HomeOutdoor Living

Everybody out!

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At the merest glimmer of warmth and sun, my family head outside to eat al fresco. My husband is always keen to point the sheer joy of dining outside. It is the simplest of pleasures – yet it is true that food always tastes better when consumed outdoors; be that a sandwich on your lap or a candlelit garden supper.Be that a potter around my pocket handkerchief garden before work, coffee in hand, doing a spot of dead-heading; porridge and fruit at our (now woefully rusty and in desperate need of replacing) table at the weekend; nipping in and getting that last table outside your favourite cafe; lunch in my parents’ garden (where, appositely, C had her first ever taste of food). Glorious.

In my dreams (one day, one day…) my garden dining facilities look something like this…

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However, as ever, the reality is much more prosaic. However, I think I may have discovered the secret to zhushing (yes, it’s a word, even if autocorrect disagrees most strongly) you garden on a budget (because who can really afford to spend a fortune when al fresco dining opportunities are so fleeting?): H&M home. Check this out…

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This tablecloth is a snip at £12.99. Heck, at that price, I’d use it even when my two-year-old has friends over. As it this one:

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Or head to Anthropologie. I love a selection of cheerily eclectic plates, platters etc. (I have white crockery, but find it better mixed and matched with something a little more exciting). Besides, who says you have to use paper plates and cups if you’re dining outside? It should be an occasion.

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Atom Art serving bowl, £22; Pescadero platter, £28; tinted base tumblers, £49.95 for the set (were £88)

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Kennedy May tea towel, now £7.95 (was £14) – these would make splendid, generously lap-covering napkins; Aurelia pitcher, £29.95 (was £48)

Zara Home also always gets my vote. Plastic tumber, £2.50; dinner plates, £3.99; tablecloths from £12.99
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