29 Jul 2014

Tom Hide Superior Goods Co. | Discovering New British Brands

We're always on the look out for new and interesting brands, especially ones based in the UK. Recently we've covered home-grown brands such as Cubitts, Mackenzie & George, and The Cartocon Co.

What all these brands have in common - as well being UK based - is a great product; one that they're passionate about designing, developing, and producing.

Tom Hide was recently brought to our attention on Twitter and from the shots they sent us they're producing some really good looking stuff from their small home workshop in London. Couverture & the Garbstore in Notting Hill certainly think so too, as they're now stocking a range of their products, the first of many we trust.

While you can find their full range online, they have plans to sell in a few more stores down South and possibly we'll see some new product designs too; launching their first wallet online this week. This post only starts to scratch the surface of Tom Hide, we'll be exploring their story, products and the people behind the brand over the next couple of months.

Watch this space and if you see any brands that you think we'll like, send 'em in! - Nik

You can find Nik at - Conrad's Beer | Twitter | Instagram

28 Jul 2014

Hollie's Malted Milk Birthday Cake

Hi everyone, it's Hollie here! My birthday was last week, and as per my own tradition I picked out a birthday cake to bake for myself from one of my favourite food blogs, La Pêche Fraîche. Baking your own birthday cake might sound a little on the sad side, but I love a bit of baking; any excuse to get my KitchenAid out and whip up something tasty and I’m there! This year’s cake turned out pretty good, maybe even my best one yet, so Mat asked me to share the recipe and introduce it myself.

Malted Milk Birthday Cake. Adapted from original recipe by La Pêche Fraîche, makes a 4 layer 6-inch cake or a 2 layer 8 or 9-inch cake -

Malted milk cake:

340 grams all purpose flour

50 grams cornflour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
113 grams unsalted butter, softened

100 grams shortening (such as Cookeen or Trex in the UK)
350 grams granulated sugar

60 grams malted milk powder (I struggled to find this exact product in my area, but used Original Ovaltine, not the
chocolate flavoured, which is mainly malted milk powder and it worked out just fine)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

3 egg whites

120ml buttermilk, cold

240ml water, cold

Vanilla Italian meringue buttercream:
6 egg whites

3 drops white vinegar

350 grams sugar

big pinch salt

6 tablespoons water

660 grams butter, diced

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

drop red gel food colouring, if desired


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease and flour four 6 inch pans or two 8 or 9 inch pans.
Place flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer (with a flat beater attached) and stir to combine.
Add in the softened butter and shortening a few tablespoons at a time, mixing until a flour-fat paste forms.
Stir together the sugar and malted milk powder/Original Ovaltine, then add to the flour paste, stirring slowly at first, then beating until fluffy.
 Whisk together the vanilla, egg, egg whites, buttermilk, and water in a jug, then add to the batter, stirring very, very slowly at first, then increasing speed to beat at high speed for 30 seconds.
 Batter should be thick and creamy by this point; if it is a tiny bit curdled, don’t worry about it.
 Pour into your prepared pans and bake for 35-38 minutes (but keep your eye on them), until springy in the centre and a tester comes out clean. 
Allow to cool completely, then trim and level as needed ready for assembling your cake.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: place egg whites and vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer (with balloon whisk attached this time).
Place sugar, salt, and water in a small pot on your hob.
Begin to heat the sugar mixture on high as you whip the whites on medium speed.
 When the syrup reaches 118 degrees C (be super careful here), your egg whites should be at firm soft peaks (almost hard peaks, but not dry).
Drizzle the syrup into the meringue with the mixer running; whip on high until cooled to body temperature (approx. 37 degrees C).
Beat in butter one or two tablespoons at a time.
Beat mixture on high speed until thick, glossy, and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
 If buttercream is too soft, refrigerate for 20 minutes.

To assemble the cake, stack your layers with 1/2 - 2/3 a standard US cup frosting between them.
Use about 1 cup of frosting to crumb coat and level out the cake; freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Finish the cake with the remaining frosting as desired, I used pretty much all of it on the rest of the cake and finally go ahead and add your sprinkles if you’re using them!

I topped my birthday cake off with long white cake candles and popped it on my gran’s cake stand as a finishing touch. It’s a showstopper cake this one, and it does take a fair bit of effort too, but rest assured it’s definitely worth it! Hope you enjoyed my first post! Find Hollie on Instagram here.

