It’s going to be a busy bank holiday in my house and since ’tis the season to entertain friends and family I thought I’d share a few tips to make your event as fuss free and stylish as possible.
The Menu – plan your menu in advance and preferably a low maintenance menu i.e. one that doesn’t require your full attention at every step of the way. I’m talking slow roast dishes, tagines, sharing platters, salads and so on and if possible serve it at the table where guests serve themselves.
The Table – If you don’t already lay the table the night before then I urge you to change your ways and start doing so! I firmly believe that the atmosphere you create goes a long way to ensuring your guests have a great time so it’s important to focus on the details. Preparing the table actually takes a lot longer than you’d think, particularly if you need to hunt around for your best china and want to add some extra table decorations. Doing this the night before will free you up on the day of your event to concentrate on other things such as food preparation and some last minute pampering should you need it. I try to get a blow dry the day before if I can squeeze it in, your hair looks fab and it saves you a lot of time on the day.
Styling – There is only one place for endless party style inspiration and it’s called Pinterest of course! You can have a look at my table setting inspiration board here if you want some ideas. I favour a white table cloth these days which I like to accessorise with candles and flowers or a bit of greenery from the garden. Herbs work really well too as an inexpensive and fragrant alternative. The thing is to keep your table arrangements small enough for people to be able to speak to each other across the table. There’s nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with a huge vase of flowers in the way.
Over the years I have collected a selection of good quality vintage crystal glasses and crockery from either older relatives who were having a clear out or charity shops. It’s a great way of upcycling and gives your table a unique look. The White Company, Zara Home and Ikea are some of my favourite places for home accessories.
Home Prep – you are going to think I’m mad (or perhaps you are guilty of this too!) but there was a time when I would clean the WHOLE house from top to bottom whenever we had people round. The whole thing would leave me stressed and flustered as there was never enough time to get everything done. Since no guest would actually check my dusty skirting boards, I have learnt not to waste anymore time on a deep clean at times like these. The key is to tidy and declutter the space you are going to be using, by that I mean shove all your clutter in cupboards and under the beds where it cannot be seen! You can go through it all at another time. Give the place a once over and make sure your bathrooms is clean and well supplied with hand wash, hand towels etc. Allocate a space for coats and other belongings and get on with having some fun!
What’s everyone up to this weekend? I’d love to hear your tips for a successful gathering, leave me a comment in the ever-so-handy comments box.