I have held plenty of parties but over the past weekend, I held an accidental alfresco dinner party and I am feeling ever so grown up - a far cry from a birthday party that had to be shut down by the university security team because the party got too raucous and I had to face the Dean. If they could all see me now. Ha!
The mosquito net does disguise the building site, wouldn't you say? I bought it for reasonable price from good old IKEA. I installed some outdoor lights to hang above. The net hangs from a plum tree which came into bloom for the first time in years. On the subject of nets, I got the table cloth from Dunelm. The cushions are from various shops, including Sainsbury and TK Maxx. I get them during the sales and made sure the material was durable for the outdoors.
I bought some flowers from a local vendor along Hampstead Heath. She always has beautiful arrangements and believe you me, I have no idea how she got hold of peonies which are out of season, and (bonus!) they were reasonably priced. I arranged the flowers in a vase that I got many years ago. I think I have had that pink vase for over 15 years after receiving it as a gift.
I have been collecting unique dishes and plates for over 3 years. My favourite collection is from Studio One Suite. These pink plates are just so fabulous with the gold trim. The Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle, is a fan. I found out just before her instagram was taken down when she got married. Studio One Suite is also on Instagram and I recommend that you look at her pottery work. It is so different and absolutely stunning. I am trying to collect as many different styles and colours as possible so that I have enough to host a Christmas dinner party for all my family. I bought the gold cutlery from Zara Homes. I waited for the sales of course.
I also collect coloured glasses, from green to purple to white opaque, from vintage to new, from tall tumblers to small wine glasses. This blue one is not vintage. I bought it from Matalan’s home department.
The inspiration for my dinner table decoration came from Bourne & Hollingsworth, who do a fabulous bottomless Sunday brunch. I go there frequently with girlfriends and stagger home at 2pm. One day, I will have a conservatory or kitchen that looks like this with Crittal glass window and hanging plants. This is on my vision board for our new cottage extension.
As the weather was warm , I decided on an assortment of salads and chicken for dinner, followed by ice-cream. I made a spicy kale salad, a broccoli salad and a quinoa salad. I cheated and ordered Nando’s as I didn’t have enough time to make marinated chicken for my guests. I later grilled some asparagus wrapped around with bacon to soak up all the champagne consumed.
My guests really enjoyed the salads and I was happy because before attempting vegan meals, I would have never thought of just making salads as a meal for a dinner party. Next time, I am going to try to leave out meat completely and find alternative proteins.