The Simple Things - - NEST -

I love hav­ing friends over for meals and en­joy pre­par­ing and cook­ing the food but by the time the door­bell rings and they all pile in, the ta­ble is still bare. As a re­sult, I throw plates and cut­lery on it in a hig­gledyp­ig­gledy fashion that looks noth­ing like those at­trac­tive over­head shots you see in mag­a­zines. How can I master ta­ble lay­ing? An­swer in brief: Ta­ble lay­ing is ac­tu­ally a pretty straight­for­ward busi­ness that should not daunt you. Un­less you live in a stately home and have to wres­tle with sil­ver­ware, napery and cut glass, all you need to do is place a few plates and cut­lery on the ta­ble in an or­derly fashion. Dra­goon an­other mem­ber of the house­hold to carry out this task, prefer­ably an hour or so be­fore guests ar­rive, and it be­comes even sim­pler. With a lit­tle su­per­vi­sion, chil­dren can lay a ta­ble as well as any­body, and of­ten re­spond pos­i­tively to be­ing trusted with this grown-up task. You can swan in at the end to straighten nap­kins and make sure glasses are fin­ger­print-free.

Pea­pod table­ware, from £15 (four coast­ers) thorn­backand­peel.co.uk

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