Friday, December 22

Christmas Sour [My Christmas Cocktail 2017]

Well this is it: my final post the year! I'm taking some much needed time out for the next two weeks, and will be back on Monday 8th of January with my batteries fully charged and ready to embrace 2018.

I have so many exciting plans for next year and I can't wait to start making them happen.

French For Pineapple Christmas Sour Cocktail 2017

My friends will tell you that I'm very much a cocktail enthusiast, and occasionally I get inspired to invent one of my own. This is one of those occasions!

I spotted this Belvoir Christmas cordial in my local Whole Foods and popped in my basket. Then I got thinking that its flavours would lend itself rather nicely to a citrus based cocktail. And I was right.

So please allow me to introduce you to my Christmas Sour. Totally delicious if I do say so myself. It's rather strong, but it also has quite a lot of juice in it, allowing you to sit on it for a while, rather than it being gone in a few gulps.

French For Pineapple Christmas Sour Cocktail 2017

Possibly a bit much for Christmas morning (we'll be having Pink Fizz Bellinis here at French For Pineapple HQ), but this will be just the ticket for an early afternoon pick me up before the main event.

Let me know if you try it!

French For Pineapple Christmas Sour Cocktail 2017


You will need:

Cocktail shaker

Ingredients (per drink - these need to be made one at at a time):

2 tbsp Belvoir Christmas Cordial
1/3 cup (80mls) gin of choice
1/4 cup (60msl) sugar syrup
1 egg white (reserve yolk for custard or boxing day Hollandaise)
1/4 cup (60mls) lemon juice
1/3 cup (80mls) clementine juice


French For Pineapple Christmas Sour Cocktail 2017

French For Pineapple Christmas Sour Cocktail 2017

Shake really well with ice (not too much ice or it won't froth), and strain into champagne saucer.

Garnish with a tiny sprig of mint and small single red currant (kinda resembles holly, right?!), and an optional two drops of aromatic bitters. Or orange bitters would be ideal.

If you're not a gin fan, subsitute with vodka. Reduce sugar syrup and increase lemon juice if you like it more sour.

Cheers! And a very Merry Christmas from me to you, and a massive thank you to every single person who reads French For Pineapple!

French For Pineapple Christmas Sour Cocktail 2017

Alternatives to the Belvoir cordial:

Bottle Green Spiced Berry Cordial
Rocks Fruit Punch Spiced Christmas Cordial
And failing these, I reckon good old Ribena would do the trick just nicely too.

P.S Not sponsored!




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Thursday, December 21

Baxter's Bedroom Reveal

Hello! And welcome to my second last blog post of 2017!

I thought it would be nice to have non-Christmas related post to bid the year farewell (tomorrow's doesn't count because it's about COCKTAILS!), and I'm SO excited to finally share this room with you today, because even though it's quite tiny, a whole lotta love and effort has gone into it (albeit intermittently!) over the last few months.

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

When I laid eyes on the Desert Llama wallpaper in Cactus from Drop It Modern, I knew it had to go in Baxter’s room. Thankfully he agreed, at least he did once he decided that he wasn’t actually scared of the Llamas. Cue me saying lots of things like ‘Llamas’ aren’t scary, look how friendly and smiley they are!’ and other similar leading statements. I mean how can a Llama with tassels around its neck be anything other than friendly, right?!

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

Baxter’s ceiling is low and where the wall and ceiling meets is less than perfect, so I was concerned about getting a clean line for the wallpaper, which is why I decided to set the wallpaper within moulded panels that were just smaller than the walls, and compliment the wallpaper with Milk Jug, the most stunning Aqua from Earthborn Paints.

I gave the room the full colour wash treatment, again getting around the wonky wall/ceiling area which would have become more apparent with a white ceiling meeting a strong colour, by painting it all the same colour, ceiling and woodwork included.

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

I’m so happy with the result of the walls, and I just adore the effect of the matching roman blind - the fabric was colour-matched printed to the same scale as the wallpaper.

