Ghosts of 29 Birthdays Past…

It’s my last birthday of my 20’s… part of my 29 things to do before I was 29 was to reminisce in a totally self indulgent way about the last 28 birthdays in the land that was Angel.

And what better way than a photo-blog memory. *claps hands* Time for a movie montage… a montage…. a…. mooontaaage?

Ok, so my internet skills aren’t that advanced. Yet. Simple photos will have to do. Let’s start at the very beginning: Wee baby not yet fully cognitive Angel…

the BIRTH - almost.

Three Generations. The two women who raised me... My mom and my Nanna

I can’t even say “awww cute” coz babies really look like nothing more than putty to me until they are 1 years old. If you want to see how my hippy mom chose my name, read this. This is not a biography… it’s a birthdayography anyway. Fast-forwarding right along….

First Birthday 1984

I don’t remember much. But I’ll take my mother’s word that the baby in the photos is me.

Dear God, get a rescue spoon This doll is trapped!

Ok, so my hand eye co-ordination wasn't the greatest. Yet. Ok. Still isn't.

Fast forward 28 years and nothing's changed.
Blue car? Check.
Gangsta swag? Check. Bling high fashion jewelery? Check.

Second Bday ’85

Would you believe that my parents (who were both professional photographers) have NO photographic evidence that I even HAD a second Birthday? Sha.

So here’s a photo of me and my bro when I was 2 to prove that I was indeed not abducted by aliens that year…

I already knew boys were idiots. Look at that face.

Now, the Link to the 3rd birthday (of which there are no photos either… BUT there is a video, which I have seen. So I know I’m wearing this dress:)

Me as a flower girl at 2 - a dress my mother made and would use and re-use... including my 3rd birthday party...

3rd Bday 1986

Thanks to the video-graphic proof I know that I had a party at my house, and all the kids from my nursery school were there. We had a Punch and Judy puppet show and magician in the form of a sarcastic hilarious old British man. Which (might I add) was much more hysterical for grown up Angel than little 3 yr old Angel, with puppets making reference to government officials and calling kids who fell over ‘drunk’. Most entertaining.

The highlight of the video is watching us all sit on our nannies laps during the magic show and how we were all equally enthralled by the mysticism woven.

3 year old Angel. Side parting FTW

4th Bday 1987

Ok, this was a pretty magical one. It was held in the Durban Botanical Gardens and was a fairy and Pixie Theme. (I loved Fairies, much more than Angels… go figure)

4 year old Fairy Angel - I look THRILLED.

Getting the 'secrets' of the treasure hunt from my Dad.

This party was full on with treasure hunt and clues and it ended with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow… a giant polystyrene rainbow that my parents had made and hung in a tree. It was pretty magical.

My favourite cake ever. Baked by my mom. She used my "ugly barbie"

I have memories of the day, and my worst memory is my mother trying to dress me, and we sat for (what felt like) hours as she curled my hair with hot irons… this was the day we learned a lesson that almost 29 year old Angel knows all too well… My hair DOESN’T CURL. It’s dead straight. Like an Afrikaans boy from Bloemfontein on a rugby pitch.

The cheating tug-of-war

We had a tug of war, and my grandpa (pictured in the dark clothes on the left of the photo) helped our team win… by cheating. He was awesome like that. Also. Look at the boys wearing white tights…. hilarious.

Learning how to blow... out candles.

5th Bday 1988

I ask you, with tears in my eyes – what is a child most terrified of.. after the dark… Clowns. Yes. Well. Bear with me as i show you my mother’s idea for a ‘FUN’ birthday… WHY WOULD SHE DO THIS TO ME!?

CLOWN THEME!? For shame! The redeeming factor is that this was also at the Durban Aquarium, so it was a ‘Dolphin theme’ too. And we watched the dolphin show, I remember that. And I got to pet a dolphin.

Please note the dolphin themed cake. Also baked by my mom.

Yes, so Dolphins and Clowns… naturally.

Another highlight of my 5th birthday would be this photo:

Feed them, then they love you. Learn now Angel

This was my “first boyfriend” enjoying the cake I brought to school… with a very disapproving Granny of mine looking on. Yeah. Swag Angel… SWAG.

Sixth Bday 1989

ah Dear Six Year Old Angel… Again, I have no photographic proof or memory of this. I will have to trust that it happened and that it was awesome. I was in Grade 1 when I turned six… and I looked like this:

6 year old Angel

Dear Six Year Old Angel… in 22 years you’re going to get a lot of tweets.

7th Bday 1990

This was a pretty Baller birthday… we did a huge ‘around the world’ trip as a family that April. We went all over England (where my dad grew up) and saw castles and bridges… then we happened to be in Canada for my 7th Birthday. 

With My Brother and my Canadian Cousin

I met my cousin who lives in Canada for the first time and we also saw SNOW for the first time ever.. on my birthday. A little birthday miracle.

This may be the most awkward photo. Ever.

Canada was rad. I remember going on the yellow school bus with my cousin to check out his school and all the Canadian kids were so rude and pushy and couldn’t believe we were from AFRICA. A kid asked me if I had a pet monkey. I said yes. I told him that we didn’t have yellow school busses but rode an elephant all together. I didn’t blink. You may call it lying. I call it honing my ability to mock fools. At aged 7. Yes.

