Our Bank Holiday highlights – come rain or shine

The last bank holiday of the year is just around the corner and, as we all know, if it’s a bank holiday it’s likely to rain. With our guide on suggestions for what to do over the weekend, whatever the weather, one thing is guaranteed for certain: fun.

Here’s how to make the most of your August bank holiday weekend, come rain or shine…

Dancing at the Notting Hill Carnival, 29 – 31 August

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Exotic costumes, hypnotic samba, a sound system on every corner, the occasional dancing policeman…you’ve guessed it. The streets of Notting Hill dazzle and delight when it’s Carnival time. This Caribbean festival is one of the largest street festivals in Europe, with around 50,000 performers and one million people attending. For 2015, the theme is ‘Emergence of Carnival’.

Friday kicks off proceedings with a free concert at the London Calypso Tent. Sunday is Family Day and a day for children when floats are smaller and the vibe is lower key, while Monday is when the area really steps up a gear. This is the main event with 60 colourful and vibrant bands dancing and weaving through the streets.

Carnival bands are on from 10am with the parade due to end at 8.30pm, but those after-parties will carry on long, long into the night. Our two tips: wear comfy shoes and book Tuesday off!

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Laughing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 7 – 31 August

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Every year the Edinburgh Fringe gets bigger and better. It’s the largest arts festival in the world, with cabaret, comedy, musicals and much, much more taking place across a whole variety of venues in Edinburgh. There’s talent all around you – in 250 places in fact.

Anything goes with absolutely any type of performance able to take part as there’s no selection committee, which often results in some wild and whacky stuff. In previous years, plays have been performed in a parked bus, a lift, and a swimming pool. (In 2005, audiences for one show were kidnapped and taken blindfold in a blacked-out van to a secret venue.)

But the venue has also made stars and seen many a show win awards or transfer to London’s West End. John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Graham Norton all appeared at the Fringe before they became household names – some while still at university.

It’s a brilliant way to see the actors, comedians and theatre directors of tomorrow.

Rain >>

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Building sandcastles in Cornwall

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Cornwall has something for everyone over the Bank Holiday. For foodies, there’s The Big Produce Market in Truro, 28 – 30 August, with 50 mouthwatering food stalls and cooking demos by top chefs. Or head along to the Newlyn Fish Festival on the Monday for the finest seafood, with money going towards the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen

For the family, there’s a working steam vintage rally near the small village of Morval over the whole weekend, where you can also see falconry displays and have a go at clay pigeon shooting. The Cornwall Folk Festival takes place in Wadebridge with street entertainment and ceilidhs, while the Cornish Country Fair at Stithians on Sunday has craft and local produce marquees and even a donkey derby and Punch and Judy show.

For the active, the Portscatho Regatta on Saturday is in stunning Gerrans Bay. Spectators can indulge in canoeing and raft racing, or simply enjoy the live music and sandcastle-building. Or why not join in the fun with the beach tag rugby tournament on Lusty Glaze beach, Newquay?

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Feasting on a picnic

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A leisurely drive into the glorious British countryside, complete with a laden basket of goodies and a flask of tea (or something stronger) – it’s the perfect getaway without having to go too far.

A great picnic isn’t reliant so much on weather as on a stunning location. Yes, ideally you want to spread a blanket to lie on under a clear blue sky but it doesn’t have to be the case: if the weather’s on the inclement side, there’s something traditional about admiring the views – especially crashing waves – from the dryness of inside your car. Alternatively, nip into the bird hides at South Walney nature reserve, Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Or shelter inside one of the lofty glasshouses at Kew Gardens, or under the leafy canopy of a shady tree in the New Forest National Park.

But if you’re lucky to have sunshine with your sarnies, some of the UK’s best scenery for picnics is Barafundle Beach in Pembrokeshire, with its golden sands, or the little castaway island of St Herbert’s in the middle of Derwentwater with its peaceful Lake District views. Feeling historical? Sit in the shade of the ruins of imposing Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. Feeling romantic? Hold hands at the Falls of Bruar, outside Blair Atholl, Perthshire.

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If you have any suggestions on how to spend August Bank Holiday, do let us know – we’d love to hear them!

