24 Feb 2015

Store Visit | Cubitts Workshop Soho, London

A wander around Soho, London back in December led us to visting the recently opened workshop store by Cubitts. Sitting in the heart of Soho, between Carnaby St and Portland St, just around the corner from Red Wing + Shinola, The Cubitts Workshop store is seemingly in the perfect location. Cubitts is a King's Cross-based independent eyewear specialist, offering a full service from their small, well considered store. They've been making quite a bit of noise since they opened their doors back in late 2014 - offering first class before + aftercare, and personable service in a environment which has been carefully kitted out using traditional optometry fixtures + fittings. Frames starting at £125 all in.

Boy that was a mouthful, but it has to be said that this is one of the nicest and most well considered stores I've visited in Soho. Sadly we arrived at a busy time so I wasn't able to get as many clear shots as I would have liked. But then again, that gives me the excuse to visit again soon.

We previously featured Cubitts here. The Cubitts Workshop, 37 Marshall Street, Soho, W1F 7EZ.

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22 Feb 2015

My Creative Space with Boden

 Wearing - Sandown Jumper c/o Boden | Jack Spade Chinos | Trainers c/o New Balance | CHUP Socks | 
Watch c/o Paulin Watches | Ray-Ban Glasses

We're all quite nosey by nature aren't we? Twitching curtains and ear wigging at the bus stop has slowly morphed into what we now call social media. We now see a lot of people's lives, but one thing I've always enjoyed is seeing around people's homes, especially those who work in a creative industry. Boden recently invited me to share My Creative Space, and although I still don't officially have an office (I'll work wherever I can find, and in this post it's at Hollie's parents' house), I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know myself + Hollie a little better.


How do I start the Day: Porridge, Tea + Emails
I usually wake up at about 7:30 throughout the Winter. I start most days with a large bowl of porridge with honey and cinnamon, BBC1 News on the telly and my head in emails. If it was the Summer I'd be at the gym for 7:30, but that isn't likely to happen in this freeze.
I'm Currently Reading: Cool Beer Labels by Dan Bellon + Steven Spegg
For anyone who's been reading Buckets & Spades for a while you'll probably know that this book is ideal for us. It sums us up. Beer, check, labels, check, stories about design and funny little anecdotes, triple check. There's ain't a lot of reading to be done, but that just suits me fine. The Tintin comics and Printed Pages magazine aren't far behind either.

What's in the Collection: Anything + Everything
Me and Hollie are both proper collectors. It's mostly stuff linked to pop culture, graphic design, and childhood keepsakes. We each have little corners around the house where we gather bits and bobs - can you spot the 3D model of Old Man Buckets?! We're currently pretty obsessed with the LEGO Simpsons minifigures. Nearly got the whole set!

What Am I Wearing: Something Comfy + Relaxed
I'm all about getting up early, showered, dressed and ready for work - it's my way of preparing for the day. I feel more productive if I'm properly dressed and ready to go. Ain't no work getting done in pyjamas. Today I'm wearing the Boden Sandown Jumper from their SS14 collection, relaxed Jack Spade Utility Chinos, Made in England trainers by New Balance and my favourite socks by CHUP. I was also very kindly send this cracking watch by Paulin Watches, which we featured back in December.

What I'm listen to: Not That Much Actually
I'm easily distracted so I don't tend to listen to music while I'm working, but lately when I've been trying to relax First Aid Kit, St. Vincent + Johnny Cash have been on-hand. Hollie's the musical one out of us two, she's amassed a pretty impressive collection of old and new vinyl.

A Special Memory: Visiting Savannah, GA with Hollie
We travelled to Savannah back in 2013, and instantly fell for its charm. The city is jam-packed with all sorts of cool facts, historically important events and extremely warm + welcoming people. Around every corner you're hit right in the face with another fact-bomb. A truely fascinating place, and somewhere we'd love to visit again some day. American road trip maybe?

My Guilty Pleasure: Pro-Wrestling
Not sure if it's classed as guilty if you're not embarrassed by it, but I'm a big fan of Pro-Wrestling. It stems from loving it as a kid (as most of us did), but I got back into it about three or four years ago. It's way better than any soap opera in my opinion, plus the live shows are a riot. Austin 3:16 said I just whopped your ass!

The Engagement Present: Alessi Bottle Opener
We didn't really make a huge fuss when we got engaged, we tend to keep our personal lives pretty low-key. We did however treat ourselves to this limited edition spotty bottle opener by Alessi. He keeps me company most days when I'm working alone.

What's in the Planning: Travel More, Explore More
I didn't explore that much earlier in my life but I'm more than making up for it in my late 20s. Next week I'm in Brighton, Birmingham and potentially there's a short trip to Gevena on the cards (fingers crossed!). Then there's this Euro Road Trip that myself + Nik are trying to arrange, we've pencilled it in for May. We so need to make that happen!

