Glossy Events: A (very) Girly High Tea
It's not every week an email from Therese Rein pops into your inbox. Much less when it's preceded by emails from LifeStyled's Paula Joye, Brisbane MP Grace Grace, Juliette Wright of GIVEIT, Danielle of Baked Relief, journalist Frances Whiting, radio presenter Emily Jade O'Keefe, author Jessica Rudd, author Anita Heiss, journalist Caroline Overington...
But before you accuse me of being a shameless name-dropper, let it be noted that these were not all emails addressed personally to me: I was CC'd in on replies of deserved praise to author Rebecca Sparrow, emcee of Sunday's Ultimate Girly High Tea event, coordinated by the Queensland Writer's Centre (who produce the BEST writer's magazine ever) and held in the ballroom of the Sofitel, Brisbane, in aid of the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal. Champagne and getting fancy on a Sunday morning in aid of a good cause? Yippee! May I have a leave pass from church, God? Why yes you may, says He!
Sparrow, as regular GWAS readers likely know, is also my all-time girl hero (Sparrow's is Therese Rein – "I want you to adopt me" – but more on Rein soon). Back in January, when Sparrow was still in recovery herself from a personal tragedy of the sort that might send anyone else into a spin down the rabbit hole never again to be seen, she put her skill to work and set about organising all her gal pals for an event to help those affected by the floods. 'Tis in the midst of tragedy that our true colours show, no? And so, The Ultimate Girly High Tea, with its warmth and humour and inclusiveness – all very Sparrow qualities – was born. Tickets were snatched up within seconds of Sparrow writing about the event in her beloved (last) Sunday Mail column.
In addition to Mia Freedman, who together with Joye and Overington flew up from Sydney for the event at their own expense, special guests of the event, who were each allocated a table to preside over, also included radio presenter Robin Bailey, and authors Kate Morton, Rachael Burmingham, Tara June Winch, Shay Stafford, Carolyn Donovan and Kate Hunter.
Sparrow is a wonderful presenter, who must be considered for hosting next year's Logie Awards (TV's most self-flagellating gig? Perhaps not). The keynote address, however, was reserved for Therese Rein, who proved where her daughter, Jessica Rudd, gets her writerly inclinations from. It was poetic. If the floods themselves were Biblical, then Rein's words were of Ecclesiastic quality.
But special mention must also go to Freedman, who after handing out the raffle prizes with her new friend Sparrow, paid tribute to Georgie, Bec's little girl, who never knew the world but was loved nonetheless (I think God reserves special places in Heaven for these little ones).
A mother's love, as we will reflect on this Sunday with our own mums (off to the post office for me today!), is the MOST important start any girl can have in life. With it, you can soar to the stars and back, as many (all) of the accomplished, brilliant women in the room have done. For those who have received it only conditionally, or reservedly or not at all, you can literally spend your life walking wounded. BUT there are women everywhere ready to fill that void, to bridge the gap, to lift you up and set you on the right path. These are God's true angels. One of them sat on my table.
This lady, who sat with her daughter, both Loreto old girls, told me about how she'd adopted two young girls while raising her own five children. They'd been abandoned by their mothers, one battling a drug addiction. Deeply wounded. Lost, alone. And for them she made a home. They still bear some scars, but her care and nurturing and discipline helped to shape them into better pots, less leaky, and ready to be filled with all of life's good things. Like good jobs and weddings. Amazing.
Next year, Therese Rein has suggested that the Girly High Tea support the Second Chance Fund for homeless women. I think that's a mighty good idea. All girls deserve second chances.
Girl With a Satchel
P.S. My table...
P.P.S. And a moment for self-indulgence... I wore the Mrs. Press dress gifted to me by the designer herself for my 30th birthday (God bless you!!!!), which I have been DYING to find an excuse to get into (I even propositioned Husband with the idea of having our vows renewed!), and was joined by GWAS writer Lucy Brook, who looked very Audrey in her lace frock...