WE’VE GOT NEW A NEW NEIGHBOUR AND HIS NAME IS BANKSY

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The concept of “trending on Twitter” and the sleepy seaside town of “Weston Super Mare” are not typically used in conjunction with one another… but that’s all changed since the world’s favourite anonymous street artist, Banksy, decided to unveil his latest experience on the unsuspecting public. Be warned… if you are planning on attending, the rest of this post is a spoiler. Go away now.

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Dismaland is Banksy’s disturbing dystopian nightmare brought to life on the muddy sands of Weston’s beach promenade, opening a week ago in the dilapidated Tropicana Lido, which has sat vacant for the past decade and a half.

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If you have no idea what we are talking about, you can watch the rather frightening advert for it here.

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Come and enjoy installations by the likes of Damien HirstDavid Shrigley and Jimmy Cauty who have joined around fifty artists in total to create this immersive fairground of societal decay.

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The Guardian’s analysis of the world’s least family oriented theme park gives a bit more of a British perspective on the whole dreary affair. Dreary but awesome we mean!

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The happiest place on Earth is a mere 400 yards from our front door and the dogs have been entertaining the queue outside waiting for tickets (in the rain, obviously).

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You know it’s worth the visit though when Hollywood A-listers including Jack Black and Brad Pitt (featured on the HOUNDWORTHY Instagram feed) have put it in their diaries.

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Dismaland is open for business (weather permitting… ha, as if!) until September 27th. You can order your tickets here. Maybe. www.houndworthy.com

FROME INDEPENDENT MARKET IS WONDERFUL FOR THE SOUL

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There’s a fair chance you’ve never heard of Frome (pronounced Froom). And likely even greater odds that you’ve probably never visited it. But you really really should. This ancient market town is situated 13 miles from Bath in the rolling hills of rural Somerset, and is probably one of the prettiest in England. Even more so on the first Sunday of every month when the Frome Independent Market sets up shop and runs from 10am-3pm.

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Now this is no ordinary market. Most markets in the UK tend to be rather underwhelming affairs. Not this puppy. With its mixed elevations and narrow, well-kept medieval lanes, the town makes for a perfect location for a relaxing day out. The organisers have really got this one right, and hats off to the local town council for supporting such an ambitious and sophisticated monthly event. Just once every four weeks the entire town centre switches over to full-on pedestrian mode with row upon row of excellently curated stalls spread out in all directions.

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From vintage home furnishings, kitchenware to clothing, Continental style brocante sellers to retro mid-century modern decor, the market offers a superb mix of browse-worthy gear and grub. There were gorgeous pastries from At The Chapel over in Bruton, fantastic meat & game from a number of local suppliers, beautiful jewellery and artwork from many of the regions top talents… including the brilliant Anthony Oram. We also had a chance for a friendly catch-up with the ace team behind Decorator’s Notebook. So basically we didn’t once find ourselves unconsciously uttering the words “cheap tat” whilst strolling through the different shopping areas. Seriously, the quality of this market is truly top notch.

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Obviously for us, one of the most standout aspects of this market was the dog-to-people ratio. It’s safe to say we’ve never attended a more dog-friendly street market with so many hounds of all shapes and sizes in attendance.

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Over 200 stalls providing the best seasonal, regional food & drink means you aren’t going to go hungry and there are water bowls put out for the mutts at literally every second shopfront. Street food options are varied and you can go for anything from pulled pork BBQ to some of the best looking quiches this side of the English Channel.

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With such a laid back atmosphere, Frome Independent Market has managed to cultivate a vibe that is refreshingly easy-going yet still manages to feel effortlessly stylish. Everything is designed to make you love being here.

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The local bricks & mortar shops in Frome are of a notably high calibre too, providing a great backdrop to all the lovely market people selling their wares streetside. And the cafes dotted along Catherine Hill could be transplanted from any hip city neighbourhood you care to reference. Good coffee abounds. Or even proper Sicilian gelato! Not surprisingly cheese is very well represented given that the South West produces some of the country’s top award winners, with some gorgeous options from The Bath Soft Cheese Company amongst others.

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HOUNDWORTHY will be featuring at one of the upcoming events and we’ll post about it on our Twitter and Instagram feeds once we’ve confirmed dates!

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Frome Independent Market is easily reached via the M3/A303 or M4/M5. A train does serve the town on Sundays arriving at 10:26am and leaving at 3:37pm. Parking is free but can be a bit busy if you are arriving before noon and trying to find a spot right near the town centre… park up the hill and walk down. Oh and bring a HUGE shopping basket.

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www.houndworthy.com

FROM THE ARCHIVES: HOUNDWORTHY’S 60 SECOND INTERVIEW WITH SMARTA.COM

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SMARTA interviews HOUNDWORTHY co-founders Morgan Cummins & Jo Holdaway to find out what drives the world’s most ambitious dog lifestyle company. This article originally appeared here.

