#SportsNightIn – Planning a summer of sport with friends!

Summer is officially here. The weather this week has been truly balmy, I can’t actually recall a week where the weather was ever quite so hot, despite the fact Glastonbury is on! It’s a miracle!

Sadly I am not at Glastonbury watching the Foo Fighters this weekend, but I am sure I will enjoy watching it unfold on TV from the comfort of my own sofa, oh, and in my PJ’s. Comfort – very important these days.

Gosh I’m old.

On that point, now myself and my pals are hitting that illusive stage called ‘middle age’ and we have work, kids and busy lives to cope with, going out isn’t as appealing as it once was. Finding childcare for the kids so we can escape can sometimes be tricky so nights in are certainly how we roll these days. I love entertaining, as do most of our friends, and it’s great that the kids can all play together whilst the adults have a drink and some food. I feel really lucky that we get to do it actually, we’ve made many happy (and hilarious) memories over the years during these type of evenings.

With Wimbledon and The Tour de France on the horizon, as well as the F1 and the Lions Rugby tour which are already underway, it’s going to be a busy few weeks and months of sport watching in our household! I love Wimbledon. I’ve always watched and I vividly remember zooming home from Secondary school as quickly as I could to watch Tim Henman play a few years back. It’s such a great competition full of nostalgia, tradition and excitement. Can Andy Murray do it again I wonder?

I also love the F1. As much as I moan about the fact my husband spends 6/7 hours glued to the TV on race weekends (yeah, that is pretty annoying actually, the kids don’t look after themselves you know) I did used to enjoy sitting and watching a race play out. This season has certainly been more exciting than previous ones and it’s still all to play for halfway through the season.

In collaboration with Contact Numbers UK, I am sharing with you all my ideas for the perfect #SportsNightIn party. Any excuse for a drink and dinner with friends is fine by me!

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 As I mentioned, for us, staying in is the new going out so we are planning on having some friends over within the next few weeks for a #SportsNightIn party. Probably to watch a bit of Wimbledon.

I’ve been thinking of what food and drink I am going to serve up (see what I did there? Tennis? Serve? Never-mind…) and also about some games the kids can play whilst the adults are watching.

Here’s what I have in mind for my #SportsNightIn party so far…

Food

Party ring biscuit recipe

The most important part of any party for me is food. I have to make sure people don’t go hungry and I always over-cater but anything left over won’t go to waste, it just means food the next day is sorted already! Winner!

In my opinion, the best food for a sports night in party is either;

A one pot meal – such as Chilli, bolognese or lasagne, which you can just serve up with some rice, pasta or garlic bread and salad

or…

Buffet food – such as Bread, Quiche, Pizza, Meats, Cheese, Salads, Arancini and nibbles. Oh, and don’t forget the sausage rolls!

Cooked Arancini balls

And for afters;

Puddings – such as Profiteroles, Pavolva or some nice homemade scones with Jam and Clotted Cream.

Foods like this are ideal for a party because they can be prepared in advance and you won’t be stood, slaving away in the kitchen whilst everyone else is enjoying the sport and chatting. A BBQ is nice in good weather but it means that someone is always outside cooking and it’s also quite a lot of work for a crowd. A strawberry and cream pavlova would be a wonderful pudding to accompany a spot of Wimbledon watching – the tournament is famed for it’s strawberries!

Drink

Almost as important as food in my eyes! It’s always a good idea to have the usual suspects to offer guests for a party…

Beer

Ale

Wine and Prosecco

Soft fizzy drinks such as Cola, Lemonade and something I love to have, Elderflower Cordial with Soda water.

…but it’s also a good idea to offer a cocktail and maybe even a DIY ‘bar’ area with some spirits and mixers out so people can help themselves. Putting all the beers and bottles of wine in a bucket of water filled with ice in the garden is a great way to keep people out of the kitchen where you might be zooming about sorting food (and having a sneaky much on the stuff before you put it out obviously – chef’s perk) and keeps them all cold and your fridge clear of bottles.

Why not try filling a large drinks dispenser with Pimms? Another must have for Wimbledon watching! Then people can serve themselves and the first couple of hours of drinks are taken care of.

Pimms and Gin

A cocktail such as this Cherry Bakewell Prosecco is easy to make and looks just like champers. Perfect for accompanying you to your centre court seat at home!

