30 Oct 2014

Outerwear For Winter | Function + Form

 Mat putting the Marmot Precip Jacket to the test

I don't think Buckets & Spades as ever focused on fashion that isn't functional. Nothing that is 100% style and 0% substance, at least. Often though, clothes don't reveal their lack of functionality until you properly test them. Sometimes a zip doesn't quite close and in the rain, your pocket fills with water (not good when your phone is in it!). Mat's very keen on practicality too - usually sporting his Marmot jacket at the first whiff of rain
The rare excursion to Wales aside, I'm not that much of an outdoors type, so it's not usually a problem. Living in London means you're protected from the harshest of the elements - you spend the year boiling on the tube no matter what the season.

Summer has long gone and the shops are full of Autumn/Winter gear, so here's a round-up of some outerwear pieces that have caught my attention; that promise a high degree of both style and function. The Fullin Jacket by Bench, is a soft-lined water-repellent coat that closes in against all the elements. When the zips are done up, there’s no water getting in these pockets. The real bonus, for me, is that it folds down small enough to fit in a bag - a must in the ever changing weather of Autumn and the horribly-humid tube.

Then we have the coats from BEE Clothing, which include their very own Signature Jacket - created using a water-repellent, breathable fabric called Blenheim. Featuring a sleeve pocket for an Oyster card and a wool/silk blend lining. This coat was surely designed for me - I do like to moan about the horrors of the rush hour tube. BEE also produce a great looking cycling jacket, with a list of features I couldn’t possibly do justice to here, but the star of which are the reversible sides: from hi-vis on one-side to neat city jacket on the other.

Other coats that have crossed my path are the lightweight, heat reflective-lined Ansgar Jacket by Swedish outerwear experts Elvine, the ludicrously waterproof Vareo from Henri Lloyd and the runner's friendly Nike Hurricane Jacket.

As the UK is pretty wet in general but the temperatures do also dip, it helps to a jacket which covers all bases. Has anyone else started thinking about the winter yet? - Nik

You can find Nik at - Conrad's Beer | Twitter | Instagram

28 Oct 2014

Celebrate with Thou Swell | Win iPad Mini

It's always an exciting feeling when you discover a new blog which really captures your interest immediately. One blog that did just that was Thou Swell, written by Atlanta-based design student Kevin O'Gara. Kevin's has a creative eye and his blog is packed with interior design + colour inspiration, food, lifestyle and some really neat gardening tutorials. The good news is, Thou Swell has just turned one!

To celebrate Thou Swell's first birthday we're joined up with a bunch of wonderful bloggers from all over the globe, to offer our readers a pretty sweet giveaway. One lucky reader will win the new Apple iPad Mini (worth $299) + a 3-month subscription to NextIssue, which currently holds over 140 magazines - including Elle Decor, Esquire, Food Network, GQ and Rolling Stone! A big thank you to Corina of Cocorina for designing our lovely graphic.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Show some love for the blogger's that have made this happen! 

Buckets & Spades | Helarious | Of Trees & Hues | Cocorrina | Ex Vitae | Safaris & Sunsets | Lucky Number Seven | Pen & Peplum | Zoso Lights | Tara Victoria | Clear the Way | Nuance & Bubbles | Eavan Elizabeth | Oh I Design | Catalina Creative | Hello Lidy

This giveaway will be running until November 11th 2014 and is opened to international readers!

27 Oct 2014

Store Visit | Nigel Cabourn The Army Gym, London

Nigel Cabourn | The Army Gym, Covent Garden, London.

With a couple of hours to kill last Monday in London I decided to visit the brand new Nigel Cabourn store on Henrietta Street, Covent Garden - just around the corner from my buddies at Ruffians Barber shop. "The Army Gym" is the first Nigel Cabourn store in Europe (with several stores across Japan), and has just opened its doors in late September. The interior reflects the British designer's passion for all things military, vintage and the outdoors; with exposed brickwork, reclaimed wood + steel used alongside lighting fixtures + army lockers, all housed within a space which was once St. Peter's hospital.

