A Beach Cottage Summer Party on the Deck

Tue 7th, Jan, 2014

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G’day beach cottage friends!

We had a little beach cottage celebration over the weekend, it was lovey and went quite well I think – I never had a single birthday party when I was a young girl so I’m making up for it now…being slap bang in the middle of Summer here it was all planned for out on the new deck and in the garden and hoping for no rain, which didn’t happen, actually it’s not rained for ages now..

We did quite a bit of planning for this party but wanted to keep everything fairly simple and casual and with a sit down dinner for 13 it needed to be easy!

Prep on the house and deck started a couple of days before, my lovely kiddos got gold stars in the effort department – after a lot of slobbing at Christmas, to be honest the whole house needed a good short back and sides, teenagers and bathrooms alone make for interesting cleaning – so we did a mammoth team effort and used the old vintage blackboard as party central with lists of jobs to do…my boys and their friends also took on board the making of tissue paper pom poms, I bought stacks of white tissue paper and we set to work…if you’ve never seen a 6ft2 teenager fluff a white tissue paper pom pom once they’ve hung it from the roof, add it to your bucket list, a sight to see…


We used our large outside table that I picked up for a few bucks and made-over (you can see it when it was halfway finished here) and our old deck table which I also picked up from a garage sale and now lives under the house for occasions such as this…this meant we had one long table enough to comfortably sit 13.


We gathered up all the chairs we could find, ahem, there were just a few old vintage ones around…though we also relied on the fold-up IKEA chairs that we’ve had for years, I bought them when we first came to Australia when the kiddos were much littler for the breakfast table, I liked them because they were fairly unobtrusive, could be wiped clean and could be easily stored for things like this, not the most aesthetically pleasing but do the job very nicely…you can see them below…I set up the tables the night before with the table cloths (I used painter’s drop cloths), the flowers, shells and plates, plus we hung the pom poms randomly from the deck roof….


Here’s the table with the flowers….


We put up lots and lots of white fairy lights a week or so before, that being the basis of the whole thing, VERY easy, not much fuss but quite a bit of impact…

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The menu was very very basic and simple, we did large platters of dips and veggies and a huge platter of fresh fruit for when people arrived served out on the deck on the coffee tables, main was just salads and barbecued meats, followed by a Pavlova and mini cupcakes which we made in the afternoon…


I bought a job lot of plain glasses from Target (it was a soft drink affair) and used white dinner plates and paper napkins (won’t do that again, it really is not too much trouble to throw napkins in the wash and I wasn’t impressed with the paper ones my lovely husband came home with from an ice and paper napkin run with)…


My lovely daughter chose the flowers just by going for what she fancied, just a few bunches from Woolworths which I split and popped into mason jars and put down the centre of the table plus dotted around here and there on the deck…


It was a lovely warm Sydney Summer night, bring on celebrations, I am so so glad we did it, it was a fair bit of effort for sure…but memory making for our little family.


See you soon I have some recipes on the way….

Much love



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37 Responses to “A Beach Cottage Summer Party on the Deck”

  1. What a beautiful way to celebrate turning another year older. Happy Birthday Sarah.
    Love the simple flowers in mason jars as a centrepiece.

  2. Jana says:

    Wow! That looks incredible and makes me miss spring and summer so so much!!!! Thanks for warming up my day with this!

  3. Sam says:

    just lovely Sarah….what a great idea to use the drop cloths!!

  4. Marti says:

    simple, festive, fun! Thanks for showing the process and complete “tada” — just my style!

  5. I love this and am thinking even a tablescaping-challenged person such as myself could manage it!?! I also really like your Ikea folding chairs!?! They look plain and timeless…May need to purchase something similar for the farm I think…have a fab day…xx

    • sarah says:

      yep really handy to have them actually and not too ugly even tho they are plastic and fold up xx

  6. Smaggle says:

    So gorgeous! We have teeny tiny little balcony but when I’m a grown up and I have more space I’m going to be SUCH a party thrower.

