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The 5 most iconic outerwear pieces which should never leave your wardrobe

In the fashion world, things seem to change on a near daily basis: the new black can pretty much be any colour you can think of! One minute your trouser length trails the floor picking up whatever you’ve left on it, the next it’s grazing your ankle and then it’s over the knee (these usually find themselves on the sale rail at the end of the season!).

But some things transcend all this, and it is usually the things that have a reason for existing. By this I mean that they were conceptualised for a purpose, a function and a fit. They stand the test of time, offer notoriety, a confident ageless sophistication, and in the days where throwaway fashion and culture must be coming to its end for the sake of the planet, have longevity. 

The Mac or Trench

The trench coat is one example. It is possibly the style that has beaten all others in terms of its popularity over the decades. The Mac, or Trench coat, has been worn by style icons around the globe. Bridgette Bardot famously using hers as a dressing gown, Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn and latterly Kate Moss all regularly donning their Macs oozing style and sophistication, rather than a need for weather protection.

However, the Mac/Trench, actually originated, yes you’ve guessed it, for wear in the trenches and it was used throughout the 19th century by army personnel as a garment with a specific function – this was performance gear which could actually save your life.  Camouflage in colour, and water-resistant (but not that breathable), the design features were specifically constructed to “work”. Shoulder epaulettes carried a rank and provided padding for the butt of a shotgun. D-rings held map cases and swords, ventilation flaps were for expelling unpleasant odours, cuff straps allowed binoculars to be stowed, large pockets were made to hold military gear, and all cut to a length and fit which stopped fabric dragging in the mud and offered a degree of freedom of movement. There may never be a creation again which so effortlessly has transcended functionality and iconic fashion. The Mac truly reflects British history.

Mac and Trench Coats

The Protected Species Waterproof Mac

The Parka

The Parka was originally invented by the Inuit people as a functional way to protect themselves from the freezing polar conditions. Traditionally worn by women, this practical cold weather coat included a baby pouch, a fur-lined hood and had a longer fitting body shape to snuggle into in harsh conditions. Later on, in the 1950s, the Parka became the style of choice for the US military.

Typically in sage green with the eponymous fur-lined hood, it was simple and practical. Further variations such as the fishtail parka were developed during the Korean War, again out of climatic necessity. Since this time, the Parka has been well and truly placed in British subculture – during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Parka became synonymous with the Mod culture and a symbol of youth rebellion. It was warm, durable and had a longer length design making it perfect for wearing over sharp suits whilst riding a scooter. Today the Parka is still connected with the music scene and pop culture – an incredibly practical garment offering full protective coverage, and an enviably rich heritage. 

The Pea coat

Again no surprises here, the Pea coat’s history is deeply rooted in the military and naval backgrounds. This slim fitting double breasted outerwear piece has been around since the 1800s and was first worn by the Dutch naval officers. The name pea coat originated from the Dutch word “pije” (they pronounce their j’s oddly), which was used in the Dutch language to describe a coat made from coarse wool fabric.

The British took this coat and made it their own –  similarly designed for naval duties (hence the image of an anchor on the brass buttons), side welt pockets were applied for easy access to wallets, a flared hem to allow unrestricted movement to climb the ropes, and a fitted body to reduce the effects of the wind. The Pea coat fuses warmth with a smart, tailored look – think Tom Ford’s creation for Daniel Craig in Spectre, or Alexa Chung pairing hers with her signature Breton stripe top and white skinnies – sophisticated, stylish and timeless.

The Bomber jacket 

The Bomber is a wardrobe staple. No gender, shape or style restrictions may be the reason this piece has made its way into the upper echelons of the fashion world of late. Created for the American air force  and originally appearing in a midnight blue hue, (later switched to a sage green after the Korean and Vietnamese wars for camouflage reasons) this style took over Britain  starting in the late 1960s and continuing into the 1980s when skinheads wore one example of a version of a bomber.

The Bomber jacket has a deserved place in every iconic outerwear style lists. Marlon Brando was an early adopter. James Dean’s iconic red bomber is as identifiable as the man himself. Steve McQueen in the Great escape rocked his leather version. Gosling smoulders in his sateen version in the late 90’s film “Drive”. And then there was Marilyn Monroe wearing her pink version over a tight, skinny dress –  a look which will be forever elegant, feminine and cool all rolled into one. The bomber jacket trend isn’t going anywhere. It has firmly planted itself as a wardrobe staple re-inventing itself for every generation across both genders.

Bomber jackets

The Protected Species Rain Bomber

The Puffer

The puffer is one of the only styles in our list whose history isn’t linked inextricably with the military, however its story again is of unwavering practicality and function, and like all the others in this list has an iconic status, standing the test of time and transcending fashions.

Eddie Bauer invented the first puffer jacket in 1936. He called it the Skyliner, and created it out of personal necessity after nearly losing his life to hypothermia whilst on a fishing trip in mid-winter. Patented in 1940, his creation was entirely about keeping the wearer warm. It was the first goose down jacket, an alternative to the heavy wool garments of the time.

Since its inception, the practical garment has appeared over and over again in fashion houses throughout the world. Technical performance brand Moncler trended this piece in the 1980’s with the Milanese youths.

What is brilliant about this jacket, is it is used universally despite cultures, class and sexes. Popularised in streetwear on the rap scene in NY, it was borne out of low income, cramped conditions driving the desire to be out of the house all year (if you’ve been to NY in winter you’ll understand!). Nowadays, this piece is as suited to a horse rider in Harrogate, as a North face “Nuptse” puffer on the streets of Manchester, or a Channel ski puffer gliding down an Italian slope – a jacket which will be around forever, worn by everyone, a true fusion of fashion and function from Kanye to Kate. After all we all need warmth. 


5 Best Products To Simplify Your Life In Seconds

Ever get that feeling that you’re always trying to juggle a hundred different things at once? You’re definitely not alone – in this nonstop world, we could all use some help making life feel more manageable. Luckily, the fashion community is starting to take notice of the need for multifunctional products that can be transitioned into every part of a woman’s busy day. Additionally, women are tending to align more with sustainable, ethically-focused brands that allow them to purchase items that last for a lifetime. So, if you’re wondering how to simplify your life while remaining stylish and eco-friendly, here’s a list of five of the best products for a minimalist lifestyle.

  1. Travel Aviator Jeans

If you’re after a pair of jeans that will work for a variety of tasks, it’s a good idea to buy a pair of travel jeans. These trousers are typically designed to be ultra-comfortable, so you can wear them on a busy trip, through a full day of running after your kids, or during a casual day at the office. One interesting brand to look at would be Aviator – a US-based denim company with a strong focus on travel. Their premium denim blend is durable and fast-drying, so it’s ideal if you’re heading out on a travel adventure. But the best part? Check out the two hidden zipper-secure back pockets for you to stash a credit card or some cash. There’s also a fifth pocket for your phone, so you can wear these jeans without having to worry about toting a purse whenever you need to rush out of the house. With a comfy fit and a reasonable price tag, you can wear them when you need to accomplish a variety of tasks – from running errands to touring a new city on holiday.

aviator jeans

Comfy sneakers can be one of the best ways to simplify your life.

  1. Allbirds Shoes

A comfortable pair of shoes is one of the best products to simplify your life. If you simply don’t have time to change shoes between fitting in a workout at the gym and heading to the store, Allbirds shoes make for ideal multifunctional footwear. They have a variety of merino wool runners in a bunch of different colours that are unbelievably comfortable as well as very stylish. If you want to make sure you’re purchasing sustainable products, Allbirds also has a tree runner style that’s made from eucalyptus tree fibre that (amazingly!) doesn’t detract from their comfort-level one iota. The brand even uses recycled bottles and cardboard for their green manufacturing processes. Plus, all of their shoes come with the same £95 price tag, so you don’t have to sacrifice too much of your hard-earned money for a multi-use product. Wherever your day takes you, these shoes will help you accomplish your goals…and look damned cool while you’re at it.

  1. Over In On Travel Dress

Interested in curating a capsule wardrobe that allows you to focus on simplicity? A travel dress lets you purchase one item that can be worn multiple ways. One option is the Over In One Dress from minimalist brand ADAY, which can be styled as a relaxed layering piece, cinched at the waist for an effortless all-day look, or open as a vest. This dress is made from a breathable, pilling-resistant, stretchy, sweat-wicking and wrinkle-free fabric, so it’s both easy to pack for travelling and low maintenance when you get to your destination. The Over In One Dress will fit perfectly into a capsule wardrobe because of its minimalist style and ability to be worn for lots of different activities. You’ll also rack up eco-friendly points by purchasing just one item that can be used in so many versatile ways instead of loading your wardrobe with ten items to do the job of one.

ladies waterproof jackets

Ladies waterproof jackets are essential for any capsule wardrobe.

  1. Protected Species City Walker Jacket

In need of a ladies waterproof jacket? Generally speaking, there aren’t a lot of jackets that look fashionable while still being completely functional. Enter, the City Walker Jacket from Protected Species. One of our most versatile styles, The City Walker, which is available in six chic colours, will have you covered even in the worst weather. It comes with a concealable and adjustable hood and a drawcord on the hem, so you can fit it precisely to your shape. Our minimalist laser-cut design sports zippered pockets to stash your phone and/or cash and will ensure that you look stylish even when being shielded from the rain and wind. As a brand we focus not only on ethically-sourced and sustainable fabrics but also on functionality, adaptability and practicality, which means you can wear this ladies waterproof jacket for a multitude of activities – from stomping the city to walking the dog and even hiking a mountain!

  1. Easy-To-Store Tote Bag

The bag-for-life concept has been around for a while now and it’s a good one, however, they tend to have two glaring problems – they’re not fashionable and they don’t pack particularly well, meaning that you’re often caught short when on an impromptu trip to the store because you’ve left your BFL in the boot of your car. “Have you got your own bags?” the cashier will ask. “I do…just not with me,” you’ll reply with sheepish embarrassment. Furthermore, many supermarket-made bags-for-life actually require 20 years of use before they’ve paid back their manufacturing footprint. Two decades! One brand that’s turning this problem on its head is BAGGU, their OG reusable tote being the refreshingly small-to-store and water-resistant foldable bag that propelled them into the mainstream. Available in a seemingly endless array of cute colours and patterns, when packed away they’re about the size of a tissue purse and can be easily stored in pretty much any size bag for when you’re out and about and want to make an on-the-spot purchase. 

With simplicity being the name of the game, you need your fashion products to work for you, not against you. So, whether you’re travelling to a new city or just getting things done at home, you need items that can be easily transitioned throughout your busy life. Try these five products to help introduce a little more flexibility and ease into your day. 


Why Having Less Is The Most Liberating Thing You Can Do

“Greed is good.” Gordon Gekko intoned this selfish credo in the money-grabbing movie of an era, Wall Street, and unfortunately this ‘more is more’ philosophy didn’t stay restricted to the silver screen. Through one way or another, society has been fed this neo-capitalist dogma for decades and, just like Michael Douglas’ rapacious character, we’ve discovered that it can lead to an empty life full of things that never seem to be enough (although most of us haven’t required 10 years in an orange jumpsuit to catch on). After focusing too heavily on materialism and the accumulation of objects, our society is starting to see a switch back to the days when people were taught to simply appreciate what they had. Now, with the advent of the minimalist movement, we’re beginning to see why having less is liberating. Read on for tips on how to achieve a minimalist lifestyle that will be good for both your wallet and your mental health!

The Minimalist Movement Takes Root

As with many current trends, the minimalist movement was sparked by millennials. This generation decided to stray from their parents’ propensity to indulge in overconsumption. With climate change and sustainability in the zeitgeist, more and more people are embracing the eco-friendly ethos. Lifestyle decisions are also based on the state of the economy – recent generations are less financially stable than those that preceded them, which means that young people today are less likely to make big purchases, eschewing buying homes, expensive furniture, and large wardrobes with designer brands simply because it’s not financially feasible. But aside from the money aspect, we’ve come to realise that in today’s tumultuous and sometimes scary world it might be in everyone’s best interest to focus more on buying things that make us happy, such as exciting travel plans or fun experiences. These adventures create lasting memories, which are more important than tangible items that we won’t need or use in a few years.

Why Having Less Is The Most Liberating Thing You Can Do

Donating items you don’t wear often can be key to achieving a minimalist lifestyle.

The Minimalist Movement’s Hero

People around the globe have become even more invested in the minimalist movement because of their obsession with Marie Kondo. Kondo wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2014, which described her ‘KonMari’ method of using organising and decluttering strategies to help simplify the home. Kondo encourages people to pick up items in their home and determine if they ‘spark joy’. If they do, you can find a place for it in your home; if it doesn’t, the item must be discarded or donated. Her book has sold millions of copies and has been published in more than 30 countries. In January 2019, Netflix released a new series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which introduced Kondo’s methods to even more people around the globe. Each episode features Kondo visiting a home in the US and helping the family to reorganise and move towards a more minimalist lifestyle. Her growing influence has been evident throughout the world, especially in the US where donations to local charities and donation centres have skyrocketed. It seems that most people can easily get behind the message of getting rid of unnecessary items and working towards both simplifying their homes and their lives in general.

