One of the best things about the festive season is undoubtedly the chance to eat, drink and be merry with loved ones. I get so excited in the lead up to Christmas, not because of the big day itself but because December means a chance for everyone to come together and make time for each other. It also means Quality Street and Bailey’s for breakfast and let me tell you, I am all about that life. Last weekend I hosted a very festive brunch for a group of fabulous, funny, inspiring women with a table dressed head to toe in beautiful pieces by the Dutch lifestyle and interiors brand, HEMA.
Guests arrived to the smell of mulled wine and Wham! playing in the background. Despite never having been together before, we were quickly sharing stories, laughing and chatting like life long friends. Festive favourites including pigs in blankets, tempura prawns and chicken skewers were served from bamboo canapé plates and the pink, grey and gold themed decor went down a treat. I purposely chose pieces that aren’t just restricted to December usage; it’s not realistic to expect everyone to go out and purchase brand new tableware that can only be used for a few days of the year. HEMA have nailed it with their range of affordable homeware that adds a bit of festive glitz without looking like Rudolph puked Christmas all over the table, and if you are after some decorations then the adorable wooden nutcrackers and glittery baubles are an inexpensive way to jazz up your tree or place settings.
5 TIPS FOR HOSTING A STRESS FREE CHRISTMAS BRUNCH
Find out well in advance if anyone has any allergies or dislikes.
There’s nothing like realising someone is a vegetarian as you waft a big juicy pig in blanket in front of their face…
Prepare the day before!
Whether you’re home cooking each element or raiding the posh oven supermarket oven snacks (guilty!) if all you have to do is whack the oven up when your guests arrive you’re guaranteed to feel much more chilled out than if you’ve still got your hand up a Turkey’s wotsit!
Use a tablecloth, throws and cushions to pretty up the furniture!
Not all of us are graced with huge dining rooms and beautiful wooden farmhouse tables that seat 10. In my little London flat I borrowed a collapsible trestle table and some of those white plastic garden chairs. Handy? Yes. Instagrammable? Nah-dah. A gold star print tablecloth and some gorgeous cushions quickly transformed what could’ve looked like a Formica-frenzied indoor BBQ into a cosy winter wonderland.
Rope in an extra pair of hands, or two!
My lovely flat mate, Charlotte, and interiors-guru Chelsea, were on hand to help me out when I was running around the kitchen like a madwoman 15 minutes before guests were due to arrive. They wrote out the adorable reindeer place cards, strung fairy lights around the room and helped with last minute prep such as slicing bread and ensuring the gold star glasses were filled with water for everyone.
Keep it simple!
I love cooking but I also know I can get very carried away going all Heston on the menu and in reality I only make more work for myself in the process. This time I focussed on simple, delicious flavours and the 5 ingredient salad and 4 ingredient pudding I served went down a treat:
2 MINUTE ROCKET, MOZZARELLA AND TOMATO SALAD
- Wash some rocket leaves and put them in a large bowl, such as this bamboo salad dish
- Tear up some fresh mozzarella and whack it on top
- Chop some posh tomatoes (ya know, the ones on the vine that come in a little cardboard bed) and add those to the bowl
- Pour on a bag of croutons
- Drizzle with olive oil and give it all a quick mix with some salad servers!
4 INGREDIENT STROOPWAFFLE PUDDING
- Place a stroopwaffle into a pudding dish or bowl, I used these retro glass ones
- Add a scoop of salted caramel ice cream
- Drizzle with toffee sauce
- Pop a cute little chocolate Santa on top!
Hosting a brunch, dinner or party doesn’t have to be really stressful; ultimately it’s about having fun and coming together with friends to celebrate the season. You can shop all the elements of my table dressing below. Cheers!
This post is a paid collaboration with HEMA. All images and views are my own.