Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Following on from my blogger Christmas lunch last week, I have had lots of emails and messages asking how to create a similar look at home, so I thought I would dedicate a blog post to the styling of the event.

As with a lot of my design work, the idea for the table and room decoration evolved quite organically. We have a lovely long dining table that is fairly narrow and also adds a sense of rustic charm to an otherwise elegant room. I wanted to enhance this by including real foliage and lots of lovely candlelight.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the tableware I knew I wanted something white, but not too formal and with a bit of interest and fell in love with this set by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion from John Lewis. I matched this with some simple yet classic Reidel glassware, also from John Lewis and gold cutlery to add a bit of elegance and sparkle. The set we are using here is from Ikea, but you can also get a similar set from La Redoute.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the candles I chose these beautiful candelabra from Anthropologie to make a real statement on the table and then hid some beautiful tea-light holders from Sophie Allport amongst the eucalyptus. I commissioned a local florist to make me a simple garland from fresh eucalyptus, the beauty being that when it dries it still looks lovely, so I’m hoping it will be with us until Christmas! The lovely grey candles in the candelabra are by True Grace from John Lewis and come in a range of colours.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Keep scrolling down for more product info, plus I’ve listed all links to items at the end of the post.

The key to creating a rustic yet glamorous look at Christmas is to actually keep things quite simple, but include lots of fresh foliage and candlelight!

Laura

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with John Lewis and contains affiliate links to products which, if purchased, may result in a commission payment. As always, all styling and view are my own.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas


Shop the look: Plates – Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, Glasses – Reidel, Cutlery – similar from La Redoute or Ikea, Candelabra – Anthropologie (sold out, but similar here), Tea Light Holders – Sophie Allport, Garland – real eucalyptus, but similar here, Crackers – gold from John Lewis, Candles – True Grace also from John Lewis.


Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

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Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Food is something that is really important in our household – both Patrick and I love to cook (he is much more talented than me in this department, but I am enthusiastic and can make a mean roast!). As we are getting closer to Christmas, we are starting to think about things we can make for all our guests and this year we are trying to be creative and make something delicious, but that also has nutritional value.

That’s when I had the idea to collaborate with a wonderfully talented cook, Alex, who runs amzing Dorset vegan café, Feed the Soul. Alex is raw vegan and the café reflects this – I had never realised how delicious cakes without wheat, dairy or sugar could be. A total revelation and Alex has agreed to collaborate with me on the blog over the next few months to share some of these delicious and virtually guilt free treats!

First up is a large raw cacao and caramel cheesecake to share – planned with seasonal entertaining in mind.

I hope you enjoy it – next month I’ll be sharing her brother Nick’s (who runs Feed the Soul with her) hot chocolate, which is insanely good. But for now, below is how to make this beautiful cheesecake.

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

INGREDIENTS

Base and balls for decoration:

1 1 /2 cup dried activated almonds

1 cup cashews

1 1/2 cup dates

1tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp cacao nibs

4 tbsp cacao powder

2 Tbsp cacao butter (melted)

Pitch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Filling:

4 cups soaked cashews (soak for at least 2 hours)

1 1/4 cups of plant based milk (I like oat or coconut the best)

1tsp vanilla powder

1/2 cup liquid sweetener (maple, coconut nectar)

1/2 and 3tbsp melted coconut oil

5 tbsp melted cacao butter

1/4 cup cacao powder

4 medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Cacao drizzle

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

3tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tbsp of walnut oil/sunflower oil/ avocado oil

Pitch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

METHOD

To make the base:

Place the almonds, cashews in a food processor and blend until they are the consistency of couscous (we want the base to have a nice texture). Now add the rest of the ingredients and pulse a few times so that the mixture is nice and sticky.

Line a round cake tin. Put most of the mixture into the tin and leave 1/2 a cup to make the balls to decorate. Roll with your hands into small balls and place into the fridge.

Press the base firmly into the cake tin, place into the fridge to set while you are making the filling.

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

To make the filling:

Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender (I love to use my vitamix) apart from the dates, cacao powder, coconut oil and cacao butter. Blend until very smooth. Now with the blade running pour in the coconut oil and cacao butter.

Split the mixture into two bowls, make sure they are as even as you can.

Pour one back into the blender. Blend again adding the dates and another pinch of salt.

Keep back 1/2 cup of this mixture to then pipe with and pour the rest on top of the base.set in the freezer for 1/2 hour.  With the 1/2 cup of this vanilla caramel filling place in a pipping bag and pop into the fridge.

