Afternoon Tea With Villeroy & Boch

When Villeroy & Boch asked if I'd like to style some of their tableware products for a blog post, I knew immediately what I'd do. I love styling tableware, and I love pink glass too, so it had to be a pink themed afternoon tea setting! And what better excuse than to go out and buy beautiful flowers and posh macarons? I can think of none...

In my mind, if you're going to go to the trouble of doing afternoon tea, you should make sure it's as pretty as possible. And you should ALWAYS include macarons and finger sandwiches.

I selected items from three different collections to style the dining table:

Montauk, is brand new, and has a lovely relief rope motif, and is the prettiest off-white porcelain. The collection includes these oval side plates, which I think are just the perfect mini platter size. Platters are often too big for smaller gatherings, so I end up using plates instead (and then not having enough plates!), but these are spot-on for fruit, and of course, the aforementioned macarons and finger sandwiches. They're also perfect for cold-cuts, olives, pickles and cheeses.

The cups and saucers are so pretty with fresh mint tea, and I've added the Boston pink crystal glass tumblers (filled with fresh lemonade no less), into the mix to stop everything being too matchy, to give setting a more casual look, and of course to add a pop of colour.

These tumblers which also come in several different colours, are really stunning, and are now my new favourite glasses to drink from (water, juice, cocktails...). Watch-out to the first person to break one of them, because I won't be happy! They're heavy based and the textured exterior is just lovely.

And speaking of pink glass, the Coloured DeLight collection has some absolute beauties. My new favourite vase, which also doubles as a hurricane lantern, is the prettiest 'noble rose' colour, and has actually reinvigorated my love of fresh flowers.

I'd been consistently favouring muted greenery over blousy blooms, but this vase was just crying out for the latter! I filled it with pink and white tulips, sweet peas and ranunculus. So pretty! The only problem is that it seems that Cleo the kitten is quite the flower fan too, which I discovered after leaving the vase on the table unattended, only to return to a sheepish looking kitten, and lots of beheaded flowers! So I will have to keep fresh flowers on the bench where she can't get to them for the foreseeable, but I can cope with that, and the vase brightens up any space, and actually looks fab in my otherwise mostly monochrome kitchen.

Another favourite are these gorgeous little tea light holders also from the Coloured DeLight collection, which I have chosen in clear and 'berry fantasy'. A different pink to the vase and the tumblers, but they all look so pretty together. These also make the sweetest little bud-vases, and again the glass is thick and heavy - such great quality, as you would expect from Villeroy & Boch.

I really am quite taken with all these pieces, and in case you're wondering, I most definitely DID eat and drink the props, and the macarons (rose, vanilla and tonka) were delicious, as were the smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches. What is it about a sandwich with the crusts cut off that make them so good?! Answers on a postcard. Or in the comments below...

I'd also love to know what your favourite pieces are, and what food just has to be on your fantasy afternoon tea table?

This post is in collaboration with Villeroy & Boch.

How Do You Entertain At Home?

No, not jumping through hoops, putting on a show, or playing party games, well at least I hope not, unless it's a kids party of course. I'm talking about us grown-ups here.

I think we all have different ways of entertaining, and I also feel that the way we entertain reflects the way we decorate our homes and vice versa.

For me, decorating and entertaining follow the same pattern. I like to keep things casual and welcoming, but I also like a bit of luxury and glamour. So whilst I won't be serving caviar, I will buy a bottle of champagne occasionally. I can't afford a new kitchen with marble worktops (er, maybe that's because of all the champagne?), but I will buy a Diptyque candle, and serve that champagne in beautiful glasses. And of course make the house look (and smell) as nice as possible.

So entertaining for me is the whole package. It's about setting the scene, as much as it's about what I might serve.

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

I love entertaining at home, and I also love an excuse to celebrate, so when LSA International asked if I'd like to choose some pieces from their current collection for this post, I knew immediately what I'd do - help them celebrate of course! Well, it is their birthday after all.

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International
I'm sure you're already familiar with LSA. I already own several LSA pieces, in fact they're my go-to brand for vases and glasses, but what I didn't know is that their product range is much more broad, including products made with porcelain, leather, wood and enamelled steel, and that they actually started with a small collection of traditional Polish enamelware back in the sixties.

This year marks LSA's fiftieth birthday. The company is still owned by the family that founded it, and each year 250 pieces are added to the collection, all designed by Monika Lubkowska-Jonas (daughter of co-founder Janusz Lubkowski), who is the designer and creative director, with nearly all their glassware being mouth blown in Poland. 

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

Part of the fun for me when entertaining at home, is making the house look it's best - much to my husbands despair! (Quick, clean the bathroom, they'll be here in half an hour! Take the pile of clean washing upstairs! No! You can't leave the laundry drying there! Shut the bedroom door, I haven't made the bed! Where's the hoover??! You know, that kind of thing.)

Getting the lighting right if it's in the evening, lighting some scented candles no matter what time of day it is, getting some nibbles ready, and of course popping open a bottle of champagne (or prosecco when the purse strings are tighter), and pouring myself as glass whilst doing all of the above, is all part of the joy. If only my house looked the way it does when we're expecting company all the time.

So let's have a look at the lovely pieces I chose...

First up, is the super pretty Host bowl. Small, but perfectly formed, it's satisfyingly heavy and chunky, but that heaviness is offset by the delicate translucent pink. I love it. Perfect not only in the kitchen for olives and nuts, but also useful at the bedside for jewellery at the end of the day. To be honest, it's so pretty it doesn't need anything in it, and it looks perfectly lovely anywhere, as is.

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

The disc bowl immediately caught my eye; the black stained beech handle on the glass bowl is so unusual, and the brass fixtures finish it off beautifully. Again, this piece is so versatile. I've styled it here full of limes, but I imagine it will be filled with sweets very shortly as my kids favourite event of the year, aka Halloween rolls around! 

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

These Aurelia champagne saucers are super chic and glamourous, and make champagne seem even more special. The fluted glass gives them a vintage feel, and coupled with the fine stem, I find them completely irresistible.

But don't save them for champagne exclusively! Remember to pull them out for serving cocktails in too.

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

The stemless wine glasses are kind of for my husband. He's a wine lover, but me, not so much. However, I do love an Aperol spritz served in these glasses, and to be honest, they're so lovely to hold, even a sparkling water with a slice of lime tastes better in one of these. They're also perfect for the special non-alcoholic drinks I like making for the kids when we're entertaining, so they feel special too.

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

The city ice bucket is just the right size to be useful without taking up a huge amount of space, and does fit a full sized bottle of champagne even though it's not marketed as a champagne bucket in this size (this is the 18cm high size, there's a roomier champagne bucket size too). I'll be using it on the bar to have ice to hand when we finally finish the TV room at the top of the house! 

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

Lastly, the enamelled steel utility pot with leather handle, is a lovely piece whether used for its intended purpose or not. It's now found a home on the kitchen bench full of wooden utensils, but would also be a super cute vase.

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

Let me know if you're like me with your entertaining habits, because I think I might be a *little bit* of a nightmare. Does the house have to be looking Instagram-worthy before you'll let anyone through the front door?

How Do You Entertain At Home - French For Pineapple Blog - LSA International

This post is in collaboration with LSA International. All products are available from Amara. Happy Birthday LSA!