STYLING

A simple winter table

Here at 91 we are approaching Christmas this year with a simpler mindset. Excessive consumerism is being dialled back and many of us are leaning towards living with less, enjoying the moment and not overdoing it; from food and drink to gifts and decor. Stylist Sophie Warren Smith shares her ideal winter table - one that epitomises this lifestyle - scandi-inspired, stylish, simple. Follow her tips to recreate the look…

a simple scandi winter table - 91 Magazine

Set the scene

To stop a simple Scandi table from looking too stark, lots of greenery is a must. You can keep spending to a minimum by foraging for as much as possible. I collected a few of different types of fragrant fir and small pinecones on dog walks - keep your eyes peeled - there’s also plenty of holly and ivy about too. You can then get a bunch of eucalyptus fairly cheaply from the florists, along with a few stems of thistles and roses, which all add texture and interest to your display.

Scatter a few small sprigs along the middle of your table, and then create a focal point with a vase - or a jug like the one I’ve used here. A great styling tip is to work in three’s, so here, I have added two glass candlesticks to flank the jug.

A tablecloth is a super simple way to add elegance to the overall look. If you don’t have one to hand, a length of linen or even a plain bed sheet will do the job! You can even leave the edges frayed for a more rustic, relaxed look.

a simple scandi Christmas table - 91 Magazine

It’s all in the detail

If you use glass bottles as candleholders as I have here, why not pop a small sprig of eucalyptus inside? Add a few vintage style mercury baubles to the centre that have a slight shimmer to catch the warmth and glow of the candlelight. Create a charming place setting by tying a stem of eucalyptus and thistle together, alternatively, you could use a piece of fir/Christmas tree (from the lower end of your tree) or some mistletoe.

simple Christmas table styling ideas - 91 Magazine

Make your table inviting

The key to this look is ‘less is more’, keep it uncluttered, simple yet sophisticated. Try layering your plates, it creates visual depth and makes the setting feel a little special. Place napkins in between the two plates to add texture, and to keep the table surface less busy. I’ve purposely chosen white plates for a more minimal look, but patterned plates on a plain tablecloth will look equally lovely. An optional, but wonderful finishing touch - add some sheepskins to your seating, they are super cosy and create a tactile, welcoming and comfy feel for your guests.

*The wall hanging in these images is part of A Foraged Christmas, a mini online course that goes on sale Monday 3rd December, priced at £18 for four festive easy to follow step by step projects that include a wreath, a mantelpiece garland and a festive bunch. See Sophie’s Instagram for further details.

Simple summer outdoor dining

What a hot, dry summer we've had so far in the UK! While many of us have found it overwhelming, there's no denying one of the joys of the warm weather is eating al fresco in the evening, as the light fades and the heat subsides. Writer and maker Claire Holland, who recently launched her lifestyle blog Paper Thin Moon, shares some simple styling ideas as well as four delicious dishes to serve for a relaxed summer meal.

outdoor summer dining styling and recipes

I often sit in the garden at this time of year and ask myself, what would it be like sitting here on this patch of grass under the apple tree during the winter months.  The truth is, I can’t imagine it.  We live through such long periods of the year when it’s too cold to sit and relax outside that it’s easy to forget how glorious the summer months can be. Walking barefoot on grass, reading beneath the shade of a tree, and the warm glow of the early evening sun on your skin all very quickly become distant memories once winter comes around. If I ever need to remind myself to live in the moment, it’s during the summer months that I find it easiest. It’s the perfect time for slowing down, being with friends and family, celebrating togetherness and good food, and taking in as much sunshine as possible before the autumn leaves begin to fall.

outdoor summer dining styling and recipes

In deepest summer, I try and eat every meal outdoors. When there’s time - usually at the weekends when the days are more lazy and carefree - I like to take the dining table out into the garden and style up our outdoor space for a relaxed summer soiree, creating an atmosphere that’s cosy and a little bit magical. The trick when dining outside in the evening is to keep the colours of your linens and accessories light and bright.  That way, once the sun starts to set you can see what you’re doing more easily as any available light bounces off them. The dusty pink table cloth here is from H&M, and I picked up the faded grey napkins from Closet & Botts. The pale blue side plates are recent buys from the John Lewis “Jaipur” range. The white ones did have a pattern on them when first bought, but over the years it’s been completely faded by the dishwasher, leaving them plain and boring.  I achieved the 'splatter' look by flicking multi-surface gold paint on to them with an old toothbrush.

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Soft lighting is what makes a dinner table and, of course, lighting is key when eating outdoors at night. Inside, I always err on the dark side when lighting a room, but it’s disconcerting not to be able to see what you’re eating once the light starts to fade, or the faces of the people sitting opposite you. As soon as the sun starts to set, we switch on the overhead festoon bulbs (ours are the extendable version from Cox & Cox), and light the candles on the table to create a soft, warm glow. Once the moon is high in the sky, the solar lanterns (Ikea finds) hanging from the tree start to come on one by one, adding ambient light and a magical feel.

