Vintage Tour de France magazines

Vintage Tour de France magazines | H is for Home

One of last week’s main purchases combined two areas of interest – namely, vintage ephemera and cycling. This huge quantity of 1950s cycling memorabilia appeared at a local auction and we couldn’t resist.

Tour de France magazine from 1954 | H is for Home

We haven’t done much cycling ourselves in recent years as our big dog provides all the exercise we need, but we still follow it keenly – particularly the Tour De France at this time of year. We’re often distracted from our work when it appears on TV. We love to follow the riders on their journey, both in terms of taking in the stunning French scenery and the sporting competition itself. We went to watch Le Tour when it passed through Yorkshire (and previously Brighton when we lived there) – and we’re determined to follow the race in our camper van when we eventually get one (we’re still saving up! :-)).

'Le miroir de tour 1954'

Back to the ephemera though. It’s mainly in the form of French magazines and brochures – many relating to the Tour de France.

'Miroir sprint' | H is for Home

They’re packed full of interesting historical photographs, artwork, advertisements and features on riders from the era – famous names such as Louison Bobet, Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil.

Vintage cycling ads | H is for Home

Quite a treat for cycling fans!

Vintage Unis Sport Tour de France map | H is for Home

Some of the magazines even have their original route maps intact which is very rare to find…

Vintage Lambretta Tour de France map | H is for Home

…unused and neatly folded inside.

Portraits of twelve 1950s Tour de France cyclists | H is for Home

They’re perfect for framing and very sought after in themselves – a fabulous find!

Vintage Tour de France magazine feature of Fausto Coppi | H is for Home

We’ll be sorting through them in the coming weeks, having a good browse and then listing them for sale. We might allow ourselves to keep a few pieces, but the majority will be available to buy – watch this space if you’re interested.

Stag Furniture

Pair of vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers | H is for Home

We’ve just picked up a lovely pair of matching vintage wooden chests of drawers.

Pair of vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers | H is for Home

They were designed by husband & wife partnership, John & Sylvia Reid, for Stag Furniture in the 1950s.

Pair of vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers stacked one on top of the other | H is for Home

They have a strong mid century modern look with pared back, simple, clean lines.

Detail from vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers showing a leg | H is for Home

They appear to be made from a combination of light oak and teak – with two large drawers and a slightly smaller top drawer standing on short, tapered legs.

Open drawer on vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers showing the logo | H is for Home

We really like the subtle handles with their geometric influence. Having lived with the drawers for a couple of days, we noticed how nicely the light and shadow catches them. They’d look great with a background of a bold, mid century wallpaper picking up their geometric form – Minimodern’s Backgammon springs to mind.

Triangle highlights and shadows on a vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers | H is for Home

They’re quite a useful, compact size; measuring 75cm wide, 70cm tall and 43cm deep.

Vintage Stag chest of drawers with drawers open | H is for Home

We’re going to keep them together as a pair – they’ve made it this long as a couple – we’d hate to split them up now. They’ll go into our antiques centre space – or perhaps our eBay shop, We’ll hang fire for a day or so in case any of our readers want first dibs. Drop us a line if they’re just the thing for you.






What’s your era?

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Eclectic sitting roomcredit

Just as it is with music and fashion, there’s no abrupt beginning and end to style in interiors at the start of a new decade. There’s always an overlapping and evolution in design and décor through the decade. The seventies is the perfect example – nature, flowers & flares in the first half of the decade, punk rock and hard-edged technology in the latter years. People don’t just throw out their furniture, pull up the carpets, paint over the wallpaper… it’s a gradual, almost imperceptible, change. Decades drift into one another other. Saying that, we’ve tried to give an essence of what each decade – the 1950s to the present day – looks like. Do you love the groovy 60s… the Scandi-inspired 90s? What’s your era?


Original 1950s sitting roomcredit

The 1950s was an exciting and creative decade with a new wave of optimism after the harsh war years. Designers could express themselves once more after rationing and glut of utilitarian products. The Mid Century Modern look was born with atomic & Sputnik styling drawing on influences from the new scientific discoveries flourishing around this era and mankind’s first ventures into space. The Festival of Britain in 1952 was a major landmark event for interiors – furniture, textiles, wallpaper and lighting all took an exciting new direction. Clean lines, bold shapes, bright colours and exciting new patterns captured the mood. Materials such as teak appeared for mass market products. Striking shades of red, yellow and blue also came to the fore.


original 1960s sitting roomcredit

The 1960s was a decade of flower power, psychedelia, peace and love. There was sexual freedom and explosion of youth culture. It was also a time of protest marches and rebellion at the established order. Space age styling really came to its peak with the space race and moon landings being a great influence. Interior designers were fascinated with the use of new processes and materials to produce exciting new versions of familiar objects – moulded plastic and inflatable chairs being perfect examples. Colour restrictions seemed to completely vanish.


original 1970s sitting roomcredit

The disco decade saw spage age influences fall away and a return to nature & self sufficiency – lots of florals, browns, beige, mossy greens and avocado – who can forget the classic coloured bathroom suites from the era! Flashes of brighter orange & yellow were used to lift these neutral schemes. There was extensive use of wood panelling, shag pile carpets, cork and hessian. Bohemian lifestyle, Biba, op art, pop art, glam rock were major influences in the first half of the decade. Later years saw the influence of punk styling and new technology – digital watches and early computer graphics, for example.


