19 Feb 2018

Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review

Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book
Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book
Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book
Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book
Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book
Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book
Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur Review book

As with everything produced by the Danish lifestyle publication, Kinfolk, 'The Entrepreneur’, as a product, is aesthetically stunning.

It’s undeniable that the book makes for a great decorative object regardless of whether you leave the clean minimal dust jacket on or opt to peel it away, exposing the earthy tones of its sophisticated hardcover. It’s hardly surprising then that we’ve come to see it pop up so frequently on the Instagram grids of our favourite accounts in 2018. But once that visual appeal is stripped away, does it have any substance?

Author and Kinfolk co-founder Nathan Williams introduces ‘Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur’ by remembering a study in which Studs Terkel interviewed over 100 working Americans in an attempt to better understand what they do and how it makes them feel. Terkel concluded that work was ultimately a search; ‘in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying’. 

It was this idea that inspired Kinfolk to meet up with more than 40 creative business owners from around the world for whom work is more than a simple job to be discarded at the end of a long day. 

"A search for daily meaning, as well as
 daily bread"
Studs Terkel

Among those featured are people I hold in extremely high regard; Rolf & Mette Hay of the eponymous Danish design brand, former pro athlete turned perfumer (and founder of ByRedo) Ben Gorham and furniture design duo Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec to name but a few.

The result is an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at entrepreneurship, offered up as a collection of real-life stories, valuable advice and business tips. Split into four sections; A Single Vision, the Power of Partnership, Creating a Community and Tips, Kinfolk get answers to the questions you’d not normally get the chance to ask. Rather than just offer business advice, Kinfolk as they so often do, invite you to dream; in this particular instance, of a more meaningful approach to work.

Kinfolk: The Entrepreneur is available to buy in the UK here, and worldwide here.

You can find Shaun at - Manimalist Blog | Instagram | Twitter  

13 Feb 2018

10 Years of Blogging!

mat buckets at the patron bar in manchester wearing mr porter beams
 Visiting The Patron, Manchester
mat buckets at the patron bar in manchester wearing mr porter beams
the patron bar in manchester craft beer selection and food

I've officially been writing on these pages for 10 years! In February 2008 I decided give blogging a go; I was in my first year at university, believe it or not I had a decent amount of hair, and Instagram was just an idea scribbled out on a napkin...

Well, maybe that's not quite how "IG" came about, but you get the idea, things were a lot simpler back then. I started Buckets & Spades as a handy place to store images, as well as a way for me to brush up on my writing skills and grammar... it didn't take long before I found myself totally immersed within a community of creative, witty, funny and honest people from all around the world. I've been hooked on blogging ever since.

The way in which we consume new media has changed a lot since my early experiences, and as regular opportunities started to come my way I decided to take a risk by giving this whole full time blogging / content creator thing a shot. And for the past three years that's what I've dedicated my life to - I wouldn't change a thing.

the patron bar in manchester craft beer selection and food
mat buckets at the patron bar in manchester wearing mr porter beams
the patron bar in manchester craft beer selection and food
mat buckets at the patron bar in manchester wearing mr porter beams
Beams Plus Zip Shirt | Folk x MR PORTER Trousers | NN07 Jumper | Campbell Cole Card Holder | Vans Old Skool Anaheim

Buckets & Spades has grown organically into something much more than I'd ever considered it could, and I am still extremely proud that I managed to turn a hobby into a fully sustainable job, (securing a mortgage wasn't easy but we did it) especially back in the infancy of what is now a flourishing industry. It's been an incredibly fulfilling few years, but I'm definitely guilty of forgetting how lucky I am sometimes.

So, what's next?

As content became spread more evenly across multiple platforms, many of us started to obsess over followers + chase "likes"  we joined a perpetual race to that "next number", seldom being satisfied. With that mindset it's easy to lose perspective of why we started creating content in the first place (read Jordan's enlightening post on the subject here). For me, it was always about pushing myself creatively and celebrating the blogging + design community. Integrity holds that all together.

Sure, we may be way behind schedule with the redesign of Buckets & Spades (it does feels like a proper relic now!), I haven't dedicated as much time as I'd have liked towards my blog reading list, or indeed dedicate time to create regular weekly blog content, but it will happen!  

No one can predict what the next 10 years has in stall for us, but if it's half as rewarding as the previous 10 then I'll be a very happy blogger :)

Photography by Jake Millers

Thank you to The Patron for your welcoming hospitality, as always.

6 Feb 2018

Beer & Design | Branding Refresh for Mariner Brewing Company

There's a few things in life that I'd say I'm very passionate about, and presentation is one of them. How we decide which restaurant to spend our money in, how we approach editing photos (granted, not always my strong point), how we dress ourselves for a first-time meeting, or deciding which product to choose out of several that seem to offer the same thing presentation likes to sway our decisions. It's a subject I love, and if it happens to involve another subject I'm as equally passion about you guessed it... then it's a win/win all around!

"Set no path. Never be lost"

Mariner Brewing Company is a small brewery + tap room spot in Coquitlam, Canada, just shy of 30 minutes drive from Vancouver. I don't know too much about their beers, but I do know that they recently gave Vancouver-based design agency, Glasfurd & Walker, the reins to create a whole new identity for them. The update includes a fresh take on the brand's logo, updated typeface, packaging design, personalised beer growlers, pump clips, glassware, staff uniforms and bespoke stationery with inspiraption coming from sea exploration + NASA's Mariner Programe.

It's unlikely we'll ever see these beers pop up in our local supermarket, but it's definitely a name to note down if you're considering heading to that part of the world. 

See more from this branding project here. Did you know I run an Instagram account dedicated to packaging?

