Bending the table rules

Something I'm going to focus  on during my master classes is how to create the perfect table setting. Obviously with the holiday season upon us we all want to impress our guests but in order to do so we need to bend the rules a little. I should warn you up front some of the guests may not be so impressed there may be a sharp intake of breath for instance when you start serving margaritas in beautiful little glass yoghurt pots! More about that in the class, can't give too many secretes away before hand. I can't stand overly formal tables, co-ordinated napkins and napkin rings, crystal glasses and silver candelabra’s and don't get my started on plates - anything patterned and I'm reaching for the medication (can you see why no one wants me round for supper). I prefer a relaxed vibe, a table that is simple yet beautiful. So lets start with the basics we all need some kind of centre piece to anchor the table except the centre piece doesn't have to go in the centre especially if its tall. This could be anything from winter foliage to a smattering of  t-lights. T-lights are fabulous for housing blooms - add herbs like rosemary and thyme and your Christmas table will smell heavenly. Note the centre piece which is actually on the end - jugs, casual accessories and mismatched chairs make this table super relaxed. Drinking vessels-  I don't tend to use conventional wine glasses (hence the jam jars - some fab Mexican restaurant use them which gave me the idea) - but rather recycled little tumblers from Morocco hold my wine - however wine glasses are good so don't be ditching them. Also I decant salt/pepper and condiments into little dishes far far sweeter than conventional salt and pepper pots and plop them on to a sweet plate s to pass around, kind of like below:   Candlelight is key I tend to keep it low so votives are my personal preference and I dim the overhead so everything glows softly and beautifully. I also opt for the largest dinner plates I can find, mine are all hand thrown in English countryside wintery colours – peat, charcoal, olive etc but am always on the hunt for the odd vintage platter to offset.There are no rules – some of you may find this approach far to relaxed the thing is just go with what works for you – if the in-laws come in stand there and say not a thing reach for the bottle! All photography by the way is by Chris Court. One more thing before I go today being Thursday is flash sale day all mirrors until midnight tomorrow are 15% off, like this supersized one in my pad .  You won't see this on the website but will need to email or call the store 0207 354 8181, [caption id="attachment_2636" align="aligncenter" width="359" caption="Photography Graham Atkins Hughes"][/caption]    

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