Thursday, December 24

Happy Christmas

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have, or have had a peaceful and lovely Christmas. Thanks for reading French For Pineapple, I will be here blogging much more frequently about my home, interior loves, DIY escapades and more in 2016 and I really hope you'll join me. Sign up on the right so that you don't miss a post. See you on the other side!



Pineapple Tree Decoration - French For Pineapple Blog


Wednesday, December 23

Fab Five - Desk Lamps

The next room that needs attention on my vast house DIY list is my studio, which has become increasingly more like a dumping ground than a useable space.

It houses furniture in limbo, clothes and various other things that are waiting to be sold on eBay or Gumtree, not to mention huge amounts of packaging, samples and stock that I've accumulated over the years. And then there's the piles and piles of filing. Oh dear. At the moment, you can barely get in the door which is obviously not ideal.

Once the excess is cleared out, or at least sorted out so it feels less chaotic, I really want to take it from being purely practical (but not at all pretty to look at), to practical AND pretty. So that it becomes a room I want to spend time in, rather than a room I avoid. That shouldn't be too hard now should it?

How am I going to achieve this? Well, a massive skip keeps springing to mind, but short of something so drastic, I think baby steps are the way to go. Slowly clearing and sorting will be a good start, then buying a few new things to up the pretty factor. That's the bit I'm really interested in, but the reality is that a few full days of hard work are in order before I get to do that.

The first thing on my list is a new desk lamp. It will be a reward for finally sorting out the chaos. Over the last couple of months, I've spent hours and hours online searching for the perfect wall lights to go on the alcove shelving we've had built in the living room, and on my travels I've also stumbled upon several great looking desk lamps. And I had to include the Ikea Ranarp, because it's fast becoming a classic, and I love it.

As the studio is on my mind, I hope you'll forgive me if the next couple of Fab Fives are home office / studio themed. That said, I think that each one of these desk lamps is beautiful enough to work elsewhere in the home too.

Fab Five Desk Lamps - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Belid Cato LED in Polished Brass  - Lighting Workshop
2. Lektor in Black and Brass - Holloways of Ludlow
3. DAR Ranger in Satin Chrome - Love Lights
4. Ranarp in Off-White- Ikea
5. Paul Neuhaus Tino 1 Light in Brass - Scotlight Direct


Sunday, December 20

India Jane (the best Christmas decorations in town and more)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: The best tree decorations lie inside the virtual and bricks and mortar doors of India Jane stores. Yes, I do realise that Christmas is this Friday and perhaps I'm giving you this information a tad late, but it's actually never too late to buy more - either for this year's tree, or for the years to come.

I see tree decorations as family heirlooms to be collected slowly over the years, that I hope my children will treasure and keep to pass on to their own kids one day. At least that's my excuse for adding a few more to the collection every year. I bought the elephant and tiger decorations in the middle of the second image below, but I'm kicking myself for not buying one of these brilliant tiger heads (and a monkey and a black dog and a parrot).

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely afternoon at India Jane in their beautiful Kings Road store in Chelsea, here in London. I had to exercise some serious purse control because the more I looked around, the more things I wanted to buy. And no, this is not a sponsored post.

Tiger Head Christmas Tree Decorations
Image: Bianca Hall

Parrot, Elephant, Tiger and Pineapple Christmas Tree Decorations
Image: India Jane

Dog and Monkey Christmas Tree Decorations
Image: Bianca Hall

Pug and Poodle Christmas Tree Decorations
Image: Bianca Hall

There's a LOT to love about India Jane, so I felt it my duty to spread the word. Honestly, what a treasure trove. And there's another store just a few doors down, with a distinctly different feel - apparently this is something that they do with all their stores so each one is quite different. They sell everything from beautiful candles that are made and shipped to them on amazing metal racks, to trays galore, paperweights, tableware, a room dedicated to lamps, a dresser full of sparkly tea light holders, and I even stumbled upon some Scalamandre Zebra serviettes. And did I mention cushions? It's one of those shops that is such a visual feast, my eyes did not stop darting about to discover more goodies the entire time I was there.

Dresser and Chairs in Shop Interior
Image: Bianca Hall

Glamorous table setting
Image: Bianca Hall

Aside from the huge range of accessories, they also sell proper, grown-up 'forever' furniture. You know, timeless, classic pieces that are built to last.

Lately I've been a little obsessed with bringing some natural wood into the house, and I love the idea of pairing a round traditional table with mid-century Eames Eiffel chairs. Sadly my husband isn't so keen on getting rid of our existing dining table, so this plan exists only in my head. For now...

