Wednesday, May 31

It's What's Inside That Counts [Soak & Sleep]

I'm the first to admit that I'm, well, kind of shallow. I care too much about what my house looks like, and I only ever share the pretty bits looking their best. There are a LOT of not so pretty bits in my house - the large hole in the bedroom ceiling, is probably the top of the list - the result of an ongoing mystery leak from the shower above, which we just can't seem to locate to fix properly. But you'll not see that on my Instagram feed anytime soon, no matter how much anyone campaigns to 'keep it real'. The pretty bits are real too, right?

I like escapism, not realism - I've never liked depressing films - give me a bit of Notting Hill over Manchester by the Sea any day. And who says you can't live in a fairytale? Even if it's just a bit, every now and then.

So yeah, I know a lot about things that look pretty. I also find it terribly dull when we have to spend money on things that give no visual pleasure. Heating, gutters, plumbing, electrics - such an annoying way to have to part with money, don't you think?

But recently I was forced to get over myself when I realised that despite our beautiful new-look bedroom, that all was not as it seemed.

My husband was waking every morning, with cold-like allergy symptoms, and snuffling and sneezing his way through the morning routine. On repeat.

It occurred to me that although I'd replaced nearly everything that you could see in our bedroom, that I'd not addressed one of the most important things - I had completely ignored the pillows and duvet. On closer inspection, what was left of our old pillows and duvet, was somewhat disturbing...

The feather filling in the duvet, had all but disappeared - presumably into an allergy inducing pile of feather dust, leaving a fair few of the pockets completely empty. No wonder I'd had to add so many extra blankets during the winter! The pillows were comfy enough, or at least they were what we were used to, but in reality, they were probably more full of dust mites than feathers, and this thought made my skin crawl. I realised that our duvet was more than FIFTEEN YEARS OLD, and our pillows, not much younger. Natural fibres will deteriorate over time, and I'm pretty sure the experts would be horrified at the idea of fourteen year old pillows. As am I, in hindsight.

I could ignore it no longer - our pillows and duvet had to go. It was clear that Ed was actually allergic to our bed. Eww!

My friends at Soak & Sleep came to the rescue and offered all sorts of helpful advice on what we should go for. They suggested a wool duvet, which I really loved the idea of as it's self-adjusting and will naturally adapt for cold-sleepers (me), and hot-sleepers (Ed). But because I'm shallow (and stubborn), I wanted a Duck Feather and Down all season duvet because they're big and puffy and I like big and puffy. I admit I'm still super intrigued by the wool, and they make perfect sense if your partner is the opposite heat-wise to you, so one day I'll probably go down that route. If you're less shallow and stubborn than me, I suggest you give one a go.

That said, I'm super happy with the duvet I chose. The all-season means you get two duvets (a 9 tog, and a 4.5 tog), that button together for the coldest months to keep you super cosy. At the moment we have just the 9 tog on, but I need to swap that now for just the 4.5 tog for the warmer months.

And there's nothing better than your duvet gently sinking around you when you get into bed. I just love that feeling!

As for pillows, Soak & Sleep suggested the Ultimate Hungarian Goose Down Pillows for Ed, because he's predominantly a side sleeper and likes a firmer pillow, and a pair of Duck Feather & Down Pillows for me, as I'm mostly a front sleeper and like a soft pillow. I try to be a side sleeper, but I always end up face down!

Images: Soak & Sleep
Clockwise from top left: Feather & Down All Seasons Duvet, Memory Foam Pillow, Duck Feather & Down Pillows, Ultimate Hungarian Down Pillow

They also suggested a Memory Foam Pillow to try to encourage me to sleep on my side more (I'd love to be a side or back sleeper, so much better for your back and, er, face!).

As for the memory foam pillow, the jury is still out. I think it would be great if I was less of a restless sleeper, but since the arrival of the new pillows I've been taking more notice of how I sleep, and I've realised that when I sleep on my front, I push all pillows away! However, the Duck Feather & Down pillows have definitely made me more comfortable, and they actually encourage me to stay sleeping on my side longer. I think they're a great all-rounder - super comfy and soft and squishy and they're most definitely my favourites.

