There’s nothing that gets me more excited for Christmas than setting up our extra special food feature for the December issue.
For this year’s shoot we headed to the Borders to the spectacular Duns Castle to create a truly Scottish feast.
While you may not be spending your own Christmas Day in a castle, we thought we’d share some tips and advice on how you can make your dining area a festive feast for the eyes as well as your tummies!
Our attire became part of the decoration as we adorned gorgeous kilts and sashes provided by Kinloch Anderson. We decided to go for a mix of tartans which were Black Watch, Robertson Red and Scottish National. To keep it interesting we also had the chaps wear a mixture of green and charcoal tweed waistcoats. The ladies wore sashes in a mixture of the same tartans to compliment the gents.
The majority of our decorations were provided by the lovely team at Dobbies Garden Centre with some stunning additions from the castle owners, Mr and Mrs Hay.
With Duns Castle having been family owned for the past 300 years, they’ve amassed a collection of some beautiful items such as the silver candelabras which formed part of the centre piece for our table. Candles are such an easy way to bring a warm and magical atmosphere to any occasion and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d stepped into a scene from Beauty & The Beast as I sat down to my dinner.
Dotted around our table were also lots of individual silver pots filled with Parrott Tulips, Skimmia, Eustoma, Hypericum Berry, Eucalyptus, Acacia, Eryngium, and Heather. These were created by the team at Narcissus, an Edinburgh based florist who also run a flower school.
From Dobbies’ extensive Christmas range we used their Bonnie tartan runner (£22.99) for the centre of the table to give an immediate nod to our Scottish theme. As no Christmas table is complete without crackers, we opted for the Holly Bell design (£16.99 for a pack of 6). We used the snowflake sparkle napkins in gold to mop up any dribbles from over zealous feasting.
Scattered around the room were oval serving dishes in red and gold (£5.99 each) which were filled with the wonderful scented Winter spice pinecones (£7.00 per bag) and a selection of red and gold baubles from the gold (33-pack – £9.99) set and the glass mixed shapes (£14.99).
To bolster our own tree we used a gorgeous champagne glitter artificial garland (£29.99) and covered it in the warm white string lights, 360 LED (£34.99) and warm white lights on copper wire (£14.99). We dotted gold acorn baubles (£9.99) and stag and snowflake log decorations (£5.99).
As it was a photo shoot we wanted to create mini festive spaces that would offer alternative shots while also providing a view of Christmas wherever you looked. My favourite featured the medium standing nutcracker (£24.99) which we surrounded with various sized pillar candles and nuts of course! Other little touches were the adorable mini Christmas jute gift bags (£6.99 for a pack of 3).
Our December issue is available in stores now and includes some truly tremendous Scottish food inspiration along with all the recipes, the perfect paired wines and an extra helping of festive cheer.
Venue: Duns Castle
Food: Private chef Pip Wallen-Priestly – polochef.com
Clothing: Kinloch Anderson
Decorations: Dobbies Garden Centre