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Flowers are non-negotiable on any dining table as far as I’m concerned. The searing heat and lack of rain has left my garden parched and overgrown. The delphiniums, lupins and foxgloves were over weeks ago, but the climbing roses are starting to bloom for the second time this year, and I added some of those to my arrangements. I also utilised the flowering dill, mint blossom and the small blooms of late flowering purple hydrangeas from my garden, supplementing them with florist-bought waxflower, stocks and alliums, and grasses picked from the hedgerows. 

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Naturally, it’s not my favourite time to be in the kitchen but it’s always a joy to celebrate the season with dishes that are perfect for summer dining.  Fresh fig and goats cheese salad, slow roasted tomato and asparagus tart, soft peppers stuffed with fennel, and a chicory and fennel salad served with a zingy anchovy and lemon dressing were the simple dishes on the menu. During this long, hot summer of ours, I’m all about keeping the food fresh and light. Serve with a loaf of rye sourdough, and plenty of chilled Sancerre, and you’ve got a table fit for a feast. 

  Roasted red peppers stuffed with fennel and tomato

RECIPES (all serve 4) 

Roasted red peppers stuffed with fennel and tomato

Ingredients:

  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 400g tin of whole plum tomatoes
  • A teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method: Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180C. Cut the tops off the fennel and cut the bulbs into quarters and then into eights, being careful to try and keep the layers together as much as possible.  Blanch for five minutes in a pan of boiling water. Set aside to cool. Slice the peppers in half with a sharp knife, cutting through the green ends and leaving them intact (you wont be eating them but it looks nice). Remove the seeds then lay the peppers on a baking tray. Drain the plum tomatoes and divide them equally between the peppers. Toast the seeds for a few minutes in a frying pan over a low heat to help release the flavours, then crush them in a pestle and mortar. Arrange the segments of fennel in the pepper and sprinkle fennel and coriander seed powder over the top and then drizzle with the oil. Season and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for one hour.

  Fig, Prosciutto, and Spinach Salad with Chèvre and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Fig, prosciutto, and spinach salad with chèvre and preserved lemon vinaigrette

Ingredients for the salad: 

  • Pack of baby spinach leaves
  • 70g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 450g fresh figs, quartered
  • 115g fresh cherries
  • 115g blueberries
  • 115g chèvre (hard goats cheese). I used the delicious St Helen’s Farm hard goats cheese.
  • 55g prosciutto, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the dressing: 

  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 1/4  teaspoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 sea salt

Method: For the preserved lemon vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon rind, oil, vinegar, honey and salt until completely combined. Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately. {This recipe is from the book “First We Eat” by Eva Cosmos Flores, published by Abrams} 

  Roasted tomato and asparagus tart

Roasted tomato and asparagus tart

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g chilled butter, diced
  • A couple of tablespoons of water
  • A pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 400g asparagus
  • A few spring onions or one leek, sliced
  • 3 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of double cream
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 50g parmesan

Method: Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1/2, 120C. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt, and water if necessary and mix to a firm dough, firstly with a butter knife and then with your hands. Knead the dough on a floured surface. Put in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on a baking tray. Season and drizzle with olive oil. Bake them in the oven for approximately 50 minutes. Break the hard ends off the asparagus then blanch it in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes. Plunge the asparagus into a bowl of chilled water, then lift it out and set to one side. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, cream, lemon juice and rind, parmesan and dijon mustard. Season to taste. Take the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Place the pastry in a 25cm tart case, leaving an overhang of approximately 5cm round the edge. Use remnants of the pastry rolled into a small ball to gently pad the rolled out pastry into the corners of the tin. In a separate oven (or once the tomatoes are ready, take them out and turn up the heat) blind bake the pastry case for 20 minutes at gas mark 3, 170C. 

While the pastry is cooking, fry the leeks or spring onions in a tablespoon of olive oil for around five minutes. Add some sprigs of thyme and fry for another five minutes and then take off the heat. Remove the baking beans from the pastry case and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Trim the edges of the pastry case. Put the onions/leeks on the bottom of the pastry case and then arrange the asparagus spears on top. Add the egg and cream mixture carefully and then scatter the tomatoes on top of the mixture (they may sink a little). Bake for another 20 minutes, watching it so that it doesn’t overcook around the edges. Check the tart is ready by poking a wooden or metal skewer into the middle. If the skewer comes out clean, the tart filling is set.

  Chicory & fennel salad with lemon & anchovy dressing

Chicory & fennel salad with lemon & anchovy dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb of fennel (remove the tops and set aside)
  • 2 heads of red chicory
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • The juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method: Whizz up the oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon and anchovy fillets in a blender. Thinly slice the fennel and chicory and arrange in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and decorate with frilly fronds from the fennel tops.

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Styling: Claire Holland / Photography: Charlie Bibby: www.paperthinmoon.com

Follow on Instagram: @paperthinmoon

summer recipes and styling for a summer party

WIN a monthly flower delivery from The Real Flower Company

It's no secret we love flowers here at 91! To be honest who doesn't?! Whether it's a simple single stem in a bud vase, a huge extravagant bouquet or a summer garden of wildflowers they never fail to raise a smile.