The store offers Nigel Cabourn's Authentic collection, both made in UK + Japan products and Womenswear range. The entire downstairs of the store is dedicated to ongoing collaborations and partnerships; with brands like Filson, Merz B Schwanen, Converse, Viberg, Taylor Kent & co and Moscot all sitting alongside Cabourn's AW14 collection.

The Army Gym is a really well considered space, with an uncluttered, welcoming feel - well worth popping by next time you're in the area. Make sure you visit Ruffians too, they'll sort you out with a good strong coffee. Nigel Cabourn The Army Gym, 28 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8NA.

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26 Oct 2014

The Sa Origami-Like Umbrella + Weekend Links

Combining the traditional folding techniques of origami with durable fabric, The Sa looks at reinventing the humble umbrellas as we know it. The construction of The Sa utilises a minimal approach to the common umbrella, striping it back to much more efficient and environmentally conscious design. Most people reading this are probably wondering if it really works - as am I too - but you can watch the Sa in action here.

Bit late on the old Weekend post this time around, but that's cool, we still have a day left! Hope you enjoy some down time whatever is it you get up to.

Weekend Bucket List

The town in Spain literally living under a rock
Love this geometric sardine print
The surreal "fruity" work of Sarah Illenberger
The kettle of the future?
Seeing Sydney from above
Real men with real jobs wearing Jigsaw Menswear
Still time to enter our giveaway to win $400 with Ciera Design.

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24 Oct 2014

Three Days in France with Courvoisier | Part 2

A few weeks have past since we took a surprise trip away with French cognac brand Courvoisier, but the memories are still as fresh as the day we arrived. Yesterday I gave a presentation to a group of stying students at UCLan University and someone asked me, "what's the coolest thing you've done through your blog?". I immediately knew the answer was our three days spent in France.

The first few hours with Courvoisier were super intense. Fueled on unpronounceable canapes, we toured their Le Chateau, old cellars, drank cognac whilst blindfolded, took a fleeting visit around the town, had dinner opposite the Master Blender and attended a cocktail competition....All 38 of us were just going with the flow, literally. As we caught the coach to final next destination we were all still second-guessing their next move.

"How about we go to Paris", was heckled from the front of the coach, which was met with a roar of "whoops" from most and surprise from all. Three hours later myself and Nik found ourselves standing in a plush 5* old school hotel room, just off the Champs-Elysees. We navigated our way around two finger sandwiches (don't these French folk eat proper meals?) and a bottle of pop each, before heading to a private roottop party. "We're in Paris right?". We literally had no time to take in this surreal situation. I hadn't even seen the whole of the Eiffel Tower yet!

The next few hours were some of the most memorable of my life. We met up with our new friends + travel buddies at Hotel Raphael for the swanky rooftop party; which had a view like no other. On one side the imposing figure of the Arc de Triomph, on the other was the Eiffel Tower, in all its glory. Parties aren't usually my bag but combining this with new friends, tireless entertainment from a magician/comedian/all-round top bloke and the beautiful voice of Katie Elin-Salt, well let's just say, it was a magical night end to a perfect evening.

Passport Sleeve c/o Bellroy

The next morning we awoke bright and early, stocked up on Bacon McMuffins + coffee (as you do) and met the group for a final outing, to the one of Paris' most beautiful parks public, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Things were still quite hazy from the night before but as we walked across the park's famous bridges I remember feeling a huge sense of content, I could have stayed there all day. All that was to jump the Eurostar and head back to reality.

A big thank you to the Courvoisier team for making this trip happen. It was a very memorable + extremely enjoyable three days - I'm so glad I got to share it with some truly awesome people (you know who you are). This isn't one I'll be forgetting in a hurry.

Some images provided by Bertrand Vacarisas for Courvoisier.

