How to Throw the Best Ever Summer Barbecue

With warmer climates (hopefully) ahead of us, it’s probably time to start planning your first barbeque of the season! Fortunately however, times have moved on since the days of your dad’s burned sausages eaten quickly in the drizzle. Get the drinks flowing, the seating comfortable and the kids entertained with these tips – cheers to a great party outside in the garden!

1. Light it Up

Modern outdoor barbeques and patio parties are all about the lighting. String up solar fairy lights, rig up hurricanes and candles and brighten your whole outdoor space for as long as you wish. Extend the party well into the night by keeping plenty of blankets and hoodies at the ready for chilly guests after dark.

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2. Kids Entertainment

Usually, kids are quite happy to entertain one another but when boredom begins to strike, it’s good to have plenty on hand – so that the grown-ups can pour another few glasses of sangria. A paddling pool, sprinkler , ball game or basketball hoop will keep ’em busy for hours. Make space for them on the sofas indoors to crash out when it all gets too much.

3. Ice Cream

Ice cream is everyone’s favourite warm weather treat but you can make it extra special by having a dedicated ice cream ‘station’ in the kitchen or garden. Kids in particular love making their own concoctions and it couldn’t be easier to pull off. Big tubs of chocolate and vanilla, sweets, chocolates, sprinkles and cones makes this a fun, tasty and simple summer dessert!

4. Rosemary Skewers

Why stick to boring old wooden skewers which burn easily when you can inject flavour with your vessel of choice? Rosemary adds a tasty herb flavour, looks pretty and smells absolutely amazing.

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5. Beat Bugs

Everyone loves a good barbeque but hates pesky wasps and gnats. Light up a gorgeous citronella candle to keep the little blighters at bay and slip paper cupcake cases over your straw in a sweet drink and rule out any unwelcome visitors next time you return for a sip.

6. Mow that Lawn

If you have a lawn as part of your garden, take the time to mow it a few days before your party. It makes the world of difference – just like tidying up your kitchen and living room!

7. Designated Drivers

Barbeques are a great opportunity for people to let their hair down and have a few relaxed glasses of wine or cocktails but chances are, there’ll still be plenty of designated drivers and non-drinkers present. Let them know you’re thinking of them too by mixing up fruity punches or buying in interesting and unusual fizzy drinks like root beer, cream soda and ginger ale.

8. Don’t Forget the Tunes

Now, we’re not taking about scaring off the neighbours with your phat beats here but having a little background music on always gets everyone into a good mood. Classic rock anthems, fun summer hits and currents tunes work well across all ages.

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9. Salads Shouldn’t Suck

Some people just don’t like veggies and there’s not a lot you can do to change that but for those who love ’em, make a feature of those fresh summer salads. Combining watermelon with salty feta and tossing together a wide variety of green leaves as well as a quality coleslaw make the perfect side dishes.

10. Feelin’ Hot

Everyone will be starving when they turn up, especially kids, so get the barbeque warmed up at least an hour beforehand and throw a few burgers and sausages on early so that younger children don’t have to wait too long.

11. Ice Lolly-tails

Everyone loves cocktails and everyone loves ice lollies – it’d be mad not to combine the two! Pour out big glasses of prosecco and then throw in a plain fruity ice lolly for a fun, silly and delicious take on the bellini!

12. Cocktail Ice Lollies

… or flip it around and freeze your favourite mix in an ice lolly mould! Silly fun for grown ups when the meal is over.

13. Brownie Kebabs

This one definitely shouldn’t be passed up and will be loved by kids and adults alike. Buy a shedload of supermarket brownies, thread them on skewers with strawberries and marshmallows and then warm them up on the dying out barbecue! Melty, gooey and utterly delicious.

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14. Ice Balloons

Forget filling the bathtub with ice and having all your guests traipse up the stairs for beers every five minutes and try this fun idea! Grab an inexpensive bag of water balloons, fill around two thirds full and then freeze. Throw them in a big bucket with your booze and when they’re melted, it’s time for a water fight! Just make sure nobody attempts it when they’re still frozen…

15. Cute Cubes

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to make your normal supermarket bought booze look fancy is to freeze berries, sprigs of mint or even small edible flowers into your ice cubes. Instant flavour and style.

16. Gorgeous Crockery

At Shabby Store, we have a whole range of stunning china and glassware which looks fantastic whatever kind of party you’re throwing! Pretty painted bowls and gold edged glasses really will make every one of your guests feel extra special!

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