How to hold a successful garden party

How to hold a successful garden party

Summer is here, which means a perfect time to open our windows and bi-folding doors and connect more with the nature on our door step.

Bi-folding doors or patio doors are the perfect connector between the indoor and the outdoors part of your house. Once open they will allow your garden to flow indoors creating the illusion of one huge open space. They are the perfect solution for creating an airy and light environment to live in; an almost perfect solution for enjoying the summer time to its fullest.

It is summer time so what could be better than a party full of friends and laughter to share in this huge open space you have just created?

A garden party!

They are always so much fun. They provide us with endless opportunities to do something different, to entertain our loved ones and to change an ordinary day into a potentially unforgettable one.

I have a list of things to consider when planning a garden party… here it comes…

Party spot

As it is the UK and the weather is quite temperamental it would be wise to pick a spot in the garden which has some cover above our heads. This will protect us from the sun and keep us cool (or cool-er) and when the worst comes to the worst and Mr. Rain decides to join us, it will help keep us dry. One of those big garden umbrellas should do the trick. If you happen to have a large garden and own a gazebo or a garden tent then of course set the main tables inside them.

Party furniture

Chairs are the key. Yes, it is a garden party and so your guest will most likely be either running around and playing or standing and mixing in the garden but at some point they will all want to sit down and relax and have something to eat and drink… make sure that the chairs have soft covers on them and are comfortable. It is really not very pleasant to sit on hard, uncomfortable chairs for hours and this can kill the good mood around.

Tableware

Whatever the theme or the occasion of your party do not use the best family china or even the silver, there is always an increased possibility that something will get broken. A garden party will tend to relax people a bit more than a standard party and thus we are prone to being less careful. Use your everyday tableware set or even better use disposable ones or even a plastic picnic set. Now a day’s disposable tableware can be so pretty; no more of that boring white all around… they can be purchased in a variety of different colours and patterns.

How to hold a successful garden party

Food

It is BBQ time! I am not joking, a garden party is meant to be coupled with a good BBQ, but you will need some more things to round out your feast… Make sure that you have plenty of light fresh dishes, which are easy to eat and do not require you to sit bolt upright and use a knife and fork. Salads, finger foods, fresh fruits and of course some veggies are always a good choice… oh and remember to do some vegetarian options just in case one of your friends has converted 😉

Drinks

For a garden party you will need plenty of them especially if it is a hot day. Keep them cool but not freezing cool and make sure that there is a lot of water. If you serve alcohol, serve some water just next to it… alcohol will speed up the dehydration process so your guests will need to drink a bit more. Keeping drinks on ice in hot weather is not very practical but pour some cold water into a bucket, place in a shaded spot and put your drinks in… They will stay nice and cool and all you need is a cloth to dry them out before serving.

Decorations and light

Make sure that the surroundings are all neat and tidy and all surfaces are clean. Cut the grass the day before, hide all the gardens tools, remove any dry or “dead” plants… this all helps to make the space look nice and presentable and will help save you time and money on additional decorations, sometimes a lovely looking garden is all you need.
Like with most parties we never know when it is going to finish, so be ready for an evening / night time. Prepare some lampions, garden lamps or just a bunch of candles, ready to light up when the sun starts to set.

Fly’s / Wildlife

Summer time equals a global invasion of fly’s, wasps, mosquito and tons of other little creatures which are out and about and will want to join in, pretty lights attract them. Protect your food with covers at all time. Buy some insect repealing candles or smelly sticks and keep them burning.

Noise and neighbours

If you neighbours aren’t invited then be polite inform them about your party. It is the nice way to be with your neighbours, and who knows it might just help to avoid that two hour long session with his chainsaw he had planned for that day. Give them fair notice that this day / evening will most likely not be as peaceful as usually and the noise level may well be much higher.

I think that’s all.

Now that all the basics have been covered – go invite your friends… and I mean it… friends. No one enjoys those parties that are full of guests who were invited because it was the polite thing to do… These parties are never as much fun as the parties with your friends, people you trust and love.

So have fun!

And if you have any further tips for a successful garden party, please do share.

* Post written in collaboration with expressbifolds.co.uk.

