I’m sure I am not alone in loving this weather we are having lately, long may it continue! We have been spending so much time outdoors and the kids are loving the freedom of being able to spray the water hose, running up and down the garden trying to cool down. It has been a great start to the summer holidays.
We are busy working on the garden and prepping for the upcoming party season. Now that the girls have broken up from school for 6 weeks we have lots of plans for get together parties with both their friends and parents etc. I thought giving a guide as to what we will be doing and using might come in handy for anyone else prepping for a summer filled with garden parties!
To start work on a garden party you first need to get the area prepped, this may include general tidying up and weeding. For me it is involving digging up a portion of the garden, laying down weed control fabric and gravelling!
Wrendale Designs are making gardens beautiful without even trying! This adorable set of hand fork and trowel are etched with quirky little details such as ‘Make Today Beautiful and an illustration of a wren. Formed from stainless steel this is the cutest practical gift for any garden lover to get the garden party ready and helped me prep my flower tubs! RRP: £20 from Wrendale Designs
Gardening can be expensive, by the time you buy the plants and flowers and splash out on pretty pots and containers. One way to keep the costs down is to get creative. Colour makes an impact so buy cheap plant pots (these were £3.99 each and large enough to house the legs of a swing and lots of plants) which can be painted. Specialist paint suppliers Sandtex kindly sent me some of their Rapid Dry Exterior Gloss to transform our plant pots. I will have a full blog post coming soon about the make over as I am in the process of painting the doors etc too. RRP: £20 from Sandtex
A garden party requires a tidy garden so the grass does need cutting and making neat. I was sent the Gtech Garden Trimmer to try and have to admit is was so much easier to use than the wired, plug in version I previously had! Running on a Lithium Ion Battery, which can give 30 minutes of power per 4 hour charge, this is a great piece of kit for those who don’t have the space to house a lawn mower. We only have a small bit of grass so using a trimmer is ideal as it keeps everything tidy without the hassle of extension cables etc. RRP: £129.99 from Gtech
We have 3 large fruit trees in our garden that need tending to on a regular basis other wise wayward branches tend to cause havoc! Regular pruning keeps this in order, I have been using a set of 3 tools from Opinel which comes with a Virobloc safety locking ring and beech handle. Made from stainless steel, this helps make them last even longer, meaning more years of perfect garden party settings! RRP: £49.95 from Whitby and Co
Donald Russell are suppliers to the Queen and Royal Family so you just know quality is in store with whatever you choose. We tried the steak burgers and did you know that you should make a dent in the burger with your thumb before cooking to keep it flat!? Me either! These are such a great size that you just need to add a little fresh salad and sauce to have a showstopping tower of deliciousness! From £4.00 at Donald Russell
I always find that with BBQ it is better to air on the side of caution and use a meat thermometer to check they are cooked all the way through! There is nothing worse than charred sausages that are raw on the inside!
The Heston Blumenthal Precision Kitchen BBQ Meat Thermometer is the latest and fastest gadget in the range allowing you to get accurate temperature readings up to 5x faster than standard kitchen thermometers. With a temperature range between -45°C to 200°C you can ensure that whatever you are cooking, can be checked quickly and accurately to give you the best results. RRP: £24.99 from Salters
The girls are not huge meat eaters so its good to try and discover something new. We have recently tried Tofoo and I have to admit I think I could switch it up more often. Available in smoked and unsmoked, we have tried both and it is a great substitute for chicken dishes. This would be great used on skewers with veggies as an alternative BBQ kebab! RRP: £2.00 from Waitrose
It wouldn’t be a Garden Party if there was nothing to drink – stay hydrated people! Of course I don’t just mean alcohol but lets not pretend it doesn’t happen!
First up is Brick Brewery. Ian, started home brewing in his garden shed, building recipes inspired by his loved beers. In 2013 Brick was born, and they started building a brewery in a railway arch behind Peckham Rye station, SE London. The Peckham Rye Red Ale and Peckham Pils Pilsner Larger are the perfect beverage for any beer lover. RRP: £2.50 per can from Brick Brewery or M&S
Cobra Beer is Brewed Smooth for All Food, meaning with the smooth texture and delightfully malty flavour there is Cobra Beer suited for every cuisine. With Cobra Gluten Free and Cobra Zero the range is completely inclusive, so everyone can celebrate in style this summer with a Cobra in hand.
Whilst being one of the most awarded beers in the world and being accredited by The Vegetarian Society as vegan friendly, there is a Cobra available for everyone. RRP: £12 for 12 at Asda
Followers of my blog know I love a good G&T, add in a little Fairy dust and voila perfection! I love adding Popaball to every drink as they add a fabulous little fun touch to cocktails. The shimmer for Prosecco too makes it look shimmery – such a great idea for themed garden parties. I do add the shimmer to other drinks too and Gordons Gin & Tonic works really well! Popaball RRP: From £3.99 Gordons RRP: £13 from Asda
A twist on tonic: This summer will be the time to twist again, and everyone is swapping the T out of G&T. Gin & Kombucha are simply made for each other in this delicious, trend-setting cocktail, with the botanicals of Gordon’s London Dry Gin mixing perfectly with the natural tang and fizz of Kombucha. RRP: £4.79 from Planet Organic
Flavoured Gin is still top of the alcohol charts at the moment and a name you should be familiar with by now is Rock Rose. They have just released a fabulous Pink Grapefruit Old Tom gin that gives a little kick when paired with tonic water. A classic Old Tom with a zesty finish. RRP: £35.85 from Masters of Malt
Martini Asti Ice has been specifically created to be served over ice, which makes it a lovely addition to any summer occasion. An exclusive twist on the famous Martini Asti, whilst using the same grapes, the Asti Ice is fermented for longer so that it flawlessly complements the ice. This new sparkling wine is available now in Asda and Ocado for £9.
