18 Mar 2018

The Pilgrm Hotel, London

coffee shop at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
The Pilgrm Hotel, Paddington, London
lobby at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
granite at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
restaurant at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
restaurant at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
materials at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
hotel room at at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
hotel rooms at at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
hotel room details at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
marble at the pilgrm hotel paddington london

coffee shop at the pilgrm hotel paddington london
at the pilgrm hotel paddington london review

The first time I was made aware of The Pilgrm hotel at Paddington was when Richard Massey + co's Unseen 24/7 newsletter (which covers everything new in the London food, drink + culture scene) popped into my inbox a few months back. Instantly bookmarked for later.

I was chatting to my friends India + Magnus (of Haarkon) a few weeks ago + they informed me that The Pilgrm had actually been renovated by Sheffield locals, hotel design + development specialists 93ft. Just a week later I found myself stepping foot through the distinct facade of bright blue hand-glazed tiles + original vertical brass door handles, opening up straight into the smell of freshly ground coffee. Sold!

The design of the hotel is a clever solution to an all too common project: a lack of space. The Pilgrm manages to combine the feeling of an old American New York-style hotel, mixed with the grandeur of a traditional Victorian-era estate. I have no idea how these guys have manage to renovate a space which holds not only a coffee shop / lobby, shared workspace, restaurant, unashamedly grand staircases, well considered corridors + communal pantries, but also 73 hotel rooms!

There's a clear focus on the materials, colours and furniture design throughout from the North Atlantic granite surfaces used in the coffee shop, original Victorian oak staircase, mid-century rattan chairs found in the hotel rooms, and bespoke lighting catching you on every turn. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention, they have an original marble specimen cabinet (now used as a refreshments table) which once call the National History Museum its home.

The rooms themselves are quite snug (I was in a "large"), but it's what you'd expect from a period property of this size. Great for two neat people, or one messy one like me. Nothing over-designed, or added for the sake of it. Consideration to tactile materials is clearly a passion of the design team; narrowed reed glass on the bathroom door, dark wooden floorboards mixed with heavy navy carpets + mini valet-style wardrobe were all things that floated my boat. The only downside of the rooms is the original single glazed Victorian windows - bring some earplugs if you're a light sleeper!

 The Pilgrm, 25 London St, Paddington, London W2 1HH.

I was kindly offered a room for the night by The Pilgrm, but I wasn't asked to review or feature the hotel. I've done this post because I thought it was a genuinely interesting + unique experience.

9 Mar 2018

The Slower Months

Beams Half-Zip Shirt | Folk x MR PORTER Trousers | Card Holder c/o Campbell Cole | Vans Old Skool Anaheim | Moscot Sunglasses | Topman Beanie | Whistles Overshirt
January was a really busy month for me. It felt like the ideal start to the year; freelance projects kept my hands full, a couple of travel opportunities came my way, and I took it upon myself to head down to Manchester most weeks to catch up with friends. Things were pretty sweet.

Then February came around, and it was all change. At the start of the month I found myself writing about how I'd taken too much on at once, and a few weeks later I'm putting together this short post about how I haven't got much work on...That's the reality self-employment; you turn into some sort of human yo-yo.

A yo-yo with anxiety issues, at the best of times. It's all ups and downs. I have always thrived on the freedom of working for myself (and it seems to have worked well for me for the past three years), but I'm in a constant battle with myself to stay proactive, keep on-the-ball creatively, and maybe, most importantly, keep on working towards my next goals and rememeber to set them.

When there's no one to tell you you what to do, it's easy to fall into the role of professional procrastinator. That's just something I haven't managed to conquer as yet but if I'm going to carry on in this somewhat uncertain career path, I need to get myself in gear, especially in those quieter, thumb twiddling months.

Photographs by Jordan Bunker.

27 Feb 2018

24 Hours in Berlin with Stone Brewing

 Stone Brewing: Im Marienpark 23, 12107 Berlin

You could draw a very similar comparison between starting a craft beer company + working as a full time blogger / content creator as worlds apart as each may seem. Both careers both come from a place of passion. That enthusiasm and love towards what we do is a driving factor towards the success of growing something out of nothing.

We all have different ways of measuring success; for me, putting a deposit down for our first house felt like a huge milestone, and a testament to how much can be achieved through new media. I get the feeling that Stone Brewing a San Diego-based craft beer company, and one of my all time favourite brewers felt a similar achievement when they opened their first brewing facility outside of the US, in September '16.

