2 May 2015

Illustrations Series by Sean Mort + Weekend Links

If I'm ever feeling a little down, I'm going to refer back to the Post-It note that sits on my desk. It says, "check out Sean Mort's drawings". You may remember our blog on his Life Tastes Better Together print - well, ever since then I just left that Post-It where I first stuck it. A small reminder if I'm ever in a bad mood maybe?

Sean has set himself the task of creating a new illustration every day for the whole year! He's been sharing daily drawings on his Instagram account for a while; building up a top notch selection of characters, iconic products and famous landmarks, in his signature bold, colourful + playful style. What would you like to see Sean draw next?

I'm yet to make plans this weekend, but that suits me fine. Maybe a little baking, some card games and cycling? After all, it is Bank Holiday. How's about you lot?

Weekend Bucket List

Looks like the coolest place to practice yoga
These notepads are super fine looking
A brief history of Sport Style
Currently obsessed with the new driving game, "Does Not Commute"
Love this modern looking ice cream parlour
This "quick" video shows New York's skyline development from 1500 to 2015.
In case you missed it - We put together a Travel Guide of places to visit this summer

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30 Apr 2015

Exclusive | First Look at Oi Polloi's London Store

Northern style-pedlars, Oi Polloi, have just opened their new store, located in the centre of Soho, London. Their loyal following has grown to crazy levels over the past 13 years, and the team felt it was the right time to open their doors in the capital. The store isn't a carbon copy of their much-loved Thomas Street store in Manchester, but rather an edited - still, by no means sparse - selection of brands and lines that they think will work well with the people in the capital. 

"We sell good clothes", getting straight to the point!

And the store's in a great location too, with both Newburgh Street and Brewer Street within coffee break's distance in each direction; Red Wing, Levi's Vintage Clothing, Filson, Albam, Barbour, Universal Works + Stone Island are all around the corner. The idea of the new store isn't to bring more competition to the area, but to build on the community-feel that the people of Soho have already created.

I popped down to the store last week to have a gander, and at that point all I saw was taped up cardboard boxes, empty metal fixtures and heavy-helpings of brick dust. But they've certainly turned it around - with a simple, modern looking interior. There was no big opening party or ticker tape parade, just a humble tip of the cap, and a twist of the "we're open" sign. Oi Polloi, 1 Marshall Street, London, W1F 9BA.

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28 Apr 2015

Three European Cities To Visit This Summer

We're up for exploring some new places this summer! | image source

Which cities are you looking to discover + explore this summer? With our Euro Road Trip still in the planning stage – and considering myself + Hollie have already have a trip to Florida booked for June – we’re taking a closer look at a couple of cities across Europe that we think would be great places to stop-over in, and soak up the local culture.

Choosing one in the UK + two in mainland Europe, each city has its own plus-points, strong reasons to visit, and a good bit of history. Perfect for weekend trips for people who love to explore, and who are attached to their cameras. For people like us then!

Let's go!

A mixture of old + new can be found within the streets of the England's second city | image source

Birmingham - Art, Menswear + Independent Businesses

Birmingham may seem like a strange choice, as it's only a three hour train ride away from Lancashire. But considering a budget of around £200 for a weekend, and the fact that we've only ever visit the city for work, Birmingham seems like a great place to start the Buckets road trip across Europe!

England's second city – famed for its integral role in the Industrial Revolution – is by far one of the best connected cities in the country; with trains, buses, planes and motorways running in every direction. Having visited the city before for work, I knew I wanted to return and explore more thoroughly.

Where To Stay

Bloc is a modern boutique hotel with rooms for under £50 a night  | image source

As with all three cities, we want to keep costs down, but we still want to stay in places we'd consider to be modern, well connected to the rest of the city, and of course clean.

Located in the city's historic Jewellery Quarter, Bloc Hotel fits the bill perfectly. With good reviews online and room rates hovering around £45 per night we reckon this would be ideal. Expect it to be basic and small (hence the name?), but it's got everything you need for a short break.

 What To Pack

Never leave the house without a brolly around these parts!

The price of the hotel includes towels and wi-fi (which is becoming increasingly rare for budget hotels these days), but I'd pack extra toiletries like hand soap and shower gel, as they don't always throw them in.

