This wonderful summer weather in the UK is sheer joy for most of us. We have had so many poor summers in the last few years most of us can't quite believe how lovely the summer of 2013 is.
I am sure that this will have inspired many of you to have parties in the garden. Whether you are celebrating something special like a Birthday, a Christening or a Wedding Anniversary or maybe you just want to invite people over to raise a glass to summer then there are a few simple hints I have to make sure that everyone enjoys the party.
My number one tip is that not everyone is able to enjoy the sun for long or even, sometimes, short periods. As a very fair skinned person I have frequently found myself struggling when I can't find some shade and so I recommend that you always make a shady area available for your guests. This may be the lounge inside your house or a gazebo, under trees or possibly a family sized tent in the garden.
My second tip is to make sure that ALL children have used a high factor sun screen. I don't want children to be burnt on my watch so check with the parents when they arrive if they have used sunscreen, if they haven't offer some and tell the parents where it is so they can reapply it as needed.
Leave non alcoholic juices, water and fizzy drinks in a shady spot for people to help themselves. Everyone needs to drink a lot of fluids in this hot weather as dehydration can be a real problem. Have a regular drinks stop for any children and get them out of the sun - perhaps organise a party game which they can do in the shade.
Don't forget about less mobile guests who may have found a comfortable seat in the sun when they arrived and are less than comfortable now. Check on them regularly and get them into the shade if they would be more comfortable there.
Make sure that your party food is kept cool and is only served just before guests are going to eat. If it is to be left for more than a few minutes keep it covered with protective covers, tea towels or paper napkins.
Make sure that paper tablecloths outside are clipped or taped to the table at each corner to prevent a gust of wind taking the tablecloth and the contents of the table with it.
Have a fabulous time and remember that if you are having lots of people or the party will go until late, let your neighbours know. My best bit of advice on this front is to invite them to enjoy the fun. Hearing everyone enjoying themselves over the fence while you are sitting there trying to read is annoying and makes you feel a little bit envious of all those people having fun.
Have a great summer party!