Joyeux Anniversaire! That was the message from my French dinner party and the memories made soon after my 60th birthday. I am so lucky to have shared in 2 special occasions – the first with my family and grand children picnicking in a beautiful park in Montville; the second a French dinner party with friends.
Sitting here in the living room surrounded by gifts and gorgeous cards, I don’t think I’ll forget how special it is to commemorate another year of living.
Firstly the park experience. Fun, Sack races, Flying things in the sky. Crashes! Bike rides, a Margaret Quiz, The cake and sparkler, climbing, running, chasing and more.
The picnic table was decorated, food organised, drinks chilled and open spaces for the children to enjoy with nearby swings. I was presented with a crown, the royal goblet, arm tattoo, and fun things in a gift box by my daughter. A hoot! and a grandma hand printed canvas, a massage voucher and the most beautiful family portrait that would bring joy and tears to my eyes. Little did I know that this gift had been planned to a fine art with many “photo shoots” taken until the best one appeared.
My son-in-law composed and read aloud a poem – very insightful! The cake was cut and singing followed. The sun was shining, what more could I ask for? How magical to spend time outdoors with the ones you love.
Fast forward a week to the next celebration when I planned for my own dinner party at home.
The travelling experience abroad set the scene for a French theme so the house was decorated with a banner of black and white French Paris postcards, Eiffel Tower, glasses of lavender on the tables ( and the lemons picked off my trees) signs and menu boards.
Friends gathered wearing something French. Ooh La La! The berets, moustaches, stripes and even a string of onions. Here’s Monsieur Phillip.
Voila! This was our delicious entree – salads nicoise and onion tart. The waiter, Nicholas, a student from my school served our hungry guests and entertained them throughout.
Guests mingled, sipped champagne and enjoyed the sunset views over the mountains.
My happy band of helpers worked hard to serve the meals – ratatouille, boeuf bourguignon, and coq au vin, ( Marg, Phillip, Bill and I had fun making these) and the poppy cake made by Libby was admired by all.
This white mud cake was inspired by the fields and roadside poppies in Provence.
My birthday party had a few extra surprises too. A Margaret Quiz ( that my sister Kim organised and a little one from me too – sisters do think alike!!) From French words, to words to describe Marg, to movies released in 1957, there was something for everyone to answer. Some of my friends knew my interests and travel plans, others failed miserably.
Bill organised a trivia quiz on French cuisine. Nicholas sang a beautiful French song. Music blared. Gifts were opened. Photo board was examined. Conversations. A little dancing. And the chocolate and lemon tarts served with ice cream. So delicious.
A wonderful celebration of good friendships and as my younger sister Kim said, a slightly older audience. My peers are now closer to 70!
I really enjoyed the conversations that people shared; the speech my sister delivered from the heart and my brother’s BIG stories.
Here’s a photo of my siblings – Jim, Kim and me. Thank you to everyone who made my 60th event so special. Thank you for the generous presents from near and far.