At Christmas we threw a monochrome party and it was a huge amount of fun
This Christmas we held a black and white party.
It's an easy theme to follow. Most people have got some black and white clothes in their wardrobes, so everyone can dress up fairly easily, but we also decided to decorate the house, and do black and white food and drinks.
We were surprised to find quite how many black and white things we owned, such as vintage cameras, a phonograph and typewriters, but also vases, bowls and even cutlery.
For anyone who fancies this idea, here are some tips:
* If you keep the lights low enough, navy looks like black, but take care to strip out any warm colours. In our case, we took down our pink, peach, green and pale blue curtains, removed all the pictures and replaced with them monochrome ones in beige or grey mounts and black frames and covered up our CDs and DVDs, which are brightly coloured.
* Silver works better with black and white than does gold or copper, which add too much warmth.
* White sheets over the tables, and a handful of silver table confetti gives a very pretty effect.
* Balloons give you a heck of an impact for very little cost. We blew ours up with air rather than helium and then attached them all over the room, with streamers in white, silver and irridescent ribbon hanging down.
* The Christmas tree lights and decorations should also be monochrome. We chose white, clear and silver.
* Black tinsel makes great tiebacks for white or cream curtains.
* White sheets on all the furniture, topped with throws in black and grey, cuts out any colour from soft furnishings.
* Sheets clipped over the curtains with bulldog clips will last all evening.
* Natural-colour woods don't 'throw' the colour scheme, but give an Art Deco effect.
* Black and white drinks include Black Russians, White Russians, Pina Coladas and snowballs.
* Black and white nibbles can be made fairly easily from black olives, silverskin onions, feta cheese, prawn crackers, potato salad, celeri remoulade, caviar on blinis, white cabbage coleslaw, white bean dip and hard-boiled eggs stuffed with black olive tapenade.
* Black and white sweeties include brownies, plain or white chocolate, jaffa cakes, nougat, aniseed sweets and licorice whirls.
* Books of monochrome photographs on stands work beautifully as objets d'art.
* If you can find black paper cups, napkins, paper plates and cutlery so much the better, but if not, white will do. I found plenty at my local supermarkets.
* Branches cut from the garden can be sprayed black and used in vases.
The more effort you make, the more worthwhile it will be - our house was quite transformed, which wowed both the guests and us. In fact, so much did we like the new scheme that we've decided to keep it, minus the tinsel, in the new year.