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Stylish Hardware by Melon Optics

“We work hard and we like to ride hard, so our equipment always takes a beating.”

Melon Optics gear demonstrates excellent craftsmanship cleverly combined with simple, refined design. For those of us who don’t want to forgo the action in the name of style, this is a brand that speaks volumes.

From goggles, to sunglasses for daily wear, to pretty cool apparel basics, you want to get your hands on anything with their trademark. Not to mention they're totally affordable. We urge you to have a peek at their website - if not for shopping, at least for their video-led blog entries, which will leave you day-dreaming about your next extreme adventure.

Stand-out pieces include their customisable classic design the LAYBACK and the TRIPPER from the premium collection… *swoon*

THE TRIPPER

Words by: Nicole

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Time to be Stupid ASC

Wearing their hearts on their sleeves the duo behind Stupid ASC have created a label worth noting. For Harvey and Cat, if you’re not one to take life too seriously, you’re pretty much part of the gang.

Although the brand was born in Les Deux Alpes, a small town high in the mountains, it aims to capture the imagination of “every like-minded idiot around the planet, from the Alpes, to the sea, to the cities and beyond.”

Stupid ASC The Icon Sweatshirt

Mirroring the unwritten lifestyle rules of the extreme sport maverick, Stupid ASC blends snow and surf functionality with street wear influences. The result is a range of clothing that is durable, comfortable and timeless – something everyone with a seasonal hobby or profession undoubtedly needs.

Their AW14 collection combines ski resort living with touches of modern utilitarian design, engineered for any environment. Their signature piece has to be their exclusive piste-map camo sweatshirt, featuring a selection of their favourite Alpine resorts and snowboarding spots remixed into a digital sublimated print. We highly recommend getting your hands on one.

Stupid ASC The Icon Sweatshirt

Other favourite picks include the fold-up white camo t-shirt – an epic addition to your basics wardrobe – and the burgundy riding shirt.

So if you have the confident fearlessness to jump headlong 100% into everything, you probably deserve to have Stupid ASC clothing on you at all times.

(It's worth noting they have a small selection for women on their website, too!)

 

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Dirty Velvet: A weird and wonderful world

It's not often that solid fashion meets sustainability. And because it's a rare combination, when it does occur it's definitely something worth noting.

"You Are Here"

 

This is why Dirty Velvet caught our attention -  a design collective focused on producing high quality clothing with designs that offer a creatively different perspective to the mainstream, created using both ecologically and socially sustainable methods.

Keyhole T

They've been producing original graphics since 2006 that "combine strong and thought provoking imagery to reflect their slightly twisted view of the world."

"Godzilla"

We strongly suggest you check them out. Any company that can boast originality in their design whilst being kind to the environment gets out vote. (Besides, Usain Bolt digs the brand, and he's a pretty cool dude.)

It's a menswear brand, but we're definitely getting our hands on any one of the t-shirts - they would look pretty slick with a pair of skinnies for a laid back look.

Peace out! LW

 

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Mr. Eames – Insomnia

It was one of those nights. Toss the covers off one leg. Turn to the left, unable to get comfortable. Turn to the right. No difference. I lay on my back closely listening to the fan above the bed, its blades making their whooshing sound, which I normally find mind-numbing and soothing, the perfect remedy for a noisy brain. But tonight it’s distracting and inefficient.

Ordinarily I’d be K.O’d after a long day at the office followed by one too many ciders in the evening summer sun. But sleep was determined to evade me so I reached for my phone. When all else fails, turn to the internet for light-hearted entertainment in the slow-ticking hours of the morning.

I was in the middle of typing ‘grumpy cat memes’ into Google when the phone vibrated. It startled me and dropped it on the bridge of my nose.

Ouch.

Scrambling to sit up and see who the hell had the audacity to call me at 3 am on a Tuesday, I saw his name flashing on the screen. I fumbled and nearly dropped it again but managed to answer in one quick swipe, just as I was about to miss it.

I half-exhaled, half-spoke a ‘hello’ into the receiver.

“I thought you’d be in a comatose state at this hour,” he said. His voice poured into my ears, husky and warm, immediately rescuing me from the shackles of insomnia.

Eames,” I said, trying to sound as composed and nonchalant as I possibly could. “You’ve been M.I.A for too long.”

He chuckled. “I’ve been,” long pause, “busy.”

“Busy?” Don’t pry, I had to remind myself. It was relatively easy not to ask too many questions because his elusive, mysterious persona was part of the appeal.  Our restraint from wanting to completely unravel this bizarre being is probably the only reason we’ve been able to keep in touch with him. I use that term loosely because keeping contact was completely on his terms and came as sporadically as a panda bear’s desire to procreate. We didn’t mind - some of the most enlightening experiences we’ve ever had have been thanks to him in one way or another, so we just let it be.

“Story for another day, though. Listen, I’d like some company for my next trip. I have two round trip tickets for you both.”

My cheeks flushed, my face was hot, I pounced out of bed and fist pumped the air. When I managed to compose myself, I realised how lucky I was that Eames isn’t partial to communicating via Skype. “Um, well I’ll have to see if I can get the time off work. And I have no idea if H is free. And more importantly, where the hell are you thinking of shipping us to? And how did you get the money?”

