Prosecco on ice - a great way to end a day

Last Sunday we had a busy day in the garden, but I was determined that for once - and on what was the warmest day of the year - that we'd also find time to just be, and sit in our garden and enjoy it. Sometimes it's just too hot for working in the garden isn't it?  So after spending a fair bit of time cleaning the greenhouse so it sparkled and cleaning the barbecue so it was clean enough, well to cook off, we did just that.

And I had a masterplan up my sleeveless top. That was to use two of my recent blog deliveries, as in preparation I'd already bought some ice. That's not something I usually do, but when you need large quantities it's the easiest way, although in hindsight I didn't buy anywhere near as much as I needed to fill my new Wham Flexi-Square carry all. But with three bags of ice and, although I say it myself, some clever use of bubble wrap it worked - note to self, I'll need a lot more ice, or a lot more bottles(!) to make this work - but it'll be ideal for a party. In fact just like the party we're having in June to celebrate our 110th.
prosecco by premier estate wines on ice in my new flexi-square trug

I'm a big fan of these plastic trugs and regularly use them for gardening, we currently have four at home - bright pink, boring green, zingy red and vibrant yellow - plus another bright pink one on the allotment, but I didn't fancy using any of these for this.

Those are all round, this one's obviously square and a great lime green colour; so much more subtle than any I already had. It's the larger size, which has a capacity of 25L - so it'll take a lot of ice and more importantly store a party amount of bottles too.

The ice bucket cum flexi-square trug is a good size

The best things about barbecues are that I don't have to do anything. Actually, scratch that. For barbecues in our house I become the Sous Chef, prepping everything in advance and handing over to the Chef de Partie (MOH) for the manly barbecue cooking ritual. Which is actually fine, as it means I can sit and direct operations. And with a view like this, that's often a good thing.

A barbecue with prosecco on ice is a great way to end the warmest day of the year (so far)
sitting back and admiring the hard day's work in the garden while MOH tends the BBQ
On this occasion I made use of my "free" time to take a closer look at the Premier Estates Prosecco which I'd been sent to try. I know, sometimes it's a tough gig, hey? I wasn't sure about why, or if, a small 20cl bottle would be a good idea, but actually it turned out well as I made a couple of apertifs to whet our appetite, and it was just the right amount.
Trying the 20cl bottle of prosecco from premier estates wine

I added a splash of elderflower liqueur to the bottom of the glass along with some frozen raspberries which we'd grown on the allotment last year and topped the glasses up with the small bottle of prosecco. I wasn't expecting it to be a screw top (that's just the smaller bottle) and that makes it more useable, but not that I needed to put the top back on...

Enjoying an aperitif - prosecco from premier estates wine, elderflower liqueur and frozen raspberries grown on our allotment

Meanwhile, the manly cooking was going quicker than expected - I think he needs a bit more practice, but to be fair it's early in the barbecue season isn't it?

the barbecue's well underway - the first of the year

With dinner cooked it was time to open the rosè. If I get a choice of normal or pink champagne I'd opt for the pin everytime so I was looking forward to this. And with MOH back in his sommelier role, all was good. I bet you want to know what it tastes like, don't you? Well, it was good and very drinkable. The alcoholic volume was low at 11%, but more importantly it was a dry prosecco and so not too sweet. I think this is why it's so drinkable. And at £7.99 a bottle it's reasonably priced and I'd consider buying for a celebration. Actually it'd be great for those sunny afternoons in the garden, when the celebration is that it's sunny. You have those too right?

Ah that's more like it, being waited on with rose prosecco
A great way to end the warmest day of the year (so far) let's hope there's many more to come

So - and as I'm watching BGT as I'm typing this - both of these get a yes from me. 

A great end to a lovely day - prosecco on ice and a barbecue, what else could I ask for?  (a little less charcoaled food perhaps!)

And here's to plenty more barbecues too. I think the start of April is our earliest ever - have you barbecued yet?


* I was sent the prosecco and trug free of charge for the purposes of this post, but all views and opinions are my own.

There ain't no party like a 110th party!

Well clearly that's not quite the lyrics that S-Club planned, but next year MOH and I are having a party. Quite a big one, well maybe not that big but we'll be celebrating 110 years.  That's fifty years each and ten years married before you age me, or him!

And our birthdays and wedding anniversary fall in May, June and July we'll most likely plump for a date somewhere in the middle, much the same as we did when choosing the date to get married eleven years ago. As we're creatures of habit - we all are deep down - we're once again planning to have the party in our garden. This time though, the house is more finished and for those of you that were at the wedding, both bathrooms will be working this time too.

So we've started to think about what makes a good party... 

Venue, ticked.

People, ticked - we haven't done the guest list yet, but we know plenty of good people.

A date, well June-ish is like a half-tick, isn't it?

Invitations, well most likely by email but I'm hoping to make some proper ones too.

While we can't control the weather - wouldn't that be handy - we have thought about having some tented outside space. I'm not sure yet if that's a gazebo or something hired, but a half-tick here too for considering options. I've also got one eye on those shops that sell mini-marquees to see if one comes up at a reasonable price, and if it does I'm on it.

It's also the type of occasion that means I have the perfect excuse to spend time on Pinterest and all in the name of research. But let's be honest I don't really need an excuse. If you want to see more of what I'm pinning as inspiration I've included the board at the bottom of this post. I'm pretty sure though there'll be bunting and fairy lights and pretty vases of flowers.

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

Food and drink - yes we've already thought a lot about these, so I'm giving that a half-tick too. Some of it I'm going to encourage MOH to make - his desserts are just fabulous - some of it I'll do too and we're thinking of getting someone in for the fiddlier bits. The local craft brewery can supply some ale - ok and some fizzy lager too - and maybe we'll have a day trip to France to find some nice wines. Definitely a half-tick perhaps even a three-quarters-tick here.

Music, we've thought about that too. From a slightly unusual perspective, I'll admit. And that's how we can match the volume levels of our neighbours. Well for one day only, the rest of the time we don't stand a chance. I was thinking brass band or steel drums, but MOH was thinking about a large amplifier.  We're undecided on this one, you probably can tell. It's likely to be none of these, but who knows?

The one thing in all of this that we've not thought about in too much detail is what our guests will eat off and drink from. I have a collection of vintage tea sets which I might use some of to serve the food from, and possibly to eat from. I'm not sure though there's quite enough, and while I'm not planning a rip-roaring rave it's unlikely we'll be drinking out of cups and saucers. And that's where disposable party supplies come in.

No washing up, no breakages and even not having to worry about if anything might break. It will certainly make clearing up much easier too. And I'm sure there's everything we could need - plates, cutlery, small beakers for the desserts and glasses for wine and beer. I'm claiming a three-quarters tick for this one too!

Now, what have I missed?

This is a collaborative post, but all opinions are my own.

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