Monday, June 29, 2009

My very own Garden Party and THREE winning cyber-guests!

My 40th birthday Garden Party was a day to remember!It began in the morning, with everyone busy... Son 2 was detailed off to fill 15 jam jars with water and arrange bought flowers and garden flowers of his choice in each one.He put them on every table we were setting up, and I later found some dotted around the house on window ledges and other charmingly unexpected sites.Son 1, who recently had his own (12th) birthday, kept busy by trotting back and forth from the supermarked as he or we remembered something else we needed! It's only 2 minute's walk away, but he did take to cycling there as the day went on. He was buying his own ingredients for a children's punch, which he kept topped up all afternoon. He also made the cute doggie poster, which reads:

'Please do not leave your drinks on the floor or your food where I can reach it. Thank you! :) Signed: raja the dog
SVP, ne laissez ni vos boissions par terre ni vos assiettes ou je peut arriver a manger ce qu'il y a dessus. Merci! Signe: raja la chiene'
Mercifully, we were not alone in the morning. Sylvie, who lives across town, arrived to help while her son was at his BMX club. I really didn't take many photos at the party (far too busy having fun) but you can see Sylvie here in the lovely white flowered dress, chatting to Penny, in the blue African dress, who arrived to help at lunchtime. Sylvie chopped a huge amount of vegetables for crudites, (merci, Sylvie!) and Penny put to good use her experience of Pimms parties past and present, and also moved furniture with me (thanks, Penny)! Dagmar and Emmanuel also came to help from lunchtime onwards - sorry that I was getting a bit stressed by that point, guys! They were very kind, and made open sandwiches with my favourite ingredients - baguettes purchased fresh by Son 1, smoked trout, air dried ham and cream cheese. They put my herb garden to great use garnishing the sandwiches - I wish I was that inventive. Once finished, they got to work on the watermelon... Danke, Dagmar, et merci, Emmanuel! You can see Dagmar in the photo below, but Emmanuel was an elusive subject for a photographer, it seems...I was arranging furniture, children's games, tables and tablecloths - I had bought a wonderful job-lot of old linens (including two huge sheets still in their packaging) for 8 euros at Frip Relais the previous week...For shade, we knew the roofed terrace wouldn't be enough. Our poor accacias didn't survive the winter storm, and the new one growing from the roots couldn't do much (look at what happens to grass in dry heat, British friends!). I bought two 'sails' from IKEA, for 29 euros each, which can be easily fixed to your house wall, or handy posts...
The men in particular seemed to admire these, and each sail provided fantastic shade, one at the back of the house...
and one at the front!Ben bought me this fantastically versatile parasol for my birthday, so we were ready for the guests to arrive...And arrive they did! We had French friends from the neighbourhood and from church (plus two other British/Irish friends who also go to our church). We had plenty of English friends from the wider area, some of whom we haven't seen for nearly a year, so it was great to catch up... And we had British, Irish, French, African, American and German friends from the international church we joined when we first came to the area.Part way though the afternoon, the sun moves towards the front of the house, and the moment the shade appeared at the back, a line of chairs was moved round...Under the 'sail', Ben brought me my birthday Victoria Sponge (with his homemade lemon curd, of course). He did use 'magic' candles, that won't blow out, though! Everyone watched. And watched. And laughed. Magic candles work in all languages!Finally it was time to to cut the cakes! The second one had homemade cherry jam in it, and yes, Chris did cycle to the party, and indeed, he does do the Tour de France routes - he likes the nearby Pyreneean cols... Spot the girls who colonised our 'sitting room' area under the parasol, too!The boys were mainly out the front in the pool.Here's the other food - Dagmar and Emmanuel's sandwiches; Sylvie's vegetables; scones made by Jane and Helen with Ben's jam, and clotted cream I brought back from Edinburgh; Isabel's blackcurrant clafoutis (that had gone before I had a chance to eat any!), Matthew's lemon cake, my biscuits and shortbread (thanks for the recipe again, Sumea!)Our youngest guest was much admired..And I think she had a good time!Finally, most people had gone, and the select band of Sylvie and Patrick, Francoise my French teacher, Penny and Matthew and Ben and I relaxed out the back while a good number of our sons continued to splash in the pool. Son 1 got his telescope out, because he has a solar filter which allows you to safely study the sun.And then they had all gone.Ben and I had a swim in the deserted pool, and later a romantic meal of leftover food and wine for two, before we even considered moving everything back in...There was a lot of washing up, but the dishwasher makes a huge difference...I liked the way the girls had arranged my cushions...
And on Sunday, vintage linens on the line!What pretty detail, and all thrown in for 8 euros. I actually offered 10, but he wouldn't take it. But that's a story for another day...I had such a lovely time at my own garden party, but let's not forget the amazing parties that went on for me in blogland the previous weekend! I was impressed, I was touched, I was jealous at times... but I promised a small French vintage prize to the post that most entertained me, so I had to choose the most entertaining party post... It was impossible to narrow it down to one, so below are my three most entertaining parties from last weekend - do go and visit them for one last blast of party fun!Caroline from Lace Hearts - the dresses, the decor, the dancers, the wellies... what more can I say?Sarah from Red Gingham - fancy coming all the way from New Zealand, just for me (and a weekend in London, followed by a week on the sunny Med...)! And possibly the craziest of all, despite not having any snow, horses and carriages, boxy dancers or hot air balloons (you just had to BE there) is dear Lululiz from Lalaland, who brought both Kajagoogoo (for reasons too complicated to explain) and Take That (probably no need for explanation).
So thanks so much to all who came to the real or the virtual party. Caroline, Sarah and Liz, if you'd like to email your addresses I might just (tragically) have to pop out to the local Vide Greniers on Sunday afternoon and find you a vintage goodie each.
Tomorrow, a browse through some wonderful cards and presents...

