Wednesday, December 19

French For Cocktail [Lychee Martini]

Every year my most important job on Christmas Day (and Christmas Eve and Boxing Day) is being chief cocktail and pudding provider.

FYI I do Nigella's Prodigious Pavlova every single year. Clue’s in the name - it's so damn good!

Last year I discovered the lovely Ed Bains' (of Randall & Aubin fame) Rhubarb Bread & Butter pudding - it’s incredible and definitely on the menu again this year. Edie is going to make Banoffee Pie, and I’ll probably do a trifle too.

And no, we don’t have twenty-five people coming for Christmas, but it’s the law to have at least four puddings available over the Christmas feasting days. Well, it is in our house anyway.

Anyway, I’ve decided to go with a Lychee Martini as my cocktail of the month as it's what I'll be serving at home this Christmas (although I do have Advocaat in the house for a classic Snowball too!) and I'd forgotten how good they are so I might actually start consuming them as of this evening.

This is the Lychee Martini recipe from Lure Fish Bar in SoHo, New York - a restaurant that holds a special place in my heart, and although it’s been *quite* a long time between drinks there (like, errr, ten years!), I’ve been holding on to this bit of paper - the recipe extracted from the bar tender many moons ago, and I’m rather sentimentally attached to it! 

The recipe is for a single drink, but if you're planning on making them en masse, you could make some cucumber juice by peeling and blending a couple of cucumbers and straining it through muslin into a small jug, then use about a tablespoon per drink.

For the lychee puree, I use tinned lychees blended with some of the syrup from the can. Sweeten to taste with sugar syrup if necessary - this is the only sweetness you'll be adding, but the syrup they're canned in is usually sweet enough - depends on the brand.

You will need:

45mls vodka (or gin)
3 thick slices of skinned cucumber 
Splash of lemon juice
30mls lychee syrup (I make mine from tinned lychees with a bit of the syrup. Add sugar syrup to taste if necessary)
One whole lychee for a garnish


Add cucumber to cocktail shaker and muddle (skip this step if you've pre-prepared cucumber juice and just add everything together)
Add ice and all other ingredients into cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a whole lychee and a strip of cucumber peel if you fancy.

Tip: You can top with a dash of soda water to make these go a little further, and to stop yourself getting too drunk, too early on Christmas day. Or not.

Featuring 'Amber' cocktail glasses, 'Todd' and 'Tilly' oak chopping boards, 'Gracie' linen napkin, 'Atla' candle plate and 'Rhomb' candle all from Broste Copenhagen. I really REALLY love these Amber glasses that look like they have toffee dripping down the stems - they're so beautiful, and these chopping boards are gorgeous (and practical too, obvs!) and will definitely be put into use for a cheeseboard on Christmas day.

This post is in collaboration with Broste Copenhagen, available from Heals and Selfridges.


Friday, December 14

25 Very Cool Gifts For The Very Hard To Buy For [The 2018 Edition]

I don't know if I'll ever be anything other than a last minute gift buyer. I'm pretty sure there's a reason I don't get very excited about Christmas shopping though - my kids are 14 and 7 and they want clothes and electronics. Not beautiful homewares, scented candles or stationery - these things I could get excited about. Although I do get excited about the fact my daughter is now VERY into skincare and makeup, but still.

Anyway, with my family in New Zealand and Australia, we don't do presents, so I'm buying for the kids only, and for whatever family member (usually just one or two) may be joining us on Christmas Day. Ed and I being both stupidly fussy, don't dare buy anything for each other, we buy our own gifts and say 'this is what you got me', and to this day perform a ridiculous charade on Christmas day where we 'wonder' what's in our presents.

So putting this gift guide together each year is like doing the fun present shopping I don't get to do. Therapy of sorts. I include things I would LOVE to be given, things I already have and love, or would definitely buy if I had a bigger family in the country to buy for. Despite doing yearly gift lists mostly based on things I want myself, my husband has still not got my very unsubtle hints and actually bought me anything from them. Maybe this will be my lucky year...

French For Pineapple Blog - 25 Very Cool Gifts For The Very Hard To Buy For 2018 Edition - Christmas Gift List 2018

1. Large Pink Strom Bowl - WA Green
I have a thing for footed bowls, and Zoe at WA Green has a thing for curating the BEST products.

2. Tom Dixon Cone Bump Vase - Amara
A practical sculptural piece is always a winner in my book. I have the short version in pink of this and completely adore it. I'd love this black one too.

