Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

Sam Wylie-Harris celebrates the picnic and BBQ season with some must-haves pieces of cool kit

From sporting events to festivals and fetes — along with those alfresco lunches and dinners you can finally enjoy now the sun’s out — July is the month for venturing outdoors to eat, drink and be (warmly) merry.

But before you start pondering the rubs and marinades, musing over the flavour profiles of hickory vs mesquite, or which are the best accompaniments with egg n’ hang sangers, you’ll need to think about the best way to style up this moveable feast.

The easy answer? Have some fun with bright accessories that’ll add to the sense of occasion.

From high end to high street, here’s how to polish up your picnic and make sure your BBQ is a sizzling success...


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

Before your summer guests arrive, envelop your home with Voya’s luxury therapeutic lifestyle range.

Through a rich variety of diffusers refills and candles, he Sligo-based company’s produces natural scents suitable for each room and to complement any mood.

Try African Lime and Clove ( 20cl €27.00), a sparkling vibrant aroma with top citrus notes of lemon, grapefruit and fresh lime combined with an unexpected twist of crisp herbs and warm spicy clove.

This scent has a bright and sunny nature which provides an uplifting and refreshing pick me up to awaken the senses and boost your mood.


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

You don’t need a menu of surf ‘n’ turf (although it would be a delicious choice) to flaunt this fun tea towel.

It’ll come in handy for passing plates, wiping cups or simply catching condensation and drops from that well-chilled bottle of wine.

Lobster Tea Towel, €15 approx, Thornback & Peel (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

If dining under the shade of a real leafy palm tree isn’t happening, you can still use a palm tree print to landscape your outdoor table, and greenery blended with a glimmer of gold always looks great.

12 Piece Palm Leaf Dinner Set; 16 Piece Brass Effect Cutlery Set; Set of 4 Metallic Wine Glasses; Set of 4 Metallic Tumblers,, Next (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

The coastal trend is still strong this summer, and this pretty blue tableware with a fun fishy theme is an affordable investment.

Style with seasonal blue flowers and a casual throw draped over a wrought iron chair for the finishing touch.

A nautical driftwood hurricane lamp will bring you a step closer to the seaside.

Linea Sardine Melamine Dinnerware Range and Acrylic Glassware Range, from €3 per item; Linea Newquay Blue Marking Bottle Vase, currently reduced ; Linea Malo Stripe Throw - Blue,, House of Fraser (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

Stuffed with all our favourite things, hampers certainly look the part (and make perfect gifts). And what could be lovelier than packing a wicker basket for a jaunt to the countryside?

With ceramic plates, plastic wine glasses, cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper shakers and a bottle opener, M&S have done all the hard work for you with this one— all that’s left is to pack your favourite food and fresh produce.

Dovecote Floral 4 Person Flap Top Hamper. Marks & Spencer (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

A portable tray table can double up as a home bar, a display stand for a designer deco or a serving table for outdoor entertaining.

An indispensable investment, Oka’s has a removable tray top, strong leather handles and sturdy metal legs.

Ardles Tray Table; Keramas Jug with Six Tumblers, Glass Kaanch Shell Bowl, Oka (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

Whether you’re heading to a busy beauty spot or a concert in the park, a picnic rug will mark your territory and save you from wet grass stains.

Light, washable and easy to carry, you can’t go wrong with soft fleece and a waterproof backing.

Wilko Stripe Picnic Rug, Wilko (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

A good looking grill that can double up as a piece of terrace furniture, this cast iron model has a ‘bowl’ grilling grid and frying plate capable of catering to different types of barbecuing at various levels.

Charcoal, briquettes or ordinary wood will get the fires burning. Morso Grill 17, (


Hot alfresco affairs for a BBQ summer

Secure a front row seat with this striking triangular picnic bench that can seat up to six guests comfortably.

A key feature is the perforated stainless steel insert that provides an attractive table surface, along with an efficient water drainage system for when it rains.

Extremis Anker Triangular Picnic Bench €3,500 approx, Houseology;


It’s not what you have that makes you happy, it’s what you do. And what better time to be proactive than during the season of goodwill, says Margaret Jennings.Joy to the world: Strategies to increase your happiness during the season of goodwill

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