We’re not going to let lockdown take away our summer completely are we?! With the sun shining away this week, why not get into the kitchen and cook up a mean treat for your family at home this summer. There’s no need to go away just yet and a summer party or mini-BBQ at home might be the best way to go. If you have a slightly bigger space and are seeing people in your social bubbles, you could even try to organise a mini-festival!
I took the kids to visit a friend in our social bubble this week and she has a massive outdoor communal garden where we were able to create a mini-retreat space for the kids. We had a pool so the kids could take a dip when it got too hot, a healthy picnic lunch, games for the kids to play and we ended the evening with kids yoga. It was an awesome day and we all had an amazing time!
How to throw a sizzlin’ summer party…
Depending on how much effort you want to put in, you can still throw a decent party by doing the following:
- setting the scene
- save time by preparing easy to make food
- get the music and drinks flowing
- get out the party games
- take photos to remember the day
Setting the scene: have a party theme
If you’re stuck for inspiration or your Google search is not you any justice, I’d highly suggest checking out Pinterest. It’s an amazing media platform where you’d find photos for absolutely anything. I usually like to do a brief search on Google before heading over to Pinterest to find examples of what my theme/concept is. There’s usually many variations and interpretations of “summer party idea” so try to be as specific as you can ie. ‘summer tropical party idea’ or ‘vintage summer party idea’.
If you’re also going to be hosting for friends and family in your social bubbles, it might be easier to use disposable party-ware but forget all the plastic stuff. Party-ware has officially stepped up their game with recyclable, compostable and biodegradable disposables so it’s more friendly to the environment.
Swap your plates, cutlery and straws for these beauties. They look so pretty too! I’ve found a whole range on Party Delights and Amazon offers both square and round plates.
I’ve got my eye on a super-cute children’s 6pc bamboo set on Amazon- they’re easy to wash and nicer to use than plastic tableware which we have quite a few of now.. no more breaks and chips woop woop!
Save time by preparing easy to make food
As much as I love to cook, I actually hate preparing food for a party. I find it’s too time consuming and so much planning need to go into it. I’d simply rather buy something already made well than trying to DIY for the first time, or get a caterer in. However, there are a few simple dishes that I love making for a party which don’t require too much time, I’ll have to upload my own recipes for some of these but here’s my list of easy-to-make dishes:
Egg & Potato Salad
Here’s an awesome recipe from Foodie Crush
This recipe by Inspired Taste is on-point with the red cabbage!
This BBC Good Food recipe is my all-time fave and forms the base of all my brownie creations. If brownies are too tricky for you, buy a pre-made mix like this one from the Bottled Baking Co.
Apple & Banana Bread Loaf
This recipe adapted from Melissa Hemsley’s version is simple and so tasty
Homemade Vegan Chickpea Burgers
This is my own recipe and I love it so much. It’s vegan-friendly too! No time to prep? PEP Kitchen‘s got you covered with ready made meals.
Need more recipe inspiration? Tesco have 10 quick BBQ recipes that are simple and easy to follow. They look super tasty too!
Get the music + drinks flowing
No party is a party without music. The easiest way is to connect your phone or electronic device to the speakers and you’ve got your own sound system. You can also play music straight from your TV if the speakers are loud enough. We have our own mini speaker that’s mega-powerful for its tiny size. Forget all those big name brands, the name you need to know is ANKER. My friend told me about this brand and I’ve not looked back since. I got my SoundCore bluetooth speaker for a third of the price I would’ve paid for a Sony speaker. Simply connect it to bluetooth on your phone and that’s it – music! On my phone I use Spotify and another music app to play YouTube videos so I can use my phone whilst the music plays.
Having a variety of drinks at your party is a good idea. We’re not drinkers in our house so I’m not sure what is the best one to choose but from what others have told me, summer alcoholic beverages are a treat, such as PIMMS, strawberry daiquiri cocktails, rum punch, sangria, and prosecco. Binary Botanical offer a range of gluten-free, vegan beers
If you’re T-Total like us, then these drinks might quench your thirst:
- Alcohol-free alcohol – Kopparberg do an alcohol-free cider, Shloer is another great supermarket name and alternative to wine, Seedlip offer a premium range of alc-free botanical gins. For mocktail lovers, try Sipling cocktails which are alc-free and Outfox for a range of non-alc wines
- lemonade and ginger beer are summer party staples – I love the shop bought stuff but if you want to get more involved, try making your own homemade version
- summer fruit smoothies – The Honestly Good Smoothie Co. for ready-to-blend smoothie bags help cuts down prep time and saves on wastage
- naturally spiced soft drinks – with choices like tamarind, ginger and sorrel, Carisips have got you sorted
Get out the party games
Party games are fun for everyone. Best children’s games include giant ring toss, giant snakes and ladders or connect-4. You can usually purchase these from Argos. Other kids games that only need a few or no props include:
- team races – eg. relay race, egg and spoon race, sack race
- hide & seek
- scavenger hunt
- who am I (using post-its or sticky labels)
We nabbed a cheap plastic kids bowling set for £5 from a cheap store. If you want games that won’t cost a penny, Thifty Parent and Buzz Feed have a decent list of games you can play.
Take photos to remember the day
Take photos of the day to remember either on your phone, tablet or electronic device. Snapfish (10cm x 13cm) and SuperSnaps (6.7cm x 7.7cm) offer retro square prints that have that cool, polaroid picture effect to make your day really memorable. I’m still torn on getting an INSTAX square camera for Little Man’s birthday but that’s an extra splurge I don’t think I want to get into.