AD | This post is a paid collaboration with Studio.
Can you believe that there’s only one more bank holiday weekend to go before we welcome autumn? To be honest, I feel like my head’s still stuck back in the summer of 2018 and the tropical weather that came with it, never mind accepting that we’re well and truly past the 2019 half way mark. Before we know it, the kids will be all over the Christmas catalogues and changing their wish lists on a weekly basis.
Once upon a time, our plans for the upcoming August bank holiday weekend would have been grand, but with two little ones and, in a couple of weeks time, a new puppy, you’re now more likely to find us closer to home than to any of Chester’s bars and restaurants. But we still love to mark the occasion and have friends over for a bite to eat and a glass of wine or two - or three of four … no one’s judging.
Any other time of the year, I’d pour over cook books and devise the perfect party menu. However, after six weeks of juggling work and the school holidays, I know I’m not going to be filled with excitement at the thought of spending an evening slaving over the stove. With an eight year old and a six year old, as you can probably imagine, the request for snacks since they broke up back in mid July has been constant. Preparing meals has well and truly gone from being a joy to a relentless chore. So, this bank holiday weekend, it’s going to be a chic, simple and NO COOK supper with friends.
Fancy doing something similar? Here are my top tips!
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
While it would be lovely to eat outdoors, one word, weather. It just can’t be trusted. I’ve found myself running from the garden to the house arms filled with plates and glasses on more than one occasion this summer. Instead, I’ve found the perfect spot for a temporary dining table at the far end of our living room. It’s right next to the patio doors so if the sun decides to shine, we can open them up and have a half in/half out supper.
If, like me, your dining table is too heavy or too big to move around but you’d like to eat in a different room or space, I tend to use a sturdy trestle table or bring our picnic table in from the garden. In these photos, I used my trestle table and while it’s not particularly pretty to look at, it can be easily spruced up with a beautiful table cloth. I used this large linen look tablecloth in cream measuring 130 x 228 cm. It’s a bargain at £6.99.
SET THE SCENE
If you’re planning to serve a simple meal, add the wow factor with beautiful tableware instead. If the table looks amazing, no one will notice that you haven’t spent hours preparing a five-course feast. I normally like my plates and bowls to be plain or pastel - I know, quite the shock considering I like colour and pattern for everything else - but I was completely won over by Studio’s 18 piece floral dinner set.
Six dinner plates, six side plates and six bowls, all for £49.99. Three of each are white and three are grey, giving the table a gorgeous mix and match feel. And joy of joys, they’re also dishwasher and microwave safe too which is often not the case with patterned crockery.
The ribbed cutlery is another Studio gem. Sixteen stainless pieces (four knives, four forks, four dessert spoons, four table spoons) for £6.99. I’ve subsequently ordered two more sets for when we have everyone over at Christmas.
ADD THE PRETTY TOUCHES
Because trestle tables are quite narrow, they don’t offer a lot of room for elaborate decorations. Pretty pink napkins and simple candlesticks are ideal for smaller tables. One is practical and the other offers a lovely golden glow as the sun goes down. To be honest, I could find very little to compare with Studio’s stunning clear lustre wine glasses; they’re a finishing touch in themselves. The pearlescent glass adds a fabulous wow factor to the table and the delicate sheen goes so well with the pink florals on the dinner set. They’re a match made in blush pink heaven.
NO-COOK RAINBOW PLATTERS
If you’re on Instagram, you might have noticed the trend for elaborate platters at fancy events … tables packed with a colourful rainbow of meats, cheeses, breads, fresh fruit and sweet treats. It’s basically a modern day, photo friendly version of the good ol’ fashioned buffet, right?
These rectangle platters are perfect for a simple supper at home. Fill them with your favourites from the deli counter, select the squishiest of cheeses, and pop a plethora of tiny puddings on one instead of individual dessert plates. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a no-cook supper if all the food looks and tastes as lovely and fresh as this.
RELAX AND ENJOY
Finally, all that remains is to relax and enjoy the evening. Open up a bottle of wine, play your favourite tunes (Ministry of Sound chill out or trance are my favourites), and pass round the platters. It’s a low cost, minimal effort evening where the focus is on spending time with friends rather than in the kitchen. Perfect, right? Have you got any plans for the upcoming bank holiday weekend?