Let’s send 2020 on its way with a whimsical table setting, with plates featuring handpainted watercolours of woodland animals set with humble pine cones and some glitzy gold.

Designed by artist and founder Hannah Dale of Wrendale Designs, they are described thusly on the website: “The effervescent style of Royal Worcester’s Wrendale Designs brings a splash of British countryside to the home”. Indeed, it does.

There are four each of dinner, salad and appetizer plates, so 12 patterns in total. The dinner plates have the animals perched along the edges, with the coordinating creature centred on the salad plate. We have the hairy hare.

He is munching vigorously on a piece of greenery, looking quite disreputable.

The field mice are charming.

The chubby tummy on the bottom one kills me. Suddenly, Dundee looks almost svelte. (Well, perhaps not, Judge for yourself in the photo at the bottom of the post).

A colourful Mallard duck looks quite dignified on the dinner plate but is clearly losing it on the salad plate.
Oh, maybe not so dignified. The feathers are starting to moult.
They’re really flying now!
Lastly, we have the red squirrel.
Ever curious.
He’s puffed up like a powder puff here. Adorable.
The appetizer plates feature different animals to the original designs, except for the mouse, who has a second debut. 
They add new and colourful elements with the pink baubles and crackers and the cheerful green hat on the cow.
In styling the table, I was guided by the contrast of luxe gold sparkles and the woodland theme;  I was also tempted to focus on the pink elements in the appetizer plates. It had me stumped for a while – which one to highlight?
The gold sequined runner and the chargers picked up on the scattered gold confetti in the plates. Ok – good, consistent base.


Gold twist-stem Venetian goblets and a Venetian footed bowl with gold rigerie add a bit more sparkle.


I was lured by my pink Venetian compotes and candlesticks, and some pink glass baubles, but there wasn’t enough pink in all the plates to make it work. 
See what I mean? There are touches of pink, but not enough to look cohesive. So I went with more natural elements – pine cones, birch bark wood pieces and pine cone candles.
Pine cone napkin rings from Pier 1 a couple of years ago had a touch of gilding on them, so that added another bit of luxe.
It was an enjoyable creative endeavour, and I was thrilled with how it all came together. 
Despite my reservations about the potential for cat-wrought-havoc, I left the table up for a few days to enjoy it. 
I came down one morning to a winter wonderland outside. It seemed fitting somehow.
And so, we end a rather wretched year on a note of hope, with three vaccines now approved; rollout has begun in many countries. I look forward to the days ahead when we can once again welcome our friends and family to meals at tables set for many people. 
Happy New Year to all my readers! May your 2021 be filled with love, joy and good health. See you then.