The Swish Soiree

Turning 40 can freak some people out.
I was one of those people.
But nobody likes a whinger, and the best way to avoid turning in to an unbecoming spectacle of self-obsessed panic attacks, is to focus on something bigger than oneself. Something like a party, or to be more precise, a

an evening party or social gathering, especially one held for a particular purpose: a musical soiree.
 Also, soi·rée.

1810–20; < French, equivalent to Old French soir evening (< Latin sērō late (adv.), orig. ablative of sērus ) + -ée < Latin -āta, feminine of -ātus
-ate1 ; cf. journey

Invitations were sent out. Thank you ZoZo the Magic Queen for your wonderful cards, which perfectly captured the feel of the sparkling night with girlfriends taking shape in my imagination.

Next came the decorating - what fun. Why haven't I been holding soirees for years? I raided party shops and $2 shops for paper lanterns and puffball flowery thingos. Hanging chains of these from the ceiling really added to the cheerful, colourful, celebratory feel.

Candles, everywhere. Scented large, tea-light small and everything in between. I wrapped some plain glass vases in a mix of fabric swatches and ribbons. Then added an inexpensive pillar candle to the middle - and the effect was rather thrilling.
Fairy lights and floral lights added warm gleaming emphasis to darker areas needing highlighting - and by sticking to the rule for good mood lighting (no down lights, only up lights) I added lamps to side tables and in high places. It worked a treat. On my vintage cupboard I stuck pictures from my 2010 ZoZo the Magic Queen calendar - to tie in with the invitation cards. The glittery art works were a perfect addition to the laughter and magic of the night.
Some wonderfully gifted friends offered to bring delectable food, so that my menu was full of specialities, mixed with my own contributions - I felt almost guilty at how relaxed my preparations were!
I was even able to ask my cousin, who rang the night before, "How do you cook a Camembert? Can you do that for me?" and she did - amazingly so.
Go to
for the recipe

Other yum stuff included homemade mini quiches and sausage rolls, tomato and goat's cheese squares, sushi and Turkish bread with guacamole.

It was such a treat to be able to use the china, glass, silver and serving ware from my (not quite 40 years in-the-making) collection. I loved seeing my plates, glasses, cups and saucers, forks and spoons parading their finery for my friends. From the dinner set my Grandpa and parents bought me for my 21st (Wedgwood Countryware - still my all time favourite) to the glittery goblets I snaffled from Target in the after-Christmas sales this year. The table gleamed!
And so did my friends. Earlier in the week I was regretting my sparkly dress code (Jonathan did point out that the person setting the dress code usually knows how they themselves will fulfil it. Yes okay, point taken) but through slight trial and error I found the right amount of gleam to get me through. And yes, the error part of that equation did involve buying a number of things that I didn't actually use or wear... um, next soiree is?

 My outfit:
  • skirt - Silver rivers of sequins on grey netting, op shopped French Connection (really lovely and last worn by me at a wedding five years ago)
  • tank top - black wool (bought too long ago to remember details)
  • silver cardigan  - on special @ DJs (fine line between Harry Potter and sophisticated sparkle, but i think I got away with it)
  • green crystal/bead necklace from an outlet store
The highlight of the sumptious supper was obviously the dessert - it's the sweet treats that get the heart racing!
My gorgeous friend Nic is multi-talented and can whip up macaroons in the time I might take to butter  toast. She brought along luminous pistachio, rich raspberry and sultry chocolate/passionfruit creations - the flavours were sublime. Piled high on platters and trays they were works of art. Light-as-a-feather strawberry  mousses (meece?) in shot glasses with a fresh raspberry on top and lemon curd in chocolate cups were other bite-sized delights. We dusted pretty much everything in edible silver and gold glitter. Ooh la la.
I also made choc/coffee mini cheesecakes, choc/rum mousse and mini pumpkin pies. My sister-in-law  Anna absolutely blew me away with a selection of decorated shortbread biscuits (we're talking hand painted fans, glitter bombed bonbons and 3-tiered birthday cakes) and tiny butter cream iced fairy cakes. So sweet, almost too lovely to eat!

Then, in a wild act of impetuosity, I tempted fate by making my own birthday cake - following a Donna Hay recipe, that I had NEVER tried before! I know - talk about living on the edge!!!
This was the result:


It worked! I know, I'm still in shock :-)
Such a wonderful sparkling night of friends old and new. I will look back and remember this milestone feeling so grateful and blessed to have been surrounded by such caring wonderful people, who I am fortunate to count as friends.
It will remind me, next time I'm whining about the lines on my forehead, or a day filled with drudgery....
Life is indeed good, thank you Lord.
I might even be tempted to hold another soiree sometime soon. 
Because life is too short not to sparkle,..


  1. What a lovely post, Sarah! In love with the decor, desserts, cake, your outfit and of course, the ZoZo pictures :) You look like you had a wonderful, blessed birthday. May all your birthdays be as sweet, God Bless.

    1. Thankyou for your lovely comments Rachel. So nice to have made this connection with you over our mutual affection for ZoZo and calendars and all things sparkly!


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