Round Dining Table
La Boussole Dining Table / Image: India Jane
Black Round Dining Table
Park Avenue Dining Table / Image: India Jane
Wolsey Gate Leg Round Table
Wolsey Gate Leg Table / Image: India Jane

And I'd quite like this mirrored sideboard with some contemporary artwork hung above it too. Le sigh.
Mirrored Sideboard
Campbell Sideboard / Image: India Jane
And this. Just Imagine this showstopper in a super contemporary kitchen or library. In. My. Dreams.

Library style wooden bookshelves with ladder
Plantation Double Bibliotheque / Image: India Jane
In case you can't tell, I'm really quite taken with India Janes offerings, they have such a refreshing range with a colonial slant that's so easy to mix with other styles. I think I'll be visiting again quite soon.


Monday, December 7

Fab Five - Dinner Plates

Dinner plates are on my mind right now as suddenly ALL ours are majorly chipped and we're down to just four, which isn't that sociable for someone who quite likes to host the odd dinner party and have friends for lunch - we really need eight at least.

I find long-term purchases like this quite tricky as I think it's fair to say that plates are something most people only buy a handful of times in their lives, so you know, you need to get it right. Ours were a wedding gift, so they're nearly thirteen years old, and I have no idea where the plates in my life came from before that - probably hand me downs from flat-mates parents I imagine.

But like it or not, tableware says a lot about you. If that statement is true, currently I'm someone who doesn't give a damn about presentation which I'm not particularly happy about, so it needs to change. I might ask for plates from my father in law for Christmas this year instead of the usual Diptyque candle. Don't get me wrong, I adore my Diptyque candles and being kept in constant supply by him (Birthday and Christmas), but you know, needs must.

ANYWAY, I digress. Have you guessed yet that plates are the subject of today's Fab Five?

Here they are...

Palm, Chinoiserie, Earthenware, Marble and Glazed Dinner Plates. French For Pineapple Blog

You know I love a bit of a tropical palm print, and this is a classic.

I'm always drawn to Chinoiserie prints, and I love the way the black gives it a gothic edge.

You can't go wrong with simple white, and the chunky earthenware with distressed glaze stops it from being dull.

How stunning is this marble design?! Ugh, I die.

Not normally my thing, but I kept returning to look at this beautiful offering from Denby, with the speckled glaze and ochre inner trim, these are timeless.

Friday, December 4

The Science of Comfort

My 'office chair' used to be a Panton. Yes, I know, style over function, which became obvious very quickly. So I swapped it for an Eames DSR Eiffel chair (which we already had as we use them at the kitchen table), which is marginally better, but certainly not brilliant. Sure it looks great, but is it comfortable to sit on for hours on end at the computer? Er, no. Alas, it's what I am sitting on as I type these very words. Neither my back or behind appreciate it.

Last week I was invited to check out the Ekornes Stressless range of sofas, recliners and office chairs, and having made a beeline for the office chairs for obvious reasons, swiftly followed by the über comfortable recliners, it's fair to say I have now become a little obsessed.

Okay, a lot. And to be totally honest, much more than I thought I would be.

Not only have I been day-dreaming about which style and leather colour I would choose for my chair in the studio, but I've also been day-dreaming about which recliner in which colour I'd have in the living room. I've narrowed it down to blue, white or black for the studio, in the Metro or London design (London being new for 2016), and the Metro or City recliner and footstool in Clementine or Black for the living room. There would be lots of arguing about who gets to sit in it, so I think there would have to be some kind of timetable or reward system in place.
Black Metro Recliner with footstool and Orange City Recliner with Footstool - French For Pineapple Blog
Metro Recliner and Footstool in Black and City Recliner and Footstool in Clementine
Images: Ekornes

Sitting in a Stressless office chair was a revelation. A 'Oh, so THIS is what a comfortable chair feels like' moment. There is obviously no comparison between my 'office chair' and a Stressless office chair, and these aren't just any old office chairs, they're reclining office chairs. Fancy a little snooze at your desk to re-charge those creative juices? Not a problem.

The technology in these chairs is seriously impressive, and all the Stressless chairs have a read or sleep position for the headrest when in the recline position.

Most of the recliners are available in three sizes (a bit Goldilocks and The Three Bears really), with a size and style to suit pretty much everyone. I'm a medium by the way, just like Mummy Bear.
Blue London Recliner and Footstool, Cream City Recliner and Footstool, Blue Metro Recliner and Footstool - French For PIneapple Blog
Stressless Recliners - London, City and Metro Designs // Image: Bianca Hall

An obsession with the science of comfort and movement, coupled with innovative technology, makes Ekornes Stressless a force to be reckoned with when it comes to seating. They've been around since 1934, so I think they know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't, and I imagine they're rather horrified at my current office chair situation.

