Last minute Christmas present idea: sorted

Need some inspiration for a last minute Christmas present? Lean closer, I’ve got something I to show you.



Shaken Cocktails is awesome and you should not only subscribe yourself but also consider subscribing for a friend for Christmas. Readers of this post get five pounds off their first month’s order with this link or, if you fancy purchasing and gifting more than one box, then make sure you check out the Shaken Gifts page.

Longer version:

The modern world is moving to subscription-based models for just about anything you can think of. From music and films from Spotify and Netflix respectively; to cars and coffee in the shape of Zipcar and Pact – monthly payments for things that you only need the right amount of is without doubt, an over-arching theme of this digital generation.

The latest addition to this revolution is that of the humble cocktail.

And those behind that solution? Shaken Cocktails.


Mastermind behind this, and all-round drinks/digital expert, Mark Jennings, tells me that Shaken Cocktails is a subscription service that, for just £24 per month, delivers… Hang on, let’s just check the website:

  • A different classic each month
    Each kit showcases a classic cocktail. Read about its history, its ingredients and what makes it great. Then we show you how to tweak the classic recipe, making a modern masterpiece.
  • Five drinks, and more
    The kit contains enough premium ingredients to make two classic cocktails, followed by two of a modern variation. Then there’s an extra slug of the strong stuff for you to try neat or on the rocks. That’s four cocktails and a shot, in every kit.
  • Beginner to Expert
    It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or a novice. Our instructions are clear and simple, but we don’t dumb things down – meaning our kits make great gifts for cocktail lovers or for absolute beginners.

So yeah, not bad at all right?

I broke open my first kit a week or so ago and here’s what you get inside:




That last image is the clincher for me; the whole premise of Shaken is that making cocktails at home can be a proper ball ache. You simply can’t buy the ingredients you need without spending over the odds for giant bottles of Campari or vodka or whisky or whatever. Shaken combats that by sending you what are ostensibly medicine bottles filled with the liquor that you’ll need to become a cocktail-making pro.

And they’re super cute to look at too.

On top of that the cocktails themselves are really easy to make. You might need a couple of additional extras like, I dunno, glasses to drink out of and maybe some ice for the mixing process but that’s about it.

Even I managed to get it right.


Hmmmmmmmmmm…. :)

Anyway, Shaken is awesome and you should sign up, either for you or for a loved one this Christmas. It’s commitment free (you can cancel at any time) and the team behind it really believe in this being the future of home cocktail making.

Did I mention that readers of this blog get five pounds of their first order by using this special Whatley sign up link? No? OK, well I have now.

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Dicking about with Spider-Man Lego

Y’know, for fun and stuff.

Set up

Take one sheet of A4 paper, one desk lamp, and one keen little Lego Spider-Man – and then go nuts.

All shots taken with the rather excellent Sony Xperia Z2.

Full set available on Flickr.


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Five things on Friday #103

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 19th, 2014.

Five Things

1. A clock made of Tweets
I don’t know why but I really, really like this idea.


It’s called ‘all the minutes’ and, by plugging into the Twitter firehose and pulling in every tweet that happens to have the exact time therein, it creates a crowd-sourced clock that is awesome, strangely compelling, and yet oddly alluring. I love that a) there’s enough tweets in the world to make this happen b) there is so much weird/anthropological insight to be gained. It’s like when Big Brother used to have a 24hr channel, but better. Honest.

Bonus item: here’s another clock based on colour: ‘What Colour is it?

What colour is it?

2. How to craft an information diet…
…that actually works. This piece is from the always-useful, Life Hacker website has some really good tips on how to consume information through the filter of what it is you’re about to do. It uses a couple of neat metaphors that actually work and, it’s quite funny, it reminded me a lot of an ongoing information diet conversation that I have with my friend Kai. We consume information quite differently, he and I, and the way Life Hacker puts it, I’m kinda coming around to his way of thinking. Check it out –

Vegetables may make you feel light, whereas a heavy beef roast may put you into a food coma. A cup of coffee may wake you up. A glass of wine may relax you. Much like food and drink, the information and media we consume affects the way that we feel after we consume it.
For example, if you want to get excited about your afternoon’s work, it may be more helpful to listen to an inspiring talk or an interview with one of your heroes rather than catch up on the news. If you’re about to go to bed and want to minimise the amount of time you spend tossing and turning, make sure the media you’re consuming relaxes you.
Similar to how coffee can wake one person up and put another to sleep, the same information can have different effects on different people. Although one person may find comedies very relaxing, someone else may find them exciting and stimulating. Observe how you feel after consuming certain media, and sequence it appropriately for the activity. For example, if you’re at work and feeling drowsy, try switching from the podcast to upbeat, exciting, music.

Ask yourself what you want out of this information.

If, like me, you’re an information/news nut – you might want to read the whole piece.

