My 30th Birthday Celebration

There I stood, draped in red sparkly sequins, under the open skies, surrounded by beautiful tall trees, with almost 30 of my closest girlfriends in front of me singing happy birthday to me while a sparkler burnt in my beautiful vanilla cake and alongside me stood my daughter. Holding her close I could hear her sining along with all my girlfriends. “Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to…” and while everyone say Monique, my daughter sang “mommy”.

Instant lump in my throat… Jesus, what did I do to deserve this? All glory to God in the highest!

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Turning 30 was something that honestly crept up on me. I am not one to make a big deal out of my birthdays. The last birthday party I had was when I turned 21. Every other celebration after that has always just involved Brett and I going out for dinner or planning a weekend away locally. While I knew 30 was a ‘big’ milestone birthday I secretly dreamt of having something small to celebrate with my girlfriends and possibly plan a more extravagant birthday holiday with Brett and I.

After deciding a simple tea / champagne with cake in a garden would be do-able with little time and minimal planning because in between changing jobs, running a business after hours and being a loving wife and attentive mom – planning something for myself seemed like bottom of the priority list!

I briefly spoke to a friend of mine who is an award-winning event- extraordinaire and asked her for some advice on a few details of what I had planned. Being the incredible friend she is, she offered to help me and before I knew it – she had told me to leave the entire event set up to her and before I knew it – I was having a proper 30th with my girlfriends!


The name The Creativity Lab needs little introduction in the national eventing scene. Tash Sutherland and her team are true pioneers in their trade and have worked on some of the best events locally, nationally and internationally – they even executed an event in the desert! I kid you not! I have had the honour in attending a lot of Tash’s client’s events over the years working in the media industry and they are never short of amazing! Innovative, ahead of trend and are truly ‘set the bar’ kind of stuff!

Having Tash and her team at The Creativity Lab‘s sister company, The Furniture Lab – work on my birthday party was an absolute dream come true! Despite working with a string of top national and international brands and corporates, The Furniture Lab offer furniture hire and event styling for smaller events in the local Durban market. With a wide range of interesting pieces, The Furniture Lab can tailor bespoke hiring packages to suit the needs of any budget or occasion.

Their portfolio (which can be viewed online) spans thousands of quality, luxury pieces from proudly South African styling to Scandinavia, to curate a collection of one-of-a-kind items to suit anything from exhibitions to conferences, weddings and even outdoor functions. Their chic, elegant, and polished pieces make an impact! From the soft velvet sofas to our beautiful ottomans, classic pieces of furniture, chairs, stools and occasional chairs and tables or coffee table, cocktail tables and trestle tables to vases, cushions and aesthetically pleasing bits and bobs.

Working with The Furniture Lab was a breeze. After having a chat about my vision – a classy champagne and cake garden party for my mom friends to enjoy an afternoon without kids or their hubbies… I left all the planning to her and knew that I could trust her to create my dream birthday celebration.

Having planned Maddie’s birthday parties over the past three years it felt surreal waking up on the day of my party knowing I didn’t need to do anything… I simply had to get dressed and arrive and once my party was over I left the venue without having to break down or pack up! Zero fuss and all the fun!

To say I was blown out of the water walking into my set up – is honestly an under statement! It surpassed my expectations – immensely! I couldn’t believe it was for me! The attention to detail was incredible! The structure built around my 26 seater table to the fairy lights, chairs, napkins, rose gold cutlery and dusty pink wine glasses… what Pinterest dreams are made of!


A single long wooden harvest table with white tolix chairs were beautifully accompanied with dusty pink plates and wine glasses, napkins and rose gold cutlery. Running along the centre of the table were an assortment of beautiful flowers in an assortment of tiny vases.


On top of the plates were old school ‘quack quack’ fortune tellers, which included a couple of fun facts about me. There were a couple of laughs around the table and it really was a special touch to add a bit of nineties fun to my celebration.



Being the Birthday girl I had a special basket chair with flowers draped along the side. I really felt like a princess sitting alongside Maddie and my girlfriends.


Everything was absolutely perfect… right down to the personalised name tags that matched the quack quack. Each one of my girlfriends were also gifted with a box of my favourite sugar replacement, Freesweet which was displayed on their chairs.


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The Furniture Lab team set up a little chill area with a gorgeous couch, two whicker chairs and beautiful ottomans with rugs, a whicker table and pillows to match. The party ended here finishing a bottle of wine watching the sunset!


My favourite decor element for the day was the swing and my 30 light… I mean!!!

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The balloon arch, the beauty of this swing with the straw detail along the top – needless to say Maddie loved it too!


Having had Maddie’s party at The Chocolate Garden earlier this year on De Charmoy Estate and being a regular visitor to the estate, I have always loved the venue, the beauty of the gardens and the stillness that it offers. The Hilltop space at De Charmoy Estate was the first venue that popped to mind when I was deciding on a venue. You have to visit the tropical garden to truly understand the beauty of the venue – situated just outside of Umhlanga. The large spacious lawns, tall trees, and views of the valley are second to none. It was a no brainer!

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Choosing to treat my girlfriends and I to an assortment of my favourite Chateau Gateaux cakes and gateaux was an easy choice! They have been part of our celebrations for years and years and having them be part of my 30th was a definite must! I chose to have an assortment of cakes for my friends to truly be spoilt for choice and somewhat have a ‘high tea’ experience.

