Europe's biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival, takes place this August bank holiday weekend bringing with it steel bands, yummy Caribbean cuisine and lots of colourful floats.
The world-famous carnival has been running since 1964 and celebrates the capital's multi-cultural identity with a whole weekend of fun. But if you're not going along to the fun two-day spectacle, you can still get in on the action by creating your own carnival.
From creating fantastic food, putting up colourful decorations and raising a glass of something fruity, you can recreate some of the fun carnival magic at home. So, set a colourful dress code and gather up a crowd and throw a party to remember.
decorate your home like a carnival
Turn your garden into a tropical haven with this stylish 'Totally Tropical' sign, and help add some fruity vibes with this quirky pineapple ornament. And don't forget this summer's favourite bird, the flamingo. We love this flamingo-shaped marquee light for when it starts to get dark.
Colourful bunting and vibrant balloons can easily help transform any space from plain to party. And no party is complete without a colourful pinata. Loved by all ages, everyone will enjoy trying to break through the shell of the donkey to retrieve the hidden goodies. Decorated in bright green, pink and yellow neon colours, it's definitely an essential carnival accessory.
don't forget to garnish your drinks!
You could serve up drinks in jars, milk bottles or these rather amazing pineapple shaped glasses, and garnish with cocktail umbrellas and cocktail sticks for the ultimate carnival drinking experience!
Make your food the star of the show
Colour and spice is key when it comes to Caribbean cuisine. You could start off by making these rather tempting mini-prawn kebabs which are marinated in garlic, ginger and muscovado sugar, and take just minutes to cook on the BBQ. Then serve up the mighty and meaty Jamaican classic, spicy Jerk Chicken. Marinated in jerk seasoning, spring onions and honey it's sure to satisfy hungry tummies. If you're eating outside, plate it up in disposable boxes or colourful plastic plates to really help create that carnival vibe.
Serve it alongside some rice burgers (which will get veggie guests' tastebud's dancing with delight), some tasty plantain chips and Caribbean curry patties with a side of zingy salsa. The fragrant lamb-stuffed pastry bites are only mildly spiced meaning little mouths can enjoy them too. And then for dessert, whip up this fabulous frozen watermelon pud or treat yourself to a sweet and creamy coconut rice pudding. It comes with a tropical topping, filled with mangoes and pomegranate seeds so you can sit, eat and be transported to warmer climes. Yum!
Wash it down with some punch
Dancing is thirsty work, so chill out with this family-friendly mocktail. We've called it a Carnival Punch Cooler because it's fruity, refreshing and so very tasty making it the perfect punch to serve up to your guests. Or sip this triple-melon ice slushie in the shade - it's packed with fruit like watermelon, strawberries and pineapple. Pour them into some brightly-coloured cups and you are good to go.
Or try recreating this raspberry and mint punch in minutes. Apple juice, raspberry and mint cordial are mixed together and topped up with lemonade and lots of ice, making it ideal for long hot summer days.