Top tips for easy entertaining
We had friends round for brunch on Sunday and it was very lovely. We were out celebrating another friend’s birthday on Saturday night so I knew I had to prepare ahead, as there would just be time to roll out of bed and have a shower to shake the hangover on Sunday morning! We love entertaining (brunch, dinner, karaoke, cocktails … you name it, we love to host it) so over time I have developed these tried and tested tips for easy entertaining. I have a friend who is so on top of things he types up a detailed timeline for the day of the do; I’m not quite that organised but here are my top tips for stress free hosting!
1. Plan food that you can prepare in advance. Inspired by my mum, an expert in prepare-ahead meals, I always try to choose a menu which can be prepped earlier in the day (or the night before) and either popped in the oven or quickly assembled on the plates when our guests get here. For brunch we had this spinach and cheese strata (with added chorizo) which I smugly put together before going out on Saturday night! Much less stressful than the tapas feast I made last month which left me in a total last minute flap: lesson learned.
2. Set your table as far ahead as you like, and pick out your serving dishes too. If we’re hosting on a weeknight, I might set the table in the morning before work, or even the night before. It always takes longer than you think to find the matching cutlery (we have two sets that always get mixed up), and the sight of the table all set and ready has a strangely calming effect on pre-party nerves. The same goes for doing any dishes the preparations have created so you start the festivities with a clear, clean kitchen.
3. Clean your bathroom and put out a fresh hand towel. Even if it’s just hanging on top of your own damp towels from your hangover-clearing shower, this is a must.
4. Pick out lighting and a playlist to set the mood: whether it’s bright and bouncy for a big party, or nice and soothing for an early brunch, both can really help to get you and your guests in the right mood.
5. Get yourself very nearly ready before you finish off the food. I usually do my hair and makeup before the final food preparations so all I have to do at the last minute is change my clothes. We live on the fourth floor so at a push I can get changed in the time it takes visitors to climb the stairs!