And I'm happy to report that Ed loves his pillows and has stopped waking with cold-like allergy symptoms every morning. Result.

Image: Soak & Sleep

So, super-comfy, cosy when you want it to be, lofty duvet and pillows are in place, and I'm now another step closer to achieving the boutique hotel bedroom of my dreams. I still have a few more pieces of the puzzle missing, but watch this space because all but one of them are actually in place, or about to be!

The moral of the story is, sometimes, it's important to worry about the practical things, and not just the pretty things, because it's what's inside that counts!

This post is in collaboration with Soak & Sleep.


Monday, May 29

My Summer Dining Room [#UKHomeBlogHop]

Welcome to French For Pineapple to any new readers that have come my way via the The Ordinary Lovely (thanks Rachel!) for the #UKHomeBlogHop! I'm excited to be taking part in this years first UK interiors blog hop, organised by our gorgeous host Kimberly, from Swoon Worthy.

I'm Bianca Hall, an interiors obsessive, writer and designer. French For Pineapple is where I share my room makeover plans and reveals, products I'm currently obsessed with, and everything in between, as long as it's interiors related.

If you're a regular reader, and not aware of the hop, do pop over to Kimberly's blog where the trail begins. There are 27 blogs taking part over the week, and it's really rather fun to follow the hop and see all the bloggers different styles - in this instance we're all sharing our Summer Style.

So without further ado, I'm sharing my new look summer dining room with you today.

I found that we were using our dining room less and less, despite the fact that I'd made a concerted effort not to leave our dining table covered with stuff all the time (just me?). We were still crowding around the kitchen table for most meals, and I'm not sure I'll ever understand this common phenomenon, but I really wanted to make our dining room more inviting. And more, well, used!

I convinced my husband that the stainless steel clad table needed to go to another home, because I really felt that a round (or oval) table would work so much better in this space. He finally agreed, and now we have a lovely round wooden table, which not only feels lighter in the space, but helps with the flow between the living and dining rooms. The stainless steel always felt cold and uninviting to me, and the wood has instantly changed the feel of the room, warming it up and making it much more inviting.

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - Medium wide shot of dining room with round wooden mid century style table, eames chairs, blue shaggy rug and smart casual table setting and side board with stepped panelled doors

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - medium close up of round wooden dining table set with plates, linen napkins and brass napkin rings, and decorative footed bowl.

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - Side board with stepped panelled doors, with brass deco style lantern and plants

I don't make any drastic changes to my decor seasonally, but I do make a few small changes to suit the warmer weather...

I like to lighten up as far as clutter goes (and the sideboard was starting to resemble a junk shop), so I've thinned it out a little, giving everything a bit more breathing space. Of course, I couldn't just thin it out and leave it at that, I had to make one or two additions too...

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - damien hirst valium print above sideboard with stepped panelled doors with boston fern in an urn planter and gold orb decorative object

Lighting is of course an important part of creating the right atmosphere, and I fell in love with this brass Deco Lantern from Marks & Spencer. It's solid brass and really substantial at over 30cms tall. It's looks great, glowing away with one large pillar candle in it on the sideboard, and I'll also be getting lots of use from this outside on warm evenings. In fact, I probably need another one or two so I can dot them around the garden - they're SO pretty.

Scent is another important element to set the mood, and scented candles are an essential of mine. Sweetpea & Willow have a great selection (among many, many other beautiful homewares - if you don't know them, do check them out!) to help get the mood spot on, and I've gone for a True Grace candle in Portobello Oud, the perfect exotic scent for balmy summer evenings.

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - sideboard with candle and framed black and white photograph

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of lit scented candle on sidebaord with lung like vase object and ornate framed photograph

Another new addition to the sideboard is this amazing urn planter from Wayfair. I've always loved a Boston fern in an urn, and I'm really going to try my best to keep this one alive. Apparently it's all about keeping it moist but not wet, with lots of spritzing. This is definitely where I've gone wrong in the past, so pray for this one, that it doesn't become yet another of my fern victims.

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - boston fern in a decorative urn planter

We tend to entertain much more in the warmer months, because I basically hibernate in the winter, and I've only recently realised that my stance against a formal dining setting, was causing me to miss out on all sorts of table accesory fun! So my new thing, is informal-formal. It's a bit like a smart-casual dress code, but for your home. This is how I do it:

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - table setting with ornate footed bowl of limes, stemless wine glasses and tinted tumblers

Ditch the table cloth (it'll only get stained), but do use crumpled linen napkins.
Ditch the excess cutlery (it'll only mean more washing up), but do use pretty napkin rings.
Ditch the fussy flower arrangements (seriously, who has the time?!), but do go for either a messy loose arrangement in a low vase, or a footed bowl filled with a single kind of fruit.

Catch my drift? So basically, don't go super informal with just simple plates and cutlery - dress the table up with an interesting mix of plates and accessories, but keep it fun and informally-formal! I also like to swap stemmed glasses for stemless ones at the table for less chance of spillage (these ones are from LSA, and the tinted tumblers are from Neptune).

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of geometric brass napkin rings sitting on linen napkins

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - table setting with linen napkin and brass napkin ringMy Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of edge of scalloped plates on round wooden table

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of graphic black and white side plates on scalloped edge white dinner plates with linen napkins and gold cutlery and napkin ringsMy Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of linen napkin with brass napkin ring on graphic black and white side plate

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - table setting with layered plates, linen napkin and gold cutlery and napkin ring

I love the new Toulouse dinner plates from Marks & Spencer (coming soon from the AW17 collection), and paired them with the Sue Timney for Marks & Spencer Camouflage side plates (available now). This is a great pairing, that stops the scalloped shape of the Toulouse plates feeling too traditional and gives them a modern, fun edge. And what's not to love about the solid brass geometric napkin rings? They're also from Marks & Spencer and available now - a set (only £15 so be quick before they sell out) includes a square, octagon, round and triangular ring, and I love them so.

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of footed bowl on table
I've piled limes into this fab footed bowl, also from Wayfair, which makes a lovely centrepiece. We go through a load of limes in the summer months - lime juice is great in dressings, it's an essential for asian dishes, and they're obviously a staple cocktail ingredient for Mojitos, and a G&T isn't really a proper G&T without a wedge of lime squeezed into it. So yes, they are very much practical as well as decorative.

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - ornate footed antiqued bowl on round wooden dining table

My Summer Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of dining table setting

We've actually started eating at the new dining table rather than the kitchen table, and I just love the new look in here. Long may that continue!

I hope you like my new summery dining room, let me know what you think in the comments, and please hop on over now to see what the lovely Carole from Dear Designer has in store for you, and make sure you follow on with the hop for the rest of the week! I'll be adding all the links below each day.

And a big thanks to my sponsors Marks & Spencer, Wayfair and Sweetpea & Willow.

Seasons in Colour


Lazy Daisy Jones



Wednesday, May 17

Outdoor Furniture Indoors

Don't be alarmed by the title of this blog post. I am not about to tell you to bring a chunky plastic, or spindly metal garden chair inside. Nor am I going to tell you that the slightly rusty metal table at the bottom of the garden should grace your dining room. But, I am going to ask you to think outside the box a little.

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - Wicker and Teak chairs in bay window with plant

Over the last few years the rise and rise of wicker furniture has definitely blurred the lines between what is suitable design-wise for outdoor use and indoor use. In fact, last summer I wanted to buy a wicker sofa meant for outdoor use, with every intention of using it indoors. Or both!

