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Amuse La Bouche

10 Entertaining Tips That Promise Low Effort and High Impact

From prepping, to during, to the aftermath - we’ve pulled together our top 10 tips for effortless entertaining. Whether you’re hosting a lavish Christmas canapé party or a low-key dinner party, read on to find out our must-haves to make entertaining as fun for you, the host, as it is your guests.

Dot Dining

1. Prepare Your Drinks

First things first. A little bit of forward planning goes a long way when it comes to serving the perfect drink. Whether you’re serving Champagne, G&Ts, Wine, Cocktails, Pudding Wine (or all of the above), it pays off to think about food pairing and the preparation needed to serve your drinks in the best way possible.

It goes without saying that chilled drinks need time to chill. Top up your ice buckets, make space in the fridge and chill your wine coolers well in advance.

Serving a special red? Decanting it will give it the chance to breathe and enhance the flavour of the wine, and make it feel incredibly decadent on your table.

Planning a fun cocktail? Make sure you have all the ice and think about the logistics of making multiple cocktails at the same time. Sometimes, simple is best.

And finally, clear a freezer drawer or shelf before your event. Perfect for popping in bottles of warm wine gifted by your guests, and it means you’ll have plenty of space for ice too.

Marble Wine Cooler, H18cm, Duru, White
Nkuku
£60.00
Champagne bath, H18 x W20 x D38cm, Leather Handled, Hammered Nickel Plate
Culinary Concepts
£150.00
Ice Bucket, Strand, Rattan, Dark Green, 25cm
Kalinko
£72.00
Wine coaster, 12.7cm, Bellied, sterling silver
Classic Silverware
£225.50
Decanter, Classic, 23cm
Elia
£70.00
£50 Gift Voucher
Marlo Wine
£50.00
Set of 6 red wine glasses, 505ml, Fortissimo
Schott Zwiesel
£60.50
Set of 6 white wine glasses, 420ml, Fortissimo
Schott Zwiesel
£60.50
Pair of Champagne flutes, Sandringham
Royal Scot Crystal
£85.00
Martini shaker, Barwell, Clear
Soho Home
£125.00
Set of 4 cocktail glasses, 210ml, Spears, Crystal
The Vintage List
£58.00
Engraved Wine Rack, Oak, Up to 22 Letters, 58cm
The Oak & Rope Company
£185.00

2. Lighting is Key

Nkuku

Keep the lighting low. Light candles and embrace table and floor lamps for a cosy and inviting environment. Plus, soft low lighting hides a multitude of sins if you’d rather spend time prepping your menu than dusting cobwebs…

Candle Holder, H12cm, Malana, Clear
Nkuku
£15.00
Set of 4 Dinner Candles, H28cm, Swirl, Jade Green
Candle Flair
£32.00
3 wick scented candle, Scent to De-Stress, White
Neom Organics London
£48.00
Set of 6 Tapered Dinner Candles, H25cm, Navy Blue
Candle Flair
£16.00
Etched Glass Tealight, H16cm, Dera, Antique Gold
Nkuku
£25.00
Candlestick, H13cm, Luxor, Blue
Issy Granger
£27.00
Set of 6 Dinner Candles, H20cm, Twist, Ivory
Candle Flair
£26.00
Candlestick, H24cm, Ombo, Green
Issy Granger
£38.00
rechargeable table lamp, 18cmx9cm, walter, antiqued brass
Pooky
£120.00
Sundra Iron Candlestick H63cm, Antique Brass
Nkuku
£75.00
Rechargeable Table Lamp Base Only, H21cm x W11cm, Ernest, Antique Brass
Pooky
£120.00
Linen Ikat Shade, 40cm, Straight Empire, Navy Yoda
Pooky
£97.00
Nkuku

3. Catering for Everyone

The chances of not having at least one dietary requirement at a dinner party these days is slim. Ask for any dietary requirements as you invite your guests to give you plenty of time to plan a well-rounded menu that caters for everyone in your party.

Keep it simple and look for recipes that can be easily adapted. We love large sharing platters of food when we’re catering for dietary requirements – it gives your guests a sense of freedom to choose what they want to eat and we love the fun of passing food around the table for everyone to dig into. Plus, you avoid the stress of food presentation skills on individual dinner plates!

