How to make an(other) evening in feel like an evening out, with tips on creating an ambiance and Irish tableware buys that'll last far beyond lockdown.
All of the latest mutterings from Leinster House tell us that this lockdown is likely going to last well beyond this coming Easter Sunday, so you'll have to relinquish that dream of bimbling into town for a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta for a while yet.
Instead, many of you have been getting dressed up for the dining room, slipping out of three days of pyjamas and into something a little more formal, say jeans, for a date with your loved one. As well maybe taking a shower and slapping on something more than moisturiser, there's also the dinner itself to contend with.
Here are our tips on how to create the perfect romantic date night experience.
Everything improves by candlelight. Pools of warming flickering hues set an atmospheric tone to the room, gently lighting up the faces of loved ones and even casting a bougie glow over the main course – even it’s the only course, and it’s leftovers from the night before.
Don’t skimp on candles. Good candles will not only have none of the nasties of cheap candles – avoid any candle that has got limonene in it as it can turn into a carcinogen once burned – but they also last much longer, won’t leak down the side and will give you far more bang for your buck.
Hand-dipped candles, €14 for two, Brookfield Farm
We love these beautiful hand-dipped beeswax candles from Brookfield Farm in Co Tipperary. The farm has devoted 3 hectares of wildflower meadows, blackberries, tree blossoms and clovers to nourish their hives of bees, from which they harvest the wax. They burn so beautifully and really last.
One or two candles should be more than enough. Keep your candle holders equally simple so that they can be pulled out for birthdays, confirmations and Christmasses alike. This Circle candleholder from Industry & Co is a little mini sculpture in itself and will sit beautifully as a piece of art when not in use.
Balance candle holder in brass, €37, Industry & Co
Not everything here needs to match, despite the what the sets of 25 pieces of glassware try to tell you. It’s lovely to mix and match it up with glassware. Rule of thumb here, and for everything really, is to buy what you love.
If you really love it, then it’ll work with everything else you really love because it’s your style. Second-hand shops tend to have a huge array of mismatched glassware, so pop in and pull a few that you feel work together. However, if you feel that is simply not for you, think about adding colour and texture to your matching glassware instead, as each will catch the light differently
Festive beaker, €34, Jerpoint Glass
Don’t bother with a full tablecloth, it’ll only get red wine on it the moment you sit down and you’ll be minding it every time you take it out… which means you will rarely take it out, if at all.
Instead opt for a table runner, it’ll give your table the luxury feel of a tablecloth without the need to look after it as much. Natural textures like linen and cotton are always the best option as they’ll wash well and won’t date.
'Irish Wildflower' natural linen table runner, €76, Jennifer Slattery
A beautiful jug is a great purchase, not only because it will sit happily on a shelf while not in use, but it will also double as a vase if you need one. We are totally smitten with Mark Campden’s design and this Teasel jug will work for a display of flowers or simple as a water jug.
Mark Campden Teasel jug, €98, Irish Design Shop
If flowers aren’t your thing but you need to tie things together on the table, why not opt for a small wooden board. It’ll work a as cheese platter, or even just a place for your salt, pepper and butter.
Olive ash board, €58, Two Wooden Horses
And finally, a tray because you don’t need to think about the washing up tonight, just ship it into the kitchen where it can wait until tomorrow. And let’s be honest, you’ll have time to do it tomorrow.
Folk flower round tray, €35, Article
Featured image via Rowen & Wren
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