Entertainment

Whilst you’re waiting for the main event of the sport to start, why not have some garden games setup such as giant jenga, boules, football or darts!? These are great ways to keep people entertained whilst you finish off any last minute preparations. Alternatively, just stick your fave music playlist on, turn the speakers up, sort out the garden furniture, and sit and chat with a drink and some nibbles. That would be my preference!

Decor

I don’t normally do much in the way of decor for a party, unless it’s a birthday or a football final (which we never make!) but I have just bought some bunting and some solar lights for the garden which I will put out when we have our friends over. I also love fresh flowers, especially Sunflowers and Peonies this time of year, and candles. I got a lovely big lantern that looks fab once a candle is lit inside it and I always put that on when I have people over. Make sure you put lots of seating out for people, even if that means bean bags or garden chairs indoors! Nobody likes having to stand for hours on end.


What sport will you be watching this Summer?

I’ll be back with an update on how my #SportsNightIn party went in a few weeks. I’m sure it’ll be eventful at some point if previous experiences of my life are anything to go by!


 Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Contact Numbers UK. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Get your Bake on: DIY Party Ring Biscuits

Party Ring biscuits have been a birthday buffet staple since I was little. There is just something about them that I love. They taste great for starters, but I also love the nostalgia that hits me when I see a plate full of them. Colourful, fun and way more exciting than a rich tea!

Scoffing some party rings transports me back to parties at peoples houses, where pass the parcel only had a prize in the middle (nope, shock horror, not everyone was a winner back in the 80’s where pass the parcel was concerned!), we crimped our hair and wore highly flammable shell suits as we blew out the candles on our birthday cakes.

Seen as it was the littlest ones birthday yesterday, I thought I would have a go at making some myself. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know myself, but I have to say, they were pretty delicious and I am certain that they would go down well at a school bake sale when the time comes around again.

You can ice them in any colours you like, meaning you can make them fit in with your party theme if you have one, and because you have made them yourself, you know exactly what has gone in them. No nasties. Unless the kids have helped you that is. Then they are probably full of spit and bogeys…

Here’s the recipe!

(PS: The icing used is just Royal Icing – I bought this as a box of powdered sugar and made it up as per the box instructions. You want the icing thin enough to pipe, but thick enough that it won’t run off the biscuit and make a mess. Use the 5 second rule with the consistency – when you drop the icing back into the bowl after lifting it up with a spoon, the ribbon of icing dropped should take 5 seconds to disappear back into the mixture).

Happy scoffing!

Party ring biscuit recipe




Party finishing touches – With Party Bags and Supplies

Anyone with kids will probably have had to deal with organising a dreaded (and by the kids, highly anticipated) children’s birthday party.

The words send shivers down my spine if I am honest, but the kids are always desperate to have a party these days. We haven’t done many if truth be told, we tend to do a treat day with the family so everyone has fun and makes some new memories, but I have caved in on occasion and let them have one (ah, memories of a crazy golf party in the snow in February – that didn’t go so well – and a swimming party where I had to don a swimming costume in front of fellow parents from school. The world is just not ready for that. Oh the indignity!)

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the kids and their friends having fun and smiling away but these kids parties do tend to spiral into chaos at some point and I always have to have a tonic for my gin ready and waiting in the fridge at home for afterwards. Think of it as a grown up version of a reward chart sticker.

Not only do we seem to have birthday parties to organise and attend these days, but the kids are very lucky to have teachers who are also gluttons for punishment and allow the kids to have a school Christmas Party. As if the hysteria of the festive period wasn’t enough, the kids have the added excitement of an afternoon of games, food and Santa visiting them to add to it all. Things weren’t like this in my day. These kids don’t know how lucky they are!

(God I sound old)


This year, me and a friend are sharing class rep duty – sending emails, relaying messages, sending reminders, that sort of thing – because both of our middle ones are in the same class. Doing it as a team is far less stressful (half the burden!) and it’s good to get these things out the way so you’ve at least done a bit to help out at school. As part of this rep duty, we were tasked with helping organise the class christmas party – sorting decorations, organising food, that sort of thing – along with some other mums from our year group. A real team effort.

