Wednesday, December 14

Office & Garden Gift Guide

I keep smirking when I see the phrase 'last minute gifts' because for me, this is still not last minute - Christmas Eve is last minute. I guess I've always been what some refer to as a 'last minute shopper' for Christmas gifts. Sometimes I 'think' about buying gifts earlier in the year, but never go through with it. I mean, what if you find something better? Surely you should always wait at least until the week before Christmas so you can make sure you've seen everything that's on offer? Or worse still, what if you buy it and bury it in the back of your wardrobe, never to be seen again? Just me?

This is my last gift guide for the season, and I'm combining Office & Garden. Perhaps it's because I long to have an office in the garden, or perhaps it's because I kind of am cultivating a little indoor garden in my studio. Don't know, but for some reason in my head they just go together. Just me? Again?

I've had a lot of fun putting all my gift guides together, and I hope you've enjoyed reading them. Perhaps you may have found a new to you shop or two. Let me know if you have!

So here are my best suggestions for those with green-fingered friends and family (or wannabe green-fingers), and those with a home office that like their desk to be filled with things that are beautiful and practical.

French For Pineapple Blog - Office & Garden Gift Guide

1.  Alphabet Brush Pot - Pentreath & Hall
2. Midori Brass Pen - Clerkenwell London
3. Copper Watering Can - Nook
4. Baies Indoor & Outdoor Candle - Diptyque
5. Regency Caning Notebook - Pentreath & Hall
6. Secateurs - Labour And Wait
7. Self-watering Plant Pot - Lechuza (literally saved the life of my dying Fiddle Leaf Fig!)
8. Playtype Notebook - Design Museum
9. Hay Gold Tray - Amara
10. Skagerak Edge Pot - twentytwentyone

In case you missed my other gift guides you can find them here.


Wednesday, December 7

UK Home Blog Hop:
How To Add Relaxed Glamour To Your Christmas Table

This year I'm getting into the Christmas spirit a little (a lot) earlier than I normally would. Last year we left our tree buying til the weekend before Christmas because various events meant we didn't have a chance to get it earlier, and the kids were a bit disappointed. So this year, we've gone earlier than ever before, and we bought our tree last weekend. The kids, needless to say, are pretty damn pleased that signs that Christmas will soon be here are showing!

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

If  you're new to French For Pineapple, WELCOME, and thanks hopping by! You've may have come my way via the very wonderful Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot for this bit of Christmas blogger fun. Thanks Carole! And huge thanks of course to our most fabulous host Kimberly, from Swoon Worthy for organising all us wayward bloggers (well, okay, I shouldn't speak for everyone here, so, me, thanks for organising me!).

If we haven't met before, I'm Bianca Hall, and French For Pineapple is where I document my never-ending redecorating efforts in our North London home, alongside my interior obsessions and finds. Of which there are many.

Today I'd like to share, not the tree, but my formula for creating a relaxed glam Christmas table, for the time-pressed or slightly impatient! If you fall into either of these categories, or both, (like me!), but still hanker after a bit of glam over the festive season, then I hope this will help.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

This is not so much a visual step by step guide (okay, not at all, I didn't feel that was necessary), but an explanation of how I put my table together to achieve the finished look, complete with an 'ingredients' list.

I don't go overboard with the Christmas decorations in our house, although I possibly would if I had more time on my hands. I often think about decorating the stair bannister, but rarely end up getting around to it. We'll see if it happens this year - there's certainly an awful lot of inspiration popping up on a daily basis in my Instagram feed.

Our kids get free reign decorating the tree (well, almost - no tinsel, and no red allowed!), so it's always an eclectic mix of collected ornaments, including some the kids have made over the years, and it's guaranteed to look slightly bonkers. But I like it that way, because for us, Christmas is really for the kids. Is it blog or Instagram worthy? Nope, it's far from it, and yes, I am that shallow that you won't be seeing it here any time soon.

I admit, I'm always a little torn, because part of me would love a perfect glamorous colour coordinated tree, but it's just not going to happen any time soon, and I don't have the heart to tell the kids they can't decorate it. What kind of a monster would that make me?! If you haven't already, make sure you also pop over to The Pink House, where the lovely Emily addresses this issue in more detail. There's a link at the bottom of this post.

To make up for the fact that I get very little say over the look of the tree, I've granted myself full creative control over decorating the dining room and dining table! That's definitely my domain, and no one is allowed to complain about me being bossy or controlling, even though I most definitely am. They're also not allowed to mention the fact that there's no room for food on the table. Duh, that's what the sideboard is for! I try to keep that relatively clear.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

I love to go to the Columbia Road Flower Market (close to where I live in North London), on the last Sunday before Christmas (bit of a problem this year because Christmas IS on a Sunday!), and buy huge amounts of Eucalyptus to be the base of my table centrepiece, along with some showstoppers to make the table really special.

I keep it super simple, because I'm extremely impatient, and I have no floristry skills at all. But I like it to be dramatic and glamorous, while keeping it relaxed and inviting too, so over the years I've developed my own little formula, which looks so impressive, and magical, but couldn't be easier to create.

Are you ready? Good!

Here's what you'll need:

Tablecloth (optional)
One extra large, or several smaller bunches of Eucalyptus
3 plus (depending on size) stems of 'secondary' flowers or foliage (see below)
6 baby pineapples (or other showstopper flowers / fruit)
Copper wire fairy lights (2 strands is ideal)
Candles (at least three, but I've used up to seven!)
Candle holders (or small teacups and blue tack)
Your favourite plates and cutlery
Your very best champagne glasses and tumblers
Linen napkins (obvs.)
Eucalyptus sprigs (tips cut from your bunches)
1 Large Glass of Baileys, Amarula Cream or Champagne (not really optional)

Pop on your tablecloth if you intend to use one, and let's go...

