Post#comfortandjoy – The winners so far…

We’ve fired your festive imaginations with our #comfortandjoy campaign this season…so we wanted to share some winners of our weekly Moments competition. One lucky individual wins a £100 Clarks voucher and runners-up receive festive candy-striped laces. But they all get entered into the big prize - £500 of Mr & Mrs Smith gift cards – perfect for a post-Christmas break!

Keep an eye out for our weekly Clarks emails for more ‘moments’ ideas – we love your pics, keep them coming…!

Find out more - #comfortandjoy

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PostA Clarks Gore-Tex® Microadventure

Take a bunch of town and city dwellers who grew up as countryside children. Add in a weekend escape to a remote Exmoor bunkhouse plus a few pairs of GORE-TEX® and warmlined boots. Oh, and Taz the dog.

You’ve got a Clarks GORE-TEX® Microadventure.

Who: Freelance Graphic Designers Rich Webster and Roger Whipp, freelance Illustrator Kate Daubney, and Stu Grimshaw, photographer. Friends Rich and Roger met at college, while Ilfracombe-based Kate and Roger have a sweet spot for this particular Exmoor bolthole having visited on school trips. Kate and Roger’s dog Taz comes too.

 As Rich explains, the team spend days sitting in front of blank sheets of paper and screens ‘bringing ideas to life through design’. So the weekend is all about, “Getting back out and about, searching for new experiences and micro-adventures – in the city or countryside, on my bike, running – anything, as long as I’m always moving”.

For Rich, the weekend is all about, “Getting back out and about, searching for new experiences and micro-adventures – in the city or countryside, on my bike, running – anything, as long as I’m always moving”.

Where: Opened in 1968 the Exmoor Centre was established under the will of Dora Cartwright-Williams who wished to see a centre for young people in the Hoar Oak Valley in memory of her husband and their happy times spent in the area.

A year-round base, the camp’s sheltered location means frosts can last for weeks on end with temperatures barely getting above freezing.

Set on the edge of farmland and open common moorland, access is by foot only. Parking is half a mile away. A hand rope helps take you over the stepping stones that cross the river. In Padley Alp GTX and Ripway Hill GTX feet stay dry, EVA keeps you light of foot and the chunky rubber sole gives grip.

Exmoor provides us with a place to connect with the landscape and can often feel far more remote than it actually is. It’s equally as beautiful on a cold, damp, dark and windy winter’s day as it is on a dry warm summer evening. 

What: First things first. On arrival, the UV water filter needs switching on and firewood must be foraged. Then, maps come out and the afternoon’s walk is planned.

The river runs high following lots of rain. Exmoor’s high moorland streams are generally slow flowing above the treeline and though in places they become deep enough for the brave to swim, they are rarely warm, even at the height of summer. Otters breed on the river downstream of the centre and Red Deer, Exmoor survivors since pre-historic times, can be seen most days. 

Evening calls for a supper of bangers and mash. Then, fire stoked, a bit of chat, reading and star-gazing take the edge off a blustery night before everyone retires to their bunks.

Morning sees less bluster – and an obligatory fry-up. A quick clean of the centre leaves it ready for the next visitors. Kate squeezes in time to create some illustrations. Then, backpacks on, the team ships out. Over the river, up tracks and across the common, back to Bristol, buses, Ilfracombe’s harbour, and away from the moor.

“I love my day job as a freelance illustrator – primarily for the children’s market – but the opportunity to get away from the desk and do some drawing out on location is bliss, especially somewhere as naturally beautiful as Exmoor.”

Wearing:

Roger – Padley Alp GTX. I was brought up wearing Clarks so trust they will fit me properly and be made to last. This time of year I practically live in my Clarks GORE-TEX® boots and give them a real run for their money. So far they are standing up to the worst of the British weather. Oh, and a friend in London headed straight out to buy a pair after seeing mine!

