27 Feb 2019

Nobu Hotel, London

nobu hotel in shoreditch east london review
nobu hotel in shoreditch east london review
nobu hotel in shoreditch east london review

Do you remember me banging on about my visit to Ace Hotel in Shoreditch a few weeks ago? I had a decent stay, but I did mention at the time that there was something missing - I guess it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

While in the area I reached out to my mate Jordan Bunker to see if he had any cafe and coffee shop recommendations. Word of mouth is so valuable, especially from the people who "get" you. He suggested I take a five minute walk from Shoreditch High Street to the recently opened Nobu Hotel - a little Japanese haven in the centre of London.

As soon as turned the corner to approach the entrance of Nobu I knew this would be a steller experience. Although I wasn't here to stay this time, if the lobby, cafe and restaurant are anything to go by then the actual hotel rooms will be on another level. I can't recall a time that I have been so bowled over by the attention to detail of an interior. Clear Japanese design influences took centre stage; from the vertical wood panelling, woven cane space dividers, consideration to natural light vs artificial lighting, and smaller details such as the choice of drip coffee machines + cups. A tactile experience really do make a difference.

For full disclosure I didn't stay this time (it's mega bucks), but I would love to in the future. In the cafe a black coffee costs around £3.50, which on the surface does sound quite a lot, but for the fact that I stay here over an hour with my buddy Luke, and left feeling like I'd had a pretty outstanding experience, I think it was money well spent.

Nobu Hotel, 10-50 Willow St, London EC2A 4BH.

13 Feb 2019

Jonah's Coffee Bar, Preston

Jonah's Coffee Bar, at preston box market, speciality coffee uclan
Jonah's Coffee Bar, at preston box market, speciality coffee uclan
Jonah's Coffee Bar, at preston box market, speciality coffee uclan 
A recent visit back to my old uni city of Preston turned out to way more fruitful that I could have imagined. With a few hours to idle around before I went to see illustrator Mr Bingo give a talk at UCLan, I did a quick Instagram search to see what was new in the city. 

Preston has really tucked its shirt in over the last five years, with the city centre + university area being heavily invested in. Lines of trees have been added to the highstreet, the once-tired flag market is now a bustling hotpot where traditional butchers and antique sellers are knocking elbows with microbrewing start-ups and local ceramicists, and small business ventures are starting to pop up in disused retail units which have been left behind by the decline of the British high street.

The old Fish Market hosts another new venture for the city - Preston Box Market; a canopied row of tidy retail units ready to be occupied by local entrepreneurs. Coffee is always on my research list, and when I came across Jonah's Coffee I put it as top priority. 

Jonah's Coffee originally started as a mobile coffee cart business, by Adam "Jonah" + friends, serving the local area, and in the summer of 2018 the guys decided to take the next step. The idea was to bring a speciality coffee experience to Preston - with a level of service, knowledge and enthusiasm we associate with the more established guys around the country. This little place really does stand out in the city, with the striking wooden coffee bar being built by hand, bespoke typeface + hand lettering seen across the menu and signage, and an extensive selection coffee, tea (as well as soft drinks + locally baked cakes) being sourced from as far as Texas, to as local as Atkinson's from Lancaster.

Two hours later and I felt like I'd known Adam for years. It turns out we have friends in common, both share a keen interest in DIY, and within an hour he was showing me how to work the equipment. What a find!

Jonah's Coffee, Preston Markets - Box Market, Earl Street, Preston, PR1 2LA

5 Feb 2019

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

review of the ace hotel rooms in shoreditch
review of the ace hotel rooms in shoreditch london with vans OG

January was a weird month. Chugging along at a snail's pace, paid opportunities were few and far between, and it felt like every day was an admin day. But saying that, I did manage to travel around to the usually cities a few times (London, Manchester and Liverpool) - seeing friends, meetings with potential clients and generally trying to make things happen for myself.

You know I'm not a negative person, far from it, I don't tend to dwell on the slower times. If anything I make good use of them. Two weeks in to 2019 and I managed to tick off one of the goals I set myself this year; to run 10k without stopping. Nailed it!

On a round trip to London last week I booked myself in for an overnight at Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, as I was visiting for an event just up the road. It was a decent experience, with everything I need from a couple of hours of laptop club, a short but solid kip and comfortable surroundings. Tbh a highlight for me was the patchwork denim APC blanket, which can be seen adorned across each low-set king size bed in the hotel. True, a blanket doesn't make the hotel, but it did stick in my mind as being one of the more memorable features (along with the army green storage cabinet at the side of the bed, I dig).

Maybe I've been spoilt by the quality of design (especially for the price) at Whitworth Locke in Manchester, because for me, the rooms at Ace were lacking something. It has got some major ups though; the Shoreditch Highstreet location is pretty spot on for local restaurants, cafes etc, it's two mins walk from Redchurch St, and Ace's own restaurant Hoi Polloi is stone cold stunner.

