Inside Out (Australia)

napkin dressing

A beaded necklace is a playful substitute for a napkin ring and can be a bonus take-home gift for family and friends.


says Shelley. Table decoration­s are an eclectic union of old and new, solid block colour and patterns typical to South Africa, everything underpinne­d by strong black accents. Here, the subtleties are to be discovered in the layering of materials, tones and textures such as beaded placemats, a hand-woven table runner, bone, wood and vintage silver-plated serving utensils as well as creative surprises: beaded necklaces used as napkin rings and pillar candles wrapped in brown paper. “All the colours work really well in my home and are not out of place among my collection­s,” says Shelley.

“Christmas is spent with family and friends and I prepare as much as possible the day before so I can relax on the actual day,” says Shelley of the big day itself. Turkey and trifle don’t feature on the menu. Rather, the table is laden with fresh salads, an assortment of meats, potatoes with rock salt and rosemary, and for dessert “always slabs of dark chocolate, panettone, Italian panforte, local wines, enough cheese to sink a ship, fresh cherries and vanilla bean ice-cream. Let’s just say no-one goes hungry!” says Shelley.

“Everyone arrives around 12pm. We open presents, chat and then head to the table around 4pm. Lunch extends into evening when we light candles, turn on the fairy lights and carry on until we all begin to fade. Sometimes Phoebe treats us to her piano tunes or plays guitar and we all sing along – alarmingly out of tune but with an A for effort. The place is a happy mess by the time everyone leaves. It’s always memorable for being a relaxed day with an abundance of the best sort of laughter – the kind that makes your cheeks ache.”

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