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26 Jul 2014

Illustrated Cities by Collab Belfast + Weekend Links

At the fear of making us long to travel more, Belfast based design studio Collaborate have created these delightful illustrations, featuring some of the world's most loved cities. I could definitely see these prints hanging in our house, maybe even of the places we haven't visited yet - something to aim for?

As well as trying to stay cool this weekend I'll also be attempting to go totally tech-free for 24 hours, I'll share how I got on next week. Enjoy your weekend guys, whatever you get up to!

Weekend Bucket List

Every thought about camping in the jungle
An interview I did for the Great British Beer Revival
The Realities of Freelancing, this all rings so true
New app by Muji designed to help you sleep
Hatch & Harbour - Design for daydreamers + risk takers
My favourite summer(ish) outfit
Cool stackable desk accessories
Radioactive smoothie

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25 Jul 2014

The Idle Man "Blogger's Choice" Selection

Just a quick post today introducing our newest Blog Sponsor, online menswear store The Idle Man - to kick things off the team asked me to select a few of my favourite pieces from the store, so I had a gander and here's what I came up with. I've singled out a few things from the sale and some brand new gear too.

We're pleased to welcome The Idle Man as our new Blog Sponsor for July/August! You can check out the full "Blogger's Choice" post on their blog here.

Thank you for visiting,

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24 Jul 2014

Store Visit | Farah Vintage, Seven Dials London

Farah Vintage, Seven Dials.

It's been a while since we last did a Store Visit so when Farah Vintage got in touch regarding visiting their new shop I jumped at the chance. For the third time I stayed Tune Hotel at King's Cross; which seems to be the perfect location for getting just about anywhere in London.

I made my way around the endless city streets - walking from King's Cross, to Oxford Street, then on to the Seven Dials, Covent Garden - that route has now turned into one of my favourite walks in the city. London is a fascinating place to walk around and I do so as much as possible, taking slightly different turnings with each journey; all while avoiding taking the tube. This time I only ventured on the tube once to meet up with Nik for a trip to the Sunspel store in Shoreditch.

I knew I was in for a busy day so I stopped off for a hefty breakfast at Cote, before headed to meet at Farah store. I'm pretty familiar with the Seven Dials area now as I always seem to end up there, so to hear the news that Farah Vintage had just set up shop there was top news! For the most Farah is a household name across the UK + America, known for their history in workwear and later being adopted by the skinhead movement - the Farah Vintage range plays on their close links with music and youth sub-cultures; today being worn by creatives, musicians, officer workers and the football terrace crowd alike.

The store itself is a compact, well considered space which isn't overrun with stock; instead housing key pieces from their SS14 collection and small selection of items from their new collection. Plenty of patterns to get your heads around - Aztec, Stripes, Polka Dot, Floral, Tropical - you want it, they've probably got it lurking somewhere.

We got chatting about the Farah brand and what they've got lined up for the coming months - something I wasn't aware of was the work they do as a part of the local community. With events being held throughout the summer and mention of a pop-up beach party in Camden, it's a subject I'd love to explore a little bit further down the line.

Thanks to the Farah Vintage team for having me by the store. We'll be running a giveaway to win a bunch of stuff from them very soon, so look out for that! Farah Vintage, 18 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9LG.

Thank you for visiting,

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22 Jul 2014

Archibald Optics | Craftsmanship In Construction

We’ve been talking a lot about glasses in recent months at Buckets & Spades. Back in March Mat ran a Ray-Ban giveaway, I was lucky enough to get a pair of sunglasses from London based Cubitts, and we were invited to an Eye Respect launch at Duke Street Emporium. All-in-all, it seems that glasses are getting a lot of attention this year.

I wasn’t taken by surpise to get an email from another London based brand, Archibald Optics, suggesting a meet up. I’m sure Mat will agree, one of the perks of blogging is the opportunity to meet new people, in new places, and drink a lot of coffee - enough so you can stay up all night researching and writing new pieces!

It was great to meet with Archibald Optics, not least because they introduced me to a tiny coffee shop on Frith Street in Soho, where we sat and watched all of those very interesting folks that inhabit the streets of Central London.

I’m by no means an expert on glasses, although in the last month I’ve learnt more than I ever knew before. Those I saw from Archibald Optics had a good weight to them and a firmness in the arms that indicate quality. I reckon these could take being sat on a couple of times. A frequent problem when I take sunglasses off on the tube. And as this video shows the quality of these frames comes from the dedicated craftsmanship in their construction.