Ekornes Metro, London and City Office Chairs - French For PIneapple Blog
Stressless Office Chairs - Metro, London and City Designs // Image: Bianca Hall

The fact that the Stressless range embodies Scandi Mid-Century charm is no coincidence - the Norwegian company launched the first Stressless brand and first chair in 1971, with many of the new designs taking inspiration from the original, which can't be a bad thing.

Since I can't have one in real life, at least not yet, I thought I'd share a fantasy, dream studio moodboard with you. My studio is the most neglected room in the house (well, perhaps apart from the main bathroom), and it's next on the list for a much needed overhaul. Sadly it probably won't look quite as glam as this moodboard, but it's good to have goals, you know?

Dream Studio Moodboard - French For Pineapple Blog

Clockwise from top left:

Dix Blue Estate Emulsion - Farrow & Ball
'Metro' Office Chair in Black - Ekornes Stressless
Alex Drawer Unit - Ikea
Date Palm - Indoor Plants
Sonnet Desk - Safavieh
PS Cabinet - Ikea
Black Venice Pom Pom Basket - Edit 58
Vintage Beni Ouarain Rug - Moroc Tribal
Ranarp Lamp - Ikea

Remember that High, Low, Old and New is a great mantra for putting a room together, as demonstrated above. I love this moodboard, if I do say so myself.

But back to Ekornes, and let's not forget the Stressless sofas, which are every bit as comfortable as the chairs. The E300 is my favourite with it's soft curves and simple lines, and again available in a vast range of colours. I quite fancy the white (sometimes I even surprise myself). And yes, the sofas recline too.
Ekornes White E300 Sofa - French For Pineapple Blog
E300 Sofa // Image: Ekornes

Next year will see the launch of a Stressless recliner and sofa with integrated footstools due to popular demand, and I expect that with the launch of the sleek, contemporary London and Paris designs, that you'll be seeing a lot more of Ekornes Stressless in the interior magazines and on your screens.

Ekornes Stressless Leather Colours - French For Pineapple Blog
A Selection of Stressless Leather Colours // Image: Bianca Hall

Oh, and if you're one of the lucky few that happen to have a home cinema, look no further. There's only one problem - you might not get up again.

Check out the Ekornes website for more information and to find your closest retailer, and see how comfortable the Stressless range is for yourself.

Posted in collaboration with Ekornes. Words and opinions by me, as always.


Thursday, December 3

The Dining Room (Sideboard)...

As you may know, over the last few months I've been giving my living and dining rooms a brand new look. I was busy photographing the rooms last weekend for this post, which was supposed to be the big Living and Dining Room Reveal. However, when I looked back at them, I realised that although I'm really very happy with the rooms, that I wasn't actually ready to show them off just yet, as there are too many things that still need to be done (like painting the floors for one. Urgh.), and I'm not happy to show the world, well, okay, maybe not the world, but you know what I mean, until everything is looking a bit more finished.

I think it's going to be at least another few weeks before I post the proper reveal, but I took loads of shots of the sideboard in the dining room, which is really long, and I've always struggled with styling it. I finally got it to a point where I'm happy with it, so there's no way I'm not going to show you these photos!

The sideboard is made up of five wall mounted Ikea kitchen cabinets, with a bespoke sprayed to match piece of MDF for the top. Fantastic to house everything from the kids games, to craft supplies, and who know what else. I'd love to replace the top with with marble one day, though even if I had the budget, I'd be worried the weight of it would pull the cabinets off the wall.

So here you go, a detailed look at the dining room sideboard. Of course you can see peeks of the rest of the room and the beautiful Pink Ground walls, which I am completely besotted with. As soon as I can, I will show you the whole dining room and the living room, which has changed SO much from it's navy blue days...

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog
Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog
Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog


Thursday, November 26

A Weekend Guest Room Makeover (and my best tips for a welcoming guest room!)

On a total whim, last week I painted the guest room. A room that was on my 'when I get around to it' list, rather than my 'must do it now' list, if you know what I mean, though admittedly, it had a few patched holes in the walls that I'd not got around to sorting after we moved Baxter into his new room, so it needed doing. I find it hard to ignore a painting urge, so paint I did.