3. HAY Sonos One Speaker
It's been a total game-changer for us having Sonos in our lives (next week I'll be telling you how we can magically stream vinyl through the house now!). The pink HAY Sonos One speaker lives in our kitchen and it's used constantly by the whole family. I love that the kids can listen to whatever they want to too. And JUST LOOK AT IT! Other colours include pale grey, green, yellow and red, alongside the standard black and white.

4. Nights by Wilder 'Jimi' Pyjamas
Could these be the most beautiful pyjamas in the universe? I'd be willing to wager a bet that they are. Please please please do them for older kids and adults too!

5. Bella Freud Eau de Parfum - The Conran Shop
I'm trying to branch out in the scent department and explore some new to me ones. I like this one a LOT, and how good would it look on the dressing table?

6. Ortiga Ambra Nera Candle - Selfridges
This one is on my list to try - quite reasonably priced compared to many too, and smells incredible in the (very pretty!) container.

7. Laura Gravestock Femme Amour Necklace
Laura Gravestock necklaces are staple on my gift lists because, well, they're beautiful pieces direct from an independent designer and I love them. I've worn my Dainty Lightning one every single day for years.

8. Oyoy Rose Glass Paper Press - Couverture And The Garbstore - Couverture and The Garbstore
It pink, it's round, it's glass, what's not to like?

9. Williams Sonoma Bourbon Almond Brittle - Harrods
The perfect gift to buy someone when you're stuck for ideas but want to give them a lovely treat that's more thoughtful than a bottle of wine. And if the Peppermint Bark cookies that I recived a few days ago as a gift are anything to go by, this will be outstanding!

10. Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone - Wordery
I've already gifted myself this beautiful book and sent a copy to my friend too. Full of inspiring recipes, and lets face it, who wouldn't want a piece of Athena's life!

11. Cove Printed Linen Cushion - Couverture And The Garbstore
Obsessed with this abstract print and the colour palette is to die for. I'll have two thanks!

12. Quail Cat Patience Money Box - Liberty
I love a good old fashioned money box, and it's a great way to teach kids about saving. I wonder why this particular one caught my eye....

13. Overose Shahaman Candle - The Conran Shop
Yes, yes, I know I keep going on about this candle, but LOOK AT IT! This is out of stock at most UK stockists, so be quick!

14. Stella Vine Portrait
Perhaps a little late to put under the tree, but this would be a once in a lifetime gift - a treasured family heirloom.

15. Okatsune Pro Snips - Niwaki
For the gardener, plant or flower lover. I can't tell you how often I wish I had something sharper than my rubbish secateurs to cut the stems of flowers and foliage or when pruning plants.

16. Gail Bryson Jodhpur Tea Towel
You can't beat a linen tea towel for being ultra absorbent. These are hand printed in London by a local designer. Yes, yes and yes.

17. Lovenskate Real Girls Skate Curbs Long Sleeved T-Shirt - Palomino
For the cool girl in your life.

18. Drunk Elephant Inspector Drunk Kit - Space NK
I'm desperate to try Drunk Elephant, particularly the T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (there's a full size bottle in this set, and lots of smaller sizes of four other products to try too). Currently out of stock online - I'll be trying in store!

19. Instax Mini 9 Camera - Argos
I was completely obsessed with my polaroid camera in my 20's and now my daughter has this on her Christmas wish list, so you bet I'll be indulging her. I'll probably also be stealing it off her...

20. Klippan Plus Throw - Goodhood
I'll never not love a cross symbol, and you can never have too many throws. This is such a good'un!

21. Jing Earl Grey Tea
I love love love Jing Tea (if it's good enough to be served at Sketch, then its good enough for me!)

22. Lovenskate Skateboard Deck For The Lost, The Lonely And The Broken Hearted - Palomino
A teen kids dream. Well actually a lot of grown-ups too. Don't forget the hardware (Nick who owns this über cool store, would be more than happy to help you put the whole kit together)

23. The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair - Wordery
The story behind 75 shades, dyes and hues - so interesting and SO pretty!

24. Rachel Entwistle Pyramid Row Studs
I'm inching my way towards wearing earring again. Maybe these are 'the ones'.

25. Living Etc or Architectural Digest Subscription (or both!)
Without a doubt my favourite titles. A magazine subscription is the gift that keeps on giving!


