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The Elgin Avenue’s Chinese New Year Dinner Party

Monica Welburn hosts her own banquet at home with our new oriental dinnerware

Right before leaving our (now) old flat, Oli and I threw one last farewell party. That flat has seen a lot of laughter and love, and although we are so excited for our new home, it feels bittersweet to be leaving our first flat together. Given the time of year, we decided to combine our farewell dinner party with Chinese New Year, which falls on Friday February 16 this year – although the celebrations can last up to two weeks.

I’ve teamed up with Sainsbury’s Home’s beautiful new oriental dinnerware collection, to celebrate Chinese New Year and new beginnings.

I love the feeling of drawing a line in the sand and although we only just celebrated our own New Year, this feels like another opportunity to renew our intentions. And who doesn’t love to press reset on their resolutions?

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If reading this post does one thing, I hope that it will encourage you to gather your loved ones for a party sometime soon. Choosing a theme – like Chinese New Year – is so much fun and bringing people together for food, drink and laughter is always a good idea in my book.

Here’s how our party came together . . .

The decor

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The new oriental dinnerware range at Sainsbury’s Home is beautiful. With delicate brushstroke designs in a pretty colour palette of turquoise blue, navy and orange, it’s a collection which is optimistically bright yet elegant.

For our party, I chose a mix of designs. One of my favourite things about buying a few different – but complimentary – patterns is that you always have a choice between a mix and match look, or matchy-matchy – thus doubling your options.

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Though the traditional colour of luck in China is red, I took my cue from our new bowls and plates, and went with oranges, peach, pinks and just a few red lanterns.

With just a bit of effort, our living room felt transformed. Throwing a Chinese New Year party also gave me an excuse to re-use all of our Christmas lights which I was very happy about. Is there anything prettier than those twinkly lights?

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For the flowers and table decor, I used a handful of tiny glass bottles with a few wild-looking flowers. I wanted to add colour and depth to the table without stopping people from talking to each other easily. And a scattering of tea-lights added the finishing touch to the ambience.

The overall feel of the evening was colourful, intimate and warm and our guests were so complimentary when they saw the setting.

The menu

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Oli and I kept things super-simple, with a combination of our friends’ favourite Chinese dishes: sweet and sour chicken, chow mein, spring rolls and beef in noodles – we whipped up big batches of everything and then served them family-style in the centre of the table. These bamboo chopping boards and serving platters provided the perfect backdrops for sharing.

The wishing tree

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In honour of Chinese New Year, I decided to make a wish dish for our guests to write something they’d like to happen this year and hang it on the wishing tree.

It was a sweet exercise which had our guests thinking about their intentions for the year ahead. We shared them round the table and it was lovely (and at times hilarious) to hear what people had written down.

Overall

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This is the first themed dinner party I’ve thrown and it was so much fun to put together. I loved having the excuse of a big holiday to theme the evening around.

With relatively little effort, the decorations, tableware and themed menu elevated a simple dinner with friends into something which felt truly celebratory and special.

It was the best way I could think of to say farewell to our old flat and to celebrate our new chapter.

You can peruse the whole Sainsbury’s Home oriental dinnerware collection here, or in your local store.


What’s your take?

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? And have you ever thrown a themed feast?

Love, Monica x