Stephanie Conley Shares Her Christmas Styling Tips
Inspiration for setting the table and creating a menu.
Stephanie Conley The Hostess
With the big day mere days away, we’ve turned to one of our favourite women on Instagram, Stephanie Conley, for a little bit of Christmas styling inspiration and festive decoration tips.


How do you celebrate Christmas Eve?

We celebrate with a traditional dinner as my husband is Swedish, so we celebrate European style with a few Swedish classics to accompany a classic roast turkey.


What about Christmas morning?

We’re usually still pretty full from the night before, so we start the day with a swim at Bondi Beach followed by a midday champagne and some fresh prawns.


Describe Christmas Day…

This year we are actually going out for lunch, but generally we would have some fresh seafood and our favourite desserts.


Any favourite tableware designers?

I’m always collecting tableware – from fine china to flatware and woven placemats. My go-to homeware designers are Rebecca Udall, Jonathan Adler, Aerin, Hermes, Bordallo Pinheiro, and Alex and Trahanas.


Any tips on how to create a beautiful table on a budget?

Yes! Start with a white tablecloth and simply build from there. Metallic baubles and long-stemmed candles are inexpensive and look great. Head to your garden for some greenery to lay a garland on your table to create a central runner, then add your candles, baubles and Christmas crackers – anything festive to create a special place to enjoy this special meal. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to find festive props for your table and home.


What about a New Year’s Eve table – any tips for making this special?

NYE is a time to party so a grazing table of all your favourites is a great way to entertain, fuss-free. Collect all your favourite boards and platters, and use some vases, or a pile of books, as makeshift stands so you can create layers of food, all dressed up with florals and candles. Platters of charcuterie and cheese, olives, peeled prawns and oysters on ice, a glazed ham with condiments, and crusty bread rolls, are great ways to ring in the New Year.


Any other special tips on how to be the perfect hostess during the festive period?

Try to relax and enjoy yourself – nothing is worse than an uptight host. Being super organised will help you relax, so make a list and cook as much as possible before guests arrive. Start with setting the table days prior, and making dessert the day before; it will free you up. I always like to create a self-serve drinks area for guests as making drinks is time-consuming and stops you from having a moment to enjoy a drink and nibble yourself.


Carrot cake


Orange Cake With Walnut Praline

This delicious moist orange cake with a rich cream cheese frosting is suitable at any hour of the day, at any time of the year. Perfect for a celebration, or just because you love to bake.



2 oranges, trimmed and cut in quarters

1 ¼ cups caster sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ⅔ cups self-raising flour


1 cup walnuts

½ cup caster sugar

 Cream cheese frosting

50 g butter, unsalted, room temperature

250 g cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup icing sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
  2. Blitz the oranges in a food processor and set aside. Beat the sugar and eggs until pale then add the olive oil and the oranges and mix to combine.
  3. Sift the flour into the mixture and mix to combine to a smooth batter. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before frosting.
  4. To make the praline, put the walnuts and sugar into a saucepan on a low heat and allow the sugar to melt. Pour the praline onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow it to set. Use a kitchen mallet to break it into smaller shards.
  5. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and the butter together, then gradually add the icing sugar. Spread the frosting generously over the top of the cake and finish with the shards of walnut praline.


For more inspiration, not to mention some delicious recipes, visit and follow @thehostess on Instagram.


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