Bamboozle them with Twiglets
Create a booze’n’snacks smokescreen. I cannot stress this enough. Nothing draws the eye like a glinting wineglass and a bowl of tortilla chips – while the guests dip, they won’t notice the tip.
Wear an apron = instant hostess. For added effect, dust your cheek with a becoming dab of flour, implying you’ve just made your own pastry.
Have a steadying drink. But open a new bottle when the guests come – it makes them feel special. And stops them suspecting that you’re already two sheets to the wind.
|Nobody needs to know…
|Hide the sick bucket, toilet unblocker, fly spray, Immodium, Calpol, nit shampoo, dirty nappies and any other indicator that all is not well in your household.
Dress yourself before the house. Would you rather be told your skirting boards are immaculate or that you look great? Ditch the mop until you’ve done your mascara. If you don’t manage to do the floor, pretend your kid just spilled a drink that minute. Rather that than they go away saying, “Doesn’t she look old?” in the car on the way home.
Plan in advance. Whatever you do, don’t take your three children who found a rogue packet of jelly sweets in the back of the car on the way there to the largest Tesco in the land and make up the menu while pushing the trolley through the toy aisle.
Don’t punch above your weight. I’ve never made a soufflé so this is not the time to start.
Bake a cake. This is more for a daytime event, but having a cake in the oven makes both an amazing, welcoming smell as they come in – and you look good. Plus you can get all the kids to ice it later on, thus appearing like a top mum and saving yourself the embarrassment of making a hash of it yourself (or is that just me?).
Sweep everything from surfaces into drawers. Try and ignore all the stuff shoved in there from your last Christmas tidy-up. Bills over 12 months old don’t need to be paid, right?
Leave out a half-finished board game, giving the impression that your children have spent the day gainfully engaged. You definitely did not just turn off Frozenwhen the doorbell went.
Put chocolates on the pillow. Your sheets may have been dyed in the wash, but who’s going to notice with a bowl of Smarties on the bedside table?
|Don’t sweat the limes!
Clear up while drunk. So much less painful than doing it with a hangover and the kids clamouring around your shaky knees.
Don’t fret about limes in the Corona: Quite a specific one this, but it saved me some angst and an hour of fruitless skewering – I checked and it’s OK to recycle beer bottles with lime inside. Yes! Just in case you’re planning a Mexican-themed evening!
Focus on the fun not the food. It’s New Year’s Eve! Who cares if pudding is a load of leftover cheese and a box of chocolates with only the coffee crèmes left?
An idea for after-dinner fun: