The farewell party

Nikki ParkinsonLife 35 Comments

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.

The farewell party

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 …

Pack a Perfect Party party styling | Stationery by Senna Jean Designs Stationery by Senna Jean Designs

Party styling: Pack a Perfect Party

Party styling: Pack a Perfect Party

Pack a Perfect Party party styling | Stationery by Senna Jean Designs

Party styling: Pack a Perfect Party

Party styling: Pack a Perfect Party

Party styling: Pack a Perfect Party

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 from Zambezee Boutique Misano sandals Ruby Olive bangle Red Phoenix Emporium earrings Uberkate necklaces Samantha Wills ring

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?  

Comments 35

  1. Hi Nikki, love the whole party concept – it’s so bright and beautiful. Where oh where did you get the cute flamingo? I have to have one!

  2. It looks like it was a wonderful night…an amazing setting and you of course looked great!
    Please do get in touch when you move to Brisbane. I would love to help welcome you to the neighbourhood!

  3. Oh wow-I loved this post! Hunters & Collectors!!!!

    And what a spread. You are my poster girl for wanting to move & live on the Sunshine Coast. Good luck- a move can be so daunting. I used to physically ache & yearn for Sydney when I arrived in Tassie 2 years ago for a project, now packing to return to Sydney in Jan every day my heart is breaking wondering how I will leave Hobart that seems now like home. Its amazing how quick we adapt, find pockets of fabulous in a new city and lay down roots. Enjoy the new adventure x

    1. I know – I really look forward to finding new fun places to go and things to do – and catching up with old friends who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like as our kids’ lives tends to dominate weekends.

  4. Looks like a lovely party- what a great idea, having it catered at home. I can’t imagine leaving the coast, but I completely understand how you would want to spare hubby that awful daily commute – and you will have a whole city of boutiques, hair salons, day spas, shoe shops etc etc to explore and tell us about. Here’s hoping for a smooth, stress free move (is that even possible?)

  5. Loved reading your story. I live on the GC and remember so many of those things from trips to the SC (it’s so much nicer up there!). We’re going to be moving too (Tassie :-D) and your party idea sounds fantastic – for our “arrival” down there (we have friends there). Gorgeous dress and decorations too!

  6. What a gorgeous party! I love creating that sense of occasion for a special dinner or party. So much fun. And you looked absolutely stunning Nikki – special party camouflage!
    I’m getting ready to ‘style’ Francesca’s 3rd birthday party. We’re having a Hawaiian luau. I’ve been so slack with her birthdays (don’t really see the need before age 3) so I’m looking forward to sharing the planning and decorating with her now that she knows what’s going on!
    Good luck with the move honey. An exciting, nerve-wracking time I’m sure, but don’t you love that shivery feeling of a new chapter starting? xx

  7. Nikki, you will have to do a guide to the sunshine coast for those of us who will probably spend more time there than in Brisbane on holidays!! Shops, food, where to stay – the list goes on!! Enjoy the move to The Big Smoke!! Looks like you had a splendid party!

  8. This. Is. The. Best. Idea. Ever!
    I love that your friends paid for a cocktail bar and waiter. I love that you had a caterer and photographer and event stylist. I love that your outfit matched the party’s decor. I love everything about this!
    What a beautiful, special way to celebrate your time in the Sunshine Coast with the friends who helped make it your home for all those years.
    Here’s to your new chapter in Brisbane.
    With love from your future house guest! xx

  9. What a great looking party and what a lovely idea to celebrate the time with your dear friends!! I loved reading the story and history of your time on the Coast – such a special time. I am pretty sure that when you are in Brisbane, you will find some new little rituals that will make more fond memories. Just a question – does the new place have a lady room?

  10. OMG!!! What memories!!! I’m 36 and from the coast and that post is like a trip down memory lane!!! My mum lives in cotton tree and I’ve lived away now in Victoria for the past 5.5 years. I regularly make it back up here and I appreciate the coast so much more when I do. It’s a sad reality that many of us HAVE to move away at some point. I too am a journalist and its a hard slog in that field on the coast. Thanks for the memories (my first job was at coles at the sands!!!!) and good luck in Bris-Vegas 🙂

    1. Love it Nessy … the Coast has changed so much, yet it’s still the same in many ways too. And yes, job wise, it’s limited in most professional fields – especially since the GFC hit 5 years ago. Mr SY was in media too but has moved across to communications – many more opportunities in Brisbane.

  11. Lovely Post Nikki you must be a wee bit sad? I love the sound of your little village you live in ,sounds perfect! You are right though about it being time ,though I am sure you will miss all your favourite shops and the friends you have made there.
    When you move to Brisbane you will have to make new friends and find new shops.I really don’t have any tips for you except if you do yoga there you might find like minded people and maybe some new school Mums.
    I wish you so much luck and happiness in your new house ,I totally agree with you about your party planner she did a great job and having it catered for takes so much stress off you and I love that Camilla dress on you.You must buy it for yourself as a leaving pressie.

  12. I loved reading that. 9 months ago we were magnificently farewelled from the neighbourhood that has seen us transition from young singles to fully blown family chaos. I can tell you that there is no network more supportive and fun that the gang from your own stomping ground; but the good news is that no matter the distance there some friends who you can chat to and its still as if they are just around the corner. Moving has a remarkable way of magnifying the priorities in life.
    It looks like a mighty fine shin dig and a great fun had by all. I need details of that tablecloth – Its a dead ringer of a Gorman top I bought 2 seasons ago – it was a bit out there back then and I never really wore it much…..god knows where it is?? That’s another thing about moving, there will be some things that just disappear into a vortex. I shall dig deeper into the summer wardrobe… x keep smiling

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