I'd be traveling to Birmingham by train – booked as separate journeys in advance, for a cheaper fare – which is a good three/four hour journey, so I'd plan to catch up on  podcasts with my iPad or use the old Kindle app for a bit of reading.

No doubt it will rain, so my trusty Fulton umbrella, Marmot rain jacket + Red Wing boots will be joining me as standard. A back-up phone charger is a lifesaver these days too.

What To Do

Visit Menswear + Denim Specialist retailer, Liquor Store.

Having a few friends from Birmingham helps, and it didn't take me long to realise you'd never be short of things to do, and places to explore. But if you don't know anyone in the city, try the "explore" feature on Instagram.

The Ikon Gallery regularly rotates its exhibitions of local and international contemporary artists, plus it's totally free! It's great to feel a connection to any new place you visit, so I'd be keen to see the "We Made It" exhibition at Think Tank too. Also the Library of Birmingham is a must-visit. Looking for something a little more exciting, then stick perhaps Indoor F1K on your list. There's also several picturesque parks across the area, so pack a book!

A trip to Birmingham wouldn't be complete without paying a visit to our favourite denim specialists Liquor Store, in the Great Western Arcade either. These guys know their stuff when it comes to menswear, with Store Owner, Phil, working in the denim industry for 15 years.

There's so much more of the city I'm yet to explore, and with quite a few lifestyle bloggers from this part of the country it would be a great opportunity to meet up with them. If it doubt take to the #Birmingham hashtag on Twitter.

Where To Eat & Drink

People watching at an independent, Faculty Coffee

"Where's the nearest coffee shop to the hotel?", is generally my first question when I arrive at a new place. Faculty Coffee is a sweet independent coffee shop who know their way around a strong roast, same goes for Six Eight Kafe. Both can be found slap-bang in the centre of the city.

With the aim to keep things affordable but still considered, we'd give The Church Inn (Winnie's recommendation) for cocktails – with 20% off every Wednesday with their Whiskey Club – and classic American soul food, and for beers I hear Pure Bar + Kitchen is worth paying a visit.

26 Apr 2015

Store Visit | Twisted Time Watches, Boxpark, London

I can imagine that most people in London have heard of Boxpark, but for those outside of the city and beyond, it's a retail concept made up from black shipping containers, stacked outside Shoreditch High Street station. If you're in the area, you really can't miss it. The beauty of Boxpark is that it gives smaller growing brands a chance to rub shoulders with the bigger brands, such as Nike, PUMA, and GAP.

Twisted Time is one of the brands that benefits from this set-up. An online watch store featuring some very cool and very different watches, Boxpark gives Twisted Time space to showcase some of their best wares on the 'high street'. Watches suit a Boxpark store a pretty extensive range can be displayed in a small space, and it's small spaces that the Boxpark concept specialise in.

We were here for the opening night, but came back on a less busy weekday afternoon (just after recording our first podcast) to shoot the shop when fewer customers were in. Brands that definitely caught our eye include Braun, Danish Design + Nendo.

Twisted Time, Boxpark no.16 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6GY. See more of our Store Visits here. Nik

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Heavy Denim

24 Apr 2015

On The Road with Mr Porter x Belstaff

Watch J. G. Francis, a vintage car restorator, navigate his way across the Californian desert, in a Mercedes-Benz 1973 250C Coupé. What a sweet life to live.

For Mr Porter's On The Road series. Enjoy your weekend my dudes.

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22 Apr 2015

Buckets & Spades in Jigsaw Magazine

I'm mega excited to share with you this feature I was involved in for new issue of Jigsaw's printed magazine. There's a short interview with me, plus a shoot which I styled myself on location in Notting Hill. All the pieces are from Jigsaw's SS15 collection, which you can see here. It's a really well put together magazine, with features including a Nottingham lace manufacturer, i-D Beauty Editor Isamaya Ffrench and the inspirational Maggie Semple.

You can pick up a copy for free in Jigsaw stores right now. Let me know if you you manage to get hold a copy, I'd love to see that!

