Wendy & Georgia's Blog

News and views from Hinchcliffe & Barber

January baking – Light Fruit Cake

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on January 21, 2015, no comments

A friend of mine (after a few too many glasses of wine) once infamously shouted out another friend’s wedding ‘no one likes fruit cake!’ just as the bride & groom were about to cut the cake – then promptly flopped out on the table. This prompted two responses: 1. A shout from the cakemaker (also a family relative) ‘It’s actually carrot cake!’ and 2. I was too scared to have fruit cake at my own wedding in case said friend disapproved (we had chocolate brownies instead).

Anyway, I love fruit cake and so did my late father John Hinchcliffe (Co-founder of Hinchcliffe & Barber with my mother Wendy). Today would have been his 65th birthday. Sadly he only made it to 61 but I always try and bake a cake in his memory at this time of the year. Had he been alive, he would taken much pleasure in critiquing it for a long time before eating it – (in his eyes, no one baked quite as well as him, but he loved cakes and sweet things). Then we’d have probably gone for a walk at Ringstead Bay and I would have ordered him lots of Narcissus from St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly. He wasn’t a great present man but he did love the bright yellow of narcissus in January – a sign that Spring would soon be springing in his beloved garden, the inspiration for much of his work, especially his collection of lino prints ‘The Months of the Year’ Collection.

I took a few photos of my bake. The recipe was borrowed & adapted slightly from the Mumsnet website – it’s beautifully simple compared to some fruit cake recipes and tastes delicious (so ticks all the boxes for me!).

Recipe:

  • 650g dried mixed fruit
  • 3 tbsp brandy (or cherry brandy)
  • ½ orange (zest), grated
  • ½ lemon (zest), grated
  • 215g plain flour
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  1. Put the dried fruit, nuts and cherries in a large bowl
  2. Add the brandy (or use lemon or orange juice) and stir well
  3. Grease and line a 18cm round or 15cm square tin with a double thickness of grease proof paper
  4. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs, lemon/orange zest, flour and spice and mix well
  5. Fold in the fruit and nuts and mix until well combined
  6. Spoon into the prepared tin and level off the mixture
  7. Bake in a preheated oven 150’C/Gas mark 2 for around 3 hours
  8. Turn the oven down slightly for the last 30 minutes, if the cake starts to get too brown
  9. Test if the cake is cooked by sticking in a sharp knife or skewer, if it comes out clean then the cake is cooked
  10. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack
  11. EAT!
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Fruit cake on a Hinchcliffe & Barber animal side plate circa 1990 Dorset

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Mixture with our Grey Songbird tea-towel available online

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Time for tea with our Songbird Grey Mugs (available online).

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Happy New Year from Chapel House

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on January 2, 2015, no comments

A little update from Chapel House – the Wiltshire home of H&B

Since mid-July my husband and I have been renovating a house on the Wiltshire/ South Glos border. Having never undertaken a renovation project of our own before, and with the looming birth of our first child in May, I’ve got to admit the whole project has been rather exhausting and anxiety inducing – like an episode of Grand Designs with the same struggles! However, the sheer pleasure of finally moving in (only a week before Christmas) reminded us our efforts weren’t in vein and slowly the old house was becoming more of a home. What a pleasure it is to see such a beautiful Georgian cottage coming back to life after some much needed TLC. The majority of the work has been undertaken by us, with sash windows repaired by my husband and his father, rooms stripped and re painted by me, and most crucial of all, the addition of some hand-made draught excluding curtains made by my mother (Wendy Barber, the other half of H&B). We’ve got some way to go before the house feels finished but so keen were we to get in, that we moved in without a shower or bath (but we’ve got a sink, a flannel and plenty of hot water – don’t worry!). Over the next year I’m looking forward to getting started on creating a garden and renovating the adjacent chapel into a B&B and Hinchcliffe and Barber studio/ showroom. We feel lucky to have such an exciting project on our hands.