The Benefits of Minimalism

There are several different ways in which you can benefit from living a more minimalist lifestyle and one of the biggest advantages applies to your mental health. Focusing less on consumerism and more on creating joyful experiences in your life can lead you to feel less pressure to buy more and measure up to others around you in terms of material possessions. Avoiding this pressure can create a less stressful vibe in your life. The bonus is that you might end up worrying less about finances (since you probably won’t be spending as much on extraneous items) and can funnel your money towards meaningful experiences that you’ll treasure forever. Moreover, having less stuff in your home can also create a more peaceful environment for you and your family. You’ll be surprised how much the clutter in your home can create clutter in your mind. Getting back to basics can deliver a well-needed boost to your general mood. You can simplify your life in smaller yet equally helpful ways too, such as creating a capsule wardrobe of minimalist clothing. Having just a few items that you can mix and match (instead of owning a large number of clothes that you probably don’t even wear) can make getting dressed much quicker and easier every morning. Do you think Steve Jobs spent hours agonising over which black turtleneck to wear? Simplifying your wardrobe can cut out a daily stress that is totally unnecessary…now go and invent an iPhone that has a decent battery life!

curated book collection

Go minimalist by curating your book collection.

The Best Tips for a Minimalist Lifestyle

So, how can you actually achieve a minimalist-yet-practical lifestyle? One of the easiest steps you can take is to carefully go through your closet and determine what you need and what you don’t. There may be some items that you’ve never worn or have worn only once or twice – these can definitely go in the donation pile. However, some items that are multifunctional, like a minimalist waterproof coat women’s style, will be ideal for both fashionableness and practicality. Once you’ve gone through your closet, you can probably refine your wardrobe specifically to include pieces that best suit your minimalist goals. From there, you can declutter the rest of your home with the same strategy – holding onto valuable or useful items and discarding the rest. You can also take a minimalist approach by streamlining the design of your home; look objectively at your furniture and see if there are any items you might be able to get rid of for a more sleek, refined atmosphere.

Remember: it’s totally okay if you’re not ready to completely overhaul your life. Starting the path towards minimalism can be as simple as getting rid of an extra chair in your living room or donating some of the books that have been piling up on your shelf. Taking small steps towards a less materialistic life can still provide you with a more zen attitude and a less stressed frame of mind. Just allow yourself to lean into ‘less is more’ and you’ll start to find that it’s easier to appreciate more of what life has to offer when you’re not so focused on buying up everything around you. If in doubt, let Marie Kondo guide the way!


7 Outdoor Kids Activities To Do In The Rain

The UK is a beautiful place to live. We’ve got everything from striking white cliffs to sandy beaches to dense forests and everything in between. No matter where you live in Britain, there’s one universal truth that you must embrace: It rains. A lot.

No doubt you’ve come up with ways to occupy yourself on a rainy British day, but what about your little ones? For kids, staying indoors can be tantamount to torture no matter the weather outside. That’s why it’s important to embrace your inner child and get outside – yes, yes, even when it’s raining – and explore a few fun outdoor activities for kids. Grab your showerproof parka and try a few of these activities for kids in the rain.

First – Gear Up!

Before you can jump into the nearest puddle, you need to think about what you’re going to wear to stop the splash. It’s important to layer up to protect your body from the elements but not go so far as to restrict how high you can kick your leg or bend your knees to really get down in the mud.

You need a base layer of cotton (normal clothes will probably do just fine); if it’s cold out then think about some long underwear too. However, the key to success for outdoor play on a rainy day is a waterproof outer layer. A waterproof mac with a hood or a women’s showerproof parka with rain boots should do the trick.

Properly gearing up allows you to stay outdoors for longer and that equals loads more fun!

Be a Puddle Jumper

Let’s start with one of the most fun (and obvious) things you can do when it’s raining out: go puddle stomping!

7 Outdoor Kids Activities To Do In The Rain puddle stomping

One of the best activities for kids in the rain – puddle jumping!

Splish, splash and jump in the gathering puddles of rain. You can even turn it into a scientific exercise by looking at the way water reflects and ripples or seeing what kind of patterns can be made in a muddy puddle. Play games that involve moving around your lawn by only walking in puddles and see who can go the farthest.

Art in the Rain

Rain art is a fun way to add a little colour to a gloomy day. Simply take a paper towel and create a design using water-soluble pens. Then take it outside and let the rain fall on the paper. The colours will begin to separate and spread, creating new art in the process. Take it back inside and allow it to dry and then voila! Rainy day art has been created!

Muddy Treasure

No one knows why exactly, but kids love digging. Give them a shovel, a spade, an old spoon – kids will dig, especially in the mud. Find a place in your back garden that you don’t mind disturbing and let those kids dig to their hearts’ content. Who knows what they’ll find back there but they’ll have fun no matter what.

A Nature Hunt

When it rains, something spectacular happens outside. Animals that you don’t have the pleasure of seeing each day come out to play. Snails, worms and even frogs and turtles might come out of the woodwork and treat you to a sighting. Just grab your umbrellas, wellies, a waterproof mac with hood, and rain boots then head outside with a magnifying glass or even a camera to see what you can discover.

muddy outdoor activities for kids

No outdoor kid activity would be complete without mud!

Create an Outdoor Kitchen

Remember how much kids love to dig in the mud? Well, they also love to create in the mud. Give them old buckets, bowls, and utensils and let them create some muddy culinary wonders for you. Once the rain clears up, you can leave the mud pies to “bake” in the sun.

If you’ve got an old pot lying around then it might be time to cook up a little leaf stew. Help your child collect sticks and leaves and let them mix until they’re satisfied and then serve it up as their (pretend!) dinner.

More Mud Play

Mud has so many uses! If your kids love crafts more than culinary arts then get them some paintbrushes or just use your hands to gather mud and smear it on anything they can find. The pavement, the driveway, a tree – the best part is, the rain cleans up for you.

Build a Bridge

Inspire your child’s inner engineer by building a bridge across puddles. They can use toys, sticks – whatever they can find to build a mini bridge. You can even play a game of ‘sink or float’ by asking them which items they think will stay on top of the water and then put them to the test.

As long as you have the right foundation, such as a women’s waterproof mac or showerproof parka, even the rainy world is you and your children’s oyster. Outdoor activities for kids on a rainy day can also help to bring out the kid in you, so pull on that parka and head out for a soaking wet fiesta on every day that the heavens decide to open…knowing the UK, they’ll probably be one or two this winter!


What To Pack For A Vacation In London

Heading off to see the sights and sounds of London town? Whether you’re off on a girls’ trip, a romantic couple’s get-away or maybe a class reunion, you probably just secured the train tickets and accommodation then thought, “That’s it – done!” Well, now you actually have to decide what to pack for a vacation in London. Not an easy decision, of course. Gone are the days of taking everything with you bar the kitchen sink. Contemporary travelling is all about packing as little as possible (especially if you’re flying; who wants to pay the exorbitant fees for checking a bag these days?) but making sure that every occasion – and turn of weather – is catered for. Slightly easier if you’re packing for a summer visit to a Greek island, as you’re pretty much guaranteed blue skies and sunshine. London, however, can be somewhat more temperamental when it comes to the daily weather. So you really need to give your packing some careful thought.

