Today’s hectic family lifestyle can be very demanding, and I find the need for a real break from being a mum arises fairly frequently. Going on a family holiday doesn’t always fit the bill because it’s often a case of ‘same stuff, different location’ and, although holidays are fun, they turn out to be fairly exhausting.
Organising a dedicated girls’ night in, however, may provide just the right tonic for unwinding, having fun and truly relaxing. Here are a few ideas for a perfect get-together:
Eat, drink and be merry
Starting the evening with delicious food and drink will get everyone in a good mood, and it’s less stressful for the hostess if guests are able to contribute something. Go for bite-sized party food rather than a sit-down formal dinner so the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly right from the start.
Drinks before food are always welcome; I find prosecco or G&Ts are usually winners. Perhaps line up slices of lemon, lime or even grapefruit, along with plenty of ice to adorn the gin glasses for friends who like a refreshing long drink before eating. It’s also important to make sure there are plenty of tea bags in the house for later, as I find most people want a cup of tea before they go home!
Watch a movie
Sometimes watching a film together, whether it is a new release or an old favourite, can be a great bonding experience, so why not canvas opinion beforehand and find out what kinds of films your guests enjoy? Romantic comedies are not to everyone’s taste, and sometimes a good scary film or an intriguing sci-fi movie will work better. Or perhaps you could try an old school boxset like Friends or Gilmore Girls.
Choosing music is generally less controversial than a film choice. I love a bit of Ed Sheeran or Adele when I have friends over – it makes a difference to the Frozen soundtrack, which is on repeat a lot in our house!
I don’t often have the opportunity to indulge in pampering myself, and this is where a night in with the girls can really be great. Manicures and pedicures are a good start! Especially pedicures, as I never get round to painting my toes ordinarily. It also means everyone will feel good by the end of the evening.
Cook up a storm
For those who love to cook and have like-minded friends, having a get-together to create some tasty dishes is a lot of fun. It is a good way to share recipes and techniques whilst filling up the freezer. Even those who are new to cooking can learn a lot from the easy methods and instructional videos on some of the classic websites, including those featuring recipes from Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith.
For example, fondue has been popular for a long time, and lots of friendships have been formed over the wonderful melting pot that is the centre of attention. Whether cheese or chocolate is the preferred medium, there’s a fun night in to be had with fondue.
Book club night
For those who love a good read, a book club night can be a great way to share personal opinions, experiences and the thrills of the latest best-seller – or classic novel. Gather ardent readers together to do just that, and treat them to a stimulating evening of comparing views and opinions about their favourite authors and titles.
Setting up a swapping evening is a relatively new way to share with friends in every sense of the word. Although jumble sales have been around for decades, it’s quite a different experience to get together to exchange everything from clothes to household goods. Baby clothes are a very popular choice (I would LOVE this!), along with children’s toys, equipment and books.
Craft evenings are a fab way to discover hidden talents. Whether painting, crochet or a different hobby come to the fore, an evening that focuses on one or two crafts can add up to an awesome girls’ night in. More experienced friends can help those who want to try something new. Changing the crafts every time is a great way to boost familiarity and enhance everyone’s experience.
A night in with female friends can be a great way to spend time together. Enjoy!