Tuesday, December 11

Battening Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

A little later than promised, but these winter days are not so generous in the natural light department, and with everything else going on at this busy time of year, this kept getting pushed back.

But it's a post I've wanted to write for a long time, because scent, or more specifically Home Fragrance as the industry has termed it, is really important to me, and I get asked a lot what my favourites are.

Scent in the home has the ability to set (and lift!) the mood almost as much as lighting, so it's up there on the very-important-things-a-room-needs list. Especially in the winter, when a lot of us need a bit of extra help in the mood department. It also has the unique ability to transport you to another place and time or even to magically trigger a moment of déjà vu. When people say they don't like scented candles I just presume they haven't found the right one! Unless they have allergies of course, which is a whole other story.

Obviously scent is also very personal, so my favourites quite probably won't be the same as yours. There are definitely scents that I'm more drawn to in the winter - warmer, deeper, woody scents, versus what I might reach for in the summer - lighter, greener, fresher ones, and some I consider to be more 'day' scents than 'evening' scents too.

I'm not  a floral scent person, with the exception of rose, which I like in some instances, then it can feel modern and not old fashioned. I can't stand overly sweet cloying scents, and anything remotely soapy has to leave the house immediately as it makes me feel ill. Ylang ylang and clove are on my bad list too - I can smell both a mile off and they're instant deal-breakers. Generally speaking, I tend to favour woody and fruity scents.

I wanted to share my current favourites - some are long-time favourites, and some new, whilst the Overose Shahaman candle, that initially caught my eye with its über instagrammable pink container, shot straight to the top of the list, knocking some of my long time Diptyque favourites off their once solid perch. And not just because it's so pretty!

I must admit that as much as I love discovering a new scent, that I'm guilty of sticking to what I know most of the time (unless it's love at first sniff like it was with Shahaman!), because it's so disappointing buying a new candle, lighting it and not loving it! And you really can't tell until it's too late to return it.

Without further ado, here are my current favourites for the colder months. I'll follow up with my favourite summer scents when spring rolls around. I hope to discover some new favourites next year too - maybe I'll be a little braver and ask Santa for something I've not tried before, as there are a few on my radar!

Shahaman by Overose

This instantly transported me back to my childhood and reminded me of Musk Sticks - sweets that I loved so much as a kid in New Zealand. It helps that the colour of both the container and the wax itself are also the perfect shade of pink! They've recently released a new scent that comes in a lilac container with matching wax - definitely have my eye on that!

Here's how Overorse describe Shahaman...

'Deep amber aroma, vanilla pods with dried fruits undertones. Pronounced notes of labdanum and smoky-sweet wood, warmed up with ruby red cherries.'

I'm actually obsessed with it and 'need' to have a new one ready to go at all times. Santa, you listening?!

Batten Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

Ambre by Diptyque

This deep warm spicy scent had recently climbed to the top of my list, though as mentioned above it's now had to make room for Shahaman. I still adore it though, it's such a classic winter scent.

This is what Diptyque say about it...

'An engaging resinous scent! A warm and elegant procession of the woods vetiver and patchouli, enhanced with radiant aniseed, insolent spices, mysterious incense, cistus and tonka bean.'

I say, YUM.

Batten Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

Baies by Diptyque

Baies for days. I consider this an 'easy' scent, so it's always in my candle arsenal. It's not too sweet, not smoky, quite a light scent and kind of inoffensive, but not in a dull way, if you know what I mean! It's the one I reach for when I'm undecided.

Diptyque say...

'It expresses the irresistible freshness of a bouquet of roses, sweetened with blackcurrant leaves. Ingredients: Blackcurrant leaves, Blackcurrant buds, Bulgarian roses, Ambergris.'

I concur!

Batten Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

Periwinkle Room Spray by Miller Harris

I won't lie, I would never have thought to buy this and it was sent to me as a gift by the brand, but I absolutely love it, and would definitely repurchase. It's fresh, and hangs around without being overpowering, and comes in a generous 200ml size that I imagine will last quite some time.

Miller Harris say...

Evoking far flung places and exotic scents blown from shore on a salty breeze, this oriental, aquatic fragrance will inspire a spirit of adventure. The freshness is tempered by the sensual warmth of orchids, incense, woods and musk. A journey. Here the blue has hints of exotic purple, the sea meeting the island.'

Batten Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

Istros Room Spray by Aesop

I couldn't not buy this when I first sniffed it. All I can say is hold on to your purse strings if Aesop ever release scented candles, which obviously they will, right?

