22 Apr 2017

City Guide | Discovering Independent Manchester, with Topman

 Topman Printed Shirt | Topman Straight Fit Trousers | Converse 70s Sneakers | Fair Ends Cap

Having only just bought our first proper house, in a pretty small town that is tucked neatly away on the North West coast of England, you'd think that I'd be spending all of my given time working from home. But if I look back at the past five months I can only pinpoint two of weeks where I haven't been travelling - I guess it's just the way I like it. For me, that's the freelance lifestyle that I crave.

My latest trip was to the city of Manchester - I place pretty well indeed. Back when I was trying to break into the fashion industry I worked several internships + marketing jobs, clocking up a good five years in around the Northern Quarter. Topman reached out to myself + Jordan to see if we'd be up for helping them produce a guide to the city, to coincide nicely with the reopening of their Topman Trafford Centre store.

We hit a few of our regular favourite spots, as well as taking a couple of new recommendations from Manchester-native + photographer, Jake Millers. It wouldn't be a proper city guide without a decent dose of coffee, art, design + culture, and the added bonus of one of the city's most beautiful hotels:

Foundation Coffee House
Sevendale House, Lever Street,

We can’t create a Manchester city guide without Foundation Coffee House. An expansive unit – something few and far between in the capital – Foundation is perfect for both work and a quick coffee pit stop. With spaces to suit each and every coffee drinker, make sure you swing by to sample their beans.

Grindsmith Coffee Pod 
Victoria Bridge St, Salford, Manchester, M3 5AS

Located in one of the city centre’s busiest streets you’ll find this curious little concept coffee shop. The Grindsmith Coffee Pod is not only a unique use of space which creates an intimate atmosphere, it also comes in with a great selection of speciality coffees, and feels like a nice break from the madness of the high street.

58 Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3LQ

Food is always on the agenda when you’re up for visiting a new city, and the best ones usually come recommended by friends. Our photographer, Jake Miller’s gets the props for urging us to try 1847 for lunch. Just across from the Manchester Art Gallery you’ll find this inviting, modern vegetarian restaurant. The menu is jam-packed with tasty dishes, - we’d definitely recommend trying the Battered Halloumi.

Manchester Art Gallery
Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL

Manchester is blessed with a strong creative community and close links to the design and art industry. There’s no better way to soak a big portion of this in than a visit to the Manchester Art Gallery, located 5 minutes from Piccadilly Gardens. The gallery’s traditional paintings, ceramics and design pieces are mixed with a constant rotation of contemporary art, photography and design innovations.

Piccadilly Records 
53 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JR

Somewhat of an institution in Manchester, Piccadilly Records is the best spot for those of you looking to pick up the latest vinyl releases. Head in there when you’ve got some time to kill; chat to the staff, ask for recommendations and uncover those records that will soon become your favourite new albums.

Fred Aldous
37 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1LW

Now be prepared to step into a two-tier store packed with plenty of stationary, interiors and design gifts to tie you over for a lifetime. For those that just want to capture their Manchester trip in the photo booths or geek out over paper with the Fred Aldous gang, then this is the place for you.

 Jordan wears Topman Skinny Jeans | I'm wearing Topman Original Fit Jeans | Sneakers by Harrys of London
The craziness that was the Topman Trafford Centre store launch. Photography by Jake Millers

Principal Hotel + The Refuge
Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA

You'd be hard-pushed to find a hotel + restaurant in Manchester more beautiful that the Principal Hotel + The Refuge, just opposite Oxford Road train station. The bedrooms have some of the tallest ceilings going, with each room (all slightly different) fully equipped to give you a solid night's sleep. The Refuge is the hotel's bar + restaurant - we can't recommend this place enough. Come for the incredible interiors, but stay for the food and drink. Order a few small plates and share with your friends.

You can see more from our City Guide to Manchester on Topman's blog here.

This blog post is has been co-created by myelf, Jordan Bunker + Jake Millers for Topman.

18 Apr 2017

Revisiting Ones to Watch | Longside

We first featured Longside back in 2015 - when they had a slightly longer name and a product range which, if we recall correctly, consisted of just one belt.

Since then we've watched Longside grow as a brand and develop their products - now, featuring a range of belts, card, and key holders - while still maintaining that personal touch that comes with an independent, owner run brand. As well as the name change, Longside have also update their website and - as all good brands should - are developing a consistently good looking Instagram account.

Visit Longside's new site, and also let us know if there's any brands out there you think we should feature in our One to Watch series.

You can find Nik at - Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

7 Apr 2017

Behind The Design | A Conversation with Jason Gregory of Makr

The Makr design studio, Winter Park, Florida

On our trip to Winter Park, Florida, back in June 2016, some really cool things happened; we bumped into a Zac + Azriel, a lovely couple from Nebraska who have been reading Buckets & Spades for as long as they can remember, and secondly, I got to visit the design studio + workshop of a brand I've been following since way before Instagram + Twitter even existed.

Around eight years ago I can remember stuffing my university research folder with grainy print-outs (my fault, not theirs!) of Florida-based design studio Makr's leather goods, for a project I was working on. On a boiling afternoon last Summer I found myself sitting in the passenger seat of Founder Jason Gregory's van, being shown around Winter Park, Fl, the town he calls home.


Mat - First off, how did you get started with Makr, and has the concept and idea evolved over the years?

