Last weekend we threw our first proper bash at the new house. We’ve been in the cottage nearly six months so I reckon my days of referring to the place as ‘new’ are very limited. Anyway we decided to combine mine and a friend’s birthday with a bit of a house warmer and had a few folks round for a casual barbecue. Thankfully after some very cold and rainy days we were blessed with hazy sunshine and a lot of laughs. I had originally planned to set the garden up a few days before so I could ask Lisa of Little Beanies fame to snap all the details. However as it poured it down the week before you sadly have to just make do with the one professional shot in the slider and my iPhone handiwork below.

Over the years I’ve collected a lot of props from various weddings, shoots and what not so I’m pleased to say I only spent £3.50 on all these decorations. And what did I spend the £3.50 on? Well these super fun gold letter balloons from Tesco. They were similar to the ‘oh baby’ ones I bought for my friend’s sip and see party though these ones also come with the ribbon so you can string up anywhere you fancy. And if you don’t have an endless supply of props to hand I can guarantee you’ll make quite an impact with these metallic blow up letters. I can’t find them on their website but found mine in their kids’ party section.

We strung festoon lights above the patio (my old faithful indoor set which were removed during last night’s unpredicted thunderstorm) and a brand spanking fancy outdoor set gifted from my sister. I also wrapped my old christmas lights around the trunk of one of the trees which was a super pretty extra touch. I call it my ‘Pinterest’ tree.

{iPhone Gallery}

I dragged my old dressing table outside, popped two M&S drink dispensers on top and filled them full of soft drinks and herb ice cubes, including the now legendary apple and elderflower mocktail created by my friend Sam. The glitter heart garland was a home-made affair I knocked up for an RMS tutorial many moons ago. I also brought out a load of cushions and blankets to keep the guests cosy and comfy.

About five weeks ago we noticed a lone bird flitting in and out of one of the hanging baskets and assumed he was making a nest. However after a month of non activity James went up to replace the outside lights and noticed there was nothing but dead plants in the basket so luckily we were able to replant with a load of petunias instead.

As you’ll see we’ve made a bit of progress from my recent patio post; the lights have all been changed, the beds are far fuller and we have a bin store. Not too sure when the outdoor kitchen will make an appearance though.

The final touch was to string up a load of disco balls in the apple tree. Personally I think horticulturists should start selling this specimen but we’ll just have to wait and see. I bought all these glitter balls in the January sales several years ago from House of Fraser so it’s always worth keeping an eye out at the end of the year. The blackboard arrow from the gate was left over from my Mum’s retirement party last year.

Most of these snaps were captured the day after (which typically was a scorcher). Missing from the photos is the pasting table we borrowed to seat guests around which I decked out with a large H&M linen table cloth and individual potted plants.

Our guests dined on James’ home-made burgers, local butchers’ sausages, chicken and halloumi kebabs and an awesome salad bar put together by friend Ellie who seemed to cater for 117 people rather than 17. We topped it off with a heavenly naked lemon drizzle cake and home-made gin lollies. Delish. Everyone chipped in to make the do a really lovely, casual affair and we had a good giggle too.

Any garden parties planned for this year? How do you deck out your back yard for a summer shindig? Anyone else buying the Tesco balloons?