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!

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