With the rest of your filling place in the bender and add the cacao powder, you may want to add a splash of plant based milk if it seems to thick. Once the first layer is set pour over the cacao filling.  Set in the fridge over night.

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Cacao drizzle:

Blend all of the ingredients together until nice and smooth.

Carefully take the cake out of the tin and now you can have and decorate.

Drizzle the yummy drizzle randomly onto the cake.

Take out your pipping filling and let it warm up for 15 minuets. Pipe all around the edge of the cake however you feel then place the balls around the cake. Add flowers if you really like why not have fun and make your cake look as good as it tastes.

This cake will be best stored in the fridge for a week. If it lasts that long!

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

This post is in collaboration with Feed The Soul

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Laura Butler-Madden's Dorset Home

On Friday, I hosted the first of what will hopefully become an annual tradition, the LBM Christmas Lunch. The plan came about back in the late summer – chatting with a fellow blogger we were discussing the fact that as a blogger (or anyone self-employed without a team working for them), you don’t get to have a Christmas party and you miss out on the opportunity to mingle with other likeminded people, as you’re all working away, dotted around the country on your own!

Social Media (particularly Instagram) has been a great tool for connecting people and I have already met a number of lovely people through it, some of which have become friends in real life too. So I thought hosting a lunch would be the perfect opportunity to get a group of ladies with lots in common, together in the same room, in real life!

We woke on Friday to the most beautiful, sunny morning. Frost on the ground and the excitement of December 1st in the air – even the sheep seemed especially happy!

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Piers from the Kitchen Garden Company, who were catering the event, arrived bright and early to get everything set up. We had a delicious menu planned; to start with there was a choice of mulled wine or cava (Juvee y Camps, which is our favourite and served at our wedding) accompanied by hot-smoked salmon (fresh from the fire), Celeriac soup shots and kitchen garden pigs (see above).

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Piers and his team also set up a lovely fire pit area outside in the sunshine, complete with hay bales and sheepskins for comfortable perching. Lola also loved the smell/warmth coming from the fires!

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

With the help of some lovely brands, I had put together goody bags for all the guests, housed in these lovely stockings from Sophie Allport. Inside each stocking was a whole selection of treats; a mini scented candle and Christmas mug, also from Sophie Allport, gorgeous homemade mince pies and apple juice from Kitchen Garden Company, a lovely gift from local brand, Bramley, a candle from the gorgeous new range from Medusa Apothecary, a pretty potted succulent from Cherryade Store in Poundbury, beautiful personalised leather bound Wardrobe Notebook from Noble Macmillan, a gorgeous Christmas decoration from Also Home and a personlised notebook from the wonderful Papier, who also did the invitations and the menus for the lunch. Such a treat and I am so grateful to all the brands who got involved and made the wonderful goody bags possible.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the table decor, I wanted to create an elegant and stylish look, with a hint of countryside chic. I will be doing a full post on how to create this look at thome later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Jo Prado, Lindsay (@stylistmum) & Lola

The sun was still beaming down on the courtyard when everyone arrived, so we had our drinks and canapés outside by the fire – such a treat for December, we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day!

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Antonia (@tinkertailoronline) & Sophie (@sophielindsay)

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Table Design

Plates from John Lewis, Cutlery from La Redoute, Candle stick from Anthropologie and tea light holders from Sophie Allport.

After an hour or so of sunny chats, selfies and silliness, we headed inside to the warmth for the main course; wood-fired winter chicken, rosemary roast potatoes, butternut squash, braised red cabbage and crispy kale, served with Domain des Vigneauz Viognier 2016. Pudding was mulled pears, ginger ice cream and homemade honeycomb served with Domaine l’Ancienne Cure, Monbazillac 2013.

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

A lovely afternoon was had by all – we ate really well, drank lovely wine and had a good catch up about all things blogging, Instagram and Christmas. It’s something that I really hope to make an annual tradition….watch this space!

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Photographer, Sophie Lindsay

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Rhiannon (New Life N Style)

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Coco exhausted by all the festive fun!

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

 

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Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

As many of my regular readers and followers on Instagram know, in August we opened up the house for a shoot with Homes & Gardens magazine. We were thrilled to have been selected to be included in their Christmas issue (out now), but it did mean a lot of panic decorating as soon as we were back from holiday!

