If in doubt, delegate, says tablescape devotee and founder of The Designed Table, Tara O’Connor …
“Every summer we rent a house in Connemara for a few weeks in August, as do lots of our friends. The holiday is all about entertaining and being entertained. We love to invite friends to stay with us at the weekends. As a tablescape devotee I always bring what I need, from lobster pots to vases for flowers to table linen to glassware and matching plates. I also have a stash of board games for after-dinner fun.
“I’ve found that it’s best to delegate when guests are staying dividing breakfast, lunch and dinner chores so that everyone looks after certain meals. As the hostess, I look after dinner. For summers by the sea, that means seafood, usually fresh crab claws or lobster and steaks on the barbecue. I serve everything on large platters buffet-style to keep it simple. New potatoes with butter and mint and salads from the Hemsley & Hemsley cookbook are always my go-to.
“I confine drinks to rosé wine, beer and maybe a Hugo Spritz. Dessert is always from a local bakery – summer holidays are not for spending your time whisking up a pavlova. S’mores on the firepit create great excitement for young and old, so anytime I see giant marshmallows I pick them up as they are hard to find in peak holiday season.
“If we are dining in a friend’s house, I bring a really good scented candle or placemats, rather than flowers or wine.”
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