1980s study roomcredit

New wave styling continued into the 1980s. The previous decade had seen economic troubles and hardship – and these certainly continued for manufacturing industry… but the eighties is remembered as a time for new money, the city and consumerism. Home computers and mobile phones began to appear. Interiors were influenced by this rise of new technology and the fashion for power dressing perhaps. Memphis design was very influential – lots of hard edges, strong lines, zig-zags, hatching and bold colours. Stencilling, rag rolling, horizontal decorative wallpaper borders were other notable trends – and black ash furniture was everywhere! Dominant decorating shades were black, grey, pink, pastel & primary colours.


1990s IKEA interiorcredit

IKEA opened its first outlet in the UK in the late 1980s but it was in the 90s that it really began to proliferate. It’s largely responsible for this country’s ongoing love affair with Scandi cool. Its affordable flatpack furniture was a huge success – blond wood, cream & white were all the rage. It was also the era of programmes such as Changing Rooms and Home Front which really got the UK population dedicating time, money and energy to their homes… and really going DIY mad!


Vintage industrial factory conversioncredit

The clean lines and unfussy styling of the late nineties continued into this decade. The industrial styling of warehouse conversions seeped into general home décor. White and pale neutrals were the predominant colour scheme with flashes of bolder colour or pattern on feature walls.


Bedroom with black painted walls and brass accessoriescredit

For what will this decade be remembered? We may be biased, but we think it will be eclectic vintage – a style we love. There’s a mix of eras within one space – contemporary pieces are freely mixed with antiques. There are still strong industrial influences on home, shop and restaurant décor still, but the look has been softened somewhat. There’s a desire to make interiors individual with foraged objects, personalised homewares from indie makers and unique market finds. Dramatic dark greys are the most notable current colour scheme.


Cakes & Bakes: Black bread

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Sliced & buttered home-made black bread with a mug of tea

We recently bought a box of mixed ephemera at auction.

Vintage Esso wall calendar from 1958

There were quite a few vintage calendars in the box including this charming Esso calendar dating from 1958. Each month is represented by a traditional activity for the time of year…

Black bread recipe on a wall calendar from 1958

…and on the reverse is a recipe from a different county of the UK. I liked the sound of the black bread from Buckinghamshire so decided to test it out for this week’s Cakes & Bakes.

Black bread ingredients

I’m not sure whether it actually hails from Buckinghamshire or not, I couldn’t find any mention of a ‘Buckinghamshire black bread’ on the internet anywhere. Have you ever heard of it?

Adding treacle to the other black bread ingredients

From its list of ingredients, I presumed it would be a sweet bread, perfect for having with an afternoon cup of tea.

Black bread dough before putting it into the oven

It was really easy to rustle up, I already had everything in the store cupboard. It was quick too, no waiting for the dough to rise; just mix, into a tin and in the oven – job done!

Home-made black bread loaf

I’ve changed the original cooking temperature and duration. The top began to look a little too ‘black’ and it was definitely fully cooked after an hour.

Sliced & buttered home-made black bread loaf

It’s reminiscent of malt loaf but less sticky and more… treacley! We had a few slices with a healthy layering of butter – divine!

If you fancy giving this recipe a try you can pin it from here for later!

Black bread
Yields 1
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. 450g/1lb wholemeal flour
  2. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 300ml/½pt milk
  5. 1 egg
  6. 300ml/½pt black treacle
  7. 225g/8oz dried fruit (I used sultanas)
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 1kg/2lb loaf tin
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the salt and bicarbonate with the flour
  4. Mix in the milk, egg and treacle before adding the dried fruit
  5. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake for about an hour. If the top begins to look too dark, cover with tin foil
  6. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool
  1. The original recipe says that this bread is best left for a month before cutting & consuming. We couldn't wait that long!
H is for Home Harbinger

Atomic plant

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Vintage yellow plastic &amp black metal Atomic plant stand

Every home should have its own atomic plant!

Vintage yellow plastic &amp black metal Atomic plant stand

 We picked up this gorgeous vintage plant stand on Monday which has just gone into our webshop.

detailed view of yellow plastic &amp black metal Atomic plant stand

The frame is black metal and it retains its original bright yellow plastic ball feet and liners. Ideal for trailing house plants, a cacti collection or herbs in front of a window.

detailed view of the ball feet on a yellow plastic & black metal Atomic plant stand

The styling is perfect for mid century modern or bohemian vintage looks.

Charity Vintage: Pifco fan

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Vintage Pifco fan (ends 25 May, 2015 20:37:00 BST)

We know warm weather feels like a distant memory at the moment – but it’s the bank holiday weekend – summer must be on its way!

This gorgeous vintage 1950s Pifco fan would look the business on your office desk or craft room worktop. Keeping you cool while you work during those sweltering summer days! 🙂 It’s in full working order and is currently up for sale by Isabel Hospice*. It’s a mere £6.50 at the moment, with just over 2 days left to get a bid in if you fancy it.

*Isabel Hospice is a charity needing to raise nearly £4 million per annum to provide their free services to the people of eastern Hertfordshire. Their ethos is that they treat the whole person, not simply the illness. They offer a complete hospice service through their team of Community Nurse Specialists, a 16-bed, in-patient hospice, a day hospice, outreach day hospices, hospice at home and a family support and bereavement service.