17 comments:

Melanie said...

Oh Floss, it looks like you had a wonderful time, I really enjoyed looking at your photo's. xxxx

Jackie said...

Floss ~ What a fantastic time you all had. Surrounded by lovely family and friends, good food and beautiful weather! I really enjoyed seeing all the photos ~ Thank you for sharing your special day with us :O)

juanitatortilla said...

I'm so glad you had a great time!
8 Euros for those fabulous linen? Get out... That was a superb deal! It must have been sweet to find unexpected 'vases' of flower placements by Son2. I think that makes our hearts all warm and fuzzy just reading about it. (Awh.)

I can't stop smiling at Lululiz's "Garden Party"; Take That pops into mind, and that cracks me up!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Sounds and looks like you had a great time at your garden party, and I know your guests had a fun time. The food looks yummy!. Congratulations to the winners.
Glenda

Elizabethd said...

Such fun! Parties out of doors are wonderful and yours looked very special. Glad you had such a good day.

Josie-Mary said...

Looks like a perfect day :)

Mandy said...

What a lovely lovely post Looks like you had a great party. I love those shade they are just fantastic.
Love your photographs xxxx

Sarah said...

Looked just perfect Floss! I'm so glad it all went well and you enjoyed your party. The cakes sounded devine!!

Thank you so much for picking me as one of the winners. How exciting! I will email you later. I think Liz deserved first place, that helicopter was brilliant. Still don't know how she managed to find it! Such a laugh.

Sonia ~ Vintage Rose Designs said...

Happy Birthday Floss...
Thank you so much for sharing your Party with us. It felt like I was there, with all the details and pictures. Everything looked lovely. Glad you had a wonderful day...
Hugs
Sonia

LissyLou said...

What a lovely day you had xx

Melanie said...

Hi Floss, thank you so much for your kind comment. xxxxx

Lululiz said...

I am a bit late with my comment, but I was away til yesterday, so please do forgive me. Thank you so much for picking me as one of the winners, you have no idea how much fun I had putting that post together, my constant chuckles could probably be heard by everyone in the house ( and the neighbours )!

I am so glad you had such a wonderful time. It all worked out really well, didn't it. There are so many happy and relaxed faces in the photos, everybody really enjoyed themselves it seems. I hope you have recovered from all the excitement by now.

Jeannette said...

I´m so so late with my Birthday Wishes....I haven´t been online for almost 2 weeks and look what I missed!
You had a wonderful party. So much fun, delicious foods and wonderful friends. Who could wish for more.
Happy 40th dear Floss!

Heloise said...

Looks as if you all had a great time.

gingerwine said...

Floss

Can you email me your add again - I havent forgotten to send you a little something homes and gardeny xx

Thankyou
Sam xx rmbr30553atblueyonder.co.uk xx

Marie Reed said...

Floss!! What a delightful day! It looks like you had a blast!!!! I'm sorry that I couldn't make it to the cyber version! I thought that I would have more time on vacation which ended up not being the case! Francois was a royal computer hog when there was a second to relax at night! Sooo... I'm pointing my finger at him! It's allll his fault! *grin*

Lace hearts said...

Floss, you are a sweetheart - I didn't expect anything. I had such a good time at the party! I'll email you... I've not been able to blog much of late... will tell you about it when I email. But hopefully will be back soon.