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Included in my ‘cake buffet’ was;

Southern Red Velvet – a moist and velvety chocolate cake, layered with a smooth and decadent cream cheese and lemon frosting and garnished with crushed tree nuts and coconut macaroons

Swiss Carrot Cake – a moist, rich and fruity torte made with grated carrots, seasonal tree nuts, raisins and cinnamon, layered with a decadent cream cheese and lemon frosting.

Peppermint Caramel Tart – a traditional South African tart made with a chocolate and coconut cream biscuit base, layered with caramel and peppermint mousse, topped with fresh whipped cream and peppermint chocolate

Mississippi Mud Pie – a rich chocolate brownie base blended with seasonal tree nuts, buried under a thick layer of decadent hazelnut and chocolate mousse, covered with ganache and sprinkled with roasted seasonal tree nuts.

Strawberry Cheesecake – a strawberry cheesecake filled with strawberry pieces on a golden oat crumb base, topped with a strawberry coulis.


We were spoilt for choice! For my birthday cake I chose the tier two beautiful Vanilla Dream cakes from Chateau Gateaux. This moist vanilla torte layered with a Chantilly cream, infused with vanilla seeds and topped with fine white chocolate shavings – is one of my favourites. The beauty of Chateau Gateaux cakes is they can so easily be ‘dressed up’ and made to look super fancy! We dressed this cake in matching flowers and added some white chocolate Whispers onto it.


I was also able to fetch the cakes from Chateau Gateaux – took them out the fridge… no need to order and popped them in my fridge at home and let them defrost to be ready to eat for my party the following day. So easy!


I have been following MIXAS instagram page for a while now and every time they uploaded one of their delectable platters I would literally sit and drool! Do yourself a favour and go look at her page! It was a no brainer that I wanted the Durban based ultimate grazing experience, MIXAS to be part of my celebration!

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Having just opened around the beginning of September this year, owner and self-confessed foodie, Michaela’s appreciation for cheese and charcuterie influenced her decision to become a pioneer of luxury grazing tables and platters!

I knew her classy platters would be the perfect centrepiece for my savoury table and we’d be spoilt for choice in the savoury department! From artisan cheeses, charcuterie, freshly baked bread, wholesome dips, assorted gourmet crackers, roasted and spiced nuts, premium chocolate, fresh and dried fruit, olives and pickles, vine tomatoes as well as flowers for decoration and consumption – they are TO DIE FOR!


Michaela came to my venue to set up the table and what I thought was such an incredible touch was the fact that she supplies the platter boards and serving knives on loan and then collects within 48 hours of the event!


Monique's 30th (2)Her platter options start from her signature cheese and charcuterie selection to vegetarian/vegan/meat-free/gluten-free/dessert as well was any customisation requirements that you may have. Brimming with luscious produce, her signature boards are designed for easy grazing. They are delivered to your door pre-assembled and ready to wow your guests! They range from R1500 – R2000 and will easily feed between 8 to 10 people per board. I had two at my party for 26 guests and there was more than enough for everyone to have their full.


One of our favourite wines – Hermanuspietersfontein Wines were kind enough to send a variety of their wine selection for my girlfriends to enjoy including my favourite red wine – Kleinboet and their sparkling wine which was of course enjoyed by all the ladies…


What is a 30th celebration without a bottle or two popped open the right way…


I also decided to do G&Ts which was perfect for an afternoon in the garden…



The incredible Bianca Warren created the most beautiful cocktail dress for me. My brief was “I have arrived” and she delivered just that! I knew I wanted to sparkle in sequence and once again Bianca Warren knocked it out of the park with this custom made design! I felt like a million bucks!


Luxe Leather Earrings paired one of their beautiful handcrafted lightweight earrings from their Elegance range. The leather disk matched my dress so perfectly while the gold brass added a touch of elegance to my look.


My celebration was everything I could have asked for and more! To be able to sit with my closest friends in a beautiful garden at a beautifully set table with a G&T in hand eating cake and delicious savouries was the perfect day for me! My heart was so full!


A HUGE thank you to the following sponsors for making my 30th all that it was and more… You will never truly understand what it meant to me!

Venue: De Charmoy Estate | |
Event styling and set up: The Creativity Lab | |
Furniture hire: The Furniture Lab | | | |
Cakes: Chateau Gateaux | | |
Platters: MIXAS Platters | |
Wine: Hermanuspietersfontein Wines | |
Dress: Bianca Warren Designs | |
Earrings: Luxe Leather Earrings | |
Gifts: Freesweet | |

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Fancy winning furniture hire to the value of R20 000 for you and nine friends to have a party of your own?


Visit my Instagram page and / or Facebook page and find the competition post.
Like both Furniture Lab and The Creativity Lab page on both Instagram and/ or Facebook.
Tag three friends in a comment.
Share the post to your stories and tag me for an added entry.
Terms & Conditions: 
– Entrant must live within a 20km radius of Durban. Any place further will be charged per km.
– Venue hire is not included in the prize
– Food will be provided for 10 people
– If more people wish to attend, they will be charged per head.
– Alcohol will not be provided.
– The Furniture Lab team will set up on the day and break down the following morning.
– You will be held liable for any missing or damaged furniture.
– Competition closes 2 December 2019.
– Prize cannot be exchanged for cash and is non-transferable.


Until next time,
cropped-delportfamily-33r3 | @being_maddies_mom


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