One of my favourite things to do if I'm hosting a lunch or supper party is to rummage through my collection of tablecloths (one of the perks of the job, admittedly), and think about which one I’m going to choose to honour the occasion. Which colours feel right? What is growing in the garden that will look lovely alongside the block printing? And, perhaps most importantly, what would my guests find most delightful?
Decorating your table with your guests in mind is such a thoughtful act and something that you can really put a lot of effort into. My busy-person’s hack, however, is to get the tablecloth to do most of the work - what I really love about our tablecloths is that it really takes minimal effort to throw one on, and yet it delivers maximum visual impact. Because our tablecloths come in such joyous prints and colours, they already are the main act - an instant solution for creating a sense of occasion.
We believe our tablecloths are a real luxury, because they’re handmade to such a high quality, having been hand block printed in Jaipur by artisans on a really beautiful cotton. The making of our table linen is not a process that should be hurried, so everything is made lovingly and slowly, and you can really sense that quality in the finished product. It’s why we want to get them out as often as possible, to enjoy that simple luxury alongside some tasty food with our friends and family.
Certainly, my collection of tablecloths wear their spills and stains with pride - they’re a stamp of a moment in time, and those lovely memories come back every time we pull that tablecloth out again. It would be a terrible shame to feel too nervous to use them and miss out on the joy that they bring to mealtimes. For me, the more marks the merrier - I think we should all try and embrace that.
This season, I’ve found myself reaching for the most gorgeous spring colours for the table. Our green Trellis tablecloth, which has a kind of Scottish tweed feel to it, is so uplifting, and the geometric lines make for a really clean foundation if you want to go for a more minimalist look. Our Strawberry design has been getting a lot of use at home, too. The kids always beg me to bring it out for their friends, and I also used it for my own birthday recently - it brings cheer to any gathering. And I’m really drawn to our punchy, spring-green Lani block print right now - it just hits that fresh note of first buds and new shoots to perfection, and brings a sense of nature right to the table.
In fact, the wonderful thing about these spring colours is that they all work brilliantly outdoors, alongside nature when we have lunch in the garden. Our loveworn garden table definitely appreciates having something fresh and pretty to hide beneath.
Then comes the really fun part - the actual tablescaping. Sometimes I like to play with a calmer, minimalist look, and use white crockery against the stronger background of the tablecloth - though even then I never go for anything too matchy-matchy (that said, if you’re of a more minimalist persuasion it’s nice to add matching block-printed napkins). Then I’ll just bring in pops of colour with candles and fresh flowers from the garden.
Sometimes, though, I like to make the table really sing by layering up the colour and fun - big ceramic bowls full of pasta, pink wine glasses, clashing napkins, lots of flowers (at the moment, I’m putting lots of sweet vases of pink primroses down the centre of the table). It doesn’t need to be too careful - I think people feel much more at home when it’s not too precious.
A lovely finishing touch is to block print place cards for everyone. I always do this when I’m hosting (if it’s a brunch, I might print a brooding hen, or flowers for Mothering Sunday, etc). I think people like to know where their place is - it instantly removes that dilemma of where to sit, and helps them ease into the occasion. Plus it's another easy opportunity to decorate your table and show how much you care about your guests. Letting your guests know how welcome they are, and how happy you are to receive them, is always the best start to any social occasion.