Go all out with setting the table at home this bank holiday, it doesn’t have to be extravagant to make an impact and feel special. From simple ideas such as what music to play for the whole family to enjoy, to how to layer your Falcon with other crockery and what to do if you can’t get hold of fresh flowers. For inspiration read these top tips from Victoria Suffield, owner of the award-winning boutique @thehambledon.
TOP TIPS FOR SETTING THE TABLE
F. Can you give us your top tips for setting the table for the family/household during lockdown?
V. I do think it's always, always good to sit down at a proper table with proper china and make a meal into a really convivial thing. But, even now, when many of us have a little more time, it's not really reasonable to expect an extravagantly laid table for breakfast, lunch and supper. I think it's just lovely to make a concerted effort every now and again so that a meal time can become a proper occasion, something to look forward to and reflect on.
F. What sort of lighting would you advise?
V. Candles, candles, candles. I use an assortment of jam jars, small bowls and enamel tumblers. I don't really like too much height as it can obscure people across the table! And if you have to have the lights on, make sure they're on a dimmer!
F. How do you 'layer' a table’?
V. Start with an idea of a theme (either through flowers, or colour, or your china service) and build around that. Are you wanting something formal or more casual? Our table inspiration came from a combination of new block-print table linen, new flowers and our trusty Falcon enamel. We imagined a relaxed summery gathering and kept the palette soft and pretty but mixed up the patterns of linen and used lots of different flowers. It shouldn't be too matchy-matchy.
F. How important is a centre piece?
V. I'm all for flowers being the centrepiece, but not necessarily in the centre. I love a run of vases down the length of the table.
F. How would you incorporate Falcon Enamelware?
V. It's really nice to start the table with layers of crockery at each place setting (even if you end up removing everything to serve each course!). I like to mix different materials and shapes so might stack a large china dinner plate with a smaller Falcon plate, add a ceramic bowl and maybe put a Falcon sauce dish on the napkin or put the cutlery into a small Falcon tray at each place. Don't think about the actual, expressed purpose of each piece: a tumbler, a jug, a mug all make lovely vases. At the moment we're finding the loaf tin is incredibly useful for storing all the stationery we need for our online packing station.
F. Do you have any favourite dinner playlists or artists you'd recommend on Spotify?
V. It really depends on the occasion and the company. I love a bit of Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra; Miles Davis or Dexter Gordon but probably not Thelonius Monk; any Crosby Stills Nash & Young or Van Morrison. If it's supper with the kids we're listening to Pinegrove or Willie J Healey. I am not, in spite of much nagging from my husband, ever, ever going to find Black Country New Road a good soundtrack for dinner.
F. Can you explain how you have used Falcon for displaying flowers?
V. We used a selection of different shapes (jugs and utensil pots) and ran them down the length of the table. And we used the pigeon grey colourway, not the white, as a contrast to the china we were using.
F. What if I can't find any fresh flowers for the table?
V. Well, you can buy all the artificial flowers you need from thehambledon.c. I absolutely love, love, love fresh flowers but I do really, really like these fakes! And if you don't have flowers, you could use some artful twigs or masses of ivy or hedgerow raided cow parsley. Or just make a virtue of a simple table with a few candles in pretty containers.
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