The name's Bakes, Lydia Bakes...
I spent the last year planning a surprise party for my beloved Mr S's 30th birthday with a James Bond Casino Royale theme.
First of all, let me advise anyone who is crazy enough to plan such a large scale event secretly when they are married to the person it is for. Don't do it!
I can honestly say that planning this party was almost as hard and as much work as planning our wedding!
The tricky part was keeping it secret, you cannot imagine how many little lies I had to keep track of. That and getting everyone else to buy things for me so it wouldn't be obvious on our bank statement.
I went to great lengths to keep this whole thing a surprise, I even took the day off work the day before the party to set up, all without Mr S knowing. Sneaky sneaky.
I planned for him to spend the day with his friends doing all his favourite activities, bowling, golfing and rock climbing until the week before he put his shoulder out at work! Uh oh! Change of plans!
Instead of my well thought out plan, I got his best friend to pick him up unannounced and take him to an all you can eat Pizza Hutt (old school!) then drive him to his brothers place where he ate junk food, played games and drunk beer with his friends. Although it wasn't what I had planned it was still exactly what Mr S enjoys, spending time with his friends relaxing.
While all this was going on I managed to set up the party at his sisters house. I transferred her pool room into a James Bond themed casino, complete with shooting practice area, a photo booth, poker tables, food and drinks areas and a photo board with a guest book for guests to sign.
When guests arrived (half an hour before Mr S) they were each given a name badge with their agent name and their first secret mission: an ice breaker game "find someone who..." guests then had to find people who had driven an Aston Martin, owned a gun or whose name started with "M".
After filling guests in on the plan, we stood against the side of the room, I got the James Bond music ready and as Mr S approached the door I clicked play. Mr S took off his blind fold and we yelled "SURPRISE!" The look on Mr S's face was priceless!
After letting it sink in for a moment I ran over to Mr S and gave him a big hug and kiss and said "happy birthday!" Then I started to tell him all about the plans and how I wasn't really at work the day before.
After guests enjoyed shooting targets and playing poker I gave them each their second secret mission, a James Bond trivia quiz.
A few months earlier my Mum and I made a huge backdrop made from curtain material with the James Bond gun barrel picture on it (the one at the start of every movie). It took a while for people to get the hang of it but by the end of the night we had people dressed in wigs and hats striking poses with guns. The photos came out great! Exactly as I had planned!
As well as the back drop for the photo booth I also made gold bars out of card and put them in a brief case on the food table, I also made giant dice from large boxes which I covered in white wrapping paper and painted on the dots. The targets for the shooting wall were actually purchased from Trademe and only cost 50 cents each! Score!
As you can imagine, Mr S gets a fair bit more cake than the average person, so for his "cake" I decided to make a dummy version, rather than make what I had in mind and all that cake go to waste. I covered large squares of polystyrene in red and white fondant then intricately cut out the 007 and James Bond silhouette which I traced from pictures I printed out. The 30 on top was made of a mixture of gum paste and red fondant and the diamonds on the side were non-edible and bought from an emporium.
Instead of eating normal cake, Mr S enjoyed his favourite thing- lemon loaf! As well as lemon loaf we loaded the tables up with his other favourite foods, bacon and egg pie, chips, crackers and cheese, spring rolls and samosas.
The incredible part about all the food was that I didn't make any of it! That's no joke! I managed to delegate every thing to my amazing friends who all put in 100% effort to make the party super special.
One of the things I am most proud of from the party was the guest book. I made a "secret agents database" where guests put all their details in (name, date of birth etc) then write how they know agent Mr S, their fondest memory with him and their birthday message to him. Lastly, they put a thumb print on the page, all of this information kept "strictly confidential" of course! It is such a lovely keepsake from the party and definitely a bit different to your average guest book!
All in all the party went exactly as planned and I couldn't have been happier with the outcome. It was a lot of work to keep secret and organise over the last year but it was every bit worth it for Mr S. He had an amazing time and was blown away by the all the effort everyone put in.
Happy birthday Mr S!