31 Mar 2015

Photographic Prints with Sperry x Gray Malin

Woah, it's now officially Spring! Which gets me thinking about sunshine, summer holidays, and not wearing a jumper again for another six months. Okay, living in England, I'll still need some jumpers to hand and the obligatory rain coat, but the wardrobe does change quite rapidly from here on in. For one thing, I'll be seeing less of the Redwing boots (sad, I know) and more sneakers.

I can't spend my life in Nikes though (as much as I'd love to), so something like these slips-on from Sperry would be ace. Designed using photographer Gray Malin's fantastic aerial photography - more can be found on his Instagram - on three classis Sperry Topsider silhouettes. Great for the beach, or indeed if anyone is taking photos of you from above!

Available at END very soon. Nik

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Heavy Denim

26 Mar 2015

Beer + Design | You Rock! by Patswerk

For the times yep, read most of the time you want your ales to look a little less serious, and a tad more colourful then this project by Dutch graphic design + illustration studio Patswerk is ticking the boxes. You Rock! has been designed and brewed to celebrate the team's 7th year of collaborating together, and what better way to toast a milestone. 

These charming cartoon illustrations which are somewhat of a trademark of Patswerk's style make a nice change from the stuffy, unimaginative bottles we see filling our shelves. Cheers!

For more beer related posts click here. You Rock! first seen on The Dieline.

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24 Mar 2015

Trying Out JUST EAT | Review

With keeping fit has becoming an increasingly high priority these days you may think a big ol' takeaway seems a bit of a miss. Well, I tend to keep an eye on things throughout the week and loosen the belt a little at the weekend. I don't know how Nik manages to keep slim actually, being a food blogger but also crazy on fitness? I can only assume he runs in his sleep.

JUST EAT is a food delivery service which collates all the takeaways in your local area into one simple list. Each category has a user-generated rating system, which results in impartial recommendations. You can order via the app or online, and the JUST EAT people deliver it to your door. With increasingly rumbling stomachs we downloaded the JUST EAT app and got to work with the menus.

JUST EAT would probably work perfectly in a multi-cultural city like Birmingham, London or Edinburgh, rather than a small town but we had plenty of options for Indian, Chinese, American + Italian. We were perfectly happy to stick with curry, and decided on Indian Orchard.

The app was easy to use, and within five minutes we'd placed our order. Indian Orchard didn't offer delivery, but as it was just around the corner from ours and we'd heard really good things we didn't mind collecting it. We couldn't fault their service, food or price actually, and scored them top marks on all accounts for our feedback. Overall the app was fast + easy to use. Bob on really.

JUST EAT have been putting together the Top 20 highest rated, and consistent takeaways across the UK for their Tried & Tasted awards.

The award recognises over 1000 restaurants out of the overall 8000 that have won Tried & Tasted for all four years, but out of the winners, 20 of best takeaways were chosen that had the highest ratings + reviews from cities that had accumulated the most T&T winners overall. And our town made the list! Lucky if one of those is in your town hey? Have you used the JUST EAT at all?

We were offered a voucher towards our meal in exchange for an impartial review, all views are 100% our own, as always.

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22 Mar 2015

Nike #AirMaxDay + Weekend Links

To celebrate Air Max Day on the 26th March, Nike are not only releasing a brand new model to add to the team, Air Max Zero, but they're also partaking in a bunch of interactive activities, like this one with JD. If you're a fan of Nike's game-changing technology - originally inspired by the Pompidou Centre in Paris - then upload + tag your image on Instagram using #JDAIRMAX + #AIRMAX. This instantly enters you into the competition to win a weekend to Paris. Here's our entries - wearing Nike Koston 2 Air Max c/o JD + Air Max 2014.

Other than that my only news is that we did our first Podcast, have a listen here! Do people still listen to podcasts...I've always had big love for them, but they ain't half distracting when you're trying to work. Anyway, have a listen, only a bit of fun! Enjoy your weekend my friends.

Weekend Bucket List

Cave walking in Iceland
Woolrich collaborate with a surf brand, sounds weird some how works
The speaker which works like a camera lens
A really great site packed with advice for bloggers, designs + freelancers
The world's smartest bike lock, I'm in
Love these "unskippable" ads by Geico
In case you missed it - My trip to Geneva with Kia

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20 Mar 2015

Monthly Surprises with Not Another Bill Subscription

The more I hear about Not Another Bill's monthly subscription, the more I convince myself that it's a good idea to sign up. Their idea is simple: a monthly subscription service for yourself, a friend, or a couple, with a surprise hand-selected item arriving at your door every four weeks. Each item that drops on your doormat has been chosen to suits the tastes of your online profile, which is as easy as pie to set up. Maybe it slightly takes the way the fun of buying presents, but it seems that NAB have a knack of getting in spot on every time.

