Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool

Did you know that the average bloke has about 615 hairs per square centimetre, which can equate to around 25,000 hairs on the entire face. That's a lot of hairs to keep under control and when you throw into the mix that the average bloke will see his beard grow up to six inches every year it's obvious that grooming is essential if you want to avoid looking completely unkempt. I'm on month four of beard growing and after having my flowing facial foliage trimmed and shaped by the fantastic folk at Ted's Grooming Room on Charlotte Street a couple of weeks ago it's now time for me to have a crack at keeping my beard trimmed and shaped. Trying to shape free hand would be foolhardy, my hands shake far too much, so, to encourage me to keep the beard the missus bought me The Beard Mate Beard Shaping Tool from Amazon for £9.95.
The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool
The shaping tool is plastic, feels sturdy in the hand and is easy to keep hold of even with wet hands. The whole point of the shaping tool is that you place it to your face and then with a razor you follow the lines to obtain an even and symmetrical shave.
The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool
The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool
The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool
Being able to see where my beard had been shaped previously made the job a lot faster as I didn't have to decide where to start but I was more impressed with the ease with which razor swept around the template and left the beard on point.
The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool
The Beard Mate - Shaping Tool
My shaping efforts for the last twenty years has in 95% of cases resulted in me having to completely shave off my growth as I couldn't get the beard to look straight around my neck or even on my cheekbones. With The Beard Mate I've used it twice now and it's been great each time. 

If you want a fairly cheap way of grooming your growth without any hassle then you should really take a peek at this. I think I'd be lost without this now and look forward to many more months of using it before I finally opt for a good old full clean shave. At under £10, this should be a staple in the grooming kit of any bearded bloke who struggles to shape their facial foliage.

RECOMMENDED

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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Sicilian Lime & Caffeine Beard Soap by Menrock


Back in January 2015 I reviewed the For My Beardy Beloved Box Set from Menrock, it was one of the first reviews on the blog, so when I received the latest For My Beardy Beloved 'Awakening' Box Set from the other half as part of my Valentine's Day presents I was chuffed to bits and couldn't wait to give each of the products a try. The box set is great and can be picked up for £29.95 from Menrock here. Today however I'm going to be focusing my attention like a laser beam on the Sicilian Lime & Caffeine Beard Soap that came in the set.

Sicilian Lime & Caffeine Beard Soap by Menrock
Sicilian Lime & Caffeine Beard Soap by Menrock
The beard soap comes in the set, but you can buy a 100ml bottle for £12 here.

I had very high expectations from this as my beard is currently strong (read: the longest its ever been) and I really enjoyed both the fragrance and results that the oakmoss beard soap had delivered. After reading the marketing blurb and being notoriously bad at being able to wake up my expectations rose even further.

This is what they say about the 'awakening' over at the Menrock site:
'Our Sicilian Lime and caffeine beard shampoo is just like its twin balm - Light, refreshing and packing a powerful punch. Ideal for those grey and groggy Monday mornings where you don’t want to wake up, and neither does your beard'.

To use Menrock suggest a 4 step approach which goes like this:

Step 1: Muster the courage to crawl/roll/slither out of bed.

Step 2: Apply and lather in our lime and caffeine infused beard shampoo.
Step 3: massage well into your beard and skin and rinse it out with warm water.
Step 4: Lay thine eyes upon the mirror and marvel at the unparalleled majesty that is your freshly washed and perfectly groomed beard.

Being a smoker and living in London my beard does attract a lot of grime and without regular washing and brushing I'm sure it would stink to high heaven. This would have to do something special to clean this beard and wake me up! 

From day one this has become a firm favourite - it lathers up wonderfully and has the most beautifully deep citrus vibe to it that gets progressively stronger as it lathers up and soaks through the beard to the skin. It's easy to rinse off but the best is yet to come.

The claims of 'awakening' really punch home about five to ten minutes after I've dried my beard and brushed it - pow, its like a slap in the face as the caffeine cools the face, it's like an ice blast that slaps you awake and keeps you awake. Having to venture into cold wind with this on your face is like dipping your head into an ice bucket. Awesome for waking up this sleepy corpse. Top notch on that score.

The fragrance is lovely and settles down after drying off and doesn't interfere with any aftershaves or colognes that are applied. Again, good stuff.

All in all I think £12 for 100ml is about right for this. It leaves my beard feeling and looking clean. It has a fragrance that is gentle on the nose and the 'awakening' effect alone is worth the price. It really is a great product that forms part of a great box set for that bearded bloke out there. 

