A Piece of history

Piece Hall, Halifax

It was a gloriously sunny day a couple of weeks ago when we took a trip to nearby Halifax. It’s a long time since we’ve been and we wanted to pay a visit to the recently restored, historic Piece Hall.

Piece Hall, Halifax with the spire of Square Church in the background | H is for Home

It’s incredible to think that when the Hall was first opened, trading within was only allowed for 2 hours per week – and only on a Saturday. In his book, A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis writes:

Early engraving of Piece Hall, Halifax

The Piece Hall was erected by the manufacturers and is a large quadrangular building of freestone occupying an area of ten thousand square yards with a rustic basement storey and two upper storeys fronted with two interior colonnades which are spacious walks leading to arched rooms where goods in an unfinished state were deposited and exhibited for sale to the merchants every Saturday from ten to twelve ‘clock. This structure which was completed at an expense of £12,000 and opened on 1 January 1779 unites elegance convenience and security. It contains three hundred and fifteen separate rooms, and is proof against fire.

First floor colonnade, Piece Hall, Halifax | H is for Home

The Hall is on 3 floors, now housing a range of little independent shops located along the long, beautiful colonnades. Shops such as Yorkshire Soap Company, Loafers Vinyl & Coffee – there’s even a gin bar in a corner on the ground level. The large central square is now being used for concerts, gigs, markets, workshops and so on. The Antiques Roadshow takes place there this summer.

Adelle standing at one of the huge gates leading into Piece Hall | H is for Home

We couldn’t leave without taking a couple of photos of the impressive, restored cast iron south gates manufactured in 1871.

Detail from one of the gates leading into Piece Hall | H is for Home

The white rose of Yorkshire is one of the prominent symbols. The gates are inscribed with the Latin, “Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem” from Psalm 127 meaning, “Except the Lord keep the city”. They bear a figure of a lamb, a nod to the fact that Halifax was an important centre of the woollen trade in England. The head of John the Baptist is also present, he’s the patron saint of wool weavers’ guilds.

 

Get their look: Scandi inspired living room

Scandi inspired living roomcredit

This Scandi inspired living room is the domain of Cate St Hill – blogger, interiors writer, stylist and designer. It’s a calm, grown up space with a well-curated selection of furniture and homewares; design-led, functional, unfussy contemporary and mid-century modern pieces.

The white floor and ceiling allow the natural light that floods in through the shutters to bounce around the room. A soft palette of whites, shades of grey and natural wood tones works harmoniously.

  1. SINNERLIG bamboo pendant lamp
  2. Farrow & Ball All White No.2005 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
  3. Farrow & Ball Blackened No.2011 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
  4. Happy + Co Brighton cushion, Midnight Black
  5. Artek Stool 60, birch/white
  6. Vintage Hans Wegner GE 290 armchair
  7. KILO solid oak and white metal coffee table
  8. Vento 3-seater left-hand facing chaise end, Manhattan Grey

Get their look: Scandi inspired living room

Get their look

Vento 3-seater left-hand facing chaise end, Manhattan Grey
Vento 3-seater left-hand facing chaise end, Manhattan Grey
£999
KILO solid oak and white metal coffee table
KILO solid oak and white metal coffee table
£60
Vintage Hans Wegner GE 290 armchair
Vintage Hans Wegner GE 290 armchair
from £1,398
Artek Stool 60, birch/white
Artek Stool 60, birch/white
£170.40
Happy + Co Brighton cushion, Midnight Black
Happy + Co Brighton cushion, Midnight Black
£33.75
Farrow & Ball Blackened No.2011 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
Farrow & Ball Blackened No.2011 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
£45
Farrow & Ball All White No.2005 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
Farrow & Ball All White No.2005 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
£45
SINNERLIG bamboo pendant lamp
SINNERLIG bamboo pendant lamp
£40
Vento 3-seater left-hand facing chaise end, Manhattan Grey
Vento 3-seater left-hand facing chaise end, Manhattan Grey
£999
KILO solid oak and white metal coffee table
KILO solid oak and white metal coffee table
£60
Vintage Hans Wegner GE 290 armchair
Vintage Hans Wegner GE 290 armchair
from £1,398
Artek Stool 60, birch/white
Artek Stool 60, birch/white
£170.40
Happy + Co Brighton cushion, Midnight Black
Happy + Co Brighton cushion, Midnight Black
£33.75
Farrow & Ball Blackened No.2011 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
Farrow & Ball Blackened No.2011 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
£45
Farrow & Ball All White No.2005 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
Farrow & Ball All White No.2005 Matt Estate emulsion paint 2.5L
£45
SINNERLIG bamboo pendant lamp
SINNERLIG bamboo pendant lamp
£40