Rich – Ripway Hill GTX. From the moment I put these boots on I knew they weren’t going to disappoint. They supported my feet from all angles with great cushioning and needed minimal 'breaking in’ time. They were so good for exploring the great outdoors all day they’ll probably get some outings in the city as well as they definitely won’t look out of place.

Kate – Orinoco Spice. It's great to have a pair of warmlined boots that I can throw on for weekend adventures that are comfortable, sturdy and stylish and my Clarks Orinoco boots tick all the boxes. I love the fact that I don't even have to lace them up!

katedaubney.blogspot.co.uk

www.richwebster.co.uk

www.rogerwhipp.co.uk

www.exmoorcentre.co.uk

Photography by Stuart Grimshaw of Pennleigh © Stuart Grimshaw/Pennleigh Ltd. 2015 www.pennleigh.com

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PostBlog Loving: Lobster and Swan

Every now and again we love to get away to the coast to blast out the cobwebs. And fortunately East Sussex based stylist, blogger and photographer Jeska from Lobster and Swan feels the same.

She and husband Dean took time out from packing up Christmas parcels for their online lifestyle store, The Future Kept, to take the salty air and wear in our gorgeous Cabin Spa boots. Rugged yet waxy and tactile, the icing on the cake is that their warmlining keeps feet toasty down to -20°C.

A perfect boot for the wet, windy English coastline. Wild and desolate with its grainy mix of grey skies, flinty waves and honeyed pebbles, this speck of shoreline has never looked so beautiful.

Dean multi-tasked effortlessly to get the shots in his GORE-TEX® boots, Ripway Hill GTX. And at the end of it all they managed to find a sheltered spot for a cup of tea. Bliss.

Follow Jeska on Instagram at @lobsterandswan and Dean @dean.hearne

BUY – Cabin Spa, Dark Tan leather

SHOP – Womens Casual Boots

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PostBlog Loving: Anoushka Probyn

Kicking off the festive season in style, blogger and London College of Fashion student Anoushka Probyn accepted an invitation for cupcakes and cocktails at the citizenM London Bankside Hotel. Proving day to night can be effortless in our Web Exclusive Blissful Day ankle boot, she and blogger pals browsed Borough Market before settling in for some much-needed refreshment.

We’ve loved catching Anoushka’s looks this year. Her chic London vibe works for us every time.

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PostClarks SS16 Press Day: We Meet Meryl Fernandes

Channel 4’s Crazy Sexy Cool presenter Meryl Fernandes might just inspire some serious life envy. We invited her along to Clarks SS16 Press Day to preview the new collections and chat about the fresh new fashion series, her chic Hoxton lifestyle store and a fiancé that’s one of London’s most lauded young chefs.

Meryl, we’ve been watching you recently on Channel 4’s shorts, ‘Crazy Sexy Cool’ where you delve into famous peoples’ wardrobes to find their crazy, sexy, cool outfits. How did that come about?

I got approached by a producer – it was over Twitter! As I’d made the crossover from acting into presenting we had a chat, and in the end it was up to Channel 4 and they went with me! I came up with the idea at the end of each film to do the mood board of ‘how to get the look’. After meeting the celebrity I’d go home that night and remember the three outfits then I’d check out every high street online store and put the looks together. I believe lots of people do their shopping via social media now, so it kind of works in that way. Also, fashion is my thing, so it made sense for me to talk about it – and it’s easy to do that if you’ve done the research!

At the start of each film you present you describe yourself as a ‘fashion lover’ – when and how did you discover fashion and find your own sense of style?

I think I probably discovered fashion from my mum. My mum and dad used to go to dances when I was young, and my mum always used to match her handbags with her shoes. She always had amazing outfits. She’s one of three sisters so the girls always used to dress up. And her father, my granddad – who I never met as he passed away – was a tailor, so my mum and her family were always into clothes and I think subconsciously I was always really aware of fashion.

