A 30th Birthday Celebration Linnaeus Style

“ROAD TRIP TO A WINTER WONDERLAND”

She’s a ‘car racing unicorn at heart, a hybrid by nature’. A talented creative who’s worked across the ad world, fashion, automotive, travel & lifestyle and is also a passionate consumer of pho. So where did self-confessed motorhead Jody Koay choose to celebrate her 30th birthday with her besties? She booked two of the luxurious Linnaeus Collection properties in beautiful Berry on the NSW South Coast. It’s the property equivalent of the hybrid car. It’s where country meets the coast in the most spectacular way.

Jody says she and her buddies are still getting flashbacks of the magical time away on the Road Trip To A Winter Wonderland, her theme to celebrate entry to her 30s. The pictures tell the story best, but we thought you’d also enjoy having a chilled chat with Jody to dig into the details of her milestone celebration at Linnaeus Farm and Far Meadow Cottage. It’s all in the detail isn’t it? It’s what makes the Linnaeus Collection experience so unforgettable.

Come meet Jody Koay – and get the best recipe for BBQ Trout as well!

ALL THINGS CREATIVE IS UNDOUBTEDLY YOUR THING. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY?

I used to work in fashion and adland for years until I realised my real passion. Cars. So I switched gears and dove into automotive. I’m now working as the Creative Lead for Mercedes-Benz Australia and New Zealand.

DIRTY THIRTY. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU! WHAT’S THE ‘NEXT’ LOOK LIKE?

In short, I’m looking forward to building deeper relationships with my close ones, further self-discovery and personal empowerment, and continuing to pursue my passions. And adding to my classic car collection.

YOU CHOSE LINNAEUS FARM AND FAR MEADOW COTTAGE AS A GETAWAY TO CELEBRATE THIS MILESTONE EVENT. THEY’RE QUITE DIFFERENT PROPERTIES, BUT BOTH SEEK TO EXPLOIT CARL LINNAEUS’ ETHOS OF THE BENEFITS OF IMMERSING YOURSELF IN NATURE WHICH IN TURN NURTURES THE SOUL. WERE YOU AND YOUR GUESTS HIT WITH THE MAGICAL CALMING EFFECTS OF THE PROPERTIES?

It certainly had that effect across both properties. Driving slowly into the vast grounds of Linnaeus Farm, we were instantly taken aback by the sheer beauty, the lushness and serenity. It certainly felt like a ‘destination getaway’, only local, luxurious and magical. The lake and Lake House at the entrance set the scene instantly. Whilst at Far Meadow Cottage, my friends were taken in by its cosiness, its homeliness. Just a perfect escape setting for a soul-satisfying stay.

YOU SPLIT YOUR CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE TWO PROPERTIES WHICH ARE JUST A COUPLE OF MINUTES DRIVE APART. IT’S EXACTLY HOW WE ENVISIONED THEM BEING USED. FOR THEM TO WORK IN SYNC IN PROVIDING ACCOMMODATION FOR ALL GUESTS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE UP EXPERIENCES.

It was the perfect combination. I wanted an intimate celebration with my nearest and dearest (that were still in the country at the time). I initially came across Linnaeus Farm, which was perfect to hold the celebration and a few of us to stay, however I also needed to find somewhere close to accommodate the rest of the party and the combo couldn’t have been more perfect!

To break the weekend up, we decided to hold ‘The Welcome’ at Far Meadow. That way we could surprise our guests with the luscious set up at Linnaeus Farm on Saturday. We planned a cosy winter outdoor cook up at Far Meadow for dinner Friday, then on Saturday the birthday lunch and celebration at Linnaeus Farm.

THE FOOD LOOKS AMAZING! CAN YOU TELL US MORE? WANT TO SHARE A RECIPE?

Friday 30th June (Welcome at Far Meadow Cottage). We wanted to make use of the Argentinian BBQ so my boyfriend and a few of my friends took the helm and cooked up a huge BBQ Trout. It was the perfect dish to welcome everyone to the long weekend – filling but not too heavy, with melt-in-your-mouth textures and flavours. And I’d love to share the recipe with you!