7 tips on how to walk yourself happy

7 tips on how to walk yourself happy

We all have some fitness goals, or at least I would hope we all have them, if you don’t you know deep down inside you should. For me it is to walk more. I love to walk, not because I have to or because my dogs need me too… I want to walk more for myself; to increase my fitness level, to lose some weight, to improve my health and well being and what’s more to help me relax.

Walking is not difficult and it doesn’t require a lot of special preparation. All you need is some comfortable clothing, a pair of good shoes, some basic knowledge on what to do and what not to do, time and willingness. It might seem like a lot but it really is not!

Walking has a lot of benefits. It is free, it doesn’t require any special accessories, it is not weather depending, it can be achieved in any terrain and it doesn’t have an age limit. It is something we do naturally so why not walk yourself happy?

I have a few tips for new comers who want to start their journey into walking as a mean of improving their well being.

1. Get some good shoes and the correct clothing

This doesn’t mean breaking you bank balance. You probably do not need anything else than that which you most likely already own. All you really need is a pair of good comfortable trainers / walking / running shoes and some comfortable clothing. You do not have to walk in a fancy branded tracksuit, you do not need the latest model shoes, but you do need something which will fit you well and something which will be really comfortable (no pants too loose which will drop down every few steps or too short t-shirt which will come up every 2 minutes).

2. Warm up

It should only be necessary to warm up for about 5 minutes before the serious walking, in time when you start to increase the speed and distance on your walks then you can dedicate a little more time to increasing flexibility. Try to do some of the following:
Forward leg kicks – use a pole or tree for balance and swing your right leg in front of you and then behind you, swapping to your legs after 10 kicks.
Ankle turns – Stand on one leg and rotate the ankle of the raised leg, do ten circles in each direction and then change legs.
Toe point – stand on one leg and point the toe on the raised leg, then flax it. Repeat 10 times then swap legs.
Arm swings – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms straight out beside you parallel to the ground. Keep your lower body immobile and swing your arms from side to side through a full range so that you end up looking over each shoulder.
Arm circles – hold your arms straight out to your side, parallel to the ground. Make small circles going backwards, gradually getting larger and larger. Then change direction.

3. Posture

In order to minimize any muscle pain we all should try to keep a close attention to our posture whilst walking, making sure we are getting it right – keep your shoulders back and relaxed and hold your head up, with your eyes looking forward. It’s also a good idea to hold your tummy in and tighten your buttocks.

4. Speed and distance

This is the beauty of walking – there is no speed and distance set in stone. You can walk 5 minutes or you can walk for 45 minutes, it is all up to you. What is important is to just start walking at a speed that suits you, nice and easy. Then everyday you should either increase your speed or the distance travelled a little. Remember if you want to speed up – increase number of the steps you take, not the length of your stride. A good practise is to change the speed at which you walk – make a few minutes of a really fast march and then just walk for the next few and if you are feeling up for it repeat it again. Try and go out walking every day and, if the pace feels ok for you then add 5 minutes to your walk every time, until you’ve covering the distance you’re happy with. If you’re walking to lose some weight, then aim for 45-60 minutes of brisk walking at least 5 days a week.

5. Cool down

It is worth to finish our whole walking session with a little cool down. Just a few stretches to relax legs muscle and relax our back should do the trick. This will help prevent any unnecessary muscle pains. Repeating the warm up exercises from above will aid this process.

6. Eat /drink right

In the 2 hours after you exercise, your muscles are doing most of their replenishing and will need refuelling – the optimum meal post-workout should include a mixture of protein and carbohydrate. Also do not forget about water, staying well hydrated is very important especially if you are off for a long walk on a hot sunny or even warm day.

7. Keep a diary

Keeping good notes on the time and distance covered will help you with future planning of your training sessions. Getting a reliable pedometer might be a good idea. We should be aiming for the goal of 10,000 steps a day; apparently this can be counted as an active lifestyle 🙂

So my aim for the spring / summer is to walk more. I would love for you to join me in this challenge.

Let’s walk ourselves happy!

Who is with me?

* This post was written in collaboration with Expert Panel from SportsShoes. I received an incentive in the form of running kit to help me achieve my fitness goal.