1 Apr 2018

Why We Should Thrift

"Thrifting: When one visits several different thrift shops, second-hand shops, and vintage clothing stores in the hopes of buying several items of cheap and unusual clothing and other items"

We all remember a few years back when Macklemore released that song about raiding the thrift shop (here's my best impression of him in that faux fur coat), but thrifting has been happening way before Macklemore burst onto the scene. 

The benefits to shopping in thrift/charity/vintage shops are incredibly important to the promotion of ethical fashion as well as ethical employment, the environment and so many other things. The majority of clothes found in these kinds of stores have been spared being banished to the landfill and have been given a second chance of finding a loving home. Buying second hand also ensures you're lowering the emissions caused by the transportation of clothing. Admittedly the damage is done as the clothes have already been transported but you will have removed yourself from the supply and demand chain, every little helps right?! 

I don't mean to sound like a proper hipster but the main appeal to thrifting for me is the chance of finding unique items that nobody else will have. Shopping on the high street means you're bound to see other people with the same items as they're usually mass produced and quickly turned over in the larger retailers. The clobber you find in thrift shops is a lot more diverse, there's usually only one of each item (which can be a bad thing if you don't buy it there and then!) 

The turnover of clothes (especially in charity shops) means it's pretty much a different shopping experience every time you visit a store. Because these stores rely on donations there's no real structure to new arrivals so you could visit a store at 3pm and find nothing, and by 5pm they may have your dream wardrobe if somebody has delivered a lovely bagful of clothes. 

Fashion is known to be quite cyclical, meaning everything comes back into fashion eventually. Who'd have thought I'd be wearing with legged trousers 5 years ago? Who would have guessed tie dye would come back into fashion into 2011/2012? The best thing about fashion being so cyclical is you could find a genuine vintage designer item from when it was in fashion the first time! I picked up a pair of straight legged Savile Row trousers this weekend along with the Dickies trousers and New York tee I'm wearing above. The sweater was bought vintage about 6 years ago along with the Adidas jacket which has served me very very well. 

Finally and most importantly for an introverted hermit like me, the better thrift shops and usually found outside of the city centre which means you don't have to deal with crowds and queues. Here are a few tips on getting the best out of your thrift experience.

  • Go to areas where rich people live
  • Do your research. Check the labels on the garments and do a quick Google search, a lot of the clothes will be from the high street and rubbish quality.
  • Take a bag with you. You never know, you may hit the thrift jackpot!
  • Try the clothes on. It goes without saying really but obviously charity shops don't do refunds so try before you buy. 
  • Be thorough when shopping. With everything being pre owned and pre worn, there may be stains, rips, cracking. 
  • If you can't get out, shop online! Ebay, Depop, Facebook groups, Vinted. There's so many options.
Show me your thrift finds, I'd love to see them! 


3 Mar 2018

Snowmageddon 2018

"We'll talk about this day in 50 years when we meet for a coffee in Montenegro"

Isn't it so typically British to have a few days of snow and name it "Snowmageddon?" After walking to work on Thursday I was subsequently sent home within an hour and a half and I was resigned to laying low and waiting for Storm Emma to pass the South of Wales. After an hour of being at home I'd gotten bored so I ventured into Cardiff city centre to follow my regular ritual of drinking coffee and spending a small fortune in Lush. By chance I bumped into my friend Mike (check his website out) and we made a plan to venture out on Friday with our cameras to see if we could cook up some photographical magic. Spoiler alert: we did!

Fast forward to Friday and all trains are cancelled! Not a problem for me as I literally walk everywhere anyway but walking through snow is deceivingly treacherous. As I met Mike, a beautiful Rottweiler came running past and as you do with all good boys, I gave his noggin a little rub. I think he liked me because he proceeded to try and shag my leg but luckily it seemed like a playful hump and not a "I'm going to impregnate you" hump. 

As we walked through the city centre it was empty. Barely any people were around and most shops were closed so we decided to wander around and see what the snow had in store for us. 

We headed to the car park where we've had many successful shoots which looks over the back of a few pubs and offices, and the other side faces the Millennium Stadium. I think it was one of the best decisions we've made because seeing the city from a high level covered in snow was a sight to behold. It's crazy how a few flakes of snow can change your perspective of places you visit so frequently. 

After soaking in some breathtaking views we swung by one of the best coffee shops in the city, which was open to give us our caffeine fix. Corner Coffee is based in High Street Arcade which somehow managed to get caked in snow. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, the whole arcade was covered in untouched snow and made for some pretty amazing photos. 

