5 things I’ve learned about throwing a party
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It was my birthday last week, and for once, I had a house party. I’m a bit of a strange mix of extrovert/introvert – I love being the centre of attention, but only for about 10
minutes. After that I start feeling anxious for everyone else’s enjoyment. I often end up sloping away from my own parties.
So this time I decided to offload the bits that stressed me out and concentrate on what makes me happy. (I *sniff* feel a self-help book coming on. No More Muddying the Waters? Striding out in Stilettos? Publishers you know where I am).
The result? I had a fantastic time. So for what it’s worth, this is what I’ve learnt about to throw a good party – by which I mean, how to make sure you have a great time at your own bash!
1. Be radical in your approach
We moved out half our furniture and suddenly realised that the house looked a million times better (the furniture has not made it back inside the house again). Shelves were cleared, little bowls of 2p coins, hair bobbles and garlic cloves found proper homes. I went one step further – alas, once an old media hack, always an old media hack – and asked a fantastic interiors stylist friend of mine Caroline Davis to cast her eye over the rooms and suggest some improvements.
2. Make a statement drink
Your drink should say something about you. A Moscow Mule, my little tipple for the night tells people that I can’t touch tequila since several teenage drinking disasters. That I’m a bit girly with alcohol. That I like to replenish my glass often. There are trendier drinks than a Moscow Mule but sod it, I like them. Vodka, lime and ginger beer, all served on ice in a stonkingly beautiful cocktail glass is like a large glug of heaven in my book. Rather keen on my new purchase of magnetic chalkboard in vintage frame too.
3. Get the entertainment right
I have a bit of a weakness for magicians. I mean, Paul Daniels – what a hunk. No, all I mean is I like to be entertained at a party. Talking is great; meeting new people is fun; dancing is jiggy and uplifting; but I love magicians, sihouetteists, drag queens, showmen. I’ve had my eye on Sylar for a while, a street magician originally from Romania now living in Aylesbury, as he seems to be causing quite a stir locally. I booked him for my party out of curiosity really but it was a good call, he was fab.
He performed loads of close-up tricks in small groups – finding signed cards in the pack, moving a pack of cards with energy from his hands, smoking from his mouth without a cigarette, you name it, he did it. One friend has already booked him for her Christmas party, so he was definitely a hit.
4. Get the pros in
Anyone who reads Muddy regularly will know that I’m not a natural in the kitchen. I can cook, and occasionally I manage to make something special, but frankly Nigella can rest easy with her dippy licky fingers. I’m also hopeless at photography – I’m also the most forgetful snapper on the planet, as anyone who reads my restaurant reviews will attest – I often forget to take pictures of the various courses because I’m already half way through eating them.
So for nibbles, I used a brilliant local Thai chef Wen, whose food was off-the-dial brilliant…
I also roped in super-lovely award-winning photographer Paul Wilkinson, who has helped me with Muddy from the off and just happens to be the preferred snapper for Le Manoir and Crazy Bear amongst others. He took all the pics on the night and never once veered towards the cocktails – what a pro!
5. Just add friends
Oh you guys! I love my friends and there were about 30 of them at my little bash. I wish I’d been braver and invited a few more actually. I got a bit nervous about numbers and space, but now I see it would have just added to the fun. Next year I’ll throw caution to the wind and add some new people in with the old favourites. The more the merrier, right?