How to Host a Dinner Party

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As I get older, I love the idea of throwing a dinner party. A dinner party is one of the most delightful things when it comes to hosting. We get to cook food we love for the people we love. You can get creative too. You might want to design a whole 28-course tasting menu or keep it stripped back and simple with a delicious bacon-wrapped filet mignon and herbed potatoes. 

It really all comes down to the company, but being a great host isn’t just about serving up delectable dishes. So here are some quick tips for pulling off the perfect dinner party. 

People

You want to ensure that you have a conversation that flows freely all evening. This means you’ll need to pay careful attention to who you are inviting. There are some friend groups that don’t mix, and others that have a firecracker who can talk about anything. Make the decision based on who makes you smile, and you can’t go far wrong. 

Food

Most groups of people will have one or two dietary requirements. Try to keep that in mind when you are preparing your menu. Almost all dishes can be made for vegetarians, vegans, and those with intolerances and allergies. It is a small and thoughtful step in your preparation. 

Space

If you don’t have a natural cleaning schedule, then a few days before your dinner party, it’s time to prep the space. Your home doesn’t need to be as picture-perfect as a show home, because this is all about spending time together. But, spending some time cleaning up and decluttering anyway. Think about where people will gather after the meal. Is there enough toilet paper and hand soap in the bathrooms? 

Double-check you have all of your pots, pans, and enough cutlery for all of your guests. You can even set these out the day before, streamlining it all will make cooking even more enjoyable. 

Seating 

You might not have to even think about this. Depending on your friends, they might be happy to sit anywhere. If you, however, have people meeting for the first time, or there is a mix of personalities, you can spend some time creating seating placement cards. Most people will like to sit with someone that they know. However, you can mix it up and have fun with the seating. 

Relax

When you are hosting, it is tempting to stay standing, serving, and busy all evening taking care of your guests. Simply watching all of your hard work pay off, and people enjoy themselves. However, even when you serve yourself last, make sure you take your seat and join in with the conversations that are happening. Be part of the moment, as well as facilitate it. 

And finally, once the meal is over, it is likely that people will offer to help you clean up. Accept the offer of helping to tidy up, as it can be a thank you for the effort that you have put in. 

 

How to Stay Healthy During Quarantine

The majority of the world is locked down right now. It looks like measures will soon change however social distancing will still be in place and this could mean that public places such as gyms remain closed. That’s a problem for people who like staying fit and keeping in shape. You might be wondering if there is a way to stay healthy even when you are mainly confined to your own home. Well, here are some of the suggestions to help that.

Keep Up A Schedule 

When you are locked down it’s easy for days to fade into one another and you can lose track of your typical routine. This can be a problem because it means that you might struggle to maintain things like your sleeping pattern. Insomnia is always going to be bad for your body and your health overall. Sleep is a time when the body is able to heal and rejuvenate. If you’re not getting enough sleep, then this process is significantly disrupted and you don’t want that to happen. By keeping your routine, experts agree that you are more likely to fall asleep at the right time rather than taking naps throughout the day. As tempting as it may seem you shouldn’t start to lie in on weekdays. Get up, get active, and stick to your typical schedule. 

Eat Well

It can be tricky right now to eat well. You might not be in the mood to prepare wholesome meals for the whole family. You could also be struggling to get the foods you need. One of the best ways to rectify this issue is to consider using a meal order service. They can leave the ingredients on your doorstep, providing a safe way to get the prepared foods you need. There are lots of services like this available. For instance, you can consider Everyplate vs Dinnerly and both have their strengths. 

Workout At Home 

When the gyms are closed, it can be difficult to stay fit and healthy. If you have a gym pass that you’re paying for then you have a reason and a certain level of motivation to workout. As well as this, you have all the equipment and tech that you need to make it fun and rewarding at the same time. However, you can still workout at home. The trick is to find an exercise routine that you enjoy or mix it up to ensure that you don’t get bored. In doing so, you will be able to make sure that you don’t have to worry about issues with losing focus on your fitness path. A ninety-second workout can be just what you need and will easily fit into a typical morning schedule. 