The best part about my 7th Birthday was that THIS was our next stop on the trip…

Disney World, Florida aka Child Mecca

My life pretty much peaked at this point.

We also did all over America and ended in New York City.

With my bro - on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty NYC

Little did 7 Year Old Angel know, that a mere 11 years later, 18 year Old Angel would be living in New York as a Lingerie Model…


8th – 11th. I do not remember these birthdays. During this time we moved from Durban to Plett and my grandparents looked after me. I was probably too drunk to remember the parties.

12th Bday – 1995

This was a ‘Masquerade’ theme and the invitations were masks that you had to decorate and then wear to my party. The party was on my local beach (Keurboomstrand – near Plett) I can’t remember much more. i think there was a treasure hunt – but that could have been my brother’s birthday… there were definately games in the sand… and a kid stood on a thorn and it went straight through the foot – we could see it sticking out the other side. That was pretty awesome.

12 year old Angel. Picknick up the Keurbooms river. With my sexiest smile.

13th Bday 1996

I was in Standard 6 and lived in Joburg. I had no friends yet. I probably went to the movies. I got my two cats, Romeo and Cleopatra for my 13th birthday present.  – I was clearly training for when I was an unloved adult with cats… Good. Cleo is still alive and kicking. She’s 17 now.

14th Bday 1997

No idea. But I bet it was cool.

15th Bday 1998

Ah, teenagers in Johannesburg. I remember this birthday because I had “quit smoking and was worried that if I got drunk i’d want to smoke” yes, at 15. This was my Concern. We had a sleep over party at my house. Lots of naughty boys and naughty girls and horror movies. My mother was there, supervising. That didn’t stop us from boot-legging some sambuca and getting rip roaringly sick on it… one of the boys vomited the whole night and we made him sleep in the garden. He didn’t care one bit and woke up happy and chilly saying “brr, I’m a cold little sausage”. Most infamous words of my 15th.

(FIFTEEN!!!??? what kind of rebel was i?)

16th Bday 1999

Now we’d moved again and I lived in Somerset West. I was still new so didn’t have many friends. I remember I had a house party and drank lots of hunters… it was pretty tame in comparison to Johannesburg.

This is how "cool" we were at 16. My best friends and I - reenacting a Backstreet Boys poster... yes. REALLY.

17th Bday 2000

This was just another excuse to throw a huge house party in matric. I had lots of friends now and we were all hooligans. I remember chugging a bottle of red wine at some point during the night. We partied to the Beatles songs all night and everyone slept wherever they fell over. It was a pretty epic birthday. I was obessed with cow-spots and got a pretty solid loot of cow spotted things as gifts.

The only photo I have of me at 17. With my Matric Boyfriend at our Matric rage in Breede River.

18th Bday 2001

It was my birthday and farewell as I was about to move to New York City. The theme was ‘Heaven’ and it was a huge affair… with a tent and tables and caterers and more alcohol than we knew what to do with.

You had to dress as anyone who would be in heaven. I was dressed as Eve. People came as Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Cleopatra, Jimi Hendrix, Bonny and Clyde, Laurel and Hardy, Tu-Pac, Jesus, Jim Morrison and all sorts of other hilarities… I got so drunk that i whacked my shin and almost needed stitches. But I drank more and got over it.

19th Bday 2002

Back in South Africa. First Year at UCT I had my party at the Chilli and Lime in Greenpoint (where the fancy schmancy Spar is now) it used to be a dodgy bunch of awesome night clubs. That was an epic night, and before I ended up passed out on the curb with my boyfriend protecting me… i remember standing on the bar pouring champagne in peoples mouths as the whole dance-floor chanted my name… incidentally – that was the last time I drank until my 23rd Birthday. 4 years of absolutely no alcohol. Good call, drunk Angel…. Most people don’t have conviction when they say “I’m never drinking again” – well, as I lay there, with my face on the asphalt, I was making vows…

20th Bday 2003

No idea. I was in 2nd year UCT and recently single and happy. That’s all I remember about early 2003. I can’t blame being drunk for the lack of memories… must have been drugs this time.

21st Bday 2004

I hang my head in shame. I peaked at my 15th birthday it would seem. remember, I didn’t drink – and I didn’t enjoy being in places where people would all get drunk. I was also in a very serious long term relationship with my boy from Northern Ireland… so. For my big, huge, momentus 21st birthday…… we went out for sushi. Me me mow!

Party up in the hizzy... not.

Sushi was pretty new and exciting back then. I remember it was a few people’s first time trying it. So… there was something ‘amazing’ about my birthday… not really…. sigh.

22nd Bday 2005

22nd Birthday Cake

I really was not cool in my early twenties… i don’t want to say what we did for this birthday. But it just so happened to coincide perfectly with a Westlife concert tour date… and would you believe I loved Westlife. So that’s what we did. My best friend Kelly and I took our two Mom’s to Westlife… for my birthday.

My mom, Kelly's mom and Kelly.. on the floor at the Westlife Concert.

