How to Throw the Ultimate Summer Party

Bastille day and the 4th of July might be behind us, but it doesn't mean you can't throw an impromptu summer party! In fact, this is one of my favourite things to do and it makes for a nice change from going out to the local beach bars and restaurants. In the past few years, I have become a bit of a pro at throwing them, so I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks with you. Brace yourself, it's going to be a very, very long one!

#1 Decorate!

Summer parties are so much better when held outdoors. Now, I know not everyone is so lucky as to have a huge garden, a roof terrace or parents kind enough to lend them their home on the French Riviera for the night, but if you do, I'm a big fan of setting up a few different areas for your guest to sit down and relax. As much as you want everyone to hang out together, people will tend to break into smaller groups and that's ok. Maybe your childhood friends will want to hang out by the fire pit, whereas your work friends will prefer to chill under the fig tree. Chances are everyone will mingle at one point or another, so don't stress and just go with the flow. 

And now for the most exciting part - decorating the place! Think cushions, candles, floor pillows, lanterns, poufs, rugs, etc. My family keeps sun powered fairy lights up all year around, but if you're on a budget, you can always pick up some battery operated ones from places like Primark, or just opt for candles instead. Something I always have when guests come around are citronella candles, which repel mosquitos and other party crashers that might be bug-ging you. (See what I did there?)

#2 Let me entertain you 

Now, I'm not saying you need to have a whole outdoor cinema at the ready, but have some form of entertainment available. Music is definitely the most important of them all because it helps set the mood for the night. It's also your chance to play DJ and make the most badass playlist, because let's face it, not all of us are lucky enough to have a friend who will pick up the guitar and play by the fire all night. I've recently found a stash of my old CDs, so you can be sure my next playlist will have a lot of The VinesSleater Kinney and Uh Huh Her on it! Of course, you'll want a good sound system to do your awesome new playlist justice. I'm personally a big fan of the Panasonic wireless speakers, - let's be honest, you cat make these stats up! - but don't forget to warn your neighbours a few days before too, because these things are powerful!

If you're throwing a pool party, investing in a beach ball or a few cool pool floats is also a good idea. If you have a pétanque ground, have a few sets of boules around. Have a sets of cards at the ready - the bigger, the better -, and if you're lucky enough to have a ping pong table, definitely make sure you have balls and cups out, because nothing beats a good game of beer pong.

#2 Food, glorious food 

No party is complete without yummy food. Of course, you could go for the classic barbecue, but I'm going to give you a few other options, which work perfectly for an easy and yummy dinner.

Unless you're throwing a formal dinner party or only have a few people over, I find setting a table a bit too much. Instead, I like to have something a little bit more playful, like a taco bar for instance. Have a few options ready on different boards - think marinated fish, carne assada, shredded chicken, etc. -, and a few bowls filled with lettuce, a tangy lime and red cabbage slaw, guacamole, chipotle mayo, lime and some sriracha. Finally, add some warmed up soft corn tortillas and your guests are ready to build their own delicious tacos. 

And if, like my parents, you are lucky enough to have an outdoor kitchen with a wood oven, why not have a 'make your own pizza' bar? Once again, put all the different toppings in separate bowls and let your guests create their perfect pizzas. Easy, fun and oh so yummy! 

I also always keep a few plates of fruits and veggies out, as well as tortilla chips and my two favourite dips : mango salsa and guacamole. Here is how I make them :

Mango Salsa
What you're going to need :
· 3 ripe mangos
· 1 red bell pepper
· 1 medium-sized red onion
 · the juice of one large lime
· coriander and jalapeño to taste
· a pinch of salt

Instructions : 
Combine the chopped mangos, pepper, red onion, coriander and jalapeño in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the lime juice and season to taste. Let the salsa rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. 

What you're going to need : 
· 3 ripe avocados
· 1 tomato
· 1 red onion
· the juice of one large lime
· coriander to taste

Instructions : 
Finely chop the tomato, onion and coriander and add to the mashed avocados. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper. For best results, let the guacamole rest for an hour before serving.

#4 Cheers!

Whenever I am having a party, I always make sure to stock up on beer - don't forget the lime wedges if you're going to serve Corona -, wine and soft drinks, but I also like to make a couple of more elaborate drinks for my guests to enjoy. A strawberry and mint lemonade always goes down a treat as a non-alcoholic option and frozen margaritas make for the most refreshing summer cocktail. You can even surprise your guests by adding a fruity flavour to the classic, like watermelon. Here is my personal recipe, which believe me, is a real crowd pleaser : 

Watermelon Margarita
What you're going to need : 
· 350g of seedless watermelon, frozen
· the juice of half a lime
· 6 shots of silver tequila
· 2 shots of Cointrau
· a dozen ice cubes

Instructions :
Blend all the ingredients together until you get a smooth consistency. Use lime juice and salt around the rim of your jug (or glasses) and garnish with a watermelon wedge. Serves 4.