WIN a monthly flower delivery - The Real Flower Co

Our current issue of 91 (buy here) and the latest free e-zine (register to receive here) both celebrate beautiful blooms in their various forms.  Stylist/photographer Catherine Frawley created a stunning feature for the magazine sharing ideas of how to craft and decorate with flowers in slightly unusual ways - from table settings to wreaths. We worked together on this with The Real Flower Company - who promote provenance and sustainability by growing their range of cut flowers in either their UK-based and fairtrade farms. We are thrilled to share that we have one three-month flower delivery package to give away to one lucky reader! What could be better that receiving a stunning bouquet of flowers every month?! Or you could treat a special someone perhaps... You can enter at the bottom of this post, but first, do have a read of our chat with founder Rosebie Morton.... 

Rosebie Morton - The Real Flower Co founder

91: At The Real Flower Company you grow your flowers at your own English and Fairtrade sustainable farms. I'm sure a lot of people would not even consider sustainability when it comes to flowers, but can you explain why this is so important? 

Rosebie: As flower farmers, we take our responsibility to our environment and to wildlife very seriously. Our goal is to improve and enhance our natural surroundings rather than to deplete them. Our aim is to improve the soil, to encourage beneficial insects and to grow flowers as nature intended. We are members of the Farm Wildlife Advisory Group, part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and we are certified under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme. Through the way we farm and grow our flowers, we want to leave our world a better place than we found it.

91: Many people probably also don't realise that most commercially grown flowers have their scent gene removed! Your passion is to ensure this gene is kept intact. Is there anything gardeners can do at home to improve the scent intensity of their own blooms? 

Rosebie: What is important is the species and varieties you choose to grow rather than how you grow them. For instance, I love the wonderful clove-like scent of Dianthus – my favourites include Doris, which has a nostalgic romanticism, and the pretty frills of Mrs Sinkins, Dianthus Cathusianorum which has a bright pink pretty flower and is great for cutting and Dianthus Arenarius, pure white with delicate flowers and an incredible scent. Then for me, no English garden is complete without scented roses and sweet peas. My mother and grandmother were both keen gardeners and it was the fragrant roses of my childhood that inspired me to start The Real Flower Company. In terms of scented roses, I love Chandos Beauty, Margaret Merril and Romantic Antike. 

WIN a monthly delivery of flowers from the Real Flower Company

91: People always want their cut flowers to last as long as possible – what tips can you share with our readers for getting lasting enjoyment from your flowers? 

Rosebie: Start by trimming the stems at a 45-degree angle with a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs. Then place them straight into water, either with some cut-flower food or add a teaspoon of sugar, two to three drops of bleach and a dessertspoonful of vinegar to prolong their life. Change the water regularly and keep your flowers in a shady spot.

91: Flowers definitely seem subject to fashion. What are your predictions for floral trends in the year ahead? 

Rosebie: I think the big shift will happen next year when there will be a move to more bright and vibrant shades. This year it’s very understated and soft, calm and muted tones have been popular. We’ve always championed a natural, ‘just-picked-from-the-garden’ look so it’s great to see this increasing in popularity. I also think Meghan and Harry’s wedding flowers will have an impact for the rest of this year. 

91: Finally, what would you have in your absolute ultimate bouquet? 

Rosebie: For me, it’s whatever is in season and scented – so right now I have a beautiful bunch of Lily of the Valley from our farm close by. Soon our English rose season will start and then Margaret Merril – the quintessential English rose with a scent like no other – hand-tied in a natural arrangement with wild flowers from our farm’s wildflower meadow will be taking pride of place on my table and filling my home with its exquisite scent.

91 Mag Wreath_03_LO.jpg

Thank you Rosebie! What a lovely insight into what sounds like an absolute dream career! The images that Catherine Frawley shot for us highlight how simply stunning The Real Flower Company's flowers are don't you think?! Now, to be in with a chance of winning that 3-month floral subscription worth £165 - a gorgeous seasonal bouquet delivered to your door each month (or the door of someone you want to treat!) - all you have to do is enter your details below. A winner will be drawn at random after the closing date which is 15th June 2018. This giveaway is only open to UK entrants due to the nature of the prize (see UK delivery exclusions below), and please do read the full terms and conditions below before entering.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED & a winner was picked at random. Congratulations to emma boyns. 

Name *
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I give my consent for my email address to be added to the mailing lists of:
By ticking either or both of the below boxes, you are giving permission for these brands to send you marketing emails regarding special offers, product news, events and other updates. Further details can be found via the Privacy Policy on each brand's respective websites.

Terms and Conditions

1. Only entries made before the closing date – 15 / 06 / 2018 will be valid. 

2. The winner will be selected at random and will be notified via the email address they provided shortly after the closing date. 

3. The winner will have five working days to respond with the delivery details they wish the flowers to go to. If a reply is not received by this date, they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be chosen. 

