Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

Style Notes: Colin Cowie

You get no medals for doing everything yourself.

Celeb event planner and lifestyle expert, Colin Cowie, together with P & G, recently hosted media at Thompson Hotel to share his pragmatic approach to lavish entertaining. Just in time for holiday festivities, here are Colin's entertaining essentials as shared with The Style House.

Colour Story

Great style comes from ruthless editing. The holidays can become kitsch; I like the idea of coming up with one colour scheme, one big wow moment, one idea, that starts at the front door and goes to the buffet, threads its way to the dinning table, then to where the tree is decorated right down to how your gifts are wrapped. One big statement of style that weaves its way through the whole guest experience.


Today’s savvy entertainer is a resourceful entertainer. Instead of a buffet, take a few things and do them really well. Make one or two great dishes that you really know how to do. We’ve never had better quality prepared foods, whether it’s pastries, spanikopitas, mini quiches, a great selection of four to five cheeses, some salami, delicious crusty baguettes, good selection of chocolates. You get no medals for doing everything yourself.


Set the Stage


Offer a great drink the moment that [guests] arrive, make sure that the music is playing. Most importantly, make sure that you’re relaxed. Because if you’re not relaxed no one else is going to be relaxed. 



Touch, taste, smell, feel  & hear. From the time your guests arrive, to the time that your guests leave, gives you the ability to manipulate and enhance. Candles are amazing, to me, there is no such thing as too many. Makes you look like you just came from somewhere very fabulous. It’s instant ambience.


Formula for Great Entertaining:


Delicious food + Well thought out beverage scheme or cocktails + Great music + Good lighting + Colourful people = A Great Party.


Love this Tip:


Store bought soup is the easiest thing in the world to do. Put a garnish at the bottom of the plate, pour the hot soup into a coffee pourer and pass it around the table so that you stay seated at the table.


In Rotation: Miguel Jacob

Alia Ahmed-Yahia