As a resident of Cardiff for the last 26 years, I should be ashamed that I've never visited Cardiff Castle before. However I think it was worth the wait as the lovely staff welcomed us in for free and allowed us to take some snaps. I don't think I will ever visit again unless it's snowing because it will never look as beautiful as this! 

After basking in the castle's glory we made the executive decision to walk to Cardiff Bay. On a normal day it's about a 20 minute walk but we wanted to take the scenic route which takes you down a little gully with a river and cute bridges.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise the river had frozen over and there were a few daring pigeons walking across the surface, testing the rivers resolve. I would hate to be a pigeon in a snow storm!

Anyway as we got to Cardiff Bay it started to get a lot heavier. We thought it would be a good idea to find refuge and where better to hide than Wagamama? A tofu curry warmed up my innards and it was time to get back on the road. 

After a long ass day well spent snapping over 1000 photos, drinking multiple coffees and constant quips of "this snow is so deep, man" we decided to call it a day and blend back in with society by going back to our homes. I can honestly tell you there is no better feeling in the world than getting home from a snowy day, running a hot bath and laying there until you turn into a prune. 

Until next time, peace!


22 Jan 2018

20 Facts About The Blogger

After seeing the popularity of '5 Facts About Yourself' on Instagram, the homeboy Davey Granger set me the challenge of doing 20 facts about the blogger on my blog so here they are! 

1. I’m the human equivalent to a lone wolf. I live by myself, I always get coffee by myself, I pretty much do everything by myself. I have no idea why but it’s just the way I am! 

2. I’m an indie kid at heart. These days all of the new music I listen to is rap/hip hop but music from The Maccabees, The Smiths, The Libertines etc will always have a place in my heart.

3. Not many of my internet friends know that I’m a massive football fan. I spent most of my youth on the terraces at Cardiff City getting drunk, wearing Gazelles and a Harrington jacket on cold Tuesday nights. 

4. I’m not much of a TV watcher at all. I’ve never watched Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad or most of the ‘classics.’ I do bloody love Stranger Things though.

5. I’m a pretty anxious person, to the point where I have thrown up a few times because of nerves getting the better of me. How fun?! 

6. I’ve seen Tyler, The Creator live 6 times and plan on adding to that a lot more. I’ve been to Amsterdam, Reading Festival, London and Bristol so far for his shows. 

7. I only went ‘public’ with blogging about two years ago. I’ve had blogs for at least 5 years but I was too shy to let people know what I was doing. That was until I knew there was a whole community to interact with! 

8. I worked in retail for 7 years of my life. Jobs included Topman & Vivienne Westwood but that life just isn’t for me. I fully commend people who can put up with the mental strain. 

9. My favourite colour changes on a stupidly regularly basis. At the moment it’s pastel pink but I’m sure that will change in 3 hours.

10. I once went through a phase where I was obsessed with chameleons. I would spend hours on end just looking at photos on Google and it was the weirdest time of my life.

11. I went to university and lasted less than six months. I was meant to be the brains but university just wasn’t my calling. I studied computing and I honestly have no idea how/why I got onto that course. I don’t even know what RAM means. 

12. Podcasts are my coping mechanism. If I’m having a bad day I always throw on one of the same podcasts I’ve listened to at least 30 times but I never get bored of them. Podcast recommendations are welcome by the way. 

13. I absolutely despise exercise, but I recently signed up for a gym. The only way to get myself fit was to sign up at a place with a jacuzzi so I can reward myself after I break one drip of sweat. 

14. Millionaire by Kelis is my favourite song of all time. Don’t try and tell me anything else is better coz it isn’t. 

15. I’ve never fully recovered since Netflix stopped showing The Office U.S. 

16. I was ready for fight everyone at Channel 4 if Stacey won Bake Off last year. 

17. I haven’t been on a ‘sunny’ holiday since 2012 and it’s taking its toll on me. I really want to go on holiday this year because I bloody deserve it.

18. I am the biggest fidgeter you’re likely to meet. I can’t sit still for longer than 3 months, and I’ve had to get a stand up desk at work because I can’t sit down all day. 

19. I have no idea what I want to do when it comes to being an adult. The pleasing thing is, nobody on the internet knows either so I know I’m not alone feeling this way.

20. I cried when I saw Kendrick Lamar live. I don’t know why but it got too much for me and I had tears in my eyes, tragic! 

I'm not going to nominate anyone but feel free to do your own and make sure you let me know if you do! 


