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Extend your Al Fresco dining and invite Autumn in
Amy Arfi
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When a global pandemic knocked on our doorstep, the foodies amongst us weren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves as one by one, restaurants, cafes and all other eateries shut shop for the foreseeable. As resourceful as we are – alongside every group video call app out there  – we took matters into our own hands. In came the endless zoom quizzes and virtual dinner parties we completely exhausted until, well, we were exhausted. Where in a pre-corona world, home entertaining was usually reserved for special occasions, this year, fine dining regularly consisted of getting out your nicer glassware and putting on a show in your back garden, alfresco style. 

And we weren’t the only ones either. Research shows that due to national lockdowns, many of us reintroduced ourselves to our kitchens after what may have been referred to as a little time off (blame delivery services and takeaways). Queue the non-stop freshly-baked banana bread and the perfected sourdoughs sprayed across our Instagram and Facebook feeds. 

Summer undoubtedly may have peaked early this year, as the Met Office reported some record-breaking high temperatures in Spring with 2020 providing the sunniest April ever recorded. Now, as we’ve entered the autumnal equinox confirming the end of an unprecedented summer, let’s not pack away our glassware or clear the table just yet. Now with Lockdown 2.0 coming into force in England today, let’s extend our Al Fresco Dining so we can continue to safely socialise in the great outdoors

Oh yes, as the evenings draw colder and the leaves start to brown, we owe it to ourselves to continue to wrap up warm and embrace the outdoors as for many of us socialising indoors is off-limits. Here’s how to perfect outdoor eating and entertaining for all your friends and family to enjoy. 

Secure your seating... 

What’s the use of having a garden space, big or small, if there’s nowhere to promptly plonk yourself down after a long hard day WFH? An MTW Research study on the outdoor furniture market reported by Horticulture Week reckoned that by 2020, the outdoor homeware and barbeque market was going to top £1 billion. The report also stated that in 2018, adding a well-designed garden and entertaining space to your abode could increase your house price by 15%. And there is no surprise that during the lockdown, where many of us were restricted to our homes during record-breaking heat, those of us lucky enough to have a garden relied on them for a haven. Now with lockdown occurring once again across the nation, your garden can still be your best friend despite the drop in temperature.

Trends show we are choosing softer, more casual seating over traditional dining sets, ideal for a relaxing entertaining environment. 

Bloomingville offers a wide selection of outdoor seating, benches, loungers and dining tables with their most popular being the Sole Bamboo range for obvious reasons. Bamboo is a raw material and oozes natural simplicity. As comfortable inside as out, with its rugged touch, this range has an assembly of bamboo lengths whose deliberately rudimentary look reminds us of the scaffolding that can be seen in Asia. The slightly irregular contours have an exquisite artisanal flavour. The raw material and simplicity of the lines distil a delicious rustic spirit and fulfil our desire for inviting materials.

Simple and inviting, Bloomingville furniture creates a soothing and exotic feel, ideal for relaxing and enjoying life, far from the everyday frenzy which couldn't be more needed right now.  

Keeping warm...

Luxury barbeques and fire pits are on the rise in our gardens too, presenting the perfect opportunities for hosting and cooking delicious meals al fresco. It’s worth investing in a good piece for outdoors that you can cover and reuse year after year.  There is a whole range of BBQs and accessories on buyfair which unlike most, ours are all in stock and ready to ship. 

The Cookcut Barbeque party is an easy to carry portable barbeque that can easily be put in the dishwasher. Perfect for a socially distanced gathering in the park or taking round to a friends garden.  

So, let’s make the most of the new seasonal fruits and veg we’ve been missing and try these fun Beef and Pumpkin Skewers. A fun way to get everyone involved round the mini bbq grill. Plus, nothing says Autumn like Pumpkin - am I right?

We say all the best nights end with cosy blankets and empty glasses, so stock up on your warm throws to drape over guests when the temperature drops. Rely less on patio heaters to delay contributing to carbon emissions and get snuggled up under the stars with Claire Gaudion's wide range of throws

On the topic of sustainability, organic cotton and faux fur blankets are the way to be kinder to the planet whilst staying snug - take a look at this dreamy autumnal Claire Gaudion Dixcart Throw which is made out of 100% lambswool so you can stay sustainably snuggly.

Claire also has a full range of rugs that can be used outdoors as well as indoors, meaning you can soften up your outdoor space and keep those tootsies toasty. Plus, you get more bang for your buck with a multi-functional purchase - result! 

Add some delicate mood lighting in the form of LSA's wide range of lanterns and your warm, cosy, atmospheric scene is set.

Keep those cheeks rosy...

We've set a pretty spectacular and snuggly scene but what's missing? You guessed it. Some warming beverages to keep everyone happy and what better way to keep toasty than with some warming winter cocktails? There's a full selection to try out here but whatever you do, stay classy and elegant with our wide range of cocktails glasses and mixing sets available now from brands such as LSA, Eva Solo and Saga Form.

So, there you have it; the perfect way to welcome autumn in before it inevitably fades, and our brains switch to mince pies, baubles and belting out Auld Lang Syne. Enjoy it whilst it lasts and remember to keep all outdoor furniture and trinkets safely tucked away until it’s time to rock and roll again next year.

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