20 May 2015

Visiting Rottach-Egern, Germany with Ford Mustang

Keeping up with my self-set target to actually enjoy my weekends (because freelance life never slows), I snapped at the opportunity to visit Germany for the first - if only for a little over 24 hours. Last weekend I finished up at one of my part-time jobs, so for the first time since I was 15 I can now make proper plans for those two days that people seems to "live" for. My brief trip to Rottach-Egern - just on the German/Austrian boarder - was a great way to start.

After a quick exchange of emails last Wednesday with Ford Mustang, a few days later I found myself in one of the most picturesque villages I have ever visited. Locals were wearing traditional dresses + lederhosen, every other building was either a milk farm or skiing / old school sports shop (Lotto!), and low slung cloud wrapped the mountains like some sort of Disney film. Surreal, but perfect.

We were in Germany to test out two new models in the Mustang range - which of course were a ton of fun, especially on the winding roads - but it was the experience in being somewhere so beautiful that really left me wanting a little more. The Seehotel Uberfaht (ok ok, jokes aside) was our roof for the night, and it played the perfect host. They served a breakfast to end all breakfasts. I just wish Hollie could have tagged along, as she would have loved the setting - another time perhaps?

I came away from the trip pretty buzzed on the sheer power of the V8 engine, and feeling refreshed from the perfectly clear mountain air. Oh, and a major urge to watch the iconic San Fran car chase scene in Bullitt.

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19 May 2015

Learning to Relax, with JING Tea

This month, more than any, I've found it increasingly hard to relax and take a breather. The word "unwind" has never even crossed my mind for more than a fleeting second. I've adjusted to a freelance lifestyle over the past year or two, but I still haven't mastered to art of shutting off from my work. Do you get that? I just keep on going, because I don't want to miss anything, or indeed get behind on deadlines. 

I'm split 50/50 when it comes to tea + coffee, but inevitably drink coffee much more frequently because of the sheer amount of meetings that take place in coffee shops. But, I'm actually a big advocate of tea and its benefits - in fact, I rarely drink coffee at home. Tea is my go-to cuppa. I haven't had any experience when it comes to loose tea, but I was given the opportunity to try a select range of hand-picked Chinese Tea by JING. I was keen to see how loose tea compared with the bagged stuff.

I was provided with all I needed to make the perfect cup of tea. A selection of organic loose teas; Dragon Well, Jade Sword + Peppermint, a beautifully designed Tea Infuser, and equally pleasing Tea Timer. Each sachet of tea came with details of the date and province it was picked in. This added an unexpected emotional attachment to each cup - one which I was very comfortable with.

With Hollie's Mum acting as my "tasting assistant", we chose to start with the Jade Sword - for its light floral smell - and we poured the suggested temperature of hot water into the infuser; setting the Tea Timer to three minutes.

What we ended up with was the most delicate and tasty cup of tea I'd ever tried. It did make us question why we've only been using bagged tea up until now! We repeated the process with the Dragon Well (which suggested a different temperature from the first) with similar results - it was a little more nutty, but equally tasty.

We ended with a round of the Peppermint Tea. As dry leaves the Peppermint smelt like crazy amounts of refreshing, so we were pleased that the taste was carried through when made up in the infuser. The infuser works by filtering hot water through several tiny cuts in the glass, and then reacts with the leaves in the best kind of way. It was just as relaxing watching the three minute process as it was drinking it the tea.

So, my question to you is, have any of you used loose tea leaves before, and why haven't you told us how good they are?! Do you prefer to relax with tea or keep alert with coffee?

Thank you to JING for provided us with this tea set, all opinions are straight from Buckets.

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17 May 2015

Seinfeld Pin Badges + Weekend Links

For the occasions you just want to represent a sitcom on your collar, there's these Seinfeld pin badges by Georgia Perry. Hopefully a Curb Your Enthusiasm set comes along soon, now that I'd like to see! Which sitcom would you like to see as a set of pins?

I've not had much time to myself this week; I've have fallen behind on work, emails, replying to comments and eating healthy. So I'm hoping Sunday is the perfect start to the new week - getting all my stuff organised + prepared, just how I like it. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Oh, one last thing! We've been working on a Buckets & Spades Newsletter, you can sign up ---> here.

Weekend Bucket List

The new adidas x Palace Gazelle trainers are A+
How to treat the homeless, from a homeless person's perspective
WWF's new social media-based EndangeredEmoji campaign
Venice seems to look great whatever the weather
A couple of days to go on this Kickstarter I'm fond of
"Wanna wrestle like it's 1992?" print made my smile
In case you missed it - A book all about Cool Beer Labels

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14 May 2015

The Other Brother Company Californian Produce

It’s always the case when a stores stocks a selection of well designed products; you end up with strong urges to buy the whole lot. Restraint is always needed to stop yourself from added products willy-nilly into your basket. No use for a 1920’s shoe rack? Us neither. Never heard of the only company in Slovakia making soap from recycled roller blades? Neither had we, but sometimes it’s how things and packaged and presented that tips us over the edge.

One fine culprit of making us say, “Oh yeah, I could really use some of that” is the family-run business, Other Brothers. Based in San Francisco, Other Brothers is a group of siblings who decided to change direction from their original plan to work for the big guys such as Nike + Google, and switched gears to follow their real passion.

Gaining experience on farms and within the agricultural trade stamped in a grounded foundation from an early age. And to follow their dreams of creating their own product, something they would truly be proud of, is always one worth getting behind.

The Other Brothers are producing some ace looking stuff; like their signature California Gunpowder spice mix, Tuscan-style Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and sweet gifts like their Picnic Kit and the apron in collaboration with Alice Wiese.

It’s only a small selection of products, but each items comes in its own unique style of packaging, is made with a whole bunch of love and hard work, and is all currently in our basket. Damn, their plan worked!

Originally wrote for The Coolector, click the link to see more of my articles.

12 May 2015

Coco Chocolatier of Edinburgh

It's not all about looks, but if it was then these organic chocolate bars by Coco Chocolatier would win first prize. We treated ourselves to a few bars over Easter, and we can't recommend them enough.

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