Zakopane the real mountaineering experience

Zakopane is a mountain town located in the south of Poland right at the base of the Tatra mountains.

It truly is a town that embodies the whole mountaineering spirit, everything from the hotels to the restaurants feels like it belongs, each having its own sense of purpose in creating the great atmosphere.

All the building have this wonderful wooden architecture giving the whole town a very rugged feel which defiantly works in its favor as it gives off a great feeling when strolling up and down the streets.

At night the town truly comes to life the streets are lit up, the restaurants and bars are packed and this overwhelmingly lively atmosphere appears out of seemingly nowhere.

Every direction you look has restaurants with roaring fires, bars full of cheery people and street performers making for a incredibly enjoyable time.fullsizerender-4

During the day it clams down quite a bit as most people are up in the actual mountains however there is still plenty to do in town, you will find all your high street shops, and most bars and restaurants are still open.

However when in Zakopane the best thing to do with your day is go up the mountains, you really have two options either hike up it or get a cable car up.

Both are great in their own respect although I think it simply comes down to how much time you have, if you have the whole day I would personally walk up it, but if you only have a few hours then get the cable car.

If you get the cable car I defiantly recommend booking the ticket in advance and going early because it can get seriously busy, if you do not book in advance chance is you will be stuck in a queue, most people who go mid day wait around three hours.

Zakopane really is a unique place to visit and it truly does capture the Polish mountaineering spirit offering great food, drink and experiences.img_8176

Has Auschwitz become to commercialised?

On my recent trip to Poland I paid a visit to Auschwitz and went on the full tour of the grounds. Whilst on this tour I could not shake this strange feeling while me and the other 20 people in my group simply stared at everything.

For the majority of the tour it could easily be forgotten that you were in a concentration camp. It felt like your average museum, just multiple large group of tourists with their headphones on and drink in hand taking photos without a care in the world.

It was extremely bizarre to me, the photo taking I could understand I was one of these people photographing everything, it is just a way to remember a moment. The people I could not understand were the ones who instead just took photos of themselves allowing Auschwitz to fall into the background. It amazed me how many selfies come up when you search the Auschwitz hashtag on social media, it truly baffled me.

I think it was a combination of factors that made me leave Auschwitz with a bad taste in my mouth, I left feeling like I paid for a superficial experience rather then leaving with a greater knowledge and understanding of the events that took place. I do not know if it was because of the shops selling food and books, the excessive picture taking or just seeing all the tour groups that threw me off, but something defiantly did.

That being said while I do feel it was commercialised and a bit odd it was still something I would recommend anyone to see once. Frankly I did to an extent learn more about what happened there.

And I also do understand the purpose of it is so we do not forget what happened there. That is the great part of it, not letting the history die or be swept under the rug, it stands as a constant reminder for us. I love that part of it, I think I just expected the whole experience to feel a lot heavier than it did and that is what felt so odd to me.

Poznan a journey into the Renaissance

Over the summer I had the pleasure of visiting Poznan a city in Poland renowned for its university, Renaissance style architecture, beautiful old market square and its high end shopping atmosphere.

When walking around my initial reaction was a mixture of shock and pleasant surprise due to the amount of street art I saw just strolling around. It was great exploring the side streets and keeping an eye out for all kinds of contemporary art plastered onto walls.img_7675

The old market square was where I spent the bulk of my time in Poznan and with good reason. From the moment I entered it felt like I was on a psychedelic trip everywhere I turned beautiful bright buildings were glaring in front of me.

The architecture in the square is breath taking, it was like stepping into the renaissance, I felt like I was on the set of a play and everything around me was hollow and two dimensional. It did not seem real when looking at it, and that is what gave it such unique feel. The only thing putting a damper on it was the stalls selling tack however I can overlook them as the general aesthetic for the square was regardless incredible.img_7630

In the square you will find the Church of St. Stanislaus which is definitely a must visit if you are there as it is absolutely magnificent. While walking to the church a nearby apartment was blasting music out which could be heard a few streets away. It gave the whole experience at the church a rather absurd feel, nether the less it was enjoyable having the music in the background. It felt quite taboo hearing viciously loud dance music while strolling round a church, it added to the whole experience a sense of uniqueness that cannot be planned.

