Excessive clusters of church candles are such an easy win and also very flattering. I place groups of them in bulk around all available hard surfaces. Add a delicious scented candle - my favourite is Byredo Bohemia – and you have instant atmosphere.


Big bunches of foliage are a good way of decorating. Eucalyptus is my favourite, for its fresh smell. I live close to the Flower Warehouse in Hackney, but I do also enjoy an early morning trip to New Covent Garden Market – it’s worth the dawn alarm.


If you are planning a dinner and cooking yourself, do choose a menu that means the minimum amount of time in the kitchen – your guests are there to see you and sweating in the kitchen will ruin your makeup. Prep as much as you can in advance, including a pre-made pudding.

Claire's step-by-step guide to the perfect espresso martini

Step 1

Pour the vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso into a cocktail shaker. Prepare your martini glass by filling it with ice and then fill the cocktail shaker with ice too.

Step 2

Put the other half of the shaker on top and ensure that it’s secure. Now give it a vigorous shake. You want the ice to break up while cooling the liquid – this is what creates the lovely frothy top. Use straight-from-the-freezer ice, so you don’t dilute the flavour of your martini.


Once shaken, tap the side of the shaker to break the vacuum seal. Empty the ice out of your martini glass, then place the strainer on top of the shaker and pour the contents through a sieve directly into the glass. Using the strainer and the sieve will help you to create that delicious rich, smooth finish. Garnish with 3 coffee beans for the chicest touch.


• 50ml Belvedere vodka

• 35ml coffee liqueur

• 1 shot (25ml) of espresso

• Coffee beans to finish

• Ice

Music should be curated, don’t just stick any old thing on. Spotify has those playlists that I read through for inspiration, but I always make up my own. For later in the night …old is gold. Current music can be hit and miss - if you have a diverse guest list you don’t want to alienate anyone.

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As for the dress code? I always plan on starting the evening in a sparkly dress and ending it in cashmere…