25 Aug 2016

Bellroy XO Barneys New York Collection

bellroy barneys blue collaboration
bellroy barneys blue collaboration
bellroy barneys travel collaboration
bellroy barneys travel wallet collaboration
bellroy barneys XO collaboration
bellroy barneys XO collaboration
bellroy barneys leather wallet collaboration
bellroy barneys leather wallet collaboration

Blimey. Those guys at Bellroy are at it again.

You'd have thought, for most brands, creating a couple of lines of quality products would be enough - launch the product, sell a few, sit back, and sell some more. But, not Bellroy. They just keep pushing forward, innovating, updating, and collaborating.

For their latest release they've worked with Barneys New York to create ultra-high end, luxury versions of their travel-ready range. The collection features five reimagined Bellroy designs; The Travel Wallet, Passport Sleeve, Hide & Seak Wallet, Slim Sleeve and Card Sleeve. Each one is made from premium vegatable-tanned leather, lined with charcoal nubuck suede and finished with hand-painted edges.

The slight problem is that they're only available throught Barneys stores + online. That's a long way off for us, but hopefully someone we know gets a chance to get down there soon.

The Bellroy XO Barneys New York collection is released mid-August.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

23 Aug 2016

This Day in History by Done By Saturday

Done By Saturday is my favourite Instagram account at the moment. This one is slightly different from what we usually see it isn't travel wanderlust, it isn't the latest sneaker releases, isn't "a minimal lifestyle", and it's far from any kind of food porn. Done By Saturday is simply a celebration of iconic events, notable milestones and important feats in modern day history.

Every few days a new post is dropped, outlining what happened on "this day in..." with a sweet, simplicity illustration and accompanying quote. Currently the account has only posted around 80 historical moments, but ever since Hollie shared this account a few weeks back I've been following eagerly, waiting for my next illustrated hit.

18 Aug 2016

Best of Packaging | Noble Ray Brewing Co.

Best of Packaging | Noble Ray Brewing Co. by Magnificent Beard
Best of Packaging | Noble Ray Brewing Co. by Magnificent Beard
Best of Packaging | Noble Ray Brewing Co. by Magnificent Beard

I think Mat knows more about packaging design than anyone else I know.

He's not that into the technical aspect of packaging - he probably could tell you what type of card a box is made from, but maybe not how many folds there are in a tetra pack - it's mainly the design, shape, colour and message he loves. And, as such, he always seems to have a new design to share - usually from some obscure brand, tucked away in a distant corner of the world.

So, it made total sense for him to start Best of Packaging - a new Instagram account, where he can share the best of what he finds with everyone. From coffee labels and craft beer cans, to olive oil bottles and chocolate wrappers.

To celebrate the launch of the account - although, it's been going for a little while now - I thought I'd pick one of my favourite designs so far: these beer cans from Noble Rey Brewing Co. over in Dallas, Texas. Because each beer can doesn't have much space to communicate the design, you need to stack two cans to appreciate the full design.

I hope you guys like them too! Head over to Best of Packaging on Instagram and tag you finds with #bestofpackaging. Cheers!

Images via Oh Beautiful Beer.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

15 Aug 2016

Reasons to Stay at citizenM Tower Hill, London

citizenm tower hill london hotel review design furniture
citizenm tower hill london hotel review outside
citizenm tower hill london hotel review gift shop
citizenM Tower Hill, London

This Summer has mostly included myself + Hollie trying our best to arrange our Las Vegas wedding (true, it's mainly been Hollie doing all the hard work), house viewings and hours spent with our heads in financial spreadsheets.  With a big wedding comes a new suit, and I've been meaning to take a couple of days out to visit some tailors to see if I can find the perfect fitting garb.

A couple of weeks ago we made some space in our diaries and booked ourselves in for a couple of nights in the brand new citizenM Tower Hill Hotel. Heading to London soon? Below is a few reasons why we think it's worth staying at citizenM's newest digs.

citizenm tower hill london hotel review coffee shop
citizenm tower hill london hotel review modern design
citizenm tower hill london hotel review design furniture


As I get down to London quite often these days I generally like to book a hotel that is pretty central, with decent walking routes and travel links. When I first heard a new citizenM hotel was opening at Tower Hill I assumed it was going to be too far out of the way to be worth considering, but as we took 10 steps out of Tower Hill Tube Station, and saw were were already there, I knew I couldn’t have been more wrong.

With rooms with views facing the Tower of London, a tube stop literally underneath the hotel (but you couldn’t hear a sound) and a 15 minute walk to the centre of Spitalfields Market we both agreed it was a hard-to-beat location.

Unique to citizenM Tower Hill is the Cloud M cocktail bar, located is up on the 8th floor. Them views. In fact you get a 180 degree panoramic view of London’s hodgepotch skyline. The drinks got the thumbs up too, with Hollie going for some form of Champagne cocktail and I grabbed a strong IPA from Scottish brewery Harviestoun. In terms of citizenM Tower Hill vs citizenM Bankside, they’ve both very different, with the latter having more restaurants close by, but Tower Hill edges it for me with its travel access and locality to East London.