The lovely Cormar Sensation carpet in Light Taupe was continued into Baxter’s room from the hallway, making it much more cosy than the previous old carpet (or the temporary white painted, full of holes floorboards that he had for a few months between old and new carpet). This warm neutral goes with everything and lets the wall colour sing, whilst being as soft as can be, with a beautiful velvety sheen.

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

I’ve loaned him my Moroccan wedding style blanket - he's claimed it as his own now, and it really does work well in there, and the gorgeous Cactus cushion sent to me from Bluebell Grey fits in so perfectly too.

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

His black spotlight style lamp is from Made, and the floor bookcase is actually an Ikea wall shelf used on its side. It holds a really good amount of books so that they're front facing and low to the ground for him to browse through and select, without taking up any wallspace, and can be moved around to suit.

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

The chest of drawers, also from Ikea is the perfect fit for the space, offering maximum storage space for clothes and toys. It’s the Tarva (a right pain in the behind to build considering it's not the cheapest) which comes in raw pine ready to paint. I was initially going to paint it black, but decided it might be too heavy and overwhelming in this small room, so I went for Earthborns Trumpet - a beautiful inky navy with purple tones, and put a finishing coat on it to give it a slight sheen, deepen the colour a bit and protect it from the wear and tear it will no doubt be subjected to in here.

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

I repurposed the brass knobs from the old kitchen, though I may have other plans for handles in the new year.

The light fitting used to be in our bedroom and works brilliantly in here with his subtle dessert theme (I say ‘theme’, in truth I hate themed rooms - this is about as 'themey' as I get!).

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

French For Pineapple Blog - Boys Bedroom

And that's about it. I’ve kept everything else very simple because there’s enough going on with the wallpaper and colour. Baxter now spends a huge amount of time in there playing - has has such a brilliant imagination, and I hope his bedroom inspires and becomes a backdrop to so many more adventures.

It’s now a welcoming and cosy room, he loves it, and so do I. Result!

This post is in collaboration with Cormar Carpets, Earthborn Paints and Drop It Modern.

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Friday, December 15

My New Cormar Carpet!

I haven’t shown the hallway and stairs on the blog for a LONG time. Purely because aside from a lick of paint, nothing had changed except that the old carpet had gotten increasingly grotty.

Come to think of it, the upper stairs and landings have never been on the blog or instagram, so here's a little peek at some parts of the house you won't have seen before. Like ever. Unless you've been to my house. Duh.

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet

The carpet really needed to be replaced after we did the loft over six years ago, but other things always took priority and it got ignored. It drove me completely batty to be honest; the lavender carpet that I once loved, was faded, flat, fraying and frankly, filthy. Yes, ALL the F's. I didn't want to spend the money having it professionally cleaned when it was so far beyond saving, so I did the best I could using supermarket products, which to be honest, don't make much difference at all, and tried to ignore it.

You might remember a while back on my stories that I ripped up Baxter’s carpet when I could stand it no longer, and gave the very knackered old boards a quick sand and paint, which although a vast improvement, it made an already cold room even colder, which wasn't ideal at all with winter approaching.

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet


I couldn’t wait to put new carpet not only on the stairs, back hall and landings, but to take it into all three bedrooms too. Edie's bedroom and my bedroom had white painted floorboards, and Edie's in particular were in pretty bad shape.

Carpet hasn’t been particularly fashionable over the last few years, but I’m a fan for several reasons:

We live in London. It’s cold, grey and miserable for a decent portion of the year, and I’m a believer that your flooring should suit your climate. There’s nothing better than getting out of bed on a chilly morning (so, 95% of the year!) and putting your feet down onto plush, soft, warm carpet. I absolutely adore having it in the bedrooms now (you may have seen it in Edie's bedroom already, Baxter's room will be revealed next week, and our bedroom in the new year!)

It also gives a real sense of luxury and comfort. The kids were literally jumping for joy when we came back to freshly laid carpet after our pretty rubbish journey home from our summer holiday - both of them rolling around with delight on it. The joy they were expressing physically, was pretty much how it made me feel emotionally! It’s that comfort and warmth that just can’t be matched with hard flooring, and I feel it’s so much better suited to bedrooms.

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet

The Cormar carpet I chose is from the Sensation range and the colour is Light Taupe, a warm grey, and more of a mid-tone than light. It's a lovely neutral colour that works with all the other colours in the house, and will continue to do so as I change wall colours (if you're new here, the walls in this house tend not to stay the same colour for very long!).

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet

What I love about this carpet is not only it’s softness underfoot (it’s SO soft and plush!), but also the gentle velvety sheen it has when the light hits it. Perhaps controversially, I personally prefer non-wool carpet because aside from the fact that you have no shedding or smell to deal with, it’s as tough as anything, stain resistant, and perfect for a busy family home like ours.

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet

The stairs are one of the first things you see when you come into the house, and the old carpet was such a depressing sight. The new carpet has totally transformed the entire look and feel of the house.

Not much else has changed in the hall, I painted it mid to late last year, and this week I also painted the banister black, which I’ve been thinking about doing for ages. It feels much more fresh and modern than the previous white, and leads the eye through into the back accents in the kitchen.

I’ve left the spindles and visible stair edges white for now, and that works with the white painted floorboards, but I expect I'll end up painting those black too if I manage to replace the floorboards next year. Fingers crossed!

French For Pineapple Blog - My New Cormar Carpet

If you’re considering carpet in the new year, I wholly recommend you check out Cormar Carpets extensive collection.

This post is in collaboration with Cormar Carpets.
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Wednesday, December 13

Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

When I took delivery of this absolutely stunning wreath from Petal & Grace on Monday, I was SO excited to see that it not only lived up to, but exceeded my very high expectations.

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

It's beautiful, and wild, and just a little bit bonkers. Everything Christmas decorating should be.

The medium size unapologetically fills almost the entire width of the front door. Anything larger wouldn't fit our door, and although the smaller one would definitely fit and still look fabulous, I'm in the 'bigger the better' camp this year (have you seen my seven and half foot tree?!). I've attached it to the door by running clear display cord through the back of the wreath support, and up and over the door, securing it onto the bolt for the centre door knob inside. I couldn't resist adding some battery powered copper wire fairy lights to it, and the battery pack is just tucked in behind the wreath. They're on a timer so they come on just after 4pm, stay on for six hours, then turn themselves off for eighteen hours, then repeat. Super handy for Ms Forgetful with lazy tendencies here.

This is the succulent wreath. I mean it would never even occur to me to put succulents into a wreath composition, but it totally works. The green on green with all the different tones and textures is breathtakingly beautiful.

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

Petal & Grace's selection of wreath designs dreamed up by founder Nikki Pierce, are in fact all gorgeous, and I'd be equally happy with any one of them adorning our front door. Even the Red Willow Wreath (try saying that after a few glasses of mulled wine!), hasn't lost me - if you know me you'll know I'm not a fan of red, but the combination of the red berries with the muted pinks and greens is just so pretty! I completely adore them all.

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths

However I do have two problems with my wreath...

One is that I can't constantly gaze at its beauty, as it's on the front door (and it's a little chilly out there to hang outside admiring it), so come Christmas Day it might actually have to come inside to adorn the table instead. This is actually no bad thing, and will save me a lot of trouble!

French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas WreathsFrench For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths


French For Pineapple Blog Petal & Grace Christmas Wreaths


And the other problem is this: how is any wreath going to live up to this now? I'll think I'll need a standing order for the second week of December every year. Thanks Nikki!

And it's not too late to order for this Christmas if you're quick! Go, go, go!

This post is in collaboration with Petal & Grace.
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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?!

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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.
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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.


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