When I painted Edie's room the week before (check out my plans for her room here), I didn't calculate at all miscalculated how much paint I would need, and ended up having to buy an additional 2.5L can to finish it, even though I only needed perhaps 600mls. Pretty annoying right?

I was feeling pretty guilty about that because I'd not used the cheapest paint around, and then I realised that I'd have more than enough left over for the spare room. Bingo - guilt appeased, and inspiration sorted to make it a more welcoming space for guests.

Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Guest rooms, at least in my experience, tend to end up being a patchwork of rejected and displaced items from the rest of the house, due to a change of heart or style or just pushed out due to new purchases taking preference. Full of things that you can't quite bring  yourself to get rid of, but you don't really love anymore either.

You know - the old pine bed frame that's hideous but rather useful? Keep it by all means, but you need to paint it. The ugly old desk piled high with 'filing', the ironing board, the fan that gets used four days a year at best, and the electric heater for boiler emergencies. Or is that just me? How about the ugly cushions that you once loved, and the vase that a relative gave you?

I'm not an organisation specialist, and certainly not even a neat freak, but I'm going through a slow process of clearing all the excess that we neither need or want. How you deal with your excess stuff is your business, but if you don't want to look at it, you probably don't want to subject your guests to it either, right?

Once I realised that this patchwork thing had happened, I decided to do something about it, which unfortunately at this point means that I moved it from one room to another. But I am planning on continuing to cull. Promise.

We decided against a sofa bed in our guest room because you can store quite a bit under a double bed, whereas you can't store anything under a sofa bed, and if you're anything like me, you'd fill all the floor space with other stuff and probably not even have room to pull the bed out when you need it, so a standard bed with space underneath seemed the better option.

We opted for an affordable metal framed double bed from Ikea, which now has the Christmas decorations, blow up bed for when we have several people visiting, and who knows what else underneath, but the point is, it's hidden. As long as you don't go snooping under the bed, you'd think this was a dedicated guest room, and definitely not a dumping ground, which instantly makes people feel more welcome.

I managed this makeover in two days, so depending on the room size it's easily achievable over a weekend.

So here are my top tips for sprucing up your guest room super-fast and super-cheap. Remember, get rid of, or hide that junk!

Paint. If it's the spare room it could probably do with a fresh coat of paint. Though I've gone for a pretty pale powder blue, because that's what I already had (and my conscience wouldn't let me buy yet another can of paint), a guest room is somewhere you can afford to have fun. So don't paint it white or pale grey - do something a bit different. How about a beautiful rich emerald or olive green, a dark dusty rose or a deep ochre? Yep, that's the cold weather talking. But my point is, why not choose something that scares you a bit? You could even go off-black. I dare you.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Bed Linen. Possibly one of the most important things when staying at a hotel, is also important in a guest room in the home. You don't have to spend a fortune - I bought some new linen for our guest room last year - some hotel style square pillows and cases from Richard Haworth (you can thank me later for sharing that Little Black Book secret with you), which are so comfortable to lean on when reading in bed in absence of an upholstered bed head.

I also bought a pure linen duvet cover and pillow cases in different shades of grey from H&M. Their linen is surprisingly lovely for the price (I also have it for my kids beds). A friend once described linen bedding as feeling like a big hug, and she was spot on. I don't think I'll ever go back to a cotton duvet cover, certainly not in the winter months anyway.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Bedside Table. I can only fit one small side table in (an ebay buy that I painted several years ago, and it used to be my daughters bedside table), but one is better than none. You could use a small stool, or if you're really tight for space, a small floating shelf works too. Somewhere to put a glass of water and a book other than the floor, will be appreciated.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Lighting. Our guest room is in the loft extension, which has low ceilings compared to the rest of the house, and therefore the rooms have recessed halogen lighting, making atmospheric lighting even more important. At the moment, I've put a lamp that I already had on the side table, but I may swap it for wall mounted reading lamps, which saves table top space and means there's a lamp on both sides of the bed, upping the cosy factor at night. You can find a huge range of good looking wall lamps online that don't cost a fortune.

Somewhere to sit. I've shoe-horned a chair into the corner of the room - it's nice to have somewhere other than the bed to sit and/or plonk your bag, so a chair, or even better an upholstered bench at the end of the bed if you have the space, is perfect.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Rug. If you can add a rug, always do! They add so much warmth and texture, and can really finish off a room. Because of the layout and space limitations of our guest room a rug won't work (it gets caught on the door), so a sheepskin by the bed is a great alternative. And oh so cosy on these cold winter mornings.

