This Is Summer: Accesssories for entertaining
Summer entertaining looks so much more impressive with the right accessories. There are ideas here to suit every budget
Monday 30 June 2008
Cappuccino garden chairs
£59 for two from Marks & Spencer
These funky folding chairs from M&S are a brave departure from the usual drab garden teak – and great value for money. Made from all-weather durable steel, they will stand up to our unpredictable British summer and fold neatly away at the end of the season.
Plant salad servers
£18 from Black and Blum
Bring some high design to your salad bowl this summer with these quirky leaf servers and dressing pot. Fresh from the Anglo-Swiss design duo Black and Blum, they are a long way from your average salad tongs.
Coral bottle shopper
£20 from the Conran Shop
Created with the great British picnic in mind, this stylish shopper from German designer Katya Horst is tough enough to carry up to six 1.5 litre bottles. Perfect for lazy days in the park, or eco-friendly trips to the supermarket.
That's my Knife and matching sheath
The humble kitchen knife has had a summer makeover. Available in a trendy assortment of seasonal yellows, oranges, reds and greens, each knife comes with its own protective blade, making it perfect for picnics.
Turquoise plastic pitcher
£12 from Graham and Green
Once considered the ugly sister of tableware, plastic is having something of a renaissance this summer. This jewel-coloured turquoise pitcher from Graham and Green is good enough for indoors or outdoors – and won't break the bank.
Carnival four-person picnic hamper
£75 from Heals
Forget old carrier bags and dodgy Tupperware sets, this hand-woven willow basket from Heals contains everything you need – from plates, to cotton napkins, insulated food and drink coolers and a tablecloth. And it looks fantastic.
Luxembourg drinks trolley
£370 from The Conran Shop
A delicious meeting of tradition and modernity, Frederic Sofia's lightweight aluminium drinks trolley is the ideal accompaniment to a summer garden party. It comes with a removable tray top, slotted section for bottles and a separate compartment for bar accessories.
Tier Tiffin boxes
£15 by Nigel Peake for Habitat
Nigel Peake gives the classic Indian lunch box a distinctly urban overhaul, with these new brightly stacked tiffin boxes for Habitat. Use as a funky centrepiece for your summer dining table, or neat picnic storage boxes for sandwiches, salads or sushi.
Maxwell and Williams cake stand
Keep your cakes fresh in the heat of summer with this glass-domed stand from Maxwell and Williams. Classy and cool, it is also great for covering post-dinner cheese, fruit and desserts and comes in 15cm and 25cm sizes.
Raspberry floor cushion
A portable seat for outdoor dining, this raspberry canvas floor cushion comes with a handy strap so you can carry it with you – whether you're at a pebbly beach, picnic, or music festival. No more numb bums...
KitchenAid Ultra Power Blender
Play the 1950s housewife for a day with this fantastically kitsch blender in sunshine yellow. It may look retro, but comes with a powerful motor, top of the range ice-crusher and "clean touch" control panel. Great for summer smoothies, milkshakes and home-made margaritas.
Summer Brights, set of 6 melamine bowls
£40 from Heal's
These bold melamine bowls from Heal's are a great example of where slick design meets functionality. Clean, robust and contemporary, they will certainly add a splash of colour to your table.
£295 for three by Conscious Forms
High on design, low on energy, these innovative concrete spheres are decorative lights for interior or exterior use. Available in a range of colours, they can be stacked in multiples or positioned to softly illuminate your garden dining area.
Loop chromed steel fruit bowl
"Frames" are a key look this season, with many of the big furniture designers experimenting with pared down wire and steel skeletal structures. This elegant fruit bowl by Black and Blum is right on trend, and provides a beautiful centrepiece for summer dining tables.
V&A Daisy Flask
A flask of tea is as much a part of the English summer as deckchairs, brass bands and ice cream cones – and this V&A print design is about as British as you get. It is the perfect accessory for windy days on the beach wrapped in blankets, waiting for the sun to come out.
Single striped lawn lounger
£69.95 – £99.95
Picnics don't need to be uncomfortable affairs. This luxurious lounger can be rolled up and rolled out anywhere from parks to festivals, from beaches to outdoor concerts – particularly good for those who prefer to remain horizontal.
£15 – £19, Zara Home
This bold ethnic tablecloth design by Zara Home is a fantastic way to lift your summer interior without breaking the bank. Matching table runners, napkins and placemats are also available to complete the look.
The barbecue in a bucket is a refreshingly no-frills approach to outdoor cooking. Loosely inspired by the local fishermen who grilled their catch over coals in a scuttle, the barbeque comes complete with wooden handle to carry it down to the beach.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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