When they were little they used to share a party, but not anymore, so the celebrations seem to last over an entire week as they do their various birthday meals, parties or sleepovers being organised before everything's all over for another year.
This year we celebrated The Teenager's 19th birthday, and Tall Daughter's 16th. I still struggle to believe that they're both so grown up now, and that this is the last year The Teenager will actually be a teenager. How can she be 20 next year? Surely she was only watching the Teletubbies a couple of years ago?
And as Tall Daughter reliably informs me, as she's turned the magic 16, she's now old enough to join the army, drive a tractor or buy a lottery ticket. There is also the matter of her being old enough to do ...erm...other stuff but we'll gloss over that for now.
We went into Manchester on their birthday weekend for a meal, and then onto the Christmas market next to the Lowry centre. This chocolate brownie stall was very popular - your choice of brownie with hot chocolate sauce and cream poured over, very naughty but totally irresistible!
Tall Daughter and I went into town last week to see the Weeping Window poppy installation at St. George's Hall. We didn't get the chance to see the installation at the Tower of London last year, so we were keen to see this smaller but no less moving display. It was pouring with rain when we got there, and fenced off (open during the daytime though) so we viewed it from several feet away but it was still beautiful and probably easier to see because of the lack of crowds. Each poppy represents one of the lives lost from Liverpool regiments during the first world war.
I love Liverpool at night time, it's such a beautiful city and very European looking. If you get the train into Lime Street station the first thing you see on exiting the front entrance is the huge and impressive St. George's Hall. It forms part of the cultural quarter with the adjacent buildings in William Brown Street which include the Central Library, Walker Art Gallery and World Museum. I love walking around this part of the city, and at night with the old fashioned street lights, illuminated buildings and cobbled streets, it's just gorgeous.
Since subscribing to an unlimited cinema ticket at the beginning of the year I've been trying to go to the cinema at least once a week. Some months the choices have been dire, so I haven't always managed it but at this time of year there's usually a lot to choose from.
This month I've seen The Lady in the Van (loved it, Maggie Smith is an absolute joy), The Dressmaker (a quirky black comedy) and Black Mass (Johnny Depp is brilliant in it). I also wanted to see Brooklyn and Carol, but neither of them were showing in the local area, which is a shame.
And now we're already on the countdown to Christmas. At the risk of sounding like Scrooge - bah Humbug! - I think the whole festive period starts way too early each year. By the time the big day comes everything seems to have run out of steam, we're fed up of seeing the same ads on telly and the real meaning of Christmas seems to get lost in a commercialised haze. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that, am I?
And finally, this month I started working full-time for the first time in 12 years! I'm still getting used to it, but it seems okay so far. Actually, tell the truth, I did try full-time a couple of years ago when I started working for a charity but combined with a very long commute it all added up to a very tiring working week so after a few months I cut back to four days a week. Now I work close to home which means I can get back quickly at the end of the day, and with one daughter at uni and the other old enough to drive her own tractor, I'm not needed as much at home anymore. I think we'll be okay.
What have you been up to this month?