When Arthur Price invited me to join them for a festive evening, it was the perfect way to kick off Christmas 2016!
Christmas is fabulous, but it does involve a lot of work and can be quite stressful. And because of all the planning that has to be done, it sometimes takes me a little while to get into the festive mood. So when Arthur Price invited me to spend an evening at the Grand Theatre, it sounded like a lovely way to start Christmas.
I’ve been visiting the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton since I was a little girl. I even appeared in a few shows there when I was younger! But it’s about 15 years since my last visit, so it was a shock to see how much it’s changed. The interior has been redesigned recently, and the art deco styling looks very glam – think vintage Hollywood and you won’t be far wrong.
I was one of eight bloggers invited along for this event. After a short tour of the theatre we settled down for the evening in Arthur’s. This is the gorgeous pre-theatre area and cocktail bar, sponsored by Arthur Price. It’s the perfect place to have a drink in the interval, and there are gorgeous little booths that you can hire with friends or family.
We started the evening with a masterclass in mixing a cocktail and a non-alcoholic mocktail. The Ice Queen contains blue curacao, rum and coconut cream and looked so pretty with its ice-blue colour. Unfortunately I was driving, so I stuck to the mocktail which was a simple mix of cranberry juice, apple juice and a touch of honey.
Next we were introduced to professional chef Simon Smith, who has worked all over the world in top restaurants and embassies. He whipped up three quick dishes in under 20 minutes, sharing with us some fab time-saving techniques.
Simon started with a simple mix of salmon and prawns topped with cream cheese. Next he cooked a turkey escalope in a quick sauce of cream, gravy and cranberry sauce. That’s a delicious main course made in minutes!
A coating of crushed meringues and a garnish of raspberry coulis turns it into a perfect festive pud. It tasted delicious and I’m certainly planning to try this one out at home.
I was definitely starting to feel festive by now and there was more sweet stuff to come!
Debbie and Amelia from Shuga Budz were on hand with hints and tips on cake decoration. I’ve attempted my own cakes in the past, but never achieved a gorgeous finish like this one!
From there we moved onto the main focus of the evening: how to design and lay the perfect Christmas dinner table. First of all, Grant Bushell spoke to us about decorating the table. Grant is the interior designer responsible for the gorgeous refurbishment of the Grand Theatre, so he definitely knows his stuff!
Grant suggested using shades of toning colours in your colour scheme for a harmonious look. Alternatively, you could choose colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel, for something a bit more eye-catching. He just makes it all sound so simple!
I loved the look of the oversized cocktail glasses dotted around Arthur’s Bar. It’s a look that is very easy to achieve with battery-operated fairy lights and Christmas decorations. Grant also showed us how to fold these pretty Christmas tree napkins. I reckon that with a little practice even I’d be able to achieve this look.
Finally, it was time for Simon Price to talk to us about how to set the perfect Christmas dinner table. Arthur Price have been making beautiful high quality cutlery since the late 19th century, and Simon is the fourth generation of the Price family in the firm. His own children make up the fifth generation in the family firm.
It was fascinating to hear about the traditions and etiquette surrounding cutlery, and to learn more about Arthur Price. For instance, the table was laid using Arthur Price Royal Pearl, a pattern designed in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
We even had a chance to win a special prize, by racing against the clock to set a table. I worked with Ellen from Eat with Ellen, but unfortunately my error meant we weren’t the lucky winners. Sorry Ellen! But I did come home with a lovely goodie bag containing a Arthur Price cake server. At least I know my cakes will be served in good style in future!
I had a wonderfully festive evening, thanks to Arthur Price and The Grand Theatre. Now I’m definitely in the Christmas mood!
*I visited the Grand Theatre as a guest of Arthur Price. Thanks also to them for allowing me to use their photographs from the evening. My own photos did not do justice to the gorgeous settings!