14 Aug 2016

Circular Hip Flasks by Areaware

Circular Hip Flasks by Areaware design
Circular Hip Flasks by Areaware blue
Circular Hip Flasks by Areaware white ceramic

Circular Hip Flasks by Areaware

Something tells me that these ceramic Circular Hip Flasks by Areaware aren't one of their more popular items, but they sure are cool looking. The intriguing shape has been inspired by a small ring-shaped Pennsylvanian hip flask, more commonly found in the 19th century.

8 Aug 2016

Store Visit | Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden

Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden
Albam Clothing - Covent Garden, London
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden menswear
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden sweatshirt
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden large windows
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden british menswear brand
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden selvedge denim
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden tote bag
Albam mr porter
Albam, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden british denim brand

Henrietta Street, in the centre of Covent Garden, has slowly turned into one of the best places to shop for menswear in London. It was only a couple of years ago the street was packed with tired looking restaurants, cafes and unused units, but if you take a wander down the street in 2016 picture couldn't be more different.

This historical street is now its own close-knit community; with Oliver Sweeney, Fred Perry and The Real McCoys on one side, and Nigel Cabourn, Club Monaco, Edwin and the recently opened Albam store sitting opposite. The news of Albam opening its 4th store in the city prompted me to swing on by to see how they were getting on.

The store packs everything you'd expect from Albam; well designed, durable and fuss-free clothing. The current collection features sweatshirts and unstructured outwear in navy, grey, neutral and khaki, summer-weight shirts, jersey and chinos, selvedge denim and a few final bits from their successful collaboration with MR PORTER. There's also a small concession of Nike footwear and independent magazines, with the wall space decorated with print by local a local artist.

Garcon Jon recently went to meet the store managers that keep things ticking over, worth taking a look. 31 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8NA. See more of our Store Visits here.

3 Aug 2016

Behind The Design Series | Paulin Watches

 Eleanor Paulin, Designer at Paulin Watches 

For me, one of the most satisfying things that has come from writing this blog is being able to meet the people behind the designs. The last few years have been a great time to be a supporter of British design; not only have independent craftspeople and makers weaved their way into our everyday feeds, they have captured peoples' imagination and slowly given us time to follow their creative path.

But being an independent designer or brand doesn't instantly give you a bye to a quality product; a lot of brands pass me by for not being my taste, being poorly made, or something that's just a carbon copy of the next. You have to pick and choose investing time into researching the the ideas behind the product, and if it's right for you.

The watch market is booming right now, with a definite Instagram-affect happening as we speak. But to set yourself apart from the others you need to be offering something a little different.

When you invest time and money into start-ups and smaller companies, in the main, you're backing the people that make the products happen, and I guess, for me, that's the most rewarding part. It's for the passion.

Paulin Watches is a great example; a British designed + built watchmaker, based in the heart of one of Glasgow's oldest districts. A trip up to Glasgow is always met with open arms, and over the years I've made some great friends there. I visited Paulin's workshop which doubles up as their retail outlet on a very soggy Tuesday morning in July, and the team were just as I imagined; warm, open and obsessed with their craft.

2 Aug 2016

Eastern European Matchboxes by Matchbloc

I haven't written anything for Buckets in a while. Moving house and starting a new job have taken up about 99% of my time recently. I've kept an eye out though, scanning through Instagram, SnapChat, and whatever else occupies the 1% of the time I have free, to find sources of inspiration for a blog post or two.

This one writes itself really - a whole series of Soviet-era artworks, found on the top of matchboxes, each one a stunning demonstration of graphic excellence. All collected in one place, Matchbloc, by the dudes behind Present & Correct.

Go, take a look, and give them a follow! If you like this you'll also like these not-so-regular Simpsons badges.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

26 Jul 2016

Travel Diary | What I Learned From Travelling Around Japan

a little nap coffee shop tokyo japan
vintage grey car in tokyo
design and homeware store in tokyo japan
visvim store tokyo japan
vending machine in tokyo japan

This post is a little later than I planned, but what with us flying over to Las Vegas to plan our wedding and it being so flipping hot in England, everything has been running a little slower. For this travel diary I wanted to take a different angle to what I'd normally do. With Japan being so far away and somewhere that you definitely need to plan for, I want to put together a list of things that we learned in the 10 days we spent traveling around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, as well as a few of our top tips.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has been to Japan, or if you're thinking about going soon?

Take Recommendations, But Find Your Own Way

Tokyo is massive. With every district comes different interpretations of city guides and things to do, but with an economy which moves so fast it's hard to for guides to keep up. Before we left for Japan Yasumi gave us some sound advice, "Don't worry about following specific guides. Recommendations are great but businesses come and go every single month, so the chances are that you'll be disappointed. Just go explore on your own!". 

yellow van in tokyo
eames chairs in japan
dan marc furniture designer in toyko japan
vintage blue car in tokyo
road sign in tokyo

Wander Down the Backstreets

We were in Japan on business, but as it was a research project for Dan's furniture brand we constantly on the lookout for inspiration. Having Yasumi's advice in the back of our minds worked out perfectly, and as we weaved in and out of the cities backstreets especially in Harajuku we came across all sorts of coffee shops, design studios, independent stores, local makers, intriguing characters.

Take Artless Craft for instance; a beautifully designed coffee + tea shop in central Harajuku. We spent a good hour chatting to the owners about their design business (just behind the coffee shop), football, and how the city is constantly changing...