Don’t pry. Oops. I was getting too worked up.

He laughed whole-heartedly. “I called in some favours. As to where we’re going, well, you’ll find out when you get my email tomorrow. Are you in or are you out?”

Fuck it. “I’m in. I’ll call H in the morning.”

I switched on my fairy lights, put in my head phones in and played Buena Vista Social Club on repeat. Eames introduced me to Cuban music with the promise that once day we'd be sipping rum listening to the real deal.

God knows what I just got us into. Then I thought, why do I still have fairy lights?

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Fat Freddy’s Drop album launch

Fat Freddy's Drop

“Let's start from just over halfway through the third album by Fat Freddy's Drop. It's the point where it goes beautifully bonkers, and showcases the band as not only the kings of laid-back and lilting epics but brain-rattling beat and soul mantras.” This is an excerpt of a review of Blackbird in the New Zealand Herald which I think does a pretty good job in describing Fat Freddy’s Drop latest album.

A long-time fan, I am absolutely thrilled that I got to go to the launch on Wednesday, which was live streamed worldwide from the Village Underground in Shoreditch. It was everything I expected – a solid two hours of their new stuff plus a couple of classics thrown in there for good measure, like The Raft and Roady. My absolute favourites from the new album have to be Blackbird, Clean the House and Bones. The gig had a more mellow kind of vibe than I was used to; I've seen them in Bristol and at Bestival where they got their raw, energetic skank kicks going full throttle. This didn't detract from their perfomance because their beautifully intricate sounds are enough to capture the attention of even the most wandering, ADHD-stricken minds. Their sound is more captivating and more self-assured than ever, but still keeping that vintage Fat Freddy’s style.

I love seeing them live, not only because they’re musically tight every time, without fail, but also because they’re actually entertaining to watch. Going to gigs these days can sometimes be SO boring, unless you’re going to see a huge act where it’s half about the music and half about the multi-million pound show. But with Fat Freddy’s you get vocalist Joe Dukie who is an absolute legend and gets so transfixed and into the music he often looks like a he’s on the best, more soulful trip of his life; then there’s Tony Chang on the trumpet, always looking slick, and next to him is Joe Lindsay aka Hopepa on the trombone dancing like a maniac, sweating his balls off in a shiny tracksuit jacket.

If you missed the launch but want to see them, they’ll be back in October at the Brixton Academy. I’m there.

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Best (or worst) pick up lines ever

FlirtingEcard

Struggling to find new ways to hit on strangers? We're here to help.

We recently overheard a boozy encounter between a man and a woman at a blues bar on Kingley Street.  Said man was in awe of said woman's beauty.  But he was no ordinary man.  Here we present to you nine of the best (or worst - you decide) pick up lines that he laid on her that night.

A true gent.  A genius wordsmith.

1. "Dance with me and I'll buy you a rainbow."

2. "I will kill and barbecue a dinosaur to be with you, if they weren't extinct."

3. "I will wrestle a sect of badgers and win.  For you."

4. "Maybe we can go to a nice sandwich place and have a nice sandwich."

5. "...and see the hippopotamus and see the tiger feed on its prey.  Not the proper zoo experience."

6. "And we could go back to mine and have a cheese toastie."

7. "I will buy you a ship."

8. "We will have kids and they will be taller than average."

9. "I would kill two baby pandas then we could go for a pizza.  Unless there's no pizza then let the pandas live.  It's my way or the highway."

Please note: these actually came out of someone's mouth in an effort to woo some one else.

Disclaimer: use at your discretion.

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Darwin Deez – You Can’t Be My Girl

If you have post-Bank Holiday blues, fret not - Mr. Eames is here to save you with refreshing new beats that will keep you in high spirits through the rest of the week.

New York indie Band Darwin Deez, fronted by headband rocking Darwin Smith bring the good feels and fuzzy guitars out in force for the track 'You Can't Be My Girl'. Beck-inspired and with a stock video parody to boot, you can't help but feel the good times, even if Darwin is having a bad time trying to get the girls.

Mr. Eames

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Ghost Loft – Seconds

LA's Danny Choi (AKA Ghost Loft) makes the kind of grooves that perfectly suit the end of a hard night's summer partying in the city as the sun's about to come up. Ghost Loft's bubbling, slow grooves are the essential cure for any post clubbing blues this summer.

Mr. Eames

Who is Mr. Eames? Find out about this elusive character here

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Mike Mitchell – A master of Lowbrow

Nicholas Cage

I have been raving about Mike Mitchell's Tumblr of Amazing Things for about a month now. I turn to it at the end of a long day when I need a pick-me-up - it's very entertaining. A couple of weeks ago he shared a post about an art student’s hilarious final project aimed at mocking his art teacher who told him to “take art more seriously.”

I initially read about Mitchell in Shortlist Magazine and I've become a huge fan of his work ever since. He has a way of capturing that unapologetic dark sensibility of pop surrealism. He is a master of the Lowbrow art movement and a highly skilled artist.

