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Turning 40 in Menorca, in probably the best bar in the world

Decade birthdays can be real markers, a time to take stock and reflect before stepping into your next decade. I certainly felt reflective about turning 40, it was a gradual process, with some wobbles on the way, but when it arrived I felt calm, and a sense of relief and excitement.  Of course it helped that I spent the day itself in stunning Menorca, a totally unspoilt Spanish island where you can’t help but relax…

I was invited to Menorca to join a group of 50 travel influencers: a mix of You Tubers, instagrammers, travel bloggers from all niches – solo, couple, family adventure, foodie, fashion. I only knew a handful of them before I went, so the idea of spending my 40th birthday out there seemed a little strange. But Traverse Events promised me an excellent adventure, and that Tursimo Menorca, our hosts, would make it a day to remember. We were days away from moving house and I had already decided to spread my birthday celebrations out, rather than attempt a big party the week of my birthday, so having my big day planned by experts seemed like a great option.

I had no idea what to expect from Menorca, and was blown away by it’s beauty. Here are some of the things that happened that day to make it unforgettable:

Drinks by the sea on the eve of my birthday

We all gathered by the sea at the Hotel San Luis for welcome drinks and canapes from Port Blue Hotels. The bay was pretty and wild, the night before it had been the site for a wedding, so felt special. Traverse wished me and another attendee a happy birthday, You Tuber Calum McSwiggen was 27. I was so impressed he had the guts to pose in his birthday suit on Instagram, I contemplated it, for all of about 2 seconds, but it turns out I’m totally comfortable in my clothes these days. Drinks by the sea as the sun set was lovely a lovely way to mark the end of my 30s.

Breakfast fizz overlooking the sea

My fellow bloggers made a fuss in the morning and made sure I had cava with breakfast. It’s the little things! Look at that view over the bay from Port Blue Hotels, San Luis.

The conference – not a bad day’s work!

Our two day travel influencer’s conference was hosted at the stunning Barcelo Hamilton Hotel overlooking the Bay of Mahon, it is a stunning adult only hotel, perfect for a couple’s escape, but they also have a sister family friendly hotel, The Occidental.

My birthday work day involved a really well delivered session on SEO, a topic I would normally avoid, especially on my birthday, but I learnt a lot of tips to optimise my website in google search.

In the afternoon, after seeing the amazing video from the Menorcan tourist board, we were given the challenge of making a short video using instagram stories. It was a really stressful task at the time, and took me back to my previous career as Head of Media Studies in a secondary school, but when the results came in we all had a giggle.

Despite that sinking feeling that we had committed professional suicide in our efforts, after Emily edited ours it began to actually look like a rough concept a tourist board maybe, possibly use. Apparently it was too short to win, but came a close second!

A Spanish feast in the harbour

Having a lunch break in Cales Fonts a pretty fishing village harbour in Menorca.

My good friend, used to be neighbour and blogging buddy Emily from A Mummy Too took me for birthday lunch in the beautiful fishing harbour Cales Fonts, just round the corner from the Barcelo Hamilton.  The food in Menorca is really wonderful, forget egg and chips, this isn’t Michelin starred, but what you will get is consistently great, imaginative food everywhere you go.  The restaurants had some amazing veggie dishes, artichoke hummus was incredible and Menorca is also the home of mayonnaise, it was invented here (the capital is Mahon – Mahon- aise – geddit?) and they delivered a mean chilli mayonnaise on patas bravas. My trip was made.

Hummus, tomato bread and patas bravas

They insisted we have shots after dinner, Menorcan herbs.

Having a lunch break in Cales Fonts a pretty fishing village harbour in Menorca. Menorcan Gin is legendary.

Having a lunch break in Cales Fonts a pretty fishing village harbour in Menorca.

The working day finished with Cava

The rooftop of the Barcelo Hotel Menorca

On the rooftop of the Barcelo Hamilton Hotel, which looks out into the Bay of Mahon. Another stunning location, as the cruise ship sailed by, we sipped cava by hot tubs (sadly not enough time to hot tub) I had to pinch myself at how many beautiful places I had encountered.

The rooftop of the Barcelo Hotel Menorca

The rooftop of the Barcelo Hotel Menorca

The rooftop of the Barcelo Hotel Menorca

 

An evening in the cave bar watching the sunset

The incredible cave bar, Cova d'en Xoroi, Menorca

‘You’ve brought me to a right dive!’ I said to Michael from Traverse Events, as we queued at the bar in a dark cave and the water dripped from the damp roof above our heads.

