24 Sep 2017

Giving Time to Explore Edinburgh, with Timex




 Jacket by Paul Smith (similar) | Shirt + Denim Trousers by Weekday | Sneakers by Converse | Easy Reader Watch by Timex | Sunglasses by Moscot

13:00 Hyde & Son's on George Street is one of the city's newest + most exciting spaces. From the team behind Leman Locke, Hyde & Son's offered a relaxing environment for coffee, drinks + food.


A venture across the Scottish boarder is always a welcomed one. Having had the opportunity to explore some of Scotland's most beautiful landscapes and its vibrant cities, I can safely say that I'm a member of the fan club. I'll try to organise a trip as frequently as possible, and I'll take any excuse to further install my love for its history, people and landscape.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Timex's best-selling Easy Reader collection, we wanted to visit a city within the British Isles that mirrored the brand's core values and heritage, while still having a firm grasp on progression and willingness to evolve. For us, Edinburgh was the perfect place.

10:00 The borough of Stockbridge is full of independent restaurants, coffee shops and retailers. You could easily spend hours shooting the breeze with locals + getting lost in the side streets. Aesop and the newly opened The Method stores are setting a high standard.
Jacket by Several (similar) | Shirt by Jigsaw | Trousers by Topman | Watch by Timex | Socks by Paul Smith | Sneakers by Common Project (similar) | Sunglasses by Ace&Tate

For many of us, a Timex evokes a certain childhood memory of receiving our very first watch. In 1977 the first Timex Easy Reader pootled off the production line, and since went on to sell 25 million+ worldwide. Fast forward to its 40th anniversary and we see the new collection being brought up to date with some sweet new additions; the iconic INDIGLO® night-light still features, but this time the face reveals a back-lit "40". New life is carried over into the strap design too, with American Horween leather, along with complimenting stitched edges, being used for its durability and comfort a natural patina will begin to form over time.

The city is full of hidden treasures; from the independent community in the borough of Stockbridge coming together to support the notion of thinking smaller to create something bigger, the city's ever-changing entertainment scene to the recent renovation of the Quartermile an area which seems to be obsessed with Swedish bakeries!

For me, a travel experience has a lot about those details that you don't first see at first glace; a tiled staircase which leads to a restaurant's bathrooms, the smell of freshly baked cherry brownies, an unassuming cobbled street which serves as a cut-through towards something more tourist-friendly.

Everything is down to detail. I feel that same passion towards design.

 12:00 Making time out to explore the city's much-loved botanical gardens + its surrounding area. Feeling ready for food, we took to Instagram for recommendations.
 15:00 Taking recommendations from the Edinburgh locals. Photographer Murray Orr took us to one of his favourite lunch spots, Checkpoint, just off the Royal Mile.

22 Sep 2017

Adapting To A New Routine



It's fair to say that over the past few months this blog has been neglected a little. With a couple of huge life events buying our first house + getting married in a foreign country within the same year was never going to be easy I knew something had to give. Blogging has always required consistency and patience, I had plenty of this. Taking time to immerse myself within the community is extremely rewarding daily visits to blogs, joining conversations and offering something (hopefully) inspiring was always the top priority for me.

This post is in partnership with Rotary's brand new Oxford Collection.

As events started to creep closer this summer I assessed the way I handled time, making a conscious decision to dedicate more effort to concentrating on platform that could track my progress in real time. Instagram became my main creative outlet while we were on our West Coast road trip, and since then I've settled into a routine of creating daily Stories, and taking more care with the images + the message I was sharing.


Jacket by Several | Sweatshirt by Beams | Trousers by Topman | Sneakers by Converse | Hat by Fairends | Watch c/o Rotary


I've struggled with time management in the past starting the day off with the best intentions, but often failing to complete due to the fact that I try to do so many tasks at once. Things have improved, but I can feel those bad habits creeping back in.

Travelling frequently has had a positive affect on my drive to "always be doing something", but the thought of arriving home to a maxed-out inbox and an even longer to-do list (both work and personal) is always a daunting one.

My current daily freelance routine just doesn't feel productive anymore. I need to adapt it into something more suitable for my current workload, travel commitments + creative projects. This will hopefully help with my well-being, work anxieties and productivity.

For me, time holds a lot of value; it reminds me if I'm on track, when I need to be somewhere and when I need to rest. I'm a creature of habit, someone who relies on doing things in a certain order, at a certain time. And once those times go out of whack I can feel the stress start to build.

Photography by Jake Millers

The Oxford Collection by Rotary acts as that simple reminder to keep on going. Nothing about the watch lights up, beeps or buzzes its architectural-inspired design sticks to theory of form follows function, nothing extra is needed. Maybe I should think about applying this theory to the way I approach my work?