I think my style changes. I used to have a vintage clothes shop, Found, which was partly inspired by living in east London and being surrounded by creative people and fashion students. I’d get the number 55 bus from Hackney into town and it was always full of amazing people, like fashion students, wearing the most amazing stuff! It was really inspiring! From secondary school onwards I was really into creating my own look and style, so I decided to set up my own shop. I used to collect vintage clothes and I remember looking at it one day and thinking ‘that’s too much, I should sell it’. I actually did a market stall for a while – at Spitalfields and then at Portobello – but the mornings were way too early and too cold for me! So I started to look around and I found this little shop on Hackney Road, and two days later signed the lease and it was mine! There wasn’t anything on that road at the time but I’m from east London so if ever I was going to have a business it was always going to be in the area that I know.

Tell us about your favourite Crazy Sexy Cool guests?

Well I have to say Gizzi (TV chef and cookery writer, Gizzi Erskine) – she’s a friend, so as it was my first show it was good to have someone I know. What's amazing is that she has an insane collection of vintage designer clothes, some stunning Vivienne Westwood pieces. She’s very into the 1950s and 60s so it’s a very curated wardrobe. That’s always been her vibe.

Dionne Bromfield was interesting because she was my youngest guest but she has always been in the public eye. Style-wise, she spoke about being given stuff – not many kids get given a limited edition Vivienne Westwood jacket where there are two available and she got one! She also loves British clothes like Fred Perry, which is probably influenced by Amy (Amy Winehouse, Dionne’s late godmother), so that’s very close to her and a big part of her life.

What I thought was really lovely about the Crazy Sexy Cool guests was that all of them said they didn’t really care what the press thought! As long as they were comfortable with what they were wearing they were happy.

We also know you’ve been busy with all other things design! Tell us about your lifestyle store in Hoxton, east London – Thethestore?

Well, I’d had my vintage clothes shop for seven or eight years, which was really fun, but the area has changed – now there are loads of wine bars and restaurants – so I decided to evolve with the area. And also with my own taste. When I opened Found there weren’t many vintage stores in east London – now there are loads. It took me a while to think about what I wanted to do with the shop – I never wanted to let it go, it’s my baby! I love independent designers and I love products and design. So I stock two fashion brands in thethestore – one is a denim brand and one is a basics range, and then I have things like ceramics and candles and Korean skincare, which is exclusive to me. It’s pretty stuff - people want to Instagram their house now! But it’s affordable too. The shop interior is very minimal, very white and clean. I love Scandi style and the new shelving has been created by Nonuform, a Swedish design company. When I look back, I used to love museum shops as a kid – the best bit was going to the shop at the end and buying a rubber! And only now I’ve done it I feel there’s an essence of that. I’ve always loved design, I can tell design-wise with products exactly what I like. I like championing independent brands, so that’s the concept behind Thethestore

We also learned that reinventing your shop was off the back of interior designing your fiancé Tom Oldroyd’s eponymous Islington restaurant, Oldroyd? He was former Chef Director of Polpo so it must have come with a certain amount of expectation. How terrifying was that?!

It was such a joint project – and it’s funny because we didn’t argue once! Which I think is quite rare, both in a relationship and in opening up a business. But we didn’t because he just trusted me with the design and branding and he does the food and built his kitchen! So we have very separate roles. He wanted to cook the food that we love to eat and I wanted to create a space that we would want to eat his food in. There really isn’t a ‘concept’ – that’s just what we wanted to do. It’s been getting amazing reviews – four stars from Fay Maschler of the London Evening Standard – and she’s our favourite! Oldroyd opened four months ago – and then I opened my shop about a month later! We planned to open both at the same time but one had to come before the other – and I was happy for it to be the restaurant as it was such a big deal. It was a complete family project – Tom’s dad built the kitchen with him, my dad painted. We didn’t have a huge budget but design-wise I knew exactly how it should be gutted out and how it should look. I knew it should be blue and I wanted brass fittings. I knew we should spend money on the lighting and the detail. We’re completely addicted to projects now! 

