Tag Archives: celebrations

Celebrating Murder Mystery Style

While our family really enjoy celebrating and instilling family traditions, we are not the best at our own birthday parties. Kids parties we kick ass at (did you see the weather change for the most gorgeous bike park party as if it was controlled by my very own hand?), but when it comes to the hub and I, our birthdays seem to pass us by without much intention…

But this year – oh this year.

An old friend of mine, Lisa, has recently revived her passion for Murder Mystery Dinners (more-so helping others create them), and while I’d heard of them I didn’t know much about them. Hidden somewhere in the ice cream tubs of memories from our early 20’s (shoved to the back of the study) there are pics of my hubby at a Murder Mystery Dinner with our Durban crew (obviously before I arrived on the scene). This year, Theran’s birthday was conveniently timed with the release of Lisa’s Murder Mystery DIY ebook. I immediately downloaded the ebook and said to the hub – “Let’s do THIS for your birthday!”. Fuuuuuun (and finally I get to participate in one this time). Sold!

We settled on a few close friends (following the suggested best number of guests the ebook had mentioned), saved the date and immediately anticipation began building. Stoked!

3 weeks, winter school holidays, work deadlines, a weekend away, and a Good Food Club complete, it was suddenly the Monday before the dinner. Knowing it was screaming its urgency on my mental to-do list, in a flat panic I messaged Lisa. Something along the lines of “ummmmm hi there, so finally got down to the Murder Mystery Dinner and, well ummm, I’m a little confused, and I think I need to know more than I do and fumble fumble fumble, waffle waffle waffle, HELP!”. A few voice notes back and forth (Lisa must have heard the panic in my voice) she offered to come over to chat to both Theran and I about how to host a stellar Murder Mystery. With the kids in bed and chocolate croissants in the oven, Lisa arrived, armed with EVERY-THING we needed (enthusiasm to match) for our very first Murder Mystery Dinner.

Premise explained, printables provided, characters developed – we were SET UP (let’s not joke around, if you’re hosting one of these things, you gotta be on the ball). We received from her – her flagship Print-and-Play game (avail from her for R299), menu suggestions, name cards, tips and tricks, props – everything we needed, not only to make it look gorgeous, but also professional and something you can’t help but buy into.

Hold up! What exactly is a Murder Mystery dinner you may be asking? 

Well… in the simplest terms a murder mystery dinner is a themed dinner party that involves dressing up, acting and detecting which guest is the killer by the close of the game. Someone (not present at the party… duh!) has been killed, and someone attending the party did it (ahhh, gasp, shock, horror!). No one but the host knows who the murderer is, and secrets are revealed throughout the night with clues as to who it is. Props give away clues, guesses are made, crazy confessions come to light, and the murderer is finally revealed!

Terrified?

I’ll be honest, some friends were nervous. So was I – my character was French and I’m the worst accents person ever. Ever. But that’s all part of the fun – wangling my way through an evening where while being born in France, my nomadic parents travelled when I was young and my accent was misplaced by our numerous international adventures and and and (all made up – you get the idea).

And we had a BALL. What a fun, bizarre, hysterical, and unforgettable evening. My mom helped with the food so that it was less pressure for us to do that, and set up, and be in character (we have 3 small kids remember, nothing happens ‘easily’).

I was totally blown away by how incredibly well some friends embraced their characters and chirps were flowing (as was the wine and homemade Whisky cream liqueur)… It can be trying for some to get into character, and the best way to do that is for the evening itself to be well organised, create a legit environment and have your guests know this is for REAL. (Once the murderer is revealed, you can then break character).

KEEN?

If you’re at ALL interested in hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner, OR trying one out at a corporate function (oh my hat sooooo much fun!), I really would recommend you contact Lisa Aspeling.

I’d encourage you to firstly, download the ebook, take a peek at the website, join her closed group on Facebook – The Murder Mystery Guide Dinner Club – or you can contact her directly:

Possible ways of getting started: 

  • Download the ebook and follow the tips to developing your own story.
  • Purchase Lisa’s Print-and-Play game (R299).
  • Contact Lisa about a Weekend Workshop where she will help you put your own custom-made murder mystery together, as well as the opportunity to experience one yourself (R1500, includes private dining restaurant dinner for murder mystery (cash bar) Places are limited.)