If you want to enhance the slapped awake feel you can magnify the results, massively so by adding the Sicilian Lime & Caffeine Beard Balm to your bristles before brushing. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 


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Sunday, March 05, 2017

Shaper Light Creamy Paste by Structure


With my hair at it's longest in about fifteen years and storms battering the country on an ever more frequent basis I've found that using just a hair spray or texturising gum hasn't had the desired hold on my hair when faced with stupidly strong gusts of wind. This means that I'm constantly hoding my hair down or resemble Cousin IT from the Addams Family. In the past, with short and spiky hair I've been a massive fan of hair styling products from Structure so when I was asked to try out Shaper Light Creamy Paste I naturally said yes and it jumped to the front of the testing queue.
A tub of Shaper will not break the bank, a chunky 100ml tub of the paste will set you back just £8.99 online. That's fairly reasonable I think for a hair styling product and given my positive experiences with the brand in the past I had high hopes that this could help keep my locks protected from the evil wind. 

This is what Structure say about Shaper over at their website here:

'A tad commitment shy? This light creamy paste adds texture, definition, natural finish and medium hold without sacrificing style flexibility. Changing your look during the day has never been this easy!'

Like all Structure products the paste has a clean, fresh fragrance. It actually reminds me of the smell of Dove soap! Don't ask me why but sniffing this reminds me of the smell of my aunts bathroom (it could be because she has massive jars full of Dove soap resting across the back of the bath).

Even with my hair now so long (the fringe comes down to my mouth) I only need to use a little of the paste when it comes to styling first thing in the morning. I apply it to damp hair and with a hold rating of 2/5 I didn't expect great things, just something. After applying the first time I let my hair dry naturally and the style was off my the time I got to work. Thankfully we have hairbrushes and I was able to easily re-style.

Every other application is followed by a good blast of the hairdryer to make sure it starts to 'set' before I leave the house. This tactic has resulted in better hold, a style that I want and it does add a touch of texture to my fine (thin, not fiiiiine) hair.
This kept my hair in place in gentle wind and in the absence of a gale it held in place for well over eight hours and as a bonus there were no hints of any residue or flakes in my hair even after I'd been fiddling around with it for hours. 

As my hair gets longer it does curl a little at the back - this paste keeps that well in check and for that I'm truly thankful. 

With a touch more hold this would leave me supremely confident in the hold ability come what the weather. It's got decent hold, would be great on shorter styles and does keep longer locks in check. With a reasonable purchase price thi does represent good value for money and it's one that will be used over and over again in this household.

RECOMMENDED

You can see my thoughts on other Structure hair styling products by following the links below:

Structure Transform Spray Clay
Structure Paste Flexible Adhesive

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy

My facial hair has the tendency to itch and generally be annoying until it gets to about two inches in length. If you throw into the mix the fact that my beard is quite thick and acts as a barrier between my face and any moisturising products and personally I find that my face while looking beard strong looks a little bit well, rough. Beard oils have been a revelation and a casual glance at my posts over the past few months will show you an assortment of oils that have been great at taming my mane and with price tags to suit any budget. Today I'm going up the price range and looking at Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy.
Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy
Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy
Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy
So, who are Alchemy? Well, they are hair oil specialists who don't test on animals and who detest parabens and all of the other nasty additives you find in a lot of products out there. So they normally specialise in products to help stimulate hair growth on the head but they have branched out and produced a this lovely beard oil that contains just essential oils - 100% natural.

This is what they say about the Peppermint Beard Remedy: 
'A fantastic minty fresh beard oil to stimulate growth and treat common beard concerns. An all natural remedy which can be used daily or as needed to improve the condition of your beard.'
My first impressions of this were holy cow, the peppermint is strong, very strong. It also blows the sinuses away it has such a refreshing and cool fragrance. The mint on first application does actually make my eyes tingle which is a weird sensation but not irritating thankfully as I could sit and sniff at this for hours on end. It's lovely.

The remedy blends peppermint essential oil, organic rosechip oil, organic Avocado oil, fractionated Coconut oil and Argan oil but you will only ever detect the minty freshness of this, even after drying down I can't detect any hint of coconut. 

The remedy is absorbed into the beard and skin really quickly - I find that five drops rubbed between my palms, smoothed onto the beard and then worked in with my fingertips is enough to cover my full beard. While it does add shine the beard doesn't look greasy which is something of a surprise to me considering the number of oils. 

I use this oil twice a week in the evening. The peppermint soothes my sinuses, my beard can be brushed into shape and the hair feels so incredibly soft and smooth from the moment it is applied to when I wake up in the morning. The Argan Oil is also working wonders on the condition of my skin around the beard. For bonus points I've also not experienced any irritation on the skin after using this.
Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy
Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy
Peppermint Beard Remedy by Alchemy
If I had to identify one drawback it's that if I used this in the morning I would be unable to wear a fragrance as this would overpower anything that I put on. I like Peppermint but I refer a more subtle fragrance for wandering around the office. That said, as a night time remedy to keep my beard conditioned an feeling great I can't argue with the product. It does what it says it will do and yes, my beard does seem to be growing faster in the weeks since I started using this.

