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Make way for Moana!

Please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t believe Ariana has just turned 6??! It seems like only yesterday I was writing about her fourth and fifth birthday parties and now from out of nowhere, our baby girl seems oh so grown up! I feel like the past few months since Christmas have raced past me in a haze of school runs and new schedules, I’m even the proud owner of a 2017 calander filled with ‘important’ dates of raffles and teddy bears tea parties (I never thought I’d see the day!) I’m almost getting organised in my old age. Almost 😉

We are also oh so incredibly lucky at the moment to have my mum over from the UK visiting us. You might already know from my post last year, saying goodbye to my mum was the hardest part of emigrating for me and I’ve counted the days over the past 12 months until she came back to visit. I’ve got so much to tell you about the wonderful few weeks we’ve had together (and a million photos – OBVS) but this post is about our biggest beauty and her big day.

This birthday has been particularly special for her because it’s her first in a new country and as her guest list grew faster than the new freckles on her nose, so too did my sense of pride in her ability to forge new friendships in a whole new world than any she’d ever known. Ariana decided on a Moana theme this year and thankfully the weather was with us to create the perfect backdrop to transform our garden into a water park, equipped with a huge inflatable slide and home to our first proper Aussie barbecue – meaning Ste did the cooking, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a mum win of epic proportions!img_2810img_2780 img_2789 img_2812 img_2809

We started the day with pancakes (our kids favourite recipe is here) then present unwrapping for all three and Ariana was absolutely delighted by the gifts my mum had brought over from friends and family back home (lucky, lucky girl!) She has shown a real interest in journalling since her writing has come along so well, so we got her a lovely book to write in along with a scrapbook, some stationary, her first handbag and purse (unicorn themed!) along with a new money box to start saving the pocket money we’ve promised she can now have and her favourite present of all – a keyboard with weighted keys to practice piano at home.

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Everybody loved decorating the garden, wrapping streamers around the trees and hanging fairy lights. Baking is not my bag so we found a fantastic cake maker locally who created Ariana’s Moana cake and accompanying cupcakes. In keeping with the theme, we made tropical fruit skewers, a fruity punch (with just a dash of gin for the mums!) and decorated the house with Lei’s, wall art made by the kids and brightly coloured balloons.

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Besides the birthday girl, there was another star of the show, which was this water slide and the amazement on the kids faces when they saw it made the investment worth every penny (or cent!) They ran around in the 30 degree sunshine, blasting each other with water canons and racing down the slides, stopping only briefly for fistfuls of popcorn and sausage sandwiches and it was so nice not to care about any mess they made because we were in the great outdoors!

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Ariana was jumping up and down with excitement as her friends arrived, I will never forget the happiness on her face the whole day. And I’ve got to say the Aussies have the right idea by barbecuing at parties -it is SO much easier cooking while the guests are already there and the drinks are flowing. I could get used to not cooking in advance!

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While Kian fell and  flung himself straight into the water, Kaira was her usual reserved little self and held back from the commotion. She is such a sweet and gentle soul, I find it fascinating how different all three of our kids are and Ste and I talk a lot about their individual idiosyncrasies (their charm and whit obviously being from me and their stubbornness and attitudes from their dad, of course 😉 )

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Another tradition I love here is cutting the cake and eating it at the party as appose to sending slices home in the kids party bags as we did back in England, which means the parents get to enjoy it too – winner!  By five o’clock, the kids were shivering in their towels, which signified the party coming to an end so Ariana handed out the Moana themed party bags (including superhero masks the kids had made during the week) and dived headfirst into all the presents opening everything before I had chance to figure out what they had kindly brought (and thank them!)

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After a full scale cleaning operation the next day, we took the kids to the beach to celebrate in the sunshine in true Australian style. Eating cupcakes in the warmth of the sun while watching the kids run carefree and splash in the sea is a memory I think we’ll all treasure forever. After a swim, we ate at Sophia’s in Frankston and toasted to Ariana turning 6 with ice cream.

The party felt like such a celebration. Not only of Ariana’s big day but of the sunshine, our new home, our new friends and of the one year anniversary of us arriving in Australia. It has been one of the fastest and intense years of my life with ups and downs I can only compare to the first year the twins were born – exhausting, exciting and intense!

It breaks my heart that our family and friends back home couldn’t celebrate with us too, but I am so grateful to the friends that joined us on the day and for the technology that allowed Ariana to chat with her grandparents online so they could reinforce how loved she is all around the world. I’m also grateful for this blog that allows me to share our special moments with you.

As always, thanks for being with us.

Love from Leyla

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