Art/Something for the walls. I've hung some vintage coat hooks that lost their spot in our living room in here and added a mix of natural and coloured baskets. I'd like to add a vintage floral oil painting or two to another wall, so I have my eyes peeled for something under £20.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

'Shop-lifting'. Yes, that's right, go shop-lifting around your house. Grab a few things that you currently love to put in that guest room. Not only will it have the effect of making it less sparse and more welcoming, but it will make it flow better with the rest of the house - showcasing your current taste and style, and not the rejected stuff you used to love, but clearly don't anymore. I grabbed a bolster pillow, lamp, and a coral throw - things that I still love, but weren't currently being used elsewhere.

Greenery. I'm thinking about putting a hanging plant to one side of the window, but only do this if you'll remember to water it. If you rarely go into the guest room, maybe give it a miss. And yes, it does have to be real - nothing brings a room to life more than some living greenery.

The finishing touches for just before your guests arrive. Optional of course.

1. A small vase of fresh flowers on the side table.

2. A bottle of water and some tumblers.

3. Fresh towel/s.

4. If you really want to push the boat out, you could even pop a lovely soap, or some chocolate on top of the towels.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Now you're a full blown domestic goddess. Or at least one in the making. Oh and I'm sorry if the wonky lampshade bothers you, but I quite like it that way!

This wasn't going to be a before and after post, but a side by side comparison is always fun, so here you go...
Guest Bedroom Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog


Tuesday, November 17

Fab Five - Coffee Tables

I recently purchased a gorgeous, slightly-knackered-in-a-good-way, gold and glass 70's coffee table for our living room which I'll show you very soon. Just a few finishing touches to do in there first. Or maybe I'll show you the progress or it may never happen. Hmmm.

Out of the many, many coffee tables that I looked at, it won ultimately because it was the right price, the perfect dimensions and most importantly, it has a shelf, which for someone who likes pretty things and for things to look pretty, but can't have a styled coffee table because their nearly four year old son uses it all the time as a race track and general play and eating surface, is perfect - styled shelf underneath / empty top = happy Mummy / happy everyone!

I considered round, hexagonal and square, but rectangular works best with the layout and usage of the room, and much as I ADORE marble, we're not a coaster kind of house and I didn't want to be uptight about it getting stained or etched. Our coffee table is also our dinner table on Friday evenings, so glass is the safest bet for us with our lifestyle.

I did a LOT of looking around before I purchased, and I fell in love several times so I thought I'd share my favourite five with you. I know, I'm so kind.

Practical issues aside, any one of these would work beautifully in my living room, and I love them all. Perhaps one will work for you...
Fab Five Coffee Tables - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this Hex beauty from Next. It ticks so many boxes - hexagonal, smoked glass, gold finish.... What's not to love?! 

2. Adore this chunky brass and marble oval number from West Elm, who have a great selection of coffee tables. My friend Kimberly from Swoonworthy has this one, and I have big-time coffee table envy. The materials, the shape, ah, so much to love.

3. Another glass and brass finish (sensing a theme here?!), from Within Home. Love the Chinoiserie feel of this Halston one. Über glam.

4. The simple lines of this Gilmore Space coffee table at Fusion Living let that beautiful marble do the talking. I do love a simple box framed coffee table. They actually look great with (neat) stacks of magazines underneath too.

5. I couldn't resist throwing in a fantasy entry - a bit of window shopping never hurt now did it? This divine 70's piece from Talisman is a real timeless beauty. 

So it's safe to say that I only have eyes for brass (or brass finish), marble and glass when it comes to coffee tables these days. Totally irresistible.

Do they tick any boxes for you? Or do you prefer a more understated coffee table? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, November 14

Little Girl To Tweenage Dream - A Bedroom Makeover (and finding the perfect pale blue)

Edie has been at me for months and months to 'do' her room. And she specifically requested a mood board too! That's my girl...

Honestly, it needed doing more than any of the other four rooms that I've redecorated over the last year in our home. It was feeling more and more like there was a grown up secondary school student living in a little girls room, which was exactly the case. I think I'd hesitated completely re-doing her room because she's at an age where she's growing up so fast and I didn't want to have to do her room again in another year - I wanted something that would last a good few years without her outgrowing it, and importantly without it being bland and boring.

The thing with kids rooms, is that their needs do change - much more than your average grown-up, and their rooms need to change with them. But this time, I wanted to make sure that her room could transition with her as she goes from tween (she turned eleven in July), to teen, which I know will happen in a nanosecond.

