Tips for a gorgeous festive centrepiece by Simon Lycett

Skilled florist Simon Lycett created a fairytale setting for the Beckham’s wedding and arranged the flowers in classic film Four Weddings And A Funeral. As well as being the resident florist on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Simon's designs have graced many more celebrity and royal settings.

Here he shares his expert tips on how to make your dining table and fireplace mantel sparkle this festive season. Follow his simple tips to create some stunning winter arrangements for your home...

1. Plan ahead! Winter greenery is long lasting if kept cool and damp. So early in December, take advantage and create your wreaths and garlands using an assortment of seasonal garden gleanings, including pine and holly, trails of ivy and clusters of berried ivy and ilex. Then place them in a sheltered but outdoor space, such as a porch or patio beneath a tree. Here they will happily rest for a couple of weeks before you have the urge to dec the halls!

2. Having hung them in situ, add in cones and baubles, sprigs of faux berries, fragrant cinnamon sticks and colourful ribbons to give a really festive flourish!

3. Use glitter to give items foraged on country walks a festive face-lift! Mount pine cones, seed heads, dried leaves and bark shards onto florist wires and add spray mount or glue. Then, holding these items over some dry newspaper, sprinkle generously with a glitter in the colour of your choice. Shake off the excess and, once dry, tuck them into a wreath or garland.

4. Raid your jewellery box and re-use broken necklaces and bracelets as a source for sparkly beads. Thread shimmering crystals and bright beads onto long pins or pieces of fine florists wire and insert them direct into flowers, such as rose heads and dianthus blooms. Or weave them threaded on wires amongst the flowers and foliages, to give a twinkling flourish. Just make sure that they are kept well away from pets and small children.

5. Feast with your eyes and with your mouth! Use non-toxic varnish, silver and gold spray paint to give walnuts and almonds, hazels and chestnuts a wonderful lacquered finish. Add them to your fruit bowl where they will give a sparkling effect, but still be good enough to eat when cracked open!

Simon will be giving giving demonstrations on how to create gorgeous festive centrepieces at the Spirit of Christmas Fair 2010

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor