16 Jan 2017

Updates on Blogging, Fresh Starts + Issues with Fake Followings

2017 came at me like whoa. Buying a house a few weeks before Christmas sounds crazy but it wasn't actually a bad idea it gave us the drive to get the place is a decent shape before the holidays arrived. We managed it, and enjoyed a decent amount of downtime over New Year too. Phew!

This year is set to be an interesting one for me on a personal level. I'm planning to revise my current goals and weave in some new ones. I know I'm on the right track so I'll keep plugging away with creating content (which I'm extremely proud of), freelance roles and connecting with people in the real world. For me the latter is the big pay-off - social media can be an amazing tool, opening us up to a new world of people, but you can't replace that real life interaction.

 Wearing | Jacket c/o Barbour International | Sunspel Sweatshirt | Whistles Chinos | Red Wing Boots | CHUP socks | Penfield Beanie | Banana Republic Gloves

We decided to buy a house in the same small town that both myself + Hollie grew up in. But for me, even though it's a 15 minute walk away from where I previously lived it feels like a completely new beginning. 

We finally have the space we've always wanted, and I now have the time to really knuckle down with the much-needed redesign of Buckets & Spades. There has been a transition with how a lot of us consume content online, and many bloggers including myself have seen blog readership dip, which is why made a conscious decision to put more effort into my Instagram account

Sadly, the rise of IG's popularity has also seen many users faking their way to a big following - using underhanded tactics. This has somewhat tarnished a lot of the genuine effort that many of us have put in for years. If anyone is interested in the subject of "Instagram-fraud" then take a look at this experiment I did.

Honesty always prevails, and I have faith in the people and industry to do the right thing. I "follow" people for many different reasons; for inspiration and creativity, or the personality + likeability I like to think that the people behind these accounts do it for the love, no matter how big or small their numbers are.

So with all that said it felt appropriate for the first piece of editorial-style content of 2017 (with Jake Millers on the camera) to be shot in the town where it all began Blackpool. The original idea behind Buckets & Spades was simple to document "the life of a boy who lives by the seaside". A lot has changed since those days, and I'm certainly not "that" boy anymore...

I graduated in Fashion Promotion from UCLan, worked in marketing, did some travelling, got engaged (getting married in June!), turned a hobby into a job, became a full-time freelancer,  bought a house...but we're still in that very same small town in Lancashire where it all began. The blog has progressed into something I'm extremely proud of, and I'm still buzzed that you guys come to us for our own unique style of blogging.

I have a few realistic goals for this year, both personal and professional, but I think I'm going to keep those close to my chest until I feel it's the right time to share them. One that I'm happy to share is the long-overdue redesign of the blog. And boy does it need it, you don't have to tell me twice!

Any big plans for 2017? Got some travel dates planned in?

Photography by Jake Millers.


  1. Love this shoot Mat! Glad the new house went well. Looking forward to seeing what you do with Buckets + Spades in the redesign!

  2. I want to book in a trip to Norway this year. I really like these photos, especially the one under the pier. Good luck with 2017!

  3. Looking forward to seeing the redesign! Although I really love the usual look (and colour) which I think is very memorable and comforting. Will the change be drastic?

    I am so happy to hear that things are going really well for you, and I hope 2017 will be even better!

    Love the pictures too.

    Katrina Sophia

  4. Maria Fallon20:01

    I can't wait to see where you take B&S in 2017, I'm sure you've got some brilliant stuff planned!

    Maria xxx

  5. The tones is these photos are so good.

    That experiment you did was really insightful - these days I'm so wary of Instagram interactions and I'm always questioning whether some comments on my photos are real or fake which is a bit disheartening.

    Anyway, here's to a fruitful 2017!

  6. Gorgeous photos!

    The Leach Life | theleachlife.com

  7. Mat this is such a great view into your life and the progress you've made so far. I expect to keep seeing inspiring work from you!

  8. I think 2017 is going to be fantastic! I need to take notes and look back at my goals as well, it's definitely time to reassess. And not in a way that I leave behind what I've been doing, but perhaps switch things up a bit. Also - really enjoyed reading that article on LinkedIn. It's such a shame; I despise finding accounts with so many 'fake' followers because all that happens is that I end up disappointed in that person for taking the easy way out.

  9. Exciting times! Hope you have a great 2017.

  10. Such a great article my man, loving the watch details.

  11. Hi! Nice post love to read that.

  12. I'm with you on this Mat, and am always getting frustrated when I see people playing the system and getting ahead of everyone else who's doing things the honest way! It completely devalues what others have worked towards.

    Cracking pictures as always, and I hope your settling in well at the new place

    Ta A

  13. Thanks Jane, that's nice to hear. I'm glad we've kept up with reading each other's blog over these few years.

  14. Norway, that would be lovely. Seen a lot on telly and online but I've never actually been to Scandinavia. Would be nice to pencil something in this year.

  15. Thanks Maria, I appreciate you always coming by to say hey.

  16. Thanks Kat! Well, I just think it's the right time to have a big chance, but i'd probably stick with the same colours. I just want to make it more functional, and easier to navigate. I lot of old content that I love just gets lost.

    And thank you, I'm pleased to hear you guys are doing well in Notts and the move was for the better.

  17. Thanks Dillion, I'm happy to show a little more about my life and where I live. Very different from the US, hey?

  18. I appreciate that, Eric, cheers buddy!

  19. Yeah it's hard to tell really isn't it, and i sometimes wonder if something thinks a comment I make it fake depending on my text. Confusing, but you know the regular "likers". Thanks for checking it out.

    And the same to you, Soph!

  20. It's kind of ruining a fun experience, I mean on an everyday level it's not but in terms of potential work and just general honestly it's disheartening.

    Thanks man, I hope to bump into you again soon.

  21. So awesome on the new house! Hoping for many great things for you this year!

  22. Thank you for the kind words Gabi. Reassess and adjust, that's all that's needed unless you're ready for a whole new challenge?

    Yeah there's big issues, it's just not on is it. It's stopping the honest people achiving their full potential.


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