2 Jan 2018

Plans for 2018

Firstly, happy new year! In traditional Ryan Mules fashion, I've left my new year content too late and I write this on 2nd January as I've prepared no content whatsoever! The purpose of this post is to essentially air my hopes and plans for the forthcoming year and hopefully by putting it in the public domain, it will give me a kick up the arse to see most of them through.

I've already touched on my first hope for 2018 and that is to plan better when it comes to content. Over the festive period I saw so many fellow bloggers saying they've got blog AND social media content sorted for January and it puts me to shame! The majority of my blog posts are written on a whim, as you can probably tell, which has also led me to promising myself to write more prolifically this year. Instead of chiming in here and there with the occasional blog post I really want to create more readable content as well as creating good visual content.

On the subject of social media, I definitely need to engage more this year. I'm one of those dickheads who has been moaning all year saying "it's impossible to grow on Instagram" but I've realised it's because I'm basically invisible! I rarely comment on people's photos which is so stupid because I follow so many awesome content creators, but I'm definitely making it a priority to compliment peoples work this year.

With regards to blog content, I'm looking to hopefully expand on my music section. Stats wise it doesn't really perform but I enjoy writing about music so who gives a fuck? The state of music at the moment is incredible and I feel like I'm doing an injustice to myself by not sharing my thoughts about what's happening, what I'm listening to and what I'm looking forward to etc. I want to tie in more interviews with my music section too, which means I'd like to venture outside of the blogosphere and interview people within the music industry. I think that would be really awesome, right?

Looking away from blogging/SM I'd love to learn a new language this year. I've been saying it to myself for years and I keep putting it off and to be honest, there's no excuse for it. I've heard DuoLingo is free forever? Is this true? If so then sign me up and keep tabs on me because how incredible is that? Learning a new language for free, loooooovely!

The last thing I'll bore you with today is my aspiration (?) of possibly starting a podcast. I'm really enjoying the resurgence of podcasts over the last few years and it's such a great medium to just talk shit, put it on record and share it with the world. The only thing holding me back at the moment is nerves. It scares the living shit out of me for some reason but I think if I did one, I'd want to continue making them. If you're reading this and you have a podcast, invite me on and hopefully you can settle my nerves!

As far as 2018 goes they're my main goals for the year and hopefully I can start ticking them off the list ASAP! What are your plans for 2018?


12 Dec 2017

2017: A Year In Music

Winter definitely is not a highlight of my year, but the day Spotify releases our top songs of the year certainly is! I like to see the recap of songs I've binged over the year and it also gives me the chance to revisit some songs that may have slipped off my radar over the year. 

You can find my top 100 below but I'm going to talk about some of my musical highlights of the year. 2017 will undoubtedly go down as the year of Kendrick. DAMN won Pitchfork's album of the year and the same accolade at Rolling Stone too. Kendrick said this is the album he always wanted to make and understandably so, it's so brutally honest and open. It touches on the current plight in America as well as Kendrick's own demons which have shaped him into the person and artist he is today. Element is my most played song of 2017 according to Spotify, with Loyalty coming third which goes to show how much I was blasting the album this year. 

Another of my favourites dropped an album this year and what an album it was. Flower Boy from Tyler, The Creator is musically his best album, without a doubt. It seems as if he's done with the 'shock rap' in which he/his characters were regularly misogynistic and homophobic and the album feels like an amalgamation of his first 3 studio albums. He references being lonely a lot, losing friends and shaking off nostalgia and focusing on moving forward which seems to be a much more positive message than a lot of people are used to, especially from Bastard/Goblin. Overall, the album just makes me feel warm, listen to Glitter if you're ever feeling down! 

Though he doesn't feature too heavily on my end of year list, Jonwayne had a killer year. I guess people would categorise him as 'Alternative Rap' as he doesn't fit the mould of what rappers look/sound like these days. There seemed a time about 2 or 3 years ago where he was about to blow up but personal issues took hold and he laid low for a while. He came back with Rap Album 2 and fully delivered. Lead singles Out Of Sight and Ted Talk really laid the gauntlet down, with pristine production and understandable raps prevailing once again. I saw him live in Bristol earlier this year and honestly, he sounded exactly as he does on record. No backup vocals, no DJ behind him, just one man and his beat machine. As a pure live rap experience, he's the best I've ever seen live. 

Another act I saw live this year were The XX. Their album I See You is definitely in my top 10 of this year, with Lips being my favourite track. As far as track records go, The XX's is pretty bloody clean and they've nailed yet another album. Coexist and their self titled albums were always going to be difficult to follow up, but who would ever doubt them? It seems they have the winning formula and the winning sound, hopefully their next album is another classic!

