6 secrets to stress-free entertaining

These simple ideas will ensure your party is all style and no stress

1. Clear drinks only, please

This is a policy that’s oh-so easy to enforce and will cut the risk of your gorgeous Paola Navone-style white sofa suffering a stain. From gin and tonic and crément to elderflower mocktails and sparkling water, you’re certain to find something to please even the most diva-ish of guests.

2. Damn lots of decorating

Keeping your decorations to a minimum is a sure-fire way to cut back on cleaning. This is particularly true at Christmas, when a real tree will not only drop its needles but is also likely to be knocked over by mingling guests / over-excited dogs / tipsy uncles. Pare it back to a bold single feature, such as large stars or a wreath.

3. Order in

If you’re no Nigella, why not hit up your local deli or restaurant for some delicious take away treats? This will ensure you can dedicate your time to working the room, rather than being stuck at the cooker. We promise you, guests will be more grateful of good company than an under-cooked potato gratin.

4. It’s impossible to have too much crockery or glassware

No one wants to be frantically washing plates
between courses or glasses between bottles. And if you don’t have the storage for the pieces long-term, it is possible to borrow for
parties; wine glasses are easy to come by from any local wine merchant,
for instance.

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare

What does this pristine kitchen say to you? Preparation. This is particularly crucial if you have an open-plan entertaining and cooking space, as stacks of dirty dishes don’t bring anything to the party.

6. Stock up on games for the small people

The ultimate vibe killer? Whinging infants, so make sure you have a dedicated hang-out area for any children. Get out any fun games they can all play together, or think through a film or programme that will keep them entertained for a longish period. Treats can help keep them sweet, but of course be aware you do run the risk of ending up with sugar-crazed monsters!

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