Whether you are hosting an intimate dinner for 2 or a feast for 30, successful entertaining starts with a little bit of styling. The way you style your table/ party has a huge impact on the overall atmosphere that you create & how your guests will fee.
Depending on how you plan to serve your brunch/ lunch/ dinner you probably won’t have much room on your table for elaborate centerpieces, besides these are often more of a hinderance for good conversation but there is no reason for your table to be boring either. It takes only a little effort to create a table that adults & children alike will look forward to sitting at.
As with anything, the possibilities are endless but I think that the key is always fun, playful & interactive. Don’t worry about everything matching or making sense – just choose your theme & run with it….
We threw a champagne breakfast for my friend Emily on her recent hen party, the theme for the weekend was glamorous farmers (we were in the English countryside) so we decorated the table with a children’s farmyard plastic play-mat, gold spray painted animals, jugs of wildflowers & straw & built a champagne bar complete with welly boots, pineapples & pink flamingo cocktail sticks!
Such fun & it really set the tone for a fabulous day.
As with all other aspects of Christmas, your table doesn’t need to be traditional but it should feel festive & inspire a few complements! It isn’t necessary to spend a fortune buying things – look at what you have at your disposal, raid the garden & work out any extras you might need to buy to complete the look.
For this table I created a brown paper table runner
I scrunched it up to give it some movement & created placemats by painting some lining paper with blackboard paint. Not only does the black make a dramatic backdrop for whatever you put on top, it will also keep adults & children entertained if you provide a stick of chalk or two (soak the sticks of chalk in water first if you want to avoid all of that chalk dust).
Whether it is an Interior or a tablescape that I am pulling together, I like to create friction with my textures… rough with smooth, matt & shiny, sparkles & rust… with this in mind I have scattered oversized grass seeds scavenged from the beach with bohemian crystal, glitter dipped baubles & tarnished silver trophies. Feathers are scattered randomly over the table & fresh rosemary adds a much-needed lift as well as a delicious scent.
Of course, lots of candles are a must & I have made each place setting a little bit different. Some have flower stuffed waffle cones, others small metal trumpets tied with ribbon & handmade glittery cardboard stars. For children maybe scatter their plate with chocolate money, the afore-mentioned chalk sticks or crayons & a set of sparkly reindeer horns as a fun alternative to a paper crown.
It’s the little details that make all of the difference & set the scene for a fabulous meal with the ones that you love.
Hope you have a great weekend whatever you are up to…. we are heading away, woohoo!
How’s your week going?
Is your tree up? …Despite my best intentions to get a tree & decorate the house this weekend, it didn’t really happen! I have a few decorations out but as per usual I have yet to decide on a tree …. you wouldn’t think it was so hard would you?
The trouble is that I want a real tree but can’t seem to find a real tree that I’m happy with – gah! I’ll sort it out soon(ish)!
What I wanted to share with you today was this tool box turned first aid kit that I recently did for a client. A single Dad with two young boys, it goes without saying that the first aid kit needs to be easily accessible but out of reach of little ones.
This particular first aid kit was housed in a Tupperware box on top of the fridge – very practical but wholly unattractive. Now rehoused into this cool old metal toolbox it now looks awesome on top of the fridge & even makes tending to little grazed knees a little less unpleasant!
It just goes to show that nothing in our homes needs to be ugly or hidden away, maybe just repackaged/ displayed better.
Catch you back here later in the week for some ideas for styling your Christmas table.
Even if you aren’t baking up a storm & don’t have a pot of mulled wine permanently bubbling away on the stove, it is lovely to create those same inviting/ christmassy smells. Sprinkle sugar & cinnamon on a baking tray & stick it in the oven on low, or boil up some orange peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks & bay leaves to have your house smelling delicious.
I didn’t make it to the flower market last weekend, so I raided the garden & filled vases with fresh rosemary all over the house – the smell is divine & it looks so festive, especially when I light the candles at night.
What type of tree are you going for this year?
