I was relayed in the days that followed. My bad.

I had over 100 guests.

I made the majority of them pose for photos with me.

I was wearing a Disney Princess crown.

We were told to keep the noise down.

I fell over and just chilled out on the floor for a bit with my bum on show.

Some people had some dry sex on the grass outside.

Someone was sick on the carpet.

I cried on a boy I hardly knew’s lap for a good 45 minutes.

The police came.

I ran away.

We ended up at the beach. I think it was raining.

I sat on a wooden fence and fell backwards and banged my head.

And then this is the part I remember again. The part of me lying on a bench on the seafront with a combination of kinda friends and people I’d never actually spoken to in real-life but knew from school. Of me lying there and wanting to be at home. Of people around me saying ‘she’s paralytic’. Of me then getting up and attempting to walk the 30 minute walk home on my own. Of two people stopping me and walking with me. One of them a girl and a friend, one of them a guy in the year above who I’d once kissed at a house party but then been like nah, he’s creepy.

We decided we’d all sleep at my house. The three of us. I think I already knew that a good handful of my friends were already waiting for me and sprawled across my lounge in various states of sleep.

I remember creepy guy kept talking about sleeping naked. I remember me and gal pal ignoring him and just walking along in silence.

I remember getting home and crawling under a blanket on the floor in all my clothes.

I remember my friends having sex next to me.

And I remember waking up, hangover-free and full of WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED LAST NIGHT.

I remember being kind of angry at myself for not remembering a night I’d spent so long bigging up in my head and angry that I hadn’t reached the optimum level of drunkness – when suddenly I’d be this sexy, confident birthday girl that all my school crushes would be like HELLO, HANNAH at. I was annoyed that I’d wasted a good opportunity of being surrounded by people cooler than me, and I remember being pretty anxious about all the things I’d done but couldn’t remember.

Of all the hideous things I’d done to warp people’s idea of who I was.

I am glad I am not her anymore. I am glad I am not that girl who believed alcohol and attempting to behave like a sassy, confident, sexy adult was going to make her happy.

I am glad that the last decade has taught me everything it has, that I am now living a life that would have made 16-year-old me burst with pride and excitement.

I feel like everything I am doing is for her. To prove that it really does get better and she really can have the world.

So today I will be toasting to me and my journey to happiness and contentment (and learning my alcohol limits because lol).

And this weekend I will be drowning in cocktails and nachos and games and gossips with friends that have known me since I was that girl.

I can’t wait.

And even more than that, I can’t wait to look back in another 10 years and say FUCK, WHO EVEN WAS I THEN? Life gets so much better and I had no idea and still have no idea.

I think getting old is going to be all sorts of fun.

Here’s to no longer being screwed up little teenagers forever fighting the world.

  • Zoe

    Happy bi

  • Zoe

    Happy birthday! Hope you have a fab day, your blogs always make my day! Xxxx

  • Jess

    Happy Birthday, Hannah!

    This post made me smile because I think a lot of us were that sixteen year old girl. Look how far we’ve come eh?!


    Loved reading this. I was exactly the same at 16. I think the majority of my weekends were spent necking malibu and alcopops on my old 10ft trampoline with a few pals. I once passed out on a gold course too after drinking a bottle of peach schnapps. Classy AF.


    • *Golf I wish it was gold, that would have been a better story lol

  • Sam

    Happy birthday Hannah, this was a lovely read. I was that girl, not at my 16th but at my 17th birthday house party. I turned 27 this week and it’s funny how much you wrote are things I’ve been thinking. I’m really proud of where I am at the moment. In past years I’ve hated becoming older, but this year it’s been great. I think I’m finally at the point where I realise I get better as I get older, so what’s not to be excited about?

    Have a lovely birthday and here’s to never drinking straight vodka again. x

  • Eve

    What a brilliant post, I love your stories!

    Eve xo |

  • Sophie

    Happy birthday Hannah! 🙂 Have a good one!

  • Oh this is an excellent post, Hannah! It kind of reminds me, the other day I was thinking why do people want to be back at school/younger? And this post says it all.. I love being a bit older and wiser. It’s not all bad really, is it?

    Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

  • Lauren

    Haha that story is hilarious! HBD, have an awesome day x


    Em x

  • Scarlett Brabrook

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been reading your blog posts for a while now and it feels like you are living a parallel life – it’s nice to know I’m not alone! xx

  • Flic

    Happy Birthday Hannah!

    Reading your blog every morning always makes my day! So I hope you have a fabulous day you deserve it!

  • Happy birthday!! I hope you have a brill day!

    This was such an amazing post. If only future you could tell 16 year old you how life really works, it would make life so much simpler


  • Loved this post, my favourite so far! Have a lovely birthday.

  • Happy Birthday! Loved this post, made me chuckle. We’ve all been there! My 16th birthday ended up on my Mom driving around trying to find me, she then found me lying on the floor passed out outside Onestop, after necking a litre bottle of vodka….