It was definitely strange pretending it was Christmas in the middle of the summer, but once the decorations were up it was such a shame to have to take them down again! For the magazine I decided to style the table in a slightly more rustic way than usual, as I know they love a more country feel.

I want to take this opportunity to share some of the lovely pictures from the shoot with you (these were taken by my husband, Patrick, the ones in the magazine are quite a lot darker!). I also wanted to share links to the items I used, so you can create the look at home yourself this Christmas.

For the table I decided to keep it simple and stick to a colour palette of green, white and blue. I chose thistles, spray roses and eucalyptus as they main decoration – I think fresh flowers along with statement candles are the best way to create a simple, but effective look.

For tableware I used our lovely blue and white set, I think adding subtle colour to plates makes the look slightly less formal than usig plain white. I also have a bit of an obsession with blue and white ceramics; Royal Copenhagen, Royal Doulton and Burleigh are some of my favourite brands and they all have some really beautiful designs.

For cutlery we chose this lovely set from Soho Home – lovely quality and the blue matches the plates, as well as the colour of our kitchen units, which are painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball.

Glassware is so important – drinking out of a lovely wine glass always makes the wine taste better! We love Riedel and have a selection of different sizes. You can buy a lovely large Syrah red wine glass or use a stemless Pinot Noir one, which we always do for less formal dinners.

I hope you enjoy this post and find some of my tips useful – see below for links to shop the actual items that I used to create this look.

We are now decorating the house for actual Christmas and I am going to go for a slightly less rustic/more glamorous table design. I’m hosting a blogger lunch on Friday, so will share all the styling details from that with you next week!

Laura

x

Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

Shop Cutlery & Glassware

Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

Shop the Furniture

Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

Shop Blue & White Ceramics

Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Country Style Christmas

Shop Christmas Decorations

 

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Those who know me well will know two things about me – the first is that I’m a creature of habit and the second it that I love bedtime! At this time of year, with temperatures dropping I always like to start a cosier bedtime ritual and really take the time to wind down and relax before bed. In the summer months it’s light until late and bedtime is something that just happens…either falling into bed after a long, hectic day or collapsing under the duvet after a fun evening with friends!

But now that it’s dark from 4.30pm, it’s definitely time to make the most of cosiness, pampering, bedtime and sleep.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

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My bedside table houses various bits and bobs, all selected to make bedtime a little more luxurious. I always keep a hand cream, a foot cream and my favourite perfume by the bed, as well as a face spray, which is such a treat to spray on before sleep. Oh and I can’t sleep without an eye mask these days. A habit I started last year, but really helps me shut out the outside world, especially if your husband likes to read on his iPad late into the night!

In the winter I also take more time looking after my skin, so this a a key part of my bedtime ritual. But before that, I prepare the bedroom by lighting a candle, fluffing the pillows and changing into my pyjamas. My current favourites are these beautiful silk blue and white striped set from Asceno, that were a birthday present from Patrick.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

I usually take a herbal tea up with me – either chamomile or a Clipper blend – I have a bit of an obsession with their lovely teas! Prior to removing my makeup I sip my tea and depending on my mood, either flick through a magazine or head straight for my book. It’s a lovely way to get away from technology and let my mind calm before actually getting into bed.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

One I’ve finished my tea I then head into the bathroom for take off my make up, cleanse and moisturise before bed. In the winter I find it particularly important to take good care of my skin and give it lots of extra moisture. I’m currently in love with the Pro-Collagen range from Elemis. As a real beauty addict – I always have loved trying new things, but this anti-aging range from Elemis is a classic, and  something that I’ve used on and off since my celebrity PR days, when a number of my clients were addicted to it.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

For winter I find it perfect – the cream a lovely richness to it that really leaves my skin feeling pampered and hydrated. I start with the award winning Cleansing Balm – the smell is divine and it leaves my skin feeling amazing. With the warm cloth to take it off, it also feels like a lovely, luxurious ritual. I then use the Marine Oil, which is beautifully light on the skin, but very moisturising. In warmer months I find this oil enough on its own, but in the colder months,  I follow it with the Oxygenating Night Cream.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

After I’ve taken care of my skincare, I head back into the bedroom, climb into bed with my book and blow out the candle, before reading for as long as I can manage before sleep takes over! Do you have a winter bedtime routine? I would love to hear about it!

Laura

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Photography by Sophie Lindsay & Patrick Butler-Madden

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