So here are some of the first photos of the newly renovated house, taken over Christmas & New Year – apologies if the images are rather close up – I’ve had to be a selective as some corners of the house are far from finished.


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Wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!


 

H&B in January’s Country Living Magazine

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on December 9, 2014, no comments

Hinchcliffe & Barber in Country Living Magazine, January 2015.

We’re really chuffed to see our True Blue jug (available early Spring) in January’s Country Living Magazine. Hinchcliffe & Barber were first featured in Country Living Magazine in Jan 1989 with a reader offer to buy hand decorated animal plates – 26 years ago! And I’m pretty proud to say we’re still going – we’ve weathered storms and ups/downs in manufacturing (and life) and once again we’re producing some gorgeous British-made ceramics with thanks to our great manufacturer MyGiftsTrade & the tremendous archive of work created by Wendy Barber and the late John Hinchcliffe.

The first offer in Country Living Magazine back in 1989 was so popular that my father and our studio decorators were so inundated with orders that they had to close the offer after only a few days (!) …let’s hope everyone likes our new ranges that much!

To see our online archive of press cuttings follow this link.

Thank you for supporting H&B. x

True Blue jug (1) True Blue Jug


 

Latest press for Hinchcliffe & Barber

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on November 22, 2014, no comments

We’re really pleased to see that our new collections have been getting some press recently. If you haven’t seen the articles, here is a round up of our recent features:

Country Living recently selected our Songbird Grey Jug (£30) to feature in their Christmas gift guide for foodie… unnamedJoss and Main interviewed me for their online magazine Plume Magazine… joss and main

Country Days, the blog from Country Homes & Interiors also published an interview about our plans for the brand… Read the article here.

And if you’re thinking about Christmas shopping already – remember our latest collections Repetto and Songbird, featuring kitchen textiles and ceramics - including our classic Hinchcliffe & Barber mug shape – are available to buy online – follow this link to the store.

H&B Kitchen 2

From Hinchcliffe & Barber x


 

A little weekend treat? 10% off the new collection for 72 hours only…

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on September 27, 2014, no comments

Ahead of the official online launch next month of our new ceramics and textiles collection, we’re offering 10% off selected products via the lovely Joss and Main website. You’ll have to hurry though as the offer is only available for 72 hours…we hope you like what you see.

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Over the next few weeks we’ll also be adding a stockist list to the website – detailing all our new lovely stockists where you can buy the range in person.

 

AUGUST – here and there

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on August 31, 2014, no comments

As I sit down to write this blog post, the sun is shining in the garden and there is a lovely distant sound of a lawn mower – not forgetting the evocative smell of cut grass – yes cliches, but still so lovely… It feels like an unusually fair day. The weather throughout August in our part of the West Country hasn’t been so good with more rain than sun. James and I haven’t let it get us down though. We’re very lucky to have stayed at a friend’s house, with an idyllic garden full of apple trees, tomatoes and glorious flowers this last month while she holidays in South Africa. I may have mentioned in my last post that we’re in the process of renovating our new house – we’ve had wonderful help from lots of people, not least of all James’ father who has been helping us repair the beautiful old sash windows. It’s a time consuming job but James has been up there every spare hour of the day sanding, filling, mowing, digging…Very naively we’d thought this would be a quicker process than it’s proving to be. However, the house has worked its magic on us and we’re enjoying the transformation. Conscious of doing things properly, we’re resigned to the fact it will take some time to get right and to restore it to its Georgian glory. Here are some photos of our work so far…

