What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Keith Brymer Jones Word egg cups with eggs | H is for Home

Easter is only a fortnight away and this month’s competition is very apt. We have a gift boxed set of Keith Brymer Jones ‘Word’ egg cups for one of our readers to win. The egg cups are hand-stamped with the well-known conundrum, “What came first the chicken or the egg”.

Keith Brymer Jones Word egg cups set box with blue eggs | H is for Home

Keith Brymer Jones is, alongside Kate Malone, the oft-tearful judge of The Great Pottery Throw Down – he gets so emotional about his craft. We loved watching the last series that ended last week – you can still catch up on the iPlayer.

Keith Brymer Jones Word egg cups with boiled egg | H is for Home

Each piece is hand finished and is part of his extensive ‘Word’ range which includes, amongst other items, mugs, plates, bowls, teapots, butter dishes… and even pet feeding bowls.

To win the egg cup set, leave us a comment below saying how you like your eggs!

Set of Keith Brymer Jones egg cups

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Get a great night’s sleep!

Bedroom with grey walls and bed | H is for Home

March is National Bed Month, so it’s timely that today we’re reviewing the Tweak Mattress. If you look closely at the photo of our bed, you’ll probably glean that we don’t share the same preference in pillows. I love a tall pile of thick, firm ones and he opts for a few sorry-looking, wafer-thin examples. And the differences in our sleep choices don’t end there. I’m a side sleeper and Justin often lies on his back. In addition, he has suffered from a herniated disc for the past few years. I’ve just started getting pain in my hips – oh the joys of getting older! A softer mattress suits the way I sleep and a firmer one is best for Justin and his bad back. How do we reconcile our sleep arrangements? Well, Tweak Mattress has come up with the perfect answer!

Tweak mattress unzipped showing its different coloured tablet inserts | H is for Home

Tweak Mattress bills it as “the ultimate mattress for couples”. You can unzip the quilted cover and mix & match the coloured tablet inserts depending on you and your partner’s preferred mattress firmness. And because they’re separate tablets, it reduces the energy transfer from one side of the bed to the other. This is a godsend if you share a bed with a restless sleeper – that’s me, with my regular episodes of restless legs! These are sandwiched between a pocket sprung base at the bottom and a temperature-regulating memory foam layer on the top.

layers that make up a tweak mattress layers that make up a tweak mattress

We’ve been giving it the bedroom equivalent of a road test this past week. So looking forward to it were we, that we even bought a brand new bed frame and bedding to complete the nocturnal joy. It’s been absolute bliss – the most comfortable mattress either of us has ever had the pleasure of sleeping on. Even sitting up in bed reading or watching television has become a much improved experience.

Do you and your partner have different sleep preferences?

Tweak Mattress -

Tweak Mattress are so confident of their product that they offer purchasers an amazing 100 night trial. That’s over 3 months! If you’re not happy with the coloured comfort layer you’ve chosen, they’ll replace it free of charge. If you’re still not satisfied, they’ll organise collection and give you a full refund.

Here’s a short video demonstrating it’s features…

Tweak Mattress banner

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Cakes & Bakes: Beetroot and goats cheese pizza

Home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza | H is for Home

We were sent a pizza steel kit to review last week and thought we’d give it its first trial in this week’s Cakes & Bakes post.

Pizza steel kit | H is for Home

It’s a pizza steel, so of course that was going to be the thing we made! After making last week’s loaf we had some left-over ingredients so we thought beetroot and goats cheese pizza would be a great choice – waste not, want not! And we always have batches of home made tomato sauce in the freezer… we’ll share that recipe next week as it’s a very flexible and useful staple to have available.

Pizza dough in a steel mixing bowl | H is for Home

The kit is available in two sizes (depending on the width of your oven) and comprises a steel, a pair of aluminium combi peels for preparing the pizzas and a stainless steel dough cutter.

Pizza dough and Pizza Steel dough cutter | H is for Home

Prior to use, the steel needed to be ‘seasoned‘. This entails it being wiped all over with some kitchen roll impregnated with olive or rapeseed oil and putting it into a hot oven (250ºC) for an hour. Once that’s been done it keeps the steel non-stick, makes it easier to clean and stops it from rusting. So long as you maintain it properly by not washing it in soapy water, keeping it dry and resealing it with oil when necessary.

Pizza dough shaped on Pizza Steel piza steel | H is for Home

Before using it to cook your pizza, it needs to be preheated in the oven for 45 minutes (a pizza stone needs up to twice that length of time to achieve the correct heat).

Dressed beetroot and goats cheese pizza prior to going into the oven | H is for Home

Even if you don’t make pizza that frequently, the steel can be used to make home-made loaves, rolls, baguettes… any sort of bread product.

