It’s that time of year where you start feeling the pressure to host. The second the temperature starts to really drop, the nights get darker and there’s a constant smell of cinnamon in the air, your mind jumps to games nights, festive drinks, and dinner parties. Your Pinterest starts to fill up with gorgeous tables piled with food, bar carts heavy with glamorous looking bottles and yet every time you have friends or family around you somehow end up resorting to bowls of limp crisps and bottles of room temperature wine with tinsel around the neck.
Yes everyone had a good time, but it wasn’t quite the Pinterest worthy party you had in your head. Well, this year you can wave goodbye to all that because thanks to John Lewis & Partners you can so easily up your hosting game. They have everything you need to not only make your party look stunning but make all the prep as easy as possible...
1. Get your dining set up sorted
First things first, if you are hosting a dinner party, make sure you have your dining table and chairs sorted. This can be tricky if on the daily there are only a few of you to seat but come the weekend you have to find chairs for a small village. You can get away with dragging a couple of chairs down from the office and the bedrooms, but we think the best answer is folding or stackable chairs. You can pull them out for parties but then easily store them away the next morning. You get four of these House by John Lewis & Partners Curve Dining Chairs for just £89 or if you are really squeezed for storage space, go for something like the House by John Lewis & Partners Buiani Folding Chair.
Your best option for the best dining table? Go extendable, that way you aren’t left with a huge table once you turn back into a social hermit come January. We love the House by John Lewis & Partners Bow extendable dining table. Its light wood and tapered legs give it a slightly Scandi look that’s really stylish but it’s also really simple so will fit in with most styles.
2. Make cooking as stress free as possible
And you know what that means, preparation. You don't want to spend the entirety of your party in the kitchen so try and prep as much of the food before your guests arrive, you could even freeze your food and then defrost it the morning of, then all you have to do is pop it in the oven.
And try and stick to simple, tasty dishes than you can serve at the table, that way you won't be spending hours plating everything up and you skip all the formalities of serving.
Kitchen gadgets are obviously great for cutting down on prep time, but if you only play occasional host so don’t want to spend too much on gadgets, the one product we would recommend is the Cuisinart Mini Prep Pro Compact Food Processor. It takes up barely any room and is a really good price – it will just make all your prepping quicker and easier (great for all the guacamole you are inevitably going to be making).
3. Make the food part of your table decoration
Wish you were one of those people who just whisked amazing smelling stuff out of the oven and placed it on the table already looking stunning? Well you can be, the key is getting yourself some more aesthetically pleasing cookware. Get a good quality, good looking oven dish that you can pop on the table Nigella style.
You can’t go wrong with a Le Creuset Stoneware oven dish. They come in loads of colours and sizes over on John Lewis & Partners, so you can pick what’s going to suit your table setting best. Even the small things like what you serve your food with can make a difference – a lovely set of rose gold utensils is going to look way better than your plastic ones.
4. Mix and match your tableware
Oooh the fun bit, actually setting the table. The big trend this year definitely seems to be mismatched. We’re talking, mismatched glasses, mismatched plates, mismatching table settings. The key to getting the look right and stop it all getting a bit too much, is to pick a common colour. Case in point – these lovely Emma Emma Bridgewater Winterberry would obviously work perfectly with her Joy Trumpets Mince Pies Plate. Mix up your glassware too; John Lewis & Partners have some gorgeous pieces that start at really affordable prices like these traditional wine glasses in a festive red.
5. Dress up a bar cart
Bar carts are making a huge comeback right now, they seem to have shed their fussy, Abigail’s Party vibe and are cool again! Check out the lovely options at John Lewis & Partners. Ooor if you don’t want to invest in a full on bar cart, pick out some special barware bits instead, and display them on a sideboard with all the drinks and some lovely glassware to create your own bar.