Bringing The Outdoors In with Network VEKA

I think Mother Nature is a little confused right now; she's torn between Summer and Autumn, and while I'm cheering for an ongoing Indian Summer, I know that the arrival of Autumn proper, is imminent. In fact, judging by the chill in the air last night, it might just be here already.

I don't like to give in to the seasons too much. In fact, while I'm all for making things nice and cosy in my home for the winter months, I also like to bring the outdoors in as much as possible, as it reminds me of warmer days, and helps to make up for the lack of time spent outdoors.

So I'm going to share my top tips for doing just that here today. Ready? Good...

A bit of a no-brainer, but nothing, nothing, I tell you, will help to bring the outdoors in more than indoor plants. But I'm not talking about that sad, half-dead succulent on your window sill, I'm talking about big, lush, delicious greenery that won't go unnoticed. Statement plants. And the bigger, the better.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Images: Grey Crawford for Elle Decor / Nuevo Estilo

Some great choices for larger indoor plants are Fiddle Leaf Figs (obvs!), Rubber Plants, Kentia and Parlour Palms. However, buying really large plants can be prohibitively expensive, so you can always start with a smaller specimen with the intention of raising it into a sizeable beast!

You can also achieve the same feel by curating a cluster of smaller plants, displayed at different heights, and having your own indoor jungle. Smaller options that are super low maintenance include Snake Plants, Ponytail Palms, Cheese and ZZ plants. Honestly, if I can keep these alive, then so can you.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Images: EQ3 / vtwonen

Try thinking a little bit outside the box when choosing plant containers. Use baskets in all shapes and sizes, and an oversized urn looks amazing with a big Boston Fern spilling over the sides. Also consider hanging plant holders to mix things up a bit, and to create more height - something I definitely need more of in my house.

Have a look at Network VEKA's 'Bringing The Outside In' Pinterest board for some more inspiration.

Using materials such as rattan, bamboo and even concrete, that would traditionally be thought of as outdoor materials, also helps to bring the outdoors in.

Wicker furniture has made a massive comeback over the last few years, and it's still going strong. New or vintage, it has an air of old-school charm, and in the summer months you can take it outside too.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Ashley Batz for Oh Happy Day
Whether it's over the top tropical, or vintage toile, let the power of print help you bring the outdoors in. There are endless choices of botanical prints to choose from; you can really go for it and wallpaper an entire room and even use the same print on your sofa. Demonstrated here so perfectly by the masters of over the top botanical prints, House of Hackney, it's a look I love, but it's not for the faint hearted!

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: House of Hackney
Obvioulsy a more subtle option, is to go for a botanical print on wallpaper or upholstery only, or the safest option, is saving prints for accessories alone, which is not only a much smaller investment, but easily changed if you fancy doing so with the seasons.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Kimberly Duran / SwoonWorthy

For some more Winter trend inspiration, have a look at Network VEKA's Interior Trends Pinterest board.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Sandberg

Here are some of my favourite botanical prints that are available as fabric, and could be used for curtains, blinds, lampshades, or cushions.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Images L-R: Richloom 'Balmoral' / Sanderson 'Rainforest' / House Of Hackney 'Pampas'

Botanical prints can also work wonderfully on shower curtains, towels, tea towels and even oven gloves as subtle nods to the outdoors-in trend.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: French For Pineapple

Network VEKA not only install a wide range of fabulous, energy efficient windows, doors and conservatories, but also give access to a Network of more than 100 independent, expert installers in the UK.

Members undergo strict vetting, and agree to continuous audits and training, before being allowed to join the Network, so homeowners can renovate their property with complete peace of mind. With a white glove service of care, knowledge and attention to detail, it’s this element that creates a point of difference for Network VEKA

Have a look at the new Network VEKA lookbook for further inspiration and tips, with more to be found on their Pinterest boards too.

This post is in collaboration with Network VEKA.

Jungle Fever Part 2

Okay, I admit it, it's been rather a lot longer than a week since I promised this second part of my Jungle Fever post. I blame life. And the children, and very few opportunities to take nice photographs of my plants. Or maybe my idea of 'next week' is different to yours, but here it is, finally...

