As a mum, it is all too easy to neglect yourself and your needs and focus solely on your little ones. But to ensure that you stay sane, it is important to make time for yourself and the things you like to do.

Do you feel that with your hectic family lifestyle and work schedule that you miss out on seeing your friends? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone, with so much going on at home it can be difficult for us mums to make time to see our friends.

If getting out of the house is a struggle, why not invite your closest friends over for a dinner party? It’s fun, a fantastic way to socialise and, believe it or not, hosting a dinner party is much easier and less stressful than you think. (Trust me on this one!)

Here is my guide to hosting a fun, stress-free dinner party that is super simple to do.

Pick your guest list carefully

In terms of dinner party guest lists, eight is the magic number. That’s right, eight diners, including yourself and your partner (if you have one), is the ideal amount of people for a fantastic dinner party.

Aim to invite a few guests who already know each other, as well as a few new faces. Adding one or two new faces to the mix is ideal, but any more than that and you will have your work cut out.

Start simple

Don’t attempt to make both the hors d’oeuvres and the cocktails, buy one pre-made and make the other. What I tend to do, is buy the hors d’oeuvres readymade, as these can be quite fiddly and time-consuming and then I make up a couple of simple cocktails.

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You could even look for cocktail recipes that can be made up in advance, kept in the fridge and then served as and when your guests arrive.

Do lots of preparation beforehand

Aim to get almost all of your dishes prepared and ready by the evening before, as this will reduce your stress and make things easier for you on the night.

Think of it like this, the more prep you get done beforehand, the less you will have to do on the night. And the less you have to do on the night, the more you can enjoy yourself and have fun with your friends.

Hire crockery and linen

If you don’t have matching table linen or can’t be doing with having to wash up, consider hiring your tablecloth, linen napkins and crockery from a specialist service.

Obviously it will cost a little bit more than using your own crockery and buying disposable napkins, but it will make your dinner party much less stressful for you.

Think about the kids

If your children are young or have a naughty streak, consider booking a babysitter to keep an eye on them.

If, however, your little ones are a bit older and are well behaved, think about how you could include them in your dinner party. Perhaps you could get them answering the door and having out cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to guests? Just make sure that once you start dining that they know they must go quietly up to bed.

Use a playlist

Ask a musically talented member of your family to create a relaxing playlist  for your dinner party. Make sure that the playlist is long enough so that you don’t run out of songs halfway through the night.