At the same time as helping to organise the class christmas party, I was approached by the lovely guys from Party Bags and Supplies to see if I wanted to review some of their products. It was like a gift from the gods coming just at the right time so I jumped at the chance and ordered some lovely festive party bits for the kids to use at school.

Great timing or what!? These moments of divine intervention rarely happen to me.

I ordered my items online with complete ease, which consisted of some classroom decorations, christmas paper plates, christmas paper cups, party bags and some party bag supplies such as festive gliders to go in them, and clicked order. The items were at my door within 2 days. Really wonderful service. Whilst I was browsing the website, I really was spoilt for choice. There is also an enormous range of items available and regardless of what party you’re having, Christmas, Easter, Trolls, Superhero, Angry Birds, My Little Pony, the list goes on, you will find whatever it is you’re after. All themed, a superbly easy to use website and fab customer service.

The kids classroom looked wonderful all decorated – like a grotto! – and the looks on their little faces when they got a festive party bag on the way out the classroom door was really priceless. Maybe I shouldn’t be so grumpy about kids parties after all…

If you’re looking for party supplies, I would highly recommend using Party Bags and Supplies.


You can visit Party Bags and Supplies website, here.




Pick your Poison: Strictly Gin Cocktail

Strictly come dancing is back!

Exciting and scary all at the same time because, for me anyway, Strictly signals the start of the run-up to Christmas…

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I can’t even think about it yet. I’m in denial that it’s not still March.

Anyhow, in homage to all things Sparkly, Glittery and Strictly-tastic, I’ve made a really simple cocktail for you all to enjoy whilst you watch the heavily spray tanned dancers twirl about the ballroom.

It’s glittery, of course, and bubbly. Just like some of the dancers…

A.maz.ing Dahlings. Even Craig is excited about it!

 

via GIPHY


 Ingredients

25ml Gin

Chilled Appletizer to top up

Edible Glitter


 Method

1 – Wet the rim of your glass (I used a prosecco glass for this one)

2 – Pour some edible glitter into a pot which is big enough to fit the rim of the glass in

3 – Dip the rim of the glass in the edible glitter (I used Gold edible glitter dust by Waitrose for this)

4 – Pour 25ml Gin into the bottom of the glass

5 – Top up with your chilled Appletizer

Enjoy!

a cocktail in a tall glass with edible glitter around the egde and gold table decorations


It’s a really simple one but one of my all time faves!

Once Dry September is over, this is going to be my first drink…and I can’t wait!

I’ll be dancing around the living room after a couple of these.

“Outta my way kids!!! Mumma’s shakin’ her groove thang’!”

via GIPHY




Crafty Little Thing: Glittery Recycled Bottle Vases

I have been making some glittery bottles as table decorations for my parents 60th birthday.

We wanted to put something on the tables to make them look a bit more interesting but we also didn’t want to spend a lot of money.

I came up with the idea after seeing some jam jars on Pinterest which had been covered in glitter and used as decoration around the home. I then thought that used glass bottles would work in the same way and gave it a go.

Thankfully they came out ok and we are going to use them as stem vases grouped into a little display in the centre of each table.

Cheap, pretty and easy to personalise!

Enlight1 (84)


 What you will need…

Some clean glass bottles with the labels removed (I did this by soaking them in water and then giving them a bit of a scrub with a rough sponge)

A bin liner

An old shoe box

A large tub of glitter in your choice of colour

Some spray glue/adhesive (available in Hobbycraft and most other craft stores such as The Range or online)

Some real or silk flowers


How to do it…

1 – Lay your bin liner on the floor outside or in a very well ventilated place, like a garage with the door open.

2 – Take a glass bottle and put one of your fingers inside it to steady it/move it around

3 – Spray the bottle with spray adhesive

4 – Place the glue covered bottle in the shoe box (with your finger still inside it to steady/maneuver it) and sprinkle with glitter until covered.

5 – Place on a clean bit of bin liner to dry.

6 – Repeat for the other bottles.

7 – Once dry, pop in your single stem real or fake flower and arrange as you desire!

 Silk flowers in a bottle which has been covered in gold glitter

And there you have it! Easy peasy and cheap too!

Have fun and make some in different colours!


 If you have a go at this craft, do share it with me on my Facebook page!