I love the way the Kentia Palm instantly gives a room a tropical feel. These palms have a reputation of being the easiest indoor palm, tolerating low light and dry air. Oh, and see that chair? My husband has been trying to throw it out for years. It's become a 'hilarious' running joke. I bought it for £10 from a shop that was closing down and it has a strange textured coating on it, and one day I will get it dipped to remove said strange textured coating, and give it the makeover it deserves, and I will not let him sit on it for being so cruel. That will show him, won't it?

Botanical Name: Howea forsteriana
How much: £40
How tall: 120cms
Where from: Online from House of Plants
Care: Easy. I've just repotted mine and moved it to a shadier spot. I water it once a week and it looks healthy and has some new growth, so I think I'm doing something right.
Where: In a shady spot in the dining room.
Receptacle: An Ikea basket. Again.

My Bengal Fig is a bit Jack and The Beanstalkish. It has grown probably 40cms since I bought it back in November, and is not showing any sign of slowing. It's tall and thin, though some of the lower leaves are starting to get quite big now, which I hope will continue, so that it fattens up a little and doesn't get too top-heavy. I've recently re-potted it and it's now a really substantial plant.

Botanical Name: Ficus benghalensis
How much: £15
How big: 140cms
Where from: Online from House of Plants
Care: Easy! It doesn't need much water, so I only give it a little every week or so, and it can happily take a bit of shade. I do wonder if it's 'stretching' a bit, which would be a sign that's it's not getting enough light. Plant pros, feel free to weigh in...
Where: I've just moved it to my bedroom which is bright (south facing), but it's not near the window and I think it will be the perfect spot for it.
Receptacle: Another basket from H&M. Incidentally, I was in there the other day and they have a lovely new basket with a bright pink stripe that would be perfect for the plant I've just ordered online. Oh dear, help me I'm a plant addict!!

Back when I did my original plants you MUST have post, I got my ZZ's confused with my Zamia's (easily done with all those Z's). I must update that. Turns out they are different plants that look kind of similar - both beautiful, but mine is a ZZ plant, or Zanzibar Gem as they are also known. I'd still like a Zamia too, which I think has a bit of a Bonsai look about it (stumpier) with fuzzy leaves, unlike the ZZ which has very glossy waxy looking leaves.

Just don't let the lovely leaves of your ZZ hang over a lamp like I did and then wonder why they look singed. Oops.

Botanical Name: Zamioculcas Zamiifolia
How much: £25
How big: 80cms
Where from: Angel Flowers in Islington again, but these are pretty easy to find, and I've seen them at Colombia Road Flower Market for £15. You may even find one of these at Ikea if you're lucky.
Care: Very low maintenance - I water this maybe once a fortnight or even less. It's doing really well and it has several new shoots growing. I don't know if I should re-pot it because it seems so happy, but it's quite a tight fit in it's container.
Where: It lives in the living room in the darkest corner which it seems to love. They don't like full on sun.
Receptacle: I got the basket in Formentera last summer. I had to carry it home in my handbag so it didn't get squashed, and was quite prepared to wear it as a hat if push came to shove. Yes, I love it. Lots.

So that's it for now on the plant front. I really do recommend any of these as easy to keep alive and looking good, for people that would like to have indoor plants but worry about killing them. It's really not that hard if you consider the position and watering requirements. If I can do it, so can you. Honest!

The 'new' house plants every self-respecting interior obsessive must have!

I know the title is a tad dramatic, and yes, you've seen some of these loads already, BUT I do think that you will start seeing a few house plants popping up online, in the glossies, and yes, even in real life over the coming months, that you just might not have seen before. And I'm excited.

It's feeling decidedly Autumnal in the UK suddenly (Boo! I want more summer!), but let's not let that fact spoil our indoor plant fun. In fact, surely if we surround ourselves with plants that have a tropical feel, and pop the heating on, on the days when the sun graces us with a bit of shine, we can trick ourselves into believing it's still warm out there.  Maybe?

Yes? Let's give it a go then...