Aesop say...

A union of enlivening florals and tobacco, Istros stimulates the atmosphere with aromas of the bazaar.
Aroma: Vibrant, floral, smoky / Key Ingredients: Pink Pepper, Lavender, Tobacco

Batten Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

Oyedo by Diptyque

I've only recently got my second one of this scented candle, and I'd forgotten how much I love it. Some might say it's fresh citrus notes make it more of a summer scent, but I love it as a daytime winter scent too.

Diptyque say...

A stimulating basket of citrus fruit, inspired by the city of Edo, the ancient name of Tokyo, which celebrated these very fresh scents. Key Ingredients: Yuzu, Mandarin and Thyme

Batten Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Scent

So tell me, what scents will warm your cockles this winter, are you a floral or fruity or woody person I'd love to know!

This post is (sadly!) NOT in collaboration with Diptyque. Ha!


Wednesday, November 28

Battening Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Warmth

Today in my ongoing Battening Down The Hatches series, I'm looking at warmth. Both physical and visual warmth are super important at this time of year - we all want to feel cosy in our homes when it's cold outside, but we also want our homes to look warm and inviting for ourselves and guests. Texture, in the form of throws, cushions and perhaps the odd sheepskin work fast miracles in this department.

Drape a throw or two over the sofa and armchairs, add a Mongolian sheepskin and some textured cushions and voila, you can take a space from cold and stark to cosy and inviting just like that.

I've pulled together an edit of my current favourite pieces to help you warm up your space. I'll have one of everything, pretty please!

1. Soft Palette Blanket by BFGF at A New Tribe

I've been obsessed with BFGF throws for quite a while now and am determined to own one one day! These are such cool pieces that really are works of art in their own right and would look brilliant framed (admittedly the frame would cost more than the blanket, but the point is, you'd have a large scale heirloom piece of art for a fraction of the price that something that size would normally cost). But as we're talking about warmth, just throw it on the sofa for now, and maybe have it framed in the Spring!

2. Faux Fur Brushed Tips Throw - West Elm 

I of course knew that West Elm would have some fabulous throws - you can't really beat a bit of faux fur for cosy texture, and these are so stunning!

3. Rain Throw by Sylvain Willenz at Hem

I spotted this one the other week at the Hem pop-up at the new Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross. Can't stop thinking about it, so here it is.

4. Labyrinth Throw - One Nine Eight Five

Obsessive?! How very dare you! Okay, yes, I am obsessed with this amazing Labyrinth throw by One Nine Eight Five (made from 75% recycled cotton) - it really is talking my language.

5. Mongolian Sheepskin Throw - Suburban Salon

Nothing adds texture like a Mongolian sheepskin, and the very clever Julia from Suburban Salon has nailed it with her beautiful collection.

6. Jacquard Weave Leopard Print Blanket - H&M

I bought one of these fab leopard print blankets a while ago (pictured up top) and they work brilliantly with so many different styles.

7. July Throw by Slowdown Studio at Opumo

Yes I'm also slightly obsessed with this throw by London based Illustrator James Daw from Slowdown Studio which would also make an incredible piece of art. I really really really really want one!

8. Stripe Mohair Blanket by VISO at The Conran Shop

A blanket blowout, but boy is it beautiful. And such a gorgeous colour combination!

Right then, onto cushions...

1. Dot Tint Cushion by HAY at Really Well Made

The Dot Tint cushion is a classic with a twist. The cotton-linen blend is a timeless finish with a beautiful texture and that central button makes it extra special.

2. Round Lush Velvet Cushions - West Elm

What can I say?! They're round and they're velvet. I had to really stop myself from shoving one into my coat when leaving a dinner with them last week. True Fact. Oh and they come in blush too!

3. Cumulus Cushion Cover - Caravane

Texture, texture, and more texture. This delivers in the texture department in bucketloads. Love!

4. Soft Cushion - Tom Dixon

Hello my pretty pretty (pretty) plush mohair velvet dream. Bet you'd look good on my sofa...

5. Fluffy Cushion Cover - La Redoute

A bit of quiet texture to complement any other sofa pals.

6. Frame Cushion Cover - The Conran Shop

This cushion has gone straight to the top of my wish list. I'm completely in love with the striking pattern and to die for colour combination. Hello Santa, are you listening?!!