  7. Happy Birthday Sarah! What a lovely table setting. Makes me pine for Spring and Summer here in the states. It is now 12 degrees and temps are dropping. The weatherman says it will be below zero before morning. UGH!

    • sarah says:

      hey lovely Shirl’ nice to hear from you! oh it wasn’t my bday but I was doing the celebrating lol! Yes I hear you have it very cold over there this year xx

  8. Debs Adams says:

    Belated Many Happy Returns Sarah! How many years young now? I’m in shock that I’m 45 in May! Looks middle aged written down? I can’t be middle aged…I’m 22 in my head but since having a toddler in the house( we are fostering) I’m taking longer to get up from the floor!! My own daughter is 6 so keeps me young, but having to hide my greys more often ;) x

  9. Leisa says:

    Oh so lovely. Glad you had perfect weather.

  10. alison says:

    :) What a beautiful memory your celebration will leave. Gorgeous photos.

    We arrived at one of our daughter’s homes on Christmas day to find her feeling somewhat squeamish from morning sickness and trying to gather strength to set the dining table for 16. I made an executive decision to use white sheets for a tablecloth as none of her tablecloths were suitable for such a large extended table.My daughter went into her garden and returned with cuttings from a pine type tree and with secateurs cut them into smaller pieces and made a 20cm high thick line down the middle of the table. Then she cut small pieces of Australian Christmas Bush on top and added a few bright red blingy cone shaped Christmas decorations amongst the plant cuttings. We placed the glasses, cutlery, white serviettes and white plates. Voila! Fabulous looking table in minutes with little thought or preparation.

    • sarah says:

      oh that sounds so lovely Alison, I love that type of decorating…simple and real life but still gorgeous xxx

  11. Lucy B says:

    Happy Birthday lovely lady, glad to see you’re still embracing the fab 40′s! Looks gorgeous. I love memory making days like that. Happy New Year to you xx

  12. Sarah says:

    This looks so beautifuk Sarah

    I would love to learn how to make these pom poms – any chance of a tutorial on the blog?

    • sarah says:

      it’s very easy and a million times cheaper than the kits you can buy even the dollar shop kits, yes I’m going to do a tute xxx

  13. Jan Withers says:

    Happy Birthday Sarah. That was a lovely story. I can just imagine the night. I’m a lover of budlights and they would have made your deck look like fairyland. Your family was such a help to you. Look forward to your stories and photos through 2014. We have a new grandson who lives in North Bondi and was born yesterday. Looking forward to coming to Sydney to see him and enjoy Sydney life again.

    • sarah says:

      oh a Bondi baby, how lovely! thanks it wasn’t my bday but I was celebrating for others lol xx

  14. Julie Johnson says:

    Makes me want summer to be here toot sweet. as we are currently in the thros of a deep freeze here in the states. Love the simplicity of your decor and of course the daisies. My absolute favorite flower.

  15. joyce tx says:

    Oh, Happy Birthday to you, dear Sarah! You definitely have the touch for creating beautiful and relaxing settings! Beautiful!

  16. Hey Sarah! Happy belated birthday wishes to you! What a lovely way to mark the occassion … good food, family and good friends. Am still giggling over the mental picture of six foot plus teenage boys ‘floofing’ tissue pom-poms! Tee! Hee! Hee! Also have a little deck envy, as we don’t have an outdoor living area … one day. :0) And then I’ll keep your lovely, simple decorating style in mind. Bear Hugs! KRIS

  17. merilyn says:

    it looks delightful sarah, especially with those pom-poms … who knows, your son may be taking after you with decorating skills! … the celebration sounds great! lol m:)X

  18. Jo says:

    And here I thought maybe you were celebrating the fact that you were pregnant. Apparently not! The table is absolutely beautiful. I’m sure it was a lovely celebration. Great job.

  19. Imelda says:

    It wasn’t her birthday, ladies! Don’t make the poor woman say it again! :) Oh my gosh, you really never had a birthday party growing up? I am so sorry!! If you lived in New England I would totally throw you one! I would even buy some mason jars just for the occasion!