She'd previously chosen quite a bright lavender wall colour which was full of patched holes from where pictures and shelves had moved about as her needs changed over the last few years, that I'd filled but never got around to painting. I'm ashamed to say it was actually looking kind of depressing. 

Wall colour was an important choice of course - she originally wanted pale grey, so nice and neutral (I think the bright lavender was driving her nuts!), but then decided it might be a bit depressing (her words, not mine), and wanted pale blue instead.

Boy have we been through some tester pots to find 'the one'! I have to say that I find pale blues particularly tricky. They look great on paint charts, only to look completely wrong in-situ. For a while I had thought about painting the living and dining rooms pale blue, but I actually gave up finding the right one in the end. Too grey, too bright, too dirty, not dirty enough, too icy, not blue at all etc etc etc!

I had originally dismissed Borrowed Light by Farrow and Ball as too grey for her room, as I had for the living and dining rooms, but last week I decided to paint a larger patch on her lavender and blue patchwork walls and I'm so glad I did. Turns out it isn't too grey at all, it was being overwhelmed by all the brighter blues I'd plastered around it, not the mention the original lavender colour. It's actually the prettiest, softest pale blue with just a touch of grey and green - in fact EXACTLY what I'd be searching for, and it had been sitting right under my nose, discarded and overlooked, in my ever-growing, over-flowing tester pot cupboard for months.

Note to self: with more subtle colours, you need to paint a much larger test area (or buy a roll of lining paper, and paint some big pieces you can tape up, and you might also want to leave a white border around it so that the colour in question doesn't get overwhelmed by other stronger colours around it. I think this is what happened in the living and dining rooms too, though I'm completely in love with the colour we went with in there in the end.

Anyway, my young client agreed it was 'the one', and this week I started the job of transforming her room. Of course, it took a LOT more time than planned - way more prep than anticipated, and clambering around and over furniture is less than ideal. Still, it was worth it and I finished painting yesterday. Actually, I still need to do the window frame and floors but they're not on the top of my painting priority list right now.

Of course, it's not just the walls that need attention, I wanted to give her room a more pulled together and grown up look, that will last a good few years with perhaps just some accessories being changed as she gets older.

We're getting rid of her high-sleeper bed, and bringing back her off-white metal vintage hospital style bed that Baxter has been using. He's either getting bunk beds, or a mid sleeper from Ikea which of course I will have to paint. Or I might get him another metal bed, but I haven't decided yet. Getting rid of the high-sleeper which has a built in wardrobe, means she'll be wardrobe-less, but she hardly owns any clothes that require hanging, so for now, we're going to solve this issue with a free-standing full length Ikea mirror with a hanging rack behind it. Special dresses that barely ever get worn will go in our wardrobe. I just don't feel it's an essential item for her right now, when 99.5% of her clothes live in her drawers. And my mother will be over the moon that the house without a full length mirror, finally has one when she next comes to stay!

We bought the 'Flights of Fancy' House of Hackney fabric several months ago at their sample sale with her room in mind. Initially I thought I might try my hand at an upholstered headboard, but I've decided that I'm going to make a Roman blind out of it. I love that if you use a really amazing fabric for Roman blinds that they're like an art panel when down.

I would never have bought such expensive fabric for a kids room normally, but she loves it and at £20 a metre at the sample sale, I thought why not?  There will be some left over for a bolster cushion for her bed too.

So here's a mood board of where were heading with the overall look of her room - slightly dreamy and ethereal, but not over the top girly. Once we sell her bed, it should be a quick transformation since the painting is done and we already own nearly everything else - I've ordered some Cable and Cotton lights which I've always loved the idea of in her room, and I'm getting a similar set to the ones on the moodboard, but with the addition of a pale pink. I love that you can build your own set which is so great for bringing the colours of a room together.

And don't you just love that feather light shade?! £28 from B&Q. Yes, you read that right. I snapped up the last one at my closest B&Q last week, and it's already made her room feel cosy and inviting next to the perfect blue. I might want to move into her room myself!

I'll of course show you when her room is ready for the big reveal...

I know some of you are probably thinking, that's what you said about the living room, but there are a few little things that need to be finished first. But soon, I promise!! 

Tweenage Dream Bedroom Moodboard - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Flights Of Fancy Fabric - House Of Hackney
2. Feather Light Shade - B&Q
3. For Like Ever Print - Super Rural 
4. Brass Hooks - Relics of Witney
5. Oliver bed - Feather and Black
6. Zebra print faux sheepskin - Ikea
7. Knapper Standing Mirror - Ikea
8. Pale Grey Linen Bedding - H&M
9. Linen Pillowcases - bought on holiday try Linen Me for similar
10. Borrowed Light Paint - Farrow & Ball
11. String Lights - Cable and Cotton
12. Bunny Lamp - Next (no longer available - sorry!) try Atomic Interiors for similar


Saturday, October 10

Brass Pineapples!

