It’s almost the middle of April, but it takes a while for the dust to settle on some things. Rafa only turned one in March. We had two birthday parties during which to comprehend our new born turning into a walking and talking human. And three birthday cakes to help sweeten the bitter-sweetness of moments gone. Once the presents were dealt with, the thank you notes posted and the keepsakes securely tucked away the reality of having a one year old in the home finally hit us. For the moment though, I wish to revisit the simplicity of his first birthday party.


Venue Like many of our past unfussy gatherings (such as this one and this one), we wanted Rafa’s birthday to celebrate not only him and our first year as parents, but also community. Our community of friends here in Dunedin and the Dunedin city community, especially the cafe culture, that is so integral to the lives we live. We ended up having the party at Wolf At The Door. The owner Troy is a kindly, creative soul who has catered a few of our past gatherings with great success. It was a real treat being able to have the cafe all to ourselves for a few hours.


Food Troy put together vegetarian and salmon crostini featuring beautiful local and fresh ingredients. Troy and his team also took care of the birthday cake, a dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and a raspberry coulis. We left the cake as it was, only added a simple cake topper with Rafa’s name from Love From Seventeen and this 100% beeswax (non-drip) candle from Black Bird Goods.


I put together little boxes of treats for the children in these window boxes from Pop Roc Parties. The children had snacks of rice crackers, cheese and grapes. For drinks, the children had the Rebel Kitchen Kids Mylk from Natural Things. The boxes were also perfect for sending people home with leftovers!


Decor We didn’t worry too  much about decorations as the cafe had amazing art work and beautiful flower arrangements from Twigs n Twine. We did however have some helium-filled balloons with photos of Rafa as a baby hanging from them. This was ultimately a lovely addition for those who didn’t know Rafa in those early weeks.


We asked our friends not to buy gifts for Rafa, instead we invited them to help us continued to build the children’s reading space we support in Fiji. Our friends were so generous in the thought and quality of books they chose for the space. We wanted Rafa to have special reminders of his birthday party, so in addition to asking our friend Veronica Eastell to take photos on the day, we invited our friends to leave Rafa little notes to read when he’s 18. They are all safely stored in his special box (which we got from Keeps NZ).


We attempted to get Rafa into the traditional Fijian masi and we were successful albeit for a few seconds. He wasn’t unhappy for too long though. Once the masi was off, and he was on the floor playing with his friends and eating Indian doughnuts which were made especially for him by a friend he was in absolute heaven…


…and he had a dirty face and messy clothes to prove it!

Rafa also had a birthday party in Fiji, but there’ll be no more parties until he’s ten…Patrick said six. We’ll work it out!

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