I was wandering around Cotton Tree this morning, as is my weekday morning ritual of checking the PO Box, grabbing a few bits and pieces for dinner at Cotton Tree Meats and Get Fresh, picking up some peonies from the florist shop and staring in the window and lusting at Willow & Bird.
And I caught myself.
My weeks of doing this ritual in my “village” are almost at an end. As are my early morning walks to the beach.
On January 2, the removal van will pull up bright and early and pack up our Sunshine Coast life for the trip down the highway to Brisbane.
I’m not sad. Just reflective.
I arrived here in 1990 – to start my second journalism job out of university at the Sunshine Coast Daily. I was YOUNG. So young I was still asked for ID at clubs and pubs.
I was single, drove a car that wasn’t air-conditioned and would go out on a Friday night and still make it to aerobics the next morning at Tri-Fitness, Alexandra Headland in my fluoro leotard for a grapevine or three.
My flatmate and I would put in $25 each for groceries each week – $30 if we needed to re-stock washing liquid.
Sunshine Plaza shopping centre was known as The Sands, competing for customers with The Big Top Shopping Centre opposite.
Entertainment-wise, the Hoodoo Gurus or Hunters and Collectors played live seemingly every other week at the Stewart’s Hotel and, on a Friday night, the Mooloolaba pub was THE place to be … until about 9pm when you did the
stumble stroll down to Friday’s and danced up a storm to Black Box or MC Hammer.
The Big Pineapple was still operating, serving up its legendary parfaits, and you could still pitch a tent at the end of Hastings Street in Noosa.
Oh, STOP ME NOW. I’m sounding like the old woman I clearly am.
Between us Mr SY and I, we have lived a combined 36 years on the Sunshine Coast.
We have so many memories and milestones tied up here. Yes, we will miss the beach and the lifestyle but it’s time.
Mr SY has commuted to Brisbane for work for five and a half years. Master SY was only two and a half when he started.
That’s a lot of highway and train time for him; and a lot of early morning and evening kid wrangling for me.
My work is now all online – except for trips to Sydney – so living in Brisbane will help facilitate that more easily.
What I do know for sure is that we will miss our friends – friends who all have added to our history and association with the Sunshine Coast – from my first flatmate, to mums from my first mother’s group, to my soul sisters who have supported me like no other since I went out in business for myself.
So, before the season of silliness began, we organised and planned to celebrate those friendships with a farewell dinner party for 23 at home.
We called in our friends and fabulous food providers Elliotts Fine Foods to take care of that department with a banquet menu.
As a gift to us, our guests all chipped in to have a cocktail bar and waiter for the night. Winning.
Now, while all this preparation was happening, by chance I was put in contact with the extremely talented Amey at Pack a Perfect Party*, a new party styling and staging company.
Amey offered to style our farewell party to showcase how she is able to work her magic to create a party scene that reflects those hosting the party – as well as the spirit of the event.
I’ll let you be the judge as to whether she nailed it …
Stationery by Senna Jean Designs
I think she did!
I love how she went to town with colour, incorporated some of our existing decor pieces and created a magical scene for where we dined.
We were meant to dine under the stars on the back lawn but a record-breaking hail storm earlier that afternoon put paid to that.
Amey re-grouped and re-planned – the rain stopped – the sun came out and I chose to match my outfit to the decor and the cocktails.
Camilla kaftan (on loan from Zambezee Boutique) | Misano sandals | Ruby Olive bangle* | Red Phoenix Emporium earrings | Uberfine necklace* and Ill Tutto/Uberkate collaboration necklace*| Samantha Wills ring
A. Good. Time. Was. Had. By. All.
Styling: *Pack a Perfect Party styled and set up our party at no charge. I accepted the offer because I’m a big supporter of people who have an entrepreneurial urge to start their own business.
Photos: we engaged Alicia Aberley to capture the evening for us. I’m usually the one behind the camera but this way we were able to enjoy our guests AND we have photos of everyone to mark the occasion.
Food: We shouted our friends because we wanted to say thank-you to them. Having caterers can be cheaper than eating out at a restaurant and it’s something you could organise and even ask guests to contribute what they normally would at a restaurant – it’s cost effective because you get to BYO the drinks. Elliotts Fine Foods is also opening a bistro at Alexandra Headland next week. You can find out more on their Facebook page.
* These pieces were gifted to me for editorial consideration
So tell me, do you like to celebrate memories and milestones? Moved towns or cities lately? Tips on how to quickly settle in?