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Playing the perfect hostess this summer.

When it comes to hosting events, some people just seem to rise above the chaos and appear to really enjoy themselves. You know the type – they’re not distracted, they’re able to have conversations with their guests and they have managed to put on a spread that seems effortless, and yet caters for everything at the same time. How do they do it?

hosting a party
The perfect impromptu party does exist. Image via iStock.

Well, there’s a trick to being the perfect hostess this summer for your family, friends and kids, and it all comes down to one thing. A little bit of preparation.

Here are seven simple things that will help you nail summer gatherings at your place, both planned and spontaneous.

1. A stockpile of ice.

Ice is something we neglect to think about all winter long, and then as soon as the first warm day of spring arrives, and thirsty children are gathering around your fridge, you realise you have no ice! Ice takes cool drinks up a thirst-quenching level, and you can never have enough in summer.

Depending on the set up you have, train all members of the family to immediately replenish ice stocks so there is always an abundance of ice for any occasion.

You can never go wrong with cups and ice.

2. Grown-up treats.

Away from the ‘discerning’ tastebuds of toddlers and tweens, we adults can take things just that little bit further with our cool treats. Why not try Weis’ newest addition, the Strawberry, Watermelon, Lychee & Ice Cream Bar? For me, this unique combination seems more reminiscent of a cocktail on the shores of a Brazilian beach than my reality of trying to stop the kids from eating their weight in sand.

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The trick here? Always have a packet or two on hand - after all, spontaneity seems to brew and grow in the summer sunshine.

3. A summer playlist.

Another thing we might forget to think about in the cooler weather is an up-to-date playlist. As soon as summer hits, you need some background music ready to go for a social gathering at your place.

Ideally keep things fresh with recent music, (no-one will judge you for including a few catchy chart-toppers), and keep it family friendly and upbeat. Try and include the ‘summer anthem’, as there’s always one song released each year that seems to capture the spirit of summer perfectly.

Here are some of our favourite summer tracks. Post continues after gallery...

4. A sunscreen pump pack.

This is a must-have for all outdoor occasions – a family-sized pump pack of sunscreen. There’s nothing worse than sending home other people’s kids with sunburn, and kids these days are used to the routine and can apply it themselves throughout the afternoon.

Some adults (cough, my husband, cough) might need a gentle reminder to put some on their faces and backs of necks.

5. Cocktail ingredients.

The best nights often follow days when we don't plan a thing. Be ready for your BBQ to go up a notch in the evening by ensuring you have some basic and fresh ingredients to make spontaneous cocktails – the best kind of cocktail.

Any basic spirits on hand will generally work in a combination with some soda water, juice, and fresh lime or other fruits. Even sorbet makes a delicious addition. It’s all about getting your creative juices flowing.

Ensure you have some basic and fresh ingredients to make spontaneous cocktails.

6. A picnic rug with all the trimmings.

A great way to cater for a garden party when it comes to the kids, is just to use a picnic rug, and let them eat off disposable or plastic plates, that means the inevitable mess isn’t a worry, and kids with grass allergies are not scratching and sniffing all day.

7. A recycling bin within reach of everyone.

And the last step to embark on before your guests arrive is to identify a decent sized bin for the empties. This is not only an Aussie tradition, it is a great way to manage the clean up as you go, and keep glass bottles off tables during the day. You’re welcome.

How do you ensure your party goes down a treat?

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