Here’s a great tip that I learned from my Nana. Her tables (and house) are always dressed to perfection – actually her first job was as a shop window dresser, which I know she must have been amazing at because later on her and my Grandad had a ladies wear shop, and I remember “helping” her to do their own shop window arrangements when I was little.
Last weekend we were throwing an afternoon tea party in celebration of some friends who are awaiting the imminent arrival of their new baby. I wanted to make everything look co-ordinated, but all my tableware is a bit of a mish-mash and mostly quite neutral, slightly darker colours. Not great for afternoon tea in celebration of a baby boy!
So I popped to the shop and brought a too small paper tablecloth (because my table is big and the biggest size is still too small!) and some blue wrapping paper. The kind with a glossy finish is better. I like the look of mixing up patterns but you can do them all the same if you like.
Then all I did was to wrap the place mats I already had in the wrapping paper – sticking it to the cork back with sellotape on the edges first, then the corners.
Here is my photo tutorial for those pesky rounded corners:
I cut the paper tablecloth in half lengthways so that it made a wide runner to frame the place mats and catch the crumbs. So now I have a spare runner for next time I need one too.
For flowers I just bought a cheap bunch of chrysanthemums and a small bunch of roses and split them between two vases, adding bay sprigs cut from the back yard. I am trying to grow extra greenery to do this more because it is so much cheaper than buying bouquets! (Total cost: £4 for 2 vases!)
Of course we had a variety of sandwiches and savouries but importantly, the dessert menu included homemade Coffee and Walnut cake, Chocolate and Orange Muffins (these, only with 3tbsp cocoa powder replacing 3tbsp flour), lemon drizzle cake, brownies, scones (with homemade raspberry jam) and french macarons. We baked it all apart from the scones and macarons, so I felt I had earned my extra (several) slices of cake.
And we made it healthy by adding strawberries…
If you have any party tips I’d love to hear them!