60 SECOND START-UP: HOUNDWORTHY

Looking for luxury products for your four-legged companion that suits both your needs? Well this week, we’re featuring a business that deliver authentic goods for man’s best friend. But it’s not just about the product, HOUNDWORTHY do all in their power to ensure a tip-top service.

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

HOUNDWORTHY is a celebration of exceptional, worthwhile things for the canine-inclined, delivered via our online store www.houndworthy.com; we are the most authentic dog lifestyle company on the planet.

5-10 seconds: What’s the business model?

HOUNDWORTHY curates a world class collection of gear and apparel for discerning dog owners. We seek to encourage dog people to choose better goods for their hounds and make more informed, meaningful decisions about everything they share with their four-legged companions. HOUNDWORTHY is redefining the dog shopping experience and delivering products that simply make life with dogs better.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

The pet accessories industry is incredibly fragmented and there really isn’t any true champion for discerning dog owners. While a few luxury brand challengers exist, and serve the top end of the market, our approach is more 360. We believe dog people share universal truths, whether you’re aristocracy or a beach bum, urban hipster or suburban adventurer. No other dog lifestyle company is the real deal. We are.

15-20 seconds: What’s your USP?

Authentic superb quality dog products presented by real dog people, with our names and faces above the door, with no hard-sell bullshit and definitely no rubbish on sale to simply make a fast buck. We believe in what we do and stand behind everything we say, share, sell and think.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

We launched our business on a wing and a prayer, from our own piggybanks, putting our own money behind something we whole-heartedly believe in. Now, 12 months in, we are exploring more expansive funding options and have been really pleased with the interest (globally) our business has attracted thus far.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Morgan was working as a freelance advertising creative for international branding agencies. Jo is a qualified graphic designer and art teacher, and was working as a freelance illustrator while also managing a small market research facility.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

We had an epiphany moment while out walking our own dogs along the 2 miles of beach that’s on our doorstep; we looked around at the gorgeous landscape surrounding us here in Britain and realised hey, this was something that mattered. The beautiful English countryside represents something all dog owners would rather be doing… being outside, with their most loyal and loved companion, exploring, relaxing, just being happy and content and enjoying some freedom with a creature that loves you unconditionally.

35-40 seconds: What’s the smartest thing you’ve done so far?

Just going ahead and starting something we knew nothing about. Our business facilitates happiness… we make people very happy. Spend a few mins on any of our social media and you’ll soon see what we mean. And we work with the most socially enabling subject on the planet. Opening up and telling every person we meet about our business and our goal to build the world’s most meaningful and recognised dog brand is the smartest thing we’ve done so far – we’re getting a lot of love back.

40-45 seconds: What’s the stupidest?

Thinking we could do this alone. We’ve realised through doing that you need to pull the right people and resources towards your idea and yourselves in order for it to achieve greatness. Nowadays we’re embracing every chance to share our idea and our vision for our business, and connect with others who can help us realise it.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Gravy Bone, obviously. Except we’d probably re-work the recipe so it was the best damned thing your dog ever tasted.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

Not sure if jealousy is the right way to think about how we feel about the ideas that wow us. So few companies set out to change an industry, change the wider perception for something that applies to a lot of people in a lot of places… so for those that do it successfully, we have nothing but huge respect and admiration. So perhaps we have envy, not jealousy! Ha! The guys at Innocent did something great with their brand, proving that speaking with honesty and going against the grain when it comes to marketing “norms” can resonate with real people in their millions.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months’ time?

Our business is poised for great things and opportunity quite literally bangs on our door with increasing regularity! The sky’s the limit. We genuinely feel that there is nothing that HOUNDWORTHY can’t do (and do better than anybody else). Look for more of our own signature range entering the market and interesting collaborations with companies who simply get why we exist and why life with dogs is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever know.

To find out more about HOUNDWORTHY, click here, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or keep an eye on their Instagram.

COMMUTING CANINES MAKE FRIENDS EASILY

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Public transport can be one of the most soulless, unsociable experiences of your day. Blame free commuter newspapers, blame Steve Jobs and his white earbud devices, blame 4G technology… whatever you wanna peg it on, the fact of the matter is is that people simply don’t talk to each other anymore. Idle chit chat with strangers in public places is rare, and particularly noticeable the younger you are.

HOWEVER… insert a cute dog into the equation and evvvvvverything changes. People smile. People ask questions. People tell stories about their little beast awaiting them at home… people can relate. It’s nice. And we think you should try it. Dogs On Trains is a HOUNDWORTHY favourite and proof that people accompanied by commuting canines make friends easily. Informal pics of four-legged passengers making other two-legged passengers happier? What’s not to love!

Want to get your rail-riding hound considered for their Tumblr? Start by hash-tagging your pics with #dogsontrains. Or tweet them to @dogsontrains directly. Like this. Oh and one thing we’ve found perfect for keeping you-know-who hydrated on longer journeys is this… a stylish little folding canvas water bowl from Billy Wolf. It really is quite useful. Happy travels!