I attended a fun event at the flagship John Lewis sponsored by Denby all based around the “Art of Entertaining”. The evening was a series of small masterclasses (that you attend with a glass of fizz in hand) all focused on entertaining. The one that I had most looked forward to was the class with The Meringue Girls on food styling particularly for instagram. Most of the tips were ones I already knew, but it did make me laugh when they mentioned that their floors were the best wood for photos, so what you might think of as their table is laid out on the ground. They also use a selection of flooring samples to swap in and out for backgrounds. I, myself, am guilty of doing this as well. I did learn that a staggering 45% of people now think that the way that food looks is just as important as the way that it tastes!
Other classes included a session of desserts that can be created in under 10 minutes with Aimee Twigger; a canapé class taught by Anna Barnett that caters towards proving an option for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free eaters, as well as an option for people who have no dietary restrictions; and last but not least, a session on the history of the dinner party with food historian Dr Annie Gray.
At its core, the event was promoting British pottery brand Denby’s new collections. And the Halo set in particular, is especially gorgeous. Scratch that, the Imperial Blue is as well. I’m a not-so-secret homebody and I love nesting and cultivating pieces around the home that I love and that will stand the test of time. Luckily, in a time were hygge is the “it” word of the moment, I can indulge in my natural propensities without feeling guilty.
I got to chat with designer Richard Eaton and he mentioned that he usually spends about 3 years working on each particular Denby collection, which I found fascinating. Richard’s top tips for laying a table were:
1) There are no rules. Tradition is out. Have fun with different settings and ways to lay out your table.
2) Be eclectic – not everything has to match!
3) Think about herbs and foliage in lieu of flowers.
4)Use natural materials whenever possible.
5) Candles are awesome. (I’m paraphrasing.)
Now I just need a few more opportunities to host a gathering. Here’s a secret: I LOVE having dinner parties / parties around ours. Yes, you have to do all the cleaning, but you also can change into your pjs the second everyone is gone. (Or even whilst some people are still there….)