Traditional, fun, kitsch, quirky, modern & slick, low-fi, up cycled, ombre, ‘anything goes’, perfectly coordinated, over the top glamour, understated elegance…. the possibilities are endless & the only limit is your imagination…
Real or fake, dead or alive, I like to mix it up each year - truth be told I usually leave it to the last minute & then have to desperately cast around for inspiration, which more often than not comes in the form of a dead tree somewhere in the garden! The one thing that I do use every year without fail is an abundance of warm white fairy lights.
Despite my love of real Christmas trees, I have yet to actually have one of my own….. maybe this is the year. I do love the idea of lots of mini real Christmas trees dotted about the place & down the centre of the table.
My good friends James & Nicole build a beautiful tree out of driftwood every year… it has become a family tradition that they go to the beach with their little girl & collect the wood which Papa Jim then assembles. Every year they mix up the design
they seem to be getting bigger & bigger & I love how they have turned this into their unique family tradition. It is also a very environmentally friendly approach to what can be such a commercial & plastic time of year.
I would love to know what your tree looks like this year & how you are decorating the rest of the house. Are you going all out this Christmas & do you have a theme that even carries through to how you plan to wrap your presents?
Do you traditionally do the same thing every year or do you like to mix it up?
Is this coming weekend the time to decorate or is it still too early……….
Questions, questions… please leave me some answers!
All images from here.
Even the most determined Christmas scrooge would fail to feel a little Christmas cheer after watching this years animated Christmas advert from retail giant John Lewis. The Bear & The Hare have been all over facebook & the blogging world for a few weeks now and (incase you haven’t seen it) is an animated story of you guessed it…. a bear & a hare which serves as a lovely, heart warming reminder of what Christmas is really all about…spending time with the people that we love
the irony that this message is brought to us by a giant retailer is not lost on me.
It is magical & I am loving the Lilly Allen cover soundtrack…. if you haven’t seen it already
where have you been? you can watch it here.
So, the reason that I am posting about this now is that the John Lewis Christmas windows have been unveiled in their flagship London stores & wow, they are fabulous!! For a retailer that purely uses only product in their ‘traditionally conservative’ window displays they have pretty much pulled off the impossible thanks to Chameleon Visual Ltd.
Using only products available in store they have brought The Bear & The Hare & all of their woodland friends & South Pole cousins to life …
The Bear has been created using armchairs, picnic hampers, waste paper baskets for legs & a heart shaped key ring for a nose.
A whale made out of a dishwasher & a fridge with a water spout of glittering silver spoons!
A Polar Bear made out of Nintendo Wii accessories…..
Seriously though, check out the penguins!!!
And the Christmas flannel Turkeys….
What a fun project to work on. You can see more here.
Just goes to show what can be achieved with a sprinkle of creative dust….
Happy weekend x
I have been obsessing about these Lovestar ’Queen of Hearts’ vases ever since I first clapped eyes on them over a year ago. It was love at first sight & I think it’s so clever that they can either hang on the wall or sit on a flat surface at a tipsy angle.
How great do they look en masse?
Each piece is handmade in Brisbane by the ridiculously clever Helen Conomos & her husband, with new designs added to the Lovestar range all the time …. hello perspex, tassel pom pom necklace….
Each piece comes in it’s own hand printed organic calico bag …. the limited edition ‘I heart Pina Coladas’ vase below comes in a pineapple printed tote bag which is just gorgeous…..
I’m desperately hoping for
an entire wall’s worth a ‘Queen of Hearts’ vase under the Christmas tree this year.
The countdown to Christmas has begun & despite my best efforts to ignore it , suddenly I find myself in my usual panic about the presents that I need to find and send to England, not to mention dismay at the fact that I am still to implement some of my New Years resolutions this year… eek!
Same, same – THIS, it appears is my Christmas tradition!
Despite hating the commercial build up to Christmas that is starting earlier and earlier each year, I mean, there were ‘Christmas present packs’ on the shelves in Boots in the UK in September this year – SERIOUSLY- I was looking for suncream which had been banished to make way for Christmas…. craziness!
