"It's all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you're properly trained" - Queen Elizabeth II
Wise words indeed Ma'am. But luckily, throwing a Jubilee party requires little in the way of proper training. From street parties to small dos, we've worked out the simplest way to have a right royal knees-up, Diamond Jubilee-style. Here's how to keep calm, and party on...
The decor Of course you have to bring out the bunting, which - like the Queen herself - has never been cooler. If you're going to buy, we'd recommend this bunting by Brit artist Rob Ryan (£25, John Lewis). The cheery print means it can be used again long after the Diamond Jubilee ends.
Or, you can make your own bunting. The blogger of lovely living and DIY doyenne, Cherry Menlove, has released her very first eBook, Easy Jubilee (£1.99), which gives simple advice on how to make gorgeous, deluxe bunting which you can keep forever. If you've seen her fun, retro-inspired Halloween bunting - you know you'll be in for a treat.
Alternatively, try Easy Living's own Easiest Ever Bunting. Here's what you need:
- A selection of postcards
- Sturdy string
- Wooden clothes pegs
You can use whatever themed postcards you like, from Union Jack flags to the Queen (we like this box of Cecil Beaton-snapped note cards from the V&A gift shop) or even vintage seaside postcards. Simply clip them to the string using the wooden clothes pegs (again, you can get super crafty by painting them, or buying already designed clothes pegs) and hang. Simple!
The foodThe trend for dessert tables started with weddings, but it's now de rigueur for any kind of party. Simply ask the baking-inclined of your friends to bring a dessert to share. Ensure that it's presented on a suitably stylish plate or cake stand, and keep in mind that a selection of dishes at various heights looks particularly stunning. Cover a designated table with a pretty tablecloth or runner, and use folded note cards to write down the name of each cake.
You also want a selection of easy-to-prepare party food (again, ask friends to bring a dish to share).
- Trifle Cake
- Mini Prawn and Pea Pasties
- Lime and Passionfruit Sponge
- Courgette and Asparagus Tarts
- Stuffed Picnic Loaf
- Potato and Asparagus Salad
- Raspberry Tart
- Chicken Tikka Masala Low-Fat Kebabs
- Welsh Rarebit
- Bacon, Potato and Cheese Pies
The drinksOne word: punch. It's the perfect drink for a Jubilee or street party, as a punch can be made in advance of your guests arriving, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the party yourself. One will be amused!
And fear not. While punches were once was the preserve of children's birthdays (or parties circa 1970), the drink is in favour again thanks to cutting-edge cocktail establishments like HIX in London reviving the classic drink.
A proper punch bowl will come in handy (we like this one from LSA, £65 at Heal's), but any deep bowl will do and eBay has a great selection of vintage silver punch bowls. Charity and vintage shops are also an easy place to find extra glassware, or serve your punch in mix-and-match vintage tea cups. As an alternative to a punch bowl or jug, you could even pour your punch from a teapot (try the God Save The Queen Ceramic Teapot, £19.99 at Dwell).
Nick Strangeway, internationally renowned cocktail maker and creator of the bar menu at HIX has created his own punch for the occasion, the Warranted Diamond Jubilee Punch, which uses ingredients which have a Royal Warrant or association, including Beefeater London Dry Gin. Here's our top five punch picks:
- Nick Strangeway's Warranted Punch
- Royal Jamboree Punch
- Jubilee Garden Party Punch
- Jubilee Summer Cup
- Cranberry Pimms
A large ice block is a must for punches. To make your own, the experts at Beefeater London Dry Gin recommend you fill a clean, empty juice carton three-quarters full with water and freeze. When frozen, carefully cut the carton away from the ice. Voila!
If you're having a smaller gathering, individual cocktails are an option. Here's our Diamond Jubilee-inspired favourites, all featuring Britain's most famous spirit, gin:
You don't need anything fancy to make these drinks - just use equipment from around the home. Sam Carter, the Bombay Sapphire UK Ambassador recommends a rolling pin as a muddler, an egg cup to measure out spirits, chop sticks to stir, a Kilner jar as a cocktail shaker and a tea strainer to sieve.
Another option is the funkin Jubilee Party Pack, which includes all you need to make 90 cocktails (including jugs and a mini shaker) - you just need to add the alcohol - for £32.50 (available at funkin.co.uk, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Harvey Nichols and more).
Finally, one must always been queen of her castle. Get the look with these Britannia-inspired finds...
Small Crown Necklace, £30 at Tatty Devine
The Britannia Small Clutch, £845 at alexandermcqueen.com