Autumn Dinner Party Sunday Telegraph Interview
– how do you decorate your table for an autumn party? Placemats/ cutlery/ flowers/ name cards all that kind of stuff, or maybe she likes to be more low key....
I think the decoration and presentation you choose should be a reflection on the way you host. I’ve always been more on the casual side and never wanted to make things to over the top. I think when things are little rough around the edges this can put your guests at ease and feel more at home.
I definitely don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I love it when the leaves on the trees start to change and you dig out your winter wardrobe. I grew up in a cosy country house, the fire was always lit during the autumn and winter months.
Decorating my autumn table I would always be paying attention to the autumnal colours outside, chestnut reds, purples, ivy greens, yellows and maroons, the more muted earthy colours. I would want to create a warm atmosphere.
Lighting is a key component, candles, tea lights, and dimmed mood lighting always helps when creating an enchanting ambience.
A little thing I like to do from time to time is to float a tea light or a single flower in a small flat jar with some water in it. These little details can have a subtle and but beautiful impact.
I’ve always preferred flower arrangements that are homemade and picked from wild flowers and shrubs. I love putting together small little jars and bottles of unique arrangements. I tend go for plants like Virginia Creeper, Hydrangeas, late Roses, Vines and Medlars. Other berries and seeds that catch my eye Rose Hips, Rowan Berries, and late Sunflowers. A little goes a long way and I prefer tables that are sporadicly scattered with little arrangements here there and everywhere, nothing to big and over the top. Anything in the garden that catches my eye at the time tends to make onto the table.
I went for dark emerald wine glasses that I found in Kempton market and for the water glasses I chose the deep pink tumblers I got from one of my favourite shops in Florence, Marioluca Giusti. The colours always being lead by the changing colours of Autumn.
The placemats and napkins are designed by me, I choose the Harlequin collection as the colours and patterns emulate the ever changing leaves.
The cutlery I’ve used is from my Humbug range, the colours blend nicely with the earthy muted browns.
– what kind of meal would you recommend - sit down dinner, buffet, would you have aperitif/ sundowners first outside
When it comes to cooking I tend to stick to what I’m good at, I love making big pilaf’s with things like pearl barley or giant couscous made with pomegranate seeds, sweet potato and feta. I love serving them in big bowls and a throw them on the table with a “help yourself” sort of attitude, again going for the more laid back formality.
– how would you decorate garden? brazier/ fire pit? lanterns etc
I also love hanging lamps or tea lights from the likes of branches, it creates a sort of fairy land feel when they sway in the wind.
As well as being greeted by the tea lights a nice touch is to greet your guests with thimble of cider brandy (a new found love I discovered earlier this year) its a delicious way to get the party moving. I recommend the lovely Somerset Cider Brandy.
I love braziers, they really bring a sense of cosiness when everyone huddles round them. They make a good centre piece of the garden and sundowner drinks before dinner around the brazier is always a good idea.
– Any easy ways to liven up your house for an autumn party?
I love making cocktails at my dinner parties, a lovely little autumn drink that will get everyone merry is hibiscus lemon and gin, its cosy and wintery but still light and easy to make.
Another thing to get the party going is a good playlist, I usually give this job to my boyfriend or a whiling guest as it’s not my strong point..
– any views on fireworks/ entertainments/ games?
Growing up we would always play the “Hat game” my dad had a big collection of pretty much every sort of hat out there. After dinner is over everyone grabs a hat, puts it on and we go round making up stories on the spot of the hats journeys. The sillier the better, always