In collaboration with Asda George Home
Welcome to ‘Al’s Place’, home of traditional home-made pie and mash! I have really got my chef on lately and taking real delight from cooking warm, hearty and homely meals and as it’s ‘cosy’ season (and let’s face it, we’re all eating in a LOT more) it is so important to make your home feel inviting and inspiring at dinner time. Even more so if you spend your days home-schooling and working at the same table.
It doesn’t have to be every night, but maybe try once a month to create a bit of a special occasion. I put a dress and make-up on for our evening’s entertainments and it did wonders for my mood!
According to research (commissioned by Asda with 4media), over 1 in 2 (57%) of us are looking to cut back on spending in order to save as we head into the new year, so I’ve teamed up with Asda as one of their ‘Tap Tap Experts’ to offer my tips on saving money on eating out and creating an affordable staying in scenario using George Home product – a ‘home-staurant’ if you will!
Don’t save candles for special occasions
Light them! Use them – they’re an affordable item that can really add so much ambience to a room – these ‘Lemon thyme and verbana’ ones smell heavenly.
Embrace faux plants
Faux plants can add a wonderful dimension to a room, and have an added bonus that they never need watering! I love how these ‘string of pearl’ plants cascade off the table – they look great hanging from shelving, too.
Bring the outside in with fairy lights
Fairy lights aren’t just for the festive season, as the temperatures are dropping they can make you feel like you’re having dinner on a restaurant terrace whilst feeling cosy and warm.
Spread more affordable flowers over small vases
This is one of my favourite things to (I even did this for my wedding!) – grab the more affordable ‘wild’ flowers and split amongst lots of little vases so it feels like you have an abundance of fresh foliage spread over the table. Plus smaller vases mean you can see each other and chat easier over the arrangement!
Look for earthy tones
Trend-wise, matte, earthy tones are big in tableware at the moment and really make your dinner settings feel warm and welcoming. I am drawn to putty colours mixed with greys.
Rugs can add a real depth to the space
I had always underestimated the power of a great rug to change the feel of a room, it can really transform a room plus it feels rather lovely underfoot.
Don’t be afraid to mix things up
Tired of sitting in the same room you work in, or home schooled in all year? Think about moving furniture around to make it feel ‘fresh’, sometimes a simple chair or rug re-arrangement can be just what a room needs.
Add little restaurant touches
I used to laugh at my mum for decanting the mustard into a china pot for dinner but there is something special about these little touches – using simple things like a carafe of water on the table with fresh ice, lemon and mint (we often use anything we have!), can make you feel like you’re dining in a Michelin starred restaurant (and tastes delicious!).
Make sure you ‘book in’ times
It’s so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced world, so even just once a month, try and book a special night in, give it a theme and enjoy it. Set up a playlist rather than watch the same reality TV series and make it feel like you’ve gone out for a meal, even if you have just made pie and mash at home!