Mitchell’s latest exhibition called The Portrait Show, currently on display in Austin, Texas, is a brilliant portrait collection of iconic characters from cult classics. It includes the likes of Ryan Gosling in Drive, Arnie as The Terminator and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained. You can check out the whole thing on his website.

Out of all his work, my personal favourite is the matrix of all the Adventure Time characters, particularly the ones of LSP and Party Pat.

n2

N.B. If you’ve never watched Adventure Time, for the love of all that is holy to you, tune into Cartoon Network immediately and find an episode. It’s the best.

 

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City and Colour – Silver & Gold

When he's not bursting eardrums in the hardcore group Alexisonfire, singer-songwriter Dallas Green (AKA City and Colour) goes to the opposite end of the spectrum with melancholic folk ballads that make lying in a field staring at up at the clouds feel like a perfectly reasonable way to spend a day.

Mr. Eames

Who is Mr. Eames? Find out about this elusive character here

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Alpine – Gasoline

The video may well be full of snow, log cabins and warm fires but make no mistake – this is the perfect tune to play at any beach party or back yard barbecue. This six-piece band from down under are masters at the kind of dreamy indie-pop that will be filling up party playlists this summer.

Happy Friday people! Let the long weekend begin.

Mr. Eames

Who is Mr. Eames? Find out about this elusive character here

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Bearcubs – Home

Spring is finally here and although the weather doesn't seem to be getting any warmer, I've taken the time to make you a little summer jam teaser playlist this week as it’s Bank Holiday on Monday to help you daydream about trips to the beach and barbecues under the stars.

First up is Bearcubs.

The London-based producer has created a track that can make you feel like you're driving to the beach no matter where you are. Seagulls and beats = good summer vibes! This is 'Home.'

Mr. Eames

Who is Mr. Eames? Find out about this elusive character here

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A completely biased review of the Mrs. Carter Tour

mrs carter show

I'm currently listening to "I Care" by Beyoncé on full blast. In my head, there's some ridiculous scenario playing out where I'm either singing it with her in front of thousands of screaming fans or I'm at my local pub and suddenly I get handed a microphone and as if by magic I'm belting the lyrics out, note for note, along with the electric guitar - just like Queen B.

I seriously love her, guys. I'm completely unapologetic about the fact that I look up to her as a woman, admire her as an artist and for her relentless aspiration to be the best. She is the biggest, most fabulous super star of my generation and no one comes close to matching her calibre. This notion, by the way, is arguable but I'm not putting it up for discussion. So this is why I am hugely indebted to my dear friend for getting me a ticket to the Mrs. Cater Tour at the O2 in London recently. I don't know what black magic she had to pull to get them, but she did and one had my name on it.

Now, the concert. There have been mixed reviews, some praising it for Beyoncé's compelling vocals and choreography; some slating "her booty-shaking, self-assertion" because well, they're haters (yes, I'm judging you Simon Price from the Telegraph). This post biased because what follows is certainly not a balanced view. In the two hours I was there amidst a largely female crowd who knew pretty much every word to every song, I was left speechless and in complete awe tune after tune. Opening with her unmistakable girl-power anthem, Run the World (Girls), Beyonce was enthralling to watch from the get go and her all-girl dance crew and all-girl band kicked ass. Yes, it was a little weird that she said something along the lines of "I can see the hive is full tonight," implying that we're like her little bee workers, which I'm guessing is the kind of comment that sparked criticism over her self-adulation. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the vibes of "ancient goddess worship ceremony" because, after all, that's what we were there for and it's really no different than the god-like status we give to many music legends. A big concert like that is about the whole experience, not only about the music and not only about the performance - it should marry up the two to make an unforgettable show.

In a nutshell, I was expecting an amazing night and she delivered the goods. That woman can seriously sing her heart out. And dance her ass off. Particular props need to be given to Les Twins (her only two male dancers on tour with her). They were insane! Watch them here.

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Recommended Reading: Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series

This Norwegian author is, without a doubt, in a league of his own.

jo nesbo

Not only is Jo Nesbo a master at writing crime novels, he is also one of Norways biggest rock stars, a retired stockborker and was even a football player once.

We’ve already devoured four of his books based on Inspector Harry Hole and much to our delight, the first instalment of the series, “The Bat” has finally been translated into English!

If you fancy reading a a series that will have your pulse racing from start to finish, book after book, we suggest you pick up a copy of any of his novels. For the ultimate experience and to truly delve into and immerse yourself in Harry Hole's world - start from the beginning.

Listen his BBC Radio 4 interview here.

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A white, giant treat.

White Giant EP Artwork

We don't know much about this four-piece band (yet) but what we do know is that alternative indie group White Giant has been kicking up a storm in the Midlands since they got together late last year. With their energetic, fearless sound and stage presence, these boys have taken it upon themselves to create some pretty banging music for us to enjoy.

We'll have more on them in the near future - once we get the chance to go to Leicester, hit up some of their gigs and have a chat with them.

And so, without further ado, here's a link to their bandcamp page where you can download their self-titled EP (and you can name your price for it!)

http://whitegiant.bandcamp.com/

Enjoy!

 

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