Friday, 2 September 2011

Turning 41: bittersweet but beautiful

Well, my goodness, sweet Planetarians, I didn’t expect to find Mr PB’s guest post here when I finally peeked at my blog at 2 pm on my birthday! Neither did many of you, I guess . Judging from your amusing comments, I think you quite enjoyed the surprise. As did I. I had started my day with a heavy heart, knowing I had to get through one of the many ‘firsts’ which are to come – the first birthday without my Dad. But, Mr PB, being the gorgeous soul he is, had burned the midnight oil, marshalled the troops and arranged the following tableau to greet me.
Tears welled in my eyes. Oriental lilies, the treasured old photo of me as a 3 year old, the pixies’ homemade cards and presents lovingly wrapped by small hands and decorated with my washi tape.
Not to mention my precious pixies!

And then the pièce de résistance – Mr PB’s dark chocolate, pear and pistachio cake, baked in the wee hours of the morning!
Here’s the recipe, by the way – do try it as it’s scrumptious. You can see from the splodges that it’s been well used by us!
He wasn’t kidding when he mentioned his pavlova failure – see for yourselves!
Anyway, work and school then beckoned for Mr PB and Joshie, leaving India and Sam with me for the day. Their noses, running like taps, had to be tended to constantly. My Mum rang and bravely serenaded me with ‘Happy Birthday’. The same procedure as every year. Except this time, it was a solo.

The occasional birthday phonecall or text message was gratefully received. A few cards were delivered by our trusty postman. My sweet sister popped in quickly to deliver a present and a huge hug. She knew who I was missing. My godmother dropped by, the sun shone and Sammy had his nap. 

I discovered Mr PB’s amusing guest post and then started wading through the 200 condolence emails in my inbox (I know – what was I thinking?). We collected Joshie from school and my Mum soon arrived, ready for afternoon tea. Mr PB arrived home early and the celebrations started.
The cake was lit and the candles blown out (with several encore performances to satisfy everyone’s wishes). I cut the cake, making sure not to touch the bottom, to the chorus of the pixies’ “Or you’ll have green babies, Mum!” (I have no idea where that came from but we’ve said it in my family for my whole life ). Here's a close-up of the scrumptiousness.
Handmade cards were opened. Here's Joshie's - the drawing of us holding hands melts my heart!
Here’s Miss India’s with lots of butterflies.
And the inside – her kisses and hugs in blue “as they’re your favourite colours, Mummy”.
Here's Sammy's, glued with Mr PB's help.
I love his little saying on the right-hand side, something I hear all day long!
Presents were unwrapped. Here are some of the beauties I received. Firstly, a smart frame for my recent purchase I showed you here.
Then some treasures cleverly made by Ness of Marley & Lockyer fame.
Isn’t it just gorgeous? I’m going to get her to make a couple of different cushions which will be just perfect for the little bench seat we’re going to build in my *room of my own*.
Here are some of her pretty clay tags she sells in her Etsy shop.
This is a gorgeous brooch made from southern ice porcelain by another talented Tasmanian, Julie Hoddy of Magoolie Designs. I *love* the lustre of the pattern. I received another of her brooches for my 40th birthday. You can find her blog here and there's an article about her work here (she doesn't have a website yet).
This is a pretty print from one of my oldest Planetarians, the lovely Kylie of Tiges & Weince fame. Butterflies, blue and green – you can see why the pixies thought it perfect! You can find her Etsy shop here.
My kind sister also gave me this intriguing book. She’s a thoughtful soul. I am *dying* to read it. This is what the back cover says about it.
Don’t you think it sounds thought-provoking?

The pixies then headed off to bed and Mum stayed for dinner. Out of habit, Mr PB set the table for 4. We only realised when I sat down, opposite Dad’s empty chair, saw the cutlery laid out and burst into tears. Mr PB hurriedly removed the place setting, we poured some chardonnay and then toasted both my birthday and Dad.

It was a long evening, filled with reminiscences, tears and hugs. Talk about living through a tumultuous week. It’s been one of the hardest of my life. But I’m sure Dad was watching us from afar, delighting in the joy on the pixies’ faces as they helped me blow out my candles, enjoying seeing all the new treasures to help me feather my new nest and pleased that Mum was there with us, in the middle of it all, embraced by her family.

Yes, my 41st birthday was indeed bittersweet but beautiful. 


  1. Love these pictures Jane and so glad you were able to have a wonderful day. What gorgeous gifts and your pixies are super cute! Love the cake, will have to try it after my weight loss goals are achieved. Thinking of you during this time and Happy Birthday once again. N x

  2. It's wonderful to read that you were able to enjoy some bright moments and it looks like you were thoroughly spoiled with gorgeous, thoughtful gifts.

    I'm urging on the carrier pigeons as they wend their way to your home with some special friendship surprises. I'm guessing that their late arrival just means that the 'Festival of Jane' gets extended for a little while longer - yippee!

    Biggest of birthday hugs,

    xx Felicity

  3. Glad you had a lovely day, even though you were missing your dad.

  4. Oh what a day of mixed emotions Jane. I love that your sense of humour and a glass of chardy got you through. Many Happy Returns.

