Dec 14 2013
On the agenda from now through NYE: parties, parties and more parties. Before you bring another bottle of wine, consider thanking your host with something they'll remember and find useful in the year ahead.
So we invited the immaculate and divine Ashley from Lavishley to curate a selection of gifts your hosts will rave over. Known for throwing amazing dinner parties with aplomb (yes, we've stalked those on Instagram), Ashley picks out cool, nifty gifts that keep giving, and also shares her thoughts on what makes a party really rock.
1. Who is Lavishley, and how did the website come about?
Lavishley is about living well. It’s mostly about cooking, eating and entertaining at home, though there’s travel and such thrown in for good measure.
2. We love your website and its focus on home entertainment. What is your signature style - from food to tableware and decor?
Food – classic, comforting and communal. Nothing nouvelle, avant-garde or experimental, and definitely no foam – I wouldn’t want anything to backfire just when 12 people are about to descend upon my place for dinner. Décor on the other hand is a whole different ballgame. Go crazy and do something different each time. Even if the centerpiece doesn’t turn out quite right, no one ever remembers so long as the wine is flowing, the food is satisfying and the conversation is fulfilling.
3. Thank you for Curating our "Gifts for the Host" collection. What are some of your top picks from this collection?
It was actually a lot of fun, almost like creating a wishlist of things I’d love to receive this Christmas. Tableware. I love plates. Especially pretty, patterned ones that can be mixed and matched – they are an ideal gift as it can be tailored to your budget – you don’t have to give someone a full set of 6, just enough for them to switch up their table settings from time to time.
Collectors tins for recipe cards. It’s wonderful to receive recipe-cards from friends of their own go-to/foolproof dishes, but I always have a hard time keeping track of them as they come in all shapes and sizes. A box would be the ideal storage space for all of them, especially one as pretty as these!
4. What would you normally bring along to housewarmings and house parties?
If I’m headed to a housewarming, I would gift them a decanter. It’s not an item that most first-time-home-owners invest in, but it is that little bit of unnecessary which has the wonderful effect of making a table setting just that much nicer. As for memorable gifts - the hungover cook book was gifted to me by a friend, it’s an especially important piece of literature for a college-going-twentysomething, or any twentysomething.
For house parties, when I’m not sure what’s cooking, wine is the best bet. Otherwise, I’ve never had a hostess refuse a dessert (one less thing for them to worry about).
5. Pet peeves and loves about home entertainment?
The sense of fun and community that comes from gathering people together for good food. The ability to have real conversations, face to face, seated around the table for hours and hours after the meal has ended (unlike in a restaurant where you’re likely to get chased out for the next seating or in a bar where the music is simply too loud). The fact that at the dinner table, everyone is equal and it matters not if you’re a banker, entrepreneur, artist or teacher. What matters is your ability to engage in good conversation with your companions.
6. What's cooking this year for Christmas and NYE?
Turkey! It’s always on the menu, my sister demands it. One of these days when she’s away I’ll finally have a chance at a Christmas roast.
8. How is design important to you?
To put it simply - good design makes the world a better place. It combines comfort with aesthetics in a practical and meaningful manner. All of the things you look for when buying a piece of kitchen equipment.
9. Any tips for naiise living in the year ahead?
Be present. Sometimes you discover new things just by listening and participating in what you’re already involved in.