Pieday Friday – How to dine al fresco this summer

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Finally, summer is here and the evenings are warm enough to enjoy your meals outside in the fresh air. Whether you’re a BBQ queen, or prefer to simply take your dinner plate out from the kitchen, there’s nothing like sitting down with family and friends outside, and enjoying your food together (aside from the insects, but more on that in a bit). The following are some affordable ideas for those who want to give their garden a little attention and set it up for dining al fresco.

Decorations And Lights

A bit of bunting, some candles and fairy lights go a long way in creating a magical outdoor space for you and your family to eat your classic caesar salad and sip Pimms. You can keep the garden decorations quite simple; homemade paper or oilcloth bunting will make a huge difference, and it’s easy to dig out your Christmas fairy lights (make sure they’re suitable for outdoor use). Or, there are some great deals on festoon and string lights on an array of websites and in supermarkets at this time of year. Interestingly enough, the summer is a great time to buy because most of the lights available are solar-powered and can be used outdoor all year round. Plus you’ll be stocked up for the festive season too!

Colourful cushions, table runners and napkins on your teak outdoor furniture will make a beautiful impact as you walk out of your kitchen door. Why is it that we would lay the table ‘properly’ for dining outdoors but might not make the same effort indoors, eh?! You can use any spare fabric such as gingham, striped, or floral prints to create a table cloth and be sure to take some of your cushions outside to keep you comfy as you chat the night away. Make sure the fabric is easy to wash or wipe-clean so you can continue to use again.

Food And Drinks

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of delicious recipes that are perfect for al fresco dining; for an array of tasty recipe ideas, take a look at my Pieday Friday recipes category. If you have a barbeque and can be bothered to pull it out from the shed and clean it up, then use it as much as possible over the summer. You can be creative with what you chargrill on there, and it’s always nice to cook outside where the rest of your family or guests are hanging out.

A table full of nibbles, salads, and cheeses will suffice; so don’t worry if you’re not a natural culinary whizz, you can always keep the food selection cold. That’s the beauty of the warm weather! Whether your drinks are alcoholic or not, make sure it’s cold, refreshing and fizzy (why not!) Fruity summer cocktails and pitchers of classic sangria are popular choices, and you can always ask people to bring their own if you’re having guests over.

Ambience And Mood

You’ve already set the scene with your decorations, food, and drinks choice; however, you can always add to the outdoor atmosphere with your favourite tunes playing out from the kitchen window, or grab the guitar if you have one (your neighbours will love you, promise).

Bring out some blankets, as the night goes on, to wrap up in, and don’t forget to light some citronella candles or sticks, to fend off any little biters. An evening outside, in your garden, is a super affordable way to enjoy the summer, and you’ll make some great memories in the meantime. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for a lovely al fresco dining experience by leaving me a comment below 🙂


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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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