My actual birthday celebrations have since been a far more grown up affair (although I am not going to lie, the Jack Daniels sauce was sorely missed) with champagne and making eyes at boys in suits and a pair of beautiful shoes. I thought 25 would be when I would settle down and think about children, 24 would be the year I saved for both. I imagined success would mean long mermaid hair (tick, well, technically it is all mine. I did pay for it) a miniature dog in a Juicy Couture handbag and a boyfriend who looked like a Ken doll and had lots of horses. What can I say, Paris Hilton and The Saddle Club were pretty big when I was young.
So what does success really look like, what have I achieved in these 24 (yewoch) years?
1. I can walk in high heels, even those towering 11inch Kurt Geiger beauties.
2. From my beautiful navy Osprey handbag to my Chanel 2.55, I have a clutch of handbags most women would swap husbands for. NB if you would like to swap your husband then get in touch. Please include a photo.
3. I have an incredible career ahead of me, even if right now it's stressful and chaotic and I feel like the village idiot every time I try to explain my rationale for things.
4. I have loved and I'm quite sure I will love again.
5. I'm independent, I run my tiny flat and pay my (not so tiny) bills and even if there is only pesto in the cupboard and wine in the fridge it is mine and I am proud.
6. I have an incredible family around me. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful they are.
7. And friends. Friends who, unlike their teen counterparts, don't try to hold me down or back or at arms length. 8. I am truly spectacular at Street Fighter
9. I think I'm a nice enough person, I mean I'm considerate to take my heels off when I get in the door so I don't wake up the family downstairs.
10. Despite several offers I still haven't succumbed to appearing on 'reality' tv.
11. I have kissed a few frogs in the last couple of years but I haven't been caught with any real toads yet.
12. Once I made fetch happen. 13. I have UGG boots, my 16 year old counterpart would be beyond jealous.
14. More importantly, I HAVE BOOBS, "minimuffins" who?
15. I get free chocolate with work. Lots.
16. And although I do feel bigger I still only weigh 8 stone and a bit.
17. I don't have a puppy in a Prada bag but I do have a whole collection of animals at home. And our dog is so much cooler than a little yappy mutt.
18. I've walked the red carpet for a premiere. Twice.
19. Despite being asked not to participate in home economics class many years ago I am in fact able to feed myself and others quite happily now. My pulled pork often leads to marriage proposals.
20. Sometimes I get asked out on dates. Wahey!
21. Cake and wine for dinner isn't a dream, it's a reality whenever I want.
22. Even for breakfast.
23. I don't have any grey hairs yet.
24. I think I'm happy every day, not all day, but happy and settled and functioning every single day nonetheless.
Last week I spent an hour searching for a phone case that would turn my mobile into the Pokedex, a manicure is a chore not a standard and I haven't even come close to having a boyfriend in two years now, let alone one with a horse. The real successes are nowhere near as settled and glamorous and grown up as I thought they would be but what did I know at 16, and who even wear Juicy Couture anyway?!