by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Lifestyle : Party Planning 2012
1HERSA1 0060 60 S SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2012 THE SUN-HERALD SPECIAL REPORT Simple tips for a smooth do It's your party and you want to enjoy it, so plan ahead and you'll have time to relax, writes Carolyn Boyd. Spread the load . . . take some of the pressure off by asking a few guests to bring a plate, it worked well in the old days (right). Photo: Warren Croser There is plenty to be said for lavish parties in beautiful venues, but there are still plenty of times when the best option is entertaining at home. Bringing the party home can be stressful, or it can be a whole load of fun. Preparing ahead of time and keeping things simple makes all the difference. 1. Be prepared The more prepared you are, the smoother and more enjoyable the entertaining side of things will be -- and the more time you'll have to actually spend with your guests. After all, they are coming over to spend time with you rather than watch you buzz about in a tizz. If you are not having professional catering, try to do most of the shopping at least a day ahead (longer if there's food you can prep even earlier), and try to buy drinks beforehand, as they are often left to the last minute. Consider arranging a home delivery of groceries -- if you are spending a few hundred dollars on food, delivery is usually free, and now that some of the bigger grocery stores have smartphone apps with barcode scanners, it has never been easier to order from home. Likewise, it can be helpful to clean the house at least a day ahead of time so you're not madly scrubbing the loo as the first guest walks through the door. 2. Keep it simple It's funny how most days we're quite happy to eat at least some pre- prepared or simple food, but when guests come over, suddenly we need to do it all ourselves -- from scratch -- and conjure up an elaborate spread. Now that the weather is warming up, it's an ideal time for barbecues and picnics, and lighter meals that can be simpler to make. Which means it's also easier to cut corners with a few pre-prepared salads, finger foods and dips -- and yummy breads to fill the gaps. Rather than an elaborate dessert, the warmer weather lends itself to simple fruit and cheese plates to finish a meal. 3. Accept help With the trend for all things retro, a nice tradition appears to be sneaking back in -- having everyone bring a plate. You might not feel comfortable asking every guest to bring something, but if one is offering to bring a plate, it can't hurt to say yes. That's one less thing you'll have to prepare. 4. Fun for all ages If your event includes children, have a few things to keep them entertained. These will vary depending on their age. Younger children will enjoy party bags on arrival, which can be stocked with appropriate small toys, bubbles, balloons, crayons and paper. Party- bag toys can be bought for just a few dollars. If you have elderly people coming, remember they often feel the heat or cold more than younger guests, so plan ahead if the weather is going to be particularly warm or cool. It's always a good idea to have plenty of cool water on hand and ice buckets or portable coolers to store drinks (they never fit in the fridge, no matter how hard you try). And, depending on what time of day your event will take place, don't forget the sunscreen and/or mosquito repellent if you are going to be outdoors. Entertaining checklist Shop well ahead of time; consider making use of home- delivery services. Prepare food beforehand, or opt for easy-to-make options with a few pre-made inclusions. Have a few options to keep the kids entertained. Well before time, gather all the extras together that you might need, such as ice buckets, sunscreen, rubbish and recycling bins if your event is outdoors, extra serviettes, mosquito repellent and coils or citronella sticks. Accept help from others.
Short Spring Breaks
Sydney Harbour in Spring