4. No cash alternative. 

5. The giveaway is open to UK only.

The Real Flower Co can deliver to most UK postcodes but there are exceptions in the highlands and islands as it can take two days to reach by van and sadly the flowers don't suit that environment.

Unfortunately they are unable to deliver to:-
AB37-38, AB41-56, IV1-20, IV25, IV30-37, IV63, KW1-3, KW6-10, KW14,PH15-26, PA21-35, PA37-39, PH33,49, IV21-24, IV26-28, IV40, KW5,KW11-13, FK18-21,PA36, PA40, PH30-32, PH34-41,PH50, HS1-9, IV41-56, KA27-28, KW15-17, PA20, PA41-49, PA62-76, PH42-44, ZE1-3 Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Scilly Isles.

6. By providing your email address & ticking the check boxes in the above form you are giving permission to be added to the mailing lists of 91 Magazine and/or The Real Flower Co. Your details will not be shared with any further third parties. 

7. One entry per person.

This post was sponsored by The Real Flower Company. Images by Catherine Frawley for 91 Magazine.  

Spring floral styling

It's certainly felt like the arrival of a new season has been a long time coming with the recent cold snap we've had here in the UK, but hopefully those warmer days are on their way, and we can't help but dream of open windows, warm breezes and delicate blooms to decorate with. Simple floral displays can be made even more special with the addition of beautiful vessels and of course here at 91 we love to opt for pieces from independent shops and designers where we can. Stylist Sally Meier shares a few of her favourite Spring stems mixed with ceramics and glassware from some of our fave indie brands... 

Styling with spring flowers and indie homeware products

A mix of individual stems like grape hyacinth, wax flowers, daisies and olive sprigs create a delicate look for a table centre-piece. Add subtle colour with tinted vases, while keeping the rest of your settings soft and neutral. 

Side plates, from £11.25; Solano vase large clear, £10; Solano vase small clear, £7.50; Babylock napkins, £8.75; Lithuanian linen fringe table cloth, £96 - all Canvas Home / Green bud vase, £6.50; Drinking glass, £7.50; Mini lilac vase, £4.50 - all Elkins (Crystal Palace) / Contrast edged linen napkin, white & green, £15, The Conran ShopAntique cutlery, stylists own

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

The vase can be just as much a focal point as the flowers are - or in this case - blossom branches. Group together a selection of interesting vessels in similar shades and fill with the same type of stems or foliage for a cohesive display. 

Bud vase (left), £30, Sarah Hall / Lindform vase (middle), £29, Botanique Workshop  / Morandi bud vase medium (right), £7.50; Lithuanian linen fringe table cloth, £96 - both Canvas Home / Granite mug, £22, Lazy Glaze / Antique plate & fork, stylists own

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

Nothing says Spring than a statement display of wildflowers! Forage for daisies, astrantia and wax flowers or buy handfuls from your local florist or farm shop and arrange loosely in a large vase. They will look great in the middle of the kitchen table or will simply bring Spring to any room of the house. 

Cut Out platter, £40, Lazy Glaze / all other items, stylists own. 

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

Have a bit of fun styling a floral display on a sideboard or shelf with a mixture of pots and vases in varying sizes and different Spring blooms like anemones, narcissus and grape hyacinths. Again, pick pots that are as interesting as their contents. 

Three-legged pot (left), £23; Candle holders, £8 each - both Elkins (Crystal Palace) / Pot (right), design collaboration between Lazy Glaze x Julianna Byrne, £65, Lazy Glaze / All other items, stylists own.

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

A single stem or sprig can prettify your place settings in an instant, and takes minimum effort when hosting a relaxed Springtime lunch. If using coloured napkins, make sure to opt for a bloom in a coordinating colour. These deep pink astrantia look wonderful against the peachy gingham napkins.

Shell Bisque dinner plate, £15, Canvas Home / Gingham napkin in Melon, £15; Duralex Picardie glass, £1.75, both The Conran Shop / Tablecloth, stylists own

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

Go for an ultra-feminine, blousy bouquet of Spring flowers with anemones and tulips. A display like this will start off with a more formal look as both flowers contain their blooms neatly before they open and become loose and carefree. Here a simple, plain vase allows the unruly flower heads to take centre-stage. 

Hay Soft Ice enamel plates, £15 each and bowls, £13 each - both Nook / Butter dish, £68, Sarah HallVase and tablecloth, stylists own

Photography: Jon Green / Styling: Sally Meier

Spring flowers styling inspiration

91 is pinning... Spring decor

I don't know about you, but I am in serious need for Spring to hurry itself up! A really chilly February here in the UK has had me yearning for those days when you can leave the house without four layers, mornings when you can have breakfast on the patio, and decorating the house with delicate blooms that have popped their heads up in the garden. I'm sure it'll be here soon, but in the meantime, we have been pinning some Spring inspiration in preparation for a Mother's Day feast, an Easter breakfast or simply a relaxed Spring time gathering.....