4 tips for creating a stunning bathroom

4 tips for creating a stunning bathroom | H is for Home

If you’re a home bird who loves cosy nights in, it’s important that you invest in your bathroom and turn it into a place in which you enjoy spending time. This will come in handy whenever you’re trying to unwind with a relaxing bubble bath or indulge in a home spa day. Investing in your bathroom is also a fantastic opportunity for you to impress your guests and to increase the value of your property. That’s why you should do everything in your power to create a stunning bathroom in which to be proud. Below are four tips that will help you to do this.

Modern bathroom with wooden vanity unit

Do your research

Before you make any important decisions, it’s vital that you do your research. This will help you save on time, money and effort. If you’ve never renovated a bathroom before, it will also give you the chance to feel confident in your choices. Why not take it one step at a time? You could read up on the pros and cons of installing a bath instead of a shower. Then, you could look into the best ventilation systems for keeping your bathroom clean and fresh. Finally, you should find reviews that explore specific pieces of equipment such as hand basins and toilets. Simply visit the plumbing info to find out more.

Modern bathroom in neutral colours

Get inspired

If you’re struggling to get excited about your bathroom transformation, you should constantly be on the lookout for sources of inspiration. This could involve flicking through magazines that are dedicated to covetable bathrooms. Or, as a cost-effective alternative, you could read online blog posts and scroll through relevant Pinterest boards. Another great idea is to stay alert when you’re visiting other people’s homes. Make sure that you pay a visit to their bathrooms and keep your eyes peeled for interesting ideas. This is the perfect opportunity for you to find out what you like and what you’re trying to avoid.

Bathroom decorated with accessories in shades of blue

Choose the right colour palette

One of the biggest decisions that you’ll make, when it comes to designing your bathroom, is your choice of colour palette. Instead of opting for a simple white or beige, it’s vital that you explore all your options. If you’re trying to create a relaxing room, you’ll need calming tones such as a pale blue or a mint green. Or, if you’re aiming for a feeling of luxury, you’ll need rich shades such as amber or a deep purple. Whatever you decide, just make sure that you find a paint that’s specifically designed to work for bathrooms. This will help you to prevent mould, damp and water staining.

Fancy hand wash and moisturiser, brushes and cosmetics

Have fun with your finishing touches

Once you’ve mastered the basics, have fun with your finishing touches. Even if you’re dealing with a regular family bathroom, it’s still important to put in the effort. You could do this by purchasing a luxury robe to hang on the door, finding a gorgeous diffuser to place on a shelf, and investing in high-quality towels to brighten up the space. You could also take inspiration from deluxe hotels and include a luxury moisturiser alongside your hand soap.

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Designer Desire: Eric Fraser

Mosaic of Eric Fraser illustrations | H is for Home

Eric Fraser (1902-1983) was one of the leading lights of 20th century book & magazine illustration and poster design.

He was commissioned to produce illustrations by a range of magazines including Punch, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Pall Mall and the Radio Times. He designed book covers and page illustrations for, amongst others, Collins, Cassell, Everyman, The Scientific Book Club and the Folio Society. He also designed posters (and stamps) for the Post Office; publicity material for the London Underground and in 1931, he created ‘Mr Therm’ for the Gas Light & Coke Company (the pre-cursor to British Gas).

There are a a couple of interesting-looking books about the man and his work; The Graphic Works of Eric Fraser by Alex Davies (1974) and Eric Fraser: Designer and Illustrator by Sylvia Backemeyer (1998). There’s also an exhibition catalogue – covering the entirety of his career – that you can view online here.

For the life of me I couldn’t find a single photo of the man – just this (small) self-portrait he did in 1949.

