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Traditionally big milestone birthdays are planned with much excitement around themes, guest lists, entertainment, food and drinks, all building up to the big day when everyone gets dressed to the nines, and the corks pop.

Only this year, if your celebration was after 26 March, it was rapidly cancelled with the cheery words that “we’ll have a really big party when this is over…”.  This doesn’t help the deep disappointment of the prospect of waking up on the day with nothing to look forward to. We were having none of it, so this is what we did.  And you can too!

Two days before Courtney designed an invitation to theme on a free app www.greetingsisland.com and sent it to everyone in the house via WhatsApp.  All the usual details were included; date, time, venue (the patio) and dress code. The theme was “Sassy Safari”. 

We did get a few raised eyebrows, but everyone RSVP’d like good guests.

There are five of us currently in the house.  This includes me, my two daughters and son, and a friend who is staying with us for the duration of the lock down.

On the morning of her birthday, I was happy that we have a family tradition where the birthday person is woken up at dawn with a cake with sparklers, sweets, balloons and presents to the melodic sound of siblings singing Happy Birthday. Ok, maybe not so melodic.

Invariably they pretend they’re asleep when we walk in because we’ve been making so much noise in the kitchen, mumble thanks, pull the pillow over their heads and go back to sleep.

If you don’t have a tradition, now’s a great time to start one.  Family traditions are a great way to create memories any you will remember exactly what year it started.

Why the noise in the kitchen, well my son Aston was in the kitchen at 4am icing the cake that he had baked the night before.  Of course, he needed company so there were a few of us having coffee watching him work.  Although he is a professional chef, the chocolate cake he made was simple and delicious and anyone can make it.  

Using what we had around the house, Courtney set and decorated the patio and dining room table to theme.  The idea was to have pre-drinks on the patio and dinner in the dining room.  

Everyone got involved and the afternoon was spent preparing the dinner then we all dispersed to get ready.

At 6pm the music was playing; the fairy lights were on and everyone arrived on the patio on time.  I assume it was because there was no traffic. 

We were all dressed in something safari (well it was mainly animal print, but whose judging?)…  We popped the bubbles and spent some time having great fun playing around with selfies, snap chat and Instagram to share with everyone who couldn’t be there.  For a couple of hours there was much laughter and good conversation and it didn’t matter that we were under lock down. 

Dinner was delicious, the cake was fantastic for dessert and the company was, well we couldn’t have wished for better.  It was the first time in years that Aston was with his sister for her birthday because he’s usually working, and everyone really just appreciated being together and having fun.

So, while we will still have a 30th Party after all this with all Ashleigh’s friends, it won’t be the real party because we already had it, and it was marvelous.