Yesterday was a beautiful day. Luckily, as we were off to a friends’ house for a birthday and christening celebration…outdoor dos are kind of essential when you’ve got any number of children coming round, so it’s alway a bit of a panic beforehand when you see the weather and are just hoping it’ll be dry.
But the gods were with them, and brought glorious weather for a lovely sunny afternoon in the garden. Like ours, it’s paddocks and lots of open space, so perfect for a big garden party. It meant a few Pimms (lush, love Pimms as it’s just indicates summer in the UK), some lovely food, and great time chatting to friends while the children were able to run round playing.
N had a blast. He spent most of the drive there announcing ‘we’re going to party’ to his dad. Once we arrived he was happy just pottering round on his own, but also loved following anything his cousin was doing. He was very taken with the various balance bikes – loving the diddy pink one which was a bit small, but could still cope with the larger one, and it was good practice for getting back to his own one.
He had a good run around on the trampoline, even attempted a go on the bouncy castle and loved the climbing frame, slide and double swing.
Having a 2 year old running loose amongst hundreds of people isn’t the easiest as you don’t want to hover, but when you all of a sudden lose sight of them, you do worry even though there’s not many places they could go (well, down the lane in this case – it was quite a large garden to potentially lose him in). It’ll be great in a year or so when I can relax a bit more and chat to friends without having to wander off and check he hasn’t fallen off a climbing frame or walked in front of someone swinging.
Hints for a good garden party
So after yesterday’s great party, if we ever have a similar afternoon do, I shall be taking on board some of what they provided:
- Great weather…hmm, a bit out of your hands, but fingers crossed.
- Plenty of things for children to do: yesterday N did some cupcake decorating (and eating), there were plenty of toys in the garden (helpful if you’ve got children of different ages, otherwise borrow, borrow, borrow).
- Lots of nice food. The simplest but often most delicious thing is getting in someone to do a pig or beef roast. Just meat with rolls and then some salad always goes down well. If I’d been organising, I’d have likely just stuck to that for the children as well (because N eats anything), but they’d done goody bags for the kids as well that they could choose from.
- Cake…enough said really. Although there was a lovely ‘sweet’ stall to pick and mix from that was successful with adults and children alike.
- Bar. I’m of the view that you can’t have a summer party or wedding without Pimms. I don’t really drink, but if there’s Pimms, I’m there. And really you don’t need a great selection, just enough to go round. And plenty of soft drinks for children and drivers.
- Music. Not always needed for a summer garden party, but yesterday they had a guy singing from their balcony. He was great singing older and new covers…N loved seeing him play the guitar and listening to him sing.
- Have animals nearby. Ok, so just a dog would do it. Great for eating up leftovers, but N was entranced by the pug walking round following it so he could stroke it. I’m not sure he’d ever seen one before so it was funny seeing him following it.
- Invite lots of people who know one another. We’ve all been to weddings or dos where you only know the bride & groom, or host, and have felt like lemons. So where you have an informal party where you can have more people, there’s more chance of knowing people and therefore having a great time. It really does make a difference but is so hard to do. The OH knows lots of people from farming backgrounds who all know each other, but I also know lots of people from different areas of my life that I’d want to invite to things. You need to know there’s going to be people who know each other so they feel comfortable.
- Shade. We know we should all get in the shade at certain times of the day when it’s sunny (great for kids who tend to look much better in hats), and I was relieved that I’d remembered sun lotion, unlike lots of my friends, but providing shade where you might have old or young people is important. We’d struggle in our open garden, so I’m thinking investing in a gazebo or two might be a good idea. Or would be, if we ever did anything in the garden.
I did get worried at one point that N was going to destroy the baby swing. He noticed it and wanted to climb in. My telling him he was too big and heavy wasn’t going to stop him, so he managed to climb into it from underneath, twist round to sit. Of course, his feet were then touching the ground so he should have just listened to me!
What are your essentials for a garden party?
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