  • Vicky

    Happy Birthday, Hannah! Have a lovely one 🙂

    I absolutely adored reading this, please don’t give up on writing.
    It made me chuckle, because yeah, we’ve all been there. One of my fave drunk memories is screaming at a Daniel Craig poster at the top of my lungs because he was the sexiest male around the street. Oh.

    The best part is that yeah, we grow up. It’s incredibly reassuring to believe that time makes us change –for the better, hopefully!
    Thank you for this post, Hannah x

  • OH god my 16th birthday was so much the same – old hall next to a people’s home, joint party with a glitter theme (because who doesn’t love a theme? I went as Lady Gaga obvs and no one else bothered) and told no alcohol allowed which was hard as EVERYONE wants to have a sneaky cider but it was all good in the hood in the end. Many cringe moments, many planned dance routines, too many people swapping ipods on the stereo system for my liking but god looking back now I wish I’d just chilled out!

    ANYWAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH – I hope you have an awesome few days relaxing and enjoying yourself, you totally deserve a rest and good ol’knees up (with limits, as you said, still want to curl up in bed for all the hours)

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • Happy Birthday! I bet 16 year old you would be crazy proud of you.

    Laura x

  • Katie

    Wah, absolutely love this post. In November I will turn 26 and it will be a decade since I skived Maths to drink Lambrini with a group of choice friends. I think many of us went through this phase, thankfully we’ve come through the other side. Happy birthday and keep writing! X

  • This is fantastic, I remember those Village Hall parties so well, and have the photos to reminisce with too! Happy Birthday Hannah, hope you’re having a more successful day than a decade ago, but are equally feeling as drunk and sassy 😉 Alice xx

  • Becca

    This story made me lol quite a bit and made me feel SLIGHTLY less ashamed of my 16th birthday where i also drank a hideous amount of neat vodka washed down with WKD. I fell head first down a flight of stairs, smacked my face on the wall and claimed i was fine (in hindsight i almost definitely had concussion). I then went and joined everyone outside where i sat down on a garden chair which i immediately fell backwards off. Not long afterwards i spent a good 2 hours vomiting into a bucket in front of the guy i was desperately in love with before attempting to eat my leftover chinese food (my ‘friends’ informed me afterwards that THE DOG had been eating off my plate while i was being sick). Of course, all of this happened at my friends house and i’m pretty sure 10 years later my parents had no idea just how drunk i got (or for the following 8 years).

    Hope you had a more successful birthday this year and enjoyed your day 🙂 x

  • Hahaha you just couldn’t make this stuff up! This made me laugh so much, I’ve definitely been to one of these parties before!

    Happy Birthday!

  • Eve

    This literally made me laugh so much. Sounds like every other weekend of my 16 year old life! Hope you’ve had a lovely birthday xx

  • Louise

    Your family sound way cool! Grandparents that but barcardi breezers, amaze. My 16th was defo just spent in nandos… ??

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Amazing post, and I have quite a similar memories of myself around that age. Oh dear. Anyway, here’s to developing and growing into such an awesome human! 🙂 xx

  • This had me in stitches! Why is it that so many of us found getting pissed to be the height of teenage sophistication?? I guess at least we can laugh at the cringe-y memories as adults. Happy Birthday 🙂

  • A big cheers to learning alcohol limits! It’s a hard lesson, but it’s got to be done.

    I feel very similarly about my teenage years, and desperate bids to be adult, cool and fit in. The more I get older, I feel I spend more time trying to be myself and give less of a crap about fitting in.

    Youth truly is wasted on the young.

    Happy birthday!

  • Happy birthday! I can’t even remember what I did for my sweet 16! Yours definitely takes the cake — no pun intended 🙂

  • ALL THE YES. My 16th birthday party was a house party (the first and last I was ever allowed) and it was the most ridiculous thing ever. Drunk yep, police yep. GOD WE WERE SUCH MORONS. I am also so relieved to be so much happier now than I ever was then. Life isn’t too bad afterall.
    Sophie xxx

  • Fantastic read Hannah. Really bloody good. Oh and a HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY to you.

  • 16 year old me is very jealous of 16 year old you. For my 16th, I was taking my GCSEs…

  • Happy Birthday Hannah. What a story!

  • For some reason this made me think of the time I asked my nan, if she could go back and be any age again, how old would she be. Thinking she’s say something like 18 or 25 or the like. Nope, she said 60. For some reason we never got into the whys of it, but I thought it was cool. You never know how life will change and get even better.

    Happy birthday!

  • Brill blog post, I was laughing and cringing throughout, haha! I hope you had a lovely birthday this year 🙂 x

    Christina Marie –

  • Nat

    Happy birthday hun! Probably belated, but better late than never.

    I howled with laughter at this post, I think most people have memories like these from when they were a teenager, I know I have my fair share. It’s inspired me to write some of my own memories from when I was a teenager on my blog. 😀

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