GUEST EDIT: Top 5 Party Pleasers with Kim Marie

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and it's beginning to feel a lot like summer!  Summer party season is upon us.  Lots of get togethers, lots of barbecues, lots of fun times with friends.

Although it's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed at this time of year with all the end of year pressures piling on top of us, don't panic about the summer party season.

I'm sharing my Top 5 Party Pleasers with you.  Top 5 finger food snacks for those "bring a plate" parties.  Top 5 desserts that you can easily transport and will have everyone wanting more.  Last but not least, my Top 5 summer wardrobe essentials - the five pieces every girl needs in her wardrobe this summer!

Summer Party Pleasers | top 5 finger food snacks

  1. Smoked Salmon Blinis - make your own blinis (mini buckwheat pancakes) or buy them ready made at the supermarket.  Layer smoked salmon on the blini, add a spoonful of creme fraiche (or sour cream - add a little horseradish for a delicious kick!) and a smidgen of caviar if you're being fancy pants.  Garnish with a sprig of dill.
  2. Fruit & Cheese Platter - one of the easiest to prepare, and most popular to eat, things you can take to a party!  Simply create an artistic effect by arranging cheeses, pots of pate, crackers, bread, fruit, quince paste on a platter.
  3. Insalata Caprese Bites - a really festive looking snack with red tomatoes, green basil leaves and white slices of bocconcini.  This combo is one of my favourite salads, but it makes a great finger food snack too.  Just layer a slice of bocconcini on a slice of of tomato, top with a basil leaf and drizzle with a little mixture of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Whip it with a whisk in a little jug first to create a thicker texture.
  4. Oysters - you either love them or you hate them, but they are just one of the flavours of summer in my book!  If you're not lucky enough to live near an awesome fish market, even your local supermarkets now stock really good quality oysters at reasonable prices.
  5. Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus - the perfect snack for a barbecue.  Just wrap a piece of prosciutto around an asparagus spear, brush with olive oil and toss on the barbecue grill for 3-4 minutes.
All of these finger food snacks can be prepped at home, or at the barbecue.

Summer Party Pleasers | top 5 desserts

  1. Cupcakes - you simply cannot go wrong with this delicious treat!  Kids love them as much as adults do.  You can buy packet mixes or make them from scratch, or even order them from your local bakery.  If you're not a cake decorator, don't fret.  They taste just as good without icing - or you can simply buy ready made icing from the baking aisle in your supermarket.  They even have it in a can now!
  2. Eton Mess - traditionally a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, thick cream and meringue, this delicious dish can be served in individual glasses or in a large serving bowl.  Best served in glass so you can see the pretty effect of the fruit swirling through the cream.  This can be prepped at the party venue, and any fruit you fancy can be used.  Simply layer fresh and / or canned fruit in a glass or bowl, add in mini meringues and top with thick cream.  Mango with a squeeze of lime is an Australian summer twist that always hits the spot!
  3. Christmas Fruit Mince Pies - nothing is more festive than a Christmas fruit mince pie!  Serve them cold as is, heat them quickly in the oven or microwave, and serve with jugs of custard and cream, for those who wish to indulge.  Everyone has a favourite supplier of Christmas fruit mince pies.  I like to sample them all every year just to make sure!  You can make your own too, with a cookie cutter, premade shortbread pastry and tins of fruit mince, plus 10-15 minutes in a 180 degree oven.  For extra points, combine the Eton Mess AND the Christmas Fruit Mince Pies for a truly delicious dessert!
  4. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries - melt a quantity of chocolate in the microwave, or by placing a metal bowl on top of a pan of boiling water.  Stir with a metal spoon.  Once it has melted, hold strawberries by the stalks and swirl in the chocolate to coat evenly.  Remove from the chocolate and swirl again to release any drips, then place on a platter.
  5. S'mores - traditionally more of an American camping trip delicacy, the Aussie version of the s'more will make you very popular at the next barbecue you attend.  Simply toast marshmallows on barbecue skewers and then pop between two chocolate wheaten biscuits and devour!

Summer Party Pleasers | top 5 wardrobe essentials

In order to rock your summer party fashion, there are five key pieces every girl's wardrobe needs.  These pieces will mix and match and work back with your existing summer wardrobe, but you're also looking at a weekend capsule wardrobe that can be dressed up or down and will keep you cool and comfy.
  1. Lace detail top - I've selected the Katies Lace Strap Crossback Top $49.95 for the flattering cut, sexy crossover back detail, the boho chic crochet detail and the so hot right now White colour.  Also available in a glorious Jade colour.
  2. Denim shorts - denim shorts doesn't have to mean ripped and revealing.  The Katies Ultimate Fit range includes the flattering Katies Ultimate Shorts that are perfect for summer layering.  Available in 8 colours and only $39.95.
  3. Scarf - an oversized patterned scarf is the perfect summer accessory to keep your shoulders protected in the sunlight, warm when the sun drops away for the night plus adds a stylish element to your simple shorts and top outfit.  Big summer scarves double as sarongs too.  Perfect!  Love this Katies Brushstroke Print Scarf, only $24.95.
  4. Colourful dress - every summer wardrobe needs a throw on dress that instantly makes you look glam but is cool and comfy.  I love this Katies   V Neck Ruffle Drape Dress, which can be worn loose or belted, with a flattering hi lo hemline.  Look at the amazing Acid colour!
  5. Sandals - Simple with a stylish twist.  You heard it here first - I don't like thongs (or jandals or flip flops depending on where you are from).  My summer shoe essential is a pretty leather sandal.  I love these Katies Vicky Leather T Strap Sandals with a funky leopard twist and they're only $39.95.

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