Strong conditioned beard - check
Smooth skin - check

Can't say fairer than that.

This isn't the cheapest beard oil around at £21 for a 40ml bottle but you can pick it up direct from their website here.

RECOMMENDED

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Label J Parka from Jacamo


Being married to BeautyqueenUK has it’s advantages – she regularly gets asked to sample things on her blog that directly benefit me (win), and that’s always a good thing. The lovely lady was asked by Jacamo to select some clothes she would like to dress me in. Rachel decided that I needed a new coat, she seemed a bit bored with the long cashmere coats I’ve been wearing for the last twelve years and told me I needed a change. Yes boss, and after taking the path of least resistance (read agreed with her) she selected the Label J Parka from Jacamo and I waited with baited breath for it to arrive, slightly uncertain as to whether it would suit me at all.
Label J Parka from Jacamo
This isn’t the first time that I’ve worn clothes from Jacamo, in fact, a couple of years ago I had the chance to try a lovely blue pea coat from the Flintoff Range. In addition to this, I’ve been a regular buyer of their jeans and the selection of tees available on the site is pleasing to me, and they are top notch in terms on quality.

The Label J Parka selected costs £65 and can be found here.

The parka is described as being 'this season's must-have piece'. It features a pretty good sized hood with a faux-fur trim, plenty of pockets with on the outside and one inside, making room for an iPhone, iPod, wallet, Oyster cards and whatever else is needed. It also features a full zip from bottom to top along with press-stud front fasteners, so I’m always warmly wrapped up and the press-studs don't pop open at any point.

Now, here are further photographs of me wearing it! 
Label J Parka from Jacamo
Label J Parka from Jacamo
Label J Parka from Jacamo
I vaguely remember Jacamo when they started up and the adverts they had on TV featuring Johnny Vegas to highlight that they stock sizes of up to 5 XL. Thinking that the entire stock was aimed at the larger chap I stupidly ignored them for years. More fool me. You’ll find a vast array of clothing for both men and women, it’s of a very high standard and best of all they have something to suit any budget (apart from a budget of zero – obvs).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

What do you think to the choice of coat? 
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Monday, February 27, 2017

6 Ideas For Trying New Things!

Okay, Valentine’s Day has been and gone and whether or not it is something you celebrate, there are 364 other days to be romantic, try something new or just show some appreciation to your better half letting them know you care. We don't go overboard with Valentines Day, a card might be exchanged and it might not even have Valentines theme (read, it never has a Valentine's theme), but it is the thought that counts right?

There are many things you can and possibly should do to show your partner you do care, appreciate all that they do for you and well...does there really need to be a reason? Pinterest is one of those apps that I am obsessed with, it gives me ideas for trying new food, buying new t-shirts and here are a few ideas I thought I would share:

Explore Another Culture -  Most people have a bit of wanderlust and curiosity about other cultures and places and this is one of the easiest things to do and share with each other. It can be as simple as ordering takeaway or delivery, tickets for a surprise weekend getaway, or a visit to a museum. 
Image Credit - Hungry House

You can even combine different elements, like having Indian takeaway delivered to the museum with a current Indian exhibit

Be a Tourist - It is almost universal that people who live in an area rarely visit their area’s tourist attractions. So you could throw yourselves wholeheartedly into the tourist role including taking several hundred “couples” pictures to share on Instagram or other sites.
6 Ideas For Trying New Things!

Go to the Dog Park - A recent Reuter’s poll found that a majority of people preferred to be with their pets than with humans, including their romantic partners. You score double points because your partner has fun with their pet with the added bonus of interacting with other pets and the dog gets a fun day out as well. 

Volunteer - Let’s be honest. Being in a relationship with someone who accepts you even with your faults and shortcomings makes you more fortunate than a lot of people on earth. Finding a cause or a group you both support is a great way to share your good fortune. From homeless shelters, food kitchens, animal rescue groups, to environmental groups volunteer organisations not only need, but will welcome your help. 

Do Something you Really Dislike - In every relationship one partner inevitably likes something that the other really dislikes. 
6 Ideas For Trying New Things!
Image Credit - Phantom of the Opera

Make this about your partner and give it a try. Your partner likes roller blading through the park – grab a pair of skates. Ballroom dancing? Get out your suit and tie. Opera? As long as you aren’t sitting through the entire Ring cycle, a night at the opera can actually be a pleasant experience. 

I would love to know what kind of activities you get up to with your better half, do you save your appreciation for 14th February or do you show your gratitude and thanks throughout the year?

*Collaborative Post



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