Hopefully you feel you know me a little more about me after this look into My Creative Space. A big thank you to Boden for inviting me to be a part of this series. You can see more creative spaces on their blog here.

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20 Feb 2015

Think Local, Drink Local Enamel Mugs

This one might be unintentional, but I like the idea of drinking my tea from a mug with "Local" plastered on the side. Reminding me at each sip that thinking local helps contribute towards the bigger picture.

My PG Tips will taste the same, but who knows, it may well trick my taste buds.

Made in Austria by Riess Kitchenware company. "Local" mug available at Local.

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18 Feb 2015

Ones To Watch | The Longshot Experiment

"A long shot for success it may be, but the freedom to experiment with style and ideas means we can create whatever we like however we like...", is a refreshing statement which dropped into my inbox a few weeks ago. The Longshot Experiment is a new project by the Manchester-based brother + sister team of Mike and Jennie Holmes. Combining their experience in the graphic design and garment technology industries, the siblings decided to go about creating something, "for the insiders and the outsiders", which is a darn good motto in my books.

Each of their bucket hats has been individually handmade and number in their Manchester studio, with their inspiration slotting in somewhere in between the G.O.A.T LL Cool J's mid 80's look and the classic Al Pacino in Serpico get-up. 

We'll be keeping an eye on The Longshot Experiment's progress over the next few months, as we expect to see new styles of hats, bags and t-shirts added to their store.

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16 Feb 2015

What Does Photography Mean To You?

All photos taken with Lumix GX7

I'm not one to shy away from the fact that I'm not gifted in the technical department when it comes to photography. But what I lack in skills (I think) I make up for with an eye for a visually interesting shots, details and colour. Way back in my college days I took a short course in basic analog photography - which is how Hollie + I met. I enjoyed the process of creating images using a rattly old Olympus analog camera. The buzz of seeing my photos come to life using the old darkroom development process was like nothing I'd experience before. Out of nothing comes something very real.

Sadly, for reasons unknown to me I never followed on with analog (other than a Lomo Fisheye, does that count?), but it did spark up a new-found enthusiasm for photography. So I transferred my new skills over to my uni days and used my camera as much as I could - and it's never really left my side since 2008. I'm that annoying person who makes someone stop a car because I've seen curious.

I never really set out to make technically sound images, rather just take photos of things that visually stimulated me. Packaging, Cars, Beer labels, People, Colourful Things, Buildings, Interesting Road Signs, Curious Books...just day-to-day stuff. Seeing images come together is one of my favourite things - the mix of colour, use of light or even happy accidents. It still gives me a buzz, just in a different way to when I was at college. Maybe it's a little bit less careless than it once was, but the freedom and naivety was what made in exciting.

While at uni I took a keen interest in product photography, which became the basis of my final campaign. I'm still obsessed by it, and feel it's something I should explore more. The surreal work of MarkusStudio has caught my eye recently, as did Charlotte Love's feed, counting both of them as my current inspiration.

To me, photography is a release, a freeze in time of something which piqued my interest. To savour the key (or even mundane beans on toast) moments in your life, and on many levels helps us connect to others. Like I mentioned, I don't worry about the technical aspect too much - I tinker with settings here and there, depending on light and subject but not much else. I try to frame things the way I like them, capturing interesting colours + shapes, and hopefully they have some form of visual story to tell. That's the plan, and I'm sticking to it.

That's not to say I wouldn't like to further my skills, of course I would. I know my photography would benefit tenfold from learning how to use each setting, and help me to get the most out of my camera's ability. Having grown up in a town which is generally considered a photographer's dream, I'm fortunate to have become friends with many photographers, and I've always had huge admiration for how they work - their methodical and critical way of thinking is something I've taken a lot away from in the past.

Which brings me nicely to Instagram. I'm definitely a person who has been caught up in the wave of #CommunityFirst, and I must say I'm happy I have. Constantly discovering new people each day makes for an enjoyable lunch break or wait for the bus - not just for photography, but for the mad collectors, road sign hunters, denimheads or the bucket loads of travel inspiration. Some of my current favourite Instagram accounts are; Matt Crump, Griffin Lamb, TrevLee + Sara Cath.

So it's my mission from today to dedicate more of my time to one of my main hobbies. To messing around with settings, creating my own area for product photography and to spending more time with the people that inspire me. Buckets Euro Road Trip coming soon!

Do you know your way around the settings menu or just make it up as you go along? Photography for kicks, business or a combination of both? What does Photography mean to you? Would love to hear you thoughts on this subject.