Looking back over Not Another Bill's past gifts I quickly realise we've already missed some cracking items; Opinel Kitchen set, Il Bussetto x NAB Card Holder, Yolke Candles, a hefty bottle opener by design studio Ferm and brassy goodness by Tom Dixon. If I remember rightly I first heard about Not Another Bill from Daisy of Pretty Green Tea, and ever since then I've been hooked on looking at their art gallery-worthy products, thoughful packaging and inventive website. With a new addition in recent months giving us the option to buy one-off gifts I reckon I know where I'll be heading come Hollie's birthday.

Find out more about Not Another Bill's service here.

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18 Mar 2015

Ones To Watch | Takuro Apparel

Blogging is a mixture of push and pull. Some things you discover yourself - check these beer growlers - while other things people tell you about. It's a nice balance and one that yields some great finds. We always love recieving your recommendations and tweets. Takuro are one such 'push'. They introduced us to their brand and it's one we took a shine to straight away. 

Takuro are a young brand with a big heart; manufactoring mostly in the UK and with a percentage of their profits being donated to vulrable women in Nepal (Women for Human Rights - Single Woman's Group). This is a cause Takuro - which means 'The Summit of the Mountain' - and originally inspired the brand.

The Manaslu rucksacks are neat, tradional in its looks, and are that are clearly pretty durable too for both commuters and outdoors folk. It's a brand we'll be keeping an eye on, as I'm sure they'll be expanding the range soon.

See their full range here. Nik

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Heavy Denim

16 Mar 2015

Blogging | Where Are We Heading?

 Wearing - Jack Spade Chinos | Converse 1970s | Socks c/o Pennine Outdoorswear

I've got a full week of working from home coming up - with a few posts to write up and tons of photos to edit, while I also start to make plans for the next two months. One priority is to put the wheels in motion for our Euro road trip...too much talking and not enough doing on my part.

With a bit more time to organise myself this week it's got me thinking about what's next for me, and what the future holds for this blog. I've been working on the blog pretty much full time for about a year and a half now, and along with help from Hollie, Nik + Yasumi, we seem to have got a good thing going. A really good thing in fact, and your feedback has been amazing. It's hard work, but I'm having a blast meeting new people and opening up exciting opportunities.

Like with any project or job, I just need to check-in and make sure I'm on the right track and achieving my goals - I know a fresh new layout has been needed for some time. So this week you'll find me sitting at my desk, in comfy socks, ready to get stuff done!

What is next for Buckets? Only time will tell, but I know it's heading in a positive direction.

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13 Mar 2015

Travel Photography, Iceland by Bernd Vogel

Travel is at the front of my mind this year and I don’t seem to be alone. While writing about my recent trip skiing in France and tweeting about our more recent jaunt to Brighton, everyone who replied mentioned places they’re keen to go or plans they’re about to make. And all that does is makes me want of travel some more!

It’s the quiet times that get you too. On a rare Friday night spent at home, I sat on the sofa reading up on some travel blogs and searching through Instagram for destination inspiration. It didn’t take long until I ‘stumbled’ across Iceland. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit, so I think my mind led me in that direction anyway.

Iceland is one of those countries that’s full of mystery, intrigue, and excitement. The rugged, almost alien landscape, looks like something imagined in a dream. Some of the buildings in the towns and cities aren’t far behind either. And when you see photos like these from Bernd Vogel's recent trip - boy does that make you want to get plans moving and book a package holiday. Iceland is also a place that I can’t find a single bad word about. Come on, the realities of travel are that not everyone is going to have a great time, each and every time - sometimes you just have bad luck! But no, not in Iceland. Every word written is a plus point and every photo (with a person in it) has someone smiling.

With my winter wear freshly laundered since the Alpine expedition, I think it’s time to load that suitcase up and start thinking about a trip to see our friends in the North. Have you been to Iceland, and what's next on your travel list?

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram  | Heavy Denim

11 Mar 2015

Exploring Kia at Geneva International Motor Show

Last week I spent 24(ish) hours in Switzerland. It was a very last trip minute but when I got the call I knew I couldn't say no. The brief excursion was at the end of six days of constant (but by no means a chore) travel; Blackpool > Birmingham > Brighton > Geneva and back. The Friday before I flew to Geneva I was watching the sun set over Brighton beach. I'd never even heard of a Swiss Franc before, and knew nothing of these mysterious Swiss power adaptor that are seemingly available nowhere. Wacky stuff. That will teach me for not researching, but hey, there was very little time.