In closing this post, I have to give a few honourable mentions to some tracks that absolutely smashed this year to bits. Bodak Yellow by Cardi B was absolutely everywhere and it took me a few months to take to it, but as soon as I 'got it', it stuck. Love Galore by SZA & Travis Scott was also a slow burner but my goodness, what an album SZA delivered! When it comes to record labels, T.D.E seem to know exactly the right time to push their artists, with 2017 and SZA being a match made in heaven. 

What do you think of my end of year list? Let me know yours!


25 Nov 2017

Does being an influencer mean anything?

As of late, "influencers" are making a massive impact on the world of social media. (Note: I hate the word influencer but I'll stick with it for the sake of this post.) In the last month or so we've seen Zoella's advent calendar fiasco unravel in front of the world, we've seen certain influencers advocate the use of real fur and we've seen influencers make their way into the mainstream world of TV. But is being an influencer a load of bollocks?

On a personal note, I shudder when I receive a PR email and I get addressed as an influencer (with my minute following) and I guess it kind of devalues the term when you've got people with huge followings falling under the same umbrella as me. But with all of the recent controversy it's made me wonder a few things: Are influencers actually influential? Does being an influencer come with a moral responsibility? And is online influence a real thing?

I think to be an influencer in the social media world the most important thing is to gain your audiences trust. Being transparent with your audience is key to this because as soon as you start to veer away from your true self, your credibility is flattened and people generally start to question your motives. "Do you create content just to get free things?" is a common question asked by people who don't run a blog or have much of a social media presence. Getting freebies is obviously a perk to creating good content and it allows you to work with brands you didn't think was possible, but in my opinion it only works when you collaborate with companies/people who are relevant to your online brand. For example, if I wrote a blog post about a mattress I was gifted, I would fully understand people who questioned me because it's just so left field of what I usually do. I think it's slightly different to people who's source of income is from blogging or social media because bills don't pay themselves, but I'd like to think people in that position have integrity and wouldn't lie to their audience like that.

That links into the question about having a moral responsibility. Again, I wouldn't begrudge people taking sponsored posts if they're short of money because, shit I've done it myself once or twice! But I think the question is deeper than that. Like I mentioned, there's been a few instances in recent weeks where particular influencers have been called out for their bullshit. Zoella's advent calendar is a great example because she is probably the most successful person to come from the world of influencers. If you're not familiar with her, she's a YouTuber with millions of followers and most notably a young, impressionable fan base. She collaborated with Boots to create a 12 day(?) advent calendar which was priced at £50. Nowadays, that's not an extortionate price for an advent calendar with beauty/booze advent calendars floating around. But the contents of her calendar were shit to be quite frank. Cookie cutters, confetti and a pen were meant to please the kids who bought into the facade and ultimately she was met with backlash online. I think as someone who has gained her audiences trust over the years, she should have known better and Boots have since slashed the price.
Another incident was a blogger who wore real fur and again, was met with fierce backlash. It's hypocritical of me to chime in with my two cents because I wear leather and I eat meat but there's something sinister about advocating the use of real fur these days. There are plenty of alternatives these days which I think influencers should be pushing, but it makes me wonder if these people are aware of their responsibility? Sustainable fashion is something I try to involve myself in where possible so it's disheartening to see people with hundreds and thousands of followers undoing the hard work of bloggers who are pushing the narrative to ensure fashion is done right.

With all that said, does an online influence actually mean anything? Personally I believe that having a successful online platform definitely has meaning and helps people in their everyday life. Though my blog and social media is minuscule in the grand scheme of things, it's enabled me to get a job in the world of social media and there are even bigger examples of people who have used their platform to progress onto bigger and better things. There are hundreds of bloggers out there who started off with outfit of the day posts on their blogs and are now self employed and working with some of the biggest brands in the world. Take DJ Akademiks for example. He started making videos in his basement, commenting on what's going on hip hop and now he's co host on one of the most successful YouTube shows; Everyday Struggle (which I love by the way.)
The online world we live in gives everybody a chance to better themselves if it's used correctly and I think that's a beautiful thing.


12 Nov 2017

5 Albums To Get You Through Autumn

Wassuuuuuuuuuup, it feels like I'm getting back into this blogging business (2 posts this week?!) and it feels right to chime in with a new post about music after the last few days I've had! I spent two days in Manchester to see Run The Jewels & Danny Brown and it's a city leathered in musical significance. The show was incredible and I also made the pilgrimage to the Mecca for any fans of The Smiths: Salford Lad's Club. Head to my Instagram to see photos from Manchester.

