Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Tips for Stress Free Entertaining in a Smallish Space

This post is sponsored by Fisher and Paykel and Finish Dishwashing Powder

The Beach House may be cute, but she is somewhat on the small side.  When I am entertaining, which is often, particularly in the Summer months, there are some strategies I use to make the most use of the space and time available.

1. If a guest offers to bring something other than the mandatory bottle of wine, I take them up on it.  A salad or a dessert contributed by a friend can be a big help and take a lot of pressure off and saving precious kitchen space, when I am cooking up a storm.

2.  For a dinner party, I make the pre dinner nibbly with drinks the entre, so I only need to serve 2 courses.  Saves on washing up too, if the nibbly/entre can be served with just a napkin.

3.  It's about seeing my friends, not about how elaborate the meal is.  I often have a BBQ with Greek Style butterfly lamb, oven roasted potatoes and a salad.   That way, the cooking load is shared with Mr Beach House and he doesn't even realise he is lifting a finger.  Even when I lived in an apartment and had a kitchen smaller than the average sized wardrobe, a small BBQ set up on the balcony was a life saver for entertaining and the associated clean up.  

4.  I make a really detailed shopping list of ingredients when I do the shop for the party, so I don't need to keep popping out to the shops before the guests arrive.  That is such a time waster.

5. I choose dishes which can be prepared the day before. That way all the prep can be cleared away well and truly before the guests arrive.  It allows for the flavours to infuse as well.

6. When I entertain, I know my fridge will be up to pussies bow with food and drinks.  To cope with the over flow, I have invested in some glamourous wine coolers and fill them with ice to accommodate my guests' beverage contributions.

7.  I make sure my dishwasher is empty at the start of the party.  An empty and well functioning dishwasher is my key to a clean kitchen at any time actually.  You know I am a cupboard shover, well I am a dish washer shover as well.  My bench tops can be stacked with junk one minute, but once it is all stacked in the dishwasher and the bench tops are wiped down, I can go from kitchen chaos, to gleaming clean kitchen within minutes.  

8. If we are eating indoors, I lay the table the night before, so that I don't need to worry about it as I am serving the food and talking to my guests.

9.  Instead of a full blown dinner, I often organise an afternoon tea or a small drinks party, so as to make the logistics more simple.  Saves on the clean up too.

10.  As my guests walk through the door, I make sure they get a drink straight away, the music is playing so it sets a great mood and any cock ups from that point forward will be well and truly forgotten about.  Sounds crazy but being the social animal Mr Beach House is, as soon as the first guest walks through the door, he thinks he is a guest too and waits for me to do the drinks.  After all these years, I have given in and don't even ask him to help anymore.

To me entertaining is one of life's great pleasures, but there is a definite art to being a good host.

The preparation and clean up can often be daunting too, but I never let that put me off, or get in the way of a good time.  Personally, I am up for anything that makes the process more convenient.

If you are redesigning or upgrading your kitchen around drawers, then with Fisher and Paykel you can continue that theme with DishDrawer Technology.  DishDrawers come in a myriad of sizes and shapes, tall, wide double, single and integrated to fit whatever your design requirements.

The space efficient ergonomically designed dishwasher in a drawer was created with any sized kitchen or family in mind.  They can be stacked or installed side by side to cater for any demographic.

No kitchen is too small for one of these babies.

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Today I am linked up here
Wow Us Wednesday


  1. I entertain in a similar way. I always do two courses with nibbles to start with - entrees seem to be from another era. I always have the music playing before the guests arrive, the candles glowing and the lighting down low. I ALWAYS start with an empty dishwasher and a tidy kitchen - it just makes entertaining so much easier xx

  2. ooh very timely Carolyn, the entertaining season is near! Love to find shortcuts as then you get to relax and enjoy the dinner party too, so important. xx

  3. I do love the idea of one of those drawer dishwashers ... in addition to our existing one as my family tends to use every single plate and cup when they come to visit lol x

  4. Great tips. Entertaining should not be stressful. I always try to start with an empty dishwasher. It makes it much cleaner in the kitchen. Kylie x

  5. Thanks for the tips!! I'd love if you'd link up to The DIY'ers:

  6. Great tips and suggestions. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  7. Great tips! One should have as much fun at your party as the guests do!

  8. Oh dear, I needed these tips... what a great idea to make sure the dishwasher is empty. I always say 'help yourself to booze, never wait to be offered. I need to get the teens more organised as waiters.

    Did I say before that a friend of mine has dishwashers drawers, they are the cutest things.

  9. Hi there Carolyn, I love the painting that you have up for a raffle in point no: 3. It reminds me of Clareville Beach. Can you please tell me who the artist is and where you got this from??? I simply love it. Mary

    1. Yes it is Clareville. The one in my kitchen above is also of Clareville. The one you admire is actually in the artists house. Her name is Nada Herman, who I wrote a story about her here


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