Anyways, I digress, the fact is that I love Christmas. What’s not to love about the excuse to go bananas decorating the house & garden? It is the season of good will & celebrating with friends & family over long meals & the one time of year that it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a glass of champagne no matter how early it is.
Hot or cold Christmas, I love them both & they can both feel absolutely magical. The secret to a hot Christmas is not trying to make it feel like a winter Christmas.
Not surprisingly, a full on Christmas dinner of turkey with all the trimmings is the last thing that anyone feels like eating when the sun is beating down & you’ve spent the morning submerged in the paddling pool sipping champagne. Similarly you are never going to be able to pull off a winter wonderland effect convincingly in 30 degrees – it just doesn’t work.
The answer is to think festive & celebration rather than traditional Christmas per se –
I am not encouraging Santa in swimming trunks & flip flops, or indeed, on a surfboard as a hot Christmas solution to Christmas decorations.
As with any celebration, it also isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on decorations – get creative with what is at your disposal. We spent Christmas at a holiday house in Kaikoura a few years ago & took very little with us in the form of decorations, but by dragging the kitchen table & other bits of furniture out onto the lawn & raiding the garden of hydrangea & herbs, we created one of the most magical settings for Christmas dinner.
The atmosphere was just perfect & we sat out under the stars well into the night, eating, drinking & laughing lots.
The photos are currently on an external hard drive that is eluding me at present, I will post pics when I find it!
I will share lots of ideas & tricks in the coming weeks but to get you in the mood for Christmas rather than dreading it, here are a few more pics that are inspiring me this year.
….And if you aren’t ready for Christmas just yet then just use them as inspiration to invite friends over for dinner this weekend.
Not sure about you but I am definitely ready to start the weekend!
Whisky Lemonade is on the menu tonight – the perfect tipple to enjoy in the garden, it hits the spot thanks to the refreshing lemonade & warming tot of whisky. Fresh garden herbs bring the drink alive & the bubbles from the soda add a sense of fun.
Enjoy with sunshine & friends.
We sunbathed & hung out at the beach all weekend long with the smell of BBQ’s filling the air.
Spending so much time outside eating, gardening, enjoying a glass of wine, I couldn’t help but notice how lacking & neglected our outdoor entertaining areas were looking… just a couple of sad looking outdoor sets of chairs & tables – all very uninspiring.
Luckily you don’t have to spend a fortune on outdoor furniture to make a comfortable & welcoming space to hang out….
Plant up some pots, string up some fairy lights, bring some indoor furniture out, cushions, side tables, a rug. Light some tea lights in glass jars, string up some bunting & place vases of flowers on the table …
It doesn’t matter how big or small your outdoor space is, make the most of what you’ve got!
A few images to inspire…….
All images from here
Spring seems to have gone into hibernation again this week in Wellington – so extreme to be lighting the fire here when half the country is enjoying such warm temps & sunny skies
not to mention the devastating bush fires that are raging in NSW, it’s all a bit terrifying.
Despite the weather here being such a disappointment, it is actually helping me to get in the mood for Halloween & Bonfire night celebrations, which, having grown up in the UK are still, in my mind, Autumn/ Winter celebrations & best enjoyed with warming treats like hot mugs of soup, sausages & mustard & spiced drinks that warm the cockles.
One fun idea is the ‘Bloody Bullshot’ which is basically just a boozy tomato soup or hot Bloody Mary …. delicious & perfect to serve at a bonfire party or outdoor winter picnic.
Another classic is this Spiced Hot Apple Cider – spike with spiced rum & serve in old jam jars.
Just add sparklers!
Happy weekend … it’s a long one here, hurrah!
A collector by nature, my fancies & fineries tell tales of adventure & treasure hunting around the globe. I love my accessories BIG & my Interiors full of personality & charm.
I am a Stylist, Artist & peddler of quality wares.
Homes are for living in, Kitchen tables for dancing on.
Let me inspire & delight you xx