Sustainable, ethically-produced women’s travel essentials for London

With 80s excess firmly in our rearview, we’re all so much more tuned into saving the planet nowadays. ‘Saving the planet’ is perhaps not the most erudite expression to use (it sounds like something a superhero might utter prior to donning his cape and taking to the skies with a carbon-neutral flourish) but we all know exactly what it means, thanks in no small part to real-life superhero David Attenborough. Thanks to Sir Dave et al., it’s common knowledge that cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing plastic production/usage and increasing recycling are de rigueur for the responsible modern day citizen. Something else that may not spring to mind immediately but is gaining in notoriety and popularity is ethically-sourced and sustainable clothing. Many companies are riding this green wave, one of them being Protected Species. We have a policy of using a locally-based, skilled workforce, meaning that employees can work close to their homes and families. Our versatile and stylish waterproof outerwear – a navy bomber jacket (womens) for example – is manufactured using only eco-friendly elements and environmentally sound principles. Sustainability in clothing is also a key issue and one that we have in mind with every design decision that we make. A fairly mind-blowing fact is that over £140 million worth of old, disintegrated or simply no-longer-required clothing ends up as landfill every year. Concentrates the mind, doesn’t it? If we can source timeless, stylish and high-quality clothes that are ethically manufactured and made to last, we’ll all be doing a little bit more to help ‘save the planet’. Read on to learn about our on-point suggestions for women’s travel essentials for London.

What To Pack For A Vacation In London

London climes can turn on a dime; be prepared for any weather eventuality with a stylish women’s waterproof trench coat.

Footwear for a vacation in London

Girls, we have to get this right…right?! Sore feet, blisters, etc. are a sure-fire way to spoil your mini-break. Let’s face it: if you’re heading to London, there’s going to be a fair amount of walking. You’ll no doubt want to visit the famous galleries, take a turn around the numerous lush parks, explore the vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods (hello Soho!) as well as generally eat, drink and be merry in England’s capital. All of this pavement pounding will require the right footwear and you can’t go far wrong with a great pair of sneakers. New Movement sneakers are beautifully stylish and come in a variety of sizes and colours. They use only natural, recycled materials; even the laces are made from recycled plastic bottles. They are made to last and are pretty flexible so they’ll fit nicely into your case without taking up too much room.

Every woman’s travel essential for London: the basic Tee

The great thing about the beloved T-shirt is that you can easily layer-up an outfit over the top of it and then strip everything off (bar the T-shirt of course) if the weather brightens up or you get warm from energetic walking. One innovative and exciting organic T-shirt company is 220g; the intriguing company name was borne out of a bit of fascinating research that the directors uncovered, namely that the preferred material weight for a T-shirt starts at 220 grams per square metre. The T-shirts are comfortingly heavy, which adds to their durability. The yarn is sourced from Turkey and the products are made in Lithuania by a company that (naturally) \

meets quality and fairness standards. A couple of these perfectly weighted tees should be a definite on your ‘what to pack for a vacation in London’ list!

A few more women’s travel essentials for London

A guaranteed fair trade company – peopletree.co.uk – is the place to go to source a few more essentials. This company started out in 1991 and their core mission remains the same to this day. Artisan skills such as hand-weaving and hand-embroidery are employed, using organic cottons and responsible wool, and all the principles of Fair Trade are adhered to. Hit up this company for trousers, dresses, jumpsuits and even underwear; you’re sure to find a gem or two for your trip to London.

Bag it up

With all these wonderful clothes, you’re going to need a bag of some sort in which to carry them. But instead of unearthing your tired old bag from the back of the wardrobe, why not upgrade to one made of 100% recycled plastic bottles? Crumpler does a whole range of stylish and durable bags for every occasion – check out their range and prepare to be spoiled for choice.

london

Don’t forget your ladies lightweight waterproof jacket in case the blue turns to grey!

Ladies lightweight waterproof jacket

Now we come to the essential of all essentials. If you’re going anywhere in the UK then you need a waterproof jacket (the sad truth!) ’cause no one wants to lug an umbrella around, especially on top of everything else we have to carry. Gone are the days of the old, unflattering macs or heavy raincoats. Women’s fashion in 2019 calls for a waterproof but stylish jacket, one that won’t look out of place if it’s not actually raining but will offer full protection (including a hood to protect quick-to-frizz hair) if you do get caught in a shower. Protected Species offers a range of wonderful, performance-led and versatile raincoats. We’ve already touched on the ethics of the company and the sustainability of our products, but what you also need to know is that our products are sleek, flattering and sophisticated. For example, the Waterproof City Walker is perfectly lightweight for easy packing, thin enough to wear over layers of clothes without getting hot and sweaty, and stylish enough to make you look and feel uber-confident. It comes in a range of sizes and a choice of elegant, muted colours. The ladies Waterproof Parka is another option if you want to cover up a little more; or, if you want to go the whole hog and really make an impression, the women’s Waterproof Trench coat is the one for you.

These are just a few ideas of what to pack for a vacation in London; now it’s over to you! Enjoy your trip and if you do bump into Mr. Attenborough in Victoria Park, don’t forget to say hi from us.


Why Minimalist Fashion Will Never Go Out of Style

As the world around us seems to get a little crazier every day and simple to-do lists spiral wildly out of control, it makes sense that we’re all craving a little simplicity. Your days are most likely filled making choices about a variety of things – from the mundane of what to feed your kids for breakfast to the essential decision of what pitches to give your client at the office – you’re constantly having to put those critical thinking skills to work. That’s why many women are turning towards minimalist fashion as a way of streamlining one area of their lives. Instead of facing their closets with dread every day, wondering how to pull together a great look, women can choose from a few select-yet-fashionable outfits that can be transitioned through every part of their day. 

What is minimalist fashion?

There are a few definitions of minimalist fashion. First, the term can encompass having a capsule wardrobe with a carefully curated selection of items. This means that you own just a few pieces in each category (blouses, jeans, flats, etc.) that can be mixed and matched with each other to create different outfit options. These items are often within the same colour palette, so they can easily be worn together. Capsule wardrobes make it much easier to select an outfit every day, as your closet won’t be bogged down with tons of items that you don’t even wear but you’re keeping around for, uh, nostalgia? (We’re looking at you, 90’s crop tops and bell-bottom jeans…) Plus, a similar colour scheme takes the guesswork out of figuring out which pieces go together.