I hope some of these tips help you understand some of the best ways to stay fit and healthy even when you’re locked down. Hopefully these help you (and mostly me haha)in keeping those pounds off. A lot of people are worried they’re going to come out of this lockdown in a worse state of health than when it began. However, if you take the right measures then this doesn’t have to be the case. 

 

What to Buy at the Sephora Spring Sale!

If you know me, you know I have a huge makeup obsession. Sephora is probably my favorite store, ever. I could spend hours just browsing the shelves inside Sephora. So whenever Sephora has a sale, I’m on it like white on rice. Here are some items I’m looking to purchase during the Sephora spring sale, plus some of my faves for you to shop!

Hourglass Foundation Stick – I just ran out of this foundation. It’s full coverage and lasts all day. The texture is creamy and leaves your skin looking flawless.

Supergoop Glow Screen – Hands down my favorite sunscreen! It’s lightweight, non-greasy and leaves the perfect glow!

Drunk Elephant Sukari Baby Facial – I haven’t tried this one, but I’ve heard great things. It’s pricey so definitely going to take advantage during the sale!

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Eyeliner – Charlotte Tilbury is hands down one of my favorite brands. I’ve been wanting to try this eyeliner since it launched. It’s a purple/brown color and I have nothing like it.

Farmacy Cleansing Balm – This is my favorite cleansing balm. It doesn’t leave an oily residue on the skin like many cleansing balms and it really helps get everything off.

Innisfree Clay Mask – My pores have been out of control lately. I need a good (and cheap) clay mask to use and this Korean brand is supposed to be great and affordable.

What are your Sephora favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Diet Without Losing Flavor

2020 hasn’t been our year. You woke up on January 1st and thought that this year would be the one where you would finally go on a diet, hit the gym and change all the things you have wanted to. The trouble is, if you are like 90% of the world, by January 2nd you quite possibly found yourself on Seamless taking advantage of some sort of discount. 

Well, what if finally, somebody levelled with you and told you that if you really do want to hit that diet, it doesn’t have to be as boring as most people on Facebook would have you believe. While you may have a vision in your head that dieting equals lots of salad or some crazy fad that some insane person has created, that is not the case.

As you may have guessed, all these fads and advertisements you see on Facebook and Instagram are nonsense, in truth, losing weight can be easy. So, let’s take a look at how you can lose weight the easy way without having to sacrifice flavor and all the things that you love.

Calories In vs. Calories Out

Ok, so let’s start with the basics, if you want to lose weight, it’s all about moderation and being sensible.

The thing about losing weight is, it’s all about science. Many people count calories but don’t understand why so here’s the gist of things. Your body needs a standard amount of calories per day to function; if you have surplus calories, you gain weight; if you have a caloric deficit, you lose weight. Caloric deficit simply works by the body breaking down the fat cells when it runs out of calories, and then you lose weight.

So, if you want to lose weight, simply cut the calories. If you want to feel healthier, cut the calories, the fat and some sugars and you are well on your way.

Get Creative

Now we know that you can pretty much eat anything when dieting, you just need to exercise your creative bones in the kitchen.

If you want pizza, change the base to a flatbread, if you fancy a snack with tons of flavor, why not check out something like this baba ganoush from ToriAvey.comIf you want chocolate, have a piece of chocolate. If you want some delicious curry, have the curry. You simply have to remember that it’s a matter of not overindulging and counting your calories on one of many apps. Doing this will allow you to monitor your caloric deficit and set yourself goals.

In truth, dieting is a lot easier than the media would have you believe, this is simply due to the fact that people want to make money from your needs. 

Hopefully, this post has armed you with some handy information that can help you should you want to start a weight loss journey and not have to sacrifice flavor along the way.

 

How to Take Care of Your Hair

If you’re noticing that your hair is starting to feel a little tired and it’s not responding well to the styling measures you take each day, it might be time to start thinking about how you can begin to look after it a little better. There are lots of ways in which you can begin to take better care of your hair and we’re going to discuss those things right now. Read on to find out what you need to know about keeping your hair in optimal condition.

Deep Condition Every Week

A deep condition is the least your hair deserves, and you should be doing this once a week. Regular conditioning often isn’t enough for many people, so it’s worth going the extra mile and ensuring your hair gets the level of nourishment it needs and deserves. Doing this once a week will help it to feel alive and revitalized throughout the week and that’s how it should feel.

