WE DID IT! We actually did it! Dan's 40th birthday party was a hugely, fabulous success! Over 120 of our family and friends joined us, the weather was utterly heavenly, amazing food (more on that coming up) lots of drinking and some sensational moves on Dan’s pallet dance floor has ensured that it's a party that will be discussed for quite some time!
Thank you all so, so much for your replies, stories and brilliant song choices. I am sorry that I didn't reply to each of you as I would normally, but it all got a little hectic as you can well imagine.
You can imagine Dan’s comments when I said "I reckon we could do it up darling…trust me!!!!!"
Well, a lot of list-making and discussions later and we jolly well did 'do it up' for one day only. In fact when I had been at work on the following Monday and drove past I could've cried when I saw the last bits of bark being swept away… was it all a dream?
So I thought a little peek into the before, during and after may be enjoyed…
The benefits of being a landscape gardener with a little black book, meant….
• 20 or so huge bamboos
• Four stunning and tall silver birch trees
• Two olive trees
• 10 old crates of plants
• Yards and yards of bunting
• Sofas and comfy chairs
• Astro turf
• Pallets and ply to make a dance floor
• Hay bales covered in turf
• Eight up-lighters in pink (well, I had to soften it didn't I?)
• Pretty pea and string lights (the kind that look like a light bulb string)
• The poshest loos that played gentle music! (brand new and never been wee wee'd in I might add)
• Last but not least, music that made everyone strut their funky stuff, which incidentally I suggested very loudly at 3.15am that we really needed to turn off. NOW!!!!!
As we watched the sun come up, I registered the time…4.38am, precisely! I felt we had partied with our hearts and souls. All the enjoyment we had and witnessing our friends having the same made all the work sooooooo worth it.
I heard lots of times that we must be mad and surely just going out for dinner would be easier? As our first guests looked around and said the same thing I had an overwhelming surge of emotion and the importance of celebrating Dan’s 40th suddenly shot into crisper focus.
My Daddy, as many of you will know, died when he was only just 40. I do not recall any celebrations nor parties, so maybe that makes me all the more “up” for celebrating my wonderful husband who I feel terrifically lucky to have. He who works like a Trojan, both physically and emotionally, day in day out for me and our children, something I know my Daddy did and would've continued to do had he been able to. So 40 WAS a BIG deal, whether I knew it as we planned it or whether that moment of clarification confirmed it!
Food glorious food
Now please forgive my self appreciation/applause/pats on my back but, back to the food!! An almighty task which I did many times PANIC about, but it happened and the feeling of success was heady! I must at this stage remind you that Dan says I am "can't cook, shouldn't cook!" but I think it shows the mad mood we were in, when before I knew it, I was in charge of Thai green curry and rice for over 120 people.
Possibly the knowledge of my best big bro's assistance gave Dan the peace of mind he craved (Mark has been in catering all his career ) so after copious trial recipes (by Dan) big lists of ingredients (compiled by Dan) you'd have thought it'd be Mark and DAN commencing the chopping but no, 'twas me…aaarrgh.
I approached it all with a calm head, though mild hysteria regarding hygiene. I was petrified I would poison everyone, which was why the huge undertaking of cooking rice happened "live" at the do, as we all know rice is potentially a disaster especially in the heat we experienced!
Friday afternoon we started and 72 chicken breasts were chopped and cooked and safely refrigerated. I cleverly gave Mark the chillies job (I thought) but soon realised the onion and garlic job got me back big time! Poooooeey!!
It was lovely to spend this time with my brother who has MS, I hoped that his expertise could be used to full effect and he would feel vital to the proceedings…which I think you've gleaned already that he was indeed vital. He is after all the big brother who taught me patiently to drive, who picked up the pieces when I hadn't done my piano practise and who taught me calming breathing exercises when I was scared as a little girl and was spooked in the night.
I do have another lovely brother (in case your reading this Neil and sulking!) but his skills were a tad far away as he had just returned to Australia after a wonderful first visit home, it was lovely to see him and his family all together again albeit fleetingly around his tough work schedule. He at least left us with some Aussie-style weather.
My utterly brilliant sister-in-law, who is beyond good at all she does, made Dan’s cake. Between us we hit on a garden of cakes, with decorations to look like grass, mud and twigs; so very earthy and so very Dan! I said fab, she went away and hey presto, Dan’s incredible cake garden was testament to her super skills, they tasted heavenly too!
Yes, it took some time to recover, though as Dan had to clear down by the Monday and I had three early Morning Shows that week it wasn't surprising…note how I blamed those factors and NOT the age!!!!
I'll leave you with some parting party shots, as I crank up the volume to Blurred Lines, dance anyone?
I’ll be back to let you in on my thoughts of some super new beauty things I'm trying…EGO’s amazing roller systems, shoes that stop my foot flooding over the side (if you know what I mean) and haircare from Wen the biggest brand in America, oh and as always, antics from this end!
Loads of love,