"Having relocated our headquarters to Great Britain in 1946, Rotary watches are conceived, designed and developed in-house in the heart of London, one of the world’s most iconic and creative hubs. The natural choice was to pick a place name that exudes the same characteristics as the inspiration behind the product and, with its young collegiate nature and traditional architecture, Oxford had it all."

Head of Design at Rotary Watches, Matthew O’Neill
 
As it stands I'm not 100% sure how many routine will change, but I aim to try out a few different methods over the next month. Maybe I'll start work earlier, mix up the locations I work from, prioritise jobs more efficiently, or simply turn my phone off...but what I can guarantee is I'll still put all my time and efforts into meeting up with more new people + start to make things happen.

The Oxford Collection by Rotary is available here.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Rotary. Thank you for taking the time to support the brands + businesses that make this blog happen.

11 Sep 2017

Cereal Magazine Volume 14 Preview





The digital age has created a civilisation obsessed with convenience. An endless stream of media is available at our fingertips and instantly accessible through a device that fits in our pockets. Images come and go at the swipe of a screen and news stories circulate so quickly that newspapers struggle to remain relevant.

Why then, do I still choose to spend my money on a large, not-so-portable printed magazine?

For me, delving into a beautifully curated, thoughtfully put together magazine and stealing 20 minutes to myself offers me something that my iPhone can’t provide. It’s like hitting pause on all the distractions. With an uninterrupted focus I’m able to fully immerse myself in the words, the copy and the personality of a publication.

Founded by Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton, Cereal is a bi-annual travel & lifestyle magazine based out of Bristol. The couples ability to combine thought provoking words and stunning original imagery in a manner that exudes authenticity has seen Cereal amass a loyal cult following since their inaugural issue in 2012.

In the latest volume, Rosa and Rich visit the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed Farnsworth House, spend a day at Wimbledon and escape to the Shetland Islands all in between interviewing Vincent Van Duysen and Grant Achatz.

My pre-order copy is in the post along with an exclusive A5 print and while I look forward to receiving it, I’m off to grab a tea, put my feet up and revisit vol.13.

Cereal Vol. 14 is available to pre-order online now - pick up your copy here.

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

5 Sep 2017

Revisiting Belgium with Heverlee | Connecting Street Art + Craft Beer


Renovation progress at Park Abbey, Leuven

As soon as I arrived home after my previous trip to Belgium, back in October 2016, I knew that I wanted to return some day. A plane journey from Brussels to Manchester takes exactly the same time as it does to drive from Blackpool to Manchester...one hour. In just one hour and I can be transported into the heart of a country that feels fairly removed from everyday British culture, yet strangely familiar at the same time.

It was my second time visiting Belgium a country that prides itself of world class beer, first-rate cycling credentials, fine-cut diamonds and 5-star chocolate and my second visit with Heverlee Brewery. It may seem like a strange choice to hop on what effectively was a very similar trip to my previous, but the strong draw of the county's beer culture + grassroots work that Heverlee has done in this short space of time was enough to want to punch in some extra air miles.

The instantly recognisable work of Belgian street artist Dzia
 A morning of getting to know Antwerp's street art scene

A whole lot has changed for me in those 10 months; buying our first house + getting married being two huge milestones in our lives. Our responsibilities have shifted, business plans have been tweaked and relationships have grown stronger. And similar seems to have been mirrored within Heverlee's growing community + progressive thinking.

For those of you who aren't too familiar with "Heverlee", let's get up to speed. Heverlee Lager was originally produced by the monks of Park Abbey in Leuven, with its first inception in those heady days of 1129. The brewery was later demolished when commercial brewing became tenfold, as it was deemed too expensive to produce in small batches. Leap forward into modern times, local beer expert and entrepreneur Joris Brams recently made it his mission to unearth as much as the original recipe as possible, with the aim recreate the distinct flavour of their Belgian Pils Lager.

With the street art scene in Belgium being so prevalent right now, it makes sense for there to be a crossover of cultures. Belgian beer + street art are best buddies. After our tour at Antwerp we were treated to lunch at Junkyard, accompanied by street artist Dzia, who Heverlee have been collaborating with to create a new range of glassware. It was fascinating to hear about Dzia's original design inspiration behind his lion and how he adapted to be suitable for a different media altogether.

Wearing - Norse Projects T-Shirt | Folk x MR PORTER Trousers | Paul Smith Sneakers | Filson Cap

After an evening of amazing food + drink with Heverlee we hit the city of Brussels the next day with fresh eyes. Eager to explore, the group which included Jordan Bunker and photographers Christopher Byrne + Jin set out on their own way to seek out pockets of the city that they didn't know existed. 

