Laura Jackson: a host with the most

Laura Jackson: a host with the most

The broadcaster and Glassette co-founder creates a stunning tablescape for Neptune at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and shares her hosting tips.

For Laura Jackson, broadcaster and co-founder of homeware marketplace Glassette, entertaining is as much about how you make your guests feel as how you decorate your table. Not that she is averse to a well laid table, of course. “A good tablecloth, glassware and pretty plates set the tone,” she says, “but don’t turn it into a production. Your guests have come to see you so the main thing you can do is make them feel welcome, offer drinks and snacks and be present!”

For this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Laura collaborated with Neptune to create a welcoming and eye-catching tablescape for both a dining table and coffee table set. “I was so excited to curate the tables for the Neptune x Glassette collaboration. I wanted to bring the dining table to life with a vegetable still life,” says Laura. “The background was kept deliberately muted, and we let the natural wood of the table show through, keeping the colours of the tableware in soft neutrals with a few pops of colour in the Glassette pieces. Then we added colour and structure with the abstract vegetable arrangement that is a real talking point.”

The result is a sophisticated, vibrant and fun set, the perfect high summer dining scape. An outdoor Pembrey dining table is matched with Longmeadow dining chairs upholstered in a playful navy palm tree print fabric by Christopher Farr Cloth called Brisa, while the Kew coffee table is teamed with a Kew sofa, armchair and footstool, upholstered in Raya, a chic blue stripe Christopher Farr fabric. And that veggie centrepiece? The eye-catching sculpture includes wonky cucumbers and tumbling tomatoes.

When it comes to tablescaping in her own home, Laura’s main rule is ‘there are no rules’. A supper chez Jackson might feature lots of clashing colours and a maximalist theme one night, another evening will be pared back and simple with a focus on textures. Colour is often the starting point for the tables. Laura is a big fan of yellow - “every shade from neon yellow, hay yellow, butter yellow to light lemon” – and often teams it with either a strong navy or sky blue. Seasonal colours also influence her schemes. “I am currently growing sweet peas in my garden,” she adds. “Their whimsical colours and ombre patterns would be a good starting point for a table setting.”

More ideas come from travel. “I love to get out and about, meeting people, visiting hotels and restaurants and discovering unexpected places like old-school Sicilian restaurants and seeing how they style and present their tables and food,” says Laura.

Laura recommends doing as much prep as possible the day before, serving simple recipes rather than elaborate, multi-course meals and enjoying the moment. “Think about how you want people to feel in your home,’ she adds, ‘ultimately, they have come to see you. Your gift to them is showing you care through the food and time you are sharing.”

Laura’s top tips for summer tables

  • I like to have a few small displays dotted along the table to catch the eye; seasonal flowers or fresh herbs – both add a natural scent too.
  • I love napkins as they can be folded in so many fun ways, from swans to fans to envelopes to house cutlery.
  • Glassware can be mixed and matched. I like to use different vessels for different things – so tumblers for wine, and wine glasses for sparkling water.
  • I usually serve food on sharing platters as this always gets the conversation going and allows guests to curate their own plate – and means they can help themselves to cheeky seconds!
  • As soon as the sun goes down, I light lots of candles as they set the mood and citronella candles keep the bugs away.
  • And I always have a playlist ready to go – including some optional dance tracks!
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