I absolutely love entertaining. It is one of the great bug bears of my life that I am not able to do more of it. Mr Mess, on the other hand, is not exactly what I’d call a social butterfly. You can therefore probably imagine my surprise when, at Miss Mess’ birthday party in June, he suggested it might be nice to host a Christmas party for our nearest and dearest.
Never one to miss out on the opportunity to plan a party, I immediately began making preparations. The first thing to decide was the venue, although this was possibly also the easiest decision. We had held Miss Mess’s vintage tea party at the stunning Manor Rooms in Teversal Village and we knew instantly we wanted this to be the venue for our Christmas extravaganza as well!
Obviously one of the most important decision for any woman when planning a party is what to wear. Luckily for me, the lovely people at Zaful.com sent me a few items to help me find the perfect part outfit.
The first dress was this pink and gold embroidered number. When I originally chose it I thought it was more of a nude colour, however I quite liked the pinker shade. It’s very girly, which is very me! Sadly, the dress was a little small for me (big boob problems – you know how it is) so this one was ruled out straight away. Hopefully if I keep up the running I’ll be able to squeeze into it soon!
The second outfit was actually only half of an outfit – this lovely tulle skirt. I chose this as everyone seems to be wearing these poofy skirts at the moment and I wanted to get in on the action. I liked this skirt as it’s a beautiful mocha colour. Unfortunately, that also made it incredibly to difficult to find a top to go with it. I searched everywhere until I found this silvery Warehouse cardigan in my local British Heart Foundation charity shop of all places!
My final option, and the one I eventually chose to wear for the party was the classic, red, sweetheart neckline dress. For me, you can’t beat a dress in festive red at Christmas time. The cut was incredibly flattering and it fit like a glove. I love the fact that you could choose to go uber-glam and dress it up with heels and accessories. As this was a low-key family party, I decided to keep it simple with a black cardigan, tights and shoes.
To accessorise, I chose this necklace and earrings, also from Zaful.com The necklace is incredibly pretty. It’s three strands hold a snowflake, a reindeer and a Merry Christmas sign. The earrings aren’t specifically Christmas-themed, but they do look slightly antique and I’m certain I’ll get a lot of wear out of them.
The cherry on top top of my outfit was this gorgeous Christmas wreath brooch. I’ve recently decided that I really like brooches and I should wear more of them. So, when I say this little beauty on the Zaful.com website I knew I had to have it.
After a day of prepping and primping, Mr Mess and I packed our car and headed to the venue. I wanted to room to be beautifully decorated, so I had packed a 6 foot Christmas tree, fairy lights, tinsel and lots and lots of baubles. It turns out that I really didn’t need to worry. When we opened the door we were greeted by this:
The room look so beautiful, with it’s traditional Christmas bunting and enormous Christmas tree! The only set-up we really needed to do was bring out some tables and chairs. I soon realised that to seat 20 people I would need a far bigger table than I had accounted for and so I didn’t have nearly enough table cloths. Still, we just about managed to make it work.
Just in time, the guests started to arrive.
We had asked everyone to chip in with some food to create a fuddle style hot buffet. We had 3 different kinds of meat – turkey, ham and goose. There were a huge assortment of side dishes including potato salad, pork pies, cheeses and quiche. My family puts on a good spread.
After the main courses, we bought out the desserts. What a selection we had! There was Christmas cake, cheesecake, mince pies, cupcakes – the list goes on and on. The centrepiece was this amazing Croquembouche, which I would love to take credit for but actually came ready made from Aldi. (Although I did have to assemble it which was pretty fiddly!). It only cost £5.99 which I think is incredible for such a fabulous dessert!
My sister very kindly offered to bring the soft drinks for the evening and even treated us all to a few bottles of Bucks Fizz. I was very grateful until I tried to open one of the bottles and ended up taking an unexpected shower. Still, it provided the family with much entertainment so at least they were happy!
I wasn’t the only form of entertainment over the course of the evening. Miss Mess and her Grandad had rehearsed a magic show for us all, which they performed with great aplomb. (What exactly is “aplomb”? Anyone care to enlighten me?)
My Dad had also put together a Christmas quiz. We split into two teams and had a great time trying to out-do each other. My family can be quite competitive but we are all good sports. My team won (naturally) but of course it is the taking part that counts.
As an added treat I had bought a small gift for each of the children at the party. (There were only 3!) It didn’t feel like it would be a proper Christmas party without some presents.
Once all the entertainment was over there was nothing much else to do but clear up. Again, it was a group effort and I think we all actually enjoyed it. We laughed and joked while washing pots and clearing tables. It felt really nice, all being together and working for a common goal.
Overall I think everyone had a fabulous evening. At least all for the feedback I have had has been overwhelmingly positive feedback. Everyone says that want to do the same again next year. I guess I’d better get it booked in calendar.
It looks like we might have found a new tradition!