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My Christmas Table

Pull up a chair. This one’s all about the Christmas table.

Now there ain’t nought wrong with throwing a disposable table cloth over a table and lighting a few candles – Christmas is busy enough without thinking about making hanging garlands and props for dinner. BUT if by some miracle you find you’ve got a little window of time before hand, I’d argue that decorating the table beautifully can turn an ordinary Sunday roast into a festive banquet.

Pinterest is your first port of call when deciding how to decorate. There’s hundreds of tables to inspire you but I’d like to move the ideas on from the ultra simple styles circulating.

This winter I’ve been increasingly obsessed with green in all its varying shades. So, I have created a table with an essentially green and white theme, pared with metallics and little unexpected details. I am loving sludgy colours paired with the green (I was very tempted to add a mustard-y, olive napkin here) but I finally went with a pale pink napkin (or as they’re called by the Linen Works, Cassis Rose) as an update to traditional Christmas red.  To finish the colour palette, and to keep it looking super festive, I scattered the table with clementines.

Within this bumper post there are two ‘Style Hacks’.

First up is using beautiful wrapping paper sheets as placemats.  It instantly adds some colour to the table and elevates it from the everyday. I’ve mixed and matched different green patterns from Shepherds – Marbled, Italian, and Dandelion Iron .

For my next hack I grabbed my vintage pattisserie moulds and used them as little candle holders. I find it really difficult to find candle holders that I like and these little tins have done the job perfectly.  If you like the idea you can get your  own here.  The little pink candles are from Broste.

I’ve used my own cutlery and vintage plates for the table but I’ve brought these so wrong but so right John Lewis champagne coupes.  Such a steal at £3.50 each!  The crackers are from an Etsy store called the Paper Cupboard.  They are SO beautiful and look super expensive. I very cheekily asked if I could mix and match some of my favourites from her packs that went with my theme. So this is a Minford bespoke gold and silver pack from them.

Finally, the little white flowers are Hellebores that are an amazing winter bloom and I’ve popped them in vintage Victorian preserve jars.

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Kate The Cook

This is the first of my ‘Meet the Expert’ posts where you get some serious insider tips from, well, the experts.

First up is the fabulous Kate Trelawny. She’s the fashion world’s go to chef and frankly, who better to ask about where to find the best kitchenware than someone who cooks for a living.

Despite a client list that makes the Oscar guest list look lame, Kate’s incredibly down to earth and never happier than escaping from the fash pack’s frenzy to her cottage (pic above) with her husband and two children, with no TV, no WIFI and phone reception.

I grabbed a few minutes to talk about what she loves to cook with and what she’ll be cooking this Christmas.

What’s your top tip when it comes to buying for the kitchen?
It’s incredibly important that it is as long lasting and hard wearing as possible. I love a bit of le Creuset, it looks good and lasts for life. You get what you pay for with cookware.

Do you have any favourite places to buy things for your kitchen?
I LOVE Summerhill & Bishop. It’s the most beautiful store and they have the most amazing glassware. When I’m in Wales I love to go to thrift stores and find old enamelware. I love the green and cream.

Are you cooking a turkey at Christmas or something more unusual?
Turkey! It’s Christmas!!!! I get mine from Moen & Sons and ask them to stuff it for me. I also get my pigs in blankets ready prepared from them.

Ok so that’s the bird sorted what else is happening for Christmas lunch in the Trelawny household?
Roast potatoes in goose fat and roast parsnips.
Cream carrot and celeriac puree. Whizzed in the Magimix for a smooth texture.
Red Cabbage. I love a bit of apple in my red cabbage but I can’t bare when people put raisins in it. What a nasty surprise that is! Last but not least my take on sprouts…

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A Take On Sprouts

600g sprout tops available in most supermarkets
100g cooked chestnuts (a real treat if cooked and peeled by oneself)
1 x mild chilli deseeded and finely chopped
4 cloves of smashed garlic
1 x sprig of rosemary chopped
Glug of rapeseed oil
Knob of butter

Fry the whole lot together over medium heat for about 10 mins.

What happens for pudding?
Most people are not really fans of Christmas pudding so just get a small one. My personal preference is mince pies for pudding. You spoon out the mincemeat and then fill it with brandy butter. Pour on some extra brandy and hey presto a brandy butter pie. Much better!

So if you’re an avid foodie or have someone to buy for who is, take a leaf out of Kate’s book and stock up on her gift list below. You can get in touch with Kate here or follow her on Instagram for more inspiration.

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  1. Blenheim Forge Petty Knife
  2. French Linen Tea Towel
  3. Summerill & Bishop Classic Wine Glasses
  4. Le Creuset Round Casserole
  5. Labour & Wait Enamel Milk Pan
  6. Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife
  7. Labour & Wait Bib Apron

 


Cocktail Anyone?

Not so much a current obsession, more a guilty pleasure today. My dream is to dig out the basement of our house and install a marble horseshoe bar like the one at Le Petit Fer à Cheval in Paris. Bar stools, the lot.