It was a bold move in the beer world, setting up their European base in Berlin given the country's history of beer but without taking a few risks in life you could be left with many unanswered questions.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

I was very humbled when Stone Brewing invited me over to see what they've created; not only a state-of-the-art brewing facility but the stunning bar, restaurant, event space and gardens, all housed on the grounds of a former gas works.

With 75 beers on tap (for all those "untappd" fans) you could have just left us there for the weekend, but with my new camera itching to be used I knew I needed to do a little exploration of the city. With just over 24 hours to see a new side of Berlin,  I looked to my Instagram community + the Stone Brewing themselves for recommedations:

Five Elephants

As the cliche goes, first stop, coffee. Berlin is packed with coffee shops, and nice looking ones at that. A considered and inviting interior is high on priority, but it always needs to be backed up with good tasting coffee, a decent selection of food, friendly staff and a nice presentation. It's confirm, Five Elephants fits perfectly into that criteria.

A sweet little place, with a black, white and copper themed interior,  kitted out with beautiful terrazzo counter tops by British designer Max Lamb. Try the cheesecake! Five Elephants: Alte Schönhauser Str. 14, 10119, Berlin.

SODA Bookstore

Magazine and book stores are always somewhere on my list, a few suggestions came my way but we ended up seeking out SODA Bookstore; an independently owned shop for "curious people". I don't think I've ever seen so many publications housed in such an aesthetically pleasing room before. Covering food and fashion, architecture and travel, and more specialist subjects like pets, food and science.

I left empty handed, but next time I'll do my best to pick up a couple of local rags. SODA Bookstore: Weinbergsweg 1, 10119 Berlin.

Stone Recommends - Michelberger Hotel

This was my second time visiting Berlin, but as the city is so huge (with some many accommodation options) I left the hotel arrangements to Stone. They assured us that the Michelbeger Hotel was where we needed to stay. One step into the hotel lobby are you can instantly see why this place is so highly regarded. 

Exposed plaster seems to be a big thing in Berlin, and the Michelbeger has it in abundance, running through the lobby, concierge, rooms, bar and restaurant. And speaking of the restaurant (we had both breakfast and dinner here), I've got to stay, the 4-course dinner was one of the best I've had in a long time. Brussels sprouts, miso, chilli, seaweed veg; black pudding, smoked potato, fermented peach mash; beetroots, walnut, dill, liquorice salad not your usual offering!

The rooms were comfy and inviting, a decent place to rest your feet after 20,000 steps. But, if only they sold their seriously neckable canned coconut water in the UK...Michelberger Hotel: Warschauer Str. 39-40, 10243 Berlin, Germany

Voo Store

When the recommendations came in on Instagram a few of the same names kept cropped up, Voo Store was one of them. Men's and Women's clothing and accessories with a heavy leans towards streetwear + conceptual is mixed in with contemporary homeware, sneakers, magazines and collectables. You'll find APC, JW Anderson, Our Legacy, Joseph and the usual footwear suspects.

It's not the biggest of department stores, but if your feet are sore there's a little bakery nestled in the back corner: Companion Coffee. Voo Store: Oranienstraße 24, 10999 Berlin.

Stone Recommends - Lager Lager

After pounding the pavement for most of the day we made our way south of Kreuzberg to Lager Lager; a tiny craft beer bottle shop and bar. This place is a celebration of all good beer. I spotted brews from Yorkshire's Magic Rock Brewery, Manchester's Cloud Water, Copenhagen's Mikkeller, a strong amount of local micro-breweries and of course, the Berlin-brewed IPAs, weiss beers + stouts by Stone. If you're wondering, my favourite beer by Stone Brewing is their Cali-Belgique IPA.

Simple modern branding, carefully considered guest beers on tap and good tunes on the radio made for a memorable visit to this modestly sized specialist bar. Lager Lager: Pflügerstraße 68, 12047 Berlin.

We also visited:

As I was saying earlier, we all have different ways of measuring success. I returned home from Berlin feeling really good about the city, with positive thoughts towards a brewery I'm enthusiastic about, and a little bit of experience under my belt with a brand new camera. I'd called that a resounding success if you ask me!

I was invited over to Berlin by Stone Brewing, who kindly covered for my stay + beer tab. Your support of the brands + businesses we work with helps make this blog happen.

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.