Use the Right Vitamins and Supplements

Using good vitamins that can help you to improve the health and strength of your hair is a good idea as well. There are lots of hair vitamins out there that you might want to consider, so find out more about the options and find the ones that you feel will be most beneficial to you. Everyone’s hair is different so you might want to try some options and see which works best.

Eat Plenty of Healthy Protein

Eating the right kinds of foods will also help you to ensure your hair is as strong and healthy as it should be. In particular, you should try to make sure that you’re getting enough healthy protein into your diet as possible. This is great for your hair and you can get it from foods such as leafy greens, oily fish such as salmon and various kinds of nuts and fibers.

Give Your Hair the Chance to Chill on Some Days

Some days, you should really give your hair the opportunity to just do its thing. You don’t always need to be applying heat and lots of products to it. If you dedicate a day or two per week to just leave your hair as it is, it’ll get the chance to chill and that can be really beneficial throughout the week and all year round.

Get it Cut Regularly

Getting your hair cut regularly is not just about maintaining your style. It’s also about making sure that the quality of your hair is strong. And even if you’re trying to grow your hair out, you should get it trimmed by a professional regularly to remove problems such as split ends.

Taking better care of your hair is something we should all do, and we all can do it. It’s easy to neglect your hair and not go to the lengths you should. But when you see the outcomes that come from taking these extra steps, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start taking better care of your hair sooner.

What to Consider When Buying Jewelry

Ya’ll know I love my jewelry. There are many reasons that you might find yourself buying jewelry, and no matter what the occasion is you are going to want to make sure that you get it right. There are different factors to consider when trying to figure out the right jewelry pieces.

Special Events

Special occasions are one of the top reasons people look at buying jewelry. If you are due to propose to someone, for instance, then you know that you are going to need to find designer diamond engagement rings to choose between. If you are buying for a birthday or Christmas, it will be something else entirely. And if you are just buying something for yourself for no particular reason, then that too is something that you can consider.

Price

We all know that it is easy to spend a lot of money on jewelry, but the truth is that the prices can vary so much that you never quite know whether you are going to spend a lot or not. There is such a huge variation, and what might cost only a few bucks here might be much more expensive over there. So make sure that you are considering not just the price of individual rings but the prices of those similar rings at different stores, as that way you are much more able and likely to make the right choice economically.

Style

What kind of style do you want for the piece? This again might depend strongly on the occasion you are buying for, but it is likely that a few other factors are also going to come into play here as well, so you need to be aware of those. Such as the general style of the person who will be wearing it, for instance, whether that is yourself or someone else. As long as you have thought about the style of the piece in this considered way, you are going to make a much better decision overall.

Ethics

In today’s world, finding ethically sourced jewelry can be an important factor. It is always a good idea to do your research on the supplier of a piece of jewelry, as well as the supplier of their gems, and of any designers and crafters who have worked on the piece. It’s not too hard to find all that out, and it will ensure that you are remaining moral when it comes to choosing items of jewelry to buy. I have some ethically sourced jewelry items on my boutique so go check it out here

How to Stay Sane During Quarantine

We’re at a strange point in time right now. It’s fair to say that the world is a much different place than it was a month ago, there’s not a corner of the earth that hasn’t been affected by the recent pandemic. Whether you’re on formal quarantine or lock down or are just choosing to self isolate, being at home can feel a little tedious after a while and can increase anxiety when you’re sitting around with too much time on your hands. If you can, see this as ‘downtime’, try and make the most of a bad situation and aim to do fun and productive things where possible to make yourself feel better. The only thing we can do now is to try to make the most of this situation, so here are some ideas to make your day a little better.

Have a spa day

Chances are you have tons of spa products in the house. If you’re like me you probably have them in your cabinet but totally forgot about it. But now is the perfect time to get them out- bath bombs, bubble bath, oils, hair and face mask, foot masks. Spend some time really pampering yourself, get a hot bath and relax with music and candles, treat your hair and skin and paint your nails. On a normal day you probably don’t get the time to do all of this, so why not make the most of it? Not only will it make you feel better physically but it can reduce stress and make you feel better mentally too. If you and your partner are isolated together you could even give each other massages and turn your home into a mini spa for the day. 