BBQ TROUT

  1. Either get a whole filleted trout or trout fillets. (We had brought the trout from Sydney from one of my favourite locals – The One Who Got Away in Bondi.)
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper, wrap and place in baking paper with sliced potato underneath, sliced lemon, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, baby capers and chopped herbs.
  3. Cook time varies on size. If you get fillets you can also hang them about the fire and baste in butter until cooked.
  4. Salsa verde: chop dill and parsley very finely, place in a bowl with minced garlic (a little trick to mincing garlic is to chop salt through it to get it into a paste), chopped anchovies, baby capers, lemon rind, olive oil, lemon and salt.
  5. Serve trout with a salsa verde – Generously spread on top and throughout trout and potatoes.

Saturday 1st July (Birthday Lunch at Linnaeus Farm), I wanted a casual sitting setting. That meant a buffet, no name placements, just one big long celebration table. I found the caterers, The Blue Swimmer in Gerroa, through a referral from Three Blue Ducks. They use this iconic restaurant for their catered events on the South Coast and it was absolutely the perfect pick. We love that Blue Swimmer is concerned about the provenance of their food and sources fresh, local produce, meats and seafood from the surrounding coastline and farms. It was simply sensational!

YOUR TABLE SETTING IN JAMIE’S BARN FOR THE SATURDAY CELEBRATION IS JUST BEAUTIFUL. WOULD LOVE TO HEAR WHO DESIGNED AND STYLED IT.

September Studio in Darlinghurst was the creative behind it. The shop is owned by my good friend Bryce who’s a florist and ceramicist. He’s got an exciting hybrid store – it’s a florist by day but come nighttime, the pottery wheels come out and it transforms into a ceramics studio for pottery classes and workshops. Check it out if you’re a Sydneysider. Bryce came early to help set up the table before joining the celebration. The brief was ‘Winter Wonderland’. I’d given Bryce a few references to work from but it was easy to trust him to bring the vision to life, whilst putting his own flare on it. And he absolutely nailed it!

WAS THERE TIME TO JUST SOAK IN ALL THAT THE PROPERTIES HAVE TO OFFER?

Well Sunday was mostly about ‘recovering’ and revelling in the comfort and calmness of the properties. Nonetheless, the guests used the sauna at Linnaeus Farm all weekend and we even had a few guests use the pools at both properties for a fresh dip and a few laps. The Lakehouse was a hit throughout the weekend – it was so warm, perfect for a morning cuppa and chats. My friends often found themselves there as it was a great little nook nestled into the vastness of the property. We often walked through the orchard too, which was just gorgeous, and we relished the opportunity to pick some fresh herbs for breakfast from the edible garden. The place really fit the “Winter Wonderland” theme just perfectly.

We all just absolutely loved the northern aspect of the farm and the open meadows. Even though the property had surrounding neighbours, you couldn’t see them, so it felt very secluded. And it’s super close to town (Berry) and such an easy short road trip from Sydney too.

YOUR KEY TIPS FOR THE BEST 30TH CELEBRATION:

Order all your food and drinks online before the weekend and simply click and collect when you arrive. Cater the actual event so you don’t need to worry about prepping and cleaning up.

Location and set-up is prime. If you’re organising a group getaway for more than 15+ people, you want to find a place that feels like an ‘escape’ and that’s out of town but still an easy drive to accommodate all who are attending. Not many places accommodate a big group, and nor do you want to squeeze everyone into the one house because it can sometimes feel too crowded. So I definitely recommend finding two places (if you can) close together so you can break up the weekend. The Linnaeus Collection facilitated this set up perfectly!

Pick a theme that’s not too complex. It means everyone can interpret it in their own way but still reflects the climate and location. Mine was A Road Trip To Winter Wonderland.

Music is key. If you can get a good DJ to set the vibe, it will make the difference. I had a couple of friends who were Djs so the vibe and energy was mastered throughout my entire birthday. A good tip: be sure to create a ‘collaborator’ playlist on Spotify so people can document and add music from the event to bring back all the feels and memories post-celebration.

Photos. Buy a few disposable cameras that your guests can throw around and use. It’s old school but way more fun and better for all the candid moments.

PS Can’t wait to come back and experience the rest of the Collection!

And we can’t wait to welcome you back Jody!

Photo Gallery