#172 MoneySupermarket’s Charcoal Challenge aka My Housewarming Barbeque

So what customarily follows a stressful house move? The housewarming of course! I was lucky enough to be able to combine this with MoneySupermarket’s Charcoal Challenge. I was overjoyed to be able to take part in this as I had missed out on the Big Night In competition last month.
I decided that I’d use this housewarming as a brilliant excuse to drag my favourite blogging friends up from their comfort zone in the Newcastle/Sunderland area, to check out my new home and to finally meet Little Miss as they’d heard so much about her. 
I had decided on a simple, yet very summery menu. Homemade burgers, chicken strips & halloumi skewers (thank you Bee for introducing me to these simple yet wonderful things!) for the barbeque and potato salad, pesto pasta salad & Greek couscous as sides. I also made a Key Lime pie and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. To drink I made homemade lemonade (thank you to Jodie for this delicious recipe!), orange and cranberry punch & that summertime favourite, Pimms! I was determined to do this all on my £50 budget but of course a few items I would use from my cupboard such as pasta, couscous and any seasoning. I was definitely most excited to attempt homemade burgers that wouldn’t fall apart on the barbeque, if I could simply manage this on the day, I’d be happy (okay that’s a lie, I wanted the whole thing to be PERFECT but shhh…)
Altogether including my sister and I, there were eight of us and of course my daughter and nephew. I spent all Friday morning shopping and all Friday afternoon and Saturday morning preparing everything, when it comes to hosting, I’m the worst kind of perfectionist. God forbid I ever get married! I was ordering my poor sister and her boyfriend around trying to get everything done by 1pm, I managed.. just!  
 Four Glazes for chicken strips. Chinese 5 Spice & Soy, Garlic and Herb, Balsamic and Jerk.
I marinated in sandwich bags over night so they were well seasoned!
Paper bunting for decorations and picnic blankets as I don’t have any garden furniture yet!
Plastic cutlery, pitcher and cups from Asda & paper straws from Home Bargains.
My sister turned out to be a complete QUEEN of the barbeque, despite having never used one before!
I wouldn’t of been able to pull off such a lovely day if it wasn’t for her.
Chicken strips on the go!
The lovely ladies all outside enjoying the sun. Despite looking like when they arrived it turned into a lovely hot summers day! Perfect barbeque weather.
(Please ignore all the debris that hasn’t been moved yet, I have only been in a week!)
FOOOOD! It looks so good and summery! I could eat it all again!
Pimms, my sister, her boyfriend and I mainly drank this one. Those blogger ladies are far too classy on their non-alcoholic drinks!
Desserts, homemade Key Lime Pie, which tasted better than it looked (I was afraid of undercooked meringue so I over cooked it!) and chocolate covered strawberries.

In honor of those cherished childhood parties we all attended, I put together little party bags for each of my guests as a thank you for spending the day out in the sticks!

And here is what I spent the £50 on;

Paper Bunting £3, Asda
Plastic Cups £2, Asda
Plastic Jug £2, Asda
Plastic Cutlery £2, Asda
Napkins £1, Asda
Skewers £1, Asda
Paper Straws 89p, Home Bargains
Party Bags 99p, Home Bargains
2 x Packs of Chicken Strips £6, Morrisons
Lean Mince Beef £3.99, Morrisons
2 x Packs of Bread Rolls £1, Morrisons
Cooking Chocolate 60p, Morrisons
Strawberries £2, Tesco
Cheese Slices £1, Tesco
Mozerella Ball 44p, Tesco
Halloumi £2.36, Tesco
Feta £1.50, Tesco
3 x Limes 90p, Tesco
6 x Lemons £1.20, Tesco
Cherry Tomatoes £1, Tesco
Cucumber 65p, Tesco
Red Onion 19p, Tesco
Peppers £1.75, Tesco
Digestive Biscuits 69p, Tesco
Pesto £1, Tesco
2 x Orange Juice, 1 x Mango Juice, 1 x Cranberry Juice 4 for £3.50, Tesco
Lemonade 60p, Tesco
Imitation Pimms £7, Aldi

= £50.25

25p over isn’t too bad, right? Everything else such as seasoning, condiments, couscous and pasta.. even the disposible barbeques I procured from either my parents house or I already had it in my cupboard!

Over all, it was a fantastic day, well apart from me getting emotional on the girls and thanking them for being my friend outside the blogging world.. because at the end of the day, that is what I wanted. Not some big event, just some friends hanging out in my back garden, eating good food and getting to know each other better. It’s so wonderful that I’ve met these great girls simply through having my blog and I’m lucky enough now to call them friends. Moving back up here had me terrified that I would no longer have a social life as I was leaving my best friends back in Lincolnshire and with a child it’s not easy to jump on the train for 3 & a half hours just for a day because I was feeling lonely (for starters at the moment Little Miss can barely stay in the buggy on the bus to Morrisons which is 15 minutes away!) but 45 minutes on a train I can manage with or without a babysitter!

Also, thank you to MoneySupermarket for letting me take part in this wonderful challenge, it has given me something to look forward to and something fun to plan when I’ve been stressed about this transition into my new home. 

I’m looking forward to throwing another party once my parents return from Greece! I think I’m going to go for a tea & cake theme this time though.

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