When walking around the old square I definitely recommend exploring, if you find a quaint side street take a gander, the chance is you will find something worthwhile. That being said if the street you are on looks dingy I would recommend finding somewhere else. Quite a few of the streets were overrun by takeaways which dampened the whole aesthetic leading my journey elsewhere. However with that being said moments after I found a quirky looking street that lead to one of the most unique looking cafes I have ever seen.

After exploring the square I went to the shopping centre in the more modern part of the city which is a paradise for any avid shopper. The shopping centre has everything from mid range brands to high end brands, sport clothing to high fashion clothing everything you want it has it covered.

Thoughts on the Air Jordan 1 Banned

On September 3rd the Air Jordan 1 Banned re released for the first time in three years, bringing back the iconic silhouette in its most famous colour way.

While this shoe was released in a number of retailers  stock was still limited making the shoe just as rare and sought after as past releases this evidently increased the hype in the sneaker community.

I was lucky enough to be able to purchase myself a pair from Nike.com and I have been wearing them for the past two weeks.

The quality of the leather was one of the main topics surrounding this release, this is because when the shattered backboard colour way released for the Air Jordan 1 it set the new standard for quality expected from Jordan brand.

A lot of debate has occurred in the community whether this releases has been up to par, honestly I could not be a hundred percent certain as I do not own the shattered backboards, however I am very pleased with the quality.

The red leather is tumbled and incredibly soft to the touch and truly has a premium feel to it, while the black leather seems average at best there could be improvements made but for the price point it defiantly meets expectations.

My other thought on this shoe is that the comfort is actually rather surprising, they are comfortable, really comfortable especially for a shoe designed in 1985.

I have been on my feet all day in them twice now and I have loved the comfort, I am accustomed to running trainers such as the Adidas Ultra Boosts which prides itself on their comfort and honestly these Jordan 1’s did not disappoint.

My feet did not ache at the end of either of these long days, the support they give around the ankle feels great and the Nike Air certainly makes them feel light and responsive when walking.

An added point is they fit rather wide which for me is a blessing as it gave me a greater support which a lot of narrow shoes do not offer.

A further side note is that I love how this release of the shoe has attempted to stay as close to the 1985 release as possible.

Little details such as having the original higher cut of the shoe, the white insole, the trademark logo on the Nike Air and the sample stamp on the inside have made this shoe feel all the more special.

This has been may favourite shoe for some time now and for good reason, they have been a staple in both the sneaker and street wear community.

The shoe has a lot of history surrounding it in both in fashion and sport they have remained truly timeless and I would recommend them to anyone.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child initial thoughts (Spoiler Free)

After finishing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last night I could not help but share my initial thoughts on the continuation to the much beloved Harry Potter series.

After waiting eleven years to find out what has happened to the characters and where their story has taken them I have to say I was quite satisfied. This is the first time I have read a book in one solid sitting due to not being able to put the book down.

To Potter fans the book is addictive like a drug. Due to the play format the book is written in it becomes a rather a light read, you can easily race through the book. Which to me was why it was so addictive, once you truly start going the pacing of the story travels rather fast which motivates you to continue reading as the end quickly approaches.

While I loved the book and enjoyed racing through the story it becomes the books biggest negative. This play format does not allow for truly captivating story telling as a traditional novel would.

What you gain in quick story that satisfies a quench for any new content from this series, you in return lose so much more. In this format a lot of the charters become two dimensional and do not have the development they deserve. Existing characters make decisions that seem rather obscure and new characters are simply shrouded in a cloud of mystery as they are simply thrown at us with little to no actual personality.

Characters seem to be plot devises that are simply present to push the story along rather then being the beloved heroes we once fell in love with.

Too much is crammed into a short story and at times it feels somewhat disjointed. It poses the question would I have enjoyed this book if it was completely new and did not take place in a series very close to my heart? Would I have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did?

The honest answer is probably no, I would have felt rather lost. However to me this is not a book you read to go on a thrilling new adventure. It is simply fan service and I am okay with that. Due to the passion the past Harry Potter books have left within me any sort of new material becomes elevated.

I enjoyed the book so much more then any other book I have read recently, even if the writing is somewhat lacklustre it gives me everything I wanted. It gives me closure. The book has filled me in on what our beloved characters are doing and that is all a needed.

