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Design Design Tips Lifestyle

Five Items To Keep On Hand To Make Entertaining Easy

February 9, 2017

Growing up in my family home, it was one where the door was always open; friends trickled in without notice, and I loved every second of it.  Our house was loud but not too loud, and friends were always welcome.  With two parents who loved to entertain,  two sisters, and all of us with gaggles of friends, I watched as my mum would place another setting at the table, open another bottle and correspond with ease as if she was expecting the guest(s) all along. Entertaining is an art that can be hard and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are the top five tips (that I’ve stolen from my mum) and use time after time. It makes entertaining easy when you least expect it; plus, the thing I like most about entertaining is the time I actually spend with my guests — not the time spent in the kitchen working up a storm.

Stocked Bar

So this one is a tad easier since we have a bit of leftover booze from our wedding {I know, I’m as surprised at this as you are}.  I aim to always have a bottle of white chilled, ice cubes available, and a variety of liquors.


Whether I pick them up while traveling, at a flea market, or at Anthropologie, I love to keep a collection of assorted glassware. I use them to showcase my personality, to reflect a drink I’m making, and at times they can be a conversation starter.

Below, you can shop my favorite glassware – a fun way to set the tone for any gathering.


Seems simple enough, but it’s often forgotten about and it can buy you time — valuable time. Pour them out of the bag or plastic container and serve in one or multiple small bowls for guests to munch on while you gather any additional items or are pouring drinks. I tend to purchase nuts that have herbs, a unique flavor, or a texture that can stand on its own.

Cheese Plate

Maybe it’s the English in me, but a variety of cheeses were always on hand growing up.  Creating a cheese board requires zero cooking and only a small amount of prep time.  I love using a platter or cutting board to liven it up without having to go overboard on what I’m actually serving.  Add a few berries, a dollop of jam, as well as some easy to grab crackers, and you are good!


One thing I didn’t grow up with was fancy tablecloths for every occasion; we did, however, always use placemats. I tend to use runners in the same way my mum did. I use them to bring color, texture, and life to the table. They can be casual, fancy, and are another item that you can pick up when traveling. I love that they are easy to store and act as a wonderful backdrop to dishes when placed on the table. Oh, and did you notice that I actually used a runner above the bar?  I happened to have two on hand, so why not try using them in an unexpected way?

I hope you relax, have fun, and enjoy entertaining your friends with these manicured tips.

Photography by my amazing friend, Elena Graham {follow her on Instagram here}.


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My Manicured Life

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