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table
First you need to start with your base. I always use eucalyptus because it lies nice and flat, and has the most beautiful herbal aroma, which also always remind me of home (Sydney, via New Zealand!). Lay two large pieces down so that they're top and tailing each other, but overlapping slightly to cover the ends, and 'pointing' to either end of the table. Decide at this point how far down each end of the table you want to go with your centrepiece and overlap accordingly. If you have a really long table, you can of course use more than two pieces at this stage. Now keep layering with the rest of the Eucalyptus, until you're satisfied with the look and form.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

Start sipping your large glass of Baileys, Amarula Cream or Champagne, and continue...

Next add your secondary foliage or flowers of choice. I've gone for some gorgeous blue and green Hydrangeas here, but I've also used King Protea in the past, which look absolutely sunning, or you could also work some large fern fronds in, or even smallish cheese plant leaves or palm fronds. I go for a messy unstructured look rather than manicured and perfect, which is not only much easier to achieve, but it's quick and keeps it casual. The trick is to keep hiding the stems as much as possible under other foliage. You want good messy, not ugly messy, think Brigitte Bardot bed hair, not dragged through the hedge backwards crazy lady, okay?

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

At  this point I like to add my copper wire, battery powered fairy lights. These are absolutely priceless and add instant magic! I have two strands which is the perfect amount for our table. Hide the battery packs under some foliage, but remember where you hid them for easy access.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

Next I add my 'showstoppers', which for me are baby decorative pineapples. Simply the prettiest things ever as far as I'm concerned. I mentioned King Protea before which are also total showstoppers. Basically this is where I add a bit of colour. Use whatever tickles your fancy, and works with your colour scheme if you have one.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

To  finish the centrepiece off I used some beautiful tapered candles in assorted muted colours, in some small teacups from a vintage set that my Father-In-Law gave me, secured with a big blob of blu-tack (remember, never leave burning candles unattended!). Nestle these in wherever you please amongst the foliage.

And voila! One showstopper of a relaxed yet glamorous centrepiece!

Now set your table however you please. I love my Black Willow plates (we're very casual so I don't go for side plates or anything formal, besides, there's never any space!) and have teamed them up with gold cutlery and the palest of pink, loosely folded linen napkins topped with a sprig of Eucalyptus.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table

And of course my favourite Champagne saucers and some dark heavy tumblers too. I like the contrast of delicate and chunky here, which again keeps things laid-back.

So there you have it! My easy yet impressive Christmas table. I'm excited to recreate this for the real thing in a few weeks time.

UK Home Blog Hop - French For Pineapple - Relaxed Glam Christmas Table
Now please do yourself a favour, and hop on over to Lust Living to see what Christmas goodness Olivia has to offer, and don't forget to keep following the hop because it continues all week!

Here's a full list of participating blogs. I'll be adding the links daily as they go live...

Monday 5th December

Tuesday 6th December

Wednesday 7th December
French for Pineapple (that's me!)

Friday 9th December


Monday, December 5


I'm not a huge fan of the majority of products that are aimed at kids decor, but nor do I think that kids should live in dull grown-up spaces. There's a balance, and you can definitely find a huge array of products that become kid-worthy when put in kids rooms, even if they aren't marketed that way.

Case in point, all these lovely products that obviously work in grown-up spaces, but put a few together, and voila, cool kids interiors that will stand the test of time, with the odd tweak here and there as the years go by...

1.  Laundry (Toy!) Basket - French Connection Home
2.  Disco Cushion - Quirk & Rescue
3. Petri Polar Bear Side Table - Graham & Green
4. Cat Ring Dish - West Elm
5. Spiro Mounted Ulysses Butterfly - The Curious Department
6. Still Life Matryoshka - Couverture & The Garbstore
7. Sheppy Shearling Bean Bag - Habitat
8. String Pocket Shelves in Cobalt - Utility Design
9. Neo Lava Lamp - Mathmos
10. Equestrian Monogram Hook - Anthropologie

On Wednesday I'll be sharing my thoughts on a glam Christmas table for the time-poor and impatient, as part of the UK Home Blog Hop. It's awesome, so don't forget to come and join the Christmassy blogger fun!


Friday, December 2


The next room on the list for my gift guides is the Bathroom. I'm in the middle of a mini-makeover of our main bathroom, and as much as I'd like to rip it right out and start again, it's not feasible right now, so as much as possible, I'm making the most of what we've got, spending as little as possible whilst still making a dramatic change. I hope.

Accessories become all the more important when the room itself isn't great. They're a brilliant distraction:

'Hey, don't look at that crappy tiling job, look at this lovely urn with a thriving fern in it instead!'


'Don't look at that seen better days shower-head, look at this pretty fringed bathmat instead!'

And so on. Catch my drift?

Yes, I've had bathroom accessories on my mind big-time, so without further ado, I'm going to share them with you... (yes, I know, I'm SUCH a natural poet).

French For Pineapple Blog - Bathroom Gift Guide

1.  Marble Lidded Pot - The White Company
2. Large Decorative Sea Sponge - Pure Sponges
3. Stone Composite Urn - Primrose
4. Pebble Brixton Towels - Christy
5. Black Polyresin Coral Bowl - White Mint
6. Body Brush - Labour & Wait
7. Oval Vanity Mirror - Housing Units
8. Panthera Ceramic Bathroom Set - House of Hackney
9. Diamond Bath Mat - Graham & Green
10. Oil Reed Diffuser - Tom Dixon at Heals

Have a great weekend, and come back on Monday for my next gift guide, which focuses on cool, non-kid stuff for cool kids rooms. Because cool is pretty important when you're a kid.

© Bianca Hall. All rights reserved.