Detail of the crust from a home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza on a Pizza Steel steel | H is for Home

Prior to using the pizza steel, our home-made pizzas usually take about 25 minutes to cook. This batch of beetroot and goats cheese pizza took a mere 12-15 minutes – and the base and crust had a far superior texture.

Slices of home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza | H is for Home

We can’t recommend the pizza steel highly enough for producing professional looking and tasting pizzas. In fact, we can safely say it’s going to revolutionise our pizza and bread making!

What’s your favourite pizza topping(s)?

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Beetroot and goats cheese pizza
Yields 2
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the pizza bases (makes 2)
  1. 450g/16oz Italian Tipo 00 flour
  2. 300ml/10½fl oz warm water
  3. 10g/⅓oz fresh or dried yeast
  4. 25ml/1fl oz olive oil
  5. 10g/⅓oz salt
For the topping
  1. 200ml/7fl oz tomato sauce
  2. 125g/4½oz goats cheese log, sliced
  3. 1 raw beetroot, peeled and sliced thinly
  4. 6tsp pesto (or my nettle pesto)Home-made beetroot and goats cheese pizza ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add to the bowl
  3. Mix at slow speed until you achieve a dough texture
  4. Cover with cling film or a large clear plastic bag and rest for an hour
  5. Add the olive oil and salt to the dough and mix slowly for a further 4 minutes
  6. Rest for ½ hour
  7. Shape the pizza and leave to prove for 12 minutes
  8. Add the tomato sauce, and other toppings and bake at 230ºC/ 450ºF/Gas mark 8 on a pizza steel for 25 minutes
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Have a look at this Pizza Steel clip – doesn’t it just make you want to get baking?!

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Bookmarks: 100 Midcentury Chairs

100 Midcentury Chairs book on a vintage Ercol stacking chair by the fireside | H is for Home

We’ve had a few cold, wet and windy days here in Todmorden recently – perhaps even some snow tonight. So it’s wood-burner lit, 6 Music radio on – and time to catch up with some recently arrived magazines and books.

100 Midcentury Chairs book cover by Lucy Ryder Richardson

This edition of Bookmarks comes courtesy of a lady we first featured on our blog five years ago.

Grass-seated chair designed by George Nakashima

Lucy Ryder Richardson is the co-founder of Modern Shows and is the author of this newly published book, 100 Midcentury Chairs.

Paimio chair designed by Alvar Aalto

As the title says, the author has chosen 100 chairs (and stools) from the era to highlight; some that are very famous – like Arne Jacobsen’s Ant and Egg chairs – and others that are less well known.

Chieftain Chair designed by Finn Juhl and executed by Niels Vodder

She interviewed the children and relatives of the designers to create unique portraits of each chair…

Danish furniture designer, Finn Juhl

…the designers’ personal profiles and back stories, their influences, any specific sites that chairs were intended for or functions of the furniture, production techniques & processes and so on.

Charles and Ray Eames designed DCW chair

We love snippets of information such as Alvar Aalto designing the Paimio Armchair specifically for the tuberculosis hospital in Paiomo, south west Finland. It’s form is designed to position the tuberculosis patient at just the right angle to help them breath as they rested & recuperated. He was actually commissioned to design the whole hospital, so it’s full of his genius work.

Furniture and product designer, Charles Eames

And how about, Bruno Mattheson, designer of the Eva Chair, “perfecting the art of sitting by studying the shape his body made when he fell back into a snowdrift at different angles”.

J16 chair designed by Hans Wegner

The pages are dotted with quotes from the designers themselves, including Hans J. Wegner, Xavier Pauchard, Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames.

JH550 Peacock Chair designed by Hans Wegner

Pieces are featured in chronological order, spanning 40 years from the early 1930s to the early 1970s.

Hans Wegner's top 10 chairs

Interesting and informative, you’ll expand your knowledge of furniture design no end, and with almost 200 pages of full colour photographs, you’ll be able to swoon at chair heaven all along the journey.

Stack of Hillestak chairs designed by Robin Day for S Hille and Co

And it’s not just furniture we learned about – the book is full of little anecdotes such as the fact that Ettore Sottsass’ red Valentine typewriter was launched on Valentines Day, 1970. Who knew?!

Ant Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen

The directory at the back of the book contains an extensive list of international midcentury modern furniture dealers, auctions, fairs and events.

International directory of Midcentury furniture dealers

It’s a new, must read resource for all modernist furniture fans and collectors.

Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen

It’s one of those great books to dip in and out of – a few pages at a time with a cup of tea!

Cherner Armchair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft

We do love a nice chair – in fact we’ve probably got about 10 more chairs than we actually need in our house. We’ve got another hundred now – but these can all fit neatly on a bookshelf!

UP5 Donna Chair designed by Gaetano Pesce for C&B Itaila

This wonderful book comes highly recommended indeed and will provide us with an invaluable reference in future.