So to sum up, would I recommend Ace Hotel? Yes, but only if you can get a decent deal.

Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JQ

14 Jan 2019

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

It seems awfully quite around here. I've given myself the last couple of weeks off to catch up on down time, collect my thought and generally get my life in some kinda order. Did I manage that order, I'm not so sure, but I'm in a better place for trying. We can't fail or succeed without trying, and no matter which category you efforts fall in you'll always be better off with the experience gained from giving it a shot. I did however find some clear order with my Instagram account.

This short animated video by London-based award winning filmmaker Alex Goddard feels fitting to me at the moment - slightly off-beat, always thinking positively, tuned in, but ultimately a little unsure of where my place is.

Absence short animation by Alex Goddard
Absence short animation by Alex Goddard
Absence short animation by Alex Goddard

24 Dec 2018

Whitworth Locke Hotel, Manchester

whitworth locke hotel manchester review with mat buckets wearing skagen
whitworth locke hotel in manchester interior details
I'm honestly not too sure why I'm writing this on Christmas Eve but it's been in my head since the other day, and the only way to get rid of that before the big guy arrives is to jot some short thoughts down.

The new Whitworth Locke Hotel recently swung open its doors in Manchester. The city feels like it's having a proper extended moment - I can't really think of another place in the UK right now that's covering so many areas to such a high + creative standard. The Whitworth Locke - located just on the edge of Chinatown + Oxford Road - is the latest gaff to grab some sleep in. You'd be excused if you spend equal amounts of time in their bar (thankfully a decent amount of non-generic beer + cocktails), lobby, cafe resturant and co-working space as you do in the rooms. 

We have come to expect quite a bit from a hotel visit these days; we want a unique experience, that comes with a memorable interior, personalised service and a high level of finer detail, all for a price we deem as decent. Whitworth Locke breezes through all of the above, including the price. I'll come to the rooms in another blog post, so if these interior snapshots are ringing your buzzer then be sure to check back soon.

Whitworth Locke, 74 Princess St, Manchester M1 6JD.

Photos by Jake Millers.

26 Nov 2018

Three Small Businesses to Visit in Manchester

street style photo wearing orange ymc sweatshirt with arket gilet, a days march chore jacket and skagen falster 2 smartwatch
close up detail shot of the skagen falster 2 smartwatch

This post is in partnership with SKAGEN Denmark

Anyone who grew up in a small town will tell you that it's either beautiful and quaint, or dreadfully dull with not a lot going on. My town falls in between the two - beautiful in parts, with a lot of personality, but if it's well-designed restaurants, non-chain coffee shops + small retailers you're after then you'll have to travel to a local city for it. For me that city is Manchester. 

As part of my on-going partnership with SKAGEN Denmark the brand encouraged me to explore some of my favourite places in my local area. For the past few months I've been using the Falster ll Smartwatch and sharing my progress with the individual features via Instagram. Overall I've found the watch most useful on the days I want to feel a little less reliant on my phone. I do sometimes have to remind myself that my phone plays a huge role in my job - but becoming more hands-free when I'm with friends seems to stimulate the part of my brain that loves to connect with the world around me. The Faster ll's notification system lets me filter out messages so I'm only receiving the most important updates.

As someone who sees Manchester as their second city I've become accustom to many of the friendly faces around town, so it's a pleasure of mine to share a little bit more about some of those places I like to call my favourites.
trove foods cafe and coffee shop in ancoats manchester
trove foods cafe and coffee shop in ancoats manchester
trove foods cafe and coffee shop in ancoats manchester
street style photo wearing orange ymc sweatshirt with arket gilet, a days march chore jacket and skagen falster 2 smartwatch

Trove, Ancoats

Trove is one of those places that got me like, "man, I didn't think it could get much better". From humble beginnings selling chutneys + jams down at Manchester Market, to opening their second cafe in Manchester, the husband & wife team of Marcus and Katy Saide collaborated with Leeds-based design workshop Plaey to create a unique space which raises the bar even higher for the city.

Part bakery, part cafe, Trove has all the right moves in all the right places. From the large modular panel wall system behind the counter, and HAY chairs from the IKEA collection, to the granite-based jesmonite work surfaces which have been mixed with terracotta pigments to create subtle pink tones.  If I had the opportunity to work on a space it would probably end up a lot like this. Let's not forget the food though, an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch.