Try some new makeup looks

Playing around with makeup can be a lot of fun, but again it might not be something you get the time to sit and do that often. If you have a lot of products, get them out, fall in love with different things again and follow along with some makeup tutorials on Youtube. You might be all dressed up with nowhere to go, but you could snap some photos for your blog, Instagram channel or just for a new Facebook profile picture. You could get really creative and try things you wouldn’t normally do, just because you have the means to do so and the time on your hands! Have fun with it, you can always just wash it off if it goes wrong so don’t worry about trying to get it perfect on the first attempt. I did this the other day, as seen in the photo above. I saw a photo that Kathleen Lights posted on IG and tried to recreate it, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Do some online shopping

Online shopping has become a real lifeline during these times. You can continue to support business by ordering from them and having goods shipped to your door. Just be aware of social distancing when your deliveries arrive, leave a note asking for things to be left on your doorstep or just call through the door so you don’t need to come in contact with people unnecessarily. Maybe some new summer dresses will cheer you up (hopefully we’ll be over the worst of this madness by then) or perhaps you could order some homeware items and have fun redecorating and decluttering a room in your home. You could treat yourself to something that will cheer you up, get materials for a project or buy something you need but have been putting off for a while. If deliveries are still going ahead in your area then do continue to buy as it helps the economy in these difficult times. 

Also don’t forget to shop my boutique John and Suki! Use code SHOP20 for 20% off any item.

Organize your closet

This is something I need to do that I’ve been putting off. Take everything out and put what you won’t wear into boxes labeled donate as it can help to make decisions easier. Put back what you want to keep, and pass along the other items when you get the opportunity after you’re out of self isolation or quarantine. Having a thinned out wardrobe can actually give you more clothing and outfit options as you can see exactly what you have, and you’ve only kept things that fit you and that you like. No more rummaging through items you don’t want or need. 

Write some blog posts (or start a blog)

Blogging is one of the best hobbies you can have. It’s fun, it’s productive and there are lots of ways to earn money later down the line. If you already have a blog, now is the time to create some great content for it. You could review products you’ve been loving, take outfit photos, write a diary of your thoughts or give tips and advice to others. If you don’t have a blog then what better time to start one? It will likely take you a few hours to get set up, think of a blog name and open an account on blogger or wordpress. Buy a template off Etsy to make it look nice, and purchase a domain name to link to your blog. From there you can open an email address and new social media pages linking to your site. Once all of that is done, you’re free to start creating content and networking with other bloggers. Since it’s this starting point that takes the time, it’s a great opportunity now that you have the time to get it up and running. From there you could just post once or twice a week if you wanted to and enjoy this hobby for many years to come.

How will you be staying sane at the moment? Leave your tips in the comments below!

 

Girls Trip Guide to Savannah, Georgia

Last weekend a few girlfriends and I took a quick trip to Savannah, GA for my birthday. It was my first time in Savannah, and I’ve been wanting to go for some time now. If you haven’t been I highly recommend. Savannah is such a beautiful charming southern town with a lot of history. Of all the things we did, I wanted to share some of my favorites.

What to do:

Ghost City Tours: On Saturday night, we took a ghost pub tour. This was honestly one of my favorite things we did during the weekend. We hopped around to about 4 different bars and learned about the history and hauntings of Savannah, GA. Did you know that Savannah is essentially built on top of a grave? We didn’t see any ghosts (kind of sad but also kind of glad) but still had a great time!

Forsyth Park: You must go to Forsyth Park while you’re in Savannah. It’s absolutely beautiful to just walk through, with all the Spanish moss and fountains. It’s very dog-friendly, so we took Baguette. We even saw someone walking their pet raccoon there.

Where to eat:

Cotton & Rye: Our first dinner was at Cotton & Rye. It was absolutely delicious. This was my type of restaurant, chic and trendy but with amazing tasting food. Their thyme lemonade cocktail was SO good.

Savannah Seafood Shack: Savannah is known for its seafood. We had to try the low country boil while we were there and boy did it not disappoint. Be aware that this is A LOT of food but it was so delicious!

The Olde Pink House: We ate here on our last night. It’s a beautiful old pink house (duh) converted into a restaurant. I got the scallop and shrimp fettuccine and it was AMAZING. This was one of the more expensive restaurants we went to but I highly recommend it.

