Tips for throwing a shindig

It is a week of tips this week don't know what’s gotten into me! Throwing a dinner party can be intimating, especially around the holidays when we all seem to want to impress distant friends and family. Lets forget the food for a mo and just concentrate on the decor. We all, me included start panicking 'the place isn't finished it won’t look glam enough' worry worry worry!  Forget all those fears - if you've committed to throwing a party lets make it the best one ever here is how: Mood lighting. Embrace it. Nothing creates a cosy atmosphere like mood lighting. Overhead lights like chandeliers or pendants should be dimmed or off if you can't dim and they are too bright. Table lamps should be everywhere (they cast such a warm soft glow) not forgetting fairy lights (fab for stringing over mirrors and mantles) and of course candle light. I also run to the flower market buy fallen branches and they plop outside and hang tea lights in jam jars from them - super festive! Add foliage big time. Foliage is much cheaper to buy then flowers and lasts twice as long (unless your flowers are faux of course and then you don't have that problem). Although having said that even with my zillions of faux's I'm still at the flower market every other week buying foliage. Bunches of eucalyptus in vases looks and smells heavenly; little pots of herbs dotted around the place also do the very same thing! Flowers/foliage bring any space to life, your dining table, bar cart, mantle you name it! If you're going for flowers anything that isn't twiggy should be cut so the heads of the flowers just topple over the vase (learnt this trick from my florist sister, no one wants to see the stems didn't you know)! Keep it seasonal; bowls of on fruit on the counter look fab. I've just picked some quince from the garden and they perfume the house so beautifully with the subtle gentle scent I love them. Talking of scent you've heard me say this like a million times but pot pouri is back (at least I'm on a mission to getting it back) and the best one in the entire planet is by Santa Maria Novella. Organic herbs and spices picked in the Florentine hills - decant it in little tea light holders and plop all over the house, even in the loo. It’s like being in an Italian forest in the rain - nothing better than that right! Onto the food Rue magazine have a fab little feature (click here - all about entertaining) all I would say is that food looks way cooler, grander and more impressive it you present it on cool platters. Wooden tapas trays, slates anything that isn't white or pale (wouldn't you know!) makes everything look far mores sophisticated I'm tempted to say some smart aleck remark here but its early, I'll refrain! The trays we stock in the larder, both wooden and slate have been flying out a rate of who knows what. Relatively inexpensive (£2.50 and £11) they instantly upgrade food! All images Rue Magazine al al1 al2 al3Happy dinner parties! Gotta fly; store, gym, meeting, (via Top Shop if I can make it) in that order!

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