  5. Oh Jane, you make me cry! Itt must have been so difficult. I just cannot imagine, but I can imagine your Dad watching you all and being happy you were there together, sharing it with your mum.
    ps lovely goodies too!
    See you very soon x

  6. I so feel for you. The bittersweetness of it and that relentless surge pushing you forward even though all you want to do is stand still for fear that moving on is moving away from that precious person. Our youngest KAT was born 6 weeks after my dad died suddenly of a heart attack...your heart never recovers but life does go on :)

  7. Thank you for sharing with us some snaps of your special day. I'm glad you were spoilt x

  8. So glad you had a lovely day! I have read the book - it is wonderful - you would LOVE it!!!!!! I cried in the first chapter as it resonated so much with me at the time.

  9. You have the sweetest family. You will get through this Jane, I know. Hold on.

    x Iris

  10. happy days ahead my sweet jane le xoxthird

  11. Happy Birthday! This post made me a bit teary. What a loving family you have. Kiss them all.

    You should set the table for four, just occasionally.

    XO to you, Jane.

  12. What a beautiful family you have. Happy birthday Jane. xx

  13. Glad you were spoilt on your birthday Jane - looks like the pixies were very busy getting ready. x

  14. Jane, thank you for sharing your most special day with us, photos and all. Many mixed emotions for sure, but all healthy ones. You are very blessed my dear.

  15. thank you for sharing your day with us Jane.
    the first of the firsts has begun and in a few months there will be another first and so on.
    everytime our kids do something it will be another first & we'll wish they were there to share that moment with us.

    be strong, let the tears flow, I will be thinking of you on Sunday, but you know what, look around you and smile at what is there.
    you have so much beauty around you lovely Jane.

    sending you lots of love ♥

  16. Your post brought tears to my eyes, I truly felt your bitter sweet moments. And what a blessed woman you are to have such an amazingly thoughtful and creative family!

    Happy birthday~

  17. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog so that I can discover yours.
    I've been reading back a few of your posts and you have certainly had a rough couple of weeks. My heart goes out to you and my deepest condolences for the loss of your dear dad. I'm sure your birthday was bittersweet - it was so lovely of your guy and little ones to go to so much effort to make it special. Try to hang in there. xo

  18. Gorgeous Gifts and Gorgeous family! Thanks for sharing Mr PB's baking with us and I hope you can handle the many firsts to come with the amazing grace, beauty and support that you have handled this one with. x

  19. Hi Jane..what a truly delightful family you have making and collecting all of those beautiful gifts and cards for you! Thank you for sharing your birthday goodness with us. oxoxo

  20. Happy Birthday. It sounds like your family made it a really special day.

  21. Those emotional highs and lows Jane. Your Mr PB is so sweet. How I laughed at the thought of his pavlova, especially when he was baking it secretly at midnight. I'd give him a hug just for trying! Pleased you had a special day.

  22. Yay, happy birthday Jane, i hope you feel truly surrounded by love & affection, your father will always be with you, love Posie

  23. So glad you had a lovely day and that you enjoyed all of your gifts Jane. Thanks for the shout out to Marley & Lockyer, I do appreciate it. It was so lovely to meet you finally and I am sure it wont be the last =0)
    Thnking of you
    Ness xx

  24. You did it! Sounds like a happy-sad day. Your husband and kiddos knew just what you needed. You are so loved!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! XOL

  25. Oh Jane I so hope that heart heals soon what a wonderful family you have to help put it back together, the cake looked delicious & I know my hubby would love me to make that (he is a choc a holic) stay strong xxx

  26. You deserve a bit of spoiling!!! Glad you had a lovely birthday! X

  27. what a perfect birthday day considering everything. And what a great husband! My goodness I have never had a cake made for me by mine.

    The firsts are hard! mothers day snuck up on me but having your own family does make things easier.

    big hugs and I was thinking of you today on fathers day todayxxxxxxxxxxxx


  28. Oh my what a bittersweet birthday. I'm so sorry to hear about your father and so difficult to celebrate a birthday without him. I'm glad your hubby and kiddos were able to rally around and provide some fun. Happy birthday!

  29. Dearest Jane

    belated happy Birthday. looks like it has been a great celebrations.

    Sorry I am late i have been struggling to keep up.

    Thinking of you at this special time.

    Much love

  30. Jane I am so sorry I missed your birthday - not a very good blogging friend am I. And can I add just read your husbands gorgeous and funny post - he is a keeper isn't he!

    Hope your day was truly wonderful.

  31. Hi lovely,

    Many happy returns, birthday girl!! What a lovely husband you have! That's so heart-warming to read.

    I've signed up to follow you - I'm loving browsing through your posts.


  32. Beautiful lady I'm sorry I missed your birthday:( I'm so glad your loving husband, your cute pixies, your brave mum and your sister could make your day a special one. The cake looks delicious and your gifts just perfect for you. Your little girl looks very much like you:) Hugs to you. xxoo

  33. Why, thanks everyone, for your kindness and support. It is helping me through these hard early days. J x

  34. Hi Jane, a little late but with even more love from Germany... here come my birthday wishes for you: "Herzlichen Glückwunsch und Alles Liebe von mir!" I wish you all the joy and happiness for your new year. But with such a lovely family and wonderful Mr. PB, it will be a great one and I'm sure you' will manage the tough times you're going through at the moment. Warm hugs Tesca xx.

  35. Thanks, Tesca, you darling. Hugs back to you from Hobart. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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