3. Daft Punk Lego
This literally needs no introduction whatsoever.



4. The Mariana Trench is an incredible thing
I have a general rule about not putting stuff into this collection of things that you could have possibly already seen. However with this one, I’m willing to make an exception. Discovering new life on this, this bright blue beautiful rock we fly through the universe on, is nothing short of staggering. And that’s exactly what’s just happened.


An Ainternational team aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor set a new record for the deepest fish ever recorded at 8143m in the Mariana Trench. The fish is a completely unknown variety of snailfish with a translucent body, broad wing-like fins and an eel-like tail.

And it’s beautiful.

5. Social Media Trends for 2015


Last year, the Managing Director for Social@Ogilvy EAME, Mr Marshall Manson, asked me if I’d fancy co-writing a future-gazing piece with him about social media trends for 2014. I said yes, of course but then a few things happened.

First off, I found out how awesome it was/is to work with Marshall (our brains just jive, and when that kinda stuff happens then all kinds of magic can follow). Second, the document we wrote went down exceptionally well (which was nice). Third and finally, a good year later, Marshall and I decided we’d make it an annual thing.

Which leads me quite nicely to item five: key trends in social media for 2015. A handy little slideshare that not only reviews the ideas from before but also outlines our trends and predictions for the year ahead (actual trends, not idiotic made up ones). If you have a passing interest in all things social, this presentation might be of interest.

I’d love to hear your feedback too, btw…


One bonus this week:

  • There are many films coming out in 2015 that I’m getting quite excited about. American Sniper is up near the top of that list. The second trailer for Clint Eastwood’s latest dropped today and it may’ve moved up just that little bit more. Watch it.

See you next week!


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Five things on Friday #102

Things of note for the week ending Friday 12th December, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 23.59.58

—- whoosh —-

1. ‘Living My Life’
This is the best Slovenian case study you’ll see today

Seriously, I really love this.

Why? Let me explain.

Here we have a small country, with small agencies and even smaller audiences. Achieving cut-through through digital in a country where there’s only two TV channels is a hard sell. And yet somehow they’ve managed it. Can you imagine a similar project here?

2. Got YouTube? Get Gifs.
This has been everywhere today but it’s worth mentioning again: YouTube is rolling out a really quick and simple way to create animated gifs from YouTube videos. This is awesome.

Read all about it.

3. Cartoon Photobombs
These are really quite cute.

cartoon7 cartoon8 cartoon16

4. Trailer Mashup 2014
Just under 7mins. All the films of 2014. In one mega video.

Watch it.

Then guess them all.

5. The Hype Machine Zeitgeist
There aren’t that many end of year round ups that I genuinely look forward to each year. The Hype Machine Zeitgeist is one of the lucky few.

Check it.

Bonuses this week are a mixbag of me, you, and Max

Until next time…

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Five things on Friday #101

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 5th, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.18.04

1. In Conversation with Chris Rock

Chris Rock - Vulture

Touching on Obama, Cosby, and the political comedy landscape of the United States in general. This interview/conversation with one of the smartest, most astute, and perhaps even underrated comedians of our lifetime is a must read.

So y’know, read it.

2. The TWABM Advent Calendar
The TWABM stands for ‘That Was A Bit Mental’ as taken from the That Was A Bit Mental website wherein you might find said advent calendar. Not just any old advent calendar mind, an advent calendar that lists the 25 best Christmas-based horror films of all time.

I see you.

It’s a brilliant list, if only for the scrappy YouTube trailers that go along with each one. Everything from Rare Exports to Santa Claws to Satan Claus – these Christmas films are cheesy as hell, and awesome to go with it.

If you like that sort of thing then you’ll like this sort of thing very much.

3. Twitter News
It’s almost a regular thing these days but hey, who’s counting? Here are four interesting new developments that you might be interested in from Twitter this week:

4. Got a balloon? Instant iPhone cover
Not much else to be said really.

Hipsters everywhere will be all over this.

5. #PukkaPimms
And now we get to the reason why this edition of Five Things is so darn late.

In short: blame Hardeep.

PukkaPimms 1

I really don’t know where to begin. One of the planners at Ogilvy & Mather had been harbouring a theory that Pimm’s (yes, that super gorgeous drink that you and I use to kick off (and continue) our summers) went extremely well with the sweetness and spice that can be found in Indian food.

We spoke to Hardeep. He agreed.

We spoke to Pimm’s. They agreed [that we had an idea].

A few weeks later and seemingly out of nowhere, #PukkaPimms was born.

PukkaPimms 4

A pop-up curry house serving the finest Punjabi and Bangladeshi cuisine – complemented with a can of Pimm’s – and hosted by Mister HSK himself, we were open Thursday night, Friday night, and all day Saturday to demonstrate to the great curry-going British public that curry and Pimm’s is a thing.

Having a curry any time soon? Have a Pimm’s with it; you may well be surprised (more on this to follow).


Bonuses this week:



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