What says ‘British summer’ better than a jolly good garden party in the sunshine? Here at Hilltop HQ, we’re rather fond of a knees up at the best of times, but there really is something about being alfresco and enjoying the gorgeous weather with friends and family. So this week we’ve got our picnic blankets out and we’re all about the great British garden party, and how to do right. Read on to discover our top tips!
Planning your garden party
All good parties need a little planning, but you don’t need to spend too long on it. One of the best things about garden party has to be the fact that they can be impromptu- after all, we don’t always know when the next sunny day will be, so sometimes we need to grab the opportunity when it arises! Keep it simple. All you need is good food, drinks, and good company and the rest will follow.
That said, if you are going for something a little more special, or you just love organising a good bash, the following tips might help:
- Choose a theme. This will help you settle on decorations and menu a lot more easily and will help you stay focused and within budget too.
- Make sure you have enough tables and chairs. Yes, picnic blankets are fun, but not everyone will want to sit on the floor. Make sure you have enough tables to hold food and drink and for people to actually use too. If you need to borrow chairs, then do it- the more the merrier!
- Make your garden welcoming. Spend a little time clearing away toys or other bits and pieces that tend to live in your garden while it’s not being used. Hang solar lights for atmosphere, set up a table with drinks to welcome your guests, and make sure the music is playing before anyone arrives. These small details really do make all the difference.
- Plan for the weather. It may be summer- but you’ll need a plan for if the heavens open, or it becomes chilly. Whether its outdoor heaters, a pile of fluffy blankets or a gazebo, it just makes sense to have somewhere to shelter if needed!
- Make the most of your garden’s best assets. All of those bee friendly flowers you planted? Show them off! Homegrown flowers really can be the most amazing centrepiece for your garden party and we know our bee-autiful friends will enjoy them too!
- Set up activities for your guest to enjoy. Sure, most of the grown ups will want to catch up with a glass of something cold and a comfortable chair, but if there are kids attending too you’ll need to keep them occupied. Lawn games are a great idea, but even if you don’t have space you can still set up activities to keep little ones amused. Perhaps a treasure hunt, or a scavenger hunt? If you have space, a bouncy castle always goes down well, but remember that one will need supervision too. We’re fans of giant Jenga or Connect 4- look online for inspiration.
Food, glorious food
In our expert opinion, the main event at any party just has to be the food. And, of course, no Hilltop party is ever complete without a certain special ingredient! Here are just a few ideas to make your garden party super sweet:
- Cocktails: a true summer essential! We love our refreshing Mint Too Bee cocktail, made with vodka, fresh lime and mint leaves, or try our Thyme and Gin Fizz, sweetened to perfection with our delicious Hilltop honey. For the kids, make a huge jug of our Elderflower and Orange blossom cordial to keep them sweet. This one is sweetened with our amazing Orange Blossom honey and it will take some prep before hand- but we promise it’s worth it!
- Your guests will want something to nibble on while they warm up, so having things prepared for their arrivals always a good idea. Finger foods are a good idea at this point, so try our Honey Caraway carrots (even better if they’re homegrown!) and our simply amazing Hilltop Honey Guacamole is honestly to die for!
- The main event. You might want to just serve up snacks, depending on the time of your party, but if you do want to bring out some heartier food, again our advice is to keep it simple. Pizzas are always great crowd pleasers and you can usually find a topping that suits all. Drizzle some Hilltop Hot Honey on top for the adults. Alternatively, barbecues are always a hit and relatively easy to pull off- as long as you have a willing chef to hand! Take a look at our easy Sticky Honey Mustard Ribs or our Sweet and Sticky Chicken Legs- both great dishes for meat lovers!
- By this point, you’re thinking: surely no British garden party is complete without a cake?! We agree wholeheartedly! Try our delicious Hilltop Honey Scones or our heavenly in-season Strawberry and Honey Tart. We also find the kids love our amazing Hex Honey Biscuit Smores too- they have such a great outdoorsy taste!
- Cheese, cheese, cheese! No garden party is complete without a good old cheese board, and we like to pair ours with… you guessed it- honey! Read our guide to cheese and honey pairings and see if we can’t tempt you to finish your feast with one!
A final word…
One of the best things about garden parties is the relaxed atmosphere you can easily create- it’s a great night out without leaving home, what’s not to love?! British garden parties are definitely a tradition we’d love to see continue and we hope you agree. So let’s dust off our garden chairs, bring out the barbecue and enjoy our gardens in all their summery glory!