Monday, December 11

20 Very Cool Gifts For The Very Hard To Buy For [2017 Gift Guide]

Over the years it's become apparent to my husband, that there is very little point in buying me gifts, because I'm ridiculously fussy about what I like. I also have expensive taste. This is also true of him, so I guess we're particularly well suited, and both quite difficult.

I wouldn't dream of buying him clothes - nope, not even socks or underpants unless I was replicating what he already has, because I know that he's super particular, and definitely wouldn't like them otherwise. So we basically buy our own gifts and say 'This is what you bought me', or send links, not vague hints. As I have learnt, and in life, not just with presents, vague hints will get you nowhere.

Usually we buy each other one or two small surprise gifts to go under the Christmas Tree, because despite my awful fussiness, I do actually really like a surprise, but only if I love it. And I'm not even joking: my worst nightmare is someone buying me something for the house. It sends shivers down my spine.

And yes, I realise that this takes the 99.99% of the romance out of gift giving, but frankly, I'd rather get nothing that something I don't love. And if that makes me a terrible person, then so be it.

Anyway, I figured that surely we can't be the only people like this, so I've put this gift guide together in the hopes that he'll buy me everything on it. Only kidding, five things would suffice. Not really, I put this gift guide together because I think everything on it is super cool, and I wouldn't even be annoyed if someone gave me any of these things which is really saying something. And obviously I'm not completely selfish, and I hope it might help a few people out there that are nervously searching for something to buy for that very hard to buy for friend or partner.

The prices range from £10 to £540 and everything in between, so you definitely can't accuse me of only offering super pricey ideas, though I've offered a few of them too.

French For Pineapple - Very Cool Gifts For The Very Hard To Buy For (2017 Gift Guide)

1. I'm really into ceramics right now, and this carafe set makes my heart sing.

2. In my humble, scented candle obsessed opinion, you still can't beat a large coloured glass Diptyque candle. Amber for me thanks...

3. This blanket is incredible. And while I'd love to think I was cool enough to just use it as a throw, I can tell you that I'd be framing it and putting on a wall of it's own. Granted the framing would be very pricey, but then for around a grand all in you'd have an heirloom artwork, so you know, it's all relative.

4. I have this Dainty Lightning Necklace necklace and I totally adore it, so you or your friend should have one too.

5. Ice in drinks is so last year. We all need these Drink Rocks in the freezer instead...

6. You can't go wrong giving this divine Aesop hand cream as a gift. Trust me.

7. If there's something we sorely lack in this house it's the ability to listen to music through good quality speakers. I'm going to change that next year. This Ruark integrated stereo system looks awesome, and it also has a CD player!

8. I've been lusting after one of these fab Normann Copenhagen Flip Mirrors for a while, and I think they make a gorgeous gift.

9. You can always rely on the Japanese to make practical things beautiful and desireable, and these kitchen scissors are no exception.

10. Originally launched in the sixties, these reissues of the original classic stackable candle holders by Werner Stoff and Hans Nagel in brass are SO cool. Though I think you need at least three to start building an interesting shape. I have one so far. Hint hint. And don't forget the candles.

11. This Macaroon lidded box by Bodo Sperlein, is something special. For keeping track of your jewels, or just to gaze lovingly at from across the room.

12. Because who doesn't want a bit of 'it' brand du jour in the form of Birthday Balm in their handbag?

13. This Alphabet Brush Pot was on my list last year too. I told you that subtle hints get you nowhere.

14. Black Parrots are one of my favourite indy's, and you should check them out if you don't already know them. Their new snake print is so good, and I just love the round cushions.

15. I may be all about warm neutrals and monochrome at the moment, but there's always an exception to the rule, and this little Comme des Garçon pouch is it.

16. A symbol of good luck, I'm pretty sure there's not a soul I know who wouldn't benefit from a gold goldfish paperweight.

17. Everyone needs a candle snuffer. Fact.

18. More pink ceramics, what can I say?

19. Obsessed with Tom Dixon's Bump vases. I mean, hello you sculptural beauties that don't even need any flowers.

20. For those who aren't' blessed enough to already own a classic Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm one of those people. Can you believe it?!


Friday, December 8

A Mattress Fit For A Princess? [Soak & Sleep]

Those lovely people at Soak and Sleep provided their new Sleep Comfort 1000 Pocket Sprung Mattress to complete Edie’s bedroom overhaul, so let's see what a thirteen year old with rather refined taste (except when it comes to cheese), thinks about her new mattress shall we?

French For Pineapple Blog Soak & Sleep Mattress Review

Although Edie instigated upgrading to a bigger bed, going from a single to a double, she was very nervous about giving up her beloved old single mattress.

French For Pineapple Blog Soak & Sleep Mattress Review

To say she loved it, is an understatement. In fact, she was so attached to it, that a tear or two (maybe more) was shed a while back when Baxter got bunk-beds and we tried to swap her mattress with his new one because his was so thick he barely had any head-room on his bottom bunk. It caused her so much distress, and indeed did seem quite unfair, that we had to give her old one back, sell the new one, and buy another!

French For Pineapple Blog Soak & Sleep Mattress Review

So understandably I was on tenterhooks when I took delivery of her new mattress, and had my fingers very firmly crossed, that she’d approve.

