I am originally from New York, where unless you are very well off, you probably could not swing a cat in your apartment none the less hold a dinner party. Now that I am living in London, where one of the favourite television shows is called Come Dine With Me and is all about hosting fabulous dinner parties, I must come to terms with having guests.
Having guests over for a meal is a two pronged dilemma, the food and the actually place you live in. When I lived in NYC, we used to consider our apartments our private sanctuaries. My friends and I rarely visited each others homes; instead of spending money on decorating we would spend money on shoes. Nothing came out of our kitchens besides a bottle of wine to go with the Chinese take out.
Now that I am grown up (supposedly), I am faced with the British tradition, the Sunday lunch with the family. The first prong, the food, I am not at all worried about I watch Come Dine with Me, Masterchef and Top Chef along with help from my beloved, it should be a snap.
For me the bigger problem is my flat, I am not the homiest of people. I don’t like happy nick knacks, my project corner is threatening to take over the whole living room and one cat is like Pigpen in Peanuts, where ever he goes a fur cloud follows him. My other cat is small and clumsy, broke my only vase which I have not gotten around to replacing yet. Are you getting a picture in your mind? This is why, the thought of having my future in laws over to mine, filled me with dread.
I decided to look at the situation in a different light, on the positive side there a lots of reasons why it is good to have people over, especially ones that you want to impress.
- You look at your home through different eyes. Do you really need all those sugar packets from Pret? Why is there filling from the past six months on my desk? Or where is my desk? It is under all the rubbish you chuck on it and a cat. What is going on in that corner, which is filled with old magazines that you never got time to take to the doctor’s office?
- You give your house a thorough cleaning. You never know if someone might do the white glove test.
- You can take a hard look at your bookshelves. Do you have books that you will never look at again? I did a big clear out, the charity shop was very happy.
The best thing is the more entertaining you do the best you get at it. I am hoping that entertaining will one day become second nature for me so my flat will always be clean, my food delicious, and the Pigpen cat will stop dropping fur everywhere.