14 Feb 2015

Candy Photography by Matt Crump + Weekend Links

matt crump candy digital photography, colourful photographer, pastel editing
 matt crump candy digital photography, colourful photographer, pastel editing
matt crump candy digital photography, colourful photographer, pastel editing
matt crump candy digital photography, colourful photographer, pastel editing
matt crump candy digital photography, colourful photographer, pastel editing

Last week I mentioned that I was looking forward to working from home all week, no distractions. The only reason for leaving the house was to grab food and visiting the gym. Feel I've accomplished a fair chunk, all while managing to fit in four visits to bouldering class. Not bad hey? I'm actually really enjoying the climbing, but only really managing 15 minutes at a time.

Working from home means being perpetually online; bookmarking road-trip inspiration, watching lots of travel Youtubers and searching for new photographers (more on that next week). Matt Crump's insanely zesty "candy minimalism" feed instantly shot out of my screen. So bright, just nuts! I can't get enough.

We had some nice things planned for this weekend but sadly Hollie's not well. So I'll have to find some work to amuse myself with. How about you guys, any plans?

Weekend Bucket List

New entry to Jane's Letters to Piri
Aerial photos of Las Vagas taken at night, best thing I've seen in ages
Nice looking basketball magazine new on the block
Say hi to Harry Stedman, our newest blog partner
Redesigning the classic Swiss-made Davos Sled
Tutti-fruity stationery set
In case you missed it - Fitness Goals for 2015

12 Feb 2015

Review | The North Face Venture Jacket

the north face venture jacket review, menswear blog, blue hiking jacket, jackets for commuters, commuter clothing
the north face venture jacket review, menswear blog, blue hiking jacket, jackets for commuters, commuter clothing
the north face venture jacket review, menswear blog, blue hiking jacket, jackets for commuters, commuter clothing
the north face venture jacket review, menswear blog, blue hiking jacket, jackets for commuters, commuter clothing

I've been testing out the brighter-than-bright Venture Jacket by The North Face for a few months now, reserving it to cycling and the more monsoon-type days. I've definitely got a thing for outdoor and performance clothing - mainly due to their built-for-purpose nature, and therefore (hopefully) should be able to withstand more than a puff of wind or a splattering of rain every now and again.

For this past year or so I've been using my Marmot Precip jacket for cycling, jogging and general travelling - and seeing that I gave it a glowing review (note, it wasn't the most expensive but ticked all the boxes), everything after this has a lot to live up to. The North Face Venture Jacket is basically the equivalent to Marmot's offering; a lightweight, waterproof, breathable jacket, which is design for hiking, cycling, communting and the general outdoors lifestyle. For waterpoof jackets with style in mind check these out.

Is It Any Good?

Personally I wasn't the biggest fan of this jacket. It comes in this cool shade of nautical blue, and from wearing it while cycling/jogging I can say it's definitely waterproof, but I didn't really find the material very breathable. I ended up getting a hellutha sweat on a one point, and couldn't wait to unzip it. I also found that the collar (when zipped) was at a odd height, constantly jostling for posting with my chin. Maybe it's just not that suitable for my 6'1" frame, but for me it was probably 2" too short in the body - I felt like I was contently pulling it down. Cycling-wise, the length isn't an issue, but I think it would benefit from a longer back.

It's not all bad though, aesthetically it does the job, the fabric feels solid and the under arm zips are a nice addition, but I would expect a little more from a jacket which has been designed for performance in mind. Overall, for a lightweight, waterproof jacket money would be on the Marmot Precip (both being around £80). It's not all about looks hey?

11 Feb 2015

Beer + Design | Brasserie Des Cimes Art Deco-Inspired Labels

I've just spent a week skiing in France (more on that later). Of course, having been on a couple of trips with Mat last year, I've begun to take his approach of always keeping my eyes open. You never know what interesting design is awaiting you. The spectacular scenery of the Alps aside, I met a couple of guys who run a food stall in London - it's a small world - and found an eight foot tall sculpture of a gorilla, 3,000 metres up a mountain (honestly!).

I thought that was a fairly good haul for a week, but in a small service station on the way home, I saw these incredible looking beers. Brewed in the Alps, Brasserie Des Cimes make five beers, all featuring an Art Deco-style alpine label.

My favourite label was probably on the 8% brew called Le Yeti - that's an apt name for such a strong beer! Unfortunately, I didn't get to try them and wasn't sure they'd survive the flight home, but I'll endeavour to hunt them down in the UK soon. Nik

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

9 Feb 2015

Blacks Instagram Takeover

Hey guys, something a bit different this today. All of this week I'm taking over outdoor experts Blacks' Instagram account, where I'll be sharing images which I'll be shooting throughout the week. Lots of outdoor-related stuff, cycling, down jackets, waterproof...all the good stuff.

You can find Buckets & Spades here all week. Pretty fun? They'll also be a chance to win your favourite item from the feature this Friday. Come join in! 

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