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!

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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.

26 Sep 2018

36 Hours in Berlin

mat buckets wearing universal works denim trousers with jigsaw menswear resort collar shirt in berlin
mat buckets wearing the new skagen falster 2 smartwatch
the visit coffee shop in berlin
interior of the visit coffee shop in berlin
yellow colour spotting in berlin
mat buckets wearing universal works denim trousers with jigsaw menswear resort collar shirt in berlin with uk blogger brittany bathgate
Shirt by Jigsaw | Trousers + Bag by Universal Works | Sneakers by Converse | Smartwatch c/o Skagen | Cap by Fair Ends | 
Glasses by Moscot

This summer has been unforgettable. The past four months have been some of the most rewarding of my life, and if I could exchange air-miles for beers I'd be set up for life. Something that is niggling me though, I'm getting worse at catching up on things that I've said I need to. A blog post here, a month's worth of admin there, and, well, let's not even mention the blog re-design...

I feel pretty content with most other things, especially when it comes to this summer's opportunities. Being able to travel for work given be chance to strengthen friendships something that would normally be missed due to being elsewhere. In a weird kind of way I feel like I've had plenty time for my friends for photography, creative support and even the +1 perks for trips I always reach out to my buddies.

Earlier this month I was invited to Berlin with Skagen for the launch of their new smartwatch, the Falster ll. Jake Millers came along as my photography support, and it turned out that my old mate Brittany Bathgate was also visiting for the event. We haven't spent much time together since earlier this year - both of us busy with things across opposite sides of the UK - but then BAM, there we are together in a different country.

The next day only left us with a few hours to hang, but it was good to hear about Brittany's home DIY progress and chat through the issues that come with owning your own place, as well as being self-employed.

At the fear of this post sounding like it doesn't have a purpose, it's purely a life update. But hey, that's what my space is all about I'm just pleased I still have the passion to share my journey with you.

Photography by Jake Millers.