So, what do you do when planning a surprise birthday party, in a country you don’t currently live in, over Easter weekend? Well, if you’re me, set your heart on an ambitious theme, leave yourself just two weeks to handcraft the decorations and (themed) buffet, and hope for the best!
All things considered, it could have gone a lot worse, and, I got to buy a glue gun, so in my eyes I was already winning! (It’s the small things).
The theme? Dr. Who. The occasion (as if one was needed)? 30th birthday.
I did start off relatively organised, and I had the majority of the invites done in good time. I did kind of regret the invite design though. What looks great as a one off in pictures on Pinterest? Not so cute when you’re making 30 of them, and needed to make the opening out Tardis as accurate as possible. Oh, and you’re trying to do it in secret…As a sidenote though, tiled floors make a great surface for cutting out said Tardis’ from card, and have the added bonus of not leaving Tardis shapes in the chopping board (my original cutting surface). I did cut back on the perfectionist streak I didn’t realise I had, when detailing the front of the invites. So on the up side, I learn quick! Two white rectangles and one black one, and an executive decision that the 10th Doctor’s Tardis is the best (no St. John Ambulance sign) and the invites were done! And after a long, hot soak in the bath, I was just about able to do a little happy victory dance! 😀 Just don’t get me started on postage costs to the UK from Qatar…
Decorations came next (well, a long time after, if we’re being picky*) *accurate.
I decided bunting was entirely necessary, so I made three different designs. This is also about the time I had an epiphany and decided a glue gun would complete my life. Totally unrelated.
My favourite bunting was the 10th and 11th Doctor outfits, an idea I saw on Pinterest. Oh! Realising Pinterest lets you create ‘secret’ boards? Absolute lifesaver. I even got my mother in law signed up to it, so I could inundate her with food and decoration ideas. If she didn’t think I was a bit crazy before…:D I got my mum involved with cutting the triangles out of fabric for the bunting – I let her do three before the control freak in me couldn’t cope anymore. I found my level was letting her hold the fabric to the cotton tape after I’d glued it. And even then I kept getting told off for doing it myself
The other bunting was a ‘Bad Wolf’ Tardis, which my lovely big sister encouraged my niece to help me with. I was trying to do my best, ‘nice Auntie Charlie’ voice, while letting her feel like she was helping, without letting her near too much (anything), and trying not to freak out when she scrubbed the glue stick across the paper with wild abandon. She’s three. She was excited. I’m a terrible person. I know.
The final bunting was my favourite Dr Who quotes, of which there were far too many! I ran out of cotton tape, so a packet of mini pegs and some leftover Christmas string (yep, I have specific ‘Christmas string’) had to suffice. It actually looked pretty cool, if I do say so myself!
What else? A little felt Adipose! I wish I’d made more of these, but I didn’t have as much white felt as I thought. A disorganised perfectionist, yeah, I know.
And what Dr. Who party is complete without a weeping angel? For which I butchered and then glue gunned a fake Barbie doll. I’d do a few things differently if I made another, but I was pretty pleased with the end result. It sufficiently creeped people out, even those who knew nothing about Dr. Who, and I staged it with some ‘Don’t Blink’ candles to really drive the point home. I did a few other candle holders as well. Ok, more than few. In the end I think they entertained me more than anyone else, even the birthday boy didn’t get a few of the references, but at least I was amused!
I also made a Tardis covering for the front door, as you do. It was last minute and extremely stressful, but it looked ace, if you didn’t look too close! It was fabric for the main part, and my Dad painstakingly did the Police Public Call Box sign. I have a feeling I was letting my ogre side out at this point, as he checked half a dozen times that he was doing the right thing, and it took him (what felt like) three days to get it done to his satisfaction.
Oh yeah, I also managed to launch myself off a table while putting the Tardis up, so I was left with a little ‘souvenir’ (MASSIVE bruise) of the party. The best point though, as I lay curled up on the floor trying to assess the damage and concentrate on breathing at the same time, was my mum – she was holding scissors and had tried to catch me as I fell, she asked, ‘Did I get you?’ Did I get you?! No mum, but thanks for trying.
Still with me? Bit worried about my sanity yet? What else? The food. Ok, I gave up on having themed everything. A) Because I ran out of ideas, and B) Because some semblance of common sense and timing kicked in. BUT, I did do a ‘Cassandra’ lasagne, little marshmallow adipose, (sidenote: is adipose like sheep? Or is it adiposes?!) bowtie pasta (because bowties are cool), ‘fishfingers’ and custard – this was a point when I realised people were actually concerned. I was offering around the mini pots of custard with ‘fishfinger’ dippers (bearing in mind it’s a Dr. Who themed party, and everyone knows the 11th Doctor has a craving for fishfingers and custard when he regenerates) and people were actually concerned I was offering real fish fingers…
Me and my mother and sister in law also came up with some themed cocktails. We looked up some recipes, but to be honest, a lot of them had stuff in we’d never heard of. So it ended up with me and my mother in law in the booze aisle, making them up as we went along. They went down pretty well though – a Sonic Screwdriver, Tardis-tini and Waters of Mars. I couldn’t possibly say how much of exactly what alcohol and mixers went in (especially after the first batch), but they were tasty!
That was about it I think. Everyone arrived on time, with the usual last minute cancellations and panic that people would arrive at the exact time as the birthday boy.
Oh, actually, one other thing. The main thing. The thing that made this particular surprise party a joy to organise? My 9 months pregnant sister in law selfishly going into full labour on the day of the party! To be fair I don’t think she did it on purpose, but it did halve my workforce as my in laws had to go up to the hospital, and there was some creative texting going on to keep the birthday boy from either coming home or going up to the hospital at inopportune times! It made the day even more special, becoming an Auntie and Uncle again to a gorgeous baby girl!
All in all, I think everyone had a good time. Either that or they were too scared to say otherwise. I couldn’t possibly comment…