Retro brass pineapple - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Gary Houlder for Brass Pineapples

It's not news that pineapples continue to be a huge trend in interiors, but did you know that a site called has just launched, selling, yep, you guessed it - BRASS PINEAPPLES?!

That's right, you no longer need to scour ebay for hours or days on end in hopes of finding the perfect one, only to be out-bid at the last minute, because now you can buy one any time from a lovely fashion stylist called Sophie Kenningham who launched the site last week.

I met Sophie, by some spooky aligning of the planets through ebay whilst I was stalking (yes, that's right, stalking) some of the fabulous vintage coffee tables that she sells, and it turns out that we live in the same suburb, and have kids at the same school! Small world huh?

When I popped over to see a coffee table, that I went on to buy, I fell in love with her beautiful home, which was not only full of to-die-for furniture, but brass pineapples to boot. When I commented on the slightly over the top number of pineapples, she explained that she was just about to launch her website selling them, so it only seemed right that I should share the brassy love with you too.
Three brass pineapples - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Gary Houlder for Brass Pineapples

These fab retro cast brass pineapples come in three sizes (biggest is always best if in doubt, but they look amazing as a group of three too), which no bar cart is complete without, as they were originally meant as ice buckets. But bar cart or no bar cart, these are the perfect decorative items to add a bit of cool to any shelf or coffee table too.

I've been asked on more than one occasion why I don't own a brass pineapple, given my not so secret love of pineapples AND brass. Well, I'm as puzzled as anyone - perhaps I just never found the right one. Until now. But I've actually fallen in love with the most divine brass Clam Shells also found on Brass Pineapples. Soooo pretty! I definitely need one of them to go on my new alcove shelves, which are nearly ready for their close up. Or on my about-to-be-re-painted-again-but-don't-tell-my-husband bedside table for jewellery. Little glam touches like this can have such impact.
Brass Clam Shell - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Gary Houlder for Brass Pineapples

I hear there are a few exciting new brass (of course!) products in the pipeline too, so keep an eye out!

Okay, I'm off on a girls day out with my little lady, where she will attempt (probably successfully) to extract enough money from me for at least five new lip balms, because apparently a hundred and twenty something isn't enough. Then back home to join the boys for the evening, and there might even be a cocktail involved at some point, because it's National Cocktail Week here in the UK you know, so it would be rude not to. Whoop!


Wednesday, October 7

Garden Plans & New Grass!

Feet on artificial lawn - French For Pineapple Blog

If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that I'm not a gardener. I like the idea of it, but in reality, it's not something I ever make time for, and when I rarely do, I don't particularly enjoy it. Sure, I LOVE my indoor plants, but that's about as far as it goes. Spiders, bugs, snails and slugs are pretty much all I can think of when I do make myself do a bit of weeding, and as I'm really not a fan of those creatures, my gardening efforts are always half-hearted. I may not be into gardening, but I do want our garden to look pretty, although you wouldn't know that, as over the years, it's become increasingly more neglected and overgrown. I suppose it's been a mixture of a lack of interest and time, but the worse it got, the more I ignored it. I'm pretty good at that.

Our garden is quite big (well by London standards at least), around 50 foot (15 metres) long, by around 15 foot (4.5 metres) wide, but I have come to hate the layout. There's a lot of space, but it's broken up into five sections, making it seem smaller than it is, and it's basically the exact opposite of how I'd like it to be.

The five sections are...

1. A gravelled area directly outside the kitchen doors, that continues around to the side of the kitchen.

2. A large curved garden bed - the main section is about 3.5m x 2.5m, and on the right is a narrow path that leads to the next section, on the left it thins out and stretches along the side of the entire garden, joining up to section 5.

3. A large concrete paved oval section (about 3.5m x 5m).

4. A circular(ish) brick paved section measuring approximately 3m in diameter where the trampoline is.

5. A raised area right at the back, that and can't really be used for anything as it is as it's uneven and slightly precarious.