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We took one weekend off from the house project this month to go to Dorset. Since my wonderful sister Harriet Barber died last month from cancer, I’ve been feeling the call of the Dorset coastline a great deal. It’s also a place that makes me feel closer to my father John, so it’s drawing me back more than ever now – they both loved the sea. My kind godmother Debbie Geary and her husband Mike lent us their magical beach hut on Chesil beach. James and I have been visiting for a number of years and every time we visit we find ourselves getting back to the simple life – our minds switch off, we cook simple meals and eat them on the beach and when we have the energy, we walk for a few miles down the coast to Burton Bradstock’s Hive Beach Cafe. It really is a very special place. The serenity of the beach hut is due not only to location but to the Geary’s wonderful style. It’s decorated with care and simplicity. It’s extremely stylish but effortlessly so. I only realised on our last visit that the beach hut had featured on the front cover of the wonderful book Huts, Havens & Hideaways – testament to how calming and special it is. Mike Geary’s energetic paintings of the sea look so stylish against other seaside objects. I’m particularly comforted by the range of Hinchcliffe & Barber and John Hinchcliffe Fine Prints dotted around – as well as the old family photographs of happy days spent in the beach hut altogether.

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We spent a lovely morning walking around Lyme Regis – (coffee and ‘all you can eat’ sourdough toast is a must at the Town Mill Bakery) – followed by a trip to Forde Abbey before sleepily making our way back home.

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My mother, Wendy and I have been working hard on Hinchcliffe & Barber – we’ve got some exciting plans but often think in order to create beautiful work (and make the right decisions) the atmosphere has to be conducive to doing so and with the recent death of Harriet, it has been harder. Against the odds, Wendy is working extremely hard on dad’s retrospective at the Salisbury Museum. It’s a large and admirable amount of work she’s been doing, curating and archiving a lifetime of work with the help of our great friend, Professor Simon Olding. James, Wendy and I spent last Saturday archiving a vast collection of ceramics, which is currently in store in Gloucestershire. Some of Wendy’s friends – Jaqui and Andy Arnold – are also doing a wonderful job helping us. It’s a mammoth task – the archive is vast – and both Wendy and John have created a huge amount of remarkable work over the years.

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Yesterday, after a week in London working, James and I got up at the crack of dawn to queue outside Liberty – we were there by 6am! By 8.30am when the doors opened, there were more than 500 designers queuing round the block to meet the buying team for various categories. They call it their ‘Open Call’ day. We were 5th in line, met the buyers (who were very enthusiastic about our new range!) and were interviewed for a documentary about Liberty – fingers crossed we get some air time & some good publicity for the work we’ve been doing with our great colleagues at MyGiftsTrade.


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We’ll be exhibiting at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham from next Sunday & our new range will be online early-mid October.

On a final note – let’s toast in September with my this lino print by John Hinchcliffe Fine Prints. I’m off to make a Dorset apple cake for tea…

September

 

#Throwback Sunday

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on August 10, 2014, one comment

What better way to spend a lazy rainy Sunday morning than looking through old photos?

Here’s some from the Hinchcliffe & Barber family album…my father John Hinchcliffe looking very cheeky in Italy, a lovely one of Hinchcliffe & Barber founders John & Wendy in Florence and then an early Hinchcliffe & Barber marquee stand. We’ve really been around that long. #throwback Sunday!

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POP UP SHOP & OUR LAST WEEKEND IN BATH

by Georgia Hinchcliffe on August 6, 2014, no comments

We’re currently going through a bit of an upheaval. We’re in the process of moving & renovating a lovely cottage with a nice large studio for our designs outside Bath. As lovely as this sounds – we’re currently without ‘a base’ and will be until we can find a builder to complete the rest of the work that needs doing in order to make the house habitable. We’ve done a lot ourselves but have rather hit a brick wall (for want of  a better way of putting it) and find ourselves in need of people with the right skills. So, I found myself reminiscing and looking through some glorious photos of our last Hinchcliffe & Barber pop up shop in our flat in Bath. We rented the flat for 9 months while we found a place to buy. We had the privilege of living on Great Pulteney St right in the centre of town with the majestic Holburne Museum at the end of the street.

We’ll post photos of the renovation over the next few weeks as well as details of the new range & our next pop up shop venue but for now here’s a few photos from last month.

July pop up shop at Great Pulteney Street, Bath.

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