 Styling:  Amanda Russell   / Photo:  Antonia Attwood  for  91 Magazine

Styling: Amanda Russell  / Photo: Antonia Attwood for 91 Magazine

 Styling:  Laura Sawyer   / Photo:  Malcolm Menzies  for  91 Magazine

Styling: Laura Sawyer  / Photo: Malcolm Menzies for 91 Magazine

 via  Hitta Hem

Head to our Pinterest board for more Spring inspiration. We can wait to be able to fling open the doors and feel the sun on our faces! ;) 

3 Earth Friendly Ways To Decorate Your Christmas Table

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, full of cherished moments with family and friends and lots of fun and festivities. Yet, it is also a time of year that creates incredible amounts of waste that has a huge impact on the environment. In the UK alone 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away annually according to Imperial College research. Astonishingly 226,800 miles of wrapping paper, which is enough to stretch nine times around the world, ends up in landfill; along with 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping.

Also, most Christmas decorations like tinsel and baubles are made from plastic, which is a huge environmental problem and will end up forever in landfill or the ocean. Plus, I know everyone loves a sparkly Christmas, but don’t forget that glitter is actually a micro-plastic, the worst kind of plastic. It currently accounts for 85% of plastic found in the environment and it is so small that tiny organisms, especially aquatic life, can consume it. Therefore, through the food chain, it eventually ends up back on our plates. So if you prefer your seafood plastic free, read on for some fun, beautiful and earth-friendly ways to decorate your Christmas table or your home for the festive season.

Neutral Christmas table decor

The Neutral Look - This calm and delicate table combines natural grasses with paper, linen and ceramics to create a muted, textural look. This might be the most complicated table, but definitely worth a go and of course you can pick and choose which elements to recreate.  

Table covering: Lay a linen tablecloth (this one is from Griege). Investing in linen is something you will always value. It actually gets better with age, so you will quite possibly end up handing it down to your children. Environmentally, it’s also a much better option than cheap polyester as when polyester is washed it releases microfibers into the water, which then ends up in our precious oceans.

Place settings: These beautiful handmade ceramics are from London-based designer Andrea Roman. I love collecting handmade plates and bowls as over time it means you have a kitchen filled with unique treasures. You are also supporting local businesses and investing in life-long pieces which results in less waste and feel good vibes all round.

Handmade paper christmas decorations

Centrepiece: Arrange paper book trees down the middle of the table in alternating sizes. Have a 'making party' with friends and some mulled wine, and grab some old paperback books, any will work. If you don’t have any books in your own collection that you no longer use, pop to your local charity store & pick up a few for pocket change (while also benefiting a charity). Simply follow the easy steps on this video to make. Finish off by topping the trees with a star, find out how to make these - First step here. Second step here. I also made some paper snowflakes and baubles - you can cut these from scrap paper, old Christmas cards or used packaging. Watch this video on how to fold and cut out a snowflake and this post for instructions and a printout for the baubles. 

(NOTE: when hanging things use cotton thread instead of plastic string - things like fishing line are again a nightmare for poor aquatic life and birds. Alternatively you could use cotton ribbon, wool yarn or hessian string- all natural materials.)

neutral Christmas table decor ideas

Adding texture: I am a huge fan of foraging and harvesting what is growing in the garden or around my local area. Gathering locally means you’re not buying flowers that have travelled hundreds of air or land miles and have also most likely been sprayed with pesticides. It also means you’re cutting out the plastic they come wrapped in. So grab your secateurs and head out for a walk, enjoy the fresh air and see what lovely foliage you can find. To create this eye-catching hanging centrepiece I used Pampas grass which grows wild and free around the UK and has these beautiful fluffy plumes from October to February- perfect timing for the festive season. Using cotton yarn I tied the pampas grass stems to a bamboo stake and then hung the it from the roof rafters. Alternatively, if you can’t hang them, throw a big bunch in a tall vase for a striking centrepiece and enjoy their feathery wild loveliness. I then picked apart small pieces of the grass and laid them around the bottom of the paper trees and on each plate.

Christmas table decor ideas - colourful

The Colourful Look - This table is super easy and quick to create and will add a huge amount of vibrant colour, texture and rustic charm to your table.

Table covering: Use a roll of recycled paper as a table runner. This serves multiple purposes; 1) it uses recycled paper, 2) it protects your table from food and spills, and 3) it makes clean up super quick - just roll up and put into the recycling (although if your lucky enough to have very clean dinner guests you can keep the paper and use for something else like wrapping presents). I used a roll from Paperchase.

Centrepiece: This step is by no means essential, but if you can get your hands on some tree slices they add a lovely rustic touch to your table. Look out for them at your local flower markets or nurseries or keep your eyes peeled for tree-chopping neighbours and ask for some trunk slices! As well as being pretty, they also serve as trivets to protect your table from hot dishes. We then added a stunning handmade salad bowl from Ghaz Ceramics to the centre of the table. Feel free to use any fruit or salad bowls you love.