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20 Apr 2015

A Weekender with Timex

It seems like every other weekend we have things going on this year; a trip to the forest, spending time in Brighton, family get-togethers for Easter...That's the beauty of this time of year though, and I'm never really one for sitting around and relaxing, so it's been suiting me just fine. We'd actually been planning to stay over in Liverpool to celebrate our 9th anniversary, but when the opportunity to spend the weekend in the Forest of Dean came up we had to re-jig a little.

We have a crush on Liverpool. It's our favourite city in the region, and we try to visit given any glimpse of opportunity. It's one of the first cities we visited together as a couple. There's just something special about it, with a totally different feel + buzz from the rest of the North West. For this weekend we partnered up with Timex, to show you how we might spent a typical weekend together.

Liverpool is known for its independent culture and free spirit, with many small businesses flourishing over the years, and many more on the rise and gaining credibility in the city centre. One such brand is Cow&co., a modern design store-cum-bookshop-turned-cafe, nestled just off the main shopping area. Its tiny interior doesn't hinder the amount of well designed pottery, homeware + magazines that lines the shelves - not forgetting the cafe part too. I hear their bagels are the best in town.

18 Apr 2015

Euro Bus on Instagram + Weekend Links

Some weeks I enjoy Instagram more than others. Constant scrolling for 10 minutes before bed, then seven hours later when I wake up is a bit weird when you think of it. Your brain's not really up to much at that point. Sometimes you just need a blast of colour to take you by surprise and shake you out of that zombie state. Sound familiar? If so then check out Euro Bus on Instagram - which simply documents colourful art on the side of buses from across Europe. We found this account via Instagram's own blog.

Weekend vibes time my friends, enjoy it whatever you get up to!

Weekend Bucket List

Mobile photography tips from real Photographers
Imagine hot air ballooning below the earth's surface!
An amusing new video campaign by Harry's
Love this Guide to Japan on Take Courage blog
I wrote a love letter to Boris Becker (and PUMA trainers), yes I have a weird job
In case you missed it - Our Weekend Guide to Brighton

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16 Apr 2015

Loake Shoe Fitting Service | Princes Arcade London

After previously visiting Loake's Northamptonshire factory back in May of last year I've become more aware that my shoe collection is way below par. I'm talking smart shoes here...trainers, now those I can do. For anyone that knows me (and probably you guys too?), they'll probably be able to count the times they've seen me in smart shoes on one hand. I'm all about comfort. Trainers hit the button, and have done for most of my twenties. I reckon I've worn shoes on two occasions in this past year, one of those times being in France on the Courvoisier trip. Good memories!

With a summer wedding coming up soon as well as my own at some point and my new appreciation for well made shoes, I knew when the time was right there would be only one brand I'd turn to.

I'd arranged an appointment at Loake's Princes Arcade store in London, just off Regent Street, bright and early one Friday morning. The man taking me through Loake's Shoe Fitting Service was Store Manager, Colin Austin. I was in experienced hands. We talked about my footwear history, the occasions I might wear shoes, which styles I'm most drawn to and my issues with wearing shoes on a regular basis. What was the real reason, had I become lazy and just got used to the feel soft, squidgy soles?

One of the main issues with footwear, Colin informed me, was that the a lot of people do indeed wear the incorrect size shoes. One of the reasons for this is because most brands simply don't offer a multitude of widths, alongside the standard shoe sizing structure. Another fact is the quality of materials used and construction techniques. Loake pride themselves on getting it right the first time, never rushing to produce a new style or keeping up with a passing trends.

14 Apr 2015

Note Apparel SS15

Off the back of their extremely well received debut collection, Note Apparel release their warmer-weather offerings for Spring/Summer 15. Taking stock of which items worked well in the previous season, they've listened to feedback and updated some of their carry-over pieces, as well as bringing in a few new styles. The collection features relaxed utility jackets and trousers, cotton hoodies, illustrated + plain tees, camera accessories and their popular beanie + bucket hats.

It's all stuff I want to wear, and stuff that fits with the rest of my wardrobe pretty easily. That's the Birmingham-based label's aim to create items which don't fight against your other favourite brands, rather to sit nicely along side. Nice one fellas.

The Note Apparel collection is available online here.

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