Where: Of course the best parties are always held in the home, in the kitchen where there are lots of lovely smells of delicious food and drinks, where you can still chat away to all your friends and work away at the same time- if you get lucky some friends may even offer to help. Theme: When friends ask if they can bring anything for your cocktail party suggest desserts or crisps, small nibbles are best so I can control what is served for the main part of the evening myself- sticking to your theme be it beach, Halloween, Christmas, or Sex and the City, is very important. Music: I tend to find that some mellow music is great in the background, something warming but not too dreary- this is of course a party. My favorite is Lemon Jelly or some lighthearted jazz which can be picked up a bit as the night goes on and people get in the mood for dancing. Decoration: With autumn leaves falling this is the perfect time to start lighting a fireplace or log burning stove. If you have one then start heating well before the arrival of guests to warm them on a colder evening. Add some candles for mood but keep them well out of any harms way for later in the evening when people have had a few drinks. Balloons, black and white photographs, banners and fairy lights are great bargain decorations, just remember to make it all tie in with your overall theme. What to wear: I always wear flat shoes, simply because you can't have sore feet throughout the evening when entertaining: flat shoes are my friend. I love to wear my little black dress  as it's mysterious and chic, allowing me to blend in to the background if I wish or helping my feel strong and to be the hostest with the mostest. I'd always recommend wearings ome you feel really feminine in, especially if your cocktail party is hosting a lot of other women. Drinks: I usually make pitchers of cocktails for larger crowds, lots of ice, a large jug and stirer and glasses for everyone, even just some cute wine glasses. For a 1st cocktail if it's slightly colder I make a warming cocktail, I've been playing around with a few ingredients but I love my aromatic rosehip tea, Brandy, a little gin and rosehip infused hot tea (this can be made by infusing a strong good teabag, hot water and rosehip syrup) I love the smell of rosehip syrup as it's something one of my neighbours used to make when I was a child. This cocktail goes a nice golden colour like the turning leaves. Add some orange wedges to add more colour and the flavour will come off them also. I love making punch and serving it in a large wine glass, you can stick your nose into the glass more and get all the lovely smells of it. Recently I've been enjoying making a delicious punch with some good Amaretto, Lime and Lemongrass Cordial (I like the belvoir brand) and cloudy lemonade, adding some unwaxed lemon slices and pouring it over lots of big cubes of ice.   Punches and jugs are a perfect way to add time to your party.   As the party gets going and the drinks start flowing, the music gets louder and the dancing starts, luckily with my flat shoes and a glass in hand!