Because of that it was a brilliant read that I would only recommend to fans of the series, I did love reading it however I cannot turn a blind eye to its flaws. But I can accept them and still love it regardless.

Are magazines taking over coffee table book culture?

With the rise of popularity in eBooks, physical books are becoming increasingly scarce and this is having an effect on coffee table book culture.

Ten years ago having a interesting selection of books located on your coffee table was a must for any stylish home. It gave visitors an insight into your interests and acted as a way to show off how quirky and interesting you are.

However now with the popularity of tablets you see less and less people buying actual physical books, which has caused a hit in the market and lead to less actual noteworthy books to be printed.

However the culture is not gone it is in fact being replaced by magazines. Now I am not talking about the tacky gossip magazines you pick up at your local supermarket, instead I mean the high end artsy magazines that come with a premium feel in design and quality.

These magazines are becoming the trendy alternative to books and are the new way to display your interests in paper format. Especially now that you can find these premium style magazines for almost any hobby. You can find them for fashion, music, sports, cooking and art, if you have a hobby the chance is there is a great stylish magazine for it.

Although I must say book culture is not completely dead it is just on the decline and being shadowed in the presence of these magazines. Really it is still easy to find great artsy and collectable books. I just believe that their place is being moved now to shelves rather than being displayed on a coffee table.

Summer essentials part 2

So here it is part two of my summer essentials, I think we all know you cannot be too prepared so here are a few more things you need to have.

The first things on this list are vests, for me personally the hot weather is unbearable but I am not the kind of guy to walk around with his shirt off everywhere. There is a time and a place to lose your top and going for a quick bite to eat in town is not one of those occasions. What is the next best thing, vests, you can still show of those sick guns you have been working on for the past six months and feel nice a cool while still keeping all of your dignity.

As to the kind of vests I would recommend there are a few. Personally I am a big fan of sporty vests the ones I own are some Adidas basket ball vests which are great because the material is just so light a breathable it makes summer somewhat bearable. The second sporty vest I own is a Nike vest I got from Urban Outfitters which just looks nice and basic, simple colours and a well placed logo makes it easy to style. The other styles I own are a just a basic black tank top I got from H&M, the cut of it is a little lower and stringier then your average tank top which makes it more breathable. And I also have some muscle tops which are just t-shirts with the sleeves cut off, thet have raw hems which gives them a nice edgy look.

The second essential I have on this list are sunglasses, we all know how frustrating it is when you are out sight seeing and every direction you look you are being blinded. Well I have the solution. Sunglasses. Not only are they life savers, but they also look dam stylish. It is a fact that everyone looks 33% more attractive while wearing sunglasses.

Now as for what style sunglasses my personal favourite style is the Club master, I think they look great and are just a little different in comparison to a lot of the sunglasses people wear. The Wayfarer style is also a good choice or you could also go for Aviators however I personally think Aviators look kind of generic and played out. There is a very thin line when wearing them between looking like a complete bad ass and a complete tool they really do have to fit your face just right. The sunglasses I own are just some £2 Club masters I got at Primark. Honestly I either break or lose my sunglasses every summer so for me it is not worth investing in a decent pair however if I was going to I would just go for the classic Raybans.

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Now the last essential on my list is a pair of summer appropriate trainers. Big clunky shoes which may have been perfect during the winter lose their place in summer, they just do not integrate into the summer style. For this reason getting some sweet summer shoes is a must. Now what do I mean by sweet summer shoes, I mean something that looks great with shorts and are comfortable as you are usually always doing something during summer.

For me personally the two pairs I will be wearing the most are firstly my Stan Smiths, white shoes are the definition of summer and these are no exception. Some great alternatives would be some Common Projects, Air Force 1’s or some Old Skools. Now the second pair I will be rocking a whole bunch are my woven Roshes. Now while Roshes are not my favourite these are so breathable I love them. Really any runner is perfect for summer they are comfy and stylish Asics, Puma, Adidas, Nike and Reebok all make some great runners that are perfect for summer and that wont break the bank.

I hope this list has been helpful and given you some ideas for what you will need for summer.

Summer essentials part 1

Summer is finally here and with it comes the usual unbearably hot weather, so I thought I would compile a list of my summer essentials. These are the things I personally love to have during summer as in these hotter months it helps to be prepared.

