Olivia Buckley International

The Greatest Gift of Easter is Hope

A symbol of hope, renewal and new life, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. With even more hours of light in our day, we welcome the arrival of the sun with open arms.

As we embrace the challenge of a new way of living, we are slowly experiencing a fundamental shift in the way we live our lives. COVID-19 has taught us many things this past year, most notably it has shown us that we can adapt and adjust to whatever measures are necessary to protect us from harm. We have come to value our friends and family with a new depth and understanding. It is also important to take time to reflect on all the positive aspects of the beauty and magic that surrounds us as we celebrate the arrival of a brand new season. Birds are singing, trees are budding and flowers are blooming. As morning breaks and light fills up the skies, our natural world’s most revered concert magically echoes the sound of silence.  


Thanksgiving celebrations might look a little different this year, but a smaller guest list does not have to mean you have to compromise. Whether you are doing a small dinner at home with your family, a slightly bigger celebration with your social bubble, or hosting a virtual gathering over Zoom, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your holiday favourites on a smaller scale.

With many people spending the holiday away from family and friends due to travel restrictions or safety concerns, and with some annual traditions also put on hold this year, this Thanksgiving is an opportunity to think outside the box. 2020 might even inspire you to throw out your traditional recipe book and try out a completely different menu, as you will have less people to cater for and more time to enjoy the day.

While the ongoing pandemic has cancelled or postponed many events, there are some annual traditions that will still take place, albeit with a new twist. Although we are so used to seeing crowds come together to see the colourful balloons making their way down the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, this year the celebration will be a bit different. To safely bring the spectacle to millions nationwide this year, the annual production will be reimagined as a television-only event with no audience. This year the procession will forgo marching down the traditional 2.5-mile route in Manhattan in order to avoid large crowds gathering, and instead will be staged in front of the Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square.

So whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving as a family, or from a distance, our creative and virtual ideas are sure to help you celebrate the day by counting your blessings and expressing gratitude for what you have, now more than ever.


As Mother Nature answers the sweet call of spring, and guides the natural forms and wonders of creation, it is the perfect time to take inspiration from the exquisite wonder and charming beauty that surrounds us. As event planners, let us take you on this journey with us and share our knowledge and experience to help you make this Easter better than any other. Let’s celebrate this truly magical time of year and ensure it is one we will remember for years to come. It is also the perfect time to let your imagination do the talking. From the decor to the menu, there are plenty of fun elements to consider for an Easter celebration.

Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving

From virtual catch-ups and drive-by greetings to social-distancing egg hunts and digital gatherings, make the most of all the good things in life by spending quality time with those in your household. Let’s focus on the positives as we celebrate this joyous occasion by staying apart. We have come to admire our parents and how they are embracing technology as they learn new ways of keeping up with their daily routines. As they prepare to watch their local church stream their services and liturgies online, they gather prayers and sacred palm and light candles as they carefully cocoon in the comfort of their home.

Saint Peter’s Square in The Vatican is well known for its spectacular sea of flowers at Easter. A dazzling display of tulips, roses, daffodils, orchids and hyacinths, as well as hundreds of tall delphiniums, decorate the famous colonnades of the piazza. With a truly beautiful collection of colourful azaleas lining the Spanish Steps and along Via Veneto, the roses start to flower in the city’s Rose Garden which overlooks the Circus Maximus.

Colour is such an important part of spring as fresh leaves and bright flowers wake up from their dormant state. Colour illustrates the fresh and early signs of life – there is a reason that we associate buttercup yellow with fresh daffodils, bright yellow chicks and freshly hatched eggs. Yellow roses, white apple blossoms, yellow tulips, white lilies, blooming peonies and azaleas come together to assemble a truly visual feast. Adorned for their simple and architectural beauty, roses delight our senses in so many ways. Long associated with friendship, joy and optimism, yellow roses signify an optimistic and serendipitous character – the perfect symbol for the coming of spring.

If you were planning a special celebration with extended family and friends, now is your chance to get creative and make sure you have a unique and memorable event.

Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving


Spending time outdoors broadens the mind and opens our imagination to new information and positive thoughts. So many of our favourite fruits and vegetables are harvested in spring. Why not try your hand at gardening, there will never be a better time to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasure of reconnecting with the earth.

Planting new and different seeds each year is a great way to save money on shopping, cut down on waste, improve your lifestyle and enjoy a new hobby. What’s not to love!

Rhubarb, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, peas and asparagus are all popular plants to grow this time of year. If you don’t have enough space in your garden to grow fruit and vegetables, the good news is that you can grow vegetables inside too. Scallions, tomatoes, radishes and spinach, along with herbs including basil, thyme, rosemary, coriander and oregano, all thrive within a good indoor planting medium. Growing your own produce will not only give you a great sense of accomplishment and enjoyment, you can also take pride in enjoying the fruits of your labour on your dinner table! 

With spring well and truly in the air, make the most of the mild weather and throw an intimate garden party for your household. Create a beautiful oasis in the safe surroundings of your home to enjoy and explore the great outdoors. Pretty pastel shades and pops of colour scattered around your outdoor space will instantly bring a smile to your face. Capture the gentle breeze with bright bunting and vibrant garlands. Add vibrant cushions to your chairs and adorn your seating area with cosy throws and fluffy blankets. You could place some homemade decorations on the tables and window sills for extra colour and a true sense of occasion. Enjoy a glass of refreshing fruit punch while the little ones go and fetch egg poppers filled with sweet treats from the tress (which you lovingly prepared earlier!)

Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving


Combine tradition with contemporary and play with contrasting textures. Spring is the perfect time to mix up old and new. Traditional styles will create a more refined ambience, while more colourful tones will result in a more relaxed and informal theme. Create a rustic tablescape with fresh flowers, baby’s breath and pretty speckled eggs. Add in some moss, ferns and twigs from the forest if you live in close proximity.

Choose your colour scheme carefully. Neutral colors with green as the main colour will focus on the combination of spring and nature. If you live near the sea, go for a maritime theme with bold yellows and blue prints. Add a bowl of fresh lemons, a vase of oranges, a bunch of aromatic herbs, lush greenery and yellow eggs for a winning look.

Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving

Dress up your table and make cleaning up a breeze with a bright spring tablecloth. Use decorative flatware, white vases, patterned plates and raffia placemats. Rose-hued glassware will be perfect for those mid morning mimosas. If cocktails are your thing, a pretty pastel pitcher can be used for flower arrangements after the party. Eggs painted with pretty pastel shades provide the perfect finishing touch to your table. Get creative and use materials you already have at home to make table decorations and memorable keepsakes. A vibrant green ribbon added to your favourite vase of white tulips is a classic and effortless look. Add a subtle spark to your favourite candles with delicate votives and flower-filled vases.

Use mini baskets as alternative and eye-catching place settings. Write the name of your guest in ribbon and wrap it around a speckled egg and place in the mini basket. Alternatively, you can create authentic spring table settings by handwriting the initials of your guests with a gold paint pen. Another clever use of home materials is to clean and paint egg shells in gold and place them in small white egg cups. Use the shells as mini vases filled with water and small flowers. These will look beautiful interspersed with larger arrangements on the table. Take pride in your creativity and take pictures to share with your friends. See who comes up with the most creative idea!

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It is also the perfect time to prepare some fun activities which will allow everyone to participate. Plan an Easter crafternoon. Experiment and create bunny hats, DIY typography eggs and balloon bunnies. Hone in on your arts and crafts skills and try your hand at making your very own wreath. Adorn your front door with a rattan-style wreath entwined with lichen twigs, moss and larch cones. For a real wow factor, add in pip berries and decorate with speckled eggs and flowers.

Download Zoom and other social connecting applications. Dial in and have coffee and dessert with your extended family, play charades with your grandchildren or do a quiz with your nieces and nephews. Hang pictures of Easter eggs in your doors and windows and organise an egg hunt for your street or local area.

If you would like to include your neighbours and friends in your crafternoon delights, make them something nice and leave it at their door. Create some colourful ‘Happy Easter’ tags on paper or cardboard and wrap them around an egg carton full of chocolate eggs with a piece of gingham ribbon and twine. It is so simple and easy to make, yet it will be such a wonderful surprise for your nearest and dearest to enjoy on Easter Sunday. It is a lovely way to show how true moments of happiness can be enjoyed even more when they are not expected.

Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving, Floral Design, Thanksgiving Tablescape
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving, Stationary
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Pie


Nothing brings people together like the delights of homemade cuisine. Expand your culinary skills and discover delicious new recipes from all those cookbooks you never had time to sift through. Start the weekend off in style and get a bake-off competition going. Share your new culinary skills with friends and family by sending them Insta-worthy shots of your newfound hobby.

Another fun thing to do is choose two desserts and see which one everyone likes the best. A layered lemon cake centerpiece and a chocolate egg baked tart is sure to split the decision right down the middle!

Embrace the true Easter spirit of gastronomy with a traditional Good Friday feast of freshly baked hot cross buns. With a cross to symbolise the crucifix, the doughy delights were originally enjoyed on Good Friday, a day of penitence, which traditionally marks the end of Lent.

We have the perfect recipe for you to test your baking skills this Easter season…


500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
75g/2¾oz caster sugar
2 tsp mixed spice powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon, finely grated zest only
10g/¼oz salt
10g/¼oz fast-action dried yeast
40g/1½oz butter
300ml/10fl oz milk
1 free-range egg, beaten
200g/7oz sultanas
50g/1¾oz finely chopped mixed candied peel
oil, for greasing

For the topping

75g/2¾oz plain flour
2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing


Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.

Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.

Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.

Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.

When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.

Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

Happy Baking!..and once they are baked and cooled, slice them, toast them, butter them and have fun eating them!

Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving
Olivia Buckley International, Party Planner Ireland, Luxury Parties, Festive Parties, Thanksgiving

Slow roasting your spring lamb lends itself perfectly to hours of gentle braising. You could marinate on Easter Saturday, pop it into the slow cooker overnight and finish off in the over for an hour when your guests are enjoying their starters. This will allow you much more time to socialise, eat chocolate and have a glass or two of bubbly.

Similar to Christmas, Easter is a time to spend with family so why not make life easier on yourself and prepare your sides and accompaniments in advance if you can. Think roasted root vegetables with a citrus and herb dressing, warm wild mushroom and lentil salad or keep it simple with creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Prepare your dishes in cookware that can go straight from oven to table. An enamel cast iron casserole dish is the perfect vessel to transport your mouthwatering delights to your waiting guests.

While most households will enjoy a traditional annual feast of roast spring lamb with all the trimmings, try a different take on the meat of the season. You won’t be disappointed!


2 trimmed racks of lamb

6 stalks of fresh rosemary

150g pistachios

4 garlic cloves, peeled

6 tbsp breadcrumbs

2 tbsp olive oil

5 tbsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper  

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Remove the rosemary leaves from their stalks and add them to your food processor with the pistachios, breadcrumbs and garlic. Blend until the pistachios and rosemary are broken down into a fine crumble.

Season the racks of lamb with a little salt and pepper. Heat a pan on a medium/high heat and add in the olive oil. Brown the racks, one at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side until nicely browned.

Arrange the racks, bone side down, in a roasting pan. Use a butter knife to spread the Dijon mustard over the surface of the lamb. Spread a little over the sides and ends, but most of the mustard should remain on top. Sprinkle the pistachio mixture over each rack. Press gently with your fingers to make sure it sticks to the mustard.

Roast the racks for 18-25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 48-52C/120-125F if you like it rare, or 56-60C/130-135F for medium rare.

Remove the lamb from the oven, cover with tin foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, carve the racks between the bones and cut into chops. Enjoy!

Finish off a perfect day at home with a family movie and a rustic cheeseboard by the fire. It might not be the annual dinner party celebration you had planned, it might just be better!

What was once difficult is now easier, and what once scared us now feels familiar. A change in perspective can make all the difference as we discover and embrace the freedom of taking life as it comes to us. When we take the time to acknowledge what we are so blessed to have around us, we have a truly amazing chance to to enjoy life.

Let’s make Easter 2021 the best one yet.