Wow your guests when they come to stay
Going big and staying home this Christmas? Getting guest ready pushes stress levels into code red territory. Survive with Muddy's top tips to hosting with style.
BETWEEN THE SHEETS
Give the gift of quality zzzz – irrespective of how far your guests have travelled or how many glasses of wine consumed, lush bed linen is a must. Need an upgrade? Josephine Home’s bed linen is stylish, feels like couture and, in classic white with a choice of grosgrain trim, is timeless. The only danger is your guests will love it so much they’ll stay longer than planned. You have been warned.
Pillowcase £29.50; Duvet cover from £145
SMELLS GOOD, YAH
Set the tone for their stay with a scented candle or diffuser. We’re big fans of Literati & Light’s luxury candles with fragrances inspired by great books. Pop a candle on the bedside table and let the scent tell the story. Narnia is from the Magical Lands Collection and is blend of Turkish delight, apple, pine and snow. Don’t be surprised to find your guests rifling around in the wardrobe.
Roaring fires, too much booze, not enough water. Pop a carafe of H2O and some glasses in their room and save them from running the 3am gauntlet to the kitchen in their PJs, pants or, god forbid, the nude. We’re loving the Hoft Hem Mr & Mrs water carafe with its sleeping face motif on the complementary cup, which also doubles up as a bottle stopper. Emergency box of paracetamol, optional.
LIGHT EM UP
After a few glasses of Baileys your guests may need to guided in to their bedroom like a plane coming into land at Heathrow. A cute table lamp should do the trick and these simple ceramic bulb lamps from Oliver Bonas are simple and stylish.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Bedside books are a thoughtful touch. It may not be read, but it’s the gesture that counts. Serve up a literary gem, like Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You. From the author of Normal People The Times described it as Rooney’s best novel yet. Or perhaps Richard Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice.
Soak it in
Get all fancy and have special guest towels that feel like your wrapping up in marshmallow (without the stickiness) – super-soft, fluffy and giving off all the boutique hotel vibes. These Josephine Home bath sheets (above) can be personalised in a variety of colours with initials or words of up to eight letters.
Face cloths £6. Towels from £19.50.
UPGRADE YOUR SMELLIES
Get rid of that well-worn piece of soap and pop a luxurious shower gel in the bathroom. A gift for you and your guests. Noble Isle’s Fireside scent has all the warm, woody fragrance of a country inn and is pretty darn perfect for the festive season. If you want to have sniff before you buy, it’s stocked at The Corner Shop in Woolhampton. A Muddy fave brand.
DO FORGET YOUR TOOTHBRUSH
When I travel I often forget to pack my knickers, but toothbrush comes in second. Cue mad dash to the nearest shop. Have a few fresh out of the box toothbrushes on standby for your guests. These eco-friendly Georganics beechwood toothbrushes will do the trick and they look better than your average plastic brush. Available from planet friendly lifestyle store Four State.
Tablescaping – the art of laying the table. It has become an event in itself. Don’t stress. Head out on a walk and forage some greenery, throw on a pretty table cloth, add cute napkins and then stack every plate you own at each place setting – mixing and matching cutlery if you need to. If you’re looking for new table linens head straight to The Summer House Collection for fun, festive designs.
Star napkins £6, Table Cloth £60
Raise your glasses
Check the your glassware sitch. By Christmas the tumblers and wine glasses looks more like a bric a brac stall at the village fete. You can’t beat Ikea for value. Grab some nice basics, then zhuzh up one set with something bit swish. My top tip? Start with fancy, no one will care what they drinking out of once you moved past the Champagne and cocktails. Check out Hoft Hem for good value beautiful glassware.
Coupes £26 for four
ARE YOUR BEING SERVED?
Christmas is all about the food. OK, presents too, but largely the food. Entertaining requires big plates for serving. Scour charity shops for unique vintage gems or add this Art & Kisses platter from Hotel Magique’s collaboration with Anthropologie. Who cares what the food looks like when the plate is this pretty.
FAKE IT, DON’T MAKE IT
Avoid the revolving door of cooking and cleaning up with at least one dish that’s pre-prepared. If you’re running out time for a massive cook-off, order in. The Funghi Club has a new shop in Hungerford with lots of comforting French classics. You can also order for delivery or collection. Delicious food with a little ooh la la.
It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas. Whether you’re stressed out, ready to celebrate or just simply love a G&T, the award-winning (and local) Berkshire Botanical Dry Gin is a must for your festive drinks trolley. Why? Firstly, it tastes amazing and secondly it features a hint of Norway Spruce. Cheers.