Second, minimalist fashion can also refer to the specific style of the clothes that you’re wearing. Minimalist pieces are generally very basic – but don’t assume for a second that this means they’re boring. These styles typically have sleek lines and straight silhouettes with no extra pizazz. So, ruffles, frills, embroidering, and sparkle are all nixed. However, minimalist fashion does not mean you’re forced to look like a drama student in all black or a colourblind member of the Blue Man group in just neutrals. Because the rest of your outfit will be understated, it actually makes it very easy to incorporate colour. Minimalist fashion also allows you to be a little more creative with shoes and accessories, so that your look never strays into dull territory.

camis minimalist fashion

A selection of camis in a few different colours is essential for a minimalist wardrobe.

What are some minimalist fashion trends?

Want to make sure you’re getting started on the right path towards minimalism? There are several current trends that are versatile enough to fit every area of your life. 

  • A suit and loafers – That’s right, the women’s power suit is back! Toss out the image of stodgy, boring suits – the real winner today is an oversized blazer with either straight-leg pants or a trendier wide-leg option. Paired with comfy loafers, you’ll look ready for business but still feel comfy enough to run errands after work.
  • Silk cami and wide-leg pants – This look is great for a casual option that still works for drinks out with friends. Pair it with a sleek mule in a bright colour to add a little sparkle to your outfit.
  • Oversized button-down shirt and jeans – Although this might seem a tad basic, it’s still the ultimate way to be comfortable while still following the trends. Have some fun with a white button-down and remember to stick to cropped or skinny jeans for a balanced look.
  • Sleek winter coat – No wardrobe is complete without a waterproof winter coat women’s style. Choose options that have minimal zippers and buttons with a more basic, sleek cut so that you can pair your coat with any outfit without it overpowering your whole look.
  • Monochromatic skirt and top – Following one colour theme in your outfit can help you look more polished. A long silk skirt with the same colour blouse creates a minimalist outfit that still provides a touch of glam.

The beauty of minimalist fashion is that there’s a lot of room for you to mix and match pieces to find what works best for your individual style. This adaptability means you won’t ever feel locked into a certain style if it doesn’t fit your personal vibe. 

Does minimalism help the environment?

Minimalism definitely equals less waste! If you can get in the habit of curating a capsule wardrobe, you can train yourself to stop purchasing items you might only wear once or twice (or never – eyes still on you, bell-bottom jeans!). Minimalism encourages you to eliminate clothes that don’t serve you (such as uncomfortable, ill-fitting, or out-of-date items). Just the act of decluttering your closet can help you donate items that you don’t want and help you better visualise which of your items belong in the must-have pile. Most of us are guilty of having bought clothes that we hardly end up wearing. Given the chance to streamline your wardrobe with a minimalist approach, you can make better choices about future purchases – which in turn can help you focus more on buying more ethical or fair-trade items. Making this change to your purchases can result in you buying items that are better quality and are made with less waste. Bottom line: being a minimalist makes you greener.

jumpsuit minimalist fashion

Jumpsuits fit right into a minimalist aesthetic – you don’t even have to think of two separates to wear!

Will minimalist fashion go out of style?

It’s unlikely that minimalist fashion will leave anytime soon. Its longevity is due to its simplicity. There will never be a time when women don’t want their clothes to be beautiful or to give off an air of distilled elegance. It’s also unlikely that there will come a time when women have huge amounts of time to dedicate solely to their clothes. As women continue to rule both the home and the boardroom, they’ll always be a need to make the process of picking out clothes quick and easy. Instead of rummaging through 20 tops that you’re not in love with (and that don’t go with anything else you own), you can choose from a few tops that are ultra-fashionable and chic. Sometimes having fewer choices is actually a good thing, as you can go about your day checking items off your (now shrinking) to-do list…while still looking fabulous.

Fashion trends come and go, but looking as if your on top of things will never be passé. Choose the straight-forward process of keeping only the items you absolutely love that fit into your capsule wardrobe and then follow a minimalist aesthetic with a selection of items that fit within the same palette. Getting ready in the morning will be a snap – you’ll look fashion-forward without having to spend hours agonising over what to wear. Simplicity and minimalism is now the name of the game for anyone who wants to be comfortable while still looking modern and elegant.


10 Easy Places to Travel Alone If You Are Female

There are few experiences more valuable in life than travel and it can be especially enriching to head out on a solo trip. Even if it might seem intimidating at first to travel alone as a female, it can actually turn out to be an incredibly freeing and empowering experience. Plus, travelling alone can actually be less stressful, as you won’t need to coordinate your travel plans and everyone else’s preferences when on your own trip. Luckily, there are tons of easy places to travel alone if you are female. Not sure of any solo female-friendly travel destinations? Read on for a list of ten places that are just waiting to welcome you!

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland

Wondering where to travel alone if you are female? Iceland just happens to be one of the safest places in the world for women; in fact, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases a Global Peace Index every year and Iceland is listed at number one for the most peaceful country. Aside from not having to worry about safety as you explore on your own, there are also loads of activities to enjoy, including paddling in the futuristic Blue Lagoon and spotting the majestic Northern Lights. If you decide to take part in a glacier hike, make sure to pack one of our Protected Species Waterproof Coat Women’s. We have several versatile waterproof options to choose from including the ready-for-adventure hooded bomber jacket womens to keep you protected from the brisk Icelandic elements.

  1. New York City, New York, United States

“The City That Never Sleeps” is a great option if you want to have a jam-packed itinerary. From seeing a Broadway show to walking through Central Park, it’s impossible to get bored in New York City. Female travellers can also take part in lots of solitary activities, including taking in exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or checking out the Statue of Liberty. The city is bursting with exciting dining opportunities, so you can enjoy a delicious meal each evening as you mentally recap all the highlights from your NY adventure.

  1. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva’s nickname is actually “The Peace Capital” and it really lives up to it, so as long as you keep your eye out for any pickpockets you can easily enjoy your solo time here. Doing some kind of activity in the Alps (nature hike, skiing, etc.) is almost mandatory, so make sure to set aside plenty of time to gape (jaw-almost-certainly-open) at the stunning scenery. Although Switzerland can be pretty pricey, take yourself for a stroll through the local markets for more affordable (yet still delicious) fare.

amsterdam

Amsterdam is an ideal place to travel alone if you’re female.

  1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Netherlands is also known as one of the safest countries in Europe (and super easy to get around on foot). There’s plenty to do for solo travellers, including a visit to the world-famous Van Gogh Museum, brushing up on some history at the Anne Frank House, and spotting authentic Dutch windmills at Westerpark. The city is also known for its delectable desserts – which you won’t have to worry about sharing if you’re travelling alone!

  1. Montreal, Canada

Canadians are known for being some of the nicest people around, which makes Canada an ideal destination for solo female travellers. Montreal is home to the riverfront Old Port, historical buildings that date back to the 1600s, and plenty of sumptuous French cuisine. Montreal can also be less expensive than some of its European counterparts, so it’s a great pick for women travelling on a budget.