Only joking! Clutching my new found favourite drink – a Pomada, Menorcan Gin mixed with cloudy lemondade – I moved into the sunshine to chat, mingle and take my place for the sunset over the cliffs at a series of bars built into the cliff side. Cova d’en Xoroi is a mind blowing venue, perfect for watching the sun set. Then the organisers decided we could stay a bit longer and we were ushered into the VIP area. Perfection. I honestly don’t think I could have found a better venue for my 40th in the world. If you are looking to mark an occasion, this is a glorious place.

The incredible cave bar, Cova d'en Xoroi, Menorca

The incredible cave bar, Cova d'en Xoroi, Menorca

The incredible cave bar, Cova d'en Xoroi, Menorca

The incredible cave bar, Cova d'en Xoroi, Menorca

You can absolutely bring kids here too, so I would love to come back with the family.

Cava and cake

Back at the hotel, Emily ushered a group of those she could grab to come back to her studio, where she had cava and cake waiting.  A birthday has to have cake, even if I was too full to eat it.

Pizza

We stumbled out of Emily’s studio, walked through a few winding white washed backstreets (try doing or saying that after a few cavas) and two long tables of the gang were sat eating outside a restaurant. By then I was strangely ravenous, so pizza, tortilla and salad went down a treat.

Pomadas

Back at the hotel I was served a Pomada in one of those glasses the size of a fish bowl on a stem. I love how popular gin is in Spain and this lemon Fanta and gin combo is an amazing one. I nursed it and watched the young ‘uns get steadily less upright.

I ended the night by slipping off, with a jug of milk and some tea bags from the bar, to drink tea and sleep star fish like in a bed of crisp white sheets, made by someone else. I missed Mr A and the kids madly and we had our own celebrations before and after the trip, but this article in The Pool kind of sums up how much a solo business trip means when you are a mum.

I loved being surrounded by people in their 20s 30s 40s 50s at the turn of my next decade. I came away so inspired by everyone.

More on my trip to come and wonderful Menorca, but as you can see, I felt totally at peace with turning 40 and refreshed by beautiful surroundings. This is a magically unspoilt place to come with your loved ones, to chill out, take stock and recharge.

The incredible cave bar, Cova d'en Xoroi, Menorca

Thanks to Traverse Events, Jet 2 and Turismo Menorca for having me and making my 40th totally unforgettable.

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11 Comments

  • Reply Elizabeth

    Belated Happy Birthday! What a wonderful and memorable way to see in your 40s! Looks like you had a wonderful time in Menorca.

    05/06/2017 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply angela hamilton

    Happy (belated) birthday!! Menorca looks gorgeous. I have been Majorca and would love to visit Menorca. Looks like you had a fantastic time x

    05/06/2017 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply Nicola Dunkinson

    Lovely read Penny and what a great way to turn 40! Pomada is my new favourite drink too! Sorry I didn’t get to chat you in Menorca.

    05/06/2017 at 10:12 pm
  • Reply Jen Walshaw

    I have to say we loved our family holiday in Mallorca and would love to visit Mencorca. There is something so beautiful about the islalds.

    06/06/2017 at 12:40 pm
  • Reply Kizzy Bass

    Belated happy birthday, what a lovely place to celebrate. I love the idea of a cave bar, especially looking out over the sea

    07/06/2017 at 8:19 pm
  • Reply Richard

    I guess that you are having a good trip! The bar looks unique because it has beautiful view with lovely decoration items as well. Happy birthday to you (even it is quite late) 😀

    08/06/2017 at 9:08 am
  • Reply m1ssingsleep

    What a beautiful place to spend your birthday! I will have to visit that area one day x

    08/06/2017 at 12:57 pm
  • Reply Kara

    Happy Birthday!! Wish I had celebrated my 40th in such style. Looks like you had a wonderful break and in great company too 🙂

    09/06/2017 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply traceycwilliams

    Happy belated birthday Penny and what a way to celebrate turning 40. That bar looks amazing, and Menorca looks a beautiful island x

    10/06/2017 at 9:20 pm
  • Reply babybudgeting

    oh gorgeous! so glad it was special

    12/06/2017 at 7:35 am
  • Reply Marianne

    Happy birthday! After all you did say you were stringing out the celebrations!
    What a wonderful time you had and so many fabulous places to write about. Menorca I am getting to know very well through work and it’s just divine. I love it.

    14/06/2017 at 5:45 pm
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