1 Feb 2018

Too Much at Once

Coat + Jumper by Jigsaw | Sunglasses by Moscot | Cap by Percival

Last week I spend four days in Amsterdam, along with my regular travel buddy Jordan Bunker. Four days which we had loosely planned out, along with a bunch of recommendations from the Instagram community.

We were over for work, so we knew spare time would be at a premium, but it was a good opportunity to revisit a city that I'd not explored since I was a teenager. A lot has changed in 12 years if I look back on memories of my first visit, they now feel like a deleted scene from The Inbetweeners...

The job I have created is extremely fulfilling, and at this stage of my life I wouldn't trade it (or the opportunities I am fortunate enough to be given) for anything. But sometimes it does becomes hard to enjoy "the moment", because I'm constantly thinking of the task at hand in this case, balancing three projects over as many days. Too much at once. The mounting pressure from myself to make every brief "perfect" made the experience of visiting an exciting city quite a stressful one. The light wasn't on our side, locations didn't look like they appeared to on Google, and time was running short. It's not the city's fault sometimes you've just got to accept that things won't be perfect.

A few lessons learned for me: a balance between work + pleasure is very important, be ready to adapt a plan at the last minute, if there's more than one project going on at once then plan meticulous (and always prepare a plan c!).

I'll put this one down as another learning curve.

Photography by Jordan Bunker (sorry if I stressed you out, fella).

18 Jan 2018

Creating A Home with Flexibility | Samsung QLED

If you were to visit our house regularly you'd soon notice that we're constantly moving things around. Our current partnership with Samsung has given us the perfect opportunity to create each space with its own purpose.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Samsung.

The role which design plays within our daily lives is of a huge importance. It affects our buying habits, how we choose to lead our lifestyle, the way we use of technology, and how we go about spending our downtime. We each hold the values of design differently, and in my opinion there really can't be a right or wrong way. Everything has been created to fit a brief; a solution to a problem, an enhancement to a solution, or something purely aesthetic.

How design can impact the individual is something that interests me greatly. A simple tweak of material on a swimming cap, the narrowing of frame on a bicycle, or the shape of a fork in a dinner set - each changes the user experience in the aim of being memorable or useful. Buying into "design with a purpose" generally leads to a lesser chance of us falling out of love with it a few months down the road.

Samsung is at the forefront of home design technology, and as longstanding advocates of the brand it has been a pleasure to welcome the QLED collection into our home for the past few months. I wouldn't call myself a tech-obsessed person, but the items that I do use throughout my day hold a high level of importance. My laptop, camera + phone each play invaluable roles within my freelance life, so it may sound silly to call a television "important", but hear me out.

I've battled with switching off from my working life since I began as a full-time freelancer around three years ago, but over last few months I've started to feel more at ease with disconnecting. Television plays a huge role in that feeling. Turn the clocks back two years, and the idea of me sitting down watching back-to-back episode of shows on Netflix would have been an alien concept, but the escapism that it brings me has become invaluable to my well-being. Add this to the experience that Samsung's QLED technology offers, and we're on to a winning combination - its unrivalled picture quality makes it tower above anything else I've ever experienced.

 The Samsung QLED, styled with furniture by IKEA, HAY + vintage finds

13 Jan 2018

Geo Typeface Wall Clock by Paulin

Something a little different today from Scottish watchmakers, Paulin. The Geo Typeface Wall Clock is the Glasgow-based design studio's first stand-out product which ventures away but not too far from their original wristwatch collection. Featuring the brand's in-house created Geo typeface, the Art Deco-inspired design follows timeless design principles from the Bauhaus movement giving empathises to bold colours, simplistic design + geometric forms. 

One of the things that's really doing it for us is the sweeping second hand, which makes the Wall Clock completely silent - no annoying ticks when you're trying to concentrate.

The Geo Typeface Wall Clock retails at a very reasonable £45, and is available in two colours here.

29 Dec 2017

Holiday Slowdown | A Few Good Things #1

Things have slowed down quite a bit since the Holiday Season set in. My first reaction was to apologise for the lack of updates, but none of us need to make an excuse for using our time off to recharge + reflect on how 2017 was for us.

Here's a few things I've been enjoying these past couple of chilled out weeks:

The Kinfolk Entrepreneur - One of this year's essential coffee table reading, from one of our generation's most influnetial publications. Editor Nathan Williams introduces us to an in-depth look at 40 creative individuals and businesses around the world - giving us a real peek into how they each of them has created a meaningful + inspiring living.

Inventery Mechanical Pen - This slim bit of onyx has been knocking around in my bag, pocket and on my desk for a few months, and I've enjoying using it every time it's in my hand. Weighty, comfortable to hold and writes like a dream.

Arket Vetiver Handcream - This one found its way under our Christmas tree. Cheers Hollie. It's great size to toss in your tote bag, and the packaging is perfectly understated. But ain't all about looks - the earthy notes make the scent really universal.

Instrmnt K-61 Watch - Attention to detail + user experience is always a high priority when it comes to Glasgow-based design studio, Instrmnt. I mean, have you ever heard of a rubber strap being injected with a vanilla scent, just so your wrists smells good? The minimal watchface and careful touches speak for themselves.

Glory Magazine Issue 3 - The third print of a publication that boasts a fresh take on football, design + culture. This issue concentrates its efforts on looking at Swedish football - stadium architecture, travel photography and kit design. I was hooked after reading the first article.

Beams Heavyweight Tee - I picked this long sleeve top up earlier in the year, and it quickly became one of the most worn pieces in my wardrobe. Worn over a white tee, under a shirt, or layered with a gillet, it just seems to work every time. It's from the SS17 collection, but I'm hoping the Beams boys come out with something similar next season.

Enjoy your downtime.