#5 Make your guests comfortable

Making your guests feel at home should be a host's number one priority, so I like to make sure to have everything ready for them so they don't need to keep asking where everything is or worse, not asking because they don't want to bother anyone. 

Make sure you have enough cups, straws and cutlery for everyone to use and they know where to find them. I also always keep a couple of beverage tubs filled with a mix of soft and alcoholic bottled drinks. If you're going to do this, don't forget to tie a bottle opener to the bucket, using a cute ribbon -  these things tend to disappear halfway through the night otherwise. Something fun I like to do is adding a few glow sticks to the bottom of the tub, which will make the tubs stand out in the dark, as well as making them look a little bit cooler. 

If you're having a pool party, it's also always good to have a few towels ready for everyone to use, just like it might be a nice touch to provide your guests with blankets if your party is going to go on late in the night. No need to be fancy here, the £3 Ikea ones do the job just fine!

#6 Last, but not least... HAVE FUN!

Nothing screams fabulous party more than a host who's having a blast herself. And if anything goes wrong, just remember these people are your friends and probably don't care, as long as they get to spend some time with you. So relax and have fun!

And finally, because it really wouldn't be a blog post of mine without a wish list - seriously, will I ever stop wanting to buy everything I see? I don't think so! -, here are a few things I'd love to get for my next  summer party :

Neon bottles : Oliver Bonas | Wireless speaker system : Panasonic | Plant holder : Urban Outfitters | Floral cushion : H&M | Chevron cushion : Etsy | Party parasols : Paperchase | Tealight holder : Primark | Drink animals : Paperchase | Napkins : H&M | Glass : Primark | Drink dispenser : Target
White cushion : H&M | Blue cushion : Maisons du Monde | Candle holders : H&M | Coasters : West Elm | Bamboo bowls : Oliver Bonas Rug : H&M | Pineapple spoons : Oliver Bonas | Bowl : Maisons du Monde | Drink bucket : Target

What are your ultimate party planning tips? 

- Elodie x

(Images from Pinterest)


Festival Fashion : What I Wore to Glastonbury

Festivals are the perfect excuse to let your inner flower child out and dance like you're Stevie Knicks and don't have a single care in the world. Now, I did not wear an oversized flower crown - believe me, I was this close though! -, nor did I rock a Native American headdress, but hey, I sure did have a lot of fun in the clothes I had packed in my rucksack! 

So here they are, my Glastonbury outfits - just add a pair of muddy wellies, dirty converse and a disposable poncho or two and you'll have the full picture. 

Top : Primark | Shorts : H&M Bag : Primark | Necklaces : Primark and Mim | Sunglasses : Ray-Ban c/o ShadeStation.co.uk | Watch : Casio Mini c/o The Watch Hut Bracelets : H&M, Stella & Dot, Primark and vintage | Rings : H&M and Accessorize | Metallic tattoos : c/o Kitsch | Nails : Essie Blanc 

T-shirt : c/o Amplified |  Shorts : H&M Parka : H&M | Bag : Primark | Necklaces : Primark and Mim | Sunglasses : Ray-Ban c/o ShadeStation.co.uk | Watch : Casio Mini c/o The Watch Hut Bracelets : H&MStella & DotPrimark and vintage | Rings : H&M and Accessorize | Metallic tattoos : c/o Kitsch | Nails : Essie Blanc

Playsuit : New Look / Bag : Primark | Necklaces : Primark and Mim | Sunglasses : Primark | Watch : Casio Mini c/o The Watch Hut Bracelets : H&MStella & DotPrimark and vintage | Rings : H&M and Accessorize | Metallic tattoos : c/o Kitsch | Nails : Essie Blanc

Top : Brave Soul at ASOS / Shorts : H&M / Bag : Primark | Necklaces : Primark and Mim | Sunglasses : Ray-Ban c/o ShadeStation.co.uk | Watch : Casio Mini c/o The Watch Hut Bracelets : H&MStella & DotPrimark and vintage | Rings : H&M and Accessorize | Metallic tattoos : c/o Kitsch | Nails : Essie Blanc

Crochet top : H&M / Denim shorts : H&M / Kimono : New Look / Bag : Primark | 
Necklaces : Primark and Mim | Sunglasses : Ray-Ban c/o ShadeStation.co.uk | Watch : Casio Mini c/o The Watch Hut Bracelets : H&MStella & DotPrimark and vintage | Rings : H&M and Accessorize | Metallic tattoos : c/o Kitsch | Nails : Essie Blanc

And that, my friends, is how I do festival fashion! Are you more of a hippie chic kinda girl or a grungy 90s kid when it comes to festival dressing?

Peace out! 

- Elodie x

PS - Yes, these were not technically shot at Glastonbury, but eh, I didn't have my amazing photographer (aka the sister) on hand, so... #bloggersproblem