Colourful Christmas table using fresh produce

Add foliage and colour: Again, go foraging for some foliage - this time you’re on the look out for greens - especially pine, to give that extra Christmassy feel. It also smells beautiful! Lay small branch pieces in alternative directions down the middle of the table. For colour, add some seasonal produce- pomegranates, clementines, persimmons and artichokes are all in season this time of year and perfect for the table! I even used some pink radishes to add further pops of colour! Any type of hardy, thick-skinned fruit or vegetable will work. Just don’t put anything soft like berries on the table as it won't last. Scatter and nestle it all amongst the pine. 

Place settings: Once again, I'm advocating the investment in locally made ceramics. These beautiful plates are by Edmund Davies. A trick to slowly building a collection - buy all your plates in neutrals and whites, so that even if they are all from different makers they will mix and match beautifully. Add a pomegranate (or clementine) on each plate to add more colour. If you want to designate seats you can always write names onto the pomegranates as cute ‘place cards’. If buying new glassware, again please consider buying handmade to benefit artisans and the planet. These glasses are from Greige and are handmade in Portugal and come in all sorts of colours. Otherwise if you don’t have enough glassware for everyone, head to your local charity shop where you will find many bargains and then mix and alternate the different glassware along the table (same goes for cutlery).

After your meal, do not throw away your decorations, as you can eat them! Give your guests a little bagful to take away too. 

A dark moody Christmas table

The Dark Look - This table is great for a moody dinner setting and again is super simple to create.

Table covering: Opt for a dark coloured tablecloth - again try to opt for a linen or cotton tablecloth instead of cheap polyester. Try Greige for some lovely table linen.

Centrepiece: In the UK alone we consume 35 million bottles of wine over the festive season so this is a way to re-use some of these (and not just for Christmas). Collect bottles in varying colours and shapes, then soak in hot water to remove the labels. Wedge in some taper candles - if the bottle opening is a bit small, melt down the ends a little then twist in. To get the drip effect you just need to let the candles burn down and drip. Then simply re-fill with new candles when needed. Finally, nestle some foraged pinecones around the wine bottle candles. 

dark and moody Christmas table idea

Place settings: For this one I have created a more formal setting and layered dinner plates with entrée plates and soup bowls plus linen napkins for extra texture, all sourced for Greige and Ghaz Ceramics. Again don’t be afraid to mix and match your plates and bowls - just adhere to a similar colour palette and it will work beautifully.

We hope these ideas might have inspired you in some way! If you do create anything inspired by these ideas we would love to see - so please tag @91magazine and our stylist @laurenbeckerstylist. Many thanks to all the lovely makers and local shops that got involved in the project.

All Photography by Veerle Evens

91 is pinning.... vignette styling

Whether it's a sideboard, a mantelpiece, shelving or a bed side table, all of these surfaces need some level of styling to make them look good, and they can often be the trickiest of spots to get right. When you scroll through Pinterest, a great vignette usually looks effortless, hence lulling you into a false sense of security that it will be simple, only to discover it's not as easy as you thought! So, we thought we'd unpick some of these Pinterest-perfect vignettes and find out exactly what it is that makes them work so well....

If in doubt, use plants. Nearly ever vignette on the whole of Pinterest has at least one house plant in it! And some have lots. If you go with a selection, then opt for plants of different heights, and make sure to put them in complimenting pots. 

 Photo:  Cathy Pyle  for 91 Magazine

Photo: Cathy Pyle for 91 Magazine

Books are essential. This is why books will never die out. As well as the fact that reading something in print is much more superior, they are also an essential item for styling! Whether you use a few of your favourite lifestyle books or some of those gorgeous classics with the pretty covers, they are great for adding height to a display. Furthermore, dependent on the books, there's the potential for injecting colour and pattern into the vignette too. 

 Photo via  SF Girl by Bay

Photo via SF Girl by Bay

Scale is of utmost importance. On a small bedside shelf like this, it cries out for small decorative items to adorn it. There is still a variation in scale here, but overall everything is quite petite. Trying to squeeze a large framed print, or a big plant pot on here would look hugely unbalanced. 

 Photo:  Holly Marder

Consider the colour palette. A great colour palette is the secret to any great interior, let alone a great vignette! Keep this in mind when selecting the items you are going to display together. These natural earthy tones all work so well and also contrast with the sleeker green unit. But of course, have fun with it too, and feel free to throw in a pop of neon like in the bedroom shelf image above. 

Use artwork as a backdrop. Your vignette will look a bit flat without giving it a bit of depth, and one way to do this is by casually leaning a framed print or photograph against the wall, or hanging it (or them) just above. Mirrors are also a good option, or you can simply tape a few favourite postcards or pictures to the wall, and change them around as and when. 

 Photo via  It's a House

Photo via It's a House

Trial and error is key. The best thing about creating vignettes is nothing is permanent. It's not a big decision like paint colours or choosing furniture, so just have fun with it and try different things. Play with scale, vary height, test out colour combinations, add things, take things away.... Try taking photos of different arrangements and then compare to see which works best visually. 

