We enjoy having guests come to stay with us. We have always made sure we can accommodate friends and family in our home. When people stay here, I feel as though we get to share so much more of each other’s lives than when we catch up over lunch or a coffee.
If you are not well prepared, though, having guests stay a few days in your home can be exhausting and hard work. So, in this blog, I’m going to share with you a few things I make sure I do before our guests arrive to ensure that I feel relaxed and can enjoy our time together.
Firstly, I sit down with my meal planning folder (I will show you this one day!) and write down all the days of their stay and the meals they will be here for (eg, if they leave on Thursday – will they go before or after lunch?). Then I think about what meat I already have in the freezer that I could use. Sometimes I might have a couple packs of beef mince which would make a double batch of spaghetti sauce, enough to feed everyone – that’s one meal! Make sure you have checked with your guests for any food allergies or intolerances before you launch into menu planning.
It’s always good to make some meals in advance and freeze. This is so handy because if we go out during the day I don’t need to worry about dinner. Just make sure it’s thawing in the fridge from the night before and then reheat when dinner time comes round!
Examples of meals I have stockpiled in the freezer for when guests are here:
- bolognese sauce
- sausage rolls
- pasta bake
Of course I love to be able to offer my guests dessert after dinner. Some quick easy ideas are:
- jelly for the kids
- ice-cream in cones or ice-cream sundaes
- self-saucing pudding
- rice pudding
- fruit salad
- any kind of cake
- apple pie
- apple crumble (or even tinned peaches crumble!)
My list of desserts is bigger than my list of main meals, I know. When I plan my meals I tend to plan dessert first, then work my way back to the main meal just because dessert is my favourite part of the meal! Some of the desserts I have listed can be made ahead of time, but some of those do need to be made on the day so you just need to plan when you’ll have the time to put it together.
For breakfast I just have a selection of cereal and toast available and of course tea, coffee and juice (if I’ve remembered to buy it).
In addition, I usually cook up a cake and a batch of biscuits (cookies!) to snack on during their stay.
Dr TMH has the job of stocking up the drinks. He usually has a selection of home-brewed beer hanging around and will go out and buy a few red and white wines for us to choose from.
Now that our stomachs are taken care of, my attention shifts to bedding. We have a spare room with a queen size bed which is always made up, ready for guests. Then I just add any matresses for kids on the floor. I have enough bedding for a family with 3 kids. Any more kids than that and I need to ask people to bring things along.
Each bed needs an extra blanket available for cold nights as well as a neatly folded clean towel and face washer. I also provide a mirror, clock, torch and box of tissues in the room. I put a basket of magazines in the corner in case of insomnia.
I always make sure our guests have a towel rack to hang their towels after a shower and a night light in the bathroom so that they can find their way around in the dark.
We have a spare house key cut to give to guests to use during their stay. If they go out or we are all at school and work during their time with us, they can come and go from the house as they please. This has been very handy. Must always remember to get it back off them before they leave so that we don’t have to get another one cut!
Little things like keeping the toilet paper supply up and changing the tea towel and hand towels in the kitchen and bathrooms are important. Guests need to feel comfortable and not have to worry about these details. Keeping the towels changed regularly also helps make sure we stay healthy. Lots of bugs like to grow on wet towels. Making sure there is always plenty of hand soap is another thing to check regularly.
I give our guests a quick tour of the kitchen cupboards when they arrive so that they can easily grab themselves a glass of water and a plate for toast in the morning. Also make sure there is fresh fruit on the bench and that they know they are welcome to help themselves. These things actually make life easier for me because I don’t need to remember to offer these basic things.
Before bed at night, I always ask if they have everything they need and have a quick chat about the next morning. Who gets up when and what the plan is.
Doing all these things ensures that when guests stay they feel comfortable in our home and I can enjoy hosting them because I’m well prepared.
I hope this encourages you to enjoy the guests you have in your home too. Let me know if you have any tips to share!!