A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

Hosting a Garden Party

The UK is not famous for having the most amazing weather (last year was an exception) the days of sunshine are a great excuse for a garden party. But now that the weather is finally hotting up here in the UK, it is a good time to start thinking about your outdoor space.

It makes such a difference when you can get family and friends round for a BBQ or even just drinks and nibbles. I think we all feel better sitting outside in the fresh air as it gives us a sense of well-being. With a little bit of forward planning you can hold a party to remember! Here I am going to give you a few ideas on the kind of things you might need.

Garden party sign on wooden gate

Image ©zerbor - Can Stock Photo Inc

Gazebo or Party Tent:
Now, these come in a range of colours and sizes, some have sides like those of a party tent but some only have the roof part so are more like a canopy with a frame to hold it up. Depending on the size of your garden, what kind of party you’re planning (and of course the unpredictable great British weather) you might want to consider investing one of these even if it’s just to keep the beer and wine out of the sun or keep it dry should there be a rain shower.

To keep kids entertained they will love those wigwams you can buy. As a child, I remember my brother and me had a wigwam; we used to go garden camping and absolutely loved it, it kept us entertained for hours!

You might also need a parasol or umbrella for over the table or anywhere else, you may need shade from the hot sun, especially if you have anyone with small kids coming to your party.

Garden Furniture:
Rattan garden furniture is so lovely you might find you don’t really want to put it outside and so depending on the style you choose, it can be perfect in a conservatory. Rattan weave is hand woven onto aluminium frames for additional support and comfort and the chairs come with nice comfortable cushions.

Lighting and Heating:
Of course, if your garden party is in the daytime you will not need to worry about lighting. On the other hand, it could go on until dusk so some form of lighting is a good idea; check your local online furniture stores for different lighting ideas. These days outdoor lighting is solar powered so no need to be worrying about electrics. Available in a range of colours LED lights are fantastic as they give out a lot of light.

I particularly like those spheres that light up; I think they can look good and give a lovely light without being too bright. Oh, and have you seen the Party Glo LED light up ice buckets? Such a great idea, you can easily see where the wine is to top up your empty glass after dark!

Garden party food can be as fancy or not so fancy as you like. BBQ’s are possibly the favourite for most and you can buy a lot of good food that can be cooked from frozen from all good supermarkets;  Iceland the well-known frozen food store has a huge range that is great quality and excellent value for money. I wrote a post on BBQ Food Made Easy a couple of years back so the exact products may now not be available but I am sure they will have similar products in store.

Apart from the more common BBQ food of burgers and sausages, you might like to try making my Baby Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Feta cheese; which are so easy there is not even a real recipe. You can make this in advance earlier in the day then cover in cling film and refrigerate. If you don’t have enough room in your fridge, it can still be prepared as long as it stays covered and indoors but I’d leave adding the Feta until nearer cooking time.

Pimms, wine, beer and of course soft drinks; don’t forget people that may be driving and so will not be drinking anything alcoholic. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options of beer and wine available in any good supermarket. Oh and don’t forget ice cubes; again you can buy those in large bags from the frozen food department while you’re shopping for drinks.

Most importantly have a great time. If you prepare in advance it will be less stress for you on the day. All this talk of partying has made me want to have one!

Have a great time but please remember to drink responsibly.

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