I headed to Gevena to meet up with the Kia team, who were showing at the Gevena International Motor Show (GIMS for short...). A quick Google / hashtag search told me that GIMs was a huge deal in the motorcar industry. A press + public show which is attended by anyone who's anyone in this industry....and now Buckets & Spades of course! Kia invited me to the show to capture their innovative approach to modern design, explore new technologies, immerse myself in the history and future direction of the Kia brand, and to investigate how a car show like GIMs can be enjoyed from an alternative angle.

I wasn't there for the performance side of things, but it was hard not to get caught up in their world. It was let a Top Gear situation - all standing around grunting - and more of a celebration of where Kia have achieved in the past, and where they're going in the present.

As I said, the performance side of things isn't my speciality. I've never been into the inner workings and technical side, but to understand why certain things are designed in a certain way it does help to grasp the basics. Like anything, the more you immerse yourself into a subject and surround yourself by people who are passionate and enthusiastic about a subject, the more it rubs off on you. It works for anything; whisky, pets, trainspotting, trainers, fitness, illustration...the underlying connector is passion.

I spent little over a day in the city of Geneva, two of those hours were in traffic ironically. The city is buzzing with activity in the day time, but deadly silence at night. Other than a few hour's sleep, the rest of my time was spent exploring Kia's stand at the show, where both existing and brand new models were exhibited. My fuel for the day was strong and black, snacks were anything I could get my hands on and wi-fi was at a premium. It seems every single person in that exhibition centre was jostling for those illusive five bars, to Tweet, email and share their findings. It wasn't a race but the event was running faster than any menswear show I've ever been to. Fitting I guess?!

The show was an eye-opener for me. We heard from people with enough passion to fill a petrol tank twice over, and had chance to experience Kia's cars without actually driving one. I know this may seem weird, but it gave me chance to actually appreciate a process which started in the drawing room - so easy to forget when you're driving from a to b. To most people this will sound like a throwaway comment, because who really cares, it just moves us about? Well, I guess I do. And anyone else who's interested in the design process and the idea of improving will hopefully back me up on this one. Maybe I'm actually more interested in how they're made than how they perform?

After nine busy hours at the show and one last huge glug of perfectly fresh Swiss air, we we packed up our kit and headed back to the airport. And that was it, time to spin our watches back an hour. We planned to see much more of Geneva but there just wasn't enough hours in the day. The only thing that was left to do was grab a bite at Burger King and browse the mountains of Swiss chocolate at the airport. Still, I'm glad I packed a few emergency Snickers bars, those Swiss sure know how to charge!

Thank you to Kia for inviting me to join the team for a day, if only we could have stayed for longer. Another time hey, now how about that road trip...

Thanks for reading,

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10 Mar 2015

Street Heritage at The Liquor Store

Wearing - Oliver Spencer x Vulpine Jacket | Champion Sweatshirt | Folk Trousers | Converse Jack Purcell Trainers | Filson Cap | Hiking Socks | All available at The Liquor Store

I must be doing something right as The Liquor Store invited back having first visited their Birmingham store last November to take part in their ongoing 'Street Heritage' project. The title Street Heritage nicely sums up what The Liquor Store's owner, Phil and his team are trying to do with the store - introduce interesting brands to customers of all ages. But rather than overbuying into new brands and the latest 'flavour of the month' they're stocking contemporary brands which compliment the more establishes ones, and vice-versa.

I enjoy shopping at certain stores over others because of a few things; the brand mix (do they stock products I already like, and ones I'd enjoy discovering?), customer service (from actual helpfulness to being able to chat to you on a personal, none-selling level), keeping things simple (too many brands and huge shop floors put me off, the meaning becomes lost and I usually feel overwhelmed). The Liquor Store has found a great balance.

The Street Heritage project is all about both heritage and streetwear brands working together to compliment each other. I roped in Laura from The Liquor Store team to take some photos of a Street Heritage-inspired outfit I picked out. I've mixed contemporary pieces; a commuter-friendly jacket by Oliver Spencer x Vulpine and drawstring trousers by Folk, with a bit of classic Americana in the Champion reverse weave sweat + Filson baseball cap. Jack Purcells have been given an update for 2015 too, using duck canvas on the upper and an added spongy Nike insole for extra comfort.

What's your thoughts on mixing the old with the new to create a modern look, and what makes you visit certain shops over others? Read more about the man behind The Liquor Store here.

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