One of the first messages I received this morning was a cry for help on how to throw a last minute party. Lucy had just found out at 7am this morning her gangs NYE plans had crashed and burned, and she was nominated to sort out their party. She was panicking.
What will I do
I've 30 people coming all expecting a good time
What will we eat - drink - dance to
I don't have enough glasses
How can I fit everyone in
My house is a mess
Questions like these streamed from her message as did her panic and a sense of how overwhelmed she was.
My first piece of advice at all times like this is KIS
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Parties do not need infinite organisation and planning to be good. A lastminute get together can be just as much fun as a complex multi layered party which has been planned for months.
I always start with my kitchen notebook or a piece of blank unlined paper. Here I suggest you note down what you need for the party -
People - who's coming what expertise is their in my guest list I can draw upon ie who's a great baker or cocktail shaker, who could make a few playlists, etc etc
Food - cheese, fruit and crackers & bowls of chocolates & clementines, chutneys
Venue - my house, kitchen, bathrooms (clean towels, check soap, loo roll, airfresher her etc), garden (candles, firepit), downstairs lock study/ bedrooms etc
Drinks - mulled cider make a big pot then ask others to BYO
Party caper & decoration - hats, glitter, candles, lanterns, sparklers
Glassware, candles, crockery - paper ad disposable tea lights in jam jars outside and in, extra fairy lights
Immediately everything is much more doable and it's easy to identify who can help and where and what jobs they will do.
If I was hosting Lucy's party I'd nip down to Marks as Spencer and buy the following cheeses because they offer a range of textures and flavours, temperatures and tastes.
Cornish blue nuts & honey - I love cheese as nuts and a bowl of honey or some drizzled over the plate brings out the flavour of the cheeses
Creamery Lancashire caramelised red onion & chilli chutney - this comes in a fab little pot which immediately looks great on the cheese plate and its easily served with a spoon.
Brie terrines with windfall chutney - these soft cheese blends are great for those who don't like strong flavour
Black sticks blue cheese & white port with cream - this is heated and served with crackers or bits of crispy bread.
A cheese table allows guests to nibble all night without the need for courses hours in the kitchen or stress. Once the table is set and the cheeses put out there's nothing more to do. Only replenish if necessary.
I'd also ask all my guests to bring a piece of cheese and a bottle of cider which could then be added to my mulled cider which I'd serve in big jugs and keep warm on the cooker in a gigantic pan all evening.
Happy New Year my friends. May 2013 be a cracking and sparkling one for you and yours.
That's it for now ...
Salt & Sparkle = life Remarkable