Where to grab a drink:

Jen & Friends: Go here for a martini. They have all these crazy martini flavors, so many to choose from. I’m not a big martini girl but had to do it for the gram. I got a birthday cake martini and it was delish!

Alley Cat Lounge: After Jen’s we went to Alley Cat. This place was such a fun cocktail bar. We told our waiter what spirit we liked and how sweet we wanted it and he just came up with something for us. They have a million different cocktails to choose from. This would be a great place to go with a group of friends for a casual night out.

Step Up Your Food Game

Okay, if you haven’t gathered from the title of my blog, I love food. It not only serves as a beautiful means of turning ingredients into works of art, but it’s also a craft, a social experience, and an act of love to serve someone. However, for those who truly do adore the entire experience of eating and appreciating good food, ingratiating yourself in foodie culture can also be a great way to connect with your passion.

Connecting with food outside being a seasoned eater can help you learn more about the art and practice, and it can also educate you to no small degree. For instance, if you enjoy steaks and eating high-grade beef, learning about the maintenance, rearing and care practices of Wagyu cows can be a fantastic idea. It textures our knowledge that little bit more, and we can therefore pass on our knowledge. But how else might you connect with food outside of eating it? Here are some ways you can step up your food knowledge.

Read Up On Food History

Read up on food history. From shows such as A Taste of History or reading into a particular ingredient or foodstuff, such as the first creation of sandwiches or the true societal-shifting implications of hunting down salt, the more you understand about how culture has developed the more you can gain an appreciation for it. Additionally, you will also find yourself appreciating other cultures more, as no one society, civilization or race of people has ever had a monopoly on fantastic food. For this reason, the act of learning allows us to appreciate our mealtimes more.

Visit Food Destinations

Visiting authentic locations can be a fantastic means of exploring your gastronomic interest. For instance, heading to Marseilles can help you eat at the restaurants prized among the culinary world, with legendary chefs that are still serving incredible food to this day. Appreciation is the name of the game here, and you’re sure to appreciate such a wonderful display of worth in more ways than one here. It’s even better if you can share this journey with those you most love, as the act of sharing a meal in a social setting is perhaps the only exception to the phrase ‘hunger is the best sauce’.

Source Incredible, Quality Treats

It’s important to treat yourself, and that means going for the best of the best when it comes to a certain foodstuff or ingredient. Sure, you may enjoy eating crab, but have you ever ate crab freshly picked and cooked from the ocean that morning in New England? Sure, you may enjoy pretzels, but have you tried the best pretzels from esprovisions.com?

The more we can try the best of the best, the more we’ll be able to distinguish quality from quantity, and good preparation techniques from the ineffective. That’s a vital skill to have.

The Best Products On Amazon

If you’re anything like me, Amazon is your go-to destination for pretty much everything. I’m not going to lie, I probably go on Amazon at least once a day. There are so many amazing products on Amazon that I can’t recommend enough so I thought I would share with you some of my favorites!

Barefoot Dreams Blanket: The blanket you see above on Baggys is one I got for Christmas (thanks Dad!) I’m obsessed with this Barefoot Blanket. I use it everyday on the couch. It’s super cute and cozy. It’s not very warm so if you live in a super cold place or it’s winter you might have to double up with another blanket. This leopard print is absolutely perfect and a must have!

Wisdom Panel DNA Test: I got all three of my pups this DNA test for Christmas. It was super easy to use and it was so fun to see the results!

Mini Crumb Vacuum Cleaner: This is a lifesaver! I’m a mess, I’ll admit it. I love having this crumb vacuum for when I make a small mess or drag in dirt from my boots. It allows me to clean up small amounts without having to whip out the big vacuum.

Laptop Backpack: I started a new job recently where I have to go to meetings with my big laptop. I was searching for over a month for the perfect laptop backpack and I definitely found it! I love this, it’s fashionable but also very functional. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it already. And it’s so much cheaper than a lot of backpacks!

Philip Hue Light Bulbs: It’s the way of the future. These Philip Hue lightbulbs are seriously lifechanging! I have them around my apartment and it’s a lazy girls dream.

What are some of your Amazon favorites? Let me know in the comments below!