Visit for: Freshly baked almond cruffins (a cross between a croissant and a muffin) or their poached eggs on molasses bread. Serving Allpress Coffee. 5 Murray St, Manchester M4 6HS

form lifestyle and homeweare design store in manchester
form lifestyle and homeweare design store in manchester
form lifestyle and homeweare design store in manchester

Form Lifestyle, Northern Quarter

You reach a point in your life where you start to become a little bit obsessed with homeware, and less full-throttle on the fashion stuff. Pinterest has a lot to answer for, but I'd say design stores built around a passion for product knowledge and curation - take Form Lifestyle as the perfect example - are excellent examples as to why the homeware market is thriving.

No visit to the city is complete without a trip to see Elly & Harry at Form Lifesftyle store. The converted Victorian terrace - with that instantly recognisable spiral staircase - carries a well-considered range of glassware, ceramics, stationery, small home goods and all-year round gifts ideas. Both the upstairs and basement doubles up as workshop and exhibition space, which is currently showcasing work by artist James Wilson.

Visit for: Really, I want one of everything, but the concrete planters by Studio Noah are beauts. We have two of them in our living room. 6 Bradley St, Manchester M1 1EH

atkinsons coffee shop at mackie mayor in manchester northern quarter
atkinsons coffee shop at mackie mayor in manchester northern quarter
street style photo wearing orange ymc sweatshirt with arket gilet, a days march chore jacket and skagen falster 2 smartwatch
street style photo wearing orange ymc sweatshirt with arket gilet, a days march chore jacket and skagen falster 2 smartwatch
Wearing / A Day's March Jacket | Arket Gilet | YMC Sweatshirt | Paul Smith Trousers | Novesta Sneakers | Topman Hat | Skagen Falster ll Smartwatch

Atkinson's at Mackie Mayor, Northern Quarter

This place has been a firm 5-star of mine ever since it first opened back in late 2017. Atkinsons' roots go back to their hometown of Lancaster, but since setting up shop in the back corner of the converted fruit + veg market of Mackie Mayor these guys have gained a whole new following. Damn, have you ever seen another interior like this one in the UK? I can almost see Jeff Goldblum busting out some of his smooth ditties in the corner. From the brass shelves with individual block lettered menu and the perfect shade of blue on the walls and counter, to the help-ya-self tea apothecary and timeless jazz oozing out of the speakers. With endless roasts on offer, if you're looking for a real coffee experience in Manchester then this is the place. 

Visit for: Their Soa Fransicso house roast as an Americano, the old New York-inspired interior + super friendly baristas (who never seem to get bored of my pointing cameras at them!). 1 Eagle Street, Manchester M4 5BU

To learn more about the Skagen Falster ll Smartwatch visit here.

This post is in partnership with Skagen Denmark. Your support of the brands + businesses we work with helps make this blog happen.

13 Nov 2018

This Week's Kit | Seasonal Planning w/ Farfetch

a menswear outfit collage featuring items available on farfetch for the black friday sale

Everytime Black Friday rolls around Hollie reminds me that it's a perfect opportunity to buy the things we've had on our wish list for months, for a slightly discounted price - be that for ourselves or gift ideas for Christmas. The things that we maybe haven't been able to afford at the time. We don't see the sale as a means to buy a bunch of stuff that we don't really need or hadn't found attractive until the price tags drop.

This year I've been sensible with my wardrobe purchases. I am fortunate enough to receive items of clothing from brands as part of my job, but I've become very selective with what I accept. I'm increasingly conscious of the longevity of clothing + my own wastefulness. When I do buy or accept something I ask myself these questions; "do I need it, will it replace something that's feeling a little worn out, will I wear it often?"

With that in mind I have partnered with Farfetch to share my picks from their current collection; items and styles that I've had my eye on for a while - no quick fixes here. I'm just hoping a few of them end up in their Black Friday sale:

Universal Works heavy twill shirt | Vans Sk8-hi leather checkerboard sneakers | Diptyque Mimosa candle | N Peal cashmere beanie | Issey Miyake block socks | Garrett Leigh Hampton sunglasses | The Beatles On The Road book | Joseph cashmere roll neck jumper | Makavelic waist bag | 032C loose fit trousers 

The Farfetch Black Friday sale starts 23rd November.

This post is in partnership with Farfetch and contains affiliate links. Your support of the brands + businesses we work with helps make this blog happen.

6 Nov 2018

Doom Bar Sessions in Cornwall w/ Sharp's Brewery

tube station cafe in polzeth
the st moritz hotel in cornwall review and feature
architecture style at the st moritz hotel in cornwall uk
polzeth beach and surfers
food at paul ainsworth's restaurant in padstow
food at paul ainsworth's restaurant in padstow
a collage of the polzeth rockface in cornwall
Sometimes I have a tendency to only think forward. Forward is good, in fact, it's great; it helps you  push yourself creativity, set goals and strive to become the person who you want to be. But looking back on past experiences is just as important, and can help you put the slower weeks into perspective. I'll sit in my office, take one look at my very mundane to-do list and think, "what the heck am I doing?!". But then one quick flashback though the past 12 months in my head always reminds me that I have zilch to moan about.

