Last summer taught us a great life lesson that unless you have written cooperation from the Scottish weather gods  don’t attempt to plan any alfresco shindigs as it will literally rain on your parade.  So how is a girl to entertain without stressing in summer?
Plan for impromptu fun of course!
I know how crazy & contradictory that sounds but hear us out.  By sorting out the basics; suitable outdoor entertaining space, cute decor, a reasonably stocked pantry, a few bottles of wine the stage is set for one of those “it wasn’t planned” unforgettable spur of the moment wild nights!
BASIC PARTY PREP CHECKLIST

All of the below are available for all sorts of budgets so shop around, remembering if there’s something better than shopping it’s getting a bargain!

  • Create your Outdoor entertaining space:
  • Tables & chairs are ideal  but tree stumps, stools or loads of cushions are just as nice
  • Decor: Tablecloths are always pretty especially in cream or white with either napkins in complementary colours or bright napkins with bold patterns to make more a statement. Candles & flowers are always a welcoming addition to any tabletop & seriously who doesn’t own at least one candle! (Candle light is great for many things; instant prettiness with the soft focus glow, it keeps away annoying bugs & can mean a great night can continue into the wee small hours!) From florist’s posies to a bunch of wildflowers, by simply displaying them outside in a vase or jar any table will look elegant & put together.
  • Outdoor picnic ware is always a good idea to have & is very handy to avoid any boozy breakages when cocktails are being quaffed! Supermarkets are doing loads of really cute plastic ware at great prices. The glasses pictured are from matalan, they look like elegant crystal glassware but unbelievably they are plastic & really inexpensive!  Along with the tumblers & pitchers they are a great find, timeless enough to use for loads of occasions – yay for poshplastic !
  • Drinks -Most households have at least a bottle or two of wine in them most weeks, ideally coming up to the summer months you should be aware of building up a small supply of alcohol or non alcoholic drinks. Fruit juices, pimms, bubbly(from champagne to sparkling wine) are all handy to have in! We will talk about planned parties another day…
  • Food –Note for foodies:  you are the type of person that has a beautifully stocked pantry that rivals waitrose or peckhams, dream of the next day’s menu & can turn leftovers into cordon blue cooking so whipping up late night canapés & suppers will be no trouble to you, do I won’t insult you with my beyond basics. So please skip this section!

For the non foodie& irregular shopper!
Try these;
Quick bruschetta – toasted bread with chopped tomatoes,balsamic vinegar,garlic & red onions
Mini pizza bites –
Rustic platters – crackers, cheeses, chutneys,meats (whatever is in your fridge & in date!) displayed on a nice wooden chopping board
Dips & crackers – selection of crackers, hummus,philadelphia spread, sour cream
And if all else fails order a takeaway – one of the best meals ever is champagne. & chips in the fresh air !!!

Some crafty ways to create a pretty party atmosphere!!

Pretty icecubes -Fruit on its last legs (especially berries) make the cutest ice cubes- just wash fruit, fill ice cube tray with water pop in fruit then freeze . Great for summer cocktails or to simply make a glass of water more interesting. Kids love them too!
Child’s play…Cheap customised cushions
If you have an outdoors area but no money or space for outdoor furniture, throw a bundle of cushions out to create a casual gathering. Even better is to customise some cheap or old cushions with cute quotes or inside jokes that only your nearest & dearest will get !  After hunting for dotty cushions, we decided to buy a cheap ikea cushion cover for £3 & a gold sharpie & just basically went dotty drawing all over it. It washed fine & we still like it.
Using the same method we took an old jar & drew dots on that too, it’s perfect for little tea lights or flowers! Make sure you use a permanent marker like a sharpie though,so it doesn’t rub off on someone’s white trousers!!