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Nobody can deny that the summer of 2009 has been somewhat of a let down. Lack of sunshine, wind and rain has been a regular occurrence disrupting our usual summertime camping, walking and barbequing. However, in the typical non-defeatist English fashion, it can be possible to create a summertime barbeque feel indoors and have a party twist to remember. With foodgifts for grandma, drinks, music, lighting, aromas and a bit of an imagination this article takes you through some top party tips:

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One of the key elements within a typical barbeque scene is lighting. Long nights under soft candle light holding on to the last hint of warmth give barbeques that atmospheric feel. Consequently pop down to your local hardware or homeware shop and buy yourself some Chinese lanterns and/or fairy lights and scatter them around your dining area. If you are feeling creative even try creating a chandelier effect by wrapping the lights around old lampshade rings and suspending over your table. By your buffet, along the centre of the table and in your porch light lanterns, church candles and tea lights to again continue that soft exciting glow.

Alongside the atmospheric lighting it is also important to resist the temptation to make your party formal. Use your plastic barbeque plates or a mixture of multi coloured pieces to create a relaxed eclectic feel. Dress each plate with colourful salads and sauces to excite their senses and place the meat, kebabs and any other dishes along the centre of the table. Keep your food rustic and finger food to maintain the relaxed outdoors feel and encourage guests to let go of their inhibitions.

For a party not to forget you could take the summertime theme and really go to town. For example, why not have a Caribbean fancy dress party for your friends and family. Make rum cocktails, buy drinks umbrellas and straws and serve in coconut halves and even add some reggae music in the background. Or, why not have a traditional English tea party and dress your dining table in gingham and add bunting around the room. Serve traditional cakes and scones, sandwiches and sausage rolls and add plenty of fresh flowers. Entertain children (and even adults!) with traditional games such as pass the parcel, ring a roses and pin the tail on the donkey. Again you could even invite your guests to get dressed up in traditional clothing.

Whatever your choice; remember that your party is meant as an alternative to a normal outdoor barbeque. Make sure your theme, food and entertainment is set to make your guests smile and have fond memories of what would otherwise be a miserable summer. Keep things relaxed, fun and imaginative and enable your friends to have a party with a difference. Alongside all this however ensure that preparation for your party is limited or at least quick so that you can take off your cook’s apron and enjoy the party with your family and friends.

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