7. Close To My Heart Cushion - Bella Freud

I'm not immune to the charms of Bella Freud, and I really rather love this cushion. Besides, merino wool and embroidery really tick the texture boxes.

8. Wool and Cotton Jacquard Motifs Cushion - Maisons Du Monde

Another hardworking offering. Wool? Tick! Tonnes of Texture? Tick! Pattern? Tick! Pink? Tick!

Now go forth and get cosy, and don't forget to tune in next week for the next installment of this series (I'll be talking about all my favourite home fragrances), plus my mega Christmas Gift Guide!


Thursday, November 15

Festive Family Christmas With Balsam Hill

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that last year we went for a faux Christmas tree for the first time. And much to my surprise, we all loved it.

I was not expecting to be such a convert to be honest, though I definitely did miss the smell of the real thing, but that was the only downside - I may buy some off-cuts to decorate the bannister this year to make up for it and have the best of both worlds.

I loved that our beautiful faux tree didn't drop any pine needles - lets face it, even the so called non-drop varieties still drop. I loved that it looked perfect until it was time to take it down, that it didn't lean precariously to one side - or fall over for that matter, and the kids loved that it went up earlier and not at the last minute. The jury is still out on that one for me, but I was happy that the kids were happy!

Oh, and did I mention it was pre-lit? That's a total game changer actually, as in the past an even spread of fairy lights was completely unachievable for me with my very limited patience for things like that. I'll paint a room for days, but if fairy lights aren't immediately perfect, I'm out.

This year I've teamed up with Balsam Hill again this year for their Festive Family Christmas campaign to showcase some more of their fab products.

I had planned to go much more pared back with my decorating theme this year - well for this test round anyway, but alas, the pink and gold was calling me and I was powerless to resist! I seem to have ended up with a fairy wonderland theme, with a bit of black and white stripe and matt gold thrown in for balance. Honestly, when I thought about going really pared back, I realised my kids would be really disappointed, and what really matters at Christmas is them. So pared back can wait.

Besides, the pink and gold theme ties in beautifully with the freshly painted front door (and its new brass hardware), and I absolutely love the way the beautiful wreath looks on it. I added some faux glitter berries to it which really pop with the door, but I love that this wreath is beautifully simple on its own, or can be jazzed up in any number of ways too - with ribbon, fresh eucalyptus or even faux or fresh flowers.

The theme this year is fun family traditions, and whilst I didn't think we had any to share, I've realised that we actually do have a few. Perhaps I'm more of a traditionalist than I thought...

A relatively new family tradition is a trip to the flower market the Sunday before Christmas to stock up on crazy amounts of eucalyptus, and if I can find any, ornamental baby pineapples and pink proteas. These are my all time favourite things to have in the house, at any time of year, but Christmas is the one time I don't feel too guilty buying them as the latter two are super pricey!

It's not a given that there will be any of the latter two, but I'm sure I'll find something else lovely to pop on the sideboard and dining table if not. And eucalyptus actually goes a long way in making up for the lack of pine scent too.

My mother will be here this year for the flower market trip which is lovely for many reasons - not least an extra pair of hands to carry the loot back home!

Another tradition is home made mince pies - though I don't use a traditional recipe (I use Nigella's one from her brilliant Christmas book in case you're wondering), and does it count as a tradition that I traditionally make them really last minute? Let's say yes!

My husband and Edie (our 14 year old) usually take a trip into town to look at the Christmas windows at Selfridges on Christmas Eve, but now that Baxter is seven I don't think that's going to cut it as he'll want to go too. Maybe he and I can start a new tradition of making christmas biscuits together at home instead. Or maybe we'll all go - my favourite shopping destination at Christmas time is definitely the Selfridges - particularly the food hall.

I also do a Christmas Cocktail each year which I need to start planning to share here on my blog, and I always make a giant Pavlova too. In fact I think this year that the kids definitely need to get involved with that.

One tradition that we don't have, and that I'd really like to introduce this year is a yearly Christmas family photo. We have precious little photos of us all together at any point in the year, so starting this year we're going to get dressed up (when I say 'dressed up' I'm not talking Black Tie, I'm talking less scruffy and not paint splattered!) and attempt a family portrait. And what better place to do that, than in front of the Christmas tree? Or perhaps on the doorstep in front of the newly pink door with the beautiful wreath. If we manage to get just one photograph with all of us looking at the camera that we're all happy with, it will be nothing short of a Christmas miracle. So here's hoping!

