An old-fashioned English village fete is an inspired option for those wishing to ward off the bailiffs. You can be quite loose about the period, and it’s ideal for all things hand-made. The perfect ingredients for this theme are:
1. Its all about Outdoors games. Boules, croquet, badminton are your classics. Giant games like jenga and dominoes can be bought cheaply here.
Giant garden chess game - only £29
2. English garden party food and drink. Old-fashioned pink lemonade in glass jugs and Pimms in the garden is perfect on a summer’s day in England. Canapes could be tiny Yorkshire puddings, mini cucumber sandwiches, miniscule quiches. Then a picnic lunch followed by cupcakes.
3. Penny sweets, such as you find in an old-fashioned English sweet store make even the most miserable aunt nostalgic. Put gobstoppers, rhubarb & custard, humbugs and any other penny sweets in old-fashioned glass jars, and come 10.30 everyone will be dipping in. You could even have these instead of flowers on tables. Find them here for £12.95 a jar.
4. Jam jars for flowers. You and your family need to acquire a sensational love of jam and marmalade over the coming months to make this happen. That, or jam bulimia.
5. Picnic blankets will create that air of festivity. You can use throws and bedspreads, though they’re likely to get ruined.
6. Deck chairs. Even a couple will help set the scene.
7. Bunting and endless ribbon is totally compulsory.
Bunting made from Cath Kidston fabric from Scrummy Things
8. A gramophone for your pre-dinner drinks is hard to find but just too memorable not to mention. Splash out by hiring a giant one here. Alternatively, scour antiques shops. If that fails, beg, borrow or steal from friends’ granddad’s. Or finally, hire a venue just because it comes with gramophone and gramophone records, like Middleton Lodge in Yorkshire. You may have to arm-twist a small cousin to wind it up at intervals, but that’s probably part of the charm of it.
Other themes you might like:
Another theme for the flat broke: country vintage
The ultimate credit crunch theme – 1930s, the Great Depression