So, big, but not very user friendly for a family with kids who aren't into gardening. In my dreams, I would basically bulldoze the lot and start again. I think to achieve what I'd like to do would cost upwards of £20,000 here in London, and it's very much NOT on the cards.
Overgrown garden - French For Pineapple Blog
It's a jungle out there! Until two weeks ago, this was our view from the kitchen doors
I decided this summer that there was no point in waiting until a magical 'spare' twenty grand appeared, and that something needed to be done to make the garden work for us better now, not in five or ten years, so I began plotting and scheming to come up with a plan that would make the most difference, but not be out of this world expensive, largely working with what we already have and most importantly, keeping it as low maintenance as possible.

It's not my ideal, but it will drastically transform it, meaning we'll all use it much more. There are three main issues to be addressed...

1. The overgrown plants and trees had become a fox haven, so my husband has started the unenviable task of drastically cutting everything right back. Completely clearing some of the garden beds, and giving us a view right to the back of the garden, which we haven't had for years. There's still a lot to be done, but it's already made a drastic difference and the garden feels twice the size it did. We need to plant some low maintenance and low growing plants (I'm thinking a variety of grasses), quite urgently as the local cats think we've made them a nice toilet. Yeah, nice. I find all the garden bed space quite overwhelming, so I'm trying to think of it in sections to be tackled one at a time.

Drab garden before makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Overgrown garden - French For Pineapple Blog

2. The gravel outside the back door and down the side of the house acts as a physical (and mental) barrier to the rest of the garden and it has to go. Ideally we'd pave this area, but as we will one day extend into the side return, it seemed like spending money on something that would be trashed in a few years time, so that idea is on hold. I did lots of research into aggregates to replace the gravel, and came up with Paddlestones, which are similar to slate chippings, but larger, and they're tumbled, so they're not unpleasant to walk on with bare feet. Once we've cleared all the garden refuse from the cutting back, we'll clear the remainder of the gravel and get a pallet of Paddlestones delivered and spend an afternoon spreading them over that area. Make sure you order samples if you're considering these, as they vary quite drastically from one supplier to another - some are much flatter and smoother than others.
Drab garden before makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

3. There was nowhere soft for the kids to roll around, or anywhere I liked to sit, so we decided to put artificial grass down in the large central oval paved area in the middle of the garden. That actually happened last week, and all I can say is WOW, what a HUGE MASSIVE AMAZING difference this alone has made. The shot of bright green in the middle of the garden has brought the entire garden to life, and has really spurred me on, to make the rest of it look a whole lot prettier.
Artificial lawn shock absorbing underlay - French For Pineapple Blog
I used a company called Hi-techturf and they were fab (no, this is not a sponsored post!). Ours was a very simple job, and two men completed it in under two hours. Because the turf was being laid directly onto the existing paving, there was no ground preparation involved, they just needed to cover the central drain with gauze that would still allow drainage, level the centre out slightly with some crushed rock, and then fit a 'safe play shock pad'. The area is contained by a small brick wall as you can see in the images, so the pad was just cut to fit.
Artificial lawn being installed - French For Pineapple Blog
The turf is then laid on top of the shock pad, tucked under and secured around the edges with adhesive, then the entire thing is backfilled with kiln-dried sand and worked into the pile with a broom.

This is how much Baxter loved it when he got home from Nursery...
Boy lying on artificial lawn - French For Pineapple Blog

We had a few days of lovely weather just after it was laid, so there was much rolling about, roly-polys, and cartwheel practice done (no, the kids, not me, though I was tempted).
Artificial lawn - French For Pineapple Blog

Artificial Lawn - French For Pineapple Blog

There's still a LOT to be done out there, but it feels great to have made a start. We need to clear all the old plant pots, do a tonne of weeding and planting, and more cutting back, and I might get rid of that hideous plastic slide when Baxter isn't looking - I can't bring myself to put it on the beautiful grass! The trampoline does get used a load, so needs to stay. I wish we could sink it into the ground, but that's probably not going to happen, but we do need to replace it's net and padding which has seen better days. Some solar lights would be a nice touch so we can admire our handy work at night once we're done. We're definitely on our way to a lovely, family friendly garden, that will cost us under £2000.

Garden from above with fake turf - French For Pineapple Blog

So as you can probably tell, I'm now a huge artificial grass fan! We don't have the time (or inclination) to maintain a real lawn, and the weather in this part of the world doesn't make it easy either, so this really is the perfect solution for us. Oh, and let's not talk about the accidental over-pruning of the Weeping Mulberry tree okay?

If anyone has any suggestions of super low maintenance and low growing plants for that massive garden bed, please let me know.

I'll do an update when there's been some more garden progress, but meantime, there's some exciting stuff happening inside that I'll tell you about soon!
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