With the summer season well and truly over (it's absolutely bucketing down here today), our thoughts have been turning increasingly towards autumn at Middle Colenso Farm. While many of our guests are drawn to the blue seas and clear skies of summer, there are others like me who actually prefer Cornwall in the autumn - bracken turning brown and crisping in the hedgerows, a blustery walk along the beach and an afternoon spent in front of the fire with a good book.
I'm currently working on creating some seasonal images of the cottages and yesterday I did an autumnal photoshoot in The Old Granary. The largest of our cottages, it sleeps six and has an airy open plan living area which is perfect for family get-togethers. The vintage Ercol Plank table takes pride of place in the dining room and extends to seat up to 10 people, making it ideal for those of you who want to book two or indeed all three cottages but still enjoy meals together.
For the shoot, I wanted to capture a lunch table setting and thought I'd share exactly how I did it. It was very simple and something you can easily recreate at home on a budget.
I'm a trained florist and love nothing more than making a big arrangement but when it comes to table settings, big isn't necessarily better. An enormous urn of flowers between you and the person opposite you isn't exactly conducive to conversation so I often prefer to use smaller vases dotted down the table. They're quick and easy to arrange even if you're a bit clueless when it comes to flowers. I used antique ink bottles of varying sizes and shapes. You can often find them in charity shops and they tie in the with the rustic vibe in The Old Granary but any little vase will do. They don't have to be matching. In fact, I think it works better if they're not.
I didn't buy any flowers for this one. I do grow my own but the only things I used from the cutting garden were the lovely rusty-coloured rudbeckias. At this time of year I like to mix fresh and dried flowers Everything else was foraged - bracken, rose hips, hawthorn berries, grasses and a few dried seed heads.
I placed a few in each vase, paying attention to size and making sure the arrangements looked good all round as they will be seen from both sides of the table. Don't be afraid to edit your flowers once your vases are in place. Stand back from the table, add flowers or foliage to fill the gaps and remove anything that will be in the way once people are seated. I tied a few berries and pieces of bracken together with a narrow ribbon to create a little decoration for the napkins.
I used a plain linen table cloth which allowed the orange of the napkins and the flowers to really pop. Holiday cottage fire regulations don't encourage the use of candles but for me they're a must so I used a bit of artistic licence.
If you're interested in staying in The Old Granary or our other cottages you can book online here. If your'e thinking about staying with us for a special occasion and would me to provide flowers or style your table then do get in touch. My partner in crime, who caters for my fitness retreats, can also provide food.