  1. Bali, Indonesia

In need of a vacation that is completely dedicated to the fine art of relaxation? Don’t we all. Well, you won’t be able to find a more peaceful place than Bali. This lush beach-lined spiritual mecca is bursting with ancient temples, yoga studios and excellent restaurants (of which there’s an incredibly diverse vegan scene). If you are in need of some true ‘alone time’, Bali is a superb destination to unwind as you can choose from traditional budget-friendly lodgings or indulge in pure luxury at an upscale resort.

  1. Costa Rica

Walk pretty much anywhere in Costa Rica and you’ll find helpful locals who’ll make you feel safe. Whether you’d like to experience some solo adventures such as ziplining in the jungle or trying your hand (or foot!) at surfing, or if you’d just like to hang out on the beach, Costa Rica offers the kind of rejuvenating, tropical getaway that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

japan

Tokyo makes for a perfect solo female-friendly destination.

  1. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is basically a solo traveller’s dream: it’s incredibly safe, clean, and easy to get around – there are even some trains that offer female-only cabins. Plus, Tokyo is designed to make it easy for people to dine alone (especially at ramen and sushi bars), so you won’t look out of place as a solo diner. There are even some hotel rooms that are designed specifically for single travellers, meaning that you’ll get a smaller space without having to pay for a room built for two! With a multitude of shopping options and picturesque walks (don’t miss the cherry blossom trees), there’s plenty to keep you busy on your Japanese holiday.

  1. Santiago, Chile

If you’d like to explore South America, Santiago is the perfect place to start. It’s a safe, easy-to-navigate city with many separate European-style neighbourhoods that are ripe for touring. There are also several impressive art museums as well as a bustling nightlife to keep you occupied after the sun goes down. If you’d like to be more active, the Santiago hills (or cerros) are great for hiking and having some quiet time just to yourself.

  1. Singapore

Singapore’s tourism has been booming since the success of Crazy Rich Asians shone a spotlight on the exotic location. This has only helped the country to become even cleaner and safer for tourists. Plus, plenty of easy-to-use public transportation makes getting around a breeze. Make sure to check out the elaborate temples and the fun hubbub at Clarke Quay.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and head out on a solo adventure then after you’ve booked your flight, make sure you’re packing all of the necessary travel essentials: the right adapter, comfortable shoes, and adaptable clothes that will work for your intended climate. Pieces like our waterproof bomber, city walker, and parka are all easy to pack and versatile to wear wherever your travels take you. Don’t be put off by travelling alone as a woman – just think of it as time alone with your favourite person, exploring all the wonderful things the world has to offer!


The things you need to know before purchasing a women’s waterproof jacket

Being a lover of the outdoors, an owner of a women’s waterproof brand, and someone who has worked for many years developing other brands’ performance wear, you’d think that suggesting how women choose a waterproof jacket would be easy. However, with the range of products available, boiling this down to a few simple instructions is difficult. I think the simplest way around this is to be really honest with yourself about what you do on a daily basis and therefore what you need the jacket for. It could be anything from climbing a mountain to the daily commute, or often both, so it’s important to get it right.

I’ve added a synopsis of some of the technical jargon used in the industry at the end of this article if you need to refer to it, but let’s go straight in with discussing some of the different types of outerwear. 

Types of waterproof outerwear

Rubber or polyurethane based

There are many rubber, or rubber coated, women’s waterproof outerwear brands on the market today. If you spend a short time say waiting for a bus, or dirt is a big problem (and you want to simply wipe it away), then this type of coat will be useful The problem is, this option won’t be breathable, and moisture from sweat can be as uncomfortable and sometimes more unpleasant than that of rain. The red faced, sweaty look isn’t the best way to start a busy Monday after a short cycle to work! However, these products don’t need a water-resistant coating, hence no re-proofing required, and are often much cheaper than their more technical membrane alternatives. Great for simply shielding from rain, not good where any level of humidity or activity is present.

Water-resistant or coated

These are readily available on the high street. They have no seam sealing, and offer a water-resistant coating only. The design of this type of jacket is not restricted by the need to have good waterproofing construction, or clever placement of seams to be sealed, as a result many of these products look and feel like a “normal” piece of outerwear easing simply into your everyday wardrobe. On the whole, they don’t rustle when you move, and can be a cheaper option which will see you through the odd wet dash. This type of garment can’t technically be called a waterproof (as they are not seam sealed), so don’t expect too much from them.

Laminated / membrane options

These jackets are far more technical than the above and you’ll be used to seeing these in traditional outdoor shops. These innovations get more and more sophisticated, and if you are serious about weather protection and want something that lasts, this is the area where you’ll find it. However, you will pay more for this technology and you may be more restricted by the designs on offer. The design and construction takes into account all performance factors – there is no point using an expensive technical fabric, and then incorporating fancy design features which let water in. There needs to be careful consideration of placement and quantity of seams, as they are all sealed, which can, at times, restrict aesthetic. However, this form of waterproofing should offer the best breathability (check the ratings on your swing ticket). I cannot stress enough that this does matter. Imagine wearing a plastic bag dashing on and off the tube, or hiking up a hill on a wet summers day. I have done both, and trust me the result is not pretty.

protected species waterproof coats

Features and Functions of waterproof jackets

Ok, so we have looked at the jargon and the types of waterproof outerwear, let’s look at the features and functions which for me are as crucial. These are the things that make me happy, and at times look forward to rain! 

Comfort and aesthetic 

So, do you want to wear your waterproof jacket most days of the week? You may have a daily commute walking or cycling to work, the dog always needs walking, and unfortunately the kids do need collecting from school. If you do want to be in your jacket constantly, you want to look like you in it. You want your outerwear to merge with the rest of your wardrobe, and essentially feel completely comfortable both physically and aesthetically – this, in a nutshell, is the reason Protected Species exists and why this point is at the top of my list. For comfort, I would always purchase an outerwear piece with stretch properties. Not only are they much more comfortable, offer greater freedom of movement, but generally the elastane makes the fabric less noisy and helps to eliminate creasing very important when packing or throwing in a rucksack. 

Talking of packing, if you do a lot of travel, your outdoor jacket needs to travel well i.e. it should be crease resistant and relatively lightweight. Check that it still looks smart after scrunching it up a bit, it’s pretty easy to tell if it’s easy care or not and it is a real bonus to have a jacket which looks as good as new after being in the boot for a few days.

Colour

Now, this is a bit bug bare of mine – ‘brights’. These colours are traditionally offered by a lot of outdoor performance companies, particularly in the women’s section. These colours do actually do a job, and it is amazing how far away these bright limes, pinks and often purples can be seen on a mountain side. If you really think you are going to get lost, this may be of consideration but if you aren’t planning on calling out the air ambulance anytime soon, then make an assessment if these colours are suitable for all your activities / environments.