It’s fascinating to get this sort of insight into a product’s construction. It always make for a more compelling argument to invest in a particular brand when you’ve seen ‘behind the scenes’. Mat’s post on Loake is a case in point. The company create optical lens and sunglasses for both male and female - all of which are made in Japan.

I’d be interested to hear of other glasses brands that folks out there like and also any more brand / product insight videos doing the rounds… For more info on Archibald Optics visit here. - Nik
You can find Nik at - Conrad's Beer | Twitter | Instagram

21 Jul 2014

Outfit | Summer Basics

It's been crazy hot across the UK for a couple of weeks but I'm reluctantly giving the shorts a rest this weekend; main reason being they're all in the wash! Since picking up this navy button-down in Orlando it's quickly became my most worn shirt - it's made from seersucker so it's the perfect lightweight material for keeping cool. I've been wearing it with khaki shorts mostly but for the weekend I went with selvedge Levi's 511, along with a fresh white tee by White T-Shirt Co., adidas Stan Smith + my new repro Brooklyn Bushwick Ebbets cap, which Coggles sent over, as part of our collab. Perfect summer look for the cooler days.

Wearing - J.Crew Seersucker Shirt | T-Shirt c/o White T-Shrt Co. | Levi's 511 | adidas Stan Smith c/o JD | CHUP socks (thanks Dan) | Ebbets Field Flannel Baseball Cap c/o Coggles

Hollie Wears -  COS Dress | H&M Leggings | Longchamp Bag | Vans x The Beatles Trainers | Earrings Unknown

We received some lovely comments regarding Hollie's appearance on the blog so I asked her if she wouldn't mind making it a regular thing! As soon as she saw these Vans x The Beatles trainers she had to add them to here growing collection. Worn with a simple dress from COS to make the sneaks really stand out.

What about you? I'd love to hear some of your Summer Essentials, and advice for staying cool?

Thank you for visiting,

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19 Jul 2014

Everything Is Rubbish + Weekend Links

Everything Is Rubbish is a response to consumerism, our waste and its ability to become a bi-product. The trio behind the project trawled the UK coastline for plastic waste, sorted through and manufactured a consumer product. The result is an instantly recognisable consumer product, created from our own consumption. This video shows how the trainers was made.

It's been another busy week for us, 90% wedding related to 10% birthday celebrations; definitely need a bit of downtime this weekend! If you folks feel Buckets & Spades is your favourite Men's Fashion Blog then it would be amazing if you could nominate us at the 2014 Bloglovin' Awards.....will send cake! Have a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Bucket List

Milford Sound in New Zealand looks like an incredible place
Nice idea for tea packaging
In case you missed it - Orlando Photo Diary Part 2
Mamnick celebrate the Tour de France with this limited edition tee
10 Things to see + do in Newquay
The best kept secret bars in Manchester
Stuff for Life - Yasumi shares her love of the collected
A chat with the world's first wild fragrance company, Juniper Ridge

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18 Jul 2014

Car Spotting in London

Two sets of wheels I spotted when I was out and about around the Bloomsbury Square area of London last week. Saab and Mercedes doing their thing very nicely. Sweet hey? Spotted any interesting cars lately?

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17 Jul 2014

Giveaway | East Dane

Online menswear store East Dane have been on my radar for a few months now - with an impressive brand list with the likes of Batterwear, Folk, Filson, Gitman Vintage, Jack Spade, Levi's Made & Crafted, Loake, Norse Projects, Steven Alan and Topo Designs to name a few, it's easy to see why the store was saved straight to our bookmarks. They also produce some really lovely editorial content too, which makes browsing a whole lot more enjoyable.

To celebrate their ongoing success we've partnered up with East Dane to bring you this month's giveaway - We have Four $50 gift cards to spend online! There's plenty to choose from, currently there's loads in the 50% off men's section + men's jeans from APC, Naked & Famous and Nudie.

How To Enter

For your chance to win One of Four $50 East Dane Gift Cards all you have to do is add a comment to this post and tell me which is your favourite brand stocked at East Dane. Just confirm your comment + fill out the form below - for extra entries you can also subscribe to Buckets & Spades. This giveaway is open worldwide.

This giveaway with run 17th - 25th July, winners will be chosen by us at random shortly after.

Good luck folks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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