Back in February, snow blizzards did their best to thwart our summer-themed house party. But the big freeze didn't put a dampener on proceedings, oh no. Like true Brits, our nearest and dearest gallantly put on their shorts, sunglasses and beach wear and braved the elements for the promise of fun in the sun.
The lilting beats of Will Smith and Shaggy floated invitingly out into the frosty street, and once inside, our shivering guests were transported to a beach paradise. We covered our whole house in seaside wallpaper (two months later, we have absolutely no intentions of removing it), inflatable palm trees and flamingos, and for our piece de resistance, concocted a lethal vat of tropical rum punch.
Anyway it seems the Macarena may have had some kind of pagan sun-dance effect, as just a couple of weeks after the party, the whole of London was bathed in an early spring. Cherry blossom, daffodils and blue skies ahoy.*
By March, every patch of grass was crammed with city slickers and students catching the lunchtime rays and the tantalising smell of barbeques drifted over garden fences across London. As for me, I wiled away the sunny weekends in Kew Gardens, South Bank and St James Park, watched 6 Nations rugby matches on big screens in The Castle's beer garden and had my first Pimms of the season.
|Kew Gardens, March 2012|
Only this time, you will be prepared. Arm yourself and your loved ones with the below - and together, we can send the big freeze packing...
The drink: Tropical rum punch (serves a crowd!)3 bottles of white rum (you heard me)
1 bottle of Malibu
2 cartons mango juice
4 cartons tropical juice
1 bottle of cloudy lemonade
A load of chopped fruit (we used strawberries, mangos, apples, lemons and limes)
Put the chopped fruit in the biggest saucepan or tub you have. Pour in the rum so the fruit soaks up some of the alcohol. Leave for 5-10 minutes and then add the rest!
Serve with cocktail umbrellas, naturally.
The tunes:Now, my original playlist for the party is over 7 hours long (it's fair to say I got a bit carried away - my pop knowledge is a Pandora's box to be opened at your peril).
But if you don't have the stamina for the full party-thon, here are a few personal highlights that should keep the winter blues at bay...
*There's a small chance this phenomenon could also have been due to the 'seasons' - but I really think it was the Macarena.