Let me redeem myself and say that we THEN had guestlist at Opium (a baller club in Greenpoint) that a bunch of my friends met me at after the Westlife concert. Mock all you like. I’ve heard it all before. Here’s another secret…. The only reason I bothered getting Opium guestlist at all was that I was hoping Westlife would have their after party there… They didn’t.

True Story

23rd Bday 2006

Fireworks and magic. This year my birthday coincided perfectly with the finale of the Symphony of Fire which is a firework display at the Waterfront. My flat overlooked the waterfront so a bunch of my closest friends came over, we climbed the hill behind my flat… sang Queen songs, smoked hubbly and watched the fireworks.

We took millions of photos… This was also the first time I drank alcohol again in 4 years. It wasn’t really a large amount but I’d made it through all of UCT sober. My friends threw their own party just to see me drinking.

23rd Birthday Angel

After the fireworks and joviality we partied the night away at Ignite (what is now St Yves) and it ended pretty well… in a haze of awesome:

Great Success

24th Bday 2007

24th Birthday Angel

My birthday fell on Easter sunday this year. We spent the weekend at my mother’s house.

Highlights include – Easter egg treasure hunt we made with the most cryptic clues and creative hiding places…

Daring my friend to fit 10 marshmallow easter eggs into his mouth. Secretly adding 5 more eggs to the eggs he fit in his mouth.

Friend winning the dare and making the rest of us go streaking around the block.

24 yr old Me with my best friends.... thank god for sparkles.

25th Bday 2008

My proudly South African Farewell party. I had it in the most dodgy back-alley Karaoke bar off Long Street you can Imagine… the theme was African’s in Asia. Why? because I was about to move to Korea.

This party was marked by Jagermeister. Singing of terrible Chinese versions of pop songs and lots and lots of awesome bad decisions.

Singing for me...

Pretty Accurate summary of my 25th

26th Bday 2009

I lived in Korea. I woke up on a spring day and walked to work underneath the most cliche’d and beautiful Cherry Blossom trees you could ever imagine in Asia. The air was warm and sweet.

My students were particularly adorable that day and brought me birthday presents like cans of coke. We did a play that day, the little red hen, this was for my amusement mostly as I made them wear dumb masks and do stupid things. tee hee.

That night I got drunk with my closest friends:

26th Birthday Angel

I had a birthday party that weekend at an awesome bar in Myeong Dong, Seoul – called Trick.

Trick, Magic

Trick makes two mistakes. One. It allows Westerners into it’s bar. Two – it has a cover charge of only $30 and then all drinks are free. ALL drinks. Shooters, cocktails, beers – whatever. All the barmen and waiters are trained magicians and they perform tricks for you all night. It’s pretty much the most epic and magical night you could imagine… plus you get absolutely RAT FACED…. I was home, in bed… naked – voluntarily… by midnight. That’s a GOOD party.

26th Birthday at Trick in Korea

27th Bday 2010

I was back home in Cape Town again, so had a nice reunion at St Yves in Camps Bay… they gave me a table, with cupcakes and balloons… and lots of long lost friends came to welcome me home.

27th Birthday Angel

The next morning, a very hungover group of my closest friends, my family and my boyfriend at the time travelled up with me to Montagu where we had booked a cottage in the mountains near the hotsprings… we lolled in hot water and around fireplaces all weekend.

Montague Hotsprings.

28th Bday 2011

The Stormers had a rugby match on my birthday.

Stormers themed cupcakes...

A bunch of us went to Newlands to watch together equipped with pom-poms and loud voices…

My friends trying to start the Mexican wave with me...

My best friend AJ and I tried to start a mexican wave for a good half an hour by running up and down the field in front of the crowd. Despite the crowd’s best efforts it never took off. The stormers also lost. :/

28th On top of the Grand Daddy

I had my party that night at the Grand Daddy Hotel Rooftop as they had given me a hotel room as a birthday present that year. We partied up and down Long Street until Helen Zille’s curfew came into effect at 2am and the mother of the Mother City made sure we were all away from alcohol. Pretty epic and decadent end to the night… going to sleep all alone… in that massive hotel bed.

Behaving on the Grand Daddy Rooftop.

29th bday 2012

My last Birthday of my 20s I’m sharing with a friend who’s also born on the 9th of April.

We’re having it on Saturday the 7th April 2012 at the Alexander Bar in Cape Town CBD. That’s on the Corner of Strand and Loop. at 8pm. Come on down, if I know you.

29th Birthday twins. Emil and I - both 29 on the 9th. (please note our colour co-ordinated balloons)

Make some more memories.

This is another of my 29 before 29 list things DONE

*29 years of High Five*

About YesReallyAngel

quirky, sardonic, sarcastic, ironic, satirical girl. Lover of marshmallows and high-fives.
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2 Responses to Ghosts of 29 Birthdays Past…

  1. Pingback: 29 things before 29 years. | Random High-Fives

  2. chriswitts says:

    Would totally come pop in and say hi for your bday, but I’m going to be chilling it out in Clanwilliam.

    Hope you have yourself a rocking time hun ;) xx

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