Coastal for your table February 05 2015

The Coastal collection from John Lewis retailers is made from a bright white stoneware body which is combined with a hand-applied royal blue rim around the edge of the products, making an interesting feature of the range as this simple decoration was created to look like old-style tin enamelware.

Yet despite this retro design the Coastal range looks fresh and modern, bringing a contemporary but classic theme to your dining table. On the whole it’s a timeless range ideal for any occasion. 

This interesting take on ceramic is also complemented by the soft ripples in the side of the products, created from a special mould used for the clay. This adds an extra feature to the range which maintains sophistication but puts the collection in a different league to other plain white dinner sets in the market. The Coastal range will look anything but boring laid out on your dining table.


The subtle ripple effect is predominantly on the outer edge of the products in the range, but is reversed on the cups and bowls where the ripple is used on the inside of the pieces. This mix of pattern is again another understated but interesting design feature of the Coastal collection.

The pleasing aesthetics of Coastal is not the only selling feature of the range; it’s also designed with functionality in mind. The products don’t just look good but they also perform to an extremely high standard, with official tests showing the ceramic has a water absorption rate of 0.2% which is extremely low, while the handles on larger items such as the roasting tray are sturdy, durable, and made to a high standard.   

With ovenware, serve ware, and dinnerware all available in one collection, Coastal offers a diverse array of products which give you more options than just a regular dinner set. From necessities such as dinner plates and mugs, to additional extras such as egg cups and teapots, and right through to more robust products such as casserole dishes and roasting trays, these rustic pieces can adorn any kitchen or dining room and serve many household purposes.

The overall style of Coastal is reminiscent of the summer months, with a subtle nautical theme present in every piece of the collection. So if you’re ready to shake off the winter season and recreate the feel of the seaside, you won’t need to travel all that way as the perfect products are waiting in John Lewis.

By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 05/02/2015

'Set the Table' Feb. 2015 Vol.1 February 02 2015

Garden Tea Party with Avignon! January 28 2015

Marks & Spencer have just launched their latest dinnerware range Avignon, which is regal tea party perfect but still high-street affordable.
This collection is not an everyday basic dinnerware range; instead the unique design feature created by the scalloped edges and embossed dot pattern makes Avignon ideal for your more formal dining occasions.
The simple overall colour creates an understated and sophisticated look, and maintains neutrality so that the range is able to sit alongside other colours and patterns and fit in with your existing style.
The unique shapes of Avignon are covered in a classic white glaze that has been designed to have resistance to knife marking, meaning that you are purchasing a product which is extremely durable and of high quality yet still inexpensive.
Avignon is made as a full dinnerware range, serving all of your dining necessities but with additional items such as the pasta bowl and cup and saucer also available, so you can cover all aspects of being the perfect tea party host. 
The unique shape of Avignon is the real selling feature, as this heavily decorated design means there’s enough detail without adding any colour, allowing you to add more with your food and drink.
The stoneware body has been slip cast to create these interesting shapes, which contrast from piece to piece with variation on rounded and straight edges.
This elegant hand-finished range as a whole is comprised of unique pieces which sit together to create a dining set suited for the high society. 
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 28/01/2015


'Set the Table' Jan. 2015 Vol.4 January 27 2015

Oriental Tablescapes January 22 2015

Start getting your dining table ready for the upcoming spring season with the new Kyoto dinnerware range launched by Marks & Spencer.
The Kyoto range emanates themes of orient, and creates the look of a Far Eastern influence in your home. The stoneware body of the products make this a durable and tough dining set, yet the simple and refined shapes maintain elegance.
Although the collection displays definite inspiration from oriental style, the colour and pattern of the products still remain neutral enough to sit alongside any other colours or designs you have on your table top.
Overall the range is modern and contemporary, and well suited to those with a busy lifestyle who require products with longevity and strength.
Available in the essential dining items, the collection also stands out with the contrasting design of the side plate and mug next to the other products in the range, where the decal covers the entire face of the product instead of just the outer rim, thus creating an unusual effect when the products are laid out together.
The neutrality of the range allows it to be malleable with your current style, and can form the basis of a very interesting vibe on your dining table.
By opting for an irregular pattern for the textured on-glaze decal this gives the impression that Kyoto is a hand painted product, and when applying this to the lightweight and understated shape the range instantly becomes the perfect all-round dinner set.
And for proof that the set doesn’t but look good but is also excellent quality; results from official tests carried out on Kyoto showed that the range has low water absorption rates, made for withstanding lots of use in a busy household.
Kyoto cleverly manages to combine historic oriental design with modern shapes to create a contemporary twenty-first century dinner set that’s on-trend and perfect for any occasion.
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 22/01/2015