Get the look – 4 top men’s fashion trends for AW15

With so many trends and collections out there, knowing what’s hot – and what’s not – for this coming autumn and winter can be confusing. We spend a great deal of time looking at what’s up and coming for the seasons ahead in terms of styles, colours and materials, so that we can design and create shoes and boots that look good, feel good, fit your lifestyle needs and last well.

We don’t believe in following fashion whims but in creating stylish men’s footwear that won’t go out of style! With this in mind, our Style Editor takes a look at four dominant men’s fashion trends for autumn and winter 2015 (that we think you’ll love as much as we do) and how to work them.

1. Over the top – but not top to toe

Eye-catching overcoats are a key piece to up your wardrobe style (and keep out December chills, naturally). This is a time to be bold and brave, whether through a big dash of colour with a coat in a striking red or loud blue, or a distinctive check. There’s still good news if you don’t want to be so daring, as timeless classics such as single-breasted coats in camel or grey are also on the fashion pulse. Checked tailoring is also going from strength to strength, whether as a natty pair of trousers or the full works in a suit.

Colombo

While the trend to wear boots with suits for winter has soared, making a statement with your overcoat or eye-catching pattern therefore means avoiding fancy footwear otherwise you’re in for overkill. Stay warm, stay confident by teaming with simple yet beautifully crafted business boots such as Colombo in smoothly polished brown leather. Curitiba is another great option – this Derby boot has the traditional open lacing for a casual sportier workwear look.  Both are perfect for relaxed informal meetings and dress down Fridays, but also match well to jeans and rolled up chinos.

2. A vintage year for burgundy

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Pops of colour continue to have a significant presence in the fashion world. While going head to toe in green may not be your scene, adding a dash of colour is guaranteed to brighten up any rainy day. Forget the summer brights for now; make a splash this season with autumnal tones. Of these, burgundy is the biggie. It breaks up an outfit beautifully and pairs perfectly with anything from black to brown – even adding a striking edge to in-vogue khaki.

We’re embracing this trend and introducing burgundy to our collection. Its earthy and heritage tones add a particular warmth and richness to leather, especially apparent in our Colorado Derby shoe (a perfect choice for country walks kicking the conkers). For a smarter day/work option, our popular Tucano brogue is now also available in this plush colour. Try teaming with a crisp white shirt and navy cashmere knit over jeans or chinos.

No more excuses to just wear black, black and black.

3. Heavy duty but not heavy work

Whether or not you’re old enough to remember the seventies like they were yesterday, there’s no getting away from the fact that this decade is gathering fashion momentum. No need to revert to flares or flowery shirts thankfully, though: be hip and groovy instead with a simple crew neck or roll neck, cover up with a shearling jacket, or choose suede and denim as key staples for your winter wardrobe.

Denim never goes out of style and is as big as ever; even more so if you favour the denim on denim look. Military green is also key for the forthcoming season. Both are quite beefy looks so don’t let your footwear let you down.

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An autumn without new boots is unthinkable as October without drizzle. So defy drips and puddles by striding out with a pair of heavy-duty boots such as Garibaldi in our new vintage-inspired leather in grey. This gives an established, distressed look – even though they’re fresh out of the shoebox. Pedras lace up ankle boots are always a win-win so we’re adding to the range with this in Castor: a brown vintage leather with burnished toes and heels for a ‘lived and loved’ effect. Both feature our popular and groundbreaking Bulldog sole.

4. Tailoring needs trainers

An applause-getter on the catwalks was slouchy tailoring. Probably best suited to creative and media types, this is about dressing down the formality of a suit with a great pair of trainers.

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So many of our customers have told us they wanted a casual shoe that didn’t look like they’d been down the gym or out on a skateboard. No, they wanted a more designed, smart casual look in high quality leather. Well, we’ve come up with not one but two answers: our striking new flat sole trainers have been going down a storm already. Think ‘urban city’ and you’re on the right lines.

So, introducing Serra (in Troy and Chumbo) – a full grain leather low sneaker with great lacing detail. Or, for high flying high tops, go for Santos (in Cognac and Chumbo) with its ankle appeal. Just like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, these are soft touches only by touch alone….underneath is our Crossover sole that gives good ‘n’ gutsy grip.

Winter, we’re ready for you.

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