Scalloped Serving Platter, Portobello, White
The White Company
£65.00
Serving Platter, 44cm, Splatter, Blueberry
Hot Pottery
£80.00
Stone Platter, D29cm, Darassa, White
Nkuku
£65.00
House Party In Tuscany, Amber Guinness
BookStore
£30.00
Serving Plate, D28cm, Circus, Yellow
Late Afternoon
£50.00
Ottolenghi, Serving Platter, Multi, Multi
Ottolenghi x Serax
£75.00
Platter, 43 x 32 x 3cm, Cabbage, Green
Bordallo Pinheiro
£70.00
A love of eating: recipes from tart london, Jemima Jones & Lucy Carr-Ellison
BookStore
£25.00
Presentation platter, D35cm, Forget Me Not
Nicholas Mosse
£122.00
A Table for Friends, Skye McAlpine
BookStore
£26.00

4. Keep It Simple

Are you planning to serve nibbles with drinks as your guests arrive? We love jazzing up shop-bought dips by spooning them onto a platter or flat bowl. Top houmous with a drizzle of top-quality olive oil and dukka, finish taramasalata with crispy capers and make tzatziki even better with fresh dill and coriander and a sprinkling of toasted cumin seeds.

Buy in delicious marinated olives and crips and serve in beautiful mix and matched serving bowls

Serving Platter, 45cm, Stella Bianca, White
Tenuta Marmorelle
£70.00
Quad Serving Set with Oak Base, 26cm, Dine, White
LSA International
£75.00
Antipasti platform platter, 52 x 15 x 17cm, Acacia Wood
Artesà
£42.00
Rectangular tray, 34cm, Madeira, Grey
Costa Nova
£32.50
Tray, Nibbles, Oak & Glass
The Oak & Rope Company
£75.00
Ottolenghi, Set of 4 Small Bowls, White and Red, White
Ottolenghi x Serax
£100.00
Small Nickel Crab Bowl, N/A
Culinary Concepts
£35.00
Set of 2 Scalloped Serving Bowls, W9.5 x L14cm, Portobello, White
The White Company
£28.00

5. Pick Your People

Choose two friends from your party and ask them to arrive an hour earlier than everyone else. These are your go-to people for last minute panics. Forgotten an ingredient? Too low on ice? Lean on them to keep your prep in place. It’s also a great way to give you a low-key start to the party; they can help you answer the door, serve drinks, or just have that conversation flowing from the outset.

6. Bring The Party To The Kitchen

You’ll be busy at various points in the evening, where things need stirring on the hob or food needs taking out of the oven and dishes need plating. Open a nice bottle of something delicious and ask a couple of friends to accompany you to the kitchen. Give them jobs to help you, they’ll want to contribute to the effort!

Embroidered Tea Towel, 50 x 70cm, Poisson, Blue/White
Amuse La Bouche
£25.00
Shallow casserole, 30cm - 3.2 litre, Signature Cast Iron, meringue
Le Creuset
£285.00
Utensil Pot, H18cm, Leopard, Yellow
Quail
£40.00
Trivet, Green Lawn, Round
Nicholas Mosse
£33.00
Apron, 80 x 82cm, Fastnet Stripe, Mushroom
Tori Murphy
£70.00
Double Oven Glove, Butcher's Stripe, Racing Green
Dexam
£27.50
Enamel 5 Piece Bake Set, White with Blue Rim
Falcon Enamelware
£85.00
The Italian Edition Cheese & Wine Gift Set, Matteo
The Deli Society
£45.00

7. Create A Talking Point

Nyetimber

Do you have a signature cocktail, or a way with flowers? Secretly a dab-hand at calligraphy or tablescaping? It’s the little touches that make all the difference, but don’t get too bogged down in the detail. Something might seem simple to you, but will no-doubt impress your guests!

Cocktail mixing set, 0.5 litre, BarCraft, Glass
Bar Craft
£24.00
Sip: 100 Gin Cocktails - Sipsmith, Sipsmith
BookStore
£16.00
Letterbox flower subscription, 12 months, Regular
Bloom & Wild
£240.00
The Encyclopedia of Cocktails: Over 1,000 Cocktails for Every Occasion
BookStore
£28.00

8. Dry, Not Just For January

Addison Ross

More and more of our friends are choosing to drink no or low alcohol. It’s something you should be well catered for. Avoid serving panicked out-of-date elderflower cordial and consider some no or low alcohol options for your drinks menu. There are so many brilliant options on the market these days, including our favourites Pentire and Everleaf. You could even make a big jug of booze-free punch that feels just as exciting as the alcoholic options on the table.

BarCraft & William Yeoward

9. Music

Have a playlist ready in advance with enough songs to keep you going all night. Check out our spotify here for some playlist inspiration.

Portable Turntable, Cruiser Deluxe Plus, Navy
Crosley
£90.00
Wireless Speaker, One SL, Black
Sonos
£179.00
Gift Voucher, £100
Apple @ Currys
£100.00
Revival Smart Radio, iStream 3L, Duck Egg
Roberts Radio
£230.00

10. Operation Clean Up

If you have the energy before bed, blitz the most painful bits of the clean up. Drop all your cutlery into a bowl of soapy water, ready to be tackled in the morning. Wash up your glasses and leave them to dry on a tea towel. It’ll make that morning wake up that little bit easier.

Nkuku