'Set the table' Jan. 2015 Vol.3 January 20 2015

ITTC Collections January 19 2015

When contemporary meets classic January 14 2015

Sainsbury’s supermarket has just launched their new dinnerware range Kitchen Whites, offering you a more exciting alternative to a plain white dinner set.
Kitchen Whites is the perfect collection for forming the base of your table top, as it’s extremely diverse and long lasting. The light grey and white two tone pattern makes the range accessible as it will complement any other colour schemes or patterns you have on your dining table.
The shape of the products is the distinguishing feature of this collection, as the design remains fairly neutral and understated. The chunky edges of the products instantly give the range a contemporary look, as the flat top rim of the pieces results in a more modern interpretation of the classic white dinner set.
The stoneware body of the pieces make this an extremely strong and long-lasting range, and despite the thick shapes the pieces still remain lightweight and refined.
Kitchen Whites also really stands out against other white dinner sets because of the light grey gloss covering the inner face of the products, which is then contrasted with a matte white on the outer; making for an unusual combination of texture.
The visual longevity of Kitchen Whites has also proved to be extremely good, as based on official dishwasher tests the appearance of the product was long lasting and durable, so it’s a set you can rely on to look great even after much use.
The range is available in the essential dining products; dinner plate, side plate, cereal bowl, and mug, with a few additional luxuries such as the dip bowl and pasta bowl available to really complete the look and serve all your dining needs.
The best-selling feature of this collection though is the neutrality of the design; the simple two tone pattern and understated colours means the range is not season or style sensitive. It’s perfect for any occasion at any time of year, so once you’ve invested in the range you can use it again and again.
It’s also excellently priced, so is affordable for everyone from young students to busy families.
So with supermarket prices and excellent quality, make the investment in a dinnerware set that you’ll never get tired of.
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 14/01/2015

Set the table' Jan. 2015 Vol.2 January 13 2015

Pretty Florals for your table! January 08 2015

Shake off the winter blues this New Year with the St Germain dinnerware range launched by Marks & Spencer.
This latest collection sprang into stores this January and is the perfect way to get your home ready for the upcoming spring season.
The range boasts a pretty floral design which is complemented by pastel pinks, purples, and blues. The elegance of this dinner set is twofold; it’s achieved by the sophisticated pattern and also the coupe shape of the products, with smooth surfaces accentuating the softness of the pink floral decal.
Not only does the smooth coupe shape improve the aesthetics of the St Germain products, but it also increases functionality as there is more space on the surface of the plates.
St Germain is a colourful, light, and uplifting dinner set which offers practicality and style at your dining table, and is perfectly suited to a wide age bracket.
As well as having a pretty dinner set, the fact that this collection is made in one of the world’s leading bone china factories located in Indonesia means you’ll also be purchasing an extremely high quality and durable product.
Based on official tests carried out on this range the results show that the products have good impact resistance and a high thermal shock endurance rating, meaning it won’t crack easily when exposed to extremely high temperatures.
The overall look of the St Germain collection really reinstates that this is a well thought-out range, with each individual piece complementing another. The St Germain products also utilise unique design features with decal patterns on the inner side and outer sides and contrasting colours for the dinner and side plates, so the collection as a whole looks classic but is still contemporary.
So bring spring to your table top a little earlier this year and warm up your home with the first signs of a new season.
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 08/01/2015

Set the table' Jan. 2015 Vol.1 January 06 2015

Go Country Kitchen for Christmas!! December 11 2014

Create a country kitchen in your home no matter where you are with the Polly’s Pantry range from John Lewis.
The Polly’s Pantry design is a modern twist on traditional tea ware as it showcases a contemporary depiction of vintage ceramics.
The cream body of the stoneware is complemented by pastel pink and blue colours to create an antique and rustic feel, with hand painted chicken and floral designs included to create an elegant kitsch style.
But despite the range showcasing this distinctive feature, the overall look of Polly’s Pantry remains fairly neutral, so it’s perfect for complementing other dinnerware sets or colour schemes as well.
The collection allows you to choose as many Polly’s Pantry pieces to suit you; from statement items such as cake stands and egg cups, right through to the basics like dinner and side plates.The pattern on this range is all hand painted at a specialist factory, including the chicken design found on a range of mix and match products which were developed as additions to the range.
The hand paint has subtle detailing with thin rims, pretty pictures, and polka dots that all result in cute and sweet ceramic products, perfect for Christmas gifts.
The range is available in a wide array of products that serve all purposes in the home, meaning you can build your collection over time and make a feature of the pretty pattern by dressing up your kitchen and table with pieces such as storage jars, utensil pots, butter dishes, and toast racks.
Polly’s Pantry has been in John Lewis stores for a long time, so this longevity means when you buy the products you’re making an investment as they can always be replaced if they get broken or your wish to expand on your collection over time.
The stoneware body of this range is extremely robust, so it’s suitable for either everyday use or those special occasions such as tea parties or lunch dates.
Overall the Polly’s Pantry collection is perfect for giving your kitchen and dining room a warm and cosy feeling – perfect for the chilly winter months.  
By Claire Stevens, ITTC UK, 11/12/2014