That's not to say that I don't struggle with it too... I mean, firstly settling on a fabulous menu, finding the correct wine (or beer), making sure I'm not over-stretching the preparations and then find that the food isn't ready when the guest arrive (that's happened!). Not to mention, making sure the house in order and presentable (particularly the bathroom... because, we are all human right?).
I don't want to give you the picture that it's all perfect roses... it really is a casual affair over a glass or two of wine and some fabulous dessert (remind me to tell you about the recent choc & raspberry tartlets with coconut base!); but I would love to know how the experts to do it.
You know, those hosts who swan around in a calm, relaxed manner while the food is simmering away perfectly, manage to pop open the bubbly on cue and present something that's glossy, nourishing and ever so satisfying, leaving guests with warmed bellies, rosy cheeks and memories of a great night in... all while dressed fabulously and not a hair out of place!
So when I read about these tips in Vogue Living from culinary author Jane Webster who has published two memoirs, I was inspired. After returning to France several times with her husband, Jane and her husband purchased a chateau in a village in Normandy where they live 6 months of the year whilst running cooking courses, conducting culinary tours of the region and inviting guests into a world of French dining and etiquette.
With a decidedly french flavour (pardon the pun), tips include, prepare the day before (tick), keep crockery to a minimum (tick... I hate washing up), know when the party is over (hmmm), and don't bring wine because your hosts will be insulted (they will have already spent time on selecting the perfect wine to compliment the meal they toiled over for you). And finally, don't drink too much water (or go the bathroom before you arrive at your hosts place) because it's not the 'thing' to use the facilities. So quirky, so cute, so french...
Jane's tours run from June to September on selected dates and more information can be found on her website, The French Table.