The first thing is a cap this is undoubtedly a must have for the summer months, I love wearing a hat during summer it has some great benefits. Hats block out the sun and they can be absolute life savers as they are extremely easy to throw on. It is hot and humid and most hairstyles do not hold up well through a hot summers day so instead of worrying about that just put a hat on and you are set.

Now my personal preference is a six panel cap also known as the dad hat, these have been in style for a while now and I personally love them.  They just look a lot more sleek then a snap/strap back or camp cap. Its overall aesthetic is a lot smaller and streamlined and really fits in perfectly with the current trends of minimalist fashion.

Now the two six panels I have is a Ralph Lauren Polo one I got from House of Fraser it is plain black with a red logo and goes with any outfit. I have worn the absolute hell out of this hat and it shows in its unique fading’s that have developed over time, which I like it gives it some character. If you are only going to get one hat this summer I would highly recommend one of these. They look classic and come in so many colours, you will defiantly find the perfect one.IMG_6622

Now the second hat I have I went a little more adventurous with it is the MKI Wool Peak Baseball Cap by MKI Miyuki-Zoku which I got at End Clothing. It is a charcoal coloured hat that features the MKI Miyuki-Zoku branding it is all very basic like the Ralph Lauren cap however what caught my eye is that it was made out of wool giving it a very unique appearance which I found very appealing. Now my biggest reserve when purchasing this hat was that the wool would make it unbearably hot when wearing it in the summer. However after wearing it quite a few times the difference in temperature if anything is minuscule my head did not feel any hotter in it than any other hat.IMG_6624

The second thing you need for the summer are some comfortable shorts, by this I mean either some athletic shorts or some jogger shorts. For me when it comes to shorts I am not the biggest fan of chino shorts for day to day wear as I prefer to dress them up. And denim shorts can get a little uncomfortable for me when the temperature is very hot so athletic shorts fit this gap perfectly, they are incredible for days that have a lot of activities. Also to me the comfy slouchy aesthetic looks great for the summer as well as being very practical.

Now the comfy shorts I own are some Adidas exercise shorts, I am not a 100% certain what the exact name is but you can find a lot of similar models on their website or in store. I own a black and navy pair and they go great with a pair of runners and a plain t-shirt. The only down fall they have is the lack of pockets, if you do wear these on a day out you have to bring a bag to store you are phone, keys, ect.

However jogger shorts fix this problem, the ones I own are a grey and charcoal Champion sweat shorts which I found at Tkmaxx. But you can find jogger shorts in literally every high street store. They are perfect for summer as they are extremely comfortable and have pockets, the only downside is that they are thicker than the Adidas shorts although it does not make too much of a difference.

Now while I said denim shorts do get uncomfortable on long day they are still a necessity and that is why they are my third summer essential. While I would love to spend every day in comfortable athletic shorts sometimes you cannot, occasionally you have to wear slightly nicer shorts. They are perfect for day trips where it is too hot for jeans but you want a similar style, they pair great with an oversized t-shirt and pair of Adidas Stan Smiths or Old Skool Vans.

The two pairs I own are both from Primark but you can find alternative again literally anywhere. I have a plain black pair which match with anything, and a light blue distressed pair which I got last year. However I am still debating whether I like them I am not sure yet I am going to have to wear them a few times before I have a verdict.

I hope this will help you through the upcoming months of summer, I will be posting a part two very soon with some more of my essentials.

Hidden clothing shops in Huddersfield

After having spent the last two years studying in Huddersfield, I have defiantly had more than enough time to find some great clothing shops that differ from your regular high street stores.

For such a small town Huddersfield is definitely not lacking great shops. If you keep your eyes peeled you are sure to find some of the best shops for streetwear in the country.

Skating culture is relatively big in Huddersfield, meaning you do not have to look too hard to find some of the hottest brands like Supreme and Palace. Walk round the town centre and within minutes you will see some of the hottest pieces in fashion.

The first shop you have to visit is A Shop Called Wood located in Westgate, it was established in 2004 and has been gaining popularity on the underground for the last 12 years.

It is a fantastic shop for basic pieces, you can find all your staple brands here, as well as some new ones you have never heard of that you will instantly fall in love with.

You will find the classic brands like Reigning Champ, Stussy, Cheap Monday, Adidas, Nike and Jordan as well as smaller less known brands like Iuter, Ylati, Brixtol and Milkcrate. Taran Rayt the store Director said “When I look for brands I look for exclusivity and price, but most importantly it has to fit the shop”.