TOP TIP: A more minimal display will be much easier and less time consuming to clean than a overly cluttered surface! ;) 

For more inspiration for your vignette styling, pop over to the 91 Magazine Pinterest page

91 is pinning... styling with houseplants

It certainly doesn't look like the trend for houseplants is going away any time soon does it?! If anything, more and more of us just keep on growing ('scuse the pun!) our plant collections. It's more than just popping a few cacti on the windowsill and an aloe vera in the bathroom, we are creating actual indoor jungles inside our homes! They seem to have taken on an interior genre all of their own, with people hunting out the more unusual species, shopping for beautiful pots to display them in, and even learning new crafts, like macramé, just to be able to create gorgeous hanging planters. And of course how you style them is as important as how you care for them (naturally!) - so we've been pinning some interiors where they've got it just right with their plant styling. Head over to our Pinterest board for more inspiration. 

 via  Airows

via Airows

 Photo:  Katharine Peachey  - featured in A/W 16 issue of 91 Magazine

Photo: Katharine Peachey - featured in A/W 16 issue of 91 Magazine

Style a woodland themed Easter table

Easter is nearly upon us, and if you are expecting guests then take the chance to get creative and really make your Easter table a sight to behold! Stylist Amanda Russell shows us how to decorate a woodland themed table with a collection of spring plants, a bit of moss and a few simple accessories... 

There’s no denying there is a big botanical trend going on just now. As nature accelerates out of the cold dark winter months, it certainly seems appropriate that we embrace it and celebrate it, by creating a wonderfully green and lush Easter table. The natural scheme is inspired by spring’s rebirth with buds popping, leaves unfurling and birds singing.

It’s time to make your interior sing too; bring the outside in, get up close, smell the flowers and emphasise the detail with this woodland theme. It’s a simple, eclectic look, which just needs a little preparation in advance, then style by layering up the rustic elements and items you already have around the home.

Make moss wrapped kokedama:

You can make these the day before from seasonal plants like pansies, primroses or ranunculuses. You will need moss from the garden or sourced from a florist, floristry wire and wire snips. Half an hour before you start, water the plants, then leave to drain. Green side down spread some moss out in a rectangle large enough to cover the plant pot. Take the plant out of the pot, pull off the loose soil, press the roots into a ball shape, and wrap the moss around the soil. Wind wire in all directions around the moss making a firm ball. Snip the wire and press the end into the moss ball.

Styling tips:

·      Dress up simple white ceramics by placing on rustic chopping boards, if you need extra, borrow from friends or family.

·      Save time and ironing energy, by choosing natural rumpled linen napkins or use tea towels if you don’t have napkins. (try H&M or Zara for a good selection of well priced textiles)

·      Mismatched vintage or contemporary ceramic candlesticks look great with ordinary white household candles.

·      Make rustic bread rolls special by wrapping with a collar of brown paper, held in place with twine.

·      Tie in your glassware by opting for green tumblers and jugs. (H&M is a good source of affordable glassware) 

·      Write your guests' names on simple luggage tags, then add a sprig of blossom.

·      Speckled chocolate eggs in decorative nests (try Waitrose, Tiger or online craft stores for these) scattered with feathers add authenticity to your woodland theme and also are a treat for your younger (and older!) guests.

·      For a last minute finishing touch, drape a few trails of ivy.

After your celebrations, give the kokedama a long drink, drain, then group around the house or in the garden. Better still, give your guests a parting gift of a moss wrapped kokedama plant to remind them of a perfect celebration.

Styling and design: Amanda Russell - amandarusselldesign.co.uk / soulfoodstudio.com

Photography: Antonia Attwood

How to style... your cuppa

As our A/W 16 issue may have suggested, we love a good cuppa here at 91! So much so, that a mug of the hot stuff often creeps into our Instagram feed, and inspired our current hashtag project #91magazine_aquietcuppa. We've loved seeing all your cuppa moments over on IG, and we are looking forward to selecting our faves to feature in the next issue of the magazine. If you haven't joined in yet, or need some inspiration then read on - we are sharing a few tips and ideas for styling your hot drinks, and in particular flat lays in their various forms....

 Image by  Caroline Rowland

1.  Keep it natural - What normally accompanies your cup of tea or coffee? A good book or magazine? A snuggly blanket? a biscuit? Style your drink alongside the items that naturally go hand in hand. Yes, it may be meticulously styled and set up to get the right light, but you'll likely still enjoyed your tea under that snuggly blanket afterwards! 

