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December 4th, 2017

One Enchanted Evening.

I’m a great entertainer.

I’ve earned the moniker through plenty of trial, error and many a cracking party.

Few things make me happier than a beautifully laid table filled with family and friends who are ready to eat, laugh and dance.

Somehow there’s always dancing.

Dress up for dancing. My dress from sent direct from heaven via the genius of  Zimmermann.

When it comes to entertaining, I believe that more is more.

In using your good things, getting dressed up, acres of flowers, eating too much, drinking champagne from crystal glasses and in letting your hair down but keeping your heels on.

So this was a dream collaboration for me. 

To celebrate the launch of Ellen DeGeneres for Royal Doulton, I was invited to create the ultimate festive dinner party  – PJ Style.

My only brief was to draw inspiration from the word – – LOVE – which is written on each piece from the Ellen DeGeneres crafted by Royal Doulton collection .

So love it was, love we did and I share it here…with ♥♥♥

Popping Bottles.

CLICK TO BUY: Royal Doulton Highclere Crystal Flutes

My life motto is: start how you intend to finish.

So you want to kick off any party like you mean business.

And by business, I mean pretty drinks.

Saxon and I always serve champagne to start because a) we love the ceremony of an ice-filled silver bucket and b) Sax is a mad oyster lover (shucks to order for the guests) and there’s no greater complement to oysters than champagne.

It’s a great way to spoil your guest. We served Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2008 and Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2008 Rose. with Sydney Rock oysters all the way from Narooma on the South Coast.

Drink at the the beginning of  party is also an opportunity to use special things a silver tray and crystal flutes.

Little touches everywhere – that’s what gets remembered.

CLICK TO BUY: Ellen DeGeneres Crafted by Royal Doulton Bowl (29cm) Charcoal Grey Lines

The Only Margarita Recipe You’ll Ever Need.

CLICK TO BUY: Royal Doulton Highclere Crystal Tumbler

I’m big on the whole cocktail thing.

It’s like getting dressed up – a pretty drink, in a pretty glass – who’s unhappy?

No one. Ever.

If I was a cocktail I would be a margarita (classic not frozen)  – they’ve become a signature drink at our parties.

I served them in these beautiful Royal Doulton cut-crystal whisky tumblers which we rimmed with my new obsession – Tajin – a delicious Mexican chilli and lime salt.

The Recipe

30ml Patrón Silver Tequila

30ml Patron Citronage

30ml fresh lime juice.

Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for one minute. Pour into tumbler and garnish with salt or lime to taste.

The Guests Are The Stars.

Nothing starts a party quite like a photo shoot.

Except for a photo shoot with props. That really gets things going.

I like to set up a mini-studio at my parties and photograph guests as they arrive.

Here, I used two sets of metallic streamer curtains which we strung on fishing wire and a rose gold LOVE balloon.


CLICK TO BUY: Poppies For Grace Streamer Set $29.95; Poppies For Grace Love Balloon, $19.95

Make It Magical.

CLICK TO BUY: Royal Doulton Highclere Crystal TumblerRoyal Doulton Highclere Crystal Wine Glass; Ellen DeGeneres crafted by Royal Doulton Charcoal Grey Lines PlatterRoyal Doulton Cutlery Elegance 56 Piece Rack Box.

When you’re having a dinner party, the table is your stage.

Like great theatre everyone responds to a dramatic table.

I don’t care if you’re having two or twenty friends – the same effort should always apply.

A table set with love says: ‘I care about you, I want you to have a great time, welcome to my home’.

Flowers. You can’t do anything without flowers.

Roses have always been my thing. I like buckets of them. Which is an issue when it comes to $$$.

So, I go direct to the flower markets where I can buy an entire bucket (about 40 stems) for $60. You have to do the work once you get home – thorns, leaves, cutting, arranging – but that’s part of the process and it allows you to create an opulent, fragrant table without blowing the whole budget on blooms.

Create a great floral centrepiece by using different heights and shapes.  Here I used vases, brass bowls from vintage store and crystal tumblers. I then grouped them (sets of five or three) along the table runner.

To make it less bridal, I put a large vase of white tulips right in the centre.

I like tables that a bit crazy. 

I achieved that here with mismatched napery. I layered basic white cloth napkins with some vintage napkins (all from a thrift shop for under 50 cents each) to create a beautiful kind of crazy.

I never leave conversation to chance either. Place cards people. Place cards.

These from Papier D’Amour

Then I like to use different candles. Traditional pillars, tea lights and this time, I added fragrant pineapples.

Also lets take a moments to worship the table runner.

So simple but adds so, so much. Rose gold glitter from TYPO. Also practically free. You can buy it HERE

Shop the entire ROYAL DOULTON Crafted by Ellen De Generes Collection HERE

The real hero on any table is the flatware.

The Ellen DeGeneres crafted by Royal Doulton collection  is elegant and modern. I love the mix of washed out white and grey.

I took the opportunity to set with a large charger plate and then each dish came out on a different sized bowl or plate from the same family.

I’m traditional with my cutlery. Classic silver and set for when the Queen drops in for dinner.

The way your Mum taught you.

Food is Love.

Regular readers know just how much I love to cook. And for lots of people.

At this dinner party I got the night off and chef Peter Mason from Mason & Rose took over my kitchen.

Pete’s  food is delicious and unprentious  – just like him.

Over the years, Peter has catered countless special moments for my family – weddings, birthdays –  and he’s taught me that the best way to entertain for large groups is to  add colour, don’t over complicate and make flavour and presentation the heroes.

Pete’s also the guy that makes sure there’s left overs in your fridge for the next day. Here’s what we ate:

Cured Ocean Trout with Lime Creme Fraiche, Purple Radish, Crisp Capers & Dill served on ED Ellen DeGeneres Crafted by Royal Doulton Plate Charcoal Grey Lines.

Pan Fried Barramundi with Cauliflower Puree, Grilled Asparagus, Sprout Salad & Verjuice Dressing served on ED Ellen DeGeneres Crafted by Royal Doulton Plate Soft Brushed Glaze

White Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Berries, Chocolate Soil & Baby Basil served on ED Ellen DeGeneres Crafted by Royal Doulton Plate Charcoal Grey Lines bowls.

Music Maketh The Party.

When I said dance I was serious.

Dance, dance, dance.

I enjoy making a playlist but this time I didn’t need to.

I used the Spotify list from Ellen’s show which is full of bangers.

Turn it up!

PS: Royal Doulton don’t know this but…all the beautiful china and crystal I was given for my wedding was stolen. It broke my heart.

To be able to give my guests the luxury and beauty of fine china and crystal once more was a true gift.

Thank you so much. With love…xxxx


Photography Lichi Pan

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