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How to Throw the Perfect Dinner Party

I get such a kick from being the hostess…

A new flat equals a plethora of opportunities for friends to come over for dinner. The entirety of February is now booked up with friends and family visits, travelling from Wigan, Manchester, Nottingham and everywhere else it would seem. I feel very lucky that I have people in my life that would travel that far to spend some time with me and Alex, and enjoy our new home with us for a night or two. That’s why when there comes a time to entertain, I revel in the opportunity.
This weekend we were joined by two close friends, so I decided it was time to get domestic. We spent hours cleaning and tweaking the flat. Hanging frames we were yet to hang, tidying away paper and loose items we were yet to store and making the house a home. I even put my Dyson Animal together for the first time to hoover the carpets and bring them back to life. My goodness, it might be my best investment ever. I’ve never seen carpets so clean.
One of the funnest parts of the day was baking a batch of malted chocolate wedges for dinner. Well, I say baked, but there actually wasn’t any baking involved. More mixing, constructing and refrigerating, but I felt like a little baker none the less. The recipe for the wedges will be posted really soon, don’t worry! And in fact it will mark the first in a serious of posts I will be calling Inthekitchen, where I will be sharing my favourite recipes and love of cooking. I told you Inthefrow would share more lifestyle this year, didn’t I!?
Anyway, after all of the preparation had been done, and the Jamie Oliver Filo Feta and spinach pastry pie was put together and placed in the oven, it was time to doll myself up for our guests. This black backless Missguided leotard had been on my radar to wear for a week or so, and I was just waiting for the perfect piece to wear it with. That’s when I found this pink jersey pencil skirt from River island, and my dinner party outfit was conceived. I also wore a new pair of heels, which you can’t see in the photos, but they’re my newest purchase from Pour Le Victoire and I’m so smitten with them.
If you were to ask me for some dinner party tips, I guess these would be my pointers:
  1. Start early and leave yourself enough time to get everything prepped, washed, put away and cleaned before you shower and prep yourself. You don’t want to be doing much more than entertaining after your hair, makeup and beautiful dress have been applied.
  2. Make sure you choose a menu that everyone will be interested in eating. Whilst you may love Chicken Madras, your guests may not be fans of spices or chili. And of course, are your guests vegetarian or do they have any allergies?
  3. Make sure you have bought in enough alcohol for just in case your guests forget to bring a bottle. And for those that don’t drink, have you bought a soft drink alternative?
  4. Choose a playlist that is neutral and relaxing for your evening. The sort of playlist you will not need to touch all evening, it will just continue to play atmospheric artists that makes you look like you know your music pretty darn well.
  5. When you’re all dressed and ready, be sure that any last minute stirring of sauces or moving of pots in the oven are done with an apron firmly covering you.
  6. I think that most dinner parties should absolutely include dessert, but that might just be me. Whilst you can potentially skip a starter and go straight into the mail meal, I think most guests will be expecting a finishing plate of something sweet. It could be sorbet, or a double chocolate gateaux, but at least make sure there is something in the fridge just in case. I think that making your own can really show you have gone all out. I would personally always go for a full three courses for the most special dinner party. All homemade.
  7. Make sure to continue your hostess skills throughout the evening. Your guests shouldn’t have to help themselves to more alcohol, just keep the drinks pouring.
  8. Try to share the workload with your partner. Whilst he may prefer to spend the day sat playing Fifa, it’s far more fun when you both get involved and cook, clean and prep together. I’m finding that happy and long-lasting relationships really are all about teamwork. That’s something my Grandad has taught me and I’ll never forget.
  9. It’s best to be overdressed than underdressed. If your guests do not ask what the dress code may be, I feel it’s better for you to have made an effort, than for it to be the opposite way around.
  10. Plan your meals through and have everything ready for the removal of one course to the laying of the next. You don’t want to be gone for hours making the next course and missing out on your partner’s best jokes in the other room. Have everything plated and easily accessible so you can come and go and look like a total pro in the interim.
  11. Just make more effort than you feel you need to. I find that more effort is always congratulated and enjoyed more than if you do something by half. Set your table beautifully, use the special plates and napkins, bring out your crystal glasses and make use of all of your best household products.
  12. Fresh flowers will always be a beautiful centrepiece. As will candles.

Is it just me or does anyone else love to be the hostess with the mostest?!

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