On the eighth day of Christmas my Star gave to me...

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...tips on throwing a last-minute dinner party!

IT STARTS with a phone call from a friend to say Merry Christmas and, before you know it, you’re offering to throw a dinner party for six that evening.

Sheffield’s own Coco Catering has some tips on being the hostess with the mostest:

n Keep mains simple, something you’ve made many times and can pull together with minimal stress.

n Buy from local butchers or fishmongers who will be able to prepare things in store for you and offer advice.

n Get your other half mixing cocktails as guests arrive, for an elegant, warm welcome that will make you appear in control.

n Pick up seasonal napkins for the table - inexpensive but a great party mood setter. Flowers in the centre and simple tealight candles will really sell your table too. It’s the little things that make a big difference.

n Keep the starter simple, such as a lovely warm soup or bread with seasonal pates, so you don’t have your hands full cooking lots of dishes.

n Chocolate truffles are a lovely way to finish a meal, or shortbread biscuits, served with tea and coffee.

Happy hosting!

Tomorrow’s tip: parlour games to entertain the family this Christmas!