A few years ago I was lucky enough to celebrate my 21st birthday in New York with my family. That's a pretty big hit. I'd been living in LA for about a year, and was really missing them, so it was lovely to reconnect, as well as have an epic adventure in the Big Apple. My Mum is an amazing trip planner (think labelled clear-files stuffed with research and every brochure imaginable) and she organised the most incredible day. We explored Greenwich Village and Soho, stopping at every vintage and retro store we came across along the way (sorry Dad). The delightful day ended with a surprise dinner at Blossom - one of New York's best vegetarian restaurants. Definitely a birthday to remember.


On another family trip to the Gold Coast when I was about 10, my Poppa thought it would be a good idea to attach some matching straps to our luggage so our bags would be easily identifiable. A great idea -- in theory. After landing, we headed to the luggage area and, as Dad approached the carousel to grab one of our many cases, he realised that Pop's wonderfully woven strap had completely frayed in transit and the (very recognisable) thread had managed to weave itself around all of the other passengers' bags like a gigantic spider's web. Sadly this was also the case for our other nine bags - and, once fellow passengers realised the dilemma, all hell broke loose! I don't know what the heck those straps were made of (industrial-strength nylon?), but it was the strongest type of cord ever encountered. I remember seeing my Nana desperately biting at this indestructible twine, as others tried ripping, tearing and hacking at it. Meanwhile, my brother frantically tried to find a pair of scissors...which, in a security-obsessed airport, is no mean feat.

• Olivia Tennet stars in Mia Blonde - Ice Dagger at Q Theatre, December 13-17, and makes a cameo appearance as one of the celebrity guest actors in The Opening Night Before Christmas at The Basement Theatre, December 6-22, as part of Basement's Christmas Feast.