When my friends at Out & Out Original got in touch about doing a garden furniture post (coming up soon!), I immediately fell for the Salem FSC Recycled Teak set, which includes two low, angled chairs (SO comfy) and a cute little matching side table. For your cocktail to sit on, obviously.

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - wicker and teak chair with cushion

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - closeup of engineered vinyl wicker

We have a 'gardener's garden', which we inherited from the previous owner. By that, I mean much of it is taken up by huge garden beds, which are completely wasted on us as we are not gardeners at all, so I view them as a waste of space. One day we'll re-landscape, but that's not even on the distant horizon right now. The reason I mention this is that it means that we don't have a lot of space for a lovely large outdoor sofa, but when we do, I have the Lodge garden sofa set earmarked!

However, the Salem set, will do very nicely for now indeed, and in my fantasy garden in my head, it still remains, and would go on the (currently non-existent) patio area, whilst the sofa would go further back on the (other currently non-existent) lawn area.

Sorry, lost in fantasy again! Now where was I....

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - wicker and teak chair with moroccan throw and zz plant on gold side table

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of wicker and teak chair with moroccan throw and zz plant

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of wicker and teak chair

So whilst the Salem set is indeed bound for the (actually real!) circular turfed area of our garden, I couldn't resist taking a few snaps to demonstrate how lovely the chairs look inside too, and I've left them there for now because they look so good!

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of engineered vinyl wicker
The 'wicker' is actually a vinyl based material, engineered for outdoor use, so it will stay looking good despite our long dreary winters. Of course this also means that if used indoors, they can easily be wiped clean should any small people decide to spill the contents of their smoothie all over them, or any large people spill their wine. Because we can't blame everything on the small people now, can we?

The beautiful 'Seawash' recycled teak is such a pretty colour, but more importantly, the natural oils will stop wood rot, and they'll develop an even more beautiful silver patina as they mature.

I can't wait to get them set up in the garden - we just need a little bit more sunshine!

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - close up of teak chair

Outdoor Furniture Indoors - French For Pineapple Blog - wide shot of pair of wicker and teak chairs in bay window with zz plant on gold side table and moroccan throw and rug

This post is in collaboration with Out & Out Original.


Monday, May 15

Amara Home Inspiration

A few weeks ago Amara launched shoppable home inspiration pages, where you can have a peek into several bloggers and designers homes, and see a huge range of Amara products in-situ. I was super excited to work on this project, and thought I'd share the fruits of my labour here with you!

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - Bedroom with pink walls, marbled headboard and watermelon cushion

It's a really refreshing way to shop, and seeing the products in real homes instead of sets is not only inspiring, but it's such a nice change.

There's something to suit all styles - from the calm Scandi inspired Home of Cate St Hill, the retro vibes of the home of David and Mark from Forward Features, through to the colour saturated home of yours truly!

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - Teal blue decorative moulding with bar set up, gold and brass with turquoise foo dogs and monstera leaves

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - teal blue living tv room with brown sofa and geometric cushions and blue rug
Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - office desk with tan walls, juju hat and gold desk accessories
I had a lot of fun selecting, styling and photographing all the beautiful things in my home, and basically didn't want to send any of it back! I have so many favourite pieces - actually, pretty much everything I chose to shoot. Not least this giant Jonathan Adler Lucite Pill...

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - flatlay tray with cool objects jonathan adler lucite pill, vintage lobster, ampersand paperweight, pink shells and white coral

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - blush pink walls pink ground farrow and ball monochrome framed prints, snake plant and sheepskin

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - sideboard with damien hirst valium print, candle holder, hay egg timer, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil crystal monkeys lalique.

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - alcove shelving - setting plaster and pink ground walls, farrow and ball, horse lamp and plants

I think when you see the very different styles on the inspiration pages, it gives you a pretty good idea that Amara really do have something for everyone. There's SO much to choose from.

