Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hospitality and entertaining

I realised on Sunday morning that we suck at hospitality.

D's mother babysat while we went to see Crowded House (more on that later) and unbeknown to me, he told her to come early.

So that's my excuse.

I wasn't expecting her at 3:10 but still, I hadn't put out towels or prepared her supper.


At least the guest bedroom is always neat and tidy.

It's not like me and I said to D that since the babies, we are actually no longer good hosts. He says he doesn't think we were ever good :)

I don't think we were ever fantastic like our friends D & V who really are the most brilliant hosts ever.

For me hospitality is about thoughtfulness and making people feel welcome and at home. They do this in spades.

We felt so taken care of the entire time we stayed with them.

Then there's the other thing - entertaining.

Let's just say I have some issues with entertaining :) I'm not the best cook in the world but I do set a good table which is the most fun for me, and of course, the talking.

I love having deep, meaningful conversations with our friends. And laughing like crazy people about silly things.


I stumbled across a blog called the Reluctant Entertainer recently and she talks about letting go of perfectionism about the house, the food, the table, etc. and just focussing on the people aspect.

I thought, "I can do this" and so I took action and invited an "easy guest" for lunch, my friend, Natalie. That went well.

I ordered Sandy's book too and it arrived yesterday. In all its glossy yumminess :) (there is nothing quite like the smell and feel of a new book)

I'm hoping I will let go of more and more perfectionism around entertaining in a house that's not 100% clean.

Now here's the thing - I have a not-so-easy guest this weekend for lunch. It's an old, old friend but she's a bit of a princess :)

I say that lovingly since I've been telling her this since we were both 17 years old at university.

How do you overcome that spirit of reluctant entertaining when you have a prissy guest?

I don't know. I will just do my thing and too bad if she doesn't like the food.

Are you a good host? Do you enjoy entertaining or is it stressful for you because of perfectionism? Any tips for reluctant entertainers like me?


  1. We love entertaining and do it a lot, at least 2 to 3 times a month. I get a total kick out of the details in it,planning the perfect menu, setting the table and then enjoying the food, wine and company. I have learned, especially now with a child, that planning is everything, if you plan well, then the actual event needn't be stressful.
    For me its just so much fun!

  2. I feel weird when I entertain and try to make everything perfect - like my guests will think, why did she go to all this trouble?? (I usually entertain close family or very close friends in a casual setting) Its the pragmatist in me, I guess. I know that the food needs to be good but beyond that (the table, decorations, etc.) I don't see the need and feel like my guests would agree. Chances are, I am probably wrong and they would probably like those nifty little details. But my practical side just won't give in. Good thing I cook well to make up for it :)

    And I'm especially bad with overnight guests. The closer I am with you, the less "amenities" you can expect. I rarely remember clean sheets for when my sister stays over. :(

  3. I also love entertaining and am a perfectionist but I tend to thrive on the stress of it all (I think)and I love cooking and baking (not big on the table side of things). I'm also a huge planner. Chris is very good about helping (and he's a great cook)and he's especially good with the cleaning up afterwards. We prefer to clean up the same night, no matter how late. Our kids both go to bed at 7pm and sleep well, so that's a massive plus for entertaining as we know they'll only wake up at 7am the next morning. In Cape Town, we didn't have as many babysitting options, so mostly entertained at home but here in PE we also got out for dinner in smallish groups (4-10 I'd say) and that's also fun.
    Growing up, we always seemed to be having someone staying over, so I also enjoy having guests and I think we make them feel at home as they do tend to come back to stay again.

  4. B.K. (Before Kids), I had a basket in my guest room with all sorts of necessities in case a guest forgot their toothbrush or needed some tissues. Now said basket is filled with outgrown baby clothes and pillowcases and my guests can feel free to put on their own pillow. Things have really headed downhill around here.

    I also used to spray their bed sheets with a lovely cotton spray, but I can't find that anywhere...God, if it has alcohol in it, I may have drank it in a moment of desperation! Thank God, most guests are family and completely understand!

  5. I never have people over. My house is too small and there are too many kids and their belongings to have company over.

  6. I'm not a people person, so I don't make a great hostess, but I can pull off a short party (feeling totally drained at the end) and do so often for the kids.

    We've never had a home big enough to really have company over, especially since we had kids. Right now, I have a 950 sq ft trailer (it would be workable if it wasn't 13ft wide, and so much of every room was "hallway / walkway".

    However, since my mom died, being a good hostess had fallen to me, and thankfully, my Dad prefers to not have much. We do family parties and such, but I'm still recovering from all of last years events, and struggling to pull myself together most days.

    Now, all of my younger sister's are much better hostesses than me. Thankfully, Rebekah was here when Mom died and directed everything for a month.

    I also don't care much for cooking, and a massive penny pincher.


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