Guest contributor John Hannen of Mediaworks updates us on the growth of home entertaining
The British public are generally a social bunch. A good old-fashioned chin-wag is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. However, we have tended to stay in our home comforts more in recent years, with reports showing that in 2017 75% of us preferred friends came over to their homes rather than going out to socialise. That has contributed to two pubs on average closing each day in Britain.
But, why exactly do we prefer to entertain at home?
One of the key factors is the expense. The average cost of a three-course meal in the UK last year stood at £28.59, excluding drinks and gratuity. That means that, with the price of drinks hiked up in most restaurants, you could easily pay over £50 per head on your dinner date — and that’s not factoring in other expenses, such as taxis!
Entertaining at home allows you to stock your fridge and freezers with all your favourite snacks and drinks for a fraction of the cost. Now that sounds better, doesn’t it?
How many times have you bumped into an old friend when you’re out doing your chores and suggested a catch-up? And how many times do you actually follow through with that idea? Organising a get-together can often be hard work and fall at the wayside. That’s where home parties come in handy. Unlike many bars, kids are allowed! This means less hassle in needing to find a babysitter if you have little ones as you can just bring them in tow. Great, eh?
A house gathering also lets you take turns at hosting. That way you continue your social circle without needing to spend too much.
Due to our competitiveness, we enjoy gaining the plaudits from our peers; it can be a real ego booster, no matter how much we deny it. Hosting a good party or gathering can hold you in high esteem within your family our social circle. After all, we all remember who used to hold the best house parties at school, don’t we?
So, what can we do to turn our homes into the perfect spot for socialising?
Add a barbecue space
The barbecue is a huge hit in Britain. Whether it’s coal-based or uses a gas bottle, the barbecue always comes out when the sun shines. If you visit any supermarket on a hot day, you’ll be met with a limited selection of sausages and burgers and empty beers, wines and spirits shelves. Those summer months and lighter late nights give us the perfect opportunity to bask in the fresh air and wine and dine outside. With so many barbecues to choose from, it’s simple — and cheap — to pull out the barbecue and cook a feast for your friends.
Create a seating area
While many use a spot of sunny weather to head to a beer garden, others prefer to sit in their own space. While we love our lawns, we need a seated area to offer to our guests, especially if food is on the menu. Often, we choose to deck out an area of our garden and plastic decking is a perfect, low-maintenance option. This allows you to have a designated area for guests to congregate, eat and drink and best of all, it doesn’t take much to clean up afterwards!
Get a hot tub
No, this is not a joke. The hot tub is fast becoming a garden favourite in the UK. Despite the dramatic change in weather over the winter, hot tubs can actually be suitable for all-year-round entertaining. In Newcastle, sales were 600% higher in the first four months of 2018 than the whole of the previous year. With prices vastly varying depending on the model and size, the idea of relaxing in the comfort of your personal garden spa is clearly one that appeals.
Create a home bar
Another idea which is gaining popularity is the garden bar. While these can be professionally built huts, some are using their imagination and recycling materials to create a one-off garden bar out of caravans and summerhouses. Imagine being your own landlord and not needing to deal with kicking out time?
Don’t fret if you don’t have sufficient outdoor space, simply buy optics for your kitchen and serve your spirits in style. After all, we all like to show off our gadgets, don’t we? An impressive alcohol selection will look all the better in a well-presented manner.
Purchase a dining table
If the weather is lousy, don’t let the stop you – bring the party inside. Some people prefer to eat their dinner in front of the television, and that’s fine. However, a nice dining table can come in extremely handy if you are entertaining guests. Whether it’s for a ‘Come Dine with Me’-effect, sit-down meal, or just to place your buffet snacks and drinks on while people chat away, a table could be a great purchase. Make sure you place it in a space that still allows you to freely navigate around it and doesn’t clutter your room.
So, there you go! With the rise of home entertaining set to continue, make sure you make the most of the space you have available and wow your guests with your amazing hosting skills.