This weekend I celebrated my last night in my twenties as I welcomed in a new decade of my life, the dirty thirties and from what I've heard, my thirties are going to be great! I decided that I wanted an alfresco style party for my birthday, which seemed ideal since we still have lovely weather in Dubai - and being a January baby I was excited by the fact that I could actually have a barbeque to celebrate!
So with that being said I hosted a crazy birthday bash at my villa filled with lots of friends, champers, laughter and singing. What more could you want? After spending weeks on Pinterest trying to find the perfect solution to cater for forty people, I found some cool cost-cutting ideas like putting a peg on each of the glasses so people knew whose was whose. I had a sign saying 'Take Peg, Write Name, Keep Glass' which meant I only had to supply forty glasses, saved on the washing up and it perfectly doubled up as a name-tag so everyone could mingle and remember who everyone was!
My friends were absolutely angels and spent the whole week leading up to the 'do' baking and cooking up a storm so everyone could indulge in sweet treats and rich cheeses. I was absolutely overwhelmed by my six story Victoria Sponge birthday cake that was homemade by my lovely friend, layered with whole strawberries, raspberry coulis and fresh cream.
The best thing I could have done was book this Shawama Stand from Eat & Drink. The guy arrived at 4pm and worked until 8pm serving Shawarma plates and wraps for everyone. Not having to worry about managing a BBQ was a huge relief as the chef cooked, served and cleared up everything taking away all the stress. Catering for the masses is quite a task and by booking the caterer meant I could actually enjoy myself without being tied to the kitchen. I paid AED1,000 to book the Shawarma Stand and that served 150 plates so people could come back for seconds or even thirds; the meat was delicious with just enough naughty fat and crispy skin to keep the chicken succulent. It went down really well with my friends and would definitely recommend this company to anyone.
As the night drew in I managed to twist my friends arms who are in a band to play throughout the evening, definitely one of the highlights, some 90s throwbacks were absolutely necessary and live music always creates the best atmosphere. After a few drinks the band was kicked off stage and we pumped out some Karaoke tunes – that was until the community security came along and asked us to turn it down a notch, which had nothing to do with our singing (I hope!)
What I wore: I wore a long halter neck maxi in beige, which looked quite Grecian on the night when paired with my gold bangles and braided hair. The dress was from the Dubai Marina Mall, a store called Boutique and purchased in their DSF sale. Given that my party was outdoors I wanted to have a Boho look for the night, plaits, flowers and bare feet was the look I had in my mind and I loved how this dress was floaty and feminine. This is when I need to be honest and tell you that I did not shop for/buy this dress myself… I had never even heard of the store before, let alone shopped in it. I was given the dress the evening before my party as part of my birthday present as I had nothing to wear and was getting a little bit stressed about it (just a little). It’s always a trying moment when someone gives you a dress, I was praying that I would like it and once I saw that I loved the piece I was then praying that it fit! Thankful all worked out well and I was really happy with my gift.
So how does it feel turning thirty? Absolutely no different at all, except the celebrations was one of the best days (well weekends) of my life. I’ve never felt so much love from my friends and family and I felt so humble and grateful that I have these people in my life. The world has become so small and I am thankful I’ve been able to see a little slice of the different journeys people have been on, learning the ways of other cultures I was previously ignorant too. I’m not worried about leaving my twenties, I feel like I have achieved and experienced what I set out to do and I am excited to join the thirties club (catching up with the rest of my friends) and look forwards to embracing the new adventures and challenges coming my way.
Special thanks to my dearest friend Kate for her amazing baking skills, time and effort spent on laying on a spectacular brunch-style desert buffet, it was truly magnificent and absolutely delicious. Rania, you did it again with another scrummy cheesecake, this was one of my favourites to date and there was not a crumb left by the end of the night. A huge thanks to my girl friends for all of your cooking efforts and for the most beautiful gifts, I am completely overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness and generosity - they are very sentimental and I shall treasure them forever. Danny and Eliot, a big thank you for the amazing gig and entertainment, I think it is fair to say that it was loved by all and really made the night special, thank you. Last but by no means least, thank you to Adam for your all round support managing 'logistics', set-up, performing, hosting, take-down and surprising me with the perfect dress – no girl could wish for anything more.