30 Jul 2015

Grill On The Alley, Manchester #TCABurgerTakeover




We headed down to the Grill On The Alley in Manchester, to sample their Americana-inspired burger menu yesterday. For the month of July (yes just two days left!) the team at Thomas Cook Airlines have taken over The Alley's menu, bringing in four brand new burgers combos for us to get their laughing gear around. 

Each burger on the #TCABurgerTakeover menu is inspired by a destination Thomas Cook are currently offering flights to. We've only just arrived back from Orlando, and this time we did take a trip down to Naples Beach - but I'm now kicking myself as to why we didn't make it to Miami! But then I've always fancied Boston too (slight obsession with Boston Beans), so maybe next year.

Boston Burger | Prawns, Crayfish, Garlic Butter and Back Bacon
New York Deli Burger | Pastrami and Lancashire Cheese
Miami Burger | Pickled Watermelon, Pineapple and Horseradish Coleslaw
LAX Burger | Onion rings, Guacamole, Chipotle Mayo and Beer Battered Pickles

When you order from the takeover menu at Grill On The Alley you'll have the chance win a pair of flights to the States, to one of their four chosen destinations! The competition is running for two more days (until 31st July), so you'll have to be snappy. Entering is easy, click here to get started. For an extra entry just tweet a photo of your burger to @GrillManc and @TCAirlinesUK, using the hashtag #TCABurgerTakeover. We both went for the LAX Burger, which is a little predictable but great tasting as we expected. Be even better if we win!

Buckets & Spades were guests at Grill On The Alley on behalf of Thomas Cook Airlines, because who can turn a good burger down?

28 Jul 2015

Inspiration On Instagram | Abstract Architecture by Ingo



Instagram has became one of our main place to go to for inspiration - of any kind. Fitness, diet (I mean eating healthy, not eating less), travel destinations, up-and-coming brands, graphic designers, makers...It's all there.

Design catches my eye, more than most other posts. Although, the more I climb, the more climbing photos start to take my fancy. Ingo is an account that posts conceptual design images based around achitecture + structure. The theme is great - light blues, curved lines and sharpe angles. It's very Miami Vice City. I'm sure some of Mat's holiday snaps look just as colourful.

There's some familiar looking shapes in there too though. I swear I've seen glimpses of Vauxhall bus station, The Barbican Centre, and some of the newer buildings in Clapham creeping in.

Take a look at their account and send us any other design-related users you think we'll enjoy. Nik.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

27 Jul 2015

Realm & Empire Summer Giveaway




This month we've partnered up with long terms friend of the site, Realm & Empire, to bring you this months giveaway. Realm & Empire's unique take on military-inspired garments doesn't just stem from a place of passion, they're one of the only brands to have full access to the Imperial War Museum's archive. This gives them exclusive rights to years of historically accurate information on soldier's profiles, battle details and travel documents, as well as and uniform design + living habits etc. Read more about their story here.

We're giving a Buckets & Spades reader the chance to win a Realm & Empire Artisan Jacket worth £120 + a copy of the excellent "CC41 Utility Clothing" publication by Mike Brown. To enter use the Rafflecopter form below to sign up to the Buckets & Spades Newsletter. Best of luck my friends! Giveaway open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 Jul 2015

Blogging | How Can We Keep Focus?

Image by Jean Jullien for It's Nice That

I feel like it's time for me to look back over the past few months and see if we're still on the right path with Buckets + Spades. Where do we want to be in a year's time, are we still enjoying it, how can we continue to generate income without compromising our integrity? These are the types of questions myself + Nik will be discussing this week.

We have plenty of people visiting (and hopefully enjoying) our site, but how many of them are actually interested in all the content / subjects we share? Maybe we cover too many different subjects, and therefore is the casual reader only interested in say, one out of five posts? And, are we happy with those five posts? After all, Buckets & Spades - and all things connected to it; freelance writing, styling work and consultation jobs - is my full time job, a job that's constantly taking me interesting places and giving me the chance to work with inspiring people. But at the same time it's not as stable as I'd like it to be. This month is definitely a beans on toast month...

The Nectar Collective + Cocorrina have both been inspiring us this week, I'd recommend them to any blogger!

We'd really love your input on this, your opinions are the ones that matter. What subjects do you enjoy most on Buckets & Spades, do you like the variety or would you like to see a little more structure + regularity? Excited about hearing from you! If you'd like to hear more from us you can sign up for our Newsletter here.

Thanks for reading + much love,
Mat, Nik + Hollie.

22 Jul 2015

Outfit | Summer Tones



Wearing - Bomber Jacket c/o Kommon Universe | J.Crew Shirt + Chinos (similar here) | Nike Killshot2 | Fair Ends Cap | Skagen Watch

I'm keen on wearing navy all year around, but this summer I've found myself mixing in more lighter colours - off-white is sure a new one on me. All in the name of keeping things simple I've been trying out styles that I reckon work well together; washed out denim, pale twill chinos, lightweight jackets and neutral coloured sneakers.

I picked up these Nike Killshot2 (exclusive to J.Crew in North America) on our recent trip to Florida, and already I've had a bunch of people asking were they can get a pair - it seems they're not available in the UK at all. Pretty glad I bought them while I had the chance! As for this navy this reversible jacket from Kommon Universe, it's turned into a firm favourite for adjusting back to the British weather.

Downside of wearing such a light coloured pair of slacks is that you have to eat your ice pops at selfie-stretching distance. Which colours have you been trying out this Summer?

20 Jul 2015

Store Visit | Universal Works, Soho, London


 Universal Works, Berwick Street, London


Our latest trip to the capital ended in us wandering down endless amounts of side streets in Soho, resulting in sinking far too many cups of Joe. I've still not got the hang of that place, problem is I never know if I'm facing North or South, even Google Maps gets confused - sorry Jordan, my timekeeping skills took a hammering that day!

After another coffee at Soho Bikes, and a clock-in at Crosstown Doughnuts we visited Universal Works' central store on Berwick Street. No strangers to the store, we admit that most of our time in there is usually spent chatting to the friendly staff; be that about the latest collaboration with Walsh, deciding who makes the tastiest tequila (Nik's specialist area not mine...), or how to keep from overheating in UW gear. I've been a big fan of the brand for a few years now, and my previous comment is one of the reasons why - they make really good looking clothing to suit any climate. Problem with summer is I'm not a big shorts + t-shirt guy - Universal Works create enough interesting pieces in lightweight fabrics to keep me happy from May to September. Ikat fabrics, airy army pants, unlined blazers...I'm there.

Now's a great time to visit the store as they're currently having their summer sale.  Have you been down Berwick Street recently, which are your favourite stores?

Universal Works, 40 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 8RX.  See more of our Store Visits here.
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