 Image via  5ftinf

Image via 5ftinf

2. Get Creative - This isn't your 'i just snapped this over breakfast' shot. It's fun, creative and eye-catching. It is almost the opposite theory to our first tip; it is unexpected and not generally an every day scene. Found, foraged or thrifted items work quite well for this type of shot - food, flowers, leaves, shells or vintage curio. Think about colour, pattern and positioning, and just get carried away with creating a mini work of art! Philippa Stanton's Instagram feed @5ftinf is a great example of this. (pic above) 

 Image via  A Joyful Journey  

Image via A Joyful Journey 

3. Style a meal time - using food in your shots always works well, so incorporate it into your cuppa pics and create a breakfast, coffee break or afternoon tea scene. The easiest and most enjoyable way of doing this is to actually make your meal or break time this beautiful! Perhaps opt for a weekend morning when you have the time to clear the table of daily life admin, pop some blooms in a vase, and select some pretty food and crockery to include. Use a photo worthy surface or lay a tablecloth, then shoot your pics before your breakfast date tucks in! 

4. Make your props relevant - a photo styling tip that has stuck in my head for a long time is about making your props relevant. Whether it's a cup of tea or a product you are selling, selecting props that are actually used in it's production make the scene more authentic. Scatter tea leaves or coffee beans, incorporate (attractive) packaging and include other tea making paraphenalia such as the teapot, strainer, teaspoon and sugar cubes. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage, design-led or handmade versions of these objects which you can keep in your prop box.

 Image via  Decor Dots

Image via Decor Dots

5. Embrace simplicity and negative space - You don't necessarily need to fill every inch of your frame; opting for a serene scene which takes advantage of negative space can be just as eye-catching. Play around with the composition to find the most pleasing arrangement, consider the object spacing and don't be afraid to allow your crop to cut through some of the props.

 Image via  @helloemilie

Image via @helloemilie

6. Use foliage and flowers - I wonder what percentage of Instagram images ever posted include flowers or plants?! Well they just look so blinking great don't they?! Tea and flowers are definitely a combo that not many of us would turn down, so they inevitably pair well in pics too. There are so many ways to incorporate your greenery or blooms - lay a posy or single stem flat, or in a vase, scatter petals or allow foliage to creep into frame - simply play around to see what works best. Plants and flowers help to bring life to your images and soften hard surfaces, and generally help to prettify everything! 

 Image via  @newdarlings

Image via @newdarlings

7. Include yourself - Another way to bring life to your images is to feature yourself! Don't worry if you are camera shy - I'm talking hands and (nicely pedicured!) feet - although of course seeing the faces behind IG accounts is always welcome! A hand stirring in the milk, or cradling your warm drink adds a human element to your images, plus you get to show off that lovely new nail colour you've discovered! 

Here is a little list of suggested props - you'll probably have most things around the home anyway, or you can keep a little box of items specifically for styling purposes: 

  • nice cups / teapots
  • books and magazines 
  • spectacles
  • lovely crockery and cutlery
  • scissors
  • blankets
  • tea leaves / coffee beans
  • tea and coffee accessories - tea strainers, spoons etc
  • trays
  • candles
  • pretty food - cake, pastries, fruit, etc.
  • foraged items - foliage, pinecones, shells
  • plants / flowers 
  • thrifted items - vintage linen, old photos and postcards, crockery

We hope you might feel inspired to get involved in our hashtag project, and you may well see your image in our S/S 17 issue due out in May! If you'd like more cuppa eye candy, then pop over to our dedicated Pinterest board... 

#91magazine_myquietcuppa

91 is pinning... Spring time

March is here! The month when it officially starts to feel like winter is behind us for another year, and we feel optimism and excitement for leisurely evenings enjoying the extra light and warmth. It's at this time of year I feel a real sense of 'fresh start' - much more than I do at the beginning of the year. 

Spring flowers are definitely some of my favourites - delicate narcissus, simple tulips and papery ranunculuses are perfect for indoor displays, while camelias, magnolias and blossom are starting to bloom outdoors.

It feels so refreshing and invigorating to be able to fling open the windows and doors to the house and not feel an icy blast, but instead a soft breeze, dappled with the sound of bird song and children playing. 

Take your coffee into the garden, and sit quietly or have a potter and simply breath in the tranquility that a Spring afternoon can bring. The comfort that hearty winter food brings is replaced with the need for fresher, lighter meals - if you're lucky you may have some edible flowers in your garden, which make for a seriously pretty salad! 

And what could be better than an early evening bike ride, perhaps catching the sun setting on your return? Only improved by coming across a scene like this! 

What's your favourite thing about spring readers? We'd love to hear! Plus, pop over to our Pinterest page for more Spring inspiration

91 is pinning... books

 Image pinned from  Design Sponge

Image pinned from Design Sponge

Here at 91 we're self-confessed bookworms. On these dark winter days we just love curling up with a good book. Of course we're also very partial to a lovely interior, so rooms that feature plenty of books are particularly dreamy, in our opinion. Here are some of our current crushes.

 Pinned from  Stitch Design Co.

Pinned from Stitch Design Co.

 Pinned from  Telegraph

Pinned from Telegraph

 Pinned from  Pretty Things and Co.
 Pinned from Blood & Champagne

Pinned from Blood & Champagne

You can find more bookish inspiration on our Books & Magazines Pinterest Board. Speaking of magazines, have you got your copy of our Autumn/ Winter edition? They're almost sold out now, so don't delay. You can buy one here.