I'd love to make another series of Crazy Sexy Cool. It was so nice that talking about clothes led to such interesting stories.

You’re obviously a brave, entrepreneurial, hands-on couple! How do you switch off?

We eat out a lot, that’s our thing! But we’re so in love with our work I don’t even know if we do switch off…! It doesn’t feel like work – which is such a clichéd thing to say – but it doesn’t. I have absolutely fallen in love with the restaurant and the food world. I totally believe I was meant to meet Tom and be in the restaurant industry. I used to eat at Spuntino which was one of his restaurants when he was with the Polpo group and all the staff knew me, but I never met him. Then we bumped into each other at a mutual friend’s birthday and he said, ‘You’re the girl who sits and eats in my restaurant every week!’ and I said, ‘You’re the chef and I’ve never met you!’ And eight months later we got engaged! So we’ve only been together a year and a half…but we’ve done a lot in a year and a half!

So what’s next for you?

I’ve given the restaurant loads of attention so now I want to concentrate on my shop – and I’m really excited about Christmas because I think it’s the perfect Christmas shop! I’d love to make another series of Crazy Sexy Cool and I’d love to do more presenting. For me it’s really important to do something I’m passionate about as you can’t really fake it as a presenter! And what’s great about Crazy Sexy Cool is that it’s about fashion and it felt so easy and natural. I think it can be hard to do fashion on TV without it coming across as pretentious or judgemental. It was so nice that talking about clothes led to such interesting stories.

You chose Orla Agatha in black croc from the AW15 Clarks Orla Kiely collection for our meet today. What is it about this style – and Clarks – that you like? Any particular favourites from Clarks SS16 Press Day?

I’m sure my first pair of shoes were from Clarks! I remember putting my tiny foot into the measuring machine every September when I went and got my school shoes.

I always look at Clarks collections as I think they do classic really well. And I love the Orla Agatha as the brogue has come back in such a big way, and I guess these play into that. I love the thick sole.

I remember seeing the Clarks Originals designs with Patternity – I’ve always been a fan of the collaborations. The SS16 Clarks x Christopher Raeburn collaboration is really exciting. I know him through a friend and he actually ate in our restaurant the first night it opened! I was meant to wear some of his clothes on Crazy Sexy Cool but we just couldn’t work out when to meet. I saw that he was working with Clarks and noticed the new collection’s sandal, Salek Sun. So it’s really interesting to have that connection.

Elsewhere from SS16 Press Day, I really like the chalk blue shoe, Chinaberry Fun. I just think it’s a really classic shoe. I love the colour, I would definitely wear it. I’d probably wear it with a different colour sock, like a pastel pink sock. But that’s something you could wear with jeans – it’s really on-trend. It reminds me of a pair of French vintage shoes I have with a tortoiseshell embellishment. I could see Gizzi wearing Chinaberry Fun. She wears a pump and occasionally a heel and she’d love the blue. I really liked the Clarks Originals black open toe with the fringe, Desert Kiltie. And of course I like the Raeburns!

Follow Meryl Fernandes on Twitter @_merylfernandes

WATCH - Crazy Sexy Cool

BROWSE - Clarks SS16 Preview

© Clarks 2015 

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PostBlog Loving: Little Green Shed

Bristol-based writer, blogger and photographer Lou Archell grew up a mere 6 miles – as the crow flies –  from Clarks HQ. She now shares her passion for the great outdoors, travel, lifestyle and all things creative on her blog, Little Green Shed.

Keeping her on the move for a trip to the farm to collect log supplies then on a wintry yomp around Ashton Court is our Wave Trail GTX walking shoe. Teaming chunky knits and tights with her trusty vintage alpaca coat she looks cute and cosy while staying super-comfy and stylish.

Thanks for the inspiration Lou – look forward to catching up in 2016!

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