It was a Be Yourself party.
I thought about having a bigger 40th birthday celebration and hiring out my local North Burleigh Surf Club and inviting everyone I know.
But then visions of my wedding splashed before my eyes – having an awesome time but realising that it was so rushed and filled with five-minute grab conversations – time to spend with the most cherished people you know just didn’t happen.
I spoke about turning 40 here, I think it’s a time when you’re truly settled into your skin and know exactly who you are and what you want.
I realised what I wanted was a small affair, with my closest friends, and this guy!
My best friend Bec and I are 11 days apart. When we were younger we often shared birthday celebrations. Our 21st was a party to remember – big and crazy like us at 21. We’re still big and crazy, but this time with more maturity!
I was stoked that finally after 19 years we could have a shared birthday celebration again.
The idea for the gathering was to rent a ‘whole house’ so everyone could have a whole weekend away.
It would cost roughly the same as throwing a big party, but this time I could gift my friends a holiday instead – kid free – and the chance to unwind and enjoy a bit of the good life without the rush and the frantic kid hurry.
Coming together like we used to, to talk and play, dream and laugh, and maybe dance a little.
We were fortunate to find this house on the canals at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast on the Stayz.com website, who offered to host us in the house for the weekend. We are regular contributors to their blog (and used them often on our 18 month trip around Australia) and recommend them as a resource to find awesome holiday rentals.
Be Yourself was the idea I came up with because I’ve arrived at the place where I feel okay to be myself.
I knew those coming to celebrate were okay with me being myself and I knew they were okay with being themselves as well.
That opened up an environment where old and new friends felt comfortable together and it was like we’d all been friends forever!
We had a lot of great laughs over the weekend, and sure do have some stories to tell from it, not to mention moments to reminisce when we all come back together again like we planned over dinner on the Sunday night.
I think this will be the way I celebrate a special occasion from now on.
Renting a whole house to accommodate large families or groups of friends – our home had seven bedrooms and slept 14 people comfortably – is actually quite a cost-effective way to travel. Even at $800+ per night, divided by seven couples is a bargain!!
You get the space, the million-dollar luxury feel and the features and amenities to cook your own food and entertain yourself.
Our manison was walking distance to Broadbeach, or a short Uber ride, which makes it great for those who want to head out the doors and explore.
Make use of the beautiful home you’re renting
We decided we weren’t going to leave the property. Why would we?
We had this beautiful home overlooking the canals, there was no need to wander into the chaotic world of the Gold Coast. It was our aim to experience all the rooms in the house and make each room a story to tell.
We did not want to bother with the outside world. If you’re going to rent such a beautiful home that has so many rooms to explore, it’s best to make use of all them!
No room to be wasted. As much as we wanted to laze around the pool all day (and we did), we also wanted to experience all the rooms. So we weaved each room into the weekend.
Afternoon welcome drinks
As everyone was arriving, we had snacks and drinks out on the back deck overlooking the pool. The sliding living room doors were wide open and the breeze was blowing in.
We were blessed with beautiful weather and great company. I loved seeing how well everyone got along.
Outdoor BBQ area
The first night was casual BBQ and salad night.
BBQ snapper, chicken wings, steak and a lot of other food that didn’t make the grill! Over dinner, some beautiful words were shared by my best friends Bec and Woody, my sister, and Craig.
And of course not one to be silent I jumped up to say a few thanks too!
It’s also where we had BBQ bacon and eggs for breakfast and where the boys watched the sport on TV the next day.
The kitchen is where a lot of laughs were had with my friends. I ordered them about to help me prepare the snacks and salads. It was quite the social room as guests wandered in and out to have conversations while fixing themselves a drink or something to eat.
And we all pitched in to help clean (and giggle) together.
Everyone could not get over how stunning the chandelier was in the foyer. The chandelier was the backdrop for many photos over the weekend. It was under the chandelier where we had our group photo taken later on the first evening.
The pool room
Every great accommodation rental has a pool table for entertainment. The boys escaped up here for a while to play pool and watch the Rugby World Cup games while we danced in the living room.