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22 Oct 2014

In Preparation | Ryvita + Nutella

I'm knuckling down today, cracking on with getting a short PowerPoint presentation together for tomorrow morning. My friends at the university - where I studied - have invited me to help out on a menswear stylist project, so today is all about preparation. I'm not much of a public speaker but I'm looking forward to the challenge and working with some (hopefully) enthusiastic + welcoming students!

For the rest of the day I can be found with my head in a giant jar of Nutella. The sweet Ryvita tin is a limited edition design by Ben de Lisi.Wish me luck for tomorrow!

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21 Oct 2014

TSPTR Does Peanuts

Peanuts on a jacket, and a decent looking jacket at that. It's by London-based streetwear brand TSPTR - which stands for something pretty complicated - and has all the hallmarks of a great piece of outerwear in my eyes. Collegiate sports throw-back, cartoon illustration, hometown colours (Blackpool)....you know, all the stuff I'm in to. In fact, did they design it for me? Either way, it's a match made in Americana-heaven. 

TSPTR have gone and created a whole collection featuring original cartoons from the Peanuts family, illustrated by Charles M. Schulz. The collection features tees, sweats (also above), jackets and accessories - each featuring a nod the cartoon that was sandwiched between Trumpton and FunnyBones. It's just a shame my boy Linus didn't make the team sheet.

TSPTR Peanuts collection available at The Great Divide.

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19 Oct 2014

Outfit | Weavers Door Wardrobe Feature

My long-term buddies at Liverpool-based Independent Weavers Door recently invited me to take part in the second instalment of their Wardrobe series. The newly revamp feature sees friends of the store feature in a shoot, which all features clothing from their currently range. I styled this one myself.

We wander the city looking for interesting places for photos - starting off at Bold Street Coffee for a cuppa and nose through Proper Mag, and ending up by the super curious Liverpool Met Cathedral.

Wearing - Oliver Spencer Jacket | Sunspel Sweatshirt | Norse Projects Shirt | Edwin Jeans | Converse Trainers | Norse Projects Socks | Vintage Cap | Northern Goods Co. Key Clip

Thank you for supporting the independent businesses that we're so passionate about. See more from the Weavers Door shoot here. We're always looking to visit new places, which are your favourite independent stores?

Photographer - Mike Gannon

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18 Oct 2014

Forest & Bird Conservation Ads + Weekend Links

The type of advertising + marketing that really gets me going is the kind that we can feel a part of. Something interactive and evocative stays with me for much longer than a run of the mill billboard or flyer. This printed ad campaign by Chris Childerhouse does just that. The series of ads commissioned for New Zealand's conservation organisation Forest & Bird shows us (click image to enlarge) that we all have the choice make a difference. See more here.

Well, I wish I could say I'm looking forward to catching some downtime this weekend but I've got a bunch of things to do. It's been a fun week though, a couple of days in Scotland + starting to plan for upcoming projects. Up to anything interesting this w/e?

Weekend Bucket List 

This branding project is a stone cold stunner
Fancy sleeping on a hammock 50m above ground?
How the changing face of blogging + our "success" is subjective, great read.
Another brilliant example of interactive marketing
Imagine seeing this in your back garden?!
This travel photography blog
In case you missed it - Celebrating Ciera Designs Blog Birthday 

For a limited time our sponsors East Dane are offering 25% off with code FAMILY25, which makes it the perfect time to pick up a new winter coat. I've just bought this Penfield Down Jacket.

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16 Oct 2014

Reconditioning Volkswagens

As we travelled across the east of Scotland to reach this week's destination The Glenrothes Whisky Distillery I spotted this curious junkyard in the middle of nowhere. We zipped past way too quick to stop first time but on the way back to the airport we made a point of stopping, and had a quick snoop around.

It was actually a reconditioning yard for used Volkswagens, but had basically turned into a place of rest of these beloved vehicles. We didn't have much time as we were a tad worried about getting chased off with a pitchfork, but I'm glad we managed to get a few quick shots.

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