The Easter long weekend has long been synonymous with getting away. More often than not, this is the time of year where we find ourselves retreating from the bustle of our everyday lives, celebrating the break with friends and family.
Indulging in fine wine, big books, warmth, flickering fires, layers that soften, rough-hewn textures, and good food. We’ve got great last-minute gifts and homewares to get your house Easter ready. Ideas for setting a simpler table. Plus a few really great shops to visit. Elevate your Easter, with us!
Our key motivator is the incoming guests and the very need-to-be-cosy-ness-of-Autumn. It’s about autumn vegetables, chocolate (tons of it), candlelight, lambswool and fun. We’re getting busy piling bowls with aubergines, zucchinis, potatoes, parsnips, beets and apples.
Set a Simpler Table
Try a pared-down approach to table settings that is chic yet puts everyone at ease. Hurl a length of fabric over your table. Choose stoneware or porcelain plates, sparkling glassware. Buy a decent peppermill, and fill salt cellars generously with sea salt flakes. Forget all matching tablecloths, napkins, coasters and placemats. They scream, ‘I have no taste and no personality.’ Mix things up! If you want to keep the tone casual and you’ve got a wooden table with a good patina, just use some placemats in rattan or seagrass.
Back To Basics
Flowers are lovely, but for casual parties arrange a dozen brown onions on a plate. Put cabbages in urns, frilly mignonette lettuce in deep mugs, and pile potatoes in a bowl. Place bunches of rhubarb and spinach in a jug. Bunch rosemary in a pretty vase. See the beauty of nature in all its forms; all you have to do is display it. Fill trays with lemons. They look (and smell) fabulous on an Autumn table.
Buy a Cyclamen
The charismatic yet aloof beauty, is suddenly the plant-of-the-moment popping up in both modern and traditional interiors all over industry heavyweight magazines like Architectural Digest to Elle Décor. Part of its appeal, is its intriguing flowers and leaves with velvety white upright petals plus foliage that is a focal point, with serene clumps of ivy-shaped, round dark leaves.
It looks great teamed with planters in wicker, ceramic, marble, brass, copper. Keep them somewhere cool and bright and place them on the mantel so that they can be admired, before putting them away again – like children being presented to their parents for inspection by nanny.
Upgrade Your BASKETS
Now with so many brands doing versions, there’s no excuse not to have a great basket. You can use them to stow everything from plants to magazines, wood, blankets, towels, toys, loo paper, a citrus tree, whatever you fancy. Remember, there are a few rules to observe when purchasing a new-season basket: the emphasis is on proportion, weave, colour, detailing and finish. You don’t want a basket that is top heavy, badly-made or too yellow in hue. Zara Home, www.zarahome.com.au
Visit Escape Map
The new Southern Highlands hotspot is an oasis of industrial, rustic and vintage. With some of the best cabinets, bookshelves, benches, consoles, mirrors, screens, bedsides, trunks, chairs, trunks. This is timber stuff as it should be that will add character, individuality and interest to any space instantly. An Easter sale sees big discounts, too. 0450 980 784, 337 Bong Bong Street, Bowral, www.escapemap.com.au
Go to Flower Flower
A good provider of cyclamens, phalaenopsis orchids, buxus, agaves, bromeliads, and affordable seasonal flowers and leaves. Expect a huge array at prices that will encourage you to come home with lots of flowers and leaves to soften your interior. 20A Bowral Rd, Mittagong, NSW, (02) 4872 3883, www.flowerflowernsw.com.au
Investigate Jetmaster Fires
Now is the time, to add a fireplace to your home. This range is so good that real estate agents feature them as selling points in house ads. There’s an extensive Gas and wood-burning models are available but we prefer the wood firebox you can build into your existing fireplaces. Big range of mantels, fascias and trims in iron, wood, marble and limestone. Our choice at our country house. (02) 99581777, www.jetmaster.com.au
10 EASTER PRESENTS YOU WON’T HAVE THOUGHT OF
- A simple more affordable option for friends who love gardening: a wooden basket.
- A string-tidy in timber with string and scissors. Indispensable, for everyone.
- Salad Servers: the perfect hostess gift for pals who entertain a lot.
- New placemats, in rattans, wickers or bamboo weaves, that will help step up your pal’s entertaining game
- Scented candles always work. Our fave brand right now is local candlemaker, Lumira (atelierlumira.com).
- A great vase in a low open shape that will bring your pal a lifetime of pleasure.
- French, Italian or English soaps, potions, lotions, unguents, bubbles, scents, scrubs, balms, bath salts and oils in lovely scents. We love L’Occitane’s verbena liquid soap made from herbs grown in France, that designers use in their own homes, $42 (loccitane.com). Or Acqua di Parma anything (davidjones.com.au).
- Things that add to a collection, whether it’s witches brooms a friend collects to hang on her wall, glass candlesticks, ceramic cakestands, baskets or books.
- Anything small and beautifully formed that conforms to your friend’s taste. A Chinese plate, a ceramic milk jug or a bamboo hook, bought specifically with the recipient in mind, can strike the right note.
- Monogrammed anything: everyone loves personalised pieces from pyjamas to iPhone covers and luggage tags.