There's a couple of moments that I think back to, surreal situation which leave me wondering how did I end up there. Saying yes to intriguing opportunities seems to lead me down a very wacky path, and as long as there's no "risk" I'm fully on board.

One of these moments was on a recent trip down to Cornwall with local brewing bin guns, Sharp's Brewery, who invited myself and Dan to their annual Doom Bar Session. The invite said there'd be a a nice hotel, a tour of the brewery with a tasting session and meal,  time to explore the neighbouring villages, and a gig on a small boat with Feeder...sign me up.

coffee and cake at fees foods in rock, cornwall
brewery tour at sharp's in rock, cornwall
brewery tour at sharp's in rock, cornwall
brewery tour at sharp's in rock, cornwall
dinner and tasting session at the mariners resturant rock cornwall
rock beach and coastline in cornwall
sharps brewery craft beers
feeder brand at sharp's brewery doom bar session
feeder brand at sharp's brewery doom bar session

This trip turned out to be one of those surreal moments, one which I 100% do not regret saying yes to. In fact, the two day stay down in the tiny village of Polzeath Cornwall, just outside of the even more quaint town of Padstow, turned out to be extra special for me. 

I don't shy away from sharing my love of craft beer, as well as championing the people who take a risk to turn their ideas-on-paper become a reality. For me,  I have an underlying urge to do more in the beer industry. I have no idea what that idea is, or indeed much knowledge of the business, I just know there's room for me in there somewhere.

And for me to be invited down by a respected brewer to enjoy the area's colourful cafes, epic surfing coastlines and local foods is very humbling. But not only that, I got to relive my teenage years - along with 120 other people on a tiny boat - by seeing Feeder belt out their greatest hit!


We stayed at St. Moritz Hotel, hung out at TubeStation and Fee's Food, ate at Rojano's In The Square + The Mariners, and drank at The Old Ship + Sharp's Brewery.

I was a guest of Sharp's Brewery, who covered my trip to Cornwall for the weekend. Your support of the brands + businesses we work with helps make this blog happen.

26 Oct 2018

Glasgow, A Visual Diary

mat buckets wearing arket navy jacket, folk trousers and paul smith tee in glasgow
 Wearing - Arket Jacket [gifted] | Paul Smith Long Sleeve T-Shirt + Sneakers, Folk Trousers, Fair Ends Cap
cartel coffee company in glasgow
nom restaturant in glasgow
eating at nom restaurant in glasgow

I've had a copy of this blog post in my drafts folder for about a month. I've written two in total, but I wasn't particularly thrilled with either, which is weird because I had a blast on my recent trip up to Glasgow. Maybe it's a case of leaving the words too long, or maybe it's a case of not actually feeling mega confident with my writing of late. I've spent soooo much time working on images lately it seems I've forgotten how to put words next to each.

So in light of this slight writer's block I'm going to get the images do most of the talking this time. "Booo, what a cop out" you may think, but hey, do more of what feels right. Right?

Where We Stayed

Two night's spent at The Principal's Grand Central [press stay] was just what the doctor ordered. The location was bang on, right at the side of Glasgow Central Station, and the room was ideal for me and Jordan in two single beds.. Really spacious and comfy rooms, with a stellar bathroom and a cool view of the city's Southside. I tried to book a third night, due to all the trains out of Glasgow being cancelled, but sadly it was all booked up. A good sign though!

Where We Ate

This isn't an exaggeration in saying that Glasgow's food and drink scene is incredible. Never have I been to a city in the UK with such a passion for it; the variation of food styles, the meticulous details they put into their interiors, the sheer amount of space places popping up - and the passion follows suit. Highlights - Alchemilla, Gnom with Jordan's friend Nicole, Betty's Good Times Roll, Ramen Dayo, Paesano Pizza.

Where We Hung Out

We saw a lot of the city, and to stay it's changed since the last time I visited is an understatement. Our long list of recommendations took us to been before, and some places that have been on my "must visit" list for ages. We had plenty of time dedicated to meeting up with old and new friends, with local photographer Alex James sparing a whole afternoon to show us around some spots he knew we would love. Highlights - W2 Store, Drygate Brewery, The Lighthouse, The Good Coffee Cartel, Laboratorio Coffee.

good times roll cafe glasgow in forever yours betty
forever yours betty at good times roll cafe in glasgow
view from the river cylde in glasgow
this is alchemilla restaurant in glasgow
view from above, this is alchemilla restaurant in glasgow
review and feature of the grand central hotel in glasgow
review and feature of the grand central hotel in glasgow room details
review and feature of the grand central hotel in glasgow, view from hotel
review and feature of the grand central hotel in glasgow, and jordan bunker

Until the next city break.

Additional photos by Jordan Bunker.