Darkness is encroaching on our precious daylight hours and temperatures are beginning their downward descent. Our time is increasingly spent seeking warmth, either in our woollens and long coats or in the comfort of our own home, withthe heat of a crackling fire.
To keep spirits high throw a supper with friends to celebrate one of winter's events, from Advent and the Winter Solstice to Christmas and New Year.
Beloware some tips on how to lay a winter's table...
Use layers of different texture on the table to create depth. Keep things simple with crisp white stonewashed linens and hand thrown ceramic plates. A white table setting allows the greenery and candle light to sing. Whilst both are white, they introduce an element of texture and depth in the weave of the linen and the small inconsistencies of the glaze.
Lay long branches of greenery such as Ruscus, Wax Leaf , Ferns or Nicoli down the centre of the tables. You don't need to makeformal garlands - a quick forage around your garden will probably suffice if you've run out of time to get to your florist.
Use candle light. Simple lengths of greenery studded with candles in assorted holders looks lovely. A combination of little candles in jars and tall dinner candles in holders works well. Now is a good time to stock up on candles (I am especially fond of beeswax for their delicate scent and golden colour).
Make simple plate posies out of winter greenery by collecting small stems of holly and eucalyptus and tying them with twine. You could also attach a small piee of card with the guests' names. If you're pushed for time, a single feather, a simple sprig of rosemary or a small stick tied to the napkin, also looks effective.
Plate Posies of winter greenery
Include something fresh, seasonal and edible on each plate, which could also double as a starter. Try a poached pear with a shard of Wensleydale, a fresh fig, small apple with leaves still attached, or a fresh bread roll encrusted with sea salt and rosemary.