Friday, June 17, 2011


I guess you could say I started preparing for my 40th back in November when I decided it was time to lose weight and change my frumpy image. My motivation back then was threefold: our trip to Canada for Christmas, the girls' 5th birthday in March which coincided with my need to become something other than a stay-at-home mum, and my 40th. I'll admit to vanity when I also say, I realised I had no grey hair and wanted the rest of me to match when it came time to party.

I remember while in Canada discussing my 40th options with friends Rachel and Anne. Anne was planning a trip for hers, either to Los Vegas or Seattle and Rachel's was still a year away. I floated with the idea of a girlie shopping trip, but knowing that my birthday would fall in the middle of winter in NZ, which is also Paul's cross-country season, I settled on a party. And from that moment, I thoroughly enjoyed months of planning and dreaming and working hard. 15 kgs later and it all paid off!

Knowing that all I wanted for my birthday was a significant piece of jewellery from Paul, I decided very early on to have a "sparkle" party and later called it a "Bling" party. I also thought it would be the perfect occassion for hanging up the Christmas lights and for serving sparkling wine. The challenge came in what to wear: I bought the shoes off TradeMe and bought the bling; then I tried on every single dress in New Plymouth, to no avail. Nothing suited my figure and I did not want to look like a sack of potatoes for once in my life. Finally, at the 11th hour, I took my friend Tigger for a shop and as soon as I tried on my top, she said, "that's it. That's the one." Then it was a simple matter of finding the right skirt and we were sorted. Phew.

June 11th finally came and the house was decorated in white frost cloth with silver balloons. I thoroughly enjoyed dressing to kill for the party. Especially in those shoes. Once I was ready with a fridge and pantry full of food and wine, Paul presented me with a little box. Inside was indeed bling! The most beautiful oval ceylon sapphire surrounded by two rows of little diamonds. I must admit, I had been ring shopping and narrowed down the choices to a few but Paul picked out the ring he liked best. And because I know he liked it best, I think it is the most beautiful ring in the world and I absolutely love it. Mind you, there's not much not to love about it.

The party started at 7:30 and we were ready ages early so enjoyed a little dance in the lounge with the girls. Finally our 30 plus guests started to arrive to the sound of George and Robbie on the stereo, and pretty soon my brain went out the window. It was rather overwhelming to have so many beautiful blingy people all there with the purpose of helping me to celebrate. I'm not normally one for being the centre of attention but I must admit I enjoyed it. I had a quiz for everyone, which they failed miserably but I hope they had fun using their creative intuition in answering the questions about me. My dear friend Claire got the highest points which is not surprising since she's one of those very special people who take a real and genuine interest in you. I also had a prize for best bling which went to Leanne and a spot prize which went to Janis. Paul had a wee speech prepared (not a song!) and a slideshow, followed by cake. There was plenty of food and wine, some beautiful presents and people eventually started to leave in dribs and drabs. Tigger and Mark lasted the distance until 2 am having a last glass with us, which was followed by perhaps 5 hours of sleep and feeling pretty horrible on Sunday, my actual birthday. 'Twas worth it.

I've decided that although the party itself was super-fun, it was all the planning, dreaming and preparing that got me through some emotionally difficult times lately. And since it is the beginning of winter, I'm thinking to myself, "what's next?" Obviously nothing so grand or expensive, but I feel the need to mark the calendar with as many social occassions as I can muster. After all, I have some pretty amazing people in my life. The fellowship and fun that we have together is soul-lifting. That can't be a bad thing.

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