Jason Gregory of Mark - Makr started as an art project while I was working at an architecture firm. I was learning how to work with a CNC laser, experimenting with cutting and etching. It was a strange introduction to patterning and product development. I really loved the idea of cutting something flat and turning it into a three dimensional object. The precision of these machines and the ability to replicate a form without having to pay for tooling or dies really started the project. It was mostly small wallets at first and that led into finding factories and developing the soft goods.

I had always wanted a wood shop and was building furniture at my house so that was the next step after I had a sense of what Makr was starting to be. We are constantly evolving but the core of what we are doing has stayed the same.

- Did you always have a passion for craft or was it more of a case of discovering something you had found you were good at?

I’ve always made things and cared about the quality of what I was making. I would never call myself a craftsman, I am a designer first. The craft aspect of my work came after the design, it’s always been about the repetition or editions of objects. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is crucial to our work, I would say almost every single product that we make is touched by some form of CNC machine. That being said, I don’t like it when something is so obviously made using a laser or milling machine, the goal – the art of it, is to blend the hand with the capabilities of the machine.

4 Apr 2017

Using Your Environment with Raw State by Jigsaw

matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
architecture of central london brutalist
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
nik speller of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
russell square architecture and hotel
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
Patchwork watch by Avi-8 x John Jarrett - coming soon

Inspired by the uniforms of a welder, carpenter and engineer, Jigsaw's new SS17 capsule collection, Raw State, takes an unexpected look into a world inspired utility. I have been a long-time appreciator of traditional workwear, but the idea of stepping out of my house looking like I've dressed from a particular decade doesn't appeal to me. The Raw State collection backs up that notion creating a super wearable 21-piece collection fit for the present.

"With the Raw State collection showing predominant signs of inspiration from traditional manual labour and utility, we wanted to give this a subtle nod with our own direction"

The restricted palette of the collection took the lead, so we played upon the off whites, greys, faded blacks, and the mixture of blues from Jigsaw’s main collection – heading out to explore the Bloomsbury and Mayfair areas of Central London.

matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
nik speller of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
 Patch Overshirt, Denim Shirt, White Tee, Selvedge Jeans + Sneakers by Jigsaw
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
jigsaw raw state collection ss17 styled by buckets and spades
brutalist architecture of central london
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17, dufa watch
Raw State Chore Jacket, Patch Tee, Worker Jeans by Jigsaw. Watch c/o DuFa, Cap by Percival
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
Overalls + Henley by Jigsaw
matthew pike of buckets and spades wears jigsaw raw state collection ss17
Photography by Husam Al-Deen
Our idea was to have a little fun with the utility elements of Raw State, so we set out to find a selection of complementing locations which mirrored each garment’s original inspiration; rough textures, concrete architecture, stark lines, signs of construction and unfinished details. 

True, with London's constant want to build and improve it wasn't too tricky to find signs of construction sites, new builds and disrepair, but this worked perfectly to what we had in mind. Using the city's unfinished environment gives you a deeper connection to the streets which we'd usually consider just to be a means of getting from A to B.

Are you aware of your town's progression? I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we styled this collection.

 Shop the Jigsaw Raw State collection here.

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

2 Apr 2017

Win Design Goods with Campbell Cole

Our good buddies at Campbell Cole the Nottingham-based leather goods brand have teamed up with three British contemporary design brands for their new competition. This one's in no way connected to us, as such, but we just wanted to share the news as there's some cool items involved! Mamnick, Tom Pigeon + Ajoto have all offered up one item each.

The prize includes:
  • Campbell Cole | 1 Simple A6 Pouch (Black, Tan, Khaki or Navy)
  • Ajoto | 1 Stainless Steel Pen
  • Tom Pigeon | 3 Reflex Pocketbooks & 1 Metalwork 15cm Ruler
  • Mamnick | 2 Page Markers
Head over to their site to get yourself entered.

28 Mar 2017

Yasumi Says | PUEBCO INC Homeware Goods

PUEBCO seems to be fast becoming one of those familiar brands that so many lifestyle stores proudly display on their shelves. And it is definitely worth keeping on your radar simply because they have a heap of interesting stuff that not only look good, but also provide practical or solutions to our homeware demands.

Established in Tokyo in 2007 by Hirotoaka Tanaka, PUEBCO boldly states that they; “Create what we want to create. Find what we want”, and that "To only pursue sales performance is to loose track of our vision'".

The outcome is wide range of functional homeware and lifestyle solutions with utilitarian appeal backed with a genuine desire to offer consumers well made items with integrity.  PUEBCO incorporate updated, repurposed and recycled materials into their product line-up. They take inspiration from factory brands, workshop communities across the globe and their globetrotting bazaar finds.  For example, their vintage mirrors are made using salvaged window frames from India - apparently in parts of India, before a house is demolished, the window and door frames are saved for use elsewhere. Their Standard Mug is made in a remote Chinese factory out of locally sourced clay and without an ‘unnecessary glaze.

Each item that they stamp their name on fortifies PUEBCO's philosophy that well designed, well-used products are always beautiful. Finally, PUEBCO score points with me for their typographic style and packaging too - love those cotton swabs.

A selection of PUEBCO products are available at Goodhood.

You can find Yasumi at - Worship Blues | Twitter | Insatgram