Myself + Jordan opted to find a tour guide, someone who would know the good spots to visit. We reached out to "Tibods" via Instagram. We slowly sipped our black coffee, chatted about the IG community and watched the Sunday play out in front of our eye. Nothing much happens on a Sunday in Belgium, but we were fully content with savouring our time and enjoying the moment.



We return back to the UK with are own little part of Belgian a keepsake to be used over and over. Along with a suitcase jam-packed with with beer paraphernalia (I should have left more space for Tintin stuff, but opted for those unmissable 9%ers...) we came home with our very own piece of Dzia x Heverlee's glassware.

Not only will every sip instantly evoke memories of my three days exploring Belgium, it will reinstall the notion that modern day beer culture really isn't about cheap pints, sticky pub carpets + tacky slot machines; it's about experimentation, building communities and striving for something just a little bit more exceptional than the norm.

Have you ever been to Belgium? I'd love to hear about your experience. You can see what else Heverlee are up to in their community on Instagram + Twitter.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Heverlee. Thank you for taking the time to support the brands + businesses that make this blog happen.

24 Aug 2017

Whipping Post | Revisiting A One-To-Watch


The Whipping Post brand came up in a random conversation the other day and after looking them up (and liking what I saw) I messaged Mat to say we should run a short post on them. Of course, not only had Mat heard of the brand before - but, he'd beaten me to it, covering them back in 2013.

Well, I guess that was a long time ago now, so a revisit is justified.

Whipping Post are a US brand, specialising in leather goods. They mainly produce these great looking totes; but, they also have some other eye-catching bits, such as a leather card case and a wax cotton jacket, which is probably more for Arran Cross than it is for me.

Anyway, it's great to see a brand we covered all those years ago, still going strong.

For more details visit the Whipping Post's website - and make sure to check out their journal and Instagram too.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter



10 Aug 2017

Got Married, Went Road Trippin' Part 1 | Las Vegas > San Francisco


It's about one month since we landed back from our Las Vegas Wedding / West Coast Road trip. At the time those long drives from city, to small town, down dirt roads and back to city again felt like they would never end, but now it's all starting to slightly feel like a distant memory. But it's a memory that will never be forgotten, because it wasn't just any road trip, it was the road trip after the happiest day of my life!

Seeing so many of our friends + family's smiling faces for a whole week was a pretty magical feeling, and the actual wedding ceremony was perfect. Spirits were high, food portions were ideal, drinks were endless, temperatures were ridiculous and sleep was pretty much none-existent...but I wouldn't change a thing.

We said goodbye to our guests (albeit a few of them who joined us on the road trip) in Vegas, and thanked them for making our week one of the most memorable in our lives. Over the next 10 days we would drive from The Wynn in LV to Hollywood Roosevelt in LA, via Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey and Santa Barbara.



 Wandering in Badwater Basin, Death Valley

The drive from Las Vegas, through Death Valley, to Yosemite took the best part of eight hours, but what an incredible way to see the country. Going from 48 degrees in Vegas to around 10 in Yosemite National Park was quite an exerprience. We spent two days exploring Yosemite, and if I'm totally honest, my words wouldn't be able to justify the feeling this place gives you. I was so in ore of the scale (how small it made me feel) and beauty of the place that my camera didn't come out of my bag that much. I'm OK with that!

From El Portal in Yosemite, we drove three hours to San Francisco.


 Luggage for our trip c/o Horizn Studios

Two days in San Francisco gave us a good amount of time to explore, but not nearly enough to see everything I hoped for.

We stayed at Hotel Zetta, just by Union Square. The hotel was seriously good, from the small detail of the lobby decor and rec area, and the staff's attentiveness, to the British-inspired (but not corny at all) restaurant. When the staff found out we'd just got married they drew us a personalised cartoon of San Fran, and popped a bottle of champagne in our room! What can I say, if you want people to be happy, just equip a lobby with a pool table, photo-booth and Shuffleboard!

The step-counter was going crazy while we were there. We covered lots of ground but did miss a fair few things I wanted to see...until next time.




 Sweatshirt c/o Asket | Shorts c/o Realm & Empire | Jacket by Several | Sneakers by Vans | Cap by Norse Projects | Sunglasses by Moscot | Bag by Instrmnt



 The view of San Francisco skyline from Alcatraz Island

I don't want to make these travel blogs too text-heavy, no one needs to read an essay on how good I thought our visit to Alcatraz Island was or how I have a tendency to spend way too much time trying to find good coffee. Photos will do the talking, and with that being said, Part 2 of our West Coast Road Trip will cover our journey from San Francisco to Hollywood!

Thanks for visiting,
Mat