After being indulged in musical perfection for a few days, it's back to Cardiff where it's dark at 5pm and nights are cold. So what better to pick me up than some good bloody music? Here's 5 of my favourite picks to get us through this treacherous time we call Autumn/Winter:

Nostalgia, Ultra - Frank Ocean

Man, the first time I ever heard this mixtape it fully blew my mind. It was Frank's introduction to the world and it still gets played regularly in the gaff in 2017. The lead single Novocane blew up all over the internet and pushed Frank into stardom which ultimately led him to working on Watch The Throne as well as releasing two classic albums; Channel Orange and Blonde. It's believed that the music you listen to from 18-24 is the formative years for your musical palette and I can fully see this mixtape being on my iTunes for the rest of time. My standout track is: Nature Feels.

The Ooz - King Krule

I have to throw some new music into this before I just reminisce about all the good shit in my iTunes library. King Krule is someone I started listening to when his 6 Feet Beneath The Moon album came out in 2013 and I was instantly drawn to how weird his music was. The style of music is not something I was particularly fond of previously but the first time I heard Out Getting Ribs felt like being shot in the mouth with a marshmallow gun. It was amazing. As I delved further into the album, I fell for the weird crossover of punk jazz/dark wave/hip hop and have been a fan ever since. Fast forward to The Ooz and he's knocked it out of the park again. It's a bit dreary but it works. Perfect for Autumn time! My standout track is: Slush Puppy.

Malibu - Anderson. Paak

Oh great....another music post, another mention of Anderson. Paak. If you've read any of my previous music posts then I'm sure you'll already know how I talk about Paak as if he's the best thing since those videos of people showing magic to monkeys, and I fully believe it. I was late onto this album but it's stood the test of time with me. The blend of soul and hip hop, the art of storytelling and my god the features! The Game, T.I & Schoolboy Q all appear but more impressively the roster of producers include 9th Wonder, Kaytranada and Madlib. I can't remember off the top of my head which top albums came out in 2016 but this is top 3 standard. If you need that pick up with Autumn looming over you, give this a spin. My standout track is: Put Me Thru (that's changed so many times)

xx - The xx

It's an easy album to lump in to this list because it's a certified classic. Remember that two year period when every fucking documentary on BBC3 would use Intro? After hearing it on every bastard programme, I still didn't get bored of it. It also turns out pretty much every rap song over Intro bangs (proof). Aside from Intro the album is laced with amazing tracks that can be played pretty much anytime, anywhere. Infinity gives you them moody feels whereas VCR makes you feel like you're 6 years old again without a care in the world. My standout track is: Heart Skipped A Beat.

To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

I had to include Kendrick, didn't I? This isn't my favourite Kendrick album but if you want to really get stuck into an hour or so of music, this album is for you. Following on from Good Kid M.A.A.D City, nobody expected this from Kendrick. A fearless album with jazz influence, aggressively unapologetic songs about American Apartheid and a civil rights anthem, Kendrick touched all bases on this one. Going from The Blacker The Berry into You Ain't Gotta Lie shows how much of a breeze it is for Kendrick to switch up his flows and style. My standout track is: Hood Politics.

There it is folks! Let me know if there's any albums I should be listening to! 


8 Nov 2017

The Band T Shirt*

There's no debating that band t shirts are a staple in pretty much everyone's wardrobe these days, right? The concept of a band t shirt has such a rich heritage and stretches back to Elvis Presley's record company producing a t shirt as a promotional tool for four of his singles which then led to a flurry of artists creating their own merch including The Beatles and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who had arguably one of the most iconic tees even to this day.

Fast forward 50+ years and it's still a huge part of the music/fashion crossover. In recent years we've seen Metal tees become increasingly popular with merch from the likes of Slipknot, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Metallica being readily available from outlets such as EMP. Kanye even used the Metallica font for his Yeezus merch! The band tee has also filtered into high end fashion in recent years when Raf Simons used Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover and Vetements released a Snoop Dogg tour tee for $920 (the world is crazy).

The trend is something I've been invested in for a long time, with a tee from The Specials being my first band tee. Since then I've gone on to pick up tees of The Streets, Lil Wayne, The Smiths, ASAP Rocky & Tyler and Jamiroquai.

There seems to be a lot of animosity with people wearing tees of bands that they don't listen to which I kind of understand to an extent, but on the other hand it's just a t shirt, isn't it? With that being said I don't think I could personally wear a tee of a band that I don't know purely because I'd live in fear of being called out and I know my stupid nervous self would collapse under the pressure!

This post was sponsored by EMP