A 'Big Night In' - The perfect social life compromise for parents. All the fun of going out whilst staying at home - no taxis, no designated drivers, no babysitters, no need to even dress up (or get dressed at all if you are that way inclined!) Sounds ideal.
So when challenged to come up with an idea for the ultimate Big Night In by Little Stuff and Two Little Fleas, my mind went into overdrive, thinking of ways to have fun at home with a mahoosive £750 budget. Just imagine what that could buy you! Combine this spending power with a bit of imagination and you have the recipe for a night in to remember.
My usual idea for a good night in would consist of a takeaway curry and a glass of beer for myself, Ian and the older kids. So I would use this as the seed from which to grow my grand idea for a Big Night In.
Firstly I would need to pick a suitable theme to add some glitz and glamour to the event. So I'm going with Bollywood! It's theatrical, it's colourful, it's exciting and it lends itself beautifully to my favourite Indian cuisine. A real excuse to indulge our flamboyant sides and immerse ourselves in the exotic, rich culture providing a fantasy escape from our everyday lives.
I'm lucky to have such an amazing, close family. My older kids are also my best friends and we have a huge amount of fun when we get together. Naturally they would be on my VIP list along with their partners. When we have a family get together it's like having an instant party so we're half way to an amazing night already! Ever since my eldest children spread their wings to start their new lives of work, university, parenthood and general grown-upness, I have loved having an excuse to get them all back into the nest. A Bollywood Big Night In would be that perfect excuse!
I would hire a pagoda marquee for the garden and would hang colourful drapes of red and gold alongside glistening fairy lights to make a palatial and luxurious backdrop to my family party. Cushions on the floor would make a comfortable and relaxing space to relax, chat, laugh and generally celebrate our big night in.
I have always longed to dress up in a gorgeous silk sari and have Ian wear a Shirvani shirt. It is such a stunning look. We would feel like Bollywood film stars! Looking on Ebay, you can pick up a gorgeous outfit for as little as £35. As hosts we owe it to our guests to get into character (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) Dressing up would add to the spectacle and make our night in even more special. Some DIY henna mehendi hand painting would be a fun activity to try out on each other.
I'd have some bindi jewels, silk scarves and other Indian accessories on hand so everyone can dress up and get fully immersed into the theme and I'd set up a photo booth to record every little detail of our big night in.
My local Indian, Oruna Cuisine, serves the most exquisite food...paneer tikka massala, tarka dal, mushroom biryani...my mouth is watering just at the thought of it. I'd commission them to create a sensational vegetarian banquet delivered to our door. I love eating good food and sharing the pleasure with my family. I can just imagine how wonderful it would be, lounging in our Indian themed pagoda, eating a culinary feast together whilst wearing authentic Indian outfits.
A bit of Bollywood's finest music would get us up and dancing. We could copy the Pussycat Doll's moves in the Jai Ho video and work off some of the calories from our Indian feast! It would be hilarious (if you saw me dancing you would understand just how funny it would be) - and the real magic of a big night in is sharing laughter and making memories, so it would be a perfect addition to the evening!
It's always fun to make up some cocktails and add all the paraphernalia to turn your drink into something super impressive! Some fruit and some straws can transform a non-alcoholic mocktail into something quite stunning. I'd love to set up a cocktail bar with the ingredients for a few delicious Indian inspired cocktails. How about Mango Mojito or a Chai Martini or a Vodka Lassi? It would be fun to shake up some delicious drinkies to enjoy and as nobody is driving we wouldn't have to worry about that. (The cocktails may also help loosen our limbs for our Bollywood dancing!)
No party, event or big night in is complete without a cake. I would commission a cake from a fabulous local baker, that would encompass the theme perfectly. Vibrant shades, hand painted gold detail, paisley, bold floral patterns and intricate Indian designs in fondant icing would adorn a luscious, rich chocolate, truffle cake. It'd be a real centrepiece to the event and I can just imagine how totally delicious a dessert it would be.
Just take a look at Bollywood Cakes on Pinterest to feast your eyes on how beautiful this cake could be!
Marquee Hire £150
Drapes and cushions from Ebay £150
Shirvani Shirt £35
Indian banquet £150
Cocktail Ingredients £100
Mehndi henna, bindi jewels etc £50
Total £750 (Budget well and truly blown but it would be totally worth it!)