Contact Lisa Aspeling: 072 372 8620 or email lisa@murdermysteryguide.com.

Lisa has over 10 years’ experience playing murder mystery dinner games she’s written herself, games she’s co-written and dinners where she’s been just an ordinary guest.

GO FOR IT! It really is such a fun experience and something so different to your usual sit down dinner! You won’t regret it.

Reflections on Christmas, by a Doula (me), and not a Theologian (the hub).

I love Christmas. There is so much to love about it – the food, the festivities, the giving, the joy. Only this year did I calculate exactly how many family traditions (or events) we shmoosh into this beautiful period of celebration. There are many.

Between my husband and my family, I could count over 10. From baking our own mince pies, to acting the nativity scene (dressed up and with specific roles!), to Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party and Carols at Kirstenbosch. This season is full – and wonderful.

And so full of WONDER. For so many years we celebrated Jesus’s birth – in the manger, with angels and shepherds and that all important star – all so neat and tidy and lovely sitting in the church pew thinking ‘let’s hurry home now and open presents’ (a firm childhood memory of mine)…

Only after having my own kids (and falling in love with birth) have I begun to imagine that birth differently. I love to imagine how hard it must’ve been for Mary and Joseph to (physically) escape to Bethlehem. (If you’ve had those STABBING pains UP your vajay-jay as if you’re about to give birth there and then can you imagine what that must have been like for Mary). I wonder how often she thought she might not make it – with the bobbing up and down on a donkey and Jesus most likely decending into position, pushing on her bladder. I imagine her fear and desperation not finding a place to stay, and then the mix of relief and discomfort finding a stable, a place to finally sit down, and then ‘prepare for the birth’. I wonder how long her birth was, how long did she push for (birth-nerd talk), and how the baby was delivered? At what point did her waters break? Was he breach? Was he posterior? How did Joseph handle it all? Did he freak out? Had either of them seen birth before – they were young… What did they do with the umbilical cord? Was there a moment of divine intervention from heaven above, or was it all really… human. This is BIRTH. Real, raw, scary, beautiful, empowering BIRTH. Yet the birth of a King.

Was there a split second of Peace on Earth? I doubt Mary was wearing white cloths neatly wrapped around her body (for one, there was no Aerial or Omo back in that day). If you’ve seen birth, nothing remains white. The cloth Jesus was wrapped in must have been covered with amniotic fluid, vernix and blood. This was the very messy, very real, very on-the-run birth of Christ. The Christ, the Saviour of the World. I wonder how long Mary and Joseph stared at Jesus wondering if he really was their Saviour.

And so as I reflect this Christmas, I think what I’m realising is that things often don’t look ‘right’. Surely Jesus should’ve had more to wear than swaddling cloths and a more comfy bed than a used animal trough? This picture is nothing like immaculately wrapped up gifts under the tree and the perfectly roasted gammon presented on a Pinterest worthy dining room table. There is nothing wrong with those things – I too love to celebrate WELL – but it seems the picture of Jesus’ birth and the deeper truth sometimes don’t seem to match up in ways we might imagine. This messy birth, and our Saviour on earth. This confusion leads us to Trust; to have Faith – two things it seems we need to possess in larger and larger quantities nowadays, in a world spinning off its axis and one in which we control far less than what we like to believe. Life is hard, and life can be scary; there are unknowns, and mess seems to be everywhere. In our humanness, we cannot understand it – well, I sure can’t.

Luke 2:12: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”

Wherever you find yourself currently… It’s coming. He is Hope. Be it in your heart, or here again in his Creation, we await his coming. We sit in the labour pains of the mysteries to come.

It’s almost time. Keep pushing, keep breathing. Behold, He is coming soon.

Image Credit: Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/newline.wireimage.com, https://brandonacox.com/advent-always-hope/.