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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Arabian Nights

We are almost back to normal. Last weekend we had our Arabian Nights party. A lot went into the planning and everyone had a great time. We are quite into the depths of winter here and I love a theme party to "take us somewhere away from here"

This years' theme was Arabian Nights.

The invitations were printed onto a pinky mauve vellum and laid over a small geometric type print to evoke Moorish architecture and the script was Matura MT Script to suggest an Arabic style of script. Then I glued jewels on for rich treasures of the East feel.

I make it clear in the invitations that it is a themed party and fancy dress and the time of 7pm alerts people that dinner is provided. I have been to so many parties with a start time around the dinner hour and all that is served is cocktail nibbles. So please can I stress here that you make it clear to guests the type of party so they know whether to have dinner beforehand or not from a comfort and responsible service of alcohol point of view. People may not having intended becoming tipsy but they will certainly get light headed on a handful of chips.

The party lent itself to a wonderful buffet of middle eastern food. We used a couple of slow cookers and a rice cooker on the buffet table to keep food warm. We had a lamb tangine, a roasted joint of mutton, meatballs in a sour cherry sauce, tabbouleh, cous cous and flat breads with platters of nuts, olives and dried fruits and dips of babaganoush and houmous. Lots of silver, brass and copper platters enriched the theme.

Inside, furniture was pushed back and lots of cushions were strewn on the floor. Much of the interior was draped with gauzy material and bud lights and candles provided the soft lighting. The ornamentation around the room was changed to rich reds and metals of copper and brass, strung with beaded garlands from Christmas and dotted with roses. Incense filled the air and Turkish music, modern and old style also set the mood.

Guests were asked to arrive at 7pm and while they nibbled on platter food, were entertained by a professional belly dancer we had hired to arrive at 7.30pm. Her performance probably lasted 15mins (perfect amount of time) and then dinner was served.

We had some of the guests inside in the warmth but others enjoyed lots of lively conversation around a fire pot outside. The frost was setting on the ground beyond but they donned their cardigans and jackets and the fire kept them toasty warm.

Ali Baa-Baa (Cliff)
While it wasn't a "boozey" night for me it was a late one ( 2.30am) and the culmination of a lot of work and planning and I felt very tired after and found it hard to get back into the swing of "normal" life.

Craig (on the Right)

The thing I have learned to do is accept help when it is offered. Many friends will ask if they can help (before the night) so have a mental list that you can graciously allocate little tasks. My friend Maureen loves to decorate and gets more carried away than I do (?) so she comes the day before to hang and pin and staple! Other friends love to cook so I accept offers from them to bring a dish and it makes for a lavish and varied banquet and the workload is shared. Other jobs might include bringing ice or vacuuming or providing lifts for other guests. Many hands make light work and an organised party so that you can enjoy and make it look effortless. One thing I couldn't be without are my lists and time plans.....make that two things....I couldn't do it without the awesome support from practical Craig.


  1. What a wonderful evening, thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Looks like you had a fabulous and fun night there!

  3. Oh that is awesome, you did a great job and I love the costumes.

  4. Oh wow! That's soooooo cool! I have never been to a theme party, but I think it would be so much fun!
    We had a barbecue here tonight. I made enough to feed an army, just like I always do, and I have TONS of leftovers. I guess two chickens, three pounds of beef, three salads, chips and dips, and some fruit was too much for eight people (one who's a vegetarian)?
    Oh, and three desserts. One chocolaty, one fruity, and the third was homemade ice cream....
    My fridge is just packed!

  5. What a great party! your costumes were fabulous and the food sounded so yummy.

  6. It looks like you had a great time! What a wonderful idea for the depths of winter. We haven't hit summer yet (6/21), but I'll remember the idea for this coming winter. Thank you for your blog. I enjoy your ideas.

  7. What a fun idea for a party. Can't even imagine it being cold outside ... we just are emerging from a very long cold wet spring .. that followed a cold winter .. lovin' my summer weather.

  8. Love theme parties. Looks like you did a great job with this one.

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