It’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK, which means us Brits are desperately looking at the skies hoping that the grey cloud will clear just long enough for us to light the barbecue and crack open a bottle of Pimms. I wanted to make the most of the long weekend and invite over some friends, particularly as it was a rare occasion that my brother was home as he lives abroad! Rather than just go for the usual paper plates and plastic cups, I decided to take a little inspiration from Zoella’s recent video and blog post on her Picnic Party and jazz everything up a bit with some inspiration from Pinterest – Pinspiration if you will.
The first thing for any Pinterest project is of course pastel colours and bunting. I wanted a bright, summery and almost campfire theme to my BBQ. I grabbed a couple of mason jars for a couple of pounds each, and bought two bunches of flowers from Tesco – one was a mixed bouquet for £5 and one was a bunch of pink carnations for £2.50. The flowers were the perfect mix of colours and have lasted really well! I wanted to keep the decor for the BBQ as cheap and cheerful as possible, and also things I would be able to use continually or temporarily in the case of flowers, after the event.
A little trimming and tweaking later, the mason jars were fully prepped and sporting a bright and summery posy of flowers. I got rid of most of the greenery that came in the bouquet, but kept a bit to add some texture to the otherwise delicate petals of the blooms.
In order to create a campfire vibe to the party, I did away with chairs and tables and layered every blanket I could find in a haphazard pattern across the grass. I asked friends to bring blankets and cushions if they could, to add to the comfort and it became a big pile of comfortable flooring. I did grab a couple of beautiful spring/summer themed cushions from Primark on the cheap! I used a couple of cardboard boxes draped in thin scarves as ‘tables’ of sorts, and popped my mason jar flower arrangements and a selection of dips and sauces on my makeshift tables.
Around the garden I hung some tissue paper pom poms from Hobbycraft. This wasn’t particularly cheap (it works out at £1 per pompom!) so if I were to do this again I would look into a more affordable way of making these as I am sure it is possible. However, the effect was great, and using a bit of rustic looking twine to hang them around the blankets turned the garden from almost entirely green to having some brightness too!
I also used a stretch of pastel coloured bunting from Hobbycraft – something that has been useful for various parties and charity events over the years so despite it’s cost (£10 for 5 metres!) it has definitely proved its worth and is adorable at all occasions.
To top off the decorations I used a couple of citronella candles in terracotta pots that we have had at home for years – they’re a great way to keep wasps and mozzies away and fit right in with the theme!
When it came to food and drink, I set out some basics – crisps, chips and dip, scotch eggs, cheese and onion rolls, carrots and humus and then had the usual on the BBQ. My favourite thing to BBQ is corn on the cob, so I always make sure my veggie tray contains plenty of that. I went for portobello mushrooms and halloumi rather than veggie burgers, and the usual beef burgers and pork sausages for meat eaters. I grabbed everything I needed at my local Tesco and as I wanted to keep the cost down wherever possible I went for frozen food as that comes in a lot cheaper normally!
As with any summer get together, the general rule is BYO – so I laid out half a dozen cans of Coke, half a dozen Tango and half a dozen beers as well as huge jug of iced water with plenty of slices of lemon in it. Over the course of the afternoon people added their contributions to the table.
I bought this turquoise wire basket a while ago for £2.99 in TK Maxx and I usually store notepads, tickets and pens in it but today I used it to keep paper plates, napkins and cutlery from flying around the garden at any gust of wind. It proved really helpful and everyone could just grab what they needed, when they needed it!
By some fluke, the weather held out all afternoon and we were able to enjoy the smoky scent of a summer BBQ well into the early evening as the sun started to go down. It was a great way to catch up with friends, celebrate a few birthdays that are coming up and enjoy being outdoors for a few hours! I took advantage of the Spotify summer offer of three months of Spotify Premium for £9.99 and created a really relaxed and upbeat playlist for the event. I’m looking forward to cracking open all my decorations again in the near future over the upcoming summer months!
Have you held a summer BBQ or picnic? What are your top tips?