Pockets 

It seems obvious but your jacket must have deep pockets with security zips, preferably with water resistant zip closures. Most jackets have pockets but are not always secured and for me this is vital – oyster cards, walking maps, keys, money, etc. If you’re out in the rain, and can possibly help it, leaving the bag somewhere else is great. You want to be self-contained, have your hands free, feel secure, and be unencumbered. It’s such a liberating feeling when it’s raining to feel unrestricted and more than this it can be a necessity if you’re clutching a buggy or a dog lead or both. 

Hoods

Massively important and something we discuss regularly here at Protected Species. The hood obviously needs to have good coverage but it must be adjustable to fix it in place when it’s windy – there is nothing, I mean nothing, more frustrating than your hood blowing off in windy conditions. Properly try the hood on, adjust the draw cords and ensure it will definitely stay put in wilder weather otherwise your jacket is severely limited. Also the hood should have, what we call, an ergonomic cut. The hood should be cut to give depth and coverage to the top of your head but it needs to be cut away at the face to avoid restricted viewing. This can sometimes mean that you need to pull your hair back to avoid getting wet hair (a well-shaped hood will also provide space to wear your hair up). You will always be thankful of this feature when crossing the road, and is especially important when travelling on your bike. 

All of our ladies waterproof jackets include a hood, so make sure you take a look at our full range.

Sleeve lift

Sleeve lift refers to a technical way of cutting a sleeve pattern and in short it stops the hem of your jacket riding up, and your sleeve disappearing up your arm as you stretch upwards. Just do a check when you try the jacket on it’s easy to tell if this has been incorporated or not.

Cord adjusters 

Often found at the waistline or hem, or as on the waterproof parka, in both positions. These are used to pull your jacket close to you to stop wind-chill. Adjusters on the Protected Species collection are also used liberally to shape and flatter. Check the toggles used to secure the cords are of good quality with a strong grip. Sometimes the adjusters are weak and of cheap quality and this allows the cord to slip backwards and the benefits are then lost.

There are many, many more functions and features but I’m hoping the above will start the thought process for you. If you truly consider your lifestyle activities, how often you think you will wear your jacket, and the importance to you of how your jacket looks, this will dictate the features you need and the money you are prepared to pay. I would really recommend minimum waterproof and breathability ratings of 5000mm / 5000gm for most activities, but the features are dependent on its end use and really down to what you need your jacket for. If you would like further advice or help please feel free to contact me at hello@protected-species.com.

waterproof coat features functions

Technical waterproof details explained

Waterproof ratings

The pressure of water applied to the surface of your jacket at which the “breaking point” (the point water passes through the fabric) is measured. This is shown in mm or sometimes mm/H20. 

Breathability ratings

The breathability of the jacket you are reviewing is measured by the amount of water that evaporates through the fabric of the jacket over a 24hour period – think of the old school petri dishes with water, a controlled environment, and a piece of your jacket fabric securely clamped over the top of it. The difference between the weights of water before and after a 24hour period is your breathability rating.

Seam sealing

Your jacket can be fully taped / critical seam taped only / no taping. Seam taping, in short, is an adhesive waterproof tape which is heat sealed to some, or all, of the jacket seams to stop water passing through the stitch holes made by the machine needle.

Water resistant coating (DWR or WR)

This is a liquid coating which is washed onto the surface of the fabric, it’s function is to bead water away from the material’s surface. This does wear off over time with repeated wear, washing and abrasion and needs to be reapplied by simply spraying on or adding to your wash – this is called re-proofing.

Laminates or membranes

These are effectively a thin fabric layer bonded to, or enclosed between the visible layers of the fabric. These membranes are constructed with holes small enough to stop water droplets from passing through, and large enough to allow the passage of water vapour only – allowing protection from rain, and crucially movement of internal moisture reducing or eliminating sweat. 


How Fashion-Led Performance Wear is Revolutionising the Modern Wardrobe

Remember the bad old days when women were required to sacrifice comfort for fashion? Throughout history, women have had to conform to what was considered stylish at the time, even if it meant agony (think corsets and even the barbaric practice of Chinese foot binding). Luckily, the fashion world is starting to catch onto What Women Actually Want – to look stylish and feel comfortable at the same time. Along with prioritising comfort, women are also starting to propose that their clothes actually work to support their demanding lifestyles. They’re requesting clothes that help them accomplish the 100+ tasks that they need to do every day, without serving as a ‘yeah-but-you-look-great’ hindrance. Having a modern wardrobe means that women’s clothes work for them, not the other way around. Considering how hard it can be to succeed as a woman (even in 2019), it’s about time that performance wear stepped up to the challenge.

A complicated relationship with fashion

Women’s relationship with fashion has been a historically complicated one. From basically the beginning of time, women have been told they needed to change their bodies in order to fit into society’s perception of what they should be. Even back in ancient Greece, women wore laced body braces to tighten their waist and give them that ‘sort after’ hourglass figure. Women strived for tiny waists artificially shrunk by corsets and then exaggerated hips with hoopskirts – an unachievable fashion ideal that would persist until the 20th century. If a woman didn’t break a few ribs or experience a feeling of constant suffocation, they weren’t really trying hard enough to be fashionable. Various clothing trends over the years sent an underlying message that women would only be accepted by society is if they followed the fickle rules of fashion. But what rules? And made by whom?! Women had to stand up and shout for change to happen, which came in small doses. Trousers specifically made for women only took off in the mainstream after actress Katharine Hepburn showed that they could still be feminine and fashionable in the 1940s. 

loungewear

Back in the day it was deemed acceptable that women’s clothing didn’t really allow them to do  much more than sit on loungers and wave a fan back and forth. Women weren’t expected to have strenuous activities to take part in (of course this was only actually true for the upper classes) or busy schedules buzzing them from place to place. With the Women’s Liberation movement in the 1970s, fashion began to reflect what women were really able to accomplish (career, family, politics, activism, etc.), so female fashion trended towards what was most practical (looser, flowing dresses or comfy jeans). In recent years, it has become totally acceptable for women to run errands and rule the weekend in yoga pants and loungewear. While this can be considered a win for womankind’s right to comfort (it sure beats a confining corset, can I get an AMEN?!), this type of loungewear has only served as a practical option – one that wasn’t designed with beauty in mind…

Fashion-led performance wear hits the scene

That is until a growing movement of fashion-led performance wear hit the scene. By wearing garments that combine comfort and style, women can now show off their style without hindering their drive to get things done. Fashion designers and clothing companies are starting to understand that in order for women to actually ‘do it all’ and look good while doing it, they’ll need clothing that allows them to be Superwoman. Someone whose day includes walking the dog before breakfast, shuttling their kids to school, spending a full day smashing targets at work, attending an after-hours social event with workmates, and then coming home to cook dinner for a busy household. With their to-do list towering over them, women need clothing that makes their lives simpler. They need women’s parka coats that shield them from the rain while still looking like they could easily fit into the pages of Marie Claire.

modern wardrobe

Even with this positive movement towards beautiful comfort in the fashion world, there still seems to be a large gap in the market for more of these type of products, like women’s waterproof coats with hoods that don’t make them look either frumpy or just back from Mountain Rescue. Modern women not only need high-quality, functional clothes; they also need clothing that’s appropriate for all of the different worlds that they have to fit into. Whether they’re hiking up a mountain on Sunday or ruling the boardroom on Monday, their clothes need to reflect the often-complicated juggling of regular responsibilities. They need clothes that feel like a second skin from morning to night not something that they’re dreaming of ripping off as soon as they get in the door. Women should already be wearing clothes that make them feel relaxed and content. 

