Don't Save Your Best for Best- Great Advice From Style Experts at Amara PLUS Gingerbread Recipe

My Granny had a whole cabinet stuffed with glassware and china she never used. Mostly the contents were wedding gifts which she only brought out once or twice a year. Some of it never made it out from behind the glass. Such a shame when a beautifully laid table featuring your "best" belongings can bring such joy, even if you are only eating beans on toast.

floral table setting at Amara lunch

As was the tradition I also chose a dinner service for our wedding, and also never used it. It went out of fashion quite quickly after only a couple of outings onto our dining table and I replaced it with a design which the ceramics company still manufactures - handy for adding to the collection when accidents happen or if like me your family ends up larger than initially anticipated!

Although I originally bought matching serving bowls nowadays I love to complement the plates with different pieces, especially statement serving bowls, serve-ware and glassware.

Tablecloths are a weakness of mine too - you can change the whole mood of a meal with a table cloth, even using the same ceramic and glassware. From fine dining to rustic eating - you can ring the changes. It's so much fun playing with your table settings!

Recently I went along to the #AmaraXmas18 lunch hosted by Amara, the life, style and living website which offers a wide range of beautiful products for all tastes and budgets. The hashtag for the day was #LetTheShowBegin which was very appropriate as the festive season is almost upon us.

Amara table setting

From candles and lamps to jewellery and bags it's like having the whole High Street at your fingertips when browsing online.

Their dining range is dreamy and whether you want to host college mates for spag bol or impress the in-laws with your high end signature dish, you are bound to find pieces to highlight and complement your food and drink.

Amara's message for us all is: "Don't save your best for best!"

What a great message. Life is short. Smell the roses, eat the chocolate and use the best crockery if it brings you joy.

Walking into the decorated dining room in London last week, even the coolest of influencers seemed blown away by the beauty of the table, enhanced by scented candles everywhere and the gentle tinkling of a piano. I certainly felt joyful (although the cranberry and ginger Bellinis complete with a rosemary sprig stir may have assisted that feeling)

cranberry and ginger Bellini with rosemary sprig stir

Everything felt so luxurious from the embellished Christmas baubles to the gold cutlery,  and using larger plates as chargers was inspired.

Christmas bauble

We ate well too, enjoying a festive green poke bowl with sweet pickled cabbage, crispy fried sprout leaves, buttered greens, herbed shoestring fries, a parsley and rosemary pancake and herb cured smoked salmon with a pistachio crumble and sage and parsley béarnaise sauce.(Click HERE for recipe)

salmon poke bowl

Our dessert, presented for us to share from a gorgeous gold serving dish with natural agate salad servers, was a pile of sweet thyme Yorkshire pudding, berries with cinnamon almond crumble and creme anglais.

sweet Yorkshire puddings with fruit and crumble

Amara even provided us with a take away snack box of festive goodies selected from a dessert table which were pounced upon as soon as I got home by my daughter and husband.

festive baking

I loved the simple touch of tying striped string round the gingerbread figure's necks - definitely a style point I plan to add to the next batch I bake. The recipe is below if you fancy making your own.


175g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
60g butter
90g light brown muscovado sugar
1 egg yolk beaten
2tbsp golden syrup or stem ginger syrup
sprinkle of sea salt flakes

You will also need baking sheets and a gingerbread shaped cutter.


Sift flour and bicarb of soda together.
Add ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add butter and using a food processor or by hand combine until you have a fine crumb.
Stir in sugar.
In a separate bowl or jug combine egg and syrup then add to crumb mix.
Mix together until it forms a dough like consistency.
Knead briefly then wrap in parchment or clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.
Line baking sheets and flour your work surface.
Roll out the dough to around half a centimetre thick then cut out your gingerbread shapes.
Place them on the baking tray leaving them a little room to grow!
Bake for around 12 minutes or until they begin to darken.
Cool on a wire rack then decorate with icing, ribbon or string.

gingerbread figures decorated for Christmas

Disclaimer : I attended a lunch hosted by Amara and took away a £100 goodie bag of products from the Amara website. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.

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