So having realised that we have traditions after all, I'd love to hear about yours in the comments too!

Featured Products:

7' LED Clear Silverado Slim
Mongolian Faux Fur Tree Skirt 72"
Ombre - Bauble Set
Etched - Bauble Set
Ivory Magnolia Picks
Snowflake Tree Topper
Frosted Pinecone Wreath

This post is collaboration with Balsam Hill.


Wednesday, November 14

Discovering Sanderson Paint

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely day at the Sanderson Hotel in London with Sanderson for a colour workshop and to check out their re-launched paint collection, including no less than fifty new shades. That’s right, fifty! Their new colour card is a delicious feast for a paint lovers eyes, and I found it tricky to narrow down my favourites.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - display of ceramic pots with paint colour range

In fact so much so, that I ended up needing a crazy number of tester pots to help me decide what colours I was going to use for my projects (and before you get cross with me, don't worry, I send all my no longer needed tester pots to the art department at my daughters secondary school, where it is much needed and well used).

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sanderson Paint Chart
Image: Sanderson

Did you know that the Sanderson Hotel is actually the original showroom of the brand? It's ridiculous to think that that I’d never put two and two together before this event, especially as I’d been known to spend a bit of time there propping up the bar before kids. Or maybe because of that.... Either way, it was lovely to know about the buildings history, and to be there whilst hearing about the new paint colours.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sanderson Paint Can with Floral Display

I was looking for a new colour for the front door - a job that had been on my list for over two years (eek!), a hall colour, and a deep rich colour for one wall on the top landing. A spot very rarely, if ever seen on my blog!

I’d originally been planning to paint the front door a lilac shade, but in the end pink won out, and I went for Rose Ash Light. A very pretty pale pink shade, that is really set off so beautifully by the new brass hardware. I absolutely love it. More than I even thought I would, and it makes me happy every time I come home. You can't argue with that now can you?

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - close up of brass door knob on Pink Ash Light paint
As with so many things that I take ages to get around to doing, it was actually a really quick job, requiring only a light sand, and a coat of primer, followed by two coats of the colour. I used the water based Eggshell which is suitable for interior and exterior woodwork, it's is a really great consistency and super easy to work with.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Pink Victorian Front Door painted in Pink Ash Light
I had heard good things about Sanderson paint, and they were all true, and the coverage was brilliant. I love the pink so much, that I'm thinking about doing the inside of the door too. Who am I kidding? I'm totally going to do the inside of the door - such a beautiful colour!

For the majority of the hall I've chosen Birch White, which is a really beautiful warm off-white, that is firmly on my list of brilliant light neutrals. I've said before that these colours are particularly tricky to get right, so I keep a list of the best ones.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - close up of pink front door painted in Pink Ash Light

This will eventually go on all the hall, stairwell and landing walls and I'll do all the woodwork in the same colour. However, as anyone that's taken on the painting of a hall, stairwells and landings in a three storey Victorian semi will tell you, this is not a quick job, so I'll be updating you when that's done in the new year. I'm looking forward to this brighter but still warm shade going on, as a fresh coat of paint in the hall is particularly satisfying!

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sofa on landing near stairs with gallery wall painted in Beech Grey

At the very top of the house on the landing, I wanted to create a little reading area and use a deeper shade on that wall to zone it and make it feel extra cosy. I chose Beech Grey, which is definitely more brown than grey to my eye, and I absolutely love it. This spot is flooded with light, so during the day it's anything but dark, but it has a beautiful richness, with the shade adding a definite air of boutique hotel chic to the space.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sofa and Stella Vine gallery wall painted in Beech Grey

At night by lamplight it's deep and inviting. And in fact, again I'm thinking of taking the colour onto all the walls on this landing - seems a shame to just have one wall of such a lovely colour.

I'm super pleased with my colour choices, and the Sanderson collection of 154 colours is a great size. Enough so that it's not too limited, but not too many as to be completely overwhelming. As Goldilocks would say, this is juuuuuust right.

Do go and check out the range yourself here.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Stella Vine Gallery wall painted in Beech Grey

This post is in collaboration with Sanderson.


Monday, November 5

Orchid Styling Session – There’s an Orchid for Every Interior

Did you know that there are over 25,000 species of orchids? True fact! Amazing right?

Orchids bring back fond memories of the months I was living in Thailand working, which is where I met my husband many moons ago. I had orchids in my room and just loved being surrounded by such striking flowers.