Encouraging a minimalistic style

The fashion world has done its part by trying to encourage a minimalistic vibe, taking the guesswork out of trying to curate entire wardrobe from mismatched styles. Such elements as capsule wardrobes let women refine their closets into a few select options that make it easier for them to get dressed in the morning. This can be a helpful way to eliminate clothes that might look fashion-forward but that don’t provide comfort (looking at you, bodysuits and bandage dresses!).

Therefore, the new direction of fashion appears to be: comfortable clothes that let women shine in every capacity of their lives (from school field trips to corporate presentations). Because with all that they do, women deserve beautifully cut, made-to-last clothing that’s ultimately easy to wear. Forget ironing and dry cleaning – clothing needs to be effortless and require no work other than putting it on as we get ready to start our busy days. Long gone are the days of 100% wool swimsuits or dresses that cover up every inch of skin. The fashion community can finally accept what women in their hearts have known since the dawn of time: every woman is beautiful (no matter their size), and given the right clothes, women can do anything and everything they set their mind to…it’s just a lot easier out of a corset!.


Places to go on rainy days out: Cambridge

With the weather currently set to changeable, thoughts turn to what to do when showers are in the forecast. Many cities look fantastic in the sunshine but sometimes the coast and countryside beckon on days when the sun is on its brightest setting.  So on days when the sky is not so blue, perhaps it’s time to visit a city.

We have many beautiful cities in the UK and one of my favourites is Cambridge. Cambridge has beautiful open spaces like Parker’s Peace, home of the infamous Cambridge Beer Festival, and the beautiful River Cam , but it also has some fantastic places to visit with rooves…. perfect for those rainy days.

rainy days in cambridge

King’s College Chapel

King’s College Chapel is well known , and many of us have watched Carols from King’s on BBC2 on Christmas Eve, but it’s not just for Christmas, it’s for rainy days in the Autumn too! 

Kings College is part of the University of Cambridge, it lies beside the River Cam, and faces onto King’s Parade in the city centre and is therefore incredibly accessible on a city centre visit. It was founded by Henry VI in 1441 at around the same time as he founded its sister college in Eton. The building was finished in 1544 during the reign of Henry VIII.

The building is regarded as one of the greatest examples of late Gothic English architecture. It has fine stained-glass windows and the world’s largest fan vault.  What’s a vault? Well it’s a self- supporting arched form used inside a building with high ceilings to cover the space. So what’s a fan vault? It’s a vault peculiar to England and characterised by fan-shaped clusters of decorative ribs made from cut stone. 

A word of warning, events are held at the college so access is sometimes limited but you can easily check on the events calendar which can be found on the college website

Cambridge Gin Laboratory

If you fancy a different kind of spiritual experience you can visit the Cambridge Gin Laboratory.  Again in the centre of Cambridge and a short walk from King’s College, you can make an impromptu visit to the laboratory.  It is owned by the Cambridge Distillery and fondly referred to as the Gin Lab. Located on Green Street, it opened in September 2017. It is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Thursday and until 7pm on a Friday and Saturday, also open on Sunday between 11am and 5pm.

If you feel like getting serious about your gin knowledge, you can book in advance into The Classroom for your gin education which includes how to taste gin and the history of gin production. You can though go and taste gin without an appointment if there are less than 4 people in your group. If you are more than 4 or want to go at the weekend, they advise booking. You can also just go into the shop and blend your own gin with no appointment if you’d like to! They have events here too, worth having a look at before your trip, such as a Gin Master class and a Molecular Cocktail Evening.  It makes a rainy day a bit more attractive. Obviously strictly for over 18s.

The Cambridge Science Centre

If you require something for all the family, The Cambridge Science Centre, at Clifton Road , a short walk from Cambridge railway station, could be for you. We live in a world where technology and our environment is changing rapidly and we  are being told we need children to get involved with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) as the UK is falling behind in the number of children following a science career. There are many jobs for people with STEM skills but the notion that science and maths are for a certain ‘type’ of person and that jobs in this area are not as fun and rewarding as in other careers may put children off.

The vision of the Cambridge Science centre is for children from all backgrounds to be able to experience hands-on ADVENTURES in STEM education. The emphasis is on hands-on experimenting encouraged by the excellent friendly and approachable staff. It is open from 3pm until 530 pm Tuesday to Friday, and 1030am until 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Children cost £3 and Adults £4.50. 

Fitzwilliam Museum

One of the jewels in Cambridge’s ‘indoor crown’ is the Fitzwilliam Museum and it’s also a place to visit if the rain looks like it is set in for a few hours. It is located in Trumpington Street so, like Kings College and the Gin Laboratory, it is very central.

It has 23 collections including silver and jewellery, Islamic Art, Ceramics, Glass and Enamels, Illuminated Manuscripts. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays and has free entry just asking for a  visitors’ donation. You will need to leave bulky belongings in a locker so don’t go shopping first! There is a café too. 

The Fitzwilliam has a comprehensive website which can tell you about all of the permanent exhibitions and the temporary exhibitions. Looking at, if only briefly, is not a bad idea just to get a feel for what is there and to help plan your time at the museum.

Imperial War Museum

If the weather looks set to WET for the day, then just a 20 minute car journey to the south of Cambridge is the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. It has permanent and temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibitions –  ‘AirSpace’, ‘American Air Museum in Britain’ and ‘Battle of Britain’- are vast and have the wow factor. There are many aeroplanes you can get up close to including the Lancaster, Spitfire, Concorde and a Vulcan. The American Air Museum in Britain explores the story of the relationship between the US and UK during the war and the Battle of Britain exhibition describes how Britain’s air defences developed during the First World War through to the Cold War.

The airfield is still in use today and runs events through the summer including the Duxford Air Show. RAF Duxford was pivotal in the Battle of Britain and the first Spitfires flew from the airfield.

It is located just off the M11 and well signposted so very easy to get to with ample car parking and there is a bus which goes from close to Cambridge Station directly to the Imperial War Museum. Admission at £18 for an adult feels quite high but there is so much to see, it really is value for money. There are various concessions and family tickets and you can book online.


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