It’s just a little dream. I only want a bar like the Cheval with a splash of the Pig hotel interior too. No big deal.

Back in the real world, I am aware that the idea is quite, well, spendy.

Whilst I’m working on the dream, I’m pondering my options. I may attempt a DIY project instead.  In the summer we sometimes visit this amazingly stylish chateau in Normandy where there’s an old built in cupboard which houses a secret bar. The inside is mirrored, has glass shelves, a light and all the sparkly cocktail kit you could want. On the outside it looks like a normal cupboard.

If that’s too ambitious still, there’s always the drinks trolly. I’ll keep you updated with ‘Operation French Bar’ but in the mean time if you’re feeling the cocktail vibe this chilly Monday morning I’ve compiled my wish list to inspire your own home bar aspirations.

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  1. Kenzi Bar Trolley
  2. Vintage Champagne Bucket
  3. Soho Home Martini Set
  4. Nina Campbell Twist Tumbler
  5. Design Project by John Lewis Cocktail Shaker
  6. Studio Formata Cocktail Tray

 

 


The Best Wrapping Paper

I have to confess that now it’s December I am in a state of panic. I promised I would have done all my Christmas shopping by Dec 1st (slightly unrealistic maybe) and I haven’t. Not even close.

It’s the silly season of carol concerts, nativity performances, parties, endless trips to the post office, Christmas cards (oh and lets not go there about the kids writing one to every member of the flipping class!). I feel fairly nauseous just thinking about it.

This is intended to be a ‘Style Hack’ that is big on practicality. We may dream of hours spent wrapping presents in a quiet house listening to Classic FM whilst your Nigella’s red cabbage is bubbling away on the stove ready for the freezer. THAT AIN’T HAPPENING IN MY WORLD!

I’m not naive. I realise for 99.9% of you it’s all about ‘the roll’. Let me steer you in the right direction so that you don’t end up in your local Tesco on Christmas Eve with a 3 pack of jazzy character paper, one fold and it’s ripped special.

And a final thought – if you’ve been anywhere near Pinterest of late you will have been bombarded by images of brown paper wrapped parcels with various pieces of foliage artfully styled with twine and a carefully placed piece of masking tape. Looks great in a picture, not so much delivered in the post and opened a week later. It’s a classic stylists trick because it looks totally beautiful in a photo. My advice, if you like the look use it for presents you are hand delivering or taking to a dinner party or lunch. Also you get the added benefit of the audience to congratulate you on how stylish and just like Pinterest you are. 😉

The above gift was wrapped in Printed Marble Papers.

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Go Patterned: Don’t care that they won’t arrive until Dec 15th, I’m obsessed with this pattern. I’m ordering a mixed pack of 10.

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Go Neon: Marks & Spencer‘s bright pink paper SOOOOOO good it’s basically neon. I have stockpiled this and intend to tie Meri Meri’s clashing ‘Fa La La‘ ribbon around it.

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Go All Out: For those with the budget, there is only one place to go for wrapping paper – Shepherds Bookbinders. I could live in their shop, happy to stare at their papers all day. They have the most sumptuous selection. I was drawn to their marbled paper, stick a clashing ribbon around it or tack it with bright coloured masking tape and you’re done.

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Go Cheap: House of Fraser ‘s roll is hugely discounted (big plus!) and is a really amazing repeat pattern. Imagine this under the Christmas tree with the rest of the prints.

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Go Plain: Make like you’re at the Conran Shop and wrap everything in this fab paper from Paperchase. The matt navy is a beautiful rich colour and I love the idea of pairing it with any big fat shinny ribbon like the green one below.

 

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Stocking Hack: Bulk buy these red candy stripe sweetie bags for the fastest wrapping ever and seal with the INCREDIBLE Alphabet or No Peeking stickers from Meri Meri.

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  1. Meri Meri Alphabet Glitter Stickers
  2. Bonsai Green Satin Ribbon
  3. Pro Gaff Pink Masking Tape
  4. Meri Meri Fa La La Ribbon
  5. Glitter Tinsel String
  6. Esme 6 Pack Marbled Gift Tags

Christmas At Home

Let’s all take a breather – in and out – and remember that this season is supposed to be fun.

It’s about gathering with people you love to eat double your weight in stuffing to celebrate a baby in a manger. And thinking about the million ways you can use lots and lots of pine tree decorations.

One of the fun moments for me during the Christmas period is the decorating. I love making the house look ridiculously festive.

Whether you’ve got a studio flat, too many rooms to know what to do with, a mantle piece or spare corner of the room, let this post inspire you.

You’ll notice a lack of Christmas-y kitchen interiors, and that’s because in the next few weeks they’ll be a special post dedicated to the table. Check back in soon.

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christmas_4Decorations by Carla Aston

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John Derian’s Home

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By Interior Stylist Daniella Witte