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - pink walls, dulux pink nevada 3, pink pillows, watermelon cushion, lucite nightstand, brass lamp

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - nightstand details, pink lops, round brass tray, gold dice trinket box and marbled headboard

Amara Shoppable Home Inspiration Pages - French For Pineapple Blog - pink walls and pink pillowcases with watermelon cushion and marbled headboard

You can pop over to Amara for a nosey around the homes, and click on any image you like to get the look. So much shopping fun!

This post is in collaboration with Amara.


Tuesday, May 2

Drama Tween Bedroom Makeover

Edie's Room has been in need of a major overhaul for quite some time. She's at that certainly-not-a-little-girl-anymore-but-not-really-a-teenager-either, in-between stage. She turns 13 in July, so technically almost a teenager, which is a really tricky age to decorate for I think. Her needs will change a lot over the next few years, so I'm trying to future-proof her room to a certain extent, while making sure she can enjoy it now, and not hate it in a year or two. At least that's the plan!

On one hand she's clinging onto lots of stuff from her younger little girl days, that she's not actually touched for years, and on the other hand she wants her room to look cool and more grown up.

I think all of the above is why our last attempt at a room makeover for her never really got off the ground - The Tweenage Dream room, never quite materialised, and then it got forgotten about completely.

However, this time we've put our heads together and have well and truly formed a proper plan. And we're both excited, which is obviously important too.

We've decided to go FULL-ON-GIRLY-GLAM - I'm calling it Drama Tween. See what I did there?! 

She's wanted wallpaper for years, and I'm ├╝ber excited to be doing some work with Drop It Modern over the coming months. They have an amazing collection of really fun, modern, super cool wallpapers and they've recently introduced drapes too. I love the word 'drapes', but yes, I mean curtains.

Edie's room will feature this AMAAAAAAAZING Kitten print wallpaper, that I've loved for quite some time, and, wait for it....matching curtains too! Yep that's right, I told you we were going super-girly glam.

French For Pineapple - Drama Tween Bedroom Makeover

I haven't figured out the exact plan for storage yet, but she doesn't have a wardrobe at the moment - she's not a dress kind of girl, so the few things she does own that need to be hung, currently go on the little rail on the back of her Ikea full length mirror, but that's going to go, as are the two chests of Ikea Malm drawers that currently house the majority of her clothes.

So we need a decent sized chest of drawers to replace them, and a wardrobe. In preparation for her 'new room' she threw out loads of stuff over the weekend, which was ridiculously satisfying.

I love the Antoinette French Bedroom Company oak chest I've popped on the moodboard below, which kind of surprises me as it's not my usual style, but I love the idea of mixing up some more traditional ornate pieces in here with some simple contemporary ones. And how great would they look against that wallpaper?!

The Siena from Habitat is a contender for a wardrobe, alongside the good old Pax from Ikea, not least because a sliding door requires less room, but I like it's streamlined design that would work in pretty much any space.

Perhaps controversially, we've decided to get rid of her desk, which she rarely sits at. This will come as no great surprise to the majority of parents whose kids have desks in their bedrooms. She'll be using the computer more and more for homework, so we've decided she's more likely to work from my desk when she needs to, so there may be space to pop a nice chair in the corner too. And I'm more than a little bit in love with the recently released Stockholm rattan chair from Ikea.

The lamps are both from, and that cute white side table is actually an outdoor tray table from Ikea. Perfect for the princess who likes to lounge in bed eating her breakfast every weekend.

I'm so excited to get my teeth into this project and totally transform her room. 

French For Pineapple - Drama Tween Bedroom Makeover - Moodboard

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, there will be decorative moulding involved, and that needs to commence as soon as possible so this makeover doesn't drag on for months on end. So keep your eyes peeled for Instagram Stories of my riveting DIY tales in the next week or two.

Although I haven't got a specific deadline for this project, I do want to get it done in the shortest timeframe I can reasonably achieve, because there's a small boy's room in need of attention too, and I'm going to share my plans for his room with you soon.

I think she's a pretty lucky young lady, don't you? 

© Bianca Hall. All rights reserved.