16 Jan 2017

Updates on Blogging, Fresh Starts + Issues with Fake Followings

2017 came at me like whoa. Buying a house a few weeks before Christmas sounds crazy but it wasn't actually a bad idea it gave us the drive to get the place is a decent shape before the holidays arrived. We managed it, and enjoyed a decent amount of downtime over New Year too. Phew!

This year is set to be an interesting one for me on a personal level. I'm planning to revise my current goals and weave in some new ones. I know I'm on the right track so I'll keep plugging away with creating content (which I'm extremely proud of), freelance roles and connecting with people in the real world. For me the latter is the big pay-off - social media can be an amazing tool, opening us up to a new world of people, but you can't replace that real life interaction.

 Wearing | Jacket c/o Barbour International | Sunspel Sweatshirt | Whistles Chinos | Red Wing Boots | CHUP socks | Penfield Beanie | Banana Republic Gloves

We decided to buy a house in the same small town that both myself + Hollie grew up in. But for me, even though it's a 15 minute walk away from where I previously lived it feels like a completely new beginning. 

We finally have the space we've always wanted, and I now have the time to really knuckle down with the much-needed redesign of Buckets & Spades. There has been a transition with how a lot of us consume content online, and many bloggers including myself have seen blog readership dip, which is why made a conscious decision to put more effort into my Instagram account

Sadly, the rise of IG's popularity has also seen many users faking their way to a big following - using underhanded tactics. This has somewhat tarnished a lot of the genuine effort that many of us have put in for years. If anyone is interested in the subject of "Instagram-fraud" then take a look at this experiment I did.

Honesty always prevails, and I have faith in the people and industry to do the right thing. I "follow" people for many different reasons; for inspiration and creativity, or the personality + likeability I like to think that the people behind these accounts do it for the love, no matter how big or small their numbers are.

So with all that said it felt appropriate for the first piece of editorial-style content of 2017 (with Jake Millers on the camera) to be shot in the town where it all began Blackpool. The original idea behind Buckets & Spades was simple to document "the life of a boy who lives by the seaside". A lot has changed since those days, and I'm certainly not "that" boy anymore...

I graduated in Fashion Promotion from UCLan, worked in marketing, did some travelling, got engaged (getting married in June!), turned a hobby into a job, became a full-time freelancer,  bought a house...but we're still in that very same small town in Lancashire where it all began. The blog has progressed into something I'm extremely proud of, and I'm still buzzed that you guys come to us for our own unique style of blogging.

I have a few realistic goals for this year, both personal and professional, but I think I'm going to keep those close to my chest until I feel it's the right time to share them. One that I'm happy to share is the long-overdue redesign of the blog. And boy does it need it, you don't have to tell me twice!

Any big plans for 2017? Got some travel dates planned in?

Photography by Jake Millers.

12 Jan 2017

Beer + Design | Shower Beer by Snask + Pangpang Brewery

Try to ignore for a minute that someone has created a beer that you can drink in the shower (who's in that much of a rush? Hoping this is tongue-in-cheek!) and just concentrate on the lovely branding that has been designed by Snask + Swedish brewer Pangpang Brewery. A subtle dusty pink cap sits on top of the 180mm (6oz) brown slimline glass bottle, with the bold serif font being screen-printed into the front

Shower Beer is actually drinkable too; a 10% sweet pale ale, right up my street. Now, I just need to hunt one down to "check in" on Untappd! The words "Chug while you scrub" come to mind...

See more from this project on Behance here.

10 Jan 2017

Brydon Brothers UK-Made Oakham Belt Collection

 Wearing - Belt c/o Brydon Brothers | Shirt by NN07 | T-Shirt by Whistles | Trousers by Stan Ray

Brydon Brothers is a brand that we’ve been championing from the beginning. I can’t quite remember how we were first introduced or where we first met; but, when we did, they only had a couple of belts, in a single range. One of those belts - a Kingsland Henners - has become more than a part of the regular circulation; it’s pretty much an everyday wear.

Perhaps strangely, the box it was delivered in has also become part of my desk clutter, helping keep receipts, tickets, and other life admin neatly tucked away.

It’s often the small, personal touches like this that keep
a brand in mind.

