I don’t know about you guys but I love hosting a party. Not big bashes mind, more small soirees with an intimate group of people so I can get to talk to everybody. I spent the weekend testing out different Boxing Day menu options, so I’ve definitely got hosting on the brain! Here are a few of my tips to help in planning for this season’s parties…
Go Local. I am a bit obsessed with this. Having Broadway farmers’ market at the bottom of my road every weekend, I personally love to cook things that have been grown as locally as possible. We’re lucky in that we have local beer, bread, honey, all sorts of allotment veg. I’m also lucky to have a really cool butcher and fish monger there as well. I think it’s really fun to plan a meal around seasonal food – and it tastes better also, I’m sure it’s not just in the mind. Talking of food I am also obsessed with serving kale crisps as a party snack (have you guys ever baked them? Amazing!) and don’t get me started on edible soil.
Then with food nailed it’s time to thing about the table. When it comes to the holidays I’m all for simplicity, in decorating, but particularly with dressin the table. Main components are foliages, candles and t-lights. Donezo!
I’ll also sling a few sheepskins over the back of chairs, plop mossy branches or pine boughs along the table, it’s that simple. I’ll also foliage mantlepieces, fireplaces and little occasional tables so everything looks and feels beautiful. I decorate with both real and faux and so I can go overboard!I’ll have fir cones, podded eucalyptus, alongside our Boston ferns and winterberries. I’ll put posies down the centre, serve up all the food on huge black slate roof tiles (gorgeously oversized and so much more luxe than little standard size slate platters).
Foraging is key here. Driftwood from a winters walk on the beach, or finds from the forest floor are great for embellishing tables at this time of year. Even if that’s not where they actually came from, that’s the vibe you want to create! Gem and I are forever spraying and glittering cones, oaks branches, not to mention decorating with a lot of textural lichen (which Gem puts in many of the wreaths). Obsessed!
And that pretty much nails my tables in the entertaining season. Decorating is so personal some people prefer more colourful pulled together arrangements other people like myself champion a little more foraged, laid back kind of vibe. Mistletoe balls, baubles in glass jars, swags of Christmas branches suspended from the ceiling and switch on the string lights in the garden.
And my final tip for holiday parties – I love serving cocktails out of little canning jars. I know, I know it’s a little contrived and hipster but I love the simplicity of it. And when it comes to the drinks, how about a mojito or warmed cider anyone? Some cool tunes on the speakers and I’m ready!