As party time looms, there's no need to panic! You don't have to be a domestic goddess to rustle up a tasty tea that kids of all ages will love.
Keep it simple
The best advice is to keep it simple - less is definitely more on this occasion. Prepare what you can in advance to make it less stressful on the day.
Simple fillings are always the most popular. For little ones, cut sandwiches into fun shapes with biscuits cutters. Or make them stripy, with one slice of white and one of brown, cut into fingers. Older kids love three-tier club sandwiches with a variety of fillings.
Breadsticks, carrot and cucumber sticks with dips always go down well, along with the obligatory crisps, and are a great way of ensuring little ones eat some veg.
Mini pizzas are also popular, especially for slightly older kids. You can provide the bases and a choice of toppings for them to create their own pizzas.
Remember to provide some alternatives for any gluten or lactose intolerant guests and it's best to avoid anything with nuts, in case of allergies.
Savoury then sweet
Keep the cakes and sweet treats out of sight until the savoury course, or your sandwiches may not get a second glance.
Make fruit more appealing with strawberries, grapes and slices of banana and orange on sticks. Strawberries dipped in chocolate are also popular.
Make the cake a few days before, or in advance and freeze. Defrost and decorate the day before the party. Buying ready-made cakes makes things even easier. You can buy or make a batch of plain fairy cakes and get the guests to decorate them.
Adapt your food to match your theme. For example, cowboys might tuck into beans and sausages; for a colour party, you can find or make pink icing, pink marshmallows and so on. Or simply re-name fairy cakes, pirate cakes and decorate accordingly.
If you prefer, prepare individual food boxes for each guest with a sandwich, crisps, veg sticks, fruit, a fairy cake and a napkin and party hat.
For little ones, provide a small bottle of water each with a sports type top, or little cartons of fruit juice with a straw. Homemade lemonade is always a winner and so simple to do. Try adding a few raspberries to make it pink. Older kids love fruit cocktails, decorated with a cherry and paper umbrella for authenticity.
If you're catering for parents, keep things simple with some crisps and dips, with a glass of wine or cup of tea. Parents will happily tuck into the kids' leftovers as well!