DIY Lifestyle

Macmillan’s Summer Lights campaign with npower.

Summer-lights-ideas-for-garden-party-by-Little-Big-BellI am so excited to announce my collaboration with npower, to promote Macmillan Cancer Support’s “Summer Lights” campaign.

For over 12 years, npower has been working with Macmillan to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry. In this time, npower has given over £7 million to help over 29,000 families by providing them with support such as emergency energy grants or writing off their debts.

Macmillan’s Summer Lights campaign is a nationwide fundraising event that encourages people to celebrate the loved ones that ‘light up their lives’, by hosting a Summer Lights ‘get together’, indoors or out, using energy efficient LED or solar powered decorative fairy lights, candles or lanterns to set the scene.

The idea is for people to invite their friends and family over to celebrate, with a meal or nibbles and drinks, in exchange for a donation to Macmillan.

My brief was to design and inspire people, with a few lighting looks, that they could easily recreate at home.

I have created 3 looks for the Summer lights garden party.
Macmillan-Cancer-research-summer-party-2016-lightsLook number 1: ‘Fabulous and floral’

To achieve this look, you’ll need fresh flowers, a vase, gold sticky-back plastic and multi-coloured wicker rattan fairy lights.

First, buy a gorgeous brightly coloured bouquet with whatever flowers are in season. For my floral arrangement, I used ranunculus, anemones, and purple and green lilacs and bleeding hearts.

Next, place your flowers in a glass vase. I used a clear glass vase; however a light green or pink glass vase would also look lovely.

To add a bit of the ‘Midas Touch’ to your vase to magnify and reflect the light, wrap the gold sticky-back plastic around the vase, ensuring that you smooth it as you stick it on the vase to ensure a ripple-free surface. You can easily source the sticky back plastic either online or in your local craft store.

For the final flourishing touch, I used multi-coloured wicker rattan fairy lights, which I simply wrapped and secured with clear tape around the vase.

Finally, place your completed arrangement in the centre of your table and you’re done!Summer-lights-campaign-Macmillan-photo-by-Little-Big-BellWhat do you think of this burst of colour for the table?
Macmillan-colourful-tea-party-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-BellI served up colourful cupcakes specially made for me for the party.Macmillan-Summer-lights-campaign-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-of-Little-Big-BellThe glitter encased fruits on the cupcakes sparkled like jewels next to the lights and were reflected in the gold of the vase.

Cakes-cake-stand-Little-Big-BellHere’s a full view of the cupcakesFlower-display-garden-party-Little-Big-BellHere’s a different floral display for the garden party.

I decided on pink peonies, irises, lilac and orange coloured roses, to match the festive hues of the paper decor.Macmillan-Summer-Lights-party-photo-by-Little-Big-BellI added colourful pillows to brighten up the space.Gold-dipped-balloons-2-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-of-Little-Big-BellAnd made these gold dipped balloons to match the flowers and gold vase.Ice-cream-light-for-Summer-Light-party-Macmillan-photo-by-Little-Big-BellLook number 2: ‘Ice cream inspiration’

I love the playful look of ice cream cones, which evokes happy Summer memories.

To achieve this look, you’ll need brightly coloured card, multi-coloured wicker rattan fairy lights, twine and a wooden egg holder (which incidentally, is also great for holding cones!)

First, cut the card to your required size and fold the card into a cone shape. Next, use a hole puncher to punch two small holes in the back of the cone and then string the twine through the holes and cut the twine to your desired length. Once you have your cones made, simply fill with your fairy lights and hang on your walls to create cheery pops of colour. For an outdoor celebration, hang the cones on tree branches to add fun and colour to your garden.Macmillan-Summer-lights-ideas-Little-Big-BellAlternatively, if you’d like to have your cones as a table display, source a wooden egg or ice cream holder, place the cones in the holes and set in the centre of your table to serve as a unique centrepiece.

Top Tip: You can also use old party hats and wrap them in coloured paper to create the cones.Macmillan-Summer-Lights-tea-party-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-BellYou can see the ice cream lights hung on the branches of our apple tree in the garden, next to the drinks table.Macmillan-Summer-lights-campaign-party-Elderflower-presse-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-BellWe served sparkly Elderflower and Rose pressé to the kidsPinkster-gin-photo-by-Little-Big-Bellwhilst the adults had some Pinkster gin with tonic, raspberries and mint.Lantern-Summer-lights-Macmillan-campaign-Little-Big-BellLook number 3: ‘Luminous lanterns’

I love to decorate with lanterns. To achieve this simple and chic look, you’ll need glass lanterns with a mirrored base (which reflects the light upwards), vivid mesh ball fairy lights and a brightly coloured table cloth.

I think dots are such a fun design look, so I selected large confetti dots, which I scattered onto a white table cloth. Alternatively, you can use a bright, patterned tablecloth, which would look equally stunning.

First, lay your chosen table cloth on your table. Next, place your mesh ball fairy lights in the lantern and you’re done! So, simple and so effective.Macmillan-Summer-lights-campaign-photo-by-Geraldine-TanThe lanterns were used to light up the drinks table, and also scattered outdoors, to light up the garden when the sun went had so much fun decorating the drinks with fruit, edible flowers and colourful straws.Pink-floral-cake-Little-Big-BellWe also had this wonderful cake made specially for the party by Lily Vanilli.Pink-cake-tea-party-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-BellGreat excuse to bring out my vintage blue and gold tea set don’t you think?Summer-lights-campaign-Little-Big-BellWe played a game with the kids. We asked them to show us, using what they could find in the garden, how their loved ones light up their lives.

Here’s one of my nieces with a brightly coloured paper decor. daisies-at-garden-party-photo-by-Little-Big-Belland my other 5 year old niece with these bright yellow flowers she had picked from the garden.Macmillan-summer-lights-photo-by-Little-Big-BellI hope I have inspired you to host your own Summer Lights get together for Macmillan .

After registering, you will receive a similar kit to the image above. It includes invitations, a money box and paper lanterns.

However, you also have a chance of winning one of ten Summer Lights goodie boxes from npower, filled with decorations and lights. All you have to do is to check out the @npowerhq Twitter page to view the daily competition launching from today, Monday 6th June.

@macmillancancer would love for you to hold a #summerlights gathering.

Share a photo on Twitter of the person that is the inspiration for your celebration with @npowerhq, and using #summerlights. FOR EVERY PHOTO SHARED, npower will DONATE £5. Please do support this worthwhile cause.


Wishing you all a lovely start to your weeks and I can’t wait to see what you post.

( All photography and styling are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This post has been done in collaboration with npower.)


  1. What a beautiful party and a great cause. Those cupcakes look amazing and I love the colourful vase/lights! x

  2. Beautiful images Geraldine. Such lovely colours. x

  3. Ahh what a lovely idea! Beautiful styling as always G xx

  4. Wowzers. It all looks beautiful. Lovely pics as ever! Particularly fond of the pink gin 😉

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