Do children’s parties throw you into a flurry of overachieving cake-must-be-taller-than-the-child, or princess-castles-made-entirely-from-balloons, kind of mum crazy? Do adult gatherings send you into a spin of self doubt and criticism followed by sudden frantic cleaning of the bathroom grout with a toothbrush? You are probably not alone. Here are a few of my tips to help you overcome undue entertaining anxiety and turn yourself into a very chilled host who doesn’t sweat anything, and who actually enjoys the time with her guests.

Organise not agonise:

My best tip is to get your menu organised in advance.

Bring all your favourite cookbooks out, and your past issues of foodie mags or line up your favourite recipe sites and start to write some lists. It’s old fashioned. But it works.

Once the menu is sorted and you are officially starving from all of those beautiful pictures, make a list of pantry items that you can purchase now. Go shopping! Put them away and you have a big part of the pain eliminated.

Inspiration not perspiration;

Think about what works best for your family, it will probably work best for your guests as well. If you are famous for your secret salad dressing, or mind blowing chocolate dessert, go with your strengths and put what you are best at on the menu. Don’t try new stuff, tried and true always wins the race.

Graze and amaze.

Another stress-free option is a grazing table. It caters for a wide variety of dietary requirements and still provides a lot of choice for those grazing. Think dips ( so easy to make at home) with a variety of crackers, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and vegetables and other easy finger foods.

Dealing with cleaning;

Be a selective cleaner. There is no need to wash all the windows just to have a few people around. Clean one bathroom for guest use, wipe benches and pick stuff up off the floor, but save the mopping for after they leave! No one is down checking for water marks on your floor, and you know you can always shut doors, am I right?

Compromise don’t criticise;

People are coming over to your home because you kindly invited them and because they want to see you. They will not be judging you on your decor or your ability to have a trained pet/child behave well. Your party is not the perfect Pinterest board, it is real life, so scale back on your self critique and enjoy your friends’ company!

Chilled not stirred;

Most of all, remember it is supposed to be fun. Entertaining in fact. They don’t call it that for nothing. So have a drink early on…(not too early and not more than one!) so that you are in the zone when everyone arrives.

Get your signature cocktail or mocktail recipe down pat and whip it up while everyone is getting acquainted.

Chill. Relax. Impress. Entertain. You can do it. Party hearty! 

By Tenina Holder. Tenina is an Aussie wife and mum and more recently grandmother. She is the premium go to source for all thermomix expertise and of course fresh and easy recipes that work. @cooking_with_tenina