Synthesis 45 Typist Chair, Z9/r designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti

Buy yourself a copy of 100 Midcentury Chairs by Saturday 19th November here, and get FREE entry to the following day’s Midcentury Modern Show at Dulwich College, London. You’ll even be able to get it signed by the author. Alternatively, you can find it available on AbeBooks, Amazon or Hive.

Lucy Ryder Richardson signing 100 Midcentury Chairs

[Many thanks to Pavilion Books for the review copy]

Sleep tight with the S+ by ResMed

Win an S+ by ResMed | H is for Home

Three of my all time favourite things are wrapped up into one with the S+ by ResMed – tech, stats… and sleeping!

Boxed S+ by ResMed | H is for Home

I was sent a sample to review and another to give away to one of our readers. As you may have seen in a previous post recently, I’m really interested in tracking my fitness levels and the quality of my sleep. I’m up for trying out any gadget that can help on either or both of those fronts.

Unboxed S+ by ResMed | H is for Home

As ResMed explains:

The S+ measures movements using ultra low power radio waves (less than 110 of Bluetooth®). The basic principle is similar to the echo location system used by bats to hunt insects. The S+ transmits a short pulse of radio waves at 10.5 GHz and then listens for the echo of the pulse. As you move, the phase of the echo changes and is converted into a signal that reflects your movement.

S+ by ResMed set up at my bedside | H is for Home

It may be ultra high tech, but was very easy to set up. Firstly, I plugged in the device, then downloaded the app to both my iPhone and iPad, I then linked them to the S+ by ResMed via Bluetooth. The app asked a few questions… height, weight, do I sleep on my back, front or side; do I sleep with a partner or pet; the size of the bed; type of mattress and pillows etc. I registered on the S+ website and then went through a dry run whilst lying on the bed in the dark. Just look at the difference between my breathing patterns on left and right!

S+ app monitor | H is for Home

The app works continuously throughout the night to record breathing and movement to analyse the night’s sleep.

S+ app showing my sleep history | H is for Home

Not only does it show all the different stages of sleep (and any disruptions) it reports – every 20 minutes – on the temperature, light level and any noise in the room. It also works out how much body & mind have been recharged overnight.

My nightly sleep details via the S+ app | H is for Home

It scores a night’s sleep out of 100 and shows where ‘points’ have been lost. On the night in question, it took me a long time to fall asleep, I had a coughing fit and I also had a mild case of restless legs which really didn’t help. I just didn’t get enough REM or deep sleep.

My sleep score | H is for Home

Each night before setting the app, it asks questions such as how many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks had been consumed during the day. As you can tell from the scores on the following night, my sleep improved by 7%. Was it due to the couple of glasses of wine I consumed? Perhaps it was because the dog didn’t wake up, circle around and reposition himself, crashing into the side of the bed as he does most nights.

My sleep history recorded by the S+ by ResMed device

I’ve been using the monitor for less than a week so far, but I’m already totally hooked. I knew that for years I’ve been waking up each morning feeling exhausted, but not recalling the disruptions in sleep that have clearly been happening. The S+ mentor gives pointers as to how to up your score and, in so doing, improve your sleep.

The S+ Mentor

ResMed is offering an S+ sleep monitoring system to one of our readers. Just leave a comment telling us what keeps you awake at night.

S+ sleep tracking system by ResMed

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A tale of tails

Fudge's tails.com food has arrived | H is for Home

We’re running this month’s competition in association with tails.com – and Fudge is obviously very happy to get involved in this one!

Fudge's tails.com email order confirmation | H is for Home

As you can see, he couldn’t contain his excitement when the package arrived.

Fudge and his tailor-made food chart | H is for Home

The prize is a month’s supply of bespoke dog (or puppy) food, tailor-made to your precious pooch’s needs – age, size, dietary requirements and health issues.

Fudge's tails.com diet assessment | H is for Home

tails.com is a really well designed and easy to navigate website. Just enter your pet’s details and it will magically tell you what mix of food they need and how much of it makes a portion. A handy scoop is included to help you measure the amount correctly every mealtime. Each month, you’ll receive a new delivery before your current bag of food runs out. You can update, pause or cancel online at any time.

Fudge waiting patiently for dinner time | H is for Home

Yada, yada, yada – can we get on with trying out the food now?

Fudge getting stuck into his tails.com food | H is for Home

Patience never was one of Fudge’s virtues, especially when it comes to food! He reminded us that it’s all well and good that the food is stuffed full of protein, vitamins and minerals, but is it tasty? We had to agree that the proof of the pudding is in the eating – so the waiting was over – and he genuinely loved it. Here he is devouring his bespoke dinner!

To win a month’s supply of tails.com tailor-made dog or puppy food leave a comment telling us the name, age and breed of your dog.

tails.com tailor-made dog or puppy food

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