Thankfully she does. Cue MASSIVE sigh of relief!

French For Pineapple Blog Soak & Sleep Mattress Review

We lay down on her mattress last weekend, so I could get her thoughts on it for this review, and this is how the conversation went:

Me: 'So, what do you think of your new mattress?'

Her: ‘I LOVE it, is so comfy it’s like sleeping on a cloud.'

Me: 'Anything else?'

Her: 'Yeah, I love the fabric on the top too.'

Me: 'Good.'

There's nothing more to say really is there?

She loves her new bedroom and bed setup so much that she's literally grinning as she snuggles down into bed each night. I'd say that's a pretty good result all round, wouldn't you?

French For Pineapple Blog Soak & Sleep Mattress Review

And if the above tale about her being attached to her old mattress isn’t enough to convince you that she’s got quite sophisticated taste for a young lady of thirteen, I should also point out that before she got her very own set of Soak & Sleep blush pink linen, that she'd realised that our bed linen from Soak & Sleep was way softer than hers, which was from a high street shop, and she was not happy...

French For Pineapple Blog Soak & Sleep Mattress Review

There’s no passing off the cheap stuff with this young lady, she was totally onto me. I may have created a monster. The Princess and The Pea often springs to mind...

Soak and Sleep (who also have some pretty great discounts on offer right now) have a collection of six mattresses, so something to suit everyone, and they now have a 100 night mattress trial too, to make sure that you're completely happy with your new purchase. Edie won't be needing to take them up on that offer.

This post is in collaboration with Soak & Sleep.

Tuesday, December 5

Are You Christmas Ready?

It’s around this time of year when work and life collide for me a little more than usual due to Christmas. I can say that word now, because it’s December, but the truth is that the C-word has been thrown around at French For Pineapple HQ a fair bit for well over a month now.

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

The kids think it’s pretty amazing that their recovering Christmas grinch of a mother, was putting a tree and decorations up in NOVEMBER to photograph, and not taking them down again. It’s just too close to the real thing to bother, so yes, Christmas has well and truly started in the Hall household.

We have Christmas at home every year, and my husband is in charge of the main event. He does an incredible Christmas lunch, and you know, if it ain’t broke and all that...

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests
Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

I on the other hand, am in charge of more important things: specifically drinks, puddings, and snacks. Yes, plural on all counts!

We always have a house cocktail for the festive season (some years are better than others I must admit: let’s not talk about the year I decided that Tequila Bloody Marys were a good idea. Urgh.).

This year we’ll have an extra full house, so that means I have to plan extra drinks and puddings, obviously.

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

So I’m starting to stock up the bar, although I admit I’ve not actually planned the house cocktail, but I’m feeling inspired by the Christmas cordial I picked up the other day, and am wondering if I can come up with some kind of Christmas Sour involving this. I reckon I can, so if it's a success I'll share it on the blog before the big day so you have time to get the ingredients if you fancy trying it.

Anyway, I digress. Getting the bar Christmas ready, is of utmost importance.

On top of at least one house cocktail, the staples are a necessity. You definitely need to be able to offer guests a G&T. And at Christmas, you can justify spending a bit more on those staples than you might do otherwise, making it less of a staple, and more of a special treat, whether it’s going to be a gift for a loved one, or a gift for yourself. Or, as I like to put it, a gift for the house. That way, it doesn't need to come from your gift 'allowance', but you still get to drink it. Clever huh?

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

A bottle of artisan Gin like The Teasmith Gin from Curious Egg, is just the ticket. One of several from their 'Gin Bar', all originating from Scottish craft distilleries. I've not opened this one yet as we can't be trusted, but it's distilled with hand-picked tea, which sounds great to me, and it could indeed inspire a tea-based cocktail of it's own.

The bar is far from fully stocked yet, still to come is Amarula Cream (a regular Christmas treat), Aperol, and I'm quite liking a Dark & Stormy at the moment, so maybe some dark Rum too. And of course a selection of tonic waters for the G&T's, and various other mixers.

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

Don't forget you'll need some lovely glasses in which to serve these drinks, so get those 'special' glasses out. I'm a firm believer in using 'best' every day, but if you are saving them, it's time to dust them off. I love these vintage inspired Deco Cocktail Glasses also from Curious Egg, and the cutest little Bamboo Cocktails Whisks.

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests
Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

So now that we've covered drinks, we need to cover where to put them (before they go in your mouth!). A bar cart or trolley is in order (or a sideboard, top of a chest of drawers or a shelf if you don't have space), and this rattan one from Out There Interiors offers plenty of space up top and on the two shelves below.

It's an unusual army green colour, and has a rough distressed texture, and would fit in rather nicely with the decor at Chiltern Firehouse, with their Titanic meets Gilligan's Island vibe.

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

I may pile it up with the entire contents of the alcohol cupboard, then again, I might just fill it with what I know will be used over Christmas, and keep it looking lovely. One thing's for sure, the fairy lights and gold plated ice tongs are staying!

Are You Christmas Ready? Getting the bar ready for Christmas guests

This post is in collaboration with Out There Interiors and Curious Egg. Two independents who have truly fabulous curated collections, so please do go check them out.

© Bianca Hall. All rights reserved.