Since we first met them, Brydon Brothers have been busy, developing new products and really getting their name out there. Their new range - Oakham; named after the small English town where they’re manufactured, which is also near where brothers behind the brand grew-up - is their first move away from woven belts, into leather.

A reliable leather belt is a staple in many of our wardrobes. My personal preference is tan leather, and one which is fairly wide and thick feeling, so it works well with the heaviest of denim. The brand's Oakham collection fit the brief perfectly, and comes available in Black, Tan + Dark Brown - all handmade in the UK, using Italian vegetable tanned leather.

Take a look at the new Brydon Brothers lookbook here and this short making of video. We're curious to see which style they tackle next.

This post is in partnership with Brydon Brothers. Thank you for taking the time to support the brands + businesses that make this blog happen.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

8 Jan 2017

Conscious Thinking with Crowther/Plant

There's something special about brands who choose to make their goods in England. We love those who utilise our country's manufacturing industry, and Margate's very own Crowther/Plant are no exception.

Drawing inspiration from their coastal surroundings, designers Cat Crowther & Emrys Plant have developed a brand that champions ethical menswear. From the outset their goal was to create products that were made responsibly and have as little impact as possible. With their environmental consciousness at the forefront of what they do, Cat & Emrys are able to have control over their footprint and also encourage the British manufacturing industry. Working with recycled and organic fabrics helps maintain their sustainability as well as choosing processes like natural indigo dying, which they continue to do on location in Margate.

Their most recent collection plays host to a handful of sports-luxe garments and printed tees - inspired by Margate's chalk reefs, calm waters and burning sunset skies. With an overall natural feel, Crowther/Plant's unstructured silhouettes and Indigo pieces offer something incredibly unique.

You can find out more about the brand  over on their website and if you're visiting London Fashion Week Mens on the 6-9th of January then be sure to check out their showroom space in 180 Strand. For anyone looking to try out something from Crowther/Plant you can get  20% discount on your order by using the code "margate friends" right now too.

You can find James at - Get Your Bron On | Instagram | Twitter

26 Dec 2016

Yasumi Says | OPENHOUSE Magazine, The Life We Share

openhouse magazine issue 5 design and architecture
openhouse magazine issue 5 design and architecture
openhouse magazine issue 5 design and architecture
openhouse magazine issue 5 design and architecture
openhouse magazine issue 5 design and architecture
Bottom three images by OPENHOUSE Magazine stockist NEO.

I know when I've found a gem of a magazine when I reach the end of it and realise that I've read every single article, gazed at every single photo within it and yet find that I'm reluctant to bin, recycle or take cuttings from it. Then, I find myself reaching for it, referring back to it, getting lost in its images time and again and. This is how I feel about OPENHOUSE Magazine.

OPENHOUSE caught my eye because it had Tadao Ando's Casa Wabi emerging from the clean white cover of its 5th edition. In a nutshell, this is a bi-annual printed publication, from Andrew Trotter and Mari Luz Vida that takes a look into the homes/ private spaces of bright, creative people from around the world. It celebrates aspects of gastronomy, architecture, art and design.

Issue 5 features an interview with Bosco Sodi about his visionary artists retreat in Mexico. Designed by Tadao Ando, its doors are open to us via the pages of the magazine to gaze at it in all its sun scorched,  monastic, minimalist and poetic glory. Another noteworthy article from this edition is HK Farm's introduction of a fascinating side of Hong Kong as an unexpectedly resourcefully agricultural place.

In my opinion, this is a magazine to watch out for on your daily grind. Selected excerpts from the current issue are available on their website here, as well as a list of worldwide stockists.

You can find Yasumi at - Worship Blues | Twitter | Insatgram

20 Dec 2016

Outfit | All-Conditions Outerwear, Parka London

 Jacket + Tote Bag c/o Parka London | Jumper c/o NN07 | Chinos by Whistles Men | Socks by CHUP | Sneakers by Common Projects | Hat by Penfield
Knitwear by NN07

It’s been about a year since I started working together with Manchester-based photographer Jake Millers, and as the projects move on I can definitely our work improving each time. We’ve started to get comfortable with each other, and I think that's starting to show through.

So when I was approached by Parka London a brand I first came across at Jacket Required I instantly had Jake in mind. They were really open with the brief, and I was confident we could create something that not only fitted nicely with the brand's timeless values, but also feels true to my own personal style.

