With the heatwave we’re experiencing in the UK at the moment, the British fantasy of being able to dine outdoors has become a lovely (if temporary) reality. Picnics, barbeques and dinner parties alfresco are excitingly all on the agenda this week. If the hot weather has taken you by surprise and you’re a little unprepared however, we’ve got some top tips for entertaining in the great outdoors.
- Bugs beware. The sheer pleasure of eating and drinking outside is sometimes tempered by the annoyance of uninvited guests. Mosquitos and midges are starting to proliferate now, so make sure you have some citronella candles or incense sticks on hand. Later on in the summer season, wasps can be troublesome. Make yourself a wasp trap out of a plastic bottle like this one here. If you use a sweet and sour mix of vinegar, sugar and salt in the trap, only wasps, and not bees will be attracted.
- Let there be light. It’s nearing the longest day of the year, so lighting isn’t such an issue with outdoor entertaining at the moment. As the summer continues and days get shorter however, make sure you aren’t left in the dark by having lots of candles and lanterns. Stock up on tealights and use vintage jam jars and vases for a pretty, eclectic look. String up some solar powered fairy lights or paper lanterns to give a bit of added twinkle.
- Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Keep your table settings relaxed. You’re outside – let nature be the star of the show. A plain white tablecloth or placemats with pure white linen napkins, and some simple crockery. Linen is the ideal fabric for table settings because of it’s durability. It’s heavy enough not to be whipped up on a windy day, washes brilliantly and lasts for ages. Add a small vase of fresh cut flowers, string up some bunting overhead if you have time, and you’re done. Perfect!
- Food for thought. If it’s hot out, keep foods light and easy and don’t serve anything that’s likely to spoil in warm weather. Again – simplicity is key – you don’t want to be running in and out of the house when you should be enjoying yourself with your guests. A selection of pre prepared cool and colourful salads with a grilled or barbequed main makes a perfect summer party menu. Put plates of food that need to stay chilled on large bowls of ice.
- Temperature control. It’s tricky – especially in the UK. Have a parasol or set up a sail shade or gazebo if it is hot and sunny, or eat under the shade of a tree. Provide blankets on chairs for use if it gets a bit chilly as the sun goes down, or invest in a fire pit or chimenea for cosy evening parties.
Enjoy your outdoor entertaining while the good weather lasts!
For a selection of fine linen table wear, have a look at our Stockholm and Stanhope ranges of napkins and placemats