Post written in collaboration with Habitat | Photography Credit: Nicola Jackson
As parents, finding time to socialise isn’t always easy. Gone are the carefree days where we could have nights out and date nights whenever we fancy. With two small children there is so much more to consider. Getting lost in a world of nursery rhymes and dirty nappies is so easy to do when you are as knackered as I feel right now, but having just that little bit of adult time and popping away the plastic kids plates for something a bit more fancy with some great company can make the world of difference.
Finding a babysitter and having time away from the girls has always proved tricky, so we’ve found the perfect solution to keeping our social lives alive and kicking. Hosting at home has given us the perfect balance – whether it’s a cosy date night where we slurp creamy pasta from huge bowls like Lady and the Tramp, a tired Mums Club brunch with a sneaky glass of prosecco or a late night dinner party – this is our ‘best of both worlds’ approach so we can enjoy each others company whilst the children play or sleep and I can feel like I’m not just Mum 24/7 but I’m having time for ‘me’ again.
Whether it’s cooking fresh Pad Thai or Spaghetti Carbonara, I’ve been loving trying out new dishes and brushing up on my cookery skills too, or if we are feeling extra tired we can just all bring a dish to pop in the middle and tuck in. Puddings are always my favourite and a Salted Caramel Cheesecake always goes down well!
Preparing for a meal is one of my favourite parts – the calm before the storm! Creating a beautiful table set up for the perfect dining experience has become part of the excitement and helps me to feel as far removed from my usual kids softplay environment as possible! The first step was choosing our perfect dining furniture – a table and chairs that could be used for any occasion. We went for classic oak – a design that would last the test of time. For an extra special touch I have recently added a selection of tableware from Habitat to my collection. As we don’t have dinner parties too often I’ve tried to chose pieces that are versatile and can be used everyday life but are bold, bright and reflect my personality too. Plus, I chose a few bits that add a touch of style and class for the big occasions too!
I started creating my collection by buying a new dinner set – I’ve been in desperate need for some new crockery so this made such a big difference to our table – I think my previous set was over 10 years old and way best it’s best. I went for the dinner set in Maddox Grey as it’s sleek, stylish and grey matches all other colours too. With this dinner set each bowl and plate is hand finished which is just beautiful. We have limited cupboard space, so finding something versatile for us was essential – we can use this set for everything from day to day meals to dinner parties and they look just the part, whatever the setup.
Adding a touch of personality, I just had to go for two dishes in the Perdita splatter print – I just love polka dots (although usually you’ll find them on my dresses) so these were just meant to be! They make the perfect dishes for serving salads, anti pasti or serving hot oven-to-table meals like vegetable lasagne which are perfect for sharing.
To match the spotty Perdita serving dishes, these gorgeous spotty pasta bowls were a must for me. We cook pasta a lot so they will get a huge amount of use! The bright yellow rim gives them a pop of colour and the unique finishing makes each bowl slightly different to the next.
There are a few little additions that really help to finish off the perfect dinner setting – a wooden board for tear-and-share bread, carafe to serve drinking water, plus I added large drinking glasses which we are using for wine here, but are ideal glasses for gin cocktails or something non-alcoholic too. I tried to pick something we could use with whatever we fancied – I don’t drink very often so making up a jug of elderflower spritzer works well on a table and feels a bit more special in a wine glass too!
Something I’ve learned along the way is that having friends over for a meal doesn’t have to be stressful – keeping things simple with easy, but delicious food with a few gorgeous bits on the table and great company is all you need. It’s great for the soul and keeps us going when things get tough. Cheers!
Post written in paid partnership with Habitat | Photography Credit: Nicola Jackson