One thing that is important to understand about me is that I love a party. Even if that party is as simple as having a couple of people over or if the party is a gigantic boozy celebration. I like parties. I am by no means the life and soul of said parties and I’m definitely not the best social butterfly, I just love to host, plan and create a specifically crafted environment for people to enjoy… the control freak in me jumped out there, didn’t it?
So naturally, when the summer finally arrived in my back garden last Saturday, it was only right to turn a casual drinks with a few of my close friends into an adorable, chilled summer evening with plenty of Pimms.
To turn an old boring table into a beautiful looking summer spread I grabbed a roll of hessian fabric that I purchased around Christmas for a Christmas dinner table runner. If you are a fan of texture, and simple rustic touches then you can grab a large roll of this off amazon for around £10. I know they are a popular choice for weddings, but who is to stop you from using it for any other event that you wish to dress up? Not me! Feel enabled.
I then added this beautiful vase of flowers to the centre of the table. The vase is a £4 cookie jar from Ikea and the flowers are a mix of fresh cut flowers we had purchased the week before from a garden centre and £3.50 peonies from Lidl that I shoved in there. I then added two little plant pots we had previously planted bedding plants in. These were originally solar lights from Lidl but we took the tops off them when they broke and decided to use them as colourful little plant pots instead. They were the perfect size to place either side of the main vase and added an extra little pop of colour to the display.
I then rummaged around in our cupboard and found two simple glass ramequins and popped some tea light candles in each one. Just a nice little extra touch to add some ~mood lighting~ for when the light started to disappear.
For the Pimms I decided that the best way to serve it is by the vat load. We have two of these £10 Classes Ohlson drinks dispensers and I love to fill them with an immense amount of alcohol at any given opportunity. For this batch of Pimms I used roughly 3 parts lemonade and 1 part Pimms and I also free poured in some Vodka, because why the hell not? Rum also works in my experience.
Then I added the usual strawberries, oranges, mint and cucumber into the mix, as well as for garnish with ice into gin glasses. Because who doesn’t want a glass of Pimms the size of their own head?
For food we had a pretty standard BBQ, which I didn’t take any pictures of because by then I was deep into the Pimms and no longer in the mood to interrupt the evening with blog photos. However, I did grab a picture of the ridiculously simple and well loved salad that is one of my favourites to make. I lovingly call this “holiday salad” because we always make it for lunch every time we are on holiday. It’s fresh and quick to make which makes it perfect to accompany any summer meal.
Chop up – an iceberg lettuce, cucumber, red onion. Add in – Any other salad leaves you have to hand or want to include. Drizzle – Olive oil over. Add – Salt and pepper. Squeeze – a lemon into the mix. Chop up and add – fresh garlic. Crumble and add – feta. Mix all together and boom! Simple, easy, yummy. Peppers also work nicely in this salad. Essentially, you can add whatever takes your fancy – I’m not going to try and teach anyone to suck eggs. I just really enjoy this salad combo.
Most pretencious subheading of all time? Yes, most likely but I feel it is the most fitting. Ultimately, the company you have around you will make any evening but I am a firm believer that taking steps to create a specific atmosphere for whatever event you are hosting really can help your guests get into the ~vibe~ of whatever evening you are going for. Music and lighting are important, even if it’s simple choices. There is nothing more hellish to me than sitting talking to people with a bright set of lights on and pure silence in the background. Set a mood, people! If you want a lively night, have a playlist that compliments that with songs you know your guests enjoy and are going to interact with. If you want a relaxed chilled night then choose songs that melt into the background and won’t be a distraction to the conversations you are having. If you want a calm evening to descend into madness then have that playlist that is structured to fit that chaos you have in mind!
For this particular night I chose my Retro Summer playlist that is a mix of folky 70’s and sunny instrumentals. I picked this because a lot of 70’s music screams summer to me, it’s a mix of calming chilled music you can enjoy in the background and a handful of familiar classics that I know my friends like. It was the perfect fit and I did receive the greatest of all compliments – the coveted playlist compliment. Nothing feels better.
For lighting we turned on our fairy lights that we have draped around our patio all year long. Might be a bit cutesy for some but personally I’m a big fan. Being surrounded by low twinkling light instantly creates a relaxed and laid back feeling, whilst also looking as though you’ve made an effort to make the space look beautiful.
None of this is law obviously, this is simply just something I really enjoy doing. It’s nice to put together something thoughtful to make the people you are spending time with feel a bit special. You don’t need to throw a lot of money into it either. Little things like making a playlist you think your guests will like, dressing the space you are in with things you have around the house or garden or just turning that horrendously bright main light off count as little acts of hosting love!