There's no doubt that most people felt euphoric once the social restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic were relaxed or lifted during the summer of 2021. It meant that entertaining was back on the cards - and partying was firmly on the agenda. Family get-togethers, weddings, birthday parties, celebrations and social meet-ups were enjoyed as never before. It surprised many, however, to notice how fast things had moved on during lockdown. It seems that social media sites such as Instagram, also Pinterest and YouTube videos put entertaining firmly in the mind's eye during a time when it was not permitted. It just goes to show how much influence images have on the psyche.
Let's look at what's been #trending and changing behind closed doors:
1: Coffee! The morning treat of choice for so many.
Did you know that Europe is the most influential region across the world when it comes to coffee power? Although social distancing measures imposed during the pandemic impacted strongly on the coffee industry because people refrained from enjoying their normal coffee shop outing, most of us improved our barista techniques at home. What's more, consumers have become more aware of the environmental impact associated with coffee. They are seeking out ethically produced coffee which is kind to the environment and the producers. There is higher demand for good quality and uniqueness combined with sustainable principles such as conserving local wildlife, minimising soil erosion, fair trade and acceptable working conditions for staff.
The most significant change is the increase in households that own their own coffee making machine for ready-to-drink coffee. They often come with speciality coffee flavours such as toffee coffee, Caribbean rum coffee, chilli chocolate and even black cherry.
Home coffee consumption has actually increased since the start of the pandemic. We are now a nation of coffee podders, although some have bought a grinder so that they can brew their own. You need only look on supermarket shelves to see the reduction in choice when it comes to ground coffee beans but the increase in pods and capsules for machines.
There has been a significant rise in subscription services too. Not only for those who want fresh coffee beans delivered to their door on a regular basis, but also for just about all types of food too.
2: Subscription boxes for food and drink
All the ingredients, delivered to your home within a recipe box. It's the new 'eating out' whilst 'eating in'. It doesn't matter if people are excellent cooks or have only basic skills, the boxes come with full instructions for a feast without the need for shopping. These have proved to be a hot hit as they tend to widen people's range of expertise and provide fresh ideas for new dishes to try from scratch. They have soared in popularity, with some companies reporting an increase in orders of almost 50% during the pandemic as more people became used to on-line grocery shopping. It's just one step further along the road towards removing the hassle from shopping. Many people buy their wine this way, also pet food, vegetable boxes and health supplements.
3: Tabletop design settings in tune with the season
We are making things look prettier! We were starved of sharing dining pleasures for 18 months or so, but table tops are now dressed with pazaz. Colourful palettes of joy, incorporating tablecloths and napkins in wonderful fabrics, placemats and coasters to set the scene, beautiful china, fresh flowers, sparkling glasses, candles, quality cutlery and of course, the finest wine bucket to keep things cool. It's all about colour, texture and pattern.
It seems that one set of crockery, cutlery and glasses is no longer enough! Mix and match is trending and there has been a huge rise in popularity in 'retro' china and other dining items to bring a unique atmosphere to the table. When it comes to entertaining, minimalism doesn't quite provide what's required in 2021.
4: Cocktails, both alcoholic and healthier mixes
The 'work from home' brigade have been spicing up their evenings with cocktail mixes, often reaching for trendy alcohol-free spirits and healthy additions such as kombucha, a fermented tea drink, plus fruit juices.
Top of the alcoholic mixology fun is the ever-popular Mojito with white run, lime, lemon, mint, ice and sparkling water. Pina colada never goes out of fashion, containing run, coconut milk and pineapple juice, all shaken with ice. Meanwhile, both gin and vodka with a variety of additions are soaring in popularity.
5: Alfresco dining, both at home and eating out
It's obvious why eating outdoors has increased in popularity. Firstly, it enables cafes and restaurants to increase their customer numbers whilst maintaining more space between tables. Outside space has become as, if not more, important than indoors. Even when restrictions eased, members of the public remained wary of getting too close and the fresher air outside offers virus-safe benefits. At home, sales of outdoor heaters, canopies, parasols and dining furniture have increased. This preference is likely to linger through autumn and into winter provided warmth from firepits or heaters is available.
It's possible that we have witnessed the fastest change in habits during the last 18 months than in the previous two decades. We are adaptable souls and whilst many things have had a hugely negative impact, others have soared with positive vibes.
Go with the flow and enjoy the 'new normal'.
Many items for dining, entertainment and kitchen equipment are available at reduced prices from Loveafabprice. Don't delay, once they have gone, they're gone!