Entertaining at Home – a Practical Guide in Pictures
We want our homes to be sanctuaries from the hustle and bustle of fast-track life. Increasingly often we look back to more comforting eras with a new fascination, and wish of reconnecting with past values. Our current lifestyle may differ greatly from our grandparent’s generation, but their philosophy for living and using resources wisely is as relevant today as it always was. Being thrifty, repairing and restoring whether it is furniture, china or glass and linens, and being willing to pass it on.
There is something exciting and appealing about finding a treasure, be it online, at a market, shop or fair. It can speak to you and open doors to other worlds, and can quite often start a hobby of collecting. The last few years we re-discovered the art of having afternoon tea and the fun of using vintage mix-matched china and serving items, flowers in 19th century lustre jugs, table cloths, and let’s not forget bunting! A cup of tea and a beautifully decorated, slightly naughty cupcake or a full blown tea party, seems to be an illicit treat to perk up your spirits in the afternoon.
Let us also review the art of entertaining at home, which with a little planning is far less costly than going out. You can start with a jolly cocktail party, reminiscent of the fabulous 1920s-30s. By the way, this is a great way to get men involved in collecting different cocktail glasses, shakers and decanters as well as wine related items. They are often quite eccentric, and so can form an excellent talking point.
Continue with a themed get together Saturday or Sunday brunch. Setting the right mood is not difficult – simply arrange your table with a suitable colour scheme of vintage china and tableware, and your guests will be inspired for conversations. If you are short on time, just organise friends to bring different courses.
As to dinners, why not take it a step out of the ordinary and the everyday – be festive, create an atmosphere that friends or family will not forget, while being thrifty by using vintage and antique table items. Often I have had guests take photos of the table settings, because they were so much out of the ordinary. You could also choose a period in time, from Roman and Mediaeval to Victorian with its many styles. Nationality of food also works perfectly for the evening – Italian, Oriental, French, Russian or the traditional English – we do have some good food. Robbie Burns night, Valentine or even Election day should not be forgotten for inspiration!
This can be quite successful and many people start clubs around it – meeting once a month and choosing a theme for their get together. Some go to the extreme of dressing up to match their chosen theme, or researching recipes for the courses; collecting menu holders and printing funny menus for them. Not only is this creative, it is also good old fashioned infectious fun and inexpensive entertainment. You ought to try it yourself!
We are yearning to make our homes more individual, after recent decades of minimalism. Not knocking the “less is more” style, but what it often lacks is a sense of originality, personality and individualism, let alone a bit of colour. All of us have absorbed the message of ecological recycling, anti-waste and the ethically sourced. We also seem to be adopting it within our homes, and hopefully turning our backs on the mass produced, be it furniture or furnishings. Do your bit not only for recycling, but be original by using old china and vintage everyday household items, as most of them were made to last!