Friday, January 12, 2018

under the fairy lights

Last Saturday night we had a party to celebrate our boy.

Being a January baby he didn't have many parties growing up because he was at summer camp, his friends were mostly away for the summer holidays, and more recently being a farmer boy with an insane summer to-do list meant that we just never had the time.

Over the years we've suggested birthday trips into the city, nights in fancy hotels and elaborate dinner parties, but we've ended up with family picnics in the paddocks, swims in the dams and other low key celebrations instead. It's mostly HOT, we're usually on fire alert, and there are still animals to check on and feed, pumps to turn on and off, filters to clean and irrigation to worry about.

But late last year he made the decision to have a birthday party this year and nothing was going to get in his way.

I'm not sure if it was his pride in the house renovations and wanting to share them with his friends. If it was a result of all the discussions we've been having lately about what a great stage we're at in our lives and how blessed we've been feeling. If it was the fact that all the main players in our lives are happy and well right now. If after all the parties we've been throwing the girls forever, it was just his turn. Or if there really wasn't a great reason, he just wanted to celebrate and be celebrated.

And he sure was!

In the lead up we did all those jobs that we've been putting off for months. We scrubbed, we put away, we screwed cupboard doors back on, we tidied, we mowed, we got rid of cobwebs, we vacuumed and we swept. And then we strung up meters and meters of fairy lights, we arranged little nests of seating, we scattered pot plants and he put the finishing touches on the long tables and benches.

In the end January sixth was one of those HOT and windy days that Australian summers are made of, but as luck had it, at about six when the guests started to arrive, a cool change gently swept through and brought with it sweet relief and a festive feeling in the air.

We had the Trolley'd team serving up the most delicious cocktails from native Australian and local ingredients.

And we asked everyone to bring a plate of food which together made an incredible feast.

I guess it took me a while to come around to having a party in our home. Although I do absolutely love the thought of celebrating our boy and our life, the thought of people discovering what a terrible house keeper I am, the thought of people going though my things, the thought of being responsible for people's food and drink needs and their happiness, and the thought that the party is here in my house so I can't run away if I need to, always held me back.

But a little while into the party when I was sure that things were running smoothly, I left to have a shower and put on my party dress. As I walked through the house I saw with fresh eyes all the work we'd put in over the last week and I felt proud and relieved. And then when I came out and was greeted by so many smiling faces I forgot all about my nerves for the rest of the night.

And as night fell and the fairy lights twinkled we were treated to some fabulous performances. For some it was all about the music and for others it was the banter in-between. The birthday boy made a 25 minute speech (!!!!), there was lots of dancing including Israeli and Greek, and at one stage I felt my face hurting from smiling so much which reminded me of our wedding.

Bren's sister Danielle sent me this photo. There's a video somewhere of us dancing on the table too but I can't work out how to save it and share it here. Probably just as well.

I can tell you that the last guests left at 4.30am and we didn't get into bed until 5am. Thankfully I had a bit of a burst of cleaning energy before I went to bed so the sight I was greeted with in the morning wasn't too terrible. I can also tell you that it did take me most of the week to fully recover and that I aint no spring chicken anymore.

But I'd rather be no spring chicken celebrating life with my 47 year old farmer boy in our untidy house on the hill of our farm than at any other time in our life. 

All night long people asked him if it was a special birthday. I think he's onto something with his decision not to wait for the big ones to celebrate. Not to wait for the milestones and the monumental occasions. I love the idea of making parties for the middle bits. Recognising that they make up most of our lives and are just as important. Maybe more so.

Now that I've seen how well our place scrubs up and will even more so once we've grown grass over that bald patch where the table sat, I'm thinking of more reasons to celebrate and parties to throw; apple harvest, tomato bottling, autumn's garden bounty, back to school, friends, family, love, the seasons...

