Sharing food is the universal expression of friendship and hospitality, and much of the enjoyment of inviting friends and family to join in a meal is the pleasure of preparing it, making the table look inviting as well as the food delicious. A beautifully laid table provides an inviting ambience that both welcomes the guests and complements the meal. The basic elements of linen, crockery, glass and cutlery are always there, but even the same pieces can be set off in different ways. This new book is full of original ideas and beautiful inspirations to create your own stunning and highly individual table settings.
What a brilliant but busy summer/autumn I had in 2013!
As well as writing the latest Great British Sewing Bee Book ( which reached #4 Amazon Bestseller) to companion the BBC2 TV programme, I spent sunny days down at Mapledurham, the film location for BBC2's new programme, The Big Allotment Challenge, researching and styling that companion book.
A professional journalist and author of more than 30 books, I've been writing about all things home, garden and making for about 30 years. I've always believed everyone is creative and love to inspire anyone who wants to flex those creative muscles to have a go! I do this by showing-them-how through photographs, illustrations and words. I see myself as a kind of translator - taking what seems to be complicated and making it simple to understand and easy to do for the reader.
I'm loving the current resurgence of interest - passion, even - to acquire lost traditional skills and use them in new ways. I also think, once you have those tools, one form of creativity can inform and enrich another. I live in a particularly vibrant and creative neighbourhood in South East London, which provides me with a constant source of inspiration. I personally believe simplicity in design is often the most beautiful, and this is what I aim for in any projects I produce. I hope that gives people the confidence to develop their own sense of style and creativity.
For me, I've been sewing since I was five years old and my interest in gardening started not long afterwards as I trailed behind my horticulturally-trained grandmother around her vegetable garden and flower garden. I've been writing about crafts and sewing and gardening for more than 20 years in newspapers, magazines and books, and for about five years, I had a regular column in Practical Gardening magazine.