They have also released their first non alcoholic sparkling drink, the Dolce 0.0%, which is available in Morrisons for £6. This would be great for anyone who is looking at moderating their alcohol consumption but who doesn’t want to miss out!
Temperatures aren’t the only thing hotting up this summer, as we’re set to all be ditching our sweet tooth cocktails in favour of spicy savour. Introducing the Johnnie Walker & Ginger, a cocktail crafted by Josh Katz of London’s famous grill house Berber & Q, as the perfect pairing for spicy chicken dishes fresh from the grill.
50ml Johnnie Walker Black
15ml lime juice
35ml pressed Granny Smith apple juice
35ml ginger ale
And a little pinch of Zaatar for that Berber touch
Shake the mix with one ice cube for no longer than 5 seconds
Place the mix in a High-ball glass filled with ice
Top it all up with ginger ale
Garnish with a dehydrated apple wheel and mint sprig
RRP: £23.00 from Tesco
Great Uncle Cornelius is a small assortment of still bespoke non-alcoholic drinks, using high quality ingredients in unusual and exciting flavours. The Lemon Refresher is a boldly and refreshing drink for quenching the thirst with the natural sharp zing of lemon juice and ideal for summer garden parties. The Rhubarb Refresher is a light strikingly pink pressed rhubarb and apple juice drink.
And Finally Great Uncle Cornelius’ Famous Spiced Ginger is rich spicy smooth non-alcoholic liqueur. A drink for sipping on or for making a Ginger Mack – with a generous shot of whisky – maybe not quite so non-alcoholic! RRP: £2.50 per bottle from James White
My favourite chocolate bar has to be a Turkish Delight so imagine my joy when I received this Gin Liqueur from Zymurgorium Gin Co! Infused with Rose Petals and Cocoa, this standout pink colour is arresting in itself and in a world chock full of flavoured Gins this is an excellent new flavor twist. RRP: £24.99 from PrezzyBox
I have to admit to being partial to a Tipplesworth Cocktail Mixer, their flavours are second to none and create the most delicious cocktails without the mess or time! Tipplesworth’s delicious twist on the UK’s most popular cocktail, the Pornstar Martini. Mixing a mouthwatering combination of passion fruit, guava, pineapple and lime, balanced with smooth notes of French vanilla and marshmallow. Crafted with care in small batches in London. Just add vodka, shake hard over ice and strain into a martini glass! Also available in Garden Collins and Espresso Martini. RRP: £6.99 from Waitrose
Garden Party Strawberries & Cream is best served well chilled, or enjoy over ice, with a dash of gin and garnish of fruit for a refreshing summer cocktail. However you choose to ‘serve’ this delightful fizz, it’s hard not to ‘love’! With a low ABV of 5.5%, Garden Party Strawberries & Cream is perfect for those looking to keep it light this summer. RRP: £5 from Morrisons
Botanica Italia captures the spirit of place – herbal, slightly bitter, with memorable lingering flavours of clove, bitter orange, angostura bark and gentian root. A sparkling blend of white wine infused with natural botanicals and London dry gin
RRP: £10 from Morrisons
Lighting is a huge issue if the party runs into the small hours so why not ramp up the cosy atmosphere with decorative lights. These Solar Flickering Flame lights from KooPower provide the warm glow of real flame effect and only take 6-8 hours to charge fully. When the sun goes down the lights automatically turn on giving a delightful glow. RRP: £25.95 from KooPower
We are gradually switching things out to be more eco friendly and obviously one of the big issues during party season is straws! We were sent a couple of the Vaso glass straws to trial and see what we thought. It is a great idea and i love that they are reusable and easy to wash too. The see through straws are great for cocktails and are available in three sizes, mini, standard and large. RRP: £10-£12 for a pack of 4 from Glass Straw
I am not a huge fan of loud music at garden parties, unless of course your house is in the middle of no where! Something popped up the other day on Twitter, a video of people with headphones on having a silent rave! How cool is that. You all play the same tunes, listen to the music on the headphones and dance to your hearts content without annoying the neighbours! I was sent the noise cancelling Klar headphones from Sudio and have to admit they are the most comfortable ones I have ever used. RRP: £149 from Sudio
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For those who do like their music out loud I have found the perfect pocket size speaker. I spoke about Marley Earphones in My Loves for July and they have a great Hang Around Bluetooth Speaker. This compact speaker has up to 20 hours of playtime with its 30-metre/100-foot Bluetooth™ range. Rugged and waterproof RRP: £39.99 from Jam Audio
Finally one thing we should never forget if spending time outdoors is sun cream. I was recently sent MooGoo Natural Zinc Moisturising Day Cream SPF 15 to trial and have to admit it is a fabulous moisturiser for my dry skin too. It is non greasy and acts as a natural barrier reflecting both UVA and UVB rays away from the skin. SPF 15 protects skin from 94% of UV radiation and will provide protection for up to 4 hours for someone who would normally burn in 15 minutes. RRP: £23.90 from Moo Goo Skincare
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