Dancing amongst the stars

St John's May ball

Time magazine ranked it the 7th best party in the world, ahead of the Vanity Fair Oscars Party; the Oscars celebrated it’s magic in the award winning “Theory of Everything” and so in the interests of all you pocket dreamers, I found myself an invitation to the St Johns’ College Cambridge May Ball to find out what it was like to live a daydream… with a little romance with an English gentleman rower mixed in.


Theory of Everything

Theory of Everything movie

A full length dress was required so I chose one that would let me have two looks in one night….the front is a happy bright yellow, the back is a more sophisticated black…. it’s happily reversible at any time depending on mood (and the right choice of underwear! hehe). I started the evening with the black side forward…. I had just broken up with a boy and the dress made me feel fierce and classy and brave…and my date for the night (a fellow kiwi and quite the babe) had tuxed up to match.

St John's May ball

Our evening began by winding through this crazy beautiful forest with barbershop and string quartets serenading us and gorgeous light installations in the twilight. Eventually the path takes you through security where you’re checked in and given your wristband. Then you’re released into a wonderland of fun and beauty. Everyone looks so suave and sophisticated, with fairy lights sparking into magical stars as a deep summer sunset bathed us all in gold…. yet with every type of food truck you can dream of and laser tag, bouncy castles, bumper cars and silent disco  the beauty never turned into boredom.

It was at about midnight when the evening went from good to sad under the sparkle of half a million dollars of fireworks. I had lost everyone, my friends and my date in the throng of the many happy people. There’s nothing so lonely as being surrounded by people but having no one care that you’re there. But in that moment of self pity, as I gazed up at the dancing lights, I felt an arm slide around me for a hug. I turned and there was the cute english boy I’d had a crush on from afar for the academic year.  “Jacs!”  He said… with pure happiness at finding a friend twinkling in his eyes… “you look stunning”.

Being desperately uncool I blurted out my sad  black dress decision making process to which he replied with a wink… let’s see if we can get the dress back to yellow side up by the end of the night.

St John's May ball

And so there I am at 6am… having spun myself around the carousel and into the arms of a handsome english rower in my now-yellow dress. An evening of dancing, adventure and romance sealed with a champagne kiss.

Soooo what makes this party so good? If you even have the slightest dreaming tendencies (as a reader of this blog we’re sure you do!) then it lives up to them… think gorgeous gowns, men in tuxes, flowing champagne, magicians, comedians, fireworks, string quartets, bonafide pop royalty in concert and all set on the rolling greens and castle courts of a magnificent college built in 1511.  It’s the perfect mix of magic, nostalgia, entertainment and party rolled into a momentary wonderland.

If life is just a series of moments to treasure, this was one I will never forget.

(Ps:  And don’t worry, my date for the night found his own god in the St Johns church….hehe… he was a very happy man).



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