Etiquette & Manners

Hello readers!  I’m back online, well just about hence the delay in today’s post, with a new blog for you.

I’m not sure when or how I became interested in the whole etiquette and manners subject, but it’s something that comes up in conversation quite often.  In today’s fast-paced modern world of email and social media, we might forget some of the common courtesies that make the world a nicer place!  To quote my amazing Granny, “manners cost you nothing, but not having manners can cost you a lot.”

So, here’s the first of my posts on etiquette and manners, according to official sources, which I hope you find interesting.  And who doesn’t need a little refresher now and again??  I know I need reminders from time to time.  All information is sourced from, a fascinating and sometimes hilarious read.  I’ll post some amusing anecdotes in future posts.

I’m kicking-off this series with dining.

Table Manners

Table manners are extremely important.  These basics should always be followed:

  • Always eat with your mouth closed, nobody wants to see what’s going on inside.
  • Never talk with your mouth full, and if you must, cover your mouth with your hand so nobody can see inside.  However, I’m sure that gem of conversational wit can wait until you’ve finished chewing!
  • Help other guests to food before serving yourself.
  • Ask for food to be passed across to you, rather than reaching across the table.

Follow the four points above and you’ll avoid offending most people and sail through most social situations!

Other things to consider when dining:

  • Your napkin (absolutely never call it a serviette) should be placed on your lap, not tucked in like a bib (confession: I do occasionally do this when I’m wearing a white dress/top and eating something that could splash or stain!)
  • Dab the corners of your mouth during the meal; do not make any extravagant wiping gestures.   After you’ve finished your meal, place the napkin, unfolded, beside your plate.
  • Do not encroach on your neighbour’s space.
  • Do not rest your elbows on the table or lean on them whilst eating.
  • Before picking up your cutlery wait until everybody has been served, or is ready to eat.
  • Your knife should be held firmly in your right hand, with the handle tucked into your palm, the thumb down one side of the handle and your index finger along the top (never touch the top of the blade).  Never eat off, or lick your knife and don’t be tempted to hold it like a pencil.
  • When using a fork with a knife or spoon, it should be held in the left hand, in the same way you hold your knife in your right hand.  And when in your left hand, the prongs should always be facing down.  When held in the right hand, when used on its own, the prongs should be facing upwards, resting on your fingers and secured with your thumb and index fingers.
  • Spoons should be held in your right hand, resting on your fingers and secured with your thumb and index fingers.  Food should be eaten off the side of the spoon and should never be used at right angles with your mouth.
  • Rest your cutlery on your plate/bowl between bites.  If nothing else, this will help you eat with more consciousness, which is never a bad thing.
  • Gesturing with your cutlery is an absolute no-no, and try to avoid scraping and clattering it against your plate or bowl.
  • The range of cutlery at a place-setting, will depend on the formality of the occasion.  However, the layout should always be the same – fork on the left of your plate, knives and spoons to the right.  A good tip is to always work your way in from the outside, course by course.  Cutlery for pudding always sits above the place setting.
  • Dine at a relaxed pace and most definitely don’t wolf down your food.
  • Try and avoid taking mouthfuls that are too large.  Bulging cheeks are not dignified, nor attractive.
  • Try to avoid eating noisily, unless you’re slurping noodles in Japan!
  • When you have finished eating, place your knife and for, with the tines facing upwards, together at six o’clock on your plate.

Have you ever made a faux-pas when dining?  Or are your table manners impeccable?  And do etiquette and manners matter to you, or to society anymore?  Please share!

Future posts will cover the etiquette of modern day living, the most elegant way to eat those tricky foods, how to navigate the minefield of first dates and much more.

With much love
The Domestic Princess



  1. My table manners are impeccable, learned at an early age in Isolation Bungalow. But I really do prefer a serviette to a napkin, it feels more comfortable in use! Maybe something to do with my mother’s fruitless postwar search of the Rhymney Valley for napkins, where only serviettes were available!

    More seriously, I really enjoyed this post. Having observed for years, children eating school dinners, parents and others in positions of influence, could do worse than apply some of the sensible rules of etiquette plainly expressed in this post, as a straightforward way of nurturing in youngsters civilised dining behaviours.

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