Self-portrait by Eric Frasercredit

Additional image credits:

Chris Beetles Gallery

Price Points: LED floor lamps

LED floor lamps | H is for Home

Do you remember when it was reported in the news that the manufacture of ‘normal’ incandescent bulbs was to be terminated? There was a stampede of frenzied shoppers at DIY outlets stockpiling 60 & 100 watters as if Armageddon had arrived!

LED (or light-emitting diode) lighting was declared the future and few wanted to be part of it. Well, the panic has died down and future is here. LED bulbs may be more expensive than the old fashioned ones, but they have a much longer lifespan, use 90% less energy, are more compact and ‘have fewer environmental concerns linked to their disposal’. Well worth the initial outlay.

There’s an ever-growing range of attractive LED floor lamps available on the market – perfect for armchair reading or a spot of knitting, crochet or – in my case – button replacement. Here are three of our favourites that we’ve found.

  1. Nexus 142cm floor lamp
  2. LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
  3. Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass

shop LED floor lamps

Nexus 142cm floor lamp
Nexus 142cm floor lamp
£96.99
LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
£149.90
Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass
Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass
£1,027.00
Nexus 142cm floor lamp
Nexus 142cm floor lamp
£96.99
LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
£149.90
Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass
Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass
£1,027.00
Nexus 142cm floor lamp
Nexus 142cm floor lamp
£96.99
LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
LED arc lamp Florestan with built-in dimmer
£149.90
Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass
Flos Captain Flint LED floor lamp, brass
£1,027.00

Cakes & Bakes: Almond and blueberry sponge pudding

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard | H is for Home

I’ve had a slow-cooker for ages and, like most people, don’t make use of it nearly enough. It sits lonely in my kitchenette waiting patiently for its opportunity to shine. Last week, I saw a slow-cooker recipe for a cherry Bakewell pudding and decided to convert it into and almond and blueberry sponge pudding.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding components | H is for Home

It’s a real no fuss, straightforward recipe. I swapped cherries for blueberries; however raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants would work just as well.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ready to be steamed | H is for Home

I highly recommend these reusable silicone pot covers as a green alternative to cling film. They come in six graduated sizes from 3-8 inches so fit containers ranging from ramekins to medium-sized mixing bowls. I use them all the time for storing food in the fridge and heating things in the microwave. I’ve now discovered that they’re perfect as a slow-steaming pudding lid!

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding in a slow cooker | H is for Home

If like me you like a bit of a crispy texture, you can stick the pudding under the grill for a couple of minutes at the end of its cooking time.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding browned under a grill | H is for Home

We served our almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard. The flavour combination of almond sponge and vanilla custard with a touch of fruity sharpness from the blueberries is a real winner.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest!

Almond and blueberry sponge pudding
Serves 4
Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 150g/5¼oz blueberries, frozen and thawed
  2. 115g/4oz sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
  3. 110g/4oz butter, softened
  4. 2 eggs
  5. ½ tsp almond extract
  6. 75g/2⅔oz self-raising flour
  7. 75g/2⅔oz ground almonds
  8. 2 tbsp milkHome-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Grease a 1.2-litre pudding basin, including the lid if it has one In a small saucepan, heat the blueberrries and the 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar dissolves and the fruit begins to burst and the juice is released. Remove from the heat before the fruit collapses. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and the remaining sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is loose and airy
  4. Add the almond extract and combine
  5. Fold in the flour and ground almonds
  6. Add in the milk and combine gently. The batter should have a light texture
  7. Put 100g of the blueberries in the bottom of the basin and pour the batter over the top of them. It won't fill the basin, but don't worry as this will give it space to expand as it cooks. Reserve the remaining cherries until later
  8. Cover the basin securely with the lid and set it into the slow-cooker crock
  9. Pour boiling water into the crock to come halfway up the side of the basin
  10. Put the lid on the slow cooker and steam on high for about 4 hours. It will rise, becoming a light, fluffy sponge
  11. Turn the pudding out onto a plate, piling the reserved cherries on top, and allow the blueberry juice to drizzle down the sides of the pudding before spooning into servings
Notes
  1. Serve warm with hot custard
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Adapted from Slow Cooked
Adapted from Slow Cooked
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/