Earlier this year I noticed them pop up a few times in Milan when I was there for Design Week, and declared them the new peonies, so I was pretty happy when I was approached to work on this 'We feel better around orchids' campaign!

I still love a peony as much as the next Instagrammer, but orchids are a fabulous antidote to the blowsy blooms that have been so prevalent for the last several years.

Image: Bianca Hall

While there is an orchid to suit all styles, with their incredible form and structure, I think they fit particularly well with a slightly less maximalist look. Or as I like to call it, a mini-maximalist look, because a minimalist I am not!

I'm sharing some care information below, directly from The Flower Council of Holland, and it's really specific too which is great. Hopefully this will give you the confidence to buy an orchid plant, as they truly are such beautiful things to have in the home. Compared to the price of cut flowers which usually last a week at best, they're amazing value for money too, and they're renowned for making you feel good too!

Image: Bianca Hall

Before I get into caring for your orchid, there's a fun quiz you can take to help match you with one that works with your interior style - there's an orchid to suit everyone! Let me know what your 'Orchitype' is in the comments below once you've taken the test.

I got matched with the classic Phalaenopsis, which is probably the most well known type of orchid. The white ones that I have in my living room are just stunning, and this species also comes in the prettiest pinks, peaches and purples.

Sarah Akwisombe is the UK Orchid Ambassador, and we had a chat about styling and caring for orchids, and of course Cleo wanted to get in on all the action too.

Image: Bianca Hall
Surprisingly, and unlike so many plants and flowers, the Phalaenopsis is apparently non-toxic to both dogs and cats, which is just as well and there's nothing Cleo likes more than sneaking a nibble on a pretty flower!

Sarah and I agreed that the white against my cream walls was perfect - the beautiful translucent petals are just SO pretty! We put the standard Phalaenopsis plants into a simple concrete pot and a footed aged one, while the mini version is in a glass pot with moss to surround the root ball, which looks really sleek and modern.

Image: Bianca Hall

Orchid Care Tips


* If you keep your orchid in its original plastic pot within another decorative container, you can simply lift it out keeping it in the plastic container, and pop it in a bowl, sink, or bucket of water for five to ten minutes. Do this once a week in the summer months, and once a fortnight during the winter. Keep it up weekly if you tend to keep the heating on constantly in the cooler months though!

* If you don't have time for that, or if you've re-potted your orchid and it's not in the plastic pot anymore, you can use one shot glass of water (approximately 60mls) and pour it into the side of the container. Make sure you don't pour it into the middle on the leaves as the leaves will rot.

* Normal tap water is fine, but orchids particularly love rain water or water from a condenser clothes dryer as it's devoid of minerals and lime. Now that really would be recycling at its best!

* In the summer months, you can add orchid food to its water once a month. Make sure it's specifically for orchids as normal plant food is too strong.

Image: Flower Council Of Holland - Phalaenopsis 
Image: Flower Council of Holland - Cymbidium


* If you want to re-pot an orchid, make sure you buy potting soil specifically for orchids with the right composition for them to thrive.

* Like many plants, they like plenty of natural light, but not direct sunlight.

* They don't like drafts and the perfect temperature for them is between 15 and 25 degrees.

* Be wary of placing them near fruits and vegetables as some emit ethylene which can cause an orchid to drop all its buds!

* Cut off dead flowers if they don't fall off naturally, so the plant can put all its energy into creating new buds.

Images: Flower Council of Holland - Zygopetalum / Phalaenopsis Mini / Phalaenopsis
Image: Flower Council of Holland - Cambria

Blooming Again

* When your orchid finishes blooming, cut dead flowers right back to the base. Or for the Phalaenopsis it's better to cut it off right above the second node (the little bumps on the stem).

* To encourage your orchid to bloom again, you can move it to a slightly cooler spot.

* Make sure you continue to water it, but less frequently. Once a fortnight is good, and reduce feeding to once every two months.

* After a while the branches will start to grow again, and you can move it back to its original spot, and enjoy watching it bloom again.

Image: Bianca Hall

This post is in collaboration with The Flower Council of Holland.

About the campaign ‘We feel better around orchids’
The ongoing promotion campaign ‘We feel better around orchids’ is an initiative of Flower council of Holland. The goal of the campaign is to inform consumers within the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Germany about the versatility of the orchid, to inspire them and to stimulate awareness and sales.

For more information please visit the following website and social media channels:

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