Birthday Bliss

I didn’t really get up to much on my birthday, but I had a great day nonetheless πŸ™‚

I was super excited for my tattoo appointment as it was with an artist whose work I love. He’s a Frenchman called NOON and he jumps around between London, NYC, and Berlin as a guest artist at different tattoo shops. He also does private appointments back in France. I first tried to make an appointment with him in December, but he was beyond booked. He told me he’d be back in London in July and that he had openings then, which worked perfectly for me because the tat could be my birthday present to myself. I didn’t specify a day, just told him my schedule was completely free and he could choose the date that worked best for him. To be honest, I wanted to see if he’d choose my birthday by chance, and he did πŸ™‚ He set the appointment for 12PM. So I was tattooed at noon by NOON on my birthday πŸ˜€

I gave him a general idea of what I wanted — two girls holding hands; one with a monster mask, the other with a monstrous shadow — that he would later interpret in his own style. NOON draws, free hand, directly on the skin, but uses stencils for some of the patterns he uses to accent each tattoo. Since my skin is already darker than most of his clients, he opted for a “less is more” approach, not overdoing it with the patterns or colors, instead sticking to contrasting dark and light (with a drop of color here and there).

A bit unwieldy to photograph...

A bit unwieldy to photograph… This was the best I could do on my own. Sorry for the blurriness!

I Looooooooooooove it.

These are the protagonists in the novel I’m working on. Monstrous, murderous twins. And now I’m wearing them. So I guess this means I have to finish the book πŸ˜€

After swearing to NOON that I’d be giving him more of my money in the very near future, I bought a Banoffee Donut from Dum Dum, rode to Crystal Palace and hung out at the dino park for a bit, then headed back to central London for the best birthday dinner ever with my friend (and fellow blogger) Susan at Aqua Kyoto.

Susan sent me this photo of the restaurant.

Susan sent me this photo of the restaurant.

For some reason, Susan and I keep ending up at restaurants that serve “sharing plates”…much to our dismay. While it’s pretty much been decided that the official motto for our friendship is “Joey doesn’t share food,” this food was so delicious (not to mention gorgeous) that we didn’t mind bending the rule a bit that night.

Susan chose a lovely bottle of “Baby Gavi,” a type of white wine I’d never had before. But since it was my birthday, I went all in and ordered a cocktail, too.

The Fuji Crusta, made with Belvedere vodka, pear, pear liqueur, and lime.

The Fuji Crusta, made with Belvedere vodka, pear, pear liqueur, and lime.

Double-fisted drinking just makes sense on your birthday. In fact, it’s mandatory. And before you ask, yes, those sesame seeds did indeed drop down my shirt every time I brought the glass to my mouth. Totally worth it.

As a starter, I ordered the wagyu beef gyoza.


I wish I’d taken this photo from a better angle because these dumplings were so pretty. No one flavor overwhelmed the others. Also, the outside was very lightly fried, so there was a bit of a crunch as I broke the dumpling skin; then all the meaty goodness just spilled out.

Susan ordered the tebasaki yaki: grilled, boneless chicken wings with ginger lime miso and wasabi. I didn’t try them, but they looked hella good.


We also had:

Black cod & ebi tobiko roll with yuzu & miso.

Black cod & ebi tobiko roll with yuzu & miso.

Seaweed salad.

Seaweed salad.

A mixture of shrimp, rice, carrots, onions, and a couple of other tasty ingredients.

A mixture of shrimp, rice, carrots, onions, and a couple of other tasty ingredients.

Salmon roll topped with lobster & miso bisque.

Salmon roll topped with lobster & miso bisque.

And one of the best desserts I’ve ever had:


There were strawberries, soft, spongey cake-like pieces, and the most refreshingly cold sorbet ever. I’ve no idea what all is in this dessert, and there were so many textures and temperatures to it. It was the perfect end to a great meal.

The food at Aqua Kyoto was delicious and the service fantastic. Our waiter was a kind, soft-spoken man, very attentive and willing to answer our questions. And with the drinks flowing and the conversation, it was just an all around great night. Susan also gave me a great card with a New Yorker cartoon on the front, from one cat lady to another:


Basically, my first birthday spent in London was a success πŸ˜€

17 thoughts on “Birthday Bliss

  1. Gianni, the tattoo looks great! Can’t wait to see it in the flesh, so to speak. The meal really was great, thank you so much for inviting me along, I would definitely go back there. I promise the next meal we go for will not involve sharing though! Joey doesn’t share food! x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DA HECK?!?! IT was your birthday and I didn’t know?!?! Happy belated birthday, Gianni!!! It looks like you celebrated in style … and that tattoo is the stuff of legends. BEAUTIFUL!!! Also … the food made me drool all over my keyboard, no joke. That dessert tho!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So happy you had a great birthday, and your tattoo is VERY VERY cool. I am totally looking forward to reading your novel when it’s done. I don’t know if you know that I’m reading it when it’s done, but I’m reading it when it’s done. I’ll find a way. Then I’ll have those few minutes of hipster glory where I can say “I totally loved her stuff before it was cool” before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. #lifegoals

    Liked by 1 person

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