I'm sure by now it's fairly apparent that I love getting out and about and enjoying myself. Probably fuelled by the fact that for a very long time I wasn't able to do that. The constant fear that I might c**p myself at any given moment had a great impact on my psyche and self confidence. Which means now that I can get out there and live life to the full I grab every single opportunity.
But actually one of my most favourite things to do is to have people round, either our friends or our son's friends or a combination of the two. It's one of the best ways we kept on socialising even when I wasn't up to going out after my op. Eating in with friends kept us in the loop and kept me sane. Not feeling confident to go out to restaurants doesn't have to be the end of your social life. Being ill can be rather alienating and isolating but once I recovered and realised I was going to be able to cope with the bag, I wanted to just get on with life and and catch up with friends. Having dinner parties is a great starter pack for socialising again and we've just carried it on since then, having friends round once or twice a month.
This does not come from a great ability to cook you understand, nothing could be further from the truth, I'm a horrible cook in general, usually I char things to a dehydrated crisp, I'm sure my boys thought that was what food tasted like for the first few years of their lives, they're probably the only kids that thought school dinners were amazing!
I am certainly not a foodie, our friends are not coming round because they think I've become a Michelin starred chef overnight, they come for hearty food, simple yet effective. I fill my slow cooker in the morning with a curry or something equally easy and stress free. By the time our guests arrive all I have to do is boil the rice or pasta to accompany whatever I have on the go, that way I get to interact with our guest as much as everyone else and not be to be stuck out in the kitchen slaving away. Our friends chip in kibbutz style and bring, drinks, desserts or cheeses. Or my mum will bring still warm, freshly baked cakes. It's really lovely.
Having friends over for dinner serves two main purposes 1, we get to socialise reasonably cheaply and 2, I cook what suits me best, meaning I don't have to worry about what's going to be on the menu that I can eat that won't cause me any problems. Plus the added bonus of totally being in my own environment should I need to change my bag (that's something you don't get on nights out, even to the nicest restaurants, no matter how lovely they are. Always in the back of my mind I'll be thinking 'what am I going to do if I need to change my bag?!?!?'. Not that it stops me going out but it does give me pause for thought.
The best thing about dining in is you can be absolutely chilled out and relaxed, really truly relaxed. To me a night in with friends isn't second rate or second best, it's heaven, they come round because they want to spend time with us, we have some pretty darn good people in our corner, we're really very blessed in the friends department, not so much in the family department but friends are family you choose yourself as they say! :)
What to wear for dinner parties at home? Well that's the beauty of it! Anything goes! Sometimes my hernia really plays up and causes a lot of discomfort, my normal clothes can be very uncomfortable, the handy thing being at home is you can change into slobby, baggy clothes should you need to. At times the pain in my hernia has been so bad I've been known to put my PJ's on and no one bats an eyelid! It's a pretty safe bet that the table with be dressed better than I am. I do love playing giant dolls houses and making an effort with the table settings and themes, one night in late september a couple of years ago I surprised my guests with a Christmas! decorations, crackers, carols the lot! well, christmas is too good to save till Christmas!
The gang's all here...