We already know that succulents are a 'thing', and that indoor plants have made a huge comeback over the last year or so, having been absent from the interiors hot list for quite some time, but what plants should you buy, once your little succulent collection is nearly complete? Or, god forbid, dead?
Image: Unknown via Pinterest
Ananas comosus chamaca / Ananas comosus variegatus - Dwarf Pineapple/Ivory Pineapple. I was stupidly excited (told you) when I saw these at Ikea the other week. I can't believe that I just didn't have the hands to buy a couple there and then. I'll definitely be making a trip back for some very soon. The Variegatus has a spiky/variegated leaf, the one pictured (Chamaca) doesn't.  They're both great. Instant sunshine in a pot, and a total no-brainer. Get one.

Image: Unknown via Pinterest
Zamioculcas zamifolia or Zamia furfuracea - That's a Zamia Plant to you and me, and also known as a Cardboard Plant, Jamaican Sago and ZZ Plant. It was complete and utter love at first sight for me when I recently saw one of these for the first time. Just beautiful.  I'll be tracking one of these sculptural beauties down pronto. Oops, just did - you can buy one here.

Image: Unknown via Pinterest

Cryptocereus anthonyanus (yes, really) - also known as a Ric Rac Cactus, Fishbone Cactus or Orchid Cactus. It's seemingly impossible to find a great image of one of these to show off it's beauty, so I'll post one once I've procured one, but trust me, these are stunning. I'm going to hang one in my kitchen, and pray it's warm enough for it as we venture into winter.

Image: Kindra Clineff (via

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora - This one is probably not new to you, but it's new to me. I've decided I need to stop being lazy and calling all succulents, 'succulents', and learn their names (even if I can't pronounce them). We need to know our Aloes and Agaves from our Echeverias and Crassulaceaes, which is the family that this lovely looking specimen falls in to. Commonly known as a Paddle Plant for obvious reasons, and it's totally on my list.

Fiddle Leaf Fig, and if you squint you can see a Zamia peeping out from behind it.
Image: Bianca Hall
And last, but most definitely not least, this one is probably not new to you - we all know and lust after the Fiddle Leaf Fig (or Ficus lyrata if you want to get technical). I actually gasped out loud at the beauty of the one above when I stumbled upon it, having never seen one in the flesh before. How does a plant or tree reach A-list celebrity status? By being incredibly beautiful and photogenic for a start. If ever there was an A-list plant, this is it. Why haven't I got one yet? Because they're not cheap, and I'm terrified of buying one and killing it. This won't stop me from ever getting one, it's Christmas soon after all. Kimberly over at Swoon Worthy discovered an online UK Fiddle Leaf Fig supplier and was kind enough to share back in March. She tells me that hers is doing really well, which fills me with hope for my future as the proud owner of one. Soon, very soon.

Succulent Love

Ebay table painted in 'Slipper' acrylic eggshell by Little Greene, and the 'Frankie' rug is from The Plantation Rug Company
Okay, so we all know that succulents are a 'thing'. Some of us are better at keeping them alive and kicking than others. A few weeks ago, I put two of my succulent babies outside on our south facing window ledge where the sun hits all day. I thought I was doing the right thing, especially as one of them was 'stretching' and clearly wasn't happy with the amount of sunlight it had been getting. However, after a few days, I noticed to my horror, that one of them (my favourite, but don't tell the others), was not at all happy - it was singed quite badly, and clearly wasn't enjoying all that full-on sun. I am yet to do the research on which ones like which conditions, but be warned: all succulents are not the same.  Oh the pressure!

Gold glass votives above are from West Elm, re-purposed as succulent pots!
Good job then, that before I half killed it (it's actually recovering really well now that I've put it back in a less sunny spot), that I photographed it. When I was putting an order in for my new Penny Doll brooches, I decided to add a few succulents too - just for me really, and as gifts for my hard to buy for friends. However, I've had so many complements and requests, that I have now added them to the shop, and I've made a necklace version, and über cute stickers too! These ones are much easier to keep alive, and everyone will know that you're in the excluuuuuusive succulent club.

I'm celebrating this new product line, my new blog AND re-branded website, so I'll be including a free mini-sticker sheet with every Succulent Brooch or Necklace order, from now until the end of July. Yay!