It’s half term here and Frankie-Rose’s school bunches all of its inset days together so we get a second sneaky week off, and boy are we ready for it. Both kids are so tired! Auden has a permanent cold and Frankie-Rose really needs some quiet days after a busy term and SAT’s (ugh). Our plans are still materialising, but we are certainly planning to do some holidaying at home (actually one of my favourite things to do) and generally take it verrry easy.
We have been busy in our garden lately, half planting, half slug fighting, and are spending more and more time outside. I decided to throw a simple celebratory tea party for our family to celebrate the imminent end of term (YES), the gorgeous weather and just because I fancied it. I like getting the nice glasses and crockery out just for us, it elevates things and the kids love it too, they feel the specialness of it somehow. I worked with Hobbycraft in creating this post which is a bit of a dream for me. Hobbycraft was one of my favourite shops as a teenager (I know, I know I was so cool). I really remember my excitement at the prospect of a trip to the Bolton branch of Hobbycraft trip with my cousin and aunt. What can I say, I’m just a stationary-and-craft-shops kinda gal. #pens
Ok, so the details!
First up, we carried the table outside and threw on a tablecloth (and no, I didn’t iron the linen!). We then strung up the lanterns - surprisingly easy to do and so lovely! It was then on to flowers and the place settings which I had assembled in advance.
Elements of a spring table- some tips from a stylist.
Choose your key colours
I felt drawn to white so decided to go with this. It’s a lovely cool colour for the summer and reflects light. I added hints of pink in the flowers and place settings. Stick to a couple of colours for simplicity. I used one of my white linen tablecloths and my Lucy Rutter ceramic plates with my vintage glasses and cutlery. Don’t forget to consider the combination of textures when styling your table. The hand-thrown ceramics, the weave of the linen, the smoothness of the glass… It all combines so beautifully into a gorgeous sensory experience for your guests (and you!).
Hanging decorations over your setting always adds a wow factor. My favourite element of the table are the white round paper lanterns. They are actually hanging from our washing line! I loooove how they move in the wind, and I also love how quick they are to set up and hang, and how they are also reusable. Hobbycraft have lots of gorgeous paper party decorations. I’ve used two packs here.
Always have something natural on your table; whether really big or really minimal, dried or fresh. I opted for small squat arrangements that wouldn’t blow over in the wind. Keep it practical for your setting, and try not to make table flowers so big that guests can’t see each other over the top of them (a bug bear of mine!) To make arrangements like mine, use small ceramic or glass jars and keep the heads of the flowers close to the lip of the jar. Tightly bunch together flowers in complementary colours in your hand, adjusting as you go until you’re happy, and simply pop into the jar or vase. You can tie the bunch together with string if you’d like to keep it tight.
I had a whale of a time using watercolours for the place settings, it’s such a forgiving craft for a beginner (well, especially if you only do daubs and splurges #daubsandsplodgesaremybag). For these place settings, I painted lines and shapes onto some linen card, and got rather carried away in the process, using the most gorgeous thick brush. I allowed it to dry then cut long rectangles out and punched some holes through which I tied a bit of string. Very simple but effective. I used some mini wooden pegs to attach the place setting to a vintage cigarette card and a mini brown envelope of flower seeds. The pegs helped to keep it all together and weigh it down. Individual pieces would just fly off the plates in the wind otherwise!
I laid the table as if we were eating a meal (for the photos, natch) but actually we just ate cake and drank elderflower cordial (yum). The cake is a simple vegan sponge. I used round pastry cutters to cut out circles to make ‘cakelets’, spooned on some vegan vanilla butter icing and topped with edible flowers. This is such a simple cake hack, and they look so sweet! The cake stand is from Hobbycraft, I’ve always wanted a glass dome. It’s actually really practical for summer as it keeps insects off your food. This will be getting lots of use over the coming warm months, and it will be great for savoury tarts and pastries etc too.
The set up was super simple, even the flowers are just small bunches packed closely together with stems cut short, which anyone could do. I love that Hobbycraft is a one-stop-shop for a party, they have a huge range of decorations and baking supplies, and it’s really well priced too.
I really enjoyed playing with the watercolours, flowers and lanterns and we had such a lovely half an hour (that is all we get with our kids!) chatting and eating cake, with beautiful weather too. The kids loved their place settings and were delighted when they saw the table and the lanterns. Frankie actually squealed with delight, and Auden looked at me quizzically and asked “Birt-day do you?” They loved the cake but took the flowers off, ha. We are growing sweet peas up the wall outside so I cannot wait to do this when the flowers are in bloom. I am generally feeling pretty pumped for a summer spent in the garden. Eating outside makes me feel like I’m on holiday, do you know what I mean? Do you like eating out in the summer? Any plans to host an afternoon tea or drinks? If you would like more tips and hints on styling and hosting a gathering, you can read more about my Soulful Gathering e-book here.
This is a sponsored post with Hobbycraft.