We took the Maron Jacket + Samson Tote Bag to some new locations on the outskirts of Manchester City Centre. The jacket is inspired by the original U.S Navy Deck jacket of the 1940s featuring a traditional boxy and slightly cropped fit, with reinforced stress-points, detachable faux-fur collar, four large front utility pockets; all being constructed from a durable, water-resistant poly-cotton navy fabric. 

Same for the Tote, which has quickly become my most-used bag; with loads of space inside, enough to pack for a couple of overnights, again being made from a lightweight, water resistant material. I kept the rest of my outfit pretty muted, with the classic fit chinos by Whistles and wool knit by Swedish brand NN07. 

Location-wise I think it's spot on, we both though the limited colour pallet worked perfect with Parka's collection. What do you think?

Shop the range and find out more about Parka London here.

This post is in collaboration with Parka London. Thank you for taking the time to support the brands + businesses that make this blog happen.

19 Dec 2016

A Look Around Our New House, Part One

Our homeware + furniture is a mixture of old + new; bar stools + chair by IKEA, coffee mugs by Lane + Slow Brew Club, copper coffee set via Not-Another-Bill + cushions by COSxHAY. The living space + kitchen has been renovated into one large room, with an exposed wall at one end (could be a great area for a dining room table) and an open space which overlooks the garden at the other.

Read on more below!

The antique Drop Leaf table was a gift from Hollie's parents + we inherited the wooden sewing machine table (used as a record player stand) from an elderly neighbour. 

adidas Track Pants + Stan Smiths c/o Scotts

We bought a house! We've been in our new place for a couple of weeks, and while we're starting to put our own stamp on the place, it oddly still feels a little bit like we're on holiday. It's a weird feeling but I guess it's because we just don't have that much of our own stuff in there yet. 

It's been a stressful experience - filled with many late nights and super early morning (why do IKEA insist on delivering at 7am on a Sunday!?) sure, but in terms of the buying the process it wasn't too crazy. The whole mortgage situation with me working as a full time freelance was a tricky situation, but I'll leave that for another post! 

The past two weeks have been filled with early morning DIY routines, builders tramping through the house on a daily basis, and getting on first-name-terms with the dogs in our new neighbourhood. All fuelled by endless pours.

So, let's take a nose around!

 The Christmas tree was up before the bed was in...

Leather key wrap by Campbell Cole

 Most things in our living room are borrowed, including the IKEA sofa + tables

Between us we both have quite a lot of antiques, oddments and collectables so we decided to by a display cabinet. Hollie choose this bright yellow and glass one! Most of the antiques - like the ceramic dog collection - has been passed down through the family.

I'm sure with my collection of Bearbricks, wrestling figures, vintage toy cars + Americana bits it will be full in no time.

The bedroom literally has nothing in it other than a bed frame and mattress at the moment. Due to the lack of blinds / curtains we've improvised by tacking up A4 paper to the windows. It look us a while to decide on a bed frame, torn between wooden and metal, but in the end we bought this copper frame by MADE.

The mattress was very kindly gifted to us by British brand SleepBear. We've been using their King Size mattress since we moved it - it was my first time sleeping on memory foam - but it's totally changed my sleeping habits, for the better. As we've haven't been using it for very long I feel I need to give it another couple of weeks before I can do full review, but so far so good!

The "SleepBear" name piqued by curiosity too; the brand is an official supporter of Polar Bears International, with a percentage of the proceeds going directly towards the conservation of these beautiful animals. SleepBear's mattress range starts at £399.

The bathroom and office are both a work-in-progress, so there's not much to see as yet. But up to now my Dan Marc Study Desk + Anglepoise x Paul Smith lamp are working great together! Leather accessories c/o Bellroy and morning routines with Aesop skincare.

And that's your lot for now. We've still got a few rooms to cover - mainly the spare room, bathroom, office, garage and the garden - but I'm going to leave that for Part Two. The office is going to be something I want to concentrate on, as I plan to spend a lot of time in there, so I might even find a way to document that separately.

So what do you think so far? I'd love to hear your thoughts and if you have an interior design recommendations or favourite interior blogs / websites!