And as for our birthday boy, I feel like the luckiest duck in the world to be living and sharing my life with him. What an incredible human. How worthy of celebrating. Happy birthday my love. xxxxxxx

I hope your 2018 has gotten off to a great start my friends.
I hope it's filled with wonderful surprises and so many reasons to celebrate.

Do you love to throw a good party, or are you a bit afraid like I was?
What's your go-to dish when you're asked to bring a plate?
Have you got something fun planned for this weekend?

Happy January 12th!
Happy Abby's birthday!
happy second blog post of the new year!


ps. extra photo credits to Emily, Ollie and Danielle, thank you!!! xxx


  1. It’s funny to read your fears & worries Kate because all I ever see when I look at photos of your life is luscious lovely living. And I know what you share is only a snippet but something I’ve learnt over the years is that rarely are people going to notice my dirty windows & floors or my untidy rooms. And if they do well maybe I do t want to be their friend because visiting my house, & im sure visiti g yours is the same, is about the conversations & food shared. X

  2. Happy birthday to Bren and oh my, I cannot take my eyes of that stunning long table AND those stunning long bench seats ... amazing work!!

  3. ....voglio vivere così anche io....ogni giorno così!!!!

  4. Wow just wow. Those pictures, it just looks so beautiful and fun and full of love and lovely memories being made. Well done for being brave and doing it. I never have parties, or even invite people over because I'm embarrassed and ashamed of our house and my house keeping skills.
    I don't have a go to dish when I'm asked to bring a plate. What did you find to be the best/most enjoyed thing that was brought? Do you have a go to dish that you always take?
    Cheers Kate.

  5. I rarely comment though I always read. But after this post, finding myself smiling and feeling my eyes about to tear up - I just have to write thank you! Thank you for sharing your life and moments with all of us readers! Through the thick and the thin I enjoy reading your words and seeing your photos - I'm looking forward to every Friday and feel a bit extra blessed that I often get to read it as soon as I wake up (living in Sweden, with the time difference and all).
    My go to plate to bring to parties, like your fabulous and love-filled one, is potato salad, living in a potato-loving country like I do.

    Have the best of weekends and keep being you!

  6. Tears of happiness, while reading this!

  7. Celebrate the middle bits....excellent sentiment!...Birthday Blessings Bren xx

  8. Happy birthday to Farmer Bren! Thanks for sharing your happiness with us. (It's especially welcome here in dreary, ice-bound Ohio.) It looks like a grand time with such interesting, lovely people. I vote for more parties—tidy house or not! Personally, I prefer a little dirt—it makes me feel more at home. :)

  9. Arh happy birthday. My go to plate is always sweet. Either chocolate brownies or millionaires shortbread. I usually make both of them gluten free as then everyone can eat them. Cx

  10. I have a big smile on my face...such great photos and words that the energy is seeping out of my screen. Wonderful. x

  11. I attended a similar party in November. Everything felt just right. Happy Birthday Bren. Life sounds good. Jo xx

  12. I attended a very similar party in November and it felt just right, just like you describe. Life feels good. happy Birthday Bren! Jo xx

  13. Happy birthday, Bren. It looks like a great party, mate.

    Kate, I feel enriched and satisfied after reading your post. Thank you. I've been a table dancer in my past. I have clear memories, even now, of dancing on my coffee table to the sounds of REM's Monster CD with my next door neighbour who called in to check out the loud music. That was in the 80s. I have a few other less clear memories of other times and tables.

    I'm surprised at your insecurity, you always seem so together. You and Bren are like rocks from where I sit. I never worry about what others think. I reckon that those who know me won't think badly of me and those who don't know me don't know enough to judge. I haven't had the opportunity or energy to table dance for yonks but I've enjoyed seeing your divine photo. Thanks for the memories. xx

  14. And my go-to bring a plate dish is mushroom pasta. :- )

  15. ¡Felicidades!Tienes una maravillosa familia ;)

  16. So lovely. One of my go to dishes is blondies, they're an older recipe kind of like brownies but butterscotch instead of chocolate.


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