Until Jenny brought everyone upstairs to the pool room to play Celebrity Head. It fell apart after the first round of yes-no questions. So we had cake and chocolate cashew tart, and a few reds, up here instead.
My sister, Jen was determined to have us play drinking games. It didn’t happen, but she brought some cool props along, which everyone had a ball wearing. It made for funny conversations and photos.
The living room
Once 10pm hit, we all came inside to follow the no outside noise rule. We shut all the doors and windows, turned on the music, and danced and sang in the living room.
It was fun reminiscing about our favourite artists …“remember when we saw them in concert back in…”
The living room is also where a few of us girls sat quietly on the couch chatting until 1:30am after everyone had collapsed into bed around mid-night. Chatting on couches until the early morning is a very typical thing for me to do with my girlfriends.
Poolside all day
The majority of my friends who visited are parents. I’m sure I heard each one, at least once, comment on how incredible it was to be able to lie around the pool all day.
“It’s not often I get to do this. How’s the serenity? There’s no little people demanding all our attention.”
We relaxed on the bean bags and recliner chairs soaking up the sun, cooling off in the pool, snacking on cheese and crackers, catching up on each other’s lives and slowly sipping on vodka, lime and soda.
Group selfies on the jetty
With the sun beaming down on us, we couldn’t resist a little sing-a-long on the jetty in the sunshine. Just a wee song enough for a giggle and not too loud to upset the neighbours paddling around on their surfboards in the canals.
Swimming in the canal was one activity we chose not to do considering bull sharks like to make these canals their home.
Great Gatsby Hour on the balcony
After Celebrity Head didn’t work too well, my sister decided to up the class factor of the weekend and called for Gatsby Hour at sunset on the top balcony.
What a great change of perspective being on level with the palm tree fronds and looking over the canal. We all dressed up a little and had a gin and tonic to toast to good friendships. It was a great pick me up after lazing around the pool all day.
Mike’s famous curries in the dining room
Mike spent all of Sunday afternoon enjoying the kitchen and cooking his famous curries – butter chicken and a lamb curry!
After the Great Gatsby Hour, we sat down together at the dining table with a few bottles of wine and ravished Mike’s curries. They were truly delicious.
A few toasts and speeches were given – tonight was to toast and celebrate Becsy’s 40th birthday. And of course, to sing Sweet Caroline!
The Cinema Room
We decided to move the singing to the cinema room after dinner. A couple of the boys went upstairs to the pool room to watch the rugby. The rest of us locked ourselves in the cinema room and had to create a new way to entertain ourselves.
Bec kicked it off by creating her own dance routine to her favourite song, Listen to your Heart, by Roxette. It was so entertaining that we decided, each person had to choose their favourite song to dance to.
It was purely about expressing yourself through dance.
We had choreographed duets, salsa dancing, wild kicks and spins, and soft contemporary dance. And then the finale where our show coordinator Woody had us all come up to do a short solo bow.
It was hilarious!
We could not stop laughing and it was definitely a new way to approach your celebration. We highly recommend locking yourself in a cinema room and coming up with something creative like that yourself. Who needed a movie?
The cinema room was also the place for business discussions, time out, and important phone calls throughout the weekend.
We didn’t watch any movies, but the GIANT screen and comfy cinema chairs would have made for quite the experience.
How we chose the bedrooms
The bedrooms in the house were gorgeous. Some had an ensuite and views, others didn’t.
How do you choose who sleeps where? We made it simple. As soon as you arrive you choose your room. I think it was the fairest way to do it and worked out well.
Of course, being the birthday girl Craig and I were first to arrive so grabbed the master bedroom – plush carpets, huge bathroom, and access to the balcony and views.
Other ideas we had were to play a game of pool to settle who could choose what room, or make it a pot luck draw.
This was our master bedroom. Not too shabby!
CASA LUXE is an ultra modern home in Broadbeach Waters featuring 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, Cinema Room, Entertainment Room and a lovely pool.
You can check this place out in detail on the Stayz.com website.
Thanks for the memories guys!
Turning 40 feels good.
And don’t forget to always BE YOURSLEF.