A Shop Called Wood has always had a close relationship with their customers, you will always be able to have a chat and get advice from whoever is working at the time. Taran Rayt also said “I think customer interaction is a major play, if you don’t talk you don’t sell”.

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Taran Rayt the store director of A Shop Called Wood inside the store.

The second store you must visit if in Huddersfield is right around the corner from A Shop Called Wood, it is the Endemic Skate Store located on Station St.

This is an independently owned skate shop that was established in 2006, here you will find all you classic skating brands that have gained mass popularity such as Palace, Vans and Independent.

Alongside the main brands they carry you will also find their own clothing brand Endemic and some smaller lesser known brands, one thing is for sure; this shop carries some of the best design I have seen in a while.

Something Endemic does right is having a hefty amount of stock for brands like Palace that always sell out online, but you do not have to worry as Endemic always carries a surplus of the latest season.

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An inside look of the Endemic Skate Shop

The last store you have to visit when in Huddersfield is SOI77 this small boutique can be found in the Imperial Arcade, SOI77 was opened in 2005 and has been a staple in Huddersfield’s underground fashion scene ever since.

SOI77 really is just a well-rounded store, the shop is the smallest out of the three however you will still undoubtedly find some great pieces there.

While being a small store it manages to pack a hell of a lot variety so rest assured if you visit there will be plenty to see.

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An inside look of SOI77

Hopefully this list has given people unfamiliar with Huddersfield a reason to visit as the small town has plenty to offer and many more hidden gems waiting to be found.

A day trip to York

Recently I had the pleasure of having a day out in York, and I must say it is a city that has so much to offer I could not help but write about my experience.

From the moment we stepped foot off the train we were caught in the in a frantic rush of slightly intoxicated individuals making their way to the races.

However after walking for a few minutes and making our way towards the centre the masses seemed to thin out and we could truly start to appreciate everything York had to offer.

Within five minutes of leaving the station the architecture of the city truly began to shine and I was honestly stuck in a state of awe, the long winding roads , Gothic houses and incredible cafes and pubs scattered in between really were a sight to behold.IMG_6488

Upon getting to the city centre I was instantly taking aback by the pungent smell emanating from the food market that was being held that weekend. The smell of kebabs, hog roasts and burgers filled the air drawing me in like a Siren drawing in a ship.

I could not recommend visiting this market enough, I was lucky enough to be there the weekend the Taster Festival was taking place and I must say with the amount of free samples there was no need to get lunch.

Everywhere you look there is something different to try whether it is chorizo, brownie, ravioli, coffee, hot sauce or dipping oils the variety is immense. It is something that really needs to be experienced because writing about it does not do it the justice it deserves.Shop2

Following the market we headed into the main strip of the city, there is a good selection of shops although I would really recommend York as a day out rather then a place for a shopping trip.

While making our way through the streets we stumbled upon Whitewall Galleries which was holding and exhibition for the artist Tim Steward. The art in the window caught our eyes, but in reality the free champagne was the overwhelming factor that drew us in.

Everywhere you looked your eyes were being drawn to these paintings. The aggressive lines and monochromatic colour scheme the artist used really worked perfectly to captured the the essence of the buildings and people he was painting.

I cannot praise the gallery enough, I came for the drink and I stayed for the art. The exhibition was great the art was unique, it was a short and to the point exhibition and the staff were all extremely friendly and passionate which made for a great experience.IMG_6389.JPG

After the gallery we explored the side streets which visually are stunning they look so traditional. They make a welcomed change from the typical high street, you feel like you have been transported to Diagon Alley.IMG_6489.JPG

Upon exiting the alley we found ourselves at York Minster and I cannot stress enough that if you are in York you have to go even if it is for a quick look at the outside. It really is the epitome of English Gothic architecture that captures you the moment you lay eyes on it.IMG_6387.JPG

After we strolled down a few more streets and took another look at the market we headed to the Jorvik centre, unfortunately it is undergoing renovations however when it reopens I cannot wait to have a look around as it is a fond childhood memory.

This gave a brief summary of the day, but do not let this short post fool you York has so much to offer. A second trip is already being planned and I cannot wait to see what we stumble upon next time.