THEY ARE ONE of Britain’s great summer traditions. The Queen herself leads the way with her royal garden parties replete with cucumber sandwiches (sans crusts, of course) and military brass band.
For your own child-friendly al fresco affair, you may want to take less of a regal and more of a raucous approach. Potato-and-spoon races and piñata-whacking sessions work well to burn off energy, while it’s hard to beat quoits, boules and croquet for good old-fashioned fun. If you’ve got a large gang round at your house, split everyone into smaller groups, with different games stations around the garden. Assign an older child to each station to award points depending on how each group does at the activity, with a prize for the overall winner.
All that action is bound to work up an appetite. So how can you best cater for your guests’ palates? “Baking your own cakes is very much in vogue now”, says Gerhard Jenne, founder of the fashionable Konditor & Cook bakery. “For summer parties , Victoria sponges and scones work well and are easy to make. Rustic-style meringues, rather than meringue nests, are also in fashion. Simply arrange some blobs of meringue on a baking tray, let them brown, then serve them up with strawberries”.
And, if all that merriment leaves you sweltering, you can also resort to filling the paddling pool and hopping in to cool down.